Hidden gems – Lily

Remember your childhood visits to Grandma’s house?  Sneaking into her room, that inner sanctum of beautiful, untouchable things.  You’d play dress up for hours clomping around in her high heels.  Well if your Grandmother was a French woman with exquisite taste then Lily in Charleston, SC will make you feel right at home.  This artfully curated boutique is run by a husband and wife team who’ve assembled a jewel box of interesting and chic finds.  They have vintage jewelery, gorgeous scarves, and a plethora of other finds.  It’s girl heaven.  I was drawn in by the Bosom Buddy bags (left).  They remind me of the seagrass baskets that Charleston is famous for.  I took mine home as a souvenir.

Great travel accessory

Are you taking a long flight this Summer and aren’t flying in first class?  Then you’re going to need some creature comforts to make the trip bearable, and I’ve got a great idea for you.  Pocket some Herban Essentials peppermint wipes before you board the flight.  You can use them to refresh and wake you up in the morning when you arrive.  Sure, it’s not a hot towel, But remember you can also use your wipes to clean your tray table, your hands and even counteract that stale airplane air with an invigorating scent.  The wipes are available from 3Floz.com, and you can even mix and match fragrances.  So try lemon, orange, and lavender too!

The look – Summer

My Summer look this year?  BoHo.  Straight up.  I’m loving cutoff jean shorts, tank tops, chunky wooden sandals, and my big score – the Calypso St. Barth for Target linen tote.  It’s inexpensive, but sports a unique turquoise circle design.  I can’t decide if it reminds me of an Indian squash blossom necklace or a tiled floor from Rome, which makes it perfect for travel.  One thing you won’t be seeing me in?  A  maxi dress.  Unless your 5′ 10″ and 130 pounds, no one makes that look good.

What’s your summer uniform?

Great travel quote

It’s hard to be judgmental once you’ve been around the world … it’s pretty hard to be anything but understanding, and I think it’s good for everybody to get out and see someplace other than where you grew up.

~ Brad Paisley, Country music star

Hotel review – Night Hotel (NYC)

You know how you look at a website and think that a concept boutique hotel is a great idea? When I saw the Night Hotel I was convinced it was going to be something totally new. It has an edgy website, the requisite lounge/bar and a killer location near Times Square.

So my husband and I check in expecting hip and happening and what we get is fetishistic and off putting. Sure the room was huge (by New York standards), and the property was 100% bed bug free (key in Manhattan), but I wouldn’t go back. Why? Because when we checked in they insisted on making a copy of my drivers license for “security” purposes. Weird. Then they handed me my key and told me I had, “A great room”. Well I did have a nice room, the linens were Frette, and the bed was comfy, but I had a view of an air shaft. The decor was black and white which I thought would be chic, but it comes off overbearing. I mean there were thistles creeping up the walls, and a black tiled bath. Even the bed was dominated by a large black headboard. I had the impression I was spending the night in Edward Cullen’s bachelor pad.

I’ve stayed in many boutique Manhattan hotels and what I’ve learned is that in New York, boutique = weird.

Great travel accessory

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.

A fresh start

When I started this travel blog over 3 years, and a thousand posts ago I envisioned it as a way to share my passion for travel.  I wanted to inspire you with destinations, travel accessories and tips and tricks that would get you off the couch and on the open road.

I am a mercurial creature who craves the new.  And to me after that thousandth post, it  felt like time for a change.  So I stepped away to try and refresh my sense of wonder and find new things to share. Now it’s time to get personal.  This blog is going to become less a reflection of me the travel planner, and more about me the traveler.  I don’t know how often I will post.  In the past year I have left the travel planning business and returned to a full time job.  Still I hope you will check in periodically and let me know if you find something interesting.  I perform best with an audience.

I realize that many of you are hooked on my accessories posts or stop by every Monday to check out my destinations posts. So those may reappear.  I’ve never recommended anything on Instant Native travel that I wouldn’t consider for myself. That will stay true.  What will be added is a personal touch.  What would I pack? Where would I go? What’s on my mind. Consider it a fresh start. Just as Summer is about to kick off, so am I. So stay tuned.