Yosemite: A Land Frozen in Time

When life hands you lemons, and your mind spins into a tizzy about leaving your beloved home state before you’re ready…. you hop in a car and go on an impromptu adventure.
<insert cheesy John Muir quote here>

Glacier Point Yosemite Valley phyllthis

Land of towering cliffs, iridescent mountains, fields of Sierras, and sparkling lakes. Birds soar and hum overhead while hikers ascend switchbacks, pausing every so often to catch their breath and take in the view. The infamous landscape transforms throughout the day as the sun & clouds drift, kissing the mountains with their soft rosy hues.

Tenaya Lake Yosemite phyllthis

It was an completely spontaneous trip (but aren’t those the best ones?) within 36 hours we went from zero to out the door. And it was a short – a 2.5 day shotgun mission, where it seemed like we managed to do almost everything wrong.

So here are my notes – a brain dump of tips and advice for my future self. And pretty pictures (duh)

Panorama Trail Hike in Yosemite Valley phyllthis

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A New York Reunion

I just got back from a last minute work/personal trip back to my beloved city… and could not have timed it better. Temperatures were inching up, restaurants were seating people outside and the entire city was buzzing with that special first weekend of Spring energy.

phyllthis NYC graffiti street art hearts jgoldcrown

The new mural on Kenmare & Mott – James Goldcrown’s Bleeding Hearts

I caught up with old friends in our favorite haunts, hung out with new ones, and had a productive 3 days at work. It was everything I needed to rekindle my love for this city…. New York, you’ve still got it. See you again soon I’m sure.

phyllthis NYC skyline sunset

rooftop views from East Williamsburg… this sunset never gets old


Rise & Rave: Daybreaker LA

I am not an early riser, so when I’m voluntarily up & out before dawn, it must be because the club’s going up. We shimmied and shook our way into Wednesday morning with Daybreaker at V Lounge in Santa Monica.

phyllthis Daybreaker dance party LA
Here’s basically what went down:

12:30am the night before – yay friends, yay sleepover, yaaaay trashy TV. It’s like we’re in college again guys!

around 3am – M sleep punches me in the face …this is NOT college anymore. Definitely can’t fit 3 girls in a bed and still get a quality 5 hours of sleep.

5:45am – alarm goes off, nooooo

5:55am – this is stupid, why are we getting up right now? honestly, what could be better than sleeping?

6am – lol guys, other real adults get up this early every. day. to work out or feed kids and stuff. lolololol

6:30am – circling, still circling for parking…. stupid LA, stupid people who get up at 6am to work out.

6:45am – We’re inside, the lighting is dim, the base is bumping and people are dressed in everything from chicken costumes to sequins, neon gym gear to their regular Wednesday business casual. As if on autopilot we wander over to the bar where instead of regretfully buying an overpriced watered drown drink, we find it stocked with kombucha, iced coffee, antioxidant drinks & Kind bars, all gratis. Breakfast.

open Kombucha bar, from Synergy. Photo from Daybreaker Facebook Page

open Kombucha bar, from Synergy. Photo from Daybreaker Facebook Page

We find our other friend on the main floor, say good morning & commence to awkwardly side-shuffle dance while people watching all the beautiful morning creatures of LA. Mostly people watching.

7:15am – A 3 piece brass band, the Downtown Horns, comes on stage & jams along. Their live jazz blending into the synthy DJ music is energetic, funky & perfect when your brain is not yet awake enough to take that untz untz untz.

phyllthis daybreaker LA

7:45am – Dance dance. Girl in booty shorts comes out with her light up hula hoop, because duh. FOX TV comes and films the crowd. Hiii Mom, we’re on morning news. Continue reading

Non-essential Travel Essentials

Pan Am stewardess editorial

vintage Pan Am stewardess editorial

Non-essential because technically all you need is a ticket, some money and mostly, time in order to travel anywhere, anytime. Essential because if you have any plans to be productive and cheery upon arriving, these little things make a world of a difference.

I’m not a seasoned backpacker, or even a frequent work traveler, but I have over 150,000 frequent flier miles, a TSA pre-check card, and have logged 23 red eye flights in the past few years living in NYC.. so I like to think I know something about flying. (overnight buses not so much… those are still brutal – any tips? throw them my way)

Pack light. Preferably all in a carry-on on rotating wheels. Easier wheedling around the airport & you’ll have access to everything in case you forgot something you’d need during the flight.

editorial photo from Marie Clairvoyant

editorial photo from Marie Clairvoyant

If you’re objective is sleeping: a glass of red wine (usually the crappy stuff makes me sleepier… I’m so classy huh), brush your teeth, glasses/contacts/whatever off.

1. Wear comfy clothes obviously, and err on the warmer side when dressing. Take your shoes off (bring an extra pair of socks) and try to get cozy.

2. Pack a scarf. A large comfy scarf can make such a difference (something delicious like this) – even if airplanes provide you blankets, you’ll feel so much more at home enveloped in your familiar scarf. Use it as a blanket, bunch it up as a pillow, or just wrap it around your entire face. This, actually this is totally me on red-eyes…. #noshame. Continue reading

How to get Artists to think you’re an Artist too

(Like real, ‘capital A’ Artists)

Volunteer at the 4 day LA Art Show and leave your badge on the rest of the day while you visit the other booths. Shake their hand, and talk to them about how dope, dynamic & visionary their work is. Then, when they ask you if you’re showing too, mumble something about doodling on your receipts or choosing really good Instagram filters and run away.

“Life” Oils by Hiromi Hasegawa

"Superman Takes a Break" X-ray Photographic Print by Nick Veasey (Evan Lurie Gallery)

“Superman Takes a Break” X-ray Photographic Print by Nick Veasey (Evan Lurie Gallery)

Alright, but honestly, volunteering at the show was really awesome – and a great way for us common plebians to catch a glimpse into the art world. I worked with Chris Hayes (who is ah-mazing by the way) and greeted/directed traffic at the front entrance all Sunday morning. Sure my cheeks were a bit sore after the 4 hours, but it was a front row seat to people watch!

deceptive badging

deceptive badging


(Art Show people watching is now one of my favorite things. Attendants range from wealthied Euro families, to Hype Beast street kids, to Fashion Folk, to angsty art students. It can be a tad overwhelming, and of course once you’re inside, you’re too focused on the actual, you know, ART to look at the people blocking your view.)


eyes that blaze right into your heart. Oils by Afshin Pirhashemi

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