My main squeeze over at TLC agreed to do a fabulous schedule spill over here this morning, and I’m so so excited to share it with you! Behold: A day in the life of Mr. James Saveedra…
2 am: I wake up thirsty and realized I have fallen asleep reading Eat, Pray, Love. Glasses are still on. Oliver, my pup, is sound asleep – curled up in a ball. I grab a glass of water, crawl back into bed, and fall asleep. Odd dreams—I think.
5:47ish am: Apparently, Oliver cannot sleep past 6 am. Ever. The only good thing about this is that since it is summer, the sun is almost always out at this time. But for myself, all is still a blur.
6:18 am: Enough lying about. I get up and do what I almost always do…make my way to the kitchen, turn on the electric teakettle and discover what sage wisdom Yogi Tea has in store for the day. Today I am told that my destiny is to merge with infinity. Ok, if you say so. It’s a cheap thrill, I know. I re-use a take away cup because—well one, I think we should all recycle –tow it is quite handy –and three, I will be headed out the door shortly and on my way to the gym. I would look pretty silly walking with a ceramic mug. It reminds me too much of an elder neighbor we had when I was a kid who would walk her dog in her robe and slippers. In one hand was a cigarette and leash—the other a ceramic mug. I’m not a ceramic mug guy. (See later entry.)
Here is the kicker. My take away cup is leaking from its seam. A bit disappointed (after all it was the pretty green one) I transfer what is left to a new take away. A dash to my napkin drawer –quickly wipe up the lost bits and crisis averted.
On a side note: I have this happy place in my kitchen. It is my napkin drawer. I do not know exactly when it occurred, but somewhere in the past few years I have taken a penchant to having the appropriate napkin at every occasion—always, always, white because then you effortlessly look chic. Here is a great example of one of my mottos: Everyone deserves a life infused with beauty and style. The simple gesture of pairing the appropriate napkin with what ever it is you are serving suddenly elevates that which you are offering –either to your guests or to yourself.
My treasure chest contains cocktail napkins that, of course are great for libations, but also work well served along side appetizers, quick small plates, and happen to be the perfect size for that pesky little tea and coffee spoon. Then there are dinner napkins and guest towels. (Don’t even get me started on the joys of a quality guest napkin.) Of course, I also have cloth napkins but this drawer is only for the paper kind. I keep a cast bronze tile in the drawer, not only because it is beautiful, but it is also my favorite palette—white with warm metals.
While the tea steeps, I put in my eyes (maybe 6:30 by now). To make sure I have both contacts- I always look at the inspiration boards I have in the loo. I have two boards. One personal and one professional. I am running behind.
6:42am: Oliver wants to play. I should leave but he gives me that look. There is no use fighting it- so we play fetch for a bit.
7:00am: I am on my way to the gym. I walk there. It takes about 25 minutes each way. Down Sunset, Up La Brea, Across Hollywood Blvd. It may seem long but it’s actually my sneaky way of only having to do 30 minutes of cardio versus an hour. Plus, it gives me time to think while I walk. Along the way I see a pair of crows tear at a small bird. It reminds you how fragile and unfair life can be.
7:30am: The gym is full of beautiful boys and girls. Particularly the boy at the front counter. I feel fat. I work out hard and I sweat. I sweat hard. I feel better.
9:00am: Walk home the way I came. Some lady almost runs me over in the cross walk as she is turning left. She stops inches before hitting me. I stand there, still. I remove my fab Diesel sunglasses and remain there long enough to interrupt her day and stare her in the eyes. Her baby is sound asleep in the back seat.
9:30am: I am home and starving. Again, I turn on the teakettle. Oliver and I go on his morning walk. He is excited as usual. I go through the day’s to-do list in my head. I think, “I’m so behind.” We return. I prepare my usual breakfast…organic plain oatmeal with fresh berries, slivers of raw almonds, a sprinkling of crunchy cereal and a dash of cinnamon. Its incredibly tasty and it always feels indulgent. Along side I have a protein smoothie and a French press of decaf coffee. To make life easier on me I set up my little green tray, my shiny French press and everything else I need the night before.
As I said, I am not the ceramic mug type of guy. I use hefty café au lait bowls. It takes me back to France and I just find it more pleasing. Plus these little white gems are great for a whole bunch of things so it makes life a lot easier. Oliver and I enjoy breakfast on our little balcony.
10:20am: I walk a block to the farmers market. This is why I love Monday. Today they have fresh apricots and cherries everywhere. Alas, these are not permitted. Too much sugar. I do, however, score two baseball-sized heads of radicchio. I am super excited but I still feel like I am running behind.
10:55am: I return home and unpack the goods. Return a few emails. Shower. Change. Out the door in a jiffy.
11:30am: Arrive at Diamond Fabric to drop off a yard of fabric for a client’s pillow. I spy some new lilac fabrics. I take a cutting of the stripe. I totally resist the La Brea bakery rolls that are taunting me.
I stop by J.I. Gallery and pay for the pair of custom cabinets. They won’t arrive until end of July. Possibly August. Ugh.
Off to my upholstery workroom. I need to clarify details, yet again, on a new sofa for the new eco furniture line that my friend Kelly LaPlante and I are launching. It’s sleek and sexy and happens to be green.
Hanging in the workroom are these Mylar Christmas decorations. I think they are snowflakes. It is only today that it hits me: It is like Christmas year round here because every time I come I get a new goody or present. Granted, it’s a sofa but it is still super nifty. I suddenly like these cheesy decorations much more!
Today, it is the GATE sofa. GATE because we both were in the Gifted and Talented Education program growing up. We actually grew up in the same town but we didn’t know it until just this past winter.
1:15 pm: I need a hair cut bad. I swing on over to Rudy’s Barbershop on Melrose. I tried going Sunday but the line was mad-crazy. Today is not so bad. I get nervous while flipping through magazines that the stylist will ask me which number guard I use for the sides and back. Thankfully, she didn’t. She only used scissors. Dana was very young and sweet, She asked me that inevitable question people always ask when they find out I am an interior designer: “So what style do you design?” Ugh. Then she wants to know how many different styles there are. Ugh. I divert the situation by asking about her. The stylist at the station next to us tells (read reprimand) her client that it is lame and un-cool to use the words gel or mousse…in fact she says that even if you use gel you shouldn’t admit it. She says its passé. I think quietly to myself: How inappropriate.
The haircut is great and I am very pleased. I am running behind. I have 4 missed calls. Two voicemails.
It is almost 2:30 and since I am on Melrose I head over to the PDC. Turns out that one of the voicemails was from my sales rep. at Kneedler Fauchere. Fed has brilliantly located a fabric I had ordered over a year ago and had been searching days to find. Fed saves the day. You have no idea how relieved I am with this news. While I am there I place an order for some Clarence House fabric for a bed treatment and we dish some gossip that is going around in the little design world. Fed tells me about S.A.M. I forget I am running behind.
I run into Baker to see the new Kuo tables. They are not there. But I do spy a bronze apple. Hmmm. Maybe for another day.
By now, it is just past 4:00 pm. I am home and starved again. I begin preparing a quick and tasty meal at 4:08…literally, by 4:16 I have a feast: Poached egg and proscuitto over a bed of spicy arugula with a quick whole-grain mustard vinaigrette. I keep simple, great, ingredients on hand just for occasions as this.
To drink I have another favorite, sparkling Italian mineral water with slices of fresh cucumber and lemon. It is amazingly refreshing. I give myself a treat as well—a few Tyrrelle’s Mature Cheddar and Chive Crisps. If you have not discovered Tyrrelle’s yet- I am telling you – run! These little bits of heaven are, hands down, the best chip I have ever had.
I work on emails. Make a few calls and look at revisions of my new website. I am getting sleepy. Luckily, my friend Liz calls. We make tentative plans for me to visit her in Santa Barbara this week. She is stressed out. She is a teacher and it is report card time.
7:30pm: I have been working on some drawings and I decide I better get dinner started. I have some chicken breasts I need to cook. Also quite a few onions from my last trip to the Farmers Market. I rack my brain for a minute. My dear friend Craig just came back from Dubai and brought me a brick of Saffron. It spurs me to decide that tonight I will make a super easy supper of the chicken breasts that I will roast on top of mounds of the onions, cut into rings, and tossed with olive oil, salt, pepper and saffron. I decide I will slather the chicken with spicy-smoky Harrissa. On the side, I will make super easy couscous with sautéed shallots and toasted pine nuts. Maybe I will add some sage to the couscous. To round out the meal, I settle on the idea that I will grill a head of the radicchio and a juicy tomato that have been simply dressed with olive oil, salt and pepper.
I know it all sounds complicated but in all honesty it is not. I think far too often people find cooking to be some big scary mystery. This, too, it is not. The key to creating fantastic dishes is to learn a handful of really useful and versatile basics. Like roasting a chicken or a sirloin of beef. How to whip up basic 3-ingredient vinaigrette. Or how to prepare couscous which Literally, takes 5 minutes. Once you have these things down you just improvise. Who needs recipes?
7:38pm: I start preparations for dinner. By 7:50 I have prepped the fixings for all my sides and the chicken is in the oven where it will basically cook for 30-40 minutes while the onions caramelize. I have to do nothing but have a glass of wine.
Like clockwork, at 8:25–35 minutes later– I take the chicken out to let it rest. I bring a cup of chicken broth to a boil in a pan. Turn it off. Add ½ cup of couscous. Put the lid on and it sits for 5 minutes. I grill the veggies and when the five minutes is up I stir in the goodies for the couscous—put everything on a chic, rectangular, white platter. I taste the onions and OMG they are yummy!
I fix myself a plate, grab a cloth napkin, and top off my wine and head outside to enjoy dinner al fresco. I think to myself, “I am going to make a someone so happy one day!” Obviously, proud and pleased with my little meal. I still want to be one of the beautiful boys but I think I am a pretty darn good catch [editor’s note: ISN’T HE?!].
I take my time enjoying the food and the wine. I think the vino has kicked in because I decide I’ll leave the few dishes until tomorrow. It’s 9:30 and I just want to relax. I catch that new show with Debbie Travis. The first task for the competitors is to take a standard hollow-core door and transform it so that it expresses their personal design point-of-view. Some are pretty interesting. Some not. I think about what I would have done with the allotted $300.00 and one day’s time. I decide on an intricate, yet classic, applied molding treatment accompanied by a pristine coat of shiny white lacquer and top it all off—I would hunt down the biggest bronze door knocker I could find! I smile. I think that fits me to a tee.
Debbie eliminates, not one, but two candidates. It is the end of her first episode and my bedtime.
11:00 pm. Crawl into bed. Lights out.
WHEW! Are you as exhausted as I am reading this? Thank you, James— we just love you! :)