Defy a Dress Code, Challenge the Patriarchy

by Haley Mlotek Joan could not have chosen a more dramatic moment to defy a dress code. Costume historians identify the high Middle Ages as the arrival of fashion in western Europe. Cotton from Egypt; silks from the Ottoman Empire; improved dyes and dyeing techniques; complex patterns and new fabrics, like brocade and velvet, made possible by Chinese innovations in weaving: crusaders went east bearing murder and returned home with the ingredients for haute couture. And the increased social mobility that accompanied the aristocracy’s loss of power strengthened the yetRead More

The Best Time I Had Bed Bugs While Housesitting For Someone Else

by Monica Heisey I was very sure it was not bed bugs. I was so, so sure. In fact, I knew it was not bed bugs because I had done some extensive googling and cream buying and had gone to the doctor and decided what it really was was an obscure skin condition called Polymorphic Light Eruption. Polymorphic Light Eruption is a skin rash caused by exposure to the sun affecting approximately 1 in 10 European women. Damn you, England, I thought to myself, damn you straight to hell. ButRead More

10 Best Hotel Spas in Paris

Each of Paris‘s legendary hotels has a character all its own, but when it comes to luxury, the differences become more nuanced. The pursuit of excellence is in the details, and that extends to the jewel in every hotel’s crown: its spa. The 10 hotel spas listed here represent Paris’s very best, offering an indulgent experience that goes so much more than skin deep.

By Jennifer Ladonne

10 Incredible Installations from the 2014 Festival of Lights

Every year in December, Lyon puts on the incredible Fête des Lumières (Festival of Lights), during which more than 70 light installations transform the city’s streetscapes into thrilling works of art. Though the festival’s origins go back more than 150 years and are religious in nature, these days the annual event is a secular spectacle that draws an international audience of almost three million visitors over a four-day period (December 5–8 in 2014). The scene in Lyon is charming: Crowds fill the streets to take in the lights while vendors hawk mulled wine, roasted chestnuts, and tartiflette, a hearty gratin of potatoes, onions, bacon, and cheese. This year’s festival featured an astounding 75 installations, so we’ve selected 10 highlights from around the city. The photographs may not fully do justice to each installation—a search for the festival on YouTube is worth your time—but hopefully they will inspire you to add this whimsical event, one of world’s most-attended festivals, to your bucket list.

By Michael Alan Connelly

Michael is the Editor of Follow him on Twitter: @michaelalanconnelly.

Hawthorn for Your Heart

Widely recognized as a cardiovascular tonic, hawthorn berry relaxes the heart while supporting its ability to produce and sustain energetic output. Since the heart never gets a vacation, the rejuvenating effect of hawthorn may be the next best thing. Hawthorn berries are used in traditional medicine1 in the treatment of chronic heart failure, high blood pressure, irregular heart beat, and digestive problems. They also have mild diuretic properties and a beneficial impact on cholesterol.  Hawthorn berries contain a wide range of flavonoids, which are responsible for their diverse mechanisms ofRead More