Portugal's Best Boutique Hotel

I book one boutique hotel on every trip that oozes style and satiates my obsession for beautiful design. In my research for Portugal’s most striking, design-focused hotels, I came across Torre de Palma Wine Hotel and knew immediately I HAD to stay there. A few hours drive east of Lisbon, just before the Spanish border, Torre de Palma is deep in the Alentejo region of Portugal, the largest spanning region in the country, known for it's wine, cork trees and rolling golden hills. To say the Torre de Palma Wine Hotel is out in the middle of nowhere is 100% true and 100% the best part about it — it's the ultimate place for a great escape! 

Driving to the hotel was magical. We didn't know what to expect, but what we got was a beautiful countryside drive with low rolling hills and sprawling cork tree groves on both sides of the road, wildflowers blowing in the hot, dry wind, and the sounds of swallows as they flew in and out of the tall grasses. The remodeled 13th century estate hotel is the only structure for miles — and even still, good luck seeing it off of the main road. In fact, we started to get nervous as we drove and drove and realized that we hadn’t seen a single person or car for over an hour!

When we finally saw the sign to Torre de Palma, and turned down the vineyard lined private road, we knew we were in for a treat. The hotel is a strikingly modern structure against the soft landscape, complete with bell tower and church, and it has been thoughtfully designed to blend into the surroundings, just as much as it juxtaposes it. Old stone walls, clean lines of the low compound, rustic decor, they all harmoniously marry together with the sound of the crickets and swallows, the rose colored dirt and the soft breeze of the valley.

Everything you need is available on the property: an indoor and outdoor pool, sauna, spa, bar with pool table, spectacular restaurant, and bikes to explore the countryside. In the valley, the weather is warmer and perfect for all day dips in the pool while sipping on the amazing housemade wine from the hotel. Both the white and red wine are fantastic and only 3 euro a glass!!

While everything is a dream, the best thing about the property is the hotel's one and only restaurant, Basilli. Completely unexpected, our dinner knocked us off of our chairs, and ended up being our favorite meal during our three weeks in Europe! Sophisticated dishes made with local ingredients from the area were perfectly executed, from presentation to taste. I enjoyed tempura style vegetables that were harvested from the garden, the most tender piece of steer loin I've ever tasted, and acorn flour cake with wasabi meringue and lime sorbet for dessert. The complimentary breakfast is also a sight to see. A variety of fresh squeezed juices, a housemade yogurt bar that comes complete with an offering of every topping imaginable, from chia seeds to goji berries, and a plethora of pastries and fruit are all served buffet style. A full breakfast menu is served complimentary and upon request and includes omelettes, french toast, lox and more! 

We took the property bikes out one afternoon to explore the villa a bit more, and the region it lives in. To our surprise, just yards away from the main hotel structure are archeological sites of old Roman ruins that survived the Middle Ages. Literally out in the middle of unassuming grass fields, we became kids again, fascinated by the work of hands from hundreds and hundreds of years ago. There was something exciting about stumbling upon ruins that a.) most people never get to see, and b.) that others, have shared the land with for centuries. Exploring a region in Portugal that tourists rarely venture to was really special. We only hoped to have had more time to explore Alentejo! 

If you’re looking for a true escape, nothing ado but relax and drink wine, reconnect with your mate and nature, Torre de Palma Wine Hotel is definitely the place to be. You can’t beat the price for the experience of completely unplugging, and it's the perfect escape for a few nights before making your way down to the popular Southern coast of Portugal. From the hotel, on our way south, we stopped at the charming town of Evora, another less travelled city of Portugal, which we highly recommend for a pitstop! We loved it. There's so much to explore in the Alentejo region so, happy exploring, friends! 

You can check out Torre de Palma Wine Hotel’s site for more information.  

 

The Coolest Things to Do in Lisbon

Below is everything you need to know about visiting Lisbon, Portugal. From important things to know about renting a car, to the best neighborhoods to stay in, there's a lot of information jam packed in between the photos, so be sure to take notes and happy travels! 

When To Go

 

We flew into Lisbon, Portugal mid-May. It rained for the majority of our time there, which we were totally prepared for (hello, travel umbrellas from Target). The rain was a bit of a drag, but when the sun did come out boy, oh boy!! Lisbon was beautiful and boasting the most ideal 70 degree, spring temps.

For our trip through the country, we started off in Lisbon and mapped the following areas: Lisbon to Obidos to Porto to Alentejo to Algarve. We decided the easiest way to get around Portugal was by car. Driving was SO easy and I highly recommend it. Not being bound to train or bus schedules honestly, was the best. We were free to pick up and leave whenever we wanted, we didn’t have to worry about how to get to bus terminals and could easily pull over to explore a town that wasn’t on our initial itinerary! There are a few things to note about renting a car in Portugal.

 

Renting A Car

 

Portugal’s highways have tolls, and, a lot of them. We weren’t aware of this when we arrived and were a little freaked out when the rental car agent informed us toll costs could potentially add up to the price of flying! These tolls have to be paid at the post office in the event that you don’t have a “toll tracker”, which just automatically calculates the toll charges and adds them to your final rental bill. So we added on a “toll tracker” to the car and in the end, our bill wasn’t too bad. We ended up paying about $40 in tolls, total. 

Driving in Portugal is VERY easy. The highways are new and clean, and oddly, there are hardly any drivers on the road, ever. All drivers drive in the right lane, reserving the left lane for passing cars which makes for the most superb traffic flow. We had some anxiety in Lisbon, as it’s a busy city with tight, curvy one-way roads — even in a mini Fiat those tiny cobblestone roads are no joke — but we got out alive with no scratches or dings and more importantly, no points against us on our rental car bill. Yay!

 Where to Stay

 

We stayed in between Chiado and the Alfama neighborhood in what is called Castelo. We went back and forth about whether or not to stay in the historic Alfama district, but in the end, we were actually really happy we didn’t stay there. Alfama is quite far from the heart of the city and it's VERY hilly, windy streets aren’t the most ideal for a home base. Lisbon in general is pretty hilly, so prepare your thighs!

Castelo is pretty central to everything and we’d recommend the area for your stay. It offers quiet, residential streets and free parking (if you’re renting a car, parking can become a costly issue, so this is definitely a perk). The old castle, Castelo de S. Jorge is a short distance away and the big shopping avenues, good restaurants and must-sees of the Baixa-Chiado neighborhood are all within walking distance.

The only downside is that it is pretty far from Bairro Alto, which is the cool, hipster hood — we loved that neighborhood and would recommend staying there as well. It is “walkable” from Baixa-Chiado (we did it), but it is no short jaunt and requires you to climb a major hill. Bairro Alto is a great 'hood to stay in as far as I can tell, so look into it. 

Best Restaurants in Lisbon  

 

We highly recommend wine and tapas at Restaurante Vicente on Rua das Flores 6. Inside the stone walls, the restaurant is cozy and romantic. It has a beautiful bar and tucked away rooms that make dinner really special, and at great prices. Tip: We enjoyed the tapas more than the main course, so go here and order all the tapas. After a total of three weeks on the road, this was one of the best gourmet tapas we had on the entire trip!

Go across the street for a second round at By the Wine. It’s a large wine room built similarly to a modern wine cellar. With thousands of wine bottles lining the ceiling, it’s a cool space that feels buzzy (and busy!) and is quite possibly filled with the coolest people in town. Tip: Make a rezzie if you want a table.

We had lunch at Taberna da Rua Das Flores. It has cute decor (perfect for an Instagram!) and yummy, simple food. We enjoyed the off-tapas menu and loved that they had vegetarian options. Neither of us are vegetarian, but it’s always nice to have a vegetable-focused meal while traveling. Tip: This place is small and fills up quickly. Go anticipating a wait, and enjoy a beer outside while you do.

 

What to Do in Lisbon

 

Lisbon is a beautiful city and there is a lot to explore! Here are some favorite hoods for walking and a few things to mark on your map! Our favorite neighborhoods to explore were Bairro Alto and Baixa-Chiado (Baixa and Chiado are two hoods that merge together pretty seamlessly and make up Lisbon central).

Baixa-Chiado

  • The Carmo Ruins from 1389 are an absolute must. They were one of my top highlights in Lisbon. More than just gorgeous ruins, the old church is home to a small museum, with pieces dating back from pre-history. There were mummies in perfect form, books dating back to like, Jesus?, beautiful pottery, and so much more. Admission was 6 euro. Go, go. We loved it!
  • You’ll find the Santa Justa Lift on most travel guides. The lift itself looks like something from Harry Potter and is pretty just to see. The best thing is that you might just stumble upon it while exploring. It’s smack in the middle of Baixa-Chiado.  The line to the top of the lift was long, so we skipped it, but then found a workaround to the exact same view! Tip: Avoid the lines and fee and get the exact same view from the Carmo Ruins. There is an entrance to the platform that literally takes you to the lift’s exit at the top. Same view as the lift, minus the lines and 5 euro price tag. 
  • Chocolataria Equador on Rua da Misericordia 72 is a beautiful, artisan chocolate shop where the most sophisticated packaging and designs meet old-world treats and traditions. This is a great spot for grabbing gifts for people.
  • If you’re looking for hipster coffee, Fabrica Coffee Roasters has two locations in Lisbon. They have their own beans which are pretty tasty! We liked the one on Rua das Portas de Santo Antao 136 much better. 

Bairro Alto

We really loved the Bairro Alto neighborhood. It’s full of concept stores and beautiful streets, cool coffee spots and chic restaurants. It sits atop a hill which means there are great views of the city all around. Basically, if we lived in a neighborhood, it would be this one. We spent the day just walking up and down the streets exploring.

  • Copenhagen Coffee Lab, Rua Nova da Piedade 10
  • Embaxaida (a big concept store)
  • Cevicheria (we didn’t go here, but it came recommended and looks pretty cool)
  • The Feeting Room, Calcada do Sacramento 26 (also a location in Porto, great store with mens and womens fashion and shoes)
  • Vintage Department, Rua da Escola Politecnica 46 (great design store with Moroccan rugs and cool vintage pieces)

From Lisbon, we drove North to Porto, while stopping at the small tourist-y town of Obidos. If you’re strapped for time, I’d recommend skipping both Porto and Obidos. We much preferred the smaller, untouched towns to the East of Lisbon, like Evora, as well as the Alentejo and Algarve regions — two must-visit areas! I’ll be sharing a to-die-for design hotel in the Alentejo region that you HAVE to stay at, as well as a guide to the best beaches in the Algarve later this week!

In the meantime, some people had some questions about my time in Porto, specifically about our Airbnb. So here is the link to our gorgeous Airbnb, which was so nice it was like staying in a hotel. We loved the coffee at The Feeting Room (a mens and womens fashion store with a coffee shop on the 2nd floor). We had a lot of "ok" meals that didn't make my recommendation cut, but Cantina 32, shown above, is a pretty place for some wine and tapas. 

Travel Musts: 48 Hours In Chicago

Chicago is a big, spread out city and if you have a limited time there, you certainly only want to hit THE best spots. One of the worst things while traveling is when you only have 6 precious meals in a city, and you find yourself wasting one of six at a mediocre, super forgettable, overrated, grade B restaurant. So here's my list of Chicago's must-explore neighborhoods, cool hotels, buzzing rooftop bars and the yummiest restaurants. Coming from San Francisco, my bar is high, yet my criteria is simple: great atmosphere, dreamy design and delicious food/drinks! 

Lunch: Avec is a very hot Mediterranean restaurant right now. It's on a lot of people's must-visit list. The hummus plate was absolutely gorgeous, and oh my god... the pita bread! If you go for nothing else, do it for the pita. It's made to order and comes out fresh and piping hot. Just go ahead and ask for extra pita bread when you're putting your order in. 

Dinner + Drinks: Write Sushi Dokku on your list for dinner, now star and circle it. Not only is their sushi SO DELICIOUS, the West Loop restaurant has an underground bar, just below the restaurant, that serves lip-smacking, Japanese-inspired cocktails that are absolutely NOT to be missed. So after really tasty sushi, head downstairs for a night cap. This dark and hip spot is home to the best meal and drinks I had in Chi-town!

Drinks: To be honest, Cindy's rooftop in the Chicago Athletic Association is awesome for really, anything — happy hour, sunset drinks, brunch. After seeing just how many people line up at it's door, it's clear that it's the hottest place in town. The drink menu, open-air design, plus view of Millennial Park are it's shining moments. Drinks, or "potions" as their called, are very inventive and include fun ingredients like kombucha and activated charcoal. It's highly recommended to make reservations ahead of time because the wait can be hours long!

Hotel: Speaking of Cindy's, the Chicago Athletic Association hotel (CAA) is a really, really cool, historic landmark hotel. For decades, it was a private men's club and was recently renovated and restored by hospitality design genius' Roman and Williams (they also are known for the ever-popular Ace Hotels). It's restored original details are stunning and have so much history to them. The lobby is dark and moody and has free public wifi, which makes it a great place to work for a few hours. There's ton to check out: Shakeshack is on the ground floor, it's home to a 8-seater micro bar for REAL spirit connoisseurs, the Cherry Circle Room restaurant and of course, Cindy's. All to say, even if you don't stay here, it's a must visit! 

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Brunch: The Robey Cafe which is located on the ground floor of The Robey Hotel has AMAZING brunch. The loaded Crab Avocado Toast and Pancakes were both mind blowingly good. I was very impressed by the brunch menu, so can only imagine that other meal times are just as delicious. The Robey also has a trendy, hipster rooftop bar, with a pool. If you find a quiet corner, it's a good time.

Work: Soho House Chicago is obviously a cool hang. It's known for it's super Instagrammable decor — think velvet peach sofas, crystal chandeliers and vintage vibes. The lobby is a pleasant and comfortable place to pull out your laptop, or meet someone for coffee, and stay a while. Staff won't push you out so you can stay as long as you want, and good thing because the people watching is prime!

Coffee: I'm a loyal La Colombe customer and there are a handful of La Colombe cafes in Chicago. Coming from the West Coast, it's pretty novelty, yet consistently good coffee, and how can you resist their adorable cups and saucers?! Anytime I'm in a city with La Colombe, I add it to my map. NYC and DC are still my fave locations, but if you're looking for a good cup of jo, this is your spot. 

Neighborhoods: Lincoln Park is a more affluent neighborhood and really great to walk around. It's main avenue, Armitage, is lined with beautiful trees and boutique shopping. Chicago's own Jeni's Ice Cream is kind of a must. Jayson Home and Interior Define (two shops that are unique to Chicago) are in the area. I also enjoyed walking around Logan Square. You don't need more than an hour or two there. It's a small, mostly residential, hipster-ish hood with beautiful houses and a few stretches of restaurants and bars. If you have time, visit!

Happy travels! 

An Adventurous Northern California Weekend Getaway

It seemed like we had checked the most popular places for a Northern California weekend getaway off of our list. Point Reyes, Healdsburg, Guerneville, Sea Ranch, we had done them all, and we were looking for a new place to explore that was only a few hours outside of the Bay Area. That's when I heard of Timbercove in Jenner, CA. To be honest, I didn’t even know there WAS a Jenner, CA, but after researching it, it looked beautiful. So a couple of weekends ago we made the 3 hour drive from the East Bay, up the coast, to the lovely Timbercove Resort, and boy, what good a weekend getaway can do for the soul!

Timbercove Resort has been around for decades, but it was recently remodeled last year by none other than THE Novogratz. Fun, right? Their funky cool style can be seen indoor and out, and it fits seamlessly into the cool, lodge-feel of the original Timbercove.  I loved that we were in the middle of nowhere, yet didn't have to compromise on enjoying good design!

Some favorite design details? Well, most everything is cute, down to the room key cards. I loved the purposefulness in the small things. For instance there is a record player in every room and a record library in the lobby, so you can jam out to your favorite tunes when you're not listening to the ocean. The mini bar is stocked with healthy, locally sourced snacks, all in the cutest branded packages. I’m a coffee snob (there’s no way around it!), so I loved the drip coffee available in every room. Oh and let’s not forget, the sassy door message! Our suite was also complete with a cute SMEG fridge, and I won't tell you how I geeked out over the simple-to-use Nest heating system. It's the little luxuries in life. 

While I want to say the design was my favorite thing , it’d have to come third to the hotel’s amazing restaurant, Coast Kitchen, and THE LANDSCAPE/WHALES. Yes, that’s right, we saw whales, right off the freakin' coast, but first, let’s talk food. 

Coast Kitchen is a super impressive, in-house restaurant that follows a farm to table food experience and my god, is the food delicious. Even if you don’t stay at the hotel, do yourself a favor and enjoy a meal here if you happen to be in the area. You don’t want to miss the Crab Beignets, Beef and Chorizo Burger, Fried Quail or the 12 Hour Braised Short Ribs with Polenta, believe me. They also have a very impressive wine list full of local Sonoma and Napa wines. Yum-my. You can eat indoor or out, or even enjoy nibbles in the lobby bar. We lucked out on some stellar weather so were able to enjoy a few meals outside, overlooking the ocean. 

Ok, now the best part about Timbercove? Obviously it's the 25 acres of beautiful coastline. Situated just yards from the water, the property of the resort itself is really spectacular. You can wander from your room and go for a hike, spot seals and osprey nearby, play bocce ball while whale watching, and sip rosé while sunset gazing. We were lucky to visit during whale watching season, which I'd highly recommend you do! I wasn't convinced we would see anything, but I was certainly not skipping a minute with my eyes glued to my binoculars. We weren't even out for more than 30 minutes before seeing some action. To our surprise, we ended up spotting about ten whales — a few playing so close to shore, you could thrillingly enjoy the show with your naked eye. Speaking of binoculars. Have none? Don't fret. Of COURSE, each room comes equipped with them, so us city folk don't have to worry about where to find a pair! It was truly a magical seeing huge, majestic grey whales right off of our balcony and it's an experience we'll never forget.

I could have stayed for hours looking out into the endless blue ocean and listening to the waves crash against the rocky shore. Oh wait, I did. And it started from the moment I woke up. The reality is, I didn't even have to be outside to enjoy the scenery. The sunrises and sunsets were so beautiful from our room. Waking up, in the most comfortable beds ever, to the sight of a pink horizon made me never EVER want to leave. I can’t wait to visit again!

How to Get Healthy, Moisturized Skin

About 4 months ago, I decided it was time to dedicate time to getting healthier skin. I had stopped wearing as much makeup and realized, if I'm going to be bare faced, I really need glowy, healthy skin to feel confident. I had never been the person to wash my face everyday, let alone twice a day. I often went to sleep with makeup on, or, just took it off with a towel and did nothing to cleanse or nourish my skin afterward. While I didn't have bad skin, it wasn't as vibrant and moisturized as I wanted it. Simultaneously to beginning to apply better skin habits, I went on a very very strict diet and after 1 month, I had the best skin I've ever had in my life. Here's what I've learned. 

When it comes to my skin care, I follow a few guidelines:

1.) The food you eat is reflected in your skin. I stay away from sugar, dairy and alcohol as much as I can! I also eat clean with green veggies at every meal.

2.) Cleanse and nourish your skin in the morning AND at night. Twice daily is key!

3.) Don't skip a step in your regimen. Don't get lazy and skip toning. Don't think "oh, my face looks great today" and forego moisturizing. Stay consistent.

4.) Try to go bare face as many days of the week as you feel comfortable. I wear makeup maybe two days a week?

5.) Never sleep with makeup on, no matter how tired you are!

6.) Masque once a week. Sometimes I forget to masque, but it's always a fun treat. And no matter what masque I do, I ALWAYS follow up with a hydrating masque afterwards.

7.) Speaking of, hydrate throughout the day with lots of water!

8.) Be flexible and observant and give your skin what it needs that day — weather it needs more moisture or I see that I'm beginning to break out, I adjust my daily regimen and products accordingly.

When it comes to brands, I'm a huge fan of Aesop, Aveda, Peter Thomas Roth and a locally based, organic, vegan line I was newly introduced to, Luminance Skincare. Now, for my tried and true products!

Cleanser: I have used Peter Thomas Roth's Blemish Buffing Beads for YEARS. It has jojoba beads that exfoliate and 1% salicylic acid to help treat acne. It was my daily cleanser until I began cleansing twice a day. I now use it for one of my daily cleanings, and use something gentler for the second.

The Delicate Cleanser from Luminance Skincare is my gentler choice right now. It leaves the face drier than Peter Thomas Roth does, so I typically use the Delicate Cleanser at night and the PTR in the morning. I especially do so if I'm putting on makeup. I always want my face to be as moisturized as possible before applying makeup, or else I get dry patches.

Deep Clean: When I want a deep clean, I use One Love Organics Brand New Day Microderma Scrub. It exfoliates more than PTR and is pretty heavy duty. I usually only use it a twice a week, or so. 

Toner: After every cleanse, I tone. And I tone twice!! It's my favorite step. Cleansing strips your skin, and toner balances it back. I LOVE Aesop's Parsley Seed Anti-Oxidant Facial Toner. I apply it to a cotton pad and let it dry on my skin. Then I spray Luminance's Rosewater Toner because the mist and rose smell wakes me up! 

Moisturizer // AM Regimen: When it comes to moisturizing, I alternate between oils and cream and don't have a set regimen on when I apply either or. That said, in the morning, I usually cleanse, tone and then apply 2.5 drops of Aesop's Fabulous Face Oil. Then, Luminance Skincare's Sun Screen made of 100% pure cold press red raspberry seed oil. This sun screen is not SPF approved, so I should really use a stronger sun screen. However, I haven't found one that I like and I love that this one is all natural. I'm all set to go without any face makeup after that! Some days I put the smallest pea size of cold pressed coconut oil on my face (the same kind you use for cooking) instead of the Fabulous Face Oil. It just depends on what I feel like! Coco oil leaves a nice matte feel on your face. Try it and see how you like it! 

PM Regimen: At night, I apply something less moisturizing. I know that's backwards, but I don't like the idea of oils getting on my bedding! So I cleanse, tone and then use Aesop's Lucent Facial Concentrate (I love it!) and apply Aesop's Mandarin Facial Hydrating Cream as well as Luminance's Chamomile Eye Cream under and around my eyes. It smells so good and soothing before bed!

Masques: My all time favorite masque is Aesop's Parsley Seed Cleansing Masque. It's the perfect balance of deep cleaning as well as cooling and moisturizing. Something I learned is that after any masque you should always apply a hydrating masque because most masques dry out your skin. I just started using the Rosewater Mask from Luminance Skincare and like it! I hear people even wear it overnight, but I haven't tried that. I also use Aveda's Deep Cleansing Herbal Clay Masque (not pictured) as a spot treatment on any pimples that I see coming through. It dries them out and stops them right in their tracks! 

As you can see, it takes a village. The most important thing I find is to follow a regimen day and night and don't skip an am/pm opportunity to nourish your skin. I love to hydrate so I don't shy from oils that penetrate the skin. If you're not a fan of looking oily (is it odd that I kind of like looking like I'm drenched in water?), you'll likely want to have oil pads on hand throughout the day because you do get oily. And eating is really a huge part of having healthy skin. As I said above, I recently followed the Candida Diet (no sugar of any form, even fruits, no carbs, gluten, caffeine or dairy!) for 3 months and my skin never looked better. 

Five Favorite Products:

Peter Thomas Roth Blemish Buffing Beads (for daily cleansing)

Aesop Parsley Seed Anti-Oxidant Facial Toner

Luminance Rosewater Toner

Aesop Parsley Seed Cleansing Masque

Aesop Lucent Facial Concentrate

Also, for the month of March, Luminance Skincare is donating proceeds from their Ginger Soap to GROW, a local Oakland charity that works with youth and trains them on how to cook with fresh ingredients and teaches them about the importance of wellness and health. Support their efforts here.   

A Guide to The Cutest Things To Do in Copenhagen


Streets of Norrebro

Copenhagen is a beautiful city full of inspiring Nordic design and a thoughtful approach to style. We had both been looking forward to spending some time in what we knew to be such a design-focused city. We arrived from Iceland and were immediately smitten by it's warm t-shirt weather in mid-September. So we hit the pavement exploring! We were in CPH a total of 8 days which was plenty, and decided to break up our stay into two different neighborhoods/Airbnbs. The first in Osterbro and the second in Norrebro.

It's important to note that most everything in Copenhagen is carefully executed with a strong design eye. And most certainly there are very cute haunts that were nice, but didn't make my list. I went with a laundry list for a map, but after walking into so many shops and enjoying so many places to eat and drink, I've narrowed it down. Here are your MUST eat restaurants, must see museums, and must shop boutiques in Copenhagen. You'll find at the bottom of each section an "At Quick Glance" list for your reference. I'd write those down if you don't have time to read. Beware of just skimming the images: I failed to take pictures of some really amazing places that are written down, so make sure to take note, design/Instagram-obsessed friends!



OSTERBRO


We first stayed in Osterbro in an insanely gorgeous Airbnb. Osterbro is a quiet, charming, and mostly a residential neighborhood, and we honestly decided to stay in the 'hood just for the flat! Luckily, it was a worth it choice. It was one of the best stays we've EVER had using Airbnb. Our flat was two blocks away from Meyers Bageri, the most famous bakery chain in Copenhagen — we walked there every morning for a pastry, yum — and about five blocks away from Original Coffee, which quickly became our go-to spot for cappuccinos. And honestly, was one of the best coffee shops we tried in the entire city. Original Coffee has another location close by, along the canal between Osterbro and Norrebro as well, if you find yourself in the need for good coffee!

Osterbro is a bit a ways from the heart of where things are happening, so we had to rent bikes, which is a must in Copenhagen in general. Copenhagen is not a walking city, it's a biking city. Finding a place to rent bikes is easy. Walk down the street and there are at least 3 rental places within a few blocks radius, guaranteed. We did some shopping around in our hood and just went with the best deal. There were no problems whatsoever.

Osterbro didn't have much as far as dining went, so we did have to make our way to other neighborhoods for food. Usually that meant biking to the next neighborhood over which was Norrebro, a solid 10 minute ride and 30 minute walk. Despite a lack of good eats, when it came to a late night snack, Osterberg Ice Cream, which was in walking distance of our flat, was our saving grace! It's quite possibly the cutest ice cream shop I've ever been in and the flavors are wild, tropical and unique. You must try it if you're in the area.

We liked Osterbro's laid-back vibe and loved our flat, but ultimately found out that Norrebro was more central to where we wanted to be. So after 5 days in Osterbro, we spent our last nights in Norrebro.



Our Airbnb in Osterbro


Meyers Bageri Osterbro


Original Coffee Osterbro


Osterberg Ice Cream 


Must-Visit Osterbro at Quick Glance:

*Meyers Bageri
*Original Coffee
*Osterberg Ice Cream



NORREBRO

For the second half of the trip, we stayed in Norrebro. It really was the center of all the action for us and was hands-down our favorite neighborhood. Everything is in walking distance which is nice. While we still used our bike rentals, the young and vibrant area is easily a place you can get away with touring sans-bike if you wanted to. It's packed with hip boutiques, the newest restaurants, bars and vintage shops and of course, tons of pretty flower shops.

As Norrebro quickly began to feel like home, we hit up a few of our favorite places time and time again. The full must-visit list is below, but we enjoyed BRUS, Istid, Torvehallerne, and 20A so much, we went back twice, or more! If it ain't broke, don't fix it, right?

There are two great parks in Norrebro that are gorgeous to walk or bike through. Orstedsparken is just next to one of our must-hit spots Torvehallerne, and an absolutely gorgeous spot to picnic or people watch. Assistens Cemetery park is a large park and is beautiful to bike through and tour the grounds. It's situated quite centrally in the neighborhood and is used as a street, practically, so you may just find yourself traveling through it. It's a must!


Our Airbnb in Norrebro



BRUS Brewery


BRUS Restaurant


Torvehallerne



Torverhallerne


Orstedsparken


Must-Visit Norrebro Restaurants At Quick Glance:

*20A (enjoy one of two house sandwiches on the menu for lunch, as well as dinner which has a similar two-item menu. both lunch and dinner were SO delicious — went for lunch and the best sandwich we've ever had, and then came back for dinner which if possible, was even better!)
*Manfreds (skip the course menu and just order their famous beef tartare and a glass of rosé!)
*Istid Ice Cream (yummy nitrogen frozen ice cream — went multiple times!)
*Coffee Collective (two locations in Norrebro, one in Torvehallerne)
*Torvehallerne (huge food market hall with fresh produce, cheese, restaurants, food stands and so much more — went over and over again!)
*Ol & Brod (outdoor seating and nice not-course meal and just across the way from Mikkeller)
*Mikkeller (most famous beer in CPH — you'll find it on almost every menu, but their bars themselves are pretty popular and a local must)
*Brus (newish brewery and restaurant in a happenin' Norrebro corridor — tons of great local beer on tap + cool bottle shop)

Must-Visit Norrebro Boutiques At Quick Glance:

*Keramiker (gorgeous porcelain — hauled some back with me!)
*Antique shops down Ravnsborggade (great little street to walk down and get your antique on!!)

Must-Visit Parks:

*Assistens Cemetery (very large park and cemetery, you'll want a bike)
* Orstedsparken (beautiful and quaint and complete with a small lake, grab food and beer at the nearby Tovehallerne and enjoy it here. yes, you can walk around with beer in your hand!)



OTHER AREAS IN CPH

We did some exploring in the Meatpacking district. It's a little further away from the heart of the city, and still developing, so at this point I'd say, it's not a must-must. But if you find yourself with some time like we did, it's a good up and coming place to explore, with a handful of restaurants and bars in a grungy, warehouse-like hood. If you like to check out the newest and latest, this is where you'd find it.

We also crossed the bridge over to Christiania. The weather was exceptional that day, so everyone in the city was jam-packed on the waterfront at the Copenhagen Street Food Restaurant which in our opinion, you can definitely skip. All the locals rave about it, but coming from San Francisco, it was subpar. There are a few popular restaurants on this side of the water like NOMA and 108 which we didn't eat at, but may be worth the waitlist.

The city center Indre By is home to one of Europe's largest shopping areas. Blocks and blocks and BLOCKS of stores from Louis Vuitton to Zara are here for your spending pleasure. Beyond fashion, there are also great design stores to check out in this neighborhood — ooh la la! This is where I spent all of my money! See list below.

The Botanical Garden is also in Indre By and free, so it's worth checking out if you're looking for something to do on the cheap.


Botanical Garden


Botanical Garden


Atelier September


Rue Verte


Must-Visit Indre By Design Stores At Quick Glance

*Atelier September Antik & Grafik (boutique in back of restaurant)
*Rue Verte
*H. Skjalm P.
*HAY
*Butik for Borddaekning
*Illums Bollighus


MUSEUMS

Just outside of the city is the Louisiana Museum and it would be an absolute crime to miss it. It's about a 40 minute train ride north and the perfect half-day trip. The museum is one of the best I've ever been to — integrating outdoor space with indoor space in an exceptional way. Be prepared to be inspired!

Another museum that is a must is the Glyptoteket. Filled to the brim with stone statues from all over the world dating back to BC, as well as other European art, the use of color in this museum took my breath away. Its modern approach in displaying art was quite unexpected — just like it's wonderful indoor atrium that is full of lush, tropical plants intermingling with statues. It was SO breathtaking.

We also visited the State Museum, SMK Statens Museum for Kunst. While it's not a must for me, it is a nice museum with modern art, and if you're looking to dip in somewhere on a cold and rainy day, (and have already checked off the two museums above!) this is worth your visit.



Louisiana Museum


Louisiana Museum


Louisiana Museum


Louisiana Museum


Louisiana Museum


Glyptoteket


Glyptoteket


Glyptoteket


Statens Museum for Kunst


Statens Museum for Kunst


Must-Visit Museums at Quick Glance:

*The Louisiana
*Glyptoteket


Overall, Copenhagen is a great city. Stylish like New York, with a hint of European lifestyle, mixed in with a very unique Danish and Nordic approach, it's full of well-designed, thoughtful places to explore. The Danes were some of the friendliest people I've EVER encountered and they sure know how to enjoy life! Once 4:00 hits, the bars are packed, parks full and everyone in the city is smiling. So if you're into a little bike riding and a lot of beer, Copenhagen may just be your heaven.



A Peek Inside the Design Process of My Teal Bedroom


A few weeks ago, my bedroom was revealed on Lonny for a tone-on-tone room feature and today, I wanted to share some before and afters, along with a my favorite sources for the room. So let's walk through the space and the transformation process in a bit more detail!

BEFORE 



This isn't exactly what things looked like before, since these pictures were taken two year ago, but close enough. The room certainly wasn't as clean — it had become quite the untouched room that I rarely went into during the day. I had moved the bed to the right wall and sold the mirrored side tables. The vintage dresser as well as an antique vanity were in the space, and the wall color and sconces were still hanging on. But oh what a change everything underwent!

AFTER


THE PROCESS

First things first in the makeover was to paint the walls! I had newly acquired the Beluga Duvet Cover from Flaneur and loved the green undertones the dark dark grey/almost black had. I also had an amazing print, "Pool Illumination" by LA-based photographer Georgia Tankard, from Minted that was almost sinister and unexpected, and I knew I wanted to use it in the bedroom for those exact reasons. Inspired by these two pieces, I decided to go in the direction of a green color palette. I wasn't sure if I wanted to go with a lighter color like this hue, hailed from so many Danish inspiration rooms:


or something dark and jewel-toned, like this inspiration color that spoke more to my love for moody and glamorous rooms:


So I leaned on my friend and interior designer Michelle Kelstrom to help me decide. It's always nice to have a friend that you can bounce ideas off of, and it's even nice when they have a killer design sense! We decided that both directions could work, really, but when we put a few samples on the wall (that were straight from the tones in the art piece), we decided the dark, jewel-tone teal made the art pop more. So we went with Dark Teal by Benjamin Moore. It had a rich blue undertone that I loved. And truly, once the samples were on the wall, my love for dark rooms was confirmed.



In a small space with dark walls, things can get feel crammed fast. So while I loved (and still do love) my old tufted bed, I knew I wanted a less bulky look — something more masculine and modern, and definitely no headboard. I put the bed in storage and opted for just a black frame from Ikea. The inspiration art piece from Minted was to act as a headboard.

To fill wall space, I had my heart set on something dramatic — maybe a cluster of pendants, or one killer light/installation that would help fill in the lack of headboard space. I then thought of my friend and designer Windy Chien in San Francisco who does both. I fell in love with her work after using it in a couple of past projects. Her light and rope designs are art installations in themselves, so I decided I must have the a black rope Helix Pendant Light. There were 3 options for placement.

The first was what I originally had in mind — to do something that draped over the art.


The second was to do something that still took up wall space (as well as the adjacent wall space), yet was a bit more of a traditional bedside light placement.


The third look was funkier and a bit rock and roll over my antique vanity.


We decided Option 2 was the best for the room! Since I had a lot of pillows, we didn't want things to start looking too crazy. Some of my favorite pillows? The velvet pillows from Room & Board, the only floral print I've ever had to have from Designer's Guild via Burke Decor and an insanely gorgeous sage green, antique French linen pillow with a brass zipper from Elsie Green.



As for bedside tables, I knew I wanted them to be mismatched and just so happened to have this old never-finished Campaign side table in the garage. I found it for $10 at Salvation Army and have always wanted to give it a makeover! I decided to finally give it a face lift using the lightest paint sample from the walls, Behr's Chelsea Garden.



The bedroom really isn't that large of a space, so on the other side, I used a stool as a bedside table and worked with the foundation ledge to display art et objet. Other than the bed and the two side tables, the only other piece I kept in the room was my antique vanity. I shared my love for antique lion heads with my friend Michelle and she sourced gorgeous brass pulls on Etsy that I AM OBSESSED with them. I moved my vintage dresser out of the room and into the closet (closet reveal coming soon!) and the sconces found a new home in the living room. Admittedly, since these "after" pictures were taken, I have already restyled the bedside tables!! I'm a stylist — I can't help myself.

Speaking of antiques and found objects, this month I'll be sharing some of my favorite scores and sources for antiques (one of them being my very favorite in the East Bay!) as well as some styling tricks on how to incorporate them into your space. Stay tuned!

SOURCES

Wall Color: Benjamin Moore Dark Teal
Bed Frame: Ikea
Duvet Cover: Flaneur, in Beluga (Flaneur is offering 20% off with code: biancaxflaneur)
Art Over Bed: Minted, "Pool Illumination" by Georgia Tankard
Floral Pillow: Designer's Guild via Burke Decor
Olive Velvet Pillow: Room & Board
Sage Green Linen Euro Pillow: Elsie Green
Bright Green Lumbar Pillow: Bought in Copenhagen
Teal Throw: West Elm
Helix Rope Light: Windy Chien
Campaign Side Table: Salvation Army in Behr Chelsea Garden
Antique French Demijohn: Elsie Green
Bedside Stool: Unknown
Brass Lamp: Lambert et Fils
Vanity: Antique
All Other Decor: Vintage/Found


Images 1-2 by Kim Lucian for Apartment Therapy
Inspiration image 1 from Sara Danielsson + styling Pella Hedeby 
Inspiration image 2 from The Descendants
All final room images by Suzanna Scott for Lonny