It's been a while since we've had an Unexpected Guest, and today we're headed south, to sunny San Diego. I have been a big fan of Jasmine Fitzwilliam's wondrous photographs on flickr for quite a while now, and after browsing some of her photos of her home, I asked if she might like to share more with us here today. She graciously accepted and her Q&A made me smile big grins. This girl's got spunk and style in spades! Jasmine is a creative mastermind, a graphic designer originally from Montreal, Canada, and you can just tell...a very generous spirit. I'm so happy to call her a flickr friend, and to share her lovely home here with you today. Thanks Jasmine!
Where do you live?
As of six months ago, San Diego, California, in a little neighborhood called Normal Heights. If that's not the best neighborhood name, consider me flabbergasted. The locals call it Abnormal Heights.
What is your idea of a perfect day in San Diego?
I'm still in the process of adventuring around this city, but I would say that Sundays here are pretty delightful. I would either sleep way in, or wake up really early to do the garage sale tours that neighborhoodies run every weekend. Ideally, I'd find something vintagey, old and silly to make a part of my home somehow. Then I would pick up Scott and have late breakfast-brunch at The Cottage in La Jolla… their chilaquiles kill me. After that, we'd mosey over to Balboa Park where the world's largest outdoor organ is situated, and I'd listen to the free organ concert they have every Sunday at two. The other treat they have right nearby in the park every Sunday is this ridiculously cute collection of cottages that each house a different nation. They all open on Sunday afternoons and offer treats and music and such that are all relevant to that nation. I'd obviously be very snap-happy. We'd probably get in a game of frisbee, pitch and catch, gin rummy, or scrabble in at the park, and then head home to cook up a delicious meal, and invite some friends over to share it. Then finally, we'd either go out lindyhopping (a kind of swing dance) or we'd cozy up in front of a film with our cat, George.
What don't you leave home without?
My camera. And my Burt's Bees lip balm.
What's your favorite local shop?
Still figuring this one out, but for now I'll go with Mid-Century on Park Blvd. Full of wondrous treasure!
What's on your wish list?
Gadgetry. A major camera upgrade to a Canon 5D Lenses. A medium-format camera. A new MacBook Pro. And much more handmade art for my walls. I am severely lacking in gorgeous art and illustrations for my walls, and I am extremely tired of all my own stuff. If anyone out there wants to trade some screenprinted, letterpressed loveliness for any of my photographs, I would be utterly thrilled.
What's your favorite bargain find or product?
My starburst/flower clock. It's very obviously late fifties or early sixties, and utterly delightful in every which way. I found it in the local Mission Outreach Thrift Store for thirty-five bucks.
If you could be any other nationality, which would you choose to be?
My family is a mish-mash of so much… Lithuanian and Russian on Mum's side, Venezuelan and Trinidadian on Dad's. I'm happy being mixed-up me! That said… Scott is Scottish (yes… he is Scott the Scot!) and when we visited his family in Scotland I very heartily identified with it, feeling homier there than possibly anywhere else I have been, except for Montreal, which is where I grew up. I could go for being Scottish.
What is your biggest interior design nightmare?
Not being allowed to paint the walls of my apartment would definitely make me wince.
Who are your favorite artists? And why?
Oh good grief, I'm pretty sure this is a question you'd rather not have me get into. To try to keep it brief, I will choose one artist from the past, and one from the present. For past, I choose Egon Schiele. Fabulously tortured and passionate, full of brutal, raw, emotional honesty in every line and stroke. Fearless. For present, I will choose a photographer with whom I have recently made friends: Lung Liu. His portraits and landscapes are simply indescribable, and brimming with earnest emotion. Plus he's incredibly fun, a great cook over the campfire, and let me tag along with him on a road trip around the Southern California Desert and the Salton Sea.
Where do you find inspiration?
Everywhere. Most often in that which gets overlooked by others. Also, road trips, and Flickr.
Who do you admire and why?
My mother. I think she's the most selfless and persevering person I know. Also, my Grandpa. He has had, over time, more wildly different careers than anyone I've heard of, ever.
What's the last great book you read?
I did a month-long tour of the USA in the spring, and read Kerouac's On The Road while doing it. Nothing I've read since has quite measured up. Bury Me Standing, about the struggle of European gypsies, came somewhat close.
What's your favorite film?
"Favorite" questions are always so difficult. I can narrow it down to a top five, maybe. Le Fabuleux Destin D'Amelie Poulain, The Royal Tenenbaums, The Piano, Funny Face, and The Big Lebowski.
If you could photograph anyone in the world, who might that be?
Dede Koswara. He's known as the 'tree man' – a fisherman from Indonesia who suffers from an illness that has resulted in what makes him appear to have his limbs turning into tree branches and bark.
Who would you like to sit down to drinks with?
Barack Obama! Yay!
Do you have a guilty pleasure?
Two glaring ones comes to mind: chips and the television program So You Think You Can Dance. I hate to admit I have an addiction to a reality TV show.
What is your most treasured belonging?
I have two again, and one is sitting on the other. First, I acquired a few years ago a set of hand-built library index card file cabinets from the seventies. Swoon! They hold my sewing knick-knacks. Secondly, when I was a baby, I was given a porcelain piggy bank with two wee piglets getting married. It's a silly thing, but it is immensely special to me.
What's souvenir did you bring back from your last trip?
Paper ephemera. I held onto all the paper goods I came across…including tickets, flyers… whatever. I've never done that before. I'm not the scrap-booking type. But I'm convinced I could use it to make some sort of interesting art piece.
What's your greatest indulgence?
Food. God, I love food. I could eat all day.
What is your idea of living hell?
Hmmm. Losing my senses, I suppose… if I could not see the magic of the world, if I could not feel the tactility of things, hear music and the lull of voices, taste the deliciousness of consumable items… oh, what a sorry life that would be.
What are some of your favorites websites/blogs to visit?
Flickr, design*sponge, Craftster, The Sartorialist, decor8, sfgirlbybay, Consumerist, Covers, and Ikea Hacker.