Category Archives: travel

travel in style: istanbul shopping guide

istanbul blue mosque-shoppingsmycardio.com

| Blue Mosque, Istanbul. // All photos by me or Mr. SMC |

Second only to an ill-conceived, 24-hour adventure in Tangiers in my 20s (buy me a couple of drinks sometime, and I’ll tell you a tale), Istanbul is bar none the most “foreign” place to which I’ve ever traveled. By which I mean I don’t speak the language, don’t know the culture, the food, the traditions…did I need head scarves? Long sleeves? Was I allowed to wear jeans? Because, let’s be honest, inadvertently botching a cultural norm in a country I’ve already admitted was utterly foreign to me (in every sense of the word) sounds like an intimidatingly easy thing to do.

And yet. Once I arrived, much like my time in Morocco, I knew immediately I’d worried for nothing. I found the people in Istanbul to be unfailingly, overwhelmingly friendly, helpful and welcoming. On the rare occasion someone didn’t speak English, they either found someone who did, or we successfully (and cheerfully!) mimed to each other until we sorted it out. The 3 Turkish phrases I frantically committed to memory on the plane elicited so much appreciation from locals that you’d have thought I mastered the language. It is busy, and crowded, and…well, foreign, but I didn’t see a single act of protest, let alone violence. Some people wore head scarves (you do need one to visit mosques), but my tour guide showed up the first day in a tank top.

I honestly don’t know whether this is a case of low expectations being exceeded or whether I really loved Istanbul as much as I think did, but truly – it was unforgettable, and I’d recommend it heartily to anyone at all! Read on

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elsewhere: the tropical vacation edition

chaize

| Image via Christian Chaize |

Phew! One of those weeks, my friends…remind me to tell you the one about trying acupuncture for the first time and finding myself immobilized for two days. I guess I’d better stop calling it “hocus pocus nonsense” at this point.

But. In case the weather’s getting you down, I have a couple of pieces of news that might help you do a little tropical vacation daydreaming. First, I’ve updated my Maui travel guide after my most recent visit there earlier this year. It was amazing, as always, and I found loads of wonderful new things to tell you about! So, head right over here for that.

And since you’ll need something cute to wear, I also updated my 100% foolproof “How to Pack for a Tropical Vacation” story. New product links where necessary, and a couple of minor modifications, but honestly, this bad boy is tried and tested by me (and by a lot of you!), and every time I stray from this list, I regret it. Bookmark it and save yourself a whole lot of grief when you’re ready to hit the beach.

And because I’m starting to officially get the itch for spring, I’ve put a few of the newest things I’m dying to add to my cart on my Shop SMC page (since I’m still mad at Pinterest). Is it possible the fashion universe has finally heard my plea for grown-up hemlines? Check out all my current coveting there…and a few extras right here:

[show_shopthepost_widget id=”601787″]

Have an absolutely wonderful weekend, friends. Do something special for yourself, would you? Take someone you love out to brunch, sit on a park bench and read a book, or open the “good” wine. You’ve earned it!

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Gift Guide: The Jetsetter

jetsetter-gift-guide

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They joke that their home address is the Chicago O’Hare International airport, their Instagram feed is peppered with exotic locations and impromptu road-trips, and most of their stories start with “When I was in…” . Even if you can’t pinpoint their last known location, here are a list of gifts that any frequent traveler will love to receive…once they’re back in town. Read on

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SMC in action

Thought I’d share my new favorite (and super easy) way to wear a square scarf: Fold in half diagonally, wrap around your neck, bandana-style, and do a half knot with the ends. Then, turn the whole apparatus about 30° in either direction, bring both ends of the scarf to the front, and loosely complete the knot. Then, just futz until you like how everything lines up! via Instagram
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travel in style: florence

florence view

View of Florence from the Boboli Gardens (all photos by me or Mr. SMC).

Friends, I can’t quite believe it’s taken me this long to tell you about my unforgettable trip to Florence this spring. I was a little worried I was deluging you with too many tales of that fantastic trip of mine, and that if I incited any more wanderlust, you’d rise up and demand that we all take a group, SMC-led trip to Europe immediately.

Which, as I think about it, would be kind of amazing. florence travel guide

Still, I think I may very well have saved the best for last. Because for all of the amazing things I did and saw (…and ate) in Paris, it was Florence where I felt most like I found some truly hidden gems: the little jewelbox of a trattoria tucked away on an alley behind the Duomo, the secret gelateria that you’d never find again without a business card and a faded photo of you with the best cone of your life. The places that you absolutely can’t wait to get home and tell your friends about. Luckily, you’re my friends! And I can’t wait another second to share these stories with you.

Read on

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travel in style: happy feet

comfortable-travel-shoes, best insoles, no show socks, happy feet, comfortable walking shoes

Friends, I wear my thirtysomething badge with pride (really, who among us would want to be 22 again?!), but there are times when the reality that I’m not the spring chicken I once was really comes home to roost. And that fantastic trip I took this spring was one such occasion. Assuming you might have some summer travel on the horizon (perhaps even this weekend?), I thought the time was right to share a few secrets I learned about keeping my feet happy on any adventure.  mfortable travel shoes

Read on

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