Hello Lovlies! I have some exciting news for you; this year, for the first time ever, I had the opportunity to visit Paris for Fashion Week and it was amazing! I'm in the midst of launching a new business venture which is the reason I was originally in Paris, but the timing was too perfect to ignore so I extended my trip so I could attend Paris Fashion Week. Those of you who have followed my blog over the last year may already know from a previous post that it's a tradition of mine to always visit Palais Royal during the first day of my trip to Paris. It's a personal tradition I started years ago and I haven't broken it in my 7+ trips to Paris since. :)
This trip to Palais Royal on Day 1 of my Paris trip was particularly memorable because I was able to coordinate schedules with my dear friend Federico Guendel for an early morning photo shoot in the Palais Royal garden. Fede is a super talented fashion photographer who taught me a lot of what I know about modeling and has become a good friend of mine over the years. The photos above are from our photoshoot together. I hope you enjoy and I look forward to sharing more in the next blog.
p.s. Interested in learning more about the ins and outs of Fashion Week or Paris? Feel free to leave comments below or on my Instagram @elisegabriel.
Quick stop in New York for Fashion Week. Thank you WeHeartIt for the VIP tickets!
A few weeks ago I got some time off to Surf Air my way down to San Diego with two of my best girlfriends for a weekend of relaxation, amazing food, and exploration - to date, it's one of my favorite weekend trips of all time and a memory I won't soon forget. My best friend from High School, Jenny drove down from Los Angeles to join me and my dear friend Jane, from San Francisco flew down to meet us in sunny San Diego.
One of my favorite hotel's in the world is the historic La Valencia Hotel in La Jolla, California. I remember staying at La Valencia when I was younger, but for our girls weekend I thought it would be fun to visit the all pink, seaside hotel as adults for some R&R and girls time. From start to finish, we were greeted with amazing service during our stay - from the food to the amenities, there is literally nothing I would have changed about the trip (except to have stayed longer).
The first thing I must call out is the room. Wow. The room we stayed in had massive retracting glass windows that made it feel like we were in a treehouse at night - there is nothing quite like smelling and hearing the ocean waves as you fall asleep. Amazing. The second thing I need to call out; the food. The food at La Valencia is INCREDIBLE. We were lucky enough to meet the award-winning Chef, James Montejano, who is running a tight culinary ship there at La Valencia. Everything is SO GOOD. When Chef Montejano found out Jane, Jenny & I were all major foodies, he made sure we tried all of his favorite dishes and even came out to our table to hang out and tell us about each dish as it came out. Seriously, I love this guy. He gets my #1 chef award. The final thing I want to call out is simply how beautiful the grounds are - for such an old hotel, it's in immaculate condition and the entire property is stunning.
Confession time: during our stay Jane, Jenny and I indulged in multiple room service sessions, watched our first episode of The Kardashians, somehow figured out a way to use a champagne bucket as a weight in an ab workout, and were constantly in and out of the amazing hot tub. If that's not a successful girls trip, I don't know what is. Looking forward to the next trip. :)
Photography: Jane Hu & Elise Gabriel
The last several months I've been traveling between Los Angeles and San Francisco on an almost weekly basis - in fact my Swarm app (the app I use to track my travels) just told me I've been in airports 11 straight weeks in a row. Umm... wow! No wonder I'm exhausted these days.
I was recently invited for a cocktail party by the poolside of the beautiful Hotel Shangri-La in Santa Monica, California. I'm not writing a full story about the party or the hotel since it was just a quick visit and I didn't actually get to stay at the hotel, but I will tell you that the cabanas and pool areas were beautiful and I hope i'll have the opportunity to stay there at some point soon. Here's a preview of the modern all black look I wore for the party - photographed by my friend Matthew McFate. More photos up on my Instagram. :)
I'm back home in San Francisco and it feels so good. Traveling is amazing for work and pleasure has been amazing, but it's so nice to be back in my own bed, get cosy in my own apartment, and slow down (a bit). Unfortunately, it's Super Bowl weekend here in San Francisco so my chance to slow down before my trip to Los Angeles next week will be a brief one, but these last few days have been fantastic none-the-less.
It's been cold in San Francisco lately so I've been wearing a lot of chunky sweaters and simple monochrome looks. It's also been a busy time for me with my full time job so the monochrome looks make getting dressed in the morning so much simpler. This photo set was shot by my photog bestie, Victoria Heer at my apartment in San Francisco. Victoria is an amazing photographer and person and it's always a pleasure to hang out with her. If you're a fan of following San Francisco photographer's work - I'd recommend you like her Facebook page - her style is so on point.
Pants - Levis, Sweater - H&M, Gold Bangle - Vita Fede
These photos are from a recent weekend trip up to Sausalito with my friend Zach. Zach is an extremely talented photographer who loves to shoot dance photos. His absolutely stunning work on ballerinas can be found on his website and always makes me want to take up dance again - I'm looking forward to the day when I'll be able to make more time to take classes. Shortly before Zach and I headed back into San Francisco, we stopped by the Sausalito docks to snap a few photos in the beautiful evening light. I hope you enjoy! More on my Instagram.
I'm so thrilled to finally be able to begin sharing the final photos from my time in Paris at the historic five star Hotel Raphael. These photos were shot by my friend and photographer extraordinaire, Federico - please follow him, his work is amazing and even now I can't wait to shoot with him again.
As I wrote in the previous post, my time at Hotel Raphael was amazing, but my time hanging out there with my friends and shooting in the all white penthouse suite takes the cake for the most amazing moment of my time there. To give you a little idea how freaking amazing this suite is; it was recently used by Chanel as a location for a new perfume ad shoot. It's completely white including the walls, the beautiful vintage furniture, the marble fireplace - everything is all white and gorgeous. Thanks to my friends at Hotel Raphael, my friend Isabelle, Federico and myself got to hang out in penthouse and shoot this photo series.
Today I'm giving my followers on We Heart It exclusive access to the complete photo set from this shoot. If you don't follow me on We Heart It, please find me and add me. For those of you who don't know what We Heart It is, check it out - it's my new favorite (more trendy Pinterest). Enjoy!
The second half of my visit to Paris, I stayed in the historic Hotel Raphael in the 16th Arrondissement close to Champs-Élysées, Tour Eiffel, and Central Paris. Spoiler alert: this half of the trip was too much amazing for one blog post, so I'll be splitting it into multiple posts over the coming days. If you've read early posts, you'll know that my good friend (and a pretty dang good photographer) from San Francisco, Isabel, joined me in Paris to continue on as my travel buddy during the remainder of my time in Europe. Isabel and I stayed at Hotel Raphael in the 16th so we could be close to the annual Holiday Village which is set up up along the streets Champs-Élysées every Christmas and I've been desperately wanting to see since learning about it a few years ago.
Because I travel so much for work and to attend conferences, I usually find myself staying in hotels with a much more modern design aesthetic - my stay at Hotel Raphael was actually the first time I've stayed in a five star luxury hotel with such an amazing, rich history, and now I'm kinda stuck on the idea of doing this more - it was that awesome. Hotel Raphael is nearly 100 years old, but in immaculate condition and still has most of the original furniture. Stepping into the lobby is like stepping back in time. If you Google photos of the hotel, you'll learn that Hotel Raphael has a long history of housing Hollywood's stars during their travels in Paris including: Audrey Hepburn, Steve McQueen, Walt Disney, Cary Grant. I'm a major cinephile, so of course I loved this. Going back to what I said earlier; there is something so amazing about staying at a hotel with such an amazing history. During my time at Hotel Raphael I'd look around and imagine what it looked like when my favorite movie stars of the 20's and 30's stayed there - it was pretty magical and I can't wait to go back next time I'm in Paris.
Another first for me, from my room I could see the Tour Eiffel, though I've stayed in Paris many times, I've never had a room with a view of the tower like this. Though it may sound cheesy, I highly recommend that you book a room with this view on your next trip to Paris if given the chance - it's a once in a lifetime thing and it's just something that everyone needs to experience. Another thing I wanted to mention is that the photos of me in the white dress are once again shot by the amazing Erika of @AlleeDesRoses. Erika took these pictures shortly before Isabel and I went out for a night of parties in Paris. In the photos I'm wearing Halston again - I clearly have an addiction.
NOTES: A few of you asked, so I wanted to briefly mention where I get my travel planning inspiration. Here are some blogs I ADORE and that I use as a daily source of photographic inspiration as well as a planning resource for my trips to Paris: Haleigh Walsworth of Making Magique, Carin Olsson of Paris in Four Months, Erika of Allee Des Roses.
For the first half of my time in Paris I needed to be in the 8th arrondissement for meetings, so I stayed at the beautiful, new boutique hotel; Hotel Chavanel, which was close to the extravagant Printemps Christmas decorations I mentioned in an earlier post. The hotel was modern and gorgeous - I was so impressed to the attention to every detail. You all know I'm a foodie, so the full organic breakfast (especially the fresh orange juice) was a major hit and the view from the room was to die for, though my favorite part of my stay is something I completely unexpected, the amazing owner Sophie. Sophie is so involved and thoughtful. She participated in 100% of the recent design updates to the hotel and in speaking to her, it was clear that she had thought of every detail - even the lace curtains were by designer Sophie Hallette and had a story.
This was my first trip returning to Paris since the attacks at the end of 2015. During my stay, I had the opportunity to speak with Sophie at length about how Parisian's are reacting to and overcoming the tragic events that occurred in November. To be honest, before my trip I had certain fears about returning to Paris so soon after the attacks and had questions about how the city had changed lingered in my mind in the days leading up to my trip. Sophie told me that Parisians are strong people and though the losses were horrific and terrible, they believe in fighting terrorism with the peaceful message that they aren't letting the attacks get to them in a way that will paralyze them from living any aspect of their daily lives. Such a powerful message and definitely one that needs to be shared.
I can't tell you how insanely excited I am to share these photos from my shoot in Paris last week with the famous Instagram photographers @alleedesroses & @thebabyfrench. I have so much respect for the amazing photographic art that these two create and I'm so lucky to now consider them friends. I met Erika of @alleedesroses on Instagram quite awhile ago when I stumbled upon her gorgeous Instagram account and have been stalking her ever since. Last week was my first time shooting with these two and I'm counting the days until I get to go back to Paris and work with them again! We shot the majority of these photos on the historic Pont Alexander III bridge which is one of the most beautiful bridges in Paris and has been photographed so perfectly many times by one of my favorite blogger/photographers: Paris In Four Months (Carin seriously rocks at photographing this bridge). For those of you who didn't know, I stopped in Paris for several days to catch up with friends and explore new neighborhoods before heading to Italy to go skiing over the Christmas vacation, I'll be posting a series of photos from my trip over the coming days so check back frequently to see more.
Ok, so I may be a little late to the game, but I've just recently received the travel tip that packing by choosing clothes from only one "color story" incredibly simplifies packing because you don't have to spend time thinking about what matches later on. I tried out this technique choosing pastels during this trip and it turns out this little travel packing technique is killer - everything I packed worked together so magically. I'm never going back to my old evil ways. The dress and coat I'm wearing in these photos are Halston; a brand I've always been obsessed with for its minimalist clean lines and single color pieces which fit my style to a T. Halston has always had a very sleek, "jetset" feel to me and I feel very stylish, yet comfortable wearing their clothes while traveling, in fact, I wore the pale blue jacket on my plane ride over and it was perfect - it kept me warm and cosy despite the flight issues I mentioned in a previous blog. I packed a bunch of my favorite pastel Halston pieces for this trip as I thought they'd be perfect to wear while running around Paris for parties and exploration alike.
I've made it back to Paris (via Express Train) and took the traditional evening stroll that I do every time I arrive in Paris. I first went to Palais Royal which as I've said in an earlier blog is always my first stop in Paris, but this time instead of lingering around the Palais Royale area for my evening walk - I went to see the beautiful Christmas decorations at Printemps (one of the most famous department stores in Paris). It's the 150 anniversary of the opening of Printemps and they've completely upped the game on Christmas decorations - all other Christmas decorations are now ruined for me. ;)
This year I'm doing something completely different for the holidays, we're headed into France and Italy to enjoy the holidays tucked away skiing in a cabin in the mountains - I can't wait - I really need some time to relax and completely unplug. On the way to France and Italy where I'll be spending the majority of my holiday vacation, I planned a brief stop in London to meet up with my boyfriend who's traveling for much of December as well. We planned to have 2 days together in London, however thanks to mechanical issues with United Airlines (which I've decided I'm boycotting after a string of issues over the last few months) our 2 day trip was reduced to 24 hours. Regardless of the travel issues, we had an amazing time and made the most of our 24 hours together. My boyfriend is English and lived in London for many years so he took me around to all of his favorite spots during the day and I got to plan the evening adventure - I decided on ice skating at one of my favorite places in the world, Somerset House (this is something I've wanted to do for years so it didn't take me long to decide). We stared off our day with English breakfast at Kensington Square Kitchen and a walk around Kensington and Holland Park. From there we stopped by one of the best chocolate shops in London; Hotel Chocolat and where I did a bit of holiday shopping and we grabbed one of their famous hot chocolates to take along with us as we spent the rest of the day exploring London by foot. We ended our day visiting Somerset House where we went ice skating, grabbed a snack at Fortnum and Mason's popup restaurant and store; Fortnum's Lodge, before meeting our London-based friends for dinner Soho House. My time in London was way too brief, but amazing and I can't wait to go back.
I'm so excited to finally be able to share these photos from my recent weekend in Santa Monica with Via Los Angeles and Daniela Hummel. If you've been following my blog, you know that last week I went to Los Angeles for a work trip. I decided to extend my stay over the weekend to soak up some sunshine and beach time, I also wanted to visit my friend Daniela, who is the Founder of the Los Angeles designer e-commerce site, Via Los Angeles. So Saturday morning I woke up early to go visit Daniela, hang out, and get a sneak peek at the new designers she's recently been adding to her roster - I am so obsessed. Daniela and I share a very similar design aesthetic so I immediately fell in love with pretty much everything she showed me, but particularly the black halter top I'm wearing in these photos. One thing lead to another and essentially Daniela arranged for a last minute photo shoot - these are the photos that resulted.
Outfit: Black Halter Top - Mishkan, Skirt - Nordstrom, Stud Earrings - Kings and Melrose, Pyramid Bullsring Ring - Kings and Melrose, Sterling V Ring - Kings and Melrose, Intertwined Ring - Kings and Melrose, Gold Bracelet - Via Fede, White Enamel Bangle - Hermes.
Today I got the first few preview shots from my recent hangout at my San Francisco apartment balcony with my friend, photographer Dan Chern. Sorry Dan, I couldn't wait to post these! Those who know me well know that although I call San Francisco home, it's rare that I'm actually there anymore, so when I am I try to take advantage of my beautiful apartment by making all of my friends come hang out with me. Dan was my lucky victim last Saturday and these photos are the result. Stay tuned for more of Dan's beautiful work in the next few days.
This week I'm back in Los Angeles for another work trip to be with my team at Wurrly. Though the weather is constantly beautiful in Los Angeles, you can definitely tell it's winter here. Last night I went on a walk along my favorite beach front trail; Ocean Avenue in Santa Monica. It was super foggy outside, but I brought my camera along anyway (as I always do). The result of the fog during the sunset was a beautiful, pastel haze covering the entire city as the sun went down - the photographs above are what I was able to capture before the light was gone. Enjoy!
As promised, finally another post about my holiday in Hawaii! While creating this blog post I was reviewing the photos and reliving my time there, it truly is paradise. I've decided to start a series on hotel balconies. Over the past weeks I've posted several photos of views from my hotel balconies and they seem to be everyone's favorite posts so I'm going to try and continue the series, regardless, continuing the series means I get to enjoy more beautiful hotel balconies so perhaps my reasoning is selfish. ;) For those of you just starting to read, these photos were taken on the huge Penthouse wrapping balcony at the Modern Honolulu, the hotel I stayed at on this trip to Hawaii. Though sadly I didn't get to stay in the penthouse, the amazing people at the hotel gave me a private tour of it (I think they were teasing me for my next stay) and let me hang out there for a day and shoot with my friend and photographer, Jamie Tang. New life goal: booking the penthouse on my new Hawaii trip.