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 (, $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 (, $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 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?

cuffs by paulette rose

I just love finding beautiful new things to feature on my blog and today I discovered an accessory that I’m sure all of you (ladies!) are going to love!

Paulette Rose is a recently launched company that makes cuffs out of the most exquisite fabrics and that feature simply beautiful designs. The pictures really speak for themselves. Aren’t they beautiful? I love how these simple accessories can instantly transform an outfit. A plain white shirt and a pair of jeans is transformed into an elegant evening look with the addition of a pair of these cuffs. A standard black blazer instantly becomes a a signature piece when paired with the plaid silk cuffs pictured above. Simultaneously totally modern, yet subtly heralding an era gone by, there’s something truly timeless and romantic about them.

Months ago I blogged about how tricky it can be to pack smart when you’re traveling. What I also love about these cuffs is that they’re perfect for travel. Small and easy to pack, they’ll certainly provide options when you’re on the go and will take up next to no room at all in your suitcase. Offering style and versatility, they’re the perfect travel accessory.

For more information or to purchase online, visit

the perfect travel accessory

I was recently asked about a scarf that I often travel with and I thought I’d write a blog post on the subject. How much is there to say about a scarf? Well, a few points I thought I’d share. The scarf I always travel with is a lightweight, inexpensive one from Gap, similar though not identical to the one pictured here. It’s so handy and I love traveling with it for a number of reasons. First, I’m always cold, especially on airplanes. Having this wrap handy means I don’t have to cover up with the airline issued blankets that often look like they’ve seen better days. (It’s hard to get cozy in a blanket that’s been used by countless other passengers, no?) It’s great to have a scarf like this on hand for chilly evenings but even more useful is when you’re visiting holy sites. Frequently along my travels, I’ve arrived at places where, despite the raging heat, covering up is mandatory as a sign of respect and reverence – the Taj Mahal in Agra, the Grand Palace in Bangkok and The Western Wall in Jerusalem are a few that jump to mind. This particular scarf is so light and it doesn’t wrinkle, making it the perfect travel accessory. You just never know when you’ll need it!

Colours: Orchid Blossom (pictured here), True Black, Chives, Chocolate Chip
Available at:
Price: $19.50

rule britannia!

I never pack an umbrella when I travel but without fail, it always seems I need one. While a compact size is most certainly more practical, I say go big! if you’ve got the room. That’s just because I love this design from Sir Paul Smith’s collection. The noted menswear fashion designer from across the pond proudly showcased this design in his spring 2009 collection. Here’s a new spin on waving the flag! With a solid black exterior, the Union Jack on the inside and a cane handle, this umbrella is a chic example of national pride. Or just a super-stylish accessory for the design-conscious travelista.

Image courtesy of British Airways High Life