2017 End-of-Year Photo DUMP

What joy it brings to look back on a year in (iPhone) photos. This clump of a zillion photos is basically just for me, to look back on the truly awesome and unforgettable, from Cairo and the great Pyramids on New Year's Day 2017 to spending Christmas in Scottsdale with my family before ringing in 2018. It makes it look like nothing bad, sad, or challenging happened the entire year, which of course, is complete hogwash (but wouldn't that be wonderful). I think this is going to be a big year of change. Taking one, two, three deep breaths...

Past years: 201120122013201420152016

A Magical East River Ferry

The Brooklyn waterfront looks worlds apart from when I first saw it many years ago.

The expansion of the East River Ferry this year is changing the area even more. We hopped on a few weeks ago, and absolutely loved it, quickly adding to the "must take all visitors" list. It's breathtaking and beats any Circle Line tour - and it's only a few bucks.

The River Cafe under the Brooklyn Bridge.

The River Cafe under the Brooklyn Bridge.

Hop on at the DUMBO stop (after getting an almond croissant at Almondine, pizza at Juliana's, or fancy brunch at The River Cafe) and take it to 34th Street. You'll see a rapidly changing Brooklyn and Queens landscape. It's also quite fast, unlike the turtle-ing city tour boats.

Here's the East River ferry schedule and a great article from the New York Times on how the ferry is changing the Brooklyn-Queens waterfront. 

Long Island City, Queens.

Long Island City, Queens.

Once we got off at 34th Street, we wandered our way up to Central Park, which made for a pretty great cross-borough walking in NYC kind of day. Anyone else obsessed with their step count on the iPhone? I live for the 20,000+ steps kind of days. 

The 34th Street stop.

The 34th Street stop.

Central Park.

Central Park.

Updated Paris Guide

I never want to live in Paris. I think about it every time I go - a little one-bedroom on the Left Bank, close to Luxembourg Gardens and the windy streets of Saint German des Prés. But I want Paris to STAY magical, so I don't actually want to live there. I want to dip in for my visits, soak up all the glory and beauty, and leave inspired. I want to proudly visit famous bakeries, lounge in the Tuileries, go for drinks at Le Meurice. I don't want to become hardened, bitching about the tourists. I don't want to trek out to the 37th arrondissement for some hot spot that has a twin in Brooklyn. 

Lunching at LouLou, after the extraordinary Dior exhibit at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs.

Lunching at LouLou, after the extraordinary Dior exhibit at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs.

I've often told this story but I hated Paris the first time I went - it was my first trip to Europe, during an exceedingly hot July, and I fainted on top of the Eiffel Tower. I had no money, stayed in a creepy, infested hostel, missed my boyfriend at the time and family. 

But now I wander the streets with a permanent smile. Everyone who has been to Paris once has "THEIR LIST." I've updated my pretty exhaustive personal Paris guide after my most recent trip. You should see my actual 150+ page list of Paris notes, and where I source tips from - EVERYWHERE. Friends, twitter, websites, Instagram, concierges, torn-out magazines. I walked for about 10-12 miles every day on this last trip, giddy with the sense of new discovery and nostalgia for trips past. 

Wish we were all in Paris today!

For Magazine Lovers in NYC

I went through a long period where not a single magazine inspired me - they all looked the same and had similar stories. They all seemed out of touch, featuring annoying "lifestyle experts," recipes I would never try, or clothes I wouldn't wear (even if I could afford all of them). But lately, I've been inspired again and one catalyst was revisiting SoHo News International, at the corner of Prince & Sullivan in NYC.

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It's this tiny little magazine wonderland, filled with thousands of titles and divided by category - science, art, teens, photography, interiors, home, fashion, food, movies, kids, business, travel, British, Italian, German, and MORE. I can pick up copies of Frankie, my favorite magazine from Australia, The Spectator from London, or The Paris Review to feel super smart and literary. 

I've spent most of my career working at or around travel magazines and I KNOW how much work goes into creating one. To think of the thousands of creative people working to put out these titles - it just makes me happy and hopeful every time I step in here.

They also have the nicest people working there. If you need a quick, inspiring pick-me-up (the smell of magazines and paper does it for me!), this is the spot. 

The Best View in Lucerne

I visited Lucerne a few times before I knew Alex, but since knowing him, have grown to really know it and love his hometown. If you go to Switzerland, you really can't miss it (bossy and true). It's so stunningly beautiful and there is so much to do in the mountains and surrounding area, too. 

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Switzerland is a country of ridiculous views and the best ones in Lucerne can be found at the Art Deco Hotel Montana. You take a little funicular to get up there, and it's a must-see even if you're not staying - in the summer, the Montana Beach Club (aka their bar on the terrace) is the place to be. And if you're very lucky - you stay in THIS ROOM with THIS TERRACE.

Mount Pilatus - symbol of Lucerne.

Mount Pilatus - symbol of Lucerne.

They also have live music most days of the week in the Louis bar (named for Louis Armstrong). It's such a warm, joyous place to be - and shows off everything I love about great hotels. 

The Louis Bar.

The Louis Bar.

Terrace, sunset.

Terrace, sunset.