Category Archives: phnom penh

Best Traveled Dress

I travel a lot. And I’m often asked about travel essentials and how and what I choose to pack. There are few staples depending upon the climate but there is one standout dress that seems to accompany me almost everywhere for the last five years and is still going strong!

rodress     Photo 1-16     Photo 2-16    lola_blackpink

The Calypso Classic Ro Dress. Calypso St. Barth is a favorite store of mine found in some lucky locales throughout the USA and, of course, the original in St. Barth. I’ve visited a few but the Boston store is where I do the most damage. Five years ago or so I bought my first Ro dress and knew instantly what a great staple dress this was but since have truly learned it’s value. (The classic Ro dress retails at $195)

I have worn it as going out nighttime dress, a touring day dress, a beach cover up or just something to quickly throw on. This is a dress that keeps you cool and comfortable. It’s a dress that consistently gets complimented. It is a dress that’s forgiving – I think it would look good on anyone. Best of all, you can machine wash it or, in times of necessity, hand wash it in a sink. It looks great with a casual denim jacket or cardigan. It can be worn with leggings and boots. Mine has gone on fancy dinner dates, out dancing at clubs or just chilling at beach bars. Plus, obviously, it travels well in your bag. It is my go-to everything dress!

This dress has literally traveled the globe with me. It’s been to Miami virtually every time I go. Hello cover up or a dress to throw on for lunch. Same idea for Hawaii and Palm Springs. And, seen here on the beach in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.


In St. Martin and St. Barth it’s been a going out dress. Also in London, Bali and seen here in Istanbul.


This dress traveled with me for my 10,000 mile drive from the United Kingdom to Mongolia. It is that diverse and essential. In Cambodia it was a touring dress of the Phnom Penh Night Market.


In Thailand it saw the grandeur of the Grand Palace in Bangkok.

photo 1-14

And as a day dress it met children in an orphanage in Bangalore India.

photo 2-12

Calypso St. Barth has grown from a modest resort-wear boutique to a luxury lifestyle brand with a passionate international following. Inspired by travel, culture & the arts, the brand reveals unique & feminine pieces that can be mixed and matched for effortless elegance, which women of every age have come to love.

Calypso St. Barth’s namesake collection is displayed alongside carefully curated pieces from international designers for an eclectic assortment with wide appeal. To me, entering Calypso St. Barth is like taking a mini-vacation to somewhere exotic. And each of my Calypso pieces are very unique and special to me.


Filed under boston, cabo san lucas, cambodia, caribbean, fashion, miami, mongol rally, phnom penh, st. barts, travel, turkey

cambodia starts with the letter P


i know what you are thinking… either there’s a silent P in the word Cambodia or lola has lost it and no longer knows how to spell! there’s NO silent P. the ‘lost it’ part, well, the world can be my judge!

when i reflected on so much of what i saw and learned in my two and half weeks in Cambodia many of the adjectives and objects, as it turned out, began with the letter P. of course there are plenty of other words that describe this fascinating and wonderful place too.

here are some P Cambodia words:

PHNOM PENH – the capital city of Cambodia.

POOLS – little sanctuaries of water can be found throughout the country.

PASSION FRUIT – found in cocktails, smoothies and salads everywhere.

PAJAMAS – not just for nighttime! pajamas are a daytime fashion statement in Cambodia.

PRAYERS – incense & candles burning everywhere for the spirits that have passed on.

PIGS – crossing roads, hanging from street carts, served as an offering to ancients in prayer for rain.

PEACEFUL – quiet soft-spoken people. buddhist monks are everywhere in Cambodia.

PHOTOGENIC – beautiful people with gorgeous smiles who enjoy having their photo taken.

POSITIVITY – despite their difficult past and slow path forward, people have an overall positive attitude.

PEDICURES – fish pedicures are a common practice in Cambodia.

POOR – people are living in poverty.

PRETTY – once you get over the culture shock you can see through the differences in lifestyle and find the beauty. the beauty of the thatched roofed houses and hammocks swinging. the painted cement block houses. the brightly colored scooters. the multiple different tuk tuks. the store front after store front offering the same things that suddenly become pretty.

POLLUTED – not only are there trash pollution problems but the trucks and scooters everywhere burning god knows what kind of gas certainly doesn’t help with air quality.

PALACES – from the royal palace in Phnom Penh to the temples of Siem Reap, there is beautiful architecture everywhere in Cambodia.

PALM TREES – it is tropical, let’s not forget, and this added bonus only made lola love Cambodia more.

PENANG CHICKEN – a meal i frequently had & loved while in Cambodia – yum.

PEOPLE – people everywhere. sprinkling the streets, sidewalks, country roads. sitting in their thatched houses – smiling & waving back at you.


Filed under cambodia, phnom penh, siem reap, travel

Cocktails of Cambodia

MMMM Cocktails of Cambodia

that’s right! the drinks were divine in Cambodia. AND i think you know i’m a tough critic in this category since i’d like to pride myself on being a bit of an expert! it was as much of a surprise to me… a 3rd world country that is into cocktails?! say whaaaa?!!

YEP i felt pretty much right at home in Cambodia. this country LUUURVES its happy hour. and everything is already dirt cheap – BONUS for lola! i’m talking $4 mojitos that are now $2 – incredible! let me give you my Cocktails of Cambodia tour:

Best Drink

the gigantic red wine at Topaz in Phnom Penh. it must have been the glass but i was impressed!

Worst Drink

probably the mojito at Titanic in Phnom Penh. it was just ok and i had to wait like half an hour to get it!

Most Usual Drink

definitely has to go to the red bull & vodka buckets at the Temple Bar in Siem Reap. YES i’m that lame that i’ve never had a bucket before. BTW this should also be listed as most lethal of cocktails of Cambodia!

Biggest Booze Surprise

the local beers were actually quite tasty!

CHEERS – lola



Filed under cambodia, koh kong, phnom penh, siem reap, travel

phenomenal Phnom Penh food – Cambodia

lola didn’t go starving

enjoying the good life in Phnom Penh

i’m sure you are wondering what the food scene was like in Cambodia. i’ll admit, i wasn’t sure what i was going to make of it. i’d either love it or hate it, i figured. i was also nervous that my stomach might not approve. well, i’m pleased to report that the local cuisine was delicious and if you got tired of Khmer or Thai food you could certainly find alternatives in the way of Western food. thank goodness i was physically working hard in Cambodia’s capital city or i might have ended up as big as the house i was building!

during the first half of my stay in Cambodia, when i was in Phnom Penh for the Habitat for Humanity house build, our breakfast was included in the price of our hotel accommodations. while i’ve never been one for an all-exclusive, it was nice to have the simple breakfast option right there on property each morning. we were expected to be up and at em and raring to go build by 7:30am each day. a decent breakfast was pretty much essential to our success.

fab lunch at an open-air restaurant – this says cashew chicken in Khmer

our lunch was also fixed in our costs for the build budget. every day we went to the same great outdoor restaurant on a pond near the build site. our boxed lunches were always prepared and waiting for us. we were able to choose from 20 different options – all local cuisine. i had red & green curry, penang chicken and cashew chicken. it came served with rice wrapped in a banana leaf & it ALL was delicious. we were given an hour and half for lunch each day and inevitably each of us would end up napping in our open-air huts – either on the floor or in a hammock. i could really get used to this ritual that’s for sure.

as for our dinner options, this was self catering holidays style, which is my preference. i really enjoy researching and trying some of the best, new/up & coming or well-known spots when traveling. after all, what better way to immerse yourself in the local culture than through the local cuisine! thankfully Phnom Penh food didn’t let me down.

notable places to mention:

lola sampled the classic Negroni at FCC

FCC (Foreign Correspondent Club) down on the riverfront, this classic joint has a great bar and view of the Mekong River. since 1993, the FCC has been known to serve stiff drinks to anyone from journalists to diplomats to movie stars. who couldn’t love an establishment with such a storied past during the early days of Cambodian peace. TOTALLY lola’s style and one of those places you just “HAVE TO” visit when in Phnon Penh.

delish eats for an important cause at Friends the Restaurant

Friends the Restaurant is a Khmer tapas bar that’s run by a non-governmental organization (NGO) – Mith Samlanh (which means friends in English) – “to support the needs of street children, their families and their community. the projects of Mith Samlanh aim to facilitate the children’s social reintegration into their families, the public school system, the workplace, and their culture. at Friends the Restaurant these street children are learning to become chefs and servers. Mith Samlanh offers food, shelter, medical care, training and educational facilities for over 1,800 homeless, vulnerable or abandoned children each day.” it felt absolutely appropriate to dine a place with such a humanitarian cause PLUS the tapas were outstanding and it was a great value.

authentic Cambodian at Khmer Surin

Khmer Surin is a wonderful authentic Cambodian Khmer restaurant with a lovely atmosphere. the amok is a must-try (fish or chicken steamed in coconut milk curry) at this well-known establishment. YUM! the ambience couldn’t have been prettier. the first floor features gardens, 2nd floor is Cambodian-style seating on cushions on a balcony and the 3rd floor is open-air seating with view of Phnom Penh. it was as beautiful as the food was tasty.

swanky hip French at Elyxir

Cambodia is also known for its French influences and so i was thrilled to try a newer trendy spot, Elyxir, a modern French wine bar. we chose to sample many plates off the menu and after dinner we hung out for post-dinner cocktails by their amazing outdoor pool. another notable luxe hip spot, Topaz, even at over a decade old, was quite trendy. this was an upscale French gastronomic experience and truly to die for. it was a perfect way to finish off our build week and time in Phnom Penh.

from start to finish – everything was parfait at the luxe French Topaz

one place that we patronized that i would not recommend is Titanic. while it’s on the riverfront and has a live Apsara show, it is very touristy and over-priced plus the food and service are ok at best.

at all of the other restaurants mentioned, the food was fantastic for the value and the service was terrific. dinners ranged from less than $20 to $40 for the upmarket Topaz. this ALWAYS included cocktails and/or wine. not too shabby, eh? you can most definitely eat well for not very much money and this is just a small sampling of Phnom Penh food!


Filed under cambodia, phnom penh, travel