With only one day and one night in Ravello, we had to be very selective in where to eat. That meant making a beeline for Rossellinis (and by make a beeline, I mean making a reservation way in advance. This is not the type of place you can just roll up to).
Rossellinis is located in Palazzo Avino hotel (another 11th century palace, seriously, Ravello is spoiled with beautiful old palazzos) and after eating dinner there, it was clear why they have two Michelin stars.
The experience is formal, fine dining. The night turned stormy, so we sat inside the restaurant at a wonderful table looking out onto the terrace. The little touches were really profound. Each table had a figurine on it that added to the character of the restaurant. Tables also have a tiny couch for women to place their purses on so that our bags don’t dare touch the floor. It is as if every one of your whims and fancies had been considered well before your arrival. The staff is just superb – friendly and very knowledgeable about their menu. We found that our waiter and the sommelier were very attentive and helpful in guiding our choices.
We had a modified tasting menu of sorts at Rossellinis, which allowed us to sample much of the region’s standout dishes as well as Rossellinis famed offerings. Let’s start at the very beginning, shall we? Once you sit down, we were greeted with a wonderful glass of champagne and one of the waiters will approach you with a giant tray of artisan breads and ask you to pick which ones you’d like to try. This tray was unbelievable with choices of whole grain, olive bread, focaccia, you name it. Normally, I skip the bread, but we were in Italy. Then, an amuse bouche was sent out which was immaculately presented almost so nicely that I felt bad eating it.
As a starter, I had a delicious amberjack fish dish (pictured above). Amberjack is a popular local white fish that is meaty in texture. It was absolutely divine and was paired with a soft cheese, which seemed unusual on the menu, but worked extremely well together.
The boyfriend had quail served six ways, which just just stunning and delicious. It was served with dry fruit, as a macaron, with fried egg, etc. This was one of the most intricate and visually appealing dishes of the night.
Between our appetizers and main courses, we shared a risotto. This is hands down the fanciest and best risotto I’ve ever had. In the center of both of our plates, there was a gelatin square that served as a pad for caviar, edible flower and other seafood. The rice was cooked just right and the flavored were spot on.
For my main dish, I opted for grilled John Dory fish with goat cheese and green chili peppers. The fish was cooked perfectly and was white and flaky. It came with sautéed tomatoes that added some sweetness to the herbs.
The boy had a bacon and basil crusted white fish that was packed with tons of flavor. It had a tasy foam that went wit as well.
Dessert was also a show stopper. Normally, after consuming 10,000 calories in on sitting I would skip dessert. But, hey, I was in one of the nicest restaurants in all of Italy.we had a sampling of macarons, chocolate cake, sorbet and other goodies.
If you are looking for a dinner in the Amalfi Coast where you want to pull all the stops, this is it. Rosselini’s is fine dining at its best. The menu is curated in such a way that you can sample all of the flavor a from the region, and the attention to detail regarding presentation and service is just unmatched. Some tips: make sure to make a reservation well in advance, splurge for the wine pairings, consider the tasting menu, and most importantly– come hungry!
Continuing our vacation, we stayed a week in Italy’s Amalfi Coast — an area I’ve dreamed of staying since I was a child. The trip totally lived up to my expectations, and they were HIGH.
We started in Ravello, which is a stunning part of the Amalfi Coast at the highest point that provides the most amazing views of the coast. It can be a bit of a trek to get to, but I can’t stress enough how happy I am we spent a day and night in the area before heading down to the beach. A little history — the Amalfi Coast was a very prosperous area because of its location on the Mediteranean which meant a great fishing industry and transportation for trades. But, being on the water made it an area rife with attacks from foreigners looking to plunder the riches in Amalfi. To avoid the attacks, the most wealthy of residents in Amalfi moved up the mountain to Ravello in order to protect themselves. The result is that Ravello full of gorgeous 11th century palaces turned into hotels and restaurants that are truly breathtaking.
One of these converted palaces is now the Hotel Belmond Caruso, which we had the pleasure of lunching at. The Pool Restaurant is on the roof of the hotel next to an infinite pool that appears as if it is hanging over the cliff of a mountain. The pictures don’t do the views justice, which is saying a lot. The ambiance of the restaurant is one of the best we experienced over the two weeks we traveled.
We sat in the sun while sampling the menu which was teeming with mouth-watering dishes and local specialties. On the recommendation of our waiter, we started with a pizza. The restaurant lets the pizza dough rise for 48 hours, meaning that it is light and airy rather than dense and overly filling. We paired the pizza with a white wine called Furore, which is a must-have if you visit the region. It’s a dry, local white wine that became a quick favorite.
We then headed into the kitchen area to help ourselves to a wonderful spread of antipasti ranging from fresh olives, different types of tomatoes, fresh mozzarella balls in a variety of shapes, artichokes marinated anchovies, salads, tuna and other fresh items. This was our first encounter with anchovies from the region, which was one of the highlights. The fresh mozzarella melted in our mouths and the tomatoes were bright red and juicy.
Now, onto our mains (Can you believe we ate this much at lunch?). The Amalfi area is renown for a type of pasta known as Paccheri which are large tubes of pasta best served al dente. The boyfriend ordered the paccheri with a delicious beef ragu and I had the most amazing giant, grilled prawns. They were extremely meaty and fresh.
We ended with a decadent chocolate cake dessert with ice cream.
After our amazing lunch, we received a tour of the hotel and took in the history. The palace at one time belonged to a wealthy family and we appreciated how well the owners preserved the history of the hotel while providing an uber luxurious experience. The property has lovely gardens throughout and seemingly every room — from the breakfast room to the restaurants — has breathtaking views. When upgrading the hotel, workers discovered old frescoes underneath the painted walls. They cleaned and restored the frescoes throughout the building, which was a beautiful sight to see. Painted gryphons are visible throughout the hotel, which are thought to be a family crest of sorts for the original owners. The hotel has even copied some of the gryphons and other designs onto a silk clothing line they’ve created that is available for purchase in the boutique. If you decide to stay at the hotel, there are great services for guests such as daily boat rides on the boat’s 52-foot boat around Amalfi, a spa and fitness center.
I would make the Pool Restaurant a must visit for lunch if you travel to the Amalfi area. Both the food and atmosphere are divine and very memorable. As a bonus, it’s just a quick walk from Villa Cimbrone’s famous gardens, so you can explore those (which I highly recommend) before or after your lunch. Lunch here truly encapsulated the feeling of la dolce vita.
With one day and night in Monte Carlo earlier this month, we had to be be sure to hit all of the culinary hot spots in a short amount of time. That meant lunching at the Cafe Du Paris while people watching the crowds swarming in and out of the casino, and dinner at A’Trego in nearby Cap D’Ail.
A’Trego is a beautiful restaurant on the water overlooking Monaco, where attention to design is as important to their food. The space is designed by famed French designer Philippe Starck and it is a blend of approachable beach chic meets Hamptons and Cote D’Azur. Their are nautical touches throughout the restaurant that play off of the sea view and the sounds of the water.
We loved that it felt like you were in someone’s immaculately appointed home while floating on the sea. There were eclectic pieces like bookshelves, a grand piano, and comfy but stylish couches throughout. We loved the small chandeliers hanging throughout and the white alligator heads near the crown molding.
We opted for a delicious tasting menu so that we could fully sample the fare. As starters, we had a ceasar salad with prawns, a great burrata cheese with fresh tomatoes and a red tuna carpaccio. The burrata was creamy and smooth — a real stand out.
Moving on to mains, we opted for e had a delicious beef tagliata with parmesan cheese and truffles (pictured above). I can’t begin to describe how decadent this dish was and how perfectly cooked the pasta was. We ate every last piece and then soaked up the remaining sauce with some bread.
We also had a sea bass in a salt crust and a delicious duck breast dish (both pictured above). The duck was one of the best duck dishes I’ve ever had. It was super tender and tasty. The crust on the sea bass was a great touch. The meal was followed by three desserts that we struggled to get through because of all of the food we had prior, plus a nice bottle of red.
I would gladly recommend A’Trego. Between the delicious food and beautiful decor, the restaurant really tantalizes all of your senses. Here’s a pro tip: If it’s a nice night, call ahead and request a table outside overlooking the water.
Just off the main stretch of beach in St. Tropez’s Bay of Pampelonne is Nikki Beach, a beach club worth visiting for great music, food and an all around great time.
If you’ve never been to a Nikki Beach before (they have locations in St. Barth, Miami, Cabo San Lucas and other beach towns) here’s what to expect: lots of champagne, beautiful people, gigantic sunbeds and the occasional celebrity spotting. The beach clubs are known for their wild day parties (St. Tropez had an American-themed one and a Superhero theme party — think fun frat party meets lots of money and glamour) and visiting superstar djs where the pool turns into a dance floor.
While the day parties are the main draw for some, I find Nikki Beach to be even more delightful on days where there isn’t an event. I recently visited Nikki Beach St. Tropez on a Tuesday in September and had a blast. (I mean, if it’s good enough for Bono, Cindy Crawford and Roberto Cavalli, all who have parties there, it’s good enough for me) The vibe of the place was more mellow and relaxing with oldies like “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” and “Stand By Me” playing by the pool. I sipped an amazing mojito (seriously, nice job, Nikki Beach. I have a hard time finding good mojitos outside of the US) while lounging in a gorgeous white sunbed poolside.
The beach club has great attention to detail in everything from its color scheme (white, sea blue and bright yellow) to its waitstaff (attentive but not pushy) and the vibe it works so hard to create.
We had lunch at the restaurant at Nikki Beach and were really impressed by the food. We started with a breaded shrimp appetizer which had a sweet and sour chili sauce, that was delicious. The breading was perfect — almost like a tempura. And then we moved on to entrees, and let me say how much I appreciated this — the restaurant knows its clientele. There were so many options on the menu that were low carb or carb free. The boyfriend opted for Tandoori Chicken Brochettes and I had Chicken satay with grilled veggies. (after all, it’s bikini season so we had to keep the carbs at bay.) Both of us were really happy with our choices.
As the day grew later, the pool came more alive. A DJ began spinning more contemporary music and guests ordered magnums of rosé to sip poolside.
Overall, Nikki Beach is a great place to visit either on a more relaxed day with your boyfriend or hubby or on a weekend with a larger group to get table service by the pool. Just remember to dress the part — ladies, that means cute bikinis and cover ups! You won’t be right next to to beach, but with an atmosphere like this, who needs la plage?
Recently, my boyfriend and I were fortunate to spend nearly three weeks traveling around Europe and taking in some of the most beautiful sites. After countless photos, amazing meals, breathtaking views and a little too much rose, I’m sharing our best experiences with you, so that you’ll have a go-to guide on what to do, see and where to stay on your next trips. First, we start with the South of France’s beautiful St. Tropez, where we stayed at the gorgeous Hotel Villa Marie resort.
First, a little about St. Tropez. This glitzy area of the French Riviera is known for glamour, yachts and the rich and famous. It is luxury on steroids and draws huge crowds especially during the summer months because of its great climate and beautiful beaches. Tucked away in St. Tropez is a hidden gem called Hotel Villa Marie. A five minute car ride down to the main stretch of beach, this hotel resides just up a small mountain surrounded by the most gorgeous plants and pine trees you will ever see. The resort, which resembles an Italian villa, has the best of both worlds. From its pool, you can view the yachts sailing on the Bay of Pampelonne while taking in the serenity and beauty of the resort. You can take the resort’s shuttle to St. Tropez’s main village or the beach and restaurants as well.
We stayed in Hotel Villa Marie for two nights in September and had a wonderful experience. The staff is very friendly and accommodating and the hotel’s aesthetic really caters to a luxury experience. The amount of attention the staff and owners pay to detail here is palpable, be it the color scheme they have chosen, the mix of brightly-colored flowers and groomed trees, or the small details that go a long way.
The resort is in the middle of seven acres of pine trees and while laying by the pool, you could hear roosters crowing and water flowing which created as serene an atmosphere as it was beautiful. We spent much of the first day sunbathing by the pool and swimming while taking in the views. The hotel has a restaurant on its premises where we had lunch and some wine that was just delightful.
We had a great room with the most comfortable bed and a beautiful terrace that opened up to pool and ocean views as well as the brightly-colored flowers and pine tress on the grounds. I wrote much of this review from the cozy table and chairs on our terrace while taking the scenery in. One of the highlights of the room for me was the standalone vintage bathtub which was equipped with relaxing bath salts and an eye mask. The rooms also had a shower if you prefer to bathe that way. I really appreciated how the hotel took pains to provide the most updated fixtures and amenities while somehow preserving the integrity of the decor and architectural design of the building.
The hotel is just the right size– just 45 rooms — so that the premises are lively but not at all overrun or crowded. We found it simple to get lounge chairs by the pool or a table with a great view at lunch or dinner. The hotel was a 3-star hotel in its prior life until Maisons & Hotels Sibuet bought the property in 2003 and upgraded it.
Now, let’s get to the food. Weeks and countless desserts later, my boyfriend and I are STILL talking about the dessert we had at Villa Marie’s restaurant, Dolce Vita. We will get to that in a bit. Our first night at the hotel, we dined at the hotel’s restaurant, which is worth visiting even if you aren’t staying at the hotel. We sat outside under a beautiful full moon eating by candlelight. The experience was very romantic and the food itself was just as pleasing. We arrived just in time for the sun to begin to set and we had a rose aperitif as the sky changed to colors of orange and bright pink and purple.
I started with a wonderful risotto with a light, cheese sauce with asparagus and summer truffles. My boyfriend opted for the seafood ceviche (pictured above) which he said is the best he’s ever had. It is made with gilt-head bream, ceviche style with cubes of avocado and crabmeat.
For our mains, I had a perfectly cook filet of sole fish and he opted for the roast filet of beef that had an amazing crust made of basil and pine nuts. The entrees were presented beautifully, and the flavors of each worked very well together. I stuck with the house rosé, which is a must if you visit.
Lastly, the aforementioned dessert. Full disclosure: everything out of the kitchen looked amazing, but I think we chose the best of the best. We ordered a chocolate and orange dessert for two that incorporated rich, dark chocolate and a chocolate mousse of sorts with caramelized oranges and an orange sorbet. The flavors complemented each other so well with the tart and sweet balancing each other out. The dessert was giant, and we were both skeptical we’d be able to finish it when it was presented to us, but we pretty much licked the plate clean.
Each morning we indulged in a delicious breakfast that was a mix of buffet and custom orders. We ate outdoors on a terrace overlooking the hotel while munching on fresh figs, cheeses, yogurt and pastries. We especially loved the area where you could order up omelets, scrambled eggs, waffles and even crepes.
Other details that we loved: the hotel has a gym overlooking the pool that is open 24 hours a day. There is also a lovely spa on the premises with a truly impressive spa menu of treatments ranging from full body massages to facials.
Our suggestions on what to do in the area: Club 55, an exclusive beach club and restaurant, is just a ten minute drive from Villa Marie. Nikki Beach St. Tropez is in the same area and has great sunbeds and a party atmosphere (post to come.) The village of St. Tropez has some wonderful shopping — while we were there a pop-up Chanel was in the main square in an old mansion. Walk by the Port to take in the massive yachts and seaside restaurants.
One thing to keep in mind that is true of all of St. Tropez — cabs are very expensive (40 euro just to go a few miles) so it may make sense to rent a car during your stay to drive to the beach and other restaurants.
A little treat can really go a long way. I’ve been trying to incorporate little luxuries into my work week and have seen big payoffs. These ideas don’t need to be expensive, in fact some of the best little items I found have been inexpensive, but they have definitely brightened up my day and made work fly by faster. I’m sharing mine with you, in the event that you need inspiration, but I’d love to hear yours as well! Leave your thoughts in the comments.
A few months ago, I started picking up fresh flowers from my grocer under my apartment building. I did it initially before I had some friends coming over for brunch and I put the flowers in antique alcohol decanters and it gave the brunch a nice, vintage feel. Although the flowers were meant to spruce up the apartment for my guests, I found myself coming home after long days at work and smiling at the brightly-colored flowers. The next week, I bought so more, and soon a new little ritual was started. My favorite thing to do now is to buy two bouquets from the grocer and mix and match the variety and colors whether it be bright yellow sunflowers or violet peonies. I cut the stems myself and create arrangements that last a week, and each bunch is usually $5 to $7.
My next little ritual may sound a bit out of character for me. If you read this blog, you know I’m a big fan of spa days, but lately I find that I need a little bit of help in between them. The nail salon I regularly go to for manicures and pedicures also gives chair massages. I find that these 15-minute massages are a great way to relieve stress and reset yourself in between larger spa days. Some days, I pop into the salon after a day of work for a quick (and cheap!) chair massage.
I’ve become a big lover of Rose this past summer. Something about the crisp wine brings back great memories of the beach, friends, cookouts and all things summer. Each Friday night, the boyfriend and I have been stopping by our local wine shop to pick up a few different bottles of Rose to try at home. We’ll open a bottle after work or drink it with our dinner. I know in a few months when it gets colder outside that we’ll cherish these sips while thinking over summer memories.
Lastly, I had never been a huge fan of baths but have become a late adopter. Make sure you’re well stocked on bubble bath, candles and a good book and you can’t go wrong. For me, it’s been a nice way to decompress and get some reading time. Sometimes, I’ll even put on a clay mask while I soak.
More and more often, my girlfriends have been having their hen dos/ bachelorette parties in Las Vegas, Atlantic City and Caribbean Islands where gambling has a stronghold. At first, this left me stumped as to what to wear on these trips, but I quickly figured out a style guide that will have you fit right in and also allow you to transition to other activities. The truth is that as long as you are smart/casual, you will be fine. The important thing is to look smart and neat and avoid anything that will make you look scruffy such as torn jeans or anything that looks overly old or worn. Many people nowadays choose to play casino games at websites such as http://www.MobileCasinoAustralia.com.au, so if you’re one of them, hopefully we can give you a few pointers as to what to wear in a land-based casino.
If you’re not quite how to strike the smart/casual look, think of ways to dress down your more formal looks. For example, for men, ditch the tie and open the top buttons of your shirt of your suit, or you could lose the blazer and instead put on a v neck sweater over your shirt for a trendy angle on the outfit.
Ladies can opt for a dress but, try to steer away from anything too revealing.
A little black dress always goes down well and if it is summer time, you could easily wear a casual summer dress and add some nice heels and jewellery to add some flair.
On the other hand you could opt for a skirt and blouse if you aren’t interested in wearing dresses. Elegance is important especially if you are looking to take part in the games such as poker or blackjack because what you wear adds to the psychology of the game. Jeans can be smart casual but only if they are trendy and not ripped or overly ‘funky’. For example for women, skinny jeans are the height of fashion and can look very attractive when paired with high heels and a blazer and vest. Baggy jeans styles aren’t a very smart look on the other hand so that wouldn’t work.
Festival season may be over, but one lasting fashion statement from it will be hippie like headgear. From strung together flowers to gold headbands that parted in the middle, these looks have gained traction.
How stunning is this Goddess Head Wrap from Urban Outfitters? I love the dainty strands on it. It is $19.
I’ve noticed a lot of brides incorporating flower crowns into their weddings and I love this idea. It photographs so prettily. I love the hair wreath above from Etsy. It’s just $10.
Also a big fan of this head wrap wig the feathered look. It’s $20 here.
If you open your eyes and take a good look while on your daily routine, you will notice something brilliant happening that is likely to catch steam this fall. Women are sporting Sex and the City-esque tulle skirts. Picture Carrie Bradshaw’s iconic tulle mini in the opening of SATC but make it midi length and more A-line.
We decided to try out the trend in a work environment by pairing it with a cute cardigan and it was an instant success. Also, I’m convinced that dressing like a pseudo-ballerina made my day go by faster and made me happier. The look isn’t for all settings, but is a cute, feminine way to breathe life into your wardrobe and pair it with sweaters you already own.
Convinced yet? Here are some of our favorite skirts to complete the look. Many of the nicest skirts are sold out, likely in the closets of fashionistas. But, the ones we recommend below are all in stock!
My absolutely favorite (and the one I own) is this Gretta Tulle Skirt in lavender from Alexandra Grecco. Everything about this skirt works for me. The color is just beautiful, I like the silk waistband, it has just enough layers but too much tulle. It’s on sale now for $148.
We also really like this soft pink Needle & Thread skirt from Asos for $106.
The crop top trend is not for the faint of heart. To be honest, 75% of the people I see rocking the trend on the street aren’t pulling it off. We’ve decided to take a cue from our favorite celebs who have been sporting the crop top in a tasteful way as a guide on how to wear them right. Enjoy!
All hail Queen Bey, who is queen of the crop top. Beyonce’s Instagram is full of pictures of her sporting the loop, and often times she is wearing the same top she is wearing in this photo in different colors. It’s just $12 at Top Shop, and editor’s confession: I own it in black. (Get it here) Beyoncé paired the crop top with a high-waisted skirt which shows off a sliver of tummy flesh but not too much. Look for high-waisted pencil skirts to complete the look.
Let’s be real: Pretty Little Liar’s Shay Mitchell literally looks great in anything. We especially love this crop top pairing from her. With crop tops, it’s OK to be match-matchy. We love celebs who pair the same print top to bottom which almost looks like a cutout dress.
For the really daring, wear a bralette as a crop top paired with high-waisted shorts or a skirt a la Selena Gomez.
Miranda Kerr’s loose-fitting crop top looks great paired with a pencil skirt.
Next month, Target will introduce its newest capsule collection with designer Joseph Altuzarra. I’m not a fan of being negative, but I do have to say that I think Target’s once-brilliant experiment pairing high-fashion brands and everyday prices has lost its way. Earlier collections were brilliant. We lined up for the Phillip Lim collection and Missoni’s. But, I was really underwhelmed by Peter Pilotto, and same goes for this Altuzarra collection, which looks really dated to me. Don’t met me wrong, we love his runway collection pictured above, but it doesn’t seem to translate into this new collection.
I’ll let you be the judge. Let us know what you think after scanning some of the photos below. Will you be lining up September 14th for this collection?
Summer aint over yet, and at BellaVitaStyle, we are praying for a warm September in New York. I’ve been on an Aztec-print binge lately. I find the colorful patterns really flattering and versatile, and I’ve been mixing elements of it into my summer wardrobe the last few months. Here are some pieces that can help you stay on trend, as well!
How darling is this Mara Hoffman Bikini set in a Jungle Trip Print? I’ve become a huge fan of the brand’s bright patterns in swimwear, and also their gorgeous column dresses.
I’ve just bought this
This Adonis Knit Dress from Hale Bob mixes a great print with a Greek feel. I love the neckline on this and the column silhouette.
This daring bikini is for the girl who is unafraid of tan lines. Seriously, the print and cutouts are a perfect mix, just make sure to remove the straps every once in a while to avoid bad tan lines. The top is on sale for $38!
It’s August and many of us, including yours truly, are gearing up for vacation. My girlfriends and I pride ourselves on our packing skills for holiday. There are essentials that every girl needs on a beach holiday, and we’re here to help to take the stress out of it.
I’ve become a big fan of British label Joules and have used their Vacation Shop as a great resource for all things holiday. Here are some of our must-haves:
We love that the one-piece swimsuit has come back in a major way this season. These updated versions of the standard one-piece which was once relegated to old ladies are sexy and more sophisticated. Want to get in on the trend? We love this French Navy Bouquet halter swimsuit. It’s marked down to just $26
The maxi dress has to be the most versatile piece in my summer wardrobe and I always make sure to pack at least one on my trips to the beach. I love this striped Jersey Beach Dress. You could easily wear it as a cover up on the beach or out in the evening, or it could multitask for you from day to night. It costs $43 here.
I always pack a pair of good flip flops for the pool and beach. I love the femme pattern on these Maria Border Parisian flip flops.
I always pack a few nighttime dresses for the evenings and dinner. I get my maxi dresses to do double duty, and also wear them at night, but some evenings I want a more dressed up look. I like this Pip Floral dress because the shift nature of it allows the fabric to breathe and it’s made of cotton and linen, which is perfect for a warm or humid night. It’s $77.
A trip to the beach is incomplete without a good beach tote. I always opt for a canvas one, for one simple reason – they’re washable and you can get all of the sand out of your belongings before heading home. Trust me on this one. This beach-themed tote is just the thing. And, it’s just $14.
Don’t forget these other essentials to pack in the bag: A good SPF, moisturizer, lip balm and of course, a good beach read! I recommend Beautiful Ruins.
I’m on a jewelry kick and have unearthed some amazing new brands I need to share. Lately I’ve been looking for edgier pieces or twists on classics. These are more contemporary looks that have daggers or statement looks. Here are some great pieces that you can incorporate into your daily wear.
What’s more classic than pearls? I love Rue Gembon for taking a centuries-old stone and giving it a modern update. I recently bought Rue Gembon’s Jade Rose Trio which immediately caught my eye. I love that this set of three rings sits on a different part of the finger (below the knuckles) than a traditional ring.I’ve only been wearing my rings a few weeks and it’s the type of piece that women everywhere — strangers included — will stop you and ask where you bought them. Oh, and here’s the dirty little secret. These aren’t your grandma’s pearls. The set of three costs just $65!
I was walking around Soho this weekend and popped into Madewell which my boyfriend was in J. Crew. While I went into the store to kill time, I left with this great bracelet. I love that it’s a cuff and has the two arrows at the opening. It’s just $24.
I’m currently crushing on this Lele Sadoughi gold plated bracelet on Net-A-Porter. It’s more of a splurge at $400.
The last few years I’ve been fortunate enough to spend a fair bit of time in London, taking in the historic sites, shopping and great food. I’ve decided to share my favorite experiences with you, starting with food.
I must say, England’s reputation when it comes to its food really boggles my mind. I’ve yet to have a bad meal in the country and often times, I find the presentation of the dishes on par with that of New York.
Here are some of my favorite spots. Keep in mind– many require a reservation.
Polpo: this Italian hotspot serves tapas-style Italian food at three locations in London. My boyfriend and I love their Soho location, which is perfect for brunch and shopping. Get a bunch of different plates to share and make sure you get their meatballs. They are absolutely divine. The price points are really fair too, meaning you can splurge on a nice wine!
Hakkasan: the first time I ate at this swanky Asian restaurant was at its location in London’s Mayfair neighborhood, and since I’ve made a point to eat at the restaurant at its other location. The flavors, ambiance, drinks and feel of this restaurant are just exceptional. Makes for a wonderful date night location.
Bird of Smithfield: I love the entire Smithfield area and while walking around one evening I was lucky enough to find this gem of a restaurant. Tucked away inside a gorgeous old townhouse, The Bird of Smithfield has delicious food with really fresh ingredients from a farm near the Cotswolds. Their goat curd and tomato salad starter is a must have. Their duck was also very nice. A bonus: there’s a beautiful rooftop garden to have drinks on after dinner.
Cafe Du Marche: This French restaurant also in the Smithfield area is a great choice for a long lunch. The light and rustic restaurant really makes you feel like you’ve walked out of the city and into Provence. They have a great wine selection– I recently overindulged on some of their rosé. Get the halloumi cheese starter.
The Wolseley: just near Picadilly Square lies the Wolseley, a French restaurant with a New York vibe. The high ceilings and open kitchen and dark leather booths almost have a steakhouse feel, but the food was actually very delicate and nice. Try the duck breast and king prawns. The desserts are also worth the extra calories. Keep your eyes peeled — this is a spot that attracts lots of celebs and even royals.
Whether you’re looking for an escape from London or are a New Yorker like myself seeking to fulfill her dream of relaxing in the picturesque English countryside after years of reading Austen and the Brontes, we have come across the most perfect venue to fulfill those needs.
Nestled in the Cotswolds just an hour and a half from London lies The Wild Rabbit, a boutique hotel with a delicious restaurant that provides the most perfect backdrop for a country escape. We’ll get into the specifics below, but what we loved most about The Wild Rabbit is it’s ability to mix luxury and classic British charm to deliver a high-end experience with the utmost attention to detail. My boyfriend and I recently had the pleasure of staying a night here and have compiled our thoughts and suggestions for you.
For our American readers, the UK’s Cotswolds area is a gorgeous, rambling area mixing beautiful homes made of light-colored Cotswold stone, Victorian churches, beautiful British pubs, shopping and the likes of it. It’s long attracted celebrities and London’s uber wealthy much in the way New York’s elite head to the Hamptons. For a city girl, the Cotswolds are like stepping back in time to my novels, but it has all of the modern conveniences, and let’s face it– requirements — of a high-maintenance city girl from Manhattan with high standards.
That brings us to The Wild Rabbit, which is in the Kingham part of the Cotswolds. This hotel and restaurant is situated in a gorgeous building dating back to 1750 made of the signature Cotswold stone. The Wild Rabbit, which attracts a celebrity clientele, has been given the nickname from local press as “the most posh pub in England.”
Let’s start with the wonderful restaurant on the premises which is open for lunch and dinner (a gorgeous continental breakfast is included as part of your room charge)
First off, meals are served in a beautiful, airy dining room with large windows, a beautiful fireplace and a wonderful, rustic feel. You can also have drinks and snacks outside under tan umbrellas or in a great lounge area with oversized rich brown leather chairs with great hardware accents and an eclectic mix of furniture that makes you feel as if you’ve stepped inside Alice in Wonderland’s sophisticated older sister’s den. There are two firepaces on either side of the sitting room and one in the center of the main dining room. Basically, the setting leaves nothing to be desired and the attention to detail is just meticulous.
Now, onto the food. We were fortunate enough to have breakfast, lunch and dinner on the premises. The kitchen has a firm commitment to organic ingredients and fresh, local, in-season items. For breakfast the bowls of berries and fruit were delicious and ripe. Below, are photos of just some of the courses we had over lunch and dinner. The duck was a real standout as was the lamb. I was a big fan of their house rose wine, as well.
English pea soup with goat cheese curd and ham. An absolutely delicious starter.
Tomato salad with watermelon and a tomato jelly.
Lump crab and scallop lasagne appetizer.
Stonebass with English mustard. This dish was a showstopper both visually and to the palette.
Glazed duck breast with apricot and peach with a duck-stuffed pastilla. Amazing.
Raspberry and cream fieulle de mille.
The rooms were just as pleasing as the dining room. We stayed in the Boar room, one of 12 rooms each assigned the name of an animal. The linens were fresh and pretty. Rooms were stocked with owner Lady Bamford’s luxury toiletries. We had a nespresso coffee maker and a jar full of homebaked sweets like shortbreads to go with our morning tea. The fridge was stocked with rose and prosecco. Anything you could possibly desire had already been thought about ahead of your stay.
We especially loved the little details, like the stack of British classics like Tess of the D’Urbervilles next to our night table and the carved hearts in the furniture. Above our bed was a adorable sign that said “Darling!” The bathroom had towel hooks made of wood that looked like tree branches.
The room had a homey feel and had exposed Cotswold stone throughout it. It let in lots of natural light. My boyfriend was impressed by the high-end fixtures and how they’ve blended modern with rustic. The bed was particularly comfy.
The next morning after a three-mile run through the neighborhood to take in the scenery, we headed down to the dining room for a fresh breakfast that we decided to have outside in the sun. We nibbled on pain au chocolat, Greek yogurt with fresh berries and a full English breakfast.
Overall, I would strongly recommend The Wild Rabbit to friends. It’s a wonderful place for a couple’s weekend or a great culinary experience. If you go, be sure to visit neighboring Daylesford Farm (post coming soon) which is an organic local farm just a mile away with a great restaurant, spa and cooking school.
If there’s one must-have I’ve found this summer, it would have to be the romper. This extremely versatile onesie of sorts has been my go-to for shopping around the city, rooftop parties and even nights out. Depending on how you accessorize, a romper can take you from day to night. Here is a selection of our favorites (some of which are already hanging in my closet!)
Not going to lie, I literally wore this Yumi Kim Liz Romper to a party last Saturday. And let me tell you, the compliments didn’t stop rolling in. I love the cut of this romper and the color scheme. It’s available here.
This tiered lace look can easily make the transition from day to night. It is available here from Anthropologie.
I love everything about this Lavish Alice play suit, especially that it’s on sale for just $57.
The boyfriend and I recently got back from a wonderful long weekend in Miami. I was surprised by how many questions I fielded from friends and co-workers once we returned on where to eat, what to wear and where to have drinks with the beautiful people. Here’s my guide to the ultimate Miami long weekend, complete with outfit choices for each event.
Where to Stay: we stayed at the Fontainebleau Hotel this past weekend and I would recommend it in a heartbeat. The hotel is beautiful and has gorgeous pools, a number of great restaurants, beach cabanas and a wonderful spa. Our days consisted of lounging by the pool with drinks in hand listening to the DJ spinning poolside and making our way to the beach.
What you’ll need during the day: sunscreen, cute bikinis, rompers (like the one pictured above), a floppy hat and maxi dresses.
Where to Eat: for dinners, we picked three amazing places, all with a different type of cuisine.
Hakkasan in the Fontainebleau hotel has a very sexy feel. Dark furniture, nice lighting, great cocktails and Thai food. You’ll want to wear something sleek and sexy, like this Camisole dress from Asos, above. Pair this dress with some sky-high Louboutins or Valentino’s and you’ll fit right in.
After, go for drinks at Liv in the Fontainebleau.
We had the most delicious meal at Ola in the Sanctuary Hotel. This restaurant had wonderful Cuban and Spanish cuisine and is in a lovely art-deco hotel. The restaurant is more casual than Hakkasan and has a very Boho-chic feel to it. Look for dresses that are light and airy, maybe an embroidered maxi dress or this partly sheer dress above from Free People.
After, go for drinks at the gorgeous Delano hotel outdoors by its pool.
Our last dinner was at Nobu Miami, which is much like the New York restaurant. Wear a bodycon dress for this Japanese restaurant. This Asos cutout dress with a bodycon shape is a perfect look and it’s just $53.
After, go for drinks at the Shore Club in a great outdoor space that looks like it was dreamed up by Alice in Wonderland.
Finally, before you head to the airport on Sunday, be sure to have brunch at the Soho Beach Club, which is just next to the Fontainebleau. This gorgeous hotel has a buffet brunch in a truly beautiful, rustic setting. Feast on omelettes, truffled deviled eggs, Mac and cheese and tons of other goodies. Wear this great silk romper from Tigerlily.
You’ve made it through Mother’s Day and patted yourself on the shoulder for nabbing the perfect gift, only to have to rack your brains again for Father’s Day. We’ve done the hard work for you. Here are some of our favorite gift ideas:
New Yorkers are familiar with The Blind Barber – a trendy barber shop by day, bar by night. But, you don’t have to be in NYC to get the Blind Barber experience. The company has come out with personal care sets that do the trick. Our favorite is called “The Regimen,” which comes with Watermint Gin Facial Cleanser, Shave Cream and Aftershave Soother. The set retails for $58.
Why not treat your dad to some high quality basics? We love the line of t-shirts and undies from Bread and Boxers. The products have a great design and comfort. The line includes boxers, briefs and t-shirts.
If you’re father is into grooming, you should check out the range from Lavett & Chin. We love their Sea Salt Texturizing Mist, which is the key to the messy yet put together look all men crave. Their pomaded are also great.
If the man in your life is obsessed with getting out on the green any chance he has, you can’t go wrong with some Titleist golf balls. The Pro V 1′s, are what the pros use!
You know we couldn’t do a Father’s Day post without the perennial tie. But, we’ve put a twist on the classic gift. Vineyard Vines has a great selection of preppy and fun ties, belts and other clothing. We love their fun printed ties, like this beach umbrella one.
We’re finally almost touching distance to Memorial Day Weekend, which means the beginning of beach, barbecues and sun season. If you’re like us, that will include weekend trips.. and weekend packing. We’ve assembled our top items to pack for a weekend getaway. Bon Voyage!
First, you’re going to need a great bikini. We are a huge fan of the line from 6 Shore Road, which puts a quirky and sexy twist on the traditional bikini. So, pack your Chloe bikini for the weekend. Right now, 6 Shore Road is running a 30% off sale.
One of our long weekend essentials is a felt floppy hat. We love this one from Asos, just $38.
I don’t pack a bag without bringing my Batiste dry shampoo along with me. I first came across this product on a trip to London, and it’s become a staple in my beauty arsenal ever since. We love the scents and how it rids your hair of oil, making blowouts last longer. I hate to waste time on vacation blowing my hair out, so this does the trick. It’s also a great refresher for in between the beach and going out. It sells for around $7.
Obviously, you’re going to need something to put all of your weekend essentials in. We heart Vera Bradley duffel bags for travel. They are roomy enough for a few outfits, shoes, accessories, etc.
As a lifelong New Yorker, I often become jaded from living in NYC and take the city’s great shopping, restaurants and sites for granted. Luckily, my BF and I have a lot of visitors, and get to see the city through their eyes from time to time. I’ve assembled my must-see, eat and shop list for fashion-focused visitors to NYC. Keep it handy for your next long weekend.
Where to start? NYC is full of amazing flagship stores for big retailers as well as quirky one-off boutiques. My top shop list includes:
Barneys: The flagship store is super well curated with a selection of high-end and newcomer designers. It also often has interesting displays, especially around Christmas. Be prepared to drop a lot of dough. Added bonus: Fred’s, Barney’s café, is super delicious and has a high tech ordering system where the tables are made of giant electronic tablets.
260 Sample Sale: here is a New Yorker’s best secret. Want to look great and not spend a fortune? Check out the sample sales run by 260 fifth Ave. Each week, the designer changes. We have snagged some serious steals, with most products marked down between 70% to 80%. Our favorites so far have been for J. Crew, Elizabeth and James, Zadig & Voltaire and Equipment. Go here for a calendar of events.
Liquor Store by J. Crew: have your man in tow? You’ll want to be sure to visit J. Crew’s Liquor Store. It’s a men’s concept from J. Crew in a really cool setting. In addition to its own brand, they’ve done a great job curating men’s accessories and clothing from other designers. While you’re at it, take him to Suit Supply to check out their vast array of suits.
Century 21: another secret is Century 21.
Go to the Lincoln Square one for deals on designers like DVF, Equipment, Marc Jacobs and others.
Shopping by Area:
There are three major areas for shopping in NYC: Fifth Ave., Soho & Meatpacking District. You’ll want to spend a few hours on Fifth Ave. mostly for tourist purposes, to see Tiffany’s, the Apple store, Harry Winston, etc. But, this isn’t really the place to shop. My favorite area is Soho where you’ll find tons of cool boutiques and concept stores. You can walk a few block radius and hit up Top Shop, Bloomingdales, French Connection, Rag & Bone, Mackage etc. In Meatpacking, stroll down the cobblestone streets and check out Diane Von Furstenberg, Scoop, Christian Louboutin etc.
We adore Mercer Kitchen in Soho for lunch & brunch. It’s a great ambience and full of celebrity sightings. The location is just perfect – in the heart of the shopping district of Soho, meaning you can hit up the surrounding stores such as French Connection, Bloomingdales’ All Saints & Top Shop (all walking distance) before and after brunch.
Smorgasburg: Want to venture to the trendy Williamsburg, Brooklyn neighborhood? If you’re visiting in the spring or summer, visiting Smorgasburg is a must do. This outdoor food festival every weekend features hundreds of local restaurateurs’ and food purveyors selling their signature dishes. You can find everything from tacos to ice cream sandwiches to gourmet macaroni and cheese and macaroons. Come with an empty stomach, because you’ll want to save as much real estate in your tummy as possible. Bring a camera, there are amazing views of Manhattan.
Buddakan: Great dinner spot in the Meatpacking district with Thai and Asian food. The décor is breathtaking. Make sure to make a reservation.
Bobo: If you’re heading to NYC with the girls, add Bobo to your list of dinner spots. Bobo is located in the West Village in an old brownstone building. Its multilevels and the décor is just amazing with elaborate candelabras, antique books and all the pieces you wish were in your apartment.
Café Cluny: Another great spot for a girls trip. Go for either brunch or Dinner. Quaint restaurant with smaller portions and frequent celebrity sightings.
Felix is a great spot to see, be seen and eat. One of our weekend brunch go-tos. If you can’t get in, Cipriani is just down the block and has a very similar feel.
Costata: New York has many wonderful steak houses, but many lack the intimate ambiance that Costata has. It is a restaurant from chef Michael White, one of the most esteemed chefs in town, and the food is phenominal. It’s in a cool part of town where you can go for drinks after. Going purely for the food? Then check out Del Frisco’s or Quality Meats, both in the midtown area.
It’s that time of year where all the stars descend upon New York for the iconic Met Gala. Here are our favorite looks.
Blake Lively in Gucci.
suki Waterhouse in Burberry.
Naomi Watts in Givenchy.
Joan Smalls in Vera Wang.
Olivia Amun in DVF.
Mary-Kate Olsen’s vintage coat dress.
Mother’s Day is right around the corner and that means that yearly dread of finding the right gift for the woman responsible for bringing you into this world starts to build. Fear not, we’ve created a Mother’s Day Gift Guide that should help you find a gift that’s equal parts thoughtful and stylish. Here are some of our picks:
This Jonathan Adler Greek Alpaca throw looks fun to curl up in or to admire on the couch.
Moms spend way too much time taking care of others and not enough pampering themselves. We love this Peruvian Linen Diffuser from Aquiesse, that will add a sense of calm to the home.
We love these Cosabella pajamas that are the perfect weekend lazing around luxury.
Rachel Zoe’s new book “Living in Style” is the perfect complement to any coffee table.
If the mere thought of getting into a bikini gives you the sweats, it’s not too late to tone your body and improve your fitness before beach season. We wanted to share some of our favorite products, websites and apps that will help you burn calories and reach your goals all from home.
I never thought that a scale could be so influential in keeping me accountable for my eating and workouts and then I found this Fit-Bit wifi scale. Here’s why it’s great: it tracks your daily weight but also body fat percentage, and downloads the results to your app on your phone so that you could track your progress. If you have a fit-bit bracelet, it will also interact with it. Body fat percentage is as important a metric as overall weight, so this will let you know when you are building muscle and toning up. I’ve been borderline addicted to this scale since we bought it. The app also let’s you log in your daily fitness routine and water intake.
We just came across ToneItUp.com and can’t rave enough about it. The website is a one-stop shop for all things fitness including healthy recipes, workouts to target certain areas, workout videos and how-tos, etc. it’s run by two best friends, Karena and Katrina (pictured above) and the community has a positive vibe where members really motivate each other. You can get access to lots of the workouts and recipes for free on their website.
There are tons of great fitness apps out there, but our go-to is MapMyRun. This app uses your geolocation to track how far, fast and what route you’ve run (or walked, biked, etc). It will also determine how many calories you burned and log your workouts so you can save running paths you found or see your times improving. I use this app nearly everyday to track my distance and speed right from my phone.
I’ve been on a dress buying spree these last few weeks and have snapped up some great finds. The criteria: fun, flirty, feminine dresses that could go day to night. Here are some of our top finds for under $200.
I literally just bought this Selena dress from Club Monaco. The fit and pattern are super flattering and I was sold by the form fitting top and flouncy bottom. Looks great with a pair of nude pumps. Bonus: it’s on sale for $179
We are crushing very hard on this Black and Tan lace dress from British designer Reiss. I’m realllly close to pulling the trigger on buying this one online. This is a great dress for a cocktail hour, wedding, formal event, etc. it’s marked down to $198 at the link above.
This Club Monaco Neoprene Dress Has the perfect fit. Pair it with a cardigan for work or on its own for happy hour and other events. Bethany Frenkel is also known to have worn it. On sale now for $159.
This Olivia Lace dress from French Connection is on sale for $69.99.
New season, new reason to shop. For some reason, I’ve been getting really overwhelmed by the sheer number of choices bombarding me for spring clothing. It’s as if all of my favorite designers got it together this season and came out with amazing collections that may leave me broke.
To keep myself (relatively) on budget I literally made a list on my iPhone of some of my must haves. Have decided to share it with you.
You’re going to want to invest in a good pair of cut off shorts– they aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. I picked up these Elizabeth and James Dixon shorts at their sample sale last week. They are super comfy and the pockets poke through. They run a little big, so I suggest going a size lower than you normally wear.
I literally just bought is big floppy felt hat in a darker tan color than the one picture while shopping in Soho today. It sells for $56 at TopShop.
It’s sunnies season. These mirrored Ray-Bans are on my wish list, hint hint if the boyfriend sees this.
Satrapy stiletto sandals are pretty much a main component of my spring and summer wardrobe. I’m a huge fan of these classic black sandals from Stuart Weitzman available at Shopbop.
The boyfriend and I just got a new place, and while the prospects of decorating it are overwhelming, I love being able to start from scratch and transform the space.
One of the most important rooms to both him and me is the kitchen. We try to cook as much as we can and entertain friends, so it’s important for both of us that the kitchen is both inviting and warm, but functional.
I decided to go with copper accents throughout the kitchen, something that gives the space a rustic feel. Here are some essentials to help you create a copper kitchen, or at least add some copper accents!
Moscow mule glasses. I’ve chronicled my love for this drink before and as we know, the love of the drink was sparked by my love of the shiny, pretty glasses. Added bonus – they keep cold liquids super warm.
While we’re on the alcohol theme, we picked up this copper cocktail shaker for our new barcart (which also has copper detailing)
You’ll obviously need these copper bar tools as well
This copper set of Cooks Tools is a great alternative to the black or white plastic sets most people have. Also, it’s just $6.99 a piece.
I strive to one day only have copper cookwear. But until I hit it big, it’s just this stock pot for us. Super versatile for making sauces, chillis and other dishes.
The change in seasons means a much needed change in your cosmetics. Ditch the red lipsticks and lighten things up this season (buh-bye vamp lips). The runways saw fresh faces, peachy lips, dewy, flawless skin. Here are some essentials that will instantly update you look and carry you through the summer.
First things first, you’re going to need a go-to “rorange” lip shade. Out with the plums and deeps reds and in with the red-orange, peachy combinations this spring. We love Tom’s Ford’s Whole range, especially his Lip Shine in Insidious which will give you a peachy pucker resembling a J. Crew model.
You’ll want to break out your cheek and eyebrow highlighters for the warmer months. I’m loyal to Benefit’s High Beam which comes in an unassuming nailpolish-style bottle with a simple-to-use brush that you can dab onto your cheek bones and brown bones to give an instant glow.
While we’re focusing on the cheeks, we are pining over Tom Ford’s blush in “Love Lust.” The blush could be used to contour the cheeks or to compliment a tan.
Lastly, you’re going to want to find an eye shadow palette with a mix of golds, tans, neutrals and highlighting colors. Our pick is Urban Decay’s Naked3 palette. It has a number of pinks, browns, golds and tans with just the right amount of shimmer to give you a dewy look or to accentuate a tan. It also has all the components for a good spring smokey eye.
Raise your hand if you’re sick of this cold weather seeping into what is supposedly spring. Good, looks like we’re all on the same page. This never-ending winter has been depriving me of some much-needed Vitamin D and my skin has been looking pale and sallow. But, we’ve dug up some tricks to give the appearance of a healthy glow, while we all wait anxiously for Mr. Sun to join the party.
Here are some of our go-tos:
Ladies, invest in a good bronzer. Something tells me you’ll be relying on it in coming weeks. We love Benefit’s Hoola, which they’ve named “Barbados in a Box.”
I’ve written in the past about my obsession with Tan Towels. These pre-packaged wipes pack a powerful dose of color and I find them much easier to use to get an even tan sans streaks.
We also love Jergens Natural Glow products which moisturize as they work.
L’Eggs Sheer PantyHose in “Suntan”
It may not be warm enough to sit poolside, but L’Eggs pantyhose in a Suntan shade serves two purposes. First, it will keep you warm until the temperatures begin to finally rise and it will give you a natural looking glow.
Ever wish that H&M had a cooler, more sophisticated older sister? Well, Americans rejoice. This fall, H&M, higher-end, workwear line COS is coming to New York city, with plans to open up at least e-commerce throughout the U.S.
The looks have a minimal, structured feel to them. They also feel well made and skew toward a higher age (and price point).
Here are some pieces from collections to give you an idea of what to expect.