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Sunset in Memory of Ma tante Danielle

28 Dec

Sunset in Memory of Ma tante Danielle

My aunt Danielle was, and continues to be, my inspiration both personally and professionally. Her commitment to children’s education, her contributions to chemistry, and her amazing chicken stew with cashews will always be remembered.

And, of course, she is responsible for my Aznavour addiction.
This photo was taken by the West Side highway the day before she passed away…    I will always love you.


The Beautiful Summer….

5 Sep

During my summer break this year, we kept most of our traveling super close to home. Aside from a week with family in West Palm Beach in Florida, the focus this year was cutting back to prepare for the little one who will be making an appearance and adding to life’s adventures in January. So, no big trips this year!

Short day trips to places like City Island in the Bronx and Montauk on the eastern tip of Long Island helped me to escape from the stifling July heat. Staying in the city vs. planning and saving up for a big trip made me see and appreciate what is literally right in front of me- the Brooklyn Museum, Prospect Park (free!), the Brooklyn Library (free!), and what is only a short car trip away- Far Rockaway, Robert Moses, and even the waterfront park by the Verrazano Bridge was fair game for exploration. Also, lots and lots of movies. I’m disappointed to say that I did spend way too much time indoors this year, but being pregnant, it was sometimes difficult to stay out when I knew that I would need to constantly buy food to eat or run to the bathroom! Still all in all,  it truly was a beautiful (though really, really hot) summer…

pasta and lobster dinner date at the Lobster Shack in City Island

quiet evening at the Verrazano Bridge waterfront

magical Montauk, the famous lighthouse


So readers, I’m really curious. And I will ask you what I always ask my students: What did you do last summer?

Bon Voyaj,


Smorgasborg: Messy Brooklyn Eats in Williamsburg

13 Jul

If you’ll be in NYC this weekend and you have no thoughts of escaping the sun-drenched humidity check out Smorgasborg, run by the same folks that host the Brooklyn Flea. What’s the catch? You must love food! There’ll be at least fifty vendors there selling everything from fried chicken on humongous biscuits to pies to Vietnamese noodles. Sound fun? Head over to Williamsburg and gorge yourself on a nearby lawn or picnic table on your purchases. Then get up and start all over again!

Check out this slide show and article from the New York Times before you head out for further details.

Who: Smorgasborg

What: a flea market for food lovers

When: Every Saturday this summer

Where: Williamsburg between North Sixth and North Seventh Streets close to Kent Avenue. (I’m not sure where that is either, so use to figure it out)



NYC Alert! Cheap Class on Cheap Travel!

11 Jul

An interesting class taking place in the GM building in Manhattan on July 20th. Only $10. There are a few places left:


Check it out!

Nightfall in Montreal






The Happiness Project and Finding My Bliss in New York

31 May

frolicking in Prospect Park via

They say familiarity breeds contempt and I’m a Gemini so I certainly know that’s true. I have a tendency to ruminate and regret about the past- what I didn’t do and where I didn’t go. I also tend to wander off into the future for distant shores and exotic destinations that seem to always hover just above my mind’s eye. This constant battle between the past and the future  leaves very little time for savoring the present- the here and the now. And being grateful for it. Although I love New York City I often find myself worn down by the hustle, and needing respite.

Lately, I’ve been reading the  bestselling book, “The Happiness Project” by Gretchen Rubin, where she commits herself to finding happiness in her everyday life, rather than through “Eat, Pray, Love” travels or dramatic life changes. I found myself wondering how I could apply some of her simple wisdom to my own wanderlust, and found that there are so many places that I still haven’t seen in the New York City area and so many exciting things that I haven’t done, that it was worth making myself happier here more often, rather than saving all of our money for a short thrill.

So, with all that said, one thing that I’ve decided to do is really think about what I enjoy doing when I’m traveling, and then see if there’s a way to bring that energy into my life on a weekly basis. Here’s my list:

1. Farmer’s Markets: They’ve already started and there are more than I can count. Yet many weekends find me passed out in my bed in a fetal position from the workweek. Starting now, I will be starting my Saturdays in Grand Army Plaza picking up fruits, veggies, and flowers for the week.

2. Flea Markets: One of the things that I covet about the European lifestyle is access to cute and kitschy flea markets. I still remember walking down Portobello Road in London looking at the various antiques for sale. But why not do the same at the West 25th Street Market or any of the other countless fleas going on in the city.

3. Parks: I love lounging in them and people watching. Prospect Park is literally down the street from me. And there’s always Central Park. But for a change, what about the Cloisters all the way up in Inwood (the northern tip of Manhattan)? It’s a museum of medieval art in the midst of a park and shamefully, I’ve never been.

4.  Museums: Between Free Fridays at the Met with cocktails, First Saturdays at the Brooklyn Musuem of Art (very family friendly and one is coming up this Saturday, actually) and the Long Island City Art Tour I’ve never been on I can get my fill right here in the N-Y.

5. Food: Restaurants can be pricey, but my cousin’s fiancee has got me thinking about following the food truck culture that has invaded Manhattan. Quite an upgrade from the usual pretzels and hot dogs, these food trucks offer everything from falafel to Belgian articles. Read this great article about “How to Eat at 10 Carts for $10″. I can’t wait!

6. Oh, and even though I’ve been to the Statue of Liberty more times than I can count,  I still have never been to the top of the Empire State Building.

Of course, there’s so much more. I still haven’t been to the opera or a ballet. I haven’t been to a Broadway show in several years, nor have I hit up a trendy club. But this list isn’t about that – it’s about appreciating where I am right now and what I currently enjoy doing for not a lot of money.

Readers, what is your list? Are there places in your area you still haven’t seen? Are there things that you haven’t done in a while because you’ve gotten lost between work, grocery shopping, and TV watching? It doesn’t matter where you’re from, small town or big city, I’d love to hear about them.

Bon Voyaj,



Globe-Trotting: NYC Edition

15 May

Sunset over the West Side Highway

1. All about the flea markets that will be sweeping over NYC from  now until the fall from the New York Times

2. Need to decompress? Check out Body by Brooklyn: the lovely spa where a close friend had her bridal shower this weekend.

3.  Log on to for deals on restaurants, hotels, classes, shopping, and more! Great if you live here or if you’re just stopping in for a visit.

4. My new favorite spot in Brooklyn to catch up with friends over cocktails.

5. Last but not least, Newyorkology simply has every event you need to know about!

Have a great Sunday!

Bon Voyaj,


When Your Mom is a Style Icon (and your Dad and aunt too)

23 Apr

from left: Mommy, Daddy, and Tantine (auntie)

I love Piper Weiss’ blog ‘My Mom, The Style Icon’ which can be found at

But then again, I love all style and photography pre-1980’s, although I grew up afterwards. So I thought about all of the elements that made my mother a style icon and the cultural context that gave rise to it.

The picture above takes place in 1970’s DR Congo (otherwise known as Zaire, back then.) It was the era of ‘l’authenticite,’ when President Mobutu Sese Seko ordered the citizens of the country to dress in African garb. Of course, young people back then knew there was no such thing as cultural purity, so they re-mixed styles traditional to their cultures with what was en vogue across the Atlantic.

The results? Bell bottoms were all the rage, as were Afros, espadrilles, and of course dashikis. Of course, being that they were in Central Africa, the ‘African’ element is heightened through the wearing of ‘pagnes’ on femailes (brightly colored cloth you wrap around your waist)- but on my mom, the pagne is paired with a clear anti-thesis- an ‘I Love New York’ tee, but any other western-style printed T-Shirt will do.

Necessary elements:
-wax print cloth to make a pagne (or button-down shirt, or how about the cute blouse my aunt is wearing. Gorgeous!) If you are in Harlem, this is easy. But if you are from anywhere else, just take a quick look online. There are plenty of options. And if you are like me, having gone to a country on the continent, bought tons of fabric, and have still done nothing with it, get to work!

AKN Fabrics can be found in NYC or you can order by phone!

-If you have a sewing machine and you know how to sew, this is easy. Measure yourself and do what you do. Unfortunately, I will have to get mine done at a tailor.

-for the T-shirt and pagne look, you can match by choosing one color from your pagne to go with a fun tee like ‘I Love New York’ or ‘Virginia is for Lovers’ but don’t go overboard trying to look too pulled together. It spoils the fun. Or you can not match at all. But make sure to get if fit nice and snug to your body.

And for the ladies, final step is a pair of flip-flops or cute espadrilles. And you’re good to go.


Bon Voyaj,