Monthly Archives: July 2012

Are You Staring At My Breads?

Dear Bread Lover,

Are you ever canoodling with a fresh loaf of bread, loving it, rubbing it all over your face and then you start to get sad, thinking about the future when that bread is no longer young and fresh the way that you once were? Well, never you fear! I have the perfect use for old bread. Keep reading.

I like to make crostini with my soon-to-be-moldy-and-disgusting bread. This way, you’re not wasting food and you have a delightful treat to serve your unexpected guests. Speaking of unexpected guests, I have this fantasy that I live in a world where people are always showing up at my door out of the blue. In real life, this has never happened. In fact, I haven’t had a guest since 2001. That is a lie. Kind of. In this fantasy they show up at the door and I always magically have a bottle of sparkling wine perfectly chilled and a ready-made appetizer just sitting in my fridge, waiting for us to enjoy it as we sit and talk about how difficult our lives are, how no one understands us, and how worried we are that 90s style is back in fashion already.

Okay, onto making the crostini…

The first step is to not let your bread get too old and gross. If it’s too hard it will never make good crostini and you’ll probably throw your back out trying to slice it. Second, slice the bread as thin as you possibly can without chopping off your fingertips. And honestly, if you have to chop off a finger or two, that is far preferable to having thick, hard crostini that are impossible to bite through.

After slicing, pour olive oil into a stylish Japanese bowl and dab it onto the bread with your fingers. If you are fancy and/or a legitimate grown up, use a pastry brush to light coat the bread with olive oil.

Then, drizzle your bread with balsamic vinegar. Just slosh it all over like you’re a drunk clown with a bottle of whisky.

After the olive oil and balsamic, add salt and pepper and stick it in the oven. Bake at 450 degrees until golden brown, about 8 minutes.

My go-to hors d’œuvre is this crostini with a thinly sliced piece of avocado on top, sprinkled with Himalayan pink sea salt. It seems really chic and glamourous but really it’s the easiest thing to prepare (especially if you have these delicious crostini lying around). Win.

After this post, you no longer have any excuse to waste bread ever again. So don’t even think about it. You can do this with any kind of bread, but obviously the artisanal bakery variety will produce a more delicious product. This baking method works extremely well with tortillas, pita, or lavash bread which make ridiculously beautiful garnishes for a piping hot soup. So go forth, America! Stop wasting your bread and start eating crispy delicious crostini! [With your nonexistent unexpected guests, of course].

Love,
Orlando

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Wallpaper/Dollpaper

Dear Keith Haring,

Thank you for the wonderful body of work you left behind in your too-short life. I’ve always been captivated by the playful, graphic nature of your work. This is why I was attracted to the wall stickers inspired by one of your installations. When it came time to add wallpaper (or, rather, Dollpaper) to my dollhouse, I decided to add some Haring flare. Below are the images of the newly papered dining room. I can’t wait to move into my own falling down barn so I can put up the full-size version of this paper.

In other news, yes the dollhouse was supposed to be done, like, ages ago. New projected date of completion: May 24, 2017. The final product, however, will be nothing short of delightful.

Love,
Orlando

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Filed under Decor

10 Non Ugly Sectional Sofas

Dear Reader,

Do you ever sit up in bed, at a 90 degree angle, late at night, thinking about how much you hate sectional sofas? Me too. They’re often so ugly, annoying, and whale-like. They are the Ursula the Sea Witch of home furnishings. However, sometimes a room really needs a sectional. Usually when it’s too big for just a sofa, but too small for multiple sofas or a sofa and lots of chairs. I have a new client whose living room is, like, begging for a sectional, so I’ve had them on my mind lately. Below are a couple I like.

Room & Board Jasper Sofa. $2198.

Great shape with some elevation off the floor to give it an airy look that many heavy sectionals lack.

HD Buttercup Sectional. $2995.

The tufting adds a bit of visual interest while the piece remains relatively simple. Also, can’t go wrong with that navy color.

Design Within Reach Neo Sectional Sofa. $5777.

This is another clean example, no unnecessary lines. It’s weird because I’m not a huge fan of such minimal furniture but for some reason it makes sense in a sectional.

Talisman 1950s Sectional Sofa. Price upon request. http://www.1stdibs.com.

The sheen and shape of this one make it look like you’d slide right off, but it would be worth it because it’s so unique and beautiful. Just like you!

Blueprint Furniture Soho II Sectional. $2699.

My friend has this one and you can fit, like 45 people on it. Which counts for a lot when you’re having a party and there’s nowhere for people to sit.

Etsy Mid-Century Danish Sectional. $1250.

These are super contemporary (which I normally hate) but for some reason I still love it. Perhaps because it’s poufy and slouchy, like me when I was a teenager.

Retoration Hardware Shelter Arm Sectional Sofa. $5320.

While not very modern, this piece is appealing for its romantic, relaxed look. I can just picture it in a Nora Ephron (RIP!) film starring Meryl Streep and Alec Baldwin as star-crossed, heartbroken widows who fall for each other whilst vacationing at Martha’s Vineyard.

Monunment Paul McCobb Sofa. Priced upon request. http://www.1stdibs.com.

This isn’t technically a sectional, but I’m into it. You complete the whole thing by putting a table between the two sofas. I love that there isn’t one superfluous line.

HD Buttercup Sectional. $2996.

This doesn’t look very comfortable. But sometimes one must sacrifice comfort for beauty.

Room & Board Murray Sofa. $1898.

This one is clean and simple. And my favorite color. WIN!

So, the moral of the story is that unless you are a lady (or a ladyface), you should probably just stick to a simple, clean-lined sectional. Otherwise your life will be ruined by a frilly, complicated, overwhelming sectional sofa mess. Booo!

Love,
Orlando

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Turning 30 in the Woods!

Dear Diary,

I had a little bit of a hard time turning 30 this year. The thought terrified me, chilling me to my bones. But it’s not what you think. You’re probably thinking I was scared of getting old. That’s not the case at all. I love old people way more than I love young people. What I was really afraid of is the fact that my life had not yet lived up to what I thought it was supposed to as a twentysomething in Los Angeles. To understand why I don’t feel that I’ve lived up to my full potential as an Angeleno, one must first understand where I gained my understanding of what it means to be an adult. Here’s a hint:

That’s right people. Melrose Place. I used to watch this show with my sister when I was ten. This was where I gained my understanding of adulthood. I always thought by the time I was 30 I’d be just like Amanda Woodward (Heather Locklear’s character). I’d be a high-powered advertising executive who would stop at nothing to get what he wanted. I’d drive around in a red convertible, saying witty, mean things to people in the car next to me. I’d push people down the stairs if they got in my way. I’d get in dramatic fights that always ended with someone being pushed into a glamourous pool. Strangely, I didn’t turn out to be Amanda Woodward. And how disappointing is that? I’m just, like, a normal human being that lives in an apartment and talks too frequently about my feelings.

Additionally, planning a 30th birthday party in Los Angeles is about as complicated as planning a wedding in Texas (if you know any Texans you know how much they like weddings there). The expectations are extremely high. There really are only a few options, the most obvious being a crazy gay pool party at some rich dude’s house. Like this:

As tempting as crazy gay pool parties are to me, I wanted to do something a little more intimate. With that in mind, I planned a trip to my homeland, Yosemite National Park. Guests included old friends from my East Coast college life and friends from my newish life in Los Angeles. I could not have asked for better company. The drive from Los Angeles to Yosemite is about six hours, but I normally do it in five and a half (we locals know some tricks about how to speed up the trip).

The drive to Yosemite, up Interstate 5, is one of the loveliest drives on earth, with rolling hills drenched in that just-right hue of California gold.

Just outside Fresno on the way to the park is this patriotic barn, which is one of the most genius creations in history. I can just imagine the people painting it, some of them dressed as pilgrims, others as indians, singing the national anthem as they painted the flag onto an old decrepit barn. It warms my American heart (Sidenote: I’m secretly extremely patriotic. Seriously).

Below is the house where I grew up. It’s about a half mile from the base of Yosemite Falls. It’s a humble home, but for me it represents a very specific kind of glamour, the opportunity to walk outside your door and be in one of the most magical landscapes on the planet. A few images of the inside of the house can be viewed here.

The view from the hammock in the back yard.

One of my lovely friends enjoying the rope swing down the street.

We took a hike up the Mist Trail to the lovely Vernal Falls, along with, like, every single tourist in the whole entire world (sidenote: Yosemite is crowded in the summer, try Fall, Winter, or Spring for a quieter visit).

Because it was 88 degrees and we were hiking up a mountain, we took our shirts off. Also, we’re gay. Pictured here with me, World Famous Interior Designer Matthew Lanphier. Note to my father: I’m wearing a Giants cap. Happy now?

This is the Ahwahnee Hotel, the hotel I played in while I was growing up (my favorite trick was to convince tourists I was homeless). The Ahwahnee’s pastry chef made my delicious birthday cake (so rich and amazing I can still taste it).

In addition to providing delightful birthday cakes, the Ahwahnee is also a wonderful place to enjoy a ridiculously overpriced outdoor cocktail.

A fun fact about Gays is that we have internal sensors in our brains that naturally direct us toward beaches, even when we are 400 miles inland. Thus, we made our way to the sandy beaches of the Merced River, next to the Superintendent’s Bridge.

Once at the beach, we tried unsuccessfully to take outdoors-inspired profile pics. Another important fact about homosexuals is that 87% of their free time is spent attempting to take the perfect profile pic for facebook. It’s incredibly time-consuming and exhausting, but required unless you want to be socially ostracized.

This is the ugly beach about five minutes away from where I grew up. The water is freezing and I have never gotten in unless someone chased me in. True fact.

The only thing that even came close to meeting the beauty of Yosemite was my beautiful friends.

Once beaching was done, we headed home for a birthday BBQ.

After a delicious meal of grilled steaks and vegetables, we moved on to birthday cake. My pretty sister and her fiancé were in from San Francisco for the weekend, a delightful birthday treat.

All things considered, my 30th was a smashing success. I may not be Amanda Woodward, running over old ladies while quipping about my immense wealth, but I do have the best friends and family on earth. And that’s not too shabby!

My only complaint is that the weekend was far too short. I feel like I blinked and it was over. This will be a lesson for me for my 31st birthday in Yosemite. Next year, I’m opting for a full week of Yosemite fun for my birthday, two days in paradise with friends and family is simply too short!

Love,
Orlando

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Filed under California, Californiatimez, Life