Dress: Megan Huntz Laura Dress
Shoes: thrift store
These photos were taken here in Nashville, not California. I’ll get to the LA post, but first here are a couple of photos from this last weekend. We were depressed on the plane ride home from LA. Nashville had been rainy and gloomy for the whole week before we left for vacation, and we didn’t want to go back at all. Fortunately we lucked out and it’s been beautiful in Tennessee; the sun’s been shining (well, until today, but it has to rain once in a while), the leaves are changing colors, and it finally feels like fall. And what we thought would be a boring, depressing weekend back in Nashville actually turned out to be fun. We did our usual hike (after hiking mountains in California it wasn’t nearly so hard), ate sushi out and spotted a secondary character/villain from Crazy Hearts Nashville (the wonderful/horrible—and cancelled—reality show) out on a Jack Daniel’s bender. We cooked meals in (missed it after eating out for a week straight), made sweet potato pancakes, and went to see the new art exhibit at The Frist. It was my first time there. Drew went a few months ago and came back telling me all about the 1930s-built art deco style building the Frist is in, and how I needed to go. This time we saw the Kandinsky exhibit, which I liked, but I liked the building even more. It’s pretty restrained on the outside—elegant and made of marble—but the inside lobby is dark and sleek, with decorative metal grillwork and silvery stars on the ceilings.
I also finally got the chance to wear the dress I received from Megan Huntz. I’ve been a fan of her clothes ever since Jamie introduced me to her years ago in Atlanta, and her collections keep getting better and better. I wrote about her last collection and how I fell in love with the clothes and how feminine they are in a time when it’s kind of hard to find feminine clothes. Megan was kind enough to send me the Laura dress (my very favorite in the collection), and when I opened the package and held the dress in my hands I loved it even more. I love the almost Grecian-style draping of it, the fact that it has a waist (!), the v neckline at the front and the similar one at the back that was too pretty not to show, scoliosis surgery scar and all.
Photos by Drew.
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.
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!