Friday, December 31, 2010

A Travelmoon Toast

TRAVELMOON wishes you a 
Happy New Year 
full of 

With your champagne flute raised, I would like to toast all the Travelmoon readers who have been supportive as I started this blogging journey--I am so grateful.  I hope for your continued support and readership in 2011 and beyond!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Hotel Spotlight: Inn and Spa at Loretto

I was sold on a single image.  I googled Santa Fe before our recent trip, and the photograph from this post popped up.  I immediately booked a room at the Inn & Spa at Loretto.
Image via Travelmoon

The hotel’s exterior is highly photographed (some websites claim it is the most photographed spot in Santa Fe) as it’s modeled after the Taos Pueblo and who wouldn’t want to stay in a modern day pueblo while in Santa Fe?  
It was a bonus to find that this hotel is smack dab in the center of all of the sites of interest: the Central Plaza, the oldest Church and House, as well as Canyon Road.  We were upgraded upon arrival gratis, and greeted with impeccable service and recommendations throughout our stay.

Oldest House and Church in the United States

It has been quite some time since Southwest decor was all the rage, and it’s not something I would personally use in my own home, but as they say “when in Rome,”  and in Santa Fe I wouldn’t even consider staying anywhere that wasn’t representative of the city and Southwestern style itself.
One thing that distinctly lingers from Thom Filicia’s talk at the Laguna Design Center was this advice: when conceptualizing your design, you should consider the context of the location.  It follows, that if you are in Santa Fe you wouldn’t really want to build or stay in a French Chateau.
Image via Inn and Spa at Loretto
The newly renovated Loretto Inn had all the trappings of Southwest decor, interpreted literally in the room: iron oxide hued walls, Native American inspired patterned blankets with a similarly painted border.  

But interpreted with a refreshing twist that I delighted in, at their restaurant Luminaria: white beams, gray walls, gray rattan chairs with crisp white cushions, wide plank light wood floors, banquettes with orange pillows all with Native American symbols, wood fixtures with lit candles scattered on the wall; and of course, no Santa Fe restaurant is complete without paying homage to the local art and artists by hanging their work on the walls.

Santa Fe is a sleepy town, not a place I would recommend for a night owl, our nightly activities included wandering through the lobbies (and sometimes rooms) of other hotels, and we found that the Inn & Spa at Loretto was our favorite and will definitely be our go-to hotel upon a return trip.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Price of Beauty

A recent trip to do a quick errand at the mall led to the discovery that they had brought back, what was once a promotional makeup item (See #4), and got me thinking of my other favorite items that luckily are always available for purchase.

1.  Kiehl's Eye Makeup Remover.  My favorite eye make-up remover: non-irritating, light, and perfect for when you are feeling too lazy to actually wash your face.  
2.  Clinique Advanced Concealer.  Confession: I haven't used Clinique since Middle School, just the sight of that green compact transports me back in time.  I am always looking for the perfect concealer to hide an unsightly blemish and this one, that goes on like a liquid but with a powder finish, is the best I've ever found.  
3.  Ten Thousand Waves Yuzu Aromatherapy Mist.  Scent often evokes a memory, and with this Aromatherapy Mist I remember that relaxing spa feeling, and you will too.  
4.   Smashbox Limitless Liquid Liner Pen.  The best eyeliner around: a liquid pencil, that you don't have to turn, no clumping, and best of all you can control the line making sure it goes on evenly without smudging. 
5.  Kiehl's Coriander Lotion.  I love this fresh scent, and I once read it's Tory Burch's favorite.  Whether truth or fiction it still smells sweet, spicy, and delicious. 
6.  Moroccan Oil.  This product does wonders to tame hair, and gives it that ever elusive shine.  The smell is addictive; a family friend swears by it's curative nature, even going so far as lathering it on her face. 

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Sedona on my Mind

I remember the Grand Canyon--peeking over it, but keeping my distance, honoring it's majestic force, and trying to see down one mile in to the valley it formed, but memory is a funny thing.  I can't remember Sedona even though we visited on the same vacation many years ago.  

Although after this return trip, I can't imagine why, because while it's not the Grand Canyon the Red Rock formations in Sedona, should also easily be seared in to my consciousness, and from now on, I think they will be impossible to forget.

Bell Rock

Sedona is a place to visit for spirituality--whether it is a feeling, a connection, or an experience you are looking for, you might find it in one of the vortexes that surround the city.

It is also great for those who seek outdoor adventure: to hike, bike, or walk amongst the natural beauty is awe inspiring and envelopes you with a sense of calm.

These are the church windows from the Chapel of the Holy Cross where you also have an overlook of Sedona in all its glory.  Anyone looking for a wedding location?

How's this for a scenic airport?

Then, find a vista to enjoy the sunset, and revel in your day.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Up in the Air

Travelmoon is blogging from 33,000 feet in the air, to let you know that Sniqueaway's (see here) current sale is the Kamandalu Resort in Bali, Indonesia.  It is one of my favorite resorts for good reason (see here).  I would love to go back and stay in one of their suites with your own personal infiniti pool amidst the rice paddies and the lush tropics, even more luxurious than the suite we stayed in only a couple months ago.

Image via Sniqueaway

If you would like an invitation to Sniqueaway, let me know.

Monday Escapes: Reflections

There is no better time to count my 2010 travel blessings than the last week of the year.
1. San Diego

2. Caribbean
3.  Palm Springs
4.  Orange County
5.  Catalina
6.  Napa
7.  Singapore
8.  Bali
9.  Santa Fe
10.  Sedona
11.  Dallas
I'm currently en route to the Sunshine State.  I wonder what adventures are in store for 2011!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Leaving on a Jet Plane

I'm lugging out the suitcases again...

Image via CM Culture Club by Amy Neunsinger
 I'm ready for one more travel adventure before the year's end.  I will be catching some sunshine in Florida before returning to Dallas to ring in the New Year. 

As always, check my blog for updates.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Sunny Days are Here Again

It's one thing to travel to a new land temporarily (everyone knows I'm up for that type of adventure), but moving to a new city can sometimes leave me feeling like this:

Aristide Maillol
That's why it was a welcome surprise to wake up to gleaming sunshine and summer weather.  We decided to venture to the Nasher Sculpture Center in downtown Dallas and take advantage of this gift from the gods during the holiday season.

It was fascinating to see the sculptures from artists that are mostly renowned for their paintings, as well as classics from Rodin.

Willem de Kooning

Love the minimalist interior with floor to ceiling windows, I could move right in...

Paul Gaugin-the Tahitian influence gives it away

Pablo Picasso
This sculpture by Pablo Picasso is reminscent of one of his most famous works:

There is nothing like a warm, sunny day, full of engaging activities, exotic margaritas, and lunching under orange umbrellas to make me feel like I'm at home.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

It's not Luxury it's a Lifestyle

"The art, the air we breathe, the food we eat, spending a day at the spa... it's not luxury it's a lifestyle."

This was the wisdom we gleaned from a Santa Fe local, while we sipped cucumber infused water, wrapped in our spa robe waiting for our steamed herbal wrap.  We were at the famed Ten Thousand Waves, a Japanese style spa nestled in the nearby mountains, just a 4 mile jaunt from the central Plaza in Santa Fe.  

Is this what everyone does in Santa Fe?  Eat gourmet food that could top anyone’s best restaurant list, have soothing spa treatments, and surround themselves with gorgeous and expensive art?  While I can’t say that this particular Santa Fe local voiced the true opinion of the masses, I definitely want to believe that there really is such a place in this world where luxury is expected, not taken for granted, but deemed a necessity, and this Shangri-la is right here in Santa Fe.  

I could get used to this...  

This had to explain why we talked to so many people who had lived and been born all over the world and decided to settle in Santa Fe permanently.

Let's get back to the restaurants.

El Farol
Going to a restaurant after Santa Fe was a letdown.  The restaurants here all had fresh ingredients, unique dishes, all with the flair of New Mexican cuisine.  What is New Mexican cuisine, you might ask?  Think inspired tapas and enchiladas with green and red chile sauce. My favorite dishes include the fried avocado and manchego polenta I had at El Farol.  I kept hearing people rave about the fried avocado all over town.

I can't think of anywhere else in the world where so much artwork is concentrated in a such a small uninterrupted area.  Canyon Road is an artistic haven, where galleries stretch for miles, save for a few restaurants.  I expected to see works that were distinctly Southwest in subject, but they had art to please even the most discerning eye, from works of famous artists of years past, modern art, and many subjects and styles inbetween.  

There is also as one would expect in the area, a dedicated Georgia O'Keeffe museum.  For photography lovers, there is the Smith Gallery, which houses iconic Ansel Adams, Henri Cartier-Bresson, and Annie Leibovitz images.  

Beyond the artwork itself, most galleries were housed in homes that are hundreds of years old.  It was fascinating to see all of the architecture, how the houses had been renovated while still retaining some of the original touches--the wood beams, the curved adobe fireplaces--and also the constant surprise of the picturesque old doors.  Santa Fe is home to the oldest church and house in the United States.

Although I can't say that all the Southwest wares and clothing are quite my style, I was mesmerized by the hand woven Navajo Rugs, in pristine condition, after over eighty years of foot traffic.  One shop even had a hand woven shawl that was from Abraham Lincoln's era.  

No trip is complete in Santa Fe without purchasing at least a little piece of jewelry as a keepsake, and what better place to find handcrafted jewelry than right in the historic Santa Fe Plaza.

Images via Travelmoon

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Travel (to the) moon

All the stars have aligned: a sight that hasn't coincided for almost 400 years has occurred tonight--a full lunar eclipse during winter solstice.

Image via Travelmoon

What would Travelmoon be without an aptly named post where we virtually travel to the moon on such a celestial occasion?

Monday, December 20, 2010

Monday Escapes

Hola, hoy es lunes.  As you can see, the language spoken here is Spanish.  

I can't get enough of islands, and this one is teeming with wildlife.  You won't find many people actually living on these islands, but in this archipelago, the diverse island terrain is just as diverse as its animal inhabitants.  The sea lions will swim and play with you in the water, but don't get too close on land, as they can be quite aggressive.

Images via Travelmoon
It's the Galapagos Islands.

Here's to having a great week!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Last Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Is Christmas next week and you're still not done with holiday shopping?  Check.  Here is my gift guide for the last minute shopper (under $100).  

1.  A Statement Necklace from Banana Republic 
2.  Penguin Classic Hardcover Book 
3.  Striped Throw from Bixby & Ball (They ship nationwide)
4.  Diptyque Candle
5.  Peppermint Bark from Williams-Sonoma  (Don't forget to pick one up for yourself, so delicious!)
6.  Shimmery Clutch from Nordstrom
7.  Snowflake Platter from Crate & Barrel (Bonus: make some decorative cookie for the platter, wrap with cellophane and add a plaid bow)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Home Tour: Family Room

The home tour is continuing.  Next stop: family room (Also see here, here, here, and here).  I enjoy a calming space, where I can sink into the couch and catch up on my favorite Bravo television shows, read magazines, and just hang out.  

Before, the room was heavy and dark.  The walls were closing in on you, and the red crushed velvet sectional, placed on a dirt-stained shag rug over carpet, managed to overshadow the entire room.  

After, upon entering our family room, I felt that instant relaxation I was aiming for, like I had just dipped into a lavender infused bubble bath.  

It is not finished.  To name a few more updates: my next purchase would have been an end table next to the chair and sofa, and I would have painted the gold trim on the fireplace black so as to camouflage the 80's style paneling.  C'est la vie.

Renovation list: added window and door casings, woven wood blinds, flooring (throughout the entire first floor), paint, baseboards, removed the slate from the fireplace, replaced hardware, and added limestone, and of course, added furniture and accessories.