Hi and welcome to another edition of the MELSAYS PODCAST! Happy New Year! Hope you have wonderful holidays and that 2020 is off to a fantastic start! 2020 is shaping up to be a crazy year, as we are expecting our first child in May. So my goal is to get as many episodes out and edited as possible before the arrival of our daughter.
I’m super excited to have Valerie Duprat as my guest today on the podcast. She is a surfboard shaper, surfer and mom. She was recently featured in the new book Surf Like A Girl and today she shares how she went from growing up in Paris to shaping boards in Encinitas and become one of the first local female shapers. I hope you’ll enjoy my chat with her!
The podcast is just one click away or you can also listen to it below. If you enjoyed our chat, make sure you subscribe to the MELSAYS PODCAST here -> Apple Podcasts and Google Play. Also, feel free to send me some guest suggestions for future episodes!
With summer right around the corner, it’s time to start summer planning! After having spent the spring primarily at home, I’m excited for all the travels that are coming my way this summer. For the first time since I was a teenager, I will actually get one full month of vacation, I can hardly believe it! I couldn’t be more excited to be spending this time in my favorite place on the planet, you guessed it: California!
This upcoming trip will be a fun one since we’ll be incorporating a mini road trip along the way, spending time in Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and Nevada. We’ve already started planning for it and I can’t hardly wait! We’ll also be spending time in my favorite little beach town – Encinitas as well as Los Angeles and also going out to Palm Springs for the first time ever. If you have any travel recommendations, or must-see things while we’re there, please send them my way. I’ll be publishing a special series of blogs during and after the trip, so lot’s of travel tips coming your way this summer!
Today’s outfit, couldn’t be more representative of the California state of mind. This is the perfect post-surf and biking outfit. Boyfriend jeans, a California tee and a pair of brand new Sanuks. I love these new ones called “The Boardwalk“, they’re the perfect summer colour! Comfort and class, all wrapped into one!
Finally back from my vacation, which means back to blogging! Hope you’ve been keeping well these past two weeks. Can’t wait to share with you all my latest travel adventures. New travel blogs coming soon!
In the meantime, I’m excited to share photos from this beachwear photo shoot I did while I was in Encinitas with a super talented and nice photographer from the San Diego area called Nathan Petty. I’ve been following Nathan’s photography via his Instagram account (that you can follow here) for the last couple of months and had loved all of the surfing action shots and portraits he had been posting. We did a 3-part shoot on and around the beach. Here are pics from the first part of our shoot together. The second part will be coming tomorrow!
I first heard of the southern California artist Skye Walker a few years ago. I believe I found his website through a Liquid Salt mag post. I was immediately drawn to his art because of the beautiful ocean and nature themes. The mural Skye is standing in front of on the above photo was the first piece I saw of his and absolutely fell in love with it. Yes, I may have a little bias for redheads but his art really spoke to me, it made me feel peaceful. Over the years, I’ve followed his journey and am stoked on all the success he’s been getting as of late. I can’t wait to go back to Leucadia in a few weeks to see this amazing mural in person! I hope you will be as inspired as I am when you read the interview below. Here are my 5 Questions With Skye Walker:
1) When did you start making art? Do you recall the first drawing that really marked you and made you think this was what you wanted to do for a living?
I always say that I picked up a crayon and started drawing and never stopped, but that is pretty true. I was always drawing, doodling and escaping into fun worlds with my art as a kid. Hundreds of hours of drawing in my room and loving every minute of it. I remember the moment I wanted to be an artist for life and for a career. We were living in Gardnerville, Nevada at the time and I was 8 years old. I had drawn some cartoons of Garfield the cat that I thought were awesome, so I sent them to Garfield’s creator, Jim Davis. A few weeks later I got a letter from Mr. Davis (or his secretary) but he signed it, and it said he received the drawings and he liked them a lot! My jaw hit the floor and I was blown away that he liked my art enough to write a letter back. So from that moment on I decided to be an artist for life and if I could, for a career. I remember the exact moment I had that realization too, sitting at the breakfast table.
2) What inspires your art? Your art revolves a lot around ocean and nature themes, why is that?
Growing up If I wasn’t drawing, I was outside playing. We lived in quite a few places growing up like California, Nevada, Spain, Hawaii, Colorado and Oregon. My sister and I were introduced to nature and camping and being in our natural surroundings by our parents. So, naturally, I gravitated to things like surfing, snowboarding and biking. Luckily we didn’t have iPhones, computers or the internet then. We never got a Nintendo (even though I wanted one) but I’m glad I didn’t get it.
So being in nature inspired a lot of my art, as well as figure drawing and the human form. I do mix the elements of nature with the human body a lot. Usually the female figure represents mother earth and her interaction with our surroundings whether it’s subtle or more prominent. I think if I had grown up in an urban setting my art would certainly reflect those themes. But they reflect nature, the oceans, mountains, skies and trees- but I certainly try to present them in different ways and I’m always trying to evolve my style and themes.
3) As years go by, how do you push yourself to keep growing as an artist?
This is a great question. Just as we all have to keep growing and pushing ourselves as humans as we strive to survive and adapt, artists have to do the same with their art. Case in point, I was working in the Outdoor Sports industry as an Art Director and was pretty burnt out with the same old graphic design projects. But that job security was hard to leave, until I was let go along with 35 other people when the economy hit the fan. While this was frustrating, it freed me from the confines of that job artistically and let me focus on my own art and projects… but it really opened things up for me to return to doing large scale murals.
I had done a lot of murals in high school and in college, but I didn’t see a career in it at all. It was fun, but a lot of work. Flash forward 9 years and my artist friend Alex Krastev referred Whole Foods to me as they were building a new store in my town of Encinitas. They contacted me about doing murals and that kick started a fire for me to focus on murals. Since then I have completed about 23+ murals from San Diego to LA to Denver to Austin and back again.
Murals allow me to push myself as an artist all the time. To figure out spacial issues with large scale art that I can’t do on a small scale or on the computer. It’s also like solving a problem each time too, what paints will be best, what colors, how do I reach those heights, how do I get the scale I need and host of other issues… but I love it because it’s always challenging and it’s always pushing me artistically to create new ideas to work with the space that’s given to me.
So if my friend hadn’t referred me to Whole Foods, I would probably still be doing smaller scale paintings and graphic design (which I still do) and not thinking of murals. But since that happened, it opened my eyes to new horizons with art. Murals are an amazing way to bring art to the public eye and change the image of a neighborhood. But the best part about it is that it’s never easy and it forces me to push myself artistically every time. It’s easy to sit at a computer and research ideas, new ways of thinking and such… but getting out and thinking on your feet and creating with your hands does wonders for my thought process and gets me out of my comfort zone. That’s when the real creativity begins.
4) You’ve had the chance to create murals and work on special projects with a lot of renowned clients from Whole Foods to Rip Curl and Nike, what have been some of your most memorable projects to date?
My first real job out of college was at Rip Curl as their graphic designer for apparel. This was memorable because I’d never designed a t-shirt before, so I had to fake it until I figured it out. But that job was rad, made some great friends, went to Australia twice and surfed my brains out. Also designed a couple thousand t-shirts and other graphics, really helped me cut my teeth on some fast paced graphic design work.
I’d have to say lately though, the mural jobs & projects all have such memorable situations and experiences, it’s awesome. I had an assistant in Austin, Texas who turned out to be an ex-convict with crazy stories. Did a mural in Denver in between a blizzard praying the paint would stick to the wall, it went from 60 degrees to 7 then to 40 and back again. Since the murals are so big, everything that’s involved to create them is so much bigger which makes it all very memorable.
I just finished a mural for The Hub, Hillcrest Marketplace in San Diego and a woman walked up and said: “This is so wonderful, you’ve lifted the spirit of this whole neighborhood!”. I was very touched by that, she truly meant what she said and that made me feel like what I was doing was good and important. Ten minutes later a car sped by and a guy yelled: “Looks terrible!”. The Yin & Yang of it all, which makes creating murals so memorable. I can’t get those experiences in my home office!
5) For those who don’t know, you are also a surfer. Where are some of your favorite places to go surf?
Ah yes, surfing. A real love in my life. There is nothing quite like it and I don’t know where I’d be without it. I love taking surf trips whenever I can and experiencing new places and waves. I surf my local breaks pretty often and I try to get up and down the coast a bit to get out of the neighborhood and surf some different spots. I’ve learned as I get older that my favorite place to surf is wherever I am at that moment, whether it’s 2 foot slop or 6 feet and glassy. Just being in the ocean is wonderful.
I’m sending rainy vibes to my friends and all the people living in the Carlsbad area in Southern California tonight, who have had to evacuate due to fires. Tons of rain has been pouring down on Toronto for the past couple of weeks and I would do anything to trade all this rain for sunshine and send it to where people need it the most. Carlsbad, Encinitas, San Marcos and all of the surrounding cities are some of my favorite places on earth. My thoughts are with you all at the moment!
Really getting excited for the my School Of Styleweekend in NYC in a couple of weeks. I’ve heard lot’s about them so I can’t wait to find out more about styling, fashion and blogging at their conference.
In the meantime, trying to keep warm (yes, still…) by layering sweaters and vests together. Some may feel that camo and red may look to “Christmas-y” but I kind of like the pop of color with the military jacket. I’m also really excited about this DIY necklace I made last week in California. I took a cool key I found at HOME shop in Encinitas and then added a cute surfer girl charm to it and put it together on a gold brass chain at Beads, Crystals & More. I used to love making jewelry as a teenager, I had thousands of beads, threads, etc. Though I’ve been out of commission these past couple of years, I’m thinking it’s something I may want to get back into in the near future, especially with platforms like Etsy, that make crafting so easy to share and sell. To be continued… maybe 😉
Last Sunday, my boyfriend and I came back from another wonderful trip to California! It was our second trip there in just three months and what a perfect time we had again!
We flew in and out of Vegas again this time, because the tickets were a lot cheaper. Even if you decide to stay the night in Vegas when you arrive, you can find hotels for so cheap there that it’s totally worth it. We took a direct flight with Westjet and got a $20 room at the classy HootersCasino. I wouldn’t recommend going there unless you’re just there for a few hours. It was perfect for what we needed but it was definitely not luxurious at all… Think Circus Circus… 😉
We rented a car at Fox Rentals, they always have super cheap rates and good cars. This time we got a brand new Fiat 500, which was perfect for us since we would be doing a lot of mileage. Great on gas, perfect for two people and SUPER easy to park in a place like downtown LA.
On the drive out of Vegas, we stopped at the legendary diner Peggy Sue’s 50s Diner, which is right off the highway in Calico (there’s also a great ghost town – an old mining village, in Calico that you can visit). They have a big dinosaur park outside and great Hollywood memorabilia all over their walls. I had one of their famous homemade peanut butter pies, it was ginormous!
We started our trip with a week-long stay in the Carlsbad/Encinitas area. It’s an area I’ve been going to for a while, I just love the peace, tranquility and community vibe of these little villages. We spent a whole lot of time in the water surfing! Who would have thought that we could fit two boards on this little Fiat?! It was so great to finally be in the water with Offner, hanging out on the sand, doing a DIY beach BBQ, etc. The water was a lot colder than usual this time of year, people were still surfing in their 3/2 wetsuits. I ended up going to the Ripcurl outlet in San Clemente to get myself one, the only one I was missing in my wetsuit collection. If ever you’re looking for a wetsuit and you’re down in SoCal, it’s the best and cheapest spot!
We rented an amazing studio apartment in Carlsbad a street away from the ocean at a place called Ocean Palms. It’s was the perfect location, everything was walking distance. We were a street from the ocean, they had BBQs, a fitness room, an outdoor pool, fire pits and a really nice overall atmosphere. The studio also had a kitchenette. We spent several nights after a long day of surfing just BBQing and making delicious snacks, sitting by the fire or our little patio.
Encinitas has really been growing a lot these past few years. There are lot’s of great restaurants opening up in the area. My three favorite spots this time were:
A great place for organic, local American cuisine. I had a delicious watermelon and feta salad, it was so refreshing. We went with some of our friends who also had an amazing meal. Everything was super tasty and fresh. I also had this ridiculous peanut butter cake for dessert… woah! Make sure you call to reserve in advance, the place is usually packed!
I had been to this place before but had to return. They serve the best homemade wood fired pizzas. My favorite is the EVOO pizza with ricotta cheese, lemon and onions. We also had the truffle salt and parmesan popcorn as an appetizer, outstanding! If you make it down there, make sure you call in advance, there’s usually a 1h wait in the evening.
This place is brand new, it opened just a few months ago. The wine comes from the San Diego and Mexico area. They had some great local wines to recommend, great Spanish style tapas and a tasty cheese platter. I also loved their wine cave and the fire pit on the outdoor patio. It was a perfect post-surfing place to relax!
Also, another go-to place in the area that we absolutely love and went to a bunch of times for breakfast or lunch is Swami’s Café. They have three locations: one in Encinitas, one in Carlsbad, right beside where we were staying and another one in Oceanside. The menu is enormous, they offer many delicious options for vegetarians, they also have vegan and gluten free selections as well. They also make tons of yummy juices and smoothies. For the price you pay, you can’t go wrong!
We discovered a great little spot on the drive down from Carlsbad to Encinitas called Pannikin Coffee & Tea. It’s a beautiful old train station that they transformed into a super hip breakfast, brunch and lunch spot. I had always passed in front of the place but never actually took the time to stop. It’s always filled with people. There’s a beautiful patio out front, a cute little tea and gift shop and the food is yummy! We ordered a bunch of cookies, pastries and dessert, it was to die for!
In between Carlsbad and Encinitas, there’s another little coastal town called Leucadia. They have a rad donut shop and also a great local surf shop held by a super nice guy JP, called Surfy Surfy. I love the shop because they often hold concerts, art events and are really all about the community. They sell lot’s of really great surfing apparel and also make custom boards. They’re also associated with a cute little café next door called Coffee Coffee. If you pass by Leucadia, please go say hi to JP!
Before leaving the area and heading up north to LA for the second part of our trip, we stopped by the biggest all-female surfing event in the world called the Supergirl Pro. Last year, local surfer Sage Erickson had won the competition. I had the pleasure of also watching the young French surfer Pauline Ado in the water. This year, we showed up early on day 1 to catch a few surfers from France, Japan, California and Hawaii compete. This is an ASAP 6-star event, 15 of the top 16-ranked pros were at the competition this year. Not only is there great surfing to watch but there’s also a great “Festival Village” they call where local female-oriented activities and companies come out and organize dance, prizes, contests, etc. for event goers. This year it was Hawaii surfer Malia Manuel, which we saw surf the first day, who took home the $40 000 purse at the Oceanside Pier.
All in all, it was a dreamy start to this long SoCal trip! The Encinitas area, still remains one of my favorite spots in the world. I truly feel at home there! Stay tuned for pt. 2 of our trip coming on the blog soon!
Woke up to rain this morning but it doesn’t matter because tonight I’m California bound! Thrilled! Though, I’ll be spending most of my trip in the LA area, we’ll be flying in and out of Vegas exceptionally this time. So for tonight, I’ll be spending the night in Vegas at one of my favorite Casinos – the Luxor! I love the Luxor, not because it’s the fanciest, or the newest, but because they have the raddest pool and neatest overall design! I’ve always wanted to go to Egypt and though my travels haven’t taken me there yet, it’s nice to see a pyramid and the great sphinx 😉
Really looking forward to staying in Venice Beach, seeing my friends, going to eat amazing food (Bulan Thai, Flore, Urth Caffe… I’m coming for ya!), going shopping, spending time in my favorite little place on earth – Encinitas and going surfing!! I feel very fortunate to be able to go back to California once again. It’s a love affair that began in 2005… and I’m not quite sure where it’ll take me 🙂
For today’s travels & rain, I kept it simple and comfy! It’s always cold on the plane, so I always make sure to dress warmly. I’ve worn sandals, skirts and dresses on the plane but realized over the years that I always end up regretting my decision, because I’m ALWAYS cold! So for today’s travels, I’m wearing my favorite snakeskin leggins, my silk tank and a few layers of jackets and sweaters. Also wearing a few of my favorite Verameat jewels (can’t wait to go see her new shop in Beverly Hills!!) plus some Lionette and Biko armcandy and my #Wanderlust bracelet…
In exactly one week from today, I’ll be back in California!!!!! Can’t wait to be back in my second home. This trip will be stellar! Surfing, beach hangs, hiking, seeing friends, going to shows, celebrating my birthday, eating yummy food, etc. I’m beyond stoked!!
Yesterday, I attempted my first haircut. Eek! I grew up in a family who’s grandfather, uncle and cousin were all hairdressers but apparently, it’s not something that I caught on to. My boyfriend was brave enough to let me chop some of his beautiful locks off. I don’t think I did that horribly (well…) but it was definitely one of the most nerve-wracking things I’ve done in a while! :p
Today’s a muggy day out in Toronto. For my Daily Outfit, I wore my favorite accessory color combination: Black and Gold! I also decided to take out some really old booties from the closet this morning. I think I got them while I was still living in Montreal… It’s always fun to switch it up sometimes 🙂
It’s Friday! Friday, oh Friday! So excited about today! This morning I booked my next trip to NYC. Couldn’t be more excited to be going back at the end of April. Can’t wait to go see the lovely ladies of VERAMEAT and Lionette.
Last night, I did my first ever fun styling excercise for my friend Dainty Girl‘s #ShangriLagerfeld contest. The exercise was to style an outfit to go with the new line of Karl Lagerfeldwatches. Here’s what I came up with:
The outfit features a red combination quilted jacket from Zara, a black lace top from Zara, leather fringe shorts from Missguided, black and red fabric wedge ankle boots from Zara, Lady Bug lipstick from MAC and my favorite Springioux X Quentin Veronbag. I’m absolutely obsessed with this outfit! It’s my perfect spring 2013 rock n’ roll bombshell outfit. I actually want to make this outfit happen IRL. I also hope I can win that rad Lagerfeld watch 🙂
For today’s outfit, I’m wearing two of my favorite new jewels from Flashbacks, a small boutique in Encinitas, California. I styled those with my comfiest black shiffon dress and my suede boots (can’t wait to wear heels/sandals!!).