These pictures were taken on one of New York City’s warmer days a few weeks ago. A delightful surprise after days of rain. The city seemed to sparkle in a special way this particular Thursday. It just happened to be perfect timing that I met up with Swedish photographer Rebecka Rynefelt to shoot some spring looks in the city. The sun already had me in a chipper mood, and I think it really came across in these photos. I was head over heels happy to be out and about in my city. Free from the restraints of a jacket. Even my pants were loose fitting to a T. The streets of the West Village were busy and bustling on Bleecker streets, but we found solace in the quiet side streets that seemed worlds away from what was just around the corner. I love finding pockets of peacefulness like this in the middle of what is basically chaos. And NYC in general is as close as one can get to chaos. So finding even a minute or two of what feels like being the only person left in the world is priceless. The trees sparkled green just for me it seemed. The stoops, freshly sunburnt, seemed grander and more escalated in their early-twentieth century glory. The West Village has an old soul, you can see it in its structure, which has been preserved and very much in tact. It’s quite unlike any other part of the city. Whenever I take a stroll around these treelined neighborhoods, it’s like taking a million steps back in time. Maybe a little bit too back in fact. I did indeed go to the lengths of googling the most haunted places in all of NYC last week, and I came across the building of 14 West 10th Street. Google it. And then regret it right after. Haha. And then I wondered, did we shoot on that street for this shoot? Mmmm, maybeeee. Or at least we were definitely close by. Creepy stories. Happy stories. A bunch of things in between. NYC sure has got a lot of them. This day was by far a happy one in my Ariane Elmy denim top, one of the most unique pieces in my closet right now. How far out is the back strap detailing? And, of course, my favorite Ulla Jonhnson pants. The wider the pant leg, the better. That’s my motto.
Early spring is just another continuation of love for the lace-up boot. It doesn’t matter what coast you are on. What the weather is like. A boot always seems like the right choice for some reason. It’s a endless state of mind. Whatever your choice of destination is, a boot will get you through it. And now onto the boot of the moment . . . the Timberland Kenniston boot in white. Only my second pair of Timberlands. My very first pair was back in the third grade after I begged my mom to get me a pair because they were cool. Of course I wanted the pair that the orangey tan suede (was there any other color option at the time?). In the third grade, being a tomboy was cool, and Tims made that point really fast. Fast forward to today . . . I’m still partially a tomboy. But most importantly, I’m a little bit of everything. I’m finding that out every single day. But in the ever changing world of fashion, a boot always has a place on our soles. And especially when they are so comfortable you never want to take them off. That’s the thing about the Timberland Kenniston boot. It’s made to be super lightweight. A far cry from the chunky ones of my childhood playground past. They feel like sneakers on. I could walk my city all day in them, and my feet will still feel brand new afterwards. I also adore the fact that the laces and breathable lining are made from recycled plastic bottles. With the state of the earth today, every little detail like this counts. The more I can reuse, the better I feel about what I put on my better. It’s a cycle of sustainability that I hope continues to make its way throughout the industry.
Check out how I styled this one boot in three different ways. A white boot isn’t always the easiest to incorporate into a look, but that just gives us all the more reason to get creative and think outside the box. After getting my styling motor running, it wasn’t hard at all to come up with a list of outfit combinations that really made this boot the shining star. First off, we have a summer crop pant turned into a early spring weekend look. I love how an ankle boot looks with a boyish cropped trouser, I’m a firm believer or transitioning my favorite summer staples into every sort of season. A lightweight coat and turtleneck is just the thing.
Second, we have a going out with the girls on a chilly evening look. Springtime on the east coast is still pretty cold! I was looking for a way to dress up the boots, and my mind was stuck in the 70’s. So my forest green fur and rust colored neck scarf naturally came out to play. Not to mention the rose tinted classes. A dark color palette against the stark white may seem like a bit too much of a contrast, but in the end the two extremes felt just exactly right.
Third, I came up with a way to bring my Timberland Kennistons out to play on a warmer day in Los Angeles. I wanted to wear color, and because of the good weather bare legs was a must. My favorite 90’s-esque ribbed dress (body conscious and perfect) complemented the 90’s throwback of my boots . . . just in a much more refined way. The only thing missing from my look was a Discman. Timberland just got me feeling super downtown.
There’s something undeniably special about the California coastline, as you make your way towards Central California but not quite all the way north just yet. For me, it’s still close enough to home, but at the same time it feels like I’m transported lightyears away. It’s a quiet sort of loudness that is spoken by the crash of the waves just a few blocks away, the stars that seem to twinkle brighter than ever, and the reliable rainfall that calls for an early night in. That’s exactly what I think about when I visit Carmel-by-the-Sea, a little escapist town on the coast north of the famously fantastic Big Sur. This place sounded like the perfect city to start the first day of the new year in. My family and I, we just came out of a pretty crazy and busy holiday week, and we weren’t looking for a party or a town that would keep us up all night. No, were looking for some peace and quiet, and a whole lot of nature. A drive up the California coast was exactly what we were in pursuit of. And here at Hotel Carmel in the heart of Carmel-by-the-Sea, we found a gem of a spot to spend three delightfully slow days in. Hotel Carmel feels like home. Slightly bohemian in style, but with a minimalistic nature that suits everyone’s tastes I would assume. As soon as I walked into the front lobby, I was warmly greeted by a rustic brown leather couch covered with Southwestern style pillows. The wood of the decor was earthy and warm all around the innermost portion of the lobby. I felt like I was transported back in time to a place where the fireplace is always lit. The side of the lobby near the front windows was brighter and lighter, with shades of blue complementing white walls. It was a nod to the sea that was just a few blocks away I was pretty sure about that. Instantly, I felt like I could kick up my feet for however long that I pleased. Now that’s how a hotel should make one feel.
The rooms were spacious in just the right amount; simple yet modern feeling. My room had shuttered windows that allowed the morning light to stream in like a hazy dream. The bed was so warm and cozy that I forgot that it rained nearly the entire evening before. I always slept well to the sound to those drops. The rain, it’s a part of Carmel, and it’s the reason for its lush beauty. It’s the reason why Carmel is where one goes to find peace and comfort in the quieter things, like a good book on the deck outside of one’s room, a glass of red wine to be drunk long and slow (there’s complementary wine hour in the lobby every evening at 5:30pm), or a melodically paced walk down streets that seem to wind in circles but that bring you to surprises at every corner (like a jaw-dropping Spanish-tiled staircase or one of the most authentic bowls of pasta one could ever try outside of Italy). Really, Carmel-by-the-Sea is completely walkable, and we only used our car to drive farther south along the coast to Big Sur. It made it one of the most convenient and effortless of trips.
The friendliest of staff is always there to greet you. In the morning, a well-rounded continental breakfast awaits in the lobby for all guests before they start their morning adventures exploring Carmel and its neighboring cities. Hiking, swimming at the beach, going for a run, taking the dogs for a walk, getting inspired by the panoramic views along the coast. There’s so much to do and see. I think Carmel and its neighboring Big Sur are sure to bring out the photographer in every person. The simplicity of nature and its beauty is really what these places are all about. Below the lobby is a bar with good food owned by the hotel called Brophy’s Tavern. It’s a favorite of locals in the area!
One of my favorite parts of our stay at Hotel Carmel was the outdoor patio and fire pit, along with the intimate hot tub. It’s this hot tub and fire pit that we started conversations with tourists from all over the world, each having unique stories on what brought them to Carmel. Couples. Families. The lone traveler. As someone born and bred in California, I have always known of Carmel, but never really gave it a good chance because I always put other, more exotic places higher up on my t0-see list. I road tripped along the coast a few times, but always passed by Carmel! As I’ve gotten older, I’ve grown to appreciate more what is closer to home. What’s literally in my own backyard (or at least a 5 hour drive north of where I was born). I’m glad that I decided to explore more of what is more accessible within California during this trip home for the holidays. There is such an expansive array of landscapes and paces of life within this wonderful state, I can understand now why tourists come from all over the world to Carmel to see what all the mystery is about. Just about everyone we met at the hotel was on there way to or from San Francisco, and made sure that Carmel was the place to stop by on the way. That speaks loads. It looks like everyone is looking for a peaceful retreat on their international travels more often nowadays. And Big Sur, which I mentioned before. To rest ones eyes on the cliffs and rocks and green and sea in the way that it is meld together as it is in Big Sur, is to really understand what the meaning of what the word “meditative” is. The views easily calm as much as they excite the imagination. It’s a balance that is so unique to this part of the California coast.
Our stay at Hotel Carmel was magical to say the least. I left well-rested and recharged. Exactly what a new year should have us feeling like. Looking forward. Not dragging on what’s behind. I hope to be back very, very soon!! Thank you Hotel Carmel for our stay 🙂
This past year was a whirlwind of beautiful and delightful destinations. I feel like I’ve already spoken so much about what I’ve been grateful for in my self reflective blog posts from the past few months, that I felt like focusing instead on the places that I got to explore in the past 12 months. New places and old. With each place, I feel like I’ve built upon the foundation of myself. My independence and confidence heightened as more parts of the world entered my eyes and brain. My travel have given me a perspective that happened to just put everything in a place where there became no room for taking things for granted. My spontaneous trips have made even more pronounced the fact that taking chances can very well be worth the gamble. That no matter what, if you open your eyes and heart to what may seem strange and unknown, new places can seem like old friends in a very surprising way. The most amazing part is how different every place is from each other. Yet with time and energy spent enough, you can really find parts of yourself in each and every culture. What seems unlikely on the first day may become second nature by the third. But that adrenaline rush that comes with adventure . . . it’s priceless. I’ve fallen in love again with the city I grew up in. I visited Paris three times this past year, and no three visits have been the same at all. I learned that the world can be even more vibrant as the most abstract of art. That you can literally feel like you are walking in a painting. I traveled to keep from feeling sheltered. I traveled to find love. I traveled to find ambition. I traveled to see hope in new starts. I traveled to keep from getting bored. I traveled to hide from the cold. I traveled to escape work. I traveled for work. I traveled to reconnect with family. I traveled to take pictures. I traveled to head bang to bands I like. And bands that I dislike. I traveled for no darn reason at all. And I have come to find that any reason you have to travel, take it. And immerse yourself with full force. You’ll be surprised at all the parts of yourself you will become aware of that you never were aware of before. And that’s the most amazing part.
PARK CITY, UTAH
KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA
I always like to keep count of all the places I visit in a year. It makes me want to pinch myself. Here are some highlights from a few of my favorite travel destinations from the past year. You can look up these travels by entering the destination in my search bar at the top right hand corner of my blog.
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA
LA FORTUNA and PENINSULA PAPAGAYO, COSTA RICA
REIMS and PARIS, FRANCE
SASQUASH and VANCOUVER, CANADA
I hope your 2017 is full of love and motivation and confidence. Surround yourself with things that make you happy no matter what 🙂 xx