Friday, October 2, 2009

lillie in the city is moving!

aaaaand it's official! lillie in the city has a new home--in more ways than one!

Come visit me at my new online address, say hello, and learn about my new home city! There are lots of new adventures ahead, big projects in the works, and (most exciting) a new city to explore... Looking forward to everything to come!

To RSS readers, please update your subscription. To email readers, your subscription will be updated automatically tomorrow, but click over the new site today!

Friday, September 11, 2009

visiting new england

last week i made my summer pilgrimage back to new england for a handful of days in my hometown and then a long weekend at our family's cottage in maine. as usual, the trip was relaxing, filling, and full of people that i love.

there was lots of biking, an afternoon of canning garden tomatoes, a double-high-five birthday to celebrate, a couple of beautiful afternoons in Boston, an awesome hike up Mount Washington, campfire and smores, one enormous slip and slide, good thin-crust pizza, and wild blueberry pancakes with local-made maple syrup.

1. birdhouse in our backyard, handpainted by my younger self
2. tomato canning supplies in my family's kitchen
3. the view from the top of Mount Washington
4. the cousins' feet at our cottage in Maine

for more photos, check out my new england, august 2009 set on flickr.

Friday, August 7, 2009

it's okay to take it easy

after two weeks of adventures and friends, i'm ready for a vacation. funny how that works! just when my brain is ready to dive into new projects, my body says NO WAY! actually, even my brain was exhausted by the end of the day yesterday.

so even though i am very excited to start working out new projects/plans/life. and even though there was a wild outdoor concert happening afterhours at my work yesterday. and even though there's still a bunch of cleaning and organizing to be done. and brainstorming that has to happen. and planning that needs to start... last night, i knew my brain and body were on the edge of a mini meltdown. so i gave myself permission to just take it easy.

and it was just what i needed. nothing special, but a few important elements:
+ straight home from work, no errands
+ simple pasta for supper with a glass of wine
+ a bowl of ben & jerry's, of course
+ lots of eco/design/biz blogs to read
+ early bedtime with a new book

now i'm recharged and ready to take on the world! well, in my own small way at least. hope you enjoy some time taking it easy this weekend! xo

:: image of the boy farm from flickr / lillieinthecity

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

a weeknight beachside picnic

last night, Nicole and i drove to Malibu for a mini college reunion with our friend Peter, who lives in Santa Barbara. we decided to meetup for a beachside picnic halfway between SB and LA at Leo Carillo State Park. we met on the sand with picnic blankets, food, and wine, and talked until long after it got dark.

the sky was beautiful at sunset, and then the moon was full and so so bright. here's to more excuses for nighttime beachside hangouts!

simple breakfast with special company

i'm slowly coming back to daily life after another week long adventure in northern california. august is here, and summer is slowly start to wind down.

nicole, one of my very favorite people, traveled back to Los Angeles with me, and is sharing a bit of my LA life this week. we both love our breakfast pastries (check out our croissant diaries project!), so this morning we feasted on croissants from my neighborhood bakery, fruity jams, and creamy coffee. mmmm, how i love breakfast--especially on a weekday morning with a little something extra and special company!

Monday, July 13, 2009

birthday wishes

today is my 25th birthday. 25! the sound of that makes me feel both old (my early twenties have ended!) and young (whenever i mention my age to anyone over 30)--but mostly i'm energized, excited, happy.
ten years before i was born, in 1974, my parents and my aunt phyllie left Massachusetts in a rust-colored VW bug and headed west to California. i love this photo of them standing in my grandma's driveway just before they hit the road. excited and anxious and (i imagine they'd say) totally naive about what they were jumping into...
i'm excited about the adventures and unknowns that are coming this year.
cheers to living it up!
:: photo of dad, mom, and phyllie. heading west. 1974

Friday, July 10, 2009

friday friday!

friday morning breakfast. homemade wheat bread toast with damson plum jam from the boy farm in mendocino, plus a strong cup of slow-drip coffee with a hint of cardamom. mmm, a perfect headstart to the weekend.

now looking forward to...
+ a potluck in mar vista & a bbq in echo park
+ renegade craft fair in downtown los angeles
+ ray la montagne at the hollywood bowl
+ experimenting with sourdough starters
+ cooking up the bounty of veggies from this week's CSA box

and excited to be back online more soon.

P.S. during the latest trip to northern california, i finally bought a porcelain manual drip for coffeemaking. it's deliciously awesome.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

travel: exploring the north country

another weekend road trip. more exploring of the north country. traveling with mischa (hiker, storyteller, and piesmith). in less than 4 days, we drove over 1,000 miles. we visited fresno, mendocino, tomales, marin, and san francisco counties. we ate a delicious and overwhelming supply of baked goods. and we had a few adventures along the way...

+ relaxing at mercey hot springs in fresno county

+ exploring the beautiful town and woods of mendocino

+ driving the pacific coast highway, north of san francisco

+ feasting at a beautiful outstanding in the field dinner

+ and camping at marin roots farm

i can't wait to go back! for more photos, check out lillieinthecity / flickr.

listening to: birds fly away by theresa andersson (listen)

Thursday, June 25, 2009

food: carrot ginger soup & tastespotting

with a bunch of carrots from my last CSA box, i made a yummy carrot ginger soup with my own twist on this recipe. the punch of flavor and burst of color are perfect to brighten up gloomy june days!

i found a bunch of yummy variations of this soup at, my new favorite place for recipe ideas. the website catalogs recipes with drool-worthy photos, and you can search their database based on ingredients that you have in the kitchen--perfect for finding new inspiration for your seasonal produce! dreaming about summer squash fritattas, apricot jams, tomatoes and basil, raspberry muffins...

listening to: four leaf clover by badly drawn boy (listen)

:: image from lillieinthecity / flickr

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

city: june gloom

each year i'm been amazed when june arrives, and southern california descends into a dark fog of june gloom. just when my new england mind is ready for sunshine and summer heat, i'm left with morning drizzles and cloudy grey skies.

sometimes california seems very backwards.
but looking forward to sunnier skies tomorrow...

listening to: here comes the sun by the beatles (listen)

:: image from lillieinthecity / flickr

Monday, June 8, 2009

home: sky photos

here is another little corner of my apartment. in my bedroom, i recently posted a collection of my favorite views of the sky. simple, just printed, no frames. a nice morning reminder to look up.

:: images from lillieinthecity / flickr

Friday, June 5, 2009

creativity: notebook sketches

a few sketchy pages from my notebook today. brainstorming for some little projects and thoughts in my mind... i kinda love rough, awkward line drawings. and doodling a few everyday objects is like mental meditation.

hope you have a beautiful weekend. go out and enjoy the sunshine!

:: coffee & cast iron pans from lillieinthecity / flickr

Thursday, June 4, 2009

food/drink: blue bottle coffee

i've officially fallen in love with a new world of coffee: blue bottle of san francisco, a microroaster and coffeehouse and expert coffee brewery. they carefully roast all their own shade-grown beans. and then, individually prepare each cup of coffee using beehouse ceramic manual drippers. and every cup is a super rich, coffee-y kickstart to your morning (or afternoon or evening, if you're like me).

i had my first sip at the ferry plaza farmer's market on saturday morning. manual dripping isn't the most efficient setup for a busy day at the market, and the coffee line gets a bit long--but wowww, it is worth the wait. in fact, we waited twice when we couldn't resist going back for a second cup. and then an hour before leaving the city on sunday night, alex and i searched in vain for one last fix. it's that good.

i've lusted after bodum french presses for a long time. but after seeing blue bottle work their magic with a manual drip (and drinking many cups of yummy manual drip in the past few months), i think the beehouse ceramic dripper may be swaying my mind, heart, and tastebuds...

:: image from lillieinthecity / flickr

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

sustainability: edible education

two weeks ago, alice waters paid a visit to los angeles to have a conversation about food education. thanks to good food, one of my favorite local radio shows, i got to be in the audience!

alice is the mastermind behind daily food life at chez panisse, a huge advocate of local food, and the founder of the edible schoolyard program in berkeley. joining her was sam levin, a fellow school garden advocate and 15-year-old student from western massachusetts (my beloved college stomping grounds). two years ago, sam co-founded project sprout, a student-run garden planted in an abandoned soccer field across the street from the local high school.

both of their schoolyard gardens focus on giving students the experience of planting and harvesting food with their own hands--and then, enjoying the fruits and vegetables of their labor in fresh, yummy meals. in a world where some people don't know that a potato grows underground, i think alice & sam are onto something with this kind of firsthand food education.

i ended the night feeling inspired--and hungry. and i was happy to know that alice waters and i agree on our favorite vegetable: garlic.

:: image from edible schoolyard

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

home: cast iron skillet

trying to be a conscious consumer (and also being very picky), i tend to overanalyze and consider new home/kitchen purchases for weeks at a time. crazy sometimes, but i'm always very happy when i finally make a purchase this way. no buyer's remorse here!

my latest buy was this cast iron skillet. i've been wanting one for months. stopping at surfas (my amazing local restaurant/kitchen supply store) on idle saturdays and staring at their selection. and after all that thinking and staring, i finally made the leap: a lodge 10" chef's skillet.

the size is just right--small enough for a single serving, but big enough to include extra for a few friends. the sloped sides are nice for easy plating. and the cast iron is beautiful and weighty and working quite well with garlic and onions and eggs and veggies of all sorts. a good buy!

Monday, June 1, 2009

travel: maker fair @ san francisco

another trip to san francisco! i'm finding lots of excuses to visit that lovely city. if only the drive from LA didn't take quite so long...

this weekend's excuse was the world's largest DIY festival: maker fair. wandering the fairgrounds, my friend alex and i found makers of all kinds: crafts, robotics, fashion, technology, food, and more. it was inspiring madness.

our trip also included an overnight in fresno; saturday morning at the ferry plaza farmer's market; sampling ice cream at bi-rite creamery; a foggy morning glimpse at day 1 of the 545-mile AIDS life cycle; a visit to the seward street slides; and a turkish delight.

see more photos from our weekend in san francisco at lillieinthecity / flickr.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

food: a night at chez panisse

sometimes it's hard to do justice to a meal in a handful of words, except to say, it was just right. last month, we ate at chez panisse in berkeley, and it was that kind of dinner. the food and the experience linger in your mind for weeks afterward. a dinner that was all about the details--from each carefully considered course to the individually printed menus (one standard, one vegetarian) to the simple table settings to the lowkey waitstaff to the little bit of chocolate at the end of the meal.

for fellow food lovers, here is the menu:
+ smoke black cod salad with cannard farm leaks and creme fraiche
+ bellwether farm ricotta gnocchi with fava beans and peas
+ grilled liberty duck breast with kumquat and cardamom sauce, potato cake, and roasted green asparagus
+ nougat confit glace aux fruits rouges

in short, it was delicious and everything was just right.

:: images from chez panisse menus for april 23, 2009

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

home: the landing strip

so truthfully, the home front has been a bit disheveled lately--not forgotten, just a little overlooked. but there's one spot that i can share that's usually in pretty good shape: this little table in the kitchen, our landing strip.

this little spot is the first place that we land when arriving home and the last spot we hit before walking out the door. it's where our keys and our mail live--plus other fun things like our salt&pepper shakers, the occasional bunch of fresh flowers, and our two home cities represented by the neighborhood maps that we so love. it's the filter between the inside and outside worlds.

do you have a landing strip at home? was yours purposeful, or did it come about on its own? admittedly, i got a little obsessed with the idea of a landing strip after reading the apartment therapy book (which is awesome, by the way). it seems inconsequential, but i'm convinced that it's a key to balancing life at home and out in the world.

listening to: you're gonna make me lonesome by madeleine peyroux (listen)

:: image from lillieinthecity / flickr

Monday, May 25, 2009

travel: catalina island

life has been full of lots of little adventures lately, which makes me feel pretty lucky. this weekend, i went on a short-but-sweet trip to catalina island in the good company of one californian and two germans. we got up early and drank hot chai tea on the ferry. watched sea lions and dolphins on our way out into the pacific. and eventually docked in two harbors, the smaller of two villages on the island. our campground had a gorgeous view of the water. we hiked and ate lots and rented kayaks and picnicked on a deserted, remote, little beach.

it was--as self-proclaimed on the village logo--a little "island paradise."

listening to: deep blue sea by grizzly bears (listen)

Monday, May 18, 2009

city: cemetery screenings

an outdoor movie and a picnic with friends. the perfect combination for a summer saturday night, yes? and in LA, we then add: a DJ for pre-movie music, a crowd of hundreds, traffic jammed in all directions, and a big open field at the hollywood forever cemetery (thanks to lack of green space and/or twisted sense of humor). and as odd as watching a movie in the middle of a cemetery sounds, it's one of my most memorable summer activities in this city.

on saturday night at the first screening of the season, we feasted on yummy wraps, pesto, fava beans, german chocolate, fresh lemon cake, boont amber ale...and then watched the glorious paul newman in cool hand luke. and by the end of the night, we were already making plans for next week.

screenings are every saturday night--plus special sunday screenings on holiday weekends. if you're in LA, it's certainly worth checking out! find more information and a listing of upcoming movies at

:: top photo from chotda; bottom photo from lillieinthecity / flickr

listening to: gobbledigook by sigur ros (listen)

Friday, May 15, 2009

a little college reunion

and then the fun continued! within days of my family adventure ending, more of my favorite people arrived in town. this time for a little college reunion.

it's not easy to coordinate the lives of six friends in five cities across the country and to agree on one location and one time for them to all to converge. but thanks to some marathon email chains and several "just do it!" phone calls, we managed to reserve four days, several plane tickets, and an excellent campsite for one laugh-love-food-filled weekend.

our main destination was jalama beach, three hours north of los angeles and a solid half hour from general civilization. there in good company, we got our fix of campfires, enormous egg scrambles, late night dominoes, banana s'mores, cowboy coffee, and sunshine.

a special thanks to in-n-out for being conveniently located by the airport. to gmail for making our email marathons possible. and to skype for allowing dave in prague to join in on the fun. it was all very well worth the effort.

see more photos of our camping at lillieinthecity / flickr.

listening to: total eclipse of the heart by bonnie tyler (listen)

Thursday, May 14, 2009

family in the city

greetings! lots to catch up on in life and online. the past few weeks have been awesome and exhausting and adventure-filled and enjoyed with some of my very favorite people.

our little family reunion in san francisco was a perfectly balanced weekend of catching up and relaxing, eating and drinking, sitting in coffee shops and exploring the city. we have a good time for ourselves.

a few lasting memories: the many hours spent at the bean bag coffee house on divisadero. pesto pasta at caffe sport in north beach. makeshift sleeping arrangements in my little brother's apartment. visits to the flower conservatory and the craft & folk art museum. an amazing dinner at chez panisse (more on that soon). one night at a little cottage on the russian river. wine tasting via bicycle in sonoma valley. plus, a great roadtrip from LA to SF and back with half a pie, garlic ice cream, and an unexpected detour to the outskirts of yosemite.

it was a very good weekend.

see more photos of our family adventures at flickr / lillieinthecity.

listening to: thunder road by bruce springsteen (listen)

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

colorful everyday

today i'm road tripping to san francisco for a long weekend with mum, dad, and the little bro--and i'm looking forward to some days full of laughter, food, and sunshine.

i'm amazed at how quickly "daily posts" (which i'm all excited about!) are lost in the shuffle of full, busy, good everyday life. for the moment, i'm okay with being distracted by the offline world--but i'll be back with more here soon...

:: image from lillieinthecity / flickr

listening to: two coins by dispatch (listen)

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

composting adventures

recently i went to a free composting workshop hosted by the city of Los Angeles (along with my food&craft&newmedia-loving friend alex of viva.le.mani). these workshops are offered once a month for LA residents and give a helpful overview of the art/science of urban composting. plus, they offer super deals on a variety of composters at city-subsidized prices. (i got an earth machine composter for $20!)

when i was growing up, my family always had a compost in our backyard, so the practice wasn't foreign to me. but doing it in the city seemed a bit more intimidating, so i really appreciated the boost of confidence from this little workshop.

a few new-to-me tips that i took home...
for a healthy compost, be sure to keep a 50/50 balance of browns-to-greens. not enough browns? try adding some shredded newspaper. to keep away critters, never include anything that was cooked in oil/fat. and to keep away fruit flies, bury new fruits and veggies under the old compost in your bin. and if it starts to smell funky, you're doing something wrong! i'm still getting started myself--so for more details, check out the LA city composting guide.

and let me know if you have any composting adventures or tips to share!

listening to: let it be me by ray lamontagne (listen)

:: image from lillieinthecity / flickr

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

reviving the succulents

one of my new "at home" resolutions is to be a better plant keeper. in the past two years, allison & i have brought a lot of little plants into our home--especially succulents (and many from trader joe's, because we were charmed by their cute & colorful pots). we've only lost a few, but thanks to chronic pests and overdoses of sun/water, most of the survivors have been living at about 60%.

so in an attempt to save the succulents, i spent a long, messy morning last week cleaning and pruning and, in the end, cutting them up for parts. (check out this intro to propagating succulents for more step-by-steps.) currently, all the plant bits are drying on my windowsill. now i have to buy some rooting hormone (sounds a little scary) and special potting soil to get the new little plants started.

and to battle future pest attacks, i'm thinking of trying neem oil or food grade diatomaceous earth--or maybe a special plant spray from whole foods? not really sure about this. let me know if you have any ideas!

hopefully in a few weeks, our indoor plant colony will start growing again, and with some ongoing TLC, i can keep them thriving at 100%. fingers crossed...

listening to: somewhere over the rainbow by israel kamakawiwo'ole (listen)

:: image from lillieinthecity / flickr

Monday, April 13, 2009

the days of the week

in the hopes of posting more regularly, i've decided to experiment with some weekday "themes." so after lots of mulling over what i think about and write about and do about town, i've settled on this series of "themes" in the most general sense of the word...

monday : the city
tuesday : at home
wednesday : sustainability
thursday : food & drink
friday : creativity

plus miscellaneous posts about my love of libraries and reading lists.

hm, is there anything else i missed?

additions and subtractions and exceptions are to be expected.

listening to: reckoner by radiohead (listen)

:: image from lillieinthecity / flickr

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

interview at the haystack needle

jen at the haystack needle just posted a little q&a with me for her green swap series. jen's blog is one of my favorite daily reads, so i was more than happy to share a few thoughts with her on simple ways that we can live a little greener.

throughout the month of april, the haystack needle is featuring a series of interviews with green experts and bloggers. i'm excited to read more in the next weeks.

thank you, jen!

:: silly photobooth strip from my office holiday party

Monday, April 6, 2009

weekend sun & sunprints

i spent a lot of time in the sun this weekend: in my backyard, at the farmer's market, on my bike, across town, and outside some great echo park coffee shops. i love that summer in LA starts in april.

i finally played with some sunprint paper that i had bought a few months ago. this simple photo paper captures the shadow of objects in bright light. it's a fun art/science that is perfect for a sunny afternoon. i experimented with an assortment of buttons, bread tags, and backyard plants for some simple little prints. check out more inspiring sunprints at anna atkins and boomslice and rinneallen.

hope you took advantage of some sunshine over your weekend.

listening to: rebel rebel by seu jorge (listen)

:: image from lillieinthecity / flickr

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

the love of glass jars

recently, my mom and my aunt had a shared revelation: they both suffer from (but mostly celebrate) The Love of Glass Jars--the insatiable need to buy, scrub clean, and save any neat glass containers that they find. as their collections build, the jars are repurposed to store food, buttons, art supplies, and collections of all kinds. my auntie phyllie's latest glass loves are the "nice little squat" jars that, in a past life, held salsa. in their new incarnation, they live on her bookshelf displaying this awesome rainbow of colored pencils.

i know this love well myself, as there are rogue jars tucked into every cabinet of our apartment kitchen. too many times, i've bought grocery store items solely because of their containers (the food is like a bonus prize!). spega yogurt jars are one of my favorites.

someday soon i will post photos of our infamous kitchen shelf that is constructed of pine wood planks and 12 enormous jars of pickles.

are you a glass jar lover, too?

listening to: the woodlands national anthem by the arcade fire (listen)

:: image from phyllis mchugh leocha (auntie phyllie)

Sunday, March 29, 2009

my first letterpress adventure

earlier this month, i went on a one-day letterpress adventure at the international printing museum in carson ( their introduction to letterpress workshop (which was i was psyched to attend) was a great mix of fun, informative, and inspiring--and the museum itself is a hidden gem for anyone interested in printmaking.

the day started with a guided tour of their museum and a brief history of printmaking. and then we dove into the type room, learned the the basics of typesetting, and got to work on two basic printing projects. the museum has an awesome collection of type fonts and woodcut images to explore. for my name print, i couldn't resist this woodcut of a windblown cypress tree (for love of the california coast).

if you're in the los angeles area, the museum offers lots of classes about letterpress, book arts, and printmaking. i'm hoping to be back for their intermediate letterpress workshop on april 18. more printmaking soon!

see a few more letterpress pics at lillieinthecity / flickr.

listening to: feeling good by nina simone (listen)