Parker Palm Springs Part Two

I feel like I had too many photos in my last post so here are the rest of the photos I took of the Parker and the lovely grounds early one morning. I almost did the ice bucket challenge while we were there but no one has challenged me *Antz doesn’t count because he didn’t do it!*

A rare glimpse of Norma’s empty!
Love this color palette!
There are so many hidden spaces to chill by running water
The spa was closed so I didn’t get to check out the indoor pool
I don’t know how they keep their grass so lush in this drought
The Lemonade Stand
Grown-ups only pool
My Mum loves Foo Dogs

There was always a bunny hanging out here

After we said goodbye to our chic room, we headed towards the Saguaro to hunt for the most pinned house on Pinterest. I didn’t have an address other than knowing what the exterior looked like and it’s marked 1100 but no street name. After driving around for about ten minutes Antz had the genius idea to ask the mailman where the house was. We headed over in less than a minute *FYI, there are soo many gorgeous houses on that same street* You can see the interior of this architectural gem here.

This house was a few doors down, love the inner tube lions entry. These folks must party hard!

We had a terrific time in PS, the perfect staycation and lovely place to spend with my two loves.  See you again soon!

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Parker Palm Springs

We haven’t made a big fuss about our wedding anniversary since our pop up dinner when we celebrated ten years. This year I wanted to do something fun but not overwhelming or too stressful. It’s hard to come up with new ideas within driving distance since we’ve done just about everything there is to do in LA. Then I remembered we had a ton of travel points we racked up on our credit card from our trip to Europe so I started looking for local hotels to spend a few nights. I came so close to choosing the Ace hotel *Downtown LA or Palm Springs* but I wanted to stay somewhere more posh so I chose the Parker Palm Springs. It’s exquisitely curated by one of my favorite designers ever Jonathan Adler. It’s perfectly styled in retro mid-century modern and I just may borrow one of his needlepoint pillows and a few ceramic vases might find their way into my suitcase! We stuffed ourselves at Norma’s for brunch and I finally tried eggs Benedict *I have no idea what took me so long*  We’ve been swimming, lounging, taking photos, drinking champagne, playing croquet and hunting wild bunnies. Our room is superb! It has a private patio with a hammock, plenty of air conditioning to make Antz happy and a luxurious king size bed. Seriously, I am considering taking all the furniture out of our bedroom and just having wall-to-wall king size bed. We’d have to crawl into the room because it’s the size of a broom closet but our queen bed feels like a twin compared to this spacious king.

Since I think I’m a high roller yet my wallet would beg to differ, I finagled my way into getting a tour of the fancy-pants suites. Most were occupied but we did get to hang in one of the villas *that costs like thousands a night!* I was super stoked to find a Serena & Lily hanging chair in the living room. I love how perfect they look in rooms but I doubt I would ever buy one due to my giant posterior and my fear of falling from things. It’s perfect for Liv though. I almost died when I saw a Moroccan wedding blanket in the bedroom. I want one so bad I am willing to fly across the world and traverse sweltering heat to buy one in Marrakesh. I have no idea how expensive they are but Urban Outfitters has this one of a kind blanket/rug for only $799 *hurry only a few left in stock they say* I know I have made some crazy decor purchases before but I can’t drop $800 bucks on a blanket no matter how rad it is. If anyone knows the scoop on affordable Moroccan wedding blankets, hook me up!!

So, today is actually our anniversary *8/18* but we have been pre-partying all weekend and tonight after a lovely/gluttonous meal, we are going to the movies with the kid. I am such a lucky girl. Let’s not dwell over the fact that my Nikon JI camera battery died I left the camera batteries at home, I also forgot to bring Liv’s backpack so we had to go to Target and buy her a few tops and a new bathing suit *she was due for a new one anyway* but there’s always a few hiccups in life.

Little Miss Palm Springs socialite
The lobby is so good *souk rugs are sooo fab* but how do they stay clean??
Surrounded by gorgeous Moroccan pillows
Let’s do lunch, dahling!
I don’t like the Drugs but the Drugs like me! – MM
When I die, just bury me here. Actually embalm me and prop me up in that chair!
  
We braved the 109 degree heat to dine outside for brunch at Norma’s
Insanely good blueberry pancakes
I love this dude!
Always at the bar *ordering Shirley Temples*

 The Zoe Villa
The villas are named for the Parker’s grandchildren
OMG WANT!!!

Our fantastic deluxe room isn’t too shabby
This bed may appear smaller than it is in real life, so roomy!
I have no scruples to reading this book
Okay Parker, now you’re just showing off, nice faucet!
I wish I could photograph this fabulous wallpaper better *but my dumb camera died*
Our patio
For years we had a rope hammock in our backyard, this solid hammock is so much more comfy!
I thought I would burn to death outside on the patio but around 6pm, the weather is milder and that hammock is heaven
The view is not bad
Guess who’s ready to hit the pool in her new bathing suit?
Geesh kid, flexible much?
Liv is swimming completely unassisted, no floaties, no vest! She can hold her breathe underwater for a long time.

The grounds are a delightful maze
We may toast marshmallows here
 Parker Palm Springs on Make A Gif

A friendly game of croquet a lá Heathers
I won!
Good game! Now let’s order some drinks
What a weekend! So much fun, Happy anniversary love.

Our London photo shoot with Lee Robbins

I got the photos from our photo shoot with Lee!! They turned out better than I imagined. I love the shadow, the editorial style, the color contrast…I am so f-ing happy! We had a blast at the Ace Hotel, walking around the cool hipster Shoreditch neighborhood in east London.

Lee is magnificent! Book him if you are in London. Here just a few of my favorites.

See more posts about our time in London here, here and here

 

 

This is my absolute favorite photo Lee took. The way he captures shadow
and light is what made me fall in love with his photography.
I’m so happy we found this Banksy. So much of his art has been stolen, painted over or demolished

 

Thanks Lee XOXO!

Room 602 at The Lloyd Hotel Amsterdam

As promised here is the Honeymoon Suite at the Lloyd Hotel. We had so much fun in this room. Our view of the harbor and the clock tower felt like we were on a film set. The rustic A-line roof was perfectly spooky and austere. Olivia loves taking baths so she hopped right in. We had fun on the swing and ordered room service since we didn’t want to leave the room. I hope we can return to the Lloyd soon and stay in another rad room *hopefully the one with the enormous bed* I would definitely recommend this place if you are in Amsterdam.

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Everything felt like The Shining

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I loved how the room was simultaneously dark but immersed in sunlight
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The bathroom was tiny but clean. The shower had great water pressure but I felt like I was going to flood the floor.

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Liv took this cool photo of her folks
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This pretty armoire was large enough to fit the three of us

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We met the sweetest Irish lady in the restaurant. She told us all the local places to see and gave Liv some almond cookies.

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Goodbye Anne! We’ll miss your yummy profiteroles
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We brought home a blank pair of wooden clogs for Antz to paint. I also picked up some tulip bulbs to plant in our garden.
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The bittersweet taxi ride to the airport is always the lamest part of traveling.
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Sleepy face!

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So long Amsterdam

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Pretty packaging KLM
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We lucked out again with the sweetest flight attendants

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We met the Captain and toured the cockpit

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 Hello President Obama!

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Our trip was over in a blur. It’s so true that time flies when you are having fun. We had the time of our lives in those short four weeks. It felt like we spent more time in line at customs than our entire trip! We pushed ourselves pretty hard with my packed itinerary and jet lag hit us hard so we missed some fun places *Sissyboy/Bloemenmarkt (Flower Market) and NDSM werf* We will hopefully return in early spring to see the tulip fields. Olivia seemed underwhelmed with flying but I am sure when she’s older, she’ll understand the magnitude of spending your fourth birthday in Europe.

Lloyd Hotel & Cultural Centre

Our experience at our first hotel in Amsterdam was meh. We checked out bright and early and hopped on the tram *along with all 8 pieces of our luggage* and headed to our next hotel. The Lloyd reminds me of The Overlook hotel in The Shining. It had creepy long corridors and used to be a prison long ago. The designers infused modern spaces that were bright and open, seamlessly blending the gorgeous 1920’s architecture. There were common areas like a library, offices and art spaces. We spent an hour just exploring the labyrinth of a hotel before dropping our luggage off and heading out to the city.

Photographing this hotel was like a photo shoot with a supermodel, every angle was perfection.
Hello gorgeous!
This chandelier wins!
Signing the guest book
Antz captured four year old Olivia perfectly
Learning the history of the hotel
I’m sure if you look hard enough you can find Jack Nicholson in this photograph

 

 

I want a steamer trunk like this one so bad!
Just waiting for Danny to ride his Big-Wheel down this hallway

 

La bibliothèque
I know my Mom would love this chair
Original e-mail
One day I will own a sawhorse desk
Restaurant

 

The store
Local Dutch brew
Fries with mayonnaise is the best!

The Lloyd is enormous yet has only 117 rooms. You won’t find a corporate boring room like the one we stayed in on our first night. Most of the rooms are designed by Dutch artists and they range from one star amenities to five star. I love the idea of different styles of rooms at every price range. There’s even a room with a bed for eight! Here are some more unusual hotel rooms. Our room is considered the Honeymoon suite and I was so excited that we were able to book it. I loved every second in that room. I wish there wasn’t a TV in there because we never used it and it took away from the simple design of the room. Not to sound like some kind of snob but I’ve stayed a plenty of five star hotels yet this hotel was the most interesting and hauntingly beautiful place.

I know, I’m such a tease. I shall post our room soon.

Violently Happy in Europe: London Day Two

Oops, we totally overslept on day two. We must still be on LA time but no worries we only missed going to tea and a cruise on the Thames river, it was too chilly for it anyway. I returned the Audi to the rental place just in time and we spent the rest of the day on foot. Our plan was to see the Tower of London, visit Postman’s Park, grab lunch and ride on a double decker bus *Liv’s choice.

But first Olivia would like to show you our cool hotel room.

DSC_0938DSC_0946DSC_0951DSC_0953-2I am kicking myself for not bringing home that Ace tote!

DSC_0963-2DSC_0971Every hotel room should have a window seat

DSC_0977-2What the heck is Hobnobs? Looks not yummy.

I’m sure The Ace hotel follows the Hipster Handbook

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I want my own photo booth so bad it hurts!!
I took these polaroids with my Fuji instant camera
I love how 70’s and dark they turned out
You wouldn’t believe the difference in customer service in London compared to LA. Every person we’ve come across has been so friendly and kind. The staff at the hotel were so sweet and helpful!

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Since we were in the Marble Arch area, we browsed a few souviner shops.

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So tacky! We left with a tiny double decker bus to add to Liv’s menagerie of global landmarks.

I wasn’t familiar with the neighborhood so we had to figure out how to get to the Tower of London before they closed. We hopped on a double decker bus but I wasn’t sure which direction to go in.

Beware of the intoxicating scent of pee pee in those telephone boxes!

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Olivia wasn’t impressed with the new Michael Jackson album.

I started talking to this guy on the bus since he was wearing a tour guide uniform. He told us how to get to the Tower but since we were headed the same way, he told us to follow him to Victoria Station. We pretty much had our own personal tour guide! He was a huge fan of America, such a lovely chap. I got his email so I could send him tickets to the Ellen Show.

Our new friend’s name was Marco and he was so awesome. He gave us a mini tour during our walk. *Hi Marco!*

DSC_0380Marco gave me detailed instructions on where to go.

IMG_1458And…he even helped us buy our tube tickets.

IMG_1463I tried to give him a tip but he refused, what a sweetie! Grazie Marco, I hope to see you when you come to Los Angeles.

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I forgot how steep the escalators are in the Tube. We saw an older woman fall going up the stairs, it was awful.
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DSC_0478I’m not a fan of these modern photo booths but they are everywhere.

This building is known as the Shard.
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London, you are so fucking bad ass!
We walked over London Bridge but decided to jump in a taxi so we wouldn’t be late for the Tower of London.
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Catapulting class, anyone?

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DSC_1114So we get to the gate and the guard was like, Sorry we are closed for the day. I said Nooooo! We came from Los Angeles to bring our daughter here. At first the other guard wasn’t gonna let us in but this heavenly angel took our vouchers and said we could run in for a half an hour. YES!!

DSC_1131Every encounter with a Beefeater was incredible. They may look burly and mean but they are the gentlest guys ever!

DSC_1202DSC_1166DSC_0697DSC_0700Just chillin’ in the Bloody Tower

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Olivia was fascinated by the history of the Tower. Particularly the story of the ravens.
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I did absolutely everything in my power to make this guy laugh. They must remove your sense of humor when you become a Royal guard!

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Oh well, at least I got some laughs from everyone standing around
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DSC_0728Is your first name Beef and last name Eater?

DSC_0730What did I say?!

DSC_1272Look Daddy, a mooak *moat*!!

DSC_0743Whenever Olivia sees a body of water, she insists on making a wish and throwing a coin in.

Good thing for us the shops were already closed. Liv wanted a fancy Prince costume so when her friend Kieran comes over, he can dress up.

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We also toured the Queen’s royal jewels but they had a strict no photos policy and I did not want to spend the rest of our trip in the dungeon. We spent well over an hour in the Tower, it was so fun!

DSC_0769As we were leaving, I saw the kind guard who let us in. I had to thank him again. I sincerely mean it when I say everyone in London are extremely nice.

DSC_0773Time for an ice lolly break!

We headed toward’s Postman’s Park but since we were so close we stopped by St. Paul’s Cathedral. We were lucky to see this lovely bride and groom taking photos and she had the most amazing veil.

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Antz almost broke his back getting this epic shot

DSC_1320Antz was explaining how the Cathedral was bombed during World War 2.

Along our walk, Olivia discovered this lovely garden.

There were hundreds of adorable bumblebees in the garden.

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So we finally arrived at Postman’s Park
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And that shit was closed for remodeling! Can you believe my luck?!

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Lame, I couldn’t zoom in to see the heroic memorial plaques. This was the closest shot I could get from the gate.

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Where to now guys?

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Want to know where we headed next? Tune in tomorrow for part two. Cheers!

Violently Happy in London: Day One

This is my second trip to London and Antz third time. You would think we’ve been there, done that but oh no! This city has changed since the last time I was there *I have changed a lot too!* I reserved a Mini Cooper at the car rental place since it would be perfect to drive around in a red Mini with a Union Jack roof. However, the rental place only had manual transmission left and they told us the Minis were super tiny. We wouldn’t be able to fit one of our suitcases in the boot *that’s trunk to you Yanks* let alone all seven bags and a car seat for Liv. I had to get a bigger car so I ended up with an Audi A6.

This dude was taking forever, we were ready to drive to our hotel,  Boo!
Liv, watch our bags
Fresh to Death in Black
I admit, I drive like a lunatic however, Londoners drive bat shit crazy!!

When we finished the photo shoot with Lee it was almost 6 pm but it doesn’t get dark here until 9 pm. We walked around the neighborhood checking out the old rad architecture. I loved being able to see London through my kid’s eyes.

Rivington Rat
Of course we did some more Banksy hunting!
I have never tried authentic London fish and chips so I heard this place in Shepherd’s Bush was good.
We were all quite famished by this point
Mushy peas anyone?
We had haddock and chips and calamari, very tasty

 

Then we took the Audi for an evening sightseeing drive
Buckingham Palace, the flag was out so Queen Elizabeth was in residence!
Fun Fact; Big Ben is the nickname of the the 156 year old bell inside of “Elizabeth Tower
Liv kept saying Peter Pan lives there!
The London Eye is enormous!
I was so excited to find a red telephone box but not so pleased to find the interior reeked of urine!

Our hotel has a photo booth!! I think I’m going sleep in it.

She started off very serious, then silly
Nothing makes me happier in the world than this kid!!
Well done Ace Hotel!

London Calling

Last time we went to London was in 2003. We were there for only four days. I didn’t have an itinerary planned so we just winged it and did all the usual tourist things. We used a travel agency *I’m surprised they are still around* to book our trip so we stayed at a corporate hotel with a room the size of a closet. We had two twin beds so Aimee had her own bed and Antz and I shared a twin size bed. Let me repeat that, the both of us are a few inches shy of six feet tall and WE SHARED A TWIN BED FOR FOUR NIGHTS!!! My cell phone ended up getting fried from the electrical outlet converter and we only had about $100 to spend while we were there. I hated every single restaurant we picked except for Yo Sushi!

This was the first time I ever tried eel. Now I love it!

We were pretty miserable yet still it was the most fun we ever had in our lives. The experience was incredible and the three of us bonded in a way that no one could ever understand. We were young and on a serious budget back then. I’m glad we did it but now I’m older and I want to really enjoy our trip. I was very picky when it came to booking our hotels *because I wanted comfort and not to get scabies again!* I looked for something with a mix of eclectic boutique vibe but also the assurance of full amenities and service that you get with the corporate hotels.

My list of Must-Haves
King size comfy bed
Shower
Room service
Free Wi-fi
Interesting lobby
Good location
Restaurant in hotel
Close to the tube
In our budget

I definitely did not want to stay in the tourist part of town. Here are a few of the cool hotels I considered.

This was my first choice because I am a fan of the W hotels. I knew it would be the perfect mix of corporate and boutique with incredible style. Here’s the problem, the location is smack in the middle of tourist central. I have to admit, this isn’t the most child-friendly option and the price was much too steep at £339 per night.

 

They have a Mad Hatter Tea *we may take Liv time permitting*

This hotel is so posh. I think it’s beautiful but it was booked for our nights and it’s very sexy. I’m not sexy enough to handle it. Onwards…

The & *Ampersand*
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The Ampersand Hotel
The Ampersand Hotel

I am a big fan of ampersands and I thought this place was very stylish but even I think this place is too much. It seemed like it would be stuffy and so grown up. My Goldilocks syndrome was in full effect. I searched tons of places on Hotels.com. Most places were in our price range but had poor ratings, looked bloody boring or the rooms looked no bigger than a bread bin.

A Review of the Yotel In-Airport Boutique Hotels | Spot Cool Stuff: Travel
Yotel This place is located in at the airport. You can book it for a few hours just to nap, Genius!!!

The winner ended up being a familiar place with all the amenities and space I wanted. I got a good deal on the room since I bundled it with our airfare package from Expedia and I am stoked about the location. It’s definitely in a more authentic London side of town. I’m sure I will bump into Sir Banksy himself!

More Hotel Dramarama in Amsterdam

As a fan of the Roaming gnome, I began my travel search with Travelocity but for some reason they wouldn’t allow me to book the airline I wanted and the same itinerary was more expensive. Liv’s Godfather Stephen recommended using Expedia which they used for their trip to Europe last year so I gave them a chance. Monday I spent over two excruciating hours on the phone booking our trip to Europe with Expedia. I put together a crazy itinerary but the guy who helped me was incredible, everything was good until it was time to confirm our hotel in Amsterdam. For the strangest reason there is a limit of two guests maximum of hotel room occupancy for 90% of Amsterdam hotels. I can’t believe it! I called the hotel directly and told them about it and they were baffled as well. My issue was, in order to get a huge discount with Expedia, I had to book at least two hotels and two flights so we had to choose a different hotel than the one I really wanted. For obvious safety reasons, I am not going to disclose our travel dates or hotel info but these are the hotels we couldn’t book because of that silly rule.

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Inntel Hotel Amsterdam-Zaandam
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Fletcher hotel
Hotel l’Europa
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The Dylan
Conservatorium Hotel

So bummed I missed out on these incredible places. We ended up booking a corporate boring place for one night but I am stoked about our hotel for our second night.

Here are my must-see/do for Amsterdam

The Anne Frank Museum
Van Gogh Musuem
Vondelpark
Canal cruise
The Miffy store
Sissyboy Homeland
Rent a bakfiets
see the Windmills

My next post will be Jolly olde England!!

Happy Birthday Lizzie!

My birthday is always a whirlwind of radness, drinks and fun. My birthday also coincides with the first day of Spring and International day of Happiness. We took a pre-birthday trip to the beach on Wednesday. The weather was nice but the water was ice cold. Of course that didn’t stop our beach babe from running in.

Showing off her new boogie board

Antz took the day off on Thursday and took me to see Grand Budapest Hotel.

Wes Anderson is my favorite modern day director. His distinct style is visually beautiful. I’m so happy Grand Budapest Hotel came out the week of my birthday because it was such a treat to see. I highly recommend seeing it at Hollywood Arclight so you can check out the incredible model of the hotel in the lobby. Wes Anderson, Sofia Coppola and P.T. Anderson are so talented and amazing. I know they are pretty formulaic in their films and he often uses the same cast but it never bores me. I fell in love with Grand Budapest, bravo!

So, we picked up the kid from school and stopped by the W hotel in Hollywood.

We had a pose off
It was too early for drinks but we will return
W Hollywood rooftop pool
The friggen queen of Sheba
Thanks Liv & Antz for making my birthday so rad!
Wait, lemme check out this fabulous face first! #supermodel

So after that we went for a yummy lunch and headed home for a nap. That evening Aimee came over with birthday cake, a lovely gift and champagne.

My favorite ice cream cake!!
My BFF is rad!! I love you Aimee
My pretty Crosley record player

I’ve been wanting this beauty for months! Antz wasn’t so thrilled about me putting it on this tiny table as it teetered over the side so he surprised me today with a proper place to keep it. My next project is collecting my favorite artists on vinyl. So far I have;

Björk – Biophilia
Lana del Rey – Born to Die
Radiohead – In Rainbows

I am hoping to add;

Björk – Greatest Hits
Tom Waits – Rain Dogs
Michael Jackson – Thriller *for Liv*
Joanna Newsom – Milk Eyed Mender

I’ll show you the rest of the room once we finished putting everything away. Needless to say, I’m a one happy happy thirty-something!!