¡Oye! A LAtina perspective on food, fashion, familia and art.

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New Vintage Handkerchiefs

by Laura E. Alvarez






Making new out of old is one of my favorite things to do.  You could also just call it reusing because that’s really the point.  Actually, now that I think about it, Transformation is really the point.  Don’t you love it when one moment you’re taking out the trash and the next you feel your eyes unfocus and realize that taking out the trash is really a metaphor for the interconnectivity of all things in the universe? Maybe trash is a bad example.  Trash should be illegal.  Should.  “Should” should be illegal.  Wait, let me refocus my eyes again…

Here’s the story.  Long ago, my generous and wonderfully encouraging friend, Chloë gave me a huge box full of fantastic fabric that had belonged to her husband’s grandmother.  She had been quite a seamstress who used to sport her own homemade outfits back in you know, 1919.  I have made many a bag, skirt, and other items from these wools and cottons over the last 15 years.  I used to keep it all together, but I eventually assimilated what was left into the fabric shelves under the stairs at my dad’s house.  The shelves were once where my mom kept all her fabric when she was making the above sewing machine whirr into the night over the sounds of tv shows and movies while the rest of the family sat on the couches eating ice cream, my dad reading his newspaper on the recliner. Good times.  

I have a weakness for color coordinating.  I like to do it to t shirts on shelves, Legos, you name it.  So the fabrics are now color -coordinated.  I love just going into that closet almost every weekend and just staring at the shelves even if I don’t make anything, but this particular Sunday, the men in my family needed handkerchiefs, and this colonial thin cotton that was part of Chloë’s gift to me was perfect.

All I had to do was a semi tight zig zag all around the edge of a square of fabric.  Easy peasy. There was a request from one gentleman for a trimmed one in black and white faux vintage Hawaiian. That one took a little longer, but it’s so fancy.  In the end, the handkerchiefs looked like they could be sold here, but they’re almost too special for any shop.



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When Trader Joe’s Shares It’s Parking Lot with a Costume Shop It Can Only Lead to One Thing

by Laura E. Alvarez


Yes, only one thing.  See, this is why members of a household have different responsibilities that correspond to their strengths.  Some people are really good at going to the market in an efficient, focused manner and other people are good at filling out forms on line.(Oh my goodness, this post was seriously going to be about free family fun and crafts with recycled materials, not sticky psychology issues.  Oh well, I get to give into my digressions sometimes.  It’s fun.  Wait, this is EXACTLY  what I was just going to talk about. Digressions.  Distractions!) Lets say that I am not the best person to send to the market because it will take twice as long.  This isn’t good if people at home are hungry.  Well, anything takes twice as long if I give into impulsive play and creativity.  For example, I stand back looking with pride at the beautiful way I have rearranged and cleaned everything on the kitchen counter and someone walks in and says, “When I walked in here an hour ago, I thought you said you were about to make dinner.” And of course, I respond with, “Now I’m ready to make dinner… I just need to find the right Pandora station and then I’m really ready!”

This is almost too much to read already.  Where does the time go?  I mean… word count.

I usually avoid the many tempting shops near the Trader Joe’s.  (There’s also Sewing Arts Center which last I looked, has crazy beautiful Japanese cottons I don’t see anywhere else.  Just made some napkins out of it.) However, on this rare market stop… I had the Actor with me.  He and his friend used to have a saying:  The Laura’s never say ‘”no”.  I’ve gotten better at saying no, but I still say yes a lot. So, I said yes to going into the costume shop called Make Believe that shares a parking lot with Trader Joe’s.  As we entered the shop we were instantly transported to Venice, Italy.  We had a ball to get ready for.  These masks are seriously art pieces!  There was even a little Egyptian department.

Back at home, a few days later, this mask made of cardboard, packing foam, popsicle sticks and spray paint was created by the Actor and a friend.

Oh yeah.  And we got some almond milk.





Hermione Love

by Laura E. Alvarez


How did this happen?  It’s time to read the whole Harry Potter series again!  But this time, let’s listen to the audio book.  Oh!  And it’s time to watch all the movies again.  Yay.  Right now we’re on Deathly Hallows Part Two Film and Chamber of Secrets book.  Yes, it’s confusing.  But here is a Clothes Story:  While my children and I agree that it is very annoying how much muggle clothing infiltrates into the wizarding students’ wardrobes in later films, I must say I am admiring Hermione’s looks in the last two films.  It’s kind of feminine, forest-y and ready for adventure.  I’ve been looking at these photos of my own outfit and it took me a whole two minutes (which is epic in my clothesstoryland) to figure out that I was inspired and channeling Hermione in the last two films.  Hermione on the run.  Of course, I could play Hermione’s mum, but there is no reason that her courageous seventeen year old witch can’t inspire someone like me as I venture through the various portals of Los Angeles’ West Side, avoiding traffic with my magic car.  It would be so cool if my station wagon could fly emitting nothing but Cornish pixie dust.  If only.









Jacket by Salt and Pepper, blouse vintage, jeans by Levi’s, Stones by Nicole, and additional necklace by Evan.

Photos by Evan Hartzell


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give yourself a present

by Laura E. Alvarez


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Left to right starting at the top left:  a) Kale and steamed egg over sushi rice with savory on top, b) mâche and homemade beans on homemade tostada shell with Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, c) pasta with Parmigiano-Reggiano and lemon (that’s right… lemon!  It’s a fruit!) water, d) savory on steamed egg on multigrain British muffin with stove top Gavina espresso. 

Every Tuesday we get a present.  Well, technically we give the present to ourselves.  It’s called Abundant Harvest Organics, and it’s a farm-share delivery service that supplies us with a box of gorgeous organic fruits and vegetables.  For a little more than twenty dollars we get a cornucopia of food that was just picked the day before from local farms.  It’s always a surprise what we will be cooking with every week.  Not only that, but it forces us to eat a lot of fruits and vegetables every day, and I mean every meal.  I have to admit that it really challenges me, this working in the fresh food at every meal, but our taste buds benefit from it, and our whole bodies benefit from it.  Breakfast is probably the most challenging, but look!  Above, you see two breakfasts with farm box ingredients thrown in.


Hey, did you think this post was about organic fresh fruits and vegetables?  No, it’s not… because obviously, that is a donut.  Yes, a donut.  But look at how it’s presented.  This donut sits on a warm, country-carved block of Mexican loveliness with an adorable espresso at its side.  Because the donut is not from far-away Cafe Dulce, then I cannot say I escaped without a stomach ache.  Was it worth it?  Aaaaal-most.  Oh, Cafe Dulce, what is a food post without thinking of you?

Right, then.  This post is about Giving Yourself a Present.  And sometimes the present is in the presentation.


I didn’t make this, but I did photograph it!  Yes, colorful and dynamic presentations such as this one at Ruen Pair, Thai Cuisine inspire me at home.  You can do this too!  Everyone can.  The secret is out.  Here are some tips that I recently discovered…

1) Choose a bowl or plate that compliments what you are serving to yourself.  Use something out of the ordinary like a little chopping block.

2) Layering food items is nice for some reason… and affects the taste. Wow.

3)  Pay attention to color.  The plate is your canvas!

4) Chop up little things and sprinkle them on top.  This creates texture.

5)  It’s a wonder what a tray can do.


And lastly, to show you that presentation can actually help heal you… I texted the above photo to Byron when she was sending me messages the other week like, “Hellooo!  Are you still alive, Laura?!  I’m worried about you, Amiga!” I was SO sick in bed.  Highly unusual.  My photo to her expressed that I must be okay if I have such an attractive tray on my bed.  I mean, look at it.  Yes, there are two trays involved, flowers in a jam jar, homemade tea, and that tangerine looks like a flower the way it has been peeled.  And even… yes, some not-very tasty elderberry syrup is sweetened by the whole presentation.  Now, I must confess that this last present is not a present to myself, but a present from my Love. Presents are really nice when they come from others, too. 😉