I am fascinated by the process of block printing textiles, so it's no surprise that I'm a fan of Block Shop Textiles - a Los Angeles based company started by the Stockman sisters who create original designs that are then printed by hand in India.
I'm not sure if it's the chocolate or the packaging that has me more excited, but Compartés certainly has my attention. For over 60 years these handcrafted organic chocolate works of art have been made in Los Angeles, with flavors from the traditional dark chocolate with almonds, to the unique white chocolate with olive and rosemary. Even the fabulous designer, Kelly Wearstler, collaborated on a collection with her signature sense of style. This is my idea of the perfect gift...a bar of chocolate.
Goop posted a recipe for Clean Granola recently and I gave it a shot. It's delicious. In fact, I've already made two batches. In short, it's a keeper. I used sucanat in place of the coconut sugar since I had plenty, and it's a flavorful, minimally-processed sweetener. It's also easy to substitute nuts if you have favorites. Since most commercially made granola is loaded with sugars, and many people gobble it up thinking they're eating something healthy - it's nice to have a recipe that is clean.
This recipe appeared on my Facebook feed this morning and I immediately placed the ingredients in my Vitamix (best kitchen appliance ever). It's undeniable the health benefits of turmeric, and this tastes just delicious. Win-win.
So often the affordable retailers all seem to be selling the same things. I was pleasantly surprised to see CB2 offering up some pieces that stood out from the crowd - a few of which are classics, reinvented.
I fell hard for the high quality, last-a-lifetime goods from Mill Valley, California-based, Guideboat Co. There are times when you buy something inexpensive knowing you will only use it for a short time; however, I'm finding myself more interested in buying fewer, but better, items that will only get better with age.
On this past rainy Sunday, we decided to drive up to Springfield, Illinois for the day to see the Abraham Lincoln Museum along with the Frank Lloyd Wright designed, Dana-Thomas House. Abraham Lincoln is one of my favorite presidents, and this was a truly well done museum. We also stopped at the old Capitol building, which was the site of where Barack Obama announced Joe Biden as his running mate. The current Capitol building was stunning - with a statue of Abe out front. The only man as popular in Springfield as Abraham Lincoln is Frank Lloyd Wright. Wright designed what is known as the Dana-Thomas House in 1902. It is a spectacular 12,000 SF home done in the Prairie style. The tour is fantastic and gives you insight into the mind of this world famous architect. If you're ever in this area, I highly recommend making a stop at these places.
While exploring Detroit recently, I noticed a few stores carrying this local brand of candles. They have really clean scents and are made with soy wax. You can purchase via the website if you're not visiting one of the stockists.
I've had it on my brain for some time to get to Detroit. I have a collection of digital bookmarks and pages torn from magazines for restaurants, coffee shops, neighborhoods...and stories about chefs, artists, entrepreneurs - all making a difference to create a new chapter in the story of this...well, storied place. I wanted to see it for myself, and a last-minute opportunity presented itself - so I took it. I booked a room on airbnb late the night before, and was lucky to have it accepted immediately by the hosts. I arrived the following evening and spent the next 36 hours exploring (and having some good morning chats with my airbnb host about life...and life in Detroit). My biggest takeaway is that this is a city working hard to breathe new life into its punctured lungs. So many shops were dedicated to selling local goods and items celebrating Detroit - and I don't mean in a college bookstore kind of way. I had some truly fantastic food. I didn't get a photo at Rose's Fine Food (kicking myself) but the food was really good and the vintage diner setting was total eye candy. And Selden Standard was another I stumbled upon by accident. Really good food, and a guy named Terry who, they tell me, is across the street every day grooving and gyrating with his headphones on to his favorite Beyoncé and Madonna songs. I will tell you that the number of deserted buildings and beautiful churches with windows knocked out will take your breath away. And this city, just out of bankruptcy, has a long way to go. The city roads are in terrible condition due to lack of funding. This city has endured a hard kick in the groin, but they're not going without a fight. It's a place with so much opportunity, if you're willing to see it and jump in head first.
places I recommend:
Josh Duthie of Chairtastic reclaims old chairs by making subtle (and necessary) changes such as a new seat, new legs, or a fresh paint color. He also has some original designs that are pretty great, as well. How many times have you stumbled upon a great old chair, yet perhaps the seat was worn through? This is inspiring.
Photographer Gray Malin has enviably one of the best jobs. He photographs some of the most beautiful places in the world. I'm sure there's nothing like having his work adorn your walls to transport you to another place.
Last year when we visited Louisville, Kentucky we spotted the work of Frederick Chaffin. We wanted to stop by his studio, but it was closed by the time we got there. Here is some of his current work available on his website:
Earlier this year I was working so much and just needed some time away, so we spent 48 hours in Kansas City. This was Bob's first time in KC, but I've been here on previous trips with my parents. My dad started his company in Kansas City, so it holds special meaning to me.
We checked into the new Hotel Sorella in Country Club Plaza (or "The Plaza") since we knew this was the area we'd spend time walking around in. The Plaza opened in 1923 and consists of gorgeous Spanish-influenced architecture, and is home to high-end restaurants and retail. It's especially beautiful here during the holidays with all the lights.
Our weather was unseasonably warm with clear blue skies. Just what I needed. Our hotel had beautiful public spaces and generously sized rooms. They provide a nice European-style breakfast in the sunroom off the lobby.
Our first morning, we were able to have brunch outside at Graham & Dun. This gastropub is one of the best spots to dine on The Plaza, in my opinion.
Saint Louis-based coffee company, Kaldi's, has opened a location at The Plaza and we wanted to check it out. If you're looking for a Starbucks alternative - or simply, a nice coffee shop - go here.
Just around the corner was Anthropologie, and I feel it's my duty to visit each and every one (as if they're paying me to do so). Each one is uniquely designed and I enjoy seeing what's been done. And you can see my chair obsession is in full effect.
After spending some time exploring The Plaza, we got in the car and headed downtown. A local design duo I follow worked on a new coffee shop and I was curious to see it in person. Thou Mayest Coffee Roasters is serious about coffee, and the atmosphere has a super-cool mid century lodge vibe going on.
I then had to drag Bob into an enormous antiques emporium, where I found one of those fat vibrating machines that people (my parents!) used to exercise on. I use the word exercise loosely. My brother and I loved to get on it and giggle while we jiggled. I then saw this neat looking dictionary and opened it up randomly to this page. Hmm...
That night we checked out a popular Mexican place, Port Fonda. After being told the wait would be 90 minutes, we opted to steal a seat at the bar. This is a happening, fun place with a unique style of Mexican food. After dinner we checked out local ice cream place, Glacé Artisan Ice Cream, and had a hard time deciding on which flavors to try because everything looked so good.
The next morning we had breakfast at Genessee Royale, which is practically in the parking lot of Kemper Arena and is near pretty much nothing else. What I'm sayin' here is that this is a destination spot - but worth it. Definitely order the quinoa pancakes.
I missed the Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera exhibit last year at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, but got to see an interesting exhibit from superstar Spanish chef, Ferran Adria, from the famous El Bulli restaurant. This was no ordinary restaurant, rather one that combined science with artistry and pushed the envelope a thousand fold. The exhibit was a fascinating look behind the scenes, and in the mind of a creative genius.
There were so many other good exhibits as well. I highly recommend visiting because I'm sure it will be worth it. Here are some other favorites:
And then we even enjoyed sitting outside on the lawn for a few minutes...
We happened upon a neat healthy café, T. Loft, as we were driving around exploring. We had some delicious juice drinks and these yummy energy balls. Look how cute this place is! I just found out they will be opening one on The Plaza sometime soon - great news!
A fun, quick trip and I know we'll be heading back soon, as I already have a list of places we didn't make it to and new ones I've heard about. See you soon, KC!
places I recommend:
- Hotel Sorella
- Country Club Plaza
- Graham & Dun
- Kaldi's Coffee
- Thou Mayest Coffee Roasters
- River Market Antiques
- Port Fonda
- Glacé Artisan Ice Cream
- Genessee Royale
- Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art
- T. Loft
We were in Indy this past weekend because Bob's son had a baseball tournament there. We would've explored a bit more, but the weather was crappy - as we seem to attract to torrential downpours wherever we go as of late. I will say this - Indy is a pretty progressive city with an impressively clean downtown. If you love fresh, local food - as we do - you will find a strong emphasis on supporting local growers. We stopped into Libertine on popular Mass. Ave. for a late bite and a cocktail once we arrived. The next night we took the kids to their upstairs sister restaurant, Pizzology, for pizza and pasta. Both places support local farms and food artisans - and the quality shows. The kids wanted ice cream, so we took them to Sub-Zero - a place that uses liquid nitrogen to freeze the ice cream concoction of your choice right before your eyes.
Indy is also a biking town, with lots of public bike paths criss-crossing the city. Our hotel even had bikes you could take out; and we saw some of the most unique bike racks everywhere we went. Of course, we had to check out the places serving cold-press organic juice - and they didn't disappoint. Even better, we took Bob's kids with us to one of them and they really loved what they got (victory!). We visited Natural Born Juicers twice because it was so good. And we had breakfast on Sunday at The Garden Table, and I was completely in love with this place from top to bottom. Go for delicious, fresh, healthy food (and juice!) in a space that I think was designed so well. If we could've eaten two more times immediately after that, we would've happily indulged at Petite Chou and their sister restaurant, Public Greens - both in the Broad Ripple neighborhood. What made Public Greens so special was that it was situated right on a public bike path, with a micro-farm outside, and all the profits from the restaurant go to providing meals for hungry children in the area. There was also the most amazing health food grocery housed in...well, an old house. I felt like we were in Boulder. We picked up local eggs and greens to take home, and the prices were really good. We will definitely go back to explore more...hopefully on two wheels with sunny skies.