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      Blog — vacation

      Style: What To Wear On Your Virtual Tours

      Style: What To Wear On Your Virtual Tours

      Vizcaya Gardens, Miami FL

      Built in 1916 as a winter retreat, this lavish villa is a tribute to the Italian Renaissance. The museum contains much of the original furnishings and artwork, and is surrounded by lush, formal gardens. You can explore the museum and gardens from home here

      The perfect day to night pieces for perusing gardens and exploring the museums: 
      Salima Convertible Wrap 
      Billy 4-Way Reversible Top 
      Farah Reversible Dress 
      Materia Sphere Necklace

      For sunny days and warm evenings these mix and match pieces are sure to make a statement:

      Salima Convertible Wrap 
      Juniper Wide Leg Pant 
      Jinnah Short Sleeve Blouse 
      Anaa Reversible White T-shirt
      Materia Sphere Necklace


      Staycation Secrets To Experience the Ultimate Vacation At Home

      Staycation Secrets To Experience the Ultimate Vacation At Home

      In these unprecedented times we wanted to share a few fun staycation secrets to experience the ultimate vacation at home. 

      Make Your Space Smell Like A Fancy Hotel: For travelers, the olfactory sense creates some of the strongest memories. Burn scented candles, plug in an oil diffuser or use room spray to perfume your home, creating a calming space where you can relax. Some of the world’s finest hotels are perfumed with bespoke fragrances. Source them from your favourite hotel or try these from Aroma 360 Hotel Scent Collection. (photo via Inspiration)

      Cook A Meal That Will Make You Feel Like You're Worlds Away: Peruse through your cookbook shelf, and re-create a meal from your favourite destination. Chefs are sharing cooking tips and recipes online, check out Massimo Bottura of Michelin-starred restaurant Osteria Francescana in Modena who is hosting a daily virtual cooking series called Kitchen Quarantine. Follow along with your favourite chefs and cook up something new. You can even take it a step further and discover the joy of cooking with one of these top online cooking courses (photo via Instagram)

      Shake Up A Cocktail From Your Dream Destination: Nothing says vacation like a destination cocktail. Dreaming of Mexican beaches? Try something with tequila. Toast well wishes to Italy with an Aperol spritz. Feeling French? Cheers with Champagne. Head to the tropics by shaking up a rum cocktail. Literally choose your own adventure... depending on what you have in the liquor cabinet! (photo via Washington Post)

      Have A Spa Day:
      Bring serenity home with a home spa day using common pantry ingredients. Make a body scrub with ingredients like sugar, coffee, coconut oil, and olive oil, make it extra by adding a few drops of essential oils if you have them. Try one or a few of Rancho La Puerta's masks for every skin type. Turn your shower into a sanctuary with a few drops of your favourite essential oil and enjoy a hydrating fruit water afterwards. (photo via Guest of Guest)

      Create A Playlist:
      Transport yourself through music with a curated Spotify playlist, try Soundtrack Your Ride which generates a road trip playlist for you based on your Spotify history and your answers to a few questions, or check out the ever-expanding list of shows and musical events to stream from the comfort of your home. Search here and here. (photo via Islands)

      Take Virtual Sightseeing Tours: 
      You can now tour some of the world's most famous tourist attractions like the ruins of PompeiiMachu Picchu or national parks right from your couch. With Google Arts and Culture you can literally travel anywhere...digitally. (photo via Google)


      Weekend Getaway: Gold Coast Chicago

      Weekend Getaway: Gold Coast Chicago

      The Thompson Hotel

      The Thompson

      The Thompson

      The Thompson Hotel

      Set among the historic mansions of Chicago's hip Gold Coast neighbourhood, this trendy, upscale hotel overlooks tree-lined streets and offers sweeping floor-to-ceiling vistas of the Chicago skyline and Lake Michigan.

      Designed by British icon Tara Bernerd, the Thompson boasts eclectic vibes with midcentury lines and plush textures of leather, velvet and warm American woods.

      Why you will never want to leave…

      It's within easy walking distance of the lakefront at Oak Street Beach, as well as the Magnificent Mile shopping stretch and the Clark-Division stop on the Chicago Transit Red Line, which can have you in the downtown Loop in 10 minutes. 

      Floor to ceiling windows offer terrific views of Lake Michigan and the city skyline. Guests staying in penthouses nab private outdoor terraces.

      Nico Osteria, Thompson Chicago's signature restaurant, features authentic Italian and seafood by local hero and executive chef  Paul Kahan.

      Looking for fitness classes or spa treatments? Receive discounts with neighboring Exhale Spa to make your stay even more refreshing and relaxing.

      From $180 per night
      21 E Bellevue Pl, Chicago, IL
      1 312-266-2100



      the spicy yellowfin tuna tartare with hass avocado, sweet chili, cucumber, red shiso and soy caviar—all served alongside taro chips.

      Le Colonial

      Due to it's close proximity to Chicago's famed shopping district the Magnificent Mile, the Gold Coast offers respite during a shopping trip. Fancy hotel restaurants and steak houses are abundant, so we chose something a bit different. Le Colonial has been known for decades as a place for celeb sightings, and the tropical interior filled with palm leaves and sophisticated style offers a refreshing escape from the city streets. 

      The Vietnamese cuisine hints of French in presentation only, don't expect heavy sauces, rather plenty of light and tangy flavours of citrus and chiles. A typical dish is the goi bo, a spicy marinated beef salad with lemongrass and Thai basil or wok-prepared lemongrass chicken kicked up with opal basil and red chilies. Regulars rely on house favourites like the chả giò (crispy spring rolls with shrimp and pork), spicy yellowfin tuna tartare with Hass avocado, sweet chili, cucumber, red shiso and soy caviar served alongside taro chips (shown above), crispy shrimp beignets and lean, juicy ginger-marinated duck. 

      57 E. Oak Street
      Chicago, IL 60611
      +1 312-255-0088


      Endless Options

      6 Unique Safaris You Can Try Around The World

      Bengal Tiger spotted on safari in India

      If lions and giraffes are the first things that come to mind when you think of a safari, you’re not alone. Head outside of Africa for wildlife viewing that is absolutely magnificent. From high up in India's Himalayas to the vast wilderness of Sweden's Laplands, here are 6 unique safaris you can try around the world.

      1. Baffin Island & High Arctic Discovery, Canada
      Travel to the remote area of Baffin Island to experience the "great migration" of the Northwest Passage. Staying on the floe edge in safari-inspired, tented camps, you can explore a remote part of the Arctic which very few people ever get to see. Sail through dramatic landscapes and look out for polar bears, narwhals, belugas and the endangered bowhead whale.

      Best Time To Visit: June during the period of 24 hour daylight. 

      2. Galapagos Safari Camp, Ecuador
      Visit one of the most natural destinations on the planet. Galapagos Island is home to an unmatched abundance of wildlife and otherworldly volcanic landscapes. Watch sea lions frolic along the coast, marine iguanas lounge in the sun, and snorkel with hammerheads, green turtles, manta rays, and more. 

      Galápagos Safari Camp is the ideal eco-luxe launchpad for exploring them: 10 teak-floored tents and a sweeping ocean-view lodge sit subtly in dense jungle where passionate staff expertly craft once-in-a-lifetime excursions to ensure you’ll experience the best that the Galápagos’ has to offer. (photo via Wildlife Worldwide)

      Best Time To Visit: December to May.

      3. Desert Safari Dubai, United Arab Emirates
      After you've had your fill of the glitzy shopping malls and towering skyscrapers of Dubai, head to the desert for a stark contrast. See 
      Arabian gazelles, lizards, Arabian red foxes, the straight-horned Arabian oryx and falcons. Transport via Range Rover to your desert oasis for a gourmet meal before you retire to your magical private luxury camp. Visit remote desert gems like a migratory bird lake and take in stunning views of the desert. Watch the Flaming Sands of Arabia fire show or an impressive falconry demonstration over sunset canape's. 

      Best Time To Visit: November to March.

      Ranthambore National Park, India

      4. Ranthambore National Park, India
      Traveling to India, the Taj Mahal, Jaipur and the Amber Fort, Varanasi and the Ganges may be the top attractions that come to mind. Surely you should add seeing a Royal Bengal Tiger in the wild to that list!  
      Ranthambore is one of the biggest national parks in Northern India, located about 130 km from Jaipur on the former hunting grounds of the Maharajas of Jaipur.

      The park is famous for its tigers and tiger preservation, but you can spot many other animals there, amongst them: leopards, hyenas, sambar deer, macaques, jackals, sloth bears, wild boar, flying foxes, and porcupines. 

      Book your safari ahead of time directly with Ranthambore National Park Service (the 6 seat jeep is recommended) or GeoEx also offers a Taj to Tiger trip incorporating the UNESCO-listed Kaziranga National Park in Assam, which boasts not only the world’s highest density of Bengals, but also wild Asiatic water buffalo, Ganges river dolphins, and two-thirds of the world’s one-horned rhinoceroses (photo via 
      Aditya Singh/Thinkstock)

      Best Time To Visit: Ranthambore is open to visitors October 1st to June 30th. 

      South Georgia and Antartica Penguin Safari
      5. South Georgia and Antarctic Peninsula: Penguin Safari, Antartica
      Begin your journey in the in the world’s most southerly city, Ushuaia where you can explore the mountains of Patagonia or relax over a handcrafted hot chocolate at a café in town.

      Set sail for South Georgia Island where you will witness massive albatross and pintado petrel swoop and soar around the ship. Beaches teeming with king penguins and elephant seals will greet you on this rarely visited island. You will also have a chance to visit abandoned whaling stations and learn the stories of inhabitants who called this island home before stepping foot onto Antartica.

      Once you arrive to Antartica get ready to witness a land of extremes. At one moment you’ll be overcome with a feeling of complete isolation, and at the next moment a calving glacier crashes into a brilliant blue sea. Try excursions like Zodiac cruising, a visit to historical sites, sea kayaking or jump into the icy waters for the polar plunge. Expect to see plenty of penguins and keep a lookout for Antarctic whales, such as the minke. (photo via Travel Wild)

      Best Time To Visit: November through January

      The hyacinth macaw is just one of the hundreds of spectacular species found in the Pantanal
      6. Brazil Pantanal and Amazon Wildlife Safari, Brazil
      Instead of savannas and bush there are tropical forest and jungle where rare and lesser-known creatures thrive. Don't miss this once-in-a-lifetime journey into one of the world's most enriching destinations for wildlife viewing. Encounter caimans, Brazilian tapirs, maned wolves, capybaras, marmosets, giant river otters, masked titi monkeys, and, of course, the elusive jaguar. Explore the winding Pantanal wetlands by canoe and make yourself at home within a floating lodge in the heart of the Amazon. (photo via Uwe Bergwitz / Shutterstock)

      Best Time To Visit: June through October


      Pack These Books: 5 Great Reads For Spring Break

      Pack These Books: 5 Great Reads For Spring Break

      Get ready to get away. Whether you're hitting the road, heading to the beach or exploring the newest trendy destination city we have five great options for your vacation reading list. Get packing now!

      1. If you want to get into a series, get yourself a copy of My Brilliant Friend: Book One by Elena Ferrante

       A modern masterpiece from one of Italy's most acclaimed authors set against the backdrop of a Naples that is as seductive as it is perilous and a world undergoing epochal change, this story of a lifelong friendship is told with unmatched honesty. Lila and Elena clash, drift apart, reconcile, and clash again, in the process revealing new facets of their friendship.With My Brilliant Friend Ferrante begins the rich, intense, and generous-hearted portrait of two friends, Elena and Lila. Through their lives, she tells the story of a neighbourhood, a city, and a country undergoing a momentous change.

      2. Swap your "how to" book with this "how to think" book where resilience is key to aging well; age is less important than health; happiness doesn’t come easily and saying “no” can be powerful. Women Rowing North: Navigating Life's Currents and Flourishing as We Age by Mary Pipher

      In Women Rowing North, Pipher offers a timely examination of the cultural and developmental issues women face as they age. Drawing on her own experience as daughter, sister, mother, grandmother, caregiver, clinical psychologist, and cultural anthropologist, she explores ways women can cultivate resilient responses to the challenges they face. "If we can keep our wits about us, think clearly, and manage our emotions skillfully," Pipher writes, "we will experience a joyous time of our lives. If we have planned carefully and packed properly, if we have good maps and guides, the journey can be transcendent."
      3. For feeling like it's never too late to travel, dive into a Tales of a Female Nomad: Living at Large in the World by Rita Golden Gelman

      Rita Golden Gelman is an ordinary woman who is living an extraordinary existence. At the age of forty-eight, on the verge of a divorce, Rita left an elegant life in L.A. to follow her dream of travelling the world, connecting with people in cultures all over the globe. In 1986 Rita sold her possessions and became a nomad, living in a Zapotec village in Mexico, sleeping with sea lions on the Galapagos Islands, and residing everywhere from thatched huts to regal palaces. She has observed orangutans in the rain forest of Borneo, visited trance healers and dens of black magic, and cooked with women on fires all over the world. Rita’s example encourages us all to dust off our dreams and rediscover the joy, the exuberance, and the hidden spirit that so many of us bury when we become adults.
      4. For a memoir that's both laugh out loud and searingly honest grab a copy of Toronto's very own: To Walk It Off: The True and Hilarious Story of How I Learned to Stand, Walk, Pee, Run, and Have Sex Again After a Nightmarish Diagnosis Turned My Awesome Life Upside Down by Ruth Marshall 

      Ruth Marshall—power-mom, wife, actor, and daughter—was in great health, until one day, her feet started to tingle. Ruth visited doctors and specialists for tests, but no one could figure out the cause of her symptoms. Was she imagining those pesky tingles? She tried to brush it off, even as she tripped over curbs and bumbled into people. Clumsiness is charming, right?

      But when Ruth suddenly couldn’t feel her legs at all, she knew something was terribly wrong. Her fears were confirmed by an MRI revealing a rare tumour that had been quietly growing on her spine for over a decade. Within days, surgery was scheduled, and after the intense eight-hour ordeal, Ruth woke up to find her legs and feet had forgotten how to do...well, everything. The question that burned in her mind was, “Will I ever walk again?”

      What Ruth thought would be three days in the hospital turned into months of rehabilitation as she learned not only how to walk, run, pee and even have sex again, but how to appreciate everyone around her—including her devoted husband, her two young sons, her worried parents, her loving friends, and the caring staff at the rehab centre who help her tackle her recovery head on.

      Laugh-out-loud outrageous and searingly honest, this is a memoir that not only entertains, but inspires readers to put their best foot forward and walk off anything life throws their way.

      5. If you're looking to learn something. Wine. All the Time.: The Casual Guide to Confident Drinking, by Marissa A. Ross 

      A fresh, fun, and unpretentious guide to wine from Marissa A. Ross, official wine columnist for Bon Appétit. Does the thought of having to buy wine for a dinner party stress you out? Is your go-to strategy to pick the bottle with the coolest label? Are you tired of choosing pairings based on your wallet, instead of your palate? Fear not! Bon Appétit wine columnist and Wine. All The Time. blogger Marissa A. Ross is here to help.

      In this utterly accessible yet comprehensive guide to wine, Ross will walk you through the ins and outs of wine culture. Told in her signature comedic voice, with personal anecdotes woven in among its lessons, Wine. All the Time. will teach you to sip confidently, and make you laugh as you're doing it.

      In Wine. All The Time., you’ll learn how to:
         • Describe what you’re drinking, and recognize your preferences
         • Find the best bottle for you budget and occasion
         • Read and understand what’s written on a wine label
         • Make the perfect pairings between what you’re drinking and what you’re eating
         • Throw the best damn dinner party your guests will ever attend
         • And much more

            Happy Reading!