2014 Monkees Convention: Homage to ‘Princess Collette’

Photo courtesy of Tom Usciak

In preparation for the Monkees Convention this year I challenged myself to make a dress befitting the costume I wore as Princess Collette in the episode “Everywhere a Sheik, Sheik”. Off to the fabric store, Mood, to search for the perfect pink, preferably stretchy material.

Now I want you to know that I only sew by hand. I was in my mid-thirties the last time I personally sewed my daughter, Katie’s, nightgown on a machine. And while I had a fashion line in Hawaii, my seamstresses were assembling garments by machines as well as by hand.

Aha! Found it! Vintage lace in 100% cotton, pink and a bit stretchy. Usually, lycra is added for stretch but in this lace the pattern allowed for some wiggle room! Next stop, International Silks and Woolens for lining and notions. Beautiful charmeuse in the exact matching color pink…very in the flow. For bling, crystal by the yard and invisible thread to attach it. OK, I’m ready to go for it.

I am a very early riser and when I take a project on, these wee hours in the morning provide me with the tranquility I require to concentrate and meditate. First thing to happen is bring Tilly, my mannequin, out of the closet. She is my size and makes fitting a breeze. Then two pair of scissors, a measuring tape, silk pins and a general pattern I can customize. I lay the lace down on my antique refectory table and pin the pattern on, altering it here and there as I visualize the length of the sleeve and shape of the neckline. Cutting away with the larger pair of scissors I use the second pair, much smaller to trim some edges. Tilly patiently awaits being dressed as I assemble the pieces on her with more pins. Not one little ouch or complaint from this seasoned veteran. And then it begins… the tedious task of sewing seams and once done, binding them with silk chiffon to eliminate fraying. Yes, silk chiffon is cut on the bias to make strips to be fastened and strengthen each seam.

Several days later, I test the crystal and start attaching it along the hemline, sleeves and neckline, front only. A few more days go by and my little pink mini is ready to be lined. Tilly stands by while I try “her”on with a sigh of glee when all is well. She fits! And she feels strong. Good, now I can move on to accessories and the fun continues.

All of this may seem trivial to some when there are so many overwhelming challenges on this Planet of ours but I sincerely believe that when one is happily going about their own business that new pathways for mobility toward a better world are a real possibility.

Tilly

Detail

Detail

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The Voice of Rocky

 

June Foray, the voice of Rocky The Flying Squirrel and Natasha of Boris and Natasha fame on “The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show”, made a guest appearance at the Larry Edmunds Bookshop in Silverlake to promote a new book, “The Art of Jay Ward Productions” by Darrell Van Citters, who was also present. At 96-yrs of age, Ms. Foray spoke eloquently of her very long voice career and proclaimed that she had just made a new Geico commercial as the voice of Rocky!

 

Enjoy some outtakes of cartoons featuring “Dudley Do Right”, “Nell”, “Snidely Whiplash”, “Rocky” and “Bullwinkle”.

 

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In the Mood For Crunch?

Well, this salad fulfills the missing crunch in your life:

9 – leaves of kale. Remove center rib and julienne*

3 – thin slices of a large Asian pear, julienne

3 – 1/4 inch slices white cheddar cheese into thin strips

9 – walnuts, sliced

1/4 fresh pomegranate. Squeeze out juice and seeds

1/2 lemon

Drizzle of olive oil

1/2 tsp white truffle salt

Pepper (combine cardamon pods and peppercorns in a pepper mill)

In a bowl, layer kale (bottom), Asian pear, cheese and walnuts. Slice open a pomegranate and squeeze out the juice and seeds as the top layer. Squeeze juice of 1/4 lemon. Drizzle olive oil, dust top with with white truffle salt; finally add freshly ground pepper mix.

*Julienne: Cut into long thin strips

Bon appetit!

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Holy Redemption, Batman!

Home DVD Boxed Set of 60′s Batman TV Show Finally To Be Released in Late 2014!

Robin & Susie

When I climbed into this vintage dress and jacket that I wore in my closing scenes of Batman as “Susie Gone Good”, memories of 1966 showed up in my posture. To say I felt like a teenager all over again is an understatement.

And wow! I fit still into this  outfit . Wardrobe supplied me with only one outfit, for the cheerleader scenes, which was returned to Western Costume. All the other clothes were my own, including this. My habit of preservation has paid off. I love showing you memories from my Swingin’ Sixties career.

Fabric Content: Wool polyester, and the color has held up since 1966. It’s in pristine condition.

 

Today

 

Robin and the ‘Girl Gone Good’

 

 

 

 

 

Batman, Robin & Susie

X8C1uuSLGbU

 

Posted in Out Of My Closet | 8 Comments

Sunday Brunch with Alison Martino

Brunch at My Place down the lane

When Alison Martino posted on her popular Vintage Los Angeles Facebook page about the Cafe Four Oaks in Beverly Glen Canyon, it was only natural to invite her for brunch and then walk down the lane we live on to the Cafe. In utter dis-repair, all of the doors were open, allowing us to peruse the premises, transcending us back to the Glory Days when Beverly Glen Canyon was an artist retreat. In 1968, the first time I moved here, my life alone lent itself to remarkable memories of musical monsters: Randy Newman, Van Dyke Parks, Ted Templeman, Ry Cooder, Russ Titleman and the master, my then-husband Lenny Waronker, were among the many who graced our home as well as the Cafe. My children were raised on the delicious sausage crescent rolls the Cafe famously served. For memory’s sake, I went to Paris Bakery in Westwood, the bakery that supplied the Four Oaks, and included this delicacy in my Brunch. Those of you who love to cook, as I do, may want to try my recipes for Frittata and Potatoes.

Brunch at my place down the lane

Frittata with Zucchini (Serves 4):

4 Eggs – preferably organic or free range, 1/4 cup milk – I use soy milk, but there are many varieties available, 1/2 yellow union – preferable organic, 4 small sweet zucchini, 1/2 cup parmesan reggiano, salt/pepper to taste, turmeric*/cardamon**, Fresh Tarragon. Begin by slicing the onion and saute for 5-minutes over medium fire. Add finely sliced zucchini, washed and peeled. Stir into onions and continue to saute for 5 more minutes. In two bowls, separate egg whites and yolks. Whip egg whites until frothy; fold in egg yolks that have been seasoned with milk, salt, pepper, turmeric*, cardamon** and tarragon. Add to saute pan and sprinkle freshly grated parmesan over the top of the frothy egg mixture. Cook for 3-5 minutes, then cover. Do not remove the cover until you are ready to serve as the eggs will souffle. Exposing to air too soon will flatten it. This may be prepared an hour ahead of time, but will be more like ‘picnic food’ at a cool-ish temperature. Still very tasty, though. Slice in quarters to serve.

Potatoes:

Wash and cube 3 medium red skin potatoes. Add to a frying pan with heated olive oil over medium to medium-high heat. Give them a quick singe, then lower the heat while you add: 1 clove chopped garlic, 3 tbsp chopped parsley, salt n’ pepper with cardamon**. Fry for 3-5 minutes and transfer to a baking dish. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and cook potatoes for 20-30 minutes.

*Turmeric is an anti-inflammatory. The Hawaiians call it Olena and use it for an overall cure. For those who have juicers, add turmeric root to your daily juice diet. Or, add 1 tsp turmeric powder to your food. I do!
**In a pepper mill, combine 1/2 pepper corns and 1/2 cardamon pods. Cardamon enhances energy with courage. I like to eat a delicious meal that also has healing properties.

Bon appetit!

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Aloha in Las Vegas

Nani, Don and me

It was very early on a dark, cloudy morning. LA was shrouded in a thick marine layer, one day after my little grandson, Nico, turned 9-months old. Five hours on the road meant to me, pack a picnic! A bunch of beautiful red/purple kale became the base for a chopped salad with slices of pear and cashews. Egg salad I made the day before was finger food as a dip for organic potato chips and slices of cucumber. Now we’re packed and ready to hit the road at 7am for Las Vegas!  Above the marine layer just outside of Victorville on I-15, the heavens cleared and blue skies greeted us the rest of the way. We rolled into Vegas around 2pm to reunite with our Hawaiian extended family, Don and Nani. The last time we saw them was three years ago at The Bamboo Restaurant in Hawi, the local hang for residents of North Kohala on the Big Island. Nani is seventh generation born in Kohala, originally from Okinawa. Don, a Norwegian, was sailing around the world and landed on the Big Island well over thirty years ago. That’s about when they met and they have been in love ever since. To say they are family is an understatement. I feel we have known them since the beginning of time! We wisked them off to Red Rock Canyon, about 30-minutes from Sin City. Nani was already expressing gratitude for relieving them from the extreme stimulation and excesses of Vegas.  The gorgeous Red Rock formations in the vastness of the desert were a contrast to the jungles of the northern-most tip of the Island of Hawaii, absent of the fragrance of orchids and plumeria, jasmine and gardenia. Instead, a pre-historic stillness permeated the air. Ancient swirls of sandstone footprints and petroglyphs dating back to ancient times had a familiarity to the ones Nani was familiar with in Hawaii. Two hours cruising around the canyon flew by. We were all getting hungry, so Jered punched in “organic Indian restaurant” into GPS. We drove back into LV to a strip mall atmosphere. Opening the door to Origin India was like opening a treasure chest. We had a deliciously delightful meal reminiscing and bringing each other up-to-date on family and friends. I’d go there anytime, but with Don and Nani it was paradise. Well, it was time to return them to their hotel. Aloha, dear friends.

Candice and me

Turning again to the GPS, we tuned to our next destination in Henderson, where we would spend the night. My friend Candice and her family have lived in Nevada for over a dozen years. They decided to base themselves in a dry desert environment because it is a conducive climate for their internet business, making robotic parts.  I’ve known Candice since she was in the sixth grade. Her friendship began with my youngest daughter at a Montessori school in LA. Now she’s a mom of three darling boys and married to her college sweetheart. We were welcomed by Tek, her oldest at 5, and Kip, 4. Looking down, a little baby, her youngest Sen, crawled up to see who in the world was visiting! Candice’s joy is astronomical. She’s a very hard-working wife and mother, really keeping a very tight ship. She graciously showed us to her guestroom and began getting her children ready for bed. That was the exit sign for Jered and I to take a long walk after driving for so many hours all day long. In Candice’s subdivision was an amazing display of Halloween decorations… a real sense of community spirit. Next day we were treated to a a tour of their business, Pololu. It is so rewarding to know two young people making a life together that is booming in business as well as family. From their days at MIT to now employing sixty people, these are two kids who started from the ground up in middle class families and are making their way in the world. Hooray!

Panevino Restaurant

By noon, we said our goodbyes and headed to the nearest organic restaurant before driving back to LA. What a find! In a nearby industrial park we found another treasure called Panevino. OMG! The manager gifted us with his latest creation: vegan chocolate pudding! I will show you the recipe asap.

LA skies driving into town

We feel so blessed to have friends like these folks. It was a whirlwind 36-hours of travel. So much so that I slept until 10am the next morning!

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Bad In Plaid

We love plaid! Royal Stewart is the tartan I wore while rehearsing “Call Me” on the Milton Berle Show, 1966. The Beach Boys Pendleton shirt is almost as beloved as the band that made it famous. The magnificent Alexander McQueen designed until his recent death. For fashion, his plaid is incomparable.Bonny! Louboutin mastered this Royal Stewart tartan.Vivienne Westwood takes plaid to the extreme. I’d die for this dress.Burberry’s signature check is perfectly in tune with this season’s penchant for plaid. Quintessential Vivienne WestwoodAnother fan of plaid is Jeff Bridges as “The Dude” in The Big Lebowski, seen here in plaid shorts.

Posted in My Thoughts, Out Of My Closet | 1 Comment

Lola, my Granddogger

Lola, an 8-year old English bulldog, stayed with me for the first time three weeks ago. I’ve known her since she was a puppy. Every time I’d visit my daughter in LA, while I was living in Hawaii, Lola and I played together… for hours.

A couple of months ago she suffered a heart attack which really slowed her down. She was put on three different medications. Now that I live in LA, I visit my daughter every week, with few exceptions, so I saw Lola each time. She was still happy to see me, but generally layed low in her bed. When my daughter announced to me that she was going on vacation, I volunteered to keep Lola at my house. The day she arrived, I was so excited to have her with me. I love her very deeply, as does anyone who knows about animal bonding. She literally was like a grandchild to me. After a couple of days orienting herself to our yard and where she needed to do her business, she completely fell in love with living here. I ran out to the local pet store to get her bones and chewey toys (pictured). In the morning when my husband and I were having tea, Lola would make herself at home between our feet, resting on an antique Navajo rug. She’d work her way under my seat, where she lay her face on a pillow beneath my chair and gnaw on her bone. Every once in a while I’d feel her head bump my bottom and that would make me giggle. Her bed was under my Grand Piano, covered in an antique Barcelona shawl. She’d enter her boudoir through the fringe and peacefully sleep through the night. The day Lola went home, she was so happy to see her “Daddy”, but what I didn’t know was that was the last time I’d ever see her. Lola died last Tuesday, October 1st. I miss her terribly. She left an incredible imprint on my life. It’s as though she’s still with me. I’m sure you know what I mean if you’ve ever loved an animal as much as I loved Lola. Even after they have departed, they’re always with you, deep in your heart.

Before I had grandchildren, Lola was my Granddogger!

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“Faux Tuscan” Plate

On a warm Summer day, start cooking early in the day. By the time you’re hungry for lunch, you’ll be well on your way to creating some wonderful dishes. For this “Faux Tuscan” Plate, I begin by chopping:
1/2 cup white sweet onion
1/2 cup radishes
1/4 cup parsley

1/4 cup basil

Then, in a bowl, prepare the dressing by whisking:
1 tsp dijon mustard
Juice of one lemon
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
Salt/pepper
Turmeric (to taste)
5 chopped garlic cloves

I buy organic cannellini beans in a can. For this recipe you’ll need two cans (15oz/ea). Drain and add to bowl and add all chopped veggies and herbs. Mix well.

Presentation:
2 lg spoonfuls of bean salad
Slice avocados and place on top
Slice heirloom tomato as garnish
Saute Japanese eggplant and mushroom with chopped ginger and garlic. Add 2 tbsp homemade marinara. Use it as a glaze after eggplant and mushrooms are very tender. Place eggplant on the plate and carefully add mushrooms on top.
A crusty bread accompanies for those consuming wheat.

Bon appetit!

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Summer Salad

In your salad bowl add:

1 tsp finely minced garlic
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 lemon, juiced
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste

Wisk until creamy. If you are using a wooden bowl, whisk the dressing up the sides of the bowl. When adding your lettuce, this method is sure to coat all the pieces. Add shaven slices* of Persian cucumber** for an even more refreshing salad. At the Farmer’s Market I found a vendor who sells the biggest and sweetest onions, so I’m adding some thin slices to the salad. One leftover BBQ’d ear of corn provides an extra sweetness and crunch. Cut kernels off husk and add to greens. Mix greens and onion in the dressing. Add another 1/4 cup of grated parmesan to the top of the salad with slices of avocado.

*Use a mandolin or slicing edge in a grater.
**These cucumbers are small and practically seedless. Also, their skin is tender and sweet; no need to peel.

For Dessert:
Popcorn and a movie
Bon appetit!

 

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