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In the Mood

It’s currently raining at our Seaside Ranch Home. It wasn’t supposed to rain until tomorrow but apparently, Mother Nature had other plans. So did I…and they involved being outdoors. I’m quickly shifting into Plan B which includes sitting in front of the computer (with the pup in my lap) and composing a long overdue post. I was researching some information for another post idea that’s been swirling around in my head when I stumbled across the Italian blog of Antonella Pagliaroli, a full-time Italian food blogger and photographer who lives in the small town of Bracciano located about 20 miles northwest of Rome. The blog is called “Fotogrammi di Zucchero”, which translates to “Frames of Sugar”. It is a beautiful site chock full of captivating photography and recipes that even non-cooks (like myself) can appreciate. The site has a dark, moody quality to it that captures the feeling of this winter day perfectly.

The inspiration for today’s post title, In the Mood, is actually the name of Antonella’s online magazine, which led me to her website. The most current magazine she publishes is from almost a year ago but the 7 issues she has posted are a feast for the eyes and are still relevant today. 

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A Night at the Museum: The Getty Center

Living in Los Angeles provides lots of cultural opportunities. We have some wonderful museums in Southern California but with L.A. being so spread out (urban sprawl!), I don’t get to visit my favorites much as I would like. It’s been a while since my last visit to The Getty and last weekend we decided to spend the evening at The Getty Center. There are actually two Getty museums in Southern California: The Getty Villa and The Getty Center. However, Californian’s often refer to them as “the one in Malibu” or  “the one on the hill”. Sometimes someone will refer to “the one on the hill” as “the new one” even though it isn’t actually all that new. In December it celebrated its 20th year anniversary…how time flies.

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To call The Getty Center “just another museum” is an understatement. It’s a series of Italian limestone buildings (16,000 tons of limestone, to be exact) that are perched on top of a hill that offers educational activities, conducts research, as well as play host to some of the best works of art in the world. The sculptural design of the complex is an architectural photographers dream. It was designed by famed architect Richard Meier and the geometric forms of the structures are so interesting that they often provide the most amazing contrast between light and shadow. If you love architectural photography then you won’t want to leave your camera at home. And If you enjoy art and architecture as much I do and are planning a visit to L.A., then The Getty Center should be on your list of places to visit. I  highly recommend The Getty Villa also.

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We arrived in the evening thinking that the daytime crowds would have died down and that we would have the galleries all to ourselves. We were completely wrong. The second we pulled into the driveway we immediately realized that half of LA. must have had the same idea. Once parked you can either walk hike up the hill a quarter mile to reach the museum or, alternatively, board a tram that will transport you directly to the top. The parking lot was full during our visit so they allowed us to park in an area at the top of the hill that eliminated the need to take the tram. Signage literally refers to it as “Top of the Hill Parking” and is only accessible through a secured area. It’s normally reserved for Benefactor’s, VIP’s, and the like but on this day it served as overflow parking and we scored the best parking spot ever. Once you’ve figured out your parking situation and get to the top of the hill, you reach a large arrival plaza. You immediately realize that this is no ordinary museum.

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It doesn’t take long to discover amazing views in almost every direction.

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Typical Saturday evening traffic on the 405 freeway heading into L.A.

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Don’t forget to look up!

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You can easily spend a few days visiting The Getty Center if you want to experience all that it has to offer. Most people don’t have that kind of time so it is best to plan your visit to ensure you don’t miss what interests you the most. We had the intent of only staying a couple of hours to visit “Icons of Style: A Century of Fashion Photography: 1911-2011”, a temporary exhibit through October 21, 2018.

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You wouldn’t necessarily realize this from my pictures but this gallery was uncomfortably crowded. This is a wildly popular exhibit but I was just lucky enough to get a few pictures without a ton of people.

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Richard Avedon, 1950

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Louis Faurer, Negative 1972 & Print 1991

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Neil Barr, 1968

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David Seidner, 1986

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Scott Schuman (aka “The Sartorialist”), 2011

The French and Italian decorative arts galleries are my favorites in any museum and The Getty is no exception. I get nervous handwashing a glass in the kitchen sink for fear of breaking it so it always amazes me how some antique glass stays beautifully intact with no chips or cracks.

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I hope you enjoyed my post about my quick visit to The Getty Center. If you need me today, I can be found at the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena, CA. I’m looking forward to seeing the lithographs of American artist Ellsworth Kelly on display through October 29, 2018.


Happy Friday! TGIF. With the first week of summer almost behind us, I wanted to end out the week with a beautiful beach landscape. Little did I know that when I took a trip to Oahu last year that I was actually channeling my inner Gary Malin when I took this picture! I shouldn’t at all be surprised. After all, I love photography and thoroughly enjoy taking pictures of architecture and landscapes. I took almost 600 pictures during that short trip to Oahu and this one turned out to be one of my absolute favorite images. I love the simplicity and the coastline’s curvilinear shape. The contrast of the beautiful blue water and pristine sand is almost mesmerizing.  I am seriously thinking of having it blown up and put into a large oversized framed to hang in our family room.

The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever.   —Jacques Cousteau

Original Photo by Reviving Charm_DoNotUseWithoutPermission

Original photo by Reviving Charm.


Can you believe that summer has arrived? No one captures the essence of summer fun better than photographer Gray Malin, who is most notable for his bird’s eye views of the world’s most beautiful beaches from around the world. You might already be familiar with his work but it’s worth revisiting as a way to kick off the 2016 summer season. And if you are not familiar with his work then allow me to introduce you to his photography by sharing a few of of my favorite Gray Malin images.

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I might as well take this one step further and use this as an opportunity to let you peek inside Gray Malin’s very own Los Angeles home. His fun loving attitude is definitely reflected in his own abode. Take a look around…notice how he incorporates his own artwork into his home. It might not be everyone’s style, but you can’t deny that fact that it looks like this guy knows how to have fun!

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Gray Malin (left) with husband Jeff Richardson at their Los Angeles home.

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A pair of Gray Malin photographs flank each side of the room.

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When I shoot a series, it always starts with one thought: Is this something I would hang in my own home?   –Grey Malin

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Gray, Jeff and their dog Stella lounging in their Los Angeles house. The gallery wall behind them includes a collection of Gray’s photographs.

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A birthday bottle of champagne sits next to a Gray Malin photograph.

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A great collection of sunglasses…a man after my own heart!

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The room features two Gray Malin photographs: the one above the dresser and the one near the lamp (shown in detail below).

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Apparently, Stella has found one of the most comfortable spots in her home.


Let’s Celebrate Spring!

Oh….the power of social media. I found Flora Forager while browsing Instagram. The owner of Flora Forager, Bridget Beth Collins, is a botanical artist who turns wildflowers into art. Literally. Given that today is the first day of Spring, I thought it would be a wonderful reason to showcase Bridget’s whimsical floral creations. If your interested in purchasing one of her photographs they are are available on her website.

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I love to adventure into the wildflower woodlands, mossy waterfalls, and grey sand starry expanses of the Pacific Northwest. I forage almost all of my creations from foliage and flowers plucked from our sidewalks, meadows, and woods in our neighborhood. I have a small garden in the city, and my mother has a big rambling secret garden filled with old english roses in the sea town of Edmonds where I grew up.  –Bridget Beth Collins

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There is no denying that I love San Francisco. Over the years Mr B and I have traveled there so often, people think we live there. We had a hiatus in travel for a bit but are getting back into the groove of things. When first made it back into town last year one of the restaurant staff commented, “Where have you been. I thought you moved”. I tell you this not to brag but to offer some sound travel advice: make friends with the hotel staff and servers wherever you go. They will treat you well. Even if it’s in your own home town. Your parents may have taught you to “treat everyone the way you wish to be treated”. The were right. People will appreciate you for it and along the way you can meet some really nice people!

I have fond memories of San Francisco and am looking forward to flying up there tomorrow. If you want to join us on our travels, be sure to follow along on Instagram and Twitter. I also have some fun posts planned for while I am away.

We plan on visiting the Oscar de la Renta Retrospective at the de Young Museum, visit the annual flower show at Macy’s as well as shop, dine and wander throughout the city. We will go wherever the wind takes us. I’m also hoping to visit the exhibit of French artist Pierre Bonnard at the Legion of Honor. It is the first and only U.S. stop. And it is at one of my favorite museums. The Style Saloniste did a lovely post about Bonnard if you want to learn more.

Someone recently asked me “are you a details person or a big picture person”. With no hesitation, I responded: “details”. Since I am feeling a little nostalgic about the city I love, I have decided to share a few pictures of San Francisco I have taken over the years. Naturally, they are just a few of the little “details” that make the city so great.      Enjoy…  -XOXO, V.

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The climb is worth the views and the exercise is rewarding.

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The beautiful bay.

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French cafe in the heart of Downtown.

The Schuggi chocolate shop is now closed but this remains one of my favorite pictures.

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The Palace Hotel.

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Peeking through the window at a cookie display.

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Exterior of Gitane Restaurant on Claude Lane (it’s really more of an alley than a street).

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Public Art.

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Window displays at Aria on Grant Avenue.

A beautiful gold cherub guards the entrance to a building along Market Street.

A beautiful gold cherub guards the entrance to a building along Market Street.

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Ornate metal work on cathedral doors

Fresh bread piled in wicker and wire baskets.