Desired Destination: Morocco

01/10/2012 § 2 Comments

When the weather turns cooler, my wanderlust for warmer climates always picks up.  I’ve frequently forgone the usual trip home for Thanksgiving in favor of a long international journey somewhere warm.  Last year it was Argentina, two years before that I went to Egypt, and lately my mind has returned to North Africa.  Morocco has officially made its way to the very top of my Desired Destination shortlist somehow, fueled at least in part by the images and inspiration I have been collecting on Pinterest.

My trip to the Maghreb probably isn’t all that far off with flights hovering around $1,000 and no annoying visa procedure for US citizens, but until that day comes,  you can find me wandering among my pictures, wistfully wishing for the smell of fragrantly perfumed tobacco, oranges and coriander, the taste of mint tea and dates, the feel of crisp linen against my body and cool tiled floors beneath my feet, and the sound of the call to prayer at dawn and the souk at dusk.

The harbor town of Essaouira.

Dying to stay at L’Heure Bleue hotel in Essaouira…gorgeous!

Marrakech, the Ochre City.

YSL in Morocco.

YSL at home in Marrakech, what is now known as the Majorelle Garden.


All images via Pinterest.

Quite Continental Desired Destinations
~*~Travel Charmingly

Travel Kit || The Louis Vuitton “100 Legendary Trunks” App

10/05/2012 § Leave a comment

I’ve long admired Louis Vuitton’s “100 Legendary Trunks” project (you can see my previous posts on the splendid book and the exhibit at Musée Carnavalet in Paris).  The book was curated by authors Pierre Léonforte and Éric Pujalet-Plaà, and is a collection of over 600 images — some from the LV archives, some taken especially for this project — of the 100 most spectacular trunks and cases created on commission by Louis Vuitton, with owners including Douglas Fairbanks, Karl Lagerfeld, Ernest Hemingway, and Damien Hirst.

If the pricetag of the tome (normally $125, but currently $86 on Amazon) has put you off from purchasing it, I have good news, if you own an iPad.  Packaged in what appears to be an exceptionally manipulable — and so very pretty! — format, you can now experience the 100 Legendary Trunks as an app!  And the best part, it’s only $19.  Head here to purchase it from iTunes.

So while the app may not offer the comforting and luxurious heft of a coffee table book, and an iPad doesn’t exactly look quite as outwardly interesting while sitting on your bookcase, granted, it is worth noting that the app means this exceptional media on the subject of travel, is now perfectly positioned to tag along on your globe trotting.  In fact, I think it’d be the perfect companion…

~*~For further Travel Kit posts, head here.~*~

Field Notes || A Long Los Angeles Weekend

29/04/2012 § 3 Comments

As I mentioned last week, I scooted off to Los Angeles to surprise my family and enjoy a long weekend in my hometown.  Armed with an exceptionally affordable rental car that I had to fill with exceptionally expensive gas, I bopped around from Manhattan Beach to Porter Ranch, and from Santa Monica to Downtown.  And while I will admit that while I am on the East Coast I frequently have moments when I miss driving, a few minutes of sitting on the 405 definitely cured me of that for awhile…but it didn’t keep me from visiting some great places.

Breakfast at the counter at John O’Groats, a westside institution.
Don’t miss their biscuits.

Drinks at the Beverly Wilshire.

Manhattan Beach.

Where the car is king, you can’t help having so many good sightings…

A very foggy Sepulveda Pass.

An evening in Beachwood Canyon with Lizzie: dinner at Franklin & Company,
browsing at Counterpoint Records, peeking in the doors of the Villa Carlotta.

Cole’s, originators of the French Dip sandwich.

Bourbon drinks at Cole’s with Nick.

Breakfast at the Fountain Coffee Room at the Beverly Hills Hotel.

A very stylish makeover, courtesy of my nieces.

An excellent travel companion: Bag by The San Fernando Mercantile Company

Field Notes || Argentine Polo Open

27/03/2012 § 3 Comments

Taken at the 2011 Argentine Open Polo Tournament on my trip to Buenos Aires.  The fifth-oldest polo competition in the world, the tournament was first played in 1893.  For more information, visit Asociación Argentina de Polo.

Quite Continental Charm School: Day 25 — Travel Light

25/02/2012 § 6 Comments

The Quite Continental Charm School
A modern guide to creating a charmed life
Image via the George Eastman House.

Day 25: Travel Light
On the topic of travel, we’ve already discussed what you should wear while you travel and keeping a journal, but I still wanted to touch on what I consider my best trick for a charming voyage, no matter if it is for a weekend or a month: always travel light.

I honestly can’t remember the last time I checked a bag on a plane, but it isn’t — thankfully — because I have a harrowing story of losing my cases on a trip.  I’ve been blessed to have never lost anything while travelling — knock on wood.  Instead, it was born from two distinct recognitions: First, that I have a definite lack of patience when it comes to travel: no patience to wait for the baggage carousel to fire up, no patience for dragging around heavy rollies in crowded train stations, no patience for checking in bags.  But second, and perhaps more importantly, I noticed a growing desire for simplicity while I was travelling.  I realized I didn’t need to drag along endless individual options in an overstuffed bag, but rather a multipurpose uniform that contained endless combinations.

I’ve since made two week trips to Cairo, London, Paris and Buenos Aires, all with only a carry-on.  While the ease in getting around while on the trip is refreshing, I must admit the hands down best part of travelling light is stepping through customs and heading straight for the taxi queue — don’t even give that baggage carousel a second glance!

A few tips to help you travel light:

  • When packing, first, pick a single color scheme: that way, everything will match everything.  Then, set out everything you want to bring, and try to cut it in half.  Get comfortable with the idea that you will repeat items.  Plan to do laundry while you are travelling and streamline your choices even further.
  • Ladies, your secret weapon is a single dress that can be dressed up or down.  Nice dinner? Add heels and a clutch. Casual walkabout? Throw a chambray shirt on over it and belt it at the waist.
  • Only bring the toiletries you absolutely cannot live without.  In most places, you can buy the basics.  If possible, stockpile samples of your essential items — they pack excellently.

How do you pack?  Do you travel light?

The Quite Continental Charm School
A modern guide to creating a charmed life

Desired Destination: Palazzo Margherita

21/02/2012 § 1 Comment

The Palazzo Margherita, located in the town of Bernalda, Italy was built in 1892 by the Margherita family.  Purchased in 2004 by Francis Ford Coppola, the palazzo has been transformed into a tiny (only nine guestrooms) luxury hotel with the kind of interiors that give me heart palpitations.  No staid adherence to one single style here, rather it is the combination of the expertise of Parisian designer Jacques Grance and the input of members of the Coppola clan.  This gorgeous hotel has a cosmopolitan and sophisticated feel, with a healthy dose of Belle Époque.

Hello salon, I think I love you…

…oh yes, it’s quite official now.

The owner of other small hotels in Belize, Guatemala, Argentina and New Orleans, this property was a labor of love for Coppola, as his grandfather, Agostino Coppola, was born in the town of Bernalda.  Bernalda, a small hilltop town near the Ionian Sea in the Bazilicata region of Southern Italy, is not a major tourist attraction, which I think makes this dramatically luxurious hotel even more alluring.  Can you not imagine long lazy days wandering the countryside and exploring the town, lounging in the sun by the pool, soaking in those glorious tubs?

I definitely can.

The Palazzo was also featured in the March 2012 World of Interiors.

Palazzo Margherita
Corso Umberto 64
75012 Bernalda (MT)

Quite Continental Desired Destinations
~*~Travel Charmingly~*~
All images via Palazzo Margherita and the WSJ.

Quite Continental Charm School: Day 15 — Keep a Travel Journal

15/02/2012 § 5 Comments

The Quite Continental Charm School
A modern guide to creating a charmed life

Charles A. Lindbergh’s flight journal. Photo by George Silk.

Editor’s Note: I’m very pleased to introduce our next guest speaker!  Jen Swetzoff is a writer, editor, mommy and the founder of the travel blog Parenture (parenting + adventure) where she focuses on family-friendly vacations, the best gear for families on the go and gives her readers an inside look at the places she travels to with her husband and her daughter, Baby E.

A secret: how I know Jen differs from all of our guest speakers thus far.  Ours is a friendship that predates either of our blogs, in fact — I met Jen very soon after my arrival in New York, and we worked together for some time.  I’m especially in awe (jealous) of the fact that she has travelled to twenty countries on six different continents in the last ten years.  And while I am not a mom myself, the locations that Jen suggests, especially those upstate, almost automatically get added to my to do list.  If you are not yet familiar with Jen or Parenture, it is my pleasure to introduce you.

Without any further ado, Jen’s tip for a charmed life.


Day 15: Keep a Travel Journal
Honestly, writing often feels like the last thing I want to do on vacation. But I do it anyway. Because no matter what other souvenirs I carry home, my travel journal ends up being the most treasured. Cameras are amazing, and I always pack one of those, too, but they’re predictable. Reliable. They always do the same thing and do it well. They capture clear and accurate moments of time–instants really, that exist and then fade away–and make them stand still forever. Which is great for people like me with crappy memories.

But words, written in our own sloppy handwriting, are fluid and imprecise and subjective. Which makes them either hilarious or profound in retrospect. Even when I’m not in the mood to put pen to paper (both of which I always have in my bag, locally and on the road), the right travel journal–a brand new book–is inspiring. Its openness gives me the same sense of hope that planning a trip does. On its pages, I can think, dream, remember, record, realize. Because anything’s possible on a blank page. Anything can happen on a great adventure. So even if you don’t have a trip planned yet, get yourself a travel journal.

Here are a few of my favorites to get you going:

Hands down, this Smythson is the classiest travel journal on the market. For some reason, it makes me think of Out of Africa. But I gotta say, I like the pretty pink version too.

I love a classic Moleskin, with all its literary history, but this company just gets better with age. Have you seen the new Moleskin travel journal?

The colorful and lighthearted journals from Archie Grand just make me smile.

Loving this adventurous notebook as well.  It’s also a Moleskin, but has been screen printed by the lovely print shop and design studio Fifi du Vie

Bon voyage!

by Jen Swetzoff, of Parenture.


The Quite Continental Charm School
A modern guide to creating a charmed life

Quite Continental Charm School: Day 11 — Travel Elegantly

11/02/2012 § 8 Comments

The Quite Continental Charm School
A modern guide to creating a charmed life
Image via The Nationaal Archief in The Hague.

Day 11: Travel Elegantly
It isn’t a revelation that clothing has become much more informal over the past half century or so.  While I definitely don’t advocate a return to outdated social mores, I do believe that missing from much of the fashion one observes on the street today is a certain sense of pride, a certain je ne sais quois, and that it is high time for a revival.

It used to be that the event of travel was occasion to look exceptional, and rightly so — a trip was a special treat, an exciting adventure. Travellers endeavored to put their best foot forward as they explored new territories.  You can find countless old pictures of women in gloves and men in hats, boarding trains and ships and airplanes.  Comparing those pictures to the houses of horrors that are now our airports and train stations, can be bit difficult to reconcile.

Therefore, today’s tip suggests that it is charming to travel elegantly:

  • First the restricted items: No tracksuits, no pajamas, no leggings as pants, no boxer shorts as shorts, no basketball shorts, no yoga wear, no slippers, no Uggs, no flip flops.  None of them.  Never.  Not to travel in (and some never ever).  If you can’t manage to put real clothes on your body, you really ought to stay home until you can.  Your aim should be for timeless, elegant clothes that will travel well.
  • Most months (excepting winter), you will need to travel with a lightweight coat, something that can be tucked away in the overhead easily, but cover most of your body when worn.  For these needs, a basic trench is perfect. (See also: 2011’s 28 Days: The Trench)
  • Layers are important, due to fluctuating temperatures.  I frequently wear a scarf that can double as a wrap or lap blanket, in case of a chill.
  • Slip on shoes are best, for security checkpoints and for removal while seated in miniature coach seats.  Remember to bring a pair of socks in your tote if you aren’t wearing any.
  • Dark trousers are key.  If you are only travelling for a few hours, denim is perfectly fine — provided they don’t look like you should be weeding the garden or fronting a punk band.  Best: well-fitting, straight legged, dark indigo.  For longer hauls, chinos are much more comfortable.

A suggested elegant travel kit:
Burberry double-breasted trench coat

Levi’s Made and Crafted Worker blazer

J.Crew Minnie pant in stretch twill

Brooks Brothers classic fit non-iron dress shirt

Citizens of Humanity Elson straight leg jean

Aubin & Wills Emmerson cotton cardigan

DKNY croc-effect belt

Pilcro Trinket Flats, bee

J.Crew silk-cashmere wrap

Ralph Lauren keyhole sunglasses

Moynat signature tote

Bon voyage!

Image via the State Archives of Florida.
The Quite Continental Charm School
A modern guide to creating a charmed life

Rabbit Hole: Vintage Travel Posters

28/01/2012 § 1 Comment

In love!

A beautiful collection of vintage travel posters is currently available at Vintage Seekers.  To view and purchase these and more, head here.

Desired Destination: Yosemite National Park

27/01/2012 § 3 Comments

Too amazing not to share.  Definitely watch this full screen!
Via Project Yosemite.

Would you believe I was born and raised in California and have yet to visit Yosemite National Park?  After viewing this, our very first national park (technically, as it was created in 1864, ahead of Yellowstone in 1872) has made a massive jump on my shortlist of Desired Destinations.

Have you been?  Should I camp?*

*Please note that I have never once in my life been camping.**
**My Mother would beg to differ on this point (please see below).   I shall respond by saying that spending a weekend in a massive RV with a microwave and cable television is not really camping.

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