Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Sentiment of the Day

“Traveling is a brutality. It forces you to trust strangers and to lose sight of all that familiar comfort of home and friends. You are constantly off balance. Nothing is yours except the essential things – air, sleep, dreams, the sea, the sky – all things tending towards the eternal or what we imagine of it.” – Cesare Pavese 

Oak Island Resort - Nova Scotia, Canada

Monday, August 27, 2012

These shoes were made for walking...

I had a Skype date with my friend Elise last week and she warned me that it's been pretty chilly in England and that layers and closed-toe shoes (read: no flip-flops) would be key to my travel wardrobe. She insisted that TOMS shoes would be the perfect footwear for my upcoming Europe trip. I needed something sturdy, yet stylish that I could wear for full days of sightseeing by foot around London, Paris and Edinburgh. My needs were very specific: nothing with a heel, a low price (must leave money for fine cheeses and champagne in Paris!) and comfortable enough to last me all day with no blisters (the bane of every traveler's existence).

For months now, I've been eyeing TOMS shoes. Sebastian has been very vocal in advising me that this alpargata style has been "cool in South America for ages," and that we Americans are slow to catch on. However, I must say that the brand's philosophy truly is inspirational and what was really what caught my eye earlier this year: it was founded on the premise that for every pair that you buy, the brand will give a pair to a child in need.

After hanging up with Elise, I ventured out to a local shoe store that's an official retailer and bought myself a pair of the canvas classics in the color "ash." And apparently I also bought a new pair for a child who needs them much more than I do.

Cute, comfy AND philanthropical? Sold. But now I have my eye on the sparkly ones...

Do you own a pair? What are your go-to travel shoes?

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Sentiment of the Day

“Travel does what good novelists also do to the life of everyday, placing it like a picture in a frame or a gem in its setting, so that the intrinsic qualities are made more clear. Travel does this with the very stuff that everyday life is made of, giving to it the sharp contour and meaning of art.” 
– Freya Stark

The Brewster Inn - Cazenovia, NY

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Three days in the ATL

A recent business trip took me to Atlanta for the first time. What a charming city! I was not used to driving in a major city - heck, let's be honest, I'm not used to driving at all. As a New Yorker, I think I've driven once or twice a year for the past 5-10 years. But, I obtained my rental car at the airport Hertz, fired up my GPS and took off for downtown Atlanta. At 11pm. In the pitch black. With a GPS that just couldn't navigate the downtown streets.

After a few wrong turns and deep breaths, I made it to the lovely Residence Inn by Marriott Atlanta Downtown. Over the course of my three days in Hotlanta (there's certainly a reason for this nickname!), I visited a few other neighborhoods: Midtown, Buckhead, Virginia Highlands and Inman Park.

View from my room at the Residence Inn Atlanta Downtown

Thursday night, after a several great meetings during the day with local writers, I met up with an old friend who now resides in Atlanta with her fiance. She met me at the hotel and we drove to gorgeous Buckhead for manicures at Sugarcoat, which was one of the nicest nail salons I've ever been to, followed by some delicious sushi at Taka. On the way home, she drove me through some back roads of Buckhead to check out the sprawling mansions scattered along the area's quiet, tree-lined streets.

Friday was a fun-filled day with a group of local bloggers and journalists. We took an Atlanta Culinary Tour, where we got tastings at various Inman Park restaurants. I think my favorite stop on the food tour was a stunning historic local spot, Parish Foods & Goods, where we sampled several desserts, including a to-die-for banana-bread bread pudding.

Upstairs dining area at Parish Foods & Goods

Next, we got pedicures at Sugarcoat's other location in Virginia Highlands - just as lovely as the Buckhead location, with sleek white seating and girly accents. 

Sugarcoat in Virginia Highlands
Finally, we had dinner at Wisteria, where I enjoyed a salad comprised of grilled Georgia peaches and blue cheese. Yum!

Saturday included breakfast at the hotel followed by fond farewells and an eventual flight home, after a long seven and a half hours at the ATL airport due to storms in New York. 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Travel necessities

My plans for my days off include some preparations for my upcoming travels: buying great walking shoes for Europe (I'm thinking about a pair of Toms Shoes - so many people swear by them!), seeking out wedge sandals for a country wedding in upstate New York this weekend and getting new pages added for my passport. I counted the pages left last night and I'm not quite sure if there are enough left for my next couple of international trips - especially with a multi-country European jaunt approaching. Anyone have experience with getting extra pages added in? I don't want to get a new passport, as I have a few visas in my current one that don't expire for another five years. 

Travel Inspiration: Paris, Part 2

Monday, August 13, 2012

Travel inspiration: Paris

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A very good friend just returned from her honeymoon in Europe and mentioned how romantic Paris was, just strolling the streets. Sebastian and I hope to take one cultural day trip to Versailles; however, since we've both been to Paris before, most of our plans for the City of Lights revolve around meandering new neighborhoods, afternoon picnics and sipping champagne (preferably, Laurent-Perrier's Cuvee Rose Brut). Any must-see's that I should know about from your own Paris adventures?


Saturday, August 4, 2012

A perfect picnic

After several summers of "we should spend more time in Central Park" conversations, Sebastian and I are finally sticking to our word and spending relaxing Saturday afternoons in the park. We've mastered the art of the picnic, bringing great food, things to do and the essential supplies to kill four or more hours in New York City's answer to the countryside. Since we don't have a car, this is the best way to "get out of the city" for an afternoon.

Our picnic must-have items include:
-Blanket(s) to spread out
-Some great eats like homemade pasta salad (whole wheat pasta, tomatoes, basil, feta cheese, oil/vinegar) and fresh fruit
-Kindle loaded with a great book (just read The Newlyweds and loved it)
-Playing cards (Sebastian recently introduced me to Spanish cards and the challenging game, Truco)
-Sunscreen (preferably SPF 50, as I get burned in 5 minutes)
-A soccer ball and/or frisbee to entertain the 32-year-old child I picnic with
-Terere (a Paraguayan iced-tea beverage that will soon get its own blog post)

What do you bring on your picnics?