I made my annual pilgrimage to Key West last weekend for the 33rd Annual Key West Literary Seminar “How The Light Gets In: Literature of the Spirit.” Amongst the many highlights of the long weekend was a discussion held on the final morning of the seminar by authors Pico Iyer and Barry Lopez on the topic of “Wonder: Entering and Exiting the Great Mystery.”

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Barry Lopez and Pico Iyer. Photo by Nick Doll.

 

Both men have made careers out of travel and write about what they’ve discovered in humanity and culture as outsiders.¬†When the subject of wonder was addressed, Iyer explained that wonder cuts through knowledge, noting the tremendous difference between these statements: ‚ÄúI know‚Ķ‚ÄĚ ‚ÄúI think‚Ķ‚ÄĚ and ‚ÄúI wonder‚Ķ‚ÄĚ He joked, ‚ÄúAll you need to travel is wonder and a Swiss army knife.‚ÄĚ On the same note, Lopez agreed that he’d rather approach a place with awe over analysis.

And perhaps that’s what I’ve always loved about Key West (and any destination that I truly fall in love with), an ineffable sense of wonder and awe that the island seems to cast on me whenever I’m there.

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Not Your Average Hotel, Key West. All you need in Key West is wonder, a conch cottage and a beach cruiser.

 

Their conversation was a delight filled with so many sentiments that get at the heart of the traveler. I was also delighted to have the opportunity to chat with Iyer briefly as he signed a copy of his latest book for me The Art of Stillness. We talked journalism, travel and making a living as a writer, and he was incredibly engaging and kind.

For my full recap on Iyer and Lopez’s discussion on wonder, please head to Littoral, the online journal of the Key West Literary Seminar.

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This week, I had the privilege of hosting some of my favorite media pals at Exhale Spa at the EPIC Hotel in downtown Miami for a super-charged Core Fusion Bootcamp class followed by a nutrition session, both led by Alexandra Shepherd. It’s an intense class combining cardio intervals, sport strength training, flowing yoga stretches, heat-building plyometrics, hardcore ab work and more plank runs than you ever thought were humanly possible in one 60-minute session. It was a super fun night and as all of these familiar faces started filing into class, it kind of felt like a sleepover!

During the nutrition session, Jugofresh provided us with their signature fresh pressed juices and healthy snacks to refuel. And Whole Foods Market Downtown had the hookup on gift bag goodies, as they just opened down the street the same night!

Read on for highlights and pictures from the evening shot by the one and only Matt Roy.

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Core Fusion always starts with this body heat building leg lift and twist move.

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Josie Llado and Jackie-Gutierrez Jones working it out with free weights.

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Arielle Castillo and Ashley Brozic.

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Lynette Joselly.

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Nice form Jackie!

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Sarah Greaves-Gabbadon, curls with a smile.

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Josie and Jackie demonstrating the perfect plank. Now, just imagine holding this pose for a couple of minutes.

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Erika Thomas with the uneven pushup.

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Yes, we can hold plank forever and balance on medicine balls!

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Still planking!

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Yep, holding that plank and smiling!

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Air born!

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That’s better. Roll downs with the medicine ball with my sister Kristy by my side!

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Eunique Fowler and Megan Pope have medicine ball prowess.

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Work it Vanessa James!

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Ashley Vaccarino demonstrating leg lifts with a weight balanced at her knee.

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Martha Dominguez working it!

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We’re not done yet! Now it’s time to perfect that Core Fusion curl.

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Still holding it. The strength is in the stillness.

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Time for a little spine stretching and cool down. That sweat is for real!

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Jugofresh to the rescue with their delicious Summer Chia, P.A.M.pered Ginger and El Greengo juices to refresh!

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And these incredible treats to refuel: Tienes Huevos? made with coconut meat, turmeric aioli, dill, red onion celery grey sea salt and massaged kale wrapped in a collard green, Banh Mi Maki with marinated carrots and walnut paté wrapped in nori, and El Grande Macro made with veggie burger, coconut jerky and pickled cucumber wrapped in a  collard green. Delicious and nutritious!

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Our fearless leader Alex talking to Eunique post-class.

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Martha and Ria Michelle enjoying the jugo!

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We circled up with Alex post-class and she led a “belly bootcamp” nutrition session teaching us the foods to eat and not to eat to maintain a flat belly and a healthy lifestyle. Stay tuned for her tips in another post to come soon!

My dear friend and fellow fabulous writer¬†Galena Mosovich¬†is on her way to Paris for the winter. And I could not be more excited for her! I spent two consecutive winters in Paris years ago and, needless to say, it was one of the best experiences of my life. Paris is my absolute favorite city, and I’m thrilled that Galena’s off to experience it for an extended, life-changing stay. I’m also thrilled for an excuse to return for a visit! As someone who’s been there before, here’s my advice on how to enjoy Paris fully and completely on a long stay.

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All you need are these two French words to survive:¬†√áa va. Yes, √ßa va, it’s so simple. Short for comment¬†√ßa va, it’s most common meaning is: How are you? But it also means, I’m good.¬†Use it as a greeting,¬†√ßa va?¬†As a response:¬†√ßa va.¬†At the¬†patisserie to confirm your¬†pain au chocolat¬†order,¬†√ßa va.¬†When in doubt,¬†√ßa va.

Don’t go to language school.¬†You’re only in Paris for three months. Don’t waste any portion of any day sitting in some depressing classroom with other foreigners practicing how to conjugate verbs in French. You’re not going to be fluent in such a short amount of time anyway. Now, that doesn’t mean don’t attempt to get at least a handle on the language. Buy a little lesson book or download an app. Try to learn the pronunciation and common conversational phrases.

Look at message boards at anglophone haunts like Shakespeare & Company (more on that below) for locals looking for a language exchange partner. I met a whole group of friends this way. Even if you don’t learn a lot of French, you’ll get to know them!

Here’s a few more phrases that will go a long way:¬†The French are far more persnickety about social graces. Whenever you enter a store or establishment offer a:¬†Bonjour madame!¬†And when you depart a:¬†Merci Monsieur!¬†Don’t worry if you can’t keep up with French after that. They’ll appreciate your effort and you’ll feel like you fit in just a little more.

At restaurants:¬†Je voudrais le…¬†“I would like the…” is how you order.¬†You’ll learn your food words faster than anything else. Je m’apelle¬†…¬†”my name is.”¬†Je¬†suis… “I am.”¬†Je¬†suis desolais¬†or simply¬†desolais… “I’m sorry.” And¬†je ne comprend pas… “I don’t understand…” will go far.

And if you want to sound really cool, throw in a¬†√áa¬†va ma poule?¬†or √áa¬†va ma¬†poulet?… “What’s up my chicken?” I’ll teach you some good curse words privately!

Also, you’ll notice the French like to say “typical” and “cool” in English a lot.

Disconnect. I spent my winters in Paris pre-iPhone, pre-Facebook (at least for me) and pre-constant barrage of emails. It makes me sad to think of a Paris with all of these things, but there are plenty of benefits to traveling with them too, I suppose. I would just caution you to not be ruled by them. Sit at a café table on the boulevard Saint-Germaine without scrolling through your Instagram. Simply enjoy the parade of Parisian passersby. I went a couple of months without a cell phone altogether and it was incredibly liberating. The only reason I eventually got one was so I could call my Parisian boyfriend!

Don’t watch TV.¬†Don’t watch Netflix. Don’t watch Youtube. This is in a similar vein to disconnect. Read books in your spare time! Just get lost in books! Read for hours in your flat when it’s rainy outside. Read for hours bundled up at the Tuileries by a fountain or on the steps of Montmartre. Take your inspiration from George Whitman. That’s what he did when he came to Paris post-World War II when he founded Shakespeare & Company (yes, more on that below!).

Ça va pont des Arts--before people started putting those ugly "love locks" on it.

√áa va pont des Arts–before people started putting those ugly “love locks” on it.

 

Discover Paris by foot one arrondissement at a time.¬†The City of Lights all to yourself for three whole months! It just doesn’t get much better than that. In the beginning, get to know your own neighborhood. Then, attack each arrondissement one day at at time, and get oriented (or lost) in what makes each of them special. Places I love, the: 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 4th, 11th, 9th, 2nd. Okay, I love it all!

The beautiful chaos of books at Shakespeare & Company.

The beautiful chaos of books at Shakespeare & Company.

 

Get lost in Shakespeare & Company. Often.¬†Just do this. It is the world’s best bookstore. Or at least my very favorite. Look into joining one of their writer’s groups in the loft for camaraderie and creativity. Make sure you get any of the books you buy there stamped with their logo.

Shop the¬†soldes!¬†You’ll be arriving just in time for the annual state-mandated¬†soldes¬†(that’s sales en Anglais). That means all the shops in all of Paris will have incredible sales for weeks (now through February 17). Head immediately to either Le Bon Marche or Galeries Lafayette and feast your eyes. And that’s just for orientation. The city is bursting with incredible boutiques and designer flagships–like, the original ones, √áa va Mademoiselle Coco?

Oh hey, Chanel!

Oh hey, Chanel!

 

Shopping in Paris ruined me for life. It’s just not as good anywhere else. In addition to the¬†soldes,¬†designers will also be previewing their newest collections. Maybe pick just one dream item to take home with you. For me, it was fancy ballet slippers that I still wear today. I also snagged a Prada bikini for like 40 Euros–you can take the beach girl to Paris, but you can’t take the beach out of the girl!

The good news is in addition to sales, you can also get a tax rebate when you return to the states, so save your receipts and inquire about the necessary paperwork (consult your guidebook about this too).

Buy French makeup.¬†Here’s an instance where American makeup sold, like Revlon, costs as many Euros as Chanel or Dior. So buy the Chanel and Dior. Also, peruse the counters of Parisian pharmacies for fancy beauty products. They’re far more chic than CVS or Walgreens. Just look for the neon green cross on the facade.

Save money on food and shop at the markets.¬†Admittedly, I think I’m the only person who can’t appreciate farmers markets even in Paris, but I know you will. There are so many good ones. Buy up your fresh produce at the market, get your¬†fromage¬†from the¬†fromageries and your baguettes from the¬†boulangeries and your mille-feuile from the¬†p√Ętisseries. Or, if you’re like me, just buy everything at the discount grocery store Champion.

Make yourself a giant omelette stuffed with fresh veggies and¬†comt√©¬†cheese, a baguette with jam and a pot of French press to serve as breakfast and lunch.¬†Oh, and stock up on¬†C√īte du Rh√īne.¬†It’s only like four Euros at French grocery stores. And¬†Cr√©ment d’Alsace¬†is an affordable alternative to Champagne. Mais bien¬†s√Ľr, drink Champagne too (if only to practice the proper French pronunciation–you’ll never get it right!)!

You don’t have to try the tasting menu at Jo√ęl Robuchon to eat well in Paris.¬†After all, I’m pretty sure the French coined the term¬†prix fixe. Most caf√©s and brasseries will offer lunch and dinner prix fixe menus at varying levels of affordability. Also, it’s impossible to eat too many cr√™pes in Paris. They’re equally good from street vendors as they are inside cozy¬†cr√™peries, and both options are relatively affordable. You’ll notice the approach is far more simple than the way we do cr√™pes in the US. My favorite dessert crepe in Paris is a simple¬†miel et citron (honey and lemon). Always order with a bowl of brut¬†cidre.¬†Also, you’ve got to eat falafel in the Marais. L’As du is the famous place. I think Lenny Kravitz’s even eaten there (and I have too), so you know it’s cool!

Falafel with Lenny!

Falafel with Lenny!

 

Save the Bonnard retrospective for me.¬†I know you’re going to devour the¬†mus√©es¬†and¬†galeries while you’re there. I can’t wait to see what you discover! But save the Pierre Bonnard retrospective at Mus√©e D’Orsay for my visit. I first saw his work and fell in love with it there. Let’s also hit the Centre Pompidou, one of my very favorites! Okay, okay, that’s more of a request than a piece of advice.

Get acquainted with the bobos and their haunts.¬†Bourgeois Bohemians, or bobos, are basically the equivalent of hipsters in Paris. You’re living in Montmartre, so you’ll be surrounded by them. Do your legwork so you can take me to all the cool bobo spots when I come visit.

Challenge: A Moveable Feast. See if you can drink your way from Montmartre to Saint Germaine on foot in one night. Hint: It can be done.

Reinvent yourself.¬†You’re in a foreign city on the other side of the world by yourself. There’s perhaps no more exhilarating and freeing feeling. You can be anyone you want to be. Think about what that means to you and seize the day! For me, it meant wearing red lipstick on the daily and straightening my hair. It also meant mustering up the courage to stroll into bars and caf√©s by myself and relishing in the thrill. Be bold. No one knows you.

Hemingway, table for two.

Hemingway, table for two.

 

Find a famous ghost to follow. For me, it was Ernest Hemingway. I made a point to walk past every former apartment he lived in and, at the very least, have a drink at every cafe he frequented from Saint Germaine des Pres to Montparnasse. Along the way, I also ran into Picasso, Apollinaire, Simone de Beuavoir, Jean Paul Sartre, Voltaire, Emile Durkheim, George Sand and others. Good company.

Go here!

Go here!

 

Have a kir royale at Le Fumoir.¬†This simple act was a life changing experience for me. Seated at the bar, after the first sip, I locked eyes with a mysterious stranger and that would set the wheels in motion to meet my Parisian love; it’s the stuff of fairytales.

Swoon! Aim for this!

Swoon! Aim for this!

 

Look for love.¬†Yes, do this instead of looking at your Instagram. Look for it! Because it’s there everywhere in Paris. It’s no exaggeration that Paris is the most romantic city in the world. Just hope that you’ll find someone to kiss on a bridge over the Seine–and maybe even someone to whisk you away to the Alps for a long weekend!

Go your own way! From L-R: Me & some of Miami's finest freelance writers Sarah Greaves-Gabadon, Alex Britel, Yined, Liana Lozada and Kara Franker.

Go your own way! From L-R: Me & some of Miami’s finest freelance writers Sarah Greaves-Gabbadon, Alex Britel, Yined Ramirez-Hendrix, Liana Lozada and Kara Franker at Wynwood Walls.

 

During the holidays, my friend and fellow freelance writer Sarah Greaves-Gabbadon of JetSetSarah.com organized a little holiday luncheon at Wynwood Kitchen & Bar. The idea sprung from a conversation we had this time last year about how we, as freelancers, don’t get invited to holiday office parties because, well, we don’t work in an office. For me, that’s just one of the things I blissfully love about working independently, but Sarah missed the camaraderie she had in her former life as a magazine editor. Either way, we thought throwing our own holiday lunch with fellow freelance writers would be a nice way to celebrate the season with our peers.

It was a perfect mild, sunny December afternoon to dine outside amongst the murals, nosh on tapas, chit chat, and talk shop and travel. Towards the end of the meal, Sarah suggested we go around the table and share one thing we learned this year from our work and one piece of advice we’d give to fellow freelancers.

After a moment of reflection, my lesson and piece of advice sprung to mind rather quickly. In 2014, I learned just how much I value my independence and the opportunity that freelancing affords me to constantly reinvent myself creatively. I think I knew that all along, or at least that was the hope, when I started freelancing full time four years ago, but it was something I fully realized in 2014. I work best when I work independently, and when that’s compromised, I’m not as happy or productive. That’s not to say that I don’t have clients and editors and deadlines and expectations to meet, but I know I work best when I work on my own terms.

The opportunity to constantly grow and chart your own course based on what inspires you is what I truly love about the freelance life. It’s a long journey and it’s a lot of hard work, but I think if you keep your eye on the horizon and listen to your inner artist (something I want to honor more this year), the possibilities of where you can go and what you can do are limitless.

My one piece of advice to freelancers is to quote high. Be expensive. Always negotiate for the highest rate you can secure. This life isn’t easy, and in order to survive we have to make a living. The only person who’s going to advocate for your rate is you. At the same time, save your money when you can. This work can be fickle. You can lose an account at any moment and with that, a chunk of your income. Do what you can to normalize your salary from month to month, and save that extra cash for lean times and the chance to recalibrate. Finally, understand your contracts and make sure they work for you.

Here’s to health, wealth, happiness and love in 2015… and, of course, doing what you love! Here’s to the mighty freelance life!

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Post surf-sess chillaxin.

 

Man! Life has a way of getting busy, and these last few weeks… months… this whole¬†year?? has been one hell of a ride. From whirlwind travel to burning the midnight oil, meeting deadlines and the everyday hustle of freelancing, I’m not really even sure where 2014 starts and stops.

I know whenever there’s a little extra time in my schedule I love updating this blog, but on a recent midweek afternoon, I found another way to fill my time. I bought my first surf board! For those of you who have been following along with me over the last year, you know I fulfilled a major resolution by attending surf camp at Witch’s Rock in Tamarindo, Costa Rica. The idea was, it would be the first step in embracing my new hobby.

On a chilly, overcast Wednesday morning a couple of weeks ago, I took my dog Rascal for a walk down by the beach and lo and behold, there were waves, real, actual waves. Waves that I could picture myself riding.

Rascal says there's waves today.

Rascal says there’s waves today.

 

Now, this wasn’t the first time this phenomenon has occurred in my backyard since I’ve returned from Tamarindo, but it’s a rare occasion nonetheless. It finally dawned on me that I wasn’t going to be able to ride them until I had a board of my own–you know, like what Virginia Woolf said about women writing and a room of one’s own.

I’d taken a couple of mini surf jaunts to Long Beach, Long Island and Venice Beach in LA where I rented boards and/or instructors, and I was frustrated to be downgraded back to soft tops when I’d so proudly made the leap to epoxy. I was starting to understand why surfers take their boards so seriously.

So on this drizzly, cold front of a day in Miami, I texted my surf touchstone of a friend Brad Wells of ThankYouSurfing.com who gave me just the nudge I needed, “Go buy one now! Never a better time.”

And so I did.

I headed down to F1RST Surf Supply Co. at South Pointe, which happens to be where South Beach’s best break is–when it’s breaking–and the owner Mark Gamez (along with live texts to Brad) helped me pick out my very first board. They advised me towards a 7’2″ Matt Kechele fun shape (you know, a long board and performance board¬†in betweener). I was a little nervous since it’s more than a foot shorter than anything I’d been on before and considerably lighter, i.e., I can actually carry it to the beach without my arm falling off, but they assured me that I could handle it and I’d grow into it–and obviously be ripping in no time!

This one, you say?

This one, you say?

 

Brad, what do you think? Enough total volume for me?

Brad, what do you think? Enough total volume for me?

 

I'll take it!

I’ll take it!

 

Since the waves were still curling into the afternoon with a nice and rare offshore breeze, I waxed her up (still consulting with Brad via text about just how much wax was enough wax. “More is always better,” I learned), and headed out to the beach behind my house. I was the only one out there–it was really cold, after all–save for one lone standup paddle boarder off in the distance.

Is this enough wax? And, it's normal to wax your board on your bed, right?

Is this enough wax? And, it’s normal to wax your board on your bed, right?

 

The excitement of gliding into the surf on my very own board was second to none, and the sheer act of paddling was invigorating. When I managed to stand up and actually ride a wave on that first afternoon that surfer’s perma-smile was plastered on my face for the rest of the day.

Dudes, admittedly, I still have a lot to learn out there, but it’s fun as hell and I’m totally, tubularly stoked to have my very own board to practice on and to improve. See you out there! I’ll try really hard not to drop in on your wave and then get into an epic surf brawl √† la Keanu vs. Anthony Kiedis in Point Break.

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Whether you’re just revving up for Art Basel or you need a little detox from the mayhem of the week, swing by Exhale Spa South Beach at Loews Hotel tomorrow morning from 10 a.m. – Noon, and join me for a restorative, rejuvenating yoga flow class poolside on the St. Moritz lawn with Jodi Carey.

Yogis on the lawn at the newly opened Exhale Spa at the Loews Hotel South Beach

Yogis on the lawn at the newly opened Exhale Spa at the Loews Hotel South Beach

 

Class starts at 10 a.m. sharp. Afterwards, enjoy a trunk show, mini spa therapies, hair braiding, complimentary bites and sips. There will be a live graffiti show and even you can even make your own creation on a canvas to take home. Email¬†manderson-reed@exhalespa.com to RSVP. It’s totally free! See you there.

Nothing a good back bend can't fix!

Art Basel can totally fry your nerves. Nothing a good back bend can’t fix!

 

More Art Basel News

Miami.com: Art Basel Hotel Party Guide

The Points Guy:¬†Miami’s Hottest Hotel Openings in Time For Art Basel

The Points Guy:¬†Ultimate Art Basel Guide to Miami’s Hottest Neighborhoods

Miami.com: A Curated Guide to Miami Art Week and Art Basel Miami Beach

Miami Herald’s Miami Art Watch Live Blog

Pretty pink flamingos at Fisher Island's aviary

Pretty pink flamingos at Fisher Island’s aviary

 

Last weekend, my sister Kristy and I spent a day on Fisher Island hosted by Luxury Living Realty. It was my first time at this private enclave of Mediterranean-style homes and condos, situated on an island just south of South Beach, accessible only by ferry for residents and their guests. And let me tell you, it was everything it’s cracked up to be.

You immediately feel like you’ve been transported from the hustle and bustle of the “mainland”–even if that mainland happens to just be the slightly larger island of South Beach–to a quiet getaway of picturesque bay views, greenbelts and golf cart living. A happy¬†bon vivant air permeates the island from its healthy (and wealthy), well-tanned residents heading to the spa for a morning workout to those enjoying a languid lunch at the oceanfront restaurant.

In addition to private homes on the island, there’s also a lavish 15-room boutique hotel with three luxurious cottages starting at about $800 per night, as well as a grocery store and a handful of restaurants–so you really never have to leave.

To get a sense of the real estate, the most expensive homes on the island are $14 million and up. On the low end, it’s possible to buy a studio villa for about $300K, but be prepared for quarterly homeowners fees around $6,000 and to fork over the one-time membership fee of $250,000. We were told most of those purchases are made for nanny’s quarters or visitors’ cottages by those who own more lavish properties on the island. Kristy and I considered pooling our resources for one such cottage, and we’ll be sure to let you know what we decide.

We spent the day enjoying a delicious brunch in a private home, touring the island on golf courts and exploring the aviary where I snapped the above pic of pink flamingos. They also had loquacious parrots, and we spotted iguanas and a manatee on our tour. We capped off the day with a dip in the ocean and a lounge session on cushy white chaises at the private beach.

We can’t wait to go back.

My family celebrated my parents’ 41st wedding anniversary last month by setting sail on a seven-night Alaska cruise with Celebrity Cruises¬†aboard the Celebrity Millennium. These are my favorite moments in pictures from the incredible journey.

1. Dungeness Crab Feast in Ketchikan

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I mean, yum!

2. Hiking the Nature Trail in Hoonah with Dad and Kristy

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We had fun winding along this nature trail that hugged the beach and meandered through a forest with tall trees.

3. Whale Watching with Captain Paul in Hoonah

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We saw at least five humpback whales, as well as sea lions, sea otters, seals and a brown bear on the beach.

4. Taking a Helicopter from Juneau to Taku

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Incredible views as far as the eye can see. This is the dock we touched down on in Taku.

5. Taku Glacier

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I loved the colors and the ice formations of this glacier.

6. Hubbard Glacier

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Truly breathtaking. The Hubbard Glacier calving at dawn.

7. Learning About the Ship with Captain Kostas

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What can I say? I’m kind of a geek when it comes to maritime facts and figures. I also enjoyed the talks on porpoises by our shipboard naturalist Chelsea.

8. Dinner at Qsine

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That Mediterranean Sampler is totally Instagrammable. Pass the lamb chop!

9. Our Stateroom Balconies & Getting Off the Boat in Seward

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Gorgeous views at all hours from these balconies. This is Dad, Brett and Kristy right before we disembarked.

10. Driving Through Wasilla While Wikipedia-ing Former Less Than One Term Governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin

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It was pretty entertaining observing this tiny Alaskan town while learning fun facts about Sarah Palin (she went to like five different colleges before finally graduating) and cracking jokes with my Dad.

11. The Anchorage Museum

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Okay, this snapping turtle is only one of the cool things at the Anchorage Museum. They have a great art collection and exhibits on history, science and a children’s hands-on section. Their cafe is also delicious.

12. Nature Walk at the Talkeetna Lodge with Brett and Kristy

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Look! That leaf’s bigger than Brett’s head!

13. Flightseeing Denali National Park

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Unreal bird’s eye views of Denali National Park.

For more on Alaska, check out these two stories I wrote last week for The Points Guy:

12 Unexpected Things I Learned on My Alaska Cruise – On The Ship

12 Unexpected Things I Learned on My Alaska Cruise – On Shore

City Wheel 4, close up

City Wheel 4, detail

 

Miami’s art world is starting to buzz as Art Basel draws closer to the horizon, and Wynwood’s Second Saturday Art Walk always brings a slew of fresh new shows. Saturday night, Philadelphia-based artist and craftsman James McNabb’s solo show “Metros” opened at the Robert Fontaine Gallery. While I had every intention of making an appearance at this month’s Art Walk for the show, it just wasn’t in the cards. Instead, I swung by Robert’s gallery mid-week to have a look at the new works.

McNabb creates intricate, otherworldly cityscape sculptures in beautiful geometric compositions, like wheels, tables and cubes using scrap wood and a bandsaw. His work explores the sociological construct of cities: their beauty, uniqueness and, oftentimes, their overdevelopment. The resulting works are fascinating, almost like child’s play, yet decidedly sophisticated and beautiful. They’re fun pieces to study and marvel over the details. I highly recommend checking it out if you find yourself in the neighborhood before the show closes on October 28.

Next up for the gallery is Nick Gentry’s “Synthetic Daydream” opening November 8 during Art Walk, a must see show featuring the London-based artist’s mixed media portraits composed of obsolete technology, like floppy discs and film negatives.

From left:

From left: Astrid and Alexandra Pedregal, Sari Azout, Ginger Harris at Cecconi’s for Fashion For Breakfast

 

Thursday morning, I donned the most fashionable thing I could throw together in my closet (BCBG silver pumps, TIBI black and white striped jersey pencil skirt, white BCBG blouse, beaded necklace from Calypso New York and my new red Lanvin handbag–sorry, forgot to take pix #notafahionblogger) and headed to Cecconi’s at Soho Beach House for their new monthly Fashion For Breakfast series, featuring panel discussions with fashion entrepreneurs.

This month, fashion blogger Ginger Harris moderated a discussion with Sari Azout of Bib + Tuck, a “shop your closet”-style website, and¬†Astrid and Alexandra Pedregal, the sister duo behind Miami-based men’s swimwear line Crasqi. They carried on a great conversation about following your passion and the rewards and struggles of starting your own business.

We enjoyed 50% off Cecconi’s breakfast menu and had plenty of time to mingle with friends and peers in a lovely setting. Attendees were also invited to become A Friend of Cecconi’s, earning great discounts at the restaurant, as well as the spa and valet. Not a bad way to get your Thursday started.

For more info on the Fashion for Breakfast series, including what’s next, shoot an email to¬†fashionforbreakfastmia@gmail.com.