Surfer Rosa

travel. beauty. life. style.

  • 25th February
  • 25

Last week I got invited to China. It has never really been on the radar for me. I’ve always wanted to explore Indo and more of Thailand, but now it is all I can think about—seeing the Great Wall and touring the Imperial Cities. No matter if I go or not, I won’t have a window seat. I hate, hate, hate flying. And I don’t like looking at the ground at take-off and I certainly don’t take a glance inflight. These paintings are a great compromise for me. I’d love to see some from Africa, where you can spy elephants and zebra from your sky-high-vantage point (at least that is what Husband said when we were there).


Jim Darling’s series, Airplane Window Paintings.

(Source: cordisre, via tiportiff)

  • 17th January
  • 17

Daydream Destinations: W South Beach

Last spring, my dearest friends and I took our first girlfriends getaway in the 25 years that we’ve been pals. We chose Las Vegas for the fun factor, but mostly ended up sipping champs by the awesome Mandarin Oriental pool and totally kicking back in one of the best spas I’ve ever experienced in the world. We also promised each other that we’d do another weekend in the sun and spa next year.
Next year is now here and I’m sort of in charge of the planning. I’m voting for Miami, since it is a 2 minute flight and equal only to Vegas in the domestic fun times destination. Although I’m pretty sure we’ll just do a spin around South Beach before retreating to the aforementioned lounging, spa-ing and champs sipping. That’s why I’m leaning toward the W South Beach, an oceanfront property that has a bit of the kitsch-factor of Miami and an a w e s o m e Bliss outpost. Trust, there’s a reason why it is called that.

We’ll visit Bliss, which has a cool outdoor lounge area and maybe take a few yoga classes before hitting popping the bubbly. For dinner, we’ll enjoy Mr. Chow, a fancypants place from LA that we’ve never visited. And then if we feel like it, we’ll check out the hotel’s hot nightspots. But we’ll probably just gossip, watch weird reality shows that we’d never admit to seeing to everyone else and criticing the fashion in our cushy room.

[photos from W South Beach]

  • 10th January
  • 10

Daydream Destinations: Six Senses Yao Noi

It isn’t that I haven’t been dreaming about going to far off lands in the past few weeks, it’s that I launched the #TravelTuesday feature for the day job’s tumblr site, organized the family holiday fetes at mi casa and invented a new concept I like to call pajamaweek (yes, all one word. and more on that later). In between those little things, I also spearheaded all the gifting and general housewifing, as Husband has been working hours that you only read about in John Grisham novels. Needless to say, we need to get away—and together—sooner as opposed to later.
Enter stage left: The Six Senses Yao Noi, a private island retreat off the coast of Phuket, Thailand. I visited the sandalwood-scented property alone two years ago. It was a super duper short visit of just two nights and I was coming off the worst illness I had ever experienced as a traveler. I remember wishing Husband had been able to enjoy a private Thai BBQ poolside in our villa’s jungle garden. And I also thought he’d swoon over the outdoor shower and indoor/outdoor bathtub with sweeping views of the surrounding islands. OK, he wouldn’t swoon, but he’d really dig it. I love the yoga pavilion, butler service and the fact that this place is so far-flung that it has its own time zone.

The beds are pretty cushy too.

[photos from Six Senses]

  • 29th November
  • 29

Daydream Destinations: Auluani, A Disney Resort

My late-year (and admittedly last-minute) jaunt to Hawaii may not have happened, but I can still dream about the spots that I was aiming to hit on my tour. Disney’s Auluani is a brand-spanking new resort located on a private cove on the capital island of Oahu. The sprawling property is perfect for families looking for a happy holiday away from home. There are loads of accommodation options (personally I’d opt to stay in a sea-view villa), buckets of activities (I swear I never, ever, jamas surf better than I do in Hawaii) and a rad spa. I know, I know, it may be too much of the Mouse, but honesty, after my sailing on the Disney Dream this spring, I was pleasantly surprised (and pampered) by all of the adult offerings.

Of course, my Hawaiian tour was intended for the day job, which means I would have been checking out all of the wedding options. Did you know that in the 20 years that Disney has been hosting the Happily Ever After Weddings, they’ve married more than 40 thousand couples? Packages are offered on the beach avec or sans arguably the most famous long-term couple.

[photos from Disney]

  • 2nd November
  • 02

Daydream Destinations: Royal Mansour Marrakesh

I may have literally just returned from the fascinating country of Morocco, but I’m already fantasizing about my next visit. I’d def. spend more time in the fishing city of Essaouria. And in Marrakesh, I’d hope that someone would be so super and sweet and nice and have me at the Royal Mansour.

I was lucky enough to get a mini tour of the unbelievably gorgeous riad (villa)-only property while there last week. Located behind the red walls of Marrakesh’s medina (old city), this ultra luxurious hotel is hands-down the most impressive hotel I’ve ever seen. (And trust me then I tell you—I’ve seen some of the best hotels in the world.) I’d spend one entire day just staring at the leather and stone walls of the chimney room. And yes. Yes, that is an entire wall made of glass that actually functions as a fireplace.

The next day, I’d move into the bar with its rose-gold walls, intricately embroidered club chairs and gorgeously domed ceiling. I wouldn’t need a riad—I could just sleep under the golden sky of the bar.

[photos from the Royal Mansour]

  • 27th September
  • 27

Daydream Destinations: Escape to Shape Cartegena

If I were the type of person that stuck to my guns when it comes to fitness, I’d (hopefully) look more toned and a whole lot less back fatty. So instead of waking at morning break to peddle to the sweet mash-up sounds of SoulCycle with my dear (and crazy!) friends, I’m focusing my energy on actually getting to a get-it-in-gear holiday away. (Good news: Husband said he’d help me pay for it!). This week I find myself wishing I could get on next month’s Escape to Shape excursion to Cartegena.

The week-long hosted program includes loads of functional fitness classes, some yoga sessions and all meals, plus cool cultural activities.

Of course, what really is tempting me is the opp. to replenish all my calories burned at the beautiful bars across the city. I kid. My meals will be the veggie-fresh versions of local favorites and I’ll spend all my downtime touring the colonial city. I may even paddle a board out into the pretty city bay.

[photos from Escape to Shape]

  • 20th September
  • 20

Daydream Destinations: La Maison Blanche

Since Countdown to Ibiza has concluded, I’ve hopped back on the daydreaming train. This week’s pick La Maison Blanche on Shelter Island in New York is a bit closer to home. The eight-room guest house, which is within walking distance to the island’s popular Cresent Beach, promises visitors a homey, yet luxurious stay. And I just I love visiting beach communities in the fall when the air is crisp, the water is moody and the beaches are empty.

Who wouldn’t want to take in that sunset from the perch of a giant porch?
But I’m most excited about the cozy, old-timey feel of the hotel that dates back to the 1800s.

[photos from La Maison Blanche]

  • 30th August
  • 30

Travel Tuesday: ABC’s PanAm

"You can’t beat the experience." That was the tagline for the Pan American Airways, known as PanAm in the 80s. Personally, I never flew the airline, which was one of the country’s first international carriers. But as anyone who has seen me talk on travel, trends and the state of the industry today can tell you, I long for the days when service wasn’t reserved for the front of the bus only. (Yes, I understand that airlines must deal with important life-threatening situations by the minute, but that doesn’t mean we can’t all be a little more civilized in the sky—and ground. And yes, I’m talking to you too, mister, in seat 18d who took up more than your allotted overhead space.) OK I’m digressing. Today’s Daydream Destinations feature is a bit of time travel, when airlines were a little more posh and the skies a bit more friendly. I’m excited to see what the series on ABC this fall is all about. Will they highlight the physical requirements to being a stewardess? Will they enhance the glam. factor? Or will it just be another way to package a story about people that work together jumping into bed? (Which, by the way was a strict no-no.) I’m also excited to see Ricci on the small screen. She was always Winnoa’s little sister to me, which means I’ll watch anything she ever does. Plus, I love her style. 
Happy Jetting.

[photos from ABC]

  • 9th August
  • 09

Travel Tuesday: Tory Burch Mexican Getaway Giveaway

Instead of doing my usual day dreaming, I thought I’d bring an opportunity to you:
Picture it, you here, or rather above. At this fabulous and uber eco-friendly Mexican resort. Of course you won’t just be lounging around your private beachside lagoonview suite at the Rosewood Mayakoba in just any old rags, no, you’ll be totally decked in Tory Burch. That’s because the Hamptons hip, designer and lifestyle guru teamed up with one of my personal favorite places south of the border for a great giveaway. In addition to receiving an amazing spa experience and generous airline credit, the winner also gets three nights in the aforementioned room and a your favorite pieces from Tory’s line. Go to for all the details and a chance to win.

You’ll enjoy exploring the property via the resort’s earth-friendly boats that float down fresh waterways.

And the Caribbean beach is as sparkling as you’d expect from a primo spot on the Riviera Maya.

At night, you can heat up the romance, stare at the sky looking for constellations or chill by the pool.

[photos from Rosewood Mayakoba]

  • 26th July
  • 26

Daydream Destinations: Indo

This morning Susan Miller told me that I’ve got a maj. case of wanderlust. I say yes, that’s true—always. I mean, it is most of the reason why I took the day job; i get to hop across the globe in search of romantic stories. Lately, I’ve been hopin’ and wishin’ and prayin’ that my boss lady would approve a two-week jaunt to Indonesia. It’s a culturally diverse country that offers travelers everything they’d ever what—historic and religious sites, cool food, wide beaches and active adventures. My favorite part of the movie Step Into Liquid was shot in Indo. If I were get the a-ok from the boss lady on my trip, I’d stay at the Amandari, a luxe retreat set in a sacred space in the regency of Ubud, the cultural capital of the country.

Then, I’d experience the beaches. Amankila is positioned on a mountainside overlooking a wide beach. Just look at that view of the hideaway!

Other beach adventures would include a retreat on Indo’s most known hot spot, Bali. Amanusa with its private beach, golf course and proximity to a see-and-be-seen Jet Set town, is the prefect base camp.

Speaking of camp, I won’t want to miss the opportunity to stay in Aman’s tented resort Amanwana located deep in the jungle.

[photos from Aman Resorts]

  • 19th July
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Daydream Destinations: The Ranch at Live Oak Malibu

True story: Every year New Year I make two resolutions. One is generally something I know I can accomplish like getting more pages in my passport or switching off the computer by 10pm so I can actually experience REM sleep when I decide to turn in. The other yearly promise to improve myself is to participate in a healthy retreat. That one, my friends seems to be the one I can never find the time to accomplish.
The fantabulous Ranch at Live Oak Malibu seems like just the place for me to escape, recharge, renew and finally tick that wellness vacation off my to-do list. 
I mean look at that pool area, don’t you want to sign up too? We can go together!
The week-long program features hiking, stretching, yoga-ing and loads of detoxing (but not in that we only drink greens kind of way, I swear). Food is pure, simple and capped at 1,500 calories, which is probably what I consume in coffee with soy alone, daily. Oh and there’s no caffeine or booze allowed. I’m totally convinced that if I spent a week there, I’d get my body, mind and spirit in shape that I haven’t seen since before the towers fell. Oh and if I sleep better at night that would just be the bees knees…

But the real reason why I’m dreaming about the Ranch and not some strip-downed ashram is because even while I’m breaking bad habits I like to feel a bit pampered with massages and fancy sheets.

[photos from The Ranch at Live Oak]

  • 5th July
  • 05

Daydream Destinations: Chatham Bars Inn

I maybe cheating a bit on DD since I literally just pulled in from two back-to-back extended weekends on Cape Cod, but it’s all I can dream about. To make it a little more travel editory dreamy, I’m choosing to spend some time at the sprawling oceanfront Chatham Bars Inn, or CBI as we locals call it. I’d love to be sitting on the wide porch of the historic inn overlooking the cottages, beach club and Atlantic.

I’d also wicked like to stroll down the wide beach looking out for seals.

Oooh, and I can’t forget a lemonade at the Beach House.

Of course if Husband is avec moi, he’ll want to head down the street to the Fish Pier for some piping hot chowdah, but I’d be just as content to stay in one of the fabulous, golf-course view spa suites, which feature a sauna, fireplace, steam shower and waterfall tub in every room.

[photos from Chatham Bars Inn.]

  • 21st June
  • 21

Daydream Destinations: Dunton Springs

Have I mentioned that I’m about as outdoorsy as the Empire State Building? I like the idea of being outside, but at the end of the day, there I stand unlike anything around me, all mod and sparkly. Which is why so many of my Daydream Destination picks are all about being sort of outside but still getting seriously pampered. The fabulous Dunton Springs in Colorado is no exception. The rugged, yet posh hideaway is actually a renovated former ghost town complete with a saloon, spa, 12 personal cottages and a chapel. Hello, adorbs destination wedding spot! Oh and did I mention the private winery? Yep, this place is one that I’d like to set up camp. Maybe I’ll go in the fall and try some kayaking, walking around the in the glorious surrounding natural setting and, you know, rewarding myself afterward with a soak in the “town’s” natural hot springs. Maybe I am a little outdoorsy after all…

[Photos from Dunton Springs]

  • 15th June
  • 15

Daydream Destinations: Mandarin Oriental, New York

My second wedding anni is in two weeks. We thought about escaping to the sea, but Husband’s work sched is just way too bananas. Instead, we’ve been eying a night at the ultraposh Mandarin Oriental New York. The bathrooms have awesome windows that look onto Central Park. The idea of sipping Veuve and luxuriating in a bubble bath (my favorite hotel activity besides watching TV from bed) reminds me of a decadent 80s movie. Of course, the fantastic hotel offers an amazing spa, which I’m sure I’ll absolutely enjoy, especially it it is even half the awesomeness that is the Mandarin Oriental, Las Vegas. I’m also excited for the idea of being a tourist in my own city. I’m one of those jerks who never does any touring unless I’ve got people in town or I’m jaunting off myself. This will be a new kind of getaway for me and the Husband. I’m stoked!

PS. I’m so (oooo) far behind in my review posts, but I swear my MOLV blog will be up soon.

[photos from Mandarin Oriental]

  • 17th May
  • 17

Daydream Destinations: Cap D’Ali

Last month’s royal wedding has placed the ever gorgeous Grace Kelly at the forefront of everyone’s radar. Her classic glamour and enduring graciousness has always made her a favorite style icon of mine (and let’s face it, everyone else in the free world). But I honestly think that it’s the fact that she got to live in the unbeatabley beautiful Kingdom of Monaco that made me admire her so much. As it happens last week, I fielded a request to further investigate an impeccable private villa set on a hill over looking the marina.
Now, I’m picturing myself sipping mimosas and rose (not at the same time) by the private pool.

Then I’m going to get toasty with one of the heated towels from the ultra-fab bathroom, which, of course, is one of many.

Before retiring to my princess room.