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The Gift of Travel… Pillow Style

I think that the best gift of life is travel. Near and far. I am afraid of a lot of things but travel is not one of them. I love the whole process… Airports, hotels, new environments, new cultures… New food! Before my 18th birthday, most of my travel was confined to the US but after 18… I was off!

My first overseas trip I ventured alone… To the Cannes Film Festival in France. I was going there to meet up with my boyfriend du jour and another friend who had a film in the festival. The rose of the trip was the best strawberries that I have ever tasted and the thorn was that my boyfriend cheated on me. Such is life but I still remember those strawberries! The boyfriend… Not so much.

After Cannes, I moseyed over to St. Tropez where I was bitten by the travel bug and 20 years later… My love of travel has never stopped. London, Rome, Venice, Paris, Florence, Barcelona, Majorca, Normandy… I got the basics out of the way early and I was ready to start my more adventurous travel… Morocco, Bali, India, China… But a little something called ALS got in the way. However, I still like to do what I can with ALS. Just this week we have traveled to over 10 villages in the south of France…Gordes, Lacoste, Menerbes, Bonnieux, Arles, St. Remi, Graveson, Avignon etc.

I have always encouraged my daughter, Gracie, to travel as I feel it is the best way for her to explore and appreciate a world outside of herself. She started traveling alone airport to airport when she was 11 years old and by the time she was in the ninth grade she had mastered the London tube, the Paris Metro, the New York subway and could navigate her way through any confusing airport with confidence. Even though Gracie is shy, she can work her way through any customs line like a seasoned pro with her cute little passport. Gracie has taken dozens of online school finals inside of an airport lounge. :-)

The most important part of our travels is what we have learned.  It is easy to stay in America and remain in the safety of your comfort zone but when you expand your horizons, you expand your mind and this is, as MasterCard says, “Priceless.” Gracie was homeschooled three out of four years of high school and this gave her the opportunity to learn outside of the textbook. Travel taught Gracie tolerance, open-mindedness, appreciation for other cultures, religions, customs and yes, food… From the basic crêpe to Vietnamese nem, Indian butter chicken, Moroccan couscous, Spanish tapas, North African merguez and falafel to French quennelle and Italian burratta. We have spent Sunday’s at an Indian Temple, Wednesdays at a Catholic Church and Tuesday’s at a Muslim mosque. It’s all about exposure, baby!

We have thousands of photographs of our travels in photo albums, boxes, picture frames and books to remind us of where we have been, what we have seen and what we have experienced. Memories… Which brings me to today’s exciting blog posting…

I have found a company that shares my love of travel in a very unique way. On pillows! The owners of the company have combined their love of travel, vintage style and interior decor and have produced pillows that have vintage scenes of their families travels to Europe in the 50s and 60s. Two words: très chic! Take a look…

 On The Champs Pillow
French Mediterranean Pillow 
London Map 1 Pillow

Spanish Mediterranean Pillow

Notre Dame Bookstand, 1962 Pillow
Simply Paris Pillow

San Francisco Map Pillow

Paris Artiste 1961 Pillow

Venice Touristas Pillow

And here is the best part… The pillows are available on my shop starting today! I have a huge selection of the pillows with scenes of Paris, Italy, Spain, New York, San Francisco… All with a vintage flare. The pillows are printed with European linen from the Netherlands, filled with a lush 10/90 down/feather blend and backed with natural linen.

Click HERE to shop the pillows!
Happy happy holidays!


  1. I agree with you on travelling. ...if it were free I would be gone all the first transatlantic flight was 1956 Athens to NY, of course I was only 7 wks old but I haven't stopped since....the pillows are darling & a few could have been from my father's collection of photos :) btw Julia Child's home in Provence is for sale, are you near there? xo

  2. We have been blessed with the ability to circle the globe many times. Love these pillows...I plan to pick mine up personally in March. Your readers that have traveled or dreamed of traveling will LOVE!!!! - Deb

  3. TRAVEL..........a better education then a CLASSROOM for SURE!
    You are EXPLORING the region and getting a good taste for the SOUTH of FRANCE.Perhaps a new cookbook is in your FUTURE!!!
    I was contacted by one of your READERS oh......I hope I have this RIGHT........... ISLA..........she has us TWIRLING on DECEMBER 24th for YOU at 7Pm CENTRAL TIME!!!!AS you mentioned a twirl in the PARK a post or two ago we shall DO IT FOR YOU in OUR HOMES!I have a feeling THE FORCE Of ALL these TWIRLS will wake YOU UP early on CHRISTMAS morning!!!!!!!!!MERRY CHRISTMAS BELLA!MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

    1. Yes, La Contessa!!! We will lift our faces, spread our arms, and twirl for Elle. 7 p.m. CST for me. Donna is twirling at 8 EST! Thank you for helping spread the word. I absolutely adored Elle's post about "before". Feeling deep empathy for that woman and still tearing up as I think about it. Merry Christmas to all and to all, a happy joyous twirl in the park!

    2. A-twirling we will be at 8pm EST! I'm even dragging my neighbors out to twirl, (lest they think I'm crazy) and also to send lots of positive energy your way, Ellie. Merry Christmas!!!

  4. These are wonderful Ellie! Travel not only takes us to another world of adventure, it expands our minds and opens us to new experiences in life!!

    The Arts by Karena
    The Meaning of the Season!

  5. The pillows are terrific!
    I was very fortunate to have parents that instilled in me the love of travel. From an early age with family trips around our home state to wonderful attractions when they were truly marvelous - Weeki Wachee Springs, Marineland, the Bok Tower and Gardens, Ybor City, a truly glamorous Miami Beach, The Keys among others - long before The Mouse even thought of landing here, and way before Seaword started mistreating orcas. Then as I got older, we traveled to major North American cities for my father's professional conventions - New York City (my first pastrami sandwich at the Carnegie Deli!) and the 1964 World's Fair (first touch tone phone and Belgian waffles with strawberries and mile high whipped cream), Delmonico's, boating on Long Island Sound, The Hamptons; later, Montreal in 1967 and the World's Fair, my sister and I navigating the underground from the Gare Centrale train station which was below our beautiful Hotel Queen Elizabeth, going out to a cafe for dinner, sans parents, trying out my high school French, and sharing a split of champagne as we dined with our parents in a beautiful private dining room at our hotel the last night of our stay. In 1968 they sent me on a whirlwind European student bus tour, starting in Amsterdam and ending in London. I celebrated my 17th birthday in Rome seeing "Aida" at the Coliseum complete with real live elephants and light show! On that trip I got to see the Alps, Vienna, Venice, Nice and Paris, as well as parts of Germany (not Berlin as it was the 60's and considered too dangerous). In 1973, my sister and I took one last trip together, prior to both of our upcoming weddings, and returned to Rome and Florence, where I left my heart, and part of my soul, and the city I long to return. Sadly, it wasn't until last year that I returned to Europe with a fabulous trip to Barcelona and San Sebastian with one of my oldest friends. I realized during that trip that whatever meager funds I have will be spent on traveling. I finally made it to LA this year (Irvine, really) to see my college roommate, who I've been friends with since first grade. I hoping that 2016 will see me and the un-husband taking a leisurely trip up the east coast and visiting Savannah, Charleston, D.C., and ending up in New York state to visit my other best friend. Travel will now be the gift I give myself, as often as possible.
    Wishing you and your beautiful family a very Merry Christmas and a healthy and Happy New Year!
    (PS: it's going to be 83 fucking degrees here Christmas Day!)

  6. Ellie, I agree with you 100% on is the best money and time one can spend. Others can keep all their fancy clothes, jewels, villas and facelifts.....memories of the travel experience can never go out of style, be stolen, lost or lose their elasticity! I have been very fortunate to have traveled extensively and I treasure every single moment of every trip. Luckily, my husband also has wanderlust and I am so grateful for that. On a more creepy note....! My mother was afraid of flying, but wanted to travel. So when she passed away and was cremated I had a tiny silver etui in which I carried some of her remains to spread in secret little places throughout our travels! I loved it and I know she would have gotten a real kick out of it. Only once did we have one TINY little problem in, after having shared that I will wish you a Merry Christmas ( with a smidgen of Halloween! )

  7. It really bothers me when I read about tourism being down to Europe because of the ISIL murders. As awful as they are, there were similar slaughters in European airports in the mid-1970's by terrorist groups. And we didn't stop traveling. Why have we gotten so scared of the world in the last 20 years? 9/11? I don't know, but nothing keeps me off a plane...

    The pillows are gorgeous and I'm going to order a couple. Happy Christmas and Merry New Year!

  8. These pillows are very cool. I think I might make transfers of some of my travel pictures to put on some pillows. Maybe on a pillow case to re-dream about a past trip. Sigh. Thanks for the ideas.

  9. Ok 24th December 7.00 pm central time I will be twirling in Hong Kong, just need to to check with Mr Google the correct time here.
    The cushions are lovely, I have tapestry ones from all the chateau's I visited in France years ago, brings back beautiful memories. Hope you have a lovely Xmas with your family. Best wishes Lillian xxx

    1. Happy to hear twirling was happening in Hong Kong! We twirled on the square in Raymond MS. Got a little dizzy to tell the truth.

  10. Bon soir Ellie,

    You are a girl after my own heart! I have many friends that don't care if they travel or not and that is so foreign to me-I guess if you are born a wanderer then that is what you are (a pedicurist told me, without knowing me, that I must like to travel as I have a freckle on the bottom of my foot-go figure). My father was a wanderer and I did inherit his 'gypsy' soul and, as such, at the age of 18 I left my comfortable, conservative Canadian home to backpack through Europe. Needless to say my parents were horrified and forbade me to go but, naturally, I played the "I'm 18" card and took off into the wild blue yonder. A mere 41 years later I haven't stopped! Also like you, I had to take it a step further and married a Californian fellow that I met in Venice, Italy thereby transplanting me to Southern California which was altogether a whole new adventure. Fast forward a number of years and two fabulous sons later and I was divorced and eventually married a Londoner that I met here in California. I'm definitely not a person who married someone within there own zipcode. Together we've had so many adventures that have taken us to Australia, New Zealand and Europe but like you I still have a lengthy bucket list.

    My story really has no moral, or point, but you stirred so many memories I felt compelled to share some of them with you as you share so much of yourself with us. I think it a fact that if more people explored this world, making friends and acquaintances, or just seeing how others live, we would all be better off.

    Joyeux Noel Ellie!

  11. Those pillows are really fun! Good find! And Happy Holidays!

  12. Ellie, this is the first time I comment and I don't know where to start. I just want to tell you that:

    YOU ARE AMAZING! There must have been many who said that before. So let me say it too!
    Thank you for doing this blog. Thank you for all your honesty and openness! Thank you for your (sometimes black) humor and for your entertainment. Thank you for not sparing us. Thank you for your will and strength. Your attitude tought me a lot!

    I wish you a VERY, VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS with your familiy down in Provence!!!

    I wish you Happiness and everything good one can imagine for 2016!!!


  13. Christmas Eve, gorgeous full moon, joyeux Noël heureuse nouvelle année Ellie !! Much Love, XOXO

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  15. Happy New Year, Ellie. I didn't see this post until now because my family gathered in Berkeley, where our daughter lives, for Christmas week. We, accordingly, will be twirling for you on New Year's Eve, in Portland, Berkeley and NYC. I couldn't agree more with you about the value of travel. My solo travel started at age 17 when I became an exchange student in Neuchâtel, Switzerland. Then, after studying in Europe again as a college junior, I took off for Finland, the USSR, Paris and London after graduating from college. Next was the ultimate in travel: all-international flying (for Pan Am, out of New York City and Seattle) for 8 years. As much as I love travelling the world, however, I eventually resigned from my wonderful job with Pan Am because I craved the opportunity to become part of a community, which was impossible to do (at least in those pre-email, pre-cell days) when I was abroad and totally out-of-touch 10-12 days ever7 month. I learned that as much as I loved having a wide breadth of experiences, I also needed to have a depth of experiences in one place. For me, that became another dimension of travelling. It has been wonderful to have a life with both!

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