See Everything Amanda Blake Gets Done in a Day
She works hard for the money.
Multi-hyphenate Amanda Blake—owner, designer, and sole employee of the classic-with-a-twist line Calder—has multitasking down to a tee. Here’s a peek into Amanda’s ruthlessly scheduled life that makes space for running a biz, being a mom, and everything in between (you know, like taking taco breaks!). —genevieve ang
“In the morning, I get up at 6 A.M. to have some tea and some quiet time to myself. The family—my daughter Calder and my husband Chris—wakes up around 7 A.M., and we all have breakfast in the kitchen. We’re really strict about not having computers come out right away.”
“After dropping my daughter off at school, I prepare for the day’s appointments and head out to my first stop of the day—L.A. Air Line, my printer. They have a really cool workspace—it’s a converted airplane-manufacturing warehouse. It’s a great creative zone to work out new ideas; they do other stuff besides screen-printing, like sponge-printing, airbrushing, and all these other techniques that give me ideas.”
“My next stop is a trip to the dye house—I’ve used these guys since the beginning of the line. I look over production of the spring line and samples for next fall.”
“All these spots are kind of all over the place, so I get a ton of mileage on my car. Along the way, I like to stop to get a little fruit salad with Mexican lime, chili powder, and salt. Or tacos! Tacos Baja Ensenada makes the best baja fish tacos—I’m drooling now just thinking about them.”
“I then head over to Hollywood to visit Tenoversix, which is a store that debuted my T-shirts [Ed: They’ve also done an Of a Kind edition!]. They have great style and believe in a lot of L.A.-based, local designers. I’m popping by to have lunch, to take a look at what’s going on in the store, and to get some feedback from them because production for the spring line is dropping soon.”
“I then come back home to do a fitting, work on the fall sample line, and style the lookbook shoot for fall 2014, which is happening next week. This is super-fun, and I love getting to play with the clothes. The fitting will be in my home office, the shoot will be in my house—my home is Calder central. The bedroom is filled with fabric, my guest room is for shipping, and there are samples all over the place!”
“End of the day! I pick up Calder from school, go for an evening walk on the beach, and have dinner with my family.”
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Hello, S.F.! Baggu Goes Bi-Coastal
This company is not choosing sides.
When Emily Sugihara and her mom Joan launched Baggu back in 2007, they were shipping orders out of a family garage in San Diego. Soon enough—after Emily’s bestie Ellen van der Laan joined the team—they moved cool-bag HQ to Brooklyn, and, in November 2012, they added a second studio in San Fran’s Dogpatch ‘hood to the mix—with lots of light and plenty of space to spread out. “It’s cool because there are a ton of creative businesses in the building—photo studios, a place that gives cooking classes, another with sewing classes, a chocolate maker, a granola company,” says Ellen. “It’s actually a lot like our street in Brooklyn.” Ellen shows off their new digs below. —alisha prakash
“The front door is Baggu blue!”
“There’s an amazing plant store near to our office called Flora Grubb. We’ve gotten a ton of plants from there—both for the office and for photo props that have turned into office plants. They remind us that we’re in California now.”
“Here’s me, Kabir Fernandez (product designer and photographer), Joan Sugihara, and Emily Sugihara. We love these huge columns, the light, and the white walls. We have identical columns in our Brooklyn studio.”
“We searched high and low and just kept coming back to this desk set-up. It’s the same one we use in our office in Brooklyn. It’s an oak butcher block from IKEA, on top of two of their white metal screw-in legs and a white set of drawers. They’re big but great.”
“When we ordered vinyl lettering for our front door, the company included this weird SMILE lettering. Now it’s our mirror flair.”
“Our office in Williamsburg is jam-packed to the brim. When Kabir needed to photograph something, he would have to come in early or late once the store was closed, just to be able to have the space to unroll a seamless. Our studio here is big enough to have a seamless to photograph with at all times. So luxurious!”
“We have this huge table. It’s probably a quarter of the size of our whole office in New York. It’s really amazing to be able to spread out and work together on it, but it’s a constant struggle to keep it clean and cleared off!”
“We have these huge windows that look out over the bay, downtown San Francisco, and Potrero Hill.”
“Another great feature of our office—the industrial sewing machine! There’s finally space for it here.”
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Lauren Wolf’s Double Desert (Wedding!) Adventure
Because two cacti-filled getaways are better than one.
When the Oakland-based jewelry designer Lauren Wolf and her boy decided to get married, the desert called out to them—twice. “My husband’s family has celebrated Thanksgiving in Death Valley for over 30 years—it’s a special spot for them,” says Lauren of picking the spot for the ceremony, which went down in April. Six months later, the newlyweds headed to Oaxaca—an easy trip for them from the Bay Area—to honeymoon it up. Get the scoop on (and stunning pics of) both adventures below. —alisha prakash
Wedding – Death Valley
“Patrick and I grew up together in Atlanta—we’ve known each other since we were five years old and reconnected later.”
“We got married at The Inn at Furnace Creek. To come across the inn in the middle of nowhere is pretty dramatic. It’s a hotel that’s been around for almost 100 years that was really popular in the twenties and thirties with the L.A. Hollywood crowd. It has this old-world glam aspect to it, but it’s obviously very dated. There’s a lot of history to it.”
“The ceremony was outdoors. It was just about the last weekend you could be there comfortably. It was 90 degrees—but a dry heat—and it cooled off during the night. We got married outside in the oasis garden, which is so lush—and the contrast between that backdrop and the desert is also pretty amazing. The ceremony was really simple. My sister and Patrick’s brother stood beside us. One of my best friends from New York officiated for us.”
“This is a place called Zabriskie Point, where they filmed Star Wars—it’s about a quarter mile from the hotel. For my dress, I definitely didn’t want to wear white. This was not a traditional wedding by any means. I didn’t want something over-the-top and wanted something that was comfortable, simple, and a reference to the hotel where we were getting married. There’s a little bit of that twenties/thirties throwback with the lace. It is Tadashi Shoji dress that I got at Neiman Marcus. I splurged on the shoes though—they’re Christian Louboutins.”
“The watch is my grandmother’s. It’s a really cool piece from the fifties. She passed away, so it was important to me and to my grandfather—he’s 93—that I wore that piece. The earrings I got from one of my diamond dealers. They’re made in India. And the bracelet I wore for my something borrowed—it’s by my friend Rebecca Overmann, who’s a jeweler in San Francisco.”
“This was an impromptu thing. We had just cut the cake. The photographer said, ‘Everybody get out there quick—we’re going to do a line in the desert.’ It turned out to be a really cool photo. So many of our guests had never been to Death Valley and probably wouldn’t ever be inclined to visit. It was neat to bring all these different people to that one spot. Everyone had a blast.”
Honeymoon - Oaxaca
“Oaxaca is one of the culturally richest parts of Mexico as far as textiles go. Patrick is a graphic designer, so he’s interested in patterns and design, just as I am. We stayed at Casa Oaxaca. It is an old colonial hotel that has five rooms that are pretty simple—ours had a nice traditional Mexican bed with Oaxacan woven sheets.”
“This is called the Jardin Etnobotánico. This particular botanical garden had these amazing cacti that are probably 12 to 15 feet tall.”
“Throughout Mexico, you see these ancient ruins—this is Monte Albán. It’s amazing that these places still exist just outside of the cities. I minored in anthropology, so I have a strong interest in cultural history—as far as the way people lived and dressed and the jewelry and everything.”
“This is the cultural center in Oaxaca, and this photo doesn’t do it justice. The two towers are the cathedral, and attached to it was a monastery that then became a prison.”
“What’s so cool about Mexico and these colonial towns like Oaxaca is that everything is happening on the interiors of the buildings, architecturally speaking. Because of the climate, it can all be open. This is the interior courtyard of a museum we went to that I can’t remember the name of!”
“This is a library. Every public place, even the coffee shops, has these amazing interior gardens.”
Wedding photos by Ro Agents; Oaxaca photos by Patrick Dunaway.
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Weather Vain: San Diego, California - 81 and Clear
TALK ABOUT A LOVELY DAY. If you’re in San Diego right now, well, congrats to you. Here’s how to celebrate in America’s Finest City. —erica
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Step Inside Asia Ragland’s Baller Venice Beach Bungalow
The perfect excuse to buy a white couch.
Asia Ragland, the designer behind tough-girl jewelry line Feliks + Adrik, takes WFH to the next level. At her Venice Beach pad—just a stone’s throw from the beach—the washer-and-dryer nook doubles as shipping facility, and a dining table serves as a sketching-slash-assembly station by day. “What I treasure the most is being able to ride my bike to the end of Rose Avenue and jump in the ocean at the end of a workday…or during lunch,” she says. Yup, we’re jealous—and we haven’t even toured the space yet. —alisha prakash
“This multi-functional table is where I sketch, assemble, and dine. I am a fan of texture and comfort, hence the many throws and rugs I decorate my furniture with. These two sheepskin rugs are from Ikea. I threw them onto this wooden chair to add an element of softness and create some cushy for my tushy.”
“My jewelry collection has grown over the years. I generally gravitate towards unusual statement pieces, which is evident in my own designs.”
“I love waking up in this room even though it doesn’t give me a chance to ever sleep in. The guitar was a birthday gift from my musical genius of a boyfriend. He taught me ‘Bird on the Wire’ by Leonard Cohen, but that’s the extent of my guitar playing. It gets more action when musically inclined friends visit. And the ornate jacket hanging on the wall was a gift from my father when he was in India.”
“When I was on the hunt for a new home/work space in Venice, it was imperative that it be place I could spend all day and night in. Natural light and the ocean breeze flood my windows, living-room skylight, and open doors.”
“This is our shared courtyard. There are eight bungalows on the property that were built in the early 1900s. We have had barbecues, crawfish boils, and dinners and have celebrated many birthdays parties here.”
“The moment I signed the lease in Venice Beach, I knew I had to buy a white couch. Granted, it is covered with throws—but it still feels beach-y.”
“This is the kitchen, where I display my small, yet beloved collection of cameras. The Nikon F50 is a 35mm film SLR camera that I lugged around Europe for four months in 2002. It was my first real camera. In the middle is a vintage DeJur 8mm movie camera I bought years ago at an antique shop in Big Sur. And the last one is a functional vintage Polaroid Land Camera that I bought in Mexico.”
“I purchased this handmade wall tapestry, the vintage leather shoes, and the ornate umbrella on a recent trip to India with my mother. We returned with new luggage filled with all sorts of Indian treasures.”
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6 Spots Hillary Taymour Says You’ve Gotta Hit in Joshua Tree
Girlfriend goes there at least twice annually. So she knows what she’s talking about.
Hillary, hiding behind a friendly cactus.
“Joshua Tree is such an amazing place. The energy there is something I have never felt anywhere else,” says Hillary Taymour, the mastermind behind the rad bag-and-apparel line Collina Strada who makes her way from Brooklyn to J-Tree for the holidays and post-Coachella every year. So where are the best places to get your hike on, catch some stellar views, soak up live music, and score vintage? Hillary gives us the lowdown. —alisha prakash
The best room around, in Hillary’s opinion—that floor!
“I stay at this room that you can rent through the Joshua Tree Inn called the Fox. It’s on this amazing artist compound. I’ve been staying there for years. The Fox is off a dirt road, so a lot of people have dune buggies. You’ll wake up and there’ll be coyotes in your backyard—it’s really magical.”
“Hospice Thrift Shop has some truly amazing finds. I got these really amazing, old photo books from the seventies there.”
(61675 29 Palms Hwy, Ste. B, Joshua Tree)
How amazing-looking is The Integratron? Like, whoa.
“The Integratron is this amazing place—with a wild story—that’s built entirely of wood. It’s a big dome where they do incredible sound baths, which are this amazing experience where they play crystal quartz bowls to heal each individual chakra. It’s a cleanse for your whole body and mind.”
(2477 Belfield Blvd., Landers)
“Natural Sisters Café has great juices and smoothies. It’s one of the better places to get all-organic juice. Joshua Tree is a hippie town, but you can still find Applebee’s and Taco Bell—this is a better place to go.”
(61695 Twentynine Palms Hwy, Joshua Tree)
If this isn’t inspiration to plan a trip…
“Split Rock is one of my favorite hikes. It’s a big loop and really beautiful. You can see for miles.”
“Pappy & Harriet’s usually has a good live gig going on. It’s a real fun local place to go for dinner and drinks. Monday is open mic night. There are these locals who are total rockers and singer/songwriters. They just jam for hours, playing great cover songs and original music—it’s pretty epic. Pappy & Harriet’s is also in Pioneertown, which is a little fake ghost town. It’s a tourist attraction—there’s always something going on there.”
(53688 Pioneertown Rd., Pioneertown)
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The origin of the word entrepreneur is especially fitting for the French-born accessories designer Jacques Flynn, who started making his own wallets when he couldn’t scout out a minimalist style that suited him. Turns out, he was hardly alone: Soon after he started, a few of his friends requested his no-nonsense creations…and then a few strangers. In June 2012, his brand Jaqet was officially born.
Jacques constructs all of his products using a saddle stitch, “an extremely old stitch style that can only be done properly by hand,” he explains. And then there are the colors of the Jaqet leathers, which have a certain grainy richness thanks to the water-based dyes—and a secret technique—he uses.
When he’s not thinking about sleekifying your leather goods, he’s contemplating ways to streamline your car, moonlighting as an exterior designer at Mazda in Long Beach, California. But what do cars and wallets have in common? “I’d say a car is a man’s ultimate accessory,” he says of a ride’s ability to speak volumes about the guy who drives it (especially in L.A.!). That, and the possibility for excellence in design and craftsmanship—something he brings to both of his pursuits. —carly pifer
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The best ideas come when you aren’t looking for them. At least, that was the case for Joshu+Vela founder Noah Guy, who first dreamt of starting his own bag and accessories company during a beach hang in Seminyak, Bali, a few years back. Feeling inspired, he came up with a few early designs and made use of Indonesia’s organic indigo dye, which his company still incorporates today. But don’t let Joshu+Vela’s exotic origins fool you: Noah is a fan of things American-made, through and through.
“I grew up appreciating quality,” says the designer, who describes visiting Orvis and L.L.Bean frequently as a kid with his dad—and being dismayed when so much American production got shipped overseas in the nineties. His determination to bring back the high-quality nature of war-era bags from the forties and fifties led Noah to decide to handcraft everything from a 900-square-foot studio in San Francisco’s SoMa neighborhood—taking the skills he’d honed at Levi’s, Old Navy, and Northface and throwing himself into Joshu+Vela full-force in 2010.
Now, Joshu+Vela produces a whole range of goodness—bags of all sizes, dopp kits, wallets—but the original design ethos remains intact. “There’s a certain pride in having a nice cloth,” Noah says. “That’s basically where we started with Joshu+Vela, and that’s what we’re trying to hold true to.” —carrie neill
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Long before Steven Shein, who describes himself as the “least fashion-oriented person in the fashion business,” got into jewelry and furniture design, he was a Lego-playing, tree-climbing eight-year old in South Africa. Hold down the fast-forward button for a bit and you’ll whiz past Steven moving to CA with his family, enrolling at University of California in Santa Barbara for philosophy at 18, discovering contemporary art, and switching his major to sculpture. Press pause.
"It was all an accident," Steven explains of his road to jewelry design. "I was working on an art project that dealt with the body’s engagement with the environment when an instructor suggested I make something wearable. So I made a big, blocky bangle. That was the starting point."
At 22, Steven moved to Los Angeles and headed to the Art Center to pursue environmental design, where he stumbled across laser-cutting technology and started getting busy with plexiglass. And while alternative materials drew him in, since launching his namesake line in late 2012, Steven has embraced using go-to metals—bronze, silver, and gold—in less-than-classical ways. “Lately, I’ve been playing with sandblasting and have been juxtaposing that against high-polish surfaces,” he says. Yes, the outcome is as cool as it sounds. —alisha prakash
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Kindah Khalidy’s Totally Sweet NorCal Candy Tour
Some sugary fixes that look as awesome as they taste.
If you’re searching for an excuse to make a candy run, just tell everyone you’re looking for some color inspiration—that’s what Kindah Khalidy does. And, boy, does she know where to get the good stuff. Check out her favorite local sweet spots—and the pieces in her hand-painted collection they inspired. —monica derevjanik
Cottage of Sweets, Carmel
“Cottage of Sweets isn’t in the Bay Area, but it’s my #1. It’s literally the teeniest, wood-shingled cottage, and it’s packed with candies you thought were extinct. I always recommend the made-in-house fudge and the interestingly shaped gummy candies. Jawbreakers are beautiful with the mix of primary colors splattered all over—I’m really into the mix of color and negative space, and I had fun mixing the two on a clutch.”
(Ocean Ave. between Monte Verde and Lincoln; cottageofsweets.com)
Powell’s Sweet Shoppe, Berkeley
“Powell’s has that Willy Wonka wonderland factor. It’s a large space fully stocked with lots of wicker baskets of hard-to-find classic candies. They even have most of my favorite Haribo gummies.”
(3206 College Ave., Berkeley; powellsss.com)
“Miette has four locations, and each is unique in its own way. I love this store because it displays its confections in such a way that one can appreciate them as art. Their macaroons are very good and are made without food coloring.”
(85 Webster St., Oakland; miette.com)
“Ici is small and slightly feminine—and always has a line of customers running down the entire block. They have all these flavors of ice cream, sorbets, and ices…and then bonbons and other frozen treats. Their cones have a decent amount of chocolate inside, and you can get them in bouquet-like packages for takeout. I actually gifted one to my boyfriend once as a manly alternative to a bouquet of flowers.”
(2948 College Ave., Berkeley; ici-icecream.com)