Hidden Gem in Saint-Tropez : Citadel of Saint-Tropez Maritime History Museum

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Getting to Saint-Tropez is a challenge. Although charting your course to the town can be a headache, I have a feeling this keeps tourism from ruining its picturesque charm so I almost have an appreciation for it. 

The route my fiancé and I took included a plane to Nice, a train to Saint-Raphael (a charming little stop, might I add) and then a ferry to the port of Saint-Tropez. It wasn't as hectic as it sounds, but it would have helped if we weren't toting around all of our belongings for our six-month stay in Amsterdam. Life has a way of making you laugh at yourself. The most hilarious leg of our journey? When we had to hike uphill to our hotel because we couldn't call a taxi and the wheel broke on my fiancé's luggage that weighed 89 kilos. 

However, we pressed on and once we arrived at our hotel, Hotel Le Mandala, it was a sight for sore eyes. It was our little oasis. As you can imagine, traveling took up enough of our day that once we were settled, we preferred to explore the city rather than venture to the beaches of Pampelonne. 

Close to our hotel was an adorable park on a hill, so in pursuit of getting to know this charming little town, we began to climb. I would like to add I did all of this in my Gucci loafers and I was more than comfortable. My secret? Insoles from a pair of Nike Freerun sneakers. Try it out and thank me later.

Once we got halfway up the hill we paid admission to climb to the top- something like a few Euro, we didn't feel like it was out of bounds. As we continued walking we started to take in the amazing views of Saint-Tropez's town center as well as the port and gulf. It was absolutely stunning. 

We turned to explore what I expected to be an all but forgotten 17th-century fortress behind us- but we were met with the most pleasant surprise. 

Inside the fortress lies the most amazing little maritime museum that takes you through several stories up to the rooftop terrace- all the while detailing Saint-Tropez history as you go. You'll start at who Saint-Tropez was and why he was canonized and end with superyachts and celebrities. Each of these museum rooms is carefully thought out and creatively interactive. No two rooms are alike and you won't be able to help but stop and admire the intricacies and charm of each installation. 

This museum is free with entrance to the fortress and park, and it was an absolute delight to stumble upon. If you go to Saint-Tropez, this little museum is not to be missed. I have a lot of things to recommend in this amazing little French town, but Citadel of Saint-Tropez Maritime History Museum is the first thing on that list.

You can see it in my Saint-Tropez Travel Vlog here:

Honorable Mention: Staud Handbags

Friday, October 11, 2019

If you look at my bag collection - which, coincidentally, you can view here - you'll see that I have long been an advocate of the structured handbag. Large or small, I prefer bags that have structural silhouettes with clean lines and intentional design.

Before my summer holiday a few weeks ago, I was waiting to have some items hemmed in Nordstrom and fell in love with the bags on display. There were a few that caught my eye and I realized that all of them were from the brand Staud.

Staud had the slightly familiar ring of a brand I might have seen tagged on Instagram however, it didn't register in my conscious mind until I was standing there, beautiful craftsmanship in my own two hands.

What blew me away the most was the reasonable price point. Each bag I looked at that day was under $500. I'd love to share some of them with you.

The Hutton Bag

via Staud

This bag is fun without being kitsch. I'm not above admitting to you that part of the appeal of this bag is that the accordion shape reminds me of paper lanterns, but it is still serious enough to say "I'm a lady and this is my killer handbag". Made of brown leather and suede, it's still subtle enough for minimalist fashionistas.  I keep thinking about how I want this bag!

The Moon Bag

Via Staud

Since that fateful day, I have seen this bag on some of my favorite media outlets and bloggers. It's gained so much popularity that it is sold out in half of the available colors on the Staud website. It screams "it" bag - and it is under $400, so you can buy one for your mom too. it's sleek, simple, has just a pinch of early 00s nostalgia, and it's 100% perfect.

The Keaton Bag

Via Nordstrom

This is a fun bucket. A joyous pail. I want to strap this bag around my waist for easy access to my lipstick, wallet, and sunglasses. It has a drawstring closure on the top so your precious Dior Lipglow won't go flying out as you power walk to the metro. It's got clean curves and a cross-body strap for maximum enjoyment. Also at Nordstrom, it is on sale!

Needless to say, this brand is on my radar and will probably make a sale to me in the very near future.

Best Sunscreen - Face, Body, Lips, Setting Spray #CleanBeauty

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Any dermatologist, plastic surgeon, or esthetician will tell you that sunscreen and products with SPF are crucial. Sunscreens can help protect your skin from harmful UVA and UVB rays. Exposure to these UV rays can cause sunburn, wrinkles, and even an increased risk of skin cancer. Finding #cleanbeauty sunscreens can be a struggle as well, so I have rounded up my favorite non-sticky, non-greasy, nontoxic sunscreens!

La Roche Posay Anthelios 60 Face Sunscreen

I wear this sunscreen every. single. day. Rain or shine. This fluid sunscreen is the only face sunscreen I have been absolutely in love with. Its high SFP of 60 paired with its ability to protect without leaving a greasy residue or white cast gives it a perfect score in my book. It's PABA free, noncomedogenic (meaning it won't clog your pores) and it has an Allure best of beauty award. Need I say more?

Australian Gold Non-Greasy SPF 50 Botanical Sunscreen

As of late, people have been requiring more from their sunscreens- and Australian Gold has delivered. This sunscreen is not only non-greasy and paraben-free with a high SPF, but it is also reef-friendly and cruelty-free. Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide provide chemical-free sun protection. Australian Gold has been my go-to body sunscreen for a few years now and the Citrus Oasis scent now instantly reminds me of summer days at the shore.

Fresh Sugar Rosé Tinted Lip Treatment SPF 15

I love lip balm for days when I'm casually out and about, running errands, or on the beach, but I realized that I had been neglecting my lips by not protecting them with an added SPF. This tinted lip treatment by Fresh provides the perfect hint of color while moisturizing and protecting my lips from those UV rays!

Coola Makeup Setting Spray SPF 30

This is a recent find for me and I am so impressed with the sunscreen challenges Coola has been able to address. Products with SPF are meant to be reapplied, according to skincancer.org, "no sunscreen, regardless of strength, should be expected to stay effective longer than two hours without reapplication". But how does one reapply face sunscreen on a full face of makeup? Enter Coola SPF 30 setting spray! This spray can be misted on over makeup ensuring SPF protection while reducing shine and keeping your makeup fresh. This spray does have a tingling sensation and be sure to avoid spraying it in your eyes (obviously). It's hypoallergenic, cruelty-free and TSA approved so you can look fabulous and be protected on your next tropical getaway.

Don't forget to put your sunscreen on before you go in the sun- no matter the time of year!

Summer Essentials 2019

Monday, July 8, 2019

Summer. It's finally here. We've had a cool spring here in L.A. and the warm temperatures of summer are a wonderful reprieve from the seemingly endless chill.

I've become such a summer lover, which is surprising because I used to be all about fall and winter. With the change of weather comes a need for a change of wardrobe. If you're wondering what to buy that is fresh this season and will have lasting power in your closet, you've come to the right place. What I love about this year's trends is that they are actually very classic and timeless, just reborn! So here are my recommendations.

Straw Bags

Vacation chic is something that crops up annually at summertime and while it is usually observed by those in San Tropez or on the Amalfi Coast, this year it is the chicest widespread style. A hallmark of vacay chic style is the staw bag. Many luxury houses have released their versions of this traditional summer bag, so investing in one of these pieces is a safe bet. However, for those not interested in picking up a luxury handbag- you can easily find high quality and timeless straw bags sustainably at second-hand stores.

Straw Hats

Straw hats are just as popular and timeless as their handbag counterparts. The beauty of straw hats is that they offer both style and function, and it is so important to keep the summer sun off of your face. These gorgeous accessories also are just the thing to pull an outfit together. A wide variety of straw hats are popular this year from boater hats to floppy chapeaus.

Neutral Toned Trousers 

Trousers are perhaps not what first comes to mind when you think of summer attire however, they're having a major moment. Vintage styles, such as high waisted trousers with wide legs in neutral tones- such as white, cream, navy blue, tan, and black- are highly covetable this season. They effortlessly embody timeless elegance.

Movie Star Katherine Hepburn in Pleated Trousers via Glamour.com

Square Toe Strappy Sandals 

Strappy sandals with square toes have taken over the Instagrams of the fashion forward. This 90s throwback is finally having a resurgence, and since it's been decades since Carrie Bradshaw clacked down the streets of Manhattan in shoes of this style, the second-hand and vintage stores in your area are a great place to look. I found great square toe shoes in my local second-hand shops, but none in my size. I decided to go with this ethically made pair from Everlane, but there are tons of stunning styles on shelves now.

Neutral Toned Blazers

French women have long known that a blazer is the perfect piece to make an outfit effortlessly chic and the rest of us are celebrating that fact this season. Blazers add structure and command respect for the wearer. Throw one over your summer outfit to combat freezing in an air-conditioned office or to keep you comfortable when the summer sunsets turn into summer nights.

Cotton & Linen 

Cotton and linen are traditional summer textiles and they're just at popular this summer as they've ever been. Breathable and light, it's no wonder that city folk and country dwellers agree that these fabrics make the best summertime pieces. From button-ups and shorts to blazers and pants, these materials reign supreme for the warmer months.

I hope this guide helps you to round out your wardrobe for the 2019 summer season. Stay hydrated, sunscreened, and stylish. 

Travel Bucket List - Memorable Travel Experiences

Monday, April 22, 2019

Traveling is all about having unforgettable and inspiring experiences. I wanted to share my most memorable experiences with you as a "bucket list",  presented in no particular order. I hope this list sparks your curiosity and leads you to your next adventure!

Have lunch in the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France

via Veltra.com
Restaurant 58 is located on the first landing of the Eiffel Tower. Take in the sights of Paris while dining on Michelin Starred cuisine inside one of the most recognizable icons in the world. Are you sold yet? 

Climb to the Parthenon in Athens, Greece

Construction on the Parthenon began in 447 BC and it still stands today as a reminder of the power of the Athenian Empire. It's best to visit as early in the day as you can to beat the heat and enjoy the morning light illuminating the marble columns.

Listen to classical music echo in the Cuevas del Drach in Majorca, Spain

Via cuevasdeldrach.com
There is no better way to appreciate the acoustics of a cave than to listen to a live performance of classical music. A quartet floats by in a boat while playing classical music as you take in the music and the glimmering stalagmites and stalactites.

Watch my Spain travel vlog here.

Sip champagne atop the Eye in London, England

When I visited London, I almost skipped the Eye because I thought it was too "touristy". I'm so glad I changed my mind and booked the Champagne ride. Gaze across the Thames at Big Ben and Westminster Abbey at sunset with a glass of bubbly in hand. It's a must-do, you can thank me later.

Check out my London Travel Vlogs here.

Take a helicopter ride over the city in San Francisco, California

This is a wonderful way to see San Francisco. I would argue that this city is one of the most beautiful cities from above- just try to disagree while sailing over the Golden Gate Bridge and looking down at the Palace of Fine Arts, the Ferry Building, and Alcatraz.

Watch the vlog of my helicopter ride here

Have dinner in the Grotta Palazzese in Puglia, Italy

If you've ever wondered what it would be like to live a dream, look no further than the Grotta Palazzese restaurant. Look over the sparkling Adriatic water as the sun sets and golden rays bounce off of the inside of the cave. Inside the dining room, the balcony reveals the surreally blue water below as you sip wine and dine on fine Italian food. It's nothing short of magical. 

Sip whiskey in a snug in Dublin, Ireland

Sitting in a pub is on this list? It's no mistake. Snugs are found in many pubs in Ireland and Northern Ireland and are a reminder of the times when it was gauche for women to be seen drinking in public. The snug acted as a private booth or area where women could drink and save face, and they are fun to sit in and enjoy a whiskey or an Irish coffee today.

Watch my Ireland and Northern Ireland travel vlogs here

Have brunch at Tavern on the Green in Central Park in New York, New York

Nestled inside Central Park, Tavern on the Green was built in 1880 as a place to keep sheep that grazed in the park. In 1934 it was converted into a restaurant. Today it represents all of the lavishness and tradition of old New York City. 

Watch my NYC travel vlogs here.

Sip cocktails on the beach on the Amalfi Coast, Italy

The Amalfi Coast needs no introduction. Known for its warm and inviting beaches and gorgeous cliffs, this is the perfect locale to take in the sights and enjoy an aperitif. May I suggest a Negroni or an Aperol Spritz? It's truly a divine experience. 

Attend a summer festival in Tokyo, Japan

Via PrisChew
Japan is always exciting and fun, but attending a summer festival allows any tourist to experience Japanese culture first hand. Be sure to wear a Yukata, also known as a "summer kimono", and partake in the many Japanese sweet treats.

Take in the view atop the Ponte dell'Accademia bridge in Venice, Italy

One of the best and most famous sights in Venice can be observed atop the Ponte dell'Accademia bridge. Stretching over the grand canal, the view is marvelous and centers around the Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute. I took the photo above from this very spot! 

Watch the sunset in Oia on the island of Santorini, Greece

Santorini is easily one of the most recognizable and beautiful places in the world, boasting its signature white structures with blue domed roofs. Many locals will recommend taking in the sunset overlooking the ocean in Oia. It has been dubbed the "most beautiful sunset in the world".

I hope this list gave you some ideas to add to your travel bucket list!

Travel Guide: Venice

Friday, April 5, 2019

Venice is known for its canals, gondolas, bridges, and Piazza San Marco. This city is incredibly romantic and unique and should, no doubt, be on your travel bucket list.

View looking down from my window at Hotel Olympia

For my stay in Venice, I went with the Hotel Olympia. I was under the impression that the hotel would be adequate, but when I arrived, I was blown away at how elegant and beautiful the hotel was. I got a room overlooking the Rio delle Burchielle canal. This hotel is a short walk from the train station and has immediate access to the water taxis and gondolas. The hotel also offered complimentary breakfast, complimentary glasses of prosecco for every guest, a courtyard with a garden, and had a cocktail lounge with tables right on the canal. I was incredibly impressed with my experience and will stay here again.

To begin your trip, hop on a water taxi and make your way to the Piazza San Marco. Here you'll want to go and see St. Mark's Basilica (or Basilica San Marco to the locals). Make sure you are wearing an outfit that has both shoulders and legs covered if you'd like to go in- and you should. From there, walk around the surrounding area and take in the sights of the old Venetian churches and architecture as well as the luxe storefronts. Make your way around walking along the beautiful canals and grab some gelato and perhaps an Aperol Spritz.

I have one regret- for some reason that I cannot, for the life of me recall, I did not take a gondola ride. I think someone had advised me not to, but when I return that is one mistake I will not make again. When you return from your trip, everyone will ask if you took one and you'll want to say yes! Take it from me! On your ride, you'll want to see the Bridge of Sighs and the Rialto Bridge.

Venice is known for Opera. My trip was too short to catch a show, but if you have the time you should! Another thing Venice is known for is glassblowing, so if you're looking for a tasteful souvenir, there are plenty of small glass figurines blown by local artists.

I visited Venice in July and it was incredibly hot and humid. When packing for your trip be sure to choose lightweight fabrics that breathe well, comfortable shoes that you can walk in, and a hat (although, you can buy gondolier-style hats in Venice).

Venice is a wonderful city and even though I've been before, I have no doubt that I will be back- and soon! Ciao!

Planning a trip to Italy? Check out my other travel guides for Rome, Pompeii, the Amalfi Coast, Capri, and my 10 Tips for Traveling to Italy!


Travel Guide: Pompeii

Thursday, April 4, 2019

A trip to Italy can be many things because the country is so diverse- from the gorgeous rolling hills of Tuscany to the Gondola speckled canals of Venice to the hustle and bustle of the proud city of Rome.

I had seen photos of the ruins of Pompeii online and I was expecting to like it (it's hard to get me to dislike anything Italian), but I was shocked at just how much I loved this amazing old city.

My NUMBER ONE tip for visiting Pompeii is to arrange a tour- many group and private tours are offered. Without a tour guide, it can be hard to get the full effect of just how amazing the old city of Pompeii was. I arranged my private tour on TripAdvisor and was matched with an archeologist that was actually working on the site! She had incredibly extensive knowledge of the ruins and I was shocked at how many things we still see, say, and do today were invented by the ancient Romans.

Walking shoes are crucial at the site. I recommend closed-toed sneakers and to avoid wearing heels, sandals, or flip flops. If you are very sun-sensitive, don't be afraid to bring an umbrella, as there is very little shade.

One of the best features of Pompeii is that it is still laid out as it was when Vesuvius erupted, thanks to the consequential ash that buried the city. This was not good news for the Pompeiians however, it has enabled us to walk the streets just as they did all those years ago.

The ancient Pompeiians lived in an incredibly advanced civilization and learning about it in person is invigorating and astounding. I highly recommend a trip to Pompeii!

Planning a trip to Italy? Check out my other travel guides for Rome, the Amalfi Coast, Capri, Venice, and my 10 Tips for Traveling to Italy!

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