Why Trip Styler Has Been (Mostly) Grounded This Fall


 [trip style = none]

In everyday life, if someone says "you're grounded" it's typically meant as a compliment inferring that you know who you are, or you have a keen sense of what's important. Yet, in the world of travel, being grounded implies there's a challenge given that wayfaring requires you to wander {versus stay put}. 

Right now, I feel like I'm hovering between these two extremes. Let me explain. 

I heart traveling and really miss the thrill and escape of galavanting around the globe as often as I used to, but sometimes life at home can keep you grounded like an airplane that needs service. And that's not a bad thing. So, aside from a quick getaway to Palm Springs for a girlfriend's milestone birthday, the Trip Styler crew has stayed put for the past few months. Like, seriously put. 

There are a number of reasons our feet have stayed on solid ground this fall. The most major: We learned both Little Stylers have reactive airways, which is medical-speak for they have developed breathing challenges. Thanks to our excellent access to hospital and doctor care in Canada, we're learning how to understand and manage their respiratory issues.

As we learn more about the ailment, which we *hope and pray* is temporary, the idea and reality of foreign family travel has become tricky at the moment because if they need treatment, they need it fast. If only Canada had a balmy, palm tree-dotted escape... 

Despite the kids being on two types of puffers, at present, every day on the homefront is an "adventure" in that we're always monitoring their breathing. The good news is both littles are doing REALLY well and responding favorably to their meds, which has decreased our trips to Children's Hospital. However, there are still scary moments when we go into hospital watch-mode as their breathing gets laboured. Who knew that I'd borrow a page from my packing preparedness posts to craft a hospital packing list {now pasted on our bedroom closet door for sudden visits...}.

In addition to staying temporarily grounded to treat and better understand the kids' breathing, we're moving. Soon. We think. This is another reason we haven't booked any trips since late-summer; we've been on stand-by as we prepare to move from our city perch to a bigger space.  While there have been a number of delays with the build, we hope to *actually* pack our bags and boxes in a few weeks. Fingers crossed we'll be warming our toes in front of our new fireplace at Christmastime.     

All of this reminds me that life is like an airplane ride. Sometimes there's a turbulence. Sometimes you have to hurry up and wait. Sometimes your itinerary gets re-routed. And sometimes your plane needs maintenance. Then, eventually, things get sorted, and when you look down from your window at 35,000ft, you do so with a whole new perspective. That's our hope for the New Year. 

The Trip Stylers  

birds eye view

[Photos by @tripstyler]

Holiday Gift Guide 2015

[trip style = any]

Ever since Trip Styler debuted in 2009, we've assembled a holiday gift guide. 'Tis the season once again! In past years it skewed gadgety or aspirational, whereas this year it's internationalhow à proposwith Italian, Japanese and Mexican finds to bundle you up, cool you down and transport you afar. 

{Clockwise from top left}

1/ Expandable Beach Bag :: Sourced on the palm- and juice bar-studded shores of Tulum, Mexico, enter the ultimate beach bag for those who like to pack smart. Featured in the Trip Styler Store, our totes sport leather straps and woven mesh that packs flat and compact, and then expands as you add your beach or pool essentials. 
Find our boho totes in yellow, brown, white, blue and pink in the Trip Styler Store

2/ The Kinfolk of Travel Magazines :: Flipping through the pages of this bi-annual magazine about travel and style is a journey until itself. Everything about the magazine is chic from the thick white-matte pages to the whitewashed photos from afar. 
Find it in select boutiques and online

3/ Modern Kimono :: Half blazer, half kimono, we spotted this tailored hybrid while in Japan, brought a few home for the Trip Styler Store, and wear ours almost once a week. It's chic, it's worldly and it's pulled together.
Find our mod kimonos in black and subdued black prints in the Trip Styler Store

4/ DIY Aperol Spritz Kit :: This summer in Italy we jumped on the Aperol train, and we never got off. It's a trip in a tumbler. Every time we drink Italy's libation of choice, we're transported to a cobblestone street in Capri. Gifting it to a cocktail-obsessed loved one is smart because it's easy to put togetherall you need is Aperol, prosecco and sodaand it will make it seem like you have your finger on the pulse of what people are sipping worldwide.
Find the recipe and ingredients in our That Travel Meal series

5/ Espresso Maker :: Another beverage {of the non-alcoholic variety} that became a regular for us in Italia was espresso, which we made in a Moka Express, an iconic, 1930s-developed espresso maker. So into the brewing technique and taste, we brought one home with us from Italy. Thanks to the wonders of the Internet, you don't have to go to the Boot to buy one.
Find it on Amazon {and watch this quick tutorial we put together} 

6/ Blanket Scarf :: Here at the TS HQ we've been wearing blanket scarves for ions because they keep us warm in cold climates and when the temperature dips at 35,000 ft.
Find them + a tutorial on how to wear these travel warm-ups in our latest Jetset Style dispatch

7/ Donation :: If you know the person who has everything or doesn't want things, consider making a donation in their name to an organization or cause they care about. {Not shown above}

Holiday Gift Guide 2014
Holiday Gift Guide 2013

[graphic assembled by @tripstyler]


Italy ciao

[trip style = urban + beach + sun + spa + food + wine + luxury]

Ciao from Italy, a heaven-on-earth where gelato is considered a food group and wine flows like water.  

I suppose the saying "all roads lead to Rome" is true because when I was in Maui with the Expedia Viewfinder crew in April, I found out Expedia would be sending me to Rome in July. Despite the fact that travel is my gig and {almost} greatest joy, I cried the moment I found out, because...Italy.  

I'll share more about my Rome assignment in a week, but in the meantime, here's a glimpse into my three-week trip, which I extended, because...Italy.

Nights 1-4 = Rome 
Goal: Adjust to the time zone and work on my gelato tolerance. 

Nights 5-10 = Ischia
Goal: Relax at a Relais & Châteaux spa hotel on a lesser-known island 20 minutes {by boat} from Capri. 

Nights 11-13 = Amalfi 
Goal: Explore the cliffy coast and take as many pictures as my SD card can handle. 

Night 14 = Capri
Goal: Blitz the ritzy isle in style. 

Nights 16-21 = Rome
Details soon! Hint: It will involve pasta-making, plus a taste-making view of the Eternal City!   

PS. Love la dolce vita? Find pics on Instagram {@TripStyler} or by searching the hashtag #TSRomanHoliday

[photo by @tripstyler]

10 Ways to Stretch Summer

10 ways to extend summer

[trip style = glamping + sun + food + wine]

First things first. Summer does not officially end until September 21st. The back-to-school/work hustleor its mentalitymay be in full swing, but that's not to say that we can't continue to wear shades or shorts, go to the beach, or bite into watermelon like it's going out of style. 

If you're summer-obsessed like we are, here are 10 ways to avoid falling into fall too quickly.


1/ Book a trip 
Since summer never really ends in my trip styling books {I prefer to extend it into the winter}, know this: One of the BEST times to book travel is in early September. Planes bound for tropical locals are running at quarter capacity, resorts are more quiet than libraries, and best of all, prices reflect this low season bliss.  


2/ Resist "fall mode"
With 19 days of vitamin D-painted skies still on the seasonal horizon, keep your back-to-school clothes in the closet in favor of a warmer color palette and easy-breezy styles.


3/ Find a water source
Don't spend your free evenings or weekends doing errands {that's what October is for!}. Instead, take advantage of the weather and go to the beach, the lakeside or a pool and savor every last bit of heat September is graciously giving.


4/ Say no to the Pumpkin Spice Latte {PSL}
Synonymous with sweaters and cords and leaf peeping {a trip style favored by fall foliage enthusiasts}, the PSL has made an early arrival at Starbucks this year. Here at Trip Styler HQ, we're not fans of the florescent orange beverage {remember when it was tasty and sported a non-offensive color circa 10 years ago?}. We'd much rather hold on to memories of picnics and polka dot bikinis with bevvie trends like iced tea lemonades, fresh-pressed juices and blackberry cocktails. 


5/ Have gas will grill
Have as many barbecues as your grill can handle. Come Novembruary, you'll be longing for warm nights and the summery scent of just-flamed veggies or meat wafting your way. 


6/ Keep s'moresing


7/ Go Glamping
Once a summer-only trip style, glamping is going through a coming-of-age with many outfitters introducing heated tents and accommodations built for wilderness Ritz'ing year-round; meaning even if it cools down at night, you can still live the summer dream. 


8/ Drink rose
Like white jeans, we refuse to give up our rose after labor day. If rose tickles you pink, too, some of our favorites include: Le Vieux Pin Vaila Rose, Gray Monk Rotberger, Joie Farm Rose, Road 13 Honest John's Rose, or for something cheap and cheerful, La Vieille Ferme Rose. And since we're on the topic, September is a great time to go trip style = wine tasting.


9/ Channel Saint-Tropez
Just because the sun is setting earlier doesn't mean you have to throw your summer tan out to sea. Keep your glow going with these tips from St. Tropez's self-tanning expert.


10/ Wear white  
As we alluded to in number eight, we don't buy into the age-old rule of packing away our whites until springtime. In fact, we challenge you to wear them after labor day and into winter, because nothing says winter chic like white. Duh. 

Pssst: when in doubt, visit a tiki bar. They do "the {tropical} trick" every time. 

[photos my own, except lead, 4, 5, 9, 10 via various online sources]

Hola Hualtulco

[trip style = beach + sun + budget-conscious]

It's 5:15pm on Dec 29th. Mr. Trip Styler and I are combing the travelsphere for a flash of sun-spiration. Huatulco, Mexico's heat and hues grab our attention. We've never been and the flight leaves in a day. As the sound of rain drips in a hypnotic drone from my balcony, spending the first week of 2014 consuming cervezas and guacamole al fresco turns from window shopping to buying. Before booking we check the weather report---an upside of last-minute travel---to confirm tropical temps and steer clear of the Polar Vortex. Seven straight days of sun makes the harried should we? moment before hitting "submit" so much easier: Hola Huatulco.

Hualtulco hugs the base of Mexico's Pacific Coast so far south it's the last major beach destination until Central America. "Do you love Huatulco?" "It's beautiful, si?" are the main questions asked by shopkeepers and taxi drivers. They're fiercely proud of their stomping grounds, a collection of 36 beaches and nine bays nestled into the cactus-covered coastline. If you have a private boat {or an affinity for bushwhacking} like some of the snowbirds we met, they'll tell you tales of many more beaches and bays.

Until recently, most of the spots I've visited in Mexico are driven by international tourism. Huatulco is different. Local hotels occupy every few buildings and far outnumber the big and beachy structures frequented by winter-averse margarita mavens. Beach dwellers are mostly Mexicans. Residents and visitors pay the same cab fares and eat at the same restaurants. This we're-all-in-the-same-boat approach to tourism is refreshing, like a cold Corona on the beach.


Arrocito Beach

Arrocito Beach

Tangolunda Beach

Tangolunda Beach

Chahue Beach

Maguey Beach

Maguey Beach

Maguey Beach

Maguey Beach

Tejon Beach

Tejon Beach

Tejon Beach

My beach read: Life by Keith Richards. About 200 pages in, you won't want to put it down. Tales of the Rolling Stones' shenanigans at concerts, in hotel rooms and on private jets will either conjure a love for your normal life or lust after fame.


Just opposite the main square in La Crucecita, Los Portales glows in technicolor with neon, plastic-woven chairs---a take on the famed Acapulco chair---bright lights and eye-popping dishes.

A bottle of Pacifico washed down my best chicken taco meal in Huatulco at Restaurante Arely, a festive locals' joint a few blocks off La Crucecita's main square.

MediterraneO, an on-the-beach, shipwreck-style restaurant we visited three times sporting swings as bar stools and wooden tables decorated with yellow gerbera daisies. Visit at night---9 or 10pm---to dance the night away to the rhythm of live music. Find it in the Santa Cruz neighborhood.

Don't rule out the beach for good food, either. At Maguey Beach we secured an umbrella and lounges for ordering a few Pacificos and guac.


Museo de Artesanias Oaxaquenas, a family collective of artisans making carpets, blankets and scarves by handweaving colors sourced from the land to dye local wool. Find it in the center of downtown La Crucecita.

Hotel Villablanca, a modest, little off-the-beach abode with included breakfast and WiFi. It's so well positioned two blocks from the beach, near a grocery store and a 15-minute walk from town that a flock of snowbirds winter here, meeting every day for breakfast and happy hour by the pool. Rooms are basic, beds are hard {common at local hotels in Mexico} and the grounds are well kept. From $60 per night.

- Cash is king. Credit cards are not widely accepted in local joints. Take out pesos as you need them at one of the many bank machines in town {HSBC, ScotiaBank, BancoMex and more}. - Brush up on your Spanish beyond "donde esta el bano" and "un cerveza por favor." English is not widely spoken.
- Cabs are very reasonable, with small trips starting at $2 or 25 pesos. Tip up.
- If you want to explore the local beaches, which I recommend, bring a beach umbrella. The breeze is light and won't overturn your shelter and there isn't much shade.
- Casual clothes are du rigueure {read: I never wore the wedges I packed, only my sandals, but know that I didn't stay at big, beachfront resort}.
- While you should always be street-smart when you travel, I never felt unsafe.
- Of course only drink bottled water and try all the local food!

[photos by @tripstyler]