Venetian Charm

Crew and I stayed at Ca’Sagredo when we went to Venice in May. The Ca’Sagredo is not just a hotel but much more, it’s a historical Palazzo, a national monument and a museum, it’s a total charmer!

I’ve been to Venice numerous times but this trip felt the most authentically Venetian with the hotel sitting against the breathtaking backdrop of Venice. I love seeing the sea green and turquoise waters from the windows, hearing the church bells ring on the hour, watching the gondoliers pick up their guests, seeing the vaparettos zoom tourists across the picturesque scape, seeing the blue and white striped poles marking a gondolier stop and so much more. 

I love the story of where the hotel’s name comes from:

The surname Sagredo is a corrupted form of the world “secret”, as the family was said to be secret advisors to the emperor. They boasted remote Roman origins having been governors of Dalmatia who apparently arrived in Venice in the ninth century. There they joined the Great Council in 1100 as a results of their restoring the city of Sibenik to obedience to the Republic.

The Ca’Sagredo hotel lies majestically on the banks of the Grand Canal near the Rialto Bridge, the 15th century Palace has been declared a National Monument and still preserves the untouched beauty of an ancient noble residence.

Ca’Sagredo hosts 42 bedrooms and suites and preserves signs of a glorious past and superb masterpieces by important 17th and 18th century Venetian artists. Our room was on the grand canal, I loved the view and so did Crew. It was so perfect because although we couldn't be out and about the whole time with having an infant in arms, we were still right in the heart of Venice even while being in our room. We just opened up our windows and let the Venetian breeze, sounds and smells in.

The beautiful interiors look onto the glorious water front and the Rialto Market right opposite. The breakfast was in a beautiful room outside of the hotel’s gallery that boasts famous paintings. The service was superb, the atmosphere was calming and everyone we came in contact with was so kind, spoke English, were courteous and especially extra helpful with having Crew with me.

I loved the banquet room with it's cascading rose pink draperies (which match the pink rose glass street lamps that dot Venice), I loved the gold gilded chandeliers, the oversized antique rugs, wall murals, sconces, marble staircases, statues, grand entrance, restaurant on the canal and so much more. This hotel had every charm possible and it was by far one of the greatest hotels I have ever stayed in. I can't wait to go back with Tyson next time!

Traveling Internationally With An Infant

We started off our Summer with a trip to Europe and traveled with our 4 month old infant, Crew, from Dallas to Italy. It might sound crazy to travel with an infant but honestly it was totally worth it and I would do it over and over again. Crew actually did incredible on the journey but I attribute it to a few tricks that I had to help ease the travel!

Trick 1:

My biggest concern was flying 12 hours there and back on a flight alone with Crew. I wanted Crew to be as comfortable as possible and I also wanted to have a free hand here and there to be able to get things for him, eat and also somehow get a little sleep in there for both of us too. I came across the most incredible infant flying concept, it's called the FlyeBaby. It was absolutely incredible. It is a portable bassinet that folds into a pouch and is so easy for travel. You attach it to the airplane seat in front of you. It worked like a dream and Crew slept almost 8 hours straight! I love well thought products that are solution savers, this is exactly that. I will be using this baby bassinet on all our flights going forward, it was a dream.

Trick 2:

Another concern I had was being out in the Tuscan sun with Crew being so young. I had heard to be super selective on the sunscreen to use before 6 months so I did a lot of research on which one to choose. My doctor cleared this brand, MD Moms, products developed by pediatrician Moms, because it is super organic and has conscious ingredients. Crew breaks out to almost any soap or lotion but the first time using all of these MD Moms products was incredible, he had no skin irritation and it kept him safe in the sun. Thank you MD Moms for coming up with a formula that is so safe, clean and concious for my little one!

Trick 3:

Another concern I had traveling was breast feeding in public. As a new Mom it is a lot to get used to. I was so happy to find Covered Goods, a multi functional nursing cover that is breathable and which goes all around your body so you're completely covered. We used this on the train, on the airplane, in front of the Coliseum, down cafe filled streets, parks, you name it. I love this product and it has been such a helpful thing to use traveling or at home too.

Trick 4:

A concern I had right before I left on the airplane was that Crew had just started teething! Once again as a new Mom I didn't know exactly what to do but was so thrilled to find the perfect solution with Lolli Jo teething necklaces. I wore one most every day on the trip and Crew had easy access to a toy and something to help him chew on when he was teething. Such a brilliant product.

I would totally recommend traveling with your babe. I loved having him stimulated by so many new sounds, sights, tastes, hearing a different language, watching the street performers, hearing church bells chime, gondoliers take tourists down the Grand Canal and more. I am so glad we traveled with him and am thankful for the products above that helped make it easier.

Falkensteiner Hotel and Spa Iadera

Did you know Croatia is tagged as Europe's Hawaii? The beautiful beaches, clear blue water and sunsets make this a tropic escape a travel must. Croatia has over 1,000 islands. Croatia is an exceptional destination for a relaxing holiday on the Dalmatian Coast.

The Falkensteiner Hotel + Spa Iadera provides this Hawaii like feel with a cascading lawn of lounge chairs, infinity pools, a private beach with plentiful hammocks to swing on and a spa with organic treatments to the region.

The hotel is located on Punta Skala in Zadar, Croatia which is at the upper tip of the Dalmatian Coast. The Hotel + Spa Iadera has a Mediterranean flair and it is so comfortable, welcoming, relaxing and also super romantic! 

The beach experience is refreshingly different. It is manicured yet organic, private yet open, it is such a wonderful combination. There's also a cooling pine forest along the long beach promenade stretch, lounge chairs and of course crystal blue water to dip into.

Something I love about the Hotel + Spa Iadera is that it is a Green Resort. Sustainability is one of their key corporate values, so issues such as environmental protection, greywater reclamation, waste prevention and optimised energy use play a very important role in determining their actions. I love when companies take proactive steps in conservation and green methodologies.

Something exceptional is the architecture. I was so fascinated by the shape of it because it is able to accommodate almost all of their guests with a breathtaking sea view. A definite must to view the Dalmatian Coast at every hour.
Our favorite time of day was at sunset. It was a gorgeous sight along the hotel's beach promenade and also at their infinity pool. 

After this I have to ask is Croatia Europe's Hawaii or really is Hawaii the USA's Croatia?

An Italian Farm Video

click HERE to watch the video

I have traveled up and down the Italian boot in search of pure Italian experiences and the most authentic place I have visited was my recent visit to Reggio Emilia. This place epitomized all that has ever been in my head that Italy would be, fresh food, rolling vineyards, passion filled hand gestures and of course a la dolce vita ambiance.

One of Reggio Emilia’s charms is Bosco Del Fracasso, an Italian family farm and B+B. The owners produce their own milk, bread, jams and even harvest their own balsamic vinegar in the attic. The property has walking paths through vineyards, there are gardens full of fruit trees ready to be picked and bottled for the owners famous jam and naturally there are ducks, cows, hens and more dotting the grounds.

Bosco Del Fracasso breathes green in every way. The farm activity is a mix of many different productions. They are organized as it was in the past when it was normal to raise some animals and to grow many different things to have food during the seasons and sell the surplus. They don’t use flavorings or preserves and only cook the fruits and vegetables in season that they harvest from their garden. They also encourage typical foods of the area like sight seeing to the local parmesan cheese factories and prosciutto farms. There are also many local castles within a twenty minute distance from the farm. This area is just full of charm, culture and great tasting food and sights.

The best part is waking up to the rooster and coming downstairs to the spread of the owner’s full spread of homemade torte cakes, jams, cheeses and eggs. You really revel in the Italian moment as you eat outside or in and enjoy being in such a relaxing atmosphere.

In all it’s a great place to go to enjoy the countryside and be a part of the authentic Italian culture.

Marseilles Bed and Breakfast

This week I wrote about Casa Ortega, a beautiful B+B we stayed at in Marseilles, France recently.  I loved writing about the owner, his eclectic design and how he gathers his great design props for each of his individually designed rooms. Story below.

It is no surprise that David Karoubi, the owner and renovator of the rad and low cost Casa Ortega Bed and Breakfast in Marseilles, France used to be a set designer director for movies and television.

The moment you walk in the lobby you are transformed into a mix of Spanish and French influences that has surfaced from David’s artistic imagination. You feel cozy yet excited at once and you can’t wait to be handed the key to your room so you can see more.

David loves a good Spanish atmosphere and that is what he brings to his gem of a hotel in the French seaside. His inspiration stems from the greatest castanet player who ever lived, El Ortega. The modern wallpaper, pop of vintage end tables, lamps, chairs and the like create a fabulous yet random mix that is all strewn together to create a fantastically unique design esthetic.

David searched throughout Europe in Switzerland, Paris and organically in Marseilles where he gathered his “hotel props” of 20th century furnishings at second hand shops and at flea markets in Provence.

The Bed and Breakfast is ideally located on a quaint street across from the Marseille's Saint Charles train station and is just a short walk from the Old Port. The comfortable Bed and Breakfast blends the quality services of a hotel, the authentic charm of a Maison d'Hôtes and a vibrant international ambiance. Along with the warm, attentive welcome and stylish décor the Bed and Breakfast has five luminous rooms.

Each room has its own entrance and private bathroom along with a flat screen TV and free Wi-Fi. Breakfast is served in the 20th century dining room where you dine on darling Parisian bistro tables.

Beyond the exquisite design and magical feel the Casa Ortega has, David feels like an immediate friend and lets you in on his favorite haunts of the charming city of Marseilles.

RetRome's Barcelona

We recently visited lively Barcelona. Tyson lived there for two years and it was my lucky third time visiting so we were seeking an accommodation that had a great local vibe about it so we could dive more into the culture and local haunts.

We found the raddest retro boutique hotel that fit just what we were looking for called RetRome. You know those places you become an instant fan of in every way? That would be this hotel. The owner, the design of it all and the great feel it had won us over. I wish there was a RetRome hotel in every city!

The hotel was all up my alley from the retro red Bosch refrigerator to the antique glass tiled walls to the funnest geometric flooring and even down to the edited details like their leather studded hangers in the bedroom closet.

Moti, the owner, is a fellow vintage treasure hunter. I loved looking around his hotel and seeing the collectibles he has hunted down from different walks of life and throughout Europe. 

The design of his hotel is a combination of a contemporary minimal approach mixed with retro vintage symbolism. In Moti's designing he tries to incorporate bright spaces, retro icons, vintage furniture and also likes to add in some quirkiness with time capsule like items representing nostalgic eras in the 20th century culture.

Can't wait to stay at his other location in Rome someday. Check out his newly launched website here.


Life via Instagram

Ciao friends! We've had a total blast road tripping and jetting to L.A., a quick stop in NYC, London, France, Spain and others. Its been go, go, go, tasty and beautiful.

Here's a sneak peak of the last month in Instagram world below. 

Cannes, France

Long layover moment in NYC = biz meetings in Central Park.

Laguna Beach, heart skips extra here!

Our Euro road trip consisted of driving over 40 hours, traveling 5 countries and of course lots of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. 

Monaco, check out this helicopter landing pad. Rad, rad, rad.

Andorra, smallest country ever!

Provence, France. 
This chateaux B+B was magical and such a green way to travel, more details soon!

 Loved, loved, loved Barcelona. Can't say enough good things about this city. 

Ciao, ciao, I'll be back soon!

Truly Tuscany

Oh Tuscany! How wonderful you are. We were so lucky to be able to stay at the charming Casa Palmira B+B  recently. This beautiful B+B was everything and more I thought a Tuscan home would be. It created a taste of Tuscany in every way and it was a quick 20 minute bus ride into Florence. Talk about countryside convenience.

So picturesque. The B+B is part of the slow travel grassroots movement and creates the art of appreciating your surroundings and gaining a local experience instead of checking off a top 10 travel list. 
Assunta and her husband, the B+B owners, are so kind, considerate and they speak English. They give attention to each guest individually just like they give attention to all the beautiful design details in their home. Their choice of paint, bedding, linens, bathroom tile...was all a design delight.

I loved how they named the rooms with a cross stitch name card and I love the molding on that yummy green door.
The touch of local art on the walls was just right.

Mint green bathroom, yes please! They also had small details that really made the B+B experience pop like oversized plush bath towels, an always full biscuit jar and a library of local books.

You get to climb these colorful stairs. How fresh is that design idea, it reminds me chalking steps as a child.

The library area. I loved the frescos on the walls, the use of Italian stripes and the rock work indoors and outdoors.

The dining area. Here again are the stripes carried throughout, the terra cotta tile and a fabulous metal plated dining table.

When you go outside it just gets even more picturesque. I loved the French doors and this cat that wanders the property.

You go for a walk a few yards away and run into this...

Are you kidding me? It looks like its out of a movie. I loved the flowering fields and the smell of the pines. You can also hear a bubbling brook from here. It all seems so unreal but it all really exists, its so dreamy.

Assunta plants her herbs and vegetables here and they are free for you to use in her kitchen. We used the basil and it was divine.

Assunta always has something new blooming.

Now this is yard work well thought. I love the mossy covered branches all strung up and ready to use for the Autumn and of course that neatly stack of chopped wood.

The Tuscan talent herself, Assunta. She's as friendly as she looks. Another fun fact: her husband and her restored the whole house and built most everything themselves. The bed frames, the mirrors, the wood floors, cabinets, you name it and they did it.

The bonus is there is this incredible monastery turned restaurant up the road called Ristorante Il Feriolo. It had the best food I've had in all of Italy. It was intimate, had a great story of its monastery heritage and also had the best dining service I've had since I've been here.

Its a beautiful 20 minute walk up this road.
Here is the restaurant, yum.

Can you tell I can't get enough of this Tuscan treasure?


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