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Flophouze Hotel – Round Top’s Sustainable Best Kept Secret
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Into the Countryside…
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Sonoran Rosie – Natural Desert Goodness for Your Skin

Flophouze Hotel – Round Top’s Sustainable Best Kept Secret

Hotels and inns all around the country have recently been embracing the small, sustainable, and minimal lodging markets. I’ve heard of glamping in luxury tents and yurts in the desert, airstreams, domes, tiny house AirBnBs, and more.

Matt White, who is known for his shop- Recycling the Past and event space- Round Top Ballroom, took tiny living to another level, and built Texas’ first shipping container hotel just minutes from downtown Round Top, TX. Matt has always had the constant urge for wanderlust, the need to recycle, and to create. Over 18 years ago, one of his friends who owns one of the fields in Round Top told him that he needed to come and check out Antiques Weekend. He took a half-loaded box truck and set up in the mud…and kept coming back to both the spring and fall shows for about seven years. He then launched Recycling the Past, and has since been a interior design source for clients such as: Nordstrom, Anthropology, Polo, etc., as well as numerous restaurants, hotels, and other designers.

After falling in love with Texas and the Round Top area, he bought the current 7.5 acre property where the Texas branch of RTP is located. It wasn’t long after, when the idea of the shipping container hotel was conceptualized on a napkin while he was flying to some far off destination. He’d always been toying with the concept of building something from containers, which he also likes to refer to as his version of Lincoln Logs. He wanted to create something that looked raw on the outside, but nice on the inside; like the flophouzes, or rugged tiny surf shacks, that dot the New Jersey shoreline. The name flophouze just fit with the vibe he was going for.

In 2016, Matt and his team officially opened with three containers, all adorned with reclaimed artifacts that he had found while on trips around the globe. The hardwood floors are original to the containers, which have traveled the world numerous times over. The interior white pine walls were sourced from an old distillery in Kentucky, as well as the company’s farm in New York. All the windows were salvaged from an old school in Philadelphia that was slated for demolition. Kitchen cabinet bases came from an FDA lab in Brooklyn. The counter tops came from an old bowling alley from Texas. Matt wanted the overall vibe of the containers to be minimal, yet functional. Throughout his many years of traveling, he has spent nights in anything from luxury hotels to dumpy hole-in-the-walls, thus sparking his drive to deliver something unique and nice to his guests. Each houze has a different personality. The decor is also constantly evolving, and everything (including the containers) is for sale.

In 2017, the team added three more containers. Earlier this year, they added a small shipping container pool/spa that was crafted by Modpools. The pool continues to add to the ‘relocatable’ and ‘try before you buy’ themes that it shares with the living quarters. Flophouze partnered with Modpools, and is offering a free night’s stay to folks who purchase a pool through them. The property also features a covered BBQ area, complete with a smoker and a gas grill for guests who want to bring their own food. Guests can also relax on Adirondack chairs, hammocks, and also have access to the fire pits.

Matt has plans to continue to grow the property, as well as the possibility of expanding his concept to other parts of the nation.

My friend, Sofia and I stayed at the boutique hotel a couple weeks ago. The hotel has a self check-in process, where you receive an email after booking, explaining the process of getting the code to the lockbox, etc. Our home-away-from-home was Houze II, where there was a living room, kitchenette, bathroom, and bedroom. The whole space was open concept, with the bathroom that can be closed off with sliding doors. The living room offered a cozy couch with a coffee table and a selection of books and magazines. There is no TV, however, there is Wi-Fi and a Crosley record player with an assortment of records. The kitchenette had a Chemex coffee system, tea pot, mini-fridge, microwave, and other useful utensils that would make a short-term stay comfortable. The bathroom features an enclosed shower with rain shower head, and bath towels by Los Angeles-based Matteo. The bedroom had two twin beds that boasted cozy linens from the famed Pandora de Balthazar (a favorite at the Arbors field during Antiques Weekend). We enjoyed the pool, the pastoral views, the mooing cows, the sunset, and the overall quiet and slow atmosphere of the countryside. It was a nice contrast from the hustle-and-bustle of the city. While in the area, we checked out Henkel Square, Royer’s Pie Haven, Teague’s Tavern (awesome service and veggie burgers), Junk Gypsies, and Round Top Mercantile (for groceries and such). Don’t forget to get a photo of the sign!

Matt recommends going into town for a beer or wine, sitting at Flophouze and watching the sunset and stars, taking a drive along the backroads, checking out Festival Hill, and eating at Feed and Firewater.

Round Top, TX sign.

Sofia and I also did a mini photoshoot on the property. See those photos, along with photos from the trip, HERE.

Scroll down for photos from our stay…

Flophouze Hotel, Round Top, TX

Flophouze Hotel, Round Top, TX

Flophouze Hotel, Round Top, TX

Flophouze Hotel, Round Top, TX

Flophouze Hotel, Round Top, TX, pool

Flophouze Hotel, Round Top, TX, pool

Flophouze Hotel, Round Top, TX,

Flophouze Hotel, Round Top, TX,

Flophouze Hotel, Round Top, TX,

Flophouze Hotel, Round Top, TX,

Flophouze Hotel, Round Top, TX,

Flophouze Hotel, Round Top, TX,

Flophouze Hotel, Round Top, TX,

Flophouze Hotel, Round Top, TX,

Flophouze Hotel, Round Top, TX,

Flophouze Hotel, Round Top, TX,

Flophouze Hotel, Round Top, TX,

Flophouze Hotel, Round Top, TX,

Flophouze Hotel, Round Top, TX,

Flophouze Hotel, Round Top, TX,

Flophouze Hotel, Round Top, TX,

Flophouze Hotel, Round Top, TX,

Flophouze Hotel, Round Top, TX,

Flophouze Hotel, Round Top, TX,

Flophouze Hotel, Round Top, TX,

Flophouze Hotel, Round Top, TX,

Flophouze Hotel, Round Top, TX,

Flophouze Hotel, Round Top, TX,

Flophouze Hotel, Round Top, TX,

Flophouze Hotel, Round Top, TX,

Flophouze Hotel, Round Top, TX,

NOTE: I was given a complimentary one-night stay in exchange for my review. All opinions are my own. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Into the Countryside…

Round Top, TX is home to 90 people most of the year. But every fall and spring, thousands of people gather for Antiques Weekend- where there are hundreds of vintage and antique vendors throughout Round Top, Warrenton, and other surrounding communities.

Sofia and I took a road trip to the hamlet a couple weeks ago. I’m usually there during the antiques festivities, so it was sorta weird being there “off-season.” We had lunch at Teague’s Tavern in Henkel Square. They have the most incredible veggie burger I’ve had (at least in Texas). We ventured over to Junk Gypsy– which is this magical, whimsical retail space with vintage, country-chic, and bohemian finds. After a few hours of letting our food settle from lunch, we went to Royer’s Pie Haven for a piece of pie. Later that evening, we went to Round Top Mercantile for snacks, since we weren’t supper hungry for a large dinner. Overall, there’s not a whole lot to do there, but it’s always worth it to take a drive to neighboring communities. I also recommend hanging out outside in the evenings and catching the nice sunsets. For more information on the area, check out HERE, HERE, and HERE.

Round Top, TX, Henkel Square, travel

Round Top, TX, Henkel Square, travel, Teague's Tavern

Teague’s Tavern

Round Top, TX, Henkel Square, travel, Teague's Tavern

Round Top, TX, Henkel Square, travel, Teague's Tavern

OMG…. Best veggie burger and fries!

Round Top, TX, Henkel Square, travel

Round Top, TX, Henkel Square, travel

Round Top, TX, Henkel Square, travel

Round Top, TX, Junk Gypsy

Round Top, TX, Junk Gypsy

Round Top, TX, Junk Gypsy

The following photos were taken by Sofia

Round Top, travel, OOTD

Round Top, travel, OOTD

The following images were shot at Flophouze Hotel.

Flophouze Hotel, Round Top, Texas, photoshoot

Flophouze Hotel, Round Top, Texas, photoshoot

Flophouze Hotel, Round Top, Texas, photoshoot

Flophouze Hotel, Round Top, Texas, photoshoot

Flophouze Hotel, Round Top, Texas, photoshoot

Flophouze Hotel, Round Top, Texas, photoshoot

Flophouze Hotel, Round Top, Texas, photoshoot

Flophouze Hotel, Round Top, Texas, photoshoot

Flophouze Hotel, Round Top, Texas, photoshoot

Flophouze Hotel, Round Top, Texas, photoshoot

Flophouze Hotel, Round Top, Texas, photoshoot

Have you been to the Round Top area? If so, what are your favorite things to do/see/eat? Tell me in the comments!

 

 

Sonoran Rosie – Natural Desert Goodness for Your Skin

Tucson-based Rosie Crocker owns an Am-AZing natural skincare brand that is derived and inspired by the beautiful Sonoran Desert. The brand also just recently launched August 2017. I was fortunate to meet with her briefly on my last trip to Tucson, and also purchased a few of her products, which I 100% love and stand behind. She harvests the ingredients straight from the desert, and creates such goodness as: Prickly Pear Lip Balm, Creosote + Rosemary Cream, Revitalizing Creosote Face Toner, and more! Creosote (or chaparral) is literally one of my favorite plants, which, as it turns out, is actually good for the skin. I love being in the desert after a good rain, as the smell the creosote lies heavily in the air. So it’s only natural that I’m borderline obsessing over a small brand that specializes in skincare that’s formulated with desert plants. Plus, since I’m temporarily back in Houston, every time I use the cream and toner, I can carry the scent of home around with me for a bit, so to speak.

Rosie grew up in a large family with limited means, which is one of the reasons why she is so passionately driven in the realm of nature and organics. “I love all things nature, animals and believe it is our duty as humans to care for nature and animals. When living my daily life, I always pause before I make a decision and ask myself, ‘How does this decision affect my spirit, body, and the world around me?’ I am constantly learning and growing spiritually and intellectually.”

She goes on to explain, “I have always been a DIY type of person. I have always been all about living an all natural, organic, sustainable life that includes food, health, beauty etc. I started learning more about desert plants just out of curiosity for the world around me. I started with learning about edible desert plants, and that naturally progressed into learning about medicinal desert plants. I had always been disappointed in a lot of all-natural beauty products because, in my opinion, a lot of them are weak acting, smelling, very few of them utilized desert plants and they always came in a lot of plastic packaging. So I started experimenting just using the resources around me. As I became happy with what I was doing, I also let the people around me try them, and they all really liked them. I started being approached to purchase my potions, and it kept growing from there. I have Tucson and Instagram to thank for how fast my business has grown in such a short time. People enjoy watching my process and learning about the Sonoran Desert through my Instagram. Tucson is very community-oriented and supportive. People in Tucson love to support local businesses, and they appreciate the desert; so they love the ingredients I am using. It has been super exciting. I am so grateful and am looking forward to the future!”

LAFS: What inspired you to create desert-themed products?

Rosie: Like I said before, I just recognized that there are so many awesome herbal desert plants that are great for skincare, and not many people are utilizing. I love the desert, and my main products include creosote (chaparral), which is a plant that is so unique to this desert region, and so great for your skin. It has such a unique scent as well, and brings up so many strong memories for us desert dwellers, that I wanted to capture that scent, and give it to people to carry with them. My passion for where I live, combined with some awesome products, made it so fun to come up with new ideas and names for all of them. It all came so fast too. It seems like the universe aligned just right, and everything fell into place. I make all my products with love and care. I feel it is important to focus on positivity, especially while creating anything. Energy transfer is real. When I put love into what I do, that is felt when people use my products. During the spring here in the Sonoran Desert, there are so many wildflowers. Everything blooms, and it is the best time to live here as a nature lover. I don’t believe in buying flowers that where grown by some giant corporation, and shipped here on ice and sold at big box grocery stores. Since I am always out in the desert, and in my neighborhood, I saw that there are so many resources for locally foraged bouquets, smudge wands and wreaths. So I started making those to order for people who have the same desert love that I have!

LAFS: What would you say your favorite product(s) are?

Rosie: It is so hard for me to pick a favorite, because each one is so unique and special. But I can tell you which ones are the most popular, sales-wise. The Desert Rain Fragrance is so dreamy and loved by so many people. It has creosote, sage and sandalwood. It is refreshing, fun, and brings you right to that moment after it rains here in the Sonoran Desert. The Prickly Pear Cactus Lip Balm is another very unique product. It contains real prickly pear fruit juice and prickly pear seed oil in it. It is unlike other lip balms and glosses because it actually moisturizes and heals your dry chapped lips, making you need it less. While other balms and glosses just sit on the top of your lips as decoration- making it so you need to use them more often. It also looks and smells so nice.

LAFS NOTE: I agree about the lip balm. I usually apply it once in the morning, and I’m good to go for the entire day.

LAFS: Do you have a favorite go-to skincare regimen?

Rosie: I don’t want to sound like a walking advertisement for my products, but the reason I made my products in the first place, was for myself to be able to use effective, all natural hair and skin care. I have struggled with oily, acne-prone skin all of my life. One main thing I realized by doing some research, was that I was over-washing my face, and that was causing more oil production; therefore causing my acne. So my daily skin care routine looks like this: ( I wear natural mineral makeup) In the evening I wash my face with Yes To Grapefruit scrub to remove all my makeup and give me a nice smooth surface. Then I spray my Revitalizing Creosote Face Toner all over my face and neck, let it dry, and then I apply evening primrose oil all over my face and neck (every other day). I alternate the evening primrose oil with my Creosote + Rosemary Cream every other day. So one day I will use the cream, and the next day, the oil. I leave the cream/ oil on over night and in the morning I splash my face with warm water ( I do not wash my face with soap in the morning). I then apply a light sunscreen, or all natural BB cream with sunscreen in it. I then apply my makeup, and it starts all over again. Ever since I have been toning, moisturizing and washing less, my face has been less oily. I barely ever have acne, and I am so happy with the way my skin looks.

LAFS: Where can we find your products?

Rosie: The best place to find my products is to go to my Etsy. I give a small discount to Tucson locals, so if you are local, I suggest looking on the Etsy site to see which products you like, and then message me via Instagram. I also sell products at Pop Cycle on 4th Ave, The Museum of Contemporary Art gift shop, Faun Salon, Studio 110, The Ninth House, and Avenue Boutique (all located in Tucson). The products vary at each shop- some carry my full line, some carry only a few different products.

Rosie offers us a last piece of advice. “Support small businesses! I do my best to source my ingredients locally because I know my dollar counts. For every $100 spent on small businesses, $45 of that goes back into that community; whereas for every $100 spent at chain (corporate) stores, only $14 goes into the community. I hope you recognize your value and understand that life is one big circle- you get what you put out. Changing the world starts with your daily decisions. We all matter.”

Sonoran Rosie Skincare, Tucson, Arizona, natural skincare

Sonoran Rosie Skincare, Tucson, Arizona, natural skincare

Sonoran Rosie Skincare, Tucson, Arizona, natural skincare

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