Whether you’re a lover of the wild or a lover of the luxe life, we’ve got you covered with a guide for a breezy coastal getaway - Mississippi edition.Read More
In my coming book there's a whole chapter on what I've nicknamed the rock n’ roll highway; it features quite a few backstage beauties that live and hang along the route from Nashville to Florence, AL to Athens, GA.
The backstage beauty is the type of girl that knows the words to every Rolling Stones song, and lives on a weekend diet of cheap beer and diner food (we can all have a cheat weekend now and then right?!). She throws the best house parties and she and all her friends are right on the brink of discovery. She’s always the most laid-back, glamorous girl in the room in her vintage band T-shirt.
Since I moved to Nashville I've been asked A LOT to share a list of where that type of girl shops and hangs here ... last summer I shared this where to hang for 24-48 hours list (and I stand by it still) so this is the expanded list of venues and shops that made it into my book.
This little tour today is where to get your music fix and find the most fabulous vintage gems all around town. So here we go: a music & vintage tour of Nashville.
Can’t Miss Nashville
For the Music Lover:
Most visitors to Nashville come for the music because there’s truly so much to see and hear. Here are a few favorite spots, and trust me... there's SO many more:
The 5 Spot: What I love about this place is that you can catch a killer early show on a weekend night (I saw my friend Andrew Duhon play to a packed house on a Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.) or go on a Monday night for the Motown Monday dance party. SO. MUCH. F'N. FUN.
Robert's Western World: If you’re ready to spend the night two-stepping the real deal, Honky Tonk is Robert’s Western World. Fried bologna sandwiches, dancing cowboys, and cheap beer make for a wild night down on the Broadway strip.
Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge: A world famous historic watering hole, legend has it that Tootsie kept IOUs behind the counter for the hungry musicians. At the end of the year, the Grand Ol’ Opry guys would pay off the IOUs for the up-and-comers to make sure Tootsie stayed in business.
The Ryman Auditorium: The Ryman Auditorium is the birthplace of the Grand Ole Opry. Not only have the famous feet of Elvis and Johnny Cash graced the stage of this stunning gothic auditorium, but the acoustics make it one of the best places in the country to see live music. Recently Phoenix was there (my fave) and I'm planning to see Father John Misty in September.
The Grand Ole Opry: “The show that made country music famous” continues to feature a broad spectrum of country styles nightly. Take the backstage tour and gaze into the mirrors where gals like Dolly Parton and Carrie Underwood get dressed before their shows.
For the Vintage Devotee:
An entire week could be spent diving into the vintage shops of East Nashville. On my personal best-of list:
Opium Vintage: by appointment only - stocked with a vibrantly obscure collection, including Japanese vintage sourced by owner Laura Citron. It's my favorite of the entire list.
Hip Zipper: great for well-priced denim and accessories.
Starstruck Vintage: gorgeous winter coats for under $100.
Local Honey: hand-dyed vintage by Magness Collection, and this is where I get my hair done... super hip salon and good vintage shopping, win win.
High Class Hillbilly: the place for authentic cowboy goodies and western wear.
Goodbuy Girls: located in the Idea Hatchery (a test kitchen shopping center for new brands) this shop is great for graphic T’s and loads of fringe.
Old Made Good (OMG): Just north of the East Nashville neighborhood is this kitschy vintage shop with a glitter covered floor and adorably charming handmade goods.
Savant Vintage: Over in 12 South, find this favorite of Vogue magazine, photographers, rock stars, and stylists—Savant has an extensive collection of highly curated pieces. Be prepared to spend a little more for the tremendous quality of the jackets, dresses, ponchos, and hats filling its racks.
Hope you guys put this list to good use, and if you haven't pre-ordered my book I would LOVE for you to do so now! Let me know how you love Nashville!
I get asked all the time for lists of things to do in New Orleans. It's my home, always will be, a place that embraced me so fully when I was making some serious transitions in my life and I'll be ever grateful to that dream of a town. Many of my best friends and family are there and this past couple of weeks I was able to spend a few weeks back at home.
One of the things that came up often while I was home this time was conversations about the continuous influx of tourists, and their interest in exploring areas that once were seriously off the beaten path.
Immediately downriver of the Quarter, there's the Marigny and the Bywater - like the Quarter both are live music destination—from the jazz club–lined Frenchman Street to the performance art and gypsy street bands peppering the Bywater and the punk-style arts district along St. Claude. These neighborhoods have a subculture that are truly their own, and I'll preface this by saying - tourists are most certainly onto that, and that has infused money into the city and most locals I know are happy for that. However! With that said, it's important (in any city, not just New Orleans) to be respectful of what came before you when visiting. So that's what this post is all about.
These two neighborhoods in particular were, until recently, considered two of the most unique and well-kept secrets of New Orleans. The Faubourg Marigny, which was once the plantation of a Creole born vivant who made the dice game “craps” popular in America and who dazzled New Orleans by his flair and enormous inheritance, and the Bywater, named for it’s postal code, are often likened to the Brooklyn neighborhoods of New York. The neighborhoods combine old-school New Orleans with a bohemian and considerably hip culture. If you want more on the history there's a whole chapter about this in my first book New Orleans Style, btw.
As prices rose in the 1990s in the Quarter, young artists and entrepreneurs began moving into the neighborhoods, and as of recent years, the style and happenings have been documented by Vogue, the NY Times Fashion/Style Magazine, Garden & Gun and Food & Wine, just to name a few.
These neighborhoods are packed with some of the coolest hangs in the city, ranging from hipster dives to trendy design-forward spaces.
Weekends bring shoppers to arts’ markets and junk stores. There’s a funky style and harmony that create a good time if an admittedly weird experience for all. As of recent years, more and more outsiders are moving from all over the country into these two neighborhoods. There seems to be as many Airbnbs as there are locals on some streets and if you happen to be one of these Airbnb'ers here's a few tips (do's and don'ts) on how to hang like a local.
1. Drink Wine.
Or beer, or a vodka and soda. Just do not, I repeat do not go into the French Quarter and order a hand grenade and wander with that massive plastic fire hazard out in the local areas and think you'll be accepted.
I was out with a group of friends on this last visit and literally as we walked along we encountered a group of guys in full on bead regalia, pulling a cooler along behind them (hey... drinking in the streets is legal so go all out right?!) and in each of their hands: a hand grenade. Sure, go to Pat O's and try out a Hurricane (one, btw, ooooonly have one) or hit Lafitte's for a Purple (also, one, btw!) but outside of that, if you're going to sit and have a drink with friends in the local areas, order what you would at home! And truly, try your damnedest to not get too wasted. That old saying it's a marathon, not a sprint applies here.
2. Leave the khakis at home and don't buy the beads.
The hipster cred in these neighborhoods is long term. Recording studios and artist retreats tucked away on quiet side streets means the stars can hide out a bit. Just ask Trent Reznor, Josh Tillman (Father John Misty), the guy from the Flaming Lips, Lenny Kravitz, and as most people know - Angelina Jolie & Brad Pitt for some time. When I'm taking in a new city I too love to explore the neighborhoods. So if you want to fit in, especially if you'll be walking for miles and miles opt for simple sneakers and a monochromatic ensemble - those things pair well with everything and as you pick up little trinkets from the local shops you can layer those gems into your outfit as you go.
While shopping make sure to hit the local stores. There's so many incredible designers based in New Orleans, it would be a shame to stop into the H&M or Urban Outfitters (or even worse the $5 bead shops) when tucked into the neighborhoods you can find gems like Porter Lyons (pictured and where my jewelry is from!), Trashy Diva and Shop Freda up in the Warehouse District.
3. Don't ask for handouts.
Don't ask for stories about Katrina from the girl serving your coffee. Don't ask her which bar she frequents when there's a line of people behind you. And - this one is kind of a joke, but I've actually seen it happen more than once: if you see someone carrying a sack of crawfish, that's their lunch. The only time it would be appropriate to ask for crawfish is if you're invited to a boil... and in that case, there will be a pile of crawfish and you just go all in. You may then, have to ask for help on how to eat the crawfish, and locals are always happy to help in that regard.
My brother and I were having crawfish at the park last week, and as he went to grab a gallon of water (also necessary when you're having crawfish) three super obvious tourist girls asked "can we try a few of those?" pointing to his sack of crawfish. Uhh, no - would you ever approach someone and ask to sample their food in any other city. Of course not.
Truly, I intended this to be fun, and I'm always so thrilled to see new friends (and old ones too) visiting my favorite city ever. I've got another little list coming this week of off the beaten path places to visit for Art & History lovers. Come back for that, and if you're ever in town while I'm there and you haven't yet found your way to the crawfish, let me know and I'll share mine with you anytime.
In the post I'm wearing Eileen Fisher, a made in the USA brand with Sustainable and Organic fabrics committed to supporting clean air, clean water and a healthy environment for workers and wildlife. Shop my look here:
I'm excited to be a part of the #gaplove campaign! Being an early riser hasn't always been my thing, I so love sleeping in you guys. But on this particular morning it was so much fun to get up early, go catch the morning light with Ben to shoot photos for the campaign. Sometimes the early hours, while everyone else is still sleeping is somehow refreshing!
The outerwear pieces and cozy knitwear from Gap is perfect for this cold-one-day-not-so-much-the-next-day weather. I'm planning for another few days of travels after being back in New Orleans for the weekend - these goodies are perfect for the trip!
There's a few more of the things I'm loving from the collection below. What's in your travel bag right now you guys?
And p.s. see more over on the Gap insta!
Last days of summer... She'll leave me colorless, breathless, no more candles cutting through the sky. Only white stark nights to come. And how could she think I can breathe like that?
Wanna get a way before the summer ends? I know, it's hard to see the end now, 90 degree days aren't good for foreshadowing, however, autumn will creep in soon. I wrote those lines above last year on September 22nd. It took me until then to see summer was floating away. This year I'm committed to maximizing the last days of summer!
Today I'm sharing three of my favorite last minute Southern road trip destinations. Not every trip requires weeks of advanced planning, here's a few places that a weekend traveler or day tripper can enjoy on a whim! These trips are for artistic free spirited types, those of you with a case of the wanderlusts. Each is for the modern gypsy budget conscious traveler.
1. Lafayette, Louisiana
Louisiana is home to over four hundred festivals every year. Even when it's not festival time there’s juke joints and roadhouses with blues and roots bands throughout the Atchafalayan Basin all year long. No-frills never watered down places that are some of the last of their kind in America.
STAY: Rent a houseboat on the Atchafalaya Basin. Stock up on the local foods before boarding. Snack on beignets and au laits while playing cards on the porch or hop in your own petite bateau (translation: small boat) to be inspired by the swamp.
EAT: Pick a few stops on the Cajun Boudin Trail to experience the most authentic regional specialties. Don't over do it on stop 1 and 2, you'll want to sample delicacies from as many of the shops as possible.
HOW TO DRESS: The Southern Swamps cater to a girl that's confidently eclectic. Wear feathers in your hair, layer a vintage T’s with your favorite denim cutoffs (it's hot outside!) and sprinkle on the glitter even in the daytime.
2. Savannah, Georgia
Swirling all around like the waving limbs of the ancient oaks there’s an essence of old meets brand new in Savannah. There’s an art and fashion scene - of both the high end and street style variety. From the Telfair Museum to shopSCAD, no matter your aesthetic sensibility there’s something to be uncovered.
STAY: The Thunderbird Inn - a groovy motor inn on the edge of the historic district. Reminiscent of the free-spirited era of roadside motels, it's a casual and fun-loving joint.
EAT: Fried Chicken and Cornbread dressing at Mrs. Wilkes Dining Room - take a lunchtime seat at a communal table in the family owned former boardinghouse. Sample as many southern dishes as possible: sweet potato souffle, black-eyed peas, and okra gumbo are must haves.
PLAY: The Paris Market - The francophile concept shop is a two-story market - part boutique, part flea market; it's full of the world traveling owner’s quirky international discoveries.
HOW TO DRESS: The Savannah style is a mix of fashion school and tropical goth glam. The Savannah girl is warm and unpretentious and her artistic know how shows up in the small details of her style.
3. Grayton Beach, Florida
The vibe is as free-spirited and quirky as the unofficial town motto: “Nice Dogs, Strange People.” Grayton is one of the oldest beach towns in the South.
STAY: Rent a beach cabin for a good price, and makes friends with the locals for a jeep ride or a night of bonfires on the beach.
EAT: Drop in to Chiringo for lunch and a freshly squeezed Strawberry Lemonade or the specialty Agua de Valencia. The open air second floor is a perfect place to relax and experience the Gulf breeze.
HOW TO DRESS: 30A, the nickname given to Scenic Highway 30A, is a dreamscape beach nirvana. It caters to the bohemian girl packing nothing more than a bikini and a caftan cover-up.
What's on your last minute travel bucket list you guys? Share your stories with me over on instagram with the tag #AWanderfulLife!