Austin Airbnb

We recently took a trip to Austin and needed a place to house 10 people. While there are many fun boutique hotels, we found an amazing Airbnb on the East side of Austin that had a pool and room to house our entire group.

We found out from the Property Management company that the home owner is an Architect and pays a great deal of attention to the details. The exterior areas has as many entertaining spaces as the interior.

Although I have a deep passion for boutique hotels, this was definitely the way to entertain a large group for a long weekend in one of my favorite US cities!

Joshua Tree, CA

One of my favorite destination spots is Joshua Tree, CA. It’s known for a plant by it’s namesake Joshua Tree or Yucca brevifolia, is a member of the Agave family. You can visit the National Park for hikes varying from easy-difficult.

You can camp and there are several small hotels but I generally enjoy finding a small Airbnb to stay at. One of most well-known Airbnb’s that you can rent is the Joshua Tree House.

Make sure to grab dinner at Pappy and Harriet’s in Pioneer Town. You can tour the small shops and town while you wait for your table! Check out the calendar beforehand to see if there is a fun live band performing.

For other daytime activities, grab some healthy grub at Natural Sisters Cafe, make your own scents at Grateful Desert, and for an unforgettable afternoon of sound baths, check out the Integratron - make sure to book in advance. On your way out of town, you must stop at the at The End, a killer vintage shop and The Cactus Mart for all of your small-large plant needs.

I hope you enjoy Joshua Tree as much as I do!

The Lodges on Vashon

The Lodges on Vashon is the perfect Greater Seattle Area getaway. It’s a 25 minute ferry ride from Seattle and located in a prime location within walking distance to some of the best shops and restaurants Vashon Island has to offer.

We went for a family vacation but you can rent the Lodges for weddings and corporate events as well. This was a passion project for Jena Thornton and Scott Shapiro and I really like that they used Champion Home Builder to achieve the modular modern design.

I’d highly recommend this place for a night or long weekend anytime!

Keeping Portland Weird

Portland is one of the best weekend getaway trips in the Northwest. It’s known for it’s restaurants, vintage shops and local attractions!

One of my favorite places to stop is at the Multnomah Whiskey Library for dinner and drinks - make sure to make reservations in advance! Then off to funky East Portland bars including the Elvis Room with a great cocktail room in the basement.

If you are in Portland over a weekend, be sure to grab a coffee at Upper Left Roasters, brunch in the Hawthorne District and stroll through House of Vintage.

Shoreditch, London

After visiting Paris, we took a quick (two hours or so) train ride over to London. While we know Kings Cross is not the Shoreditch neighborhood, we still feel some sort of a nostalgic feeling every time we pull into the station.

Our first stop in Shoreditch was to the Boxpark for some apps and drinks. There are numerous food stands and bars to choose from with retail on the bottom. They often have live music or events programmed most days of the week there as well.

Next up, we did a walking tour of the street art. Shoreditch is a prime neighborhood for local artists and you might even find a Banksy piece or two. Finally, we finished the night with dinner and drinks at the Shoreditch house, a members only club that we are lucky our friend belongs to!

Needless to say, we’ll be back to Shoreditch in December and already ready to try a few new spots!

Four Days in Paris

Four Days in Paris was not enough and we are already planning our next trip back. Perhaps next time, it will be in the spring!

We stayed in central Paris for two days and then at a boutique hotel called 9Hotel Opera for the last night. It’s been almost 9 years since our last trip, so there were the typical trips to the Palace of Versailles, the Louvre and Orsay Museum.

For our last big night in town we stop at the Hoxton for happy hour, had dinner at Pink Mamma (be sure to make reservations or go early) and followed by drinks in the speakeasy of Pink Mamma.

We are already counting down the days until our next trip!

The Hoxton, Paris

The Hoxton is a a Bouwen favorite! Their hotel chain now has locations in Paris, London, Amsterdam, Portland, Williamsburg and LA. The hotel has a familiarity to the Ace Hotel chain with their amazing design details, top notch restaurants and lobby’s that attract as many tourists and their rooms do.

Below are pictures from the Paris location. Every detail has been thought about from the stairways, to the hallways and restaurants. I highly recommend staying at or at least dropping in for a cocktail on your next trip to Paris.

Ice Cream, You Scream

We have to admit, we have a sweet tooth. Seattle has it's fair share of desirable ice cream shops and sweets destinations but we were extremely eager to try Frankie and Jo's, the newest plant-based ice cream shop in Capitol Hill. 

Without sounding to eager, we loved almost everything about the place. The palm tree decor and date shakes transports you to the palm desert. Not to mention their seasonal flavors and sauces appropriately titled "moon goo" - that is made up of dry burned salted caramel with activated charcoal. 

Do yourself a favor and check out Frankie and Jo's and you'll leave feeling guilt free (almost).