Many of you know that I'm a huge yogini. The more I practice my yoga the better I am as a person. It makes me feel invigorated. If I'm having a bad day - I want more yoga. If I'm having a good day - I want more yoga. Yoga is truly a part of my life. I have been to yoga workshops and conferences, but the thought of going to a yoga retreat in 2010 is at the forefront of my mind.
One place that is calling my name and maybe in the next few months my credit card is Via Yoga. The yoga retreats can also include surfing and this beach bunny is always looking for a new adventure and the thought of learning how to surf is one of those things that need to be crossed off the bucket list. Via Yoga retreats are located in Sayulita, Mexico. I have a yoga teacher friend that I attend conferences with and I'm hoping I can get Ms. Niya to head to Via with me. You my dear readers will definitely be the first to know - after my travel agent.
I'm visualizing myself in the midst of this pose.
Anakiri BioEnergetic Skin Care first came on my radar when I stayed at the Boar's Head Inn in Charlottesville, Virginia during an exploration of the Charlottesville Wine Region. The Boar's Head Inn is a breathtakingly beautiful hotel and the surroundings are nothing short of majestic. I am a true spa girl and can never get enough of massages and I become instantly hooked on Anakiri's oil blends when I had my massage.
I have been known to bring Anakiri's Calming Oil with me to most of my massages because I love how the scent can immediately calm me down. Now, I'm going to try their Hydrating Jet Set Kit when I make a quick trip home to Houston next month. Because I can't leave home without it, the calming oil is coming with me as well.
I usually stay near Times Square when visiting New York, but this past weekend I had the pleasure of staying at the Tribeca Grand Hotel which was very close to a wedding reception that beau and I were attending. I keep asking myself why I haven't explored this area before? Usually I'm in New York for Fashion Week and need to be closed to the tents. Plus, with all the Fashion Week late nights I need to be as close to the fashion events as possible.
The next time I explore New York as a girl that loves the city staying at the Tribeca Grand will be top on my list. The hotel is hip, a place to hang out ,and party with a live DJ on Saturday nights. But the pure genius is the hotel's white noise cancellation system which is pretty sweet. Yes, the hotel has a function in each room where you turn up the white noise and it drowns out the music. Another perk is not having to call room service or run down to the restaurant just to grab a cup of coffee. Each floor is equipped with a small coffee machine that delivers a cup of caffeine for that much needed post-partying jolt.
The hotel amenities are what makes this beauty junkie even more happy. (Malin + Goetz) are one of my favorite product lines which made it easier for me to not have to pack shampoo and conditioner. I'm one of those people that love heavy shower pressure. It's the little things that makes me happy and this is one of the them. I've found that some NY hotels water pressure is so low that it takes awhile just to wash the conditioner out of your hair. Not at this hotel. This was a good thing since we had a few too many libations during lunch and I did not have extra time to prepare for the wedding celebration.We didn't make the hotel's signature brunch in the Church Lounge or the Sunday film screening in the theater, but next time we will. Film screening? This is the neighborhood of The Tribeca Film Festival. I'm already looking at dates to get my Tribeca fix on again. But this time I visit I plan to be a "Grand Guest" which is a faithful Tribeca Grand Hotel guest. Hopefully we can make a quick "empire state of mind" getaway before the year is up.
I am forever on the hunt for the perfect carry-on. I have come to realize that certain bags work with a two-day getaway and others work with a 3-4 day getaway. This Lululemon Anytime Gym Bag is the size that can work on a 3-4 getaway. It is technical a gym bag, but for me it's so huge that I think it is better for traveling. It can hold your kindle, a small lunch (I never eat on planes), a quart size bag full of beauty goodies, and so much more.
I will be traveling this fall and winter to destinations equally as cold, but also warmer climates to feel my toes between the sand. With this bag I can add flip-flops and a swimsuit and be beach ready as soon as I land. If only the warmer weather was this month.
I have always been a fan of Lululemon bags because they do last just like their clothing. That's an entirely other post.
I'm headed to New York for the weekend and once again it's time to pack up and look at what products I need to maintain my skin. No matter how much I travel I love testing new products. It's too bad that I won't have this SAMPAR Skin Care Good Weekend Kit to assist me along my travels. The kit contains the Velvet Cleansing Milk, Skin Quenching Mist, Equalizing Foam Peel, Ultra Hydrating Fluid, and Nocturnal Lifting Mask.
The great thing about this vials is that you flip the top over and it becomes a stopper so the product doesn't spill out. Too many times I have had to squeeze packets and pray that I find a paper clip to bind them so air doesn't ruin what's inside. It won't happen with these. I might not have them for New York, but I have more trips in my future and it will find it's way into my bag.
I want to get away, I want to fly away! Yeah! Yeah!
The words to Lenny Kravitz's famous song filled my head a few weeks ago, but I knew I didn't want to get on another plane or train so the automobile was what I had in mind. I headed to a relaxing and deserved stay at The Gaylord National Harbor only 25 minutes from my home. I had been to the National Harbor numerous times to eat, shop, and enjoy their free summer concerts, but this time I wanted to enjoy the hotel and spa. "The Don" and I packed our weekend bags and headed to The Gaylord.
The Gaylord is a massive resort and convention center. I know there were at least 2 conventions at the property during our stay. The hotel features numerous restaurants and the area surrounding the Gaylord has shops, restaurants, and a perfect view of the harbor.
The hotel visit cannot happen without a visit to the spa. The Relache Spa at the hotel is in one word - DIVINE. The contrast of black and white has a softness that I normally don't equate to a spa. The spa has an in-store boutique with brands such Kerastase, Spa Ritual, Pure Fiji, Cynthia's Bath & Body, Osea, and many others.
I had such a relaxing spa experience that when it came time to leave I didn't want to go. I spent time in the relaxation room which featured a wonderful view of the harbor. Anytime I am near water I am immediately relaxed.
We decided to head out the hotel and it near the resort instead of the hotel. The next time I will make sure I eat at Old Hickory Steakhouse. We decided upon Ketchup. Thank goodness we had a reservation because the place was packed. The wine list had great selections with a decent markup, but the the sides on our entrees were lukewarm, and could have used a good zap in the microwave. The only saving grace was the crab and corn chowder which was out of this world good. The deserts were great as well and we left full and happy. The perfect way to end the night was to dance at Posh. Yes, ladies the hotel is large enough to have its own club on the 18th floor with views of the harbor. After a few twirls on the dance floor I was spent and retreated to the room where I fell into a deep sleep.
Before we left we had a wonderful breakfast at Pienza Italian Market. At breakfast it hit me why I loved this hotel. I'm a cruise girl and this hotel on land has all the options that you find on a cruise ship. You don't need to leave the resort for entertainment.
I'm planning a girls' weekend there next spring and can't wait for my girls to enjoy the resort as much as I do. I also made a promise to myself that next time I won't forget my swimsuit.
I stumbled upon the eat.shop.guides in my local Anthropologie store and I was immediately hooked. I loved the way the pocket size guides fit into my tote bag and I can't wait to explore my local D.C. this fall. The DC guide features places in Maryland and Virginia so shopping and eating in the D/M/V can help tourists and residents craft their own itinerary to explore the nation's capital.
I'm hoping that the updated Paris version is ready before I head to Paris in November. Although I have my own notebook of certain Paris jaunts it's great to have help. I have my picks for the best tea (Mariage Freres) and the best condiments from La Grande Epicerie.
If the writers of the guides need a list for Houston, I'm ready to show you "my Texas. I hope ya'll ready."
I am always thinking of the next place to add to my list of travels. I want to go somewhere warm for my birthday, but I can't decide on one single place yet. I'm writing about properties that are calling my name "Julia, over here. Let's hang out." Little Dix Bay has put a spell on me. Last night I even had a dream that I was toasting my Bonne Anniversaire here by the pool. I'm going to be perusing more BVI hotels in the next few weeks.
Until I get to BVI, Nina's voice can still put a spell on me.
Thank you loyal readers for sticking with me last week. Your comments, tweets, and emails were a constant support for me. I'm headed to New York tomorrow evening on business and I decided that last week's travel took a toll of my body, mind, and soul. I didn't get to do my weekly exfoliation and I can tell my face doesn't have the luster it normally does.
I'm going to have my own personal spa evening in my hotel room tomorrow. June Jacobs Intensive Age Defying Travel Kit is in my carry-on. I will use the Mandarin Moisturizing Cleansing Milk and Polishing Beads to get my face back. I know when I finish with the Intensive Age Defying Hydrating Complex my face will thank me for showing it some love. I'm putting myself back at the top of my list while making travel plans for the last few weeks of summer, fall, and winter.
It has been four years since I moved to DC and one staple during the summer was the rooftop deck at The Hotel Washington. Fast forward four years and that hotel has turned into one of my absolute favorite hotel properties ever - W Washington, DC. The W opens here tomorrow and I'm looking forward to a staycation in the next few weeks. The sky terrace is so fabulous that I will be spending a few nights there enjoying a cocktail and views of the White House.
I have a few friends visiting for the summer and the first stop on the list of places to see and things to do is this hotel. DC is a great tourist spot, but this new hotel will make a fabulous girl getaway as well. W Hotels carry the Bliss line of products, which means the spa - you guessed it is Bliss (pun intended).
The spa and deck make this hotel great, but the addition of the Jean-Georges Vongerichten restaurant, J&G Steakhouse will give the celebrity chef restaurants in DC a run for their money. I've already made my reservations and eagerly looking forward to dining there. A few steps down from the restaurant is the W Wine Bar which is a great place for a pre-dinner/theater drink.
I definitely believe that this hotel will add to DC's top places to see and be seen.
All photo renderings are courtesy of Starwood.
I have a very sweet boyfriend. After weeks of trying to make plans for the first weekend in August with him he admits a secret. "I got us tickets to Dave Matthews Band in concert that weekend." So that's why we couldn't go away. The concert is at least an hour drive from us so I decided that it's a perfect excuse to stay at the Aloft Hotel by Dulles Airport which is 10 minute drive from the concert venue. This will be my first "staycation" so I'm excited about that as well.
The Aloft Hotels are part of the Starwood Hotel chain and all though the hotels are budget friendly it packs a lot of punch. The bathrooms are outfitted with Bliss Spa products just like its sister properties, but the hotels have a funkier vibe. I know at the concert I will be rocking out to all of the bands old and new tunes, so I'm looking forward to a short jaunt to continue the happy vibe in the Remix Lounge.
The beach bag theme continues as we head into the holiday weekend. This Martin + Osa tote is perfect for wherever you maybe heading or if you are having your own personal staycation it will work as well.
For sunscreen - Kiss My Face Sunswat Spray. This spray is great for those of us who hate the medicinal smell of traditional bug sprays. Plus, it has an SPF 15 and can be added over your traditional sunscreen. I suggest using this for sitting at an outside dinner. If you are like me, I've never met a mosquito that didn't like me.
REN's Mayday Mayday Rescue Balm. Has the beach wrecked havoc on your lips and hands? Do you have super dry patches on your skin that need some TLC. Well REN"S Mayday Mayday Rescue Balm can surely come in and rescue your dry skin from the elements.
Rodial's Glam Balm Wipes are perfect for the face and body to remove makeup after a long day on the beach. It's also perfect if you have that sticky feeling and need to wipe down your arms and legs if you don't have time to go back to your hotel and freshen up.
This large tangerine shopper from Lacoste has beach bag written all over it. I need all my bags to go over my shoulders because I tend to overload them. Yes, I know it's not good, but this is what I do. The color will also transition to early fall and then resort in the winter. Don't get me wrong, I love the pink begonia color, but if I get another pink bag - well - Houston we are going to have a problem.
Supergoop SFP 30 Broad Spectrum Sunscreen for Face and Body. This sunscreen is one of my all time favorites. It's lightweight and so easy to pack around in the summer. It's also great on the hands if you will be behind the wheel a lot this summer.
LaVanila Healthy Deodorant. I have been hearing a lot about the LaVanila Healthy Deodorant. This is a perfect deodorant to carry around especially if you go from the pool or beach to a restaurant and don't have time to to take a shower.
Lisa Curran Summer Essentials Kit. If you need more LaVanila products then choose Lisa Curran's Summer Kit which includes a Lisa Curran Swimsuit, LaVanila Body Butter, and Lip Shine. The kit gives back to The Ocean Project with each purchase. The Ocean project increases ocean conservation awareness.
The Palms Spa is changing the way I will get my beauty fix the next time I’m in Las Vegas. Now the Palms Spa offers cabana services right by the pool. The Spa offers services like the “Coconut Glow” a body scrub and oil massage or the “Overexposed” body wrap to repair sun ravaged skin.
Sunset Tan at Palms Place invites guests to “Crawl Back Into Bed” with a buy-one, get-one free tanning offer if you prefer to go the faux tan route.
Drift Spa, also at the Palms, offers poolside services like the “Stone Cold Cocktail” to ease facial tension. I would opt for the “Cherry Smash” which is the leg/foot scrub and body butter treatment. Here are few of the Cabana Services: Sole-ly Refreshing – this is the treat for calves and feet from a day of shopping. Lemon Ice – a face massage using lemon balm and ice globes.
If you find yourself at the pool on Sunday, the hotel offers a poolside brunch menu so you never have to stop relaxing to eat.
Las Vegas is a must have destination anytime.
I’ve been dreaming of beaches for the past two weeks. Since I arrived home from Playa del Carmen I have been ready to go back to the beach. Hopefully I can get back to Mexico soon because I know we as tourists need to help support the country through tourism and help promote our fellow comrades in travel. But, my honey wants to head to The Turks &Caicos – a destination we both have had our eye on for quite some time.
I told him that I would look into hotels and on my beach radar is the Gansevoort Turks & Caicos– a Wyamar Property. This property has everything I need: luxe accommodations, a fabulous beach, delicious food, and relaxation. The GTC features Exhale Spa – which is a divine spa concept with over 11 locations in the U.S. Exhale has a spa, classes, and in-room spa services.
I'm finally home for this first weekend of June. It's been so nice and despite the rain the sun has appeared. I decided to start a summer series based on my love of the beach. Here you will find what I love about summer, sand, and the beach and a few of the very pretty things that make my summer hot!
The LL Bean Zip Top Boat & Tote. My favorite color is the deep fuchsia and I love how you can pack this bag with so much stuff. I love the monogram and it makes a perfect gift for a wedding party - all you have to do is add goodies.
Beach Bag Beauty:
True Blue Spa - 29 and Holding SPF 29 Broad Spectrum Sunscreen Lotion. Every beach bag will have a sunscreen. Why? Should you ask? Everyone needs to wear sunscreen to protect them from the sun's harmful rays. Yes, the sun does give us Vitamin D, but if you are like me and when you hit the beach you are out there for a few hours you need sunscreen. Enough said.
Borghese Radiante Brightening Hand Creme with SPF 30. I can't say enough about this hand creme. Always remember that hands tell the true age. This SPF 30 hand creme will protect your hands in the car and on the beach.
Davines Nounou Kit. The Nounou is a life saver to beach hair. The kit contains two different shampoos - The Dede Shampoo for moisture and The Nounou Shampoo to help your color stay. The Nounou Pak mask with restore your beached whip hair to city girl hair quickly or until your next beach trip.
The one thing I learned during all my girlfriend getaways is that no getaway would be complete without shopping. It’s a ritual. I need the sun and sand, but I also need to peruse beautiful things as well. It helps that Playa del Carmen is only a one hour drive to the
The one thing I learned during all my girlfriend getaways is that no getaway would be complete without shopping. It’s a ritual. I need the sun and sand, but I also need to peruse beautiful things as well. It helps that Playa del Carmen is only a one hour drive to theCancun’s Luxury Avenue Boutique Mall.
This mall has a plethora of shops including Ferragamo, Louis Vuitton, CH Carolina Herrera, Longchamp, Max Mara and my new favorite Daniel Espinosa for jewelry. I picked up a drop-dead gorgeous necklace returned home sporting it every single chance I get. The store also carries duty-free only cosmetics which makes this beauty junkie super happy. I personally prefer to shop without my beau, but if you must bring a companion along who doesn't want to shop - have them head upstairs to the cafe where they can enjoy a beverage or cocktail. This will allow you to shop in peace too.
If you are staying in Playa, Cozumel, or any area outside of Cancun tell the hotel concierge to set up a car service to and from Luxury Avenue. If you need assistance, they can arrange a personal shopper that can take care of all your needs. This personal touch is great to have even on vacation.
I believe right now more than ever we must support tourism in Mexico. I’m trying to figure out sometime in my calendar for a return to Mexico in the next few months. As Peter Greenberg the travel detective would say, “when the going gets tough, the tough travel.” Mexico has always been a great tourist spot and we have to focus on keeping it that way. Every time I go to Mexico I always get a feeling of warmth and hospitality.
I just came across this lovely site that gives information on my favorite city in the world - Paris. Sign up for the "Do It In Paris" newsletter and weekly tips on things to do in the City of Lights. I think this is absolutely one of the best things because now you won't have to rely on guidebooks if you plan on visiting. I will be archiving many of the finds and adding them to my new Moleskin City Notebook for Paris. I have to get all my notes in order for my birthday weekend celebration in Paris December 18.
It seems the girls and I are becoming partial to the beaches of the Atlantic Ocean. As much as I love Cabo San Lucas, the Pacific water is just a little rough and the meniscus tear in my knee is still healing from being flipped by a wave last summer (don't ask). It was without hesitation that we found ourselves back in the Atlantic for Mexico. This year we decided on The Royal Playa del Carmen.
The Royal Playa is an all-inclusive hotel, but if you are looking for a massive all inclusive resort - this is not your best choice. It's the size of a boutique hotel and the personal touches is why this resort is high on my list as a favorite. It sits in the middle of dowtown Playa and a short walk out of the front door puts you on a shopping avenue to buy souvenirs, beach cover-ups, swimsuits, restaurants and bars. I was able to pick up super cute cover-ups for my next trip.
A few days before I headed to Playa del Carmen I was able to have a nice long chat with Ted Gibson ("my hair boyfriend") on prepping the hair for summer. The one sentence that I love him for is this: "you can't expect city girl hair at the beach - it's the beach - think beach hair - relax." So, when I decided to prepare my packing list I kept hearing Ted's glorious voice in my head - "beach hair."
I decided to test out his theory with the Phyto Plage Sun Care products. My choice was the Phyto Plage Sun Veilwhich I sprayed on my hair everyday before heading to the pool and the beach. First, the scent is divine and second, it protected my hair from the sun. I applied a small amount of conditioner with it, combed it through, and slicked my hair into a low chignon. My hair returned home moisturized and conditioned. TED IS A GENIUS. I'm headed to the beach a few more times this year (Dominican Republic is on the radar for late summer) and I won't be leaving home with my Phyto Sun Veil. Next on my list to try is the After Sun Mask. In the meantime I will be spraying more Sun Veil - especially this weekend for a crab fest at the house.
Now is the time to start thinking of how you will protect your face from the sun. We all know you must wear sunscreen daily, but if you are going to spend anytime in the sun you should also invest in a cute hat. I love lounging by the pool and the ocean and wouldn't this cute Paisley Terry Hat be the perfect hat to do so. The color is described as Martinique Pink and it's as vibrant as the destination Martinique. This will go with a neutral swimsuit color and my perfect summer outfit - a white tee and white jeans.
It's also the perfect hat to wear around a beach town. Last year was my very first time in Atlantic City and I had so much fun walking on the boardwalk, eating ice cream, and enjoying the family. Although this hat won't be coming with me to Playa on Thursday, it will be coming with me to Atlantic City later this year.