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 

A Love Letter to Paris, in Photos

I have never seen Paris look more beautiful. I was lucky enough to spend two days in Paris after the annual ILTM conference in Cannes, staying at the INCREDIBLE Mandarin Oriental, my new favorite place to stay. I am so glad I made the trip happen - it was a highlight of my entire year and I can't wait to get back. Go now - eat, drink, celebrate, and walk the streets. It is absolute perfection. Paris, Je T'aime.

The Dreamiest Paris Museum

In two beautiful mansions in the Marais is the Carnavalet Museum, a dreamy, transportive place to spend a couple of hours on an afternoon in Paris (two hours is my museum limit before I start searching out a cafe cappuccino and the shop).

Staircase in the CarnavaletI wanted to jump into the paintings of the Belle Epoque, of 19th-century Paris, where parties, lunches, divine dresses, big hats, cigars, theater performances, glasses of wine, and horse-drawn carriages ruled the social scene. But there are 140 rooms, tracing the entire history of Paris - in fact, it has been open since 1880, before the height of the Belle Epoque. So whether it's the Medieval or Renaissance periods, the French Revolution, or like me, the Belle Epoque, that strikes your fancy, you will find something to love and learn at the Carnavalet. The interiors alone are worth a visit, forgetting the artwork. 

Belle Epoque is translated as the "Golden Age" or the "Beautiful Age" - how heartbreakingly perfect is that kind of era?

A visit to the Carnavalet is also a great time to experience Paris' most famous falafel stand - L'As du Fallafel, a five-minute walk away. Hop in line and be ready to give cash to the person taking your order in line. Take the paper they give you, hand it to the person at the window, and receive your falafel (I loved the spicy one - it's not that hot). Find somewhere to sit - the most beautiful park, Place des Vosges is less than 10 minutes away if you can make it that far without chomping down. Get extra napkins and enjoy!

L'As du FallafelSpicy falafelL'As du Fallafel - 34 rue des Rosiers, Marais (closed on Saturdays for the Jewish sabbath)

Carnavalet Museum - 23 Rue de Sévigné, Marais

L'Ami Jean, Paris

On a quiet street in Paris, close to the Eiffel Tower but not too close, is Chez L'Ami Jean. Out of our wonderful dinner here came one of my favorite action photos - the young apprentice in the kitchen, paused, not quite sure how to react yet, waiting earnestly to hear what the great chef Stéphane Jégo, his boss, will say next. That chef, by the way, is a totally charming rascal and to catch his gleaming eyes for a moment is one of the treats of dinner here.

Young chef The rascal Chef - just look at that face!It's rustic, it's loud (you won't want to spill too many secrets at your table as the next table over will be able to hear everything!), and it's French comfort food at its finest. Not a fan of rice pudding? Me neither. But the riz au lait here is a must. Come hungry - and build in some extra time for a long walk back to your hotel or apartment after dinner.

The Lovely Little Ile Saint-Louis

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I came to the Ile Saint-Louis, one of Paris' two islands on the Seine, in search of the original Berthillon, Paris' most famous ice cream shop. The ice cream is sold all over the city now but you have to find the original. It's seriously good, my favorite being chocolat noir (dark chocolate).

But I found Berthillon, and I kept wanting to go back. It's just so lovely and mostly residential, with 17th century apartment buildings, and on a beautiful day, it's pure Paris magic, and like a movie set of what you think Paris should look like. It's close to Notre Dame, so an afternoon spent wandering both islands is time well spent.

You may also spot Angelo Aversa, with his bicycle art gallery, the so-called "smallest art gallery in Paris," of wood cut pieces. They are so nice and, while not cheap (we paid around 100 euros for our small piece), it is on display on my desk and such a great reminder of meeting the artist, and our time in Paris...and of the lovely afternoons spent on the Ile Saint-Louis.

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