los angeles

Useful West Coast Souvenirs

As an avid traveler, I’m always thinking of unique souvenirs to give my loved ones to ensure they share a piece of the amazing location I’ve just come from. I personally love cheesy souvenirs and have a collection that I hope to fill a huge bookcase with one day, but for others I really strive to find unique souvenirs that they will use often in hopes that it will inspire them to visit that place.  As I acquaint myself better with the West Coast, I’ve noticed that it is best captured in the one of kind souvenirs local artists have created to give new comers and tourists a representation of what these cities are like. This month for our gifting feature I want to share some fun useful souvenirs from the four cities we are highlighting. We hope you love them as much as we do!

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USA Map Fabric Wall Decal

USA Map Fabric Wall Decal

San Francisco is an artist’s playground. With breathtaking architecture and landscapes and appreciation for art and healthy living on every corner, there is a free spirited and expressive joy everywhere you go. Petit Collage, a local design studio that is gaining huge success with brands like Target and Bloomingdales, brings to life San Francisco’s notable attractions in vibrant, animated prints.  Her playful, modern drawings come printed on wood, as iPhone cases or my favorite as a pop out drawing that stands on its own any flat surface and makes for a fun project for any age.  

San Francisco iPhone 5 Hard Case

San Francisco iPhone 5 Hard Case

Petit Collage was created by Lorena Siminiovich, a children’s book author and illustrator. Each item listed above is printed on recycled stock with vegetable inks that speak to San Francisco’s value of sustainable living and production. I look forward to seeing what other prints of cities Petit Collage come out with soon!

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Seattle Skyline Socks

Seattle Skyline Socks

Seattle is another West Coast city bursting with creativity. I have been to numerous cities in the US and seem some awesome souvenirs but never have I seen a souvenir like Skyline Socks' designs. I fell in love with this artist’s creative idea to capture landmarks on such a basic but perfect medium.  The best part about these cozy, cute and simple souvenirs is that by supporting this local artist you also support those in need in the Seattle community. For each sock you buy, Skyline Socks donates a pair to those in need. These socks come in vibrant colors and patterned designs, some with just a clean print of Seattle’s famous space needle and others with lifelike images of Seattle Mountains or the Seattle Downtown Skyline( these are my favorite!). These socks are certainly more a fashion statement than just a souvenir. Skyline Socks really lives up to the Seattle appreciation for art with these one of a kind socks. 

Seattle Skyline Socks

Seattle Skyline Socks

Skyline Socks are located in Seattle and created the brand to inspire awareness, giving back and celebrating your city in a stylish way.  They encourage everyone to β€œPut on for your city” and have designs for many cities all over the U.S including New York and Washington D.C. It’s so refreshing to see more creative companies giving back to the community and I truly commend Skyline for their unique designs and caring business model.

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Portland Breweries Playing Card

Portland Breweries Playing Card

Portland also is able to boast of beautiful landscapes and a culture that supports the arts. As in Seattle, we also found a perfect souvenir on a popular medium. Illustrated playing Cards hand sketches and prints their playing cards of city landmarks right in Portland. The crispness of these sketches are what really make makes me love them. Just from looking through one deck you can view 52 images of how beautiful Portland is. They have versions that cover all of Portland and have major landmarks like the Portland Art Museum, Skidmore Fountain and then a version that is focused on Portland Breweries, Mississippi Street, and the Albert Art District. There is also a deck called the Secrets of Portland and it comes in watercolor pencil that are truly breathtaking images right in your hand. Anyone of these series makes the perfect Portland souvenir. 

Portland Landmark Playing Card

Portland Landmark Playing Card

Aaron Trotter is the artist behind these beautiful cards. He sketches these on location and is influenced by Renaissance artists. He describes these cards perfectly on his website β€œthis is really not about playing cards. It’s about Art.” Aaron truly captures the Art of Portland and various other cities effortlessly and I’m so looking forward for his series of many other cities!

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Randy's Donut Single Card 

Randy's Donut Single Card 

Here in our city I’ve fallen in love with Ink & Smog's urban letterpress prints! Their illustrated black and white prints are so well done that the buildings and the monuments feel like they are jumping out of the page.  Ink & Smog effortlessly captures all of the buzzing life and significance these places carry for our city. Their products are perfect souvenirs that represent the creativity present in all of LA, especially in the buildings and signs that make up our unique landscape.  You can gift a set of postcards, greeting cards or my favoriteβ€”framed prints of their awesome La La Land city designs.  

LA Westside Neighborhood Postcard Set

LA Westside Neighborhood Postcard Set

All of  Ink & Smog's prints are hand done, initially with a machine they built from scratch in their living room. They have recently expanded into a new shop with a new printing machine after a successful Kickstarter Campaign. We are looking forward to see what other prints they come out with and so glad to hear of their new chapter and success!

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The West Coast Is the Best Coast

The world is big enough to hold a place for all of us
-Leyandra

Dear bloomers,

If someone would have said that the West Coast was the best coast to me years ago I would have laughed. I spent 23 years of my life living on the East Coast and thought there could be no place better. But it did not take me long to fall in love with LA when I moved here two years ago and it was more than the LA sunshine that stole my heart. In LA I finally found a place where I am able to fully express the side of me that strives to live poetically and inspire art and beauty in everything I do. I've met so many likeminded souls here that have truly touched my heart with their support and inspired me so much with their own creativity. Even more heart-warming is the appreciation for health, fitness and nature that this coast has. The West Coast really has it all.

My move to LA showed me that there is a place for us all. We just have to be courageous enough to seek it out. I am so happy to call the West Coast my home and I'm looking forward to sharing my exploration of it with you all. If you haven't found a place that makes you feel proud to express who you are,  be brave and don't give up searching. We all deserve to feel at home.

For the next four months,  BITA will be celebrating four very creative West Coast cities: Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland and Seattle. We are also undergoing exciting new growth and direction and will be sharing our journey with you! So as the fall season starts we invite you to join us for our weekly posts highlighting four very important things to us:   Writing, Design,  Making and Gifting.

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