FP Escapes: Montana in Review

FP Escapes: Montana in Review

A look inside our last FP Escape of the summer…

This post comes from retreat guide and yogi, Maria Margolies

Every retreat we take opens up a whole new world of opportunity. The opportunity to step out of our comfort zones. The opportunity to be adventurous and bold. To experience something fresh. Meet new people and learn from them. Connect with Mother Nature in ways we normally wouldn’t. Most importantly, it gives us the opportunity to slow down so we can pay more attention to what’s around us and inside us. To listen and feel, so we can drop deeper and become more intimate not only with ourselves but with one another. Ultimately, isn’t this what we are all searching for?

Glacier National Park blew me away in every way imaginable. From the striking contours of the landscape with its soaring mountain peaks and sharp edges to the never-ending stretches of evergreens and golden fields carpeting its valleys.  Even the colors and texture of the earth and its stones commanded my attention and touch every step of the way. And of course the water… It was everywhere: frozen in time in the ancient but powerful glaciers, cascading powerfully in creeks and streams, floating above us silently in massive clouds or falling rhythmically as rain on the meadows and forests.

This Escape managed to combine all elements of awakening mind and spirit in a breathtaking setting to create a uniquely incredible and inspiring experience. A seamless immersion with nature incorporating beautifully prepared and delicious plant-based foods to nourish us, yoga to start our days, meditation to end them, hiking to discover hidden lakes, horseback riding to take in the scenery, DIY beauty by crystal blue water and paddleboarding to test our balance.  All of this filled with many laughs and truly wonderful connections at every turn.

Thank you to the beautiful tribe of women that came.  I feel so grateful and honored to have held space for you to grow, open up, and plant a little seed of change. There will be many more journeys to come! Stay tuned.

A big thank-you to Maria, Under Canvas Glacier, The Cyclists Menu and Sorel for making this trip happen, we can’t wait for the next!

+ Want to learn more about our FP Escapes? Click here! 

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Free People Blog

Park Visit: Denali

Park Visit: Denali

With six million acres in wild land, Denali National Park is worth the trek to the Last Frontier…

Growing up in Alaska, Denali National Park holds a special place in my heart. Its seemingly endless acreage is home to the largest peak in North America, sitting over 20,000 feet above sea level and named ‘big mountain’, or Denali, by my Athabaskan people. Long before I was born, my own father even summited this beautiful beast during a mountaineering expedition in the late 70s. Needless to say, I was pretty lucky to grow up under such a mighty force. Denali stands alone from other national parks as it has a sole road that runs throughout the whole park, a majority of which can only be accessed by designated park buses. This vast and wild land offers lively wildlife, historic glaciers, and peaks whose dominance beckon its visitors to acknowledge the immense power of the Earth. Check out my guide below:

Where to Stay:

Byers Lake Cabins — This is my favorite hidden gem, located about 90 miles south of the Denali National Park entrance. An amazing weekend getaway if you’re looking to spend some time in the great outdoors without fully committing to tent camping. There are three cabins located on Byers Lake, all easily accessible via a one-mile hike or a three-mile kayak trip across the lake. These cabins may rest on the outer limits of your Denali adventure but provide quiet nights, lake access and stunning views of Denali. Each cabin sleeps six and is close enough to be able to visit Talkeetna after your park visit.

Wonder Lake Campground — There are six campgrounds located inside the national park, each different from the last and each offering a more intense version of an off-the-grid experience are you head deeper inward. Wonder Lake is one of the six and furthest from the park’s entrance, 85 miles to be exact, and can only be accessed in the summer months. The campground is also the closest to Denali Mountain…with 26 miles standing between you and the base. Open to tent-only camping and also guaranteed bear sightings, this otherworldly location to lay your head at night is not for the faint of heart.

Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge — Ok, ok so I know not all of us are ready to sleep on the Earth’s floor, let alone kayak for three miles just to drop off your pack. If this is you, however, Princess Lodges are where it’s at. Be warned — this is tourist-central and khaki shorts and selfie-sticks will be spotted. All that aside this lodge is beyond stunning and is located right outside the park’s entrance in the small town of Nenana Canyon. The lodge will set you up with guided hikes, whitewater rafting, which make adventuring Denali National Park effortless.

Where to Eat:

Prospectors Pizzeria & Alehouse — There are quite a few options within the mini “strip” of Nenana Canyon, from ice cream shops to killer Thai food. But nothing quite beats a hearty slice of pizza and cold beer after a long day of hiking and soaking in the fresh air. Prospectors Pizzeria is a must-stop for locals and tourists alike.

What to See:

I’ve come to accept, with the 6 million acres of land Denali National Park has to offer, “seeing it all” is quite daunting and unrealistic. So, to make your life a bit easier, I’ve provided some of my favorite spots to see if you have just a few days to explore. Of course, if you have a week, a month, a summer!!  TAKE IT, as every day in the park will provide you with a different view, another wild animal and endless gratitude for this beautiful life we get to live.

One full day: 

Savage River Loop Trail — This is a perfect, easy day hike for all levels. The trail is located at mile 15 and is actually the furthest point to you are allowed a private vehicle within the park. This trail provides parking for both RV’s and cars, and is a 1.7 mile loop that runs along the Savage River.

Sled Dog Kennels — Yes, sled dogs!! You will see signs throughout the entrance to “slow down for sled dogs” or “sled dogs exercising”. Nothing gets more Alaskan than that! Located three miles from the park entrance, the sled dog kennels are open year-round to visitors. No parking is available here, so please plan on using the buses or walking the 1.5 miles from the Denali Visitor Center to the kennels. Demonstrations are given three times daily in peak season — be sure to check out more on sled dogs demonstrations here!

Wild Life Viewing — The wild animals of Alaska can be seen through out the park no matter the location or time of day. Yet there are certain animals for certain locations — check out the National Park’s guide for viewing here!

Bus Tours — As the park is sprawling, with only 15 miles of its sole road accessible by private vehicle, a bus tour is the best way to get the most out of a one-day adventure. The park offers narrated and non-narrated tours that include history lessons for the full 95 miles of park road.

Two Days:

The previous four points of interest plus…

McKinley (River) Bar Trail — leading from Wonder Lake Campground to the McKinley River. It is 2.5 miles one way, with negligible elevation gain. The trail travels through spruce forest and past several small ponds, offering chance to see water fowl and terrain which differs from much of the park. It is plagued most of the summer by mosquitoes, so bring a head net.

Kantishna Experience– This is a full day (12-hour) adventure that travels the full length of Denali’s park road to the old gold town of Kantishna. Lunch and snacks are provided as you drive into the history and and role that this interior town has to offer.

Mount Healy Overlook Trail — Unlike other trails in the park, Mount Healy overlook is not a loop and provides a rugged terrain for those looking for incredible views.  A little over five miles round-trip, this is one of Denali’s steepest, gaining about 1,700 feet in elevation.

Please note: 

Seeing a wild animal in the backcountry can be an incredible experience. But knowing how to behave in an encounter scenario might make all the difference. Whether it’s a moose, a bear or smaller animal, be prepared to react accordingly.

Make noise in areas of low visibility.
Stay 300 yards away from any bear.
Stay at least 25 yards from a moose.
If a wild animal changes its behavior because of you, you’re too close.

+ Have a favorite Denali adventure to add to the list? Let us know in the comments below.

Learn more about our partnership with the National Park Foundation here!

Follow April on Instagram.

Free People Blog

Behind the Scenes: Sets & Pets

Behind the Scenes: Sets & Pets

A behind-the-scenes look into our newest Movement collection… 

We teamed up with two of our favorite office pups to bring you the newest addition to our Movement line — sets! Here’s to kicking off running season in style from top to bottom, and to not only feeling good but looking good. Scroll through to shop the newest looks.

 

 

+ Shop our full Movement line here and for your furry friends here!! 

Follow April on Instagram.

Photos by Jana Kirn.

Free People Blog

FP Escapes: What to Pack for Nicaragua

FP Escapes: What to Pack for Nicaragua

Gearing you up for our next wellness retreat…

The countdown has begun — packing our bags, prepping those out-of-office emails and setting our mental compasses for adventure — to San Juan Del Sur, Nicaragua, to be exact. With that, here’s a list of our travel must-haves for all things surf, yoga and bungalow hangs. Read below to see what we’re bringing… and don’t feel guilty taking those vacation days — we’ll be waiting!

Morning Yoga

Infinity Bra– American made Picot Performance sports bra in a soft, activewear fabric, and lined in power mesh. Strappy T-back design with modern strap detailing below bust, creating a coveted cutout effect.

Infinity Legging– So-soft cropped activewear leggings with Picot Performance cutouts in an infinity design. Features Performance Seaming and a reflective logo for early morning yoga sessions.

Home Run Tank– Easy, relaxed tank featuring sporty mesh details at the front and back for breathable style.

Pisa Birkenstock– Slip-on Birks featuring an asymmetrical woven design with an adjustable strap.

Schmidt’s Deodorant Stick–  Crafted from all-natural ingredients in Portland, OR, this certified vegan deodorant provides all-day odor protection and wetness relief.

Spirit Dust by Moon Juice– Promote awareness, creativity and joy. Created from wild-crafted herbs, plants and minerals, this energy-promoting potion uses alchemized elements to holistically feed the physical body and unite the heart and spirit for enhanced mindfulness.

Power Dust by Moon Juice– Support personal success and performance during the most demanding physical feats. Created from wild-crafted herbs, plants and minerals, this powerful potion uses ancient alchemized elements to holistically support stamina and longevity while enhancing the body’s energy and metabolic function to protect against stress and injury.

Bungalow Hangs

Bondi Beach Strip Shorts– The perfect lightweight linen shorts that you can easily take from day to night!

Best of Me Top– Lightweight and semi-sheer cotton buttondown in an oversized slouchy fit. Exaggerated high low hem with a raw, unfinished trim.

Arizona Metallic Birkenstock– High-shine Birkenstocks with metallic leather straps and monochromatic buckles. Soft footbed design features an added layer of foam on top of the signature contoured cork footbed for extra cushioning.

Palm Pocket Belt– Carry your essentials in effortless styling with this pocket belt featuring a tropical-inspired palm print and a convenient zip closure.

Organic Insect Repellent– Enjoy the outdoors without worry about the stress of pesky insects when using this 100% organic insect repellant. Botanical oils keep bugs at bay while skin stays nourished with essential oils that add a nice scent. Comes in a convenient travel size.

Club Master Sunnies– Classic clubmaster-style sunnies with a bold retro-inspired cat eye detail featuring small cutouts. These mirrored color lenses have metal trim, bridge, and arms with nose pads for a more comfortable fit.

 

Surf Vibes

Nalu Crop Vest Perfect for surfing, wakeboarding, and other water sports, this neoprene swim vest features colorblocking and the perfect protection from the sun and underwater rocks!

Keia High Rise Bottoms– Complete the set with the matching colorblocked bottoms!

Far West Hoodie– Sport-inspired sleeveless hoodie featuring ultra cool fashion elements with netted side details, contrast front pocket and adjustable cords at the waistband.

Ventura Washed Visor– Washed cotton visor with an adjustable knot tie elastic band in back for an easy fit.

Snake Birkenstock– Classic two-strap fully adjustable synthetic leather Birkenstocks in a super cool, modern and shiny snake skin inspired design.

ECO- LUX Sport SPF 50– Protect your skin against the power of the sun with this unscented broad spectrum high-performance sunscreen spray. Crafted from organic antioxidant-infused ingredients, this water-resistant, long-lasting formula reflects UVA and UVB rays to defend skin against premature aging.

Coconut Cleansing Oil– Rid your skin of pesky dirt, makeup and impurities with this ultra gentle cleansing oil that leaves your face feeling nothing but smooth, clean and refreshed. Crafted with a natural antioxidant-filled formula, this lightweight product can also double as a clearing makeup remover.

+ It’s not too late!! Book now to join us for our June 11th – 17th Nicaragua Escape presented by BIRKENSTOCK, or check out all of this year’s FP Escapes here!   

Follow April on Instagram.

Free People Blog

Behind the Scenes: #LoveYourParks

Behind the Scenes: #LoveYourParks

A behind-the-scenes look into our #LoveYourParks shoot… 

This post comes to you from our Social Media Creative Coordinator, Jana Kirn

If you really want to see what Mother Earth is made of, take a step inside Yosemite National Park. Famed for its iconic views, and home to North America’s largest waterfall, Yosemite is deeply loved by many. If you haven’t yet had the pleasure of shaking hands with the beautiful beast, you might as well add it to your bucket list now. This week marks the start of a year-long partnership between FP and the National Parks Foundation, to celebrate and bring awareness to these inspiring and vast landscapes. Our west coast team recently set out to explore Yosemite along with model and environmental activist Lindsey Wixon, and show off  our collection of park graphic t-shirts. Take a look behind-the-scenes at our day spent in one of America’s finest treasures…

 

Photos by Jana Kirn.

+ Support the National Park Foundation today! Shop our limited edition Park Tees here!! 

Free People Blog

5×5: The Bay Area

All the best hangouts, in all the best cities, from the locals who know… 

Northern California has always been one of my favorites places to visit. I sometimes catch myself daydreaming about living there one day, ever present in its lush nature and laid-back lifestyle. From the easy access to the Redwood Forest, Big Sur, the neighboring states of Washington and Oregon, there is no way you can not enjoy yourself in San Francisco, aka The Bay. Most of us associate the area with the Golden Gate Bridge, so we thought it only fitting to ask some of our favorite locals to dive deeper into the gold that The Bay has to offer. Read on to see why they call this place home…

Lana Bear: Free People Sr. Store Manager for the Bay Area

@lanaheartbear

Andytown Coffee Roasters — 3655 Lawton St & Newly 3629 Taraval St 

This is our neighborhood coffee spot (and personally my favorite roaster in the city!) We even gave bags of their coffee away at our wedding last year. Their Wind and Sea roast is supreme but the way to go if you’re stopping in for a drink is the Snowy Plover: espresso over sparkling water, brown sugar simple syrup, milk of your choice and homemade whipped cream. Grab one and walk to Ocean Beach!

Judah St in the Outer Sunset — (AKA my neighborhood!)

We live in the Outer Sunset — the totally laid-back surf vibes neighborhood. This stretch of Judah has everything you could want: Judahlicious (raw vegan café), Other Avenues (neighborhood co-op), Outerlands (one of the best restaurants in the city!) Celias (family-owned Mexican Restaurant we frequent weekly), Judah St. Clinic (holistic chiropractor), Trouble Coffee (google the NPR podcast about this spot!), General Store (everyone’s favorite insta op) & Case for Making (rad curated craft shop). 1 block away on Irving is the best surf shop in the city — Mollusk!

Golden Gate Park — Urban park consisting of 1,017 acres

Did you know GGP is actually bigger than Central Park? Home to museums, botanical gardens, a Japanese teahouse, lakes, bison, dog parks (where we take our pups!) and TWO huge musical festivals that take place each year?! Outside Lands is the best kept festival secret — we can ride our bikes over for the day, and Karl (the fog) is like a natural smoke machine. Hardly Strictly is a FREE bluegrass and folk music festival every year in October!

 20th Century Café — 198 Gough Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

The most quaint Russian café in one of my favorite neighborhoods (besides the Sunset), Hayes Valley. Pierogies along with several other lunch specialties are top notch, but the REAL treat is the Krasinki Torte AKA HONEY CAKE!

 West Coast Craft — Fort Mason Center 

This is a biannually curated craft fair — no hokey pokey crafts in sight! It’s free, open to the public and pulls together the best of the best makers and doers to showcase their latest work (for purchase!) I never walk away empty-handed.

Rika Laser: Free People Visual Manager in Training 

@rikalaser

Conservatory of Flowers — 100 John F Kennedy Drive, San Francisco, CA 94118

One of the most profound architectural structures in the city—a total beauty inside and out. The conservatory is a must-see for any plant enthusiast or botanist in training looking for some inspiration. Exotic flowers and ceiling high palms fill the interior, and an indoor lily pad pond is home to several species of rare, colorful butterflies. 

Wallflower — 1176 Valencia Street, San Francisco, CA 94110

My favorite vintage boutique in the city. This is where I first laid eyes on my 70’s suede Penny Lane coat—how we ever lived 40 years without each other is a total mystery. Wallflower boasts an amazing collection of dead-stock 70’s serigraphs, macrame decor, suede skirts, boho dresses, kaftans and kimonos. Also noteworthy is the jewelry from local makers in the Bay Area, as well as a consistent supply of modern brands such as Sugarhigh Lovestoned. This shop spins vinyl all day, a great place to bop while you shop.

Tantrum — 248 Clement Street, San Francisco, CA 94118

Yes, Tantrum is a children’s store. But it also sells playful, retro inspired gifts for all ages including prints, pins, patches, stationary and the cutest party supplies you could ever imagine. It is truly sunshine and rainbows inside this shop. Some of my favorite vintage kitchenware and home decor were found here. On my last visit, I left with a pair of 90’s inspired cherry hair pins, a watermelon necklace, and a set of all-seeing-eye temporary tattoos. The icing on top of the cake—the owners gave me a free set of clip-on pom pom’s for my roller skates!

101 Music — 1414 Grant Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94133

Organized chaos is the best way I can describe 101 Music in North Beach. Upon entering, you’ll find amps, record players, and miscellaneous retro music equipment stacked to the ceiling! Downstairs is a maze-like room packed with records, so many that it requires treasure hunting through crates on all sides of the room. This place has the old charm of an eccentric, bohemian San Francisco. Best part—you can still buy an LP for $5!

Phoenix Hotel — 601 Eddy Street, San Francisco, CA 94109

An afternoon at the Phoenix feels like a mini trip to Palm Springs. The hotel itself is a cute, pale blue, mid-century design decorated by renowned Bay Area muralists such as Zio Ziegler. It’s worth keeping up with their events calendar, as the Phoenix hosts many cool art shows, and books amazing musicians to play sunny afternoon pool parties.

Haley Rott: Free People Palo Alto Store Manager

@haleyrott

Afterlife Boutique  988 Valencia Street, San Francisco, CA, 94110

There are dozens of boutiques on Valencia Street, but Afterlife is by far my favorite. From perfectly worn-in vintage band tees to jewelry created by local artists, Afterlife provides an amazingly curated selection of treasures. I’ve yet to find another store in the city that rivals its collection!

Case For Making — 4037 Judah Street, San Francisco, CA, 94122 

As an artist myself, I’m constantly on the hunt for new materials to create with — I often have to look no further than Case For Making! Nestled on the outskirts of the Outer Sunset, this tiny art store houses a collection of beautiful art supplies, most of them handmade or locally sourced. In addition, they also hold a variety of workshops and classes designed for artists across the entire skill spectrum. Whether you’re a well-practiced, professional painter or simply an art enthusiast, Case For Making has a little something for everyone! 

Clarion Alley — Located on Valencia Street between 17th and 18th Street

Located in the heart of the Mission neighborhood, Clarion Alley is home to a multitude of iconic murals reflecting the dynamic and diverse community of San Francisco. The murals, commissioned by the nonprofit Clarion Alley Mural Project, depict a variety of subjects and themes ranging from colorfully abstract to boldly, politically conscious. The murals are ever-changing, so each trip is a new experience!

Picaro — 3120 16th Street, San Francisco, CA, 94103

Whether it’s for happy hour or a friend’s birthday, Picaro is a go-to for me.  Another gem of the mission district, this Spanish-inspired tapas restaurant – the first of its kind in San Francisco provides a fun yet relaxed environment for its patrons. Although nothing I’ve tried has ever let me down, the sangria patatas bravas, and paella are some of my favorites. The bold décor, friendly service, and prime location are all just added bonuses to the great food!

Devil’s Teeth Baking Company — 3876 Noriega Street, San Francisco, CA, 94122

Located just three blocks from the beach, Devil’s Teeth is the perfect place to start your morning. They not only have a mural by one of my favorite San Francisco artists, Zio Zeigler, painted right outside their doors, but they’re also home to one of the best breakfast sandwiches I’ve ever had. Be prepared to stand in a bit of a line, but trust me – it’s worth it!

Dani Banta:  Social Media/Marketing Operations for The2Bandits and CAMP Collection

@daaaandilion

Green Apple Books & Music — 1231 9th Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94122

I used to work down the street from Green Apple, and it was a must-see for all the visitors that passed through. This store was established in 1967, and is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year! They supply both new and used books, magazines, journals, LPs, cards, gifts, and much more. It’s easy to spend hours in this store, because there are literally books from floor to ceiling, everywhere you look. Every genre you could possibly think of is represented in some corner of this store. Green Apple Books is a staple in the Richmond neighborhood, and a huge part of the SF community.

Smokestack at Magnolia Brewing Co. —  2505 3rd Street (@ 22ND), San Francisco, CA 94107

Beer, BBQ, and whiskey. What more could you ask for? This bar/restaurant/brewery is located in the Dogpatch, which is known for its industrial style buildings and deceptively large establishments. Smokestack is no exception. When you walk in, the ambiance immediately takes you back in time to the industrial past of this part of the city. There is a market style BBQ joint on one side, paired with a beer hall/whiskey bar on the other. Outside is a huge communal area with a roll-up door that makes you feel like you’re hanging out with all of your friends in their garage. Great beers, amazing BBQ, and a seriously Instagram-worthy vibe make this place a must.

Land’s End — 680 Point Lobos Ave, San Francisco, CA 94121 

Land’s End has been my favorite place since I moved to SF. I visited once and knew that I had to live near this park, and am now lucky enough to reside in walking distance to this beautiful coastal trail. Located on the northwest corner of SF, and filled with cypress trees, plunging cliffs, and breathtaking views of the California coastline, the trail begins with views of the coastline, and around a few corners, The Golden Gate Bridge becomes visible in all of its glory. There is also a secret path that takes you down to a hidden labyrinth, that was constructed by a local artist. Vandals destroyed this labyrinth in 2015, but the artist and over 50 volunteers came together to rebuild the landmark.

AT&T Park — 24 Willie Mays Plaza,  San Francisco, CA 94107

During baseball season, AT&T park becomes my home away from home. As a huge Giants fan, I am lucky to call this my field. The baseball field overlooks the San Francisco Bay, with an incredible view of The Bay Bridge behind the outfield. Known as one of the best parks in the MLB, AT&T park is a must-see when in SF. Go Giants!

The Fillmore — 1805 Geary Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94115

One of my favorite places to see a show. Just walking through its doors makes you feel as though you are amongst the greats of music. There is so much history at The Fillmore, and saying that The Poster Room proves it is an understatement. Every inch of the bar/restaurant upstairs, along with the balcony room across the hall, are lined with posters of  sold out shows from decades prior — iconic “Fillmore Posters” of Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and Jimi Hendrix. These posters were originally used to advertise shows, but now each attendee is handed a poster as he/she heads out the door. 

Pearl Martin-Eagle: Photographer & Stylist at Free People Walnut Creek

@pearlmatilde

Cactus Jungle –1509 4th St, Berkeley, CA 94710

…Talk about a succulent sanctuary! This nursery is packed full of all the cacti, large and small, that you could dream of. They also carry a large variety of air plants and cute gardening supplies as well. I love walking through there, wishing I could take home all the huge cacti, but of course end up leaving with just a few small succulents.

Neighborhood — Jingletown 

 I am so lucky to live in this gem of a neighborhood! It’s an arts community in between the Island of Alameda and Fruitvale. The streets are filled with colorful mirrored mosaics, murals, sculptural street art, old cars, and tons of plants… a photographer’s dream! Watching the sunset over the water on the boardwalk by the Park Street Bridge to Alameda never disappoints. And last but not least, Jingletown has its own local coffee shop, Kefa Coffee, that I frequent for the best chai, smoothie and breakfast sandwiches! 

Souley Vegan — 301 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94607

Vegan, Lousiana-style soul food?! Dream come true! Don’t get me wrong, I love my dairy products, but this restaurant is one of my favorites in Oakland! Southern fried tofu, vegan mac and cheese, collard greens… Need I say more?

Café Van Kleef  — 1621 Telegraph Ave, Oakland

Located in downtown Oakland, a couple of blocks from the Fox Theater is the perfect pre-show stop! They cart in boxes of fresh, sweet grapefruits to make fresh squeezed greyhounds. This small, dark dive bar is packed full of quirky, funky art and trinkets. I always discover something new every time I go!

The Alameda Flea Market –2900 Navy Way (at Main Street), Alameda, CA 94501

This amazing flea market is held the first Sunday of every month, and offers everything from vintage clothing, vinyl, crystals and minerals, vintage furniture as well as locally crafted furniture, and all the rugs you could ever want! I typically try to get there early to avoid the crowds. It’s located right on the water with amazing bay views. Also, Faction Brewing is in the next lot over, so you can try some local craft beer after shopping!

+ Traveling? Check out more 5×5 features here

Follow April on Instagram.

Travel Tuesday: Lex Weinstein in Morocco

If you find the patience, the rewards are that of a dream…

This post comes to us from our friend, Lex Weinstein.

As I stood in the arrivals terminal at Agadir airport, I was asked a question that abruptly interrupted my contemplative daze, soaking in the elements, absorbing this unfamiliar desert landscape. “Would you like a cigarette?” A tall, thin, dark-skinned man peered at me inquisitively. Normally I would answer with disgust, but with a strange excitement I politely declined. Finally I had arrived to one of my life-long dream destinations and deep down, the lonestar, no-rules approach to living was exactly what I envisioned of the people in this rugged territory. We chatted briefly and after we bid farewell, I walked towards my taxi and whispered to myself, “Welcome to Morocco.”

Time in the desert moves at a different pace than the rest of the world, a blessing and a curse depending on which side of the coin you choose to hold against your palm. Traffic zips past at frightening speeds while the midday sun burns through the sky at a snail’s pace. My first encounter with this challenge was when the airline lost my luggage — 3 days without surfboards while the waves were pumping; head high swell, no wind, sun shining bright. Each hour I went without felt like an eternity, and I struggled with seeing the bright side of this misfortune. But Morocco has this incredible way of giving you a second chance to make the right move or find another path, and so I decided to use it as an opportunity to enjoy the other aspects of my surroundings. Amouage Surf + Yoga Hotel kept me plenty busy — their guides took me on afternoon excursions to exotic markets and ancient cities. We hiked at sunset, practicing yoga while brilliant colors set the sky on fire as the sun tucked behind the horizon. From every postcard corner you turn, there’s something to discover — from the warm, inner blanket of the local mint tea to the brilliant colored tile and architecture at every glance. Below are my Morocco musts for anyone looking to take on this dream destination. 

Where to: 

StayTaghazout is a small but buzzing little surf town on the southwestern coast of Morocco, with everything you want to experience from North Africa with a full coastal vibe. Surf Maroc is a one-stop shop offering an array of accommodations based on the experience you crave. Between Taghazout Villa (an upscale hostel experience), Villa Mandala (a week long yoga/surf retreat house) or Amouage (a surf + yoga boutique hotel) you can experience the best of surf, yoga and ambiance that this quaint Moroccan town has to offer, at any budget. 

Surf — The best part of Surf Maroc? The surf guides and group tours offered with your stay. Based on your skill level, you can join a group or get a private guide to take you to any kind of wave you want, from longboard peelers at Imessouane to overhead barrels at Anchor Point. There’s a huge variety along this stretch of coast so I recommend getting a guide to show you the in’s and out’s.

ShopTaghazout hosts an epic little market on Wednesdays, but the Agadir Market occurs every day and has a ton to offer as well. Also, do NOT leave Morocco without checking out Essaouria, a town adored by Jimi Hendrix when he visited in the 1970’s with a cafe created in his honor. Winding cobblestone streets and back alleys are lined with the most incredible clothes, bags, lanterns, leather crafts, crystals, homegoods….the list goes on. Worth the couple hour drive from Tag, for sure! 😉

See — Go to Paradise Valley and hike into a gorgeous, palm tree-lined canyon and have tajine by the river. Wander around Tag and drink local mint tea by the water, watching the fisherman go out on their colorful boats. Go to happy hour on Moroccan Night at Amouage and watch authentic drumming and dance as the sun sets in the most beautiful ombre of fiery hues you’ll ever see. Then take yoga at sunrise on the rooftop of the hotel or get a traditional Hammam massage to fight off the jet lag. There’s really no wrong way to experience Morocco, so just get there (with patience) and the rest will unfold in imperfect perfection!

When my boards finally arrived, an unexpected bump in swell had me in the water until the stars came out. The taste of my first sunset surf was sweeter than I could have ever imagined, leaving me with the question every traveller asks themselves — would I have had as much fun if everything had gone right? In Morocco the answer is simple: the lonestar, no rules approach must be embraced at full accord, and if you find the patience to look at the bright side in a Moroccan desert, the rewards are that of a dream.

+ Where’s your next adventure? Let us know in the comments below!

Read more from Lex here.

5×5: Kansas City, MO

Local secrets on all things KC… 

Baseball, BBQ and a killer music scene… Did we just step into the American dream? With this week’s 5×5 feature we headed to the Midwest, reaching out to five Free People store employees to give us all in the in’s and out’s on their favorite hangs. Read on to see what they had to say!

Lynn Magelli: Store Manager / Social Media Lead for @fpgreatlakes

@lmagelli + @fpgreatlakes 

Scout Statue — 600 Northeast Colbern Road, Downtown Kansas City, MO 64086

If you want a great view of the city, this is your spot. A great little park area, home to a beautiful statue purchased by the city’s residents because it fits Kansas City so perfectly. I love this spot so much that I decided to get married here next year. A truly perfect place to hang and have a picnic and enjoy the view of our pretty little city!

FUD — 813 W. 17th St,Kansas City, MO 64108

FüD (pronounced “food”), originated in 2007, is an all-vegan restaurant. The best place to get all of your favorite American comfort food. It’s located in the Westside (one of our favorite neighborhoods) next to a beautiful coffee shop. The ambience is incredible and the food is delicious! You can catch a table outside or eat in next to one of their big windows. The staff is always super kind and helpful!

Johns Greenhouse –– 6042 Holmes St, Kansas City, MO 64110

Is literally one of my favorite places in Kansas City.  Located in the Waldo/Brookside residential area, this gem of a greenhouse will knock your socks off.  It’s a quaint little place with a great assortment of succulents and plants. I always want to buy everything and have to make frequent trips there to stock up on all the plant babies. Roberta, the owner, is always fun to chat with and will give you great tips on how to take care of your new friends!

Eden Alley Café — 707 West 47th Street, lower level of Unity Temple, Kansas City, MO 64112

Is located on the lower level of Unity Temple on the Plaza. Eden Alley’s been serving up delicious food since 1994, and offers an extensive menu that includes farm-to-table vegetarian, vegan, raw, soy-free, and gluten-free food. Their motto is “Divine Flavor for the Conscious Eater.”  They fit their motto to a “T” and really deliver an incredible meal, with the atmosphere to boot!

Negro League Baseball Museum — 1616 E 18th St, Kansas City, MO 64108

This Museum was founded in 1990 by a few of the original Kansas City Monarch players, chronologically charting the progress of the Negro Leagues. The museum is interactive and covered with images and real life artifacts like worn jerseys, gloves and cleats… such a unique and incredible museum that everyone needs to experience.

BBQ: 

Jack Stack: 4747 Wyandotte St, Kansas City, MO 64112

KC Joe’s: 3002 West 47th Avenue, Kansas City, KS 66103

Char Bar: 4050 Pennsylvania Ave #150, Kansas City, MO 64111

LC’s: 5800 Blue Pkwy, Kansas City, MO 64129

Okay folks! Kansas City is known for their unbelievable BBQ restaurants. One of my favorite places for ribs and burnt ends would be Jack Stack or KC Joe’s. Char Bar has great food and a top-notch environment, serving incredible drinks with outdoor amusements that include ping pong and lawn croquet. So many options, you HAVE to hit one!

Nelson Atkins Museum of Art — 4525 Oak St, Kansas City, MO 64111

The Nelson originated in 1930. Known for its neoclassical architecture and beautiful works of art, you can easily spend a whole day getting lost and discovering many beautiful works of art. The outside also has an incredible Sculpture Museum — many people are familiar with the “Shuttlecock” sculptures that Kansas City is well-known for now. If you’re ever in Kansas City this is one spot you can’t miss!

 

Katie Esklund: Assistant Visual Manager

@eskatie

Josey’s Record Shop — 1814 Oak St, Kansas City, MO 64108

Josey’s is one of the best record stores in KC, hands-down! I have an unhealthy obsession with Joni Mitchell, the Eagles, Neil Young, Jackson Browne, and I’ve been able to find so many of my cherished albums there! Plus, the staff is always super helpful and kind.

Second Best Coffee — 328 W 85th St, Kansas City, MO 64114

Genuinely one of the best cups of coffee I’ve ever had, from some of the nicest baristas in town. Second Best uses their own beans and I believe only distribute to this coffee shop. They make a mean latte, and have some of the best chorizo burritos in town. It’s a good place to sit down and relax for a bit. They recently expanded their space so there is enough room for everyone.

River Market Antiques — 115 W 5th St, Kansas City, MO 64105

Located in the River Market district of Kansas City, this space is open 7 days a week, 10am-6pm. It is 4 stories’ worth of pure amazingness, from vintage photographs to beautiful clothes. It’s one of my favorite places to hang out for a few hours.

Local Pig Food Truck  — 2618 Guinotte Ave, Kansas City, MO 64120

Located in the East Bottoms, Local Pig is a butcher shop that operates an outside food truck, and that’s where my obsession lies. They make the best Philly cheesesteak I’ve ever had. They pickle their own veggies and have a variety of meat eats for sale. It’s always fun to go on a warmer afternoon and sit on their makeshift patio and enjoy the trains.

Stockyard Brewery – 1600 Genesee St #100, Kansas City, MO 64102

Stockyards Brewery is one of Kansas City’s best-kept secrets. They are located in the Stockyards district, outside the West Bottoms. They made themselves right at home in an old space called the Golden Ox, keeping all of the old décor.  The staff is always super kind, and the beer is always straightforward and delicious. Always recommend.

Ashley Thomas:  Assistant Store Manager

@a_nichole_t

Westside Neighborhood

From great coffee to good food, to a beautiful view of downtown, the Westside is probably one of the quirkiest places in KC. Our top spots include: Goat Hill Coffee, Westside Local (for local eats), Chez Elle (crepery), and Westside Storey (vintage/ local shop).

Ca Va — 4149 Pennsylvania Ave, Kansas City, MO 64111

Cava is Kansas City’s best champagne bar.  Their slogan is “Champagne for the People” and they absolutely live up to their expectations. Kansas City is often called the Paris of the Plains, so no doubt about coming here to get your Paris fix. From delicious cheese plates to wonderful cocktails, Ca Va is one of our favorite places to get a drink and hang out with friends.

Indigo Wild –– 3125 Wyandotte St, Kansas City, MO 64111

Indigo Wild is a local apothecary brand/store. They sell a variety of soaps, lotions, room fragrances, and a new skincare line. All of their products are made with 100% pure essential oils and that gives them the best smells around. And even better, they are SO charitable. They give a portion of their proceeds from specific items to local cancer and animal organizations. If you’re down to smell good + feel good, then this is THE local business to get behind.

Midland — 1228 Main St, Kansas City, MO 64105

Constructed in 1927, this is one of KC’s most ornate and historic venue locations. We are always so happy when we get to see concerts there — from The Tallest Man on Earth, Sturgill Simpson, Lord Huron, Run the Jewels, we always know we will get to hear good music in a beautiful location. If you want to set your eyes + ears up with an amazing sensory journey than look no further.

West Bottoms –– 12th Street Bridge Entertainment District

The West Bottoms is Kansas City’s historic industrial areas. When KC was originally founded, we were the crossroads from the West Coast to East Coast, with rail being the primary form of transportation for both people and goods. This was the area where trains would stop and load up. It is one of the oldest areas in Kansas City. Today it is home to dozens of vintage stores that host shows the first weekend of every month. It is the best place to find furniture, vintage clothing and household odds and ends.

Katie Krim: Stylist/ Photographer

@katie_krim

Port Fonda — 4141 Pennsylvania Ave, Kansas City, MO 64111

Port Fonda originally began as an Airstream that served quality Mexican inspired food that evolved into one of Kansas City’s most beloved restaurants. The environment is top-notch, and the wait staff is always friendly and helpful. They also have killer happy hour with the best draft margaritas. This is probably one of the most recommended spots in KC — their brunch is also to die for.

Crossroads District 

The center of art, entertainment, fashion, food and libations in Kansas City, the Crossroads is vibrant and diverse.  Art galleries and local shops have opened all over the neighborhood with an emphasis on “shopping local” and the Kansas City community. Many walls, once blank, are now covered with some of the coolest street art ever. Lots of century-old factories and buildings, including the old Nabisco factory, have been converted into cool lofts and condos. Grab a coffee at one of the local shops and catch an outdoor concert before you hop on the street car to finish the night playing old school arcade games at the Crossroad’s popular arcade bar.

18th and Vine –– 18th St & Vine St, Kansas City, MO 64108

Is the historic jazz area of Kansas City. Known for cultivating jazz and, to this day, a prominent spot to see great live music. Not only does that area host venues but it also houses the Jazz + Negro Leagues Museum, not to mention a few great restaurants! This is a true Kansas City classic.
Loose Park — 5200 Wornall Rd, Kansas City, MO 64112

Is Kansas City’s third-largest park, complete with a beautiful rose garden. Loose Park is the perfect place to spend a day off or picnicking with friends. Kick up your feet and set up a hammock to relax and unwind.

Green Lady Lounge –– 1809 Grand Blvd, Kansas City, MO 64108

The Green Lady Lounge’s retro atmosphere and sophistication make it one of the best jazz bars in all of Kansas City. Founded in late 2012, Green Lady Lounge hosts some of the best jazz musicians every night of the week. Its dark red walls are covered with vintage oil paintings and mirrors, and an eclectic collection of mid-century light fixtures hang throughout the dimly lit bar.

Julia Zukus: Manager In Training

@julesssverne

Plaza — 4750 Broadway, Kansas City, MO 64112

Maybe we’re a little biased because we are located on the Plaza, but it is definitely the best shopping in Kansas City! The first outdoor shopping mall designed for the car! How cool, right?! Beautiful Spanish architecture and lots of great spots to eat and treat!

Oracle Fine Curiosities — 130 W 18th St, Kansas City, MO 64108

Get ready to get “WOWed.” Oracle specializes in the ethical acquisition of specimens, taxidermy, minerals, framed insects and butterflies.  It’s located in the heart of the Crossroads Art District and is always one of the first stops during First Fridays. Discover and get inspired by all the incredible works of art and minerals.

Union Station — 30 W Pershing Rd, Kansas City, MO 64108

Union Station is over 100 years old and home to so many cool things in KC! Not only did Bonnie and Clyde visit Union Station, it is a hub of culture, education and entertainment, hosting national exhibits, a planetarium, and an awesome place called Science City! There are several restaurants built into Union station, as well. Always great for happy hour and soaking in the beautiful architecture!

River Market — 20 E 5th St , Kansas City, MO 64106

The River Market is one of our favorite hoods! On those warmer weekends, keep an eye out for street vendors lining a small area with fruits, vegetables, plants and vintage items. It’s one of our favorite places to grab some coffee and a quick bite to eat. AND SHOP!

Simple Science — 1914 Main St, Kansas City, MO 64108

Simple Science offers the best variety of cold pressed, organic juices in Kansas City, hands-down.  All of the formulas are inspired by scientifically formulated blends, so it’s no wonder that their juices bear names like “Proton”, “Enzyme”, and “Nucleus.”  You can find unexpected combinations of fresh fruits and veggies packed into each bottle—my personal favorite is “Iron”, a mix of golden beet + carrot + orange + pineapple + ginger + jalapeno.  But even if juice isn’t your thing, Simple Science also makes their own kombucha or cold brew coffee as well as acai bowls and protein balls!

+ Traveling? Check out more 5×5 features here

Follow April on Instagram.

FP Me to You: Escape Within Your City

From tea houses to donut shops, Tonya takes us on her PDX adventures…

This post comes from FPME muse, Tonya.

I feel so lucky to live in a city where there are so many local shops and restaurants. It’s fun just to spend the afternoon walking around and seeing what new place I might find. 

Portland might be known for Voodoo Donuts, but there is another local donut shop that I love to go. Pips has the best bite size donuts and homemade chai in town! The atmosphere is super cozy and welcoming, it’s a great place to hangout and start your day.

There are SO many great coffee shops in Portland, so I couldn’t decide on one. But days when I want something different, I go to Tea Bar. They have the best thai iced tea and I always love to get boba! If you haven’t tried it yet…it’s a must.

Another must-see here in Portland is Pistils Nursery. I could spend an entire day there, studying all of the plants and getting inspired. It’s so refreshing!
If you want to get out of the city and into the wild, the Gorge is filled with so many great hikes and beautiful waterfalls…and only a 20-minute drive away. For a taste of nature without leaving Portland’s walls, hit up Forest Park, right in the middle of the city and filled with lush trails and perfect to get a breath of fresh air.

Follow Tonya on Instagram and check out her FPME profile here!

+ Come back next Thursday to learn more from Tonya

 Photos by Dawn Photo.

Weekend Do: Drop the Expectations

Planning a trip? Maybe you don’t need to consider all that planning…

Sure, some trips are far better off pre-planned. Lists, setting arrival times, knowing when certain activities should take place and, in reality, creating a whole lot of expectation for your adventure ahead. Yet, more often than not, those are the trips we forget to actually enjoy. We get back home, start sorting through dirty laundry and instantly wish we could go back and cherish every second. We wish we would have put down those lists and let those expectations fly out the window. We tell ourselves next time will be different, next time we’ll just go with the flow, because life is too short, right? Well, this time we did. There were no lists, no expectations, just the open road and four days to simply be. And you know what happened? We had one hell of a time — here’s how we did it.


Step One: Choose wisely.

When the only thing planned is the destination, choose your companion or companions wisely. Surround yourself with like-minded people who will, with you, embrace the road ahead and not focus on what the next move will be.

Step Two: The destination.

Living in Colorado afforded us beauty in every direction. On this particular road trip we headed west, revisiting a few of the great National Parks: Moab, Bryce Canyon and Zion. Little cell reception and lots of open space = the right places for us. Your destination could be near or far, grand or small but an adventure, nonetheless. No time for a weekend get-away? Check out the local parks, forests or RV parks, because your never know what magic could be lying in your own backyard.

Step Three: Drop the expectations.

At the end of the day, plan the trip that suits you best. When we left the expectations at home, we shared a genuine experience, allowing the fun to unfold in and from the unknown. There were hiccups and many nights of pitching a tent in complete darkness, but there were stops for roadside pottery, trail runs and secret pools usually reserved for the locals. We took a step back and fully enjoyed each surrounding  and, when we were good and ready, we moved on.

Though perhaps way overused, this phrase rings true as ever — you only live once. Don’t end an amazing trip with should-haves and I-wishes. Come back filled with a new memories and endless inspiration.

So go fly-roam-travel-explore-journey and discover — we can’t wait to hear about it.

+Are you ready to drop the expectations? Let us know in the comments below! 

Follow April on Instagram and check out more Weekend Do’s here.

Photos by Amber and Nate Wilson.