Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Miroslava Duma - Invalides - Paris

hebergeur image

      Miroslava Duma - At Dior - Invalides - Paris

      Photo by Fred - Easy Fashion Paris

Anna dello Russo - Invalides - Paris

hebergeur image

      Anna dello Russo - Invalides - Paris

     " You know alreeeeady what I am weeearing Darling ! Why do you ask ???" AdR

      Photo by Fred - Easy fashion Paris

Monday, July 29, 2013

A Peek: Our Kitchen Garden

With things as hectic as they've been lately, I've been truly cherishing my time in our garden.

{We created our garden with the help of my friend Danylo, owner of Organic Edible Gardens www.oegardens.com who we worked with to design & install the entire thing.}
 It's the first thing I do when I wake up (ok, after kids and putting out fires) and walking through it, weeding, snipping things here and there just makes me feel at peace. 

We found an old potting table and it's made planting, cutting and washing so much easier.  Having a place to stash everything has made such a difference and I now can't imagine the garden without it:

The garden's full of flowers right now, including limelight hydrangeas, echinacea and English roses.  I've been loving cutting them and bringing in fresh bouquets.

 The Asian cucumbers are possibly our favorite thing in the garden right now.  This one is over a foot and a half long and I even plucked it a little early!--

They're so good we can eat them plain!!

There's something about bringing things inside from the outside that I just can't get enough of.  We cook with herbs from the garden almost every night and have just been getting to enjoy the tomaters!!!

The boys fight over who gets to actually pick everything.  I'm looking forward to when all of the plants are producing fruit so "picking" is a little more peaceful ;)
Here's one of my favorite most recent meals from the garden:
Eating from our garden makes me so incredibly happy!!!  The boys love to help out and this weekend we put together our own little invention (which I'm sure has probably been invented before)- "pestodillas:"
Here's the Recipe:

-We took fresh baked whole wheat tortillas (whole foods' fresh baking, not ours ;) and layered them with pesto from the garden, shredded parmesan cheese, fresh spinach, garden tomatoes and a wheat tortilla with garlic butter on one side.  (Oh sooooo bad but so good!!! Will try without the garlic butter next time to be good ;) ;) 
-We microwaved them for a minute and were in love!!
I hope you get the chance to try it = Heaven.
Anyway, I'm off for another crazy day, but I hope you enjoyed this peek into our garden.  We're photographing our house next week and there's still so much that needs to be done...   Curtains & artwork need to go up (and be framed!!) , hardware needs to be installed, things need to be painted, bedding and pillows are being made, and we have a couple more small construction projects to finish up with.  So many things need to fall in place in order for next week to happen and I'm really feeling the pressure.  We're photographing it as early as we are because I want to have the photos happen when everything is in full bloom around here, which is now.  This morning I woke up sort of just wishing I could give up though. :/   (I think that's mostly because I'm tired & sick and it's Monday ;) ;) 

I think I need to take one more little walk through the garden this morning. 
Have a good one!!

For info on Organic Edible Gardens & their services, visit here. 

ps- If you missed my last post, our new distance decorating service - PARCEL- is finally available!!!  We've had an overwhelming response to the service (which is available on a first-come, first-serve basis) and I can't thank you all enough for spreading the word and for your support!! 
If you'd like help creating a home you absolutely love, contact me about our design services.  If you are interested in PARCEL please mention it in your inquiry.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Brown Fat: It's a Big Deal

Non-shivering thermogenesis is the process by which the body generates extra heat without shivering.  Shivering is a way for the body to use muscular contractions to generate heat, but non-shivering thermogenesis uses a completely different mechanism to accomplish the same goal: a specialized fat-burning tissue called brown fat.  Brown fat is brown rather than white because it's packed with mitochondria, the power plants of the cell.  Under cold conditions, these mitochondria are activated, using a specialized molecular mechanism called uncoupling* to generate heat.

The mechanism of brown fat activation has been worked out fairly well in rodents, which rely heavily on non-shivering thermogenesis due to their small body size.  Specialized areas of the hypothalamus in the brain sense body temperature (through sensors in the brain and body), body energy status (by measuring leptin and satiety signals), stress level, and probably other factors, and integrate this information to set brown fat activity.  The hypothalamus does this by acting through the sympathetic nervous system, which heavily innervates brown fat.  As an aside, this process works basically the same in humans, as far as we currently know.  Those who claim that rodent models are irrelevant to humans are completely full of hot air**, as the high degree of conservation of the hypothalamus over 75 million years of evolution demonstrates.

Two new studies concurrently published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation last week demonstrate what I've suspected for a long time: brown fat can be 'trained' by cold exposure to be more active, and its activation by cold can reduce body fatness.

Read more »

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Zucchini: The Home Gardener's Worst Friend? With bonus garden-related rambling.

One of my main gardening goals has been to harvest more of something than I can eat, despite my limited gardening space here in the Emerald City.  I want the feeling of abundance that comes with having to preserve and give away food because I can't eat it all.

Enter zucchini.  My grandfather used to say that in New Jersey in summertime, you'd have to keep your car doors locked, otherwise the car would be full of zucchini the next time you got in!  In mid-May, I planted two starts from my local grocery store labeled "green zucchini", with no further information.  I put them in a bed that used to be a pile of composted horse manure, and that I had also cover cropped, mulched, fertilized, and loosened deeply with my broadfork.  They look pleased.

Read more »

How I wish I could get an unbundled subscription to the Wall Street Journal

I cannot do my job without reading it, and its reporters are still excellent, even in the Murdoch era.  And in general, I have learned to ignore the rantings of the editorial page, which basically say that if a policy is first-order good for poor people, it is bad for poor people, and if a policy is first-order bad for poor people, it is good for poor people.

But there is one worthy in particular, sitting high in his aerie at the tip of Manhattan, whose misogynistic braying should be issued (if at all) from his parents' basement: James Taranto, the eager defender of sexual assaulters.  That I am sending any money at all his way is a constant annoyance.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Hannah Green writes on the problem of how victims of rape who are college students are treated

In Open Magazine (an Indian newsweekly), she writes:

Angie Epifano always wears the same necklace. It is simple—a round blue stone set in silver on a silver chain. When something reminds her of her rape, she holds the pendant in her palm and concentrates on how it feels. This brings her a sense of calm.

“It’s called ‘grounding,’” she says, touching the pendant during a Skype interview. It’s a technique psychological counsellors teach those who have experienced rape or other types of trauma: when something occurs in their daily life that reminds them of what happened—whether it’s seeing their rapist, or a certain smell or sound—they must concentrate on something else that will bring them back to the present.

“Some people have a memory that they think of, or a place that they felt safe in, like a wooded space. Or they’ll think of their favourite food or just anything that will bring them back to reality. If you were to run into or see your rapist—that’s the kind of tool that will help you get through the encounter.”
Read the rest here.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

parcel: design delivered to your door

1. something wrapped up; package
2. a group of people or things having some common characteristic
3. an essential part of something
4. a package of bespoke designed goodness delivered to your door


I am so excited to announce parcel, our newest decorating service!!   Over the past couple of years, I've been unable to keep up with servicing both traditional clients and online clients, so I've had to put the whole online decorating thing on the shelf for a while.  We've had lots of requests to bring it back though, and we've been working really hard to try to rework our company so that we could, and  it's finally time!!

SO, we came up with parcel.  It's basically this:  design delivered to your door in a pretty little parcel.  It's everything you need to put the room of your dreams together, the way we do it. 

{a recent project}

 Instead of meeting traditionally, we communicate via emails and questionnaires and our clients receive a chic little parcel of essential step-by-step design plans in the mail that they can implement on their own.  We're starting parcel projects in just a few weeks and are taking on new clients right now for the Fall so if you know of anyone who might be interested, please let them know that they can sign up now!  If you'd like to sign up yourself, go to the contact section of our website (www.thepurestyle.com, which is switching over to laurenliess.com next week!)  and submit a project inquiry, mentioning that you're interested in parcel. I'd love to have you as a client!! 

Also, for any other decorators out there who've been considering offering online services, I can say that I really loved doing it in the past, and that creatively, it's very similar to taking on traditional clients, but that's it's so different (of course never actually seeing the client or home in person) in that it's really more time spent designing vs. communicating and meeting and managing projects.  I loved doing it- which is why I've brought it back- but for me personally, I also needed the flesh and blood relationship-building side that traditional  projects offer.   I'm hoping this will be the best of both worlds!!  I'll keep you posted!

ps- Would love to know what you all think of it!!  

If you'd like help creating a home you absolutely love, contact me about our design services.  If you're interested in becoming a parcel client, please mention that in your inquiry.  Thanks so much!

*images via pinterest and photo of our recent project by the talented Helen Norman

Ten Favorite Metro Systems--A Personal View (reposted from Forbes blog).

10) New York.  Butt ugly, smells bad, too many rats, but gets you a whole lot of places at reasonable speeds.
9) Washington, DC.  Very pleasant, beautiful stations, and when working properly, fast.  But its major design flaw (lack of double tracking) means that if one train goes down, the whole system gets gummed up.  And it is not maintained well enough.
8) London.  See New York, except I haven’t used it enough to see a rat.
7) Delhi.  Modern and fast, but you sure better like your fellow human if you are going to use it.
6) Tokyo. Miraculously efficient, but see Delhi.  As such, it reflects its city.
5) Kiev.  Metros may have been the only economic thing the Soviets did well.
4) Seoul.  Longest system in the world.  Clean and reliable.
3) Taipei.  Almost luxurious.
2) Paris.  If i weren’t for the strikes, it would be as close to perfect as a metro system gets.  The Louvre-Rivoli station is so beautiful, you wouldn’t mind waiting for a long time there.  On the other hand, you rarely have to.
1) Barcelona.  Goes everywhere, swiftly, cheaply, comfortably.
[Update: Hong Kong needs to be on the list too.  Maybe 2.5?]

Who Moves? Not Old People? (reposted from my Forbes blog)

A meme is out there that baby boomers, having raised their children, are ready to downsize.  (See here).  Some scholars, such as Arthur Nelson at Utah, say that as the population ages, there could be a mass sell-off of houses which will lead to a collapse in house prices.
One of our Ph.D. students here at USC, Hyojung Lee, and I are redoing a paper I did with Patric Hendershott about 17 years ago on the impact of age on the demand for housing.  Back then, Pat and I found that the effect of age was pretty minimal.  But times have changed, and so Hyojung and I decided it would be worth redoing the exercise using current data–the 2006-2010 American Community Survey.  We decided to look at moving behavior over the entire five years, and in 2006 and 2010 individually, since 2006 was a boom year for housing and 2010 was a bust year.
After controlling for marital status, income, educational levels, race and ethnicity, and geography, we estimated the impact of age on the propensity to have moved in the previous year.  The results are summarized in the graph below (for those who want to know, these are the coefficients from a linear probability model):
As you can see, basically the propensity to move peaks in the early 20s, and then declines to about age 50-55, and then stays pretty flat for the remainder of life (although in 2010 the very oldest seem to have a slightly greater propensity to move).
Some other findings: those never married are most likely to move, while those widowed are least likely to move (after controlling for age).  This implies that the typical elderly person is even less like to move than is implied by the graph above.  Asians are the racial/ethnic group most likely to move–non-hispanic whites, hispanics and African-Americans have similar propensities.  Mobility increases with educational attainment.  Higher income people move less than low income people.
We are doing a lot more work with this data as we prepare it for a paper, but in the meantime, our findings suggest that a mass sell-off (which means mass moving) arising from aging is unlikely.

VMCC Festival of 1000 Bikes, at Mallory Park

The Weather was much better for this years VMCC 1000 Bikes Festival but pretty hot for sketching. I spent most of my time in the sprint bike tent in the paddock to avoid getting sunstroke, which I still got from sketching outside after 3pm! In other news the event was packed full of bikes as usual, more modern entries than normal, not sure why? There was still plenty to see and loads of interesting folks to chat to. If you haven't been before it's well worth it as you'll always see something new as there are many motorcycle clubs in attendance and couple that with an auto jumble, trials riding on Saturday and Sprint racing on Sunday oh and star riders racing each other on the track, this year Agostini and John McGuinness went head to head! What more could you ask for?

Manx Superior

(ink & watercolour)
Built using a Brough engine that was raced in the 60's and a Norton Manx Frame and gearbox this Manx Superior certainly caught the eyes of a lot of people. 
You can see it's a genuine Manx frame from the large loop at the back, coupling this with a late J.A.P. twin it makes this a very well though out machine. The man behind the bike is Ewan Cameron who has a real fascination with JAP Motors.

Always love these back to back Mags.

"The Ironing Board" Velocette MOV Special

 (ink sketch)
Apparently not much is known about this sprint bike. The current owners estimate that it was originally made in the late 60's early 70's due to it having a metal flake paint job. The heart of the bike is a Velocette MOV engine which has had a later alloy barrel from a 350 Velo MAC added by chopping it down to shorten the stroke.

1956 Supercharged Harley KHK Special

  (ink sketch)
A Harley KHK is a rare bike in the first place but to supercharge it and take it to Bonneville is even Better. Patrick Delli has put a lot of work into this bike and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that he beats his last record of 107mph on the flats this year. 107mph is not bad for this bike as 119mph is the record for it's class. The bike runs 2 Magnetos and a supercharger and uses Methanol. Last time out a Bonneville the bike wasn't even finished before it left, and it took a week of work in the states to get it ready. This time the bike is ready before shipping so, bon chance Patrick!

 Racstus 125 Bantam Racer

 (ink sketch)
Built by Chris Newport in the early 60's the Rastus was campaigned by Chris from '63 - 76. The bike was based around a combination of a D3 Bantam frame and an EMC Puch which Chris had previously raced. The engine is a 125 with a central plug Todd head with a Gardener Carb and SU Float. Chris recons it has done 100mph in the past, not bad for a 125.

Here's the obligatory extra spot shots.... 

 Rick Parkington's Georgeous Rex Acme
 Voyager Lineup
not sure what this is but I like it. 
Barnfind HRD on the Bonhams Stand
 Lovely AJS 650 with Watsonian Sidecar
Rudge Racer, this was at Mallory last year but is good enough to get featured twice
 Norman Autocycle on the NACC stand 
 AJS Trials
Another Norman for sale in the Autojumble 

Insights into regional competitiveness

Australian Bureau of Statistics is a great source of economic statistics but anyone looking for small area data have to work very hard to find and collate anything of relevance from vast collections of information available from the Bureau. An alternative source of economic statistics for small areas are private companies however, the cost of that information is rather prohibitive. But things are changing. Firstly, earlier this year ABS started to publish experimental time series compilation of statistics for Local Government Areas (LGA) and just last month the Regional Australia Institute launched a very comprehensive, free, online tool with regional economic assessments called [In]Sight.

[In]Sight is an online index and interactive map tracking the competitiveness of Australia’s 560 LGA and 55 Regional Development Australia (RDA) regions. The measure is based on international competitiveness indices developed by the World Economic Forum and European Union, but specifically tailored to reflect the issues that matter to regional Australia. [In]Sight consists of 59 measurable indicators of competitiveness within ten themes:

  • Institutions: Administration support for regional development
  • Infrastructure and Essential Services: Access to infrastructure, transport and services
  • Economic Fundamentals: The region’s general economic climate
  • Human Capital: The capabilities and skills of a region’s workforce
  • Labour Market Efficiency: Use of the potential regional workforce by the economy
  • Technological Readiness: Access and utilisation of new technologies
  • Business Sophistication: Capacity of business to respond to competitive pressures
  • Innovation: Availability of new approaches and ideas
  • Market size: The size of the local economy
  • Natural Resources: Availability and use of natural resources

Within each theme, a unique set of measurable indicators capture the economic drivers that determine long term competitiveness of the region.

The amount of available information is a bit overwhelming at first and the format the information is presented in (ie. index values and values representing comparative ranking “out of 560”) makes it a bit hard to interpret when profiling individual regions but once you grasp the concepts, and have a clear point of reference to compare to, [In]Sight offers a very comprehensive, single source perspective on the region of interest. Uses of that information will be many and across many different disciplines - from identifying disadvantaged regions for federal and state support, to selecting favourable locations to settle, or to locate a business, or prioritise for marketing opportunities.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Southern Living Shoot Today!

Photo by Helen Norman

I'm off for the day to do a shoot at our client's dining room for Southern Living's November issue!  It's our first project featured by Southern Living and I'm so excited!!  Laurey Glenn will be photographing it and Susan Victoria is doing the styling.  I'll be posting behind the scenes stuff today on instagram so be sure to check it out!  Have a good one!

If you'd like help creating a home you absolutely love, contact me about our design services.

67th Bentley Drivers Club Concourse d'Elegance 2013

Another Annual fixture in my event calendar for the year is the Bentley Drivers Club Councours. I always enjoy this event as it's always full of incredible Bentleys and the atmosphere is always relaxed and informal, enough chat heres the results:

The Blue Train Bentley

(ink sketch)

Which of the two Blue Train cars this is I was unable to find out, but this is one of the two restored cars that go by the Blue Train name. The name Blue Train comes from the French "Le Train Bleu" express which ran between Calais and the French Riviera. In 1930 the Rover Light Six beat the train in a race. Upon hearing this over dinner (usually the case) Woolf Barnato, one of the Bentley Le Mans drivers at the time said he could beat the train not just to Calais but reach the Conservative Club in St James by the time the train reached Calais. The next morning on 13th March 1930 Barnato did just that, winning a £100 bet and subsequently getting fined more by the French authorities for racing on French roads without permission.
fantastic styling on the rear arches.

1935 Alpine Rally Car Replica

(ink and watercolour)

1935 3.5l Gurney Nutting Sportsman Coupe

 (ink and watercolour)
The swept detailing on the side drew me in enough to to sketch this luxurious coupe, with lots of curved and sweeping shapes I enjoyed the challenge.

1930 Speed Six

 (ink sketch)
The speed six was th machine that took Bentley to victory at Le mans and this is an incredible example of the model which won best restored on the Concours.

Bentley Corniche

 (ink and watercolour)

1975 Bentley T1

(ink and watercolour)

more photos.....

Clean Cut Nature of a Bentley's Engine
Details from a possibly unrestored example.

 1952 R Type
 1923 3 litre 
1935 3 1/2 litre 
 1934 4 1/2 "Blower" Special

This one got away again! Maybe next time....