Q+A with Lorraine Pennington | Costa Mesa, CA

We fell in love with Lorraine’s Pennington‘s minimalist paintings first. It was years later that we met her, by chance, and it honestly felt like a dream-come-to-life. Since then we have supported each other from afar but recently our brief scout at her gorgeous atelier turned into hours long conversation that still lingers and evokes thought + laughter. All we can say is, if you don’t know Lorraine Pennington, you should! We are grateful to bring everyone along on our next lark through these Proust inspired dinner party questions:

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Echo Park with a musician father and mother who encouraged being artistic.

What is your favorite places to visit? 

I really love Italy, France and Spain.

When did you decide to become an artist?

I feel like I have always been drawn to creating…I enjoyed designing jewelry and tabletop accessories like a very large wall necklace I sold at A’MAREE’S and at Garde in Los Angeles. 

Art School yay or nay?

No. I didn’t go to art school.

We love your paintings and can easily describe it as peaceful, serene, organic…can you share any other cool or fun descriptions you’ve heard? 

I have heard the words Wabi-sabi and Calming. 

One of the best compliments was a client told me, who had one of my painting in their bedroom that they loved waking up and seeing my artwork, it put them in a good mood. I am a very positive person so my art has that energy.

We also love your jewelry which speaks so much to your aesthetic, you are no longer making but can you share any photos for us to swoon over?

I still design a few pieces of jewelry but I don’t do retail anymore. 

I love that people that bought my jewelry tell me they still wear it after buying it 8 years ago.

It is still the only jewelry I wear.

What is your idea of a great dining experience?

My idea of a great dining experience is having people you enjoy with great music and lighting and of course amazing food and drinks.

Are you the chef at home?

Yes I really enjoy cooking, I usually never use a recipe. 

What is you most coveted ingredient?

Fresh herbs and salt. My favorite food is sushi.

Any interesting stories of where your paintings have landed? 

My paintings have been in a few magazines…recently I was at my moms looking at her magazines and I opened a house beautiful and saw my artwork. I think almost every time my work has been published I found out by surprise opening up the magazine. I have sold art throughout United States. My favorite is when I get to see where the artwork is going in their home so local is always nice.

We would find it hard to “let go” of something so beautiful, how do reconcile with parting with your art?

Yes, I find it hard to let certain pieces of artwork go. I usually hide a few I am not ready to part with!  

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

I find that perfect happiness comes when you are fully present, and not expecting anything from the moment.

Any current books, shows or music you are enjoying?

I love to read and read a lot. I have been reading /studying Breaking The Habit Of Being Yourself by Joe Dispenza very intriguing book. I also read a lot of fiction. 

I really enjoy going to the library since I was a little kid so books are a big part of my life. I still like to hold a book in my hand and use a handmade bookmark so no kindle for me.

I try not to watch a lot of TV but on the weekends I do watch some like we just finished Succession and I watched Yellowstone. 

Music is another big deal for me I like a lot of different artist. One that comes to mind that I have listened to lately is Khruanghin.  

Lark imagery by @missymphotograhy & all others compliments of Lorraine Pennington.

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Modern. Organic. Inspirational. Social Dining. Come on a lark with us!

Lark #73 x Lorraine Pennington x Chef Matthew Roberts

We were honored to set the communal table, April 10, 2024, with our favorite minimalist artist @lorrainepennington at her beautiful + inviting atelier in West Side Costa Mesa.


Here we enjoyed welcome drinks & mingling, delighted in the beauty of imperfection, shared a chef curated dining experience and—best of all—partook in the (rediscovered) art of conversation.


Q+A with Cleobella | Sunset Beach, CA

Our muse for our 1/25/24 lark at Cleobella’s gorgeous 1920’s seaside cottage can be summed up in two words: Ciao Bella! 

Cleobella has outgrown their gorgeous boutique, on PCH in Sunset Beach, and the time has come for release but not without gratitude and a proper goodbye.

In the beginning the boutique served as an oasis where the dream + determination behind Cleobella came together as one. And over the years has delighted the community with it’s style + vibe and has also hosted many gatherings. 

Because founder Angela O’Brien loves to create, collaborate & elevate, our gathering is an opportunity to honor the idea of chasing one’s dream and paving a path that empowers others.  

We are thrilled to set our communal table with Cleobella—and we invite you along as we dive below the surface with our (ode to Proust) dinner party questionnaire with “Ange”: 

Cleobella’s Founder & Creative Director, Angela O’Brien

Where did you grow up? 

I grew up Huntington Beach, California. 

Have you always been into fashion & style? 

Yes! Ever since I can remember I loved dressing up, whether it was dolls, my brothers or myself.  It’s when I feel most alive…I step into a creative portal and I get lost.  My high school days were spent modeling and that exposed me to the fashion world and travel and gave me a deeper appreciation for the art of fashion.  I am an avid vintage shopper, and I find inspiration in decades from the past, its like a history lesson for me.  I often describe it as a treasure hunt to spend the day searching for something that sparks the next design detail on our latest collection.  I pinch myself that this is my job:-)

Can you remember your earliest inspiration (people/books/places/experiences)?

My earliest inspiration is shopping with my Grandmother…she’s a professional shopper ;-)…she’s always down for the hunt and she does it with so much joy!  When I was 18 I got an opportunity to have a modeling contract in Tokyo for 6 months and that’s when my true love for travel inspiration started.  It was then that I was bitten by the travel bug and that has continued to be a source of inspiration for all of Cleobella’s collections.

What is your most marked creative characteristic? 

I lead from the heart. Intuition drives my creativity. The journey of entrepreneurship is such a journey of self, and tapping into the truth of who we are…give us wings to fly!!! 

Who are your hero’s? 

My mom, Cleobelle. This is also my great grandmother’s name…I have a long lineage of Irish women in my family who possess this unique duality of feminine//strength and they inspire me daily. 

Would you say food & fashion go hand in hand? 

100%!  I’m very sensitive energetically, and I believe in the value of creating meaningful experiences when all the senses are thoughtfully curated. The smells, the community, the atmosphere, they all raise the vibrations. I believe food should be equally beautiful and delicious and should awaken all your senses. This is why I’m so excited to partner with Lark as I know we share the same values.

We know you love a good dinner party, are you the chef at home?

I’m the chef and my husband does the dishes:-). Our daughter, Indigo, loves to cook with me. She also loves to set up a beautiful table…she has such an eye for creativity and she thoughtfully designs our dinners with fresh flowers, candles and our handmade Cleobella block printed napkins.  We bake together because we love dessert!

What is your go-to meal OR most prized ingredient?

Our backyard is an edible garden. We grow herbs like sage, lavender, rosemary, and thyme. I visit our local farmers market on Sundays with the kids and pick out what’s fresh and that helps determine our meals for the week. I enjoy making soups and I love to use spices from our travels. We recently made a curry soup using spices that our team in India sent us.  I’m not much for using recipes, I’m a lazy chef….I throw it in…cook for taste and serve:-)

We have always loved the look and feel of your boutique in Sunset Beach, can you tell us how you discovered it?

When my husband and I started Cleobella, we were doing business out of our home and we were spending half of the year in California and half of the year in Bali, Indonesia. At this time, our oldest, Keenan was just a baby. I wanted a separation of the work and family life.  When I found this 1920’s cottage it was a grow house for marijuana and looked like a halfway house inside.  I had a vision and I knew if I could renovate it, if I could sell enough handbags in the front then I could afford an office space in the back. Within 2 years we tripled our sales and outgrew the space and moved our offices to our current headquarters and design studio and fulfillment center just down the street in Huntington Beach. Our wholesale and online business began to grow and it was a dream come true. 

What dream was in your heart at the time you moved in?

The dream was to build a sustainable lifestyle fashion brand that created jobs for our artisan partners and build a life that is rich in experience and travel as this is our passion.

Was there anyone instrumental in helping you transform the cottage into a dreamy + well styled boutique?

My husband, Jim O’Brien. He has always been such an amazing supporter.  I have also had so many friends and family along the way who supported us from the early days when I was selling my designs at farmers markets and out of the trunk of my car….I believe in the philosophy of growing a business for good. Aligning our personal values with our professional values to support our family has been a dream come true. WE now support more that 1,200 artisan partner around the world, where we have an office in India with a talented team who brings our vision to life.

How long has the boutique donned the Cleobella sign?

11 years!  Keenan, my son, was a baby and now he’s a teenager…how time flys by…when you’re having fun :-0!

We know due to time and circumstance you will be letting the space go, do you want to share more about this transition?

Cleobella is in over 500 retailers across the country including Nordstrom, Shop Bop, Revolve, Anthropologie.  We are focusing on building our e-commerce business and delivering timeless, sustainably made collections. Our company has grown tremendously over the last 5 years and we have some very exciting projects ahead of us.

What is your current state of mind? 

Joy. My focus is moving with flow and ease.  My currency is freedom and I continue to have this as the forefront of my decision making.

Business school, yay or nay? 

Nay for me, personally. Growing Cleobella has been business school for me. We started this brand with $12,000 and have grown it grass roots, and always stay curious and open to the wisdom we learn from others.  This has been my business school. 

What is one thing people most often don’t realize about Fashion?

I would say the time it takes to build a collection. Typically, it takes about 12 months. From concept to sketch review, then to producing and perfecting samples, from there to selling, then production. Then comes the behind the scenes stuff like marketing, telling the story, then finally the product is brought to the customer. We are always working on future collections about a year ahead. We just launched our Spring ‘24 collection while currently designing for Spring ‘25.

What advice do you find yourself most often sharing with other female business owners? 

Entrepreneurship is such a journey of self when you’re curious and open hearted you will thrive. Believe in yourself and don’t compromise your values and life will happen for you in the way it’s meant to be…trust the journey. 

What is your motto? 

I have an optimistic point of view and I always have, it’s in my nature.  I believe it’s a muscle and the more you lead with love…the more meaningful your life will become. I’ve always seen life through rose colored glasses, which is something I learned from my grandma.  A positive mindset is so important to me. Sure, this is a trait that can get me into situations that I have to learn to work my way through, but that is the beauty in it. It keeps you learning and growing and for that I am forever grateful and humbled by this beautiful Cleobella world I have created with my husband, he’s my best friend and business partner. As well as our beautiful community of talented and hardworking people that have supported this dream come true.

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Thoroughly inspired, we are looking forward gathering around the communal table to enjoy a delicious chef curated meal, be warmed by each others company, and—best of all—partake in the (rediscovered) art of conversation.

Although our Thursday 1/25/24 Lark at Cleobella w/the talented Chef Matthew Roberts is sold out, we invite you to come along through our images and stories!

Modern. Organic. Inspirational. Social Dining. Come on a lark with us!

Create. Collaborate. Elevate.

Action leads to opportunities.
Persistence pays.
The key is collaboration.

Image of our mood board captured by Candace Rock Photo on a super fun (& delicious) lark with Chefs Taylor Elam + Matthew Roberts at the fun + fashionable Mama Bijoux in East Side Costa Mesa.

Yes, yes, we are super down for creating well styled dinner parties, the look & feel, the gathering of people, the delicious food, fun with fashion, but there’s a little more to our story. 

Lark is the culmination of talented people who come together to share what we are passionate about. We put our vision into action and invite e-v-e-r-y-o-n-e into the fold: the host, guest, chefs, sommelier, stylist, illustrator and the unknowing (soon to be delighted) bystander. 

In our collaborative approach we change the dynamic of the typical hierarchal relationship in the kitchen and in the dining room. A leveling of the field so to speak; where everyone invests and benefits from the experience. 

There is a purpose and through line to what we are creating. We are encouraging the good vibes and working this from all angles. This is because we are chasing a feeling that occurs when the energy in the room is in sync and the incremental unfolding of the evening feels…right. A playful lifting of mood and endless possibilities. A collective belonging, even if just for the moment.

And when all the elements come together it is like the formation of a star, bright and beautiful. With the ever evolving landscape the results feel kismet. We walk away, bellies and hearts full, knowing there will be positive ripple effects and that the next lark will be just as great. 

Modern. Organic. Inspirational. Social Dining.

Come on a lark with us!

Q+A with Häti Home | Costa Mesa, California

We are thrilled to have Hati Home open their doors to lark! We cannot wait to set our communal table in their cool + crafty showroom in West Side Costa Mesa. Their space is warm, inviting and inspiring. Lucky for us, everyone can come along with this fun Dinner Party Q+A with founders Adam & Kallie Thomson. 

Where are you from and where do you live now? 

Kallie and I are both from the Pacific Northwest, but have been bouncing between Bali and Costa Mesa for the last 15 years.

What experience introduced you to creating your business? 

Kallie and I had both worked with artisan groups in Uganda in a previous life, and we’ve always loved that connection with makers. Kallie is a creative at heart and I like to use my analytical brain to solve complex problems, which makes us a great pair. When we were outfitting our villa in Bali, we met a bunch of artisans and I think both of us thought, wow, this is pretty cool. It took the encouragement from a friend and the co-founder of the brand (Kayla Adams) for us to think of this furniture project in Bali as a really business opportunity. 

What drives you to create?

We’ve always been really interested in the question of how business can be used as a means to create economic change in communities in far of lands. Neither Kallie or myself would have thought of ourselves as creatives 15 years ago, but I think we figured out how to be good at things that brought the most value to the artisans we have been working with over the years. Creative design, understanding of the market here in the US and a drive to work hard were the things we were best positioned to bring to the table. 

What is behind the name Häti Home?

Hati means heart in Indonesian. The meaning of Heart Home was really attractive when we were looking for a name that was inspired by our intentions for how we would run the brand. I will tell you though… the next business we start will be called Furniture Company, LLC, because we always pick names that people are confused by.

When and where did Häti Home come about?

When we were outfitting our villa in Bali, we met a bunch of artisans and I think both of us thought, wow, this is pretty cool. It took the encouragement from a friend and the co-founder of the brand (Kayla Adams) for us to think of this furniture project in Bali as a really business opportunity. 

Was there anyone instrumental in making this happen?

Yes, we partnered with two co-founders when we first launched the business. Kayla Adams and Mindy Gayer were and have continued to be absolutely instrumental in creating the business as it is today. Also, shout out to the two groups of artisans we work with in Indonesia. The owners of those workshops have been really open to our dream of creating really amazing furniture in parts of the world where that isn’t always the easiest. 

What are people overlooking when it comes to choosing furnishing for their home?

I think people forget that there is so much energy built into every product. From the sun that grows the trees, to the energy that the tree puts into growing itself, the hard work of artisans working to support their families., etc. There’s so much energy put into these products. They are like little super-charged artifacts. They can either be supercharged with positive energy or negative energy depending on how things are produced and the materials that are used. Our customers live their life around these pieces of furniture, so I think it’s really important to bring the most positive vibes into your home. 

We know having your own business comes with twist and turns. Any fun beginner stories to share? 

Oh gosh… yes, make sure that your furniture doesn’t break when peoples sit in it. That was our first lesson. 🙂 All failure is a gift because it’s the only way we grow.

Häti Home is constantly evolving, we are intrigued by your current small batch designs, can you share more about them and/or this concept?

Our editions collection came from a desire to be creative and push the boundaries of what we thought was possible in ourselves and with the artisans. We’ve spent most of our existence trying to catch up with orders for the same general products. Obviously we are really grateful for that, but we always wanted to be building a brand that evolved as our interest (and those of our customers) changed over time. Our editions collection is really just a way for us to experiment, see what our customers are liking. Some items fall flat and then others I’m sure will become best-sellers. 

Business school, yay or nay? 

Sometimes I wish I have a bit more book knowledge, but overall I think we get the most value out of being scrappy. I look at our difficult seasons in business as a free MBA. 

Where do you draw your inspiration (people/books/places/experiences)?

A lot of Kallie’s inspiration comes from Bali. For us, it’s one of the most creative places on earth, where you can do and or be almost anything. But I wouldn’t say that our brand really wants to have a Bali aesthetic. Most of the inspiration for our new items are rooted in antiques that we find in markets or on the internet. 

Do you cook at home?  If so, what is your favorite go-to?

We cook a lot at home. We have season’s of inspiration when it comes to what we cook. Now days we eat a lot of salads with fish. The kids grew up in Bali, so there’s always rice on the table. 

Adam & Kallie Thomson on a lark of their own in Bali!

Although our 10/12/23 lark at Häti Home w/the talented Chef Taylor Elam + Sous Chef Matthew Roberts is sold out, we invite you to come along and through our images and stories!

Modern. Organic. Inspirational. Social Dining. Come on a lark with us!

Q+A with Mama Bijoux! | Costa Mesa, CA

We admire how this 3rd generation jeweler, Kathryn Miller of Mama Bijoux, brings beauty, energy and meaning to art of adornment. It’s the best feeling to walk into her gorgeous atelier, peruse the dainty heirloom offerings and become inspired.  We invite you to our communal table, where you can get to know her more, with these fun dinner party questions:

Where did you grow up? 

I grew up in Los Angeles, specifically the West Side. 

As a 3rd generation jeweler are there any early day stories you can share–with the grandparents? 

My mom took me everywhere growing up as she was building her business – downtown Los Angeles where she manufactured, jewelry trade shows, and diamond dealers’ offices. I remember when she first started. She opened a small jewelry case in a clothing store in Pacific Palisades. At first it was just a fun hobby and passion. From there, she grew to owning and operating 4 jewelry store locations on the west side of Los Angeles. Her desk drawer in our home office was filled with jewelry molds and waxes and I remember being fascinated by the process of making jewelry. Every step takes a skilled artisan. I was so proud when she came to speak to my 5th grade class about how one single piece of jewelry is made and how many steps it takes from design concept, to wax molds, casting, setting, and polishing. While there have been technological advances in the industry since, so many of the original techniques are still required to make a piece of jewelry today. 

How do your childhood memories around the jewelry business tie into your grown-up life? 

I can admit now that there are so many ways. My mother always took time in the morning to get ready for her day to go into the stores and be the face of her brand. I watched her put on her makeup, spray her perfume, dye her eyebrows and do her hair. Her outfits were classy and elegant and embodied the look of a jewelry designer. I think about those moments when I get dressed for the day to walk into my atelier. She was very meticulous about how her jewelry was displayed in her cases. If an employee put all of the jewelry out that morning, she would take an hour to rearrange it. Even the smell of windex takes me back to being a little girl watching my parents clean their store cases. It’s wild!

How did the name Mama Bijoux come about? 

Mama and Bijoux (Bijoux, meaning jewelry in French) are two worlds that tell my store. My most important job is being a mother to three little children (Ella (6), Charlotte (4), Noah (2)). 

I wanted to incorporate a french word into my brand name because I grew up going to a French school in Los Angeles – Le Lycee Francais. I lived in Paris for over a year in college. I’m a Francophile through and through and the name just felt right, and felt like me. 

Is there anything you hope your children to appreciate about this family tradition? 

I hope my girls know they can accomplish anything they set their mind to. When I first started Mama Bijoux, I had just lost my brother a year prior (4 days after my 2nd daughter was born). It was the hardest year of my life. I was home at that time with 2 little girls under the age of two. I realized that I needed something for myself and a purpose outside of the home. My passion saved me in a way. I love every second of being creative and I love that my girls get to witness that passion. I love that they know and can see exactly what mommy does. When we drive along 17th street they yell out the window “That’s mommy’s atelier”! Making them proud let’s me know I am doing something right. 

What is your most memorable jewelry market experience? 

I was 12 years old when my parents brought me along to Las Vegas for the largest jewelry trade show in the world. The rules state that no child under 16 is allowed to enter. My parents made me a business card and dressed me in something “mature”. We got to the registration desk, they took one look at me and said “She’s not old enough to attend”. I was crushed. I had to wait it out with my grandmother in the hotel room. I couldn’t wait for my parents to return to show me all the treasures they sourced!

Do you have any sage advice when it comes to wearing jewelry? 

Jewelry should tell your story. My most precious pieces were those I made or were gifted to me to mark a special occasion. For example, my Toi et Moi (You and Me) ring (a pear and heart diamond set side by side) was given to me by my husband following the birth of my son, my last baby. The pear diamond was passed down from my grandmother, and the heart diamond represents my baby, my heart. My Mama Bijoux signature birthstone bracelet represents each person in my family – Diamond for my daughter born in April, Blue Topaz for my 2nd daughter born in December, and Emerald for my son and husband who both have May birthdays. Most pieces are very sentimental and meaningful and will be passed down to my girls and son when it’s time. 

We love that you incorporate fashion into your brand, any favorites to share? 

For me jewelry and fashion go hand in hand. There is a difference between wearing your clothes and styling your clothes. Jewelry allows me to style my looks. No outfit is complete without the right accessories. I really love to mix high and low end lines. A Zara skirt with Prada shoes and all gold and diamonds. Can’t go wrong! 

Are you the chef in the family? 

My husband and I both love to cook. Tim, my husband, has a few signature dishes – he makes the most amazing steak, better than a restaurant and a few pasta dishes that are out of this world. He’s a rule follower in the kitchen and loves to follow a recipe. I’m more of an intuition and experimentation cook.

What is your most memorable meal (one you made or one you’ve had)? 

Spaghetti alla Nerano from Da Vincenzo in Positano

Are you always up for a dinner party? 

ALWAYS. I love hosting and I love sharing a meal with people I love. I’ve found the best conversations happen after a nice meal and a full glass of wine. 

What is your idea of perfect happiness? 

Being on a boat in the middle of the mediterranean and jumping off into the sea. Followed by a nice cold spritz! 

What do you find yourself saying when people ask what it’s like to have your own business? 

It’s the best decision I’ve ever made but also filled with challenges. It’s never as easy as it looks and when it’s really hard, I remind myself I’m on the right track. Nothing amazing has ever been easy. 

Where do you find inspiration outside of the jewelry business? 

Travel is by far when I am most myself and most inspired. I love that all of my senses are engaged when I travel. There is more of an opportunity to be in the present rather than thinking about the past or future. 

If you could change one thing about how people think about jewelry, what would it be? 

Education! There is such a HUGE difference between Fine jewelry and Fashion jewelry. Some consumers aren’t aware of why/how price differences are so wide. 

What is your current state of mind? 

I’m feeling excited about all the things to come as we near the end of the year!

What words or phrases to you overuse? 

Yadda yadda yadda, like, so…blah blah blah.

What makes you feel the most alive? 

Living my passion and living in the moment when I can mentally get there!

What is your motto? 

Always step outside your comfort zone! It’s where the real growth happens. 

https://shopmamabijoux.com/

Although our 10/3/23 lark with Mama Bijoux + Chef Taylor Elam is Sold Out, we are thrilled to invite you along through our images and stories!

Modern. Organic. Inspirational. Social Dining. Come on a lark with us!

Q+A with Interior Designer Paige Elise in Laguna Beach

Taking a little dip below the surface with this fun Q+A with Paige Elise in prep for our upcoming lark on Thursday 8/10/23 at her eponymous atelier set in the breezy + cool canyon of Laguna Beach.

Our introduction to Paige began at her curated retail shop Layered By Paige Elise in Costa Mesa as we love the style and vibe. Soon we learned of the Laguna location and, of course, we traversed the coast and canyon just to see it. We love how light, airy, calm and dreamy the space is, with plenty of ideas to dream–and set our communal table!

Other recent news, she now has a third location in the charming small town of Los Olivos in San Ynez Valley. All three locations are highly recommended destinations for those seeking curated home furnishings and amazing vintage pieces, many inspired and sourced from her world-wide travels.

We can’t wait to share this inspirational space and story with all who gather around the communal table but first a few questions so you can come along!

Q. Where did you grow up?

Newport Beach, CA.

Q. Do you have any childhood memories around design that tie into your grown-up life?

I remember going to flee markets with my mom and her friends. My mom has always been into garden design & aesthetics and my love for interiors grew from watching her as a kid.

Q. We know you travel to find inspired pieces, what is your favorite vintage market experience?

My favorite buying trip was to Morocco where we filled a container with antique doors, pottery and rugs. 

Q. When you set/design a gathering at the dinner table, what are your go-tos?

Fresh floral & yummy cocktails are a must.

Q. You have a well curated retail offering, what is it that catches your eye (or heart) about a product?

I love buying unique pieces that not only have a story to tell, but also create one-of-a-kind spaces. 

Q. Are you the chef in the family? 

I am not a great cook, but I am great at making reservations. 

Q. What is your current state of mind?

Currently I have loved getting to spend extra time with my kids this summer, but I am ready for the school year to start and get back to my routine.

Q. If you could change one thing about how people view design what would it be?

Not every empty space needs to be filled!

Q. What makes you feel the most alive?

Being at the barn and riding my horse with my daughter.

 ★★★

Thrilled to share lark will have Paige & team covered with fresh florals from French Buckets + yummy cocktails by professional bartender Eric Kassel. Grateful for friends, old and new, coming together to create a memorable evening of food, wine, design and the (rediscovered) art of conversation.

Modern. Organic. Inspirational. Social Dining. Come on a lark with us!

Layered By Paige Elise
Chef Taylor Elam
Eric Kassel
Christina Peterson
French Buckets
Emily Musgrove Art
Luna Reece Ceramics
The Cheese Block
Hugo Landa Garcia

Lark x Travers Residence x Chef Kyle Powers ~ Newport Beach

Image captured on a super fun (& delicious) lark at Travers Residence by @vacation_media_

We recently brought all our good vibes together for a “private” pop-up communal dinner. We seldom do private events, but we can be convinced through sheer sincerity and determination ☆

Lark @ Travers Residence
Saturday, June 24, 2023
Newport Beach, CA ☆

Image captured on a super fun (& delicious) lark at Travers Residence by @vacation_media_

Menu crafted by the talented Chef Kyle Powers ☆

Image captured on a super fun (& delicious) lark at Travers Residence by @vacation_media_

Chefs whim appetizer accompanied by signature larktails:

Espresso martini

Blood orange + jalapeño spicy margarita 

Strawberry basil margarita 

1/crab + corn chowder, poblano, focaccia toast

Paired w/Penfolds 311 Chardonnay

2/mushroom salad, dandelion greens, pickled fresnos, garlic chips

Paired w/Groth Sauvignon Blanc

3/cioppino (white fish) tomato broth, white beans

Paired w/Etude Grace Benoist Ranch Pinot Noir

4/chocolate, chocolate, chocolate

Paired w/Wilson’s Organic Cold Brew Coffee

Birthday cake by @mcakesweets

Image captured on a super fun (& delicious) lark at Travers Residence by @vacation_media_
Image captured on a super fun (& delicious) lark at Travers Residence by @vacation_media_

Birthday poem by writer Nick Banning ☆

Saturnine sky with long days, long sunsets, long shadows. Summer makes the promise that take off is voluntary, yet landing is required. Is it time to show every sense but common?

The Stars eat from her hand when she lets them. Shall we dance in the sand, hummm our favorite song as the sun greets and the Stars ditch us?  The clouds are like pink Spanish Galleons in the sky waiting to be Plundered…

Blossoms on ice, sunflowers as big as the sun, design and elegance envelopes.  Time to slip on velvet slippers or perhaps barefoot shoes and acknowledge the importance of doing nothing.

Beauty surrounds, friends warm the night, glasses of pleasure in your hands…with Gratitude Optimism is Sustainable and with Grateful Acceptance we give the Nod to the Joy of what is around us.

A big THANK YOU to all who came together to make this an evening to remember! ☆

producer Alissa Travers
photos @vacation_media_
florals @ferncottageflorals
chef @mrforky of @forkintheroadcatering
tapas plates @lunareececeramics
stylist Christina Peterson
cake @mcakesweets 
poet Nick Banning

& friends! ☆

Image captured on a super fun (& delicious) lark at Travers Residence by @vacation_media_

☆☆☆

Modern. Organic. Inspirational. Social Dining. Come on a lark with us!

Q & A with Cyndi Turk of Devynn’s Garden – Seal Beach, CA

We love that Cyndi Turk and her husband David Turk created amazing floral shops, including retail + event spaces, known as Devynn’s Garden that support the local community and beyond.

David + Cyndi Turk on a super fun (& delicious) lark w/Chef Kyle Powers. Photo credit: Candace Rock

It’s the best feeling to walk into any one of their three locations and immediately feel relaxed and inspired. Join us on a dive below the surface with this fun Q & A:

Q. Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Hacienda Heights and my husband and business partner is David grew up in Whittier, CA. We met when I was 20 and he was 26. 

Q. Do you have any childhood memories around plants/flowers that tie in to your grown up life?

A flower that I remember seeing in my grandmother’s home were gladiolus. She was Mexican and that is a very traditional flower. But, my husband introduced of flowers to me. 

Q. You named you business after your first born daughter, what is her favorite flower?

Our daughter is now 29 and she lives in Venice, CA. and her favorite flower is peony and coincidentally she loves gladiolus too!

Q. We know you are close with flower growers, what is your most memorable flower market experience?

I remember one time I saw rolling hills of pincushion proteas bushes in San Diego and I was fascinated. I tried growing a bush for myself in my home. I had no luck. I will keep trying.

Q. It’s amazing how flowers are almost considered essential at the dinner table, what are your go-to?

I love simple elegance, nothing too bold. My go-to’s are cymbidiums tropical foliage and all proteas.

Q. You have a well curated retail offering, what is it that catches your eye (or heart) about a product?

I spend more time in my stores than I sometimes do in my home. I trust that if I love what I purchase for the retail store that others will share and enjoy my choices.  

Q. What should we be reading? 

Right now I am reading Jay Shetty’s new book 8 Rules of Love: How to Find It, Keep It, and Let It Go: I am diving into a time in my life of trying to be present and be grateful for all the little & big things in my life. He is really speaking to me right now. 

Q. Are you the chef in the family? 

I am the wannabe “chef” in my family. I try and I really do enjoy it. I do know that my husband and kids are very kind and will never tell me they don’t like my cooking. 

Q. What is your most memorable meal (one you made or one you’ve had)?

I made this roasted chicken with my now deceased FAVORITE Aunt Mary. It has rosemary, garlic, cream cheese, red grapes and other herbs. It quickly became my family favorite and now I make it with Turkey instead of chicken on Thanksgiving! It was so delicious. One of my daughters now tells me “if I don’t make the garlic turkey it is not Thanksgiving.”

Q. What is your idea of perfect happiness?

I hope to continue to learn and grow closer to my husband, my four amazing children, my parents and my friends.

Q. What is your greatest extravagance? 

My greatest extravagance is food. I love trying new restaurants. I will probably spend my last dollar on good food. 

Q. What do you find yourself saying when people ask what it’s like have your own business?

You need to have self motivation and grit. There will be days that you have self doubt but if you love what you do, you can’t see yourself doing anything else. Trust your vision and stay on YOUR path.

Q. What is your current state of mind?

I have always happily put everyone first and now I am consciously trying to adapt and make myself a priority when I get up.

Q. If you could change one thing about how people enjoy about flowers, what would it be?

One thing people say to me is “I don’t like to buy flowers because they die’’, but enjoying beautiful flowers is like enjoying an incredible meal. It is instant gratification. It is not meant to last, but the memory of a beautiful floral design or meal lasts forever.  

Q. What words or phrases to you overuse? 

There is a reason for everything. I believe it so much that I named my daughter Reezyn.

Q. What is one thing people most often don’t realize about the floral industry?

The labor that goes into a floral shop is massive and you have to rely on so many people to execute their job with care  People always tell me ” it must be great to come to work and play with flowers” Yes, we get to create and play with flowers, but they needs to go through 5 peoples hands before they get to mine.

Q. What makes you feel the most alive?

Right now I am in a place of reflection and gratitude. I did start rowing and I very much enjoying it and I have 3 adorable dogs that have won me over. 

Q. What is your motto?

1-Don’t try to fit a square into a circle.
2-Water your own grass.
3-Treat invitations as gifts from people, not obligation. Say yes as often as you can!  

Q+A with Jan McCarthy of the Cannery Artist Colony – Newport Beach, CA

We’re thrilled to create + collaborate with the Cannery Artist Colony of Newport Beach. We met Artist and Creative Life Connoisseur Jan McCarthy through a mutual friend (who we met on a lark!).

We were about to set our communal table at her residence in the gorgeous green Eastern Building in DTLA when the world shut down. Then, when we reconnected, she had relocated to the seaside town of Newport Beach and became a part of the Cannery Artist Colony.

We are thankful for her invitation to set our communal table with the Cannery Artist Colony whose inspiring and delightful ateliers reside among the numbered streets of Newport Beach:

Q. Tell us about the Cannery Artist Colony.

A. The building we are in originally had 3 artists but in the last year 3 more of us have joined the collective space. It is so great that we each have our own private studio space and focus on different types and approaches to creating art, but are able to meet up when we are in residence and share ideas as well as support each other.   

Q. Who are they?

Jan McCarthy @janmccarthy 

Linda Wooters @whatabouther 

Ilona Martin @ilona_artist

Deborah Harold @deborah_harold_studios

Janet Bludau @bludau

Carole Aikins @caroleakins

Q. Where are they from? 

A. We come from all different places, Some of the women have been in the Newport area for a long time and even had children in the same school together, or met at various painting classes. I am a newcomer to the group, coming from Los Angeles and Boulder, Colorado just over a year ago, but I appreciate how welcoming everyone has been.

Q. What would you say about their personalities + style? 

JAN MCCARTHY https://www.janmccarthy.com/ Modern, Sophisticated, Bold and Edgy, each mark or stroke of the brush is a signature gesture as a way to connect and share flashpoints of time or place. Jan’s art gives a nod to independence and freedom, a suggestion to defy the norm, stay curious and seek adventure,  Influences are from a background of travel, interior design, creative pursuits, and a curious and wild imagination. 

LINDA WOOTERS www.lindawooters.com Drawn to the juxtaposition of patterns and loose brush strokes to create modern impressionistic landscapes. She is influenced by living near the ocean and observing it’s ever changing moods.

CAROLE AIKINS www.caroleaikins.com – Carole’s work could be described as bold, whimsical, and vivid! She lets the subject of her paintings present themselves as she paints, much like a drama or fiction, revealing the surprise story once the painting is completed. Her early creative pursuits, such as interior design, travel, and living in France have greatly influenced her work, 

DEBORAH HAROLD www.deborahharold.com An interior designer turned artist, Deborah is passionate about painting and travel. She considers herself an abstract impressionist with a keen sense of color, using quick and spontaneous brushstrokes to create shapes that allow the mind to fill in the blanks.

ILONA MARTIN https://ilona-art.com Ilona’s naive approach to Impressionist painting has given her a risk-taker reputation. Her love for a montage of color and shapes found in nature inspires her to paint and her work has a European influence, stemming from her German heritage and travels around the world.  

JANET BLUDAU www.janetbludau.com Janet’s work offers up a cool color palette, inspired by an impressionistic era combining it with a contemporary approach. She describes her work as abstracted realism, intuitively applying color, and using her background in design to help her insert shapes and graphic lines to create a beautiful piece of art.  

Q. Are any of the artists cooks? 

A. We have monthly dinner parties and everyone makes something extraordinary, so yes, even if we don’t cook on a regular basis, we know how to perfect the art of dining.

Q. What makes the Cannery Artist Colony a perfect pairing for a lark? 

A. It is a cozy space that lends itself to creativity and inspiration. Having the menu, table and area designed around a creative and artistic community, it is the perfect place to appreciate a lark. 

Q. Any history you can share of the building or neighborhood? 

A. In 1921, the area known as Cannery Village was a commercial fish cannery between 30th and Lido Park Drive but after it closed around 1966, it’s natural charm and seaside location attracted creative businesses, artists and tourists as the ideal site to gather.  

Q. Art School, yay or nay? 

A. I started making art just a little over 10 years ago and I’ve never been to art school. It may have been helpful to learn specific techniques, but I’ve really loved learning from others and experimenting on my own, and therefore feel confident in trusting my intuition and making mistakes. Some of my fellow artists did attend art school but we all have our own unique style. 

Q. We feel the culinary world + art world go hand in hand, do you agree? 

A. Absolutely, it is about bringing together imagination, color, design, mood, creativity, and a full experience of the senses. 

Modern. Organic. Inspirational. Come on a lark with us!

Thursday, September 15, 2022 w/Chef Taylor Elam.

the Cannery Artist Colony 
420 31st Street
Newport Beach, CA 92663
(Newport Blvd x 31st Street, between Alta Cafe + The Board Room)

Q + A with Chefs Jim Sullivan + Alex Bolar of San Diego & Los Angeles

So thrilled to find our way back to collaborating with people who are passionate their craft. 

We’ve known the talented San Diego Chef & Photographer Jim Sullivan for since our early lark days and through the culinary connection haven known as The Hood Kitchen Space in Costa Mesa.

Chef Jim Sullivan

Chef Sullivans love for food + film have led him to various kitchens around the world from sandy surf shacks to Michelin Star restaurants. His energy and enthusiasm are contagious––and it’s just what we need at this moment. 

Chef Sullivan introduces to Chef Alejandro Bolar who comes from a background of his own supper club Eclair in Atlanta, Georgia and who currently finds his way creating delicious meals in various kitchens throughout Los Angeles and surroundings via kala

Chef Alex Bolar

We are looking forward to creating a super fun (& delicious) lark with these two chefs, who will be taking full creative control of the menu. 

We invite you along for the ride through this introductory Q & A:

Q. How do you two know each other?

Jim: I’ve known Alex for some time now. We originally met one another while cooking at a friend’s restaurant in Atlanta a few years ago.

Alex: We met in Atlanta at a restaurant called Better Half and then on a subsequent trip to California we met up again. We’ve been wanting collaborate for a while, definitely looking forward to creating some magic.

Q. What led you to lark? 

Jim: I’ve always admired the Lark events and have worked with Lisa a few times in the past, both as a chef and photographer.

Alex: Jim said had a friend…he showed me your instagram and I was in.

Q. How did you arrive in the culinary scene?

Jim: I basically grew up in the restaurant industry, starting at the age of 14. After having a long career in the medical field I decided to go back to school. I graduated from culinary school in 2007. Since then I’ve been doing pop ups, staging and being part of the restaurant industry as a professional food photographer.

Alex: My brothers and I are super competitive from who can catch the most or biggest fish to seeing who make the best burger.  During these times I noticed that cooking was fun and I had a natural gravitation towards it. During a semester off from college worked Silver Star deli and that introduced me to the commercial kitchen.

Q. Yay or nay to culinary school?

Jim: I did graduate from culinary school and while it was a great experience, I don’t think it’s necessary to become a great cook/chef. If a young person is motivated and can gain knowledge/experience under a great chef then I would suggest that route.

Alex: I went to culinary school and I met cool people along the way, but restaurants teach much more. For someone with a late start, they should consider a school… but if you have the time, working in a restaurant is the school of hard knocks — you’ll have no choice but to learn. 

Q. What is your most treasured memory when it comes to food?

Jim: For me that would be working as a young adult/teen at an Italian restaurant in my hometown. This is where I spent my formative years learning the ins and outs of the industry.

Alex: Fierce competitive cooking with my brother Kyle Bolar. 

Q. Can you share an impressive elevated dining experience?

Jim: I really like what Outstanding in the Field does. Jim Denevan travels around the country working with local farmers and local chefs. Together they create a fantastic dining experience. I’ve had the pleasure of both eating and working with his team a few times and I absolutely love what they do.

Alex: Atomix in New York City offered a 16 course meal. Korean fine dining. Also, Wolvesmouth in Hollywood was pretty amazing. 

Q. What advice do you have for people who want to become chefs?

Jim: Do it because you love it. Don’t do it expecting accolades, money or fame. Do it for the passion, love of food. I realize that sounds cliche but honestly it’s the truth. 

Alex: Always be willing to learn something new. With food, there is so much to learn. 

Q. What is your most treasured ingredient?

Jim: It used to be fresh seafood like uni or abalone. But as time goes by I’m learning to appreciate and use vegetables more.

Alex: A squeeze lemon on everything! 

Q. What is your go-to dish when cooking for yourself? 

Jim: Fried rice or Congee, using anything that’s left in the fridge.

Alex: Rice with soft egg and chili crunch.

Q. What is your go-to dish when cooking for others?

Jim: That would depend on the season and what is currently inspiring me. Recently it was using stone fruit.

Alex: Always something chicken based because it’s more familiar to people and there is no variation when it comes to cooking, i.e. raw, seared, etc….

Q. Who are your heroes?

Jim: Alex Bolar (wink wink)

Alex: My parents who are both self-employed, I am witness to them creating a life and lifestyle. 

Q. What phrase or word to you use too often?

Jim: F*ck

Alex: “My Man”… an ode to Denzel Washington! 

Q. As we are now navigating new seas, do you have any thoughts on the future of dining?

Jim: Man, that’s a tough one. I think the way restaurants are going to run for the foreseeable future has changed. Considering the rising costs of ingredients and the pandemic restaurants are dying off or barely hanging on. I see restaurants pivoting to more of a fast casual model, or dining halls. No longer are you going to fine dining or upper echelon restaurants unless you’re willing to cough up $300 or more per seat.

Alex: Restaurant owners will adapt to meet the needs of their employees. The gap is closing between fine dining and comfort food. Fine dining chefs are creating burgers and comfort food has become more acceptable. 

# # #

Modern. Organic. Inspirational. Come on a lark with us!

3/26/22 at our favorite designer playground known as Urban Americana in Long Beach.

Menu + More TBA!