Lola's Slow Los Angeles Lifestyle

Lola's Slow Los Angeles Lifestyle

Cayla Zelanis

Lauren Miranda, Los Angeles based artist, invited us over for cake at her Eagle Rock home, and talked all things sustainability, art, and slow L.A. living. 

Thanks for inviting us over Lola! We are so excited to learn about your artistry & place you call home. When did you move to Eagle Rock?

I’m originally from Orange county and moved out to LA in 2013 — I kind of never want to move back *laughs*. Visiting family is great because it’s so close but the culture, community, and lifestyle is more of  my speed in LA. I currently live in Eagle Rock, and prior to that have spent years in Pasadena and Highland Park, but love the EastSide of LA and always find myself returning here. I also had the opportunity to spend a magical year up in Washington state, a place I hold dear to my heart! Though as just mentioned, I found myself yearning to be back home and closer to my family.

Tell us a bit about your space!

My space is a studio in Eagle Rock, Los Angeles. I’ve only been here since October but I seriously love it. It’s small, but it's perfect for my cat Cersei and I, and truly invites relaxation and rest in the home. My space feels like a treehouse as my old school windows look out to the trees which I love — sometimes you need those bits of nature while living in a city. 

Each room has a different purpose, and I use my small space super intentionally. When I have too much clothing, or really too much of anything, my mind reflects that. For example, my bedroom is super simple, inviting in sleep and true rest — it is a space for rest and rest only. The living room invites curiosity in. It’s full of nic-nacs and my everyday trinkets, as I like to use that space pretty dimensionally. The kitchen is similar, full of life, since I spend a lot of time baking in this space.

It’s so important to create spaces in the home that invoke different moods, I love that you are so intentional with your home.

What does a typical morning look like here?

I always start my day with coffee and stretching! I then head to work and afterwards love to swim at the pool near my house. It allows me to focus on breath and be in the water, which is so healing for me. I make sure to spend time outside too — I feel as if being in the sun, whether I'm reading, knitting, or just laying fully recharges me and keeps that connection to nature alive.

Your baking is amazing, and thanks for making us this gorgeous cake! What’s in it?

Of course! This cake for two was vanilla bean and orange with a spice forward frosting made with toasted coriander, cloves, cinnamon, sesame seed, and black pepper. It had a similar flavor profile to Chai and was super fun to make, I was so happy to get to share that with you! 

Related Articles: Vanilla Bean Spice Cake Recipe

What else do you enjoy baking?

Gosh, so many things! Baking is a true form of expression. I am a person who constantly is moving and needs to keep my hands busy — baking allows me to do that in my home and gives me space from work… Like my work, it is super creative and personal. I was one of those folks who, during the pandemic, got into making my own sourdough — baking bread is a true passion of mine. I loved math in school and this kind of feels similar, it’s like a science experiment, there is so much chemistry that goes into it and you continue to perfect overtime. I try to bake with the best ingredients local to me. I shop locally for all ingredients and bake seasonally, keeping sustainability and support of the community and small businesses in mind.

Can you share some of these local spots with folks in Los Angeles who are trying to get into baking or want to transition to more localized shopping?

Of course! I go to a Mill in Pasadena called Grist & Toll, and love to shop at bulk shops and farmer’s markets in my area. My favorite bulk store is re_grocery in Highland Park, which is a fabulous plastic-free grocery store that has a mission that values sustainability at its core. For farmers markets, I love Pasadena & Highland Park! 

It’s so amazing how you’ve found all these great spots to support so close to home. What is special about your neighborhood and community?

Everything! I love it here. My work studio is not too far away which is amazing and there's so much great stuff nearby. There are these beautiful communities in East Los Angeles that have allowed me to explore my heritage and culture and I am eternally grateful to call this place home. 

Besides Los Angeles, I try to go to Mexico City twice a year. I’ve formed this creative community down there that has pushed me to further explore my work and how it relates to my roots. I am both first and second generation Mexican-American, and I’m very proud to be Latina. I think while growing up, there was just a little bit of this lost in the mix in our family - and only because they were doing their very best to provide for us, and working with what they themselves had been passed down.

I’m always longing to connect more with our Mexican heritage and so for this reason my sisters and I actively work to intertwine and instill new-old recipes and traditions by staying close to our elders, visiting Mexico and exploring the rich art and history brought about by our culture.

It seems as if your work and culture are deeply weaved together — can you speak to that a little more and tell us about your craft?

They definitely are connected! My interest in craft stemmed In high school — I was super drawn to sewing with yarn and fibers and learned a bit here and there. I’ve always been enamored with baskets and weaving techniques, and exploring the textures within them. In the beginning of the pandemic I took a leap and jumped back into this work and haven't stopped since. Just last year I began experimenting with reed to create baskets, which have been heavily inspired by Mexican basketry and nets. When in Mexico City I always spend a day at the Museo Nacional de Antropología learning about the history and craftsmanship that goes into basketry, weaving, and ceramics — I like to pull from and mimic the work in new forms. I haven’t dabbled in ceramic work yet *laughs* but I can imagine that happening. I am a curious person in life and it’s so cool to be able to explore and transform natural material. 

Your work is super beautiful and inspiring! How do you think about sustainability within it all?

Well, with my fabrics, I reuse leftovers from production jobs when I’m able. The material I work with is natural and I only buy what I can handle. Shopping for those special materials little by little helps manage waste and allows me to dial in on one project at a time. 

Going back to my apartment, I’d say about 90% of my home has been sourced through thrift and antique stores, hand me down from friends and some handmade items from dear ones. I enjoy the hunt of finding furnishings secondhand and giving them a second life! When crafting, I keep sustainable practices in mind and work to be as resourceful as possible. I also get attached to my furniture especially if it was found in a special place. My dining table for instance is a vintage teak table I scored when I lived in Washington years ago. Since then it’s lived many lives in my various homes and is so special to me. 

It is so important and great that you make the effort to work sustainably and with intention!

Thanks! I really make the effort to deliberately be within communities which uphold sustainable values. I love to support the local and often female owned brands in my city — Los Angeles is ripe with them! I have a friend who is a shoe designer, another who creates lovely leather bags, and another dear friend who has her own clothing line that includes the most amazing coat I wear the heck out of. And it also isn’t limited to apparel design — my best friend is an amazing gardener with the most beautiful and well thought out landscape, it’s so inspiring. I could go on! I’m lucky to have such wonderful friends with a beautiful eye for design and craft. Seeing them flourish, helping them to succeed, really fills me with joy. To me it’s vital to lift each other up. ‘A rising tide lifts all boats’. 

To explore more of Lola’s work, check out her website here & follow her on instagram! Also, discover Lola's playlist, perfect for baking, hanging with the cat, and relaxing at home.