Monthly Archives: October 2013

Atacama Desert

After the exploration of Santiago and Valparaiso we took a dramatic turn to the northern part of Chile and the very remote Atacama desert. Though I’ve seen some beautiful desert landscapes, nothing compared to the foreign view we found here which reminded us more of MARS than any place on this earth. Even the name of one of the expansive vistas, Moon Valley, solidifies you are not alone in your galactic references. It’s hard to imagine that something so obscure, otherworldly and barren can be so beautiful but it is! The endless sky, the ever changing colors, the sculptural nature of rocks from behind massive dunes. Over our 3 day tour of the Atacama desert we would discover llamas in the wild, a town kept alive by 15 people, no stop signs or red lights and nothing even close to an advertisement, salt flats and volcanoes, rock engravings, valleys and geysers and the *most* unbelievable night sky I have ever seen you can find #onlyinsouthamerica 

I was quite enchanted with the colors of the salt flats, the O’Keeffe nature of the gradients, especially just after the sun had set and the mountains were a wash of early evening violet. These low valley salt flats, a result of the surrounding volcanic mountains, are very shallow and when I touched my hand under the surface I watched my skin wrinkle and dry out as if I was instantly aging myself by 30 years. 


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Hotel Palacio Astoreca

Our first Chile accommodations set the bar really high, so I was very pleased to see another stunning boutique hotel come into view as we crested over one of the steep city hills. The historic palace built in 1923 was originally a private home built as a gift between a Croatian mining and shipping millionaire to his English wife in grand Victorian style. I like to imagine the vibrant red exterior was a visual ode to love, a giant heart sitting on the edge of the sea. Over time the building fell into disrepair, but through an extensive renovation project by the properties new owners and Chilean architect Mathias Klotz, Hotel Palacio Astoreca is a destination for the city of Valparaiso. They brought back to life the original outdoor paint which is such a beautiful contrast to the abundant white terrace that overlooks the busy bay and setting sun. Inside the architect left the original bones and woodwork while updating the space to modern day design sensibility and comfort.

We sat outside and had cocktails on the terrace after our city walk and enjoyed nightcaps in what I called the “explorer’s library” where books of travel and colors of the world inspire your mind for everything else to see #onlyinsouthamerica!



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Our second day of a journey to be found #onlyinsouthamerica

We arrived at the colorful shipping port town of Valparaiso. My first impression – it looks like San Francisco!… and my second impression – it feels like San Francisco! (up. down. up. down.) The colors I had fallen in love with from my first Chile experience in the city of Santiago really came to life in Valparaiso…gardens bursting with flowers, painted stucco walls, colorful stairs up the steep city climbs, bright and detailed murals and historic, vibrant buildings. It was here in Valparaiso I had my first Pisco Sour. I had received email warnings about how their tasty appeal can get you in trouble…but it was just the kind of trouble I was looking for in Chile. After cocktails on the terrace of our hotel, we ended our one night in Valparaiso at the #1 voted restaurant outside of Santiago – Restaurant Alegre. This was Kevin’s favorite meal of the trip. I can’t even begin to describe the modern and surprising flavors this 29 year old wünder-chef created for us. It’s one of those things you just have to taste to understand… and then melt into a puddle on the floor. Oh, and he ended the meal with a dessert tree. I mean… bravo Valparaiso 


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One Night Only

For one night only

On that night, we celebrated Giorgio Armani and his special relationship with the city of New York – one that spans several years of creativity, economy, and philanthropy.

In addition to the exhibition Eccentrico, to celebrate this great fashion legend models graced the catwalk  wearing pieces from the Giorgio Armani Privé collections running from 2005 to present day, fashion in the utmost of glamour. Hosted at SuperPier, which had been partially custom-designed just for the event, the show was breathtaking and such an inspiring reminder of the talent we were honoring.

Giorgio Armani said, “A great show presenting my Haute Couture collections to the American public for the first time is my way of saying thank you. I’m looking forward to spending a memorable evening surrounded by the many friends I have made there over the years.”

And what a wonderful night it was…



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