Construction barricades and traffic headaches have lately become the new normal at Highland Park Village. Founded in 1931 and designated a National Historic Landmark in 2000, however, the Village didn’t establish its decades-long reputation for excellence by resting on laurels. Royal Blue Grocery is now open for business. Though beautifully appointed, those who had hoped for a Hamptons-style Barefoot Contessa experience inside this anticipated addition (present company included) may be disappointed. Rather, Austin-based Royal Blue Grocery aims to provide a “modern, urban grocery store” experience within a tiny footprint. Expect convenience items like crackers, chips, and breakfast cereal squeezed in alongside wine and cheese, a coffee bar, and the typical toiletries. Alice + Olivia is now open. We’ve long admired designer Stacey Bendet’s brand for its head-turning party dresses and statement-making separates. brand’s website for a taste of its all-encompassing approach to “athleisure.” Two doors down, Dior Beauty is another coming debut. Rounding out this southern stretch, Céline takes the treasured corner spot. Helmed by Phoebe Philo, this French luxury house brings its stamp of sophistication to products in a range of categories, from clothing to accessories, and beyond. Also of note, longtime Tom Thumb neighbor St. Michael’s Woman’s Exchange was displaced from its home for some months during the recent construction. It has returned to a bright, beautiful new boutique. Many locals count upon the something-for-everyone gift emporium, and its wrapping service, during the holiday shopping season. Seaside Luxe, the multi-brand store will bring a curated selection of designer goods within an inviting environment. We’re excited, indeed, to shop Nancy Gonzales, Missoni, Citizens of Humanity, Prabal Gurung, and more, while nibbling goodies from Sugarfina. Exclusive merchandise and frequent in-store events are also part of the plan for MARKET, which is slated to open later this month on the western side of the Village, across from Mi Cocina. Plan your visit at dusk to also enjoy the over two million LED lights that decorate Highland Park Village during the holiday season. All images via individual retailers.