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5 Years Ago Today – Our Balinese Blessing Ceremony

Jonathan and I eloped and were married 5 years ago today, at the the Indus restaurant in Ubud, Bali. They have a really beautiful terraced garden behind the restaurant that has views down to a large valley. We found the location online and arranged the wedding via email. It turned out to be the perfect secluded spot for our little wedding.

A lot of people have asked what our ceremony was like so I thought I would give you the play by play breakdown of a traditional Balinese blessing ceremony.

The Balinese Blessing Ceremony

1. The Mangku (priest) rings a small bell to speak to the God (in Sanskrit mantra) that today a sacred wedding is about to be performed. He rings the bell for a couple of minutes.

2. The bride and groom receive this Balinese dadap leaf, holy water, and burnt rice, which means purification and cleansing of the body and the spirit. The assistant priest then burns 3 stalks of bamboo on fire to symbolize the burning of any sinful past as individuals by the God Brahma (Batara Brahma).

3. The bride and groom receive holy water on their chests to purify and prepare their hearts for a blessed marriage.

4. The bride and groom receives coconut water on their heads using a palm leaf (3 times), and their hands to drink (3 times), and then on their hand to wipe on top of their heads (1 time). Disclaimer: Patty only pretended to “wash” her face so she didn’t mess up her make-up.

5. Muspa- The bride and groom pray:

a. Putting both hands together and raise between eyebrows.
b. Muspa Puyung: Praying without holding flowers. This is to concentrate and centralize all the senses to ask Sang Hyang Widhi Wasa (the highest God) for purity of the soul.
c. The first Muspa: Holding flowers between the two hands and raising them between the eyebrows. This is to ask Dewa Surya (the God of the Sun) to share with us His compassionate radiance to the people of the world.
d. The second Muspa: Holding Kwangenâ (little flower arrangement) between the two hands and raising them between the eyebrows. This is to ask the specific God of the Padmasana (this small tower/temple protecting the hotel) so that we will always be protected and safe.
e. The third Muspa: Using similar Kwangenâ to pray to all the holy Gods and Goddesses to always give us happiness and health.
f. Muspa Puyung (similar to point b above): To show gratitude for everything that we have, every blessing of life that we have received until now.

6. The assistant priest takes floral water using a coconut shell and pours on a bamboo cylinder, symbolizing straining all the past shadows of wrongdoings. The bride and groom then drink this water.

7. The groom and bride receive rice on their foreheads.

8. The bride and groom then eat treats from the offerings.

And that’s it. That is the ceremony.

Then headed upstairs to our private terrace and had out wedding feast. The menu we pre-selected consisted of tofu curry, chicken satay, corn cakes, braised red bean & young papaya in Balinese spices, fragrant yellow rice and coconut crepes with banana filling and gula merah. The food was excellent, but I think we were kind of too excited to eat much.

My head and neck was throbbing from the weight of my head decorations. I think it was at least 20 lbs. So I had to cut the evening short and start dismantling the hair ornaments. I’ll post photos of that process sometime.

We are planning to go back to Ubud for our 10th anniversary, in 2020. 5 years down, 5 years to go!



May 20, 2015 0
See more: diary, on the road

Week in Photos: The White Palms of Sunset Blvd | Projection LA

“I'm trying to produce something that is (1)

Jonathan and I had fun exploring the motel installation on Sunset Blvd. yesterday. It’s a temporary art piece by french artist Vincent Lamouroux, supported by Please Do Not Enter.  He whitewashed the old abandoned, derelict Sunset Pacific Motel and the landscape/palms with a lime wash. It’s pretty striking on its own, but there will also be some sort of projection on it April 26th.


It was like a shimmering ghost of Los Angeles past. A cathedral to the Boulevard of Lost Dreams. An architectural model before it was ever built. A party inside a memory.

I was most struck by the white palms. They were disturbing and iconic. And were both great looking and fake. And made me think of fake palms they use in malls and in projects in the Middle East and China. But they are real. And probably full of rats. And we love them.P1040178

The white was gleaming and I wish I had my sunglasses. P1040159

All the shadow play on the building, the textures of the palms, fence, barbed wired reminded me of a textile or tapestry. Stitching. We were there just before sunset and the light was bright and shifting rapidly.


The folded leaves of the fan palm. It must have been difficult to paint them with the lime.


The artist took the shittiest building on that stretch of Sunset Blvd and make it something for Angelinos to be proud of. A peek through the fence at the inner court yard. I think this is where the projection will be on Sunday. I was disappointed that the LA trash bin was not painted white. That would have been a great detail.


Everyone was craning their necks to take in the signs and palms. Strangers on the sidewalk were talking to one another and discussing art, theory, city planning, Los Angeles. It was kind of amazing.  But I couldn’t help but think about the other people who once stayed here. People who picked up Route 66 in Illinois or Oklahoma and who followed their dreams and Route 66 as it turned into Sunset Blvd. and who took a right and pulled into this parking lot looking for a room. Welcome to Los Angeles.

P1040182There is also this stage like quality about the place. You feel like you are on a set. Everyone is striking a pose. Instagramming. The dress I’m wearing is by Osklen, a Brazilian brand that does edgy resort wear.

P1040172And fittingly, I guess, the motel is going to be torn down soon to make room for condos soon. It was the developer who made the property available to the artist. LA is getting denser. It needs to get denser. And it is critical that we remember the ghosts of the past, as we decide what to keep and what to let go.


April 20, 2015
See more: art, buildings & places, design, in California, landscape & garden, Los Angeles, week in pictures

Hungry for Plants at Flora Grubb Gardens, San Francisco


 The often Instagrammed chair wall at Flora Grubb.

Jonathan & I popped into Flora Grubb Gardens last week when we were in San Francisco. If you are into plants/gardens this is a place of lust & pilgrimage. I’ve been wanting to go there forever. It’s in a light industrial section in Bay View, which is east of the Mission district. They have a beautifully curated nursery and all the coolest outdoor accessories: pots, chairs, arbors, green walls, heated outdoor couches, fire pits, etc. It’s like Epcot and Sunset Magazine had a baby.


I loved the unapologetic shaggy-ness of this Woolly Pocket green wall. Many of you know that I use to be the in-house designer for Woolly Pocket, so I have designed my fair share of green walls. I didn’t do this one, but I really liked the palette. They did a great job of hiding the pockets, so you don’t see the structure.

Pro tip: You can recreate this look with bromeliads, phormium, pothos, philodendrons, grasses and fish hook senecio. This sized wall can be made with (2) 4 – packs of pockets, I recommend using the Chocolate colored pockets since they disappear best and looks like soil.



We have one of these aloe trees in my side yard. Ours is only about 4′ tall so far. This one was more like 8-9′ so it was like looking in to the future.


Flora Grubb really gets color.  They stock all their outdoor accessories in a rainbow of colors.


Love these stunning burnt orange pots.P1030921A giant Furcraea macdouglii – I was excited to see this big guy. We have one growing in our front yard in Echo Park. It’s still pretty small but it will eventually turn into a tree like this. Hopefully it takes 50 years to get this big.


Japanese maple saplings and a baby sago palm.

P1030948They had lots of experiments with succulents on display. I like this large green wall made up of a mosaic of tiny cuttings. I can imagine something like it hanging on the side of  our shed. They also had hearts and wreath sized alphabet letters that you can plant with succulents that looked like great gifts for Mother’s Day.


April 13, 2015
See more: BREAKurban, in California, landscape & garden, on the road, plant stars, test garden, week in pictures

A Day at Fountainebleau – Miami Beach

At long last, the Fountainebleu!

The Fountaineblau hotel is one of the most historic and architecturally significant buildings on Miami Beach. It was designed by Morris Lapidus and opened in 1954. It was completely fabulous in a way that horrified the architectural establishment at the time – but the public got it and loved it. Plus, over the years it has been featured in a number of films, including Scarface and Goldfinger.

Morris Lapidus is a maximalist modernist through and through (in Europe they call this style “googie”). His autobiography published in 1996 is called Too Much is Never Enough.

Brass seahorse door handles on the main lobby of the Fountainebleau. The seahorse also represents the “F” of Fountainebleau. Also note the signature bow tie marble paving in the lobby. The bow tie form was a signature of Lapidus, and he used the shape in a variety of ways in different buildings.

If you create a stage and it is grand, everyone who enters will play their part. – Morris Lapidus

A field of circular windows on the front facade of the hotel create an under sea/under water feeling of floating in light bubbles in the dappled light of the convention center lobby. I found it irresistible, even as an adult, to dart about and play within the light “bubbles”. Note: I called them “bubbles” but Lapidus called them “woggles” and “cheeseholes“.

In 2008 the hotel re-opened after a two-year, 1 BILLION dollar renovation. The original paving remains in the lobby. A new chandelier echos the”woggles” and “cheeseholes” in the adjacent space. And a new tryptic of James Turrell pieces can be seen behind the front desk.

My friend, Brant Ritter of Thoreen&Ritter installed the series of light pieces for James Turrell at the Fountainebleau. An artist, furniture designer, restaurant designer, etc. he has a cool side gig of being one of the very few people James Turrell trusts to install his work. So Brant gets to jet off to fabulous places like Tokyo or the Fountainebleau to play with light.

There are three light sculptures behind the front desk, and several more groups of them along the hall to the main lobby. In the main lobby there are additional light pieces behind the concierge.

Jonathan checking out one of the Turrell pieces. It is hard to capture the color. It slowly morphs from one color palette to another.

This is a detail of the light sculpture and the color in this photo is more accurate to how it looks in real life.

More light sculptures. I love how the light reflects off the marble floors and makes the whole space change color.

Jonathan luxuriating. The famous “stairway to nowhere” is in the background.

“My whole success is I’ve always been designing for people, first because I wanted to sell them merchandise. Then when I got into hotels, I had to rethink, what am I selling now? You’re selling a good time.” – Lapidus

People watching in the main lobby. I love the custom carpets.

The iconic curved shaped facade from the beach side. The huge new pool was part of the renovation and is shaped like a bow tie in honor of Lapidus.

On the boardwalk at the Fountainebleau, soaking up Miami Beach. + Can’t wait to visit more Lapidus hotels!

 I had a good time. Thanks a million Morris.


April 8, 2015
See more: art, buildings & places, design, diary, home & interiors, on the road

15 Steps: Be Your Own Life Coach!

Note: This article started as a handout for a lecture I gave in 2009 on How to Be Your Own Life Coach. It focuses 15 self guided assignments that will help you identify your strengths; allow you tools to better listen to yourself; develop a strength-based set of goals; and set yourself on an path that will allow you to become an even better version of yourself. Try it!

15 Assignments

The following independent assignments will take most people 2-6 months to complete. Try to do them in order, starting a new one each week. Don’t get overwhelmed by seeing them all here in a list. Most of them are really fun to do. The things you discover in one assignment will help inform the later exercises. Some, due to their nature, may be ongoing and overlap with some of the others. You will want to make a physical folder or notebook to keep your notes, assignments and ongoing lists in one place. Make it fun.

1. Find your Strengths

If you want to be the best version of you, you need to build upon your strengths.

A. Take the Briggs-Myer Type Indicator personality inventory and review results. You can take it online for between $30-50.

B. Buy the book: StrengthsFinder 2.0: A New and Upgraded Edition of the Online Test from Gallup’s Now, Discover Your Strengths by Tom Rath.

The book comes with a code in the back to log onto a website and take the Strengths Test online. The website will automatically generate a multi-page report of your strengths for you to review.

2. Pursue your Passions

Make a list of 10 places in your city that you want to take yourself on field trips. For the next 10 weeks pick one each weekend to visit.
Tip: Make a Google map to record all the places you want to go, add things to it on an ongoing basis. You can share it with friends, too!

3. Clean House

Purge 100 things out of your life to allow room for new things. Keep a list of what you have purged.

4. Happy List

Identify what picks you up when you are really down and/or depressed. Make a list of ideas and if you like, write yourself a letter and put it in a place that you will easily be able to find it when you need it. Tip: Consider sharing your Happy List with your closest friends and family.

5. Identify People to Pull Closer

Make a list of people you want to reach out to and then brainstorm how you can pull them closer.

Tip 1: Read Never Eat Alone: And Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time by Keith Ferrazz.

Tip 2: Make a habit each Monday to review your schedule and set up at least one lunch date a week.

Tip 3: Everyone can throw a dinner parties. Or start a book club, salon, bowling club, support group, organize outings or events, etc. Having something to invite people to makes it easy to “Pull” people.

6. Ideal Days

Make a list of all the ideal days that you can imagine for yourself.

7. Values

Make 10 word clusters (3 words each) to define your values.

8. Goals

Based on what you have discovered through Strengths, Ideal Days, the Value exercise, etc. write a series of long and short-term goals. If you already have written goals then use this time to update them. Make them very specific. Then once you have the list break them down into steps to achieve goals.
Tip: Brainstorm way to automatically see your goals everyday.

9. Visualize Goals

Pick 10 images that inspire you to achieve your goals, it could be people, it could be stuff, or ideas. Put them somewhere where to will see them everyday and at the right time.

10. Energy

Identify 5 ways for you to gain more energy and work them into your daily routine.

11. Finance

Review you finances and identify your weaknesses/bad habits. Brainstorm ways to protect yourself from these bad habits.

Tip: Great finance blogs for people in 20’s and 30’s (and beyond):

Tip: One of the best things you can do for your finances, social life, health and state of mind is to learn to cook. Cooking reaps many rewards.

12. Get a Cause

Identify one important cause that you can passionately support. Join related organizations and start educating yourself on topics related to the cause so that you can be a knowledgeable advocate on that subject.

13. Build a Folder of High Achievement

Get a folder or notebook you like; an Itoya works well for this exercise. Fill the notebook with all kinds of documents that demonstrate your high achievement, you at your best.

Ideas: Recommendations, acceptance letters, resumes, awards, diplomas, creative achievements that you are particularly proud of, things you have written, business cards from all the jobs you have had, press clipping about you, speeches you have given, particularly flattering pictures, bios, etc. Continue to add to it over time. Look at it frequently to remind yourself of your history of success. Before doing that require you to be at your best, flip through the book to boost your confidence.

14. Make Time

Set aside some time every week and time monthly to look at what is coming up so that you can be best prepared and proactive for everything coming up. Use monthly reviews as a time to start a yearly calendar.

15. Time Machine

Identify something you did at some point in your past that you really enjoyed but you stopped doing. Find a way to start doing it again, maybe with a new spin.

Well, and then what? If you are still going strong, awesome! You are becoming an even more fabulous version of yourself. Some of these assignments are things you will have to continue to work on in perpetuity. Life is 80% maintenance. Some of these exercises are things you will need to do again from time to time. Keep the list and your notes so that you can revisit them in future.

Moving forward, challenging yourself, identify an area that you want to become an expert in and develop that expertise. Offer to mentor others, brainstorm ways in which you can contribute to the various communities that already belong and consider creating new communities and organization to serve unmet needs, etc.

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did so. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.


Mark Twain

What was your favorite exercise? Tweet me @pattyhume


March 26, 2015 0
See more: life coaching, quote