New Orleans

New Orleans Ace
New Orleans

Even in the heat and sweat of late June in the south, New Orleans is a beautiful city. The plants are lush and tropical, intermixed with beautiful old buildings in a downtown setting. The details in the architecture that has been around since the early 1800s makes New Orleans truly feel like the most European city in America. That combined with the fantastic food and drinks found in this city makes it one of my favorite places to spend some time. 

This was my second trip to New Orleans, we found ourselves stumbling upon places we had been to previously but also found new gems in the neighborhoods beyond the french quarter that are growing and becoming safer places to spend time. While the french quarter is quite touristy it is still a nice part of town to walk around in. Just look up at the beautiful apartments and homes above all the knick knack and crap bars below. With that said there are some decent spots to drink and grab some food in the French Quarter and the quieter edges of the quarter also make a great places to wander. 

We stayed at the Ace Hotel, which had a happening scene every hour of the day and a great rooftop lounging pool. The location was walking distance to a number of places we wanted to go as well as right on the street car line that takes you to the Garden District.

Here are a few of my recommendations: 

STAY

ACE HOTEL (Warehouse District)
HENRY HOWARD HOTEL (Garden District)

FOOD & DRINKS

CANE & TABLE - delicious food & drinks (French Quarter)
NAPOLEON HOUSE - great old school new orleans bar. classic new orleans dishes and affordable drinks, don't forget to grab a beer in a plastic cup to go to sip on as you wonder around the quarter. Still a novelty in your late 20s. (French Quarter)
SYLVAIN - gastropub with a nice interior. (French Quarter)
PAGODA CAFE - awesome spot for breakfast with a tropical feel. (Midtown)
PECHE - average interior and vibe, but amazing food and friendly service. (Warehouse District)
SEAWORTHY - cute little space great for oysters and cocktails. (Warehouse District)
BACCHANAL - awesome wine shop, bar and music venue in the bywater district. besides they cool atmosphere they also have pretty good food. (Bywater)

MUSIC 

BACCHANAL - small outdoor stage that brings in perfect bands to enjoy the wine and your company. (Bywater)
THREE KEYS - inside the lobby of the Ace Hotel, a happening crowd most nights with a mix of music styles. (Warehouse District)
D.B.A. - great live music and a mix of locals and tourist not only drinking but also dancing. (Frenchman Street)

WANDERING

GARDEN DISTRICT - some of the most amazing homes in the city. 
CITY PARK - huge park with beautiful live oak trees and a ton of walking paths. 

Oregon to Texas

Earlier this year we decided to make a big move. Take our life and all of our belongings from Portland, Oregon, to Austin, Texas. We took six days to get down here, so the amount we had to drive each day wasn't outrageous. We even stopped by a National Park, along with a National Monument. Here are a few photos and favorites spots we visited. 

Palm Springs

I've been interested in Palm Springs for a few years after working at the Ace Hotel in Portland and hearing a lot about the Ace in Palm Springs. We stopped there for lunch at the restaurant on their property, Kings Highway. I also heard about a botanical garden called Moorten Botanical Garden that sounded amazing as I love desert foliage. It was indeed pretty amazing. 

Moorten Botanical Garden
Moorten Botanical Garden
Moorten Botanical Garden
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Joshua Tree

After Palm Springs we stayed the night at a sweet Airbnb in Joshua Tree. The 1 bedroom house was perfect, everything was updated, the decor was wonderful and there was even a nice patio and yard space. It was located on the same road as one of the entrances to Joshua Tree National Park which was wonderful too. The town of Joshua Tree is pretty small, but it had a quaint charm. We drove about 20 minutes away to check out the awesome bar and music venue Pappy & Harriet's

Joshua Tree National Park was super cool as well. The landscape feels like something from a time before and the combination of the unique trees, part of the Yucca family, and incredible rock formations made for an interesting landscape. 

Joshua Tree Airbnb
Joshua Tree Airbnb
Joshua Tree National Park

White Sands 

White Sands National Monument was about an hour out of the way but totally worth it. The rolling sand dunes in a land locked state felt magical and the day we were there it was super stormy. Their was fairly constant lighting in the background as we roamed around checking out the interesting plants and soft white sand.  

White Sands National Monument
White Sands National Monument

Marfa

Marfa is a town way out in western Texas. A place I have heard a lot about on blogs recently. With a population of only about 2,000 it has created an abundant art scene which has also brought in boutique business and the famous El Cosmico. We stopped by on a Wednesday and its the sort of town which seems like it would be more lively on the weekends. Many businesses were closed but we still found some awesome coffee shops and other spots. 

Do Your Thing Marfa
Maria Book Co.

Oahu

The last 3 weeks have been quite busy. We moved out of our apartment in Portland, travelled to the midwest for family, went to Oahu for vacation, than moved out to the country in Southern Oregon to live for a little bit before the big move to Austin, Texas. Out of the craziness that has been these past few weeks, the highlight was getting to spend some time in Oahu. This being my second time to an Hawaiian island, I can say Hawaii might be my favorite place on earth. It feels like a whole different world from a lot of places on the continental US, but there is still the ease of traveling within the United States. Also, in my dream life, I would spend at least part of my day, everyday on a warm, soft sanded beach. 

Now that my tan is fading, and the weather is 65 degrees today, I will post some photos and share a few of my favorites spots. 

North Shore

Since my early teens I was a huge fan of surfing culture, I watched Blue Crush probably 500 times, so going to see the North Shore, which is famous for it’s surfing was pretty cool. We stopped by Ehukai Beach Park a number of times, once to watch the sunset and it was a pretty great spot for that. The waves weren’t super huge this time of year, but there was still a number of people out there surfing. A lot of the great places to eat on this part of the island were food trucks. Everything form wood fired pizza to amazing seafood. The Garden Oven had incredible wood fired pizzas and we also ate some of the best shrimp I have ever tasted. I can't remember the name of the shrimp place, but here are some other recommendations

Oahu North Shore
Volcom House

Kailua

One of the nicer big, yet small towns on the island was Kailua. This town had my favorite boutique shop, Olive, along with a men’s shop down the road called Oliver. They have two farmers markets, one we went to on our Sunday there. The market was boasting great tropical fruits, lunch, plants and the best green smoothies out there. Kailua is also home to one of the most popular beaches on the island, Lanikai Beach. We decided to check out another beach a little closer in town and from what I hear it is just as nice. One place we didn't get to check out, but I would have liked to is Lanikai Brewery

Kailua Beach Park
Kailua Beach Park

Leeward Coast

I have been to Hawaii once before, visiting Maui about 6 years ago. I remember what was so great about these islands is if you have a week or so, it’s easy just to drive around the entire island (not all in one day, although possible). We went up the west side of the island hoping to make it around, it looked like there was a road that went around, although we weren’t certain. We went to check it out anyway. Along the way we found a couple nice beaches. The later had a bunch of people surfing and skim boarding. After we watched these guys for a while we didn’t even drive another mile and found that the road was a terrible dirt road that one would need a monster truck in order to get through all the massive potholes. So we had to turn around but it was still worth it seeing some beaches that are probably less visited by tourists. 

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Honolulu and Koko Head   

While I enjoy the smaller, less populated island towns, I was still excited to check out Honolulu. We had dinner mid-trip at Izakaya Torae Torae and our last night at Lucky Belly. Both excellent. We attempted to find some awesome tiki bars, yet the ones we found were a bit of a let down. While we did not stay there, it was fun to walk through and grab a drink at the Royal Hawaiian, one of the few unique and history rich hotels on Waikiki. We grabbed lunch at Rainbow Drive In and beers from the brewery Honolulu Beerworks another day. One of the mornings we woke up before sunrise to hike up 1,000 stairs at Koko Head Crater just east of Honolulu. Pretty intense, but totally worth it. After that hike we had a spectacular breakfast at Koko Head Cafe back in Honolulu, I would highly recommend this spot. 

Koko Head
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Been home a week tomorrow, and already I can't wait for the next opportunity to jet off to these beautiful islands. 

Photographers I'm Loving

Theron Humphrey

Theron is known as much for his photography as his dog Maddie. He has gotten many commercial jobs with his pup as the focus. He travels around the United States a lot and captures people, and his pup, in a authentic and stunning way. He has a new project that is great. Photography some bad ass chicks to ride motorcycles. This project is called Four by Three

4x3 Theron Humphrey

Paul Octavious

Paul has done a few photo series I enjoy, taking places and finding something interesting about them and interacting with them. The photo shown is from a series called lean, where he poses folks leaning next to a found leaning tree or other object. Same Hill, Different Day is a series he has done where we photographs the same hill in different season, different times of day and different events. It makes for a really interesting way of looking at the same place. 

Paul Octavious - Lean

Leela Cyd

Leela is a fantastic lifestyle photographer. She has done work for many clients in Portland and her work is always styled and curated beautifully. 

Leela Cyd
Leela Cyd

Luisa Brimble

Luisa is another fabulous lifestyle photographer. I love how she captures light and color in her photos. I really like some of these flower portraits she does. 

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Christian Chaize

Christian also does a photo series that I am obsessed with. He shoots the same beach at different times. I find this interesting with seeing the contrast of the tide in and out. He also has a beautiful book of this series. 

Christian Chaize
Christian Chaize

Bernhard Lang

Bernhard is an incredible and creative aerial photographer. He creates amazing photos from a view we usually don't see. Most of the photos are either of extremely crowded places or desolate places. Both are compelling and interesting in their own ways. 

Bernhard Lang

Beautiful Products - All Things Coffee

Ceramic French Press

I love this alternative to a classic glass french press. Made by Yield

french press

Manual Coffeemaker Nº1

The manual coffeemaker is unique. This limited edtion version with marble and and all glass feels sophisticated and different from a lot of products out there. 

manual coffee maker

Paper Porcelain Espresso Cups 

Made by Danish design studio Hay, these thin espresso cups are made with a special material that allows little specs to show, giving them a recycled paper look.  

Paper Porcelain Espresso

The Clerk Pour Over

I've seen this pour over floating around the internet for a while, makes sense as it sure is beautiful. They have a few design options. The type of material of the base and layout of the rod holding the pour over. There is a knob to move the position of the pour over so it can be lower for a single cup or higher to fit a pitcher underneath.

Clerk Pour Over

Hasami Porcelain Sugar and Creamer Set

There are a lot of beautiful and unique creamers and sugar bowls out there, but this one that stacks stands out. I have always been on to take cream and sugar in my coffee, so why not have the vessels stack as they obviously go together. Theses are designed in Los Angeles and Made in Japan. 

Hasami Suger and Creamer

Sleepy Eye Pour Over and Eye Mug

Handmade in Portland, OR by Martina Thornhill. I love the playfulness and wit of this pour over and mug. 

Sleepy Eye Pour Over