#ChooseYourWinter

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Nike has put together a fun series of outdoor events in Toronto for the next couple of Mondays. These events titled #ChooseYourWinter combine running and NTC for a good 1.5 hour workout outdoors. I took part in the initial event on Monday night and was astounded by the amazing group of people that came out and took part in this event. I applaud Nike for the series of events they’ve been hosting as of late in the city. Over the past couple of months, they’ve really developed an wonderful community of sport and fitness enthusiasts and specifically, an amazing community of women. I never thought I’d be the kind of girl to a) sign up for a group exercise class and b) look forward to attending these classes every week. Since I took the fall off from traveling, I’ve had the opportunity to attend weekly NTC classes offered by Nike and as a result met some rad new women. The weekly NTC classes have become an integral part of my week. Since the weather is getting colder by the minute, it’s a great complementary exercise to the running that I still do outdoors.

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What I particularly like about Nike’s new #ChooseYourWinter campaign is the emphasis on outdoor physical activity even as the weather drops. As a kid, I would spend most of my time outdoors skiing, skating, cross-country skiing, making forts, etc. But as an adult living in a busy city like Toronto, I find I spend WAY less time outdoors than I’d like to. This is why I’ve continued running and also make it a point to walk outdoors as much as I can. These four special #ChooseYourWinter events are a reminder and also proof that you don’t need to stay indoors all winter.

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50+ men and women gathered on Monday night to run with members of the different Nike Running Clubs to a secret location, which ended up being Fort York for a 30-minute NTC workout with NTC Master Trainer Eva Redpath. We were greeted by lights, DJ FeelGoodSmalls, ice sculptures and a killer atmosphere! Rarely have I had so much fun outdoors, especially while working out. It’s so motivating to workout in a group, there’s really nothing quite like it!

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Another great thing about these events is that you’re able to try some brand new Nike workout gear & shoes for the night. I’m obsessed with their new Pegasus 31 flash running shoe. Not only are they glow in the dark but also water repellent. I also tried on one of their amazing jackets that kept me warm in the -10 C weather.

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If you’re looking for a fun thing to do on Monday night for the next couple of weeks, come join us at Nike’s The Loft. Just make sure you sign up in advance via Nike’s website here to be able to participate. See you at 6pm on Monday :D

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Camel

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Keeping warm with some of my favorite things today! Love my new oversized camel sweater from Zara. It goes perfectly with my SUPER warm checkered camel & burgundy scarf that I got at H&M. H&M has become one of my go-to places to pick up a bunch of scarves, hats and gloves for winter. They’re all great to mix and match and also super affordable. I also added my Zara bag and my leopard pumps to complete this camel outfit!

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Photos by @Offner

Adidas Women’s SL Loop Runner Shoes

H&M knitted hat (get it here)

Zara structured grey coat (get it here)

Anine Bing Classic Skinny Jeans – Used Blue (get them here)

H&M checkered scarf (get it here)

Zara oversized camel sweater (get it here)

5 Questions With: Dylana Suarez

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Dylana Suarez is a stylist, photographer and blogger currently based in New York City. If you’ve been following my 5 Questions With series, you may have noticed that I’ve also had the privilege of featuring her lovely and also incredibly talented sister Natalie Suarez on the blog before. The Suarez sisters are a powerhouse duo. Dylana often works with her younger sister, photographing and styling her for shoots. Dylana’s many talents really fascinate me. She’s always working on the coolest creative projects with some of the most amazing brands and people. Her blog is one of my daily go-to websites. I love her unique style and her passion for food, travel & fashion! Dylana is currently in Vancouver to shoot a city guide for Free People and will then be heading to LA to photograph some more. She dreams of traveling the world and showcasing her adventures on her blog. Hope you’ll enjoy my 5 Questions With Dylana Suarez:

1) Do you remember when your love for fashion started? When did you make the decision to work in the fashion industry?

It started when I was really young, before I even started elementary school! My mom always sketched when I was younger, and I’d color in the patterns of the clothes the characters in her pictures wore. She also made clothes for us sometimes! I always loved what my mom wore, she was so stylish, so I think it just rubbed off on me. Imagery is so important to me, and I just automatically fell in love with pictures and what people wore. But I didn’t decide to work in fashion until way later. Halfway through college, I decided to switch majors (I used to be a biology major) and dabble into the idea of a career in fashion. So I did a few internships to see how I liked it that helped me network and inspired me to start my blog, and it slowly went from there.

2) You are a stylist, photographer and blogger, how do each of these things feed your creativity?

Being a stylist is so much fun for me because it brings me back to my childhood days of playing dress up at home. It’s the reason why I fell in love with fashion in the first place. I love playing with colors, shapes, textures, etc. Standing back and seeing a look you put together that instills a feeling or vibe feels so good to me. Photography is something I am truly very passionate about. I learned how to take photos myself, and slowly got better and better. I think because I grew with it, I feel most connected with it. Nothing makes me feel more happy that a gorgeous photo that inspires myself and others. Blogging is amazing because it has allowed me to do all the things I love: write, style, take photos, meet new people and collaborate. it has opened so many doors for me as a person and as a creative, it really is amazing. It has driven me to explore and challenge myself, and keep creating more and more :)

3) What are some of your favorite brands or go-to designers when styling?

I really, really love Free People, Topshop, Junim and Spell and the Gypsy. But if it was all up to me, I’d be pulling from Saint Laurent, Miu Miu and Dries van Noten! I never stick to just one brand, I pull from everything and even lots from my own closet just to change things up!

4) You were raised in Southern California but you now call NYC home, how much has the city impacted your career? Is Manhattan in your opinion, still a great place for fashion?

Moving to NYC has probably been the best decision of my 20’s so far! I’ve experience so much here! I love how go-go the life is here, and how many interactions I can have in a day. I meet so many people here and everything is so accessible. The city is so stimulating and really inspires me to keep pursuing my dreams, especially when I am able to work with a bunch of really great supportive people. Manhattan is full of fashion everywhere. So for someone like me, it’s an awesome place to live. All the brands, PR firms and creatives are here. There’s always something going on, and the fashion scene thrives because of it.

5) What are some of your must-haves for fall this year?

I distressed red leather boot, an oversized leather moto jacket, over-the-knee socks, and a beret!

On Set

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Being on set today made me want to work on styling projects again so badly! Seeing the steamers, changing rooms, backdrops and all the lights made me excited for future styling. Styling oneself is great but styling others is 10x more fun and exciting! I love being challenged and finding the perfect look. Feeling excited at the thought of doing more in the future :D

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Photos by Aleyah Solomon

Zara black pleated blouse (get it here)

The Kooples Faux Python Embossed Boots (get them here)

Topshop clean edge fedora hat (similar one here)

H&M skinny beige trousers

Archway

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Today was probably the last time I got to step outside in Toronto without a jacket and a hat on for a while…

I seem to have a thing for grey this fall… Especially the grey on grey combo! Today I mixed the grey on grey combo with camo green. Really digging more minimalist and simple looks as of late. My current mindset: Less is more! What’s your favorite color this season?

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Photos by @Offner

Anine Bing double zipper jeans light grey (get them here)

Modern Vice Camo Jetts (get them here)

Zara Green Shirt with gold skull buttons

CRYWOLF sharktooth necklace

Zara TRF oversized tee 

Exploring San Francisco

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This summer I returned to beautiful San Francisco. Though I travel to Los Angeles several times a year, I’ve only been to San Francisco once before, back in 2006 when I was on tour. I was delighted to be back in a city I didn’t know much about and that has changed so much over the past couple of years.

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If you’re flying into San Francisco, the good news is that the airport is pretty awesome! It’s located only a few minutes from downtown (you can access it easily via cab or the BART), it’s new, clean and also offers some of the healthiest food options I’ve ever seen before in an airport. I loved their market and all of their fresh food options.

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I spent five full  days in San Francisco, which really gave me the opportunity to re-familiarize myself with this lovely city.  We spent those days walking for hours non-stop. San Francisco is really a great city to explore by foot. If you’re going to go explore though, make sure you wear comfortable footwear as you will have to climb up and down hills to get to the different areas of town. San Francisco also has many bike paths than span across the downtown area. They have the Bay Area Bike Share system that you can use if you want to tour the city on wheels. I’ll be posting a special San Francisco food blog soon but in the meantime, here are some of the things that stood out while exploring the city.

1) Mission District. Is an incredibly unique neighborhood that is full of life and culture located in east-central San Francisco. What immediately stood out in this area was the huge presence of the Mexican culture. Everywhere you go you will find influences of Mexico in the food, the shops and the environment. Mission reminds me of a small Brooklyn or even Parkdale in Toronto. There are many young adults, artists and entrepreneurs that live in the area. Valencia Street between 24th and 14th street is the main street in the neighborhood where you’ll find a ton of really neat shops, restaurants, bars, schools, etc.  Guerrero and Mission Street are also filled with tons of different businesses. Every street around these main arteries is filled with beautiful homes and apartments. The architecture in this neighborhood is stunning, just like anywhere in San Francisco. The Victorian rowhouses are all colorful and each have something special. One of my favorite shops that I found on Valencia was Paxton Gate, a boutique shop that specializes in taxidermy, fossils, plants, science & so much more. The shop is filled with so many interesting books, unique gifts & decorations. There’s also a handful of vintage stores on Valencia that have amazing clothes and accessories.

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2) Coffee culture. I could have an entire blog just dedicated to coffee in San Francisco because it’s really a big deal. San Francisco’s coffee shops are renown across the US. You may have already heard of the legendary Philz Coffee located in Mission District, the place where each coffee is brewed individually and blended for each customer. For the past 25 years, Phil has been making his own unique blends of coffee and serving them to their faithful customers. Going into Philz is definitely a different experience. Other than Philz, you’ll also find Ritual Coffee Roasters in Mission, on Valencia Street. It’s smaller but a great spot to grab a croissant and coffee on the go or to stay for a few minutes. The simple and clean decor makes the place very modern and bright. Also, on Valencia you’ll find Fourbarrel Coffee, a spot that reminds me a lot of Intelligentsia Coffee in Los Angeles. It was rated as the #1 coffee spot in San Francisco by San Francisco Weekly. It’s a big open space. You can buy lot’s of coffee accessories and merch from the shop. It definitely feels a little more upscale than Philz and is also a major hipster hangout. If you go closer to the pier, you can grab coffee from Blue Bottle, a coffee shop that originated in Oakland, CA and that now can be found everywhere in the Bay Area, New York and Los Angeles.

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3) Street art. Everywhere you look in downtown San Francisco, you’ll find beautiful and colorful street art. Artists of all types and backgrounds leave traces of their talent across the city. I was particularly drawn to the art I saw in Mission District, just because a lot of it was inspired by the Mexican culture. I really think that street art is so special and unique and makes a city so vibrant. It adds character to the building or structure it’s on. I think each city should make space for street artists to leave their marks.

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4) Ocean Beach. I couldn’t go to San Francisco without going to Ocean Beach. Though a little far from downtown, the ocean is pretty easily accessible via bus if you take Judah Street. Another way to access the beach is to walk through Golden Gate Park, which is what we decided to do. Golden Gate Park is so incredibly vast and lush. It reminded me of Central Park minus the crowds. Once you get to the beach, you feel like you’re in a completely different place. We stopped at Java Beach Cafe to grab some beach snacks before crossing the road and climbing up the sand dunes. There’s a nice bike path located at the beach that goes on for miles. The beach in San Francisco is so large and quiet. The sand dunes prevent you from seeing the city behind you so you feel like you’re tucked away somewhere quiet and beautiful. Though I didn’t get out in the water, I did see a handful of surfers wearing 3/2 wetsuits riding some waves. A tip: Make sure you grab an extra layer of clothing when going to the beach, it tends to get a really windy. The view though… priceless!

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5) Wine country. On the last day we were in San Francisco we were invited to go down to wine country in Sonoma. We visited a few family owned wineries including the Benziger Family Winery located in Glen Ellen. What I particularly enjoyed about this specific winery is that it uses Biodynamic, organic and sustainable farming methods to make their wine. We had a lovely tour of the estate and also had the best cheese & wine tasting I’ve ever had. They had such a tasty selection of cheeses, my mouth is watering just thinking about it! Another fun winery on our tour was the Francis Ford Coppola Winery. This is a destination for the entire family, with a full hotel, restaurant, pool & spa. They also have a cool museum with artifacts from all of Coppola’s movies and his daughter’s movies as well. The pool and café are a great place to spend the afternoon.

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Before finishing this post, I feel compelled to mention that homelessness still seems to be a very major issue in San Francisco. They are everywhere you go in the city. I’ve seen a lot of homeless people in Los Angeles and other cities on the west coast, but the problem seems even greater in the city of San Francisco. I really felt helpless as a tourist seeing all the people on the streets. I hope the city can continue working on making the lives of these people better!

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Friday Explorations

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Taking a much needed day off today! It’s been a while since I took time off during the week and I almost forgot what it’s like to be off when most people are at work.

When I first moved to Toronto, I worked from home quite a bit, so it was nice to have a flexible schedule and be able to take some days off when I had worked a lot during the week. It’s nice to explore the city, visit your favorite stores or your local coffee shop without the weekend madness!

I made sure I started this rare Friday off in the best way possible – at The Drake Hotel. This past year, The Drake Hotel has really become a weekend staple. They have an amazing and inexpensive brunch menu plus they make everything homemade from scratch. They just began serving a new brunch and lunch menu with more seasonal dishes, which all seem incredibly tasty. I had Nona’s Frittata this morning, it was incredibly hearty and delicious!

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What made my Friday even 10x better was receiving a lovely package from one of my favorite jewelry designers in LA – COMMUNION by Joy! So stoked on this cute handmade rose gold ear stud! I rarely wear earrings since I’m allergic to anything that isn’t real gold, so this beautiful unique piece will without a doubt become my daily go-to piece!

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What do you usually do when you get a day off? What are you up to this weekend?

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Photos by @Offner

Public Butter grey beanie

The Kooples Faux Python Embossed Boots (get them here)

Zara structured grey coat (get it here)

Malorie Urbanovitch knee high socks

M for Mendocino spotted romper

COMMUNION by Joy Warrior 14k rose gold ear stud

Aldo Parella bag (get it here)

Winter Style

With the clocks rolled back and the end of Daylight Saving Time, it can only mean one thing – winter is right around the corner! Since I have yet to runaway to California, Mexico, Florida, Portugal or anywhere warmer than Toronto, it looks like I’ll have to endure one more Canadian winter.

As of late, I’ve really tried to make the best of the season I so hate by a) traveling a lot b) practicing a multitude of winter sports and c) having fun with my winter style. Not an easy feat to look stylish but also stay toasty and warm. On the weeks that get really cold, I really couldn’t care less if I look like an Abominable Snowman, as long as I am warm and my extremities aren’t freezing. Luckily, winter doesn’t get too harsh in Toronto and we usually don’t end up having much snow downtown. It’s still feasible to go outside while looking relatively cute. Plus with so many brands now making amazing threads for winter, there’s definitely a way to stay stylish even in subzero weather.

Here are some of the things I’m coveting for my winter wardrobe this year:

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Isabel Marant Étoile Gabrie Check Wool-Blend Coat

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H&M Fake Fur Mittens

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The Kooples Sport Flecked Fleece Boxer Jogger

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Zara High-Neck Straight Dress

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Ella Moss Maja Cardigan

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TOPSHOP Faux Fox Fur Trapper

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Anine Bing Turtleneck Sweater In Charcoal

 

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Mackage Carrita-F4 Black Leather Mini Crossbody Bag

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Scotch & Soda Oversized Knit Cardigan

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Zara Leather Ankle Boot With Interior Wedge

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Stance Athena Socks

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The Kooples Coat With Faux Fur Hood

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ASOS Oversized Knit Scarf

What are you excited to wear this winter? :)

The Tempered Room

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A cute new patisserie opened up in Parkdale recently called The Tempered Room. Located on Queen West, this hip new spot is incredibly cute and homey. The owner and chef Bertrand Alépée, is from France and has brought lot’s of his home country to this little café. At the Tempered Room, you’ll find freshly baked croissants (that taste like France and that are way cheaper than Nadège!), croque-monsieurs, chouquettes, baguettes, flans, etc.

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The space is well designed, you can either sit with you computer on a stool at one of their individual tables or at the big table in the front or even right by the windows. They have complimentary wifi for their clients and always have a killer music playlist. Their staff is also very friendly.

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The flavors of the food he presents is very similar to what you would find in France, which warms my heart and makes my mouth water. It’s so rare to find baked goods that really remind me of France in Toronto. The place seems to be pleasing locals as it’s been busy since they’ve opened. They plan on expanding their food menu come winter and are also working on developing special wine, pastry and dinner events in the future. J’ai hâte!

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Photos by @Offner

Adidas Women’s SL Loop Runner Shoes

 Zara Biker Jacket with zips

Anine Bing Double Zipper Jeans – Light Grey (get them here)

Anine Bing Crewneck Knitted Sweater In Snow Melange (get it here)

The 10th Tribe beanie 

Bear Necklace from Three Fates

5 Things To Do In Los Angeles

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1) Handboarding. Instead of surfing, next time you go to LA, try handboarding! One of the biggest handboarding companies and shapers is located right in Venice Beach. The company is called SLYDE Handboards and is run by the raddest couple – Steve Watts & Angela Ferendo. Steve, the founder and CEO of the company is originally from South Africa and has been shaping handboards for years. After traveling the world, he obtained a degree in product design and now is the leader of an amazing community of handboarders across the world. Their shop is located right off the Venice Beach boardwalk. They are always willing to initiate new people to the sport by taking them out in the water nearby.

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Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetI had the chance to get in the water twice with them, while I was in LA in August and it was one of the most enjoyable activities I’ve done in a while. It’s thrilling to be able to catch a wave and propel yourself into it, while kicking with your fins and letting yourself glide with the handboard. Hanging out with Steve & Angela, we also met other locals who are involved in the sport. There’s definitely a nice community of friendly handboarders growing in Southern California, Florida and other parts of the world. I am a big fan of their boards, all of their graphics are made with artists from around the world and the boards themselves are designed with the best materials. They also have boards for everyone from beginners to pros. Highly recommend stopping by their shop (you’ll also get to meet their beautiful dog Cowboy!!), getting in the water and trying out handboarding. Guaranteed stoke!

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2) Stay at The LINE Hotel. There are so many hotels always opening up in Los Angeles but I would say that one of the latest and greatest hotels that’s opened up in downtown LA is hands down The LINE Hotel. Located in Koreatown to be exact, The LINE Hotel is a new hotel collaboration between Roy Choi (the Korean American chef that create the famous Kogi food truck in LA), The Houston Brothers, Sean Knibb and Poketo. The hotel itself is located in a mid-century building that has been transformed to offer the coolest modern rooms with the dreamiest views of the Hollywood Hills. In addition to the amazing rooms, they have the nicest rooftop pool and restaurant called Commissary. I’ve talked about Commissary before in one of other blogs here. It’s special because it’s a little garden oasis in the middle of the busy cityscape. Pot and the Pot Lobby Bar is renown for it’s delicious Korean food. The customer service at the hotel is fantastic and the rooms are pretty affordable. I could wake up there every day…

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3) Explore the coast. One of my favorite things to do while in Los Angeles is exploring all the different little cities and neighborhoods in and around Los Angeles. I love driving around the coast, parking the car and exploring all the gems in the area. I’ve found so many amazing shops, restaurants and communities thanks to just wandering around up and down the coast. If driving isn’t your thing, you can also explore a lot of the coast by just renting a bike for the day. The Strand or The Marvin Braude Bike Trail starts at Will Rogers State Beach in Pacific Palisades and goes as far south as Torrance Beach, south of Redondo Beach. The 26-mile path can be done with a bike, skateboard, rollerblades or whatever your heart desires. It’s a beautiful way to get to know the area better. The view is just so incredible and it’s super freeing to ride a bike instead of being stuck in traffic with a car. Many people take The Strand to commute every day to and from work if they live close to the ocean.

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4) Visit the Sunset Marquis. Whether for a drink, a bite to eat, a day at the spa or even to just enjoy their two pools, the Sunset Marquis is a classic Hollywood hotel that just doesn’t go out of style. There are many things that still make the hotel so special. I personally love all the rock memorabilia and photographs that you can find all around the hotel. The Morrison Hotel Gallery at the entrance of the hotel is also filled with iconic rock photographs. Bar 1200 is a small and private bar that makes you feel right at home. They offer classic drinks and always have the best music playlist. Plus, they also have a super cozy patio at the front that is dimly lit with small candles. Their restaurant Cavatina is a great place for a lunch, a meeting or a mid-day snack. Their menu focuses on local California products and is creative but also affordable. Relaxing by the pool after getting a spa treatment is also quite special. If you’re willing to spend the cash, I’d have you know that the rooms are incredibly lush and comfortable. I haven’t slept that well in a hotel in a while!

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5) Shop at The Kooples & Anine Bing. It’s impossible for me not to mention my two new favorite stores in LA. The Parisian brand The Kooples, finally made it’s big west coast entrance this summer, which a luxurious and enormous marble-floored shop on S Robertson Blvd. in Beverly Hills. The shop is split into two sections, they have both their men’s and women’s collection in the store. I had discovered this French rock n’ roll band two years ago while in Paris and have been coveting every collection since. Shopping at The Kooples is a unique experience.

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Those who’ve been following my blog, know how obsessed I am with all-things Anine Bing. The lovely designer recently opened up her first shop in Los Angeles on West 3rd Ave. in Beverly Hills. It so happened that I was in town the day her flagship store opened and got to be one of the first ones to shop her new collection. It’s also always such a pleasure to see Anine, she’s such an inspiring woman. I have so much respect for what she does. What I love about her new shop is that it’s bright, modern and minimalistic. All of the items from her current collection can be found at the shop. I love Anine’s passion for flowers and candles, it adds a little personalized touch to the shop. Everyone at the shop is incredibly nice and helpful. An added bonus, it’s located right next to the FONUTS bakery ;) If you want a nice personalized shopping experience and are looking for rocker meets bohemian threads, you’ve got to stop by the shop!

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