The Frida Effect

I don’t know why I always forget about Frida Kahlo. She was really spectacular. Not only because of her incredible talent, but because she was fearless, resilient, and lived her life however she felt like living it. (Including sharing adjoining houses with her husband. #relationshipgoals)

Recently in Mexico City, I had the opportunity to see Casa Azul – her childhood home where she also spent stints of adulthood. It’s mega touristy now, but as I walked the airy floor plan, I imagined breakfasts with fruit picked from nearby trees, and dinners with dignified guests philosophizing about the future of Mexico. And then there was the courtyard – heavy, lush and green. It was sunny and warm, but with a breeze that never made the the heat feel imposing. If this was my space, there’s no question I would be inspired to create every day. In fact, there’s no reason this COULDN’T be my space.

For the past decade I’ve assigned myself one simple task when I travel – find something I love and let Read the rest

An Eclairy Christmas to all

Somewhere along the line, my Christmas spirit has dwindled. The magic of the season doesn’t hit my twinkle receptors like it once did. But one thing adulthood has taught me is sometimes to make it through the day, you have to fake things so hard that you start to believe them. Oh come on…don’t act like you haven’t done this. This is my current Christmas strategy.

At risk of sounding annoyingly pretentious, one place I felt genuinely Christmasy was in France a few years ago. We celebrated Christmas in Paris, but also spent time in Strasbourg – the Christmas Capital of France. While nearly every European city has a Christmas Market, none do it like Strasbourg, where some version of a market has been held for several hundred years. Quick FYI: a Christmas Market is an expansive outdoor festival of food, lights, hot drinks, music, shopping and togetherness. And sometimes a ferris wheel.

Strasbourg is in the Alsace region of France near the German border. Imagine precious, delicate French things and warm, wooly German things … Read the rest

Habsburg life

When I was about 4 years old, I wanted to marry my cousin Josh. For no other reason than he was nice to me, seemed cute and was one of the few boys I knew. (Sidenote: I just realized I’ve also used these dreadfully minimal standards for some of my adult romantic choices.) If I were part of the Habsburg dynasty, this dream of marrying my cousin would likely have become a reality. Especially if Josh was heir to a parcel of land my family was desperate to acquire. Plus, age 4 was a pretty solid age to get betrothed. I would have been an old maid a few years later.

Vienna dripped with Habsburg opulence. It felt like being in the fine china section of Macy’s. I didn’t want to walk too close to anything in fear of my purse bumping and breaking things. The buildings in the city center stood side by side with their facades looking like the world’s tallest layer cakes. And at night, the twinkly lights and glowing domes made Read the rest

Hermann – Ein wunderschönes Wochenende

I’m forever grateful for my German language education. Not only has it helped me successfully navigate visits to Germany, (including a pre-dawn conversation with a cab driver about where in Berlin my new Swedish friend and I could buy astronaut outfits), but it taught me the underrated art of verb conjugation. Learning languages has become a favorite pastime of mine, mostly because conjugating verbs brings me a level of satisfaction on par with a really big sneeze. You have a formula, some rules to follow and get a correct answer. It’s word math. But a useful math that gets you on the right train and makes you look cool buying eclairs.

Germany has a special place in my heart. Partially because of the years I spent learning the language, but also because it is a country dense with culture, gorgeous landscape and incomparable sausages. When I learned about Hermann, Missouri, I knew it had to be on the top of my to-visit list, and was a no-brainer for my birthday weekend getaway.

Hermann is Read the rest

My new friends – Lewis and Clark

Lewis and Clark were two guys on the adventure of a lifetime. I can’t fathom the audacity it would take to head west for a couple years through unknown waterways and uncharted wilderness to the Pacific. President Jefferson essentially asked them to pioneer what would be the equivalent to a flight to Mars today. Sounds like a lot of work, not to mention, dangerous. I wonder if Meriwether Lewis was secretly like, “Egh, I really don’t want to, but Tommy and I have been friends since we were little, and I don’t want to be a pussy about it.” W
hile I generally knew about these guys, it wasn’t until recently that I dug in and got some details. Let me explain…

In effort to escape the city for a night, Huzzbot and I took a drive to Weston, MO, a town frozen in the late 1800s that charms the crap out of day trippers from throughout the region. Back in the day, it was the booming metropolis of the west, thanks to lush sprawling Read the rest