Ancient Rome or Southern California?

Tucked into the hillside around Pacific Palisades, just before the edge of Malibu, lies one of the most gorgeous museums I have ever seen.

The Getty Villa is amazing. Full stop. It’s even better than I expected, and I highly recommend it to anyone who’s visiting the Los Angeles area. In fact, I like it better than it’s more famous sibling, the Getty Center.

This is an interesting fact, since I usually favor museums with an impressionist and modern art focus. Not this time, though. The Getty Villa is all about antiquity, and I loved that about it. I’m hankering to go back. This is partly because J. Paul Getty built the villa with a specific focus. He wanted to create a place that would complement his collection of treasures from Ancient Rome, Greece, and Persia, so he designed a museum that mimicked a countryside villa in Ancient Rome, likely near the city of Pompeii.

He succeeded.

We spent half a day there recently, and I found it unforgettable, peaceful, and beautiful. Not only did we learn more about antiquities, but the museum helped me appreciate that era in a new way. It was also fun to traipse around the grounds, enjoying the gardens and the villa underneath the California sunshine.

In all– totally worth it! Put this museum on your ‘to-do’ list! Plus, admission is FREE!

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Fred Segal: LA’s Most Quintessential Boutique

Fashion is fickle. Everyone knows it. One day, a brand is so hot it flies off store shelves. The next day, no one touches it.

Boutiques are like that, too, and the ones that pop up around LA are no exception. I’ve been to the City of Angeles dozens of times (it’s one of my favorite American cities), and some of the best boutiques one year can’t be found the next.

But Fred Segal is always there. Always. And, to my delight, it doesn’t change. For years, this store has offered SoCal’s most fashionable unique and curated clothing, accessories, and housewares. The brands inside the store change, but the overall feel doesn’t. There’s just something about Fred Segal.

And that’s why I recommend a stop there to anyone visiting Los Angeles. It’s a great place to kill an hour or two, and it’s easy to get lost in the racks discovering all that the store has to offer.

I mean it. Other spots are “in” one day and “out” the next. Fred Segal does what it does better than anyone else. The Melrose location is LA at her finest. Don’t miss it. Besides, where else might you get the chance to talk Cameron Diaz out of a truly heinous Angora sweater?

 

The Thrill of the Hunt

I love a good find–especially a good vintage, mid-century modern find. Over the last few years, I’ve developed quite a passion for furniture, artwork, lamps, and more made right in the middle of the “American Century”. I love the clean lines, bright colors, hopeful tone, experimental craftsmanship, and quality of so many of the pieces. They never go out of style.

So, I was in heaven this afternoon at the Sharonville Convention Center, which played host to the “20th Century Cincinnati” vintage design, art, furniture, and fashions trade show.

I arrived expecting a small crowd and maybe two dozen exhibitors. Instead, I found hundreds of people, vendors from all over the US, and sales happening everywhere I looked. Apparently, I’m in good company when it comes to my mid-mod love affair.

We had fun just browsing, and talking with people about the booths they curated. So many of them see antique and vintage preservation as a passion, and I heard it in their voices as they shared where they’d found special items and stories about the pieces. We made about four trips around the show before I felt like I’d seen everything–and while browsing didn’t turn into buying, I walked away with plenty of ideas for future decor.

Good news! The show lasts through this weekend. It cost $8 to get in the door, and parking is free. It all kicks off again on Sunday at 11.

The Best Things I Have EVER Done For My Skin

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I’ve had the same struggle since 12, when the acne started. My skin has given my fits. You name it, I’ve had it: cystic acne, patchy skin, overactive oil glands, freckles, sun damage, and a myriad of other issues.

It hasn’t always been an easy ride.

However, in the last few years, I’ve developed a routine that has given me better results than anything in the past. These days, I’m hardly wrestling with my skin. I figured that it might be time to share my tips and tricks.

1. Moisturize. This is the one thing I cannot stress enough. Dry skin leads to major problems and early wrinkles. I liberally apply moisturizer twice a day, in the morning and evening. I’ve seen fewer fine lines and far less wrinkles as a result. The best part? It doesn’t take an expensive one to see real results. I find that Oil of Olay works just fine.

2. Invest in a Clarisonic. Hands down the best thing I have ever done. One of these isn’t cheap, but this in an investment. I started using mine a few times a week a few years ago, and my skin is brighter, cleaner, and far happier. It’s also a great supplement to regular facials.

Speaking of facials…

3. Get regular facials. Facials do so much for skin. Many of them are tailor-made for various skin problems, and in addition to being healthy, they are also relaxing. They don’t have to cost an arm and a leg, or take up a bunch of time, either. A 30 minute express facial is often more than enough.

4. Wear sunscreen. Sun damage is one of the worst things possible for skin, and sunscreen should always be worn, even in the winter. My favorite on-the-go brand, Sun Bum, comes in a handy little stick.

5. Get some sleep! I can’t stress this enough! A good night’s sleep counts!

Five Travel Book Must-Reads to Jumpstart Your Wanderlust

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Sometimes, heading out of town on an adventure doesn’t jive with our everyday lives. While we might be ready to jet off somewhere, the only thing that can really leave is our mind.

And that’s why sometimes it is nice just to get lost in a good book. Over the years, I’ve picked up a few travel book favorites, and I wanted to take a moment to share them with you. Through the pages of these favorites, I’ve gone on culinary adventures in France, ridden on the back of a motorcycle in South America, hiking in Yellowstone, and more.

Without further ado, here are my top five travel reads:

1. My Life in France: This memoir by famed chef Julia Child provides a unique insight into live in post WWII France. Julia is new to the country, and hardly knows anyone, but she makes quick work of falling in love with the cuisine, culture, and countryside. Need an afternoon in the French countryside? This is your book.

2. The Motorcycle Diaries: Before Che Guevara helped lead the Cuban Revolution, he was a 23-year-old medical student who traveled South America on an unforgettable journey. While in many ways I don’t agree with the path his life later took, this book does have some important insights.

3. Madness Under the Royal Palms: My favorite vacation town gets a scathing and scandalous review by Laurence Leamer, and it makes for a quick and page-turning read. This part of South Florida has always had an interesting history, and he gives it an insight like never before.

4. Dear Bob and Sue: This love letter to our national parks left me wanting to visit as many as I could! It’s a funny, irreverent, and unique look at all 59 parks, and the things about them that make them great.

5. Humans of New York–Stories: I’m a huge fan of the Humans of New York IG account, and this is a great supplement to that. I’ve always thought that NYC’s best asset is her people, and this book proves it!

PGA National Resort and Spa: A Floridian Gem

Next week, a number of golf’s greatest players will gather in South Florida for The Honda Classic, a fun tournament that also raises money for Children’s Healthcare Charity, Inc.

Now, I’m no golfer, but I do know an awesome spot when I see it. PGA National Resort and Spa is one. No doubt.

A series of unfortunate events last month led us to the resort while we spent time in Palm Beach, and honestly our day there became a highlight of the week. The resort sits on hundreds of acres of fine real estate in Palm Beach Gardens, and a luxury neighborhood surrounds it–one that gives new meaning to the word “retired”.

My husband and I enjoyed lunch with a view of the pool, and I tasted some of the best conch fritters I’ve ever had (I’m a bit of a connoisseur). We also got a glimpse of a plush accommodations the property features, and took a short walk around the grounds. Most fun of all–we caught the setting up the grandstand for the tournament itself.

I’ll admit–it made me want to watch some golf next week! I also put it on my list of places I’d like to return to one day!

 

Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas for the Travel Lover in Your Life

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What????

How is Valentine’s Day almost here? That can’t be right, can it?

And yet, it is! Winter’s annual holiday all about love is almost upon us, and for better or worse, that means a mad scramble for last-minute dinner reservations, concert tickets, boxes of chocolate, and more.

I’m here to help. Truly, I am, and that’s why I’ve put together a list of a few last-minute Valentine’s Day gifts for the travel lover in your life. Many of these come from my own wish list, so you can rest assured, I’m not steering you the wrong way. *wink*

1. This set of Kate Spade Travel Bags: I love these. Not only are they stylish and cute, they make separating clothing in a hotel or inside of luggage so much simpler. This is particularly useful when it comes to swimsuits and other wet items. No one wants those to mix with unworn clothing!

2. This super-slick passport holder: Carrying essential documents has never been more fun–or fashionable. Every jet set traveler deserves a pretty way to carry a passport, ID cards, and more. It just makes it all a little bit more fun.

3. This set of luggage packing cubes: Make travel simple for the one you love with a set of organizers that keep items separate and easy-to-reach while traveling. More than a few times, my luggage has looked like an absolute DISASTER after a few days away from home, and this solves that problem beautifully.

4. This scratch the world map: I love this. I think it’s such a cool item. Basically, it allows for a person to peel of countries one-by-one with each vacation. For someone who likes to travel overseas, this is amazing. What a thoughtful and cool keepsake!

5. These mini travel essentials: I’m a huge fan of Burt’s Bees, and this group hits all the highlights, from hydration cleanser to foot cream. What a great thing to “throw in a bag” before the next trip? Best of all, this is TSA friendly.