Sunglasses: Dusen Dusen, Tee Shirt: Sézane, Blouse: Sézane, Jeans: J.Crew, Bag: Cuyana, Shoes: Sézane
August 16, 2016
With six free hours in Shanghai and much coffee deprivation, my activity of choice was to visit a good coffee shop. Research and a 20 min Uber drive lead us to Little Bean in the Pudong area of Shanghai. A bit outside the city center, this coffee shop is worth the visit if you enjoy a well-designed space and a quality cup (and good sweets). I tried a pour over with the Los Planes blend from El Salvador, which was perfectly bold and not too acidic. With each pour over comes a carefully printed card containing information about the farm from which the beans are sourced, the producer's name, the workers relationship with the coffee and the farm's specific process; a comforting piece to read while enjoying a cup.
Little Bean, 235-237 Jinyan Rd, Pudong, Shanghai
August 9, 2016
Japan is a mecca for all things beautiful and minimal with creative details and unique shapes. It is easy to vow to redo your entire home and wardrobe while browsing and shopping in this country.
On our recent trip to Japan, we spent most of the time on Naoshima and Teshima Islands and then in Kyoto. The night before departing for Teshima, we stayed in Takamatsu and fell upon the store, Urban Research Doors. Don't let their website (or, lack thereof) fool you; the store itself is full of reasonably priced clothing and home goods. I picked up a linen skirt (made in Japan), that has a unique wrap and front folds. It was a sale item and I didn't see it on their website, but this one is a great alternative.
I tend to love photo books and independent magazines, but rarely find myself drawn to an actual museum book; however the Teshima Art Museum Handbook, captivated me with photography by Naoya Hatakeyama, Noboru Morikawa and Iwan Baan. This book is so soothing that I've looked through it every night before going to bed. Speaking of independent magazines, I found Union Magazine, a gorgeous Japanese hardcover magazine (in English), in the Tsutaya Bookstore, which is worth a visit.
For home goods, it is always exciting to visit Muji in Japan, as they always have a more interesting selection. We were in desperate need of new placemats and dishtowels and also picked up two pillow cases (similar), because why not!? See the bottom of this post for other stores to visit.
Japan Shopping Guide:
Angers: Clothing, home goods, coffee/tea, office supplies and other cute knickknacks
Aesop: Selling the normal Aesop products but, it's still nice to check out its beautiful design
Urban Research Doors: Clothing and home goods
Sanjo Dori: Wander the back streets of Sanjo Dori (near the Aesop) and browse all of the curated boutiques
Muji Kyoto BAL: A multi-floor Muji with home goods, clothing and cafe
Tsutaya Books: Books, magazines and some home goods
Machi No Schule 963: This place is a great find. They don't really have a website and there aren't many pictures of this shop on the internet (photographing is prohibited), but it is a beautifully curated space of home goods, clothing, a cafe and market.
Additional outfit credits:
Silk tank: Everlane
Necklace: Still House
August 2, 2016
How does one begin talking about one of the most inspirational and surreal places they've visited? If you follow along on Instagram you've seen that I've been posting a lot from Japan's Naoshima and Teshima Islands. These two remote islands in the south east(ish) area of Japan are still considered hidden islands of art to the western world (we were quite possibly the only non-Japanese tourists on the islands during prime travel season). This is understandably so, since you do have to veer far off the tourism course from popular areas like Tokyo and Kyoto to arrive to the islands. Regardless, it is absolutely worth the trip. If you like modern art, architecture and downright magical spaces, I'd actually recommend making a trip to these two islands, rather than making some of the more traditional tourists stops to say, Nikko or Nara.
We spent a night in Okayama in order to easily access Naoshima Island the following morning. Two trains and a ferry ride have you there in a little over an hour with plenty of time to spend a fulfilling day on the island.
The Benesse House Museum and the Chichu Art Museum are two main museums on Naoshima, both designed and realized by architect Tadao Ando. Both spaces are impeccable in their design and curation, creating a truly unique art experience.
Wandering the carefully designed spaces, it is easy to get lost in the details and the natural light interactions with the space. I was left in complete awe and with a new perspective on life and my work (I was not kidding when I said that these islands are utterly inspiring!). Some works I particularly enjoyed, from the Benesse House Museum, were Kan Yasuda's "The Secret of the Sky" (pictured above) and the works of one of my favorite artists, Hiroshi Sugimoto. It is also always impressive to see anything by Yayoi Kusama, especially her famed "Pumpkin", which is on display in the outdoor works.
In the Chichu Art Museum, the works of Claude Monet, presented in a modern minimal space, quite literally took my breath away. The James Turrell and Walter De Maria installations were also just as stunning. And it goes without saying, that merely walking through this Ando museum is also an installation in itself.
[Pictured above: Keeping cool in the extreme heat by wearing: Vince shorts (similar and on sale!), Everlane tank (available in white and grey), Larsson & Jennings watch, Goorin Bros hat (similar), Dusen Dusen sunglasses, and Tiger of Sweden shoes (I've finally let out my secret of the most perfect minimal white leather sneakers!)]
Teshima Island requires a separate half day visit, as it would be quite challenging to fully appreciate Naoshima and time the ferries accordingly to see both islands. Teshima houses one art museum, the Teshima Art Museum. This museum is actually one suburb artwork by architect Ryue Nishizawa and artist Rei Naito. Roam the museum grounds and surrounding rice fields, enter the museum and lose yourself in absorbing the work's relationships with nature and the elements for an unforgettable experience. Be sure to stop in the cafe as well, as this museum cafe instantly became one of my most favorite-designed cafes. If you are planning to visit Japan, I would highly recommend adding these two islands to your list of places to see. I only wish I had visited these museums the first two times I had been to Japan!