Tuesday, March 19, 2013



     While visiting Indian Wells for the 2013 BNP Paribus Open tennis tournament, we decided to make an additional stop at the La QuintaArts Festival. It is rated the #1 Fine Art Festival in the nation—2013 Art Fair SourceBook, and it happens to be held during the first weekend of the tournament. 
We couldn't pass up an excellent art fair and a chance to spend more time with friends and family on a perfect California day.

      Our visit to the festival was preceded by a Sunday brunch at the home of the professional cook, Jan Runyan (she teaches home economics in the local middle school). Jan is also the wonderful mother-in-law to my daughter, Anna (Classy Career Girl). For our enjoyment, Jan put together a selection of fresh fruit, lox, bagels, capers, bar cookies, egg souffle, fresh homemade muesli, and yummy mimosas--served on the patio.  After this feast, we headed out to view some very fine quality art.
      The fair has been held in the nearby old town of La Quinta for 30 years. The outdoor setting is unlike any art fair I've ever been to. There are plenty of shade trees, a duck pond, flowers, spacious displays of art, and pleasant live music—surrounded by mountains. The displays represent over 250 award-winning artists from all over the country. All proceeds from the festival go to the La Quinta Arts Foundation, whose mission is to “Promote and Cultivate the Arts.” All of the art is available for purchase.
     There is something inspiring about seeing artists with their work, and listening to them describe

what their art means to them. The time they spend on each piece of art is not always appreciated.

 Hats off to these professionals who are doing what they love most.

I was particularly attracted to displays with a vintage flair. Tom Barnes Fine Art is one of those booths. The talented Tom paints long-necked ladies with colorful hats and clothes. They were inspired by loving memories of twin sisters that he visited in Savannah, Georgia each summer while growing up. When the ladies went out for their weekly shopping excursion, their clothes were colorfully coordinated in salmons, pinks, baby blues, mint greens and lemon yellow. I couldn't help but be reminded of my well-dressed aunts from the 1950's.

     Another interesting vintage inspired booth was Photographs by Cali. Cali's individual images are hand-colored black and white photographs. The objects are from everyday life.  My favorite were The Blue Dress, Mais Oui, Le Hat, and the Booklist. Cali Hobgood's art is very simple and clean looking. She has won many awards including the Uptown Art Fair featured Poster Artist in 2006 in Minneapolis, MN.

      Another real find were the collages by Kathy Ross. There were many smiling faces hovering around her booth. Kathy is one of the three featured artists at this year's festival. She has been a full time self employed artist since 1978. Her sculptures are colleged with maps and book pages. They range in size from about 8 inches to over six feet. One of my favorites is the World Traveler Figure.

world traveler
     By the time we left, I believe we had viewed every art exhibit in the place—thanks to the leadership of my husband. Of course, we moved rather quickly, but did take time to see what was most interesting to each of us.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013


      It's another fine day in San Diego, and I'm headed out to do some Vintage shopping. I love the vintage stores because they each have a distinct personality. The clothing and accessories are one-of-a-kind. Displays and storefronts reflect the originality of the owners. They are artistic and colorful—bringing a bit of nostalgia for the past. What could be more fun?

     After enjoying a fresh spinach crepe at the always crowded Cafe21 in the Gaslamp District, I found the Boutique De Marcus, 685 2nd Avenue. Unlike most vintage stores, this one is located in a newer building. It is well marked with large glass windows displaying the upscale vintage look. It shares space with the Salon De Marcus, also owned by Marcus Hanish.

      As I walked in, I was immediately greeted by Randall who offered a tour. The tour consisted of his patiently showing me dozens of rare vintage dresses which I proceded to “ooh and ahh” over. We started with the long dresses which are my favorite.

      Randall answered all of my “novice” inquiries, like what does haute couture mean? “Exclusive custom fitted clothing.”

      Prices? “$500-$1,000+, although many are marked down due to a current sale.”

      Where do you get these dresses? “They are from the owner's private collection. He has been collecting vintage clothing for 15 years.”

      Sizes? “About size 8—12.”

      Do people bring dresses back for resale? “No.” (I don't think he appreciated this question.)

      Who do you sell to? (Honestly, I didn't ask this question, but I know the answer is something like the “rich and famous.”)

      I enjoyed the beauty of this haute couture place, including one of the dresses on a mannequin which I found out was a Roberto Cavalli. (Apparently I have good taste because Randall said that Cavalli is one of his favorites as well.) Other well known designers included Christian Dior, Oscar de la Renta, Badgley Mischa, and Ralph Lauren. It was a pleasure to see this lovely clothing close-up, and in such pristine condition.

      In addition, there was a rack of short vintage dresses (some originals by Marcus, the owner) that the younger set and others would appreciate. The owner has twins, and those lucky girls are the recipients of some of these beautiful designs. I guess my kids didn't come out as well. I didn't even do handmade Halloween costumes.
     Randall pointed out the jewelry which was cleverly displayed in an old wooden cabinet--once again they are all one-of-a-kind items that the owner has purchased while traveling throughout the world. I think I would like this owners job. There were hat and purse displays throughout the stoe as well.

      Then we moved on to the original new design collection which includes dresses and the recently released Princess Tailored Women's Dress Shirts ($160 per shirt). High end men's clothing is also on display.


     If you have impeccable taste, and are looking for the very finest in vintage clothing, this is the

boutique for you. The friendly staff will make the visit even more enjoyable.





Wednesday, March 6, 2013


     My daughter, Anna, and I needed to make a short stop for some groceries at Trader Joe's located at the Uptown Shopping Center in Hillcrest. Before we went into the store, she suggested we take a few minutes to walk across a nearby bridge.
     Frankly, I wasn't interested in walking on a bridge--I just wanted to make a quick stop at Trader Joe's, and get on the road home before rush hour. Besides, how could a bridge, over busy Washington Street, be worthwhile? But she really seemed to think I should do this--so off we went.
     Right away I knew why she thought I would appreciate it. She was right--it is one of the "cooler" walking bridges. There are colorfully written inspirational quotations along both sides of the bridge--all related to my favorite past time--walking. They are presented in a fun, colorful and artsy way.
     Here are a few of them:  
     "I'm thankful that I wear sensible shoes--and can walk with comfort all day long."--Kate Sessions
     "With lively feelings may I walk. As it used to be long ago, may I walk."--Navajo Chant
     "You must do the thing that you think you cannot do."--Eleanor Roosevelt
     If you decide to look down where you are walking, you can also read the various definitions of a bridge that are meticulously etched into the concrete along the sides.
     After a leisurely stroll across the bridge, we enjoyed the pleasant small vintage homes of University Heights surrounded by greenery. Vermont Street Pedestrian Bridge connects Hillcrest to University Heights. It was built in1995. The entrance can be found at the northern edge of Uptown Shopping Plaza.
     Thanks Anna for encouraging your mom to slow down, and
"smell the roses."