Guest Hunter is Kaitlin Solimine. Kaitlin was raised in New England, has spent a considerable amount of time over the past two decades in China and currently resides in Malibu, California with her husband and their cat. As you’ve probably gathered, she loves traveling. She’s also a fan of vintage, eco goods, hiking, yoga, and the occasional toe-dip in the Pacific.
This talented globetrotter wrote and edited the travel guide Let’s Go: China (St. Martin’s Press). Kaitlin was also the recipient of the 2012 Dzanc Books/Disquiet International Literary award and is author of forthcoming novel, Empire of Glass – so be on the lookout. Be sure to check out her blog where she shares her travel experiences and tips with the world, but before doing so, take a look at her amazing finds from around the world!
1) Vintage: check. Eco: check. Unique: check. This repurposed vintage gramophone iPod player is one of the coolest things I’ve seen in a long time. Not just functional, but also a piece of art.
2) There is no better way to sleep than swathed in Coyuchi’s organic linens.
3) Even Asian designers have taken to the very-necessary eco-furniture cause. D-Bodhi is a welcome addition; hoping that someday I will have a dining room large enough to fit raucous dinner parties at this table: http://www.d-bodhi.com/products/room/dining/trapesium3
1) I found my amazingly low-cost vintage wedding dress at The Way We Wore in San Francisco and I’m eagerly anticipating my next return. To access their collection online, you can visit: http://vintagealamodecollection.avl.1stdibs.com/store/avl_search.php. And also: http://stores.ebay.com/VintageALaMode-SF
2) I’m unhealthily obsessed with everything made by IRO, especially this cropped jacket perfect for spring-to-summer-to-fall weather and made of exceptionally long-lasting quality materials: http://www.iro.fr/fr/eshop/pre-collection-summer-2012-women/tous-les-produits/agnete.html#map
3) Etsy is a treasure trove for great products, including these travel-worthy flats made of 70% recycled leather: http://www.etsy.com/listing/100241981/new-soft-leather-ballet-flats-monet
3) I take my Los Angeles-made Clare Vivier tote with me everywhere (it’s been to Singapore, China, and points across the U.S. thus far) and it has withstood my abuses with pluck: http://seevivier.com/messenger.htm
4) There’s nothing better than jewelry that gives back. Akawelle’s gorgeous pendants serve as reminders of the Liberian war. Profits benefit Strongheart House. http://www.akawelle.com/Jewelry.php
1) This takes me back to the 90s when Sambas were on everyone’s feet—girls and boys. So much for the original blue suede shoes of Elvis’s admiration (Note, this shade of blue is near impossible to find in stores, but the other colors are foot-worthy still): http://www.zappos.com/adidas-samba?gclid=CObOnfqmx7ACFagaQgodoBFRYg
2) If this bike belonged to my husband I’d covet it, so it’s probably more of a crossover find, but still… Tokyo Bikes are gorgeous and practical. I first saw these on the streets in Singapore and have been hooked ever since: http://tokyobike.co.uk/
3) The American-made iPad cases from Pad and Quill are not only functional (they double as a stand!), but also provide extra security—no one will know your iPad is hidden within that Moleskine notebook! http://www.etsy.com/shop/PadandQuill
4) Although a bit pricey, James Perse’s shirts are a go-to staple for comfortable and casual-cool. They also, surprisingly, take a beating. My husband still thanks me for allowing him to wear one as his attire at our wedding. http://www.jamesperse.com/men/tops/polos/sueded-jersey-polo/viewProduct.do?productId=prod480041&categoryId=cat590009
1) Although I don’t have children myself, I have a serious addiction to shopping for OPK (Other People’s Kids). I always seek out organic and eco-friendly products — there may be nothing cuter than the organic baby kimonos at Sckoon: http://www.sckoon.com/b09b006.html
2) DIY Chinese Shadow puppetry for kids! Annie Katsura Rollins is a shadow puppet master and her blog has some great downloadable PDFs to make with kids. Surely the kids will love the chance to put on a show: http://annierollins.wordpress.com/diy-projects/
3) Japanese origami crane mobiles are a perfectly wistful addition to any nursery: http://www.etsy.com/shop/MadeByJo?ref=seller_info
1) I’m afraid to out my favorite local Malibu beach shack Thai restaurant, but here it is: Cholada Thai: http://www.choladathaicuisine.com/rt/
2) For fresh California cuisine, Abbot Kinney’s Gjelina is a favorite: http://www.gjelina.com/
3) Again, one of our secret go-tos for authentic Chinese food in Los Angeles that I’m now sharing with the world: Chung King Restaurant, San Gabriel. If you don’t know what to order, start with a helping of the Sichuan Cold Noodles (四川冷面): http://www.yelp.com/biz/chung-king-san-gabriel
4) Thanks to an oenophile friend, I discovered the wine Chocolate Block in Cape Town last year and have been hooked ever since: http://www.boekenhoutskloof.co.za/
To shop like a local (Singapore): Pluck on Haji Lane, Singapore. http://pluck.com.sg/shop/index.php?_a=viewDoc&docId=1
To shop like a local (Beijing): Zoo Market, 动物园服装批发市场. http://www.cityweekend.com.cn/beijing/listings/shopping/beijing-market/has/zoo-market/
For happy hair: Not only does this hair care line smell like you’re on vacation in Hawaii, but the sulfate free formula left my very unruly hair remarkably smoother. The biodegradable bottle is merely the icing on a very delicious cake. http://www.eoproducts.com/Products/Coconut-and-Hibiscus—Sulfate-Free-Keratin-Shampoo-84-oz__636874090917a.aspx
Speaking of Hawaii, the ultimate tropical adventure-vacation: Francis Ford Coppola’s trio of Central American resorts are perfect hideaways within easy distance from the U.S.: http://www.coppolaresorts.com/
Hoping to get here soon: Like being stranded on a tropical island—Nikoi Island Eco-Resort in Indonesia is just a ferry ride from bustling Singapore. http://www.nikoi.com/
Giving back while getting away: This program, which places volunteers on organic farms worldwide, has been on my radar for years. Hoping to join the WWOOFing movement someday soon: http://www.wwoof.org/