Friday Loves The Summer Getaway

The HEAT is definitely on in New York City, just as it is throughout most of the Northern Hemisphere right now.  While most are planning their summer vacations and getaways, especially with the Fourth of July just over a week away…I’m heading out for a very long trip around Italy.  {That means this is my last post until mid-July.}

Here are some of the things I love about the summer getaway.

Photo: Marina Oliphant

1.  A Time To Read.  One of the things I love most about traveling is that I get to catch up on some reading without distraction.  Between the empty time spent at the airport, on the airplane and trains…catching up on a few good books is essential.  My aim…to read some fabulous reads where I can’t put the book down.

While traveling in Europe last fall, the books of choice were The Help and The Paris Wife.  The only thing I wished I had done…was bring more books with me!  By the time I hit Africa, I had read both books cover to cover.  That meant I had some very boring nights after curfew hit and I was stuck in my hotel room with no TV.

As an early birthday present to myself, I decided to break out and just buy the Nook Tablet from Barnes & Noble.  I got it in May because I wanted to make sure that I downloaded everything I could possibly need or want well in advance of heading overseas.  It also gave me enough time to troubleshoot anything that could possibly go wrong prior to leaving.  {Very glad I did, because there was a reset problem…fixed in no time!}

The good thing about the Nook Tablet is that I can watch TV on Hulu Plus, movies on Netflix, play Sudoku and Scrabble games, search the internet, and have an arsenal of books at the ready to read.  Luckily, there are plenty of Free Books out there that made the first month basically pain-free on the credit card.  Every Friday, they have a Free Nook Book that you can download.  You can get the free book from their blog! 

So far, I’ve read an Amish book on Free Friday that was about a female reporter who tried to educate the world on what happens to children in war torn parts of the world.  Some asshole decides to set a car on fire, load it up with a bomb, and send it sailing right towards her while she’s filming.  She ends up surviving the bombing…but needing a place to heal.  This New Yorker heads to her Amish grandmother’s home in Lancaster, PA, where she rekindles her Amish family roots and falls in love with the Amish man next door.  Did she give up her life as a war reporter to marry an Amish man?  Well, you’ll have to read about it in “A Time to Love.”

Even though I’ve loaded up on plenty of Free Friday Nook Books for the last month and a half, I decided to pick up a few others to read over the next couple of weeks.

Here’s what’s on my Italy reading list:

The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson.
In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson.
Birdman by Mo Hayder. {Today’s Free Friday Nook book}
The Enchantress (Nicholas Flamel series) by Michael Scott.
Billy the Kid and the Vampyres of Vegas (Nicholas Flamel series) by Michael Scott.
The Death of Joan of Arc (Nicholas Flamel series) by Michael Scott.
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern.

The books I link to above are based mainly upon Barnes & Nobles’ recommendations.  The first two are New York Times Bestsellers.  The first one is based on a historical look at the World’s Fair in Chicago and how a serial killer was able to abduct, torture and kill women without anyone knowing about it for years.  TRUE STORY.

The second story is about America’s first Ambassador to Hitler’s Germany.  I usually don’t like reading war books or watching war movies, but I got a sample of the book and read the first 50 or so pages…have to say, I am intrigued.  This is also a TRUE STORY.

Birdman is today’s Free Friday Nook Book.  The Enchantress is great for the kids (if they’re reading the Nicholas Flamel series…Enchantress is the latest book in the series).  The Night Circus is the book I’m looking forward to reading the most.  It was front and center on today and looks like an amazing story. 

Getting the Nook was probably the smartest thing for me since I go through a lot of books when I travel.  It’s lightweight and simple to pack and carry around.  It’s also the best birthday present I’ve ever given to myself…nurturing the traveler and the book lover in me.

If only Eyewitness Travel would put their guidebooks on Nook…would be so much better (that Italy guide weighs a friggin ton). 

2.  Summer Whites.  Would you believe I ran around during my lunch hour looking for 2 things?  A white lightweight flyaway cardigan and my favorite white tank.

Luckily, I found everything I needed in two stores…right as the torrential downpour began in NYC.  Luckily I made it back to the office in the nick of time.

Earlier this week, I had stopped into Ann Taylor to pick up this sweater.  I bought a similar one last summer in white and it was the perfect lightweight sweater to wear with everything.  Even in the Sahara Desert, it was perfect over tanks and dresses.  But I had to retire the sweater because the usual end of the summer sweat stains just made it unsalvageable. 

It is a rule…every summer YOU MUST buy new summer whites.

Unfortunately, that sweater from Ann Taylor is nowhere to be found in the NYC area.  So I settled for this sweater for $19.99 (in stores).  It wasn’t exactly what I was looking for but it would do for the moment. 

I decided to take my chances at Ann Taylor Loft today for a flyaway sweater in white…and luckily I found one on sale today for $29.70.  It wasn’t in my normal size, so I tried on a smaller size…lo and behold…I found out I lost weight!   {Eat pizza for two weeks straight…don’t ask me how this works.}

As mad as I was at the Gap earlier this year for sacrificing quality, I went in anyway hoping that my Favorite tank would be back to its old self again.  Luckily, it was.  I stocked up on a couple of white tanks, a navy blue tank, and a navy blue/white striped tank.  They were on sale for $10.  At the end of the summer they usually hit between $3-$6, but I needed them now.

Even though I missed out on getting the right cardigan at Ann Taylor the first time around, I did find this shirt for $29.99 (in stores).

This find made the whole trip worthwhile.  It’s a beautiful color…and one of the colors of choice I’m wearing in Italy.

So make sure to stock up on your summer whites.  After all, they are the most beautiful whites of the year…crisp and clean.

3. The Carry-All Tote.  So I may be just a little bit in love with my new Rebecca Minkoff tote that I picked up during her sale (after the Devils had that horrible loss). 

I found that the answer to styling my summer wardrobe with this tote is to wear bright colors.  Teal green, orange, purple…(my main colors for Italy) all match this bag.  I don’t have to wear just a solid.  I can wear prints and the bag looks even more fabulous with what I’m wearing.

When traveling I highly recommend a nice big tote to carry around while traveling or hitting the beach.  I always keep my camera and wallet towards the front corner of the bag so it’s closer to me and easier to pull out.  I basically leave the guidebooks, etc. in the back…just in case some pickpocket comes along and tries to take something from it.  The most important items are closer to me and my body. 

Totes are also great to throw purchases into without having 50 different shopping bags to carry.  For me, after seeing how plastic bags do not break down and can litter the Saharan Desert…I don’t like using plastic bags.  I told my driver in Morocco that I wish I could just take a photo of this calamity…but how do you take a photo of miles upon miles of plastic bags littering the Desert?  It’s impossible.  All I can tell people is to stop using them. 

If you plan on doing some extra shopping, make sure to throw in some extra shopping totes that you can get just about everywhere these days.  They definitely make it easier to carry extra purchases, and the bags are easy to collapse and carry inside your tote.

Also, the best way to move around in tote bags (the organizers way)is to put everything in pouches.  I keep my makeup/emergency tampons in my YSL cosmetic case.  I keep cords for laptops, blackberries, etc. in a pouch of their own that makes it easier to find, so your not endlessly searching all over the bag for your headphones.  Pouches are a godsend for those who carry big bags.  They’re also easier to transfer items from one bag to another.

My favorite place to get pouches?  Well, I love SakRoots.  But I get my collection of SakRoots and R & Em pouches through trading at Little Black Bag

4.  Stay cool.  Want to know my secret to staying cool in the summer while temps are scorchingly hot?  I wear fabrics that are lightweight.  Now, I hate seeing women wearing tight camisole tops with their bra straps showing (as well as all of their rolls).  Keep that stuff for home, ladies.  There’s no reason to bring it out in public. 

Trust me, that look even makes me feel like I’m going to die of heat exhaustion.  People always look so disturbingly sweaty and roasted…it doesn’t look ‘cool’ in any shape or form. 

The trick to surviving the summer all lays within the fabric used to make your clothes.  Think breezy fabrics like silk and linen.

Take for instance this top from Tracy Reese (Plenty collection).  It’s a linen/silk blend.  It may be expensive, but you can find Tracy Reese on for $45+. 

My stylist introduced me to Tracy Reese last year.  I thank her every single time I wear that top because it’s a godsend in the summer.  It’s light, breezy, and sweat free.  Even if you’re sweating on the inside…it doesn’t show on the outside. 

The bonus about this style and fabric is that every time a breeze hits, the fabric sort of picks up that cool air and circulates it around you…keeping you cooler than if you had a sticky, sweaty camisole glued to your body. 

These are the types of fabrics you shoot for in the summer months.  Today, I have on a silk chiffon dress from Warehouse that is perfect on this 98 degree day.  To feel the breeze picking up and circulating inside of your dress…it’s what keeps you cool on a scorchingly hot summer day…unlike those cotton/polyester blend tops and dresses. 

Ladies, keep it cool not by shedding your clothes.  Keep cool by wearing the right fabrics.  Your body will thank you. 

5. Don’t Forget the SunBlock!  I don’t kid about this.  A sunburn can lead to skin cancer.  I got burned horribly in 2000…in 2005 I almost died from skin cancer.  Now, I have to live with that mistake I made in 2000, because I will always have skin cancer.  It is a matter of the cancer being dormant or active. 

Protecting yourself from the sun is a serious matter.

I got stuck out in the sun yesterday morning and now my head, neck and face itches like crazy.  I realized that I must have sweated off the sunblock…and I should have worn a sun hat. 

Make sure to always have some sunblock in tow.  The rays are getting worse as we lose more and more of that protective ozone layer every year.  Even though it’s hot out, you should pick up a lightweight sweater to wear over your sleeveless tops and dresses, too.  It’s one more layer protecting you from skin cancer.

Have a great 4th of July.  This is where I’ll be…drinking a limoncello. 🙂

About Michelle Kenneth

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