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FEBRUARY 24, 2007
Telluride!

It's been 10 long years but I'm heading back to Telluride for a week-long ski excursion. I haven't been on the slopes since my last trip so things should be interesting. I am planning on taking both ski and snowboard lessons -- so watch out!

Hopefully I'll be able to post while out there, but it might be sporadic.

                               Telluride

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FEBRUARY 14, 2007
Another Reason to Love NYC

Nyccondom

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JANUARY 21, 2007
The Waverly Inn & Garden

WaverlyA few years ago, my friends lived on Bank Street between 4th and Waverly in Greenwich Village. I loved visiting because they had a great apartment in a perfect location and I had my own room and bathroom, which is generally unheard of when staying with friends in Manhattan. Upon my first visit to this spot back in late 2002, my friends took me to a quaint little place, Ye Waverly Inn, one-half block up on the corner of Bank and Waverly. This spot, which we called Ye Olde Waverly Inn (the addition of the "Olde" just seemed appropriate), was rustic, charming, genuine and hearkened back to the Village's more Colonial era (ok, maybe more Civil War, but it definitely has a historic feeling). The building itself is a brownstone from 1844 and the restaurant/inn dates back to the 1920s.

About 1.5 years ago, Vanity Fair editor-in-chief Graydon Carter bought the property with some others and it has caused quite a stir among the glitterati of New York. The space has unofficially been open for a couple of months, but to get in you either have to know the chef's cell phone or get through to Sir Carter at his office - not necessarily an easy task unless you're well connected. A fair number of locals have cozied up to the staff and therefore get in as well. Last week, while in New York, I had to kill time between an appointment and meeting friends for dinner in Chelsea at Trestle (which was amazing, btw) and started wandering downtown. As I walked down 7th Ave and turned on to Greenwich, I realized where I was and said, "ah, I'll check out the Waverly."

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JANUARY 10, 2007
Poetic Justice: Former SF Army Base Becoming Zen Spa Retreat

Baker For more than 100 years, Fort Baker has sat in the shadow of the Golden Gate Bridge. The former Army fort, which was built to protect the Bay Area, especially the bridge, sits at the south end of pristine Sausalito, just at the bottom of the winding, meandering hill that descends from the north entrance to the bridge (anyone who has ever ridden a bike down the sloping hill has careened by this swath of land). It has sat unused for years and now Fort Baker, with its sweeping views of the Bay and Pacific Ocean, Alcatraz and Angel Islands and the north end of the City, is being transformed into Cavallo Point -- The Lodge at Golden Gate. The $117.9 million-dollar, first-class, upscale renovation is set to open to the public in April 2008 and will include a spa, world-class dining, the Healing Arts Center, herb atrium, historic bowling alley, wine and olive oil center -- and access to 75,000 acres of hiking trails and beaches, woods and other natural wonders only found in SF. The property will include a 15,000 sq ft main lodge, currently undergoing a massive refurb, and 142 lodging units, half of which are being restored to their original splendor, with the other half new, eco-friendly green housing. This will no doubt be one of the most sought after destinations in the Bay Area, close enough to the city with easy access to offerings in Napa, Sonoma and Marin counties.

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DECEMBER 03, 2006
iPod Hookups on Airplanes

This news is a couple of weeks old and I'm not really sure how I missed it. But thankfully my pal David, who has a great personal travel blog called Upright & Stowed, did catch it. According to the New York Times:

Airline passengers will soon be able to connect their iPods to in-flight entertainment systems and watch their favorite videos while traveling on any of six major carriers, the iPod maker Apple Computer said yesterday.  Air France, Continental Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Emirates, KLM and the United Airlines unit of the UAL Corporation will begin offering passengers iPod seat connections, which power and charge iPods during flight and allow video on the devices to be viewed on seat-back displays.  The service will begin in the middle of next year. Other terms of the deals were not disclosed.  Apple said it was working on introducing the iPod service on other airlines.

This is great news for anyone who has ever stressed out about having enough iPod juice to get them to their destination. Ok, it's great news for me because I always stress that I won't have enough iPod juice to get me to my destination.

Somehow, the world seems a much better place right now.

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NOVEMBER 19, 2006
Start London

Start2_1 Start is not one but two of the hippest clothing stores in London. Holding two storefronts down the street from each other in the city's trendy Hoxton enclave, Start carries an eclectic mix of styles for both men and women. Being more interested in the men's options, I popped into 59 Rivington Street (the original space) and found an amazing collection of designers from England, the Continent and abroad. The shop is owned by Philip Start (founder of menswear chain Woodhouse) and Brix Smith (former guitarist for the Fall in the '80s). Their backgrounds in fashion and music seamlessly intersected with the burgeoning artist, design and rocker cliques of Hoxton to create this little fashion haven.

Set on two floors, the shop itself is easy to navigate and aesthetically appealing, with exposed brick, a mix of patterns on the wall, dark wood displays and even a neon sculpture. For men lookingStart1 for anything and everything, from accessories and shoes to suits, topcoats and hats, Start has it. It features wares from Miu Miu, Rykiel Homme, Comme des Garcon, PRPS, U-Boat watches, Mario Mateo, Tretorn sneakers, Nicolo Ceschi Berrini sweaters (so yummy!), REN Skincare -- not to mention the bespoke suit option and extensive denim selection. Start is a veritable men's department store whose presence only ups the cool factor in this uber-hot area. This could be London's answer to Barneys CO-OP -- at least until it crosses the pond. 

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NOVEMBER 10, 2006
myhotel Bloomsbury

Myhotel_front One of the things I enjoyed most about staying at myhotel was the 4 am wake-up call on the day we departed London. I know this sounds a little masochistic, but it wasn't the fact that the phone rang, rather that an actual soothing voice on the other end beckoned me from sleep. This simple gesture epitomizes why myhotel could be one of the top-rated boutique hotels in the world.

Aside from the minimalist touches and the vintage charm mixed with modern enhancements, myhotel embodies personalization. Before you even arrive, you're sent a questionnaire seeking your preferences -- still vs sparking water; the need for ear plugs or a sleeping mask; feather vs hypoallergenic pillows; wish for chocolate or a bottle of red wine in your room upon arrival. Even music is taken into account. Whether you're a jazz, pop or House fan, that music will be playing in your room when you step into it for the first time. Meticulous design is noted throught the building; its east meets west theme is felt throughout from quiet sanctuaries to the art and photography.

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NOVEMBER 09, 2006
Paul Smith No. 9 Albemarle Street

Paulsmith

Paul Smith is one of my favorite designers. So when I was walking through the London neighborhood of Mayfair (just steps away from posh shopping district Bond Street) and saw his unmistakable signature gracing the sign of a furniture shop, I had to dive in. The shop is classic -- selling art, antiques, furniture and other "curiosities" Smith has found during his global travels. Many of the pieces are originals -- and some have even spent time in other Paul Smith shops around the world -- while others have been retouched or recovered with a splash of PS flair, color and whimsy. This weekend marks the year anniversary of the shop's opening. Wish I could be there to help celebrate.

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OCTOBER 27, 2006
Restaurant Review: Villandry (London)

Villandry One of the things I loved about living in San Francisco was the number of restaurants that used an abundance of fresh products (vegetables, grains, meats, fish) from local merchants and farmers. There's nothing better than going out to dinner and wishing you could've prepared this meal yourself, working hard all day and combining the most flavorful ingredients to create a spectacular menu. So when I went to Villandry, which was nearing the end of a complete rehab, I was completely bowled over about how much it reminded me of eating in the Bay Area.

The foodstore/restaurant/bar is located in Central London, in the Fitzrovia district just off Tottenham Court Road not far from Bloomsbury and Soho. After its conception 17 years ago (and moving to its current location on Great Portland Street in 1997), Villandry's makeover appears to be doing this bistro some good. 

Walking in, we had to dodge workers painting the gourmet foodstore upfront to make it through to the restaurant. The space itself was beautiful and earthy, with both blond and dark wood set against muted greys and natural hues, giving an overall warm autumnal feeling.

But it was really the food -- and phenomenal service -- that was noteworthy. The menu, which changes monthly, takes its cue from a French brasserie featuring gratin of macaroni cheese, moules mariniere and cassoulet with just the slightest English influence.

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OCTOBER 23, 2006
Murdock London

Murdock1 Murdock is a modern-day men's barber (that leans toward being an apothecary) about a stone's throw from Hoxton Square in the Shoreditch area of London. Brendan Murdock opened the place earlier this year to attract a discerning man who wants a shave and haircut in a comfortable, relaxed setting.  The shop features a variety of services, including a traditional wet shave, moustache or beard trim and even manicures. Murdock isn't the only grooming salon in the area, but it is the sole proprietorship to cater exclusively to a male market. In addition to the services, the shop stocks an array of somewhat hard-to-find products in London, including Jack Black, (Malin + Goetz), D R Harris, Caron (a French perfume house that was the first inMurdock2 the world to create a scent just for men), Hierbas de Ibiza, Korres, Marvis toothpaste -- even KY Jelly and Trojans (which, surprisingly, has completely different branding than the States). Going a step further to accommodate the busy man, Murdock also features leather goods -- bags, belts -- as well as cufflinks and books -- just to add a touch of kitsch.

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