2016 Year-In-Review

2016 Year-In-Review

One of my all-time favorite trips in May 2016: staying at the Grand Hotel Tremezzo in Lake Como, Italy. Totally obnoxious champagne on boat shot. But what a day! 

One of my all-time favorite trips in May 2016: staying at the Grand Hotel Tremezzo in Lake Como, Italy. Totally obnoxious champagne on boat shot. But what a day! 

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I've done a wrap-up on this blog for the past five years. When I look back at these ridiculous, challenging, beautiful adventures - traveling all over the world, a marriage, a divorce, a new love, a new job - I feel endlessly grateful and honestly, tired. Travel is my passion, my life, my work, my beloved job and industry but I really want to slow down a bit. 

I want to sit and read the New York Times every Sunday. I want to meet friends for dinner in Manhattan and return gratefully to Brooklyn. I want to walk in Central Park and Prospect Park on beautiful days. I want to feel grateful for every minute I am on the Brooklyn Promenade because I can't believe I live so close - this is my dream neighborhood in NYC. I want to explore New York like I used to when I first moved here - with that giddy sense of new-ness - through Chinatown, Little Italy, the Upper West Side, all over Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Queens. I want to make plans for the future - I've been such a stunned deer-in-the-headlights the past couple of years - either moving at warp speed to avoid feeling hurt, or waiting for someone else to make decisions. The future I had planned for since I was 20 disappeared when Andy and I split up and I'm still finding my way out. 

I know I will still travel. I would be lost without it. I will still travel more than most people I know. But I want a little more serenity, a little less airport madness, and more time to figure out what I want as I get older. I'll turn 35 this year and while sometimes it feels like I've been flitting around the world carelessly while all my friends have been having babies and saving for retirement - I am so grateful for this life (except for the Twilight Zone presidential election, which continues to be worse than we all thought). Can I do all of this and maintain minimum status on an airline? That is the goal. 

By the way - if you know anyone cool in Brooklyn, let me know. It's one of my resolutions this year to meet more interesting, creative, funny, kind people that live in Brooklyn and to build my community here more. If you say it loud, it is more likely to happen. So there you go! 

Wishing you a beautiful 2017. 

And in (mostly) chronological order - 2016 at a glance. 

New Year's 2016 in Myanmar - The Strand Cruise

New Year's 2016 in Myanmar - The Strand Cruise

The highlight of Chiang Mai for me - Royal Park Rajapruek

The highlight of Chiang Mai for me - Royal Park Rajapruek

Rice planting at Dhara Devi in Chiang Mai 

Rice planting at Dhara Devi in Chiang Mai 

Unforgettable - a day at Elephant Nature Park outside Chiang Mai

Unforgettable - a day at Elephant Nature Park outside Chiang Mai

A great place to stay in Bangkok - the Grand Hyatt Erawan

A great place to stay in Bangkok - the Grand Hyatt Erawan

January snowstorm!

January snowstorm!

Connecticut wedding with some of my amazing extended family

Connecticut wedding with some of my amazing extended family

Work trip to Terranea Resort outside of L.A.

Work trip to Terranea Resort outside of L.A.

Dreamy trip to St. Barth's

Dreamy trip to St. Barth's

Kiawah Island, South Carolina

Kiawah Island, South Carolina

Visiting my hometown of Scottsdale, Arizona during orange blossom season!

Visiting my hometown of Scottsdale, Arizona during orange blossom season!

Easter Dim Sum with (some of) my siblings + Hayley!

Easter Dim Sum with (some of) my siblings + Hayley!

Work trip to Seattle

Work trip to Seattle

The absolutely stunning Park Hotel Vitznau outside of Lucerne, Switzerland

The absolutely stunning Park Hotel Vitznau outside of Lucerne, Switzerland

Lugano, Switzerland

Lugano, Switzerland

Grand Hotel Tremezzo - Lake Como, Italy

Grand Hotel Tremezzo - Lake Como, Italy

Fell in love with Fire Island - my first time there.

Fell in love with Fire Island - my first time there.

No place makes me feel like this place does - East Hampton, NY 

No place makes me feel like this place does - East Hampton, NY 

Hello New Home - Brooklyn Heights

Hello New Home - Brooklyn Heights

Weekend at my aunt & uncle's lakehouse

Weekend at my aunt & uncle's lakehouse

Recovering in Aspen post-Virtuoso Week 

Recovering in Aspen post-Virtuoso Week 

Aspen

Aspen

My favorite cake in the world - Original Sacher-Torte in Vienna!

My favorite cake in the world - Original Sacher-Torte in Vienna!

Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna

Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna

The beautiful Schloss Fuschl hotel outside of Salzburg, Austria

The beautiful Schloss Fuschl hotel outside of Salzburg, Austria

Will never forget this sunset swim in the lake! 

Will never forget this sunset swim in the lake! 

Sunset in Salzburg

Sunset in Salzburg

Favorite cocktail - Mr. Pink's at the Baccarat Hotel 

Favorite cocktail - Mr. Pink's at the Baccarat Hotel 

Ballet at Lincoln Center 

Ballet at Lincoln Center 

Upper West Side drinks - love our friend's rooftop!! 

Upper West Side drinks - love our friend's rooftop!! 

WOW view from the Rothorn in Switzerland 

WOW view from the Rothorn in Switzerland 

Rainy day view from the amazing Beau-Rivage hotel in Geneva

Rainy day view from the amazing Beau-Rivage hotel in Geneva

Back in Lucerne

Back in Lucerne

Annual fall-in-Connecticut trip with my aunt

Annual fall-in-Connecticut trip with my aunt

Metropolitan Opera

Metropolitan Opera

Fall in NYC

Fall in NYC

The River Cafe - eternally wonderful

The River Cafe - eternally wonderful

Thanksgiving with my family in L.A. - Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows in Santa Monica

Thanksgiving with my family in L.A. - Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows in Santa Monica

View from the Carlton in Cannes - ILTM! 

View from the Carlton in Cannes - ILTM! 

Beautiful Munich

Beautiful Munich

Family party in Franklin Lakes

Family party in Franklin Lakes

First copies of the new NatGeo book with my foreword

First copies of the new NatGeo book with my foreword

Christmas Day - Art Deco Hotel Montana, Lucerne

Christmas Day - Art Deco Hotel Montana, Lucerne

New favorite place - Lenzerheide, Switzerland

New favorite place - Lenzerheide, Switzerland

Felucca ride, Cairo! 

Felucca ride, Cairo! 

The Egyptian Museum made my heart beat faster.

The Egyptian Museum made my heart beat faster.

Cairo 

Cairo 

New Year's Day 2017 

New Year's Day 2017 

Scottsdale Sunset

The Sanctuary on Camelback

The Sanctuary on Camelback

I was lucky to spend nearly two weeks at home in Scottsdale over Christmas. I hadn't spent that much time at home in almost two years, and it made me realize how much I miss it. Scottsdale is known for its hotels, spas, hikes, sunshine, golf courses, culture of healthiness, and mountain views - all things I love (ok, not golf). But for me, there's a memory on every street corner, the desert air is actually healing, and life just feels...easier.

March is the most magical time in Scottsdale - for a couple of weeks, the air smells like perfume because of the orange blossoms blooming. It's like a sunny, suburban eden. And if you find yourself in Scottsdale, head to The Sanctuary hotel on Camelback Mountain to watch the sunset. It's pretty magical too.

Phoenix Rising

The Farm at South MountainWhen I was a tourist in my hometown (Phoenix/Scottsdale), I stayed at Sheraton Wild Horse Pass and Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale. Here are a few more things I loved about Phoenix, including places I had never been like the relatively new Musical Instrument Museum, with thousands of instruments from all over the world and cool pieces from pop culture like the piano that John Lennon wrote "Imagine" on. We had dinner at The Farm at South Mountain, a super romantic and beautiful spot that is a must-visit while in town and strawberry shortcake at Phoenix institution Durant's, open since 1950. I loved going back to the Heard Museum, dedicated to American Indian art and country dancing at Greasewood Flat, which used to be an 1880's stagecoach stop.

John Lennon's Piano at the Musical Instrument MuseumMusical Instrument MuseumThe massive Musical Instrument MuseumGreasewood Flat - one of my favorite spotsThe beautiful Farm at South MountainOld-school Durant'sThe Heard MuseumChunky Southwest Jewelry & Bolo Ties at the Heard MuseumThe Heard Museum

Hiking Pinnacle Peak in Scottsdale

I always try to climb Camelback Mountain at least once when I'm home in Arizona. But on my most recent trip, staying at the Four Seasons in Scottsdale, a few of us climbed nearby Pinnacle Peak in the early morning, which I had never done in 20 years of living/visiting family in Arizona. For a first-time visitor to Scottsdale, I'd say this is the hike to do. You have panoramic views of the valley, of Camelback Mountain and you're surrounded by hundreds of saguaro cacti. Plus, it's a simple hike for the most part. No hanging onto poles to help you get up straight vertical climbs like on Camelback. It was the best way to start an Arizona day.

Camelback Mountain

Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale, Arizona

You can't compare Four Seasons to any other hotel brand - they are above and beyond spectacular in every way. Continuing on the Arizona trip with Visit Phoenix and a most amazing group of ladies, we headed to the Four Seasons Resort in Scottsdale. The Scottsdale property is so integrated into the landscape that you couldn't feel any closer unless you were sleeping with the cacti (no thanks!). The desert vistas are home to me, but add in the mouthwatering steak and seafood at Talavera (which has the BEST SUNSET VIEW in Scottsdale), drinks, mini spa treatments, yoga on the lawn, and stargazing with a pro astronomer? I was most definitely NOT at home and it made for a memorable weekend.

The guest rooms are in casitas that gaze out at the Arizona terrain, which is nearly silent at night. And the interiors reflect what I'd want my dream Arizona home to look like - a cozy fireplace and a palette of desert pinks, purples, and oranges. I love so many of the Scottsdale hotels, but this one reflects the Arizona I love the most in its layout and design. Plus we spotted Giada de Laurentiis getting her hair done in the salon before her book signing in Kierland Commons!

The best time of day

I miss these ladies!

Entrance to my room

Loved all these paths through the resort

Arizona PerfectionSo many great views! Caught a beautiful weddingThe lobby at nightLobby during the dayCan't wait to go back when I'm home