From the Window Seat: My On-the-Go Luxuries...

I had the pleasure of being featured in the spring/summer issue of Ligné Magazine showcasing all manner of jet set chic features and luxurious travel stories. They asked me to share the products I can't live without when I head out on a trip, a topic I'm clearly passionate about (8 years of blog posts can confirm this!) and hold many tips I'm eager to share.  

Below are what I shared with the lifestyle magazine as my jet set all-stars. The reality is that most of these products are winners at home, too. I hope you'll discover a few gems to add to your private arsenal for journeys far and wide. After all, every day in itself is an adventure and an opportunity to experience new things. 

With that... enjoy my list of personal luxuries...

IN-FLIGHT LUXURIES

The Chic Multiwheel Cabin Bag
When it comes to a carryon, it’s all about the wheels and protecting those precious goods inside. I’m loving the hardbody of this sleek bag. Best part? It’s TSA approved and navigates those airport turnstiles like a dream. Bonus: your beauty goods & fabulous shoes won’t lose their precious shape inside. Options abound for small in-flight workhorses. Hard-bodied Victorinox Swiss Army luggage is hard to beat (and easy to spy on the carousel, should you decide to check it), as is an ever-reliable black Tumi. But my heart will always be with a classic Vuitton carryon, as it speaks to the heritage of travel itself. 

The Universally Flattering Black Jumpsuit
Some things you can just count on. Death. Taxes. My love of packing an all-black travel wardrobe. Give me a fabulous jumpsuit and I’m a happy girl. Dress it up, play it down. You can’t go wrong with these wardrobe workhorses. My favorites are sleeveless and black. This one is absolutely perfect. Pro tip: this Norma Kamali version is perfect for a long day of wrinkle-free travel but looks dinner-ready when paired with jewelry and heels. The Swiss Army knife of your wardrobe.

The Chic Ballet Flat
Nothing makes you appreciate a good flat like travel. I love the easy on / easy off quality of a ballet flat but they usually lack any arch support. These Cole Haans are not only comfortable, they are light as a feather and allow your feet to breathe. Yes, this high heel diva has learned to love (and enjoy) a hard working flat for long travel days and exploring the city on foot. 

Saint Laurent Monogram Crossbody Tassel Bag
I’m a firm believer in a cross-body bag that can go from day to night and tarmac to rooftop. This Saint Laurent bag does it all - not to mention it slides neatly into a larger tote during the flight. 

Chloe “Marcie” Sunglasses
Never underestimate the power of oversized sunglasses. They disguise tired eyes (hello, jet lag!) and add instant polish and intrigue to your look - day or night. My current faves the lightweight acetate frames with vintage-styling & glam gold hardware. Very Rachel Zoe.  Shop them here.

iPhone 6
There is no better travel luxury than my beloved iPhone 6. All the technology a girl could hope for right at my fingertips. From instagramming my coffee moments to keeping tabs on clients to capturing precious family moments on video, the ultimate travel accessory rests in the palm of my hand. How did we ever survive before? I would never go anywhere without this lovely golden modern miracle! 

PRE & POST-TAKEOFF ESSENTIALS

Eric Javitz Squishee Sun Cap
If I’m going anywhere sunny, a hat is a must. I love that this one can be tossed in a bag and still retain its shape perfectly. Better yet? This one allows for a ponytail in the back. Yes, long-haired girls can rejoice and those of you with short & chic 'do's can enjoy the stylish silhouette! You have to love a chic hat that keeps the harsh sun at bay and helps you have fab hair. Winner!

Clarins Broad-Spectrum UV Plus 
Speaking of sunshine… nothing will ever replace Clarins UV Plus in my cosmetic pouch. This tiny bottle lasts forever and is my saving grace for the delicate skin of my face, décolletage & hands. I can’t say enough great things about it and would never board a plane (or leave my house) without it. This is my main squeeze when it comes to sun protection and I basically hoard it for fear they'll discontinue it. Fortunately the small bottle is TSA-friendly (read: small enough to carry on) and makes for invisible, easy application. If you've been looking for "the one" this is it!

Clarins Sun Care Milk SPF 50+
Somewhere between the best moisturizer ever and the most lightweight body SPF ever, this dreamy bottle appears. I discovered it last summer and am now a dedicated fan. A few easy sprays by the pool and I’m ready to catch up on my reading without fear of too much sun. Bonus: it leaves skin as smooth as silk and beautifully hydrated. Don't be tempted to use it on your face - the formula is completely different from the facial formulation. This falls squarely into the "great from the neck down" category. 

The Glam Lightweight Cashmere Scarf
Whether it’s a weekend getaway or a month long journey, I always pack scarves. Right now I’m loving Diane’s leopard version. It’s featherlight and goes with anything. Toss around your neck pre-flight for a pop of pattern and a way to keep that cold cabin air at bay. During the trip its uses will be nearly limitless. Not to mention they weigh almost nothing and can be tossed in your tote the moment you want to take it off. For me, these gauzy creations are the absolutely perfect travel accessory. DVF makes high quality versions that are truly timeless and will make you look and feel like a million bucks in any city. 

The Large Black Nylon Tote
Travel bags must be roomy and incredibly lightweight. I prefer nylon totes that can take the abuse they will inevitably face on a trip. Let's face it, air travel and car rides aren't good for our precious bags. I’m a big fan of Longchamp’s understated appeal and nearly bulletproof construction. This one has a zip top (for added security) and is roomy enough to hold my magazines, iPad, water bottles and anything else I’d love to keep on hand. 

Omorovicza Plumping Cream
My facialist and the gugus at the brand's counter call this “Cinderella cream” for good reason. One simple treatment and your face looks dewy, plump and youthful, like a fairy tale. Boom! Instant Plumping Cream is my go-to special occasion moisturizer for combating the dry skin and unsightly dehydration that always accompanies air travel. Frankly, I love this at home as well. It's an investment, but well worth its myriad benefits.

A Powerhouse Beauty Elixir Mist
Now that I’ve discovered the magic of beauty mists, there’s no turning back. These dew-inducing, skin-plumping miracle workers refresh your face and boost your mood in mere seconds. The best of the bunch are filled with anti-aging powerhouses that work hard to fight free radicals and turn back the clock. Another perk? A light fragrance is mood elevating and tells your senses "you've arrived" once it's wheels down in your destination of choice. This version from Caudalie is tiny enough to toss in your tote for the flight. Also try Omorovicza's Queen of Hungary Mist - a spectacular version of the mist category that is to be used in conjunction with their Instant Plumping Cream mentioned above. A serious one-two punch for revitalizing your face. 

Molton Brown Pink Pepperpod Body Scrub
Body scrubs are a favorite beauty product for me at home. When traveling I like to kick it up a notch with a more invigorating variety of body exfoliator. Molton Brown’s Pink Pepperpod scrub turbo charges my showers with its exotic fragrance and body-tingling (hello, ginger!) qualities. This beauty staple never fails to get me in a vacation state of mind. 

Cris Notti Silk Eye Masks
Seriously, I live for these lovely little creations. I use a silk eye mask every night at home and on trips I always pack more than one because (I’ve learned this the hard way) losing one along the way means losing precious sleep. These soft silk masks are absolutely perfect for mid-flight catnaps but more importantly, they guarantee you’ll be able to sleep in long after the sun peeks through the sheers at the hotel. 

Illuminage Skin Rejuvenating Pillow
In lieu of taking my own pillow while trailing, I opt instead for a high-tech (and silky soft) pillowcase. This one is constructed from copper-oxide rich fibers and is not only easier on your lovely visage,it actually combats the signs of aging. Those are all qualities I’m going to say “yes, please” to, especially after a long flight. Say "nighty night" to creases, lines and other would-be beauty enemies. 

Don't miss the rest of the superb issue of Ligné Magazine which features many familiar faces and exciting places. I look forward to receiving the next issue to discover which luxe topic they tackle next. Have a great day, everyone! Life life fabulously.  

Wanderlusting: Drop Dead Gorgeous Hotel Pools Around the World...

A quick google search will turn up lists everywhere touting the "top infinity pools", "the most luxurious pools", the "most exclusive pools", and even the most photogenic pools in the world. At the moment, I'm reading (perhaps the more appropriate phrasing is "ogling") Dream Pools: Enchnating Pools of Italy's Emerald Coast. And as you might imagine, it's making me rethink everything I'm doing with my life and pulling out my copy of Tim Ferriss's 4-Hour Work Week (essential reading, by the way). But for today we're just looking at a few stunning images of what I would label as some of the most beautiful hotel pools in the world. Of course, I'm packing my imaginary bag quickly. Won't you join me? 

WHAT TO PACK? ONLY THE ESSENTIALS





What's coming up next week? Book reviews. Three of them as well as a closer look at what I'm crushing on right now. In the meantime, have a great weekend and get out here and LIVE. 

Luxe Accommodations: Effortless Luxury on Laguna Beach...

I'm an OC girl at heart. Can't help it. Always will be. I'm not from there but if I could choose anywhere in the US to live, this paradise on earth is surely my jam. Until the movers arrive (and my west coast dreams come true) the St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort is a sweet cure for my California cravings. It's got everything a summer-loving girl wants: beach yoga, a stunning pool area, beautiful balconies and opulent elegance inside. There's a reason those SoCal brides flock to this property: it is picturesque and perfectly captures the romance of Mediterranean architecture against a backdrop of a blissful beach and craggy cliffs. 

So... what should we wear on our virtual vacation there today? Let's pack our make-believe bags and jet off to Laguna Beach, girls! 

PACK YOUR BAGS




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Extraordinary Journeys: The Life-Affirming African Safari...

Recently the epic conversation starter "what would you do if..." came up. Specifically, we explored how we would spend our last precious weeks here on this water-covered rock if given news that our number was up. I'm talking Queen Latifah in Last Holiday type of trip. Cash it in. Spend it all. No looking back. For me, there's no question exactly what I would do. Travel. In fact, I'd keep on going until... well, until the movie ended if you know what I mean. ;) 

So where would I go? Many places. And I plan to craft many posts featuring each of them. So buckle up, you bucket listers! It's a whirlwind trip around the globe and we've all got first class tickets and generous uncles sympathetic to our globetrotting cause. 

First up: the African safari. Non-negotiable, my very first experience would be amongst the most menacing predators on earth and the most sensational scenery. There is no other travel experience that even comes close to rivaling the thrill of seeing the "big five" from the comfort of a tricked out jeep with skilled (and let's not kid ourselves here: armed) tour guides. One such company offering the most luxurious safari experience is And Beyond. They keep it chic and make camping in the wilderness seem like the most logical thing in the world.

Regardless of your travel partner of choice, my focus is still the same: dinner under a vast sky where the beauty of our galaxy is actually visible. The very real life-threatening thrill of lurking big game nearby the camp (hello, lions!). The juxtaposition of fine white tablecloth dining amongst the tall grass in a remote game reserve. And, if lucky, playing witness to the great migration and some pretty vivid food chain activities (I'm talking about you, crazy hyenas). The idea of seeing cheetah, prides of lions and massive African elephants up close is beyond thrilling to me. And frankly, I think most people perish from pure lack of passion & excitement in their life. A trip of this magnitude would wake up the most tied of souls and (yes, I'll say it) perhaps even cure you. 

Naturally I would want my husband and girls to go, the inner core of my tight posse. Watching big game with my crew is everything this luxe loving babe could hope for. But... the Mr. being the extremely risk-averse person he is, I'm certain he'd put the kibosh on any plans to bring our little ones. Hyenas, wildebeest and some of the world's most potent predators in close proximity to our daughters strikes him as reckless and irresponsible. I disagree. These stunning creatures are some of the most magnificent on the planet. How can we not expose our girls to beautiful animals in their natural habitat? What if we can witness grazing gazelles and those gorgeous giraffes up close and personal. Together. Talk about a life-changing trip for all of us. 

Now, some of you may be asking why I'd spend my last days on earth (in this hypothetical situation) traveling. If you have to ask, you don't suffer from wanderlust. Plain and simple. Those of us with an unquenchable thirst to move about the globe simply won't be sated until we've seen it all. And then we'll want to go BACK to our favorite places. So if you're married to one of us, brace yourself. The trips will be many, they will be awesome. They will be the best investments you ever make. And they will be what you'll be expected to join us in doing for our entire lives. So keep the passports active. 

Can't get away? Enjoy these safari inspired objects...

VIRTUAL LUXE SAFARI

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Luxe Accommodations: Ralph Lauren's Carribean Dream...

While you might not immediately pair Ralph Lauren and Jamaica in your mind, Round Hill is out to prove the pairing is a match made in design heaven. Crisp linens, four poster beds, attention to detail and undeniably soothing interiors prove that the signature RL look is certainly at home in the Caribbean.

When you're not swinging in the hammock under the shade of a swaying palm, try out a bit of snorkeling or kayaking. But... who are we kidding? You'll be enjoying your private pool and the incredible chef-prepared cuisine between long siestas in those dreamy white luxury sheets as the ocean breeze blows in through the sheers. And that's precisely what Ralph hopes you do in this decadent island paradise. 

Destinations: A Sleek Escape to Singapore...

All I can say over this hotel is a mouth agape WOW. Singapore is one of those amazing places I simply can't wait to visit. The celebration of the city-state's superrich new money society was widely celebrated in Crazy Rich Asians (a must-read, by the way) and enlightened many of us to the wonders of this hot spot on the tip of the Malay peninsula. Singapore is a wondrous land of business deals and bank accounts only barely eclipsed by the height of the insane height of the shining downtown skyscrapers. 

Where to stay? The Fullerton Bay Hotel looks amazing in every respect, although the Marina Bay Sands boasts the infinity pool that is much the obsession of travelers, pinners and thrill-seekers everywhere. Fullerton shines like a polished gem in the Marina Bay district. A sparkling steel creation with opulent interiors worthy of adoration, it actually reads "low key" compared to its more ostentatious neighbors. Just look at those well-appointed rooms, plush velvet sofas and iridescent textural walls. As a design fan I assure you, this is one swanky place to rest your weary shopping-fatigued feet.

Speaking of shopping... what to wear, what to wear in Singapore, you ask? I'm so glad you inquired. Let's pack a make-believe suitcase. I love to pack for comfort and style. A black jumpsuit is a standby I am grateful for constantly. It takes you from airport to sky bar without skipping a beat. Wear a crossbody bag for convenience and security and by all means, don't be shy about wearing flats. Especially if you'll be checking out the sights, a comfy pair of shoes (especially of the studded variety) will look far more chic than you hobbling through the lobby on your blistered feet.  

Along those lines, I love to pack away a neutral makeup set that has a bit of everything in one compact palette. Laura Mercier always turns it out with her amazing sets. The compact size makes it easy to freshen up post-landing. Spritz on some of your favorite exotic fragrance to add to the "we're just a 85 miles north of the equator" vibe and you're all set. Sunglasses, of course, are a must. My favorite are all oversized and exude an effortless air of mystery while still protecting you letting your jet lag show. Fine luggage: chic. Bags under eyes: not so chic. 

For the flight itself, don't skip wrapping a luxe scarf around your neck for warmth and comfort. Once you've headed out for dinner & drinks, switch it out for a glam bib necklace. Also post-flight: Omorovicza makes the most amazing facial mist. Somehow, some way this delicately fragranced mist brings tired skin back to life. In addition to the skin plumping qualities, the aromatic wonders of this Hungarian spray are almost magical. Toss a travel kit into your tote for a pre-landing zhush session. 

Rimowa Topas Titanium Multiwheel Weekender // Rachel Pally Heathcliff Jersey Jumpsuit // See by Chloe Beki Tote // Saint Laurent Cross Body Monogram Bag // Valentino Rockstud Flats // Tory Burch Leopard Scarf // Kate Spade Statement Necklace // Chloe "Marcie" Oversized Glasses // Byredo Baudeliare Eau de Parfum // Omorocicza Travel Essentials Kit // Laura Mercier "Nude" Limited Edition Set

Now... on to the business of what to do in this lively environment? Try the surprisingly fun hawker food markets for anything you can dream of dining (and many things you'd never have imagined). Indulge in a night safari at the zoo. Shopping is almost a natural sport, of course. But if Instagram is to be believed (and of course, it is) the Singaporean experience is all about the rooftop. Swimming, dining, sipping cocktails and taking in the panoramic views from any of the city's many cloud kissing buildings. Don't miss your chance to take the elevator to the top and enjoy the sunset (or sunrise as it may be) from your choice of venues. 

So... do dish my traveling friends! Have you been to Singapore? What spots do you suggest? Is it all business or is it actually a fun tourist destination. Will there be more to it than just taking a luxe cab ride to a strand of high end boutiques and swimming in an infinity edge pool? Do tell, do tell! 

Luxe Accommodations: Tropical Luxe on Vietnam's South Coast

Isn't this positively dreamy? If Phu Quoc, Vietnam was not on your list of magnificent vacation destinations, it will be now. Between the towering palms lining the sandy shores and the luxurious resort that is the JW Marriott Emerald Bay designed by famed architect Bill Bensley, this is a 5-star slice of tropical heaven on earth.

If Bensley is new to you, he's part disruptor, part natural conservationist and pure genius. Known for designing incredibly opulent properties in the midst of glorious natural surroundings, his team embraces the glory beauty of the environment. Designing everything to look like it's always been there and was meant to exist in that space. Like George Clooney, his unique properties continue looking better with age and somehow never feel outdated. If you need more proof of his awesomeness (and edgy sense of humor) I highly suggest his Instagram account.

But back to this particular resort... Tucked away on Vietnam's south coast, this exclusive seaside property offers 244 opulent rooms & suites boasting unrivaled views of the pristine Phu Quoc beach. Discovered via Gypsee Travel, (as these epic spots so often are!) this is easily one of the most selfie-worthy properties I've seen in a while. Pro tip: add a drone to your travel must-have's as you'll want aerial shots of yourself in the magnificent landscape.

As this has now been added to my "must do" list, here's what I'd pack if I were leaving for Phu Quoc today (in addition to a hardworking UV sunscreen mist)...

Extraordinary Journeys: Escape to a Billionaire's Private Paradise on Necker Island...

I've known of Richard Branson's island paradise for years, but these days I'm thinking of it more and more. An isolated island paradise, this unspoiled sandy piece of property in the British Virgin Islands beckons all who make the journey. Pristine beaches, attentive staff and a host of activities are sure to please every style of vacationer. Are you a lounge in the shade kind variety or does the thrill of an open-top underwater speed craft (known as the Necker Nymph) satisfy you? Both extremes will be completely sated at Necker's uber private resort. 

Falling in the category of once-in-a-lifetime experiences, Necker Island is best reserved for momentous occasions. Think: exotic wedding locale, the reward for taking your company IPO, celebrating a major anniversary or achievement.

Why is Necker so highly esteemed when so many islands dot the ocean landscape? First, you aren't just on an island. You are on a privately owned island that is Sir Richard Branson's personal oasis. Rather than keep it to himself, he shares it (for a fee) with all who dream to join him in his tropical paradise. 

So... now the pressing question. Just how much does the rare privilege cost? From $28,000/week (yes, you read that right) you and your amore can rent a suite. From $65k per night (yes, per night) you and your posse can have the entire island to yourselves. Imagine, you and all of your favorite faces enjoying this idyllic sandy Caribbean paradise together for the vacation of a lifetime. So very #richkidsofinstagram of you. 

So.... how do you go? Right here. And of course, I'm helping you pack. Hint: bathing suits and sunscreen aplenty and scarcely anything else save for a dusting of bronzer and perhaps your FitBit bracelet to see how much activity you enjoy have during your stay. 

WHAT TO PACK FOR YOUR BILLIONAIRE ESCAPE





Wanderlusting: Daydreaming of Parisian Cafe Life...

May your day be colorful, serene & filled with luxuriously sweet surprises.

{photo credits 1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6 }

SHOP THE PARISIAN VIBE




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Luxe Accommodations: Texas Hill Country Chic...

Family vacations, done right, guarantee parents and children will both create beautiful memories to cherish for years to come. Yet rarely does a luxury trip with little ones also allow couples to enjoy romance or time to truly unwind and enjoy the destination.

JW Marriott Hotels & Resorts has set out to change that usual getaway experience. They've partnered with Little Passports to offer an exclusive program for resort guests this summer. Built around the Little Passport program and customized to the Marriott resorts in the Texas Hill Country, this program gives little ones a rich and exciting evening of fun every night of the week, allowing parents to truly enjoy a date night. Yes... date night.

Not familiar with Little Passports? I'm happy to say we were some of the first subscribers to this educational activity kit for kids. It's all about teaching kids about geography, history, culture, and language in a fun and memorable way.

To set the stage for that rarified date night, participating children have can enjoy nightly activities through the resort's Kid's Night Out program. They have the time of their lives in a safe summer camp style environment while you and your special someone enjoy dinner on the terrace overlooking their PGA Tour golf course. Or perhaps a night at the spa is more your speed. Rest assured, the Lantana Spa at this top hotel (repeatedly awarded "best of" status by Fodors and Travel + Leisure) can satisfy even the most jades spa-goers tastes. Did I mention that they even carry Trina Turk's activewear? Yes. I rest my case. ;) 

Why am I all up to speed on this amazing property? Summer is quickly passing and I need a getaway! We are staying at the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa in a few weeks. I am so eager to arrive and enjoy the HIll Country.

As you know, I'm very particular about my trips and accommodations. I also find it increasingly challenging to find true time away from it all. But creating those summer memories and romantic bonds is a non-negotiable. Everyone needs that fun time away and everyone deserves a beautiful vacation experience. No question, this posh Hill Country escape will even meet Venti standards and exceed them.

If we're connected via instagram you're sure to see some snaps from the stay. Happy summer!

Visual Poetry: Paris Through the Lens of VuTheara Kham...

Another day, another visual treat. Today I offer you these beautiful images of Paris to begin your morning. For more travel photography (and rest assured you will want to take in more of these breathtaking images), please follow VuTheara on Instagram

Destinations: Escape to the Isle of Capri...

There's no question that Capri is one of the world's most magical places. On your first visit it will seem as though you are in a dream state, walking through a delicious creation of your unbridled subconscious imagination. Impossibly, this picturesque island paradise does indeed exist. Blooming bougainvillea climb stone walls with perfect patina. Endless views of the azure horizon abound. Boats of all sizes and pedigrees rock back and forth in the port. Lemon groves taunt you with their lively scent and the promise of zesty creations they generously produce. Everyone you encounter is happy, smiling and enjoying themselves. 

If ever there was a place to escape from your current reality, Capri is surely it. Our first journey to this living paradise was on a foggy morning. The atmosphere adding the the surreal experience, this Italian vacation destination was dripping with intrigue and surprises. We meandered down curved paths leading to unknown outlooks. We gasped at the occasional view down the dizzying cliffside. We popped into cafes for refueling. Window shopped for scarves and handmade shoes from charming cobblers. We considered the purchase of unnecessary but somehow justified overpriced designer sunglasses on offer from passionate Italian grandmothers. We gazed out at the craggy rocks dotting the watery landscape. We pondered how such a place could possibly exist and be inhabited by charming residents. 

Fast forward to the next year, we visited again with intent. As a couple, we were mentally prepared and by this time far more seasoned travelers. Surely this fantastical place would seem less like a fictional backdrop and more like a cute tourist trap. Amazingly and gratefully, Capri did not disappoint. On that trip we took the ferry from Sorrento not once, not twice, but three times to visit. Each time we stepped off the boat it was as if we had walked into a dream sequence. A few hours of bliss on a breezy and visually stunning Italian isle does wonders for the soul. 

Should you have the opportunity to walk those cobblestone streets, do not miss the chance. For a special treat, stay a night or two on this magical isle. The J.K. Place Capri is a glamorous choice overlooking the Grand Marina giving you first glimpse at those Rivas and fishermen pulling into bay. Its attentive staff will make you feel like Jackie O. herself as you sip your limoncello watching the sun set over the Mediterranean. The elegant decor will whisk you away to a fanciful state of mind only befitting this dreamy destination. Stroll into town for an evening meal and a bit of shopping. Take a private cruise to see the shore from the waters. Let your mind run free with possibilities and the realization that this moment is really happening. 

The truth is, Capri is not large by any means. What it lacks in scale it more than makes up for in intrigue and natural beauty. It is an escape from the normalcy of life and a detour on the path to wherever you might be going next. But I cannot wait to visit again and while away the time with the lightly lemon scented breeze blowing my hair back from my face. It is enchanting. In Capri anything is possible... if only for a night or two. 

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Spa Luxe: The Ritz Club Paris is Calling...

The Ritz Paris has once again opened its glorious doors after a very thorough $450 million renovation. The esteemed hotel is once again accepting reservations. The rooms are stunning, without question, but it's the world's only CHANEL day spa on-site that has fan girls (self included) buzzing and pondering a trip to Paris. An iconic luxury hotel and a one-of-a-kind spa experience wrapped up in one glistening shiny new black & white bow? This is too good to resist. Treatments in the sumptuous chinoiserie-and-lacquer­ space remind longtime admirers of Coco’s own apartment (also a must-see for those of you headed to the Ritz).

Befitting CHANEL, each spa experience is tailor-made to the client's personal needs and includes glow-inducing techniques specifically designed for the Ritz Club Spa. Insiders say the "Grand Soin" facial is the "ne plus ultra" of CHANEL skin care. The treatment is beloved for its smoothing, firming, and beauty-boosting benefits and the facial itself lasts an indulgent two to three hours.

Professional makeup application (the brand's own, of course) is offered to spa clientele après treatment so you'll have an expert ensuring your look possesses that coveted French girl je ne sais quoi. And don't bother struggling to achieve that elegantly undone chignon hair, Parisian super stylist David Mallett work his magic on your mane. 

I don't know the current state of your personal beauty ambitions, but an indulgent signature spa treatment followed by a lengthy dip in that glistening pool before falling blissfully asleep in a suite at the Ritz Paris is the epitome of Parisian pampered paradise. If you too share visions of having your face and body lovingly buffed and polished to perfection by black & white clad French aestheticians, I suggest a trip to the Ritz Club Paris. It's clearly the chic thing to do.  

WHAT TO PACK

Dreaming Of: Italy's Monte Argentario peninsula

Italian hotels don't get much better than this one. Nestled on Italy's picturesque Monte Argentario peninsula, Il Pellicano is the stuff of legend. The terracotta-hued beauty is perched on a cliff overlooking the Mediterranean Sea in Tuscany’s famed Chianti wine region (surprise, it's not just rolling hillsides and farmhouses there). This is a legendary hotel that draws a crowd of the world’s rich and famous. The minute you set foot on the hotel’s grounds, you will understand why. While the rooms are exquisite, it's the pool that offers guests the main attraction. Turquoise waters as far as the eye can see. 

The Pellicano is a home, not a hotel. We have clients who have been coming here since the late ’60s. They feel they are in a family.
— Hotel Il Pellicano’s Creative Director, Marie-Louise Sciò

This magnificent boutique hotel has all the makings of a dream destination. A long line of famous (and infamous) guests, epic views, signature martinis and incredible exclusivity make this a hotel worth the journey. Offering only 50 suites, you'll enjoy views of the crystalline sea in relative privacy during your stay. Although it may behoove you to wear dark sunglasses so as to peek at the low-key celebs and who's who's tanning themselves and sipping on those signature cocktails.  

What famous faces, you may wonder, have enjoyed the same view? Jacqueline Kennedy, Lee Radziwill, Sophia Loren and Emilio Pucci are a few of the more prominent names from the past, but this hotspot is still a much-loved haunt of Hollywood's hottest. On any given week you're likely to run into princes, princesses (real ones) and jet setters of all varieties. But... what do you (yes, you) wear while lounging poolside amidst the rich and famous? I've rounded up some selections for you and your honey to enjoy while living la dolce vita in this historic location. 

 

POOLSIDE DRESSING FOR YOU

Tom Ford Miranda Sunglasses // Mara Hoffman Swimsuit // Omorovicza Gold Shimmer Body Oil

No tugging necessary with this peek-a-boo Mara Hoffman swimsuit. It affords the skin-baring exposure of a bikini with the comfort of a one-piece. Heaven. Legs not quite ready for prime time? Rub up in Omorovicza's shimmer oil and prepare to be amazed at your newly Giselle-like limbs. And sunglasses, dear sweet sunglasses. Tom Ford's options won't leave that imprint on your nose, so they win high points for that. Add a tunic or kaftan and flip flops... you're all set for lounging seaside under an umbrella in the company of movers & shakers. 

POOLSIDE  FOR HIM

Cutler & Gross Mirrored Aviators // Hartford Board Shorts // J. Crew Panama Hat // Acqua di Parma Deodorant Stick

Guys like to keep it simple. Classic board shorts, a cool fedora and reflective aviators are pretty much all he needs. Be sure to pack his flip flops and sunscreen, but aside from that he's going to require very little to be happy in your very plush poolside situation. 

Ready to head make your way to this fabulous and famous destination? Read more about it on TripAdvisor, Booking.com has tons of additional pix or get fiscally savvy and see what Priceline can do to net you a sweet (and perhaps suite) deal. 

STUNNING PRE-FLIGHT READS

Love to read? Find out why this small Italian hotel has captivated so many for so long by reading Robert Violette's book featuring photography by Slim Aarons.  

PRETTY PIECES FEATURED IN THIS POST


Luxe Accommodations: Arabian Nights at La Mamounia, Marrakesh...

These days when I think of "getting away" I'm most certainly focused on going far, far, far away. Perhaps it's too much of the familiar or too many long summer days. My soul is craving exotic locales and strange lands. 

Yesterday's interview with Alexandra Foster stirred up thoughts of Morocco and the infamous La Mamounia hotel in Marrakech. If ever a property called for jeweled sandals, flowing dresses and darker eyeliner, this surely is the one.

Most only dream of experiencing Arabian nights, but I cannot wait to experience the intoxicating grounds myself. From the moment you are greeted at the handcarved doors to the second you slip into the cobalt tiled pool, La Mamounia beckons with exotic charms and mysterious seduction.

Discover more of what awaits at La Mamounia and surrounding Morocco so you can plan your next far flung getaway. Wondering what to wear? I've got your bags packed. Happy traveling! 

Luxe Accommodations: Amazing Grace in Turks & Caicos...

This is the type of property I don't just want to visit, I want to own it. I want to revel in the joys of having it as my own. Isn't she gorgeous? The Villa, aptly named Amazing Grace is absolutely stunning. While there are no shortage of properties to stay at along the shores of Grace Bay, most of them swing either ultra-mod or traditional tropical in design. Frankly I love those styles when I'm vacationing. It is a nice contrast to my daily living space and a feast for the eyes. But when I spotted this villa listed as a rental, my jaw fell open. This one is absolutely a stunner and falls into the "Pack your bags, we're leaving now" category. Love at first sight. 

Still reeling from the inspiration, I couldn't wait to share the gallery images with you. Hellooooo, tropical haven I'd never want to leave. New life goal... own this property or one of the same caliber and enjoy it whenever it isn't being rented out to fellow wanderlusters like myself. #lifegoals

I have a friend headed to Turks & Caicos, where this beauty resides, and I'm helping her plan her wardrobe for the stay. Care to pack your virtual bags with me as we tour this ultra-plush pad? Let's do it...

WHAT TO WEAR: AMAZING GRACE IN TURKS & CAICOS


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Wanderlusting: Puerto Rican Cravings on a Cold December Day...

It was bound to happen. Cold weather was going to descend upon Texas sooner or later. Cloudy days, frigid temps and long dark nights are taking their toll on my otherwise cheery mood. The solution? Plotting and planning an exotic getaway. Today's online exploration takes me to not-so-far-flung Puerto Rico. Swaying palms, sandy beaches, fresh cuisine and no passport necessary. It's hitting all the high notes for me and I'm already imagining myself enjoying surfside yoga by morning and long dips in the pool by moonlight.

Wile my husband shows no signs of cabin fever or wanderlust, I suffer greatly from both. Constantly. Thus the need for today's virtual vacation to the sandy beaches of this island paradise. The Ritz-Carlton is a safe bet when venturing to new destinations, and this one in San Juan looks like a seaside paradise as I write this on a chilly Dallas morning. Ready to pack a virtual bag with me? Let's go... 

WHAT'S IN MY VIRTUAL CARRY-ON



{images via KiwiCollection & JetSetter}

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Destinations: Making the Most of a Napa Valley Wine Tour...

Ma(i)sonry

All travel experiences change the traveler, but certain journeys leave such a permanent mark on the soul that they stay with you forever. I've been to California numerous times, each of them memorable trips. But Napa... where do I begin? First, I'll give full gratitude to Zephyr for inviting me to join their amazing group of design bloggers for this incredible once-in-a-lifetime experience. From start to finish this was easily one of the most flawless travel experiences I've had the privilege to enjoy. 

Now... on to the rolling hills and tasting room wonderland that is Napa Valley. Our plan for the day was to take in a trio of diverse wine tasting experiences at three very different wineries. I'll use the term "winery" with liberty here, as one such stop was merely a curator of wines, but more on that in a bit. 

First up, the esteemed Joseph Phelps Vineyard. Talk about beginning with a legend. Even the most uninformed wine drinker has likely heard of Insignia, the winery's most coveted bottled gold. We were treated to an introductory tour of the private tasting rooms, the library and the barrel room. Our gracious hostess offered such tantalizing stories of the rich history of this redwood building and surrounding property, and what a property it is. Beyond the floor to ceiling glass panes we were treated to what is iconic Napa: rolling hills, verdant vineyards and nary modern office building or nuisance in sight. A travelers dream. (All images above except very top) are from the JP Vineyard.)

And the wines? I've made no secret of the fact that I don't drink. I simply don't enjoy it and my body doesn't metabolize it the way everyone else's physical being does. However that's what's so great about wine "tasting" is it isn't about consumption. While we captivated by our host's marvelous details of each vintage, each varietal and the amazing journey this award-winning winery has been on, we were able to sip each aromatic red. Trust when I share that Insignia is likely to change your mind about reds whether you're a bonafide oenophile or a teetotaler such as myself. If you ever have the opportunity to go to Napa, put this winery at the top of your list. 

Next stop? One you may already know of... Ma(i)sonry. Sound familiar? RH fans may recognize this as the brand's own property. Part art gallery part restaurant, Ma(i)sonry is unique among unique properties. Between the bucolic outdoor scenery, the dynamic art gallery vibe and the Silicon Valley clientele (a large table hosted a dozen or so Google employees the afternoon we were there) Ma(i)sonry is hip, cool and all about the experience. Think: vintage Louis Vuitton trunks, pop art and a dreamy Lucite 9real Lucite, mind you) with every design book you ever hoped of owning one day. 

Our ridiculously fresh meal was paired perfectly with a handful of wines my fellow travelers seemed to love. But it was the light-as-air potato chips we were addicted to. It's worth a stop for those alone! Between sumptuous bites we moved through the space and took in the smaller details that make this unique establishment so unique. Open, breezy and garden-centric, this is one of those interesting stops I highly recommend. Tip: bring a group and reserve dining space outside. The long, rough hewn plank table beneath a towering tree was an almost magical place to sit and take in the perfect weather. 

Next? Our increasingly playful group rolled through the countryside to reach the acclaimed Stag's Leap Wine Cellars. Our appetites sated, we were primed and ready for our educational tour of this unique estate. Whereas Joseph Phelps is the upscale, classic, sophisticated wine experience and Ma(i)sonry is hip and cool, Stags Leap welcomes you with its powerful modern architecture rising from the Napa Valley floor.

Once inside the reception area of SLWC your education begins. Like sparring siblings, the ground of the same property produces two very different wines: Fay versus S.L.V. Fay is the more refined, elegant of the two siblings, with hints of cinnamon & clove meeting the sweetness of berries. Fay is easy to love. The feistier sister is S.L.V. This cabernet is spicy, rich and a full on sensory assault, perfect for those seeking more complexity in their red. And then there is... Cask 23. This highly sought after blend of Fay and S.L.V is limited in quantity high in demand. Earning an enviable 97-100 points from The Wine Advocate, this bottled beauty combines the best of each of the primary cabernets to create a drinkable masterpiece. 

The history of Stag's Leap was as much about the pursuit of excellence in win as in architecture. Widely known for being the winery that won the Cabernet Sauvignon competition in the 1976 Judgment of Paris, was founded in 1970, and is considered a Napa Valley "first-growth" estate. With the wine cave arcade and visitor's center designed by Barcelona architect Javier Barba (a pioneer of green architecture), this is a modern gem that somehow blends with the mountainous surroundings and shows off its man-made origins at the same time. Their history page will offer a much more robust and colorful view of their storied past, but Stags Leap is a legendary winery with a truly legendary collection of wines you must not miss when in Napa. Book a tasting, take in the resplendent view of the stunning landscape and count your blessings. This was the perfect end to our busy day. 

So... what are my Napa Valley tips?

BOOK EARLY

Book early. Tastings at wineries in this region are some of the most sought after experiences in the area. With limited capacity and high demand, you'll want to do a little research and whittle down your list to a select few you'd love to visit.

HIRE A DRIVER

Drinking & driving? Not cool. Plus, you and your squad can have plenty of fun enjoying the scenery and chatting about your experiences en route to the next tasting room. Place the responsibility of driving in a pro's hands and relax. 

PACE YOURSELF
 

Our happy group was marvelously content to sip & learn for most of the day. But I can tell you that our attention span was pretty spotty by the end of the day. If your squad leans more towards the wine enthusiast side, allow more spacing between tasting experiences and give yourself a few hours at each location to fully soak in the view and the moment. It will pass too quickly as it is. 

BRING THE FUN WITH YOU

Tastings are fun. Really fun. The staff at each location were uncommonly good looking, excellent conversationalists, impossibly well-informed and skilled at the art of hosting. Why not take your favorite people in the world with you to enjoy the experience? Wine and food are best enjoyed in the company of others. Bring along your besties and your love to make the memory of the day (or days) more meaningful. I will forever be grateful for the fun day with my old and new friends in Napa. Come prepared to have a fantastic day. 

BRING YOUR CAMERA & OPEN YOUR EYES

I'm a digital citizen. I live for (and with) my iPhone almost glued to my hand. But in Napa? I hardly wanted to touch it. Aside from the epic scenery and marvelous company, my desire was to take it in with my eyes. I wanted to BE in the moment and capture as many mental pictures as possible. Napa is best seen with the eyes and then captured with a high quality DSLR camera. You'll never capture the majesty of the landscape with your iPhone. 

WHAT TO WEAR

Ahhhh, fashion. My comfort zone. My love. My private passion. Napa is certainly more upscale than its laid back sister Sonoma. Still, the art of low-key chic is at play. Blessed by that impossibly pleasant California climate, you'll have flexibility in your choices but versatile layers are ideas. If you follow my lead you may want to consider nice jeans, dressy flats (or wedges or booties if the season commands), a simple cashmere sweater and a scarf and or vest. Layers are key, as a warm day soon turns to a chilly evening and pleasant breezes become gusty winds very quickly when you turn a corner. Tastings will be seated at large tables, so you'll have plenty of time to rest your feet, but sophisticated comfort is the vibe. You'll be walking  briefly in wine caves and touring parts of the various properties, but no long distance trekking is required. Still, those stilettos are best left at the hotel for dinner back in the city. 

Here's the look I rocked on my tour of the heavenly Napa Valley...




WHERE TO STAY

Napa is stunning. Stay there. Find a fabulous hotel like the Auberge du Soleil and make it an affair to remember. Or, for an even more serene mountain vibe and upscale experience (and the above is hard to beat) try Callistoga Ranch. Both offer jaw dropping vineyard views, unbeatable culinary experiences and posh accommodations. Did I mention spa treatments? Yes, it's all waiting for you. 

Destinations: The Wintery Appeal of All Things Palm Beach Chic...

If you've not yet discovered the joy that is the winter jaunt to Florida, you've been missing out. It's at about this time every year I begin longing for those tall waving palms, white sand beaches and Worth Avenue. While I've enjoyed the sandy shores before, this year feels especially right for the preppy chic style feast that Palm Beach affords.  

For you snowbirds, I'd love to suggest you treat yourself to an extended stay at the one and only The Breakers. It's a classic for good reason with celebs and everyday style-seekers making annual visits to this oceanfront property. Golf, upscale accommodations and every amenity one hopes to find within those 120-year old grounds. It's simply a must at least once.

But let's just say you're more the sleek boutique hotel type. You won't be able to resist the appeal of The Tideline Hotel just steps from the Breakers and also right on the beach. Formerly the Omphoy, this hotel blends modern sultry design with Balinese intrigue for a stay that is at once sexy and posh. 

To busy to hop on a Virgin America flight? Grab a copy of Palm Beach Chic, Jennifer Ash Rudick's hardcover homage to the area's most wondrous residences. I have been devouring those book for a few months, but as the cold settles into Dallas I'm suddenly transfixed with its colorful imagery and cheery estates. 

To get you in the mood for those sunny afternoons on Worth Avenue (or to substitute for them) I'll dazzle your eyes with inspired picks that will conjure the vibe of this unique tropical haven where the rich and perhaps not-so-famous enjoy the sunshine. 

CHANNELING PALM BEACH CHIC




Planning a getaway? Don't miss the packages and deals Jet Setter and Expedia offer. But for you more adventurous (read: less hotel-oriented) types, Airbnb might have just the private oasis you seek. Some offering the preppy, pretty pink, green and white vibe we've come to know and love about Palm Beach itself. Here's a link for $20 off your first stay.

Now, back to that inspiring book I mentioned earlier. Palm Beach Chic takes you inside never seen before properties (as well as a few highly publicized icons) to showcase what chic Florida coastal living is all about. Beams of sunshine, a preference for happy colors, expansive arches and always an invitation to blur indoors and out. These are hallmarks of the luxe lifestyle that is Palm Beach. If you can't board a jet or venture out by car, this book will take you where you long to go without ever leaving the comfort of your cozy nest! 

{all images at top via Palm Beach Chic}

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