A glimpse at the weekend that was… I headed up to L.A. with some friends for Unique LA, a pop-up market hosted by Unique USA, an organization that brings locally designed and crafted goods to various cities in the form of tradeshow-style shopping events.
But first…coffee! Though my caffeine headache was looming throughout our morning drive, I held out for quality coffee that I knew I could find in the newly happening downtown LA area, where Unique LA took place. Enter: Santa Cruz-based Verve Coffee Roasters. This location was elegantly minimalist, save for the lush plant walls by the patio, and shared a space with Juice Served Here. I’m so glad I waited; the latte and croissant were certainly worth the caffeine withdrawal. Ah, but back to the shopping! The two-day shopping bonanza included L.A. and other U.S.-based vendors selling jewelry, prints, clothing, pet gear, and more. I went in with the goal of finding some delicate jewelry pieces and came home with a ring by Kyle Chan, and a ring and earrings by Wildcat Boutique. The market is ginormous, at times the vendors seemed repetitive, and some of the price points were crazy ($60 candle, what?!), but I found my own great options and appreciated how laid-back, roomy, and non-frenzied that whole market was. I also loved the various DIY stations. Above, we got to paint illustrations with watercolor paints, courtesy of the team behind 25 Beautiful Things, an adult watercoloring book. The two prints I painted are now hanging in my office. If you’re interested, Unique is headed to SF (September 19-20) and NYC (dates TBD) next.
We then spent nearly 40 minutes driving from downtown to West Hollywood (AHH!) for a late brunch at Gracias Madre, a super stylish vegan Mexican restaurant, where we dined on fried plantains, roasted cauliflower topped with cashew cheese sauce, guacamole, and grilled peaches It’s truly one of the most beautiful restaurants I’ve ever seen! The price points are on the high side—my plantain entree was $18—but it was fun to finally experience a restaurant I’ve been seeing so much on Instagram. Their cocktail menu is impressive, too. My only complaint is that I wanted a virgin drink, but our waiter informed me that they can’t do any substitutions or menu changes.
We came back from L.A. Saturday evening, and I vegged out the rest of the night in preparation for a working Sunday. In order to balance a full-time job, freelance magazine writing, and blogging, you have to accept that you can’t balance it. But to get as close as possible, I’m trying to be more strict about working on Sundays. So after a few hours clocked, Eaman and I headed to Mama’s Bakery for my favorite garlic chicken shawarma wrap.
Then the best thing ever happened. We were walking in North Park, happened upon a golden retriever and his owner, and after we began chatting, we realized this. is. Teddy’s. brother! It started with the owner saying that his dog was also 2.5 years old. Then he said he got him from a breeder in the same area as we got Teddy. Then he said his birth date was also February 3. And just like that we met, Rusty, Mr. Teddy’s brother! It’s most every dog owner’s dream to find a fellow littermate, and here was Rusty rolling around for belly rubs in the exact same way Teddy does. Beyond looking alike, their mannerisms are very much the same, too. It was wild and weird and wonderful. And yes, we exchanged numbers and will be taking the two bros to the beach soon. What’s better than a golden retriever? TWO! (Or five.)