Z is for Zilch....as in No More To Do Lists!

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Z is for Zilch...as in No More To Do Lists!

I'm to the point where the Daily To Do list just gives me hives.  Same shizz, dif day.  I have to put a halt to them.  I have to get them done.  I have to move on.  It's one and the same - if I stop them, nothing gets done.  Yet, they keep growing...and growing.

At least some planting is on the make.  Lot's of final details are getting sorted.  The Smith + Noble shades have been installed.  My sailboat is sitting pretty in her spot beside FLO (with new brightwork happening as we speak).   The drawers of BS are getting organized.   The returns are happening.  The margaritas are flowin'. 

Also - this week is all about getting inspired about the super fly outdoor living space that takes over most of Floor 3.  The orange rug just off the bedfoom is making me happy - and I just planted som madness on that particular porch.  Or veranda.  Or deck.  Or whatever you wanna call it.  Chillax spot facing sunset?

Now - it's all about sorting books, outdoor living (ready by June 1, I'd say - all custom crazy cool furniture being made from recycled metal and wood + some funky cool sun shade idea I wanna try and crank this week).  More planting (half the boat is shade and half is sun), and generally curating all the stuff that one collects over time.  Plus good food, good drink and a boatload of magazines to rage thru.

Meanwhile, the pickled floor already needs to be redone :)   That said, I'm having some vino and making a new to do list.  It's in my blood.

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Y is for Yes, I STILL Love Baja!

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Y is for Yes, I STILL love Baja!

About a month ago, I had to get away from FLO and let the workers do their thing or I would have slaughtered all...so I cranked a 2+ week roadtrip down to the tip of Baja and back.  I fell in love all over again (so much so I need to shoot some TV shows there - more on that later, though).

I got loads of new material for this cool column I've been writing for Baja Bound called In the Belly of Baja.  It's basically a monthly shakedown of me and my doin's south of the border and I've been having a boozy time writing again, sharing the best of Baja, and attempting to recall what it's like to keep to a deadline. 

Here are the 3 latest columns:

4 Mouthwatering Reasons to Head South of the Border Right Now

Baja's Perfect Mid Winter Escape

"Next Time" Surprises to Experience in Baja

 


X is for X-tra Special Floating Home

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X is for X-tra Special Floating Home

It really is.  Just the coolest little spot that takes up 16 x 50 feet of boat slip.  3 floors and tons of character & special elements.  A place like this deserves x-tra delicious cocktails with huge ice cubes (see above) made on a daily basis.  And, there are so many funky things/pieces of the FLO puzzle that I need to share, they can't all be done in one post. 

But, here is one - my super cool dining table chandelier made from old reclaimed Napa valley wine barrels.  I had to modify this one a tiny bit cause I have low ceilings, but how cool is this?  I also got lots of cool sconces made from the same artisan (Wine Country Craftsman) and the glow these pieces put off is just lovely. 

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W is for WTF - is the FLO finally done?!

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W is for WTF...is the FLO finally done?!

Been so long since I've checked in, but I've been real, real busy. 

Finishing off the never-ending to do list on FLO; moving my sailboat Enola into the slip right beside the floating home (what are the chances it would open up?); making all kinds of good food in my new kitchen; researching plants and flowers and edibles for all the planting I'm going to rock this weekend; taking a trip to Belize to shoot a cool sizzle reel in the jungle; trying to get some sort of workout program going; kissing Minka a billion times per day; jammin' a 2 week road trip thru Baja; coming up with new ideas and schemes for the rest of my years; cleaning out all the madness in storage; and just generally trying to pull life together.

I think I'm back though.  And, I must finish off these damn letters so I can move on with fresh meat.  It shall all be done by Monday...and I can fill in all the blanks of my past few months, as well as try to make sense of the future.


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U is for Useful Things My Dog Has Taught Me

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U is for Useful Things My Dog Has Taught Me

Minka has easily become the most important - most present - element in my life.  She's by my side at all times - living the same little adventure that make up my days - but she's got her own special spin on it. 

Here's a few things that I've picked up from this very social, very happy pup.  She's just so neat.

1.  When someone you care about is hurt, race to their rescue.

2.  Never hesitate to coze down when there is a soft blanket nearby.

3.  Begging gets you nowhere (and is actually quite unattractive) - but if you stand by quietly and be a good girl, you will get treats.

4.  IF you have an itchie, an owie, or any sort of general ailment - address it immediately.

5.  Stretch like maddddd before even getting out of bed.

6.  Never fear the ocean.  Water feels so, so good on the body.

7.  Learn a few tricks and you just might get somewhere in life.  (Mouse can roll over, sit, lay and shake).

8.  When out and about, stop and smell some flowers now and again.

9.  Stick close to those you love - they will always take care of you.

10.  Happily greet every stranger you see.  It may be exhausting, but sometimes you might make a new friend.

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T is for Twelve Minutes from LAX

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Twelve minutes from LAX lies my little floating home that
someday soon I shall move back onto.  

Dear God, it's taken forever, I've lost my mind, but it's on the horizon...the hunkder down for spring in LA is on the make.  Cause lord knows I haven't dont jack what I wanted to down here in the desert.  I've been on the road for eons, how could I?   Takes all I've got to pay the bills, research the needs for FLO, plot a few new shows and try to make some good food.  Toss in Minka's daily pup needs and keeping up with the news, and the day is done. 

Now, once I get back on the FLO, pls do remember, I'm a scant 12 minutes from LAX, which if you have been a toothie long, you will recall one of my first posts ever was about what makes a perfect place to live?  Has to be close to an international airport.  And, for that reason alone - I can't imagine being anywhere else but the marina if I'm to reside in LA.  Means, in 12 minutes I can be at the 'port, ticket to elsewhere in hand and on my way to another land. Usually Mexico. Or Indo.
  
This past trip to Casa de Mita, I discovered the chill village of San Pancho and a sweet little organic restaurant down a side road tucked into a funky hotel.  Turns out the owner of the hotel and restaurant lives 1/2 mile from me in Venice.  In a place I walk past all the time.  Small, small world.
 
The food at Bistro Organico was simple fusion food.  A twist of Mexico, a sting of Tahiti, and a whole lotta freshness.  They're throwing Thai red basil into cocktails, whipping up their own tequila, and taking the vibe of the S. Pacific islands and making them come alive in charred mushroom pots and coconut shrimp curries. Super light and fresh.   

And, with LAX only 12 minutes away from me, just that much closer.  I do so love SoCAL.

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S is for San Pancho, Mexico

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S is for San Pancho, Mexico

Rarely does a super cool village come my way that is as special as the person waxing poetic about it claims it is. So, when I heard a whisper about the village of San Pancho, Mexico while I was staying at Casa de Mita in December, I knew I'd regret it if I didn't go - or would I?  I almost didn't head there - who can deal?  Like I said, most peeps talk of secret haunts and then you go and its like WTF?  They clearly have no clue what makes a great village.

I'm even on the fence sometimes.  I think it's a mix of several things that elevate typical towns and villages into a league worth raving about. Usually there's either a beach or mountains involved.  The word "organic" is starting to pop up (be in in regards to a bakery, a farm, a spa).  The people are super chillaxed and just living in the moment, not rushing to and fro, all frantic. There might be more than normal amounts of motor bikes, golf carts, scooters, or bicycles as a huge portion of the transport.  Reclaimed materials are seen inside restaurants - as bars, tables, wall art, or benches.  Everyone waves and says hello - abnormally friendly folks reside there.  Artists usually flock there either for the light, or the cheap living.   You've never really read about it in magazines - at least when you first discovered it.  There's at least one yoga class, if not that, then pilates.  Wi-fi is def to be found most places.  People return year after year cause they want the guarantee - you want to know it's gonna put you in your right mind at the end of a stay.  The food served is fresh, local and sustainable - and they don't have to preach it...it's just the way that is always has been.

How many places can you name that have the above elements?  It's hard...next to impossible really.

Anyhow - San Pancho.  I was expecting another Sayulita - which I'm def not a fan of.  So many tourists, so much influx. I run from places like this.  San Pancho though (about 20 min from Sayulita) - was special upon entry.  It's tiny.  It's walkable.  It dead ends at the beach.  It's prob what Sayulita was 15 years ago.   There were games of dominos on the happs.  Some hippie looking surfer folks were prepping some kind of food on the beach, surrounded by adorable dogs all perched to get a treat if they were good boys and girls. Cold cans of beers were in the hands of the locals round about 3p, as chicken was being grilled up in a tiny alcove off the main street (I was offered a sample and it was the best street chix I've ever tasted - sweet and charred at once). The beach was relaxed and quiet.   Live music was floating in from one of the few beachside restaurants.  You know the margs were good (meaning I don't have to tell them no pre-mix, I want fresh lime proper-style).  Cute hotels. Organic restaurants.  The happiest street dogs in the world (seems San Pancho is known for their dogs - in a good way).  Local artists on the square, selling really cool stuff (not mass produced junk).  Candles being lit in bars and restaurants.  Daily special boards being set out.  I mean, I could go on and on.  Reminds me a little of when I first came upon Isla Mujeres years ago.  Or certain villages in Bali.  Old school SMA.  

It's just a certain vibe you get off places that makes you stay up late night, researching real estate and land and potential business prospects.  Thinking of ditching all and moving on down to do what is is people do in places such as these.  Live.  I need a little more of that.  Just livin.

 

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R is for RV Parks

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R is for RV Parks

Absolutely, my new fave way to live. Chilled up at the RV park in Malibu for about a month while the FLO remodel takes place and now repo'ed down to Borrego Springs (90 miles E of San Diego) as it all winds down.  Literally love it here. It's the place to come for pretty dang near perfect weather and freedom of the mind. It's like I can finally make some good food with proper ingredients, read a ton of books, research recipes, do a bit of hiking, get through piles of magazines, wander the awesome library in town and just generally chillax. I can write. I can think. Ponder. Dream.

 

Mouse has the most active social schedule ever. 3p in the doggie park is a MUST for anyone who's anyone in the dog world. She sprints desert trails. She traces the perimeter of our perfecto spot. She is the perfect tennis spectator.  She is truly a participant in nature here. No need to bark at every little motion. She's livin' in them all.

 

This little town is pretty tidy. Just a few stores. Couple of Mexican restaurants with decent margs (though I do have to request my style of drink - silver tequila, fresh lime and little else). Tish's Health Food Store makes me so happy with a well curated array of goodies.  The only grocery store in town in loaded with stuff you'd find in Whole Foods and there is a perfectly awesome Farmers Market on Friday in the town circle.  It's pretty delightful running into town to grab some sesame seeds for spelt bread or pick up a few jalapenos for tortilla soup (makin' that today) and not have to wear myself out thinking about all the options.  There are none.  And, they are GOOD ones. Really dig the escargot at the French restaurant in town too.  And, what mussels.  They roll out in a huge pot - so freaky good.

 

As for the actual RV park.  I mean.  It's just nutty.  I want to spend every Jan here just regrouping.  In between the daily sessions in the hot springs, nightly swims in the heated pool, yoga & pilates classes, tennis games, and golf if you want it - is a super efficient gym, a little library, a wellness center, and just the friendliest people ever.  It's all surrounded by palm trees, an beautiful golf course and super dramatic mountains.  Cocktails begin about noon-o-thirty (usually a margarita or two), and this comes after either a hike to Hellhole Canyon (6 miles round trip to a secret waterfall), perhaps a yoga class where a bit of marching happens after each move (the ancient hips really loved that part of it) or a whirl in the gym rockin' the Tibetan Rites. 

 

Books are being plowed through (thank god I discovered the town library), and I'm just happy browsing recipe suggestions from every mag and cookbook I'm always too busy to jam through.  The sun is pretty much always shining (been near 80 all week) and each little slot here has it's own lemon or grapefruit tree.  Hell, these camp hosts even cruise around in the AM picking up your trash and recycling.  It's just nuts.  Portlandia in the desert.  


Early afternoon, I might start up a soup (clam chowder is just so so easy to make and I think the key is skip the flour...I loathe glompy soup); throw on Greek green beans; or just let a big pot of beans simmer.   The days fly and fly here - up at 6 am and I swear to God, I'm tucked in with a book 'round about 7p.  Guess this is life.  Not a program.  Just life.  Where does work fit back in?  Having a real hard time even thinking about that one.

 

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Q is for Quick Life Update...

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Q is for Quick Life Update

For the love, how time flies.  I was on the A to Z roll and then out of nowhere, Malibu RV Park drove me mad and I had to bolt to Baja for Xmas.  To the wonderful delight of Minka.  She popped a 4 day weekend down in wine valley (oh ps - not a soul checked her doggie papers either way across the TECATE border) with a 6 pack of farm dogs.  You have never, ever seen such joy.  Meanwhile, I once again had some next level food in the Valle.  GD - it's just surreal what folks can do with a sprout, a leaf and a swish of some pork paste. 

But, before even that - another Mexico adventure.  It was TIME 2 at Casa de Mita.  I was once again convinced that Mexico is in my blood and that Casa de Mita is literally one of the best places on the planet.  Lalo and Memo (and all the staff at the Casa) make my heart swim.  See the pic above?  Let's just call it my own private mansion for the week.  It was nothing but daily body boarding in the mighty Pacific (almost lost my life a few times - damn those waves :); billions of perfect margaritas; awesome yoga classes with Tomas (ever tried the 5 Tibetan Rites anyone - amazing....); fresh ceviche; awesomely fulfilled requests for pozole and paella; brilliant games of late night scrabble and let me just call it a thriller a day (as in spy, CIA, espionage books).  Dude - this place is truly one of a kind.

Then, back to Malibu.  Which don't get me wrong.  I love it there - the fresh seafood market at the bottom of the hiking trail.  Letting Minka run leashless round the hills.  The amazing sunsets nightly.  But, all it did was remind me up close that the FLO was not done.  If I'm gonna be on vaca - welp, I need to be on VACAYYYY....

So - now - Borrego Springs.   Right now, the 'stream is popped up in a perfect spot in what is prob the best RV resort in the world. Mouse is chewin' on a chunk of sugar cane from the simple-but-delightful farmers market here in town and I've got a pot of spicy beans on the oven.  Sun is shining.  Wine is flowing.  I actually worked out this AM (hello Tibetan Rites) and I got a new thriller from the library today.

More and more soon.  I must finish this damn alphabet I started and get onto a whole new tooth journey. 

Meantime - a few pix from Casa de Mita to satiate your desires to ditch all and high tail it to Mexico.  I know it's in the back of my mind right now - but for the moment - Marley and wine and fresh margs will suffice :)

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P is for Perfect Meal (@Sandzibar in La Cruz, Mexico)

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At least for me, this is the perfect meal.
Thing is, I'm a straight up nut when it comes to finding the perfect meal.  I walk in.  I walk out.  I sit down.  I get up and leave.  I sniff about.  I make up a reason to bolt.  All if the vibe don't suit me.  If the food on other peeps plates looks suspicious, later.  If the wait staff blows, holla.  If there is lit no good vibe, I'm out.  I can't deal and I'd rather spend the dinero elsewhere.  
It's been known to drive my pals MAD. I just want good, good food all the time. I do the research.  I put in my time.  I read the mags.  Peruse the blogs. Talk to the locals.  Scan the horizon for a sign that my belly will be satisfied - and it's usually not coming from the super hot spot.  Or the most expensive. Or the raved about.
 
It's just coming cause it's damn good food.  
Fresh. Natural. Organic. Special.  
Which is why I was really stunned that the meal I had at beachside Sandzibar (just a stones throw from Punta de Mita) a few weeks ago down in Mexico was so freaky delish.  This place is the kind of spot that I usually avoid.  But, I was on the hunt for fresh seafood, hadn't eaten since breakfast, had just tore down from the mountains and was shakin' for a cold, cold margarita.  Don't get me wrong, the vibe is pretty chill there.  The view is lovely.  The staff is friendly.  It's more about the customers.  All seem rich.  All seem like they'd literally curl up and DIE before eating at a nana's place down the dirt road. They would turn over their first born before tasting the juicy chicken off the roadside grill in San Pancho (another entry is needed for that one).  So, therefore, I'm usually keen to head on.  But, we stopped.  
Immediately, I slurped down a PERFECT margarita.  Then another.  We ordered up a greek salad and seared octopus over hummus.  Simple enough.  Well, freakin' kudos to these chefs (and chefs they are - no backhand cooking up in here).  
From the greens, to the cheese, to the dressing, to that AMAZING hummus, to the bread and sauces, to the charred octopus, to the limey/tangy/perfect 'rita - I was just taken aback.  Like skidding to a stop every few seconds to let my mouth regroup.  Reset.  
Which brings me to why this was a perfect meal.  It's cause it was CLEAN. Super clean and super fresh.  It's literally the way I need to eat every single meal of every single day.  Small portions.  Immediate ingredients.  Well paced and thoughtfully presented. Just right.  Right with the bellys and the minds and the eaters of the world.   
That said, I aim to have the perfect meal every day from here on out.   At least...my version of it.  You never, ever have to diet if this is the daily way.  God, it all seems so simple.
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