Have you noticed magazine covers changing?
Glamour cover Daisy Ridley - Photo by Nicole Fichera

I was in Philadelphia recently (where I stayed at a super cool hotel, if you like that sort of thing), and we took the Acela from Philly to Boston, which means we spent a good amount of time at 30th Street Station waiting to board our train. 

Since I had some time on my hands, I was looking at magazines on the newsstand, and thinking to myself how I rarely look at magazines anymore. Social media (read: Instagram) has almost entirely replaced magazine browsing for me. On Instagram, the content is richer, more full of stories and real lives, more alive, easier to absorb. Magazines have a way of keeping you at arm's length.

But as I looked at these magazines on the rack, I wondered if maybe that was changing. All the graphics seemed bolder, more casual, cropped and chopped like an Instagram Story or a Snap. They are changing their aesthetic direction to match the immediacy and closeness we feel when we experience a space or a fashion story digitally. 

Or maybe it was just my deluded train traveler brain. Either way, here are some pretty magazine covers for you. 

Allure magazine cover eyes - Photo by Nicole Fichera
InStyle magazine cover Zendaya - Photo by Nicole Fichera
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Nicole Fichera
The Lokal Hotel is my new favorite.
Lokal Hotel Kitchen - Photo by Nicole Fichera

Do you guys love hotels as much as I do? To me, a good hotel is a rare and difficult find, the perfect balance between idiosyncratic newness and predictable service, surprising design with snuggly comfort...a place that makes you feel the novelty of a new place, but still finds a way to be restful and comforting at the end of a day of travel. It's a real challenge to get it right. Difficulty level is somewhere between brain surgery and decorating a wedding cake, IMHO. 

The Lokal Hotel in Philadelphia is one of my favorite hotel finds in a long while. The interior design is by Jersey Ice Cream Co., a very cool duo that travel from place to place, designing new homes and spaces as they go, living in each space to really get a feel for it before making selections. Their attention to detail really shows at the Lokal, where the lovingly selected items make you feel like you're staying at your coolest friend's apartment, instead of at a hotel. 

The Lokal is an example of an 'invisible service' hotel, which is a trend I've been watching for a few years. The idea is basically that travelers today don't really need a concierge or a front desk--you can check in and open your door with your phone, order food from Caviar instead of room service, etc. Kind of like Airbnb, but with a higher level of amenity and design than you usually get in someone's apartment, even if it's professionally managed. There's a few other examples of invisible service hotels out there, but the Lokal is the most gorgeous one I've seen. 

So with that...the photos!

Lokal Hotel Exterior - Photo by Nicole Fichera

The building is a beautiful old rowhouse, with lovely vintage signage. And I don't have any neighborhood pictures because we were rushing a bit, but there are cute shops and galleries all around. 

Lokal Hotel Entry Design Tile - Photo by Nicole Fichera

The front entry is small, but definitely sets the tone, design-wise. Cute 1" tile in a border pattern feels crisp and modern but still appropriate for the old building. Also appropriate for an old building (and all other buildings: brocade boots. But I digress. The only change I would have made to this space personally would be to do dark grout throughout, because in a high-traffic space like this grout gets dirty fast (see how it's light on the right side of the image but dark where my feet are?). But still adorable. Only designers notice annoying little details like grout. Are you annoyed? No? Yes? Either way, let's move on.

Lokal Hotel Bike Bicycle Helmets - Photo by Nicole Fichera

Okay, we're still in the lobby. Well, lobby is kind of a formal word for what this space is--it's really just the common area by the townhouse front door. But they make use of the space, providing loaner bike helmets to make exploring safer, and magazines you can borrow, all mounted in brass on textured reclaimed wood panels. A nice welcome! Bike safety for all! Helmets are important! Wear them! That means you, Tyler and Domenic, if you're reading this, which you better be.

Lokal Hotel Kitchen Design - Photo by Nicole Fichera

Okay finally! The room! We had to walk up a BUNCH of stairs to get here, but it was worth it eventually. You'll see. It's gorgeous.

Okay, first, the kitchen. Kitchen, you say? In a hotel? Yes ma'am, every room at the Lokal has a kitchen, so you can stay in and cook (or order in) like a local (or Lokal--get it?!) instead of going out on the town. It's well stocked with equipment, gorgeous local stoneware, and spices. But the best feature is the art--one lone, sort of stern, glorious pastel vintage portrait, making conversation with a colander. Genius. 

Lokal Hotel Room Design - Photo by Nicole Fichera
Lokal Hotel Design - photo by Nicole Fichera

And here she is, the rest of the room, in all her lovely glory. There's a snuggly bed with Parachute Linens (of course), lovely custom waffle robes, fun reading material cute vintage furniture, and again, that art, holding court, stately, asymmetrical, whimsical, and all in all just a delight to look at. The rooms have living areas, so you can Netflix on the couch with your takeout food (which we did). It's not terrible. 

Lokal Hotel Beer Shampoo Conditioner Black Pepper Shower Gel - Photo by Nicole Fichera
Lokal Hotel Makeup Washcloths - Photo by Nicole Fichera
 

The bathrooms are similarly adorable, but I didn't get a good picture since the lighting didn't play well with my iPhone, unfortunately. But I snapped my favorite details: locally produced beer shampoo and conditioner with black pepper shower gel, and makeup washcloths. Makeup washcloths!! Hallelujah!!

Tyler and I only stayed there one night, and it was a fun and snuggly one: watched Netflix on the big tv, ordered crab rangoon spring rolls and pimiento mac'n'cheese with hot Cheeto pork rind crumbs on top (yes, those are both real food items), and had edible cookie dough delivered by GoPuff. So basically we lived our best lives. There were a couple of issues with the invisible service model--our food got delivered to another guest, and we couldn't figure out the Apple TV password in time to watch a movie. But overall it was an insanely good experience. We'll be back next time we're in Philly. 

Lokal Hotel Nicole Fichera - Photo by Tyler Shannon
 
Nicole FicheraComment
Whoa, look! It's a blog!
Headshot Nicole Fichera Lokal Hotel Photo.JPG

Welp, it's 2018. Time to make some resolutions, people. I mean, YOU don't have to make any resolutions. But I'm going to. 

So here they are! With descriptions! And all my reasoning! 

  1. Start a blog.
  2. Build a super awesome and stable consulting business.
  3. Write a lot of music.

I'm going to save resolutions number 2 and 3 for another post. Today, let's focus on resolution number one, which thanks to this blog post, is already completed!! I did it! I started a blog!

But WHY, you might ask? Because I got dropped on the head and decided I needed another project? Because I built a time machine and now I live in 2005 when blogging is super cool and new and exciting? Because I think you don't have enough reading material in your life and you needed another option?

Yes, all of those. Except if I ever got my hands on a time machine I would NEVER go back to 2005. Here is a series of before and afters that will explain why I refuse to go back to 2005:

I mean, all of these ladies look pretty great regardless. And I'm not hating that flared jeans are coming back. But I'm just saying, the early aughts made us all do a lot of questionable things in the name of style. 

Okay, here's the real story of why I'm starting a blog.

Over the past year or so, I've been having a lot of fun on Instagram. I started learning how the algorithm works, and posting some stuff, and learning more about hashtags than I ever thought I would need to know, and whaddya know...I started to really like it!

I like the process of documenting my day. I like featuring my friends and their stories. I like how the challenge of creating good content made me think more about my outfits every day, or about how I could film the process of putting up new curtains in my house, or how I could share stories about my mental health challenges right alongside stories about how I'm addicted to throw pillows (I really am). 

I like the feeling that life is worth documenting. I like the feeling of looking back at posts from 6 months ago and remembering how I felt, and seeing how I changed. 

So since it's New Year's and since I've always been a real masochist when it comes to taking on challenging new projects that have the potential to fail publicly...I'm starting a blog!!

This blog is mostly about style. And creativity. And about the process of growing my fledgling business. And about living with mental health issues. And about travel sometimes. And relationships.

But it's mostly about style, because that's the most fun. 

Some of you might say, "Hooray!!! I needed some reading material!! and fun images to look at!!"

Even more of you won't say anything at all because you're not here, because I probably have like 3 readers (hi Tyler!). 

But that's all okay!  This is just going to be my little corner of the universe, an archive for outfits and projects and books I like and throw pillows and maybe a few more throw pillows because WHY NOT HAVE MORE THROW PILLOWS. 

In closing: throw pillows are great. So are brocade boots, entrepreneurs, therapists, philosophy books, wide-leg pants, and cats. If you don't like any of those things, you probably won't much like me or my blog. 

But if you do like them, come back again :)

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