Don’t Miss the Brunch at Temple Orange

As I’ve said before, I’ll go anywhere and do almost anything for a good brunch. Brunch is one of my favorite meals. I love a good mimosa, a bloody Mary bar, some eggs Benedict….

But I digress.

We recently brunched at the Temple Orange restaurant in Lantana, and I loved it. It lived up to the hype. Temple Orange is the signature restaurant of the Eau Palm Beach Resort and Spa, a five-star hotel located just south of Palm Beach herself. At one time, the Ritz owned the property, but now it’s a part of a small line of boutique resorts.

Temple Orange turns into a delightful spot for Sunday brunch. A flat rate gets guests access to a plentiful buffet full of smoked salmon, pastries, humus, breakfast favorites, fresh fruit, omelets, and more. A small additional fee allows guests to experience a champagne and blood Mar bar–and I must say, that should be passed up by anyone. It’s too good.

Topping it all off, however is the view from Temple Orange. The restaurant lies in the middle of the resort, and gives guests a perfect view of the main pool, resort grounds, hotel rooms, and the ocean. It’s magical.

Put Temple Orange on your list. You won’t be disappointed.

Four Travel Essentials You Need NOW

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Everyone knows I love a good deal. I love ingenious design even more–especially when it comes to doing less with more, something that is essential when on the go.

Recently, I’ve come across a few products that I think are GAME CHANGERS when it comes to making it easier to get out there and get after it. I’m sharing my favorites right here.

1. This travel hoodie:  XY37 designed this travel hoodie, and I think it is absolutely brilliant. t is stylish but functional, and contains pockets for all the things a   needs: a passport, ear buds, neck pillow, iPhone, knit cap, water bottle, and so on. I don’t think I’ve seen anything this awesome!

2. These travel adapters: Never get caught without the right plug again. This set of adapters will take you all over the world, and they work in 150 countries! You need these!

3. This set of travel organizers: Keep your items separated with this chic set of organizers. I especially like the laundry pouches!

4. This deep sleep eye mask: It can be hard to sleep on planes, trains and in automobiles, so I always recommend ways to work around the noise.

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!

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?

 

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!

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.

Cincinnati’s Best Culinary Secret is 105-Years-Old

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The Queen City is in a bit of a renaissance right now, with many fabulous restaurants opening up all over town. So many great spots have debuted in the last three years that it is hard to keep up.

But that doesn’t mean the old isn’t great, too.

We recently dined at Scotti’s Italian, a small restaurant on Vine Street with a century of history in the city. We left asking, “Why haven’t we done this before?”

Places like this don’t come around every day. Immediately upon walking in, it is easy to feel transported to Italy. The charming décor features olive oil bottles across the ceiling, a hodgepodge of tile on the walls, low lighting, wine bottle candlelight, unique family artwork, and small tables that promote intimate dining.

The food is even better, and the menu might have the largest selection of pasta, veal, and Italian favorites in the city. I ordered mozzarella pasta, while my husband tried the breaded and stuffed loin of veal ala Guido. Both of our dishes came with minestrone soup, bread, and house salad. Our group also tired the spumoni for desert.

We’ll be back. You should go, too!

Traveling? Bet on Longchamp

Handbags have been a bit of an obsession of mine for years. I love a good clutch, a rare vintage find, and a classic style.

And that’s part of why Longchamp tops my list of “must-have” handbags while traveling.

There’s just something about this brand, a French import that is known for sleek luggage, small leather goods, fashion accessories, and, of course, timeless handbags.  I’m in good company here– Duchess Catherine and her sister Pippa are also known Longchamp addicts.

My favorite bags come from the Le Pilage line, a series of bags developed in 1993 that took the world by storm and haven’t gone out of style since. These bags are foldable, packable, and roomy. They provide a wealth of uses, and they wipe clean if anything get spilled on them. I find them to be essential whenever I’m gone for a few days or a week. They never let me down.

Never tried one? You should. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed!

The Palm Beach Grill Serves Up Top Notch Smoked Salmon

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I love a good salmon. Especially a smoked one.

There’s just something about the savory and salty flavors that always draws me to it. I can’t resist. If I’m at a restaurant and it is on the menu, chances are–I’ll order it.

And recently, I had a smoked salmon that put all the others to shame.

The Palm Beach Grill is known as a ubiquitous gathering spot in Palm Beach, and it has served the community for the last few decades. A spot at the bar is tough to get on a Friday or Saturday night, and a reservation is even harder. Not only is this a fun place to people watch and socialize, it’s also a great spot for some delightful food.

And the smoked salmon here just might be the best I’ve ever tasted. I loved it so much, I had to take a photo of it. I had to write a blog post about it. I’ve spent the last few days dreaming about it.

In short, if you’re ever at this restaurant–order it!

The Circle Brunch Really IS That Good

It’s a long-standing fact: I love brunch.

It’s one of my favorite weekend traditions, and I’m always down for a bottomless mimosa, some eggs Benedict, waffles, and a Bloody Mary. I stay on the lookout for epic brunch spots in whatever city I visit.

One that I’ve always heard about is The Circle Brunch at The Breakers in Palm Beach. Now, we’ve vacationed on the island since 2011, but we’ve never made the leap and brunched at The Circle.

Why? Well, it is expensive. It comes with a price tag that is not for the faint of heart. We’ve talked it over a few times, and categorized it as something we’d do on a special occasion. Happily, that time came recently. Two friends came to visit us in Palm Beach, and we capped off the weekend with brunch for four.

And yes, The Circle really does put on the best brunch buffet I’ve ever tasted. You want it? It’s there. Sushi, caviar, waffles, a Bloody Mary bar, more deserts than you can shake a stick at, salmon, Nutella crepes, salads, fresh fruit, bottomless mimosas, and more. It’s a fantasy for the foodie. Really, I don’t know why I expected anything less. The Breakers does everything right. Even brunch.

If you’re ever in Palm Beach, don’t miss it!

My Palm Beach Essentials

Ahhh, winter.

I don’t like it. It’s not the snow that bothers me, or the cold… it’s the endless days of both. When show first falls, I love it, but once it hangs around for more than 48 hours. I’m over it. I need a break to somewhere warm, sunny, and beachy.

For the last five years, that place has been Palm Beach, FL. We started going in 2011 (ironically the island’s centennial) and fell in love. My husband and I begged each other to go back as often as we could, and I’m thankful we’ve been able fulfill that wish.

A short (or long) escape to Palm Beach comes with its own tips and tricks. It truly is a different world there–a beach town that’s never really buttoned down, but a place that is also what full-time resident James Patterson calls “Disneyland for adults.”

Over the last few years, I’ve cultivated essentials for a trip there–a few things I can throw in a bag and use to get by no matter what we get into on that island.

Today, I’m sharing that list with you. Hopefully, it will also give you some ideas for your next beach vacation, wherever that might be. Without further ado, here’s my list of Five Palm Bach Must-Haves:

 1. A Lilly Pulitzer Scarf. It’s practically a sin to step foot on Palm Beach without some Lilly in your bag, and a light-weight, versatile scarf does the job beautifully.

2. Clinique Almost Lipstick in Black Honey. Has there ever been a better lipstick invented in the history of man-kind? This shade looks fantastic on everyone, and goes from day-to-night in a snap.

3. A classic pair of Palm Beach Sandals. Jackie Kennedy loved them, and she started a timeless trend that keeps going strong even today. These sandals aren’t just comfortable, they are easy to dress up or down. Your feet will also look and feel great, which is the number one rule.

4. An oversized straw hat. Skin cancer is real, folks, and apart from lathering on the SPF (which you should do every day no matter where you live), a large straw hat can give you an extra boost of protection and a dash of fashion right along with it. You can never go wrong with one!

5. A simple tote. You’ve gotta have something to take around the island as you shop for finds and stop by the beach. I love a simple, crisp tote that goes from beach to lunch. Can’t leave home without one!

 

The Drake Hotel: Romance in the Heart of Chicago

A few weeks ago, a trip to Chicago had us hunting for the perfect hotel stay in the Windy City’s downtown. We found it at The Drake.

Of course, right?

 You might have heard of The Drake. I certainly had. Over the years, I’ve read about it in books, and heard it referenced in films. I know the hotel has a storied history, but nothing prepared me for the stately place that it really is in person.

We stayed two nights in a room with a king-sized bed, and in most hotels the size of our room would have qualified it as a junior suite. Amenities included two full bathrooms, a large sofa and seating area, a mini bar, bathrobes, and super-soft sheets. When we walk through the small foyer, I almost never wanted to leave.

But leave, we did.

And the rest of the hotel enchanted me as well. From drinks at Cog D’ Or to breakfast at The Drake Bros, this hotel is one of the most romantic hotels in the city. We topped off our visit with dinner at The Cape Cod Room, a legendary spot where Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio carved their initials in the bar.

So what I’m saying is–go.

You won’t be sorry that you did.