Elevated Camping: Exploring Zion with Under Canvas

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When imagining a weekend camping trip, we often picture stargazing underneath vast night skies, sharing thoughtful conversation and campfire-cooked meals with friends, exploring secluded trails, and unplugging from group texts and email alerts to finally finish that novel.

In reality, a weekend in the wilderness isn’t always so romantic. It often involves rushing to snag a campsite, hauling equipment, barely getting any shut-eye thanks to a dated sleeping bag and noisy neighbors, eating one-too-many Clif bars, and somehow using a month’s supply of dry shampoo in just two days. Sound familiar?

Though our ALIGN team still enjoys a rugged camping adventure every once in awhile (we like to think it builds character), we were thrilled to join Under Canvas for a taste of one of their all-inclusive glamping experiences.

For almost 10 years, Under Canvas has taken camping up a notch by offering luxurious accommodations in some of America’s most coveted national parks. Under Canvas founders, Sarah and Jacob Dusek, drew inspiration from guided African safaris to forge a similar experience stateside. Now operating in seven U.S. locations, the company provides pampering packages that feature chef-prepared meals, guided expeditions, chic tents, and even spa treatments—all while surrounded by jaw-dropping views. Sign us up!

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We visited Under Canvas Zion, located on 196 acres that border the Southwest’s Zion National Park. Our group flew into Las Vegas, and took a quick shuttle ride up to Utah to reach the site.

We were greeted by the Under Canvas staff, where they debriefed us on the property and showed us our luxurious safari-inspired tents. The tents rivaled hotel rooms with their rustic-contemporary decor and attention to detail, and we were giddy to find that plush king-size beds, en-suite full bathrooms (hot showers!), and a wood burning stove awaited us.

 

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Another perk of Under Canvas is that the experience is completely customizable, depending on what you want to do and see while you’re there. We chose a guided nature walk, where our knowledgeable field guide pointed out local flora and fauna, as well as a Jeep Safari tour accompanied by an engrossing park history lesson from our driver. A few thrill-seeking individuals from our group took a helicopter ride for aerial views of Zion and Snow Canyon State Park.

Under Canvas’ other national park locations offer a plethora of daytime activities and excursions to choose from as well. In the Great Smoky Mountains, guests can opt for a full day of hiking or a driving through the Appalachians, while the Yellowstone itinerary offers private horseback rides and whitewater rafting trips along the Gallatin river.

Each day, we grabbed morning fuel at Ember’s restaurant in the onsite reception area. This ‘master’ tent also housed beautiful common areas perfect for sharing meals and enjoying panoramic vistas of the park. Ember’s supplied convenient made-to-order lunches for our days away from the camp, and their chef-driven dinners including roasted trout, steak salad, and barbecue sandwiches were above and beyond typical campfire fare.

Some of the other sites, such as Yellowstone, have a neighboring property where guests can dine, but the majority of the sites function similarly to Zion with an easily accessible onsite restaurant.

Our time exploring Zion with Under Canvas was an unforgettable experience that made for a reluctant goodbye. The site served as an elegant and comfortable launching pad for exploring Zion National Park and we are already planning trips to the other sites scattered across the country.

We’re not the only ones who feel this way—Under Canvas has received rave reviews from Travel + Leisure, Forbes, and Vanity Fair. ALIGN would love to discuss how to get you there next, whether it be for a wedding, family reunion, corporate retreat, or a couple’s getaway. Drop us a line to assist in planning your next adventure under the stars.

 

Ciudad de Mexico: Muchas Devoluciones

Next time a friend suggests that you make the trip to Mexico City, listen to them. Recently named as the official 2018 World Design Capital, this vibrant, energized, fast-paced and style-forward city was well worth the journey.

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In April, we decided to flee the States for tax season during the infamous blooming of Mexico’s Jacarandá Tree season. Each spring, these blushing purple flowers grace the streets and parks of the city. Interesting Fact: the first Jacarandá tree was originally a gift from a Japanese immigrant who came to visit the city, and has become to Mexican culture an enduring symbol of international friendship. Vertical gardens line the streets, providing clean air and presenting an innovative way to further beautify the city.

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Fortunately for us, the most stunning view we found during our stay was right outside our hotel window at the Four Seasons! Our windows overlooked a lush courtyard with breathtaking views. No matter where you choose to stay, be sure to grab breakfast at Four Seasons’ Pan Dulce or enjoy a tequila craft cocktail from the stunning on-site bar, Fifty Mils.

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We synced our trip with events centered around Condo Mexico City 2018. Denver-based Gildar Gallery, in collaboration with Gallery Hilario Galguera, held their opening reception for the Palletable Relations exhibit during our visit. The breathtaking space was host to works by many artists, including Denver’s own Amber Cobb and Andrew Jensdotter.

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Our favorite lunch was spent celebrating a friend’s birthday at Contramar. Chef Gabriela Camará is the genius behind this female-owned restaurant. It was only natural that we treated the Founder of TARRA, Kate Bailey, to this iconic experience. If you order anything, be sure to have the Fish The Size from the entrée section of the menu. We opted for the Contramar Style fish, which is made with half marinade red chili rub and half parsley rub. The food was absolutely divine, and well enjoyed in the restaurant’s sunny, open interiors.

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All of the wonderful flavors of Mexico can be found at Pujol on their tasting menu. Our favorite dish was the Mole Madre that has been aged for over 1,200 days. This bucket list item was rated No. 20 on the World’s Best 50 Restaurants in 2017.

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With so much beauty, design and fashion on tap, we spent the majority of our time meandering the neighborhoods of Condesa and Roma. With the green trails through the center of the city streets, corner bistros and coffee shops, and stunning architecture, you can’t help but imagine a more peaceful, beautiful life here in Mexico City.

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Smart shopping is all the buzz throughout the city center. Be sure to visit Carla Fernandez for locally designed clothing and accessories and find a seat at Mercado Roma to rest your feet after a day of busy shopping and sightseeing.

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Julieta Venegas, we get you:

 

“I went to Mexico City to visit, and I fell in love with the city. I went to my house to pick up my stuff. It was the craziest, most impulsive move I've ever done. I just felt like I had to stay there.”

 

Julieta Venegas

 

Building Our Cadence in José Ignacio

What’s your dream vacation? This commonplace question always elicits varying and diverse replies from its respondents. Though many of us know where we are most yearning to go, the biggest obstacle whilst planning a trip lies in determining how you are going to experience that place when you get there. When the ALIGN team sat down to discuss our next trip, we knew we wanted to travel to South America. This time around, however, we didn’t want to handle the logistical details, so we had our friends at Gray & Co. curate the perfect Uruguayan getaway for our team.

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Gray & Co. is an industry leader in active luxury trips to all corners of the world. With more than two decades of experience, this tour operator curates custom itineraries for their clients down to the smallest detail. From biking through the vineyards of Tuscany, to exploring the surrounding areas of Lake Powell, each trip is thought out and flexible— crafted specifically around the preferences of the client. We were impressed by how hands-off we truly were throughout the planning process, and how seemingly effortless our dream trip to Uruguay came to life.

Pre-trip coordination was seamless. The Gray & Co. team has clients fill out information forms, which helps to dial in personal preferences to ensure the perfect trip is accommodating for everyone involved. Detailed itineraries are sent out months in advance, allowing participants to familiarize (and daydream!) about their adventure-packed days and their luxe evenings to come.

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Many Gray & Co. itineraries are rooted in outdoor activities like hiking or biking. We spent three days road biking with our lovely guide, Annie. She assisted in fitting us for our top-tier carbon-fiber bikes, and in instructed us expertly through our gears. Much like Annie, your trusted guide will start with outlining the day’s ride in great detail to properly set expectations with the group. All of the routes we took were carefully chosen, and we had the opportunity to explore the area around Jose Ignacio, riding through the rolling countryside and cruising along the coastline.

On our second day of road biking, we stopped midday riding amongst various vineyards and wineries in the Uruguayan countryside, and made our way to the stylish Hotel Fasano for lunch. It was delightful to take in all of the views from the lovely property as we enjoyed a well deserved lunch overlooking the Maldonado River. The most memorable dining experience for all of us, however, was experiencing a traditional parrilla dinner at Estancia Vik. The servers brought out course after course of different meats and vegetables straight off of the asado.

Activities outside of road biking were seamlessly woven into our itinerary as well. On one of our visits to the rustic-chic Estancia Vik, we ventured out alongside their onsite gauchos for a sunset horseback ride. This was a fantastic way to experience their sprawling property, and learn more about the history of the hotel.

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Gray & Co. handled our accommodation vetting, setting us up in the stylish fishing village of Jose Ignacio in a lovely three-bedroom casa at Playa Vik. We were not disappointed! Playa Vik was characterized by incredible contemporary design, incorporating unique architecture and art forms throughout. Visitors can spend the day strolling the expansive beachfront that sits just in front, or they can opt for soaking up the Uruguayan sun (or caipirinhas) in the hotel’s beautifully constructed cantilevered swimming pool. We were also treated to property tours of Vik’s sister properties, Bahia Vik and Estancia Vik, which are also plugged into Gray & Co. itineraries.

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Lunch and dinner reservations are another thing that comes included in every Gray & Co. trip, really allowing travelers alike to focus on enjoying themselves rather than worry about the fuss of planning these details that can too easily become tedious. We kicked off our first dinner of the trip at Parador La Huella, a chic beachside restaurant that served up amazing seafood.

Our last morning in Uruguay was spent at the charming, The Shack Yoga, where we reflected on our trip during a lengthy Vinyasa style class. Overall, the blend of guided/planned activity was a great balance with the time we had to relax in the spa, peruse through the cute shops of Jose Ignacio, and break for cocktails.

Overall, our experience with Gray & Co. in Uruguay was incredible, a trip filled with unique experiences and the most memorable of moments. Gray & Co.’s experience in the luxe travel sphere is unparalleled. Our experience was a perfect balance of activity, leisure time and relaxation. We would be delighted to connect you with our friends at Gray & Co. to assist you with all the details for your bucket list trip in 2018.

ALIGN does Argentina: Good Airs and Fair Winds

If you’re familiar with ALIGN, you know our affinity for Paris has never been understated. Huge fans of the cultural landscape that is France’s capital city, we’ve always been just as interested in experiencing the city that has been crowned “The Paris of South America”: Buenos Aires.

This year we decided to ditch January in Colorado to visit Argentina. After spending a week in Buenos Aires in stylish digs, enjoying the innovative food and beverage scene, and immersing ourselves in the vibrant culture, we are delighted to report back on our favorite pieces of Buenos Aires.

Stay:

If you’re looking for luxury accommodation, we recommend the classic Alvear Palace (visit their champagne bar!) or the modern-styled Faena Hotel (host to one of the city’s top Tango shows).

While the city’s top hotels are located in the affluent districts of Recoleta and Puerto Madero, we opted for a rental property in the stylish Palermo neighborhood, which served as an incredible homebase to explore Buenos Aires by foot. We spent warm mornings in our rooftop pool leisurely drinking espresso, and dedicated afternoons to exploring the nearby trendy boutiques, inviting cafes and fantastic restaurants.

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Eat: 

For our first experience of the Argentine parilla, we visited one of Palermo’s famous restaurants, the uniquely styled La Cabrera. Stick to the ojo de bife, or ribeye, that comes with an impressive array of accoutrements. We haven’t stopped talking about their renowned starter dish of Provoleta, a provolone-style cheese grilled to dreamy perfection and served with chimichurri.

While visiting Palermo, be sure to check out Ninina. We frequented this minimalist yet delicious bakery for their green juices and outstanding alfajores, a traditional South American shortbread cookie with dulce de leche in its center. Be sure to order the burrata and, if you’re feeling bold, pair it with the “Hey Rose!”

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On a particularly adventurous night, we tried out a new restaurant, Proper. Specializing in small plates, this was one of our more unique dining experiences in Buenos Aires. The pork chop was one of the best things we’ve tasted on our travels. A special thanks to the January 2018 issue of Food + Wine for pointing us in the “Proper” direction!

La Alacena was an unsuspected gem. This charming restaurant and bakery in Palermo serves up delicate dishes, including handmade pastas and inventive small plates. The stracciatella starter plate and the ricotta + pea ravioli were our personal favorites.

No trip to Buenos Aires is complete without the mandatory visit to Don Julio. This Palermo hot-spot is the most renowned steakhouse for tourists and locals alike. Though their steaks are definitely worth the hype, the beef empanadas coming out of Don Julio's kitchen might be the best-kept secret in the country.

Drink:

Though not the boldest in Bordeaux, Buenos Aires’ beverage scene was diverse, rich and inviting. Argentina is the fifth largest wine producer in the world, offering a variety of high quality libations. Classic Argentine innovation is setting the stage for their blossoming mixology and craft beer scene, which is taking off and gradually finding a place in the country’s nightlife culture.

A visit to La Malbequeria is perfect for a rainy day, or any day for that matter. This quaint wine bar and restaurant boasts a beautiful patio that  made indulging in their exquisite Malbecs that much more enjoyable.

Casa Cavia, a chic concept store and restaurant, was a perfect place to take refuge for a cool cocktail. Their unique drink list is inspired by literary works of past, resulting in a fun and quirky range of drinks to choose from. We suggest the Tennessee Williams, one of The Monocle’s Top Choices.

Our last night in Buenos Aires, we strayed from wine to check out the emerging craft beer scene in the city with a visit to Patagoina Brewing, which has multiple bars throughout South America. Their Pale Ale almost had us missing Denver.

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Do:

We explored Buenos Aires via cruiser bicycles with Biking Buenos Aires. Highlights of the “Heart of The City Tour” included exploring the diverse neighborhood of La Boca, learning more about Argentina’s controversial history, and trying Argentine’s beloved street food, lomito and choripan.

Buenos Aires has fostered a unique art scene, which is rooted primarily in the city’s tumultuous history. Street art is widely popular, with expressive graffiti and politically fueled murals scattered across the city. The city also hosts a plethora of museums and galleries suited to every taste. We took an afternoon to visit The Latin American Art Museum of Buenos Aires (better know as the MALBA), which specifically focuses on Latin American art from the 20th and 21st century. We caught the remarkable exhibition showcasing the Mexican Revolution.

We stumbled upon our favorite boutique, Patrón,  just blocks away from our AirBnB. The shop showcases artisan jewelry, accessories, art, and decor from over 50 Argentine artists and designers. If you’re looking for a gift (for a friend or for yourself), this is the place to go— specifically for leather bags.

Culture, Design, Art and Food were the cornerstones of this truly unparalleled travel experience. We’re so happy to be able share our travels with you. Please feel free to share this list with anyone you know planning a trip to South America. And, if planning your international excursion seems like a daunting task, ALIGN can plan your trip to make sure you are making the best use of your time abroad.

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Drum Roll, Please: Announcing Align Office Design

As you know, we’ve been passionate about creating undeniably amazing environments for our clients' residents. In working with many CEO’s, we can't help but notice the office as an extension of the home. A truly aligned office environment is streamlined, unique to the company's vision, and inspires your team everyday (even if that team is just you).

Currently we are infusing a few offices in Denver and Boulder with some extra mojo and attention to finer details. This additional layer of finesse definitely includes art and decor to bring about an aesthetically pleasing environment, but it can also enhancing the overall experience, including organization and efficiency systems design. How does your style reflect your brand? How will your place of business be inviting to clients, investors, employees (whether that's a home office, corner office or an office buzzing with activity)? How do you want to show up in the world as a professional?

Enter ALIGN Office Design-- Starting with Levin Family Dental

ALIGN was brought to the project by Levin Family Dental's talented Creator of Environments, Meg Miller. Taking a cue from her Mid-Century Modern sensibilities, it was necessary to create the same aesthetic behind closed doors-- and closed drawers. Our Organizational Experience Manager, Craig, developed systems and best practices for a full dental office organization. In 30 days, the ALIGN team completely transformed and streamlined files and products that Levin Family Dental has had in place for years. Even more, Craig was able to regulate inventory systems and check-ins that help hold staff accountable in their day to day work. Here's how it turned out: 

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Stay tuned for more new office experiences to come! Co-Founder, Lauren Redlich spent her days before ALIGN on the commercial furniture circuit, while Co-Founder Nicole Adams has been curating tastes and spaces throughout her career. Both have enjoyed being exposed to a variety of high end interiors, either as guests or paid reviewers (that was a fun stint!). Suffice to say, Nicole and Lauren know just what to look for in a hospitable experience-- together they are passionate about using this knowledge to create alignment among people, purpose and space. While they already do this in the home, it was just time to do it in the office as well!

 

Biju's Little Curry Shop: Now Serving Good Chai and Chi

 Positive vibes are the sustainable fuel driving Biju's work and life.

Positive vibes are the sustainable fuel driving Biju's work and life.

Mark Cuban once said, "Don't start a company unless it's an obsession and something you love.".  Here at ALIGN, we are firm believers of this sentiment, as we thrive off of the positive energy that stems from doing what we love. Positive energy is essential for any entrepreneur's early mornings and late nights and it is the positivity within that creates a sustainable life for business owners.

Surrounding yourself by positive people doesn't hurt either. Enter Biju Thomas of Biju's Little Curry Shop. Author of a few books, endurance athlete, private chef, consultant, and avid restaurateur. How does he do it all? We've experienced first hand as ALIGN had the privilege of executing both a client wedding weekend and dinner for Governor John Hickenlooper, with Biju as our Private Chef. It's a combination of the innovation, drive, attention to detail, and laughs in between that keep his passion for food thriving. Each event was executed seamlessly and all guests left with a smile, a belly full of goodness, and a sense of community. There is an art to achieving this experience and he writes about it in The Feed Zone Table.

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Biju-- a visionary with a story. He is constantly encouraging the people that work with him and for him to strive for excellence. From his right hand man, Larry, that has Chai making down to an art, to his PR team--he actually draws inspiration from his employees and colleagues and counts on them to enhance each customer's experience.

We should all grab a cup of chai and toast to the people out there that empower you to be who you are and motivate you to keep putting your most vibrant colors out into the world.

Contact us if you are looking for an amazing celebrity chef for a private event. We think we have our finger on the pulse here. In the meantime, check out Biju's Little Curry Shop's most recent location inside of the Wholefoods in Tamarac and experience, first hand, the positive chi within.

 Lauren doing what she does best-- keeping the jokes flowing.

Lauren doing what she does best-- keeping the jokes flowing.

Align's Top 10 Excuses to Escape to Paris in January (or Anytime for that Matter)

1. The absolute No. 1 excuse to escape to Paris in the dark and cold of winter is "Les Soldes". Heard of it? As our travel companion Phillip rejoiced, "The whole city is on sale"!  We were sure to pack an empty suitcase to fill for the return trip. Sales are state regulated in France and only happen twice a year: once in summer and once in winter. Boutiques, Design Stores, Pop up Shops, and Hardware Stores are moving inventory and everything is 30%-70% off. We purchased some items for clients and also managed to each come away with a pair of shoes and sunglasses. There were treasures left and right. “Les Soldes” was alone worth the trip!

2. Apologies to all of our vegetarian friends and followers, but the foie gras was EVERYTHING! We loved it at Le Comptoir, but ate it anywhere and any chance we got.  Our friend and traveling companion Charles was assigned to prep foie gras during his culinary years so he helped us critique each bite we took.  It’s always a bonus to travel with an expert.

3. Part of the journey was composed of trip to Maison & OBJECT. This show took place in Paris Jan 20-24, 2017. The show is centered around consumer trends, inspiring experiences, and product launches. Maison focuses on interior decoration and OBJECT is concept and retail. Philip told us that yellow is the on trend color for 2017!  Who knew Big Bird was on trend all along…

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4. Any art, fashion, and design expedition in Paris requires a pit stop (or two) for a cocktail. In the heart of the Saint-Germain Arts District, we stumbled upon  Prescription Cocktail Club. Every creation was a different craft combination and each cocktail came in perfectly coordinating glassware. Don't forget to head upstairs and check out the draping Top Hat Light fixture installation in the upper stairwell. 

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5. Customize your bootsAlteliers Heschung  custom ginkgo boots are perfect for the man in you or the man in your life. We customized a pair for a client because it was too fun to pass up! Much like interior design textiles, you match your leathers with your canvas and create the perfect pair. Your initials will appear in the tongue of the shoe and the shoemaker signs the shoe. French Shoemaker since 1934 and it shows. There are three convenient shops throughout the city.  Women’s shoes and boots also available!

6. More sightseeing s'il vous plaît. Pack a sandwich and a bottle of wine and take the trip to Chateau De Versailles. Located less than an hour from the city, The Palace of Versailles is the central part of a complex that housed the French government, most notably its royalty, during the reigns of Louis XIV (France's famed “Sun King”), Louis XV and Louis XVI. After the French Revolution in 1789, it ceased to be a permanent royal residence. With over 2300 rooms, we enjoyed studying each ceiling mural, special textile, and intricate piece of architecture. Don't forget to stop by the simple dive bar Pub O' Paris for a pint to cure your achy feet after a full day of walking thru this magical place.

7. We add our next suggestion to this list because we put it on the top of ours and we never got to it. The Picasso Museum  came highly recommended from our favorite US creative, Alexis, and our Danish friend Camilla that works for Trip Advisor. There's got to be a reason to get back to Paris soon, so please visit and tell us that we should return immediately.

8. You cannot leave Paris without stopping by Ladurée to try their infamous macaroons. Plan to stop again the day prior to your departure to bring home beautifully wrapped boxes for friends and family. Their interior aesthetic is an amazing reflection of their high quality tastes, both figuratively and literally. In fact, we travelled with a book, Paris by Lauderee that did not steer us wrong and outlined the details of The Paris Flea Market.

9. Our dear friend Neyla insisted we go to Merci and she did not steer us wrong. In the front, a cafe and used bookstore and behind is a large, beautifully curated concept shoppe. Anything hip and beautiful is found here. Shop while you wait for your name to be called for a seat. Cast your own chairs, scout for art and fashion, and check out the bag collection (including Topo Bags) on the lower level. Another concept shoppe series that occupies the streets of Paris is FLEUX . Here we found the perfect espresso set for our favorite Frenchman, Henri, and his husband Chris.

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10. Last but certainly not least, Grand Coeur. Grand Coeur translates to Big Heart, but also bring your big thirst and your big appetite. Located on Rue du Temple in Le Marais, moments from our flat (where Jorie, Mary and friends danced the night away), this local gem is tucked away in a centre. Known for their gin and tonics, we ordered the drink special which was Gin + Tonic + Carrot Puree. The menu is French Farm to Table and the food was very thoughtful and appealed to the senses. The service was excellent and atmosphere extremely inviting. We got lucky with a walk in, but reservations are encouraged. The Michelin Chef is Argentinian and his food is based on nature and the garden. 

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So much to see, so little time, don’t worry Paris we will be back for more soon!

Until we meet again,

Au Revoir

xo Nicole & Lauren

Mid Century Modern Meets Futurism

What if David Byrne and Slim Aarons were to dine under a Cuban moon? Then travel to Mars for an aperitif. This far-out concept is what inspired 30 fabulous guests to come together for a truly original birthday/dinner party experience. Who's birthday you ask? Align's Co-founder, Nicole Adams. Food & Libations: Eric Cimino and Turquesa Aros.

Our Client’s Exquisite Masterpiece: A Collaborative Success

What we have learned time and time again with Align, is to hire a person who is really good at what they do and put them on your team. We often work with contractors and sub contractors and select them with our clients’ best interests in mind.

All successful processes are collaborative. Lauren and I work side by side on a regular basis to meet our portfolio demands. We depend on our employees to execute our vision and it is a constant ebb and flow. Most recently, we took place in a super unique collaborative process. Our client is listing his exquisite penthouse at 1610 Little Raven in Denver.

 

Lauren put her organizational and design skills to the test. After Align moved our client in Eco Friendly Green Boxes, to his new home, we were left with an industrial feel condo with a stunning view, that needed some final touches for it’s big debut. Enter Tanya Heller, a well known Denver Real Estate Agent with Slifer, Smith, and Frampton Denver. Tanya insisted that the best Penthouse in town for sale should look immaculate. We were up for the challenge. With many hours spent decluttering and polishing, we also began the planning process with Flora Interiors. Karla and Mindy worked with Lauren Redlich, Align’s Co-Founder, to put the best fitting furniture in place. The interiors came alive with a sophisticated, yet neutral palette. This allows for potential buyers to see the space with clean lines, so they can visualize how they would see the space as their own.

Countless hours were put into the staging of this beautiful home that overlooks Riverfront Park. Luxury was defined through and through from every company and every touch point. Slifer, Smith, and Frampton trusted Flora and Align to execute the preparation of PH-1 seamlessly. With all teams and contacts working together, our client was able to trust that agenda items were being handled, deliveries were beingreceived, and that the immaculate property would meet Denver properly in it’s best form.

If you would like a showing at this stunning listing, please contact us and we will be happy to put you in touch with Tanya Heller directly. If you are looking for an amazing staging company, we highly recommend Flora Interiors. If you need a team to put everything in place and handle your properties, call us and we will get you from Point A to Point B in no time.

The Art of Kikubari: A Japanese Term that the Eleven Experience Comprehends

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We were excited to write our next blog post on Scarp Ridge Lodge, but Goop beat us to it in their recent post, “What Women Really Want for Valentine’s Day”. Rightfully so. Any holiday, we would gladly revisit this property in Crested Butte, and can only long for traveling to their remaining properties in their portfolio with locations including the Bahamas and Iceland. 

“Kikubari” (pronounced “key-koo-BAH-ree”) is the ultimate in Japanese customer service. This term reminded me of our weekend at Scarp Ridge Lodge in Colorado. The staff at The Eleven Experience was able to anticipate our needs and fulfill them proactively. This is a true art form, as employees were not lingering or ever present, they just arrived at the right place at the right time delivering tips on the slopes as well as drink buckets to the hot tub. Every touch point was seamless and a true reflection of the beautifully designed lodge in historic downtown Crested Butte.

It had been two years since I’ve skied powder. During Apres’ at the lodge, an Eleven Guide came to visit and explain what the Cat Ski agenda looked like for the next days and what the current conditions and terrain were in Irwin, Colorado (10 minutes from Crested Butte and receives 3x more snow than the town). When sharing the excitement with Lauren over handmade craft cocktails made passionately by an Eleven Staff Member, the ski valet arrived and delivered powder skis and boots to my locker. They advised me to get some rest and be ready for an unforgettable day on the mountain.

With Lauren being the urban guest that is adventurous, but does not ski—the art of Kikubari became ever present. The Staff at Eleven knew that Lauren was not interested in skiing, from our pre call, where they dialed in all of our exact preferences that they would later cater to. From this collective knowledge, they put together an itinerary understanding her desires before she ever voiced them. Lauren was informed that she had a snowshoe tour early morning after breakfast. After the tour, the guides made arrangements to wisp her up to the backcountry cabin on the mountain on a snowmobile. At the “movie cabin” we joined our friend, Tyler, and other guides for French Onion Soup and Smoked Trout Salad made on-site. This culinary experience added to the layers of this perfect bluebird Colorado day. We rested, we ate, we joked about how I was potentially the “most challenged” skier in the cat, and we learned more about the property and skiing from our guides. We had grins that were reminiscent of our view—never ending.

The day was incredible and in true Eleven Experience fashion, it only continued to get better and better. Upon our return from the mountain, we were greeted by the hotel staff that put away our gear and informed us that healthy snacks were awaiting us in the Lodge Bar along with a friendly bartender and the perfect mirror TV that was displaying outlandish videos from heli skiing in Iceland. We enjoyed the relaxation and continued onto the hot tub on the lodge roof, while the local celebrity chef began preparing an amazing meal for us (attuning even more to our needs).

Regardless of the point of your trip to Scarp Ridge Lodge, we guarantee that your every need will be met. The cool part about Eleven, is that they do not display their efforts, creating a natural experience for the guests. The whole experience was the perfect amount of casualness and formality. Please let us know if you are interested in learning how good design, expert guides, incredible chefs, and an exceptional staff can impact your next vacation experience. We would love to put you in touch with the team at Eleven, so they can begin planning your next bucket list trip.