Travel Archives - Pamela Says
Print Saturday

We’ll always have Paris!

When Chelsea said she had some time off work, she suggested we go on a girls trip to Paris! “What?!” I said, and without much arm twisting I gave in… and off we went for one fabulous week in the city of lights! With some quick planning we created the perfect experience… Here are a few of our favorite things!



We pre-booked with the company, BlueFox Travel, which was great… very organized and professional. We met our guide and a small group of 10 at the Gare St. Lazare Train Station in Paris. We were given our train tickets to the Versailles station and then walked directly to the Farmer’s Market where we were left on our own for 45 minutes to hunt and gather for our picnic lunch.

We found delicious cheeses, a small moist chicken, new potatoes, sweet strawberries and of course some lovely wine!


We were told the best place to get a baguette was Boulangerie Patisserie Chocolaterie. It’s a dark brown building with lime green awnings on the corner of the market area. The gigantic buttery palmier we bought for dessert was just delicious!

Our bikes came with baskets to store all the market goodies for our picnic!

Our group stopped every 15 minutes or so to take photos and learn the history of the palace and gardens.

We rode through the grounds and toured through the Grand and Petite Trianons and Marie Antoinette’s private hamlet. Stopping along the way for our spectacular market picnic lunch!

We returned the bikes and were led to the front of the line of the Palace.. we were then able to tour the Palace and Gardens at our own leisure. The Palace was beautiful of course, but it was very crowded inside, so we just quickly went through… it’s a shame that they allow so many people in at once.

The Hall of Mirrors inside the Palace!

We made our way back to the train station (using our pre-purchased  tickets we were given that morning). It was a wonderful way to see Versailles, definitely a highlight of the whole trip!



Oh what a beautiful evening, oh what a beautiful ballet!!!  The ballet was more a little modern than expected, but being there surrounded by all that beautiful architecture… sipping pink champagne and sitting in a box was such a fabulous experience!

The first thing you’ll want to do is look at the Opera Garnier’s calendar to see what’s playing while you’re in Paris. View calendar here. We found a two hour ballet that worked in to our schedule (both ballets and operas are performed at this venue). We purchased tickets online about a month in advance and picked them up at the box office that evening…easy!

We chose box seats (try to get the front seats) and were able to see the incredible Marc Chagal dome with a wonderful view of the ballet.

 We ate right across the way at the very Parisian Belle Epoque, Cafe de la Paix!


The entire evening was such a wonderful classic french experience!



Chelsea and I went to the Les Puces de Saint-Ouen Flea Market. The two best markets are the Vanves and this Saint-Ouen. The Vanves is what you would typically think of a street market with tables and vendors and the Saint Ouen is more of a permanent set of shops with serious antiques, but also some great vendors that are only there on the weekends! If you go, have your Uber drop you at rue des Rosiers. Now that it is so easy to use Uber, don’t even bother with the Metro.

Here are my notes from my friend, Carla, who lives part time in Paris, her apartment there is decorated from both these markets and it’s one of the chicest spaces I’ve ever seen!


My personal favorite markets within the Flea Market (St. Ouen) all run off the main street called rue des Rosiers (ask the driver to drop them off at the entrance of the rue des Rosiers). They are the Marché Vernaison ( a favorite shop within this market is: Au Grenier de Lucie for vintage costume jewelry and handbags –they are from London and so charming!) Marché Serpette and the surrounding alleyways called Paul Bert. There are wonderful jewelry, handbag, fashion, furniture stands in this market… I rarely leave without buying something from the Serpette…..

My two favorite places to eat:
Ma Cocotte — no reservations for lunch on the weekends so I recommend eating early 12:30 or later after 2PM. This is located in front of the Marché Serpette. It is designed by Philippe Starck and is where the chic crowd goes

Le Relais des Broc’s is my other go to place. It is more of an authentic flea market restaurant experience and the food is wonderful. There is nothing chic about this place but it is the “go to” place for people who really know the Flea Market. The staff is super nice and they do speak English. Address: 24 Rue Jules Vallés — behind the Serpette.

Chelsea and I ate at Ma Cocotte! It was wonderful!

We found a vintage Chanel necklace for Chelsea and a painting to bring home to Chris!

Even if you don’t buy anything… it’s so fun to see all there is!



We went to three museums, The Louvre, The D’Orsay and The YSL. The best time to go to The Louvre is between 7:30 and 9:30 PM on a Wednesday or Friday. All the tour groups are gone and you basically have the museum to yourself.

I contacted the concierge at our hotel ahead and they had our museum passes waiting on our arrival.

Some of the best photos are looking out the museum windows!

I always start in Denon Wing to visit this personal favorite of mine by David and then just wonder from there.. you need to be out by 9:30 PM, which is perfect timing to go grab a late dinner at Cafe Marley, in the arcades of the Richelieu wing (stop in and put in your name before you go in the museum), and sit and look at I.M Pei’s pyramids and all the beautiful buildings of The Louvre illuminated at night.

Don’t miss going to Napoleon III Apartments on the 1st floor of the Richelieu wing!

We also went to The Musée d’Orsay… the best time to visit is on Thursday between 6-9 PM… again you will avoid the tour groups!

It’s always fun to get a photo in front of the museum’s clock from the inside, on the fifth floor, with a view of the Sacre Coeur.

A favorite by Caillebotte!

We loved the YSL museum! The Musée Yves Saint Laurent Paris exhibits the couturier’s body of work on the  premises of his former haute couture house!!!  We pre-booked a private one and a half hour English speaking tour with the company, Cultival, which we just loved! The private tour did not cost much more than the regular ticket price.

You enter the museum from the same door his clients would have entered..

It was a wonderful comprehensive tour showcasing Saint Laurent’s influences, his fashions and..

…the actual atelier where he worked!



Some of the prettiest flowers I’ve ever seen are in the lobbies of the elegant hotels in Paris. The Four Seasons, George V is the best! One of their friendly staff saw us looking around and offered  to take us on a tour to show us the flowers in all the public spaces, we even met the famous, Jeff Leatham, the artistic director who installs over 12,000 flowers every three weeks! P.S. make a reservation for high tea at George V, we didn’t have a chance this trip… but it’s a wonderful experience!

And The Ritz!

And you even get giant roses in your drink when you go to the famous Bar Hemingway at The Ritz!

The Crillion has recently been remodeled and it’s just lovely… what used to be the restaurant, Le Ambassadeurs, is now a gorgeous bar where you can pop in and have a glass of wine or a fancy drink. We arrived around 6:00 the night we went to The Louvre to have a snack and a glass of wine.



If you want to have an amazing Michelin three star experience while looking out on picture perfect views of the river Seine… on a budget… kind of… then go online and book here to make a reservation at Guy Savoy… be sure you request the prix fixe lunch.

It’s technically a three course meal, but with all the amuse bouches, it’s more like a ten course…

Chelsea has five desserts in front of her and those were all complimentary, so maybe it’s more…

You absolutely must choose the artichoke soup topped with parmesan and truffles as one of your courses..

It comes with this amazing brioche with truffle butter…

And… at least someone at the table should order the Napoleon..  our waiter said, “you’ve never experienced flaky” and he was right!!!

It was amazing!!!!!!!!!!! They are so happy to take you on a tour of the kitchen, show you all the rooms in the restaurant and introduce you to Guy Savoy himself… just ask!!! We were so impressed at how friendly and fun everyone was! We even had our menu signed for a keepsake!



Go for an evening river boat ride on The Verdettes Du Pont Neuf! All the river boat companies are about the same, but this one has a great starting point. Grab a bottle of champagne at the ticket area and go to the top deck and enjoy the one hour cruise, it’s such a fun way to see the city of lights!!! The 9:45 boat ride will put you in front of The Eiffel Tower right at 10:00 PM to see it literally sparkle!!!!



There is a wonderful treat around every corner…

 Pierre Hermé, was our favorite bakery for sweets in Paris! The macarons and chocolate are both just delicious!!! 

We thought their Macarons were better than Laduree…

One morning we went searching for the perfect croissant and found a chocolate pistachio pain au chocolate at Pierre Hermé and it was unworldly!!!

One of the best sweets we had was a delicious little creme puff from, Popelini, that’s all they serve… get the salted caramel!

It’s served so cold it tastes almost like ice cream. We went to the one on 71 Rue de Seine, but there are a few more in Paris. Even if you’re not a big creme puff fan… try this!!!

The chocolates from Pierre Marcolini are divine and there are many of them all over Paris and the world in fact… we tried the shop at 89 Rue de Seine. We just had so much fun trying sweets from everywhere in Paris!!!



The Sole Marnier with Capers at La Mediterranee at 2 Place Odeon

The burger at Ralph’s in The Ralph Lauren Store on 173 Boulevard Saint-Germain

Strolling thru Luxembourg Gardens

The Christian Dior Store on The Avenue Montaigne

Our sweet little boutique hotel, Hotel Luxembourg Parc!

 And that’s about all…I think I wore her out!!!

Print Thursday

“Pam Says” Poipu is Paradise


“Pam Says” Where to Go in POIPU

The original inspiration for my blog came from a song my friends’ kids made up on their trip to Kauai. I gave them a list of where to go and each day they would ask “Mom what are we doing today?” and she would answer, “Well, Pam says…” and the kids would sing “Pam Says, Pam Says”… the rest is history.  We own a little place in Poipu on the beautiful island of Kauai so I’m lucky enough to go often. Here a few of my favorite “Pam Says” things!



Brenecke’s Beach: Great for boogie boarding, you can rent boards at Nukumoi’s across the street from the beach (Breneke’s Market, also across the street, has “good” shave ice)

Poipu Beach: Good for families and snorkeling

Waiohai Beach: In front of the Waiohai Hotel, good to take beginning surf lessons… nice calm waves…Ole Hay!


Shipwreck’s Beach: To the left of the Hyatt, not always safe to go in the water. But it’s a pretty beach and fun to watch the locals jump off the cliff



Da Crack– A little hole in the wall Mexican place next to the old Kukuiula Market on Poipu Road, great take-out to take to the beach


Captain’s Bar at The HyattThe upper bar at the pool is a casual spot for lunch with an amazing view.


Puka Dogs– A must go! Located in the Poipu Shopping Village, I love the polish sausage with spicy sauce, mango relish and lilikoi mustard, but get whatever you want… they are all good! And try a lemonade with half the sugar.



Savage Shrimp– In Kukuiula Marketplace. Super casual, really great, peal the shrimp by hand. If you’re staying in a condo, get it to go and have it for lunch or dinner!

Duke’s Canoe Club– It’s not in Poipu but it’s my favorite lunch on my last day on the way to the airport

Lava’s on Poipu Beach– Open air dining at the Sheraton, the food is very good!

Keoki’s Paradise– Best fish sandwich!! The fresh fish is always good!

Brenneke’s Beach Broiler– The Kama’aina Pupu Platter is delicious for lunch! But I don’t recommend the restaurant for dinner.


Old Koloa Fish Market– Unbelievable fresh Poke… get the Ahi and Avacado


Taro Ko Chips Factory– If you get poke from the Koloa Fish Market be sure to drive up the road to Hanapepe and pick up some freshly made Taro Chips from this little hole in the wall right at the beginning of town on the left. Yummy! Buy a few bags and Stanley will always throw one in for free!!




Stevenson’s Library in the Grand Hyatt- Sushi. Make your reservation right at 5:30 when they open and you will have the best chance to sit out on the balcony and watch the torch lighting ceremony and have an amazing view. Get the Tai Chi, Mai Tai!

Tortilla Republic– In the Kukuiula Marketplace. Upstairs is casual, downstairs is very casual- both delicious food. I like upstairs the best. Get the guacamole made to order at your table

Keoki’s Paradise- In the Poipu Shopping Village, eat in the bar area. It’s touristy but fun and there’s a band, the fish tacos are really good and the hula ice cream pie is worth the trip


The Beach House– go before sunset and take pictures out on the lawn. The restaurant is hit or miss and somewhat pricey for the quality, so we like to go to the bar and get snacks and a drink


Merriman’s RestaurantIt’s delicious… get the house Mai Tai with the lilikoi honey foam! Share appetizers and an entree! It’s a nice restaurant to see the sunset!


Eating House 1849- A Roy Yamaguchi Restaurant in the Kukuiula Marketplace. Everything is delicious. The menu has an old Hawaiian feel updated with Portugese flavors. Loved the whole fish!

Red Salt- The food is sophisticated and delicious. It’s fun to get there early and watch the sunset at the front of the Koa Kea property, grab a drink at the pool bar!

Plantation Gardens– Old guard restaurant that’s beautifully Hawaiian! Get there early and walk the gardens and be sure to have a Panini, this is where this delicious banana drink was invented!

La Spezia– In the old town of Koloa. Delicious Italian food… it’s hard to consider eating Italian food in Hawaii but this is good for a change of pace… love the lasagne!

The Dolphin Sushi Bar Love the sushi here!



Kuluiula Village Farmers Market– Wednesday’s from 3:30-6, small but very nice… fun to go before you have a dinner reservations


Poipu Kai Tennis Center– Very nice facility. You can join for the week at reasonable prices


Outfitters Adventures Kipu falls, zip-lining, kayaking-the best adventure tour ever!!!


This is my favorite adventure tour…you start with a kayak ride up the river…



then zip-lining!




and then lunch and swimming in beautiful pools!


Anara Spa Day at The Grand Hyatt– Since we have a condo we don’t have the luxury of a hotel so we always book a treatment at the Anara Spa. With the price of one treatment you can use the exercise room, take yoga classes and use the spa pool for the day and order lunch!

Waimea Canyon-long drive up there, but it’s beautiful and there are some great hikes

Kauai ATV Tours-Mud Buggies

Kipu Ranch Adventures-ATV’s

Kauai Back Country Adventures-Tubing Down a Lava Tube River

Grocery Shopping


Living Foods Market and Café – Gourmet Market


Sueoka’s – Full Grocery Store with more specialty items, buy Popo’s Cookies-shortbread cookies made in Kauai (better than Kauai Kookies). All flavors are delicious, buy Auntie Lilikoi’s Passion Fruit Jelly (don’t get Passion Fruit Guava – just the Passion Fruit) and serve on English Muffins!

Big Save – best price for basic groceries, wine etc. in Old Koloa Town

Where To Stay

There are many beautiful hotels, but for an experience that encompasses everything, I like the Grand Hyatt… the spa, the restaurants and the fun water slide make it my top choice!




The water slide at The Hyatt!

The Lodge at Kukuiula is a newer property that is lovely. It’s an all-inclusive luxury resort where you can rent cottages or homes. The property is gorgeous and the spa is the nicest on the island!

The spa at The Lodge at Kukuiula

North Shore

Even though I titled the blog, “Poipu is Paradise”, you have to go to the North Shore for at least one day. It’s one of the prettiest places in the world. I love…

Queen’s Bath, Secret Beach, Lumahai Beach (where they filmed the scene “I’m gonna wash that man right outta my hair” in South Pacific), Kalalau Trail at the end of the road, the town of Hanalei, Hanalei Pier for surf lessons, Tunnels Beach, “Tropical Taco” or  “Tahiti Nui” for lunch, “Wishing Well” for Shaved Ice and a Napali Coast boat tour


The Beginning of the Kalalau Trail at the end of the road on the North Shore…

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It’s a beautiful hike with spectacular views of the Na Pali Coast!


Secret Beach


Tunnels Beach


And… be sure to notice King Kong’s profile on your way to the North Shore (On the way back on Hwy 56, just before Kapaa on the right side, mile marker 14)

Chris’ Famous Mai Tai- The Don Ho Show


The Don Ho Show (serves 6)

2 oz. Orgeat (Almond Liqueur)
2 oz. Orange Curacao (Orange Liqueur)
Juice of 3 Limes
Juice of 1 Lemon
6 oz. Pineapple Juice
6 oz. Passion Orange Juice
6 oz. Sweet and Sour
6 oz. Light Rum
Meyers Dark Rum (floater)

Mix all ingredients in a pitcher and serve over ice with a float of Dark Rum and an umbrella garnished with lime and pineapple! Soooo good!!!



It’s an old Hawaiian tradition that says, if you throw your lei into the water it means your coming back!!!

So this is where it all started. “Pam Says” was the heading of the itinerary I would hand to my friends when they were taking a trip to Poipu on the island of Kauai.  We have been coming every year for about 30 years and this is one of those places I have been trying to “create the perfect experience”!!!

Print Saturday

Marie Antoinette Goes To Antarctica

Where do I start?  This was literally the trip of a lifetime!!!  Over Christmas and New Years, for 25 days to be exact, we traveled with our friend Chris and his family to South America and Antarctica!  It was so wonderful on every level especially the sheer beauty of it all. So here it is… a little taste from the bottom of the world!


We boarded our beautiful Seabourn cruise ship in Valparaiso, Chile and cruised down the coast thru the spectacular Chilean Fjords… then on to the city at the “End of the World”, Ushuaia, Argentina… then down to the surreal Antarctic continent for 7 days… then we traveled northeast to South Georgia Island… then 4 more days at sea up to Montevideo, Uruguay… and finally to Buenos Aires, Argentina!  What an adventure!!!

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Our handsome group!


The “Suite Life”… decorating the Christmas tree!   Not having to put up a tree at home was surely a luxury!


One of the major highlights of the trip was our Marie Antoinette/Louis XVI Costume Party!


What a fun way to celebrate our friend Chris’ birthday!!!  The costumes were so gorgeous, I didn’t want to take it off…



but I did… the underpinnings were just as fun as the costume!  Hee hee!!!


We weren’t sure if Santa would make it all the way down to the South Pole, but room service sent cookies and carrots for Santa and his reindeer just in case!


Santa came!


New Years Eve was another costume party!  Our Aussie friends were always curious as to what we would be “frocking up” in next!!!



The long sunsets were spectacular!


New Years Day Evening, the sun set at 11:30 pm, so I ran up to get a picture and made friends… we had a brandy!


We took over 3,500 photos, no wonder it has taken me months to post these pictures!  But what we saw was amazing… every day was a place like no other!


One of the most beautiful penguins we saw were the Adele!


And hundreds of Humpback whales!



And a Leopard Seal… who eat penguins… humph!!!!


And Gentoo Penguins


And their babies!!!


One year old King Penguins called Oakum Boys. These yearlings are covered in a thick, brown fur!


… and the two year olds blossom into vibrant King Penguins!


I do not think there is anyway to express the overwhelming joy we experienced when we saw 200,000 King Penguins at the Salisbury Plain on South Georgia Island



It was completely breathtaking to stand there and just listen and watch! When it was time to go back, my Chris could not tear me away!  I felt a staggering and profound depth of emotion here and I realized that this was a incredibly rare and special place for anyone to visit… it brought me to tears!!! Our friend Chris would comment at dinner, “Now Pam, I understand you cried again today!!!”  I kept thinking, who gets to come  and see this? I did all I could do to consciously burn the memories in to my mind right there and then! I never dreamed that I would be so taken by what I saw! Here’s a video I took:



Going to Antarctica invariably requires crossing Drakes Passage… some of the roughest waters in the world! Waves have been known to crash five stories high! I was frightened and anxious about this part of the trip and I came prepared with my arsenal of sea sickness remedies and anti-anxiety pills.  But much to my (and everyone’s really) relief, our crossing was dubbed “a Drakes Lake”… nice and smooth!!!!!  Here is a little video of what I had the unfortunate pleasure watching before we left on our trip:



There was nothing like looking out your window and cruising past a spectacular iceberg!


 And I took this picture for my book club gals, I didn’t quite go Swimming To Antarctica, but I went in to 34 degrees water! It was COLD!!! Here’s Blake, Kyle and their friend Clark… they actually went in!



By day we toured and at night made some very fun friends… Jody from Australia!


Friends from Monaco!


And here’s Hobby who reminded me of my Dad.  My Dad had always wanted to go to Antarctica. I told Hobby that, and it made me start to cry,  it made him tear up too. Before my Dad passed away he and my Mom had a trip booked to Antarctica that had to be cancelled when he got sick.  When I told my Mom I was going to Antarctica for Christmas, she said, go for your Dad!  Hobby made me feel like he was with me and we became fast friends.


We never missed Trivia on Sea Days! Our team: The Ancient/Not so Ancient Mariners!!!

We even attended the wedding of Deborah and Rod our ship friends that invited us to their wonderful ceremony!


The spa and salon were fabulous! I was a little nervous since I can’t live without my blow drys, but Bianca coiffed me perfectly!


Sea Days were Spa Days



And lots of fun on board the ship!

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I honestly did not want to get off this beautiful ship!  The best time ever!!!!!! I can’t wait for our next adventure!!!!

Scroll through more photos from our trip…

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Print Thursday

In a New York Minute

It seems like in a blink of an eye… in a whirlwind tour we experienced some of the BEST New York restaurants!  I have to say that cross referencing every review, having a planning party to pick our restaurants, to hearing suggestions from a a restaurant aficionado in Greece… and then getting up at 6:00 am to secure our reservations really paid off!!!  So… if you are planning a trip to NYC in the near future, here are three AMAZING restaurants that are not to be missed!

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Carbone in the village has nailed classic American/Italian with an elegance like no other supper club.  The Godfather vibe with waiters speaking in thick Italian accents and wearing perfect notched lapelled tuxes made me feel like I was in a movie.  We even had a sommelier that was called Handsome Jack… yep, he was handsome (not the photo below, but he was fun too!)!!!  But enough of the atmosphere…. the food… oh my!!!  For starters, they bring you an assortment of antipasti that is heavenly… the Caesar Salad  with these warm garlic croutons were amazing and the pastas and meatballs were incredible!!!  Prices were a bit high, but worth it!!!!


I felt like I stepped in to a sepia toned photo!  It has definitely earned its Michelin Star!!!


When Bon Apetit named Estela the second best new restaurant in the United States, I knew I had to get a reservation!  Luckily we got in… and thank goodness!!! Oh the flavors, the sauces, the mopping of those sauces with bread!!!

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Finally, my very favorite restaurant of all… the one where the man in the the swimming pool in Greece told Bob and Lisa they HAD to go, was Marea. One word to describe this restaurant is beautiful… beautiful atmosphere, beautiful decor and a beautiful dining experience!!! And not stuffy, our waiter was game to take our picture five times… you know how happy that makes me!!!


Lisa and I ordered the whole Branzino!!!!



Delicious!!!  The Prix Fixe menu really showed off the skills of the chef… if you indulge, be sure to try one of the house made pastas!

So that’s the three restaurants that you need to try… but since I have your attention… here are a few more fun things we did on this trip……


The Empire State Building at night… no lines and spectacular views!!!


Fred’s in Barneys on the 9th floor for lunch, the chicken noodle soup is a must!  And when your done, walk straight across to the home decor department for a look at gorgeous books, tableware and fabulous accessories..



The Morgan Library & Museum on Madison Avenue is a treasure that if you haven’t had a chance to visit, put it on your list!


Sooooo much fun to walk the Brooklyn Bridge and explore DUMBO and Brooklyn Heights!


And no trip to NY is complete without a show, Kinky Boots was big and showy  with a sweet message!!!


Another fun lunch was the fashionable Standard Grill at the Standard Hotel in the Meatpacking District, we walked the High Line after lunch to burn off our Penny Drops!!


And as ever, a walk through Central Park any time of year is magical!!!!


Good bye for now my beautiful New York, I’ll be back!!!!


Print Wednesday

These are a few of my favorite things-Florence, Italy



One of the public rooms at JK Place

There is sooo much to love about Florence…here are a few of my favorite things that I love and want to share… things that go beyond what you will find in your Michelin Guide!  Of course you must see The Uffizi Museum, The Duomo and the Galleria dell “Academia…

First of all, you have to stay at JK Place, the most amazing boutique hotel ever.


Enjoying a Prosecco!

The public rooms are chic and cool and they offer complimentary snacks and Prosecco at all times of the day!  That’s lovely!!!  Luxurious rooms, great service and wonderful decor are just a few of the reasons you will fall in love with this hotel.


The Reading Room at JK Place

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A beautiful guest room!

Just around the corner from the hotel, which is located just off the Piazza di Santa Maria Novella is the Farmacia di Santa Maria Novella, this beautiful building and perfumery have been here for 400 years.  You may be familiar with some of these products which are sold in exclusive shops…  here is where they are made.


Ask your concierge to set up a private tour of the shop and museum, it is free but a reservation is required.  The tour is so worth it, it’s very short and filled with a rich history of the city and the first herbalists that started this historic pharmacy.  If you love apothecary jars and gorgeous antique vessels, you will love it here!

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Vintage Gucci evening bags

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The original Gucci Store in Florence

Another favorite is The Gucci Museum in the Piazza della Signoria which is probably my favorite square in the city.  The museum features an amazing book store, a chic, casual cafe and restaurant, a boutique and several museum floors which showcase the history of the Florentine House of Gucci.

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A floor featuring original Gucci gowns with holograms showing the stars that wore them.

Another Florentine who started his business in this rich city is a man who designed shoes for just about every famous foot during the 1920’s through the 1960’s, Salvatore Ferragamo.  The basement of his beautiful flagship store houses the wonderful Ferragamo Museum.   If you don’t have an opportunity to go into the museum, at least visit the store.  Within the larger store there is a small wonderful boutique that features current shoes that are copies worn by famous movie stars from Audrey Hepburn to Marilyn Monroe.



In the heart of the city is the cutest little fancy Italian deli called Procacci, on the prestigious shopping street, the Via de Tornabuoni.  The “truffled” sandwiches are an institution in Florence.  You stand at a bar and order an array of little finger sandwiches, a few sides and a glass of wine, you will be sure to get a table if you wait patiently.  The little truffle sandwiches are just incredible!!!


Just across the Ponte Vecchio is The Pitti Palace and The Boboli Gardens



The Boboli Gardens is an elaborate park  adorned with a range of stunning sixteenth- through eighteenth-century sculptures and garden temples.  If times permits, visit the Pitti Palace, but the highlight to me were the gardens.


Also on the south side of the Arno is some wonderful artsy shopping to be had along the Borgo San Jacopo…


Off the Borgo San Jacopo is a great street with wonderful interior design and antique shops, the street is called Via dei Serragli.  One of my favorite shops is Albrici.





One of our most memorable dining experiences was at the Restaurant  San Jacopo in the Lungarno Hotel… beautiful views, gorgeous interiors and spectacular food.  We all ordered the Seafood Quartetto which was unbelievably delicious!!!

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The art at the restaurant is spectacular!



For a true Italian experience, be sure to eat at Trattoria Del 13 Gobbi or Trattoria Quattro Leoni


and Cestello for incredible seafood.


Nove is an ultra cool restaurant/bar also along the south side of the river that we loved.  I tried my first Negroni here and was hooked!  It’s a great late night spot.


Florence is just amazing… a beautiful little jewel in Tuscany that is heaven to explore!!!


The Boboli Gardens

There is so much more that you will discover on your own, but these are just a few of my favorite things!

Print Wednesday

A Girls’ Day Out in Beverly Hills


I’m always trying to create the perfect experience and I think Chelsea and I got this Beverly Hills shopping day down… without breaking the bank!  Start by parking your car behind Saks Fifth Avenue on Wilshire Boulevard…


Walk through the store to the front, eyeing all the beautiful bags and shoes and go out the door and cross the street to  Juan Juan Salon for a blow dry… be sure you plan your shopping day on a Friday so you’re all ready for the weekend!


This was Chelsea’s college graduation weekend so we spoiled ourselves!  Even though you’re in a fancy salon in Beverly Hills, blow outs are $35, the same price as a blow dry bar!


I’m obsessed with Raphael, he’s my go to guy!


Then it’s off to lunch. One of our favorite spots is Il Postaio on Canon Drive… Giocamino Drago’s first restaurant. It’s not terribly expensive and the food and service are The best!  Also try Porta Via Bistro, also on Canon, it’s a little more chichi!




At Il Pastaio, we like to get the Capricciosa, their signature chopped salad and Aragosta, the lobster salad, but trust me everything is delicious!


Another restaurant we love is Villa Blanca on Brighton Way with its wonderful people watching and stylishly white interior.  It’s owned by Lisa Vanderpump who stars on “The Housewives of Beverly Hills”.  I know her from my favorite show, “Dancing With The Stars”!!!


Try the Chicken Lettuce Cups!  Oh and of course, a glass of Rose!!!


Chris even got to come along to another of our favorites spots… Bedford and Burns, on North Bedford Drive right around the corner from the Juan Juan Salon. They have the best tortilla soup and Bloody Marys!


Olive and June nearby on Canon Drive is a great place for a mani/pedi!


Edelweiss Chocolate Factory is an institution. Stop in for a piece of chocolate… I’m partial to the dark chocolate covered honeycomb!


It will always be remembered as the inspiration for the famous chocolate factory conveyer belt scene in “I Love Lucy” (watch)


All of the chocolates are made by hand. Ask to go in the back to watch them being made… chocolate covered pears! Yum!!


And don’t forget all the spectacular shopping to be had! You can find all these same shops at any mall anywhere but in downtown Beverly Hills its so much more fun and glamorous! Right?


Our favorite store on Rodeo Drive is Christian Dior.  It features very cool contemporary art such as this coffee table which has ceramic shoes and purses inside with a foil like tapestry in the background!  Also, there just happens to be the cutest pink bag I fell in love with… but I refrained… for now!!!


Chelsea is sitting on a couch made of nickels… very fun!


On the way back, stop into the make-up department at Saks to get a make-over, pick up a few things and have your parking validated for the day!


Our favorite make-up artist is Bita from Dior. She spoils us with bottles of water and lots of deluxe samples!  What a special day and now we are ready for the weekend!!!








Print Wednesday

Savannah is always a good idea

Savannah, GA is just about the most beautiful little southern city in the United States.  It is America’s first planned city and has 24 beautiful historic squares, you can practically walk everywhere, but in addition to wandering around by foot, it’s great fun to take a pedicab, one of which awaits in every square.


We decided to start our first day by taking an historic tour.  I recommend the Oglethorpe Trolly Tour, touristy but chalked full of historic information and a great way to introduce yourself to the charm and history of the city.  After our tour of the city, we went back and visited the highlights that had peaked our interests.


A statute of General Oglethorpe, co-founded the city in 1735

Chippewa Square is one of the most beautiful of all the squares. It’s fun because you can see the bench and church from the movie, Forrest Gump.




In Monterey Square you will find the Mercer Williams House, one of the many mansions you can tour and the catalyst for the book, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.


The main highlight of Monterey Square was a three-story antique store called, Alex’s Antique House.  it was equally as interesting to roam through and imagine the past in this dusty old house filled with antique treasures as our tour of Mercer Williams House.  I cranked open a window on the third floor and took gorgeous pictures of the views of the city!

Behind Monterey Square on Whitaker Street is a string of little boutiques and interior stores that I loved, but my favorite store in the city is Paris Market and Brocante over on Broughton Street.



The places we dined were: The Olde Pink House, in the 200 year old Planters Inn,  Elizabeth’s on 37th in an old Southern Mansion, and Noble Fare, a less serious but an equally wonderful southern dining experience.  We loved all three!


The Olde Pink House is worth a trip. Be sure to walk around and admire the beautiful pine floors, antiques and peak downstairs at The Planter’s Tavern.


One of the things we enjoyed most on our trip was a “hoe cake” straight from the griddle at Paula Dean’s restaurant, The Lady and Sons, I don’t recommend that you wait in line for the buffet of fried southern cooking, but we had fun going into the gift shop and peaking into the restaurant and watching our (to be new friends) “Jelly Roll” and Sedgewick make hoe cakes and offer us a taste. A very special afternoon in Savannah!

Print Monday

Santa Barbara is always a good idea.

Just south of Santa Barbara is a beautiful old fashioned rose farm called Rose Story Farm. This lovely hillside property grows over 18,000 rose bushes and over 120 types of French, English and American rose varietals. The farm is open to the public every Wednesday and Saturday for tours or arrangements can be made to book a special event.  I was there in July for a tour and birthday lunch!


Me with the birthday girl! (more…)