Take 5: Some Very Good Reasons to Spend Some Time Around London’s Carnaby Street

Oh, hey! We’ve scored ourselves a spring semester correspondent: Our girl Mattie Kahn landed in London for a study-abroad program (or, in British, programme), and she’s going to grace this site with her neighborhood adventures and her exceptional taste. In a word: YAY!

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Sandwiched between tourist traps and tri-level eateries, a handful of storefronts near super-central Carnaby Street make it a favorite place to play hooky. And given that the adorable, shop-studded strip is just minutes from my university? Well, I often find myself doing just that. mattie kahn

Cowshed Carnaby
In case you’re itching for a Kardashian fix, this beauty spot serves up all the US Weekly and People you can handle—hard to come by in London!—alongside its top-notch pedicures and vitamin C facials.
(31 Foubert’s Pl.)

Liberty
This British department store is a real print master—it’s recently collaborated with the likes of J.Crew and Nike—and being in close proximity has made me fall for its iconic patterns. Can you O.D. on microflorals? Don’t answer that.
(Regent St.)

Speakeasy Espresso & Brew Bar
Here’s your chance to escape the West End’s inevitable crowds. The tucked-away café is hidden on a narrow side street—a fact that somehow makes sipping its superlative cappuccinos that much sweeter.   
(3 Lowndes Ct.)

Size?
The coolest British babes have no use for normcore—they head straight to Size? for experimental sneakers that stand out in a big way. They stock hard-to-find brands like Onitsuka Tiger and Surpa along with exclusives from Adidas, New Balance, Puma—NBD.
(33-34 Carnaby St.)

Flesh & Buns
After you’ve emptied your wallet, fill your belly at nearby Flesh and Buns. Dinner here ought to entail the life-changing broccoli with yuzu-kosho mayo and the way-better-than-it-should-be salmon teriyaki.
(41 Earlham St.)

Spend some more time living vicariously through Mattie.

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Take 5: Get to Know Shoreditch, the London ‘Hood Everyone’s Talking About

Oh, hey! We’ve scored ourselves a spring semester correspondent: Our girl Mattie Kahn landed in London for a study-abroad program (or, in British, programme), and she’s going to grace this site with her neighborhood adventures and her exceptional taste. In a word: YAY!
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Shoreditch is home to some of the best nightlife in London. But guess what? The super-cool neighborhood is worth exploring before sundown as well. These five spots are at the top of my daytime hit list. —mattie kahn  

The Queen of Hoxton
Since declaring it spring in London, I’ve officially voted The Queen of Hoxton my watering hole. Snag a seat at its rooftop bar (pictured!), sip Slush Puppy cider, and embrace the warmness. Ahh.
(1-5 Curtain Rd.)

Ally Capellino
The brand best known for its so-pared-down bags opened its doors in Shoreditch in 2005, and Londoners have lusted after the high-functioning backpacks and bright totes ever since.
(9 Calvert Ave.)

Blondie
If you’re in the market for some top-notch vintage, this is your spot. Dive into Blondie’s collection of flapper dresses, seriously enviable handbags, and old-school YSL suiting. And dig for fifties-era separates—they’re worth it.
(114-118 Commercial St.)

Albion
Picture your high-school cafeteria. Now substitute mystery meat and lunchroom jocks for delicious roast chicken sandwiches and the neighborhood’s cool kids. If you want to avoid 9th grade dining flashbacks entirely, you can grab some bakery goodness to-go.
(2-4 Boundary St.)

Start
It’s window-shopping heaven over here. With its selection of Lily Kamper, Acne, and local favorite Sophie Hulme, Start is better equipped than any boutique in this town to fuel brand-new-wardrobe fantasies.
(42-44 Rivington St.)

 Spend more time hanging in London with Mattie.

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Weather Vain: Miami, Florida - 79 and Partly Cloudy

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We are, unfortunately, too old for spring break (or is it spraaaang break?). But if we got to escape to FL right now, we’d want to be chilling in Miami on this lovely day. —erica

Clockwise from top left:

+ As crisply chic as, well, everything about The Raleigh Hotel—that’s what this Apiece Apart top is.

+ Thierry Lasry sunglasses, in colors that mesh with all the neon lights.

+ In case an outing to Hyde Beach is in the cards: this Sophie Hulme sucker.

+ The print of this neoprene skirt by Emma Cook? Totally goes with the wallpaper at The Broken Shaker—and that’s a compliment.

Etten Eller earrings with appropriately Deco vibez.

+ Robert Clergerie shoes that match the sand.

+ A happy-making Alison Lou ring, straight from The Webster.

How to dress for this weather?! Lots more ideas coming at you.

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Take 5: How to Spend a Fancy-Pants Day in London’s Mayfair

Oh, hey! We’ve scored ourselves a spring semester correspondent: Our girl Mattie Kahn landed in London for a study-abroad program (or, in British, programme), and she’s going to grace this site with her neighborhood adventures and her exceptional taste. In a word: YAY!

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London takes a lot of pride in its historic grit, but the city has a softer side as well—as evidenced in Mayfair’s cozy brasseries, dreamy cobblestone streets, and posh-enough-for-Posh shops. Here’s how to spend an indulgent afternoon. And plenty of quid. —mattie kahn

Sketch
Were Alice in Wonderland to build a mansion of her own design on Conduit Street, the result would probably look a whole lot like Sketch. The space houses five distinct eateries, but afternoon tea at its Gallery Restaurant is my personal favorite.
(9 Conduit St.)

Dover Street Market
Rei Kawakubo’s six-story emporium basically inaugurated high-concept shopping. And it’s not just about the exclusive finds: You also need to snag a seat and a snack at the Rose Bakery on the top floor—I’d go with the carrot cake.
(17-18 Dover St.)

No6 London
Curated by Adidas, No6 sells limited-edition footwear to Londoners in-the-know. Translation: Go here to get your hands on that pair of extra-cool Stan Smith sneakers that your friends at home can only dream about.
(6 Newburgh St.)

Pollen Street Social
Committed to definitively unstuffy fine dining, this restaurant is bright, lively, and just plain worth it. For a more low-key experience, sit at the bar for tapas and a drink.
(8-10 Pollen St.)

KJ’s Laundry
A few (walkable!) minutes from the heart of Mayfair, you’ll find this super-thoughtful boutique. It carries very cool, hard-to-find labels like Samantha Sung, Rodebjer, and Sessun, and just try not to salivate over the leather goods—I dare you.
(74 Marylebone Ln.)

More London! Right here!

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Weather Vain: Dallas, Texas - 73 and Clear

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This time last year, Claire and I were exploring Dallas, and we’re kind of itching to do it all over again—especially on a straight-up gorgeous day like this one. What we’d wanna wear! —erica

Clockwise from top left:

+ A denim moto jacket by Theyskens’ Theory—in case your shoulders get cold while eating tostadas de ceviche outside at La Calle Doce.

+ A T by Alexander Wang dress in a blush-y hue, inspired by Grange Hall's flower arrangements.

+ So slick, this Kelly Wearstler ring! It’ll fit right in at dinner at Tei-An.

+ A raffia bag, from Loeffler Randall, that’s totally ready for a happening summer.

+ The perfect Sicky shades for taking in the Nasher Sculpture Garden.

+ Shoes for showing off a Hiatus pedicure, c/o Opening Ceremony.

+ Collette Ishiyama earrings that would make all the fancy ladies shopping at Forty Five Ten swoon.

Got the travel bug? Us too.

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City Haul: Where We Eat and Shop in Austin *and* L.A.

This week, Claire and I are headed west. Our itinerary: Austin, L.A., and Vegas. And though we can’t really comment on the latter—you know, what happens in Vegas…—we did want to share the places we’ll be visiting in destinations #1 and #2. In fact! We told Conde Nast Traveler alllll about our go-tos, and so for the full run-down, you best click on through. —erica

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AUSTIN! From tacos at La Condesa (pictured!) to warm-weather-appropriate sweaters from Kick Pleat to oysters as often as we can get them—more here.

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LOS ANGELES! We’re westside girls, and the are the Venice/West Hollywood/Santa Monica/Brentwood—like Tenoversix, shown up there!—that we’re hitting, for surez. This way for the scoop.

For more city-guide madness, click!

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Take 5: Spots You Really Have to Hit in London’s Way-Rad Islington

Oh, hey! We’ve scored ourselves a spring semester correspondent: Our girl Mattie Kahn landed in London for a study-abroad program (or, in British, programme), and she’s going to grace this site with her neighborhood adventures and her exceptional taste. In a word: YAY!
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I’m told that Islington was not always so achingly chic. But by the time I landed in London for the semester, a slew of hyper-cool cafes and sleek boutiques had long ago taken up residence on its tangled streets. Below, my faves—so far. —mattie kahn

Smug
Do your inner Zooey Deschanel a favor and pay Smug a visit. Check out the store’s mess of home goods, ceramics, and block-printed stationary, and then head upstairs for a  frankly adorkable craft workshop.
(13 Camden Passage)

Screen on the Green
London is teeming with offbeat, single-screen cinemas. And yet this one still manages to set itself apart from the pack. Does the fact that its back-of-house bar serves bottles of merlot and macadamia-studded brownies play an, ahem,role in its appeal? You bet it does.
(83 Upper St.)

Pistachio & Pickle
A shop named after two of my favorite foods was destined to win me over. One custard-y tart and a wedge of English cheddar later, I was ready to make it official.  
(Deli: 237 Liverpool Rd.; Dairy: 6 Camden Passage)

69 Colebrooke Row
It bills itself as “the bar with no name,” but its reputation is hardly anonymous. A speakeasy-ish cocktail den, 60 Colebrooke Row whips up some of the most killer drinks I’ve ever tasted.
(69 Colebrooke Row)

After Noah
If Wes Anderson and J.K. Rowling put their heads together and designed a toy store, I imagine it would look an awful lot like After Noah. This shop is pure magic. And in its basement? Some truly stunning furniture.
(121 Upper St.)

Lookin’ for more London adventures? Go for it!

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Take 5: The Places You Really Can’t Miss in Notting Hill

Oh, hey! We’ve scored ourselves a spring semester correspondent: Our girl Mattie Kahn landed in London for a study-abroad program (or, in British, programme), and she’s going to grace this site with her neighborhood adventures and her exceptional taste. In a word: YAY!

 

Indulging in the occasional tourist attraction is inevitable, and, of course, some clichéd spots make for worthier destinations than others. But while memories of a lovelorn Hugh Grant may have brought me to Notting Hill when I arrived in London earlier this month, the neighborhood’s absurdly charming storefronts are the reason I can’t seem to stay away. —mattie kahn

Ottolenghi
The takeaway counter that sparked a foodie revolution. This small storefront is the brainchild of Israeli chef and vegetable enthusiast Yotam Ottolenghi. Pick up a rugelach. Or ten.
(63 Ledbury Rd.)

Lutyens & Rubinstein
Imagine every book you’ve ever loved shelved alongside those recent releases that your savviest friend can’t stop talking about. Be sure to head downstairs to the boutique bookshop’s lower level for coffee-table fare, travel guides, and cookbooks. 
(21 Kensington Park Rd.)

One of a Kind
Situated at the heart of Portobello Market, this vintage spot’s been graced by the likes of Kate Moss and Victoria Beckham, and its wares are accordingly fabulous.
(259 Portobello Rd.)

Books for Cooks
As an aspiring domestic goddess, I am fairly certain that Books for Cooks is heaven in brick-and-mortar form. Less ambitious friends are happy to make pilgrimages to the sunlit shop, though. The reason? The mouth-watering meal served from its test kitchen each day. Arrive by 11:45 A.M. to score a table.
(4 Blenheim Crescent)

Wolf & Badger
Dedicated to showcasing the best and brightest of Britain’s emerging fashion talent, Wolf & Badger gives at least 75% of every purchase straight to the item’s designer—pretty major.
(46 Ledbury Rd.)

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Take 5: Scope Out the Places that Make Paris’s St. Germain Special as Ever

After Emily Altieri finished up her Of a Kind internship this summer, she headed to Paris for some study-abroad action. Yah, we weren’t jealous at all. So we’ve asked her to give us the scoop on her best finds around the city—and, listen, though she might be both darling and young, don’t dare accuse her of having college-girl taste. —erica

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Lucky me: My university’s campus is in the heart of St. Germain—maybe the most posh neighborhood in all of posh Paris. Expect to see wildly sophisticated women with giant designer handbags and perfect blowouts walking into Bon Marché (the French equivalent of Bergdorf’s), and head to these more under-the-radar 6th Arrondissement spots that won me over. emily altieri

Jüli
All of the designers in this small clothing boutique are Scandinavian—which means most of them have names I can’t pronounce. Irla Kiely and Rützou are two of my favorites, and I am really into all of the leather booties and silk slip dresses in general.
(20 Rue d’Assas)

Bread and Roses
This is the perfect place for a chill lunch with friends, but one of my favorite things to do is order the quiche to-go and picnic in the nearby Luxembourg Gardens.
(62 Rue Madame)

Iris
I find shoe shopping to be slightly overwhelming, but this small space allows room for a only few pairs from the latest collections of big names like Jil Sander, Rochas, and Chloé. Which means there’s some stellar stuff to gawk at.
(28 Rue de Grenelle)

Culture of Color
After three different French women commented on my un-manicured fingers, I needed to make a change. I found a nail bar on the bottom floor of Bon Marché that is, somehow, rarely crowded and does a gel manicure in 15 minutes.
(24 Rue de Sèvres)

Brand Bazaar
Just a warning: This mega-boutique has an unfathomable amount of merchandise and isn’t particularly organized—but digging’s well worth it. The bottom floor is all denim and tees, but upstairs you can find pieces from Carven, Iro, and one of my favorite French designers, Stephanie Vaille.
(33 Rue de Sèvres)

This is Emily’s last Paris dispatch—she’s back in the U.S. for spring semester, WAAAH. Catch up on her semester-hanging-in-France posts here.

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The Insider: Libby Callaway

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We’ll tell you what: Nashville is so ridiculously lucky to have a resident like Libby Callaway. The former New York Post fashion editor headed south and totally took the city by storm—girlfriend seriously knows everybody and everything happening there. On top of doing a slew of cool projects for the likes of Billy Reid and the very-new hotel The 404, she launched an art-slash-music-slash-food pop-up series along with Susan Sherrick called Joint that we’re itching to check out. Get to know Libby right this minute. —monica derevjanik

Q: What’s the one place you take everyone to when they visit you in Nashville?
A: One place I tell everyone to go—and it doesn’t matter if you like country music or not—is the Country Music Hall of Fame. It’s like a pop-culture experience. I learned a lot about the United States just by visiting it. And they have loads of Nudie suits, the spangly stage outfits that all the country musicians wore with all the rich embroidery and rhinestones.

Q: How about for tasty food? And great shopping?
A: I looooove Mas Tacos. My friend Teresa Mason first opened it as a taco truck, and now she has a brick-and-mortar location. It’s just great food, and you always run into everyone you’ve ever met when you’re there. For shopping, Imogene + Willie on 12th Avenue South is a beautiful store with wonderful product. And, for vintage, I love this chain called Southern Thrift. First of all, it’s the best name ever, and it has the best stuff. Sometimes you go into a Goodwill, and it just feels so edited—but there’s no editing going on at Southern Thrift.

Q: What’s the most incredible piece you’ve found while thrifting?
A: That’s reeeeeally hard! I especially love finding handmade pieces. There’s a chain in Boise called Deseret Industries where I found a gray-and-pink woven poncho with fringe at the bottom and 3D fabric work at the top. I love finding weird stuff like that.

Q: Which designers are you obsessing over right now?
A: I could wear Zero + Maria Cornejo every day. And Black Crane—I have three of their jumpsuits.

Q: The Selby did a pretty amazing tour of your home, and we need to know: What’s the story behind those awesome portraits hanging all over your walls?
A: I have about 80 lady paintings. I first bought a quartet of them, my first batch, from a thrift store about 20 years ago, and they were 97 cents each. None of them are great—some of them are pretty bad and weird, but that’s kind of the beauty. I set parameters about buying them, like I try not to pay over $20 for them.

Q: Tell us a little bit about your time in NYC.
A: When I got started in New York, I managed to fall into a group of really smart women. Laura Brown at Harper’s Bazaar is one of my best friends—she was living with me when she first moved to New York. Janet Ozzard and Kerry Diamond are both pretty incredible, too. Kerry’s magazine Cherry Bombe blows my mind. I knew it was going to be good, but it’s even better than I expected. 

Photo courtesy of Heidi Ross.

Meet more mind-blowing peeps over here.

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