Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Prudence Designs - New York

This summer when I was in New York, I stumbled into a floral design boutique in Chelsea called Prudence Designs. Their floral designs are beautiful and innovative, especially, the petite arrangements in Chinese take-out boxes complete with chopsticks. I am definitely stealing that idea for a future party! The boutique has more than just flowers including small vases, pillows, and home goods. You can see their arrangements on their website at: www.prudencedesigns.net

Peter Alexander Slippers - Los Angeles

Peter Alexander, an Australian lingerie designer has just opened a boutique in Los Angeles on trendy Robertson boulevard. The store carries adorable pajama bottoms, bags, and fun gift items. I was particularly taken with the slippers which would be so cute and comfortable on a red eye or international flight. Slippers retail for around $40. www.peteralexanderusa.com

Thursday, September 25, 2008

L'Ecole Des Femmes - Los Angeles

L'Ecole Des Femmes, a new clothing boutique has just opened on third street. Dresses have a ladylike sixties appeal -- think Catherine Deneuve in Belle Du Jour.

Tonight, clothing boutique Rodan vs Griffith is having a "moustache" party to welcome them to the neighborhood. Champagne, pastries, and moustaches will be provided.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Laduree Beauty - France

Laduree purveyors of the definitive macaroon, have just added beauty products to their repertoire. Lotions, soaps, and bath gels are scented with almond: a key ingredient in the pastries they are known for. Each product comes in the exquisite signature Laduree green box, and would make a much more travel friendly souvenir then a box of sweets. I love that the bath gel bottle has a macaroon lid. Products are available at Laduree shops in France, Switzerland, London, Monaco, and Tokyo.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Dolci e Dolcezze Sweets - Florence, Italy

Continuing on my quest to find the best sweets around the world, I have decided to add Dolci e Dolcezze, a little gem in Florence. This tiny bake shop is old fashioned elegance with sweets laid out in pristine glass cases like the jewels they are. Decorated with ornate gold mirrors, crystal chandeliers and mint green walls, Dolci's ambiance conjures a dream out of the nutcracker. Service is the most civilized with treats served on antique sterling silver trays accompanied by dainty sterling spoons. Only in Europe can you find such luxuries. A little off the beaten path, and a cornetto will cost more than at your average bakery, but Dolci and Dolcezze is worth it. Dolci e Dolcezze, Piazza Beccaria 8/r , Santa Croce Tel: 055 234  54 58

Monday, September 22, 2008

Henry Road Shop - Los Angeles

Henry Road in Studio City is the perfect place to pick up whimsical gifts, accessories, and knick knacks. Custom fabrics with a retro South African flavor decorate napkins, tea towels, lampshades, journals, and even furniture. Makes a trip over the hill worth it!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Mackage Travel Raincoats - Everywhere

Daily Candy today sent an e-mail about Mackage's super cool travel rain coats. The light weight jackets fold up into a pocket in the back and can be reduced to a size small enough to fit in your purse. They definitely out style your basic sporting goods store variety, but come with a much more expensive price tag: $190 for the motorcycle jacket and $250. 

I also thought their trench coats were very stylish although very expensive. This trench retails for $550. 

Algonquin Hotel - New York

While most hotels have a pet ambassador dog, the Algonquin Hotel has a resident cat.  The tradition started in the 1930's when a little stray cat wandered in off the streets into the lobby and management decided to give him a home. Since that time the Algonquin has had 9 resident cats, the latest of which is the above Matilda. This year in honor of Matilda's birthday, the hotel decided to change their hypocritical no pets policy, and are allowing cats and dogs to come for a stay. Concierge will even provide litter boxes, liners, and scoops!

Peck Food Emporium - Milan

Peck in Milan, is the Dean and Deluca of Italy. Their huge food emporium sells everything from coffee, cheeses, olive oils, vinegars, and prepared food all under the Peck label. Everything is of the highest, freshest quality. On my trip to Milan, I bought a bottle of the white truffle oil, which actually had a big hunk of white truffle floating in the bottom. I don't think you can find that many other places, at least not for an affordable price! Certain items on their website can be shipped to the U.S. such as wine, oils (including the aforementioned truffle oil) and aged vinegars. Peck also has a gourmet restaurant and tea room upstairs where they will make you a perfect cappuccino. If you're lucky they'll even swirl the foam into a heart. Perfecto!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Flea Markets - Paris

One of the reasons I'm obsessed with going to Paris is that I have always wanted to shop the fabulous flea markets. The latest issue of Gourmet is all about Paris and has a nice little section about how to navigate the stalls. You can find the information on their website, as well as, restaurants, bars, and hotels. 

Icebreaker Clothing - New Zealand

I just spoke to my friend Mac who lives in New Zealand, and it reminded me that I should post on the clothing company she works for: Ice Breaker.  Based in Wellington, Ice Breaker makes stylish athletic wear, perfect for skiing, hiking, or any other outdoor activity. All garments are made from light weight Alpine merino wool which naturally wicks away moisture while providing extreme warmth.  Their clothes are available at various sporting good stores around the U.S. as well as in New Zealand: www.icebreaker.com/site/dealer.html

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Liberty Online - London

Liberty, my favorite department store in London, is now selling merchandise online! Their style is Barneys NY meets Anthropologie by way of India. Many of the items on the website are Liberty products available exclusively through the store, and I found those items to be cheaper than the other lines they carry. Although, with the current exchange rate, you won't be finding any bargains.  Even though I can't really afford to buy anything at least now I get to "window shop!"

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Kiss My Bundt Bakery - Los Angeles

Kiss My Bundt Bakery just opened on 3rd street in West Hollywood, and aside from having a great name, I'm happy to have a new dessert shop that's offering something other than cupcakes and yogurt.  They offer a large selection of bundt and mini bundt cakes with flavors that change daily such as: Callebaut chocolate with chocolate glaze, Red velvet with cream cheese frosting, Luscious lemon drop cake,  and Cinnamon pecan coffee cake. They also offer organic coffees and teas. 

Matouk Factory Store - Massachusetts

So Fall River, Massachusetts is not exactly  a tourist destination, but if you happen to find yourself passing through on your way to Newport or Providence Rhode Island, it's worth making a stop for the Matouk outlet. Matouk makes beautiful, but expensive bedding and towels that are available at the outlet for significant discounts. Some of the merchandise is slightly damaged or discontinued, but when I was there this summer, they did have the above Lulu DK Paradiso pattern discounted. The best deals seem to be on towels, table linens, and sheets in the King and Twin sizes, but inventory changes so you never know what treasures you might find. 

Monday, September 8, 2008

Miette Bakery - San Francisco

The arrival of Sweetiepies  reminded me of another beautiful bakery in San Francisco: Miette. I can't wait to stop by this shop on my next trip to San Francisco. The decor of this place is perfection, from the sweet wallpaper to the gum drop topiary! Miette is everything a candy store/bakery should be. What a magically place for a child's birthday party, or -- who am I kidding -- my birthday party!

Hotel Palomar - Los Angeles

Hotel Palomar, Los Angeles's first eco hotel, has opened in Westwood. The hotel utilizes all eco and organic friendly products down to to the food in the mini bar, and energy efficient lighting and water fixtures, without sacrificing their old hollywood style. Another perk is their pet friendliness. With the help of the super cute Director of Pet Relations, Jackson Oscar (above), they promise to properly pamper you and your pet during your stay. Rates start at: $225  www.hotelpalomar-lawestwood.com

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Sweetiepie - New York

Stay tuned for a new sweet shop coming soon to New York: Sweetiepie. This month's issue of Vogue has an article on the new bake shop setting up in the West Village. From the looks of things, it will be Alice in Wonderland meets Marie Antoinette which is sure to mean lots of whimsy. 

The Inspired Maker - Bath, England

One of my favorite home furnishings stores is The Inspired Maker in the beautiful little town of Bath, England. The owners sell  custom designed furnishings inspired by 1930's and 1940's glamour. The last time I was in Bath, they had a gorgeous crystal lamp with a chocolate silk shade in the window that I couldn't stop ogling. The store was closed that day, so I guess it wasn't meant to be, but I still can't stop thinking about it!

9 to 5 The Musical - Los Angeles, New York

9 to 5 The Musical opens this Saturday at the Ahmanson Theatre here in Los Angeles. It features all new music by Miss Dolly Parton and stars Allison Janney in the Lily Tomlinson role. The show will be running here through October 16th and then heading to Broadway's Marquis Theatre in March. Tickets are available now including Hot Tickets which can be purchased for just $20 for seats with slightly obstructed viewing. I've always loved this movie and have my Hot Tickets reserved for this Saturday's performance. I'll let you know how it goes!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Posh Jewelry - Nantucket

Jessica Hicks designs and sells gorgeous silver and gold jewelry in her little Nantucket shop Posh. Many of the designs are subtle animal prints like the above zebra and giraffe earrings but her new designs seem to be leaning towards the celestial. Nowhere near Nantucket? You can also order from her website: www.jessjewels.com

Las Paletas - Nashville

You would thing living in Los Angeles, we would have access to the best Mexican popsicles. The big shocker is that the best paletas are actually in Nashville! Las Paleta's popsicles are all hand made and come in delicious and unexpected flavors including: honeydew, chocolate banana, chai tea, coffee, hibiscus, and grapefuit. Next time you're in Nashville stop buy their shop on 12th street. It's a great way to beat that Southern humidity!

Vin et Fromage a Maison 140 - Los Angeles

Every Wednesday night the ultra lux Bar Noir in the Maison 140 hotel is holding wine and cheese pairings for $25 a person. Wines are all California varieties, and cheese is supplied by the comprehensive Cheese Shop of Beverly Hills. 

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Calypso Pom Pom Throw

I am always freezing-cold on planes, and keep thinking I should pack a small throw in my bag for long trips. This cute Pom Pom Throw from Calypso seems like a good option. 
Made from soft cotton, you can roll it up for easy packing, and it it comes in all of the above fun colors. When you're not traveling, it would also look great thrown over the back of a side chair and the best part is it's only $50. 

Books & Movies to Get You in the Mood - Florence

 I thought I would start a new category on this blog for inspirational movies to watch before you travel, and books to read either before your vacation, or to pack in your suitcase. So, without further ado:

Florence, Italy

What to Watch Before You Go
A Room With A View - One of the most Romantic movies of all time, set in one of the most beautiful cities in the world. It will make you want to roam the Italian countryside and kiss foppish English men. Key scenes in the movie are filmed in the Piazza Della Signora, Santa Croce, and Fiesole (the countryside outside Florence.)

Books to Pack in Your Suitcase: 
1. Birth of Venus, by Sarah Dunant - This book is set during the Renaissance in Florence, at the time when the Medici were over thrown, and Savonarola ruled the city. The plot gets a bit soapy, but the historical details are accurate and fascinating, particularly the depiction of the Bonfire of the Vanities. After reading the book, you can visit Savonarola's cell (along with his hair shirt) at San Marco Church in Florence. 

2. Portrait of A Lady, by Henry James - I read this book on my first trip to Italy and loved it. The heroine travels the continent, but spends a good deal of time in Florence.

3. A Room With A View, by E.M. Forster - See above. Even if you've watched the movie, the book is still wonderful.

The Violet Hour Bar - Chicago

When I asked my friend Norm what bars he would recommend in Chicago, he immediately suggested The Violet Hour, and I think this bar is right up my alley.  The glamorous decor has the look of a French salon, combined with the coziness of an English Library, and the delicious sounding drinks include The Honeysuckle and The Fox Hunt. Food and Wine calls The Violet Hour one of the top bars in the country, and it already has one of my requisites for a perfect bar: a fireplace!