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My Emerald Travels

Originally posted on Jo2TheWorld:

Just brilliant!  World, I am back from across the pond and after a month of traveling, some medical woes, and some major post-design job decompression, I have returned to you.

Whitby Street, London

Whitby Street, London

To make up for my absence, I thought I would post a double dose of Adore A Door – two doors in one!  I spotted these while wandering around my new favorite neighborhood in East London, Shoreditch.  The area is filled with beautiful street art and Whitby Street is no exception.

This entry caught my eye immediately.  What can I say, I’ve always been drawn to geometric graphics.  The lines and triangles are great on their own, but the combination of colors really stood out to me.  I love the use of primaries with pastels and the black and white striping mimicking the iron gate.

 I am not sure who or what resides here, but I took the message to heart: “LAUGH…

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When I traveled through Norway by boat I stopped in Nordkapp (North Cape), the northernmost point of Norway (71° N). 

The Sami are indigenous people found throughout Scandinavia (they are also called Lapps or Laplanders). They speak their own language – called Sami – and have inhabited parts of northern Norway, Sweden, Finland and the Kola Peninsula in northwest Russia for at least 5,000 years. Why are they always in the north, do you ask? Because reindeer are arctic animals that can only survive in the north, and reindeer herding is the livelihood of the Sami people.

Traditional Sami homes are called Gamme or Goahti, meaning ‘turf home’. A gamme is built on top of wooden arch beams and covered in layers of bark and turf, which is incredibly insulating. We passed by this gamme while in Nordkapp, and I thought it was fascinating.

I love that something so basic and culturally specific can influence modern architecture. I think it’s clear to see the correlation (or evolution?) between the no frills Sami gamme and this hidden-on-a-hill beauty from Interior Design Magazine.

The past is always present.

Sure, I could share a photograph of the clear blue Pacific to illustrate the beauty of Malibu.  

After all, the ocean is probably the first thing you think of when you envision the real-life fantasy that is Malibu, California. One of the reasons I love Malibu is because it’s not at all what you expect it to be.  It’s not like Beverly Hills or Bel Air, and it’s not just another ritzy beach-side community: it’s a low-key, surfer haven found in the California canyons, a wonderment of old school American west, natural beauty and a dash of organic, haute hippie culture.  This is the real Malibu.

How I see it: Malibu, CA

How I see it: Malibu, CA

I recently returned from a trip to Concord, MA, a quaint, historic town that epitomizes Americana and the spirit of the Revolution.

Emerson's hat still hangs on the wall in his Concord, MA home

Emerson’s hat still hangs on the wall in his Concord, MA home

Ralph Waldo Emerson was a 19th century American writer, philosopher, poet, teacher and transcendentalist from Concord.  While visiting the Concord Museum I was really inspired by the following quote:

“If there is any period one would desire to be born in, is it not the age of Revolution; when the old and the new stand side by side and admit of being compared; when the energies of all men are searched by fear and by hope; when the historic glories of the old can be compensated by the rich possibilities of the new era?  This time, like all times, is a very good one, if we but know what to do with it.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

I always hear people say they wish they were born in another era.  Now is as good a time as any.

Eagles Ridge Country House in Stutterheim, South Africa has an organic, barefoot, play in the forest all day kind of vibe.  

Click here to read my Eagles Ridge article on Forbes.com.

At first glance, Eagles Ridge appears to be a unique amalgamation of warm, contemporary and angular aesthetics.

The pleasant surprise is the interior, which looks like a luxury tree house.

Pure paradise, right outside the window.

Dream-catchers hang on trees that carve flower-filled paths around the property.

This is the entryway to the hut at Eagles Ridge where the Xhosas, a well-known South African tribe, perform traditional ceremonies and rituals.

A Xhosa woman preparing mealie, a type of flour made of corn.

Playing around the Eagles Ridge restaurant-art gallery before saying goodbye…an exhibit in and of itself.

Meet Terranea, a luxury eco-resort and spa in Rancho Palos Verdes, Los Angeles, CA.

This is a sprawling property to say the least: the 102 acre estate is spread out over bluffs that stand high over royal blue Pacific waters. Terranea is a rocky, coastal piece of perfection and is one of the most visually appealing places in SoCal.

Naturally occurring succulents grow on the bluffs overlooking the ocean

Endless wildflowers, succulents, palm and pine trees surround this expertly landscaped, Mediterranean-style eco-resort. I stayed in a spa bungalow as part of my ‘Wellness Retreat at The Bungalows’ package, which includes a fitness consultation, fitness classes, daily complimentary breakfast and lunch from the organic Spa Cafe (protein smoothies, specialty frittatas…the good stuff) and a reduced rate on spa treatments.

A variety of fresh squeezed juices, cookies and tea are found in the room every afternoon. Exercise equipment is available for use in every spa bungalow to further promote health and wellness.

A Mediterranean-style bungalow at Terranea

Guests have eight choices for food and beverages on the property…and this lovely, organic meal was my favorite. We started with a fresh juice taster, followed by a farmhouse quiche, green crunch salad (which was amazing!), olive oil poached albacore tuna and raw chocolate avocado pudding, a complicated recipe several years in the making.

A spa luncheon, served oceanside

Olive oil poached albacore tuna

The 50,000 square-foot oceanfront spa at Terranea is quite beautiful and exudes a SoCal, casual luxury vibe. During my reflexology treatment the spa therapist tapped my shoulder to show me a whale swimming out in the distance. Reflexology is an in-depth foot and ankle massage and it’s hard to master; the treatment at Terranea was the best I’ve ever had.

Spa time with travel writers

To sum it up in a word, the experience at Terranea feels like a revival. It’s the best way to kick back…every place should have a Terranea nearby.