"Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.”
_ William Morris
, 19th century craftsman, designer, writer

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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Field Trip: Anaheim Packing District

 Somewhere between a circling of food trucks and the humble food court lies the hottest trend in dining out -destination food "halls", collections of mini restaurants devoted to doing their thing with artisanal passion and culinary style. Think: Fanueil Hall in Boston, The Ferry Building in San Francisco, Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia and now, the Anaheim Packing House.

Located inside a restored 1919 citrus-packing warehouse in downtown Anaheim, California, the two-story historic landmark features a large central atrium with communal dining surrounded by cafes and kiosks, outdoor picnic gardens and a dining porch overlooking Farmers’ Park.

In a word, it's cool.
 21 vendors and counting...

In addition to the food, the place is a feast for the eyes - I found the clever interior design and attention to detail inspiring. After a little research, I wasn't surprised to learn that LAB Holding, LLC, the same company responsible for creating SOLO in Encinitas, The LAB and The CAMP in Costa Mesa and The Casino in San Clemente were in charge of the transformation.

The Packing House opens at 10:30 daily and the bars stay open til midnight.  I visited with a friend around 11am on a Tuesday and this was the scene. However, it began to fill up quickly around lunch time. According to the friendly folks working behind the counters, dinner time gets busy and on weekends when the live music and farmer's market get going it's a packed house -pun intended.

 In spite of the fact it was five o'clock somewhere, Hammer Workshop and Bar, wasn't open yet -which worked out great because I had free reign with my camera. Quite possibly the cutest purveyor of spirits around. A vintage tractor appeared to be hooked up to the clever restaurant and the working farm theme didn't stop there. Styled vintage tools, seat backs with old copies of Popular Mechanic, tractor seat stools, antique thermos', clamps and over-the-bar rake hooks paid homage to the packing house origins --while the lemons and limes still present in the space can be used for cocktails. Win-win!

Grilled artisanal cheese sandwiches at Black Sheep.

 An impressive array of taps at Iron Press serving up local beer and waffle sandwiches.

Since my friend and I were newbies, it didn't occur to us to order from separate restaurants -but in retrospect that seemed to be what most folks were doing. We saw people get their food and join friends in one of multiple eating areas -which would be a great way to sample from more than one place!

The chairs above were cuter than they were comfortable...points for style!

Next time: frozen hot chocolate from Dark 180? (We had a sample - it was awesome!) Comfort food from The Kroft? Soul food from Georgia's? Juice from The Lemon Drop...Japanese? Indian? Burgers? Or all of the above? 
I may need to make more trips...

Photography by Bonnie McCarthy c.2014.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Next Big Thing? Next Issue App

For as long as I can remember, I've had a bit of a thing for magazines...to put it mildly. In my teen years, waiting to pick up the September issue of Vogue felt like Christmas eve. My love and devotion have remained steadfast over the years, for better issues and for worse; in good time and in bad (i.e. closures - remember Egg? Life? Cookie? Country Home?).

Like any quasi obsession, however, there's a dark side: specifically the stacks of issues and periodicals I can't bring myself to part with. The clutter.
Turns out: there's an app for that.
I discovered Next Issue at the BlogHer conference last July and have been infatuated with it ever since. Instead of schlepping my usual 20 pound tote bag full of magazines on vacation, airplanes, car trips and beach days - I downloaded current issues of my faves onto my iPad and carried that instead!
I might have lost some muscle tone, but it made traveling a breeze!

The genius behind the start up app is an unusual alliance of competitors - six leading publishers (Condé Nast, Hearst, Meredith, News Corp., Rogers Communications and Time Inc.) who have acknowledged their changing marketplace and are working together to find a solution. Could Congress do that too? But I digress...

Currently, the app is available on iPad and iPhone, Android and Windows 8 PCs and tablets, and it gives access to current issues as well as back issues for more than 144 publications for a subscription fee of $9.99 per month. 

They are offering a free one-month subscription right now to get you addicted...I mean started!

Although the sleekly designed app allows the magazines to provide digital-only extras such as videos, bonus photography, interactive features, and live web links (fun!) - in my old-school heart it will never completely replace the feel and experience of slick, glossy pages. Yes, I plan on becoming a subscriber when my free trial period runs out and look forward to perusing magazines I might not have purchased otherwise --but I may hold on (cling?) to a few of my very favorite print-based subscriptions while they are still being offered...my house just wouldn't look the same otherwise... 

Friday, August 8, 2014

Fleamarket Friday: How To Spot a Deal

When it comes to shopping antique stores and flea markets, beauty and value is in the eye of the beholder -and prices can fluctuate like the stock market.

Although antiques are usually defined as anything 100 years or older and vintage collectibles as pieces at least 20 years past new, determining an item’s price it’s not age but home décor trends, region, modern lifestyle and nostalgia that reign.

When I interviewed managing director of New York-based, Heritage Auctions, and Antiques Roadshow appraiser Kathleen Guzman for my bookazine, Flea Market Finds she provided this example: "[Right now] nobody wants an armoire. Twenty years ago, people liked armoires because they could hide their TVs…but now, TVs are so thin, its sort of modern and trendy to have a flat screen on your wall like a picture. An armoire that twenty years ago brought $20,000 dollars, may get $500 today. It’s like firewood…Thank God silver has a high melt value right now because people don’t want it, and it’s all being melted…People don’t live that way anymore with expensive flatware services and china and Waterford crystal. You go to any regional auction house and they’re giving that stuff away. They can’t even find buyers for it.”

Which can be good news if (in spite of what everyone else is doing) you happen to like that stuff...

In fact, when it comes to buying cool old stuff, Guzman says buying what you like is really the only thing that matters. “People always ask me, what should I collect, Kathleen? I think first and foremost you should collect what you love…because it’s a lifelong thing. It may appreciate in value in your lifetime, it may not. You may as well enjoy it while you’re doing it."

Bottom line, browsing online auction sites like eBay or comparison shopping at an antique mall can provide a ballpark estimate or price range for items that interest you. If you can find it for less at a flea market or yard sale: score!

Happy hunting!

 Loved this pricey comic strip clip of Steve the "fighting editor" of Snapshot Magazine!
 Desperately seeking Warhol. Tiny, doll-sized soup cans!
 Howdy, Kewpie!
 Is it me, or does Howdy's head look like it's on backwards...
40-Something flashback...pre-My Little Pony era.

Where the fleas are:
This weekend check out
Pasadena, CA
2nd Sunday of every month
coming up: Sunday, Dec.8
every Sunday 9am-5pm 
In the parking lot at Fairfax High School
7850 Fairfax Blvd., Los Angeles, CA
$3 Admission fee is a fundraiser for the high school

Brooklyn Fleas
Brooklyn, NY:
Saturday 10-5
 Saturday and Sunday 10-5
Sunday 10-5

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