Stories for: Travel

Hotels, TravelRancho Valencia


There are fewer places more relaxing to me in this country than that beachy/resort area around San Diego. The city is apparently the birthplace of California, and the best representation of that that sunny, active, free-spirited, life-is-good vibe that I always associate with The Golden State. So it was not only appreciated, but much needed after a particularly stressful beginning to summer (and some travel plan hiccups), that I started my first vacation of the year right in the midst of that beautiful Southern California landscape. Last week, I finally checked out of crazy New York City and checked into Rancho Valencia Resort and Spa, just north of San Diego. READ MORE

Hotels, TravelBostonian Weekend: XV Beacon

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I have a deep-rooted sentimental love for Boston, the city where I met my hubby in school, courted, and went to the chapel to get married! The picturesque city holds such historic charm and beauty that a nostalgic sheen seems to embrace the whole city. Every time we go back for a visit, we gleefully revisit old favorites and discover new ones to add to the list. This past visit brought us to the refined and elegant XV Beacon Hotel, which won us over with how well it nestled its way into our perfect Boston experience. The location could not be better for exploring the city and its best neighborhoods, and is an easy ride from the airport on the T. Within minutes of checking in, we were walking (skipping, almost) down the hill to Charles Street for shopping and coffee. READ MORE

Accessories, Fragrance, Obsessions, TravelLaura Mercier Patisserie Candles


One of life’s simplest but most delightful pleasures for me is to step into a cozy French bakery early in the morning, feeling the warmth of the oven still on, and breathing in the tantalizing fresh aroma of pastries. The next pleasure is, of course, partaking in eating them. Laura Mercier’s La Petite Patisserie Travel Candle Trio has captured three beautiful scents of the patisserie in a perfect candle travel set, and the best part is, it’s calorie-free! Despite wondering if these gorgeous smells would make my stomach growl, I found them satisfying my senses without the craving. The sweet flavors of Fresh Fig, Almond Coconut Milk, and Crème de Pistache are wrapped up in votive candles to release that bakery-fresh smell whether you’re cozying up at home or on the road. When I travel, I find that a candle goes a long way in setting the ambience and bringing warmth and comfort to a hotel room.

Fresh Fig is my favorite of the vibrant trio, and I can almost taste the fresh Celeste Figs and fruit bouquets of Apricot Nectar and Ylang Ylang. The mini candle certainly packs a punch–within minutes of being lit, the room is permeated with the delicious warm scent. The Almond Coconut Milk is the most comforting, a sweet version of milky flavors with a tropical twist. It combines Milk, Coconut, Almond and Vanilla notes with Heliotrope and Musk for a rich experience. Last but not least, Crème de Pistache is an exotic and decadent blend of Almost, Praline and Hazelnut with freshly Whipped Cream for a luscious, rich scent. The candles have a 20-30 hour burn time, which is key for small candles–they go the distance for their petite size. This limited-edition sampler comes with a elegant and portable candle carrier which is perfect for stashing your favorite candle in your toiletry bag. Trust me, it’s the first thing you’ll pull out to create your home away from home!

Accessories, TravelLipault Carry On

lipaultMy latest travel obsession isn’t a destination (well, that’s for a different post), but rather a bag that’ll get me to any place of my heart’s choosing. I’m a proud member of the “carry-on only club” and that applies to destinations near and far. In fact, on a recent two week sojourn to Asia this past January, I managed to pack everything into one carry on bag, and even had enough clothing options to shoot a few outfit pics. Being this dedicated isn’t easy — it requires foresight, determination, clothes rolling skills, a really great bag, and occasionally sitting on that bag. The first few requirements can be learned, but the great bag — that must be discovered — and finally, after so many years of hauling not-the-greatest carry on luggage around the world, I’ve found Lipault.

What I love about Lipault bags is that they are made from soft nylon that is incredibly durable but also bendable and has more give than traditional luggage. What this means is that a) I can stuff my bag to the max and then some and b) it’s easier to cram into tighter spaces because the bag sides don’t take up valuable space. The soft material also makes the bag itself very lightweight — an important consideration when I have to stuff the bag into overhead compartments or carry it up or down stairs. Because the soft side luggage bends to accommodate what I’m putting inside, I find that I don’t have to use the outside compartments too often — a plus since I like to keep everything in one place. The wheels provide a smooth roll and I love that there are handles on both sides, making carrying it that much easier. Lipault also contains a collection of 0% Foldable Luggage, which folds flat when not in use and saves valuable space in my already small NYC apartment. The luggage comes in black, brown, grey and five bright colors. This yellow is my favorite and has already garnered many compliments on recent trips. Check out this and larger bags (in case you don’t do the carry-on-only thing) at

Eco & Organic, Hotels, International, TravelRosewood Mayakoba


The moment my husband and I stepped into the stunning open-air atrium of the Rosewood Mayakoba, we knew we had just entered not just a resort, but a fantasy. As we were greeted with a freshly blended green mojito welcome drink as we overlooked the lagoon and pool, I felt the stress of city life getting left far behind. The warm, breezy air invited us to shed layers both literally and figuratively (work projects begone!) as we took in the staff’s warm welcome which would follow us throughout our visit. The contemporary luxe style of the resort complemented the natural surroundings so well and mirrored the property’s attitude of respect for the local Mayan culture and traditions. READ MORE

Hotels, TravelGrand Hotel Tremezzo

Grand Hotel Tremezzo
I sunk deep into a plush brocade love chair in the lobby of the Grand Hotel Tremezzo, a fresh cappuccino in hand, and sighed. Outside, the late afternoon sun warmed the pristine blue waters of Lake Como and I watched, transfixed, as it danced in sprite-like patterns across the surface ripples. Hotel lobbies are not my usual venues of choice for relaxation or inspiration, but there I was, sitting in one, in complete awe of the moment and willing time to pass just a little bit slower.

Grand Hotel Tremezzo

At first glance, the Grand Hotel Tremezzo seems so spectacular, so ornate, that it left me feeling a little breathless as I took in the lavish tableau before me. Built as an Art Nouveau palace, the hotel is richly furnished in period décor, its soaring rooms painted in regal shades of red, blue, and gold, housing a wealth of antique art and artifacts. It didn’t take long however, before I oddly began to feel at home (the nicest one I could imagine having, that is) as I wandered into the more private and intimate areas of the property. A reading room, located right off the lobby, had an eclectic mix of brightly hued sofas positioned around coffee tables that gave it a residential feel. A little further down, a cozy game room, housing an authentic 1800s billiards table, beckoned as I walked past. Unable to resist, I completely ignored the fact that I didn’t even know how to play ball, and challenged my travel partner to a game of pool. READ MORE

Accessories, Beauty, Eco & Organic, Insider's Obsessions, Los Angeles, Makeup, Skincare, TravelInsider’s Obsessions: Kristie Streicher

We recently caught up with celebrity brow specialist and makeup artist Kristie Streicher, who has an incredibly keen eye for stylish, often eco-friendly finds. In addition to grooming famous brows in New York City, volunteering with her father’s nonprofit organization (Divine Spark) and amassing what Vogue dubbed a “killer vintage wardrobe,” Kristie recently opened the new Kristie Streicher Beauty Bar inside L.A.’s Warren Tricomi salon. Here are her latest obsessions: READ MORE

Dining & Nightlife, Hotels, International, TravelThe Royal Treatment at the Ritz Carlton, Penha Longa

Most travelers to Portugal no doubt have Lisbon on their list of must-visit cities. But it’s actually in Lisbon’s outskirts that lies the real gem of the country. Sintra, located just forty minutes or so away, has long been the summer and vacation destination of centuries of Portugal’s monarchs- and for good reason. Nestled between the Sintra Mountains and the Atlantic Coast, this colorful city- also a UNESCO World Heritage site- boasts a charming downtown and centuries of rich culture and history all set amongst a lush natural setting. And it’s this jewel that Penha Longa Hotel, Spa and Golf Resort calls home.


Beauty, Food, Tech, TravelHow to: Survive a Long Plane Ride

I’m a bit of an expert on surviving long haul flights, given that my first 17 hour one was at the tender age of 6 (we have a lot of relatives in Asia). Even as a young one, I distinctly recall thinking, “Man, this sucks” as I took in the plane’s stale air, questionable food, and roaring overhead noise while barfing into an air sickness bag. Since then, experience and technology have been great aids in reducing the airplane’s assault on the five senses so far that I even LIKE long haul flights (but capped at 17 hours tops). My tips at dealing with the pains of traveling:

1.    Feel:  As every travel-related site and dermatologist will tell you, airplane air is bad and dry, wreaking havoc on complexions (read: breakouts) and your throat. You have to stay moisturized.  I like to prepare first by stocking up on water after TSA frisks me. You may be thinking, “Why should I buy water when I get it for free on the plane?” True, but I can’t be the only one that gulps down their tiny airplane ration of water two minutes after receiving it. I also remain terrified by a story a friend’s father told me. He was stranded on the tarmac for 4 hours, parched and hungry, after the flight attendants ran out of provisions. I’d prefer for that not to be me.  Experts also tell you to avoid drinking on the plane as alcohol dehydrates, but if you are a nervous traveler, I don’t see the harm in slightly indulging. A friend of mine has a long time fear of flying and kind stewardesses routinely used to give her shots of tequila on the plane.  Worked for her, and she even did one with Flava Flav one time at 6 am. READ MORE

Books, TravelObsession of the Moment: TASCHEN 4 Cities

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