Over the past few years I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to travel more times than I could ever have imagined I would in my entire life. When I was a kid, we rarely traveled unless for a summer road trip that only happened every few years. So whenever I get a chance to pack up for a flight somewhere fun for work or play, I’m always eager to find a way to make it happen. And as I’ve become more and more accustomed to traveling, often traveling even very last-minute, the whole packing thing has become sort of a no-stress affair. I’ve come to realize that no matter what you pack, you’ll always end up wishing you’d brought something (that perfect red dress for a dinner at THAT restaurant) or wish you’d left something at home (those shoes that gave you walking blistering just 2o minutes into the trip). So now, I just kind of throw things in a bag and hope for the best really. For this particular trip to France this week, I’m currently coveting a few items that are essential to a comfortable and enjoyable adventure abroad.

 

pretty colorful flats from madewell (so you can look stylish while running to catch the metro) | dry shampoo by oscar blandi (perfect for those travel days when you’re on the go – I use it even on freshly washed hair to increase volume) | new passport (mine was finally expired & needed a name change) | comfy sweater from steven alan (one of those throw on and go options for chilly nights) | scarf from we are owls (can double as a pillow or eye cover on those long flights) | across the shoulder messenger from zara (make sure it has a zipper to ward off pickpockets) | digital camera from fuji film (i’ve been pining for a new not too bulky digital camera for easy travel) | lightweight jacket from jcrew (one that matches everything and will ward off unexpected afternoon weather changes) | packable hat from moorea seal (for those days you just don’t wanna fuss with your hair) | rose perfume from fragonard (i don’t wear perfume daily but I can never buy enough of this stuff to bring home while I’m in Paris)

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A Return To Paris.

•  26.March.2014

Although the trip has been planned or anticipated for longer than I can remember, I have yet to mention yet on the blog (or even to practically anyone in my life) that I’ll be heading back to Paris next week. I think all the mayhem with the house over the past few months made me fear this trip abroad might have to be shelved; pushed so far off the back burner that my Paris devoted heart would not only break but shatter into a million little pieces. I was afraid to potentially admit that this decision to purchase a home might just have done the one thing I didn’t want it to do – prevent us from having the ability to travel.

I’ve mentioned it many times before but Paris is that one place in the world that I ache for. It creates a sense of nostalgia unmatched by any other place I’ve been. Ever since I was little I have always had an extremely visceral reaction to even the idea of the city of lights. It wasn’t until our honeymoon that I had my first experience with the city, but immediately upon stepping foot into my first French cafe, it has been the place that makes me feel free, alive, confident. I can barely even speak a full sentence in French without stumbling over my words and second guessing myself, but even if I went and stayed in the city and engaged in complete silence for weeks, I would still feel most at home in Paris.

I anticipate this might just be my last trip to this wonderful city for a really long time. I know some people never even get a single opportunity to visit this beautiful place, so I know I am immensely blessed to be returning for the seventh time. I’ll be meeting up with one of my dearest friends Grant, a person whose kindness and ability to view the world with boy wonderment makes me feel like anything is possible. I’ll also be reconnecting with wonderful Anne who is so graciously and kindly providing me with a place to rest my head at night. I can’t wait to see these two again! I’ll also be making new creative connections, including Jill whom I’ve looked forward to connecting with for longer than I can remember. Jill, Grant and I are already cooking up some fun collaborative projects while I’m in town and I can’t wait to share them with all of you when I return.

For now, as I gear up for the packing phase of my upcoming trip, I’m sharing some cherished images from my dearest friend Michael. He captured these shots during our time together in Paris in the fall of 2012, and every time I look at them I’m immediately transported back to all the fun we had and how much personal growth I experienced during this adventure with close friends.

I’ll definitely be sharing images of next week’s Parisian adventures on my instagram feed and will be coming back home to share here too. Any favorite Paris spots I must check out?? I always gravitate towards those that are tried and true, but I would love some tips for some new places!

 

images captured by mr. michael newsted.

 5.

Adventures of Meet Make Do.

•  12.March.2014

If 2014 has already hand delivered a lesson in anything it’s that life can put in your path the most unexpected & headache provoking barriers which you’ve gotta find a way to hurdle right over. As I alluded to in the last couple of posts, Adam and I have had one rough start to the new year. A major house debacle and some recent bouts of bad luck (including a lost cell phone while traveling last weekend which was chock full of un-backed up memories – dang it!) leaving this recent trip to Palm Springs as that much-needed recharging and rejuvenating cure – I mean look at that house?! How could you not be uplifted here?!

Overall the trip to Palm Springs for Meet Make Do was a dream. After feeling incredibly disconnected & uninspired recently in large part to our crazy personal life, I was in desperate need for a pick me up and a pick me up was what I got. Four days in the sun (okay so it rained a whole bit too) with some of the most wonderful women I have ever had the good fortune of getting to know better was everything I could have hoped for and loads more. I was greeted by warm smiling faces and a GORGEOUS mid-century pad filled to the brim with craft/styling supplies and surrounded by breathtaking views – a stylist’s dream location, really. I’m pretty sure I actually whimpered at the sight of the place.

BrittniKelly & Chelsea along with the good folks at Bing worked to bring this curated, creative & collaborative event to life over the past year (so much dedicated planning!) and I’m so so thankful they did! It’s not too often as a freelancer and blogger you get the chance to spend devoted time with those whom you adore and aspire to work alongside, but rather you sit behind the keys of a keyboard day after day wishing with all your might you could instantaneously shrink the distance between you and those whom are scattered so far across the country. The life of a freelancer can often be pretty lonely, and thankfully these four days reminded me I’m not alone on this path. The event was meant to provide inspiration and the tools to create without limitation or hesitation in the company of great friends and new pals, and boy oh boy did it deliver! From our first evening to the very last goodbye I was consistently encouraged by the generosity of spirit of each of the attendees. Each gal, curious and creative in her own right, made the opportunity to create in the same space that much more exciting and full of potential.

Alongside the generosity of Bing, there were so so many amazing people & companies who made this lovely adventure come to life for us. I’ll be sharing a peek into our beautiful swag bags next week, but I couldn’t refrain from sending an enthusiastic (I’m fist pumping over here!) shout out to those who kept our taste buds dancing the entire week. Edoughble (egg-free!) cookie dough styled to perfection with Shop Sweet Lulu supplies was one of the best tantalizing afternoon treats. I know right – so stinkin’ cute! I promise you they were as tasty as they look! I also adored the yummy jams and sweet spreads from M. Greenwood perfect for morning, noon or night snacking. Seriously ANY of their jams paired with cheese and slathered on a cracker?! YES, PLEASE! I will be no doubt purchasing some for home just as soon as our pantry is finally up and running.

Even this gigantic floating beach ball provided the most thoughtful reminder that the process of creating and thinking outside the box is endlessly rewarding. Each detail of the event was so thoughtfully planned, down to our evening dinners – my favorite of which was at Workshop Kitchen + Bar. During a trip to Palm Springs last summer I was saddened I didn’t get a chance to try the place, so when I saw it on the agenda for the week I jumped up and down (I’m easily excitable if you can’t tell!). The dinner was AMAZING and every bit of the menu was as just as beautiful and skillfully styled as it tasted. If you ever get a chance to explore Palm Springs, PLEASE stop here. You won’t regret it! Definitely a new travel favorite of mine.

Besides engaging in great conversation over amazing meals, we spent our time creating & experimenting using a plethora of gorgeous supplies & stunning florals from Flower Muse. I’m pretty sure I spent 50% of my time just drooling over our supply cabinet, as every last item tugged at my imagination. I’ll be sharing a fun tabletop spread I dreamed up alongside Ashley of Sugar & Cloth later on down the road – such a thrill to spontaneously create with a new friend!

I was so impressed by all the amazing projects that were born during our days in Palm Springs – one of my favorites was these spring inspired gift wrapping ideas from Brittany over at The House that Lars Built. I mean come on!?! That flower garden gift topper blows my mind and would surely bring tears of joy to the receiver! Spring has been in full bloom here in Seattle this week and Brittany’s toppers make the change of season all the more sweet.

As with every positive life experience, there is always a not so shiny counterpart. Although as a whole our time in Palm Springs was a delightful treat, we also had an unexpected turn of events two days into the trip that left us moving to a new location at the colorful Saguaro. After an amazing meal at the Ace Hotel sponsored by Minted on Thursday night, we arrived back to our lovely rental house to find that the cabana’s out back had been ransacked. With as much as I travel, I’ve always expected I’d get robbed or pick-pocketed at some point or another, but for it to happen in a place as lovely as this, I was in complete shock. I’m still a bit shook up after the experience (feelings of violation are the worst!), but luckily despite myself and another fellow blogger having our items stolen, the week was hardly ruined in large part to the wonderful women I was in the company of. Quick thinking and a hop to action by Brittni, Kelly & Chelsea prevented any of our time together from spoiling. Thank gosh.

I’m so so so immensely grateful for this trip and for the new friendships that were forged during our time in the desert. My time in Palm Springs, felt like the most perfect summer camp, where life long friendships are forged and you are inspired to be better and dream bigger. Thank you Melanie, Dani, Chelsea, Brittni, Kelly, Ashley, Erin, Chelsey, Brittany, Lexy and Mary for sharing your kind hearts, blogging struggles/triumphs/lessons and reach-for-the-stars aspirations with me. Our late into the night chats will be something I will carry with me for a long while to come.

Be sure to swing by each ladies blog for additional recaps of Meet Make Do (plus new places to add to your blog roll!) and/or instagram for loads of visual inspiration at #meetmakebing.

 

images generously provided by : mary costa photography

 8.

Currently Coveting : Sun in February.

•  26.February.2014

Sunny days are pretty sparse here in Seattle this time of year. February often holds only the promise of rain, rain and you guessed it : more rain. Winter tends to feel like it’s dragging on every year at about this time and you start to feel like you’ll be stuck in a dreary dramatic grey haze forever. When the sun peeks its head out you run towards it. You sprint actually.

So when some of my favorite blog and creative gal pals along with the kind folks at Bing reached out to me a couple of months back about spending a few days in Palm Springs this week for a creative brainstorming powwow, there was ZERO hesitation in my step – a definite no brainer for this Vitamin D starved Seattleite. Sunshine, poolside cocktails, & great conversation with inspiring women for four days in the dead of winter? Uh, yes please!

Some items I’m currently coveting this week as a hop on a jet plane to the land of palm trees and sun-kissed cheeks today.

silk headscarf | sunblock | poolside reading material | sandals | strappy bralette | sunglasses | lip balm | denim overalls (just nabbed these ones from Madewell that I LOVE and will likely wear daily for the next year)

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A Rainy Morning Spent with Fear.

•  08.January.2014

Happy New Year friends. I spent the morning listening to the rain fall outside our Seattle living room window while working on client proposals, mood-boards for upcoming projects and finishing up on the last of those unanswered emails that trickled in while I was away for the holidays.

Yesterday, for the first time since the new year, it felt like my first really productive and assertive work day. The holiday excitement has officially worn off and the desire to set goals, make progress and try new things has valiantly taken hold. Adam and I have some pretty amazing/nerve-racking/exciting/scary things happening in the near future (will be sharing that news soon), so I’m trying to just deep breath and remember that no matter what happens everything will be okay. We have each other and that’s enough. Everything that I need to get done, will get done, and everything that’s supposed to happen will. Things happen for a reason and I should trust that those things are for the right reasons.

I’ve always known that I’m a person that allows fear to run many parts of my mind, and my life for that matter. When anything new presents itself, when change comes knocking on the door, I’m the type that always turns and runs to that place of fear. Sure, I eventually find it within myself to brave the unknown and plunge forward, but it’s not without first stewing for hours if not days within the yuck. Finding myself in the theory : “the worst that could happen WILL happen” and believing it to be true instead of turning over the coin to the other side and saying “what’s the BEST that could happen?”. As my dearest friend Emma reminded me this morning : BOTH are equally possible. Yes, bad things could happen as a result of any decision, BUT great things are just as likely to result too. I’m taking her ‘wise well beyond her years’ advice and trusting my gut and moving forward with a smile and assurance that life will be great - yes, inevitably challenging – but beautiful and wonderful too. That’s the thing about true good friends : they can see things about yourself that you can’t and can hold your hand while you (however slowly) open your blinders.

I had some fun pictures I was going to share with you today from a recent event I designed in November, but I realized I needed a day to just write and get some quiet clarity. To meditate for a few minutes and find calm & peace within myself and this blog while the world swirls around me. I always find peace in my travels so I’m ending today’s post with some black & whites of my 2013 adventures as a way to remind myself that life is grand & great & beautiful and to encourage myself to push back against todays fears and just ride the wave of life today, one hopeful step and raindrop at a time.

*Today’s post is dedicated to my Emma – a friend who always somehow knows exactly how to tap into my strengths when I feel uncertain.

 9.

Stockholm was the last city I visited this summer on my nearly month long adventure in Europe and I couldn’t imagine ending on a more perfect note. Like Copenhagen, I’d always wanted to visit this Scandinavian city and there were so many attributes of the city that reminded me of my favorite places.

Although the weather wasn’t always cooperative (rain, oh rain!) there were so many highlights to my stay here, and I left wanting to return as soon a possible. Markets, boutiques and a plethora of hidden corners kept me intrigued and inspired over my five day stay. Some must stops if you ever get a chance to visit this majestic place :

Shop :

Grandpa (fantastic curated shop – wanted one of everything) Södermannagatan 21, 116 40 Stockholm, Sweden.

Herr Judit (vintage heaven) Hornsgatan 65, 118 49 Stockholm, Sweden.

Papercut (one of the best magazine shops I’ve ever visited) Krukmakargatan 24, 118 51 Stockholm Sweden.

Eat :

Steam (never been a big fan of dumplings, but this place changed my mind) Krukmakargatan 19, 118 51 Stockholm, Sweden.

B.A.R. (fantastic fish and chips and in a great spot near the water) Blasieholmsgatan 4A, 111 48 Stockholm, Sweden.

Do :

Ostermalms Food Hall (your eyes and tastebuds WONT be disappointed) Ostermalmstorg 114 39 Stockholm, Sweden.

Centralbadet (1904 bath house in gorgeous art nouveau building in the middle of the hustle and bustle of city life) Drottninggatan 88, 111 36 Stockholm, Sweden.

 

 

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photography : jenn elliott blake.

 4.

Missing Paris.

•  02.November.2013

I woke up this morning with this overwhelming ache in my gut. For the past few days I can’t get Paris off my mind. I’ve mentioned it many times before on this blog, but Paris has quite a grip on my heart. When I’m there wandering its mysterious streets, I feel just so so alive – my senses so keenly in tune with my surroundings. I’ve been trying to figure out a time when I can make it back there before the end of the year, but for today I’m taming my nostalgic feelings for that gorgeous place with this photo my friend Michael captured of me during our shared time in the city of lights last fall.

Hope you’re enjoying this blustering Autumn weekend! I’ve been watching the leaves flutter across our street from my window all morning.

 1.

Copenhagen was one of the cities on my trip to Europe this summer that I’d wanted to visit for longer than I can remember. So many creative folks whom I greatly admire have spoken of how much Denmark changed their lives and it made me curious of all the beauty that lie ahead.

It didn’t take longer than the bus ride from the airport to my apartment rental to realize and appreciate the charm and uniqueness of this wonderful city. Although there were a few bumps in the road during my four days there (a broken sandal, an ATM malfunction (2000 danish krona instead of 200), and blanketed pouring rain) it truly did capture my heart. I visited the Torvehallerne market five times (at least) during my stay and was immensely inspired by the plethora of amazing artists studios trickling across the small city. It was also the first time in my ENTIRE life I actually felt short (I teeter between 5’11 and 6 ft)! So many tall, blonde women who inspired me to stand a little more upright upon returning home to the states.

A couple of must see Copenhagen spots :

Torvehallerne (amazing amazing AMAZING market with the most sophisticated stalls, produce and products you’ll ever see! You cannot visit Copenhagen without checking this place out! I went 5 times during my stay) : Frederiksborggade 21  1360 Copenhagen K

The Coffee Collective (there are a couple of locations throughout the city, but the overall aesthetic and taste of the coffee makes this place a winner) : Jaegersborggade 10  2200 Copenhagen N

Frederiksberg Flea Market (so many perfect and affordable vintage treasures – open every Saturday during the season) : Bag Frederiksberg Radhaus 2000 Frederiksberg

Hay House (to put it simply : I could live here. A home interiors mecca full of endless “must have” items) : Oestergade 61, 2nd & 3rd Floor  1100 Copenhagen K

Vanishing Point (beautiful handmade studio with lovely gift or souvenir options. I bought the most adorable toddler swimsuit there) : Jaegersborggade 45  2200 Copenhagen N

Stilleben (one of those boutiques that convinces you that you must take home one of everything they offer. My favorite shop I visited by far) : Niels Hemmingsens Gade 3  1153 Copenhagen K

Jaegersborggade Street (my favorite street in all of Copenhagen, nestled into the beautiful neighborhood of Norrebro. Too many great shops to count – a must stroll spot)

Gorms Pizza (one word? yum!) : Torvehallerne Market  Nyhavn 14 1051 Copenhagen

Ladyfingers (very cute jewelry spot specializing in geometric shapes. I bought a beautiful gold triangle ring that hasn’t left my hand since) : Jaegersborggade 4  2200 Copenhagen N

Natural History Museum Botanical Gardens (one of my favorite places of the entire trip. I spent an entire afternoon wandering amongst the peaceful beauty) : Oster Farimagsgade 2 B  Copenhagen

Designer Zoo (wonderful studio full of fantastic glassware and ceramics from local designers) : Vesterbrogade 137  1620 Copenhagen V

If you are even considering a trip to Scandinavia (Denmark especially) book your trip. Seriously. No regrets. I promise.

 

photography : jenn elliott blake

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photography : jenn elliott blake

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