Tiny Adventures: Idaho

One of the things I enjoy the most about small space living is that it inspires us to seek new experiences beyond our four walls. Last month, my sister and her family left LA and moved to Boise. So Adam, West and I decided to take a tiny adventure and travel to Idaho to explore their new home. (View the post about how we prepared for air travel with our toddler here.) Below are some images from our trip, with a few comments scattered throughout. 

luggage.jpg
boise_14.jpg
boise_4.jpg
boise_6.jpg

We stayed at The Modern Hotel & Bar in one of their new one bedroom apartments, which we thoroughly enjoyed. The staff was incredibly kind, and the accommodations offered everything we needed to feel and function as though we were staying in a home-away-from-home. 

boise_13.jpg
boise_7.jpg
boise_3.jpg
boise_1.jpg

We were conscious to reduce our trash (particularly plastic) as much as possible while we were away, just as we aim to do at home. We transported our own beverage containers, on-the-go utensils and tins, etc. The Boise businesses we visited seemed to be inherently more earth-friendly, offering paper straws, not providing plastic bags for purchases, and appearing at our tables with sturdy mason jars with reusable lids for West in lieu of plastic single-use cups.

boise_9.jpg

Our apartment at The Modern was much larger than our tiny cottage, but the staff still used some clever space-saving tricks to maximize their square-footage. One example is this wall-mounted storage basket on the back of the door of the laundry closet.

boise_8.jpg
boise_2.jpg
boise_10.jpg

We visited the library, the Boise Contemporary Theater, the Idaho Shakespeare Festival, Hyde Park shops and restaurants, the Rose Garden, and the Boise River, among other spots. We biked (despite the 100+ degree heat), we spent quiet time at my sister's beautiful home, and we celebrated my nephew's 5th birthday. 

boise_15.jpg
boise_12.jpg

This lil' getaway was such a delight. Thank you, Boise. We'll be back soon!

Tiny Adventures: Palm Springs + Sunset Magazine

One of the things I enjoy the most about small space living is that it inspires us to seek new experiences beyond our four walls. As such, I'm posting some of our "Tiny Adventures" here on the Cottage blog to share these lil' moments.

West, Adam and I just returned from a quick trip to Palm Springs to celebrate Modernism Week with Sunset Magazine. Luckily for us, the event venue was the Samuel A-Frame, the desert getaway of Sarah Sherman Samuel. Sarah and her husband Rupert bought the house 3 years ago and will soon be selling it, so I was excited to get the chance to explore the property before the change of ownership. I was particularly interested in this house because it's under 800 sqft and absolutely gorgeous.

Thanks to Semihandmade, Fireclay Tile, Campari, and Best Day Ever Floral Design for bringing this delightful brunch to life! I met some wonderful people there, such as Jimmy from West Perro, who had a little pop-up at the event. I ordered a custom mobile by him for the Cottage and I can't wait to hang it up in our little home. And speaking of small spaces, how perfect is this tiny guest bedroom at the A-Frame?!

blog_ssspalmspringsbedroom.jpg

We arrived at Sarah's a bit early, so we drove on a bit further to check out the other unique homes in the neighborhood and savor the incredible views. (My dress got majorly attacked by thistles while snapping these photos in the wind...)

We stayed at the ACE Hotel, thanks to HotelTonight. My friends and I began visiting the Ace when it first opened (back when we were in our 20s), and Adam and I weren't sure how it would feel returning now that we have a toddler. Turns out it was absolutely perfect.

blog_westsidewalks.jpg

The first-floor rooms with private courtyards provide a generous amount of space for kids to safely play and explore without getting bored. (Our hotel room and patio were actually bigger than our entire Cottage.)  

West ran around the property for hours, touching everything and clearly loving the sights, textures, and colors. We were joined by my best friend Lindsay of Casa Joshua Tree for dinner. We ordered room service which we enjoyed on our private patio (a lifesaver for dining with a toddler in public places) while West tasted a cauliflower burger for the first time.

I've basically been living in this Favorite Maxi Knit Skirt (in Peat) from Garnet Hill. It's been great for the mixed weather we've been having lately in SoCal. And West has been bolting around in a cactus jumper that makes me giggle every time he wears it-- it's just the cutest.   

blog_westwhitlobby.jpg

It was such a nice change to visit Palm Springs during cooler weather-- we got to walk around and connect with others much more than we usually do, and it was a heartening experience in the midst of all the ongoing mayhem in the news. 

blog_sign.jpg

Here's to more tiny adventures that introduce us to new and extraordinary experiences. 

Travel-Inspired Downsizing

In late November, we took a 5-day trip to the East Coast to visit our family and friends near Washington D.C. We meet there annually for Thanksgiving, and it's one of my favorite times of the year. After the persistent heat in Los Angeles lately, it was such a relief to experience traditional fall weather and colors.

blog_whitwestwalking.jpg

Our son has been on numerous planes, but his most recent flight was a while ago (the return from our France trip back in July), so this was our first time flying with our son since he became a toddler. I asked all of our friends for their top tips for making the journey as enjoyable and calamity-free as possible, and they gave us some WONDERFUL advice, for which I'm so grateful. Some of the highlights included:

  • Wrapping up the child's toys and books in recycled paper and Wash Tape so there's an extra, time-consuming layer of activity involved. (Thanks, Amy!) 
  • Packing small "Thank You" gifts for the flight crew and passengers in the neighboring seats. (Thanks, Marcia!)
  • Keeping MANY light-colored, no-mess teething wafers and snacks easily accessible. (Thanks, Andrew!)
  • Bringing a small number of new books and little learning sets that the child has not yet seen before. (Thanks, Claudia!)
A mix of our go-to travel pieces from The Fawn + Cub, Steamline, Away, This is Ground, and Ona. We packed small-batch chocolates by Nohmad and "Thank You" cards from the Cottage for particularly helpful and patient folks on the flights. 

A mix of our go-to travel pieces from The Fawn + Cub, Steamline, Away, This is Ground, and Ona. We packed small-batch chocolates by Nohmad and "Thank You" cards from the Cottage for particularly helpful and patient folks on the flights. 

blog_garnethillboots_fall.jpg

When packing for myself, I stuck to the absolute essentials. My favorite and most-used items all ended up being from Garnet Hill: Comfy tall zip boots, a gorgeous olive wool coat, an oversized yet warm and light-weight turtleneck cashmere sweater, and THE best slippers I've ever owned. Even then, I still overpacked. I decided to donate every item from my suitcase that I didn't wear while on the trip. If I didn't need it while traveling, then I certainly don't need it at home, either.

blog_westwhitwoods.jpg

Not only did I decide to get rid of the unnecessary items in my bags, but I also considered dozens of other items back at home that were going unused, and planned to round those up for donation as well once we returned. Even as we expand into the neighboring tiny cottage, I'm determined to own fewer items than we did when we first moved into our home.

blog_whitney_desk.jpg

Perspective is such a wonderful perk of traveling. And, in the case of small space living, it's always handy to be reminded how few items we actually require in order to live a happy, comfortable and practical existence. 

Create & Cultivate Seattle

Adam and I took a quick trip to Seattle this past weekend to participate in the latest Create & Cultivate conference at the Microsoft Headquarters. It was a joy to speak on the panel: Detail Oriented: An Inside Look at the Business of Design.

panel_blog.jpg

I was honored to be part of such an incredible group of women. The panel included Kate Arends (of Wit and Delight), Anne Sage (of Light Lab), Christina Martinez (of New Darlings), Anne Alo (of  Creative House Int'l), Amanda Manna (of Lowes Innovation Labs), and was moderated by Jessica Anderson (of Elle Decor).

Photo © New Darlings:  newdarlings.com

Photo © New Darlings: newdarlings.com

Adam and I stayed at the Thompson Hotel, which is beautifully designed and perfectly situated in the city. Since it was our first time in Seattle, we did the touristy things, like visit Pike Place Market and the Space Needle. We also spent hours in the MoPOP. We enjoyed many of their installations, but we went specifically for the Jim Henson Exhibition, organized by the Museum of the Moving Image in New York. I loved the Henson collection so much that Adam practically had to drag me away from it...

I deliberately left my camera in my purse the majority of the time, focusing instead on meeting the participants and attendees of the conference. But I snapped a few iPhone photos for Instagram Stories, below:

Thank you, Jaclyn R. Johnson and Create & Cultivate for including me in such an epic, informative and inspiring event.

Santa Monica Staycation

Recently, while a TV show was being shot at the Cottage for a few days, we decided to relocate to Santa Monica for a lil' working staycation:

palimain.jpg

We stayed at the Palihouse, and absolutely loved it. Our suite was probably around 600 sqft-- compared to our tiny cottage, we basically felt like we were in a palace. West scooted all over the place, and it was the perfect spot for keeping him safely entertained while I worked. 

pali1.jpg
pali4.jpg

With the full kitchen in our room, along with the incredibly comfortable and cozy work/lounge areas in the lobby and gardens, we felt like we were staying in a friends gorgeous, sprawling home.

pali2.jpg

I loved how intimate the Palihouse felt. It's not quite a typical hotel, and we liked that about it.

We held a few meetings, caught up with some friends, watched the GOT season finale (which was fun-- we don't have a TV at the cottage), and strolled along the beach. It felt good to be there, and, of course, it felt wonderful to return home afterwards.

pali3.jpg

Unfortunately we discovered a lot of damage to the cottage when we got back. (That'll happen when you have a production crew of 40 people in under 400 sqft for three days straight, I guess.) But the great thing about a tiny house is that we got it all back under control within a few hours. (And hurricane Harvey put things into perspective for us.)

Now on to September!

Guesthouse Getaway in Santa Barbara

Last week, Adam and I felt the overwhelming need to be with our family, and to surround baby West with love. We decided to take a quick getaway to Adam's brother and sister-in-law's home in Santa Barbara. We stayed in their guest unit, which is the dreamiest and most comfortable little house. (Even though it's a small studio-style home, it's still probably about 3x the size of our cottage!)

IMG_5963.JPG

I hadn't intended on taking many photos during our visit-- I wanted to my eyes focused on my family, not my phone. But I couldn't keep myself from snapping a few images here and there, as the interiors and grounds were just too gorgeous to resist. (Alas, it's not an Airbnb, folks. Sigh!) 

IMG_5682.JPG

I hope you enjoy a glimpse of the details from this incredible property, which is one of my main design and decor inspirations.

hat close up.jpg
hats.jpg
hallway.jpg
sink.jpg
IMG_5686.JPG
IMG_5746.JPG

At 10+ months old, West zoomed all over this cozy casita. He even picked and ate oranges from the garden. We took him on a few visits into town and to the beach, and relished the immense beauty of the California coast at the end of summer. 

IMG_5916.JPG

Click the images below to see what we packed, what we saw, and why we are counting down the days until our next visit.

From Cottage to Castle

In late July, we journeyed from our tiny house in Venice to a tiny village in France for a two week vacation in Belcastel. This little medieval town is nestled in the Aveyron Valley, and has been my home-away-from-home for a decade. The Château de Belcastel, which sits atop the village, is a striking and stunning historic monument, owned by my dear friend Heidi Leigh. I usually stay in her castle during my visits, but this year I was joined by more friends and family members than ever before, so I rented us all a gîte instead. It was the best of both worlds-- we were nestled in the heart of the village, and we were also fortunate enough to have access to the gorgeous castle. (When I could find wifi, I documented the stay on Instagram via Stories, and via #FromCottageToCastle.)

gite.jpg

This year's trip was particularly magical for a few reasons: it was our first time in Belcastel with Baby West, it was the first time my sister visited the village, and we all got to see and celebrate an original mural that two of my close friends from LA-- Chandler Wood and Darren Le Gallo-- painted for one of the art galleries within the castle. It was extraordinary to be in one of my favorite places with so many of my favorite people:

One of the things I love most about Belcastel in summer is its Friday night market series. Artisans, bakers, wineries and more set up booths along the river and offer their specialty items to residents and visitors:

Both the village and the castle are spectacular. Adam and I are seriously considering finding a little cottage in the area... 

As for how Adam and I packed for ourselves and baby West, we took:

  • 2 carry-on pieces by AWAY - link
  • 1 leather backpack / camera bag from ONA - link
  • 1 diaper bag / changing mat backpack from FAWN + CUB - link

I wore an outfit that was super practical for traveling-- particularly with a baby who I'm still nursing. I selected a button-down one-piece from Tysa, flats by Mohinders, an ascot (so West can yank on it) from Late Sunday Afternoon, and a teething necklace from Etsy. We requested a bassinet seat from Air France, and were thrilled with the results (even though our 10-month-old West is almost too big for it). We dressed him in a one-piece from Primary, which was extremely easy to manage on board. 

Oh, Belcastel-- we all love you so much. We cannot wait to return next summer.

Coverage of our trip to Belcastel is also up on Domino! Click here to view.

Mini Maui Trip

Last weekend, we took a mini trip to Maui for a Create & Cultivate pop-up. At the conference, I spoke on a panel called, "Climbing Higher: The New Multi-Hustle Business Woman." I’ve participated in Create & Cultivate events in the past, but this was a particularly refreshing opportunity-- and not just because of the location. I feel like I've evolved immensely (both personally and professionally) this past year, and it was s true joy to discuss that growth and to learn from the other speakers and attendees. 

From left to right: Sophia Rossi, whitney leigh morris, and Kelly Oxford. Panel moderated by Jaclyn Johnson. Photo by brecht van't hof for create & cultivate

From left to right: Sophia Rossi, whitney leigh morris, and Kelly Oxford. Panel moderated by Jaclyn Johnson. Photo by brecht van't hof for create & cultivate

We spoke and stayed at the Wailea Beach Resort, which was recently renovated. It was an incredible indoor/outdoor hotel. Even the lobby was located outdoors. Swoon.

Photo by brecht van't hof for create & cultivate

Photo by brecht van't hof for create & cultivate

Adam and baby West made the trip with me. We ended up staying an extra night, because poor West came down with an ear infection and a head-to-toe rash. The hotel staff and the nearby urgent care facility were extremely helpful and supportive, and by the last day of our visit, my son was back to his cheerful self.

Thank you Create & Cultivate for this wonderful opportunity. And thank you, Maui-- we cannot wait to return.

Gallery photos: Baby West at sunrise / Sunset at the hotel / Monday's workspace by the infinity pool / West on the beach / Create & Cultivate panel speakers / Poolside view / West and Adam in the hotel room / New travel gear essential for trip: "Sitting Pretty" case from This is Ground

Visit to Casa Joshua Tree

For West's first slumber party outside of the Cottage, we decided to take him to visit Casa Joshua Tree.  This wonderful, peaceful home in the desert was also the first place I visited after discovering I was pregnant, so it felt fitting to return with our newest family member as soon as we felt comfortable travelling!

Note regarding this post's photography: I took most of these shots on my iPhone for Instagram Stories, so they're formatted accordingly.

I love the beautiful simplicity of Casa Joshua Tree. While there's no clutter here, every corner is an Instagram dream. It's a clean, open and inspiring space that sparks creativity in comfort. 

Travel Gear for Small Spaces

Now that summer is here and travel stories and products are popping up around the web, I've been receiving more questions about where and how we store our luggage here at the Cottage. 

We actually have quite a few pieces of travel gear in our tiny home, but we don't just use them when leaving town. Many of our on-the-go accessories are constantly in use here on a daily basis as home-organization tools. By selecting multi-functional items that work well both inside AND outside the house, we've solved most of the storage issues that so many small-space dwellers face when it comes to finding a suitable place to put their luggage and travel accessories.

Here is nearly all of my globe-trotting gear. I obviously don't use all of these pieces on each trip-- I pick and choose depending on context:

Since I use most of these pieces while at home, they're generally floating around between my handbag, office and bedside. But when I need to stash some items out of sight, I simply pack them within my suitcase, which is a carry-on rolling bag by Steamline Luggage that looks like a small old-fashioned trunk. I picked this piece for its function AND its beauty, because I knew it would frequently be left out in the open at home. Since I love the way it looks, I don't mind having the luggage out and using it as an accent surface when needed. I can also slide it into the storage cubby that's built-in beneath our bed. Adam uses a leather Weekender Bag by Combatant Gentlemen, which is really versatile and also can fit under our bed.

The items I use every day include my Mod Laptop 2 + Tech Dopp Kit + Mod Tablet 2 by This Is Ground, along with my Rachel Wallet by Hobo (I've had it for years and years), and a leather notebook organizer. When I'm traveling on shorter trips, I pop my "dopp kit insert" into my Mod Tablet and it becomes a handy overnight beauty tool.

For longer trips, I switch it up a bit. I use a truly wonderful Mac Cosmetics travel bag, which organizes EVERYTHING. I also bring my Ona Clifton Backpack, which safely holds my laptop and camera equipment. 

All the aforementioned items help me keep the house decluttered and organized, and have been ideal for my trips, whether they've lasted a single night or an entire month. With the baby coming in October, we're going to be making some adjustments to our luggage, of course. (But more on that later! In the meantime, here are some of my favorite past travel-gear images, with cameos by #StubsandSoph.)

Mini-Moon in Ojai

We decided to take a (very) mini-moon to Ojai this week. Between the pregnancy (the first trimester was rough for me) and the wedding, I hadn't spent a night away from the Cottage in months. Ojai is a gorgeous town, located about 80+ miles from LA, so it's one of our favorite quick getaways. Since we wouldn't have much time, we wanted a place where we could just drop the car keys and relax in one place for the duration of the trip. We opted to stay at the Ojai Valley Inn & Spa.

Linus bikes for the  Picnic & Pedal  program at the Ojai Valley Inn & Spa.

Linus bikes for the Picnic & Pedal program at the Ojai Valley Inn & Spa.

OUR PRIVATE CABANA AT THE NEW  INDIGO POOL .

OUR PRIVATE CABANA AT THE NEW INDIGO POOL.

We kept giggling about our guest room, because it was nearly twice the size of our entire Cottage. And while we usually prefer to live small, it was definitely a joy to have an oversized tub (I am 5'11", and Adam is 6'2"), along with a fire place and an epic balcony available to us for our lil' stay. Thank you, Ojai-- we love you and cannot wait to return with the pups... and our son!

To the guest room...

To the guest room...

Adam's luggage: The Weekender Bag • Whitney's suitcase: The Diplomat

#LoveMyCity Venice with Shinola

Our friends at Shinola invited me to partake in their #LoveMyCity campaign in celebration of their new Venice location, which opens this April on Abbot Kinney Boulevard (just a 5 minute walk from the Cottage). Adam and I are both sincere fans of the brand, so I was delighted to join in. (And you know I love any excuse to share photos of our beloved 90291...)

Based in Detroit, Shinola is dedicated to producing American built products of the highest quality. I've tried their watches, leather goods, pet products, and their bikes. Everything I've used is beautiful and meticulously crafted. 

Here are some recent pix that Adam and I snapped of our Shinola favorites around town (at the farmers market, canals, beach, and local businesses).

Another favorite "tiny house" in Venice

What do you do when you need a mini-vacation, but you don't have enough time to travel? Airbnb! In-town vacation rentals are perfect for unique staycations. Adam and I just spent a couple days at my other favorite "tiny house" in Venice (which I first discovered on Airbnb), and I completely fell in love with the space:

Meet the @craftsman.mini.me by @shophbleu. Isn't it a dream? The fig vines creep in at every corner, stretching from the outdoor shower, which is the most gorgeous little place to relax and breathe:

At 400 square feet, this house is only slightly bigger than our Tiny Canal Cottage. But, much like our home, the numerous windows and doors make the space feel open and airy.

Learn more and/or book the house here.

(My camera is currently being repaired, so these photos are mainly iPhone. Sorry for the less-than-ideal quality, but the subject is so amazing that it hardly matters. Enjoy!)

The Venice Beach Canals

It's no secret how much I love the Venice Beach Canals. We walk the pups along the waterways daily, and look forward to the special events thrown by the Canals Association (such as the holiday boat parade and the 4th of July rubber ducky race).

Unfortunately, more and more of the cute, old bungalows like ours are now being ripped down for modern, zero-lot-line behemoths. To each his/her own, but it definitely bums me out to witness all the demolition. I'm all for change, improvement and progress (yay for green architecture and interesting design!), but I wish that more people tried modifying the smaller, historic homes before building and filling up new mansions.

These are some of my favorite shots we took on (or at places inspired by) the Canals this past year:

Casa Joshua Tree

I visited Casa Joshua Tree again in early February. It was incredible to see all the progress that Lindsay has made on her home renovation.

My favorite recent addition to the space is the Hygge & West wallpaper by Justna Blakeney that we got for her master bathroom. It looks 😍!!!

Lindsay and I had the perfect mini-vacation together-- we worked on some creative projects, snapped tons of pix, hiked through the desert, ate at La Copine Kitchen and Crossroads, and got our live music fix at Pappy and Harriet's.

Idyllwild Weekend

Idyllwild. You. Are. Magic.  This has been the best weekend getaway from LA-- we traveled from the sand to the snow in fewer than 3 hours. 

Big thanks to Tysa Designs and Lou & Grey for providing me with the best winter-wear on short-notice. And thank you, Smoke & Honey Magazine, for teaching us about the town.

Pictured: Brooke Lyons, Casa Joshua Tree, Eliz Wilson, and Rachel Mae Furman.

South Florida Vacation

Before heading home to the Cottage after Kanapaha, we took a little mini-trip down to Miami leading into New Year:

We stayed at The Standard Spa in Miami Beach. The staff was incredibly helpful and friendly (especially you, Frank Zapata), and Adam and I had such a relaxing 3-night stay.

A highlight from the trip was visiting The Walton House, where Adam's mother got married. The setting is a botanical-lovers paradise, and I couldn't stop swooning over the twinkle-lights and blue wooden doors throughout the grounds. It was such a perfect place for an intimate and extraordinary wedding. 

Below are some of my favorite moments from Miami, including The Standard, The Walton House, and Whisk Gourmet (mmmmm, grits...):

North Florida Vacation

I love our Cottage, but as it's our live/work environment, it's always good to get out and adventure. 

This Christmas, I decided to return to my childhood home in Kanapaha, Florida for the first time in three years. Luckily my folks come to LA all the time, but nothing tops visiting in them here:

Sometimes I can't believe I grew up here. It's a wet prairie, surrounded by a live oak forest. This is my parent's immediate backyard. It was just as magical as I remembered it being, and at the end of the week-long vacation, I wasn't ready to leave. (I definitely won't wait three more years to return again.)

When I wasn't clipping botanicals from the garden to decorate our dining table and holiday gifts, I stopped by some gorgeous local sites with my 2½ year-old nephew, Finn. I'd definitely recommend the Kanapaha Botanical Gardens and The Florida Museum of Natural History to anyone staying in the Gainesville area.

If you're interested in seeing more photos of Kanapaha and this region of Florida, I recommend checking out the work of my friend Mac Stone-- his Insta is one of my favorite accounts.