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5 Places I Want to Visit in 2016

I see a visit to The City of Light in my not-so-distant future. A few girlfriends and I are planning a trip in June full of wine, cheese and pâtisserie. I’ve been to Paris once before, but I was young, the weather was bad and we only stayed for three days. I can’t wait to explore all Paris has to offer in the spring—suggestions on where to stay and what to see are very welcome!

parisparis2paris4paris32. ICELAND
My little brother Billy will be shipping off to grad school in Reykjavík this summer, and I’m so proud of him! I also can’t wait to visit. Colorful photo ops abound, as do beautiful hikes and natural hot springs, but most of all, I’d love to cross one major thing off my bucket list: see the Northern Lights.

Reykjavik1Reykjavik2Reykjavik3Reykjavik43. AUSTIN, TX
I grew up less than an hour south of Austin in the great city of San Antonio (go Spurs!), but I’ve spent surprisingly little time in the capital city, especially as an adult. Since I’m currently campaigning Max to consider Austin as a future home post-Iowa, I’d love to take a quick weekend trip up from SA to explore the delicious food, abundance of live music and, of course, world-class vintage shopping.
austin1austin4austin5THIS WILL BE THE COVER IMAGE (pls don't use inside) People wait in line for 4 to 5 hours to taste the food from Franklin Barbecue in Austin, Texas. Matthew Odam's Top 10 barbecue restaurants in Austin. 05.06 2014 LAURA SKELDING/AMERICAN-STATESMAN 052314 xl cover
Admittedly this one is a stretch, with at least one major international trip already on the books for 2016, but a girl can dream, right? I’ve long been enchanted by the rich history and classic literature of Russia and I’d love the chance to tour the country I find so fascinating. First on my wish list? A trip (or three) to see the Bolshoi, shopping for caviar and vodka at one of the resplendent food halls and touring the relatively new Fabergé Museum in Saint Petersburg.
Max and I will be attending the Miami wedding of one of his best friends this summer, and we’re hoping to make the quick jaunt down to Cuba after the nuptials. I’m dying to see the colorful colonial buildings, vintage American hot rods and storied cabarets. It’s unclear whether we’ll be able to get tourist visas by the time fall rolls around, so we may have to settle for mojitos and Cubanos in Little Havana instead.


Paris images via 1, 2, 3, 4 // Iceland images via 1, 2, 3, 4 // Austin images via 1, 2, 3, 4 // Russia images via 1, 2, 3, 4 // Cuba images via 1, 2, 3, 4

Style, Travel

Sunset on the Mississippi


Vest: Old Navy (old, similar) // Scarf: Old Navy // Shirt: Anthropologie (sold out) // Jeans: Old Navy // Boots: J.Crew (purchased on Poshmark, similar here) // Bag: Coach (sold out, similar) // Earrings: Kendra Scott // Rings: BaubleBar // Sunglasses: Karen Walker via DITTO

That tiny, colorful town down there on the banks of the Mississippi goes by the name of Bellevue, Iowa—and for good reason. If you’re willing to take a meandering little jaunt off the main road, you’ll find yourself atop densely wooded bluffs with views of the river that are, indeed, very beautiful. But the views themselves weren’t the destination.

In an effort to explore more of Iowa in our three years here, Max and I set off last weekend to check out a local place called Potter’s Mill. What we found was a blues and barbecue joint housed in a charming historic gristmill located just off the Mississippi. Since we had just spent some time taking pictures traipsing around in the snow and running from imagined bears, once the sun set we were very glad to shed our scarves and rosy cheeks in the warmth of the big red mill. An Irish coffee for the lady, a beer for gentleman and a plate of brisket and fries to share.

It was the kind of cold day when it’s easy to make friends with the bartender/owner and you almost manage convince yourself it’s a good idea to stay a few more hours until the band starts playing. Inviting twinkle lights and small-town charm aside, we were homebound well before bedtime with every intention of returning with friends once the weather warms up.

Style, Travel

The Cutest Cafe in San Francisco

high-waisted-jeans-striped-turtleneck-13high-waisted-jeans-striped-turtleneck-12high-waisted-jeans-striped-turtleneck-3high-waisted-jeans-striped-turtleneck-8high-waisted-jeans-striped-turtleneck-11high-waisted-jeans-striped-turtleneck-9high-waisted-jeans-striped-turtleneck-14high-waisted-jeans-striped-turtleneck-6high-waisted-jeans-striped-turtleneck-10 high-waisted-jeans-striped-turtleneck-4high-waisted-jeans-striped-turtleneck-2Jacket: Trina Turk // Turtleneck: J.Crew Factory // Jeans: Modcloth // Shoes: Sam Edelman (old, similar) // Purse: Coach (old, similar) // Necklace: Julie Vos // Pompoms: Amazon

After living in San Francisco for three years, I had developed a pretty solid roster of the best cafes in town. While Cento remains at the top of my all-around list thanks to darn good coffee and a charming staff that has been known to make their favorite regulars personalized coffee cups as a surprise Valentine’s Day gift, a little Inner Sunset hidden gem takes a close second.

Hollow is exactly as it sounds: a cozy little cafe seemingly dug into the side of an old building. The ceilings are pleasantly low and the front room is snug and small. A delicious array of fresh pastries and artisanal chocolate tempts in front of the gleaming chrome espresso machine. Tins of tea guard the wall behind the busy barista (there’s only room for one), and specialty menu items like the vanilla bean latte with almond milk (my choice) as well as your simply great cup of Ritual coffee tempt the tastebuds.

A cast iron snail stands guard at the mossy green door, while hand-drawn window signs give the place a charmingly cobbled-together feel. Sure, the coffee’s on the expensive side (where is it not in SF these days, anyway?) and the wait can be a bit long if you duck in from a surprise rainstorm like we did only to find that everyone else in the area had the same idea. But to me, the intimate atmosphere and vanilla bean-studded latte are well worth it.

Food, Travel

Iowa Wine Tasting

purple-dress-wine-tasting-3purple-dress-wine-tasting-5purple-dress-wine-tasting-2purple-dress-wine-tasting-4purple-dress-wine-tasting-6purple-dress-wine-tasting-1Dress: Soprano (similar here) // Shoes: J.Crew Factory // Sunglasses: Karen Walker // Bag: Coach (sold out, also love this one) // Bracelet: Julie Vos

Over the last year—and especially this summer—one of the many things I’ve missed about living in San Francisco is being in close proximity to Napa. Being able to hop in the car, drive over the Golden Gate bridge and find yourself in the middle of some of the world’s best vineyards (and tasting rooms) evokes a singular kind of joy. So when Max surprised me with an afternoon spent sipping and snacking at a local vineyard, I was immediately enchanted.

No matter the place, there’s something so relaxing about buying a bottle of crisp, chilled white wine, ordering a little too much cheese and charcuterie (hello smoked duck and ostrich sausage) and sitting on a patio overlooking a vineyard. I can’t wait to go back for a glass of rosé and some prosciutto and goat cheese-stuffed dates with apple-bourbon glaze.


On the Nile

cruise-on-the-nile-10cruise-on-the-nile-1cruise-on-the-nile-9cruise-on-the-nile-3cruise-on-the-nile-8cruise-on-the-nile-5cruise-on-the-nile-6cruise-on-the-nile-11cruise-on-the-nile-12cruise-on-the-nile-2cruise-on-the-nile-4cruise-on-the-nile-7Cardigan: Target // Top: Target (old) // Pants: Forever 21 (sold out) // Bag: Rebecca Minkoff // Shoes: Target // Sunglasses: Prada // Necklace and Bracelet: Julie Vos // Ring: Stella & Dot

On Friday night in Cairo, we did what the locals do: snag a ride on a neon-festooned river boat and cruise down the Nile. Most boats are crammed full of Cairenes dancing (men and women separately, of course) to loud Arabic music blasting from the speakers. Since we didn’t want to wait for our boat to fill up, we rented our own and got some ahwa (I took mine with lots of sugar) for the ride.

I thought maybe it would be weird to take so many pictures in Egypt, but it turns out that the locals are even more snap happy than I was. We saw lots of selfie sticks, many men dramatically posing in groups and fielded several requests to have our pictures taken with Cairene women. It should also be noted that another boat pulled alongside us during our cruise so that the passengers could take pictures of me getting my picture taken. At least I didn’t have to feel weird about posing!

In planning and packing for the trip, I knew that much of my warm-weather wardrobe wouldn’t be appropriate. Sarah advised me to keep my arms, legs and collarbones covered out of respect, so I brought along a lot of maxi skirts, scarves and pants. These leopard palazzo pants barely made the cut since the bottoms are a bit sheer (scandalous!), but I’m glad I decided to bring them along for the ride.