Tag Archives: Reviews

Ace Hotel Palm Springs: A Mini Tour

Ace Hotel Palm Springs

Ace Hotel Palm Springs

Ace Hotel Palm Springs

One of the places I look forward to visiting every year is the Palm Springs location of the Ace Hotel. There’s a two-fold appeal to me: first, it’s impossible to be in a bad mood when it’s perpetually sunny. Secondly, I love visiting places that feel suspended in time. Even though the Ace has been lovingly revamped, it still has the roots of its previous incarnation, a midcentury-modern motel once known as Westward Ho.

Ace Hotel Palm Springs

As an added bonus, its main restaurant, King’s Highway was once home to a Denny’s. With a farm-to-table focus, it serves breakfast, lunch and dinner along with Stumptown Coffee. You can check out the full menu here.

Ace Hotel Palm Springs

Ace Hotel Palm Springs

Ace Hotel Palm Springs

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The grounds feature communal outdoor fireplaces, a spa and a dog park. I love that the property is pet friendly — Rocky definitely approved!

Ace Hotel Palm Springs

Ace Hotel Palm Springs

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By day, when I’m visiting the Ace, I revert into total relaxation mode and spend most of my time eating, lounging by the pool or even better, doing both at the same time. And by night, I order drinks from The Amigo Room and sit in the hot tub. It’s a pretty perfect existence to embrace for a few days.

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Ace Hotel Palm Springs

The rooms have polished concrete floors so you never have to feel guilty about dragging in sand or knocking over a drink. And the slat walls feature some of the coolest posters I’ve seen — the best part is that you can pick up your own copies right here.

Ace Hotel Palm Springs

The grounds are a creative’s paradise with awesome type specimens spread throughout. But the most iconic type on the property is the A C E right by the pool entrance.

Ace Hotel Palm Springs

Trees full of citrus fruits line the property — they’re always such a novelty to me as a lifelong resident of the northwest.

Ace Hotel Palm Springs

I’ve been home a little over a week and I’m already dreaming of another trip down south. Luckily, my next visit is only a few months away.

Ace Hotel Palm Springs


All photos taken by me at the Ace Hotel Palm Springs, September 2013.

Funhouse Mirrors and Fine Dining: Sketch London

Sketch London

During my stay in London, the coolest restaurant I visited by far was Sketch. Over the decade it’s been in existence, Sketch has won dozens of awards and been written up in most major magazines. While the food and drinks are wonderful, part of its charm can be attributed to the over the top decor. Basically, if you’re a foodie obsessed with art, this is your mecca.

I’d built the Sketch experience up in my head after reading dozens of reviews and thankfully, it lived up to the hype. When we entered, we were greeted by a beautiful hostess with a shaved head and platform boots, draped in head-to-toe black. The lobby felt more like an entrance to a glamorous night club than a restaurant.

Sketch London

We were led to The Parlour, which was packed with Louis XV seating and featured an eccentric rainbow wall divider along with dessert cases. Everything was steeped in tradition, but with a modern, quirky twist.

Sketch London

As we were seated, I glanced down at one of the most chic menus I’d ever seen, printed on bubble gum pink stock. Based on the decor alone, I assumed that the prices would be outlandish. After all, when you’e seated in the equivalent of an otherworldly art gallery, it’s to be expected.

Surprisingly, everything from the desserts to main dishes were very average when it came to London pricing. And, delicious. Everyone at our table ordered something different — Kat had fries which I kid you not, tasted like a perfect batch of golden McDonald’s fries (though I haven’t had those in years!). I chose a baguette and fresh grilled veggies (simple but perfectly executed) and Gala had the afternoon tea, which I regretted not ordering after taking one bite of her scone with clotted cream. The bottom line is that the menu was so unique and varied in its offerings that you could easily dine there five days in a row and not get sick of it.

Sketch London

I hadn’t realized how many other separate themed rooms occupied Sketch — as I attempted to find my way to the bathroom, I passed The Glade, which Sketch accurately sums up as an “enchanted fairytale forest.” I can only imagine what a perfect setting it would be for afternoon tea.

Sketch London

And then, we made our way through The Gallery. With walls, floors and furniture covered in boldly hued patterns, it’s the most vibrant of all the restaurants and bars.

Sketch London

But still, the themed rooms kept going. Upstairs is home to The Lecture Room, an award winning fine dining restaurant.

Sketch London

By this point, I thought I’d seen it all, but there was one more surprise; the bathrooms themselves. As I made my way up a pristine white marble staircase, I was met with dozens of egg-shaped pods. Confused, I asked were the toilets were. Everyone laughed. “Inside the pods.” Completely self-contained and scented, using them was definitely an otherworldly experience. And the weird, funhouse-style mirror placed above the sinks was the perfect way to top it all off.

Sketch was a total trip but perhaps the best part of our experience was that the staff were incredibly charming — there was no stuffiness at all. A killer venue, mind-blowing art, incredible food and stylish yet down-to-earth staff all rolled into one place? Really, what more could you want?! If you’re in London, Sketch is a must-see.


Reviewed: Sketch, 9 Conduit Street, London.
Top photo, bathroom photo and menu scan by me. All other photos, courtesy of Sketch.

The Blogcademy and MagCloud: Poster Crazy!

The Blogcademy MagCloud Posters

When you need to promote an event or get your designs printed on nice quality paper, we all know how quickly that can add up. And, screen printing posters is also very expensive, especially when you’re a smaller business. I’ve been looking for an alternative, cost effective way to print posters and I finally have a solution to share with you!

A few months ago, Luke Copping needed a poster for his speaking event and hired me to design a layout he could print through MagCloud. At The Blogcademy, we’ve been using MagCloud since the very beginning to print our workbooks but I didn’t realize they also did double-sided 18 x 24 posters! Luke was impressed with the quality so when it came time to test out some new Blogcademy designs, I knew just where to go.

The Blogcademy MagCloud Posters

For those of you who aren’t familiar with MagCloud, it’s an on-demand printing service run by HP and you can print as little or as much as you like. They ship around the world, too. Sometimes you don’t have the quantities needed to go through a traditional printer or you just need to proof a project to see how it’s looking. Having the option to order a single piece is so nice!

Late one night, Gala sent me a manifesto and along with that, I put together layouts of our two upcoming Blogcademy dates in Portland and Los Angeles. I expected the quality to be just okay for $2.00 a piece but was pleasantly surprised when the posters showed up. First off, each comes in its own protective plastic sleeve. Next, the paper is much heavier than poster paper — it’s more like a few steps down from card stock. And the finish is the equivalent of a satin. It’s got a very soft shine (which helps with durability) but it’s not a cheesy high gloss by any means.

The Blogcademy MagCloud Posters


If you don’t have an event to produce posters for, why not try the following:

• Make prints of your original photography. Create a collage on your wall or give out as gifts and promos.

• Posters of old school family photos would be really charming!

• Do a series of patterns you’ve created. Make your own mishmash of wallpaper!

• Print your artwork as posters to sell at conventions, shows or events.


Hopefully you’re inspired to get out and make some of your own posters. I had a blast doing this and hope to have some original designs for sale later in the year. If you make any of your own, stop by and leave me a link! And for reference, these are flats of the designs I sent to print:

The Blogcademy MagCloud Posters


* All posters printed on-demand through MagCloud. Templates can be found here.

* Tassels are courtesy of The paper Jar via The Cloud Parade, an official Blogcademy sponsor.

* Finally, I want to note that this post was in no way sponsored by MagCloud. I just really like the service and hope it is of use to you as well.

The Hair Dryer Diaries

The Hair Dryer Diaries

I’m one of those girls who admires fancy beauty tools from afar but I always question if they’re really any better than the basics. Will they really improve my life in some way? I tend to mix up my beauty products fairly equally between the high-end and low-end but when it comes to hair, to me it’s just hair. My hair has always been long and straight and it grows really fast. I don’t do a whole lot to it (but let’s be real — if I had the time and funds, I’d get it styled all fancy once a week). For the last five years, I’ve used a basic Conair hair dryer that probably cost a max of $25.00. It does the job but admittedly, it’s not great.

That’s where the Super Solano 232X hair dryer comes in. When Beauty Supply Online offered to let me try one out, I thought sure, why not — it’s a splurge I probably wouldn’t normally invest in on my own and I was really curious. Was it actually superior to my standard-issue dryer?

The Hair Dryer Diaries

After trying it out for a few weeks, the consensus is a resounding yes. Let’s start with the superficial — this is a hair dryer I’m talking about, after all! The Solano is way better looking than a standard-issue dryer. It’s sleek, all black, imprinted with a gold coat of arms logo and not too bulky. But beyond that, it’s way quiet, which I love. The Italians sure know what’s up when building anything with a motor, that’s for sure. The first time I turned it on, I was a bit blown away (haha). Imagine starting up a Ford. And then a Ferrari. One sounds like a basic car, the other one purrs.

A bit embarrassingly, my Conair can overheat big time. I often feel the back of my neck burning and if I get it too close to my hair, this weird clearish smoke comes out in plumes. Kind of scary! The Solano has more precise, dialed settings (it’s not just ice cold air or third degree burn hot) and even on the highest setting, I don’t get that dreaded scorched hair smell. Yet, my hair dried about five minutes faster. The time savings was by far the biggest selling point for me. Finally, I should mention that the cord is super heavy duty which has led to a lot less tangles. The OCD Virgo in me loves that big time.

The Hair Dryer Diaries

In closing: This hair dryer is the equivalent of a luxurious Italian sports car. It probably won’t change your life but it will definitely make your hair drying experience much more enjoyable. I like using a hair dryer that leaves me feeling like I’m in a fancy salon. The sad reality is that I step foot in a salon perhaps every six months so it’s nice to have a pro quality dryer. While your current hair dryer might work perfectly fine, if you can step it up down the road, consider treating yourself.

Readers, I have a question for you: Do you have any extravagant, pricey beauty product or tool that you absolutely swear by? I’ve always had the mindset of “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” but in my older, wiser age, I’m starting to see that there often is a difference.


* Special thanks to Beauty Stop Online for providing me with the Solano Dryer for review.

Sweet Dreams at the Jupiter Hotel

jupiter hotel portland oregon nubby twiglet

week in pictures

When people write me and ask what they should do while visiting Portland, the inevitable question of where to stay usually arises. Since I live in the city and 15 minutes or less from most of the hotels I like, I’ve never really had a reason to stay overnight. Until now.

The Jupiter Hotel is a quaint boutique hotel with a mid-century modern feel. Formerly a motor inn, the Jupiter is next door to the Doug Fir, one of my favorite places in town to grab a drink and dinner. I’ve sat around the Doug Fir’s fire pit out back and watched massive parties go down at The Jupiter – it’s definitely earned a reputation of being the ‘rock and roll hotel’ of Portland.

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Awhile back, the Jupiter kindly offered me a room for review – I knew the basics but before recommending it to my readers, I wanted to experience it firsthand for myself. On Friday night, we packed our bags, sent out invites to some of our closest Portland friends and drove over to our temporary digs.

The Jupiter provided us with their most popular room, The Metro. According to their site, “The Metro has space to spread out and get creative. These rooms feature 32” flat-screen TVs and modern Tomita Design desks in addition to our standard amenities: Chalkboard door, free WiFi, private bath with eco-bath amenities, queen pillow-top platform beds, down comforters and pillows, and speakers for your notebook or MP3 player.” Nice.

week in pictures

jupiter hotel portland oregon nubby twiglet

jupiter hotel portland oregon nubby twiglet

jupiter hotel portland oregon nubby twiglet

jupiter hotel portland oregon nubby twiglet

jupiter hotel portland oregon nubby twiglet

jupiter hotel portland oregon nubby twiglet

Perhaps the coolest part of the Jupiter rooms are the chalkboard-friendly doors. World famous artists Star and Joey helped us deck them out in some lewd finery.

jupiter hotel portland oregon nubby twiglet

Star poses in front of our handiwork. In case you were wondering, I’m responsible for the drippy boobs and drumstick.

jupiter hotel portland oregon nubby twiglet

Isn’t the desk and work area cute?

jupiter hotel portland oregon nubby twiglet

Erin and I met on our first day of high school in 1995. Still goin’ strong!

jupiter hotel portland oregon nubby twiglet

Brent, Katie and Erin joined us for the festivities.

jupiter hotel portland oregon nubby twiglet

Joey and Jason also stopped by….

jupiter hotel portland oregon nubby twiglet

Star and I compare legwear at 2 AM.

week in pictures

jupiter hotel portland oregon nubby twiglet

You may be asking yourself…what are some qualities that make the Jupiter unique?

• Each of the 81 rooms feature a unique theme / wall mural. Mine had a floor-to-ceiling portrait of Buddha.

• The Jupiter is very green and uses low-voltage lighting, provides guest room recycling and cleans with environmentally-friendly products.

• Besides having the Doug Fir next door, an on-site hair salon called Wack is perfect for a quick cut and massage.

• There are pet friendly rooms! Read more about the LexiDog Metro.

• The Jupiter is barely a few minutes from downtown and surrounded by a plethora of independent businesses and indie boutiques.

week in pictures

jupiter hotel portland oregon nubby twiglet

Overall, I was very satisfied with my stay. The room was larger than I’d expected; I loved the modern decor and huge window. And, the convenience is unparalleled since the entertainment is right next door at the Doug Fir, where you can grab breakfast, lunch, dinner and a show all in one stop! If you are hip, love to party and aren’t offended by obscenities scrawled across people’s doors in chalk, this is your place. If you’re old, stuffy and lack a sense of humor, there’s a dumpy Thriftlodge down the road.

To find out more about the Jupiter or to book a room, please visit the website. Last but not least, I should mention that there’s an after midnight $59.00 special if you’re needing a last minute place to crash!

week in pictures

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Oscar + Fitch Glasses

A few weeks ago, I was contacted by Amy, a stylist at Oscar + Fitch, a hip & fashionable eyeglasses boutique in Edinburgh, Scotland. She wanted to know if I would like to try a pair of their glasses and I excitedly agreed.

Though I have perfect vision, I enjoy wearing non-prescription glasses for some added style. After discussing options with Amy, I came to the conclusion that I didn’t want the frames I chose to be too normal in style; I wanted something a bit funkier so that it didn’t look like I was wearing reading glasses around town!

This girl knows what she’s doing. After viewing a few of my photos, she recommended a style (mod 2087) that turned out to fit my face perfectly upon arrival. I’ve always liked the geek chic frames, but on my small features, they sometimes look like big old safety glasses!

The style I chose comes in multiple colors, but I stuck with a very basic scheme which is black on the front and tortoise shell on the sides (you can see close-ups of them here and here). It goes without saying that the craftsmanship is amazing. After having so many pairs of cheap chain store glasses, I immediately could tell the difference in the quality of the frames, the smoothness of the heavy duty hinges and overall fit.

Sometimes when a company offers you a trial of their products, the results are less than extraordinary (over the years, there have been a lot of items that I’ve refused to review based on lackluster quality and service). In this case, I can 100% back not only the quality, style and selection of Oscar + Fitch, but also their impeccable customer service. Amy and I did all of our correspondence through email with frame numbers flying back and forth and I got exactly what I’d hoped for. I almost forgot to mention…not only did I get the glasses that I’d originally requested but also another unexpected surprise; a custom pair of super mod sunglasses which I will be sharing with you soon!

Oh and dear readers, conveniently enough, Oscar + Fitch is running a special this month over at eye heart glasses so that you can get your very own O+F frames at a reduced price!

P.S. The 40s-era blouse that I’m wearing in the above photos was a gift from online vintage mecca and client Monster Vintage. I love it so much!