Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Environmental Chic

Looking for a few comfy yet stylish frocks to hit the beach in this summer? I love these dresses from Toggery by Kate D'Acry. All are available at luxgreenliving.com, a new site dedicated to fashion-forward pieces that are also environmentally friendly.

Right now, they're having a pre-Earth Day sale with 50% off everything on the entire site -- nothing is over $100! I think I know where I'm getting my summer wardrobe...

Monday, March 30, 2009

Drive Like A Woman

Female Cabbie in Yuncheng, Chia [Photo by Helga's Lobster Stew/flickr]

There's a great article on MarieClaire.com that includes lots of fun facts about how women around the world take to the wheel. A few highlights:

In SWITZERLAND, some shopping centers offer women's-only parking spaces close to stores to ensure apres diem shopping safety.

In MOLDOVA, twice the number of women as men applied for their licenses last year.

In TURKEY, a members-only car service especially for women picks up in pink BMWs stocked with disposable cosmetics, healthy snacks, and magazines. All drivers are female and trained in self-defense.

In CHINA, 25 percent of Ferrari owners here are women. (Compare that to 10 percent in North America).

Friday, March 27, 2009

Blissful in Barbados

You may recognize the name as the place where Tiger Woods tied the knot a few years ago: Sandy Lane. This amazingly beautiful resort in Barbados (complete with golf course, of course!) has long been a luxury destination of choice for the upper-crust. With rooms like this, it's easy to see why...

I've just received word that for spring and summer 2009, Sandy Lane will be offering 7 plush new packages including free nights and lots of value-added goodies like spa vouchers, lunches and rounds of golf. You can check the website for more details.

The resort just completed a multi-million dollar renovation last fall, and the spa now boasts a panoramic sauna, experience showers and a Rhassoul bath (the only one in the Caribbean). The new amenaties certainly sound great, but what I really wanna do is hang out on a floating bench like this and drink fruity cocktails all day...

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Only in England...

If you plan on heading to Mansfield, England, anytime soon, better make sure your complexion's in check. In an effort to stop local teens from loitering, residents of the central-England town have installed bright pink fluorescent lights (the kind normally used by dermatologists to make pimples show up) on the streets. In addition to deterring vain teens with the threat of acne embarrassment, AFP reports residents think "surly teenage males might find it 'uncool' to hang around in a bright pink underpass." Apparently, it's working. Gotta love the ingenuity!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Benevolence by the Sea

This spring, take a sweet retreat and be a do-gooder at the same time. The lovely Inn by the Sea, an eco-luxury resort in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, is slashing rates on seaside cottages by 50 percent Sundays through Thursdays in May to support "Hospitality for Humanity, a program that raises money to help build homes for needy families.

Guests enjoy paying half the regular rate for a two-bedroom cottage in exchange for a $35 check made out to Habitat for Humanity -- a pretty amazing deal any way you look at it. Plus, you get to spend your days exploring the beautiful Maine coast and your nights enoying a glass of wine in cushy diggs like this...

Now that's a pretty good incentive to give to charity!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

How the World Makes Love

Talk about making the most out of a bad situation! After being dumped at the alter, Franz Wisner didn't want to miss out on his planned 2-week honeymoon in Costa Rica. So, in the absence of a new Mrs. Wisner, he took his brother. Turns out, they had so much fun that 2 weeks turned into a 2-year round-the-world trip and a New York Times bestseller called Honeymoon With my Brother.

Kurt and Franz Wisner [Photo by Stephen Brown]

Now, Wisner has just come out with his second travel-related book, How the World Makes Love (wonder what researching this one entailed). In all seriousness, though, word is this is a fantastically entertaining book that chronicles not only love rituals in Egypt, Brazil, New Zealand and Nicaragua (to name a few countries), but Wisner's own rocky love life back home in L.A.

I can't imagine a more appropriate springtime read! You can get a copy at Amazon

Monday, March 23, 2009

Colombia in NY Part 2

As I mentioned in my last post, I spent the better part of Friday night driving around New York in La Chiva -- the Colombian Party bus. It was a fun time. (That's me in the middle with my man, James, and best friends, Zofie and Raffy -- don't we look HAPPY?) I think four hours on a bus may have been a bit much, though, even with a DJ and drinks.

My friend Kristin and me taking a break

After the trip, I got curious about this Colombian tradition and did some research. A little background: Chiva buses are old buses modified by artisans and used for regular transportation in rural Colombia. Here's the real deal...

More recently, the Chivas have been used as "party buses," for touring areas like Bogata and Cartagena, Bolivar. A few sights you might see along the way on a typical Chiva...

Mountains surrounding Monseratte, Bogata [photo by lornapips/flickr]

Smiling Tucan in Cartagena [Photo by LUZA lack of inspiration/flickr]

Cartagena, Bolivar [Photo by LUZA lack of inspiration/flickr]

Cartagena, Bolivar [Photo by LUZA lack of inspiration/flickr]

Makes me wanna head to Colombia ASAP!

Friday, March 20, 2009

A Little Bit of Colombia in NYC

Tonight, I'm off to a surprise birthday party on La Chiva, otherwise known as the Colombian party bus. Apparently a group of Colombian entrepreneurs decided to bring their country's grand tradition of drinking and dancing in large vehicles to the streets of NYC. Hummm...this could be interesting. Updates next week. Gotta go catch the bus!!Add Image

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Boost Your Spirits

Want a morning pick-me-up that helps you feel and look amazing? One of my favorite little indulgences is Dr. Brandt's blueberry flavored anti-oxidant water booster. Just a few drops have the anti-oxidant power of 15 cups of green tea. It's great for your skin, gives a caffeine-free energy boost, and makes a regular glass of water taste super yummy. Even more perfect, the 2 oz bottle size means no problems packing it in your carry on so you can take it with you on your travels.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Feed Them with Knowledge

Got some down time at your desk? Spend a few minutes on freerice.com and build your brainpower while helping those in need. Free Rice generates a series of questions to test your knowledge of basic subjects (vocabulary is my personal favorite). For every answer you get right, they donate 10 grains of rice to help end hunger through the UN World Food Program. If you miss one, they give you another shot at it later in the session. So, you learn something new and feed the hungry all at the same time. Genius!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Irish Secrets

In honor of St. Patrick's Day, here are 10 fun facts about Ireland the ferries have kept quiet until now, courtesy of Irish Central:

1. Technically, it is an offense to be drunk in public in Ireland

2. An Irishman founded the Argentinean Navy

3. Only two members of U2 were born in Ireland

4. The British Embassy in Tehran is on a street named after an Irishman

5. Until the early 1990s, Ireland had a low per capita consumption of alcohol

[Photo by wanderlustphoto/flickr]

6. A Belfast hospital is a world leader in kneecap reconstruction

7. Ireland has the fourth largest stadium in Europe

9. Playboy was banned in Ireland until 1995

10. More Guinness is sold in Nigeria than in Ireland

[Photo by apesara/flickr]

Monday, March 16, 2009

Cape Town's One and Only

Cape Town, South Africa [Photo by Coda/flickr]

As South Africa gears up to host the World Cup in 2010 (I'm hoping to be in attendance), the country is quickly earning a reputation as a new "hot spot." Turning up the heat even more: the launch of One&Only Cape Town. The brand new luxury resort will open its doors to the public on April 3, 2009, and they're offering a pretty sweet deal to celebrate the grand opening. First guests of the hotel (staying between April 3rd and September 30th) will receive two complimentary spa treatments and a bottle of Cape Estate wine. With accommodation like this...

it's easy to imagine never wanting to leave the room. But, if you do decide to venture out (and I'd certainly hope you'd get out and explore at some point), you won't have to go far to find world-class dining. Gordon Ramsy's Maze and Nobuyuki Matsuhisa's Nobu are both on property, as well as the tri-level Wine Loft, which is home to more than 5,000 bottles of South African wine.

Recessionistas will be pleased to know the exchange rate in South Africa is great if you're traveling from the U.S. or Europe (10 rand is currently equivalent to just $1), and, starting June 1st, Delta will offer direct flights to Cape Town. Horray!!

Sleep Guru

You may have noticed a recent pause in postings. Simple explanation: I spent most of last week in Vegas on a writing assignment for American Airlines. The trip was great. However, taking the red eye back to New York Saturday night wasn't quite as exciting. Unable to get comfy on the plane, I was completely wiped out when I got home and spent all day (yawn) in bed. Hopefully, though, this will be the last time I suffer a sleepless overnight flight. Today, I discovered seatguru.com. This site weighs the pros and cons of every seat on every commercial plane (with specific info on limited recline, reduced legroom, mis-aligned windows, and more) to help you pick the one that's most conducive to beauty rest -- a dream come true.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Award Season

Thanks so much to Valerie over at Being Red for this lovely award -- my very first one!

The feeling is definitely mutual. In turn, here are 10 more fabulous blogs I'd like to pay it forward to:

Keep the good stuff coming, ladies!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Confused About What to Pack?

[Photo by Digital Spohia/flickr]
Packing for your next trip got you feeling overwhelmed? Universal Packing List can take away some of the pain. I just stumbled on this fun little gem today. You to enter a few trip details like the length of your stay, max and min temperature where you're going, where you'll be staying and even the size of your bag. Click "create packing list," and it generates a packing list for you based on your entries. Granted, you'll want to add your own special touches, but it's a great way to make sure you don't miss the basics!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Kenyan Couture

After more than a decade of collecting African textiles, Max Osterweis didn't want to keep his colorful Kenyan kangas all cooped up anymore. So, he took to the streets and created SUNO, an amazingly modern fashion line -- all one-of-a-kind pieces -- that blends traditional Kenyan fabrics with urban style.

Max says the inspiration for his very first collection (spring/summer 2009) comes from both the women of coastal East Africa and the women of downtown New York. The real catalyst for starting the line, though, was his worry that post-election turmoil in Kenya would keep foreigners from visiting or investing there. He sees SUNO as a highly-visible way to showcase Kenyan artistry, employ local talent and, hopefully, promote some positive social and economic change.

Wondering how it works? All the design and development happens in New York. Then, they take the patterns and samples to Kenya, where the garments are produced by skilled artisans in small workshops.

Beautiful designs that are glamorous and globally conscious -- couldn't love this more!

Photos by Tina Tyrell

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Snow Angel

The snow and bitter cold that's just pounded the east coast is a less than gentle reminder spring's not here yet -- in New York, anyway. But it's got me thinking about escaping to a winter wonderland. (You know, somewhere with stunning mountain views, powdery white snow and a personal assistant to cater to my every whim.) Capella Telluride may be just that place. This brand-new super lux boutique ski resort nestled in the heart of Mountain Village in Telluride, Colorado (with ski in/ski-out access, of course) is in the perfect setting for some serious winter sports.

But my FAVORITE part is that every guest in the 100 guest room/60 condominium resort gets a personal assistant for the duration of their stay. The place is so new (they just opened the doors for the first time on Februsry 12th) they don't even have the exterior images ready yet, but the setting is breathtaking...

And this hot-off-the-press pic I just recieved of the inside of the property looks like it's a more-than-cozy place to retreat after a day on the slopes.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Smile Like You Mean It

[Photo by ontwerpplus/flickr]

All that post long-haul flight coffee consumption got your pearly whites looking less than, well, pearly? No worries. Smashbox is coming out with a brand new lip gloss that'll help brighten your smile while you jetset between cleanings. The new, aptly named, Smile Brightening Lip Gloss is made to look good on all skin tones and contains specially colored pigments that actually make teeth appear whiter (whether you wear it alone or layered over your favorite lipstick).

The gloss should be hitting your local Sephora soon. If you don't care to wait, do what I did and order some from QVC. Now, where did I put my coffee...