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,


Think You Can’t Travel With Kids? This Article Says Yes!

12 May

I have always imagined traveling with kids- my favorite dream back when I was in college was a summer home in Dominica. An emerald-green oasis free of distractions and “stuff” but ripe with adventure and the potential for deep relationships.

However, we are always warned that when we have children we will never be able to travel anywhere unless it’s Disney World or Sesame Place. And this has always made me a tad bit nervous- in the vein of “How long do I have left to see Morocco? Or Italy? Or South Africa?”

And even though my wanderlust has cooled a bit and I’m not so anxious, it’s nice to read an article that sets my mind at ease. So even though I can’t imagine myself pulling up stakes and running away for a few years, I can imagine seeing St. Lucia again through the eyes of my future children.

Sailing away in St. Lucia

Red Hot Weekend In the District…

10 May

A couple of years ago, I had the pleasure of staying at Hotel Rouge, a small affordable gem of a hotel in Dupont Circle. It has a chic, sexy vibe complete with evening cocktails and tasty food in their restaurant.

Hotel Rouge lobby

When we weren’t hanging out there, we made sure to head over to Meskerem Restaurant, one of many delicious Ethiopian restaurants that helps make the D.C culinary scene unique. Here are a few pics from our time there…

Meat combo with fresh injera bread!

Of course during the day there’s always the Washington Mall, the White House, and the Capitol. But what if you’ve exhausted all the typical Washingtonian sites? Here are some of my favorite ways to spend an afternoon:
The Smithsonian: there’s no way you’ve seen all of it. And it’s free! I never get tired of the African Art Museum. 
Rock Creek Park: It’s an almost endless park and it’s a great place to escape from the city or have children run around, if they’re tagging along. 
Eastern Market: brings a little bit of old Europe to the mid-Atlantic with endless stalls that feature fresh fruit, cheese, meats, fish, flowers, everything!! There’s also a flea market!
Busboys and Poets: This Langston Hughes inspired restaurant/bookstore is a great place to get brunch, lunch, or dinner. 

Since I have so many friends who live in the district, I tend to spend my evenings catching up with them rather than checking out the club scene. But the next time I visit, I’d like to spend time in a live music spot with a sensual atmosphere, like Bossa Bistro and Lounge. It features down-tempo Latin music.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  If you’re from the D.C area or you’ve just paid our nation’s capital a visit, and you know of any other places I should stop by on my next visit, let me know!      

Delicious red velvet cake at their restaurant


 Bon Voyaj,