Category Archives: Travel

Cusco, Peru

A journey down to South America to visit the city of Cusco, Peru.

I could barely sleep on the overnight Lan Airlines flight down to Peru on our next leg of #OnlyInSouthAmerica adventure. Machu Picchu has been on my travel wish list since I fist learned about it in elementary school but before we could make the main trek we started out in Cusco, the historic capital of the Inca Empire before the Spaniards conquered it in the 1500s. You can see the layers and layers of history and culture – the original Inca walls resting under European style architecture. You discover a city that is more rich and mystical than what meets the eye  as you learn about the centuries of battles, a lost culture, a mixture indigenous roots and Spanish influence and a strong connection to the earth. Mostly in Cusco, I enjoyed walking the little narrow streets, up and down the corridors, looking at the women in their amazing hats as they went about their day.

Most people ask me first about altitude sickness. I did not get sick, however, I would get winded on the first day walking up hill and just overall felt tired I think from lack of oxygen. By my 3rd day in Peru I was totally back to normal. It also made the effect of one pisco sour feel like you had ten… which I kind of loved. I also loved the flavor and effect of coca tea which was offered everywhere we went as a way to help ease altitude sickness… mostly for me it was like drinking ten cups of coffee.

Other things about Cusco I loved: the ceviche game here is STRONG. I have yet to have a ceviche as good since. The San Pedro market was amazing to see. An aisle for meat, an aisle for flowers, an aisle for cheese, an aisle for potatoes, it was endless and so rich with culture. Also, fruit smoothie with beer in it- game changer. Cacao tea, who knew! Wandering through all the little shops tucked away in courtyards to hunt down the perfect alpaca sweater or hand made pottery bowl was also very fun and with a very friendly exchange rate.

As a place that has such a strong unique culture there are exotic things you can try such as chicha beer (it was purple!) made from corn or the most popular dinner dish for locals- guinea pig… both things I’m glad I tried but I’ll leave those (and the frog juice to cure headaches!) to the locals.

If I ever find myself on the way to Cusco again I’ll look forward to the way the city transports you not only to a different place but what feels like a different time…

A journey down to South America to visit the city of Cusco, Peru. A journey down to South America to visit the city of Cusco, Peru. A journey down to South America to visit the city of Cusco, Peru.

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Snapshots from Savannah

A trip down to savannah, georgia and a stay at SCAD's Magnolia Hall.

Looking back on a few days off where I looked forward to what is in store for 2015. We are already planning shoots in Palm Springs, Paris, and Argentina so this year, though just born a week ago, is already full of dreamy promises. Doing what you love most for a living means you’re willing to commit more time to it than a typical job so it’s not often I take a day off or have a moment to reflect on all we’ve done and the amazing people we’ve met.

After spending Christmas in Texas with my family, I found myself in Savannah, a place I call home – my adopted home. Like New York and Paris, I am at my best self here, but unlike the two metropolitan cities, in Savannah I come to relax. To walk her beautiful parks at dusk, to feel the damp southern air kiss my skin under an umbrella of enchanting moss hanging from live oak trees. We eat, we drink, we spend afternoons whittling away the hours on big southern porches while we outline our dreams for another year but always leaving much open to new directions we could never anticipate.

*PS- An update on my Savannah recommendations - I love walking Whitaker street from Gaston to Broughton and popping into little hidden boutiques and amazing home decor shops. One Fish Two Fish led me to score two amazing new bedside lamps.

Of course the food scene in the south is one of the biggest draws. Now added to my “MUST EAT” list is The Florence for dinner and for lunch Green Truck Pub has the best burgers IN THE WORLD. I called it.

The only thing that could make Savannah even more dreamy is having the utmost pleasure of staying at SCAD’s Magnolia Hall. The southern mansion of my dreams that sits atop Forsyth Park (see the view from the front porch on a foggy night above). In 2014 I had the great honor of working with SCAD, covering their Savannah campus that makes the word “impressive” a tremendous understatement. Remember when we went to Lacoste after that?… it only gets better. Thank you SCAD for the southern hospitality and adopting me into your family, it’s an inspiring group of people.

A trip down to savannah, georgia and a stay at SCAD's Magnolia Hall. A trip down to savannah, georgia and a stay at SCAD's Magnolia Hall. A trip down to savannah, georgia and a stay at SCAD's Magnolia Hall.

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Punta Cana

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We had a few excursions up our sleeve on our visit to Punta Cana first being a dip in one of the 12 fresh water lagoons at the Ecological Reserve. It was the most crystal clear water I have ever seen, the perfect way to swim with little turtles and lazy fish.

Something I was very interested in learning about was Punta Cana’s Ecological Foundation and their Zero Waste movement. Here, they work on the island’s sustainability making programs to help protect and preserve the natural environment and resources and properly prepare the development of the Dominican Republic so things like the impact of tourism are managed and allowed to aid to keeping the environment and culture beautiful if not better. Here at the Ecological Reserve they keep iguanas, riding horses, work animals, farm animals, gardens, an earth worm farm (which eats the organic waste from restaurants and makes compost for the garden) and bee hives. When they wanted to start a bee colony they spoke to Mr. de la Renta about it and the first hive came from the porch of Oscar’s private home. When he visited the reserve this past year he saw how the program was going which not only pollinates the local fruits and vegetables but also creates honey which makes jobs for locals to harvest, package and sell and at the spa we visited they even use it for their facials which I loved! Anyway, it went on and on with amazing projects I found completely fascinating and something I hope can be an international example of how to start dealing with the human impact on our environment.

We bounced over the to Playa Blanca Beach Club where we did stand up paddle boarding and dined on local fare at the beach side restaurant there and tried to remember just which day of the week it was exactly…

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Tortuga Bay

Tortuga_Bay_02 The last time I had the joy of going on an all girls trip was right before I got married a couple of years ago. We found ourselves hypnotized in the rose scented air of Morocco and the rugs I brought from the souk lay at the studio as a constant reminder of that meaningful trip with friends. Now I have a new treasure to put away in the box of unforgettable memories, a journey to paradise.

Tortuga Bay, the luxury boutique hotel on the eastern edge of the Dominican Republic in an area called Puntacana, is known for many things- powdery white sand beaches that feel like you are walking on flour, beautiful warm aquamarine Caribbean water, ceviche that is out of this world fresh, but most notably, having the 13 luxurious beachfront villas in the private enclave designed by the elegant fashion designer Oscar de la Renta. I loved being there, in Mr. de la Renta’s home country, and discovering his essence in everything, in the white lattice work chairs, chic wicker canopy beds, embroidered pillows, all the ODLR bathroom amenities, charming hotel staff. You were living in the lifestyle of Oscar de la Renta which can only mean one thing: total beauty.

You walk off the plane on the runway, that warm sticky air licks you immediately and in what could only be ten minutes you are standing on your private balcony looking out at that perfect ocean forgetting where you even came from before. Our canary yellow villa, with your personal golf cart parked out front for “getting around”, was a beautiful compliment to green of the palms, blue of the sky and turquoise of the ocean. With an small and intimate number of villas comprising the property you can easily find yourself alone on the three mile stretch of white sand beaches which is what my soul needs sometimes living in a city where we all literally are on top of each other.

So what did we do with ourselves sans men?… We started the day paddle boarding at playa blanco. We took our golf carts to the Six Senses Spa for facials and massages. We laid in lounge chairs sipping coconut cocktails and marveled at the most stunning panoramic view of the setting sun’s sky, a wash of colors only comparable to a Monet painting.  There was five course dinner on the beach,  a tapas parade for lunch, a dinner at the dock accompanied by three Dominican musicians serenading us. Most of the food we ate was sourced locally, caught that day or grown in the resort’s garden which is all about their focus on sustainability. In the evenings after dinner we would all go for a midnight swim watching thunderstorms light up the sky in the distant horizon. Mostly though, we talked and laughed and stared in awe at a place too beautiful to explain, it can only be experienced.

I’m writing this on our flight back to New York where I will pivot into full autumn mode, layering, apple cider and watching the days get shorter and shorter. But, if I find myself cold one night I’ll think back on that golden sun sliding up on the horizon, flooding my suite in honey colored light and warming my soul with natural beauty.

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