Ice Capades

Perito Moreno Glacier slimpaley.com

The Perito Moreno Glacier, Argentina

PeritoMorenoglacier slimpaley.comSo. It’s bloody freezing everywhere, isn’t it? Honestly, I’m usually loathe to touch on the subject of global warming-not even vaguely my area of expertise (still actively searching for that) but who knew “warming” would translate to the coldest winter ever?!  My older son lives in NY, so I worry. He’s thin. Well, truth be told, my younger son lives in California and I worry. He’s tall. I’m my mother’s daughter-that’s my job.

Meanwhile, I’m finally, semi-partially-settled back into normalcy since returning from our family’s South American holiday. It was a wild ride. From 92 degrees with 110% humidity in Buenos Aires to strapping on crampons and glacier hiking in Patagonia, I felt like a contestant in “The Amazing Race”-without all the histrionics of course.

OK, there was the slight to medium-sized hissy fit I threw when my iPhone slid out of my pocket and down a deep crevasse on the glacier…

the glacier that ate my iPhone

But who could blame me?! It was brand new…wa wa. I hadn’t bought a new phone in a really long time (I’m one of those “but what if a new one comes out right after I buy the new one?”) I didn’t get insurance because I never lose or break things, wa wa.

Let’s just say it took me several minutes to recover.

Perito Moreno glacier, Patagonia slimpaley.com

But back to Perito Moreno.

The Eolo hotel, El Calafate, Argentina

We stayed at a most charming hotel, “The Eolo” located on a 10,000 acre ranch aprox. 25 minutes outside of the small town of El Calafate. From there, we drove to Los Glaciares National Park and boarded a small ferry to a cove left of the glacier.

Glaciares National Park  Slimpaley.com

There are a few small structures where you may picnic sheltered from the wind and watch ice move…which it does at a rate I’m forgetting, but a lot faster than you’d think. Just in the short space of time we were there, we saw a major caving off the front of the glacier, a mighty cracking noise followed by a tremendous boom and then startling silence.

Perito Moreno Glacier, slimpaley.com

The Perito Moreno Glacier is over 19 miles long and almost a 100 sq. miles in total. The average height above water is 270 ft, with depths reaching 550 ft. Part of an ice field that is the 3rd largest source of the world’s fresh water, it’s also one of only 3 Patagonian glaciers that is actually growing. Experts aren’t quite sure why.

Perito Moreno glacier, slimpaley.com

PeritoMorenoglacier slimpaley.com

Hiking to the glacier is a startling reminder of how even the wreckage of Mother Nature can be starkly beautiful

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Do you see those tiny black dots on the glacier? It’s the group of hikers ahead of us.

As the photos attest, it wasn’t the most ideal of weather conditions, but we did get lucky in that it wasn’t windy.

PeritoMorenoglacier

This was the last stop, where the guides helped you put on your crampons before climbing onto the glacier. There was also a bin full of soaking wet gloves in case you didn’t bring any. They didn’t mention the gloves were “left” & “right”   Just saying :-(

And off we went…

cramponing glacier slimpaley.com

Our fellow Amazing Race contestants

hiking the glacier slimpaley.com

Some people just know how to pack.

Whatever.

glacier hiking slimpaley.com

It really wasn’t that scary, but once and awhile you had to jump over stuff like this and imagine what it might be like if you slipped.glacier crevasse, slimpaley.com

This is the crevasse I passed through just before “The…INCIDENT” as my family likes to refer to it.

glacier slimpaley.com

As the entire trip had been conceived and planned by my husband, I hadn’t any preconceived notions of what to expect. I just let the entire experience roll over me and I must say it was exhilarating.

Especially when towards the end, we crested this peak and what to my iPhone-less eyes did appear…

Glacier Bar slimpaley.com

A COCKTAIL BAR!!!

Ice Bar , slimpaley.com

Whiskey…with plenty of  very fresh ice

whiskey on the rocks slimpaley.com

Our guides divvying  up our rewards

Whiskey on ice , slimpaley.com

Seriously-I don’t even drink whiskey but Mama was so happy to have her nice brown drink.

I removed my mouldy second left glove, toasted Ernest Shackleton and all the courageous Antarctic explorers who had gone before me…

and thanked my lucky stars I was getting back onto a warm boat and not crawling into a dank seal-skin sleeping bag in a wind torn tent for the next year and a half.

Phone schmone.

And you know…whiskey isn’t really that bad

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Stay warm, cozy and open to adventure.

xx SP

For an icy blast from the past, click here

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Anniversary at Amangiri

UtahSouthern Utah

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Happy First Week of August!

Here in Santa Barbara we continue to wake up to grey, gloomy skies

morning after morning, after morning.

Sure, it clears by mid-day most of the time but at the risk of sounding like a TV commercial, it makes such a difference to start the day off with sunshine don’t you think?!

We had no such problem in Utah earlier this year, where we traveled with a few close friends to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary.

The colour of the sky in the photo above is true, no filter, nada.

flying over Lake Powell

Arriving by air you catch an amazing view of a turquoise Lake Powell and the striated cliffs of the surrounding canyons.

Amangiri hotel, Utah

My girlfriends check out the view as we arrive at the entrance of our hotel.

The Amangiri  has been on my Travel Wish List since it first opened 4-5 years ago so I was thrilled to experience it on such a momentous occasion.

And I do believe hitting the 25 year mark in marriage these days can be considered momentous!

The hotel was everything we had hoped for and more.

First off, may I say that the huge pool area is outrageous and was built around a boulder that’s about 9 billion years old.

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OK, I don’t remember exactly how old it is but something really mind bendingly crazy.

You can see why I never considered being a geologist. Or a museum docent.

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(photo via Amangiri)

Travel, USA

The hotel sits in such a harmoniously unobtrusive manner that it’s barely visible until you’re almost directly upon it.

Way to go Amangiri architects.

Seriously.  I’ve had chin hairs more prominent.

cactus flower

The dashes of ultra saturated colours you glimpse here and there in the desert never fail to enthrall me.

hats & bags

Like all Aman resorts, the rooms are low-key, tasteful and chic.

Here, my hat with the bag, hat & walking stick the room provides.

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Stargazing bed, Amangiri Hotel, Utah

A star gazing bed on the roof of the only two-bedroom suite in the resort.

And you definitely want to be gazing skyward in the desert night.

Amangiri hotel, Utah

The complex is single-storied and designed so every room has both a beautiful bathroom with soaking tub, and a terrace with a fire pit facing out to the spectacular views.

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Two of my favourite words

spa

The spa does not disappoint. In fact, the technicians, despite their average age of, oh I’d say 19 (?!) were truly fantastic.

As were the yoga classes.

cocktails

Cocktails were generous, despite being poured in Utah.

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One cocktail and a 90 minute massage later, a spa-selfie is in order.

Do I really have to get dressed for dinner??

I dropped my phone on the concrete floor after this photo.

Relaxed much??

U.S. desert

The architecture, interior courtyards & walkways are full of interesting angles, shifts of light

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and spare, desert appropriate landscaping.

There isn’t a superfluous detail

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yet around every corner or slatted wall there’s something wonderful to discover

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The jacuzzi “amphitheatre” where we watched a movie projected against the wall one night.

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Peeking through the slats

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If relaxing poolside with a book is not your thaing, there are plenty of opportunities to get all sporty, including some great hikes…

Utah desert

In the distance you see the cave we hiked to from the hotel.  (Peer pressure)

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Slim Paley Instagram

My instagram shot from the cave interior

photography lesson

The Amangiri also offers a 3 hour complimentary photography lesson and hike.

Here, my silhouette shot of the instructor

rock formations, Utah

who imparted some really interesting tips about lighting and composition…

In addition to a plethora of geological information that I’d completely forgotten by the time we drove back to the hotel.

But these mountains and rocks are like really super ancient and form and deform in fascinating(ish) ways at a pace I can relate to.

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On a more serious note, we also fell madly in love with how skinny we looked in our shadow selfies :-)

Lake Powell

Lake Powell is just a short drive away, so one day we rented a boat and explored. I had NO idea of the vastness of the lake. It looked nothing like what I was expecting!

Lake Powell, Utah

Unfortunately, it clouded over a little that afternoon but the scenery was breathtaking nonetheless.

We docked the boat at one point and hiked to Rainbow Bridge

Rainbow Bridge, Utah

One the U.S.’s National Monuments, Rainbow Bridge is truly a site to experience.

Hiking Utah

A couple of the boys hiking back from Rainbow.

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For the more adventurous in our group, there was also a rock-climbing excursion (pinions, clamps, helmets, the whole 9 yards)

The pay off was traversing this suspension bridge at the top.

Super.

Don’t strain your eyes looking for me in this photo.

I’m back at the spa. Looking for the piece of my phone.

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Desert ‘Roses’

Amangiri hotel Utah

As night descends  on the Amangiri, a thousand lanterns light the labyrinth of paths and destinations where one can enjoy cocktails, dinner, or a movie under the stars.

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and when it’s time to retire, simply hook the  braided horsehair “Privacy” rope across the entrance to your suite.

(Genius. SO stealing this. Not the actual rope, just the concept)

Slim Paley

We shall see you again beautiful  Southern Utah.

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Until then, thanks for the wonderful memories.

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 Amangiri is located in the south west corner of the State of Utah, in the area referred to as ” The Four Corners”

The closest airport is in Page, Arizona, about a 25 minute drive from the hotel which provides complimentary shuttle services there and back.

For more information and photos of Amangiri click HERE

Happy Travels and Happy Weekend!

xxSP

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*PS. I have no affiliation with, nor receive any compensation whatsoever from The Aman Resorts.

Sadly.

Even though I’m a really loyal client. And I never took that rope.

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Whimsical Gardens (Part I)

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OK, first things first.

 I’ve made it into The Finals of “The Homies”! (YAY!!)  Thanks to you!

Now  I need your help just once more to win.

I’ve already fallen behind (BOO) but voting is even simpler this time.

Just click HERE

and you’ll see this:

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Easy peasy.

omg-can you tell I never got picked for any sports teams??

And now, without further pestering, the post;

editorials-garden-of-delights-carolineTim Walker

I don’t know about yours, but my garden looks like a dog’s breakfast right now.

Other than a few wildly optimistic blossoms on my pear tree that never grow pears (the eager date who shows up way too early-sweet, but it’s like never going to happen)

 I’ve got nada. Zilch. Strike out.

Not only that…but more of this happened …

IMG_2876My last big willow bit the dust.

@$^&*(*%$#

Willow trees in Southern California are undoubtedly beautiful but let me tell you-they need a lot of supervision and attention.

They grow super fast, uproot easily, turn your back and they attract pests, and don’t look so great for a few months every year.

Basically, they’re the teen-age boys of the tree world.

So now I have about 10 of these wonderful stumps sitting around and I’m trying to decide what to do with them.

The Silver Lining is a dead tree turns into a beautiful ______ (Fill in the blank-don’t worry, this isn’t another contest :) )

I’ll put a few back in the garden as stools but I’d love to hear your suggestions on what to do with the rest.

I  love pretty much everything with a touch of whimsy, but particularly in the garden.

Nothing more boring than spaces that take themselves too seriously. Life’s too short.

Screen Shot 2012-11-04 at 10.03.20 AMAnna Williams

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Screen shot 2011-06-24 at 12.54.17 PMboth images via Pinterest

One of the reasons why I love gardens that incorporate “rooms”, no matter how small, is that they allow you to come upon hidden surprises, which is often the best way to add a sense of whimsy to your outdoor spaces.

l1090996One magnificent example of this is the incomparable Ninfa Gardens in Italy, which contains several ‘rooms’ as well as the pristine Ninfa river running through it.

l1090989Ninfa

L1040414Another is the garden created by Japanese silent film star Denjiro Okochi, located in the Sagano district of Kyoto, open to the public yet not wildly busy.

A stroll through the small, stunning gardens ends with a steaming cup of Macha in the tea house.

L1040410Speaking of teen-age boys…my younger son kicking it at the Okochi gardens.

Screen Shot 2012-11-04 at 9.59.57 AMMoss gardens or simply allowing any ground covering to rule also add a lovely sense of whimsy.

IMG_2849a fuzzy pic of my ground cover

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Manolo Blahnik

I wish these were in my garden

 One of the most effective ways to create a whimsical effect is to place items normally found indoors, outdoors…

L1100410This “room” at “Lunuganga” in Sri Lanka (more of this garden and house in an upcoming post-It’s truly beyond)

L1100422Some of the arches are mirrored, some are not. How flipping genius is that?!

L1100418See me??

Screen shot 2011-06-27 at 6.01.47 PMChanel

Garden-MirrorOf course outdoor mirrors can be applied in much smaller gardens and apartment terraces

120119515032177572_Nijg0ekB_bboth pics via Pinterest

I’ve used mirrors outside in many outdoor scenarios.

Which I can’t show here.

Because  I’ve got “Save It For A Book” Fever now.

Screen Shot 2012-07-07 at 2.15.00 PMGiambattista Valli 2012

L1100455Another glimpse of “Lunuganga”

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The very best thing about applying whimsy to the garden is that it’s utterly boundless.

And almost inevitably, you’ll get a helping hand from Mother Nature.

Whether you wanted it,IMG_2876or not.

Happy Grammies, Downton Abbey (almost over :() and to those of you on the East Coast-stay cozy!

xx

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Instagram Friday

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Good Friday to you all. It’s very dark and raining heavily in Santa Barbara. Practically pea soup as I look out my window. Sunset was at 4:38pm yesterday-yuk ( I have a Sunrise/Sunset App.).I snapped this Instagram photo of the granite grey sea and sky yesterday morning. It made one want to just stay in bed with a frothy hot drink and a great book while a hearty stew simmered on the stove. I wish I could say I did just that, but I dihn’t.

77e9008038f711e2a88722000a1f90d0_7The sky the night before was a good predictor of what was coming. I’m having fun with my Instagram App.  Are you using it? Are you following moi? This is with no filters, just plain.

db1f8d0a3b1711e292a022000a1faf61_7This morning there was a brief lull in the rain so I took a walk through the garden. Look at how gorgeous the trunk of the Cork Oaks get when they’re soaked through.  I think these are such under-rated, beautiful trees.  I wonder if Oprah has any on her property :)

1c8ece443b1911e29f1422000a1fbc0e_7Still with the roses… God bless em.

825649843b2111e292eb22000a1fbd89_7-1And can you believe it’s this time of year again?!  The house is filled with the scent of drying orange slices for the Christmas tree.

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It’s definitely this kind of day today. I’m staying in, staying dry & cozy and hopefully get some writing done.

Cocktail hour might even commence before 5. The weather made me do it.

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PS. I took the above photo with the “Cinemagram” App.-it’s also fun, check it out.

Hey wait- did that just technically make this a “Friday Favourites” post?!!

Wishing you a wonder-filled weekend.

xxx

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Slow Dance

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Greetings from my home in Sun Valley, Idaho, where Summer and Fall are just beginning their slow dance.

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The view from my bench at the river’s edge

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The water level is lower than I can ever remember it in all the years of coming here

I could actually walk out, almost to the middle and fish.

(if I knew how to fish. Love those cute waders though.)

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It also revealed this big pile-up of wood  right below my house, which I suspected might be the work of naughty BEAVERS!

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So after going back in and changing into Rabid Beaver Bite Protective Gear…

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I carried a long stick and bravely ventured closer.

(everyone that could save me from attacking beavers was still sleeping)

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On closer inspection, the wood was all charred and was just the stump of an old tree felled by the forest fires much farther north this summer.

Phew.

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But Mother Nature had also been very busy creating new life, even as we approach this season of dormancy.

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The Hops vine I planted eons ago finally took root and decided to blossom.

I’m not saying I’ll be starting a home brewery anytime soon, but I might have some nice garlands to festoon the mantle for Fall.

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growing hops

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But the biggest and best surprise of all (and boy, was it a surprise!) was opening the door of our home to find New York Son standing there waiting for me!!

My husband was in on the secret, but somehow managed to keep it under wraps (truly, a miracle ) so when I said “I’ll turn off the alarm” and my husband said “I told them to leave it off for us” you might well imagine the split second of horror I experienced upon seeing a big dude in a black leather jacket standing in the mud room!

Once my heart started beating again, it was overflowing with happiness!

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That afternoon we hit all our favourite spots in Ketchum

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The Iconoclast Book Store

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F. Scott Fitzgerald

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Where the husband picked up this beautiful edition of  “The Beautiful and Damned”, my son bought the latest Junot Diaz book and I found an old book about coconuts (can you say obsessed?!)

 I finished “Gone Girl” and I’ll say this; it was a real page-turner.

In fact I really didn’t want to put it down until the end, which-oh I hate to say it!

was so implausible that it ruined it for me.

soorrreeee :(

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Hot dogs were consumed at Irving’s. Me: 1.  Son: 4.

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Some fun window shopping at Jensen Stern Jewellers 

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How fun and unique and very “Sun Valley” are their windows?!

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Good beaver hunting chandelier earrings

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Vegetarians look away now

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Mighty Man-sized steaks were grilled

Books were read and football watched(ish)

No hiking for me due to the tail bone injury.

We also enjoyed the documentary “My Best Fiend” by Werner Herzog about his relationship with the actor Klaus Kinski.

Listen, if you’re ever worrying that you might be going crazy?

Watch this documentary and you’ll feel better. You’re like, so normal compared to Klaus.

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All in all, a most excellent time was had by all.

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The leaves of the trees on our property snapped with my iPhone, and not enhanced in any way.

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So I might even go so far as to say I’m almost ready for Autumn…

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But not for the clocks to be adjusted.

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In the park, downtown Ketchum.

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Wishing you a terrifically splendid and sane week

xoxo

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