Monday, January 30, 2012

motel mondays: part nine

welcome to another edition of motel mondays!  today's motel photo was sent to me by one of my best friends.  it is the pala motel and is located in pomona, california.  so, pomona is quite a bit of a trek from where i live and i have only been there once... i made the journey to visit the l.a. county fair a couple of summers ago... soley to see hall & oates in concert as well as sample all of those amazing county fair fried delicacies (s'mores, snickers, etc.).   anyhow, my friend is in pomona every day for work.

i love this pink, orange & sparkly gold color combo so much!
she works with her dad at their very cool ceramic glazing company, f & m ceramics, constantly developing new glazes for some of the coolest ceramic companies around!  used for all things ceramic... from cool tile (like this AMAZING) crackle glass tile (above) to groovy dinnerware from companies like bauer, jeffrey court, and gainey...  i am in awe of her talent and creativity and i dream of the day where i have my own line of home products and can use them for some of my items!   and, let's be real, i also dream of the day of having proper tile on my bathroom floor rather than landloard chosen linoleum.  someday...

loving these groovy bauer mixing bowls

and these circle pots from gainey are on my wish list...
now i'm off to home depot for new painters tape.  my day was supposed to be devoted to my latest diy, i even reserved time with a friend that agreed to help me with it... well, sadly i have hit a snafu of painter's tape not sticking to my walls properly. so now i need to get the other, more expensive green tape! hopefully it will save the day and all will not be lost...  gotta get as much done today as i can since i am interning tomorrow!

for those of you just tuning in and wanting to know more about me you can by going here... and if you didn't already know... i created a facebook page... check it out and "like" it! and follow me on twitter and you can even follow my boards on pinterest too!

until next time...

the (formerly almost) 40 year old intern

Friday, January 27, 2012

simply black and white

so interning this week has been pretty great.  i spent a lot of my time helping THE designer sort through amazing photos of client's homes and laying them out for a book that is in the works.  it was pretty cool to see how THE designer's mind works and the thought process behind grouping them into different themes and then helping to brainstorm on chapter title names.  i am in such awe of THE designer's talent and moments like those just reiterate it.  it's like being with a rock star of design.  anyhow, i spent the other bit of my interning time at a leather supplier sorting through cow hides and finding the perfect colors and textures to work for some furniture projects and then running to a local woodworker who is involved in some custom projects...  all in all a great week of learning!

lately i have been completely obsessed with cool bold black and white modern graphics.  i even created a pinterest board dedicated to this obsession...  and i feel like i am seeing cool black and white graphics everywhere around town now too.  above are a couple of photos i snapped of construction barricades i saw on a local street while running intern errands this week. i love that someone took it upon themselves to make them look so much cooler than they normally look!  i am working on a few diy projects that i will be unveiling in the coming weeks that are a celebration of my love of black and white.  hopefully the end results will be as cool as they look in my head!

i'm off to my metal smithing class now.  we have been on break for the last couple of months and i have been suffering from withdrawal!  i am obsessed with pyrite stones (also known as fool's gold!) and can't wait to finish a few pieces i started last time that incorporate them.

for those of you just tuning in and wanting to know more about me you can by going here... and if you didn't already know... i created a facebook page... check it out and "like" it! and follow me on twitter and you can even follow my boards on pinterest too!

until next time...

the (formerly almost) 40 year old intern

Monday, January 23, 2012

motel mondays: part eight

it's that time of week again! happy motel monday!  today's photo was sent to me by a fab gal i know from my design classes.  she was driving through tucson, arizona and saw this beauty and just had to snap a pic!  it's the tucson inn and i have to say it is pretty groovy!  love the half sunburst look to this sign.  if you've been reading my blog for a bit you may have caught on to my love of sunbursts... so glad she sent this to share!  it's a rainy day here in l.a. and i love that this pic adds a bit of sunshine to my day.  and if any of you reading have a good vintage motel photo to share, let me know!

this weekend i went to the roller derby to see the la derby dolls.  i haven't been in about a year and every time i go i am reminded of how much i love everthing about it!  the celebration of girl power,  the hot dog on a stick truck (freshly made corn dogs!), and who doesn't love a sparkly rollor skate hanging like a disco ball decorating the warehouse track??  if you've never been i highly recommend checking it out in your town.  these gals have no fear and it is an action packed entertaining evening guaranteed!  kinda brings me back to the life of monthly roller skating parties as a kid... i went to catholic school and these were our major social events in junior high where i would don my dark gloria vanderbilt jeans, tease my hair high and put my groovy comb in my back pocket (major fashion do at the time! gotta love the 80's...)  and head to the roller rink with hopes of a fun evening and the possibility of skating with a boy i liked... anyhow, the roller derby is actually nothing like that, except for the whole roller skating part...  but it is pretty awesome.  the blurry bits in the photo above are the gals skating at break neck speeds, aggressively trying to win points for their teams...

my fave recent vintage find from the weekend is this groovy lighter case. i don't smoke but i love the silver and gold funky floral geometric pattern on it so i couldn't resist! plus, it opens to reveal a case large enough to store credit cards and cash so i could use it for that... but really, i like it as inspiration for a future wall treatment or artwork...  yeah, it's not the beautiful white slipper chairs i mentioned missing last week.  no, still haven't gotten over it. i just had lunch with a designer friend today who didn't hesitate to reiterate the fact that i was crazy to have passed those beauties up while thinking them over instead of snapping them up immediately.  i'll get over it someday i think... i hope.

working on some really fun projects this week!  helping one friend restyle her bedroom and another design her guest bedroom.  even working on a fun consulting project tied to my old executive life (gotta pay the bills!).  looking forward to seeing what interning brings tomorrow...

for those of you just tuning in and wanting to know more about me you can by going here... and if you didn't already know... i created a facebook page... check it out and "like" it! and follow me on twitter and you can even follow my boards on pinterest too!

until next time...

the (formerly almost) 40 year old intern

Friday, January 20, 2012

vintage dreams

groovy french mannequin heads - too pricey but had to take a photo! love!
i have been in a vintage furniture shopping flurry with a couple friends this past week.  on sunday i was at my very favorite flea market with one friend.  we were on a mission to furnish most of his new apartment so he rented a u-haul van for the day.  he was super nervous about driving it which i have to say added a little bit of comedy to the day!  i knew we were in trouble when the night before he left a message in a slightly high pitched voice saying, "well, they didn't have the small truck i requested and all they had was a very large van that i am not so comfortable with....."  well, no major accidents to report, just a lot of nervous moments, and i am very happy to say that we did fill his van with most of the items on our list! oh,and by the end of the day my friend was a whiz at parallel parking the massive van! oh and i was recovering from a minor medical procedure earlier in the week where the nurse told me not to exercise and to "take it easy" in the coming week. it wasn't until our 3rd trip to the u-haul where i realized that it probably wasn't what she had in mind when telling me to take it easy. i never thought of going to the flea market as a work out but i guess it kinda is. oops.

so, anyone that shops for vintage furniture and has done so regularly (as i have for the last 20 years) knows the golden rule... buy it now if you love it because you most likely won't ever see it again!  i even mentioned this rule to my friend as we were starting our day at the market (he's not a regular flea market shopper)... little did i know, i should have been listening to my own advice!  so, a while back i wrote about my "someday chairs."  you know, groovy vintage lawn chairs that i saw at the long beach flea market at a price so amazing that i actually considered buying them even though i have no lawn, no patio, no balcony... really no outdoor space to speak of and no chance of having such a space in the near future.  and yeah, i have seen enough episodes of hoarders that i am afraid of what my future might hold if i over indulge in pieces of furniture i have no space or immediate use for. so, i passed on these "someday" chairs. well, those are no longer my biggest vintage regret.
now, it is a lovely pair of vintage white slipper chairs that i saw on sunday.  i think doris day (love!) would have proudly displayed them in her home.  i saw these chairs (one in the above photo) when we arrived at 7:00 am and loved them immediately. caressed each one, sat in them for ages and for some reason decided to "think about it" even though the first price i was quoted (before any negotiating) was a good one.  it was raining and i think my brain just wasn't working properly... well, i decided that we would check back. sadly, they were sold when we walked by the vendor the second time. and then i was really bummed even though there was nothing i could do about it.  well, i thought, perhaps another dealer bought them and they would resurface in another booth?  nope, sadly not the case. i know where they ended up.  i saw them last night as i was catching up on reading emily henderson's blog. yep, i wasn't kidding when i mentioned a while back that we were on the same flea market schedule.  except this time it wasn't her, it was her partner on her hgtv show orlando.  he is the proud new owner of my chairs and they look just as awesome as i remember them.  insert great big sigh here. i guess i should look on the bright side. they did go to someone i "know" and like. even though we've never met...

so, here's a groovy chair my friend darin picked up at one of our fave valley vintage stores the next day (yep, the prices and stuff at this store makes it totally worthwhile for a trip over the hill)... oh and that $750 price tag? not a chance! we got it for $200.

and we found this really cool table that needs a lot of love but is going to be sooo awesome for his kitchen when we are done with it!!!  if anyone reading has suggestions on cleaning the stone top please send them my way!

and then he couldn't dream of passing up a pair of these lamps! in near mint condition, the bases spin and light up! they are going to be very cool in his living room!

and since, i was still smarting from my lost white slipper chairs, i jumped on it when i saw this one. i think reupholstered in a bright fuchsia chenille it is going to be super fab in my bedroom.  can't you see it against my gold hicks hexagon painted wall?

for those of you just tuning in and wanting to know more about me you can by going here... and if you didn't already know... i created a facebook page... check it out and "like" it! and follow me on twitter and you can even follow my boards on pinterest too!

until next time...

the (formerly almost) 40 year old intern

Monday, January 16, 2012

motel mondays: part seven... think pink!

welcome to the second 2012 edition of motel mondays! well, i have to say i think this is my very favorite one that i have featured so far!  my friend darin, who i have been on this vintage motel photo quest with, spotted it first, deep in the valley, and said it was a must see and that we had to shoot it!  well, i couldn't agree more!  i love this one! the pink motel... heaven!  this was also the toughest to choose my fave photos to use because i loved all of our photos! so, i am including lots of extra pics of this one at the bottom of this post so be sure to scroll down if you want to see more... and there is an awesome "eat" sign pointing to the restaurant here too!

so, i'm not afraid to admit i am a girly girl and love pink! fuchsia and barbie pink are my favorites but i am not discriminating... you may have noticed this from my fuchsia pink geometric rug diy as well as the pink vintage lamp in my bedroom... and one of my favorite films is funny face, starring audrey hepburn and fred astaire... and the scene where the magazine editor character leads a big song and dance number inviting everyone to "think pink" is so fab!

well, in keeping with today's theme from the pink motel, i thought i would share my latest pink obsessions...

don't ya just love the iphone handset? it was a gift from a friend who was with me a few months back when we spotted a guy using a shiny gold one at the table next to us. of course i squealed with delight when i opened this!  i still may not know how to use my iphone... but at least i will look cool using this with it!

and this photo is pretty amazing!! it was given to me by another good friend.  what a fab photo of an unknown singer (circa doris day)... straight from the capitol records archives! how cool is that?? and of course i had to make a spot for it in my photo collage wall....
from the capitol records archives
interning last week was pretty awesome all around (from the errand at the popstar client's home on tuesday to spending some time at an upholsterer's warehouse on thursday... have i mentioned how much i want to learn how to upholster my own stuff?  on my 2012  to do list for sure!)... hopefully tomorrow will be just as good!

and before i forget, a big thank you to courtney at courtney out loud for asking me to contriubute to his guest vignette blog series and featuring my photo collage wall and my thoughts behind it.  check it out here.  oh, and he introduced me to the word "tablescape." and he sure does a lot of these fancy tablescapes... yeah, i may have lived in l.a. for the past 15 years but the ohio in me was not cool enough to know that when you put together some fab dinner place settings and add some cool coordinating decorations (centerpiece, flowers, candles, etc) you end up with a tablescape! neat, right? we just called it a pretty table where i come from...

so, about those additional pink motel photos...

view of the motel with cadillac jacks restaurant in the background

view from the other side is just as awesome!

front of the sign pointing to the restaurant

the other side of that groovy restaurant sign! buddy is awesome!

for those of you just tuning in and wanting to know more about me you can by going here... and if you didn't already know... i created a facebook page... check it out and "like" it! and follow me on twitter and you can even follow my boards on pinterest too!

until next time...

the (formerly almost) 40 year old intern

Thursday, January 12, 2012

inspiring friends

this week has been pretty groovy so far! interning on tuesday was awesome!  i was sent on an errand to a famous pop star client's house.  this was my second time in a client's home (post designer installation) and let me tell you, i was in heaven!  i am constantly in awe of THE designer's work and seeing it in person is the best!  photos really do not do it justice! well, i really wish i could have spent hours and hours there instead of a mere 15 minutes... but for that small amount of time i felt like i was living in an issue of elle decor magazine and it was heaven! as i was in the middle of a daydream about the pop star and i becoming bff's and hanging out there all day everyday, the housekeeper found what i was there to pick up and i was sent on my way... oh well, maybe next time.
so, my pink geometric painted rug diy of several months back keeps getting lots of attention! i was contacted by a writer for during my recent habitat for humanity trip to nepal who was writing an article on 10 diy projects to try in 2012.  i was so excited that she wanted to include me! well, the article is now live on msn's glo site and you can view it here!! what a great compliment to be included! and i loved that she used my d.i.why not tagline in the title too! yay!

speaking of that rug... my good metal smithing friend, angela, was inspired to paint a geometric rug of her own using directions from my blog! how cool is that???? lots of friends have told me that they wanted to create one but she is the only one to actually do it! she was feeling like the hallway linking her bedrooms and bathroom in her silverlake bungalow was a little cold and needed some brightening up... so she bought this cotton runner from ikea and got to work... well, i think the results are fabulous! angela used a paint color from behr called mermaid treasure and mixed in the fabric medium from liquitex (she used less than 1 quart of paint and mixed 2 bottles of medium). and can i just say i love the paint color name? i want to be the person that picks names for paint colors in my next life!  we were chatting through the process and she agrees that the taping (using the scotch green masking tape, of course!) and figuring out the measurements took the longest of the process... well, i think you'll agree that her hard work was completely worth it because it looks super fabulous!  i wouldn't be surprised if she adds a chair to her hallway to sit back, relax and enjoy the view...

lots of folks have been leaving comments asking if i know of another rug for them to use for one of these painted rug d.i.y.'s as ikea has apparently discontinued the erslev rug i was so fond of and used for both my pink geometric rug and yellow starburst rug projects... i really hoped this wasn't the case but i looked after the first person mentioned it and i'll be darned that rug is nowhere to be found on their website or in their burbank, california store! well, fingers crossed they bring it back soon... angela used ikea's nastved rug which is a runner measuring approximately 2 1/2' x 6' and costs the bargain price of $19.99!  if you happen to be looking for a large area rug to paint, maybe stitching two of these runners together to create a 5' x 6' rug is a good solution in the meantime?
a late afternoon view from the getty center... stunning

this week i visited a couple of local museums with a friend i met in one of my design classes.  you may have heard of an exhibit tied to multiple southern calfornia museums called "pacific standard time" highlighting mid century california design.  the photo at the very top of this post is of my favorite painting that i saw at the getty center.  it is called "up with in" and was painted in 1957 by a very talented guy named frederick hammerling. i love it so much.   i wonder if my favorite living artist, rex ray, was ever inspired by this guy? so, i have a confession to make... that pic was taken illegally and precariously close to a sign that clearly stated "no photography or video." well, i wasn't planning to do it but when i visited the gift shop to buy a post card of that painting and learned that they never produced one of it i knew i just had to do it. how else was i going to remember its awesomeness??? so, my friend and i pretended we were chatting behind a large sculpture, out of the view of the security guard that totally knew we were up to something sneaky, and i snapped this  pic very quickly with my phone.  it might be a smidge blurry but now you know why... mr. big bad security guard was hot on my tail after that but i quickly switched my phone to email mode before he could spot the illegal pic and put me in getty center jail or worse, make me delete it... phew! 

the role of the designer is that of a very good, thoughtful host, all of whose energy goes into trying to anticipate the needs of his/her guests.  
- charles eames

we also visited an exhibit at the local architecture & design museum centered around the words of charles and ray eames. well, i love all things eames but sadly the exhibit was not too exciting (not even worth our $5 student admission) but i really did love the above quote painted on one of the walls.

earlier this week i met up with my new habitat for humanity nepal building friends.  there were 4 of us from la and we had a mini reunion! it was fun to see everyone in their "normal" clothes and i especially loved them all exclaiming to me "wow, your hair looks great! what did you do to it??"  yep, for all of you that stuck with my blog posts from nepal and might have been rolling your eyes at my constantly whinging about my bad big frizzy hair days, that really does prove it... my vacation hair was pretty awful! 

i'm off to go interning now... for those of you just tuning in and wanting to know more about me you can by going here... and if you didn't already know... i created a facebook page... check it out and "like" it! and follow me on twitter and you can even follow my boards on pinterest too!

until next time...

the (formerly almost) 40 year old intern

Monday, January 9, 2012

motel mondays: part six

welcome back to motel mondays! during my recent world travels none of the hotels i encountered were worthy of a featured spot in motel mondays so i decided to put it on hold until i was back in the good ol' usa... so, i was visiting family in arizona over the weekend and begged my dad to pull over so i could snap a photo of this one, the view motel!  we were driving through cottonwood, arizona during a day of sight seeing.  thankfully, my dad agreed to pull over when we passed this the second time (yeah, i don't think my family really gets my love of these vintage signs....).  i think this one is pretty fab, although i'm not gonna lie, i was pretty tempted to remove the AAA addition to it before posting... it would look even better without it!

my uncle was pretty cool about jumping in!

so, during my trip i was encouraging my aunts and uncles to join in on some jumping photos in front of the really beautiful arizona scenery.  i mean, how can you not jump for joy at the beauty of such spots like the red rocks set against the bright blue sky in sedona?  well, before the weekend was up i was able to get a few of them to join in and i have to say i won't be surprised if fun jumping poses will be included in photos on some of their christmas cards later this year. i'm just sayin'... mark my words... jumping photos will be all the rage in 2012!
during some post christmas window shopping i saw this jewelry display at my local anthropologie store at the grove.  look familiar??? yep, i thought so too!  turns out their visual display person was inspired by my blog post on how to make diy starburst urchin sculptures and ran to the 99 cent only store for supplies to put together this display.  pretty cool way to start the year, knowing that one of my favorite stores ever used one of my ideas! imitation is the best form of flattery and i really am flattered!!! and i have to say, i really like how they mixed the original clear picks with the metallic bronze paint and really made them full.  super groovy!

i am back to interning tomorrow.  i can't believe it was almost a year ago that i spent my first day interning in the fabric closet. wow, i have learned so much since that very first day! a few friends and family have asked what my plan is this year. well, i am going to stick with interning a couple of days a week as long as i keep learning on the job (in a lot of ways it is better than school) and see what happens. lots of ideas up my sleeve for 2012 and i can't wait to see what the year brings!

for those of you just tuning in and wanting to know more about me you can by going here... and if you didn't already know... i created a facebook page... check it out and "like" it! and follow me on twitter and you can even follow my boards on pinterest too!

until next time...

the (formerly almost) 40 year old intern

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

intern takes a trip: beautiful bhutan!

 kuosouzangpola! that's hello in dzonga, the national language of the tiny kingdom of bhutan.  also known as the happiest place on earth (the king suggested that they are better served measuring their gross national happiness some years back)...
so, my visit to bhutan was fascinating.  lots of friends asked me "where???" after i told them i was traveling to bhutan after nepal.  well, i happen to be a big fan of the today show (matt lauer makes me swoon a bit and kathie lee and hoda are my guilty pleasure...) and matt visited bhutan in 2007 during his "where in the world?" series and it looked pretty cool.  i'm always interested in traveling to places that haven't been invaded by the western world and there is not a starbucks or mcdonalds in sight (even in cairo, egypt there is a kfc approx 100 yards from the sphinx, which totally bummed me out!)... anyhow, bhutan seemed like one of those untouched places so i added it to my mental must do list. 

well bhutan isn't a place where you can just show up and travel around on your own.  you must book a tour with an official government approved company just to get a visa allowing you to enter the country.  there is only one airline (with a whopping 2 planes in its fleet) that flies there and they offer a few weekly flights from kathmandu (and 3 other cities in asia).  and take note, if you are flying from kathmandu you will have a great view of mt. everest on the way (be sure to sit on the left side of the plane)! yep, no need to have booked a mountain flight.  you get a bigger window and better view when traveling to bhutan. who knew?

upon my arrival in bhutan i was enamored by the beautiful scenery, blue skies, mountains, views of the himalayas (oh, yeah!) and unbelievably bright blue rivers (because of mountain glaciers melting into them).  i indulged in my obsession of taking photos of monks and buddhist prayer flags every single day i was there.  most of the landmarks to visit in bhutan are dzongs (buddhist monasteries).  it was refreshing to be in such a clean aired environment after the hustle and bustle of kathmandu.
so, the food in bhutan was not my favorite.  unbeknownst to me when i booked my trip, every single meal was already chosen and made for me before i arrived at any given restaurant, hotel, etc. so the american (i want what i want, when i want it) in me was disapointed to not have a menu to order from.  that compounded with my first meal experience in bhutan raising a red alert in my inner germaphobe made my meals slightly less enjoyable... here's how my conversation with my guide at that first bhutanese lunch went:  i'm in a restaurant, enough food to serve a family of 6 is placed in front of me.  i explain to my guide, bhim, that i realize i'm american but contrary to our reputation of being big eaters there no way i can possibly eat everything that has been placed in front of me.  well, bhim quickly explained "oh, don't worry, nothing will go to waste. whatever you don't eat will be reheated and served to the next guest."  i don't know if he recognized the look of horror on my face in response to that statement. i quickly checked the time and wondered how many times this meal had been breathed on, touched by others, and then reheated and offered to other folks before finally making its way to me. after all, i am the gal that doesn't love eating from a u.s. restaurant with a sneeze guard.... and this food wasn't even "protected" by plexiglass or on a buffet table.  needless to say i was thankful that i still had some zone bars left over from the nepal part of my trip.

Also, i continued my vacation vegetarianism during this part of my journey... meat is all imported into bhutan from india. this is because it is a buddhist country and it is illegal to slaughter animals there.  interesting that their beliefs do not allow them to slaughter food yet they are perfectly ok with importing food that was killed in other countries. hmmm... and very hot chilies are used as a vegetable rather than a spice.

 pretty much all of the buildings in bhutan (dzongs and homes) are built to look like traditional bhutanese buildings (white exterior with carved wood windows and doors with beautiful painted trim). so it is a little tough to discern the old from the new. the government there is very interested in preserving and protecting their culture and this is one of the ways they do so.  there is one little decorating element that they use on the exterior of their homes that i don't really see myself copying in the future.  ya see, they are a big fan of painting very (and i mean very!) lifelike images of a certain male body part on their homes. i don't really consider myself a prude but when i realized what they were i was a little shocked that they painted so many and so many large ones, and with so much detail, on their buildings. when bhim noticed the wide eyed and open mouthed expression i was staring at them with he explained that it is very common to paint them (and also install wooden replicas over doorways) on homes in order to ward off evil as well as promote fertility.  since my blog isn't of the x-rated variety, i am not posting a photo of this artwork... instead,  i will let you do your own little google image search using the word bhutan and the p-word and see what comes up.  and then you will see... yep, that's what i saw too. wild, huh?

oh and the love of that male body part extended into the temples as well.  while visiting a temple, bhim asked me if i would like to be blessed by the head monk there. i said "of course!" like most folks, i could always use an extra blessing or two! so, anyhow, this monk takes a very large wooden you-know-what and has me bend over and rubs it on my head while chanting something.  my guide, bhim, then exclaimed "holly, you are now fertile!!"  what???? i replied "um, can i have a do-over? i would prefer a cute boyfriend blessing instead.... or new career success blessing... or something else... fertile??? not so much...."
the official sport in bhutan is archery.  i had never seen an archery match before anywhere before this trip.  well, luckily during one day of sightseeing, bhim and i happened upon an archery match.  it was really cool to see! i have no idea how these guys could see the target, it seemed like it was a mile away! and every time one of them would hit the target the rest of his team would sing and do a little victory dance.
oh, and i haven't mentioned one of my favorite parts of bhutan. you may have noticed from my photos... they have an official outfit. yep, the men wear this short bathrobe looking costume called a go and the women wear a longer skirt with a jacket called a kira. western clothes are allowed as long as they aren't doing anything official (like working or visiting a bhutanese monument or monestary).
oh, and like every great sport, they had cheerleaders! gals singing and dancing in traditional bhutanese style.   complete with a band!
people have asked if i enjoy traveling alone or wouldn't i rather traveling with someone. well, yep i would love to have someone awesome to travel with. the bummer is not so many of my friends are interested in traveling to the places i want to see so my choice is often travel alone or don't travel.  normally it's not a big deal to be alone because somehow i always end up meeting interesting people while abroad.  well, bhutan was a little different. because of the strict government control on visitors you aren't really ever alone and without your guide. that makes it a bit tricky to get out there and meet people. but i am happy to say i did meet someone cool to hang out with during this trip! i was surfing my ipad in the hotel bar (the only place to access the wi-fi at my hotel) and started chatting with this really cute guy. turns out he is a pilot from south africa (what is it with me meeting so many cool people from south africa on this trip???) and is on assignment working for a start up airline in bhutan.  anyhow, after spending hours chatting and sharing our experiences in bhutan i invited him to join my guide and me the next day on what was supposed to be an amazing trek to a beautiful dzong on a cliff called "tiger's nest."
a view from our starting point up to the tiger's nest (see the teeny tiny white spec in towards the top of the middle hill?)
it was an awesome day and the trek was slightly more challenging than i thought it would be because of the altitude being so high.  i felt like i was 90 and had never worked out during many moments during the journey to tigers nest. but, it turns out mr. south africa was just as obsessed with taking photos of prayer flags as i was and we kept stopping to catch our breath and take pics of the many flags hanging in the high hilltops.  yeah, but he didn't really understand my monk stalking...
ahhh prayer flags

no, it wasn't that cold. just another bad vacation hair day...
beautiful waterfall in the rocks and a rainbow!

my indiana jones style trekking companion!
midway through the hike to the dzong
oh, and my favorite type of photo to take when there is beautiful scenery is one where i am jumping in the air with a great backdrop.  well, we bonded with a fun couple from hong kong during an impromptu jumping photo shoot on the hike and i guess you could say they jumped right into the idea. how awesome is this photo???
so that day ended with mr. south africa taking me to dinner at a local restaurant... yep, i was asked out by a cute guy even with the worst hair of my life and a bad outfit i wouldn't wear in my normal l.a. existence (one of 3 outfits that had been rotated for the last 3 1/2 weeks)... oh, and bonus was that i was taken to a restaurant where i could actually order my own food! and it was made fresh just for me! yay! best meal ever in bhutan and the gal that owned the restaurant was awesome and we spent a bit of time chatting with her. turns out she is indian and met her bhutanese husband while working as a nurse in a hospital in india. his father was her patient and she traveled to bhutan to be with him. so romantic i loved it! most bhutanese and indian marriages are arranged and i love that hers was a love story....  so, if you are ever in paro, bhutan you must eat here. look for the bright yellow staircase off the main drag and that will lead you to the best food in paro! it's called the sonam trophel restaurant. oh and the owner has some photos of herself with demi moore and matt dillon who both visited many years back. of course this intern gal had to have one taken too. you never know, i may just end up some famous hgtv designer deserving of a place on her wall of fame... i'm just sayin', you gotta put it out there right???
the stairway to bhutanese food heaven!
after dinner we decided to check out the local nightlife. actually, we quickly learned there isn't really a nightlife in bhutan. it was around 8:30 and we weren't quite ready for the evening to end. plus, i was in the mood to go dancing and practice some of my newly acquired nepali style dance moves...  so we walked down the main drag and happened upon this place called dragon club or something like that. the sign boasted a "live band" and dancing. so, we paid our fifty rupees each (approx $1 US) and entered. well, turns out the "live band" was a kid playing a cd for background music for the bhutanese gals on stage to dance to.  we were the only white/ non-bhutanese people there. and it didn't really have a club atmosphere. maybe more of a small supperclub entertainment vibe minus the food. shortly after sitting down and ordering drinks i was approached by a gal in the traditional bhutanese dress with a notebook and pen in hand. she asked if i would pay 100 rupees (approx $2) for her to sing and dance a song of my choosing. well, i explained to her that i wanted to dance too. she didn't really understand my request so she called over a boy i like to refer to as the bhutanese justin bieber (he had great hair and loved to tilt his head to the side and flick it as he spoke...).  he asked where our guide was (you never see western tourists anywhere in bhutan without a guide) he seemed interested yet a little confused that i wanted to join in on the dancing fun. anyhow, he announced on stage that miss holly will be joining them to dance and seconds later i am center stage surrounded by several gals dancing and singing along to a bhutanese song.  they were doing moves kind of like the video i posted above of the cheerleaders and i was doing my best to follow along. i was approx a foot taller than most of them standing out with my big frizzy blond hair. it was a lot of fun and somehow i ended up dancing with them more than once. a favorite moment is when the boys on stage played an english song i was not familiar with entitled "boom boom boom." during the lyrics about hooking up the boy leans over and say "this is very romantic..." well, some things never change, i guess teenage boys in any culture might find a song with boom boom boom lyics romantic...

where was mr. south africa you may wonder? well, he was laughing is butt off and video recording this on his blackberry.  he threatened to post it on you tube but as i write this i don't think that has happened just yet. let's just say what happened in bhutan can stay in bhutan... somehow i don't think my awesome moves will translate as well on video... when i told my guide about it the next morning he seemed a smidge appalled. i later learned from some new friends in kathmandu that we were at a bhutanese version of a strip club. how would we know that? there was no removal of clothing and i promise that the dancing was exactly like that of the cheerleaders, nothing suggestive at all. and yeah, now that i think about it there were only guys in the audience but that doesn't really mean anything, right? oh, bhutan... such a funny little dichotomy of what is painted on their buildings and what is considered risque in their clubs...
me demonstrating for bhim my jumping photo idea
and he was a great sport for joining in!
of course my time in bhutan had to end with a jumping photo. my guide, bhim, didn't really want to do it but i begged him to join in and when he saw the results he was a little tickled.

oh an before i forget, while in bhutan, i encountered these women weaving the most intricate beautiful cloth! the bhutanese are known for their amazing woven textiles and i can see why!

they made it look so easy... it really does put my sad weaving project to shame...

i returned to kathmandu christmas eve and had a lovely dinner with my new young australian friend and then christmas morning breakfast before my very long journey home.  we met this fabulous 77 year old woman from india who joined us. she had the greatest personality and the most positive energy anyone would be drawn to. she shared with us her words of wisdom - stay positive and good things will happen to you.  i have to say, she's right and those are definitely words to live by whether you are 17, 40 or 77 (our ages).  and a great thought to keep with me as i enter into 2012.  oh, and if you are in kathmandu i highly recommend you stay at the hotel courtyard. that's where i met these gals! i found it online and picked it because of all of the stellar reviews it received on trip advisor. and i have to say they were right. it was the best hotel of my trip and the owners, michelle and pujan (or punjab, as i kept accidentally calling him because of my love of the movie annie), are awesome and create a really homey atmosphere tucked away from the hustle and bustle of kathmandu. i highly recommend room 308.

my christmas morning breakfast companions at the hotel courtyard
my journey home felt daunting since it was 3 long flights with long waits in between before arriving in la... but, it began with monks on my first flight. yay! orange ones no less! monks on a plane! how cool is that???
and two were sitting right next to me! of course i had to take a covert photo with my ipad. yeah, perhaps i should see someone about this monk obsession....
still recovering from jet lag but back to my regularly scheduled blogging next week... and get ready! i have a pretty cool first diy of 2012 up my sleeve....

for those of you just tuning in and wanting to know more about me you can by going here... and if you didn't already know... i created a facebook page... check it out and "like" it! and follow me on twitter and you can even follow my boards on pinterest too!

until next time...

the (formerly almost) 40 year old intern