Weekend Babes x The Elysian Edit

by Gabrielle Messineo and Jessica Comingore

Here we are with another inspiring guest! Jessica Comingore, founder of The Elysian Edit, is a designer, lifestyle writer, and photographer with endless talent. She is an Angeleno through and through, so I wanted to hear all about her early LA experiences in addition to her recent travels. Her site and Instagram are full of beauty, and I'm proud to hold a little bit of that beauty here now. Answers and images below courtesy of Jessica Comingore.

1. Being that you grew up in LA, what are some early memories of exploring the area?

I grew up in the north part of the valley, so it wasn’t until I was much older that I ventured “over the hill” and discovered the true LA. As a kid we mostly spent our time outdoors in the neighborhood, but once my friends and I got our drivers licenses in high school, we would go to concerts, try new restaurants, explore a lot of Hollywood and Downtown. One memory that sticks out is heading to the Melrose Trading Post every Sunday and scouring for vintage clothes with my friend Audrey. Funnily enough, our habits haven’t changed much — we’re still best friends and still spend Sunday’s flea market shopping.

2. What’s a place you wish you had discovered earlier?

I’m not sure I would have had the palette for it earlier, but Middle Eastern food has grown to be my cuisine of choice, and there’s the most incredible restaurant on the border of Glendale and Burbank called Adana. Their kabobs, dolmas, and avocado salad will blow your mind. Don’t forget to order a cup of mint tea, too.

3. What place are you excited to share with out-of-town guests?

I tend to bring everyone to Griffith Park when they’re in town because it’s the perfect way to catch up while enjoying the outdoors. Though I personally prefer a route near the Greek Theater, I’ll usually take out-of-towners to Fern Dell and hike up to the Observatory since the views and light are so spectacular. Then we’ll end with a slice of quiche and a cup of coffee at The Trails. It’s the ideal way to start your day.

4. Where do you find yourself going back to time and time again?

I’m such a creature of habit that this one is hard to narrow down. New High Mart is my favorite store in LA, and every time I’m there I feel such a sense of happiness and peace. The store is curated so impeccably, and the fact that you can’t use your cell phone inside somehow makes you feel more present. Often I’ll pop by when I have a free afternoon to peruse their shelves and pick up a little treat for my home.

5. What’s your favorite road trip destination from LA?

Big Sur. Though frankly, anywhere on the central coast will do. Whenever I feel a hankering to jump in the car and get out of town, I always tend to head north. There is something about the combination of scenery, smell and solitude that makes me feel more at ease than any other place I’ve visited in California. I’m not sure it will ever get old for me.

6. What do you like to listen to on road trips?

I’m a big mixtape-maker, so it’s usually a combination of playing those back-to-back until I get tired of tunes. I’ll usually take a break a few hours in and turn on stand-up comedy or a podcast. Some of my recent favorites are Tom Segura and Alec Baldwin’s Here’s the Thing.

7. Considering your minimalist approach, does that apply to packing as well?

I try to! I’m not the best when it comes to packing — I either take too much or not enough. Recently it’s been the latter. I usually procrastinate until the last minute and then throw whatever comes to mind into my weekender until it’s full. I’ve definitely been guilty of traveling without a toothbrush a time or two. But when I’m thinking ahead, I’ll make a list to cover all of my bases and bring one good jacket, one pair of pants, one pair of shoes, and a few tops I can swap out.

8. What are some essentials you can’t travel without?

I always make sure to pack a good book (I try to unplug as much as possible when I’m traveling), a scarf because you never know when the weather will turn, a lightweight camera, and a few packets of Acute Defense. There’s nothing worse than getting sick when you’re away from home.

Posted on March 10, 2016 .

Weekend Babes x Paper & Type

by Gabrielle Antonette and Victoria Vu

I am filled with so much joy as I introduce Victoria Vu as our latest Weekend Guest. She is the founder of Paper & Type, the sweetest lady, and quite a babe.  She always fuels my love for old fashioned correspondence with her beautiful paper goods. She shares her classic, dreamy aesthetic on her own blog and Instagram, and now she's here to share with us a very special weekend trip to Los Alamos. All content below is by Victoria Vu.

For his 30th birthday in early January, my friend Matt wished to spend a weekend with friends in a different LA: the quaint and sleepy Los Alamos. Located about halfway between Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo, it had already been a go-to for him and his wife the past couple years. 

So, Albert and I left Los Angeles in the early morning and arrived in town for breakfast. We joined our friends at Bob's Well Bread, an eatery that serves up a range of tasty and toasty dishes, fresh loaves, plus coffee and pastries. The owner had left his work at Sony TV to open up this beautiful bread shop (hardly two years ago!) and his passion has truly become part of the fabric of town. You'll find the regulars and weekenders easily mingling here.

Then it was a tiny walk over to The Alamo Motel, recently renovated by Shelter Social Club. With its single-story courtyard arrangement and central fire pit, the motel lent itself particularly well to our group of 20+. It was easy to retreat to one's own space, or to cross paths and gather with friends in the sunshine. The rooms, composed of raw plywood and bright white paint, are embellished only with the right amount and kind of details that bring cheer and coziness. 

Our weekend itinerary was mostly improvised, but some items of note:

  • Municipal Winemakers. At the front of the motel itself is a darling bungalow which houses an outpost of this Santa Barbara winery. It's one of several other tasting rooms along the short stretch of Bell Street. 
  • Bell Street Farm's family-style dinner. They serve a memorable meal that satisfies both the appetite and the soul. Reserve your seat and bring along the wine from your day's tastings!
  • Unexpected hiking. Albert and I walk (a lot). We wandered up an overgrown hill that overlooked the town. 
  • And, though this town is tiny, there's still reason for me to return: the antique shops are deep. 

While I'm still an early birdie and often continue on projects over my weekends, I try and make an effort to allow space for some spontaneity and perspective, or at the very least, for a leisurely breakfast*. The tucked away place that is Los Alamos, where time moves at a slower rhythm, made for a perfect retreat. 

*Preferably at Bob's Well Bread.

Posted on February 1, 2016 .

Weekend Babes x Ancient Pocket

by Gabrielle Antonette and Vanessa Samp

Sometimes we like to travel vicariously through others. We have explored the San Gabriel Valley through the eyes of Seth Lower, and we got a tour of some of the best spots along the PCH from Describe the Fauna. Now we're going all the way to Iowa to take a virtual weekend trip with Vanessa Samp and her family. Samp's art world name is Ancient Pocket, and we've been a fan of her work--sculpture, painting, jewelry, writing, Instagram, etc.--for a long time. (All photos and text below courtesy of the artist.)

Three Rivers Trail, Bradgate Iowa

Just a usual expansive sky morning in the Plains of America.

My husband and three semi-young children decided on a bike-ride through a trail we really found interesting, Three Rivers Trail, located in a small, tiny, unpresuming farm town in North Central Iowa. This part of Iowa is really pretty flat, the cornfields and soy crops color the horizon along with the square ranch home here and there.

This weekend was a weekend we decided we really had to get going. We're in the midst of Fall now. Won't be long before Winter sets in. Traveling with a newly 2 years old in tow (our youngest) isn't always the easiest, but it's worth it. And our bike trail of choice was a quick trip away.  

The humidity had already decided to set in, snacks were unaccounted for and bellies beginning to grumble, but we got everything out and loaded up on our bikes, riding into the trail. All of us feeling quite deserving of a break from being an overworked middle-schooler, Dad, Mom, kindergartener and toddler. Life gets dull if you let it, and finding things to do to keep the mind sharp is where it's at.

Three Rivers is aptly named. Its beautiful countryside transported me in literal terms away from the grid of manmade farms and flat grasslands (beautiful in their own right), into a sort of swampy forest that looked like it could run through any land anywhere. The trail goes on for hours, we had only a few, but we could breathe in the bronzing leaves. Finding treasures like a Shaggy Mane mushroom to smuggle home or a rock at the pitstop that looked like it'd been struck by lightening. The prairie being infamous for its wild storms.  But all of us quite calm, taking in the pleasures of being able to stroll slowly for once on this small dirt road carved out between farmlands, with a strip of large mirroring, refracting river on either side of it and old deciduous trees bending out all around. Letting ourselves soak in the tranquility of loud cicada speak. 

Rocks collected in our pockets, we rode with dragonflies and the last of the Monarch butterflies flittered past our heads. Millions of grasshoppers flung their tiny bodies at ours, and carefully circumnavigating we rode to a default hoping to avoid crunching insect limbs. Flying at mellow speeds alongside these gem-bearing waters and treading over large bridge systems, I was getting a really good glimpse of what Iowa must have felt like when the river systems were the main sort of transport and trains were just starting to develop. The trail itself being an old train track rebuilt and decommissioned into a pathway of redeveloped rail ties and maintained dirt path, giving people a chance to reprioritize their day--whether you're located in the Middle of the Mid West on a North American continent or not. This day had something simple to offer. 

Posted on October 21, 2015 .

Weekend Guests: Surf, Jump, Fire with Describe the Fauna

by Describe the Fauna and Gabrielle Antonette

Weekend Guests is a fairly young series. You may remember a weekend by artist, Seth Lower, and my hope is to host many more babes from around town/the world. Our friends and extraordinary photographers, Describe the Fauna, have shared an ambitious day trip itinerary that I'm very excited to pass along. (All photos and text below courtesy of Describe the Fauna.)

SURF, JUMP, FIRE / ALL IN A CALIFORNIA DAY

Living in Southern California has so many perks, one of our favorites being how many awesome places surround LA. We recently celebrated a friend's birthday by spending a day hopping up and back down the coast, stopping at some gems along the way.

SURF
We picked up our friends who live on a sailboat in Marina Del Rey (that's a thing), added their surfboard to the rack and drove north to Malibu for a #fridaymorningsurfsesh. We landed at Zuma Beach, set up beach camp and enjoyed riding & watching the crisp morning waves.

 

JUMP
We packed up and continued north on the PCH & through a canyon over to Malibu Creek State Park for a hike through lush meadows to a fresh water pool. Pro tip: buy strawberries at the stand by the parking lot before your hike! We spent the afternoon jumping into the freezing water and seeing how long we could stay in before needing to thaw out in the sun.

 

FIRE
As it started to get dark, we trekked back to the car and back down the coast to Dockweiler State Beach, one of the only places in LA that allows oceanside bonfires. We bought some firewood (& tequila) along the way and spent the rest of the night keeping warm & listening to the waves. In one day, we swam with otters in sea water, took in the Pacific coast, jumped into fresh water, and even got to have a campfire with the bonus of sleeping in our own beds (not that we don't love camping). It was a perfect reminder that great trips don't need a lot of time or planning as long as you have the spirit of adventure.

Posted on June 12, 2015 .