Los Angeles : Day 3 and 4, The Classes

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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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!

 

Los Angeles: Day 1 and 2

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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 :: Trans-Pecos Festival

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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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The Post Dedicated to Eating in Hawaii

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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.

Here We Go // Hawaii Recap :: Ali’i Kula Lavender Farm

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!

AKL-MAUI_Lavender-Header-Image

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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AKL-Maui_Protea-Bouquet

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!

Friends :: Stir Crazy Baked Goods

Well, my first two “Friends of Blue Eye Brown Eye” posts have been bakeries – it seems I only like to befriend those that concoct delicious, sugary delights. Not such a bad thing, huh? I met Robbie from Stir Crazy Baked Goods last October at the Fall 2011 Arts Goggle and it’s amazing to see how far Stir Crazy Baked Goods has come since then. From selling her amazing Adam Bombs and more at markets around town, to opening her very own bakery this year only to be voted Best Bakery in the Fort Worth Weekly, Robbie is making it happen and I couldn’t be more happy for her success! She helped me out at The Swoon earlier this year and made some really beautiful (and tastey) treats for my booth. Remember that ombre cake? Amazing.

So the next time you’re over off of South Main, stop in to Stir Crazy Baked Goods and grab yourself a treat. You deserve it!

Garza Furniture

Leather chairs sunning

While Travis and I were in Marfa we got the really neat opportunity to visit with two artists that I adore. Jamey and Constance Garza are the talents behind Garza Furniture, a bespoke furniture shop in deep West Texas. I’ve loved their work for ages, and while in Marfa I got in touch with them for a potential visit. Luckily, they graciously opened up their studio and showed us around. Not only was I just thrilled by their talent and furniture, but also found them both to be so warm and genuine – truly wonderful, open, hard-working, and just plain nice. You can find Jamey’s work at the Hotel San Jose in Austin as well as The Thunderbird in Marfa. Definitely check his work out – and I’ll be darned if I don’t get my hands on one of those petite leather chairs some day. On my top 10 wish list!

Marfa, Take Two

Travis and I took a small trip to Marfa, Texas this past weekend – a little change of scenery for us. It was our second trip, and we’re already planning our third visit. It’s this magical place for us – as it is for so many others. Here are just a few images from our trip this past weekend. For our first go, you can see images here.

We spent a large amount of time at the pool at the Thunderbird.

Always, always visit Food Shark if you can. Amazing food.

I’ll never get tired of Prada Marfa. One of my favorite works of art ever.

We always enjoy throwing darts at Planet Marfa. Home of the teepee.

This trip, we stopped at Balmorhea State Park to swim in the natural spring. Very cool!

The Swoon Ticket Giveaway

It’s an exciting week here for Blue Eye Brown Eye because The Swoon event is finally here! This Saturday, March 24th from 4 – 9 pm, come out and enjoy an array of unique wedding vendors, ideas, treats, and most of all, the party! If you’re a bride or groom-to-be, a lover of wedding blogs, or just a creative person that likes to be inspired, this will be the event for you! Anna and I will have a booth together, and we have lots of surprises up our sleeve!

Because I’m so pumped for this event, I’m giving away two tickets (one for the winner and a guest) – that’s right, save your money for the bar – your entry will be on me! Here’s how you can enter (doing one of the below is an entry, enter as many times as you’d like):

  1. Tweet about the giveaway and be sure to include my twitter handle, @blueeyebrowneye
  2. ‘Like’ the Blue Eye Brown Eye Facebook page and leave a little note on the wall so I know you’re a new Facebook friend!
  3. Leave a comment here on the blog – be sure to include your name and a way to get in contact with you.

I’ll announce the winner (which will be selected at random) on Friday, so get to entering! After you win, you’ll need to let me know the name of your guest, as well.

For a little more info on the event:

For the Day


Ladies, if you’re getting married at the Robert Carr Chapel at TCU, you won’t want to miss this event coming up on Monday! Meet local vendors, be inspired, and have some lunch! A lot of great people will be there.

{calligraphy on flier done by Blue Eye Brown Eye}