It had been way too long since we’d taken a big trip of any kind, so Drew and I decided to celebrate our 3 (!) year anniversary by flying out to California, with our dog in tow. The last time we were there was on our honeymoon, going to Napa Valley and Big Sur, driving along the Pacific Coast Highway and visiting Hearst Castle. We didn’t get that far north on this trip; we spent most of our time in LA, but we did set aside a couple days to explore Ojai for the first time.

It’s a trendy place to visit right now, I know. While we were planning our trip I looked for alternatives to Ojai because I was afraid it might be pretentious or too hip to be relaxing, but that really wasn’t the case at all. We went during the week when it was quiet and stayed in our own little cabin on the edge of the Topatopa Mountains. We walked around town a bit, visited the outdoor bookstore and stopped into a couple local shops I’d heard about. They were really cute, but we weren’t really in the mood for shopping–haven’t been for a while. Mostly we went to California to hike and to eat the sort of vegan food we can’t find around Nashville.

We hiked the Horn Canyon trail, right in the mountains on the outskirts of town. It’s about a five mile hike—not too short, but not so long that we’d end up exhausted or stranded, which honestly I was halfway afraid of. California hikes aren’t like the ones we’re used to in Tennessee. A moderate trail around here would probably get rated easy in California; we’re used to rolling hills, not mountains. This particular mountain was steep (for us) with lots of switchbacks, but it was so beautiful that we hardly noticed. We’re not used to views like that in Tennessee either.

Another thing we’re not used to: California vegan food. I know that hippie Ojai is probably a special case, but I couldn’t get over the fact that such a small town had so many vegan options to pick from. We had a post-hike lunch at Hip Vegan (delicious and not scarily hip, despite its name), where Drew had a Mexican bowl and I had a raw bowl, not because I’m raw vegan (I’m not), but because when else do I get the chance to eat entirely raw meals with seed crackers? The Farmer and the Cook isn’t completely vegan, but just about anything on the menu can be made with cashew cheese instead of regular cheese, and their Mexican food tasted so authentic (to us) that we ended up eating there two nights in a row.

On our anniversary day we got sappy and headed up to Meditation Mount to watch the sunset. It’s a scenic overlook on the grounds of a new age-y, hippie center, and by all accounts it’s the best view in town.

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Lauren Winter A/W 14

Lauren’s new fall collection is good enough to come out of a blogging lazy streak for. After she told me about her new pieces and how she was bringing them with her on her Portland vacation to shoot them, I couldn’t wait for the look book to come out. And I love it. The Japanese-inspired shapes and all of the black and white work so well together.

I love the weird shapes of the pants and that kimono jacket, but my favorite piece is definitely the sash-tied Joni dress. I’ve already got my sister order in for that one.

Clothes: Lauren Winter . . . Photos: Jon Duenas . . . Model: Mali Ferry . . . Stylist: Lauren Winter.

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Weekend in Asheville

Nashville has been really hot lately and we were going stir-crazy, so last week we planned a spur of the moment trip to Asheville, North Carolina. We love the town more each time we visit, and I don’t think it’s really because Asheville has changed all that much in the last 4 years but that we have. We’re a lot more into vegetarian/vegan restaurants and hippie grocery stores and especially into outdoorsy things like hiking. We’re obsessed. In Nashville we’ve been hiking at Percy Warner every weekend, and each time we go we talk about how really excited we are to try out the trails in the mountains.

We stayed in a beautiful cabin outside of town that a friend had told us about. A cabin built in the early 1800s, pushed back into the woods and surrounded by a farm, where roosters crow in the mornings and weird goats lie around in fields. We wanted a lazy weekend and definitely got it. We made some of our meals (soup for dinner and french toast for breakfast) and ate them on the screened-in porch. On Sunday we slept in and then took the Blue Ridge Parkway to Mount Mitchell to go hiking. In Asheville it had been hot and sunny, but on top of the mountain it was cloudy and misty the whole time and so cool that it felt like fall. The trail we took (the Old Mitchell) was also a lot, lot harder than the trails we usually hike. Especially in the rain. All the rocks and rocky ledges (which there were a lot of, and some were so steep that you had to use ropes to get down them) were slick, and ever since I broke my arm a few years ago I’ve been really paranoid about falling, but we made it to the top. Of course there were clouds and we couldn’t see a thing from the observation tower. But the trails themselves were beautiful, and in one spot we saw where a camp/resort had been in the early 1900s, right by some little waterfalls.

That night we ate at the Laughing Seed Cafe, which is one of my favorite vegetarian restaurants, maybe mostly for their vegan chocolate beet cake. It’s worth the trip into town. We were sad to leave the cabin and head back to Nashville the next day. I can’t remember the last time we wanted a trip to go on and on, but this one was it.

PS—I haven’t done an outfit post in forever, but I really wanted to get some photos with this dress. Drew’s cousin Brooke (my cousin-in-law) got it in Mali years ago when she was in the Peace Corps, and she recently gave it to me. It’s different from the dresses I usually wear, but it’s quickly become one of my favorites: I’ve been wearing it all the time this summer. Thanks again, Brooke!

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Things I Like

I like these photos that Harry Were shot for Penny Sage’s new collection Sleepaway. They were shot in New Zealand, but they make me think of little cabins on the Big Sur coastline, and they make me want to escape this crazy Nashville heat and go back.

l’ve been really into cooking lately. Each Sunday night I go through vegan/vegan-ish food blogs and books and plan out the menu for the week, and sometimes I think that the planning of it is more fun than the cooking. But maybe not the eating. My favorite meals are probably salads, but really hearty ones, with lots of rice, tempeh, kale, cauliflower, coconut milk, turmeric, etc. . . .

Some of my favorite food blogs at the moment: The First Mess (where this photo is from). . . What’s Cooking Good Looking . . . Love & Lemons . . . Cookie and Kate . . . and Holy Cow! Vegan (because all of a sudden I’m obsessed with Indian food). Also, pretty much everything I’ve made from the book Salad Samurai has gone straight to my favorites list.

It’s about a hundred degrees outside, but it’s not too soon to be thinking about fall collections, and Milena Silvano’s is one of my favorites, again. It’s weird-good.

I’m also excited about the brand new magazine Golly. Most magazines coming out now are so damn serious, but Golly seems like it will be full of life and youth and inspiration (as opposed to aspiration) and—best of all—fun. I like it already. So far Golly has one issue out, but you can help them make more via Kickstarter. 

Oh, and you know what else makes me want to go back to California? This summer lookbook from Mayflower Supply Co. The idea of hanging out in Palm Springs wearing vintage dresses sounds pretty good right now. I’d even put up with the heat.

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