Blog Category: Enjoy
checkout the city farm blogs to learn about our takes on farm & city life
checkout the city farm blogs to learn about our takes on farm & city life
Have you noticed pumpkin patches have become more like mini-theme parks lately? They start setting up round about Labor Day, and a visit to one can range from overwhelming to downright scary – bounce houses with children’s screams of delight turning to cries of exhaustion, kids running untethered and hyped up on cotton candy and candy corn, their adorable face paintings turning garish as the sweat from a sunny Indian-summer day beats down on them.
I will concede that there’s something magical to a hay-bale ride, so if your local pumpkin patch offers that, plan a quick visit, and then plan your own, home-grown, DIY pumpkin patch and carving party.
To create a rustic, farm-inspired party, find a box to display your pumpkin-carving tools, like the City Farm’s primitive shoe shine box. Toss in pens for sketching, spoons, carving knives for the grown-ups, and a few orange marigolds to add some bright fall color.
To add a touch of the carnival to your pumpkin patch / carving party, create a cut-out for photo opps. With a box-cutter, slice apart a cardboard box, and sketch a pumpkin “head” outline on one of the squares, including a neck and shoulders. Cut out a face-sized hole in the middle of the pumpkin, and paint as traditional or crazy as you feel that day. If the box is big enough, cut out hand holes at the wrist, so your party people have a place to wag their hands through. Make sure it is dry before your party, to avoid unwanted face painting. For DIY face painting, check out Today.com for a video guide of easy tips and ideas here.
What will you serve your guests? Pumpkin spice cupcakes? If you want to get a little buggy with gifts for your guests, head over to Martha Stewart and print out a variety of bugs on card stock. After you’ve cut out the shapes, glue a clothespin to the back to create a candy bag clip, put your favorite candy in a small paper bag, and close with your clip.
To learn more about the history of the jack-o-lantern, check out our Grow post, here.
Share photos of your pumpkin patch / carving party or tell us your favorite fall traditions over on Twitter. Happy Halloween!
“Location, location, location,” may ring true for many a circumstance, but for entertaining, “presentation, presentation, presentation” can transform any location into a picnic in Provence.
Admit it. You haunt Pinterest pages, planning that perfect soiree. At The City Farm, we believe you only need a few staples to create the dreamy feeling that will have your friends lingering over their last glass of wine ‘til long after the sunlight fades away.
Presentation: Will you choose a floral centerpiece for your farm table, or several small bouquets, perhaps one at each place setting? The City Farm Wire Bottle Tote basket with three small milk bottles looks lovely with sprays of a delicate flower like Sweet pea. To create an easy-going farm atmosphere, add some wildflowers to The City Farm’s red watering can. Martha has some inspiring tabletop centerpiece ideas here, including a creative crudité arrangement. Take inspiration from her ideas, and run with your own!
A vintage vase, cheese board, and rustic bowl will set the scene, whether for high tea in the afternoon or a mid-morning brunch with a quiche. Take a look at some of our favorite recipes for entertaining, including an Easy Smoked Trout Pate, Salmon Mousse, and Spinach Dip over on our COOK blog.
No room for a long farm table to host a large party? Invite a few friends over to enjoy a couple of delicious courses, made the more meaningful by your small space and the intimate conversation of coffee talk… or mimosas – either inspire story telling and the sharing and mixing of lives, which is the best part of outdoor parties. Set the scene with good food and a few lovely touches, and then sit back and enjoy the space you’ve created for friendships to flourish.
Share your favorite spaces and ideas for outdoor entertaining with us in the comment section or over on Twitter @TheCityFarm!
I could not be more excited about this feature in AllRecipes Magazine! As you will read, my love for The City Farm and Dream Street Foundation is really what makes me who I am today and I’m happy and very proud to share it with all you. Thank you for all of your continued support.
Read The City Farm’s feature in AllRecipes below, or download the AllRecipes Article here. Enjoy!
We love our avocado grove here at The City Farm – from the shade of the trees to the bees it attracts, to the delicious honey we harvest, the trees provide for us. And we took note as the 2013 / 2014 winter’s polar vortex wreaked havoc on most of the U.S., and snowstorms and ridiculously cold temperatures raised the costs of heating homes, snarled traffic and travel, and caused Chipotle to issue a “guacamole warning.”
It sounds like a bad joke, like when it starts to sprinkle in Southern California and the local newscasters use terms like “Storm Watch, 2014.” But when it comes to losing the side of guacamole on your lunch-break burrito? Things are getting serious. Fast.
According to NPR, who covered the restaurant chain’s threat to abandon the avocado due to the drought in California, as well as the reported freezes in Mexico that made prices for the fruit skyrocket, Chipotle “goes through a staggering amount of avocados to make its fresh guacamole – 97,000 pounds of avocados every day. That adds up to 35 and a half million pounds of avocados every year.”
It’s hard to wrap one’s mind around that many avocados. (Yummm.. wrap … burrito…) But. For most of us who enjoy a daily slice on piece of toast with goat cheese, the rising cost of avocados is disconcerting news. Especially as we’ve learned of late how great the healthy fats are that we get from them: from adding shine to your hair, a glow to your skin, the healthy omega-3 fatty acids and the insoluble fiber that keeps your colon regulated. Avocado oil is also great to cook with, as we learned from Prevention.com, it is high in mono-unsaturated fats that help lower “bad” LDL cholesterol and increase “good” HDL, as well has having a high smoke point (520°F), which makes it a great oil for stir-frying, sauteing, roasting, and even baking.
How does an avocado nut prepare for the higher-priced off season? First step: check your freezer. Do a little (late) spring cleaning, and make some space for frozen avocados. That’s right. Like bananas, you can freeze your fruit, and have it ready for guacamole on game day or – really? Just chips & guac night, is all you need to celebrate with the tasty treat. While avocados are in season, typically in the summer, make some room in your freezer, and then follow these steps from the Huffington Post to save some for those winter months when you’re craving guacamole, or even ice cream.
Wash the avocado, skin still on.
Cut the fruit in half, and peel.
If you are opting to keep them as halves, put them in a Ziploc bag and freeze.
If you’re pureeing, either mash the avocados with a fork or in a food processor with a little bit of lime or lemon. Store in a re-sealable bag and freeze.
As the HuffPo author notes – frozen avocados will fade, so don’t expect them to be party-friendly for display in slices. But they will perfectly blend into your guacamole, or with a frozen banana for the texture and taste of ice cream. Lauren Conrad’s site features a face and hair mask made of avocado and apple cider vinegar, and a promise that “both of which will make your hair shiny and soft and add a glow to your skin.” The facial includes honey, so be sure to order your City Farm Avocado Honey, to make the cycle complete!
Will you freeze your farmer’s market avocados, so you can pack your own guacamole, in case the condiment situation grows dire? Share your favorite recipes with us in the comment section or on Twitter @TheCityFarm.
Ahhh… Paris. I have so many lovely memories and favorite places to eat. Two restaurants I always try to visit are Chez Janou and Chez L’Amis Jean. I love that there are parks all over the city, but my favorite for taking a stroll are the Tuileries gardens in front of the Louvre. And whenever I visit with my family, I always take my children to Angelina’s in the park for hot chocolate. Another favorite is Luxembourg garden on the left bank. It’s beautiful any time of year. I love to visit the city of light, and I love to bring it home with me. And to offer Parisian style to you through The City Farm store!
Afar Magazine’s September ’13 issue transports us to Paris, exploring what makes the Parisienne so iconic, and highlights what Parisian artists are creating today that continue the region’s reign of style-makers.
“Those gamines ingénues in ballet flats and perfectly fitted little T-shirt dresses really are riding bicycles all over town,” writes Alexandra Marshall, who moved to the city in 2006. “In working-class Belleville, tony Saint-Germain, or the groovy Marais there really are young moms in ponytails, skinny jeans, and Bréton stripe T-shirts, and sleek fifty somethings in angular bobs, with neat handbags and silk scarves, their creases pressed just so. Parisian style is mythical: The chic “Parisienne” is natural and feminine, her heels never too high, nor her skirt too tight, nor her makeup too pronounced except for that little pop of lipstick. But it’s also real.”
At The City Farm, we love to bring a touch of Paris to your home, whether you reside in London, Los Angeles, or the City of Light itself, through the mixing and melding of different design ideas. Let’s look to Paris and beyond, as I’m always looking at how to incorporate the countryside with the city.
It’s morning on the farm, and some of the smallest family members are waking up to eat their breakfast in their stalls. Four to a stall, our dwarf horses are so small they have plenty of space to stretch. After they’re groomed and gorgeous, we open the gate, and they wander down to their own corral, where they’ll eat lunch, a delicious meal of watered-down hay. As they make their way back to the stall, one particularly sassy filly, Chiquita, likes to tease the stallion, who has to be kept separate from the mares. She flirts, throwing her rear toward him, as they trot back to their stalls. Drives him nuts.
I’ve loved horses ever since I could remember, riding hunters and jumpers as a child, and having my own when I was 12. Growing up in Los Angeles, I boarded my first horses at Will Rogers State Park. I never intended to own dwarf horses – it’s common for them to have quite a few health problems, and they’re like infants, requiring constant attention, and often special medicine. I started with miniature horses, tiny animals at 29 inches, though compared to the dwarf horses, who are often half that, they seem full-sized!
Showing the miniatures in shows, one trainer gave me a dwarf who needed a great deal of care. I hadn’t yet bought the farm, so I had created a mini-version of a city farm, caring for them in Beverly Hills! It’s not just Rodeo Drive and shiny cars.
Dwarf horses pull at those same heart-strings that all that teeny-tiny animals do (kittens!), but while you might be tempted to breed them, their health issues pull at other, harder heart-strings. We had to do a stem-cell transplant for one, who lived a healthier life, but still died from her heart issues. We’ve had to straighten the legs of one little girl – at 14 inches, she was so small we used tongue depressors as splints. We take good care of them, rescuing others when needed.
Our dwarves and minis are part of The City Farm family, sharing the good life along with our small Zebu cows, ducks and Kunekune pigs, (pronounced “cooney cooney”), who are my pets. Buying the farm in 2009, I’ve learned so much to grow it to where it is today, and I’m so happy to share it with you all. I’d love to connect: share your farm memories with us here in the comments, or via Twitter or Facebook!
Christmas is rich with traditions: from whether you buy, cut down, or resurrect a plastic tree, to the time that you put it in its place and open a box of holiday cheer to deck your halls. According to our GROW blog writer, Rebecca, the tree has to wait until at least December 9th. Her parents told her it was to ensure her birthday cake was not confused with holiday cookies, and to separate the two celebrations, but she has a sneaking suspicion it was the fact that her birthdays ended up in attempted human- pyramids made up of tumbling pre-teen girls. A tree wouldn’t stand a chance.
We asked you to share beloved Christmas traditions via the book of Face. As almost all our families were immigrants to the U.S. at some point, many traditions have the flavor of another culture. One friend’s mother bakes stolen, a German bread with dried/candied fruit and homemade vanilla sugar. Another told us of tamales and Champurrado, a Mexican hot chocolate thickened with corn dough. Check out Judy’s latest COOK blog post for holiday cookie party how-tos and recipes!
What traditions are meaningful for you? Are they old and time-honored like the stocking you’ve hung on the fireplace for over 30 years? Or newly crafted, from sharing the holidays with new friends or loved ones? Take a look at TLC to learn about Christmas traditions around the globe. Are there any you want to bring home to your holiday celebrations? In Spain, “tambourines, gourd rattles, castanets, and miniature guitars are offered for sale to enliven the singing and dancing in the streets. Children go from house to house reciting verses or singing carols for sweets, toys, or small instruments.”
Which reminds me. I want to go caroling with Amy Poehler. Click here for hilarious Christmas cheer.
When you do hang your stockings? Is there a special ornament for the top of the tree? Does your dog or cat get a gift? Do your Christmas lights blind the neighbors? Is there a certain movie you must watch or it’s simply not Christmas? Do you attend a church or celebrate winter solstice? We’d love to know! Share your stories here or tag @TheCityFarm on Facebook or Twitter!
I’m so excited to share my first blog with you!! If you read my bio you would know that one of my favorite hobbies is baking. I made a Lemon Cake with lemon glaze. It was really fun to make and I wish that everyone could have tasted it with me! My mom helped me make it, and she was my personal photographer. I like baking because it helps me relax. Usually, I bake for other people, not just for myself. This cake didn’t need decorating, but that is my favorite part when I bake….well, I do enjoy eating it, too!
The directions came with this yummy cake mix, which can be ordered from www.thecityfarm.com. As you can see from my pictures and videos, it was easy to make, with just a few ingredients: the mix, butter, lemon, eggs, and water. If you bake this, I would love for you to leave a comment and let me know if you had fun making it and eating it.
The holiday season has a special place in our hearts and home. Whether you are hosting a houseful of family & friends or enjoying some time for yourself, our Holiday Lookbook has something for everyone on your list. From serving trays to salt & pepper sets to unbelievable brownie mixes, flip through the pages to shop our favorite products of the season!
Thanksgiving is almost here, despite the strains of canned Christmas music in stores across the country, rushing us toward December. Don’t let big box stores steal a day of thankfulness and gratitude! It’s the best time of the year for time-honored traditions that often don’t cost a thing.
A recent request for off-beat Thanksgiving traditions revealed some unexpected traditions: an American married to a Scotsman now celebrates St. Andrew’s Day as well, with a bit of haggis added to her Thanksgiving Day menu. One friend’s family chooses a “theme” for Turkey day, and the clan comes in costume, whether it be Greek gods, football players, or garden flowers (and a gnome). And then there’s the friend whose grandmother “dresses” the turkey in a bikini, a la Amelia Bedelia, that delightfully literal children’s book heroine:
“Amelia Bedelia is Mr. and Mrs. Roger’s new maid, and she has a big list of things to do while they are away. But they sure do ask her to do strange things! The list says to dust the furniture, draw the drapes, and dress the turkey. And Amelia Bedelia does just that: she carefully sprinkles dust all over the furniture; she takes out a pad of paper and draws a beautiful picture of the drapes; and she wastes no time taking out a needle and thread and making a nice little suit to dress the turkey with.” (Exodus Books)
Grandma’s turkey-bikini (turkini?) must add a touch of scandal when one requests the breast meat. Does your family have any unlikely traditions to celebrate Thanksgiving? Have you incorporated any other countries’ customs into your day?
With southern California’s sunny Novembers, it’s often an outdoor meal. It’s always fun to burn the booze and butter with a morning walk or a game of flag football (or does your family go for the full tackle?). If you live where it’s already rainy or even snowing, what indoor games are your favorites? Is the TV tuned in to the Macy’s Parade? Do you, grown adult, actually prefer sitting at the kid’s table, where you can really dig in to your pumpkin pie?
If you’re growing a winter garden, have you harvested anything to add fresh farm-to-table bites to your menu? According to Bon Appétit, one thing you don’t want fresh your garden is a puree of your own pumpkin for that classic pie. The magazine’s site highlights common mistakes to avoid for each course of your meal.
The Thanksgiving dinner is the most important part of my day, so I don’t want electronics distracting from what is important, tasting and sharing the delicious meal! There’s a strict no TV, iPads, games or phones rule. And no kids’ table, I enjoy eating and talking with everyone!
Take a look at a few authors’ Thanksgiving traditions over at Real Simple, from Garrison Keillor’s prayers to the music accompanying Allegra Goodman’s memories.
What stories shape your Thanksgiving celebrations? I’d love to know some of your traditions! Do you make / grow your own decorations? Is there a family recipe that must be on the table? Do you donate to the food bank? Or take a moment at the table to share what you’re thankful for? Leave a note in the comment section, or tell us on Twitter @TheCityFarm.
This year, I’m especially thankful for the new City Farm community that we’re growing here, together. Have a lovely, warm Thanksgiving.
(Photos: Exodus Books and Delight for the Eyes)
A chilly fall night marks the last day in October. The neighborhood streets glow with the soft, orange light of flickering jack-o-lanterns, grinning or glaring at passersby. Kids carry bags or buckets or trashcans if they’re extra-hopeful, dressed as bugs or batman or LED-lit skeletons (SO cute, watch here). Garbed in costumes made by DIY dads, moms, or aunts, kids struggle to walk in garbage bags and milk jugs magically transformed into Darth Vader’s imposing wardrobe. Masked, they stumble up your porch steps to beg for candy.
It’s Halloween! How will you decorate and celebrate? Do you have the tools of the trade for more intricate jack-o-lanterns? Meet the “Maniac Pumpkin Carvers,” Chris Soria and Marc Evan, here, and get a little how-to and inspiration from their gorgeous work. Have you heard the history of the jack-o-lantern? Check out our GROW blog to revisit the story, and learn about planting your own pumpkin patch for next year’s revelries.
How do you light your walkway? Luminaries in bags or created in mason jars help those little feet find their way to your door. Check out Martha Stewart’s guide on making them. How do you add your own touch of creativity?
And most importantly, what are you wearing? Do you go traditional, or are you inspired by the latest headlines? (Oh, NO. Will there be multiple Mileys twerking in your town?) Have you already made or bought a costume for you or your wee ones? Pinterest, that wonderful world of inspiration, has many-a-board to get your creative pumpkin juices flowing if you’re still stuck.
Are you an expert Halloween DIY-er? Are you that house on the block that has the best candy? OR, are you that neighbor, who dresses up, sits stock-still on the rocking chair, and scares the kids with a quick “Boo!” when they dare to come close enough to decide if you’re real?
Share your favorite memory, photos, and tips and tricks of how to have the best pumpkin on the block! Leave a comment or talk to us on Twitter @TheCityFarm. Happy Halloween!
Confession: I have looked at my smartphone, at a Facebook message, while in the midst of a conversation with another human being. A live, in-person human interaction, and because they weren’t clicking “like” every time I made a statement, I felt the need to see that others WERE.
Psychology Today is so reassuring: I am an addict. Yep. Recent research tells us “instead of dopamine causing you to experience pleasure … dopamine causes seeking behavior. Dopamine causes you to want, desire, seek out, and search. It increases your general level of arousal and your goal-directed behavior. From an evolutionary stand-point this is critical. The dopamine seeking system keeps you motivated to move through your world, learn, and survive. It’s not just about physical needs such as food, or sex, but also about abstract concepts. Dopamine makes you curious about ideas and fuels your searching for information. Research shows that it is the opioid system (separate from dopamine) that makes us feel pleasure.
“According to researcher Kent Berridge, these two systems, the “wanting” (dopamine) and the “liking” (opioid) are complementary. The wanting system propels you to action and the liking system makes you feel satisfied and therefore pause your seeking. If your seeking isn’t turned off at least for a little while, then you start to run in an endless loop. The dopamine system is stronger than the opioid system. You tend to seek more than you are satisfied. Evolution again — seeking is more likely to keep you alive than sitting around in a satisfied stupor.” (Psychology Today)
Seeking online things to keep us motivated can be a good thing, unless it interrupts real-life human interaction, which I see too often. Have you ever Instagrammed a hike in nature so thoroughly, you can’t actually remember looking at the trail, listening to the birds, freezing in your tracks to marvel at a butterfly’s color?
Like any addiction, the first step is admitting you have a problem, right? So put down your phone. (Seriously. Put it DOWN. Turn it OFF.) It doesn’t have to be for a long time, especially as you start to wean yourself. What can you do without a panic attack today? An hour? Two? Fifteen minutes?
Remember when we didn’t have mobile phones, or when they were so unwieldy, we didn’t pop them in our pockets? Reading the HuffPo’s “Habits of Supremely Happy People,” one may notice, obsessively refreshing social media is NOT listed. However, appreciating the simple pleasures in life IS listed.
So let’s do this together. Even if you’re reading this ON your phone, finish this paragraph, and then turn it off. Plan phone-free time with friends, or with your dog, or with nature. Pay attention to what you’re thankful for, the little things in life, like a cloud formation that looks like your second-grade school teacher’s beehive. Or the sound of silence, or the sound of your own breath, or the sound of a friend’s laugh.
And then, after it’s done, use social media for what it’s good for – share your moment with us, and encourage us all to unplug a bit, and find more happiness in the present. @TheCityFarm
The third annual Los Angeles Wine & Food Festival August 22-25th is the quintessential food & drink experience. Culinary talent is complemented by mixologists, sommeliers, beverage directors, music artists, and foodies galore. You are bound to have a good time when celebrity chefs appear, receptions are held, hors d’oeuvres are passed and bubbly is abundant. Below is your go-to guide to get the most out of the ravishing, and can I say scrumptious, occasion.
If you are looking for an intimate dining event, these gatherings may suite you:
1.Lunch at One Pico with Peter Armellino, Matthew Accarrino & Sven Mede
TIME: Friday 8/23/13, 12:00p – 2:30p
PLACE: Dining Room – Shutters
CHEFS: Matthew Accarrino from SPQR in San Francisco, Peter Armellino from The Plumed Horse in Saratoga, Sven Mede from One Pico-By the Blue Sea in Santa Monica.
SOMMELIERS: Maison l’Orée in France, Ramos Pinto in Portugal, Roederer Estate in Napa Valley, Terlato Family Vineyards, & Amapola Creek Winery.
1.Patrón presents Tacos & Tequila at The Bungalow
TIME: Friday 8/23/13, 3:00p – 5:00p
PLACE: The Bungalow
CHEFS: Rick Bayless from Frontera Grill/Red O Chicago / Los Angeles, Josef Centeno from Baco Mercat / Bar Ama in Los Angeles, Ray Garcia from FIG in Santa Monica.
SOMMELIERS: Goose Island in Chicago
1.Hinoki & the Bird Mixology Lunch with Charles Phan & David Meyers
TIME: 8/23/13, 12:00p – 2:30p
PLACE: Dining Room – Hinoki & The Bird
CHEFS: David Myers from Hinoki & The Bird in Los Angeles, Charles Phan from Slanted Door Group in San Francisco, Kuniko Yagi from Hinoki & The Bird in Los Angeles.
FEATURED GUEST: Chris Hopkins the mixologist for The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.
For a more interactive experience with cooking demonstrations, Giada de Laurentiis will be demonstrating:
1.Giada De Laurentiis & Friends Cooking Demonstration
TIME: 8/22/13, 5:30p – 6:30p
PLACE: Lobby Level – Dorothy Chandler Pavilion
Exclusively Available with VIP Ticket for Giada’s Festa Italiana
1.Giada’s Festa Italiana
TIME: 8/22/13, 7:00p – 10:00p
PLACE: Between 1st and 2nd Street – Grand Avenue
PRICE: $195.00 VIP: $250.00
For more information, please visit the Los Angeles Wine & Food Festival 2013 official website here: http://www.lafw.com/. Let us know how your experience is, and enjoy!
While the origins of Labor Day are a bit dark and depressing, what with American workers in the late 19th century putting in 12-hour, 7-day weeks for little pay, their children out of school and at the mill, earning terribly low wages, today’s celebrations of our labor victories are light and heartening. What are your favorite memories of Labor Days of yore? I always dreamed of a family camp, like in “Dirty Dancing,” with summer romances ending with bittersweet goodbyes and awkward talent shows to send everyone off, back to the cities and desk jobs.
In honor of taking a day off to celebrate a 40-hour work week with benefits, let’s look at what’s happening all around the U.S. this August 30th – September 2nd: Labor Day weekend. Will you be lugging a watermelon to eat by the lake? Or are you staying in the city? Take a peek at city events along the west coast, starting up in the Northwest. (Yummm… coffee.)
Seattle, which was recently identified as the hardest working city in the U.S., clearly needs to take a break. If you’ll be in the area, take a look at this events calendar, which includes Bumbershoot, a weekend festival at the 74-acre Seattle Center., for your music, film, comedy, spoken word, dance, theatre, performance, and visual arts fix.
Portland, OR – PDX Pipeline will give you the info on all the goings-on, including movies in the park, bar trivia nights, and a beer garden on Alberta.
San Francisco – Need a yoga break before you go back to work? The SF Gate’s events list for the long weekend includes “Manifesting the Wisdom of the Body,” hosted in Sausalito. If that’s too much zen, check out the Millbrae Art & Wine festival.
Los Angeles (and beyond) – TimeOut.com offers guides for almost every big city – will you be in Chicago, Boston, New York, or Paris this Labor Day? Angelenos, check out their calendar here to plan your Labor Day festivities – will you go to The Taste? The (free!) Fiesta Hermosa? Or the L.A. County Fair?
How do you celebrate Labor Day? Leave a comment below or tweet a photo or story to us @TheCityFarm.
Oh, the lazy, hazy days of late summer. I get a little lost this time of year – endless sun confuses me, and all I want to do is dip in a pool and read a good (if slightly salacious) book. I remember the competing emotions of childhood summers: longing for lazy summer days to go on forever, but waking early in August to bike to school, checking the class list posted on the locked door. I’d learn if I was placed in a favorite teacher’s class, if I’d be cruelly separated from my best friend, and I’d start to dream of that first day of school and what jeans I would wear.
Do you have late-summer blues? Do back-to-school sales thrill or depress you? I’m not a mom, but for some out there, those ads are a blessed sign of structured days to come. Kristen, the writer behind Rage Against the Minivan, admits her hilarious top five reasons why her kids need to scurry back to class here, including binge-watching the not-so-kid-friendly Netflix series, “Orange is the New Black.”
What are your ways to beat the summer doldrums? A great way to embrace the sunny days is through travel, even if only to a new, unexplored neighborhood. Pack one of The City Farm’s bags – The Weekender if you’re staying overnight, or one of the Design Africa bags for a day trip, tucking into it all the necessities for exploring a new neck of the woods.
Handmade by artisans in Africa, these bags are great totes for a day exploring new places, or make beautiful back-to-school gifts for students to pack along notebooks, snacks, and a proverbial apple for the teacher.
Artisans carefully create the natural sisal and banana fiber satchels with hand-sewn cowhide leather handles. Which will you choose? The Wide Striped Khaki Satchel? The White Striped Satchel? Or the Camel Striped Satchel? Or one of each?
Where will you go for your last summer getaway? Tell us in the comments, or on Twitter: @TheCityFarm. If you have the itch to plan your days, hunt down some city guides or local bloggers to guide your adventure. But sometimes? After you’ve picked your general place, it’s great to turn off your smart phone, and let the day (or bus) take you where it will. The act of unplugging = an invitation to adventure. Pack accordingly.
The Dream Street Foundation provides nationwide camping programs for children with chronic and life threatening illnesses. Children with cancer, blood disorders, and other serious diseases are given the opportunity to enjoy activities they would normally be restricted from due to their illness.
At present, Dream Street operates programs in Arizona, Arkansas, California, Mississippi and New Jersey. Dream Street is completely volunteer operated, including counselors, medical staff and administration. There are no paid salaries within the Dream Street Foundation. Dream Street is a public non-profit corporation. Camping sessions are free of charge to those attending. Dream Street brings the dream of normal childhood activities to reality for these children. It is an environment in which no child sits on the sidelines or has to worry about feeling different.
City Farm spent the week at Dream Street, our foundation that benefits from 10% of your City Farm purchase. Dream Street truly runs to the City Farm core values and beliefs, our very own Patty Grubman as the co-founder 25 years ago; we started our quarterly charitable support program with one dear to our hearts. Words cannot describe the magic that happens at this camp, some have described it as Willy Wonka come to life, heaven on Earth and a place where you can never have too much candy, ice cream or fun. This years camp these is Dreaming through the USA. We’ve been to Hawaii, Nashville, the glitter of Vegas and the big apple of New York!
To learn more about Dream Street, visit their website at dreamstreetfoundation.org. We are so proud to be supporting this organization, and have truly been blessed to have experienced this week here at camp. Please comment and and write in to me if you have experienced a program like Dream Street or have another charity in mind for our next quarterly support.
A visit to the farmer’s market on Larchmont, just south of Paramount Studios, where movies are filmed and visitors take tours, you’ll find folks pushing babies and being dragged by the family dog at the Larchmont Village Farmer’s Market. Every Sunday, shop is set up, and you can wander through to taste fruits, spreads, & breads, while your toddler discovers her musical genius in the drum circle set up for kids to bang, shake, shimmy, and in general, get their groove on.
Make sure to pack enough totes with you (perhaps one from the City Farm, like this gorgeous Enfants Strap Tote?) to pack home all your finds. Will you leave room for a new, adopted, furry member of the family? There’s often a kitty and dog rescue group on site, tempting you to take home more than just organic fruits and fresh flowers.
Have you been to the Silver Lake Farmer’s Market– where there’s a bounce house and loads of vintage clothes? Or the Hollywood Farmer’s Market, a larger space filled with food, clothes, street musicians, and events (has anyone taken notes from a cooking demo there)? What is your go-to farmer’s market? Tell us here in the comments or on Twitter @TheCityFarm.
What better way to celebrate your freedom this 4th of July than painting a book and turning it into a piece of art? I’m normally not one to champion the defacing of books – except for notes in margins and exclamation points at favorite lines and underlining meaningful passages and dog-earing whole pages. Apart from that, respect the written word! Unless you can turn a thrift store find into this gorgeous wreath.
Grab your glue gun, follow this easy, DIY step-by-step tutorial, and welcome your guests through your door. But first, you have to get them to your wreath-worthy door. Consider ordering these personalized invites from Etsy’s WhirliGigsPartyCo:
Or from SilverLineDesignTeam:
I favor Mason jars for all things drinkable, like this idea from Better Homes & Gardens. Throw in some freshly picked strawberries, mint, or cucumber for added refreshing flavor. With the top & straw, these are like adult sippy cups! Perfect for running around a backyard with a sparkler.
Once your party-goers have a drink in hand and are relaxing in your backyard, they won’t be able to miss grazing from a table of yummy, fresh fruits, caramel corn and hot dogs, decorated with vintage touches like these, as beautifully featured on Lia Griffith’s blog:
And remember, simple touches will bring vintage Americana to your 4th – Coca-Cola in glass bottles buried in a big bucket of ice (try the ones imported from Mexico with real sugar – so delicious), blueberries, red delicious apples, cherries, bright flowers. And don’t forget a sparkler or two for dusk!
How are you celebrating your Fourth? Will you be watching fireworks? At the beach? A lake? A farm? Are you in another country and swapping Independence Day traditions with the locals? Share your DIY ideas and favorite 4th memories with us, here in the comments, or on Twitter: @TheCityFarm. Happy 4th! Enjoy~
(Sparkler photo: House to Home)