Almost Summer

Hello, Hellooooooooo!  It's been a long while, and I hope all is well as it can be in your world. I am so happy to be back in the swing of things over here... enjoying my good health, my usual daily routines, and seeing the sun again after such a rainy winter, and relatively gloomy May.  Despite the grey days, my roses have been the happiest they've ever been, and we have a second hummingbird's nest just outside our kitchen windows, so we have been privy to the very best that springtime nature in LA has to offer. We are very lucky on all fronts.  I hope you will enjoy the gorgeous long weekend ahead.  As per usual, we will be closed on Saturday, May 25th in observance of the Memorial Day holiday.  We will look forward to seeing you next week, when we re-open with our regular hours on Wednesday, May 29th.

There are lots of things I am looking forward to as summer approaches, and one is the trunk show we are hosting next month for the extremely special and completely bespoke handbag collection Lūra, from Yvonne Roe and Sandra Planeta.  I hope you'll join us on June 12th + 13th at the boutique so that I can share this discovery with you.

While the new year began with a little forced rest and introspection, I evaluated some of my ingrained habits and came to the conclusion that my canvas tote bag carrying was a bit sophomoric, and something I needed to move away from. My goal is to elevate my own personal experience, the actual toting of my things around into something that feels elegant and organized. A very wise astrologer told me that I am nearing the close of a major transit, and so I think a new way of organizing myself is in order. I feel like it can only have a positive effect on my day, which in turn will affect my mood and even my productivity. To that end, I have happily upgraded to the practical and gorgeous Lūra Enni Brief in Ruby Red.

This is where Yvonne and Sandra come in, and it's kismet that I was introduced to them though my lovely friend Caroline.  These two wonderful women are dear friends and business partners, on a mission to create an entirely bespoke and magical experience in the world of handbags.  Since the entire line is 100% custom made to order by skilled artisans in Italy, I patiently awaited my Enni's arrival, and when it arrived, it was SO exciting. I am planning to host Yvonne and the collection for a pop-up in our Venice boutique on Wednesday and Thursday, the 12th + 13th of June. I hope you'll swing by to have a look and see why I instantly knew that these bags would be a perfect complement to my life. Not just aesthetically and functionally, but philosophically as well. Yvonne and Sandra are committed to a sustainable and ethical business model, making only what is ordered, and using the highest level of craftsmanship available. This is something that resonates deeply with me, as it is the type of atelier style production that we also subscribe to exclusively.  

On the topic of sustainable and ethical production, I want to point out that making everything in our Los Angeles studio is a privilege that feels impossibly rare and special, and now more so than ever before.  The myriad of products we are bombarded with on a daily basis that are produced en masse in factories overseas, only accentuates how deeply I appreciate finding kindred spirits in this world, people who truly appreciate and subscribe to a gentler way of manufacturing and consuming in this current climate.  I'm lucky enough to keep growing this community of like-minded humans, and to be able to create beautiful things in such a thoughtful and conscientious way.

Recently we have been working on a new summer skirt, which has already proven to be a client favorite.  We have lovely Liberty of London prints, as well as Italian men's shirting cottons, and would be delighted to make a bespoke version for you.  Swing by to try it on and discuss options, if you have a moment.  It has pockets, and all the ease that a wrap skirt has to offer. It is modeled after a skirt that I remember my mother wearing in the 1970s, though in a longer length, which feels very elegant. I promise it's all you need for summer. 

It will also look great with one of Sasha Iglehart's A Shirt Story shirts.  Sasha just sent us a new shipment, so we are re-stocked for summer.  These one-of-a-kind shirts continue to be quite popular and sell out box after box, so come soon for the pick of the litter.  They fall perfectly into the sustainable and special category of pieces that feel good to invest in, and even better to wear and enjoy.

More and more (with a few exceptions, of course) I feel like dressing exclusively in my own collection. I basically live in our cotton pieces all summer long for daytime dressing, and at night I switch to silk, either a simple Juno slip or an Ava, which is one of our best selling favorites. That and the addition of one of our Elena jackets will get you through whatever evenings are ahead, be they mellow and quiet at home, or out and about...even dancing the night away.  I am looking forward to hosting summertime dinners with friends soon, and for that I will don this to feel both festive and cozy for entertaining at home.

As of late, the studio has been busy with the making of several custom pieces, some using family heirloom stones, others just commemorating special occasions or personal accomplishments. I love making these sentimental pieces, and will have more images of them to share with you soon. This one is a custom ring created with sapphires from a trip to Sri Lanka for a lovely client who wanted to create a stack of rings to remember this journey with.  I can't think of a better daily reminder of happy and expansive times.  If you have something you'd like to make, please reach out with your special request.  I love these kinds of projects, and am happy to discuss options anytime.

Attending the Farmer's Market in Mar Vista has been such a wonderful Sunday morning tradition for our family, and recently the bunches of freshly picked tarragon has been such an inspiration.  I usually throw together something for lunch after assessing our morning's haul, and a simple frittata has been my go-to for the last few weeks.  Anything with eggs, cheese, fresh herbs and vegetables is going to be delicious, and this is no exception.  

Farmer's Market Frittata

2-3 leeks, trimmed and sliced thinly, lengthwise

A bunch of broccolini

A handful of leftover, roasted potatoes sliced into thin rounds

10 organic large eggs, whisked with a handful of parmigiano reggiano

A log of goat's cheese

A handful of fresh tarragon leaves (chives, parsley, dill, and basil also work well)

Salt + freshly ground black pepper

First, I sauté the leeks in a bit of butter until soft, sprinkling with salt and a few grinds of black pepper, while taking care not to let them brown. 

Add in the broccolini, and the sliced potatoes, and cook until everything is soft before stirring in the egg/parmigiano mixture to combine everything. Turn the heat down to low, and scatter the goat's cheese and fresh herbs onto the eggs, and sprinkle with a dusting of sea salt and black pepper. 

Once the bottom is set after a few minutes on top of the flame, transfer the frittata to the oven to continue to cook for another 15 minutes or so.  The frittata is ready once the edges and top seem firmly set.   Serve with a big green salad and slices of sourdough toast.  Jyan Isaac is finally at the Mar Vista Farmer's Market on Sundays now, which is such a treat. I especially love the marbled rye, but all of their offerings are completely delicious.  

 

 

First Week of December

Doesn't the first week of December always feel like it arrives with the start of a rapidly ticking timer? It does for me. I feel like I'm nearing a finish line that is frighteningly close, but entirely uphill. I am hoping to capture as much joy and sweetness from the goodness around me, and to make sure that the sprint to the holidays is peppered with lots of time with people I love, doing the things I love to do the most. One thing I love is the giving of a really good gift, whether significant or just a small, kind, and beautiful gesture. We have plenty of options that fit both of these requirements; from our custom blended beeswax candle selection to this piece which would make anyone's holiday dreams come true. There are also lots of points in between. Contact us for personalized suggestions and the creation of a wishlist. The season is officially and unequivocally underway, and we are particularly skilled at dropping hints! Also, I will be away December 19th-21st doing a trunk show at the Four Seasons Hualalai in Hawaii, so keep that in mind when planning your holiday shopping visit.

I mentioned in the last journal entry that I had a new favorite piece, and it's true. I am completely besotted with our new Garden Party Floral Cluster Ring, and it seems that I'm not alone. We have received numerous requests for this ring to appear at the top of Holiday wishlists. This ring is the perfect antidote to the blues, winter or otherwise. The photos don't really do it justice. If you're local, I encourage you to swing by and try it on. The architecture of this ring makes it incredibly comfortable on the hand. You have to feel it to really understand the beauty of this piece in both form and function. I also love the sleek signet rings in this photo.  You can take a look at those here, here, and here

The one-of-a-kind pieces in our inventory always feel inherently quite special. We have several necklaces at the moment that would make an excellent holiday gift. I especially love the banded agate beads, knotted on a vibrant, coral colored silk cording. The contrast with the neutral, natural, and vintage beads is so strong with the colored knots and the luminous Tahitian pearls. The gold beads are a textural counterpoint to the smoothness of the beads, taking it to the highest elevation of chic. You can have a closer look here.

For a more festive expression of holiday cheer, I find these Keshi Pearl + Diamond Bead Tassel Earrings to be a perfect choice. Again, these are in the one-of-a-kind category, making them even more special. It is getting more and more difficult to find this quality and hue of keshi pearl. I am always drawn to the irregular, organic shapes, and the very lustrous and luminous texture of these natural pearls. Because they are composed entirely of nacre, keshi pearls have a particularly unique texture and shape. They are my favorite type of pearl, and the composition of these earrings uses some of the best examples of this unique gift from nature. 

Exciting news on the shirt front! Lovely Sasha from A Shirt Story has sent us a fresh batch of her fabulous shirts, which tend to go really quickly, so come visit soon for the pick of the bunch. I think these are excellent gifts, again of the one-of-a-kind type. There is one in particular that I think I might need to keep for myself, and then another two that are going to be wrapped and sent off as holiday gifts. It's fun to see everyone try them on and find their favorite, so we look forward to seeing you soon for a little shirt shopping.

There are a couple of robes that I wanted to point out, which would be incredibly well-received gifts, and which also double as super chic outerwear pieces. This one is a covet-worthy piece, in a cozy fabric composed of cashmere, wool, and tiny bit of mink for warmth. My husband Peter is lucky enough to have one, and I have to say that I borrow it far more than I should probably admit. The other is one that I do wear almost every day during the cooler months. I reach for it first thing in the morning, and often wear it out into the world as a coat. I wore it out in London and received lots of compliments, which was almost as nice as feeling so completely cozy. I also throw it on in a sleepy haze, when I have to rush our new puppy Frances outside into the garden for her morning business. Frances doesn't seem to notice, but it's nice to keep the chill at bay in something so lovely while I keep her company.

Is she not completely adorable? We are all completely in love with her, having just adopted her from the East Valley Animal Shelter in Van Nuys the day before Thanksgiving. Tess is the one responsible for introducing us, and for being just the best advocate for shelter animals that you can imagine. It made our holiday especially memorable, and continues to bring an enormous amount of love and light to our lives. We are lucky, lucky, lucky...which is what I keep repeating to myself when this charming creature wakes me up when it's still dark out, or she relentlessly chases our sweet geriatric Flora (15!) around trying to wrestle. We went from empty nesting with a gracious ease to our lives, to having a giant and wild toddler/tornado to contend with. Thankfully, the trainer is coming tomorrow.  

In keeping with the realities at hand, I decided to look up a recipe for dog biscuits. I have no idea if these are truly delicious, as Frances has yet to meet something edible that she hasn't loved. They are extremely easy to make, and I think she appreciates the effort. It's the least I can do in exchange for the ridiculous amount of love that she's showing us. I tend to cook for everyone I love, and that extends to the four-legged amongst us. 

Homemade Dog Biscuits

1.25 cups whole wheat, rice, or oat flour

1/3 cup chicken or beef stock

3 tbs. grapeseed or other neutral oil

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment.
  • Mix all ingredients in a bowl. You may have to add a bit more stock to get the dough to hold together enough to roll out.
  • Turn out on lightly floured surface and roll to about 1/8-inch thickness.
  • Cut into desired shapes and place on prepared sheet.
  • Bake 15-20 minutes. Check after 10, if you're using smaller shapes as they'll be finished a bit sooner.
  • Recipe yields approximately one dozen cookies, depending on the size and shape of your cookies.

 Enjoy,

 

 

With Love, from London

Hellooooooo! I am writing from a desk in London, on a particularly sunny and gorgeous afternoon, fresh from visits with people whom I love, but see too rarely. With everything that is going on in the world, I am feeling profoundly grateful to have my work as a balm: the ability to create beauty and share it with those who appreciate it, time spent in nature, and the soothing comfort of my family and friends.

How restorative it feels to be here, to just have a spot of London sun, a walk across Hyde Park in the afternoon, and hugs from the loveliest of lovelies. Highlights so far have been the Liotard pastels at the National Gallery, the truly inspirational Chanel exhibition at the V+A, and a delicious dinner surrounded by the gorgeous art at Mount Street on, you guessed it... Mount Street.

As I love color so much, it was really inspiring to discover that you can actually buy the color chart, dating from 1938 from La Maison du Pastel, which was also part of the exhibition at The National Gallery. I've become a bit obsessed with this set, and this one too, even though I'm really much more of a watercolor person. It was quite a challenge to not scroll through every single one of the nearly 1800 colors on offer. 

I've always taken great inspiration from the mesmerizing world of color, and of the evocative names. I find it all quite romantic, honestly. It's why I will put four colors of silk on a single scarf, or four or more different shades of green in a tourmaline ring, or combine sets of beads in a necklace. I love the subtle distinctions, the wild contrasts, and most importantly the way the different vibrations of a particular color make me feel. 

This exuberant set of color blocked tourmaline rings was inspired by the work of Serge Poliakoff, and his show in Paris, titled Le Rêve des Formes in 2013. We still have one or two of them, and they are truly two of my favorite pieces for just the color combinations alone.  

In addition to color, I'm also a glutton for print and the layering thereof as you can well see here. We have several pieces in the Liberty of London print called Stately Bouquet in three different colorways; blue, green, and black. Again, as with the pigments from Roché pastels, I do love the names. Several of the pieces haven't yet made it onto the website, so if this print speaks to you, please let us know and we can send you images of the other pieces. There is a particularly striking version of the Ava slipdress in a rather vivid green Stately Bouquet (the black one is pictured above) that I think could be perfect for the holidays. I'm thinking to wear one with a cardigan for Thanksgiving dinner.    

In addition to color, print, contrast, and the poetry of names, I love flavor. I've really gotten into the ritual of making matcha lattes, either cold or hot, for the people I love. I have a little issue with caffeine, so I rarely indulge myself. When I do, I find it to be absolutely delicious. For me it is really much more about the making of, rather than the consuming. I love the bowls, the bamboo chasen whisk, the frothing of the milk, and the process of making something for someone else to truly enjoy and appreciate. That lovely little exchange that happens when I present the bowl of matcha is something that truly enriches my day. I think that very simply sums up the reason for why I do what I do across all platforms of my life. I hope in this wildly unsettling time that you find the time to enjoy the same.  

Matcha Latte

a lovely ceramic bowl 

a bamboo chasen whisk

a high quality cermonial grade matcha powder

organic almond, oat, or cow's milk of your choice (or a combination of)

date syrup

For the matcha, I bring a kettle of water to about 165 degrees F, then warm the chasen in whatever bowl I'm using for a few minutes while I gather the matcha powder, date syrup, and milk.  

I then pour out the hot water into a beautiful little jug that was a very special birthday gift from a friend. I use a frother and whip up whatever milk I'm using (currently this one), and after whisking the matcha powder (this one is by far the BEST I've had, and one I trust for purity) I add a little date syrup and then pour in the frothed milk, adding ice cubes if I'm making something more refreshing. I have yet to attempt any kind of barista art, but maybe that will be come at some point too. I probably won't be able to resist sorting out another way to embellish a quotidian habit.

Enjoy,

PS I do know that the holidays are in fact rapidly approaching, and I promise you that we are well stocked for all of your gifting endeavors. I haven't even discussed one of my most favorite new pieces! More on that to come...I just have yet to feel particularly festive, as I suspect you are feeling too.

Thanksgiving is next week, and I will thoroughly bask in the glow of the people I love. And yes, I will be making Persimmon Pudding. It wouldn't be Thanksgiving in our family without it!

PPS I've been making matcha in the afternoons at the shop for Tess and whoever else happens to drop in, so swing by if you're in the mood, and get a jump on your holiday wishlist. As always, we would love to see you.

Fall Equinox

Hello, helloooooooooo. We've officially reached the end of summer. I'm not exactly sure how I'm feeling about it. How about you? Without children heading back to school, I've been treating September like a bonus summer month, but now that it has come to its inevitable end, it's time to turn my focus towards my favorite season of the year. The light is changing and the days are becoming shorter already, so I'm inspired to think about making the seasonal shifts that feel right.  

I'm thrilled that the evenings are now cool enough to wear one of our newest pieces, the Isobel blouse. In a stunning combination of two Liberty of London floral prints in 100% silk charmeuse, this decidedly feminine blouse feels perfect for the season. The attached scarf can be tied in a myriad of ways, from a big bow to hanging completely loose, or even wrapped behind the body and tied at the waist for a different silhouette entirely. As much as I love that aspect, the sleeve itself might be my most favorite part. It is generously long with the perfect drape, and a bit of drama at the cuff with a double ruffle. The last bit is heaven peeking out from underneath a jacket. This particular blouse is a combination of two of my favorite Liberty silks, Stately Bouquet and Floral Edit. We don't have it up on the website yet, but you can find it here in our boutique. Come visit for a closer look.

I find myself dreaming about fall jackets lately, and in particular the one that I have coming as part of a suit from Husbands in Paris. If you saw me more than once over the last several months, you most definitely caught me in my beautiful corduroy suit. I wore it so much and so often, that when we were in Paris at the end of June I had to order another. Instead of corduroy, this time I chose a sublime wool, linen, and silk blend from Loro Piana that kind of looks like denim. Ironically it was my husband who introduced me to Husbands and its founder Nicolas Gabard at their chic boutique on Rue de Richelieu, and I quickly became obsessed. I'm not alone in this, of course. I think it's rather easy to see why. The way that Nicolas combines his obvious love of a 1970's silhouette with a modern French sensibility feels exactly right, and yes... it looks great with the silk Isobel blouse from our Wardrobe collection, or with one of our silk camisoles. I love the contrast of the men's tailoring with the softness of the silk and the femininity of the ruffle.  

On the topic of femininity and ruffles, our Golden Violet earrings are perfect for the season. I worked on these earlier in the summer, took home a prototype to wear during our summer travels, and have basically worn it everyday since. Violets are full of symbolic meaning, one being love and the other being good fortune. In the Victorian era, it was thought that one could keep the evil spirits away by carrying a bouquet of violets. They appear in ancient and religious art, both as a symbol of spiritual wisdom and mystical awareness. The undulating, striated petals and life sized scale make these both dramatic and very fun. They are also very light on the ear, but make quite an impact for either day or nighttime wear. There is even an article extolling the virtues of this style of earring in this month's Town and Country, which you can read here. The luxury button earring appears to be having a moment.

For those of you who collect our vintage and recycled glass bead necklaces, you'll be pleased to hear that I went on a bit of a bender last week, and made quite a few new pieces to set the tone for the new season using some of the beads that I've been collecting for decades. They are patiently awaiting our gold bead inventory refresh, so will be completed and ready for you sometime next week. In the meantime, here is a sneak peek... I'm especially fond of the green beads in my collection, and have pulled out some very special pieces to share. Many of these are one-of, or a few-of-a-kind, so if you see something you like you shouldn't hesitate. These also make such wonderful gifts, and before you know it, that season will be here too.

When we came home from late summer travels a week ago, I felt like keeping dinnertime really simple. Do you know of Julia Turshen? She's a wonderful chef, cookbook author, activist, and podcast host who comes up with truly simple, healthy, and delicious recipes. One of my favorites is her take on Kimchi Fried Rice.  She always offers ideas for tweaking her recipes, so I feel really comfortable riffing on what she does. This time I used black rice, and added spinach for more green.  We had the best spring onions and cucumbers from the Sunday farmer's market, so the result was even better than I had remembered.

Kimchi Fried Rice

Kimchi Fried Rice, adapted from Small Victories by Julia Turshen 

one 16 oz jar of kimchi (I love Dave's, which I buy at the farmer's market on Sundays) chopped and all juices preserved

2-3 handfuls of baby spinach

4 cups day old, cooked rice (I used Forbidden Rice from Lundberg Farms)

1 small onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

salt or soy sauce, whichever you prefer

4 scallion stalks, sliced thinly into 4 inch vertical strips

1 Japanese cucumber, sliced thinly into strips

1 tsp toasted sesame oil

1 tsp rice wine vinegar

1 tsp furikake

optional, one or two poached eggs per person

First make the scallion and cucumber salad, combining the scallions, cucumber, sesame oil, rice wine vinegar and furikake. Set aside to marinate, adjusting amounts of oil and vinegar to taste.

Heat oil in a large pan, saute the diced onion and garlic until translucent and soft.  Turn up the heat and add the chopped kimchi and cook until the kimchi becomes a bit sticky, then add the cooked rice and any juice from the kimchi, along with a few handfuls of baby spinach. Combine thoroughly and cook for about five more minutes before turning off the heat and adding a splash or two of soy sauce, or a sprinkle of sea salt, whichever you prefer.  

I then plate the fried rice and top with a poached egg or two, then top with the scallion and cucumber salad, and maybe a few extra shakes of the furikake.  

Enjoy,

  

Antidotes to June Gloom

Here we are with June underway, the official month of early summer. It feels more spring-like than anything, with the temperature hovering in the 60s and not too much sun in sight quite yet. We do a get a little bit in the late afternoon after the marine layer burns through, but certainly nothing to make one feel like summer or vacation or anything like that is nigh. Cooler than normal weather aside, I've decided to finally break out the sandals, even if I am wearing them with corduroy suits or having to layer up my cotton pieces to brace against the chill in the air. I recently found the brightest pair of Birkenstocks imaginable to punch up my summer wardrobe. They're brilliant red, and of course extremely comfortable. They most definitely do the trick.

In terms of layering, and warding off the June gloom, we have just received our box of shirts from Sasha Iglehart and her fantastic collection A Shirt Story. For the first time in LFrank history, we are going to be stocking another person's collection. I feel so strongly about Sasha's mission to upcycle and extend the life of these wonderful shirts, I hope you'll come try one (or two or three!) on. We have a fresh stack of twenty (scratch that, down to seventeen already!) one-of-a-kind shirts to choose from, and they are all excellent. I've been wearing mine non-stop since we hosted Sasha last month for a two-day pop up in the boutique. If you've seen me at all recently, you know it's true.

The feedback I've been getting has confirmed that these pieces have become indispensable items in all of our wardrobes, and that everyone needs at least a couple of them to have in rotation. In my case the rotation has been rather heavy, so I was thrilled to receive an email from Sasha yesterday morning with layering inspiration that arrived right before I got dressed for the day. I immediately put A Shirt Story shirt on top of one of our cotton Juno slip dresses, and topped it with our cotton Maia duster. Today I put one underneath our beloved Lilia sundress which I have in the crispest Liberty of London cotton. Tomorrow, I might wear a shirt with one of our Brigitte cotton skirts, which has quickly become one of our best sellers.

As you can see, I'm also layering a pair of the necklaces from my collaboration with Carey Lowell and her beautiful porcelain flowers. They've become a daily staple and I know I'll enjoy them all summer long. We do have a few more pieces available, so don't hesitate if you've got your eye on one or two. It feels so wonderful to be able to collaborate and share the work I'm doing with the work of my talented and lovely, like-minded friends. It truly does elevate the experience of simply dressing for the day, and honestly brings such a lift to my spirits.  

On the topic of lifting spirits, these new earrings are definitely rising to that level. I decided to make a larger pair of one of our favorite everyday earrings, and I absolutely love them. They are incredibly lightweight for their significant scale, and easy to wear both day and evening. The way the hand finished 18K gold catches the light is heaven. The geometric floral motif was inspired by an antique Moorish column fragment that caught my eye in the Museo Lázaro Galdiano in Madrid, which if you've never visited is a treat. I always appreciate seeing such a personal collection and a singular vision left intact.

Of course I have long been collecting stones, and one of my most beloved parcels is one of vintage rose cut diamonds.  When I turned thirty many years ago, I designed a ring to keep the parcel all together, and to treat myself to a special piece to mark the milestone. Alas, it was a bit delicate and I wanted to have something I could wear more robustly. Now I have two rings to enjoy in a sort of reincarnation of the original idea, and I'm thrilled. Needless to say, it does bring me enormous joy to look down at my hands and see these special mementos. If you have stones or family heirlooms that need a bit of reimagining, swing by for a consultation. I truly enjoy the process and it makes me happy to give new life to pieces that need a bit of inspired rehabilitation.

In case it isn't already on your radar, we are rapidly approaching the Father's Day holiday on June 18th. With this in mind, we have restocked some of our most favorite men's Italian cotton robes, which would certainly elevate the morning routine of any gentleman. They're not online, so if you're in the market for a special Father's Day gift, please give us a ring or swing by for a visit. We also have a lovely selection of silk sleep masks which honestly do make an extremely thoughtful and chic gift.  

If your plans for Father's Day include making lunch, this is a nice salad to try. I recently looked through a copy of My Dinner Party Book by Margaret, Duchess of Argyll, and a salad dressing recipe caught my eye. I forgot to write it down but sort of remember the part that piqued my interest, which was the addition of horseradish and dijon mustard together with soy sauce. I am not sure about the rest, so I've improvised. It's lovely with a crisp summer salad of fennel, radish, snap peas, red onion, parsley, and shaved parmigiano reggiano.

 

Bright Vinaigrette (inspired by Margaret, Duchess of Argyll's recipe)

A spoonful each of dijon mustard and grated horseradish

Lemon Juice, squeezed from half of a lemon

Champagne Vinegar

Splash of Soy Sauce

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

One clove of garlic, smashed 

Freshly ground black pepper 

Method:

Combine dijon, horseradish, lemon juice, vinegar, soy sauce, black pepper, and the smashed garlic clove. Let macerate for ten minutes while you pull your salad together. Remove the garlic clove and slowly whisk in enough olive oil to balance the acids and emulsify the dressing. Taste for any adjustments by dipping in a bit of your salad and adding a bit more of whatever you think is missing. Trust your intuition, you'll know exactly what makes it perfect. 

Enjoy,

 

Mother's Day Musings

Mother's Day is rapidly approaching, so if you are a mother, I hope that you find yourself making a little list, or a plan, or dropping a hint for something special to honor the work you've done to create and nurture other beings. I have a lot of thoughts on the topic, but first and foremost is my feeling that Mother's Day is not just another greeting card kind of holiday. The fact that Mother's Day coincides with spring in all its glory is a lucky break. I was just in NYC, and honestly nothing feels more optimistic to me than New York City in the springtime. The simple glory of Mother Nature showing off after the winter season is in itself something to celebrate, and the showy blossoms in Central Park are most definitely something to feel grateful for. There are many ways to celebrate the maternal figures in your life with love and maybe a treat or two. We have a wonderful selection of options for gifting that are quite special, and we would be delighted to help you find something unique.  

For something truly special, next week we have the distinct pleasure of hosting our friend Sasha Iglehart and her elegant and sustainable collection A Shirt Story. Sasha is a lifelong fashion editor who has turned her love of men's shirts into an environmentally conscious answer to the overproduction plaguing the fashion industry. Her mission is to upcycle and reinvigorate a simple classic, something everyone can wear and feel good about. I especially love the one-of-a-kind nature of her project, and the care that goes into making each one so special. To this end, Sasha employs a bevy of sparkly buttons, a gently yet artfully frayed collar, and creative solutions to concealing an imperfection, such as a contrasting patch designed to rescue a treasure that may have seen better days.   

I have long loved a men's cotton shirt, having started wearing Brooks Brother's shirts from the boy's department when I was a teenager. I still have some of them, in fact. I transitioned from those to the hand me down Turnbull & Asser and Charvet shirts from my father-in-law in my mid-twenties, which I loved for their worn-in softness and elegant french cuffs. I wore those until they essentially fell apart, so the offerings from A Shirt Story feel quite nostalgic and special to me. They look great with our new cotton Liberty Print skirts, or knotted over our Lilia sundresses. I hope you'll swing by on May 10th and 11th to meet Sasha and have a look!

Another wonderful Mother's Day gift idea might be a piece from the collaboration I've done with the ceramicist Carey Lowell, which are exclusively available on our website and in our boutique. I met Carey many years ago, but reconnected with her in Southhampton a couple of summers ago when we both participated in a pop-up that our chic and lovely friend Amanda Ross of ARossGirl had put together. In addition to the exquisite vases and bowls that she creates, I noticed a bowl of ceramic flowers that Carey had made, and it immediately inspired me to ask if we could collaborate on a special, limited edition of jewels featuring her work.  

I wanted to use Carey's handmade creations as I do the pieces from my extensive bead collection. The mix of the porcelain with our 18K gold accent beads feels fresh and infinitely wearable. I love the idea of permanent flowers, something I often create using gemstones and gold. Carey is a kindred spirit as a mother, an artist, and an avid gardener. In her words, she articulated an ethos to which I wholeheartedly subscribe:

"My garden in full of flowers which I have planted over the years and lovingly cared for. They give me great pleasure and lift my spirits when I see their happy faces. They appear often in my ceramics, especially when I'm working in porcelain, which shares their attributes of translucency, refinement and delicacy. The small petals I make remind me of spring blossoms snowing down on an April walk through the park. I am trying to capture the ephemeral nature of their beauty and make it permanent." - Carey Lowell

In addition to the creation of beauty, 10% of proceeds from the sale of the LFrank + Carey Lowell pieces will benefit Moms Demand Action, a grassroots movement of Americans fighting for public safety measures to protect people from gun violence. You can learn more, and take action by clicking here.

My roses have been a tremendous source of joy for me over the last few weeks. I know I've mentioned it before, but truly... it is such a gift to wake up each morning and see a new bloom or two (or three or four!) in all their morning sunshine glory. Anyone who knows me knows how incredibly proud I am of our human children, so this in no way compares of course. Alas, I do have to admit to a deep sense of pride and wonder at my flower children. Does that seem a bit nuts? Probably, but I still feel a boggling sense of wonder every time I see one of my roses bloom. I suspect if you have a garden or simply love flowers, you just might understand.

However you choose to spend this Mother's Day, I hope it is filled with tons of love love love, and if you are a Mother yourself... I hope someone spoils you rotten!

Yours,

Spring at Last

Helloooooooo! I hope you are well out there. After such a seemingly long and unseasonably wet winter in LA, I'm thrilled to feel the shift in the seasons. I usually love winter, if for no other reason than to enjoy the privilege of having the fireplace burning in the evenings. I hope you and yours have been staying dry and cozy. While this atmospheric river landscape is slated to continue for the rest of the month, it still feels decidedly Spring-like today, and for that I am grateful. There is the sweetest morning birdsong along with wisteria vines and rosebuds about to bloom in our garden, even with the pummeling of rain from the latest storm. We also discovered a hawk's nest in our neighborhood, and what looks like a Cooper's hawk flying around, battling the neighborhood crows.

I've been spending a lot of time gazing up into the trees lately, gauging the effects of the recent downpour, and noticing all of the nests, blossoms, and burgeoning leaves. With this new season I sense the call for a little newness on all fronts.  One place to start is with a new addition to the wardrobe collection. I love a floral for any time of year, but especially in the Spring. My personal favorite of the moment is this one. It has the loveliest drape to it, and the silk is sheer heaven on the skin.

Another spring item perfect for representing the season might be one of these five stone tourmaline rings in either pink or green. I love the way the different shapes and hues create a feeling of depth, which also comes from the way that the stones are set. From certain angles it sort of looks like an undulating fan, and it tapers to a very smooth, rounded band which is incredibly comfortable to wear. We have an aquamarine and even a diamond version in the works to add to the stack, so check in with us if those pique your interest. They should be here soon. 

A new pair of earrings also feels fresh for the new season. I have always loved lapis lazuli, not just for its vibrancy, but also for its history as one of the first gemstones to have been worn as adornment in ancient civilizations, and as a highly prized element in Baroque and Renaissance painting. We have a few pieces that feature this beautiful stone, which is said to represent wisdom and truth, helping the wearer connect more deeply to their authentic self. That certainly seems like a worthwhile cause for any individual. You can find them here.

Since we miss our dear friend and former neighbor Pamela Barish so much, we are thrilled to host her for a day in our boutique on Tuesday, April 4th from noon until 6pm for a special Spring season trunk show. I hope you can swing by to say hello to Pamela and see her beautiful collection. We are so looking forward to spending the day with her. We always have the best time.

Spring is upon us, but it hasn't truly warmed up as of yet. This last storm had me in the mood for a hearty stew, so that is what I made. It's adapted from a recipe I found for a slow cooker version, but since I don't have a slow cooker, I just made a few adjustments. It's perfect for a chilly evening, and tastes even better the day after cooking.  

Liseanne Frankfurt Stew Recipe

Lentil, Sausage and Italian Kale Stew, adapted from Sarah DiGregorio

1 pound spicy Italian pork sausage, removed from its casing

1 large onion, diced

Kosher salt

6-7 garlic cloves, chopped

1 tsp. onion powder

1 tsp. garlic granules

3 sprigs of fresh Thyme (or about a teaspoon of dried)

Leaves from 5 sprigs of fresh Oregano

Pinch or two of red-pepper flakes

Freshly ground black pepper

3/4 cup of dry white wine

1 bay leaf

2 cups dried lentils, green or black

1 14 oz can of chopped tomatoes

8 cups of chicken stock

One medium - large bunch of Italian black kale, chopped

One tablespoon red wine vinegar

Chopped fresh basil and parsley for serving

Grated Pecorino-Romano, for serving 

In a large dutch oven pot, break up the sausage and cook over a medium-high heat until browned and sizzling. Remove the cooked sausage, leaving a layer of the rendered fat.

Add the chopped onions to the pot, along with a generous pinch of kosher salt, and cook until softened. Add the chopped garlic and continue to sauté until translucent. Add the onion powder and garlic granules, along with the herbs, red pepper flakes, and a generous amount of freshly ground black pepper and stir to combine.  

Increase heat to high, and add in the wine, stirring well and scraping the bottom of the pot. Let the wine cook off until the pan is nearly dry.

Add the tomatoes, bay leaf, lentils, stock and sausage. Stir well to combine all the ingredients. It will seem like too much stock, but it will be absorbed by the lentils as they cook. Bring to a boil, then simmer until the lentils are nearly done cooking. Remove the bay leaf, and any sprigs of herbs, then stir in the chopped kale and cook until desired doneness. When finished cooking, stir in one tablespoon of red wine vinegar.

Ladle into a bowl, top with chopped basil, chives, parsley or any other fresh, soft herbs. Add a handful of grated or shaved pecorino, a pinch of flaky sea salt, a grind of pepper, and a drizzle of your finest quality olive oil.  

Enjoy,

 

 

A Start to the Season

The season is in full swing over here, and there is no shortage of lovely, lovely pieces from which to make a selection. Are you looking for something to fit in a stocking? Something to make a statement with? Or just a little treat for yourself?  Let us make some suggestions for you here, and then check back in with us as the holidays grow even closer. We will be receiving new pieces as the countdown marches on, and have maybe just enough time to make a special order happen too. 

We have an absolutely beautiful selection of stacking rings with all sorts of stones, or simply in gold as well to choose from. They are so much fun to play around with, and look completely different worn alone, or in bespoke combinations. Just a little diamond or sapphire ring can brighten up a stack of family heirlooms, or be the beginning of a personal collection. These are easy to size to fit, and universally adored. We can help you choose, as there are no wrong decisions to make here!

Something lovely has arrived in the form of the second Saint in our Archangel series. At long last, our St. Raphael pendant joins the Saint Michael version that we can't seem to keep in stock, though another one is coming soon. Since St. Raphael is regarded as the Prince of the Healing Arts he feels particularly suited to what we all need to collectively tap into at the present moment. You can have a closer look here and even order one for yourself or someone in your life who could benefit from a little protective healing energy.

Color is such an important element for me with regards to design. This pair of tourmaline earrings is one of the most lovely colors I have ever seen. The clarity, hue, and cut of these stones is absolutely gorgeous. They are of such a soft, honey laden blush as to be flattering on simply everyone. The tone reminds me of that soft pink that decorators say that all of our bedrooms should be. Have you heard of that? This is a far easier commitment to make to get that soft glow near your face.  

If you have yet to have a look at our Wardrobe collection, here is a little peek at one of my favorite looks. The rich plum colored lace is incredibly special, and perfect for the festive season. We also have a gorgeous foil printed black lace, which you can see here. It might be perfect for your holiday parties, worn over the matching skirt to make a chic suit, or over a camisole with trousers, or over our silky and flattering Laetitia slip.  

Are you perhaps heading to a warmer, more relaxed climate for the holidays? If so, you might want to take along one of our Alba caftans in 100% Silk crinkle chiffon. These particular Liberty of London fabrics are limited edition, and no longer in production so we are lucky to have a bit of stock on hand.

Alba Caftan

There are quite a few new pieces arriving this weekend, so come over and have a look in person! We would be delighted to see you. 

Much Love,

PS In between shopping and holiday engagements, you should try to make time to swing by the stunning and inspirational Picasso Cut Papers exhibition at the Hammer Museum, curated by our dear friend Allegra Pesenti. That and the adjacent wonderful Bob Thompson show, plus of course Joan Didion:What She Means exhibition curated by Hilton Als are all such a fabulous visual treat that I hope you have the pleasure to enjoy. In spite of all the holiday frenzy, these December days are actually part of my favorite time of year in Los Angeles. 

Thanksgiving

Hellooooooo! It's been awhile, and now the Thanksgiving holiday is truly upon us! Are you ready? For the first time in a very very long time, we won't be hosting the holiday feast at our house, but spending it with dear friends. Of course I will still make persimmon pudding, and don't worry, I'll add the recipe again below, so you won't have to hunt for it. It always feels like the star of the holiday, so I will encourage you to try it if you've somehow resisted. The star of the season for me is always the pinker than pink sunsets that assist in minimizing the impact of these shorter days. I always try to catch a glimpse of the spectacular show in the sky. This is one from the other evening in our neighborhood. I hope that whatever the weekend holds, you have a truly wonderful time.

As for weekend plans, if you find yourself in the mood to shop either online or in person, we are here. Online we have a new section, as our Lingerie collection has evolved over time to become LFrank Wardrobe. The lingerie pieces have long been worn as pieces to be out and about in by our growing community of devotees. This has led to the creation of new silhouettes that over time have become the foundation of a modern feminine wardrobe. Have a look here, and then swing by if you're close to try the pieces on in person. We are celebrating the holiday weekend with a 20% discount on any online or in-store purchases from the Wardrobe collection, limited to stock on hand beginning today, November 23rd through Wednesday November 30th 2022. Discount will apply automatically in cart for any online purchases. With the holiday season in full swing, it might be the perfect time to treat yourself to something lovely. 

LFrank Wardrobe

I think a little flirtatious energy has long been missing from our daily lives. On this front, we've added a punchy color blocked silk crepe de chine vest to the Wardrobe collection, which is what the Lingerie collection has evolved to become. We've also made the Carlotta vest in a cotton black lace, which is an easy layering piece. The double ruffle is one of the reasons I love it so much, but not the only one. These vests are such an easy way to energize whatever you have on, and they look lovely belted or loose, as a top in their own right, or layered over just about anything. 

LFrank Carlotta Vests

Those skirt suits we've been working on? Well, they're here...at long last, in Liberty print cotton, silk, and even in a few varieties of lace. Come in and give one a try. They are lovely apart, and perfect together. The skirts look great with a sweater, and the jackets look great with really anything. I'm really into suits these days, so I love them together, but they certainly don't have to be worn that way.  

LFrank Skirt Suits

I hope you have a gorgeous holiday ahead of you with plenty of time to rest and restore, whether you are hosting, cooking, or simply showing up with epic good cheer. We all have so much to be grateful for. I am filled with so much gratitude for my family, the fact that I create beauty for a living with like-minded and enormously talented individuals, and for the wonderful community I find myself within. It's not just the big things, but the small things as well.

One small thing is that the persimmons this season have been especially good, but the Hachiya variety seem to be in short supply this year. Our daughter is actually making Hoshigaki with a few of them, which is quite a meditative process. They're quite labor intensive, (daily massage!) but completely worth the effort involved. You can sometimes buy them at the farmer's market, and it is kind of incredible to realize that so much care has been taken to bring such a delicious treat to market.  

Persimmons

P.S. A little trick: If you have trouble finding perfectly ripe persimmons, you can pop the unripened fruit into the freezer, then defrost in a bowl of warm water before you make the recipe.

Persimmon Pudding 

Serves 8

Ingredients:

3 ripe Hachiya persimmons 

3 large eggs 

1 cup granulated sugar 

4 ounces (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled to warm 

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 

1 teaspoon baking soda 

1 teaspoon baking powder 

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger 

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice 

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 

2 cups of half and half (or 1 cup of milk and 1 cup of heavy cream) 

Instructions: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter a 9-inch square baking pan. Remove the stems from the persimmons and cut the flesh into pieces. Purée the persimmon flesh in a food processor until smooth. Strain the purée through a medium-mesh sieve to eliminate any bits of skin and seed. You should have 2 cups purée. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar until blended. Whisk in the melted butter.

Sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, cloves and salt onto a piece of parchment paper or into a bowl. Stir the dry ingredients into the egg mixture. Slowly pour in the half + half or milk and cream, stirring until combined. Stir in the persimmon purée last. The batter will be quite thick. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and bake until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes.

Let cool for about 10 minutes before serving. The pudding will sink as it cools. Serve the pudding warm, scooped into bowls with slightly sweetened whipped cream. I use maple syrup in the cream for a more complex flavor. It can be reheated it in a 325°F oven for about 15 minutes if you make this ahead.  

Wishing you a very Happy Thanksgiving with lots of love from all of us,

High Summer

Here we are just past the high point of summer - that moment where I seem to always pause, exhale, and contemplate how exactly I'd like to spend the rest of it. To be honest, I just want it all to slow down. This year my aspiration for the rest of summer is to lay low and try to rest and restore. The early part of the summer was quite busy on all fronts, and frankly, I'm shocked that we find ourselves this far into August already. This particular summer seems to have just flown by at what feels like warp speed. Whatever you're doing and wherever you're doing it, I truly hope that it is utterly lovely.  

We had the distinct pleasure of traveling to London at the end of June for both work and a bit (actually a LOT) of fun. I fell in love with all of the trees and had a fabulous time with friends who are more family than not, which are the best kind of all. I then dashed off to the big Island of Hawaii for a personal appearance in the Seaside Luxe boutique at the Four Seasons Hualalai, where the rocky volcanic shores are quite stunning as are the sunsets every evening, which alone are a powerful reason to visit. 

Alas, home is not simply just where the heart is. Here we are, back and enjoying the lovely summer evenings and the steadfast company of our dear dear friends. Isn't that exactly what summer should be full to overflowing with? That, and the creation of beautiful pieces are what have been such a source of joy for me this summer. We had the honor of working on a lovely custom piece to celebrate a significant birthday, using family stones to create a future heirloom ring. 

I also was inspired to create a powerful tribute to big cat energy with a double puma ring. I recently made a bracelet version of this for a surprise anniversary gift, and couldn't get it out of my head. The ring is incredibly powerful and feels like wearable sculpture more than anything else. The protective nature of the puma, and its immeasurably keen powers of observation and stillness are quite something to behold. These amazing creatures are incredibly seductive with their essence of grace and power, relying on their instincts and the sharpness of their senses for survival. It certainly isn't a ring to wear lightly, but one that I think emanates the spirit and energy of the puma in such an interesting way. They are solitary creatures, but I chose to nestle two together in an embrace.  

Another new piece I find incredibly special is our St. Michael pendant.  We've been working on a trio of Archangel pendants, and started with this one. I'm particularly drawn to them, as they are recognized in so many religions, and have a such a strong connection to feelings of protection.

Here is peek at a fitting we did for a new little skirt suit idea I wanted to explore.  I couldn't be happier with the results. The pieces are crafted from the most gorgeous Italian men's shirting cotton, with the beautiful details we are known for.  I wanted to have something crisp and cool to wear in the summer that felt a bit more pulled together than a sundress. The skirt couldn't be easier...it has a drawstring waist and comes in one size. It's perfect for pulling on over a swimsuit or for wearing with a little camisole or perfect white t-shirt, or ultimately to wear with the little jackets we are making to coordinate for a more tailored look. We sold out of the first batch immediately, and are expecting the second batch in a mix of colors and prints next week, so come visit or call if you'd like us to set one aside for you.  

Our Lilia sundress is my tried-and-true summer wardrobe mainstay. Whether in a Liberty of London floral or in an Italian men's cotton shirting fabric, it packs like a dream, looking just as lovely on the streets of London as it does on the Hawaiian shores. I hear from our clients that it has become their summer favorite as well.  One just packed three for her trip to Europe, and I know she will wear them endlessly not just while traveling, but then again for the rest of our LA summer, which now seems to extend well into October.

Since it's summer and the fruit from the farmer's market has been so delicious, I've been serving platters of stone fruit, watermelon with lime, or bowls of cherries and berries for dessert lately. It's nice to also have a little chocolate something to accompany it, so my daughter and I started making these rustic and delicious chocolate treats. It's also great to not turn on the oven in the heat of the summer!

Basically we just melt whatever high quality 72% chocolate bars we have in the pantry in the top of a double boiler, pour onto a parchment lined baking tray, and sprinkle whatever combinations of things that strike us as an ingredient that can only be improved upon by adding chocolate.  Place the tray in the refrigerator for at least an hour or so.  When you're ready to serve, break the chocolate into shards and pass them around. 

Some combinations to try:

Freeze-dried raspberries

Dried Turkish figs with chopped Marcona almonds

Pistachios with chopped dried papaya

Candied ginger

Sesame seed and matcha powder

Shredded coconut with curry powder

Really, the possibilities are endless to be creative and come up with something utterly delicious. Let me know if you make an especially winning combination. I'd love to hear about it.

Enjoy,

 

Summer Season

Summer is suddenly here, with a proper heatwave to introduce itself in a strident way. Truth be told, we are sheltered from it quite a bit here in Venice, with the marine layer otherwise known as "June Gloom" hanging overhead like a protective shield.  I hope that wherever you are on the planet, you are staying comfortably well and enjoying the shift to what should hopefully be a more carefree time of year.  There is certainly a maelstrom of issues that feel anything but carefree at the moment, yet there are always more festive topics to associate with this early part of summer; the graduation festivities, wedding celebrations, and of course Father's Day, which is only days away.  Our Janus Robe is a perfect gift for that, and we have several to choose from, including this windowpane plaid.

We have beautiful options for summer celebrations, and I can tell you from personal experience that our Ava slip dress is perfect for wearing to either a graduation or a wedding.  Our daughter wore one in a lovely Liberty of London floral print last month to her college graduation and looked absolutely gorgeous.  We also dressed a client in another Ava for their graduation last weekend, and they were thrilled.  It's one of those indispensable dresses, the kind you can roll up in your weekend bag and wear to really anything, no matter the occasion or the dress code.  It is the kind of dress that not only looks great, but feels really special to wear.  As with everything we make, the details are what really stand out.  The adjustable straps ensure a perfect fit, while the bias cut silk charmeuse drapes beautifully over your body and feels incredible on your skin.  I will be packing one for my upcoming trip to London, the only difficult decision being which print to take. 

With all of the milestone celebrations of the season, we've had the opportunity to make several incredibly meaningful custom pieces.  A few favorites include a double puma head bracelet for a thirtieth wedding anniversary, an emerald and platinum brooch to celebrate a twentieth, and an engagement ring using a family heirloom stone for someone very dear to me.  I find it quite inspirational to work on these substantive and sentimental pieces, and consider it quite an honor whenever I am asked.  Luckily for me, we are always working on something bespoke, which adds considerable joy to my working life.

We have recently designed a few bespoke cross pendants, which inspired the emerald one we recently added to our inventory.  You can have a closer look here.  It is available on leather, but of course we can add a gold chain if you prefer.  We also have similarly cut rubies, sapphires, and diamonds...all of which would make an equally beautiful composition.

If you have upcoming travel plans, we have easy cotton slips and sundresses that roll up like a dream in a carry-on, and go from beach to sightseeing to dinner, etc.  We also have little cotton jackets that fold up into nothingness, and make everything look pulled together.  We think of them as little tailored cardigans and wear them over dresses, or with camisoles and trousers.  They aren't up on the website yet, but we have a selection of them in the boutique if you are close.  We are happy to send images if you are not.  One of my favorites is in crisp Italian cotton plaid men's shirting fabric.  It is shown here over one of our cotton Lilia sundresses, which I feel is the perfect summer frock for almost any occasion.

One perfect salad that I've been rather obsessed with lately is Joan Didion's recipe for Parsley Salad.  I fully realize that it sounds ridiculous if you weren't already aware of Joan's reputation as an intrepid home cook and hostess.  Parsley on its own doesn't exactly sound like a recipe for anything, I suppose.  I take a couple of liberties with the original, as I cannot ever help myself from doing, but I'm giving you both my version and her original recipe.  I've never followed hers exactly, as lugging out the vitamix is reserved only for occasions when nothing else will do, although I do remain curious about the blending of parsley and vinaigrette.  I may have to give it try one of these days when I am feeling slightly less lazy and pinched for time in the kitchen.  Let me know if you give it a go. 

Parsley Salad

My version, which serves 4-6:

two bunches flat leaf Italian parsley, chopped semi-finely

two-three handfuls of the best imported parmigiano reggiano you can find (if you're in Los Angeles it's worth a drive over to Guidi Marcello for their imported and delicious offerings)

two spring onions, sliced thinly

juice of half of a lemon

the most aged organic balsamic vinegar you can find + the best extra virgin olive oil

flaky sea salt and pepper to taste

Just before serving, place parsley, spring onions, and parmigiano into a generously sized salad bowl.  Drizzle over the balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, and olive oil.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste, and gently toss.  Taste, and add more acid or oil if the salad seems too dry, or more seasoning via another sprinkle of parmigiano or salt, if need be. 

and Joan's:

PARSLEY SALAD (serves 35-40)
8 bunches Italian parsley
Blend 16 T olive oil with one head parsley until smooth
Blend in 4 T balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper
When ready to serve place parsley in 1 1/3 C grated parmesan in bowl, toss with dressing

 Enjoy,

Springtime

Spring has most decidedly and wondrously sprung, and not a moment too soon for the more fragile hearts among us. What a delight it has been to see the blossoms on the trees, the roses in all their glory, and the frequent birdsong and buzzing bees in the garden. The world has been a bit much these days, so I find myself more and more tuning in to nature and tuning out the incessant noise of modern life. I am particularly obsessed with my two rose bushes, which are providing tremendous joy every single morning. I wish you could smell them. They are spectacularly beautiful to me and unlike anything I've ever encountered.

On the topic of encountering beauty, we have a gorgeous assortment of pieces that feel very much like the essence of spring across the board. I hope you can swing by for a look. As ever, a visit to the boutique is the perfect escape from the outside world, which we all surely can use from time to time, and especially right now. 

Have you started thinking about Mother's Day yet? We still have enough time to make something custom and truly special if you have a particular idea in mind to mark the occasion with. Of course, this could mean a gift for yourself too. I'm a big believer in treating oneself to something wonderful when the mood strikes. 

While it may be the birthstone for August, peridot feels particularly suited to springtime. I have a funny relationship with peridot, meaning for a long time I suppose that it wasn't my favorite hue and I didn't often gravitate towards it. When I was doing the colored stone course at GIA, for my final exam we had to blindly select a stone to analyze. You can imagine my disappointment in the moment when I discovered that I had chosen a peridot -- or rather, a peridot had chosen me! Recently, I was surprisingly and happily drawn to this special parcel of stones, which I used in a custom piece for an equally special person. Not only do I actually love the color, but really everything about them.  

Thinking of color, these felt so perfect for Easter Sunday, don't you agree? I can't say that I typically gravitate toward pastel palettes, but these rings feel fresh and radiant in the softest and loveliest of ways. Despite the gentle hues, each of these rings makes a rather strong statement, and almost feels like a celebration in the form of adornment. While they are stunning at any time of year, they feel especially right for the current season. You can have a closer look here and here.

LFrank Lilia Dresses

It also feels like the season for our Lilia slip dress. We make this silhouette in so many different fabrics, and each one has a completely different personality, I feel. The dresses in the Italian men's shirting cotton fabrics are crisp and fresh, as are the Liberty of London cotton floral prints. I love the contrast of the lace with the stripes and plaids especially. We even have a new one in a red and white micro check that I can't wait to wear this summer. The silk and cotton voile version comes in solids with black lace, with the double layer of fabric giving it a floaty kind of drape that feels super dreamy.

For Easter last Sunday I made a delicious lemon + almond cake, inspired by a recipe from the NY Times. I have a hard time leaving well enough alone, so naturally I had to make a few changes. Few things feel as optimistic and sunny as a jar of fresh lemon curd, so I highly recommend making this just for its mood-boosting properties. It really is lovely and might also be a nice to have for Mother's Day, which is nearly upon us!

LFrank Lemon Cake

Lemon + Almond Butter Cake

For the Lemon Curd:

Grated zest and juice of two lemons

2/3 cup sugar

4 large eggs

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into cubes

For the Cake:

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

3/4 cup sugar

1 tbs baking powder

1/4 tsp kosher salt

1 tsp. vanilla extract

3 large eggs, beaten

3/4 cup ground almonds

1/4 cup sliced almonds, lightly toasted

For the curd, combine lemon zest, juice, and sugar in a heatproof bowl, and place over a saucepan with a couple of inches of simmering water inside. Whisk in the eggs, and cook while stirring constantly with a wooden spoon or a spatula, adding the cubes of butter one at a time, until the mixture thickens into curd. This should take between 5-10 minutes. Strain through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl, and refrigerate until cool, approximately one hour.

For the cake, preheat the over to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9-inch springform pan, and line with parchment paper.

Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt, and stir in the ground almonds. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs together until they start to foam. With an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the vanilla, and then add the eggs a little at a time, sprinkling in a few spoonfuls of the flour mixture once you've added about half the eggs, then fold in the remainder of the dry ingredients, mixing gently until evenly combined.

Scrape batter into the prepared pan. Drop the lemon curd in large spoonfuls around the center of the surface of the cake batter, leaving at least a 1-inch border. Sprinkle the top with the toasted almond slivers.

Bake until the cake is toasty brown on top and a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean, which should be around 40 minutes or so. It's going to look like the lemon curd has disappeared, as it sinks into the cake, but that is part of its rustic charm. Let cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes, then remove sides of the pan and let cool completely.  

Serve with a dollop of whipped cream sweetened with maple syrup or sugar if you prefer. 

Enjoy,

 

February 2022

Hello, Helloooooooo!  I hope this finds you settling into 2022 in a wonderful way.  It was a whirlwind holiday season, and we had an unexpected delay in our post-winter break reopening due to some flooding and repair work in our space.  We are finally back, grateful for the support of our beautiful community, and it feels so very good to be getting back into the swing of things.  Are you doing well?  It has been a wild time out there to say the least!  In here it feels the polar opposite of wild...it's positively lovely.  We are delighted to be here, making beautiful treasures, and enjoying the process and our wonderful clients more than ever.  Come visit us if you're close.

LFrank Pearl and Diamond Rings

One new piece we are especially excited about is our gorgeous Faye hostess gown.  We made the first run in an exquisite black cotton lace, which sold out immediately.  Everyone who tried it on ordered one, so now we are doing a few different lace versions, which will arrive in the coming weeks.  We do have one left in Liberty Crinkle Chiffon: a limited edition in Violet Daydream.  It has a sophisticated translucency and can be worn in so many different ways.  It's the perfect wear-at-home or out-and-about piece.

 LFrank Faye Hostess Gown

If you are near, please come by so we can show you all the possibilities.  If you're far, we are happy to send images or even a video.  

Another perfect piece for the season is the Long Bast Sleep Shirt in 100% silk charmeuse.  It has a particularly graceful drape to it, and can be worn loose or belted with one of our silk scarves. You can throw it on for dinner with a pair of lace tights and boots, and then slip into bed afterwards and add one of our Hypnos silk sleep masks for an especially delicious sleep.

On the sleep mask front, we have a fully luxurious and seasonal selection of cashmere on the outside, silk on the inside masks.  They are super chic, and make what might be the perfect Valentine's Day gift for your love.  I suspect that giving the gift of a better night's sleep is one of the most sincere expressions of love ever.  

LFrank Cashmere Sleep Mask

We also have another pearl and sweet little angel necklace in stock, in addition to the version on a delicate 18k gold chain.  I get so many compliments on mine, which is the pearl version, and one that I wear always.  I recently heard 98 year-old Lily Ebert tell her story of surviving the Holocaust while managing to conceal the angel pendant that she still wears to this day.  Listening to her is incredibly moving and inspirational.  Jewelry is really so much more than the value of the raw elements that go into the creation of something beautiful.  The sentiment associated with a certain piece is what we truly carry with us.

I love making special order, one-of-a-kind or few-of-a-kind pieces that become deeply personal talismans.  Recently we made a couple of pendants that are exactly that.  We have another cross in the works, made up of gorgeous emeralds that I look forward to sharing with you, and are working on a few very special pieces to honor the matriarch of a beautiful family.  If you have a meaningful project on your mind that you think needs our touch, please reach out.  We love nothing more.

LFrank Diamond Cross and Pearl Lotus Pendants

My daughter and her dear friend were baking together over the holidays and made this fantastic banana bread with tahini and sesame, which then inspired me to try a version with pumpkin (I'm not too keen on bananas, I must admit) which has been perfect for sharing with friends over tea in the afternoon.  Let me know if you make it, and what you think.  It doesn't last very long in our house, which I take as a good sign, and coating the pan in tahini is kind of a revelation.

Tahini Pumpkin Bread

Pumpkin Tahini Tea Loaves 

One can of organic Pumpkin purée

1/3 cup melted coconut oil

1/3 cup organic roasted tahini + extra for coating the pan

2 eggs

2/3 cup grams organic brown sugar

2/3 grams organic granulated sugar

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 cup organic all purpose flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

3/4 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp. kosher salt

4 organic medjool dates, chopped

1/2 cup 72% dark chocolate, chopped

approximately 4 tbs. organic roasted sesame seeds


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, and brush the inside of the pan with tahini to coat evenly along the sides and bottom.  I used mini loaf pans, but a regular loaf pan is also great.

Whisk together the pumpkin purée, melted coconut oil, and tahini with both sugars.  Add the two eggs and vanilla extract and whisk to combine.  Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and kosher salt to the wet ingredients and mix gently.  Fold in the chopped medjool dates and chocolate.  

Add the batter to the prepared pan, and sprinkle the top with sesame seeds to cover.  If using a regular loaf pan, bake for approximately 55-65 minutes.  If using small loaf pans, check after about 20 minutes.  Check for doneness by inserting a cake tester or a knife (like I do).  

Enjoy,

 

Holiday Gift Guide: From the Sea

LFrank Holiday Gift Guide: From the Sea

Gifts from the sea are maybe the most special of all. We are thrilled to have such a spectacular collection of pearl treasures to choose from. 

Holiday Gift Guide: Something Blue

LFrank Holiday Gift Guide: Something Blue

Our version of the holiday blues includes sumptuous silk charmeuse, vivid Liberty of London florals, dazzling lapis lazuli, spectacular icy sapphires, and vintage turquoise. 

Holiday Gift Guide: For the Garden Lover

LFrank Garden Lover Gift Guide
We love the holiday season, and take great delight in guiding our clients toward selecting the perfect gift.  Here are a few suggestions for the garden lovers in your life.  

    Giving Thanks + Love

    Hello, hello!  Are you ready for Thanksgiving?  Hard to believe that we are headlong into holiday season, with hopefully much to celebrate, and lots of plans to be together with family and friends again.  Last year was certainly not what we all are used to, but the pause and the pared down celebrations felt exactly right in the moment.  This year however, feels vastly different and for that I am truly grateful.  The last month or so has been filled with exploration, reconnection, and celebration, with milestone birthdays (mine...50!), anniversaries (ours...25th!) and travels (!!!) to Mexico City, New York, and London.  I'm feeling deeply fortunate and grateful this year, and am wildly enthusiastic about celebrating with my nearest and dearest ones.  I hope that you and your family have a wonderful gathering this week.  I am truly filled with gratitude for all of the support and love from all of you.  I love what I do, and having it so well received and appreciated is the very best feeling in the world.  

    If you find yourself with a minute to think about holiday gifting, the season is well underway!  I thought I would remind you that we are well stocked with incredibly beautiful, and in many cases, one-of-a-kind treasures of the silky, cozy, and sparkly sort.  

    On the cozy front, we have a very limited edition run of fur and silk stoles.  These are a festive way to stay warm and add a chic and sensual pop of color to whatever you happen to have on.  I have the brightest pink color, which came with me to London, and is now patiently waiting for this wildly warm weather to pass.

    If you prefer an all-silk version, we have a gorgeous selection of silk charmeuse Liberty of London print scarves and plain silk charmeuse color-blocked versions that are perfect for gifting, or for treating yourself.  They make beautiful belts to cinch in a waist, something fun to tie around a hat, or your hair...or even to use as a purse strap.  I love them, and they have been consistently selling out since we started making them.  A new batch is headed to the shop any day now.  Call or come by if you'd like some guidance with finding the perfect one. 

    I am coveting one of our cashmere, wool, and mink blend robes.  I actually gave one to Peter last Christmas, and it is one of the most incredibly lovely gifts that one can receive.  We also have a few other men's cashmere and cashmere blend robes that a few lucky individuals will hopefully receive for a holiday gift.  Swing by to see them in person.  I promise you that the photos can't possibly do them justice.

    On the jewelry front, we are delighted to have such a lovely inventory heading into the holidays, with beautiful new earrings, rings, and necklaces arriving weekly up until Christmas.  I'm particularly fond of these earrings, and this ring...because you know I love a flower, and wearing these is like a having a precious little garden to enjoy.  

     

    Lastly, In light of the coming feast I wanted to again share our family's most favorite Thanksgiving treat.  Yes I wrote about it last year too, but have been asked for it several times over the last few weeks as everyone makes holiday preparations.  Here it is again.  It just never disappoints. 

    Persimmon Pudding 

    from Stars Desserts by Emily Luchetti

    Serves 8

    3 ripe Hachiya persimmons (tip: freeze to ripen instantly)

    3 large eggs

    1 cup granulated sugar

    4 ounces (8 tbs.) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

    1.5 cups all-purpose flour

    1 teaspoon baking soda

    1 teaspoon baking powder

    1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

    1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

    1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

    1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

    2 cups half + half (or 1 cup whole milk + 1 cup heavy cream)

    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Butter a 9-inch square baking pan.  Remove the stems from the persimmons and cut the flesh into pieces.  Purée the persimmon flesh in a food processor until smooth.  Strain the purée through a medium-mesh sieve to eliminate any bits of skin or seed.  You should have approximately 2 cups of persimmon purée.  In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar until blended.  Whisk in the melted butter.  Sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, cloves and salt onto a piece of parchment paper or into a bowl.  Stir the dry ingredients into the egg mixture.  Slowly pour in the half + half or milk and cream, stirring until combined. Stir in the persimmon purée last.  The batter will be quite thick.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and bake until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean, 40-45 minutes.  Let cool for about 10 minutes before serving.  The pudding will sink as it cools.  Serve the pudding warm, scooped into bowls with slightly sweetened whipped cream.  I use maple syrup in the cream for a more complex flavor.  The pudding can be reheated in an 325 degree F oven for about 15 minutes if you make this ahead of serving time.  

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours...sending love all around,

    Autumn 2021

    Hello there! It's been ages, I know. Please forgive the extended pause. The last few months have been a bit of a blur, with so much going on in all directions. I hope that you are doing well, and that you were able to enjoy the summer, and perhaps even travel around a bit, reconnecting with the people and places that bring you joy. It's hard to believe that the Fall season is upon us already. Looking back, I can see the sweet spot of the summer, when I was so happy to be out and about in the world after so long at home. It was heaven to have a change of scenery, and to reconnect with friends old and new. I think we are all craving the human side of things after so much time apart. 

    I think that's part of the reason that I had a such a wonderful time creating a new setting for a longtime client's wedding rings, to commemorate her 30th wedding anniversary. To be trusted with something so incredibly sentimental and precious felt like a gift, and the end result has sparked so much joy all around. I am forever grateful to be given carte blanche in the design department, and I think the combination of personalities and the strength of love in every direction created the space for a particularly lovely outcome. Inspired by her love of flowers, and her desire for something fun and new, I designed this suite of rings to wear as a veritable garden party.  

    We have a few similar rings in the works, and in the meantime this pretty little one is still available.

    Flowers of all variety have long been a source of inspiration for me, and these sweet little plumeria earrings are kind of perfect for wearing in clusters, or alone, and certainly make a beautiful and thoughtful gift. We do sell singles, which can sometimes be all you need to refresh whatever earring combination you've been wearing.

    We are also a little bit in love with these antique carved bead rings, with little flower finials, each set with a tiny precious stone. I love the little emerald center in the flower that adorns the faceted amethyst.

    My garden obsession continues with the new robes that have just arrived in-store in the most delightful Liberty of London prints. They're so new we don't have them up on the website yet, so either swing by or call us and we can send images of our current stock. As per our tradition, we make but a few in unique print combinations, and once they're gone, they're gone. This batch feels fresh and different, so even if you already own one of our Asteria kimono style dressing gowns, you may want to add one of these to your collection.

    There is something kind of lovely about wearing a floral print robe and spending time in the garden. Lately my focus has been on the potted geraniums that I got after being inspired by the courtyard at the gorgeous Hacienda de San Antonio, where we spent a weekend for a dear friend's birthday back at the beginning of the summer. I love their exuberant splash of color, the steadfast reliability of their blooms, and how incredibly easy they are to care for.  

    We've been making lots of slips, since they're ultimately the most comfortable pieces to wear. I basically wear a slip or camisole underneath whatever I'm wearing everyday, and always wear one to sleep as well. Something silky and expertly tailored feels especially good at the moment. Our Ava slip has just the right amount of glamorous slinky chic to wear out, or get married in, or just to swan about the house. I have been wearing all of the prototypes for a year now, and am very proud of the shape and fit of this timeless slip. We spend so much time on pattern development, and the testing of every pattern, which really does show in the finished product. This slip has the most graceful drape to the back, and features straps that can be knotted or tied in a bow at the shoulder as you prefer. The little bit of elastic at the back of the waistline ensures that everything sits exactly where it should for a flattering and comfortable fit.

    Another piece that we've perfected is our Hypnos sleep mask.  We consistently sell out of them, and our selection is always evolving. A fresh batch has just arrived, in case you might need one or two to have on hand. I personally love this one, though Flora looks lovely in this one, and you can browse our entire selection hereSomeone recently told me that wearing our sleep mask has resulted in an extra hour or two of sleep each night, which sounds incredibly restorative.

    A few other things that I've found to be restorative recently are this podcast and book, and also this. If you decide to investigate, please let me know what you think. We certainly all need as much grounding influence as we can possibly find, especially with the shift in seasons.

    Our daughter recently had to have her tonsils taken out, which was NOT fun. Anyone who has experienced this surgery as an adult will understand what I mean. So in addition to all of the mashed this and that, I made a batch of soufflé so that there was something savory and soft for her to enjoy. Of course you don't have to be on a restricted diet to enjoy these, and they are so satisfying at any time of day, with any kind of cheese you happen to have on hand, and for no particular reason.  

    Cheese Soufflé

    2 ounces all purpose flour

    2 ounces butter

    1 cup milk 

    3 egg whites

    2 egg yolks

    1 cup grated gruyere or whatever cheese you prefer

    salt, pepper, pinch of cayenne

    grated Parmigiano for dusting the ramekins

    Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Butter and dust the ramekins with the grated parmesan.

    Melt the butter and flour together to make a roux, when it's bubbly and smelling a bit nutty, slowly whisk in the milk to make a béchamel sauce. Mix in the egg yolks, one at a time. Then stir in the cheese, and season with salt and pepper, and the pinch of cayenne (or nutmeg, if you prefer).  

    In a clean, separate bowl whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt until fluffy and medium peaks form, then fold into the cheese mixture.  

    Run your thumb around the edge of each ramekin to leave a clean edge of about 1/4 inch. Fill each ramekin to the bottom of that edge, and place on a baking sheet. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or whenever they are puffed and the tops are a bit browned, and they no longer seem wet on the inside, and serve immediately with a bowl of crème fraiche. The tops will sink as they cool, but not to worry...they are still completely delicious.

    Enjoy,

     

    LFrank ♥ Mothers

    It's that time of year again! There are less than two weeks until Mother's Day on May 9th. And this year, more than any other on record, the mothers in your life deserve something extra special.  

    To honor those indefatigable goddesses, we offer a special, limited time only, Mother's Day sale on all in-stock lingerie. Through Wednesday May 5th, please enjoy a discount of 30% using code MOTHERSDAYLOVE. It's limited to our current inventory, so not applicable to special orders. Consider this my gift to you, from one mother to another, in appreciation and celebration for making it though this year of all years.  We will also have a special sale rack with even steeper discounts in the boutique, if you feel like coming over for a visit and leaving with something silky.

    We have lots of beautiful pieces to choose from at the moment. We even have one of these Liberty of London print Claudette robes in the shop, and I think it might be my absolute favorite robe ever. It manages to feel both glamorous and cozy, and boasts the most flattering fit. I would wear it at home, over one of my longer slips, or with a camisole and trousers for heading out, which is exactly what we are hopefully all getting ready to do in the new phase of re-entry that we find ourselves in.  

    LFrank Claudette Robe in Lockwood Print Silk

    If something silky isn't what you're dreaming of for a Mother's Day treat, I would suggest a pair of simple earrings to make you feel ready to reenter society in a more festive way. We all absolutely adore the new stud earrings, which are little flowers in an assortment of sizes, with or without tiny stones for a bit of color and sparkle. They look equally lovely alone as they do in clusters, and we can customize them for you if you like.

    I'll remind you that we also have smaller items, for a little token of sweet appreciation. Our masks, both face and sleep, are much appreciated gifts always, as are the candles, and now too are the beautiful silk scarves that we have recently introduced.

    LFrank Silk Scarf

    I love them for a dramatic hair tie, but they also look really chic peeking out from beneath the front of a blazer as a little feminine touch.

    LFrank Face Masks

    We will most likely be wearing face masks for awhile longer, so a beautiful option would definitely be welcome. It makes such a difference when it is the "face" you are presenting to the world. If they can't see you smiling, then at least let there be a well-fitting, beautiful fabric in place that keeps you both safe as well as lovely. In addition, we donate a percentage of our face mask sales to No Kid Hungry, an amazing organization that is doing the important work of putting an end to childhood hunger in America.

    I don't know if it's the season, but the color green feels quite restorative and optimistic to me right now. Any of these green tourmaline rings would make a spectacularly impressive Mother's Day gift. If you haven't listened to this episode of the New York Times podcast The Daily, then do yourself a favor. I was laughing out loud, which was medicine in and of itself, and it definitely drove home the point that this year, Mother's Day gifts should be particularly generous in spirit and if at all possible, BIG.

    Speaking of big, I really do feel that sometimes we just need a bigger earring. Not just for evenings out, which seem to be on the horizon, but for the day. Wear them for just making an emphatically gorgeous statement, for bringing a dose of beauty to your day, and really, just because.  For whether your day is spent on endless zoom meetings, or actually going out and about in person, sometimes a dramatic earring is the boost we all need.   

    I actually made an appointment at the newly reopened LACMA to walk through the Yoshitomo Nara show. Visiting museums and galleries is an activity that I have sorely missed over the last year. It was overwhelmingly nice to be back in the galleries, looking at art, nodding hello to the guards, losing a bit of the afternoon to the joy of having an inspirational wander. I highly recommend it, if you haven't been already. It was such a good experience in every way, from making the appointment, to anticipating the day, and then finally to actually being inside a museum in person. I selfishly went alone, and enjoyed every single second.  

    This is salad I've been making again and again, as the fennel and citrus have been incredible at the farmer's market, and we had a couple of friends drop off avocados from their trees (lucky us!) recently. It's so easy to compose, and completely crunchy and delicious. It might be perfect for Mother's Day brunch with a buoyant soufflé.  

    Fennel Salad

    1-2 bulbs of fennel, thinly sliced, plus a bit of the fronds for sprinkling on top

    1 orange, or any other sweet citrus à la suprême

    1 ripe avocado, thinly sliced

    1/4 of a red onion, sliced paper thin

    1 tablespoon or so of gently toasted pine nuts (or walnuts, pistachios, etc...)

    a handful or two of chopped herbs, or arugula

    juice of a lime

    extra virgin olive oil (make sure to use a really good one. I really like this one!)

    flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

    Place the fennel, citrus segments, red onion and avocado slices in a bowl. Add the toasted nuts, if using, and the herbs and fennel fronds. Dress with the lime juice and the olive oil, with a pinch of sea salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Toss and Enjoy!

    The first bloom of the season!  I wanted to share it with you, because I'm just so delighted and proud. I am very new to looking after roses, so indulge me.

    "It’s the time that you spent on your rose that makes your rose so important... People have forgotten this truth, but you mustn’t forget it. You become responsible forever for what you’ve tamed. You’re responsible for your rose.”

    – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

    So to all the Mamas out there, I wish you the most heartfelt and grateful Happy Mother's Day! We got through one of the most challenging years in recent history, and as we know... WE are the ones who held it all together, who cooked more meals and did more dishes, folded more laundry, and suffered more worry than anyone else. I just feel beyond grateful for my own Mother this year, and even more profoundly so, as she made it through her own bout with Covid-19 in January. At 91, she is still amazing to me every single day, as she effortlessly shows us all how it's done, with optimism, joy, and true love of the most simple and important things in life. Thank you Mama... you're the best of the best of the best. 

    With so much love,

     

    The Joy of March

    Well, helloooooo SPRING! I've never appreciated the transition of seasons more than I have this year. The spring equinox ushers us into a new reality, thankfully... which signifies so much, not least of which the all important fact that we have made it through the bleakest winter in recent history. The little hummingbird babies above our front door are a testament to the changing season, and to the tenacity of the maternal spirit. I love watching the mama bird feed her growing offspring. What a gift to have the literal embodiment of optimism greet us at the front door!  

    I sincerely hope you are all doing well, as understandably it has been challenging work to do just that. Creativity has been the greatest solace for me in this rather trying time, as has nature, and I hope that everyone has found more to appreciate, and more to enjoy in this wild point in time. I have found every bit of birdsong, all of the new green leaves in the garden, and the longer days to be incredibly restorative. Taking a walk at the end of the day and seeing everything in bloom always fortifies me, and makes me feel genuinely optimistic for the days ahead.

    It is such a sincere pleasure and privilege to create beautiful pieces, both jewels and elegant robes, along with other intimate pieces to swan around in. The fact that we have managed to continue to do so during this year of years has brought us much to be grateful for. We hope that you will find inspiration, joy, and maybe something new to welcome in the season.

    I have always loved color, something which has been a source of comfort to me this year. It has really seen me through, as I have noticed how it affects me and brightens my mood. Working with color sort of feels like a bit like manipulating light itself. Even something as subtle as pairing black with a deep sapphire blue can have a remarkable effect, I find.  

    Have a close look at these multi-colored sapphire and diamond rings for a bit of color therapy, or alternately take a moment to appreciate the subtlety of the softest blush color of these heavenly silk charmeuse pieces.

    The vibrant green of these Colombian emeralds set in oxidized sterling silver is the perfect embodiment of Spring itself. Green symbolizes growth, renewal, and good fortune, and actually brings about a sense of hope and harmony. This particular shade of green really resonates with me as optimism, which is feeling really, really good right about now.

    On the color front, I've been rather obsessed with these Japanese pigments from London shop Choosing Keeping, and was lucky enough to receive a set of them for Christmas.  

    Mixing the colors is quite meditative and relaxing. I so look forward to visiting the shop in person on my next trip to London, and then to visiting the Kyoto shop where the pigments are made. I really respect what they do, and have been supporting them via their online shop, where I found these beautiful cards, which I gave as a gift to my daughter. Her birthday was this month, and it was an important one. She still makes a list for us every year, and while cotton pajamas were on the list, the delicate pearl bracelet was a delightful surprise.

    The best compliment we can ever receive is when our clients return to us again and again for a special gift or for something to treat themselves to... another ring to stack, another pair of earrings to wear for zoom meetings, or another silk robe to wrap up in. We recently had a client say that our work "exceeded expectations" which is always nice to hear, and something we always strive to do. In the spirit of treating oneself, there are a few things I would suggest, if you are in the mood to celebrate the Spring season with something new to enjoy.

    These new poppy flower stud earrings are super chic. We are making them in three sizes, and all are completely charming. We have a pair with a grey diamond center, or a ruby center, and can customize with another stone, should you want a dash of a different color. Have a closer look here and here. The smallest size is coming soon! They pair especially well with our mini oak leaf stud earrings, which are perennial favorites.

    Another treat might be a new silk sleep mask. We have new prints available for the season, and my personal favorite is this one. I cannot emphasize enough what a difference they make in the quality of a good night's sleep. They also make a most thoughtful gift, as do our new silk scarves, which I am a big fan of.

    They have a multitude of uses, and have a certain joyful elegance any way you choose to wear them. I love them for a bit of color peeking out from under a blazer, or as a belt with a dress, or to manage unruly hair... but my favorite use has been as a shoulder strap for my vintage Hermès Kelly bag. It's quite an old one, and I never had a strap for it until now. The length of the silk makes it so useful, and I imagine it will become one of the pieces I never travel without... once we begin to travel again. That for me, is what I have missed the most, and is what I am so eagerly awaiting. 

    Since we are still staying put for the moment, we travel a bit with our meals. It makes the endless amount of cooking feel more festive, and when our food looks like a flower, what could be more inspirational? La cicoria from the lovely Weiser Farms at the Farmer's Market last Sunday was the biggest treat. It makes the best (if not the prettiest!) salad, paired with a creamy pecorino, shaved red onion, and toasted raw walnuts. We have also had a few birthdays to celebrate this month, so there has been a fair amount of Torta Caprese making going on as well. I was taught how to make this cake 10 years ago in Sicily, and when I bake it I am reminded of that very special trip.

    We all need fond memories, and bright futures to look forward to. It's the balance of those two poles that has kept me sane throughout. That, and the silver lining of having both of my children at home for the past year, when under normal circumstances, they would have been far and wide. There is light at the end of the tunnel, and I look forward to seeing you all in the bright new season ahead.

     

    Lots of Love,

     

    Valentine Love

    We've made it through January, which felt about three months long, and are now turning our attention to one of our favorite holidays...Valentine's Day! Understanding full well that there are more pressing matters quite close at hand, we also think that anything that celebrates love is indeed worthy of our attention. After the nearly 12 months of pandemic and its attendant losses, we are ready to fully embrace all the reasons to feel light and love, and bask in anything that involves a treat for our sweethearts and ourselves.  

    One treat to look forward to every night is the sublime show that February sunsets provide. The boutique is a block away from the beach in Venice, and I often dash outside to take in the spectacular beauty. I consider myself lucky to be able to see this view on my way home, and I never take it for granted. 

    If you have had your eye on a Liberty print silk robe, or just a simple silk slip to wear with everything, now is the perfect time to treat yourself or your sweetheart. There's never been a better time to indulge in a piece of silky sleep or loungewear, as we are offering a special Valentine's Day discount of 25% on the entire collection of lingerie. (*discount applied automatically at checkout to in-stock items only, and yes...men's pajamas are included as well!) 

    You may also drop a hint, or ask us to do so on your behalf. We're quite good at hints, in case there is something you are coveting. We are happy to book a virtual shopping appointment for you, or if you prefer, we would be delighted to welcome you to shop in person via appointment with all covid-19 safety protocols. It's easy to schedule a time to shop with us by clicking the bar at the top of our website, or here.

    How great has it been to see all of the attention paid to wearing pearls, as inspired by our new Vice President? I have long been devoted to pearls, and wear them every day. It's funny how First Lady Barbara Bush created such a stir with her gumball sized, three strand faux pearl necklace, one of Kenneth Jay Lane's. She stated that the pearls "hid the wrinkles" which instantly made them the province of women of a certain age. Sales of pearl necklaces skyrocketed, but I was too young to be concerned with hiding wrinkles, and set out to design a way for pearls to feel more interesting. Of course, Vice President Kamala Harris's pearls are real, and have real meaning behind them as well. You can read more about that on brilliant jewelry historian Marion Fasel's website, The Adventurine.

    We have customized many a strand of pearls for our lovely clients, and it is always the kind of project that I love to do. Breathing new life into something staid is always a pleasure. Even a simple adjustment, like changing the color of the silk cord can completely reinvent a strand of pearls that many of us have had lurking in the back of our jewelry boxes, longing for the light of day. My favorites are violet or red, but we have also done cobalt blue, emerald green, and vibrant coral.  

    If you're stuck for ideas for Valentine's Day, please let us know. I would suggest a beautiful silk or lace face mask to keep your Darling safe during the pandemic, a Zen Garden candle to soothe the senses, or a colorful beaded necklace to boost the spirits. We also have a completely charming Red ruby heart set on a thin 18k gold band, and if you wanted to go a bit bigger, I would suggest the thinnest, most chic and elegant band of tiny pavé set rubies, or the double headed serpent ring with ruby eyes. Whatever you decide to do, don't skip out on Valentine's Day, citing "Hallmark Holiday" or pandemic fatigue. It's precisely the time to make a bit of a splash and honor the people you love in your life, be it in big or tiny ways. Make it meaningful, sweet, and as lovely as you can.

    Many of us won't be going out to any romantic dinners, but rather making them at home, and not necessarily à deux. In the past I've done red themed dinners...beef tenderloin, radicchio salad, beets, etc...you get the idea. This year I think I'll do something a bit different, maybe pink everything instead? The blood oranges are delicious, so citrus salad with avocado and fennel would be lovely to serve alongside a delicious piece of wild caught salmon from the fish monger at the farmer's market. For dessert, I will turn towards all things chocolate, and one of our favorites from Gjelina, where we miss having delicious family dinners.

    Chocolate Tart from Gjelina, Cooking from Venice, CA by Travis Lett

    Crust:

    1 cup all-purpose flour

    1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder

    1 cup almond meal

    1/2 cup ground pine nuts, pistachios, or pecans

    1/2 tsp. fine sea salt

    1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

    3/4 cup granulated sugar


    Chocolate Filling:

    1 cup butter

    2.5 oz chocolate 73-77% cacao

    1.5 tsp unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder

    1 cup packed light brown sugar

    1/2 tsp kosher salt

    4 eggs

    Whipped cream or creme fraiche for serving


    To make the crust: In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, almond meal, nuts, and sea salt. Set aside.

    In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and granulated sugar on medium speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Turn the mixer speed to low, add the flour mixture, and mix until just combined. Transfer the dough to a sheet of parchment paper. Place another sheet of parchment on top, and roll out the dough to a 1/8" thick round, 12-13" in diameter. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or up to overnight.

    Preheat the oven to 350 F. Butter a 10" tart or springform pan with a removable bottom and 3" sides. Press the dough into the bottom and sides of the pan. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until firm to the touch. Don't worry if the crust slouches down the sides of the pan a little as it bakes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool completely. Lower the oven temperature to 325 F.

    To make the filling: Set a large heatproof bowl over 1" of water in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the butter and chocolate to the bowl and melt, stirring occasionally, until smooth. Whisk in the cocoa powder, and then add the brown sugar and salt. Continue whisking until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture looks shiny and loose. Add the eggs, one at a time, incorporating each one fully before adding the next. The filling should be shiny and smooth.

    Pour the filling into the tart shell and bake until it puffs up slightly and the surface is shiny and light, like a brownie, and the center is set and does not jiggle when you shake the pan, about 35 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan on a wire rack for 40 minutes. Gently remove the sides of the pan.  

    Slice and serve with a generous dollop of whipped cream or creme fraiche.  

    For Valentine's Day, I'm going to make little individual sized tarts for my family, and dust the tops with raspberry powder (basically smashed freeze-dried raspberries) in the shape of a heart. I know it sounds incredibly sappy, but I can't help it. Hopefully next year we will be able to host our annual Valentine's Day party at the boutique, where I look forward to serving it to you in person. 

    Sending tons of LOVE to you and yours,

    Down to the wire...

    You may be like me, not at all finished with holiday shopping... OR you perhaps got it all done early, and now have a moment to find something special to treat yourself for making it through this wild year with your sanity intact. Either way, we are here for you until the afternoon of the 24th, and are more than happy to guide you to that perfect gift. After that, we take a hard earned break and won't see you until the week of January 11th. We all need to rest and restore in a major way, as this year has really taken its toll. Until then, I would love to suggest a few gift ideas...

    Any one of these rings would be more than delightful to receive. The double headed serpent ring is one of my favorites, and feels like a lucky talisman. I feel like it rewards the wearer with protection and a sense of hope for the future. The concept of regeneration and shedding of one's skin and the experiences of 2020 is something I feel that we all can relate to. Likewise, the color green also relates to rebirth, a sense of calm, and our heart chakra. This green tourmaline flower ring is perfect for ushering in the new year ahead. It's so new, it hasn't made it up on the website yet, so reach out if you would like more information.

    It feels like earrings have become more important, as we mostly see each other on Zoom or FaceTime calls. A little something gold, with a graceful sense of movement and the natural world feel just about perfect. I designed these for a lovely new client back in the earlier part of the quarantine, and couldn't get them out of my head, so we've made another pair just in time for Christmas. We saw her again the other day, and she told us that she's worn them almost every single day, which is always wonderful to hear. I love it when our pieces become part of everyday life, which is how they are intended to be enjoyed.

    These vintage beads are 50 year old reproductions of Venetian wound glass trade beads made in the 18th and 19th centuries. The deep Aegean blue, and rich coal black of these beads are beautiful backdrops for the delicate floral and stripe motifs. I love anything with a bit of contrast, which is why I love pairing delicate French lace with crisp striped, plaid, or checked men's shirting cottons in the lingerie collection, as in this lovely slip dress.

    Let's not forget the men on our lists. Our Janus Men's robes are always a hit, and a luxury that most men won't necessarily treat themselves to. Why don't you spoil one of the men in your life, and gift them something useful that they will love? This plaid version is always a hit, and we happen to have one left in stock.

    A fine French lace and silk face mask would also be perfect for a last minute, but incredibly thoughtful gift. We'll be wearing these for awhile, so it might be nice to have at least one that feels and looks quite special.

    Much has been written about the Grand Conjunction yesterday, and the Grand Mutation that has ushered us into the Age of Aquarius. YES please. I think we all are ready for the shift that will come with the end of this intense year. If you haven't heard all about it, Chani Nicholas explains it all here. We've all been in it together, and I hope that we can all emerge stronger, more connected, and with a greater sense of purpose and appreciation than we had pre-pandemic. I've been lighting candles and gifting them too. My favorite right now would be our Zen Garden beeswax candle. It instantly takes the edge off, and after an hour or so I usually feel a much greater sense of calm. You can order them for curbside pickup in time for Christmas. We'd be happy to run them out to you!

    Whatever your holiday traditions are, I hope you are all set to have a lovely and relaxing break from the madness of this year. We will be fast at work until the afternoon of the 24th, and happy to help you with any last minute gift ideas. If you're really stumped, you can always purchase a gift certificate, which is always well received. Don't forget to treat yourself to something too. You most certainly deserve it!

    Much Love, Love, Love,

    Almost there...

    What. A. Year. The mad rush through the holiday season is feeling very different to all of us this year. As always, but amplified to an epic volume, I have an enormous sense of gratitude for my family, our dear friends, my amazing team, and most importantly our collective health and general well-being during this incredibly trying stretch of time. I hope you're doing well out there, and that you are poised to have as cozy and festive a holiday as possible. We are truly grateful for all of our clients, especially during this turbulent year. Thank you for keeping us going, for lifting our spirits, and for keeping us in mind for your holiday shopping this year. It means more to us than you could possibly know. We have been very busy making sure we have the loveliest things you could ever imagine for gifting. Here are a few of my favorites...

    This pearl scarf would make an incredibly special gift. People seem to have certain associations with pearls, that they are stuffy or preppy, or a bit dowdy. I couldn't disagree more, as I'm always discovering new and different ways to wear these gifts from nature. This piece feels quite elegant, while still being lighthearted and fun.

    We have exactly one of these limited edition silk velvet Selene robes left. This is a collector's piece, and one of the finest gifts we can think of. It would be perfect to wear for an intimate New Year's Eve celebration at home, which is how I suspect the majority of us will be closing out 2020. I think a little effort towards making it feel festive and celebratory is in order. We have made it through one of the toughest years in history, and that is not something to take for granted.

    These blackened silver sunflowers with orange sapphires are so chic. I was inspired by antique Berlin ironwork jewelry, as well as Victorian mourning jewelry and the emotions behind them. There has been so much collective loss this year, and I felt drawn to the idea of making a few pieces that capture both the sentiment of the year as well as the profound sense of hope that I feel for the future. You can have a closer look here

    Our Liberty of London print blocked silk crepe de chine Asteria robes always make an especially treasured present, both to give and to receive. We have a gorgeous assortment at the moment, my favorite collection yet. If I could pick anything that would brighten a spirit and lend a glamorous flair to life in lockdown, this piece would be it. Which one would you choose?

    As ever, our beaded necklaces are such popular and well received gifts. If you need any help choosing, please let us know. We love putting together groupings if you can't decide on just one, though of course just one makes a beautiful and thoughtful present. I think this one is particularly pretty.

    On the topic of choosing, if I were to choose a ring for Christmas this year, I think it would be this one. I love the juxtaposition of the geometric diamond slice with the rounded black diamond pavé band.

    Ines and I made Christmas cookies over the weekend, which was incredibly grounding in addition to being a delicious distraction from the outside world. Our favorites were these matcha shortbread hearts, which we baked with a little sprinkle of black sesame seeds. They're extremely easy to make, not too sweet, and perfect with a cup of tea in the afternoon.  

    Matcha Shortbread

    2 cups all-purpose flour

    1 heaping tablespoon matcha powder

    1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

    1 cup unsalted butter, softened 

    1/2 cup powdered sugar

    Cream butter and powdered sugar together in a mixer, scraping the bowl once or twice, until mixture is light and fluffy.  

    Sift the flour, matcha powder, and kosher salt into a medium sized bowl.

    Add dry ingredients to butter/sugar mixture, and mix slowly, just until the dough comes together. Form the dough into a large flattened disc, wrap with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least an hour or overnight.  

    Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Breaking off pieces, roll dough to approximately 1/8" thickness, and use a cookie cutter (or the rim of a drinking glass) to cut into desired shapes. Transfer the shapes onto a parchment lined baking sheet, and press a few black sesame seeds into the top of each cookie. If you'd rather, you can also chill the dough in the shape of a log, and cut them into rounds before baking.

    Depending on the size of your cookies, these will bake in about 12-15 minutes, turning the baking sheet midway through. The cookies are finished when they are just beginning to turn golden around the edges. Remove them from the baking sheet and cool on a wire rack.  

    Enjoy,

     

    PS  Stay safe and well out there, everyone. Take good care of yourselves and each other, and if you need any help with Christmas gifting, don't hesitate to reach out. We are here for you until the afternoon of December 24th! You can even book an appointment right here. It couldn't be easier...

    November

    With an epic election cycle behind us and Thanksgiving just hours away, my thoughts have been focused on all that I am grateful for in this wild and unusual year.  It has felt very "through the looking glass" to me, and without lots of holiday guests to consider or an enormous and varied menu to plan, I have felt a bit unmoored.  While I am very much looking forward to creating a cozy feast for the four of us, I am missing the anchor that Thanksgiving planning on a grander scale usually provides.  Thankfully we are all healthy, safe, and together which is the biggest gift of all.  However small the gathering, the goal is to bring some festivity and beauty to the holiday, and I encourage you to put on your holiday best, and ENJOY.  Wishing you all a wonderful day filled with so much love and lots of delicious treats.

    On the topic of treats, we are excited to offer special pricing on select items through Sunday, November 28th, 2020.  I am more appreciative than ever of my incredible clients.  Thank you for keeping us all going during this challenging time.  I am indeed truly grateful.  No code required, items priced as marked online, and all marked down items are FINAL SALE.  I look forward to helping you choose the perfect gifts this holiday season.  It is always a sincere pleasure, even in the best of times.  If you have something custom in mind, such as a family constellation necklace, or one of our numerology bands, please let us know sooner rather than later so we have plenty of time to work on these future heirlooms.  Knowing that you are giving something both unique and precious is a wonderful feeling, one I am delighted to help you achieve. 

    I am very excited about the new Liberty prints in store now, and especially about the cotton pieces.  These will become staples for those who love the prints but prefer cotton over silk.  I personally love them both, especially the new Marlayne slip with French lace.  We have another new slip we call Ava too.  I hope you'll make an appointment to come try them on.  We spend a lot of time and energy perfecting the fit of every piece, and I'm especially proud of these two.  When I began designing our collection of slips, one of the features I wanted to make sure to get right was the back.  It seems obvious, but getting the angle and line of something just right can be ridiculously tricky.  They'll be online soon, but until then...here's a little preview.

    If you are looking for a little holiday treat for yourself, have you seen our beautiful new cameo earrings?  I find them incredibly charming and light, and love the way they look, especially their blackened sterling silver setting, which adds a bit of cool to the classics.  

    We also have a group of lovely new beaded necklaces, perfect for making holiday additions to your collection, or for sending to someone special as a gift.  Some of them are already online if you'd like to have a look.  I absolutely love this one and this one, and think they look especially good together.

    As for Thanksgiving dinner, we have decided to forgo a turkey altogether and roast a duck.  I must say that I will miss gathering our friends and family together to eat at a long table all together, and also the incredible feast that accompanies it.  Paring down feels right however, in light of the current situation at hand.  I hope everyone can be safe and sound this year, and find true comfort and gratitude in a decidedly more simple holiday celebration.  Next year we will hopefully be back in action all together, enjoying a truly epic feast filled with all the celebratory spirit that this sweet, joyful holiday can inspire.  

    Since I have been cooking nightly for so many months now, it becomes challenging to find something new or different to make.  I think we all feel more or less the same in this regard.  Keeping it simple is key, and I think that applies to Thanksgiving as well.  Tradition is important in our house, so of course we will be making Persimmon Pudding for dessert.  I've had many requests for the recipe again this year, as I always do.  So here it is!  It is decadent and delicious, and easy to make.  The persimmon crop this year has been outstanding, so it's nice to take advantage of the season.  Another important idea is to support our local restaurants by ordering for take-out or delivery.   After cooking a feast, it will be nice to have one cooked for us, and to support the restaurant industry in any way that we can.  I'm personally drooling over the menu at Bavel. I'm also making sure to support the incredible farmers who are impacted so greatly by all of the pandemic restrictions on restaurants.  You can order boxes from my beautiful friend Lauri Kranz at Edible Gardens LA, or from County Line Harvest.  

    Wishing you all the healthiest, happiest Thanksgiving possible.  Take good care out there!

    Persimmon Pudding (from Emily Luchetti)

    Serves 8

    3-4 large ripe Hachiya persimmons 

    3 large eggs

    1 cup granulated sugar

    4 ounces (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled to warm 

    1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

    1 teaspoon baking soda

    1 teaspoon baking powder

    1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

    1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

    1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

    1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

    2 cups of half and half (or 1 cup of milk and 1 cup of heavy cream)

    Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter a 9-inch square baking pan.  Remove the stems from the persimmons and cut the flesh into pieces.  Purée the persimmon flesh in a food processor until smooth.  Strain the purée through a medium-mesh sieve to eliminate any bits of skin and seed.  You should have 2 cups purée.

    In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar until blended.  Whisk in the melted butter.  Sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, and cloves onto a piece of parchment paper or into a bowl.  Add the salt.  Stir the dry ingredients into the egg mixture.  Slowly pour in the milk and cream, stirring until combined.  Stir in the persimmon purée.

    Pour the batter into the prepared pan.  Bake until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes.  Let cool for about 10 minutes before serving.  The pudding will sink as it cools.  Serve the pudding warm, scooped into bowls with loosely whipped cream, sweetened with a couple of spoonfuls of maple syrup.  If you have anything leftover, you can reheat it in a 325°F oven for about 15 minutes.  

    Enjoy,

     

    ROBED

    How wild has October been so far? I know the planets are up to a lot of mischief, and Mercury is officially turning retrograde this evening. The world itself seems to be on fire, with wild news from all corners of the globe. Frankly, it all makes me want to hibernate a bit, and come out when we are through the thick of it. Anyone else feeling the same way?  I imagine many of you are, and while I cannot provide you with the solutions to all of the ills that plague us literally and metaphorically, (though VOTING will clearly be the most important step you can take!!!) I can most certainly steer you towards something that will definitely make you feel better: ROBES.  

    Yes, robes, dressing gowns, dusters, housecoats, whatever you like to call them, they are just what the doctor ordered, and we have an exceptionally beautiful selection at the moment. There is something about being enveloped in something beautiful, soft, silky, and comfortable that truly soothes the soul.  I've long felt this way, and now I feel it even more so. Whether it's in the morning, all night (if the nights are cold, I sleep in my robes), or just at the end of a seemingly endless day, wrapping up in a silk robe seems to be the equivalent of a much needed time-out.

    The very first robe I designed was inspired by a beautiful silk kimono-style beauty that I found in a vintage shop in San Francisco when I was about eighteen years old. It was a deep pink chinoiserie print that I absolutely loved, and wore to shreds. I never found anything exactly right to replace it, so alas...our Asteria robe was born.  Of course only the finest silk would do, which led me to a long favorite of mine, Liberty of London.  Our Liberty print robes have always been our best selling pieces, perfect for treating oneself, or for gifting to someone special. This next collection of robes is print blocked, pairing up two or more prints in a bold symphony of color and pattern. 

    I think this collection is my most favorite to date.  I especially like the super saturated colors of the Jemma Rose print, and can't wait to see the pajama set that is currently in production. As the new collection trickles in, I hope you'll make an appointment to come see it in person or call us to schedule a virtual shopping experience.  As always, these are limited edition. With the holidays on the horizon, I suspect we will sell out quickly, so if a particular print speaks to you, let us know soon.

    We also have a selection of pieces in Liberty print cotton fabrics that are particularly lovely.  This French lace trimmed camisole is perfect for the warm weather, and is something pretty and practical to wear now. It looks great paired with jeans, or worn underneath a sheer blouse. Liberty cotton slips, robes, and pajama sets are also in the works, set to be in store before too much longer.  I know some people prefer sleeping in cotton, so there will be plenty to choose from if you fall into this camp.

    Aren't these little hoop earrings perfect for a little colorful treat for yourself or someone special?  Both the coral and turquoise beads are vintage, and have been part of my collection for a long time. I love seeing them worn together, but they are also very nice on their own. 

    Rings have always been front and center in my collection. This charming little snake ring joins our carved labradorite scarab ring, and our favorite little elephant friend, expanding our collection of little creatures with great symbolism.  

    In the spirit of rings with symbolism, I've been delighted to fill so many orders for wedding bands over the last few months.  I'm not sure if more people are getting married this year, but it certainly seems so, and it has been an honor to have so many couples choose our Classic Band to represent their commitment to love and to each other. This soft, thin, and slightly irregular band is extremely comfortable (important especially it seems for the men who have never before worn a ring at all!), and has a handmade feeling to it that sets it apart from the more traditional wedding bands we are used to seeing.  Of course, you don't have to get married to appreciate this versatile band.  We can make you one in any size, or color of gold, and as always, can engrave something special on it for you, as we have done with our poesy bands.

    In addition to wrapping myself in these gorgeous silky Liberty prints to self soothe and keep my sanity, I've really been into tending the garden.  Have you heard of Kokedama?  It's remarkably easy, and deeply satisfying.  You can learn more about it here. I've got a little collection going, and I think I'll make some for friends too.  The process is incredibly therapeutic, and the end result is quite beautiful.

    Of course after the garden, comes the kitchen.  What have you been making lately?  Please share.  At this point after so many months of daily cooking, I think we all need a little shared inspiration. Travel has always inspired my cooking, and while staying home has had its virtues, I desperately miss the inspiration of a good trip.

    I especially miss Rome, one of the best food cities in the world.  Happily, our local farmer's market has had puntarelle on offer this year, so I can get my fix of cucina alla Romana here at home.  My dear neighbor hosted a lovely dinner party back in February, and served a puntarelle salad that was divine.  She then gave me one of the traditional tools used in the cleaning and preparation of puntarelle, which I learned how to use after watching this.  Finding the giant heads of Italian chicory at the market last Sunday was a treat, and reminded me of that wonderful evening spent with friends before the pandemic truly hit home. The salad is bright and crunchy, and perfect served with something hearty, like the lentil and sausage soup that I made the other night!  

     

    Puntarelle alla Romana

    One head of Puntarelle 

    bowl of ice water

    Peel off the outer leaves, and slice the hollow heads into thin matchsticks using a knife or a puntarelle cutter.  Soak in a bowl of ice water for at least an hour to remove bitterness.  I usually put the bowl in the refrigerator and sometimes leave it up to two days, which is also completely fine.

    Drain well, and then dress lightly with a vinaigrette made with 4 anchovy filets, a tablespoon of red wine vinegar, and three tablespoons of the best extra virgin olive oil that you have.  Mash the anchovy well, and add a few grinds of fresh black pepper to taste.

    I will admit to sometimes bringing a little bit of California to the table by adding slices of avocado.  While obviously not in keeping with the traditional recipe, is quite delicious.

    Enjoy,

     

    M A S K E D

    Masks.  Masks?  MASKS.  Why is this such a loaded issue?  I honestly will never understand.  For me, wearing a mask is really not a big deal.  It's important to remember that mask wearing is about protecting oneself and others, and what could be more simple than that?  We are truly all in this together, which is something I most certainly appreciate.  As with everything I do both professionally and personally, I want things to be as beautiful as they possibly can be while also being purposeful.  With that principle in mind, and much love and appreciation for the mask wearers out there, I am proud to introduce you to our beautiful collection of masks.  If we are going to wear something on our face, to face the world as it is, day in and day out...it should be absolutely beautiful.

    We perfected the pattern which includes expert tailoring, with a wire across the nose bridge to allow for the most flattering and comfortable fit.  This ensures that you still have a visible jawline (very important, I think!), along with extremely soft Japanese elastic ties that can be worn either tied in a bow or knotted around your ears.  If you prefer, they can also be tied behind your head.  Either way, you will be able to customize the fit to your individual face, and wear the mask in the best possible way for you. 

    In addition to being extremely comfortable, our masks are made with a multi-layered construction using 100% cotton and/or 100% silk, with a silk/cotton voile layer next to the skin for maximum softness and breathability.  Numerous studies cite 100% cotton and 100% silk as being the very best fibers for non-medical grade masks.  The cotton acts as a physical barrier, while the silk holds an electrostatic charge that traps particles.  In combination, this is an excellent option for keeping safe during your normal life, along with social distancing and avoiding crowded indoor spaces. 

    Each mask also has a pocket stitched into the innermost layer for placing a removable filter, if you so desire.  We include two activated carbon filters with each mask purchase, and it's easy to find more online. 

    In addition to the Liberty of London printed silk and cotton masks, and the Japanese and Italian men's shirting cottons, we also have made a limited edition of French lace masks that are truly exquisite.  All of our masks, as with everything we make, are made by hand, atelier style in Los Angeles.  Our skilled artisans are perfectionists in the best sense of the word, and we are profoundly grateful to work with such talented individuals.  The pride, love, and skill present in every creation is something that never ceases to inspire me, as I hope it does you.  

    Speaking of inspiration and expert tailoring, have you seen Gianluca Migliarotti's documentary, O'Mast?  It's one of my all-time favorites, and as a reviewer wrote, "A documentary about a mysterious world, immortalized in the splendor of its authentic beauty." which sums it up rather perfectly.  I can't recommend it highly enough.  I think you'll see why I am so obsessed with fine tailoring and custom made garments, which I'm beyond thrilled to be able to design and create locally.  The romance of something so beautifully made will always be what I am most inspired by.

    It is a privilege to be able to make beautiful things in the best of environments, and it feels even more so given the current state of affairs.  With all of the events shaping the current climate, we are committed to doing our best to support the organizations out there who are doing the difficult work to make a difference in the lives of those who need it most.  We have chosen to donate a portion of sales to No Kid Hungry, an organization that strives to end childhood hunger in America.  I hope you'll learn about and support the incredible work this organization is doing to help the most vulnerable amongst us, the children who depend on school meals, and who are especially affected by the current crisis.

     

    With the end of summer now upon us, I hope you have a lovely Labor Day weekend ahead of you.  Have as much masked and socially distant fun as you can manage, and stay cool.  The upcoming heatwave looks like it means business!  To that end, I've made a batch of "Magic Shell" which I'm sure you've heard of.  If not, it's that delightfully crunchy shell of hardened chocolate that elevates any kind of ice cream or other frozen treat.  It is ridiculously easy to make, and I suggest you give it a try, if you've never.  It's HEAVEN on a hot summer's night.  On the subject of ice cream, have you discovered Negranti Creamery yet?  They have lots of delicious flavors, but the Fresh Mint Chip is the one I love the most.  

    Chocolate "Magic Shell" 

    3 tablespoons coconut oil

    200 grams dark chocolate, broken into pieces

    Melt the chocolate and coconut oil in the top of a double boiler and stir to combine thoroughly.  Pour into a jar, and let cool before pouring over ice cream or dipping in a frozen banana (or any other kind of fruit you fancy).  If it solidifies in the jar, you can always return it to liquid by placing the jar out in the sun, or in a bowl of warm water.

     

    Enjoy, 

     

    Midsummer

    Hello, hello!  We've missed you so much. I'm sorry I haven't written. What a time this is. Hard to believe really, yet here we are in the subtle glory that is the middle of the season. Despite current distressing news and events and the struggle it takes to remain hopeful in light of them, I am decidedly an optimist by nature.  I happen to love summer, the longer days, the gardens (and the gardening!), the gorgeous light here in Southern California, and the slower overall pace of life.  Of course nothing about this particular summer is remotely normal, nor is life at all for that matter.  How are you faring out there?  I hope everyone is staying safe and sound. It is becoming increasingly challenging to stay well, and by that I refer of course to the physical, emotional, and psychological components of that challenge. I have found tremendous solace in turning to nature, and to the practice of gardening. I'm becoming quite devoted! I am not sure if I am alone in treating my first rose bushes like a new baby, but I do know that growing such beautiful flowers gives me great joy. I rush outside in my nightgown to check on them first thing in the morning, noticing every little overnight development like a new parent. 

    Another source of great joy is simply being in the boutique on a more regular schedule. We have truly have missed seeing you, so please do make an appointment to come for a visit, if that appeals. We have been open by appointment (masked and distanced, of course) for a little while now, and it's been absolutely delightful to see people one by one.  Here are the guidelines we are following, and updating as the situation warrants.

     

    The store is remarkably easy to social distance in, with plenty of fresh air wafting in, and of course our 100% beeswax and essential oil candles burning to help purify the air.  On the candle front, we are happy to announce the arrival of an edition of travel-friendly sizes of our most signature scent, Frankincense.  They are 1.7 oz each, burn for 12 hours, and are available to purchase singly in the boutique for $12 each, or in sets of three or six online. 

    We wear masks, and have found a hand sanitizer that is both effective and doesn't make our hands feel like lizard skin. Speaking of masks...YES, we are making them, and YES, they are coming soon.  YES, it has taken a long time, but we always take a long time making sure things are right.  Since we will be wearing masks for the foreseeable future, we know that having a mask that is both beautiful, comfortable to wear, and functions effectively will be increasingly important.  We will be offering them in both cotton and silk crepe de chine Liberty prints, as well as Italian and Japanese men's shirting cottons in plaids and stripes.  Let us know if you're interested, and we can put one aside for you. We will also have a stunning French lace and silk chiffon version, which of course I am most looking forward to.

    We've done lots of research on the most safe and effective attributes, and have incorporated them into what we feel is not only a beautiful mask, but one that actually does what it is designed to do beautifully.  We use a triple layer construction using 100% cotton, 100% silk, and a silk/cotton voile that all work together to filter out the particles we don't want to breathe.  The cotton is both comfortable, and an efficient physical barrier, while the silk has an electromagnetic charge that traps particles. They also have a sleeve for inserting a 2.5ppm carbon filter, if you so desire. Together, and along with being socially distant, they are your best bet for being out in public in a safe manner.

    Since being out in public is greatly curtailed at the moment, I'm enjoying what I can from home, as we all are.  My dear friend Gregory Parkinson sent me a link to a marvelous film of Pina Bausch's The Rite of Spring, performed on a beach at dusk in Senegal by 38 dancers from 14 African countries. The piece is a collaboration between The Pina Bausch Foundation and École des Sables. It's only available through Sadler's Wells digital stage until the end of the month, so I hope you find the time to watch it before it is gone.  It was filmed as the world was descending into lockdown, and captures what is the performers' last time rehearsing the piece together.  The urgency and intensity of the choreography is quite heightened by the reality of the global situation, and the beauty, strength, and love of the dancers for their craft is incredibly moving.

    photo by Zabo Babilée 

    I also hope you'll find a moment to join the Mindful Awareness Meditation on Thursday July 30th, the weekly livestream hosted by the UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center.  In normal times, this event is held at the Hammer Museum's Billy Wilder Theater. Seeing as how these are not normal times, they are now offered online.  You can RSVP to participate here.  The 30 minute sessions are free, held weekly, and no prior meditation experience is necessary. 

    My version of meditation lately has been in the kitchen.  I know that for myself, and for many of you out there, cooking has been both a gift but also a bit of a grind during this intense period of lockdown. I've been relying on the gorgeous produce available from County Line Harvest that I pick up in the neighborhood on Friday afternoons, and inspiration wherever I can find it. Lately, inspiration has come from my lovely neighbor Ruth, who is gifted with a decidedly green thumb.  She has generously shared her bounties of shiso leaves, tomatoes, and zucchini. Subsequently, I've made a delicious tomato risotto, and a shiso leaf chimichurri that was excellent on grilled yellowfin tuna steaks the other night. I know not everyone has a lovely neighbor growing shiso leaves, but if you're lucky enough to have a bunch, I'm happy to share the recipe if you ask.

    The tomato Ruth grows is the Hungarian Heart variety, which couldn't be more perfect, as what could be more lovely than a homegrown tomato from a neighbor?  I riffed on a David Tanis recipe for Tomato Risotto that I found in the NYTimes Cooking section, using crushed tomatoes in the risotto, with the sliced and roasted tomato on top with basil and lots of Pecorino Romano cheese.  

    Tomato Risotto

    1 large onion, diced

    1 leek, thinly sliced

    1.5 cups arborio or carnaroli (I like Acquerello)

    2-3 garlic cloves

    1/2 cup dry white wine

    750 g chopped tomatoes (approximately 3 cups)

    4 cups hot broth (vegetable or chicken, I've made it with both)

    1 cup grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese

    1-2 large tomatoes, sliced thinly and roasted for garnish

    Handful of basil leaves, dill, parsley, chives or any soft herbs you prefer

    Extra virgin Olive Oil

    Red chile pepper flakes

    1 tablespoon butter

    Sauté diced onion and leek in about 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil, season with salt and pepper until soft, about 5-7 minutes.  Add minced garlic and rice and continue cooking until rice is coated with the oil, and begins to turn translucent, but not at all brown.  Add the white wine, and allow it to bubble and become absorbed by the rice before adding the diced tomatoes, along with the red chile pepper flakes.

    Once the liquid has evaporated, begin adding the hot broth. Start with 2 cups, and stir gently as the rice simmers and absorbs the liquid.  Once the risotto begins to seem dry, add another cup of the broth, and gently simmer another 5-6 minutes.  Once the risotto is cooked through but still al dente, I stir in another 1/2 cup broth, a tablespoon of butter, and 1/2 cup of the grated cheese.  Put the lid on the pot for 1'2 minutes to allow the butter and cheese to melt, and for the flavors to combine. Stir gently, and taste for seasoning, adding salt and pepper to taste.

    Transfer to a shallow serving bowl, layering the roasted tomatoes, herbs, and a bit more cheese over the top.  

    Enjoy,

     

    May(Mother's!)Day

    First of May, May Day... or MAYDAY!, as in the classic international distress signal. It's kind of both, really. I hope you and yours are doing well, navigating the lockdown and it's attendant anxieties. The cooking, cleaning, worrying, working remotely, distance learning, the hoping everything doesn't fall apart (including one's own self). There is certainly a lot to manage, therefore it is even more important to take good care out there. Look after yourself, and those who need looking after. For me, this is a time for moving a bit more slowly through the day, more mindfully, and with an even greater generosity of spirit. With that in mind, I think it is especially important to properly celebrate the mothers in our lives on Sunday, May 10th.  

    I know that I feel especially lucky to have my mother around to celebrate. Because of her age, we won't be able to give her big hugs and kisses, but we will be able to bring her flowers, and stand across her patio at an appropriate distance to tell her how much we love her. She's been a mother for most of her life, and she's really perfected the art. She is a huge inspiration not only to me, but to everyone who has the pleasure of meeting her. 

    Even in the best of times, Mother's Day is a wonderful opportunity to show gratitude and share your love with the women who mean the most to you. In this time of quarantine, every gesture feels even more special. How are you going to celebrate this year? We have ten days to make plans, source a bit of joy, and make sure that the mothers around us feel supported and appreciated. My mother loves beads, so I plan to give her one of our hand made, one-of-a-kind necklaces.

    We also have a few new pair of earrings, that feel especially perfect for a Mother's Day treat.  If earrings aren't her thing, bracelets also make wonderful Mother's Day gifts, as would this striking 18k gold necklace with an oxidized sterling silver and grey diamond pendant. I love the contrast between the darkened silver and the matte, hand-finished 18k gold.

    We do have other less precious, but quite lovely options for gifts, as ever.  Our beeswax candles can be delivered locally, as can anything ordered from our website. We are also able to ship in time for Mother's Day, as long as you place your order by Wednesday, May 6th. I am planning to treat myself to a new slip for Mother's Day, since I wear one every single day, both to sleep in and to layer under dresses. I'm thinking about these three, and trying to decide which one will suit me best.

    Of course, who wouldn't love a new ring to add a bit of cheer during this extraordinary time. The bright pink tourmaline cabochon is an instant mood elevator in the brightest of times, which is something we can all use a bit more of now.

    There has been an enormous amount of loss around the globe this year, and we are all affected by it. The Ancient Egyptians had an entire culture and set of rituals surrounding death and the afterlife. It has been a source of fascination for me for as long as I can remember, so when I found this beautiful carved labradorite scarab, I immediately knew it would make a beautiful ring, and a special memento for someone to treasure. A scarab was placed over the heart of a body before mummification, in order to protect and provide luck for the journey to the afterlife. I just love that symbolism, as well as the energy surrounding the idea of transformation and immortality. We are all transformed by this shared experience in some way, and will emerge from it very different from the way we entered it. It's impossible to have an experience like the one we are collectively having, and remain unchanged. I'm hoping for a safe and protected journey for all.  

    One lovely journey to take is through Exhibition on Screen: Painting the Modern Garden: Monet to Matisse through the Royal Academy in London's website. It documents the 2016 exhibition, and is a lovely way to spend an hour or so, if you are like me and swoon at the sight of a beautiful garden.  

    Lots of museums have excellent online programming to feed our appetite for art.  Our very own LACMA has launched LACMA@Home with a weekly email, where you can find inspirational content, such as this wonderful short film about Betye Saar. Even though we cannot physically visit our favorite cultural institutions, it's easy to benefit from their online presence, and support them as best we can.

    I've dropped a major hint about these Milla Chocolates for Mother's Day. I mean really...passion fruit hearts with 23kt gold leaf? Perfection. If I share them, it might make up for the pain and suffering I am causing while I teach myself to play this on the piano. I played daily from ages 5-17, and then never touched the piano again... so it is a bit slow going, I'm afraid. I just hope I'm not torturing the neighbors too.

    As for Mother's Day itself, I think it would be a perfect excuse to make this divine looking Berry Brita Cake from Susan Spungen's newly released cookbook, Open Kitchen. It looks like a dream, and I have so been enjoying cooking from this book. Susan was meant to do a book signing at Chariots on Fire in March, and sadly it was cancelled. I look forward to seeing her in the hopefully not too distant future, and to the rescheduled signing when we can all gather again safely. In the meantime, I've got this cake on my mind...

    Happy Mother's Day, and Happy May Day to all... we are here to help you find a perfect treat for yourself or the mamas in your life, if you feel like making it an extra special Mother's Day. We are extending our 25% discount on all lingerie through May, while donating 10% of online sales to No Kid Hungry. Now more than ever, our support helps the most vulnerable amongst us.

    Take good care of yourselves and each other. We so look forward to seeing you all in brighter days. Almost there, I hope...

    Much Love,

    Marching through April

    Here we are, April.  It is such a surreal moment in time that the passing of hours, days, and weeks doesn't quite feel the way it used to, and I imagine it won't for some time to come.  How are you doing?  Really, how are you? It's a question to keep returning to.  The checking in, the temperature taking, whether figurative or literal...the sorting out how to navigate this whole strange new world seems to be the compelling task at hand.  I miss my friends.  I miss the entire community I've created both in my personal and professional life, as I imagine you do too.  How could we not?  Everything "normal" steadfast and true has been upended indefinitely.  That is the challenge, I feel.  The part of all of this that is indefinite, which is to say everything.  So, we ride the wave and hope to make it safely to shore.  At least that is how I'm looking at it. 

    Another thing I'm looking at are the beautiful gardens in my neighborhood.  The days include intermittent walks, and I try to document some of the more inspiring examples of the season.  The birdsong and the vivid flowers are such a pleasure, aren't they?  I am so grateful that this quarantine business has coincided with springtime.  I am also grateful for my team, all working remotely and whom I miss so much.  I am really looking forward to the reunions ahead of us.  I miss making lunch at the boutique, and our afternoon ginger tea ritual.  Of course I am doing lots of cooking and ginger tea making at home, where I am lucky to have such a receptive and appreciative audience.  There is a LOT of cooking and eating going on in our house, which along with being healthy is one of the reasons to be the most grateful of all.

    I have always loved the spirit of generosity inherent in cooking, and in the sharing of recipes.  I'm keeping a diary of our nightly dinners, not to mention what I'm making to stock the refrigerator for lunches and snacking, so if you want any ideas just ask.   I'm keeping track of things in this beautiful notebook that one of my dearest friends gave me a couple of months ago.  I absolutely love it, and it's really the perfect gift for someone who loves to cook.

    At the moment I am focused on connecting with people I am thinking of and missing as much as I can.  I've decided to watercolor a set of postcards, making excellent use of the beautiful Japanese watercolor set I received for Christmas. They were a gift from someone I cherish, so using them gives me even more joy.  So this is what my "desk" looked like this morning.  I have always liked working on the floor for some reason, and this set up seems to suit me best (after trying several, as one sharing a house with three other humans is required to do).  Of course I have one of our beeswax candles burning, and my morning hot water with half a lemon.  I can't drink coffee, so this is how I have started my day for the last 25 years or so.

    You can also catch a glimpse of my Liberty Print dressing gown.  This one happens to be one of my favorites, and I think we may have one left in this glorious print, if you're interested.  I also really love the print below, and all the different ways it can be worn.  In light of the extended lockdown period we are offering a 25% discount on all lingerie, and continue to donate 10% of those sales to No Kid Hungry, helping to support the most vulnerable amongst us. The discount will apply automatically at check-out.

    It is certainly tempting to stay in one's bedclothes all day, but for my mental health and well-being, I get properly dressed everyday.  It does wonders for my spirits I find, as does sleeping in beautiful nightclothes.  Now that everyone in the house is together in the mornings, I am experiencing the other side of that equation, which is the effect that seeing your housemates in lovely sleepwear has.  It is such a boost to see everyone well turned out.  I've always been a proponent for dressing for one's self, without any regard really to how it affects anyone else.  Now I see it from a fresh perspective, and it's almost a public service to put yourself together for the sake of those with whom you live.  Trust me on this.  It really does elevate the mornings.

    While I was painting, I made a little playlist, which you can listen to if you like.  Music feels important now, as do books.  I just finished a book that I can't recommend highly enough.  It was suggested by a lovely friend in London for our Zoom bookclub.  I'm fortunate to not need to Zoom so much for work, but bookclub and the occasional cocktail hour with friends has been a sincere treat.  Back to the book, it is A Month in Siena, by Hisham Matar.  Have you heard of it?  I hadn't, but I am so delighted to have read it.  It is divine.  I now can't wait to read everything else he has written.  It was quite inspirational.

    Speaking of inspiring, did you hear Queen Elizabeth's speech last week?  If you haven't, I encourage you to take a few moments to watch.  She is such a treasure. Her calm, compassionate, and wise words were a balm for the world.  The turquoise and diamond brooch worn above her heart was a reminder that beauty is always a tonic, and made me think of the turquoise and diamond ring that might be one of my all time favorite creations.

     

    For Easter this Sunday, I think I'll make this delicious little chocolate cake. I had been trying to sort out what exactly to do with the almond pulp from all of the almond milk I keep making for Sacha, who apparently loves an almond milk latte (the effects of living in Brooklyn, perhaps?).  I made it last Sunday, and it lasted all of an afternoon.  Between the four of us, it was well finished by the end of the day.  Let me know what you think.

    Chocolate Almond Cake

    Almond pulp from making almond milk* (approximately 185 grams)

    110 grams sugar

    110 grams butter

    2 eggs

    10 grams baking powder

    125 grams dark chocolate (I use 71% Valrhona)

    pinch salt

    3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 

    confectioner's sugar for dusting

    Melt chocolate and butter together in a double boiler, and remove from heat. In a medium sized bowl, mix together almond meal, sugar and baking powder.  Add eggs, one at a time and whisk to incorporate.  Add vanilla, followed by the chocolate + butter mixture.  Whisk to combine.  Bake in a parchment lined small springform pan for 25-30 minutes at 350 degrees.  Cool, and dust with confectioner's sugar to serve.

    *If you haven't got a recipe for almond milk that you love, mine is dead simple.  Soak 1 cup of almonds overnight in water.  Drain in the morning, and add to 3.5 cups water in the vitamix, along with 3 pitted dates, a splash of vanilla extract, a pinch of salt, and a dash of cinnamon. Blend for a few minutes, then strain through a nutmillk bag. The remaining pulp is what I use for the cake, though I like to let it dry out a bit overnight.

    Stay well, and enjoy the silver linings of this unprecedented time.

    Much Love,

    One Week in...

    It is hard to believe that it has been over a week since we've all had to adjust our lives to this radical new reality. In some ways it feels much longer, and of course in others it seems that just yesterday we were all running around attending to our myriad quotidian lives. As a team, we are no longer able to be together at our boutique on Main Street, or in our studio in DTLA. We are now working remotely as best we can, with everyone's safety top of mind. I must admit that I did pop over to Main Street to gather some things I'll need while working from home, and I was struck by how much I miss being there. I miss my amazing team and our lovely clients of course, but I also miss just inhabiting the space that I created to welcome people into the world of LFrank. I do love it there, especially in the afternoon when the gorgeous golden sunlight comes in just so.

    In the spirit of helping those who need it most, we have #LINKED up with our jewelry community in donating 10% of all online sales to an amazing organization, No Kid Hungry.  They do incredible work all year long to ensure that the most vulnerable children receive access to consistent, healthy meals. There is no better time than now to help them, so if you have had your eye on a piece of jewelry, treat yourself, and do some good in the process.  Please also take advantage of a 25% discount on all in-stock lingerie to shop and support. Use code LINKED from now through April 1st, 2020. There are lots of beautiful things to help brighten your time spent at home. I've long said that waking up in a lovely slip, or donning a beautiful robe, can change the trajectory of your day, so please take me up on that and give it a try.  I suspect we can all use tools that set us off on the right foot each day during this inconceivable time of restriction.

    I feel enormously lucky to love the home that I created with my family, and am grateful to have the opportunity to spend time here, even if it happens to be under such circumstances. If it is essential to stay home, then I am beyond happy to do so here, with all of us together. Staying home for me doesn't mean abandoning all sense of normalcy. On the contrary, I find it rather important to continue to do what I normally do. I still put on all of my jewelry in the morning, and get properly dressed.  In fact, I put this dress on today, for a number of reasons, not just because it's cheery and beautiful. I did a bit of research on the designer Michael Novarese, and found a Swiss article titled "Fashion that Bloom in the Spring" and describes him "...as usual, hitched to a star that continues to rise." I love that.

    I also chose this dress today because it is in itself a powerful source of connectivity. I was introduced to Marie and her chic vintage shop RecessLA by my friend Susan Winget (of Marshmallow fame), when I saw a post she did on Instagram. I was able to dash over before quarantine set in, and while everyone else was panic buying toilet paper (someone please explain this to me) I decided to take home a dress that literally screamed my name from the rack. I am beyond happy that I did. I had the nicest experience in her shop, something I am obviously sensitive to, and it gave me a long lasting boost, in that the dress immediately brightened my day and the day of everyone around me, as I hope it brightens yours. Just supporting fellow small businesses feels especially good right now, so I hope you'll have a look at what Marie and Susan do, and spend a little time being delighted.  

    We all need a little cheer, and it is most likely not a coincidence, but rather incredibly strong DNA that had my daughter show up for our afternoon family dog walk in her lavender Gunne Sax prom dress from her senior year of high school.  Apples and trees, as the saying goes. I would show you a photo, but she would never forgive me. Suffice to say that it is lavender, frothy, and everything you'd hope it would be. We passed a few little girls on our walk (at a safe distance, rest assured) and I could see them trying to figure out how on earth we could be so lucky as to be walking with a real life princess. She should have been wearing these colorful sapphire earrings along with it.  Next time!

    Is everyone cooking as much as I am?  It's quite a lot to make sure there is something for everyone to eat everyday, as we all attend to our work, school or otherwise. We can't live on Milla Chocolates alone, as much as we'd all like.  I try to make sure there is at least something fresh and appealing in the refrigerator, using whatever I've got on hand. Today it was this simple French lentil salad, and it seemed to do the trick.

    French Lentil Salad

    1 cup lentils du puy (cooked in 4 cups of water, then drained)

    2 Persian cucumbers, peeled and diced

    5 small organic red and orange peppers, diced

    1/4 cup pickled red onions

    1 can of organic chickpeas, rinsed and drained

    1/2 log of goat's cheese, crumbled

    salt and pepper

    fresh dill

    dressing of lime juice, two spoonfuls of pesto sauce, a few spoonfuls of extra virgin olive oil

    Mix all ingredients in a large bowl, allow to sit in the refrigerator for an hour or so, for the flavors to come together.  Season with salt and pepper if needed.

    Enjoy, 

     

     

    Keep Calm + Shine On

    What an uncertain time we are in!  There is indeed some solace in knowing that we are all in this together, and that together we can hopefully make a difference to help diminish the spread of COVID-19 in our community. While social distancing is certainly not my style, it is most definitely in the best interest of everyone at the moment. That said, I want to let you know that we are here and look forward to helping you in whatever way works best.  You can call us at 310-452-0771, email inquiries@lfrankjewelry.com, or send us a DM on @lfrankjewelry on Instagram. We will also accommodate private client appointments as necessary.  

    I would also like to assure you that the health and safety of my team and our clients is my top priority, so we are taking all necessary precautions with regards to sanitizing our environment, as well as adhering to the published CDC guidelines in all ways. With that in mind and in an abundance of caution, I have decided to close the Main Street boutique to the public for the next few weeks.

    You may of course continue to shop online, and we will be updating the website with new work in the upcoming days ahead.  As a small business, we are thankful for your continued support now more than ever. 

    I am enormously proud of, and grateful for the sense of community we have created in Venice, and look forward to reconnecting with everyone as soon as possible. We promise to keep you updated with any significant developments. I hope that you are all safe and sound with your families, in good health, and remembering to look for the silver linings in all of this.  

    We will continue to create beauty, and to post imagery that provides a welcome respite from the stress of the current moment. We will always shine a light on the beauty of the world, and invite you to enjoy. Please do keep in touch with us!  We look forward to hearing from you, even if it is just to say hello.

    Please take good care of yourselves and of others who are in need around you, as we look forward to brighter days ahead.

    Much Love, 

     

     

    Marching ahead

    Well, the beginning of March has certainly heralded a sort of new reality, hasn't it?  What is that quote about March coming in like a lion, and going out like a lamb?  I realize that pertains to weather, but could it also pertain to the current public health crisis?  Let's all hope so.  I certainly don't have any special insight into the coronavirus, but what I do know, is that we need to take good care of ourselves and others during what is undoubtedly one of the most uncertain times in recent memory.  I'm thinking about those amongst us who might need special looking after, so let's make sure we do that to the best of our abilities. Let's also make sure to notice the amazing things happening around us in the natural world, such as the wisteria blooming, the hummingbird mamas feeding their new little babes, and beginning of a beautiful new season.

    For the time being, we are keeping our regular business hours, noon-6pm Tuesdays-Fridays, noon-5pm Saturdays, and closed on Sundays and Mondays.  We are taking all precautions to ensure a sanitized and hygienic shopping experience.  We wipe down all hard surfaces multiple times per day, and after every client visit. We are hand washing on an Olympian level, and making sure that we all stay healthy.  Please feel free to make an appointment, or to have things sent to you, if you are not comfortable venturing out into the world.  Believe me, the most important thing is to take care of ourselves and to protect others, and we understand that on a very deep level. We are more than happy to be flexible and make accommodations as we navigate the current landscape.  

    As for taking care of ourselves, we have lots of ways to do that here at LFrank.  Firstly, did you know that burning beeswax candles apparently releases negative ions into the air, which in turn purifies it?  In addition, Frankincense is thought to calm anxiety and have antiseptic properties, which sounds especially good right about now.  We just so happen to have beeswax candles scented with Frankincense essential oil, which will make your house smell delicious, clean the air, and lessen the anxieties of the times.  I have one burning next to me right now, and I have to say that I feel calmer than I have all week. I am also burning our Zen Garden candle, because who doesn't want a little bit of zen at this particular moment?

    We also have the silkiest, loveliest pieces of sleepwear and lingerie that make even the most uncertain times infinitely nicer.  As my dear friend Natasha phrases it, we shall be "cocooning" for awhile, so let's be chic and comfortable while we do just that. I always feel bolstered by something colorful and luxurious next to my skin, hence there is no shortage of options here. We just sent out a few custom orders and I am delighted in the knowledge that we are brightening the days ahead for at least a handful of lucky individuals and those around them. There's no good reason not to swan around in something beautiful and don a jewel or two, whether to cocoon at home or to venture out for supplies.

     

    I've also taken time to put together a new selection of our popular African trade bead necklaces. It's a particularly lovely batch, and I know that our collectors will all find something new to love. We have a few online now, and are working on getting the rest up over the next few days. 

    As for the upcoming social distancing that we will all be engaging in, I hope it is possible to find the light and levity.  I'll be cooking up a storm and enjoying the unexpected time with my family. I also plan on reconnecting with my newly tuned piano (thank you Mr. Vladimir Greenberg), in between other creative projects. I am also instituting an after-dinner disco routine, something we used to do years ago, and a habit that definitely needs revisiting now that we are all under one roof again. 

    I'll also be making this delicious escarole salad for as long as the farmer's market remains open and accessible.  It's the perfect accompaniment to all of the hearty and delicious stews I will also be experimenting with. It's a riff on the one from Lupa in New York.  If you know it, then you love it.  

    Escarole Salad

    One large head escarole

    Toasted and roughly chopped walnuts

    Pickled red onions (just soak them in red wine vinegar for as long as you like)

    Grated Pecorino-Romano cheese

    Fresh dill

    For the dressing, I toss a little of the vinegar from the onions, add a spoonful of the oil from the anchovy jar, juice of half a lemon, salt, pepper, and a bit of extra virgin olive oil.  

    Enjoy, and take good care out there...

     

     

    Be our Valentine

    Here we are, a mere nine days away from Valentine's Day. I know it is one of the most polarizing holidays we have.  There are those in the "Hallmark Holiday" camp, who resent being manipulated into buying something, and those who fully embrace any reason to celebrate love in all its forms. I am sure you can already guess what camp I fall into. With all the chaos that surrounds us on a daily basis, I am thrilled to have something lovely to think about. Any holiday that uses jewelry, lingerie, chocolates, and flowers as tools to represent love is going to be a hard favorite for me.  In honor of L O V E, we are hosting a flash sale on some of our favorite gift ideas for Valentine's Day. The sale begins today, and runs through the weekend, so don't delay. Select jewelry items are marked down online, and all sleepwear is 14% off with code BEOURVALENTINE. It's my gift to you.  

    Speaking of gifts, Mother Nature has been outdoing herself lately.  Have you been lucky enough to see one of the spectacular sunsets we have been having?  Quite amazing by any measure, the sunsets this winter have been especially vibrant. I feel like they completely reset my central nervous system.  If you can find a minute to run outside around the magic hour, please do yourself the great favor and DO IT.  It does wonders for the soul, and I can feel the indescribable benefits of the experience every single time. 

    Capturing views like these are one of the perks of having a boutique located a couple of blocks from the beach. Pink and orange together are one of the color combinations that I most love, so it has been absolute heaven to be able to witness this stunning show every evening.

    If you need any advice on the gifting front, we are absolutely here for you, and have plenty to offer.  One of our 100% beeswax candles would make a lovely gift for your Valentine, as would a chic 100% silk Liberty Print Robe and/or Sleep Mask. We also have a lovely assortment of African trade bead necklaces that are always popular, and much appreciated.  I also would recommend a copy of Mona Kuhn's gorgeous book, Bushes and SucculentsWe are lucky to have a few signed copies left.  

    I've said it before, but I honestly cannot sleep without one of our Hypnos silk sleep masks.  It is so important to sleep in utter darkness, and these always do the trick. I love it when people are a bit skeptical, and then come back to rave about them and buy them as gifts. Treat yourself or someone you care about. An optimal night's rest is one of the greatest gifts of all, so anything to help someone be successful in that endeavor is truly an act of love. 

    This new year has felt a bit relentless, so I've tried to keep it simple and give myself a rest from the nonstop cocktail and sweets circuit that we call the holiday season.  This juice is something that helps me reset, so I try to drink it as much as I can. You'll need a juicer to make it at home, or just order these ingredients at your local juice bar.  Ours has memorized it by now, after I've ordered it so many times.  It's completely refreshing, and I definitely feel better having made it part of my routine over the last month.    

    Juice for the New Year

    One head of organic Celery, tops and base trimmed

    One bunch organic Italian Parsley

    One bunch organic Cilantro

    One large organic cucumber

    One organic lemon, cut in half

    One two inch piece of organic ginger

    After being so virtuous in January, I am more than ready for the Valentine's chocolates that I hope are coming my way soon. Have you tried the Passion Fruit Bonbons at Milla Chocolates?  They are divine. I hope that a certain Valentine of mine will read this and pick up a box. Ahem...hint hint!

    Enjoy,

    Holiday Countdown...Ten Days to go!

    Let's not beat around the bush.  The first night of Hanukkah is in exactly one week, and Christmas is in TEN DAYS!  No need for panic, however.  We have you covered in many ways, with lots of wonderful gift ideas for the lucky people on your list. Come over, and we can walk you through the best options for whomever you are shopping for.  With all of the hectic shopping experiences you could have, I promise visiting LFrank will be one of the most civilized and delightful encounters of the season. 

    If you're looking for ideas, let me share a few of my most favorite.

    The small elephant pendant is forever charming, and a good luck charm too.  Doesn't everyone need that?  We donate a portion of sales to Knot on my Planet to help aid worldwide elephant conservation and protection, so your gift gives in more ways than one. The Love Note rings are simple, but incredibly personal and delightful.  We are happy to help you find the perfect term of endearment to engrave, and we still have time to make these in time for Christmas! These new sapphire and diamond earrings are like a garden in Versailles. They are light, possessed of an enchanting amount of sparkle, and incredibly special.  Speaking of gardens, the emerald flower drops with blue sapphires, and the emerald stud earrings would all be lovely under the tree.   

    I always feel like one can't go wrong with a beautiful robe or slip for a holiday gift.  Everyone can use a new, pretty silky something,  It feels like the ultimate personal luxury. It is an ageless, timeless, and incredibly thoughtful present.  Who wouldn't want to open a box with a lovely silk Liberty print robe, or a silky slip in it?  I know that I would be thrilled beyond words.  The new Lilia slip is here just in time for the holidays, in dark navy silk/cotton voile with a black underlay, and black French lace trim. It was my go-to dress all summer long, and this more seasonal version in double layer silk/cotton is perfect for just about everything right now.  

    I would be remiss if I didn't also mention this very beautiful pearl necklace.  It is spectacularly lovely. It feels like wearing a lace collar, but of pearls and gold. We also have many things that won't break the bank.  Mona Kuhn's book is a beautiful gift, as are our 100% beeswax and essential oil candles, which burn for about 120 hours.  The eye masks have been especially popular this year, so we keep re-stocking them, along with the beaded necklaces and the candles.  We even have a new scent this year, Orange Blossom Garden, which smells divine.   

    I have been asked to share one of my favorite recipes for a holiday season dessert, so here it is. I have become really taken with making raspberry mousse.  It is completely delicious and feels kind of festive.  The color alone is reason enough to fall in love.  It is wonderful on its own, but elevated to the sublime when served along with a chocolate pavlova.   

    Raspberry Mousse

    1 envelope plain gelatin

    3 tbs. water

    12 oz bag of frozen raspberries

    1/2 cup sugar

    2 cups heavy cream

    1.5 tsp pure vanilla extract

    Place contents of gelatin envelope in a bowl with 3 tbs. of water and stir to dissolve.

    Gently warm the raspberries and sugar over a low heat in a medium saucepan, and cook until the sugar dissolves completely, approximately 10 minutes.  Add the gelatin, and transfer to a bowl to cool completely.  Meanwhile, whip the heavy cream and vanilla extract until soft peaks form, then gently fold in the cooled raspberry/sugar mixture until combined.  Refrigerate for at least two hours, or as long as two days.  Here you can decide to fill individual compotes with the mousse, and serve with a bit of shaved chocolate and some fresh raspberries.  OR you can make a chocolate pavlova and top with the mousse and some dollops of whipped cream and fresh raspberries.   I like Deb Perelman from Smitten Kitchen's recipe for chocolate pavlova, though I tweak it a bit by doubling the amount of chopped chocolate (of course), using balsamic syrup for the vinegar, and baking at a lower temperature.  

    Enjoy,

     

    First Week of December

    Unbelievably, there are only nineteen days until Christmas.  It feels very condensed, this time between giving thanks and gifting our beloveds.  We are taking a decidedly mellow approach, considering the mad dash.  We have a few lovely playlists on repeat, lots of ginger tea and salted rye cookies on hand. There are so many wonderful things in the shop for the holidays, with new things arriving weekly.  I'll point out a few of my most favorite, and also mention that we are very happy to talk you through gift ideas over a cup of tea if you come over to visit us.  

    We just received new lingerie pieces, so if a beautiful silky something is on your list, now is the time.  Through this weekend, the entire lingerie collection is 25% both in-store and online using the code THANKS25.  The new Liberty prints are quite a hit, as is the black 100% silk charmeuse collection.  It's the first time we have presented a collection in black, because I am rather obsessed with color, but I have to say that I love seeing everything in this rich, lustrous black.  It really accentuates the elegant lines.  The silhouettes are universally flattering, and even more so in black as it turns out. 

    One thing I am rather excited about is the newest addition to our 100% beeswax candle collection, Orange Blossom Garden.  Inspired by the intoxicating and heavenly scent of orange blossoms on a warm day and a dear friend who always smelled of them, this is a loving tribute to her.  The orange blossoms are complemented by the addition of a hint of basil, making it like a walk through a summer garden.  We have a limited edition of them available for the holidays.  They do make a wonderful gift.  

    On the topic of gifts, I would like to suggest a few things if you are stuck or haven't even given it a thought yet. Our numerology rings are a chic and unique way to commemorate a special day, or special numbers.  Two entwined bands set with gemstones to symbolize whatever you would like.  I made one for myself that marks my wedding anniversary.  We were married in September, so I used blue sapphires to signify the date and month. The options are quite endless, so please let us know if you are interested in a bespoke piece.  We have a little time before the December 15th cut off for custom work.  

    These new lotus leaf drop earrings would make anyone happy.  They have quickly became favorites here in the shop.  They tick quite a few boxes for me.  They are light as air, possessed of a delicate and graceful movement, and also have a lot of impact for such a modestly scaled pair of earrings.  My favorite thing in a pair of  earrings is for them to both look and feel great when worn day into night. 

    I've been making necklaces with beads since I was a small child, and the process still fills me delight. In this collection, I've combined colorfully stitched strips of silk chiffon with combinations of glass trade beads for these festive necklaces.  They make very thoughtful gifts, and are all unique.  

    Let's not forget the men on our lists.  Our men's sleepwear collection is quite luxurious, and something every man on your list can appreciate.  My personal favorites are the Italian cotton fine wale corduroy robes.  In either dark navy or a deep purple, they are both elegant and cozy.  

    There are many more options for gift giving, and we are happy to consult with you to find the perfect thing this year.  We are open on Sundays from noon-5pm until Christmas.  Our holiday hours are:

    Tuesday - Friday 11-6pm

    Saturday-Sunday 12-5pm

    Open Monday, December 23rd 11-6

    Open Tuesday, December 24th 11-4pm

    Closed Wednesday, December 25th for the holidays

    Re-opening Friday January 3rd with regular hours, 11-6pm

    Don't forget to take good care of yourself during this busy time of year.  I am trying to make sure I get enough rest, spend time with people I love, and to eat well.  I hope you are doing the same!

    Much Love,

     

    Thanksgiving 2019

    I know I have said this before, but at this time of year I am even more grateful than ever. With everything going on in the world, how could I not be? I am almost giddy with the anticipation of being together with family and friends to share a Thanksgiving feast. I have always loved this particular holiday. I feel like it connects me not only to the people around the table whom I adore, but also to those who are no longer here to enjoy it with us. One of our traditions is to use plates and serving pieces that belonged to my mother-in-law, who loved Thanksgiving. It feels good to connect with her through our holiday traditions.

    My children are old enough now to not only sous chef in a meaningful way, but also to take the reins in decorating the table, and setting the stage for a beautiful meal. I love spending the day with them in preparation mode. Now that they're out of the house, it feels even more special to spend time together. Their closeness is something I am especially grateful for.  As siblings, my father and his sister were incredibly close. Seeing that same love and connection between my own children fills me with so much joy. It truly represents what family means on a very deep level, which in turn translates quite literally into "giving thanks" as I do not only everyday, but especially during the holiday season.

    In the spirit of giving thanks, I'd like to offer a special 25% discount on all lingerie, both online and in the shop, now through November 30th. If you're shopping online, please use code THANKS25. Discount is limited to stock on hand and is not applicable to custom orders. Our holiday hours next week are Tuesday 11am - 6pm, Wednesday 11am - 4pm, Closed on Thursday, Friday 11am - 6pm, and Saturday noon - 5pm. We look forward to helping you find the perfect gift for someone you love, or a special holiday treat for yourself.

    Speaking of the holiday season, the holiday party invitations are starting to roll in. I am really looking forward to seeing friends, catching up, and ringing in the season. I think these colorful tourmaline earrings would be perfect for any event. The color and movement of the loops all feel rather festive, don't they?

    I also think this pearl scarf would be lovely to wear to a holiday dinner. Ropes of pearls feel very luxurious and unexpected at the same time. Pearls warm to body temperature pretty quickly, so it would be a cozy option for a chilly evening.

     

    If you are traveling or hosting travelers, you will most certainly need a beautiful pair of pajamas to wear. We have a few sets in 100% silk charmeuse, that would be perfect to gift, or to enjoy treating yourself to. My favorite is the Liberty Print called Gracefully, which I wear out too. I pair the pajama top with trousers, and feel both chic and comfortable for any occasion. I've lately taken to flying in it, which feels perfect. The silk keeps me warm on the plane, and I add our Minerva camisole underneath for an extra layer. It's like my silken armor for travel, and I love the little bit of lace that peeks out from the camisole. 

    Of course you will be in need of a hostess gift at some point over the holiday weekend, either to present to whomever is cooking those turkeys, or for yourself as a reward for a job well done. Here, I would suggest one of our silk sleep masks, along with one of our beeswax and essential oil candles. It says "thank you, I love you, and now please rest" in the most elegant way.  

    I am very excited as usual for Thanksgiving dinner this year. I love hosting friends and family at our house, and the cooking always begins with this recipe from Martha Stewart. I came across it in the early 2000's when I first began hosting Thanksgiving, and it has become a tradition to begin the holiday preparations with making this recipe first. It is a zesty twist on a more traditional cranberry sauce, and I think it is far more delicious. You can play around with the proportions, and even make it with honey instead of sugar, as I often do.  

    Dried Cherry + Ginger Cranberry Sauce

    One 12 oz bag of fresh cranberries

    3/4 cup of dried cherries

    1/2 cup finely chopped shallots

    2 tbs. red wine vinegar

    zest and juice of one orange (about a 1/2 cup)

    2 tsp. grated ginger, peeled

    3/4 cup packed brown sugar (or honey, if you prefer)

    Combine cranberries, cherries, shallots, vinegar, orange zest and juice, ginger, and brown sugar in a medium saucepan, and cook over medium heat until cranberries pop. Reduce heat to low; cook, stirring occasionally, until cranberries release their juices, about 15 minutes or so. If the cranberry sauce becomes too thick, add water until the desired consistency is reached. I like to cook it down quite a bit over a low heat.  I think it brings the flavors together really nicely. Transfer to a bowl to cool completely.  You can also make this ahead, and freeze.  

    Happy Thanksgiving to All with tons of Love, Love, Love,

    PS I hope you save the date for Wednesday, December 4th. We will be having our annual holiday party with our next door neighbor, Pamela Barish. It will be festive as always....looking forward to seeing you! 

    A Family (and Friends, of course) Constellation Collection

    Right now it feels especially good to invest in and wear pieces that are particularly meaningful and personal. Don't you agree? I have been thinking of this quite a bit lately. In general, I am definitely more considered and more selective about what I want to bring into my life, and know that I am not alone in feeling this way. Fine jewelry is a luxury, so it should have meaning as well as exist as an object of beauty. I also believe in the talismanic quality of jewelry. Important pieces can quickly become an amulet that one feels adrift without, therefore it rings true that these pieces should be more personal in a substantial and considered way. I've always thought of my jewelry as a kind of armor, which in today's world feels even more essential. Also, gold is good for you, in case you didn't know.

    Spending time with people you love, and in places you feel connected to also happens to be good for you. I am so fortunate to have been able to do exactly that last month in Spain. I fulfilled my mission to see the exquisite Balenciaga and Spanish Painting exhibition at the Museo Nacional Thyssen-Borneimsza before it closes this weekend, and was able to also enjoy tuning out the rest of the world in beautiful Mallorca. To be able to rest and recharge in nature with my loves is truly a gift. 

    With this in mind, I've been working on a collection of pieces to honor the people I love, and allow them to be with me symbolically whether they are physically close or geographically far. Personally, I am feeling the need to gather my dear ones near to my heart. This feeling is clearly universal. For one lovely woman, I created this diamond necklace using her family's stones. One representing each person in her nuclear family. She now wears these stones from another generation in her family that represent the family she has created. It makes for a timeless future heirloom to be passed down to her daughters. For another, I created a necklace to represent a couple, and also the baby they are excited to welcome early next year.  

    For myself, I'm working on a piece with opal, tourmaline, emerald, and aquamarine to represent my family, throwing in a diamond and a pearl for good measure, as I love them so. I think I may also add sapphires to represent some of my dear Virgo friends.  Really, there are no rules or boundaries, and it has been so much fun to come up with different combinations of stones for not only necklaces, but bracelets, rings, and earrings as well. These pieces will be mostly custom, and part of a Family Constellation series.  Since the nature of this collection is so personal, I suggest calling or sending an email to schedule an appointment for a consultation.  It's been such a pleasure to work with clients to create these beautiful and treasured heirlooms.  

    If this resonates with you and you'd like to explore the options further, I look forward to hearing from you. Remember that these are custom pieces, and may take a bit of time to come to fruition, so I will just remind you that there are less than 100 days until Christmas.  (Hint, hint...)

    I always love it when we receive new Liberty of London fabrics to work with.  There is something genuinely special about them.  I love the history associated with the company, the collaborations with integral artists and designers of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and how many of the prints from this fertile period are still manufactured today.  There is a timelessness to the prints that I am drawn to, and I so enjoy seeing them layered together, as I do in our print-block kimono style Asteria and Selene robes.

    We also still have a limited stock of their incredible crinkled silk chiffon.  It is no longer manufactured, which is such a shame.  It makes it all the more special, of course.  I love it for the Thea slip and matching robe. 

    Please save the date for Thursday, October 10th.  We are planning a little early fall party, with our lovely neighbor Pamela Barish. Last year around this time, we hosted a cocktail party and served variations of olive oil cake. This time I'm thinking of doing a little chocolate cake tasting.  I'm also thinking of switching up a few tried and true recipes. I have been making flourless chocolate cakes in some form or another for over two decades. Peter's birthday is coming up, and I've been making him the same Fallen Chocolate Soufflé Cake from David Waltuck since before we were married. It might be time to try a new one, and hopefully you will be able to join us and let me know which one is the best. I'm thinking of substituting pistachios for almonds in the River Cafe's Chocolate Almond Cake recipe, which I think will be delicious.

    I'm still cooking like it's summer, because frankly it still feels like it is.  This olive-oil poached tuna steak is lovely and easy, and perfectly captures the season.  It's also very forgiving, as you can use whatever herbs and aromatics that you have on hand.  This is the version I've been making lately.  

    Olive Oil Poached Tuna Steaks

    One large tuna steak, or two small to fit in a small saucepan

    2-3 whole garlic cloves

    1 or 2 slices of fennel bulb

    3-4 sprigs of fresh dill

    1 tsp. black peppercorns

    a pinch of red chile pepper flakes

    a slice of lemon rind

    1 dried bay leaf

    1 tsp. of crushed fennel seeds

    Pinch of kosher salt

    enough olive oil to cover the fish

    Lemon to serve

    Place all ingredients in a small saucepan, and warm gently to poach the fish until desired doneness.  You want it to cook slowly, without allowing the oil to boil. Test the fish when it becomes opaque.  I like it when then center is still pink.  Gently lift the fish out of the oil, squeeze the juice of half a lemon over the top, and season with salt and pepper before serving.  

     Enjoy,

    Late Summer 2019

    Well I suppose the last sweet days of summer are upon us.  This is the moment where I take stock of where I've been, what I've seen, and what I still want to do while the sun is shining brightly and the days are long.  I traveled quite a bit in early summer, and had the good fortune to be in London in June, blessedly missing the scorching heat wave.  I had the opportunity to see dear friends, make new ones, and catch some lovely exhibitions.  The Lee Krasner exhibition at the Barbican Centre is simply wonderful.  Also dreamy is the Leonardo da Vinci at the Queen's Gallery, as well as one of my most favorite artists Joaquin Sorolla at the National Gallery.  His paintings capture the light, the sea, and the essence of family that make me feel exactly like summer.  

    Nothing embodies the essence of summer quite like the parks in London.   On a beautiful day, it is the loveliest experience to have a little wander, which is exactly what I did.

    I was also lucky enough to catch the last day of Sarah Wheeler's charming show, Bloom Away, featuring a beautiful collection of botanical photographs. I love floral representation in all forms, so it was especially nice to see such a thoughtfully curated selection of images. The Dior exhibition at the V&A is indeed sublime, and such a wonderful treat.  The quality of the craftsmanship, and the inventiveness of the designers over the last 73 years is quite an inspiration. The whole installation is incredible, spanning so many different aspects of the house of Dior, and showcasing the depth of talent that has played a hand in some of the most iconic designs of the last several decades.

    I am so grateful to be embarking on a quick, end-of-summer getaway to Spain. The perfect contrast to a busy city trip is time spent under a tree, or on a beach, which is exactly what I need after the stimulation of early summer in London.  I'm packing one of our new cotton/silk blend robes and slips for sleeping, and a few other cotton pieces for wearing over swimsuits or slips for daytime.  We have the cotton/silk robes and slips in matching sets in the shop, perfect for the August heat.  The fabric feels deliciously light and cool on the skin.  

    Packing jewelry for a trip is a task I always quite enjoy.  For a beach holiday, a bright pair of earrings, some turquoise and coral pieces, and a few beaded necklaces always make it into my jewelry case.  We have new silk chiffon ribbons that we've added beads to, which look lovely tied in a variety of ways.  I love them for a pop of color and texture, and am definitely taking them along.  They also make perfect gifts, so I plan to pack a few extra to give to friends on our trip. 

     

    Two summers ago in Mallorca, I complimented a chic and lovely woman on her straw bag at dinner.  At the end of the evening, she took her belongings out of the bag as they were leaving, and insisted that I accept it as a gift.  It was such a lovely gesture, and I've enjoyed it all the more for it.  I hope to see her again soon, and am packing a little something special for her, just in case I do.  

    You may have seen the nice article that Martha McCully wrote for the Home section of the Los Angeles Times in June. I so enjoyed spending the day with Martha, taking her to my favorite shops in Los Angeles, and shopping for tabletop items that make entertaining such a joyful, creative process for me.  I do love feeding people, and setting a beautiful table is certainly an important part of that love.  I never entertain without these uniquely gorgeous table linens from Gregory Parkinson, which you can find at Turpan. The Makoto Kagoshima and Juba Tenshin ceramics that we have collected over the years from Chariots on Fire always have a place on our table. No meal is complete without an assortment of Milla Chocolates, and stopping by their jewel box of a shop on Venice Boulevard is a true delight. There is always something special at Tortoise General Store, which is an excellent source for gifts of all kinds. 

    Summer dessert is always easy, with all of the amazing stone fruit we have here in Southern California.  One doesn't really have to do more than serve a bowl of fruit over ice and let guests enjoy, so don't ask me why I had a bee in my bonnet about making the Lemon Tart from The River Cafe in London.  Perhaps it's because I had it in June, and it just was so delicious that it stuck with me.  It could also be, that I remember that lemon tart from Michel Richard on Robertson Boulevard from my early days of living in Los Angeles, and how it was absolutely THE perfect ending to every remotely memorable dinner party. I can't really say, and though I wasn't able to source the Amalfi lemons, what I found from Apricot Lane Farms at the farmer's market last Sunday were in no sense second rate.  Be warned, this recipe is not for the faint of heart.  The amount of butter feels almost obscene, but fear not.  The results are so spectacular, that your guests will remember the deliciousness for a long long time to come.

    The River Cafe Lemon Tart

    For the Pastry:

    2.5 cups flour

    2 sticks butter, cold and cut into small cubes

    3/4 cup sifted Confectioner's sugar

    3 egg yolks

    pinch sea salt

    Place flour, butter, sugar, and pinch of sea salt in a food processor.  Pulse until it resembles coarse meal, then add the egg yolks and pulse a few times, until it comes together.  Pat into a disc, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for at least an hour.

    Grate into a 12 inch tart pan with a removable bottom, and press the dough along the bottom and sides.  Place a sheet of buttered parchment paper over the dough, and fill with dried beans, rice, or pie weights.  

    Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, and then remove the parchment and weights.  Bake another 10-15 minutes until golden brown.  Let cool completely.

    For the Lemon Filling:

    Zest and juice of 7 large lemons

    1.5 cups granulated sugar

    6 whole eggs, plus 9 egg yolks

    2.5 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature

    Place zest, lemon juice, sugar, and eggs in a large saucepan over a very low heat, whisking constantly until sugar is dissolved, and eggs are broken up.

    Add half the butter and continue to whisk. At this point the eggs will start to cook, and the mixture will thicken enough to coat the back of a spoon. Add remaining butter and continue whisking until mixture becomes very thick. It is important to keep whisking throughout the cooking process to prevent mixture from curdling.  

    Remove pan from heat and set it on a cold heatproof surface. Continue to whisk until mixture is lukewarm. 

    Preheat broiler, and spoon lemon filling into pastry shell and let settle for a least 5 minutes. Broil until top is mottled brown, 3 to 5 minutes. You may want to cover the edges of the crust with a little aluminum foil, to prevent it from blackening.  Let cool completely before serving.

    Enjoy,

     

    Mother's Day LOVE

    Perhaps you've heard that it's Mother's Day this Sunday?  It's hard to escape, with all of the advertising and consumerism associated with the day.  All that aside, it is a wonderful thing to take a step back, and shine a laser beam of love on all of the mamas in your life.  I have most certainly been blessed in that department, not only with my amazing mother, but with a truly unique and fabulous mother-in-law, who I wish was still with us.  There are other decidedly wonderful women in my life, who also happen to be mothers.  They have long set examples for me, and have been supportive, loving, generous, and kind to me always.  I know how tremendously fortunate I am to have these inspirational and supportive figures in my life, and also to be a mother myself.  I am reminded of how meaningful my own mother's support is (THANK YOU, Mama!) and how I hope to always provide that incredible sense of reassurance and unconditional love to my own children. It's one thing to feel it and think it, but another thing entirely to communicate it effectively and often.  My own mother is so good at this, and I find myself appreciating it even more as the years go by, and really hoping that I have inherited this very special skillset.
    We all know that I don't take holidays lightly.  I try to make Mother's Day as special as I can for my mother, and I love it when my family does something sweet for me.  Peter is taking me to see Jacob Jonas The Company at The Wallis, which I am very excited about, and hopefully (hint, hint) the children will remember to call me from the middle of finals week to shower me with love. Of course a little something special would also be nice. Let's not forget that being a mother is sometimes really hard, and that all mothers deserve to be recognized for doing what is unquestionably the toughest job.  
    We have lots of ideas for Mother's Day gifting, and we are happy to help you find something spectacular.  We even have a selection of pieces offered at a 20% discount, so if you've had your eye on something, now might be the perfect time to treat yourself.  One of the limited edition Liberty of London print robes would make a perfect gift for Mother's Day.  We have several in either 100% silk crepe de chine or 100% cotton with French lace. A few of them are one of a kind, and the only ones available, so you'll be lucky to call one of them yours.  I can't think of anything more luxurious than to spend a Sunday swanning around in one of them. 

    Everyone likes a stacking ring, and collecting them can become a delightful and lifelong pursuit.  It's such a personal endeavor, and so meaningful to find just the perfect ring to pair with an existing favorite.  We have a lovely selection, in many different stones and shapes, and are always happy to make suggestions.

    I've been wearing flower earrings every single day now for quite some time.  The studs are especially charming, and would make a delightful gift.  These are also part of our Mother's Day promotion, and are currently eligible for a 20% discount.  I am especially fond of the black diamond and blue sapphire pair.  They feel really unique and unexpected, while looking so pretty and feminine on the ear.  

    I think we will do Mother's Day dinner this year, so in the morning it will be nice to keep it simple.  I like to make almond milk every week, and one of nicest things about having it around is the ability to make delicious overnight oats.  It's easy enough to do, and such a treat to have on hand, especially for houseguests.  I assemble it in the morning, after making the almond milk, and then we have it for breakfast the next day.  You can play around with the proportions, or substitute a different kind of dried fruit, for instance.  It's a very forgiving recipe.  

    Overnight Oats

    1 cup old fashioned oats

    1/2 cup raisins

    1/4 cup dried, shredded, unsweetened coconut

    1/4 cup sprouted pumpkin seeds

    1 tbs. maple syrup

    1/4 tsp cinnamon

    generous pinch sea salt

    1 1/2 cups freshly made almond milk 

    Mix together all dry ingredients in a glass container with an airtight lid.  Pour over almond milk, and maple syrup, then mix to combine.  The dry ingredients should be completely immersed in the almond milk. You can experiment with how much liquid you prefer, as it isn't really an exact science.  Cover and refrigerate overnight.  I like to serve it with a handful of mixed berries, or a spoonful of jam.

    Enjoy,

    SPRING FEVER

    I don't think I can remember a Spring in Los Angeles feeling quite this much like an actual season, rather than just a subtle, brief transition that passes far too quickly to even notice.  This month, it actually feels like SPRING in really substantial ways, and what could be better?  First there was the incredible butterfly migration, then the sweet hummingbird's nest above our front door, the blossoms on our coral tree that have long been missing, followed by the heavenly aroma of the wisteria bloom in our backyard...all a nod to the historic superbloom the entire state is experiencing at the moment. It feels so incredibly good to see the blossoms, hear the birds, and feel the season shifting right in our very bones.  I hope you're enjoying this beautiful moment in nature, wherever you are.  I've been taking in the longer days, adjusting to the natural shift in my internal body clock, and creating lots of beauty wherever I can.

    Lately,  I find myself looking through my collection of pearls every chance that I have, and finding new ways to use them. Pearl drop earrings are always so lovely either on their own, or in combination with each other.  I have always favored pearls over almost any other type of jewel. There is just something about the luminosity that I find so compelling.  It's no wonder that pearls were prized by every civilization from as far back as the earliest recorded history.  Pearl mania has gripped many societies, and the "Queen of Gems" are fascinating in their uniqueness, variety, and natural beauty.  Everyone looks beautiful in pearls.  It's true, I promise.

    One of my favorite pearl pieces ever has to be this stunning ring.  The lotus leaf setting holds the baroque south sea pearl so beautifully, making it such a substantial and luminous jewel.  It's already found its forever home, so I'm on the lookout for another pearl to create something equally stunning.  In the meantime, I adore with these tiny little keshi pearls.  Strung on brightly colored coral silk, with our handmade 18K gold clasp, they are just the thing for Spring.

     

    Have you taken a look at Boticelli's fifteenth century painting "Primavera" lately?  I've long found it quite inspirational.  It is grandly romantic, and such an incredibly lush visual.  It has goddesses in nature, cupid, flowers, leaves, vines, and an orchard.  Not least of course, are the delightful Three Graces in their diaphanous gowns.  Stay tuned for our summer sleepwear, which we will introduce later in the season.  We are using a beautifully translucent silk and cotton fabric that I love for how light and soft it is. 

    The transformation of Chloris into Flora, the Goddess of flowers and of Spring, is my favorite part, marking the beginning of the season.  I can't get enough of the flowers in her hair, the garland around her neck, and her floral embroidered gown.  

    It also feels very spring-like to have floral rings on my fingers. It has been such a joy to create these one-of-a-kind pieces.  They've been going quickly, but I keep making more.  I find them to be both charming and happy, and who couldn't use a little of that on a daily basis?  

    It has been such a treat to experience Spring in Los Angeles this year, and I hope that if you're in town, you'll come over for a visit to see all of the lovely Spring pieces we have in the boutique. The cotton sleepwear feels especially fresh, as do the Liberty print florals.  I've been wearing this lovely cotton plaid and French lace slip under all of my Spring dresses lately.  

    And finally, I got around to putting together a few new pieces with some of the special stones that I have been collecting.  The lapis, labradorite, Chinese writing stone, and Norena Jasper all look quite beautiful as a collection, but of course you could wear just one at a time.  

    Lately, I find myself making this citrus salad over and over again. It has everything I am attracted to in a Springtime dish; color, brightness of flavor, and it is quite simple and cleansing to the palate. I just cut off the peels, and slice up whatever citrus fruit I have handy.  A combination of oranges, along with tangerines, mandarins, kumquats, and grapefruit all work beautifully.  Blood oranges, along with Cara Cara and Valencia are nice, and have different colors and flavor profiles. I then tear a handful of mint leaves to scatter over the top, along with the juice of one of the oranges.  It's especially nice after a meal for a light dessert.  I serve it with chocolates, and a pot of ginger tea.  It is also nice for breakfast in the morning, with greek yogurt and walnuts.  What a pretty way to begin the day!

    

    Enjoy,

     

    VALENTINE LOVE LOVE LOVE

    Yes, I do love a Valentine. Finding a little treat for loved ones, and celebrating LOVE might strike some as a little prescribed, a little Hallmark perhaps, but I disagree.  What better emotion to rally around, or to invoke? Especially now, I feel that everyone and everything needs more love love love. Valentine's Day is the most forgiving of all holidays, and the easiest to celebrate.  Chocolates, flowers, a love note...it really isn't that difficult to find a way to treat your love or yourSELF, which is just as, or perhaps even more important. Of course, we have many beautiful ways to do just that. Let us help you find the perfect thing this year. It's what we do best, and given our offerings of jewelry, lingerie, books, and essential oil + beeswax candles...I promise you'll find something that your Darling will love. 

    I'm just back from the gem show in Tucson, where I found lots of beautiful stones and beads to make into even more beautiful pieces of jewelry. I continue to be inspired by the beautiful range of pink tourmaline stones, and love making these floral earrings. They are so flirty and feminine, without being too sweet. We also have tiny flower stud earrings for the more faint of heart. They are quite possibly the most charming earrings ever. You can see them here.

    For those in need of immediate gratification, the newest selection of trade bead necklaces is already available for Valentine's gifting. They are strung on an adjustable length red leather cord, making them extra lovely, and feature 18K gold beads in both yellow and rose gold. My favorite necklace for your sweetheart is the one with the iridescent silver heart beads. They seem to glow from within, and I was immediately drawn to their smoothness, icy sweetness, and rounded heart shape.

    One special gift could be Mona Kuhn's Bushes and Succulents. Mona is a Los Angeles based artist and friend of mine, and her work celebrates the power of femininity and the strength inherent in being a woman.  I have long been a fan of Mona's work, and am thrilled to have her beautiful new book available in store and online. We have a limited quantity of signed copies, available next week for Valentine's Day gifting.  

     

    We have lingerie and sleepwear in both silks and cottons, whichever your fancy. I always feel like a Liberty print robe is an especially gorgeous gift. It is one of our most popular choices for a luxurious present, and one of the most well received too. The 100% silk crepe de chine travels exceptionally well, ensuring a bit of beauty and comfort away from home. The Liberty print silk also makes a lovely eye mask for sleeping deeply and soundly, which truly is a luxury in and of itself.  We have a selection of them to choose from, either mixing and matching with a robe, or on its own as a sweet Valentine treat.

    I would also love to suggest this new bright cherry red, short slip with a deeper red contrasting French lace hem.  It is such a flattering shape, and the color looks great on everyone. It would be virtually impossible to feel blue if you're wearing this.

    For an over-the-top grand romantic gesture, I would consider a ring with a hypnotic deep red, rubellite tourmaline cabochon. The stone is truly mesmerizing, and the grand scale of the piece makes it quite majestic. It's the kind of ring you just have to wear, not keep it tucked away, but wear and enjoy it every chance you have. If something more delicate is in order, then I suggest this sweet little ruby ring.

    This year I'm going to try and make a kind of healthy-ish truffle for my Valentines. I plan to combine roasted pecans, dried cherries, a bit of olive oil and honey, and then dip them in dark chocolate with a sprinkling of sea salt on top.  I don't think that the butter and cream will be missed necessarily, and I do believe that the appreciation of a homemade sweet is never something to underestimate!

    Treats are wonderful for Valentine's Day, but nothing beats a love letter.  My lifelong love of handwritten notes was just deepened by the gift of an outstanding selection of Japanese pens and beautiful William Morris paper from one of my favorite friends. I had forgotten how much I love a fountain pen, love the different colors of ink, the feeling of the nib on the paper...how nice to be reminded!  It is especially wonderful in this digital age, not just to write the notes, but to know how much of a treat it is these days to receive one.  I hope you write at least one Valentine this year, enjoy the love of those around you, and reflect it right back out there.  Love love love is all we need.

    Happy Valentine's Day, 

    January 2019

    Hello 2019!  I must say that so far, I like this new year.  I suspect it has something to do with my extended vacation from the relentless news cycle, and its attendant anxieties.  I've chosen instead to listen to music instead of talking heads, to dive into the pile of books on my bedside table, and to watch more films. The result is that I feel calmer, more productive, and just better than I have in awhile.  Usually I am in recovery mode, after the mad rush of the holidays. Because I am not obsessing over the state of the world, I feel like I have time to think and to reflect, and ultimately to be inspired, which is something we all can benefit from. Don't worry, I am not "head in the sand" ignoring the world,  I absorb enough information just from being awake and aware.  I'm just taking a bit of a pause, catching my breath, and setting my intentions for the new year ahead.

    I find myself reflecting on the incredible amount of art I was lucky enough to see this past year.  It was an epic year for exhibitions, and some of my all-time favorites were the Picasso show at the Tate Modern in London, the Van Gogh/Japan show in Amsterdam last summer, and the recent Edward Burne-Jones at the Tate Britain. We were also fortunate enough to see the Picasso Bleu et Rose, the Miro retrospective, and the Basquiat/Schiele exhibitions in Paris, as well as an incredible John Singer Sergeant show at the National Museum in Stockholm, which reopened in October after a five year long renovation.

    The Lars Tunbjork exhibition at Fotografiska was really wonderful too.  They are open until one o'clock in the morning, so we wandered in around 11pm and had the place nearly to ourselves. Why can't more museums do this?  It feels like such a privilege to have a quiet gallery to oneself.

    The most wonderful though, was the Louisiana Museum in Denmark. It was such an outstanding experience on all fronts. Spending an afternoon there was one of the highlights of 2018 for me. The combination of nature, modern art, architecture, and design felt so intentional, soulful, and so thoughtfully regarded. If you haven't yet been, make it your next trip. You won't be disappointed. 

    It was also such a delight to discover the lesser known magic of the Thorvaldsens Museum, which pairs a grand scale with a cabinet-of-curiosities feeling, and the exotic treasures at The David Collection in Copenhagen. They both felt truly special and intimate, as they are precisely that: the expression of a singular passion for collecting.

    If you've been over to visit the shop recently in the afternoon, you may have caught us in the middle of tea time. I make a pot of ginger tea with lemon and honey to share, which felt especially nice during the recent rainstorms. It's quite strong, and the perfect afternoon treat. We are attempting to be virtuous after the indulgences of the holiday season, but I still managed to make a batch of salted rye cookies. One of our talented foodie clients shared her recipe with us, and we are all a bit obsessed. I suppose the Swedish notion of fika really did make an impression on me.  Spending time with a hot drink and a biscuit in the afternoon, catching up on things together definitely feels like something to carry on with in 2019.  It's a lovely and delicious way to feel more grounded and connected.

    Ginger Tea

    I pour 3oz fresh ginger juice, the juice of one lemon, plus one or two spoonfuls of honey (depending on desired sweetness) in a tea pot. Add the hot water, and stir to combine.  You can also refrigerate any leftover tea, as it's delicious and refreshing to drink cold.  This hardly ever happens, as we usually drink it all, but it's a treat when it does.

    Salted Rye Cookies

    2 sticks unsalted, European style butter

    3/4 cup granulated sugar

    1 large egg

    1/2 tsp. finely grated orange zest

    2.5 cups whole rye flour 

    3 tbs. coarse turbinado sugar

    Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and the granulated sugar together in a large bowl until light and fluffy.  Beat in the egg, a pinch of salt, and the orange zest.  Slowly mix in the flour. Divide the dough into two portions, and place each on a sheet of plastic wrap.  Shape into logs approximately 2 inches in diameter, and wrap tightly.  Chill until firm, about an hour (or overnight).

    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.  On a sheet of waxed paper, combine 1.5 tsp salt and the turbinado sugar.  Unwrap the dough, and roll them in the salt/sugar mixture to coat well.  Place each log on a cutting board, and using a sharp knife, cut into 1/8 inch rounds.  Arrange the rounds approximately 1 inch apart on the parchment paper lined baking sheets., and bake until lightly browned on the edges, about 16 minutes.  Rotate the pans halfway through so that the cookies bake evenly. When finished baking, remove to wire racks to cool completely.  They won't last long, I promise.

    Enjoy,

     

    Christmastime 2018

    It seems that the mad rush of the holiday season has begun in earnest!  We are all basking in the love of the wonderful crowd who stopped by on Wednesday evening to celebrate the season.  Thank you to everyone who joined us to raise a glass and enjoy all of the sweet treats.  The mulled wine smelled so delicious that it drew people in off of the sidewalk, and gave the evening a true sense of holiday cheer.  One of the nicest things about gathering everyone together is seeing old friends and new, as well as introducing everyone.  It has been such a privilege to witness the widening and deepening of our community here in Venice over the years.  I also love feeding people, and sharing my new work.  If you didn't manage to make it over, you can catch a little glimpse of the evening, along with some of the newest pieces here.  

    Putting together suggestions for gifting is always a great joy.  I get to imagine how something will be received, and hopefully treasured.  We have a beautiful selection of new jewels to choose from.  As ever, we are delighted to share some of our favorite gift ideas.  I think one of these beautiful little garden rings would be such a treat to give or receive.  Each one is unique, and has its own personality.  The pearls with the pink sapphire leaves is especially charming.  It reminds me of cherry blossoms.

    If gemstones are not on your list, then one of our 18K gold pieces might be perfect. The simplicity and warmth of the gold is timeless and the patina that comes with age is incredibly beautiful.  I love seeing how the pieces age and soften a bit over time.  The integrity of the gold is one of the reasons I chose to work with it.  

    Recently we have added oxidized sterling silver settings, mixing them in with the 18K gold for a more antique feeling.  When I started making jewelry in my second year at university, I worked in oxidized sterling silver almost exclusively, so this feels nostalgic for me in lots of ways. Jewelry from the Georgian period also featured settings of sterling silver, and lots of flower and other natural motifs. These have what I think is a vintage, yet very modern feeling. 

    A robe would also make an outstanding gift. Waking up to a new silky kimono would be first on my list, I will admit.  We have both solid silk charmeuse, and Liberty of London prints in 100% silk crepe de chine, as well as a few limited edition silk crinkle chiffon pieces.   You could coordinate one with a handmade silk sleep mask for a charming gift set.  We have several to choose from, and in my mind, they are life changing.  I can't really sleep without one anymore.  It might just be the one of the nicest things you could give this Christmas.  The gift of a beautiful and more restful night's sleep is one that you can't really beat.  

    A gift doesn't have to be over the top.  Some of our most simple and modest pieces make the best gifts.  Indeed, one of our 100% beeswax and essential oils is something that everyone on your list would be delighted to receive.  Our newest addition to the collection is Zen Garden, which is inspired by the incense from the Ryoanji temple in Kyoto, Japan.  It made such an impression on me, that I wanted to capture the essence of that experience to share with everyone. I recently gave one of them to a lovely friend from Japan.  She wrote to tell me that she loves it, as it reminds her of "walks through Kyoto in the fall when the air is crisp, the leaves are golden, and memories of incense wafting from temples..." I can't think of a better way to describe it.  

    While the treats for last night included some of my family's traditional holiday favorites, it is a new recipe that I felt most excited about it.  A client of mine shared her recipe for salted rye cookies, and I must say that we all loved them!  They were heaven with the mulled wine.  The mulled wine recipe was also shared, and adapted from the Joy of Cooking.  In addition to feeling seasonal and tasting delicious, it made the store smell amazing.  Trust me, and make it for your holiday gatherings.  Everyone will love it, and your house will have the most incredible aroma.

     

    Mulled Wine

    2.5 cups cane sugar

    3 cups water

    50 whole cloves

    10 cinnamon sticks

    3 crushed nutmegs

    5 star anise pods

    3 cardamom pods

    Peels of 3 lemons and 2 oranges

    4 cups lemon juice

    5 bottles red wine

    2 oranges, 1 lime, both sliced into rounds  

    Combine the sugar, water, 6 cinnamon sticks, 3 star anise pods, the nutmeg and cardamom, together with the citrus peels in a medium saucepan, and bring to a boil.  Continue to boil for 5 minutes.  Turn off the heat, and cover the pan to let steep for 30 minutes, or longer if you have time.  Strain the syrup through a mesh sieve into a large pot that can hold all of the liquid.  I use a stockpot, that way I don't have to worry about splashing red wine everywhere.  

    Add the lemon juice, the wine, and the sliced oranges and lime, along with four cinnamon sticks, and a couple of star anise pods. Heat the wine slowly over a low heat until it is just below simmering.  Keep warm, and serve in glass tea cups with a slice of citrus for garnish.  

    Enjoy,

     

    Thanksgiving 2018

    Hello again!  It's been a little while, I know.  I've been traveling, working, adjusting to life without children in the house.  I have to say, ahem...it's not all that bad.  (Clearly, my children don't read this!)  That said, I am beyond excited to have everyone home, under one roof, for the first time since the summer.  CANNOT WAIT, actually.  I love it so much when the four of us are together, so this Thanksgiving I am grateful for that more than usual, and grateful for the wonderful friends who join us around the table for our epic feast.  

    The cooking has begun, and the clock is ticking.  Instead of feeling pressure though, I'm just going to focus on the gratitude.  I feel like with each passing year on the planet, I feel it more deeply.  The recent wildfires plaguing our state and causing so much devastation only serve to intensify the feeling.  So many people have lost so much, it's just heartbreaking.  There have been incredible stories of bravery, compassion and of coming together as a community.  We chose to donate to the cause through www.directrelief.org/emergency/california-wildfires/ and encourage you to do what you can too.  I'm proud to be a native Californian, and am always amazed by the resiliency and the beauty of this magical place. It's been an especially wild year, so focusing on making beautiful things, and being grateful for the opportunity to do so, resonates profoundly.  If you aren't participating in the mad, turkey-related frenzy, then please come over for a visit. We would love to see you.  

    Our Thanksgiving holiday hours are:

    Wednesday, November 21st, 11-4pm

    Thursday, November 22nd, CLOSED

    Friday, November 23rd, 11-6pm

    Saturday, November 24th, 12-5pm

    Sunday, November 25th, CLOSED

    On the subject of gratitude, I just had the honor and delight of reimagining an engagement ring for a truly lovely woman. There is no better feeling than knowing that new life has been given to an enormously sentimental and important treasure. Working on these kinds of future heirlooms is one of the things I love most, and something I am always grateful to have the opportunity to do.  I love the freshness that this piece has, and its powerful feminine energy.  It feels perfect for right now, and I hope it will be treasured for many years to come. 

    I have also been working on lots of new pieces for the holiday season, and a selection of beautiful new earrings, rings, and necklaces are available in store now.  I am particularly besotted with the dainty and colorful collection of garden rings.  Here is a little peek at a few new favorites.  They are especially charming worn together in little groupings.  

    Have you seen our dark floral Liberty print robes?  I love them.  They feel perfect for the season, and come in solids, or print blocked styles.  We also have coordinated sleep masks available, so you can put together the perfect set.  

    Welcome Home Breakfast

    I like to make this morning feast when we come home from travels, as it feels clean and simple, and as un-fussy as it gets.  Our son returns from two months away, and our daughter will be home from school for the long weekend, and everyone needs something home cooked and healthy.  This egg and vegetable based dish assembles quickly, which is helpful when you have hungry travelers from far away lands.  Everyone can pick and choose which bits they like most, and there are never any leftovers. Yes, it helps to have homemade pesto sauce on hand, but it's also delicious with harissa or even just hot sauce, which everyone should have in their pantry.  And really, any vegetable can work.  Use what you have, and what you love.  Sometimes I make it with zucchini, spinach, and potatoes.  It has endless possibilities, so it is never boring, and always seasonal.

    One bunch asparagus, ends trimmed, and cut into two inch pieces

    One bunch broccolini

    One handful wild arugula or other salad greens

    Fresh herbs, parsley, basil, dill, chives

    One piece of Prosciutto per person

    Two handfuls of cherry tomatoes

    Two eggs per person, poached

    Pesto sauce, or Harissa, and Extra Virgin Olive Oil

    Cheese of your choice, shaved or simply dotted over the top

    First I crisp the prosciutto in a cast iron pan over medium-high heat. This happens quickly, so really just a few minutes per side.  Remove to a platter, then saute the cherry tomatoes in the same pan, until they blister and soften.  Add those to the platter as well.  In a separate pan, boil about an inch or two of water, and blanch the asparagus and the broccolini until tender, but still bright green.  Add to the platter, and season with sea salt, pepper, and a couple of spoonfuls of olive oil.  Poach the eggs in a small pot of boiling water.  I lower the heat when I crack the eggs in.  This helps them to keep their shape.  When they are ready, I add them to the platter, nestled in and around the vegetables, and spoon over the pesto sauce or harissa.  Then I sprinkle over the arugula and freshly torn herbs, along with a little cheese.  I usually shave a little pecorino or parmesan, or dot a bit of goat's cheese or mozzarella, really I just use whatever is handy.  A little salt and freshly ground pepper over the eggs, and serve immediately.  Welcome home to all the travelers out there....

    Enjoy the holiday weekend, with tons of love love love...

     

    Late Summer 2018

    Oh August, please don't go.  I am relishing the last days of the month, even as we are just over half-way there.  One reason is certainly our daughter's imminent departure for college.  I wish we could slow down time, not only to enjoy summer and the longer, brighter days, but to have her home a little longer.  Thankfully she isn't going far, so that does make it a bit easier to bear.  It's an incredibly bittersweet time.  I'm going to surprise her with a few of our new cotton slips to sleep in, though without lace.  I'm sure the laundry situation in the dorms won't exactly be conducive to preserving fine French lace!  One thing that stayed with me from college days, is that all of the girls back then were sleeping in t-shirts and men's boxer shorts.  Needless to say, it wasn't exactly my vibe.  I understand comfort just as well as anyone, but what could be more comfortable than sliding into a slip?  

    Thinking back to college days, I'm feeling a bit nostalgic for making bracelets by hand, so that's what I've been doing every chance I get. I used to spend hours making these when I was younger, and it feels really nice to reconnect with that process. We have a selection of handmade beauties, featuring combinations of African trade beads and either 18K gold or oxidized sterling silver beads.  They are fully adjustable, unisex, and look great in groupings. We will be adding more as the days go on, as they are proving to be quite popular.  You can find them here.

    We recently received a new batch of cotton slips to see out the rest of the warm weather. I love a lace hem, and we have a few new designs.  I am so inspired by the lace that we use from Solstiss in France. They are the ultimate purveyor of fine French lace. Their work is truly unparalleled, and used by the finest fashion houses.  The actual making of lace is something I've long appreciated.  The Lace Museum in Burano, Italy is a real treat for anyone traveling through Venice.  I found it quite inspiring to learn how painstaking it is to make lace by hand.  I have so much more respect for vintage lace pieces, and the effort that went into making them, and I truly respect all of the tiny details that are so often overlooked. 

     

    These Italian cotton and lace half-slips have been indispensable to me this summer.  I wear them underneath dresses, or sheer skirts, or on their own with a camisole when it's too hot to wear anything else.  The crisp cotton feels cool on the skin, and the lace adds a lovely bit of femininity to what would otherwise be considered a traditional men's shirting fabric.  

    My daughter and I recently took a pasta making class with Chef Gino at the Gourmandise School of cooking in Santa Monica.  It was so much fun, and we had a blast making it at home.  Apparently even all of the children in Italy know the recipe:  100 grams of flour, plus one egg per person.  We used that maxim and made enough for the army of teenagers that were hanging around the kitchen, patiently waiting.  It was so much fun to make the fettuccine, for the Uni pasta (see earlier notebook entry from January 2017 for that recipe) and also a batch of ricotta and asparagus ravioli.  Be forewarned, it's messy.  The army of teenagers really comes in handy for the clean up!  

    Fresh Pasta Recipe

    amounts are per person

    100 grams 00 (or all purpose) flour

    1 egg + 1 yolk, lightly beaten

    Place the flour you are using on a flat surface in a mound, and make a well in the center.  Pour the egg in the center, and carefully begin to incorporate the flour into the egg until you have a rough dough.  Knead the dough by hand for about 8-10 minutes, then let rest in the refrigerator for about an hour.  After resting, use a pasta maker to roll out the dough, and cut into desired shapes.  Toss noodles in flour and rest until ready to cook.  In a generously salted pot of water, boil pasta for 2-3 minutes until al dente.  Toss with whatever sauce you've made, and eat immediately.  

    Asparagus + Fresh Ricotta Ravioli

    One container fresh ricotta

    One bunch asparagus, lightly roasted and chopped into tiny pieces

    One cup of parmigiano reggiano (with a little bit of pecorino thrown in)

    One egg, lightly beaten

    Zest from one lemon

    Pinch of freshly ground nutmeg

    Salt + Pepper to taste

    1/2 stick of butter, melted

    Mix all ingredients together in a bowl, and use as filling for your homemade pasta ravioli. Boil in a pot of generously salted water for approximately 4 minutes, until floating at the top.  Transfer to a shallow saute pan with the melted butter, making sure a bit of the pasta cooking water comes along too.  Salt and pepper to taste, and sprinkle with a bit of parmigiano reggiano and freshly torn herbs.  Basil and mint are especially nice here.

    Enjoy,

     

     

    Midsummer 2018

    Midsummer already, and the heat is here with a vengeance.  I now feel like being lazy, sitting in the sun (I know, I know...but the vitamin D!!!), and reading book after book after book.  I did manage to spend a little time by the pool on July 4th, and also to read my brilliant and talented friend Evgenia Citkowitz's novel, The Shades. What I haven't quite accomplished is the lazy part.  Not my nature, I'm afraid.  We just returned from a quick trip to London and Amsterdam, and as ever I am inspired by all of the incredible art, nature, and certainly the food that we experienced, and am busy bringing those inspirations to life.  I am always happiest when the four of us are on a trip, away from the quotidian distractions of life.  This trip was no exception, and it was absolute heaven to all be together.  From the epic Picasso exhibition at the Tate Modern in London, to the Van Gogh and Japan in Amsterdam, with meals at The River Cafe, and De Kas amongst others, and plenty of laughs, my heart and mind are both full.  

    As much as I love to travel, I am always thrilled to come home. It feels good to be back in the store, with all of the new summer pieces. I love colorful earrings with a bit of movement, as well as pearls in all forms. These are two pair of several new earrings that have just arrived, and are true to my love of all things floral.  

    This weather makes me feel like staying in my swiss cotton slips all day.  It's just difficult to want to wear anything but, on days when it's hovering around 90 degrees on the westside.  This beautifully crisp set of cotton pieces are new, and perfect for these brutally hot days.  The mid length version is what I love to wear over my swimsuit, or even over a slip as a dress.  I wore mine last summer in Mallorca, and the light weight of the cotton was a dream. In either plaid with red lace or stripes with greige lace, they are both charming for the beach or poolside, and not just for sleeping.

     

    We had a little sample sale last year, and it went so well, that we have decided to do it again.  This time, the discounts range from 65-85% on selected pieces of lingerie in silk, cotton, and even a few of the Liberty prints.  The sale begins on Tuesday, July 10th, both in store and online.  Shop early for the best selection. We will also have a small selection of jewelry with special pricing.  We only do this once a year, so if you've had your eye on something, don't miss out! 

    It's a bit hot for cooking, so though this summer dessert does involve roasting stone fruit in the oven, it is served with cooling greek yogurt for a refreshing end to a summer meal.  I love making it with apricots, but it can also be made with peaches, plums, nectarines, cherries, figs, or a combination of all.   Simply halve and pit the fruit, and place cut side up in a roasting pan that has been generously buttered.  I then top the fruit with little bits of cut up butter and drizzle with honey and sprigs of fresh thyme.  Roast in the oven at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes or so, until the fruit is soft and beginning to look caramelized at the edges.  Serve with a dollop of full fat plain greek yogurt, a sprinkling of chopped walnuts, and a spoonful of the juices from the roasting pan. Of course almonds, pecans, or pistachios would also be delicious, if you prefer. Sometimes I use citrus slices, and top with shredded coconut and shaved dark chocolate instead of yogurt and nuts.  Really, it can be anything you'd like.

    We have deliciously cool A/C at the boutique, and we make a delightfully refreshing iced tea with elderflower, so swing by if you can.  We look forward to seeing you, and catching up.  Whether you've completed your summer travels, or are about to embark on an adventure, enjoy these sweet midsummer days... 

     

    Mother's Day

    It’s that time of year again, where we reflect on some of the most important people in our lives: mothers.  However you look at it, not one of us would be here without one.  We all either have one, are one, or love and appreciate one (or more, if we are lucky).  Motherhood is a privilege, a cherished responsibility, and a deeply meaningful relationship, based on the purest love there is.  It is sometimes rather complicated, and undeniably hard to encapsulate all that it means into one emotion on a single designated day.  
    This year, Mother’s Day is especially meaningful in my family.  Some of you may know that my own lovely mother was adopted at birth.  Her greatest wish has always been to have a photo of her birth mother, to be able to see her face.  To this end, I have obsessively researched and successfully found (with lots of help!) my mother’s birth parents.  Her mother was a woman named Elsie, who unfortunately died long before we made this discovery.  It has been quite a journey, to say the least, and where it ended up is in many ways a wonderful surprise.  We finally have been able to see what my maternal grandparents look like, learn a bit about them, and it is quite amazing to see the family resemblance most strongly between myself and Elsie.  I am acutely aware of the strong role genes play in so many of life’s determinations.  The best feeling of all, in addition to finding my grandparents, is to have fulfilled my mother’s lifelong wish.  It is a gift greater than any other, and it has been my most sincere pleasure to have succeeded in giving it. 
    Usually, Mother’s Day involves flowers, brunch, and hopefully a heartfelt love letter to the woman who means the very most to us.  Oftentimes, celebrating her can also mean a truly special gift, and this is an area where you could not possibly be in better hands. Our collections of both fine jewelry and fine lingerie and sleepwear contain many wonderful options for spoiling these beautiful women and ourselves this year.  I hope you’ll let us help you find something perfect for celebrating all of the wonderful mothers in your life.  
    Jewelry is always a treat to receive, and especially appreciated.  Our adjustable length beaded necklaces with 18K gold accents are always a great choice.  We have a lovely collection in a myriad of colors, and would love to help you choose one or even a few together for layering. We have this beautiful one-of-a-kind, ancient glass and agate bead necklace in shades of blue and green, and a new handmade chain, both of which would make a stunning gift.   
    I also love the ring with the 18k gold flowers that delicately wrap the finger.  A new bracelet, selected from one of the recent arrivals, or one of the blue sapphire stacking rings would be a lovely idea too.  We have lots of other stacking ring options, and these are always well received.   You could make a nice stack with family birthstones this way.  
    We also have a new selection of Liberty of London print robes in 100% silk crepe-de-chine.  From the loveliest shades of pink and blue, to darker florals, these universally adored robes are a sophisticated and chic.  They go anywhere, are the perfect weight for any season, and look great worn out in the world over jeans and a camisole, or a simple dress, too, not just at home.  A little something feminine and special goes a long way in our experience.  We have plenty of pieces to choose from, in both silk and the finest Swiss and Italian cottons.  
    Lastly, I am going to be traveling on Mother’s Day this year, so I’m pushing the family celebration back a week.  This will give me more time to organize something delicious for the lunch I’m planning to host.  The farmer’s market has been spectacular lately, with the grandest strawberries, and most gorgeous purple artichokes.  I will admit to being a bit obsessed with these pink lemons I’ve discovered.  They are so pretty, and more juicy than any other variety I’ve found.  They have the perfect balance of tartness, without too much acid. They have a subtle green stripe on the skin, so if you find some, try them.  I promise you won’t be disappointed.   
    I’m not sure what I’m making yet, but it may just be the purple asparagus, leek, potato, goat’s cheese and pesto frittata that I made last week for lunch.  My husband said it was the best one yet.  It went something like this, if I recall.
    Seasonal Vegetable Frittata
    One dozen large organic pastured eggs
    One bunch of large purple asparagus, ends trimmed and stalks cut in half lengthwise
    Five small purple potatoes, roasted whole in the oven, then cut into fourths
    One leek, trimmed and sliced thinly lengthwise in 2-inch strips
    One log of goat’s cheese
    One handful of aged and grated parmesan cheese
    One half-cup of homemade pesto sauce (basil leaves, pine nuts or pumpkin seeds, parmesan, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper, all whizzed up in a food processor or by hand in a mortar and pestle)
    salt, pepper, and freshly torn soft herbs  (I use a combination of parsley, dill, chives, mint, and tarragon)
    Sauté the asparagus and leeks in butter over a medium heat in a wide, low, enameled cast iron pan until softened.  Sprinkle with a bit of salt and pepper.
    Add in the cut potatoes, then whisk the eggs with the parmesan in a separate bowl, and add that to the pan as well.    Turn the heat to low, and while the eggs begin to set, add the goat’s cheese in pieces evenly distributed around the surface of the egg and vegetable mixture.  Afterwards, do the same with spoonfuls of the pesto sauce, tucking some of it under the surface of the egg mixture.  Sprinkle the surface with salt and freshly cracked black pepper, and place the pan in the oven at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes, until the top is puffed and set, and the eggs are no longer runny.  After removing the pan from the oven, sprinkle the top with whatever fresh herbs you are using, and serve immediately.  It is also delicious at room temperature.  I usually pair it with a big green salad, and plenty of fresh baguette.  Feel free to substitute different vegetables or another cheese if you prefer.  It’s a very forgiving dish, and I’ve made it in a million different ways.  
    Enjoy,

    April Journal Entry

    Happy Weekend, Everyone!  It might be gray and gloomy on this Spring afternoon in Venice (early June gloom, perhaps?), but I am feeling sunny inside. We are so lucky just to live in this vibrant city.  I haven't always felt this way, but LA has won me over.  There is just so much to do and see here, and such lovely people who have flocked to this fair coast.  I had a cozy dinner with friends last night, who had just been downtown to see the LA Philharmonic.  I'm now trying to find last-minute tickets to see Gustavo Dudamel conduct Beethoven's Ninth, and convince my 18 year old daughter that it will be thrilling (instead of Coachella, where all of her friends are). I know you are all wishing me luck with that, which is most sincerely appreciated!  I also am enjoying that it sort of feels like Spring all of a sudden.  The flowers and blossoms on the trees thrill me to no end, and after years of drought they feel especially meaningful.

    For the last few months we have been working on a bright new lingerie collection, featuring a few new shapes and updated versions of our favorites, all along with stunning new Liberty print pieces as well.  Most of all, I like the new bralette and brief set in color blocked greens and blues or pinks and reds.  

    The newest floral Liberty print robes are completely gorgeous.  In crisp 100% silk crepe de chine, they feel perfect on the skin, no matter what the season.  

    New earrings have arrived, and again my favorites are the bright color combinations.  There is a particularly lovely pair that feature bright purple amethysts set in oxidized sterling silver, with a dark green tourmaline drop set in 18K yellow gold.  The length, the playful colors, and the gentle movement make these quite special indeed.  My love affair with tourmaline continues, as shown below.  The sheer spectrum of colors alone is reason enough, and composing a selection of stones is one of my most favorite things to do.  

    I recently had the privilege of gathering with some of my neighbors to say farewell to one of us who is leaving the neighborhood, and moving on to new adventures.  It was called for 6pm, and a potluck, which I normally find really unnerving.  I am never sure if the food will coordinate, or if there will be enough, or what to bring in the first place.  Since our gracious neighbors were hosting, I really didn't have to worry about anything (Thank you Brooke + Randall!), so I decided to arrange an assortment of cheese and other delicious snacks that are usually a big hit in our house.  This time was no exception, as Brooke wrote to me the morning after:

    "Liseanne – In addition to your energy and presence, that cheese platter extraordinaire was amazing…!  I need you to ID everything on that platter and in the bowl – I’m serious! I’m going to be serving it in lieu of dinner from now on!"

    So for you Brooke, and for anyone else who might be interested, here is what I brought, and a list of what you see.   And yes, it totally works in lieu of dinner!

    Cocktail Party Cheese Plate

    Sliced aged Manchego, cubed Irish Dubliner Cheddar, Thinly sliced Petite Basque, chunks of aged Parmigiano

    Italian flat Rosemary herbed crackers

    Mary's Gone Crackers, Jalapeño flavor

    Pita bread crackers

    Dried papaya and dried turkish figs

    Cashews, walnuts, pecans

    Mandarin orange broken open, and still in the peel

    Marinated goat's cheese, with fresh squeezed lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, fresh chives, salt and freshly ground black pepper 

    Enjoy,

     

    March Musings

    What is the saying, March comes in like a lion and out like a lamb?  The weather yesterday fits perfectly into this bit of nineteenth century weather folklore, with sheets of rain falling for hours on end.  In California these days, this is tricky business.  We desperately need the water, but the horrendous mudslides in Santa Barbara County were just six weeks ago, so we are feeling a bit tender.  I was actually in Japan during the mudslides, and it was heartbreaking to learn of them when we were having such an amazing trip, enjoying the tranquility and reverence that Japan has with regards to nature.  We were delighted by the gentle waterfalls we discovered there, while back at home the more violent side of nature was in full force.  I'm happy that the sun is shining now, and enjoying how refreshed all of the trees look after their long drink.  

    Traveling through Japan is a life altering experience.  The culture is so different to ours, and the trip sank in deeply with all of us.  Of course it was inspirational, in more ways than I could have imagined.  A few new things have arrived in the shop, and more will certainly come.  For now, I will share a few images from our travels, and some of what it inspired.  

    I have a lot of bamboo in my garden, so it was a treat to see the great bamboo forests of Japan.  They take such care with nature, therefore everything appears to just thrive, whether in a park or forest, or even the smallest container garden outside of an apartment.  It was January, and yet we didn't see anything dead or neglected at all, everything was just weathering the winter with aplomb.

    I am really obsessed with moss.  I was so excited that there are moss temples in Japan.  It was heaven to walk through the gardens, seeing so many different types of moss, in both shade and sunlight.  I'm working on encouraging the moss that is growing naturally in spots around our garden, and aspiring to something like this.

    The color and symmetry of the famous Fushimi-Inari shrine in Kyoto is quite striking.  During the first part of the new year, people come from all over Japan to pray for good business for the year.  It is one of the most famous Shinto shrines in all of Japan, so understandably was quite crowded.  We were lucky enough to have a moment to ourselves along the path.   

    There is a subtle geometry to much of Japanese design, and a play between symmetry and asymmetry.  We have several new pair of earrings that feature my take on that delicate balance.

    I never travel without one of our silk dressing gowns, a slip, and a sleep mask.  They are perfect for decompressing after a long day, and the masks come in handy for naps on planes and trains.  This was the combination that I took with me on our trip to Japan.  The color blocked robe felt perfect there, and I loved the combination with the jewel toned slip.  

    We redesigned our slips, making them easier to construct, but retaining all of the details that make them so special.  These are in a stretch-silk charmeuse, and come in an assortment of lengths and colors.  We are getting ready to shoot our next look book, and promise to keep you posted.  Some of the new pieces are already in the shop on Main Street.  Come by and try one on if you are in the neighborhood.  As always, we'd love to see you.  

     

    If you read last month's journal entry, or joined us for our Valentine's Day party on February 8th, then you might be interested to learn which chocolate cake was the favorite.  I can't believe it, but it was so popular, that I didn't actually get to taste them myself.  A bit sad, I know.  Judging from the feedback, the favorites were pretty evenly divided amongst the Ottolenghi Fudge Cake, the River Cafe Chocolate Nemesis, and a classic Torta Caprese, which I learned to make in Sicily several years ago.  Emanuela Notarbartolo di Sciara has a beautiful cookbook, with charming illustrations by Fiona Corsini, and an amazing recipe for Torta Caprese.  I'll share my version of it, because in all honesty I think it may have been the absolute favorite that night.   

    Torta Caprese

    250 grams whole almonds (you can also use almond meal and skip the grinding part)

    200 grams sugar, divided

    250 grams 70% chocolate, coarsely chopped

    200 grams unsalted butter

    6 large eggs, separated and warmed to room temperature

    confectioner's sugar for dusting the top of the cake

    Preheat oven to 325 degrees F, and set a rack on the middle level of your oven.  Butter a 9-inch springform pan and line the bottom with a sheet of parchment paper.  

    Grind the almonds (if not using almond meal) in the Cuisinart in three batches, adding two tablespoons of sugar to each batch, using six tablespoons total.

    Melt the chopped chocolate and the butter in the top of a double boiler, or in a bowl set over a pan of boiling water.    Set aside to cool slightly.

    Beat the egg yolks in a large bowl with an electric mixer for about 5-7 minutes, until light yellow.  Gradually, with the mixer set to low, add in 10 tablespoons of sugar, mixing well.  Add the melted chocolate and butter, followed by the ground almond/sugar mixture, and mix well.  

    Beat the egg whites in a separate bowl with the remaining sugar until firm peaks form.  Fold them into the chocolate mixture in three batches, taking care not to overmix.  

    Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and bake for about an hour.  I begin checking at 45 minutes, so as to be sure not to overbake.  When done, cool in the pan for about thirty minutes or so, and then remove the sides of the pan.

    Before serving (and when the cake is completely cool) dust the top lightly with confectioner's sugar.  I serve this cake with lightly whipped cream, sweetened with maple syrup.  It's also delicious with creme fraiche.  

     Enjoy,

     

    Hello, February!

    I'm thrilled 2018 is here.  Last year was rough.  I've never been so happy to close the books on a year before.  I feel like I may have said that several times over the last few years, and each time I've meant it, but not like this.  I think 2017 turned us all inside out.  Starting a new year feels like heaven, and so far I really like this one.  

    Our first party of the year will be our annual Valentine's Day celebration. I hope that you can join us on Thursday, February 8th from 6-9pm.  It may seem corny, but I always love Valentine's Day, and we certainly try to make the most of any holiday that highlights love, flowers, chocolate, jewelry, and lingerie.  It's very "up our street" over here.  

    We are joining forces with our Main Street neighbors, Pamela Barish and Coldsmoke.  Next door at Pamela's, Laura Jean Anderson will be singing love songs, and Anjelica Huston will debut her new clay sculpture.  Coldsmoke will host The Unlikely Florist, who will be on hand with gorgeous bouquets.  There will be complimentary valet parking as well.

    We will have a selection of our 18K gold flat band rings in a variety of sizes and colors, ready for custom hand engraving as a gift of a poesy ring for your beloved.  I have been fascinated by the tradition of poesy rings ever since learning about these 15th - 17th century love tokens.  I wanted to make a modern version, so we will have a few engraved, and some not, which will be ready for your customization.  Think about something sweet to say to your love, and we will have it hand engraved in time for February 14th.

    In addition, we will be debuting our bespoke slipper collaboration with Julio Chavez of Solid State Studios. He will join us for the event to trace your foot for limited edition, custom handmade slippers.  It's been such a blast to work on this project with Julio.  I am excited to introduce you to him!  

    I also think that it's important to gift yourself for Valentine's Day.  A ruby red stretch silk charmeuse slip could quite possibly be the perfect treat for you, as would a delicious deep garnet silk robe with a gentle shawl collar and contrast piping.  You could pair either one with one of our 100% beeswax and essential oil candles, or a matching silk sleep mask.  It's all about L O V E, and treating yourself exquisitely.

    Lastly, if you haven't tasted the Hazelnut Praline Bar from Milla Chocolates, then you are in for a treat.  We have a special edition version in a gorgeous red wrapper, which is perfect for sharing on Valentine's Day.   On the topic of chocolate, there will be plenty to share at our event on the 8th.  I'm planning to do a tasting of our three favorite flourless chocolate cake recipes, to see which one truly is the best.  Please come help us decide.  It will be fun and delicious.

    With so many options for treating yourself or your Darling, it's difficult to choose just one.  Let us help...it's our favorite thing to do, spreading love, beauty, and delicious chocolates for all!  

    Much Love,