We’ll Always Have Paris

I’ve probably exhausted enough Instagram captions and similar such serenades to the city of love to give you some actual imagery of this magical Seine sunrise that I’ve been relentlessly raving about. Admittedly, Paris is stunningly beautiful in any kind of light and season – we don’t need to go into that again. But, at sun-up, when tourists and locals alike are still asleep for at least another couple of hours, the silence allows you to channel all your sensory focus into the muted colours of sunrise, and the subsequent goosebumps down the back of your neck.

Fortunately for us, Winter is coming around much more quickly in Paris this year and sunrise isn’t until around 7:30AM (that extra half hour of sleep during Fashion Week is worth its minutes in diamonds).

Tips for Planning a Cold Weather Vacation

If you’d rather a cold weather vacation than sipping cocktails in the sun you’re in luck. Winter is a great time to vacation and for many cold weather destinations winter is the low season. This means that you’ll be able to save some serious money while still having an amazing vacation. If you and your family are planning a cold weather getaway to an Iceland travel destination, here are some tips to help you have a great relaxing holiday.

How cold is cold?

If you don’t live somewhere that typically faces cold winter temperatures than you’ll need to seriously consider how cold is cold. For example if winter to you means temperatures of 50F than somewhere that averages 10F is going to be a huge change. Iceland’s winters are mild and windy while the summers are cool, so don’t let the name scare you, there is plenty to do that does not involve ice and snow.

Having the Right Clothing

When you visit somewhere warm, it doesn’t matter too much what you wear – chances are you’re in your bathing suit most of the time anyway! But, when you’re taking a cold weather vacation you do need to pay very close attention to the weather and dress accordingly. Plan to wear layers. Have a good pair of boots if you’ll be somewhere with snow. Bring a warm winter jacket, many winter wear jackets come with tags that state the temperatures they are best used with – pay attention to this. You might think your “winter” jacket is good enough, but that doesn’t mean it will be for your destination. You also should bring hats, gloves, and scarves to protect your face and outer extremities. Also don’t forget a pair of sunglasses and sunscreen as the glare off of white snow can be just as damaging to your skin, and specifically your face, as the sun on a hot day at the beach.

Planning Your Activities

When traveling with children you’ll want to have a few plans in place that allow you to make the most of your vacation even if bad weather rolls in. Outdoor activities can be lots of fun but if the temperatures drop or there’s a blizzard you may need alternate plans. Find out what some of the indoor options are for your destination and keep them on hand as a backup.

Be Safe Outside

Just like you would when vacationing in a hot weather destination, limit the amount of time children are outside. They can quickly become very cold and face frostbite or hypothermia before they know it. This is especially true for children who aren’t used to being outside in the cold and don’t know what to expect. Go inside for frequent warm ups. If clothing becomes wet, go inside immediately and put dry clothing on to limit the risk of hypothermia and exposure.

There are plenty of activities that are wonderful to visit during the winter months in Iceland. You’ll need to do a little extra planning (and packing!) but are sure to have a memorable experience.

Nautical Vibe in A Brooklyn Weekend

NYC has been so incredibly hot lately that as soon as we took these pics, my blazer came right off until I escaped back into an air conditioned room. With that said, even with the current temps being in the 90’s, you will never find me leaving home without a blazer, scarf or thin sweater in my bag. For me, there is nothing worse than waiting in a 110 degree train station and then walking into a 60 degree train car. It probably feels great to most, but I’m the annoying girl who is always freezing, so to me, it’s torture. Don’t even get me started on the 85 % humidity and the incredible hair weather we’ve been having, but that’s for another post.

Speaking of hair, I have decided to attempt (key word) to grow out my natural hair color (a darker, sandy blonde) and start from scratch.  Last week, when I walked into my hair appointment feeling slightly frustrated, I pulled up about 10 pictures of my “ideal hair color,” which included one too many pictures of Blake Lively, and discussed my options with my hair girl. She explained that in order to achieve the look I really want, ideally, I should grow out my hair and then begin to highlight it on my natural color. Like I said, it’s something I’ve been wanting to do for awhile, but to be honest, I wasn’t really sure how to go about it. I’m still going to visit the salon every 6 weeks to have her blend/tone my hair as it grows out,  but even so, I  will have to deal with the dreaded “root situation.” Maybe there’s a way to make it seem like it’s part of my look, like Whitney Port has going on here? Hmmm…wishful thinking? Hopefully I’ll be able to stick it out without feeling like a hot mess for the next few months. Please wish me luck!

Fellow blondes, have any of you have done this dreaded process? Any tips or tricks?

NYC: Where to Eat (Manhattan Edition)?

After saying (over and over again) that I was planning to share some of my NYC favorites, it’s finally happening. This has been one of my most requested posts and something I’ve been meaning to do for much longer than I care to admit, so it only makes sense to start with my favorite thing about this incredible city: the food.

I often judge a restaurant by asking myself “am I excited to come back here?” and if the answer is yes, the place is a winner in my eyes. I’ve eaten at many, many restaurants in the city, and more often or not, I don’t return. It doesn’t always mean that I didn’t enjoy it, but rather, there are so many places to try and after a while, they begin to blend together. But then there are those special haunts that make such an impression that I can not wait to go back. With that said, I’m excited to share with you my absolute favorites in Manhattan (Brooklyn portion coming soon).

*Disclaimer: I have not included any pizza places as I will have a whole other post dedicated to that alone. Naturally!

I’m not one of those New Yorkers who’s a chef snob, but I do know that this is my favorite Jean Georges restaurant and easily one of my favorites in the city. It’s pretty difficult to get a reservation, but when you do, you’re in for a treat. The atmosphere is loud and lively, the interior is airy and beautiful and if you happen to be on a bad date, the people watching will  easily keep you entertained. While everything on the menu is delicious, the crab toast appetizer and sundae with salted caramel ice cream (pictured above) make my mouth water just thinking about them. It’s my favorite way to start and end the meal here.

Tip: If you’re not patient enough to wait a month before getting a prime time reservation, it’s fairly easy to get an early or late dinner seating (5:30 or 10 PM; then again, that goes for basically any restaurant in the city).

Life Isn’t Just a Sequence of Waiting for Things to Be Done

This summer’s travels are my little happiness project. As I’ve gotten older I’ve given up the idea that happiness is found because we made the perfect life decisions or did creative work or have a great relationship with our spouse. I know for me, I am much more simple than that.

So biking my way across Europe means I hit almost all my happiness serotonin sweet spots… I’m outside in the sun, doing something physical but fun, traveling, which lightens my mood, makes me laugh more, which makes my kids happier, so they laugh more, which infects my husband with joy and he’s sweeter to me, then I love him more, while drinking wine, eating fresh bakery goods (or sweets) and having some of the best coffee in the world. Win, win, win, and win some more.

It’s All About Serotonin: The Adventure Finally Begins

When we arrived at Nantes, via train, it was cloudy. We walked our bikes across the train station, found the start of the route and started pedaling down the street. “Creak…”

Our bikes are terrible. It took close to a month to get outfitted, to test everything out, to cycle around Pamplona, San Sebastian and Bordeaux for a bit, before finally deciding: we’re ready.

Oh god, I hope this is good.

So much expectation has gone into this trip. Then we see it. The river. La Loire. Meh. The first few days of biking… essentially all the way from Nantes to Saumur is a collectively held breath. After the hills between Pamplona and San Sebastian, after the cliffs in French Basque country, we’re a little… underwhelmed.

But the biking is fun, flat and easy. Wild camping is so easy it’s insane. We tuck into hay fields at the end of the night, we wash up in Loire a Velo rest stops, we fill up our water bottles at campgrounds we pass along the way. There’s brie and baguettes and pate for lunch. As we travel it becomes increasingly lovely, and by the time we hit Saumur we’re in love. La Loire! Okay we get it.