Travel

Shop Bargain Manhattan Thrift Stores: An Airbnb Experience

My first day in New York since March 2020 was a success. I arrived at Moynihan Train Hall with two events lined up: an in-person Airbnb Experience in the morning and my university reunion in the evening. After getting acquainted with Amtrak’s new hub, I headed to Made Hotel where I met up with Sammy Davis, the host of “Shop Bargain Manhattan Thrift Stores.” Two other women from the West Coast rounded out our group of four.

We settled ourselves in low-profile seating around a large coffee table in the hotel’s lobby. As the conversation struck up, I realized that our time together would be special. Our combined personalities created a vibe that was energetic yet relaxed. We discussed our personal styles, shopping goals, and motives for joining the group.

The women in my company had a real zest for life, and we connected over our shared interest of shopping. The social aspect and exercise appealed to me the most. I closed the rings on my Apple watch effortlessly while trekking between shops. We visited a total of five secondhand stores. Of all the clothing I saw that day, two items stood out. The first: the Ingrid wrap dress by Mara Hoffman. Originally retailing at $398, I spotted it in black at Crossroads Trading for $65. I ultimately decided to pass on the item because the style was a little too long and the price a little too steep.

The second item, found at Housing Works, was a khaki-colored pleated skirt from Talbots. I left with this one. A year-round staple for sure! One lucky woman ended up with several bags of great finds, but I was more than content with one. (Quality over quantity.) And besides, I didn’t want to show up to my reunion with extra bags.

To find the best deals, it is wise to thrift early in the day and often. I’ve added the stores from the experience to the New York Guide, but thrifting alone doesn’t compare to bargain hunting with Sammy. She’s an expert and recently shared her tips for shopping secondhand on New York Live.

Works Sighted

Photos by Sammy Davis

Mara Hoffman dress // J.Crew mask

Sail to Sable dress // Talbots skirt // Superga 2790 Acotw

Prepare a feast with French macaron: An Airbnb Online Experience

After realizing that a coffee table book wasn’t going to cure my wanderlust for Nice, I packed my virtual suitcase and booked “Prepare a feast with French macaron.” The Airbnb Online Experience started promptly at 1:30 PM Eastern Time (7:30 PM in Nice). My personable host Emma Lloret greeted me with a welcoming bonjour, and we conversed a bit in French before switching to English for the baking lesson. Teaching French is one of her many talents, and she was elated that I could parler un peu.

Emma guided me through every step of the macaron-making process from preheating the oven to cooling the shells. A history lesson was also included during the macaronageCatherine di Medici, wife of King Henri II, is accredited with the macaron’s migration from Italy to France. Back then, they didn’t look like the ones from Ladurée or Pierre Hermé. Emma’s finished product looked pristine, but some of my shells resembled snails. Squeezing the batter out of the ziploc bag onto the baking sheet was more challenging than I’d imagined. During the lesson, I rediscovered the intricacies of my overly-powerful oven. Americans would say practice makes perfect, but the French know personne n’est parfait.

Emma offers several other online cooking classes:

Don’t they look too good to pass up.

Packing for Nice

Outfits for Nice, France

My mind has been on the Côte d’Azur lately, so I signed up for an Airbnb Online Experience based in Nice. “Prepare a feast with French macaron” is hosted by Emma Lloret, founder of the brand Delicious by Emma. In addition to teaching cooking classes online, the entrepreneur runs a bed and breakfast, teaches French, and welcomes travelers around her table for breakfast and brunch. I intend to inquire after this studio or one bedroom whenever my travels bring me to Nice.

My preliminary research led me to Emma’s Airbnb guidebooks (one, two, three, four, five). The restaurants I’ve included in this roundup are based on her recommendations. Come along with me as I bookmark online resources and pack my virtual suitcase for Nice.

Guides

Sights

Restaurants

Works Sighted

balconette swim top // highwaist swim bottom // tote // scarf // wrap dress // tank dress

sunglasses // towel // coverup // Superga 2750 Cotu classic // purse // tee shirt // slides // lace-up sandals // heeled slides // skirt

Travel Essentials

Travel essentials: AWAY carryon, L.L.Bean boat and tote, notebook, BAGGU, Cetaphil, peppermint essential oil, London Undercover umbrella, S'well bottle, Apple iPhone and EarPods, Cadence capsules, Stoney Clover Lane luggage tag and passport cover, J.Crew scarf.

Ah, the joys of trip preparation. Buying miniature tubes of toothpaste at the pharmacy. Affixing my luggage tag to the handle of my suitcase. Deciding which vitamins to pack. Curating a week’s worth of outfits. Designing my own survival kit. Setting an itinerary. I’m not going any farther than my city’s art museum for the time being, but traveling, my favorite pastime, is always on my mind.

Works Sighted

Baggu bag // S’well bottle // Cetaphil cleanser // Cetaphil lotion // Stoney Clover Lane travel pouch // doTERRA peppermint oil // Cadence capsules // J.Crew scarf

Designworks Ink notebook // Stoney Clover Ln luggage tag // Stoney Clover Ln passport cover // Colgate toothpaste // Burt’s Bees lip balm // tissues // toothbrush // J.Crew socks // Trtl travel pillow

Away carry-on // Uni-Ball pen // portable charger // Madewell pouch // RFID blocking card // Babyganics sanitizing wipes // toothbrush case // L.L.Bean Boat and Tote // London Undercover umbrella // book // Apple EarPods // universal travel adapter // phone

Escape to the Chateau

Outfits inspired by Channel 4’s Escape to the Chateau. Two dresses and gardening clothes for your visit to Château de la Motte-Husson.

You’ll recall that a bottle of Chateau du Petit Thouars Crémant de Loire prompted me to travel virtually to the Loire Valley this past November. Visiting the makers of my favorite Crémant has been on my to-do list since the holiday season, but Channel 4’s Escape to the Chateau is starting to inspire a full-scale Loire Valley itinerary. I’ve recently added Château de la Motte-Husson to the list of stops.

The nineteenth-century house is a two-hour drive from the Château du Petit Thouars, but stops in Tours, Angers, Le Mans, and Laval are bound to extend the trip north by a few days. The venue is available for hire during the wedding season, but its owners offer other opportunities to see the chateau first-hand. I envision myself taking part in the gardening days and food-filled festivities. The grounds are also outfitted with pods for glamping.

It has been a joy to see Dick and Angel Strawbridge transform this 45-room house. I’m currently on episode 3 of season 3, and there are 7 seasons in total. If you’re in the UK, you’ll be able to watch via Channel 4, but as a resident of the US, I’ve been tuning in via Peacock TV. Dick and Angel are such a creative team! I can’t predict what improvements I’ll bear witness to next, but I’m sure I’ll find myself in awe several more times as the series progresses.

Works Sighted

The Floral Society apron and glove setJ.Crew linen shirtCOS pantsSuperga 2750 Cotu Classic

Sunbody Hats straw hatJessie Zhao silk scarfKayu tote

Alex Mill dressSuperga 2750 Cotu Classic

Aurate earringsMiss Dior eau de toiletteL.K.Bennett clutch

Staud dressSarah Flint heels

Art elements from thechateau.tv

Airbnb Online Experiences: My 2021 World Tour

An aerial view of County Dublin.

In addition to my family, friends, and writing this blog, Airbnb Online Experiences have kept my spirits up during Covid time. The experiences went live in April 2020, and I discovered them this past August. Over the last four months, I’ve traveled to Lisbon, Palombara Sabina, and Paris via Zoom. (For a comprehensive list of previous posts, refer to the archive.) With the first leg of my world tour complete, I intend to take a break from Airbnb activities until the new year. However, I’ve curated a list of experiences to look forward to. My 2021 virtual trip around the world will probably look something like this:

Works Sighted: My first look at County Dublin (October 2018)