The Insider’s Guide to Tel Aviv

Located on the edge of the Mediterranean, Tel Aviv is a haven of buttery beaches and vibrant culture. The Israeli city — nicknamed “the White City” for the surplus of white, 1930s Bauhaus-style buildings that decorate the streets — boasts a unique combination of old and new: thousands of years of history set within a young, modern, cosmopolitan atmosphere. A place you sip black coffee on a storied palm tree-lined boulevard, explore an ancient port and discover a pop-up boutique tucked around the corner of the crumbly walls, stumble across a feminist art exhibition held in a restored Ottoman-era building. Elderly men play backgammon and smoke cigarettes in open-air markets while the latest, hippest restaurant bustles feverishly in the space next door. As such, it’s really no surprise that the city is such a fertile breeding ground for all kinds of creatives, from chefs and architects to musicians, artists and designers. This juxtaposition supplies Tel Aviv — at once a beach town, a thriving arts hub, an inclusive space for both tradition and boundary-pushing ideas — with a spirited energy that fuels the need to discover and rediscover it time and time again.

With that in mind, we asked a couple of our closest local pals to give us the low down on all of their go-to places to eat, beach and sightsee in the colorful, vivacious place they call home.

 

WHERE TO EAT

Photos by Roni Cnaani

“Oasis on Montefiori St,” says Gittit Szwarc, designer behind the multidisciplinary studio Knobbly. “It’s the vision of a mad and inspired chef, Rima Olvera. I’m a food culture skeptic in general — I eat to get through my day, usually while reading/talking/texting. I remember being a little upset the first time I ate at Oasis because I couldn’t ignore the food I was eating the way I’m used to doing. I had to stop and experience it. And the place is designed to support it, dark and minimal with weird murals in the patio from local artist Klone. It’s a place to go to experience food as art.”

The charming Montefiori St is home to another excellent restaurant, this one at a boutique hotel. “Hotel Montefiori is a great option if you’re more into French-inspired classics, and is the place for an over the top breakfast/brunch,” adds Hila Chemony of Vender.

For the best hummus — a classic staple of the Israeli diet — in town, both Gittit and Hila recommend Abu Hassan in Jaffa. “Get the “Hummus Masabakha” (hummus with chickpeas cooked for 8 hours) with a brown egg,” Gittit says. “It’s only open until 4PM, the good stuff usually runs out by 2, it’s super crowded and noisy with communal seating, and you’ll be in and out in 15 minutes — the original hummus experience.” Check out Garger Hazahav (which means “the Golden Chickpea” in Hebrew) in the funky Florentin neighbourhood, too. “They have amazing hummus, delicious sides and a cool casual vibe,” describes Hila.

Oasis, Montefiore St 17

Hotel Montefiori, Montefiori St 36

Abu Hassan, Ha-Dolfin St 1

Garger Hazahav, Levinsky 30

Bait Thailandi, Bograshov St 8

 

WHERE TO DRINK

Unequivocally, the Teder. “It’s located in a courtyard surrounded by a complex with mainly artist and designer studios and there’s always some unoccupied room or corridor being taken over by an exhibition, pop up shop or music label, as well as live shows in the main area,” Gittit says. “You can find a quiet spot to sit with friends or take your drink and walk around to see what’s happening.”

The four-level complex itself is called Beit Romano and, along with the Teder, Hila suggests exploring the whole place. “The Romano restaurant on the second level is a great spot for dinner and drinks.”

The Teder, Beit Romano, Derech Jaffa 9

Romano, Beit Romano, Derech Jaffa 9

 

WHERE TO PEOPLE WATCH

Photos by Roni Cnaani

One of the most wonderful things about Tel Aviv is its diversity. And the Great Synagogue, built in the 1920s and located on Allenby St, is a great spot to go at night to people watch, Hila says. Have a drink at Port Sa’id just across the street and settle in for the evening.

“Casino San Remo in the Noga District in Jaffa — a cafe by day and bar by night,” Gittit adds. “It’s casual but not too small, so there’s a wide range of people of all ages and walks of life who feel at home there in different hours of the day.”

Great Synagogue, Allenby St 110

Port Sa’id, Har Sinai St 5

Casino San Remo, Nehama St 2

 

WHERE TO BEACH

The White City’s coastline, with gorgeous yellow sand beaches looking out at jewel blue water, is hard to beat. “Beit Haetzel beach right on the edge of Tel Aviv and the beginning of Jaffa is simply beautiful,” Hila says. “If you’re into surfing (or surfers) you should head to Hilton beach, and don’t miss the Independence Garden right above it.”

Gittit recommends the laid back Ajami beach, just south of Old Jaffa.

Photos by Yasmine Shemesh (left) and Roni Cnaani (right)

 

WHERE TO SHOP

The best shopping district? “The Noga District!” Gittit says. “It’s where my studio is located. Most of the designers’ spaces there function foremost as studios and second as shops, which means you’ll usually be talking to the designer herself when you enter. You can find some conceptual-yet-wearable stuff at Magpie Goose (with whom I share studio space), HOKO, Juliett and Naomi Maaravi, strong clean basics at KAV, and you’ll be breathing sea air the whole time.”

For an eclectic experience, Hila suggests wandering the flea market in Jaffa — the Shuk HaPishpushim. “It is a fun way to spend half a day between the independent designer shops, galleries, cafes and a great place to find flea market finds.”

Noga District, in between Tel Aviv and Jaffa

Flea Market, Jaffa

 

WHERE TO SIGHTSEE

Photos by Yasmine Shemesh

“Try and find a nice bike (or rent one of the city’s) and spend a day going from the Jaffa flea market and up Rothschild Blvd,” Gittit says. “I feel like cycling is the best way to feel the city.” Another superb way to take in Tel Aviv’s culture is going to watch local bands perform. “There’s some really amazing stuff happening here this year,” Gittit adds. “Girl punk duo Deaf Chonky, glam rock band the White Screen, political punk from Antigona Rex, lots of interesting electronic and stoner rock stuff!”

“Tel Aviv’s historical neighborhoods are absolutely gorgeous,” Hila says. “Neve Tzedek or Old Jaffa are a must, and the Tel Aviv Museum of Art (and the new wing especially) has great exhibitions throughout the year.”

Rothschild Boulevard

Neve Tzedek, southwestern Tel Aviv

Old Jaffa, Jaffa

 

ONE MORE THING YOU ABSOLUTELY MUST DO

For Gittit, when anyone visits Israel, they must take a trip out to the Dead Sea. It’s a two-hour drive, but so worth it. “It’s such a surreal and intense place unlike anything else on Earth,” she says. Staying strictly in Tel Aviv, though? Find an Airbnb in North Jaffa and make it your home base. “Tel Aviv can be really intense and Jaffa is the more laid back and arty part of the city, so that’s where I tend to spend more time.”

And, before you go, a coast-to-coast walk along the beachfront is essential. “Starting up north at Reding, going all the way through Tel Aviv Port, the boardwalk and into Jaffa’s Old Port and Old City,” says Hila. “Tel Aviv’s beach is always an option, no matter the season, time or mood.”

by Yasmine Shemesh

The Insider’s Guide to Richmond, Virginia

Richmond, Virginia is a small but mighty city. As the capital of the Commonwealth of Virginia since 1780—as well as the capital of the Confederacy during the Civil War—it’s a town steeped in history, evident in its well-preserved, historic architecture. Now, with a thriving influx of creatives, Richmond has turned into a young community of small businesses, nonprofits and endless opportunities. “Everyone is so creative and supportive of each other,” says Emi Moore, owner of Casa Shop. With more than 20 craft breweries, a ton of amazing restaurants, and beautiful street art on every other corner, there is always something to do and see. Plus, everything is an easy walk or short drive away.

We wanted to get the low-down on the best places to eat, drink and people watch, so we reached out to the people we love most: the city’s boutique owners and designers. Trust us, after this guide, you’ll be bumping Richmond to the top of your must-visit list.

 

WHERE TO EAT

“My favorite place to eat is Edo’s Squid,” says Kate Jennings of Na Nin. “Butter parmesan spaghetti, eggplant parm, great house wine, and it is accommodating to all diets with wonderful vegetarian and vegan options.”

Emi Moore, owner of Casa Shop continues the Edo’s Squid rave. “They have the best pasta and a cozy candlelit atmosphere. Caroline Young, artist and jewelry designer of Giantlion, admits her soft spot for the restaurant too. “It has been my favorite restaurant for the past 12 years!”

Edo’s Squid, 411 N Harrison St

Photo via @stellas

Kristy Cotter, designer of Drift Riot and owner of Dear Neighbor, doesn’t mess around when it comes to places to grab a bite. Here’s her expert list: “Brenner Pass, Metzger, Dutch & Co., Saison, Sub Rosa Bakery and Can Can.”

Brenner Pass, 3200 Rockbridge St Suite #100

Metzger Bar and Butchery, 801 N 23rd St

Dutch & Company, 400 N 27th St

Saison, 23 W Marshall St

Sub Rosa Bakery, 620 N 25th St

Can Can, 3120 W Cary St

“Mamma Zu (an old-school Italian restaurant), never disappoints,” declares Deborah Boschen, the founder and owner of boutique Verdalina, which has been one of the city’s source for slow-philosophy wardrobe essentials since it opened its doors in 2013.

Mamma Zu, 501 S Pine St

WHERE TO DRINK

Photo via @brennerpassrva

Christine Young, the designer behind jewelry line Young Frankk (you know those cult-favorite hand earrings), heads to Brenner Pass when in need of a drink. Their eclectic cocktail menu is sure to satisfy all your fancy drink needs. Think: Tito’s handmade vodka, green chartreuse, cocchi americano, lemon, and pineapple-lavender syrup. Caroline also recommends cocktails from Brenner Pass followed by Mekong for beer.

Brenner Pass, 3200 Rockbridge St Suite #100

Mekong, 6004 W Broad St

“Bamboo Cafe is an institution in Richmond with a diverse crowd and a beautiful, old marble bar,” says Deborah.

“I can have a drink anywhere!” Kate admits. But she has three solid suggestions: “Stella’s, which is not only great for cocktails but the food is some of the most delicious Greek dishes ever and they always have impressive specials, Helen’s for a fun night out, and Enoteca Sogno. It’s right in my neighborhood, so I love to enjoy a glass of wine there and the ambiance is lovely.”

Bamboo Cafe, 1 S Mulberry St

Stella’s, 1012 Lafayette St

Helen’s Restaurant, 2527 W Main St

Enoteca Sogno, 223 Bellevue Ave

@stellas

Emi reveals a fresh spot to check out. “A place just opened called The Circuit, it’s a bar/arcade combo, which is a new concept for Richmond. I’ve only been once but I feel like it will be my new spot. Plus, they have self serve wine on tap!”

The Circuit, 3121 W Leigh T

WHERE TO PEOPLE WATCH

“Quirk Hotel, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts for happy hour––very interesting mix of people in the summer, or Can Can at the bar,” Kristy says. Emi also heads to the VMFA. “During the warmer months, they have a beautiful lawn with a great happy hour, it is where you’ll find me (and everyone else in Richmond) on most Fridays.”

Quirk Hotel, 201 W Broad St

VMFA, 200 N Boulevard

Can Can, 3120 W Cary St

Photo via @quirkhotel

Caroline loves to people watch when she goes to concerts. (Who doesn’t?). “Vagabond for live music just about any night of the week,” she says.

It’s all about Carytown––Richmond’s quirky ever-changing neighborhood filled with a ton of shops and restaurants––for Christine.

“If you like to be around a lot of people and want an opportunity to make new friends, I think Lamplighter has a great set up, and always a full patio of people enjoying coffee and fare,” explains Kate. “It’s also right across the street from our shop and our lovely neighbours, Addison Handmade & Vintage and Yesterday’s Heroes.

Vagabond, 700 E Broad St

Lamplighter, 3 Locations

Lead image (left to right): @brennerpassrva, @vmfamuseum, @lamplightercoffee, @naninstudio

Get To Know Six Of Seattle’s Coolest Creatives

Between the Puget Sound and Lake Washington lies a city of distinct neighborhoods and urban districts that thrive with industrial, commercial and cultural activity around the clock. This bustling city is overflowing with creatives, makers, and explorers, and we want you to get to know six of our favorite. In the simplest terms, our Seattleite squad includes a photographer, restaurant owner, designer, toy collector, hair stylist, and vintage store owner. But, of course, they are all so much more. Get ready to meet some of the coolest creatives we know, find out why they love to call Seattle home, and get the lowdown on their expert city tips.

CHRISTINA HICKS, PHOTOGRAPHER

Art director and photographer Christina Hicks lives in Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood with her boyfriend Ryan — also a multi-disciplinary creative — and their two year old rescue dog, Nori (a must-follow on Instagram). Hicks creates content in the fields of design, fashion, travel and technology with work that is both commercially strategic as well as artful.

WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT LIVING IN SEATTLE? I love the freedom of living in a growing city with so many amenities, yet being within a short drive of so many beautiful natural environments: the Pacific ocean, the Puget Sound, two major mountain ranges, an archipelago of islands, national parks, forests, and deserts, to name a few.

WHAT’S THE CREATIVITY COMMUNITY LIKE? The creative community here is definitely close knit — I think Seattle’s geographic location up in the corner of the country contributes to a sense of pragmatism and camaraderie.

I love that there’s an undercurrent of go-getters that gravitate towards one another, encouraging and supporting each other as both friends and creative colleagues. And with the more recent tech boom, I feel as though the creative community is coming together even more strongly as a means of survival in a quickly changing city that could easily displace artists and small businesses.

DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE PLACE IN SEATTLE TO PHOTOGRAPH? I love the Bloedel Reserve on Bainbridge Island- it’s an inspiring place to walk and clear your head, and the impeccably kept grounds offer an endlessly changing backdrop of colors and textures.

Follow @xt_marie

 

MICHELE TANSEY, HOME GOODS STORE OWNER

Michele Tansey co-owns a vintage rug and furniture shop called Homestead Seattle as well as Plant Shop Seattle (you can imagine what they sell) with her partner Ryan. In their spare time, the couple has been renovating and restoring their 1903 house over the course of seven years. They run an Airbnb out of the home, and it is one of the most beautiful places to stay when in the city.

WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT LIVING IN SEATTLE? I’m from Washington state but grew up in the midwest, and I always felt like I just needed to get back to Seattle. It’s beautiful here even when it’s cold and rainy because it stays so lush and green. If the green can carry you through the sunless winter, the summer here is just perfect (and practically mosquito free). We live about a mile from downtown and can walk to a beach or forest just as easily as a museum or restaurant. But my favorite thing about living in Seattle right now is watching it grow, so much so fast. Even though some of the growth is problematic I’m still proud as hell of our city, continuing to evolve and make a bigger name for itself in the world. Like me, it seems to be right in the middle of its story and I’m interested to watch how it plays out for both of us.

WHAT’S VINTAGE/ANTIQUE SHOPPING LIKE IN SEATTLE? It’s good and bad. Compared to somewhere like Portland, we have fewer cute, small vintage furniture shops, but we have more large antique malls, especially if you’re willing to drive an hours. I’d consider Pacific Galleries to be the gold standard of antique malls in Seattle. We also have some really great collectors that you can easily find selling on Craigslist. If you’re not scared of a bit of elbow grease, our friends over at Seattle Furniture Co have a 7000+ sq ft basement filled with furniture to hunt through.

WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE PIECE YOU’VE EVER FOUND AND DID YOU KEEP IT? Pretty much anything that’s made the cut to stay in our house at this point falls into the category “favorite.” We only have so much space, and in order for something to stay something else has to move on. If I was forced to pick one thing right now that I own I think it would be a large Persian Gabbeh carpet that I have hiding under a stack of other beautiful hoarded rugs in my basement (this stack is the one thing I allow to grow). As for furniture, in the shop right now we have a pair of lucite Pace Argenta Chairs and a set of Mario Botta Quinta Chairs. If I could, I would hoard those forever, too!! Definitely going to cry when those lucite chairs leave the shop.

Follow @micheletansey

 

BOBBIE YANOUPETH, HAIR STYLIST

After living in New York for the past 10 years, Bobbie Yanoupeth has moved back to his hometown of Seattle. In 2015, he and his business partner Michael Sing teamed up to open BAHTOH, a bridal boutique that does everything from floral arrangements to decor to hair styling. Bobbie is a professional (and seriously amazing) hair stylist who has worked with Lady Gaga, numerous fashion houses, and whose work has been featured in Vogue, Brides, Nylon, and more.

WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT LIVING IN SEATTLE? Seattle has just as much to offer as any other big city. It has great food, cute little shops, dope art, so many cool neighborhoods, diversity and who doesn’t love driving along the freeway and seeing all the lush greens and Mt. Rainier in the distance!?! Even with all this growth and great culture, Seattle still has a small town feel. Since opening our shop, so many people have reached out to us and are so excited to support us. There is a sense of community here that a lot of big cities lack.

WHEN DID YOU FIRST DISCOVER YOUR LOVE FOR HAIR STYLING? I was eight and we were living in Holland, MI. My parents were refugees from Laos and could barely speak English. So my mother decided that in order for her to keep up with the hair trends, she was going to teach me. She pulled the dining chair up to the kitchen counter and taught me how to perm her hair. Which then led to French braids, French twist and other updos. I became obsessed and started playing with everyone’s hair. I would get in trouble in class cause I was braiding hair during work period.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE WEDDING VENUE IN SEATTLE? I’ve really been into intimate weddings. We did a wedding at Zoe Events recently. It feels like a little secret garden in the middle of the city. I can’t wait for the day that a couple give us total freedom to do whatever in that space. I want to recreate that moment in The Great Gatsby movie when he meets up with Daisy at her cousin’s house. He had the whole place decked out with tons of flowers, sweet treats and cakes. SOOOOO DREAMY!!!

Follow @sachoon

 

LINDA DERSCHANG, RESTAURATEUR

Linda Derschang is the founder and CEO of The Derschang Group, which owns and operates six neighborhood cafes, bars, and restaurants in Seattle. With so much success, Linda has rightfully earned the title “Queen of Capitol Hill.” Her signature aesthetic –– rustic, Scandinavian-inspired, vintage–– can be found in each space, big or small.

WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT LIVING IN SEATTLE? I love the Seattle summers. After nine months of grey, it is such a treat to spend so much time outside and on the water.

HOW DID YOU FIRST GET INVOLVED IN THE SEATTLE FOOD SCENE? Ever since moving to Seattle I have known people who are involved in food, art, and music. After opening Linda’s Tavern in 1994, it was just a natural progression to move into food.  

TELL US WHERE YOUR IDEAL DAY OF EATING OUT WOULD BE FROM BREAKFAST TO DESSERT. My ideal eating out day would start with Vif in Fremont for breakfast. I love their smoked trout tartine. Then I would pop over to Juicebox in Capitol Hill for lunch. They have amazing juice and salads. Le Caviste is just a few blocks from my house downtown so I often head there for wine, bread, and cheese, or charcuterie in the evening. I would  finish out the day at Stateside in Capitol Hill.

Follow @lindaderschang

 

ABRAHAM VU, BOUTIQUE TOY SHOP OWNER

Abraham Vu and his family moved to Seattle from Edmonton in the late ‘90s. He’s spent most of his career at tech companies including Microsoft and Amazon, until he recently quit the corporate world to pursue his dream of starting a boutique toy shop, curating collectible and designer toys under the moniker Made to Scale.

WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT LIVING IN SEATTLE? The diverse mix of culture, food, and the great outdoors. Seattle’s culture has been flourishing with the recent come up of tech companies and startups, leading to the increase of new food spots and developments in the city. I also love that you don’t have to drive very far to be surrounded by water, mountains, or the forests of the Pacific Northwest; what’s not to love!

HOW DID YOU FIRST GET INTO COLLECTING TOYS? For as long as I can remember, I’ve always been into collecting toys at some point in my life. My passion started as a kid the day I received my very first Transformers toy from my parents as a birthday gift. Since then I’ve collected everything from He-Man and Ninja Turtles, to Marvel toys, to now the more art-centric collectibles. I’m a huge sneaker collector, too, and the designer vinyls go hand-in-hand with sneaker culture. I think what appeals to me the most about toys is seeing the progression of the hobby so deeply rooted in my childhood to now being fully engrained in my life and my appreciation for them as an art form. I have always viewed toys as the artistic process of starting from a 2D art drawing, manifesting into its 3D representation.

YOUR FAVORITE TOY RIGHT NOW AND WHY? My favorite toy right now is the 400% Jackson Pollock Be@rbrick, from the Japanese company Medicom Toy, a collaboration with the late American painter. What draws me to this piece is that it perfectly captures the essence of Jackson Pollock’s work and makes for a great display piece in any collection. Medicom Toy is definitely my favorite toy company because of their collaborations with high profile artists and brands such Andy Warhol, Kaws, Nike, A Bathing Ape, Daft Punk, just a name a few.

Follow @madetoscaleshop

 

NIN TRUONG, DESIGNER

Splitting his time between Seattle, California, and Japan, Nin Truong kind of does it all. He runs a small design studio and gallery called WKND with his partner Christa Thomas, which is home to serveral in-house projects: Maiden Noir, a men’s and womenswear line, Blk Pine Workshop, a lifestyle, accessories, and furniture collection, and a small neighborhood coffee shop called Café Weekend. Along with the design studio, he is the design director for Stussy and to top it off, he has recently started a new project called the Da Da Da Gallery. Located in Seattle’s little Nihonmachi/Japantown, it is a revolving creative and contemporary space for work that can transcend from multiple dimensions.

WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT LIVING IN SEATTLE? I really love the geography and setting in Seattle. It’s a major city but is tucked away between the water and the mountains. I’m always reminded about how much I love Seattle when I’m flying back home.

YOUR FAVORITE SEATTLE NEIGHBORHOOD AND WHY? My favorite or part of Seattle is the South End (Columbia City, Beacon Hill, and Seward Park). There’s a lot of diversity and food choices are pretty amazing. There are still little immigrant restaurants and shops sprinkled throughout. Seward Park is great for swimming and there’s a few good loops for trail running.

HOW WOULD DESCRIBE SEATTLE MEN’S STYLE? It’s a mixture between laid back outdoorsy and contemporary. There are remnants of the grunge era still around, that’s part of the laid back vibe. Filson is based out here, along with several other outdoor brands, so that has an influence. Then there’s a great design and art community in Seattle. It’s much more contemporary — almost Scandinavian or Japanese in sensibility.

Follow @maidennoir

Bonus: We have an unreal Seattle flash sale happening right now! Shop the city’s brightest boutiques and designers at up to 85% off, but only until August 30. And go >

The Insider’s Guide to Helsinki With Samuji’s Suvi-Elina Enqvist

Not to be trite, but the best word to describe Finland is magical.  Both the natural wonders and cultural heritage that make up this country are certifiably mind-blowing: You can spot the neon wash of the Aurora Borealis up to 200 nights a year; take in the mind-rattling, reality-bending Midnight Sun throughout June and July; enjoy a remarkable 188,000 clean lakes, relax in over two million saunas (hell yeah!); and — of course — bask in the serene simplicity and playful color use that characterizes Finnish design.

From Jackie O’s trademark Marimekko dresses to Alvar Aalto’s architectural creations around the world, Finland has been setting design trends for decades. Let’s just say they know what’s up when it comes to creating beautiful pieces. Among our favorite contemporary design authorities in the country is Samuji, based in the country’s capital, Helsinki. Samuji is a creative studio specializing in women’s ready-to-wear and home interior products. Its work focuses on a love of necessary things designed with simple functionality and kindness.

Below we chat with Suvi-Elina Enqvist, head of sales and marketing at Samuji. With over 15 years experience in fashion PR and communications, Enqvist has built a global network of sales across more than 25 countries for Samuji. And while she’s worked in both France and the U.S., Helsinki is home for Enqvist, so we got her to spill on the city’s best places to eat, drink, shop, and more. Forget Tripadvisor and read on.

Suvi-Elina wears a coat by Samuji. 

WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT LIVING IN HELSINKI? Helsinki has a distinct and charming atmosphere where minimalistic architecture meets Slavic influence. The city’s pallet of seasonal colors — fluctuating between vivid summer green, intense Baltic blue and the crystal white of Nordic winter — makes Helsinki a truly special place year-round. It’s a metropolis with finesse, especially in the summer with the “nightless” nights.

IS THERE SOMETHING NOT MANY PEOPLE KNOW ABOUT THE CITY, BUT SHOULD? The solitude. Even if you are in the center of the nation’s capital, you can still be the only passenger on the train.

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE HELSINKI STYLE? Colorful and diverse. Clothes reflect one’s personality and values. Individuality is important.

BEST PLACE TO EAT? There are restaurants all around the city that are really great, presenting pure and innovative dishes using local ingredients that you can only experience in the Nordic countries. I recommend Grön (Punavuori district), Ask (Kruununhaka district), Kom Theater (Ullanlinna district), as well as the old time classic Savoy (downtown).

Top by Samuji, skirt by Apiece Apart, earrings by Melissa Joy Manning.

BEST PLACE TO DRINK? For the best bartenders and drinks you should head out to Helsinki’s meatpacking district Teurastamo and to a place called Tislaamo Distillery Bar.

BEST PLACE TO PEOPLE WATCH? Sompasaari Sauna — a place to meet interesting locals, bathe and relax while enjoying the views towards the old parts of Helsinki, Katajanokka and Kruununhaka districts.

BEST PLACE TO SHOP? Hakaniemi Market Hall for an authentic grocery shopping experience. Artek and Lokal for contemporary Finnish furniture and homeware, and Samuji House, our store that combines elements of a gallery, boutique and home. I also love R/H and Arela, Finnish designer clothing and accessories brands.

Coat, shirt and trousers by Samuji; shoes by Maryam Nassir Zadeh.

TELL US ABOUT THE SUMMER HOUSE CULTURE IN FINLAND. WHERE DO YOU ESCAPE TO ON THE WEEKENDS? The Helsinki archipelago is an endless source of inspiration and accessible for everyone. Just a fifteen minute boat ride from the city and it feels like a true getaway. You don’t have to leave the capital area to find peaceful scenery.

Summer cottage (mökki) is a must for a true Finnish lifestyle experience. The cottages are everywhere and they are not just close geographically, but also philosophically and socially too.

Photography by Lari Heikkilä

Locations, top to bottom: Lokal, Cafe Fleuriste and Samuji.

Summer Tips, Tricks and Treats From Women We Love

Even on scorching hot days, summer is pure bliss. Free time is spent outside, coupling nature with relaxation, socializing, and plenty of al fresco dining and drinking —  what more could you want from a season? In celebration of the peak of summer, we caught up with some of our favorite cool women to hear what they’ve been indulging in this season (and find out how they manage to keep a fresh face when you feel like a human ice cream cone, melting by the minute).

 

BEAUTY REAL TALK WITH NEW YORK FASHION JOURNALIST MARJON CARLOS

 

WHAT’S YOUR MORNING BEAUTY ROUTINE? My feet hit the floor and I’m ready to create good vibes in the morning. I immediately light a Palo Santo stick and turn on some inspiring music, and go to wash my face. I use Urban Skin Rx’s Cleansing Bar, which is amazing for WOC. I went for a micro needling session a few months back with them and it changed my skin.I have used their products ever since.

Next, I vacillate between a serum or a moisturizer. I don’t want to feel weighed down in the summer or like my face is melting off, so I’ll either go with Urban Skin Rx’s Brightening Serum or Dr. Sturm + Angela Basset’s Hyaluronic Serum.

Depending on whether I am headed to the gym or a meeting or my work space, I take a shower and use Marley Natural’s Hemp Seed Oil Wash. I love the smell and the hemp brings even more vibes. Afterward, I usually slather aloe vera gel on to help preserve my tan and then Johnson & Johnson Baby Oil: I feel like butter and it’s weightless compared to a creamy lotion. For makeup, I just use Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer in “tan” and a dusting of MAC Mineralize Skin Finish in “dark golden.” If I have an important meeting, I’ll use Dior Airflash Foundation Spray first for more coverage — it’s like Photoshop and I love it. MAKE has a great cream blush — Blot Pot — andI line my eyes with Maybelline’s Unstoppable Eyeliner, fill in my eyebrows with Anastasia Beverly Hills’s Brow Powder Duo in “medium brown,” and add a coat of Dior Show Pump’n’Volume on my lashes. I use Lucas Pawpaw on my lips or MAC’s Verve for a bit more color if I have a meeting.

I’ve been taking my Tatcha Dewy Skin Mist with me everywhere, too — it’s great for when you’re sweating and you need to feel refreshed. The bottle is pint-sized and adorable, so you can take it wherever. I’ll spritz water on my hair to activate the curl and then add Shea Moisture’s Fruit Fusion Coconut Water Weightless Styling Mousse for a wet and wavy look, and let it air dry. I didn’t know I was going for Rihanna “Wild Thoughts” this summer but here we are! I also use a combination of Jamaican castor oil and shea oil on my scalp and edges. Oh, and I’ll take a Biotin vitamin to help with hair and nail growth.

WHAT ARE THE PRODUCTS YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT DURING THE SUMMER MONTHS? Aloe vera gel to help your tan last longer; Elta MD is the best sunscreen for WOC because it doesn’t leave that gray, ashy film on your skin that most sunscreens do; Lucas Pawpaw for lip gloss; WATER for hair/skin/nails/body; and Herbivore Body Oil to make your skin shine after you’ve been in the sun all day!

ANY TIPS ON HOW TO PREVENT YOUR MAKEUP FROM MELTING IN THE HEAT? Avoid using moisturizers in the summer and instead add serums into the mix. Tatcha Dewy Skin is a lifesaver when I’m about to head into a party — it preserves your look and gives you a little glow. Glossier’s Soothing Face Mist spray is great when you’re outside and sweltering. It saved me at Afropunk last year!

Follow @marjon_carlos

ALL THE EATS WITH NEW YORK FOODIE FASHION EDITOR ALYSSA COSCARELLI

WHAT ARE YOU EATING ALL SUMMER LONG?

1. The entire menu at The Standard East Village garden: Olives, Japanese fried chicken, flatbread… I order one of everything on the menu with friends and it’s always the perfect summer meal (accompanied by frozé, of course).

2. For coffee, eggs, and acai bowls, I love Hole In The Wall, an unexpected little joint in Financial District near my office. Equally delicious and photogenic.

3. Guacamole to start, and churros to finish at Jajaja.

4. Matcha soft serve at Soft Swerve. Hits the spot on a hot afternoon, every time.

5. A latte and egg sandwich at L’estudioA chic, minimal (& yummy!) way to start the day.

6. Avocado toast at De Mariathe most Instagram-y spot of the summer.

7. A must try if you’re in NYC: The pancakes at Sunday In Brooklyn. There are no words… You just have to experience them.

Follow @alyssainthecity

NON-STOP OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES WITH VANCOUVERITE NICOLE WONG

Bottom image by Flory Huang

WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE SUMMER OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES? I’m a summer baby and something I love doing in and around Vancouver in the summertime is a late afternoon picnic with friends at either Crab Park or Jonathan Rogers Park. There’s a point during the day when the sun is still out but it’s not as harsh, and that’s the perfect time to round up your best pals for a selection of fresh fruits, charcuterie and cold drinks. Great friends and great conversations in a chill environment is the perfect combination for me. Another thing I love doing is finding great outdoor concerts to attend. I’m a bit of a concert fiend and live music set against the setting sun is nothing short of perfection. This year, Malkin Bowl has some really great end-of-summer concerts and I will definitely be checking out HAIM there.

Follow @tokyo_to

YOUR READING LIST WITH SAN FRANCISCO’S BOOK EXPERT EMMA LOUGHRIDGE

WHAT’S ON YOUR SUMMER READING LIST?

The Changeling by Victor LaValle: I just finished this book a few weeks ago and I really enjoyed it. There’s a huge plot twist, so I think it’s best going into this not knowing much. Just know it’s a great blend of fiction and fantasy and is written really well. A perfect book to sink into!

Goodbye, Vitamin by Rachel Khong: This was the last book I finished this summer and it was a delight to read. It’s quick, Rachel’s writing style is so great and she’s a local San Francisco resident!

The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova: One of my all time favorite books. I really like reading darker books in the summer time, it’s a fun contrast to the sunny (if you don’t live in San Francisco) weather and this one is perfect. It’s quite the creepy adventure based on the “real” Dracula and if you’re into historical fiction, please pick this up.

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver: Another one of my favorite books. Barbara Kingsolver is a classic and I’m bummed I waited this long to read her. This story is about an Evangelical family that moves to the Congo in 1959, and how everything completely unravels for them as soon as they get there. This book made me cry and laugh and cry again and everyone should read it. Another good lengthy book to submerge yourself into!

Follow @emmatheyellow

EDITOR’S NOTE: HAVE A DRINK… WITH US.

Images from top to bottom: @hennitravels, @colonienyc, and @tapestersgrill

THREE COCTAILS WE CAN’T STOP SIPPIN’ THIS SUMMER.

1. Watermelon Margaritas. Just three simple ingredients to make these delicious drinks.

  • 5 Tbsp of tequila
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp lime juice
  • 1 1/4 cups blended watermelon

2. Aperol Spritz. Another easy peasy recipe.

  • 3 parts of Prosecco
  • 2 parts of Aperol
  • 1 part or splash of soda
  • Ice and a slice of orange

3. Frozé. Let’s be honest, this is everyone’s favorite this summer.

  • 1 bottle of rose (tip: pour the rose into ice trays and freeze hours before making the drinks)
  • ½ cup of sugar
  • Strawberries
  • Fresh lemon juice

The Insider’s Guide To San Francisco

It’s hard to not love San Francisco. Sitting on it’s very own peninsula up the northern coast of California surrounded by three bodies of water, it’s pretty much a landscape dream. Not to mention, it’s just a drive away from Silicon Valley, a quick flight (or fun road trip) to San Diego, Los Angeles and Arizona. And, in spite of its 40 rolling hills, you can walk or bike everywhere making exploring all its unique neighborhoods easy peasy. It’s really no surprise this cool city is filled with so much creativity and talent. We happen to know some of the best: the boutique owners and designers. Just look at the six rad ladies above, showing off the gorgeous city. These San Francisco designers make the most beautiful clothing and accessories that we obviously love to wear on the daily. We wanted to find out more about the city and the hidden gems no Trip Advisor would know, so we asked all our SF pals for the best places to eat, drink and people watch. You may as well check your Air Miles now.

Lead image by Robby Durler

From left to right: Danielle Colen designer of Waltz, Sharareh Koehler designer of Lotfi, Anna Chiu designer of Kamperett, Nikki Garcia designer of First Rite, Valerie Santillo designer of Kamperett, and Karen Potesta designer of Micaela Greg

 

WHERE TO EAT

From drool-worthy seafood to the most comforting Italian dishes, San Francisco has absolutely no shortage of good eats. “I have so many favorites! At this very moment it is Cotogna (above). Such delicious Italian food and a really beautiful space. Plus, their cocktails and wine selection are fantastic,” reveals Sydney Pfaff owner of Legion.

Cotogna, 490 Pacific Ave

Tiffany Tam from Refined also admits that the city is filled with endless gems. “There is so many… it’s hard to pick just one.” But she was able to narrow it down to her top four: Tartine Manufactory, Liholiho Yacht Club, Bellota and Ju-ni. Sharareh Koehler, designer of one of our favorite bag lines Lotfi, also has a soft spot for Tartine. More specifically, “a loaf of Tartine bread.”

Tartine Manufactory, 595 Alabama St

Liholiho Yacht Club, 871 Sutter St

Bellota, 888 Brannan St #110

Ju-ni, 1335 Fulton St

For more Italian treats, designer Danielle Cohn of Waltz suggests “Tosca Cafe for modern Italian food in a bar that’s been around since the 20s.” Sounds like a fun night to us.

Tosca Cafe, 242 Columbus Ave

Mira Pickett, boutique owner of Mira Mira, has two must-go places. “Traditional Dim Sum is always a good idea, I love Ton Kiang on Geary, and Bar Crudo (above) is probably my favorite spot on earth. Can’t come to SF without having seafood.” Okay, that platter looks amaze.

Ton Kiang, 5821 Geary St

Bar Crudo, 655 Divisadero St

Daniel Lee and and Natasha Wong from Seldom Seen also have two top choices: Taqueria and Cala. Both places serve amazing Mexican cuisine so you better prep yourself to eat endless tacos and burritos.

Taqueria, 2889 Mission St

Cala, 149 Fell St

“If I am going to go out to dinner, I love to go out for sushi, and one of my all time favorite places I discovered when I first moved to San Francisco years ago is a tiny place called Sushi Zone. It is a bit of a hidden gem off of Market Street in the lower part of the Mission. With only two tables and a few seats at the bar, you really have to get there right when they open or be prepared to wait, but everything is so fresh and delicious it is totally worth it,” reveals Valerie Santillo, part one of two of the womenswear label Kamperett. The second design half, Anna Chiu, has more than one favorite spot. “Seed + Salt for clean, organic and locally sourced food that’s quick and easy, Plow for brunch, Rich Table for dinner, Taqueria Cancun for the best burritos.”

Sushi Zone, 1815 Market St

Seed + Salt, 2240 Chestnut St

Plow, 1299 18th St

Rich Table, 199 Gough St

Taqueria Cancun, 2288 Mission St

WHERE TO DRINK

“15 Romolo (above), hands down,” reports Sydney. “They make the best drinks around. I’ve lost a lot of hours (maybe more like days) to that bar.” Just by looking at that drink we know that would totally happen to us, too.

15 Romolo, 15 Romolo Pl

Tomra Palmer from Gravel & Gold recommends one of our all time favorite places: “In the park on a blanket on a warm day.” She then added, “But since heat waves are rare here I’ll take a bloody mary at the classic Zuni Cafe or a wildly strong margarita at the dingy but charming Latin American Club. Also, (local tip!) the Local Cellar wine shop has free tastings on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. They sell and serve lots of groovy small batch CA wines.” Meet us there.

“Our street is a danger zone. There are two fun bars within crawling distance of the shop. Latin American is a real old school, legit Mission bar. Their margaritas are lethal weapons,” says Mira. Okay, this bar is definitely on our list now.

Zuni Cafe, 1658 Market St

Latin American Club, 3286 22nd St

Local Cellar, 2801 22nd St

Nikki Garcia the talented designer behind First Rite has two suggestions. “Holy Mountain in the Mission to avoid the crowds or Vesuvio in North Beach is always a classic.” Noted.

Holy Mountain, 680 Valencia St

Vesuvio, 255 Columbus Ave

Photo by Kassie Borreson

When looking to grab a drink, Valerie likes to stick close to home. “If I am going to go out for a drink, I usually like to stay in my neighborhood in Bernal Heights. One of my favorite local bars is The Royal Cuckoo. I like the dim, loungey vibe, down to earth atmosphere and their greyhounds are on point. They have a live band (including an organ!) on the weekends and otherwise they only play vintage records which keeps in line with the low-key ambiance.”

The Royal Cuckoo, 3202 Mission St

Tiffany is all about “The Riddler (above) for bubblies and caviar.” Seriously though, who doesn’t love a good glass (or bottle) of champers?

The Riddler, 528 Laguna St

Heading over to the Mission district we have two favorite drink spots. Marie Potesta, co-designer of Micaela Greg, choose the ABV. A trendy bar with all your favorite cocktails, beer, wine, plus a beautiful large-scale mural to admire while you sip on your drinks. Danielle went for the Lone Palm. A nice and cozy bar with the best selection of vodka. Sign us up.

ABV, 3174 16th St

Lone Palm, 3394 22nd St

WHERE TO PEOPLE WATCH

Photo via @mrbrandonmiguel

“Dolores Park (above) definitely is the place to be on any sunny day. Kooks from every walk of life, all on the same grass. There is an actual map of the park itself, each area is represented by a different SF crew. It’s kind of funny (and sad) how accurate it is,” explains Mira. Daniel, Valerie and Anna also all noted Dolores as their favorite place to people watch. Must be a gem.

Dolores Park, Dolores St & 19th St

Tiffany heads to Hayes Valley: “the weather is always nice there so grab an outdoor seating at a local cafe.”

Sydney suggests, “Washington Square Park in North Beach. I live nearby and it’s always a pretty entertaining people-watching spot. Such an eclectic neighborhood with a lot of characters.” Tomra also loves this neighborhood. “At first glance you might assume it’s overrun with tourists but it’s full of family run, legacy businesses and old timer residents that have been there for many many years, holding down the alternative/outsider vibe of this city.” She has three spots in North Beach to hit up: Washington Square Park, Specs and Caffe Trieste.

Washington Square Park, Filbert St & Stockton St

Specs, 12 Williams Place

Cafe Trieste, 601 Vallejo St

Photo by @bradystarkpenn

Marie is also a fan of North Beach. “Mario’s Cigar bar in my hood in North Beach (above) is a nice outdoor corner spot by the park to sit and watch the summer tourists.” Sharaeh loves to go to Four Barrel on Valencia street. A sleek and rustic coffee shop that specializes in drop coffee. Nothing better than a cup of Jo and some good ol’ people watching.

Mario’s Bohemian Cigar Store Cafe, 566 Columbus Ave

Four Barrel, 375 Valencia St

And last but not least, Nikki’s favorite spot is the iconic Golden Gate Park. You definitely can’t go to San Francisco without stopping by there.

Golden Gate Park

Bonus tip: the West Coast Craft Fair is happening this weekend! Don’t miss this fun exhibition of artists and designers including some of our pals like First Rite, Ace & Jig, and Gravel & Gold. It’s free and totally worth going by!

The Insider’s Guide to Toronto

Toronto has it all: an unstoppable creative scene, bustling neighborhoods that span from one end of the map to the other, and it is one of the most culturally diverse cities in the world. You can experience different foods and cultures literally within blocks of one another. One stop on the TTC and you’re in Little Italy, next you’re in Greektown. Plus, there are over 140 languages spoken within the city limits. With so much to do and see, we knew a proper edit of the best had to come straight to the source: our boutiques and designers. We asked them to reveal THE best places to eat, drink and people watch in the Six right now. Get your woes ready. (Sorry, we had to).

WHERE TO EAT

Grey Gardens

“The simple ask of ‘where should we eat?’ when you live in Toronto is a question that could go unanswered for a long, long while; not unlike some of the most complex philosophical questions of our time. The options are plentiful, vast and one could quite feasibly travel their way around the planet on a plate – just eating their way around the city,” explains Bianca Goldman, founder of lifestyle boutique Bibelot & Token. She did narrow down a couple of her favorites though: Superpoint, “for a most fantastic buttery tomato sauce slice”, and Grey Gardens (above) a “new spot that’s a little bit of sunshine on the grayest of days.”

Superpoint, 184 Ossington Ave

Grey Gardens, 199 Augusta Ave

Anne Seally, owner of Task, is all about Bugigattolo Kitchen. A “cozy-tiny place in Liberty Village with an open kitchen and an outdoor patio. They serve Southern Italian food and do all-day breakfasts, lunch, and dinner. The menu changes daily, the food is very fresh, simple and tasty, the decor is laid back and unpretentious, and the service is warm and personal.” She also adds Tori’s Bakeshop (below) to her list of musts. “They have a half dozen tables (the best one being in the front bay window). Along with delicious baked goods and good coffee they also serve light lunch fare (soups, sandwiches, biscuits, etc).”

Bugigattolo Kitchen, 54 Fraser Ave

Tori’s Bakeshop, 188 Queen St E

Lindsay Reeve, co-founder of Undone, narrowed it down to her top three. “I love Bar Isabel. Their sister-shop Raval is sleeker (and the place to go for mid-morning coffee and refined snacks), but there’s something homey about Isabel that just feels right to me. The food is both light and a bit rugged. Then there’s Côte de Boeuf, which opened as a butcher shop but has fully morphed into a local cave à manger. Cheese and charcuterie are the things to get, but they also do a few bistro classics very well. Thirdly, you’ll want to hit up I Love Pho Forever – the place with pink walls and all the plants in the window. Don’t be deterred if there’s a line, it moves fast.”

Bar Isabel, 797 College St

Bar Raval, 505 College St

Côte de Boeuf, 130 Ossington Ave

I Love Pho Forever, 57 Ossington Ave

Photo by Patrick Murphy for Tori’s Bakeshop

“If I’m looking for something laid back (or slightly hungover), all day dim sum at Noble on Spadina is my go-to,” admits Elizabeth Arlow owner of Bodega Thirteen“It’s super inexpensive and in my opinion the best dim sum in Toronto. Definitely get the wonton soup.” We’ll meet you there.

Noble Seafood, 530 Dundas St W

Altaf Baksh owner of the contemporary men’s clothing shop Muddy George swears by Seven Numbers. He promises that, “Mama Rosa will take good care of you” when you go. Bonus: they are on Toronto’s 25 best bowls of pasta list!

7 Numbers, 307 Danforth Ave

Brittany Haavaldsrud founder of Fjordlife loves to hit up La Cubana (below) in Roncesvalles for a Cuban breakfast. She also recommends “Montgomery’s on Queen Street West, Bodega Henriette for brunch, and Figo for the decor.” 

La Cubana, 392 Roncesvalles Ave

Montgomery’s Restaurant, 996 Queen St W

Bodega Henriette, 1801 Gerrard St E

Figo, 295 Adelaide St W

Photo via @lacubana_to

Our pals over at LivestockKevin Pham and Adrian Campana, gave us a handful of go-to spots based off of various cravings (you’re welcome in advance): Odd Seoul (Korean tapas style), Kingyo (Japanese), Norling (Tibetan), Big Crow (BBQ),  Mamakas (Greek) and Milagros (Mexican).

Odd Seoul, 90 Ossington Ave

Kingyo, 51B Winchester St

Norling, 1512 Queen St W

Big Crow, 176 Dupont St

Mamakas, 80 Ossington Ave

Milagro, 5 Mercer St

Michelle Wilson of Chance & Fate has her heart set on Buca Yorkville. “Make sure you get the Branzino Crudi!!”

Buca Yorkville, 53 Scollard St

WHERE TO DRINK

Photo via @rhumcorner

The design duo behind the jewelry line Alynne LavigneEve Tobolka and Alynne Lavigne, love heading to the Rhum Corner (above) for a quick drink (or five). They also admit that when it comes to having a drink they love, “any sunny balcony, front porch, backyard… or park, but that would be illegal (wink!).”

Rhum Corner, 926 Dundas St W

It’s round two for Grey Gardens. Allison Skinner from Distill loves to go there for both their food and drinks. “I love the room – palm print painted cinder block wall, pretty linen towels, farmhouse sinks, pink cookware and brass details. Good crowd too, not douchey.” Well, that’s always a bonus.

Zai Rajkotwala, owner of the dreamy lifestyle shop Easy Tiger Goods, has a solid list of drinks spots: Midfields Wine Bar, Pharmacy, Pretty Ugly, Communist’s Daughter, and Unlovable. Owner of Room 2046, Kumala Nio, also chose Unlovable as her favorite place to kick back and have a drink. It must be good.

We love Midfield Wine Bar,” reveals the team at Mary Young. “They have a great patio (which Torontonians love to take advantage of when we can), a robust wine selection and super friendly, knowledgeable staff.”

Midfields Wine Bar, 1434 Dundas St W

Pharmacy, 1318 King St W

Pretty Ugly, 1237 Queen St W

Communists Daughter, 1149 Dundas St W

Unlovable, 1415 Dundas St W

Photo via @gypsywolfe

 The Slip (above) sits on Toronto’s beautiful waterfront at Harbourfront Centre and is one of Adrian’s favorite places to go when craving a good drink. Also on his list are: 416 Snack Bar, Cold Tea and Mascot Brewery – especially the rooftop patio (so good it’s the first photo at the top of our story).

The Slip, 235 Queens Quay W

416 Snack Bar, 181 Bathurst St

Cold Tea, 60 Kensington Ave

Mascot Brewery, 31 Mercer St

“Black Dice on Dundas West has a great drink selection – my fave is the ‘Cherry Jerry’, Sailor Jerry and cherry coke,” reveals Elizabeth. “They also have an extensive selection of Sake if you’re into that. It’s a smaller spot, self-identified as a ‘Japanese Rockabilly Bar’ but super laidback.”

Black Dice Cafe, 1574 Dundas St W

Michelle’s go-to is Pretty Ugly—a mysterious mezcal-based bar where you enter through a carpeted door on Queen Street.

Pretty Ugly, 1237 Queen St

Brittney has two recommendations: “The Local in Roncesvalles for live music and Hole In The Wall.” If you’re into exposed brick, classic cocktails and a rotating list of craft beers then Hole In The Wall is for you. Plus, they have a small stage at the back of the bar where music starts every night at 10pm. Oh, and delicious eats with a menu that changes weekly.

The Local, 396 Roncesvalles Av

Hole In The Wall, 2867 Dundas St W

WHERE TO PEOPLE WATCH

Photo via @tucanacoffee

“Dundas West has a great mix of newer bars, restaurants and shops, but has retained its Portuguese roots – good mix of characters to watch with a coffee,” explains Brittney. She adds, “in the warmer months I’m partial to an iced coffee and a good stoop session. Tucana (above) on Dundas West hits all the marks – female owned (!), staff is super cool, coffee is high quality but affordable, and they have a bench outside.” Bonus: dogs love it too! Altaf also loves a coffee shop for people watching. He often heads to Casa Coffee in Kensington Market.

Kensington Market is a actually a top spot for many. Anne loves the area for “its eccentricity and quirkiness.” Kevin and Adrian recommend heading there on the weekend. “It’s the best since you get such a variety of people walking through all day and there is live music usually playing.”

Tucana Coffee, 1413 Dundas St W

Casa Coffee, 235 Augusta Ave

“Hard to believe, but I’m recommending the Toronto Reference Library, because everyone now goes there to soak in its post-modern aesthetic,” explains Lindsay. “It was designed in 1977 and supposedly influenced by the hanging gardens of Babylon, but to me it’s pure retro-futuristic paradise. I’m also a bookworm, though!”

Toronto Reference Library, 789 Yonge St

Photo via @samjamescoffeebar

“It’s the most obvious answer, but once the sun comes out, even just a little bit, Trinity Bellwoods Park is where a most satisfying cross-section of Toronto is on display at all times,” says Bianca. “Claim a patch of grass, a picnic lunch from Sud Forno, gather a group of friends – and you’ll catch a glimpse of everyone and everything that’s best about this city.” Fun fact: Sud Forno is one of the top 10 most Instagrammable spots in Toronto.

Alynne, Eva, Brittney, and Zai also suggest Trinity as the best place to people watch. Zai particularly loves “a coffee shop near it: Sam James (above).”

Sud Forno, 716 Queen St W

Sam James, 917 Queen St W

Two of Toronto’s busiest spots are also great for people watching. Kumala goes for the Pearson Airport and Allison loves the ferry terminal. “You see all walks of life while waiting for the ferry in the summer—hippies, hipsters, families, couples, loners—all gathered together to take a trip to the Toronto Islands,” she explains.

Pearson Airport, 6301 Silver Dart Dr

Jake Layton Ferry Terminal, 9 Queens Quay W

The Insider’s Guide to Portland

It’s time to put aside the Portlandia references and actually get down to what this rad city is all about. Nestled between the mountains and the ocean, Portland is filled with fresh air and a community of welcoming, open-minded, genuine people. Seriously, it’s no shocker when people go out of there way to help others here. The creative energy is high, the support system is strong, and “the food, it’s really f**cking delicious,” according to local Marisa Howard, designer behind Seaworthy. And that’s no exaggeration. We knew finding Portland’s treasure spots was a must so we asked Marisa along with our favorite Portland designers, boutiques and style bloggers on the best places to eat, drink and people watch. You might want to ask for vacation time now.

WHERE TO EAT

tusk-food
Photo by AJ Meeker

Choosing where to grab a bite to eat might be a little difficult and not because of a lack of options. It’s the exact opposite. “There are so many good places to eat in Portland,” says 100 Year Party‘s Noel Weisenbacher. “If you’re craving a classic like pizza, Handsome Pizza is delish. If you want authentic, fresh Mexican, Taqueria y Panaderia Santa Cruz in St. Johns is a must—I’m dreaming of their tacos right now. If you want killer rotisserie chicken Pollo Norte is the place,” she adds.

Handsome Pizza, 1603 NE Killingsworth St

Taqueria y Panaderia Santa Cruz, 8630 N Lombard St

Pollo Norte, 5427 NE 42nd Ave

Shea Christner from Open Air Museum is currently crushing on Tusk (above): “A modern take on Mediterranean food. I think about their hummus and flatbread everyday. Oh, and the Eastern Maid cocktail. I die. It has the perfect Palm Springs vibes that I crave living in a damp and overcast city. It is an escape!” Lindsay Reif, designer of REIF, chimes in. “The food is delicious, and the decor is beautiful.” The praise didn’t stop there. Kristen Robinson, founder of Minoux, also loves it there and swears that their “vegetables that will change your life.”

Tusk, 2448 E Burnside St

In the mood for Mexican? Then Tonya Smith, the Portland style blogger behind @themoptop, swears by Porque No. “The margaritas and chips are great!”

Porque No, 4635 SE Hawthorne Blvd

la-moule-portland
Photo via @localhaven

Sarah Donofrio from One Imaginary Girl divulged that La Moule (above) is one of the best places to eat in the Clinton neighborhood. “A restaurant based around mussels and fries?? Sign me up.”  Us too, please.

La Moule, 2500 SE Clinton St

Laura Housgard, owner of Johan, let’s us in on Portland’s best ramen. “Afuri! The truffle miso is vegetarian and will 100% blow your mind.” For some more vegetarian options we looked to designer Laurs Kemp: “I’m vegan/vegetarian, and I’m constantly on the lookout for new restaurants! Here’s my perfect food day. Brunch (and the city’s best Bloody Mary) at A.N.D. Cafe. Lunch at Van Hanh, a Vietnamese restaurant run by Buddhist nuns! And I’d cap the night off at Revelry, a fantastic new late-night spot.” Sounds like a (yummy) plan to us.

Afuri, 923 SE 7th Ave

A.N.D. Cafe, 5420 E Burnside St

Van Hanh, 8446 SE Division St

Revelry, 210 SE Martin Luther King Jr Blvd

Sweedeedee’s will forever have my heart,” reveals Jen Vitale, owner of Association Shop. “It has the best breakfast/brunch in town hands down. The honey cake and breakfast rice bowl are favorites.”

Sweedeedee, 5202 N Albina Ave

milk-glass-market-portland
Photo via @ttothen

“I love Milk Glass Market (above), it’s a tiny cafe close to my house in North Portland that is never too busy (at least on the weekdays). They serve farm-to-table style dishes that are insanely delicious. The Veggie Sandwich comes highly recommended,” says Lizzie Falkenstein designer of Primecut. They also have an endless array of sweets that change up on the daily.

Milk Glass Market, 2150 N Killingsworth St

Diana Kim, owner of Stand Up Comedy, favors Rose VL for the best Vietnamese. It also happens to be the most colorful space with purple and yellow hues to brighten up those gloomy gray Portland days.

Rose VL, 6424 SE Powell Blvd

In August we took a virtual trip to Portland with Jen Szeto, the style blogger behind @windowofimagination, and she revealed some of her go-to spots. Firstly there is Nong’s Khao Man Gai (which also happens to be on our top three things we love in Portland list): “their famous thai-style chicken and rice is so simple, yet delicious.” For dessert she recommended the soft serve at Cheese & Crack.

Nong’s Khao Man Gai, 1003 SW Alder St

Cheese & Crack, 22 SE 28th Ave

WHERE TO DRINK

Circa33-portland
Photo via @circa33

It’s happy hour in Portland so, where do you go? “I love the cocktail selection at Circa 33 (above), and their neighbor, Aalto lounge, has $2 happy hour cocktails. You can’t go wrong on Belmont S.,” Sarah reveals.

Circa 33, 3348 SE Belmont St

Aalto Lounge, 3356 SE Belmont St

Britt Hawkes (@seaandpattern), another Portland style crush of ours, heads to the Sandy Hut to get her drink on. “Make sure to order their Chi Chi cocktail which is similar to a piña colada and will make you feel like you’re sitting by the ocean.”

Sandy Hut, 1430 NE Sandy Blvd

When Brookes Boswell, milliner of the best hats and owner of Shop Boswell, is sticking close to her studio she likes to head to “a brewery called Commons which also has a cheesemonger inside and brews unique saison and not-so-hoppy beers. For a fancy cocktail I go to Holdfast, which is a tasting menu restaurant, except on Monday nights they have an a la carte and cocktail menu that is exceptional.”

Commons, 630 SE Belmont St

Holdfast, 537 SE Ash St #102

“If you like a good dive bar then head to Sloan’s Tavern,” says accessory designer Sara Barner. With a semi-truck built into the wall and the best jukebox in town, this place is truly one of a kind.

Sloan’s Tavern, 36 N Russell St

Bye-and-bye-portland
Photo via @byeandbyeportland

“The summer is coming and it’s all about patios and sunshine and day drinking. That means the Bye & Bye,” Seaworthy‘s Marisa Howard tells us. “I might be biased, because my husband is one of the owners and my brother bartends there (he’s the one with the huge beard and the tattoos…haha!) but it really is my favorite bar in the summer.” The drink pictured above is the infamous Bye & Bye (peach vodka & bourbon, lemon, cranberry juice and soda). It is promised to cure just about anything.

Bye & Bye, 1011 NE Alberta St

Owner of WM Goods, Whitney Goodman admits, “I’m the biggest homebody of all time and suck at drinking, so on the rare occasion that I go out, it’s usually to the Multnomah Whiskey Library. The food is awesome, they are super knowledgable about their booze. Also, the place is gorgeous.”

Multnomah Whiskey Library, 1124 SW Alder St

Dame is our favorite and fanciest female-owned establishment that makes us feel all warm and fuzzy inside while sipping a tall glass of their best French cider,” explains Alicia and James Buford, owners of Infashuated.

Dame, 2930 NE Killingsworth St

Erik Prowell from Portland’s Bridge & Burn has three go-to spots: “Sweet Hereafter, Bazi and Reel M Inn.”

Sweet Hereafter, 3326 SE Belmont St

Bazi Bierbrasserie, 1522 SE 32nd Ave

Reel M Inn, 2430 SE Division St

Well I have two small children, so I don’t get out drinking much these days,” explains Shana Beth, the designer behind womenswear line Beth. “I did recently have day drinks at Victoria Bar and that was dope. I also like this super low-key place called My Couch. They always have exactly want I want and you can wear your PJ’s and watch movies.”

Victoria Bar, 4835 N Albina Ave

Never-cafe-portland
Photo via @ktewoji

Taking our minds off happy hour and onto our other favorite beverage: coffee. There are countless cozy cafes in Portland. Never Coffee (above) is Kristen’s favorite. “Who knew coffee could be even more perfect? The Oregon latte with Cascade hops, dulce de leche and Jacobsen Sea Salt” is a must-try.

Never Coffee, 4243 SE Belmont St

For coffee Britt hits up Commissary. “A laid back coffee shop tucked away in the alphabet district serving Water Ave. coffee and fresh baked snacks.”

Commissary, 915 NW 19th Ave

Self-taught designer Kate Towers loves “Coquine for coffee, pastries, and a walk on Mt. Tabor,” which is also one of Sara’s favorite places to people watch “if it’s nice out.”

Coquine, 6839 SE Belmont St

Mt. Tabor

Laurs speaks on coffee’s frenemy: “if you’re looking for a hot drink, Tea Bar has marvelous non-coffee options. And it’s also woman-owned! Woohoo!” This spot has the world’s best selection of teas sourced from family farms from around the world.

Tea Bar, 1615 NE Killingsworth St (+ 2 other locations)

“It’s been so long since I’ve really enjoyed a meal out or a cocktail, so I don’t think I’m much help here. Currently all I want are Blizzards from Dairy Queen,” reveals Amber Arambul from ARA. This is because she is seven months pregnant! So, big congratulations and blizzards for everyone!

WHERE TO PEOPLE WATCH

Pioneer-courthouse-square-portland
Photo via @downtownpdx

“There are so many unique personalities in this city, that it’s hard to narrow down one inspiring spot,” explains Sarah. But we managed to get our experts to confess the best of the best. Lizzie makes clear that Portland’s Pioneer Square (above) in the heart of downtown is “the most condensed people watching.”

Pioneer Square, 701 SW 6th Ave

The next spot, The Ace Hotel, was a fan favorite of many. Kate goes straight to the lobby while Whitney likes to “pull up to a stool in the Stumptown Coffee at the Ace Hotel for some pretty prime people watching.” And then there is the Sundaze Collective: “A curated monthly fashion pop-up featuring Portland’s favorite designers and makers located in The Ace Hotel event space,” explains Kristen. Laura adds on that “Sarah from The Yo! Store puts it on, we (Johan) participates every other month. It ends up drawing a huge crowd and is always a blast—like one big party in the heart of Portland.”

It’s a fact: “Anywhere around the Ace Hotel is great people watching. It’s a mixture of tourists and locals, and you’re sure to catch some amazing street style,” expresses Lindsey.

The Ace Hotel, 1022 SW Stark St

Stumptown Coffee, 1026 SW Stark St

Learn more about the Sundaze Collective here.

farmers-market-portland
Photo via @downtownpdx

“There’s always lots of people out and about, so taking a stroll through the Japanese Gardens, Laurelhurst park or farmer’s markets (above) can give you a great peek into local culture,” explains Brookes.

Japanese Garden, 611 SW Kingston Ave

Laurelhurst Park, SE Cesar E Chavez Blvd & Stark St

Laurs Kemp has her people watching day mapped out to a T. “For daytime people-watching, I’d start with a coffee at Courier Coffee and then go to PICA (Portland Institute of Contemporary Art) and get a bird’s-eye view from their rooftop—which is open to the public during their weekday business hours! You can also peruse their art book library while you’re there! For some nighttime people-watching, I’d suggest The Lovecraft Bar, a goth-themed dance bar!”

Courier Coffee, 923 SW Oak St

PICA, 415 SW 10th Ave #300

The Lovecraft, 421 SE Grand Ave

“I absolutely fell in love with this landmark (Ira Keller Fountain Park). The fountain is located in the heart of downtown, and is an architectural sight for sore eyes,” explains Jen. This beautiful fountain brings a lot of people to one space so it often doubles as a pretty awesome people watching spot.

Ira Keller Fountain, SW 3rd Ave & Clay St

Tonya says that “pretty much any of the main streets of Portland such as Hawthorne, Division, Alberta or Mississippi” are great. “There’s always people walking around!”

So, when it comes down to it the answer is clear: “in Portland, anywhere,” admits Noel.

The Insider’s Guide to Nashville

Long revered for its music scene, Nashville has a new creative industry to boast: Fashion. We’re lucky to work with a few amazing people from the city’s tight knit creative community and we’ve discovered that constant good vibes and a true collaborative spirit are always in the air. On top of this positive energy is a beautiful city that offers a vibrant downtown and easy escape routes to gorgeous parks, lakes and vineyards. What more could you ask for? To narrow things down, we asked the experts to give us the lowdown on the best places to eat, drink, take in the outdoors and people watch.

Bonus: We also got the deets on the rad city of Chattanooga, Tennessee, which is only a two-hour drive away. It’s home to a couple of our favorite boutiques and are closely involved in the Nashville fashion community.

Above from left to right: Elise Joseph, Ivy and Josh Elrod, Brittney and Jessica Wooten, Patrick Woodyard, Ceri Hoover and Han Starnes. Photo by Zachary Gray.

 

WHERE TO EAT + DRINK

Untitled-3
Photo courtesy of Rolf and Daughters

In a city like Nashville there is no shortage of amazing eats and one-of-a-kind restaurants, so deciding where to go can be, well, difficult. But don’t bother with Yelp or Trip Advisor because we’ve got something even better: local experts.

“Rolf and Daughters (above)… for both. They have a special drink called the Absinthe Father with bourbon, ginger, lemon and a rinse of smoky absinthe, and it’s delectable. Order the sourdough with seaweed butter, a few small plates and finish with a big bowl of the garganelli verde,” says Elise Joseph, owner of Goodwin boutique. 

Han Starnes designer behind beautiful label Han Starnes and Ivy and Josh Elrod, owners of boutique Wilder, all noted this cool restaurant as the place to hit up.

Rolf and Daughters, 700 Taylor St

little octopus
Photo via @lttleoctopus

Ivy and Josh also recommended the Little Octopus (above) –a bright and airy spot that serves tapas-style bites and creative cocktails – as a great place to grab a bite. Matt and Carrie Eddmenson, owners of imogene + willie confirm: “We had an amazing sit down dinner at Little Octopus that was next level!”

Little Octopus, 505 12th Ave S

Lindsay Clark, who heads up sales and customer service, crowd-sourced a top five from the whole Ceri Hoover team: “The Grilled Cheeserie, Five Daughters Bakery (below), Steadfast Coffee, The Treehouse, and Salt & Vine.” 

The Grilled Cheeserie, 2003 Belcourt Ave

Five Daughters Bakery, 1110 Caruthers Ave

Steadfast Coffee, 603 Taylor St

The Treehouse, 1011 Clearview Ave

Salt & Vine, 4001 Charlotte Ave

Five Daughters Bakery
Photo via @five_daughters_bakery

Patrick Woodyard, designer and founder of Nisolo, has been hitting up the “rooftop of the Thompson hotel” but he also notes that the City House will always be at the top of his list.

Thompson Hotel, 401 11th Ave S

City House, 1222 4th Ave N

WHERE TO CATCH A LIVE SHOW

With such a massive and influential music community, it’s no surprise that there are a ton of beautiful venues to see live music in Nashville. The Ryman Auditorium (below) is a favorite of many: “It’s our ‘Mother Church’ here in Nashville – it’s truly magical,” says Elise. She also adds that her “most intimate music experiences have been at The Basement. Two very different vibes, but both equally cool and special.”

rymanfrontview2010
Photo by Ryman Auditorium

Two words: THE RYMAN,” say Matt and Carrie.

Han reveals, “The Ryman will always have a special place in my heart.” Lindsay and the Ceri Hoover team also listed The Ryman and The Basement as their top places to go and noted 3rd and Linsley as well. 

Ryman Auditorium, 116 5th Ave N

The Basement, 1604 8th Ave S #330

3rd and Linsley, 818 3rd Ave S

Ivy and Josh love the American Legion in Inglewood – a hidden gem that has great music and drinks. 

American Legion, 3204 Gallatin Pike

BEST WAY TO ENJOY THE OUTDOORS

Looking for a long, hot summer? Nashville is your place. When the sun is shining it’s easy to spend your whole day outside soaking up the rays. “I love going to Beaman Park, just north of Nashville. It really feels out of the city, but isn’t too far of a drive,” says Han. “Also, Shelby Bottoms Park in East Nashville is pretty great on a sunny day.”

Beaman Park, 5911 Old Hickory Blvd

Shelby Bottoms Park, 1900 Davidson St

The perfect outdoor day for Patrick is “rollerblading along one of Nashville’s many greenways or taking a bike ride with friends to Mas Tacos’ patio for a bite and cocktail.” 

arrington vineyards
Photo via @arringtonvineyards

The Ceri Hoover team lists their favorite ways to spend Nashville’s beautiful days: “Percy Priest and Radnor Lake (below), Live on the Green music festival, and Arrington Vineyards (above). Live on the Green is a free, environmentally-friendly outdoor music festival that showcases Nashville’s emerging artists and many well-known national acts. That’s right, free. Then there is Arrington Vineyards, which also has live music every weekend from April through November. Wine, music and the outdoors… we’re in.”

Elise reveals that she, too, loves “the Ganier Ridge Trail at Radnor Lake (below). It’s near the center of town but feels a million miles away from everything. I go here to hike with my husband and always see beautiful wildlife. It’s so peaceful and impossible to leave without feeling refreshed.” 

Percy Priest Lake

Radnor Lake, 1160 Otter Creek Rd

Live on the Green, 350 Deaderick St

Arrington Vineyards, 6211 Patton Rd

Radnor Lake
Photo via @radnorlake

“We used to live on the east side of town and we really enjoyed spending time in Shelby Park,”says Matt and Carrie. “It has a great dog park with plenty of room for the dogs to run around and the walkway there is something to marvel. We also enjoy hanging outside at Cheekwood Botanical Garden, but then again, Shelby Park is free!” 

Shelby Park, East of Downtown

Cheekwood Botanical Garden, 1200 Forrest Park Dr

Ivy and Josh are on a mission to keep cool in the comfort of their own home. “We’re trying to build a pool in our backyard. Until then: windows down.” Simple yet effective. 

LET’S TALK ABOUT THAT HONKY TONK

Honky Tonk
Photo via @honky_tonk_central

It’s almost like the elephant in the room. The Honky Tonk Central has a reputation, so we got the real down low.

“I don’t really have much to do with honky tonk – it’s not really my scene, but if I do go down to Broadway I love popping in to Robert’s Western World,” says Han. Elise has similar feelings, “Tourist trap! Locals tend to avoid the swarms of bachelorette parties and hang in neighborhoods like East Nashville or Germantown instead. If you’re really wanting the Broadway experience, head to Robert’s Western World for dancing, beer, live music and a really fun time.”

Musicians on every corner and in every bar, neon lights, The Bachelorette/Bachelor Capital of America! Anything and everything. The energy is crazy on Broadway – there is something for everyone, from music, to shopping, drinks, museums, etc.,” explains Lindsay. She does note that her favorite part is “Acme Feed & Seed.”

Acme Feed & Seed, 101 Broadway

Patrick echoed Elise and Han’s pick. “Robert’s is consistently at the top of the list for Broadway bar hopping.” Matt and Carrie add that their favorite part of Robert’s Western World is the “Recession Special. It’s a bologna sandwich with chips and a PBR for like a dollar or something!”

Robert’s Western World, 416 Broadway B

NASHVILLE STYLE

Han Starnes
Photo via @hanstarnes

Comfortable,”says Elise. “There’s a slowness to the south that really can’t be replicated anywhere else. Nashville is my hometown, so it’s great to see people from all over the world moving here and broadening the style horizons.”  

Han agrees. “I think it used to be really motorcycle/denim/boots — but I think in general it’s progressing to be a bit more experimental as the town grows.” 

Ivy and Josh explain that “Nashville has the third highest concentration of fashion designers per capita in America after NYC and LA. There stands to be a 9.5 billion dollar fashion industry in middle TN by 2025 (currently at 5.9 billion and swiftly growing). But it’s weirdly true that everyone still wears cowboy boots.” 

“We have everything from the stereotypical (rhinestone cowboy boots) to the innovative (budding fashion brands) that influences the city’s style,” adds Patrick. 

I’m not sure ‘Nashville Style’ can be described, but if I had to take a stab at it I would say that it’s a mix of blue jeans and sports coats, dresses and cowboy boots. We can just settle for good ol’ jeans and tees,” Matt and Carrie chime in. Lindsay sums it up: “Fresh, new-Southern. A total mix of fashion.”

BEST PLACES TO PEOPLE WATCH

BARISTA PARLOR - EASTSIDE-1022
Photo by Barista Parlor

I always enjoy people watching at coffee shops like Barista Parlor (above) – so many people coming and going. The Gulch is also a bustling area, where you can probably spot a photo shoot happening around the corner,” says Elise. 

Barista Parlor, 519 Gallatin Ave

The Gulch, South-West Fringe of Downtown

Han goes for Centennial Park, one of the city’s greatest treasures. It can be spotted by the iconic Parthenon which also serves as Nashville’s art museum. Patrick also loves this spot: “Centennial Park, hands down. On any given day you can catch folks taking iconic landmarks, live outdoor music, and even the occasional Nisolo team bubble ball soccer match.”

Centennial Park, 2500 West End Ave

Wilder
Photo via @wildershop

“Well Wilder (above) of course! And Opry Mills Mall,” say Ivy and Josh. We couldn’t agree more. Boutique shopping often doubles as people watching and is such a rad way to meet new people, discover style and get inspired. 

Wilder, 1212 4th Ave N

Oprys Mills Mall, 433 Opry Mills Dr

We just stayed at the amazing Thompson Hotel in the Gulch a few weeks ago. We had the best time sitting on the couch, eating homemade ice cream people watching in the lobby! That might to be the best place to people watch (this week anyway),” admit Matt and Carrie.

Thompson Hotel, 401 11th Ave S

DAY TRIP: CHATTANOOGA

Just over two hours south east of Nashville and home to Uncommon Deux – a rad concept shop run by sisters Brittney and Jessica Wooten – Chattanooga is not to be missed. They describe their hometown: “An up and coming city for young entrepreneurs, creatives and tech innovators. It’s a small city snuggled between mountain sides and rivers.”

thelocal2
Photo via @localjuice

“There are a ton of great locally owned coffee shops and juice bars, The Local (above) and Wildflower Tea Room are favorites of ours,” reveal Jessica and Brittney. The Local seems like that perfect spot to kickstart your Monday morning or cure those hungover Saturdays.

The Local, 48 E Main St

Wildflower Tea Shop, 1423 Market St

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Photo by Lauren Coakley

Nashville isn’t the only place to see great live music. Jessica and Brittney tell us that “big name acts travel to Chattanooga” and that the best places to go are “Track 29 (above) and Revelry Room.” Both venues are small and intimate which makes seeing your favorite bands all the more special.

Track 29, 1400 Market St

Revelry Room, 41 Station St

Uncommon Deux
Photo by Zachary Gray

These sisters clearly know what’s up when it comes to fashion. So what about Chattanooga style? “Electric and a bit outdoorsy.” 

Coolidge Park
Photo via @nsumsion

Jessica and Brittney’s fave spots are “downtown on the river walk or hanging out in Coolidge Park (above).” A beautiful area along the river, basically perfect for that sunny day stroll.

Coolidge Park, 150 River St

When it comes to people watching, “the Southside (up and coming neighborhood with shops, art galleries, music venues, local eateries)” is the place to go.

 

So, ready to book your plane ticket? While you’re waiting for that trip shop the Nashville boutiques and designers at home right here. Don’t miss our unreal flash sale, February 15 – 28. Two weeks, up to 60% off. Ready, set, go >

The Fashion Girl’s guide to Houston

In Houston, at any given moment, you can feel like you’re in a different part of the globe. World-class art? Check. Covetable style? Check. Enviable international cuisine scene? Double check. Diverse, cultured and, of course, laden with signature southern charm, Houston’s unique qualities make it a seriously special place, not to mention a haven for creatives and entrepreneurs. We’re packing our bags already, but before we hop on that plane, we asked some of our local fashion friends to give us some tips on where to go and what to do in the Bayou City.

WHERE TO EAT

Oxheart @jonguz
Photo via @jonguz

In a place like Houston where there’s an amazing restaurant on literally every street corner, it’s hard to know where to go to tuck in. Luckily for us, we had the experts narrow it down.

“For Vietnamese, go to Huynh,” says Cecilia Marquez, creative director of inspired boutique Saint Cloud. “For Szechuan, go to Cooking Girl or Mala.” She also notes Cuchara for Mexican and Hugs & Donuts (below) for something sweet. “I could keep going….we really like to eat and drink here!”

Hugs & Donuts
Photo via @hugsanddonutshtx

Both Kate de Para, the designer behind minimalist label Evens, and Trang Nguyen, co-founder of Rice Village boutique Myth & Symbol, dig Oxheart (above). The menu is always fresh and the service is on point, Kate insists — probably why it’s such a popular spot. “Make sure to get a reservations at least a month in advance,” Trang advises.

Huynh Restaurant, 912 Saint Emanuel

Cooking Girl, 315 Fairview St

Mala Sichuan Bistro, 9348 Bellaire Blvd

Cuchara, 214 Fairview St

Hugs & Donuts, 1901 N Shepherd Dr #4

WHERE TO DRINK 

Public Services cc @alicialynette
Photo via @alicialynette

“I always love to visit 13 celcius for wine and Public Services for sherry or a whiskey drink,” Kate says. Public Services (above), with its art deco furnishings in Houston’s historic 1884 Cotton Exchange building, is also Cecilia’s go-to, while Trang recommends Anvil, which boasts a 100-strong list of classic cocktails alongside eight house originals.

13 celcius, 3000 Caroline St

Public Services, 202 Travis St Suite 100

Anvil Bar & Refuge, 424 Westheimer Rd. Ste. B

WHAT TO SEE

James Turell cc @calpaca
Photo via @calpaca

It’s a general consensus — if you go to Houston, you gotta visit the James Turrell “Twilight Epiphany” Skyspace (above). The two-level pyramid installation, sitting on top of a hill next door to the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University, has an LED light sequence that projects up towards an opening in the ceiling at sunrise and sunset. The way that natural light and the projection play off each other is nothing short of spectacular. 

James Turrell “Twilight Epiphany” Skyspace at Rice University, 6100 Main St

Trang and Cecilia both also list the Menil Collection, an art museum comprised of four buildings (who of which are dedicated to individual artists) and Buffalo Bayou Park Cistern (below), one of Houston’s earliest underground water reservoirs, built in 1926 and filled with tall concrete columns that are reminiscent of the cisterns of ancient Rome. The cistern is set within the lush, 160-acre Buffalo Bayou Park.  

Buffalo cistern
Photo via @krisgillentine

The Menil Collection, 1533 Sul Ross St

Buffalo Bayou Park Cistern, 05 Sabine St

A trip to Houston wouldn’t be complete without a stop at Canino Farmer’s Market (below), though. Kate recommends visiting this local treasure, which has been supplying the city with fresh fruits and vegetables since 1958.

Farmer's market
Photo via @teresathuy

Canino Farmer’s Market, 2520 Airline Dr

WHERE TO WATCH LIVE MUSIC 

White Oak Music Hall
Photo via @keppford

Texas has a longstanding musical history and Houston has been home to more than a few of the greats (Kenny Rogers, Lyle Lovett, and somebody called Beyoncé, to name a few). Checking out a show in the Bayou City is a must and there are plenty of places to do it. Trang says to hit the newly opened White Oak Music Hall (above), a massive venue that is made up of three, multi-level performance spaces and spans more than five acres.

White Oak Music Hall, 2915 N Main St

For Kate, Walter’s or the Raven Tower (originally built in the ’70s as a metal fabrication shop) are two of the best places to take in live music. 

Walter’s, 1120 Naylor St

Raven Tower, 310 North St

WHAT TO WEAR

evens
Photo via Evens

 

“Look, it’s hot as hell here and we’re all sweating together so we want as little fabric touching our bodies as possible,” Cecilia says. “That being said, Houston is a city where people want to look put together so we have perfected the art of being comfortable AND looking amazing at the same time. The keys are stunning accessories, great shoes, and breathable fabrics.”  

“I’d describe Houston style as super eclectic — at least in the art scene,” Kate continues. “There will always be something a little bit punk about the way people blend upcycling with high end design around here which I love.”

Houston’s style can be hard to define because it’s such a big and diverse city, Trang says, but one thing is certain: “We are the anti-New York: lots of colors and patterns,” she states. “Houston can be hot and humid so we all have a year-round summer wardrobe.”

HOW TO HAVE A PERFECT DAY IN HOUSTON 

Menil park
Photo via @sailert

With so many things to do and sights to see, how does one have a perfectly Houston day? Simple, Kate says: “It would go like coffee at Catalina, take a stroll around Sixth Ward, head to Menil Park and laze around with friends on a blanket, lunch at Brasil, walk to Tomo Magazines to browse some print media, maybe pop into Reeve’s Antiques to drool over some gorgeous MCM design or La Corazon for some cool Central American imported inspo, and hopefully have friends over for cocktails, a simple dinner and good conversation.”

Catalina Coffee Shop, 2201 Washington Ave

Old Sixth Ward

Menil Park (above), Branard St

Brasil Cafe, 2604 Dunlavy St

Tomo Mags, 1206 Hawthorne St

Reeve’s Antiques, 2415 Taft St

For Cecilia, her day revolves around her dogs and good grub. “Get up, grab a matcha latte from Morningstar Coffee & Donuts, take my dogs to Jonny Steele Dog Park (we call this place Disneyland for dogs — it’s amazing), take the dogs to meet friends for breakfast tacos at Guadalupana, hit up Tomo Mags for some hard-to-find publications, go to an afternoon yoga class and then head over to Boheme for a frozen mojito on their sprawling patio.  For dinner, meet friends at Weights + Measures and then an after dinner drink (or two) at Public Services.” 

Dog park
Photo via @erwin_htx

Morningstar Coffee & Donuts, 4721 N Main St

Jonny Steele Dog Park (above), 2929 Allen Pkwy

La Guadalupana Bakery & Cafe, 2109 Dunlavy St

Weights + Measures, 2808 Caroline St

Trang’s perfect day packs in a lot of culture — something Houston is filled to the brim with.

Houston museum
Photo via @hotfarts

“Checking out the Museum of Fine Arts Houston (they have a great [Yayoi] Kusama exhibit going on), then walking over to Hotel Zaza for a drink (and Volcano fries) and finally to the Miller Outdoor Theatre across the street for a show.” 

Museum of Fine Arts Houston, 1001 Bissonnet St

Hotel ZaZa, 5701 Main St

Miller Outdoor Theatre, 6000 Hermann Park Dr