Monthly Archives: January 2012

Shopping With Emily / Give Me That!

Dear Everyone,

Look at these new chairs I found for my apartment at the Long Beach Flea Market! See them and more of my finds in my shopping post on Emily’s Blog today. It will be the most important thing you do in your whole life.


P.S. Here is the link to my shopping wrap-up.


Filed under Decor

Beautiful Photography / Melancholia & Gregory Crewdson

Dear Kirsten Dunst,

I loved your work in the film ‘Melancholia,’ which I just got around to seeing last week. While your acting was quite amazing, the thing that struck me most about the film was its opening sequence. The first eight minutes of the film are so beautiful and enthralling they could stand alone as a short film.

The imagery in these opening scenes will probably seem familiar to anyone who has seen the work of Gregory Crewdson, a photographer who specializes in dramatically lit, color-rich, surreal images. I didn’t really make the connection until a friend of mine (who has an incredible memory for artists’ names, which I totally don’t) mentioned how evocative the cinematography was of the photographer’s work. To my knowledge, Crewdson was not actually involved in the making of this film. However, his influence is quite evident in the work of cinematographer Manuel Alberto Claro. You can see the aesthetic connection below in this collection of some of my favorite Crewdson photographs.

I’ve always loved Crewdson’s images so it was exciting when the film (and my artist dictionary friend) reminded me of their existence. A fun fact about myself is that I spent four years of my life studying photography in college. Whenever I see things like ‘Melancholia,’ I’m inspired to make photographs again. Someday…



Filed under Art, Style

Why Do I Deny Myself The Thing I Love Most?

Dear Diary,

If you did a scan of my brain, it would look something like this:

Everything in my head is neon and bright and beachy (this is one reason why I love Los Angeles so much). I tend to shy away from using these colors in my apartment because my deepest fear (aside from dying alone, surrounding by cats) is making my apartment look like a gay cartoon rainbow explosion. But I can’t stop fantasizing about having this kind of color in my apartment:

Meanwhile, I just painted my walls this color (Benjamin Moore Half Moon Crest). Snore.

Oh, Diary, why do I deny myself the one thing I truly love? Especially when it’s right there before my very eyes? Why do I deny myself color?

Oh tender, delicate aqua walls, how I long to hold you in my arms and protect you.

And you, dip-dyed drapes. I long for your tender touch and companionship.

Teal, you’re the real deal. Will you be my Valentine?

I’m into you Tiffany Blue. I want to wrap myself up in you like an precious diamond ring.

And you, Navy Blue. You’re so dark and mysterious and handsome. Would you like to come home with me?

This looks like Cuckoo Christmas, but I still like it. (I must be really starved for color).

This color is tasteful and reserved. Just like me.

Yellow Kitchen, you are a bit cheesy. Why am I drawn to thee?

Oh green, rotting room. You disgust me. I must have you.

Hi, Barbie Room. I want to be with you but I can’t. My love for you must remain a secret.

Oh that I were that row of books, so that I could rest my quivering face against this delightful hue of aqua.

If I were a grandma, I’d snuggle into this Pretty In Pink space.

Yellow door, you’ll always be welcome in my bedroom.

Colorful cabinetry, you belong with me.

So why have I denied myself my one true love? Why is my living space a minefield of greys and neutrals? Fear. My fear of making my apartment look like a crazyhouse has overtaken my life. And I’m not going to take it anymore. Fear, get out of my house! I will order a custom sofabed in a glamourous Peacock Blue velvet:

I will bring in some gold. Perhaps in a bar cart.

I will replace my rug with something more graphic and exciting (sidenote: this rug is only $299 for an 8 x 10 from Crate & Barrel. Holler!):

So there we go. I’m not afraid anymore! I’m going to get what I want. And what I want is color.


PS: I wrote this song about my love for color. Note the happy ending:


Filed under Decor

Jared Levan / Veggies For Dessert

By Contributing Food Editor Jared Levan

Dear Dessert Loverz,

Something tells me that more than handful of you would be down-right frightened if you were ever served crudités for dessert whilst dining out and about. And while that tray of celery and carrots may not an ideal dessert make, it’s actually not that far from something delicious (not to mention sweet). That’s right, I’m talking about desserts that call for vegetables and this past week at In Food We Trust, we’ve been sharing our favorite veggie-laden recipes for all to taste.

Why vegetables you may ask? Well, in most recipes, a dash–in some cases a dollop–of veggies can add some much-desired moisture…which is the secret ingredient when it comes to baked goods. Avocados can be added for creaminess, beets can be added for sweetness (not to mention color). Black beans can even been added to brownies for added decadence and fudgy texture. When it comes to veggies in the dessert, the possibilities are virtually endless.

Vanilla-Zucchini Cupcakes with Vanilla Frosting: When my friend Kira heard I was doing a series on veggies for dessert, she said that these cupcakes were a must. After trying them, I totally agree. They’re pretty awesome.

Aunt Mable’s Zucchini Cookies: We had to kind of/sort of/maybe twist a friends arm to get his Aunt Mable’s recipe down on paper…but he eventually caved.

Chocolate Zucchini Cake with Fresh Lime Icing: This one’s a family recipe, passed down from my grandmother…it’s one of my favorites. Now I’m strangely (or not so strangely) addicted to lime icing.

Can’t Beet Red Velvet Cupcakes with Roux Frosting: No, it’s not a mistake–this recipe truly calls for balsamic vinegar and beet puree. You know you want to try it.

I hope these gratuitous pictures and delightful recipes have inspired you to start including vegetables in each and every dish you make. If not I’ll tell your doctor that you’re not eating your veggies. And then you’ll be sorry.


Jared Levan


Filed under Style

Diesel, I Will Always Love You Even Though You Ripped Off Levi’s

Dear People Who Grew Up In A Normal Place,

You know, often when people ask me what it was like growing up in a National Park (Yosemite), they say things like “Were you raised by wolves? Did you live in a teepee? Are your parents forest rangers?” Unfortunately, the answers to those questions are “No,” “Kind of,” and “Almost.” I did, however, grow up in a “rustic”  cabin in the middle of the woods right next to a huge waterfall. And you’d probably imagine I was running around wearing overalls whilst biting on a piece of straw all the time. That’s not totally true (although I do admit that I was one of the filthiest children that ever existed). When I was in high school, and a terrible human being, I turned into a huge label snob and started buying expensive clothing to wear to my rural high school. In Yosemite, kids start working summers when they’re 14, so we all had spending money all the time and, naturally, I wasted mine on ridiculously overpriced clothes (Sidenote: there was no H&M or Zara at that time, so there was literally nothing cool for guys to wear because everything from J. Crew fit like a sleeping bag).

My favorite brand in high school was Diesel. I loved everything about it. The advertising, the modern, Euro-inspired tailoring of the shirts, and the playful sophistication of the entire lifestyle they were selling. Looking back on it, I must have looked completely ridiculous showing up to my high school (which is in an economically depressed rural town 50 miles away from Yosemite) wearing what I wore. But what is high school for but to look totally ridiculous, right?

I remained a cheesy clothing snob (favorite brands: Diesel, Dolce & Gabbana, and Prada) until I graduated college and started fully supporting myself. Then I never bought anything expensive ever again. That’s not true completely. I splurge every now and then but my main sources of clothing these days are Levi’s, H&M, Zara, and Target (Yes, I admit it, and I’m not ashamed… They have really good t-shirts!). When I was in high school most clothing for guys was lame and the only good stuff was expensive. Now you can find tons of really innovative clothing for, like, zero dollars so it doesn’t make sense to spend tons of money.

That being said, I’ll always have a special place in my heart for Diesel because it was my first foray into really thinking about fashion and taking it seriously. I still love going into the store because I always find something I want, but these days I find myself attracted to more humble brands, both for practical reasons and because I no longer see why I should spend $300 on a shirt that I could find for $50.

Diesel’s latest campaign is work-inspired and casual. Which I like except Levi’s did it two years ago. Here is the runway show of Diesel Spring/Summer 2012:

Below are a few of my favorite looks from the collection.

I’m really into these semi-Hammer pants, but they never look good on me and make me feel, like, totally diapery.

This is a super cute outfit but the fit is horrible. That skinny model looks like he ate too many Christmas cookies.

This look is flat-out cute. I’ll take the hat, the t-shirt, and the cardigan. And the boy.

Sweater: LOVE. Faux-distressed jeans: HATE.

I like that shirt so much I want to put it in a picture frame and stare at it forever.

These are some ads from the Levi’s “Work” campaign a few years ago. I’m not saying that a denim company can never do the whole “we are workers” thing again, I’m just saying maybe they should wait a while before directly copying the Depression-era working-class aesthetic of one of the most famous clothing brands in the world.

I love this ad so much. It’s so pretty and enthralling.

And finally, for good measure, I found this Brad Pitt Levi’s ad randomly when I was researching the other videos. It has, like, nothing to do with anything but it’s Brad Pitt in the most uberglamourous 90z commercial you’ve ever seen.

You’re welcome.



Filed under Style

The Rose Bowl: My Heart Will Go On And On!

Dear Kate Winslet,

Remember that scene in Titanic where you and Leonardo Dicaprio are so cold that you look like this?

Yeah, me neither. It’s been ages since I saw that movie. But the above picture describes perfectly how cold Emily and I were when we showed up to Rose Bowl on Sunday at 5:45 AM. I was pretty much wearing a speedo and a backpack and my teeth were chattering (I think I need to hire someone to dress me in the morning, I’m a total idiot). Emily was dressed more sensibly, but by the end of the morning neither of us could feel our feet. I tell you this not to make you feel sorry for us, but to let  you know how very dedicated we are at beating people to the best deals at the Bowl. We love our clients enough to freeze to death in order to find furniture for them.

We liked this chesterfield for $800. Emily was all “It’s real leather!” and then I was like “No it isn’t.” and then she was like “You ruin everything.” And that was that.

Emily practically started making out with this sofa when she saw it. It’s freshly reupholstered velvet that you just want to stick your whole face in. $750. A steal! We didn’t buy it because we didn’t have a client for it and Emily’s blue sofa collection is getting out of hand. (I’m scared).

If Brian ever asks me what he can do to keep Emily interested, I’m going to tell him to dress up in a wicker costume. I mean, every time that girl sees something wicker she’s all over it. I like wicker too, but I think wicker is a lot harder for dudes to get away with so I tend to run the other way when I see it. This was $300. I had to pull Emily away from it, kicking and screaming.

This was one of those moments when you’re like “Is this cool? Or ugly?” And then you blink and when you open your eyes you realize it’s hideous and feel ashamed for looking at it in the first place. God, why am I so mean today? I think it’s my OrlanDiet. I’M SO HUNGRY!

We bought this delightful table for our equally delightful client. $695.

Who doesn’t love a worn leather suitcase? $20.

Get this: 90 yards of fabric for $90. That’s a dollar a yard! Trust me, I was a math major. (No I wasn’t). And it’s so cool. I hope there’s some left over for me to make Hammer Pants out of.

Little brass table, come to me. $30.

Hi Woven Chair, I just love those turned arms! $75.

Those Kilim pillows are killin’ em! $40/set of 2.

We wanted to buy this coffee table for our friend Corbett but instead we bought it for our other friend Rachna. $300.

We purchased this suave guy for a bachelor pad we’re doing. $135.

These French friends are going to be king chairs at another home we’re decorating. $90/set 2.

Look at these little brass antelope bookends! $40.

We bought this classic dresser for our bachelor pad. I kind of coveted it, but I already have a dresser and it would be rude to steal from our clients. Right? $400.

Dear World, I’m a brass-legged side table and I’m the cutest thing ever. Love, Brass Side Table

We bought these two mid-century chairs for a project we like to call “The Cool House” (because the clients are so cool). We thought the retro fabric on the left might scare the homeowners. So if they don’t want it I’m taking it home. I’ll name him Harold and he will be my new boyfriend. We’ll argue about how he’s such an old fuddy duddy and can’t keep up with the times. Eventually, he’ll undergo a massive surgery so that I will love him again. I’m scared that I just made that story up. The pair cost $600.

Do you think it’s okay for a boy to have one of these crazy big round loungers? Because I really want one. This one was pretty rad. Emily was all “I love the pattern!” and then I was like “EWWWWWWW! That COLOR!” and she was like “I’m not talking about the stupid color I’m talking about the pattern!” and then we were fighting and then we made up and then we hugged. $300.

We bought this ugly old vinyl ottoman for $60. But guess what, this ugly old vinyl ottoman is going to be reupholstered in sumptuous linen and is going to be the most glamourous coffee table ottoman ever known to man. So there.

We thought this dresser was cute. But it was an actual piece of junk so we passed. Literally falling apart before our eyes. $125.

I don’t know why I took a picture of this. Probably because it was so disgusting. Reupholstered they’d be totally cute Hollywood glam, but who let their cat EAT these things? I mean, just imagining what happened to them is giving me nightmares. $300/pair.

We found these fun French jugs. They’re big, and weren’t cheap. Sometimes you gotta pay the price. $160/set 3.

All in all, it was the most fulfilling day of our lives. Once the sun came up, the freezing weather subsided and was replaced by warmth, fun, and about five million people eating hot dogs right in front of my face. Afterward, Emily, Corbett and I went to Secret Lunch (at a location SO secret, no one will ever find it) and talked about how we’d remember our day at the Rose Bowl forever, and would someday tell this legend to our grandchildren and their grandchildren. No we didn’t. We talked about boys can clothes and the mall. We’re only human.



Filed under Decor, Style

I Am A Teenage Girl From Japan Who Likes Weird Things

Dear Diary,

Like many teenage girls in Japan, I love all things graphic, bright, and cartoony. Yesterday, I went on a crazy shopping spree at Target and was reminded how much I like cartoon-inspired objects. In particular, I was struck by a mug in the shape of a whale (which happened to be in my favorite color aqua). It titillated me because I find it both revolting and completely necessary. At first I thought it was too cheesy and disgusting to buy, but then I thought to myself that if I saw it at Cerealart, I’d totally want it. This mug cost me $3.99 and it was worth every penny. I liked it so much I bought one for myself and one for a new friend (who threw it in the garbage as soon as I left her apartment. Probably). Can you imagine not being filled with joy whilst drinking from this ridiculous mug?

Target has some other weird/cute stuff right now, including this cookie jar. That mama elephant looks like she’s about to eat her baby.

This candy jar terrifies me. Thus, I want it.

I’m a fan of Takashi Murakami and Yoshitomo Nara, which probably explains why I like these weird, subversive cartoony objects so much. In fact, I have both these Nara pieces in my apartment:

Cute Clock.

Cute puppy in a teacup.

If you aren’t familiar with Cerealart, you should check them out. They sell all sorts of glamourous artist editions and a ton of fun objects (including those below) made by artists whose actual work is too expensive for, like, anyone to afford.

I like this adorable brass tooth by David Shrigley.

Also, I need this sign by Maurizio Cattelan:

Keith Haring coasters. Gimme.

If I smoked I’d totally want this ashtray by Yoshitomo Nara.

I guess the moral of the story is that I love weird cartoony objects. And so should you.



Filed under Decor, Style