Where's The Frenchie? - for the dog who's going places
Hi, I'm Nikki! I try to travel with my frenchies Weston and Fira whenever I can. This is where you can find my travel diaries and curated guides to beautiful travel destinations for the modern, chic dog-owner.
We just got back from a 6 day road trip up the Central Coast of Cali! Ok, so in 6 days we really squeezed in a lot of stops and miles (1000+!). Since we had a tight schedule, we really made the most of it.
My friend Liz was visiting from England and it was her first time in California aaand it was the first time for Fira and I doing this drive up north too- finally! The farthest north I had been before was San Luis Obispo (besides San Francisco), so I was super excited to venture up with the girls.
(325 miles north of Los Angeles)
[ S. GREG PANOSIAN GETTY IMAGES ]
We left LA early and headed north. We got really lucky and the weather was 80+ degrees most days! We blasted the AC for Fira, went through some of Bob Dylan’s hits and picked up Del Taco (being from England, this was on the top of Liz’s list).
Carmel was home to actress + animal activist Doris Day, who was co-owner of Cypress Inn–deemed one of the most pet friendly hotels in the country. It’s a tiny town but it packs a punch with its adorable fairy-tale style buildings and story-book homes. We took Fira for a walk to the beach and loved pointing out all the different style houses!
We stayed one night at Hotel Carmel (totally recommend) and what else did we do? Food and wine tastings!
DOG FRIENDLY RESTAURANTS IN CARMEL
Forge in the Forest. Beautiful outdoor patio with fireplace and even a doggie menu.
Casanova. European cuisine open for dinner and an outdoor patio once frequented by Van Gogh.
Portabella. French/italian in a gorgeous cottage + patio.
WINE WALK TASTING ROOM PASSPORT
Did you know you can purchase a passport and have tasting flights in any 10 of the 13 rooms in Carmel? From reading all the reviews online, it looks like dogs are welcomed in all!
(275 miles north of Carmel)
After a beautiful drive through the redwoods, we finally arrived to Mendocino for the first stop: a wine tasting at Maple Creek Winery (located in Mendocino’s famed wine country and about a 45-minute drive from the Mendocino Coast)! Very dog friendly and the Cowboy Red is a must.
Maverick, Fira + Chompers
If you guys are ever in Mendocino, plsss stay at Little River Inn. We stayed two nights and it was just what we needed. Spectacular view of the sea, delicious food and so quiet + relaxing.
Catch A Canoe. Canoes made especially for dogs! This was such a blast! We had a guided tour and about 2 hours on Big River.
Skunk Train. Historic scenic train journey through the redwoods. Tickets from $27+.
We headed back down south, spent the day driving and then the night at a random motel in Fremont. In the morning, we drove a few more hours and arrived to Big Sur. We didn’t sleep over but we had the whole day to just lounge and stop at the beaches for sun–ahh.
Certain areas of Pfeiffer State Park + campgrounds are dog friendly and dogs are allowed on Pfeiffer State Beach. Here’s a great dog-friendly guide from a fellow traveler.
I want to go back and next time will stay at the famed Ventana! Dogs are welcome for $150/stay and they even offer glamping.
250 miles later, we arrived in Ojai! Ooh, was I tired and grumpy at this point, lol. I immediately got a massage for my aching back at Bamboo Creek (chinese massage, $48/hr) and we refreshed ourselves with some wine at Ojai Valley Inn.
DOG FRIENDLY RESTAURANTS IN OJAI
Hip Vegan. My fave lunch spot here- every dish is so spot-on with flavor.
Boccali’s. A true Ojai family-owned classic. Huge portions of pasta + garlic bread.
Farmer + Cook. Farm-to-table mexican/vegan food.
Oak Grill. Delicious Californian cuisine at Ojai Valley Inn.
Watch out for poison oak! Apparently, there’s been a huge overgrowth of poison oak in the Central Coast area and somewhere/somehow I got into some. I’m now itching like crazy and waiting for these rashes to go away!
I met Jenna briefly a few months ago at my first Alt Summit and once I took a look at her site, we needed to do a House Tour asap! Her home in Schenectady, New York is a full house of DIY renovations, beautiful light and two adorable Boston Terriors (and a husband + 4 girls!). BTW- this DIY Modern Privacy Fence post is bookmarked. Perfect for pup parents and at a fraction of the cost.
Now let’s get to the gorgeous photos!!
How would you describe your interior style?
I would definitely describe my style as Mid Century Eclectic. Each space has a touch of several different styles with a base of mid century modern. We love light, bright and minimal and it can be reflected throughout our home.
What’s your favorite room and why?
Such a tough question! Had you asked me this a month ago I would have said my living room or master bedroom but today it is definitely my kitchen. The kitchen is the heart of every home and now that we have wrapped up our renovation I can really feel it in this space.
What’s the most personal piece of furniture or decor in your apartment?
The most personal piece of furniture in our home is our dining room table. It is the first big purchase we made after buying our home and our first table that was big enough to seat us all. It has become a place for gathering as a family after a long day to share about the good as well as the bad, where we play games on the weekends and entertain during the holidays. It has become a staple in our everyday.
What is your dogs’ favorite room?
We have two Boston terriers: Beau who is 3 years old and Bennie who is 6 months old. Just like their personalities, they each have different favorite spot in our home. Beau loves the peace and quiet of our oldest daughter’s bedroom. He will spend most mornings and afternoons lounging on her bed in the sun waiting for her to get home from school. Bennie, on the other hand, loves to be in on the action. More often than not you can find him on our living room sofa sleeping the day away but ready to play at a moments notice.
What is your favorite DIY piece you’ve made?
My favorite DIY has not be a piece but rather a space. We did all of the work for our kitchen ourselves. From the planning to demo and putting it all back together again. Sometimes the spaces that make you the most happy are the ones that you pour your own blood, sweat and tears into and for me that has definitely been our kitchen. A piece of advice I have for someone looking to DIY is just go for it!
So, as I was browsing Amazon (did you know they have some really amazing home brands now? I’ll link some of my fave finds below), I ran across this adorable Art Deco-ish bar cart and an idea came to me. How cute would it be for dog storage?!
It makes a really neat little area for the pups’ things and fits shampoos and bottles perfectly. I’m so pleased with how it came out!
See that vent there? We call this Fira’s corner because she sits right in front of the heater vent at all times. She literally turns into a hot potato lying there for hours.
They have their own closet area but this corner is perfect for quick grabs like treats, poo bags (I put them in a treat jar), sprays, etc.
Super easy and fun to organize! It also already comes assembled (woo!). Hope you like!
My AMAZON Faves:
[ Where's The Frenchie is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program and incorporates affiliate links. ]
The Most Instagrammable Spots For Basic Bitches: Nolita/Soho New York Edition
Stateside for this edition of Instagram Tips in New York’s favorite area of the fashion set–calm down West Village, we love you too, but with over 13 million people in New York, covering the city in a short amount of time to maximize your feed, can take laser planning. It also helps you enjoy your time with your dog versus spending hours traveling between spots.
By now, you’ve been able to navigate color (London pink edition) and content (Edinburgh edition), as well as themes (dogs and flowers.) New York combines all, with the added bonus of now being a helluva lot more dog friendly than it was pre-Instagram.
“For the gram” hangs in the air as you see influencers lined down Crosby Street’s cobblestone near NOMO Hotel. All winter we witnessed humans during the Polar Vortex in atheleisure wear and sleeveless gowns, from Chicago in swimsuits to holding aloft a giant bottles of rose on Water Street in Brooklyn, after pushing a tourist “accidentally” to get their shots for the gram.
As always, what’s in style is your dog’s safety and your own.
Please don’t step onto active streets near Flat Iron to get a shot. New York traffic gives zero fluffs about your perfect city shot. Now our disclaimer is out of the way, let’s get into our tips…
For those of you who don’t know, Soho stands for South of Houston. Houston is pronounced HOUSE-ton. If you call is Houston, like the Texan city, you’ll be marked by a local with a “T” for tourist and you won’t get into any of those fashion shows you were able to blackmail an invitation to, no matter what your follower count. And you can forget about rubbing it off because a black light, standard at NY hot spots and fashion shows, will reveal it, as trained and approved by Fashion’s first son, Derek Blasberg.
Don’t be one of those people who has a yapping dog who bites, clutching a note that your pooch is an emotional service animal from a therapist who wrote it to get away from your whining. Service Animals are being cracked down for fraud in 19 states. Airlines including Delta, United and American Airlines are changing their rules to include more documentation. Does that stop the flight of the modern day furbabe? Hardly.
The flight we took from LAX to JFK had six dogs and one cat on it.
A crew member told me he was deathly afraid of the large mutt at the back in his own seat. He wasn’t aware of most dog policies but relieved to hear if an EMS dog is seen eating off the train table, the passenger will be fined and won’t be allowed to bring that dog again. Ask yourself, in any situation: although I can bring my dog, should I?
Alright, you didn’t come for a lecture, you came to get down with where to take photos. The rules are murky, and depend upon each venue. For instance at NY dog cafe, Boris & Horton, there is a doored hallway which separates the cafe where the human food is made, while other restaurants welcome dogs to sit inside.
Down a few blocks from there, the always dive bar dba, rejects participants from Santacon (aka Halloween Part Two; think Mean Girls’ Santa outfits), but welcomes dogs. You won’t get great photos here, not the kind we know you want to grow your IG following, yet your stories will become STORIES and laughter and good times roll out back a plenty. This is a place to celebrate with your friends and stop worrying about main feed perfection.
New York is a town you walk around,
So break out those sustainble VEJA’s you bought after seeing Meghan Markle in a pair in Australia and get comfortable. NY is also one dirty ass city so be prepared with a stain remover kit, knee pads (like The Dogist), wipes, water, a portable bowl and hand sanitizer.
But first, a coffee. 373 Broome Street (larger!) + 327 Lafayette Street
CHA CHA MATCHA. I love you so matcha. Our enduring favorites @honeyidressedthepug glammed up this fabulous pink vegan cafe. It’s dog-friendly and I’m obsessed. When I was working in Soho it gave me life in a dreary winter. The Matcha Latte is fabulous, and beware the queue for the loo—it means an influencer is getting changed inside. Made famous for their sold out collaboration with fashion darling, Virgil Abloh (Off-White’s founder and Louis Vuitton’s Creative Director for Mens Wear), this spot is for all of you who would #travelforpink. Plus mmm, matcha was the drink of choice for Japanese Empresses.
35 Spring St, New York, NY 10012
Blue Stone Lane serves up thick sourdough toast with toppings like salmon, poached eggs, avocado and bananas on thick sourdough bread that make you forsake the need to give up carbs forever. The coffee is damn good though and they have partnered with Bark to produce a very cute coffee cup toy. Pop in for a wam up as we transition to spring for that blue and white cup.
3 Crosby Street
MAX BONE. A must for any dog, as if you needed an excuse to go in there. They do sell candles for the humans. Aside from the gorgeously designed poop bag holders (bring back the elephant, darlings), the Max Bone has a dog house they cover in flowers.
9 Crosby Street
NOMO HOTEL. Slide down a few steps from Max Bone for bonus shots at NOMO. This hotel has a cool wall with street art, a covered trellis to the entrance and outdoor seating with heat lamps. The influencer watching is amazing from high school students to women in gowns. Not. To. Be. Missed.
123 Lafayette St
GLOSSIER. Yes, the pink palace of Millennial success. The staff love dogs; they even have their own instagram @dogsofglossier. Inside their HQ, while Byredo candles burn, wander to the back mirrored room. There are massive ‘boy brow’ props that filled me with delight. This is my favorite Glossier product until they gave me a sample of their face wash and I was blown away by how soft my skin felt. But not an ad; it’s fun, things are pink, you can buy make-up and dog-friendly.
42 Crosby St
GREATS. Not to make you do all your shopping but if you forgot those aforementioned VEJA’s, pop into my fave sneaker makers: GREATS. I met with the co-founder, Ryan Babazien, when they were a staff of four. He’s a disrupter, dog lover and got so much energy. I’m really inspired by him so again, not an ad. The store is great if you don’t have an IG perfect set-up at home.
106 Kenmare Street
THE CORNER/LA ESQUINA. The neon “CORNER” in bright pink is an institution of Soho. A doggy window if all the walking around is giving you some hanger. Pop to the shop, grab some food and then people watch while you refuel in the park across the street from it. This colorful food joint reminds me of old school New York. Pop-by and you won’t regret it. For a date night (minus your pup, La Esquina, the formal restaurant inside is a sexy night. MMM.)
174 Elizabeth St
PIETRO NOLITA. All pink everything. The owner, Pietro, is Italian and loves dogs. What he doesn’t love is people who are not self aware enough and take 10-15 minutes of photos without contributing to his charity fund for the Susan G. Komen foundation, thus the stickers that say “Pink As Fuck.” So please, go inside (yes, he will allow your furbaby) and give a contribution when taking photos here. It’s one of the most photographed spots, so you may have to wait but it’s worth it for the love.
Little Italy Bonus: head into Little Italy. The Audrey Hepburn street art is worthy of getting that perfect snap together. We know you dressed to twin and this is the perfect spot.
This might sound gross but Weston + Fira only end up getting baths once every 6-8 weeks. Of course, if they have been at the beach getting muddy or have dog drool on them from the dog park, they’ll get one or at least a wipe-down. But otherwise, I don’t really find them getting stinky or dirty.
I find their natural scent smells soooo gooood–it smells just like doll hair.
When it’s time for b-a-t-h—by the way, I can’t say the word around Weston or he’ll run away. He literally knows that word and skiddles sideways to another room. To make it easier on everyone, I usually just wash them myself.
I get in the tub with them too. I think it makes them feel safer. Or they could be quietly seething and wondering if they can chew my fingers off.
Well, I just discovered this new, all-organic line Zogics Pet. I actually met the founder last year when we visited 33 Main in Lenox Massachusetts! Zogics is also based in Lenox–the cutest little town ever.
All natural, organic ingredients
These products are so clean. Free of parabens, pH balanced and organic. I don’t use products that have parabens or harsh SLS and your dog(s) shouldn’t either. Harsh soaps/SLS can really dry out their skin.
After their baths, Weston + Fira are SO SOFT! Even strangers have been commenting. After shampooing and washing, I sprayed the Conditioner all over then wiped them down with a towel. When they were all dried, I spritzed a few more times. The scent is so nice and mild—vanilla almond with Moroccan argan oil.
My new fave is actually this Waterless Shampoo. It’s a foam and you just apply + wipe it down. A must for travel. If you follow and watch our IG stories, last night Fira got into the fireplace chasing her ball and when she turned her head around, we DIED. She had black soot around her eye like a huge eyebrow. It was seriously adorable.
Water didn’t wipe it off so I used the foam and it worked like a charm! It also leaves such a clean, almost-dry feeling.
If anyone is interesting in trying them out, the prices are really good, especially the 4-pc set ($55.80)! And you can get 20% off with code: WTF20
Most people I know overpack and bring half their closet on trips, but I definitely have the opposite problem. I have been known to pack so little, I forget my toothbrush and shoes and end up having to buy an outfit or two while I’m traveling. But I truly prefer it that way. I don’t like the added weight and mess, plus I like to shop and bring home all the good finds.
It’s the same way for the dogs. I bring the essentials and try to pack as light as possible. For example, I don’t bring food/water bowls (just a collapsible water bowl) because you can always find bowls wherever you are staying. In a pinch, you can even ask for a takeout container from a restaurant.
Your Carry-on Bag
So, the pups in their carrier become your carry-on bag and you have to check-in your luggage. Weston, 23 pounds, fits inside a Sherpa (sz L) bag comfortably and Fira, 14 pounds, is in the Vanderpump Graphite Carrier (for smaller size dogs). Here’s my list of favorite airline carriers for dogs. They sleep right through the flight!
Make sure to utilize the pockets when you’re traveling! It’s easy to forget about those but it’s a good idea to put your stuff in there so it’s right there at your feet when you’re in your seat.
As for packing…
So, I always have a neck pillow. I only started using one the past year and I honestly don’t know what took me so long. Sleeping on my fist and waking up numb was the norm. Fantastic.
I love these clear plastic zip bags for organizing my clothes and the dogs’ clothes. These bigger ones are great for sweaters and bulkier clothes. I honestly love these–they’re cheap, clear and make organization much easier.
I love planning a few outfits I know I’m definitely going to wear (whether we’re going out, more formal wear or outdoor activities) and pack around those outfits. I wear mostly neutrals so that makes it easy knowing everything almost always will match. I also roll up most of my clothes for maximum space.
Black leather pants, frayed denim jeans, an oversized white v-neck tee, an olive tank, a classic LBD and nude heels are my staples! Always pack a bikini, even if your destination isn’t always warm, for spontaneous spa days or for a random hot spring that could be nearby?!
It’s always a good idea to pack a small pouch (WTFrenchie Spirit Animal Bag $15) with dog treats, extra poo bags and a lint roller (frenchies are shedders). I pack their food in a resealable bag and forego the bowls. Every dog-friendly hotel these days offer bowls or you can always call for an extra bowl or cup.
Make sure to get a health certificate from your vet before you travel on a plane and withhold your pup’s water intake so they can fly with an empty, comfy bladder. Read more on my next post: Step by Step Guide to Flying With Your Dog.
GAP High Waist Skinny Jeans Pink. I just got these on a whim walking past the GAP store because I liked the soft pink color. They actually fit amazing and are such a great deal (GAP always has 50% off sales). I bought them in white too!