Tuesday, August 31, 2010

My go-to easy dinner: Ina's Chicken Parmesan

School starts today all over my land, meaning my family. And if you are in the throes of the school year and trying to stay organized, on top of life and provide a decent delicious meal at the end of the day, then it's imperative to have a few simple recipes in your arsenal. This is one of mine. Ina Garten's Parmesan Chicken. It's the epitome of easy, and what I love about it is that it isn't a heavy chicken parm, with lots of cheese and sauce. It's simply breaded chicken breasts (I buy the thin chicken breasts and then don't have to pound them), sauteed and served with a mixed green salad on top with a lemon viniagrette.

Dinner on the table in a half hour. You will be a rock star. Try it.

(photo: ina garten, food network)

Monday, August 30, 2010

Saturday night in the city...

This past Saturday night we dragged our sorry selves off the hill and into the city. Everyone one of us. Including remaining teenage boys and one home from his first week at college (oh, the beauty of local education for the first time college mother!). My pal Kelley was a vendor at a new-ish event called LA Craft Experience, which was located right in Chinatown, which is an awesome place anyway. This event is so much different from any either of us had done before because it pretty much takes place in the evening. Yes! The event goes from 5 pm to midnight. (I'd die.) We got there around 6 and it was really just getting started.

I had to visit my pal right away. I feel like I never see her anymore now that I'm fully employed. *sigh*

I love going to Chinatown, there's so much color and so many little knick knack shops with so much.....crap, it's hilarious.

There was a huge line of food trucks on a little side road. We didn't partake because we had our hearts set on Chinatown Chinese food, but let me tell you, by the time we went back that way (after dark) this area was packed and the lines were 10-20 people long. What a trend this has become!

(I've heard the Patty Wagon below is awesome)

So, we had dinner and then went back to main area, and man 'o man. I have never been to Chinatown after dark and if I thought it was colorful and cool during the day - it doesn't hold a candle to Chinatown after dark.

Check. Out. The. Neon!

Unbelieveable awesomeness. The event was in collaboration with Chinatown Summer Nights, which was sponsored by our local NPR (and my favorite radio) station, KCRW. They had DJ's from the station spinning records in a couple different locations, and there was dancing at one. It's such a great idea, and it is so good for the community to get out there and support these little establishments. Everyone was busy, the food trucks were jamming, and there were just people everywhere.

Also, I got some love from my boys men.

They were so sweet to actually agree to a photo with me. This doesn't happen very often, I have to gloat.

It was a great time and a great Saturday night. We'll have to drag their asses somewhere else very soon.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

And the tutorials will live forever....

My friend Katy had a great idea last week. I was lamenting the fact that when I close my Typepad blog, all those fun refashion tutorials that I did will burn and die. They were fun, I still like reading those old posts and I'd still like to continue refashioning pieces of clothing if and when I get a chance.

So, since I really couldn't do what I had in mind through this page on Blogger, I set up another blog called Sommertutes ....but, the point is...the tutes live.

Don't worry about bookmarking that site, everything will be listed under Show 'n Tell up there on the navigation bar.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

The week remixed

The end of August, and summer has finally arrived in Southern California. Scorching temperatures this last week, and I was thanking my stars that I was indoors in the nice, comfortable manufactured air office. Today, of course, I woke up to dense fog, which means that at least for the weekend, we will be comfortable. Happy, that.

This past week we found ourselves delivering one college boy to his new home away from home, and even though it's only an hour away, I still had an empty spot in my heart! It will take some getting used to, for sure! I can't tell you how happy I was to pick him up last night, and right now I am joyfully doing his laundry. That's a first.

Enjoy the last weekend of August my friends!

Saturday, August 21, 2010


This is one of my newest obsessions, Wardrobe Remix. Well, I should say, renewed obsession. I played around with it a few years ago, but I have a hard time with challenges like this. For me, it's all or nothing, and even though it isn't necessary to post a picture everyday, I still feel like I should.

If you don't know, Wardrobe Remix is a group through Flickr, where you post what you wore that day. Some people are diligent about it, others dabble. What I like about it is that it makes you look at your closet with a different eye, trying to come up with different outfits using the same pieces so you don't always get into that 'uniform' rut. I can be so guilty of that.

And I use the word obsession because every night I start to think about what I'm going to wear to work the next day, and this forces me to be a little creative. I'm lucky that I don't really have to get super dressed up for work. Most of the people in the workshop wear jeans, even the owners. But I'm in the front office, and customers, clients and designers stop by, with an appointment or not, so I always try to be presentable.

The remix group is definitely a fun place to check out, get new ideas on dressing and clothes and of course, get inspired. There's a few other fun clothing groups: Daily Outfit Diary, The Working Closet, I Love Clothes, My, What is that you're wearing, Wardrobe Fun and What the Hell are you Wearing.

Any others I should know about?

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Weekend Style

This is killing me. Found via Simple Song - Vintage Loves by Free People. My kind of style.

Talbot's Evolves

Have you seen Talbot's lately? They are surprising me these days. When I was shopping just before I went back to work [to fill in some gaps in my working wardrobe, and see what was out there] I stumbled into one of the stores and nearly fell over.

Of course they still have their stock of country club clothes for that crowd, but they've added some very hip and fashionable pieces. This morning the fall lookbook landed in my inbox, and I have to admit, if I had the funds, I'd be buying a whole new wardrobe.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

What I do now.

It's not complicated work, but I like it. I was hired as an administrative assistant, essentially, but I think I quickly proved that I could be used beyond that realm. So besides general offices duties (you know, phones, filing, organizing projects, etc.) I also interact directly with our clients, many of whom are interior designers, some of whom are direct clients (those are mainly the restoration jobs). I love it.

I love keeping a handle on the various stages of a project. I love watching a custom sofa being made from the woodshop straight through to the upholstery - it's amazing to see how precise and exact a job it is. The owner of the business is a fourth generation furniture maker, who still does things the old school way. And he takes the time to explain to me exactly what is being done in various stages, and why.

The fabric we use is not the same kind of fabric I was used to dealing with in my business. Most of what I worked with was quilting weight cottons and (what I now know is, low quality) home dec fabrics. In my new job, we are working with linens that wholesale from $75 to $150 a yard; silk velvets at $400 a yard. That's wholesale!

We did a set a of 14 dining room chairs for a very high profile client in that silk velvet! The fabric alone was $10,000. I died. So far, that has been my favorite project. We did an entire house for this [celebrity] couple - all the window coverings and much of the furniture. The kicker was when my boss had to go there one afternoon for a meeting before the final turnover and invited me along. It was by far the most spectacular home I have ever seen (even if everything was covered in moving blankets!).

So, as you can see, it's quite a change from what I was doing, but amazing. Seriously, I have to pinch myself. Often.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

New Adventures

Well, hello. Things are in a flux and life is changing. Has changed. After 11 years of running my business, Sommer Designs, I am putting it behind me and moving on. I went back to work, outside the home, two months ago and it has been one of the best decisions I've made. I wonder, now, if I should have done this years ago, but that's one of those hindsight issues. I was so wrapped in moving my business forward that it was never a consideration. And, really, I was so happy working my own gig and I don't regret a moment of it.

So, what now? I've been blogging for 5 years over at another platform, but will probably be closing that account soon. I loved it there, but now that I don't have to market my business as strongly as I used to, I have a hard time justifying the expense. So here I am, back at Blogger where I began blogging 6 years ago! Full circle sort of thing.

My interests have also changed in the last year - I'm not as interested in promoting my own wares and crafty projects. I'm sure there will still be some knitting posts thrown in for good measure, but that's about as crafty as I plan to get.

I now work full time for a family owned custom furniture, wall and window covering company. They also restore & reupholster classic modern furniture - think Eames, Herman Miller, Knoll and all that good stuff. I am immersed in good, clean design. I love it. I've learned so much.

So, I'm thinking this is where I will share some of my finds from the interior design world that I am now a part of. Another new obsession is what I am wearing to work, because after working from home for 11 years, I'm damn happy to get dressed up to go to work. I'm trying to get back into Wardrobe Remix on Flickr and I also take part in 365, which is a picture (usually self-portrait) a day.

I don't expect anyone but myself to be at all interested in this blather.