Since my last post was a little heavy (albeit real AF), I thought a fun and Millennial-appropriate ~listicle~ might be in order.
In the name of carefree frippery, I would like to chronicle my top 5 places of 2015. The criteria for this list:
- I must not have blogged about the place before (otherwise, the Waldorf Astoria in Chicago and Hase-dera Temple in Kamakura would be making the list)
- I can’t have visited them at any point prior to 2015
It’s interesting how some places I went to for the first time this year (Ocho Rios, Cozumel, Grand Cayman, Dallas) are difficult to come up with even a sentence to describe, let alone an entire blog post.
I actually do consider Cozumel to be the tropical equivalent of a Xanax, and I typically enjoy my occasional business trips to Dallas, but nothing there has activated a muse within me.
[I don’t think this blog format allows for footnotes, but imagine that here is a David Foster Wallace/Junot Diaz-inspired footnote where I expand upon how Ocho Rios and Grand Cayman are lame tourist traps]
That said, read on to discover my T52015…
5) 1 Hotel and Homes, Miami
I have yet to actually stay over at this hotel (as I am not a huge proponent of the whole staycation thing…Send me to Bs As instead!), but I had a great time attending several events here around Art Basel.
The lobby is always filled with chic, neutral-clad people and takes the concept of eco-friendly to its most luxe. Instead of flowers, there are terrariums and other types of greenery everywhere, yet it still comes off as a very polished and clean space.
As with the amazing rooftop pool area, the lobby has a sophisticated, ~adults only~ kind of vibe…Ideal for having a few glasses of Veuve or Voss with that hot doctor you met from Bumble, but necessarily not the place to show off your wop. That would be better suited for…
[Another David Foster Wallace/Junot Diaz inspired faux footnote here to expressly mention that STK at the 1 Hotel, particularly on Mondays, would be the locale to shed the Carolina Herrera vibe and channel your Cara Delevigne instead, particularly on Monday]
4) Basement at the Miami Beach EDITION, Miami
I love (!!!) the Yabu Pushelberg designed EDITION hotel and find it to be the very definition of ~vibes~, and apparently, I am not the only one. Personally, I have yet to see Hannah Bronfman or Jean-Georges Vongerichten making it rain nor making it snow, though I am optimistic that it may occur as we look into 2016.
In all honestly, I didn’t have the best experience at The Matador Room when I went there for pre-clubbing cocktails, finding the drinks to be medicore/overpriced and the service to be poor.
Conversely, I can’t recommend Basement, the night club, more highly.
The club has a bowling alley, ice skating rink and of course, the main club area, the latter of which tends to be my preferred spot.
The best night to go is on Wednesday, for their (in)famous JELLY party. It isn’t heavily advertised, but if you’re a girl, you can get free, boozy slushies from 10PM-midnight or so at the bar by the bowling alley (though reader beware: they can be more potent than they look… Or maybe I am just a Hump Day lightweight?)
A few of these retro concoctions will put you in the perfect state to dance the night away to old school (aka early 00’s) hip hop jams, which just so happen to be my personal klubbing kryptonite.
3) Versace Mansion/Casa Casaurina/The Villa by Barton G./Gianni’s at the Villa, Miami
Where did I take some of the best selfies of 2015? Why, the Versace Mansion, of course.
This space seems to change its name every 5 minutes, so I included all of them for good measure, but to most people, it will always be known colloquially as “The Versace Mansion” regardless of any/all rebrand efforts.
I am not sure how old I was when the Versace clan, with their endless opulence and overly-Italian-in-the-very-best-way** glamour, came into my life. I believe it was around the time that Gianni was senselessly murdered on the steps of his South Beach manse in 1997
What I do know is that I have seemingly always been keeping up with them, long before Kris Jenner made her saintly entrance into my life. #allegraismyfavorite
The Versace Mansion is a must-visit for any aficionado of fashion, opulence, platinum hair, architecture and the ~luxe life~ (and frankly, if you’re not an aficionado of any of the aforementioned things, this is probably not the blog for you)
I enjoyed my meal at the restaurant there (which they thoughtfully custom-made for me, given that I was on a strict cleanse) nearly as much as I enjoyed snapping 27,728 photos in the Versace family’s personal bathrooms and by their sublime pool.
Speaking of the estate’s crown jewel for camera phone addicts, Kylie Jenner and friends emulated ME with their pool selfies during ABMB15, while Mara Hoffman threw her fashion show there surrounded by Medusa heads during Miami Swim Week, so ya sabemos que the Versace Mansion was having a true moment throughout the year.
Don’t be a Gorgon and miss out.
(** Spoken by someone who proudly marched in the Westport Sons of Italy parade from 1990-2002, without fail)
The number 1 and 2 spots on my list this year keep vacillating back and forth. As with all great rivals, they are close to diametrically opposite in some ways, yet have enough in common to keep it interesting. Is a relatively unknown art exhibit on a college campus in Houston, Texas the Gary to the kawaii capital of the world’s Ash? Or is it the other way around?
I’ll let you decide.
Harajuku neighborhood in Tokyo, Japan
A tranquilizing dose of insanity amidst total and near-perfect conformity. That is what Harajuku is like.
You take the blue pill, and you swallow, and you open your eyes to a land of cat sheet face masks and bedazzled Barbie pink eyelashes and too-cute-to-be-true pastries and adults who dress like goth shepherdesses in public yet paradoxically don’t want their photo to be taken.
I could spend days here and not be bored, between the vintage shopping and purikura booths and thousand calorie crepes.
Janet Cardiff & George Bures Miller: The Infinity Machine at the Menil Collection’s Byzantine Fresco Chapel, Houston, Texas
Let’s take a moment to discuss how being a human is fucking uncomfortable sometimes. There’s a million ways to deal with this, and anyone can rattle off a list of their favorite coping mechanisms (or just check their Instagram for further intell). It can often feel like we are aching to find the next best thing to alleviate that which makes us human. Sometimes it is those Oscar de la Renta slippers with the turquoise tassels or a beloved bottle of Savignon Blanc or a highly publicized photo shoot with your new partner at a polo match which you spread across all of your social channels or fanatically measuring your macros and carbs so that you can have the most perfect revenge body and never be rejected by anyone again, etc. etc. vices, vices, ad nauseum, WHATEVER. We are all trying to find a way to handle it.
I have no plans to vacate my garden of Earthly delights any time soon.
That said, it may have been as close as I’ve felt to rapturous to be unexpectedly swooped out of my world of opaque little pleasures for a snippet of time in Texas.
I wake up early so that I can go to the Rothko Chapel in Houston before some business meetings.
I am a little disappointed. It is quiet and literally no one has their phone out. I feel like a bad Art History major for not being more in awe. Everyone here is a college student or AARP member. I am not good at meditating with 28 teens/octogenarians around. I am really not good at not using my phone. I leave.
I realize that there is an entire sprawl of museums set on this random college campus which I’ve never heard of, and decide to explore a bit more. Who needs to eat lunch anyway?
I find my way to the Menil Collection’s main museum. It is pretty great, and has some of the most well-written exhibition brochures I’ve encountered to date. I still have them saved in my kitchen, awaiting further analysis.
It was enjoyable for sure, but this wasn’t my *~*moment~*~.
I am about to call an Uber and get to my meetings a little early, when I am pulled in the direction of an intriguing building.
“BYZANTINE FRESCO CHAPEL ->”
I follow the sign and entered the edifice, fully expecting to see an army of flat-faced Jesuses, each set against an abstracted golden background with ringed halos. [CAUSE I’VE GOT A REALLY BIG TEAM, AND THEY NEED SOME REALLY BIG HALO RINGS- THE 6 GOD]
Instead, I adhere to the instructions of the elderly docent (Texan grandparents LOVE contemporary art, apparently) and enter a near pitch black room. It felt like I was in a womb, or maybe outer space, or maybe somewhere entirely different which hadn’t existed in my imagination until now.
Penetrating the darkness were hundreds of mirrors of every shape and size, reflecting and glinting their light and the visages of those around them. There was an overwhelming yet strangely soothing foghorn of celestial noises, which played on an incessant loop, adding much to the sensation of being on a fully alien terrain.
Without even meaning to, without even hankering for it, I was completely taken out of myself. It was dynamic, it was impressive, it was contemplative in the way that I had imagined the Rothko Chapel would be. It may have been my top place of the year.
[No photography is allowed inside of the exhibit, so click here to see a video, or better yet, book a quick getaway to Houston before February 28, so that you can experience it for yourself.]