Memories of Phuket: An Insider’s Guide to Thailand’s Hot Spot

Miles upon miles of beach. Nightlife that gets a little, dare we say, naughty. This is Phuket (pronounced, before you embarrass yourself, poo-ket) – one of Thailand’s hottest resort spots and the latest destination on our growing bucket list.

Here, everything and anything you need to know about this must-go island told from the very best travel guide out there: an insider.

Phuket, Thailand

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August 8, 2013

Prepared for Takeoff: The Jet-Setter’s Guide to Style

Sure, rocking 6-inch heels and skinny jeans on a transatlantic flight sounds all gorgeously A-list. But let’s be honest, it isn’t realistic (or comfortable, for that matter). Instead, pick an outfit that’s suitable for both the airport and the final destination. These tips make jet-setting style a breeze.

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Get upgraded
You may be traveling before the sun wakes up, but here’s a reason to avoid looking like it. According to lifestyle blog GOOP, flight staff are instructed to seek out well-dressed passengers for potential upgrade candidates. (Who would pass up the opportunity to have complimentary champagne or treats?) Avoid the sloppy look of your worn-out yoga pants and opt for a structured legging. You’ll be comfy, but still polished.

Layer, layer, layer
No matter what the temp is outside of those airplane windows, we all know that airlines love to blast that A/C. So layer a simple fitted tank or tee with a zip-up jacket. Tip: Pick one with lots of pockets. Ever wonder where to stick your ID and credit card in the hectic mess of a security line? There’s your solution.

Choose extra legroom
No need to secretly unbutton those super-tight skinnies when you’re safe in your seat. Wear bottoms that you can move in – aim for a wide-leg pant or a breezy maxi skirt. The more you can move, the less constricted you’ll feel when you’re cooped up next to your new neighbor. Plus, a cozy maxi is a far more attractive choice to curl up in than those go-to sweats.

Our XCVI Boutique opens Friday, July 19, at 11AM ET.

By Alexandra Tighe, Staff Writer

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July 19, 2013

To Hollywood We Go: What to Wear in L.A.

From pool hopping to dinner dates, we have you covered

 
Oh, Los Angeles. As one of the most-visited spots in the country (hello, Hollywood), there’s so much to do in so little time. So whether you’re passing through on a road trip or spending a long weekend there, this what-to-wear guide will be your new BFF.

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Out to Dinner
Grabbing a bite at one of the hundreds of alfresco eateries? Rock a notice-me maxi dress with wedges. People go to L.A. to be seen, right?

Girls’ Night
If you’re staying the night, hitting a few bars on the strip is necessary. Bring along a flirty black sheath and you can’t go wrong.

Sightseeing
From the Hollywood Walk of Fame to Santa Monica Pier, quintessential denim cutoffs, a heat-bearing tee, and flat sandals are the way to go.

Pool Hopping
If you visit the West Coast, you’ll have to bring a bathing suit. Hit up the hotel’s rooftop scene in this neon string bikini (just don’t forget that sunscreen).

Our Road Trip Across America: Last Stop, L.A. Boutique opens Friday, July 12, at 11AM.

By Brianna Lapolla, Staff Writer

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July 12, 2013

Outfit Your Itinerary: Dress Like a Southern Belle

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Sweet tea. Warm weather. There’s just something about the South that makes us want to smile. Channel your inner southern belle and dress the part (no matter where you live) with these quick tips:

  1. Start with bright poppy teardrop earrings. Bonus points if you match your lips to them.
  2. Throw on a girly dress with all the best details: pink polka dots, a full skirt, and a strapless silhouette.
  3. Step into a pair of nude sandals (they go with everything). It’s an excuse to pamper yourself with a pedicure, too.
  4. Prepare for sunny days – and doting stares – with a pair of oversized shades.
  5. Finish the look with a bright white envelope clutch big enough for the essentials (phone, wallet, and lipstick).

 
All that’s missing? That sweet southern drawl.

Our Road Trip Across America: Next Up, Charleston Boutique opens Wednesday, July 10, at 11AM.

By Brianna Lapolla, Staff Writer

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July 10, 2013

Outfit Your Itinerary: What to Wear on Nantucket

New England prides itself on it’s quaint island escapes, and Nantucket‘s at the top of the must-visit list. From cobblestoned streets to 18th-century lighthouses, it urges you to slow down, take in your surroundings, and wear sundresses. Which brings me to the topic at hand. If you’re lucky enough to visit, what should you wear?

The answer in a word: preppy. It doesn’t matter if it’s not your style (wink). Now’s your chance to go head-to-toe in pastels, pretty pleats, strapless numbers, and florals. Lots of florals. Don’t worry – what happens on Nantucket stays on Nantucket. So go big. This is how summer is meant to be celebrated.

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Our Road Trip Across America: First Stop, Nantucket Boutique opens Monday, July 8, at 11AM.

By Julia Ivins, Staff Writer

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July 8, 2013

Overpacking Syndrome: Tricks to Packing Light for a Weekend Away

We all do it. Eight dresses for a two-day trip? Of course we need each one. But overpacking can be avoided. The key is knowing exactly what you need ahead of time. Whether you’re taking a weekend vacation at the beach or just heading down the street, this list will help you get organized – once and for all.

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What to Pack for a Weekend Away

1. Clothes
Think versatility. Summer pieces are generally smaller and more lightweight, so you can get away with bringing more without reaching that overpacking threshold. Stick to one base color – like cream or white – then just mix and match for a whole new look.

Your key items: Two pairs of shorts, one pair of jeans, one dress that works for both days on the beach and nights on the town, one T-shirt, and one dressier top. (Plus the requisite sleepwear and underpinnings.) If you’ll be soaking up some sun, one swimsuit is plenty.

2. Shoes
Yes, you can get away with bringing just three pairs of shoes. You’ll need something for day, night, and sightseeing (read: lots of walking).

Your key items: One pair each of flat sandals, neutral-hued wedges, and sneakers.

3. Accessories
Try to avoid bringing every last necklace or belt in your house. Instead, pick pieces that work with the majority of your clothing.

Your key items: One statement necklace, one neutral-colored belt, a pair of sunglasses, a floppy hat, and one tote (bonus points if you can fit a weekend’s worth of items in it).

Our The Packing List: For Summer Weekend Getaways Boutique opens Wednesday, July 3, at 11AM ET.

By Brianna Lapolla, Staff Writer

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July 3, 2013

On Our Bucket List: Santa Teresa, Costa Rica

Travel Hot Spot

This Costa Rican surf town? We’ve bucket-listed it. And Latitude 10 Resort, an intimate eco-destination, is prime means to checking it off. Here, Hans Pfister – recognized world expert in sustainable hospitality, and the resort’s president and co-owner – chats about why.

Rue La La: Santa Teresa is a hot destination right now. What sets it apart? 

Hans Pfister: It’s still a bit of the “wild” Costa Rica. The access is somewhat difficult. But at the same time, many celebrities have bought houses here or come to vacation. So it is an interesting mix of off-the-beaten-path backpacker destination with Hollywood Jetset. Simple restaurants next to high-end hotels. The beach is the town’s most amazing feature. All lush and green, with no development or houses visible when you’re there.

RLL: What was the town like ten years ago? 

Hans: It’s very similar. Perhaps less high-end places and more backpackers then. More surfers still camping on the beach. But the roads are still bad now. The elecctricity still goes out all the time. It’s maintained its backward charm – its special vibe.

RLL: Can you share a little-known fact about the town? 

Hans: Tom Brady and Gisele Bündchen live here a good part of the year. And there is a fairly big expat community of South Americans and Europeans living here, too. [Editor's note: The latter have turned Santa Teresa into a bustling hub for international cuisine. Hans recommends Koji, for what he calls "the best sushi in Costa Rica."]

RLL: From surf lessons to lively nightlife, Santa Teresa could keep us busy for days. (Actually, we’re not sure we’d ever leave.) Do you recommend anything in particular? 

Hans: Take a car along the coast to the north for incredible untouched beaches. Or day-trip up north for horseback riding along beaches and a sustainable farm. (We can arrange this all at the hotel.)

RLL: Speaking of the hotel, what makes Latitude 10 an eco-resort? 

Hans: Multiple things. The size makes a big difference, I’d say. We’re small – just five casitas (or “little bungalows”) that are all open-air. No need for A/C. Then, you can expect all-sustainable practices, as you would at the rest of the Cayuga properties in Costa Rica. Most importantly, though, is our commitment to a local staff and local ingredients for food. It’s truly a unique spot.

Ready to jet off now? Our Travel Hot Spot: Santa Teresa, Costa Rica Boutique opens Tuesday, June 25, at 11AM.

By Joanna Berliner, Editor 

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June 25, 2013

What’s in Your Suitcase? 4 Outfits to Carry You Through Any Summer Vacation

You’ve finally booked that summer vacation (yay!). Now all that’s left to do is pack. To outfit your itinerary to a T, take a look at these four getaway-ready ensembles. Bon voyage!

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For the Plane
Take flight in a sleek, all-black velour tracksuit. It’s chic and incredibly comfy, helping five-hour trips fly by.

For Sightseeing
Don a bold printed dress (yes, it’s totally okay to steal the spotlight from the sights) and make sure to bring a large tote to fill with off-the-beaten-path scores.

For Beach Days
Pack a bright bikini and an unconventional cover-up – like the turquoise zip-up above – and you’ll be sure to stand out.

For Dinner Alfresco
Little black dresses are great – but little blue ones? Even better. Add a jacket to drape over your shoulders when the breeze hits.

Our Juicy Couture Boutique opens Tuesday, June 4, at 11AM ET.

By Keriann Coffey, Associate Blog Editor

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June 4, 2013

An Insider’s Guide to Istanbul: City Musts from a Local

Meet the only city on earth that straddles two continents: Istanbul. I’m sure you’ve met it before. In guide books. On rogue episodes of Anthony Bourdain. Thick photo spreads in National Geographic. The world’s abuzz with this suddenly-trending place. But don’t jet off quite yet. First, read up on all you need to know about the city, told by the very best source out there – a local. Here, Istanbul native and Northeastern University Master’s graduate, Gökçe Dündar, fills us in on everything to know about the city she loves most.

Istanbul

Must-see sites: Don’t miss European Side – especially hanging out under the Galata Bridge. The bridge itself forms a link between the two sides of European Istanbul, while its lower deck is home to restaurants, bars, and teahouses with ringside waterfront seating for boat watching. Before you leave, visit Topkapı Palace, too – the oldest and largest palace in the world since 1465. At least half a day is needed to explore it. It’s giant. During 400 hundred years of reign, each sultan added a different section or hall to the palace, depending on his taste or on the needs of the time.

Quick eat: In a rush? Go to Ali Baba’nin boat at Rumelihisari and get grilled fish sandwich or, as we call it, balık ekmek. Unforgettable. 

Street food: Want authentic? Try kumpir – a baked-potato dish and one of the city’s most beloved street foods. The baked potato gets married with fresh butter and kashar (traditional Turkish cheese), and then you point out your choice of toppings to be added next: hotdog slices, corn, pickles, olives, and kisir (a Bulgur dish). Last touch is a spicy red-pepper sauce. It is known by everyone that the best baked potato of Istanbul can be found in Ortaköy.

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May 21, 2013

Go Here: Lake Austin Spa Resort – Austin, Texas

Rejuvenate with a summer trip to this destination spa

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Summer is all about relaxation. Long, leisurely days followed by laid-back nights. What better place to kick off the season than this destination spa in Austin, Texas? With everything from diamond facials and yoga sessions to water sports and five-star cuisine, this is one refreshing weekend you don’t want to miss.

What to pack: Workout clothes and sneakers are a must – you’ll choose from a variety of indoor and outdoor activities throughout your stay.

Must-try treatment: The LakeHouse Signature Facial. It repairs skin and fights that ever-nagging fatigue, leaving you looking years younger (without actually turning back time).

Can’t-miss activity: Paddleboarding on Lake Austin. Combining exercise and fun – what’s not to love?

What to eat: The seasonal menu offers three fresh, flavorful meals daily (think yellowfin tuna tartare and quinoa tabbouleh). And while everything is figure-friendly, its recent feature in Bon Appétit ensures it’s delicious, too.

Our Lake Austin Spa Resort – Austin, TX Boutique opens Monday, May 20, at 11AM ET.

By Brianna Lapolla, Staff Writer

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May 20, 2013