Q + A with Victoria Kennedy of Kennedy Contemporary in Newport Beach, CA

We had a fun little creative session with Victoria Kennedy who happened to open her first Art Gallery (next to Kean Coffee in Newport Beach in March 2020 and never looked back. Follow our Q + A session below to learn a bit more about this determined and inspiring Gallerist:

Where were you born and raised—and where do you live now? 

I was born in San Marino and raised in Corona del Mar/Newport Beach. It was always my goal to leave the OC bubble (which I did for a period of time!), but I am so glad to be back as an adult. My husband and I live in Westside Costa Mesa and we love the creative community out here. 

Did you dabble or immerse yourself in art growing up? 

Definitely! One of my first art experiences outside of high school was taking a summer drawing course at LCAD. It was an incredibly challenging (and humbling) experience that gave me a lot of respect for artists. Similarly, I took an oil painting course at Stanford University and realized that my skill was not in creating art (ha!). But having experience in working with different artistic mediums gave me an understanding for how the materials work and how difficult it is to create unique and coherent art.

What led you to Stanford University? 

I had always had my heart set on Stanford as my parents met there when they were undergraduates and I had many fond memories of the campus and community. Luckily, I was recruited to play water polo at Stanford, so it was a natural fit! 

What did you “learn to embrace” about Northern California? 

Living in Northern California was really my first time immersed in the beautiful diversity of thought, culture, religion and ethnicity. I really embraced the openness and willingness to learn from others different from myself. 

Victoria Kennedy at Kennedy Contemporary
@kennedycontemporary

We understand you lived abroad for a spell, how does your experience inform your present day approach to life? 

After four years at Stanford, I spent a fifth year studying at Oxford University and using that time to travel and get my fill of academic life. Afterwards, I worked for Backroads, a luxury active travel company, and moved to France to lead tours in Normandy and Brittany.

Life abroad taught me two things: don’t be afraid to ask for help and be open to new experiences. There were times when I couldn’t figure out the best cell phone plan, how to pay road tolls, French dining etiquette, etc. Just asking for advice or assistance shows that you’re willing to put in the effort to integrate with the locals and connect! And ultimately, life is all about human connection. 

What is your greatest culinary pleasure?

I LOVE throwing dinner parties, which was why I love the concept of Lark! My go-to dinner is a roast chicken – most of it is done ahead of time, which gives you ample time to socialize with your guests and relax. And the leftovers can often last the whole week!

Tabletop on a guerrilla lark at Kennedy Contemporary
@lunareece.ceramics

What is one of your favorite culinary experiences?

When I lived in London, my roommate and I put on an American Thanksgiving for all of our British and international friends. Our oven broke that morning (and luckily got replaced the day-of!), but we managed to make a whole turkey, apple + pecan pie, stuffing, and a salad. We had a blast sharing the traditions of the meal with our friends over many bottles of wine!

What was your first introduction to art?

In high school, I took AP Art History with John Gunnin. I loved learning about history through the lens of art and thoroughly enjoyed the course. It made me want to pursue a minor in Art History at Stanford.

What epiphany about art carries you to where you are today? 

All art is contemporary. Meaning every piece is created of its own time and in relation to that day, month, or year when it was conceived. Understanding this helps to put art in context, and context is everything! It’s why we praise Jackson Pollock even though paint splatters seem so trivial and amateurish.

You can look at a piece of art and think “I love this,” which is the most important step to collecting art. You have to love it. The second step is understanding why it was created and why its creation is significant.

Coppers Tritscheller Sculpture at Kennedy Contemporary
@coppertritscheller

One of your favorite things is helping people find the right pieces of art for their home—any inspiring stories  (or advice) to share? 

When we first opened, we had a client stop by the gallery briefly while at Susie Cakes. Immediately, they grabbed their partner and pulled them into the gallery to see an artwork. They bought it on the spot! 

The best part of my job is developing long term relationships with my artists and clients. Although I have been in the contemporary art world for years, it’s been really encouraging to cultivate relationships with new clients as a gallerist representing my own artists. There’s a beauty to investing long term in our artists’ careers and sharing their stories with our clients.

Texture, color, vibe at Kennedy Contemporary
@_joejustus

You started a community called The Bohemians Women’s Club what was the catalyst for that? 

Yes! I started the Bohemian Women’s Club in partnership with Ali Faulkner from AEF Interiors. We had both recently moved to the area, started businesses, and wanted to expand our professional networks of like-minded women. Since April, we’ve grown our network to about forty local women and host monthly events to connect with and support each other. It’s been awesome to buy from/partner with local women-owned businesses like the Grazing KitchenCabaneArgaux, the Regina Oswald Collection, and (of course) Lark…!

What is the greatest myth about the Art world? 

That you need to have a masters or PhD in Art History to understand and buy art… you don’t! Many of our clients buy art because they love it and want something beautiful and meaningful to enrich their lives. You can certainly educate yourself by going to galleries, fairs, auctions, and maybe taking a course in art history, but ultimately it’s about what you love and want to live with. 

We know you also love furniture…how did that come about?

If I could outfit my entire home with Sean Woolsey‘s furniture… I would! But for now, I’m happy to showcase some of his pieces in our gallery. Sean was super kind to lend us some of his pieces to create a comfortable gallery environment. One of our artists, Heather Zusman, actually used to work for Sean which initially spurred her interest in woodworking!

Woolsey chair at Kennedy Contemporary
@thewoolsey + @_joejustus

If you could be anything other than an Art Curator / Gallerist, what would it be? 

I am very happy being a gallerist and probably wouldn’t want to do anything else full time. I’m a true believer that you make the time for things that are important to you. For me, I’ve continued working out, writing and recording songs, going on long walks/hikes with friends, and traveling all while building and running the gallery. Maybe in the future, that will shift and I will renew my scuba diving certification or take a sommelier course (which are on my list of things to do!).

Modern. Organic. Inspirational. Social Dining. Come on a lark with us!

New dates to be announced soon!

Q+A with Laura of Laura Brophy Interiors in Newport Beach, California

Laura Brophy captured by @missymphotography at her studio in Newport Beach.

We are thrilled to set our 55th communal table at Laura Brophy Interiorsin Newport Beach on Friday 9/10/21 with the talented Chef Kyle Powers. We love her energy, eye for design and enthusiasm–and that she is always up for an adventure. Although our lark communal dinner has sold out, we invite you to come along with this brief dive “below-the-surface” into her beautiful world of design.


Q. Where do you call home? 
I reside in Southern California, but home to me is wherever I have family and right now we have an opportunity to be nomads,o  I feel like that could be anywhere. 


Q. When did you decide to open your own business? What factors came into play?
Oh gawd, that is a loaded question. Come to dinner and I’ll tell you about it. But really, I eventually got “over the fear” and just went for it. It is the best decision I ever made. 


Q. Is your interior style influenced by anyone…any heroes out there?I am constantly inspired by fashion and feel that this influence of design can play anywhere, even in interiors. Kelly Wearstler is a great example of funky and cool, constantly translating her fashion aesthetic into the homes she designs. 


Q. By the local businesses in your area, your studio location straddles both the old and new in creative conquests. How does this influence or inspire your work (or day)?Being connected to TToes on the Noseis a dream situation. Love their vintage fashion vibe and would love to see this play into the California home lifestyle. 


Q. The mood in your studio is so positive, do you a have work style/management philosophy? I like people to thrive at what they are great at. We have a group of people whose individual skills all contribute to a group effort and that makes all the difference. 


Q. We know your taste + love for beauty and style is expansive, has the world of design always been a part of your life?Yes, growing up I went to fashions shows with my parents and they also exposed me to Interior Designers. I got an early view of the creative process and became inspired. 


Q. What is your favorite question to ask a potential client? How creative can we get on this project? 


Q. What three things do you love about being a Interior Designer?

  1. How personal this business is… working on homes, you become intimately involved in a client’s life..
  2. I really enjoy being able to source things and meet really interesting people.
  3. I get to do what I love. I consider it a gift knowing not everyone finds what they are passionate about.

Q. Can you share a bit about The Next Layer? Yes, it’s something we offer our clients and it’s a great way to transform a home quickly and make a space look personal without doing a huge remodel. 


Q. We always ask our chefs about culinary school–– is design school necessary? Yes, just to gain confidence and extra knowledge. Honing in on portion and scale AND the why behind things is an important aspect when designing a home.  Once you have a solid understanding of design, well, that is when you can break the rules. 


Q. Who or what currently inspires you?Instagram, there are so many amazing great amazing people on there. You can connect with people you admire easily. 


Q. What is your favorite culinary pleasure?Chef Kyle’s food! Going on larks! I like interesting experiences — things that are different.

 
Q. How did you hear about lark? I heard about it from Lisa on “the downlow” while we were both working in similar industries…. I followed her on Instagram for year before I made the leap and fell in love.


Q. We have collaborated on many occasions, want to share a quick, fun story about lark?  Well….there was this one occasion when Lisa almost got swept away by the ocean. It was a guerrilla lark in Corona Del Mar and it was absolutely the hardest set up and breakdown…we scaled our tables, chairs and food over craggily rocks to arrive at our perfect location. We dined with our feet in the water. It was so different and so fun!

Super fun times on. guerrilla lark in Corona Del Mar. Image captured by The Delauras.

Modern. Organic. Inspirational. Social Dining. Come on a lark with us!

New dates to be announced soon!

Q+A with Maria Isles | All Things Design in Newport Beach, California

Maria & Max Isles + Izzy, Photo captured at Isles Interiors by the talented @lanedittoe

We love Maria’s style, the way she connects so easily with others, and her sense of adventure. We are thrilled to set our communal table at her gorgeous + well-curated atelier in Newport Beach on Saturday 2/29/20. Although our lark communal dinner has sold out, we invite you to come along with this brief dive “below-the-surface” into her beautiful world of design.

Q. Where are you from–and where do you live currently?

A. I grew up in Pasadena and currently live in Laguna Beach. I have also lived in Santa Barbara and abroad in Singapore.

Q. What was your favorite subject in school?

A. Definitely Art!

Q. What was your most favorite occupation?

A. Obviously Interior Design.

Q. When did you realize you had a knack for Interior Design?

A. When I was about 4 or 5 years old. My dad had a construction company and I used to go in his warehouse and make doll houses for my weeble wobbles out of scrapes of wood, metal and glass. I was also obsessed with my moms Architectural Digest from a very young age. 

Q. What is your favorite and/or most ideal project?

A. My ideal project would be a new build in Montecito, a modern version of a Spanish Colonial. That would be my dream house. Clean and timeless with lots of wood, dark metal and Spanish decorative tile, my absolute love. My favorite project is my own ongoing house. We live in an adorable tiny 1936 cottage in Laguna Beach. It is the quintessential beach cottage. 

Q. You go on “buying trips” what are some of your favorite places? 

A. My favorite place to go on buying trips is of course England where my husband Max is from. I love the old country antiques that we find there. They are timeless and the craftsmanship is amazing. 

Q. What was your first trip like?  Did someone take you–or did you venture out on you own? 

  1. We always find time when we go back to England to venture out and source. Its so inspiring over there, whether we are in London at some cool old shop or in the countryside at a car boot sale. I have always just ventured out on my own. I have had tips from locals but its fun to wander and discover. 

Q. Any regrets on an object you might have passed up?

A. I just passed up an antique Oushak runner a few weeks ago, and now its gone, it was the perfect size, color and price! But my worst regret is an antique Gustavian dresser that I found at an estate sale up by Chateau Marmont in Los Angeles. I purchased it but sold it in my shop. I think about it all the time and how I should not have sold it!!!  

Q. We love that you like to host/entertain is this something you’ve always done? 

A. I think I started to entertain about 16 years ago when we bought our little cottage. We have an amazing front yard with 22 fruit and nut trees. Its small but its perfect for having intimate dinner parties or summer lunches in the garden. Its pretty magical. 

Q. What is your most memorable meal?

A. I don’t know if I could say what is my most memorable meal, but I love food and my husband Max and I are vegetarian so when I find amazing vegetarian restaurants or meals I really remember them. 

Recently we went to Double Zero in Venice and I had the most amazing vegan spaghetti bolognaise or as my husband calls it spag bol. It was made with mushrooms and walnuts and so incredibly delicious. I found a similar recipe, its take a long time to make it but soooo worth it! 

Q. We feel food, conversation x design go quite well together, do you have any thoughts on this intersection? 

A. Good food and design are both so creative and appeal to your senses. So of course they both individually and combined make great conservation! It’s the perfect mixture. 

Q.. Do you have a favorite quote?

A. “Gratitude creates abundance’.

Q. Who Inspires you?

Q. Some of my favorite designers are:

Amber InteriorsShe just rocks it

Nickey KehoeThe perfect duo

Lauren LiessLove her timeless sensibility

Kendall ConradHer fashion sense

Q. How do you envision your future of Isles Interiors–what direction do you most want to go? 

A. For Isles Interiors we envision continuing with our full scale interior design studio. Expanding on our new builds and full remodels. We are also in the process of designing a new line of furniture by Max, 5 or 6 signature pieces, that we can’t live without! I would love to open a studio in Santa Barbara and eventually London. 

Create. Collaborate. Elevate. Come on a lark with us!

Thursday, March 26, 2020 at Hello Kestan in Irvine, CA {details TBA soon}!

Guerrilla Lark The Wedge | Art of Picnic Newport Beach, California

Because there is so much beauty in doing.

Image captured on a super fun guerrilla lark by @kaileeinthekitchen at The Wedge in Newport Beach, CA

We are thrilled to have discovered a fun + fast way to get our creative juices flowing, lift each other up, and thank our collaborators.

Image captured on a super fun guerrilla lark by @kaileeinthekitchen at The Wedge in Newport Beach, CA
Image captured on a super fun guerrilla lark by @kaileeinthekitchen at The Wedge in Newport Beach, CA

As good as it looks! Fresh, delicious platter of beautiful arranged Crudités by the multi-talented @kaileeinthekitchen .

Image captured on a super fun guerrilla lark by @kaileeinthekitchen at The Wedge in Newport Beach, CA

We loved incorporating these colorful hand-stitched flags by artist Scott Richards of @slightlychoppy paying homage to the good times to the past, present and future of our local surf culture.

Image captured on a super fun guerrilla lark by @kaileeinthekitchen at The Wedge in Newport Beach, CA

Wintering in Southern California finds us with our sweaters off, but close at hand in case of a cool breeze or cloud cover.

Image captured on a super fun guerrilla lark by @kaileeinthekitchen at The Wedge in Newport Beach, CA

Thrilled to have the talented food blogger + photographer @kaileeinthekitchen capture the moment and the good energy of patisserie @mcakesweets — both enhancing this dreamy vibe! 

Image captured on a super fun guerrilla lark by @kaileeinthekitchen at The Wedge in Newport Beach, CA

Of course you will always find @lunareececeramics gorgeous ceramic plates adorning our communal table as well as a little white jumpsuit love from stylist @maysonhauck
💛.

Image captured on a super fun guerrilla lark by @kaileeinthekitchen at The Wedge in Newport Beach, CA
Image captured on a super fun guerrilla lark by @kaileeinthekitchen at The Wedge in Newport Beach, CA

A minimalistic bundle of dried florals by one our favorite florist @frenchbuckets of Lido Marina Village and Laguna Beach repurposed again + again.

Image captured on a super fun guerrilla lark by @kaileeinthekitchen at The Wedge in Newport Beach, CA

Create. Collaborate. Elevate. Come on a lark with us!

# # #

Because it really has been a long cold winter, we feel it’s time to warm things up! Our next adventure finds us setting our communal table on Saturday 2/29/20 at the gorgeous Isles Interiors in Newport Beach with the talented Chef Kyle Powers.

Saturday, February 29, 2020, 6:30pm-9:30pm
Isles Interiors 

367 Old Newport Blvd.
Newport Beach, California 92663
(cross streets: Newport Beach Blvd. & Hospital Road)

$125. per person, all-inclusive food & drinks by Chef Kyle Powers 
Purchase Tickets*: 
Let’s Go On A Lark! 
*Non-refundable/absolutely transferable

Modern. Organic. Inspirational. Social Dining. Come on a lark with us!

Lark x Casa Van Daele x Chef Kyle Powers | Corona del Mar, California

Our last gathering of 2019 found us in a bundle of good energy as we came together to for a “private” pop-up communal dinner. We seldom do private events, but we can be convinced through a strong sense of sheer sincerity and determination. We are thankful to have this opportunity to do what we love…pulling together all the elements of a great dinner party!

The talented Chef Kyle Powers crafted a delicious four course meal (see the gorgeous hand illustrated menu below). Photographer, foodie and former bartender, Mitch Maher captured the evening while simultaneous slinging delicious “Bohemia Mama” signature cocktails to honor the birthday gal. Tyler Rodriguez poured his knowledge and love of wine while Daniel Perlof, Kailee Walters and Kim Johnson kept everything rolling. Our favorite jewel toned dried botanicals adorned the communal table alongside by bundles of fragrant sage to mark new beginnings.

Lark #52 Van Daele Residence w/Chef Kyle Powers
Lark #52 Van Daele Residence w/Chef Kyle Powers
Lark #52 Van Daele Residence w/Chef Kyle Powers
Lark #52 Van Daele Residence w/Chef Kyle Powers
Lark #52 Van Daele Residence w/Chef Kyle Powers
Lark #52 Van Daele Residence w/Chef Kyle Powers
Lark #52 Van Daele Residence w/Chef Kyle Powers
Lark #52 Van Daele Residence w/Chef Kyle Powers
Lark #52 Van Daele Residence w/Chef Kyle Powers

A big THANK YOU to all the Van Daele’s and all the beautiful people who came together to make this an evening to remember.

@mb.maher, @forkintheroadcatering, @winc, @lunareececeramics, @kaileeinthekitchen, @dperlof, @mymiddlenameisstarr, @mat3.photography, @frenchbuckets, @kimleej, @bodylanguageyoga and @catherinerising

Lark on the {Video] Line…. | Chasing our Brightest Light in Huntington Beach, California

What would you do if you could do anything?

Thrilled to share our first ever video interview of owner + creative director & (most importantly) mother Lisa Gutierrez Martinez sharing how she arrived to take us on a lark!

https://mompreneurnextdoor.blogspot.com/2019/11/creative-and-stuck-behind-desk-time-to.html?m=1

Image captured by MBmaher.com on a super fun lark at Costa Cabana in East Side Costa Mesa. Black linen jumper hand-made by our talented friend in the wolf pack @lupothelable

Super thankful to Mompreneur Next Door for creating a platform to inspire other people to chase their brightest light!

Here’s a fun Q & A to compliment the video:

Q. What did your life look like when you started your business?

A. I had carried the idea of having my own business for so long, that when it came to fruition, it felt like breathing a dream. 

Q. Why did you choose what you did?

A. I want as much control of my life as possible. I want to live intentionally. I was, and am, seeking an interesting and well-lived life.  

Q. How has being a mompreneur has changed your life?

A. It gave us, myself and my family, a freedom I had once only imaged. 

Q. What is your biggest challenge?

A. Not having a set schedule has been challenging, but I love to work on lark every chance I get. Some days I am fully immersed. Other days I have to be satisfied with the smallest step forward. 

Q. How do you set boundaries when working from home?

A. I, by intention, don’t have boundaries. I love my work and I love my family and I don’t mind them spending time together.

Q. What are the benefits to doing this and what the most surprising one has been?

A. I love being able to pursue the things that interest me; including the opportunity to collaborate and learn from people I respect and admire. 

Q. Any advice you would give to your younger self?

A. Take smart risks, don’t hesitate too long. You have to jump in to learn how to swim.

Q. Two or three actionable items/tips that you can share with the listeners that they can implement immediately.

A. Three things: 1) Action creates opportunity. 2) Persistence pays. 3) Collaborate; we (all) rise by lifting others.  

Q. Anything you are currently reading/listening to that you would recommend?

A. For podcast, I suggest “Second Life” by Hillary Kerr. For books, I have three… get them in paperback…mark off, highlight, write notes, so you can pick them up again and again and be inspired:

1. Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert 

2. You Are A Bad Ass by Jen Sincero 

3. Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott 

# # # 

Lark x Costa Cabana x Chef Kyle Powers | The Dream Continues in East Side Costa Mesa, California

Friday, September 20, 2019 

We had a beautiful and intimate gathering at the circa 1930’s farm-house-turned-fashion haven known as Costa Cabana in East Side Costa Mesa.

A little mix & mingle captured by MBMaher.com on a super fun lark at fashion haven Costa Cabana!

In this gorgeous and fashion buzzing bungalow we enjoyed welcome drinks + mingling leading up to an amazing chef crafted meal & @winc wine pairing by the master of makeshift Chef Kyle Powers …where each dish became an ode to the migrant farmers who came before us. 

Over dinner, we exchanged stories about boating & the beautiful nearby island of Catalina (including talk of The Banning Family + Natalie Wood), the dreams + inspirations of a young coffee house entrepreneurs and adventures of those like-minded–who have intentionally been on a few larks of their own. 

Throughout the evening our conversations were sprinkled through line of musings, evoking much laughter, that somehow built upon each other and never got old. It is amazing to see, and be a part of, the many evolving connections made at the communal dinner table.

We feel fortunate to have immersed ourselves in such stylish vibes thanks to the awesome eye of Lauren Flores, owner of Costa Cabana and her amazing network of designers–to name a few: @amusesociety. @st_eve_jewelry. @cleobella, @stylingbyjo , @knotsisters, @californiacasa, @shopskout + @lunareececeramics.

A big THANK YOU to all who came together to make this an evening to remember!

@mb.maher, @forkintheroadcatering ,@winc ,@lunareececeramics ,@kaileeinthekitchen, @richelixirs ,@dperlof ,@mymiddlenameisstarr, and@mat3.photography

Welcome to the prep! This is why we call Chef Kyle Powers the Master of Makeshift. We love being able to think outside the box. Image captured by MBMaher.com on a super fun lark at Costa Cabana!
Irresistible welcome charcuterie from which no one shies away….compliments of Chef Kyle Powers captured (so well) on a super fun lark by MBMaher.com at Costa Cabana!
Laughs from the very beginning! Image captured by MB.Maher on a super fun lark at the super hip fashion haven known as Costa Cabana!
E-V-E-R-B-O-D-Y!! We love the responses we got from this quote; simple + kind words can always set the mood! Image captured by MBMaher.com on a super fun lark at Costa Cabana!
Ladies who lark! We love when guest return with their friends! Super fun times on a lark at Costa Cabana in East Side Costa Mesa. Image captured by MBMaher.com
This so carefully crafted + executed dish was amazing, thanks to Chef Kyle Powers for always rocking the delicious vibes! Image captured by MBMaher.com on a super fun lark at Costa Cabana!
Amazing southern grits w/braised oyster mushroom + romesco compliments of Chef Kyle Powers + thoroughly enjoyed on a lark at Costa Cabana! Image captured by MBMaher.com
Southern grits w/braised oyster mushroom + romesco compliments of Chef Kyle Powers + thoroughly enjoyed on a lark at Costa Cabana! Image captured by MBMaher.com + guest!
Thrilled to have created a platform to express what we are passionate about in life! Super fun times on a lark w/Chef Kyle Powers at the fashion haven at Costa Mesa!
Chef Kyle Powers working his magic on a super fun (& delicious) lark at Costa Cabana! Image captured by Mitch Maher at MBMaher.com
Daniel Perlof pours an end of season Ginger Beer cocktail thanks to our friends at @richelixiers ~ enjoyed on a super fun lark at fashion haven Costa Cabana in East Side Costa Mesa. Image by MBMaher.com
A simple gathering of the adventurous + curious!. Image captured by MBMaher.com on a super fun (& delicious) lark w/Chef Kyle Powers at fashion haven Costa Cabana!
Delicious grapes + crispy fennel salad w/herb goat cheese, pickled strawberry vinaigrette, mache rochette by Chef Kyle Powers enjoyed on a super fun lark at Costa Cabana!
Amazing lamb chops crusted w/grains of paradise, dried fruit + green bean chutney + potato compliments of Chef Kyle Powers. Image captured by MBMaher.com on a super fun lark at Costa Cabana!
Daniel Perlof + Chef Kyle Powers cheers w/ 2017 Finke’s Sparkling White Blend (thanks to our friends at @winc)! Image captured by MBMaher.com on a super fun lark w/Chef Kyle Powers at Costa Cabana!

 Modern. Organic. Inspirational. Social Dining. Come on a lark with us! 

Lark x Urban Americana x Chef Kyle Powers |The Dream Is Real in Long Beach, California

Friday, September 13, 2019

The moment before the guest arrive. Image captured by @mb.maher on a super fun lark at Urban Americana in Long Beach!

We started our late summer adventures at our favorite designer playground known as Urban Americana in Long Beach. Having popped-up at this unique location before, we knew we were in for a special evening. You cannot take a step inside this gorgeous vintage warehouse without being inspired by the timeless style of the past, while simultaneously dreaming of the future. This gentle pull + push lands you in a rare space we like to call the present moment.

It is such an honor to have Chris Geer, owner + creator of our favorite designer playground Urban Americana, embrace lark and open the doors to our curious & adventurous guests — and even more so to have him an his wife join us at the communal table.

Chris Geer (Urban Americana) + Lisa Martinez (Lark) on a lark at the super hip Urban Americana in Long Beach!

We spent the evening doing what we do best, creating good vibes, acquainting with friends old and new, delving into interesting conversations and sharing delicious food.

Stylist @maysonhauck always sets the good vibes! Image captured by @mb.maher on a super fun lark at Urban Americana in Long Beach

Our guests, ranging from designers to deep sea explorers to culinary lovers took to the lark with ease embracing the connections that come so naturally when immersed in such an inspirational setting. 

Guest mingle amongst the cool mid-century + antique vibes of Urban Americana. Image captured by foodie, photographer + conversationalist: @mb.maher

Manuel, of Manuel The Band, kicked off the evening playing acoustic guitar and singing Casual Love while we mingled about sipping on  local / vegan / sustainable 2017 Finke’s Sparkling White Blend hand selected by Billy O’Connell of @winc and poured with love by wine aficionado (+ yoga enthusiast) Tyler Rodriguez.

This is our seriously talented friend Manuel. He is in the band. @manueltheband check them out!

Chef Kyle Powers & Sous Chef Nelson Johnson created the most awesome looking makeshift kitchen from Urban Americana’s beautifully weathered industrial work bench sending the the first smells of crispy garlic + fried mushrooms into the air with innate and palpable enthusiasm.

Chef Kyle Powers + Nelson Johnson rocking the Makeshift Kitchen, California Style, at Urban Americana!
Welcome to the prep! Image captured by @mb.maher on a super fun lark at Urban Americana in Long Beach
Guest settle in for an evening of food, wine & conversation.Image captured by @mb.maher at Urban Americana in Long Beach!

As this was lark #50, we took a moment to share-and be thankful for-our collaborative approach where we work should-to-shoulder to create these larks and all of the fulfillment that has come from doing what we love, especially the idea of recognizing and appreciating each other, our supporters, and the moment. 

Tyler Rodriguez, Lisa Martinez, Kailee Walters, Daniel Perlof, Nelson Trey and Kyle Powers–on a lark!
Steamed clams in dashi: crispy garlic. seaweed. watermelon radish. fried mushrooms compliments of Chef Kyle Powers.
Tyler Rodriguez captured by @mb.maher on a super fun lark at Urban Americana in Long Beach
Steamed clams in dashi: crispy garlic. seaweed. watermelon radish. fried mushrooms compliments of Chef Kyle Powers!
Daniel Perlof on prep! Image captured by @mb.maher on a super fun lark at Urban Americana in Long Beach!
Image captured by @mb.maher on a super fun lark at Urban Americana in Long Beach
Because we are in this together! Super fun times on a lark at Urban Americana in Long Beach. Image captured by @mb.maher
Fried reed avocado: crab. fried herbs. lemon chili aioli compliments of Chef Kyle Powers. So good!
@kaileeinthekitchen captured by @mb.maher on a super fun lark at Urban Americana in Long Beach
Super grateful to all the “yes” people in the room! Image captured by @mb.maher on a super fun lark at Urban Americana in Long Beach!
Image captured by @mb.maher on a super fun lark at Urban Americana in Long Beach

How fortunate we feel to having our favorite foodie + conversationalist Mitch Maher capture the evening and to be accompanied by the endless talents of: Jack-of-all-Trades Daniel Perlof, Stylist Mayson Hauck, Ceramicist Andrea Luna Reece and Food Blogger Kailee in the Kitchen

A little “bluffer” –2018 The Bluffer Valdiguié–from our friends @winc thoroughly enjoyed on a lark at Urban Americana.
Beef tenderloin + beets: golden berry. golden beet. shish leaves / strawberry. red beet. Image captured by @mb.maher on a super fun lark at Urban Americana in Long Beach

A surprise (thanks Kyle!) awaits on the tail end of our lark, when Rita Pham of mcakesweets showcased her amazing talents in creating the most beautiful & best tasting desserts including a gorgeous Earl Grey Cake making this occasion extra sweet. 

Rita Pham of @mcakesweeks rocks the celebratory vibes on a lark at Urban Americana in Long Beach!
@mcakesweeks rocks the celebratory vibes on a super fun (50th!) lark at Urban Americana in Long Beach!
@mcakesweets, Chef Kyle Powers + Nelson Johnson roll into our”50th” lark pop-up communal dinner party!
Rita Pham of @mcakesweeks rocks the celebratory vibes on a lark at Urban Americana in Long Beach!
Rita Pham of @mcakesweeks rocks the celebratory vibes on a lark at Urban Americana in Long Beach!
Image captured by @mb.maher on a super fun lark at Urban Americana in Long Beach!

Modern. Organic. Inspirational. Social Dining. Come on a lark with us! 

……More?

As we are always on a lark…here’s a few {personal} moments to share:

Clam-less in Long Beach

Unfortunately the adventure was too much for one little clam (he didn’t make the lark). Soon I discovered that all the elements of this dish, clam excluded, were over-the-top satisfying. 

Lark Therapy 

I was well into a conversation, dabbling into bits of my history (military brat, late bloomer, endlessly curious), when I learned I was speaking with a professional therapist. I feel better already! 

Why Do I Feel Happy

A gentleman on a lark leaned over and said, I feel happier than I have in a long time and I don’t know why. We all chimed in on the endless benefits of social dining.

Hot Yoga

As a universal rule, we only lark in extreme weather and this smoking hot evening was no exception. We laughed at how the high humidity made our “purposeful work” (set up + breakdown) feel more like hot yoga!

Lark x The SOUL Project x Chef Kyle Powers | Embracing the Good Vibes in Laguna Beach, California

On (what seemed like) the hottest day of summer we embraced the good energy + star patterns that led us to set our communal table in the cool and beautiful garden of eco-conscious and locally loved boutique founded by Summer Meek known as The Soul Project appropriately part of the Hip District of Laguna Beach.

As the sun slowly set we enjoyed welcome “booch-tails” + mingling leading up to a delicious meal curated by the talented, self-taught, master of makeshift Chef Kyle Powers… all while enjoying the lost art of conversation.

Image captured on a super fun lark at @thesouproject in Laguna Beach by @kaileeinthekitchen
Image captured on a super fun lark at @thesouproject in Laguna Beach by @jonkillz
Image captured on a super fun lark at @thesouproject in Laguna Beach by @kaileeinthekitchen
Image captured on a super fun lark at @thesouproject in Laguna Beach by @jonkillz

We appreciate all the curious & adventurous people who brought their good energy and best vibes to our communal table–to make this an evening to remember:

Image captured on a super fun lark at @thesouproject in Laguna Beach by @jonkillz
Image captured on a super fun lark at @thesouproject in Laguna Beach by @jonkillz

@thesoulproject @forkintheroadcatering @lunareececeramics @jonkillz @kaileeinthekitchen @richelixirs @dperlof @winc @frenchbuckets @prettynvintage

Modern. Organic. Inspirational. Social Dining. Come on a lark with us!

xo~l

Q+A with Summer Meek | Doing All Things With Love in Laguna Beach, California

Charlie & Summer Meet at The Soul Project in Laguna Beach

We were fortunate to meet Summer Meek at The Soul Project which is her gorgeous retail + event space in Laguna Beach. It’s warm and inviting and comfortable. We attended her The New Girls Network gathering and were surrounded by supportive female entrepreneurs who had gathered to share their stories. Now, we’d like to share Summer’s story:

Q. Since you are a native, what are your favorite childhood memories of Laguna Beach? 

A. Some of my favorite memories are of course long days spent at the beach, exploring the tide pools, hiking the hills. And my parents were both early Sawdust Festival artists and I have a lot of memories of time spent there. I think that’s where I caught my entrepreneurial spirit. Even then I had enterprising endeavors going on.

Q. We love how you ventured out to create + celebrate spaces that feel like home. Was this something you had always wanted to do?

A.  I have always believed in the energy of space. It’s challenging to explain and sounds woo woo to talk about but it is my super power. I love creating experiences I am passionate about it and add love to everything I do.

Q. You’re cottage-esque space is so warm and inviting, do you know the history behind it? Any interesting stories?

A.  My understanding is in the early days of Laguna Beach artists would come and build their cottage, live in the back, create during the week and then open the doors on the weekend for tourists. Before I moved in, The Knitting Store habituated the space. But during one Art Walk a woman came and shared that she once lived in the back and had her art gallery in the front it–was probably 25 years prior to me opening. She brought me pictures it was so fun.

Q. You began your business through creating graphic Tees for artists (and still do), but you are also constantly growing, evolving and exploring. What is it that drives / pulls you? Any advice for others?

A. When I opened I really wanted to create a community space and have people come have an experience, it’s interesting because that was five years ago and now experience is trending. I just saw it as an organic way to cultivate a community of like minded individuals. I am a curious person and I love to learn and I am always seeking new information and love learning about people and love to incorporate that into what we’re doing at the store whether that’s through product or new experimental offerings. Sometimes I meet these really an amazing people that I really want to work with because were aligned. Like when I met you.

Q. Your latest adventure, The New Girls Network has brought some exciting and energizing opportunities to your community. Where do you want (hope) it to lead?

A. We just celebrated a year since we started meeting, we meet the third Thursday of the month at The Soul Project, it’s a free networking event but it’s really more than that, it’s a place for woman entrepreneurs to gather in a supportive environment. There’s not posturing, you don’t have to be a certain kind of person and wear a certain outfit. You can show up as your authentic self. I don’t know where it will go and I don’t currently have plans to make it anything other than what it is. I have watched woman connect, make business happen, grow into an idea and bring it to life.

Q. It is fitting that The Soul Project is located in the revitalized “Hip District ” of Laguna Beach. Are there any behind the scene changes you are inspired by?

A. We have come together as a neighborhood and are really trying to breathe life into this part of town. We have some really amazing g retailers and new stores opening. I feell we are becoming the new Abbot Kinney.

Q. Thank you for opening your doors to lark! We can’t wait to dine in your “landscapers” garden, under the stars–have you always been a foodie?

A. I have been a foodie most of my life. I remember one day asking to be driven to the store so I could buy all the ingredients to make a chocolate cake from scratch. My mom asked how I knew to make it and I didn’t know, but I was inspired to try.

Q.  What is your most memorable dining experience?

A. There are so many it’s hard to pick just one. But the most recent one that comes to mind is a farm to table dinner put on by my friend and farmer at Blue Bird Canyon Farms in Laguna Beach. He works with a woman named Chef Jen Alvarez. It was the most beautiful setting, and the most delicious sustainable food. I could still describe every morsel I ate that night. There was also a very memorable drive up to a castle in Italy with a view to die for and a dinner that was some of the most delicious food.

Q. If you could dine with anyone in the world, dead or alive, who would it be?

A. Julia Child because she loved food, was cooky and zany, loved cocktails and didn’t seem to uptight. I had the pleasure of dining next to her not too long before she passed, that was most definitely one of my favorite star sightings.

Q, It’s an interesting and exciting time for female entrepreneurs – who are your current hero’s?

 A. Oprah Winfrey still impresses me on a regular basis and it’s inspiring how she has stayed true to her message and hasn’t seemed to sell out.  Gorjana Reidel is a local CEO that I have watched evolve her business and it’s really impressive.