first friday st pete
St Pete and Clearwater are renowned as holiday destinations for sun and sand. Rightfully so. But after spending a month in St Pete and living like a local, I learned the so-called ‘Sunshine City’ has as much – if not more – to offer as its sugar sand-covered coastlines.

Read on for the 411 on block parties, local trends, some of the best food anywhere in America, and more.

first friday st pete
st johns pass
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z grille
Z Grille is a bit of a ‘blink and you miss it’ destination in downtown St Pete (or DTSP, as the cool kids call it). From the corner of 1st Avenue South, its an unassuming stretch of al fresco tables that have nothing on the grind-rail lined interior and sophistication whipped out of its open kitchen.

Z Grille’s chef and owner, Zach Gross, is a creature of constant experimentation. Though there are a few items that would cause an uproar if removed, the menu is as improvisational and creative as the Grille can get away with. It is a daring take in a competitive area and something they’re doing very well.

It is the type of place you want to bring all your friends so you can try a little bite of everything. Especially the Shrimp ‘Nachoz’ (crab queso, corn salsa, Pico De Gallo, avocado Salsa, queso fresco, cilantro crème, and pickled onions) and the gargantuan Foie Burger (house ground brisket & Ribeye, grilled onions, grilled tomato, applewood bacon, foie gras & garlic mayo), which is served with the most addictive manchego and chive-sprinkled truffle fries I have ever had the pleasure to taste.

Pro tip: save room for a few killer cocktails – they are as aptly named (ie Skinny “Beeyotch”) as they are delicious.

z grille st pete
z grille 2
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lace dress
I am a big fan of “Dress Moments“. You know the ones – birthday parties, graduations, holidays, weddings…even brunches with the girl gang; any excuse to throw on something femme and I’m there.

There’s just something celebratory about the whole thing. The finding of a dress you didn’t know you were looking for (or didn’t imagine you’d look good in – that’s even better!), the purchase, the try-on, the tag rip, the dress’ first outing (this one received a surprising number of rave reviews from complete strangers)…for me, it’s an addictive celebration of the female body. Unlike a good pair of jeans or a blazer, dresses are ours. And designed for the female form. Sartorially, it doesn’t get much better.

Of course, it doesn’t stop at one dress. If you’d like to see a few of my beautiful blogger friends also getting frocky, click here and get dress-spired! It’s time to celebrate you, too.

What I Wore:
White Lace Shift Dress from M&S Collection
Gold heels from Heavenly Soles

A post shared by Lela London (@lelalondon) on


lace dress

A post shared by Lela London (@lelalondon) on


St Pete and Clearwater are the peanut butter and jelly of Florida. My state-based childhood means I’m always asked for the so-called “best place to travel in Florida” and the combination is, without a doubt, going to be my answer for many years to come.

At just a 30-40 minute drive from St Petersburg, Clearwater (Beach and City) has everything a picture-perfect Florida vacation could promise; dolphins, boats, seafood, an atmosphere perfect for spring breakers & families alike, the best beach in America, and more.

Read on to get acquainted…

clearwater florida 4
clearwater florida
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wisteria hysteria
I have spent a lot of time in and around Straub Park since arriving in St Pete. Lining the waterfront of the Vinoy Basin, it has proven to be as perfect for morning runs as it has for sun-drenched strolls along Beach Drive.

To compensate for the calorific intake of Easter lunch (which was so spectacular its inevitable blog is just around the corner), I decided to take a few laps in an outfit a little more ‘wysteria hysteria’-friendly than my typical activewear…

What I Wore:
Black vintage dress (similar here)
Gold heels from Heavenly Soles

wisteria hysteria
wisteria hysteria