Several items caught my eye this weekend when reading my Sunday morning indulgence, The New York Times. These are my top 3 picks:
36 Hours, my favorite part of the Times Travel Section, finds itself in San Juan, Puerto Rico this week. Featured in the piece is Hotel El Convento, a beautiful example of Spanish colonial architecture and design and a European-style alternative to glitzier properties. It has almost convinced me to put Puerto Rico on the top of the travel list, particularly because my husband has insisted we go somewhere tropical before returning to Europe. Hotel El Convento is an Old San Juan institution right on the water. It was founded as a convent and housed Carmelite nuns for 250 years. Since then, the structure was rebuilt in 1959 on the foundations of the original. Check out its grand open-air courtyard and more on the hotel’s photo gallery. Looking for a hand-fitted, customized Panama hat? The article also suggests the best hat maker in town.
In the Arena section, where readers are treated to highlights from Tmagazine.com, I took notice of a piece on the Stockholm-based beauty brand called Sachajuan because of its simple packaging and my love for many things stylish and Swedish like Ikea. A cult favorite, its products – which include body washes and lotions made from a soluble fiber from oats called beta-glucan – is debuting in the States and carries a reasonable price tag. The article quotes Misha Anderson, its American distributor, as saying “In Swedish culture, they have a word called lagom – the idea that things should be chic yet understated and functional. This line embodies that in every way.” Learn more about Sachajuan products at woodleyandbunney.com
Sunday Review’s cover article “Relax! You’ll be More Productive” offers another nudge of convincing research in making the case that more naps and vacations – and less frantic juggling of overwhelming demands at an unsustainable pace – lead to better output in the work world, and that the best way to get more done may be to spend more time doing less. The “work when you work and rest when you rest” philosophy, accepted much more in Europe, has no patience for the American pastime of guilt associated with vacation or the drive of “more, bigger, faster”. This article suggests that working long hours and skipping vacation days is not equivalent to positive outcomes and results in the workplace. A new and growing body of multidisciplinary research shows that strategic renewal (longer sleep hours, more frequent vacations, more time away from the office, etc) boosts productivity, job performance and – of course – health. A recent survey found Americans left an average of 9.2 vacation days unused in 2012, up from 6.2 in 2011. Maybe this research can turn the tide of the oddly placed bragging rights that accompany unused or working vacations and frantic schedules, and introduce the idea that a siesta (even short) is nothing to laugh at.