The Savvy Traveler :: Leighann

[trip style = urban]

This post is written by Trip Styler fashion and lifestyle blogger Heather.

When I buy clothes I lean towards shopping at boutiques, because how often do you become friends with the salesperson at a large retailer? Leighann Boquist is the owner of Vancouver women's clothing shop Oliver & Lilly's, where she counts her customers as her friends. At her shop, you'll find gorgeous clothing, accessories and lifestyle goods sourced from Tofino to Montreal and Los Angeles to London. Leighann and her husband travel to NY and LA twice a year to buy for the store, but as a lover of trip style = urban, she always makes sure to tack on a few extra days to explore and enjoy the cities she's come to know so well after running her shop for five years. I asked Leighann to let us in on her favorite spots and share how she travels, embodying the effortlessly chic ethos of Oliver & Lilly's.

1/ Bi-coastal accommodations
We always try to stay for a little over a week during our LA trips and prefer booking a vacation rental over a hotel to experience the city like a local. We either stay in Santa Monica, Venice or Silver Lake. Finding your own little gem through Airbnb or VRBO isn’t too tough and these neighborhoods are a great starting point. We always try to ensure we're walking distance to good shopping, coffee and a grocer.

In New York we stay at a boutique hotel in Murray Hill called Park South. It's central enough to everything -- buying appointments, subway stations, restaurants, etc. There’s just something so perfectly Manhattan about a historic boutique hotel with a top-hatted doorman and a lobby lounge filled with jazz music.

2/ Go-to spots for food & fun
Cora’s in Santa Monica is our brunch spot. Great pancakes and a short walk to Venice Beach. Our favorite way to lunch is at local food trucks like Kogi BBQ. There are usually a few trucks parked along Abbot Kinney in Venice. During our last trip, a good friend introduced us to a cool restaurant in the Arts District called Church & State as well as this awesome little coffee joint a few doors down called The Daily Dose. For dinner, Little Dom’s (Los Feliz) or Cliff’s Edge (Silver Lake) -- they have the best fries and the space is breathtaking. We try to hit up some concerts when we’re in town. Before we leave, we check to see if our favorite bands are playing or we scout out the marquees at venues in Silver Lake. Our cottage in Santa Monica is close to the Aero Theatre, so we always take in a film or two while there. You can often catch special screenings with director’s Q&A. And wherever we go, we search for bookstores; our latest find is The Last Bookstore in Downtown LA.

In the mornings, we get a coffee and oatmeal or a bagel on the street from a local deli. For lunch, Le Moulin à Café on the Upper East Side is lovely and for dinner we totally crave Café Habana in Nolita -- the Cuban corn on the cob is drop dead delicious. My favorite thing to do in NY is visit the art galleries -- large and small. Grab a coffee and browse around the neighborhoods, shop at local haunts, stroll through Barneys and walk up Fifth Avenue to check out the department store windows. Two must-stops are ABC Carpet & Home and The Strand Bookstore.

Trip Styler Tip: Leighann's husband lines up with the locals at a little neighborhood grocery store called 21 Crosby Deli (corner of Crosby & Grand). They serve a mean -- and budget-friendly -- Reuben and he usually gets a "bonus" BLT to go. When in SoHo...

3/ Perfect travel wear
Well, I pretty much have a uniform and am function over form -- not much changes when I travel. On the plane I’m usually in skinny jeans, a cashmere sweater and flats or sneakers. In my suitcase you’ll find the same pieces with a few additions: coat, scarf, blazer, leather pants, boots and yoga gear. I use my Clare Vivier La Tropezienne bag as a carry on with a Heidi Merrick clutch inside that stores all my grab-and-go items: wallet, chapstick, iPod, hand towelettes and notepad.

Trip Styler Tip: Leighann always travels with Herban Essentials Towelettes. These individually wrapped, made in California, essential oil towelettes come in great scents like lemon, lavender and peppermint. Find them in her store or check here for a retailer near you. {$20 for 22 towelettes}

5/ Destination on your radar
We’re pipe-dreaming Paris right now for Fall '14, so stay tuned.

More Savvy Travelers
Carolyn, Pro Wanderer
Jesse, I'm With The Band
Jackie, Paris Is Always A Good Idea
Lori, A License To Move

{If you know anyone who should be featured in our Savvy Traveler series, drop us a line!}

[photos by @heatherlovesit]

LA Stories

LA Stories

[trip style = sun + sightseeing + weekending]

While galavanting through entertainment-ville this past weekend I read an article in Los Angeles Magazine called LA Stories. Fifty locals shared their views on the city. Jamie Lee Curtis' {whom I LOVED in True Lies} struck me most: "I am very protective of LA." Sure, the city of superhighways gets a bad rap, but it has SO MUCH to offer. No wonder an LA native is protective of her star-studded stomping grounds!

{Did you catch yesterday's post about eating, drinking and segwaying through LA's Downtown?}

From Tourist To Local To Tourist
I can't even count the number of times I've been. Thanks to its relative proximity to Vancouver, its forever So-Cal sun and a dear friend who has called it home, I've been fortunate enough to visit enough that everything now seems semi-familiar. Initially I went as a tourist, going to attractions and eating at front-and-centre touristy restaurants {remember Planet Hollywood? They had the best dessert burrito ever, sounds gross but soooo good}. Then with the help of my friend, I graduated to local tourism where I did things locals would do: hike Runyon Canyon, grab a coffee & cookie at Mani's, get my nails done at one of the many shops offering $25 mani/pedis, etc... My most recent trip was a local and tourist hybrid, fuelling up at incredible restaurants, expending energy on segways and museums, and conserving energy as I recharged at the pool.

Tavern LA, Bottega Louis, Getty, Grove

My LA Story

Aside from the day I spent exploring LA's re-envisioned downtown core, here are some highlights:

Must-Try Restaurants
Bottega Louie - Downtown *I just about lost my breath when I walked into this marble-floored, high-ceilinged, open-kitchen cafe, bar and high-end eatery. Every detail from the freshest, plumpest rasberries in the macaroons to the delicate brass detailing on every wooden counter base blew me away.

Tavern - Brentwood *I was equally swept away when I walked into Tavern for dinner. The farmhouse-chic decor meets cozy-corner-cafe fare was done with perfect execution. At dinner we sat under a tall indoor tree with clove-studded oranges hanging from every branch. Heaven.

Favorite All-In-One Night Out
The Grove - LA *Even though it's busy, busy, busy, what's not to love about shopping, dining, dancing fountain-watching and catching a flick all in one place?

Most Beautiful Vista + Museum
The Getty *The hilltop museum is not only a favorite with art and architecture buffs, but also with people who love a breezy, lazy afternoon of lounging on the grass overlooking multiple LA vistas. I was there for 3 hours, but could have come back everyday for a week in 3-hour increments to properly appreciate the art expositions, open-air cafes and stunning grounds.

$ - Find a hotel through Hotwire
$$ - Luxe Hotel Sunset Blvd {see my review here} or Sofitel
$$$ - Beverly Wilshire or Chateau Marmont

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Travel Trends :: Downtown LA
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Newport in a Nutshell
Low Key Laguna
LA Shop & Stay
LA Food & Fun

[photos by @tripstyler & @nate_fri, except for luxe + tavern]

Spotlight :: LA Food & Fun


[trip style = urban + sun ]

LA gets a bad rap. Sure, the traffic and pollution aren’t great, but the sunshine and beaches are pretty fantastic. Plus, LA is more than Hollywood; there are fabulous restaurants, rich culture and shopping galore. This week we’ll focus on food and fun. Next week, shop & stay.


Intelligentsia Silver Lake location: 3922 W Sunset Blvd,Los Angeles, CA 90029 Venice location: 1331 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291
*The best coffee in LA – and the best looking coffee shops (in both design and customers). Don’t be discouraged by the line!

Sushi Katsu-ya Original location: 11680 Ventura Blvd, Studio City, CA 91604 *Incredible sushi in a strip mall in Studio City? YES! Order off the specials board. You MUST order the crispy sesame tuna and spicy tuna on crispy rice. Worth. The. Wait.

Casual Chic
Location: 1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291
*This might be my favourite street in all of LA, and this might be my favourite restaurant on that street. Great thin-crust pizza, people watching (sit at the communal table), brunch and bloody beer.

Frozen Yogurt
Pinkberry Various locations
*It’s an LA institution, only a few years in the making. I like the original flavour with fruit topping, but you can choose your own – that’s the beauty of it!

Joan’s on Third Location: 8350 West Third Street, Los Angeles, CA 90048
*Eat in or take out, this adorable café has baked goods, deli items, sandwiches and specials, plus a gourmet market. Don’t miss out on the caramel-covered marshmallows – they’re to die for!

Mani's Bakery 519 South Fairfax Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036
*Healthy, chocolate-stuffed heart cookies. Enough said. The cafe only uses natural and alternative sweetners.

Sprinkles Various locations
*Great selection with flavours like banana, red velvet (vegan or gltuten free options), peanut butter chocolate, chai latte or good ol’ vanilla. Check the cupcake calendar online to see if your favourite flavour’s in that day.

Bollywood Cafe Original location: 11101 Ventura Blvd, Studio City, CA 91604 Second location: 737 Cahuenga Blvd, Studio City, CA 91604
*The vegetarian samosas, complimentary papadums and courteous service keep us coming back.

Il Pastaio Location: 400 N.Canon Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90210
*Not only is the location fabulous, but so is the people watching. Start with the appetizer platter.


Griffith Park 2800 East Observatory Rd, Los Angeles, CA 90027
*Stunning city views. Stroll around the observatory and hike the trails. It will feel like you’ve left the city!

The Getty Center 1200 Getty Center Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90049
*Another spot for city views, but this one comes with world-class art, architecture and a groovy tram. Admission is free, but parking is $15, except on Saturdays when it’s free. Beautiful way to spend a beautiful day.

Hollywood Bowl 2301 North Highland Avenue, Hollywood, CA 9006
*Home of the LA Philharmonic and seasonal concerts. Box seating down low and bleacher seating up high. Come early and bring a picnic – it’s BYOW(ine)! Oh and don’t park in the overpriced parking at the Bowl – it’s stacked and takes forever to get out.

Venice Canals Between Ocean Ave & Pacific Ave / S Venice Blvd & 28th Ave
*Stroll along the lemon tree-lined canals and peek into people’s modern homes or kitschy bungalows you just WISH were yours.

Scenic Drives
1/ Drive up the PCH to Malibu, take off your shoes and dig your toes in the sand.
2/ Drive along the Sunset Strip at night for a whole different kind of scenery.

Post by Heather, pop-culture-ista and writer of