Travel Guide: London

Thursday, November 21, 2019

London Calling! London is an exciting and picturesque city. Big Ben, The Shard, and the London Eye all gaze down upon the town speckled with red telephone booths, double-decker buses, and hackney carriages. London has no shortage of things to do and it can be a bit overwhelming when planning a trip to the home of the British Crown. I've detailed my favorite London experiences below.

Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace & Big Ben

Big Ben and Westminster Abbey are must-see parts of London, of course! Westminster Abbey was built in 1245 and is where Queen Elizabeth II married Prince Philip. Big Ben first rang in 1859 and is perhaps the most recognizable symbol of the city of London. Many travel resources recommend watching the changing of the guard in front of Buckingham Palace, but it is very crowded with tourists. I recommend watching the changing of the guard at the Tower of London instead as it has just as much pomp and circumstance with almost no crowd at all.

Tower of London & Tower Bridge

The Tower of London might be my favorite historical spot in London. The tower that was once a fortress and castle now houses a museum displaying the English crown jewels, armory, and much of England's gorier history. It is the famous site of Anne Boleyn's infamous beheading. It is well worth a visit, and don't forget to walk Tower Bridge over the Thames while you're in the area.

London Eye

When I was first planning my trip to London, I was skeptical that the London Eye was a tourist trap that would prove to be a waste of time. I am so glad that I decided to go because the Eye provides an unobstructed, 360-degree view of all of London and the Thames that runs through. You will be able to see for miles around. I recommend booking a ride at sunset after a day of walking around the area. You'll be able to see all of the ground you covered from a new perspective. I decided to book the Champagne Experience on TripAdvisor for a few pounds more than a regular ticket. Not only do you get a glass of champagne, but you also get to skip the line. It is a wonderful experience and you can learn more about it in my video about it here and see it in my vlog here.

Tea at the Ritz London

Afternoon Tea is a well-known English tradition and where better to observe this ritual than at an iconic English establishment such as the Ritz London. Famous for being a meeting place for Winston Churchill and the one time home of Margaret Thatcher, this luxury hotel has its fair share of stories to tell. I booked a champagne afternoon tea service and the champagne is from the Ritz's very own label. It is elegance and luxury to a... well, t(ea)!


London's famed luxury department store is another must-visit locale. Even the most experienced luxury shopper has never seen nor will ever see anything like Harrod's. Boasting more than one million square meters of space and housing over 300 departments, Harrod's is the epitome of opulence. I started in the basement and worked my way up, stopping for a prosecco and pizza break in the middle. If you're looking for the "luxury version" of everything from letter openers, to baby carriages, Harrod's will produce just what you need.

British Museum & National Gallery

I always make a point to visit the famed art museums of any city I travel to, which is why it was so painful for me to miss out on the British Museum and National Gallery during my first trip to London. On my second trip, these museums were my top priority. The British Museum is home to the Rosetta Stone and Egyptian mummies as well as many other artifacts from various ancient cultures. The National Gallery is home to works by many famous artists from Raphael to da Vinci to Van Gogh.

West End Theater Production

The theater is a huge part of London's identity which is due in part to the famed English playwright, Shakespeare. The West End is London's theater district and catching a live performance is not only a unique experience, but it is also very traditionally English indeed.

The Shard

The Shard is the tallest building in the European Union and the United Kingdom at 95 stories. It is home to Oblix Restaurant and the food and view are both sensational. Take in the views (and, if you're lucky, fireworks) looking West toward the Eye and Big Ben. Once you finish your meal, head up to Gong Bar. Gong is the highest hotel bar in the Western Hemisphere with breathtaking views toward the East overlooking the Tower of London and Tower Bridge. While food and drinks are on the pricey side, it is a wonderful way to mark your last dinner in the city before heading home.

I hope this post helps you plan your trip to London! If you'd like to see my recommendations in-depth check out my London vlogs below!

Winter 2020 Fashion Trend Guide

Thursday, November 7, 2019

In my latest fashion video, I highlighted my favorite winter trends for 2019/2020 and how to style them. Many of the elements that made up my outfits were from thrift stores or vintage finds. Why would this be? Well, the "trends" for this season are actually zeroing in on timeless pieces. Can we even call it a trend if it's timeless? I'm not sure. I believe this is a response to the shift to "slow fashion". As a longtime champion of ethical and sustainable fashion, I am so pleased to see the seasons hottest trends going this way. While I showcase a lot of vintage and thrifted pieces in my latest post, I wanted to provide similar items available to purchase online if you are unable to track them down secondhand. Happy styling! 

Herringbone Tweed Coats

Reformation York Coat ($328) - Sustainable Option

Stella McCartney Herringbone Tweed Coat ($2,050)

Neutral Tones

Cream Sweaters

Everlane ReCashmere Textured Turtleneck Sweater ($155) - Sustainable Option

La Ligne Ribbed Turtleneck Cashmere Sweater ($450)

Tan Pants

Suistudio Robin Cuff High Waist Pants ($200)

Ally Pintuck Seam Wool Trousers ($299)

Cream Wool Coats

Lauren Ralph Lauren Wrap Coat ($360)

Harris Wharf London Long Coat ($900)

Mixed Textures

Black Silk Slip Dresses

Re/Done 90s Silk Slip Dress ($350)

Nili Lotan Silk Dress ($545)

Silk Accents 

Reformation Anne Top ($148) - Sustainable Option

FRAME 70s Shirt ($295)

Hidden Gem in Saint-Tropez : Citadel of Saint-Tropez Maritime History Museum

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Getting to Saint-Tropez is a challenge. Although charting your course to the town can be a headache, I have a feeling this keeps tourism from ruining its picturesque charm so I almost have an appreciation for it. 

The route my fiancĂ© and I took included a plane to Nice, a train to Saint-Raphael (a charming little stop, might I add) and then a ferry to the port of Saint-Tropez. It wasn't as hectic as it sounds, but it would have helped if we weren't toting around all of our belongings for our six-month stay in Amsterdam. Life has a way of making you laugh at yourself. The most hilarious leg of our journey? When we had to hike uphill to our hotel because we couldn't call a taxi and the wheel broke on my fiancĂ©'s luggage that weighed 89 kilos. 

However, we pressed on and once we arrived at our hotel, Hotel Le Mandala, it was a sight for sore eyes. It was our little oasis. As you can imagine, traveling took up enough of our day that once we were settled, we preferred to explore the city rather than venture to the beaches of Pampelonne. 

Close to our hotel was an adorable park on a hill, so in pursuit of getting to know this charming little town, we began to climb. I would like to add I did all of this in my Gucci loafers and I was more than comfortable. My secret? Insoles from a pair of Nike Freerun sneakers. Try it out and thank me later.

Once we got halfway up the hill we paid admission to climb to the top- something like a few Euro, we didn't feel like it was out of bounds. As we continued walking we started to take in the amazing views of Saint-Tropez's town center as well as the port and gulf. It was absolutely stunning. 

We turned to explore what I expected to be an all but forgotten 17th-century fortress behind us- but we were met with the most pleasant surprise. 
Inside the fortress lies the most amazing little maritime museum that takes you through several stories up to the rooftop terrace- all the while detailing Saint-Tropez history as you go. You'll start at who Saint-Tropez was and why he was canonized and end with superyachts and celebrities. Each of these museum rooms is carefully thought out and creatively interactive. No two rooms are alike and you won't be able to help but stop and admire the intricacies and charm of each installation. 

This museum is free with entrance to the fortress and park, and it was an absolute delight to stumble upon. If you go to Saint-Tropez, this little museum is not to be missed. I have a lot of things to recommend in this amazing little French town, but Citadel of Saint-Tropez Maritime History Museum is the first thing on that list.

You can see it in my Saint-Tropez Travel Vlog here:

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