It is now our second time visiting San Antonio, and this time we spent half a day checking out The Pearl District. The heart of the district is the 19th century Brewhouse turned Hotel Emma. The hotel is huge and there are so many things to look at when you are there. We ate lunch at Supper inside of the hotel. The food was delicious and fresh- there is a famous culinary school in the district so they take pride on the fresh ingredients. Afterwards we wandered around and checked out some shops. To end our day there we did a wine flight at High Street Wine Co. I cannot wait to come back to the Pearl again and check out more restaurants and stores.
One of the most fun an exciting parts of photography is finding a shoot location. They are often in very unexpected places, or can be as simple as a white wall. In fact the best locations are usually the simplest. I tend to overthink locations sometimes but then realize it is not even about the location at all. It is about how the light and the subject interact with that location.
I just did another great shoot with Meghan for our company MK.RD. I loved the python print clashing against the urban backdrop. I also love the nature background we found that was also shot in downtown Dallas but looks like it is in a field.
Welcome to MK.RD
MK.RD (Factory) is a new collaboration between myself and my stylist friend Meghan. We are working together to create high fashion photos and styled looks. When we both recently became friends and did our first photo shoot, we new we saw something special. We decided to put our talents together to open MK.RD. If you are looking for something unique, fun, and out of the box for your photo shoots, please reach out on our new website: https://mkrdfactory.com/
Before we decided to visit Sarasota, I really did not know much about this city at all besides that Siesta Key was nearby. When I did my trip research I came across this amazing place called the John and Mable Ringing Museum. I became pretty obsessed with the Greatest Showman recently. Even though this was not owned by P.T. Barnum, the Ringlings bought the Barnum circus to create The Greatest Show on Earth. I had no idea this incredible site even existed. It is a definite MUST do in Sarasota. I recommend spending at least 3 or more hours at the entire property.
First we walked over to the Ca d’Zan which was the actual residence of John and Mable Ringling. Definitely do the John Tour AND the Mable Tour. Both tours take you to different spots in the house and do not repeat. Unfortunately you cannot take any photos inside of the house, but for once I actually enjoyed not taking photos (even though they would have been beautiful) The inside of the house is truly spectacular. Mable was a perfectionist at curating the home just so and attention to detail. She wanted every place you looked to have beauty, The exterior of the house is also incredible, as is the waterfront view.
After visiting the Ca d’Zan, we explored the grounds which included Mable’s rose garden and incredibly large Banyan Trees. We walked over to the Ringling Art museum which featured an enormous pink courtyard housing works of art. To do the two tours and visit the museum, it did cost $65 which was a bit pricey but I think totally worth it for a once in a lifetime experience.
After about a month away from Australia, we were seriously missing the beach! Our friends invited us to visit them in Sarasota this past weekend and we knew we could not pass up the chance! We stayed at the Tribute Modern Sarasota Hotel. The hotel just opened so everything was brand new. I just loved how this hotel was a great mix of modern and retro at the same time. Since the hotel is still going through it’s soft opening we got the whole pool to ourselves. We felt like it was our own private resort. Although the hotel had a few kinks to work out, I highly recommend staying here while in Sarasota.
While my husband attended his conference in Melbourne, I woke up early and took an incredible all day Viator tour of the Great Ocean Road. My tour guide picked me up around 7:40am and we got back to the hotel around 10pm, so it was a VERY long day but worth every minute.
On the bus there were about 15 other people, so it was a small tour which was great, we didn’t have to worry so much about a ton of people not getting back to the bus on time. Steven was my tour guide and he was just the nicest Aussie. We started our tour at a small surfer beach called Torquay with some morning tea and cake. After that we made our way down tor Great Ocean Road to Kennet River where there are usually Koalas. We walked up the path but didn’t see any until right at the end of the trail a huge Koalas eating some Eucalyptus was sitting in a tree. We got very lucky to see one that day, and so close to us!
After that we made our way to the Australian rainforest called Great Otway Park with some of the tallest trees I have ever seen. Next stop was The Loch Ard Gorge with rock formations and beautiful scenery. We ended the trip at the Twelve Apostles and Gibson Steps. Unfortunately we did not have too much time here other than to snap a few photos before getting on the bus but it was the grand finale of the trip. I loved this tour and would definitely recommend it, however if you want more time in each place it is probably better to rent a car and stay for a few days.
After our time in Bondi Beach, Milan and I went to Melbourne for a few days for him to attend and speak at his law conference. I really did not know what to expect from Melbourne but I ended up falling in love with this city. It is drastically different than Sydney. It feels like a mix of New York, London, and Toronto. Melbourne also has this magic feeling to it that reminds me of being in the world of Harry Potter.
We stayed at the beautiful Westin Melbourne. The hotel had a beautiful view of the city as well as a great swimming pool and free breakfast. We saw not just one celebrity this trip but two! Kevin Hart was sitting at the breakfast dining room next to us. I recognized his voice before I saw his voice as he was speaking really loudly on his cell phone. The wait staff told me he was performing in Melbourne.
Melbourne is known for it’s little shopping arcades, alleyways, and laneways. The prettiest arcades were The Royal Arcade, The Block Arcade, and The Cathedral Arcade. The Laneways really feel like you are walking through Diagon Alley. The most popular ones are Flinders Way and Degraves. They also have a really beautiful China Town where all the hottest bars and restaurants are.
Here are some of the places we ate and drank
Berlin Bar: This bar is one of my top favorites I have ever been to. The bar is split into two parts in 1980’s era Berlin- one side American and one side Communist. I felt like I was Charlize Theron in Atomic Blonde.
Heartbreaker- Rated one of the top bars in Melbourne. A very sceney bar with beautiful neon sign. The cocktails we had were bottled from The Everleigh cocktail bar.
The Everleigh- Speaking of this place, fantastic cocktails.
1806- Another great old fashioned cocktail bar with a fun menu you can purchase there.
Izakaya Den- We of course ate a ton of Japanese food while in Melbourne. The food was incredible!
Kisume- Probably the freshest sushi I have ever had.
After Bondi, we experienced downtown Sydney for just two nights. We stayed at The Pier One Sydney Harbour. The hotel was in a great location right next to the bridge with views of the Opera House. It is also close to an area called The Rocks which features a lot of pubs and shops. We at lunch at a little pub and tried some Kangaroo for the first time! It was in a sausage so it did not taste so different than anything else, but was very delicious.
We just had to eat dinner at the iconic Opera House restaurant called Bennelong. A short walk from our hotel and we were there. The restaurant is stunning and the three course menu was fantastic. I also just loved their signature dessert which is in the shape of the Opera House.
One of the best things to do in Australia is the coastal walk from Bondi to Coogee. The trip is quite long one way with lots of hills and steps so I definitely don’t suggest walking there and back especially on a hot day. You can start from anywhere on the trail and go in either direction and stop in between many, many times to admire the beauty. We did the walk twice from Bondi to Tamarama, and once from Coogee to Bondi. The scenery in between includes Bronte Beach, Tamarama Beach, Waverley Cemetery (quite possibly the most beautiful cemetery I have ever seen)., Clovelly Beach, Gordon’s Bay, and more! It is hard to say what my favorite part was because it is all incredibly beautiful. Aussie’s all have their opinions on the best beach to go to but I think my favorite beach was Tamarama. The beach is not too big but not too small, it is just right.
Diamond Bay is a small coastal park near Vacluse, about 15 minutes away from Bondi. This place is one of the most beautiful vistas I have ever seen. I found it on Instagram, a lot of people like to keep it a secret but the secret is out once you find it on google. I saw shots of a lot of people sitting on the top of those stairs on the cliff. When I got there I realized there was no where down to that area so people are really risking their lives for a photo, NEVER a good idea!!
I also bought a drone a few months ago and was very excited to fly it here. I was nervous to fly my drone in Australia especially near any people so I woke up at 6am to fly it so it would not bother anyone. This was the third time I really flew my drone but it gets easier every time you do it. I am still nervous to to let it go super high or far away from me. When it was hovering over the ocean it was both exhilarating and nerve racking so I took some shots and a short video then brought it back.
Ah, Bondi Beach. The land of surfing, flat whites, avocado toast, and bare feet. We spent the first few days of our trip to Australia here at Bondi (pronounced Bond-eye) at the QT Hotel. From the moment we arrived, we loved everything about the way of life here. The boutique hotel QT was a great place to stay. The decor was a laid back vibe with modern pastel colors that mimicked the famous Bondi Icebergs.
Every morning we would wake up early and go eat breakfast at Vida Surf Shop Cafe or Berri Patch to get delicious acai bowls, matcha lattes, and avocado toast. From there we would explore the area. Bondi has the most beautiful shops and clothing boutiques (one of my favorites pictured here called Playa) You will not find many chain stores. It also has some beautiful art deco buildings as well. Not as many as say Miami Beach, but a few very nice ones that you can spot if you walk a lot around the area.
After exploring the area we walked down to the famous Bondi Beach every day. We also completed the Bondi to Coogee coastal walk a few times. Many local Uber drivers told us they think that Bondi is very touristy and that there were many better beaches. I have to really disagree. We both did not find it too touristy at all. We loved it so much that we could even imagine getting a small condo there.
A few restaurants to check out:
Drake Eatery- Amazing fresh farm to table food, highly recommend the gnocchi but I think the menu changes a lot.
Bondi IceBergs- A must do, and we saw Steve Aoki there when we were at dinner. We also went there during the day time for some drinks. It is a real hot spot, lots of bougie people watching.
Vida Surf Shop Cafe- Fantastic Acai Bowls, and also loved the ham and cheese toastie.
Bondi Hardware- We just had some snacks but the fish taco was great and it is also a very beautiful place.
A Tavola Bondi- Delicious Italian food with fresh pasta.
Bill’s Bondi- Another institution in Bondi, we didn’t east here but had some drinks.
The Shop Wine Bar- We also just got wine here but the food looked great and was a very cute local cafe.
Can Cava Pintxos- A tapas restaurant. Highly recommend the cauliflower and the octopus.
Walking barefoot everywhere is a thing here… even to restaurants and the main sidewalks. You get used to it but still it is not something I would want to do.
I finally found out why the Bondi Icebergs are called Icebergs. It was started in 1929 as a Winter Swimming club so that local life savers could keep in shape during the winter. To this day it is still the only operating pool in the Winter time as well as year round.
Many many cute dogs all around Bondi. Most of them walk off leashes, I wonder how they don’t all get lost but they seem very well trained.
This past weekend my husband and I decided to walk around downtown Dallas. We checked out the historic Adolphus hotel which underwent a serious renovation and restoration. The new changes created a great mix of historic and modern. My husband got a great shave at the beautiful Barbershop. Next time we will have to eat at the hotel’s historic French Room.
This is also one of the most haunted hotels in the United States, just watch this one video https://www.dmagazine.com/arts-entertainment/2016/10/how-haunted-is-the-adolphus-hotel/
I am so excited to finally get to post these photos from Michelle and Justin’s Wedding Reception. We started off at the historic Hilton Hotel ( where JFK spent his last night) for the detail and getting ready shots. I just love Michelle’s classic and elegant style. Afterwards we walked over to the courtyard beside the hotel for the first look and some beautiful couple photos. Michelle and Justin also have an adorable baby girl who was brought in to take some quick photos with them!
After, we headed to the Petroleum Club for their reception. The ballroom was beautifully decorated with candles and gold trimming. I especially loved the gorgeous cake with surrounding cupcakes. A special surprise was guest Sarah Palin, who Michelle worked for in the past. It was such a joy to photograph this elegant reception.
Just a few photos of a beautiful sunset when I was in Santa Monica a few weeks ago. Thinking of all of those affected by the fires.
I could not be happier that summer has come to an end and fall is finally here! We spent 3 amazing days in the US Capitol of Washington DC. My husband had a conference in Charlottesville so we decided to fly here first. Our whole trip was quite the whirlwind, we ended up spending the night at 3 different hotels in DC! The first two nights we stayed at the Kimpton Mason & Rook. This hotel is a small modern boutique hotel near the 14th street area with great restaurants and shopping. The first day we ate at Commissary for a late lunch and walked around the area. Then we went to Ghibellina for dinner. The next day we walked around the National Mall and stopped at the National Geographic Museum and the Smithsonian American History Museum. For dinner we stayed in the area and yet again went to an Italian restaurant called Lupo Verde.
After our stay at Mason and Rook, we headed over to the Kimpton Monaco. This hotel was incredible and definitely my favorite one of the trip. After we checked out the beautiful hotel we walked over to the CityCenter. This upscale area had a new Umbrellas Sky Installation so of course I had to check this one out. We also did a little( a lot of) shopping at the stores over there and then headed to the National Portrait Gallery. At night my husband wanted to watch the McGreggor/Khabib fight so we went to a bar to spend the night watching it. To our surprise, right before the fight started, right where we were sitting Dave Chapelle walks in with his crew and ends up drinking right next to us! It was quite the night, we didn’t end up talking to him but we did talk to his friends.
After a super fun night we got up the next day to take the train to Charlottesville. I love going through Union Station, they just finished restoring the ceiling. Even if you are not taking the train it is worth a visit. After our train ride we took a car to Lexington (quite the change of pace). Lexington is where my husband had his conference. It is probably the smallest town I have ever been to but it was really very historic and beautiful ( more about that in next post). After that we went back to Charlottesville for a night before heading back to DC. I really did love Charlottesville. The campus is beautiful and the downtown mall promenade is very quaint.
Our last day in DC we stayed at the new Line Hotel located inside of an old church. This is in Adam’s Morgan which is a very cool hipster/hippie area. This was again a very different hotel than the rest, obviously a lot more hipster than the other hotels. We walked around the area and then ate dinner at Iron Gate. All together we stayed at 5 different hotels in one trip, definitely a record for us indeed.
I have a serious thing for photographing umbrellas and before our trip to Miami, I saw that Coral Gables now has an amazing umbrella sky project. This first time I saw an umbrella sky was from photographs of a street in Agueda, Portugal. I honestly wanted to go all the way there just so I could see and photograph this one street. I obviously did not go all the way there but years after I saw more umbrella skies popping up around the world. The first time I got to see an umbrellas sky was actually in Belgrade, Serbia.
We had this trip planned to Miami for a few months and before I go on a trip I research heavily on Pinterest, Instagram, etc. I freaked out when I saw that Coral Gables recently installed an umbrella sky and was so excited to photograph it. The drive from downtown Miami to Coral Gables is about 20 minutes. My husband jokes about how I always drag him to the most random places for photos and something always goes awry, well he is right. We got to the umbrellas and about 5 minutes after a huge storm rolled in with a lot of lightening. We waited under a canopy along with tons of other people who were there to take pictures under the umbrellas. When the rain let up a bit we ran into The Bar for a drink, a great local Coral Gables spot. After we finished our drinks the sun same out. I am actually very happy that I got to photograph the umbrellas in both clouds and sun, so it was really turned out to be a good time!
One of the many special things about the Mandarin Oriental hotel group is the location of their hotels. The properties are always hidden away in an otherwise very busy city. The Mandarin Oriental Miami is located on a private island near downtown called Brickell Key. We stayed here for a few nights and even extended for a night because it was so cozy and relaxed. Our room had a fantastic balcony with a view of Downtown Miami. In typical Mandarin Oriental fashion, the services and amenities were incredible. The infinity pool was beautiful and right next door was a small man made beach. I also spent time at the spa and received the most amazing facial complete with a rose quartz treatment. A short walk from the Mandarin over the bridge and you hit Downtown Miami. We took advantage of this and ate at both Zuma and Boulud Sud. Overall our stay at the Mandarin was as always such an incredible experience.
Two months ago I moved to Dallas with my husband after living in Fort Worth for over 3 years. As a born and raised New Yorker, I actually adapted to moving to Texas quite well. The quality of life here is honestly overall so much better and so is the weather. Fort Worth was such a nice relaxing change from NYC, but after a while it got very mundane because it is such a small city. We always knew we wanted to be in Dallas since coming to Texas. It is the perfect happy medium between New York and Fort Worth. We finally took the plunge this Summer and bought a place in downtown Dallas.
Milan is an avid swimmer and I am, well an avid photographer. We love spending time at the pool and I decided to whip out my camera and get a few snaps of the pool in our new condo. Milan was also nice enough to snap a few photos of me. I am always behind the camera and never in front but it is nice sometimes to have photos of myself (especially because I have been going so hard at the gym!)
After New York, we stopped in Philadelphia for a few days for a quick trip. My husband used to live here and we never went here together as a couple. Philadelphia is so much fun, a great mix between New York and DC. Every time I go on a trip I always look up the best things to do and this time I found out there was a Rodin Museum in Philadelphia! The only other Rodin museum that I have heard of is the one in Paris which my husband and I have both been to together. We of course had to check this out, being both francophiles and lovers of Rodin.
The museum itself is very small but makes up for that with it’s beauty and sculptures. I find that I love going to smaller museums better than very large museums. They can be just so overwhelming. When you go to a smaller museum you can appreciate every piece and for longer. For a little slice of Paris, I highly recommend checking this out in Philadelphia!
Let me start off by saying that I grew up in New York, born and raised on the Upper East Side. I didn't leave New York until college and afterwards I came back to live in Hell's Kitchen on my own for the next 4 years. I left New York to move down to Texas for my then boyfriend, now husband. Before we moved down to Texas we spent a summer living together in New York. I have not been back to NY since to live, only to visit friends a few times a year. My husband and I decided to live in New York for the Summer, something that we have been wanting to do since we left New York in 2014. We finally were able to do it this Summer of 2018.
I was so excited that I think I was just plain blindsided by this city again. It hits you right across the face when you land and leaves a lasting bruise until you leave again. We got a very nice sublet right in my old neighborhood of Hell's Kitchen on the 34th floor of a doorman building. The apartment had great natural light and beautiful views of the city- the complete opposite of my former apartment here. For the first few days I was very happy to be back. I missed the energy of the city, and forgot just how many people were around. I noticed things that I never really saw before, like how everything operates in the city as controlled chaos. I just don't get how so many things go on at one time but they all work in a noisy but perfect harmony. My dog's reaction to the city is pretty much how I felt after a few days- a scatterbrain.
New York is the kind of place where you never want to leave your apartment, but once you do, you want to do anything and everything. Truly the best things about this city are the restaurants and bars. No city in the world has the diversity of cuisine and cocktails as New York. Below are the list of restaurants and bars we were able to check off our list rated from best to worst. Some are restaurants/bars and some I did not include because they were take out/more casual. I wish I had more photos of the food to share, but most of the time we were dining at dimly lit restaurants.
1. Asiate- Located inside of the Mandarin Oriental. One of the best meals I have ever had!
2. Method- We became obsessed with Izakayas this trip. Izakayas are Japanese tapas. I highly recommend the eggplant and Ramen here.
3. Cocotte- One of the best traditional french restaurants in the city! Almost everyone speaks French here. We ate at their only outside table and I felt like we were in Paris.
4. Bar Goto- Another Izakaya, Get the Okinomiyaki, best you will ever try!
5. Batard- Incredible french restaurant in TriBeca. Everything from the food to the service was top notch, plus they have corkage.
6. Temple Court- A beautiful restaurant inside of the Beekman Hotel. It is worth it to go just to check out the historic Beekman. On Sundays they do free corkage, and it makes sense considering we were the only ones in the restaurant. FiDI is dead on the weekends, but because of that we got excellent service and an amazing meal!
7. Marea- This place is on the top of every "Best in NY List" We went here and got their two course lunch. Honestly didn't love it or hate it. It was very solid and tasty but I would not say it is up there with the best Italian I have ever had.
8. Davio's- A fantastic steak house with a million menu options and half price wine on Sundays. Love the popovers to start.
9. Harrow- A gem of a restaurant in Hell's Kitchen. Great food that tastes like home cooking with a relaxing ambiance.
10. Jean Georges at the Mark- Food was great and I love The Mark Hotel. A little stuck up though and terrible Sommelier.
11. Gallo Nero- We had our first dinner date here- classic Italian place but always delicious!
12. Pylos- One of the best greek restaurants in the city, literally everything is delicious and fresh.
13. The Drunken Horse- A wine bar/Italian Tapas. Best Flatbread I ever had!
14. A slew of wine bars in Hell's Kitchen with Italian Tapas: Ardesia, Wine Escape, Medi Wine Bar, Bricola, Bocca di Bacco- All fantastic and some we have been before but wanted to go back to.
15. Stanton Social- Always delicious, loved the arepas. The french onion soup dumpling were good but too heavy for the Summer time and smelled heavily.
16. Azasu- We looked up Best Izakayas in NYC and this was number 1. I enjoyed Bar Goto and Method a lot better but this place was very authentic. The food was very good and I enjoyed the decor and Sumo Wrestling theme.
17. Casa Mono- Great Spanish Tapas, always very unique.
18. Yefsi Estiatorio- Another really great greek placeon the UES.
19. Racines- At the bottom of our list. It got great reviews on yelp, but was not all it was hyped up to be. Limited menu- I mean there were only like 3 or 4 choices. Tasty but not too memorable.
20. Buddakhan- We stopped there for late night drinks and a snack. I actually have never been here and always wanted to try it. I got the Edamame Dumpling, basically tasted like mashed potatoes in a dumpling but so good! Probably would not go back to eat though, too touristy now.
21. Bistro Burger- Great burger when you are drunk/ the only burger I have eaten in a few years.
1. Fig 19- The coolest speakeasy I have been to, it is actually hidden unlike some of the popular ones. I will not tell where though!
2. Garfunkel's- A bar within a bar inside of a vaulted door. This quiet LES speakeasy is a great date place plus live music on Tuesdays!
3. Aviary at the Mandarin Oriental/ The Office- Some of the most creative cocktails I have ever had, with of course an amazing view and our server looked exactly like Ryan Gosling. After we had drinks at Aviary we went to their own bar within a bar speakeasy called The Office. Amazing drinks, although we spent a fortune all together.
4. Amor y Amargo- Great places if you love Bitters!
5. Raines Law Room- A nice speakeasy in Flatiron with beautiful decor and strong drinks.
6. Death and Co.- Been here many times but always solid and a place I like to go back to.
7. Sugar Momma- Honestly best hummus I have ever had and awesome drinks! Weird fact, we went here right after we landed in NY. I was watching Red Sparrow on the plane, and they were actually playing the movie when we walked in!!
8. Blue Ribbon Bar- Great little spot in the village. Loved the white asparagus.
9. Mark Bar- A beautiful bar on the Upper East side where you may or may not see a celebrity. We did not this time, but who knows maybe we did?
10. Blue Bar- Algonquin- A classic bar in NY. Everything is blue of course and they have pictures done by Al Hirschfeld on the walls. I suggest getting the Dorothy Parker.
11. Bowery Bar- A classic bar that is a must do in NY. We went here on the late night. It was very busy and were already way too far gone to enjoy it, oops!
12. The Royalton Rooftop- Nice rooftop with a great view of the Empire State Building. Drinks were okay, it is more for the view.
13. Lela Bar- Great wine, a little overpriced.
14. Randolph Bar- Had some refreshing drinks after a hot walk. Yummy empanadas.
15. M1-5 Lounge- not great drinks but good music and they have an awesome bottle chandelier.
16. Attaboy- Ugh so disappointing. We went to Lela bar to wait to get into Attaboy for about 45 minutes, which was fine. The worst part was I told the bartender I do not like sweet drinks at all. My first drink was fine but then he made the worst Negroni I ever had. How do you screw up a Negroni? Then he made me another one, it was again terrible and too sweet I could not drink it. I told him it is okay you do not need to make another one, and he says snarkly " Well I wasn't going to". We got up and left with a full drink on the bar.
In terms of other activities:
- A stroll through my favorite areas of Central Park twice. Starting at 79th street and walking down to Bethesda terrace to the Bow Bridge, then back again through the Mall and then ending at 59th street near the Gapstow Bridge.
- A visit to the Met and the Met Breuer. I got to see the Heavenly Bodies exhibit before it closed, plus an amazing human sculpture exhibit at the Met Breuer (The old Whitney space).
- A visit to the MOMA, two fantastic exhibitions by Bodys Isek Kingelez and Adrian Piper.
- Strolling around Brooklyn Bridge Park. It is SO different than the last time I was here. Everything is incredibly manicured and bougie now. New condos, storefronts, and restaurants are up.
- Walking the Manhattan Bridge for the first time. This was so great and not touristy at all. You get amazing views that most people do not every see!
- Went to La Duree on the Upper East side after the museums. I sat down for table service and ordered the biggest pastry on the menu and had some tea. For $15 it was well worth the time off my feet indulging.
- Strolling through the High Line, West Village, and East Village. I suggest touring the High Line on a weekday after it just rained. There are hardly any tourists and it is peaceful and beautiful.