by Vanessa

Scuba Style

February 20, 2015 in ANDROS, ESCAPE ESSENTIALS by Vanessa

Next week, while visiting Kamalame Cay, I will take my first dive towards PADI certification. The private island resort, on which we honeymooned early last year, boasts a PADI rated dive center and a nearby sea of options that would excite even the most experienced underwater enthusiast. But more on that later. This week, in an effort to get the corners of my mind out of the office and in to the depths ocean, I began to think about what to pack. Here’s a round-up of my stylish, yet practical, dive essentials – many of which are customizable.

1. GoPro’s Hero4 Black. ($499.99)

2. Unlike a bikini, I will not need to constantly readjust this one piece swimsuit from Heidi Klein. ($270.00)

3. Constructed from water-proof vinyl, a Lolo bag with compartments to hold my camera, mobile phone and GoPro accessories. ($48.00)

4. From embroidery colour, to strap colour, to the addition of the T7E logo, my favourite customizable dive bag. ($129.95+)

5. At 200 feet iGills will allow me to take photos and videos with confidence that my housing will never leak and my depth and time will always remain top of mind. (299.99)

6. An Island Company beach blanket to wrap myself in post-dive. ($65.00)

7. A custom embroidered zip tag that will make my wetsuit easier to find in the pile. ($12.00)

8. Post certification I plan to reward myself with a custom hand-painted wetsuit from Sirensong. ($180.00+)

9. A long-sleeve cardigan that absorbs water quickly and dries just as fast. ($279.00)

by Vanessa

Oasis Chic Living

February 17, 2015 in BAHA STYLES, COASTAL COVET by Vanessa

It was spring 2010.

I had just survived a rather harsh New York winter and was leaving the city to return to an island I had forever called “home” but on which I hadn’t spent more than 30 uninterrupted days in the past 11 years. In celebration of being reunited with my tropic existence, and a sun that fights to make an appearance all 365 days of the year, I purchased an outdoor set of furniture from Oasis Chic Living. Naturally prior to making such an investment I did my due diligence and exhausted my options. Admittedly, I chose the line for its overall luxurious feel, yet comfortable and functional style. I wanted not to be afraid to leave it out in the rain, or worried that it would eventually succumb to the elements of sun, sand and sea – as do so many design features in the Bahamas.

Fast forward five years, two unforgiving hurricanes later, when the brand asks me to speak to the style and durability of the product. Of course, I say “yes” without hesitation.

Selecting from over 200 designs and 8 wicker-like weaves, each contrasting in colour, but all stretched across a rust-free aluminum frame, I chose a long outdoor-dining table and six high-back chairs. Envisioning an overall neutral colour scheme, I opted for a weave in a natural tone. Similarly, if given a swatch book filled with almost 200 shades of Sunbrella fabrics in solids, stripes and patterns – Oasis Chic Living custom covers each piece to their client’s specifications – I would’ve chosen both white piping and facing. Overall I wanted the scene to feel elegant, simple and classic. Furthermore I wished for the space to be inviting and therefore shied away from making any big design statements that wouldn’t naturally suit the space.

Wanting to compliment the woven texture of the table I incorporated the textures of sand, linen and wood.

Not wanting to distract from the neutral palette, but heighten it, I avoided adding any unlikely pops of colour to the tablescape.

With comfort top of mind I had blankets on hand and tossed on the backs of chairs.

Always wanting to layer, I lined the table’s center with sand. As I knew once done the table could be hosed down without fear of the frame rusting.

Knowing the frosted glass would create beautiful reflections I surrounded the table with garden lights.

In addition to modern lights, the candles cast a golden glow.

So tell me, shall we reserve a seat for you at this table?

| This post brought to you by Chic Oasis Living | Shot on location at Palm Cay |

by Vanessa

Sailors’ Valentines

February 14, 2015 in COASTAL COVET by Vanessa

It’s been said, by many, that I am difficult to shop for. So what does one gift such a woman on her wedding day? A day when love hangs thick in the air, when the pressure is truly on.

The answer is: a Sailors’ Valentine.

Folklore tells us that these tokens were created by sailors passing time on long journeys at sea. However, research depicts stories of American and English sailors missing their loved ones and desperate to fill their hours while in Barbadian ports of call between 1830 and 1880. Naturally, I was surprised to hear that CJ, my better half, had discovered a few at Sandpiper Arts & Crafts in Georgetown, Great Exuma and later requested one be custom-made by the same local artist, Rainie Minns.

Like most Sailors’ Valentines, mine boasts shells densely arranged in a flat geometric pattern, in an octagonal wooden box. And much like the far fewer, finer Valentines, mine is three-dimensional in composition with two miniature tellins wired in the shape of a butterfly. Above fitting given that the greek meaning of the name Vanessa is, by definition, butterfly. A fact that my doting husband says he was not aware of, but I have yet to believe him.

Highly coveted, and hard to find, these intricate mosaics are priced to reflect such. While I of course would never dare ask him how pretty of a penny he spent I can rest assured it was far less than the $35,000 that avid antique collector, John Fondas notes in his aptly titled book, Sailors’ Valentine. Regardless, whatever the price, the love token will forever be a part of our story. The beginning specifically, a wedding day inspired by the theme ‘shipwreck romance’ when a groom gave his bride the most fitting gift.

And like all Valentines, ours will eventually pass hands – from one generation to the next –  and with it, our story.

Happy Valentine’s Day,