2016: My Year in Travel

Like most travel bloggers, I am always looking forward to my next trip. The year ahead means an open calendar of new cities to see and more passport stamps to collect. The last few years I have been so lucky to be able to travel to beautiful, amazing places, and 2016 was no different. With the past year came an exciting cross country move, along with the adventure that is traveling with a baby. From South America to mountain towns in my new home state of Colorado, here are my 2016 highlights.

CHILE: I’ve been to Chile many times since I have family there, but this trip marked an important milestone – my daughter’s first international trip. Traveling with a baby is never easy, but thankfully the ride went off without a hitch! I also ventured to Pucon for the first time, a town in the southern Lake District that is an adventure lover’s dream destination. A visit to the Santa Rita winery in the popular Maipo Valley rounded out the trip. flying with a babypucon chile santa rita chile santa rita winery

SAN FRANCISCO: Believe it or not, I’d never been to San Francisco. When friends moved to the Bay Area, it was the perfect excuse to plan a trip! Although the fog ruined a chance at any clear photos of the Golden Gate Bridge, I still loved my first San Fran experience.  Muir woods

VAIL: Since transplanting to Colorado in early 2016, I was eager to explore my new state. I was spoiled to stay not once, but twice, at the town’s lux Four Seasons during the year. The mix of small town charm and alpine architecture has earned Vail the title of #1 mountain town in my book.
Vail Four Seasons

LAS VEGAS: I always love a quick trip to Vegas. This year’s visits were a little different…because our baby came too! We made the most of the pools, great restaurants and of course, gambling. I also stayed at one of my favorite Vegas properties, the Venetian, which is always a wonderful experience.   Venetian pool

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Where to Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day

If you can’t make it to Ireland this St. Patrick’s Day, you can always join in on the celebrations happening in cities across the US. So pick out your best green attire and brush up on the traditional music, because everyone’s Irish on March 17th, right?

Chicago

They take St. Patty’s day seriously in the Windy City. How serious? Well they dye the Chicago River green for starters. Locals and tourists alike take to the streets, and the Irish bars are full throughout the day and night. I was lucky enough to take in the festivities one year with a few locals, and it definitely was an experience.chi green

New York

NYC’s St. Patty’s Day celebration is not to be missed. The parade is one of the biggest in the country, and hundreds of thousands of people turn out to see it. Grab a seat along the parade route to see the procession march up Fifth Avenue to join the party.

NYC st pattys dayBoston

This year will mark the 113th St. Patrick’s Day parade in Boston. Irish tradition runs deep here, so it’s no surprise that they do it big in Bean Town. Take in the parade that runs through South Boston, or visit one of the city’s many Irish pubs.

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Dinner at New York’s Cafe Gitane

gitane1While in New York for the weekend, one of the things I was most looking forward to was a night out with my friends. When Saturday night rolled around, we had to pick a place for dinner. I left the decision making up to my fabulous NYC girls who are familiar with the hottest places. My friend Tiffany, writer of the amazing fashion and music blog Haute Turntable, decided on Cafe Gitane. After a long walk from the subway, we arrived for dinner around 8 p.m. at the small West Village restaurant. The nondescript exterior of the Jane hotel opened up to a charming part Moroccan, part Parisian cafe full of paper lamps, tapestries and colorful tiles. We sat down in the cushy sofas and took in the scenery. The place had a good vibe, and while full of models and hipsters, it was surprisingly casual and not pretentious.

martini
watermelon mimosa

We started with some drinks; a melon mimosa for me and their Lillith cocktail for my friend. The fresh watermelon juice in the mimosa was super refreshing and so good. The mix of gin, lemon juice and champagne in the Lillith was smooth and tasty, and I’ve decided that I’ll be adding lemon juice to all my champagne going forward. After the avocado toast appetizer (a must-try!), I took my friend’s advice and ordered the signature dish, the Moroccan couscous. It was huge! Definitely big enough to feed two people. I was pleasantly surprised with the mix of pine nuts, potatoes and raisins. The rest of the table opted for the spicy meatballs in tomato sauce (complete with a boiled egg), the heart of palm salad and the steak frites – all of which looked delicious! The service may have been a little slow, but the affordability of the meal made up for it.

I’m not sure how anyone could walk away and not want to return to Cafe Gitane. I’ve heard their brunch is amazing too, so I’ll be returning to check that out during my next visit.

brie

couscous
couscous
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An Afternoon at MOMA

I could spend a whole day in the Museum of Modern Art. When I stopped by on a recent trip to New York, I unfortunately was on a tight schedule. I arrived on a crowded Saturday afternoon. I was fairly certain that many were visiting for the same reason I was – to escape the blizzard outside. Since I only had about two hours to spare, I headed straight to the fourth and fifth floors. These floors house the cream of the crop in my opinion. From Picasso to Warhol to Kahlo, here are my ten MOMA must-sees.

Les Demoiselles d'Avignon | Picasso
Les Demoiselles d’Avignon | Picasso
Water Lillies | Monet
Water Lillies | Monet
Flag | Jasper Johns
Flag | Jasper Johns
Gold Marilyn Monroe | Andy Warhol
Gold Marilyn Monroe | Andy Warhol
Three Musicians | Picasso
Three Musicians | Picasso
Starry Night | van Gogh
Starry Night | van Gogh
One: Number 31, 1950 | Jackson Pollock
One: Number 31, 1950 | Jackson Pollock
Composition in Red, Blue, and Yellow | Mondrian
Composition in Red, Blue, and Yellow | Mondrian
Fulang-Chang and I | Frida Kahlo
Fulang-Chang and I | Frida Kahlo
Girl with Ball | Lichtenstein
Girl with Ball | Lichtenstein
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Searching for Manhattan’s Best Pizza

You’ve probably heard of “forkgate” in the last few weeks, the stir created when New York’s Mayor Bill de Blasio was spotted devouring a slice with a fork and knife. While it may be custom in many cultures to eat pizza with silverware, any New Yorker will tell you that slices should be eaten folded over with your hands. And thus, there lies the controversy.

Well all this talk of pizza in the news made me hungry. So while in New York, I decided to go on a little mission. I enlisted my husband (thankfully he loves pizza), and we went on a quest to find Manhattan’s tastiest pizza. Here’s where our journey took us.

Artichoke Basille'sArtichoke Basille’s

It was easy to decide where we’d first stop – Artichoke Basille’s. This East Village shop has always been a must-visit in my mind. You can’t go wrong with the namesake artichoke slice, and the crab pizza (yes, crab) is also amazing. Even better late night after a few beers at a local bar.

johnsJohn’s Pizzeria

Don’t be fooled by the nondescript interior and tattered booths of John’s Pizzeria. I’ve been to this Bleeker Street sit-down restaurant many times, and it has yet to disappoint. The coal oven is what makes this pizza so good, and my husband claimed that it had the perfect thin crust. It’s always busy so be prepared to wait, and they only take cash!

Two Boots

The third stop on our pizza tour was Two Boots. This place gets points in my book for unique ingredients and creative names for their pies like Mr. Pink, Bayou Beast and Cleopatra Jones. We stopped for a quick bite at the Grand Central location, but there are outlets all over the city. My favorite is the Larry Tate – a white pizza topped with spinach and tomatoes.

lombardis-pizza-new-york-ny-pepperoni-sausage-pizza-610x407Lombardi’s

Lombardi’s claims to be the oldest pizza place in New York. While that’s debatable, it is a fact that this place is a NYC institution. This is classic New York pizza. The best parts? The fresh mozzarella and the crispy crust. We ordered the pepperoni and sausage, and it was a meaty slice of heaven. I’ve heard mixed reviews about Lombardi’s, and while it may not top my list, it’s definitely delicious.

5 days. 4 pizza spots. Countless slices consumed. And our favorite? It was a tough decision, but Artichoke Basille’s was the winner in our minds. This was hard, but someone had to do it, right?

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