Certified Positive Discipline Trainer
"There's no place like home"......REALLY!
Friends, family, landscape, design, food, wine.....Adelaide really has it all for us now. No wonder it was named the 5th best city to live in- in the world. It's really found it's own and come up trumps! Every time I go back my heart yearns for more. Australia really is the lucky country for those who dare to see it. A country with everything- In saying that, SPACE is a huge desirable factor in this realization!.
"Mum I want to live here so badly-I thought the New York was awesome but this place is amazing"...Well dreams can come true! (When you're a dual citizen).
My new favorite and life changing travel realization was to find MY OWN CITY in our city- NOT the city my family live in. Great move! When you discover things for yourself outside of the local realm it really changes your perception of where you came from (even though i left in 1980!) and if you'd like to go back. It's completely new..a new memory a new experience. A new city.
As a family traveling I have HUGE expectations for cities - especially kid friendly easy living cities (with a lot on offer!)....some I cannot bear the thought of returning to. I need a lot from a city to fall truly madly deeply in love with it. And the things that sell me on this are often very random things, (20c in winter would be one!) yet things that make me yearn for them in a way that I've lived in them before. It's hard to beat New York in so many ways- In saying that I feel alive with that pull toward a place that can actually hypnotize you and sedcue you in a way that you will always (family or not) return.
Adelaide... your new name of RADELAIDE is just! We salute you!
Until next time.....(and I really am going to learn lawn bowls!!)
We remain dedicated to returning (for all the right reasons). xx
http://www.rubyredflamingo.com (fave Italian- always fantastic)
https://etica.pizza (a blink and you'll miss it place - it's literally someone's house with a big wall with only a number)
http://www.spaghetticrab.com (single plate restaurant- the name says it all! FUN!)
https://kutchi.com.au AMAZING!! a tiny one woman hole in the wall show! Afghani food- and Ebenezer place is a secret shopping destination!)
https://www.africola.com.au Modern African at it's finest!
http://lucias.com.au Go to the Central Market which is fantastic and line up for some local Italian fare here!
https://www.facebook.com/coffeeinstituteespresso/ best coffee and poached eggs to rival anywhere in the world! The food is art..every dish different every time.
http://stones-throw.com.au amazing Gin cocktails..in all shapes, fruits and sizes!
http://laramblatapas.com.au fantastic find
https://www.maybemae.com My favorite..although I was the OLDEST person there!
http://2kwbar.com.au great for a view
https://www.artserieshotels.com.au/watson/ (our go to, as the rooms have separate kid sleeping alcoves for kids!)
Kids escapes in the rain
https://latitudeair.com (need to expel some serious energy in the rain..this is the place!! 3-6 daily happy hour for kids is $18 AUD..yes parents there's a cafe overlooking it all..)
Things to do/Over night trips/Victor Harbor (you must!)
Victor Harbor where to stay
Victor Harbor/where to eat
https://www.qahwacoffee.com.au (play beach volley ball on one side of this kiosk and tennis on the other..20c in winter- it doesn't get better than this!)
AUSSIE MUST HAVES- (our secret weapons!) and TENNIS of course!
Honey crackels and meat pies!! YEP!
A whole other adventure for next time-
Direct flights to Adelaide are an adventure!! (lots of power napping involved!) and YES it's a VERY long long way! Our favorite airlines in 2 stops instead of 3 are-
Pack light! ALWAYS xx
My first stop in Sydney is always…
Zinc Café in Potts Point. I need a good proper strong cup of tea and a tuna sandwich always..nothing is better than the tuna sandwich here, even when the menu changes...the tuna samba always remains the same! (77 Macleay St, Potts Point...they’re too awesome to have a website!)
The Establishment for a luxe boutique hotel in the center of it all. Frasier Suites for some thing more long-term with the family.(And they have great pool! A must for traveling with kids)
Perfect day in the city...
Is at Andrew Boy Charlton Pool. It’s on the Harbor, you can watch the war ships go by and there is a kids and an adults pool. There is also a fantastic restaurant that you can go upstairs to have a healthy snack. It’s quite gorgeous! You get hot, you take a dip. It's a fantastic alternative to avoid the crazy busy beaches and a severe sunburn-and yes you even burn in Winter down under!! We are also super crazy for Nielsen Park, another spectacular Harbor beach with a restaurant!
Perfect day trip from Sydney....
Take the ferry to Cockatoo Island where you can camp out or just enjoy the sunset with a picnic. And you can never go wrong at Nielsen Park and the divine little restaurant..Watsons Bay on a ferry for some seafood is also a must!
Best shopping neighborhood and your favorite stores to hit....
I love Paddington, it’s home for me and has divine neighborhood shops. My favorite is Love Duck. Ainslie, the divine owner, is a cosmetic and lifestyle GURU and will give you the most amazing personal service ever. It's great for gifts, dresses and of course picking up some SMOKKS! The Westfield’s as well are one stop shops and you can find anything. I also love Country Road which is like the Aussie version of J Crew. They have fabulous kids' clothes too!
The best Aussie souvenir...
For a tourist, it would be the UGG! We even bought them there, as they are actually half the price in Australia! But as a child of the motherland, I would have to say wine. You should also buy Murray River Sea Salt. It’s kind of a really big MUST. Bondi Wash products should come home with you as well....Aesop..a no brainer and anything Cadbury..Flakes being the best!
Where to eat with kids...
Fratelli Fresh: We eat here in Potts Point, about fives every trip. It's just great! Also, the Fish Shop at Merivale. This place is really something you have to do in Australia, because you have to eat as much seafood as you can! (Potts Point is a divine boutique shopping area..and Spring Court is the best place ever to buy the chicest of sneakers)
Where to eat for a date night...
The Apollo: Amazing modern Greek food in with a cool atmosphere. You have to get the lamb, it is out of this world!
Billy Kwong: This fusion modern Chinese restaurant has mouth watering dishes that change daily with what's fresh at the market.
Icebergs: Eat delicious oysters while you watch the sun go down over Bondi as the waves crash into the salt water pool. It's truly breathtaking! I mean, I can’t even...
Sydney is such an incredible City- I miss it daily and feel so privileged in many ways to have lived in the 2 greatest cities in the world. Sydney and New York. It's a dream come true and for Pompie to be a dual citizen and have the same opportunity to live in both cites makes us all warm and fuzzy inside!
And one more thing- it's true..Aussie's invented Avocado toast (or smash as they like to call it) !! FACT!! hahaha!
hair bows- http://evashouse.com
Simply- the hardest working mother on the singles scene - well not really but really! Not single (now), however- a divine mother of the two most gorgeous girls ever, stylist, fashion editor, art director and your dating by design connoisseur that will not only have you dressed for success, but will have you in stitches with her dating stories..and I mean bend over side splitting laughter! New York times best selling author in the making!! (we vote for her whole heartedly) because she’s “scene” it all.
Her stories are as amazing as her styling and we are loving each and every summer tip she has to offer-
Oh and she smokks..(always a plus!) We love her and so will you ( I know that line gets so boring yet always so true.. and you will, you will!)..Alyssa Dineen we salute you- you are our summer 2018 style dating mothering guru! xx
Aside from spending some time on Shelter Island with my daughters, I will be keeping very busy with my new styling business, Style My Profile. We have a lot of ideas and things in store!
-tell us more about that new part of your styling business...you can't dangle that carrot! please-!!
When I got separated and started online dating, I noticed people seemed challenged to communicate who they were on their on line dating profiles. That, combined with suddenly being the person all of my newly single friends would come to for dating advice, was how I decided to start Style My Profile. I love helping people get themselves out there again and presenting the best version of themselves. (We love this so much Alyssa-no one better for this advice!)
-the juggle is real…how on earth do you fit everything into your day?
I don’t! I do make lots of lists on my phone and set reminders for myself for everything. I plan each weekday out by the hour. As a single mother, business owner and very social person, I have to!
-who and what inspires you?
The women in my life: my mother, my girlfriends, my sisters, my daughters. My mother taught by example how important female friendships are and because of that I was able to get through a very difficult divorce with my incredible friends (and mom!). My friends are all doing such amazing things in our 40s and 50s: starting businesses, leaving difficult marriages, being single moms, finding love and happiness. They are all very inspiring!
-what advice would you give your younger self (and actually listen to?)
Ha! When I showed this question to a friend we got a laugh because mine is glaringly obvious. To put it simply, I would tell my younger self to value herself and then others will also.
-3 things every woman should own
So hard to narrow down to just 3…. But definitely well-fitting jeans, the perfect tee shirt (James Perse) and a great ankle boot.
-how do you handle your girls wanting to dress themselves?
My daughters have never really let me pick out their clothes, even as toddlers. They both value comfort over anything. I got over the fact that I wouldn’t be able to dress them how I want a long time ago! But when an event calls for something dressy they will rise to the occasion :)
I love the easiness of a smokk dress. It’s great to pack for trips and fits equally well in the city, country or the beach. Throw it on with some sandals and a woven bag and it’s easy and chic.
-5 things you can’t travel without?
My boyfriend is in the hotel biz with many locations in central america so I’ve been lucky enough to travel to beachy warm places. Here’s what I always have in my suitcase:
1. A Malia Mills swimsuit **
2. MD Solar Sciences Mineral sunscreen from Onda Beauty **
3. A self help book (embarrassing but true!)
4. My Janessa Leone sunhat **
5. A Smokks dress of course!
-what's your daily routine
Always start with a latte that I make at home. Check emails and lists for the day. It used to always include some form of exercise but currently dealing with an injury— the one benefit of that is that I have more time in my day for other things. Then I’m either shooting in the city or meeting a private client to shop. Sometimes both!
-words you live by
Treat others how you want to be treated.
-how does your down time look
Lately it’s included looking online at home and decorating sites. We are renovating and redecorating and don’t have enough time to actually spend on this! With my daughters, we love getting cozy at home and watching movies together.
-favorite destination and why
That’s a tough one! I spent the turn of the century in Zanzibar which was pretty spectacular. I also love Costa Rica and traveled there for a month on my own right after college. It was such an empowering thing to travel to a 3rd world country by myself so I have a soft spot for that Costa Rica! I visited again last year with my boyfriend, over 20 years later, and it’s definitely changed but I was pleasantly surprised that it still has it’s culture and is not overly developed (yet).
-NYC fave restaurants
Lure is an oldie but goodie. My boyfriend's apartment is a few blocks so we go pretty often for oysters and wine. My friends and I like to go to Yves in Tribeca. Great French fries and cocktails! In Brooklyn my longstanding favorite is Frankie"s 457 for the cavatelli. The bonus of not having your kids all the time is going out to dinner more!
Desperately seeking Susan- Who wouldn't be!!...She's a brand communication strategist, a maker of -as she puts it "mostly good things, including art, poems, jewelry" and as I've witnessed "small people"!! This, she is brilliant at! And an even better blending family expert! A working mother who in her romantic time has managed to move from down town to uptown, merge 2 families, (now 3 kids) work, create, cook, love and arrange 3 smaller humans around school and social activity schedules-and get married this month! Let me tell you..we can all learn from this absolutely delightful, talented, warm, loving, romantic and carefree, taking on the world one day at a time woman!! Oh..and she throws a mean dinner disco party!! (And she does a really good back bend!)
I adore her and so will you! She would be Susan Hamilton Meier.
-tell me about your transition from a downtown girl living in an uptown world....Downtown to uptown hasn’t been as different as I’d expected. Everything is still just a short ride away. I still go downtown everyday for work, kids school, restaurants, shops, etc. so it really just feels more like uptown is a pleasant refuge where I get to live in a place that’s a little roomier.
-your favorite 3 words you would use to describe yourself..
I’d like to describe myself as creative, clever, and insightful. I hope others see me that way too!
-raising children in NY is... challenging for me but amazing for them...
-best thing about being a freelancer is.... the “free” part!
-why SMOKKS....SMOKKS dresses are the perfect go-to - comfortable as pajamas but stylish enough to wear to he nicest restaurant or most important meeting. Also good at the beach of course..
-packing for travel is...always a PROJECT
-your approach to well being...
Well being starts with your attitude. If you are positive on the inside it will manifest itself in all the things you do. And that will express itself in your physical body.
-best advice on blending a family..... My best advice on blending a family it to set your expectations low in the beginning and take it slow. Just showing up, being present and open-hearted is a major accomplishment.
-the thing i love most about my kids is ... is how they are, in fact, my teachers. How are they so wise? It’s humbling and beautiful.
-Oprah 2020...not likely to happen, but it sure would be amazing to have a person we trust and relate to in the running.
You can find the is gorgeous woman at-
When I think of everything an inspiring woman is- this incredible human being embodies it all! Style, beauty, grace, talent, humor, kindness, intelligence, manners, compassion and a trait I love most in people- she's as funny as all hell! And that's just a starting point to be extended upon...I could go on and on....
An anthropologist turned stylist, fashion editor and buyer, she's got style and sense on her side!! And the world is a happier place for it. Where would I be without the guidance from the most stylish woman i know! Somewhere between Sydney and New York in all the wrong places! She's my go to gal as much as she is chosen family.
Her amazing "considered and colorful" images have been in every major fashion magazine you can think of along with kids campaigns for Club 21 Global, Stella McCartney, Tutu de monde, Rookie Academy, and Kenzo just to mention a few. Ultimately one of the "best" kids stylist's in the world - she's on the HOT list- and she's not dropping off!!
I'm so happy and emotional (a little) to show off one of my nearest and dearest- the wonderful Ms Sheridan Davey!
You can find her divine work here- www.sheridandavey.com
-what's your favorite style advice
Wear age appropriate , well fitted clothing, that plays up the 'good bits' & makes you feel good . Choose only the key looks for the season that work for you . If in doubt go without .
-what are “wardrobe musts”
Jeans, Cashmere , a diverse selection of Bangles , Leather pants & White shirts ( so obvious ) . My wardrobe ‘Must-Nots’ are bedroom slippers , dressing gowns (with the exception of vintage kimonos) & anything made from flannelette - that would be going down the slippery slope.
Refer to the above - they make me feel good . I wear them as an oversized top (I don't do dresses) with a half tuck in the front, I sometimes tie a knot at the side . Everybody comments on my Pennie smokk - Scouts Honor!
-what’s something every woman should own
A rechargeable depilling machine (for depilling cashmere & wool)..it's really quite a therapeutic exercise . A pair of Possum wool socks (from New Zealand). A seamless bra in flesh & black . A smokk styled the way it suits you . A fluro orange phone cover for quick retrieval in handbag.
-1 Unique thing about Sydney style
Sydney style is ‘considered’ but relaxed .
-what’s the best style advice you were ever given
It’s not so much style advice I was given but as a stylist I innately ‘wrangle' clothes so I think taking a current look or trend & making it work for me is a skill I enjoy practising .
-5 things that you NEVER travel without
Bose Headphones , Cashmere shawl , a few health bars , a soft cup bra- (thank you Stella McCartney), compression socks (not glamorous , but totally reduce swelling) - must be black or charcoal not 'hospital white’.
-the trick to packing light
Pack Black, Grey, White & Navy that can all work with each other . FACT : Be prepared to ‘wrangle’ those combo’s .
-favorite beauty routine
Facials, Facials & more Facials. I use a night cream that has an exfoliating effect . Never make time for massages but should . Sweating at Bikram Yoga.
-plane, train, automobile
Plane , although I did train it from Milan to Florence recently & slept the whole way , both ways - quite relaxing really !
-milan or paris
Milan for food, Paris for Department Stores . I’m not embarrassed to say I do love a dept store in a foreign country . Hello Le Bon Marche! Neither for coffee! Sydney has the best coffee! .
-sun or snow
Sun but snow in Paris .
-is orange really the new black
Not if you have grey hair ! When my hair changed colour so did my wardrobe ….out went the warm colours & in came the cool colours.
-the best tip your mother ever gave you
Never leave home with daggy underwear on . Tighten bra straps regularly as they stretch . Looking well groomed is more important than looking ‘fashionable’.
A passionate traveler with a deep love for the arts, who started her amazing career with the United Nations has seen a whole lot more than just sweet music.
As a diplomat for human rights, notably in International development she's seen in all! In a change of pace she took her skills and her self proclaimed tiger mother title (which i laugh about - i love it so much!) and made a traveling magical musical home for 2 glorious children.
She moves and shakes, loves and leads-
Meet one of my favorites and soon to be yours- the incredibly Vivacious Vivien Chan !
(LOVE this GAL like CRAZY and our best customer!! She owns everything-)
-describe your perfect day-
My perfect day begins with a great nights sleep. After that it depends where I am. In New York? Perfection is all about happy, smooth transitions and completion of activities for everyone in the family in a tight and hectic daily schedule. It's a rare occurrence sadly. When traveling? A perfect day is pretty simple- to be able to experience and appreciate the vastness, wonder and beauty of the natural environment.
-whats your zen-
Where do I find peace, relaxation and can just let go? For me its all about location. The more remote and, away from civilization the greater the zen. Of course, remote with good food and wine is definitely a plus! Be it hiking mountains, glaciers, remote deserts and beaches, they all let me experience and truly live in the moment. I think these places remind me of how small I am, and how minor and temporary most of my problems are.
-favorite place you have traveled to- Yikes. There isn't just one! I'll describe three of my favorite experiences in three places. Hiking the W trail in Torres del Paine Patagonia, Chile. The hikes were challenging, but the views were worth it. Explora Hotel made the stay that much more memorable. The White Desert, el-Sahara el-Beida in Egypt. Spending the night in a bedouin tent with no one but your guide for endless miles. The chalk sculptures made from erosion were unearthly, especially during sunset and sunrise. It was definitely one of the darkest skies i have experienced, and the stars were incredible. Most recently, my favorite experiences is swimming with Manta Rays on the Big Island of Hawaii. There is nothing quite like swimming ocean, in the dark, with fish feeding under you with mouths larger than child.
-the motherhood juggle-
Always a huge struggle. Before kids, I had a job that required a lot of travel. Long hours. It's the nature of diplomacy and international development. About as anti-motherhood as it gets. After about a year of debating after my child was born, I decided to keep my career on hold, thinking as the kids got older, they'll need less of me. Well, I've learned so far I've. It seems that I need to be even more present, and staying relevant as they navigate this world of technology dependance and social media.
-why smokks- Versatility, beautiful cut and patterns and easy care. I live in my Smokks, whether I'm running around the City or traveling to far flung places. Smokks can be dressed up with shoes and accessories or, dressed down, they works in every season, and so low maintenance (throw it in the wash and dryer, and its perfect every time!!). What's not to love?
-5 things your suit case never leaves home without- 1) My face regiment. 2) A collapsible shoulder bag. 3) Three Smokks - two dresses and a cover up. 4) Books for kids to read on the plane. 5) dress up/down heels.
-best childhood memory- Going to the Diary Queen on Friday nights with my grandparents.
-what’s your most meaningful accomplishment- Working on child rights in Islamic countries.
-what stage of parenting has really been a hot topic for you - Tweens and technology, especially social media.
5 words you would use to describe yourself- adventurous, low tolerant, energetic, intense.
your next destination and why- Keystone, Colorado. Kids are going to learn how to ski and snowboard.
Vivien wears our PENNIE smokk in various patterns- https://smokks.com/collections/pennie-dress
And our Izzie- https://smokks.com/collections/izzie-dress
I can't even find the words that describe this totally awesome woman! So I'm going to do my best..She's amazing! Self made, smart as a whip, a mother, a friend, a working woman (partner in a law firm), a totally engaged and engaging human being, a charity promoter and doer and basically a daily inspiration! I mean what can i say? Lauren Aguiar has it all going on and she SMOKKS!! I'm in LOVE!
Describe your day?
My morning starts with puttering around the back garden of our house in Harlem (in the nice weather), making breakfast for my son, packing his lunch, and then getting him to school. I rush off to work...my days at the office are never predictable, but that's partly what makes it interesting. Then I'm usually lucky enough to get home to see my son before he goes to sleep. Spending even a few moments with him at the end of the day brings me loads of joy. In those precious few hours after his bedtime, I read, cook, talk with friends, or catch up on great shows like House of Cards or Shameless.
Best thing about your job?
I'm a lawyer, and my practice focuses on commercial and IP litigation. I love my job for lots of reasons, but mostly because of the amazing people I meet through the work I do. There is never a dull moment, seriously.
One and done? Parenting advice for an only child?
Absolutely, one and done. I'm always reticent to give anyone parenting advice because I'm just muddling through; I try my best to raise a grounded, kind and happy kid. We've always had a menagerie of pets in the house that my son helps care for. And I try to encourage a slew of friends to come around, so he's not lonely.
Favorite summer memory as a kid?
This one is easy. By far my favorite summer memory as a kid is time spent with my family on Cape Cod. My sister and I would run from our house, through the sand dunes, to the beach. My family had our favorite seafood joints (where we would feast on lots of yummy fried fish) and of course ice cream shops. A perfect day always ended with a big cone of insanely rich and delicious ice cream !
Because they are comfortable, easy and fabulous looking. Whenever and wherever I wear one of my Smokks, people approach me and ask where I got it. And naturally, I love Smokks because my good friend Hallie is the creative force behind this genius item of clothing !
What does comfort mean to you?
Comfort to me is.....spending time with people who are authentic and loving....living in a happy, cozy space.....and taking a good Sunday morning yoga class.
Your playlist right now?
I'm going through a mellow class rock phase! I'm listening to Fleetwood Mac, the Eagles, Elton John, Jackson Browne, and Van Morrison.
Favorite cities based on weather -
I spend a fair amount of time in Southern California -- and who can complain about the weather there? Malibu is heaven on earth. But I'm a New England girl at heart, and I adore the changing of seasons. So not only is NYC my home, but I usually love the weather here.
What can’t you travel without?
There are always certain things in my bag, no matter where I am flying, for business or pleasure: noise cancelling head phones, a black DKNY cashmere wrap, good lip balm, a Smokk and my iPad.
She has everything!! Beauty, brains, talent, and a super successful BLOG!!
She is an amazing mother to the most gorgeous girl and is inundated with design, writing, photography and art directon skills which makes her divine blog really worth reading and looking pretty damn good!
We love her and everything she stands for- and we know you will as well...Meet everyone's favorite Mocha Mommy!
Describe your day as a sort after blogger-
I start my day at 2am. It sounds crazy, I know, but I get my best work done at night. At 2, I hop in the shower, make coffee and straighten up my kitchen. I work on my freelance projects (there's always a deadline) and lining up content for my website.
At 6:00, I tidy up my bedroom and living room and start breakfast and school lunch.
At 6:30 I wake Cameron, my 5 year old daughter from a deep sleep. A quick wash up, breakfast, quick braids and we're out by 7:45.
I race back home to change (into more comfortable pajamas) and start the 2nd half of my day. There's more freelance, meetings and events to keep me busy from 9 to 6, when it's time for school pick up. I generally end my workday at 3:30 and catch a quick nap until it's time to grab Cam.
Dinner is at 6:30...we play, work, watch movies and wind down until bedtime at 8. My bedtime is incredibly early... (8pm on a good day) and I'm back up again at 2 to start the day fresh!
How did you end up here-
I was laid off from my job at Martha Stewart Living when the company was sold. I ended up having to navigate the life of a work at home mom. My background is in art direction, graphic design and photography, so the blog mixes all those interests plus my daily life parenting a growing toddler in NYC.
Best perks of the job-
Partnering with amazing small companies and learning about new brands.
Because versatility is key to my wardrobe. I need pieces that can be worn multiple ways, to lots of different occasions. My closets are small, so my clothes have to put in a lot of work!
What does comfort mean for you-
Everything. "The lifestyle of a Millennial Mom and Comfort Enthusiast" is our tagline. My life has changed so much since I spent all day in an office. I need comfortable clothes to get me through busy days and I have no patience for shoes that pinch or restrictive clothing or accessories.
Movies or Series-
Scandal (Olivia is my hero), Game of Thrones, The Carmichael Show
Best mom and daughter moment-
How does your down time look-
A perfect weekend is….
Full of rooftop playdates with my fun, single mom friends, our kids, guacamole, mango salsa and prosecco with no laptops in sight.
If I could repeat one thing my mother taught me it would be…..
Find joy and happiness no matter what the situation
Ice cream or sorbet-
Favorite indulgent meal-
A simple ribeye steak with cheesecake for dessert
5 fave beauty products-
Bliss Lemon Sage Body Cream
L'Oreal Double Extend Mascara
MAC Chestnut lip liner
Ahava Mud Exfoliator
The most challenging part of motherhood is….
Trying to match the energy of my daughter. She always seems to have more and I feel like I'm always trying to catch up!
Nia wears https://smokks.com/collections/pennie-dress/products/pennie-smokk-in-liberty-london-worlds-collide-print-cotton-tana-lawn
Camryn wears https://smokks.com/collections/sadie-dress/products/sadie-dress-in-liberty-print-jody
This gorgeous Southern Belle took on New York and literally the world! She put the word "luxury" in front of "family travel" and has created a cult!! And she just had her third baby - gorgeous Nola will no doubt be traveling on her back from now on!
She is the co-founder of the amazing https://www.passported.com and she really will change the way you think about travel - amazing ideas - city guides, itinerary planners, hotel bookings and all the reasons WHY you should travel with kids! And those reasons are all amazing!
She has been instrumental in helping us see the world- and now it's your turn!
Meet Henley Vazquez our favorite- and worlds most gorgeous Vagabond. xx
Where you do live and why?
New York City, because it's the best city in the world, obviously! We've lived in Tokyo, Madrid and Boston, and as much fun as it is to try out other places, I love raising kids in NYC. We're lucky to have all the benefits of a big city but to live in a neighborhood that feels like a small town, and to be surrounded by a wonderful community of families.
Your daily routine?
Wake up, kids to school (or summer camp, right now), then off to the office. Especially during the summer when we have lots of Passported clients planning trips to Europe, I'm in a full sprint to work so I can get calls done before the European hotels close for the day. I usually have time to sneak in a trip to the gym before coming home, then it's feed the kids, clean 'em up, snuggle them until they won't let me any more, and then chase them to bed so my husband and I can have a grown-ups dinner before we both spend another hour or so working.
Update: I started writing this before baby #3 arrived. Daily routine right now is feed baby, work until she needs to eat again, feed baby, maybe pass out drooling on my pillow for 15 minutes, change diaper, repeat. I'll get back to that other stuff running around the city and having proper dinners soon enough.
How did you become everyone’s favorite family travel guru- seriously now!!
Aww, thanks! There are so many people out there planning amazing family trips, both professionally and just for their own families, so I'd never qualify myself as the favorite or the best. But my job really is my passion, and I'm very lucky to spend my working hours dedicated to something I love. I believe that traveling with kids and traveling well should be compatible, and I love scouting the hotels, destinations and guides that will help other families make the most out of their vacation time.
Best perk of the job?
The travel, for sure. Even after doing this for more than a decade, I still get excited every time I land in a new place. Exploring new cities and countries never gets old, especially not when you can see it through the eyes of kids.
Best travel advice for families?
Be selfish. Many parents forget to take their own preferences into account when planning their family trips, and they end up with travel plans that revolve entirely around their children. While I'm a huge believer that happy kids equals happy parents, you're the one paying for the trip, and it should balance activities that will keep your kids happy with opportunities for you as an adult to relax and enjoy. Book a babysitter for a date night, stay at the hip hotel you want, not some oversized all-inclusive resort, eat at the good restaurants, not just the chicken-fingers-and-french-fries establishments. Children are much more flexible than many people think.
I live in these dresses. At this point, I have five of them in different styles, and they are the first thing to go in my suitcase. They work for the office, the beach, the airplane. Also, I wore them through my entire pregnancy and they are exact the sort of roomy attire I need postpartum while I still look nine months pregnant. Smokks maternity!
Impossible to choose! Latin America is top of my list right now, and I want to explore more of the countries I've already visited plus fit in trips to Panama and Nicaragua this coming winter. While I love a good beach (St. Barth's always top of my list), these days I'm more into the places that have activities and culture beyond the sand.
What’s next on your travel list?
My summer travel isn't very exciting since I've just had a baby, but I've already got flights to Isla Holbox and France booked for the fall, and probably a return trip to Cuba. I fit in a trip to Morocco this spring, which had been on my wish list forever.
Plane-train or automobile?
I'm a nervous flyer but always plane because it's the only way to get to the places I want to visit! When I'm not flying with the kids, I throw back a couple glasses of wine and then binge-watch a tv series to handle the nerves.
Sun or snow?
Usually sun. I'm a huge complainer when the weather drops below 75 degrees. But over the past few years, I've given the family ski trip a go, and it's been great. Feels so good to actually embrace the winter rather than running from it, and I love how happy and exhausted everyone is at the end of a good day on the slopes.
From 2 to 3 any advice?
Ask me in a few months! I'm still getting the hang of this. When my two were young, I swore I'd never have another, but as they got older and more independent, I started to panic about how quickly they were growing up. So now we have a baby again, plus a 7- and 10-year old. It's all a little crazy I guess, but at least I have two very good helpers when we travel with the little one!
If you could recommend 1 kids camp or travel experience what would it be?
The one travel experience I think is a must for families is finding a way for your children to interact with local kids in the destination you are visiting. If we want to raise kids as global citizens, the best way to start them is by showing them that children everywhere, from Morocco to Mexico to Thailand, are not so different than they are. They don't need to speak the same language to find similarities, to play a pick-up game of soccer, to run around a park together. And if your family speaks another language at home, or your children are studying another language (my husband is from Spain and our kids speak Spanish to him), take them to countries where they can use that language to get to know kids. Seeing my son chatter away with Cuban school kids about their favorite soccer players when we visited Havana last year was a major highlight. We remind them on every trip that although someone's school or home or skin or religion may be different than yours, at the core we are all the same and have more in common than we do differences.
5 things your suitcase cannot leave home without?
Smokks, obviously! After that, always a good sleep/eye mask in case blackout shades aren't great in the hotel (helps a lot for jet lag); children's Motrin and Benadryl because when someone gets a fever, it's guaranteed to be at 3 am when you can't go to a local pharmacy; every iPad, iPhone, iproduct I own for kid entertainment along the way; AYR jeans because they don't stretch out and will look as good at the end of a week of travel as they did at the beginning.
Flying with kids? best advice ever please.
Keeping kids busy on airplanes is easy these days with ipads and in-seat movies. The bigger problem I find is with the food choices. I always load up on snacks that will keep tummies full if the airline food doesn't appeal, and then I pack an extra set of clothes for everyone in our carry-on in case tummies aren't happy and someone throws up. No one wants to wear barf on their shirt for an overnight flight. My other must is to force everyone to do a bathroom stop right before final descent. I've had too many emergency pee situations where the kids swore they didn't need to go, right up until it was a bladder code red and we couldn't leave our seats because the plane was landing. I guess flying with kids is all about managing bodily functions...a little gross but true!
To friends and family we are simply known as the wives! (Even George calls her wife, and I wonder if he really knows her actual name). Meet Carolyn Hrovat, the woman I proudly call BFF and Muse! From an early age I think I've dragged her in to all my creative schemes- from Art school to now!! And sometimes I think she just says YES so I stop bugging her! (of course she does!)
Actually I don’t even know where to start. This life- our life, is a journey we have really shared together since we met in our teens. Funny, sad, emotional, unbearable, unbelievable, down trodden, riding high, low, birth, death and marriage, and a connection that will see us through to the term of our natural lives.
Apparently I have a lot to say - this according to my other half (George kindly entertains all of this)- and well my wife - I can't top her- she has even more! And the wonderful thing is we've never needed to compete - we speak for each other and the loyalty is unheard of - I mean it's through thick and thin, in sickness and in health. Unbreakable.
We live a parallel life in the strangest ways - our parents were and are our idols - both sets. Siblings are well, siblings- and then there's the go to Big M (brother) - living life large in Surfers Paradise, where this charade once began, and somehow he still manages to get dragged into the carry on which has become “The wives”.
I LOVE this woman!! She is everything to me and looks bloody gorgeous in a SMOKK!-
Meet the insanely gorgeous inside and out Carolyn-
How does smokks favorite model feel about them-
Aside from them being the stylish brain child of my best friend!-they are pretty, practical & easy to wear, (and have all important pockets!)
Where do you live and why?
In the South of France near to Monaco, because it's the most beautiful & chicest place in the world-it's fun and exciting, and I love the sun!
Prior to buying a property here and permanently relocating, I would come down several times per year over a 10 year period, the visits initially inspired in the name of following the Formula One race and attending the Cannes Film Festival each May.
Where did you do your acting degree?
I did a year at the 'Actors Centre' in Sydney, Australia, but then I was accepted into the 'Stella Adler Conservatory of Acting' in New York City - 3 of the best years of my life, what a ball! I can not describe it! With alumni like Marlon Brando, Harvey Keitel & Robert De Niro you can imagine my excitement at studying there. Upon graduating I joined a theatre repertory and worked with them Off-Off-Broadway for a few years before moving to the UK.
What does luxury mean to you?
A comfortable ambient surrounding, well cut clothes, eating seafood by the sea, good health, sweet friends, not feeling cold! all of these things are a luxury-to me.
5 things your suitcase does not leave home without?
-50+ sunblock for face-even if I'm going to London in winter
-Perfume, I love Acqua di Parma's 'Mirto di Panarea', and Tom Ford's 'Neroli Portofino' in particular.
-Books. At the moment I am very into reading/educating myself with psychology books about personality disorders, don't ask! LOL!!!!
Train or plane?
It is a close competition between Italy and France for me. Italy leads I would say because i think it's more dramatic and beautiful, and both of my parents are Italian, so I can speak the language and I identify with the culture entirely. However I live in France (very close to the border of Italy) and I am a total francophile, so I guess I have to figure this out!
Summers most luxurious purchase?
For me this year, it is my pink Fendi cat eye sunglasses
Best thing about traveling?
Nothing, I hate the literal act of travelling, it's boring and I can not stand public transport of any kind. Not to sound like one of those annoying 'been there done that' people, but I have travelled so extensively over the last 15 years that I could care less to do more of it...living and working on the Riviera is like a permanent holiday, and I'm so happy here that I don't like leaving!
How do you feel when you wear a smokk?
Feminine for a change
Phyto for curly hair
Must have beauty products?
Bioderma all the way
The perfect way to sun bathe?
Covered in olive oil
What makes you laugh?
So many things, I'm always laughing. Maybe mostly my well chosen friends! They are all mental & really entertain me, nothing ordinary or dull about any of them!
Bioderma makes a nice one with a golden tint.
Best beach in the world?
Paloma beach in St Jean Cap Ferrat around the way from me-for true Mediterranean glamour & emerald sea,
And a beach in Antigua that i can not recall the name of!
5 favorite things you love right right now?
1-My scooter/His motorbike - I feel an immense sense of freedom when i ride along up high on the cliffs here, sun beaming down and turquoise water surrounding me, it is like flying! On Sundays I switch to the back of my boyfriends 1000 CC motorbike, still like flying but in a frightening way lol! I just love wheels and freedom basically.
2-Fresh light purple roses from my local saturday morning market
4-French & Georgian wine
5-That is is finally summer!
Best memory as a kid-
There are many great memories, but I like the funny ones - around the age of 5-I cut off the hair of every single doll I owned at the time, super short-and there must have been close to 100 of them i had a 'toy room' and it was loaded with dolls of every size. My mum was a hairdresser & my inspiration, I used her professional scissors to do it as well-it may have been the only time she ever shouted at me, but being a natural rebel I was high on fun.
What you love/d most about your mum?
Too many things to list, but she had to have been the least judgmental person I have ever known -still to this day, and i have met a lot of people! She was very 'live and let live' and everyone - without exception- loved her, a super kind and soft woman.
Beach or Snow?
Beach of course are you crazy? Why would anyone want to feel cold
The wife code!!!
What you love most about your BFF/Wife hahaha !!
Her blind faith & blind loyalty. Plus her amazing bottomless listening skills even when I repeat myself or talk crap!
Your most valuable lesson?
That you can hold on to absolutely nothing, everything will change, and pass, always.
Best meal ever?
Waaaay too many to choose from but the one that I recall most is a fish at the restaurant 'Da Vincenzo' in Positano - Italy. Everything on the plate, indescribable. Although I'm not a 'foodie' at all, I could have toast with avocado & be almost as happy. If it's healthy then I like it.
The totally divine Audrey Sammon is a real favorite of ours! Not only did her amazing mother Laura (you can read about her on our blog) support us from day 1- she gave us Audrey!! Pompie and Audrey have been "soul sisters" as they love to say since the day they were born. They love like sisters and they fight like sisters, and they make up like sisters. It's a really wonderful relationship seeing them grow together. We love Audrey so much for so many reasons - She is real delight to begin with! Dynamic and direct, charming and compassionate and I have to say, one of the many many things I personally love and admire about her, is her undying love for animals! WOW!! She loves hard- and it really is amazing to see, the love and devotion she shows toward her pets, Arthur, Ebenezer, Charlotte, and Emmett- a testament of a real devotion.
Miss Audrey we salute you!! (and love you a whole lot too!) xx
Favorite holiday thing to do- no matter what holiday-
CHRISTMAS!! I like to get presents!! And also put out cookies for Santa.
Best place to visit-
Hanging out with my Michigan friends at their lake houses!
The most exciting thing you learnt at school this year-
Math - it's easyish-hard. Math games are my favorite.
Best play date ever-
The first time I ever went to Amanda's place (a new friend from the new school). Her room had a penguin swing!! And doing fashion shows with Pompie when I was little.
The most fun you’ve ever had in summer -
The best things your mom has taught you to do-
How to draw a star!! And how to wrap presents. And how to wait!!
Dads best baking recipe-
Sugar cookies with raspberry icing!! ALL HIS COOKIES (I think we might need this recipe Mike!!)
The most memorable story your grandparents have told you-
(Mom note) We realize the grandparents have not shared a lot of stories lol!!
What summer means to you-
HAPPY! And being warm
What you're looking forward to in grade 2-
Having a class pet - a centipede!!
Your favorite dinner-
Fish sticks with a dinner roll (or a "bun-bun") with strawberries!!
Best kid thing ever-
Cake and custard.
Why you love Smokks-
The (jersey) fabric is soooooo soft - I want to wear it all day!! And all the fun patterns.
Also, that you guys make them! 😊 YAY
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