katie from the life bohemian shares her travelogue // sydney.

YOU GUYS. very exciting stuff going on over here today.  i was asked to be a guest on the brand-spanking-new the life bohemian podcast, launched by my friends katie + jeremy.  jeremy + katie did what most of us only fantasize of doing -- up and quit their jobs, sold their stuff and are now traveling the world.  katie blogs about their journeys over at the life bohemian, and jeremy just started their podcast.  jeremy invited me to come on to his podcast and talk about my decision to up and move to prague and how it shaped my life, our crazy experience finding out i was pregnant in bangkok, and some other great travel stories.  i also got to talk a bit about my book and why i don't believe blogs are dead.  it was one of the better mornings i can remember lately, skyping with a hot cup of coffee and talking about things that were non-breastmilk related.

so check out the episode however you listen to podcasts -- itunes, stitcher, or soundcloud -- and make sure you check out their blog.

and today, katie happily agreed to share some of her favorite travel tips to sydney, australia.  i've never been but based on her pictures and recommendations, it's climbing the charts for our next trip.

Full disclosure before we get started: I'm properly obsessed with Sydney. Since the minute I stepped foot in the city, I felt connected. I always judge a city by whether or not I think I'd like to live there, and the answer for Sydney is a resounding YES. 

Before my first visit I’d met a sweet new friend who'd recently moved from Brisbane down to Sydney and she drew me a hilariously not-to-scale map of her favorite spots, so I can't take complete credit for some of these gems, but I took her local recs and ran with it. So, here we go!



EAT

Mooberry Dessert & Breakfast Bar - I don't even know where to start with Mooberry. They do froyo with toppings like a champ, but they also offer warm waffles with toppings and sugary churros. And you can get it all with a side of free wifi. I like their Neutral Bay location, with a little outdoor space and 3 seating levels to choose from.  

Sel et Poivre - It might feel weird to indulge in French food in Sydney, but Sel et Poivre does excellent food by any standards. The best place to post up is outside and people watch on Darlinghurst's Victoria Street. It's also BYOB, which definitely ups the cool factor.

Gelato Messina - When you're finished at Sel et Poivre, walk down Victoria Street for dessert at Gelato Messina. My husband calls this Club Gelato, because their flavors are so popular, they need a velvet rope out front. Prepare your taste buds because there are 35 staple flavors and 5 new ones every week (which to me is a pretty good reason to have a daily visit). Follow them on Instagram for #icecreaminspo. 

Coogee Pavilion - Coffee and wifi, the two most magical words in the English language. You’ll see people working on their laptops, people grabbing a coffee with friends, or having elaborate meals from one of the three restaurants. But the smartest of us head upstairs to the most gorgeous terrace you’ve ever seen in your life, overlooking the golden sand. 

Ladurée - This may be the most personal entry on this list, as I have a habit of visiting this famous pastry shop as often as I can, but I included it because it's in the posh neighborhood of Woollahra. Stuffed with art galleries and New Orleans-esque homes, this is one of my favorite hoods to take a quiet stroll down tree lined streets (while eating my Ladurée macarons, of course).

Doyle's On The Wharf - While the fancier outpost of Doyle's sits nearby, it's more casual sister Doyle's On The Wharf serves deliciously crispy fish and chips packaged to enjoy right by the water at Watson's Bay. To work it off, walk the surrounding paths and stare over the breathtaking cliffs on one side and into a unique view of downtown from the other side.

Black Pony Cafe - Head down to this hip Coogee Beach spot for baked zucchini flowers stuffed with cream cheese. Enough said.


PLAY

Beach/Cliff Walk - Walking the cliff path from the famous Bondi Beach all the way to Coogee Beach is a legendary Sydney activity. Of course, you can’t come to Sydney without enjoying a stroll on Bondi Beach, including the Pinterest darling Bondi Icebergs swim club. The walk takes you over the cliffs and around beaches, bays and scenic outlooks. You’ll pass by Tamarama Beach (my favorite!), Bronte Beach (famous for its incredible rock bath, Bogey Hole), the narrow but beautiful Clovelly Beach, and to Coogee Beach. If you’ve got time, keep going to Maroubra Beach and watch the surfers. This is hands down my favorite activity in Sydney. Without stops (but you’re gonna wanna stop), the walk from Bondi to Coogee takes about 2 hours. If you want to go all the way to Maroubra as well, add another hour and a half or so.

Royal Botanic Gardens - I love botanic gardens in general, but I really love the cactus garden nestled inside the massive Royal Botanic Gardens. Lush hills, tree lined paths, colorful flower beds, and Mrs Macquarie's Chair, the best spot in the city to watch the sunset.  

Ferries - Being a harbor city, it's only logical that Sydney would be home to dozens of ferry routes. My favorite is probably the route from Circular Quay to Manly Bay, an adorable coastal town. There's also a population of little penguins (aptly named since they're the smallest of the penguin breeds) that roam the Manly Beach area from May - February just waiting for you to squeal with delight upon spotting one of them.  

Taronga Zoo - Celebrating its 100th birthday and full of animals you just won't see anywhere else on the planet, Taronga Zoo is somewhere not to miss. Plus, who could resist koala bears and giraffes with an envy-inducing piece of real estate.

The Rocks - Location, location, location. It doesn't get much better than The Rocks, the historic heart of Sydney. Tons of restaurants (casual and upscale), shops, and markets with possibly the best backdrop - the glittering Sydney Harbor. 

Sydney Observatory - At the Observatory, you can learn about constellations like the easily identified Southern Cross, which Crosby, Stills, and Nash waxed poetic about. Plus, if you're plagued by jet lag, one of the most calming places to watch the sunrise is the Observatory grounds.

Museum of Contemporary Art - Stunning in all regards, from the art deco building to the rooftop restaurant and of course, the art. Have a drink on the rooftop and revel in the seriously fantastic views of the iconic Sydney Harbor Bridge and Opera House. 

SHOP

Oxford Street - This is where the Australian designers set up shop. We started at Victoria Street and worked our way north up Oxford Street. Pop into each and every shop, make friends with the owners, and don’t pay full price (smart advice from my Aussie friends).

Westfield Bondi Beach - There are Westfields everywhere, and there’s one in Sydney CBD, but the Bondi Beach location was my favorite. It had a couple shops I recognized, but most of them were uniquely Australian (or at the very least, non-US). It also has a large David Jones, which is a Nordstrom-esque department store. Very large, very pretty, very easy to get lost in the cosmetics.

The Rocks Markets - I mentioned The Rocks area earlier, but the markets deserve a spot of their own. The open air, perfectly located markets are open Saturday and Sunday, but Friday is the Queen Bee. The Friday Foodie Market is open from 9am - 3pm and an excellent way to gain 5lbs in one day. 

“Downtown” Manly Beach - Once you've taken the scenic ferry ride over to Manly Bay, try shopping the “downtown”, a boardwalk type area with little restaurants and shops. Grab a coffee and a mince pie and boutique shop your little heart out. This is where I found my new favorite sunglass brand, Quay Australia.  

Queen Victoria Building - I included this one mainly for the window shopping. The building is gorgeous and I loved nothing more than sitting in a little cafe near the center and people watching. I also took an obnoxiously large number of “detail” photos of the building’s interior.

Paddington Markets - I loved these markets. There were so many booths, with a ton of them selling Aussie made products. My husband picked up a bracelet made of kangaroo leather, and I got several gorgeous tassel necklaces. The markets are only open on Saturday from 10am and you need to bring cash.


BONUS

If you can get out of town a bit, rent a car (oh the simple thrill of driving on the "wrong" side!) or take a bus to Blue Mountains National Park and bask in the incredible scenery, like the high rising Three Sisters. The park also has an abundance of eucalyptus trees, waterfalls, and swimming holes. 

You can’t go to Australia and not try to scout some kangaroos. Per my Sydney resident friend, the best places to see the roos are places like golf courses, large stretches of open land where they can lounge in the sun. One of the best days of my life was the day I was driving down the road and out of nowhere, I spotted what had to be about 400 kangaroos lounging in a polo field off the side of the road. 

If you’re a breakfast fanatic like I am, you’ll want to follow Breakfast In Sydney on Instagram. They’ll tag their location for you and generally succeed in making your mouth water with every photo.  

And finally, I wrote this post about my experience using public transportation around Sydney and some tips on how to utilize the services. 

a new nursery for a new baby.

it wasn't all my life i dreamed of having babies.  it was an idea that i 'evolved' on, much like politicians and common sense public policy.  i never saw myself as a mother of boys, or with a big mixed brood.  i thought we'd just take it one baby at a time.  so when i was pregnant with julian, we came up with some name ideas for a boy and some for a girl.  i played around with nursery ideas for a boy, and nursery ideas for a girl.  when we found out we were having a little boy, we used our boy name idea and our boy nursery idea.

and now that we are having another boy [!!!] i am out of boy nursery ideas.  also boy name ideas, but i have a little more time on that.

luckily one of my favorite people is the brilliant designer katy of designs by katy, who swiftly helped me put together another nursery for our second little boy.  we are re-using the crib julian sleeps in now, since he will graduate to a big boy bed, and so i wanted the colors to be closely related.  and since we are going with a color story for the new house, i also wanted the decor to match the rest of the house.



does this lady know my style or WHAT?  i'm also constantly impressed that she time and time again shows me what to buy from west elm -- because although i love that store every time i walk in there i can't find anything i'm in love with.  and then katy suggests it to me and i'm like, 'i need that in my house right now.'  that dresser, that banner, that basket!

it's perfect.  don't be surprised if you see some, or all, of this stuff in little boy's nursery come january.
now if only i could convince her to name him, too...

[also, in case you missed it -- here's katy's ideas for our grown up master bedroom, some of which are coming with us to the east side house!]


special guest: interior designer katy byrne!

happy tuesday, dear friends!  two weeks ago i was sitting in one of my favorite places in the city, shoveling vegan ice cream into my face and sharing a basket of fries with one of my new favorite bloggers [and girlfriends!], katy byrne.  have you checked out her blog yet?  it's chock full of fabulous design ideas - whether it's sharing how to style the color of the moment, how to get the look of that bathroom pin you've been lusting over, or showing a design from start to finish [plus, did you see what she came up with for megan graham's nursery?!].  anyway we were talking blog shop and i was lamenting about the zillions of ideas i had for our master bedroom when she offered to come up with a few schemes for our grown up master bedroom.

they are so good... i just don't know which one is my favorite!  what do you think?

by the way - she interviewed me over on her blog today about the design for julian's nursery that was featured in style me pretty living.  head on over and check it out!
Hello So Alaina readers! I'm Katy Byrne of DBK: Designs By Katy. I'm an interior designer and new friend of Alaina after our weekend at The Hundred Event. I'm so excited for Alaina and her family to move back into their dream Denver home. With your dream home should come the dream bedroom. If you read this post from last week, you know they don't own a proper bed. I took three of Alaina's bed choices, asked some design questions and came up with three schemes:
Alaina Scheme 1

Alaina + Philip have lived a life well traveled and like it to be reflected in their interior. This bed from Anthropologie is beyond perfect. Combined with gold leaf artwork and lots of texture, this room is a great option.
Alaina Scheme 2

This scheme is still eclectic with a more polished feel. The herringbone bed adds quite a bit of texture, complimented with the layered rugs and raffia mirror. Like scheme 1, it's all about color and feel.
Alaina Scheme 3

As you can see, they all have a tremendous amount of color and texture with a well traveled feel. Which is your favorite? Tell Alaina your vote, and don't forget to visit me at Designs By Katy!

Thanks so much for having me, Alaina! Happy shopping.