CREDIT: Ruby Edmondson
We’ve all seen “That Girl” on our #fyp or in our Instagram feeds. An aspirational yet relatable, lifestyle-centric ideal. A new breed of influencer who balances workouts, meditations, study sessions, smoothie runs, gratitude journaling, and other wellness successes with a vibrant social life coupled with effortless photo ops and an array of Princess Polly campus ambassador-worthy outfits to boot.
This social media movement isn’t as superficial as some may make it seem. There is a refreshing, vulnerable focus on finding beauty in the little things, such as creating healthy daily routines and habits that allow for mental, emotional and physical growth. Sharing these developments with others can help us spread the positivity of a balanced regimen, so long as we forego the pressures to keep up with this established reputation of both working hard and playing hard.
The good news? The “That Girl” aesthetic is a side effect of social media’s thriving “make Instagram casual again” trend that can be easily replicated for your personal use. No more gatekeeping aesthetics, just read on to align with your inner micro-influencer and manifest your model off duty, Gossip Girl core, Pinterest mood boarded dreams while still residing in sunny northern Florida.
Matchas & Lattes & Brunches, oh my!
Whether you’re partaking in the comforts of the sunny Innovation location or the iconic Airstream bus at the 4th Ave Food Park, Opus Coffee screams cute, quirky college town coffee run. Set with all the espressos and teas your heart would yearn for, the seasonal specials and eye-catching matchas are the real “thirst trap” your feed needs.
CREDITS: Paulina Trujillo; Penelope Roca
This sunny yellow coffee spot is a go-to for its ultimate home-y vibes and roasts from Puerto Rico, Colombia, Cuba, Mexico, Brazil and Guatemala. The palm trees, colorful art and spacious seating inside and out easily turn any study sesh into an unassuming photo op. It’s a great option for those who haven’t been inducted into the coffee-loving, cult-like behavior, as they have a variety of juices, smoothies and Latin American goodies.
Afternoon is an elusive eatery with the aesthetic appeal that everyone is dying to capture on film. As much as we appreciate a visually enticing avocado toast, Afternoon adds a little bit of spice to the timeline with instant favorites like Shakshuka or a sweet Dutch baby pancake. Don’t forget about their local coffee à la Afternoon Roasting, a tempting case of fresh pastries and the selection of natural wines.
Bonus: Luke’s New York Bagels
While you’re awaiting a response on those NYC internship applications, manifest your city girl era with a trip to Luke’s New York Bagels. The wait for your highly anticipated breakfast sammie and cold brew can be ameliorated by snapping a few candids by the “Just Be Nice” mural next door.
Gorgeous, Gorgeous Girls Choose Conscious Consumerism
A new communal event space and fashion hub, newcomer How Bazar claims its fame in the Gainesville scene by uniting local artists, vendors, vintage clothiers and the community with events like the Bazar Á La Carte night market and live music shows.
Serpentine Plants + Provisions
This creative, chill plant shop boasts a curated plethora of painted pots, lush flora, funky socks, handmade jewelry and a variety of chocolates, coffee beans, tea leaves and a bevy of beverages to peruse. Support small businesses, become a “plant mom” and perfect your apartment’s artsy vibe all at once.
The Florida Vintage Market
This instant classic is pretty self-explanatory. Explore The Florida Vintage Market for one-of-a-kind finds that will have people turning heads (and opening their Depop app).
CREDIT: Sara Armstrong
Bonus: The AUK Market
Not only is the AUK Market another source for vintage and handmade finds, the space hosts events like pop-up markets, workshops and art features. It also makes for a great excuse to check out neighboring establishments like Curia On The Drag for vegan-friendly fare or Dad’s Bar, a neon-lit titan of live music and libations.
Are you Aperol Spritz hot or Espresso Martini hot?
Madrina’s graces downtown Gainesville with a fabulous ambience and list of fancy apéritifs quick to make you whip your phone out for a pic. Not only do they kill it with the bar-themed memes and craft their happy hour specials with a college student budget in mind, this cozy bar is carefully tucked away among the bustling businesses downtown, making it perfect for low-key meetups, date nights or a wholesome start to an otherwise chaotic evening downtown.
Cry Baby’s is the sister bar to Afternoon, so it’s no surprise that it’s a photogenic favorite. The warm ambient lighting, no-fuss gimlets, pops of greenery and streetside patio are giving indie sleaze in the best way.
CREDIT: Penelope Roca
Superette Wine + Provisions
Whether they’re a total wine snob, an unashamed fan of rosé or strictly showing up for the charcuterie board, I’ve yet to find a person who isn’t instantly charmed by Superette Wine + Provisions. Gather a group for a festive tasting on the veranda or grab a book and a glass for a little you-time.
Bonus: The Dime
I almost never hear anyone talk about The Dime – such a crime! Its retro design is totally fitting for its snug spot between Barcade and the Pop-a-Top Bodega. Located just steps (or stumbles) away from Cry Baby’s, you can easily add this inconspicuous cocktail lounge to your list of bar-hopping destinations.
In the end, being “That Girl” is less about performative posting and more about the romanticization of your life. Doing things that bring you joy, whether it be in the form of buying a new plant soon to wither on your bedroom’s windowsill or an iced oat milk chai, is more important than a specific aesthetic. Utilize Gainesville’s unique places to connect with others and expand your journey of personal growth. Or, you know, just procrastinate on that essay, sift through some vintage tees and treat yourself to a sunset picnic in Depot Park with your besties. No one will blame you.