FOURTH FLOOR WALK UP

Brooklyn based lifestyle blog by Lauren L Caron

TRAVEL

FASHION | Travel To The South of France + Spain

FASHIONLauren CaronComment

SHIRT | EARRINGS | JACKET | HEELS | HAT | BATHING SUIT | SKIRT

I've finally settled our itinerary for our upcoming trip to France and Spain this May. It's going to be a bit of a splurge, but something well deserved for the both of us. The next step is planning our activities each day. I'm set on horseback riding in the Camargue region while we're in Arles, and the theme of the trip will be based around modernist painters, ones in particular; Cezanne, Van Gogh, Chagall, Renoir, Picasso and Dali, with visits to house museums and such. Another big part of our trip will be Cannes (which is also the main reason why we're going). My husband's student thesis film was submitted to Cannes and accepted! It is not likely that we will be rubbing noses with the stars, but we will have passes to the festival and I believe access to the shows. We are still finalizing those details. Another great concern for me, being a lady, is what will I pack and what will I wear for all of these marvelous activities?! Horseback riding is dirty stinky activity (although the smell is pleasing to me) and Cannes will probably include some put-together date night ensembles. I can't help myself but pull some inspiration from my favorite classic films like Breathless and To Catch A Thief. One thing's for sure, there will be lots of horizontal stripes - and I'm preparing for that by hitting the gym hard for the next few months! 

Above is a short list of a few things I'll be adding to my staples of tees, tank tops, denim, and sandals. I'm not much of a sneakers gal, but I have to find a good pair that will be cute and not too bulky. Luckily, it's en vogue to wear sneakers for almost any occasion. 

Design Crush: The Marlton Hotel

SPACESLauren CaronComment

There are few spaces that I become obsessed with and covet the look of. The Martlon Hotel is one of those places that boasts several spaces in which I'm in love with. The lobby's mix of chesterfield sofas and leather lounge chairs are that very cool. In the guest rooms the refined, classic moldings paired with modern fixtures and unexpected details are just so good.  I'm curious about the charming hand sconces, that live surprisingly well next the elegant Louis headboards. And I most happy about the modern chandeliers that are a great juxtaposition, which keeps the rooms from feeling too stuffy. Marlton_Hotel Marlton_Hotel_Lounge Marlton_Hotel_Lounge_1 Marlton_Hotel_The_Petite_Queen_Sheets Marlton_Hotel_The_Petite_Queen Marlton_Hotel_The_Full_Sconce Marlton_Hotel_The_Twin_Details Marlton_Hotel_The_Twin_Bath Since the hotel has opened I've been trying to source similar materials so that I can evoke a similar mood in my home. There are a lot of parallel features in my bedroom already, so that's probably reason enough as to why I fell for these spaces. The last few elements - throw on a faux fur blanket, add a Chinese garden stool and swap out my chandelier for something more modern perhaps? Here are a few products that I've gathered to help you get the look too. They're not exactly the same fixtures or products as you'll find at the Marlton but close cousins, that can be made even closer with a couple slight adjustments (headboard for example can be re-upholstered and leafed in gold). For the most part I've kept a modest budget in mind as well. Marlton

1. Light Fixture 2. Curtains 3. Pillow 4. Sconce 5. Sheets 6. Headboard 7. Chair 8. Faux Fur Throw 9. Chinese Garden Stool 10. Side Table 

Thanks for reading.

My Best

Be Inspired: Life Outside The Box

SPACESLauren CaronComment

Abby_Nydam_8 As you may have read, I recently took a vacation trip to Mexico with my husband for our one year anniversary. Not our original choice, but one that was made in part due to my friend who had so well sold me on the idea that Mexico was a wonderful place. Last summer, she had visited and stayed in both Holobox and Mérida. In Mérida, she stayed in a renovated Hacienda hotel. The Hotel Julamis is owned by New Jersey ex-pats who had made the decision to leave their corporate lives in America for a much simpler life in Mexico. Their life change dubbed as "living out of the box".

Over drinks after an insane day at work, we chatted about her experience and our common interests of wanting to more from life. That conversation is when she broke the news to me that she would be making a life change.

I first met Abby when she working as a Client Services Director for a boutique marketing agency in NYC. I was one of her clients. She had been living and working in New York since the age of twenty one and after nine years she decided to get rid of her apartment, all of the things in it and her job to travel around the world. She came to this decision after a particularly successful client meeting, when she realized that she was no longer inspired by the life she was living “in the box”.

In the Fall of 2013, she packed up, withdrew her savings and bought a one-way ticket to Europe.   The goal: to see the world and how others live, to experience cultures in a meaningful way that her two-week vacations never fully allowed for and to find inspiration in these experience – an inspiration that had been lost after years of 60-hour work weeks, consumerism and the struggle to get further and further ahead in NYC.

Since November, Abby has traveled to sixteen countries around the world and has lived in two, using them as a “home base”. She is currently living in Hanoi, Vietnam where she is eating pho and working on her first novel.

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Her advice on leaving it all behind, traveling, living and working abroad:

  1. Just do it. Set a date, pick a place to start and buy a ticket.   No excuses.   I have seen grandparents, young families, and single people living an ex-pat life. They make it work and are better for it. It’s not as hard as you think it will be.
  2. Forget any expectations you may have. It won’t always match up to your romanticized version. But, oftentimes, it will exceed it.
  3. Prepare yourself for the reality that much of world lives with very little. So you’ll have to excuse them if they can’t offer you a Grey Goose martini. Order the homemade wine or vodka instead.
  4. Stay with families as often as possible. This is how you really will understand a culture. Not in a hotel.
  5. Listen and ask questions. Learn as much as you can from fellow travelers , ex-pats and the locals. Talk to everyone.
  6. Strive for a level of kindness, compassion and humility that almost seems impossible. It will create an openness and trust that people will recognize. And in turn, they will treat you with the same.
  7. Remember we are all the same and want the same things. Rid yourself of any superior Western attitude.
  8. Learn to sleep comfortably uncomfortably.
  9. Have a supply of Cipro so you can eat on the streets.
  10. Learn how to count to 10 and how to say “please”, “thank you” and “hello and goodbye” in each countries language. Write it on your palm until you remember.
  11. Find happiness in small things that you would have just EXPECTED before: a jar of peanut butter, a can of really cold Diet Coke, a great dry cleaner, crosswalks, flush toilets.
  12. Meet people wherever you are through Facebook groups, Meet Ups, embassies, etc. Create a network and stay in touch.
  13. Don’t be afraid to be lonely. It will happen and then it will be over.
  14. Be patient. Not everyone needs to know how to speak English or know how do it y(our) way.
  15. Develop your hand gestures. Sometimes it’s the only way to communicate.
  16. Bring ¼ of the stuff you think you need.
  17. Don’t bring the baggage of your old life with you. Leave the toxic friendships and ex-lovers behind. Start fresh.
  18. Earplugs. Earplugs.   Earplugs.
  19. Don’t let anyone tell you your choice to leave is foolish. They are jealous. And they are boring.
  20. Be brave.

Abby_Nydam_12_ Nem Nướng Nhà Thờ.

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Abby_Nydam_17_ วัดเชตุพนวิมลมังคลารามราชวรมหาวิหาร - วัดโพธิ์, Wat Phoe

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Abby_Nydam_16_Hanoi, Vietnam

Abby_Nydam_15_Mdina, Malta

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Hanoi Photo by: Abby Nydam

All photos were pulled from Abby's instagram account. You can follow Abby's adventures through instagram, @abbynydam.

Thank you for reading, I hope you are as inspired as I am.

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Travel: A Little Mexican Holiday

Lauren Caron3 Comments

Photograph by: Lauren Caron © 2014 June 1st was our one year wedding anniversary and we decided to take a trip to Mexico to celebrate. When we vacation we always try to experience the culture of the places we visit so we decided to split our trip between two cities in the Yucatan Peninsula. The first stop was in the old Yucatan capital of Mérida. There I discovered the Hotel Hacienda Mérida. Highly recommended on Trip Advisor and extremely beautiful pictures sold me instantly. The hotel is located in a renovated Hacienda in the center of Mérida. Many of the streets in Mérida are narrow with even narrower sidewalks. The architecture ranges in style mostly of the Spanish influence, for the most part, the buildings look worn and torn from the street. There is a layer of dirt and peeling paint on at least every other building, which makes it difficult for out-of-towners to distinguish between the nice and not so nice areas. What we did learn found impressive was that from the street you can not realize the beauty that lies beyond the doors. Our hotel, is a wonderful example of this, a gorgeous oasis once you passed through the front door.

We had a wonderful time there and visiting parts of Merida. We took day trips to see for ourselves the Yucatan ruins and temples and swam in cenotes. Some of our most favorite experiences were visiting the tiny towns and villages. It's truly amazing to see how other parts of the world live. Learning about their lifestyles and understanding that living way the we do is not the only or the best way. People looked genuinely happy living a simple life. Poverty was present but they weren't any more dissatisfied than people that I know in my life. Mexico was beautiful and extremely eye opening, giving me another point of view and way to view the world.LaurenCaron©Mexico0603_34(sml)

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Photograph by: Lauren Caron © 2014

Photograph by: Lauren Caron © 2014

Photograph by: Lauren Caron © 2014

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For the second half of our trip we went to the Mayan coast to stay in a resort hotel. This is something neither of us have ever done or experienced. The ocean was immaculately blue. Our hotel although aesthetically nice, was just too much for us. It was difficult for us to just lay and soak up the sun. We sat by the pool and drank cocktails for the first day, but for the rest of the trip we chose to continue our exploration. We visited Tulum to see more ruins and Akumel to swim in the lagoon with fish and rays, and on our last day, visited Puerto Morelos.

Puerto Morelos is a small fishing village that is tucked away between the big resort towns of Playa del Carmen and Cancun. On this day we spent 3 hours in the clear water snorkeling around the coral reef. Here is where we saw a Nursing Shark only 15 feet below and touched a pregnant Sting Ray. Our guide picked up a conch shell for us to feel it's smooth, inner surface. We also saw Barracuda and Giant Parrot fish swimming freely amongst the most beautiful coral. What an experience.

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LaurenCaron©Mexico0603_90(sml)LaurenCaron©Mexico0603_91(sml)LaurenCaron©Mexico0603_93(sml)Sadly, I didn't escape Montezuma's revenge and came down stomach viruses. We were sure to be careful, but something caught up with us along the way. I guess Mexico had to send us away with a parting gift.

Thanks for Reading.

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More Venice - I Couldn't Resist

SPACESLauren Caron1 Comment

Hotel Antico Doge - Venice - Photograph by: Lauren Caron I had to post a few more photos of my Venice experience, Venice is beautiful and I had to share. Enough said. The first batch is of our hotel room. We stayed at the Antico Doge, which was so lovely and so Venetian. The rooms were filled with gilding, Morano glass and decorative plaster ceilings and floor to ceiling damask. The best part is that upon arrival, we were welcomed with a cold bottle of champange! Wow. Some of these images may look familiar as I shot them with my iPhone and uploaded them to Instagram. Hope you enjoy!

Hotel Antico Doge - Venice - Photograph by: Lauren Caron

Hotel Antico Doge - Venice - Photograph by: Lauren Caron

Hotel Antico Doge - Venice - Photograph by: Lauren Caron

Hotel Antico Doge - Venice - Photograph by: Lauren Caron

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Venice - Photograph by: Lauren Caron

Venice - Photography by: Lauren Caron

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Venice - Photograph by: Lauren Caron

Venice - Photograph by: Lauren Caron

 

Venice - Photograph by: Lauren Caron

Burano - Venice - Photograph by: Lauren Caron

Venice - Photograph by: Lauren Caron

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As always, thanks for reading. My best, Lauren.