If I have to pick my favorite Sweden, it's Sweden during summertime. Interspersed between the expected rainy/cold days (which I love honestly, even if my hair doesn't), you get these days that are so warm and so lovely. All you want to do on those days is walk around, and fortunately Sweden is a very walkable country. Very fortunate for me, because I hate taking any and all metros and subways - except for the one that takes you directly to the Louvre in Paris.
I'm admittedly not the kind of traveler who strives to "live like a local", but I'm more open now after my last month in Sweden. I love a big, beautiful capital city, a modern boutique hotel, and doing undeniably touristy things like going to museums and royal palaces so I can look a antique sapphire crowns and vintage ball gowns. For that I had Stockholm, but I really lived in Norrköping, this really cool little city with hidden waterfalls around a lot of corners and rushing rivers tucked under bridges. Armed with my exactly 10 words of Svenska (that's one of the 10) I went to a small art museum (like, I REALLY like museums), ordered fresh lemonade with mint, and exchanged pleasantries with cute elderly Swedish men spending their afternoon in the park as well. I don't have a list of must-do/must-see things to do there. You need to see it all, and the best way is the walk until you here the growing sound of cascading water and then of course make you friend/parent/spouse take many, many pictures of you. Then have fika for me because I'm allergic - a Swedish slowdown with a side of coffee and cookies is the perfect time to rest your feet and edit pictures for the gram.
The best city in Sweden is Söderköping. Actually, I don't even if it's a city - it's just this idyllic little wonderland filled with winding canals and amazing ice cream. Ice cream so amazing, in fact, that I didn't even get to try it because the line at Smultronstället was at least 50 people long during Midsommer. I 100% want to live the quiet life in Söderköping in one of the colorful houses perched on cobblestone streets. My 20s were all about being a struggling creative in metropolitan cities, I want my 30s to be about quiet daytime naps in towns with more ducks that people. Again, it's a place to just see and do, without specifically having to see or do anything. Just enjoying seeing the kind of place you have to go all the way to Scandinavia to experience.
Stockholm is everything I expected, except better. Better, as previously mentioned, because you can easily walk from Humlegården to Gamla Stan to Södermalm and back in half a day. Not that it matters because Nordic days go from like 4am to 10pm with all the sunlight you have at your disposal. So yeah, it was super fun waking up at 4:30am every day my first week in Sweden because along with jet lag, my body was all suns up, buns up.
Stockholm is situated all on islands and the all feel a bit different when you cross over their bridges. I, of course, stan Gamla Stan because it's old town and old school. Colorful, cobbled, full of archaic architecture and one very beautiful royal residence Kungliga Slottet -it's so my scene. It's also a little tourist trap-y but you have to buy souvenirs somewhere! My other favorite neighborhood is Södermalm which is like the cool kid sister of Gamla Stan. Still ripe with beautiful old buildings and river views, it feels more authentic and lived in than the old town. It's the more local experience for all you people of the people out there. It's also the home of Kvarnen and homemade traditional Swedish food. If you're looking for meatballs (and I know you are) get in there.
A trip to Stockholm within a trip to Norrköping was 100% made possible thanks to the ultra cool Elite Eden Park Hotel! Right on (literally) Humlegården and by Stureplan (a square where everyone is in the best outfits you've ever seen aka the perfect place for a fika and a good gawking) - it is so cozy yet so modern. Something I've fallen in love with is this European style of sleeping where each person has their own set-up in the bed. I'm not a good bed sharer - I want all the blanket and all the pillows, and this style makes me more tolerable to my bed-mate. Sleep and food are pretty much the most important things in my life so between the very comfortable bed situation and breakfast that was provided every morning - this is my forever go-to hotel in Stockholm. The breakfast! Okay - for my American readers you know how continental breakfast in America is like one waffle maker and some single serving boxes of cereal? Not here, honey. The spread was everything. I had been dying to try gravlax since I got to Sweden, and not only was it there - but it was even more tasty than I could have imagined. Salmon cured in salt, sugar, and dill is everything to me. Fresh fruit, fresh cheese, fresh bread, and the best fresh juice of my life are all served at Miss Voon - which is worth a look and a drink just to take in the dazzling and moody atmosphere of this sophisticate spot. Beet is not one of my 10 words of Swedish I know, but I'm pretty sure the juice I was most obsessed with and had every morning was apple, lemon, and beet so just look for the red one - you'll know it when you see it. I'm actually surprised I saw so much of Stockholm considering how much I wanted to stay in bed and order room service. I actually did take a nap after breakfast every morning - I can only do so much. I also took the world's longest showers because I cannot resist a rainfall shower-head or plush towels that you can practically wrap around yourself twice. I know you may be tempted to stay in Gamla Stan, but listen to me. In the quieter streets surrounding the lush and open Humlegården, there's so many gems from restaurants to galleries to salons and everything you ever need plus the feeling of escaping a crowded city center. 10/10 will definitely be staying there again - I hope they stock up on gravlax.
There's about 1,000 more things I want to share about Sweden, but I'll save that for my next trip in a few months! Between now and then, I'll be looking for the Swedish equivalent of Drybar and praying for dry weather.
I should call this blog post "Anyway, here's 100 pictures of Tulum". Imagine how many pictures you take while on vacation. Now, imagine being a blogger on vacation. With WI-Fi. I'm ready to admit that it took me days to get down to just these photos, partly because I took so many and partly because I wanted to show you what I got to live in for four days: the lush, peaceful, perfect Tulum, Mexico.
The water is so aqua and clear, warm, and easy to navigate - if you don't always try to swim past the break like I do. I literally think I'm a mermaid. It's the purple hair. Thanks to our hotel being located in a national park, I have never seen a place so lavishly green and flourishing in my life. So, here are about 100 pictures of Tulum - pretty much the best place on Earth to celebrate your 30th birthday with a suitcase full of boho gems and your best friends.
Tulum, I swear, is such a bohemian destination. Everything around you is tinged with magic. It's a place where you definitely don't want to waste a perfect view on less than perfect looks. I packed up my current favorite dresses from Selfie Leslie, Free People, and Dress The Population - all brimming with either beautiful prints or texture - and wandered around these beaches and jungles probably incredibly overdressed! I mean...definitely overdressed, but when can you be your most ebullient if not in paradise? I didn't do it on purpose, but I didn't hate how prettily each dress fluttered in the wind - I was very much living in my boho princess moment. Or goddess moment in my sea foam green Athena dress glimmering with gold thread. When your outfit matches the colors of your destination - that is peak fashion blogging, my loves!
I know I love hyperbole, but I say this with no exaggeration - Hotel Diamante K was the most perfect place I have ever stayed in my life. It is the closest thing I can imagine to heaven on Earth. You may notice there's no photos really around the city Tulum or the Ruins here, and it's because I flat-out got to the hotel and didn't want to leave for the next four days (or ever). Our open air bungalow was so simply beautiful with two full beds complete with mosquito netting (why does mosquito netting always look so chic?), a beaded doorway (which is something from a 70s decor dream), waterfall shower, and balcony. I probably spent more time on that balcony - just listening to the waves, the wind chimes, and the quiet - than anywhere else. However, when I did leave the balcony - it was to eat at their incredible restaurant or chill out on their private beach. It was just days of fresh lobster, salmon, shirmp, vegetables, fruits, live music, mezcal, tequila, and tanning on the most perfect little beach enclave. The people who worked there were so kind, and even had a birthday surprise when I arrived. So basically, I will love this place forever and cannot wait to go back. Tulum is a emerging destination, and you can see that on the other side of the beach which is full of yoga retreats and fusion restaurants. What I loved most about Hotel Diamate K is that it retains a sense of being untouched by commercialism and modernity, in the best way. It's a rustic retreat from real life.
P.S. I also got the best massage of MY LIFE there. Outside, next to the Caribbean Sea, it was the first time in two years I didn't feel pain from my car accident. I think I can officially call this place heaven, because that was a miracle.
These? These are just gratuitous sunset shots. I really want everyone to experience Tulum, so if nothing else convinced you - these will.
Happy Travels, Babes!
You know what's better than being at home in your own bed? Honestly - almost nothing EXCEPT being in the perfect hotel bed. You know what I mean - you walk into your suite and see a king size bed with crisp white sheets and just the fattest pillows and you know, in that very moment, that you're going to have the best sleep of your life. That's what happened when I walked into my very own Surf Pad at Tower23 Hotel. Not to be dramatic or hyperbolic (even though I'm constantly both), but I saw the bed and said, "This is literally the best trip of my life." and I hadn't even opened the curtains to the balcony yet.
How do I describe a view that my camera could barely do justice in showing? I kind of can't - you have to see it for yourself. Pacific Beach is RIGHT THERE. You can smell the saltwater, see the locals surfing, and hear tourists on Crystal Pier. All of that - you get to take it all in while sipping on rum punch sent to your room by the nicest staff ever.
I did actually do things while I was in San Diego (my next post will be very sea lion-centric), but some of the best parts of this weekender away were getting to experience absolute calm. I love L.A., but I am not calm or serene in L.A. San Diego has this vibe of total chill that permeates the city. It helps that there's no traffic that makes you want to abandon your car (and all hope) while getting from the beach to the city, and back. It's a different pace there - one that I needed to recharge. My days was spent sleeping in, having coffee on the balcony while watching the waves crest and crash, and then moseying over to the deck to lounge in front of an even more expansive ocean view while reading. P.S. I finally finished Mindy Kaling's first book - the one I started 50 weeks ago.
On thing I didn't take advantage of at Tower23 Hotel that I wish I did was the free bikes they have for guests. I was honestly enjoying being lazy so much that I couldn't muster the strength to take a ride along the beach, but next time for sure. One thing I definitely want to take advantage of every day is the food at JRDN - especially the grilled pita bread with spicy hummus, herb goat cheese, and artichoke mascarpone ( my diet is like 86% hummus and cheese anyway) and the Tower23 Burger (I am very much a lapsed vegetarian).
The best sunset I've ever seen in my life was sitting with my mom on the caldera in Oia, Santorini - until this one. Why was this one better? I got to watch it from bed.
Straight up, the second I left Montreal - I was ready to plan my next trip there. Oh possibly move there, given the election here vs. Trudeau-topia in Canada. I can't say enough good, actually wonderful, things about this city. It has charm for days, beautiful sites for weeks, and good eats for years! Go. Listen to me, my beautiful readers - GO! I'll break it down:
1. The entire city is so charming, that it transferred to the citizens and inhabitants. Everyone I encountered was exceedingly helpful, kind, and patient.
2. I speak French, but you don't have to! It's a truly bilingual (and I'm sure beyond) city. For people like my mom and my aunt, it was just fun for them to practice their French greetings and pleasantries. For, and my also fluent cousin, it was really great to dust off my French and get to converse with people in my second again.
3. The men are gorgeous and, as noted above, speak French. Or English in a silky/smokey French accent - swooooon!
4. The food is amazing! More on that in a few.
5. Poutine (it gets it's own line)
6. It's a walking city with a uncomplicated and clean metro. So basically, the antithesis of L.A.
7. It's an old city that has perfectly meshed the classic and modern so that they exist in a harmonious union.
8. You can go to the church where Celine Dion got married - v. important.
I should have known my littlest cousin is a genius since I spent the days before my trip at her graduation from Harvard. We're all W Hotel fans in my family, she may actually be a super fan, so I trusted her to book us at the W Montreal and I was so not disappointed. The view was dreamy, the decor was modern, and the bathtub was big enough to swim in if one so desired. I'm 5'9" - do you know how hard it is to find a bathtub my legs can fit in comfortably? If you're following me on Snapchat (boho_socialite) you saw my (G-rated) tub adventures aka filling it with perhaps too many bubbles and drinking champagne out of a coffee mug.
The best part, however, was the location! At the crossroads of old and new Montreal, everything was either in walking distance like Notre-Dame Basilica, Rue Saint-Paul, and the flower-lined banks of the St. Lawrence River or a short metro ride out to sites like the Biodome, Botanical Gardens, or Parc Olympique. It sits on Rue McGill with amazing restaurants like Boris Bistro and Holder dotting the street, and right across from Square Victoria - a beautiful park with fountains and benches where people gathered during the afternoon for lunch and coffee breaks.
10/10 would stay again (and also just move into the hotel, generally).
I'm going to tell you honestly - if you didn't catch my poutine on Snapchat, then you missed the pictures. I didn't have time to take a beautiful shot, because I had to eat it immediately! Just get it when you go, trust me.
What I did have time to shoot was my gorgeous deconstructed Nicoise Salad from Boris Bistro and our array of Duck Confit, Lobster Ravioli, and Mussels from Holder - both on Rue McGill. The food at both places is stellar, and the ambience differs so much that you can have two totally unique experiences even though they're only a few blocks apart. Boris Bistro has a GORGEOUS outside seating area that basically allows you to dine inside of a lush garden. Speaking of lush...get the Rose. Holder, in contrast, is a buzzing brasserie with an enveloping energy that sweeps you in while dining on some of the best food you've ever had, tbh.
I am not going to lie - as a blogger, it's really exciting to come across beautiful backgrounds and Montreal is full of them! I could have shot here for days and days, but made the most of my short holiday weekend there.
Day 1: I was HEAVILY channeling myself in 1995. Short sleeve flower dress with lace cami, crochet backpack, round sunnies, and gold gladiator flats, Coolest girl in your 3rd grade class, coolest girl now. I really love this dress from GoJane - I've been wearing it nonstop. It's so comfy and so flattering, which is not an easy mix to find. The floral print is really beautiful and delicately done, plus I love the high-low hem. It's doesn't usually work for my body, but this one fit so well and I appreciated the movement it gave me while walking, while having a long draping in the back. I'm not going to lie again - the shoes killed after the first day BUT we walked something like 2 miles seeing all of the places we wanted to hit. That was on me. If you aren't walking all over Canada, then go for them! They're the most gorgeous gold and who doesn't love a lace-up?
Day 2: To continue with the fluttery trend I had going from the day before, I wore this blush baby from Kanan&Willow. I loved the color, it's one that will work on any skin tone. It was also very comfortable, and even with the ruffle - I didn't have to fuss with it all day. It gave a long and elegant look from what is, at it's core, a super comfy maxi dress. I dressed it up at night with a change of shoes, but that's all it needed! A really great transition piece.
I've already worn my from The Sak OUT! I love that thing. I was initially a little nervous about traveling with it on, but I actually felt much more safe having the snap top and straps around my shoulders. No one could it into it without yanking me back, so it actually turned out to be the perfect travel bag. I didn't have to worry about it, not that I had time to worry with everything I was trying to do in Montreal. The crochet is heavy - which means the bag is durable, and the colors of the bag are bright and so much fun! It's a real bohemian accessory, full of color and with a handmade quality that lets you know its going to last and last.
One more thing - my beyond fierce silver/turquoise cuff and ring set from The Svelte Shop! Talk about beauty meeting badass - this set is so on the nose for vintage-inspired boho style, crafted impeccably, and stunning to wear! I can't wait to order my next piece from them.
I've been meaning to blow the dust off of my travel section because 1. I just got my new passport (52 pages because I'm extra) and 2. I'm headed out of the country in 3 weeks for the first time since I left Paris! If anyone has any tips on how to have the most fabulous, stylish, and food-centric time in Montreal, please spill all in the comments! I'll, of course, be keeping you guys posted on Instagram with how many servings of poutine I can have in 4 days.
I've been testing out some outfits while I'm still in L.A. - attempting to find the perfect balance between style and function. A crossbody bag, like my Ukiah Bag ,is a must-have because you want to keep it close without having to think too much about it. Also, it has tassels so it's automatically adorable. Apparently it's going to be cold in Montreal, but I'm rolling with this cold shoulder baby from F21 regardless. It's breezy, it's light, it's boho, and it's blue - pretty much checking off all of my style requirements. From the magical land of the Coachella Valley, I found the perfect gladiator sandals that are SO COMFY! Who knew? Except for millions of people throughout ancient and modern history who wore this style because it satisfies both categories. Anyway, I'll be exploring all of the corners of Old Montreal in these lace-up flats in the prettiest shade of pewter.
P.S. Can you believe I found a little taste of Santorini while driving around L.A.? The second I get back from Montreal, I'll be planning my next trip to Greece. I have Crete on the brain big time! Where are you dying to go next?
I have a major thing for hotels. Like, hi I'm Eloise and I'm trying to live in a "room on the tippy-top floor" of a hotel. As in, my family and some of my best friends live in New Orleans and I still get a hotel room every time I visit. Part of it is my inherent attraction to luxury. Part of it is the anonymity the comes from being in a different city, in a room all your own, where you can do (almost) anything you want from a slumber party with girlfriends to having only a bottle of champagne and macarons from Sucre for dinner. Literally, please once in your life have macarons fromSucre for dinner in a hotel room done in shades of gold. It's life-changing.
So how perfect was it that the room I hauled my Disco Nap pillow from L.A. to happened to be done in a distinct disco gold? I honestly believed it was divinely conjured. The Lafayette Hotel overlooks the historic Lafayette Square and finds its home right on iconic St. Charles Avenue. It also happens to be my favorite hotel in the city. In a place that has oodles of culture, creole cuisine, and charm, this hotel is positively oozing with it. The loveliest boutique hotel (which I have stayed in numerous times now) always impresses with rooms and suites that are full of their own character. Every time you open the door, you're greeted with a variation on a theme.
Even for hand-picked hospitality staff, and even for the south, the people you'll encounter at The Lafayette Hotel could not be more sweet, accommodating, and ready with recommendations to make your stay in New Orleans authentic. (hint: do go on a ghost tour, do eat beignets at Cafe du Monde, DO NOT go on Bourbon St.).
Here's a travel tip: use the HotelTonight app to for last minute bookings at a DEEPLY discounted rate. I swear by it. I'm not going to tell you how much off this room was...but it saved me enough that I had those macarons and that champagne for dinner. Use my code: MHIGHTOWER12 to get $25 off your stay!
Have you been to New Orleans? Tell me your favorite spots and things to do! If you're going soon, tell me about your stay at The Lafayette Hotel!
The Boho Socialite