Friday, March 19, 2010

guest travelogue: courtney barton

“What a long strange trip its been”

My friend Courtney Barton, former co-Hollywould employee and blogger extraordinaire, has just returned to her homeport of Kuala Lumpur from an adventure in India and Nepal. The images she shared with us along the way were mind blowing (I hope she is working on a book!) and I wanted to share some with you guys. It has inspired me to make a similar journey- I just need to borrow her itinerary!

I have to add that she looks fabulous in a turban, and I think this is a trend that needs to resurface. Everyone looks better poolside with a good martini and a turban. I also love the vintage-quality of these first few images.

Below is an excerpt from her fabulous blog, in(side) the loop, about her recent travels. Click here to visit her blog for the full shake down.

“I'm finally back and it will take a while to digest the full intensity of India and Nepal, not to mention the deluge of photos I snapped along the way.

The trip was certainly trying at times with the barrage of touts, hardcore negotiations when purchasing everything from chewing gum to antiques, an overnight ride on the Indian Railways, and [holy] cow feces projected onto my legs not once, but twice—yet I still found myself in constant awe of the unforgettable sights. I interviewed a princess, watched a Hindu cremation ceremony on the Ganges, rode camels into the sand dune sunset, and ate my weight in garlic naan [which, by the way, is as close to Nirvana as I've ever been]. These memories will forever be impressed in my mind and soul.”

I'm dying to get a hold of these slippers. Heaven on earth is a marketplace selling handmade shoes!

windy city...

Just spent an amazing few days in (a surprisingly warm) Chicago with friends. The sun was shining, the food was to die for, and the shopping was killer, literally. We hit every shop and tea spot from Michigan Avenue to Bucktown and Lincoln Park, and most of what was in between. Nursing a cold, but determined to enjoy everything the windy city has to offer (at least, everything that can be enjoyed in only a few days) we made our way along the river, dyed an abnormal green for St Paddys Day.

A few highlights of the trip…

The Art Institute- As an art fanatic (art major and I have worked for an Art Museum for the last four years) I was in heaven. But my (less artistically inclined) spouse was just as amazed at their permanent collection as I was. Everywhere you turn is another Monet or Picasso, Cindy Sherman, or El Greco. It was almost laughable the big names gracing their walls! We missed a Matisse exhibition by only a few days (poor planning on my part) but I hope some of you go see it for me! The American Art from 1960 was the best…

111 South Michigan Avenue
Winslow Homer, American, 1836-1910, The Water Fan, 1898/99

Chicago deep dish pizza- This deep dish pizza hit the spot after a few hours exploring the streets. Tomato sauce on top of the cheese works perfectly for me (so I can swiftly remove it from my pie- personal preference). My friend Jennifer says you can order the deep dish and have it overnight-delivered anywhere in the country, but without the deep dish pans or the perfect ovens, it isn’t quite the same when cooked at home.

Tea at the Peninsula Hotel- Scones, tea sandwiches, a huge list of teas and impeccable service. This was the perfect respite from a tiring day of shopping. Life is hard.

108 E Superior St
Red Light- A Chicago favorite for pan-Asian fare in a funky atmosphere. Wrinkled green beans and Lychee martinis are a must. I ate too much, as usual.

820 W. Randolph

Hugo’s Frog Bar and Fish House- Enormous portions of fresh fish, oysters, lobsters and shrimp, foot tall key lime pie, and an Irish Bagpipe band to boot? We had a good time, especially since it was the night before St. Paddy’s day!

1024 North Rush Street

One I hated to miss...
Hot Chocolate
I had plans to visit Hot Chocolate, a cozy little place on Damen run by three-time James Beard nominee Mindy Segal. Just the mention of the term Gastropub gets me salivating like Pavlov’s dog. The menu promised Mussels with bacon, shallots, garlic, PBR, and local chiles. YUM! House-made, beer-poached soft pretzels with Taleggio fondue- ahh! To-die-for Mac and Cheese, Burgers, and Entrees, but the piece de rĂ©sistance are the desserts. Mindy is a pastry chef, after all. It is on the top of my list for my next trip to Chicago.

1747 North Damen Avenue

Monday, March 1, 2010

inspiration: florence, italy...

While looking through some photos from a recent trip to Italy, I came across these images of the Duomo in Florence and the view from the top of the dome. The sights, sounds and smells of this day are all fresh in my memory. We had just left an amazing cafe serving pesto pea pizzas and buffalo mozzarella that was more similar to ice cream than cheese. As an art history major, I was soaking up all of the art and architecture. The climb to the top of the dome did a hat trick on my claustrophobia, but the view from the top was worth every moment stuck in a cramped large, spiraling staircase between the inner and outer domes.

Inspired by the colors of these images- the soft grays, pale green, terracotta, and loads of white- I put together this sampling of Cerulean. You can call it, living in images of Florence.