Saturday, October 25, 2014

Halloween again and this year it's bigger than ever

It's that time of year again. Time for Americans to go nuts for Halloween and me to write a post about it.

After a few years of living in America and / or with an American, I'm getting on board with the Halloween fever. Last year TLOML dressed Lady P as Yoda and I thought it was brilliant. We had a pumpkin lantern on the front door step and I was good with that too.

So this year I put some thought into Lady P's costume, and we even got a pumpkin patch trip in, to make sure we were well furnished.

And yet... it looks like I'm going to be running to catch up here in Hermosa Beach. Does Halloween get bigger every year, or have we just moved somewhere they are really into it?

Either way - look:
One of several houses on our street with gravestones in the front yard

Massive spider webs are popular

If in doubt, cobwebs, spiders, and pumpkins on every available surface are a good optoin

These spiders are each bigger than Lady P

Just a little light ghoulishness
And now, look:
Just when I thought I'd cracked Halloween, I feel we still have some way to go.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

On glamorous parties (and the kind of people you rarely see in Hermosa Beach)

TLOML and I left the bubble last night. We went to a glamorous launch party in Beverly Hills. It was pretty high octane. January Jones and Camille Belle were (paid to be) there. There were canapes by Bouchon, bellinis by Cipriani, and a heck of a lot of plastic surgery. Many heavily made up girls (and some guys) squealing in delight at each other/ their reflections / selfies.

Also some beautiful and expensive clothes. I enjoy spotting fancy pants clothes, otherwise seen only in Vogue, in the flesh. Edgy designer wear is obviously a pretty common sight in London and New York but rarely seen on the streets of Hermosa. I was all a-flutter. 'Ooh, that's this season's Stella McCartney', I murmured to TLOML, who sadly wasn't remotely interested. And he had no answer to my 'Are people still wearing Tod's?' question, either.

So I thought I'd share some sartorial highlights with you, dear reader, instead.

In the interests of not looking like I was taking photos, I had to pretend I was texting, so mainly captured floor shots. But as this outstanding Tumblr account dedicated to the jeans-and-shoes phenomenon makes clear, those can be the best kind. (Thanks to Lady P's godfather, professional gambler and curator of web-bobbins for showing me the way to this internet treat).
Sharp shoes, no socks. This is a man who drives everywhere.

I'm guessing she's not walking far either. Ouch.

Slightly drunk lady swaying near a man who's half beach, half business

Beautiful model-turned-actress type walks past several admirin men in pointy leather shoes. Textbook Beverly Hills party scenario.

Excuse the strange colours. I think there was some kind of show going on. Of course I was too busy snapping shoes and scoffing at the Beverly Hills types to watch it.

On reflection, perhaps it's for the best we don't get out of the Hermosa bubble too often, I'm not sure I handle the excitement too well. And for the record, as I type this, I'm wearing shorts and a t-shirt and no shoes at all. Beverly Hills is fun but I like the beach life best of all.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Voting like a Californian

It's official! I'm a Californian now. Not only do I have a Californian Drivers' License, I get to vote here too. I was pretty excited when this pack arrived, outlining my options at the elections in a couple of weeks.

I opened it eagerly, ready to scour the pages for a Green Party candidate. I soon realized there really are only two parties in this great nation.

Ah well, that makes the voting somewhat simpler I suppose (although I promise to do due diligence and read all the candidate statements before voting along party lines).

Speaking of due diligence, and making thoughtful voting decisions, how about these State Measures?
These propositions appear on election ballot papers as part of a long and not-very-glorious history of direct democracy in the golden state. Previous propositions put to the vote have included provision  of school funding, the legalization of gay marriage, and of course, the establishment of non-partisan blanket primaries in place of closed primaries.

Wait, what? That sounds complicated. And this year we get to vote on whether to extend parks funding, build a new school in Hermosa, and require doctors to undergo drugs testing. I'm just not sure I'm qualified. Is anyone?

After all, don't we vote for politicians so they can do the deep thinking and careful analysis on these issues, and have all the sleepless nights along with it? I was sold on the benefits of the California lifestyle, but now I know the responsibility that comes along with it, I'm not quite so keen.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Healthy eating

They bleach their chickens here, did you know that? Okay, okay, on closer reading you'll find that it's very very heavily diluted bleach. Still. They wash their eggs too, which is why they need refrigeration. Most supermarket milk and cheese here is pasteurised beyond recognition (though mugs like me just pay through the nose for special 'raw' cheese).

The health and safety gurus are everywhere, in Europe and in the US. They just have different methods, I suppose.

But on top of that, there's a sort of fanaticism about germs and dirt here in the US just doesn't exist in Europe. I am famously sloppy about germ sharing, which is exactly why Lady P picked up a tummy bug on our last trip to the UK. (I literally took the straw from her sick cousin's drink and gave it to her. I might as well just spooned his infected saliva onto her cake). So I could raise my game and get on board with the American way of life, I suppose.

And yet, in Hermosa Beach, I think I fit in quite well. I see a lot of people properly smooching with their dogs here. And letting their kids eat sand, not to mention walk barefoot to the beach or the playground. And the range of raw milk cheeses in our local organic hippy grocer is not half bad. It's as if a little slice of dirty old Europe lurks beneath this SoCal beach city.

So if that's true... why the hell can't I buy muesli anywhere?! I mean proper muesli, full of seeds and nuts. I used to find it hidden in the 'hot cereal' section, next to the rolled oats. But now, in Vonn's and Ralph's and Whole Foods and even the organic grocer - which does sell quinoa porridge, of all the horrors you can imagine - I can't find anything like it.
This is not muesli
Gah! I can live with refrigerated eggs, excessively clean chickens, and even tasteless cheese - but please don't take away my muesli.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Hard copies of Vogue

I've been saving my Vogues for years. Not every edition - although I did used to buy it every single month. Just the big 'International Collection' reports with the most fabulous fashion stories in, from March and September. Oh, and the odd December issue. And any with Kate Moss on the cover. So you see it's a carefully curated collection of Vogues.

TLOML teased me for it, when we moved back to the UK and he came to know that I had kept them in storage for years, and that I planned to dust them off and put them back on my bookcase.

I saved them because they are beautiful. And because one day I might have a daughter who'd love to flick through old fashion magazines. Even in my carefree, single, 'I'll probably never settle down and have kids' years, I kept my the International Collection Vogues for my future daughter.

I used to love looking through my mum's old knitting patterns, and poking fun at the silly clothes people used to wear. I also endured a full blown addiction to Elle and Vogue throughout my teenage years. So on the basis that I might one day have a daughter, or a son who loves fashion, I saved them.

TLOML has made a strong argument for the fact that online archives are now available with every fashion photo ever taken. But to my mind there's nothing like the sensory pleasure of holding a magazine, flicking through the pages, the scent of printer's ink on paper. So I ignore the internet and keep my antiquated paper versions safe and sound at home.

Now I don't buy Vogue so often. Sometimes I even forget fashion exists, for whole weeks at a time. That's beach living for you. But at the airport recently I found myself browsing this shelf looking for a little unchallenging flight fodder:
On the rare occasion I read a magazine these days, I like it to be really easy to read
I was jolted by the sight of September Vogue, thick as a phone book (remember them?) and glossy and beautiful. It weighs more than my laptop and didn't fit in my case. But Lady P might want to read it one day.

So, reader, I bought it.