Sunday, April 27, 2014

St. Louis Treasure: The Magic House

During a recent trip to my hometown, St. Louis, we rediscovered one of this city's finest treasures.  I had not been since I was a child, so we took the kids to the Magic House, the St. Louis Children's Museum.  WOW.  All I can say is WOW.  This place is a learning haven for both children and adults (and let's face it, the most passionate nerds among us)  ; )

As the website states, kids have the opportunity to "touch an electrically charged ball and make your hair stand on end, push a giant pin screen to create a 3-D impression of yourself, spin the giant kaleidoscope wheel and produce a dazzling display of colorful symmetrical patterns and express your artistic side in the Art Studio".  Ummmm, can I just move in?  From the insanely large bubbles to the 3 story slide to the math puzzles, bell-curve/probability distribution..... I am not sure if it was more entertaining for the kids or adults in our group!!  Everyone had a ball, and we didn't even get through half the place.  The best part is that it is located in Kirkwood, not far from my parents' home.

I can't wait to go back during our next visit.  I feel so fortunate to share this unique attraction with my kiddos whenever we travel to St. Louis.  Thank you, Magic House!

Some photos from their website....

Some photos from our visit....

Friday, April 25, 2014

The Best New Hotels in the World: Conde Nast Traveler's 2014 Hot List

As we near the end of our spring break (where we stayed put in Cleveland), I could not help but oogle over the recent Conde Nast release: 

The Best New Hotels in the World: 

The 2014 Hot List

"Every year, hundreds of great hotels open. We considered 510 this year alone, in 400 cities and 93 countries—but in the end, only 33 made Condé Nast Traveler's 2014 Hot List. The result is a collection that takes you around the world—from Kenya to Los Angeles, St. Petersburg to Phuket—and speaks to the passions and habits of the modern traveler." - Condé Nast Traveler

 The hotels were notated as "bargain", "beach", "design", "family", "food", "over the top", and "way out there"...

I thought it would be fun to devour this eye candy and come up with my favorite design element for each of the featured photos...for the design (and travel) lovers out there ; )  Enjoy!

American Trade Hotel, Panama City, Panama (bargain)
Fav design element: black and white striped pillows....
The Dean, Providence, Rhode Island (bargain)
Fav design element: crisp white bedding

The Line, Los Angeles, California (bargain)
Fav design element: roman shade in tone-on-tone graphic pattern
The Marlton, New York (bargain)
Fav design element: mix of modern + traditional

Temple Hotel, Beijing, China (bargain)
Fav design element: mix of organic materials

Andaz Maui at Wailea, Hawaii (beach)
Fav design element: monochromatic color scheme
allows for landscape/exterior views to steal the show

Nizuc Resort & Spa, Cancun. Mexico (beach)
Fav design element: amazing infinity pool
Mukul Resort, Guacalito de La Isla, Nicaragua (beach)
Fav design element: pillow colors reflect palms, sky, and ocean

Point Yamu by Como, Phuket, Thailand (beach)
Fav design element: lanterns
(had to include this photo from
to show how beautiful the lanterns are at night!)

Salt House Inn, Provincetown, Massachusetts (beach)
Fav design element: ALL white color scheme creates a very relaxing space

Ace Hotel, Los Angeles, California (design)
Fav design element: Are you kidding? RECORD PLAYER!
Hotel B, Lima, Peru (design)
Fav design element: French doors into the bedroom? How lovely!

Hotel D'Angleterre, Copenhagen, Denmark (design)
Fav design element: tie between
the fabulous trunk and subtle-giraffe bedding 

The London Edition, London, England (design)
Fav design element: tie between
the wood planked walls and WAY cool lighting

Mandarin Oriental Pudong, Shanghai, China (design)
Fav design element: slight design overload,
BUT how can you ignore the amazing mosaic wall?

La Bandita Townhouse, Pienza, Italy (family)
Fav design element: pop of yellow in kitchen island
Andaz Peninsula Papagayo, Guanacaste, Costa Rica (family)
Fav design element: Interplay b/w interior and exterior space

Palihouse Santa Monica, California (family)
Fav design element: Mix of bold, modern colors and fabrics
with older architectural structure makes for a VERY interesting design...

Ritz Carlton, Aruba (family)
Fav design element: Bold turquoise walls speaks
to the beautiful hue of the surrounding water...

Domaine de la Baume, Tourtour, France (food)
Fav design element: shall we say cheese, bread,
olives, or all of the above?
Park Hyatt Siem Reap, Siem Reap, Cambodia (food)
Fav design element: colorful presentation

The Wild Rabbit, Cotswolds, England (food)
Fav design element: I am not even sure where to begin...looks delish!

The Thompson, Chicago, Illinois (food)
Fav design element: You cannot go wrong with simple, pretty white china
(...and I am pretty sure my Mom has this same pattern, or similar!)

The Vines Resort & Spa, Uco Valley, Argentina (food)
Fav design element: "locavorism" at its finest?
(Locavorism is defined as "A movement based on the premise of eating locally, often defined as within 100 miles from production to consumption")

Zero George Street, Charleston, South Carolina (food)
Fav design element: colorful fresh produce

Aman Canal Grande, Venice, Italy (over the top)
Fav design element: hmmm, proximity to canal or impressive architecture?

Cheval Blanc Randheli, Randheli, Maldives (over the top)
Fav design element: clever framing of the ocean via passageway

Four Seasons Hotel Lion Palace, St. Petersburg, Russia (over the top)
Fav design element: beautiful sweeping terrace
Rosewood, London, England (over the top)
Fav design element: fabulous window boxes in rectangular, crisp,
modern shape nicely juxtaposes with ornate architecture
The Chedi, Andermatt, Switzerland (over the top)
Fav design element: Are you kidding?
The graphic repetition of those chandeliers is so awesome, I could cry

Fogo Island Inn, Newfoundland, Canada (way out there)
Fav design element: surrounding landscape

Amano'i, Vinh Hy Bay, Vietnam (way out there)
Fav design element: simplicity of pool and deck silhouette and decor 

Segera Retreat, Laikipia Plateau, Kenya (way out there)
Fav design element: Wine storage
Cheers to fun memories and safe travels to everyone enjoying a vacation over spring break this year!