Marriott’s Travel Brilliantly Campaign


Over the past 3 years, I’ve visited 11 countries, over 150 cities, been on the road 326 days (give or take), and covered more than a quarter of a million miles. And in all those days of travel I’ve encountered dozens of hotels, experiencing all sorts of highs and lows along the way.  I’ve even created a mental checklist of things I’d love to see, fix, change or incorporate.

When Marriott Hotels asked if I’d be interested in joining them in participating on their Travel Brilliantly campaign, it took me all of 2 seconds to answer. Anyone who dares to re-imagine the future of travel only needs to ask me once!

So what’s all this about, anyway? Simply stated, Marriott’s Travel Brilliantly is a transformative way for the next generation traveler to inspire, create, and connect, no matter if they’re traveling for work, pleasure, or both (as I often find myself doing). It’s a campaign that reaches their customer where we exist — online and through social media — and introduces us to a brand spanking new website, an updated logo (I love it), and the opportunity to affect change by weighing in and sharing ideas on how we travel and use space.

What excites me most about the Travel Brilliantly campaign is that food has not been forgotten. It’s one of the key aspects of transformation, and Marriott has been taking guests’ insight into dining and incorporating that into their hotels. Personally, I’m super thrilled to experience the Travel Brilliantly campaign through the lens of food.

Of course, they do a much better job explaining their new ideas and campaign and you should head over to Travel Brilliantly to experience it all. On the website you’ll also learn that Marriott is listening; you’ll be able to submit your travel ideas for a chance to travel and work with them.

This week I’ll be heading to San Francisco with Shira Lazar of What’s Trending, Cassandra LaValle of Coco+Kelley, and Stefanie Michaels of Adventure Girl to collaborate with Marriott and one another to re-imagine the future of travel. We’ll all be hosting an activity (mine is food, of course!) that will take us beyond the four walls of a hotel, experiencing brilliant travel in the areas of design, adventure travel, culinary, technology and more. And there’s a party, but more on that soon :)

Of course I’d love it if you came along, you can follow me through Twitter and instagram @MattArmendariz and Facebook and make sure to follow the fun and join the conversation with my other hosts via @Marriott, #TravelBrilliantly.


More Prop Goodness

I just came across this story in the latest issue of Donna Hay Magazine. It’s their first Black & White issue and this section details the mag staff’s efforts to create their own set of black and white props (black cinefoil as surface=brilliant). It’s gorgeous! Thought it’d be fun to share, but make sure to pick up your copy as it’s on newsstands now and OH THAT LIGHT! And I do spy a few Elephant Ceramics on that table.  Thanks to DH and her team for continually inspiring us!




Taste, Williams Sonoma Blog


How much do I love Williams Sonoma? It’s immeasurable. Especially the washed linens they were carrying just recently, and yes I had to buy them in every color. But enough napkin talk. I’m super excited to share this, a very quick little Q&A/Blogger Spotlight I did with them last week. Please click on over to their blog to check it out, but make sure you stick around their site, it’s packed with delicious recipes and amazing content from this American gem of a store.

A Tour Of A Hollywood Prop House

(This is an impromptu discussion of All Things Props. Feel free to check out my previous post of my own prop section. Propheads, this one’s for you).

Folks, if your world doesn’t revolve around tables, plates, napkins and wall flats then this post might not be for you. But if you do share an interest in those things we call P-R-O-P-S then you might just wanna stick around and join me on this very intesting, dusty adventure.

What started as a quest for a rustic table for a project led me down the rabbit hole of Hollywood cinema, a crowded 101 freeway and only one hooker sighting on Santa Monica.

You can’t have everything.

After filling out my paperwork and dropping it off at the office, I wandered around the never-ending warehouses of Omega Cinema Props while pretending to know each piece’s rental pedigree. Is this fence from Bonanza? Was this jukebox on Happy Days? I know this banquette was from It’s A Living, right? I mean, this is Hollywood, after all, and this is a place where set designers, studio dressers and prop masters all head to when crafting their thematic magic. And while I’ve been to some prop houses, I must say that the scale of this place left me speechless.

So I took photos!

Wanna come along?


I think about all the fake bars that are created for movies and television. And then I begin to cry thinking that these taps don’t work. So very sad.


Fancy old timey tea signs. They were beautiful!


Why yes, I will have a Sidecar. What? This is a set? Not real? Damn.


SO. MANY. THINGS.  So very many things go through my head. First, angry children throwing fits. Then, angry mannequin children throwing fits. Third, angry mannequin children throwing fits coming to kill me in the middle of the night. And then I start thinking about the movie “Tourist Trap” where the guy turns people into mannequins. Lastly, I begin to think of Kim Cattrall and Meshach Taylor who played “Hollywood” in a movie called “Mannequin.” See? I told you so many things.


After I shot this I got very sad. Why is that mannequin all dejected, sitting down? Did she say something wrong to all the pretty ones? And who lost their hand on the floor? Anyone? Anyone?


FINALLY! An empty and quiet airline waiting room!


I suppose if you need cosmetic bottles this is your place!


I discovered the grocery store section of the prop warehouse and marveled at the signage systems.


Anyone need any really beat up old pots?


Three words: FAKE CHEESE WHEELS! Without the pungent smell, of course.


Fake sausages always make me laugh. Get your mind out of the gutter.


Old cans waiting to find a temporary home in a fake grocery store or market.


What do you think is in here?


Really great old wire baskets.


Shelf stable milk. Just like Europe.


If you have hospital phobias then this area is NOT for you. Of course I loved it.


Please wait here while I grab your chart.




Just creepy! And fabulous! Freepy! Crabulous! I’ll stop.


These awesome enamel pots were next to the bed pans, which will forever make me think that I’ve been using them incorrectly since the beginning of time.


Really fantastic old surgery tools that are making my teeth hurt just looking at them.


There’s everything one could need at this prop house, including a fake ATM. I wonder if they rent fake ATM skimmers, too.


Bottles galore!


If I ever need to open a fake herbal shop I know where I’m comin’!


Is this for coffee? Or something scary? I ain’t gonna lie, it looks a bit creepy.


So many dishes for instant restaurant sets.


And baskets.


And condiments.


Well I suppose from far away…


Rubber Baked Goods. You never know.


Tons of seating and tables


For a second it was hard to remember that I wasn’t actually in a restaurant or restaurant supply shop. There was everything you’d need to make a kitchen set.


More coffee.


THIS. Omg this. It’s like Logan’s Run Coffee Shop. It’s so freaking beautiful.


A cute sign.


Dogs would love this.


Read all about it.


Plastic meat which kind of freaked me out.


Old grinders.


Lots of pots and pans!


Rows and rows of amazing tables, as far as the eye can see.


A fake kitchen for those times when you need mauvish-features.


Cute tables! I love them!


Chairs in just about every style you’d need.


I love this very sweet little chair.


I found the Gnome Section!


And lastly, I stopped by my favorite antique store on the way home and found something of my very own, this gorgeous old chest. After I stare and admire it for a bit, I’ll take it apart and put it back together as a surface to photograph on.

Or maybe stick a mannequin in it.

The end.