travel essential: OKA b. ballet flats

Finding the perfect shoe to travel in isn’t always easy. They need to be comfortable (natch!), stylish and versatile. And a shoe that slips on and off easily is also a prerequisite for me. Since removing your shoes is an imperative when you’re going through security, I hate holding up the line, fighting with laces, buckles and zippers.

I love these simple, stylish ballet flats from OKA b. I have the ‘Taylor’ model in camel (although they do have a model named ‘Natalie’; maybe I should have gotten those!) and they’re one of the best shoes I’ve found to travel in. These shoes are flexible and oh-so-comfortable, probably because they feature an ergonomic footbed enhanced with massage beads, which cushion your feet as you walk. They’re easy to slip in and out of easy to clean – you can easily wipe them clean when you’re in a hurry, but can you believe they’re machine washable as well?

Available in a variety of styles and colours like Licorice, Cranberry, Hot Chocolate, Jade, Popsicle Pink, Fuchsia, Camel and Cherry, and priced at just $45, they’re your perfect travel companion. And … they come packaged in a delightful gift box, making them that much sweeter! For more information, visit oka-b.com.

What’s your favourite shoe to travel in?

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best travel bags

Traveling smart and traveling stylishly can sometimes feel like conflicting notions. Now that I’m fully sold on the idea of traveling with carry-on only (a recurring theme on this blog, I know!), it seems I’m forever looking for ways to condense what I carry without leaving all of my favourite things at home. Shoes are always a problem but somehow I manage. Bags are the other challenge. I know the saying goes, “When in doubt, leave it out”, but I’m a bigger fan of finding a way to stuff it in! If you’re faced with the same dilemma when it comes to bags, here’s what I travel with:


{1} Longhaul Scorpius Hard Rollercase
I bought this little guy at Marks & Spencer on a trip to London last year. I needed to replace the one I’d arrived with and found this in an unlikely shop. But it has become my favourite carry-on suitcase. I love its hard body. I thought it might be inflexible and difficult to really stuff, but that’s not the case. It’s far roomier than I had expected and the four wheels … why has it taken so long for us to figure out that suitcases need four wheel drive? It moves so easily and smoothly. I can push it through the airport with just one finger. And sometimes I do. Just because I can.

{2} Longchamp Le Pliage Bag
I recently wrote about Longchamp’s Le Pliage bag but it’s back on my list for its enduring form and function. It’s a great travel tote but its best quality is that it folds into an envelope shape making it enormously packable. I would never leave home without this.

{3} Louis Vuitton Neverfull in Damier
This recent (and I know, extravagant! I hope my fiance doesn’t read this blog) Merry-Christmas-to-me purchase became a fast favourite. Louis Vuitton’s Neverfull in Damier is a great carry-on bag not only because of its obvious style but because of its sheer size. It’s a tote-style bag so if you need compartments, this isn’t the bag for you. But so far, I haven’t found that to be a drawback. It’s roomy enough to fit my laptop, Kobo, makeup bag and wallet as well as all the other odds and ends that seem to end up in there. But the bag is built to hold up to 300 lbs (yikes!) so as long as you can lift it, fill ‘er up!

{4} Radley London Pocket Bag
I found this crossbody bag at Radley London in, you guessed it, London. It’s the perfect day-bag for sightseeing days when you just need to carry a few essentials with you. But even more importantly, it’s so flat, it’s easy to throw into a carry-on suitcase without taking up much room.

{5} Mesh Fold Over Clutch
This mesh fold-over clutch continues with my theme of flat bags. My sister gave this to me for Christmas and it’s now my go-to evening bag when I travel. Chic and stylish, this is another bag that won’t hog all the room in my suitcase … room I need for other essentials!

What are your favourite bags to travel with?

what do you wear when you travel?

When I’m preparing to travel, I always find myself debating between fashion and function. When I pack my suitcase, there’s always that pair of shoes I want to bring and the pair I know I should bring. I usually have to leave my favourite leather handbag at home and opt instead for one that will fold up and tolerate being stuffed in my suitcase more stoically. And when I get dressed before heading to the airport, I usually opt for a pair of jeans, a cotton top and ballet flats – stylish but comfortable. Until now:

{photo via Johnny Jet}

Heading to Hamburg earlier this week (with a three-hour layover at London Heathrow’s T5), I decided to wear a maxi dress, jean jacket and flip flops. I think I’ve found my new travel uniform. It was stylish but oh-so-comfortable and a breeze to get through security – no belt, no laced shoes. I honestly felt like I was wearing jammies. Jeans are only comfortable to a point but even the most worn-in pair starts to dig into your hips somewhere over the Atlantic. I don’t think there’s anything more comfortable than a maxi dress and it looked great, too. Throw on a jean jacket for warmth on the plane and you’re set. Simple.

What do you wear when you travel?

travel essentials

I’ve been home for about a month and I don’t have any travel plans for another month, which leaves me sitting here on this rainy Saturday morning thinking about what I’ll pack on my next sunny escape! Here’s a round-up of essentials I never leave home without:


Moleskine messenger bag
For anyone who reads my blog regularly, you know that I travel with carry-on luggage only. I hate the hassle of checking luggage (never knowing if it’ll actually make it to your destination with you and hanging around baggage claim for far too long). This comes with its own challenges (packing light can be tricky but it’s totally doable), but the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. I’ve got a small hard-case suitcase that’s just perfect but finding the perfect second piece has always been a challenge for me.

Enter Moleskine’s messenger bag (conranusa.com, $129.95). This sizable tote is my new travel essential. The adjustable strap is comfortable on my shoulder and it’s roomy, providing space for all the things I like to keep close at hand: passport and tickets (natch!), Kobo (more on that later), magazines, snacks and most important of all, my laptop. The bag will fit a laptop up to 15” and has an ivory velour lining for added protection. It’s got an elastic closure so that you can secure the bag shut. But really, what I love most is the sleek look of this bag. Not only is it functional when I travel, but it’s stylish.


Kobo Touch
I really don’t know what I did before I had my Kobo (indigo,ca, $139). Actually, I’ll tell you what I did. I lugged heavy books around with me when I traveled and if I finished my book, I’d have to buy a new one and lug two heavy books around with me. My Kobo has simplified things and now I can carry a library of up to 1,000 books with me at all times! Lightweight and easy to read, the new Kobo Touch is a great update to the e-reader so many people love. It’s got a touch screen so flipping pages is fun, and with a quick tap of the finger, you can change the font size and zoom in on PDF files. It’s got WiFi capability too so you can download books on the go. If I forgot my Kobo before taking a trip, I swear I’d just go back home. It’s an essential.


Black and white stripes
I’m all about stripes this season. And this striped Raglan Sleeved Sweater (Jacob, $39.50) is a versatile option when you’re traveling. Throw it on with a pair of jeans and it’ll add a touch of French flair to your look. Or wear it with a pencil skirt and wide belt for a great evening look. The key to traveling with carry-on only is to pack pieces that are versatile and this is one of my faves.


Juicy Couture Petal Flower Flip Flop
Traveling typically means lots of walking. You know those days when you’re touring around old European cities and you want to see anything and everything you can? Comfortable shoes are key. But who wants to wear their running shoes? Not me! These Juicy Couture flip flops (revolveclothing.com, $49) are unbelievably comfortable. I’ve never found a flip flop with a sole that’s as cushiony as these and I can walk for hours and hours in them. Plus, the flower detail on the side makes them super-cute and flexible for both daytime and nighttime wear.


Longchamp bag
My boyfriend gave me my first Longchamp bag and I was hooked! It folds up neatly, making it compact and flat so it’s perfect for shoving in your suitcase – it takes up next to no room at all! Unfold it and it’s a great bag for taking on your day travels. It’s light and roomy and the nylon exterior is easy to clean with a damp cloth. The Planete model pictured here (see longchamp.com for pricing) is an ideal tote for the stylish traveler.


Metallic embroidered scarf
Never leave home without a scarf or pashmina. It’s practical for chilly evenings, especially when you’re all decked out and don’t want to wear a sweater. But depending on where your travels take you, it’s also an essential. Some mosques, temples and churches require tourists to cover their shoulders before entering. So on hot days when you’re sporting a sundress or tank top, it’s handy to have one of these tucked in your bag just in case. This white embroidered scarf (Banana Republic, $62.99) is a good option.

What are your travel essentials?

shopping in singapore

Some cities immediately leap to mind when you think of fab shopping: New York, London, LA, Paris, Milan … But now that I’ve been to Singapore, I will be adding it to my list.

THE place to shop in Singapore is Orchard Road. This pretty, tree-lined street is perfectly manicured (as is most of Singapore) and both sides of the street are flanked with pedestrian malls a-go-go. A true shopper’s paradise. Orchard Road was given a $40 million revamp two years ago. I don’t know what it looked like pre-makeover, but now it’s just beautiful. The revamp included the addition of new street lamps, planter boxes, urban green rooms and flower totem poles.

Stepping off the MRT (Singapore’s Mass Rapid Transit), I came face to face with a towering Louis Vuitton storefront, beside it, an equally imposing Chanel storefront. High-end designer boutiques are everywhere but you know – they’re too rich for my taste. Correction: Not my taste, my wallet.

But that doesn’t mean a girl like me can’t get her shopping on. There are so many stores, there’s something for everyone. My fave find: These boots that convert into shoes from Charles & Keith. This shop has an amazing collection of  trendy shoes, boots and bags for the cash-conscious fashionista.

Cool, right? I love finding things I can’t find at home. Everyone always wants to know where these are from.

loving longchamp for fall 2010

We may be sweltering under the hot summer sun right now but designers everywhere have long since revealed their fabulous fall collections. My boyfriend recently gave me a Longchamp bag – a lilac tote that’s perfect for weekend getaways and conveniently folds up to a pocket-sized pouch, making it perfectly portable. Enamoured with my Longchamp, I decided to check out what’s on deck for Fall 2010. Here are some of my faves:




Visit longchamp.com to view the entire Fall 2010 collection, to find retailers and to shop online.

trendy beach totes

I have no travel plans at the moment and when that happens, I resort to daydreaming about where I’d like to go, what I’d like to be doing and what I’d take with me. Right now, I could sure use a beach. It’s hot, hot, hot where I live right now so I’m not in need of heat to escape cool temperatures. But I sure could use the rest and relaxation that goes hand in hand with a beach vacation. So I found myself checking out beach totes for my imaginary getaway. Here’s what I narrowed my selection down to.

1 Tory Beach Tote
Available at: toryburch.com
Price: $325

2 Chambray Tote
Available at: gap.com
Price: $34.50

3 Large Madaket Tote
Available at: jcrew.com
Price: $68

4 Diane von Furstenberg Rhea Woven Jelly Tote
Available at: bergdorfgoodman.com
Price: $425

rodeo drive

As I mentioned yesterday, I was just in California (Beverly Hills, to be precise) and I was chilling at the Four Seasons Los Angeles at Beverly Hills. While I was quite content to amuse myself at the hotel (gym, spa, pool, not to mention my sweet suite), I was also looking forward to taking a stroll down the famed Rodeo Drive to do some window shopping and maybe catch a glimpse of a celebrity or two.

With my credit card trembling in my purse, willing me to be sensible, I jumped into a car at the Four Seasons. They offer a complimentary car service that’ll take you anywhere within a two-mile radius of the hotel. From the hotel, Rodeo Drive is walkable but, as my friendly (and utterly gorgeous) driver pointed out, you have to be prepared. “It all depends on what kind of shoes you’re wearing,” he said, glancing down at my cute but impractical sandals. He smiled. I blushed. I worried that I was going to get kicked out of Beverly Hills for not being good-looking enough.

Anyway, I digress …

Rodeo Drive was, well, it was disappointing. It was virtually empty, save a few tourists like myself, toting GAP, not Gucci, shopping bags. It was shorter than I’d imagined, so the long stroll I had anticipated came to an abrupt end. Sure, the stores were fun to browse through for a few minutes each but truth be told, it’s not all that exciting when you can’t afford a single thing. I did splurge on a pair of silver sandals from Coach but aside from that, even the adorable key rings that sparkled by the cash register were too pricey for my tastes.

I had my book in my bag, hoping I’d find a nice spot to grab a tea, read and people watch. Nothing. I’ve been shopping in New York, London, Paris, Sydney, Hong Kong and whether you’re burning the magnetic strip off the back of your credit card or not, the experience of walking through the shopping districts of those cities is exciting. The streets are filled with people and there’s a contagious energy around you. Not so on Rodeo Drive. Quel drag.

scottevest


This isn’t the first time (and I don’t expect it to be the last) that I am bemoaning the difficulties of packing light. Everything about the idea of it appeals to me: It’s easier to haul around a small carry-on suitcase than one (or even two!) larger ones, carry-on only means your precious cargo won’t get lost and you needn’t waste valuable time waiting at the baggage carousel when you’ve just arrived in a fabulous new place you can’t wait to explore. But sometimes it’s hard to pack light when you’ve got so many things to carry around.

Enter Scottevest. The pros of traveling with a Scottevest jacket or vest are plentiful. But first, here’s a bit of information about them and why I like them:

Scottevest products make you feel a bit like James Bond. They’re full of secrets and surprises. The jackets and vests are so much more than mere clothing. They provide a plethora of hidden pockets for valuables like your iPhone or iPod, Blackberry, wallet, sunglasses, bottled water or whatever other essentials you like to tote around. With all the pockets located on the inside, no one can see what you’re carrying, yet everything is easily accessible, leaving your hands free for more important tasks. And there’s no questioning the value of this when you’re traveling, juggling your suitcase and laptop bag and travel documents.

With clear touch fabric pockets, devices like your iPhone, iPod or Blackberry can all be used without removing them from the safe and secure pockets. Simply open up the vest and answer calls or launch your favourite tunes. (There’s even a Personal Area Network for managing wires for phones and MP3 players. Seriously. Cool.) And the built-in weight management system means that the weight in each pocket is balanced evenly for increased comfort.

But I have to admit that what I like most is the flattering fit. The women’s vest is really nicely tailored, offering a snug but sleek look. And with all my valuables tucked safely away, I don’t need to carry a heavy bag on my shoulder, which really makes travel so much more enjoyable.

My vest has become a travel essential but when the weather warms up here in Toronto and I shed my winter coat, I look forward to wearing it around town — it’s casual chic, perfect not just for travel but for every day wear, too.

For more information and to purchase online, visit scottevest.com.

louis vuitton luggage


I am so inspired by beautiful photography. I love how a picture speaks a thousand words, how a photo can evoke a range of emotions, spark dreams and touch your heart. Today, I’m quite captivated by the photo above. Straight from the Louis Vuitton website, this picture set my heart pounding and my mind racing. Where is she going? Who is she meeting? Is it true love or will she break his heart? I was instantly transported to an era decades-past and the sound of a steam train’s whistle is still ringing in my ears. All aboard!

For more information on the Louis Vuitton hat box and valise pictured here, visit louisvuitton.com.