Winter Road Trip Diary

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Road tripping has become my favorite hobby so instead of flying to LA for Awards Season I decided to drive cross country again, stopping in Nashville, Memphis, Oklahoma City, and Albuquerque on the way to fittings and Golden Globes events. My first stop was on the Upper East Side to pick up half a dozen Delphine Manivet dresses for Nikki Deloach that arrived from Paris for our fitting. From there I went to Baltimore for the holidays, and the morning after Christmas drove to Nashville, where I met a ton of great people, photographed the local stylish kids, and tried as much hometown food as I could. In Memphis I hit the Red Velvet Vintage shop as well as it’s sister store Crazy Beautiful (no relation to the film) and a couple of great used book stores and record stores in Cooper Young, as well as my new favorite road food at Central BBQ. I also managed to barely escape a terrifying heavy snowstorm in Flagstaff Arizona on December 31st, as I was doing the last leg of the tour before getting to LA (those “warm Western” states are tricky, you may think New Mexico and Arizona are all cute and innocent with their sunny graphics but their winters are freezing and deadly). I drove for an hour South from Flagstaff to get out of the snowstorm, which ended up shutting down 40 West, which I had been driving on, in both directions a few hours after I escaped. It was nuts and by nuts I mean totally terrifying. Driving 45 miles an hour alongside trucks, while the snow came down, through several inches that had already accumulated on the freeway, down steep slippery hills, past dozens of SUVs and trucks that had slipped off the road and into ditches. It was a hell of an adventure but I arrived in LA just in time to celebrate the New Year with friends and family. Erica, who owns The Crying Wolf in East Nashville with her husband is above and more pics from the road and beyond, below.

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My first night in Nashville I went to East Nashville favorite The Family Wash, known for it’s amazing Shepard’s Pie and local musicians, both of which I sampled after my 13 hour drive from Baltimore.

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Nashville is full of cool kids and great shops, restaurants and places to meet new people, hang out and get to know the city. My first stop in the morning was a brand new area that has sprouted over the last year called 12 South. It’s where I discovered cool stores like Hero, White’s Mercantile and Imogene + Willie. Later in the day I made it to Five Points, where I met some new friends (see Mackenzie, Veronica and Tim below) and ate the best chicken wings with killer BBQ sauce (I took the week off from not eating meat because I had a feeling Nashville and Memphis BBQ would be hard to resist) and sampled local brews.

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I fell in love with Veronica and Tim. They were so adorable, driving to New Orleans via Nashville from Toronto for New Year’s Eve. It was also their first time in the city and the funny thing is I saw them not once but twice in the 24 hours I spent in Nashville. They were sitting next to me at The Family Wash the night before, and they walked into the 3 Crow Bar in Five Points the next afternoon, which is where I took their photo. That’s also where I met Mackenzie, who hails from Texas and is a micro brew expert. She told me about Hops & Crafts, where she works, and where we all ended up meeting later, which turned out to be next door to Adele’s, a new Nashville restaurant, which opened in June, that I have been following on Instagram and dying to try. I went there for dinner and that’s where I met Amy Dee Richardson, who designs these awesome clutches. She moved from NYC to Nashville a year ago and we became fast friends. It was 24 hours of beautiful serendipitous coincidences.

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Amy showed me more of the local spots later that night including The Crying Wolf and Fran’s East Side, across the street from the Family Wash, where we switched to Miller Lite and Combos. Sweet.

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I fell in love with Memphis. It’s a small city but one with so much history and emotionally packed stories. I was there for 24 hours and explored all the neighborhoods, including Midtown, the Arts District, and Cooper Young, where I met these two sisters my first night there. I also checked out all the cute stores in Overton Square and Main Street and ate at Central BBQ. Twice. And I will be back.

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Cheryl and Courtney grew up in the Cooper Young district of Memphis and their mom still lives around the corner and remembers when Martin Luther King was assassinated on April 4th, 1968. The Lorraine Motel where he was shot sits in the midst of the sprawling 9 million dollar museum and memorial erected for Dr. King near Main Street. It’s eerily quiet and sad early in the mornings. By late morning Jacqueline Smith is right outside in her usual spot, where she has sat protesting her eviction from the hotel and the gentrification of the area for 26 years.

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I spent some time talking with Jacqueline and fell in love with her too. She is soft spoken and still hopeful about so many things. It was a bittersweet reminder with everything going on around us.

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On the road from Memphis to Oklahoma City and Albuquerque, through Texas and Arkansas, I am in love with the rest areas in Texas and the open landscapes and abandoned motels and gas stations. My eyes wander a lot when I’m driving and I like pulling over when the mood strikes. Somewhere in Oklahoma I began driving through serious snow storms so no more photos. I got to LA at 8:30PM on New Years Eve and got to spend the night with two of my best friends and family. Truly a great holiday after a somewhat difficult year. Happy 2015 everyone!

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