Archive for February, 2014

Touring Tinseltown

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

The Ace hotel was our main excuse to return to L.A., but Hurly and I spent plenty of time out and about.



One of the stores we hadn’t checked out during last year’s visit was the California Surplus Mart which is where U.S. military goods go to live/die once they’re honorably discharged.



Downtown at The Last Bookstore I picked up a small stash of trashy old B-movie worthy paperbacks I’ll wait to crack open ’til summer sizzles on in.


Most mornings while we’re vacationing I excitedly rustled Hurly up out of bed hours before shops are even open. We try and kill time best we can, but often times we’ll just sightsee the outside of closed tourist spots, like the cold, misty exterior of the Griffith Observatory, three full hours before doors unlock for the public.


Other than the CW stars we saw on the Ace’s rooftop, our only other real celebrity sighting was technically just a Bravolebrity. We went to Fonuts as featured on Eat, Drink, Love and the lovely Waylynn herself filled our box with half a dozen of the yummiest and most moist non-donuts we’ve ever had.

It was an amusingly unscripted little scene for Hurly and I, and though he isn’t much into donuts at all, he was way into the donuts, fo’sure. Those things stayed un-dry for days.


Last year it was some candlesticks at Lawson Fenning I most regretted not bringing back to Minneapolis from L.A. This year it was this heavy handled copper bowl at Heath Ceramics. It weighed a ton and cost even more…


Whether it’s early in the morning, or too early to head to our dinner reservations, Hurly and I have found that another good way to kill time and see swanky sights is to wander through other guests’  hotels.


We looked at the famous palm-wallpapered coffee shop and hand-stenciled signage at The Beverly Hills Hotel one night.



And enjoyed a quiet breakfast at the Kelly Wearstler-designed Avalon Hotel our final morning.



I’ll skip pretty much any museum visit if it means I can scope out and pose in yet another handsome hotel.

Ace Hotel Los Angeles

Tuesday, February 18th, 2014

Our last three getaways were to California. And we’d just visited Los Angeles less than a year ago. But I had such a transcendently sublime time at the Ace Hotel in Palm Springs this fall for our non-honeymoon that I really wanted to check out the newest Ace location in L.A. basically A.S.A.P.

And so Hurly kindly jetted us off to the Golden State for the fourth time in under 12 months so I could scope out the just-opened awesomeness.


The L.A. Ace is located, notably, downtown – helping shift the area’s once shady status from down-and-out to up-and-coming. A majestic movie theater/office tower Charlie Chaplin and his colleagues built in 1927 to showcase their United Artists’ films is the Ace’s set of bones.


The grandiose theater lobby I thought would act as the lobby/public space of the hotel – but the theater is solely/separately dedicated to Ace-curated public concerts/shows and unfortunately closed off otherwise from the hotel and its guests.


The hotel proper is carefully crammed into the theater’s adjacent thirteen-story office tower. There isn’t even barely a proper lobby, just the front desk/gift shop and then the hotel’s coffee shop/bar/restaurant called LA Chapter.


But Ace’s strength is creating striking visual moments at every scale, and assembling beauty from mixing the old and the new with the high and the low.


In the rooms, the little things bring big rewards. Southern California was crudely cool when we were there and the color-blocked Pendleton co-branded wool blanket on our bed was a soothing, snuggly comfort that I keep thinking a ton about, back here in the blizzards of Minneapolis.


The in-room reads aren’t just generic city-centric publications, but indie zines about girl drummers and man-dating men. 




Ace locations are famous for their in-room turntables, which our 12th-floor suite indeed offered – as well as our very own guitar and a stack of blank sheet music we used to effortlessly transform Hurly from a simple tourist into a soulful little troubadour!


Nodding to its Hollywoody past, signage at Ace DTLA is stenciled atop schlocky old screenplay pages.


And the walls of its restaurant are professionally doodled in images of tinseltown’s richest and most famous.


Diners can sit around and order ricotta pancakes or avocado toast while subtly trying to celeb spot (pencil sketchings of) Keaton and Dern and Schwarzenegger.



Or do as I incessantly did and gawk at all the ivy leather and tricky tilework and beautiful brass tabletops that makes LA Chapter so aesthetically delicious.


If you ride the elevator up to the roof the sign for the sorta Less Than Zero-seeming Upstairs bar beams bluely at you.




But once you step into the sun the scene gets a little less Less Than-ish. There’s countless kilim pillows, cement knick-knacks, a shrimpy swimming pool and, on our last day there, a chic from the last three seasons of Gossip Girl and a dude from the only season of Ringer.


Other places, two semi-celebs from old CW shows might be the coolest and most beautiful things around you – but at an Ace, they just fade blandly into background players since its the hip-chic scenery that really shines.

Homemaking Granola

Thursday, February 13th, 2014

I was never very into fancy granola. And neither GQ nor Gwyneth Paltrow nor any Tumblr-ing styled blog has recently told me I should start getting into grandiose granolas. But in the past few weeks those expensive bakery bags of granola I never would’ve bothered paying for before suddenly started seeming crazily cravey to me. Still not enough so to pay like $9.75 a bag for though, and so I thriftily and swiftly made my own.

And it tastes totally like Christmas cookies!


Barely sweet and loaded with pebbles of pecans, it reminds me of butter cookies or sugar cookies or something like that, but its obviously way better for you – me.

I based my base recipe off this one – just cause it popped up first on Pinterest. For the fat I used coconut oil, for the sweetener I used some agave syrup I’ve been trying to get rid of for years, for the nuts I did sunflower and pepita seeds plus chopped pecans, and for the spices I used just a whisper’s worth of cinnamon.

I wanted my granola a little on the dark side so I kept baking mine for four or maybe more minutes. Next time I may add some dried fruit – but this time all my body and mind cared about was over-toasted oats and uber-roasted nuts.

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