Archive for the 'Travel' Category

Out Of Africa


We’re heading on a little va-cay ….. Well, actually it’s a pretty big one …… We’re going to South Africa, you heard me right, South Africa with some dear dear friends who were kind enough to invite us to tag along on their 25th wedding anniversary celebration!  Believe it or not, the bags are packed and I’m ready to hit the road for the adventure of a lifetime.  Have you been to SA?  Got some travel tips? A great restaurant? Or tour guide?  Please let me know!  

STYLish Traveler

I truly love traveling, but I am beginning to hate airline travel.  I think it’s the long TSA lines and all of the drama attendant with the mergers of various airlines, confusion with lounge entry and poor customer service.  Although I’m not a member of Marquis Jet yet (the solution to private aviation for those who don’t have a fleet of their own private jets at their disposal – truth be told, a membership to Marquis Jet is not in the budget, but a girl’s gotta dream!), there are some really cool invitation-only travel sites that offer great travel specials to globe-trotters all over.  Why are they invitation only? Membership has its privileges, right? …..  Some of the amazing hotels and resorts that we’ve stayed at over the past year were a result of our various memberships — Paris, Italy, Anguilla — need I say more? Wanna join? Sure you do!  Here you go:






Happy trails to you!

Packin’ Bling!

Ok, so I admit it. I’m at a loss.  As you all know, I travel quite a bit . . . but I’m loathe to admit that I have not yet figured out how to satisfactorily pack my bling.  The real stuff is in a small jewelry roll that never leaves my side and goes from my tote/handbag to the hotel safe like clockwork. It’s the statement pieces I’m talkin’ ’bout ….. I got a great necklace from JCrew awhile ago. It came in a lovely silver box. Why did that silver box, affixed with two rubber bands become my travel jewelry box? It made me cringe everytime I opened it up, but it did store my bling quite nicely (everything was in a separate jewelry pouch). Now, I know some folks believe in ziploc bags, but they haven’t proven to be adequate jewelry storage for me (I use them to store all kinds of stuff in my suitcase, but I haven’t found them to be particularly useful when packing jewelry).  How do you pack your gems for travel?

Surf’s Up!

The South Carolina shore has been absolutely lovely.  I hate that we’re leaving soon. I really do love being by the seaside. I think I may have to put this image on my screen saver – a great reminder of wonderfully blissful days. What does your screen saver say about you and your personal style?

Southern Comfort

Although I was born in Nashville and have traveled to some Southern gems like New Orleans, Charlotte and Atlanta, I’ve spent very little time in the Southern regions of the U.S. of A.  So, I am very interested in exploring Charleston and all that it has to offer.  We began by eating our way through Charleston – in two days, I’ve sampled the fare at Cru Cafe, McCrady’s, The Palmetto Cafe and Husk.  And while I’ve not yet begun to get my shop on (a Charlestonian belle provided me with a list of her favorite haunts to check out), just from walking around I’ve been able to discern two things – it’s all about the monograms and antiques down here.

In addition to getting the lay of the land, I always try to find a book or two to help give me a better perspective on life in an unfamiliar local or a book on the history of the area.  To learn more about Charleston’s charm, I’m reading Pat Conroy’s South of Broad.  Tell me dear readers, what do you do when in a new locale for the first time?

What’s In Your Beach Bag?

Going to the beach is one of my favorite things to do …… the sound of the ocean, the water, the sand between my toes, a comfy lounge chair, a good book, friends and great libations …. To make my beach experience primo, having the right things in my beach bag can make or break my day at the beach.  It’s no fun if you’ve forgotten your Evian spritzer and have to run back to the hotel, house or drug store to retrieve it.  So, I’m curious, what’s in your beach bag dear readers?

[photo curtesy of JCrew]

Back In the Saddle!

Hello My Pretties! (Yes, I recently watched the Wizard of Oz).  I hope everyone had a wonderful 4th of July weekend.  I must say, it’s great to go away on vacation, but it’s always good to come home.  While I was away, this lovely little piece on one of my favorite places to travel to ran in the most recent edition of the online magazine Laura U (check out page 80).

Stay tuned . . . lots of good stuff in store!



Holiday Travel Survival Kit

If you’re traveling this week, like the Girl Scout motto says “Be Prepared!” This is what both Atlanta Hartsfield and LaGuardia aiports looked like a week ago Sunday when I was coming back from lavish! I hope everything will be smooth sailing this week when we make our around the world-trek to spend Christmas with my family in Bloomington, Indiana and my husband’s family in Atlanta – yes, we will actually be with both of our families on Christmas day (mine in the am and his in the pm). Crazy I know, but we’re youngish and we don’t have any kids, so we’re traveling to be with our loved ones this holiday. I’ve been stuck in enough airports and train stations over the years during the holidays, that I’ve got my survival kit down to a science.

Cashmere travel blanket & eye-mask – It’s always cold on planes and in airport lounges.  And the lighting?  It’s enough to wake the dead.

Layers – Unless traveling from warm weather to warm weather, I always travel with a hat, scarf and gloves.  Some say this is more to keep track of, I say these are items that can help ward off a cold.

Emergen-C – Germs, germs and more germs. Everyone has a cold at this time of year, these little packets are easy to pack and they really do help!

iPod – Don’t leave home with out it.  What better way to block out all of the drama unfolding than to put in your ear buds and let Ira Glass of NPR’s This American Life or Wil.I.Am of The Black Eyed Peas transport you to another realm.

A Good Book – Believe it or not, two Christmases ago, I read an entire book at the Atlanta airport in one sitting while waiting for my delayed plane home. I repeat, I don’t leave home without my Kindle.

Snacks – Airport’s are expensive.  Gummy Bears, gum, M&M’s, chips, Kind bars – whatever I can shove into my carry-on without to much hassle I try to pick up at the drug store the day before I leave.

Comfortable Shoes – This is tough if you’re traveling somewhere where Winter boots are a necessity.  You might have to bite the bullet and walk around like lead foot.  I’ve got a great pair of Stuart Weitzman boots that I can pack, I’m all about the Converse sneakers at the moment.  No, they don’t make me look a fashion plate, but they do keep my dogs from barkin’!

Chargers – I usually pack my chargers in my luggage, but for long travel days like these you just never know when you might need to re-charge your phone, iPod, Kindle, iPad, etc.

A Good Attitude – It’s the holidays.  Everyone’s anxious to get home and see their loved ones, but no one can do anything about the inevitable delays.  It’s much easier to travel at this time of year if you do it with a good dose of holiday cheer and try to impart it to the folks at the airline as well as your fellow travelers.

Prepare for the worse, but hope for the best and be pleasantly surprised when you sail through security, then get to your gate and boarding has begun and miracle of all miracles your flight lands on time.

Travel safe and be well!

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A Stylish Day On the Vineyard

I’ve been hanging out on Martha’s Vineyard for the past week catching up with friends, hanging out at the beach, eating good food and generally just enjoying life. Days have a way of blending into one another – it’s hard to believe that the week flew by so quickly!  If I had my druthers, I’d come up to the Vineyard for two weeks. I am happy to have been here for one week, but just as I’m re-learning my way around and re-discovering some of my favorite shops it’s just about time to head home. Nevertheless, I’m definitely in my happy place!

Each town on the Vineyard has a different style.  I’m most familiar with Oak Bluffs, Vineyard Haven and Edgartown. Why?  Probably because most of the stores are concentrated in these three areas.

One Size Fits All

Oak Bluffs has a little something for everyone – young and old alike, prepster, hippie, bohemian, Republican and Democrat.  It’s definitely the melting pot of Martha’s Vineyard.  It’s very kid-friend and family-oriented; there are tons of kids running up and down Circuit Avenue going from the arcade to the carousel to the ice cream shops.  You see folks in everything from Vineyard Vines, tie-die t-shirts, Vilebrequin to Lilly Pulitzer and Grateful Dead t-shirts.  The shops are easy to navigate and range from mid-range to low-range in price.  My favorite store in Oak Bluffs is Third World Trading Company – it’s got an eclectic mix of dresses, jewelry, bags and tops.  Definitely a place to clothe your inner hipster.

Boho Chic

Vineyard Haven is home to lots of small art galleries, interesting boutiques and home stores.  The atmosphere is cool and calm with lots of stores that make you want to decorate that Summer vacation home you’ve been dreaming about.   Walking down Main Street is a piece of cake in comparison to Circuit Avenue in Oak Bluffs.  The crowd is definitely a little bit older with an artsy-fartsy vibe – lots of linen, maxi dresses, big sun hats and interesting silver jewelry.  Believe it or not, despite the fun boutiques in Vineyard Haven, my favorite store on Main Street is the bookstore, Bunch of Grapes.  It’s a lovely independent bookstore that just makes me want to browse one book after the other- definitely, one of my favorite pastimes.

Preppie Heaven

Edgartown has got to be one of the preppiest places in the world aside from Nantucket.  If you’ve read The Preppy Handbook, you understand Edgartown.  If not, just imagine a place where pink and green, Menemsha blues and stores like J. McLaughlin rule.  The streets are lined with the preppiest of the preppiest stores and the stores are filled with clerks who look like they’ve just stepped out of a JCrew or Kate Spade ad.  The crowds walking up and down the streets reflect the clerks in the stores.  Spending time in Edgartown reminds me of growing up in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.  My favorite stores are 20 Main and Nell – they’re merchandised so well that the windows make me want to walk in and buy out the store.  I’d describe them as preppy chic with a bit of SoHo thrown in. Kudos to whomever is doing the buying, great eye! (For the record, as much as the windows make me want to become the prepster I once was, I’ve only purchased one pair of pj’s)

What are your favorite Vineyard stores?


Martha’s Vineyard: Planes, Trains & Automobiles

We’ve been going to Martha’s Vineyard every Summer for the past 4 years.  Prior to that, I’d been going off-and-on with friends for about 6 years.  So, while not a lifer, I guess you could say that I have a pretty good sense of the island and life on it in the Summertime.  And whenever presented with a quandry  I can’t solve, I just ask my friend JT (a lifer) who has encyclopedic knowledge about all things MV – need a great lobster roll, birthday cake or the best place to find a house?  JT has the answer for you.

Martha’s Vineyard is one of the most relaxing places I’ve ever been too.  Just as Willow Springs, the island in Gloria Naylor’s book Mama Day, plays a vital role in the lives of its inhabitants, Martha’s Vineyard is a special place that holds a very dear spot in the hearts of those who return to it annually.  Time stands still when you’re on the island. Eating good food, catching up with friends, going to the beach, lazing around – there’s time for all of this and more in just one day. However, getting there is no joke!  It is literally planes, trains, automobiles and ferries for just about all who travel to Martha’s Vineyard.  Is it worth it?  ABSOLUTELY!  (My sister who has two small kids and lives in the Midwest would beg to differ with me, but hopefully they’ll come out again next Summer).  But, getting there is more than a notion. And I’ll be honest, packing can be a bit overwhelming because you never know exactly what you might need (i.e., want) while on the island.  At this point, I’ve pretty much gotten it down to a science though.  Below are my 12 essential items for Martha’s Vineyard.

  1. Zip Code tote bag from JMcLaughlin – It’s roomy, chic and husband-friendly all at once.
  2. Un flip-flop like flip-flops – I’m partial to Jack Rogers (it’s the Prepster in me) and FitFlops (they’re oooh, so comfortable!).
  3. Lilly P! – It just seems right to wear Lilly Pulitzer on one of the preppiest islands in the nation, plus her clothes are sooooo comfortable and functional.
  4. My Kindle – I don’t leave home without it!
  5. Sunglasses – I’ve been diggin’ my Ray-Ban Aviators this season; they’re so light on my face.
  6. Moisturizing hair and skin products – I’m partial to KerastaseKiehl’s and Neutrogena.
  7. Meco Charcoal Grill – My husband’s favorite grill; charcoal is just so much better than gas.  And yes, we actually bring our grill with us in our car to MV.
  8. A Bikini – My stomach just gets too hot to wear a one-piece, I’m weird like that.
  9. A Tunic – Tunics are great for beach vacations, you can dress them up or down and in a pinch they make great cover-ups.  No one does tunics better than Tory Burch.
  10. My Camera – As you know, I love my red Canon PowerShot.
  11. My iPod & Speakers – You gotta have your tunes on the beach and music for impromptu house parties.
  12. A Cocktail Shaker – Those impromptu house parties usually get started ‘cuz someone is using a cocktail shaker.  Enough said.

Do you have a favorite vacation spot?  Anything you won’t leave home without?


Adventures in Paris, IV: My Favorite Things . . .

The Louvre Museum

Velib' Station - Bicycles for Rent

I loved the monogrammed Goyard trunk at the Assouline Store!

I stumbled upon this fabulous vintage boutique, La Renaissance, that I read about in Vogue years ago. Beautiful clothes - best part? The owner told me she liked my dress!

I love the entryways for the Metro stations - they're soooo elegant!

Restaurant Le Meurice at our hotel, Le Meurice - the food and service were to die for!

I HEART Paris!  I am so thankful to have had the chance to go and explore – it was an absolutely wonderful trip. Thank you for reliving the moments with me.  Until next time  . . .

Adventures in Paris III: Shopping!

No trip to Paris would be complete with out shopping.  Yes, we made it to the obvious – Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Yves Saint Laurent, Anne Fontaine and the like, and they’are absolutely beautiful stores with fabulous merchandise to be had.  But, I have to tell you my most favorite place to shop in Paris is Marché aux Puces St-Ouen de Clignancourt, a.k.a. the Flea Market!  Call me crazy, if you will, but once you’ve been there you’ll know why I love it.  For some reason, we don’t have flea markets in the U.S. like they do in Paris or even London for that matter.  Leave it to the French to one-up us on junk, but they do and they do it sooooooo well.  Whatever your heart desires is there for the taking and then some.  A Birkin bag?  A Kelly?  Vintage Pucci, Channel, Cacharel?  Beautiful costume jewelry, fabulous fur coats, fantastic furniture to outfit every room in my imaginary country home; you name it, and it was there.  Prices were pretty good.  I found that speaking French and exhibiting my knowledge about a particular designer was helpful in dealing with vendors.

While we were strolling through the Marché (and there’s lots and lots and lots to stroll through), I saw an Asian woman who’s face was so familiar to me that I began racking my brain to figure out how I knew her (I’ve been in Europe and randomly bumped into friends before, so I really thought this was no different).  Then I heard her voice.  Her voice was so distinctive that I had to chuckle to myself. It was Vera Wang.  Yes, Vera Wang and her husband were spending the afternoon shopping in Clignancourt.  But I digress.

There are not enough hours in a day for me to explore all that Clignancourt has to offer, but you best believe I tried my best!  If I lived in Paris, I would be there every weekend for a few hours exploring, learning and building relationships with vendors (the Marché is only open on Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays).  My most wonderful find?  Une autre Brazil! (Another Brazil).  This one is carmel colored instead of Black, but she’s just as versatile.

I have wonderful visual memories of Clignancourt, but I have to admit I was sooooooo excited to be there again that I forgot to take pictures.  I meant to.  I really really did.  But I didn’t.  Yes, my camera was in my bag.  I just got caught up in the moment.  You’ll have to go for yourself and experience the thrill that is Clignancourt!  Enjoy these pictures courtesy of

And when you go to make sure you find everything you’re looking for, take Keys to the Fleas with you.  Keys to the Fleas is a new iPhone App launched by Claudia Strasser, the voice behind The Paris Apartment.  The app is $1.99 and is an insider’s guide for navigating the Paris flea markets – it includes maps, shippers, Métro stops, bus routes, hours and local haunts where you can kick back and admire your treasures over a café au lait!  I didn’t get to use the app because it launched a few weeks after we got back, but you best believe I’ll have it with me the next time I go to Paris! (Oh, and by the way, it’s the first in a series of guides on the flea markets of the world – Morocco here I come!).

One more installment from my Adventures in Paris will hit your inboxes with pictures of some of my favorite places and things . . . À bientôt!