It's hard to believe that Thanksgiving is this tomorrow. Every year I tell myself to slow down and really enjoy the lead up to the holidays, to spend time indulging in the traditions and merriment. Though, inevitably things get busy, especially for us makers and small business owners and all my plans to take my time and be present seem to slip by. 

This year the one thing I'm really looking forward to joining in on #optoutside! I plan to spend the Friday after Thanksgiving having a nice relaxing morning followed by a trek with my family into the woods. We're packing a lunch, likely a turkey sandwich thick with stuffing, and cranberry sauce, and heading out to enjoy a much-needed day away from work. 

I suspect I'm not alone in wanting a day to recharge, so with that in mind I've written down a few of my favorite ways to get outside. Here are 3 of my favorite hikes/walks in the Bay Area to inspire you to #optoutside, ideally with friends + family. Wishing everyone a terrific Turkey Day, hope you all have your stretchy pants ready!

Hike: Tomales Point Trail, Inverness

This trail has been a long time favorite of mine. The drive from Point Reyes Station is in and of itself fantastic, but the stretch out to what my family dubbed the "Elk Trail" is breathtaking. Picture rolling green hills spotted with cows and an ocean that goes on for what looks like eternity. The start of the hike is alongside a historic farm with a whitewashed barn that is almost too picturesque to be real. But best of all, if you're lucky ( you most likely will be) you will be rewarded with a heard of wild Elk that are the cherry on top of a truly fantastic hike. On your way home stop back in Point Reyes Station and pick up a bottle of wine and some cheese from Cowgirl Creamery to wind down your evening with. 

Where: French Trail, Redwood Park

I've been hiking in Redwood Park since I was a kid. It's a large wilderness area that features pretty spectacular redwood groves and offers a nice break from the city without having to drive too far out of the way. Once you get midway through the hike you're in a dense forest that is cool and shaded, a perfect spot to clear your mind from the stresses of the Holidays. Walk along a nice stream and enjoy the sun change as you step out from the forest into a sunlit path. When I go I often go in the morning and pop on a good podcast for a nice change from my usual routine.

Where: Point Lobos, Carmel

One of my closest friends and I take a trip out to Point Lobos every year for our birthday. We happened across this very short but breathtaking trail while on a road trip from Redwood National Forest down to Big Sur a few years ago. For the last three years we've driven out and spent the day in Carmel, a tradition I look forward to every winter. The first time we went we nicknamed the vista "Mermaid Cove", the turquoise water and Cyprus trees looked otherworldly with crashing and churning waves that suck you into a hypnosis. Point Lobos has a number of trails, each are meandering and mostly flat. They all run along the shore and are perfect for people of any age and energy level. If you go at the right time of year you'll spot a whale and sea lions too! 

Genevieve Bandrowski
Hygge, Brass, and Fall Feels

I was told recently that I spend a considerable amount of energy thinking about the weather. This was told to me when I suggested a coworker pack an umbrella for a trip during which rain was to be expected. After some consideration, I think she was probably right. Maybe it's the planner in me but I like to be prepared for my day. As the rains and grey days have reintroduced themselves  I'm starting to spend some time thinking about the cold and how this shifting season makes me feel.

Although it's no secret that I prefer sun filled warm days there is something to said for finding comfort in the grey. On a recent trip to Copenhagen, I was introduced to the Danish term Hygge.  Described to me by a sweet Danish man, Hygge is the acknowledgment of the feeling you have when you experience a feeling of warmth or coziness. His charming example was spending the day in the snow with your family or friends and then coming home to sit together under blankets by the warm fire with hot chocolates and Aquavit  - cozy and warm. It's lovely to have a word that so encapsulates the very thing that has me looking forward to winter. 

While we don't get snow in San Francisco we are no strangers to a good bit of cozy, whether we knew it had a name or not. So, today I'm gathering up some pieces from the shop that will help you get to that perfect place of warmth. Fall is just getting started, but it's never to early to embrace the season, case in point - I'm writing this fully wrapped in a blanket while sipping a warm cup up tumeric milk tea. 

These past couple years the fall and winter season have been especially busy and have seemingly flown by. So this year I'm making a concerted effort to slow down and take advantage of the chilliness - starting with gathering up a few special pieces to aid me in my quest for Hygge. First being a hand-thrown ceramic mug - our Stone and Sandstone mugs and tumblers are the perfect size to hold your coffee, tea or a steaming hot toddy. 

Check back next week, we'll be sharing a few favorite drink recipes that have been on heavy rotation of late. One boozy, one to keep you cozy, and one to help keep those seasonal colds at bay. 

Genevieve Bandrowski
Seasons Shift

Who else isn't quite ready for the weather shift that is taking place? It's been a busy summer for us here at LeMay Shop and now that the inevitable transition from late Summer to Autumn is beginning we're realizing how little of the summer we took advantage of. Perhaps we're noticing it today especially having just gone from a record breaking heat wave to eerily abrupt thunder and rain. 

we are longing to stave off Fall for just a bit longer, especially As we start to notice images all across Instagram of fall leaves and mention of pumpkin patches. Hopefully we're not alone in trying to soak up the last bits of Summer - Cold cocktails in the warm evening, afternoons on the water, day trips hiking and exploring the California coast, and nights spent outside eating long dinners with close friends. Is anyone else not quite ready for spiced lattes and sweater weather...?

so while the Bay is blanketed in a grey cloud covered sky and impending rain to look forward to, we've distracted ourselves by going through our phones, cameras, and pinterest to look back on a too short but oh so memorable Summer. 

Meet the Maker - Melanie Abrantes

For our first Meet the Maker, I'm pleased to introduce the work of Melanie Abrantes Designs. a fellow Oakland local, Melanie has captivated the hearts of the design community and just celebrated the 3 year anniversary of her business. Melanie, A creative entrepreneur is a perfect pairing to Lemay shop, Melanie Abrantes Designs is a female owned business, all products are handcrafted, and every piece is responsibly made with local and sustainable materials, We can't get enough of this work!

One of the most exciting things about opening this shop has been having a platform to bring my favorite designers work together.  This grouping of work creates a dialogue amongst the objects that although very distinct when shown together speaks to what is coming out of the West Coast, and more importantly, at least to me, what is coming from female designers. Melanie's work is a perfect example of the preference for pieces that are handmade by an independent designer. If you're looking for one-of-a-kind, you've come to the right place. Each Bud Vase is made to order,  hand turned by Melanie on her lathe in West Oakland. 

A graduate of Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles, Melanie studied product design in school. Before graduating she began experimenting on a lathe turning wood into curvaceous designs that have transformed over the years into the beautiful bud vases I now carry at LeMay Shop. Each object melanie designs is created using domestic hardwood purchased locally in California. Although her work expands beyond wood vases, the simplistic shape and delicate curve of these pieces have made them a long time favorite.

Growing up with a Portuguese / Brazilian father has influenced Melanie's designs significantly. Spending summers in Portugal living with her grandparents, Melanie was exposed to products created from cork, a material with a profoundly different use than here in America. It wasn't long after learning to lathe that melanie realized the possibilities the material had, she immediately absorbed cork into her design practice reinterpreting for an american audience what was possible with this portuguese tree bark. each unique object is a modern heirlooms, using both cork and wood  Melanie has built a business that embodies handcraft. 

Photography by Melanie Riccardi, styling By Genevieve Bandrowski

LeMay Shop - An Introduction

Hello, Welcome to LeMay Shop! I'm thrilled to be launching a store that will exclusively feature handmade, carefully considered, craftsman objects. I've worked alongside designers for years and have even launched my own brand, but never considered joining the throws of individuals who have opened retail stores. With how popular and easy it's become I have admittedly felt an over saturation of online retail. Each new store popping up offering the same Products every other similarly minded, self-proclaimed "tastemaker" sells. 

But that's where I hope to be different. Alongside the well-known designers, there are the small local brands that have not yet had a platform to be seen. My hope is to feature the exceptional designs of the lesser known, found objects discovered in travel, pieces made by craftsman with no interest in mass production, modern heirlooms that will carry a story, and my greatest hope is to feature as many female designers as possible. There is so much talent amongst us, this small corner of the internet will introduce you to objects that have stopped me in my tracks, I hope they will do the same for you.