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    I'm Annie.

    Wednesday
    Sep172014

    A New York Love Affair

    In many ways, the past few months have been the most difficult of my life. Someday, I hope I'll feel strong enough to detail all of it in a more public way, but I do know when I look back that I will see it as a life-altering, life-changing summer. Have you ever felt that? That while you're going through it - you KNOW it is changing the course of your life? Which is part of the reason why I haven't been on here.

    There is one thing that I'm more sure of than ever - how much I love my job and the industry I work in. Nothing is consistent or really ever clear but I love it.

    Plus, I've been working on a site redesign with the amazing Kelly Christine Studio - can't wait to have it up very, very soon!

    Fall travel is about to begin and I've been soaking up every minute in New York City. It happens every year around this time - I fall madly in love with living here again. 

    I head to Riviera Maya tomorrow for ILTM Americas - a conference with some of the best people in luxury travel. Really, I just want chips, guacamole and a big margarita and to meet some great new friends and see old ones.

    I hope you have some adventures planned this fall - and I'll see you back here with a brand new design soon!

    Thursday
    Jul312014

    Dublin's Coffee Boom 

    In Dublin, most conversations turned to coffee. I don't know how it happened. I love coffee (though I didn't used to) and didn't mind these chats.

    So my media mind raced: it's a TREND.

    Coffee is a THING now in Dublin. This could be a story, or part of the larger food story I was writing!

    But, as I came to find out, unlike some trends that are...ahem...made up in the media, coffee culture really is booming here.

    There are premium coffee shops popping up and Dublin has the "potential to be the next Melbourne!" when it comes to coffee, as one barista told me.

    I wrote about Roasted Brown here and thought 3FE was super cool but I wanted to give a shout out to another one of the coffee shops and cafes I loved: Brother Hubbard. In fact, they work with the 3FE team on sourcing and making the best possible coffee.

    It feels like such a friendly neighborhood joint, one that you'd love to stumble upon in a foreign city.

    Located on Capel Street just outside the busy center, there is a take-away section loaded with treats and a sit-down cafe. Both are fantastic.

    Brother Hubbard: 153 Capel Street, Dublin, Ireland

    Tuesday
    Jul222014

    Chez Panisse in Berkeley 

    Happiness at Chez PanisseMy sandals broke on a long day of scouting with NatGeo photographer Catherine Karnow. No time to waste when we already had a packed day. The closest savior? A Walgreens. I trudged in, bought a $5 pair of flip-flops and continued working.

    The day went on and we were close to Berkeley, where Alice Waters' iconic restaurant Chez Panisse has held court for 43 years. She was the first to really pioneer farm-to-table eating. Catherine had photographed Alice years ago and had raved about the restaurant as one of her favorites.

    I have wanted to come to Chez Panisse ever since I first heard about it, which was probably when I was 12 years old, obsessed with reading any and all magazines. We decided to try our luck at getting in to eat on a busy Friday night.

    And I was so mad that I shuffled in wearing my $5 Walgreens flip-flops (later promptly tossed into the trash).

    Despite the footwear, we were lucky to get seated as walk-ins for the "cafe" upstairs, which just feels like a normal restaurant (albeit one with a gorgeous open kitchen and bustling, happy diners seated at rustic wooden tables). The "restaurant" downstairs has a prix-fixe tasting menu.

    Gem lettucesTo say it was exquisite perfection is not exaggerating - but it was so simple. Dessert? Blueberries and two apricots. The salad lettuces were crisp and earthy; the polenta, sweet corn and tomatoes sweet and salty. It is like you are being hugged by the state of California and everything that represents.

    Halibut appetizer PolentaBlueberries for dessertI always thought Chez Panisse was ridiculously expensive. But it's not! It is now one of my favorite restaurants in the world - I could happily eat there again and again. It is an absolute must if you're in the Bay Area (about a 20 minute drive from downtown San Francisco).

    Monday
    Jul212014

    Coming Up: The Hundred in Dallas 

    Many of you may know Lauren Knight, otherwise known as Aspiring Kennedy. She's an amazing lifestyle blogger living in London, but she's also amazing in REAL LIFE too! (Have you met "online peeps" that are not as...personable as their online personas might indicate? I have met a few!)

    Funny story.

    I was in London and my good friend Adrienne said, "Hey you should really check out Aspiring Kennedy. She has some great London tips."

    I trust Adrienne so I started clicking away and got lost in the world of Lauren's London, her trips across Europe and her baby Viola. I decided to look this chick up on Facebook.

    We had a friend in common that I happened to know very well. My husband, Andy.

    Maybe he could hook us up! Then I remembered that I had already met Lauren for a HOT SECOND at an event in Dallas years ago, introduced by Andy.

    I reached out. We met up in Notting Hill at Electric Diner. Insta-buds! 

    This is Lauren, not at Electric Diner, but at some other lovely London spot that I can't remember...there was coffee and almond croissants, so naturally we loved it.

    Breakfast in London - November 2013Lauren and three awesome other bloggers are hosting an event in Dallas (where I used to live) in August called The Hundred. If you love Good People and community like I do, and learning about entrepreneurship, blogging, content creation and more, you will fit right in. Even if you hate all those things, but like LIFE, I'm pretty sure you'll fit right in too.

    I will be speaking about travel, media, my work - and finding your passion in general! Plus, there will be hang time and time for Q&A.

    See you soon - I hope!

    Thursday
    Jul172014

    Brooking Brunching + Summer Nights in Central Park 

    Summer in Central ParkMy friend Katarina is an amazing woman - talented, smart, funny, kind. She recently sent some friends in the city, including me, an Excel spreadsheet with a calendar of things to do this summer. HOW COOL IS THAT?! The seasons fly by, faster than ever. How often do we say "Oh I want to do this" and then we never do. Not with Katarina at the helm.

    From her list, I invited ourselves to join her and her husband at Central Park for a free concert on the Great Lawn by the New York Philharmonic. We split picnic duties and brought blankets to the uber-crowded but super fun Friday night event. And at the end - surprise fireworks! Perfection.

    It was also glorious to spend an entire weekend at home. I went to two FABULOUS Brooklyn brunch spots - Rose Water in Park Slope and Cafe Luluc in Cobble Hill. Get there early-ish for both of them, like all popular brunch spots in New York, but you won't regret it.

    Sit in the back garden at Cafe Luluc and order these pancakes - sort of a caramelized, crunchy outer layer but yet still super soft with a pile of fresh fruit on top and maple syrup on the side. They are perfect. 

    Cafe Luluc outdoor gardenAnd here is the special sangria at Rose Water, which I actually didn't order but it was so pretty on our table.