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Sienna

Sienna Duomo

Sienna Duomo

SIenna, Italy

Sienna

Sienna
We did a day trip out to Sienna via the train.   The train is very easy and drops you at the bottom of the city.  Then we took a long escalator up to the old city.  We enjoyed wondering through the streets that are a bit less crowded before reaching the Piazza Del Campo. There is a great coffee shop on the corner right when you enter the old town gates.

Eat

Osteria Le Logge
Via del Porrione, 33
+39 0577 48013
Loved this restaurant. The kitchen has a large window that looks out to the streets. Just one block off of the Piazza Del Campo. Make a reservation, ask to sit on main floor.

Florence

Florence

Boboli Gardens

Boboli Gardens
Boboli Gardens

Stay

AIRBNB in the center of Florence

Florence Apartment in City Center

Florence aparment
L’Antica Torre (The Ancient Tower)
My parents and I stayed in L’Antica Torre and we loved it! The apartment is beautiful and so interesting with all of its history. We loved to meet the owner, Gianni and learn the history of the tower and how he renovated it. The apartment is spacious and incredibly clean. I could not believe the location, it is smack in the heart of everything. We enjoyed walking across any of the bridges to get out of the city center a bit and found prices for food less and a bit less touristy. The tower is a 5 story walk up which made us feel like we could indulge in pasta and gelato.
www.airbnb.com

Eat

La Menagere Florence
la ménagère
Cafe il Sole, Florence
Cafe il Sole
Trattoria Angiolino | Florence
Trattoria Angiolino

*All dinners in Florence it is best to make a reservation.

La Ménagère – best for cappucino and light food
Via dè Ginori 8r | San Lorenzo Neighborhood
www.lamenagere.it
This unique modern space is a perfect setting to get some early morning (they open at 7) work in while drinking a cappuccino. It draws a trendy crowd of both locals and tourists.

Cafe il Sole – best for casual lunch
Via Guelfa 25r | San Lorenzo Neighborhood
We went to the Marceto Centrale for lunch, not realizing the main floor is closed on Sundays. Fortunately we stumbled upon this eclectically decorated, think rose decorated tablecloths, christmas lights and Italian soap operas on the tv cafe. Food was great and prices were even better. I had my go to pesto gnocchi followed by a cappuccino. Interior decor is cute and cozy and they have outside dining. A great alternative to the Marceto Centrale when in the Saint Lorenzo area. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Mangiafoco Caffè | Dinner or Glass of Wine/Cheese
Borgo Santi Apostoli, 26
+39 055 265 8170
This cute restaurant was a few steps from our Airbnb. We came here for a glass of wine and ended up staying for dinner. Food is yummy, interior is cozy, staff is very friendly.

Cantinetta Delle Terme | Dinner
Via Delle Terme 14r
+39 055 239 6084
This restaurant was downstairs from our Airbnb. Although it is located just one block off the main drag, it has fair prices and not too touristy. I really enjoyed the ribollito soup and they have nice wine by the glass. Make a reservation and request to sit on the main floor.

SAN SPIRITO NEIGHBORHOOD  – Staying in the city center can be overwhelming crowded, not to mention expensive for dining.  I love finding the spots that locals love. The San Spirito Neighborhood is a short walk across the bridge (one or two up from the Ponte Vechio).

Trattoria Giovanni | Dinner
Via Sant’ Agostini, 38R | San Spirito Neighborhood
Loved this tiny restaurant. Here I enjoyed bruscetta with pecorino and truffles to start. Followed by picci pasta with ragu. We had dinner here, they are also open for lunch.
www.tattoriagiovanni.it

Trattoria Angiolino | Dinner
Via di Santo Spirito, 36 R | San Spirito Neighborhood
+39 055 239 8976
Fun scene, big bar which you can dine at which is not common in Florence. We left at 11:00 and there were still people waiting to sit down.

Puglia, Monopoli

Its that time of the year again. Fall off season,  which translates to: travel time.  First stop is Don Ferrante Hotel perched on the rocks above the Adriatic Sea.  The tiny city of Monopoli is the heal of Italy’s boot is comprised of narrow white stone streets, large rock stone pavers, white ceramic pots laden with succulents, castles, cathedrals and the beautiful blue sea.

Don Ferrante, Puglia

Don Ferrante

monopoli

Don Ferrante, Puglia

Don Ferrrante Puglia

Don Ferrante Breakfast

Don Ferrante, Puglia

Monopoli, Puglia

df

 

 Stay

Don Ferrante
This tiny boutique hotel is beautiful and has the most stunning views of the Adriatic Sea. The staff is exceptionaly friendly and accomindating. The rooms are elegant down to the Frette ironed sheets. The breakfast is wonderful, try to get a table in the window perched above the sea. Persecco on the roof top terrace is a must. I loved everything about Don Ferante.
www.donferrante.it

Eat

When in Monopoli eat the seafood. Throughout the day fishing boats come and go with the daily catch. You can watch the locals catch octopus with their hands.
Puglia has many wines to offer and at incredibly reasonable prices. My preference is Primotivo.
You will want to make reservations for dinner.
Puglia is known for its appetizers. Many times they will just be sent out without ordering them. Often times we found ourselves full before the main courses had arrived.

il Guazzetto
Via Dell’Erba 39/41
Monopoli | 080 4107175
Local, very authentic.

Crested Butte

Girls trip – We hiked from Aspen to Crested Butte and back. From Maroon Bells it took us 4 1/2 hours of hiking and with stops for lunch and to admire the flowers about 6 hours. We spent 2 nights in Crested Butte and then hiked back to Aspen, both ways we went of West Maroon Pass.
CB-Hike

Stay

The Ruby B&B Crested Butte
The Ruby is wonderful. Welcoming and relaxed atmosphere. Innkeepers Chris & Andrea are so friendly and accommodating. The breakfast is gourmet, complimentary beer, cocktails and snacks are available throughout the day, loved the townie bikes, less then a 5 minute walk to town.
1 800 390 1338
www.therubyofcrestedbutte.com

The Purple Mountain Lodge Crested Butte
The owner Chris helped us feel at home and well-cared for, from delicious breakfasts to fun beer-tastings in the afternoons. Location is excellent – close to all the shopping and restaurants. I especially liked the crisp white bed linens.
714 Gothic Ave – Crested Butte, CO (1/2 a block from the Ruby)
1 877 349 5888
www.purplemountainlodge.com

Eat

CB-Daily-Dose
Daily Dose – breakfast, lunch, coffee
Great spot for a quick and healthy bite. Grab a sandwich or breakfast burrito for a day on the mountain skiing or biking. They also have great smoothies, coffee and homemade baked goods. Lots of clean and organic products. They have wifi, good spot to get some work done.
502 Bellview – Crested Butte, CO (next to Clarks Market)
970 349 5589
7am – 5pm

Secret Stash – dinner
Iconic pizza joint in center of town. Loved the fig, procuitto and truffle oil pizza. Excellent vibe
303 Elk Ave – Crested Butte, CO
www.secretstash.com

Pitas in Paradise – lunch
Loved the small salad (its huge) with a side of gyro meet. Fun deck outside. Casual vibe.
302 Elk Ave – Crested Butte, CO
www.pitasinparadise.com

Camp 4 Coffee – coffee
Incredible coffee in a tin shed plastered with old license plates. Fantastic outside patio seating right in downtown Crested Butte. Very popular spot, be sure to get some local roasted beans to go.
www.camp4coffee.com

St Barts (yes again)

One of my favorite occasions is when work and play intersect in a perfect crossroad. This perfect cross-over has happened for my Mom and I. We have been invited to help in the staging of Villa Palmier on St. Bart’s for an eight page photo spread that will appear in 2016’s Summer French Elle Decor magazine. This fabulous opportunity has been afforded to us by the home owners and my dear friends, Kate and Matt Holstein.

This is my second visit to Villa Palmier. It is tucked into the stoney slopes of the Island and overlooks Anse Des Cayes beach.

The home is decorated with a clean modern elegance that still captures casual island living. With a living room and kitchen that literally adjoins an outdoor pool and sundeck, happy guests feel like they are living in a paradise tree house.

Quaint small restaurants, patisseries, sandy coves and turquoise blue water are found at every turn in the winding roads. The house is in the perfect location, just above the airport and equidistant to the harbor in Gustavia and the town of St Jean.

Do Brazil St Barts
Do Brazil – Shell Beach
Saline Beach
Saline Beach
Petite Anse
Petite Anse
Hotel Manapany Anse Des Cayes
Hotel Manapany | Anse Des Cayes
Gustavia St Barts Art & Placement
Gustavia
Hotel Christopher St Barts
Hotel Christopher | Cheval Blanc
Hotel Le Toiny St Barts
Hotel Le Toiny
Toiny Beach Club
Toiny Beach Club
Hotel Manapany Anse De Cayes
Hotel Manapany Anse De Cayes
La Petite Colombe
La Petite Colombe
Le bar de l' oubli
Le bar de l’ oubli | Bonito
Bonito St Barts
Bonito
O’Corail St Barts
O’Corail

Le Grain de Sel - St BartsVilla Palmier St Barts

Villa Palmier St Barts

Villa Palmier St Barts

Villa Palmier St Barts

Villa Palmier St Barts

Villa Palmier St Barts

Villa Palmier St Barts

St Barts – French West Indies

Moke | St Barts
Villa Palmier | St BartsTaïwana - St Barts
Gustavia Fish Market
Do Brazil St Barts
Do Brazil St Barts
Columbier St Barts
St Barths
Gustavia St Barts

 

STAY

Villa Palmier St Barts
Villa Palmier St Barts
Villa Palmier St Barts
Villa Palmier St Barts
Affagato Villa Palmier
Villa Palmier St Barts
Villa Palmier St Barts
Villa Palmier St Barts

VILLA PALMIER
I spent the past week with my dear friends Kate and Matt in their new home in St Barts. It was a special trip with lots of laughs,  great friends, exceptional  food, plenty of rosé and lots of swimming. They have done a phenomenal job with the renovation and  decorating. Some of my favorite times from the week were spent at Villa Palmier in the hammock taking in the view, together in the the kitchen cooking amazing fresh fish,  enjoying afternoon affagatos, taking many dips in the pool and the outdoor shower. I am already dreaming of when I can come back to this paradise.
www.villapalmier.com

 

BEACHES

St Barts Villa Palmier

Petite Anse Beach

Flamands Beach
go early in the morning, it is a fairly quiet beach. Stop at La Petite Colombe Boulongerie, pick up croissants aux amandes and café crème and enjoy down at the beach. Great beach for a beach walk and swim.

Petite St Jean Beach – White sand and calm clear water make this an ideal beach. My first evening was spent here watching the sunset with a bottle of rosé. This beach is steps away from the heart of the village St Jean which has plenty of boutiques and restaurants for when you need a break from the sun. Nikki beach and Eden Rock are here. A fun beach for an early morning swim.

St Jean – Another beautiful beach, steps from the village of St John. Enjoy a glass of rosé at the bar on the beach at boutique hotel Tom’s Beach. Great beach for a swim.

Shell Beach – Go here after having lunch at Do Brazil. Swim out to the cliffs on the left side of the beach. Its about a 300 yard swim, calm water. This is a fun and lively beach.

Colombier – This beach can only be reached by a 30 minute hike or by boat.

Corossol Beach – This is a small fishing village, off the beaten path with a quaint  beach. Stop at Dream Time Boutique the only shop here, they import beautiful wooden furniture, bowls, cutting boards from Bali. Then go for a dip.

Governor Beach – Beautiful large beach, feels very remote.

Petite Anse – Tiny shallow swimming hole,  tucked into the cliffs. Follow the stairs down and  into the water. Perfect spot to bring a book and dangle your feet into the water. Or do like we did and buy Argile Clay from Marche U  (5 euro) and do face masks before taking a dip. The cove is protected from the waves with a rock wall, so the water is very calm.  It is between Flamand and Colombier.

Saline Beach – Not a problem if you forget your swimsuit, this is one of the 2 swimsuit optional beaches. I love this secluded beach (it was a bit windy).  Fun to have lunch at Le Grain De Sel before or after going to Saline.

Toiny Beach – Popular surfing beach, strong current, so not great for swimming.  We parked at the beautiful 5 star Relais & Chateaux Le Toiny Hotel. Then were shuttled down to their fun beach club.

 

EAT

BOULANGERIE CHOISY St Barts
bar-de-oublier
Eating St Barts
Do Brazil St Barts
Bonito Gustavia St Barts
Gustavia Fish Market
Gustavia Fish Market
Ti Marche St Barts
Eddy’s – Gustavia
Rue du Centenaire, Gustavia; 590-590-275-417
This island institution is hidden in a enchanting garden behind a stone wall. The menu focuses on fresh, Creole-style seafood, without much fuss. Try the lentil salad.

Hideaway – St Jean
St. Jean; 590-590-276-362
www.hideaway.tv
Good simple food at a good price. I recommend the California pizza, a crispy thin-crust pizza with tomato and an abundance of garlic.

Les Bananiers – Columbier
Next door to my favorite bakery La Petite Colombier. The atmosphere is more laid back than some of other restaurants. Seems popular with locals.  They have a traditional french menu (fish, meat, foie gras, escargot, sweatbreads) and pizza.  I recommend the escargot, shared the lobster curry and for dessert the creme brûlée.

Do Brazil – Shell Beach
Open everyday for lunch
www.dobrazil.com
Enjoy a long lunch right on the beach. Very fun and casual vibe. Try the wahoo tataki and of course rosé is a must. Go for a swim out to the cliffs after lunch.

La Petite Colombe – take away breakfast
The best Boulongerie and just up the hill from Villa Palmier. This was a must every morning and the earlier you get there the better.  A few of my favorites: croissants aux amandes and  pain au chocolat for breakfast, grab a sandwiches and  lentil salad for lunch at the house or on the beach and be sure to grab a baguette to enjoy later in the day.

Le Select –
Rue de la France, Gustavia
This kitschy hotspot is known for beer and burgers. Centrally locacated in the center of Gustavia. We grabbed the fish of the day to take back to the house

Le Bar de L’oubli – cappuccino & people watching
3 rue de la France, Gustavia
7:30 am – 11 pm
www.bardeloubli.com
Right in the middle of  Gustavia, this is a great spot to enjoy a cappuccino and croissant in the morning. Fun people watching, good local crowd.

Tamarin – special dinner
Grande Saline St (near Saline Beach)
www.tamarinstbarth.com
Go here for a memorable dinner experience.  The lush tropical garden setting is stylish and enchanting with paths leading to hidden dining areas, each area with a different feel and vibes. 

Bonito – special dinner
Gustavia
Hands down my favorite dinner place for a special night out. Make a reservation for on the terrace with a view. Plan to arrive early or stay after for a drink on the couches (great photo spot). Beautiful beach chic decor. The grilled octopus starter and grilled sea scallops are outstanding. Elegant staff keep serving an assortment of ‘muse bouche’ which add some surprises to the evening.

Ti Marche
Lorient, 97133 Saint-Barthelemy
Fruit and vegetable market open Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The fresh produce comes from Guadaloupe. Stock up on the pure coconut water. Have a fresh smoothie made while you shop, I like the carrot, mango, and papaya mix.

Gustative Fish Market
At the entrance of Gustavia, there is a little fish market, you have to get there early—all the fish is usually sold out by 9 am. A group of local fishermen sell their early-morning catch to restaurants, locals, and visitors. In addition to langouste (Caribbean lobsters), you can often find dorade, wahoo, and tuna.

Isoletta – casual chic pizza
Gustavia
Casual italian, fun vibe & excellent pizza.

O’Corail
Grand Cul de Sac – lunch on beach
On the beach literally, toes in the sand, super casual but excellent seafood, fresh fresh, great view of bay with wind & kitesurfers. Best tables are below the restaurant.

Le Grain De Sel –
Saline
Great lunch spot before going to Saline Beach.

Shop
French Indies Design - St Barts

Baya – St Barth
23, rue du Général de Gaulle – Gustavia
World inspired, eautifully curated home accessories and jewelry

French Indies Design
Maison Suédoise, Gustavia
http://www.frenchindiesdesign.fr
Beautiful shop on the far side of Gustavia Harbor owned by Karine Bruneel a St. Barth–based architect and interior designer. They have lovely furniture, textiles, glassware, and unusual decorative baskets, candles, jewelry and pottery.

New York

It has been way to long since I visited NY. Luckily a work project brought me to the city. I stayed in Brooklyn Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn. Some highlights.

EAT

Iris Café- Brooklyn Heights
20 Columbia Pl, Brooklyn, NY 11201
8:00 – 11:00pm
simple breakfast spot, just 2 blocks from my friends brownstone in Brooklyn Heights. Must try the avocado toasts with egg and  homemake ricotta on english muffins drizzled with honey.

Café Gitane – Nolita
242 Mott St, New York, NY 10012
8:30 am – 12:00am
cafegitanenyc.com
Delicious French/Middle-East fair, ideal at anytime of the day. Gets very busy, bring cash and sit at the bar with the old school vibe.

Gotan – Tribeca
130 Franklin Street, New York, NY 10013
Weekdays 7-6 | Weekends 9-4
http://www.gotannyc.com
Coffee shop located in a historic factory building, featuring espresso drinks & light/ seasonal fare.

Gansevoort Market -Meatpacking
52 Gansevoort St, NYC, NY 10014
Open Daily from 8AM to 8PM
http://www.gansmarket.com
Sometimes in New York you just need a quick snack or light bite. This is one of the best markets in the whole city. It is the ideal casual spot, there’s a mix of cuisines and something for everyone–from fresh pasta and pizzas to sushi, mediterranean, thai, mexican. Right around the corner from the Highline, Chelsea Markets and the Whitney. It’s also just a great spot to sit back and enjoy a cappuccino after an afternoon of shopping to people watch.
Rumor has it this place will be closing winter 2016

Paris

 Le Marais is one of those areas in Paris that you will just never be able to get enough of. The neighborhood is packed to the gills with exciting cafes, boutiques and boulangeries… to pop into.  Below I am sharing a selection of my personal favorites in Le Marais:

Stay

Le Marais
Le Marais

Maleka Designs Paris
Beautiful Marais Apartment across from the Picasso Museum
2
2 Rue de Thiorny Le Marais Paris | Airbnb.com
Living like a local, not a tourist is always my aim when traveling. This airbnb is authentic Parisian living located in the heart of my favorite neighborhood Le Marais. Charming, stylish, peaceful and light filled one-bedroom apartment, beautifully renovated and furnished with antique pieces.

Dine

Folks and Sparrows - Paris

Used Book Cafe - Paris

Broken Arm - Paris

CINÉMA CAFÉ - Paris

Café Charlot Paris

Boots Café - Paris

 

Café Charlot – best for lunch
38 Rue de Bretagne
This is the place to be in Le Marais. I can sit here for hours soaking in all the fashionable people.  The menu is simple and delicious, the chèvre chaud is devine!

Folks and Sparrows – best for breakfast
14 Rue Sain Sebastian, Paris 75011
Adorable rustic café tucked away on a quiet street in Le Marais. Loved it for breakfast.

Used Book Cafe  – best for afternoon coffee after shopping at Merci
111 boulevard Beaumarchais 75003 Paris (located on ground floor of  Merci)
Rendez-vous over a cup of coffee or for a quick lunch surrounded  by over 10,000 books. Loved it for an apres shopping at Merci cappuccino stop.

Cinèma Café – best for  lunch
Bright, chic, fun vibe, great place to meet for lunch around a plate of charcuterie, salad or soup. Try the ginger lemonade.

Broken Arm – best for breakfast
12 Rue Perrée, 75003 Paris
Offers great coffee in a trendy setting inside or out.

Boots Café – best for breakfast or a late afternoon pick me up
19 Rue du Pont Choux, 75003
Open 10 – 6
Paris’s smallest coffee shop. They advertise Coffee to go, but its super cute cafe decor will make you want to stay at one of the two tiny tables and enjoy your coffee there.

Marché des Enfants
39 Rue de Bretagne, 3rd
At 400-years-old, the Marais-based Marché des Enfants Rouges is worth browsing whether you’re hungry or not (you can always stock up on fresh cut flowers, fruits, vegetables and the best butter you will ever have).

Shop

Merci –  Concept Store
111 blvd du Beaumarchais
It is impossible to go to Le Marais without spending some time wandering through my favorite concept store. Great spot for gifts, check out the Merci line of lines, to have a café crème in their Used Book Café or a bite to eat in the chic Cinema Café.

Isabel Marant
47 Rue de Saintonge, 75003 Paris
Bought the coziest sweater here. Beautiful chic french line

Closed
Rue Debelleyme 22
German company, most clothing is made in Italy. They are known for their denim, but I purchased a beautiful small leather cross saddle bag.

Le Labo Fragrances
7, rue Froissart 75003 Paris
Paris is the place to purchase perfume. Le Labo makes 10 handmade exclusive scents which they customize for you in the shop !

 

 Venturing outside of Le Marais

Buvette Paris

Vélib
For 8 euros for a week pass you can bike around the city using one of the 20,000 bikes available in the city. You pick up the bike at one destination and deliver it at another. Be sure to check out the bikes before picking yours, as they often have flat tires…. Biking can be daunting in Paris, stick to the smaller streets and it is a great way to get around. Most busy roads have a bike/bus lane.

Claus– favorite time breakfast, must make a reservation
14 Rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau, 75001
On the ground floor there’s a carefully curated selection of biscuits, mueslis, jams and other condiments, and in the green-carpeted dining room upstairs, you settle at a white table for a good feed. Combines a chic boutique vibe with a cozy home atmosphere.  Ride bikes from the Marais.

Buvette –  9ème – South Pigalle – favorite time dinner
28 Rue Henry Monnier, 75009 Paris, France
Rustic chic French bistro. Short and sweet menu, order a lot and share. I dream of the tartines slathered in mint pesto and fava beans and for desert the peach tart with whipped crème fraiche.

Cafe Charlot - Paris