29.4.11

francophile friday: sans corkscrew

Have you seen this video? A friend of mine forwarded this to me awhile ago and then I lost the email. I have been meaning to share it with you guys so I searched and found the same video. It is in French but I think even if you don't speak the language, you get the idea.


Do any of you know any tricks like this? My FIL can push the corkscrew inside of an empty wine bottle and get it out with a cloth napkin.

PS Let me go Anglophile for a second: What did you think of Kate's dress? I thought she looked stunning but I liked how she still looked like herself. And I loved her sister's dress as well. Her dress complemented the bridal gown beautifully.

28.4.11

jamaica trip: friday and saturday

See the first two Jamaica posts here and here.

On Friday morning, after staying up late and dancing too hard the night before, I was not feeling that great. So I ordered room service for breakfast and lunch and slept most of the morning. Luckily it was overcast most of the time so it didn't make me feel that bad.
That afternoon we enjoyed our last afternoon on the beach and I laid under the cabana decided my body had had enough sun. That evening, the four of us went out onto the beach to enjoy our last sunset in Negril.
We had planned to go to Barefoot by the Sea for dinner since we couldn't get a reservation to Kimono's and Dino's was closed but we walked over there to find that Barefoot was also closed. So we ended up at the Sundowner again and I had some more of that delicious pumpkin soup. We went to our rooms after dinner to finish packing and sleep for the last time in our lovely loft.

Saturday morning we were up early since our bags had to be outside our rooms by 6 am. Devin and Chrissy came over and we enjoyed a lovely breakfast before we went to the front desk to check out. We had a wonderful bus driver who took us back to the airport while pointed out the sites. After getting through security, we had a few hours to kill so we ended up at Margaritaville had a few drinks, some food, and played travel Scattergories. (I had never played before and I think I am obsessed.)
I had a very nice vacation. Jamaica is such a great place and the people are so incredibly friendly and vibrant. They really do make you feel welcome and relaxed. Although I am not overly impressed with the food at Sandals, the staff was so great and we really did have a great time. And for a free trip (besides airfare) it was even better.

Have you ever been to a Sandals resort?

27.4.11

winner of the Make.Good studio giveaway!

I am excited to announce that the winner of the Make.Good studio giveaway is Lee who said "I love the Large Beach Tote #1 ~ cool stuff!" Congrats Lee! Please email me at morgan.designblanc{at}gmail{dot}com with your information.

{image from here}

jamaica trip: wednesday and thursday

Find the first part of the Jamaica posts here.

On Wednesday morning, I woke up at 6:20 am. 6:20! And I could not fall back asleep. Being the kind wife that I am, I decided against waking the Hubs up that early on vacation and went in search of the gym. After a decent workout, I walked back to the room only to be told by the Hubs that 7:45 was still too early to be getting up on vacation. Although I was starving, I occupied myself my taking my DSLR and going out into the beautiful morning light. After I got my lens to stop fogging up, I got a few decent pictures.
After breakfast at Bayside, we went to our little spot on the beach for a bit. While Devin went on a scuba diving excursion, Chrissy, the Hubs, and I discovered the drink, Miami Vice. It is a layered drink that is pretty much pure sugar (think a slurpee on steroids with alcohol) but it was delicious.
We also got to witness a trash the dress session for a couple that just got married from our secluded little beach spot.
After lunch and a little more beach time, the four of us went back to our rooms to shower for a little afternoon excursion to the craft market and Rick's Cafe.

{Now here is where I will give you a little bit of advice. The resort pretty much told us they would get us a taxi and it would be $35 each way, per person to get to Rick's (they also make it seem a lot further than it is). I had read otherwise and knew that if we just walked off the resort, we could get someone to take us there for near to nothing. As we were leaving the resort, the guard asked where we were going and told us that there were taxis inside the resort. We declined and told her we would enjoy a little walk first. We thought we would have to walk a few minutes for a taxi but one immediately pulled up. He told us it was $5 a person to get to Rick's. When we told him we wanted to go a few more places he pretty much told us that we just wanted us to have a good time and we could pay him whatever. He ended up staying with us at the craft market and then giving us his number - we had a cell phone which was helpful - to call him when we were were finished at Rick's. In total we paid him $60 for the four of us and he was on call for three hours.}

Our first stop, was the craft market in Negril. We had allotted ourselves about an hour here but we really only needed about a half hour (especially since every stand had very similar things.) I met a man who had family in Baltimore and we bonded over that (I grew up in Baltimore County.) He insisted that when I bought a gift for a friend's baby, that I should take a free gift as well. I declined. I really didn't need a carving of Bob Marley smoking but I am sure he could sell it to someone who would. Instead we settled on taking a picture together and me remembering that, if I saw any Jamaican wood carvers in Baltimore, he taught them everything they know.
{Another word of advice for those who have never haggled before - HAGGLE. I got a beautiful market tote for $16. She had quoted me $35. She knew I was a tourist. I knew I could get something similar (but not from Jamaica) at Target for under $20. If you aren't used to this it may seem odd at first but this is a part of their culture. And always shoot much lower than where you want to be. And don't be afraid to walk away because a) there was similar stuff at every stand and you could probably get better price elsewhere and b) they will probably not let you leave because they know this and you will get the price you want.}

Our next stop was Rick's Cafe. We hadn't worn our bathing suits since we thought it was going to take a lot longer to get there and we would be a lot longer at the craft market. We figured we would be chilly as the sun went down. We should have brought our suits. I would have definitely jumped off the lower cliff. Instead we had a few Red Stripes and watched the children jump off the cliffs instead. {Another note: Since this is a tourist trap, I expected the drink prices to be awful which they weren't. The food prices were kind of high though considering I heard it wasn't that good.}
After a few drinks, we decided we were hot and tired and were ready to go home (especially since we didn't get a table with an umbrella right away.) I wish we had timed it better to get a to see the sunset a bit later but I am glad we got to see what all the fuss was about. And since we had gotten there earlier, we were at least able to get seats and got pretty good drink service. When we were leaving there were a ton of people coming in.

Fr dinner that night, we went to the Sundowner which has Jamaican food with an Asian accent. My appetizers and entree were good but I loved my pumpkin and carrot soup!
After dinner we again were sleepy (gosh, we are boring) and decided to retire for the night.

Thursday morning, the Hubs and I decided to try the Sundowner for breakfast. Although it was good, it took a long time for our food to come. Since I was starving I "ate" mimosas while I waited for our food. An hour later our food came and I was three mimosas in. Needless to say, I slept on the beach until lunch.

That afternoon we had some fun in a big tube with the underwater camera in the ocean and then we decided to go play at the swim-up pool bar.
That night for dinner we went to Kimono's, the hibachi style restaurant. If you are planning to stay at Sandals Negril, make sure you get a reservation as soon as you arrive since it is hard to get. Our food was delicious! And our chef, Crane, was so much fun! I would request him if you end up going to the restaurant.
We even had drinks and dessert with our chef and new friends we had made at our table after dinner.
After that, we finally had our one crazy night dancing at the Piano Bar. And we went to bed after midnight!

Stay tuned for one more Jamaica post!

Do you prefer vacationing at the beach or in the mountains?

26.4.11

accepting new sponsors!

Looking to take your business to the next level? Sponsor la chapstick fanatique! I am now accepting ads for May and June. My readers are lovers of fashion, design, food and weddings and my rates are low, keeping in mind small businesses and Etsy shops. Plus, you get a blog post dedicated to your shop to introduce you to my readers!

Please email me at morgan.designblanc{at}gmail{dot}com for more information.

{image from here}

jamaica trip: monday and tuesday

On Monday morning, the Hubs and I woke up around 3 am, showered, and then got in the car to go pick up our friends, Chrissy and Devin. From Silver Spring, we drove to BWI. Luckily, checking in and getting through security was quick so we had a bunch of time to hang out and grab breakfast.
Our flight from BWI to Charlotte was quick and the Hubs and I were lucky enough to be upgraded to first class for our flight from Charlotte to Montego Bay. I celebrated by having a Bloody Mary at 9 30 am, chowing down on every piece of junk food they had, and taking a nap.

When we got to Montego Bay, we went to the Sandals area and grabbed some *free* Red Stripes for our bus ride to Negril. Our bus ride had a stop halfway but still was a lot quicker than the last time we were there. When we arrived at Sandals Negril, the Hubs and I found that we had been upgraded to a better room - a loft suite.
After checking out the room, we set out to find some lunch and then hung out on the beach for a bit. That evening, Chrissy and Devin came over to our room and we had some appetizers (thank you, room service) and glass of wine before heading over to Dino's, the Italian restaurant, for dinner.
I thought Dino's antipasta bar was pretty good but was uninspired by my main course. After dinner, we went back to the room to go to bed. I barely remember my head hitting the pillow.

On Tuesday, the Hubs and I woke up and went to the Bayside Restaurant, the buffet, for breakfast. We then found a great secluded spot on the beach that kind of became our own mini beach for the four of us.
The Hubs and I ventured out into the water and found pretty fish who had made their home in some nearby sandbags. I found this the perfect opportunity to play around with my underwater camera.
After lunch from the pizza stand (pretty good but not as good as the pizza at Sandals Whitehouse), I went back to our room to do Pilates (thank you, iPad) and the Hubs took a nap. Then we went back out to the beach for a bit and then came back to the room to order room service. Devin and Chrissy joined us again for a pre-dinner drink and then we headed over to Barefoot by the Sea, the seafood restaurant right on the sand.
Although I was unimpressed by my appetizer, my entree and dessert were pretty good. And who wouldn't love sitting out on the beach for a meal? We were all still pretty exhausted from the day before and our first day of full sun and drinking, so we decided to go back to our rooms after dinner and go to bed.
Stay tuned for more posts about our Jamaican adventure.

Have you ever been to Jamaica?

25.4.11

monday giveaway: make.good studio (NOW CLOSED)

The Hubs and I got an iPad a few weeks ago. It has been great while he has been traveling for work and I loved reading the new Tina Fey book on it while we were in Jamaica. Right now, it just has a plain black cover on it but I am thinking about getting something a bit more fun. While searching on Etsy, I came across Make.Good studio which had some really fun iPad covers. This shop has a great collection of handmade bags and home accessories.

Susana, the shop owner, says, "I’m Susana DeVoe and from a young age I knew I wanted to be an architect, or maybe an artist, or a ballerina.

I did eventually have to choose, so it was in architecture that I began my creative life. Combining my knowledge and experience as an architect with an eye for fashion, interiors and graphics, my desire is to have everything I make showcase the design process itself.

And so I made MAKE.GOOD s t u d i o, a place where design thinking and making converge to create a line of handbags, home accessories and art that are characterized by the clean lines, graphic geometries, a structural language of architecture.

From re-imagining your space to choosing an accessory that is thoughtful and well made, MAKE.GOOD s t u d i o can help.

We design and make everything, start to finish, in our Boston studio. Our products are lovingly built from reclaimed, repurposed, and sometimes new materials. Every stencil is designed and printed by hand. We cherish the little inconsistencies that come from a handmade process and believe that there lies it’s specialness. We hope you agree!"

Susana is giving away one iPad case to a lucky winner. I love how preppy and summery these are! (I think I may have get one for myself.)

To be eligible for this giveaway, you must be a follower of my blog so, if you aren't yet be sure to sign up.

To enter, please visit Make.Good studio and leave a comment below telling us your favorite item.

For more chances to win:
1. Write about this giveaway on your blog and leave another comment below with a link to your blog post.
2. "Like" Make.Good studio on Facebook and leave another comment below telling us you did so.

This giveaway ends Wednesday, April 27th at 7 pm Eastern Time. A winner will be chosen at random.

24.4.11

weekend: i'm back

this morning, before Easter brunch with some of the Hub's family

I am back from Jamaica! We got back late last night and now I think I need a vacation from my vacation - I am exhausted. But it was a lot of fun and definitely worth it!

I hope you all are enjoying your Easter weekends. Bear with me this week while I get all the laundry done, get back into my regular routine, and go through all my pictures from the trip. I will try and have some Jamaica posts for you this week.

Also, thank you so much to Celeste, Ashley, Mackenzie, and Jillian for guest posting last week. I hope you enjoyed their posts as much as I did.

Soooo how have you all been??

22.4.11

francophile friday guest post: jillian from cornflake dreams

bonjour! it's jillian from cornflake dreams, a life and style blog about all the dreamy things in the city and abroad. paris is one of my favorite cities and i was thrilled when morgan asked me to guest post on her francophile friday series.

my latest frenchie crush is Parisian Chic: A Style Guide.

Inès de la Fressange, a French model best known for being Karl Lagerfeld's muse and the first face of Chanel shares tips and tricks to dressing like a Parisian and bringing that style into your home.
she shares secrets, how-to's, and guides personalized with her pretty drawings. it's a must buy for anyone who would like to add a little more Parisian style into their wardrobe or home. (bonus - there's a shopping guide with all of Inès' favorite shops!)
a huge thank you to morgan for having me! stop by and visit cornflake dreams anytime for more fashion, design, and travel inspiration!

xoxo,
jillian