23 October 2012, 19:38
What a wild & exhilarating weekend! Though we all feel like we’ve been some through some kind of stylish & fabulous war, I think it’s fair to say that our very first Blogcademy was a smashing success.
It was absolutely incredible to spend the weekend with 30 enthusiastic & excitable students, to teach them as much as we could & overload them with inspiration. We ALL learned something, even the headmistresses, & I am so excited to see how everyone’s blogs grow & change after the Blogcademy!
We poured everything we had into those two days, & I’m still reeling. I can barely put the experience into words. I have a full recap coming soon, but in the meantime, I wanted to share some photos from the weekend by one of our extremely talented Blogcademy graduates, Femke Leemans! (Click on her name for more pictures & a review of the weekend from her point of view!)
We all wore our finery: leather bunny ears, sparkly shoes…
Crystal light fixtures & fire escapes…
Look at these blogger babes!
Poms, striped straws & turquoise cups…
Kat hard at work, me having an intense conversation!
Nubby & her shadow.
Lisa & I got papped in the kitchen!
Everyone got one of these heart rings in their goodie bag (more details on that soon!), & Stephanie loves her caffeine.
Natanya’s iPhone case fit in very well! Nubby’s wearing sparkly ears this time.
Taking a photo of Nubby & Veronica Varlow.
Some of our ecstatic graduates, & Angela modelling a balloon! I can’t believe we forgot to take a photo of everyone at once. Next time!
These photos don’t serve up any evidence of the manic champagne-fuelled dance party that happened at the end of the night… But maybe that’s a good thing?!
Believe me, there is a mammoth, detailed post coming up soon… !
Turquoise poms & metallic B balloons,
19 July 2012, 08:36
Just looking back at these pictures brings a huge smile to my face! It already seems like a thousand years since I was in Santa Monica with my Virgo BFF, Nubby Twiglet! We had such a good time pretending to be California girls... I can’t wait to do it again sometime soon!
Nubby’s always trying to put the moves on me. Don’t tell her husband!
A bizarre family portrait… & a Catwoman impression?! Hahah!
Hello gorgeous! I can’t wait until Nubby is 90 years old & can look back at this photo & croak out, “I sure was good-lookin’!”
This swimming pool turquoise colour always makes me think of California.
I want squared-off eyebrows like this every day. For ever. & always.
Can’t resist a camera. A curse of our generation!
I LOVE this photo of Nubby!
I love this hat, too.
All libraries should be blindingly lemon, don’t you think?
Being tourists on the huge ferris wheel on the Santa Monica pier.
Developing a Polaroid is — as you can see — VERY exciting stuff!
Who would have thought a bright yellow armchair could look so good?
We spent plenty of time on the swings while we were in Santa Monica. There’s just something about them that makes me so happy!
Our intrepid photographers: Marielle, Alie & Christina! I love them & miss them!
Daydreaming of summer vibes, turquoise swimming pools & trips to Urth Caffe… Oh, California, won’t you have us back soon?!
Photos by Made U Look!
11 June 2012, 10:01
A 1950’s skater dress & street art in Santa Monica.
California was just the getaway these Virgo gals needed. With an abundance of sunshine, plenty of time by the sea & lots of fresh air, it was the perfect holiday in every way.
You see, Nubby & I have this tradition: we go away together at least once a year. It’s a total treat, especially since we live on opposite sides of the United States (she’s based in Portland, OR while I’m in New York City). It gives us a fantastic opportunity to reconnect, recharge & get reinspired. I woke up on our last morning together & realised this has been a tradition now for five years! We’ve been all over the place — New York City, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Paris, Reykjavik — but even when we repeat cities, we like to do it differently every time. We rarely stay in the same hotel, & we always seek out something new.
Of course, inevitably we get to that last day: the day when we wake up early, finish packing, check out, get in a cab & bid each other a sad goodbye. Another inevitability: every time we say, “This was the best trip ever!” It’s true — this was our best trip ever! Even better than France, even better than Iceland, even better than Las Vegas. Every vacation raises the bar, but then, we wouldn’t have it any other way!
What follows is a travel diary of sorts, containing holiday snapshots & some recommendations of hotels, shops & restaurants that we loved! I hope that you’ll check out some of these ideas if you’re heading to Los Angeles in the near future!
Flying West with Virgin America (my favourite airline).
Guess whose luggage is whose! By the way, my black sequin backpack is from Victoria’s Secret Pink & I am obsessed with it!
Nubby’s feet in our room at The Viceroy.
The last two times we visited Los Angeles, we stayed at the Palihouse Hotel in West Hollywood. Make no mistake, the Palihouse is an incredible hotel — it’s more like a short-term apartment than a hotel room, with massive rooms, a cute lobby & very chic decor. But we wanted to try something new, so we decided to stay at The Viceroy. We didn’t really have any idea how much this switch would change our experience, which made it a very pleasant surprise!
Firstly, The Viceroy is in Santa Monica, which turned out to be a complete blessing. Secondly, because it isn’t intended for long stays, the vibe is completely different: people staying at The Viceroy are there to relax, not to sit in their room & work on their screenplay. The Viceroy has a fantastic pool scene: two gleaming turquoise pools surrounded by immaculately landscaped lawns & black & white-striped cabanas. You can lounge poolside all day, ordering drinks & food, getting some sun & dipping your toes into the heated water on a whim.
The rooms at The Viceroy are about 1/3 the size of the rooms we were accustomed to at the Palihouse, which was a surprise to us, not least because The Viceroy’s price-tag is significant. But the experience is completely different. The Viceroy is a getaway, a departure from your day-to-day life. It’s an escape; an experience. Not to mention, The Viceroy easily makes up for its smaller rooms in other ways: Kelly Wearstler’s interior design is out of this world, the service is unequivocably excellent, the entire hotel smells incredible & let’s not forget, the location is fantastic.
Is The Viceroy a bit of a splurge? Yes, definitely — but it’s worth it.
Love this print at Sugar Paper (of course!).
With Yume, Bei, Izzy & Michelle, in The Viceroy’s very very Wizard Of Oz bathroom!
Wallpaper in our room & a 1950’s skater dress!
The nighttime scene out our window.
Self-portraits in a poolside cabana.
Nubby & I don’t like to drive in Los Angeles. It’s a little bit terrifying. We’re usually with friends who, in an act of extreme generosity, will happily ferry us around to wherever we want to go. This time, we didn’t have constant access to a friend with a car — but it turned out to be a great thing.
West Hollywood, where we normally stay, isn’t the most thrilling place to walk around, but Santa Monica IS! Every morning we would walk over to Urth Caffe, get coffee & people-watch (always super-fascinating in California). Then we’d walk down to the beach & inhale the salty sea air while we discussed our plans for the day. Walking along Main Street & the Third Street Promenade is delightful, & being so close to the beach really changed the way we structured our days.
All that sea air must have gotten to Nubby, because she actually agreed when I suggested we take advantage of The Viceroy’s complimentary poolside yoga classes, & even better, we rented bicycles & cruised down to Venice Beach!
Other great things about Santa Monica: It’s pretty much raw food mecca, if you’re into that. You’ll find Raw Food Daily, Juliano’s, Euphoria Loves Rawvolution & a massive amount of other super-healthy places to eat & drink. The Santa Monica Pier — with its ferris wheel, rollercoasters, photobooths & swings — is super-fun. Also, Third Street Promenade is a pedestrian plaza which glows with fairy lights at night & is filled with performers, food trucks & people walking around until midnight. We both absolutely loved it.
Usually when we’re in Los Angeles, we spend 70% of our time in traffic. Instead, we woke up at 6.30am every morning, got ready & launched into our day. We didn’t have to wait around for anyone else, we just launched into whatever activity felt best! The other great thing about walking around everywhere is that you get to see things that you would otherwise simply drive past. We saw so much cool street art, as well as discovering hidden storefronts & adorable houses.
I couldn’t have fathomed how much the change in location would impact our trip, but I am so, so glad we stayed in Santa Monica!
Hello x 2!
J’adore this perfume bottle at Lucky Scent!
I loved this little window. Unfortunately, the shop wasn’t open…
My Kate Spade handbag found its perfect home!
My face & my feet… On two separate occasions.
I have been a fan of Lucky Scent for a very, very long time — in fact, even before I started this blog in 2006! When I was researching what I wanted to do on this trip, I was delighted to realise they had a retail location in L.A., & it immediately became an essential stop.
What a fantastic store! Tucked away on Beverly Blvd., this shop is the ultimate treat for your nose. Staffed by immaculate olfactory geniuses, this is the place to go if you want to smell absolutely delicious. The best thing is that Lucky Scent is known for purveying unique scents: as much as I love Lolita Lempicka & Angel, you won’t find them here. Instead, they concentrate their efforts on small, boutique fragrance houses who produce really special scents.
We were helped by this gentleman, who spoke perfect French & whose moustache was perfectly-groomed. I didn’t catch his name, but we adored him!
I couldn’t leave without buying something, & I settled on Comptoir Sud Pacifique’s Vanille Abricot, which smells absolutely insane. I also picked up samples of Histoires de Parfums’ 1969, Kai & Montale’s Chocolate Greedy.
In fact, we were all so obsessed with Vanille Abricot that every morning, Nubby would demand, “Spray me!” ...& I would, obliging friend that I am!
The (free!) photobooth at Le Labo.
Bloggers love a photobooth, & we stumbled across two while we were in town! The first is on Santa Monica Pier, inside the video arcade… but it’s a tricky endeavour. We got one $4 strip out of it, & when we went to do another one, it stopped accepting our coins at $3.25! A bit of a battle ensued, & after some hand-wringing, we resorted to brute force. We would draw the curtain (so no one could see us), then take turns kicking the coin-slot until we heard the satisfying “clunk” of a quarter swallowed & accounted for! Anyway, we got our photos… but hopefully we didn’t break the machine!
The second photobooth we found was at Le Labo on Abbot Kinney, a really cute shopping strip in Venice. Even better? Le Labo’s photobooth is FREE. They simply give you a handful of tokens when you ask about it. It’s a digital photobooth, but the pictures are B&W, so you get the retro feel with the perks of a clean-looking picture! Perfection. It’s such a cute shop, too — I recommend visiting & stocking up on candles & fragrance!
Nubby & I with Mary Bee!
Shark attack! Photo by Mary Bee. (P.S. Did you know that my husband got bitten by a shark in California?! Crazy but true! He had to get a skin graft, & has a scar on his leg! He also got a shark tattoo to commemorate! What a weirdo!)
I met Mary in 2006 in San Francisco, about three days after Burning Man had completely obliterated both of us! We have kept in touch ever since, & she is such a blessing. Mary is one of those people who can make anyone feel good: she is smart, sensitive, positive & of course, a little ridiculous!
Mary also happens to manage Hidden Treasures, one of my favourite vintage clothing stores of all time, so when Nubby & I invited her over on Friday night, we didn’t know what to think when she walked into our suite hauling three enormous bags full of vintage dresses! It’s true: Mary had been stockpiling those dresses for us since last time we were in town (a year ago!). Of course, a crazy dress-up party ensued, complete with bizarre way-too-short girl scout dresses, a Frankenstein-esque patchwork nightmare & a whole lot of incredible treasures! I really, really want to tell you about Nubby’s big score but I won’t; I’ll let her break the news to you in her own way! (Trust me when I say it’s good!)
We also explored Abbot Kinney with Mary, ate at In-N-Out, shared lots of embraces & laughed at extremely inappropriate times. It was great! We love you Mary. You made our trip so magical. Thank you!
Swings make me so happy!
A blogger’s work is never done!
Polaroids by Marielle of Made U Look!
Kat & I had so much fun with the Made U Look Girls in New York City a few weeks ago, but did you know they’re actually based in California?! Of course, I had to send them an email inviting them out to dinner & drinks, & we decided to shoot some pictures while we were all together!
What transpired was an absolutely incredible afternoon & evening filled with snapping shutters, lots of laughter & a gorgeous ferris wheel ride at sunset. I absolutely LOVE those girls: they have hearts of gold & are completely delightful!
We can’t wait to show you the pictures we took at the hotel, on the beach & the boardwalk!
Riding bicycles along Venice Beach.
This was a major highlight of our trip. On Monday morning, we woke up early, got breakfast at Urth Caffe, & then walked down to the beach to rent bicycles. Mine was pink — of course!
We made quite a sight, I’m sure. I was wearing a pentagram t-shirt, pedalling in a pair of motorcycle boots & wearing a black sequin backpack, & Nubby was in black skinny jeans with her Miu Miu handbag sticking out of the basket on her handlebars! We were quite different to all the groups of families & Very Serious Cyclists™ that we encountered!
The ride from Santa Monica to Venice Beach is a quick one. Riding along the boardwalk, with the sand & the sea on one side of you, you instantly feel refreshed & alive. Riding back & forth was one of our favourite moments from our time in Los Angeles. I definitely recommend it if you have time!
My dear friend John — aka Halcyon — made the drive from San Diego just to come up & say hello. I was so flattered, & it was fantastic to spend some time with him. We’ve hung out a little bit in person, at Burning Man & SXSW, but this was the first time we’d spent more than ten minutes in one another’s presence.
He set up his video camera & pointed it at us while we sat beside the pool & chatted. Our conversation veered from beauty to fashion to radical self love & gratitude, & I think it’s a cute look into the kind of chats we have!
Afterwards, John, Nubby & I headed to Abbot Kinney where we met with Mary Bee, drank coffee at Intelligentsia & mooched around. As we walked into Intelligentsia — known to be some of the best coffee-purveyors on the West Coast — John said, “This is too fancy for me. I’m more of a, ‘Does this gas station have coffee? Cool’, kinda guy.” It made us laugh so hard!
By the way, John’s weekly Hugnation broadcast is awesome. You should definitely make watching it a part of your regular routine!
There was a mirror above our bed which made for perfect self-portraits.
Ever since I got my iPhone, I’ll admit that I have been massively slacking on the photo-taking front. Actually, that’s not strictly true: I take plenty of photos, I just do it all with my phone. It’s constantly in my handbag, which makes it ideal for snapping anything of interest. My digital SLR started to seem really bulky & unnecessary, & before I knew it, it was literally covered in a layer of dust.
I decided this was nonsense, so I blew the cobwebs off my dear old Nikon & packed it in my suitcase… & I am so glad I did! There are some things an iPhone just can’t capture. I kept it in my handbag at all times & used it like mad.
It reminded me how much fun I’ve had with a digital camera over the years, & now I’m totally inspired to keep one on me at all times. Just the simple act of carrying a camera reminds you to keep looking for the beauty in every moment: something I always like to keep in mind!
At Joan’s On Third.
When we arrived at The Viceroy, I made Nubby sit down & watch The Californians! Hahaha. It’s one of my favourite ever SNL skits. In truly obnoxious fashion, we spoke with that accent basically all week… & repeatedly mentioned the 405!
Say what you will about California, but they have healthy food on LOCK. Everywhere you go, there are ample vegetarian, vegan & gluten-free options: if you ask to have your food prepared slightly differently, they are thrilled to oblige you. This contrasts considerably to New York City, where, most places, half a cow on two pieces of bread is considered an excellent lunch!
We ate so well on our trip. The food at The Viceroy was fantastic (I recommend the grilled chicken salad!), but we also had fantastic meals at Urth Caffe, Joan’s On Third (the West Coast version of Dean & Deluca, I think), True Food Kitchen (where we went two nights in a row), M Street Kitchen, & even the food court in the mall on Third Street Promenade! We loved the yoghurt & granola at Coffee Bean, too.
It’s amazing to me how extremely different the East & West coasts are. It always makes me think about where culture comes from, & how much a place can influence us personally. I am convinced that if I moved to California tomorrow, it would significantly affect the way I live my life — in both positive & negative ways. I love California & think we will probably end up living there someday, but for now, I’m happy just to visit… & I’m always happy when I come back home to NYC!
Getting a little sea, sand & sun on Venice Beach.
I love the colours in California: so, so blue!
I firmly believe the world needs more tree chandeliers!
The Coffee Bean; MAC Cosmetics on Third Street (thank you!!!); Books & Cookies; bird poop; walking across the beach feeling like we were in a desert; ordering chocolate & rhubarb tarts to our room at midnight; splashing around like a mermaid; reviewing our photos every night; the Prince Pandora radio station; “a-choo!”; the library; The Viceroy’s insane Wizard Of Oz bathroom; True Food Kitchen (best wild mushroom gluten-free pizza EVER!); eating salad by the pool; free wifi at The Viceroy (this should be a standard in ALL boutique hotels, thank you for trailblazing!); not taking my laptop with me (who needs more than an iPad on vacation?); listening to Warren G & Tupac in Mary’s car; complimentary drink tokens at Intelligentsia; going for lots of walks; getting some major girl time & enjoying the change of pace!
It’s the MerNub!
This was in an incredible antique shop on Abbot Kinney in Venice.
In-N-Out definitely doesn’t count as healthy eating, but no trip to California is complete without a stop here… in my opinion!
We took these just before we hopped in a cab LAX-bound…
Rainbow-hued umbrellas on the Santa Monica Pier.
Next time I see Nubby will probably be in October, & we both have so much we want to achieve by then! Before my plane took off, I texted her, “Love you! Get lots of work done. By the time we reconvene in October we will be new women.”
I can’t wait to see her again!
P.S. If you want more L.A. madness, check out Nubby’s post!
11 April 2012, 07:51
Just in case you couldn’t tell, Nubby, Kat & I had the best time ever in Las Vegas. Even though only two months have passed, it already feels like it happened a lifetime ago! I’m really craving some extended girl time — & some hot weather! — so it seemed like a good time to recap our adventures in Vegas! Thankfully, we were incredibly snap-happy the whole time, so there’s plenty to show you!
This was our second-to-last day in Vegas, & we were all still rocking our photoshoot hairstyles from the day before! It made us feel extra-glamorous. This picture was taken inside Caesar’s Palace, but it looks like we’re on a wet street in Europe somewhere!
Oh hey, I’m just chilling out next to a huge fountain…
I don’t know if this face has a name. Maybe “stunned guppy”?!
It’s true that when the three of us get together, we look at a LOT of shoes!
Still absolutely 100% in love with this Florence Broadhurst pattern from Kate Spade. In fact, I love it so much that I ended up buying the Japanese Floral Scout, & have been wearing it almost every day!
Ha!!! I love MAC Cosmetics stores. They always feel so full of promise!
...But wait, there’s more! These insane sneakers were at Giuseppe Zanotti & a mere $995! (Cough, cough!) They’re pretty amazing, though… I think if I bought these for Nubby, she’d be running marathons in no time!
Definitely reaching for another pair of shoes in this photo… But none of us bought any the whole time we were in Vegas! Oh well, I promise you we gave it a good go!
I think this fountain should be bigger. Don’t you?
Doing a quality control check before something was posted to Instagram, no doubt!
I can’t begin to tell you how good it felt to soak up some sunshine, especially given the temperatures in NYC at the time!
I feel like every vacation has a kind of theme, or elements that run throughout. Our time in Vegas was definitely punctuated by our obsession with the talents — & tawdry lives of — the Vegas-based magicians. Criss Angel, for some reason, became a major focus. We were so fascinated by everything about him that we even ended up imitating him in photos…
See? I’m not exactly sure why we are all crossing our arms over our chests like vampires, though… Nubby swore up & down that Criss had done promo photos like this, but I can’t find them!
David Copperfield didn’t escape our attention, either. Here we are doing our best Copperfield impressions. Can’t you see the similarities?!
At the Airplanes & Blazers photobooth!
I was so glad that I took my Fujifilm Instax camera with me. It got a LOT of use. I have barely touched my digital SLR in a year!
I loved this sign at the Pussycat Dolls Burlesque Lounge. I want a huge version for our house!
This seemed like a photo op that was simply too good to pass up! Who wouldn’t want to pose with multiple Elvii?!
This terrifying picture was taken on our last night, at a bar that was COMPLETELY dead!
Nubby won’t admit this to you, but she has a total dinosaur fetish.
A Birthday Cake Shake at Holstein’s. Delicious! I recommend.
Need to do this in my living room. I know you think I’m kidding… but I’m not!
My bedside table at The Cosmopolitan… Sparkly shoes & Instax photos, all in a day’s work.
David McNeil is a karaoke genius… Don’t let anyone tell you differently! He was wailing Born To Run at the top of his tarnished lungs!
This was taken at dinner after our photoshoot in the desert. We ate at Mon Ami Gabi in the Paris hotel — & it was incredible — but exhaustion kicked in soon after!
Sunrise over the Eiffaux Tower…
I love the Faux de Triomphe!
This is the fortune Zoltar gave me!
Nubby decided that every time we left the hotel room, we should take a photo… So we did!
It turned out to be a brilliant way of documenting our outfits & a whole lot of silliness!
Embodying my new style direction!
Our outfits on the last full day.
This is the team of people who went out to shoot…
...& this is how it looked on our less-than-glamorous return from the day of shooting in the desert. I’m carrying a huge plastic bag full of clothes & feeling very classy!
Covered in dust at the end of the day, & completely spent.
I adored these hanging paper decorations at Bond… It’s a really cute, psychedelic bar. I actually think there’s a lot of great interior inspiration in Las Vegas, you just have to pay attention!
Things we love: mega chandeliers!
I think I’m… chandelirious!
Our intrepid photographer! you David!
Definitely counting down the days until I next get on a plane!
23 August 2011, 21:08
5.30am, Friday: Chicago-bound. Chloe appeared at my apartment before the sun had even come up. We peeled through the empty Manhattan streets, bound for Newark.
We were heading to Chicago so I could speak at the 20SB Summit, & we were both really excited. I’d never been to Chicago before, & really had no idea what to expect. My only references were Home Alone (yep!) & the lyrics from Say Shh by Atmosphere:
“I love New York & Cali, but I ain’t movin’ — too overpopulated, saturated with humans. & I’m not big on rappers, actors or models… If I had to dip, I’d probably skip to Chicago!”
So you can only imagine my delight when Chicago turned out to be awesome. It is such a great town — we REALLY enjoyed ourselves, & I want to go back again soon!
Here’s a little run-down of some fun things we did. We were unfortunately only there for two days & one night, so we were definitely limited by time, but we made the most of it!
(Beware: This post is EXTREMELY photo-heavy! You might like to let it load while you make a cup of tea!)
“How was your flight?”
“Y’ever been on a plane before?”
“It was like that.”
We disembarked at O’Hare & took a cab into the city to our hotel, Hotel Sax which we both LOVED! Our room was killer — two bathrooms, a living room, & a fantastic, huge bed. Here’s a photo I took of Chloe jumping on it!
We were put in a Studio King suite, which is a crazy 800 square feet (!!!), & it kind of made us wish we were a little more raucous… Two (relatively) well-behaved Earth signs aren’t really capable of making the most of a suite like that! Oh well. The room was great, very bachelor pad chic, with snakeskin armchairs & a padded leather headboard.
Everyone who worked there was supremely helpful & sweet to us — it couldn’t have been better, really. I recommend the Hotel Sax very, very highly!
A blogger’s work is never done…
The hotel is smack-bang in the middle of downtown Chicago, surrounded by bridges, & that super-famous Chicago Theatre sign is just down the block! The location meant we could easily walk a few minutes & make it to the Metro, which we explored excitedly!
We arrived in Chicago at about 10.30am, & after getting to our hotel & freshening up, made our way into the city to see what we could see. Our first stop? Intelligentsia.
At Intelligentsia. I clearly woke up at 5.30am! Disheveled chic!
After typing “vintage clothing” into Yelp on my phone, we decided that we should go to Wicker Park. We found a Metro station & took the blue line to Damon. It was around this time that I learned Chloe is an incredible navigator! She had been to Wicker Park maybe ONCE before, about five years ago, & has some kind of in-built compass which didn’t steer us wrong once! So we started to explore…
Our first stop was Quimby’s. It looks like your standard independent bookstore from the outside, but is even better on the inside! They have a massive zine collection which stretches throughout the entire store, & best of all, a black & white photobooth machine in the back!
Quimby’s reminded me about my zine lust when I was in my teens & early twenties. This girl I knew, Moira, ran a distro called Moon Rocket, & I would pore over her online catalogue feverishly before ordering a stack of zines. She’d send them to me in a big package, & I’d sit on the floor of my bedroom & read, loving that everything had been made & stapled by hand. I always wanted to start my own zine, but never got around to it. The internet took over, & the rest is history… But it reinvigorated my desire to get my hands dirty & create something tangible…
(Total aside: Moira has since founded Alphabet City, an art space & gallery, in Auckland, & I really want to visit when I’m there! They have a letter-writing club!)
Wicker Park is absolutely packed with vintage clothing shops, record stores, cute cafes & odd little gift shops. It’s so much fun, I really loved it — it felt like a cross between the best parts of L.A. & New York, but without any pretension or attitude. People in Chicago seemed really laid-back & chilled out, which makes for such a nice change from NYC!
One of our favourite places we found was a shop called The Boring Store. You walk inside & are faced with a wall of security cameras…
Inside, they sell spy supplies. There’s an installation of televisions & old video cameras. There are dance steps painted on the ceiling. It is FANTASTIC. There are things to marvel at at every turn, & as I walked around, I could feel the same wacky creativity I had as a child returning… I felt inspired & invigorated. When you step into that store, your brain is really encouraged to play!
One wall was covered in empty CD cases, & visitors were instructed to “Take Message, Leave Message”. I opened a case & found the following note:
!!!!!!!!!!!!! Needless to say, this made me really happy… I wrote a nice note in return. Hopefully it will make someone feel good.
The best part about this place is that The Boring Store is actually a front for 826CHI, a non-profit writing & tutoring centre for kids. Behind the store is an enormous classroom full of desks, where kids of all ages go after school & during the holidays to learn how to write, & also to get help with their schoolwork. I think this is so important & valuable, so I really recommend visiting The Boring Store & helping support their programs!
You could buy yourself an emergency bow-tie… Or some fancy googly glasses! Fun times!
Wicker Park also has some great street art & fancy walls. Viz!
Like my case? I bought it in an underground mall in Chinatown, NYC...
Double your pleasure! Chloe & I have matching iPhone covers… What creeps!
Wicker Park was great to walk around. There are plenty of interesting people, & plenty of ways to spend your dosh!
Perhaps a little bit too excited about this Garbage Pail Kids sticker!
We eventually made it back to the hotel room, & after an emergency mid-afternoon nap, Ben — that rad guy who films my videos! — came to our hotel room to take us out on the town. How nice! Ben is from Chicago originally so he was our tour guide for the night. We took a cab back to Wicker Park & took a seat outside at Big Star for amazing Mexican food! Their guacamole was incredible… Take it from someone who knows.
When we were done eating, we skipped across the road to The Violet Hour, a gorgeous bar, almost totally hidden behind a neon pink wall. Inside, it’s dark & beautiful, & they serve incredible drinks. I had an Austin 75 (Tito’s, Lemon, Hibiscus Syrup, Sparkling). Ben had a Juliet & Romeo (Beefeater, Mint, Cucumber, Rose Water) & Chloe had a mojito. They were all SO GOOD!
I have to give a huge shout out to Ben’s cousin, who is the best & organised our reservations! You are the best!
We wound down early & headed to bed to get rested for what would be a big day…
At The Violet Hour… Photo by Ben Vogel!
Saturday’s first order of business was the 20SB Summit, & it was excellent! It was very well-organised & the attendees were sweet, curious & friendly. Since we were in Chicago, the city where they filmed High Fidelity, I decided to give my presentation in the format of Top 5 lists… It was really fun & I loved seeing everyone smiling back at me while I spoke!
...But when we walked out of my conference room at the 20SB Summit, you can only imagine our despair at witnessing a city that was now extremely DAMP! Yes, it had started raining, & Chicago rain means business! We quickly rushed across the road to the only place I could think of that would be dry: a mall. The Shops At Northbridge is pretty small, but this fact was redeemed by a visit to Candyality!
Candyality is a retro-styled candy shop with a huge selection that you can pick & mix together. The best part? When you take your bag of assorted treats up to the counter, they tell you your “candyality” — aka, they describe your personality based on what you’ve chosen! Such a cute idea.
To me, she said, “You chose a lot of milk chocolate, which means you’re kind, compassionate & empathetic. There’s some dark chocolate, which shows you’re sophisticated, chic & stylish. You chose some white chocolate, which means you’re a trendsetter. You picked a couple of vintage candies, which means you’re unconventional & like to do your own thing. You have some sour chewy candy, too, which means you’re a risk-taker.” Um… Pretty accurate!
Our enormous bags of sugar kept Chloe & I busy that day & all through the flight home. By the way, chocolate-covered gummy bears are a revelation!
After what seemed like an eternity, but was probably more like twenty minutes, the rain stopped, & we made our way to… The Bean!
The Bean is fantastic! It’s not really called “The Bean”, though… Its actual name is Cloud Gate, & it was designed by Anish Kapoor. It was said to have been inspired by mercury, & it reflects everything around it. I love it! It’s surrounded by tourists at all times, who are busy taking photos of themselves reflected in it… A sad commentary on our time, or simply natural curiousity? Whatever! We joined in!
This photo is me if I was a playing card. I’d want to be Queen of Hearts!
WHAT A CUTIE !
Looking slightly menacing, brandishing my umbrella…
After some major camwhoring at The Bean, we decided to go back to Wicker Park. Chloe bought some records at Reckless Records, & a couple of dresses at Buffalo Exchange. I tried on one dress before deciding I was feeling too lazy to shop (sacré bleu!), & so I took a seat in the changing room & ate chocolate-covered gummy bears!
When we checked our phones & saw we had a couple of hours before we had to leave for the airport, we decided to make a run to Kuma’s Corner, an epic & legendary burger joint in Avondale. Chloe had been raving about it even before we left NYC, so we definitely had to check it out!
Kuma’s Corner is a little pub where they blast metal all day & all the burgers are named after bands. The Pantera burger has roasted poblano peppers, bacon, cheddar & monterey jack cheese, homemade ranchero sauce & tortilla strips. The Slayer is a pile of fries topped with a 10 oz. burger, with chili, cherry peppers, andouille, onions, & jack cheese. The Led Zeppelin has pulled pork on it. The Neurosis includes horseradish mayo. You get the idea!
We pulled up in a taxi, only to be faced with a line of people waiting outside, & were told by the hostess that the wait for a table was two hours. Two hours?! We had to be at the airport by then! “Or,” she added, “You could wait by the bar & grab a seat as soon as it’s available, & just eat there.” No-brainer. We loitered by the bar for about five minutes, & sat down as soon as another couple left. Success! Burgers were ours!
Okay, so honestly: Service was slow. ...Extremely slow. & by the time we were finished, our clothes stunk of smoke & charred meat. (Very Cavegirl.) But it was a great experience. The food was very good & the people-watching was sublime!
But as quickly as our trip had begun, it was over. Before we knew it, we were heading back to O’Hare for our flight home to New York City, looking at one another & asking, “Did we just go to Chicago?!”
Chicago is such a great town. I hope to be back really soon!
Clothing key: Wayfarer sunglasses by Ray-Ban. Pink tee by Betsey Johnson. Belt by Betsey Johnson. Black circle skirt, vintage. Dr Marten Darcie boots. Leopard-print watch by Betsey Johnson. // Turquoise dress, vintage. // Pink cut-out dress by Betsey Johnson. Black bolero from ASOS. Poppy pushlock satchel by Coach.
Photos by Chloe Rice... What a little beaut she is!
Read more about photo-diary...