redefining wanderlust

a life blog by Bekka

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FAB 5 FRIDAY : II

Happy Friday! 

The happiest day of the week, full of potential for a relaxing and fun weekend or just a little extra time to work on your own side hustle. I’m excited to be continuing my Fab 5 Friday series today; introducing five fab creative, brilliant, and bright people who are willing to share a few of their secrets to the freshest, coolest, most awesome things that light up their world. I hope these mico-interviews inspire your next adventure or a chill night in, and most of all – encourage you to look at your world little differently.

Today’s interviews are from a collection of artists from traditional oil painting to more tactile art forms, and one bad-ass ice cream cookie maker, co-founder of Coolhaus Natasha Case.

Natasha Case co-founder of Coolhaus/ Los Angeles, CA | I’ve been a long time fan of Coolhaus and its sweet architecture inspired ice cream sandwiches. I love celebrating people’s success, so it’s been awesome to watch them grow over the years and make a name for themselves in the dessert world. The sammies creative and delicious flavors are fun and well, cool.

Where do you think everyone should visit once in their life? What’s currently at the top of your travel bucket list?
We just came back from the North side of Kauai – it was incredible… already itching to go back! Also, on the top of my list is Aquinnah in Martha’s Vineyard and Zion National Park. All these places have in common that they are serene, undeveloped, and amazing places to disconnect and rejuvenate. On my bucket list: Hong Kong!! (Funny enough, kind of the opposite travel experience—but I’m dying to go there and eat everything.)

Favorite comfort food, is it homemade or at a certain place?
The breakfasts that Freya cooks me every morning—usually an egg dish with vegetables like green onions, collard greens, kale and turnips from our garden. She’s amazing at one pot meals as well, and I create the drinks to match.

Do you have an awesome book or documentary recommendation to share?
The Official Preppy Handbook, 1Q84, and The New Yorker’s long form pieces.

Pass on the love and give a fab shout-out to someone we should know about?
So many! Freya Estreller of Ludlows Cocktail Co, Jennifer Puno of ILOVECREATIVES, Courtney McBroom of Large Marge Cooks, Jill of Domaine LA, Amy Atwood of Amy Atwood Selections.

ice cream paint job

A photo posted by Dustin Barzell (@ceramicism) on

Dustin Barzell of CeramicisimXoXo / Brooklyn, NY | Dustin is a talented ceramic artist who creates functional cups, plates, vases, and pottery at a really reasonable price. I’m personally obsessed with the above ice cream series, as I love its play on color and texture.

Where do you think everyone should visit once in their life?
A visit to the burning ghats in Varanasi, where Indians make long pilgrimages to carry and cremate their deceased loved ones and spread the ashes in the Ganges. We tend to hide death in the west and do what we can to pretend it doesn’t exist, but death is precisely what makes life so precious and worth savoring.
Either that or Disney World!

What’s currently at the top of your travel bucket list?
Japanese countryside. I especially want to visit some ceramic centers and see the Japanese pottery masters at work.

Best “hole in the wall____” you’ve discovered? (it can be bar, restaurant, store, club etc…)
Lorimer Market in Williamsburg. It’s the best Italian deli there is and it’s near my studio! Get yourself a chicken meatloaf.

Favorite comfort food, is it homemade or at a certain place?
Cheese fondue. Classic Gruyere/Kirsh or tangy Gouda/Stout.

Do you have an awesome book or documentary recommendation to share?
Wherever You Go, There You Are” by Kabat-Zinn. Wonderful intro to vipassana (mindfulness meditation).

Pass on the love and give a fab shout-out to someone we should know about?
Cody Lane (@codymlane). Normcore photography that satisfies.

Arabella Proffer / Cleveland, OH | Arabella is an artist who translates her own experiences of the world into her work, by analyzing the past and contemplating the future. Using oil paint she creates strong ethereal women that possess a soft glow, I love how she isn’t afraid to play with color or symbolism in her work. She’s shown in exhibitions around the world and has an adventurous spirit exploring the world with her writer husband.

Where do you think everyone should visit once in their life? What’s currently at the top of your travel bucket list?
New Orleans is a city everyone should visit. It really is unlike any city in the US because you have such a cultural mix and the traditions there are taken pretty seriously. I always tell people if you can’t afford to go abroad, just go to New Orleans. That said, on my travel bucket list for the longest time has been Giraffe Manor in Kenya.

Best “hole in the wall____” you’ve discovered? (it can be bar, restaurant, store, club etc…)
I can’t say I discovered it really, but there’s a really bizarre karaoke bar here in Cleveland called Tina’s Nite Club. It’s a cinder block surrounded by a chain link fence and there are no windows and it smells like a swimming pool sometimes. It’s not a faux dive, it’s a true dive. And the crowd is a really interesting mix. They make Jell-o shots by the pan and you can buy a whole one for stupid cheap – but craft beers are cheap too. I usually take visitors from out-of-town there as our last stop and they love it. They don’t love the hangover, though!

Favorite comfort food, is it homemade or at a certain place?
I make just about everything, but the one thing I don’t make are pierogies. You can’t escape them in Cleveland, our grocery stores have whole sections dedicated to them. I gained 15 pounds after moving here because of them! A lot of restaurants do their own versions, including very expensive ones at any Chef Michael Symon place, but the best ones are made by the women at the Ukrainian church.

Do you have an awesome book or documentary recommendation to share?
“Bad Boy” by Eric Fishl is the autobiography I’m reading right now. It’s about his rise to fame in the ‘80s New York scene after attending CalArts, right when the art world was getting super greedy and all of the coked up egos came into play. But, I love what he has to say about the act of painting itself.

Pass on the love and give a fab shout-out to someone we should know about?
Dr. Brandy Schillace who is an author and curator. Her book “Death’s Summer Coat” came out not long ago and I highly recommend it; especially for those that are afraid to talk about death. You might see her soon on an episode of “Mysteries at the Museum” as well!

mini weaving for the new year #instaweave #weaving #tapestry #weaveweird #woven #fiberart #textiles

A photo posted by kla textiles (@kla_textiles) on

Kayta of KLA Textiles / Los Angeles, CA | When I first saw Kayta’s textile art, it was in her own apartment so I assumed she had purchased it as some hip store off York in Highland Park. But I was later informed that she was the artist behind the hanging tapestries,  I was floored. I loved her use of color, pattern, and texture. Kayta just launched KLA Textiles and is letting the world in on her immense talent.

Where do you think everyone should visit once in their life? What’s currently at the top of your travel bucket list?
Tucson, Arizona. It often gets a second seat to much larger Phoenix, and people sometimes forget it exists, but I had the pleasure of spending a year there a while back, and the sunsets and starlit skies nestled between giant mountains and Saguaro cacti are amazing. The city has a “Dark Sky Ordinance” that limits what businesses signs, street lamps, etc., can emit (lighting wise), keeping Tucson the best place for urban (or remote, depending on where you are), sky gazing in the United States. Nights there just taking my dog on a walk around the block were some of the most magical times of my life.Take a drive up to Kitt Peak, Mt. Lemmon, or Gates Pass, bring a blanket, and prepare to feel incredibly small, but surrounded by beauty!

Yosemite is at the top of my travel bucket list for the near future. I have never been there, but this summer I’m hoping to spend some time in a quiet cabin beside a lake or stream with my dog and boyfriend, and do some outdoor weaving without the sound of helicopters, sirens, or traffic nearby!

Best “hole in the wall____” you’ve discovered? (it can be bar, restaurant, store, club etc…)
The Old Pink” in Buffalo, NY. I grew up in Buffalo and spent my life there until I was 28, and I would be lying if I said I’ve found a similar bar/experience since leaving. I spent probably (OK, definitely) way too much time in my 20’s here. It’s a small bar in the Allentown area of Buffalo, serves famous “steak sandwiches” (I’m a vegetarian, but my friends would be amiss if I didn’t mention the steak sandwiches), it smells terrible, the floors are slanted and not very safe for legions of intoxicated people dancing to whatever obscure 70’s kraut-rock band they’re currently blasting, and the drinks are cheap. The outside is currently painted with a terrible purple-and-green flame motif, which replaced years of graffiti and “I LOVE ____” written on the outside in sharpie. On weekends, it’s elbow to elbow, with every different type of person you could imagine, from college freshman to 65-year olds who have been going there for decades. The bar is open until 4, but you’ll find that if you stay until last call, you’ll end up outside of the bar for another half hour, finishing your drink with a slew of people who just don’t want to go home yet. It’s a definite experience, especially for those who aren’t from the area and want a feel for what the city and its people are really about.

Favorite comfort food, is it homemade or at a certain place?
PASTA! I am stubborn, and an incredibly picky eater. Pasta was one of the only things my parents could get me to eat growing up, so I am a bit of a non-fancy pasta aficionado. I love medium shell pasta with tomato basil sauce, and meatless meatballs (the Whole Foods 365 brand are the best). My lovely boyfriend makes us a kale pasta dish often, which is sautéed kale, pasta, toasted pine nuts, and lemon juice, and I could live the rest of my life eating only that!

Do you have an awesome book or documentary recommendation to share?
“A Manual for Cleaning Women” by Lucia Berlin. I read this collection of short stories last summer, and it’s really stuck with me. I sometimes come back to them when I’m in a foul mood or need to take myself out of myself for a bit. Each of these stories are sometimes unbearably raw, but very courageous, and written from various perspectives, about various issues, in various places in which the author herself had lived during her lifetime. She writes in a very funny way, where even when her characters are doing or experiencing terrible things, you find a way to relate to them through their humor. Lucia herself had a very interesting life, and the foreword in this is written by Lydia Davis, who seems to pass on her excitement about the stories.

Pass on the love and give a fab shout-out to someone we should know about?
Passing the love to my incredibly talented friend Jasmin Garcia-Verdin, who is an unreal illustrator with a brilliant & limitless imagination. We worked together briefly, and I’d catch her doodling on post-it notes during her lunch breaks, and have been blown away by her talent ever since. You can see her work at http://www.jgvillustrations.com/ or on Instagram, @jgv

Ken Flewellyn/ Los Angeles, CA | Ken merges his love for Japanese culture and the Hip-Hop world in his detailed oil paintings. Playing with the intersection of the traditional aspects of Japanese culture and the evolving Hip-Hop world, pulling from his website – “the versatility of urban identity through contrasting subjects“.

Where would you recommend everyone visit at least once in their life?
You have to do Miami during Basel. It’s an entire week dedicated to art. With fairs and murals going up on every block, food trucks, street-beer venders, and castle parties; what else do you want?

Best “hole in the wall____” you’ve discovered? (it can be bar, restaurant, store, club etc…)
SUSHI HOUSE! It’s a really small reggae themed sushi restaurant. Paint is peeling from the walls but Bob Marley wails and the fish is fresh. Get the salmon salmon salmon roll, trust me.

Favorite comfort food, is it homemade or at a certain place?
French Fries Carbonade and a Vieux Carre at Corner Door in Mar Vista. Check it out, the vieux carre is a cognac and rye based cocktail, it’s strong but sweet and delicious. As for the fries, think chili fries if you replaced the chili with beer braised beef and cheese. MMMMMM…

Do you have an awesome book or documentary recommendation to share?
You have to check out Fresh Dressed. I just watched it on Netflix. It’s a doc that chronicles the history of hip-hop culture and fashion from its roots in NYC to how it influenced corporate America. It’s definitely worth a watch.

Pass on the love and give a fab shout-out to someone we should know about?
Hit up Matthew Grabelsky. He’s a seriously talented oil painter showing at Thinkspace in April.

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FAB 5 FRIDAY : I

One Thursday a few weeks ago as I was getting ready for work and was butchering the song “Rapture” by Blondie in my head and thought of the lyric, “Fab Five Freddy.” Now as I was butchering the song, the lyrics that followed (in my head) were fresh is fresh, fab and cool. Then it hit me, I should mico-interview five fab people and post it on Fridays! And this is where the idea for Fab 5 Friday was born.

Introducing five fab creative, brilliant, and bright people who are willing to share a few of their secrets to the freshest, coolest, most awesome things that light up their world. I hope these mico-interviews inspire your next adventure or a chill night in, and most of all – encourage you to look at your world little differently.

cheers to a fab friday!

JACUB GAGNON / Toronto, Canada | Jacub’s a wicked talented artist who paints with whimsy, creating compositions centered around animals and everyday objects to create a unique artistic fantasy.
Where would you recommend everyone visit at least once in their life?
Your local animal shelter. If you’re considering adding a new furry member to your family there are an abundance of lovable animals out there that could use your support, compassion, and a loving home.

Best “hole in the wall _______” you’ve discovered? (it can be bar, restaurant, store, club etc…)
Pizzeria O’ Scugnizzo is a tiny, off-the-beaten-path pizzeria in Florence Italy and it is amazing. A local favorite run by two brothers from Naples with a passion for great zza – it will blow your socks off (poof!).

Favorite comfort food, is it homemade or at a certain place?
Poutine, hands down! Cheese curd is abundant in Ontario, so it’s definitely a comfort of home. When my wife and I make it ourselves, all the more special.

Do you have an awesome book or documentary recommendation to share?
I’m a bit of a fantasy book nerd myself. There seem to be more and more of them these days with Marvel topping the box office and Game of Thrones transitioning from paperback to HBO. A couple series I’m in the midst of are The King Killer Chronicles by Patrick Rothfuss (which is apparently also making it’s way to the big screen) and The Stormlight Archive by Brandon Sanderson. Definitely worth checking out if you haven’t and are a fan of the genre.

Pass on the love and give a fab shout-out to someone we should know about?
Shout out to Megan MacDonald from Toronto, Ontario. We have a big painting of hers in our living room. If you like cats or dreamy unicorns, definitely check out her work!

 

When I was a kid I collected rocks. Now I collect pins. I guess not much has changed 😹💥💋💗

A photo posted by Heather >> How To Be Fancy 💌 (@howtobefancy) on

HEATHER W. of  HOW TO BE FANCY / Oklahoma | Heather shares her creative and positive voice on YouTube discussing ways to embrace your style, fab product reviews so you’re not duped, and her expert makeup artist advice. A southern belle with unicorn hair, Heather advocates for confidence and fun.

Where would you recommend everyone visit at least once in their life?
No other place I’ve visited is quite like New York City. It’s weird and dirty and magical. Even if you’re not a “city person”, I think NYC is a place everyone should experience at least once.

Best “hole in the wall____” you’ve discovered? (it can be bar, restaurant, store, club etc…)
There’s a little German/Euro diner close to me called Ingrid’s that makes THE BEST pastries and cookies. On Saturday mornings’ they sometimes have a group of older jazz musicians and the sweetest couples go there to dance. It’s amazing and pretty much makes me cry every time, haha!

Favorite comfort food, is it homemade or at a certain place?
If I’m not feeling well, mashed potatoes (from anywhere, really) will usually do the trick. If that doesn’t work, a bowl of pho or ramen is the next best thing!

Do you have an awesome book or documentary recommendation to share?
I am totally addicted to watching documentaries! A few favorites are Iris, Girl Rising, and Design is One.

Pass on the love and give a fab shout-out to someone we should know about?
If you’re into quirky little adventures, I recently discovered a newer YouTube channel by Kat Marie (https://www.youtube.com/user/makesyoupretty). She’s gorgeous and loves to visit and film interesting places.

 

LAUREN ELIZABETH WALSH  / Austin, TX | Lauren is on a mission to help women turn their wounds into wisdom; helping to guide them through spiritual strengthening and healing. Currently, she is working with Unify.org to organize a global sisterhood for International Woman’s Day.  The voiceover for the above video was written and spoken by Lauren.

Where would you recommend everyone visit at least once in their life?
I recommend going to the rain forest of brazil… deep diving inwardly and seeing what they discover about themselves surrounded by trees and indigenous culture.

Best “hole in the wall____” you’ve discovered? (it can be bar, restaurant, store, club etc…)
Hmmm… it’s not exactly a hole in the wall, it’s a trailer in Austin, Tx called Picnik – they serve awesome paleo coffee, bone broth, and treats!  I’m addicted.

Favorite comfort food, is it homemade or at a certain place?
always chocolate. just good old 80% cacao!

Do you have an awesome book or documentary recommendation to share?
YES!  The surrender experiment by Micheal A. Singer. Totally changed my life by teaching me to trust in the miraculous flow of life’s events. I stopped trying to control everything because I was scared. Life’s river is flowing, and these days I’m trusting it to lead me to an even better place than I could have imagined.

Pass on the love and give a fab shout-out to someone we should know about?
Giving a shout to Emma Claire Juniper. My partner for Unify Global Sisterhood, and an Emotional Mastery and Authentic Confidence Coach & Transformational Retreat Facilitator

 

JAMIE B of JAMIE B INTERIORS / Los Angeles, CA | Jamie is a talented designer, she has the Midas touch for creating mid-century modern inspired decor without turning a room into the set of Mad Men. She’s recently expanded her titles to include floral designer too. No longer keeping her talent for arrangements all to herself! You can view it all on her website.

Where would you recommend everyone visit at least once in their life?
I feel like I should say something like The Nile or Tuscany but I whole heartedly believe everyone should visit Joshua Tree National Park. It’s like a real life Dr. Seuss acid trip. The desert nights are magic, like none other. I may be a little bias because it’s the perfect two hour escape from LA, and if you live in LA an escape is exactly what you need from time to time.

Best “hole in the wall____” you’ve discovered? (it can be bar, restaurant, store, club etc…)
Its not exactly a “hole in the wall” it is however a restaurant AND a store. It’s called The Little Jewel of New Orleans, very fitting because it is; a jewel, in China Town. This cat named Marcus, a native of the true LA (Louisiana) ships in bread from Nola and creates the best Poboy sandwiches around. The store offers everything Louisiana you can imagine from soda, candy, hot sauce, to cans of Cafe Du Monde’ coffee. The onion rings are bomb too.

Favorite comfort food, is it homemade or at a certain place?
My husband is an extraordinary cook and makes this Mac-n-cheese that will make you weep with joy and total regret at the same time. And I hate to give up this particular secret, but it’s really not fair to keep… There’s this pizza joint in Brentwood called Lamonica’s, it’s not on the menu but you can go in and ask to purchase their dough. It’s like 3 bucks or something crazy cheap. It comes in a rock hard frozen ball, transported from The Big Apple (I think only people NOT from NY actually say Big Apple) where it’s made with New York City’s finest tap water. Amazing. So you let it sit out for at least 8 hours before cooking it. Basically, any kind of pizza you make on this dough will be incredible but my #1 hit is wild mushroom, caramelized onions with gruyere and manchego, fresh thyme and black truffle salt. YUMMMMAY! Those are my two favorite comfort foods.

Do you have an awesome book or documentary recommendation to share?
Have you ever read a book so good that you go into a depression and take a sabbatical from reading altogether because you don’t think anything can top it? Well, that happened to me when I read The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. I’m still recovering. I’m a documentary-aholic so there are so many that have made such an impact on me but the first that came to mind was Muscle Shoals. It’s about a recording studio in Alabama run by the brilliant Rick Hall, some of the greatest musicians and records of all time emerged from that place. It’s a must see.

Pass on the love and give a fab shout-out to someone we should know about?
My friend Jessica Kelley is a rad jewelry designer. You can find her work at castandcombed.com.

 

ARIEL MARTE of LARK & LAVENDER PHOTOGRAPHY  / Long Beach, CA | Ariel is breaking the mold and expectations of wedding photography. Capturing the excitement and bliss that is wrapped up in one’s wedding day, she steals moments with her camera like Oliver Twist or better yet a secret agent, call her the James Bond of photography.

Where would you recommend everyone visit at least once in their life?
The island of Santorini, Greece- it’s a crescent shape island with a smaller volcano across the water from it, you can take a boat to the volcano and jump out into the ocean to swim to the volcano island, from there, you can hike a bit to the top and then go back to swim in the volcano hot spring where the ocean meets the shore – the water there is red and sulfuric but it’s quite an exhilarating. The rest of the main island has amazing white, black and red sand beaches, great snorkeling, flaming cheese, history around every corner, views from any part of the island.

Best “hole in the wall____” you’ve discovered? (it can be bar, restaurant, store, club etc…)
Every Friday night at a jazz club in Chinatown (Los Angeles), there’s Club Underground… Maybe a little more known that I realize, but it always feels like it’s the most “underground” thing, with punk music, obscure 80s rock and not the typical dance music. The underlit dancefloor is intimate but can feel like it’s there just for me.

Favorite comfort food, is it homemade or at a certain place?
Taco Salad is my favorite to make at home, especially on a hot night, when cooking makes the house too hot. As a vegetarian, I use faux ground meat crumbles (Morningstar is the best!) with taco seasoning and it makes it just like when I was a kid. Sour cream the perfect dressing but in a pinch mayo will do. I love that every salad could be a little different but still amazing.

Do you have an awesome book or documentary recommendation to share?
I’ve been obsessed with the “Welcome to Nightvale” podcast which tells the news about the strange Southwest town hosted by Cecil Baldwin. Recently the “Welcome to Nightvale” book came out, it delves deeper into the town where a dog park is haunted, cats float in bathrooms and the glow cloud that looms over the town needs your praise.

Pass on the love and give a fab shout-out to someone we should know about?
One of my upcoming brides, Jeaneen Carlino! She paints strong women who are bold, graphic and daring – she paints the kind of woman I aim to be.

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