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Travel Notes from Los Angeles

So I’m back from Los Angeles and had a great week out there! I stayed at The Farmer’s Daughter on Fairfax Ave. in West Hollywood,  since it was a great location for me to hang out as I had work in the area so the location was prime and the hotel was great! A real gem! I really liked their adjacent restaurant, TART, and the patio area — we had breakfast there a few times and really enjoyed it — so fresh and delicious. Even if you don’t stay at the hotel, you should hit TART to eat and drink.

The Farmer's Daughter

We had a special dinner at TART one night with the book designer and oh la la the cocktails were divine, especially the raspberry Tartini. :) Those came in handy after long days on shoots! Across the street from the hotel is the Original Farmers Market which is this large outdoor area packed with food “kitchens” and plenty of seating. Most of the food was locally sourced and most places seemed to be owned by small, local businesses but there was a pinkberry and a few other chains as well but I liked the mashup of things and enjoyed having so many great meals at super affordable prices directly across the street.

The Farmer's Daughter

The Farmer's Daughter

Also next to the farmers market I found a massive outdoor shopping area with a big Barnes + Noble, Anthropologie, Nordstrom (they had a killer sale that week and yes, I picked up some things), movie theater, more restaurants, J.Crew, I could list the stores but I don’t want to bore you – you get the drift. Being a tourist and out of the country for nearly a year, it was fun to shop at some of my favorite big box stores because we don’t have the same stores here in Germany and when I was in New York City the week before, I had little time to shop as we had 7 shoots in one week. Anyhoo — I loved that The Farmer’s Daughter hotel was within walking distance to so much because L.A. traffic is brutal and the less time I am bored in a car the happier I am!

So if you’re ever in L.A. and need a clean, inexpensive hotel with all the basics, great customer service, on-site safe parking, and walking distance to tons of great places to shop and eat then perhaps you’ll like this place. It was suggested to me by Victoria from SFGirlByBay and also another fab lady, Annie May from Yolksy — thanks, ladies! I needed a great place to stay, put a cry for help out on my facebook page, and they suggested a great one. Loved it and will definitely stay again!

LA Trip Highlights

Other great LA spots I hit: Dinner with Leslie Shewring and some other nice peeps at Katsuya on Hollywood and Vine (lots of paparazzi there, very Hollywoodish), the Santa Monica pier and 3rd street promenade (I saw Bruce Willis! For real!), an afternoon on Hermosa Beach just chillin’, dinner with Paul and Marcia from Zia Priven at R+D Kitchen (yum) in Santa Monica, the Getty Museum (gorgeous views and great places to lay in the sun and eat your lunch!), and a slew of random vintage shops and boutiques though I barely had a moment to really “enjoy” any of them as I was constantly on the go but that is how business trips usually are, right? Next time I’m in L.A. though I am organizing a meet and greet because I wanted to hang out with so many of my friends and had no time to do it. Next Spring, for sure!

I’m getting close to wrapping up the travel portion of this book project by the way — next week I’m off to Belgium and the Netherlands, finishing up in Amsterdam, then I go to London I think the week following and that is it! I can’t believe it, I’ve been on the road since the end of April on and off so I won’t know what to do with myself being back at home so much – ha ha! I’ve enjoyed this experience immensely but I’ve really missed connecting online so I look forward to hanging out with you guys more often going forward. :)

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Oh and a big P.S. — I cannot forget to tell ya — if you are in the Los Angeles area, then don’t miss the Designer Tag Sale organized by Vanessa De Vargas in Brentwood on July 31st, here is more information in case you are lucky enough to make it!

(images: holly becker for decor8)

Posted in travel on July 23, 2010

Packing My Bags…

The time has come! I’m packing my bags and heading back to the mothership on Saturday – the U.S.A., baby! I can’t wait to be in both New York City and Los Angeles for 17 days. I’m working or at meetings for most of them, but that’s okay because I still have my evenings free to chill, meet friends, roam around with my camera, do a little flea market hoppin’ and hit some of my favorite stores. Like Purl Soho who just moved to a pretty posh space…

purl soho

It will be nice to watch the fireworks in NYC on the 4th and to celebrate my wedding anniversary in LA with my #1 man as he is flying over with me and we can spend a work-free weekend together before flying back to Germany. I have a mini must-see list for New York and LA, but I want to surprise Debi and take her to some great spots for eats and drinks and also for shopping so if you are in New York or LA and have some great suggestions for meals and shops, please let me know! Debi hasn’t been to LA yet and I really have no clue where to go there for dinner so any suggestions would be just lovely. Also, I’d love a great spot for a romantic dinner with my husband for one night. xo

purl soho

Now back to Purl Soho. I love this recent entry on their fabulous blog about Hawaiian prints and how totally modern they can look when done right. “Hawaiian quilts are one of those amazing traditional arts that look totally modern. They are usually made by folding a solid fabric from the center and cutting it the way you would cut a paper snowflake, but into a beautiful and wild looking tropical shape. Many of the traditional patterns look like pineapples, plumeria or palm fronds.” Check out these fab pillows and great how-to. Inspiring!

I can’t wait to fly over to the states — I’m sooo excited and a really big bonus is that I’ve booked some fantastic spaces for Decorate and so I can’t wait to meet the homeowners and see these beautiful properties up close and personal. This trip will definitely be a highlight for me someday when I look back on my life, I can’t believe how fortunate I am — I feel completely honored and a little bit nervous but excited still!

So… any NYC/LA tips for us? Oh, please! You guys are so well-connected, I’d love to know what you know! I’d love to know of some shops in NYC/Brooklyn that sell Japanese books/stationery, please tell me where to go for bubble tea, a great cupcake bakery, good restaurants & food carts in the city, cheap eats, flea markets to hit, semi-fancy eats, great parks, lovely flower shops, design-y shops that must be seen, stuff like that. I haven’t been to these cities for a few years (2008 for NY and 2005 for LA)… so I’m rusty!

(images: purl bee soho. psst: the lovely illustrated map is by wonderful lena corwin.)

Posted in travel on June 30, 2010

Join Me in Marrakesh!

Hello friends and happy Friday to you! I have some exciting news to share with you today! I will be leading a workshop in Morocco from October 16-23, 2010 for an intimate, private group of 10 at the brand new and ultra exclusive Peacock Pavilions owned by Maryam Montague who authors the My Marrakesh blog and who is a professional shopper and soon-to-be book author.

Join me in Morocco!

Here is a tiny glimpse of one of the ensuite guest rooms where you may want to rest your head after a dip in the pool, a henna party, rooftop dinner at sunset, drinks on the terrace, creative workshops focused on decorating and also blogging and creativity, or a shopping adventure in the souks of Marrakesh with Maryam and I (Maryam will take us to hidden gems, where she sources her finds).

Join me in Morocco!

Join me in Morocco!

Join me in Morocco!

Join me in Morocco!

“There are 5 ensuite bedrooms at Peacock Pavilions. Each has an entirely different personality. This one is called The Room of the Golden Gazelles. Although you see it with a double bed here, all the rooms can have 2 single beds, too.”

“The inspiration for the room was a screen that was in Lanvin’s apartment in Paris.  I saw it in an auction catalogue my parents sent me (they are auction addicts) and I sent it to Melanie Royals at Modello Designs as inspiration for the wall that she would be painting with a group of painters. She then redesigned it — adapting it to Peacock Pavilions, swapping out the tree for an olive tree, adding a dado at the bottom to act as the headboard backdrop, adding stars and flowers that she designed herself.”

“My goal was to create a room with a glamorous feel and as you can see I have decorated it all in shades of gold/brass, black and white.  The room is filled with some antique and vintage treasures from Morocco and further afield.”

Now would you like a peek in on one of the bathrooms?

Join me in Morocco!

Join me in Morocco!

Join me in Morocco!

“This sunny yellow bathroom is all about yellow and white with a splash of pink. It’s a bathroom that is designed to lift your spirits and was designed on a budget. We made the vanity ourselves using a Moroccan yellow tile I found locally with a modern floral pattern. I found a little porcelain sink with a flower shape and a faucet that looked like a flower stem. I then put together a small Norman Copenhagen flower pendant lamp. The floor tile is from Popham House Design. I picked up the pattern from the tile, enlarged it with a stencil and had it sandblasted on the glass shower door. Besides the yellow walls, the rest of the walls are done in a glossy, burnished ivory tadelakt (like Venetian plaster) that makes the whole room glow and bounces the light around. ”

And this is just a glimpse of the magical pavilions where we will be staying… It will be a most enchanting + lovely time… I hope that you will enroll and join us on this exciting adventure. I can’t wait to join Maryam — we’ve been friends since I started this blog as she was one of my first readers so to meet her will wonderful for me.

Her is the full schedule and trip details, cost, etc. There is a special offer to those who can pay with a check for a discount until June 30. They will receive $147.00 off the total price.

Registration is extremely limited — only 10 can enroll — I wish I could enroll all of you though, imagine that!!

Let’s meet in Marrakesh!

(photos: maryam montague)

Posted in events + markets, travel on June 25, 2010

London Quick Guide

I thought it may be nice to pull together a quick guide to some of the places I visited while in London — if you are a regular decor8 reader and click with my style then these addresses will be ones that hopefully you’ll like as much as I did. I don’t have maps or anything fancy-like, just a few snaps and some addresses and web links. Here is “my” London…

London Trip Impressions

STORES: LARGE

Selfridges – 400 Oxford Street. My favorite. You can find a Cath Kidston on the lower floor near to the cute yellow and black cafe (where they have great snacks by the way). Their is a section for Designers Guild linens upstairs, a Muji section, a Diptyque candle department, and a big Jo Malone counter where you can find the limited edition candles for Farrow & Ball which are delightful. There is even a great book shop on the lower floor, too. Don’t miss their new perfume, exclusively made for Selfridges by Maison Martin Margiela. I am kicking myself for not buying it because my sample ran out and I became quite addicted. If you are bringing your guy with you, show him to the men’s departments — my husband picked up several things from English designer Ted Baker there. Oh and their is The White Company also in this stores upstairs, too.

Another must-see store is Liberty. Don’t miss all of the Amy Butler fabric in the bits + bobbins section, and check out the great lighting, stationery, and their current “Target” shop in the rear entrance to the store which is a real treat to be able to purchase some of the merchandise that sold as part of their collection at Target. Spend time browsing their sunglasses and jewelry, they have some very unique pieces. Their stationery section is nice, too.

Anthropologie – It’s gorgeous, both of them! Don’t miss! I liked the one on Regent Street a lot with the living plant wall and 3 floors of gorgeousness. You can hit Anthropologie, Liberty and Selfridges in the same day since they are all nearby. Tour it on YouTube here and here and here.

Japan Centre – This is such a great store in Piccadilly, especially if you love all things Japanese from ceramics to foods. It’s mainly a really nice grocery store but a really nice one with lots of great things to look through – even books, though not many home books sadly.

Harrods – Well, I only go here for the food halls  (great cupcakes!) but around the corner on the side of Harrods there is a huge Laduree that you must visit! Wow! They have a beautiful tea room and macaroons galore.

HMV – Great for cheap CDs and DVDs. Another great music store is Fopp in Covent Garden at 1 Earlham Street.

Top Shop – Clothes! Yay!

Zara Home – Home goods by Spanish clothing company Zara.

Habitat – Home goods from lamps to furniture and beyond.

London Trip Impressions

London Trip Impressions

Susannah Hunter

STORES: MEDIUM/SMALL + BOUTIQUE

Susannah Hunter – Handbags in leather with floral appliques, gorgeous shop. Also available, custom chairs, trunks, pillows and more in leather. Make sure you visit her store at 19 Connaught Street so you can go to the Cocomaya cafe across the street for pastries or afternoon tea. What a treat!

Cath Kidston – of course. If you don’t have time to hit one of her shops (I visited the one in Notting Hill on Portobello Road and another at 51 Marylebone High Street) then you can see her pop-up shop in Selfridges department store at 400 Oxford street

The White Company – You can visit this shop after hitting Cath Kidston at 12 Marylebone High Street.

Designers Guild – Also stop at this store after Cath Kidston and The White Company since one is located at 76 Marylebone High Street. Don’t miss the downstairs, which is easy to do. Lots of pretty things you’ll want to see. I heard that her flagship store is better, located at 277 Kings Road, but I did not have time to visit.

After Noah – in Islington – Lots of nice little vintage-y things, furniture, books, cards, a “general store” type of place. Very sweet! Located at 121 Upper Street.

Atelieir Abigail Ahearn –  in Islington – This dark, moody shop is small but delightful. The owner/author has a really amazing eye and gorgeous things to see. 137 Upper Street.

Toast – in Islington – For clothing and such. Plain and simple but really nice. Located at 133 Upper Street.

Paperchase – These shops are all over London but I went to one at 21 Parkfield Street in Islington and liked it very much (and stocked up) on gorgeous stationery and things. Definitely a shop worth seeing if you want great paper products.

Caravan – Owned by stylist/author Emily Chalmers, you can’t miss this shop.

Squint – Another great store, I just reviewed it here on decor8 a few days ago but it’s near Caravan and the Albion cafe so do all three in the same afternoon.

London Trip Impressions

London Trip Impressions

Albion

London Trip Impressions

Ottolenghi

BITES

La Fromagerie – Gorgeous cheese shop by author Patricia Michelson that you can visit while at the above addresses since it’s located on Moxton Street just off of Marylebone High Street. Make sure to hang out at the tasting cafe for a quick bite around a large family-size wood table. It’s heaven!

Cocomaya – Fine chocolates and artisian bakery. It’s heavenly. Don’t miss it. Eat outside if the weather permits! I went twice! It is located at 12 Connaught Street. Go to their chocolate shop just behind the bakery/cafe. Heaven.

Albion at the Boundary hotel. This cafe is around the corner from two must-see shops, Caravan and Squint, on Red Church Street. Dine in or outside. They also have a nice little food shop where you can buy jams and such in addition to pastries and breads if you don’t have time to sit down for a meal. If you order a sandwich for lunch, split it with a friend because one sandwich has two sandwiches on the plate – I’m not kidding!

Ottolenghi – Go here and eat and enjoy everything about this lovely cafe! They have a great cookbook too. I went to their Islington cafe at 287 Upper Street – definitely go! They have several London addresses though.

Carluccio’s – Had breakfast here at their Islington location at 305 Upper Street, but they have many addresses in London.

Euphorium Bakery – I had coffee here, also in Islington on Upper Street, and thought it was lovely.

Pandora – A very odd Japanese crepe place in Chinatown on Newport Place that has crepes stuffed with fruit and ice cream. Yum. Next door on the corner there is a hidden gem — a little Chinese restaurant, Jen Cafe Tea Specialist, and though it doesn’t have a fancy interior it has great food and is very affordable (and packed). I had steamed veggie dumplings and a pearl tea there and it was a great energy boost midday.

Pizza Express – A chain restaurant but very good! I ordered a salad and wine and everything was fresh and delish. Try the one located at St Christopher’s Place, that’s where I ate (at night, nice atmosphere), In that area there are many other restaurants situated in a square so if you don’t feel like salads and pizza you can find pretty much everything else!

Laduree – Go to their tea shop at Herrods in Knightsbridge. It’s lovely!

Napket “Snob Food”- I ate at this place and really liked it. You can find several in London.

London Trip Impressions

Caravan

RANDOM

There is this fun shop called Lomography if you are lomo fan don’t miss it. It was a fun place to look around.

Also Carnaby Street is a great place for shopping, it’s near Liberty so you can do both in the same time frame.

And of course there are a billion things I did not mention above, many great shops that I could not fit in since I got sick during the final 3 days of my vacation with food poisoning, but that is a bit of “my” London for you. I hope that if you visit some of these shops above that you enjoy them as much as I did! And a VERY SPECIAL thank you to so many dear readers who gave me some lovely suggestions, I had a great time!

xo, Holly

(images: holly becker for decor8 except for Caravan images, shot by Debi Treloar)

Posted in travel on May 27, 2010

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