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I’ve written about HK before (here and here), but each time I go I manage to discover something new. Sorry, but I won’t stay anywhere other than the Upper House, so you will have to be satisfied knowing that it still is simply the best hotel experience ever. This time I arrived after a 16 hour flight feeling a bit queasy and maybe a bit blue (feeling far away from my daughter). When I arrived at the hotel they told me they heard I was not feeling well (my driver had called ahead) and even though my upgraded room wasn’t ready yet, they wanted to get me into a room immediately so I could rest. Rather than the extra large room I usually take overlooking the Harbour, they temporarily housed me in a large room overlooking the velvet green mountains of the peak. I felt so cozy and happy that I recovered rapidly and decided not to change rooms. Arriving at the Upper House is like arriving home to a family that has missed you. Hand written notes and gifts wrapped in ribbon from the staff are a special touch. Bliss!
It’s hard not to return to favorite restaurants but Hong Kong always has something new and delicious to try so I make sure to include the best recommendations. On my first night I didn’t want to travel far from the hotel as I was easing my way back into life at ground level, so I tried The Continental in Admiralty. Loved the atmosphere and my perfect sirloin. My favorite meal was a toss up between Chom Chom and Chachawan. I loved the relaxed local street vibe of both and had seriously delicious and inventive food at both. The owner at Chom Chom recommended several dishes that were all perfect, including Vietnamese fried chicken and grilled corn. At Chachawan, I watched the 26 year old chef prepare their specialty Som Dtum Goong right in front of me. It is a papaya salad dish with tomatoes, chili, prawns or pork and it was five alarm spicy and crazy good.
Hard to believe I have never walked the ‘women’s market’ or the ‘goldfish market’ before. Expect copies of handbags from Chanel, Mulberry and Issey Miyake, as well as hundreds of iPhone cases (including a copy of the Moschino Golden Arches red and gold case), miniature wind up toys, silk dresses, backpacks, hair barrettes, and games like Mahjong. I loved walking the goldfish market and was maybe a little freaked out to see a giant box of very loud crickets as food for some of the fish. I would tell you which fish but my Chinese is limited (AKA nonexistent) and I would show you photos of some of the most unusual fish and sea creatures I’ve ever seen but alas no pics allowed. You will have to go and see for yourself.
No trip to Hong Kong is complete for me without a trip on the Star Ferry. I love the wood benches and old school vibe as much as the breeze on my face. It’s a relaxed way to visit the other side or see the Harbour lights at night. The Hong Kong Observation Wheel, a giant ferris wheel with individual enclosed gondolas, seems to have just opened offering sweeping views of Central and Kowloon, but I missed it. And I’m afraid of heights, so someone will have to report back on their experience in the comments.
Still searching for that last minute gift? Here are some of my favorite things to give (and get) this holiday season:
1. Rimowa suitcases: For the traveler on your list! I’m partial to the Salsa Deluxe series, their light weight hard shell and eight wheels (!) mean that you can navigate this bag at full capacity with merely a singer finger. Love the carry-on styles too as they allow you to push the bag down the airplane aisle sideways thereby not knocking every seat along the way! Don’t be fooled by the hard case construction either. These bags pack way more than you’d expect!
2. S’well reusable bottle: I’m a yogi who packs a water bottle with me for my daily morning practice. This non-toxic, insulated bottle keeps cold water cold for up to 24 hours (for real) and hot for twelve. I like the stone collection and love that they don’t sweat, look fab, and that they give back to WaterAid with every purchase.
3. I have a Vitamix blender on my wish list this year, the only question is which one? The fact that this powerful blender can turn your fresh fruits and veggies into oh-so-good-for-you juice and combine a soup and serve it hot or a frosty cold ice-cream, well, who needs any other appliance?
4. My six year old daughter will be unwrapping Planet Earth:The Complete Series this holiday. If she’s going to have screen time this high-definition backstage pass to the animal kingdom is it.
5. OK, maybe not for Grandma, but everyone else on my list is getting a copy of Thug Kitchen: The Official Cookbook: Eat Like You Give a F*ck. A longtime fan of their blog, they have finally pulled together their budget conscious real food healthy recipes into one awesome volume keeping me laughing while nourishing and detoxifying my bod. F*ck yeah.
6. How about gifting a subscription to Birchbox and giving your favorite beauty a sampling of five high-end beauty brands monthly? Yes please!
7. The gift that keeps on giving, a weekly subscription to Blue Apron sends pre-portioned fresh ingredients and simple cooking instructions direct to their door. No more TV dinners or popcorn for dinner because they don’t have the time to assemble a meal. (Mom, this means you!)
8. Books might be my favorite thing to gift any time of year and this season I will be gifting Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand just in time for its movie debut, and Anjelica Huston’s new memoir, Watch Me: A Memoir, should keep them up all night with stories of her rise to fame and her long term relationship with Jack Nicholson. I can hardly wait.
9. My brother asked me recently why I wasn’t a movie producer considering how much I love the cinema. Before children I would sometimes go to the theater 4 times a week, and I prefer the experience to watching at home, especially with today’s stadium assigned seating and gourmet goodies. I’d love an AMC or Landmark gift card in my stocking on December 25.
10. And for any New York-bound friends this holiday, why not tickets to Broadway? Some lucky girl on my list will have an evening at Beautiful, the Carole King musical. Saw it, loved it, cried through it all and left feeling inspired. What better gift is there than an experience with friends that connects and inspires.
Hi friends! The holiday season is upon us, and if you’re still searching for the perfect gift: look no further! I’ve compiled some of the greatest hits from our current Stephanie Johnson season to offer ideas for inspired gifting.
Happy browsing, and as always, travel chic!
Ever since we debuted this BRAND NEW style earlier this fall, people can’t stop talking about our Julianna Jewelry Case! The front section features a ring roll, zip pocket, snap pouch and a tab to organize earrings, while the back section provides snaps upon which to hang and separate necklaces, keeping them tangle free. When shimmering sequin chevrons in platinum and pale gold pair with a soft grey velvet interior, holiday glamour ensues. (Photo credit: BaubleBar. Please note: jewelry not included).
Use it as a miniature wallet, a home for makeup basics, a jewelry pouch . . . the possibilities are endless with our Mini Pouch! Textured faux reptile in rich orchid provides a pretty pop of color, making it easy to find inside your handbag or tote!
Equipped with three roomy and removable zip pouches (two fabric, one plastic), a large clear zip wall pocket, and tall handles to carry or hang over a bathroom door, this cosmetic briefcase boasts tons of storage for your beauty arsenal. I adore the organic elegance of natural raffia, the sleek finish of black patent trim, and the opulence of a deep violet liner.
Delicate blossoms etched against nude faux leather whisper of a field of wild roses, gently swaying in a warm Mediterranean breeze. I love the gentle femininity of this pouch, neutral enough to use as an everyday basic, but pretty enough to dress up with a metallic gold wristlet and wear out.
Our Small Zip’s size and shape make it the ideal everyday makeup bag. Transparent, smoky dark grey allows you to view all of the contents, while adding just a touch of mystery about what’s contained inside.
Grace is one of our most popular makeup cases, with five brush pockets and plenty of space for your beauty essentials. In oh-so-chic textured faux reptile in supple volcanic grey, this case opens to reveal a vivacious hot pink liner, making all of the contents easy to locate.
If you’re anything like me, the Jenny is destined to become your go-to travel toiletry bag. I’m a big fan of the interior elastic bands that strap products down and secure them in place, as well as the clear zip pouch (containing a removable mirror) that I can toss into my handbag or tote. Our Concord Collection’s winter ikat print is effortlessly elegant, and opens to reveal a vibrant orchid liner.
A perennial best-seller, our ML Traveler is the Cadillac of cosmetic carry-alls. With two snap-out mesh pouches, a removable clear zip pouch, clear wall pocket, and removable mirror, it may be the most versatile piece in our organizational arsenal. Seen here in our Madison Avenue Collection, sleek obsidian sequin and velvet faux crocodile elevates basic black to a whole new level of luxury.
Katie features two clear zip pockets ideal for makeup and can’t-live-without essentials. With a sweet silhouette (and a secure snap closure), it’s no wonder Katie is frequently seen carried as a handbag. I’m drawn to this one in glitzy, tinsel-inspired metallic silver, ideal for a holiday party (New Year’s Eve, anyone?)
As seen in the December issue of Cosmopolitan Magazine! Our ultra-luxurious eye mask gives new meaning to the phrase ‘beauty sleep!’ Shade your eyes in style underneath a glamorous façade of metallic gold bengaline, twinkling gold stars, and soothing circles of soft grey. Lined in satin and enclosed in a clear Stephanie Johnson logo zip case.