Backyard Beauty

Cactus Flower In Bloom

Sometimes when you haven't been home in a while, you see it with new eyes when you return. Growing up, I always thought of our backyard as ordinary, but going back it seems like a wonderland of quintessential (if not necessarily native) Southern Californian plants and flowers —  palm trees, bougainvillea, cacti, aloe, the exotic dragon tree. When this cactus flower bloomed for just one day, I was inspired to snap the rest of the botanical world of the backyard I grew up in.

Cactus Flower + Bougainvillea
Aloe plants
Palm plants
Palm plant
Dragon Tree
Dragon TreeDragon Tree

Orange Tree + Bougainvillea

Old Book Smell: Book / Shop

Book / Shop Bookshelf
Old book smell. It's like the opposite of new car smell. Both involve leather and are exciting enough to invoke any number of fantasies though. As soon as I finish reading Infinite Jest and am allowed to buy new (old) books again, I'm excited to check out new Temescal alley spot Book / Shop, where you can get your old book smell two ways:

1. Old-fashioned, literally — Book / Shop's eclectic yet minimalist rotating selection of vintage fiction and nonfiction books on subjects from art to poetry to typography.

In the Library CB I Hate Perfume
In the Library by CB I Hate Perfume. (According to Science old books smell like grass and vanilla, which sounds lovely.)

Book / Shop also carries interesting and useful reading accoutrements like the craftsman Slotted System Bookcase above, totes both luxe and simple, and book marks, lights, and ends.
Book / Shop

Book / Shop Absorene

Book / Shop Tote & Bookmarks

Book / Shop
If you can't get enough of books even when you're not reading, they have a similarly curated collection of literary inspired art, too.
Book / ShopBook / Shop

And last but not least, they offer what is essentially a literary concierge service. Hit them up for help finding something rare or out of print, a customized bookshelf, even a bespoke reading list (they're right, that could be a totally great gift for someone). And in that vein, be sure to check out their blog to find summer reading lists put together by all kinds of interesting people, and to keep up with events and new arrivals!

Cocktail: Dimmi If You Like It

Dimmi Italian Liqueur Cocktail
Dimmi (Italian for 'tell me') is a delicious liqueur from northern Italy that tastes like drinking a bouquet of lemons. It's a little bit floral and a little bit herbacious, and for this drink I decided to layer on the floral notes with elderflower liqueur. Add in tequila and a lemon peel garnish, and the result is refreshingly, nose-tinglingly citrusy, and not entirely unlike the concept of a Dimmi-rita that I was thinking about making. Recipe below — tell me if you like it!

Dimmi Italian Liqueur Cocktail
Dimmi If You Like It:
    •     1 1/2 oz  Dimmi
    •    1 oz tequila
    •    1/2 oz St. Germain
    •    juice of half a lemon
    •    lemon peel garnish

Shake ingredients together in an ice-filled cocktail shaker until well-chilled, strain into a coupe glass, and give the lemon peel a squeeze to bring out the concentrated, aromatic oils before placing it in the drink (here's a handy guide to citrus garnishes).

Dimmi Italian Liqueur Cocktail
Dimmi Italian Liqueur Cocktail
Dimmi Italian Liqueur Cocktail

I did a lot of taste-testing before coming up with this drink, and just Dimmi on ice is great — definitely worth picking up a bottle for summer drinks!