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Adams Blvd

It’s taken me way too long to post these pictures. A while ago I took a trip down to Adams Blvd near the USC campus. I’d heard about the amazing houses on the street that used to be referred to as Millionaire’s Row. It was home to the city’s elite before Hollywood and Beverly Hills were built. Beautiful mansions from the early 20th century can still be seen, though they’ve all been repurposed for other uses. Some are part of Mount St. Mary’s College, others are now USC student housing. Sadly, many others are falling apart and have lost the elegance and grace from times past, but there are still some examples of various architecture styles including Victorian, Craftsman, and Spanish Colonial Revival.  I also couldn’t pass up taking pictures of the great buildings at USC.

Book: Drunken Botanist

Drunken Botanist

After reading Amy Stewart’s very academic and well researched Flower Confidential, picking up The Drunken Botanist reveals the sharp sense of humor the author has. The full title The Drunken Botanist: The Plants That Create the World’s Great Drinks gives you an idea of the content, but though the background is as well researched as Flower Confidential, the information included for each plant is more the juicy bits of gossip. Scandalous asides and humorous anecdotes fill the entries, which range from the obvious grapes of wine and barley of beer to the decidedly less obvious Monkey Puzzle tree. Huh? I’d never even heard of a Monkey Puzzle tree, much less knew that there’s a drink made from this Chilean national monument. Tons of other tidbits make this book a joy to read. Even if you don’t drink, the stories that accompany the alcoholic ingredients are fascinating.

Also recommended: Stewart’s Wicked Plants. It’s an intriguing trip through the world’s poisonous, deadly and intoxicating plants.


L’ÉCOLE Van Cleef & Arpels

 L'Ecole VCA


I just saw this ad for Van Cleef and Arpels’s school for jewelry and gem. This looks like so much fun. You can either learn about the history of jewelry or you can frolic among the jewels with a loupe learning how to identify gems and quality. I’d opt for the latter. I’m sure you can find the same classes cheaper closer to home, but how can you pass up the opportunity to say you studied at L’ÉCOLE Van Cleef & Arpels on Place Vendôme?