a mini travel guide to the navigli, milan

Alzaia Naviglio Grande

I just recently returned from my bi-yearly buying trip to Milan. I stay in what I like to think is a non-Milan neighborhood called the Navigli. When most people think of Milan, they think of chic shopping on Via Monte Napoleone, gazing the glass tiles of the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II or touring the majestic and iconic Duomo. Don’t get me wrong, I like to do these things too. But I am most at home in the Navigli district. And though it’s mostly known for its late night activities. I like to experience it in the late afternoons and early evenings before the crowds of twenty-somethings take over the neighborhood bars.

Being a small business owner myself, I like to support small local businesses, whether I am Seattle or in another city. The Navigli is a neighborhood of hard working small establishments that are offering independent goods and experiences. Here is a very small guide on what to see, drink and eat while visiting this burrow of Milan.The easiest way to get there is to take Milan’s “Metropolitana” subway. Take the green line towards Abbiategrasso/Assago and get off at Porta Genova.

Map of Navigli

Start off your visit with a late lunch or an afternoon coffee at one of the many cafes along the Naviglio Grande. I particularly like to have lunch at L’Altro Luca e Andrea. A small cafe with delicious homemade pasta. Weather permitting, sit outside where you can watch the locals sipping their espressos or taking afternoon strolls.

When you finish lunch, walk along the Naviglio Grande. Ripa di Porta Ticinese and Alzaia Naviglio Grande are the two main roads in the Navigli. Pop into the bookstores, vintage furniture and clothing shops that flank both sides of the canal.

 

If you happen to be there during the flea market, you have hit the jackpot! Both sides of the canal are filled with over 400 vendors selling their antique and vintage collections. A must see occurrence that happens every last Sunday of the month.

The adjoining streets to the Naviglio Grande have some fun little independent designer shops and boutiques too. Along Via Corsico, a new discovery for me was a small little gallery shop called Brandstorming. This little shop features local artists who use found objects and recycled materials to create unique jewelry and gifts.

If you have room in your suitcase, check out and do not miss La Vineria on Via Casale. A wine distillery that makes and bottles there own wine blends. They also bottle olive oil which is my favorite thing to bring home. No room in your suitcases? You can still buy a bottle of wine and drink it in front of the shop. Feel like having a little treat? The Gelateria Orso Bianco up and across the street has wonderful organic frozen treats.

Walk around the corner back towards the subway station and you’ll find a main street called Via Vigevano. Here is where I found two new places that I had never ventured into before. Garden K and Taglio.

First a little bit about Garden K. This is a women’s clothing and accessories boutique with a taste between retrò and eastern, both in furnishing and in the choice of clothes for sale. Eunji Koo and Jim Christopher Nedd stock this little gem with an eclectic mix of modern independent designers and the boutique itself feels welcoming and warm. I really didn’t want to leave.

Alright, all this walking and shopping for the past couple of hours has probably made you hungry, right? On the other side of the street is a coffee bar/salumi/food emporium/restaurant called Taglio. If you truly want a warm casual environment and a fabulous meal, go here! The kitchen works magic from locally grown and seasonal ingredients and the wait staff is helpful and friendly. The wine selection by the glass is the best in the city. Do not skip desert or the coffee. Everything is made in-house and it is so good, that I may have to eat here every night the next time I’m in town just so I can try every dish.

 

Not into having a 3-course meal or feeling just a little peckish? Well, you are in luck because Milan is the city of happy hour fare and the Navigli district has some of the best. Walk back towards Alzaia Naviglio Grande and head over one of the walking bridges to the other side of the canal. Walk straight to the Mag Cafe on Ripa di Porta Ticinese. One of my favorite watering holes for inventive cocktails and a yummy charcuterie plate. Is the Mag bar too packed? Go next door to Pigato for equally delicious food and drinks. You might not even need dinner after this stop.

 

So, if you ever have the opportunity to go to Milan, go visit the Navigli district. You will have a far better Italian city experience away from the tourist traps of the Duomo. Go escape the crowds and live the “dolce vita ” of the Milanese for one afternoon. Saluti!

 Thank you as always for stopping by our little blog. Have a great rest of the week! xo ~ Maggie

Saturday Night Gift Shopping

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Berds of Ply by Zachary Urban

 

Who doesn’t like an Artwalk? Especially in Ballard. Voted best neighborhood artwalk by readers of Seattle Magazine, come see why everyone loves our hood! Besides, have you started your holiday shopping yet? Only 13 more days, can you believe it?!

So join us Saturday, December 13th, for art appreciation and  gift shopping. We will be open from 11am – 9pm tomorrow and we’ll have some hot cider and cookies to warm you up when you come in from the cold. Walk the shops and businesses and help support your local merchants. For more information about December’s Ballard Artwalk, click here.

 Various gift items available at re-souL and resoul.com

SAVE THE DATES: Holidays in Ballard

HOLIDAY HAPPENINGS in BALLARD

 

BALLARD GIVES BLACK – November 28th, 2014

Now in it’s second year, Ballard Gives Black Friday is an event conceived by local merchants in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle. The event occurs on the day after Thanksgiving but instead of long lines, doorbuster deals and crowded parking lots, Ballard retailers welcome shoppers to a different experience; keeping it local. Participating merchants pledge a percentage of the day’s business to a local non-profit as a way of encouraging community, letting shoppers know that more of their hard-earned shopping dollars stay in the community when you shop local.

SHOP SMALL THIS HOLIDAY SEASON – November 29th, 2014

Shop Small Saturday encourages people to shop at small businesses on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. The single day has grown into a powerful movement, and more people are taking part than ever before. Join the revolution, get out and Shop Small on November 29th and make an impact in your neighborhood.

OPEN LATE THURSDAYS -December 4, December 11, December 18

Many Ballard Shops are open late on Thursdays in December, including us! We’re actually open until 8pm Monday thru Saturday, for your shopping convenience. December is the perfect time to shop Ballard after dark with the streets are all lit up with twinkly lights.

For other Ballard neighborhood events, check out the Ballard Chamber or MyBallard.

Hope to see you this holiday season!

XO — team re-souL

Ballard Gives Black Friday: Skate Like A Girl

This year, re-souL will partner with Skate Like a Girl for Ballard Gives Black Friday and we are pledging a percentage of our sales for Friday November 28th to the organization.

We’re guessing very few readers know that re-souL co-owner Legh is a life-long skateboarder and 2 years ago founded the Ballard Thrashers Skateboard Club as a way to keep his son and all the friends together during the summer months. After 2 full summers of Saturday Skateboard Club, in 2014 Legh partnered with a local non-profit Skate Like a Girl to produce an after school skateboard team for kids.

This connection brought professional skateboarder Kristin Ebeling on as skate coach as well as a team of certified skateboard instructors to help the Ballard Thrashers take their skills to a whole new level. Kristin’s skate coaching philosophy focuses not only on tricks and skills, but values such as leadership, teamwork and sportsmanship.

We’d like to recognize them not only for their talent as an organization but also as individuals. We think they’re rad. So let us introduce you to Skate Like a Girl superstars Kristin Ebeling and Jasmin Kwan.

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Jasmin Kwan and Kristin Ebeling wearing boots and shoes from Kudeta.

Name: Kristin Ebeling (Seattle Chapter Director)
Sponsors: Evo, Meow Skateboards & The Skate Witches
Hometown: Atlanta, GA
Regular or Goofy: Goofy
Favorite Food: Anything (our friend) Marshall or my mom makes!
 
Name: Jasmin Kwan (Development Director)
Sponsors: Nancy Chang (our board chair) telling me I can do whatever I want.
Hometown: Kent, WA
Regular or Goofy: Goofy
Favorite Food: Tater tots or Indian buffet.

 

How long have you been skateboarding and how did you get started?

JK: I first started when I was about 15, but I was also a competitive gymnast – I had to lie about how I got hurt (while skating). And basically had to hide it, as if it were a sketchy boyfriend or something. So I pretty much took a hiatus from 16 to 23 years old.

KE: I started at age 12. I played football with the boys at recess, so naturally when they picked up skateboards, I did too. I was also inspired by Elissa Steamer’s character on the Tony Hawk’s pro skater video games. I thought, “if she’s skating, so can I.” I liked that she wasn’t too girly. I could relate to that.

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How did you get connected to the Skate Like a Girl organization?

JK: My first Skate Like a Girl clinic was in 2006 at the Sustainable Ballard Festival hosted at the Ballard Bowl. I remember Kristin teaching me how to do kick turns and pumping. But I wasn’t involved again until September of 2013, when I cold called the number online to say I was throwing a benefit concert. Nancy was skeptical, but eventually agreed to meet when she knew I was serious. The show raised $7k, which was a major funding push for the year. I was brought on in May as the ‘Development Director,’ so I quit my day job and devoted all of my energy towards evolving Skate Like a Girl. (Next benefit show is coming up! January 16th at the Vera Project!!)

KE: I “met” Skate Like a Girl when I was 17. I heard about an all girls skate competition they were throwing, so I decided to check it out. At that point I was an accomplished skater of 5 years, but hadn’t really skated with another gal before. My jaw dropped as I saw a girl ollie the 8 stair when I walked up. Beyond that, I was stoked to see a woman (Nancy Chang) on the microphone announcing, as well as other ladies filming and taking photos. I was so inspired by the energy, I decided I wanted to be a part of the crew immediately. From that point, I began volunteering at clinics and events. The rest is history!

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Can you tell us in your own words what Skate Like a Girl represents to you?

JK: Skate Like a Girl represents a revolution happening in skateboarding culture. We’re moving away from the male-dominated, ‘skate as wild as you can’ scene, and towards a more diverse demographic. We have moms wanting to learn how to skate because their kids are doing it – that pretty much speaks for itself. We are changing the stigmas that come with doing something ‘like a girl,’ and I love that.

KE: Skate Like a Girl represents the future of skateboarding. We are constantly pushing the “norms” of who can participate in skateboarding, and how people learn to skate.

Where do you think Skate Like a Girl is going? 5 years? 10 years?

JK: My utopian vision is to have our own covered skate space with a foam pit! Realistically though, capacity building in our existing chapters and expanding to different cities nationwide (or worldwide). I really believe that we are changing skateboarding culture in our communities and in the media – people will start to connect our mission with the changes they’re seeing in the coming years.

KE: Skate Like a Girl is going in whatever direction is needed from our local communities. We essentially build our programs based off of people saying, “hey this would be a good idea.” My personal hope is that we can open up our own all-weather skate facility and create a youth skateboarding league within the next 5 years. Within the next 10 years, I would hope we could expand to some new cities, while continuing to create gender equity within skateboarding. It would be great to be able to say that 50% of all skaters in Seattle are female. This would not only be rad to me personally, but would allow for tremendous growth for our local skate shops & other businesses.

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The girls striking a pose. Jasmin is wearing the re-souL “Buffy” and Krisitn is wearing the Coclico “Dore”

 

Name one or more of your favorite female skateboarders and what about them do you like:

JK: Sky, she’s now 6 years old. I like her because she TOTALLY RIPS! See for yourself: http://girlskateuk.com/2014/10/20/6-yr-old-sky-from-california-absolutely-rips/

KE: I’m going to have to go with Lacey Baker. She – hands down – has the best style, and is such a humble person as well. She also has a degree in graphic design and has done some rad work for Meow Skateboards. Oh yeah, she won x games this past summer.

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So, when you’re not skateboarding, tell us about a favorite outfit you like to rock, what’s your style?

JK: I’d say it’s pretty country Western Mad Max meets 70s glam with lazy punk rock boarder chick accents. My favorite ‘fancy’ outfit at the moment is my 70s blue/purple paisley shirt dress with grape colored Jeffrey Campbell Litas. Top that with a faux fur coat OR black motorcycle jacket to break the cold Seattle breeze. My hair also happens to be a random bright color at any given moment.

KE: I’ve been really into jumpers & floral print lately. I would describe my style as basically taking one feminine piece, like a jumper or dress, then throwing in a punk/skate inspired jacket, along with some badass boots or beat up converse. I also throw a little flare with a five panel hat, and some vintage inspired jewelry.

Pink or Orange?  

JK: My helmet is orange, but I am not afraid of some HOT pink.
KE: Orange, Go [Ballard] THRASHERS!

Shopping or Drinking?  

JK: Antique malls and craft beer.
KE: Thrift stores & dive bars.

Tony Hawk or Tony Alva?

JK: Da Hawk.
KE: Birdman all day!

Top 4 Reasons You Should Shop Small Saturday

Back in July we were musing about retail. Small retail. Independent retail. We’re gearing up for the holidays and it’s the perfect time to reach out to our re-souL community to remind you how important it is to support small businesses.

Back in 2010, American Express founded Small Business Saturday to help businesses with their most pressing need — getting more customers. The day encourages people to shop at small businesses on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. The single day has grown into a powerful movement, and more people are taking part than ever before. This year, the big day is Nov 29. Here are the top 4 reasons you should shop small.

SHOP SMALL

Local businesses often hire people who have a better understanding of the products they’re selling, and take more time to get to know their customers.

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SHOP SMALL

Independent businesses make purchases requiring less transportation and are usually located in commercial corridors and in-town instead of developing on the fringe. This means less sprawl, congestion, habitat loss and pollution.

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 SHOP SMALL

When you shop local, three times the revenue remains in your community, supporting parks, schools and more! For every $100 spent at a locally owned business, $45 goes back into the community and our tax base. For every $100 spent at a chain store, only $14 comes back.

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SHOP SMALL: LIVE LOCAL & GIVE LOCAL

Independent businesses are the largest contributors to LOCAL charities. Non-profit organizations receive an average of 250% more support from local business owners than they do from non-locally owned businesses.