oliver and lilly's

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]

Fashion Friday :: Summer Style With Heidi Merrick

{Editor's Note: One of my fave things to do in Vancouver is attend the Vancouver Art Gallery's seasonal FUSE events, and this summer's edition is going to be BIG: think dance, DJs and world-class art... Matisse, people! Comment on any Trip Styler post -- and like us on Facebook if you're not already a fan -- FOR A CHANCE TO WIN two FUSE tickets for Friday, July 6th (8pm - 1am), a $50 value. Contest open Friday June 29th to Wednesday July 4th at noon. Winner must be from Canada or the US, be over 19 and respond to the email with winner details by Thursday July 5th at noon.}

Summer: Hey you! I'm here now! Me: Finally, you little tease. Summer: I come at the same time every year... Me: I know, I just wish you were here all the time. I was ready for beach days, iced coffee and shorts forever ago. Summer: Well then move to California, why don't you? Me: Touché, Summer, touché.

It's officially summer. Unless, of course, you live in the Southern Hemisphere, but I digress. What was it the Fresh Prince said about Summertime? "The weather is hot and girls are dressing less". True that, Will Smith.

When I think of summer style, I think of Heidi Merrick. Raised in Carpinteria and based in Los Angeles, this true Californian creates beautiful clothes that are summer personified. Her spring 2012 collection is an homage to the glamour of 80s pro surfing, a culture that embodied her upbringing since her father made surfboards and her mother owned a surf shop. Her clothes have a breezy west coast ease to them, but always with a special touch -- a little somethin' somethin' that sets them apart. Bonus: they're made in LA within walking distance from her studio.

Here's a mini Q&A with Heidi, who believes that when dressing for the beach, you should dress to honor the beach. {I love that. Thanks Heidi!} And what better way to honor the coast than by rolling up in a pair of black lace shorts?

What does summer style mean to you? Summer is when everyone tries to look like Californians and Californians are their most cool and natural! I love to wear something beautiful, like exquisite, to the beach. Because the coastlines are the most beautiful settings the world has and they deserve it. Besides you only wear the clothes for a hot second of greetings and kisses, then you're off in the water.

What's your summer uniform? Right now {at work} it's the La Paz shirt, any pant and sandals.

What's your next summer travel destination? I think my next stop is Scorpion Bay.  A girlfriend of mine has the coordinates tattooed to her gorgeous body so I'm guessing it must be amazing!

*Heidi Merrick is available at heidimerrick.com as well as online and in store at {the lovely/must-visit} Oliver & Lilly's in Vancouver. Traveling to Los Angeles? Make an appointment to visit Heidi's studio in downtown LA. I mean COME ON -- how awesome is that?

{Fashion Friday posts are published on the last Friday of every month by fashion blogger Heather.}

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[collage by @heatherlovesit, images from heidimerrick.com]