Sunday, July 25, 2010

Trending Up

As promised last week, this will be a short recap of what we saw at the recent California Gift Show. Always exciting, the show is a barometer of what to expect in the home decor and gift arenas for the gift-giving holiday season.

As expected, I saw lots of turquoise color used but surprisingly, orange was very widely used as well. I've always loved the two colors together, so I was a happy shopper. Bright yellow and olive greens were prevalent, especially in stationery items. Natural motifs are still very popular, such as birds and other animals (frogs!), landscapes and botanicals. Modern patterns such as houndstooth and zigzags are prolific; timeless damask, large scale floral, Greek key and stylized toile designs are appearing in brighter, more updated colors. Distressed look case goods and decor seem to be still on trend, although the distress is not as pronounced as in years earlier.

Summarizing the trends as they relate to home decorating, I'm seeing much less fluff in accessories and a streamlining of lines in case goods. We've seen favor move away from any sort of themed look, a la French Country or Shabby Chic. Instead, we see a more collected look, with pieces from varying periods mixing comfortably with more modern ones. Metal is being used more for decor, as in substantial votive candle holders and hurricanes, lanterns and serveware. Candles themselves are back in favor, strong this year with heady scent and depth of color. Mixing tapers in with pillar candles in an arrangement spanning a mantle is one trend I particularly admired.

Decorating take-away tip: Don't feel as if you have to adhere to a certain theme in your home. If you're going to invest in sofas or tables, keep the lines simple and classic, and the upholstry neutral. If you already have French Country style chairs or tables, you needn't feel bound to use blue and yellow for your wall colors and linen, either. Mix it up -repair, refinish or repaint and use these with newer pieces you've purchased. Comfort and familiarity are the buzzwords this year, as more people stay close to home. Scent products play a huge roll in this trend, so watch for different ways this can be introduced. Dual purpose products make a splash this year, from innovative diffuser sets to room-scenting tassels.

Going to the Gift Show is exciting. The most exciting part, though, is getting the new merchandise in, rearranging everything and watching as our customers smile as they walk through our store. Come visit, have a cuppa (whether it's coffee or lemonade) and a cookie - we'll see you soon!

Have a lovely week, my friends, and thank you for shopping locally,

Lori and Scott

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Life Well Lived

Another action-filled week has flown by so quickly, allowing us but a moment to catch our breath before it starts again. Tuesday saw the opening of the California Gift Show and my week was split between attending the show and attending to some events outside the store.

I was very lucky to have been invited to Senator Carol Liu's Women in Business Awards Luncheon at the Pasadena Hilton on Thursday. Two of my friends were honored, Donna Chaney and Rose West. Donna is one of the creators of the Business Builders Boot Camp at the Women's City Club I joined last year; Rose West is the owner of Altadena's Curves. Both ladies deserve the highest congratulations and it was an honor to be in the audience!

Today Scott and I joined several friends to celebrate the life of Steven Patrick. Steve was married for an all too brief four years to my friend, Debbi, and he passed away from an aggressive form of cancer in April. It was an inspiration to see how many people were there, and even more inspiring were the stories told by Steve's friends of his character.

He wasn't the type of guy to see a glass as half full or half empty. He always saw the glass as full, his friends said. This quality, this undeniable optimism, is what attracted so many people to him. There's a lesson for us here, especially in these challenging times. Life is a gift that shouldn't be exhuberently and with purpose. After all, as Abraham Lincoln said, "it isn't the years in your life, it's the life in your years".

Have a great week, my friends! Next week we'll take a look at what we saw at the gift show, the new trends and what that you can look forward to seeing at WFS in the coming months.

Lori & Scott

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Windows To The Soul....Windows Of Opportunity

"They say that the eye is the window to the soul. But it is the soul that is the window." - Andrew Hamilton

Those of you who read Altadenablog or our Facebook Fan Page will have already seen our new faux windows. They were painted this past week on the front walls of our store by local Altadena artist Gary Thomas. Maybe you've driven by and seen them or caught a glimpse while coming out of the pharmacy. I'm told that if you look at them from across the street you can't tell they're not real. If you haven't seen them yet, I'm personally inviting you to drop by and have a look. Gary did such a wonderful job and we're awed by his talent!

Fake windows might not seem like such a big deal in the relative scheme of things, but to us here at WFS, it's huge. The windows give just the right whimsical touch we'd been planning on for two years. They give our store what it had been lacking on the outside - a personality that reflects the warmth of the inside! It's different enough from anything else in the area to call attention to us and to the fact that we are an independent Altadena original.

Actually, this is the first step in our long awaited plan of action. We've been under a lot of pressure to get signage on the front (apparently, the $1200.00 light-up at night sign on the top front of our building wasn't sufficient). I resisted putting up any more plastic signs as Lake Avenue is littered with them. Deep down, I'd rather be anonymous than be tacky, but that wasn't the best idea for staying in business. The windows, then, are our answer to the plastic and our using a local artist to paint them was our contribution to stimulating our local economy. Just think if this idea were to be contagious....if instead of a plethora of plastic signage, we had local artists painting local scenes on our community's buildings, what a wonder it would be to drive up and down North Lake Avenue!

Delving even further into that idea (dare we??), why not imagine that all us business owners here working together for the good of the community? Can we imagine an Altadena for Altadena residents, a strong and healthy community where doing business in town is a pleasure? I can imagine it....I can taste it....and I know there are many of you out there who can as well. If we all joined together and contributed to the beautification of North Lake Avenue, if we all joined forces to call attention to the need for redevelopment here, would the County Supervisors listen? I think they would, and I'm praying they will. Never has the time been better or the results more needed. Stay with us while we work our plan.

Enjoy the week ahead, my friends, but stay's supposed to be a hot one!

Lori & Scott

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Hahamongna Heartache

As the famous Joni Mitchell song goes, "They paved Paradise and put up a parking lot...." and that's pretty much what's slated to happen to Hahamongna Watershed Park.

If you're not familiar with the wide open vistas of sere grass, old growth oaks and little creeks, check out the link in the group below that says "Save Hahamongna" for more information. Then see this link,, that outlines the proposed plan for this fabulous urban playground for animals, birds and man.

Not only a favorite of hikers, equestrians and dog-walkers, Hahamongna also plays a big role in the Pasadena area's flood control plan. It's quite an important place and it's one that should be preserved as is.

Many of us community bloggers have agreed to write about Hamahonga today to alert you, our readers, about the City of Pasadena's plan to turn Hahamongna into a sports mecca. Soccer fields and such are great and I agree that they're needed, just not in Hahamongna.

Here's the thing - natural, open spaces like Hahamongna are rare in Los Angeles County. We keep going at the pace we've been, it'll be just as the song says...."you don't know what you've got 'till it's gone". I know, because I've seen it happen.

Scott and I live on a bluff in Westchester that rises above the eastern end of the Ballona Creek Wetlands. This is the house I was raised in and this is the house we moved into when my parents passed over 14 years ago. The land that Ballona Creek once encompassed has been built into Playa Vista, residential and business planned development that sprawl across this once empty riparian corridor. Despite resident's efforts, only a tiny piece of it was "saved" as a habitat for birds and animals.

What was once a clear view to Toes Beach in Playa del Rey is now cluttered by condos, townhomes and apartment buildings so close together, one neighbor across the way could hold hands with the other. Office buildings have sprung up and we even have the new L.A. Clippers' training facility. To be honest, I prefered the vacant land to the present cadre of buildings - and I'm sure the many bird and animal residents do, too. We lost a great portion of unspoiled, natural wetlands and in turn, now have to deal with more people, traffic, light pollution and noise.

I would hate to see Hahamongna suffer the same fate. The park as it is now is too valuable a place to lose to enterprise. I'm thinking the light pollution factor alone would make the city think twice about this. Not to mention that the park runs just south and parallel, in parts, to JPL. In these days of foreign theats from other countries, would I really want to have such a venue as proposed so close? No, I don't think so. Let's just let it be. Let's not have to kick ouselves in the shin because we paved Paradise and put in a parking lot (and a soccer field).

The following is a list of Pasadena and Altadena bloggers who are writing about Hahamongna today. Please visit them and see what they've got to say:

You can contact your city representatives here:

Read this morning's article in the Pasadena Star News here:

Until next week, my friends!

Lori and Scott