Great travel accessory

In the meltingly hot Summer of 2011 I have become a parasol convert.  Yes, like a victorian maiden I often tuck an umbrella under my arm to shield me from the intense rays of the beating sun.  This week I found a very unusual take on the umbrella .  The Kota Nezu clock parasol is an umbrella and a sundial.  It was retweeted by Grantourismo on Twitter and I had to scour the internet to find a reference.  While it is difficult to obtain, it’s worth it just for the wow factor.  Imagine.  You can keep shaded, dry and know what time the next bus is coming.  What could be better?

Heat wave

In honor of our current 100 degree temperatures, in an effort to save on my electric bill and because I’ve got company coming I’m taking the week off this week.

Sorry for not posting, but it’s so hot here, I can barely think straight.  Hmmm, there’s an idea.  Think of a cool place.  Mmmmmm Reykjavik…

Friday travel dilemma

Scattershot machine or person to person body search?  Both are invasive, annoying and hardly seem reasonsable.  I haven’t had the latter…yet, but I have to say I’m not thrilled that TSA has a picture of my junk on file, and it is on file.  They won’t admit it, but they keep the images for “future reference”.  Yuck.

Hidden gems – Matyson

If you grafted a French brasserie on to an American neighborhood restaurant you’d produce Matyson (37 South 19th Street).  Pronounced Madison, it’s a charming little eaterie in downtown Philadelphia.  The mood is French, and the tables are numerous and tightly packed.  Sure you’ll share your conversation with the couple seated next to you, but you’ll also get to gawk at what they ordered before you commit.

The menu is American with a twist.  We started with the gazpacho.  It was smooth, brightly colored and had a strong cucumber flavor.  Our second course was the fried pig’s tail appetizer.  This was the dish that caught my eye on the restaurant’s website, and I have to admit I expected curly tails to be laid before me.  What I got looked more like short ribs and tasted like a cross between pork belly and crispy fried chicken.  Yum.  Next came a coffee rubbed duck breast on a bed of brown butter spaetzel and rainbow chard.  It was cooked to perfection, just pink in the middle.  I hadn’t meant to eat the whole thing, but just couldn’t stop myself.  It was that good.  Didn’t get a chance to try dessert, too full.  But it’s on my list for a return visit the next time I’m in town.

p.s.  The restaurant is BYOB, a thing in Philly, so be sure to tuck your best bottle under your arm.  There’s no corkage fee.

Great travel accessory

Fanny packs were never my thing. And the idea that they could be making a comeback makes me shudder with apprehension.  Still, you do need a compact way to carry your valuables when you travel and a purse isn’t always convenient.  For those times you don’t want to carry the ‘Full Monty’ try the basketweave Zip Pouch by Lime.  I found it on  It’s a fun and funky alternative to Mom jeans and a fanny pack.  Small yet roomy.  Chic and colorful.  You’ll be the most admired tourist on the bus.  Even the Europeans may ask you where you acquired such a high fashion man purse.  Tell them you picked  it up for a song (read: $14.50) compliments of your friendly neighborhood Travel Muse.

Friday travel dilemma

I’m in the midst of planning my Fall vacations and it got me wondering.  Do you prefer to take your vacation in big bites, a week or two at a time off or in little nibbles extending long weekends?

TSA tries new tactic to get flyers to pass through scattershot machines like docile sheep

Normally on Thursday I’d post a hidden gem, but this news has me so riled up I had to address it.  Word came down this week that terrorists are exploring implanting bombs in humans to avoid detection at security.  What?!  Head shaking, hands shaking, totally freaked out I read the article more closely.  What I find is that once again there is no actionable intelligence here, just a vague threat.  And a convenient one if you are TSA, subject to bad press for frisking old ladies and children, and want the public at large to just shut up and cooperate.  I’m incredibly suspicious about this story.  It feels like a plant to me.

What do you think?

Great travel accessory

Summer is all about the beach and what do you need for the beach?  Well sunscreen, a towel and some cool shades.  Now if you’ve been reading my blog you know that I love things that give back.  I recently read that Tom’s launched a sunglass line.  These are the same people that give away a pair of shoes for every pair sold.  When you buy a pair of their shades they make a donation to a fund created to help people restore their sight through prescription glasses or surgery.  My pick?  The aviators of course, so on trend right now.  And the purple lenses are bound to get you noticed.  Now hit the beach!