Category: Out and About

Blue Eye Brown Eye_designlovefest studio

We had the best time in Los Angeles last week. Not only did we have a day and a half to explore and take a little time to ourselves, but I had the totally cool opportunity to teach three calligraphy courses in partnership with designlovefest. I’ve followed Bri’s career and blog for years, so it was certainly a pinch me moment to be standing in her studio, let alone working there!

Blue Eye Brown Eye_Calligraphy Class supplies designlovefest

Blue Eye Brown Eye_designlovefest calligraphy workshop

For each class, Bri and her team set out a fantastic spread of treats and drinks for the students. Styled perfectly, of course. Also, bubbly and calligraphy is always a good idea.

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Blue Eye Brown Eye_designlovefest peonies

The studio was filled with beautiful flowers that fit the set up perfectly. There were pops of pink everywhere!

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Blue Eye Brown Eye_designlovefest calligraphy workshop set up

Blue Eye Brown Eye_designlovefest modernica chairs

These chairs are perfect, no?

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Blue Eye Brown Eye_designlovefest pink couch

Every nook and cranny of the designlovefest studio is thoughtfully curated with special collections, flowers, candles, and furniture and accessories that have practically jumped off the pages of Pinterest. So so much eye candy.

Speaking of eye candy, just take a look at that wallpaper below. The Unique Space, a coworking and private studio space in downtown LA, is wonderful. The first floor is minimally perfect, and the second floor just gets better! It brought so much inspiration and energy to my classes, I can only imagine what it’s like to work there every day.

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Blue Eye Brown Eye_The Unique Space

Stay tuned for more classes in LA. The best way to stay in touch is to sign up for the designlovefest email list. They’ll announce all workshops there!

 

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Yesterday I was wearing short sleeves and sunglasses, today I’m in a snood up to my ears and my thickest socks. We’re definitely not in LA anymore. Travis and I got home late last night from a mixed work/play trip to Los Angeles. What a way to kick off 2014! I wanted to share a little bit of our play before I share the “work” part later. Before teaching classes on Saturday, we got in Thursday afternoon and had a little bit of time to piddle around LA.

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We spent the afternoon on Thursday strolling around Venice, primarily Abbot Kinney. I fell in love a little. What a charming area. Lunch was a Gjelina – a recommended spot that lived up to its promise! Gotta kick off a mini vacay with some rose’, am I right?

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The rest of the afternoon we strolled in and out of shops, including the totally cool Ilan Dei Studio where I wanted to buy every succulent they offered. Of course, a paper gal’s got to visit Urbanic, the paper boutique of all paper boutiques.

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Other notable favorite shops included Firefly and The Modern Dog where we bought the pups some treats and struck up a nice little conversation with the owners.

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Once we got to our hotel, we ordered up some cocktails to the room. Approximately 9 minutes later I was asleep. That’s what a 3 hour night’s sleep will do to you before travel, I guess!

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Day 2 we worked in the hotel for a quite a bit, but trekked out around lunch to Olvera Street, which was really fun. And by golly, we had some really great Mexican food. These Texans approved.

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Los Angeles Magazine told us that the taquitos at Cielito Lindo were a must-have (above). So we hurried over to try them. Ok, they were, like, really delicious.

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Last stop before dinner at The Gorbals, Poketo. A shop full of treasures.

Couldn’t stay out too late on Day 2, Day 3 was a big one for me. More to come!

Marfa_El Cosmico Bar_Transpecos Festival_Ahora o Nunca

Life has been crazy lately. I’ve been traveling a lot for work – in fact, I’m in flight as I type this to Brooklyn for two workshops at Knot & Bow tomorrow. I’m thankful for the busy schedule, but have found that taking moments to steal away – if for a night, an hour, or a weekend – to be so valuable. Travis and I trekked to Marfa last week for our third trip. It is truly an oasis in the dessert for us. A trip we look forward to with such childish anticipation, and really…always a much needed break.

This year was particularly special because it was our first to attend the Trans-Pecos Music Festival at El Cosmico. I can tell you now that we’ll be making it an annual trip from here on out. Dogs everywhere, beer aplenty, wonderful music, and weather so wonderful I nearly cried all weekend long. I mean, I wore a jacket. For the first time in what feels like years.

You can read more about our previous trips here and here. If you have the ability to make it to Marfa, do it. It’s so special.

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One of the many dogs that ran freely (and happily) around El Cosmico. Next time, Matilda and Olive are comin’ along on the road trip!

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There were so many talented vendors at the festival, like Factory Girl representing Dallas (above) and Poppy & Someday, where I bought beautiful dream catcher.

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Marfa_Trans Pecos Festival 2013 Vendor

Marfa_Trans Pecos Festival_Art Installation

A definite highlight was being able to see Playboy Marfa before it’s likely imminent demise. Read more about that here. In fact, it has raised questions with Prada Marfa, as well, and the thought of these installations going away really breaks my heart.

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Marfa_Playboy Marfa

Marfa_Prada Marfa September 2013

For the first time, we rented a little home through VRBO – the Fancy Ponyland. We really loved it. It’s nice to have the space to stretch out.

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Marfa_Fancy Ponyland Rental Home

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Where-to-Eat-Maui_Roadside-Farm

It might be safe to say that I looked forward to eating in Hawaii more than I dreamed about the beach, crystal clear water and cocktails. I am an avid seafood lover, and the thought of eating fresh out of the ocean catches for a week straight pretty much thrilled me. I asked around for suggestions, scoured the internet for guides, and read lots of reviews, in hopes of finding the best of the best in Maui and Kauai. Below were some of our favorites.

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Maui

If you’re looking to grab a cup of local Jo, go to Island Press Coffee in Lahaina. Decked out in vintage Hawaiian tchotchke, this little coffee shop might look plain-Jane from the outside, but is fantastic within. Doubling as a liquor store, stop in for local fresh brewed coffee and a slice of coconut cake for breakfast. And grab a bottle of wine for later, too.

Packing a picnic for a trip to Upcountry? You must stop at Leoda’s. We loved it so much we went twice, and would have gone again if we had not run out of time. Top Chef fans: Leoda’s (along with Star Noodle, see pork buns above right) is the product of finalist Sheldon, and we ate some of the best food we’ve had anywhere lately there (see brussel sprout salad below). This spicy tuna sandwich below was the perfect companion to our lunch at Ali’i Kula Lavender Farm. And the butter white bread – do not even get me started.

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Cooking dinner at your condo, or seeking fresh, affordable produce? Stop at any farm stand on the windy road to Upcountry. Pick your own strawberries, buy an avocado as big as your head, support local farmers.

Where to Eat Hawaii_Huge Avocado

Speaking of Sheldon and Top Chef, if you have time, visit Star Noodle for the pork buns alone. Expect to wait – awhile – if you go at lunchtime. You’ll be surrounded by foodie groupies taking snap shots of their dishes, with a smattering of locals sprinkled in (one kind man leaned in at our family-style table and made suggestions of his favorites). Travis raved over the pad thai.

For delicious seafood and a killer view, dine at Merriman’s. Save this for a special night, as it’s pricey, but go right before sunset, order a tropical cocktail, and sit back and watch the sun set on paradise. (Don’t make our mistake and go at 8 pm – oops).

For a touristy/fun/entertaining night, the buzz on the island is that the Old Lahaina Luau is the best. Luckily, we made reservations 3 months prior. And, seriously, you’ll need to do that. This puppy sells out. The food doesn’t dazzle, but the atmosphere and show is super fun.

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Kauai

Ah, Kauai. We ate well on this island.

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Kauai has countless food stands, food trucks, and small family-owned restaurants along its highways. Stop at one of them. Get a fresh smoothie, crack open a coconut, or  dine on al pastor tacos. What I loved about Kauai is its rural landscape, which made it feel much less touristy and significantly more authentic.

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For a quick bite that’s pretty reasonable on the wallet, visit Tropical Taco in Hanalei (my favorite town on the whole trip). For $13 you can get a fresh grilled fish taco as big as your head packed with fixin’s and a side of chips and salsa (see far above).

Dare I say – the best fish dish I had was at Postcards Cafe, an all vegetarian/seafood establishment that I found incredibly charming. I’m still thinking about the Mahi Mahi I had there. Oh, wait, then there was dessert: a coconut-crusted macadamia ice cream scoop with salted caramel sauce. We practically licked the plate.

For more special evenings, visit Bar Acuda and Kauai Grill at the St. Regis. As for atmosphere, Bar Acuda doesn’t have much to offer – no spectacular view with a small outdoor porch. But the restaurant that has been hailed as the best in Hawaii is pretty darn great. For a romantic evening, dine at Kauai Grill because the view is one of the best we experienced on our trip.

Whatever you do, be sure to experience local culture and cuisine, sample fresh mahi mahi, and never, ever pass up a piña colada.

There is something so motivating about a genuinely refreshing, relaxing and beautiful vacation. Travis and I got back from Hawaii yesterday morning – with both a sense of deep sadness (that it was over) and a renewed sense of determination, inspiration, and motivation (oh, and total excitement to see our dogs). Our time in Hawaii was truly wonderful – dare I say near perfect (except for 3 straight days of rain). Here, I want to share with you some highlights and recommendations for those of you that travel to the land of Aloha.

We arrived very late on the first evening, so we set out early our first full day into the Upcountry area, our first stop being Ali’i Kula Lavender Farm, which was a top highlight for me of the entire trip. Hard to beat since it was our first excursion!

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There are three things that I really love: succulents, lavender (bathing in it, cooking with it, plain ol’ smelling it), and Protea. Nearly two decades ago I visited Hawaii and a trek to a Protea Farm stood out vividly in my memory. It was a wish for me to visit another, and AKL Lavender just happened to have the most beautiful gardens full of Protea, succulents, lavender, pineapple, and more. It was a plant lover’s Utopia.

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For only $6, we were allowed entry into the gardens, but unfortunately all of the tours were sold out for the day. I would recommend snagging a spot in one of these tours, because tour guides cut the most stunning bouquets straight from the garden for you to take home. (See above, right, a lucky couple got to take this bounty home)! But this left us free to roam the grounds, take our time, and take in the view. (Below, we picnicked at this exact spot on a Leoda’s lunch – more on that later). Now back to the plants.

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I had a fantastic conversation with the founder’s son about propagating succulents, and he let me take a few leaves and buds home so I could [hopefully] propagate my own Hawaiian succulents.

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Travis above on aptly named Lover’s Lane in the gardens. (Cheesy, I know). If you’re heading to Maui, definitely make a stop at AKL Lavender – it’s so worth it. Pack a picnic, take your time on the beautiful drive, and don’t forget to smell the lavender!