Monday, February 28, 2011

Green Carpet Challenge

I just have to share this because I think what she - Livia Firth, wife of Colin Firth - did is great. She took a Green Carpet (for the Red Carpet) challenge for the Oscars (and apparently all the other red carpet occasions. This article is from Grist one of my favorite environmental websites out there. Click here to see the article or read copy below.

Colin Firth’s wife wins Best Lady in a Recycled Gown in our personal Oscars

reen-minded folks in the know about celebrity stuff -- i.e. not me -- have been on tenterhooks waiting to see what Colin Firth's wife Livia would wear to the Oscars. That's because she'sattempting the Green Carpet Challenge again this year, and has sworn to wear nothing on the red carpet that isn't repurposed, upcycled, or made of sustainable fabric.
At an over-the-top expensive event like the Oscars, full of starlets in single-use dresses clutching goodie bags filled with gadgets and travel vouchers, that seems like kind of a drop in a million-dollar bucket. But in terms of putting your money where your mouth is, it beats a color-coded ribbon any day.
The prize for "most supporting dresses" goes to ... : At the Oscars, you have to go big -- you can't get away with a simple milk protein shift like Livia Firth wore for the SAG awards. This time, she ended up going with a dress cobbled together out of bits from 11 different vintage dresses. Every part of the dress, including the fastenings, was recycled. Plus, all the original dresses were from the 1930s, the era of Best Picture-winning flick The King's Speech (which Colin Firth also won Best Actor for, by the way, for those of you who like me were watching Annie Hall last night instead.)
That sounds potentially like a Frankendress horror -- maybe something more like what Helena Bonham Carter would wear -- but designer Gary Harvey evidently knew what he was doing. We're probably not legally allowed to reprint a photo here, but you can click here to see that it was quite pretty.
Mixed greens: What's cool about Livia's approach to the Green Carpet Challenge is that she's not phoning it in, wearing some kind of greenwashed 1-percent-consumer-waste dress to every awards show. She's been trying a bunch of different approaches, from a repurposed wedding gown to a dress made of her husband's ruined suit.
It may not do much to make the gold guy greener -- pretty much if you wanted to reduce the impact of the Oscars, the best approach would be not holding the Oscars. But it does demonstrate that green fashion can be creative and whimsical, which is a lot more fun than watching James Franco try to talk.
Meanwhile, if Madam Firth is looking to outfit her next appearance, the Project Runway archives have some ideas for her. Plastic cup dress, anyone?

Last Week (2 weeks) on My Scenic Byway: Feb 14-27

I was so busy with work and then taking off on vacation that I missed the entry last Monday, so here are the last two weeks on the Byway...

Scenes:  Insane amount of work, but then VACATION. Why does work always seem to pile up before you are preparing to leave on a vacation? That happens to me all the time. My birthdayLos Angeles. Venice BeachSanta Monica. Hollywood. Palm Springs. The desert. Pioneertown. Disneyland. Balboa Peninsula, Newport Beach. Driving around LA in a convertible - of course. Visiting friends.
Ingesting: The Dome by Stephen King - all 1000+ pages of it. The Oscars - even though they were kind of boring. Fabulous dinner at Club 33. Fabulous home cooked meals at friend's homes. Pinkberry. American Idol...I can't help myself.
Loving: Back to the Future. I loooove this. Photos from childhood recreated as adults. Incredible. Pinkberry. Modern Family - man oh man I love this show sooo much! Raising Hope - just started watching this and it is pretty funny. I love that Martha Plimpton. Michael Whalen. The music is better than his videos. The Leftover Cuties.

Memories: Going to Disney World as a child and later in my 20s for a crazy energy conference. My grandparents.
Intrigues: More crazy Scientology...wowClub 33. James Franco doing General Hospital. Etsy. Banksy and Exit Through the Gift Shop. The Book Surgeon.
Desires: Same old thing: eat healthy, get back in shape, lose some weight. Massages. A pedicure. Magic fairies to come and clean the house. To see the remaining Oscar films I haven't seen - Social Network, The Fighter, Winters Bone. I wish we had a Pinkberry in SLC. Bedding like we had at the Viceroy Hotel in Palm Springs.

Balboa Peninsula Beach - Hipstamatic

More photos of Balboa peninsula beach. Paul took these photos. Hipstamatic is just amazing, amazing, amazing...

Balboa Peninsula, Newport Beach

We made a quick visit to Balboa peninsula, Newport Beach on Saturday before we headed to the airport and home. My first visit there and it won't be my last. Gorgeous sea and sky. Happy Monday.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Disneyland vs. Disney World

This past Friday I finally made my first visit to Disneyland in Anaheim, California. My husband decided that as part of my surprise birthday trip to the LA area, he should throw in a day at Disneyland. Great idea. I think everyone should have a Disney experience at least once in their life. I was excited to see and experience the place.

Growing up on the east coast I did go to Disney World in Orlando, Florida - once as a child and once in my 20s as part of a work conference held on the giant Disney property (a very different experience than when I was a child). I remember loving it as a kid, of course, but not so much when I went there in my 20s. My memory of it is that the whole Disney World complex is so huge and developed that I did not like it. It was overwhelming. There is so much stuff crammed all together in that weird area that wasn't a natural built environment, but rather an entire planned area. It felt strange and alien and just way too crowded. Sure Epcot Center and Disney World had some cool things, but I really would not want to return to that Florida nightmare.

I had never seen Disneyland before, and now that I have seen both, in spite of being cut from the same cloth, I have to say that to me they feel very, very different. While I would not want to visit Disney World again, even if I had kids, I would gladly go to Disneyland again, as an adult with friends or to take kids. Maybe I just had a uniquely positive experience during my visit and it is not always as great - I would have to see the place again to figure that out. And I do plan to go again. Because one day, as those of you who have visited know, is never enough for a place like Disneyland. You need more than that to see the sights.

Why did I like Disneyland so much? It is the original Disney experience - dreamt, designed and built by Walt Disney, in the 1950s. Unlike all the others that came later. And it feels that way. Unlike my experience of Disney World, Disneyland felt original, nostalgic, manageable. It is smaller than Disney World which I think is a good thing. It feels more natural (can I say that about a theme park??) as it sits in Anaheim, in the middle of a city, unlike Disney World which feels like an isolated fake world.

First impressions are usually important and I had a great first impression. The park was not crowded, the weather was agreeable (cloudy and threatening of rain, but dry most of the day with great temperatures), and we were with friends who are Disney fans and members of the exclusive Disney Club 33. I am going to write another blog entry about this Club 33 which I had never heard of until meeting Paul's friends and which I find fascinating, so be on the look out for it. Having visited the park hundreds of times, if not more, these friends knew the park and the history and were able to give us a unique experience that included information about things we were seeing, express entry into rides (no lines!), and dinner at Club 33. It was like having our own personal Disney tour guide. Being members of Club 33 (there are only 400+ members, there is a 14 year wait list to become a member (our friend waited 10 years to get his membership) and they are no longer accepting applications at this time) they can go to the park anytime they want, they can dine at the members only Club 33 restaurant on the Disney property, they get invited to other exclusive Disney events, and they get fast passes and other types of passes that allow them to skip the lines for rides.

One of these friends explained to me that coming to Disneyland is like going to the mall for them. They don't live far away and they pop in all the time. Sometimes they go to ride rides, sometimes they go just to walk around and people watch or look at the flowers, sometimes they just go for a meal. When you don't have to pay the $100 entry fee (yeow!) each time, who wouldn't do that if given the opportunity? And being able to visit the park so often takes off the pressure of a one time visit and allows you to take in little pieces at a time and enjoy it more. If you lived in the area I could understand getting a season pass for that reason. The season pass would be a good deal if you were going more than 4 or 5 times.

Like Disney World, Disneyland has other attractions adjacent to the main park. Right next door is Disney California Adventure Park, also referred to as "DCA" by those who frequent the parks. As the name suggests, the rides and attractions are California related. As we only had one day, we focused on Disneyland, but we did briefly visit the park. We rode one of the coolest rides I've ever experienced - Soarin Over California - a simulated hang-glider ride over California. You are suspended in the air over an 80 foot domed film screen with gorgeous shots of california cities and natural landscapes. You feel like you are hang-gliding. You move around, there are gusts of wind and you have scents - the smell of the ocean as you fly over the Pacific, the smell of oranges as you fly over orange groves and the smell of pine as you fly over giant forests. This ride was truly amazing and I would like to do it again.

The is also a downtown Disney district with many good restaurants and stores. There is a nice hotel in that district called the Grand Californian Hotel & Spa, which looked like a fun place to stay, but with rooms starting at $400+ a night, we did not stay there. There are plenty of other more affordable hotels right around the park. We stayed at the Ramada Inn Maingate, just across the street from the entrance to both parks. It was a typical hotel like that, with a great rate and you can't beat the location.

I recommend Disneyland over Disney World no hesitation. If you are planning to take yourself or your kids to one of these, choose Disneyland. I also recommend going to Disneyland as an adult, with other adults. It can be a very fun trip if you are with the right people and if you like walking around looking at the sites, great people watching, a ton of good eating options, and of course, the rides. Trust me, Space Mountain is just as awesome in your 40s as it was when you were 10.

Hipstamatic Disneyland

Scenes from Friday, February 25, my first visit ever to Disneyland in Anaheim, California. Great place for shooting photos, especially with Hipstamatic...

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Mark X Farina Art

Very cool artist. Very cool guy. Check out his website. Look for his works in the LA area and beyond. All photos below - some of his art hanging in his studio.

Mark X Farina

Jerk know you are...

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Palm Canyon - Palm Springs, CA - Amazing

An oasis in the desert. Have you ever walked along a stream of sparkling water, lined by giant palm trees? In a canyon? The air smelling of dates? In the middle of the desert?

I did, this week in Palm Springs, California. At Indian Canyons. Amazing. Memorable.

This place sits on the Agua Caliente Indian reservation. It is worth the $8/person entry fee. Palm Canyon is 15 miles long.They have several hiking trails from easy to challenging, along with ranger-led interpretive hikes. I can't wait to return here and to visit nearby Andreas Canyon and Murray Canyon. I highly, highly recommend you add this to your list of places to visit if you are out in the area.

We had to cross the stream for our hike. Very cold water!

It is early for flowers. This is the only flower I saw on our hike.

Santa's on Vacation

I busted Santa and Mrs. Clause in the food court at the SLC airport last Friday morning. Maybe they had come to Utah for a little skiing vacation? I don't think the North Pole has any good skiing.

Seriously. It is February and here these two are. With matching red hats and matching red Christmas shirts. She sporting a little red vest for an extra touch and some mistletoe on her hat. Santa is sporting a "player" hat. Both have shocking white hair, and him with the big beard. I wish I could have gotten a better photo. It was a great airport moment.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Viceroy Hotel Palm Springs

My first time staying in Palm Springs. I highly recommend the place we just stayed - The Viceroy Palm Springs. But Palm Springs is full of fun hotels like this and I hope I get the chance to stay in many more. If you have some Palm Springs hotel recommendations, please let me know. I would stay here at the Viceroy again and I would recommend it. I snapped a few (not so exciting) photos below, but they will give you a feel for the place. The website has more. It is a beautiful boutique hotel and spa with that feel and layout that seems to be Palm Springs. With fun little pools and poolside lounging.

Cool lobby.
One of several pools...sorry for the blown out lighting. I did not know I had the wrong settings on the camera.
Again, another bad blown out pool shot, but you get the idea.

The grounds.

From the pool area where they serve food outside and looking up to the area of our room.
View from our balcony.
Our room - the bed is awesome.
Another shot of the room.

Life Is All About the Journey

I saw one of my FB friends post this the other day:

"For a long time it had seemed to me that life was about to begin - real life. But there was always some obstacle in the way, something to be gotten through first, some unfinished business, time still to be served, a debt to be paid. Then life would begin. At last it dawend on me that these obstacles were my life."

I can relate. You probably can too. I've had that epiphany. I know it, but sometimes I forget it and have to remind myself. This sentiment reminded me of a poem I love.

Basically the message is this: Life is all about the journey, not the destination. Words to live by.

Enjoy the Byway. It is pretty scenic if you can stay open to it.


As you set out for Ithaka
hope the voyage is a long one,
full of adventure, full of discovery.
Laistrygonians and Cyclops,
angry Poseidon—don’t be afraid of them:
you’ll never find things like that on your way
as long as you keep your thoughts raised high,
as long as a rare excitement
stirs your spirit and your body.
Laistrygonians and Cyclops,
wild Poseidon—you won’t encounter them
unless you bring them along inside your soul,
unless your soul sets them up in front of you.

Hope the voyage is a long one.
May there be many a summer morning when,
with what pleasure, what joy,
you come into harbors seen for the first time;
may you stop at Phoenician trading stations
to buy fine things,
mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony,
sensual perfume of every kind—
as many sensual perfumes as you can;
and may you visit many Egyptian cities
to gather stores of knowledge from their scholars.

Keep Ithaka always in your mind.
Arriving there is what you are destined for.
But do not hurry the journey at all.
Better if it lasts for years,
so you are old by the time you reach the island,
wealthy with all you have gained on the way,
not expecting Ithaka to make you rich.

Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey.
Without her you would not have set out.
She has nothing left to give you now.

And if you find her poor, Ithaka won’t have fooled you.
Wise as you will have become, so full of experience,
you will have understood by then what these Ithakas mean.

-- C.P. Cavafy