5 Fave Brunch Spots

When it comes to brunch, Philadelphians are spoiled for choice. City dwellers can step into any one of the myriad bars, restaurants and cafes that spill out onto sidewalks and color side streets, and they’ll likely find options, or at the very least Sunday brunch.

For suburbanites living on the Main Line, it’s a whole different story. Decent brunch spots were not always easy to come by. In fact, five years ago when Bryn Mawr was still ‘home’, to say we could count them on one hand was a stretch. So much for us marathon brunchers!

Fast-track to today, and as best we can describe, the Main Line is seeing somewhat of a renaissance. Long overdue. Coffee shops, retails stores and eateries have been cropping up faster than we can keep up, and to meet the growing demands of a hungry populace, more restauranteurs than ever are serving up a pretty damn good brunch.

We’ve rounded up our Top 5 Brunch Spots from the city to the suburbs to share with you! Some are old faves; the rest we’ve just recently visited and thought it only fair to give you the 411.

A Taste of Britain (503 West Lancaster Ave.)

We’ve been frequenting this old gem for years, even before the tea house expanded into its current, beautiful space! The interior is delightfully decorated to make you feel like you really are attending a tea party, and the tea is served up in vibrantly colored tea pots and floral cups and saucers. Tucked in one corner of the space near the hostess station, an incredible variety of imported British goodies is reason enough to get excited – think British chocolates, cookies and jams! The menu also abounds with sweet and savory selections, British favorites and so many options for tea! Full afternoon tea is presented as three tiers of deliciousness, with tea sandwiches, petite-fours and a scone to top it all off. We recommend going for the Frittata of the Day with a side of Blue Salad and a pot of Coconut Almond tea. Your taste buds will thank you later.

Quiche of the day and a blue salad at A Taste of Britain.

Metropolitan Bakery & Café (264 S 19th St.)

This little bakery is a favorite among neighborhood locals, and on the blustery day in which we decided to pay a visit, it beckoned as a cozy little hotbox and welcome reprieve from the cold. Step inside and the heady scents of buttery pastries mingled with steamy soups and savory tarts is enough to knock any hungry man or woman off their feet. The extensive menu of iced and hot latte’s, americano’s and cappuccino’s will please any coffee enthusiast, while the bounty of scrumptious sweet and savory offerings will have you eagerly planning your next visit. As the space is small, stop by during off-hours to avoid the crowds and guarantee yourself a perch by the window.

Isn’t the exterior of Metropolitan Bakery just darling?

Nudy’s Cafe Ardmore (11 Cricket Ave.)

Nudy’s is no solo act. They’ve been around for years, and very likely, you’ve given their breakfast or lunch menu a whirl. Granted, some of their cafes are in better shape than others, but it wasn’t until we slid into an inviting booth at their new Ardmore location (their 10th!), that we were smitten.  The interior is remarkably warm and cheery – just your friendly neighborhood watering hole – where families pass around plates of pancakes and french toast, the undergrads dig into crispy bacon and the tastiest home fries you’ll ever savor, and as for us? We’re perched at the breakfast bar, inhaling our veggie scrambles and fueling our addiction for caffeine.

Turning Point (925 West Lancaster Ave.)

A no frills addition to the Bryn Mawr Village, Turning Point’s atmosphere is casual, its furnishings, spartan. Yet on the weekends, it draws crowds. Likely because the menu options are plentiful, the servings are large, and the omelette’s are delicious. Highly recommended is their Garden Frittata, served with toasted wheat pita and fresh fruit. And as for their cappuccino’s? They’re frothy AF and so very satisfying. Top marks from us.

Can you tell we like quiche and cappuccino? Brunch at Parc.

Parc Restaurant (227 S 18th St.)

If you adore Pareee like we do, this darling Parisian Brasserie, reminiscent of the high society café’s of Le Belle Epoque, will certainly hit the spot. Set in the heart of Rittenhouse Square, Parc’s welcoming interior is nothing short of grand, and a touch romantic, with orbed lighting overhead to illuminate the space, dark wood finishings, mosaic tiled flooring, and hints of merlot red. As for the bar, that’s a scene in itself, with mixologists whipping up fanciful cocktails and coffee’s, and the best cappuccino’s we’ve had the pleasure to sip in Philadelphia. The quiche is a tried and true favorite, generously sized and incredibly filling. A must-try during your next visit downtown.

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The Weekender

What’s the absolute best part about the weekend? You may have already guessed it, but for us, it’s the pure, unadulterated pleasure of dressing down. That means taking a well-deserved break from the restrictive, uncomfortable and confining clothing that is considered office appropriate, and slipping into something a little more, well, ‘you’.

Thankfully many workplaces have become a little more lax with their dress codes, but even so, you must still always be mindful that your attire is up to snuff. And also, that you appear professional and polished, even if you don’t quite feel like yourself.  The weekend is our remedy to that. As we transition into spring, our weekend wardrobe means paring back heavier attire like jackets and coats, and embracing lighter (and brighter!) pieces that are easy to layer and yet still comfy.

One of our favorite ways to layer, is by executing the ‘Oxford look’, but with more fashion, less frump. Breaking it down, it’s the traditional button-down and cable knit sweater combo, but with a twist. Follow along, as this little source of outfit inspo is just getting fun!

A plain button-down, is just that, plain… unless you’ve picked one with a playful print, or mixed it with pieces that can lend your look dimension. The one styled, the Blue Jay Feather print, is part of a larger collection that we discovered (and adore!) by Scottish designer Gibson & Birkbeck. In fact, each charming wildlife print motif is an homage to the Highlands of Scotland — from the Mallard and Sly Fox shirts, to the Slouchy Pinecone Tee. No wonder we love them all. They’re also boyfriend-fitted and made from cozy cotton poplin so they get high marks from us as an easy-to-style transitional piece for spring!

To complement the print, we styled it with the Iris Knit Top, featuring an ultra-soft upper in warm olive hues, and white lace bottom. Paired together, we love how the collar playfully pops out from the crewneck, while at bottom, you can still catch glimpses of the print through the beautiful detailing of the lace. Also, how darling is the baby doll cut of the Iris Knit?

Accessories play a big role here, much with any outfit. Bottega Veneta’s beautiful cat-eye and tortoiseshell shades make a statement all on their own, lending attitude and je ne sais quoi to the look. Also in the mix, a black leather Metal & Strass Bracelet for added edge, and a necklace from LILA’s own collection of handmade jewelry to polish it all off.

The darling Barrel Bag in Grey by Greek designer Vice Versa brings the entire look full circle. You’ve seen us style the Barrel many, many times – it’s quickly become one of our all-time favorites and a staple in LILA Fashion International’s online shop and storefront. Spotlighted is the larger of the two sizes, available in grey with a striking cutouts design. If you love this… just wait until you see our full range of colors! Head over to the LILA shop to see the entire collection… plus, keep checking back as NEW styles will be arriving in the shop very soon!

We’re also delighted to share the newest addition to LILA – our line of furry pom pom accessory keychains that will lend a fun pop of color to your tote, top handle or clutch, when you’re looking for a little something extra. Plus, they come complete with a key ring and hook so it’s also perfect for keys, not just as a little bag charm. We’re styling the Pom Keychain in Grey in this look, but you can view all the colors by typing ‘Pom Keychain’ in the Search bar or heading over to the LILA Luxe Jewelry section. Never leave the house without one!

Leggings and knee-high suede wedges wrap up this look – though flats or ankle boots would make a great alternative if you’re looking for a more casual footwear alternative.

What are your thoughts? Does this look favor your weekend style? All for now. xo

Outfit Details

Sunglasses | Bottega Veneta

Iris Knit Top (Olive) | LILA Fashion International

Blue Jay Feather Shirt | LILA Fashion International

Necklace | LILA Fashion International

Leather Metal & Strass Bracelet | LILA Fashion International

Grey Cutouts Barrel Bag | LILA Fashion International

Grey Pom Pom Keychain | LILA Fashion International

Suede Over-the-Knee Boots | Zara

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48 Hours in Boca Grande

Tucked away on a small island in Southwest Florida, where palm trees, bicycles and golf carts are aplenty, darling Boca Grande appears to my foreign eyes like a blissful retreat into paradise. All things considered, I’ve journeyed here from cold and rainy Philadelphia, where sunshine is a resource that only ever comes in short supply.

The crowd that flocks to these parts, when the season is in full swing, is familiar. They’ve discovered this treasured little island many years ago, and it’s their best kept secret. They’re the seasonal residents, the ‘sun chasers’ as I fondly like to call them, who have property on the island, and put it to good use when the weather here is at its absolute best, from fall through late spring. As for the rest of the friendly, familiar faces, they vacation at the historic 103-year-old Gasparilla Inn & Club, which captivates with its old world charm and a caliber of hospitality I have rarely experienced, though I have lived a very well-traveled life.

Stay on the island a while, and come to discover that The Inn’s presence is much like the sun, a magnetizing force around which all else orbits. The Inn is the beating heart of this vibrant little island, creating a sense of community that is truly felt. Every space in the more-than-a-century-old Inn brings to mind ‘Old Florida’ or at least everything I envision it to have been; where grandeur mixes with tradition, and etiquette is very much so still alive and well. As Vanity Fair magazine so eloquently described: 

“… For your impending winter holiday, might we suggest repairing to one of America’s most historic grand hotels — the former playgrounds of Windsors, Astors, and Rockefellers, oh my?” 

The 103-year-old Gasparilla Inn & Club

I was immediately charmed by the vibrantly colored furniture and vignettes that so cheerfully fill each room. The leafy palm wallpaper in the main corridor gives way to florals in soft pastels, with pink sofa’s, tropical wall art and sea shell ornaments, so thoughtfully arranged. Artfully designed to capture all there is to love about Florida life, I find I could spend hours in this light and airy space in perfect contentment.

 A favorite space in The Gasparilla Inn & Club

Serenaded by floral wall paper, flamingo wall art and sea shell ornaments. 

Note to self: Bring some of this neon back to Philly…

Everything on the island is within walking distance from The Inn, unless of course your preference is for a bicycle – those darling ones with a basket to carry your beach bag – or a golf cart. My morning ritual, even after just two days, involved a leisurely stroll over to the delightful and delicious Inn Bakery Café. Just two blocks from The Inn, this charming café serves up a sweet assortment of pastries and other baked goods, and can whip up one mean cappuccino (so very necessary, despite the heat). If you’re ever in town, their famed glazed donuts have made a name for themselves. Perfect as a little post-lunch pick-me-up… unless you’re the ‘cake for breakfast’ type – then go for it. For a more savory alternative, the quiche (my favorite!) is offered up as a small atomic pie, hot and completely satisfying.

The Beach Club is the best place to spend a leisurely afternoon. From sea to shifting skies, the smell of fresh sea salt and the cool sea breeze, this space carries with it a sense of peace and tranquility that washes away the stressors and responsibilities that come with city dwelling. This body (yes, mine) hasn’t seen sun, much less a bathing suit, in months! Compared to the glowing, sun-kissed complexions of my neighbors, I’d sooner belong in a Twilight sequel with my remarkable translucence.

I spent the afternoon under the shade of a neon yellow striped umbrella, beholding the most magnificent and humbling of views and feeling nostalgic for Greece. These past few summer’s, I’ve missed the heat, the salt, the sand, the escape to our beach house up north, located in a small beach town just outside Thessaloniki. I guess life really does get in the way sometimes, though I won’t let it pass me by.

Views at the The Beach Club

Stop. Breathe. Relax. Repeat. 

 Sunset at The Beach Club 

I am no golfer. Not even close. Not even a little bit. And yet when it comes to The Gasparilla Inn & Club’s magnificent greens, peppered with shady palms and overlooking scenic Charlotte Harbor, I’ve entertained the thought. The Golf Shop’s extensive selection of ladies golf wear, in vibrant colors and chic, sporty cuts, made the sport that much more appealing. Dressing the part, after all, is half the fun. No?

Exploring the course by golf cart was pure delight, as were the temps. Warmth, sunshine and the occasional cool breeze that tickles the skin – that’s winter for you in darling Boca Grande.

The island within an island golf course overlooking Charlotte Harbor.

The championship course is peppered with shady palms.

 Can days like this get any more perfect?

It’s decided. I’m trading in my car for a Golf Cart. #BocaLife

Sunset on the Course

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The Perfect Brunch OOTD

As is the case for most of you babes, brunching also happens to make it to the top of our list of extracurriculars.  Okay, so it may not be as physically demanding as hiking or mountain biking, or require the discipline of more mindful practices like yoga or meditation, but this little hobby has manifested into an every weekend kinda thing, and by extension has worked wonders for our wardrobes. It has also made us into major food snobs (amateur saveurs as we like to say)… but we digress!

When dressing for brunch, you can’t just throw on any old thing! Well fine, you CAN. But, the super causal vibes that come with styling sweatpants, a hoodie (and dare we say, bedhead?) was something we got well out of our systems back in our college days. We’ve graduated to selecting pieces for our own wardrobes and for LILA (which, also happen to end up in our closets!) that effortlessly mix downtown-cool with euro-chic, and are feminine, fresh and modern.

The look styled here perfectly exemplifies how the LILA girl does brunch. For this little OOTD (social speak for, ‘Outfit of the Day’), we picked a fanciful tartan frock, in hues of warm burgundy and navy, which was designed by Greek designer Madame Shou Shou. The oversized cut gives the Begonia Dress a babydoll look, which is so very flattering on any figure, and can be especially forgiving after one too many mimosas.

We’ve praised the scarf so many times, so forgive us as we do so once again!  There are so many ways to style a scarf – in fact, that’s probably the most frequently asked question we get in the shop from women who have always wanted to give it a try, yet are intimated by how to do so. The most traditional way is looped around the neck, either hanging loose or tied loosely. Our favorite, is tied in a bow at the neck. We like to angle the bow off to one side, as is custom in Paris.

We’re also largely in favor of tying your scarf like a bolero, as masterfully demonstrated in the fun DIY videos of Grecian Chic, the supremely talented designer behind the vibrant collection of printed silk scarves available at LILA Fashion International and styled in this shoot. Pictured is the beautiful Trojan Horse silk scarf. You can also view our full collection, HERE.

Or, if the scarf is not really your thing, it can be used to accessorize your handbag instead, functioning in the same manner as the pom keychain, pictured. Both lend a little extra pop where it’s needed.

For accessories, we’ve styled another favorite, a leather Barrel Bag in warm burgundy by Athens-based designer Vice Versa, with a furry red pom keychain to complement the colors of the frock. Subtle pairings are what ultimately tie a look together and bring overall harmony to the ensemble.  Also incorporated into the look are bracelet stacks from LILA Fashion International’s own collection of jewelry, handmade in Athens. The playful owl and angel charms comprise the Cat-Eye Charm bracelet, featuring cat-eye faceted beads and both gold plated sterling silver and sterling silver accents. Charming, isn’t it?

If you’ve been watching our Instagram Stories, you’ll know that the black suede platforms pictured, have been practically worn to death.  Although they are not a LILA find, we couldn’t resist slipping them on for one more shoot… cause they’re just that awesome. Enough said. xx

Outfit Details

Sunglasses | Saint Laurent

Begonia Dress | LILA Fashion International

Trojan Horse Silk Scarf | LILA Fashion International

Cat-Eye Charm Bracelet | LILA Fashion International

Burgundy Barrel Bag | LILA Fashion International

Red Pom Keychain | LILA Fashion International

Suede Platform Heels | Nine West

Photography: Rebecca Gudelunas

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Spring Fever

February, February – the month of love, right? How about, simply, the month of love yourself? These past few weeks, my RSS feed has been inundated with articles and blog posts from this fashion authority and that, on how to style the perfect look for the perfect date. And while all the chatter has quieted down, post-Valentine’s Day, I wanted to share one of the sweetest looks I’ve styled for LILA Fashion International this spring, that can be styled for any occasion… not just for a special someone! And is especially perfect as we embrace those warmer days of the season.

The lovely Flora Frock (also available in GREY in the web shop) is definitely an investment piece for spring, and a darling choice for an afternoon outing – be it solo, with your best girlfriends or with your beau! Made with a lightweight fabric that lends an airy, romantic feel to the garment, the Flora Dress is one of those pieces that will get you through those tricky transitional months, and well on your way to the glorious summer season.

Granted, it’s still frigid outside, so a cozy jacket is very much in order! I’ve paired it with the Betony jacket, which I like to consider a much-needed closet basic. As both a solid and a neutral, it complements the dress without competing with its pattern. Instead, it stands out with a unique layering effect and button detailing. For extra warmth, a neutral scarf in black or grey and gloves, would complete this ensemble.

I adore accessorizing. It adds that extra layer of polish (and pizzazz) that you can’t achieve from your attire alone. There’s a fine line between ‘overdone’ and ‘just right’… so it’s important to find that happy medium, and stick with it. I’ve paired pieces that accentuated my look, without overpowering it.

I paired a skinny gold belt (you can opt for something a little chunkier if that is your preference!) and a darling Saddle Bag in burgundy to play up the canary yellow of the dress and the pink hues in the floral print. Both pieces handmade by Athens-based designer Vice Versa, and are available in a variety of colors in our online shop!

For jewelry, I selected pieces from LILA’s own collection, handmade in Athens. The necklace is fashion with tiger eye beads, Swarovski crystal pave beads and gold plated sterling silver accents; the Tiger Eye bracelet set also features a playful Eiffel Tower charm (for those of us who still have Paris on the brain! **sigh**). The studs in popping lime are fashioned with Swarovski crystals and come in a range of equally spring-inspired colors. So fun, right?

Black booties wrap up the ensemble. I wanted to keep this aspect of the look relatively low-key, so I compromised with the color, but had a bit of fun with the rhinestones. On first glance, the boots appear subtle, but in the light – gosh, do they sparkle! What do you think of this outfit – would you style it for your afternoon outing or day date?

Outfit Details

Betony Jacket | LILA Fashion International; available in-store only

Flora Dress | LILA Fashion International; Yellow Flora is available in-store only, but shop it in Grey!

Saddle Bag (Burgundy) | LILA Fashion International

 Skinny Leather Belt (Gold) | LILA Fashion International

Crystal Studded Earrings (Lime) | LILA Fashion International

Necklace | LILA Fashion International

 Paris Bracelet Set | LILA Fashion International; SOLD OUT in Tiger Eye, but Mauve Jade and Violet Crystal are still up for grabs!

Studded Ankle Booties | Zara

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