Roadtripping New Mexico

May 18th 2017


When: May 2015
With: Mike, my best guy friend
For: 5 days
Budget: $$

Night 1: Albuquerque. “Welcome to the land of enchantment,” said the guy at the Avis counter, handing over the keys to a white Mustang. “We locals call it the land of entrapment — once people come they never leave.” It’s midnight and my best friend Mike and I just landed at Albuquerque International Sunport, which we very much cannot wait to leave.

We drove our newly rented ‘stang directly to Frontier Restaurant, a no-frills diner, which came highly recommended via a Twitter crowdsource. The vibe was not fabulous but the food was (think: enchiladas, burritos, green-chile stew, etc.).

Albuquerque at night is creepy and no place more so than the motel I had booked, Sandia Peak Inn. I was going for cute and kitschy (it had really good Trip Advisor reviews!) but it was slightly terrifying (albeit clean).

Day 1: Albuquerque to Galisteo. Early morning we made our way to the “Turquoise Trail” aka scenic Highway 14 (take this instead of dreary I-25); met Lorraine, a friend of a friend’s shaman. Did I mention that we were in New Mexico on a pilgrimage to take ayahuasca?

*more to come on this experience soon*

Day 2: Galisteo to Taos. Post ayahuasca, we blast New Mexico’s best radio station, 104.1 (highly recommend) and continue towards Taos with a stop at Ten Thousand Waves. The spa has multiple pools, baths, spa treatments and even a meditation room. Everything was lovely (except for the Yuzu bath salts I bought at the gift shop, which gave me a rash).

From there, drove on to Taos. Observed beautiful scenery like the Rio Grande, fields of wildflowers and many a Sonic Drive-In (tator tots, por favor).

Have dinner at El Meze where all the chairs on the patio face the mountains movie theatre-style for serious sunset watching (order Tamales de Cardenas, you’re welcome).

A word on our hotel: We planned to continue our spiritual journey at a rental home in the Earthship Biotecture buuuuut we do not actually sleep there because it is hand to g-d, the scariest place I’ve ever been. It’s in the middle of nowhere (the houses are miles apart from one another) and entirely self-sustainable which is code for noisy and creepy af. Once it got dark, we hightailed it out of there so fast that Mike left without his wallet and I refused to go back with him to get it.

We drove straight to Hacienda del Sol Inn, a super cute B&B and while it’s hard to be objective when comparing to the dread of the Earthship, this place was adorable.

Note: In the light of day a visit to the Earthship Biotecture (and its visitor’s center) is worth it for some cool photo opportunities…and to learn about sustainable living.

Day 3: Taos. Spent the day at Taos Pueblo. You can tour parts of the Native American reservation/UNESCO World Heritage Site, eat lunch at the family-run restaurants (find the blue corn tortilla soup with ground turkey at the eatery across from the San Geronimo Chapel), and buy handicrafts from the local artisans. I came home with a lifetime supply of sage. Find Robert Mirabal’s shop, I love him.

We drove that late afternoon to Santa Fe and checked in to El Farolito, another cute B&B. Bonus points for the authentic adobe architecture and 1850s vintage-style New Mexican beds.

Day 4: Santa Fe. Quickly checked out the Loretto Chapel, which is famous for its “miraculous staircase” then explored (and shopped) the main plaza for turquoise jewelry and desert landscape art. Loved The Chile Shop for awesome New Mexico cookbooks and specialty condiments. Tried Frito pie (per Anthony Bourdain’s kinda sorta recommendation) at the back of the Five and Dime General Store and obsessed over Georgia O’Keeffe at her namesake museum. [Didn’t make it to Meow Wolf but wish I had].

Cafe Pasqual’s is the dinner reservation to get in town followed by Vanessie’s Lounge, a piano bar.

Day 5: Santa Fe to Albuquerque to Home. Spent the morning at Santa Fe’s “Museum Hill,” which consists of the Museum of Spanish Colonial Art, the Museum of International Folk Art, the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture, the Santa Fe Botanical Gardens, and my personal obsession, the Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian. I took so long in there that Mike left for coffee and a snack (he highly recommends the Museum Hill Cafe) and came back to find me still wandering the contemporary exhibits, transfixed by everything from modern Native American art (David Bradley is brilliant) to reproductions of trading posts and teepees. Make sure to exit through the gift shop; it’s filled with Native American jewelry, clothing, and an extensive bookstore where I bought The Lakota Way: Stories and Lessons for Living and Short.

Our final stop was Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument. We buy “Indian tacos” from the vendors at the base and hike to the top where we take a million photos of the fascinating rock formations. Quick Rorschach test: what do they look like to you?

Fly home in love with New Mexico – new favorite place in the US!

Honeymoon 2: Croatia + Montenegro

August 25th 2016

When I found out I was pregnant two and a half months before my wedding I happily accepted not drinking, not feeling well and probably not fitting into my Carolina Herrera dress. But I cried when it came to canceling our three week honeymoon to Africa. The one I had spent months planning…and for which we had just put down a huge deposit. Cried so hard that my then-fiancé probably reconsidered marrying me.

Fast forward: We decided to go on a cute little road trip immediately following our May wedding. And we planned a European honeymoon trip for July. Here, all the details on the latter:


When: July, 2016
With: My husband
For: 11 days
Budget: $$$$$

Day 1: Fly into Split. Not my favorite place in the world. We stayed at the Park Hotel Split which was a giant ashtray disguised as a 5 star hotel, with a vile buffet breakfast. Bad, bad start.  Our travel agency sent us to a restaurant that had about 600 seats and 4 customers. Soo we left and went to Perivoj which was a short walking distance AND the number 1 restaurant at the time, according to my TripAdvisor app. The courtyard seating was beautiful, the food was fine.

Day 2: Split to Hvar. We wanted to be cheap so we took the public ferry with all of our luggage. It was fine but crowded and long (closer to 2 hours than 1, despite what people like travel agents will tell you). I slept the entire way while Sam wished we had taken the private boat option. Our hotel in Hvar was the Adriana Spa Hotel. Loved it even if it was a little cheesy. Think: electric colors and a cruise ship-decor vibe. We had an amazing view over the bay. The concierge was fantastic.

Day 3: The highlight of Hvar were the Pakleni Islands, a short boat ride away. Definitely go. The ride itself was beautiful: dolphins jumping up out of the water, etc. The Beach club we found, Laganini, felt very much like our favorite parts of Greece. Get the beds by the water and lounge. Eat lunch at Zori next door – fresh fish and salads. We also went for burgers one night at 50, who knows why but they were really good. We ate them sitting outside in a cute little alley. And we went to Hula Hula for sunset which was a giant frat party and we were the oldest people by a decade and it still may have been fun except I was pregnant.

Day 4: Hvar (see above)

Day 5: Hvar to Ston to Dubrovnik. Do not do this via car. Take a boat. We drove and it was 6 hours of winding roads. I was almost one of those women who gets murdered on their honeymoon by her husband. We also had to wait for the ferry for two hours in some random port town. Eep. However, our lunch en route in Ston at Kapetanova Kuća (aka Captains’ House) was delicious. The oysters were almost good enough to make us forget about our terrible drive (me more than Sam).

Day 6: Dubrovnik. Stay at Villa Dubrovnik. It’s so pretty even though the bottom rooms have a weird smell (we complained and got upgraded to an enormous suite). The lounge chair area on the rocks of the Adriatic Sea is a highlight. The hotel breakfast was delicious (fresh yogurt with honey yum) and the dinner menu has a section of traditional dishes that are fun to try (there’s some meat pasta thing like a Croatian bolognese. It’s yum). Explore the walls and the old city, very Game of Thrones and also very touristy. We ate pizza twice here in the town because the restaurants were underwhelming. The best dinner we had in Dubrovnik was a fifteen minute drive in the mountains at Konoba Dubrova. GO and have your hotel preorder you the traditional lamb roast. Also – weird and random but awesome – we spent a few hours exploring this creepy, bombed out hotel right outside of town called The Belvedere. You’ll recognize parts of it from GOT. Read up about it on your way, the history is fascinating and it’s an important reminder of the region’s war torn past.

Day 7: Tour of the Peljesac Peninsula via boat. This was a great day. We snorkeled. Went to secluded spots and swam. Explored Sipan and Kobas, tiny little islands with churches. Lunch at Gastro Mare, which you can only get to via boat, was beyond a highlight. Fresh caught everything, amazing wine. Sam asked multiple times why we didn’t do the whole trip on a boat.

Day 8: Dubrovnik to Montenegro.  We drove from Dubrovnik to Montenegro. Story of our honeymoon. This one was long too but cool because we stopped in Perast and explored the little island church and went to Kotor which we loved. Like a more charming, original Dubrovnik. We also did the Moric family olive oil experience. I thought it was cute; “hard pass,” says Sam.

Day 9: Aman Sveti Stefan. Heavenly. It’s an old little fishing village on an island that they transformed into a luxury hotel. UNESCO protected. We stayed in a deluxe cottage and just relaxed for 3 days at all of the beaches (there’s 3 of them) and all the pools (there’s also 3 of them). The casual little restaurant serves something called Pastrovic pasta that is insanely delicious. The fancier restaurant is good with amazing regional wine. The Queen’s beach is the most gorgeous secluded little beach cove. Loved.

Day 10: See above

Day 11: See above

REGRETS: Not seeing Pliitvice Lakes (travel agent said it’s too hot and crowded and filled with “gobs of tour buses”). “Not doing a boat the whole time,” says Sam.


September 4th 2015



Check out this profile of me in The Atlantic by the amazingly talented Ruth Margalit. (She also coincidentally has a new feature out in The New Yorker, An Exile in the Corn Belt, that I loved reading.)

If you’re new to my site, here’s where it all started. I’m linking to my Tumblr for now so it’s easier to read chronologically, but follow along on this blog – and my social media – for more up to date posts, which I swear there will be soon!

The Perfect 7-Day Itinerary in Melbourne

August 27th 2015


It’s a destination that rivals New York in terms of its culinary scene, New Orleans with its architectural charm, and L.A. for epic coastal views. Not to mention its distinction of being the world’s most livable city four years in a row. If you’re headed down under, Melbourne is an ideal starting point for a trip up the Australian coast, or the perfect place to spend a week. Here’s the perfect seven-day itinerary.

Find it in my article for Yahoo, here.

Super Soul Sunday: Stallion Story

January 19th 2014

An old farmer lives on his farm with his teenage son. He also has a beautiful stallion that he lovingly cares for. The farmer enters his stallion into the annual county fair competition. His stallion wins first prize. The farmer’s neighbors gather to congratulate him on this great win. He calmly says, “Who knows what is good and who knows what is bad?”

Puzzled by this reaction, the neighbors go away. The next week, some thieves who heard about the stallion’s increased value steal the horse. When the neighbors come to commiserate with the farmer they find him again very calm and gathered. He says, “Who knows what is good and who knows what is bad?”

Several days later, the spirited stallion escapes from the thieves and finds his way back to the farm bringing with him a few wild mares he has befriended along the way. To his neighbors’ excited rounds of congratulations, the farmer once again says, “Who knows what is good and who knows what is bad?”

A few weeks later, the farmer’s son is thrown off one of these new mares as he is trying to break it in, and his leg is fractured. As the neighbors gather to commiserate with the old farmer, he one again reminds them, “Who knows what is good and what is bad?”

The following week, the imperial army marches through the village, conscripting all eligible young men for the war that has just broken out. The old farmer’s son is spared due to his fractured leg. The neighbors no longer bother to come to the old farmer to congratulate him. By now they know what his response will be…

Source: Positive Intelligence by Shirzad Chamine

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