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I just returned from a few days in California. I was way past due for some time with my sister and it was her birthday so off I went! We spent time in Topanga, Venice Beach, Hollywood and Ojai. What a wonderful trip. The hours of talking were magical, as was the inspiring time spent browsing wonderful boutique and galleries. I had never been to Ojai bere (north of Malibu on the way to Santa Barbara). This is a fabulous little community built in a valley full of ranches and vineyards. The town bursts with creativity in a most laid back way. We toured Ojai Valley Inn & Spa and decided we must stay there next time. It had such beautiful grounds, very private, a pool, hiking and of course- indulgent spa treatements.

I had an appointment with my silver filigree artist, Federico, while I was there. He has a home in Oaxaca, Mexico and Venice. His studio in Venice is located in a building behind his home. The studio is a great space, complete with Talavera mirrors, big windows looking out on the lush garden, and a superb collection of antique Native American art. My sister and I spent a few hours sorting through his gorgeous jewelry trying on pair after pair of earrings that were the most beautiful things I had ever seen. We also had fun trying on a few of his necklaces made of abalone that felt really tribal. Federico and his assistant, Miguel were such gracious hosts.

After our appointment we explored Venice. It was very refreshing to be on streets that were full of coffee shops and boutiques that had no big name, all were locally owned. I did see a Toms store and had to check it out. If you’ve read my other blogs you know I am a huge fan. Anyhow, this is the only store they have. It is part store, coffee house, garden to hang in, and a fun little community center. The evening I was there they were going to show the movie Bottle Rockets in the garden. So fun! Oh- and the kids shoes were displayed in an open tent in the garden!

I am so inspired by all I have seen. Here are a few of my notes of inspiration for Bella Frida:
driftwood pices suspended from ceiling make cool display to hang things from
use my outdoor space more creatively
create space for kids in store that is really fun
paint mural outside

The goodbye to my sister was really difficult. I wonder if we saw each other more than a few times a year if it would be any easier. I honestly doubt it. We are both at a place in our lives where we really feel the connection we have and hold it sacred. Our ailing Grandmother in Boulder is also bringing my family closer. Each day is a gift and all that we know.