Imaginary vacations

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what to do in Rome, Italy

what to do in Rome, Italy

A few of my favorite things about Rome, Italy… SEE: The colors of the Campo de’ Fiori Market, (which is next to a fantastic bakery, Campo de’Fiori). Michelangelo’s impossibly fluid marble. Painted angels on high (this after hours tour is on my bucket list). Bernini’s work; risqué and otherwise The largest amphitheater ever built, (buy tickets ahead of time to lessen a massive line) DRINK: A tart + sweet cocktail with a twist of orange, (try the Negroni’s flirty sister… the Aperol Sprtiz).  EAT: My 3 favorite Roman pasta dishes: Amatriciana, Carbonara, Cacio e Pepe. Finish it off with Gelato, (my favorite cone was topped with whipped cream via Venchi). We spent 4 days of our 2 week Italian holiday in Rome, not nearly enough. I’d go back in an instant.

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Travel Cocktail: Singapore Sling

Travel Cocktail: Singapore Sling

The Singapore pattern was inspired by architectural lines and purple lights. If I was vacationing in the Lion City, I would definitely need a few Singapore Slings just to get through the humidity. But till I’m Singapore-bound, I will make the classic cocktail in my Boston kitchen. The Singapore Sling was created by a Hainanese bartender in the early 1900’s at the Raffles Hotel in Singapore. It has since gone through many variations, but at it’s heart it is Gin + Pineapple + Cherry Brandy.  

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Travel Tips: How to Survive a Long-Ass Flight

Travel Tips: How to Survive a Long-Ass Flight

Obviously we’re big fans of far away places and all their delights. That said, getting to said places can be really hard on our bodies. Check out our tips for surviving, and dare we say enjoying, long-haul flights… R U NOT ENTERTAINED?! In-flight entertainment in 2016 is pretty wonderful, but don’t rely on it to keep you occupied for over ten hours. Come prepared: download any movies, books, games, etc. the night before and charge all your devices. You may even want to bring battery backup. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Staying hydrated on any flight is vital, but especially for those over six hours. Fill an insulated bottle after security, and then don’t be afraid to ask (and ask, and ask) for more from the stewardesses. Don’t forget about your skin either! We love this hydration spray from Aesop, or the Jasmine Garden by May Lindstrom. Stagger your booze + avoid salty foods. If you’re going to drink on a plane, try and wait until you’ve been aboard and hydrating for a couple of hours, or about to go sleep. Alcohol is a diuretic and will make your skin feel very tight, among other side effects. As great as comfort food is on a plane, all that salt will undo your hydrating. Breathe, stretch, shake, let it go. A no brainer. To avoid aches and pains once you land, make sure to walk around every couple of hours and stretch in your seat. Traveling internationally? Fill out customs forms first thing. Don’t be that guy filling out forms in line, slowing everyone else down. Take 5 minutes once the seat belt sign is off and collect all the customs forms you’ll need for your arrival, and spare yourself the stress and drama. And bring your own pencil. Minimize your carry-ons. The more carry-ons you have, the less space you’ll have to stretch. Ambien is your...

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Travel Tips: Rug Buying in Morocco

Travel Tips: Rug Buying in Morocco

Tips on how to bring home non-traditional souvenirs from your travels. I brought some treasured rugs home from Morocco on Maryam’s advice years ago. Let us know what you think! ~ JHill  M.Montague is a multifaceted hospitality + design brand, operating out of Morocco‘s Red City. The boutique hotel (Peacock Pavilions) mixes modern style with vintage-inspired decor, with obvious Moroccan influence. Full of clean lines, interesting patterns and neutrals palettes – founder Maryam Montague has a sharp eye for style. (You may know Montague from her blog, her photography is intoxicating.) Inside Peacock Pavilions. Those patterns… photo by Natalie Opocensky Moroccan rugs by the pool at Peacock Pavillions. photo by Natalie Opocensky Maryam Montague, photo by Vik M photography  I spent my honeymoon at this hotel-oasis in 2009, and was struck by her attention to detail, THIS black and gold wall and of course her amazing taste in textiles. (Staying at Peacock Pavilions still influences the way I decorate our modern Victorian in Boston). We asked Montague for her three best tips and tricks for buying Moroccan rugs…. 1)”I love vintage rugs and accept the wear that comes with them.  But check the back of a carpet to see if there has been any repairs.  Just because there has been a repair, is not a reason not to buy necessarily, but examine the front where the repair has been made and see if you are comfortable with what you see.” 2) “Wool rugs hold up better than cotton and are more valuable.  Check to see what the warp, weft and pile are made of. The warp is the backbone of a rug. Warp threads are strung from one end of the loom to the other and run the length of the rug. When the warp is cut, it forms the fringe on the ends of the...

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How to Pack a Plane Picnic

How to Pack a Plane Picnic

My sister-in-law is an amazing cook and food writer, but to me, her real talent is her ability to pack an AMAZING plane picnic. Before her plane picnics came into my life, I would often buy some sad, over priced snacks from Hudson News – but no more! Jessica has inspired me to change my ways. Here are my favorite plane snacks, which I always combine with as many club soda’s I can get from the flight crew. Something Sweet: For me, it’s either M&Ms or chocolate covered raisins Something Healthy: Fruit and nuts are an easy choice. I’m always proud of myself when I snack on cashews or almonds, (as opposed to what I usually want… Cape Cod potato chips), and fruit-wise grapes are the least messy. Something Cheesy: Babybel cheeses never fail, or if you want to get fancy chose a cheese-end from your favorite cheese shop, but stay away from the stinky stuff. That is essentially the bougie-equivalent of bringing a big mac on a plane. Think of your seat mates! A small sandwich: in our house it is either PB + J, or Salami and cheese. Here are some additional tips from Jessica, who flies out of SFO: “I usually pack hummus and cut up carrots, celery, cauliflower. I find that I like to snack oh, the entire flight, so it’s nice to have something crunchy and sort of refreshing, and those veggies are sturdy enough that they won’t get gross on the flight (and can be prepped the night before)”. “I always bring some sweet treats–trail mix is good, but I also love those Ocho candy bars, which are not too big and crazy delicious. Lollipops if the kids are flying with me. Or gummy candy, which is a fun novelty for them”. “I bring an empty water bottle to the airport–Terminal...

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A "5 Senses" Guide to Havana, Cuba

A "5 Senses" Guide to Havana, Cuba

TASTE: Cuba Libre (rum and Mexican Coca-Cola with lime) Mojito (rum + spearmint + lime) Havana Club Rum on the Rocks The Cuban Sandwich: Roast pork, ham, Swiss cheese, pickles and yellow mustard on Cuban bread. Moros y Cristianos: Black beans cooked with onions, paprika, cumin, bay leaves, chili powder, garlic and vinegar all mixed with rice. Crème Caramel Custard Flan Try some cooking at home with My Big Fat Cuban Family. SMELL The rich aroma of tobacco leaves drying. Castro preferred Cohiba Esplendido, but if you want to know what Cuban cigar brands have a serious cult following visit this blog post. FEEL Crystal blue water, white sand, soothing waves… Varadero, Playa Paraíso (“Paradise Beach”), Playa Sirena, Playa Ancón, Playas del Este HEAR Ibrahim Ferrer, Celia Cruz, Compay Segundo, (and one of my all time favorites) Bueno Vista Social Club. Party all night on The Malecón (Havana’s mini Vegas strip) – dance to sounds of local musicians with the Caribbean Sea as your backdrop. SEE Pico Turquino, Havana’s highest point. The route sits in the heart of the Gran Parque Nacional Sierra Maestra. If you make it to the top, you’ll see one-of-a-kind views and an enormous bust of local-hero José Marti. The home team play at Havana’s baseball stadium, Estadio Latinoamericano. Finca Vigía: Ernest Hemingway’s home whilst he wrote For Whom the Bell Tolls,  The Old Man and the Sea and A Movable Feast. Now a museum dedicated to all things Hemingway. Museo de Revolucion: The former presidential palace, this incredible estate’s interiors were designed by Tiffany’s. The exhibits cover Cuba’s pre-Columbian culture all the way to  the present-day socialist regime. El Morro: The 16th century fortress is worth visiting just for the history alone, but especially for the view at sunset. Cuba Map Print and Havana Print available now. The post A Guide to Havana, Cuba through the Senses appeared first on...

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How to Dress for a New England Winter

How to Dress for a New England Winter

Last month I was diagnosed with cold urticaria, or being allergic to the cold (I couldn’t even make this up). Among a myriad of other symptoms, when I get a chill I break out in hives – it’s all very sexy. The main way to fight cold urticaria is to stay warm 24/7, and as we’re getting into 20 degree days in Boston, I know I’m not the only one looking for a winter uniform. Check out my cold-weather-combat list below. Too many layers can make one look like they live on the subway, but I like to think of the following as “sledding chic”.  ALL ABOUT THAT BASE Athleta Full Force Tank: You need that base layer! Women’s PhD® Ski Medium Pattern Socks by Smartwool: I’ve tried other merino wool socks and these are the best I’ve worn. They are itch-free, very soft, and have extra padding in the foot. They come up over your calf and sit right below your knee.  LAYER ONE Athleta Polartec® Power Stretch® 2 Tight: I tried a zillion “winter leggings”. In the end I bought 4 pairs of these. They are so comfortable, warm, and my skin never feels suffocated. At 5’ 9” the tall size works well for me. My only caveat is I wish the back waistband pocket was large enough to fit my iPhone plus. Then I could put it in there while running.  Burton Mid-Weight Turtleneck: Thumbholes stretch the arms to keep the top of your hands warm, the fabric wicks away moisture and the collar converts into a neck warmer (that can be pulled up over your mouth and easily breathed through). (Also love this shirt) LAYER TWO Vince Camuto Leggings: These loose leggings have been perfect for layering over my Athletas. They run large and can get loose fast, so order down. Zella ‘Cirrus’ Sport Cardigan:...

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SINGAPORE CHEAT SHEET

SINGAPORE CHEAT SHEET

Whenever we begin an imaginary vacation somewhere we always start with researching the basics. Here is our Singapore cheat sheet – everything you should know when you start to plan a voyage to this far off land, be it real or a daydream. (Plus we love an excuse to design an infographic with a chicken.)

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WHAT TO EAT AT MARDI GRAS

WHAT TO EAT AT MARDI GRAS

What we’d eat if we were in the heat of New Orleans for Mari Gras instead of 7 ft of snow in Boston. Coffee from Cafe de Monde / Crawfish / Po-boy / Sazerac / Beignets / King Cake / Muffaletta / Doberge Cake

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the abc’s of new orleans

the abc’s of new orleans

The ABC's of New Orleans, Louisiana. 

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