Tag Archives: vacation

Kaftans, always

My lovely and talented friend, Sandria, recently alerted me to Veronique Hyland’s NY Mag article, “How to Get Your Body Caftan-Ready for Summer.” Although I disagree with the author about a few points, mainly that wearing a kaftan means you can skip your bra and neglect basic hygiene. WTF. I do agree with her enthusiasm for kaftans and her desire to extol their virtues.

Here are a few of my own tips for wearing kaftans and some amazing ones that you can buy right now.

  • Kaftans are the true definition of GLAAAAM-OOOUUUURRR. They are not shlub wear.  They are not for the tired. Find a muumuu for that foolishness. If your breasts are natural and you will go OUTSIDE wearing your kaftans, always, ALWAYS wear a bra. If you normally shave, keep it up.
  • When it comes to kaftans, as you might guess, I lean toward the fancy. Silk for breakfasts, brunches, lunches, dinners, cocktail parties, etc. Cotton for more active daytime activities.
  • Go ahead and splurge on a designer kaftan. You’ll have it, and actually be able to WEAR it, for years.

Post beach romp.

LemLem $340

LemLem kaftanMissoni Mare $1010

Missoni Mare kaftan

TWO $370

Long Peach Kaftan with Fringe TWO


Garden party, cute & flirty kaftan realness.

The Row $1636

If you can pull off this color, this is a very versatile, enter-level choice. With the right accessories, it can be avery chic lil’ number.

The Row Kaftan Bergdorf


Day drinkin’ and ready for whatever.

ASA Kaftan $245

I ignored at first because she didn’t offer silk kaftans. She’s seen the light.


ASA Kaftan front

Cavalli $1700

Cavalli is the king of kaftans.

Roberto Cavalli kaftan


Evening stuntin’.

Camilla $600

This one’s a chameleon. Camilla is the best about giving you options.

camilla_220316_1616-1

Camilla $570

Camilla Kaftan Bergdorf

 

As you can see, there is a kaftan for every occasion, personality and style. Pace yourself while shopping. Kaftan addiction is real. You’ve been warned. dd

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Last Minute Vacation Planning Tips for Procrastinators and Everyone Else

Him:         Hey Babes.Keisha's roadside spot

Me:           Yeah Babes?

(Yeah, we call each other Babes with an ‘s.’)

Him:         I think we should get outta town for New Year, maybe something tropical.

Me:           Babes, do you know it’s December 18?

Him:         Yeah.

Me:           Do you know people usually book New Year’s eve vacays a year ahead?

Him:         You can do it.

Planet-tails!Him was right. I can and I did. I’m an odd combination of fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants and anal-retentive-nosey AF-planner-extraordinaire. So although I found this task to be daunting, I was up for the challenge.

As I spent every waking moment between December 18 and the day we booked our accommodations searching and planning, I couldn’t help but learn a few things:

1) Bring sand to the beach. Or nah. I prefer to know the person I’m going to kiss at midnight. I don’t want to share my hope and plans for the new year with a random. I enjoy the excited usies and bottomless champagne on the flights. I love basking in the shared afterglow on the flight home. But hell, if you like strange, you know I won’t judge you.

2) Don’t get stuck on a certain location. If you only have two weeks tops to make a New Year vacation come true, you can’t afford to be rigid. Expand your horizons. Watch Anthony Bourdain. To be perfectly clear, read on for #3.

3) Think outside the Caribbean. Like I said, don’t get stuck on a location. Americans often act as if the world just drops off after the Caribbean islands. It doesn’t. I know the islands are close and that you won’t have to use as much vacation time from work to travel there. When I began my hunt for vacancies, I started in the Caribbean for that very reason. I got lucky and found a lovely ocean front condo in Jamaica. However, it was the ONLY accommodation I could find that was up to my standards on the entire island. Repeat. The ONLY. I just got lucky. Don’t rely on luck though. I was open to Colombia, Argentina, and I’m always open to Thailand, but like I said… I. Just. Got. Lucky.

4) No room at ANY of the inns? Go rogue. An alternative to the resort is the vacation rental market. Websites like homeaway.com allow you to rent beach houses, condos or whatever you require all over the world. The site has photos, reviews, maps and more – everything you need for due diligence. My accommodations were in theory part of a resort with its own private beach. In reality, it was just an upscale condo that we rented from the owner. I used the site for the first time for this trip and it was a lifesaver.Michelle!

5) When you snooze, you sometimes lose. So you are successful with lodging, but what about the rest? Anybody who’s ever waited until the last minute to try to make NYE party or dinner reservations, even in your own town, knows it can be close to not happening never. Try booking a local chef. I employed the services of a true gem of a lady, Michelle. She cooked a couple of meals per day while I gallivanted on the beach. I’d come home to authentic Jamaican food and a clean condo. I couldn’t ask for anything more.

6) Lounge. Thank me later. Holiday travel is too unbelievably exhausting and the entire airline industry hates you. Seek comforts wherever you can even if you have to just throw money at it. If you aren’t already a member of some airline’s lounge club thing, entry is usually extended with the purchase of a business or first class ticket. You can also buy one-day passes. Do whatever you can. Did I mention the “free” drinks?

Since you’re reading this, I know you’re in a hurry and have no time to waste. Let me know if any of this helped. Also, do you have any tips? I’m sure this last minute trip won’t be my last.

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Twelve Random Tips for Planning a Luxury Vacation

Greetings! It’s been a long while and a lot has happened, so instead of explaining, I’ll just jump right in.

Last year I took the first real vacation (no laptop, no phone calls) that I’ve had in years.  Because I’m Daphne, I know no other way than to go big, so I splurged on a whirlwind  ten days in Asia. My trip began in Bangkok, marinated in Phuket and then ended in Hong Kong.  To sum up the experience in a word or two: fairy tale.

Welcome to Hong Kong!

Welcome to Hong Kong!

Some deets: In Bangkok, my sister and I took a private boat tour down the Chao Phraya, toured Chinatown by night and sampled a little street food (not nearly as much as we would’ve liked). Unfortunately or fortunately, depending on perspective, our time in Bangkok was packed with sightseeing so the best dining experience we had ended up being at our hotel, The Peninsula. I’m dying to go back soon, be able to take my time and get all Anthony Bourdain with it.

In Phuket, we lodged at the Trisara aka Heaven on Earth, rented a mini yacht for the day for some island hopping and partied at the newly opened Nikki Beach. We didn’t have to go far for excellent food (Poo Nim Phad Phong Ka-ri, Trisara’s curried crab was unbelievably good!), but we did manage to tear ourselves away. One of the best dining experiences was at the Siam Supper Club – good food, good wine list, hot Aussies.

Hong Kong was pure fancy schmancy. From the overwhelmingly beautiful view from the suite at the Four Seasons to Michelin-starred French truffle overload and Chinese decadence,  I was just blown away. Man Mo Temple, Victoria Peak and shopping occupied us for the remainder of our time.

Cruising along the Chao Phraya with our guide, Tim, and my sis.

Cruising along the Chao Phraya with our guide, Tim, and my sis.

Planning a trip of this magnitude was labor intensive. When I decided to expand to include Hong Kong, I knew that I needed to call in reinforcements.

BONUS TIP: I know it may sound old school, but I worked with a travel agent who specialized in luxury travel.

Our agent was also a member of the Virtuoso network which afforded us complimentary amenities at some of the world’s most exclusive resorts and hotels.  In addition, working with an agent gave me representation I could use to press for even more free goodies. However, even though I worked with an agent, I checked and re-checked every detail. I was able to negotiate rates and receive several free upgrades because I was armed with so much information.

High atop Hong Kong's Victoria Peak with my sis. We also decided to bring a lil Rachel, Tracy, Kate, Tory, Gucci and Givenchy.

High atop Hong Kong’s Victoria Peak with my sis. We also decided to bring a lil Rachel, Tracy, Kate, Tory, Gucci and Givenchy.

Only one is necessary and this clear Tory Burch number was perfect for keeping up with everything I needed for a day of sightseeing.

Only one is necessary and this clear Tory Burch number was perfect for keeping up with everything I needed for a day of sightseeing.

I learned a lot planning this trip that will help me in the future and will hopefully help you as you plan your next sojourn.

12.  Like I said, research, research, research and then research again.  Leave nothing to chance.  Make lists, whether written or mental, of things you’d like to do or attractions you’d like to visit.  Sure, it’s your vacay and you don’t want a detailed agenda like you’re still at work.  BUT, mark my words, lack of planning will only lead to possible missed opportunities and not being able to take full advantage of everything that is available. Trip Advisor is good for many things, but when you’re planning a true extravaganza, Luxe City Guides and Louis Vuitton are great resources.

11.  Get help.  I am aware that some people love a challenge, even during their down time.  When it comes to my vacation, I am not one of those people.   I am not interested in seeing if I’ll throw my back out while schlepping heavy luggage to and fro.  If you’re like me, you’d rather have a lovely gentleman meet you as you step off the plane,  grab your carry on, expedite you through customs, collect your checked bags, load them into a luxury vehicle, open the car door and then hand you a warm towel and a bottle of water, as he whisks you off to your destination.  Firms like Abercrombie & Kent can arrange for private tour guides, valets and chauffeured cars. An agent who knows her shit, should be able to hook you up. Leave the stress at home. Just pay for the help. It’s worth every damned cent.

10.  I flew Cathay for this trip and was very impressed. Business and first class are very comfortable due to a pod-like quality and fully flat seat that make you almost feel like they’re no passengers on your plane.  The food was tastier than I expected and the wine list was good.  The flight attendants were very attentive and only had to be told once to keep the champers a’coming. I give them a pass because they were probably unaware that one person could drink that much.

Six hands rubbing all over my baaaaaaaawwwdddy. Yeah, this happened to me. No, that's not me. :/

Six hands rubbing all over my baaaaaaaawwwdddy. Yeah, this happened to me. No, that’s not me. :/ No pics valuable of me in this state of ecstasy.

9.  Leave the workout gear at home.  Unless you’re one of those people who lives to shred, why fat shame yourself on your own vacation? Pack fly, but loose-fitting ‘fits. Refer to #7.

8.  Mo’ massages, mo’ betta. I love a good massage and nothing says vacation more. Despite the fact that I almost missed my flight back home because I was in such a massage-induced, limp state of delirium,  I am so happy that I managed to book the Jade Stone Therapy massage at The Spa at Four Seasons Hong Kong. It should be a requirement before any long haul flight. I could go on and on about it because it was one of the best NORMAL massages I’ve experienced. However, I was spoiled by something I had experienced only two days before.  I say something because I’m not even sure it can be called something as limiting as a massage – Trisara’s Six Hand Massage. Yeah, that happened to me and I’m not really sure humans are equipped to receive that kind of pleasure.

Mrs. Roper ain't got shit on me.

Mrs. Roper ain’t got shit on me. A Debauchee original, a beautiful silk kaftan I bought in Bangkok’s Jim Thompson House, Roopa Pemmaraju, Missoni.

7.  Pack more kaftans.  There really isn’t much more to say about that.  Just do it.

6.  Take advantage of every opportunity to do anything you would normally never do.  Hong Kong is such a glamorous city and because of my research I knew that I could go all out as far as fashion. In other words, I had the perfect excuse to wear my see through tee with a sequined skirt with train. No biggie.

5.  There is no such thing as too many swimsuits. Bring ALL of them.  Even though you will likely settle on two go-tos that you’ll mix, match and wear daily, it’s still good to have options. My sister learned the hard way that it isn’t so easy for an American body to find a suit in Thailand.

4.  Stay at the Trisara as long as your wallet and free time can afford.  If you don’t know Trisara, google it, make reservations and thank me later. This is where you go when you want to truly get away and be pampered. I only saw other guests when I went to the Sunday Jazz Brunch (best brunch I’ve ever experienced and I’m a brunch connoisseur) and a beach barbecue.

Boats and heaux. Sorry I couldn't resist.

Boats and heaux. Sorry I couldn’t resist.

3.  Yacht like your life depends on it. But seriously, in this part of the world, sightseeing by boat is a necessity with its floating markets and secluded beaches. If it comes down to a budget choice between a boat and something else, choose the boat. You won’t regret it. We took the Phetmanee out for the day and enjoyed a lovely breakfast, snack and lunch on board as we island hopped around the Andaman Sea.

2.  Always, ALWAYS sleep with Aussie Daniel Craig lookalike who asked you to sit with him at the bar of the swanky and delish Siam Supper Club. I know. I know.

1.  Use the lounge. Why sit amongst the teaming masses and their unsupervised children in hard seats? There’s a very nice room with waaaay fewer children, comfy seats and “free” liquor.

This vacation was what some would call a once-in-a-lifetime, bucket list trip, but I refuse to limit myself and I don’t plan on dying any time soon. I’d much rather have more of these experiences and I will allot my money accordingly. However, as a debauchee, it’s so hard to set limits. I just can’t get enough. but I’m itching to get somewhere new. Where should I go? Got any tips for me?

I’ll holla. Peace. dd.


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Five deep breaths. In through the nose…

If you are currently in the midst of a day full of soul-stealing tasks that you have no desire to complete, please take a moment to gaze upon this beautiful photo of a fabulous resort in Phuket.  Imagine yourself rising from the daybed on the right and walking naked into the private pool.  Take five deep breaths.  Smell the saltiness of the sea that surrounds your private suite .  Along with the coconut goodness of  your Nars Body Glow (mixed with sunscreen) that you have luxuriatingly rubbed into your skin after your post-coitus shower.  Take five additional deep breaths.  DO NOT QUIT TODAY.  YOU MUST SAVE UP.  Jetsetter awaits.

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