12/11/2015 § Leave a comment
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?
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.
This is the “cracked iPhone screen” filter.
Kinda like those glamour shots at the mall, no?
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.
50800 Seminole Drive
(immediately north of Interstate 10)
Cabazon, CA 92230
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.
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.
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??
28/03/2015 § 1 Comment
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 W. 52nd Street
New York, NY 10019
08/08/2014 § 1 Comment
Every 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!
12/07/2013 § 1 Comment
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!
19/06/2013 § 2 Comments
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.
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.
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.
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.
The guest cottage.
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.
We picked up a friend on our walk.
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.
Once we hit Tennessee, it seemed the logical thing
to go to the Willie Nelson General Store and Museum…
…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.
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.
Kletter Day pack — really great side-loading zipper and a padded laptop sleeve.
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:
City House, where you should get the egg on your pizza.
Rolf and Daughters, where I happily made a meal of veggies, foie gras and rosé.
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.
Up 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.
Sanborn Canoe Co, beautiful canoeing paddles made in Winona, Minn.
Amelia making a belt with Billy Moore of Cause and Effect
And of course, we dropped by Imogene and Willie.
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.
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.
16/06/2013 § Leave a comment
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.
20/05/2013 § Leave a comment
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…
2213 Sunset Boulevard || Los Angeles, CA 90026 || (213) 413-0004
02/05/2013 § Leave a comment
Photo via the US National Archives.
The original caption is so great: “A group of Nashville newsies. In middle of group is 7 year old Sam. Smart and profane. He sells nights also. Nashville, Tenn, November 1910”
For TBT, you’re getting this gem partially because of the guy at far left and the fact that my grandfather worked as a newsie, but mostly because it was taken in Nashville, the city that I am bound for this morning! We have stops planned in both Virginia and West Virginia, as well as a visit to Northern Grade, which is making a stop in Music City this weekend. Anything I must do or see? I demand you tell me! And give me a shout if you’ll be around, as well!
While I’m rambling about, the best way to keep up with me will be on Instagram and Tumblr. I’m hoping to attempt a bit of Tumbl-vlogging from the road, but no promises. I’m not sure 1) how to do it, and 2) if my traveling partner will humor me trying to figure it out (I mean, how fun is THAT?!).
02/02/2013 § 2 Comments
Speaking of addresses and letters, I happened upon this lovely silent film produced by the US Postal Service that I wanted to share with you. Produced circa 1925, it describes the benefits of Air Mail and shows the progress of a letter mailed in New York and its journey to San Francisco — a journey that normally took 90 hours by train, but by air in a Dehavilland DH-4 it was only 30!
This clip is part one of two, and you can find the second part here. Please note: here is a very loud clicking noise on the second portion, so it is best watched on mute. It is a silent film, after all.
Film via the archives of the San Diego Air and Space Museum.
14/01/2013 § 8 Comments
A few scenes from the weekend, spent kicking around
the city in rather unseasonably warm weather…
Happened upon the Bloomingdale branch (c.1898)
of the New York Free Circulating Library.
As I mentioned, I made it to the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts for an excellent exhibit on Katharine Hepburn’s costumes for stage and screen. Incidentally, I discovered I had unwittingly purchased the accompanying book some months back: Katharine Hepburn: Rebel Chic. Do give it a look, it’s quite good — especially if you didn’t make it to the exhibit!
While there was plenty to love about the exhibit, my absolute favorite part was when I overheard an older couple discussing the trousers that Katharine tended to wear. The wife, who you can see above, wore a fedora and what looked like a man’s overcoat. When she said she wanted a pair of pants just like Katharine, her husband immediately said that he thought she would look amazing in them. Sort of completely made my day.
On my way to catch Amour at Film Forum (which I highly recommend!), I nipped into the newly opened Houston Hall to sample some of their house drafts. Not only is it a formerly abandoned FBI garage complete with exposed trusses and industrial touches, it’s also the largest — and prettiest! — beer garden I can think of downtown. The Standard had better watch their back.
Flat whites at Laughing Man Marketplace in Tribeca.
Hope you had a lovely weekend!
Photos of me taken by the inestimably talented Tara Cole.