BLOGGER STYLE: CITY LIFE

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cityguide-chicago

Blogger Bows & Sequins takes on the Windy City

The holiday season is one of my favorite times to spend in my favorite cities… The snow, the twinkling lights, the crisp air… It all feels so magical! New York, Paris, and Chicago all know how to do the holiday season right, but now that I’m in Chicago – let’s focus on the holidays here!

sweetmandybs

Lincoln Park has long been one of my favorite neighborhoods. Gorgeous homes, great shopping, and a lot of quaint places to grab a quick bite. My absolute favorite bakery in Chicago is Sweet Mandy B’s. Start the day there grabbing coffee, hot chocolate, and sweet treats for some much-needed fuel!

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The shopping on Armitage is really fun… Lots of cute little boutiques like All She Wrote, Lori’s Shoes, Art Effect, L’Occitane, Benefit and more! (There’s also a Dream Dry if you want to start the day with a blowout!)

dinnerinthewestloop

I’d highly recommend dinner in the West Loop! It’s a super popular area right now and just about every restaurant off of Randolph has opened in the last 2-3 years. Some of my favorites include: Bar Siena, Maude’s, Au Cheval, Blackbird, Avec, Vivo, Nellcote, The Publican, Green Street Meats and RM Champagne.

Have more than a day?

If you’ve got more than 24 hours, I’d also recommend ice skating near the Bean in Milenium Park, or on the outdoor terrace at the Peninsula Hotel. Zoo Lights at the Lincoln Park Zoo is also a lot of fun! Don’t forget to check out my Travel Guide for more spots to see while you’re in town!”

chicagostheatredistrict

Post-dinner, head to the Loop to Chicago’s Theatre District and catch a show. You can’t go wrong with A Christmas Carol at the Goodman Theatre or The Nutcracker at Auditorium Theatre! It’s a quick cab ride from the West Loop to the Chicago Theatre. Add a super chic faux fur coat over your dinner outfit.

outforadrink

Once the show is over, why not cozy up near a fireplace for a nightcap? Some of my favorite cozy bars include; Hubbard Inn, Drumbar, RM Champagne, Scofflaw, The Dawson, the Bar at the Peninsula, Frontier, and The Library under Gilt Bar.

cityguide-sanfrancisco

Hit the West Coast with Blogger Gal Meets Glam

San Francisco is an incredible city and I feel so lucky to call it home. Whether you live here or are making a trip in, there are a few activities that are perfect around the holidays for locals and tourists alike. There is something so special about being in the city around the holidays. Maybe it’s the buzz of the people around, the festive decor that starts to pop up or the abundance of things to do, but it’s a feeling that I look forward to every year.

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Skip Ghirardelli and make your way to Dandelion Chocolate in the Mission. It was listed as some of the best chocolate in the US. Thomas and I like to order the house hot chocolate with almond milk and usually pick a variety of sweet treats (with chocolate, of course!).

grabacablecar

One of the more touristy activities in SF is riding a cable car. I can count on one hand how many times I’ve ridden one and have friends who have lived in the city for years and still have yet to do it. We usually take friends that are visiting, but it’s still a fun experience and worth doing.

unionsquare

Union Square is always filled with holiday decor around this time of year- a giant Christmas tree, ice skating rink and lights galore. While we usually avoid shopping downtown because of the crowds, I love the hustle and bustle around the holidays. It gets me in the festive spirit!

Gal Meets Glam’s favorite piece?

This Express faux fur jacket is a fun piece to have for the holidays. I threw it on over an all black ensemble, including this black turtleneck and these black coated skinny jeans.”

embarcadero

The Ferry Building has a long list of shops and restaurants to choose from. When we stop by, we usually pick up a load of bread from ACME, some cheese from Cowgirl Creamery, olive oil from Stonehouse, a sweet treat at Miette, coffee at Blue Bottle and grab a bite to eat at Frog Hollow.

rotunda

If we’re downtown, we’ll usually grab lunch at the Rotunda in Neiman Marcus. It’s a glamorous spot for a late afternoon lunch with a great view of Union Square. The popovers with strawberry butter are my favorite!

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CITY GUIDE: NYC WEEKEND WITH HALI, THE PR INTERN

Hali the PR intern at Express

Our NYC Design Studio has been keeping Hali the PR intern busy during the workdays – and she’s been up to a lot in her off time, too. Hali spent a weekend getting around town, checking out some sweet spots and old-school tourist attractions. For anyone who lives within a few hours of the city that doesn’t sleep, it’s not too late to plan your own summer getaway – just let Hali’s experience be your guide. And you can shop her looks from wherever you are.

FRIDAY | Coney Island

Coney Island was on my list of must-go places in the city, so my friend Kelsey and I made the long trek on the train. There’s so much to do there. Even just walking along the boardwalk, taking in the atmosphere and people-watching is fun. We indulged in Nathan’s Famous hot dogs and fries (they did not disappoint) and went on all the different rides. The ferris wheel at Coney gave us an incredible view of the ocean and the city skyline. We also played tons of cheesy arcade games. Before we left, we watched the fireworks they have every Friday night. It all made me feel like a little kid again! Such a fantastic ending to a perfect night.”

FRIDAY MORNING | Run on westside highway

“I discovered the perfect place to run: the West Side Highway. It’s right along the water and the scenery is unreal. You just have to be careful not to get hit by someone on a bike. (I’ve had more than a few close calls!) Part of why I love this spot is the park that’s right across the street from where I end my run. I go there to stretch and catch my breath, and then I reward myself with a fresh grapefruit juice from Chelsea Market. With that and the view, it’s always a nice treat!”

SATURDAY AFTERNOON | Walk on the high line

The High Line‘s an old, elevated railroad track that was converted into a park and walkway that overlooks the city. It’s such a relaxing and beautiful escape from the concrete. Each corner is filled with flowers and benches, there are tons of cute vendors and the Whitney Museum is also right alongside it.”

SATURDAY EVENING | Movie in bryant park

“When I learned that Bryant Park has free outdoor movie nights during the summer, I knew I had to attend at least one. My friend Kelsey and I watched the classic I’m No Angel and the star, Mae West, had such fun style. There couldn’t be a more perfect way to watch a movie in the city. Add in a little popcorn and it’s essentially the best night ever. ”

SUNDAY | Brunch & sightseeing

“I grabbed Sunday brunch with a friend at The Coffee Shop in Union Square. This place has been here forever and for good reason – the food was fantastic! It gave us a chance to catch up and relax before I headed to Midtown to visit the Empire State Building. This is something I’ve always dreamed of doing, and it was the most breathtaking view I have ever seen of the New York City skyline. It’s come up on one of my favorite shows, Gossip Girl, but actually being there, over 80 stories high, was magnificent and a little scary. Whenever I remember this, I’ll think of skyscrapers stretching for miles and feeling like I was on top of the world.”

Sightseeing in NYC

Coming up next from Hali: A behind-the-scenes look at what goes into a national press event.

 

CITY GUIDE: WEEKEND IN L.A.

LA Getaway

L.A., we love you so. After a crew of our photographers, models and stylists flew out for our latest campaign shoot, they worked up a short list of favorite spots to eat, drink, hang and people-watch. If Los Angeles is on your to-go list, read on for a whirlwind weekend agenda of things you won’t want to miss.

Friday Night In Santa Monica

The Bungalow
Image via thebungalowsm.com

The Bungalow on Wilshire Blvd. is a laid-back spot with a beach house vibe. Featuring lots of open-air seating and a stunning view of the ocean, it’s got couches for getting cozy, plus ping pong and an indoor pool table for unleashing the shark within. It’s a popular place, so plan on a wait. Our suggestion: Beat the crowd by showing up on the early side of happy hour, then settle in with a cocktail or glass of wine and drink in the sunset.

Saturday Morning In Venice

Salt Air
Image via saltairvenice.com

If you’re going coastal, you’ve got to do seafood. Salt Air on Abbot Kinney Blvd. has numerous options on its brunch menu, along with traditional morning meals (mmm… pancakes). Or you can make a meal of their sinfully rich monkey bread. If the calorie load’s weighing on you, just walk it off – Abbot Kinney is a window shopper’s dream.

Saturday Afternoon In Hollywood

Hollywood

Up for a down and dirty L.A. experience? Head to the TCL Chinese Theater on Hollywood Blvd. and climb aboard the TMZ Tour. In two hours you’ll get an earful of gossip and a view of the Hollywood sign, along with lots more notorious locations. You might even spot a famous face or two. And before and after you board the bus, check out decades of celebrity footprints on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Saturday Night In West Hollywood

Craig's

For a Saturday night splurge, head to Craig’s on Melrose for dinner. Perks: An old-school atmosphere, a diverse but classic-leaning menu and a better-than-average chance of a celebrity encounter. Or go genuinely old school and reserve a table at the intimate Hollywood institution Dan Tana’s on Santa Monica.

Headed anywhere this summer? We love checking out fun destinations and new experiences. Share your travel tips on Instagram with @ExpressRunway and #ExpressLife.