08/11/2017

Ultimate Guide to Resort Town Shopping

The time has come in your vacation to investigate town, usually between beach and dinner. You navigate a sidewalk with other tourists who share a reddish tan that happens when you fall asleep to the ping ping of a Kadima ball in the bright sun. The town charms with a hotel that hosted famous Colonial folk. Cafes decorated with local art. Stores merchandised for the season. Some shopkeepers let you browse with a drippy ice cream cone, the window lists their other resort locations: Nantucket, Palm Beach, East Hampton…

Here, we cultivate highlights from resort establishments, hocking everything from cocktail attire, sustainable flip flops and shot glasses with the town’s zip code.

 

  1. Navy Canvas Tote 2. Watercolor Waves Bag 3. Beach Volleyball 4. Embroidered SkipJack Key Fob 5. Intergalactic Bath Bomb 6. Marine Blue Handwoven Throw 7. St. Barths Tunic in Sailing Stripes 8. Roses Quilt 9. Original Salt Water Taffy 10. Scotland Nation Airlie Sweatshirt 11. Trucker Hat 12. Beach Towel in Mega Joyride 13. Fallera Azure Women’s Mule 14. Backpacker Cologne 15. Deer Valley Mountain Legging 16. Laraju Elephant Printed Silk Scarf/Throw

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08/05/2017

Travel – Chatham, Cape Cod, MA

We reach the final leg of our trip in a Jeep weighed down with too many people, beach gear, unzipped bags and many towels since our rental does not provide them. The main road that takes us to our cottage is not cluttered with commercial behemoths. There are antique stores in historic homes, hardware stores hocking rain barrels, fishing outfitters and a nature center that hosts midnight walks along the seacoast. This could be the scene of a summer experience decades ago but it’s not. We are in the town of Chatham, plotted on the elbow of Cape Cod, Massachusett’s arm.

An antique store seen on route to our cottage.

A Cape experience and there is no preoccupation with such things as matching your pool float to your bathing suit and securing appointments for an onsite hair stylist to prep you for an exhausting roster of fabulous events. We omit any scheduling to follow the simple offerings the town provides. Ridgevale Beach is in walking distance. There are plenty of restaurants. The main supermarket and fish stores provide local ingredients for meals at home.

Typical day at the local beach.

In town they have the expected tourist destinations—art galleries selling aerial shots of the ocean, Cape merchandise, trendy clothes designed by entrepreneurs who gave up corporate life to follow their dream, cafes that freeze extra coffee into ice cubes, choice of ice cream and fudge shops and more than one knitting establishment. On a morning when half our household made their tee time, we explored the two block town. An excursion where Cape appropriate trinkets were bought. Ate more ice cream, cookies, Italian ice and candy where I thought tongues would permanently stain blue. We gave in to the impracticalities of resort living. By the end of the trip there is life reassessment and talk of starting a clam bake outfitter.

Walk away from the crowds for a vacant plot.

In the dramatic shift from August to September the town’s tourists return to routine life, leaving the Cape’s most spectacular month. Days have the perfect ratio of crisp to warm temperatures, cool evenings, no crowds–an ideal time to clear the mind and draft a business plan.

The view from Chatham Pier and Fish Market.

Places to eat/market:

400 East Restaurant & Bar: A bulky menu that serves everything from nachos grande to broiled scrod, tuna poke and ribs.

Candy Manor: An old-fashioned candy shop who homemade fudge and bins of candies.

Chatham Pier & Fish Market: Buy the catch of the day with on site entertainment provided by frolicking seals.

JoMama’s NY Bagels: Servicing our morning needs with great coffee and bacon, egg and cheese bagels.

Kream ‘N Kone: Fried fish selections, Cole slaw and soft serve ice cream in a family friendly atmosphere. Take out or dine in booths from plastic trays.

Marion’s Pie Shop: The morning line moves fast for coffee and all kinds of pie, even clam.

Buffy’s Ice Cream: In town, jovial pink setting, with a menu of flavors and soft serve.

Schoolhouse Ice Cream: An assortment of homemade flavors and other ice cream shop favorites.

Sundae School: A chalkboard lists innovative flavors you can create into a sundae with hot caramel, pineapple and other toppings.

Places to shop:

Ducks in the Window: If you are in the market for a rubber duck, this is the destination. A collection of rubber toys, candy and trinkets where shoppers inspect wares like displays in a gallery.

Fat Face: BoHo, urban sweatshirts and cool clothing in a hip corner store. The helpful salesgirl gave us the store’s background about British designers with the ideal to sell t-shirts and naming the store after their favorite ski run, but we were too busy inspecting the merchandise to catch it all.

J. McLaughlin: In even preppy resort town you can count on a J. McLaughlin for stocking up on pretty printed dresses, swim trunks and accessories.

Jack Wills: Come here for classic styles like striped teas, kick please dresses and wardrobe basics with an updated take

White Marlie: Designed tees, suits, hats and hoodies that offer a more styled assortment than a touristy shop selling Cape Cod emblemed clothes.

If you have any questions regarding your Chatham trip, please email us at jdemontravel@ducksgoose.com.

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08/02/2017

Best Travel Apps for Grownups

If the most fun you’ve had this summer is cooling off in the kiddie pool it may be time to get away. A proper trip, where you discover a new place or eat something so delicious the taste will be imprinted to memory. Travel can do everything from restore well-being to giving kids a summer that involves more than making some really cool sand art.

Before you hit the road, load up with apps that will facilitate travel needs.

 

Though traveling can come with some challenges. There are endless car rides that turn a vehicle into a mobile prison. Or trying to get by in a foreign territory without having to pantomime a lunch order. We uncovered apps that will cut through the tests of travel and build on your vacation experience.

HipMunk – Hotels and Flights

HipMunk is your virtual travel agent that will find the best accommodations, transportation and tour packages at an affordable price. Whether you have a getaway in mind or want HipMunk to find one for you, be prepared to sift through plenty of alluring options.

TastySpots

While we have sampled our way through every food app, what makes Tasty Spots so palatable is that it is intended for the foodie with I-really-ate-there reviews, pictures and content. The app will find a restaurant, help you order the best meal, and you can set up your own profile.

Walk Jog Run GPS Running Routes

For the exercise enthusiast, avoid getting lost or following a hotel map when drafting your workout route. WalkJogRun uses a phone’s GPS with millions of worldwide running notes to establish a customized route.

Glympse

It’s one of those group travel challenges–someone wants to go shopping while the other rather hit every tourist attraction at record speed. A difference in itinerary does not mean you can’t meet up for a drink. Glympse reunites parties by safely sharing your location.

Postino

When sharing your vacation on social media becomes too impersonal, revisit the classic custom of sending postcards but with an updated twist. Positino allows you to send real, tangible cards. Simply take a photo, select a background, write your message and for $1.29 the high quality customized card is sent between 2-5 business days. Sure beats finding a post office and licking stamps.

Mobile Passport

Want to feel like a VIP when you enter that dreaded moment at the customs line? While you don’t have to know a senator or titled official, Mobile Passport will certainly make you feel like you do. Officially authorized by Officially authorized by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the simple process involves filing your profile, submitting answers regarding your trip and scanning your travel docs. The app will allow you access through U.S. Customs and Border Protection in over 20 major destinations.

Google Translate

Speak in your host country’s native tongue without having to take a lesson. Google translate is your app translator, which is the best way to connect with foreigners and navigate countries through language. You can even use your camera for a nifty text translation.

Waze

Waze is a navigation app that is far more than punching in a destination for directions, it is your virtual traffic guru. While turning off the highway and hitting a string of country roads that may make a simple trip seem like an epic odyssey, Waze will get you there faster by using driver shared traffic info.

Sit or Squat

Until apps can figure out a way to bypass rest stop visits, we must depend on public restrooms. Avoid that scary moment when opening the door of a pubic restroom—Sit or Squat is a handy app developed by the clever folks at Charmin with a listing of user generated reviews for over 100,000 bathrooms nationwide. Though it’s always a good idea to pack that handy roll of toilet paper.

whats app

If you go into shock when you receive a data usage email alerting the added cost from all your use of data, cut around that expense with What’s App, a free communications app.

Minube

For the traveler inspired by the beauty of a destination and insider info, Minube is an artistic compilation of user-generated photos and tips that allow you to sample a destination well before you hit the road. There are also recommendations based on your travel criteria and an ability to create a travel scrapbook.

 

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07/03/2017

Ultimate Guide to Paris with Kids

L’essential est invisible pour les yeux. On ne voit bien qu’ avec le couer.” Translation: “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”

– The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

A present day Parisian chocolate shop, selling every imaginable confection.

It seems appropriate, albeit a bit deliberate, that I read The Little Prince to my seven-year-old son and his cousins during his first visit to Paris. It is the story of a lonely young prince who explores the galaxy and inevitably lands on earth. Along the way he connects with a diverse cast of characters who mainly lead him to the realization that grownups see the world in measured experiences rather than live with their heart.

My guess is he is not calorie counting.

Morning chocolat chaud that goes perfectly with bakery croissants.

Paris is for the nostalgic, romantic, and those who are whole-heartedly connected to the bewilderment and untainted vision seen through a child’s lens. They do not jabber on endlessly about work, will eat an ice cream before lunch and look better than us all, and manage to take in a moment rather than check in with their thrice connected devices on an appropriate time to relax.

It has always been known that Paris is a city for new lovers who linger in cafes over strong coffee. Though, after this trip, I’d have to counter this assumption. The city fosters daydreaming, a sophisticated escape from the everyday, and who better to experience such mental travel than with kids. Seal your young explorers global citizenship by introducing them to a city punctuated with puppet shows in the park, street jugglers, and bakeries on every corner.

Luc taking in the street music at Sacré-Cœur.

Paris is a place where children can easily break from their pixel world into a real, enchanted one with walks across bridges and engaging with children of all nationalities at a park. It has an enchanted feel with a menu of options that will delight children. They experience culture without realizing it’s good for them, like blending kale in a yogurt smoothie.

Outside the Louvre, which is plotted within the Tuillieries Gardens, a constant rotation of prime character observation, carousel and a trampoline park.

We found our rental home in the Marais district from Commendable Rentals. It was a very Parisian, cave like dwelling rich with tapestries, heavy linens and a laundry that took nine hours per small load. Even with our party of eight we managed quite nicely. The en suite bathrooms are a plus as well as the adjoining private garden.

The typically French garden on the grounds of where we stayed in Marais.

Our method in travel is to experience cities as locals, not tourists. There are no maps, guides, and the constant punch into the phone in lieu of a compass. It begins without the rattle of an alarm. We wake at our leisure, have a breakfast of jam, croissants and hot chocolate, while composing a semblance of a plan. Once we pinpoint our geographical placement within the city, I pack the trusted book Paris with Children and dress Luc and I in good walking shoes with a hint of stye. This is Paris.

Day 1: Eiffel Tower/Notre Dame/Sainte-Chapelle

The only tickets we purchased prior to the trip were for the Eiffel Tower, €17 for for adults and €14.5 for children, which is recommended since they do sell fast and helps to avoid lines.

Even cars take a photo opp outside the Eiffel Tower.

What is as fun as exploring the interior of the tower are the grounds below, consisting of parks, carousel and fountains, which on this particular day was especially inviting since the temperatures climbed into the 90s. Children stripped down and splashed about. (This may not be allowed but not enforced.)

Notre Dame on the left bank is closer to our apartment in Marais. We wandered the perimeter, sat in the back garden but avoided the line. A few blocks away we took in our dose of stain glass and spiritual beauty at Sainte-Chapelle in Palais de la Cité, which is less of a destination, thus manageable lines, and has its own sparkle as a supreme vision of gothic architecture.

Day 2: Shopping/L’Arc de triomphe

Window shopping in Marais.

We are in what has become designated spots around the farmhouse table. Adeline, the younger of my nieces, looks like something from a children’s story about Colonial girls with a streak of tomboy. I ask her how she slept. Always in a giggle, she says it was very hot but fine, more giggles. I love this about Addie. Even inconveniences amuse her.

Addie in a successful shopping moment.

Luc is more interested in spending time with his cousins than seeing another mansard roof. The girls are at the age where no emoji can convey how cool it is to shop in Paris. Their mission is to return to the states with some new clothes worthy of inquisitions from their friends on where they scored such pieces. Paris.

Working our way through the cobbled, medieval streets of Marais, where fashionable boutiques hold reign.

While I am more of an online shopper, I work in deadlines, wandering the curvy roads of the Marais district is reminiscent of Manhattan’s Soho. The children look in the windows with the awe of a Christmas display. They are beautifully styled and always with a robust injection of color. We work around the narrow roads, remnants of medieval times, where wearing a harlequin mask would not seem out of place.

They found many stylish workhorse pieces to add to their wardrobe at Karl Marc John, from the fashion powerhouse triumvirate of Lagerfeld, Jacobs and Galliano. Though the Marais shop would not call in needed sizes from another location, our day’s travels extended to the Saint Germain store. The French do know how to create a chase.

An edited selection of colorful pieces at Karl Marc John that has both girl’s and women’s clothes.

We had lunch at a cafe, where our two youngest diners found their hamburger sliders to be inedible due to a smearing of hollandaise sauce. Their order was returned to the waiter, then given back to our table with an explanation that there was no hollandaise sauce. (The grownups sampled, it tasted of hollandaise sauce, which is a subtle reminder that we are not in America and to ask about any added sauces). The day ended at the Arc de Triomphe with the kids making trendy poses that apparently signify something.

Day 3: Musée D’Orsay/Tuileries Gardens/Trampoline Park

A fauvre painting or armless statue does not hold the interest of the Musée D’Orsay to a child, having the distinction of being housed in a former train station. The museum features primarily French works of art from 1848 to 1914.

The children start their tour of the Musée D’Orsay in the main hall.

Young art enthusiasts can view important masterpieces by Renoir, Manet, Tissot and Van Gogh. It also helps to keep them enlightened with a headset guide.

Posing for Degas.

Across the river to the Right Bank is the Tuileries Gardens, which is between the Louvre, Place de Carrousel and Place de la Concorde. We have lunch within the grounds at La Terrasee de Pomone, a creperie and ice cream bistro with a varied menu.

The carousel near the trampolines–if asking for directions, this is not to be mistaken with the Carrousel du Louvre, a private shopping mall beneath the Louvre.

Lunch at La Terrase du Pmone.

The children get out their kicks, or more specifically jumps, at the trampolines (€2.50 for five minutes). This ends a day composed of a formidable blend of culture and amusement.

Day 4: Monmartre/Sacré-Cœur

This was the morning when Luc discovered a wiggly tooth and that the French do not have a tooth fairy but La Petit Sourie (the little mouse). He rationalizes that it is natural for a food obsessed city to have a mouse collect baby teeth the way they would delicious crumbs.

Considering art for sale at Monmartre.

Our day’s plan is to to venture up to Monmartre and Sacré-Cœur for a very French, heavily touristed destination. While we have either walked or taken the bus so we can see the city, for this attraction we ride the metro due to the distance and efficiency. At our stop we wander up, essentially going up will take you there, until the cobble stones narrow and become more colorful with street artists and vendors. We begin with lunch, negotiate with artists, buy some souvenirs and have a glacé (ice cream) before taking the Funiculaire tram for the same cost as a metro ticket. What feels and looks like a large ski gondola, the Funiculaier tugs up and down the steep section of the hill to save tired legs from buckling.

Day 5: Batobus/Basque Festival

Today we go with the whimsy of the river Batobus, purchasing the day passes (€8 for child/ €17 for an adult), which circles around Paris and allows you to pop on and off stops at your leisure. While the boat moves at a site seeing pace, it is a good option for day five when we are in a slower mode.

A view of Notre Dame from the Batobus.

My sister spotted posters for a “Basque Festival” that evening, which we enjoyed from experiencing a local event. The children competed in games of tug and war, admired wares of handmade jewelry and souvenirs peddled by Basque vendors, before we ventured out for more glacé.

Day 6: Centre Pompidou/The Latin Quarter

Today is our catch all day, the plan is to have no plans. After walking past the Centre Pompidou each day, Luc would like to ride up its escalators with the intrigue of exploring the inside of a machine. A late start and desire for lunch prevents us from going in the museum, where I find myself promising a return trip to Paris so he can view the modern art and activities for kids.

The colorful trademark pipes on the exterior of Centre Pompidou.

Along the Seine in the Latin Quarter are many cafes. We choose one a few blocks from the bustle and sample everyone’s meals of croque monsieur, frites, sausage, salads and cheese plates.

We walk, ogle at the shops, and the ones with a sweet scent prod us inside.

Getting inspiration from a boulangerie window.

It always ends with glacé.

Mango sorbet goes over well.

Day 7: Le Jardin du Luxembourg

On our last day we choose Le Jardin du Luxembourg for its combination of history, local amusement and classic childhood experience.

Luc stepping into another era at Le Garden du Luxembourg.

The gardens were designed for Marie de Medici in 1612, who was Queen of France through her marriage to King Henry IV. Less inclined to live in the Louvre, she created a more Italianate version of royal life with Le Jardin du Luxembourg. Ah, the life of a French royal.

Cheering on Team U.S.

The gardens fill a day with the charms of childhood from vintage boating and private playgrounds accessible with a small entry fee.

French and Parisian children mix together in the universal language of play.

Sweet options are always close by.

Zipline at the park.

Children play freely, while grownups view from the side as the park requires a small entrance fee.

Exploring the grounds.

A girl with Parisian style.

Luc lost his tooth while playing on the zip line. (The likely reason why he fell as you cannot tug a tooth and clinch onto a line simultaneously). On his last night he will be paid a visit from La Petit Sourie for a surprise of French candy and euros.

On Luc’s last morning he finds candy and coins left by La Petit Sourie in exchange for his tooth.

We are now back to the customs of our American life. Days spent driving to lessons, beaches and cookouts with platters of catered food eaten from disposable plates and plastic forks made to look like silver. I asked Luc what his favorite memory was in Paris. Walks, art, carousels… Without hesitation he said the ice cream they made to look like a flower. Grownups. We have a tendency to over complicate things but Paris is the remedy for reacquainting to the wonderment of youth. “All grown-ups were once children . . . but only few of them remember it.” – The Little Prince.

A cone of gelato from Amarino. (Not shown: the macaron on top that was swiftly eaten).

Resources:

Chocolatier: http://www.lecomptoirdemathilde.com/fr/

Berthillon Ice Cream: http://www.berthillon.fr

Gelato: http://www.amorino.com/fr/boutique/paris-l-ile-saint-louis.1.html

Paris with Children: littlebookroom.com

Violet candy: https://www.saveurdujour.com/old-fashion-candy-violet-p-2801.html

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04/21/2017

Stay Here: Luxurious Italian Treehouse

I want to travel to a treehouse and not with my child. Is there something fundamentally wrong with this? Though Casa Bartel is not your expected fort in a tree made from broken down orange crates for children enacting battles with styrofoam swords.

“No Kids Allowed.” A tree house built for romance or a creative escape, 20 minutes outside of Florence.

On the outskirts of Florence, the structure is plotted within a family compound that includes other residences, themed after the interior’s collections like the “Movie House” (decorated with vintage film posters) and “Ceramic House” (designed with handmade 18th century tiles).

The terrace acts as an additional room with views of the sublime grounds and Italian countryside.

Casa Bartel overlooks orchards, olive groves, the Tuscan landscape, pool, tennis court and a sole cypress tree. The terrace is spacious enough for dining, which you will share with the tree’s neighboring tenants of birds and the occasional squirrel. Inside and you will quickly forget that you climbed a narrow staircase up a tree to discover a room with a fireplace, bathroom and full-service kitchenette. The chalkboard wall behind the bed displays an artistic rotation of drawings and notes from past guests. The decor rivals most New York City apartments.

Travel has become a luxury service operation. We have glamping in pods equipped with wood burning tubs. Safaris where you can see wildlife outside a cabin that’s illuminated with antique chandeliers. Desert hotels with pools that can be dove into from a room’s terrace. Luxury tree houses are a natural extension for the traveler who doesn’t want to be close to nature but in it. While the sounds of birds and wildlife are engaging, there is something appealing to the swish of a running shower as well.

Creative impulses facilitated with a chalkboard wall.

Learn more about Casa Bartel at www.casabarthel.com. The owner’s design shop in Florence can be visited at www.riccardobarthel.it, www.desinare.it.

Photography by Elena Barthel

04/10/2017

Ultimate Guide to French Living

The French have their beautiful little phrases to sum up life lessons. A beloved style that somehow cannot be replicated unless your passport is from France. Their mannered customs that fail to crumble in a fast-paced world. It’s all intertwined, how life can follow a joie de vivre approach.

A colorful view of French life, as seen in France: Inspiration du Jour.

Americans have a tendency to try too hard. We purchase an abundance of things we don’t really need. Test health fads that don’t seem to work. Fall into the influence of marketing manipulation. The French aren’t as quick to change their storefronts. They market by connecting to the supplier who grows the food, sliding soil speckled produce into a reusable bag well before it was trendy.

The French find time to enjoy and reflect, which is important considering what’s involved in all the buttoning and tying when getting dressed in tailored clothing, beautifying their meals with inventive sauces, and setting a table that could stage an Old Master painting.

The artistry of a French meal as featured by Rae Dunn in France Inspiration du Jour.

Mimi Bleu of Belle Inspiration, a delightful magazine (which I happen to contribute to) and imaginative nook in the online world that interprets Paris through an American’s eyes. Mimi married a Parisian but her romantic sensibility doesn’t end there, she treats each day as an adventure and shares her city explorations with those who want to taste a sample. Mimi breaks down French living into three important segments, as follows:

Food/Markets

“The food markets are serious business here in France. Living in Paris, or even during your stay, you’ll soon get to know your local fromagerie, butcherie, patisserie and the all-important boulangerie for your fresh baguettes, croissants and sweet treats,” says Mimi.

Marketing the French way is the only way for Mimi Bleu. Photo courtesy of Belle Inspiration.

Passport to France? Bonjour

“The food vendors take pride in their products and will gladly share their freshest picks, or even the perfect recipe for the veal chop you purchased. The key is to always (did I say always?) greet them with ‘Bonjour.’ In fact, this is the golden key to open all of France – cafés, boutiques, offices–you name it, bonjour is the way to start to friendlier service. And don’t forget to leave with a merci, au revoir,” she says.

Flea Markets

“French flea markets, or marché aux puces, are truly a window into Frenchness. Again, bonjour is your key and an opening to better negotiations. The big market at Saint-Ouen (Clignancourt) is an endless display of anything you can imagine in every price range–so everyone leaves happy,” says Mimi.

Finds at a Marche aux Puces in Saint Ouen. Photo courtesy of Belle Inspiration.

“Smaller brocantes (popup flea markets) and vide-greniers (attic sales, the French version of a neighborhood garage sale) pop up all over the Paris arrondissements each month. These are a fun way to get some great deals in a relaxed atmosphere to strike up a conversation with the vendors. Don’t forget that bonjour!”

Décor

“French interior décor has many faces and styles. Today’s modern touches make sure there’s not too much gilt or heaviness. True French décor is never overdone. It’s all about subtlety…and fresh flowers,” she says.

Flowers are a main staple in a French household. Photo courtesy of Belle Inspiration.

“Authentic French pieces are almost always unpainted (except in the south of France where you’ll find more of that style), the natural beauty of the wood shines through. It seems to have two distinct looks: Traditional French period pieces from top to bottom or as I like to call it, ‘Eclectic French,'” says Mimi.

Selections at a marche aux puces. Photo courtesy of Belle Inspiration.

“Visiting my traditional French friends draws an image of true French home décor and it does still include marble-topped commodes, Louis XV a fauteuils and ornate gold frames are still surrounding oil paintings. Eclectic French is more modern, it works with touches of gilt and the classic French lines but the period pieces are calmed with modern touches. A glass coffee table in front of a carved settee. Modern lucite chairs slide under a dark wood dining table. An elaborate gilted mirror inherited from grandmother’s living fireplace sits atop a mid-century piece,” she says.

The blend, or melange, honors the past in a present day context. Photo courtesy of Belle Inspiration.

“Pieces passed down from generation to generation keeps the past alive and the French appreciate heritage. There’s a bit of a movement to move away from all that charm and beauty, to replace it with IKEA–quelle dommage! Fortunately, there are still many who insist on keeping those grand armoires, cachepots and gilted sconces.”

Louis XIV chaise is authentic with a modern sensibility from its upholstery.Photo courtesy of Belle Inspiration.

Two recently published illustrated books capture glimpses of French living. France Inspiration du Jour is a travelogue by artist Rae Dunn where the reader has a deviant feeling of sneaking a glimpse into her personal diary. Her watercolors bring to mind a fashion page that illustrates pieces on what to wear to a polo match. There are dreamy renderings of tea towels, roadways, a lot of food and the beauty found in a simple teacup. Or despite eating enough figs to warrant an Oompa Loompa cleanse she till has not tired of the fruit.

This is not a passageway. Dunn learns to navigate French roads by keeping a mindful eye on doorways that could be a safe haven from incoming cars.

With a cover designed in airmail colors and iconic city monuments, Say Bonjour to the Lady features authors Florence Mars and Pauline Leveque sketches on the difference in child rearing between New York and Paris.

Say Bonjour to the Lady takes on two great cities and their parenting philosophies.

Family

Covering such topics as school and holidays, the authors poke fun of both parenting methods in metropolitan life. There is a Manhattan home overrun with kid things aside an elegant Parisian dwelling void of any sign of children. At the beach an American toddler is seated beneath a beach umbrella, dressed in protected clothing, Swimmies and sunscreen, while the French child plays along the coast in the nude.

The French make us question our ways. If a trip the country is not in the plan, you can always take note of their customs with a bit of mind travel.

City backdrops and the children they influence.

Credits:

Belle Inspiration Magazine

Reprinted from France: Inspiration du Jour by Rae Dunn, published by Chronicle Books 2017.

Reprinted from Say Bonjour to the Lady. Copyright © 2017 by Florence Mars and Pauline Lévêque. Illustrations copyright © 2017 by Pauline Lévêque. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.

 

02/17/2017

Travel Style Guide: What to Pack

The realistic traveler does not depend on valets and bellhops but will race through terminals to make a 15 minute connection. A sensible traveler will not pack optional hairdryers but travels with an edited collection of items that coalesce–wrinkle-free compact pieces that can be spot cleaned in a hotel sink. To keep from looking like you followed tips in a “What to Pack” guide, throw in a few accessories with a shared accent color that add verve to holiday snaps.

On the Plane: Distinguish yourself from the black nylon cases by wheeling a statement piece. While delays and turbulence are par for the travel course, lighten the mood with comedic socks and bright baggage.

  1. Rolling suitcase 2. Hat Box 3. Socks

In the Case: You don’t need to travel with a steamer trunk for a curated collection of dependable comfort pieces without looking slouchy. Affordable accessories are lightweight additions that polish a look for those who rather leave the pricey baubles at home.

  1. Scarf 2. Sneakers 3. Straw tote 4. Veronica Beard blazer with hoodie 5. Panama hat 6. Shirt dress 7. Knit pants 8. Sunglasses 9. Skinny jeans 10. Beaded necklace 11. Pajamas 12. Cape 13. Square Scarf 14. Silver Pleated Skirt 15. Foldable Flats

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11/17/2016

Little King Restaurant Opens in Williamsburg

Dining out may be the ultimate bargain, especially if the restaurant delivers an international experience without the overseas expenses. Little King in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, takes the concept even further by offering time travel. Master that Sir Richard Branson! The recently opened bistro, designed by Christina Salway, deftly melds Art Deco and European influences.

Art Deco doors salvaged

Little King’s front entrance with dramatic Art Deco doors salvaged from a Manhattan skyscraper.

A visit is literally an opening-the-wardrobe experience from its imposing Art Deco doors the designer salvaged from a skyscraper in lower Manhattan. “I basically said, ‘This is happening!’” explains Salway. “And from then on we looked to the doors for scale, inspiration, and ambiance.”

Hand-painted checkerboard floors play on the whimsical yet Old World theme.

Hand-painted checkerboard floors play on the whimsical yet Old World theme.

Salway brought in other Old World details such as the metallic wallpapered ceiling and hand painted checkerboard floor, which is both playful and sophisticated. “And then truly the fact that almost every piece is vintage or antique, creates a comfortable lived-in quality, like a good pair of jeans,” she says.

Bar lighting, sourced from Craigs List, blends with vintage finds.

Bar lighting, sourced from Craigs List, blends with vintage finds.

For a recent opening Little King has created the feeling of a favored local spot more endemic to Paris or an English pub. Though pub fare this is not with an inspired menu that includes brioche grilled cheese to accompany drinks made with artisanal ingredients.

The bar offers such drinks as the John Henry and Big Queen.

The bar offers such drinks as the John Henry and Big Queen.

“What you’re eating has to feel appropriate to the environment and vice versa. For Little King our primary goal was to create a space that was both refined and rowdy so that our guests would feel comfortable getting a little loud, but also know they could count on us for a higher quality of food and drinks than your typical bar,” says Salway.

A delicious mix of pork belly beignets, scallop crudo and house cut fries with infused drinks.

A delicious mix of pork belly beignets, scallop crudo and house cut fries with infused drinks.

Salway’s design process:

  • We only used a few colors throughout Little King and used them frequently. Benjamin Moore‘s Black Jack and Farrow & Ball‘s Old White are our two primary colors. They manifest on the walls, in the checkerboard floor, in the bathroom tile and wallpaper, and even in our logo.
Bathroom wallpaper by Cole & Son connect to the interior design.

Bathroom wallpaper by Cole & Son connect to the interior design.

  • Brass details added throughout the restaurant draw attention to the brass wrapped bar and metallic paper ceiling, warm wood tones on the bar counter (also an antique deco piece), tabletops and stained wood doors.
  • Throw in a splash of deep turquoise on the banquettes to keep things from getting too serious.
Neighborhood atmosphere achieved via a smoky color palette, touches of blue, and vintage details.

Neighborhood atmosphere achieved via a smoky color palette, touches of blue, and vintage details.

  • The design of Little King incorporated many bold decisions: checkerboard floor, wall papered ceiling, detailed beadboard throughout–so keeping our palette simple keeps the space from feeling overly cluttered or busy.

For more information please visit Little King.

Photography by Jane Beiles

Christina Salway Design

Resources:

Bathroom wallpaper: Cole & Son. Ceiling wallpaper: Stark. Pendant lights: Craig’s List. Similar fixtures found on rejuvenation.com. Local auctions.

 

 

08/12/2016

Travel – Why Choose a Bed and Breakfast

Travelers have options, another byproduct of the digital age. There is the standard hotel with its two square beds, circulated air smell, and requisite ice bucket and coffee maker atop a dorm-sized fridge. You can easily rent someone’s home or go the luxury route with a resort. All venues were considered when planning a last minute quick getaway to Ogunquit, Maine. Here’s how it went:

  • Hotel: Too impersonal and claustrophobic.
  • Renting a private home: Too personal, staying among a stranger’s belongings feels like an intrusion.
  • Resort: Rather not spend our annual travel budget on a few nights.
Farm style kitchen at Beauport Inn, which centers on hospitality.

Farm style kitchen at the Beauport Inn, the center of hospitality.

We then thought of B&B’s and this is why: Bill and I have an annual one-week window a year to travel without kids. This eliminates all family friendly places. We are good parents but a vacation from being cannonballed while reading poolside ranks as a luxury. We both work long hours so we chose a place within driving distance. We also wanted to test out Maine considering that in our combined lifetimes we have been to every East Coast vacation spot aside from the “vacation state.”

There were many no vacancies but we stumbled upon Ogunquit’s Beauport Inn, which caught our interest from the farm style kitchen and breakfast food shots.

We chose the Moulin Rouge room, a red-painted suite equipped with all the B&B trappings of 4-poster bed, closet padded with robes and linens, shelves with readable titles and two separate couches so we can both doze off without a kicking match. The terrace led to the pool, hot tub and first floor that has a steam room, library of DVDs and selection of board games.

The innkeepers, Linda and Ellen, love their job, Ogunquit and treat visitors as houseguests. In fact their kindness extends to their private part of the home where they take care of rescue birds (also appearing on the toiletry packaging). They gave good advice on restaurants and the use of bikes for riding into town, which was a highlight as it takes ten minutes to move two miles on a typical August summer day.

You can connect with other guests or retreat into your room. Another unique quality to Beauport is the space was designed as a B&B so your rooms are private and solid. By day two we were Beauport veterans, understanding the breakfast routine and what to do in town. In a gesture we’d expect from a family member or close friend, Ellen thought to serve Bill’s eggs with his beloved hot sauce. Holiday Inn this is not.

08/11/2016

Travel – 48 Hours in Ogunquit, Maine

When you are over 40, lived on the East Coast for most of your life, and have not traveled to an entire vacation territory on your own coast the prospects of a new discovery excite. Ogunquit, Maine, was the chosen destination.

A typical August Ogunquit beach day.

A typical August Ogunquit beach day.

Maine is the most eastern point of the East Coast, which is why I have neglected it for so long. Seasoned Maine vacationers reminded that just over the state border, a four hour drive from NYC metro area Connecticut, are fantastic coastal towns to rival touristy Cape Cod or the sleekness of the Hamptons.

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Local color seen when passing through Ogunquit.

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Ogunquit is just before Wells and Kennebunkport, the tony enclave of Bush family notoriety, and has as much to offer. It is laid back, caters to family SUVs loaded with floats and coolers but refined. Refined meaning this is a friendly community that promotes flying kites, playing outdoors till dinner is served and going to town for a block of fudge or hand-crafted ice cream.

Double chocolate ice cream, a traditional choice over Rococo's artisan offerings like rhubarb sage and sweet avocado cayenne.

Double dark chocolate ice cream, a traditional choice over Rococo’s artisan offerings like rhubarb sage and sweet avocado cayenne.

The state mascot, I will safely assume, is lobster. The bright red crustacean is seen on license plates, games, kid’s hats and definitely on the brain. In fact once we arrived we forewent showers for a lobster dinner. This does not involve research, just hit the main road and everywhere serves it. Even the local McDonald’s advertised their $8.99 lobster meal.

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Choosing a lobster restaurant was simple, our hunger trumped waiting an hour for waterviews and dinghy art.

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Waterside restaurant with a long waiting time but loads of touristy charm.

We chose Capt’n Hooks, which has it down with its seasoned summer employees who helped us choose our own lobster, offer a thoughtful recommendation of the house root beer and hastily interrupted our order so he could holler at a kid standing on the lobster game. For less than $30 Bill and I enjoyed a meal that he inhaled while I was too busy snapping photos. The lobster was tender, perfectly steamed, while the picked-that-day corn and potato sides was the ideal accompaniment.

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Simple lobster meal: inexpensive and delicious.

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A vast selection of fresh choices.

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Lobster American Style.

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Easy takeout for stomachs on the go.

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More lobster kitsch.

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Ogunquit is crowded but understandably so. In fact it’s good to compete for beach space with fellow visitors who appreciate a classic summer.