QC Prêt-à-Porter || Tuxedo Season

18/11/2015 § 3 Comments

quite continental: tuxedo season

Gold, nude, black, leather and lace.
These are a few of my [current] favorite things:

Clockwise from top left:
Maison Martin Margiela Jazz Club Candle
Urban Decay 24/7 Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner
Larsson & Jennings Saxon Watch
Essie All Eyes On Nudes Matte Nail Polish
Garance Dore Love Style Life
Only Hearts Penelope Bralette
Frye Carson Harness Riding Boot
Bauble Bar Mason Pavé Ring

Recent items of note:
Hacker tips on how to travel the world for free. [via Vice]
Dear Men: please feel free to order a Cosmo. I won’t judge. I mean I’ll try. [via MSN]
Smoking your cocktail in a bong is a real thing. [via LA Mag]
A brief history of the restaurant matchbook. [via Eater]

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Field Notes: Joshua Tree, California

12/11/2015 § Leave a comment

Quite Continental: Joshua Tree

Currently, New York is turning to fall, complete with fiery foliage, dipping temperatures and rain showers.  If I’m completely honest, it’s my third favorite season here — firmly ranked only slightly above winter (and spring only gets the slightest of advantages because it means summer is next).  You can definitely blame my formative years, spent in the terminal sunshine of Los Angeles.  So while I am coping with this seasonal shift, my mind has been traveling back in time to a trip I recently took to the High Desert of California, and Joshua Tree in particular.

Less than a three hour drive from LA, Joshua Tree and its Low Desert sibling, Palm Springs, have become something of a destination with the popularity of concerts like Coachella and interest in what I’m going to loosely call as “desert vibes.”  While Palm Springs has always been the more built up of the two destinations, and is now home to some really great resorts, I’d recommend passing on all that for a quieter experience a bit to the north.

I wanted heat, quiet, stars and colors.  I got all that AND dinosaurs.  AND a ghost town.  Who could ask for more?

Quite Continental: Joshua Tree Quite Continental: Joshua Tree

You’re going to need sustenance.

Fun fact: I’ve never actually had an In-N-Out burger.  What you see above is my grilled cheese on the right.  I suppose I’m some sort of bad Californian, but I’ll definitely still defend it against all challengers to the “best burger in the universe” crown.

Quite Continental: Joshua Tree

This is the “cracked iPhone screen” filter.
Kinda like those glamour shots at the mall, no?

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Recognize these two?  No?  Are you sure?
(Skip to 4:50…or watch the whole thing like I just did. Again. TEQUILA!)

The Cabazon Dinosaurs are a famous roadside attraction on your way into the desert on Interstate 10, and worth a brief stop.  Dinny, the Brontosaurus, was built over a period of eleven years, beginning in 1964; and Mr. Rex followed in 1981.  Funnily enough, since the passing of the original owner and sculptor Claude K. Bell, the property has fallen into the hands of a bunch of creationist supporters, so inside Dinny — a larger-than-life dinosaur containing original Bell frescoes of the Cro-Magnon Man  — you can find a museum and gift shop dedicated to the idea that dinosaurs appeared the same day Adam and Eve did.  Hilars.

Sidenote: I was going to link you to the dinosaurs’ site until I noticed the current feature article is on Ben Carson, the “The Pediatric Neurosurgeon with Gifted Hands.”  So, yeah.  No.  I’d still recommend checking them out for kitsch value, though!  Just avoid the nonsense museum and take pictures sitting on the huge dino feet.

Cabazon Dinosaurs
50800 Seminole Drive
(immediately north of Interstate 10)
Cabazon, CA 92230

Quite Continental: Joshua Tree

Your best bet for lodgings in Joshua Tree is Airbnb.  I found this darling cabin for a song.  With cozy spaces to relax and a remarkable outdoor soaking tub, it’s heaven on deserty-earth.

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Soaking. Tub.

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Ok, so you’re all settled in to your cozy desert home.  What next?

Go to the Joshua Tree Saloon for beers, burgers and live music.

Take a sound bath at the Integratron in nearby Landers.

Go to Pioneertown in Yucca Valley, an Old West set that was created in the 1940s as a place for actors and crew to live while filming television shows like The Cisco Kid.  It’s still somewhat lived in and super weird – a ghost town with living ghosts.  While you’re there, hit up Pappy + Harriet’s for…okay, also for beers, burgers and live music, but the live music here is a ticketed sort of thing.

Hike, camp or drive through Joshua Tree National Park, a unique ecosystem where the Mojave and the Colorado deserts meet.  It looks a little like space to me…like if Dr. Seuss designed space.

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On the way home, bask in the chill desert vibes and listen to a lot of Fleetwood Mac.

At least, that’s what I did.

Tell me, did I miss anything??

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A Liquid Lunch at the 21 Club

28/03/2015 § 1 Comment

21 Club. 21 Club. 21 Club. 21 Club. In honor of the upcoming final (!) season of AMC’s Mad Men, a select group of New York restaurants — the sort of joints that Madison Avenue ad men probably would have favored — featured special lunch menus last week.  Priced at $19.69 — the year of the final season — patrons could treat themselves to the hallowed “liquid lunch” or opt for a prix fixe menu.  It wasn’t something I was prepared to miss, so I corralled a compatriot and made my way directly to the 21 Club.

The 21 Club, formerly a prohibition-era speakeasy, has been in operation since the 1920s and has occupied its current, jockey-decorated location since 1929.  Since its inception 21 has been a favored spot of presidents, celebrities, socialites, politicians, and titans of industry.  A four-story townhouse with multiple private rooms, its famed secret wine cellar has housed the private collections of folks like Ernest Hemingway, John F. Kennedy, and Frank Sinatra.  Today, 21 retains a sense of old-fashioned formality that has become somewhat unique – gentlemen are required to wear jackets to gain entrance to the dining room, servers are dressed in tuxedos.  The Bar Room, where we lunched, sports a ceiling decorated with antique toys, suspended in air.

If you know me at all, you already know I went for the cocktails: Manhattans made with Canadian Club, while my dining partner opted for gin martinis.  Feeling very Roger Sterling and Don Draper, we also ordered for a dozen oysters, and a fabulous, mid-century time was had by all.

21 Club
21 W. 52nd Street
New York, NY 10019

Words || The Journey

11/11/2014 § Leave a comment

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A moment from my recent drive in the Hudson Valley, overlaid with a bit of wisdom from Papa Hemingway.  Fall is quite excellent at making one feel pensive and restless — I suppose it is mainly due to the spectacular demise of the foliage.

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QC Loves: Hi-Collar

09/11/2014 § 1 Comment

QC Loves: Hi-Collar QC Loves: Hi-Collar QC Loves: Hi-Collar QC Loves: Hi-Collar QC Loves: Hi-CollarQC Loves: Hi-Collar

Admittedly, this was a discovery I made some time ago, but with the return of the polar vortex next week, it seems like the perfect time to share.  Hi-Collar in the East Village is a darling of a tiny kissaten — a Western-inspired Japanese coffee house — by day and a sake bar by night.  Siphon coffee, tea and small bites, both savory and sweet, are served with a precision and ritual you won’t find at any of those other coffee shops around the city.  It’s the perfect place for a meandering late afternoon — and if you can stretch your visit into the evening changeover, even better.

Hi-Collar
214 East 10th St.
New York, NY 10003

Disappearing Acts

08/08/2014 § 1 Comment

Porto RicoEvery morning on my way to the train at the West 4th Street station, I pass the Porto Rico Importing Co. at 201 Bleecker Street in Greenwich Village.  More of a coffee and tea store than a true coffee bar, it’s where I buy the coffee I use at home (try it out: Monsoon Malabar is my favorite).  It’s usually full of bench sitters and the usual bunch of parked cars, but today I happened upon a rare moment of quiet and a break in the traffic so that I could take the shot above.

As I took the picture, an eccentric-looking older gentleman ambled by and gruffly offered his two cents: “You know, places like that are disappearing around here.”  He then proceeded to point out the growing vacancies around Porto Rico, both new and old. I readily agreed with him and he eventually set off on his way down Bleecker, satisfied.

Vaguely familiar that Porto Rico has been around for some time — it does mention something about 1907 on the awning, at least — I did a bit of research and discovered that the ground floor of 201 Bleecker has been operated by the Longo family since the early 1900s, initially as a bakery and then later as the coffee and tea store we know today.  The current owner-operator, Peter Longo, is the third generation to run the store, the building having been bought by his grandfather in 1905 for $5,000.  Peter was born in the building, as well as his father before him.

For someone who’s only lived in the neighborhood for just over a year, it’s always exciting to learn more about longtime residents and businesses, but also to hear how the streets have changed.  The next time you find yourself on Bleecker, I definitely recommend that you stop by for a pound of coffee or perhaps a new tea — because it’s true, places like this are rapidly disappearing these days.

For a fuller story on Porto Rico, Alex Witchel at the NY Times wrote a great article on Peter and the store that you should also read.

Have a lovely (caffeinated) weekend!
M. xx

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In The Wind: Montauk

12/07/2013 § 1 Comment

Marilyn and Miller Marilyn Monroe and Arthur Miller, Amagansett, 1958.  Taken by Sam Shaw.

This weekend finds me scampering off to the beaches of Long Island: Southampton, Amagansett and Montauk.  The weather seems a bit iffy, but I’m not going to let that dampen my spirits (pun intended).  I’ll be back in a flash with tons to share, I’m sure.  Hope you have a lovely weekend, whatever you’re getting up to.  Enjoy!

Field Notes: A Road Trip to Nashville and Back

19/06/2013 § 2 Comments

Nashville

As I mentioned a few weeks back, I had the pleasure of hopping into a car and making the drive from New York City to Nashville — all 737 miles of it — with my lovely friend (and talented Art Director) Amelia Tubb.  Mainly because we both were itching to get out on the road and I was already dying to get out to Nashville — but when we realized it just so happened to be the same weekend that Northern Grade would descend on Music City, the decision really seemed to make itself.  The photopalooza that follows is a combination of Amelia’s gorgeous photographs and a few of my Instagrams.

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While still in the planning stages, we decided it made the most sense to make a stop on each leg, so that we didn’t go too crazy.  On the trip south, I figured the midway point in Virginia was near Roanoke and dropped a pin on an AirBnB map.  From there, I poked around the available places until I found an amazing little guest cottage near a town called Floyd.  Located off the Blue Ridge Highway — which at night was completely spooky and dark and Amelia kept making Blair Witch references — we eventually pulled up slightly (entirely) later than expected to a tiny, twinkly cottage to the rear of our host’s large home, both built c. 1880.  Comfortably furnished and completely adorable, we had little time to appreciate its charm before heading off to a peaceful sleep.

Nashville

It was in the morning light that the cottage really showed its potential for a longer stay.  No wifi, homemade granola, a lake a short hike away and the promise of an exceptionally relaxing solitude, all made for a bittersweet good-bye — especially after meeting our lovely host Susan, her husband, and their three-legged dogs.

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Flat pouch by Kletterwerks kept our camera essentials well in hand.

Nashville

 Konker Tote and Tube Pocket by Kletterwerks.

I was first introduced to Kletterwerks by Lizzie late last year and was immediately intrigued.  After getting to know some of the great folks on the team I continue to be impressed!  A climbing equipment company originally founded by designer Dana Gleason in 1975, Kletterwerks is based in Bozeman, Montana and is currently headed up by Dana’s son.  By examining the packs his father designed in the late 70s — honoring their vintage sensibility while introducing subtle updates: similar fabrics, heritage colors, laptop sleeves, etc. — Dana3 has successfully created some great stuff that will serve you equally well on an overnight hike or a hike uptown.  And when you take into account the fact that Kletterwerks is made in Montana — right in Bozeman — the value increases exponentially.  Design updates and value notwithstanding, I haven’t stopped using the Konker Tote (above) since I came home from Nashville.  Equipped with handy compartments and adjustable straps, it’s pretty much the best tote ever.

Nashville

The guest cottage.

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The main house.
We then took a drive into the center of town for a proper visit.  In the daylight, the Blue Ridge Parkway was gorgeous countryside and Floyd was a lively little town with an artistic and musical feel.

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We picked up a friend on our walk.

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Roasted in Floyd by Red Rooster Coffee Roaster.  Try their 4 & 20 French Roast if you like a darker roast — I’ve already managed to drink all that I brought home with me and am badly in need of a reorder! We picked ours up at the Black Water Loft, a great coffee shop attached to a bookshop below.

Nashville

Nashville

Once we hit Tennessee, it seemed the logical thing
to go to the Willie Nelson General Store and Museum

Nashville

…and get hats.  Here I will mention that with the purchase of these hats, it brought the trip’s overall hat tally to five.  Evidently we are ladies who need options.  At least when it comes to what is on our heads.

Nashville

Hats secured, we made an immediate beeline for Mas Tacos in East Nashville– because really, the only thing I want more than a hat is some amazing tacos.  After hearing about Mas Tacos from practically everyone we spoke to before, during and after the trip, you should know that the hype is definitely warranted.  Don’t miss them.

Nashville

Kletter Day pack — really great side-loading zipper and a padded laptop sleeve.

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We then meandered across the street for some adult beverages at The Pharmacy, a rather classy beer garden and burger joint.  Now, before I go representing like I knew everything about everything, I should divulge that we received a considerable amount of guidance, help and hosting from a Mr. Cooper Samuels, of I Took the Train.  Cooper is one of Nashville’s best bloggers and someone who’s been a friend of mine for a bit, albeit of the internet variety.  So I was very happy to finally get to meet up in person on this trip.  A few of his other excellent recommendations included:

Nashville

City House, where you should get the egg on your pizza.

Nashville

Rolf and Daughters, where I happily made a meal of veggies, foie gras and rosé.

Nashville

And The Patterson House, a serious cocktail den where there’s no milling about the bar — you’re seated and attended with finesse.  I had a amazing Bacon Old Fashioned and managed a partial picture of Cooper’s hand.  No mean feat, if you know Cooper.

NashvilleUp next on the docket: Northern Grade Nashville, a men’s pop-up shop that offers apparel, accessories and gear, all made in America.  You might recall I worked the Los Angeles one, yes?  Well as Northern Grade travels around the country, one of the best features is seeing how each city has a slightly different take, as well as a slightly different audience.  It was awesome to see how an event like Northern Grade can strengthen a community of like-minded individuals interested in well-made goods and domestic production and simultaneously have a great time.

Nashville

Sanborn Canoe Co, beautiful canoeing paddles made in Winona, Minn.

Nashville

  Nashville

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Amelia making a belt with Billy Moore of Cause and Effect

Nashville

And of course, we dropped by Imogene and Willie.

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The Leo Sawtooth in black selvedge denim.
Please say hello to my new favorite shirt.  Please also don’t be alarmed if I seem to be wearing it every single time you see me.

Nashville Nashville Nashville Nashville Nashville

Nashville

On the way back, we drove threw a horrible thunderstorm at night and stayed with my Aunt in West Virginia for what felt like exactly seven minutes.  We did, however, make time to stop at the Waffle House.  Surprised it was my first visit?  Well, we don’t have them on the west coast — we do have an International House of Pancakes, but that appears to be unrelated.  In any event, it became one of our favorite places while on the road, where locals would mix in with the transient folk like us, rubbing elbows over hash brown concoctions and yelled orders.

Nashville Nashville

Nashville

Perfect.

Photos by the amazing Amelia Tubb.
Instagrams by me!
Bags courtesy of Kletterwerks.

Let’s Go!

16/06/2013 § Leave a comment

Let's Go Let's Go Let's Go Let's Go modern-vacation-rentals-hudson-valley-new-york-2 Let's Go Let's GoLet's Go Let's Go

If you’re in the market for a little travel inspiration this summer, I’ve recently started putting together photo collages of places I’d like to visit as soon as humanly possible.  From glamping in the Australian outback to secluded spa resorts in Brazil to beachy villas in Tulum to foresty retreats in the Hudson Valley, you can peruse them all on my Tumblr, under the tag “Let’s Go.”  Just please remember to pack me in your suitcase, should you actually go to any of them.

Field Notes || Myrtle

20/05/2013 § Leave a comment

Myrtle - 01 Myrtle - 02 Myrtle - 03 Myrtle - 19 Myrtle - 04 Myrtle - 05 Myrtle - 06 Myrtle - 07 Myrtle - 08 Myrtle - 09 Myrtle - 10 Myrtle - 11 Myrtle - 12 Myrtle - 13 Myrtle - 14 Myrtle - 15 Myrtle - 16 Myrtle - 17 Myrtle - 18 Myrtle - 20 Myrtle - 21 Myrtle - 32 Myrtle - 22 Myrtle - 24 Myrtle - 25 Myrtle - 27 Myrtle - 28 Myrtle - 29 Myrtle - 31 Myrtle - 23

During my recent trip to Los Angeles, I had the pleasure of visiting with Whitney Bickers, the proprietress of Myrtle, a delightful boutique snuggled on a corner of Sunset Boulevard in Echo Park.  Featuring independent female designers and an excellent selection of vintage clothing, as well as accessories, books and other assorted gifty items, this adorable little shop feels more like a clubhouse than mere retail experience, completely due to the amount of personal attention Whitney provides her customers.  Shopping at Myrtle is akin to spending a leisurely time with a trusted friend, trying out all sorts of interesting designers and original pieces you may have never heard of before — almost like your personal, inside track to style.

Whitney and Myrtle first appeared on my radar via mutual friends Samantha Pleet and Lizzie Garrett Mettler, and while it may have taken awhile for us to connect in the non-internet world, I’m so glad we did.  Aside from being one of the loveliest people ever (ever!), her path to opening Myrtle is certainly an inspiration.  While working in the entertainment industry on the production side, Whitney came to the realization that what she was really dreaming of was having a store of her own.  With no formal background in retail, but armed with some good advice, a tiny bit of luck and a whole lot of hard work, Whitney took a leap and opened in 2011.  In the years since, this one-woman show has continued to evolve, expanding to e-commerce and one of my very favorite Instagram feeds, where Whitney tries on new store arrivals in the massive mirror you can see above, giving internet fans of Myrtle an early head’s up at stock that hasn’t made it to the webstore just yet — but the best part is that you can tell how much fun she’s having.  And of course, when she wanted to turn the camera on me during our visit, I immediately insisted on a double mirror portrait of our own…

Myrtle

Myrtle
2213 Sunset Boulevard  || Los Angeles, CA 90026 || (213) 413-0004

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