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Archive for the year 2014

2014

Fun in Paris Design: Des Habits Tues & Guillaume Trontin

October 25, 2014 by  

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I discovered a fabulous designer in the Paris scene while I was meandering through the Marais over the summer. His name? Guillaume Trontin. His site? Des Habits Tues, where you can get an idea of his style. While he didn’t have his own shop yet as of mid-summer, he is actively participating in what Paris calls “pop up shops,” which is a shop or site that houses different designers depending on the day. I saw his clothing line at a small shop I’ve been to several times in the Marais over the years, off a little side street, but it’s not where you’ll find him if you venture to Paris. His site tells you where he’ll be showing his latest on particular dates. For example, he has shown at places like Boutique Ephemere on 38 rue des francs bourgeouis (closest metro is St. Paul) and Galerie Ste-Opportune at 1 place ste-opportune (closest metro is Chatelet). He has also shown at Galerie L11 on 11 rue letort (closest metro Jules Joffrin). Best way to describe his design? Fresh, fun and colorful. While fun is more the order of the day than elegant, he showed me a few…

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The Ever So Traditional & Historical Au Pied de Cochon in Paris

October 25, 2014 by  

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I recently had a charming traditional lunch at the famous Au Pied de Cochon in Paris with a journalist friend of mine who thought it would be a great way to sample a classic without traveling out of the city center. On the out and inside, it’s classic old French brasserie style, specializing in top notch quality food and seafood of course. In addition to the white tableclothed tables inside, you can also sit outside which is a little more casual and there’s a beautiful bar with decadent walls and ceilings throughout. This renowned restaurant in Les Halles has been around since 1947. Representing the beating heart of the capital, the Pied de Cochon is an emblematic witness to the Paris of yesteryear. Both a popular venue and a special haunt for celebrities, the Pied de Cochon has always been a place of festive spirit with a motley clientele. Tramps even had their « tramp corner » and every evening could relish onion soup offered by owner Clément Blanc. Over the years, the Pied de Cochon soon won over the hearts of foreign celebrities, including…

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Experiencing Saint Anne & Auray’s Spiritual Side

October 25, 2014 by  

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Even though Brittany is most definitely in France, I never quite feel like I’m in the same France as the rest of the country. The people of the region seem to have a hunger for learning from new things and people around them and a generosity and warmth that Paris and more urban centers can’t touch. Brittany is a bit like that regardless of where you go. Although I had been there before, it had been many years and Auray wasn’t one of my stops. What a hidden gem — I LOVED Auray. Of course, it didn’t hurt that we had incredibly knowledgeable guides, were able to zip around the city on a segway, had an opportunity to meet with the local mayor and attend a private organ concert at the Basilica directed by the Director of Sacred Music Bruno Belliot. (be sure to see our write up and photos on the concert). We started our glorious day taking in the history of Saint Anne of Auray and its sanctuary with the local tourism board rep Emelie Lesper, who had a wealth of knowledge about the area.  Sites to see in the historical center include the town…

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Under the Umbrian Sun: Roccafiore Country Chic Resort & Spa

October 25, 2014 by  

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Whilst in Umbria, Roccafiore is what the locals call da vedere….which means it’s a must see. An even greater compliment to Roccafiore is that you’ll find locals dining at the table next to you and ordering their wine from the cantina. What often starts as just lunch at Roccafiore turns into hours under the Umbrian sun dining al fresco with sweeping views of Todi, a hilltop medieval town, visiting Roccafiore’s lavender gardens, organic wine tasting in their cantina, sunbathing by their luxurious pool or indulging in a day pass at the Wellness Center. Or just give in and stay the night in one of Roccafiore’s 13 luxurious rooms. Then you can wake up and do it all over again. Even picnic in the surrounding Grechetto vineyards. My love affair with Roccafiore began with lunch last year. An exceptional white tablecloth fine dining affair at their Fiorfiore Restaurant, I was spoiled with unparalleled farm-to-table dishes on their seasonal menu like the Torretta: eggplant with bufala mozzarella, tomatoes and oregano, Chianino beef: with froth of parmesan cheese, salad and toasted almonds and homemade strangozzi pasta: with sausage, lemon and anchovies.  …

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Caroga Lake & The Adirondacks: How Nature Can Heal You

October 24, 2014 by  

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It’s no secret to anyone who has followed my posts for awhile, that I have a soft spot for the Adirondacks and that I spent my childhood hiking in her woods, climbing her peaks and swimming in her waters. For those who haven’t followed my travels and may not even know where the Adirondacks are, it refers to the Adirondack Mountains, a mountain range in upstate New York, roughly a 3-4 hour drive from New York City. The Adirondacks are not that close to get to for urban travelers nor for those who only have a short window to see a few major highlights when they come to the states. If you have a car, it’s a fairly easy shot up the New York Thruway but if not, you’re stuck on a not so stellar Trailways bus which I had the misfortune of taking this past summer. That said, if you give the Adirondacks your time, you’ll experience a serene spirit and sense of peace you’ve never known before. Does that serenity and peace come from the Mohawk Indians of yesteryear? The Hudson River with…

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The Powerful Spiritual Presence of Majestic Chartres

October 24, 2014 by  

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While I had been to Chartres France before and of course visited its majestic cathedral, I didn’t remember how much of a spiritual presence it had, inside and out. Spending time in the Chartres Cathedral was one of my favorite experiences on a recent fall “Spiritual France” tour, which included homes of famous saints, cathedrals, churches and cemeteries throughout Normandy and Brittany. With her 4,000 sculpted statues, 5,000 figures and artisan craftmanship steeped in 12th and 13th century design, the Cathedral pretty much has everyone at “hello.” It’s no surprise that its listed and registered on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The cathedral touts a number of impressive facts, but the one that is bound to impress any American is that the first cathedral was built as far back as the 4th century, with the oldest relics dating back to the 9th century with the crypt of Saint-Lubin. Several buildings were then rebuilt on the same site. After a fire in the 11th century, Bishop Fulbert had a new cathedral built. Today, all what remains of this cathedral is the crypt, the third largest in Europe after Saint Peter’s in Rome and Canterbury. In 1134, most of the…

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6 Top Spots For Cheese in New York City

October 24, 2014 by  

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Cheese is something of a thing in Manhattan. People have their own favorite places, we’re all about the artisanal cheeses, and you absolutely do not show up at someone’s place without bringing a block of your stinkiest findings along. Here are some of our favorites:   1. Murray’s Cheese: With monthly clubs to join, classes to take and an entire section on their website dedicated to simply teaching about cheese, Murray’s is about more than just tasting cheese — it’s about learning everything is there to know about this delicacy. 2. Beecher’s Handmade Cheese: I love the fact that you can actually watch them making the cheese at Beecher’s. [And their downstairs cafe and wine area helps bring this place to the top of my cheese list, as well.] 3. Lucy’s Whey: Granted this is a neighborhood fave and maybe a bit out of the way for your average tourist, Lucy’s Whey (located at Lexington and 93rd in our hood, or 425 W. 15th St.), has a lot going for it. The staff is always super friendly at the store in our neighborhood, and have been very helpful when I’ve stopped…

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Tasting Gin After Gin On the Open Sea

October 24, 2014 by  

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“Have you ever realized you could put a slice of ginger in a gin and tonic? Well, you can.” I’m currently in the Herrenzimmer aboard Hapag-Lloyd’s MS EUROPA 2 luxury cruise ship partaking in a gin tasting experience. Led by Erik Schutze, the ship’s Public Room Manager, the class allows up to 25 guests to have a unique tasting experience you won’t find on many other cruises. Moreover, as the EUROPA 2 features the world’s largest gin collection at sea — 35+ popular and rare gins in total, compared to five or six on most ships — it’s the perfect place to do this. As soon as I walk into the cozy yet sleek venue, with its chocolate-brown leather chairs, fiber optic fireplace and pale green walls adorned with modern art, I’m handed an aperitif, a “Monkey Sloe Fizz” made with Monkey 47 Sloe Gin, lemon, sugar, soda water and a dash of Angostura Bitters. It’s refreshing and invigorating, awakening the palate. Right before the bar a wooden counter showcases high-quality gins and bowls of spices and garnishes like juniper, coriander, cinnamon, nutmeg, bay leaf, curry, star anise, pepper and clove, to name a few. The bar itself is beautifully…

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