Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Travel Tales: Safari

After departing Cape Town (and flying on a very small plane, which I white knuckled the entire way), we landed in Madiwke where our first lodge, Jamala Madiwke was located. Immediately upon landing, you can feel the majestic nature of the bush, which instantly draws you in. The zebras and jackals that lined the runway certainly added to the magic. 

Our guide, Lazarus, greeted us at the 'airport' and drove us via an open air Land Cruiser to our hotel. On our way there, he spotted a leopard in a tree, which apparently is quite the rarity...lucky us because he was stunning! Upon arrival, we were greeted with champagne and tea sandwiches overlooking a watering hole filled with hundreds of elephants. Not a bad way to start our safari experience. Within 3 hours of our first game drive, we saw the big 5 (elephant, lion, rhino, buffalo, and leopard). Words truly cannot describe what it feels like to be a few feet away from a wild animal in the middle of the bush with nothing surrounding you but open land and fresh air. From the endless sights, smells, and textures, Africa is truly unlike any other place. As each evening drive drew to a close, we enjoyed sundowners (cocktails during sunset) in the middle of the bush. Absolute perfection! 

After spending two nights at Jamala, where the staff could not have been more attentive and we pretty much had a luxury apartment (bigger than any in NYC) all to ourselves, we departed for our second lodge, Tinga, which is located within Kruger National Park. The decor at this hotel was to die for! I could not get enough of the various layers of fabrics, textures, and African artifacts and cannot wait to decorate a home someday with all of the goodies we picked up during our trip. The landscape at Kruger National Park was completely different than Midikwe, as it was more dense and lush. This made it a bit more difficult to spot the animals, however, even a drive with no animals was relaxing and special in its own right.

We flew back to NYC after 10 incredible days in South Africa. I will never forget this trip and look forward to the next one! I certainly have been bitten by the Africa bug...


Enjoying the sunrise  + views 

Sunrise breakfast safari style 

Lodge details 

Rhinos kicking up dust, photo credit Drew Doggett Photography

Elegant Zebra, photo credit Drew Doggett Photography

Family bonding, photo credit Drew Doggett Photography

African elegance at its best  

Watering Hole

Cheetahs just 3 feet away!

Sleepy time

Interior Design at our gorgeous hotel, Tinga Lodge


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Travel Tales: Cape Town

It feels like dejavu. This time last year, I was returning from a life changing trip to Uganda. If you had told me then that I would be back in Africa just one year later, I would not have believed you. However, I have fallen hard for Africa and, today, as I am writing this post, I can still smell the fresh ocean air and honeysuckle of Cape Town and hear the grasses rustle in the wind in the bush at night.

Just a few short months ago, my husband and I were presented with an opportunity to travel to South Africa and we immediately said yes (always my approach to travel). We worked with the very talented staff at Roar Africa and Passage to Africa who ensured our trip was seamlessly planned and perfectly executed. We started in Cape Town, which I pretty much instantly fell in love with from the second we checked into our hotel. I enjoy any good city but especially appreciate when a city rich with culture is set amongst gorgeous mountains and two oceans converging. This my friends, is Cape Town. Imagine fantastic food, shopping, architecture, and museums mixed with incredible sunsets seen from atop of a gorgeous mountain.

Some highlights of our time in this great city included venturing off the typical tourist path leading through the Cape of Good Hope and walking down the very steep stairs to the beach where we were eye level with waves crashing as they hit the beautiful rocky coastline. There truly is a sense of serenity when your view goes on forever and you can't see an end in sight. As our guide, Richard, put it, "sometimes our lives are filled with so much stuff and that it takes a view with an endless horizon to clear your mind." Considering, the only point south of us was Antarctica (which we of course could not make out), my mind felt perfectly clear in that moment. Another highlight was climbing the top of Lions Head to witness the sun setting over the ocean. You certainly cannot see sunsets quite like that in NYC! Our last highlight had to have been the drive through  the Stellenbosch Winelands to visit the Waterford Vineyard where we sampled chocolate paired with their best shiraz, cab, and dessert wine, which were so delicious, we needed to borrow an extra suitcase to bring home our purchases. From here, we drove to the stunning farm, Babylonstoren, which we were instantly captivated by. From the meticulous gardens, to the gorgeous gift shop, and top tier restaurant, this is a must see. From there, we said goodbye to our sweet little boutique hotel, Kensington Place, and headed to Madikwe for a safari (separate post coming soon...)

Sundowners at Clifton Beach

 Obsessed with these exotic flowers sold at the Biscuit Mill 


View from the top of Lions Head

This view just doesn't get old 

Cape of Good Hope

My favorite view 


Butcher shop at Babylonstoren



Gift shop at Babylonstoren

Incredible view from the gallery in the Ellerman Hotel

Our favorite dinner, The Greenhouse

Off to the safaris! 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Babylonstoren

I just got back from a whirlwind trip to South Africa with the hubs and had an absolute blast exploring this beautiful country. Before heading to a few safaris up north (more details coming soon), we spent four nights in the lovely and enchanting Cape Town. I was blown away by this city and must admit, I was hesitant to pack up my bags and move on from this amazing place. One of my favorite days was spent touring the Winelands, where we sampled lots of yummy local wines, chocolates, fresh meats and cheeses.

I had read about a place called  Babylonstoren via Departures Magazine and knew it was a must see while we were in town. Though the day was a bit dreary and chilly, the beauty of Babylostoren could not be denied. Located in the beautiful Drakenstein Valley between Franschhoek and Paarl, this working farm, garden, winery, restaurant and inn serves as the perfect peaceful getaway. Every detail from the farm sinks, to the well curated gift shop, to the modern yet classic accomodations, this venue is absolute perfection. There is no question we will be back sometime soon…

The adorable bathroom 

Modern Farmhouse 

Lilypads 

Beautiful Rose Garden 

Herbs & Florals 


Classic Dutch Design

The Bees Knees 

Butcher 

Friday, November 7, 2014

Laduree New York

Happy Friday readers! Here is a sweet treat to leave you with this weekend...

Paris is one of my all-time favorite cities and that's mostly because of the macarons (kidding but not kidding). Laduree has been in NYC for a while, however, they recently opened a Soho location that also hosts private events. I am attending an engagement luncheon there in November and am super excited to see more of the space and, of course, taste the yummy macaroons again. Pistachio anyone?

Photo via Racked

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Oh Joy Holiday!

I am a big Oh Joy fan and think her cute and stylish party supplies are the perfect alternative to a
cheesy matchy-matchy and generic look. I recently used her summer party supplies for a bridal shower in Maryland and paired the pink, green, and gold cups, plates, and favor bags with gold and white  napkins I found on Amazon and bamboo flatware.

I am super excited about her recent holiday collection and will certainly use these beauties for some festive entertaining this season!







*All photos by Thuss + Farrell via Oh Joy's Blog

Monday, November 3, 2014

Wedding Planning - Behind the Scenes

Curious what it is like to be a wedding planner? Here is a behind the scenes look at what my job really entails! This video is a time-lapse representation of the setup from one of Bellafare's favorite spring weddings this year. We are not typically in front of the camera but are loving this very special piece from the oh so talented Buzz Media Company. Enjoy!

Friday, October 31, 2014

Small Masterpiece

I am a total sucker for vintage table settings and was super stoked when I stumbled upon Small Masterpiece via instagram (honestly, what would we do without instagram?). When it comes to clothes I love a tailored look but when it comes to tablescapes, I think the more electric the better! I love a good etched glass mixed with enamel flatware and vintage porcelain. Enjoy this eye candy from Small Masterpiece's 18th and 19th century collection.







*All images via Small Masterpiece Website