Home Again, Home Again…
As much as I love to travel, I also love that feeling of returning home, and of being in my own space. I relish those moments of being greeted by the dogs, of popping into the kitchen to make myself a decaf espresso before unpacking, and going to sleep in my own bed. Sorting through two weeks’ worth of mail…not so much.
Travel can be rough on the body. Not only the time differences, but different foods, banging luggage around airports and train stations, and not keeping up with certain routines catch up with one after a while. My nails are peeling, I have a couple of random multicolored bruises, and am carrying a few extra pounds from all of the bread, pasta, desserts and wine we enjoyed. (And we did enjoy…had many wonderful meals which I’ll recap in an upcoming post.) So getting back to routines can be as welcome as getting away from them.
We’ve sometimes picked up new practices or routines while traveling that we enjoy and are able to incorporate once home. On our first trip to Italy in 2011, the hotel breakfasts always seemed to include lots of fresh fruit. When we returned home from that vacation, I made a point to add a nice bowl of whatever is in season to our morning routine. We’ve kept it going ever since.
The Good Coffee…
This time, it’s all about the coffee. Italy hands down has the best espresso, but I like something I can sip in the morning. Our hotel in Venice served coffee at breakfast made using a “moka” pot. It’s a wonderful brew, somewhere between a strong drip and an espresso. No bitterness or burnt taste. I asked Gian Luca who was in charge of the breakfast each morning to give me a tutorial, and learned it’s fast and easy.
- water goes in the bottom chamber, fill to just below the valve (the little button).
- fill the hopper that sits on top of the water with grounds. The coffee he used was ground a bit finer than for drip, but not powder-fine. Do not pack or compress the coffee.
- screw the top on, put the pot on a small burner (gas or electric) on high heat. Eventually you’ll hear bubbling as the water boils and travels through the grounds up into the top chamber.
- when the bubbling diminishes, turn off the heat. Let sit for a moment, then pour.
- wash the pot/parts with warm water only. No soap. (The woman at the Bialetti store where I purchased my pot also reiterated this.)
I really like the simplicity of this method, but especially the flavor and strength of the brew. I’ve been using it since we returned home and will continue.
Steps Toward A Style Reset…
That feeling of ennui I expressed in an earlier post, A Wardrobe Wake-up Call, has persisted, and has been exacerbated by living with such a limited wardrobe while traveling for the last two weeks. I’ve hit the wall with so much black, and even with denim to some degree.
And although we were mostly surrounded by other tourists, the periodic spotting of locals with some notable style chops provided a dose of inspiration. I think the Italians bring a certain élan and glamour to their style, even when they are dressed casually. (The men as much as the women!) As with Parisians, though, it’s all about the fit, balance and proportion.
My wardrobe needs some new life. What appeal to me now are lighter neutrals, a bit more structure, and a little color. Some interesting shapes and details that won’t overwhelm. My lifestyle is still casual, so I’m not looking for formality, just to add some pieces with more verve, like the jacket I purchased in Rome.
I picked up a few things in Venice and one in Paris, none of them black. They all fit at least one of the criteria above. A couple of them need to be shortened, but once that’s done I’ll include in some outfit posts. Some were spendy, others not so much, but all are great quality, classic pieces that will translate well to my LA style.
And to address those extra pounds, I’ve restocked the fridge with fresh fruits and veggies and am back on my lighter eating regime. I’ve also booked some Pilates sessions beginning this week, and am massaging my favorite cuticle cream into my nails at bedtime to help repair them. (Think I need to make room in my toiletries bag for this next time we travel.)
Have you picked up any routines while traveling that you’ve adopted at home?