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All posts for the month May, 2010

Blogs make magic?

Published May 28, 2010 by Kat

Empirical observation is leading me to conclude that this is a magical blog, through which my wishes are granted. I blogged about Joanna Lumley and less than two weeks later she was in a production of the very story I pictured her in. I then blogged about Vera Bradley stuff, and less than a week later, the color I was coveting went on clearance.

My VB stuff

I have put all my old stuff up on eBay (and happily, the new-with-tags stuff I blogged about last week has already sold). This trousseau is all I need. Putting my money where my mouth was, in the end I bought:

Large Duffel: the workhorse for road trips
Large Cosmetic: big, waterproof, and well-priced
Hanging Organizer: love love love
Knot Just A Clutch: pretty, lightweight, with a shoulder strap
Clip Zip ID: to go in the clutch, with ID and cash
Large Backpack: as a carry-on, as an “entertainment” bag while riding in the car, has a handy clear ID slot under the flap. Love!

Packing to go

Published May 25, 2010 by Kat

Let me start out with a note about my previous entry Traveling Light with Joanna Lumley: less than two weeks later, there was a new Miss Marple series, and it premiered with The Mirror Crack’d, and Joanna Lumley was in it. And she wasn’t Marina Gregg. I howled and squealed. Oh well, she did a great job of capturing Dolly Bantry’s daffy vivaciousness.

But back to packing, darlings. What IS it about packing for a trip that is soooo beguiling? Is it the pure joy of putting things into small compartments? Is it the joy of planning out an efficient and useful wardrobe? Is it the special beauty of beautiful luggage? I don’t know, dears, I just don’t know.

Mighty Girl shares her traveling dopp kit right here.

Martha Stewart, whose magazine tends to run an article about how to pack every five years or so, shares some tips in this article.

And I, oh me oh my, indulged myself in some more pieces of Vera Bradley luggage last week. My pattern, Riviera Blue, is on clearance, so I just had to. I just LOVE to look through the details of all their different bags, and try to plot out what would be the PERFECT suite of pieces for traveling. Here is my best theory right now:

THE BASICS
1) The Large Duffel. It’s the roomiest bag they offer. I already own a Weekender, and while it’s adorable, it really is just big enough for a weekend.
2) The Large Cosmetic. Unlike the ever-alluring Travel Cosmetic, this one is lined in waterproof material. It’s also twice as big, and costs much less, than the Trip Kit.
3) The Hanging Organizer. I have the old model, and it is the best thing ever. All of those small, waterproof compartments hold your tiny bits and bobs safely and visibly, and when you arrive at your destination you hang it in the bathroom and off you go. Regarding the new version… I love the deeper compartment at the bottom. I don’t like that the top one is no longer see-through.

RUNABOUTS
4) It looks like the new Knot Just A Clutch would be a great purse to carry for doing touristy things. It’s fabric so it won’t be damaged by being sweated on the way leather would be, it’s small and light so it won’t gimp you up, and the strap is long enough to be worn cross-body, to discourage purse snatchers. Me, I have a Maggie purse that is almost big enough to stuff a Zip-Around Wallet into.
5) Clip Zip ID is a tiny piece that would surely fit into the clutch… I can’t find a picture of the inside of the clutch, but the description sounds like it does NOT have a clear ID slot. Boo. You could also stuff your currency inside it, for extra safety.
6) The Large Backpack sounds like a great option for touristing when you need to carry more stuff, for using as a carry-on, and it also has a clear ID slot right under the flap. Neat!

REALLY EXTRAS
7) Perhaps a Vera or a Villager to use as a purse during the actual traveling process… plenty of room for snacks, water, electronics, books, and knitting. I have a Villager. It makes quite a nice pillow when the need arises, too.

The Camping Story

Published May 13, 2010 by Kat

I am beginning to realize that I have an unconscious attraction to campers. Less the kind of land whale from Meet The Fockers, and much more the tiny, colorful, cute sort featured in Snail Trail’s flickr photostream. If I ever get a chance to examine a camper or ask questions about it, I will. Who wouldn’t? It’s like a tiny little play house, brand new and without the burdensome mortgage and emotional history of a real house. You can have six glasses six plates six bowls and six place settings, a saucepan and a skillet and a knife, and voila! That’s your whole kitchen! So simple! So relaxing!

Snail Trail isn’t the only British company that is totally into retro-cute British-people-on-holiday. Attic24 just shared the Cath Kidston camping insert from her latest catalogue. I mean, REALLY. Obviously you can’t go camping without a flowery thermos and an old-fashioned gas lamp. Duh. Why camp if everything isn’t going to be heart-breakingly cute?

Tiny houses don’t have to be mobile, though it’s charming if they are. I also like little tiny warm-weather houses, like Katrina Cottages and cottages that spring up by the English seaside, and on fairgrounds in the south (Southern Living ran an article on one such cottage-village last summer, but I can’t find any part of it online now). Tiny, adorable, simple, and so much fun to think about.

It’s gotten bad enough that Sparks will look at me sideways and make sure that, “you don’treally want a camper, do you?”

No, dear, I don’t. Bugs and heat and discomfort and driving the darn things around. No, dear, I just like to dream.

Traveling light with Joanna Lumley

Published May 11, 2010 by Kat

Sparks and I have watched the first two episodes of the BBC series “Joanna Lumley’s Nile” and oh, I DO recommend it. It has a lot of thinking points.

(1) The Nile. How is that not fodder for imagination? She follows its whole course, through Egypt and on down. There are plenty of gorgeous views of the river itself, wide and pale green and fringed with palms.

(2) The British-in-Africa charm is strong, with plenty of appropriate Agatha Christie references. Joanna takes a Nile cruise that gets on and off at the same places the passengers in Death On The Nile do, and in exactly the same sort of river boat. Honestly, someone should have been shot.

(3) Joanna herself is, in Sparks’ words, “a card”. She is lovely herself, and speaks with a lovely voice, and behaves in a lovely way generally–brimming with enthusiasm and appreciation for the experience and the beauty around her. (Of course, we’ve only seen the first two episodes, so things haven’t gotten sticky yet–I’m sort of waiting for her to start screaming like the blonde in Temple of Doom when they do). Watching her, one thinks of Agatha Christie even more. One begins to understand the characters Carrie Louise from They Do It With Mirrors, and Marina Gregg from The Mirror Crack’d… charming, lively women, instantly lovable, but difficult at close quarters.

(4) Joanna’s clothes. Throughout the series she rotates three knee-length caftans, three pairs of baggy linen trousers, and three scarves. The wardrobe is flattering to her, appropriate for the environment and climate, and must be awfully easy to pack and carry. I’m left, first, dreaming about how I’d assemble just such a thing for myself if I ended up going to northern Africa, and second, wondering how she gets so much laundry done reliably.