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January Travel Inspiration

A few months ago, I took a couple of weeks and spent some time in the south of France, Paris, and London touring, eating, spending time with friends, and enjoying the amazing fashion, art and culture these locales have to offer.  There are many exciting things to see and do but I want to share a few of my favorites  with you.

South of France  For some relaxation before heading to Paris and London

 

Where to Stay: The Hotel Du’Cap Eden Roc in Cap D’ Antibes is at the top of my list. This luxurious hotel is 140 years old.  It caters to every traveler’s needs with fine dining at on site gourmet restaurants to a variety of water sports and fitness activities.  We found that we did not even need to leave the hotel choosing to stay on the grounds for entertainment and dining. Total relaxation!

Paris
 

Where to Stay: You can immerse yourself in luxury at the Four Seasons George V hotel in Paris located steps from the Champs – Elysees.  The hotel is elegant and charming with unmatched service.  This is a shot of the beautiful courtyard.

 

Where to Dine: le Relais de l’ Entrecote was quite a popular restaurant and one of my all-time favorites. The line to get in is always long, the menu is short, simple, and worth the wait.


What we Did and What to Do: The above picture is artist Yayoi Kusama's signature splash of dots. We were so lucky to see this installation and captured this photograph of the window display at the Louis Vuitton store in Paris.

Back in 2007 Paris established a fabulous bicycle sharing plan. You rent them at one spot, ride to your destination and return them nearby. With 1,200 rental stations, you can bicycle ride all over Paris.

No one could possibly visit Paris without seeing the iconic Eiffel Tower. Wether you choose to go to the top or simply walk below and admire this beauty, make this a definite stop on your list.

Pay a visit to The Marais district in Paris.  This is a shopping, art, and dining destination.  The streets are narrow and intricate and the atmosphere is lively.  This is a great stop if you enjoy window shopping and people watching.

Of course I managed to find lots of time to do window shopping. I found beautiful furniture and accessories at the Du Bout Du Monde, which translates to the End of the World. What a great name for a shop. The top right photo is an interior view of the new Hermes store in Paris, not to be missed. The bottom right image is the exterior of Tom Ford’s store entirely dedicated to the brand's menswear line. Talk about great shopping options!


 

Where to Find Niven Morgan: Look what I found when I visited the Conran Shop in Paris-my Jean Baptiste 1717 collection! The Conran Shop is always worth a visit. Founded in 1973, The Conran Shop’s roots are in London but it has grown to be one of the premiere lifestyle retailers in the world. Offering a unique hand-picked blend of gifts, furniture, lighting, and home accessories… I always find something to take home.

London

Upon arrival in London, I enjoyed traditional afternoon tea at award-winning Claridge’s Hotel. In contrast, Claridge's bar is a wonderful, stylish champagne and cocktails venue in London.  It is a great place for two or to meet friends.




Around the corner from the Claridge Hotel you’ll find Scott’s Restaurant, a seafood restaurant offering the finest oysters and fish that side of the Thames. The iced display shown in the above left image held flawless shellfish. In the image on the right is The Grenadier, a traditional British pub in operation since 1720. It’s a great spot to relax and have a beer or bloody Mary.

 

I know I already raved about the Paris version of The Conran Shop, but every location is different from the others. In London the Chelsea version is in the historic Michelin House building. Yes, that is ‘The Michelin Man’ there in the stained glass. Within I found lovely contemporary furnishings, lighting, plus accessories from fun to practical. Definitely a stop worth my time!

 

As with Paris, I found myself spending time with friends. This is my last night in London, celebrating with one last great party.

I thoroughly enjoyed my time in the south of France, Paris, and London. These locations beautifully flaunt their well-preserved cultural heritage. It’s hard not to fall in love with places that are the height of design, fashion, culture and style-inspiration in abundance for a guy like me.

Transport yourself to London with my London English Currant candle.  This candle is reminiscent of rose gardens found throughout London.

Niven Morgan For Him

Gentlemen... Niven Morgan for Him is here. Our new, fragrance free facial collection is man made with men in mind. Just because you’re a man doesn’t mean you don’t want and need to take care of your skin.
 
“I created a men’s line that I wanted to use. I want younger, healthier looking skin, not complicated skin care.”

This is a simple routine: Prime Time Pre-Shave to prep the beard and moisturize the skin, Razor Made Shave Cream is formulated with soothing botanicals for a comfortable shave, Double Duty Cleanser & Exfoliator is a gentle, two-in-one product, and Daily Dose Facial Moisturizer is formulated to help fight the signs of aging.  There’s no need to give up on a great complexion. Niven Morgan for Him is clean and simple, just what we men need.

For my lady readers…this collection is a great Valentine’s Day gift idea. We both know he needs and deserves great skin!
 
 

Virtouoso Life - 5 Travel Essentials

The founder of Niven Morgan Bath, Body and Home Products finds scent inspiration around the globe, from the streets of Capri and Marrakech to the breezes of the Caribbean. His current travel dilemma: Return to favorite destination southern Africa or visit French Riviera's iconic Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc? Read the Full Story


Buying for the Hard to Buy for

 

Do you have some hard to buy for people on your Christmas list? Don’t we all?  Is it getting harder to find just the right gift for that hard to buy for person? Friends and family members who already have everything they want and need, can be incredibly hard to buy a creative or useful Christmas gift for! So how do you make Christmas merry for the folks who seem to have everything? Today we're going to share some creative gift ideas for those hard to buy for people.

Tis the season of giving! So give to your loved one’s favorite charitable organization. Knowing a bit about the person you’re giving to plays in heavily here. What topics are your receivers the most passionate about? Dog rescue? Child abuse? Education? Is there perhaps, a medical research foundation that would be appropriate? Juvenile diabetes research? Breast cancer? Alzheimer’s? Take some time to really think on this. Choosing the right charity can touch your loved one’s heart deeper than you might think. It tells them you listen. That you care about what they care about.

If you’re a bit strapped for cash, perhaps you could make your charitable gift something that’s a bit more meaningful. Consider donating the gift of time in your loved one’s honor. Or even better, with your loved one! If your mother was an avid reader, maybe the gift of reading aloud to the elderly at your local senior living center would be appropriate. Or you could head up a donation drive through soliciting children’s books donations from your other friends, family, or coworkers. Chronicle your time through keeping a journal, a framed photo, or even making a small scrapbook. A remembrance of the time you spent together in service will truly stand the test of time for your loved one.

The beauty of giving these types of gifts is that it means so much to your recipient, plus you’re doing something meaningful for the world, too. By avoiding the trap of materialism and competitiveness and focusing on gifting charitably and meaningfully, you will enjoy a much more financially sound, peaceful, and fulfilling holiday season.

Niven’s 2012 Holiday Gift Guide

Are you still working on your Christmas list?  In completing my holiday shopping, I found a few things that might inspire. Today, I share with you my five favorite gift ideas for the 2012 holiday.

 

1. Old Fashioned Glasses:

This set of four low-ball glasses adds a touch of luxury to any table setting. They are hand painted in an 18-karat, yellow gold lattice for an elegant look. You’ll find them at Neiman Marcus and Target.

2. Cartier Juste un Clou Bracelet:

Designed in the 1970’s during the creative frenzy in New York, Juste un Clou bracelets are stylish and unique.  The collection re-launched with a show at the Cartier Mansion this last summer, Cartier & Aldo Cipullo, New York City in the '70s, and paid homage to the brand’s iconic history.

3. Monogrammed Sferra Cocktail Napkins:

SFERRA, is known for their fine line of bed and bath linens, but they also have fine cocktail linens. If you’re looking for a gift that is both practical and decadent, consider having a set of Sferra cocktail napkins monogrammed for your family or friends.

4. H. Bloom Bouquet:

H. Bloom is now blooming in Dallas. The variety of styles they offer is endless; offering everything from sophisticated succulents to beautiful seasonal arrangements, there’s a flower for everyone.  H. Bloom arrangements for a one time purchase or by monthly subscription service.  It’s the gift that keeps on blooming.

5. NM Gold Collection:

Sophisticated and sexy, my Gold Collection is sure to make a wonderful gift. Always subtly elegant, a little Gold perfume spritzed on makes a stylish statement with scent. If your gift recipient isn’t much for wearing perfumes, perhaps the warm glow of a Gold candle would be more their taste.

Whatever you buy for your loved ones this season, make the best of the holidays by focusing on enjoying your time together.

Best Holiday Décor Tips

If you’re anything like me, as soon as the leftovers were put away, you were ready to get the Christmas decorations out of storage.  Did they leave you feeling a little uninspired? Making the decoration medley in the storage closet look great is a challenge every year. Today we share some tips for turning your eclectic collection of holiday décor into pure gold this holiday season.

1. If you want to make things simple, stick with a single theme and style for your holiday decorating. Shopping for décor becomes easier and it makes your space feel professionally finished.

2. When you open the door for your guests, the first thing they sense is the smell of your home. Make sure it’s pure heaven they get a whiff of by strategically placing high quality scented candles near your entry and throughout the home. A pleasant aroma adds a level of authenticity to your holiday gathering. Better yet, bake some holiday cookies shortly before guests arrive. Anything with cinnamon or cloves will do the trick. Homemade gingerbread works beautifully too. Bonus, as mentioned in our last post, candlelight makes your space warm and inviting.

3. Choose two to three colors for your holiday palette and keep it consistent. More than one color palette can make your decor appear disjointed and busy.

4. Get creative with your space for this special time of year. Rearrange your furniture so the focal point is the fireplace with stockings hung or the tree.  If you don’t have a fireplace, arrange the furniture to create the best layout for cozy conversations with family and friends.

5. Become a collector. Choose a sentimental item you can grow through the years that can also be passed on to the next generation.

6. Bring the holiday celebration into every room. Kitchens and bathrooms are great places to put scented candles and smaller seasonal knickknacks.

7. The holiday season is one time where “less is more” does NOT apply. Have fun and do it up big!

Travel Weekly - Saint Hotel contemporary yet faithful to roots

By Johanna Jainchill
Posted on: November 28, 2012

View Source Article

 

Its name might indicate otherwise, but sinners are also welcome at the Saint Hotel, one of New Orleans' newest and most buzzed-about properties.

The Saint opened last year on Canal Street in the city's historical Audubon Building, built in 1909 and vacant for almost a decade. The Saint is New Orleans' first and only member of Marriott's portfolio of Autograph Collection Hotels.

An investment of more than $45 million transformed the property into the Saint Hotel, a 166-room, eight-story property steps from the city's French Quarter.

Mark Wyant, owner and developer of the Saint, said the property was designed to offer guests a "new and contemporary feel, while still capturing the sparkling charm and romance of New Orleans."

From the outside, the building's facade gives the property a stately look.

Upon entering the building, time and venue change. Tall white pillars, long white sheets flowing from the lobby ceiling and the avant-garde furniture in the hotel's restaurant, Tempt, evoke a scene that would be at home on Miami Beach.

The Saint's guestrooms are also quite modern; furniture and bedding are white with blue accents, and walls and ceilings are white and indigo. Some rooms have exposed brick walls.
But the Saint also respects its locale. The lobby is decorated with wall-size photographs of the building's past.

Its lobby-level Burgundy Bar is a live jazz venue designed in a Chicago speakeasy style that pays tribute to New Orleans native son Louis Armstrong. The bar's deep-red walls and banquettes and Venetian chandeliers provide what the Saint calls a "fun, bordello chic ambience."

The hotel's restaurant, Tempt, offers a menu of traditional Louisiana cuisine, created by its Louisiana-born chef, with dishes such as fried oysters burgundy and crab and corn lasagna with pickled peppers and brie.

"The Saint Hotel's timeless yet eclectic merging of the past and present is something New Orleans has never seen," Wyant said.

During a tour of the Saint in August, a manager said that the hotel plays on the "saints and sinners" theme. The Burgundy Bar has a cocktail list called the "7 Deadly Sins and 7 Godly Virtues." In January, the hotel will open the Halo rooftop bar and lounge, offering panoramic views of downtown and further solidifying the hotel as a nightlife destination. Halo will have an in-house DJ and will offer cocktails crafted by a mixologist.

The hotel offers complimentary in-room WiFi and Niven Morgan bath products. The property has 1,450 square feet of meetings and event space.

Weekday rates start at $159 for a single king room and go up to $189 on the weekends.

Visit www.thesainthotelneworleans.com

November Trends

Family celebrations, quiet meditations, holidays and romantic dinners—candlelight sets the mood for these events like nothing else can. With the holiday season just days away you are likely neck deep in preparations. I know when I'm prepping my home for company I like to look around and try to see my home through my guests’ eyes. I take time to walk through my home and take in a few deep breaths, what do I smell? Lighting scented candles before company arrives, ensures that my guests first impression is inviting for us to share our time together.

 

However, you don’t always need a special occasion to light an inviting candle in your home. Candles are one of the simplest ways to relax and unwind. The subtle light they emit adds an extra layer of cozy warmth. And the fragrance! Whether you’re looking for a mental escape to your favorite vacation spot or a way to recreate holiday memories, candles are a perfect fit.

As you make order of your long list of holiday projects and errands, don’t forget that first impressions matter.  With the aroma of fern needles, cloves and fresh figs, my North Pole Winter Fig candle invites your guests on a trip down memory lane. Between the nostalgic scent of the candle and the joy of your company, your guests will no doubt leave with fond new memories of their time spent with you. And isn’t making memories together what the holidays are all about? Of course.

Fall 2012 Home Décor Trends

With the oppressive heat we endured this summer it's a good thing that cooler temperatures are finally here. I’ve been looking forward to soup, scarves and sweaters for a while now. Along with cooler temps come great new home décor trends. Now, these won’t appeal to everyone, but there’s enough variation that I’m positive you’ll see at least a couple of things you can’t help but love. Fall 2012 home décor trends really do include something for everyone.

 

In case you haven't noticed, (how could you miss it!) the fearless neon colors from the 1980s are back in a spirited way. This holds true in both the fashion and home decor worlds, as the two always go hand in hand.

At this year's fashion shows, designers ambitiously displayed sassy hues such as citron, yellow, hot pink and turquoise — yet sensible colors like black, white, cream and navy were also in abundance. In typical fashion, this year’s color palette for home décor complements what we saw on the runways.

 

Looking at New Jersey-based Pantone Color Institute's colors for fall, it appears the retro vibe reverberates throughout the color report. The trending colors of this fall include Pink Flambe, Ultramarine Green and Bright Chartreuse.


Here are some other key trends we have discovered while trend spotting:

1. The return of sectional sofas.  Sectional seating creates a warm, inviting space for your family and friends to gather and be more communal. Remember the so-called pit seating from the 1970s and 80s? It’s back, only with a deeper seat. It’s all about relaxing and lounging in your space.

2. Fabrics are soft, soft, soft. Trending textures are simply luxurious — from the lightly woven velours and velvets to ultra-suede. Ultra soft fabrics, for instance, appear on overstuffed sofas to create a cozy yet chic seating combination. The style is lounge comfort. You don’t sit on the sofas, you sit in them.

3. Getaway in your home. Home décor experts agree people are entertaining in their homes more, making them willing to invest in high-quality furnishings. People are eager to create luxury getaway environments in their own homes — whether through high-end home theater systems or spa-inspired bathrooms. Exotic destination inspired candles add to the ambience.

4. Everything old is new again when it comes to pattern. Traditional patterns such as chain link and Ikat are on the rise with a present-day color palette. These patterns add a punch of excitement to classic and contemporary room settings.

5. Soft accessories, including pillows, throws and bedding are important — and provide easy ways to inject a dash of the color du jour. Many designers are mixing pillows for a fresh new look: patterns — layered on top of or next to contrasting patterns — are definitely the current trend for home accessories.

6. Vintage is still new. Reproductions of classic pieces and remakes of vintage signs are all the rage.

7. Lastly, never underestimate the elegant durability of leather. It's a major force in the industry for its performance and luxuriance — and the way it can accommodate any lifestyle. A leather sofa, for instance, works perfectly for a family with small children since it's easy to clean. Another perk: leather lasts four times longer than any other fabric.

September Inspiration

“Soon it got dusk, a grapy dusk, a purple dusk over tangerine groves and long melon fields; the sun the color of pressed grapes, slashed with burgundy red, the fields the color of love and Spanish mysteries.” ― Jack Kerouac, On the Road

It’s hard to argue that California isn’t the most blissfully relaxing state in our union. With so much to see and do, but at a slower pace than say the East Coast, it’s no wonder people who visit constantly rave about it. In September, I had the pleasure of seeing it all for myself. It doesn’t seem to matter how often I visit, there’s always something new and inspirational to see; something that stays with me and inspires my work. And I do love to bring my work home with me.

Home to the stars, Beverly Hills is known worldwide for its grand mansions and chic shops along Rodeo Drive. The city of Beverly Hills, however, has much more to offer, with a wealth of famous art galleries, museums, fine restaurants, and an exciting nightlife. I would have loved to have taken part in a little of everything, but this was another working trip; prioritizing was essential.

Nevertheless, Beverly Hills had a lot in store for me! That is where I was granted my obligatory Hollywood celebrity sighting. No one wants to go to California and come back saying they didn’t see a single celebrity, right? And did I luck out! If you were to make a list of the hottest stars on television today, I think who I spotted would be at the top of that list. There I was minding my business when I realized that Sophia Vergara stood next to me on Rodeo Drive taking with a friend of hers. The topic? She’d made a visit to the Gucci Store where she tried on some amazing knee high boots. She’s even more beautiful in real life. Seriously, how lucky am I?


 
I lodged part of the time at the ever magnificent Beverly Hills Hotel which sits on 12 acres of lush tropical gardens on world-famous Sunset Boulevard. The hotel is very close to Rodeo Drive making my celebrity sighting maybe not as hard to come by as it could be in other parts of the city. The Beverly Hills Hotel's famed Polo Lounge, pool and cabanas have been a favorite spot for numerous stars and Hollywood deal-makers making it a real treat for me to experience.
 
 

Did I mention that our bungalow was once occupied for several years by famed business magnate, Howard Hughes? Does that count as a second celebrity sighting? Maybe just a half sighting, huh?



If you’re looking for a uniquely high class casual setting with a feel of the 50s, you should try The Fountain Coffee Room. They serve old fashioned fountain drinks, all natural ice cream, and more, in addition to today’s best gourmet coffees. It’s bound to become your favorite place if you’re a coffee junkie.  


 
For a little more star gazing, you can’t go wrong with Il Pastaio on North Canon Drive. A little taste of heaven, it's no wonder this friendly neighborhood establishment has been a favorite meeting place, satisfying locals with its mouthwatering pasta since they opened in 1994.


 
Would you look at this table setting? This was my view when having dinner at a friend’s place in Beverly Hills. The food and atmosphere were great but what made it really special was spending time with friends.


 
The next place I rested my head was at the sophisticated Peninsula Hotel on South Santa Monica Boulevard. With its mix of classic renaissance features and old Hollywood glamour, it almost feels like you’re stepping back in time.


 
I received an unexpected surprise when I walked into the lobby of the Peninsula Hotel and saw the lobby boutique was 100% Capri! I fell in love with this store when I visited Capri, Italy. Inspired by traditional living of Capri, this boutique recalls the charming and timeless tradition of the island I came to love. I was so excited to see one in Beverly Hills.


 
What’s better than sunbathing by a stunningly beautiful pool? How about having a luxurious mani-pedi pool side?! The Peninsula’s manicure cabana offers the absolute best manicure- pedicures ever. Truly.


 
Next on my list was a visit to trend setting West Hollywood. There are so many things to love about WeHo, but I especially love the historic areas with houses and trees that almost make you forget you’re in Los Angeles. But I’d be lying if I didn’t say that one of my favorite things was the food. Family owned Madeo Ristorante serves mouthwatering Italian and Laurel Hardware is perfect for drinks with friends. I loved them both but the truth is, I can’t make a visit to West Hollywood without having lunch at Cecconi’s. At the corner of Melrose Avenue and Robertson Boulevard, Cecconi’s features Venetian influenced food and drink. Chef Andrea Cavaliere hails from Turin in northern Italy. His ability to blend northern Italian comfort food with fresh, healthy Californian fare keeps me coming back for more.


   
The final stop on my trip was to pop into Fred Segal on acclaimed Melrose Avenue for a bit of shopping. Fred Segal is the epitome of what’s great about L.A. boutiques. They have a great selection of up-and-coming avant-garde designers as well as some tried and true veterans. I don’t know how anyone could walk out not having seen something they just can’t live without.

The same can be said about the entire state of California. It has something for everyone and it’s a great destination to get a pulse on what savvy shoppers are spending their hard-earned dollars on. Like most visitors to California, I came away truly inspired. 

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