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?
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 Cerulean.com. 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.
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!
Fourth of July is coming up next week, and that’s got me thinking about picnics. I love eating out and then chilling under the stars watching fireworks. We’ve been invited to a couple of BBQs this weekend, so I’m preparing by purchasing a new thermally insulated picnic basket. I just bought this hip, red market basket from design site OneKingsLane.com. At half off it cost just $59 and contains enough plates, glasses and silverware to serve four people. It’s collapsible, so easily stored. Now I just need to find a matching picnic blanket.
Retro cameras are back this year and I’m falling prey to the nostalgia in just the way the marketers intended. These modern versions pay homage to their Canon and Olympus ancestors. They are meant to remind you of the leather bound cameras that Mom and Dad toted around on vacation in the 70’s and 80’s. Yet they’re digital. So high tech enough to keep any geek nose deep in a manual for months. My husband sent me a link to the Fuji version which we both agree is magically delicious. Still, at $1,199.95 it’s a steep investment. Want more information before you make your own choice? Check out these reviews at dpreview.com.
Everyone needs an engaging Summer read. Be it a romance, a best seller, a biography or just great fiction the beach isn’t the beach without your trusty book along. What am I reading this Summer? First up, Lulu in Marrakech. The author Diane Johnson also wrote Le Divorce. She excels at creating atmospheric novels. Besides, I’ve always dreamed of going to Morocco, and since this tickets haven’t magically materialized yet, this spy yarn is the next best thing. It allows me to live vicariously in the souks and deserts until I can get there myself.
I know that we live in a modern age where you can travel paperlessly, downloading boarding passes into your cell phone or PDA. Still, I love I miss the old days of paper tickets. Mostly because they meant I had a reason to carry a charming travel wallet. I love this one for it’s envelope-like design. I could totally see myself slipping it under my arm for a night out on the town. The red color is simply perfect for that.
The flowering trees are my favorite sign of Spring. They have me longing for picnics in the park, outdoor concerts and all the joys of Summer. In preparation I’ve been checking out picnic sets online. I came across a smart set by Carlina Ahlburg. Open the lid and you’ll discover plates, forks, spoons and knives for 4. You can use the carrier as a serving dish. All the comforts of home in the great outdoors.
Lugging an iPad around with you these days? Well you won’t want to be without your power cord. Mine is a key part of my travel wardrobe. But how to stay organized you ask? Well consider investing in an iPad org board. STM has created a sleek and ingenious way to keep your power cord, head phones, and even your iPhone in check. Being a gadget girl I’m totally enthralled. I also love that it’s thin enough to drop in my purse. No more leaving things behind in my seat back pocket!
I don’t get very excited about luggage. In fact you can probably count on one hand the number of times I’ve actually recommended a bag to you. That said, I saw this clever Design Within Reach weekender masonry bag and was immediately smitten. I love it’s color blocking, simple design and I especially like that it’s on sale for half off. The small bag is $75, large is $87.50. They’re perfect for throwing in the trunk or carrying on your next flight. Oh and you won’t mistake them for any one else’s bag. Unless you’re traveling with a carpenter that is.