Saturday, May 7, 2011

Almost Too Good

Almost Too Good

There are white roses in continuous bloom all around the house where I stayed during my holiday in California. There is a tree that bears plums, apricots and peaches, all. Like a gilded frame, the swimming pool holds wavering images of palm trees. They float on its aquamarine waters.
And there is an artichoke growing by the garden gate. If encyclopedias were still in existence and one were to look up the definition of the word artichoke, this artichoke, this very one, would be pictured as the definitive specimen. Perfect silver green leaves with nary a pest in sight and one peerless artichoke enthroned in the center. In many ways, this ideal artichoke is like so much of the idea of California. It is almost too good to be true.

The moment I land it is obvious that this is a city that never goes out without her makeup. The sky is achingly blue. The sun hits my face like a klieg light. The temperature seems permanently set at the most salubrious spot on the dial and never wavers throughout my stay.
I enjoyed a magical few days full of delicious food, delightful conversation and lots and lots of laughter.
At two in the morning, I watched a Royal Wedding on my laptop under the covers.
I lazed away an afternoon strolling along sun-dappled sidewalks at the LA book festival and, naturally, bought a wonderful book.
And in keeping with that California theme of “almost too good to be true”, I met two amazing women who seem precisely that.

A Bloomsbury Life
I first became aware of Lisa Borgnes Giramonti’s splendid blog, A Bloomsbury Life, not long after she posted on one of her journeys to London. I was entranced. Everywhere she went was a favourite place of mine. Everything she did was something I had done, or was dying to do. And she described it all with such an unique charm that I felt as though she was taking me by the hand and leading me along with a grin saying , ”Look! Let’s go over here!”.
Lisa is beautiful. Lisa is talented. Lisa is witty, delightfully so. When she heard I was heading to LA, she wrote to invite me to meet her for tea, and of course, I said yes. After a laugh-filled couple of hours over a pot of tea, I can only say that for those of you who find her blog as marvelous as I do - and I know her fans are legion - well, she’s even better in person. It was a complete treat to spend a part of the Royal Wedding Day with her, for throughout the years to come, in the pastel world of memory, whenever I think about that beautiful wedding, I shall always see Lisa’s face in the Westminster crowd!
Do visit her HERE!

Velvet and Linen
The next day I headed off to Santa Monica, but arrived in fairyland. The moment I opened the gate to Brooke Giannetti’s idyllic front garden, I knew it would be difficult to leave. Brooke and I “met” a couple of years ago when she began her amazing blog. She was kind enough to feature From The House of Edward as one of her favourites and I was incredibly flattered. Brooke works as an interior designer in partnership with her husband, Steve, who is a truly gifted architect. As soon as she began posting photographs of their work, I knew they were something special in the design world. There are so many design blogs out there in the ether, but much like the old adage of cream rising to the top, the Giannetti’s are the best. Meeting Brooke and Steve was like meeting old friends. Gracious and graceful, Brooke is everything I knew she would be and it was a total pleasure to tour her lovely home which looks just like a fantasy in person. I fell head over heels for her five chickens. The white ones looked so much like Edward with their furryfeathered back legs!
I am thrilled to report that Brooke and Steve are about to share their beautiful work with an even larger audience as their brand-new book, Patina Style, will be published on September 1st. You can pre-order it from Amazon HERE. I can hardly wait to get my hands on a copy for my very own. If you are in LA, you can visit their lovely shop, Giannetti Home, in Santa Monica, and everyone can visit Brooke’s gorgeous blog HERE.

California is a land where the apples are redder, the oranges more orange and hot pink geraniums spill over the hills by the freeways, as nonchalant and prolific as weeds.

The lights are too bright to see stars in the sky, so they all walk the sidewalks instead.

It is the land of cartoons and the yellow brick road.
Of The Jetsons, of Flubber, and the Bates motel.
However, to steal from dear Beatrice, I fear this bright sun is too costly to wear everyday, so I headed home with sweet memories and a drained tube of sunscreen.
I am now comfortably ensconced in another lovely home underneath mossy oaks in the low country of South Carolina for a few quiet days of writing.
I’ll tell you about that soon!


“No, my lord, unless I might have another for
working-days: your grace is too costly to wear
every day. But, I beseech your grace, pardon me: I
was born to speak all mirth and no matter.”

Much Ado About Nothing
Act Two, Scene One
by W. Shakespeare


  1. Pamela,

    Sounds like you had a wonderful trip. What a special treat to spend part of your days with two talented and from their blogs what appear to be special women. I agree Velvet and Linen is a beautiful blog and both Steve and Brooke are incredibly talented. Happy to hear that you had such a great time. Welcome home!

  2. Pamela I adore your site and Brooke's of course. Favorites!! I can't wait to get the book Patina Style!

    Art by Karena

  3. So happy that you had a wonderful stay in California. Next time give me a shout...I would just love to meet you. As always enjoying your beautiful stories.

  4. California and South Carolina ? You're making us jealous !

  5. Brooke is the personification of Gracious, and I can't wait to see the book! Sitting at my desk in France, I love to read your impressions of California!

  6. You described California so vividly I felt as though I walked in your steps..."the apples are redder" and how the "geraniums spill over" - beautiful! I'm looking forward to meeting your friends. Like you, they seem awesome!

    But, South Carolina's Low Country - ahhhh! Years ago I bought a small basket there I've used and used - it still looks new! Anyway, welcome back!

  7. Thank you very much for your "trip" to my blog!
    have a great day.

  8. Cyber friendships can become so intimate can't they? There are some people I blog with (you are one!) who I feel I have known all my life.

  9. I am happy you had this wonderful
    trip. California did the same thing to me. I couldn't get over the flowers. Happy Mothers day

  10. That sounds like a magical trip away. Thanks for the introductions to two new blogs - will head over to say hi, as they sound lovely! I've never been to California but can picture those blue skies and all those vibrant colours. I can also picture those gorgeous mossy oaks - you make it all come alive for me. :)

  11. I can't thank you enough for spending your morning with me! It was such a treat. You are exactly as I imagined...beautiful, funny, honest, insightful.
    Thank you for introducing me to Lisa's blog. I look forward to getting to know her better.
    Have a wonderful weekend, Pamela!


  12. A Bloomsbury Life is a wonderful blog, very rich in feeling! How great you had the opportunity to meet her.

    Patina Style sounds interesting, thanks for the introduction.

  13. Oops, forgot! I gave you a shout-out on today's post. Really enjoy your blog!

  14. I've been to California several times, and I DO LOVE it. I had the best and most memorable artichoke of my life in California. Among other things. :)
    I'm so happy that meeting your blog-friends in real life was so satisfying.

    On the subject of Elizabeth Jane Howard, you can imagine -- with such a mother -- that she had PLENTY to write about. Do read The Cazalet Chronicles in a month like August. She describes late summer in the English countryside so beautifully.
    I will report back on War Horse . . . I've working on the field trip all day long!

  15. I've never been to California...Hope, next year...I can't wait to see Brooke's book too!

    p.s.: I enjoyed the way you've written this post and all the images. lovely greetings from Germany

  16. What a wonderful blog post. I also love Lisa's blog and had the good fortune to meet her twice, both at literary events. And I enjoy "Velvet and Linen" as well, and marvel at their beautiful projects. I am so glad you had a wonderful trip to Los Angeles. Right now in L.A. we are deep into garden tour season and we are getting some beautiful weather for all the lovely garden events. So glad I discovered your blog. Love the Shakespeare quote!

  17. I, too, am a fan of California, a site for many of my magazine assignments. I also have a sister near San Francisco :)

  18. Hi Pamela,
    I'm so glad you had a wonderful time in California. The sunny weather was indeed perfect the week you were here. (The temperature has since soared into the too hot 90's and now they say it might rain.)

    It's so nice to hear you were able to meet Lisa Borgnes Giramonti and Steve and Brooke Giannetti. I met Brooke briefly at an Interior Design event last year, she is so nice and I always enjoy reading her blog. Lisa's blog is so lovely and thoughtful, and her love of interior design, art, books, the garden, and England and Scotland are my favorite things too. I will be reading her blog more often.

    Thank you too, for the very nice note... It would be wonderful to meet you and hopefully you'll be able to return to Hollywood again someday. You're always welcome here!

  19. Does sound amazing... as we are just beginning to leaf out here in Western Mass!

  20. I love your writing! I'll take these two quotes with me: 'Like a gilded frame, the swimming pool holds wavering images of palm trees'and 'it is obvious that this is a city that never goes out without her makeup' - such an original and unique way of seeing the world.

  21. I enjoyed your post. How exciting you met the talented, amusing and beautiful Lisa Borgnes Giramonti. She is the first blog I started following a couple of years ago and love her writing.

    I too enjoy your blog and will look forward to Velvet & Linen's new book.

    You have a unique and interesting life and you dog is a heart throb

    Thanks for posting

  22. Hello Pamela

    Glad to know you had a great time in Califorina. I hope your trip to SC will be a great one! Will you be near Charleston? I love that old city.

    Have a great week!

    Tracy :)

  23. Oh I just knew it...I had a feeling (from Lisa's invite of course)that she might be one of your very special visits...BUT, I had no idea that your other amazing meet-up would be with Brooke (!)...what a fortunate girl your are to have been able to meet both...AND to meet the fluffy chickens no goodness, California was very good to you!!
    Hope you are having a wonderful weekend...
    xo J~

  24. What a delightful trip and meet-ups; many thanks for the head's up on the new to me blogs. Just the ticket when I need respite from the garden, orchard and greenhouse.

  25. Sounds like an amazing trip Pamela. I hope you covered up your lovely skin from the Californian sun. Lisa has an incredible blog. Thanks for the link.

  26. Sounds like the perfect trip all the way around Pamela!

    Jeanne xxx

  27. The perfect journey!
    Love - V.

  28. The perfect journey!
    Love - V.


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