Category Archives: Travel

Hump Day Hacks: How To Luxe Up Coach

Happy Wednesday! This showed up in my in-box, and while it’s a sponsored post promoting Amazon products, I thought there were some good ideas for adding comfort to a less-than-luxurious coach experience.  CLICK HERE

Plus, some tried-and-true tips:

  • For a late evening or overnight flight, bring makeup remover pads to clean your face (yes, men, too). Then, pat on a creamy, heavy duty moisturizer to combat airplane dryness
  • Lavender-scented hand cream is pampering as well as soothing
  • Compression socks help prevent leg cramps and DVTs (deep vein thrombosis)
  • A small roll-on arnica pain reliever (preferably not too smelly!) —  try Cryoderm or BioFreeze — for the back of your neck, upper shoulders, and anywhere else you can easily reach
  • A lightweight cashmere shawl can function as a wrap, blanket, or be rolled into a pillow
  • Disposable hotel slippers — another layer between you and the less-than-pristine carpeting
  • Sleep mask, preferably silk. Even when the plane is dark, there’s always light coming from someone’s computer or TV screen.
sea of clouds

Photo by Shane Kell on Pexels.com

Unboxing: One of Life’s Small Pleasures

I’m a sucker for a great presentation.  And what’s more enjoyable than ordering something you want or need, and having it arrive beautifully packaged? Suddenly, it’s a special occasion that’s all about YOU.

My old passport case was getting a bit ratty, and it was a dark brown, always difficult to find in my bag. I finally found what I wanted online and decided to treat myself.

  1. Plain carton arrives.  I know what’s in it so no surprise there, right?
  2. But… when I open it, a beautiful card pops up on the lid.IMG-1347.jpg
  3. Cool! This has my initials on it. IMG-13484. A box within a box…IMG-13495. And now, the box my item is actually in….IMG-13506. Safely protected in its little pouch…IMG-13517.  The perfect shade of red.IMG-13528. With lots of room for credit cards and money too.IMG-1353 (1).jpg

Why shouldn’t something practical also be beautiful? Just looking at this makes me eager to plan my next trip abroad.

Treat yourselves to a great weekend, dear readers! xoxo, Alisa

In Praise of the Bolide, a “Stealth” Hermès Bag

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Can anything “Hermès” ever be truly under the radar?

While those of us who are familiar (dare I posit, “obsessed”?) with the brand can likely identify almost any bag, belt, piece of jewelry etc. the house makes, even someone uninterested in fashion can likely recognize a Kelly or Birkin bag, due to endless media coverage of the KarTrashians, et. al.  For some, the association with celebrities — and the difficulty of buying these styles without a long relationship with a boutique sales associate — can make these bags too “in your face” and diminish the appeal of even the most beautiful design.

What to do if you love the house but don’t want to be seen as someone who buys into the hype? In my opinion, the Bolide offers the perfect combination of Hermès history and impeccable craftsmanship in a style less likely to telegraph your income or invite unwanted commentary. It’s also a more user-friendly style than the fussy Kelly or the “I’m so wealthy I can leave my bag open and not worry about pickpockets” Birkin.

The Bolide bag has a glamorous yet practical history, dating back to 1923 when Emile-Maurice Hermès created it for his wife — the first handbag designed with a newfangled invention called the zipper.

In 1916, M. Hermès had traveled across North America. In the course of these travels, he met Henry Ford, toured his many automobile factories, and discovered an ingenious fastening mechanism used on the cloth top of a car. Hermès returned to Paris with a two-year patent for the zipper, planning to adapt this odd skeletal sliding system for use on leather goods, hand luggage, and suitcases.

By 1923, the French fashion house was ready to introduce a carryall that replaced traditional metal clasps with a zippered compartment. This simple yet innovative motoring bag kept jewelry and other valuables safe at high speeds, and could be easily stowed in the trunk of a sports car.

Originally called the sac pour l’auto, the bag was later renamed the Bolide, the 16th-century word for meteor. As automobiles became more ubiquitous and the Bolide design was adopted and customized for car, train and transatlantic travel, Hermès became associated with speed and elegance in motion.

A smaller version — a true handbag rather than a carryall or travel case — debuted in 1982 with its characteristic dome shape, single zip closure, removable leather shoulder strap and a padlock with keys in a leather covering called a clochette.

Hermès is known for its many different leathers* — some no longer produced — which give the Bolide two distinctive shapes and look. Mou, in soft leather such as taurillon clemence, tends to be more casual, while the Rigide is sturdier and harder.

Often spotted in Paris and Tokyo, the Bolide remains a timeless example of understated chic. Plus, I love the fact that you can buy online if you don’t happen to live near a boutique. With the current trend towards smaller bags, the 31cm and 27cm are perfect day sizes depending on how much you lug around with you, while the mini 1923 is a really cute evening option. The larger 35cm, not available on the Hermès website these days, is often available (and less expensive than the 31cm) on the secondary market. And if you’re looking for a larger travel or business size bag, the 45cm can easily fit a small laptop computer or iPad.

L’amour, toujours!

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Bleu Abysse taurillon clemence “mou”, left. Rouge H vache liegée “rigide”, right.

 

*Current Bolide leathers, per the Hermès website:

Volupto calfskin (1923 Mini)

A transparent, very sensual, delicately satiny heritage leather similar to the leather used for clothing. Its extreme suppleness and minuscule, barely visible grain are the result of a long drumming procedure.
First appeared in the collections: 2013
Appearance: Quite smooth; satiny; mottled; clearly visible natural characteristics; subtly contrasting wrinkles
Feel: Silky and slightly waxy
Hand: Very supple; no roundness; richly sensual; full
Change over time: Softens; acquires a patina; darkens; becomes shinier in areas most handled. Gains resistance as patina develops

Swift calfskin (Bolide 27)

This extremely supple, sophisticated leather is named after Jonathan Swift, the author of Gulliver’s Travels, to highlight its resemblance to Gulliver calfskin, which no longer features in today’s collections.
First appeared in the collections: 2004
Appearance: Almost smooth with a delicate shine; lightly marked grain that is sometimes hardly noticeable
Feel: Soft and tender
Hand: Supple and generous
Change over time: Becomes even more supple

Taurillon Clemence leather (Bolide 31)

Named in tribute to the daughter of the designer who introduced it into the collections, this leather was developed for luggage and is the ultimate example of a grained leather that has been drummed. This process softens the skin and brings a generous grain to the surface.
First appeared in the collections: 1992
Appearance: Semi-matt, generous and irregular grain
Feel: Soft and smooth
Hand: Yielding
Change over time: Becomes more supple

Taurillon Novillo leather (Bolide 1923 – 30)

This leather has a tiny marked grain and is appealingly responsive at heart. In Spain, where this leather originates, “novillo” means “bullcalf”.
First appeared in the collections: 2015
Appearance: Tiny, uniform grain and a satin effect
Feel: Waxy
Hand: Supple, full and responsive
Change over time: Becomes satiny and more supple

 

Good News Monday: Praise for Pinot Noir

Here in Oregon, we drink a lot of pinot noir, since there are so many wineries (more than 700 now) making delicious wine.

I was happy to discover that pinot noir is one of the healthiest wine options to choose, the caveat being, of course, “if you drink in moderation”.  (Spoilsports!)

According to an article in the Baltimore Sun, the much-touted healthfulness of red wine is largely due to its antioxidants. Resveratrol, part of a group of compounds called polyphenols, lowers the risk of cancer, stroke, and heart disease, among other benefits.

For you non-drinkers, resveratrol is also found in peanuts and berries.

Among red wines, pinot noir has the highest concentration of resveratrol. And, as a top sommelier explains in the article, “Although virtually all red wines have almost no residual sugar, pinot noir typically has a lower initial sugar level before fermentation, resulting in a wine with less alcohol and fewer calories than, say, your average cabernet. [With] its thin skin, pinot noir has fewer tannins, which, while they may have some health benefits of their own, can cause trouble for those susceptible to heartburn.”

Cheers to a great week ahead!

person pouring wine into wine glass

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Lost and Found

I’ve always had a terrible habit of hiding things in “safe” places, only to forget where I’ve put them. Keys wind up on a hook under a hat, jewelry can turn up in coat pockets, a dressy wallet might be in a bag I’ve stopped carrying. I had a near-panic attack when I first got engaged to DH and couldn’t find my engagement ring… forgetting that I’d taken it off to put in my purse because we hadn’t gone public yet.

This sort of thing happens especially when guests are expected, and I’m straightening up in a rush. On days like these, every drawer in my desk becomes a “junk drawer” and stray shoes live under the bed until I have time to put them back where they belong.

For months, I’ve been baffled by the location of some books I bought last year in anticipation of our month- long journey to the UK. I’m a huge fan of Alexander McCall Smith‘s writing, and have been slowly working my way through his delightful 44 Scotland Street series, savoring each one.

I’d read the first four novels and purchased the rest, planning to read the next three on the trip.  But in the chaos of moving house last year (which necessitated having to pack four months in advance) the books never made it into my suitcase.  I assumed I’d left them in storage. After we returned from the UK, moved to the new house and unpacked all our boxes, books #8-onward turned up, but #s 5, 6 and 7 were still MIA. I concluded that I’d left them at our summer house but when I looked for them last month I couldn’t find them here either.

Giving up, I recently ordered book #5 (which I’m currently reading) and figured I’d just have to buy the others.

Today, I moved a file box that was sitting on top of another box in my little home office area and — surprise — books 5, 6 and 7 were grinning up at me! I have no idea why I put them there instead of in the bookcase. Overall, this is a good thing, except that it costs nearly as much to return my duplicate Amazon purchase, so I guess I’m stuck with two copies.

Random question: Why do we say we “lose” our tempers? Isn’t our bad temper kept nicely under wraps most of the time until we get angry and it comes out; i.e. we find— and unleash — it? Maybe the origin of the phrase was to “let loose” our temper? Or if not, it should be.

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Travel Safety: This App May Help

Did any of you see the recent news story about a woman who was savagely attacked while staying at a posh Dominican Republic resort? Here’s a travel safety suggestion from Voyages of Mine.  I’ll be checking out this very apt app as soon as I have a chance.

Have a happy — and safe — weekend! xo, Alisa

woman standing inside alley tunnel

Photo by Gantas Vaičiulėnas on Pexels.com

Good News Monday: It’s a Jungle Out There

Some animal populations are on the upswing again. (These are, too.)

  • African elephants, Chad
  • Channel Island foxes, California
  • Beavers, Scotland
  • Mountain gorillas, Rwanda/Uganda
  • West Indian manatees, Florida
  • Blue iguanas, Cayman Islands
  • Asiatic lions, India

                                                                     (All images, Pixabay)