That’s how Irish folk-rock star Declan O’Rourke characterizes his foray into music. How else to explain the circumstances behind the acquisition of his first guitar, gifted to him by a priest as a ten-year-old boy in Melbourne, Australia?
It’s been a faith-driven journey from there to here, another string-picker on the Dublin open-mic circuit to opener for cult-band Snow Patrol and the legendary Bob Dylan. On October 8th, O’Rourke celebrated his first U.S. release with the album “Mag Pai Zai”, which, along with records “Since Kyabram” (2004) and “Big Bad Beautiful World”(2007), has been a mainstay on the Top Ten charts across the pond. The latest ballads stay true to O’Rourke’s classic, crooning sound, yet unfurl with a newfangled sense of self-assuredness.
ShopLatitude.com has a new attitude. Starting November 1st, the armchair traveler’s favorite shopping e-tailer will sell its own collection of fashion and accessories made for global nomads. The first dispatch is Mexico where they draw inspiration from Frida Kahlo’s iconic style with embroidered caftans, tunics and blouses. These easy-breezy pieces are really all you need for a kick-back boho walk on the beaches of Tulum or any white sand, turquoise watered paradise. (From $120 to $250).
Mimi Lombardo is Travel + Leisure’s style director. Packing is rarely easy—we’re here to help. Send your questions to email@example.com.
We asked a couple of London tastemakers what they would buy with £20, £50, and £100. Here’s what they said.
Patrick Grant, creative director of historic Savile Row tailors Norton & Sons and men’s ready-to-wear label E. Tautz:
£20: “I’d go to Berry Bros. & Rudd(pictured) and buy a bottle—can I have two?—of Good Ordinary Claret (£9). The shop in St James’s is a veritable Dickensian time capsule complete with ancient bottles of Tokai, a wonky wooden floor, and coffee scales on which customers are weighted (a tradition that dates back to the 18th-century health boom).”
Anna Wintour. Vera Wang. Tina Turner. The client list of interior designer Stephen Sills reads like a who’s who of the style world. Since the 1980’s, Sills—one of Elle Décor’s Top 25 Designers—has decorated everything from a penthouse on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue to a modern mountain retreat in Aspen. (Back in the day, he also worked on hotels, including London’s Connaught Hotel and the St. Regis in New York.) As for his own Bedford, New York country house? Karl Lagerfeld has called it the “chicest house in America.” His latest book, Stephen Sills: Decoration (Rizzoli), which celebrates 16 design projects, hits shelves this month. Here, Sills shares some inspiration, advice on navigating antiques markets, and more.
If you had a limitless budget, where would be the one city you’d shop in and what would you buy? Whether you’re a top designer, devoted foodie, or just travel-obsessed, responses to this type of question are nothing short of daydream-worthy.
For our most recent #ShopLikeALocal Twitter chat, answers to this question ranged from Designers Yeardley Smith of Marchez Vous and Kara Ross of Kara Ross NY both choosing New York City; Designer Chris Benz voting for Paris to hunt down the many treasures he covets; Creative Director, Rafe, wanting to head off the map and buy a beachfront house in Palawan; or Designer Cynthia Vincent dreaming of a summer home in Istanbul so that she can decorate it with everything from local markets and bazaars—for us, we would choose all of the above.
In and around the Gulou district of China’s development-hungry capital, an enclave of hutongs—alleys formed by walls of traditional courtyard residences—has managed to dodge the wrecking ball. Determined to preserve the charm (and avoid the fate of hutongsin nearby Nanluoguxiang, now overrun with souvenir shops), entrepreneurs have moved deeper into these narrow streets. French-owned Wuhao showcases one-off furniture and accessories by emerging talents. At Good Design Institute, everyday objects get a twist, such as lampshades made of bed slats. Serk stocks carbon-fiber bikes—and doubles as a bar serving Belgian beer. For a more local tipple, head to Mai(40 Beiluoguxiang, Dongcheng), known for its craft cocktails.
Whether you’re navigating unknown streets, haggling in markets, or browsing a boutique, sometimes the best shopping is accomplished when locals point out the unknown spots that aren’t mentioned in your guidebook. Join our live Twitter chat on Shopping Like a Local this Wednesday, September 18th from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. EDT. Our panel of experts will share their favorite go-to stores in the world, tips on scoring a deal, and stories about the myriad of fashion triumphs (and mistakes) that they’ve made on their travels. Find out about global street style from the insiders.
Join the conversation on Wednesday, September 18th from 2pm to 3pm EDT.
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Gabrielle Blitz is the Associate Social Media Editor at Travel + Leisure.
Pros: Yes, my body is my temple—but occasionally this temple gets sick (especially when roaming the globe). Thank god for the new, clove-tasting “Get Wellness” Herb Tea for Immunity, filled with organic rooibos, Echinacea, and elderberries. Best of all, it comes in a recyclable, travel-friendly tin ($5 for six).
Cons: These round tea bags don’t come with strings, so you’ll have to fish them out of your cup by spoon once they steep. That’s a small price to pay for their protective powers, though. The next time a flight attendant wants my drink order, I know exactly what it’ll be: “hot water with a side of lemon, please-and-thank-you-very-much.”
Kathryn O'Shea-Evans is an associate editor at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter at @ThePluckyOne.
The new tech trend is… smartwatches? Yes, it’s true. Samsung announced their latest device—the Galaxy Gear smartwatch, which goes on sale September 25—at an electronics trade show in Berlin yesterday. Part James Bond, part Nike Fuelband, the $299 gadget will come pre-loaded with 60 apps (Facebook; a pedometer; a Siri-like personal assistant) and snap photos and video. Don’t expect to make calls on it, or have it replace your phone, though: it’s intended to fulfill relatively simple functions and act as a “companion” that can sync to your Samsung phone for easy access to messages and texts. And it wouldn’t be a trend if Samsung was the lone smartwatch pioneer. Similar products include a new Sony device announced in June, and an Apple version that’s still spinning in the rumor mill. So what’s it all mean for travelers? Just one more way to navigate, snap, and share on the road.
Nikki Ekstein is an Editorial Assistant at Travel + Leisure and part of the Trip Doctor news team. Find her on Twitter at @nikkiekstein.
Over-the-Rhine (OTR)—known for its Italianate architecture—has gone from historic to hip.
Inventive Japanese gastropub and sushi bar Kaze amps up its ramen with littleneck clams and red miso broth; turkey sliders are piled high with sugar bacon, shiitake mushrooms, and house-made pickles. 1400 Vine St. $$$
The founders of 21c Museum Hotel set their sights on a landmark building for their second art-filled property. Technically just outside of OTR, it displays works in unexpected places; take the lobby floor, where a panel of wormlike neon patterns changes as you walk on it. Make sure to grab a drink on the rooftop terrace. 609 Walnut St.$$