Planning a fun long weekend escape to the desert is usually pretty easy… said no one partaking on this particular trip :/ My beautiful sister turned 30 and with both of us living on opposite coasts, we decided to plan a long overdue sister trip to one of our bucket list destinations. Agreeing on Arizona’s painted desert we set off to explore Sedona with side trips to Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend. From the moment I stepped onto the plane that Friday afternoon, everything pretty much went wrong in a series for fairly comical events, resulting in an extremely memorable, funny, magical, certainly awe-inspiring adventure, that I can definitely say ended up the highlight of 2016 (yes it’s taken me that long to post this :/ ).
Murphy’s Law is a bloody nuisance of a phenomenon. In short, a series of delayed/missed flights, an unexpected 6 hour wait in Phoenix Airport for Farrin to arrive at midnight and a then two a half hour zero visibility drive through the desert, was just the start. The midnight desert drive resembled what I would imagine space travel is like, a vast black expanse of who knows what… we literally could have been passing by waving aliens, Area 51 or simply the side a cliff, we had no clue what we were passing by. At one point I accidentally turned off the headlights in search of the highbeams and legit think we disappeared from Earth for a good few seconds…
Our 3am arrival at our Flagstaff motel was greeted with a very dark and quiet reception area. Before we started arguing as to who was going shotgun! the back seat of the car to sleep, I thankfully decided to give the motel a ring. Luckily a very sleepy night manager left his comfy chair-post to let us in. Getting a couple of hours sleep, we set off at 7am for our 3 hour drive to Antelope Canyon which ultimately made our series of unfortunate events sooo totally worth while.
Formed through flash flooding these almost moltan-like slot canyons were named for the original Antelope that occupied the area. One of the most amazing geological experiences I’ve had and a definite recommendation for anyone travelling to the area.
- Get there an hour earlier than you expect. The canyons are on Navajo land and can only be accessed via tour guide. With the volume of cars and tourists trying to get checked in, your best/safest bet is to get there early to avoid missing your tour time.
- Try to get a 10am – 12pm tour time. This is the best time to see light streaming in for all sources, illuminating the caves.
- Wear comfortable shoes, light clothing and bring water. It’s HOT out there. The tours generally provide water but it’s always good to have your own stash on hand.
- Expect to wait 45 mins to access the canyons after the tour starts. Due to the amount of people visiting every year, the wait to access the canyon can be long. Each tour group has around 10 – 20 people and the canyons for the most part are a single file deal.
- Try to book tours as early as possible. Tour times book out quickly so if you can try to secure a few weeks ahead then you’ll have the best options for times. General tour prices vary from $20 – $60 and Photographic Tours (these tours are longer and generally smaller in size) are around $40 – $300 (time of year and time of day fluctuations).
- Recommended Tours: Antelope Slot Canyon Tours, Ken’s Tours – Lower Antelope Canyon and Navajo Tours.
There was a moment here, just standing on the edge of such great expanse where clarity and alignment exists. It’s hard to describe but it’s surreal and something I won’t forget in my lifetime.
- It’s an approx 1.2 mile hike to the bend from the parking lot. Comfy shoes, light clothing and water are a must. There isn’t any shade so a hat would be good aswell.
- The view is breathtaking so bring your best camera. You’ll be battling crowds to get a clean shot but most people are there for the same thing and are respectful of the photographers code ;)
Sedona has been on my bucket list for some time now. The pinky purple, terracotta hues of the painted desert make for some of the most breathtaking views I have ever seen. The magnitude of driving amongst the red rock buttes, contrasted with the lush greenery of the forests between, give an almost otherworldly feel and an understanding of why so many make the pilgrimage for clarity.
In the quick day and a half we had, we managed to squeeze in a beautiful dinner, cocktails by the hotel pool, town exploration, hiking and some spectacular views:
Our 3 Day Trip Itinerary (the original version without the hiccups)
Fly into Flagstaff for the night
Morning 3 Hour Drive to Antelope Canyon
Antelope Canyon Tour
1/2 Hour Drive to Horseshoe Bend
Hike to the Bend
2 hour drive to Sedona
Morning explores around Sedona
Cocktails and pool at our hotel
More cocktails, pool and late lunch at Enchantment Resort
Dinner at Cress On Oak Creek
Breakfast in Sedona township
1 Hour Drive back Flagstaff stopping for the view and photos on the way
Flight home #BOOOOO
Big thanks to Google Maps for helping us find our way!
The trip was quick, full of adventure, A LOT OF LAUGHS and definitely a highlight from 2016.
Vintage, art, graffiti, flea markets, high end, budget wares and a whole lot of personality. Melrose Ave is as diverse as Los Angeles itself, a street art gallery in the most literal sense and definitely my favorite spot for finding some of the most unique pieces in both my wardrobe and home. On the first Sunday after probably the most controversal election in US history, we distracted ourselves by spending the morning drinking coffee, people-watching, roaming with the camera, capturing elements of both the mainstay and new political art and reflecting on the relative quiet after what was a very noisy week.
Sunglasses: Hello Parry
Dress and Belt: Wasteland
Boots: Sbicca Footwear
Mala Bracelet and Ring: Tiny Devotions
Photographer: Jon Vera
Location: Melrose Ave, Los Angeles
I haven’t done a fashion post in aggeeeeessss, so a weekend getaway to San Francisco was the perfect backdrop for my end of summer (but still in seasonal denial) wardrobe addition. I love anything that is a little different and with the pop color print of this off shoulder top being so Picasso like, I felt a little less regular in my jeans and top combo.
Location: El Techo Rooftop San Francisco
Palm Springs has really become a theme for me this year, a great way to escape the city for a bit of creative soul searching, desert wandering and Joshua Tree exploring. This particular trip was made extra special by the addition of alternative perspective made possible by DJI’s newest drone the Phantom 4.
Really the last thing you want to do amidst some of the most inspiring surrounds is to crowd around an iPad… but in this case that’s exactly what we did. Captivated by the birds-eye footage unfolding in front of us, the Phantom (or Lillie, as I’ve come to affectionately call her, I’ve decided it makes her sound less creepy) had us soaring the heights over and through Joshua Tree’s baron and rocky terrain, capturing sunsets, color and one expansive magnitude. It was Hot-Air-Balloon-Amazing to stand firmly planted, yet feel miles high.
I’m currently working on an extended cut of the video we put together. However in the meantime, the short clip and imagery below will give you a little insight into our afternoon spent amongst the trees, exploring corners and roads less travelled, all under a painted desert sky.
Location: Joshua Tree, California
Photography and Video: Kieran Bell
Dress: Rise of Dawn Love Child Mini
Boots: Back Catalogue Tony Bianco
The Hollywood Sign: the original starlet, the most popular permanent resident of Los Angeles since 1923, one of the most recognized logos worldwide and a beacon of industry hope for all those the she looks down on. Being the Hollywood history fan that I am, on a recent Griffith Park hike I realized I actually didn’t know a whole lot about this icon, other than some vague historic reference to Hef. So with a little Googling and a bit of HollywoodSign.org stalking, I’ve put together a short history and some fun and interesting facts on this original star.
Firstly the sign as we know it today is actually missing four letters from it’s original unveiling. Created as an illuminated advertisement (costing $21,000) for luxury real estate in HOLLYWOODLAND, the 50 foot high letters shone bright over the city, with over four thousand light bulbs to boot. Expected to last just a year, the sign garnered enough attention that it remained in place until 1949 when in a state of disrepair, the City of Los Angeles Parks and Recreation was forced to rebuild the sign, leaving off the last four letters, creating the recognizable HOLLYWOOD as we see it today.
By the time 1978 rolled around, the sign had again deteriorated due to termites, arsonists and a tumbled down “O”. In a bid to preserve the town’s namesake, Hugh Hefner stepped in and hosted a large fundraiser to help raise the $250,000 to completely refurbish the sign. The event contributed $45,000 to the bill and the rest was collected through individual sponsorship of each letter at $27,500 a piece:
H Terrence Donnelly: Publisher of the Hollywood Independent Newspaper
O Giovanni Mazza: Italian movie producer
L Les Kelley: Creator of the Kelley Blue Book
L Gene Autry: “Singing Cowboy”Actor and owner of TV station KTLA
Y Hugh Hefner: Playboy owner
W Andy Williams: Singer
O Alice Cooper: Rock Singer – in honor of Groucho Marx
O Warner Brothers Records
D Dennis Lidtke: Hollywood businessman
Once the funds were raised, the old sign was completely demolished leaving Los Angeles without their biggest icon for three months, a first for the city since 1923. Unveiled live on Hollywood’s 75th Anniversary to a 60 million wide television audience, the sign now stands 45ft high and 450 ft long and is the sight we see on the hills above Hollywood today.
Whilst putting together this piece I came across a bevy of fun articles, all giving snippets and insights into the sign’s more interesting past. Here are some of the more fun facts I found:
– Out of everything that could happen to the Sign you wouldn’t think being hit by a car would be one of them. In 1928 the Sign’s caretaker Albert Kothe had had a bit too much to drink and drove his Ford Station Wagon of the side of the cliff just above the sign, rolling down and crashing into the “H”. Luckily Albert was not hurt however both the Ford and the “H” were destroyed.
– In 1932, having not achieved the fame she desired since moving to Hollywood, distraught young actress Peg Entwhistle, climbed to the top of the “H” and flung herself off, falling to her death.
– The Sign was designed by an English artist named Thomas Fisk Goff who had relocated to Los Angeles and opened the Crescent Sign Company.
– Over the years, the sign has had many pranksters wreak havoc with the letters. In 1976, prankster Danny Finegood hung black and white curtains over the last two “O’s”, changing it to read “HOLLYWEED” in commemoration of the relaxed marijuana law in California.
– The Hollywood sign has more security than any of it’s Hollywood celebrity counterparts. Having taken it’s fair share of hits over the years, the Sign has a specially-designed security system that even the Department of Homeland Security was involved in. Security involves razor wire, infrared technology, 24 hour monitoring, motion sensors, alarms and helicopter patrols.
– For those that aren’t able to experience the Sign close up, webcams have been put in place to allow Internet visitors to see the sign 24/7.
– In 1940, Howard Hughes bought 138 acres west of the Hollywood Sign with the intention of building a mansion for himself and then girlfriend Ginger Rogers. The plans were abandoned after Hughes and Rogers split leaving the land untouched until it was sold to a Chicago-based investment firm. In a bid to preserve the area, a number of studios, foundations and actors raised the $12.5 million asking price to insure it is kept as protected parkland.
On that last note, if Mr Hughes had gone ahead with his original plans, we may have seen development popping up along the lines of this:
Thank goodness for that Hughes/Rogers breakup or we may not have had the continued chance to hike the Sign’s spectacular views, as we do today!
For a more complete rundown, best Sign viewpoints or even to donate to the Hollywood Sign Trust which ensures the upkeep, head over to hollywoodsign.org.
Fun Fact Sources:
There is a romance, a connectivity to the surround that contrasts with your own sense of singularity. The day’s harsh reflection dissipates leaving a warm glow and gradual end, not unlike the slow close of a music box. This is a Joshua Tree sunset, my experience, so final, so reflective and so full of color.
Taking the long weekend to escape Los Angeles and get some much needed desert energy, we ended up here under a pink and purple sky, exploring and taking a moment in time to create memories.
You may never know the value of a moment… until it becomes a memory.
Photography: Alex Simai
Mala Beads: Tiny Devotions
Sunglasses: Urban Outfitters – Festival Round Sunglasses
Santa Monica. There’s not a whole lot I need to say here as I’m sure you’ve heard of that little beachside town that has been the home, location and subject of the countless books, movies, bucket lists, TV shows, historical events, shopping destinations, famous hotels, restaurants, worldwide personalities and of course the pier – it’s kind of famous ;)
I live approximately 15min away from the SM beach front and I get down there as often as I can to shoot, beach or shop, however it has been a very long time since I’ve had a chance to actually explore. Partnering with the Wyndham Hotel at the Santa Monica Pier, I got the chance to not only get away from city life for the weekend but to get out and enjoy Santa Monica as a visiting vacay-er.
You know when you are holidaying its all about location right? Well you can’t get much better than the epic frontage at the Wyndham – literally across the street from the pier and 3rd St Promenade, you have world class shopping and attractions right on your doorstep.
Newly renovated, the friendly staff were super helpful and accommodating making it perfect for the avid traveler, families, tourist or weekender (like myself). The hotel not only offers an amazing location and comfortable surrounds but a great concierge service that will organize bike hire (a local favorite along the beach walk), beach towels, restaurant recommendations/reservations and if you are into yoga – epic beach sessions by the seaside. Added bonus – it’s also a puppy/pet friendly hotel! My gorgeous Staffy girl Coconut was invited to come along but unfortunately she lives back in Australia (missing her dearly!). For those whose pets aren’t worlds away – the Wyndham is as much an escape for your furbaby as it is you. :)
My favorite part (apart from the beach yoga!) was actually the room service. Being in marketing, I’m such a sucker for packaging and aesthetics, so when my morning breakfast came parceled picnic style, this actually motivated me to get out of my comfy bed and onto the beach to enjoy morning coffee and eggs under the sun.
From Snapchats to iPhone shots, I had so many photos from my Wyndham weekend that I put together a photo diary of what I got up to:
For me, this was the most perfect quick getaway and the best way to spend a weekend at the beach without the hassle of negotiating parking, being able to walk anywhere I needed and at the end of the day coming back to the comfort, ease and friendly faces of the Wyndham Hotel. For more information, jump on their website and keep up with all the happenings via their Facebook and Twitter pages.
“I feel the Earth move under my feet…”
I’m Aus-merican – I was born and bred in California to Aussie parents, however spent most of my high school/adult life in West Australia. Spending my youngin days in California, meant the occasional earth shake was second nature. The first day of school you always came prepared with not only your new books, pens and uniform but a fresh earthquake kit full of non-perishables, flashlight, batteries and first aid supplies. Whilst all this was just a fact of Cali life, for me the summer of ’92 turned what was typically a 3 second 3 mag startle, into scared fascination.
The Landers Earthquake measuring in at 7.3 magnitude was amongst a string of early 90’s seismic shifts experienced by SoCal residents at the time. Somewhere between wake and sleep, my first memory was that feeling of falling. As the bed jumped across the room, I closed my eyes tightly in sheer annoyance thinking it was my younger sister trying to jolt me awake (we were at the age of slamming doors and hair pulling so early morning bed jumping wasn’t a far reach). But as the dark low grumble started, car alarms screamed, sound of breaking glass and the sudden woosh as Dad quickly yanked my sister and I from our rooms… it occurred to me that I couldn’t blame my sister for waking me up.
My interest in earthquakes grew quickly after that. At the time I was really into rocks… … … yes rocks… (and yes I had a collection… so I guess it’s not a stretch to think I’d be intrigued with Earthquakes…), as well as Dinosaurs and Mermaids – clearly some things never change:
I hadn’t really thought about those childhood interests until I started writing this. It occurred to me that since moving back here, I have actually picked up where I left off without really realizing it. It’s no wonder a day trip to Vasquez Rocks jumped out at me, I mean come on rocks AND earthquake remnants?!? My inner child must have been dancing!
Vaquez Rocks – a 45 min drive from LA metro, this now park area was formed some 25 million years ago during an angled uplift, later exposed by San Andreas Fault activity. Named after bandit Tiburcio Vasquez who evaded capture amongst the formations during the late 1800’s, these rocks have historically been the early home to Tataviam Indians and in more recent times featured in film and TV shows such as The Big Bang Theory, CSI, Star Trek, New Girl and Michael Jackson’s Black and White music video.
The park itself is popular for picnicking, hiking, horseback riding and explorers – just be aware of the rattlers… I, for the longest time thought it was my keys jingling as I walked through the rocks and brush, BUT NO… and when I realized, I was like lightning outta there, back to the path… so yeah lesson learnt – expect wildlife in wildlife areas!
We travel not to escape life, but so life doesn’t escape us…
Los Angeles to San Fran by way of Big Sur… If you’ve read any California guide book they will list coastal Highway 1 as a must do… and it really is. I mentioned in my Coachella post that I had a girlfriend from Melbourne in town for a couple of weeks so after our desert trek we decided to make the drive to San Fran and check what all the fuss was about. We only had two days to get to San Fran due to other commitments so we spent the first day getting most of the drive out of the way. Set playlist, plenty of snacks the changing California landscape and a stop in Santa Barbara for lunch dominated most of the day. Leaving about 11am we arrived in Big Sur just before sunset.
Breakfast the next day came with the most spectacular view – atop the clifftop patio at Nepenthe where we sat under the morning sun with our coffees. After browsing their gorgeously local bohemian Phoenix Shop, we headed off to explore a bit more of Big Sur, stopping past the aqua and blue inlet of Pfeiffer Beach and the 1930’s well known landmark, Bixby Bridge.
San Fran bound, we made a quick stop to the tightly knit coastal town Santa Cruz for some acai juices before arriving in the Bay area.
I’ve been to San Francisco a couple of times before, during high school (more years ago than I’d like to admit) so it was fun walking around and have ancient family holiday memories pour back. The one touristy thing I wanted to do but never did, was the tour of Alcatraz. Unfortunately you have to book tours at least a couple weeks in advance so I had to be content with the harbour ferry cruise which took us past the infamous island aswell as under those Golden Gates.
Horseback Riding – there are plenty of trails and hikes you can do around Big Sur, however for a bit of a different view I’d love to do one of the Horseback tours such as the ones offered by Molera Horseback or Seahorse Equestrian.
Night Tour of Alcatraz Island – one of the most infamous prisons with not only walls but walls of ocean to keep likes of Americans most notorious criminals such as Al Capone and Stroud “The Birdman” at bay.
Golden Gate to Muir Woods – taking the time to travel over the bridge to lunch along the Sausalito waterfront and view San Fran from across the bay. Then heading to the magic of Muir Woods for an afternoon of Redwood exploring and
It was a whirlwind roadtrip, but so much fun. Just two friends, with a wandering plan and constantly changing landscape – #THE BEST
As far as last minute plans go, a trip to the desert for Coachella is not a bad one! With a girlfriend in from Melbs, we had planned all sorts of Californian adventures including a desert trip to check out Palm Springs and chill out with some friends at Vestal’s Coachella camp grounds (which in itself had it’s own mini festival with music, food, drink AND pool floaties – an activity I publicly and repeatedly found that I am noooo master at…). Literally the day before we were meant to drive out we managed to grab two GA Coachella tickets through StubHub, which eliminated my perceived perception that securing weekend one tickets could only be done in pre-sale – a year in advance ORRR being quick enough to hit refresh on your browser in the first few seconds they go on general sale. So word to the wise, if you miss any of the sale deadlines in the future, there’s hope!
Armed with a tent, blow up mattress, heavy blankets, light blankets, protein bars and water, we arrived at Vestal for some much needed sun, drinks and poolside laze before trekking into Coachella. That almost desert mirage of a front entrance that is the Ferris Wheel, is not an easy feat to reach. The walk from dropoff down the maze to the entrance can easily take half an hour and that’s not due to lines, that just the distance… so if you are a novice like me, wearing those heeled boots for the multi-terrain walk is not the most ideal choice.
I didn’t realise how physically huge the festival itself was. Most images that come out of the weekend tend to be taken around the stages and art installations, so it wasn’t until I finally made it past the Ferris Wheel that I realised there was so much more to do and see, with areas I would likely never make it too. Apart from the various stages, array of food (vegan, gluten free options available) bars and shopping, there are so many other activities to get involved in including the Sephora beauty bar, art creation, dodgeball, hula hooping, limbo, pie eating contests, the H&M centre, a postcard mailing centre, yoga and pilates (if you are so inclined), just to name a couple. There were people running around with bubble machines, hammocks amongst the trees and as the sun went down, a display of light to silhouette the palms and installations lit up the grounds. Think of every music festival you’ve ever been to… then at steroids… its mega.
Catching Florence and the Machine as she interpretive danced her way across stage, eventually breaking her foot (LOVE HER).
Trying to figure out if that really was Madonna macking on Drake and if so why did she sound so average, I thought she was good live?
Playing in the bubbles.
Running around the caterpillar turned butterfly.
EATING – the food was awesome.
Dancing in the 100 thou strong crowd and NOT getting trodden on.
A couple quick things I leant for next time:
- You can definitely do Coachella last minute as I did, however preplanning your trip and your days is key to getting the most out of your weekend.
- If you decide to camp, bring a warm blanket for those hours when the desert chill kicks in but be prepared to potentially wake up on fire as the sun comes up – there is no escape.
- Stockpile water for the heat and next day hangover hydration. Bring powerbars for that unexpected need for food when it’s not around.
- If the fashion side of Coachella is particularly important to you, ensure you find somewhere to have a proper shower. This may mean opting to stay at one of the many hotels or motels in Palm Springs as opposed to camping. We stayed at Vestal Village camp which was awesome and had onsite showers however I did sneak over to a local friends place to wash my hair and do my makeup each day.
- Be prepared to be washing dust out of your nose continuously for a few days after.
- Use the Coachella App to map out your day, explore what activities and food is available and utilise the Find My Friends section because once you loose someone, you ain’t getting them back easily with the limited reception available.
- Make sure your phone is fully charged and you have a back up battery ready. There are a couple of charging stations and some tents that have wifi but don’t rely on it.
- Bring fold up sandals or more comfortable footwear small enough to fit in your bag for that long entrance walk and the 11th hour hobble to back bed.
Looking forward to next year!
Ash Stewart || Max Collett || Matt Willett || Sam Moore – Desert Squad MVP ||
Because sometimes all you need is a bestie, a beach and a sunset. Mid-week mini roadtrip down to Newport Beach, an area I grew up around and the home to one of my favourite OC cantinas – Javier’s. 45 minutes down the freeway from LA, we made a quick stop at Fashion Island for window shopping and a coffee, headed to the coast for lunch at Javier’s and then down to the beach to listen to music, lay in the sun, laugh about the day, talk about life and watch the sun go down. Kinda the perfect day.
Boots: Aldo Shoes Bugiano Ankle Boot
Beach Throw: Urban Outfitters Magical Thinking Floral Elephant Tapestry
Bikini: Seafolly Australia Costa Maya High Neck Tank
Beach Sandals: Jayblue Handmade
There are some pretty amazing vantage points in Los Angeles, especially if you are of the hiking inclined (pun intended ;) ). Griffith Park, Runyon Canyon and Malibu Mountains will all have you actively atop the city, however if you are looking for an experience that allows you to leave you joggers at home then the tram to The Getty Museum is your answer.
Located West LA, the Museum is more than just that. Richard Meier’s architecture sprawls over the 110 acre hillside and allows visitors to wander through, finding not only visual brilliance in it’s constructed shape and aesthetic, but in it’s expansive gardens, outdoor sculptures, artwork and of course the expansive view.
Moving indoors, the center counts Van Gogh’s Irises painting as a regular resident aswell as showcasing various exhibitions year round and it’s own standing collection of pre-20th century European paintings, sculpture and manuscripts.
Whilst the cultural side of The Getty is an impressive destination in itself, the location is also perfect for a simple afternoon in the sun. With three dining locations and various picnic options, you could spend the day partaking in my favourite past-time – perched with a glass of wine, good company and a view.
It was like standing on the edge of the world. The sea was black, the sun was large and it felt like you could walk for miles on that water without being immersed. Little glittering specks of sunlight would light up as you walked and whilst you had two choices; be consumed by the swirling ink ocean or open up to the feathery sunlight, either way you were content to be teetering between two very powerful elements… and for those minutes as the sun went down, there was nothing else.
It’s these moments, if fleeting, that I remember the most when I travel. The warmth I felt in a Californian sunset, the smell of the dusty air driving the red dirt roads of northern West Australia, the cool round cobblestones I walked on in Locarno and the taste of crisp water after a day in Dubai heat. Take time to look a little closer, find the beauty in simplicity and detail, be passionate about creating your own unique sense memories and sometimes, just wander aimlessly to find them :)
I was able experience this amazing ocean play of light and dark in Santa Monica with jewels from Aussie boho boutique Regalia Store. Curated for the wanderer in all of us, you can view their full collection online here, otherwise click the links below for pieces from this story.
Regalia Store Jewels:
Photography: Peter D. Adams Photography
There is something about the sun setting that evokes such strong emotions. Those last moments of light, the colours that illuminate the sky, the cooling warmth and understanding that taking the time to witness such an event is reverent in it’s own right, a daily reminder of perspective.
I can’t say that I’m an experienced hiker, I think the highest I’ve climbed is Diamond Head, however since moving to Los Angeles I’ve had more opportunity to explore with Griffith Park and Runyon Canyon so close by. One of my first nights here a girlfriend and I ducked into Wholefoods, grabbed a blanket and our cameras and hiked to a spot at the top of Griffith to picnic and watch the sun go down over the city. It was a perfect introduction to a new city and thus cemented my love affair with that LA sunset view.
This piece was shot in Tuna Canyon Park that overlooks one of the most expansive coastal views I’ve ever seen. The park itself is full of picturesque perspectives but we couldn’t go past the solidarity of the sunset light that played over this tree. Armed with Free People and an amazing setting, I found not only the perfect place to capture the evening light but one to help me tell this story.
Socks: Similar here from Free People
Shoes: back catalog Zara
Fedora: back catalog Dotti
Photography by Peter D. Adams Photography
There aren’t too many circumstances that I can say that I’ve been caught completely off guard, however I truly underestimated how spectacular my trip over to New York for Christmas was going to be. Starting out somewhat awkwardly, I managed to embarrass myself by performing twister moves over the guy in the seat behind me at the airport, whilst asking him to help me reach the power socket for my computer, only to look up and realize it’s Austin Butler… and I’m in my I Heart Zombies track pants… and kinda being rude. Luckily Vanessa Hudgens boyfriend is a pretty nice guy and just ran with the invasion of personal space.
If New York is on your bucket lists, I would highly recommend experiencing it during the holiday season. I’ve been traveling back and forth from Australia to NY (now LA to NY) twice a year for the past four years, however I haven’t had a Christmas in the city since I was a kid. Based on that childhood experience, I’ve always maintained that the best time in NY is during the holidays but I wasn’t quite expecting it to be as magical as it was when I was a young. I was wrong, it was better.
The city had turned into a Winter Wonderland. Oversized holiday displays, pop up elf bars, the Rockettes at Radio City, light shows, music, buttered rum, ice skating, Saks Window Displays, pumpkin lattes, a red and green lit Empire State and the buzz of a city in festive mode.
When I wasn’t roaming the city lights, I spent the days shopping in Soho, lunching in the West Village, tripping to Woodbury Commons for the after Christmas sales, wandering Brooklyn for the view, playing tourist at Battery Park and paying my respects to one of the most inspiring memorials of our time.
I managed to pack quite a bit in to the week and I have a few quick recommendations/tips for anyone planning to travel to the Empire State during the Christmas holidays:
- Google Holiday pop up bars in NYC – there are all sorts of fun themed temporary establishments that open over the season that aren’t overly advertised in tourist guides. It’s such a fun traditional way to spend a wintery Christmas, drinking a buttered rum from a reindeer mug, near a toasty fire.
- Be prepared for the sales – whether you are after a bargain or just want to avoid the mass crowd hysteria of the after Christmas sales, it’s a great idea to locate the target areas. You can find great shopping maps online, I personally head to Soho, Bleaker St, Meatpacking and if I’m after even more of a bargain then Woodbury Commons is worth a trip out to.
- Walk the midtown streets in the evening – around Rockefeller Center, Bryant Park, Time Square and Fifth Ave – the decorations, Department Store windows, light shows, music and festivities create infections holiday cheers.
- Yes it’s cold – You don’t need to spend a fortune on cool weather gear, Uniqlo have down jackets for between $80-$120.
- Getting around – subway navigation apps on your smartphone and taxis are easy enough to for getting around on the island despite the crowds.
- See The Rockettes – the famous Christmas Spectacular has been performing out of Radio City Music Hall since 1932 and is a proud NY tradition.
- Take random photos of the little things that catch your eye – the photo I took of the sidewalk filled with confetti was the result of walking into a gust of wind that picked up all the confetti and rained it down on us. It was such a fun moment and this image reminds me of that.
It’s taken me longer than I thought to find time to sit and process my thoughts and images from the last two weeks. When I started this post I was actually on a train bound for Boston for a trip that had literally been 10 years in the making, seeing I promised my Boston Collage girlfriends (aka sisters/roommates/people to hold back hair after all night collage parties) in ’04 that I’d be back ASAP. ASAP turned into a decade and a decade revealed a few career changes, marriages and babies within our BC Foster St group. Despite the years and the probability that keg stands are firmly in our past, it always amazes me that after 10 years apart we can talk as if it had all happened yesterday.
“The spirit of good friends does not fade with time, time will fade in the spirit of good friends – JLR”
So to get me this far, I took off Sept 1st and flew Virgin (I hadn’t done this trip with Virgin before and it was a nice change from Qantas – the smiley group of hosties I swung for the duration of my journey apparently liked their jobs, which is always good!) from Perth to Sydney, Sydney to LA, stopping off in LA to catch myself, LA to NY, spent a week running around with numb feet in heels whilst being yelled at by cabbies or being pampered by Ubers for Fashion Week and then whizzing along the East Coast coastal towns towards Boston via train.
As I’m currently sorting through all my Fash Week images I thought I’d share some of my travel journal pics so far, just some fun personal snaps from my good old iPhone:
“California, here I come
Right back where I started from
Where bowers of flowers bloom in the spring
Each morning at dawning birdies sing at everything
A sun kissed miss said, “Don’t be late!”
That’s why I can hardly wait
Open up that golden gate
California, here I come”
As a child this song would get stuck in my head over and over again so it seems fitting that in the last few weeks, as I gear up to trade west coasts, it certainly has again. From September I will be based in Los Angeles, a city I know very well and consider my second home. Whilst I may be off chasing some dreams overseas for awhile, I’m very much excited to share my adventure with everyone back home in Perth, starting with New York Fashion Week. I have some fun collaborations, events and runways lined up whilst I’m there and am looking forward to seeing our Aussie counterparts in fashion, beauty and blogging rock that centre stage.
To Infinity and Beyond!
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*all inspo images sourced from tumblr*
So if you hadn’t guessed, I had Kate Millar-Heidke blaring in the car right before I stepped out into the Pinnacles. I honestly felt like I was standing on the edge of the Earth… and it really could have been the last day, witnessing such beauty in magnitude and nature. I haven’t been north of Perth since my family moved back permanently when I was 12. I think my parents thought it would be a good introduction to Australia if we grabbed some extended family and convoyed it up to Coral Bay. I wish I could say I remember more of the drive otherwise I would have made an effort to make this trip sooner. However, in true pre-teen style, I was too busy buried in the back seat with my ultra cool Sony Discman, jamming to Matchbox 20’s 3am, as if I knew what 3am looked like at that age…
A picturesque graveyard of limestone, that’s how I would describe The Pinnacles. That sounds morbid I know, but really it isn’t. It’s ethereal nature radiates with each awe-inspiring pillar, beautifully representing the solitude that encompasses the Western Australian outback. My newest piece from all time favorite Australian boho brand Spell Designs, deserved a meaningful backdrop and this certainly was it. I can only explain this as my dream maxi – all lace, low back, side splits, interpreted bell sleeves and I have my gorgeous friend Lexi from Lexi and Roy to thank for securing me one amongst the lightening speed sellout that happens every time Spell releases a new collection. Lexi your a doll!
Location: The Pinnacles
Words: The Last Day On Earth by Kate Millar-Heidke
*All inspo imagery sourced from tumblr*