The New Face of California Wine Country

Spring is upon us (as are my allergies), so I’ve got the itch to plan some travel! As ever, I’m caught in the crossroads of choosing between a jungle adventure, vineyard tour, or a New England beach escape.  My initial decision has been, why not all three (are we surprised by this?).

With an offer on the table for a weekend in Nantucket (more on that later), a Costa Rica adventure in the works (more on this as well), I’m focusing my travel planning on California Wine Country—who’s with me!

photo courtesy of sonomauncorked.com

photo courtesy of sonomauncorked.com

Luckily, I’ve come across  Travel + Leisure‘s guide to Sonoma & Napa Valley.  It may be from a few years ago, but the advice is definitely all still relevant. Read about what not to miss on your next trip to some of the world’s best vineyards in Sunny California.

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The Other Side of Amsterdam

Amsterdam is known to offer tourists a certain something that can’t be found (legally) elsewhere.  It has gained it’s reputation around that, and only that.  But, Amsterdam is so much more! It’s full of culture, museums, interesting food, and bicycles by the thousands. My reasons for loving Amsterdam had nothing to do with its tourist-drawing reputation and everything to do with the other things it has to offer.

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Iconic Iterneraries

Even the world’s most beloved tourist destinations can sometimes be hard to navigate. With the help of the best travel specialists, Condé Nast Traveler has ferreted out the secrets, treasures, and unmissable experiences in 19 favorite destinations. The result is a series of step-by-step trips that will surprise and delight those who’ve never been to the destination before… or who have been a dozen times. Each of these detailed itineraries has been vetted and perfected by a Condé Nast Traveler editor, so you can be sure you’re not being led astray.

Iconic Itineraries

Tuscany, ItalyTuscany, Italy

There are many ways to discover Tuscany, of course, but the most efficient, intimate, and unexpected is to use a travel specialist such as Maria Teresa Berdondini of Tuscany by Tuscans. She was skilled at negotiating the realities of visiting Italy and at arranging special experiences that are the stuff of every tourist’s fantasy. Read More…

cn_image.size.turkey__001u-croppedIstanbul, Turkey

Turkey is no stranger to visitors. Silk Road merchants, Christian pilgrims, Venetian sailors, Russian aristocrats, and many others were traveling to the country long before it became a favorite holiday destination for sun-starved Europeans on package tours. But despite the long history of hospitality, a few difficulties remain. Read More…

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Boubon Street – New Orleans at its Finest

Mardi Gras is one of the biggest parties to happen anywhere in the world, and  it draws all sorts of people to it.  It is also an awesome representation of the distinct culture of New Orleans, which is festive and colorful all year round.  I didn’t make it down to Mardi Gras this year, but in its honor this week, I’ll tell you a bit about my trip a few years ago.

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The Effortless Traveler – Style Guide

There’s nothing like being on a long haul flight and realizing that you’ve packed terribly. You’re uncomfortable or you can’t fall asleep — and you’re trapped for the next 8 hours.  It can even be a pretty terrible feeling if its only a short flight. So, I’ve compiled a list of 12 Must Have’s to ensure a comfortable, effortlessly chic flight.  All you need to add is your favorite playlist and a couple pre-downloaded books and movies on the iPad, and you’re set!

Effortlessly Chic Travel

Airport Chic

– 1 – Short Boots, Steve Madden – 2 – Noise Cancelling Headphones, Bose – 3 – Sweater Tunic, Alice & Olivia – 4 – Leggings, Vince – 5 – Travel Sleep Set, Sofia Cashmere – 6 – Tassle Loafers, Madewell – 7 – Handbag, 3.1 Phillip Lim – 8 – Cosmetic Set, First Aid Beauty – 9 – Cashmere Slippers, White + Warren – 10 – Patterned Scarf, Madewell – 11 – Hard Suitcase, Longchamp – 12 – iPad Air, Apple

Every New Yorker’s dreaming of…The Hamptons

From what I understand, if you haven’t already booked your Hamptons house, you’re not going to get one.  Good thing I haven’t booked mine yet! But I’m not giving up hope that I’ll make it out there at some point this summer.  When it’s sweltering and sticky in July, I don’t care if it involves sleeping on the beach (ugh…beach, swoon), I’ll get there. So in my late February day dreaming, I’ve come across The Best of: The Hamptons, a guide from one of my favorite lifestyle blogs.

The GOOP Guide to The Hamptons

Amagansett Beach, The Hamptons (photo courtesy of businessinsider.com)

Amagansett Beach, The Hamptons (photo courtesy of businessinsider.com)

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Bienvenidos a Miami

“Here I am in the place where I come let go
Miami the base and the sunset glow
Everyday like a Mardi Gras, everybody party all day
No work all play, okay”

Miami Beach

Miami Beach

The unparalleled genius of Will Smith’s song, “Miami” from 1997’s great Big Willie Style album, sums up the city of Miami beautifully.  After spending this past long weekend along the South Beach strip, I can honestly say I fully understand the poetry that is Will Smith’s words.

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My Love Affair with London (Part 1 of Many)

Yes, I admit it. London is my favorite city on the planet. Not only because I lived there for two and a half years but also because this city is actually amazing (I know I’ve ruined my credibility with the previous sentence, but it really is true).

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London is a sprawling, multifaceted network of neighborhoods (neighbourhoods, if you will) strung together with a common theme but all with drastically distinct stories. It’s more of a group of towns than one large city, which means it’s impossible to make one travel guide for the whole of it.

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Chocolate – Healthy – Low Calorie : The Greatest Combination That Ever Was

I have a sweet tooth.  I blame genetics, so it’s obviously not my fault when I accidentally eat an entire tin of brownies.  This is my DNA.

Because of this genetic mutation I am burdened with, I am always looking for ways to eat dessert without my bum showing that I eat quite so much dessert.  Chocolatecoveredkatie.com, the healthy dessert blog, has been the greatest discovery I’ve ever made in this mission (well, this blog and a treadmill, but that makes for a far less interesting blog).

I’ve tried so many of her recipes – some are overly complicated (attempting to find xylitol at a grocery store), some are a bit odd (the bean dip brownie debacle), but most are downright delicious.  I recommend checking out this awesome blog, but I’ll let you in on my absolute favorite of Katie’s recipes: The Healthy Chocolate Chip Blondies.

photo courtesy of chocolatecoveredkatie.com

photo courtesy of chocolatecoveredkatie.com

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Valentine’s Day in the Country – Style Guide

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. What’s your hubbie/boyfriend/that one-night stand who won’t stop texting you planning? Suppose he decides that this year, instead of the standard dinner/drinks routine, you guys should rent a cabin upstate and spend the long weekend taking country walks, cooking and getting a little cozy cozy in front of the fire just the two of you – adorable right?! But how in the world do you dress for such an event? You need warm clothes that are laid-back and comfortable (stilettos and country walks do not mix).

So, here’s a guide to help you look great on your Valentine’s Day country escape without seeming like you tried too hard (nobody likes a high maintenance girl, right? …although we all are a little bit, or is that just me).

Valentine's Day

1 – Hunter Wellies, Saks Fifth Avenue – 2 – Love Sweater, Chinti & Parker – 3 – Statement Necklace, JCrew – 4 – Gold Watch, Burberry – 5 – Loafer Flats, Chiara Ferragni – 6 – Baseball Hat, JCrew – 7 – Skinny Jeans, Rag and Bone – 8 – Wax Cotton Jacket, Barbour – 9 – Heart Scarf, Burberry – 10 – Handbag, Chloe – 11 – Knee Socks, Cole Haan