Travel

It’s easy to get jaded and feel like you’ve seen it all once you’ve done a lot of anything.  For me, it takes a lot to impress or excite me when it comes to parties for instance.  I’ve attended, planned and produced so many in my lifetime and have kept up with the latest trends and offerings through industry tradeshows, blogs and celebrity planners that I feel I’ve seen every flower arrangement, candy bar setup, and balloon arrangement there is to see.  So I’m always seeking something new and creative to wow me and incorporate into my next event.  The same is true when I travel.  I seek something beyond the typical beach resort and long for the Instagram-able, colorful, bizarre and surreal.  Click through here for my tips on the 5 wild and wacky must-see spots to take your kids to in Tokyo for instance, or here for NYC’s most Instagram-able bucket list, and my 7 tips when visiting the world’s most surreal spa.  But if you’re looking for a fun Southern Californian road trip with memorable pit stops along the way, Look no further.  We did this day trip in December (when the weather is perfect out in the desert), and highly recommend these 6 unbelievable sights for your next road trip.  And guess what!  They’re all free!  Well the banana museum charges $1 if you don’t eat or buy anything there but basically all you need for these spots is an adventuresome spirit and an open mind.

  1. Salvation Mountain

    What do you get when you mix rainbows, with art and Christian messaging?  Salvation Mountain!  salton sea, california road trip, nilan california, nilan california, slab city, Made in the name of love, the deceased artist, Beal created this man-made mountain and painted it with over 100,000 gallons of paint over the course of nearly 3 decades! He created this unbelievably beautiful spectacle, the most colorful and happy hike you’ll ever take.  The art installation consists of the main mountain, a few caves and a painted tree area.  Selfie anyone?  Not a single person who goes here can resist taking a photo..it is just that remarkable.  Whether you are religious or not, the message is all about LOVE.  And I loved it.  It’s such a cheerful sight amidst the vast desert landscape.  Even the grumpiest soul can’t resist smiling here.california road trip ideas, salton sea, nilan california, most instagrammable california

    ADDRESS – Beal Rd Niland, CA 92257.   TIME TO ALLOT- 30 minutes if it’s hot or up to 1.5 hours if you’re a photographer and the weather is nice.  We spent close to an hour there because it was my newfound happy place!

  2. Ski Inn

    Dolla Dolla Bills Y’all! instagramable california, niland, salton sea, the ski inn The entire interior of this dark, otherwise dingy, non-descript dive bar is covered interestingly in dollar bills!  Doubling as wallpaper and a guestbook, people write messages or their names on the bill and then paste them to the walls and even ceiling of this joint.  If you need to stop for a bathroom break or want to enjoy a drink with the locals, this is the place to go!  They are happy to give you tips for your travels or just hang out and get to know you.  Juliet had to go potty on our road trip which is why I went in.  Imagine my surprise when I saw this decor!  I bought a .75 water bottle on my way out in exchange for using their bathroom (which was clean enough).  And uh, if you’re not thirsty, you could always buy one of their cans filled with fish assholes.  You heard me right….and they’re only $4.  TIP this place only takes cash.  Like I said, dolla dolla bills y’all!

    ADDRESS – 9596 Ave A Niland, CA 92257   TIME TO ALLOT – 5 to 45 minutes depending if you’re staying for lunch
  3. Banana Museum

     salton city things to see and do ,california road trip, bananas

    This tiny, eccentric museum is one of the most memorable ones you will ever see.  Having started by purchasing the world’s largest banana collection (a title awarded by the Guiness Book of World Records) off of eBay, the owner turned his family’s bar into a shrine / shop for everything yellow and exponentially grew his initial collection.  Think banana shaped phones, stuffed monkeys holding bananas, banana milkshakes and ice cream and banana toys and costumes even.  I went bananas in there taking pictures, trying on silly costumes and just being enthralled at the amazing collection.  My 4 year old tells people she went to the banana museum when people asked her what she did in California for 3 weeks. lol I guess she found it really a-PEEL-ing!salton sea, socal road trip san diego road trip, palm springs road trip, yellow, banana ice cream 

    ADDRESS – 98775 Hwy 111 Mecca, CA 92254.   TIP they are known to unexpectedly close early or not open on time so you may want to call ahead to confirm opening hours. (619) 840-1429.  TIME TO ALLOT – 10-25 minutes

  4. Bombay Beach Ruins at Salton Sea

    You know the crystal clear ocean water and soft sand beaches from the brochures?? Yea..this is not that.  This is the creepy, apocalyptic version of that. Imagine, a deserted beach where you can look for miles beyond and feel like you’re the last person standing on earth.salton sea road trip. socal road trip, californian road trip ( It is the largest inland body of water in California and yes that is me seemingly in the middle of nowhere land). Fun fact – the surface of the Salton Sea is 234.0 feet (or 71 meters) below sea level!  And the water is so thick with salt that it doesn’t move.  No crashing waves.  Just dead silence.  Speaking of dead, expect to see a lot of dead fish as you walk the crunchy, dry cracked sand.  It is bizarre.  And that’s why it is cool.  You’ll wander around feeling as if you have just entered twilight zone as you come across abandoned ships covered in graffiti, hundreds of bird and fish bones, and what looks to be a mini Stonehenge. salton sea things to do, instagramable california, california roa dtrip There is also a visitor’s center there but because we had already read-up on the history and googled all there was to know about it, we skipped it and saved $5 (parking fee) just by going to the nearby beach.

    ADDRESS -100-225 State Park Rd  Mecca, CA 92254    TIME TO ALOT -20 minutes because it is a bit smelly with the sulfur and scent of dead fish.  NOTE – the piles of dead fish that people have written about are no longer there so no worries. You kind of have to hunt for them bones now..

  5. East Jesus

    Wanna hang out with hippies and explore their artsy playground? Then this is the perfect place for you.  californian road trip, hippies, coachella, burning man, slab city resident, slab city artThis place felt like the opposite of my hometown, Manhattan which is why I with wide-eyed curiosity, visited.  What do you mean they live “off-the-grid?”  No electricity?  No taxes, no sewage system?? Unfathomable.  But then you see the art, the wall of broken-down TVs with political messages, the supersized see-saw for adventurous adults, the makeshift bowling alley and the plane, yes a PLANE… and even the most jaded traveler snaps out of it and excitedly wanders about wanting to see more.  It has a Burning Man vibe so if you’re into that you’ll love this too.  slab city art, cars, car, painted car, grafitti, street art, hippies, burning manMany music videos and films have been shot here but mostly this place is a relatively unknown deserted area with residents ranging from squatters, to the homeless to the free-spirited, artsy campers.  To be honest, my husband was terrified to visit at first thinking we’d be walking into a community of meth addicts who would eventually kidnap and kill us.  But the reviews I read and the amount of tourists I saw when there made me feel safe enough to bring my family out of the confines of our safe rental car.  How did I know there were so many tourists?  OH you will KNOW who the tourists are and who the locals are.  This is their drive-in movie theater btw.  drive through, drive in movie theater, hippie, socal road trip, california road trip Imagine movie night here!
    ADDRESS Sidewinder Road, Niland, California.   It is only about 10 minutes away from Salvation Mountain.  TIME TO ALLOT -25 minutes to an hour depending how interested you are in getting to know the locals.

  6. Palm Tree Farm

    Does the sight of palm trees make you happy?  Me too.  But things clustered in freakish numbers tend to creep me out (i.e. one pigeon is ok but a hundred flocking around a small space …not ok).  That’s the effect that standing in the middle of this seemingly never-ending palm tree forest will give you.  They did look beautiful from afar, perfectly lined up and all growing at the same rate and height. They’ll totally satisfy any OCD that you have.  Perhaps that’s what lured me in.  We parked off to the side of the road for a closer look and for a picture-esque opportunity.  But I quickly found that standing next to the millions of thorny, hovering trees was not a comforting feeling.  I wanted to get the hell outta there and fast!  Therefore I’m setting the TIME TO ALOT as 5-10 minutes.  It’s a quick pit stop.  Get your freaky forest picture and RUN!palm tree forest, palm tree nursery, palm tree farm, niland, road trip ideas for california, california road trip  ADDRESS – off Rte 11 between Joshua Tree and Nilan (most of the area is fenced but you can find an area that is not and park along the side of the road for some quick photos!

I loved every moment of this road trip because it offered destinations that were both weird and wacky that will stand out in our memories long after we leave our beloved state of California.

GENERAL TIPS FOR THIS ROAD TRIP

  • AVOID the summer season and check the weather because road tripping through the desert isn’t as fun when you’re panting and drenched in sweat.  December was the perfect time to visit!
  • Bring lots of water, some snacks and a packed meal as backup because there are not a lot of good places to stop for a meal unless you travel to the nearby San Diego or Palm Springs cities which is what we did for our final, dinner stop.
  • Bring an extra cell phone battery and make sure your camera is all charged up and has enough storage to make room for the hundreds of pictures you are bound to take because if you don’t record and upload it later for your friends, were you really there?? haha
  • Research the hashtags for the locales if you are into photography and want to make sure you don’t miss any important shots.
  • Plan the perfect outfit!  We made sure to have a colorful outfit that coordinated the mountain’s pastel rainbow for an extra perfect picture.  But for you this may simply mean dressing in layers as depending on the time of day or season you go, you may experience a dip in temperature once the sun goes down or want to make sure you have your favorite sunglasses to shield you from the intense desert sun.
  • We had no problems with cell or navigation reception along the way from Orange County, California.
  • camping options can be found nearby at Joshua Tree, on the Sultan Sea at Bombay Beach and of course at Slab City but really if you start early in the day, you can cover all 6 of these areas within one day!
  • It’s less than an hour from Palm Springs so it’s a great idea to start or end there!

 

What do you think?  Would you want to take this road trip?  And what other strange sights do you recommend that I must see?  Please tell me in the comments.  I’d love to hear from you!

 

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things to do in tokyo, cook tokyo, travel to tokyo, tokyo for kids

If you’re looking for a list of the most popular tourist attractions, the top temples, or info. on the major amusement parks, museums and zoos to take your kids to in Tokyo, this is not for you.  Yes, there is a Tokyo Disneyland, Legoland, museum of nature and science, and Ueno Zoo but there are also similar sights elsewhere.  If you’re looking for the wild, the wacky and the only-in-Tokyo experiences, you’ve come to the right place!  Here are 5 must-see spots to take your kids to while in Tokyo that will leave you craving more of the colorful, crazy, and quirky “kawaii” that makes Tokyo the most memorable place to travel to.

  1. Maid Cafe

    Most typically found in the Akihabara district of Tokyo, these maid cafes promise to treat you as master as they welcome you into their girly, frilly world of cuteness.    maidWith a diverse mix of families celebrating a birthday, giggling girls coming in for an after-school treat, to tourists and the random old man, the room is filled with a curious audience entranced by the spell these girls cast.  These happy-go-lucky maids dressed in stereotypical maid costumes only seen during Halloween in the States, dance, sing, play toys and games, pose for photos and encourage you to singalong and cast a spell onto your food.  What?  Yes.  Form your hands into a heart and in your most adorable voice, repeat after me…”“moe, moe, kyun!”DSC_8468tokyo themed cafe, at home maid cafe I, as an American tourist did not understand.  But I didn’t care.  And neither did my 4 year old who was just as entranced as I was.  She had so much fun she even exclaimed that she changed her mind.  She didn’t want to be a doctor anymore.  She wanted to be a waitress!  Great.  Just great.  We left in bliss anyways. For more on Maid Cafes click here.

  2. Animal themed Cafe

    If dining with your family has become monotonous, don’t fret!  ‘Cuz in Tokyo you can choose to dine with an animal of your choice!  There are plenty of cat cafes, dog cafes, bunny cafes and even owl cafes to suit your fancy!  We chose the exotic-sounding owl cafe and weren’t disappointed.japan things to do, japan themed cafe, kyoto owl cafe, owls, owlHow is it that in the States, we were never allowed to touch owls?? Apparently they’re super friendly and enjoy being petted?! We got such a kick out of this place and couldn’t believe how many different owls there were..ones I didn’t even know existed.  It was surreal.  Every few steps, we met a wildly different owl. Check out this one that looked wooden!DSC_0351We got to pet (with the back of our hands) about 15 different owls that day.  How cool is that?  Juliet just learned about owls at school too and was super psyched.  Hoot Hoot!  What an amazing learning experience for the kids to learn fun facts about owls hands on. DSC_0356

  3. Monster Cafe

    Better than Xanax (I would imagine).  ‘Cuz how can anyone be sad in a room that looked like a rainbow just exploded there?  I think if Lisa Frank, 80’s rainbow sticker creator had a restaurant it would look like this. things to do in japan, travel to tokyo with kids, cool things to do with kids in japan, kawaii japan A game of I spy in here could include unicorns, bunnies, and gigantic mushroom sightings that will have you feeling like you’re hallucinating in this trippy place.  cool things to see in tokyo, cool things to do in tokyo, places to eat tokyo, tokyo for kids, japan with kids, monster restaurantAnd don’t worry, while the name of the restaurant may sound scary, there is nothing scary about this place.  It’s more of a dream than a nightmare!  I would love to know what sort of dreams little J had after experiencing this place…DSC_8790Address: YM square building 4F, 4-31-10, Jingumae, Shibuya, Tokyo. Opening Hours: 11.30am-4.30pm and 6pm-10.30pm daily.

  4. Robot Restaurant

    “Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto” as the song goes, this place (more like a cafe with parade style entertainment) is the definition of wacky.  And it’s WONDERFUL!  robot restaurant review, things to do with kids in tokyo, things to do with kids japanIt’s so hard to find the words to describe how much I enjoyed this weird, highly Instagram-able wonderland. things to do japan, things to do tokyo, themed restaurants, themed cafes japan It’s burning man on a sugar high! Think dazzling lights, estatic costumed performers, beaming laser lights and Transformer-like robots coming at you…”roboto roboto” their main song will be singing in your head for days!  It’s sensory overload in the most over-the-top fashion and you will wonder how you’ll ever go back to normal life again..things to do tokyo, travel to japan with kids, robot cafe, themed japanese cafes, themed restaurants japanI’m uploading some insider videos of this place and all our Japan adventures on our Youtube channel soon so subscribe to see all the wild details.  TIP:  secure reservations beforehand.  get the biggest discount from the Metro Magazine at the airport when you land or click here.  And if your child scares easily from loud noises or large mechanical creatures stay away.

  5. Alice In Wonderland

    Where else can you find not 1 but 5 (yes 5!) Alice in Wonderland themed restaurants in one city?  Tokyo, this is why we love you!  aliceinDiamond Dining (where these pictures are sourced from) owns Alice in a Labyrnith, Alice in Fantasy Book, Alice in Magical Land, Alice in an Old Castle, and Alice in a Dancing Land.  alicerestauranThese super cute meals and fantastical scenes are bound to make your child squeal in delight while making the momarazzi in us all marvel at all the amazing photo opps. alice in wonderland restaurant japanThe Japanese are so amazing at inspiring us moms to try creating food art at home.   themed restaurants japan, alice in wonderland restaurant in japan, cute japanese cafes, themed cafes in japan

     

     

    So what do you think?  Which of these 5 hot spots would you most want to try? What would YOUR kids most enjoy?

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travel tips for blue lagoon

Icelandic Air gave us a free stopover from our European vacation and my husband can’t resist a good deal so we took advantage, spent 3 days in Iceland, and hit its famous Blue Lagoon.  Even though we hardly saw any kids there, much less toddlers like Juliet (who is 3), we found it to be a once-in-a-lifetime, kid-friendly (and fun) spa experience for Juliet.  Here are some handy tips and things you’ll need to know before you take your kid(s) to Iceland’s blue lagoon:

iceland with kids

 It won’t be too cold.  Before trying it out myself, I couldn’t fathom how one would shed their coat and wintery layers for a swimsuit in 40 degree weather much less bring their kids into such extreme conditions but I also didn’t know that the water would be 94-102 degrees or that there was a special indoor spot from which you could swim to the outdoor area fully immersed in the geothermal heat.  We actually only discovered this indoor/outdoor tunnel after our break and found it made a world of difference when transitioning out of the towel. So take advantage of that indoor pool and look for the underpass into the outside world!

blue lagoon with kids

2.  Get hands on!  Even the most manly man won’t be able to resist the pure, childish joy of dunking his hands into the gooey mess.  This is one time when you can encourage messiness.  It’s kind of like finger painting but you get to paint faces and bodies and what kid wouldn’t love that?!  Everyone gets to dig their hands into a tub of this white goop in order to apply their own masks or apply them onto someone else.  This tactile experience is one the kids really get into plus it is hilarious to see all the white-masked faces hanging out around you!  Juliet was fascinated by all the white faced swimmers and couldn’t wait to try her hand at it.  Having her apply my silica mud mask was a mother’s day treat unlike any other and such a unique interactive spa experience for us both.

DSC_48503.  Photography.  This place is so exotic, that you’ll be kicking yourself if you lost yourself in the tranquility of it all so much so that you didn’t fully capture how epic this spa was.  Either prepare yourself with an underwater camera or iphone cover (they even rent iphone covers on-site if you need) or take turns being the out-of-water photographer like we did. DON’T be one of those people who bring their $10,000 SLR INTO the pool with them and cause everyone to stress out about the chance of it getting wet.  DO find the Blue Lagoon staff who will take a group photo for you with their iPad, and immediately send it to your email.  We did that and ended up loving those family photos as our favorite ones from the day! (see below)

blue lagoon in iceland, tips for blue lagoon, children at the blue lagoonAlso most people don’t know this but there are 2 terrific photo opps that you shouldn’t miss.  Veer to the left of the main entrance, and right outside it, you’ll find an untouched area of the lagoon, separate from where the guests are allowed.  Take the trail to the end for a mystical view and photo.  Also, know that there is a rooftop viewing area -don’t miss that!

tips for traveling to blue lagoon

Photo from inhabitat.com

4.  What to bring. In addition to your bathing suit and flip flops you’ll want to bring (if you can) your own towel, cover-up (the venue charges for both), and sunglasses to block the intense brightness.  The lagoon will supply (and require) that any child 7 or under wear these whether or not they can swim.  Be prepared to be chased down if your child is caught without them on in the pool.  For us it was nice to know we wouldn’t have to worry about her safety.  For kids older than 7 though they should be warned that the bottom of the pool is uneven and may drop to deeper depths without warning.  Most places are so shallow you have to crouch down to keep underwater but there are areas where shorter people may need to rely on their swimming and treading skills.

greeter_photo_1462708494_d619e9ddde5da17f63753c0e7f3e201b4.  Hair Care.   While the minerals may be touted for its healing and anti-aging properties, it sucks for your hair!  Your hair is likely to feel like straw for days so unless you want to feel like a scarecrow, either keep your hair out of the water or apply leave-in conditioner in your hair before entering AND post soak, use clarifying shampoo before regular shampoo and conditioner and then brush in leave-in conditioner.  It sounds like a lot of steps but trust me you’ll need them!    I learned the hard way by just jumping in without any pre- or special post treatment and my hair felt so damaged I ended up having to research what the heck happened to my hair post lagoon which is how I learned these tips!  I did make sure to also bring a baseball cap and hair elastic.  When you have a wet wiggly toddler to dry and dress, the last thing you want to worry about is styling your hair in a crowded locker room!  Though if you have patient kids who will sit put during a hair styling session, the  locker rooms do have hair dryers in addition to the provided soap, shampoo and conditioner.blue lagoon tips, bring your child to blue lagoon Below is a great video showcasing all the details.

5.  Eating.  We made and then cancelled our restaurant reservations because we wanted to spend our limited time (literally) soaking up this amazing experience.  But if you have the time (and money as it is NOT cheap), you can enjoy a gourmet Icelandic meal prepared by Iceland’s top rated chef. There is also a large, ground-floor cafe of sorts where you can purchase pre-preared meals ( We bought the sushi platter and the cheese and cracker platter) along with an assortment of beverages for a quick eat.  The views are outstanding and remind you of the other-worldly beauty that you are surrounded by.  You could also enjoy your own snacks at one of the outdoor seating areas though that seating is more limited and not insulated from the cold.  Additionally, the bar that you can swim up to offers alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks as well as the popular Icelandic treat, Skyr mixed into a smoothie which our toddler loved!

www.bluelagoon.com_2016-06-02_15-09-57

6.  Easy Airport Access.  Being that the Blue Lagoon is about 45 minutes outside of Reykjavik (the capital and city center where you’re likely to have booked your hotel) and about 20 minutes away from the airport, I highly suggest you shuttle yourself to/from the airport in order to avoid an extra cab fee.  There is really no other reason to be in that area other than to visit the Blue Lagoon.  In fact the entire area will make you wonder whether you’ve landed on the moon.  There is nothing but lava rock for as far as the eye can see.  Conveniently, there are shuttle transfers available to the Lagoon from both locations and the Blue Lagoon has special luggage storage service for an extra cost.  Just make sure to have packed a separate bag with all your swim essentials so you’re not left rummaging through your luggage upon arrival.

7.  Kids 2-13 are FREE.  As if you needed another reason to visit with your kids, kids 2-13 are free.  They do not recommend kids under 2 to participate which is why the age range starts at 2 though I don’t see why they wouldn’t be able to so long as the adult is holding them… Teenagers 14-15 are half off and anyone older is charged at the regular rate (you’ll have to check the website as prices vary depending on the time of year you go).

www.bluelagoon.com_2016-06-02_15-14-12

Iceland’s Blue Lagoon for us will be forever remembered as a a surreal first-time spa   experience for Juliet. I hope that you won’t hesitate in bringing your kids and found this post helpful when planning.  Leave comments with what you’re most excited about.  Bon Voyage!

 

 

For more information, visit www.bluelagoon.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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5 dresses + 1 tutu+  2 vests + 2 shirts+ 1 jacket+ 3 shoes = 23 outfits!  See for yourself!  It’s all about mixing it up with different accessories and layering in different ways.  Here is what I packed for my 2 year old toddler’s first trip to Italy this Spring.

how to pack light

My mom gave Juliet this cute Ralph Lauren dress which I was so excited about because it perfectly matched her little blue bow shoes from Gymboree.  Here it is styled with Madeline (the doll) as the muse.  And below, is another way the dress was worn by Juliet while on the trip.

fanny pack

I found the adorable fanny pack at a local Italian store called Accessorize and let Juliet choose which snacks to carry in it.  Isn’t it just the cutest fanny pack you’ve ever seen??

vintage dress

This blue dress is a vintage find from Lishyloo and styled two ways with different layers.  It’s topped with a Gap raincoat on the left (which I’m selling by the way), and worn over a tutu on the right.  Below she wears the dress without any layers and no socks for the 3rd look.

vintage clothes for kids

Going along with the red, blue, yellow color theme, this vintage dress is styled 2 different ways below and is also inspired by Juliet’s doll, Madeline.  With vintage clothes, it’s always best to style with modern accessories and shoes to avoid looking too costume-y.

how to pack for kids

This long – sleeved dress, also another Lishyloo vintage find, can be worn on colder days or night and is seen layered with a fur vest for extra warmth on the left, without it on the right.

how to pack for a toddler

And here is Juliet wearing the dress accessorized the 3rd way.

1 dress 3 ways

1 denim vest worn 3 ways.  In the picture on the left, it’s worn over a white tutu dress and topped with a faux collar/tie that I bought off of Mabel’s Etsy store.  On the right, it’s paired with the tutu skirt and a simple white blouse that I swapped at the last Swappies event.

packing light

On our second day in Rome, she wore it with the tutu dress and a yellow bow in her hair. toddler in rome

And here is another vest outfit with a mini gondola hat that I couldn’t resist buying when there.  It was kinda love at first sight.

italian vacation with toddlerThis white tutu dress with the sequin detailing on the top is so versatile.  I find that I can style it numerous ways.  In addition to the above examples, see below.

1 dress 4 ways

We ended up buying a lace dress in Venice under which I had Juliet wear this white dress because of how see through the dress was.  It acted like a slip.  The shoes were bought in Italy at the Zara there.

venice

The red tutu that we packed was also styled 2 more different ways – shown below.   You can see how the same pieces can look so fresh and new when paired with different items.

italy outfits for blog-006

Here it is worn in Italy another way.

Venice with baby

One of my tips when trying to pack light for a trip is to pick the shoes first (pick ones that can match lots of outfits!) Then work your outfits under the strict rule that they have to go with those shoes.  For our 16 day trip, each of us packed just 3 shoes.  Pack accessories and layers to change up your basics and you’ll look like you’re wearing a new outfit each day!

 

 

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Last year, I celebrated my birthday by playing with dolphins in the Bahamas with my husband.  This year, I had to work.  I found myself flying halfway across the world to run a major PR event and product launch.  And I spent my birthday on a 14 hour -turned 18hour flight (with delays) to Tokyo…not exactly how I imagined celebrating.

But this birthday was extra special for me, no matter where I ended up celebrating.  Because this birthday, I knew that I have a little one on the way.  Yes! I am expecting the birth of my first child!

It sort of explains the absence in my writing.  Not only have I been dealing with the lack of real closets in my new apartment the renovation planning and a new job, I have been dealing with an ever -growing belly – something I have trouble figuring out how to dress.  Perhaps this blog will grow into a pregnancy fashion blog for the meantime.  For now, I’m just trying to catch up on my sleep from the jet lag and pregnancy fatigue.  Hopefully, I’ll feel more fabulous when I wake up 🙂

Stay tuned for a Fab Freebie:  Goody Bag Giveaway!

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Tonight, I’m spending my night dreaming of my impending move back into Manhattan – some say where I belong.

This lapsed photography video from Mindrelic beautifully portrays NYC’s fast-paced, exciting lifestyle.  I heart NY.

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Mindrelic – Manhattan in motion from Mindrelic on Vimeo.

Things I love about NY:

  • the freedom to be who you want to be (where else can you live out every dream, dress/act/speak/live in any weird way and still be so accepted, still be so anonymous, still find your niche?)
  • endless selection (in restaurants, in people, in things to do, in shopping)
  • the eye candy (the beautiful people, the fashions, the cool hotels/lounges, the Parks, the museums, the Christmas windows)
  • the silly surprises (organized pillow fights in Union Square, Halloween doggie parades, the Easter bunny ice skating at Rockefeller Center, dancers in the subway train, Hello Kitty in Times Square)
  • the feeling you get walking down the streets the feeling of excitement, power, opportunity, romance, wonderment, glamour and possibility.

I heart New York.  What do YOU most love about NYC?

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umbrella

This photo reminded me of the parasol parade that I witnessed during my trip to Thailand and so I wanted to share some travel photos from last month.

In Chiang Mai, we were lucky enough to watch strolling beauty pageant contestants march in the Parasol parade.

The updos were so pretty.  here are some close-ups!

Here is a shot of the parade walkers.

And here are some of the pageant contestants biking by!

The whole neighborhood was a feast for the eyes.

Don’t you just love the color explosion?

I was estatic to be surrounded by so much color and creativity.  Everywhere I looked, I found so many exotic, interesting finds.

I was so tempted to bring back a custom-painted parasol when I saw this catalog of images.  But really, when would I ever use it in NYC?

What would you have had painted?

 

 

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One of my favorite moments from the SATC2 movie was when the Arab women disrobed their black abayas and revealed their shared love for fashion.  Apparently, fashion, like love is an international language.   And in the Middle East, Manolo Blahnik, Gucci and Versace roll off their Middle Easterner’s tongues just as easily as they do on the set of SATC!

So much of the movie reminded me of my recent trip to Dubai during Dubai Fashion Week (okay maybe not the $20,000 a night hotel) but witnessing the lavish lifestyles, riding and balancing on camels, whipping through the endless sand dunes in a dune buggy, shopping through street markets all brought back fabulous memories.

Much like the movie SATC2, my trip to Dubai was focused on the fashion.  I was lucky enough to have been invited through a friend to attend all of Dubai Fashion Week’s runway shows, sit front row and enjoy the VIP experience.  Here I’ll share some photos that I took during Dubai Fashion Week ’08.

As you can see, abayas are pretty standard black cloaks.  They can look a little scary at first if you’re not used to them.  Personally, I couldn’t get over how it looked like everyone was seemingly floating around town (men wear all white, women wear all black). 

The exotic runway shows that featured abayas oftentimes felt as if you were seeing the same thing over and over but upon closer inspection it was all in the details (check out the trims and embellishment).  I learned to appreciate how the runways were really pushing the envelope as far as moving forward from the traditional, look. And I had to try one on for size…

You’ll notice that the runway shows often featured Eastern European models as locals are too conservative to model and have their bodies out on display.  The below pictures showcase some of the Arab fashions one would wear underneath the abaya. (Can someone say “I Dream of Jeannie?”) You can see why Dubai Fashion Week still stands out in my memory.  The experience was unlike any other fashion show I had ever seen…

Whereas less is more in the States, more is definitely more in the Middle East!

Turbans and head scarves are still very much part of the Middle East fashion as evidenced on the runways (and on SATC2)

turbanI think one of the reasons SATC2 has received such negative reviews is because many couldn’t relate to the Middle East setting, missed NY and therefore didn’t leave with the same thrill.  The Middle East may be a glamourous escape but a girl can only take so many head scarves, harem pants and maxi dresses before she starts longing for Carrie’s silly NY tutu.  The 2nd movie definitely lacked in inspirational fashions if only because they were a bit too exotic.  I found that Vogue’s photo shoot featuring their imagined scenes between Mr. Big and Carrie resulted in more awe-inspiring fashion moments .  See the pictures below (photos taken by Annie Leibovitz) and let me know your thoughts!

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