Photos from Spain Part 2: Barcelona

Housed in a stunning 19 Century apartment building with modern furnishings.
Perfect combo of old and new.
Can't say enough about it. LOVED IT.

 The floors at Hotel Praktik. Love. #Tiles
The bathroom. Loved the green tiles.

 A fantastic bookstore in El Ravel.

Fantastic lunch at La Central with Luci Guiterrez' book.

 The ceiling at La Sagrada Familia by Gaudi.

 Visit with Luci Guiterrez. :-)

 Ricardo in his fantastic bookstore Abracadabra.

Gaudi's Park Guell.
Unfortunately over run with tourists and selfie sticks!

Highlights from LA and PalmSprings

A few photos from a very fun trip to L.A. and Palm Springs.

 The stunning Venice Canals

Blown away by all the contemporary architecture in Venice
This is along the boardwalk

 The lobby of The Palihouse West Hollywood!
Staying here was a huge highlight of my trip.
Interior Design by Heather Ashton

Look at this gorgeous space. Full kitchen! Gorgeous mix of materials rugs, marble, velvet etc etc. Loved.
 Gjelina on Abbot Kinney!
Great food and people watching.

 On Sunset Blvd.

Another highight was visiting my friend fellow Illustrator Betsy Everitt in her beautiful home in Brentwood. Here she is in her garden.

Betsy's House on Canyon Road

 Fantastic cafe!
Joan's on Third in L.A.
Best grilled cheese sandwich ever

The Getty
Architect Richard Meier

My sketch

Incredible midcentury architecture in Palm Springs #Donald Wexler

Dreamy Holiday Get Away

Bonjour! I've just returned from a dreamy holiday away in Montréal.

(American Readers take note!: Montréal is a beautiful historic city in Quebec Canada with gorgeous architecture, great shopping + restaurants. ie. All the charm of Europe without the expense!
Added bonus: I think they have the best bagels in the world.)
Old Montreal looking so cozy + romantic at Christmas time.

One of the biggest reasons for the dreamiest of my trip (in addition to my travelling companion bien sur!) was our hotel! We stayed at the Hotel Gault in Old Montreal and I can't recommend it enough.

Hotel Gault Exterior - I loved this elegant corner door

The Gault is a boutique hotel housed in a former textile headquarters which was built in 1871.
The façade is considered "Second Empire-style" (ie influenced by the buildings of Haussman's Paris) and features vertical pilasters carved into blue-gray limestone.  It's a five storey building with only 30 loft suites making it truly "boutique". The first floor featured a restaurant, cafe and cozy library with a fireplace. The staff were very welcoming and always friendly + helpful.

 Hotel Gault Exterior. Tres snowy!
The exterior of the building is in complete contrast to the very contemporary + beautifully designed interiors.
Our Room Night 1
Check out that wall - I never met an 19th century exposed brick wall I didn't like. :-)
Our Room next couple nights
 - featuring: foyer, work area, to-die-for bathroom with mod tub + lux fixtures plus (not seen in photo) - tres comfy King bed,  lots of custom closets and **2 beautiful french windows which opened up to the most dreamy view. **
The rooms were so big- they felt like little loft apartments rather than hotel rooms. SIGH.
(Don't hate me. :-)

Beautiful view from one of the french windows. 

Breakfast at L'Express

Atwater Market
 Dinner at Joe Beef
Very cozy interior with great filled chalkboards.
View from the Bar

Me on Rue des Artistes in Old Montreal

Breakfast at Beautys
92 year old Founder Hymie Sckolnick holding a postcard of himself from 1942 (!)
Closeup of postcard. (Is that not the cutest?)

Place d'Armes + Notre Dame Basilica looking very special + Christmasy

 Close up of Maisonneuve Monument in front of Notre Dame
Noel bread
Other highlights included:
- visit with Louis and Charles 
- le Cartet on Mcgill St
- a visit to Pointe-à-Callière: Montreal's Museum of Archaeology + History (A-mazing)
- very special Christmas dinner with sweet Zab + family
and a visit to Fairmount bagels to stock up on sesame bagels for the drive home.
Num num.

*Au revoir Montreal! Je t'aime.*

Photos from Xmas in Chicago

Off we go.
I love Porter Airline's branding which was created by former Wallpaper editor Tyler Brulé and his firm WINKREATIVE. Who knew you could make a raccoon look sophisticated?

The exterior of our hotel: The James. I loved their graphic + interior design as well!
(Ofcourse that's why I picked it!!)
Look at that great sideways sign. :-) Very welcoming.

Gorgeous lobby. :-)

(my bed at home feels very small now....)

Loved this cozy reading /dining nook + this unique liquor cabinet based on an old steamer trunk.

Chicago skyline!

The famous Marina City also known as the corn cob buildings. :-)
Designed in 1959 by architect Bertrand Goldberg.

First dinner = Chicago Deep dish pizza. Boy was it deep...

The "Chicago Picasso" in Daley plaza.

Chicago is jam packed with incredible public art. This is due to the fact that the city passed a law stipulating that 1.33% of the cost of constructing a building must be devoted to original artwork.
As a result a walk in the Loop area = bumping into incredible pieces by Picasso, Chagall, Miro + Calder. (!!)

The Four Seasons mosaic by Marc Chagall in Chase Tower Plaza.
Dedicated in 1974.

Some close ups.

Christmas eve dinner at mk.

5 stars!
They made the most fabulous cocktails and the decor was to die for.

Here is my cocktail called Holiday Smash .
(My company at the table was smashing too - Groan!)

Thanks so much to fellow blogger Heather Retke for recommending mk + many other great spots.

A trip to Millennium Park

Anish Kapoor's Cloud Gate aka the Bean.

Frank Gehry's amazing Pritzker bandshell.

A trip to the Chicago Institute of Art

Love love this piece by Toulouse Latrec - especially that ghostly women' face.

Ofcourse many folk lining up to photograph the Institute' most famous piece: A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte by George Seurat.

*Curmudgeon Note*: When I witness scenes like this it always makes me think that John Ruskin would be rolling in his grave! The Victorian Art critic despised the camera and feared that the invention of it would lead to people focusing on capturing the moment for the FUTURE rather than LOOKING at what was in front of them in the PRESENT.
I heartily agree.

This was my favourite piece in the Institute's collection:
Green and White my Ellsworth Kelly. Love.

Perfect ending to trip:
Cozy flight home with red wine + latest issue of Canadian House + Home.
Loved this interview with Jenna Lyons of J. Crew (Total mentor!!) written by the lovely Catherine Sweeney. Thanks Kim. xo