Friday, September 09 10:13 AM
When we're on vacation, we like to mix things up, and there's no crazier mash-up than Zanzibar, from its spice plantations to its crumbling colonial facades, its sleepy beaches to its tribal customs. Now you can drink in this cultural cocktail from the luxe new Residence hotel set on 80 lush oceanfront acres.
The 66 villas marry British-colonial-style four-poster beds with Swahili stonework, Omani wall sconces, Indian-inspired nightstands, and a modern palette of cream, honey, and mahogany. If you're concerned that this concoction will cause visual overload, don't be. A float in your private swimming pool puts everything into perspective.
Photo: Courtesy of The Residence
Thursday, September 08 07:00 AM
As the wee ones tromp off to school, we have to admit we're a little jealous. Not of juice boxes or chalkboards or recess (okay, maybe a little jealous of recess). What we really covet are their backpacks. As we hoist heavy purses and messenger-style bags onto sore shoulders, we long for the days when a carry-on could mean a snappy knapsack.
Thankfully, happy days are here again with the new Topo Klettersack ($139). It has the functionality and comfort of a backpack as well as grown-up style. The rugged Cordura pack has a water-resistant liner and padded straps reinforced with seat-belt webbing for serious durability. Plus, it's made in a LEED-certified shop. That's an A+ in our book.
Photo: Courtesy of Topo Design
Wednesday, September 07 11:47 AM
When recounting the great New York City cupcake wars of the early 21st century, sugar-charged historians will note August 30, 2011, as the day everything changed, when chocolate and vanilla, red velvet and peanut butter all banded together against a new common enemy: the macaron at Maison Ladurée's new Upper East Side shop.
The first stateside outpost of the venerable Parisian patisserie presents a pastel crayon box of a Belle Époque teahouse. Chocolates, fruit jellies, and miniature pastries vie for attention, but Ladurée's signature sweet is the double-decker macaron--two feather-light crispy shells sandwiching a soft, chewy center--a delicacy the company lays claim to inventing in 1930. There's classic caramel with salted butter, black-currant violet, rose, and pistachio, as well as seasonal flavors like almond Morello cherry and strawberry-mint. Sound the death knell to Upper East Side diets.
Photo: Courtesy of abbietabbie, Flickr, Getty Images
Tuesday, September 06 11:33 AM
You were so busy California dreaming, you forgot to pack your favorite studded clutch. Now what? Well, if you're staying at the Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel, you can just check one out from the property's new accessories library.
Guests staying in suites at the 342-room oceanfront hotel will have complimentary access to a curated collection of designer goods starting today, courtesy of the new Fred Segal Lending Library. So you now can borrow an oversize snakeskin cuff or classic Ray-Bans, statement cocktail rings or funky fedoras, all plucked straight from Los Angeles's cult designer department store. There goes your last excuse for not packing light.
Photo: Courtesy of Loews Hotels