MILAN PHOTO DIARY

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I wouldn't exactly call this a guide. But it's some of the places I got to visit during my long weekend I spent in Milan. Milan may not be real Italy, as people would say. It wouldn't be the place to go to experience what Italian culture really is. But it's a city with it's own heartbeat and has stolen the hearts of Italians all over Italy who move here to experience the fast-paced city life. Milan, for me is a design capital for fashion and the arts, heritage and amazingly good food with an unbelievably generous aperitivo culture. I couldn't have asked for a better time there. Here's what I got up to during my short time in the city that you should definitely visit if you make it to Milan:

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Milan isn't know for being the city for lovers. But Parc Sempione on a lovely day is perfect for a picnic, like what we did. People come here to kiss. To snuggle when the sun is out. To get a tan in their bikini. It's such a fun but relaxed atmosphere where you really see people really enjoying the city park that is easily accessible from the city centre.


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Wearing a Maria Stanley dress and Adia Kibur earrings

Shop in the Brera district- known for once being home to bohemians, artists, only part of the area has survived modern reconstruction. The street is beautiful and now filled with small boutiques and galleries. 


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Corso Como is a restaurant, gallery, hotel, book store, and fashion and lifestyle store all in one and it is beautiful.

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Naively used to be the entire water network for Milan, connecting from the nearby rivers of Ticino and Adda. It is now a lively street filled with shops, art studios, restaurants, pubs, bars and is perfect for a romantic stroll down the canal with a loved one.


bv cadg2Spazio Rossana Orlandi is always a highlight during Milan Design Week- it's a design/furniture gallery and courtyard cafe and is located in an old tie factory in Via Matteo Bandello. I saw some of the most unique pieces of furnishing for the home. Rossana Orlandi is a known for discovering and championing new designers while providing support throughout their careers. 

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Owned by the design duo behind Dsquared2, Ceresio 7 Pools & Restaurant is located at the top of the Dsquared2 headquarters where the who's who of Milan flock to for dinner and drinks. Come for an  Aperitivo and people-watch while enjoying the sunset and some nibbles. 

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Wearing Free People's Bohemian Winds Maxi dress

Cliche but still stunning. Especially in the morning before the city wakes up.

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Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II- of course everyone in Milan has to see this stunning shopping arcade for themselves after the Duomo. The arcade is open 24/7 so if you'd like to enjoy frolicking around the premises before the stores open, it is jolly well a good idea. 

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You've probably heard of EATALY in New York, so you can only imagine an Italian version of it would be a gazillion times better. I was grinning from ear to ear at all the food available. It is a one-stop store for anything related to Italian food that is my kind of heaven. 


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Fondazione Prada is dedicated to contemporary art and culture and is home to Bar Luce- a cafe and bar designed by Wes Anderson that feels like a movie set from one of his films.

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Wearing a Ganni lace mini dress

Città Studi is such a cute and quaint neighbourhood not far off the city centre, with some really traditional-looking Italian homes. It is lovely to stroll through and peep into the houses to wonder the life that goes on in there.


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Carlo & Camilla in Segheria is one of Italian chef and personality, Carlo Cracco's restaurants... It is genuinely one of the most beautiful spaces I've stepped into and the cocktails were out of the world. Food was great too. I loved the Italian way of dining. Every night we started our aperitivo in the evening and start getting seated for dinner at only about 9. We usually finish dinner close to midnight and it makes really enjoying the company, conversations, food and drinks such an experience.

I cannot thank my Italian counterparts, Gabriele, Alessio and Giulia enough for giving me such an authentic experience in Milan and for hosting me throughout my time there. I had such a great time and saw so much in such a short period but was blown away by what the city had to offer. And when you make it to Milan.... also don't forget the patisseries!

Shot in collaboration with Shopbop.

AT THE DUOMO

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Wearing Free People's Bohemian Winds Maxi Dress

While I may be all for going after a local experience, see the Duomo from the distance and visiting the terrace of the cathedral was a dream in itself. Skip the long lines for the tickets into the Duomo and go straight for the terrace where you get stunning views of Milan and see the intricate details of the roof of the cathedral. 

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The details took my breath away, it is no wonder this took 6 centuries to complete. I wasn't even that keen on going up to the Duomo but when my friends who are local to Milan took me up, it was with no regrets despite the countless of steps before getting to the terrace. I couldn't have asked for a better way to spend my Saturday morning with my favourite people.

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The weather was perfect. I am wearing a Free People dress, you can find a similar one here


BRIGHTON BEAUTIFUL


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Photos by myself and Bryant.

Brighton is one of my favourite escapes from the hustle and bustle you experience everyday in London. It's a busy little town but there is still something I find quite peaceful about the place, I always have the best time whenever I make the trip down. This was my third time day-tripping to the place, it was Valentine's day and together with a few friends, we took a train down from London to spend a day at the pebble beach and the Brighton Pier. I love the novelty of the pier, it reminds me so much of Santa Monica in L.A, we sit some of the rides, scream our hearts out for the fun of it and then watch the sunset and the birds doing their thing as time passes by.

 So grateful for this crew- In fact, it was my first time 'celebrating' the day, we had the best lunch at D'arcy's (One of my favourite restaurants in Brighton!) which lasted for a good couple of hours where we feasted on fresh seafood, laughed our hearts out and raised our glasses to love and friends. Nathan, Zoe, Bryant and Mikko, you guys have my heart and I wouldn't have spent Valentine's any other way, or with anybody else.

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Old photos from last September by me.

I wished I could have showed my pals more of Brighton because there is actually so much to do and see. I recommend going over for a day-trip on a Sunday so you can check out the vintage markets that randomly pop up, I got the best buys during a previous trip which I still love till this day. Stroll through the lanes and buy cute little souvenirs. Also, the Brighton Pavillion is touristy but beautiful both inside and out. In the summer, spend the day at the beach on the super cute deck chairs while sipping pine coladas. If you're driving, head on to Seven Sisters Chalk cliff which is only about 20 minutes from Brighton. This would be perfect if you're spending the night in the town so you can go over bright and early the next day and do a little walk in the Seven Sisters Country Park.

Hope you guys enjoyed this little photo diary! 

MY GUIDE TO BANGKOK

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BANGKOK- Truly the city that never sleeps. This guide is long overdue but I wanted it to be as detailed as I possibly can so that it will be useful for whoever who reads it. If its your first time travelling to Bangkok, then I suggest maybe you grab a sandwich and continue reading. This post is MASSIVE to say the least but I hope you enjoy the visuals and more importantly, the sights, tastes and sounds when you do visit Bangkok whether it is your first, second or tenth time. 

HYGGE

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I spent the third leg of my adventure in Copenhagen after a hectic week in London. It was the PERFECT escape. I can't even describe how I feel about the city. It has actually been awhile since I've explored completely unfamilar territories, new country, new languages, new cultures.. I was so excited to finally make it to Denmark. My good friend Sam and I met in London and took a short 1.5 hour flight out to Copenhagen and spent a good 6 days in the city, absorbing everything it had to offer. 6 days is quite a long time to be in a small city like Copenhagen but I couldn't have done it in any other way. Simple to say, I loved it! I am drawn to Danish culture for many reasons- beautiful people, bike town, architecture that's consistently blowing my head off or leaving me in awe (the number of windows they manage to fit in one building amuses me) but one has stood out from the rest. 'Hygge'. I read a small bit about Danish culture before making the trip but leaving the rest of the research to be done when we got there but 'hygge' was something I was so curious about. It can be simply translated into 'coziness' but to me it's impossible to express. Bascially, I'd like to describe it as…my entire life. 'Hygge' is more of a feeling, an emotion and an expression. My entire time exploring Copenhagen, it was all I felt. Cozy. Warm. And fuzzy all over. It's the atmosphere that comes when one spends time with loved ones, with good food and company. Oh of course, not forgetting the candles. They love their candles. I absolutely loved that the Danes so warmly embrace hygge into their everyday lives and it was inspiring. I earlier mentioned that it describes my entire life- so many times have I tried creating these moments of hygge and am thankful for friends who appreciate the slow life, good food and conversations that last till the wee hours in the morning but the whole concept is something I have time and time again failed to comprehend. Why couldn't we have this back home? Why haven't I felt this anywhere else? And to tell the truth, I only have one friend in Copenhagen, Sam and I stayed at Airbnbs where we barely saw our hosts but the whole time I was in the city, hygge was everything I felt. Everything I had wanted to feel and everything I needed. 

Danes simply breathe and live in hygge, Copenhagen has it's own heartbeat, one that I now associate positive vibes, peace and happiness with. It's cheesy I know, but it's true. If there is anything I want to do, it's to run back to this amazing city, meet more people and throw dinner parties and experience the real hygge. There is so much more I've yet to see so I know a trip back is in order but we did manage to visit a couple of places you need to go if you ever visit. 

Paludan Bog Cafe

Extremely affordable and delicious cafe that's buzzing with students from all over the world and books. It's known as a University cafe and is right in the center of Copenhagen, a stone throw away from Norreport metro station. Try the brunch plates.

Fiolstræde 10, 1171 Copenhagen, Denmark 

Barburrito

Tiny bar, one that is easy to miss. Great tacos and burritos. Go for the veal in a taco or burrito, for sure a fiesta in your mouth. The plantaines with guacamole were something different from our usual tortilla chips but so, so good.

Skindergade 36, Copenhagen 1159, Denmark

Atelier September

Beautiful place for brunch, pastries and drinks a short walk from Nyhavn. One of those places you'd be busy snapping pictures all over because it's that cute. Loved the friendly staff.

Gothersgade 30 1123 Copenhagen Denmark

Kaffesalonen

This was one of my favourite meals, we sat by the water with a good view of the city but the cafe is tucked in a small neighbourhood. I rented one of their adorable Swan peddle boats and had a blast chasing the real swans and ducks in the lake. Go for the smoked salmon sandwich, their brunch plates, burgers and salads. Perfect way to spend a peaceful day. Yum..!

Peblinge Dossering 6, 2200 Copenhagen, Denmark

Torvehallerne Food Market

A vibrant urban farmers market that focuses on local and sustainable produce with over 60 stands of the freshest produce and food stalls for a quick bite. Loved the atmosphere and smørrebrød that is hard to miss.

Frederiksborggade 21, 1360 Copenhagen, Denmark

Copenhagen Street Food

An old warehouse by the water that's converted into a colourful and cheap street food market, focusing on local organic produce and their vendors. Stalls are in the forms of food trucks, shacks and wagons. We found this a rather enriching experience because you really get to see the locals getting creative with their dishes and of course their stalls. The food was of course delicious and definitely much more affordable than what you'd normally get in a cafe in the city. Sit out by the water facing the Opera House and Royal Playhouse.

Papirøen/ The Paper Island Warehouse 7 & 8

 Trangravsvej 14, 1436 Copenhagen

Hope you guys enjoyed the photo diary! I know it's a lot but there was simply too much I had to capture!

TAKING MOROCCO

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I am thrilled to finally be able to share these images from one of my unforgettable adventures in Morocco. It seems only apt for me to bring 2015 here on Missingavenue to a close with a destination that has since defined me and not a day goes by where I am not thinking about the beauty I saw throughout that one week right in the heart of summer. Morocco was more than just another holiday for me, it was everything I had dreamed of and I was presented with fresh new perspectives, scenic landscapes, fortress cities, heartwarming and souls. I had never felt more myself than I had during that time I was there. This is a place that is a world of it's own, and one that's filled with happy accidents.

Everyday I found myself speechless and in awe of the sights that I saw...from getting lost in the ancient medinas in Marrakech to falling asleep under the stars in the Sahara desert. This country didn't just surprise me but took my breath away at every moment. While much of it's cities have allowed tourism to get in the way, it is the imperfections and intricacies that make Morocco what it is. I loved haggling over prices at the souks with a dash of cheeky flirtation or enjoying the kind hospitality of locals whilst sipping hot mint tea on a roof top terrace and watching life go by. What I saw in Morocco was but a tiny fraction in comparison to what it has to offer, but the great thing is, I personally can't think of a better holiday destination simply because it can be easily tailor-made just for you. If you're willing to take the road less travelled and do it the unconventional way of renting a car and getting by on your own, I say why not? I had the help of a private guide, Ismail, who crafted a tour according to what I wanted and everyday was perfect- I really wouldn't have done it any other way. Inexpensive and probably the best way to see the country, it is a personal and enriching experience that money simply cannot buy. Here are bits and pieces of my time on the road after leaving Marrakech to make my way towards the epic Sahara desert.

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You can view more of my time in Marrakech here

We stayed in riads we found off airbnb and absolutely loved it. Inexpensive, so comfortable and such a local experience. One of which was at Riad de l'Orientale where we met Latifah who runs the traditional guest house. From arranging us a pick-up direct from the airport to making sure we got safely through the ancient medina into the riad, it was easy access and we were grateful for her amazing hospitality every step of the way throughout our stay. 

Make sure you get yourself lost in the souks, visit the Museum de Marrakech, Maison de la photographie Marrakech, Yves Saint Laurent's strikingly blue Majorelle Gardens, the intricate Bahia Palace and the hidden Madrasas hidden in the old medinas.

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Arranging our tour with Moroccan Desert Tours was easy-peasy. We had read numerous reviews before deciding on which agency to go forward with. The thing with most private tours is you get a personal guide who will be your driver throughout the duration of your journey. He will be with you pretty much every step of the way, ensuring your safety, making sure you get to see the sights while still getting a local experience. It was through Moroccan Desert Tours that we got to meet Ismail, who became our best friend throughout our 3 days on the road.

He picked us up from our riad in Marrakech and from there we hopped into a car and started our journey into the Sahara Desert, through the Atlas mountains where we were greeted with some unbelievable sights like the Kasbah Ait Ben Haddou. The journey was felt like forever driving through Draa valley before we finally arrived in Merzouga and got checked into a hotel, with the Sahara right at the back and camels waiting for us to head into camp. We were going to experience a night in the desert like Berbers and trekked into the Sahara on camels just in time for the sun set before having dinner of tagine cooked on-site traditionally and dancing to North-African drums under the most number of stars I had ever seen in my 22 years of being.

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We woke up the next day to the sunrise in the desert and slowly trekked our way back to some form of civilisation and was greeted by a hearty breakfast before jumping back into the car and making our way slowly out of the desert through some stunning landscapes like the Ziz Valley Gorge- a dense canopy of palm trees wedged between ancient cliffs that stretches over 100km. We were constantly in awe of the sights we saw on the road that day and the life of nomads and villagers in small towns and how vastly different they were from each other despite the short distance. Ismail would patiently stop the car for us every time we wanted to take photos and it soon became a chase for wild camels which we found (!) and before I knew it, I was running in the fields with a herd of goats. I felt like I was in a movie and had never felt so happy.

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That evening, we finally arrived in Fes, which was going to be home for the next 2 nights. Ismail dropped us off right outside our riad and we explored the city on our own- had dinner on a rooftop terrace, bought lots of figs, fed cats and made friends with other tourists drinking mint tea. Fes felt slightly more authentic than Marrakech- there was more local life we got to see like their daily markets where locals shopped for spices, meat and veg. It was also a lot cheaper than Marrakech. 
The medina of Fès el-Bali (the old Fes/ old city really is the heart of the city where souks filled with a maze of narrow lanes of aromatic food stalls, intricately painted ceramics, piles and piles of rugs and carpets, tanneries and mosques. The trick with the souks is really to dive head first, straight in. It's overwhelming but slowly you find your pace and way around with every other corner surprising you with it's charm in the most unexpected ways.


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As part of our private personalised tour, we were travelling to Chefchaouen, up North along the Rif Mountains of Morocco. Read more about my time in Chefchaouen here.

chefchaouen from the distance

It is undoubtedly one of the most magical places I have ever visited, like a still from a movie set. I still slap myself at times to think I made it there. Ismail was with us every step of the way while we were in Chefchaouen, so we got to mix around with locals, do our shopping and explore the town.

After a day trip to Chefchaouen and returning to Fes with grinning from ear to ear with new stories to tell, we spent our last day in Fes before getting a train back to Marrakech. I genuinely loved every minute of being in Morocco. It was such a happy place for me. And I can only hope that everyone reading this will one day get to experience it for themselves. The one tip I can give is that coming to a destination like this really requires a good amount of research- plan your route, how you're getting from city to city and the things you want to do. Every city in Morocco is different, and there is so much I am dying to visit. But it may take a whole lifetime to explore. We are especially grateful to Ismail for making our trip such a memorable one, for not just being our guide and taking such good care of us, but also being our friend every step of the way. Try your luck and meet Ismail by booking your private tour with Moroccan Desert Tours.

So here's to undoubtedly one of the best trips of my life so far, thank you Morocco for making my 2015. I hope everyone is spending their last few hours of the year giving thanks and feasting with their loved ones. Thank you guys so much for yet another year of support with the blog and thank you for reading! 

In My Shoes: Around Portland with Tina

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I was brainstorming what would be worthy of posting for this week's Tasty Tuesday and as much as I  am determined to live my life with good food all the time, I am anal. And sometimes, Instagram photos just don't do enough justice for a Tasty Tuesday post you know? As most of you should know, I spent my last winter in Portland and met the most amazing people who took me to their favourite spots to check out. I love Portland and I can promise you if you ever make a trip there, prepare yourselves for a gastronomic adventure like no other.

Tina

, Solestruck's graphic designer (she's gone freelance now and is great at what she does!), always made sure to bring me around so we thought of doing a special feature introducing some of her favourite spots in the city for the Solestruck blog. I absolutely love this girl. (Miss you so much babe!) So while this is abit of a food post, I'll be adding in a couple of cool spots you might want to check out as well if you're in the city. Enjoy!

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Canteen 

 2816 SE Stark St Portland, OR 97214

Portland is actually one of the most vegan-friendly cities in the world and Canteen is a vegan, gluten-free juice bar offering fresh juices, smoothies, salads, bowls and pretty much everything you need to feel good inside and out. So healthy and delicious, they really got me.

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Food carts have revolutionized the way people in Portland eat and the amazing stuff people come up with in these little carts never fail to surprise me. It's not just one of those trends of people dining in mobile spots, to me it really is the heart of the city's food scene. My first food cart experience was from Koi Fusion, just before heading to a soccer game with Tina.

Koi Fusion

is everything about a Korean touch to mexican food. Expect Korean tacos, burritos, Seoul sliders, kimchi quesidillas and their signature Koi rice bowls. I was obsessed with my spicy tofu, bulgogi beef and pork tacos. I would say Koi Fusion is hard to miss, they've a couple of carts going around the city but you can always check out their website for schedules and locations.

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Perierra Creperie

SE Hawthorne Blvd & SE 12th Ave

Portland, 04 97214

Not sure if she owns it but the girl who tends Perierra Creperie has got swag. All I know is, she looks so much more than the part and she makes pretty damn good crepes. Offering a few traditional and unusual crepes, and fresh smoothies, Perierra is all about snacks with great personality. Order your crepes and part of the package is a perfect performance through the window.

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Table of Contents

 33 NW 4th Avenue Portland, OR 97209

Multi-label concept store located in Chinatown, Table of Contents offers products for both men and women from brands like Comme de Garcons, Marie Turnor, Tess Giberson, Issey Miyake and much more. Owners, Shu and Joe, started the store with an appreciation for international wears and their background in graphic design and magazine publishing plays a big part of the store's Portland-like aesthetic. They've been running their

online store

for awhile now, so be sure to check it out.

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Schoolhouse Electric & Supply Co.

2181 NW Nicolai St Portland, OR 97210

Schoolhouse Electric was a dream come true for me. Located in a massive 100 year old industrial building, the showroom is simply full of… everything! Best known for their lighting products, the showroom stocks a complete line of home accessories and furniture, books and cooking ware. Everything is styled so nicely you just never want to leave the place. You don't have to be into interior to come enjoy this place, I love that the showroom is as interactive as it can get. Help yourselves to the books that are all for sale, relax in one of the comfy sofas and spend the afternoon reading. Or just spend an afternoon in their lovely cafe enjoying a cup of coffee, flipping through Kinfolk.

Watch this

video

to find out more about the owner and the brand, pretty cool stuff I promise.

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Tasty N' Sons

3808 N Williams Ave, Portland, OR 97212

Having 91% likes on Urban Spoon must be a good thing. I loved brunch here. Great location, allowing you to feel like you're both indoors and outdoors, that open kitchen and the true fact that everything on the menu sounded incredibly delicious. We had a mexican bowl, a frittata and a pretty epic burger. All's good when you're here, you just know you're in for a good time with great food and company.

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Por Que No

4635 SE Hawthorne Blvd Portland

 3524 N Mississippi Ave Portland

Delicious, unpretencious Mexican fare. I love that every neighbourhood has at least a Mexican eatery but Por Que No is delicious and definitely worth a visit if you're in the area. They gave me a warm welcome when I first arrived in Portland and I loved being able to walk here for some take-out. Try the Calamari tacos.

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Bunk Bar 

1028 SE Water Ave #130, Portland, OR 97214

Mouth-watering sandwiches you will end up dreaming of.

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Sunshine Tavern

3111 SE Division St Portland, OR 97202

My first chicken and waffles experience thanks to Tina! I love that she's always bringing to the best places and

Sunshine Tavern

was heaven. Succulent fried chicken thats been marinated for 24 hours and fried with yeasted semolina waffles, drizzled with maple syrup over. YUM. Loved the atmosphere of this bar and the friendly staff. Honestly, I just want to go back and try everything on the menu. Just because, the sun's always shining in here!

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House of Vintage

3315 SE Hawthorne Blvd Portland, OR 97214

BIGGEST VINTAGE STORE EVER. Came here and was so overwhelmed by how much they had. Even if you can't find anything that is to your liking, this place is an adventure you definitely won't want to miss. 

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Montage

301 SE Morrison Street, Portland OR 97214 

 Best Mac and Cheese I've ever had! And the best part is packing some back, your food gets wrapped up into little aluminium animals moulded by the friendly staff. I of course had to go with the kitty! This is a great place to come for brunch or dinners with friends. We had a long-ass table and all of us sat, and ate nothing but Mac and Cheese. Mhmmmm. (Of course they have other stuff on the menu)

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Broder 

2508 SE Clinton St Portland, OR 97202 

 I described

Broder

as a Swedish summer dream in a

previous post

on the brunch spot. Everyone who visits the place describes it as a breakfast dream and it really is. Everything comes with a hint of scandinavian aesthetic but in a much more relaxed, fun way. We waited an hour before getting our seats and helped ourselves to coffee to keep ourselves warm in the makeshift waiting area next door which is actually a bar in the night. No reservations but definitely worth the wait. I loved this place and I just know you will too.

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Cylde Common 

1014 SW Stark St., Portland, OR 97205 

 This is a horrible photo which does no justice to the dinner I had on the eve of Thanksgiving. Located in the Ace Hotel, this hotel bar is filled with Portland's who's who every other night. The menu is always changing and the chef does great things with the freshest ingredients. With Portland being everything about cool and often described as a 'creative class mecca' ,

Cylde Common

delivers creative yet comforting dishes that is sure to please.

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Solestruck

417 SW 13th Ave Portland, OR 97205

Last but not least, no trip to Portland is complete without a trip to everyone's favourite shoe store, Solestruck. The store's interior is award-winning and worth gawking your eyes out over. Nothing but a 'shining beacon of shoes'.

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I know this post is massive but there is just so much to do in Portland. If you've been thinking about a holiday destination, give Portland a shot and you'd be surprised how much this city has to offer. You are going to have such a great time! And come back probably a few pounds heavier.