on being outstanding

19 Mar

Hiking Runyon last weekend, a friend and I had a long talk about what it takes to make it in the workplace these days. It seems for our generation (and the entertainment industry, especially), the only sure bet for job stability and growth is to be a true innovator. It’s about establishing worth to your company; finding a niche and becoming that niche’s expert. Constantly thinking ahead – not just as a problem solver but as a ground breaker.

Which is hard, terrifying, especially at this entry-level adjacent point we’re at right now. I’m two years into my career, which comes with this true sink or swim moment – move too slowly and you’ll fall behind your peers. But the only way to really break ahead and be meaningful is to create, create, create. Don’t get me wrong – this is an exciting new perspective and it’s opened my mind even just in this past week. It’s also sent me on a search for innovators and tastemakers in other industries, in an effort to learn more about focus and change. And that’s how I happened upon Jim Denevan, a slow artist and founder of Outstanding in the Field. My mind? Blown.

Outstanding in the Field “sets the long table” at farms, in gardens, on mountaintops or in sea caves; on islands and on ranches. Sometimes indoors (a barn, a greenhouse, even a museum), but mostly outside, Outstanding in the Field’s mission is to re-connect diners to the land and the origins of their food, and to honor the local farmers and food artisans who cultivate it.

Founder Jim Denevan started in 1999 with the vision of putting the spotlight on the organic food in his hometown of Santa Cruz. Word quickly spread throughout Northern California, and by 2004 his tour was reaching coast to coast.

In 2009, Jim, his crew (led by field manager Katy Oursler) and an army of servers, farmers/producers and chefs – each team different from place to place – held 54 dinner parties throughout the US and Canada. The 2010 tour schedule goes live tomorrow (March 20) and will likely sell out within the day.

To support Outstanding in the Field and your local chefs and producers, check for your area’s dates here: http://outstandinginthefield.com/


on rocking out

19 Mar

The Gibson Guitar App

Here’s what I could do before: play Blackbird, slowly, after a lengthy month of trial and error; play the chords for “Stand By Me” and maybe two of the many other songs that use G, E minor, C and D chords, and pick pretty notes without any understanding of what I was doing.

I downloaded the app and within half an hour I successfully tuned my boyfriend’s acoustic and had the entire (beginner’s) A chord spectrum down. I’m a visual learner, and having the cartoon-like fingerings to refer to have made such a difference. I’m going to try to memorize the whole first list and then give the beginner lessons a try. More later.

xoxo your future guitar hero

on binges

15 Mar

I’m a sucker for a wood paneled website. This wine bar just opened up in Venice Beach (ok, adjacent. Ok, marina del rey.),  and will be the start of my week-long wine crawl. Seven tastings in seven days – I’m hoping for good wine, good stories and not too horrible a headache.

On the schedule: The Mercantile (Hollywood), Venice Beach Wines (Venice Beach, proper), Malibu Family Wines (if you haven’t been, check back next week for photos – a Saturday afternoon at this place is the perfect cure for the work week), and Silverlake Wine. Let me know if you have any other LA suggestions! I’m especially hoping to find a great downtown shop.

Clink, clink!

new (to me) application alert

8 Mar
me & ally, drunk eating, april 2008.

so I’m not hip enough to have an iphone, but the only reason i’m actually bummed about that is because i really want to use the polaroid-making application. yesterday, deep in the depths of boredom, my fingers got around to googling “make my photo a polaroid” and DAMN, I can do it on my trusty old powerbook! of course. idiot.

so, new toy! yay. make your favorite digi-pics look cool and from the 70s today.

in other save-polaroid news, THE IMPOSSIBLE PROJECT is announcing big things this month. looking forward to their new endeavor.

nan lawson and sausage

6 Mar

i did an awesome job this morning of embracing my “poor kid” status and making a tasty breakfast out of what was already in the house (instead of heading down to my favorite, larchmont bungalow and dropping $20). potatoes, snausages and eggs in a basket. yum!

my Nan Lawson original came in the mail on Thursday and I could not be happier with the portrait. and it seems this has been a big month for Nan – she’s becoming a full-time artist. glamour.com recently featured her drawings and included ours! it’s so awesome to support someone so talented going after her dreams. without further ado..

on deals (and girls’ weekends!)

4 Mar

(c) latimes.com, douglas lyle thompson and jon johnson

until today, the time i spent on jetsetter.com (gilt groupe’s sleek and sexy travel site) was just for fun. i have one big trip planned this year – hawaii for new years – and i’ve accepted the fact there’s no wiggle room in the budget for another. so i’ll wander over to jetsetter a couple times a week and run my mouse over the gorgeous safaris and getaways to morocco, and it’s harmless, and dreamy.

but right now they have a monster sale on the (already pretty affordable) Ace Hotel group – New York and Palm Springs so far – and rooms are going for as little as $70 a night through June. my good friend and coworker hannah and i have decided that right around the beginning of summer we’ll probably being going nut bars (work has been hectic lately!) and we’ll absolutely deserve a nice spa weekend, no boys allowed. so we’re booking a room ($35 each, come on!), with massage and facial appointments to follow. hannah’s been to the Ace in Portland, but this will be a first for me. I’m so excited!

I imagine I’ll wear this dress the whole time:

It came in the mail yesterday, and I’m in love.

gifts & giving

1 Mar

In a delightful coincidence (that’s been helpful for our sanity), Ally and I started dating our fabulous men right around the same time. It’s been great because we’ve gone through a lot of the same challenges that new relationships bring together, and we’ve been able to act as a sounding board for each other through all the crazy.

My dude and I celebrate the anniversary of our first date (well, really, our first date was 9 years ago, but that’s another story), which was two years ago next Monday. We’re not usually the gift-giving type, but I found two absolutely perfect gifts and I just can’t help myself.

Nan Lawson has been all over the blogosphere lately, and I found her via Melanie at you are my fave. She has an adorable etsy shop full of original drawings, and she also creates custom portraits based on a few photos and your interests.  We’re building a wall of prints and posters, so I plan on just hanging it and not saying a thing until he notices. (The image above isn’t ours – it should be done by the weekend.. I’ll post it soon!)

The second gift is from my new company-crush, Warby Parker. They’re like Tom’s shoes for your eyes – for every (completely affordable and incredibly cool) pair of glasses you order, the Warby Parker team donates a pair to someone who really needs them. My handsome man has been putting off replacing his long-lost pair (they’re somewhere in the middle of the country or on the floor of a touring van), and for his safety and mine, I’ve decided it’s time.