June 2021 – Marfa, TX

June 2021 – Marfa, TX

I went to the moon and back one weekend in June. That’s what Marfa, Texas reminded me of as we were landing on this vast lunar-like landscape. I went from not knowing this town existed to being obsessed with wanting to visit and find out what the hype was all about. I felt like I was in the twilight zone, a good twilight zone. When we drove into the little town of Marfa, 5 miles from the airport, I felt immediately transported to an alternative universe. Marfa is not easy to get to…you really need to want to go! The closest city is El Paso, almost 3 hours away. Austin is a 6.5-hour drive. Typically, Marfa is a stop in the middle of a road trip or people fly in by private plane. There is no commercial airport. The population consists of local ranchers and cowboys, international art lovers, a few very cool celebrities, including country singers and actors, bohemians, people who want to escape the real world, people who are not afraid to be alone or get to know themselves intimately, truckers driving through, and of course the handful of people born and raised here.  What you won’t see are timid tourists who don’t know how to appreciate “rough around the edges” adventures.  The landscape and sky are mesmerizing. Where the one ends the other begins. They work together in creating the most beautiful ever changing intangible piece of art.

A few of my favorite moments in Marfa:

  • Driving into this wild west town and going straight to The Water Stop with my tres amigos and our husbands for lunch and lots of roseˊ. I had the ridiculously delicious rotisserie chicken, and my mostly vegan husband had the fried chicken sandwich which was equally as amazing and worth the cheat! @thewaterstop
  • Driving 3 miles out of town with our friends to their spectacular Ranch 2810. The property blends into the landscape so beautifully that it is virtually invisible until you are pulling up to the house. The entire setting of this ranch is beyond what I imagined, not in a materialistic way but in how it fits into the landscape. The house is built around a serene courtyard and swimming pool with a small orchard a few yards away. The perfect spot for wining and dining. @ranch2810marfa
  • Immediate forced relaxation sets in. Even the most type A person will feel as though they have been injected some sort of chill out medicine. A peacefulness takes over your entire being… or maybe it was the boozy lunch!
  • The ultra-cool art community…Donald Judd, a minimalist artist moved to Marfa in 1971. He created the Chinati Foundation which is one of the country’s most famous exhibition spaces for contemporary art. Ballroom Marfa is another huge draw. It features art, music, films, lectures and workshops. Unfortunately, I couldn’t experience either of these because they were closed, but it gives me an excuse to return. Both definite highlights and the primary reason a lot of people go to Marfa in the first place! @chinatifoundation @ballroommarfa
  • We made a little road trip to the Prada Marfa. This is a 32 minute desolate drive from Marfa to Valentine, Texas. I think we could have walked the entire way in the middle of the road and never seen another soul.

Tres Amigos

  • Before arriving at Prada Marfa, we pulled over for a photo op in front of the signs for the 1956 movie Giant with James Dean, Elizabeth Taylor and Rock Hudson. I’m not sure why this was so cool, but it was! So many years later, Marfa hosts film and music festivals year-round.
  • Restaurant Cochineal…omg…this sophisticated yet super casual farm to table restaurant is an oasis of fine dining plopped in the middle of West Texas. It felt like we were at a dinner party with a bunch of interesting people from all corners of the country and possibly around the world that we didn’t know. Where did these people come from??? The chef/owner is a James Beard semifinalist and creates some of the most incredible dishes I have ever tasted.  You don’t order, you just let them bring course after course to you, each one better than the next. The fresh house made ancient grain bread with cultured sea salt butter, roasted garlic, and black-eyed pea bacon tallow was sinful! As far as I could tell, the woman owner/chef and her adorable woman sous chef were the only ones in the tiny open air kitchen creating masterpieces with what the fertile soils provided.  @cochineal_marfa
  • El Cosmica. It’s on my bucket list to stay at this Liz Lambert property. Yurts, teepees, trailers, airstreams all tricked out by the queen of travel Liz Lambert. @thelizlambert
  • We checked out a couple of awesome stores in Marfa and missed Francis McDermott by seconds. I guess she’s Fran to the locals and they adore her. I scored at Raba Marfa and Communitie Marfa!  Both stores are well curated and worth the stop in. @rabamarfa @communitiemarfa

I was only in Marfa for 48 hours, so my time was limited and precious.  My absolute favorite takeaways were spending cowgirl time with my tres amigos, slowing down and adapting to the stillness, watching my husband give in to the relaxation, and finally, discovering a place that gives everything and nothing at the same time.  A trip to Marfa asks that you find the connection and embrace the space.

MAY 2021 – One and Only Mandarina

The Birthday Girl!

MAY 2021 – One and Only Mandarina

There is almost nothing I love more than planning the perfect trip for a special occasion. Fortunately, my mom’s birthday provided a great excuse for me to start exploring new destinations that would meet all of our requirements.

• Location
• Warm weather
• Swimmable beach
• 5-star service
• No need to leave

After spending way too much time searching for the “perfect” vacation spot, Jacqui Matthews of Andavo Travel, @jacquiaspen, suggested the One and Only Mandarina, @oomandarina. This hotel checked all of the boxes so we booked our tickets, packed our Capricho travel bags, and set off to celebrate my mom’s birthday!

Location… it was important that this trip be fairly easy to get to with no drastic time change. The One and Only Mandarina is a little over an hour north of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Mandarina is picturesquely set in the jungle on the edge of the Pacific Ocean. The setting is incomparable. While exploring the property, one can’t help but feel a deep sense of peace and connection with nature.

Weather…delightfully warm and shaded by the lush coastal rainforest. There was a slight breeze when we were there in May, and when it gets too hot the cool waters of the Pacific are waiting for you. Jetty Beach is a protected little cove with soft white sand, clear water and a sandy bottom. No need to worry about stepping on sea urchins or stingrays! Depending upon the tide, there can be fun but gentle waves to play in. Paddle boards, canoes and boogie boards are on hand for anyone desiring a bit more activity.

Service and accommodations…the rooms are treehouse style sprinkled throughout the jungle. Each room comes with its own dipping pool and a jungle or ocean view. I took note that room 323 and those on either side of it, offer spectacular sunrise and sunset views. Each guest has access to a personal butler who is ready to attend to all of your whims and wishes. This One and Only amenity never fails to make you feel like you are the one and only guest on the property.

No need to leave…there is plenty to do without going off property. Horseback riding was our activity of choice. My cowgirl mom was especially impressed with the state of the art barn and polo grounds. The horses were well taken care of and eager to step out. There are hiking trails, mountain bike trails and surfing, depending upon swell, in front of one of the beaches. If there is no swell in front of the hotel, the well-known surf outfitter, Tropic Surf @tropicsurf, is on hand to take you to one of the many nearby surf breaks. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the tribal yoga class offered in the middle of the rainforest. The beauty, humidity, and sounds of the jungle turned this class into an almost religious experience. I left feeling lighter, happier and one with the nature surrounding me.

Daily visits to the gorgeous One and Only Spa were mandatory in making this trip exceptional. We tried almost all of the exotic unique treatments offered with each one being better than the next. Who knew that the cold brew coffee and the chia pudding offered after each treatment would be such a delightful end to the spa experience?

There are 4 restaurant options along with the Treetop Bar, all of them offering delicious food and gorgeous views. The Treetop bar was our favorite! Make sure to try the T + T!

You would never know One and Only Mandarina opened November 2020 during the height of Covid-19. The pride and excitement of the team was obvious. My mom, sister and I have already decided Mandarina will be an annual mother/daughter/daughter trip. We can’t wait to return to one of our new favorite destinations ever!  www.oneandonlyresorts.com

MAY 2021 – AUSTIN, TEXAS

MAY 2021 – AUSTIN, TEXAS

We’ve been on the road again. This time for a quick trip to Austin, Texas! This fabulous city checks all of the boxes. Why have we not been here before??? The overall vibe is authentically cool. Texan hospitality in spades, and Austin style, in particular, is that effortless vogue with no pretentiousness. The restaurants are absolutely delectable and diverse in ethnicity. The hotels are chic and hip. There is no shortage of shopping. As a matter of fact, our favorite store, By George, has 2 locations in the city. The running trails are endless, and the beautiful lakes and rivers are easily accessible for kayaking and paddle boarding. Not to mention the music scene, which we didn’t even have a chance to experience. What more could you ask for?

Here are a few of our favorite spots (unfortunately, we didn’t even scratch the surface)

Hotel San Jose– a minimalist boutique hotel in the middle of groovy South Congress. This hotel is nothing fancy but is the definition of hip hotel. Make sure to order one of the hotel’s famous froses poolside, and enjoy live music on the weekends. www.sanjosehotel.com

Jo’s Coffee
– right next door to Hotel San Jose. We walked over in our PJ’s every morning for the best coffee ever. Nobody looked twice, so that’s an added bonus!

Elizabeth Street Cafe– probably safe to say one of our favorite restaurants in Austin and anywhere. A delicious neighborhood Vietnamese cafe and French bakery walking distance from South Congress. Make sure to order the steamed rice rolls. www.elizabethstreetcafe.com

Aba– a new addition to Austin that has taken off in popularity. Reservations are hard to come by, and you will know why when you dine at this Mediterranean gem. www.abarestaurants.com

Vamonos Texmex– what a find off the beaten track! This restaurant was stumbled upon by accident but will be at the top of our list next time we visit Austin. We had no idea how important TexMex and queso dip was to our lives! www.vamonostexmex.com

Swedish Hill Bakery- Where do we start? How about the Nutella-filled eclairs? 1120 West Sixth Street www.swedishhillaustin.com

No girls’ trip is complete without an impromptu ear piercing after one too many froses, right? Visit the South Congress location of www.studs.com where stylists make recommendations based on your taste and ear anatomy!

By George– Our advice is to save up in advance for an undisciplined shopping spree at this incredible store. We discovered super cool new designers and were tempted by better known favorites. The store is gorgeous and the sales team is awesome! Oh, and make sure to check out Capricho’s bags while you are there! www.bygeorgeaustin.com

Austin- we will be back! xx Laura and Nicole

February 2021 – Costa Rica

FEBRUARY 2021 – NOSARA, COSTA RICA

Harmony is one of our favorite words. Not only the definition, “the pleasant sound of different notes of music played at the same time,” but something about the way the word rolls off the tongue just makes us happy. It’s not surprising that one of our favorite places in the world is the Harmony Hotel in Nosara, Costa Rica. www.harmonynosara.com

A few of our favorite things to do while in Nosara:

  • Sunrise and sunset surf with Tanallo, Pincho, and Jose @chorotegassurf.
  • Post surf breakfast @harmonyhotel. Try the passionfruit french toast or breakfast burrito and fruit plate!
  • Lunch or chill at the Harmony Juice Bar. Everything on the menu is amazing, and it’s the ideal place to do work or just relax with friends.
  • Book a massage with Dania or Betsa @harmonyhotelhealingcentre
  • Walk to La Luna for dinner @lalunanosara. Go at sunset.
  • Dinner at Coyol is a special treat and definitely worth the 20 minute ride upcountry. @coyolnosara
  • We highly recommend the Caribbean ceviche with plantains and a cold beer or margarita at Pacifico
  • Check out Al Chile at Sunset Shack. @sunsetshackhotel @alchilenosara. Order fish tacos, yucca fries and churros!!

Costa Rica is filled with a magical aura. For the past several years a stay at The Harmony is where we go to nourish ourselves and reconnect with our soul. The food, the people and the lifestyle are energizing yet calming, and we leave here having rediscovered balance and our own sense of harmony.

PURA VIDA!!

 

 

OCTOBER 2020

For many of us 2020 has been a year of transitioning and acceptance of a new way of life.  If travel played an integral part in our lives prior to this year, the limitations we now face can be frustrating but not futile. Although, we look forward to returning to favorite vacation spots, we realize we have much to discover near home.

We have a chance to reimagine our ideal family vacation, a girls trip, boys trip, or getaway with our partner. We find ourselves researching camper rentals and road trips in America instead of faraway overseas destinations.

We have mountains, lakes, rivers, oceans, deserts, world-class food, rich history, and more, all waiting for us right here. This is our chance to explore places we have never been.

As countries slowly open their borders we will be there. Nicole and I are both taking surf trips to Mexico this fall.  We cannot wait to surf our favorite secret surf breaks on the East Cape, as well as, Old Man’s at the Cabo Surf Hotel, go to Flora Farms for fried chicken night and visit the beautiful Four Seasons Costa Palmas.

However, before we wax our surfboards we plan to pack our Clarita duffels and take a road trip to the funky town of Taos, New Mexico. We plan to horseback ride, visit galleries, dine at Lambert’s (one of our favorite restaurants anywhere!) and take in the incomparable sunsets. New Mexico is not called the Land of Enchantment for nothing!

So this fall, here is to travel. To returning to the familiar and to discovering the new, whether it be a new place or just a new way of seeing things.

Happy Travels!

 

DuJour Summer 2020

JULY 2020

So excited to be included in Dujour magazine’s 2020 summer issue! We hope you have been enjoying your summer, maybe doing new things in addition to your favorite summer pastimes.

xx Laura and Nicole

 

By Kim Peiffer / View Original Article

Aspen locals, close friends and avid travelers Laura Kaplan and Nicole Tarumianz came up with the idea for Capricho during a family surfing trip. “While talking between waves, Laura and I discovered a shared quest for the ultimate travel companion: a bag that embraces quiet luxury and enduring elegance,” says Tarumianz. “In all our years of searching, we’ve never found the perfect travel bag.” So they set out to create a line of supple, buttery totes and duffles (made of Colombian leather) without any ostentatious logos that would be able to withstand serious travel. The Marcella tote ($1,295) and Clarita weekender zippered duffel ($1,595) come in black, loden green, cocoa, navy, sky and clay. “[They’re] handcrafted leather bags made for a lifetime of journeys and adventures,” explains Kaplan. We spoke with the co-founders to learn about their unique approach to luxury. caprichobags.com

What makes Capricho bags unique?

Simplicity and Colombian craftsmanship define the beauty of a Capricho bag. A Capricho isn’t structured. Instead, the totes and duffels are soft yet durable. However, even when they are filled to capacity, they easily squish under an airplane seat or in a crowded overhead space. A simple yet thoughtfully sized interior zipper pocket holds your airline tickets, passport and phone, and there’s a strap to easily secure your bag on the top of your suitcase.

Where are they produced in Colombia?

Capricho’s boutique workshop in Bogota handcrafts exclusive Alma leather, produced solely for Capricho bags. Alma perfectly matures with age and is deceptively light. The Bogota workshop is anchored in family heritage and has been producing leather for nearly 20 years.

Your brand is about “intuitive luxury.” What does that mean to you?

Every day, we make decisions that reflect our personal view of travel and a life well lived. How does a specific place, person or product make you feel? We may be in the business of making bags, but our vision is to enhance our collective nature to live authentically. With every design decision, we strive to transform personal experiences via intuitive luxury—to create a conduit that broadens perspectives, deepens relationships and helps celebrate each individual’s unique global perspective.

Aspen & Beyond

Whatever you can do,
or dream you can,
Begin.
Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.
Goethe

How do you write your first blog post for your new travel bag company in the midst of a 100-year pandemic and the largest civil rights protests since the 1960’s?

We are two friends who had a vision, a passion for travel, and a desire to create something timeless, functional, and beautiful. We decided to go for it…and then the world stopped.

There are many intelligent, articulate people raising our collective awareness of systemic racism, inequality and the health of our planet and the human race. Talking about dreams of travel and having the perfect bag as a companion seems empty. Yet, when the time is right, we will talk about our experiences and how travel and exposure to other cultures has helped us recognize some of our own biases and opened our minds to our shared humanity.

But that time is not now. Instead, we are inspired by Trevor Noah’s video about the dominos of racial injustice. We are hopeful when we listen to Bill Gates’ Ted Talk on how to plan for and mitigate the impacts of future pandemics. And we are optimistic that we will learn from our mistakes and emerge from these times even stronger, imagining a future where we are globally connected once again.

We look forward to growing our business as a company committed to change, equality and inclusion…and to doing our part to make this planet a better, more sustainable place to live.

Welcome to Capricho.

Love,
Laura and Nicole