Kusmi Tea

There's nothing quite as comforting as taking the time to sit quietly with a freshly brewed cup of tea. Whether you opt for a delicate green tea detox (which is as good for your skin as it is for your taste buds) or an intensely rich Rooibos blend, Kusmi, the French tea house with a Russian heritage, has perfected the art of tea-making. Founded in 1867 in St. Petersburg, its newly opened US flagship store beautifully pays homage the brand’s Franco-Russian legacy through a baroque and modern lens. Located within the Oculus of New York City’s Westfield World Trade Center, stepping into Kusmi’s luminous boutique is nothing short of a sensorial experience. From its grandiose chandelier to the picturesque bespoke mosaic all the way down to the parquet floor of Italian marble and French oak, the space would certainly live up to the standards of a Russian Tsar. Beyond its aesthetic appeal, the new location boasts over 50 herbal and black tea varieties, which are as aromatic as they are flavorful. 

To ease the decision-making process, the store features a central tasting station with turned-polish stainless steel and oak samovars allowing the visitors to taste Kusmi’s celebrated concoctions. The store also offers a selection of tea accessories, including a Christopher Jenner designed silver tea strainer (exclusive to the US flagship), lavish handmade crystal caddies and Japanese Nippon teapots. And for a touch of sweetness, the store sells Kusmi’s sugar lumps carved in the shape of matryoshkas, the traditional Russian dolls (they come in male and female forms). Kusmi believes that “having a cup of tea is like sharing a common language, a multicultural means of expression, an opportunity to share wherever you come from." That’s something we’d raise a cup of Kashmir Tchai to.

Kusmi Tea, Westfield World Trade Center, New York.

- Written by Sofia Sosunov


DeMaria NYC

New York City is known for its quirky food obsessions: The cronut, matcha almond milk lattes, fresh juices and dragon bowls have all taken the city by storm. Now, Camille Becerra, the creator behind the dragon bowl (a dish full of coconut grains, roasted vegetables, and a delicious sauce concocted for Café Henri), is opening up a brand new establishment. Called De Maria, Becerra paired up with co-owner and creative director Grace Lee to create the all-day café (dinner will be coming soon), which is sure to become the next It-spot for New Yorkers in search of a healthy yet delicious meal and beautiful atmosphere. The NoLita space is of-the-moment chic, with blonde wood accents, brass lamps and gentle neutrals throughout. Designed by MP Shift—the duo behind similarly lovely spaces like Clinton Hill's Tilda All Day, newly-opened salad spot Verde and ACME—Paul Rand’s graphic typography and Donald Judd’s geometric paintings were also prominent inspirations for the space.

Thankfully Becerra’s bowl is back on the menu, rebranded as ‘rooster’ and ‘fire dragon’ bowls, in addition to bone broth (another New York-specific It-food), and avocado toast. ­Each dish is focused on Becerra’s trademark: healthy, vibrant offerings made from seasonal ingredients, paired with a smattering of teas and infusions.  

De Maria, 19 Kenmare St, New York


Heidi Merrick

Heidi Merrick is LA personified. The fashion designer not only grew up living the quintessential Los Angeles lifestyle (her family owns Channel Islands Surfboards), but her very essence embodies it. Raised in Southern California, Merrick's approach is refreshingly easy and warm—a feeling that also emanates through the easy-to-wear quality of her namesake clothing line. When you want something simple and elegant to wear as opposed to the effort of "dressing up," Merrick is your girl. Now, she's opened her first store in Downtown Los Angeles, combining her eponymous homewares line with clothing made in-house, all nestled amidst a chic array of sculptures and furniture, and a wall filled with candy-colored surfboards crafted by her brother, Britt Merrick. The space also conveys the warmth of a beachside LA home—deep pink bougainvillea from Merrick's backyard adds a personal (and especially Californian) touch to the store, as does a wooden day bed beckoning for a seaside escape.

H. Merrick of California, 115 W 9th St, Los Angeles, CA


KHwurtz Ceramics

There's a revolution stirring in homewares, and it's happening in ceramics. Case in point, the beautifully minimalist line KH Wurtz. Stocked at homewares store Monc XIII in Sag Harbor (which is full of such beautiful pieces that there is temptation to buy it all), the line is created by father and son duo Aage and Kasper Würtz. Located in Horsens, Denmark, their focus is on simple lines and contemporary stoneware inspired by their Scandinavian roots. There are unexpected dips in rims and moody colorations, resulting in plates and bowls that seem more sculpture than dinnerware. Glazes range from oceanic blues to cloudy grays and soft creams, and design is incredibly subtle. This is tableware that doesn't require fanfare, just good food and great company.


Martin Creed, The Back Door Park Avenue Armory Exhibit

London-based artist Martin Creed is primarily known for his balloon installations—large scale, interactive affairs where whole rooms or areas are filled with giant, latex balloons you have to fight your way through. He recently worked with Victoria Beckham on her Dover Street store's one year anniversary, and often collaborates with the fashion industry. 

Now he's bringing his work stateside via an exhibit called 'The Back Door' at the Park Avenue Armory. The show takes up the whole first floor of the massive building, but it is his balloon room that is the real standout. Enter through sliding doors and you find yourself in a smallish space packed with white balloons, just like Alice stepping through the looking glass.

The Back Door runs through August 7th, Park Avenue Armory.


Pat Cleveland Memoir: Walking with the Muses

Pat Cleveland’s prodigious career is the stuff of fairy tales. A prominent model of the ‘60s and ‘70s, where she got her start in the industry after a Vogue editor spotted her on the subway, she is both model and modeling agency owner, fashion icon, and even had a brief stint as a designer.

In honor of her years in the crazy world of fashion, Cleveland has released a memoir detailing her years spent strutting the catwalk. Titled, “Walking with the Muses,” Cleveland celebrated with a 1920’s themed party at the Jane hotel in New York City, where models pranced around in banana costumes and intricately coifed hair (by Bumble & Bumble).

Buy it here.  


Diptyque 34 Collection and Invisible Dog Pop Up

Upon arriving at the lush, jungle retreat that is Coqui Coqui, an intimate resort located on the dreamy coast of Tulum, Mexico, an intoxicating mix of ocean, flowers, and the inimitable smell of vacation draws you into the chic, minimalist concrete structure. 

The power of scent has the ability to transform a place from lackluster to lush, and is a force that Diptyque has in spades. Each year, the brand releases their iconic 34 Collection. Included are hand blown candle vessels made in France (no two are the same), new fragrances, and this year, a creamy colored vase made entirely of wax. The brand is also releasing a smaller capsule collection called Les Voyages, an assemblage of travel-sized (and travel necessary products) that one could imagine discovering on a jaunt aboard the Orient Express. A miniature facial spray, parfum, cleanser, exfoliator and more make up the collection, which comes in an enchanting, illustrated box.

Both lines will be available this summer in a collaboration between Diptyque and Brooklyn gallery space, The Invisible Dog, where a bespoke pop-up shop will offer both new collections in a space worthy of Diptyque’s incredible scents.

Dive in.


Flower trend: Anthuriums

Instagram is an ideal barometer for spotting trends. From the latest restaurant to the new It-shoe, spotting something across multiple accounts is sure to solidify it as a trend du jour. Case in point: the newest favorite flower of seemingly every florist, the anthurium. Beloved by florists such as BRRCH, Putnam & Putnam and Fox Fodder Farm, it's a little alien in its appearance, and looks almost like a lily. "Anthuriums are amazing because they immediately add an architectural and structural element to any arrangement," says Fox Fodder Farm's Taylor Patterson. "I love the contrast that comes from mixing them with softer or even weedier elements. The juxtaposition of textures is really interesting." 

They're also the perfect addition to any arrangement that needs a little boldness. "Anthuriums provide an interesting contrast to the soft, romantic, textural florals that Saipua gravitates towards. They add a masculine, structural moment, grounding what can be gratuitously romantic, ephemeral, wispy flowers," comments Brooklyn-based florist Saipua's founding director, Sarah Ryhanen. Add them to your bouquet. 

Order an arrangement: Fox Fodder Farm, Saipua, BRRCH


 

 

Quiet Storms

Located in Williamsburg on an unexpectedly peaceful stretch of Grand street resides Quiet Storms, a new jewelry boutique that feels more like a chic apartment than a place to shop for your newest accessory. A curved couch and ficcus tree greet you at the front door, and jewels are laid out on a center table, making it easy to touch (and try on), pieces you might want to invest in. The atmosphere however, is perfectly in line with the exquisite pieces that owner, Reshma Patel, has curated for the space. New standout jewelers like Annelise Michelson and Charlotte Chesnais sit beside Kathleen Whitaker and Sorelle NYC. Including a perfect mix of fine and fashion jewelry, these are lines that offer pieces you spot on your favorite fashionistas and wonder they got them.

Visit the store, 142 Grand St, Williamsburg


Sangre de Fruta beauty line

The first thing you notice about Sangre de Fruta is the packaging. Nestled amongst the packaging are sleek, shiny black bottles with white labels inscribed in old style script, like a bottle of decadent oil from a boutique store in Italy. A small booklet accompanies the products, describing what each is for, the ingredients, and the effects it has on your skin, body, and spirit.

The hand crafted, 100% organic line is hand bottled in Canada in small batches by founder Allison Audrey Weldon, who sought to create a line of products that embraced and celebrated the natural world. Previously a yoga instructor and restauranteur, she was inspired by ancient Egyptian and Greek beauty regimens (which were both effective, and luxuriously indulgent. The line is comprised of water-free formulations made of locally sourced, organic and wild-crafted plant-based ingredients. The brand’s focus is on texture - featuring a signature whipped-butter consistency - and the scent of natural perfumery.

Not only are Weldon's products standouts on your vanity, their scent and potency is incredibly effective. In the end, she says it best: "Our 'Trust your beauty’ motto comes from the simple but wise idea that you glow and radiate beauty when you’re happy. Instead of focusing on wrinkles or aging, we focus on pleasure and joy."

Enjoy it now.


Monse Travel Guide

Living in New York is akin to living in a dream—anything can happen, and quite frequently does. There's also one thing that almost everyone in New York agrees upon: sometimes you have to leave the city in order to best enjoy it.

As such, there are plenty of places to go and plenty of people with wonderful suggestions. Two of those are Laura Kim and Fernando Garcia, the designers behind Monse, a two-season year old label with a penchant for creating clothes that can easily transition from wandering a market to an evening out. Here, they share their summer guides to jet setting the globe.

Favorite travel destination?

Laura: I love to go to Canada, because it's a bit cooler during the summer months.

Fernando: London because it's not so hot. And there's beautiful countryside to explore! 

Packing essentials:

Laura: All my beauty and hair products are La Mer, SKII, and Kerastase. I also always take a denim jumpsuit with tennis shoes. and one pair of heels.

Fernando: Two t-shirts and a pair of jeans.... 

Reading material? 

Laura: Zinio, the digital magazine

Fernando: System Magazine

Must-Visit Places:

Laura: I love to stay in the Lake Louise Chateau and order room-service and go to the spa. 

Fernando: Chiltern Firehouse is a hotel and restaurant in London. It's like a little world inside. It reminds me of Greenwich Hotel, which is also a favorite of mine in NYC.  It's very good for people watching.

Favorite thing to do on vacation?

Laura: Sleep

Fernando: Explore

Newest destination you'd like to visit and why?

Laura: Dubai to understand the market. 

Fernando: The new Harry Potter section in Universal Studios - I am dying to go!

What do you always pack in your plane bag?

Laura: An SKII mask and my laptop. 

Fernando: Toothpaste

Soundtrack?

Laura: k-pop

Fernando: M83

Must-do:

LK: Walk around and explore!

Fern: I like to go to obscure towns and vintage stores, outside of the main city.

Travel candle/scent? 

Laura: Red Flower Icelandic Moon Flower

Fernando: Ralph Lauren Christmas candle


Alfred Tea Room

Much like New York, artisanal coffee shops act as landmarks on almost every hip street in  Los Angeles. From Intelligentsia in Venice to Verve in West Hollywood to Blacktop Coffee in the Arts District, an LA native simply does not go more than a couple of days without seeking refuge at one of these on-point purveyors of caffeine and prime people watching. In 2013, Alfred Coffee & Kitchen raised the bar when it opened its doors on Melrose, and has since dominated with the addition of five locations. It’s newest installation however, Alfred Tea Room, is devastatingly chic. Floor-to-ceiling pink tiles, decorative flora in every corner, and a seemingly infinite, aptly named “fancy pink tea menu” of choices nearly too pretty to drink, Alfred Tea Room will undoubtedly entice coffee devotees to trade in their Americano for a decadent Matcha Latté (already one of the most popular drinks on the menu) or a refreshing “flash iced” Oolong. 

The Must-try’s

  • Seasonal Ginger Chai Mule & Matcha Lavender Mimosa
  • Earl Grey & Rose Boba Milk Tea
  • Matcha Four Ways: Shot, Cortado, Latte, or Ceremonial  
  • Fresh Brewed Kombucha On Tap

Alfred Tea Room, 705 N Alfred St, Los Angeles

- Written by Hero Stevenson


Heyday Spa

Heyday facial shop (they don’t like to call themselves a spa), believes that looking after your skin should should be as easy and essential as brushing your teeth. They also believe that a facial shouldn’t be hard to fit into your routine, shouldn’t be expensive, and shouldn’t be a hassle to organize. Which is why their New York-based location, a clean, chic space located near the Flatiron, offers $100 facials that are fast, effective, and gentle enough to receive once a month.

Instead of confusing, complicated treatment options the menu is simple, split into three time groups (30, 50 and 75 minutes), all of which include a procedure that follows suit: Cleanse + Analyze, Exfoliate+ Purify, Treat + Hydrate. Think of it as the Seamless of facials. You can book through an app, the salon is open for longer hours, and you’re automatically offered a recharger and a cosy chair. 

Book a facial now.


Indoor plant trend: The Olive Treee

Visit any Céline boutique or spend some time on interior design blogs, and you will inevitably find a fiddle leaf fig tree (also known as a ficcus tree). It is undeniably the indoor house plant of the moment—or has been for the past few years—but there’s a new form of flora taking over. The Olive Tree, which bears a slightly Mediterranean feel, is providing a welcome reproach from the fiddle leaf fig (which is appearing in more Instagram pictures then seems humanly possible).

This tree is less  glossy and glamorous than the fiddle leaf, but possesses a quiet ease and light, slate grey-green coloring. A few of them will even produce olives. So take a trip to your nursery, take a few minutes to consider a tree, and for the future, make it an olive.

Buy an olive tree here, and learn the basics here.


Chicky's

A walk through Bed Stuy in Brooklyn may surprise you. Brownstones reach skyward on blocks lined with trees (many in their full, cherry blossom glory), and intriguing new stores and restaurants pop up daily. Take cult boutique Sincerely Tommy and bar Lovers Rock, both local institutions drawing in crowds from neighboring areas. The newest outpost is Chicky’s (pictured above right), a market/grocery/coffee bar opened by the same owner as local restaurant Eugene & Co (pictured above left), a charming farm-to-table restaurant offering the area a chic atmosphere and delicious food. Chicky’s was born from owner Tara Oxleys' desire to offer the neighborhood a marketplace she had been craving for years. Organic, farm-raised meats and vegetables are available, in addition to select and delicious dry goods, pre-prepared food and delicious coffee. Also on offer are flowers, adorable homewares and organic chocolate.

Chicky's, 406 Tompkins Ave, Brooklyn


BORNS Album

When a song features on HBO's hit tv-show GIRLS, it’s almost guaranteed to be a hit. Such is the case for Garrett BØRNS, the doe-eyed, curly-haired singer-songwriter. His launch album, Dopamine, is full instant classic hits that work perfectly for a summer road trip, an afternoon at the beach, or a lonesome train ride—the tunes that can easily make up your summer soundtrack (and probably will). Remember those days when you made mix tapes and watched Virgin Suicides on repeat? This music is the culmination of those times. Fun, somewhat bubbly, and easy to hit repeat.

Buy it here. 


Lady Grey x Fox Fodder Farm

The brooch may conjure thoughts of your grandmother’s Sunday best, but these days it’s so much more chic. Take Alessandro Michele’s flower brooches at Gucci, which feel more decorative than over-the-top, and imbued a sense of whimsy. Now, jewelry label Lady Grey has partnered with Brooklyn-based florist Fox Fodder Farm on a pair of brooches intended to be filled with real flowers. Custom-filled by Fox Fodder Farm, the brooches can be delivered anywhere in New York, each possessing its own unique flower. “We're obsessed with brooches in general lately because they bring an entirely different element to adornment and accessorizing that no other piece of jewelry can,” says Lady Grey designers Jill Martinelli and Sabine Le Guyader. “We really wanted to explore working with flowers as wearable pieces; there's something so luxurious about the ephemeral quality of the flower and its momentary existence, in contrast with the hardness of the sleek metal brooch.” And when the flower is long gone, consider your brooch a useful accessory.

Buy it here.


Llama Inn Quinoa

Quinoa has become an It-dish, like kale, or chia seeds, or homemade almond milk. It’s been cooked multiples of ways, but none so unique as the Quinoa starter dish at new restaurant Llama Inn. Located in Williamsburg, the Peruvian restaurant has narrowed in on traditional Peruvian dishes with a twist (delivered in a cool, all-wooden atmosphere). The quinoa dish is not what you expect. The ingredients read like a grocery list: avocado, banana, bacon, and cashews, but somehow it tastes better than ok—it’s delicious.

The dish is courtesy of a menu constructed by Peruvian-American chef Erik Ramirez (who worked under the head chef at Eleven Madison Park), and whose take on modern Peruvian flavors offers an element of surprise in each dish.


Visit Llama Inn


Sisley at The Carlyle

The Carlyle is infamous for its high teas, Bemelmans Bar (where Woody Allen regularly plays jazz), and its chic uptown clientele. Now it has another star to boast about: the new Sisley spa. Opening this May, the spa is Sisley’s first North America outpost. The brand's beloved French products will be used in all treatments (their Black Rose Facial oil is cult-loved for a reason), and a new program of phyto-cosmetology treatments including a series of phyto-aromatic facials (which use the beautiful scent of essential oils as part of the facial).


Part of every good spa experience is the atmosphere, and Sisley’s new refurbishment is luxury personified. Consider this a place you know you’ll be pampered—and then want to move into.

Visit The Carlyle


11 Howard

THERE'S A NEW hotspot in town. Recently opened 11 Howard, situated on the same block as Opening Ceremony and The Smile, is the city's newest boutique hotel. Opened in early April, the space was designed by interior decorators Signe Bindslev Henriksen and Peter Bundgaard Rützou, the team behind the Danish architecture and design studio SPACE Copenhagen, with objects chosen as meticulously as a gallery. Each room contains special touches, like a single art object by ceramicist Katie Yang and beauty products by Grown Alchemist and Glossier.

The hotel also boasts a bar, The Blond, which is filled with navy, velvet sofas, low-lighting and waiters in chic, lace uniforms. A French restaurant, Le CouCou, is slated to open in May. 

Book your stay.