The Lucerne Carnival

I can't escape Donald Trump anywhere I go. He's everywhere, including the Lucerne Carnival in Switzerland, flailing around, looking orange. He's on that stage in the picture below, hiding behind Kermit the Frog.

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We happened to be in Lucerne this year during Carnival for (very sad) family reasons, but I am happy I got to experience something that meant a lot to Alex - and most locals in Lucerne - growing up. There is a long history, and today families spend months getting ready, making their costumes, planning their Carnival look. Think Halloween, but calmer and nicer, on the whole. Think dad and kid as matching giraffes. 

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For all the costumes and merriment, my favorite discovery was Fasnachtschüechli, which is the typical Swiss carnival snack - bites of lightly fried dough topped with crunchy bits of sugar. 

But us non-Swiss, non-German speaking folk can't really say it. 

Here, Alex tells you how to say it. 

So there you go. Practice a few times, and you'll be ready to pick up a few little boxes at the local Migros or Coop grocery stores. 

 Fasnachtschüechli 

Fasnachtschüechli 

 Beautiful, wintry Lucerne

Beautiful, wintry Lucerne

Next year's carnival is Feb 28-March 5, 2019.

Hello from London: a Vlog with Aspiring Kennedy

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On a crisp, sunny, beautiful London day last December, I wandered around Kensington Palace and gardens with Lauren Bryan Knight, otherwise known as Aspiring Kennedy. We had lunch at The Orangery at Kensington Palace and ended with tea and scones at Candella. Pretty much the perfect day. And my sister, who now lives in London, joined us at the end! 

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I first met Lauren in London a few years ago, and she's one of those people that you instantly connect with. She also happens to be really funny, a mom to three adorable kids, and wife to her great husband Tyler. Lauren also really gets travel, and she takes her kids all over Europe. She's also what I consider to be a real influencer (#overusedannoyingword), because people trust her. I work in travel and media, and know hundreds of travel journalists and agents - and while many of them are awesome, I'd take Lauren's recommendations first. (If you're going to London, use her guide! I always do. And here's my England/London guide, just in case.) 

We went on a lovely walk and talked travel tips, with and without kids. Here is the full 14-minute chat! 

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!