Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Pack it up for Montreal

Photo via A Cup of Joe

Time for another weekend getaway! I'm off to Montreal on assignment for The best part? I'll be driving up from NYC (I love a good autumn road trip), and the hubs gets to come along on this one (road trips are much more fun when you have someone to share 'em with). Pics and reports to come!

P.S. Thanks to the fab packing tips over at, I've managed to keep my load slightly (if only slightly) lighter than noted in the pic above.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Weekend Inspiration: Fall Color

Stowe, Vermont [Photo via pdbren/flickr]

Fall's here! Isn't this the most idyllic autumn scene? Just a picture perfect day in Vermont. Happy weekend!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

China Once Again Bans Visits to Tibet

Training exercises in Beijing for Oct. 1st National Day parade [photo by gadgetdan/flickr]

Just days ahead of the 60 year anniversary of communist rule in China, the country has closed Tibet to foreigners and deployed soldiers armed with machine guns into the streets of Beijing. Even kite flying has been banned "as a precaution against aerial hazards" according to the Associated Press. The AP is also reporting the Chinese government has also expanded blocks on social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook, and there has been a marked increase in e-mail spam to foreign journalists that contains spyware.

Prayer flags in Tibet [Photo by Jan-Christian Teller/flickr]

The is not the first sensitive occasion China has closed Tibet to foreign tourists. In March of this year, Beijing banned foreign entry during the 50th anniversary of the failed Tibetan uprising against China that caused the Dalai Lama to go into exile. According to the AFP, state media reports say the strict security controls and travel bans have obliterated Tibet's tourism industry, with visitor arrivals dropping from 4 million in 2007 to 2.2 million in 2008.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Tweet! Only 5 Travel Brands Offer Exclusive Deals on Twitter

Tweet! Tweet! We all know Twitter has become a huge platform for travel companies who want to market their sweet deals. But with so many people logging into the Twitter universe, how do you know who's really going to give you something you can use and who's just adding to the Twitter "noise"? recently conducted a survey to pinpoint the travel brands that tweet the best offers. According to the survey, only a few brands actually post exclusive offers on their Twitter feeds. Here are the winners:

Check out the rest of the survey results here.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Weeekend Inspiration: Norway's Valley of the Glaciers

Oldedalen valley, Stryn, Norway [Photo by Mr. Jacobsen/flickr]

Happy Weekend!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Montreal Market Moment

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of meeting up with Montréal-based foodie and blogger Katerine Rollet while she completed a whirlwind tour of NYC. (Judging from her recent blog post, I don't think she was very impressed with our Big Apple bagels and smoked meats. She did, however, seem quite pleased with the ceviche at Dos Caminos, where we had lunch.) The lovely Ms. Rollet was kind enough to bring along some yummy maple candy from her home city and, even better, she agreed to be my guide when I head to Montréal in October to explore the nightlife, culture and culinary offerings. Watching her video on the Jean-Talon Market is making me giddy with excitement.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Unusual Hotels: Find 'em Here

Okay, okay; I've been a bad blogger...again. Smack me on the wrist and give me my punishment. There's really no excuse for my behavior, apart from the fact it's been a busy summer and I've been gearing up for an autumn onslaught of bigger, better blogging. That said, here we go...

Ice Hotel, Jukkasjarvi, Sweden Photo via

Your travel dollars are hard-earned these days. When you do decide to spend the cash and hit the road, you don't want to stay in just any old hotel. You want something different. You want something exciting. You want something underwater, in a cave or carved out of ice. What? Thanks to, it won't be such a tall order to find just the place to suit your atypical standards. The site contains tons of information on a bevy of unconventional shelters in all corners of the globe. It's easily searchable, infinitely interesting, and some of the photos are downright amazing. Happy hunting!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Weeekend Inspiration: Life on the Caldera

Santorini, Greece [Photo by Wolfgang Staudt/flickr]

Greece Anyone? Happy Weekend!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Flying the Pet-Friendly Skies

Photo via

If your furry bundle of joy is a little too large to accompany you on an airplane, and you just can’t bear to make him ride in the cargo hold, Pet Airways may be the perfect solution for you. The brand new all pet airline just started flying last week, and currently serves several airports in the New York area, along with the Washington DC/Baltimore area, Chicago, Denver and Los Angeles.

Ticket prices start at $149 each way, and pets fly in style in the air-conditioned main cabin of a turbo-prop aircraft, constantly monitored by a trained pet attendant. Rumor has it snacks get handed out every 15 minutes or so. Sounds like Pet Airways customers have it better than most frequent flyers of the two-legged variety.

For more pet travel tips, check out my recent article over at

Friday, July 17, 2009

Weekend Inspiration: Underwater World

Hawaiian Sea Turtle [Photo by Jurvetson/flickr]

When I go to a tropical destination, I always try to at least do a little snorkeling to check out what's going on underneath the surface. Sea turtles are some of my favorite sightings. I just love this pic. He looks so happy and relaxed. Then again, he's in Hawaii. How could he not be? Happy Weekend!!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Enchanting Beach Read: Audrey's Bio

Who doesn't love Audrey Hepburn? Her style and grace has captivated audiences for decades. But did you know that, as a young girl, Hepburn endured incredible hardships, seeing family members murdered and nearly starving to death while living in Nazi-occupied Holland? As a teenager, Hepburn even acted as an operative for the resistance, collecting money and delivering secret messages for the Dutch Underground.

In Enchantment: The Life of Audrey Hepburn, author Donald Spoto explores the deeper side of the glamorous legend, offering wonderful insights into Hepburn's personal life and her illustrious career. The book is star-studded -- Gregory Peck, Fred Astaire, Gary Cooper and Cary Grant are just a few celebrities that get a mention -- and you can't help but come away loving and respecting Hepburn even more.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Wake from the Packing Nightmare

So, you're going somewhere fabulous for a week-long getaway. You've got a closet full of dresses, at least 5 pairs of shoes and a pretty substantial jewelry collection that absolutely have to come with you -- not to mention the hair products. Guess you'll have to check that bag and waste precious vacation time waiting to retrieve it when you reach your destination. But wait, there may be another way! The packing expert at has spent years learning "the art and science of traveling light." The site has a wealth of information on what to pack, what to pack it in and how to pack it. You may just find a way to fit all your necessities in that carry-on after all.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Happy Bastille Day

Eiffel Tower, Paris [Photo by Ka13/flickr]

Two hundred and twenty years ago today, angry mobs gathered in Paris to storm the Bastille prison, sparking the beginning of the French revolution and, eventually, the end of the French monarchy. The occasion is being marked in France with a parade through Paris (India is this year's country of honor), and a slew of parties and exhibits across the country (check out BBC photos of the festivities here). On the blog, we're paying homage to Bastille Day and the lovely country of France with a few beautiful pictures from a particularly beautiful part of the world...

St. Cirq- lapopie [Photo by Fr Antunes/flickr]

Colmar, Alsace [Photo by Fr Antunes/flickr]

Montreuil-Bellay [Photo by Fr Antunes/flickr]

White Cliffs of Cap Griz Nez, Wissant [Photo by **Maurice**/flickr]

Happy Bastille Day!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Africa Remixed

You'd love to pick up a new bikini for that upcoming trip to the beach, but you're feeling a little guilty about all the shopping you've been doing lately. Weren't you planing on doing more for those less fortunate this year? Enter Bantu. The Bantu swimwear line is made entirely in Africa, providing jobs, sustainable improvements and a sense of empowerment to poor African communities -- and the styles are amazing...

Using traditional African wax cloth prints on modern, versatile Lycra, the suits are a beautiful, modern twist on African tradition. The folks at Bantu call it "Africa remixed."

All photos from Bantu Women's Swimwear via

Friday, July 10, 2009

Weekend Inspiration: Viva Mexico!

Today, I'm starting a new tradition for the blog. Every Friday, I'll post an "inspiration photo" from a beautiful place around the globe. The idea, of course, is to inspire great ideas for planning your next escape!

August 1st will mark 10 years since my husband and I first met at a club in Ibiza, Spain. (He's a Brit, and I'm all American, originally from Atlanta, Georgia.) So, I'm trying to convince him to head down to Mexico for a few days to mark the occasion in style. Just for a little extra nudge to the hubs, today's inspiration photo comes to us from Riviera Maya...

Tulum, Mexico [Photo by lightmatter/flickr]

Happy weekend!!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

A Perfect Day in NYC

After a particularly rainy and chilly start to summer, the weather in New York has been absolutely gorgeous the last couple of days. My husband and I decided to take advantage of the sunshine; we spent some time hanging out at the new Highline Park (read all about the park in my article over at, took a stroll along the Hudson and topped it all off with some mojitos and dinner at one of our favorite neighborhood restaurants, Sea. (You can't beat $10 for a Thai curry in the middle of the Meatpacking district -- and it's right across from an entrance to the Highline!). A few snaps from the day...

I love that the Highline design incorporates lots of lounge chairs for taking in the sun. It's a beautiful place to spend a lazy summer afternoon.

You can still see the old tracks in many areas of the park.

And, since the park is elevated, you usually get a nice breeze...and a great view over Tenth Ave. (yep, that's me!).

I need a sailboat...This one looks so beautiful, gliding across the Hudson. You get this kind of view all the time from Hudson River Park.

The mojitos at SEA are amazing...and large. This one lasted me well into my meal, and, believe me, I can usually make quick work of a mojito!

The outdoor seating at SEA, with the Highline in the background -- a perfect location!

Above photos by James Lloyd :)

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Scentsational Dreams

If you have trouble falling asleep in unfamiliar hotel rooms, Sleep Scentsations have you – or, ahem, your pillow – covered. The adhesive-backed pillow liners contain essential oils to induce a restful mood. Just place them right on the pillow, underneath the case, take a deep breath and drift off to sleep. Choose from a range of scents with charming names like Day at the Beach, Relaxing, and My Boyfriend’s Shirt. Each one comes individually wrapped, so it packs away easily in your suitcase.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Endless Vacation

It's always hard to leave a great holiday weekend behind. No matter how you chose to spend the Fourth of July (Our crew opted to watch the NYC fireworks from the rooftop at Soho House and take in a late-night swim. Who needs a swimsuit when you have a perfectly good dress?), drudging back to work can be a real drag.

If you're still finding it hard to say goodbye to your vacation time, check out Not only do they have interesting footage of Fourth of July events from all across the U.S., they show live streaming video of beautiful places all over the globe. So, even though you may be stuck at your desk, the vacation's never really over.

screenshot from "The World Live" on

Above photos taken by James Lloyd.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Getting Color in Florida

When I was recently on assignment in Florida, I had the pleasure of staying at the WaterColor Inn and Resort. This lovely complex features 499 acres of planned neighborhoods, parks and bike trails, along with a particularly charming inn located right on the beach. Nestled between Grayton Beach State Park and Seaside on the Northwest Florida coast, the beach at WaterColor is arguably one of the most beautiful in the U.S., with sugar white sand as far as the eye can see...

Not much of a beach person? The pool areas are equally impressive, with an "adults only" pool (this is a family resort, so adults only areas come in handy if you're not up for sharing swim space with toddlers) located just outside the inn...

And when you're ready to head back to your room, there's plenty of space to relax. Particularly impressive: a walk-in shower with an ocean view. (What can I say? I take long showers. I like to have a nice view while I'm cleansing.)

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Travelers' Tales

On the hunt for an appropriate father's day gift (obviously, this was a few weeks ago, but, of course, I couldn't post this till after the big day), I came across A Sense of Place: Great Travel Writers Talk About Their Craft, Lives, and Inspiration (Travelers' Tales).

In A Sense of Place, author Michael Shapiro sits down with some of the best travel writers in the business -- Bill Bryson, Peter Matthiessen and Arthur Frommer, to name a few -- and finds out what makes them tick. The result, according to reviews, is a highly enjoyable and uplifting read for anyone who appreciates the life-changing power of travel. I can't wait till Dad's done with it so I can borrow and read it myself!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Naked Truth About Flight Safety

Air New Zealand - screen grab from safety video

Air New Zealand is taking in-flight entertainment to a whole new level. The crew is stripping down to nearly nothing (just a little body paint...and perhaps a captain's hat) for their new safety video. Guess that's one way to make passengers pay attention! You can view the hot little piece of instructional cinema here. I've gotta go book my ANZ ticket...

On the Road...

After nearly a month on hiatus, I'm back to the blog -- with lots of travel info to share. The last few weeks have taken me to Florida (as below noted), Niagara Falls and Toronto, with a few days down time in NY to work on an amazing new project I'll be launching soon. In the meantime, a few pics from the road...

I adore the sweet smell of fresh gardenias. This was one of many perched on a bush in an old southern garden. I was delighted!

One of my favorite things about northwest Florida (besides the beautiful beaches) are the majestic moss-draped oaks -- so beautifully southern.

Niagara Falls: every bit as impressive as its reputation. I'm not sure you can appreciate the sheer magnitude without standing right in front of it.

The obligatory Niagara Falls pose!

Blue skies in Toronto. Lovely weather in a lovely city.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Off to Florida...

Destin, Florida sunrise [Photo by bcmom/flickr]

I'm off to the northwest Florida coast on assignment, covering "off beat and off-road" attractions in the panhandle.  I'm not too excited about my 6am flight, but if I get to see a sunrise like this while I'm there, it'll be well worth it :)  I hope to be posting from the road.  Stay tuned...

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Chic and Shady

Several people have commented (privately and publicly) on the parasol in my last post.  As the lovely Miss Eve from Absolutely Ladylike pointed out, parasols are all the rage among Asian women overseas.  But what if you want to rock a little chic portable shade in the U.S.?    

The creator of Carasol Parasols, a young NYC resident by the name of Carol, developed her company after getting multiple compliments stateside when she trotted around Manhattan carrying a parasol her aunt brought back from Japan.  A few years later, Carol is providing elegant, sturdy parasols to the masses, each with a protective UV coating that blocks 85-99% of UV rays.  They come in a variety of styles and colors (I have the Grace in taupe), and they're lightweight, so they're super easy to throw in a suitcase.

Also check out Carol's blog, I'd Rather Carry a Parasol, for more great health and skin-related tips.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Sun Savior

[Photo by Malias/ flickr]

Being caught off guard by the weather can ruin your day fast. Stuck in the rain without an umbrella? Get ready for "drowned rat" hair. Stuck in the blaring sun without sunscreen (or a parasol)? Hello lobster face. Good thing they make purse-sized umbrellas, and now, they're doing the same with sunscreen. Bare Minerals SPF 30 Natural Sunscreen is the perfect thing to throw in your bag and dust on whenever you're in need of a little extra sun protection.

It's a powder, so no more of that greasy residue, and its' totally compact (the brush is attached), so it's great for travel. Bring on the sun!