Taliesin West ~ Frank Lloyd Wright

Frank Lloyd Wright is one of the biggest names in architecture. I had only seen pictures of his marvels, but when I was in Phoenix my Mom and I went to his winter residence (and school) – Taliesin West in Scottsdale, AZ. Of course he doesn’t live there anymore, Wright died in 1959, but it continues today as the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture, an accredited school. It was built and maintained entirely by Wright and his apprentices, making it the most personal of his creations.

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Taliesin is in Spring Green, WI and was his summer residence. He built it for his lover Mamah Borthwick, in part to shield her from aggressive reporters and the negative public sentiment surrounding their non-married status. Both had left their spouses and children in order to live together and were the subject of relentless public censure. In 1914, while Wright was working in Chicago a male servant hired from Barbados set fire and murdered seven people with an axe. One of those being Mamah and her two children. I could continue on but this post is not about Taliesin, it’s about Taliesin West.

With everything that Frank Lloyd Wright designed, he believed in designing structures that were in harmony with humanity and its environment, a philosophy he called organic architecture. Not to overtake but to become one with it. I love this idea.

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Wright and the Taliesin Fellowship (his apprentices) began to “trek” to Arizona each winter in 1933. In 1937 Wright purchased the plot of desert land that would soon become Taliesin West. He paid $3.50 an acre on a southern slope of the McDowell Range, believing this to be the perfect spot to build: a residence, a business, and a place to learn.

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Drafting Room at Taliesin West

I am in love with this red door of the drafting room.

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He wanted Taliesin West to connect with the desert, the structure’s walls are made of local desert rocks, stacked within wood forms and filled with concrete. Natural light was used as much as possible with windows but no glass, only an open space for birds to fly through and sunlight to beam its rays throughout the rooms. Light beige canvas was used for the roofing and could be rolled up or down depending on the day.

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For Wright everything he did was intentional. He was fascinated with the petroglyphs found on the Taliesin West property, the clasped hands of the American Indian symbol of friendship. This is often referred to as the running arrow; however, Mr. Wright preferred to call it the whirling arrow. Found in many places around the property but seen here on a rock and near the water fountain at Taliesin West.

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Wright enjoyed entertaining. Almost every Saturday he would invite people over for cocktails, dinner, maybe a movie or a dance production. They would start in the Garden Room, one of the most popular rooms at Taliesin West. Here you have a long bench but also Frank Lloyd Wright’s famous butterfly chairs.

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Every year upon his return to Taliesin West he would walk around with making changes and shouting orders to his apprentices. Taliesin West was a continuing project for Wright, always changing things with new ideas and improving the space with different concepts. Throughout the years he added to the dining room and one brilliant addition was the cabaret theatre with six-sides in an irregular hexagonal shape, it provides its occupants a “95% acoustic perfection”. Someone in the very back can hear even the slightest whisper from the stage.

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Piano space cut into stone in cabaret theatre

And speaking of the stage, his apprentices would learn more than just architecture. The Taliesin Fellowship were taught to learn all aspects of life, integrating not only architecture and construction, but also farming, gardening, and cooking, the study of nature, art, music, and dance. He would have parties almost every Saturday and half of his apprentices would cook and the other half would serve and clean up. Or if he wanted a special dance or music set for his guests, the apprentices would learn the dance or the song and perform.

I thoroughly enjoyed visiting Taliesin West and would recommend it to anyone, especially if you love architecture. There are many different types of tours, we did the Insight Tour which lasted about an hour and a half. Ticket prices are $34 for advanced purchase but if you are an Arizona resident you get 50% off, so don’t forget to mention that if you are! Enjoy and I would love to hear about your favorites of Frank Lloyd Wright.

Taliesin West. 12621 N Frank Lloyd Wright Blvd, Scottsdale, AZ. 480.627.5378

 

 

Ghost Town in Jerome ~AZ

I ain’t scared of no ghosts.

Jerome, AZ is touted as the “Largest Ghost Town in America”, as well as “America’s Most Vertical City”, sitting at more than 5,000 ft above sea level. It started as a copper mining camp and by the 1920s it was home to more than 10,000 people. Jerome’s personality has changed a lot from once a thriving mining camp between the late-1880s and early 1950s, the town is now a bustling tourist magnet and artistic community with a population of about 450. But its external appearances have remained much the same for the last 100 years.

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My parents and I decided to make a day of it. Jerome is about 100 miles north of Phoenix on state route 89A between Sedona and Prescott. Mom gave me the job of finding a cute place to stop on the way up for brunch. And I think I succeeded supremely. If you are looking for a super good place for breakfast or lunch food then try out Nora Jean’s coffee kitchen in Black Canyon City, AZ. I was extremely jealous of Mom’s patty melt with grilled veggies, Dad had a Reuben with homemade potato salad and I had a breakfast sandwich of egg and bacon on an English muffin. They had fresh, iced, green and peach tea, my newest favorite discovery of cold brew coffee and the lemon bars looked amazeballs.

Alright, bellies are full, we are decently caffeinated and ready for our adventure in Jerome. Did I mention it was a ghost town? I have a bit of an obsession with ghosts. I am believer, and a belieber. Hahaha. Ok, seriously. Let’s find some ghosts.

First stop was the Jerome State Historic Park. The Historic Park is located in the Douglas Mansion and boasts tons of artifacts and history of the town. Don’t miss the 20 minute video, which takes you through the history and development of Jerome – funny ghost narrator dude too.

Speaking of ghosts, when I checked my phone later I had 144 blast photos while I was in the Mansion. This blast photo thing happened on a ghost tour in New Orleans too. Kinda weird, right?

The outside of the mansion is gorgeous with lots of mining parts scattered around the area.

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I thought this model of the town with the mining shafts, faults, etc was pretty cool.

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Next to the Historic Park is the Audrey Mine Shaft. It is inoperable now but you can go check it out and even stand over the void of the 1,900 ft shaft!! No worries guys, there is a thick plate of glass and a metal crate to keep you from falling in. Thank goodness!

The Audrey was the center unit of the main United Verde Extension mine shaft. It was concrete-lined for fire prevention and was state-of-art for its day. The Audrey (I love how they call their mines THE Audrey, THE Edith … can there be THE Kim?) was the main ore hauling shaft. During the prime of its time, it would haul one up to the 1,100 ft level, the ore would then be dumped into a chute cut into the rock where the ore was loaded at the 1,300 ft level into carts which were pulled through a tunnel by an electronically driven engine for transport to the Clemenceau smelter in Cottonwood, AZ.

It’s truly fascinating what they did back in the day. Here is the Audrey.

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And just to give you an idea just how deep 1900 ft is!

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Isn’t she a beaut??

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After the Historic Park where a ghost took over my phone for a bit, and I stood over a 1,900 ft shaft, we moved onto the main drag of Jerome. It isn’t too hard to find, just keep heading up and when you hit all the art galleries, a few restaurants and a few hotels; you are there. Now it’s REALLY time to find some ghosts.

First stop is the Jerome Grand Hotel. This hotel on Cleopatra Hill used to be the United Verde Hospital opened in 1927 where sick and injured miners were treated. The hospital closed in 1950 and sat vacant for 46 years. The building had a reputation for being haunted with ghostly sounds of moaning and coughing. Plus a man named Claude Harvey was killed when he was caught under the elevator in 1935. Super scary.

At the Jerome Grand Hotel keep a lookout for a bearded man who wanders the halls, a young boy who likes to run around on the third floor, sounds and lights around the elevator thanks to Harvey and supposedly the hotel lobby is a place the spirits like to hang around and play tricks. Alas, we had a drink in the upstairs bar but did not see any strange people or occurrences. Great views from up there though!

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Next, we parked by all the shops and wandered around. It was Saturday evening and it was Art Night! Sweet, they had free drinks and snacks at every art gallery. And there are plenty of them: lots of great paintings, jewelry and a few oddities.

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You can stop by Mile High Inn which became home of one of the most famous ladies of the night during the 1900s. She was Madam Jennie Banters (reportedly one of the richest women in northern Arizona) and the inn became her popular bordello; Jennie and her ladies entertained many men during the mining boom in Jerome. She can be seen upstairs usually in the “Lariat and Lace” room. But there is also the phantom cat where guests stoop to pet the cat but then it suddenly vanishes. We stopped by the Mile High Grill (the restaurant below the inn) where I inquired about the cat. I was looked at like I had three heads and then I explained, “you know, the ghost cat”. “Ahhh, haven’t seen it in awhile but if you did it would be upstairs and not here,” she answered. Boo hoo and one isn’t allowed at the inn unless you have a hotel reservation.

We moved on.

In between more art galleries – more glasses of champagne and crackers with slices of cheese and pretzels and sometimes a little sandwich and one time shrimp with cocktail sauce; we walked around the tiny downtown and then ran into another of Jerome’s haunted places, the Connor Hotel. Rumor has it, the spirits come and go here.

But the rooms are haunted. Room 1 is said to be haunted by a lady in red and her friends. You may hear women whispering and laughing or she possibly comes to see you in your dreams. Scary! In room 5 people say they feel cold spots and the appliances like to go off by themselves. Reminds me of my freshmen year dorm room, my clock could “talk” and one time just went off and told us the time without us pushing the button. THAT dorm was defo haunted!

That’s it y’all. Jerome was so much fun even if I never experienced a ghost encounter. I’ll leave you with my pic of the Connor Hotel. Do you see anything strange in the windows??  OOOoooooooooOOOOOO

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Top 5 Things To Do In Palma, Mallorca

So many people ask me about things I would recommend doing/seeing in Palma de Mallorca when they are visiting the island. So, why not give a blog post to that topic. Just for y’all, my favorite peeps.

It was a difficult list. Palma has so much to offer – art galleries, museums, shopping, great bars, hidden back alleys where you stumble upon something new every single time. I could spend a whole week just exploring those narrow side streets.

In no particular order because they all rock.

1.Pilar y Joan Miró Foundation

First up, the Pilar y Joan Miró Foundation. If you are an art lover, you can’t miss this. You actually walk through the studios Joan Miró worked in through 1956 until his death in 1983. The collection of works by Joan Miró includes paintings, drawings, sculptures, and prints. You can see how and where he worked at the two studios (Son Boter and Sert Studio), both of these have been included in the Bienes de Interés Cultural architectural heritage list.

One of my favorite Miro sculptures in Palma ~ FEMME

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Joan Miró – Femme

2. La Seu

Next, the Cathedral – La Seu. This majestic, architectural masterpiece took from 1230 – 1601 to build. It has a gorgeous, gothic, rose glass window which is one of the largest in the world. And if you are into Gaudí, he later designed the columns and the controversial Crown of Thorns that hangs over the altar. It is situated next to the Parc de la Mar which is also a lovely place to hang out, look at the sea and have a glass of wine.

A visit begins through the museum entrance and there is a small entrance fee.

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La Seu in Palma, the Cathedral that took almost 400 years to build. Gorgeous!

 

3. Passeig Des Born

Enough architecture and art for you? Alright, how about some shopping. Did some of your ears pop up? Palma has great stores – from Louis Vuitton to Caroline Herrera to Hugo Boss. And they are all in one of my favorite spots in Palma, Passeig des Born. Come here to this tree-lined promenade with boutiques, cafes, shops and beautiful fountains at each end. You can always find a street performer or two to keep you entertained, if you are needing that.

Walk up to Jaime III and if you turn left you will find Es Corte Ingles (Palma’s big department store), Mango and other shops. Turn right and you can head to Placa Major, where pretty much in every direction are more and more shops. If you have been dying for a Starbucks, one has been recently established at the Placa Cort.

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4. Ca’n Joan De S’aigo

Time for a break after all that sight seeing and shopping. Stop at one of the oldest chocolatiers in Europe, founded in 1700. So much deliciousness under one roof. It’s almost a sin. Pastries, cakes, ice-cream, cava and the popular Mallorcan ensaimada. My favorite is the one with apricots. They have two locations but the Calle Can Sanc has the mosaic from the original building. Bon Profit!

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5. Palma Old Town Bike Tour and Tapas

Did someone say bike riding and tapas? I’m in. This is a super fun bike tour to see the top sights of Palma ~ La Seu Cathedral, the Royal Palace of La Almudaina, ride down the Rambla of Palma and discover the nightlife center of La Lonja. Finish your excursion with tapas at the Illenc restaurant.

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I hope you enjoyed the list. I would love to hear about your favorite must-sees in Palma. Thanks for stopping by this beautiful city!

Hanbury Street Art

Do you like graffiti? I’m not talking about the tags here and there but real amazing so freaking cool graffiti art, street art, guerilla art. Banksy is probably the most prominent graffiti artist but here are others I like – Natalia Rak (I love her murals), ETAM Cru, Eduardo Kobra (cool name), Fin DAC, Swampy, Swoon. There are so many kick ass artists out there. Who do you like?

While I was vintage shopping on Bank Street in East London, I stumbled upon Hanbury St. where it was a graffiti artists haven. It was AWESOME.

Check it out:

Coffee Dreams and Zombie Screams is my fav! Which one is yours?

If you like this, check out my Spray of Paint post from a few years ago with Mallorca street art. Cool stuff too!

A Weekend In London

SATURDAY:

First things first. I needed to return to the pub I worked at when I was a young, twenty-year old, think I know everything chica. Yeah, that was a long time ago, back when I was almost finished with college! Because now I am old enough to REALLY know everything. 😉

12:00 p.m. – Walk through Hyde Park to the pub. Check out my Hyde Park blog here.

1:30 p.m. The Scarsdale Tavern

I mean seriously, just look how cute this place is! Ahhhhh, my old stomping grounds for a few months in 199- …. er, awhile ago.  In the lovely neighborhood of Kensington.

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The food was super scrumptious. I finished everything they set in front of us. We shared the tomato, basil, pine nuts, roquette and buff mozzerella bruschetta. And hell yeah, we added the prosciutto! And then we shared the Scarsdale burger with stilton cheese. I have been dying for a good burger lately, Spain just can’t seem to find really good ground beef for some reason. And when I’m in England, vinegar goes on the chips. That’s fries to you Americans. Everything was so darn good. Plus my Guinness with black currants and then a cider. What a way to start off my weekend in London Town.

The Scarsdale Tavern – 23a Edwardes Square, Kensington   +44.020.7937.1811

4:00 The Tate Modern Museum

Not only is this a cool place to view international contemporary and modern art but it’s free admission (except for special exhibitions)! I love free. Amazing art.

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And through May, the exhibition – The Radical Eye: Modernist Photography From The Sir Elton John Collection is at the Tate Modern. It’s an amazing private collection of photography, drawn from the classic modernist period of the 1920s–50s. It’s £16.50 and well worth every penny.

Also, check out the restaurant at the top with panoramic views of the London skyline. It’s a nice place to grab a bite and a drink after a few hours of art viewing.

Tate Modern – Bankside, London   +44.20.7887.8888

8:30 Chiltern Firehouse

This is the new hot spot. The place to see and to be seen. There are two parts – the hotel side and the restaurant side, both are great. If you get here early enough and the hotel restaurant isn’t busy, that is the place to see the famous peeps. But the other side is just as cool and popular. We had some appetizers at the bar to start out with – fried chicken (YUM), deviled eggs and bacon cornbread. And then for the main course we had the Iberico Pork and the Welsh Lamb. So freakin’ yummy. My mouth is watering now just thinking about it. It gets busy quick so don’t forget to make a reservation.

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Chiltern Firehouse -1 Chiltern St., Marylebone  +44.20.7073.7676

 

SUNDAY:

Time to do some shopping. But not any shopping, I wanted to do some vintage shopping in East London. And off we go.

12:00 Vintage Shopping on Brick Lane

Grabbed a cheesy toast and a latte with an extra shot of espresso from Starbucks at the Bond Street Tube station and headed for the Liverpool Tube stop. Once there we headed north – walk up Commercial Street, turn east onto Fournier St and your second street will be Brick Lane. That is where all the good vintage shops are. First stop was Blitz on Hanbury St. This place puts the other shops to shame. Seriously good stuff here for good prices. Two floors of rails and rails of neatly presented vintage fashion. Good book selection too.

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If you want more of an eclectic selection, head back to Brick Lane and just a block up is the Vintage Market. Lots of smaller booths run with a large selection of clothes, jackets, hats, records, books. A bit claustrophobic but an excellent selection to browse through.

Blitz –  55 – 59 Hanbury Street   +44.20.7377.8828

The Vintage Market – F Block 85 Brick Lane   +44.20.7770.6028

4:00 Big Chill Bar

Vintage shopping sure works up a thirst! Right around the corner from the Vintage Market is the Big Chill Bar. A reggae vibe runs through this lounge bar with its own resident DJ. I had a cider, Donita had a Bloody Mary. Food looked good but we only had drinks.

Big Chill Bar – Dray Walk   +44.20.7392.9180

6:00 Tower Bridge

You gotta do at least one touristy thing when in London Town. Right? My choice, Tower Bridge. We walked (!) from vintage shopping on Brick Lane to Tower Bridge. It was about a 25 – 30 minute walk, but super easy.

Tower Bridge is AH-MAH-ZING. I love it. The details, the size, the blue! Construction started in 1886 and took eight years and five major contractors to complete. The bridge is 800 feet in length with two towers each 213 feet high, built on piers. It is a very, very busy bridge with traffic (bus, car, taxi, people) continuously travelling on it.

And I find it very beautiful.

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9:00 ROKA

I was craving sushi and luckily enough one of the hippest sushi restaurants in London is just a few doors down from my friend’s apartment. Even though it was so close we still had to use an umbrella because it had been your typical rainy, winter evening in London.

Donita had been at ROKA only a week before and Steven Tyler was there. He even stopped by to say hi to her and her friend. What a nice dude! Alas, Mr. Tyler was not there that evening but we still had a fabulous time. The tasting menus looked scrumptious but we opted for our usual fare – miso soup, edamame, some sushi and a roll. Super yummy. Even had to order another round of toro (tuna belly) for me. I gobbled it up and thought about ordering even one more. I decided for one more cold saki and then sadly … that was the end of my weekend in London.

ROKA –  30 N. Audley St., Mayfair    +44.20.7305.5644

What are some of your favorite places, haunts, restaurants in London?? I can’t wait to go back. But I also miss Cornwall, England. Maybe I can talk Felix in going there soon. Cheerio mates!

Happy Birthday Pablo!

One of my favorite artists, Pablo Picasso (Spanish), would have been 135 years old today. Obviously not like anyone is reaching this age but 135, nonetheless. I remember going to the Picasso museum in Madrid when I was a young tyke just learning the world, venturing out on my own at age 20. And I loved it. I didn’t want to leave. His creations were so original and inspiring and beautiful I could have stared at them for weeks.

In his Blue Period my favorite was The Old Guitarist created in 1903.

In his Rose Period, my favorite is Garcon a la pipe, created in 1905.

His African influenced period was next and then Cubism. Both I know about but they are not my favorites. The most popular I would think from his Cubism period would be Three Musicians.

.And the last is his Classicism and Surrealism period. There are so many artworks from Picasso that I love dearly from this time frame. I guess I like the funky take on a human face or his love of the minotaur in a lot of his works. But my favorite is Girl before a Mirror (1932). This shows Picasso’s mistress Marie-Thérèse Walter, one of his favorite subjects in the early 1930s. Her white-haloed profile, rendered in a smooth lavender pink, appears serene. But it merges with a more roughly painted, frontal view of her face—a crescent, like the moon, yet intensely yellow, like the sun, and “made up” with a gilding of rouge, lipstick, and green eye-shadow. Perhaps the painting suggests both her day-self and her night-self, both her tranquillity and her vitality, but also the transition from an innocent girl to a worldly woman aware of her own sexuality.

.Well played Sir! You are deeply missed. Hope the heavens are throwing you one heck of a party.

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Eye-Catching Artworks

For all my German readers out there – Hallo und Danke! 🙂

My favorite website for amazing art prints (wandbilder) is Eyecatcher XXL in Germany. They have a large variety of artworks with four different sizes – 1-piece, 3-piece, 4-piece and 5-piece. They are my go-to for beautiful and creative presents for my friends and family in Germany.

Eyecatcher XXL has great prices, fantastic artworks and just a very professional company that I will keep doing service with. Check them out!

Here are a few of my favorites:

For my travelling lovers –

http://eyecatcher-xxl.de/3/571-paris-skyline-bilder-von-stadt-auf-leinwand-wandbilder.html

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For my space and cool pic lovers

http://eyecatcher-xxl.de/1/45-blue-planet-erde-planet-1p-bild-auf-leinwand-wandbild.html

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For my nature and Grand Canyon lovers:

http://eyecatcher-xxl.de/5-teilige-bilder/908-arizona-usa-mf-5-bilder-auf-leinwand-wandbilder.html

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