Monday, August 29, 2011

Hurricane Irene

Well, I never made it out of New York on Saturday. And Irene wasn't as bad as CNN made it out to be. A bit of flooding along Battery Park, a few tree limbs down and alot of closures and cancellations for a normal storm-level wind.

Well, ok. Maybe it was a little more serious than that, but it was all still underwhelming by the time Irene made its way to New York.  The grocery stores made a killing though. Try getting bread at 3pm on Saturday! And the city must have trucked  in the earth's whole water table. People were stocking up as if it were Armageddon! Meanwhile, I have spent the weekend trying to get on another flight to Shanghai. Wish me luck. The backlog is extraordinary. Who knew so many people wanted to visit China!

image: new York times

Saturday, August 27, 2011


Fingers crossed I get out of NY today before the hurricane hits!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Perfect Weekend in Montauk

There is nothing like getting to a Friday in hot and humid August, knowing that you have a planned escape from the city that afternoon. And one to Montauk no less! Endless miles of ocean and golden sandy beaches, too many yummy eating places to choose from, the smell of salt air and spectacular coastal and inland walks. Here's a standard day on the weekend:

Walk across the road from the Beach Plum Resort, a fairly average studio rooms-type stay but in a brilliant position, to wind your way through an overgrown path and across the dunes to a glorious sandy stretch of a Montauk beach.

Do some early morning stretches before a long walk along the beach.

Bike into town to order a fresh juice smoothie and scrambled egg breakfast wrap at Joni's, the best organic health store in the Hampton's.

Spend the day reading on the beach and swimming in the remarkably calm and warm Atlantic ocean.

Take a later afternoon hike through one of the many state parks around Montauk.

Have an early dinner at the heavenly Crow's Nest - super casual chic dining at its best. Set in a very simple clapboard house, the view from your table over Lake Montauk is divine, with a little private beach to wander down to during courses. The interior is all white linen and bleached wood, with a nod to Africa in music, food and decor. There is even a bonfire on the lawn for those deep, late evening conversations.

After a dinner of the freshest seafood, it's back to the beach to take a romantic stroll before night falls.

Finally, go to bed early and sleep blissfully, as you are lulled into dreamland by the sound of the ocean from your pillow.

images: all mine except (f) gastro grub and (12) crows nest mtk

Monday, August 15, 2011

Alley Style

I went bowling today. Slap bang in the middle of the world's biggest amusement park, Times Square. It was a thank you from our President for a "solid" fiscal year. 

The place was enormous. 90,000 sq feet of "luxury bowling," with 50 lanes over 3 floors and a host of celebs proudly framed on the walls seductively holding a skittle - or "pin" as I was corrected today. I don't think we brought much talent to the floor, but we made up for that in style. Picture waif thin Manhattan stylistas in shift dresses, silk shirts and thigh skimming skirts. Then end that thought with a Peewee Herman-type red, white and blue lace up that could never be considered cool, but somehow worked on those impeccably gymed and Hamptons tanned legs.  Add a thumping disco beat and huge video screens projecting hotter than hot baseball, soccer and basketball players, and those neon-colored balls positively flew out of the  perfectly manicured hands down the lanes - or gutters in most cases - and ended with a flourish of toned booty sashaying back to the team. 
Best Manhattan moment overheard:
Beauty #1 to team mates: "Did you see that? Did you see what I did?"
Team mate in totally unmoved voice: "Awesome," said during reapplication of lip gloss.  Only in New York.

image: domms bowling

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Rock 'n' Roll in the City

I think the last big rock concert I went to was in the eighties, when I saw U2 play in Melbourne. I was sure my rock days were over. But that was before I met the 51 going on 21 year old anesthetist. He always told me he is a frustrated music producer. He strums a guitar well and encourages his sons to improve their rap lyrics. His i-pod positively bursts with music from every corner of the earth and he has been known to break into strange dance moves after attending open air concerts in Brooklyn to hear brands with names like Dead Weather and Bon Ivor.

So it should have come as no surprise when he told me he was taking me to see The Kills. Now, I had no idea what sort of music they played. Knowing the anesthetist, it could be anything from gangsta rap to sufi music. The only thing I did know about the band was that the guitarist Jamie Hince just married Kate Moss, so that meant they had to be pretty cool, because who else could pull off a sky blue YSL suit when marrying one of the coolest girls who walks this planet?

So that just begged the bigger, most important question; what does one wear for such an outing? It's bad enough working out what to wear to work every morning in Manhattan, but going to see an indie rock band at my age? Surely that shouldn't be allowed. I mean, I know 40 is the new 30 and all that, but aren't we supposed to be seen at the opera or some Upper East Side charity do? Not at some grungy west of west side dive where the beer is served warm and in plastic cups! To top it off, I was told on numerous occasions that singer Alison Mosshart is a super cool, super sexy tigress on stage, so that made the fashion stakes even more challenging. 

It had to be black. That much I knew. But try contemplating black boots, black jeans and a black t shirt when it's 90 degrees and you no longer have a body like a 20 something hipster! (Ok, I admit I never had that type of body).  Fine. When you can't beat join 'em, beat 'em. With the help of the very fashion astute anesthetist, I mixed the insouciant grunge of yesteryear with the modern rock fashion of today; black outfit with a YSL Tribute sandal in tan. Alexa Chung, eat your heart out! 

And after all that stress and anxiety, fashion verdict on the night? The crowd was a boring, uninspiring fashion disaster. At least Ms Mosshart didn't dissapoint with her feline antics on stage.

images: (1) the girlie report, (2) celebitchy, (3-4) mine, (5) new york times

Friday, August 5, 2011


Gosh, it's weird being back in this steamy city after 2 weeks away! I had forgotten how smelly it is here in summer - and humid. Apparently I missed a relentless bout of summer weather. Unfortunately, Europe was under rainy cloud for most of the last fortnight. But it was still lovely to be surrounded by languages other than english.

Honfleur was my first rainy stop. It is a lovely little fishing port on the coast of Normandy, slap bang where the Seine mets the ocean. It sits close to its larger, more famous sister, Deauville, but has so much to offer if you are looking for a charming, cobble-stoned medieval town.

Home to composer Erik Satie and painter Eugene Boudin, Honfleur has always been famous for its rain and light, which is why so many artists travelled here to paint. Monet, Turner and Courbert all set up their easels on the sandy shores of Honfleur to paint ladies in their feathered hats and silk dresses sipping tea and playing boules on the sand, or large cloudy skies under which sailboats gaily traverse the sea.



One of the best things about Honfleur is the incredible, fresh seafood. All locally caught "that day,"  the shellfish practically jump off your plate and into your mouth!

And the other wonderful thing about this town was the B&B I found, thanks to the help of i-escape and Tatler Travel Guide 2011. La Petite Folie  is run by a gorgeous American woman who married a Frenchman, wanted to live in Provence but fell in love with Honfleur instead. She is passionate about old houses and consequently can't stop buying them to restore with beautiful antiques and original details. She had actually just bought her third house on the day I arrived, because she fell in love with the garden! Lucky for us travelers weary of chain hotels whose rooms all look the same.
This B&B is in a perfect position, has only 5 rooms with Pierre Frey fabrics and Porthault sheets. There is a fireplace for winter, afternoon tea in the drawing room and loads of shelter magazines to read on the sofa or in an armchair. And there's a friendly cat who will happily snuggle up to you if you are feline inclined. The owner is a veritable walking travel guide to Honfleur, sharing her favorite restaurants, food markets and more. Beware the restaurants surrounding the water!

But mostly I went to wander the cobblestone streets, smell the sea air and revel in the typical norman architecture. Definitely a worthwhile side-trip from Paris.  Just don't forget the umbrella!

all images mine except boudin (boudin galerie), monet (repro arte), la petite folie interiors (la petite folie)