Saturday, March 27, 2010

Celebrate Earth Hour!

Tonight the world will be coming together to conserve energy for just one hour during Earth Hour and I'll be joining them. I hope you will to!

About Earth Hour (from the official site):

"On Earth Hour hundreds of millions of people, organizations, corporations and governments around the world will come together to make a bold statement about their concern for climate change by doing something quite simple—turning off their lights for one hour. In the U.S. where we are already feeling the impacts of climate change, Earth Hour sends a clear message that Americans care about this issue and want to turn the lights out on dirty air, dangerous dependency on foreign oil and costly climate change impacts, and make the switch to cleaner air, a strong economic future and a more secure nation.

Participation is easy. By flipping off your lights on March 27th at 8:30 p.m. local time you will be making the switch to a cleaner, more secure nation and prosperous America."

For more information please visit the official Earth Hour 2010 site!

Friday, March 26, 2010

MOVIE: Bachelor in Paradise (1961)

Bachelor in Paradise (1961)

I recently reviewed a Bob Hope comedy called BACHELOR IN PARADISE (1961) that featured some great ranch homes and interiors. I couldn't resist sharing a few screen grabs from it. Apologies for the quality but my old video tape isn't in the best shape.
Bachelor in Paradise (1961)

Bachelor in Paradise (1961)

Bachelor in Paradise (1961)

More info about the movie can be found here

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Yard Cleanup

Napa's Mid City Nursery in the early '60s

Now that spring seems to have arrived in Napa, we're starting to plan out some of our landscaping. At the moment we're focused on stripping and cleaning the front and back yards, removing all debris as well as unwanted plants and stones. It's a slow and tedious process that will take a long time to complete but I enjoy being able to go outside and spend time in my yard. The exercise is good too!

Over the weekend we made a visit to our local Home Depot and Orchard Supply Hardware stores as well as the wonderful Mid City Nursery. Mid City Nursery is located on the outskirts of Napa and it's a huge place that sells lots of lovely garden plants, fruit and shade trees, shrubbery, ground cover, seeds, paving stones, garden decor and many other supplies. It originally opened in 1954 (the same year that our house was built!) and its one of largest nurseries in the area. The sellers were all very friendly and helpful, which is great when you're novices like us and need lots of help. We were especially happy to discover that they carried a large variety of Japanese trees and plants that grow well in our Northern California climate. We have a beautiful Japanese maple tree in our backyard so we're planning to use it as the inspiration for our landscape design. My husband and I both love Japanese gardens and mid-century modern designers were often influenced by Japanese design so hopefully we can incorporate a lot of those aspects into our own yard.

Here's a few pictures I took over the weekend while we were doing yard work.

Our back porch and patio needs an overhaul.

Japanese Maple Tree
The Japanese maple tree in our backyard surrounded by weeds.

Front yard
Removing stones and debris from the front yard.

Front yard
The red wheelbarrow was the first tool we bought.

The stones we removed are piling up! We plan to use some in our own landscape design and get rid of the rest.

Mr. Toad
We discovered Mr. Toad in our yard along with some crawfish. We assume they must have crawled out of the Napa river and found a new home in our yard.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Oscar Party Tips

1958 Academy Awards

This weekend the 82nd Academy Awards are taking place and many people will be hosting their own Oscar parties on Sunday night. I'm living out of boxes at the moment so I won't be hosting any Oscar parties of my own but I will be watching the show and "Twittering Live" for Cinebeats.

I thought I'd share some last minute Oscar party tips including mid-century hors d'oeuvre recipes and some links to other helpful sites where you can find cocktail and menu ideas.

If you were hosting an Oscar party in 1958 you might have made some of the hors d'oeuvres featured in the following ad for Seagram's Golden Gin. I haven't tried any of them myself but some of them will probably look familiar since a lot of these hors d'oeuvres haven't changed all that much since 1958. Just click on the image to see the ad fullsize.

If you're looking for more current menu ideas you could always borrow some from Wolfgang Puck's official menu for the 2010 Academy Awards Governor's Ball. This annual Oscar after-party is well-known for it's Academy Award winning attendees and its fabulous menu which was posted by Hadley Tomicki over at the Grub Street Los Angeles blog.

Need some cocktail ideas? I highly recommend visiting Miss Charming's site where she has collected various cocktail and drink recipes from classic Hollywood films. Ever wonder what drinks were served in Casablanca? Curious about what Bette Davis drank in Now, Voyager or what drink Barbra Streisand sipped in Funny Girl? You'll find all those answers and more at Miss Charming' Silver Screen Cocktails 1900s-1960s page.

Stars gather for an Oscar after-party in 1958

If you need more beverage ideas check out the Hollywood Cocktails page at where you'll find alcoholic and non-alcoholic cocktail recipes perfect for all ages such as the Hollywood Martini, The Red Carpet, the Roy Rogers, the Scarlet O'Hara, the Shirley Temple and The Graduate.

Last but not least, the official Oscar site also features a helpful page devoted to Oscar party planning. The Oscar Party Kit contains a lot of great recipes for drinks and hors d'oeuvres, as well as party game ideas and more.

Even if you aren't planning your own Oscar party this year you can use all of the ideas above for hosting special movie nights with friends or if you just want to throw a Hollywood inspired theme party.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Moving Time!

Moving Truck

Over the weekend we finally finished moving and spent the first night in our new home. It's been raining almost non-stop since Friday which has put a bit of a damper on everything and I seem to have developed a cold in the process. But even in all this rain Napa is really lovely and I adore my new house. Home ownership is both scary and amazing. It will take me some time to get used to the whole idea of owning my own home but I couldn't be happier about our decision. More to come as the adventure continues!

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