Insider Picks

Jackie Kai Ellis

The designer shuttered a successful firm in Vancouver and moved to Paris to become a pastry chef, but the story doesn’t end there. Jackie Kai Ellis adds another noun (author) to her personal history this month with the release of a memoir, The Measure of My Powers. The book recounts a handful of her many travels, and so she shares her favorite places and the very practical items she brings along.

rome italy


Rome is among my favourite places to visit. The sherbet-coloured buildings, patinas and grit, dozens of different marbles that make up the floor in a designer boutique, bronze frog door handles, ‘Caravaggios’ hidden in common churches, the bravado of the Italian language, romance, fountains… then there’s pasta. Enough said.”

The Inn of Five Graces Santa Fe


The Inn of Five Graces in Santa Fe is incredible on so many levels. Each small corner of this boutique hotel is a layering of jewel tones made up of earthy rugs from the Middle East, bathrooms encrusted with mosaic murals and graphic textiles of local Native American heritage, all housed in charming adobe-style buildings. It was overwhelmingly beautiful, but the thing that truly inspired me was the service. I had never known such care for each detail of an experience.”

Muji garment cases


“I travel four to six months of the year and Muji’s mesh bags have revolutionized my travel life. I fold all my clothes, undergarments, even shoes into these bags and they keep my suitcase organized, but also help compress the clothing so I can hold more in my carry-on—I don’t like to check luggage.”

Air France ammenity kit


“I have a little zip up pouch that I fill with all the items that I will need during a flight: USB cord, headphones, ear plugs, eye mask, vitamins, pen for filling out landing cards, Chapstick, etcetera. Once I get on the plane, it makes getting settled easier. I never have to grab things out of the overhead compartment during the flight. Air France gives out pouches when you fly Business Class, I usually reuse those.”


“I travel a lot. I also used to get sick a lot from planes. Then I got very sick of getting sick a lot from planes so I did a bit of digging around on why. Turns out, it’s not the recycled air that makes us ill, it’s our nasal passages getting dry and vulnerable to bacteria that is the culprit. So I am that weirdo in the corner rubbing Polysporin up her nose—which looks oddly like picking one’s nose—and spraying saline in there every few hours. But I’m healthy when I land, so who’s laughing now?”