la·de·da

(definition)
1. variant of Lauren Ladoceour; @laurenladeda
2. travel, food, tech writer: Food Arts, Eat.Shop San Francisco, Print, 7x7, Whole Living, Weldon Owen cookbooks, Yoga Journal, San Francisco magazine, Rolling Stone Australia, Boston magazine, Joulebug app
3. copy editor: 7x7, california home+design, 1000memories.com, Once
4. recipe developer: williams-sonoma

[usage]
"If anyone had ever told me that I would be taking out a girl who used expressions like la-de-da."
—alvy singer, annie hall

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I wrote my first feature for Food Arts this month: a profile of Bar Tartine’s executive chef, Nick Balla. At the end of my last interview with Nick, we were at Scribe winery with the owners and the entire Bar Tartine crew. After a raucous barbecue, we had this really nice, quiet moment watching the sun set over the vineyards, drinking cheap beer out of cans, and listening to Neil Young. Toughest day ever. Read the whole story here.

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I’ve been working with the folks at Yoga Journal lately, helping them put the finishing touches on their recently launched iPad app, complete with practice videos, music, and more. The first issue’s free at the iTunes store, but starting in October, it sounds like they’ll be offering digital subscriptions. 

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All the good stuff happens on the weekend. Getting out of the city for a hike or just staying in bed all morning. Finishing that project I’ve neglected and then celebrating its completion with a strong drink. That break between Friday and Sunday is also the only time I get the mind space to—gasp—actually do something creative for fun before Monday calls me back the freelance writing and editing work I do to pay the bills. 

Lately, a lot of my friends and colleagues—journalists and copywriters, photographers and designers—are coming out as prolific writers, poets, craftsmen, and artists over the weekend. So my friend Ali Zeigler, art director at Weldon Owens (the Williams-Sonoma cookbook publisher), got together and decided to dedicate a few weekends to that very phenomena with a new print magazine experiment called Weekend

Anyone can participate or help us put together our first issue, printed and sold through on-demand publisher MagCloud. We’re looking for original art work and articles (100 - 2,000 words long) on anything you did over the weekend. We’re thinking recipes for a long-simmering Sunday gravy, day trip itineraries up the coast, a short story you wrote in bed, the napkins you sketched on at the bar, a feature or profile, whatever. 

Starting today and ending 11:59 p.m. (PST) Sunday, August 5, we’ll be accepting submissions and then announcing our selections by August 11. Compensation: Does a free first issue count? If we get any sponsors or ads, we’ll figure out a way to split the profits, but for now, this is a bit of a labor of love. Something to spark everyone’s creative fires.

So with match in hand, I humbly say: Weekend magazine needs you. Submit something to us at weekendedit@gmail.com, spread the word to your friends, follow us on Twitter @weekndmag, and check back with us at weekend-mag.com, as we’ll be blogging about our progress and posting prompts and special assignments.

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Everyone’s talking about super PACs, and I wrote about the first registered LGBT super PAC in 7x7's June 2012 issue (just in time for Pride festivities).

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Left to my own devices, I’m a big snacker. So I wrote about it for Yoga Journal's May 2012 issue.

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Here’s a little something I wrote for 7x7's May 2012 Travel Issue.

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A year ago, during a period of major angst and a requisite late-20s existential crisis, I realized I rarely ever left San Francisco, where life had suddenly become as gray and cold as the summer fog that walls it in. And so I did as so many of the heroines and authors I admire have done before me: I hit the road. Well, usually on the weekends or slightly longer stretches, at least twice a month.

In my mostly West Coast travels this year, I’ve slept in five-star resorts, Wine Country bed and breakfasts, chic and sexy hotels, and even a teepee. I’ve been to Portland and driven through all of the Willamette Valley, gone fly-fishing in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, danced all night in Las Vegas, rode a BMW motorcycle through Aspen’s Independence Pass, drove across the bridge to Cavallo Point’s amazing view of SF, soaked in the mineral pool at Indian Springs in Napa Valley, scoured LA’s flea markets for vintage finds, baked in Scottsdale’s sun, backpacked through the Grand Canyon and played in its secret waterfalls, hiked in Tahoe’s winter snow, visited the Chopra Center in Carlsbad, California, hid away in a guest house in Tomales a few times, wore myself out at Coachella in the desert sun, sipped my way through Santa Barbara’s urban wine trail, and revisited Monterey’s Cannery Row to see what was new (note: nothing much).  

Without a lot of thought, I shared my travels on Instagram. Most of the comments ask for my itineraries so others can go too. Here are the top three destination requests.

1. Big Sur Trailer: This mint-condition 1960s trailer sits on a hillside overlooking the ocean and Esalen (across the street), where you can enjoy the cliffside bathhouse and a massage. But I didn’t really want to leave. Richard, the landowner, rents out just this one secluded trailer, so I had total privacy to enjoy the trailer’s private bathhouse with a large soaking tub, where I spent most of the day sipping whiskey and watching for whales. There’s also an outdoor shower that hits the herb garden below and perfumes the air. And in the afternoon, Richard leaves for you at the top of the drive fillets of fish he caught in the ocean that day. All they need are a drizzle of olive oil, salt, pepper, lemon, and a few minutes on each side over the trailer’s original gas stove.

2. Burlingame Treehouse: The only thing I knew about Burlingame was that it was near the airport. But last weekend, I drove 20 minutes south of SF and into the suburb’s hills, where I spent the night in a floating treehouse with a lofted bed and wraparound porch. Inside were a table for our included breakfast, a TV and DVD player, chandelier, candles, and books. At night, the wind gently swayed the branches, and in the morning, I took a short, three-mile hike through a canyon just blocks away. 

3. Hacienda San Angel: OK, so Puerto Vallarta isn’t exactly off the beaten path, but in Old Town, blocks from the beach, is a gorgeous, romantic stay filled with Mexican and European antiques and three candle-lit pools. It’s also the former home of Richard Burton. I got to stay in his master bedroom, which overlooks the hacienda’s chapel on one side and its lush courtyard on the other. 

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A few weeks ago, I visited Digg founder Kevin Rose’s new startup in the Mission to do a 7x7 shoot with one of the most stylish guys in tech, Milk creative director Daniel Burka. Once the issue hit newsstands, I sent Daniel a link to the story on my Flickr account, which I use as a kind of portfolio for most of my work. Within two hours, my Flickr page had 5,000 views thanks to tweets from Daniel and Kevin. Just to put that into perspective, up until that point, the most views I’d received on a single day was 178. It’s the first time anything I’ve done has gone remotely viral, and I still get a few hundred views on these two images every day. 

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I wrote about it for 7x7, and you can read the rest of the article here.

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Image by JamesCollier/Flickr

A few weeks ago, I spent a lovely weekend in Sonoma, playing in the kitchen with 30-something chefs, food stylists, cooking geeks, and underground supperclub hosts. Eat Retreat is probably the best-documented gathering I’ve ever been a part of (who of this foodie group doesn’t have a blog or Flickr stream?), so I’ll skip the recap and just tell you what I cooked up. 

I spent Saturday afternoon overlooking a green valley with BiRite marketing manager Kersten Bourne and 18 ReasonsRosie Branson Gill, unzipping fava pods and uprooting the beans from their purses with our thumbs. An hour later, I hauled a huge orange bowl with several pounds of jewel-like favas down the hill and into the kitchen, where I quickly blanched and shocked them. I spent the next three hours under a tree or over the dining table with several other retreaters looking for something to busy their hands with. As we worked our way through the second shelling, we chatted and took pictures, but mostly we just zoned out and enjoyed doing something quiet and productive together. 

After, I noticed the beans could benefit from another 5 minutes in boiling, salted water. I reserved a few cups of the cooking water and drained the rest. With the favas back in a dry pot, I splashed in a generous amount of olive oil, black pepper, a handful of mint leaves, and half a preserved lemon (rinsed) and took a hand blender to the whole thing, adding some of the reserved cooking water as needed to get a thick, hummus-like consistency. Kerstin suggested we keep a bit of the grain, so I held back from blending it too smooth. 

From there, we roughly cut some seed bread into uneven pieces, brushed them with olive oil, toasted them in the oven, and topped them with a generous schmear of the puree. Even with the lemon, the favas were quite rich, so I quickly made a simple dressing of half olive oil and half fresh lemon juice and sprinkled a few drops over the crostini. 

As I was plating the apps, Dr. Michael Rakotz suggested pulling some edible flowers out of the herb fridge (yes, a whole refrigerator stuffed with fresh herbs!) and topping the crostini with a few buds. Lovely.