Craving a Getaway

Seems like everyone has already or is planning on embarking on a marvelous vacation. And we don't have any scheduled. Which to me is terrifying. We always take a spring vacation, and things are just so unsettled right now that we haven't planned anything really.

I love the feeling of anticipating a trip. And I love even more feeling like I'm far far away from my home. Being in a foreign place, surrounded by languages you don't understand, feeling free and wild and inspired is beyond satisfying or relaxing, it's life-giving. 

Recently a friend mentioned that another friend was thinking about planning a group trip to Mallorca. Friend B is a professional tour guide and had been stationed in Italy prior to attending business school where my husband goes. My ears really perked up when I heard Mallorca; I recently read The Rocks, which is set in Mallorca, and I loved it, it's now one of my faves. It was a great read and it gave me quite a desire to visit Mallorca. Then one of my best friends vacationed there, and now I'm really worked up about it.

So, let's have a look at Mallorca and pretend that it's on the calendar:

 Cala D'Or, Mallorca, Spain

Cala D'Or, Mallorca, Spain

 Sa Calobra Beach, Mallorca, Spain

Sa Calobra Beach, Mallorca, Spain

 Valdemossa, Mallorca, Spain

Valdemossa, Mallorca, Spain

 Illeta, Camp de Mar, Mallorca, Spain

Illeta, Camp de Mar, Mallorca, Spain

 The Market in Santanyi, Mallorca, Spain

The Market in Santanyi, Mallorca, Spain

 Oranges and a pool, Mallorca, Spain

Oranges and a pool, Mallorca, Spain

See what I mean? Enchanting. Impossibly enchanting. Also you must read The Rocks because he does a fantastic job of transporting you to these locales.

So, who wants to come along? What destinations are making your heart flutter? And what's on your calendar?

St. Barth's

So when we visited St. Martin, we took a little day trip to St. Barth's because, well, it's St. Barth's and if you don't go when you have the chance then you need to reevaluate your life choices.

We set off on the ferry from Oyster Pond in the morning, surrounded by the comforting obscurity of foreign languages. The ferry was fast and before we knew it we were amidst the private yachts and sailboats scattered in the bay at St. Barth's. It really felt like we were entering a different world, one in which we felt materially very poor. 

Tip: you need your passport to board both directions and you'll go through a mini "customs" at St. Barth's.

We decided to go on a Sunday, which was fine, but there were few shopping places open. We were able to rent a 4 wheeler, which along with scooters, are the easiest way to navigate the island. I do not remember which ATV rental we used, but there are only a few and probably all comparable. They were friendly, gave us a map and helmets, and told us not to worry about leaving things in the unlocked cargo bin on the back, just take the important things like passport and camera. 


So, in a short time we were off motoring around this tiny, luxurious island. It was quiet, except for the sounds of scooters and ATVs, and when those were shut off, it was pretty much just the breeze and ocean, some distant music, and occasional voices. Our first goal was to find food. We drove across the island to Grand Cul-de-sac to La Gloriette, a recommendation by the ATV lady.  The food was very good, I had a beef carpaccio and Joe had a pizza I think. However, the service was a combination of slow island-time and snobby French attitude. It was a pleasant spot to sit and we actually beat the brunch crowd.


The rest of our time on St. Barth's was spent hopping from one gorgeous beach to the next. The first beach was St. Jean, where the famed Eden Rock is located. It's beautiful and busy, and probably perfect for beachside cocktails, or trying to spot celebs.


Then we moved on to Grande Saline. This beach was marvelous, giant, beautiful sand, beautiful water. The waves were a little more noticeable, there is no shade and no bathroom, and a little walk to get there, but it's so secluded there's even a totally nude portion of the beach.


After Grande Saline, we moved on to Anse du Gouverneur, which was truly magnificent from above. This beach was smaller with more people, but it's well worth a visit because of the road and the views to get there. 


By this time we've gotten a little burned while driving around the island and we're drawing closer to the time our ferry boards, so we headed back to Gustavia.

We really had the most fun driving around the island, it felt like being in a different country. It felt far away. Of course there are many more beaches on the island that would have been wonderful to visit, but we ran out of time! I particularly would have liked seeing Shell Beach and the Toiny Coast for the natural pools. 

Tips: Put sunscreen on right away, you still get sun driving around the island. Rent an ATV, the hills are steep and the scooters can be dangerous, we saw one couple who had just fallen while going uphill on a curve. Bring plenty of water with you. Beaches like Grande Saline have no facilities at all and it's a hike to and from them. Take all the little side roads you can and stop when you feel compelled to stop. It's all gorgeous.

Finally we headed back to St. Martin, a little crispy, very thirsty, and perfectly content. 

St. Maarten/Martin

Well, it seems to have completely slipped my mind that we took a vacation in May. I guess moving a few states south could facilitate that. So here we are, it's the end of July... er February, I'm going to recap our trip and give you some awesome recommendations for enjoying some time in the Caribbean.

First off, we stayed in a rental condo. We split it with friends who got a deal in a silent auction, then they couldn't make, so it was Joe and I in a two bedroom, two bathroom condo, with this view...


There are many nice places to stay around the island, but I can't really mention any specifically since we did stay in a condo. I would recommend the Dutch side for an American style hotel, and the French side for a more boutique hotel. Grand Case seemed like a really nice place with lots of good restaurants and possibly some cute hotels.


Oh the beaches! Wow! These are world class beaches my friends, crystal clear turquoise water, white sand, and ran the gamut from totally secluded to full of amenities. Beach hopping is really easy here, the island is small, and it's totally worth it to try a new beach every day. My order of preference:

Simpson Bay Beach. This is a long stretch of beach with the prettiest water I've ever seen, ever. There are a couple places to rent out a lounge chair, which is really nice. Allows you access to the place's restrooms and pina coladas... Swim in the water and take a run from one end of the beach to the other.

Mullet Bay/Le Galion. This is a tiny little beach with few amenities, but if you bring enough water and some of your own snacks, this is THE PERFECT place to just float in the shallow clear water. It's so warm and other worldly.

Orient Bay Beach. This is a long stretch of beach and there's plenty to do. Topless sunbathing is pretty common, but you kind of get used to it. This is a great spot to rent some beach chairs and do some water sports.

Anse Marcel Beach. This is a gorgeous bay, small with cliffs on either side. This would have been my top pick but the beach area is really built up with a resort and there was a party going on that kind of ruined the vibe. 

Of course, I highly recommend driving down any little road that heads towards the beach, you never know what you might find. Bring a TON of water (it's really expensive if you have to buy a bottle), sunscreen, a hat, and baby powder (I always forget the baby powder). 

What We Ate

We ate a lot of seafood. It was plentiful and delicious. But be forewarned, the prices are steep almost everywhere you go. We ate out for nearly every meal except a few breakfasts, and rarely revisited a restaurant. I'll share my top picks, because some of the places we went to weren't like amazing. And I must admit that service was lacking. Maybe we just weren't used to the European style of dining, but it seemed like asking for our check was rude, or even getting the waiter to attend to us was silly.

Dutch Side

Mr. Busby's Beach Bar, Canoa, Big Fish at Dawn Beach. All right next to each other, very good, similarly priced. I'd recommend Mr. Busby's for a regular dinner, Canoa for a nice dinner, and Big fish for dessert and drinks.

Lazy Lizard Beach Bar and Grill in Phillipsburg. One of our favorite meals of the trip. The boardwalk area was very quiet and very dark, few places were open. Some locals were hanging at the bar here having a good time. And we had a very delicious meal.

Karakter on Simpson Bay. We parked here, ate a tasty lunch, and rented two lawn chairs on one of the finest beaches with the prettiest water I've ever seen. This is right next to the landing runway of the airport, so you can watch planes come in, but it is a little noisy. Great pina coladas. 

Sunset Beach Bar. This is overlooking Maho Bay where you can watch the planes come in, but we just had burgers, and most of the places around there will be similar.

French Side

Quai Ouest in Oyster Pond. The best. Ambience was divine, the server was perfectly French, and the food was great. I had the special which was stingray, and it was wonderful. Must try. I would go back to the island just for this restaurant. 

Paradise View in Quartier D'Orleans. We had a late lunch here, which wasn't very satisfactory (probably better for someone without a gluten problem), but their breakfast is supposed to be great. And they really did have an amazing view. It was breezy and relaxing.

Some tips for comfortable dining: Make sure you tip 15-20%. Most places close at about 2, so don't wait to have lunch if you feel you might be getting hungry, or plan ahead and bring snacks. Try to relax and go with the leisurely pace of the servers, but don't be afraid to hurry them along if you need to. Try some new dishes, and if you're gluten free, don't be afraid to ask, they pretty much know what that means and how to help you out. Dining here is expensive, budget accordingly, I was very surprised. We had terrible service aka no one even bothered to get us menus or take our drink orders at Captain Oliver's and Dinghy Dock Bar. There are a ton of restaurants on the island. There are some are great beachside lunch spots in Orient Bay and I think Grand Case would have been a great place to try some restaurants and even stay.

What We Did

We mostly just beach hopped. We went towards the end of the busy season so we did have a little difficulty finding things that were open.

We hiked to the highest point on St. Martin, Pic Paradis, from Loterie Farms. This was a strenuous 2 hr hike that led to some good views. It was a little confusing at the end, but a great physical diversion. Loterie Farms looked like a ton of fun, and I would recommend spending some time there as well.

We took a boat charter to St. Barth's, which was lovely and exciting, and I'll give you more details on our St. Barth's trip in the next blog post so this one doesn't get too long. 

We found a really cute artist's studio in Grand Case. Wish we would have spent more time here. Seemed like a fun town.

We watched the planes land at Maho Beach.

From Rotary Lookout Point we walked in shallow water to a small island. I definitely recommend water shoes that fasten on your feet, not flip flops. The rocks and shells are very, very sharp.

And we almost got bamboozled into a time share presentation by a couple of dudes who said we could get free drinks at the Dawn Beach Club. Not a club, just a time share thing.

We visited the small St. Maarten Zoo, which had a ton of different birds, and plenty of other interesting animals. Not like a typical American zoo, but you can interact with many of the birds, which I loved.

We also visited the Fort Amsterdam which had some interesting ruins, but mostly incredible views.

What we didn't do that would have also been fun - horseback riding on the beach, stand up paddleboarding, catamaran/sailboat sunset cruise, snorkeling, more hiking, Pinel Island and Tintamarre Island

Be adventurous. The roads kind of freaked me out a little at first, I wasn't sure if it would be safe to drive at night, but the island is so small and very safe, so it really isn't a big deal. Just know where you're going and have your map ready because navigating is really tricky.

Next up, St. Barth's

Dreaming of the Aegean

When the sun illuminates the distant hills and spills over their silvery edges, tumbles down and bounces glinting off the gentle ripples of the cerulean waters, comes sliding in through the sheer curtains hushed and whispering at the window, settling gently warm and orange on your eyelids, eyelashes flutter open, you awake, fully, lit from within, imbued with ancient light, energy, the day begins. A day begins that will rip you open, split you in pieces, leave little bits of yourself on the whitewashed stones walked by thousands of years of men and women, and your heart will grow bougainvillea, ring midday bells long after you've departed, smell spice and fish and saltwater where there is none. This is travel. A dismemberment of the small world carefully built inside you, a restructuring of the parameters with which you view the world. You can never undo it, you are forever changed.


For The Bucket List

If you're on my blog, I have no doubt that you dream a little, stalk instagram for visual getaways, and have at least a few places on the tip of your tongue to rattle off if you're ever asked about your travel bucket list.

For me, Australia is steadily climbing to the top of my list. I don't know if it could supersede Morocco, but it's getting close. Of course, Australia has a lot to recommend itself! It's a modern country with a relaxed, western mindset. It's culturally diverse, probably more so than the US, and Aussie fashion is really starting to get worldwide attention. It has multiple climates and a lot of coastline which creates an abundance of natural wonders; and it's got a bunch of animals that the US doesn't have. 

Lately, many of the designers, people, and places I've been attracted to are Australian. It makes me wonder, would Australia be livable for me or is it simply too far away? Visiting would solve this question, but that's probably a long way off. Anyway, here are my top attractions compelling me to visit.

The Great Barrier Reef 

(of course!)

What would I give to go snorkeling and scuba diving in the GBR? I don't know. No one has given me an option yet. But this natural wonder, located on the eastern side of Australia, is a Unesco World Heritage site and is one of the richest and most diverse ecosystems on our planet. Just look... I mean, really, just google the Great Barrier Reef and tell me you wouldn't die to dive there.


The Whitsundays Islands

Seventy four sandy islands peppering the Coral Sea, hemmed in by the Great Barrier Reef, create a visually stunning and sublimely peaceful collection of beaches. Whitehaven Beach is considered to be the finest beach in the world and is made up of pure white silica sand. I'm just imagining sailing from one island to the next, jumping in and wading to the next sandbar for a bit of a float in that shallow, clear water. 

Central Australia

Central Australia is home to landscapes that mimic the Southwestern US. It's dry and deserty, but also has a flourishing wine-producing region. Hiking, rock climbing, and spotting the wildlife would easily fill up a couple days, bonus points for each one capped off with a local wine!

The Major Cities - Sydney, Melbourne, Perth

Sydney, the major, bustling, architecturally inspiring Harbour City. Melbourne, the Gold Rush era, artsy fartsy city, closest to Tasmania. And Perth, the distant, old mixed with new beach town. Of course, there's Brisbane on the Gold Coast, Adelaide in the South, and Darwin in the North on the Timor Sea. It would be a challenge to pass through them all, but also a challenge not to...







So, I want to know, is Australia on your bucket list? What would you see first? Where are you going in 2016?

Enchanting Charleston

Recently my husband and I and another couple took a very quick road trip to Charleston, SC. It involved a van, some medical equipment, and plenty of snacks, but we made it there in 12 hours, had one full day, then drove 12 hours back home on the third day. It was great fun and Charleston is absolutely lovely. I've only ever heard great things about Charleston, and it definitely lived up to its reputation. Here are a few of my favorite shots from our trip, as well as the places we ate and stayed and shopped. 

 Our hotel, The Mills House Wyndham Grand Hotel. Superbly charming.

Our hotel, The Mills House Wyndham Grand Hotel. Superbly charming.

 Lush courtyards were hidden between nearly every building. I loved it!

Lush courtyards were hidden between nearly every building. I loved it!

 Just so cute.

Just so cute.

 The row of mansions along the water are all painted in such pretty, salt-washed pastels!

The row of mansions along the water are all painted in such pretty, salt-washed pastels!

 Every alley way, courtyard and walkway between buildings was utterly charming. Like a fairytale.

Every alley way, courtyard and walkway between buildings was utterly charming. Like a fairytale.

 My favorite little souk-like shop. Glittering lanterns, textured pillows and woven boots! 

My favorite little souk-like shop. Glittering lanterns, textured pillows and woven boots! 

 The Mills House. They have a champagne hour here from 3-4!

The Mills House. They have a champagne hour here from 3-4!


Hotel: The Mills House Wyndham Grand Hotel. Excellent service, free Starbucks coffee, free champagne hour from 3-4, good weight/fitness room, clean and comfy guest rooms!

First Night
Dinner: Fleet Landing Restaurant and Bar. Great cocktails and excellent seafood. I don't even like oysters and their fresh oysters were pretty great. Down by the water, make a reservation to get outdoor seating!

Second Day
Breakfast: I ate at Toast. The cheesy grits and omelette were perfect fuel for a day of walking! Meghan ate at Eli's Table; despite finding eggshell in her meal, she thought it was otherwise pretty good. Tom and Joe ate at the hotel, which was a little pricey.

Lunch: Jim & Nick's Bar-B-Q. I had a really hard time finding something to eat here that was gluten free, but they did their best and used lettuce leaves for my chicken tacos. (Who doesn't have corn tortillas??) Everyone else loved their dishes. More importantly, it was near all the good shopping.

Dinner: We had a glass of wine at Charlestowne Tobacco & Wine while we waited to be seated. Felt exclusive though. Magnolia's for dinner was superb. They were very accommodating to my gluten intolerance, and brought out my own special loaf of crusty, warm, soft-in-the-middle gluten free bread. Best meal of the trip!

Shopping: We didn't do a whole lot of shopping, but if you see an antique store, definitely pop in. Pretty sure some of that stuff was used by the Founding Fathers. There are lots of great little stores hidden off the main shopping drag, you really won't be disappointed if you walk around and go into whatever strikes your fancy. We also went to the Charleston City Market, which is listed as one of the top things to do, but I was a little disappointed to be honest. There was a lot of cheap crap mixed into the quality stuff. Very busy. We didn't take any carriage rides, maybe next time, but if you find the stables, don't hesitate to talk to the drivers and owners and pet the horses. That made me happy!

Last Morning
Breakfast: We ate at Toast again. It was fine, but we could have gone somewhere else. Our waitress wasn't great and it was a very different experience than the previous morning. Not sure what that was about!

Overall, we had a great impromptu trip. I had some anxiety before going, but I'm so glad I said yes to a new adventure and got to see a city that I had heard so many positive things about. It would really be a great city to retire to! And I'm sure we'll be back to visit in no time!

To Look Cute on a Road Trip...

There's time for at least one more decent road trip this summer, and you better take advantage of it! So far, we're having a really nice Indian Summer and I'm craving a good, solid road trip before we bounce along with the leaves from September to October. I always find it difficult to pack for road trips as your primary concern when sitting in a car for 8-12 hours is comfort. But you and I love clothes and sometimes it's hard to pack some cute things without packing all your cute things, know what I mean? My suitcase is always 50% too full. The best tip I can give - mix & match. Find a color palette you love and work inside of it. A few fun things here and there are ok, but don't force yourself into overpacking by packing difficult to match items. I chose a blue/grey palette and mixed in a few fun items. What do you think? What are your must-haves for road trips? Have you taken or are you going on one this summer? Tell me!

Bottoms. I like soft and stretchy bottoms for riding in the car and these floral ones are too cute. One pair of jeans and 1-2 pairs of jean shorts are a must, but never wear jean shorts in the car.... ouch! I like these Lorna Jane gym shorts. They could be paired with any kind of top for a casual sight-seeing day, a hike, or a quick workout to stretch your legs before getting back in the car. Shop these items here.

Tops. Temperature regulation, and subsequently layering, is critical. Whether you're freezing your ass off in the car while your partner is sweating his off, or a restaurant is cold, or it's actually rainy and cool on your hike, not hot and humid, layers will keep you comfy. These are all pretty much mix and match options with the bottoms - the best way to pack. Shop these easy breezy pieces here

Shoes. Let me tell you something sad and heartbreaking. You only need three pairs of shoes on your average road trip or weekend trip. I know, I know, it's hard not to bring every option. But you only need one pair of sneakers, one cute/casual pair for walking/shopping, and one pair of sturdy, neutral sandals. The exceptions: if you're planning on intense hiking which would require hiking boots, or if you'll be using campground or outdoor showers, which necessitate the $2 Wal-Mart sandals. Nothing more! Besides, it leaves more room for souvenirs. These cute options can be shopped here.

Bags. Again, let's exercise restraint. Besides the bag you'll pack your clothes and toiletries in, you need a large tote for the car and beach/park/shopping, a cute bag for everyday, and possibly a sport pack with a hydration component (although this depends on your travels). If you have a nice camera, use your camera bag as you normally would! Shop these babes here

Accessories. Yes! You need some accessories! A good hat and a good pair of sunglasses cannot be forgotten! New wanderlusty books are important for boring stretches of road, down time, etc. You cannot take a road trip without a camera and I'm kind of obsessing over the idea of instant photos. It would be so fun and easy to make a photo collection with an Instax or Polaroid! Yes, bring jewelry and a neutral belt! This beaded belt reminds me of all the road trips I took out west with my family as a child. Fun fact, these gorgeous bracelets and necklaces are made by craftsman across the world as part of a fair trade partnership. Buying these items directly helps entrepreneurs in impoverished areas

Ps. Don't forget: pack extra undies and socks, a swimsuit, sunscreen (even in the car!), and snacks!


Shop some more style options: Fringe backpack purseBellfield rain jacketDorothy Perkins sleeveless blouseMaurices sleeveless blouseMadewell jean shortsSoludosBraintree printed slacksBlank NYC bleached denim, Lorna Jane aztec print shorts, High Sierra Hydration pack

Pps. These are not affiliate links and I'm not sponsored to tell you what I like :) I'll let you know if I am, tho!

Latest Inspirations

I've been pretty active on Pinterest and Tumblr, which you'll totally want to check out if, like me, you're being drowned in rain.

But the ultra cool woman behind Lady Slider recently posted some photos from a shoot with Samudra that have me nearly rolling on the floor in a mix of jealousy and nirvana. It seriously makes me want to stop everything else I'm doing and launch full force into a lifestyle brand where photo shoots like this are the norm. I have so much to learn though and plenty of time to make the right decisions to get there.

Here are some of my absolute favorites

Fitness Vacations: Would You?

We got back from Sanibel Island on Sunday and it rained for the next three days. So I can't help but dream of my next vacation to pleasanter weather. 

One thing I'd absolutely love to try is an active, fitness-focused getaway! We usually stay quite active when we vacation, whether that means hiking or surfing, horseback riding, running, or hitting the gym. It makes us feel good and gives us more wiggle room to enjoy some cocktails or desserts. 

But I think it would be totally fun to have a whole vacation focused on fitness with like-minded people! So here are the ones I've been eyeing, they look so fun! Take a look and tell me, would you ever take an active vacation?

Active Escapes -->

AE goes to amazing resorts in Bali and the Maldives for a week of group fitness and activity challenges. They do everything from surfing, to pilates, to horseback riding, to ropes courses, to running. The accommodations are 5 star, breakfast and dinner are provided daily, as well as transportation and two daily training sessions. Other fun activities are available at an extra cost. For the week: $3600-$4790. LEARN MORE HERE.


<-- Bikini Bootcamp 

Bikini Bootcamp is a weeklong, organized fitness retreat in Tulum. They have structured days, which include journaling, meals, training sessions, spa time, cultural sessions and artistic endeavors. This would make for the most amazing girls trip. For the week: $2250-$3950. LEARN MORE HERE.

Escape to Shape -->

Escape to Shape is an adventurous, exploratory week to a destination that is perhaps outside of your comfort zone. Destinations include Atacama, Chile; Marrakech, Morocco; Galle, Sri Lanka; Dubrovnik, Croatia; and more. Each experience includes regional and cultural learning experiences, plush accommodations, daily yoga, cardio and circuit sessions, meals, and outdoor activities and sight-seeing. For the week: $3200-5000. LEARN MORE HERE.

So what piques your interest? Where would you go and what would you love to do on an active getaway? I would go in heartbeat to any of these cool retreats.