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After spending the last two years traveling America's most beautiful routes I feel confident in saying I've mastered the art of the road trip. How to pack your bags, your car, beauty tips while traveling, how to make it out of sticky situations in one piece and I'm in love with how good it feels to connect with the deeply routed people all over this big badass country.
I ended this year with a trip back to the country that spurred my interest in writing my book Wanderful to begin with - Spain - and here's the short version of how all of that came to be:
I spent the summer of 2014 finishing up my first book New Orleans Style. Here I was, given an opportunity to create something that would become my calling card as an author and in the spirit of my wanderluster Grandmother I studied the constellations, put my luck on a full moon and booked a one-way flight to the Mediterranean coast.
As I took off it occurred to me: every time I’d taken a trip I’d sought out a guide. Usually that came in the form of a book, or a magazine, and lots of google searching for travel blog posts on my intended destination - there were lots of lists of the best restaurants and bars, the museums to visit, and the tours to take - but what I hadn't found was a guide for the fashion loving bohemian types like me! Those interested in slow, experiential travel. So, I set out to make just that. Wanderful became the American road trip version of that, and what I wish for the readers is that they get out and see the wonderment that America has to offer.
2018 Dream Destination List
So now, 3 years later, it's the end of 2017 and I'm thinking where to next.?! I'm starting to brainstorm ideas for next projects and certainly intend to cover more international travel in 2018, and so to end the year Ben and I spent a few weeks in Spain - it's truly a country that sparks my inspiration like no other.
I've been poring through the Expedia blog to get ideas for 2018 travels and here's 5 destinations I'm adding to the list, and some of my magical girlfriends lending to that inspiration.
p.s. even if you're only planning one adventure this year, let these glorious destinations & ladies inspire the wanderlust in you.
My darling friend Keiko (yes the one that's alllll over my book) visited Santorini this year and every photo was a pure dream. I researched a bit and then this article grabbed me - romance? oui, please!
Glamorous seascapes, glittering horizons and white washed hillsides... I don't know what I'd do first: sample the local wines (the vines grow deep into the island’s ancient volcanic soil enhancing the flavors), swim in the Aegean Sea or rent a car to venture out to the blue umbrella-topped Red Beach and Oia.
This particular post on Italy has me wanting to spend weeks exploring the country but MIchaela's photos coupled with her the notes on Florence: a quaint apartment within walking distance of all one’s favorite gelato shops, tucked away restaurants with local fare of house-cured meats, and expertly curated cheeses and wonderfully stylish locals have me wanting to make Florence my first Italian destination.
Krystal is another one of my travel loving friends and my oh my does she ever make traveling look like an ethereal delight. Her blog is one of the most beautiful out there. Between she and Jasmine (my Aussie friend who's currently living life as a New Yorker) these two have given me a serious lust for Australia.
Krystal spent this holiday season traversing Australia, go take a look at her instagram to get some serious Australian summer inspiration, and in her recent post on Byron Bay she describes it like this: A coastal town, Byron Bay is located in the southeastern corner of New South Wales and offers all the sea-faring charm you’d expect it to — think Santa Cruz meets Montauk, with a dash of Venice Beach — where surfers live to surf [and] where families live in the most adorable beach-facing homes, shopping at the local farmer’s markets every Sunday." I want to go for the views (of course), the seaside meet jungle hikes and the bohemian inspired shopping throughout the area.
Amanda, who's gorgeousness graced the cover of my book (and who's also seen on lots of pages in the Pacific Coast Highway chapter), makes living the life of a world traveling photographer look incredibly connecting. This winter & spring she's leading Photo & Art tours and I'm fingers crossed, going to make one of these happen by end of Spring. Her Cuba tour includes balcony breakfasts, ocean swims, visits to artists collectives, and convertible rides. Si, si si!
Ana has been on a world traveling whirlwind this year. Go scroll through her 'gram for just a sec and you'll be hard pressed to actually decide which destination she makes look the best.
She visited Lisbon this year after discovering her grandmother's family originated there, and she shared her experience on "meadering" through Lisbon in this post. I researched a bit more, found this 48 hour guide to Lisbon, and coupled with the inspiration from Ana's photos - Lisbon climbed (easily) onto this list.
I can't wait to get the planning underway. I've got some good tools I've been using for booking too - so I'll be back to share those soon! In the meantime, any places you think I need to add to the list? Tell me, tell me, tell me!
SHOP OUI WE'S TRAVEL STYLE
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Notes on a lovers' lifestyle....
SHOP BEACH MAXI DRESSES
Books to read: The Vacationers (Emma Straub), A Winter in Majorca (George Sand), Wild Olives: Life in Majorca with Robert Graves (William Graves), Turning Up at Dawn (Tomas Graves), The Rocks (Peter Nichols), Living in Style Mallorca (Christine von Auersperg)
9 am: the sun's starting to pour through the curtains and there's 3 things on my mind: a café solo from the coffee man we've started calling "our coffee man", a sugary sweet ensaimada from the bakery one door over from him (it's similar to a beignet I suppose and a delicacy in Mallorca), and the beach, of course. After we wander along through the sleepy streets of Arta, inevitably we'll decide which beach on this island will be ours for the day.
I peer out of the window, and as expected, the sun's waves are dancing upwards and calling me out, I push open the shutters and the sounds of the village are just starting to join in on what the sun's started: the zip zip and then zooooom of our neighbors moped, the children down the alley being hustled along to school and I settle back into the thinking of "oui, si, oh yes, I could live here - like this - forever."
This trip is different for me, technically - we're on vacation. We drink rosé with lunch, a local red with the late afternoon tapas, and we share a bottle more at night with whatever seafood dinner we're having. One day in and we were fully settled: food + wine, morning trips to the market and seaside drives, long soaks in our oversized bathtub at night: and we've said to each other over and over "vacaciones con mi amor!"
I thought quite a bit about what to share with you here, and truly, a trip to Mallorca in the off season means we had the beaches often to ourselves, we hiked Torrent de Parreis (plan a day for it) with just a few others, and our trips into the Serra de Tramuntana involved us, a few cyclists and locals, and only the occasional tour bus hair pinning up the winding roads directly at us.
I won't give you a "must see" list - the island is a bit more than that - however here's a few things I'll add to your list if you visit:
The Markets: Arta on Tuesdays, Sineu on Wednesdays, there on the weekend? Check around, you'll find one
The Beaches: Cala Gat at Cala Ratjada, Cala d'Or, Cala Pi, Cala Banyalbufar, Cala Deia, Sa Calobra and honestly I could go on and on (and on)
The Beach Towns & Villages: Arta (we stayed in an Airbnb that was an absolutely dream home), Deia, Fornalutx, Pollenca, Sineu, Santanyi, Valldemossa, & Port de Soller
Rent a car, it's cheap, and you can get anywhere.
One day we sat on our rooftop all afternoon - at sunset I looked down into the alley ways, the smoke rising as the neighbors lit their evening fires and commented: "there is something very Jim Jarmusch about this place..." a while later I opened another jar of olives and came across this quote: "if anyone tells you there is only one way, their way, get as far way from them as possible, both physically and philosophically."
In that moment, I pulled myself closer into Ben, the sun bounced down over the hazy mountain and then fireworks lit up the sky - we found ourselves running into the plaza to see what it was all about. We trailed along to find a wedding party second lining through the village! And right there in our small town of Arta ... tears fell from my eyes, a mix of wine and wonder and because this world offers so much. Love and celebration: that stuff happens everywhere, and today it was all ours and each of these lovers sharing this little island with us.
These travel diaries are often the hardest to write, why? because they're mine... no one else to photograph or interview or get local stories from... it's just me (and Ben, usually) out there experiencing the world and hoping to share the best of what we've found and experienced (even when we're on vacation) with you.
Gracias, always, for being here.
*wardrobe for this trip was provided by Ophelia Swimwear. Shop their collection at their newly launched online storefront.
The Wanderful Girl
The “Wanderful Girl” is a modern bohemian. She’s a nomadic bon vivant collecting perspective and style inspiration around the globe. - from "Wanderful: The Modern Bohemian's Guide to Traveling in Style"
As an introverted extrovert (Leo sun, Capricorn moon) I meet quite a few of my wanderful friends via instagram. Today's featured girl is one of those digital friends that's given me serious creative inspiration over the last few years. She's a total bad-ass babe, (check her photos, obvi) however her writing style and creative approach is like a million miles ahead of the game. She's the real deal & f'n brilliant. Ok, so enough chatter from me, read on to meet Lorna Andrews (she may even give away her filter secrets, favorite camera and insider tips - 'cause don't we all wish we could create photos, and a life, like she has).
The wanderful girl has the spirit of an old west explorer and the eye of a budding artist. She is a lover of mountains, seas, cities, and all the in-betweens. She’s delicately nostalgic and playfully potent, she lives every day with wild abandon.
Interview: Lorna Andrews | Lorna Luxe
AE for Oui We: We’ve been IG friends since 2014 ... you were London white wall hunting (killin’ in stilettos) and I was Mediterranean sunset chasing (fresh out of the stilettos). Your style has evolved and become something that’s truly uniquely Lorna (which isn’t easy to do in the blogosphere). Tell us a bit about the evolution. Was there a moment that you realized this aspirational approach to styling & shooting was the ticket to sky rocket you forward?
Lorna: Has it really been that long... it feels like yesterday that I'd reached my first 150 followers and I remember being so chuffed to show my husband. I began Instagram sharing mirror selfies of my outfits and when my audience grew, so did my confidence and I would let friends and relatives take my pics. Always on my iPhone and often with no theme or filter.
I became quite active in the Instagram community - engaging on my page and the pages of those I followed - and identified incredible accounts I was inspired by. I was incredibly influenced by Igers such as @mija_mija and @frustilista. They definitely impacted my early signature aesthetic for clean and fuss free captures. -But- there was a moment where I looked at my instagram feed and felt like I wasn't standing out in the crowd - accounts like mine were becoming the norm and I'm a firm believer that if you can't be better be different. At that point I had nothing to lose and felt compelled to change. I switched to a new filter and started to shoot against darker and more real backdrops. I think that shift in my photography coupled with switching my iPhone to my leica d-lux has definitely helped to create my signature as we now know it.
AE: You spent years as an air hostess before making the transition into the role of style ‘grammer, fashion blogger and luxe wanderluster. What gave you the desire to live a life of fashionable travel? What cheats do you have for looking so freaking good while spending your days event hopping and jet setting about?
LA: I love travelling so much - so travelling for my blog has been major for me. My aspiration in life has always been to make vacations a legit profession. I worked as long haul cabin crew for 8 years and in that time I picked up plenty of travel hacks and packing tricks which have quite frankly saved my bacon on more than one occasion.
Simple things like always keeping things in your carry-on you can't afford to be without when you arrive - and I don't mean ten pairs of manolos and your entire medicine cabinet. In-flight I always keep a fresh pair of underwear, an arsenal of travel sized deodorant/hair spray/dry shampoo and moisturiser, cosy socks and a fully charged iPhone battery. If i'm honest I carry most of that stuff in my handbag day to day too...When I pack I roll I don't fold. I choose comfy and crease free garments too - I swear by a cashmere jogger and a loose fitting tee with a denim jacket chucked over it as my travel anywhere look. Use accessories like your sunnies and handbag to smarten it up.
AE: Your creative style is something I’d liken to triple threat status: creative director, writer (your wit and writing style is serious goals) and then you play the starring role within your own photographic story. What’s your creative process like? What’s important to you and where do you pull inspiration from when creating a blog or IG post?
LA: Ha. From the outside I'm a one man band but the reality is I have plenty of help and support to help me do this as a business. I get creative input from my husband @j_p_luxe (he takes a lot of my pictures), my best friend @kieraliberati (she's a stylist and fashion editor with a big personality and an opinion I trust), my blog sister @nickyinsideout based in Amsterdam is a constant support in every aspect and my business and blog mentors @theverysimong & @bexringer keep me out of trouble on all business related aspects.
In terms of the process - oooohhhh - everything and nothing has changed. I collaborate with a lot of brands now, creating content specifically to share a message or showcase a designer - something which in the beginning wasn't an option. Who I choose to collaborate with and what kind of content I create is still based on the same principle - would I buy it and what would I want to see.
I go to fashion weeks and make a point to enjoy the lighter side - often focusing more on the networking and hovering around the tasty canapés. The truth is I dedicate a lot of time all year round to meeting with pr's, attending launches and reading lots and lots to keep up to date with new trends I and my followers will enjoy. I suppose you could say I've taken to this like a very sociable duck to water.
AE: You wake up to a nice leisurely morning, you can have anything you want for breakfast, put on any outfit in the world and take a private plane anywhere your fashion forward heart desires. What do you eat / wear / go?
LA: I wake up and eat poached eggs on white toast washed down with a mimosa. I wear Le skinny FRAME denim distressed jeans, an ANINE BING black lacey bralette under a white deep-v tee, a classic ALEXACHUNG trench, a pair of nude/black suede CHANEL mules and (currently on my wish list) a lambskin studded black CHANEL 2.55 in silver hardware and slung nonchalantly over my shoulder. Plenty of arm and neck candy too. I board a plane to GLENEAGLES hotel in Scotland where I can climb into a fluffy dressing gown and spend the day at the best spa in the world.
AE: What’s on Lorna’s favorites list:
Favorite camera for snapping photos? LEICA D-LUX
Favorite filter for IG edits? VSCO A5 or HB1
Favorite destination for holiday travel? MIAMI
Favorite song for summer nights? GRIZZLY BEAR by ANGUS & JULIA STONE
Favorite book you keep on your night stand? 'THE LIFE-CHANGING MAGIC OF NOT GIVING A F**K'
Favorite drink when spending time with your best girls? HENDRICKS & TONIC WITH CUCUMBER
AE: Anything else you want to share with us?
LA: Shoefies are the new chestfie - you heard it here first!
Told ya you'd love her. And btw, I'm making Wanderful Luxe a thing. You heard THAT here first too my babes.
Shop Lorna's Style Here:
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In my coming book there's a whole chapter on what I've nicknamed the rock n’ roll highway; it features quite a few backstage beauties that live and hang along the route from Nashville to Florence, AL to Athens, GA.
The backstage beauty is the type of girl that knows the words to every Rolling Stones song, and lives on a weekend diet of cheap beer and diner food (we can all have a cheat weekend now and then right?!). She throws the best house parties and she and all her friends are right on the brink of discovery. She’s always the most laid-back, glamorous girl in the room in her vintage band T-shirt.
Since I moved to Nashville I've been asked A LOT to share a list of where that type of girl shops and hangs here ... last summer I shared this where to hang for 24-48 hours list (and I stand by it still) so this is the expanded list of venues and shops that made it into my book.
This little tour today is where to get your music fix and find the most fabulous vintage gems all around town. So here we go: a music & vintage tour of Nashville.
Can’t Miss Nashville
For the Music Lover:
Most visitors to Nashville come for the music because there’s truly so much to see and hear. Here are a few favorite spots, and trust me... there's SO many more:
The 5 Spot: What I love about this place is that you can catch a killer early show on a weekend night (I saw my friend Andrew Duhon play to a packed house on a Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.) or go on a Monday night for the Motown Monday dance party. SO. MUCH. F'N. FUN.
Robert's Western World: If you’re ready to spend the night two-stepping the real deal, Honky Tonk is Robert’s Western World. Fried bologna sandwiches, dancing cowboys, and cheap beer make for a wild night down on the Broadway strip.
Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge: A world famous historic watering hole, legend has it that Tootsie kept IOUs behind the counter for the hungry musicians. At the end of the year, the Grand Ol’ Opry guys would pay off the IOUs for the up-and-comers to make sure Tootsie stayed in business.
The Ryman Auditorium: The Ryman Auditorium is the birthplace of the Grand Ole Opry. Not only have the famous feet of Elvis and Johnny Cash graced the stage of this stunning gothic auditorium, but the acoustics make it one of the best places in the country to see live music. Recently Phoenix was there (my fave) and I'm planning to see Father John Misty in September.
The Grand Ole Opry: “The show that made country music famous” continues to feature a broad spectrum of country styles nightly. Take the backstage tour and gaze into the mirrors where gals like Dolly Parton and Carrie Underwood get dressed before their shows.
For the Vintage Devotee:
An entire week could be spent diving into the vintage shops of East Nashville. On my personal best-of list:
Opium Vintage: by appointment only - stocked with a vibrantly obscure collection, including Japanese vintage sourced by owner Laura Citron. It's my favorite of the entire list.
Hip Zipper: great for well-priced denim and accessories.
Starstruck Vintage: gorgeous winter coats for under $100.
Local Honey: hand-dyed vintage by Magness Collection, and this is where I get my hair done... super hip salon and good vintage shopping, win win.
High Class Hillbilly: the place for authentic cowboy goodies and western wear.
Goodbuy Girls: located in the Idea Hatchery (a test kitchen shopping center for new brands) this shop is great for graphic T’s and loads of fringe.
Old Made Good (OMG): Just north of the East Nashville neighborhood is this kitschy vintage shop with a glitter covered floor and adorably charming handmade goods.
Savant Vintage: Over in 12 South, find this favorite of Vogue magazine, photographers, rock stars, and stylists—Savant has an extensive collection of highly curated pieces. Be prepared to spend a little more for the tremendous quality of the jackets, dresses, ponchos, and hats filling its racks.
Hope you guys put this list to good use, and if you haven't pre-ordered my book I would LOVE for you to do so now! Let me know how you love Nashville!