Summer Travel Staple: The Sarong

No kidding, I wore this sarong out to dinner in Cannes (no bikini). It is all about a secure knot.

No kidding, I wore this sarong out to dinner in Cannes (no bikini). It’s all about the knot.

The funniest thing happened over my birthday. My sister and mother both sent me sarongs as gifts! Without consulting one another, they each thought a sarong would be the perfect piece for my summer travels. Rightly so. Caftans are dramatic, but sarongs are versatile. A few tying ideas:

  • Where it around your neck as a scarf on the flight;
  • Lay it out flat on the sand as a beach blanket in a pinch;
  • Fold it in half twice and wrap it around your waist for a knee-length cover-cover-up; and
  • Fold it in half once and wrap it around your waist for an ankle-legth skirt (pictured above).

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Ready for the expert level? I tried every style in this amazing sarong tutorial. All of them were easy to tie, but I’m not sold the “harem pants” look… A few shopping ideas for a sarong:

7157602851311_066_bThis Lily and Lionel watercolor sarong would look gorgeous over a black one-piece suit.

This Roberta Roller Rabbit sarong is light and airy on hot days. I can see it with a pink bikini.

This Theodora & Callum one would work well in the evening; apparently, it’s a celebrity favorite.

7157429807131_024_bThis Star Mela sarong’s pom-pom edge is super fun. Great with a white t-shirt and jean jacket.

Best part? One size truly fits all. There is nothing so-wrong when it comes to a sarong (don’t hate me for that joke). I hope you are in a beachy frame of mind this week…but for now, a few links:

This week I am…

Did you have a nice weekend? We spent as much time on the lake as we could.

Did you have a nice weekend? We spent as much time on the lake as we could.

…challenging my friends to this addicting game.

…trying to avoid this American “disease” while living in Switzerland.

…dusting off my vintage records after reading about this hallowed music studio.

…shopping for one of these for the first time in years (is it because I’m a 30-year-old?!)

…earmarking this fascinating article for when I become a parent.

…firing up the grill! A list of the coolest grilling accessories.

…using this genius packing guide for a last-minute weekend trip (more on that soon!).

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The icy-cool glacial lake is coming in handy during our Swiss heat wave!

I want to go to there…

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…the Dolomite Mountains, Italy.

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My husband and I have begun planning a week-long hiking adventure for August, but we’ve been so overwhelmed with options (that’s Switzerland for you) that it has been difficult to choose one area. Lately, we’ve been stuck on the idea of hiking in the Italian Alps and I’m secretly pushing for the Dolomites–a mountain range with 18 peaks above 9,000 feet, as well as deep valleys and strikingly blue glacial lakes.

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The Dolomites boast as much scenic drama as the Swiss Alps, but with an Italian flair. A bowl of pasta and a glass of Chianti after a day of hiking sounds like a dream to me. Moreover, the dormitory-style hiking lodges in the Dolomites are some of the nicest in the Alpine region. I may be adventuresome, but I like a nice place to crash at the end of the day. Like the Fanes Huts

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…or in an Architectural Digest-worthy rental home in the tiny village of Domodossola.

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Have you traveled in this area? We’re developing an itinerary and I’d love recommendations.

As far as packing, I’ll want to keep it very light since I’ll be carrying my belongings on my back. Nothing like the promise (threat?) of a daily 10-mile hike to force you to pack lightly! I’m thinking:

349_858_xlI can’t say enough good things about my Osprey Kyte 46 pack. Perfect for a petite girl like myself.

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Patagonia’s Featherstone Shirt is lightweight and absorbent–but still looks stylish on the trail.

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Developed by hiking company prAna, these Michelle Shorts look as good off the mountain as on.

Can one be obsessed with socks? Well, I am a SmartWool fanatic–these socks are heavenly.

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My Merrell Moab Hiking shoes provide just enough technical support, without too much weight.

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The Swiss love hiking poles and I’ve been keeping my eye on Komperdell’s compact version. I hope you are able to get outside this weekend and enjoy the sunshine…but for now, a few links:

Summer in Switzerland: A day on Lac Léman

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With friends in town, we decided to splurge by renting a motor boat yesterday to take advantage of the summery weather we’re having around around Lac Léman, a.k.a. Lake Geneva.

The lake is a big part of the Genevoise lifestyle. We see the lake every day from different vantage points around town since Geneva is split in half by it, and yet, we’ve never been as up close and personal with the lake as we were yesterday. With clear, cloudless skies we were able to see all the towns that surround the lake, including snow-capped peaks of Mont Blanc in the distance.

The day was so out-of-this-world gorgeous that talk turned to how we might buy a boat and keep it on the lake… but what does a boat cost in Switzerland if dinner for two can run upwards of $200? At the very least, the boat rental may become a part of our summer schedule.IMG_4423

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Looks refreshing, eh? With Lac Léman being fed by glacial waters “refreshing” is certainly a word that comes to mind. Also: “icy,” “freezing” and “hypothermia-inducing.” But the Swiss swim in it regularly, so in they went. And for these two old friends, cannonballs were a must.

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IMG_4454I think seeing Lac Léman from a boat is one of the best ways to get to know Geneva (the train is a close second). We haven’t owned a car since moving here nine months ago and neither of us is feeling a void with other transportation options being so readily available. Maybe I’ll change my mind in time…but for now, a few links for sunny, summer days:

The tandem bicycle: An exercise in trust

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My husband has been trying to get me to buy a tandem bicycle with him for years. I suppose I should be flattered that even in our early days of dating he was willing to make such a public statement about how he feels about me, but I’ve resisted the bicycle built for two.

That is, until this past weekend.

bf535308fea0ecc8798b7b85abab0d53Invigorated by warm weather on Saturday, we stopped by a bicycle rental place in our neighborhood. And there is was. A long celery-green tandem bicycle on display in the front window. I knew I wouldn’t get off easy this time, so before he even started his plea I held up my hand and said “OK, just to rent for the day.” He was so giddy I was wondering why I hadn’t offered this up as a birthday or Christmas present. I could have really milked this, I thought…

vintagebikes17…but once out of the shop, I felt I had made a big mistake.

It hadn’t occurred to me that I was handing over complete control with him in the front seat. I could not turn my handlebar. I could not break. I could not see over his back to gauge what was ahead of us–curbs, cars, hills. I could not even pedal independently. Why hadn’t I realized that the pedals on a tandem bike are connected? When he moves, I move.

“You can just relax,” he said over his shoulder, when I pointed out all these things.

I don’t think of myself as a control freak, but relaxation was out of the question.

So, I gripped my fake handlebars, gritted my teeth and tried to stop whining as we made our way up the western side of Lake Geneva. Tourists, traffic cones and Yorkshire Terriers whizzed past my side without warning. They, too, were surprised to find that the grinning man on the green bicycle was actually a part of a twosome. Children pointed at us, saying regarde! Look! One child even dropped his ice cream cone when I yelped at hitting a bump without any prior notice.

When we pulled over for a break at our halfway point, I was shaking. I couldn’t keep my upper lip stiff any longer and my husband realized the back was not as fun as the front. Instead of pushing me another 10 miles to our destination, he agreed to make the halfway point the end. I wanted to be fun, up for anything–the cool wife–but I was miserable. This wasn’t going to be “our thing.”

I feel badly about ending his dream for us to be the couple on the tandem bicycle, but sometimes you simply have to say “this is my limit.” Have you been in a similar situation?

I hope you are having a more peaceful day. For now, a few links:

Le pharmacie: French beauty products

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You know how you never seem to exhaust a tube of lipstick or finish an eye cream before buying a new one? Well, when you live in uber-expensive Switzerland and have been using smuggled-in American beauty products for months without stepping foot in a department store, you do.

In the days leading up to my week-long stay in Paris I found myself squeezing out the last drop of  every product I owned. I was determined to eek out just enough to get me on the train to Paris, knowing that I could pillage new products at any local French pharmacie. And when I say pharmacie I mean the French equivalent of an American CVS, except… it is so much better. 

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You can pick up prescription medicine at a pharmacie but you can also find the absolute best in skincare and makeup. Additionally, the loveliest people work at the pharmacie to help you find exactly the right product–without pushing one brand or another. I do not know where they were trained (some sort of hybrid medical/beauty school?), but they know what they are doing.

I’ve found all of my new favorites can be purchased in the states. A run-down:

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Bioderma Créaline. I have long heard how obsessed French women are with eau micellaire or cleansing water, but I had no idea why until I started using this product. At the end of the day, you soak a cotton ball in this clear, odorless liquid and sweep it all over your face–gently removing makeup and dirt. It leaves your skin super soft. I can see myself using this the rest of my life.

Available for $12.

 

0a39faaf-5b3b-4623-b7ec-c6aef0f60aab_ClarinsMultiActiveDayEarlyWrinkleCorrectionCream.jpg.ashxClarins Multi-Active Day Cream. Although pricier in the States, this is a generous-sized jar of luxurious day cream. Paris-based Clarins developed the moisturizer as part of a line meant for someone around my age (ahem, 30) who is looking for wrinkle protection in a lightweight formula. I’m such a big fan I’m using the night cream ($62) too. Available for $52.
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Avène Couvrance Fluid Foundation. I hadn’t really ventured into the realm of foundation–sticking to tinted moisturizers and BB creams–but I decided to branch out in my 30s and try some grown-up makeup. Although called a foundation, it is very light and has a near-liquid like weight. A little goes a long way and I love the natural, matte finish. Apparently this makeup line was developed for sensitive skin and is highly recommended by dermatologists. Available for $26.
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Dior Skinflash Radiance Booster Pen. Another one of those products with a cult-like following, as much as I shudder to say that about a concealer…and I might be one of their newest converts. The liquid that comes out of the pen-like brush acts as a concealer by reflecting light, instead of just covering under eye circles. I find myself using a lot less of this than I did with traditional concealer. Eek! I may be ruined for life. I never thought I’d be using Dior on a regular basis… Available for $38.

For the record, I have not been paid to promote these products nor do I believe women need to wear makeup. Personally, I love discovering what beauty regimens women follow in other countries and the French have a reputation for looking effortlessly beautiful. We’ll see if it is genetics or what they are using from le pharmacie. Stay tuned…but for now, a few links:

 

This week I am…

Did you have a nice weekend? We tried out Geneva's beach.

Did you have a nice weekend? We tried out Geneva’s beach.

…hosting some friends from the States! How to prepare for overnight guests.

…making my way through this list of 50 Things to Do in Europe (I have a long way to go!).

…shopping for one of these for sunny days on the beach.

…making myself smarter. No really.

…bringing more color into my all-white Swiss apartment–thanks to this design inspiration.

…saving money. Who knew you could put a price tag on the stress of having children.

…writing down my dreams (do you dream more in the summer?)

Geneva's high dive is the thing upon which childhood fears are made.

Geneva’s high dive is the thing upon which childhood fears are made.