Travel Archive

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Book Smart and Sexy

Cheryll Gillespie Media Group, Television that Travels

Books are more than great reads in design. When we are designing a room, books are one of the key elements and staging tools to our designs. When ever I have an opportunity to shop for books I’m in and when I travel I always have book stores, especially museum bookstores as they have some of the most fabulous and unique books, at the top of my to do list. I have been known to skip the museum when short on time, and opt to shop the museum store instead. Some of my favorite haunts and sources for unique books also include book fairs, estate sales, vintage shops and independent book sellers.

How do we use books when we decorate? Other than the obvious uses, such as filling your bookshelves which we love to arrange creatively with many a great read but also fabulous decorative object as well, we use books in manymcreative ways- thinking outside the box or in this case the jacket cover.

Cheryll Gillespie Media Group, Television that TravelsI love to stack a bunch of books coffee table height next to a favorite reading chair and then top with a great lamp.

We use a stack of two or three books to elevate a vase or decorative item when arranging a horizontal surface such as a tabletop or fireplace mantel.
In my kitchen, I use a stack of all silver and chrome cookbooks to hold the ipad, which is command central for the house.

To refurbish an old table or desk decoupage with the pages of old books, have a glass top cut and you have a one of a kind very cool piece.

Wallpaper a wall or the ceiling of a study with pages torn from a book, use wallpaper glue and roll flat, the perfect rainy day project.

Use books under a tablecloth to create height variance in your buffet table (height variance is the secret to great designer serving tables).

Turn an ottoman in to a coffee table simply by laying an oversized book on top.

Every living room needs some fabulous coffee table books; they help to share your personality with all who visit the space. Select carefully not only by their cover but also by subject matter: travel, art, fashion, photography, and religion are some of my favorites.

Create a serving tray with an oversized book by drilling through the pages and securing a handle to both ends. Add rubber feet on the bottom and enjoy.

Books are a fabulous source of style and inspiration, not only for the information and photos contained with in their covers but also as design aids. If you don’t already have a collection of great titles started, then start today and display them brilliantly. Books a staple of fabulous design and living.

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Christmas List

Christmas List Image

Have you finished your holiday shopping? I didn’t think so, so I’m hoping that this list may be timely inspiration for those with creative flair and a passion for home on your list.

Finding the perfect gift for all the fabulous people on your list can be challenging and who wants an uninspired necktie or a sweater under their tree? One thing that I always welcome as a gift is a fabulous coffee table book-honestly Sam and I can’t get enough books and sometimes these are hard items to justify purchasing for yourself as a limited edition or coveted hardcover can certainly be expensive. Vintage and antique books are also welcome additions to our library shelves. Has designer tools a great book looks fabulous on the end table next to a favorite living room or bedside chair. A coffee table book looks great on the coffee table of course. Our favorite topics include books on design, architecture, travel, cooking and of course fashion.  Books we love this year include the new Mary McDonald Interiors not only for its content but for the fabulous gold lettering on the spine, (yes, my books coordinate and work with the room) The Phaidon Atlas of Contemporary World Architecture.

Fabulous faux fur shawls and throws are rich warm and cuddly additions to the end of the bed, arm of a sofa or favorite chair. A delicious addition to a fabulous space: look for black mink for an art deco or traditionally styled room, fox for a country manor or white mink for a friend with a glamorous bedroom.

Email and texting are just too easy and we just don’t take the time to send hand written notes these days, which I think is a real shame. Personalized stationary is great gift that look luxurious on everyone’s desk. Grab your shopping list and head to your favorite craft or office supply store (most stores that order wedding stationary will also do personalized stationary) or just open up the laptop and look for a supplier on line and trust me there are plenty and start ordering. Inexpensive and thoughtful, I love this idea.

Here’s a rock solid idea. How about a beautiful chunk of crystal or amethyst or even graphite. Flipping through your favorite shelter magazine you undoubtedly notice amazing chunks of rock sitting beautiful on horizontal surfaces in the most spectacular rooms. We love finding fabulous pieces of rock to bring home a welcome treasure that will always be in style and will never go stale.

Linen dinner napkins are a great gift especially when you take the time to have them monogrammed with the families initials. We monogram all the time, table linens, bathrobes and even pillow cases. It take the ordinary and creates the fabulous-god is in the details and it’s these little touches that take the gift from good to wow.

Nothing feels more fabulous to give a gift that you are really proud of and that you know will be loved and adored for years to come-that’s fabulous living!

THIS AND THAT
Scent is the number one route to our brains memory center- conjure fabulous visions of Christmases gone past by filling your home with the scent of the season. Candles and essential oils such as pine, cinnamon and citrus are right in seasons and don’t forget to blend a couple of scents together. Rooms should always appeal to all five of our senses.

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The Joy of Solo Travel

The Joy of Solo Travel

The Joy of Solo Travel and Why SEA is ideal for
Solo Women Travelers

By Kaila Krayewski, Founder, Managing Director www.BlondeTraveler.com

There is nothing more liberating, exhilarating, and enticing than strapping on a 20kg backpack and a pair of Tevas, jumping on a plane, and experiencing the world on one’s own. As a female, it can be intimidating to go travelling by yourself. There are sleazy men (heck, even sleazy women!) to worry about, the threat of being preyed upon because of your smaller stature, and above all that, many women love having a pal around to chat with.

Make no mistake: it’s usually safer to have a travel partner. But hey, rules were made to be broken, and breaking this one to go it alone is often worth the leap.

Southeast Asia is a region most conducive to solo female travel. Why? Well, first of all, and most importantly, Southeast Asia is one of the safest places in the world to travel. Sure, there are crimes in this part of the world, but they are no where near as prominent as other places, even in the first world. I’ve often said that I feel far safer in Bangkok than I do in Vancouver. A good portion of Southeast Asians practice Buddhism as their religion, which teaches them to be mindful, calm, and totally non-aggressive. The Muslims in Indonesia are known as the most moderate Muslims in the world, and if you’ve ever met a Filipino, you probably don’t need to be told how kind and generous they are.

Though in the countryside, you may get some confused glances from those not used to seeing a woman traveling alone, in the cities and touristy places, it’s becoming increasingly common for women to sit down for a cup of coffee with the sole company of a good book. Of course, it’s important to take precautions – don’t walk down dark alleys, etc. – use your common sense.

Here are some steadfast tips for solo female travel in Southeast Asia:

  • Someone who cares about you should always know where you are. Make an agreement with your family/friends back home that if they don’t hear from you every four days (or so), they should start to worry, and by the fifth day, they should alert the authorities (just make sure you remember to keep in touch with them every other day!).
  • Know where the pressure points are. You probably won’t, but just in case you do get attacked, it’s good to know how to quickly and easily cause pain to your attacker so you can get out of there fast.
  • Get off your computer/phone. Relish your surroundings. For once you aren’t pestered by having to make conversation, and can truly take in everything that makes this new city/town so fabulous.
  • Be sure to ask your guesthouse if they have any specials for single travelers. They just might have a single room for a few dollars less than the double.
  • CouchSurfing.org is your friend! CouchSurfing is a project that allows users to create a profile and look up people all over the world, offering their couch (or spare bed, whatever) for free. Single women have the easiest time finding free places to stay using this site, and it’s possible to check your potential host’s references to make sure others had a good experience with them as well. Plus it’s an amazing way to meet new friends and have them introduce you to sights in the city that you’d never find with the Lonely Planet.

The Joy of Solo Travel 2I backpacked for 10 months in Southeast Asia, and was traveling solo for 1/3 of that time. I was amazed at how strong, independent, and mindful I became when traveling on my own, and at the kindness of strangers who saw a lost, lone girl and did everything they could to help me out. Three months in, a highschool friend came to travel with me, and together we saw and did more things in half a year than most people see in their entire lives. It truly changed how I look at life for the better. I was amazed at how well people treated us, and that despite having nearly $1,000 worth of gear in my backpack, and hardly ever using a safe, I never once had anything stolen from me. That’s Asia.

All of these factors connected in my mind, and inspired me to take a leap of faith, and move to Bangkok without a job, friend, or even very much money. I’ve now been here for a year and a half, and am starting my own company (in fact, it’s a travel support service for women traveling Southeast Asia, www.BlondeTraveler.com), have made some of the best friends I’ve ever had, and am almost sickeningly happy with my life. Living as a female expat in Asia is similar to traveling it, but at the same time, a totally different, perhaps even more fulfilling experience.

I have been fortunate in life to have had the opportunity to do this, and in turn, I feel it is my duty to pass on the wisdom I have picked up. It’s simple, if you have the means to travel, why aren’t you? Time is no excuse. Do it now! Create memories of a lifetime by taking a degree in cultural experiences. Hey, if you’re anything like the myriad of women who now live in Asia, you might just end up staying!