Category Archives: Travel

Chapter 1: FRANCE

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I remember my first experience with Origins, the natural skincare brand, as a kid back home in Texas. It came to our local mall and I used to go in at least once a week to try all their products. I found that being in the store made me feel like I was already the world traveler I dreamed of being…from there I carried with me an understanding of the earth and how to naturally take care of your skin like a true sophisticated woman. Fast forward 15 years and here I am, sitting high up in the Manhattan sky with the team from Origins talking about doing just that- making a video discovering some of the origins of their natural ingredients for their new Plantscription Anti-Aging Power Serum all around the globe. It was a dream project!

Origins found two talented and knowledgable co-hosts for us to film on this journey together – Kim Mance , a travel writer, and Candice Kumai, a three-time cook book author, health journalist and TV personality. DiscoverOrigins_France_02

The first leg of the trip would take us to France with an always welcome overnight stay in Paris (obviously). We headed up to the Brittany coast to the Côtes-d’Armor, an area along the northwestern edge of France famous for its pink granite islands and rocky shores, where we found our first ingredient: Crithmum. I’ll let our two co-hosts Candice and Kim tell you more about that special ingredient here.

At times, filming in this charming area of France, I felt like I was living in a movie. Every window had the perfect explosion of flowers, all the locals were smiling as they walked home with their daily baguette, and the shops carried only the best local cheeses and produce…and a few other treats. It was a simple way of life where everything was just in its place. Taking photographs and making videos has led our lives to really amazing places and experiences. Here are a few behind the scenes images of our journey to France and the discovery of Crithmum ~

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Day 1: Getting to know the girls and their beauty routine.

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Greener Every Day

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When you think of green companies, you may not immediately think of jewelry. But John Hardy is absolutely a sustainable, environmentally focused company, and nowhere is that clearer than with their Bamboo Collection.

The John Hardy Bamboo Collection is inspired by nature and the wonder of bamboo. Bamboo is used in Bali for so many purposes – rituals, building, decoration, even fishing! It is a backbone of their economy and we saw it everywhere in Bali. It is no wonder this piece of island landscape is such a huge part of John Hardy’s identity. The company is very focused on their relationship with the surrounding community, as many of their employees come from it, and part of that relationship is making sure they limit their own impact on the environment and work toward making it healthy. Part of that promise involves bamboo: the prevalence of bamboo can spur the economy, and bamboo is also incredible for the environment - it limits soil erosion, grows quickly to offset carbon emissions, and helps maintain water levels.

In 2007, John Hardy began the “Wear Bamboo, Plant Bamboo” initiative, which allowed its consumers to help them plant bamboo by purchasing beautiful pieces of jewelry from the Bamboo Collection. This initiative has yielded 900,000 bamboo seedlings so far – in a space roughly 4 1/2 times the size of Central Park!

The pieces are special not only for their clean design and polish, but because each piece of jewelry is etched with the number of bamboo seedlings John Hardy was able to plant with the money paid. How wonderful to find a company creating such beautiful, peaceful designs and knowing that they work equally as hard to become greener every day…

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Below, an artisan begins working on a Bamboo Collection cuff, starting with the traditional French wax molding technique, after which the cuff is casted in silver and continues through the process of filing and polishing.

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NAGA

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You can’t help but be overcome by the romance of the NAGA story. All over Bali we kept seeing the face of the lovesick dragon in temples, as carvings and in the landscapes of the fable. As the story goes…

There is an ancient story of a dragon known as the Naga. He lives on the volcano peaks of Bali, but at night will descend into the ocean to see his true love, the Pearl. In the morning, the Naga rises up from the water and flies back to his peak. Water drips from his scales as he goes, nourishing the rice fields of Bali. During the day he keeps watch over the island, protecting Bali and its people, before returning to the ocean each night. Because of this routine, the Naga represents eternal love, prosperity, and protection to the Balinese people.

John Hardy’s Naga Collection takes this fable and brings it to life through dragon imagery: the scales along his body, his expressive face, and sometimes, glowing eyes. You can wear a Naga piece differently to mean different things – if you orient his head so it faces toward you, it represents eternal love and prosperity. Away from you, it means protection (this has to be my favorite application of a story to something wearable!)

Since the mythic dragon lives between volcanoes, we paid a visit to Mount Batur to hike up this active volcano which most recently erupted in 1963. Through volcanic activity over the centuries, a lake has formed from a collapsed crater. The visible activity of the volcano is a network of vents releasing hot gases – at the source, hot enough to warm food (in the case of our trek it was hot bananas!) It was my first experience on the top of a volcano, feeling its hot gases wrap around me as if Naga was watching the sun set, preparing his descent into the ocean to be with the one he loves….

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Beyond Lacoste…

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Lacoste is a treasure all its own, but Provence is full of little villages, each with their own magic and mood to explore. We would set out each time, seeking to come upon charming moments; to have enchanted evenings. I closed my eyes at the beginning of each trip and upon opening them, felt as though I was in a completely different world, one with unknown riches for me to discover. Every corner I turned was a new adventure, whether it led me to a restaurant nestled in the middle of a vineyard, a little shop filled with gorgeous vintage finds, or simply a cobblestone street set aglow by the light of fading day.

Provence, you have absolutely bewitched me…I cannot wait to return and uncover even more of your beauty…

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Above, standing in front of the Dora Maar house in Ménerbes, gifted to the artist and photographer by her lover Pablo Picasso as a separation gift.

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