Weeds and Butterflies

This post is more than just about weeds and butterflies.

Starting with weeds, Mona Caron is a San Francisco-based artist who paints beautiful large-scale weeds in murals that make them magnificent. Her weeds aren’t the ugly plants you want to get rid of in your garden. They are objects that surprise and delight your senses. They appear to grow wild rising up from parking lots in the middle of cities, bringing life to barren cement boundaries. Gorgeous!

The artist couldn’t have said it better about weeds and why she paints them:

They may be tiny but they break through concrete. They are everywhere and yet unseen. And the more they get stepped on, the stronger they grow back.


Weed murals 1 by Mona Caron 1. Photos_Art Is Everywhere

Murals by Mona Caron. Photos via Fubiz

Mona Caron weeds murals-5_AIE

“Pedal Revolution” in San Francisco

Mona Caron weeds murals-3_AIE

Weed in Sao Paulo

Mona Caron weeds murals-6_AIE

“Taking Root” in Union City, CA

Mona Caron weeds murals-2_AIE Mona Caron weeds murals-7_AIE

Mona Caron weeds murals-8_AIE

“Outgrowning” in Taiwan

Air is life. Water is life. Land is life. Don’t give up

— Mona Caron

Before I explain about some other weeds, please be sure to see some of Mona Caron’s butterflies before I get onto butterflies.

For the last 2 weeks, I’ve been dealing with my own weeds. My main database and mirror backup were having issues. I asked my husband to help look and diagnose what may be wrong. I believe that in the process the software that we used to diagnose may have damaged the files. They both failed recovery. My last full backup was before I took my trip to Scandinavia in June and this is in tact. I’m still in the process of locating and trying to recover newer files. I’m not sure what was actually lost since I’ve been using Dropbox and my main database since the last backup. Most new files may be OK. Fingers crossed. This has just taken an exorbitant amount of time, so much so that I haven’t been able to stay on track for every other weekly posts or had a chance to post about a birthday and some recent events. I’ll do that now

Peter surprised me with an unexpected getaway Saturday before my birthday at The DC Wharf Intercontinental Hotel. We call it “our son’s hotel” because he’s the project manager for the construction firm supervising the build. It’s complete but they still have some punch outs to do.

It was unfortunately, crappy weather with snow and rain. Not many people were out and about but it was pretty outside. We enjoyed it from inside at the Canopy hotel’s Whiskey Charlie bar, next door, where we had a wonderful experience before, and which I’m realizing that I never got a chance to write a full post about, so I’ll add a snap shot of pictures from when we visited last after seeing the Vermeer National Gallery of Art exhibit in December. This was after I had helped concoct a signature marzipan-flavored drink that was served for brunch to celebrate my sister’s 50th birthday at Magnolia’s on King. After attempting the drink on our own with Disaronno that came in a fashion-Missoni bottle, we found the better and perfect tasting drink in the WC Mainstay cocktail at The Canopy. Now we know how to make it!

Man writing painting by Metsu_AIE

Man Writing a Letter, my favorite painting by Metsu at the NGA Vermeer exhibit

Whiskey Charlie Rooftop of DC Canopy bar_AIE

Whiskey Charlie Rooftop of DC Canopy bar

Enjoying the Whiskey Charlie rooftop view_AIE

Enjoying the view

The WC Mainstay cocktail with the perfect marzipan-like balance_AIE

The WC Mainstay cocktail with the perfect marzipan-like balance

Arena Stage at twilight_AIE

Walking by the Arena Stage at twilight on the way home

Sisters 50th birthday at Magnolia on King_AIE

Sister’s 50th at Magnolia on King restaurant

progressive pictorial daisy weeds_AIE

Some fun and artistic age reminders I made as progressive “pictorial daisy weeds”

Missoni Disaronno_AIE

Missoni Disaronno – fashion bottle art

This time, however, I lost a single glove and liner that fell out of my pocket somewhere between the top floor bar, elevator and front desk. I noticed immediately before leaving and backtracked but still couldn’t find it. No one turned it in and I’m missing those gloves now. I had those liners forever! They help manage my Reynaud’s all throughout the year. The replacements just don’t cut it. Letting it go…we had a delicious meal at Al Crostino, an Italian restaurant near the Black Cat, where we danced to 80’s music for three hours despite spraining my middle toe earlier that day. This was a great workout; even though our knees hurt the next day.

WC Mainstay Cocktail_The Canopy_AIE

Starting our night with the WC Mainstay Cocktail @ The Canopy — finally finding this perfect “marzipan-like” cocktail.

The DC Wharf Pier_AIE

The pier looks pretty in the snow & with footprints. Notice the swings.

Wharf Intercontinental Hotel_AIE

Room at Intercontinental Hotel, DC District Wharf next morning with sunshine

This included breakfast in the hotel at Kith & Kin the next morning as we awoke to sunshine and all the snow melted. We had just eaten at Kith & Kin for brunch with Piers & Libby to try it during restaurant week the week before. It was wonderful. The hotel breakfast was OK in comparison. It’s nice to see this restaurant doing so well. These selections below come from their lunch menu that you can get during brunch time.

Brunch Brussel Sprouts Kith-Kin DC restaurant wk_AIE

Brunch Brussel Sprouts Suya to start @ Kith & Kin during Restaurant Week

My actual birthday was celebrated with my Book Group during a Mardi Gras party, which I coincidentally host every year. This included a table setting for the theme, homemade shrimp remoulade from Brennan’s, Louisiana chicken and a Creole vegetable side dish with lima beans. Dessert was the real deal, half lemon-chocolate doberge cake from Gambinos — the best and a delectable, local King Cake from Best Buns!

Best Buns King Cake_AIE Mardi Gras BkGrp dinner_AIE Gambinos Doberge Birthday Cake_AIE

These were all the good things that happened surrounding my birthday. Soon after and out of the blue one my large maroon clownfish got sick with a “clown fish disease” that I first noticed with some whitish discoloration on his snout. The research I did proved true that by the time I noticed this it would be too late to treat him. More importantly I needed to concentrate preventing the other fish from contracting it. I had to treat the tank for 21 days with Para-guard, an anti-protozoa medication that could kill all the invertebrates. I had to remove my 7 year-old hermit crab, the only one left, into a specimen tank. Fortunately, he was OK for this long in a new environment. There hasn’t been another outbreak and my two remaining fish appear happy, as does the crab to be finally back in the tank.

7 year old clownfish_AIE

7 year old clownfish. Wish I had taken a picture of him while alive.


1 Clownfish & Christmas Wrasse + Hermit Crab remain

Now we’re back to where I started because that same week my database was damaged and I’ve been doing search, recovery and tedious cleanup ever since. I’m entrenched in digital files as weeds. My hope is my filing system will emerge more streamlined after this. For the amount of time this blog takes, which I enjoy doing, it has taken too much time away from actual work-related necessities. I’ve decided to be more sporadic in my posting. I have so many things that I want and hope to post about but this may be less than once a month if that. My readership isn’t what it used to be and I’m questioning the effort.

Here’s where the butterflies come in. I believe in transformation, as symbolically represented by the butterfly. Mantra, the France-based artist, uses his exceptional trompe l’oeil talents to paint large-scale butterflies as murals to show the transformation of the place that occurs where they are painted. He leaves these public sites more beautiful than when he began. I really love his work! It seems appropriate to break the 10-year, non-stop AIE blog post run (this being the 780th post) with these beautiful specimens that I couldn’t find more inspirational.

I consider this a transformative period where efforts can be better spent on furthering to increase Casart Coverings, as European production is beginning and some new designs will follow in the spring. Meanwhile, please know that I’m always looking and observing that Art Is Everywhere and hope to share those posts with you when I can. They just won’t be as regular as they have been in the past.

Gorgeous Mantra butterfly mural_AIE

All Mantra butterfly images via Colossal

Mantra anamorphic butterfly_AIE

Even his anamorphic butterfly looks real

More lovely specimens by Mantra_AIE

More lovely specimens

Detail More lovely specimens by Mantra_AIE

Mantra breaks butterfly specimen box boundaries_AIE

This one breaks its specimen box boundaries

Mantra Blue Morpho butterflies_AIE

I’ll leave you with this one. The Blue Morpho, as you may guess, is my favorite.

Here’s an updated post from DesignBoom on Mantra’s work, which is phenomenal and more images from Jason Kottke blog post.

Mantra huge butterfly mural 1_AIE

Mantra’s huge butterfly mural via Jason Kottke post

Mantra huge butterfly mural 2_AIE

Mantra’s huge butterfly mural via Jason Kottke post

If you’d like to see more highly realistic and detailed, nature-oriented murals, see the casartblog posts featuring the exceptionally talented artwork of Jane Kim and when she used Casart removable wallcoverings in the process of painting the world’s largest and only Wall of Birds mural for the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. The mural shows the evolution of the world’s birds from a scientifically illustrated orientation.

Roses and the Luxury of Homemade

It’s an interesting juxtaposition that something homemade can be luxurious but I’ve recently experienced the luxury of homemade and there’s an art to making it work. The “homemade” I’m meaning is the essence of making one feel at home and making something from scratch — not mass produced. This post is timed with the appreciation of this upcoming Mother’s Day when mothers’ “homemade” talents are nationally celebrated.

Rose’s Luxury is well known restaurant in DC where it’s expected to wait in line. It’s where my friend Patsie wanted to celebrate her birthday. Our ELDC group decided to make it happen. We took an Uber ride from Alexandria into the city. We weren’t anticipating a Cap’s game; otherwise, we would have been there 30 minutes earlier than 5pm. It didn’t really matter because the line would have still been there. As it turned out we only waited about 20 minutes when the hostess came out to ask which seating those in line wanted. We chose the earlier seating @ 6:00 pm.

Roses Luxury on Art Is Everywhere

Roses Luxury outside on Art Is Everywhere

Front of Rose’s Luxury. Photo credit by Alice Wang

The restaurant is located near the Naval Barracks on 8th Street, SE, near my old haunting ground while living in DC, right up the street, so many years ago. It’s actually located near where the former Homebody store was and where I had staged a photo shoot of my Peacock Damask reusable wallcovering. This is a unique home store that has moved just around the corner. Rose’s entrance is unassuming and reminds me of someone’s home. Seeing inside further confirmed this notion and surprisingly made me think of the Georgetown townhouse where I first lived when moving to DC. The ambience has the perfect combination between being welcoming and magical. It also seems to bring that magical feeling of eating outdoors while being in the comfort of dining inside — without worrying about weather.

Roses Front Exterior on Art Is Everywhere

Roses exterior front. Photo credit Ahmad Ibrahim

While eating downstairs, you’re under a ceiling of skylights, letting the sun and sky shine through with natural lighting. I’ll have to go back for the later seating to see the evening stars. Outdoor patio lights are strung overhead. Upstairs has an enclosed front dining room with a bar area that seems dark in comparison — except from the front windows & bright overhead bar lights. There is an intimate “back porch” area for private dinners. What’s noticeable about the downstairs dining is it appears as if it might have been a side alley that was enclosed. Part of an exterior brick wall and possible door opening remains by the wide-open kitchen.

Rose's Luxury downstairs with kitchen_Art Is Everywhere

Rose’s Luxury downstairs with kitchen via DC Dining

Roses Luxury entrance on Art Is Everywhere

Entrance. Photo credit Michel Thouati

Roses Luxury view from our table on Art Is Everywhere

view from our table downstairs. Photo credit via thestreet.com

Regrettably the website doesn’t really have a full menu, perhaps because it changes so often. I can’t exactly remember what I had over a month ago — it was the week before a fabulous week to remember — but I remember I had these dishes below and they were delicious, as was everything, even the cocktails.



This dish looks below familiar because it was ordered by someone else in my group and passed around to share. All the dishes were meant to share.

Rose's Dish on Art Is Everywhere

Rose’s Dish. Photo credit via Curt Barnard

Tom Sietsema, the Washington Post food critic’s, recent review in the Spring Dining Guide knocks down his first rating by 1/2 star but still excellent, if not a little over salty. Fortunately, his descriptions of his most recent meal compare with mine and with what I had above along with the Rose’s Signature Cocktail with gin, lavender and lemon – delicious, simple, refined and balanced.

What’s so impressive to me about Rose’s Luxury is the experience is not only eating exceptional food but enjoying the company of your friends as if it was in your own home, without you having to do any of the work, or more importantly, the cleanup.

I was inspired when I read recently in the Washington Post a reader’s question about where could one linger for dinner in DC on a similar scale to The Inn at Little Washington for under $300 / person? Well, Rose’s isn’t this expensive or this high-end but it reminds of the top-notch dinner one would remember with friends while eating gourmet food but without being ostentatious.

The answer was Kinship, which happens to be Eric Ziebold’s restaurant — the lower end version of Metier, where we were lucky enough to eat with friends — as their guests.

We’re looking forward to having our own friends over soon to leisurely spend time enjoying fresh food without rushing or worrying about it being too complicated.

We’ll be using lettuce from our rooftop garden for homemade Caprese salad – simple, tasty, fresh and uncomplicated.

Homemade Caprese salad on Art Is Everywhere

Homemade Caprese salad with fresh home-grown basil,  bibb and arugula lettuce

Happy Mother’s Day and hope you receive a homemade experience with a meal and maybe a rose or two.