Category Archives: Travel

New York, New York!

I just got back from New York City! I had a fantastic time with my parents. We stayed in a condo in Harlem by night and explored the city by day. It truly is the city that never sleeps–and neither did we!

Jean, Dad, Mom

We visited quaint neighborhoods, modern museums, and delicious vegan restaurants. We walked through Central Park, shopped in Midtown, scavenged flea markets in Brooklyn, and met with friends who live in the city.

Jean in NYC

Looking through my pictures is a bit overwhelming; I’m not sure where to start! I have ideas for style posts, restaurant reviews, and I want to show you the art I saw (on the street and in galleries). I met business owners, friendly locals, and even had a celebrity sighting (or two).

Crossing the line

I’m inviting you to explore the city with me, virtually. I hope you have fun looking at the next set of posts, as I relive my trip to the Big Apple!

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Filed under Events, Travel

My Travel Makeup Bag

I don’t wear a lot of makeup on a regular basis, but I do like (and need) a bit. Couple that with my need to pack light (I never take more than a carry-on suitcase), and you can see why picking the right products for a trip is paramount. Additionally, I only use product that are vegan and haven’t been tested on animals. Here’s what I’m taking on my upcoming trip.

makeup

My Arbonne day cream isn’t makeup per se, but it’s got SPF 20 and is an important way to start my make-up routine. I’m also bringing a tinted moisturizer with SPF. This Josie Maran is a great substitute for foundation and has SPF 30. It’s a great no makeup look. I find it really natural-looking and they have shades for almost anyone.

I’ll definitely need a concealer and this little tube (lower right) by Too Faced is perfect for under my eyes or to cover a blemish.

A light dusting of powder foundation is optional, but I like to be prepared. The Bare Minerals foundation also has SPF and is a nice way to mattify is sunscreen gets me shiny.

I usually buy single pots of eye shadow because it’s rare that I like all the shades in a set, but this Stila kit is an exception. It has five shadows that I can mix and match for day or night and a convertible lip and cheek cream. It includes a mirror and folds flat. They have several travels sets. I bought Vibrant in Vancouver.

I’m packing a dark brown eye liner by Jordana (proving you don’t have to buy from higher-end brands to get a good product). I buy Jordana because it’s inexpensive, goes on smoothly and gently, and is available in a myriad of colors. Plus, just about any drug store carries it.

I can’t live without my Stila liquid brow liner. The secret to a natural look is the right shade. I use blonde, and I make tiny brush strokes in the direction of my brows. It’s great to fill in and define. Well defined brows really frame the face and are youthful looking.

My BWC (Beauty Without Cruelty) mascara is also a must. If I had to narrow down my routine to three products it would be brows, lashes and lips.

I packed a bright red lip stain from Stila because it’s an easy way to go from day to night and the cheek cream in the kit is pretty neutral.

Finally, Booda Butter keeps my lips moisturized day and night. I have one in my purse at all times.

As for my other skin and body care, here’s what I’m taking.

skin care

If I were going to a hotel, I’d skip the shampoo and body wash, but I’ll need my own so I’m packing a solid shampoo from Lush (just lather like soap and apply to wet hair like you would a liquid shampoo). It’ll be nice to pack a solid because I won’t have to worry about it in my carry-on (or at security checks).

I’m taking 3 ounces or less of hand sanitizerbody wash, a small tube of sunscreen (when I went to Hawaii I packed four little tubes instead of one big one–to make my bag carry-on approved), night cream, a bit of hairspray in a carry-on spritzer, hand sanitizer and a face cloth. My Norwex face cloth removes makeup better than a makeup remover so it’s one less liquid I have to pack.

So there you have it. What are your travel makeup essentials? Are you a light packer like I am or to you prefer to be prepared?

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Filed under Beauty, Ethical, Travel

Building Castles in the Sand

One of the highlights of my recent trip to Savannah was going to the north beach on nearby Tybee Island and checking out a sand sculpture competition.

SCAD hive

The competition was part of the Sand Arts Festival and participants were all student from SCAD, the Savannah College of Art and Design. SCAD is a big part of the Savannah landscape, with buildings, shops and art peppered through the city. Savannah is a beautiful place and the college enriches it even further, adding another layer of culture.

sand bee

It’s was really hard to pick my top sculptures. I took a lot of photos, and a few things stood out. This life-sized merman takes the cake! I wasn’t the only one who thought so. It took first place in the sand sculpture category.

merman

I have a feeling that mermaids have a higher standard to live up to and, just like us people, the mermen can get away with being a little soft. At least he’s buoyant!

PBR on the belly

Using the natural environment and creating a realistic sand mold was a good move. I liked this guy. He was so big that if he were real, he’d have been able to pull me right in!

mole

What a croc! No really, he was quite something. It’s easy to forget that those sharp teeth are made of sand. It’s such a tricky medium, but the sculptors executed their designs flawlessly.

croc

Speaking of dangerous critters, look at the teeth on this one! I think it’s an angler fish.

toothy fish

This sand chicken is sitting on her nest of sticks and twigs found on the beach. Her beak, comb/wattle, and feathers are color-coordinated shells from the beach. Love the mixed media in this sculpture!

sand chicken

The students had only a few hours to complete their masterpieces before professors and SCAD staff judged the entries. I was amazed by this dino/seamonster/dragon.

dino

Speaking of dinosaurs, look what this group unearthed. At least it looks like an excavated dinosaur skeleton. It’s really just a fantastic example of relief work. That’s probably why it got first place in the sand relief category.

dino fossil

I liked this one. He looks so sad though.

sad guy

I really enjoyed the competition. These pictures are all that remains though. My nightfall, the tide and winds probably took them all away. So fleeting.

castle

The beach was a beautiful place. I liked how close to the water, the sand gave way to broken shells.

shells on th ebeach

The pretty birds running along the beach reminded me why it’s good to get away. It’s easy to forget everyday worries when you’re at the ocean.

sea birds

Have you ever been to a sand castle competition?

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Filed under Art, Events, Photography, Travel

Shadow Shot: Savannah

I enjoy writing posts about art and I enjoy taking pictures and the Shadow Shot challenge is a way to participate in both. Why then, have I neglected my shadow shots for so long? I hope to make up for lost time with a few shots from Savannah, Georgia.

I visited Savannah last month on the annual trip I take with a few friends. What a gorgeous city–and full of history! We enjoyed wandering through the historic part of town and snapping shots of brick and ironwork.

American flag

Amore

I’m always happy when I see palm trees–it means winters can’t be that harsh.

Mansion on Forsythe Park

The skies were blue and the weather was perfect–mid 80s (mid 30s for all you Celsius folks!).

church

Is it the shadows or do those cherubs look angry?

cherubs

We found a lot of tattoo parlors, each with interesting signs. Here’s one of my favorites.

tattoo

Even misplaced recycling looks nice with the sun shining on it.

blue bottle

We imbibed too, at a second-story bar next to our hotel, The Mansion at Forsythe Park. I’m so glad I didn’t find out until after our visit that the hotel was built on a cemetery and the bar was once a funeral parlor. Yikes!

drinks

By day, the hotel doesn’t seem haunted at all. The pool was in a relaxing courtyard surrounded by palm trees.

poolside

Savannah is a wonderful city and I’ll add other posts soon too: The fashions, the beach, the Scottish Highland Games–we had a fun and busy weekend and I can’t wait to share more pictures with you.

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Filed under Architecture, Art, Photography, Travel

Red Wedges for the Conference

I’m usually a light packer. Carry-on restrictions force me to edit my travel wardrobe. But this past weekend I didn’t have as many limitations. I drove to Portland for a vegan bloggers conference. I might have packed five pair of shoes but I’m not admitting to anything!

stripes and khaki

Top: Swapped
Pants: Swapped
Shoes: Payless
Necklace: The Vegan Woman
Bracelets: Boutique on Bainbridge Island
Tote: NARN

Part of my wardrobe dilemma was weather. Rain, sun, warm days, cool nights. It’s hard to pack for all that. I packed heels for a gala, flats to go with my capris, boots for rainy days and well, the wedges were not at all necessary, but I like them.

neutrals and red

In the end, instead of packing “outfits,” I packed various items that all went together so I could assemble them on the day of, depending on the weather. A tank top, t-shirt, cardigan, and light sweater covered the bases for my tops. Jeans capris, cargo pants, and a maxi skirt gave me variety for the bottoms. A denim jacket was the perfect evening piece and worked with everything but my jeans (that’s just too much denim!).

I wore my new “vegan” necklace too (and packed a cute empty cage necklace by The Sapphire Bee). I thought they were a good fit for the theme of the conference.

vegan necklace

You can read about the pre-conference (my first day in Portland) on my other blog. I had great luck with airbnb, and I found cute shops and vegan bars. What’s not to love?

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Filed under Dress Up Dress Down, Events, Fashion, Thrifty, Travel

Kailua Beach and Then Home

I never get tired of seeing tropical beaches, but in case you are getting weary, rest assured: Future posts will be set in dreary Seattle. In the meantime, here’s how hubby and I spend the last few hours for warm, windy weather in Kailua.

morning at the beach

The city is in the windward side of the island–perfect for kiteboarding, surfing, and working on getting a “beachy waves” hairstyle.

surfer

swimming

The homes along the water were amazing (and really expensive!)

beach house

Why did we keep finding fruit in the water?

apple

And why was I so obsessed with taking pictures of it?

grapefruit

I love how Mr. Jean of all Trades dressed during our trip and I’m proud to say he bought the entire Hawaiian wardrobe at Goodwill the week before we travelled. He’s not normally a shorts-and-t kind of guy, but I think he pulls it off well.

hubby

We had a fantastic whirlwind of a time and we hope to be back soon.

aloha

Mahalo!

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A Hike, Art, and the Trip to Kailua

Saturday morning we grabbed breakfast at an outdoor café and returned to the hotel to pack our bags. We were leaving Honolulu already. But not before we tackled a one-mile urban hike to Manoa Falls, a beautiful, 100′ tall waterfall about ten minutes north of the city.

Manoa Falls Park

bamboo, trees, and the falls

I wore Timberland sandals with grippy soles and a sturdy construction, but the 2″ heel brought me a lot of attention. I think I heard the words “look at those shoes” in a few languages. I swear they weren’t impractical for a short hike! If anything, they kept the mud off my feet.

Jean in Timberlands, with Jeep

After the hike, Hubby had a terrific surprise in store: Lunch at the Honolulu Museum of Art courtyard café. From our table, I took in the sculptures as I drank Riesling and munched on an apple-walnut salad.

sculpture

More sculptures

I recognized a small Henry Moore sculpture (middle right, above). They had a Seattle import there too: A ceiling installation by glass artist Dale Chihuly.

Chihuly

We took a quick walk through the open, airy space, which seemed like a blend of Spanish and Asian styles.

arches and nests

flowers and windows

Our drive to Kailua was shorter than I expected. The mountain pass led us straight to the beachside town and we settled into our bungalow. We booked through Airbnb and chose this place based on a lot of positive reviews. Beth, our host, introduced us to her dogs, walked us across the street to the beach, and left us to do our thing. I highly recommend her place. It’s decorated so nicely, is completely private, and sleeps 5.

bungalow

bungalow collage

Compared to Friday, today seemed relaxed. We explored the town, relaxed in the bungalow, and found a neat dinner spot at a Korean-Thai restaurant.

We had to get to bed early though. Sunday was a big day: Our trip to Waianae Harbor for a boat tour and snorkeling!

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Exploring Honolulu

Honolulu is the capital of Hawaii (which itself is made up of eight main islands). It’s at the south end of Oahu, the most populated island. The island has close to a million residents, with more than 1/3 living in Honolulu. Visiting a big city might be a strange way to “get away from it all,” but being city folk, it’s was a nice transition stop for us.

Friday Morning we awoke to a gorgeous view. Hawaii really is the Rainbow State!

rainbow in Waikiki

First stop: Diamond Head, a volcanic cone at the edge of Honolulu. The crater is a 1.1 mile winding hike up to the top, where we were rewarded with a 360 degree view of the city and ocean.

view from Diamond Head

If you go, go early. The throngs of tourists slowed us down a bit on the way up. We passed most of them and even ran the last portion–99 steps straight up–to an old military lookout.

Jean with Honolulu in distance

After descending back to our rented Jeep, which I fell in love with by the way, we drove to Chinatown for lunch.

lava wall

Top: Gifted
Purse: Shiraleah
Pants: Calvin Klein via swapped
Shoes: Naturalizer
Sunglasses: Corner store in Santa Fe

My dreams of vegan dim sum were shattered when we found out the restaurant had changed hands and was now just a regular dim sum place. So we wandered around until we stumbled on Adega Portuguesa. Hubby and I ate and drank and prepped for the afternoon.

The highlight of my day was finding a cluster of shops near the restaurant, in the Chinatown Arts District. First stop: Roberta Oaks. I met Roberta, who designs, sews and sells all the clothes in her store.

RO womenswear

RO menswear

I bought a chambray dress from her, as well as a upcycled cuff made in Namibia of old PVC pipe. It’s hand-carved and looks like bone or horn–but it’s vegan and sustainable! The fair-trade company, The Base Project, enables artisans to hone their crafts, helps their communities, and earns them money for education, healthcare, and food. Hubby bought aviators, and I also got a leather-look rubber wrap bracelet, a ring made by a friend of Roberta.

My purchases at RO

Around the corner was Owens & Co., which I’d read about in Lucky Magazine. Missy, owner of the shop, has a wonderful collection of gifts and accessories. I found books and onesies, bags and stationary.

Owens & Co

Owens collage

I bought an upcycled, locally made make-up bag, two sparkly hair clips, and an adorable pair of earrings by Umi, another local designer.

purchases from Owens

Next door is La Muse, another great store. By now I was trying to reign in my spending so I only grabbed a pair of earrings and two stretchy spiked bracelets.

purchase from La Muse

Owner Juli Chu makes all of the jewelry in the shop–many pieces with Swarovski crystal, and also stocks it with fresh casual wear perfect for Hawaii.

La Muse

We stopped back at the hotel so I could change my top and shoes–mostly because even though I’d packed lightly, I was afraid I wouldn’t wear all the things I’d brought, which would prove I’d hadn’t packed light enough.

Jean and Teddy

Top: Target
Shoes: Timberland

We walked from our hotel to the shopping center of Waikiki. It was hugely popular, but I just wasn’t interested. After meeting local designers and shop owners, big name brands didn’t cut it. I can buy a designer handbag in Seattle or any other city. But it was fun to grab a latté and wander around the avenue, people watching and taking in the warm breeze.

designer stores in Waikiki

Walking all day in the heat tired us out so we grabbed a quick nap at the hotel before heading back to Chinatown for cocktails. We’d heard great things about Hotel 39, and stopped by for drinks on a rooftop courtyard. Inside, the DJ spun house music and we watched the regulars mingle and dance. I wore my new Roberta Oaks dress.

Our trips might be short, but we sure do cram a lot into them. We didn’t stay past midnight; we had another busy day ahead of us.

Next stop: Kailua to check into our cottage on the beach!

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Hawaiian Getaway

Mr. Jean of all Trades and I took a quick Hawaiian vacation recently. We left Seattle on a Thursday morning and came back on Monday. It was a long-long weekend. Probably too short in retrospect, but any time away is better than none.

It’s a five-hour flight to Honolulu, and that gave us the afternoon to wander through Waikiki, the busy, touristy part of the city. I was thrilled when The Pacific Beach Hotel upgraded us to an ocean-view room. Those little dots in the water are surfers waiting to catch a wave. The water seemed calm but every now and then, they’d ride a wave to the shore.

view from the room

Hotels in Waikiki are pricy so I picked a less expensive, no-frills place to stay. It was clean and close to everything. That’s all we needed. This picture is of the hotel next door.

Waikiki hotel

The beach was beautiful and it was a treat to see palm trees again.

palms

The last time I saw any was in Florida last year, when I met up with my parents who were staying in Pompano Beach.

Evening in Waikiki

We savored the sunset and watched the ships along the horizon. It was hard to believe we’d been in Seattle that morning.

sunset

When the sun lowered, the glow was gone.

Honolulu

But it stayed light later than it does in Seattle this time of year.

pre-valentines' day dinner

Best of all, it stayed warm! We wandered the beach before heading off for a Valentine’s Day dinner.

I picked up this maxi dress at a clothing exchange this past fall. I jokingly said that I didn’t have anywhere to wear it but I’d take it for my next trip to Hawaii (not knowing I’d be heading there so soon)! We ate in an Italian restaurant where I found a delicious vegan pasta dish and a drink made with sparkling wine and hibiscus juice. Welcome to paradise!

Next up is our first full day on Oahu: Exploring Honolulu.

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Visiting Fallingwater

Two years ago, I traveled to Mill Run, PA with my friend Donna to visit Fallingwater, an amazing home by Frank Lloyd Wright, built for the Kaufmann family. The Kaufmanns owned a department store of the same name and liked to spend weekend in the countryside, away from the hustle and bustle of Pittsburgh. Frank Lloyd Wright is probably America’s most famous architect. He designed the house and built it in the latter part of the 1930s.

Fallingwater house by Frank Lloyd Wright

I’d always wanted to visit this home. Thankfully it’s a National Historic Landmark and is safe from demolition, unlike a lot of Mid-Century Modern architecture (including other houses by Wright). Who would tear down an amazing piece of history–art you can live in?

edge of house

The multilevel home is long and linear and seems to float over the falls. Inside, it’s exquisite, yet unassuming. The ceilings are low and the rooms are open. Light floods in and it’s hard to tell where the walls stop and nature begins. That was the idea: To bring nature in and enjoy living with the falls.

fallingwater architechture collage

The Kaufmanns were world travellers. They collected art from all over the world and the decor in the house reflects their eclectic style. You might see a modern Picasso painting in one room, a 200-year-old Persian rug in another, and a 15th Century Madonna statue in yet another.

fallingwater art collage

Donna and I drove from my parent’s house in Cambridge, Ontario through Buffalo, NY and on to Pittsburgh. After a fun weekend traipsing though galleries and shopping districts, we made the two-hour drive to Fallingwater. We wandered through the house and grounds on a guided tour, snapping shot after shot of iconic art, furniture, and the architecture that we’d only read about in university. It was an amazing experience.

fallingwater interior collage

The department store is now a Macy’s, and the Kaufmanns are long gone, but their legacy, and the work of Frank Lloyd Wright, will live on in the woods in Mill Run, PA. If you ever get a chance to visit, you won’t regret it.

multilevel home

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