Los Angeles is crowded and busy and overwhelmed by its own populace, a city drowning in its own promises, but to this east coaster, traveling from a monocratic winter white, this California blue sky meeting an expanse of aqua ocean is all the elixir I need to refresh. Color therapy.
Flowers too. Brilliant blooms fluttering along vines, crowding through hedges, even in doorway pots, all singing the same happy tune. Hues encourage life. Pushing you to do the same with your short years.
Even in paradise I can still hear the faint trail of fear racing from media sites to newspapers and back, but for now, I’ll keep that crazy at bay, and soak in azure and magenta and teal. No filter needed.
Took a well-needed respite from this biting East Coast winter by heading as far West as the continent allows. Left a black and white Vermont in search of sunshine and green and two hours outside of LA, happily found a place made infamous by being Al Capone’s desert hideout. Three days of watching the palm fronds sway as I floated with my daughter in the healing mineral waters of Two Bunch Palms proved to be exactly the refuge I needed.
Before 2018 fades into the dust, I decided to trip back through Nine Cent Girl to rediscover what a fabulous year it truly was for me. Travel loomed large this past year, as did love with the family and outdoors, and having fun with fashion. Yes to questioning life. I still lend advice on just about everything in post after post, perhaps rather lavishly, but in all honesty, I do so for myself as well as all of you. I wrote this retrospective post for those of you who may have missed a weekly entry or two last year, or, just in case you’d like to revisit. Ready? Let’s do this wearing a splashy pink wig, and glasses that reflect the world back right back to you, as I wore for: “A Light Exists in Spring.”
We’ve just turned another page in the calendar and suddenly it’s August! In most places a solid stretch of hot and sunny highlights but printed right at the top of the next page we can spy Labor Day, staring us down, directing us to hence forth pack away the beach gear and white pants and halt the impromptu deck parties. Wait, you say? Haven’t even really got your summer on yet? It’s time people. Seriously, winter is coming… in every way. Best advice? Fill up your every available second with fun-shine and play-dates and recharge that battery! First stop? Head to your local farmer’s market and get a pile of organic local fruit and spend a dreamy morning eating clean and light. Nothing says summer like a ripe peach, right? Find one today to share, or not. And the rest of the day will be heavenly.
Tonight I am traveling clear across the U.S. to see my three Cali kiddos. Why? Well besides the why the heck not, it’s time to get the party started! October is my birthday month, and as I intend to keep it as joyous as possible, clearly, being greeted by these smiles is the best way to start. Most of us, myself included, never find it easy to shift decades, to make the leap from one seemingly big number to another even BIGGER one, especially in our youth-celebrated and fearing-the-future culture. But in the spirit of all those fabulously daring women who were still dancing at their 80th, and have forged a colorful path ahead of me, I too plan to make an even bigger splash next year, and the one after that, until, well… I’ll be floating beyond all of this…
My fascination with Los Angeles began quite young, younger than I can pinpoint. But my first visit to the West Coast occurred the summer after I graduated from 8th grade. My parents sent me to spend the month of July with my aunt and uncle who lived in a LA suburb with two of their four children still at home. This was fairly common practice in a large extended family. A few years either I had been sent for a two week stay with relatives in Montreal. But this trip, to California, made me the envy of everyone I knew in New Jersey. I pictured myself an overnight surfer girl. Taller, leaner, tanner, practically living on the beach, basking in the sunshine. It was the assumption of everyone I knew that I would return with golden hair and honeyed skin (despite the fact that my hair was a deep auburn and had skin that only reddened under the sun). Instead of this fantasy, my days were quite mundane: I learned to sleep to noon, eat drive-through burgers, and in fact, spend hours driving, for nothing was close in sprawling Cali. Strip-malls were everywhere and really there were as far as my aunt and uncle’s cultural foray drove me. I stepped onto a beach once. After the month, despite my friend’s disappointment over my pasty complexion, I vowed to return to the indigo sky lined with tall palms and air perfumed with night-blooming jasmine. Even that one could glean from the backseat.