Travel

Airy Decadence in Beverly Hills—Le Mervetty

  • 9th March 2014

The boutique pâtisserie, Le Mervetty Beverly Hills, is named after a French-born and Belgian perfected dessert—should I repeat that?  I think I will!  French born, Belgian perfected dessert.   It’s called the ‘Merveilleux’ and it is made by way of delicately stacking crumbly meringue together with decadent whipped cream.

 

 

The chocolate Mervetty

The chocolate Mervetty

 

 

 

A dessert, with a heritage drawing back to two nations with a collective conscience focused on pastry perfection, has to be divine.  Its namesake in Beverly Hills is perfection as well.

 

Le Petit Mervetty in a 6-pack and 12-pack

Le Petit Mervetty, beautifully packaged, in a 6-pack and 12-pack.

 

 

Le Mervetty in Beverly Hills offers a selection airy temptations in flavors ranging from praline to speculoos to chocolate.  They come in regular and the adorable, mignon petit size.

 

 

Coffee flavored Mervetty

Coffee flavored Mervetty

Praline Mervetty

Praline Mervetty

 

 

 

The praline tastes as good as it sounds:  Meringue layers, hazelnut praline whipped cream covered with caramelized praline feuilletines.

 

The desserts are as eye-catchingly elegant as they are delicious.  They look especially lovely displayed on a tiered stand amongst colorful spring flowers like anemone and ranunculus.

 

 

Les Petits on Tiered Crane from Anthropologie.

Les Petits on Tiered Crane from Anthropologie.

 

 

Sharing is hard, thankfully!  It is particularly difficult to maintain elegance when cutting into them.  Here’s a peek inside with the neatest cross-section we could obtain.

 

 

 

Neatly cut Speculoos and Chocolate Mervetty.

Neatly cut Speculoos and Chocolate Mervetty.

 

 

Le Mervetty also tempts visitors with Le Pavlova—meringue layers, fresh strawberries, vanilla whipped cream covered with crystallized meringues and Le Grand Mervetty for bigger parties and fêtes.

 

 

Le Pavlova

Le Pavlova

 

 

 

 

Le Grand Mervetty

Le Grand Mervetty

 

 

 

Le Mervetty

319 North Canon Drive

Beverly Hills, CA

lemervetty.com

 

 

.

Moroccan Madness!

  • 28th January 2014

The allure of Morocco has never seemed stronger.  It’s a magnet for European vacationers and corporate retreat planners.  It anchors travel spreads and cooking shows and inspires both fashion and interior designers.

 

 

Seven Vegetable Couscous from the 'Around the World' Cookbook

Seven Vegetable Couscous from the ‘Around the World’ Cookbook

 

 

Today we showcase one of our favorite recipes from the region which is literally impossible to ruin and celebrate Marrakech-inspired looks for your littlest ones.

 

 

Tea Collection visits Morocco and returns with treasures

Tea Collection visits Morocco and returns with treasures

 

 

Seven is a magical number in Morocco and there are many recipes for this glorious celebration couscous.  The vegetables here are carrots, parsnips, turnips, onions, zucchini, tomatoes and green beans.  You can substitute different vegetables if you desire,”  The Around the World Cookbook.

 

Seven Vegetable Couscous  (Adapted from the Around the World Cookbook):

 

Ingredients

• 2 tablespoons sunflower or olive oil

• 1 pound lean lamb, cut into bite-sized pieces

• 2 chicken breasts halved

• 2 onions, chopped

• 6 carrots (12 ounces), cut into chunks

• 2 parsnips (8 ounces), cut into chunks

• 1 turnip

• 6 tomatoes

• 4 cups chicken stock

• Generous pinch of fresh ginger

• 1 cinnamon stick (we used two)

• 1 can chickpeas, drained

• 2 cups couscous

• 2 small zucchini, cut into julienne strips

• 4 ounces green beans, trimmed and halved

• 1/3 cup raisins

• A little Harissa or tabasco sauce  (We used a combination of: 1 tsp Cayenne Pepper, 1 tsp ground red pepper and 1 tsp Paprika)

We added 4 whole cloves

• We added 3 whole cardamom

• We added a dash of freshly ground nutmeg

• Salt and pepper to taste

 

 

Diced vegetables ready to sautée

Diced vegetables sautéing

 

 

Heat half of the oil in a large saucepan or flameproof casserole and fry the lamb, in batches if necessary, until evenly browned, stirring frequently.  Transfer to a plate with a slotted spoon.  Add the chicken pieces and cook until evenly browned.  Transfer to a plate/dish with the lamb.

 

 

Browned chicken and lamb.

Browned chicken and lamb.

 

Heat the remaining oil and add the onions.  Fry over a low heat for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally, then add the carrots, parsnips, and turnip.  Stir well, cover with a lid and “sweat” over low heat for 5-6 minutes, stirring once or twice.

 

Add the tomatoes, lamb, chicken and stock.  Season with salt and black pepper and add the ginger, cloves, cardamon, nutmeg and cinnamon.  Here we also added the paprika, cayenne pepper and ground red pepper in lieu of Harissa at the end.  Bring to a boil and simmer gently for 35-45 minutes, until the meat is nearly tender.

 

 

Cooking

Cooking

 

Skin the chickpeas by placing them in a bowl of cold water and rubbing them between your fingers.  The skins will rise to the surface.  Discard the skins and drain.  Prepare the couscous according to the instructions on the package.

 

Add the skinned chick-peas, zucchini, beans and raisins to the meat mixture, stir gently and continue cooking for 10-15 minutes, until the vegetables and meat are tender.  Pile the couscous on a large serving platter, making a slight well in the center.

 

Ready to enjoy!

Ready to enjoy!

 

 

Other ways to bring Moroccan flavor home, come via the new collection from Tea….

 

 

The new Mosaic Tile Graphic Dress and Peppercorn Loveable Necklace from Tea Collection

The new Mosaic Tile Graphic Dress and Peppercorn Loveable Necklace from Tea Collection

 

 

Mosaic Tile Graphic Dress, tea collection.com, $29.50

Peppercorn Loveable Necklace, teacollection.com, $12.00

 

Tea Collection Confetti Tile Tunic and  Peppercorn Bandana

Tea Collection Confetti Tile Tunic Top in Rosweater and Peppercorn Bandana

Tea Collection Moroccan Rose Twirl Top and Peppercorn Loveable Necklace

Tea Collection Moroccan Rose Twirl Top and Peppercorn Loveable Necklace

 

 

 

Confetti Tile Tunic Top, teacollection.com, $29.50

Peppercorn Bandana, teacollection.com, $14.00

Moroccan Rose Twirl Top, teacollection.com, $24.50

 

 

Tea Collection Mosaic Rose Flutter Wrap Dress

Tea Collection Mosaic Rose Flutter Wrap Dress

 

 

 

 

If You’re Heading To…Laos

  • 26th January 2014

If you are heading to Laos, Ock Pop Tok cannot be missed.  In Luang Prabang, off of the coast of the Mekong River, the ‘Living Arts Center,’ and the accompanying store in town are both a treat for the eyes and pretty easy on your wallet.

 

 

Antique Hmong Skirt in Ock Pop Tok, Luang Prabang

Antique Hmong Skirt in Ock Pop Tok, Luang Prabang

 

 

 

The Living Arts Center Ock Pop Tok in Luang Prabang, Laos

The Living Arts Center Ock Pop Tok in Luang Prabang, Laos

 

 

 

The store features all Lao-based textiles, handicrafts and design with richly textured accordion style skirts and luminous, bright silky scarves.

 

 

 

Scarves on display at Ock Pop Tok.

Scarves on display at Ock Pop Tok.

 

 

Ock Pop Tok offers mostly the work of local women artisans who have been trained in remote areas of the country in natural dyeing and weaving.  One of their signature patterns is the Chess Scarf, intermixing gossamer squares with silky squares.

 

 

Red Chess Scarf

Red Chess Scarf

 

 

Chess Scarf, ockpoptok.com, $55.00

 

 

Also a true best-seller and perfect paired with a solid t-shirt and blazer this spring, is their Harry Potter scarf featuring shimmery nautical stripes.

 

 

Harry Potter Red and White Striped Scarf at Ock Pop Tok in Luang Prabang.

Harry Potter Red and White Striped Scarf at Ock Pop Tok in Luang Prabang.

 

 

Harry Potter Scarf, ockpoptok.com, $33.00

 

 

Conveniently located in the center of the city, Ock Pop Tok is a must when visiting Luang Prabang, Laos.  Take your time to wander through the two floors and discover hidden treasures all over.

 

 

Ock Pop Tok storefront

Ock Pop Tok storefront

 

 

One of our favorites is this open weave, multi-colored light-as-air silk scarf.

 

Scarf from Ock Pop Tok
Scarf from Ock Pop Tok

 

 

 

 

 

 

Longer shawls and housewares like table and bed runners are distinct and easy to carry back home.

 

 

 

 

Table Runner at Ock Pop Tok

 

 

 

Ock Pop Tok Luang Prabang

 

 

The traditional Antique Hmong Skirts are truly one-of-a-kind and made from hemp harvested by women in the fields.  It can take up to 5 months to design the batik pattern for each of these traditional skirts.

 

 

Antique Hmong Skirt at Ock Pop Tok in Luang Prabang

Antique Hmong Skirt at Ock Pop Tok in Luang Prabang

 

 

Cloth for these skirts is often dyed up to 30 times.  Women typically make one skirt every year for the Hmong New Year celebration.

 

Antique Hmong Skirt, ockpoptok.com, $95.00

 

 

Ock Pop Tok

73/5 Ban Vat Nong

Luang Prabang, Lao PDR
Telephone: +856 (071) 253 219
Hours are 8am to 8pm

Little Kisses

  • 9th January 2014

Cronuts, Dossants, Cupcakes, Macarons and Cake Pops have met a rival trend across the Pond by way of the light, airy and perfectly petite Meringue.

 

 

 

Bite-sized decadence offered by the Meringue Girls in London

Bite-sized decadence. Photo courtesy of: meringuegirls.co.uk

 

 

 

Enter the Meringue Girls and their kaleidoscope of mouthwatering colors!!

 

 

A kaleidoscope of flavors offered by the Meringue Girls in the UK

A kaleidoscope of flavors offered by the Meringue Girls in the UK

 

 

 

The tiny meringue is sweet, complex and rich—while being concurrently ethereal in texture and experience.

 

 

The inside of a rosewater and pistachio meringue
Mallowy inside of a meringue by Meringue Girls UK

 

 

The central texture of their meringue, made solely of free-range egg whites and British grown sugar (as the base meringue) is reminiscent of a melt-in-the-mouth marshmallow.  But, the flavors span the globe in sophistication:  Manuka honey; Lemongrass and Ginger; Matcha green tea; Mojito; Strawberry and Black pepper; Pistachio and Rosewater; Sugared almond; Mince pie…..the list goes on and on and on!

 

 

Piping the Meringues.  Photo courtesy of: meringuegirls.co.uk

Piping the Meringues. Photo courtesy of: meringuegirls.co.uk

 

 

How could you have a gathering and not want this on display?  It’s their best seller and one look will reveal why.  A vintage apple crate filled with 170 intoxicatingly beautiful kisses.

 

 

A vintage apple crate filled with a rainbow selection of meringues offered by the Meringue GIrls in the UK

 

 

The girls behind the brand, Alex Hoffler and Stacey O’Gorman also offer master classes.

 

 

 

Jars of meringues offered by The Meringue Girls of the UK

 

 

The cute-as-a-button kisses are currently available upon delivery and stocked at:

Selfridges

Harvey Nichols

Fortnum & Mason London

 

 

meringuegirls.co.uk

 

*All photos courtesy of: meringuegirls.co.uk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If You’re Heading to…Mumbai!

  • 4th January 2014

….When ‘Gossip’ is great!

 

 

Rosette Metallic Toe Ring Wedge at Gossip Shoes in Mumbai

Rosette Metallic Toe-Ring Wedge

 

 

For shoe shopping, few stores can compare with ‘Gossip Shoes’ in the Palladium Mall.  Like the city of Mumbai itself, Gossip is a world-wind of colors, bright and metallic that makes your head spin with the myriad of choices.

 

 

 

Green and pink toe ring metallic sandals at Gossip Shoes in the Palladium Mall

 

 

There must be more than 500 styles available, each more flamboyant than the last.

 

 

Beaded toe ring wedge at Gossip Shoes in the Palladium Mall

Reminiscent of Rene Caovilla jeweled sandals

 

 

 

You cannot buy them all, but at approximately $30.00 a piece you can splurge on a few pairs…

 

 

Pink Faux-Snakeskin Wedges at Gossip Shoes in Mumbai

Pink Faux Snakeskin Toe-Ring Wedges

 

 

Gossip shoes is easily located in the beautiful Palladium Shopping Mall, formerly known as Phoenix Mills one of the largest shopping areas in India.

 

 

Beaded sandals available at Gossip Shoes in Mumbai

 

 

Gossip Shoes:

Shop No., S-20, Palladium

Phoenix Mills, Lower Parel, Mumbai, 400 013

 

 

Beaded metallic toe-ring wedges at Palladium Mall, Gossip Shoes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are so many great shoes we could keep the photos rolling on and on, but we have to stop somewhere.  If you are in Mumbai, or planning your trip, make sure Gossip is on your list.

 

 

 

Jeweled Sandal at Gossip Shoes Palladium Mall Mumbai

 

 

 

 

 

.

Christmas Holiday in Galle Fort—Part Deux

  • 24th December 2013

Start your day with Egg Hoppers today made from rice flour and served with spicy dahl and sweet curry.

 

Egg Hoppers come out piping hot

Egg Hoppers come out piping hot

 

 

It's almost like eggs and pancakes!

It’s almost like eggs and pancakes!

 

Having explored the Fort area yesterday, a tour outside in Galle beckons for day two.  Plan a trip to the Handunugoda Tea Plantation.  En route stop at one of the Turtle Hatcheries and release baby sea turtles into the clear ocean.

 

 

Pick them up gently touching their fingers and back.

Pick them up gently touching their fingers and back.

 

 

The Sea Turtle Farm and Hatchery collects the eggs from the beach every night and hatches them in a safe environment improving the turtles chances of survival and keeping them from poachers who also comb the beach.

 

There are 7 types of sea turtles in the world and 5 call this beach their home.

There are 7 types of sea turtles in the world and 5 call this beach their home.

 

 

 

Gently scoop the little guys up from the pool.

Gently scoop the little guys up from the pool.

 

 

The pristine and secluded beach is only a few steps away.

 

 

Heading out slowly but surely

Heading out slowly but surely

 

 

Blazing their own trail

Blazing their own trail

 

 

A lovely experience for youngsters.

A lovely experience for youngsters.

 

 

The road to the tea plantation offers vistas of brilliant green rice fields, white cranes and large iguanas lumbering across the road.

 

Emerald green punctuated only by the great white birds.

Emerald green punctuated only by the great white birds.

 

 

We wait patiently as a huge iguana crosses in front of the car.

We wait patiently as a huge iguana crosses in front of the car.

 

 

Just 25 minutes from the hotel the Handunugoda plantation is the lowest lying tea estate in Sri Lanka which also includes a rubber and cinnamon plantation.

 

Entering the fields with our guide.

Entering the fields with our guide.

 

Sri Lanka produces a unique White Tea said to be imported from China.  The story has it the tea was grown by a Chinese Empress who employed only virgins to pick it using special gloves and tools made of solid gold.    Special caution is used today as well when growing and harvesting this tea which contains antioxidant properties that are off-the-charts.  The tea demands one of the highest prices worldwide.

 

 

The plantations extend on forever.

The plantations extend on forever.

 

 

While walking through the plantation one examines pepper vines, lemongrass and a myriad of fruit and flower trees.  A small rubber plantation coexists within the tea.

 

The rubbery, latex substance is collected in a coconut shell.

The rubbery, latex substance is collected in a coconut shell.

 

 

 

The bark is pulled back.

The bark is pulled back.

 

 

Probably the most interesting part of the tour is seeing the English and Irish machinery, more than 150 years old, used to dry and desiccate the leaves.

 

The leaves are first spread out to dry.

The leaves are first spread out to dry. By days end the whole belt will be filled (there are many more belts)

 

 

 

The leaves make their way to many different drying machines.

The leaves make their way to many different drying machines.

 

 

The aroma in this room is incredible.

The aroma in this room is incredible.

 

 

The end result of multiple passes through many machines is this small amount of pure black tea.

The end result of multiple passes through many machines is this small amount of pure black tea.

 

 

Finally, the tour ends with a tasting of a myriad of teas, crossing the range from white to black.  Take your time and savor the difference.

 

 

All the teas lined up are as beautiful as they are tasty.

All the teas lined up are as beautiful as they are tasty.

 

It is Christmas Eve so if you are going to make any of the many midnight mass ceremonies in Galle, a midday siesta is in order now. This also allows you to skip the hottest part of the day.  Wake up just in time for tea followed by a glorious sunset view from your room of the Dutch Reform Church next door.

 

Sunset over the Dutch Reform Church in Galle.

 

 

Christmas Eve is a lively time in Galle Forte.  The Amangalla is beautifully lit up and guests await carolers from nearby churches.

 

The tree glows in the Zaal at the Amangalla.

The tree glows in the Zaal at the Amangalla.

 

 

The tables are ready for Christmas Eve dinner.

The tables are ready for Christmas Eve dinner.

 

 

Carolers offer traditional music as well as some Sinhalese Christmas favorites.

Carolers offer traditional music as well as some Sinhalese Christmas favorites.

 

 

The tablescape includes traditional Christmas Crackers.

The tablescape includes traditional Christmas Crackers.

 

 

The Christmas Eve Menu at the Amangalla:

Roast pumpkin and sweet potato soup with blue cheese buttermilk

Wild rice, turkey and walnut salad with cranberry dressing

Pomegranate and celery sorbet

Champagne risotto with truffle oil

Pecan and cashewnut pie with gingerbread ice cream and brandy cream sauce

 

Wild rice salad

Wild rice salad

 

 

 

Pomegranate and celery sorbet

Pomegranate and celery sorbet

 

 

 

Champagne risotto with truffles

Champagne risotto with truffles

 

 

Entering your room you are greeted by stockings on all beds with treats and gifts for adults and kids alike.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Midnight mass anyone?

 

Christmas Holiday in Galle Fort—Part Un

  • 23rd December 2013

If you are looking for a tropical destination to spend Christmas that provides a wealth of cultural treasures, culinary delights and fantastic shopping, look no farther than Sri Lanka—specifically Galle Fort.

 

The Amangalla lobby dressed up for Christmas

The Amangalla lobby dressed up for Christmas

 

 

Front of the Amangalla

Front of the Amangalla in Galle.

 

The coastal city of Galle, which is 72 miles south of the capital city of Colombo, is beautified by the old Dutch Fort, which remains an icon of national heritage.  A stay at the Amangalla promises serenity, aesthetic inspiration and an abundance of singular cultural opportunities.  Its history springs from the early Dutch colonial period, and is located right in the heart of the preserved Dutch fort, offering guests a memorable and unparalleled stylish stay in absolute architectural splendour.

 

Arrive into Galle on the 23rd morning so that you can appreciate the surroundings prior to your Christmas activities.

 

Wakeup to sunrise over the sea and city life starting to bustle.

Wakeup to the sunrise over the sea and city life starting to bustle.

 

 

Start your day with rich, deeply flavored Sri Lankan coffee

Start your day with rich, deeply flavored coffee imported from Italy.

 

 

Before breakfast amble down the winding city lanes and watch as the town wakes up.  Stop and admire the lovely facades and you might get lucky like we did.  There are many private residences in the middle of the town and the locals are supremely proud of their conservation.  If you are polite, you might be invited in for a tour of a home dating back to the Portuguese in the 1500s, the Dutch in the 1600s or the English in the 1700s.

 

The small town proved to be a real melting pot with Europeans, Chinese, Arabs, Malays, Persians and Indians all converging upon it.  The history in itself is tragic, but it has left behind the most complex fabric to be explored.

 

 

The Anglican Church in Galle

The Anglican Church in Galle

 

 

As you walk from the hotel to the sea you will definitely pass the Anglican All Saints Church built in the late 1800s and designed by Sri Lanka’s most famous architect of the 19th century, James G. Smither.

 

A few blocks further and the Light House is in sight and so to are local doing a morning promenade.

 

Light House morning stroll in Galle

Light House morning stroll in Galle

 

One of our favorite stories about Galle concerns the lighthouse and comes from the book, “Galle Fort, The Heritage City,” by K D Paranavitana.  The lighthouse was connected to the pigeon post service between Galle and Colombo started in the last 1800s.  When letters arrived overseas from America or Europe into the Galle harbour they were carried by pigeons, released from the lighthouse, to the capital city of Colombo.  These swift birds traveled at rates of 95 miles per hour reaching their destination in just 3/4 of an hour.

 

Making your way back to Amangalla stop at the large terrace pavilion for a restful breakfast full of local tastes and activities happening on the street below.

 

The most beautiful place for your first meal the tiles are aglow in the morning sun.

The most beautiful place for your first meal the tiles are aglow in the morning sun.

 

 

Begin your day with a traditional Sinhalese breakfast of String Hopper noodles.  String Hoppers are delicate noodles steamed and served in nests with dahl, coconut sambol and egg curry.  Partner it with sweet juice from a King Coconut and you are all set.

 

 

Spring Hopper noodles

String Hopper noodles

 

 

Spicy Coconut Sambol

Spicy Coconut Sambol

 

 

Mixed with dahl and curry.

Mixed with dahl and curry.

 

There is no denying it is very hot in Galle!  If you want to do any shopping start out by 9:00 am when the stores open to beat the intense mid-day heat.

 

Sri Lanka is known for many things but semiprecious stones: Moonstone specifically; brilliant sapphires; gossamer lace; ebony and tea top the long list.

 

As you head out from the Amangalla you might encounter locals demonstrating how lace is made and stones such as Amethyst and Moonstone are polished.

 

Lace making.  In the picture it is hard to see how her hands are flying.

Lace making. In the picture it is hard to see how her hands are flying.

 

 

Man polishes semi precious stones

Man polishes semi precious stones

 

 

Moonstone and other semi precious stones are ubiquitous in Sri Lanka.

Moonstone and other semi precious stones are ubiquitous in Sri Lanka.

 

 

Just steps away from the hotel is Exotic Roots a store that sells all variations in semi precious stones.  You can purchase look-a-like bracelets and necklaces to designs made by jewelers such as Chan Luu (whom we love) for less than $20.00.

 

Semi Precious stone cuff bracelets and necklaces are abundant and cheap.

Semi Precious stone cuff bracelets and necklaces are abundant and cheap.

 

 

Exotic Roots also offers handmade soaps in every imaginable scent and modern styled sarongs in iridescent overlapping silk fabrics.

 

Exotic Roots storefront at 32 Church Street.

Exotic Roots storefront at 32 Church Street.

 

 

 

 

Handmade soaps are worth it at an exchange rate of $126 Sri Lankan rupees to the dollar.

Handmade soaps are worth it at an exchange rate of $126 Sri Lankan rupees to the dollar.

 

 

Sarong

 

 

A few steps further, also on Church street you will find Barefoot filled with colorful fabrics, handicrafts, art and soft toys.   If you have children in your bunch, or children to shop for, this is your place!

 

During this season, Barefoot also offers a wide variety of Sri Lankan Christmas décor

During this season, Barefoot also offers a wide variety of Sri Lankan Christmas décor

 

 

Some colorful options children will love.

Some colorful options children will love.

 

 

Off of Church Street there are many lanes to turn into and local vendors will be walking around selling lace. They do have an eye for modern styles and many of the dresses have the lacy midriff that we just saw popularized by major fashion houses this spring.  Of course these creations in Galle cost under $20.00.

 

 

White lace and cotton dress.

White lace and cotton dress.

 

 

White lace blouse, perfect to pair with jeans.

White lace blouse, perfect to pair with jeans.

 

 

If you have just arrived in Galle you might want to head back now for a quick nap and after a breakfast of Spring Hoppers skipping lunch (with tea to look forward to) is not a problem.

 

Back at the Amangalla hang up your uniquely beautiful “Do Not Disturb Sign,” snack on their homemade coconut biscuits and salty spicy Muruku and take a rest on any of the gorgeous day beds in your room.

 

 

The most elegant "Do Not Disturb" sign that we have encountered to date!

The most elegant “Do Not Disturb” sign that we have encountered to date!

 

 

Savory Muruku bites are addictive and luckily replenished daily.

Savory Muruku bites are addictive and luckily replenished daily.

 

 

If you are a bit jet-lagged you will probably wake just in time for tea at the Amangalla with their finest Ceylon tea and buttery scones served alongside homemade cream and famed strawberry jam.  There is nowhere better to enjoy high tea than on the carved lounge chairs of this property housed in a 400 year-old Colonial building.  The Amangalla is the only Victorian Hotel that has survived in the area and was originally the Oriental Hotel.

 

Ceylon tea with scones and strawberry jam.

Ceylon tea with scones and strawberry jam.

 

The Zaal is the perfect place to take afternoon tea.

The Zaal is the perfect place to take afternoon tea.

 

 

The Zaal or “Great Hall” as it was known in Dutch Times is the Aman’s lounge, living room and bar all rolled into one.  Off of the Zaal is the Verandah and either are the ideal place for tea.

 

After tea plan your next days adventure by reading about Galle Fort and the surrounding area at the local library down the road. Built in the late 1800s it is definitely worth the trip and will help you make a determination of what to see tomorrow.  From there you can head to the sea and be part of the early evening local “passiagata.”

 

 

The town library is steps away from the Amangalla.

The town library is steps away from the Amangalla.

 

Galle library has a large selection of vintage children's books.

Galle library has a large selection of vintage children’s books.

 

 

This is also a great place to work if you need to catch-up with anything.

This is also a great place to work if you need to catch-up with anything.

 

 

Cap off your day with a traditional Sinhalese dinner of ‘Curry and Rice’ prepared by the Amangalla chef so that you can sample more than five local specialties and determine your favorite.

Steamed Basmati and Red Rice is offered alongside:

Chicken Badum

Tuna in Red Curry

Snake Gourd Mustard Curry

Lotus Root Dry Curry

Pumpkin Black Curry

Plantain Flower Curry (if you are searching for something mild try this first)

Beetroot Curry (delicious and palate refreshing)

Carrot Sambol, Chutneys, Papadum

 

All of the curries are served in tiny tasting bowls.

All of the curries are served in tiny tasting bowls.

 

 

 

Up close, from left:  Snake Gourd Mustard Curry, Pumpkin Black Curry, Beetroot Curry and Lotus Root Dry Curry.

Up close, from left: Snake Gourd Mustard Curry, Pumpkin Black Curry, Beetroot Curry and Lotus Root Dry Curry.

 

 

Upon returning for the night enjoy the complimentary turn-down gifts the Amangalla provides all made by local artisans using local resources with a brief history card and details.

 

Bookmark made from lontar an ancient form of paper penciled with Sinhalese script.

Bookmark made from lontar an ancient form of paper penciled with Sinhalese script.

 

 

Handmade wooden tuk tuks are placed on daybeds and in cribs for little guests.

Handmade wooden tuk tuks are placed on daybeds and in cribs for little guests.

 

 

Suba Raat-riyak (Good Night)!

 

 

Thanksgiving Weekend at the Amangiri Part Trois

  • 4th December 2013

For your last day at the Aman, we recommend visiting another nation—Navajo Nation.

 

 

The luminous orange of the sand in Monument Valley contrasted with the desert plants is beautiful.

The luminous orange of the sand in Monument Valley contrasted with the desert plants is beautiful.

 

 

The Navajo Nation extends into the states of Utah, Arizona and New Mexico, covering over 27,000 square miles of unparalleled beauty.   The Aman can assist you in a private tour of Monument Valley or a private hike down to the cliff dwellings at Betatakin.  Both are about a 2.5 hr drive from the resort and offer the opportunity for near-solitude during your visit.  At either Betatakin or the back-country tour of Monument Valley you have a chance to see petroglyphs that date back by more than 1,000 years.

 

 

Betatakin Cliff Dwellings at the Navajo National Monument.

Betatakin Cliff Dwellings at the Navajo National Monument.

 

 

At Betatakin prehistoric Puebloan peoples built Tsegi Phase villages within the natural sandstone arches in the canyons. These villages, which date from AD 1250 to 1300, thrill all who visit with their original architectural elements such as roof beams, masonary walls, rock art, and hand and foot holds.

 

 

Betatakin hike must be completed with a registered guide, drops quickly in elevation and can be strenuous.

The Betatakin hike must be completed with a registered guide, drops quickly in elevation and can be strenuous.

 

 

The hike down to Betatakin is quite strenuous with a very steep drop in elevation (which means that you have to climb back up eventually!).  You can choose from a 3-mile very strenuous hike to a 5-mile just ‘strenuous’ hike.  But, don’t shy away, it is absolutely worth it.  Instead come armed with some delicious complimentary snacks from the Aman like jerky, dried fruits and dark chocolate bars from Dean & Deluca.

 

 

Grand archways give way to ancient cliff dwellings at Betatakin.

Grand archways give way to ancient cliff dwellings constructed of sandstone, mud, mortar and wood at Betatakin.

 

You can only visit the site with a registered guide, making the experience even more private and informative.  Please reserve well in advance as there are limited numbers of guided hikes available during the day as well as restraints on visitor numbers.  Having gone at the very very tail end of the season we enjoyed complete solitude.

 

 

Even on the cloudiest of days the colors and buttes are magnificent.

Even on the cloudiest of days the colors and buttes of Monument Valley are magnificent.

 

 

Monument Valley on the Colorado Plateau offers clusters of vast sandstone buttes, the largest reaching 1,000 ft above the valley floor.

The totem pole in Monument Valley en route to some private arches.

The totem pole in Monument Valley en route to some private arches.

The totem pole is one of the most famous sites and is en route to some private arches which house petroglyphs.  No hiking is necessary to see these remote regions of Monument Valley.

A Navajo guide takes in an elevated view of the valley floor in Monument Valley.

A Navajo guide takes in an elevated view of the valley floor in Monument Valley.

 

 

 

Petroglyphs painted on sandstone were often of Hopi Deer, Fire, Flute and Waterclan symbols.

 

 

Petroglyphs are more than 1,000 years old and can be seen in Monument Valley and Betatakin.

Petroglyphs are more than 1,000 years old and can be seen in Monument Valley and Betatakin.

 

Our last stop in the remote, back-country, at the Sun Arch, reveals petroglyphs that are more than 1,000 years old.

 

Once back at the Amangiri, relax with a long swim in their renowned pool which wraps around a surrounding rock and is heated bathtub warm for winter weather.

 

 

Steam rising out of the pool at the Amangiri on a cloudy day.

Steam rising out of the pool at the Amangiri on a cloudy day.

 

 

On a sunnier day the pool is like reflective glass.

On a sunnier day the pool is like reflective glass.

 

 

Aman pool lit up.

Aman pool lit up.

 

 

Enjoy their rich, comforting and renowned onion soup for dinner.  The slow cooked onion broth is puréed with cream and tangy soft cheese and then topped with toasted hominy.

 

 

 

Creamy onion soup with toasted hominy.

Creamy onion soup with toasted hominy.

 

 

 

For dessert you can use the resort balcony with stunning views, or your room’s own private balcony, to roast marshmallows and make mouth-watering s’mores.  Grab the complimentary Dean & Deluca chocolate bars from the in-room fridge to elevate your s’mores to gourmet status.

 

 

The Amangiri balcony with panoramic desert views.  Available to guests for classes like astronomy and Native American dancing as well as s'mores!

The Amangiri balcony with panoramic desert views. Available to guests for classes like astronomy and Native American dancing as well as marshmallow roasting!

 

 

 

Views from the balcony and fire-pit for roasting.

Views from the balcony and fire-pit for roasting.

 

 

 

Roasting marshmallows on a private balcony at the Amangiri.

Roasting marshmallows on a private balcony at the Amangiri.

 

 

Before you leave the resort and head back home, make sure you drop into the Amangiri Gallery to find the perfect Four Corners remembrance.

 

 

Gorgeous indigenous pottery designs.

Gorgeous indigenous pottery designs.

 

 

Vintage Navajo rugs from the mid-1900s.

Vintage Navajo rugs from the mid-1900s.

 

 

Thanksgiving Weekend at the Amangiri Part Deux….

  • 1st December 2013

After starting your day with any of our favorite breakfast treats from strawberry filled french toast with vanilla cream to dulche de leche belgian waffles to chef prepared pastries, you can explore any of the numerous trails surrounding the Aman’s property.

 

 

Sunrise at the Amangiri

Sunrise at the Amangiri

 

 

Amangiri hotel

Amangiri hotel

 

The sunrise trail affords views of the mesa illuminated in all hues of pink and orange.  There are also daily complimentary hikes led by Navajo guides to nearby attractions and rock-climbing and repelling for the more adventurous.

 

 

Trails around the property are dotted with bursts of colorful desert flowers.

Trails around the property are dotted with bursts of colorful desert flowers.

Sheer rock surfaces beckon to the more adventurous.

Sheer rock surfaces beckon to the more adventurous.

 

 

On your second day at the resort, the nearby slot canyons call you.  Wind and water, at work for millions of years have created these spectacular canyons about a 30 minute drive from the property.

 

 

Antelope Canyon private tour amangiri.

Antelope Canyon

 

 

Whether you are a guest of the property or not, you must take a guide to enter Antelope Canyon.  However, as a guest of the Amangiri you are afforded the opportunity to tour two other slot canyons in the same region which are only otherwise open to professional photographers.

 

 

Natural light changes minute-by-minute within the canyon creating shadows and shapes such as this 'heart of the canyon.''

Natural light changes minute-by-minute within the canyon creating shadows and shapes such as this ‘heart of the canyon.”

 

 

The slot canyons were discovered in the early 1900s by Navajo women while grazing sheep.  We actually visited on a very overcast day and the colors were still spectacular.

 

 

The very private Rattlesnake Canyon does require some climbing and getting through tight squeezes.

The very private Rattlesnake Canyon does require some climbing and getting through tight squeezes.

 

 

Rounding each corner is more beautiful than the last.

 

The tight twists and turns of Rattlesnake Canyon

The tight twists and turns of Rattlesnake Canyon

 

 

In nearby Owl Canyon a dilemma awaits.  Guides caution that you should be very quiet so as not to disturb the Great Horn Owls that rest in small holes in the rock.  However, because the canyon is so remote about halfway through the canyon you are advised to begin conversing in a loud voice to scare away mountain lions that might be lurking at the end of the canyon.

 

 

Great Horned Owls are some of the biggest in North America.

Great Horned Owls are some of the biggest in North America.

 

 

Again, this is one of the few places that you can experience the natural beauty of this area without being rushed through or busily trying to circumvent everyone else’s photograph.

 

 

This is our guide's car...these two slot canyons are yours to soak in alone.

This is our guide’s car…these two slot canyons are yours to soak in alone.

 

 

Returning back to the Amangiri relax while contemplating how the desert colors have been seamlessly integrated into the décor surrounding you.

 

 

The soothing green of the bathroom tiles mirror the natural sage desert plants.

 

 

 

colors
green

 

 

 

 

 

Shower tiles in the Amangiri

Shower tiles in the Amangiri

 

 

 

Reflective pools around the property take on the hues of brilliant sunsets:

 

Sunset over the desert at the Amangiri

Sunset over the desert at the Amangiri

Colorful pools are illuminated around the property.

Colorful pools are illuminated around the property.

 

 

Streaks of rust pierce sandy walls mimicking exactly the desert landscape.

 

Desert landscape

Desert landscape

Walkways take exact cues from the surrounding landscape.

Walkways take exact cues from the surrounding landscape.

 

 

 

Before dinner, you can take in any of the complimentary classes and activities offered to guests including: professional landscape photography, wildlife experts, Native American traditions and music, astronomy, etc.

 

 

A bearded dragon takes a rest on the Amangiri couch.

A bearded dragon takes a rest on the Amangiri couch.

 

 

Guests can choose to hold a scorpion.

Guests can choose to hold a scorpion.

 

 

End your intense day with chef-prepared wild game such as an elk chop cooked sous-vide alongside a ‘modern baked potato,’ which has been cooked sous vide and infused with (rather than topped with) butter, sour cream and heavy delicious ingredients.

 

Elk Chop

Elk Chop

The modern baked potato

The modern baked potato

 

 

Thanksgiving Weekend at the Amangiri

  • 29th November 2013

November is truly a perfect month to visit this region of the Southwest at the border of Arizona and Utah, with Thanksgiving weekend being particularly ideal.

• With a stunning, secluded backdrop and your every need met, the Amangiri is the place to really connect with family, explore unlimited outdoor activities and of course, feast!

• The national parks are amazingly empty over this holiday weekend and the choices are vast from Zion, Bryce, Monument Valley to the many slot canyons and The Grand Canyon (the list literally goes on and on) in this area.

 

 

The Amangiri and surrounding views at sunset.

The Amangiri and surrounding views at sunset.

 

 

 

Photo Courtesy of the Amangiri

Photo Courtesy of the Amangiri

 

 

Use the Amangiri as a luxuriously comfortable, private and secluded base from which to soak up all of the beauty of the surrounding national parks.

 

 

Bryce Canyon at 8:00 am on Thanksgiving morning.

Bryce Canyon at 8:00 am on Thanksgiving morning.

 

 

You can hike to the bottom of an often snowy Bryce Canyon come Thanksgiving morning and not see another hiker for hours—having this national treasure all to yourself and your family/friends is real holiday treat.

 

The drive from the resort is an easy 2.5 hours with beautiful views of the sunrise over the mesas that dot the route.  Ask for buttery croissants, pecan wood smoked bacon and other treats to enjoy in the car.  The Amangiri has a signature mint and sage infused lemonade that tastes especially delicious after a long hike so ask for a thermos (it will stay cold this time of year in the car!).

 

If you start out around 5:30 you will reach Bryce with enough light to start your hike.  On Thanksgiving morning, you might be lucky like we were and not find another car in the parking lot at Sunset Point overlook.

 

 

The sunrise along route to Bryce.

The sunrise along route to Bryce.

 

 

Bryce is particularly beautiful in the snow, but to hike the slippery canyon you will need poles and crampons so do invest in proper gear before you attempt it.   For this small investment, the reward is tremendous.

 

 

The Peek-a-boo trail in Bryce Canyon.

The Peek-a-Boo loop trail and towering spires in Bryce Canyon.

 

There are many trails to attempt.  We chose the Navajo trail to the famed Peek-a-Boo loop, a route which began at Sunset Point.  This affords the most stunning view of numerous brilliant hoodoos, towering spires and copious vistas of the Bryce amphitheatre.  But, most importantly, the Wall of Windows is incomparable from below.

 

 

The Wall of Windows in Bryce Canyon.

The Wall of Windows in Bryce Canyon.

 

 

The trails can lead you through tight passages that break into glorious vistas and remote sparkling fields of snow to enjoy in absolute silence.

 

 

Tight passage in Bryce Canyon.

 

 

 

Pristine fields of snow against the canyon backdrop.

Pristine fields of snow against the canyon backdrop.

 

 

After an intense day in Bryce (or any of the surrounding parks) nothing is better than arriving back at the Amangiri at twilight, ravenous and ready to indulge in their many culinary treats.

 

 

Views from the picture window at the Amangiri at Twilight

Views from the picture window at the Amangiri leading into the main dining room.

 

 

At this time of year, a 4-night stay in the Amangiri affords complimentary meals.  The Thanksgiving dinner is comfort food at an elevated level.

 

 

 

The main lobby and dining room at the Amangiri at dinner.  Fireplaces abound and aromatic wood crackling is a soothing soundtrack.

The main lobby and dining room at the Amangiri at dinner.

 

 

 

Fireplaces abound and aromatic wood crackling is a soothing soundtrack.

Fireplaces abound and aromatic crackling wood is soothing and the perfect soundtrack.

 

 

Our Thanksgiving meal included:

 

• A cheese & charcuterie plate with smoked parmesan, aged blue goat cheese, bresoala, calabrese salami and tartufo

• Butternut squash soup with cinnamon sugar toast croutons and braised Utah sweet ham

• Tuscan greens with pickled mint, maple pinenuts, blue cheese, Prosecco poached pear, pancetta, light buttermilk and a shallot vinaigrette.

• Harvest Platter:  Smoked butter herb turkey, Heritage Utah Berkshire ham, parsnip and Yukon mash, wild rice, currant and chestnut stuffing, granny’s turkey gravy, three sister succotash, green bean squash and sweet corn, cranberry horseradish sauce, brown sugar butter

• Pumpkin cheesecake!

 

The cheese and charcuterie plate

The cheese and charcuterie plate

 

 

 

Butternut squash soup with cinnamon toast croutons

Butternut squash soup with cinnamon toast croutons

Salad with shallot buttermilk vinaigrette

Salad with shallot buttermilk vinaigrette

 

The Harvest Plate

The Harvest Plate

 

 

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Pumpkin Cheesecake

If You’re Heading to….Santa Barbara

  • 8th October 2013

A walk through Lotusland is not far away…..

 

 

The iconic Blue Garden in Madame Walksa's Lotusland.

The iconic Blue Garden in Madame Walska’s Lotusland.

 

Lotusland, close to Santa Barbara, was once home to Madame Ganna Walska, a renowned Polish opera-singer, who upon moving to California devoted more than 40 years to amassing the most unique collection of plants from all corners of the world.  In order to allow them the presentation they deserved, she commissioned the most innovative designers to help her with the more than 15 individual gardens within.

 

Spanish Moss adds silvery elegance to many trees.

Spanish Moss adds silvery elegance to many trees.

 

 

Lotusland is in the heart of a residential area, so reservations are required to visit.  Even if you cannot plan your trip for when the legendary lotus’ are in bloom in early summer, there are many many spectacular plants that are well worth a trip.

 

 


pinkcacti1

 

If you are not heading to the Santa Barbara area anytime soon, here are some of our favorite tips we discovered at Lotusland, that could even apply to a backyard (with a few fewer than 3,000 plants).

 

The Beauty of Spanish Moss:

Also called ‘Air Moss’ this air plant can hang from anything from trees to statues.  It takes all the substances it needs to survive straight from the air with specialized hairs called trichomes. Their beautiful silvery leaves are thin, elegant and threadlike.

 

 

Air Moss decorates a tree in Lotusland.

Air Moss decorates a tree in Lotusland.

 

 

 

Lion statue with a Spanish  Air Moss Mane.

A lion guarding the house gets a unique mane.

 

 

Nonconventional Arbors:

 

Veering away from the traditional (Grapes, Wisteria, or the climbing rose), two arbors at Lotusland celebrate the more atypical starting with Austalian Tea Tree and then citrus.

 

The Australian Tea Tree Arbor at Lotusland.

The Australian Tea Tree Arbor at Lotusland.

 

 

Australian Tea Tree works beautifully because it can be easily trained into many differing formations.  Young plants can be planted very close together and lower growth easily pruned away.  It does best in full sun to partial shade.  Once established it is both drought tolerant and salt tolerant.  It’s weeping branches and shaggy trunk offer both texture and personality to the garden.

 

 

The citrus arbor at Lotusland.

The citrus arbor at Lotusland.

 

 

 

Citrus trees can work beautifully in an arbor because they are medium to small trees and can also be trained.  Beyond providing an abundant supply of succulent fruit they add the most beautiful pop of color.  Citrus trees require frost-free climates with rich and loamy soil, full sun and regular water.

 

 

Hang an Orchid Cactus in Dappled Shade:

 

 

Orchid Cactus hanging in the shade at Lotusland.

An Orchid Cactus hanging in the shade at Lotusland.

 

 

The Orchid Cactus is native to the tropical forests of Mexico and Central America.

 

 

Orchid Cactus Blossom up close.

 

 

 

They make beautiful hanging baskets especially from other trees and many varieties flower often throughout the year.

 

Orchid Cactus at Lotusland.

 

 

They like filtered sunlight with heavy morning sun that is bright but not as strong as afternoon sun.  The Orchid Cactus is an Epiphyte, meaning they can grown on other plants directly.

 

 

In Part Two we will delve right into Madame Walksa’s Blue Garden….

 

 

Ganna Walksa

 

 

 

 

 

Scotland’s Seductive Summons—Part Deux

  • 1st September 2013

In the Chanel Pre-Fall collection (pieces are in boutiques now and selling-out rapidly) Lagerfeld took the medieval ornamental ‘sporran’ and transformed it into a gorgeous line of purses and minaudieres.  We’ll highlight those today, alongside another beautiful and famous transformation, that of Inverlochy Castle into a renowned destination hotel.

 

The Sporran as a handbag:

Typically made of leather or fur, often with feather ornamentation, the sporran is a traditional part of male highland dress and functions as a pocket, for the pocketless kilt.

 

Traditional Sporran

Traditional Sporran. Photo Courtesy of: Wikipedia

 

 

Below it is gloriously adapted per Chanel, even for those not Highland-bound:

 

Chanel Pre-Fall Collection Sporran-style purse.

Chanel Pre-Fall Collection Sporran-style purse. Photo Courtesy of: Bragmybag.com

 

 

Photo Courtesy of Lachanelphile.com

Photo Courtesy of Lachanelphile.com

 

 

A few more favorite handbags from the collection include:

 

Beautifully embellished tartan minaudieres.

Beautifully embellished tartan minaudieres.

 

 

 

Photo Courtesy of: Citizenoffashion.com

Photo Courtesy of: Citizenoffashion.com

 

 

 

Luxurious velvet clutch-bag

Luxurious velvet clutch-bag

 

 

 

Velvet clutch bag on the runway.

Velvet clutch bag on the runway.

 

 

 

The luxurious tartans and tweeds, pearl embellishments and delicate feathers from the Edinburgh Pre Fall collection could not be more perfectly suited to the impeccably resplendent grounds of Inverlochy Castle Hotel.

 

The drive up to Inverlochy

The drive up to Inverlochy.

 

 

Just a four hour drive (through the Scottish countryside) from Edinburgh, Inverlochy Castle Hotel is a 19th century-baronial mansion located near the town of Fort William.

 

 

The front of Inverlochy as seen from the rolling grounds.

The front of Inverlochy as seen from the rolling grounds.

 

 

It was built in 1863 and retains all of the elegance the time-period afforded.

 

 

The perfect room to take tea.

The perfect room to take tea.

 

 

The main reception room features live music in the evening.

The main reception room features live music in the evening.

 

 

Invelochy Castle Hotel Main Reception

 

 

 

Queen Victoria spent a week at Inverlochy in 1873 remarking, “I never saw a lovelier, more romantic spot.”  The Queen’s suite allows you to share in her wonderment.

 

Dress for dinner, but sorry there are no Lady's Maids.

Dress for dinner, but sorry there are no Lady’s Maids.

 

 

The mansion has been a hotel since 1969 and in 2006 Inverlochy Castle Hotel was voted, “Best Hotel in Europe”  by Travel + Leisure magazine.  Much of its fame is due to its renowned cuisine.

 

Adult breakfast

Adult breakfast

 

 

 

Traditional 'Egg & Soldiers' for children

Traditional ‘Egg & Soldiers’ for children.

 

 

Cap off dinner with an amazingly fresh cheese course.

Cap off dinner with an amazingly fresh cheese course.

 

 

True that some of the best game hunting and sport fishing is just steps away, but even a walk through the rolling grounds or a canoe-ride across the lake is activity enough.

 

 

Stop for a game of chess before ambling down a pathway into greenery.

Stop for a game of chess before ambling down a pathway into greenery.

 

 

Walking paths surround the castle.

Walking paths surround the castle.

 

 

The greenery is only broken by wildflowers and small lakes.

The greenery is only broken by wildflowers and small lakes.

 

 

 

 

Velvety Foxglove pops up everywhere.

Velvety Foxglove pops up everywhere.

 

 

 

The grounds behind the castle are equally stunning.

The grounds behind the castle are equally stunning.

 

 

 

All guest rooms enjoy sweeping views.

All guest rooms enjoy sweeping views.

 

 

Inverlochy Castle Hotel

 

 

 

 

 

.

 

 

Scotland’s Seductive Summons

  • 21st August 2013

More than just kilts, tartan and shortbread, the allure of Scotland as a style springboard and one of the hottest cultural destinations has never been more apparent.

 

 

Chanel Paris Edinburgh Collection Tweed and Pearl Necklace

The Chanel Paris Edinburgh Collection

 

 

While the Highlands currently headline travel magazines the world-over and vacationers pack the Royal Mile, Chanel’s Paris/Edinburgh Pre-Fall Collection has simultaneously hit boutiques with incredible fanfare.

 

Honeymooners perhaps?  A couple unwittingly caught  and caught-up in the romance of Edinburgh.

Honeymooners perhaps? A couple unwittingly caught and caught-up in the romance of Edinburgh.

 

 

In the next few posts we will highlight this collection that pays tribute to the creativity and craftsmanship of the ten highly specialized Scottish houses acquired by Chanel that produce everything from exquisite embroidery to amazing feather detail (the center-point of this season’s accessories).  According to Vogue.fr, this collection also pays tribute to Coco Chanel’s lover the Duke of Westminster through whom she developed her admiration for Scottish craftsmanship and her love of tweed, cardigans and knitwear.

 

 

Absolutely stunning feather detailed Chanel cuff.

Absolutely stunning feather detailed Chanel cuff.

 

 

Today we begin with our favorite accessories from the collection and end with a look at the enchantment of Edinburgh and what not to miss when you are there!

 

 

Neon Tweed Chanel Bracelet.

Neon Tweed Chanel Bracelet.

Chanel Tweed Bracelet with Sequin Detail

Chanel Tweed Bracelet with Sequin Detail.

 

 

Bracelets and cuffs come in super-luxe fabrics or exquisite feathers.

 

 

Chanel tartan, tweed, pearl embellished cuff paris edinburgh pre fall collection

 

 

 

Tucked neatly into a tight neck-grazing chignon, the hair-piece is perfection!

 

 

Chanel Feather Hair-Piece Paris Edinburgh Pre Fall Collection

 

 

 

Three feather detailed Chanel pieces.

 

 

 

 

We were advised that the feather-detail ring was not purchased for American boutiques.  So should you be interested in it, like we were, there’s your excuse for a quick European getaway!

 

If Europe is out of the question, these are available here and now…..

 

Pearl and Enamel Embellished Ring Paris Edinburgh Chanel Pre Fall Collection
Pearl and Enamel Embellished Ring Paris Edinburgh Chanel Pre Fall Collection

 

 

Tartan and Tweed Ring Chanel Paris Edinburgh Pre Fall Collection
Pearl and Enamel Embellished Ring Paris Edinburgh Chanel Pre Fall Collection

 

Match the collection’s belt with a white lace or white ruffled blouse or a deep oxblood velvet skirt….

 

Pearl and Enamel Embellished Belt Paris Edinburgh Chanel Pre Fall Collection

 

 

 

Over-sized pearl earrings Paris Edinburgh Chanel Pre Fall Collection

 

 

If this has whetted your appetite for more royal fanfare and grandeur, castle hopping in Scotland may be on your horizon and Edinburgh serves as the ideal starting point.

 

Arriving into Edinburgh by train is especially enjoyable if you are traveling with children (there are daily connections from London that take approx. 4 hours) and a stay in the historic Balmoral hotel keeps many of the cities treasures within walking distance.

 

Don't forget your kilt to feel right at home for the train station pick-up.

Don’t forget your kilt to feel right at home for the train station pick-up.

The Balmoral Hotel

The Balmoral Hotel. Photo Courtesy of: Google Images

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Balmoral was a traditional railway hotel built for the North British Railway Company and stands today as a city landmark.  It is located literally in the heart of the city and run by the luxurious Rocco Forte Hotel’s.  It’s majestic clock tower is historically known for being set 2 minutes fast to allow travelers a cushion so as not to miss their train at the station nearby.

 

 

The Balmoral's elegant lobby.

The Balmoral’s elegant lobby.

Make sure to sample the Balmoral's complimentary homemade fudge (prepared with clotted cream)!

Make sure to sample the Balmoral’s complimentary homemade fudge (prepared with clotted cream)!

 

 

 

 

Beyond its historic and geographic significance, the Balmoral also claims fame as being the hotel wherein JK Rowling finished penning the last lines of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows on January 11, 2007.

 

Supposed autograph left by Rowling on a bust of Hermes in room 652.

Supposed autograph left by Rowling on a bust of Hermes in room 652.

View from another guest suite.

Most guest suites afford lovely city views.

 

 

From the Balmoral stroll through the relaxing and charming Princes Street Gardens to reach the Old Town and the Royal Mile.

 

 

 

The Scott Monument

The Scott Monument

 

 

The Victorian Gothic Scott Monument, a tribute to author Sir Walter Scott, greets you immediately as you head towards the gardens.

 

Everyone relaxes in Princes Street Garden and enjoys the view.

Everyone relaxes in Princes Street Garden and enjoys the view.

Flowers are abundant in Princes Street Garden.

Flowers are abundant.

 

As you walk towards Old Town you pass many of Edinburgh’s galleries and historic buildings.

 

 

Walking towards Old Town Edinburgh.

 

 

 

St Giles’ Cathedral, the historic City Church of Edinburgh at the center of Old Town, is about a 45 minute leisurely stroll from the Balmoral.

 

 

 

St. Giles Cathedral

 

 

Edinburgh Castle sits atop of the Royal Mile, which ends at the Palace of Holyroodhouse.  Both are worth visiting.  If you are visiting both in one day, split them up with lunch at the famed Royal Botanical Gardens, or a picnic on the green of the Princes Street Gardens.  Both allow for commanding views, and if you are with children they will appreciate the grassy area to run and play.

 

 

Sweeping City Views from Edinburgh Castle.

Sweeping City Views from Edinburgh Castle.

 

 

 

 

 

The Palace of Holyroodhouse. Photo Courtesy of the Holyroodhouse Royal Collection

The Palace of Holyroodhouse. Photo Courtesy of the Holyroodhouse Royal Collection

 

 

 

The Abbey at Holyroodhouse Palace

The Abbey at Holyroodhouse Palace

 

 

If you are visiting in summer, a trip to the Royal Botanical Gardens is a great way to break-up the day.

 

 

The Royal Botannical Gardens Edinburgh

The Royal Botannical Gardens Edinburgh

 

The Royal Botanical Gardens Edinburgh

 

 

Grassy lawn for children to run and play.

Grassy lawn at the Royal Botanical Gardens for children to run and play.

 

 

View from the Gardens

View from the Gardens

 

 

Another way to break-up the day for younger travelers comes by way of the National Museum of Scotland, especially enjoyable for your young animal lovers.

 

 

The National Museum of Scotland

The National Museum of Scotland

nationalmuseumofscotland

 

Cap off your day in what Andrew Lloyd Webber calls, “The prettiest restaurant ever!”  If you end your day at Edinburgh Castle, the Witchery is just steps away and is ranked amongst UK’s top 5 restaurants.  For this romantic hot spot, they ask that children under 12 leave the dining room by 7:30.  Remember to book well in advance!

 

 

The Witchery Edinburgh

The Witchery Edinburgh

The Witchery Edinburgh

 

The Witchery Edinburgh
The Witchery Edinburgh

Photo Courtesy of: Salvonights.com

 

 

Pocketed, Perfect Fish Laotian Style

  • 2nd August 2013

This recipe for steamed fish comes to us by way of the Amantaka in Luang Prabang, Laos.

 

Steamed fish recipe from the Amantaka

Beautiful and delicious!

 

 

 

There are several reasons we love it:

 

—It’s delicious and mildly spiced

—It’s amazingly fun to prepare making it a perfect way to engage your kids to eat fish

(We prepared it with our 7 year old daughter and she loved the process)

—It affords a gorgeous presentation for a party

—It’s a healthy recipe that you can easily add your creative touches to

 

 

Organic Farm Luang Prabang

Organic Farm Luang Prabang

Mixture ready to steam

Mixture ready to steam

 

 

 

Mok Pa—Fish Steamed in Banana Leaf

 

Ingredients:

200 grams fish fillet, cubed (about 7 ounces or .44 lbs, a fish like Tilapia works best)

1 tbs coriander leaf

4 pcs kefir lime leaf

1 tbs spring onion, sliced thinly

2 tbs fish sauce

2 pcs chopped shallot

1 tbs dill leaf finely sliced

Pinch salt

2 stalk lemongrass sliced

½ cup Thai basil

1 pcs egg yolk

1 tbs pounded dry rice (best to use a mortar and pestle)

1 tbs oyster sauce

 

For the Wrapping

4 pcs toothpick

4 pcs  circular cut banana leaf, approximately 6 inches in diameter

 

 

Fish mixture up close

Fish mixture up close

Center the fish mixture

Center the fish mixture

 

 

 

Instruction:

Mix all ingredients in a bowl.  Divide into 4 parts.  Wrap individually with banana leaf then stick with a tooth pick and steam for 15 minutes.

 

 

 

 

Pinch like wrapping a gift.

Pinch like wrapping a gift.

Fold sides over.

Fold sides over.

 

 

Wrap up!

Wrap up!

 

 

Secure with toothpick

Secure with toothpick

 

 

 

Place them in a steamer.

Place them in a steamer.

 

 

Serve fish with steamed rice.

Serve fish with steamed rice.

 

 

Tip:

Make leaves pliable for wrapping by heating them ever so slightly over the stove (almost like a tortilla)

 

Making banana leaf pliable

Making banana leaf pliable

 

 

 

Banks of the Mekong River.

Banks of the Mekong River.

 

 

.

 

 

Part Two: Deux Jours Éblouissants à Paris (kids in tow!)

  • 9th July 2013

Sorry for the wait…but the continuation is here with the second day:  

 

(If you have not yet read Suzie’s amazing first day, please do that before you scroll below.  Click here.)

 

Artistic Eiffel Tower
Bronze in Paris

 

Two Perfect Days Visiting Paris (kids in tow and engaged!)—by Suzie Cornell

 

Le Deuxième Jour (Day #2):

 

Le Matin– Once again, please set a wake up call.  Start your day on the right bank at Café Angelina for breakfast (1st Arr).  The kid-friendly tearoom is the perfect setting for a leisurely petit déjeuner.  Located on the Rue de Rivoli, this all-day café (also a good early dinner spot for kids) serves up a delicious breakfast menu and their infamous hot chocolate.  Even if  it’s summer, their hot chocolate can NOT be missed!  It’s pure melted chocolate, a true indulgence and Paris tradition (so you have to do it!)  If the café line is long, which it likely will be, go through the door on the right and head to the take-out counter for your brioche and hot chocolate to go.

 

Angelina Hot Chocolate Africain

Photo Courtesy of: Google Images

Eli & Piper in front of Café Angelina

Eli & Piper Cornell in front of Café Angelina

 

Morning on the right bank—On one side of Angelina is a quaint bookstore with a great children’s section in both English/French.  On the opposite side is the hotel Le Meurice. Now designated a “Palace,” the Philippe Starck-designed exquisite lobby is worth a quick stop for a look-around and for the kids to write their names on the huge ice wall.

 

Le Meurice Looby

Le Meurice Lobby

Ice Wall Le Meurice

Eli and Piper at the Ice Wall.

 

 

The opulent Le Meurice Lobby

The opulent Le Meurice lobby.

Candle and mirror display in  the lobby.

Candle and mirror display in the lobby.

 

 

Tea time at Le Meurice.

Tea time at Le Meurice.

 

 

Exit the hotel and walk a block to the Rue Saint-Honoré.  Three blocks down is Colette, the Fred Segal of Paris.  Any fashion director or celebrity will tell you it’s a must-see three floors of fashion and fun.

 

Newest ‘Chaussures’ at Collette: 

 

repettoxmarykatranzou.jpg

Repetto x Mary Katrantzou

repetto x marykatrantzou

Repetto x Mary Katrantzou

 

 

 

Now it’s time for the kids—Walk back up two blocks and across the street from Le Meurice to the Jardin des Tuileries.  Highlights my children have loved include the in-ground trampolines, carousel, horse-back riding and the play structure.  There is also a large pond to rent mini-sailboats and chairs abound to sit and enjoy views of la tour Eiffel.

 

Tuileries garden

Tuileries Garden

Eli makes the most of the trampoline.

Eli makes the most of the trampoline at the Tuileries Garden.

 

 

The Carousel in the Tuileries Garden.

The old-world charm of the carousel is enchanting.

The Carousel in the Tuileries Garden.

 

 

 

Statues in the Tuileries Garden.

Beautiful statues and colonnades of tress.

Lions in the Tuileries.

Lions grace the entrance to the park.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A hidden gem and an absolute MUST,  is the Mussée de l’Orangerie in the Tuileries.  Enjoy the plethora of Monets in a beautiful setting that is less crowded than other Paris museums.  The museum is small and just manageable with children.  The Monets are sweepingly large and so accessible to children.

 

Monet up close from Musée L'Orangerie.

Monet up close from Musée L’Orangerie.

Huge circular canvases in the Musee L'Orangerie.

The rooms hold sweeping circular spectacular canvases.

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you want to hit the mother of all museums though, walk through the garden to the opposite end and you will be at the Louvre.  My kids are young and we did the Louvre two years ago in about all of 15 minutes. (It’s massive and crowded and we have yet to go back).  My #1 tip is to avoid the ticket lines and buy your tickets from your concierge.  Even better is the Paris Museum Pass that you can only buy in the U.S. It lets you into almost all the museums and you can avoid ticket lines completely.

 

Midi—Take a taxi to the Arc de Triumph at the end of the Champs Élysées.  My kids love to walk up to the top for the view.  Be aware, it is hundreds of steps so you may end up carrying the little ones.  About ¾ of the way up there is a rest area and bathrooms.

 

View from the Arc de Triomphe

View from the top.

 

Now is your chance to enjoy a meal at a fine restaurant with the kids.  It sounds crazy but next to the Arc is Publicis DrugstoreIt may be the most luxe drugstore in the world, serving Petrossian caviar and selling Baby Dior.  In the basement is  L’Atelier de Jöel Robuchon Etoile.  Go early for walk-in or make a reservation.  We sat at the open round kitchen and enjoyed a prix-fixe lunch while the kids dined on mini-burgers topped with fois gras.  It was a long lunch but that mini iPad is a lifesaver.

 

 

Atelier Joie Mini Burger with Fois Grois

Atelier Joie Mini Burger with Fois Gross

 

After lunch walk down the Champs Élysées and stop at Petit Bateau.  The top floor is dedicated to their adorable kids clothes.  The kids can draw at the children’s table while you stack up on their adorable PJ’s (which they don’t sell here in the states because they don’t fit our fire hazard standards—reason being is they are loose, the comfort factor my kids love).  They have stores all over Paris so if you plan to stock up, I suggest signing up for their loyalty card but warning, it’s not valid at their U.S. stores.

 

 

Le Soir— If your kids (or you) aren’t fearful of heights, head to the Eiffel Tower and the Champs de Mars (7th Arr.).  The kids can run around the large green space of the Champs de Mars before heading up the tower.  If you want to get to the top, get your tickets in advance at your hotel.  If you prefer to only head halfway up for a semi-private view, have drinks at the Jules Verne, now helmed by chef Alaine Ducasse.  With its own private elevator, you can head to the restaurant and take in the views while having a quick kir royale, with the kids.  There is also a public outside balcony one floor above the restaurant (make sure to ask how to check it out, it is not obvious).

 

Elevator going up the tower.

Elevator going up the tower.

 

 

 

Plates at Jules Verne match the aesthetic of the Tower.

Plates at Jules Verne match the aesthetic of the Tower.

 

 

Le Diner— Since dinner does not begin until 7 pm, you have plenty of time to taxi anywhere around Paris to a restaurant of your choice.

For an old world Paris feel, head to Chez Julien.  Situated next to the Seine, it’s delicious French food with a cozy vibe and you feel like you are dining in someone’s home three hundred years ago.

Ferdi is a super tiny and trendy restaurant (pregnant Kim Kardashian and Kanye West were a few tables away from us) in the 1st Arr. where a reservation is hard to come by but the tapas style food will appease even your youngest (the mac and cheese is better than anything I have had in the U.S.).

L’Ami Louis is a small, old school restaurant known for their “un poulet roti legendaire.”  It’s a huge chicken with fries and salad that can feed a family of four.

Also in the 1st is the modern bistro L’Absinthe, helmed by Caroline Rostang, daughter of famous French chef Michel Rostang.  The three-course prix-fixe menu makes a meal there very reasonable for a family.  It is cramped quarters downstairs so request to sit in the larger room upstairs.  It is also next to a Fanprix, the smaller version of their large grocery chain, Monoprix.

 

La Nuit—Keep the kids up late to see the lights of the Eiffel Tower.  Every hour starting at 9pm (remember it gets dark late there), the tower performs a light show for 10 minutes.  Our favorite place to watch is the Place de la Concorde in the 1st, however it can be viewed from anywhere in the city you can see the tower.

 

The Tower lit up is always a crowd-pleaser.

The Tower lit up is always a crowd-pleaser.

 

Last Words on Paris from Madame Cornell….

We all know two days in Paris is not enough.  I could write post after post of what to do with kids in Paris and its environs.  We walk for hours upon hours and get lost in the different arrondissements (Editor’s Note:  Please write a post about this Suzie!).  These are just a few of the main attractions and favorites for our kids but there is so much more.  And don’t be scared, we have traveled there the past three years with no troubles all.  If you can get through the flight, the rest will be fantastique! 

 

Bon Voyage!

 

 

If You’re Heading to…Capri

  • 2nd July 2013

It’s worth the pilgrimage if you are in the area!! Not only does he have hundreds of handmade styles of sandals for you to choose from.  He also can design a pair specially for you!  Who would not want to frequent a shop that Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis loved?

 

Antonio Viva Sandal Shop

 

 

Antonio Viva Sandals Capri

Photo Courtesy of: Town & Country

Antonio Viva Sandals Capri

Photo Courtesy of: Town & Country

 

 

 

Antonio Viva Sandals Capri

Photo Courtesy of: Town & Country

Antonio Viva Sandals Capri

Photo Courtesy of: Town & Country

 

 

 

Every single sandal is made exclusively by Maestro Antonio Viva in his workshop.  Every sandal is worked on by hand, stitched by hand and is a unique article that is made exclusively to order—no identical sandals are kept in stock.

 

Antonio Viva Sandal Shop

 

 

According to Viva, not much has changed in the realm of sandals since Tiberius walked in the Mediterranean.  They are still made with a single, flat sole made of quality leather with strips of leather cleverly placed on top.

 

Via Giuseppe Orlandi, 75

Anacapri 80071 (NA) Italy

Tel: (+39) 081 837 35 83

 

Athena Antonio Viva
Gea Antonio Viva
Demetra Antonio Viva

 

 

 

-

If You’re Heading to New Delhi…

  • 23rd June 2013

Spotlight:  Nikhil Thampi

 

Nikhil Thampi Fish & Yellow

 

When in New Delhi, hunt for contemporary fashions from this fresh talent. With luscious sweeping fabrics dominating his ‘winter’ collections and sheer quirky prints mixed with lemony yellow for his cruise collection, Thampi has shown customers and editors alike the wide range of his craft.

 

Chain link Dress Nikhil Thampi
Belted Open Dress Nikhil Thampi

 

For his cruise collection, Thampi references the work of artist Richard Artschwager who is defined by his stylistic independence.

 

Nikhil Thampi

 

 

“His signature works reflect bold minimalism through two-tone geometric installations.. color palette.. and fluid textures. The essence (creating maximum impact using minimum elements) of his works is the crux of my Cruise collection.”

 

 

Nikhil Thampi

 

 

At the moment, Thampi’s collections are available in two New Delhi locations:  Twist and  The Dressing Room

 

Gold Pants Nikhil Thampi
Velvet Dress Nikhil Thampi

 

Thampi is also in talks with retailers outside of India as well as online retailers.  Fantastic!!  So, soon enough we will all be able to slip into his unique cuts and saunter off!!

 

Nikhil Thampi
Nikhil Thampi

 

 

 

The Dressing Room

Shop No 2, Fiona Building

Juhu Tara Road, next to Aurus

 

Twist

No. 2 Hauz Khas Village

New Delhi, 110016

 

The New Iced Tea

  • 6th June 2013

Move over traditional iced-tea and make way for tamarind…

 

Tamarind Juice

Iced Tamarind Juice at the Amantaka, delicious and refreshing alongside freshly made plantain chips

 

This sophisticated sweet & sour drink is perfection iced on the hottest days.  Thus, its popularity in tropical climates.

Try this replacement for the standard iced-tea, either in your fridge in the heart of summer, or for your next home-based gathering.

Tamarind is a leguminous tree indigenous to tropical Africa that likely reached South Asia by way of humans thousands of years ago.

It is here in South Asia, Laos to be precise, that we fell in love with the iced-drink.  It is high in acid and sugar, thus providing an unmistakable sweet and sour taste, as well as Vitamin B and Calcium.

 

Tamarind Juice Amantaka

 

The Amantaka was very hospitable in sharing their signature recipe for this tropical classic.

 

Tamarind Juice:

Ingredients

500 grams Tamarind

300 grams honey

200 grams sugar

3 liters of drinking water

 

Directions:

 

1.)   Cover the tamarind with the water and boil for 40 minutes

2.)   While the tamarind is still hot add the sugar and stir until dissolved

3.)   Strain liquid and add the honey.  Adjust the taste with more or less honey to obtain the perfect sweet and sour taste.

4.)   Chill.  Serve with ice

 

 Enjoy!!!

 

The primary health benefits of tamarind appear to be related to ease of digestion.  It can serve as a very very mild laxative.  Tamarind is also a great anti-oxidant and assists with inflammation.

 

 

If You’re Heading to…Roma

  • 3rd June 2013

You cannot, absolutely cannot miss Ciampini!

 

Ciampini Gelato
Ciampini at Night

 

 

 

We tried a lot of gelato in Rome, a lot!  Every time it was not Ciampini we regretted it.  A few times we actually frequented somewhere new, threw away our order and headed back to Ciampini.  If in Rome eating gelato, we had to eat the best.

 

Making Gelato at Ciampini
Ciampini Tartufo

 

 

 

Why is it so amazing? According to their web site, they use a technique which allows for more air, thereby increasing the softness of their gelato.  We agree, it is like liquid velvet.  They use the highest quality ingredients and the most ‘noble fats.’  (An excellent term)!

 

Ciampini Crema/Pistachio
Ciampini Desserts

 

Beyond their gelato, their food is actually delicious as well.  Their Cacio e Pepe is simple in presentation but wonderfully rich and flavorful.  The ambiance rivals the food as to which is the bigger draw!  The piazza is perfect for people watching, spacious enough to give you breathing room yet quaint enough to feel cozy.  It’s right off of a main artery for strolling through Rome, Via del Corso, so the location is ideal and easy.

 

Ciampini Ambiance
Ciampini Ambiance

 

Our favorite gelato flavors:  Zabaglione, Gianduja, Chocolate Fondant

 

Piazza S. Lorenzo in Lucina, 29
00186 Roma – Tel. 06/6876606

Via della Fontanella di Borghese, 59

00186 Roma – Tel. 06/68135108

 

www.ciampini.com

 

 

If You’re Heading to….Mumbai

  • 25th May 2013

A few years back while shopping in Mumbai I spotted a pair of the most fabulous shoes coming my way.  Naturally, I stopped the woman and inquired about their origin.  I followed her path of a few right turns and some left turns and landed at a chic new boutique filled with up-and-coming Indian designers.

 

Silver Sandals Oak Tree Mumbai
Beige Sandals Oak Tree Mumbai

 

 

Of course, they did not have my size there.  But, the sales woman was kind enough to tell me to hit a store in the shopping mecca Colaba called, Oak Tree….where they would make my size and have them delivered to my door later!

 

 

Bronze Sandals Oak Tree Mumbai
Bronze Sandals Oak Tree Mumbai

 

 

It is not possible to rave enough about these sandals!  They are available in practically every color gunmetal, silver, bronze, white, black, poppy red…the list goes on and on.  You can purchase them in varying wedge heel heights.  (I have shorter heels for the day and clearly higher ones for more dressy occasions)  They match perfectly with pants, skirts, dresses, swimwear, sarees, whatever.  Dressed up or down they are consistently comfortable, even with a 25 lb toddler on your hip.  They’re under $50.00.  They last forever.  And, I myself get stopped repeatedly as people inquire about their origin.

 

Black Sandals Oak Tree Mumbai
Black Sandals Oak Tree Mumbai

 

 

I have sent loads of friends to Oak Tree and they are never disappointed.  They always come back with a bounty…you will too!  What’s best is they don’t only carry shoes.  There are gauzy embroidered dresses, white breezy tunics, stylish clutches from the ever-popular line 500 BC, and statement jewelry.

 

Oak Tree, Colaba Causeway Mumbai

Oak Tree, Colaba Causeway Mumbai. Photo Courtesy of: Inonit.in

Oak Tree, Colaba Causeway Mumbai

Oak Tree, Colaba Causeway Mumbai. Photo Courtesy of: Inonit.in

 

If you’re heading to Mumbai you need to shop on Colaba Causeway.  So, duck into Oak Tree…you don’t want to miss it!

 

 

Oak Tree, Colaba Causeway Mumbai

Oak Tree, Colaba Causeway Mumbai. Photo Courtesy of: Inonit.in

Oak Tree, Colaba Causeway Mumbai

Oak Tree, Colaba Causeway Mumbai. Photo Courtesy of: Inonit.in

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Oak Tree, 18 Cusrow Baug, Colaba Causeway, Mumbai

+91 22 2281 9031

 

 

For those not traveling to the Indian subcontinent any time soon, you can find select style at:

indianhanger.com

à la Mountain mode!

  • 19th May 2013

Summer plans are being solidified now as Spring comes to a close and there is no better time than to get organized for the impending packing.  If it’s the sweet mountain air that’s calling you….then you’re in luck!

 

 

Wildflowers in Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Wildflowers in Jackson Hole, Wyoming

 

 

Today we feature a special guest post from an impeccably stylish, mother-of-three who manages to keep everything under control effortlessly, Sheralyn Baltes.  Her love affair with Jackson Hole, Wyoming has been going strong for years and if you are headed to the mountains, ranch or countryside this summer we urge you to take her lead….

 

 

Mountains skyrocket up in Jackson

Mountains skyrocket up in Jackson

 

Sheralyn talks about the ‘Modern Mountain’ style…

Growing up in Seattle, I was able to experience a perfect balance between city living and mountain living. With the Cascade Mountain range at our fingertips, we camped, hiked, fished, and chased crickets all summer long. When I became a parent, I knew that I wanted my children to have the same experience. We are blessed to spend 8 months of the year in Santa Monica and the other 4 months in beautiful Jackson Hole, Wyoming. The 3 summer months are particularly magical. I’m filled with nostalgia and joy everyday as I watch my 3 young boys run around our property freely. 

 

Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Jackson Hole, Wyoming

 
In an effort to free up my time out there, every spring, I get very strategic about my summer “in the mountains” fashion choices. The last thing I want to be doing on a warm summer evening is ordering new shoes from Zappos! No, no, nothat is precious time used for making guacamole and fresh margaritas! This year, I wanted to be particularly crafty. I needed to make versatile yet stylish choices. I was stuck somewhere between Coachella and the Jackson Hole Rodeo. (Coachella, I knew was too young, too hip, and too music festival cool for me. The Jackson Hole Rodeo smells like horse poop and Wranglers look weird on my back side.) What’s a girl to do?! 
 
I wrote out the following guidelines: 
  1. Must be durable: Let’s not forget that I’m chasing 3 boys through river beds. 
  2. Must reflect my personality: Disciplined/structured but likes to let loose from time to time.
  3. Must reflect my sense of style: Disciplined/structured but likes to let loose from time to time.
  4. Must respect my age: I’m a 40 year old mom not a 25 year old music festival attendee. 
  5. Must be versatile: Need items that will interchange easily. 
  6. Must be cost conscious: Gotta know when to splurge and when to save. 
  7. Must be found online: Who has time to go shopping? 

 

ModernMountain3

I used a few pictures from our property and created the storyboard picture shown above. I got inspiration from the area, and I slowly added clothing pieces that seemed to fit. Below is what I ended up with: 

1. Low ankle Golden Goose boots: My one big splurge.

 These boots can be worn with shorts, skinny jeans, boyfriend jeans, dresses, or just about anything. The boots from this brand are pricey, but they are worth it. I bought my last pair almost 5 years ago and I still wear them 2-3 times per week. The belt shown is also from Golden Goose. 

2. Boyfriend cut-off shorts: I bought mine from Current Elliot. 

  • Save: Take an old pair of low-waisted baggy jeans, cut them off mid thigh, leave the ends frayed, wash a few times, and you’re good to go. 
  • When cutting, make sure to cut mid-thigh, not too short, not too long. 
  • Make sure they are low-waisted. 
  • Make sure they are loose fitting. 

 

3. Simple, lightweight, versatile blouses

  • Save: The floral print in the picture is from Forever 21, it was $17.00. It is so pretty in real life. It’s sheer, ties at the waist, and is absolutely versatile and flattering. 
  • The tunic is from Madewell, also a great value. 
  • The white sleeveless top is from Vince. A bit of a splurge but worth it. 

 

4. No.6 Clogs: I’m obsessed. They are so cute and so comfortable. I found mine at Steven Allen. I wear these with shorts, boyfriend jeans, and simple dresses. 

 

 

5. Button-down dress: This is a mountain girl must have. This one is from Old Navy. 

 

 

6. Rings & necklace: I made these at Semi Precious on Montana Avenue in Santa Monica. 

  • Ask for Amy, show her a picture of what you’re looking for, and she’ll either make it for you or help you make it. 
  • She has an amazing selection of materials, she’s incredibly talented, and she’s really fun.  
Sunrise over Jackson Vista

Sunrise over Jackson Vista

I’m styled and ready for summer—Now, all I need to do is get through the rest of the school year!!
Giddy up Girlfriends!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

De Bon Goût—In Good Taste

  • 9th May 2013

Tam Mak HoongThe Best Green Papaya Salad

 

Finished Green Papaya Salad

The finished Green Papaya salad ready to devour

Green Papaya Salad Ingredients

Green Papaya Salad Ingredients

 

 

This salad, which we made in a cooking class in Luang Prabang Laos is fresh, savory, healthy and super easy.  It’s one you will definitely turn to again and again. It has very few ingredients so the key is making sure they are of superior quality.

 

Shopping for ingredients in the morning market Luang Prabang

Shopping for ingredients at the morning market in Luang Prabang

 

 

Ingredients:

 

2 cups green papaya, julienne

4 pcs, cherry tomatoes halved

4 pcs, Thai eggplant quartered

1 tsp sugar

1 tbs fish sauce

1 tbs lime juice

2 cloves garlic

3 pcs chili (optional)

2 tbs roasted peanuts

 

Instructions:

Peel the papaya.

 

Fresh Green Papaya for Salad

Fresh Green Papaya for Salad

Peeled with a traditional Lao shell peeler

Peeled with a traditional Lao shell peeler

Traditional Lao shell peelers

Traditional Lao shell peelers

 

 

 

Finely slice the papaya.

 

Papaya being sliced in a traditional style

Papaya being sliced in a traditional style. (Feel free to use your favorite mandoline slicer)

Julienned papaya for the salad

Julienned papaya for the salad

 

 

 

 

 

 

Using mortar stone, pound (chili-optional), garlic, sugar, until smooth.  Add raw eggplant and tomato, crushed not pounded.

 

Smashing the eggplant for the dressing

Smashing the eggplant for the dressing

 

Add papaya, season with fish sauce,lime juice and a pinch of salt.  Pound while mixing them.  Serve with roasted peanuts on top.

 

Smashing and mixing all of the ingredients

Smashing and mixing all of the ingredients

 

 

Enjoy!!!

 

 

 

Cut from a Different Cloth

  • 5th May 2013

Maisha Concept—The Rakhee Shah Label

 

Rakhee Shah Fashion

Photo Courtesy of: Fah Thai Magazine

Rakhee Shah Fashion

Photo Courtesy of: Fah Thai Magazine

 

“From the off-beaten paths of Kenya to the enlightening hub of India and now launching in the heart of the buzzing and cosmopolitan city of Hong Kong, the chic up-and-coming label Maisha Concept combines worlds through style and tradition.” (Shopdescreateurs.com)

 

Rakhee Shah Fashion

Photo Courtesy of: Fah Thai Magazine

 

A third generation Kenyan, Indian in origin, the 31-year-old talent, Rakhee Shah’s new line which draws from her rich heritage is truly unique. ‘Maisha’ meaning life in Swahili launched in late 2012 and has been gaining popularity worldwide since.

 

Rakhee Shah Fashion

Photo Courtesy of: Fah Thai Magazine

 

Rakhee sources all her fabrics herself traveling to the most remote corners of Africa and India to find one-of-a-kind colors and designs.  Many of her creations are available only as limited editions with just a select number of pieces in each size. Punchy effervescent colors meet traditional cuts to produce sleek, chic, unique creations which are selling out immediately.

 

 

Jungle Green Shift Dress Rakhee Shah

 

 

Jungle Green Shift Dress, shopdescreateurs.com, $114.00

 

 

Safari Shirt Dress Rakhee Shah

 

Safari Shirt Dress, shopdescreateurs.com, $93.00

 

 

African Collared Dress Rakhee Shah
African Collared Dress Rakhee Shah

 

 

African Collared Dress, shopdescreateurs.com, $93.00

 

 

 

“My designs are ethnic inspired, and so they really resonate with women who appreciate culture and something unique.”

Rakhee Shah, Fah Thai Magazine 

 

 

Rakhee Shah Designs

Photo Courtesy of: Fah Thai Magazine

Rakhee Shah Designs

Photo Courtesy of: Fah Thai Magazine

 

 

 

If You’re Heading to…Laos

  • 30th April 2013

Indochine Revisited

 

Deneuve in Indochine

Catherine Deneuve in Indochine

Anakha Boutique

Anakha Boutique

 

 

Located in a beautiful, historic, “Blue House” French Colonial building constructed in 1920, Anakha Boutique is straight out of the ’90s best foreign film Indochine.

 

Store Front Anakha Boutique
Song Sunglasses

Sunglasses for sale from the French Vietnamese Designer ‘Song’

 

For anyone visiting Luang Prabang, Anakha is an absolute must!

 

Silk Dresses for sale in Anakha

 

 

Anakha captures that perfect essence wherein the taste is French and the fabrics, the products are Asian—colonial in spirit with a touch of modernity.

 

 

Decor Anakha
Vintage Photos Create the Most Transformative Atmosphere

Vintage Photos Create the Most Transformative Atmosphere

 

 

The Anakha brand is French designed with Lao fabrics, 100% Cotton hand made, natural dye, no chemicals

 

Silk Shirt Anakha
Deneuve Indochine

Deneuve in Indochine

 

 

 

They produce a limited range of items so each one is unique and special.  Due to the 100% hand made Lao fabric and the natural dye, many products cannot be reproduced (since no two fabrics are the same).

 

Purse Anakha

 

 

 

Anakha is located in the ‘Blue House’ a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

9, rue Sakkarine, Ban Vat Sene

Luang Prabang, LAO PDR

+33 (0) 662 62 80 43

anakhalifestyle.com

De Bon Goût—In Good Taste

  • 17th April 2013

How many ways can you use bananas and the bounty of the banana tree?

 

Banana Tree

Banana tree in Ban Xieng Men, Laos

Banana Tree

Banana tree off of the lane in Ban Xieng Men, Laos

 

 

 

 

 

In Laos the banana flower is cut up and used in traditional salads, the leaves are used to steam food like fish, often as decorative plates for meals and in traditional floral décor and offerings.

 

Banana Flower

Banana Flowers for sale in the morning market in Luang Prabang

Banana Leaf Plate

Banana Leaf Plate

Banana Leaf Floral Offerings

Floral Offerings

 

Experiencing all the unexpected ways they use bananas in Laos inspired us to dig-up this surprising and delicious beloved banana cake recipe.  Similar to the above, it is an unexpected role for bananas in that they are center-stage in an upside down cake—nudging pineapple right out of the spotlight!

 

 

 

Caramel-Walnut Banana Upside Down Cake

Caramel-Walnut Banana Upside Down Cake. Photo Courtesy of: Bon Appetit

 

 

Caramel-Walnut Upside-Down Banana Cake 

(Recipe from Bon Appetit, March, 2008)

 

Ingredients

Topping

  • Nonstick vegetable oil spray
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons dark corn syrup
  • 3/4 cup walnut halves or pieces

Cake

  • 1 3/4 cups cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup mashed very ripe bananas (2 to 3 large)
  • 3 tablespoons sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon dark rum
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Whipped cream or vanilla ice cream

Preparation

topping

  • Spray 8-inch round cake pan with 2-inch-high sides with nonstick spray. (We substitute a 9″ cake pan here) Bring butter, sugar, and corn syrup to boil in medium saucepan, stirring constantly until butter melts. Boil syrup 1 minute. Stir in nuts. Spread topping in prepared pan. Let topping cool completely.

cake

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Sift first 4 ingredients into medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat butter and both sugars in large bowl until blended. Beat in eggs 1 at a time, then mashed bananas, sour cream, rum, and vanilla. Beat in dry ingredients in 2 additions just until combined. Spoon batter into pan.
  • Bake cake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 55 minutes. Cool 15 minutes. Cut around cake. Place platter over pan. Holding pan and platter together, turn over. Let stand 5 minutes, then gently lift off pan. Cool at least 15 minutes for topping to set. Serve warm or at room temperature with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

Trendette!

  • 14th April 2013

Ethereal Lace Pants 

 

Versace Lace Pants

Versace. Photo Courtesy of: L’Officiel Thailand

 

 

Lace pants are gracing the legs of the jet-set crowd the world-over.

 

 

 

Lace Pants

Photo Courtesy of: Elle Thailand

Roberto Cavalli Lace Pants

Roberto Cavalli. Photo Courtesy of: L’Officiel Paris

 

Possible Inspiration

 

Royal Mansour Hotel, Marrakech

Royal Mansour Hotel, Marrakech. Photo Courtesy of: L’Officiel Paris

 

Ways to Wear it…

 

Miller Crop Lace Pants Club Monaco

 

Miller Crop Lace Pants in Mint and Navy, clubmonaco.com, $198.50

 

Sonia Rykiel Cropped Lace Pants

Sonia Rykiel Cropped Lace Pants, shopbop.com, $1695.00

 

 

Last Look!

 

Lace Pants

Photo Courtesy of: Marie Claire

 

 

Putting the Dazzle Back in Travel

  • 10th April 2013

With an artfully elegant suitcase in hand anyone can head off on the most exotic journey with full confidence!  The second collaboration between Anna Sui and Tumi is glamorous whimsy meets trusted functionality.  

 

Anna Sui Medium Trip Packing Case
Anna Sui Medium Trip Packing Case

 

Anna Sui Medium Trip Packing Case, tumi.com, $595.00

 

Sui combed through her archives for the perfect illustrations for this second collection and decided upon a floral watercolor print (too bad since no one is excited about flowers this spring!!) used in two dresses from her spring 2009 runway.

 

Anna Sui Ballistic Snap Case for new iPad

 

Anna Sui Ballistic Snap Case for new iPad, tumi.com, $49.00

 

 

The fabulous pale lavender cases and travel accessories such as shoe bags, luggage tags, ipad cases and totes are all available in limited edition.

 

 

Enna Large Travel Pouch
Enna Large Travel Pouch

 

Enna Large Travel Pouch, tumi.com, $115.00

 

In an interview with Elle.com, Sui said, “We had to bring back a little glamour to travel because that’s how it used to be.”  Her packing advice:  bring books, magazines and music and stick to one color to streamline packing!

 

 

 

 

Easter in Bangkok—Colonial Traditions with a Thai Twist

  • 30th March 2013

More than just the Easter bunny visits the Peninsula in Bangkok, on this special day there are festive and elegant teas, magicians, spring-time balloons, egg-hunts on the lawn and story book confections to amaze children and adults alike!

 

Easter Tea Peninsula Bangkok

 

Pastries served at the Easter Tea include:

Mini chocolate-lavendar cupcakes, Golden Opera Finger, Chocolate Easter eggs, Vanilla Panna Cotta & Blackberry, Pistachio-walnut macaroons, Lemon & meringue tartlet

Honey Chocolate lollipops

Hot cross buns

Homemade raisin scones with clotted cream and jam

 

Easter Tea Peninsula Bangkok

 

Sandwiches include:

Roasted honey-ham & Gruyere cheese with cornichons on pretzel roll

Avocado & tomato on white bread wrapped with grilled zucchini

Atlantic smoked salmon with egg-lemon zest & brown bread

Foie gras “burger” style with roasted apple & frisée lettuce

 

Easter Tea Peninsula Bangkok

 

 

While parents dined on green asparagus custard & mushroom truffle duxelle served in a delicate eggshell alongside Alaskan crab & leek quiche…

 

Easter Tea Peninsula Bangkok

 

 

Children dined on house-made cotton candy served with a smile…..

 

 

Cotton Candy Peninsula Bangkok
Cotton Candy Peninsula Bangkok

 

 

In their own private tea-room children found fruit & marshmallow kebab bars and sundae bars

 

 

Fruit Kebabs Peninsula Bangkok

Sundae Peninsula Bangkok

 

Children enjoyed Peninsula Hot Chocolate with Ovaltine (for adults Peninsula Hot Chocolate includes Felchlin Arriba, a specialty chocolate with black-currant notes, licorice fragrance and coffee—absolutely divine) while excitedly watching the magician, as parents slowly sipped specialty drinks like, Jasmine Lychée tea, Jasmine Dragon Ball tea and traditional Thai Iced Tea.  While the service, ambiance and presentation was very traditional/colonial, there were Thai-twists throughout and never-ending fascinations for the children.

 

Children's hot chocolate Peninsula, Bangkok

Renowned Children’s hot chocolate

magician Peninsula Bangkok

 

Abundant florals classically merged East and West with overflowing orchids alongside paper mache egg ornaments.

 

Florals Peninsula Bangkok
Florals Peninsula Bangkok

 

Chocolate eggs were everywhere coupled with a gorgeous nest and abundant confections for children too!

 

Easter Peninsula Bangkok
Children's Confections Peninsula Bangkok

 

Beloved story themes were enjoyed by all:

 

Alice in Wonderland Peninsula Bangkok
White Rabbit Peninsula Bangkok

 

Tea and balloon-making was capped off with a trip to the lawn for a competitive egg-hunt

 

Balloons Peninsula Bangkok

Spring themed balloons

Egg Hunt Peninsula Bangkok

Egg Hunt Peninsula Bangkok

 

 

 

Prizes and a stop at the Peninsula confectionery ensued…

 

 

 

Kids Prizes Peninsula Bangkok

Confectioner in the Peninsula

 

 

Thai Style Bunny Confection

Thai inspired Easter Bunnies

Marbled Eggs

Marbled Eggs

 

The Peninsula Bangkok is located at:

333 Charoennakorn Road  Klongsan

Peninsula.com/Bangkok

 

High tea is served at the Peninsula Bangkok between 2:00 pm and 5:00 pm.  Reservations are necessary.

 

If You’re Heading to…Paris

  • 25th March 2013

Even if you are not!…it’s a real feast for the eyes and worth dreaming about!

 

The boutique chocolates and confections of Pierre Hermé Paris

 

 

Oeuf Galets Pierre Herme
Oeuf Theobroma Pierre Herme
Oeuf Mendiant Noir Pierre Herme

 

 

Some are available by home delivery throughout France & Europe, some by courier in Paris and some only by pick-up in store.  If this does not work for you location-wise…just take inspiration from the beauty, and imagine the decidedly delectable tastes!  

 

Oeuf Griffe Lait
Oeuf Dentelle Noir

 

 

Hens and rabbits can be delivered throughout Europe!

 

Poule Noir Pierre Herme
Lapin Noir Pierre Herme

 

Now let’s move away from Easter and into the exquisite realm of ‘macarons.’  Everyone is doing them now.  But are they offering flavors like these?  Hardly!

 

Chocolate & Honey from the Maquis Shrubland Region of Corsica:  “Pierre Hermé prolongs the state of grace with a chocolate ganache that is surprisingly low in bitterness, in order to allow this very special honey to express the many facets of its character. This equilibrium is as captivating and fragile as the natural environment of the Island of Beauty itself.”

 

Pierre Herme Macaroons

 

 

More outrageously interesting options include:  Aniseed & Saffron, Vanilla & Basil, Lemon & Caramelized Fennel, Chocolate & Lime…

 

Pierre Herme Macarons

 

 

 

Olive Oil with Mandarin Orange, Liquorice & Violet, Rose & Rose Petal….

 

 

Pierre Herme Macarons

 

 

 

Pierre Hermé Paris

Locations throughout Paris and France—and within England, Japan and the United Arab Emirates

du Papier

  • 17th March 2013

From traditional ikkat, bandhani, ghumar, patola, warli designs to more contemporary Indian cultural representations, Chimanlals is must for any paper enthusiast.

 

Chimanlals envelope

Gorgeous cloth envelope

Chimanlals envelope

Brilliantly red inside

 

In the late ’50s Chimanlals set out to bring the Paper Culture into everyday life. Every design is based on Indian traditions and is researched and studied before being applied.

 

Chimanlals Stationery

Chimanlals Stationery

 

Historically, Indian paper was made from a wide variety of sources, tree bark, jute, grass, straw, wild flowers, leaves, and often silk thread. The process was often entirely handmade and labor intensive.

 

Chimanlals Wrapping Paper

Chimanlals Wrapping Paper

Chimanlals Wrapping Paper

Chimanlals Wrapping Paper

 

 

 

Today, in striving to be eco-friendly Chiminlals’ paper is entirely wood-free.  Products are produced from paper centers throughout India, but continue to be handmade.

 

Chimanlals Envelope

Close-up of Envelope Detail

Chimanlals Envelopes

Chimanlals Envelopes

 

 

 

 

Chimanlals products include letter papers coordinated with envelopes, gift covers, wrapping paper, bags, boxes, collapsible baskets, desk organisers, etc.

 

Chimanlals Heritage Papers

Chimanlals Heritage Papers

 

 

Chimanlals Heritage Papers

Close-up of Heritage Papers

Chimanlals Heritage Papers

Close-up of Heritage Papers

 

Chimanlals also serves as a retail outlet for handmade paper made from all parts of India.  With the mass appeal of Indian paper ever increasing, they export to retailers in the US, UK, Japan, Netherlands, France, Australia, Singapore, Hongkong and many other pockets all over the world.

 

Chimanlals Notecards

Chimanlals Notecards

Chimanlals Batik Paper

Chimanlals Batik Paper

Chimanlals Diaries

Chimanlals Diaries

 

No trip to Mumbai is complete without a trip to this tucked-away little gem.  If you’re not heading to Mumbai any time soon, don’t worry.  Paper products can also be ordered online.

 

Office Chimanlals

Office Chimanlals

Chimanlals Gift Bags

Chimanlals Gift Bags

Chimanlals Wine Bags

Chimanlals Wine Bags

A-2 Taj Building, 210 D.N. Road,

Wallace Street, Fort, Mumbai 400 001

+91 22 220 777 17

chimanlals.com

 

 

If You’re Heading to…Maui

  • 15th March 2013

Hike Into the Bamboo Forest

When the wind sweeps through the trees Maui’s Bamboo Forest sounds like a cacophony of high-heeled shoes engulfing you, yet if you are lucky there are no other hikers (and definitely no stilettos) in sight.  It’s spectacular, intensely green and the end-note is a breathtaking waterfall.

 

Bamboo Forest Maui

 

The hike is neither hard nor long, but it is dirty, (squelchy) and reaching the waterfall up-close requires scrambling through rocky streams and getting quite wet!

 

Bamboo Forest Maui

 

 

If you are staying in Wailea, don’t let the drive scare you.  The road to Hana is definitely winding, and often one lane, but the views are spectacular, raw and truly untouched.

 

 

Once you’re rested, you might be pondering ways to infuse a little bamboo into your daily routine?  Some ideas…

 

Charlotte Olympia Bamboo Clutch

 

Charlotte Olympia Pandora Bamboo Perspex Clutch, net-a-porter.com, $825.00

 

 

Le Icon Il Bambu Purse Gucci

Le Icon Il Bambu Purse Gucci

 

 

Dinny Hall Gold Vermeil Bamboo Drop Pendant

 

1.) Dinny Hall Gold Vermeil Bamboo Drop Pendant, liberty.co.uk, £155

2.) Striped Grosgrain Sun Hat with Bamboo Ring, ralphlauren.com, $45.00

3.) Bettye Muller Pointe in Bamboo Print, simplysoles.com, $345.00

4.) Bamboo Trays, apartment48.com, $65.00

 

Wouters & Hendrix Long Bamboo Earrings
Uroco Kimono Bamboo Tote-Plum Flowers

 

 

Wouters & Hendrix Long Bamboo Earrings, farfetch.com, £407

Uroco Kimono Bamboo Tote-Plum Flowers, bottica.com, $212.00

 

 

 

Gucci Watch, Women's Swiss Bamboo and Stainless Steel Bangle Bracelet

 

 

5.) Brass Bamboo Console, horchow.com, $669.00

6.) Astley Clarke Colour Peach Blush Bamboo Bangle, astleyclarke.com, £175

7.) Gucci Watch, Women’s Swiss Bamboo and Stainless Steel Bangle Bracelet, macys.com, $995.00

8.) Annette Ferdinandsen Jade Bamboo Earrings, ylang23.com, $485.00

 

 

Gucci Oversized Rounded Square Sunglasses

 

Gucci Oversized Rounded Square Sunglasses, bloomingdales.com, $325.00

 

 

Paige Denim Skyline Skinny Ankle Peg Bamboo Jeans

 

 

9.) Paige Denim Skyline Skinny Ankle Peg Bamboo Jeans, coggles.com, £220

10.) Banana Republic Indo Bamboo Link Necklace, bananarepublic.gap.com, $70.00

11.) Kelly & Katie Bamboo Clutch, dsw.com, $24.95

 

 

Cathy Waterman Garnet Bamboo Earrings

 

12.) L’Wren Scott Bamboo Embroidered Dress, barneys.com, $1990.00

13.) Cathy Waterman Garnet Bamboo Earrings, ylang23.com, $2280.00

14.) Venetian Bamboo Leg Table, wisteria.com, $449.00

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If You’re Heading to…Taipei

  • 5th March 2013

If you have not previously heard of Shiatzy Chen, don’t worry, now you have!!

 

Shiatzy Chen
Shiatzy Chen

 

This fashion house, based in Taipei, combines traditional Chinese culture with modern aesthetics and Western craftsmanship.  Their designing goal is to interpret Chinese history and culture to create unique, avant-garde silhouettes and styles that will prevail through generations.

 

Shiatzy Chen Turquoise
Shiatzy Chen Hot Pink

 

Shiatzy Chen prides itself on the movement of fabric, luminosity, embroidery and texture.

 

At the moment, the designs are not available through the traditional fashion outlets, the likes of: net-a-porter, Barneys, Saks, etc.  But in the interest of diversifying if you are traveling to any of the following cities stop in to a boutique!

 

Flagship: Taipei

Zhongshan Flagship Store

No. 49-1, Sec.2, Zhongshan N. Rd. Zhongshan Dist., Taipei City 104

+886 2 2542 5506

 

Shiatzy Chen
Shiatzy Chen

 

Other stores are located in:

China, Hong Kong, Macau, France, Switzerland and Malaysia

 

 

Shiatzy Chen

 

www.shiatzychen.com

What I Love Today…

  • 1st March 2013

There’s nothing like a new twist on an old classic.  I am a die-hard believer in pancakes, syrup and a dollop of rich beurre.  But, upon discovering Lilikoi syrup, a Maui specialty, I was sold.  Fruity, but delicately aromatic and not over-powering, it adds a sophisticated island spin to a morning standby.

 

Homemade Lilikoi Syrup

Homemade Lilikoi Syrup—Photo Courtesy of: Thanh’s Kitchen

 

In the event that you are like I was and have no idea what Lilikoi is, it’s just another exotic name for an already exoticly dubbed fruit, the Passion Fruit.

 

If you are reticent to shake up your morning routine or your standard brunch/entertaining fare, then you can add Lilikoi Syrup  into the mix at dessert time.  For an intensely tropical experience serve it over or alongside coconut sorbet or lychée ice-cream (available at most Indian and Chinese grocery stores).

 

Passion Fruit

Passion Fruit

Passion Fruit Flower

Passion Fruit Flower

 

Lilikoi syrup can be made at home.  But, it’s advisable to have access to some pretty fresh and delicious Passion Fruit.  (There are many recipes for home-made syrup on the internet and I cannot espouse one over the other since I have not tried any.)

 

However, after consulting with locals I can confidently say that the preferred syrup available for purchase comes by way of Maui Jelly Factory.  (This brand was also our breakfast time treat!)

 

Passion Fruit Syrup Maui Jelly Factory

 

Passion Fruit Syrup, Mauijellyfactory.com, $30.00 for three 10 ounce bottles

 

Any post mentioning syrup should include a shout-out to great pancakes.  Our favorite recipe is provided by the tried and true:  The New York Times Cook Book.

 

Basic Pancakes  (Makes about 1 dozen, 5-inch pancakes)

1 cup flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 teaspoons salt

1 egg

3/4 cup milk (Here we sub in organic whole goats milk.  It gives a much richer flavor and actually fluffier consistency)

2 tablespoons butter, melted and slightly cooled

We add one tablespoon of vanilla bean paste ( we use Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Bean Paste—see post 1/28 for more information)

 

1.) Sift together flour, baking powder, sugar and salt.

2.) Beat the egg, milk and butter until blended

3.) Pour milk mixture into dry ingredients and stir only enough to moisten the dry ingredients.  Do no beat or the pancakes will be tough.

4.) Heat a griddle and lightly grease it.  Drop the batter from the tip of a large spoon or a 1/4 cup measure and bake until the entire surface of the pancake is dotted with holes.  Turn and bake the other side just until light brown.  Keep warm in a 200 degree oven until all the pancakes are cooked.

These pancakes are superb re-heated as well.  We often make a double batch on the weekend.  Wrap them securely in foil and saran wrap and refrigerate.  Heat them in the microwave for 45 seconds for an easy breakfast on school mornings.

 

The New York Times Cookbook by Craig Claiborne, amazon.com, $24.75

 

The New York Times Cook Book

 

If You’re Heading to…Maui

  • 21st February 2013

This revitalizing and truly delicious lemonade is one of the many things we long to take home from Maui.  Luckily the Four Seasons resort at Wailea was more than happy to share the coveted recipe.  If you are in Maui, stop in to sip it while overlooking the stunning views from the resort.  If you are at home, create, partake and prepare to be transported.

 

View from the Four Seasons Resort Wailea, Maui

View from the Four Seasons Resort Wailea, Maui

 

‘Awapuhi Pake

Recipe courtesy of the Four Seasons Wailea

 

4 cups Lemon Juice

3 cups Simple Syrup

1/2 gallon Water

2 Tbsp. of Mint

1/2 cup of Ginger, peeled and grated.

Add ice

 

Awapuhi Pake Lemonade

Awapuhi Pake Lemonade at the Four Seasons Wailea

 

 

The Four Seasons Resort Maui:  3900 Wailea Alanui Dr., HI 96753

 

 

Tropical Flowers

Florals on display at the Four Seasons Resort Maui

 

 

Recreate the tropical Hawaiian florals easily courtesy of Samara by Olive & Cocoa.  Serve ginger-infused lemonade alongside luscious pincushion protea, citrus hued mokara and dendrobium orhcids for a true island-effect.

 

 

Samara Olive & Cocoa

Samara, oliveandcocoa.com, $124

If You’re Heading to…Montenegro

  • 11th February 2013

You absolutely must eat a meal at Villa Miločer!  While we may not all be royalty, we can enjoy the ambiance and view from   what was once the summer residence of Queen Marija Karađorđević.

 

Villa Milocer Queens Beach

 

Wisteria hangs overhead, more than 800 olive trees stand in the surrounding woods, ancient pine and cedar forests sweeten the air  and the views of the island of Sveti Stefan, pink sand and the gentle Adriatic absolutely amaze!

 

Villa Milocer Aman

Photo Courtesy of: Aman Sveti Stefan

 

 

The menu changes often, but locally caught seafood is a specialty and the homemade pasta with fresh tomato sauce is the best we have ever tastedtrumping anything we even had in Italy!  Ask if they can prepare it for you off-menu and you will not be disappointed!

 

 

Vila Millocer Aman

Dusk View, Photo: Aman Sveti Stefan

Villa Milocer Aman

Pine forest surrounding Villa Milocer

 

 

 

More information available at:   amanresorts.com

 

 

 

 

 

If You’re Heading to…Shanghai

  • 4th February 2013

Or, someone you know is, Chou Chou Chic is worth a stop! Any little girl in your life will thank you for their unique dresses and coats, but it is their playfully designed cheongsams that are a stand-out.  We only wish they made them in bigger sizes! 

Chou Chou Chic collage

 

Chou Chou Chic Collage

 

Shanghai Boutique Locations

CHOUCHOU CHIC Taikang road No.248 TaiKang Road,unit47(TianziFang) TEL:021-64150520

CHOUCHOU CHIC Changle Road No.162-8 Shanxi Nan Road(on Changle road) TEL:021-54035626

CHOUCHOU CHIC Ruijin Road No.77-4 Rui Jin Er Road,Shanghai TEL:021-53825328

CHOUCHOU CHIC Maoming Road No.131-1 Mao Ming Nan Road,Shanghai TEL:021-54652835

Chou Chou Chic Store
Chou Chou Chic Store
Chou Chou Chic Bag

 

 

Clothing is also available online if you are unable to get to Shanghai any time soon.  Pricing is all in Euros.

chouchouchic.com

 

Chou Chou Chic cheongsam

Receive Our Latest Posts Via Email - It's Free!