8407 West Third Street
Los Angeles, CA 90048

La Muerte, la Vida y las Vacaciones

¡Feliz noviembre! Fran, our lovely store owner (a.k.a. visionary mastermind), just got back from a trip to Oaxaca, Mexico, where she celebrated Día de Muertos like a true local! She came back with gorgeous photographs, mouthwatering descriptions of salsas and moles and handmade tamales, inspiring tales of a cultural tradition that celebrates death as the counterpart to life, and some beautiful Oaxacan treasures for the store. Join us as we enjoy Fran’s vacation vicariously through her color-drenched photos, and then come in to see what she brought back for us!

Luminous orange marigolds were strewn all over the streets, adorning ofrendas (altars honoring deceased family members), hanging from garlands, spilling from centerpieces and even filling cracks in the sidewalk. These flowers, known as caléndulas in Spanish, are thought to guide the spirits to their ofrendas with their vibrant hue and aromatic scent. With their delicate petals, they also represent the fragility of life.

The colorful street markets were filled with ornately decorated sugar skulls, heart milagros in every size, barrels of beans and grains, and lush bunches of marigolds and velvety cerosia.

Above are some closeups of a few of the intricately decorated ofrendas, each one filled with photos, objects and food beloved by the deceased friend or relative. Fran’s keen visual eye spotted these gorgeous molinillos, hand-carved wooden whisks used for making Mexican hot chocolate, repurposed as hanging decorations. All the children of Oaxaca, like this adorable girl pictured above, sported beautiful traditional outfits and calavera face paint.

Fran visited the beautiful old cemetary just before sunset, and captured these stunning shots of the marigold-bedecked gravestones and crosses as the evening sun shone on them.

Mmm, we’re drooling looking at these delicious photos of Oaxacan delicacies. Fran was able to get an insider’s tour of the local cuisine, thanks to the culinary knowledge of tour guide Nancy Zaslavsky, an author, chef and expert on Mexican cuisine who has been leading delicious expeditions to Oaxaca for over twenty years. Find out more about her Day of the Dead Oaxaca Tours here.

This is Enrique, a local artisan who blew Fran away with his delicate handmade insects and butterflies. Each bug is hand-formed out of wire and acetate and hand-painted by Enrique and his mother. No two insects are alike. Luckily for the rest of us, Fran brought home a stunning collection of these miniature works of art, and they are now available in the store! They are perfect for those of us who love the beauty of insects but are squeamish about having the real thing on display.

These colorful treasures also came back in Fran’s luggage: woven plastic bowls and baskets, handmade clay shot glasses with faces, hand-beaded fabric heart milagros strung on bright thread, and little ceramic dishes that serve as mezcal sippers.
Come and visit us to check out all these beautiful Oaxacan finds in person. They make great holiday gifts for the adventurer in your life, and you can even pair them with an invitation to next year’s Oaxacan Day of the Dead culinary tour!

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