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Summer Travel Essentials

Guess what?!  The ANDROID version of my Travel App is now LIVE!!!!  So many of you have been asking for an Android version so I worked hard alongside my developer these past few months to make it happen!  If you love it, it would mean so much to me if you left a review!

In case you’re not familiar with my Travel App – you can read about it in Harpers Bazaar here.

I came up with the idea to create a Travel App 3 years ago after I was traveling nonstop. I was receiving so many comments and emails asking where I was staying, shopping, eating, etc.  At the time, I was spending several hours responding individually to people. While I loved sharing my personalized recommendations, I started to feel like a part time travel agent! – and so I thought how can I be more efficient about sharing my travel advice?

I came up with the idea to create a simple, easy to use, Travel App that had all of my favorite spots around the world organized by city, and further broken down by the categories; Eat, Play, Shop, Stay, Relax, and Wear.  It’s basically my Little Black Book in the palm of your hands!

It’s also completely FREE – just search With Love From Kat in the App store and Google Play!

It always brings me such joy to hear that so many of you love using it and that it made your trip(s) even more special.  If you happen to visit a spot that I recommended and share it to Instagram – I hope you’ll use #WLFKTravelAPP so I can share it on my account!  PS I just updated the Travel Essentials page within the APP and was inspired to share some of my Travel must haves on here that are perfect for summer. Have a great weekend!

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Jumpsuit // Hat // Cosmetic Case // Book // Sandals // Travel Tote // Face Oil // SPF Lip Balm // Pants
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Dressed up in Downtown
Downtown LA

I wore this outfit to a friend’s birthday dinner a few months ago – and then again for an event I had in Downtown LA last week!  I love the combination of red and black together, and also the combination of a jumpsuit and structured blazer – you really can’t go wrong!  It’s a powerful combo that makes a statement.  I can’t even begin to tell you how comfortable this black corset jumpsuit is – it’s made of the stretchiest, softest material and is oh-so flattering thanks to that chic cinched waist detail!

I went up a size in the jumpsuit since I wasn’t sure how it would fit, but FYI it runs true to size.  It would also look super cute with a black leather jacket. Or even a modern vest and a gold cuff for a summertime rooftop event/night out!  Oh the possibilities!  This jumpsuit is only $88 – insane right?  It’s from Bloomingdales 100% Exclusives line; Aqua.

Remember this stripe cotton jumpsuit (there’s still one or two sizes left!) you guys loved from a few weeks ago?  That was from Aqua!  Everything within the line is timeless, flattering, and ridiculously affordable.  I just bought this simple navy jumpsuit for weekend bike rides, these flowy linen pants, and this sweet little white lace dress for summer from there as well.  I have my eye on this easy off the shoulder number (only $78!) next.  Shop my entire look below and all of Bloomingdales 100% Exclusives pieces here!

Shop Dressed up in Downtown

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Aqua jumpsuit // Laveer blazer (similar, similar) // Stuart Weitzman heels // Chanel bag (similar)
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A Backyard Book Launch Party
Venice, CA

This past Saturday I had the pleasure of throwing my friend Candice Kumai a party in honor of her latest book; Kintsugi Wellness.  This is Candice’s 6th cookbook and I could not be more proud!  She talks about her wellness background and the Japanese art of nourishing the mind, body and spirit. Plus, she shares the most delicious recipes like her famous matcha chocolate chip cookies!!!

I remember ordering her 5th book Clean Green Eats years ago when I was living in NYC and wanting to get into healthier cooking/recipes.  I didn’t even know her at the time – but became obsessed with her attainable, well rounded approach to cooking and wellness.  A few months later, a friend introduced us in the city and we completely hit it off.  She’s an insanely hard worker, takes such pride in anything and everything she puts forth, and is a professionally trained chef from Le Cordon Bleu (no big deal!). You may have seen her articles on Well + Good or Girl Boss where she’s a contributing writer – or maybe even caught her on an episode of Top Chef!

 It was such a fun occasion to bring together a group of 50+ creative friends to celebrate her new book!

We enjoyed an afternoon of vodka ginger spritzs, miso avocado toast, matcha chocolate chip cookies, and mochi rice cakes!  Women supporting women, good food, good cocktails, and sunshine – is there anything better?!

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 Fillyboo dress (also love this one) // Stone Cold Fox dress (similar) // Kintsugi Wellness book // Amber Interiors pillows (also love these) // Serena + Lily chandelier // Design Within Reach table // Bistro chairs // World Market outdoor dining set // Wisteria mirror // St. Frank artwork // Baskets // CB2 bar
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Kyoto Travel Guide
Kyoto, Japan

Happy Friday!

I’m sharing part 2 of my Japan guide… and highlighting our next stop which was Kyoto! After 4 days in Tokyo, we hopped on the bullet train and rode it 2 hours to Kyoto.  Kyoto was like nowhere I’d ever been… it felt so old world and traditional…it was truly a magical place.  There were parts of Kyoto that felt like a normal bustling city, and then you’d wander down an alley or stumble upon a side street and be transported back in time.

My favorite street in Kyoto was in the Gion District along the Shirakawa Canal.

We spent a lot of time there – having dinner at Nobu’s restaurant and enjoying that ginormous shaved matcha ice at the cutest tea house, Pass the Baton, that you saw in my Vlog and Instastories!  It was the most peaceful, romantic street and the perfect place to catch women dressed as geisha.

My favorite experience in Kyoto – was by far the Bamboo Garden.

We hopped in a cab from our hotel (which I’ll share more about in a bit…) and got dropped off at the Arashiyama District which is home to the iconic Bamboo Garden and several temples, shops and restaurants.  We were able to admire the gorgeous bamboo trees and stumbled upon a small temple to enjoy tea at and walk the grounds of.  Now back to our hotel situation…we booked our Kyoto hotel quite last minute and sadly most places were sold out.

So FYI if you want to go to Kyoto, book your accommodations far in advance.

We ended up booking a modern-ish hotel in the heart of Kyoto that we knew was overpriced but that looked decent and got ok reviews on Trip Advisor, but OMG it ended up being terrible.  We could hear the cross walk go off from our window every 4 minutes (torture LOL!), the elevator beeped constantly, the breakfast/restaurant was just plain YUCK, and the concierge wasn’t helpful at all.  The hotel was was walking distance to Shirakawa/Nishiki Market and plenty of train stations, but I would never recommend anyone to stay at it.

Here’s what I would have done differently now that I know Kyoto:

I would have absolutely stayed a bit outside Kyoto at a traditional Ryokan.  This is an authentic Japanese style inn and is so much more charming.  My friend Merritt is in Kyoto right now, and I’ve been loving her Instastories.  The place she’s staying at; Gion Hatanaka, looks darling – so I’m including it here in case you want to book it!  I’m looking forward to going back to Kyoto in the future and having my trip a bit more planned out so that I can see even more temples/parks (there are SO many to see) and experiencing a traditional Ryokan!

Kyoto Travel Guide:

Things you must do in Kyoto, Japan:

Shirakawa Gion

This was my favorite neighborhood in Kyoto and I made sure to walk along the Shirakawa Canal everyday.  It’s stunning at night and during the day – and is home to darling shops and restaurants, like Pass the Baton tea house, Itoh (Nobu’s restaurant), and more.

See a Geisha show

Our concierge told us you could not buy Geisha show tickets online (at least for the one we wanted to go to in the Gion District) so we tried to arrive about 30 minutes early for the 6PM show.  Sadly it was already sold out by then, and the next night we went – the line was around the corner and that was when we were an hour and a half early!  SO, if you want to see a geisha show it seems as though you have to be prepared to wait quite a bit, or try to book through a service.  I was definitely bummed we weren’t able to see one and it’s at the top of my list next time I’m in Kyoto!

Nishiki Market

This is a huge market/shopping area in Kyoto.  The main street strip is full of food vendors so go hungry!  You can try everything from ramen to sushi, to chicken skewers and mochi.  Wander down the side streets and you’ll find a handful of cute boutiques.

Arashiyama Bamboo Garden

Take a cab or the train just about 30 minutes away to the stunning Arashiyama District.  This area is breathtaking and you’ll be able to wander through the bamboo garden and several temples.  It’s a great spot to spend at least half the day at.

Fushimi Inari Shrine

This is one of the most iconic shrines in Kyoto with a path of over 5,000 bright orange gates.  We took the train here, and had fun trying all of the desserts and coffee from the vendors that were just off the train stop.  We walked through the orange gates (great picture opp hehe!) and had tea overlooking a pretty park.

Tea at Pass the Baton

I’m including this here again (I mentioned it in #1), because it was such a memorable experience for me!  Cross a tiny bridge over a canal into the most darling tea house in Kyoto.  Enjoy mochi desserts, green tea, shaved matcha ice, and the stunning ambiance/view from inside.  It was my favorite place to take a mini break at after wandering through Kyoto.

Ramen

I think I ate ramen every single day on my Japan trip for lunch.  We loved a place called Kyoto Gogyo which was right in the Nishiki Market.  It was a bit touristy, but the location, service, and absolutely delicious ramen hit the spot!  The ramen in Kyoto Station is also top notch!

Kinkaku-ji aka the Golden Temple

This is one of the most popular buildings in Japan.  It is a zen Buddhist temple covered in gold leaf surrounded by a sprawling garden.

Bullet Train

Riding the bullet train was such a neat experience!  Derek and I had always wanted to do this. We were pleasantly surprised at how clean, organized and seamless it was.  We enjoyed my favorite Japanese cookies and crackers on the way there ;)

Philosopher’s Walk

Stroll along this tree lined walkway which is about a mile long and beautiful during any season – especially cherry blossom season.

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ALC dress // Banana Republic jacket (similar) // Vintage Chanel // Zara jacket // Nordstrom BP tank // Mother jeans // Sandro Coat // Now Arriving scarf // AG Jeans // Sunnies (similar)
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