I like to keep moving so much that I am even moving my blog! I have changed the title and look of my blog to better reflect all of my interests–not just travel (though travel is obviously my first love!). Please visit and subscribe to http://thebellissimaexperience.blogspot.com/. Thanks so much for reading!


Summer fast approacheth.  Here are a few easy yet essential products you can add to your warm-weather routine to look amazing all through the season:

Skinceuticals C E Ferulic ($130.99, Amazon.com)

It may be pricy, but Skinceuticals’ antioxidant face serum is a must.  This little wonder contains prime anti-aging ingredients Vitamins C & E, and protects your skin from UVA and UVB rays.  Plus, it’s waterproof—so it’s a great base for your sunscreen.  Best of all, Skinceuticals serum stimulates collagen production and banishes fine lines and traces of former sun damage.  Skin looks clearer, brighter, and more even-toned, allowing you to get away with less makeup.

Clarins Radiance-Plus Self Tanning Cream-Gel ($52.50, Sephora)

Self-tanners can be scary—but not this one.  The tanning agent in this cream-gel is cut with luxurious Clarins moisturizer, so the end result is more subtle and practically mistake-proof.

Antioxidant Daily Face Protectant 30 by Jan Marini ($48, Skincarerx.com)

This light, oil-free sunscreen by skincare guru Jan Marini contains anti-aging powerhouse hyaluronic acid, and it’s the best daily SPF available.  This protectant also produces a flattering mattifying effect, perfect for sweaty summer days.

Stila Sun Bronzing Powder SPF 15 ($28, Sephora)

Stila’s bronzer, available in two universally flattering shades, gives you that perfect, matte yet glowy look without any annoying glitter betraying its presence.  You won’t even need blush when you sweep on this beautiful powder.

Bobbi Brown Rich Color Gloss in Melon ($20, Nordstrom)

This sheer, warm coral works on almost everyone, and is especially fun when paired with sun-kissed skin.  Bobbi Brown’s glosses are goop-free, scent-free, and will stay put while you sip a summer cocktail.

I love the colorful, tribal fashions of other cultures: specifically, I adore the creations of the Maasai in Tanzania, and the Mayan in Guatemala.

Photo of Maasai by Dan Westergren for National Geographic

Guatemalan woman working tortilla magic (personal photo)

This spring, global and tribal fashions are “in” for the rest of us.  I like tribal touches all the time–a dash of the “somewhere else” in my everyday.  Whenever I visit another country, I purchase a cheap bracelet that reflects the spirit of the place.  A seashell elastic from Playa del Carmen; a turquoise, sparkly costume piece from Vienna.  This spring, I’ve also purchased a few more accessories that bring a sense of the exotic to my daily ensembles.

Forever 21 Tribal Wrapped Bangle ($4.80)--I bought a few of these to stack up the arm

Small Fortune Vagabond Necklace by Lizzie Fortunato (now sold out at shopbop.com)

Made with Love fair trade bracelets by Bop Bijoux ($32) at shopbop.com

I’m also lusting after Diane von Furstenburg’s wire Sahara bangles.  The amazing multicolor ones pictured below are already sold out on net-a-porter.com, but there are still a few other types of bangles on DVF.com.

DVF Sahara Bangles ($100)--sold out on net-a-porter.com.

Spring and summer are the perfect seasons to keep it simple and “pack light”, with an easy dress or tank and cutoffs, and to let your accessories be the standout features.

One of my favorite activities on our recent trip to Cabo was surfing in San Jose del Cabo, at the Cabo Surf resort.  I’m obsessed with surfing and surf culture; I make my husband watch Step into Liquid at least twice a month, and live vicariously through the blogs of some of my favorite surfers: Rob Machado and Liz Clark.  Unfortunately, I live in Colorado, which makes a consistent surf habit tough to come by.  But that doesn’t mean I can’t rock some Jack Johnson on the iPod and indulge in some of the funky, sporty new pieces just introduced by Cynthia Rowley for Roxy.

Cynthia Rowley for Roxy Sea Urchin Sandals ($79)

Kaleidoscope Tank ($56)

Line Up Leggings ($95)

I wonder if I work out really hard in those Line Up Leggings if I can acquire some surfer abs.  There is truly no workout like surfing–I love the feeling of being in the water and forcing yourself to work in a natural medium.  It’s like liquid yoga.  My surfing time is currently restricted to vacations, but I dream of the day we trade the mountains for the beach.  Till then–I’ll just sometimes dress like a surfer.

At kilometer 69 between Cabo San Lucas and Todos Santos sits Art & Beer, a wondrous homage to creativity and the eclectic.  This roadside palapa is filled with paintings and photographs and a magical vibe, and you can indulge in dramatic views of the surrounding landscape where the desert meets the sea.

The best part is that Art & Beer is not just a quirky feast for the eyes.  The cocktails and simply prepared seafood dishes are funky and delicious, and the portions are generous.  Check it out:

The Clamato, an enormous bloody mary filled with clams.

The natural piña colada, delivered in a cored and hollowed pineapple and loaded with fruits on the side, and consistently refilled whenever the drink ran low.

Complimentary clams on the half-shell and ceviche for snacks while we drank (though the libations were meals in and of themselves)—and when we paid our bill, we were given two more beers for free.

The bartenders were full of thoughtful advice as well.  When a fellow patron expressed concern that he still had to drive home from the place, the bartender said simply: “Drive slow.”

If you’re in the Los Cabos area, be sure to check out Art & Beer.  It’s quite the trip.

Cabo San Lucas, just outside Medano Beach and steps from our condo

Don’t you love it when a plan turns into reality–and the reality is even better than you thought it would be?

The view from our 5th floor deck at Misiones del Cabo

We rented a private condo from a retired couple through VRBO.com, and the place is even sweeter than we imagined.  We’re a bit outside of Cabo San Lucas’s main drag, which is fine by us.  We’re about a five minute drive into town, which puts us a nice buffer zone between us and SPRING BREAK 2010!!!!  Our modern quarters were thoughtfully designed–two sets of sliding glass doors (one from the living room, and the other from our bedroom) lead onto a spacious deck, maximizing the amazing ocean views.  Did you know it’s actually cheaper to travel like this?  Not only is your living space nicer and quieter, but you can purchase groceries and liquor like you do at home and then eat most meals in.  Why would you go anywhere else for happy hour when you can sit in your own private jacuzzi and watch the sun set each evening?

The view from our private jacuzzi

Our view also includes a surf break, where we watch experienced locals catch waves every morning and evening.  We might go attempt some surfing as well, but we’ll go closer to San Jose del Cabo where the waves are kinder to landlocked people like us.

I have to admit.  I’ve been a blog slacker.  No big news there, as you can clearly see my last post was in mid-January.  But I hit a slump.  I was quite depressed, actually.  Because at that point in time, I had no idea where my next trip was coming from.  My husband started a new business in June of 2009, right after our last big trip to Australia; our lives have been consumed by entrepreneurship ever since.  Normally, I’m the kind of person who brainstorms lists of places to go next in my travel journal when I am on the flight home from a trip.  And usually, I have a pretty good idea of when I might make the next trip happen.  It could just be a weekend jaunt that is only an hour away in our car–but making these lists of dream destinations fills me with giddy anticipation, the happy excitement that precedes the next adventure.  Though I made a list like this on my loooong return flight from Down Under last summer, I knew we wouldn’t be traveling for awhile.

Travel Dreamin'...from the airplane.

About a week ago, my husband told me he could afford to take a week off in March when I am on spring break, and he told me to ago ahead and research a Mexico trip.  No sooner were the words out of his mouth than I was on Kayak.com, obsessing over airfare prices and messing with departure and return days to see where we could finagle the cheapest flights (Tuesday to Tuesday is what we usually find).  Flight deals are more difficult to come by these days–but I would not be deterred.  It was our priority to visit the Pacific side of Mexico since we’ve been to the Caribbean side many times; and lo and behold, the best fare we could find was to Cabo San Lucas.

The view from our deck: El Arco de Cabo San Lucas

We eschew hotels in favor of condos or private homes available on VRBO.com (Vacation Rentals by Owner).  We found an amazing condo with a jacuzzi on the deck overlooking El Arco, within walking distance of surfing and swim beaches and just a short scooter ride from the main town of Cabo San Lucas.

Sunset in Cabo

My excitement for this vacation has revived me in such a way that it’s almost like I am ON vacation.  Daily chores or annoyances don’t seem like such a big deal when I have that mental picture of myself chilling in Cabo.  For me–from my lists of dream destinations to planning the logistical details of a trip–the anticipation and the waiting are two of the best parts of the travel experience.  I loved reading Tara Parker-Pope’s recently published post in the New York Times “Well” blog titled, “How Vacations Affect Your Happiness.” Dutch researchers confirmed what was true for me–that vacation anticipation boosts happiness even longer than the vacation itself.  It’s rewarding and exciting to take the time to investigate and weigh trip options.  Sites like Expedia.com and Travelocity.com are awesome, obviously, at packaging vacations and offering services at discounted prices.  And you’d still get that “anticipation boost”.  But for me, I like to stretch the possibility period for as long as possible by putting together my own vacation packages.  When each day I take a few moments to make e-mail contacts with condo owners or move into looking at activities on site, it’s like I was in Cabo for a short time.  Focusing on creating a pleasurable experience as much as I can leading up to departure day is a large part of a trip’s charm.  I’m back in the travel saddle!