gifting experiences: venice beach + joshua tree

i have a hard time keeping secrets. especially the good kind - the surprise kind. which is why it took everything i had to keep this trip a secret from taylor. he and i have been gifting each other with experiences since the beginning of our relationship, but his september birthday didn't allow for much travel in recent years.

with this in mind, i proceeded to plan the perfect five day trip to los angeles and joshua tree national park. below are some images from our travels (scroll to the bottom of the post for my recommendations in both areas).

*indicates photo above

STAY: the most incredible airbnb's we've ever stayed in - one in venice beach + one in joshua tree*. (our stay in venice included awesome cruiser bikes we used the whole weekend!)

DO | LA: book a surf lesson or camp with Quinn at Eat Sleep Surf* / wander along Abbot Kinney Blvd in Venice and check out all of the boutiques

DO | Joshua Tree + Palm Springs: get lost exploring the neighborhoods in Palm Springs* / Joshua Tree National Park* / Moorten Botanical Garden / Integratron (reservations recommended)

EAT | DTLA + Venice Beach: Juice Served Here* / Grand Central Market* / Santa Monica Farmer's Market (where the local chefs shop) / Gjelina / Poke Poke / The Butcher's Daughter / Gjusta / Deus ex Machina / Mexican street vendors at Olympic/Central in DTLA (weekends)

EAT | Joshua Tree + Palm Springs: Ernest Coffee / Workshop / Pappy & Harriet's (go for an open mic night - reservations recommended) / Joshua Tree Coffee Company

desert beauty: marfa, texas

since moving out to colorado, road trips have become our primary way of getting from place to place. living back east, we would drive to the mountains to ski or hike, but it was rare to plan vacations via car. this was our longest road trip - a solid 12 hours from denver through new mexico, through the guadalupe mountains national park to the desert town of marfa, texas. a blink of a town really, nestled in the high chihuahuan desert, surrounded by dusty landscapes and eerie night skies. i had wanted to check out this artists' haven for a while, but wasn't exactly sure what to expect there.

marfa was discovered in 1971 by minimalist artist, donald judd, who relocated from new york city and began to permanently install his art. from there, scores of artists followed and there has been an influx of culture since - galleries, boutique hotels, bookstores and coffeeshops pepper the streets. the mix of old and new is what gives marfa its charm - run down buildings and ghost lettering give way to unique eateries and bars. 

scroll to the bottom of the post for my favorite spots in marfa.

note: marfa is a total weekend town. some shops and restaurants are only open fridays and saturdays (and most things are closed mondays and tuesdays), so be sure to check on hours before planning your trip. *indicates pictured above.

to stay: bohemian pick - el cosmico motel* / pampered pick - hotel saint george / local pick - airbnb / historic pick - hotel paisano* / contemporary pick - thunderbird hotel

to eat: food shark food truck (get the marfalafel! go early as they close when they run out)* / museum of electronic wonders & late night grilled cheese parlour (delicious late night grilled cheese, go early to beat the rush)* / pizza foundation / marfa burrito (incredible homemade burritos in ramona's kitchen - literally. knowing some spanish will help here!) / the get go (this small grocery store packs a punch - from organic produce to locally-crafted goods) / farmstand marfa (a local farmer's market saturday mornings in summer, located across the tracks from marfa saint george)

to drink: do your thing coffee (unique space, perfect coffee, delicious toast and porridge for breakfast) / bar saint george (sit outside on the sidewalk for great people watching - best margs, great beer selection - pair it with the charcuterie plate!)* / planet marfa (our favorite experience in marfa - perfect to grab beers on a beautiful summer evening) / lost horse saloon (dive bar with bands and free pool)

to see: chinati foundation (where it all started) / marfa ballroom (contemporary art space - creators of the famous prada marfa on the way into town)* / marfa lights (a mystery, even to the locals)

to shop: cobra rock boot company (beautiful desert boots with a long waiting list, see where they are made)* / freda (tiny shop with a curated selection of jewelry, clothing and housewares) / marfa book company (fantastic selection of books in gorgeous space in the hotel saint george) / el cosmico provision co. (even if you don't stay at el cosmico, check out the shop in their lobby for local and desert-inspired products) / cast & crew (unique furnishings) / marfa brand soap (yucca root and campfire scents!)

a lesson in details at dram lodge

if you live in colorado and haven't heard about silver plume's gem - dram apothecary - i'd be surprised. owners shae and brady have cultivated a completely magical experience in a blink of a town off I-70. with the bar recently being sold to new tenants, the creative couple has time to focus on other projects, one of which being their lodge down the street.

the old lodge was historically owned by the knights of pythias secret society back in 1885 and is one of the more eye-catching buildings in town. after a day of hiking through nearby guanella pass, we settled in for a quiet and cozy night of cooking and catching up on reading. of course, the lodge brings attention to detail to a whole new level - everything is an incredible vignette, and certainly a photographer's dream. have a look around, and if you want to book the space for yourself, you can do so here

revisiting london

in my mind, london was overrated. after living in manhattan for years, it was hard to justify spending precious vacation time getting lost in another metropolis. that changed, however, on my third trip to the city this past october - i fell in love. in other words, i was sad when it came time for us to leave for iceland. and months later, i'm still thinking about it - the narrow, winding alleyways, the never-ending neighborhoods, the glistening cobblestone streets after fresh rain... 

i've compiled some of my favorite photos of london - i found myself particularly enamored with the architectureand, if you happen to be planning an trip there anytime soon, my favorites list can be found at the bottom. 


central london: borough market (bread ahead bakery + kappacasein cheese toasties!) / neal's yard dairy / st. paul's cathedral / maltby street market / tower bridge

notting hill / kensington: ottolenghi / st. luke's mews* / kensington palace* / portobello road market / serpentine gallery / churchill arms

shoreditch, east london: the culpeper / old spitalfield's market / brooklyn coffee* / andina / dishoom / labour & wait* / paper & cup coffee / albion* / brick lane market

pimlico: no.11 pimlico road* / daylesford grocers

sohogelupo gelato / polpo

marylebone: daunt bookstore / chiltern firehouse / monocle cafe / workshop coffee co. / mother's milk coffee

covent garden: covent garden market / neal's yard /

maida vale: beautiful neighborhood where we stayed in an airbnb flat / the elgin

*pictured

remote colorado: paint mines interpretive park

the paint mines were on my list for a while. from a designer's eye, the color palette this place boasts is mind-boggling. i've been increasingly using nature to catalog colors in my mind, and photographing them to make sure i remember how vivid they were. just over an hour from denver, paint mines is the perfect spot to get lost in for the afternoon after a trip to fort collins. it's a manageable 750 acres and not very populated - the rock formations and array of plant life there are worth getting your eyes on. 

paint mines interpretive park | paint mine road | calhan, co 80808

a birthday celebration in santa fe

a little disclaimer for those seeking my regular food photos: there aren't many here. we took off for a weekend in santa fe in the thick of doing the whole 30, which in the moment seemed like a bad idea, but it really wasn't. santa fe is an incredible place for health and wellness - art is celebrated here, restaurants are friendly to all diets and there is a balance found that you can't really explain... you just have experience it.

we spent the weekend at a casita in the acequia madre area of town, the city's oldest section, and wandered and explored from there. we also visited two incredible spas - the japanese mountain retreat, ten thousand waves, and ojo caliente, a hot spring just an hour north. it was an invigorating weekend and we left feeling refreshed and found an ease upon our return.

if the health food area sparks interest, here are a few of my favorites (*pictured*):

*santa fe farmer's market

*rasa juice bar

*modern general

cafe pasqual's

vinaigrette salad bistro

*verde juice

a weekend in authentic austin

austin. the perfect mix of culture, design and food wrapped up in a pretty, sometimes gritty package. i've always heard of the music scene being incredible there, but over the course of 4 days in town, there wasn't time for any. after living in manhattan for nearly a decade, i've missed that heartbeat, that creativity, that quirkiness that only certain places have. austin is one of them. during our time there, we ate more than we should have but spent the long days out wandering and letting our curiosity take over in exploration. i can't wait to go back.

there are almost too many spots to list, but i've compiled some of my favorites here. names & locations are at the bottom of the post.

*pictured*

Food

*Torchy's several locations, 1131 S. 1st Street | 512.366.0537

*Elizabeth Street Cafe 1501 S. 1st Street | 512.291.2881

*La Condesa 400 W. 2nd Street | 512.499.0300

*Josephine House 1601 Waterston Ave | 512.477.5584

Justine's Brasserie 4710 E. 5th Street | 512.385.2900

*TacoDeli several locations

East Side King 2310 S. Lamar Blvd | 412.383.8382

 

Shopping

Uncommon Objects 1512 S. Congress Ave | 512.442.4000

Feather's Boutique 1700 S. Congress Ave | 512.912.9779

STAG Provisions 1423 S. Congress Ave | 512.373.7824

Nannie Inez 701 S. Lamar Blvd | 512.428.6639

Mockingbird Domestics 2151 S. Lamar Blvd | 512.677.4004

Metier Cook's Supply 1805 S. 1st Street | 512.276.2605

 

Coffee

*Tom's Roastery 1401 S. Congress Ave | 512.350.2115

Houndstooth Coffee 401 S. Congress Ave | 512.394.6051

Seventh Flag 1506 S. 1st Street

*Figure 8 Coffee 1111 Chicon Street

*Mozart's Coffee 3825 Lake Austin Blvd | 512.477.2900

 

Drinks

Container Bar 90 Rainey Street | 512.320.0820

*Whisler's 1816 E. 6th Street | 512.480.0781

Whip In 1950 South Interstate Hwy 35 | 512.422.5337

denver: a place where street art thrives

spending our first year in denver living in the up-and-coming art district of river north (also referred to as "RiNo") was incredibly inspiring. just a year later, the area has seen so much change, but still retains that gritty exterior. i spent a sunday morning (with Huckleberry coffee in hand) wandering alleys and streets, capturing some of my favorite murals. there's so much more to see than this, but it will give you a feel for the vibe of the neighborhood.

an epic meal in silver plume, colorado

being asked to photograph for Fellow Magazine was one of the highlights of my first year in denver. as if that wasn't exciting enough, the assignment was to shoot a very special dinner party showcasing an incredible 6-course menu designed by chef daniel asher of Root Down and Linger. Cappello's gluten-free pasta was featured throughout the dishes while Shae and Brady of Dram Apothecary hosted the evening, their unique (and beautiful!) cocktails pairing perfectly with the cuisine.

it's hard to take a bad photo at Dram - there are so many details that never get overlooked. the moonlit rocky mountains are the best backdrop a photographer could ever dream of, just beyond the community tables and the twinkling lights.

a selection of the following images were featured in the Winter 2015 issue of Fellow Magazine.

beginning a new year in nederland, colorado

spending the first day of 2015 snowshoeing in a forest with great friends was a far cry from our days in new york. don't get me wrong - new years festivities in nyc were always fun, but it never felt right starting the year hungover on the couch.

nederland was the perfect little mountain town for a relaxing getaway. our airbnb cabin was nestled in a quiet, tiny neighborhood in walking distance of town. we spent our days cooking and exploring and our nights laughing, drinking wine, and playing poker and pictionary (...girls vs. guys, which we of course dominated).

these are the days we will look back on and smile. for being so thankful to live in a place that people not only want to visit, but come back to again and again. for being able to drive just an hour and feel that we're in a completely new, refreshing space. here's to 2015: if the first day of the year was indicative of the days ahead, I'm ready.