Amuse Society

Blog Travel

36 Hours In Istanbul

Guest post by Society babe and Editor-in-Chief of Live FAST Magazine Vivianne Lapointe

I try never to read too much about a destination ahead of landing. I like to experience a city emotionally at first: smell the breeze, eat the food, look at people in the eyes. I didn’t know what to expect out of Istanbul, this complex and iconic gem of the Middle East. Traveling on the last week of July, we were blessed with clear skies and flawless weather. We giggled in the cab as we passed a huge Travolta billboard ad on our way to Taksim. We marveled at the flower beds bordering busy streets, and wondered how it is even possible that a city holding 25 millions inhabitants can be so clean and well kept. The loud, romantic sound of the Muslim prayer gave us goosebumps. We fell in love with the bright red hue of the Turkish flag… What we discovered here is a passionate, emotional culture with so many layers, colors and flavors. Here are some of the highlights from this exciting first leg of our #LiveFASTSummerTour with Amuse!

Amuse x Live Fast Summer Tour

Putting on the Ritz

Whenever I have a 24-hour transit and know too well how exhausted I will be when I finally reach my destination, I make a point to book a 5-star hotel. At the luxurious Ritz Carlton on the Bosphorus, we were greeted with Turkish delights and hot apple tea in the lobby. I mean - it’s the Ritz, you know what you’re gonna get: impeccable service and sophisticated amenities, a plush bed and great shower pressure. These little details are worth every single dollar spent when you’re jet lagged. On the first night, a few of us decided to unwind in the cocktail bar lobby to the sound of live music and we all hit the indoor pool first thing in the morning before a memorable first Turkish breakfast. Pictured here also is the property’s Open Air spa, where Chelsea indulged in a little r&r before we checked out.

Amuse x Live Fast Summer Tour

Amuse x Live Fast Summer Tour

Amuse x Live Fast Summer Tour

An afternoon on the Bosphorus

On our first day in town, we drove to the swanky neighborhood of Yenikoy to take some pictures of the colorful Ottoman era waterfront houses and explore the European shores of the Bosphorus strait. Upon coming across a lively fisherman’s community, we decided on a whim to ask if one of them would take us on a boat ride. “80 Turkish liras for 45 minutes,” he mumbled in Turkish to our friend Tules, who kindly acted as our guide & translator for the duration of our stay. $27 - that’s how cheap Istanbul is, by the way! On the water, smack dab in between two continent, I remember thinking how crazy it is that if we kept going straight on this river, we could sail straight into Russia.

Amuse x Live Fast Summer Tour

Amuse x Live Fast Summer Tour

Amuse x Live Fast Summer Tour

Amuse x Live Fast Summer Tour

Amuse x Live Fast Summer Tour

Dance the night away at Reina

Hungry from an eventful day on the water, we had mezze at Sur Balik in Arnavutkoy, a fabulous rooftop restaurant specializing in fresh fish and seafood. After dinner, we headed out to Reina, the trendiest nightclub in Istanbul. With a glittering Bosphorus view and a beautiful crowd, it might as well be the sexiest spot to party on that side of the world. Note to self: don’t drink too much Raki, and most importantly, don’t mix it with any other kind of alcohol - the traditional Turkish booze is said to cause memory loss to the point of barely recalling your own name… ;)

Amuse x Live Fast Summer Tour

Discovering The Karakoy Neighborhood

Dubbed Istanbul’s cool new district by the Condé Nast Traveler, this colorful part of town is where you can spend countless lazy hours observing life and discovering the city’s bohemian culture: sitting outside at a cafe, checking out art galleries, stalking cats, playing chess, smoking hookah and making friends with the locals.

Amuse x Live Fast Summer Tour

Amuse x Live Fast Summer Tour

Amuse x Live Fast Summer Tour

Amuse x Live Fast Summer Tour

Vault Karakoi Hotel

Set in an imposing 19th-century bank, the trendy Vault Karaoke was our home away from home on the second half of our stay in Istanbul. In the penthouse suite, we took a bubble bath with a view before heading down to the Hammam, the best way to cure a Raki hangover (that shit’s real).

Amuse x Live Fast Summer Tour

Amuse x Live Fast Summer Tour

See you next time Istanbul, you can be sure we’ll be back for you ✌ Shop the looks featured here.

Photography by Ali Mitton, Laura Austin, and Vivianne Lapointe | Model Chelsea Schuchman

Comin' Home

After living on the other side of the world for 2.5 years, something really special happens when you return home. All the places you've spent so much time before, the familiar streets, people, and beaches, the ones you may have taken for granted in the past...suddenly carry a new sense of novelty and excitement. Viewing somewhere I've been before with a new perspective is sometimes even more rewarding for me than visiting somewhere new. It's more real, expectations are lowered, and because of that it's often the seemingly average, little things that surprise and elate me.

Lex Weinstein for Amuse Society

When I booked a styling gig in California, I was excited to return to the place my brother has lived for almost two decades, where I've accumulated incredible friends, inspiring work contacts, and memories that are painted in my mind for a lifetime. I looked forward to spending some quality time exploring the coastlines that have felt like home for years. California for me is a cocktail of nostalgia and nuance, with familiar places offering new adventures daily. I couldn't wait to indulge.

Lex Weinstein for Amuse Society

With no set plan for how to begin my adventure, fate intervened by reconnecting me with a fellow East Coaster, photographer and friend Adam Bartoshesky, who was down for anything. I was borrowing a longboard from friends in Laguna Beach, thus the destination was chosen. Adam picked me up from Santa Monica and we headed south. We decided to take our time in Orange County, ignoring the usual whine-inducers like traffic and crowded summer beaches, and appreciated it with fresh eyes, in no hurry to reach a particular destination. It turned out to be one of the most memorable days of my entire trip! We sparked conversation with some local legends over margaritas at Coyote Grill and explored Table Rock Beach and the watery, majestic tones beneath the surface. With a few hours to spare we hit up San Onofre for an evening surf and caught some epic little peelers before cracking a few beers to watch the sun melt into the sea. It had all the ingredients for a perfect day -- laughs, drinks, new friends, old friends, waves, tacos...and a killer sunset to punctuate the good vibes. Another not-so-average adventure in SoCal proving this return will not be my last.

Lex Weinstein for Amuse Society

Lex Weinstein for Amuse Society

Lex Weinstein for Amuse Society

Lex Weinstein for Amuse Society

Lex Weinstein for Amuse Society

Lex Weinstein for Amuse Society

Lex Weinstein for Amuse Society

Lex Weinstein for Amuse Society

Lex Weinstein for Amuse Society

Lex Weinstein for Amuse Society

Lex Weinstein for Amuse Society

Lex Weinstein for Amuse Society

Lex Weinstein for Amuse Society

Lex Weinstein for Amuse Society

xx Lex

Out + About: Ascot Friday

Laura of Ascot Friday gave us just a little glimpse of her favorite neighborhood gems during her Instagram #societytakeover. Get the full tour now on her favorite spots to hang.

Ascot Friday

1 | Urban Americana

Ascot Friday

When Laura's on the hunt for some vintage, she stops at this Long Beach-based joint that's filled with vintage and antique goods.

Ascot Friday

Indie Woven Top | Prism Dress

Ascot Friday

Ascot Friday

Make sure to grab a bite to eat across the street at Working Class Kitchen!

Ascot Friday

2 | Long Beach Antique Mall

Another hidden gem when you're in the mood for vintage shopping!

Ascot Friday

3 | Rose Park Roasters

Ascot Friday

Laura gets her caffeine fix at the new Rose Park Roasters located off 4th St. The little shop also offers up some yummy vegan treats by Caffeinated Kitchen and pretty turquoise bar stools from local artist Eric Trine.

Ascot Friday

More coffee, donuts + sequins please! Featuring the Florence Skirt.

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