Recently I went to the Boston Ballet. A childhood ballerina myself, I had no doubt I was going to adore the dances going in, but had little hope for the hubby. ”Please just stay awake, and I promise we’ll go to The Smith afterwards and order all your favorite things!”, I pleaded.
Come to find out, the Boston Ballet at Lincoln Center was a game changer. He LOVED it*. And honestly, I had never seen a ballet quite like it, it reminded me of the edgier troupe at the end of Center Stage that stole the audiences heart…a little less ballet that we think of in the traditional pink tutus and toe shoes, double pirouettes sense, and more theatrical performance art accompanied by techno rock music that keeps you on the edge of your seat wondering, “What’s next?” We saw the performances The Second Detail (my fave), New Work, and Cacti (the hubby was completely enchanted by this one!)
As promised, we did stop by the UWS’s Smith for a dinner of all his favorite things: cheesy grits, french fries, gnocchi, and baguettes. Carb-loading for a full night’s sleep, darlings!
Would you love to see crocodiles up close, in the wild? Or go horseback riding to hidden waterfalls at the base of a volcano? Or sink into a natural hot spring, covered in mineral-rich, warm clay? These are just some of the special moments I had in Costa Rica, where I experienced the best of both worlds: the comfort of a luxury, guided tour and the excitement of authentic, cultural and wilderness adventures.
1. A boat ride into the wild
After driving for an hour down remote dirt roads, we arrived at the Rio Tempisque in Palo Verde National Park, Costa Rica. My guide, Jose, unloaded a cooler, binoculars and a few other supplies from the SUV and we walked the few steps to a small dock, where a boat was waiting for us. Though the boat held about a dozen seats, we had it to ourselves — Jose, the captain and I. I was immediately struck by how unspoiled the park was, truly a pristine wilderness reserve, with no sign of human habitation.
We pushed off and spent a couple of hours slowly cruising the river, spotting umpteen lazy crocodiles, several godzilla-like iguanas and countless glorious tropical birds such…
This year’s Travel + Leisure Smitty Awards
recently announced their winners for 2014, an Awards Program which recognizes the companies in the travel and tourism industry showcasing the best and most innovative uses of social media.
I am proud to announce that I was a judge this year, together with Skift’s Jason Clampet, Twitter’s Mike De Jesus, Gogobot’s Travis Katz, BuzzFeed’s Ashley Perez, travel photographer Cole Rise, NBC Today Show’s Al Roker, Google’s Rob Torres and travel social media strategist Ann Tran. We reviewed hundreds of submissions and named winners and runners-up in 30 categories.
Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts took home the most awards with four wins and Virgin Atlantic and The Hertz Corporation received two wins in two categories each.
The winners and their campaigns can be seen on travelandleisure.com/smittys
, with additional information available by searching #TLSMITTY on social media. The SMITTY Awards is also featured in the Travel + Leisure July 2014 issue which went on stands in mid-June.
To celebrate the SMITTY Awards, Travel + Leisure hosted an event on July 9, 2014 at the Refinery Hotel rooftop in Manhattan. Below are a handful of fun shots I took at the event.
Travel + Leisure’s Editor-in-Chief, Nancy Novogrod, Renee Blodgett, and…
Before he’s done, glass artist Dale Chihuly will have had installations in every major botanical garden from coast to coast.
Now it’s Colorado’s turn. The Denver Botanic Gardens, 1007 York Street, Denver, Colorado, has opened an exhibition of Chihuly’s sculptures
on its 24-acre campus. The display opened earlier this month and continues through November 30, 2014.
Chihuly is credited with revolutionizing the Studio Glass movement and elevating the perception of the glass medium from the realm of craft to fine art.
Born in 1941 in Tacoma, Washington, Dale Chihuly
was introduced to glass while studying interior design at the University of Washington. After graduating in 1965, Chihuly enrolled in the first glass program in the country, at the University of Wisconsin. He continued his studies at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), where he later established the glass program and taught for more than a decade.
In 1968, after receiving a Fulbright Fellowship, he went to work at the Venini glass factory in Venice. There he observed the team approach to blowing glass, which is critical to the way he works today. In 1971,…
The 10th anniversary Aspen Ideas Festival,
produced by the Aspen Institute in collaboration with The Atlantic magazine, continues to trumpet optimism over the future, as the event has from its inception a decade ago. Yet this year’s theme of “Imagine 2014″ – looking a decade ahead rather than at the decade past – felt tempered also over concerns about the limitations of progress yet to be won, ranging from the perception of Congressional gridlock and Supreme Court setbacks to deficiencies of funding and civil liberties quandaries resulting from medical and scientific advances, to name a few.
A theme running across many of the talks and conversations engaging luminaries in the audience as well as on stage was how to address issues of scarce resources in the face of vulnerable infrastructures, underperforming education institutions, opportunities to conduct hugely promising research and the challenges of war, human suffering and environmental degradation.
But before proceeding, let me describe the IdeasFestival a bit more. Begun in 2004, the event seeks to bring together hundreds of leaders in fields of business, government and scientific endeavor, as well as social entrepreneurs, into a weeklong series of talks and conversations.
The festive conference…
My love for black and white photography is strongly rooted in my love for street photography, which is what lead me to begin using the 35 mm lens a few years ago. Since the days of analogue (film) photography, street photographers have presented their work in black and white and some of the greatest and most iconic images ever taken have been shot in black and white.
Here are just a few reasons why I personally love working in monochrome:
- There’s a common expression of ‘ give it to me in black and white’ and I believe that goes straight to the point. What you get is the pure essence of what the artist’s intent was. It’s not disguised by colours, it’s direct.
- The beauty of black and white photography is that it requires photographers to re-think how they view a scene, it teaches one to consider their composition. Instead of relying on colour in an image you are moved to making sure your composition/subject is what makes your image interesting to the viewer.
- Simplify: a busy scene can be simplified by changing your image to black and white. I often find that within a busy scene I am able to find a strong black and
In keeping with the spirit of “WeBlogTheWorld”
and having a global perspective, I flew from Stockholm to Oslo to London to Washington, D.C., to San Francisco en route to Aspen, Colorado to cover the second half of the 10th Anniversary of the Aspen IdeasFestival, an annual gathering of luminaries meeting in this alpine paradise to discuss burning issues of the day.
In the middle of the six day, two session marathon of seminars, talks and panel discussions spanning 16 topical tracks is an “afternoon conversation” plenary involving attendees of both segments. This year, interviewees included Harvard President Drew Gilpin Faust, former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Pepsi CEO Indra Nooyi, former vice president Al Gore, former UK prime minister Tony Blair, and former CIA director David Petraeus. Impressive that the first three speakers on this top profile stage in the Benedict Music Tent were women, as was noted by David Gergen, who interviewed Al Gore. Watch this space over the remainder of this week for highlights and themes from this august gathering.
Of course, if you are reading this, you…
Auki warned us about the gelatinous creatures we’d discovered in tide pools along ‘Eua’s coral shelf. The sea slugs had always been part of the Tongan’s diet, with natives picking and eating sustainably. But now, aid and corporate funds from China had purchased the foreign investor free license to over-consume and threaten the islands’ delicate ecosystem.
This is one of many reasons why Tonga – and the South Pacific – are hailed as the “last frontier” in tourism.
Tonga now faces the same challenges as destinations in the Caribbean and Central Asia: how to protect its unique culture from an influx of outsiders, while improving infrastructure to draw in tourism money, and carefully balancing growth without destroying the scenes such travelers are desperate to see.
Headhunters On My Doorstep – J. Maarten Troost, 2013
Robert Louis Stevenson. Photo credit: Wikipedia – University of Edinburgh.
You can only imagine how exotic and pristine these isolated countries must have appeared to early expatriots, such as the renowned Scottish author, Robert Louis Stevenson.
After penning the classics Treasure Island and Kidnapped, a deteriorating health…
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