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Ruby in La La Land

Posted on: Friday, January 30, 2015

After growing up in San Luis Obispo, I decided to follow my heart to Los Angeles. I had lots of expectations of what my life would be like–-full of great shopping, amazing food, and perfect weather. Obviously, the reality of living in LA is not as glamorous as I imagined it. For my first three months, it didn’t drop below a hundred degrees while I settled into my non-air conditioned building. Traffic discouraged me from leaving my neighborhood in East LA to explore any other part of the city. And being close to so much shopping and nice restaurants drained my bank account quickly. But then I realized that I could look at my time in Los Angeles as a series of adventures--that I could look at everything with a glass half-full attitude if I wanted to. So now, I appreciate that traffic allows for time to sing along to the radio in the car until I know all the words. I spend Sunday mornings at flea markets so that I can carry a (gently worn) designer handbag that only cost me $20 and a couple of hours of sleep. I’ve sat in Bed Bath & Beyond for hours with my best friend to get a free massage from the back massager chairs they have available to test. My life has become an amazing balance between enjoying all the fabulous stuff LA has to offer and enjoying the experience of being a starving college kid.

Here are a few of my very favorite things to do in Los Angeles. Some of these are a little off the beaten path and others are pretty famous, but all are worth it! 
**Note: the city is best experienced with a positive attitude, a full tank of gas, and your favorite pair of sunglasses.**

Enjoy a milkshake from Café Gratitude
Café Gratitude is probably the most popular vegan restaurant in Los Angeles and it deserves the hype. While their menu is on the pricier side, every item is phenomenal and has a fun name! My favorite is “Cool” – a mint chocolate milkshake made with cashew coconut ice cream and raw cacao nibs.

Drive to Griffith Observatory
Head up the hill just before sunset to ensure prime Instagram-worthy photographs. The Observatory is free and super cool, and just taking in the view of the LA skyline is worth the trip.

Have breakfast at Auntie Em’s Kitchen
Close to my college, Auntie Em’s has become one of my favorite Eagle Rock eateries. I always choose the biscuit sandwich with a cup of iced mint tea. If you don’t have time for a meal, their cupcakes are to die for!!

Search for a flea market treasure at Melrose Trading Post (and maybe spot a celebrity!)
Melrose is one of the smaller swap meets in LA and is probably my favorite. It’s not as overwhelming as the Rose Bowl and I can guarantee you’ll find something fun to bring home. It’s a perfect Sunday adventure that doesn’t cost much and usually includes a celebrity sighting. 

See a show at the Hollywood Palladium
While living in LA, I’ve tried to see a show at every venue. While I honestly couldn’t pick a favorite, the Palladium is such a rad space. I saw CHVRCHES there with a friend a few months ago and it was one of the most fun shows I’ve been to since moving here.

Grab a gourmet donut from Donut Friend 
I am a huge donut fan, so discovering Donut Friend has been one of my favorite memories from last Fall. You can choose from a long list of already loved combos or you can design your own donut from a bar of every imaginable topping. You can’t go wrong with a Donut Friend donut, but I highly recommend the strawberry jam/goat cheese/basil creation called “Jets to Basil.”


Weekly Six: 1.28

Posted on: Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Before we open our doors for the week, check out our top six vintage picks. We constantly update our inventory, and we want to keep you in the loop of the new things coming in! So, without further adieu, we bring you:

1: Fresh powder is falling and it's time to hit the slopes! Don't leave your vintage style behind (or your skis and boots, of course)--standout and stay warm in this puffy sienna North Face jacket. Hot cocoa isn't the only luxury keeping you warm this winter.

2: Are you one who likes to sip slowly on your pour over throughout the day? Stave off the dreaded lukewarm blues with this bunsen coffee carafe! Fits on your desk or camp table long after the fire's gone out, simply light a tea light and sip at your leisure. This is simple science at it's best!

3: A tisket, a tasket, a tin and woven basket...what?! you say, a basket that is both tin and woven?? You heard it right--we are the proud holders of two picnic baskets that are ant-proof and hold up on a rainy day. Whoever wove these wonders really had the clumsiest of us in mind.

4: We love this necklace for its colorfulness, movement, and its delicate presence. Add some bright to a cloudy day or a monochrome outfit--also, don't forget that skip in your step!

5: "Never Say Die!" -Geronimo "We were free until we stopped fighting, now no one has freedom." -Chief Tawonka
The original American spirit began with these forefathers. Let Native American heroes inspire you to keep chasing after your dreams and persevere through the toughest of days.

6: Add a little lace to your hibernation station with these soft pillow cases. Their beautiful croqueted detail adds texture to your decor without conflicting color--we even have their matching blanket in store, too!

SLOcal Biz: Left Field

Posted on: Friday, January 23, 2015

We are so ecstatic to welcome Left Field to MoJo Row! You may know Nick Wilkinson from his reputable shop in Cambria, Grow Nursery. Well, he's moved right across the street from us, and we walked over to hear a little bit of his story, below:

How did you come to own Grow & now Left Field?
About ten years ago I was running a restaurant in San Diego, and going to school down at San Diego State. I had started out just bussing tables and by the time I was twenty-two was in the management vibe there—it was good company to work for and I liked it, but it was one of those moments where I was like “Am i gonna be comping prime ribs and working in a bar for the rest of my life, or not?” My parents lived up this way and I came to visit them—at the time my middle brother and I were talking about starting a nursery together—we decided it wasn’t going to work and he was going to do something else. But I had asked this gal at the old exotic gardens if she would sell the business and after a few months, she said yes, so we bought that. We were up there for about six years, and everything was fine and we made it—but moving down to the main drag (in downtown Cambria) was a big pickup for our business. We’ve grown a lot there. 
But being in Cambria makes you sensitive to how far you are from SLO. You don’t think of it, you think, Oh it’s just Cambria. The mast majority of our biz there is just tourists—so we’re giving it a go in SLO to see if we could connect more and do more local work. We were looking for years, and recently looking at this space—mainly because Ruby Rose is across the street and it’s nice to have someone with a similar vibe.  We both have crossover things, which is the vintage.  No matter what we wont have the same stuff, even if we have the same box or ladder, it’s still different, so it’s easy to have the crossover.  When we found out they had this roll up door, I was addicted to the building.

What got you into plants?
When I was going to SDSU I really got into plants.  It was the typical 19-year-old pad and we just got into it. I grew up with a lot of plants around me, my mom had a lot. What drew me to them is the same thing that drew people to them and made them popular—the architectural nature and they all kind of have their own personality. I started to have a pretty good collection of them and vintage pots. I probably had thirty pots with succulents in them through the 70’s.  I got my degree in Arts, so this was all self taught. Friends had a shop in Old Town San Diego and they mentored me.

Have you always been into vintage stuff?
Yeah, being just like you, we were into all kinds of vintage stuff. At the time, it was a lot of mid century modern stuff, not the rusty things. I like just about all things, I’m not really a snob about objects, if it has a story that is cool I can usually get into it. We started out as more of a nursery and then got into vintage as a way to funk up the space, they create a texture and interest for the store. I used to never want to sell stuff like that, but I've gotten to the point where there’s really not too much that’s not for sale. If we sell that big ole chest on day four, then it drives me to go out and buy more for the store—it keeps things from getting stagnant. At the end of the day, everything is for sale.

And Deer Run also has a presence here?
Leslie is a friend of mine and had a store when I was out at Exotic Gardens. When I moved into the shop by hers, behind the Garden Shed (Cambria), she just had her 70th birthday and it was getting to be too much I think for her.  Mostly it’s my gig, she’ll have her stuff here and throw her two cents in, but I’ll make all the big decisions.

Where did you get the name Left Field?
We went back and forth and we had several names, but I wanted it to be different than Grow, because the space is different. We wanted it to represent that it was going to be oddball—we had also thought of calling it Misc. but I got outvoted (laughs). I like Left Field, too: “way out in left field,”  objects that make you think, where did that come from?  That’s why we went with Unexpected Goods and Greenery as the tagline. It all came together, and I feel good about it. Having done my thing at Grow almost ten years ago, it was nice to be able to rebrand something and do it just a little bit different, so it’s fun.

Minerals or plants?
Plants forever probably. I mean, I like those mineral things a lot, too.

If you were going to be buried with a plant, which one would it be?
I told my wife when I die, I want to be cremated and for them to repot all my plants with my ashes mixed in with the soil. 

You have an adjoining space that will opening up as well?
We’re going to have a gallery place there where we’ll be showing mostly people from out of town—but we’ll have some locals mixed in. I’m trying to keep with the unexpected theme, do shows that people wouldn’t expect or do different shows that people haven’t seen a hundred times. The best locals get shows and I support those guys and I buy art from local people, but for me i’m just not interested in regurgitating the same shows. I would rather bring in something and get people inspired by some new things.

The gallery’s projected open date is February 20th—and expect Left Field’s Grand Opening the same day! Be sure and follow @leftfieldslo on Instagram, and peruse their store: open M-Sat 10-6 and Sun 11-5

Weekly Six: 1.21

Posted on: Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Before we open our doors for the week, check out our top six vintage picks. We constantly update our inventory, and we want to keep you in the loop of the new things coming in! So, without further adieu, we bring you:

Oh oh it's magic! This vintage pool table cast a spell on us the moment we saw it--and not just because of the magic eight ball. It folds up for easy storage--then folds out again for a night of sippin' scotch and shootin' pool. Chalk and sharks not included.

2: Orange is the new black. Same's true for furniture. Recline back and really, put your feet up, in this orange upholstered chair. Warning, you may get stuck for awhile--sit with care.

3: Vintage polka dots and lace makes for a timeless silhouette. Ready for school, work or play--take this vintage dress wherever you please. We imagine it on a station platform waiting for the train that will take her across a vast and thriving countryside...what do you think her story will be?

4: Too many flies buzzing around your lawn? Hop on over and snatch up this little concrete frog--and you'll leave jumping for joy! His back perch fits plants or gnomes, no problem. Ribbit!

5: Turn around, bright eyes, forever's gonna start tonight. There's no eclipse of the heart for the one who takes this beauty home. Part marble, part pine, part cabinet, part side table--and this whole piece is far greater than all its parts put together.

6: Turn of the century publications found their way into our shop, and now are on delicate display. Read what your great (great) grandfather did as a boy and get lost in one of these vintage adventure books.

Posed and Ready for the New Year

Posted on: Friday, January 16, 2015

It's January (duh), which means most of us are either dedicated to the resolutions we penned down for 2015, or staunchly adherent to our 'every day is a resolution' lifestyle. Regardless, it is a new year and we are resetting our routines from the holidays, and needing to stretch the cold out of bones. For this post, we partnered with Leslie St. John--a loyal customer, local writing professor, and yoga instructor--to give us some good poses for the new year. Along with demonstrating poses throughout the store, she also offered some great instruction and insight into each one's benefits. Whether reinstating your 2014 practice or beginning yoga for the first time, these nine poses will help you make the most of your 2015, the best year yet!

Downward-Facing Dog / Adho Mukha Svanasana 

How it will help you in 2015:
This pose calms the brain and helps relieve stress and mild depression. Energizes the body. Stretches the shoulders, hamstrings, calves, arches, and hands. Strengthens the arms and legs. It is a foundational pose Vinyasa yoga practice. Eventually, it becomes home.

How to do it:
From hands and knees, raise the head and trunk. Bend the legs to raise the hips. Straighten the arms; straighten the legs. Lift to an inverted “V” shape. Spread the palms, pressing the pointer-finger and thumb-mound down, hands descending and forearms rising. Move the shoulder blades onto the back. Take expansive breathes into the heart space; feel your back spreading wide like a kite inflating with wind. Lift the pelvis. Roll leg bones from outside inward. Draw thighs back toward hamstrings, shins back toward calves, ankles back and down. Relax the head and neck. Breathe.

Warrior II / Virabhadrasana II

How it will help you in 2015? 
This is a warrior pose. It builds stamina and strength in the arms and legs, while toning the internal organs. Practicing this pose builds calm intensity. As with all standing poses, Warrior II clarifies lines of energy in the body, which offers awareness and stability. I like to do this pose in the morning before I start my day. It helps build confidence. You got this! 

How to do it: 
From standing step the legs about one-leg distance apart, and stretch the arms apart. Turn the right foot out 90*, the left foot in about 15*. Exhale and bend the right knee to a square, the thigh parallel to the floor, while keeping the back leg straight and the trunk vertical. Press the outer edge of the back foot down, keeping the legs firm. Stretch from the sternum and spine through the fingertips of both hands. Descend the shoulder blades. Gaze just beyond your right fingertips, and say to yourself, I am strong; I am stable.Because you are. (Repeat 2nd side.) 

Crow Pose / Bakansana

How this will help you in 2015: 
This pose strengthens arms and wrists. Stretches the upper back. Strengthens the abdominal muscles. With the knees high into the armpits, you will stimulate the lymphatic system, which boosts immunity. It is an energizing, empowering pose. You will feel like a badass. 

How to do it: 
From malasana, or a deep squatting position, place the upper arms under the knees, keeping the palms on the ground. Kneel with the tops of the shins on the upper arms, as close to the armpits as possible, feet almost touching. Inhale to puff up the upperback. Zipper the naval toward the spine, as you straighten the arms, lifting the feet off the ground, toward the buttocks (Feel free to lift one foot at a time). Keep the head up; gaze out and down. Balance and breathe. 

b) Eagle Pose / Garudasana
An alternative to the crow pose arm balance is a standing balance posture.

How it will help you in 2015:
This pose strengthens and stretches the ankles and calves. Stretches the thighs, hips, abdomen, shoulders, and upper back. Improves concentration. Improves sense of balance. It’s also great for joint and reproductive health. Is a tangible form of self-love. You are enfolding yourself in a deep embrace. See how that intention changes the way you experience the pose.

How to do it: 
From standing, bend the legs slightly. Raise the right leg and balance on one foot. With an exhalation, cross the leg over the left knee and hook the right foot behind the left calf. Bend the elbows and cross left elbow over the right, wrapping the forearms, hooking the right fingertips into the left palm. Raise the elbows to shoulder height. Hug everything into the midline: squeezing inner shins, thighs, and forearms. Balance. Breathe. (Repeat 2nd side)

Headstand / Sirsasana 

How this will help you in 2015: 
The king of all postures, sirsana develops poise, lightness, immunity, and stimulates the brain. My teacher’s wife, the goddess Surya Little, says it is her fountain of youth, her beauty cream! Inverting just might diminish the effects of gravity and reduce signs of aging. I’m in!

How to do it:
(Use a mat or folded blanket on the floor.) From hands and knees, interlock the fingers, and place the elbows, forearms, and hands on the floor. Keep the elbows directly under the shoulders. Press the outer edges of the wrists, forearms, and elbows into the floor like knife blades. Place the crown of the head down, lifting the upper arms and shoulders. Straighten the legs, raise the hips, and walk in until the trunk is almost perpendicular. Inhale to open the chest. Stay here. Breathe. Explore raising one leg and a time. (Use a wall to kick up against for support.) Reach the tailbone high, taking the banana sway out of your low back. Squeeze the legs together like you’ve caught a Frisbee between your inner thighs. Keep reaching up, up, up as you breath. Lift UP to come down. Rest in child’s pose. *(It is best to practice this pose with a skilled teacher if new to yoga.) 

b) Legs-up-the-wall Pose / Viparita Karani 
An alternative to headstand is simply taking the legs up the wall; viparita karani is still an inversion because the heart is over the head.

How this will help you in 2015:
This pose is called the “inverted lake” for the way blood pools into the pelvic and abdominal regions. It reduces fatigue in the legs (excellent post run/hike/cycle), while also rejuvenating the lungs and brain. I often do this pose during my layovers in airports. Sure, it may draw attention (kids always want to play!), but it will also reduce that annoying swelling and lethargy in the legs and feet. It’s also a go-to tonic for low-back pain. Enjoy.

How to do it:
(You may place folded blankets under the pelvis for support and to maintain the natural curvature of the lower back.) Sit sideways next to a wall. Swing your legs up and shimmy your seat flush to the wall. Draw the legs together, flexing the feet toward the sky. (You may strap your legs together.) Let the belly be soft. Arms out by your sides, palms facing upward. Breathe.

Cow-face Pose / Gomukhasana 

How this will help you in 2015: 
This pose stretches the ankles, hips and thighs. Stretches the shoulders, armpits, triceps, and chest. It helps cultivate balance. Folding forward, while maintaining the hip and shoulder binding, creates an excellent opportunity to find calm amidst chaos. (Do the pose; you’ll see what I mean.) Breathe.

How to do it: 
From hands and knees, cross right leg over the left, and have a seat. Stack the knees (do they resemble a cow face?), resting the feet outside the hips. For more accessibility, draw feet in close to the hips; for a deeper stretch on the outer hips, take the feet further away (think old-school bicycle handle bars). Ground through the legs, as you lift the trunk. Stay here. Breathe. Use the hands for support, or take the next option, a shoulder stretch. Bend the right elbow behind the back and take the back of the hand high up the spine. Stretch the left arm up. Bend the left elbow, stretch the hand down, and clasp the hands, your t-shirt, or a strap (ties and belts work well). Pause. Breath. Stay upright or fold forward for a deep internal bowing. 

Camel Pose / Ustrasana 

How this will help you in 2015:
This pose stretches the entire front of the body, the ankles, thighs and groins, abdomen and chest, and throat. Stretches the deep hip flexors (psoas). Strengthens back muscles. Improves posture. Stimulates the organs of the abdomen and neck. When I’m feeling lackluster or as if my light is dim, this heart-opening back bend helps elevate my mood. It’s energizing. Think of ustrasana as an espresso shot for your body and soul! 

How to do it: 
(Use a rolled mat or blanket under the knees to protect tender knees.)  Kneel with the legs about hip distance apart; keep the knees in line, both sides of the body parallel. Place the hands on the hips, and drop the tailbone, drawing the buttocks flesh down. Stretch the hips and trunk up. Move the tops of the thighs and hips forward as you arch back, reaching the hands toward the feet, clasping the heels or placing the palms on the soles of the feet. Keep the head lifted, gaze forward, unless it’s okay on your neck to rest your head into the trapezes muscles. Stay here. Breath. Keep lifting the heart up toward the sky, feeling your own inner light, bright. 

Corpse Pose / Savasana 
How this will help you in 2015:
This pose is what the entire asana practice builds toward. Here the body integrates and assimilates the effects of the practice. Savasana calms the brain and helps relieve stress and mild depression. Relaxes the body. Reduces headache, fatigue, and insomnia. It is called corpse pose because the body lies still as a corpse and the mind is at peace. Think of a snow globe after you’ve shaken it: the stirred snow settles; all that’s left is clear water, quiet mind. I like to think of savasana as resurrection pose: I let go of that experience—whoever, whatever I was before—and rise anew, refreshed, open, and calm. 

How to do it: 
From a seated position, extend your legs forward and lean back onto your hands and elbows. Check that the trunk and legs are in line. Lie down, lowering the back vertebrae by vertebrae. (You may place a flat blanket under the head and neck, a bolster under the knees.) Extend the trunk, arms, and legs prior to relaxing them. Imagine you were on the surface of a wave and with each exhalation, you fall deeper and deeper through the water toward the ocean floor. Surrender your effort. Let go. Feel the support of that calm, sold earth. Let yourself be held.


Leslie is a teaches yoga workshops and retreats along the Central Coast--learn more and register for her upcoming retreat via Prose & Poses, and make sure to follow her on Instagram (@proseandposes)

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