Sunday, September 30, 2018

Gear Review: Performance Mary Jane Shoe for Women

Unlike most women, I only travel with two pairs of shoes -- and one of 'em -- always the heaviest -- is on my feet. (That's another reason why I can travel for weeks on end without checking luggage.) These Mary Janes by Astral Designs -- a U.S.-based company -- are not your average casual, walk-around-town shoes. The sole is made of a material that easily grips wet surfaces, such as metal gratings or steps I might encounter when racing around urban areas. I brought one of these (the red pair) on my most recent trip to Galicia where, during the day I was hiking nine to 10 miles, and, late in the day, I was running around villages and towns, checking out shops, restaurants, lighthouses, museums and wine bars. They have a low profile so they pack small and come in several different stylish colors. Again, it's all about looking good while wearing items that perform well. (Never sacrifice performance for aesthetics.)

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Saturday, September 29, 2018

Perfect-for-Hiking Chocolate Snack

When I'm hiking, biking or Nordic skiing long distances, I tote snacks that are not only healthy but also something I look forward to enjoying on the trail. My latest love is Joe Chocolates, which I carried on my recent hiking trip in Galicia, Spain where I hiked nine to 10 miles a day for more than a week. These chocolates are unusual in several ways. They're simply packaged, produced in the state of Washington with simple ingredients, such as cacao nibs, dark chocolate and organic coconut, depending on the flavors chosen. But, most importantly, these are coffee-infused chocolates, something that not only provides approximately 90 mg of caffeine per one ounce portion but produces a sophisticated flavor profile that I looked forward to as I traveled along the undulating terrain day after day.

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Gear Review: A Flattering Warm Shirt That Looks Good and Performs Well

One of the reasons I'm able to never check luggage -- including on my recent two week hiking trip in Northern Spain -- is because I pack clothes that serve more than one purpose. Stio, a company based in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, is noted for manufacturing items that perform well and look good, whether you're on the trail or working or playing in town. This item (below) is the women's Thermop Fleece shirt, which is warm and comfortable, perfect for hiking when it's a bit chilly but also ideal when paired with leggings and even a skirt when running around an urban area. The fabric has a little bit of a stretchiness, so the shirt doesn't feel confining, and the silhouette is flattering. Fleece is a perfect material for aerobics in the Fall or Winter because it wicks away sweat while providing warmth. Underneath it, I wear a thin Merino wool long-sleeved shirt. And, though, the front looks like it's a bottom up, in fact these are snaps, which reduced the fuss factor when you need additional ventilation.

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Saturday, September 8, 2018

Three Luxe Properties In Sri Lanka That Are All About Giving Back

All three of these Sri Lanka-based properties (below) are owned by Resplendent Ceylon, a company that revolves around doing the right thing, whether it's protecting the environment or giving back to the local community.

This is one of the many placid and scenic spots to lounge at the luxe colonial-era bungalows at Ceylon Tea Trails.  When staying at either the upscale Summerville or Castlereagh bungalow, one never tires of this view: lake, mountains and fields covered in tea plantations. The days can be spent lounging pool side or mountain biking or trekking through the plantations, perhaps stopping at one of the other three colonial-era bungalows for high tea or maybe a game of crochet. 

When staying at the innovative Wild Coast Tented Lodge property, you have the opportunity to be enwrapped with nature -- it's adjacent to Yala National Park -- while also indulging in ultra contemporary architecture and design. These two organic, bamboo-clad structures house the restaurant, bar and den. 

At Cape Weligama, villas huddle in colorful gardens, and guests can take a refreshing dip in the infinity pool and gaze at the Indian Ocean in the distance.  Since I’m enchanted by gardens, I fell in love with this property. 

Check out more about each of these three properties in my recent article for Forbes.
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