Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Hard Case

I've travelled a lot lately. This is largely down to my adventurous and generous Monsieur.  Thank you, Monsieur. Merci BEAUCOUP.  I know how lucky I am to be sharing your travel-mad life with you and I'm extremely grateful.

But enough of the mushy stuff.

The fact is, I remain at a loss as to how bloggers balance life, work commitments, and travel (if they're travel bloggers) with the act of sitting on ones ass and actually blogging.  And blogging intelligently and/or amusingly no less.  I wish I knew their secret because there are times when I really struggle to produce a post.  This is one of those times.  All the packing and unpacking of the past few months has mucked up my productivity, and as grateful as I am for all the blog fodder I've seen and experienced, I'd be happy not to see another suitcase for a while so that I can catch up with my life, let alone my posts.

Which is my round-about way of saying that this post's going to be short and to the point:  A quick run-down of this season's hottest designer carry-ons as I bid (a temporary but necessary) adieu to mine.

Brit Large Cabin Case @ Aspinal of London

Bottega Veneta Intrecciato Leather Travel Trolley @ Net-a-Porter

BRICS Missoni Limited Edition Four-Wheel 54cm Suitcase @ Selfridges

Caleche Express Petite Cabine & Document Holder @ Hermes

Terence Trolley @ Jimmy Choo

Pegase 55 Business @ Louis Vuitton

Mulberry Leopard Trolley @ Net-a-Porter

Smoky Grey Trolly @ Prada

Rimowa Salsa IATA Cabin Suitcase @ Selfridges
Versace Baroque-Print Leather Suitcase @ Net-a-Porter

Style File Followers Take Note:
1. I'll admit that wheeled cabin luggage isn't the sexiest travel accessory, but being hunched over with a bad back after schlepping a fancy carpet bag isn't that sexy either.
2. The Brics Missoni one:  Not so hot.  In fact, it's gross. Which is a shame because I love Missoni and I love Brics and would have thought that a collaboration between these two cool Italian brands could work.  But if I ever saw that thing going around a luggage carousel I'd be thinking "Who's Grandmother is gonna claim that?". The Grandmother of whoever owns the Versace one, of course.
3. I don't mean to be judgemental but I bet the little missy who wheels around the Jimmy Choo one is a bit of a tart.
4. I bet the chiquita who uses the Mulberry one is a bit of an animal.  (Did you just slap your thigh real hard?)
5. Better camouflage would have been to hide the Prada logo.  "Hello, Pikey. Come and steal my bag!"
6. In case you're wondering, mine's a red Rimowa.  They're super-lightweight and sturdy. Why waste baggage allowance on heavy leathers when it's what's inside that counts?

Friday, 24 August 2012

A Tail from LA

During our short stay in LA, Monsieur insisted that we find "Beverly Hills' best pet shop" (his words) to buy something appropriately indulgent for our incredibly spoiled border terrier, Archie LeWoof.

At first I resisted: Archie is incredibly spoiled (a consequence of not having children, as any second rate shrink would deduce, I'm sure).  To buy him a new toy would simply add to the zillions he already has in his over-stuffed toy box, of which he really only plays with two. That would be like throwing cash on a campfire, which I adamantly oppose.

It was therefore with reluctance that I joined Monsieur at the Concierge's desk at The Beverly Hills Hotel, just as he was being given the pet shop's address which would need entering in the rental car's GPS.

"There are other good ones in town," came the Concierge's parting whisper "but this one's the best. It's where the stars go."

So off we went, dog-lovers and star-fuckers combined, following the Hertz 'Neverlost' route to Fifi & Romeo. We managed to overshoot our destination, but a brief argument and a stealthy u-turn got us back on track and a plum parking spot just across the street from the shop. We jumped out of the car and made a beeline for Fifi & Romeo's entrance, where Lenny Kravitz was smoking a crafty fag in the sun.

Okay, it wasn't really Lenny Kravitz.  The guy at the door was even more gorgeous than Lenny Kravitz. And very welcoming. "Come in, come in!" he beamed, before adding "You don't come from around here, do you?". Hmmm.  This was before Monsieur had uttered a single heavily French-accented word.  Yes, it was afternoon and I was in a little black dress while most of LA seemed to be wearing whatever they'd woken up in, but was good grooming really such a give away?  Perhaps we'd forgotten to remove the yellow tag from the rear-view mirror of our convertible SLK?  I looked back at the car to check, but no - it was exactly like every car in the neighbourhood; a shiny black Mercedes, with no tell-tale rental markings that I could discern.

"It's the way you parked and walked straight across the street." he said, addressing our wonder with a warm chuckle. "That's jaywalking.  You can't do that here. Only foreigners do that."

And with that eye-opening lesson behind us (who knew that California had tougher laws on pedestrians than pot-smokers and gun-owners?) we were introduced to the shop's two canines in residence, Lupita and the other one.   I feel terrible for forgetting the other one's name, but when we were introduced to Lupita, who we misheard as Pepita, our minds turned to mush.  Things descended into a big doggie love-fest between Monsieur, me, Lupita and the other one, and before we knew it, more-gorgeous-than-Lenny and Fifi & Romeo's fabulous founder, Yana, had us on the sofa for a photoshoot.

As it turned out, Yana is an acclaimed Hollywood costume designer who has turned her gifted hand to creating sassy ensembles for California's chicest chiens.  Her shop is brimming with amazing outfits for four-legged fashionistas, in every style from Chanel demure to Betsy Johnston on acid.

Yana holding Lupita; Pepita holding the other one.

Alas, Archie LeWoof is a die-hard nudest (to the point that he will pull the clothes off of dressed dogs; a fact I didn't care to share with Yana at the time) so one of Yana's fantastic outfits wasn't going to make it back in our suitcase, as tempting as they were and as much I would have liked to squeeze into one myself. That's when we spied Fifi & Romeo's toy collection, and before my mind's eye had a chance to picture my wallet sizzling on a pyre, I saw it: The perfect addition to Archie's toy box which, at the very least, would serve as my souvenir of this zany tail from LA.

Style File Followers Take Note:
1. I oppose throwing cash on a camp-fire primarily because I'd prefer to spend it on new clothes.
2. Neverlost? Oh please. Not if the arrow is the size of a city block, Mr. Hertz.
3. The next time we heard the words "You don't come from around here, do you?" was with the same car and similar outfits at a gas station in Barstow on Route 66.  The locals looked at us like we were martians.  We looked at the locals like they were packing handguns.  We left quickly.
4. To find out more about Fifi & Romeo click this.  If you're in LA, you have to go there, even if you don't have a dog.  Yana is an incredible lady with great energy. And you might catch a glimpse of more-gorgeous-than-Lenny in the bargain.
5. Look at that face!  Just look at it!  Is it any wonder why he's spoiled?  Oi gevaldt.

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Flat Out in LA & Las Vegas

Greetings from The Beverly Hills Hotel.  Or more specifically, poolside, at The Beverly Hills Hotel.

That's Monsieur's arm, mid-backstroke, on our first morning in LA.  And this is me:

The Beverly Hills Hotel tote bag was on loan from a friend.  I thought it would be fun to fully brand a photo, with the bag and matching cabana boy in the background.

This was my poolside look, without the bag and cabana boy:

That's the Michael Kors cover-up which I wish I'd had in Portofino.  And those are the Joseph t-thong flats which no summer suitcase should be without.  Underneath, I'm wearing a zebra striped bikini and a bit of extra weight (thank-you, American waffles and mini-bar snacks).  I love that bikini, but it didn't quite match up to these:

Those are the Aqualilies, who provided us lucky guests at The Beverly Hills Hotel with cocktail hour entertainment worthy of Olympic Goldschlager.

And that's what I wore while taking in the show: Sportmax dress, Dior clutch and those day-to-evening, go with anything, super versatile Joseph t-thong flats.  (How I wish I'd been sporting a flowered cap too; a packing note for next time.)

The flats made another appearance when we hit Santa Monica and Venice Beach.

Although Monsieur had other ideas when it came to footwear that day:

Poor Monsieur had to hang up the blades when we got to Vegas.  But my flats were out in full force, perfect for walking along The Strip in 42oC heat and ducking into casinos to win big.

Style File Followers Take Note:
1. The key to a travel-worthy t-thong flat is a black sole. Tan-soled t-thong flats (like K-Jacques) don't do day-to-night, whereas an all black t-thong flat can do anything.  (Except possibly sing or run for Governor. Although maybe in Nevada?)
2. They don't, I'll admit, do the pool as well I'd have liked.  My big (and only) packing regret was not to have brought a pair of backless flip flops for lazily slipping-on when headed for a swim.  Whether tan-soled or black-soled, the buckle on a t-tong flat can steal minutes from valuable tanning time.
3. That's just water draining from her swimsuit, I'm sure.
4. The Beverly Hills Hotel was awesome.  AWESOME.  The history of the place is memorising and the mini bar treats were worth forfeiting a bikini-bod by the pool.  More chocolate covered blueberries anyone?
5. That's the casino at The Bellagio in Las Vegas.  That's a cashout voucher for 40 cents.  Luck was not my lady that night, even if my t-thong flats (and Agnes B strapless linen dress, thank you) were packing-list winners.

Thursday, 9 August 2012

A Packing List for...

I know what you're thinking.

"Another one."

And you know what?

I'm thinking the same thing too.

Don't get me wrong: I am incredibly grateful for all the travelling I do (thanks largely to Monsieur) and 2012 has been exceptional.  In the past 6 months I've been to the Olympics, dog-sledded in the Arctic, taken a private jet to Cannes and pretended not to get giddy at the sight of George Clooney's home by Lake Como.  That makes me a pretty lucky lady and I thank my lucky stars (and Monsieur) every day.

But, if truth be told... I've got packing list fatigue.

Or maybe it's packing fatigue.  (Which includes un-packing fatigue and laundry fatigue.)

Or maybe it's just that I'm starting to get bored of my holiday wardrobe.  Not that I'm not grateful for all the cool stuff I've accumulated over the years.  It's just that at the end of the day, my shopping budget can't keep up with Monsieur's travel plans, so my packing lists are starting to look the same.

Take a look at my latest list:

Recognise anything?

Dress 1, for example, is the periwinkle blue George Hogg sleeveless t-shirt dress and matching cardigan which I wore when we visited Chateau de Pommard on our way to Italy.  Dresses 2 & 3 are other easy George Hogg pieces which I packed for Italy too.  4 is the long strapless dress which I bought in Italy and 5 is the long black strapless dress that I wore hiking near Portofino. In fact, the only item that you haven't seen before is 10, which is a gossamer-light white cotton Michael Kors cover-up that I bought in the sale when we got back from Italy, thinking 'Gosh, I could have used this at Splendido'.

You probably don't recognise the shoes though, because my shoe drawings are particularly crap.  Maybe these will help:

You've already seen the leopard print sandals (last week at the Olympics) and the black espadrille wedges are a perennial travel favourite.  You haven't seen the gold strappy sandals before but that's only because after 10 years of good use, the buckle broke and I only just had them repaired.  The black Joseph flat sandals are new - my other sale find and a treasured one at that, having spent the past 2 seasons searching for a replacement for my last pair. (They're a shoe no holiday wardrobe should be without, as are the strappy gold heels, which go with everything and take up no space.)

So that's my latest packing list.  Nothing OMG.  Just enough lightweight and easy-to-pack clothing to get me through our latest trip.

Which is a week in Los Angeles and Las Vegas.

Style File Followers Take Note:
1. OMG.  It just hit me.  While writing this post surrounded by luggage and shoes and the other list I have that includes vital reminders like 'passport' and 'blackberry charger' it just dawned on me that I'm going to California tomorrow!  And Vegas after that!  And I've never been to either! OMG!
2. The cover-up that I bought for Splendido will get its first wearing by the pool at The Beverly Hills Hotel!
3. This time when I see a celebrity's house, what the hell: I'm gonna get giddy!
4. Cal-i-for-nia, here I come...
5. How does the rest of that song go?
6. The day I wore that black strapless maxidress hiking in Portofino is also the day I saw a wild otter! It must be my lucky dress! I guess I'll be wearing it to a slot machine then!
7. VEGAS!  V-E-G-A-S!  B-A-B-Y!
8. Fuck packing fatigue. I'm so excited I could platz!
9. Look it up.
10. Speaking of yiddish and Las Vegas (or speaking yiddish in Las Vegas) I wonder if I'll bump into Sheldon Adelson so I can double Sarah's offer in person.

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

What I Wore to the Olympics

I know, I know - it's the burning question, searing like London's Olympic flame.

Well, given that I had about an hour to pack (and that includes packing for Monsieur and dealing with our combined toiletries, which always takes longer than it should) I had to make a snap decision (not my forte) about what to wear to The Olympics.

My inspiration?

Okay... I appreciate that it's a bit subtle but the draping should provide a hint: Greece!  Not the bankrupt, defaulting, soon-to-be-ex-Eurozone country, but the Greece of ancient history, from whence the Olympics were borne.  As I haven't invested in any Lanvin this season, I retrieved this old DVF dress from the back of my wardrobe (looked better in the store than on) to make a personal homage to the very first Olympic games.

That's me, in front of the Aquatics Centre, in all my Grecian glory.

Right down to the Michael Kors sandals.

And the Kors handbag.

Okay, fine.  There's nothing particularly ancient or Grecian about my accessories.  And come to think of it, I was head to toe in American designers.  I might as well have been doing what this guy was doing on the tube:

But I'm not that kinda gal.  When it comes to wearing a flag, I don't find the stars and stripes nearly as flattering as a good ol' Canadian maple leaf.

Style File Followers Take Note:
1. The leggings were Wolford (Austria, no medals) and the poncho in my hand is Crimson Cashmere (France, a whole lotta medals).
2. I refuse to wear those flat gladiator sandals that have been so popular for the last two years.  They cut right across the base of your toes and make even pretty feet look ungainly.  If you own a pair, please throw them in the bin. With your Uggs.
3. Not that gladiators were Greek, mind you.
4. Although I proudly support Canada, in the 4 x 100 men's relay I was rootin' for The States. Go Phelps, Go! And he did!
5. Contrary to what any dumb-ass American Presidential wannabe and tax-evader may say, the London 2012 Olympics seemed to be exceptionally well organised. Congratulations, Blighty.  You done good.  And a bloody good show on the medals front!

Saturday, 4 August 2012

A Packing List for the Olympics?


A casual conversation between Monsieur and a friend who works for an American broadcasting company (and not the much derided NBC network, fyi) has yielded last minute tickets to an event at the Lympics and OMG - we're going!  In an hour!

So what does one pack for a spur-of-the-moment, 24-hour jaunt across the channel to take in "London 2012" and its Olympic Park?!

If the athletes are anything to go by, I'll need:

- really short shorts

- chinos

- a parka

grrr... I can't find a corroborating photo online in the time I have,
but when you watch the swimmers enter the arena, you'll notice some of the Chinese guys wearing huge beige parkas by the pool. Which is indoors. In August. Perhaps not so much grrr... as brrr... ?

- a bedspread

- and a penguin suit!

All that and a toothbrush and I'm set. Hello men's synchronised diving, here I come!

Style File Followers Take Note:
1. OMG!
2. I'll never understand why the volleyball teams wear bikinis while the swimmers seem fully clothed.
3. I also find it very odd that the women's swimsuits seem to be cut for men.  Does breast-stroke proficiency preclude breasts?
4. I've always been proud to be Canadian, but when our team came out in that ode to Brooks Brothers, I reached for my British passport and adopted a Cockney accent.
5. Admit it. You've had 50 Shades of Synchronised Divers in your head too.

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Even More Stupid Sh*t Stylists Do

They've been at it again.

While I spent July travelling, writing about travelling and fighting with Sam, those crafty stylists were busy getting all creative on us, doing what they could to make their mark at the Fall 2012 Couture shows. The net effect included a fair amount of face and hair net (also seen at Gaultier) and the use of freakish make-up and accessories that really should be banned but that we put up with in the name of freedom of expression and democracy, etc.

In the name of freedom of expression and democracy, etc., I hearby exercise my right to say that stylists sure do some stupid sh*t.

I dare you to knock this dangly thing off my hair phallus, bitch.
Alexis Mabille   F2012Couture

The earring in her hair was a last minute effort to distract the press from the dress.
Alexis Mabille   F2012Couture

She would have taken the hat off, had her hands not been transmuted into claws.
Alexis Mabille   F2012Couture

My booker said it would be like Doctor Zhivago.  She's so dead.
Ulyana Segeenko   F2012Couture

Oh crap.  I think a bug just got caught in my facenet.
Giambattista Valli   F2012Couture

Damn, that gel is sticky.
Giambattista Valli   F2012Couture

Silence of the abused models.
Giambattista Valli   F2012Couture

An invisible butterfly just landed on her nose?
Christian Dior   F2012Couture

What the fuck do you mean, my lipstick doesn't go with my dress?!
Christian Dior   F2012Couture

Green with envy at the models working the less 'avant garde' shows.
Martin Margiela   F2012Couture

Ugh - another duff outfit.  At least nobody recognises me from the Alexis Mabille show.
Martin Margiela   F2012Couture
Style File Followers Take Note:
1. Oh dear.  The stupid sh*t stylists do is usually offset by the cool stuff designers too.  Not this time.
2. If an earring is worn in the hair, does that make it a hairring? Or a herring? Or just plain fishy.
3. I take back point 1. With the exception of the dress/trouser combos, at least the Dior collection was beautiful and wearable.  But I'd stay well away from their cosmetics this season if I were you.
4. All images blatantly borrowed from
5. Scarily enough, that whole butterfly thing seems to be on trend.  Check out Neiman Marcus' online ad campaign: