EHD’s Day Out: How We Spent an Afternoon in Malibu
***Written by Velinda Hellen | Photography by Sara Tramp
A quick note before reading. We know so many of you come to this blog to escape the onslaught of grim news and world events. We love providing these much-needed distractions and apologize that today’s post isn’t that. A week ago, when we wrote/scheduled this post, we were eager to bring attention to a few local businesses (along with some favorite shops). Today, these same businesses are threatened by the still-blazing Woolsey Fire, along with thousands of homes and animal habitats. This is devastating and no words can possibly help, but a few organizations are trying and we wanted to share that information with some of you who would like to support those affected by these fires. Thank you to the few commenters who have pointed out that the timing of this post may seem insensitive. We are very sorry for that. How to help: United Way LA | Red Cross | Humane Society of Ventura County | Ventura County Community Foundation
Last March, I joined the team a week before spa day. I was sure it was a stroke of luck, starting work just in time to avoid actually working! But seven months later, I’m in on a not-so-secret secret: Emily loves ditch day.
When I was a kid, ditch day was an official holiday in my family. Once a school year, my mom would wake my brother, sister and I up by shouting, “Surprise! Today’s Ditch Day!” We’d spend the day at the zoo or road-tripping to an Oklahoma state park. Lots of bonding playfulness. But first, she would call our principal (or at least that’s who I assumed answered the school phones 100% of the time) and offer some justification for us being out for the day. The hilarity of her evasive, sorta-true-ish excuses became a favorite part of the tradition:
“Velinda can’t come in today. Pink eye is contagious (fact)”
“Braxton won’t be able to make it in today. The flu is going around (true).”
“Dental work can knock a kid out (yep). Paige is probably out for the day.”
Working for EHD is like attending a school where the PRINCIPAL endorses such ditchy behavior! And nobody here is complaining. (Though Emily has said some of her “business-savvy” friends are furrowing their brows, so I’m going to need your help. If any of you have links to research proving 4-day weeks increase productivity or that daily, in-office happy hours prevent burn out or something like that, leave that gold in the comment section. It’s your duty! Doing so will get you into heaven (fact).
A few weeks ago, the flu actually was going around the office…and migraines…and insomnia…and food poisoning. The EHD team was falling apart. Enter well-timed ditching for the day…but not because of our feebleness. Nope, we had a better excuse: BIRTHDAYS! Julie and Jess each turned a year older this fall, so we had to revel. The team has doubled in size since this time last year and we now celebrate joint birthdays (by season), but that means having Emily’s blessing for grander adventures. This particular venture revolved around a sound bath experience, something Julie, our resident hippie, had been begging us to try after she had a much-loved encounter with one in Joshua Tree.
Emily: “Uhhh, what’s a sound bath?” (we’ll give you the full scoop in just a bit for anyone who’s also like ???)
The hunt began. Looking for a sound bath a bit closer to us, I found a STUNNER in Malibu called Five Sense Collection but we had some time to kill before our appointed time of…well, most of us weren’t sure what, which meant planning a day in Malibu (plus dining and shopping are some of Jess’ favorite activities, so we must please the other birthday girl). Coming from East Los Angeles, we make it up to Malibu as often as we get out to Japan (same distance, I’m pretty sure), so it was definitely a treat. We shopped, we ate, we namasted, and now we’re sharing all the details. Consider this our “How to Spend 6 Hours in Malibu (or More If You Want to Avoid Evening Rush-Hour Traffic)” city guide.
Where We Ate
Location: Kristy’s Village Cafe, 30745 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu, CA
What to Order: Citrus Salad, Veggie Bowl, Kristy’s Prime Beef Burger (+ sweet potato fries, or else you’re not doing it right), Moscow Mule (look, we tried to order fresh-squeezed juices and hot tea at this work lunch, but then breakfast was turning over into lunch and, we made decisions that needed to be made for the sake of “celebration”), coconut cake (we’re not entirely sure with the official name of the coconut cake was, but they brought it out as a surprise for the birthday ladies and we devoured it, so…just ask for the coconut cake, okay?)
The food was fresh and the branded buns, a nice touch…plus, studies show increased Moscow mules consumption is associated with a boost in productivity and company morale! (somebody, please find such a study and report back).
In a separate excuse to leave the office, Emily has proposed weekly or bi-weekly Friday trips to pretty eateries, hotels and shops in the area to do design research/get inspired. So, when we “go hunting” for food, we look for well-reviewed dishes in places that are also eye-pleasing. And Kristy’s fit.
Light tonal blues, wood, brass, A+ lighting fixtures = EHD approved.
The Kristy’s crew was top-notch and friendly…and I’m not just saying that because they gave us free cake.
Fueled with burgers, cake and mules, we hit the stores in the nearby (well, sort of) Palisades Village for some retail therapy.
Where We Shopped
Location: Palisades Village, 15225 Palisades Village Lane, Pacific Palisades, CA
Stores to Visit: Serena & Lily, St. Frank, The Little Market, Zimmerman, Vince, Shoppe by Amber Interiors (which isn’t technically in the Palisades Village, but it’s just a few blocks away—very walkable…and worth it—at 859 N Swarthmore Ave.)
There’s a new, outdoor boutique mall in the Pacific Palisades—Palisades Village—where many EHD-beloved designers have set up shop. It was a good opportunity to scavenge fresh goods. As someone used to sourcing EVERYTHING from Craigslist/second-hand shops, stalking Emily while she shops new lines is educating (not creepy!). It’s actually a helpful way for the whole team to learn how she thinks, what she looks for and what catches her eye (and why). In the spirit of an adult field trip, we bounced around the “village” in different groups, but here are some of the spots we hit and loved:
If you’ve followed any of Emily’s fashion posts over the years, you’ll know this name as it’s one of her go-to (particularly for footwear). It didn’t hurt that the interior architecture and styling was A+. Don’t we all aim for such perfect minimalism? We all want boots perfectly propped in a swopping wall niche, right?
Plus (as seen above), the woman cannot resist a plaid coat.
There isn’t a staffer here that can’t get behind the ethos of The Little Market. Started by Lauren Conrad (yes, that Lauren Conrad) and Hannah Skvarla, the 501(c)3 nonprofit retailer sells only fair trade items made by artisans across the globe, working through cooperatives. Every purchase here goes to generating important income for these artisans (usually women) and their families (plus, it’s just really pretty stuff so it’s a serious win-win).
This is The Little Market’s first-ever brick-and-mortar store (it was started as an online retailer), and every shelf, table and corner has treasures that abound (all organized by color). Arlyn and Jess were seriously eyeing some of their wood serving pieces (you get a glimpse in the above photo) and Emily B. nearly walked away with an etched glass pitcher (we’re not convinced she didn’t go back to get it).
Australian design (both for the home and body) is SO GOOD, and Emily (and the rest of the crew) couldn’t help but come into Zimmerman to ogle both the decor and the clothes. Came for the multi-colored linen draperies, stayed for the white peasant-y dresses.
In the words of Emily, this stuff is “red carpet splurgy” so, while this isn’t exactly H&M, if you’re looking for something for a special occasion and can splurge, def pop in and check it out because it’s all so, so beautiful.
The always lovely Serena & Lily had its own cottage-like spot at the edge of the shopping village and we lingered a while taking in all the many displays, petting rattan daybeds and hanging chairs and delicately demanding secret store staging information (more on that in a bit) from the sales associates.
Pillows, linens and wallpaper are always S&L favorites for us (oh, and that chunky seagrass basket), and the new outpost didn’t disappoint. Hot Tip: if you’re not super confident in mixing and matching pillows/patterns/textures, make your way to some decor and furniture shops that inspire you, snap some photos/take notes/blatantly copy what they do.
I’m not sure what was transpiring here, but I have to imagine Sara (our staff photog) was demanding Brady and Emily pose “naturally” while “discussing” the…weave of the lumbar pillow? Regardless of the level of awkward, this photo gives you a glimpse into all the oodles of soft goods and small furnishings displayed all over the store in floor-to-ceiling shelving. There was also a moment where we played plant detective to hunt down the species of a tree that was in-store (sadly, not photographed). I’m pretty sure Jess and Arlyn “casually suggested” one of the associates get the information no matter what it took. Luckily, they went to the back of the store (a testament to the customer service), came back with a giant binder of all kinds of secret information and divulged that it was a clusia tree. The afternoon was saved.
This is the first SoCal location for St. Frank and it’s an explosion of pattern and worldly goods (just like the brand). Every inch is merchandized, so be sure to look up, down, left and right if you happen to pop in and check it out.
The brand’s framed textiles are always so, so good (as was the little green velvet settee at the front of the store…we strategically are only showing you a tiny little arm in the above right photo so you have to go see it for yourself…if someone here doesn’t buy it first).
Do yourself a favor and take the 5-minute walk from the Palisades Village to Shoppe by Amber Interiors. This place is a FEAST of blonde wood, textiles, smalls and Amber Lewis’ signature “California Casual” style that so many people are pretty into right now.
Even if you’re not on the market to buy something (though we dare you not to walk out without at the very least a rock that doubles as a match holder/strike like Jess and Arlyn), go just to check out the styling. So. Many. Vignettes (worth borrowing inspiration from).
Is this photo above not serious #lifegoals? Team EHD loves a layered wood board look, Turkish textiles, handmade ceramics…Emily Bowser couldn’t stop walking up to that rattan-wrapped drink set (it was on display in at least another spot in the shop) and bullying herself into not buying it.
Where We Namasted
Location: Five Sense Collective, Malibu, CA
What We Experienced: Sound Bath (they also offer yoga, meditation, hypnotherapy, Kundalini and more).
Following lunch and some shopping, we drove past beaches along the PCH and landed at Five Sense Collective. Guys, look at this place:
This little yurt, built along the edge of a cliff (in a “not gonna fall off” kinda way), overlooks the ocean and opens up to a breeze. We wanted to stay…possibly cram in some desks and establish a new EHD office. We lingered after the “bath” was over…and lingered…and lingered. Five Sense Collective founders Dru and Kirscha never yelled, “GET OUT ALREADY!”… a testament to their Zen practices!
Dru, Kirscha and decorator Michelle Selko (Creative Light) designed the yurt and succeeded not only in style, but comfort, which became important when we were all asked to recline on pillows for a guided meditation and then sound bath. So, we know by now you’re probably like…uh, can someone please tell me what a “sound bath” is? Alright, we’re still blissed out from it, so pardon my meandering…
Okay kids, what is a sound bath, exactly?
Basically, in my own mere-mortal words, our brain waves can easily enter deeply relaxed or meditative states in response to certain sound frequency. Dru and Kirscha used chimes, crystal bowls (which each correlated to one of the seven chakras), a gong and I’m sure some other goodies to achieve these frequencies. They took us through a journey of meditative states. It was a little over an hour. It was intense. It was…spectacular.
As someone with limited meditation practice, this was like a speed oven for my mind to achieve deep relaxation, bypassing the steps and time my conventional mind-oven usually takes to get there… almost cheating, really. They should rebrand…”insta-Zen for meditation cheaters” (Dru and Kirscha, no need to pay me for the new tagline. Just a “thank you” is pay enough…and maybe another session).
During the sound bath, each of us had a different experience, which we shared bits of afterward. Some commonalities included seeing vibrant colors (apparently correlated to the different chakras) and vibrating kaleidoscope shapes. Plus, reports of feeling intense restfulness, which was so needed as there was a lot to heal that week for the team…for me, the sudden emergence of week-long insomnia (NOT fun, turns out). I slept “soundly” that night. 😉
We caught up with Dru and Kirscha a few days later to get some more in-depth information, because we all miiight have been so caught up in the view and the experience that we forgot some of the details (and didn’t want to further butcher any of the information), so read on for some proper sound bath particulars:
Okay, so let’s break down the benefits of a sound bath, shall we, for anyone who may not be familiar.
“There are so many benefits from the activations of sound frequency in the body, ranging from the emotional and spiritual, to cellular healing—which directly affects the state of our mental health. It’s so much more than what modern wellness critics would have you believe. We’re allowing ourselves the time for necessary self-care—a committed time to tune in to the relationship we have with our thoughts. We’re activating hemispheres of the brain, spine and nervous system that store neurons, memories, balance and attunement to our environment.”
Tell us about the instruments and tools you use during the sound bath session and what makes the sounds that result so special.
“We use a collection of quartz-crystal bowls, alchemy infused bowls, frame drums, four-element Koshi chimes, and more. To break it down further:
Quartz-crystal bowls & alchemy infused bowls: These, and the sound they make, purify and strengthen the energy of your space. Crystal bowls are, in essence, singing bowls made of a finer vibration material.
Frame Drum: The sound of drumming generates new neuronal connections in all parts of the brain. The more connections that can be made within the brain, the more integrated our experiences become.
Four-element Koshi chimes: Wind chimes are common in the East and used to maximize the flow of chi, or life’s energy.”
While we were there, you talked through the colors that corresponded to the sound waves/auras someone might see or experience during the sound bath. Can you tell us more about this?
“The colors correlate to each chakra, just like sound, colors emit their own frequencies as well. Each color reflects a type of vibration or frequency radiating through the chakras. Although the exact color of each energy center may vary, there is a general agreement about a rainbow-colored representation of the chakra system. When you see or use the colors, you could make certain associations to what’s happening to you physically, mentally, emotionally, cosmically and spiritually.”
How did you come to this practice and how has it shifted or improved your own life and wellness?
“We’ve seen shifts in our private practices as Dru continues to lead restorative yoga, and Kirscha offers relational healing through movement. We’d actually been working together in the fashion industry for about eight years before we both, on distanced and separate journeys, came to our own yogic practices before Five Sense Collective. We met in our hometown after having not seen one another for about a year and came up with the concept of Five Sense over dinner. A year later, it’s transformed our own personal healing journeys and given us the opportunity to graciously provide a space for others to heal, too.”
Part of what drew us here was this magical location. How did you find this place and what drew you here (not that it’s hard to guess)?
“We’re located on a bluff alongside the Malibu coast with a 180-degree view of the ocean, which has calming properties. Healings have taken place on the property for decades, as it is home to the founder of the Earthways Foundation. We thought to actualize the place you might imagine when you settle in to meditate.”
Is there anything else you’d want someone, perhaps unfamiliar with Five Sense Collective, to know?
“We are a multi-sensory wellness experience company with an exceptional team of experts in a variety of wellness fields. We offer private, in-home ceremonies to honor celebrations, release heartbreak, honor a girl’s night in, and to simply dive a bit deeper.”
What does a session cost, and how often do you recommend someone should have one?
“Our prices vary depending on where our sessions are being offered. Our goal is to keep our public sessions as affordable as possible, as we believe wellness should always be inclusive and accessible. There’s no limit to self-love, it’s a matter of feeling called to come, and when you do, knowing we’re here.”
If you’re in the LA area, Five Sense Collective offers events that individuals can join as well as private sessions for groups like ours. It’s really a unique group experience for celebrating an event. Emily, who had earlier referred to the excursion as, “our weird sound thing” left really excited, listing friends she wanted to include in future rituals. I plan to return for one of their scheduled sessions.
Happy birthday, Julie and Jess! Thanks, Emily, for spoiling us with a day away. We all feel sooooo much more productive after four days of work/one day of play…seems to be a super effective ratio, according to science. Just look at all the evidence in the comment section! (come on, friends, back me up here)
We all don’t get out to Malibu nearly enough (a bunch of Easter Siders here), but if you have other Malibu must-dos to add, please do share in the comments, you know…just in case we all start falling apart again and need another ditch day.