21 Sep 2017, 2:13pm
Hotels & Lodging New York The Adirondacks:
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Surfside in Lake George: A Fun Place of Lodging for All

Surfside on the Lake

View from My Balcony

A Beautiful Day at Surfside

LG View from My Kayak

Like most people, I’ve been having a hard time letting go of summer. Although Colorado’s high peaks were frosted with the first significant snows of the season last week, here in the northeast where I’m currently based, the weather is gorgeous. Really. And the forecast continues to be fabulous for the upcoming week or more. I’m talking low to mid-80s glorious!

With this kind of sunshine, warmth and humidity, you can stick more than your big toe in beautiful Lake George, New York, one of the most heralded bodies of water in the Adirondacks. I did just that last weekend on a little getaway that I enjoyed toute seule (that means all alone, which is just what I very much needed).

My Surfside Suite

I picked Surfside on the Lake because I had heard they recently underwent a multi-million dollar renovation and I knew I wanted to check it out. Plus, I remembered their iconic roadside sign from many many summers spent at Lake George. My curiosity was piqued on all fronts and I was longing to find out what kind of a property stretched all the way down to the lake behind their fun-spirited sign, one eye-catching piece of roadside architecture among many on the busy route that skirts the west side of the lake.

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Top Reasons to Go to Lake George, New York

Lake George, New York: the Queen of American Lakes

Sweet Minne Ha Ha

Stop it! I can’t believe the summer is winding down so fast. It seems like it’s especially unfair this year because in many parts of the country–including the northeast where I’ve been based–the weather has been rather cool and rainy up until this week, which is simply gorgeous! Thankfully there are still even more glorious late summer days ahead–I just know it.

Shepard Beach

View from the South End of the Lake

What was your favorite moment of the summer? One of my best was a weekend spent with an old friend–and a new one–at Lake George, New York. It was a nostalgic trip on many levels because I was returning to a beloved place with Margie, a friend I’ve known since I was a kid. Even better, Margie was also a big part of my childhood/early adult life at this beautiful Adirondack lake.

New and Old Friends: Me, Helena and Margie

Our families both had camps on Cleverdale, on the east side of the lake, and our summers were punctuated with days consumed with bombing around in speed boats and evenings passed trying to get into the Sans Souci, the local bar (We both were way too young, especially me; although in later years, we could hang out there. Then on big nights, we’d drive into Lake George Village for some rip roaring times.) Many a memorable moonlit night was marked by a girl’s sleepover on my family’s boathouse deck and on real wild ones, we’d head out in the rowboat and make a visit to the boy’s sleepover–oh my! more »

Post Election Healing

Museum Going with a Dear Friend

Museum Going with a Dear Friend

Let’s take a collective ten deep breaths. Ommmm. Remember to exhale long and completely. Now try doing that every hour. Yes, that’s ten deep breaths every hour, every day.

Whether consciously or subconsciously, most of us spend every hour of our day trying to manage our stress. We all have so much going on! And yes, one can even feel stressed in a beautiful mountain town surrounded by some of the most awe-inspiring scenery in the world.

Just now, as I began to write this story, the internet at home here was all goofy. RRRRRrrrrrrr. Fortunately, I didn’t let that frustrated feeling set in and I just brushed it off (sort of) and decided to write free form without needing a speedy internet. Lots of letting go here.

I feel the need to address the stress subject with you because so many people have been distraught over the election results. Whether your candidate won or not, everyone has experienced a certain amount of stress over this. (Just think of the Trump supporter attempting to defend his president-elect on social media or at the water cooler. Or, even without saying anything, hearing all the opposition against his or her choice.) It’s hard to move on from it all, especially since the daily news flashes keep bringing bad news to the dems. Ugh.

Try Breathing into this Painting Entitled Friendship by Agnes Martin at the Guggenheim

Try Breathing into this Painting Entitled Friendship by Agnes Martin at the Guggenheim

Just think of the people directly implicated by this. I mean right now. My older brother, Frank Clemente, the driving force behind Americans for Tax Fairness, was to meet with Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren just after the election. Well, you can bet that meeting was cancelled. And now I’d imagine Frank’s work has quadrupled. So discouraging. more »

28 Oct 2015, 4:13pm
Beauty New York:
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J. Sisters: A Top New York Hair Salon with Heart

Hair Experience Extraordinaire at J. Sisters NYC

Hair Experience Extraordinaire at J. Sisters NYC

In the more than two and a half decades I’ve been a travel writer I’ve been fortunate to experience some of the world’s top salons and spas from Paris to London to New York to Beverly Hills to Hong Kong. Just like high-end restaurants, these establishments serve up quality products and services within alluring settings meant to wow people with means. And whether glitzy or subdued, the entertainment factor of these posh places always ranks high, which, of course, makes up part of the whole experience.

I have, however, often found the demeanor of staff at many well-reputed hair salons to be off putting, perhaps because many think it’s cool to embody the pouty, woeful look of fashion models in magazines. I don’t like that at all, which is why I rarely look at such publications any more. Or, sometimes the approach is just plain snobby. Who ever thought that was attractive?

So you can imagine my delight when I discovered a super warm and friendly scene at J. Sisters, a renowned hair salon on W57th Street in New York, owned and operated by Brazilian sisters all with first names beginning with J. (But of course.) Whether you’re in for a splurge or you’re rich, famous or full of yourself, this long-established salon caters to all with the same measure of enthusiasm and attention as is required in transforming a brunette to a blond. (No, I didn’t go for that, but I was tempted and if I do, I will have it done here.)

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23 May 2013, 1:13pm
New York Restaurants Travel:
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Silhouette and Noir: Two Terrific French Restaurants in New York

Succulent Lamb from La Silhouette

Succulent Lamb from La Silhouette

Wherever I go, I like trying the French restaurants of the city or town I’m visiting. After having lived eleven years in Paris and experienced much excellent French dining throughout France, I feel I’m an expert of sorts. Plus, I love French cuisine and the panache that’s typically associated with its presentation.

During a recent trip back east, I put out a query on Facebook for excellent French restaurant recommendations in New York City. Not surprisingly, I received many. Foodie extraordinaire David Rosengarten came back with his:  La Silhouette. I dined here one evening with a dear friend where we enjoyed a sophisticated moment among a tony crowd of New Yorkers.

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13 Nov 2012, 3:09pm
New York Restaurants:
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Milano’s: When a Restaurant Does the Right Thing

Milano’s:  A Perennial Favorite in the Albany/Troy/Schenectady New York area

After posting my list of Restaurant Pet Peeves a couple of weeks ago (and commiserating with many people that wrote to me about their pile of peeves), I’m more than happy to sing the praises of a restaurant that “gets it right.” I love recognizing anybody and any place that goes above and beyond “the norm” to make up for any shortcomings. (No one can be perfect 100% of the time.)

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Dear Money: An Interview with Martha McPhee

Dear Money:  A Great Story of Our Times

Dear Money: A Great Story of Our Times

Oh dear, I need money.  Such is the plight of all writers, unless you’re independently wealthy or you’re among the few to achieve John Grisham-like success.  There isn’t a writer on this earth—published or nonpublished—that couldn’t identify with the struggles of India Palmer, the main character and narrator in Martha McPhee‘s recently-released novel, “Dear Money.”  And I’m one of them!

In this beautifully crafted fourth novel, Martha reveals the travails of India from the angst over paying bills, to the challenges of “keeping up with the Jones,” to the long hours a dedicated writer must log at her desk (sunny days and all) and much more.  Clearly Martha, a highly-acclaimed writer that happens to live in New York city like her protagonist, has drawn from personal experience to spin this exciting tale of a cash-strapped writer that’s tempted by the allure of a more high rolling life in the Big Apple.  India ends up doing the unthinkable:  She trades her artist’s life to become a bond trader.  Funnily enough the idea behind the novel comes from a real-life offer.  A legendary bond trader did claim that he could transform Martha into a booming Wall Street success in eighteen months; fortunately for us she declined and wrote “Dear Money” instead.  It’s not surprising to learn from the intricately-detailed passages written about the highly competitive and adrenaline-charged life among New York’s financiers that Martha shadowed a bond trader to learn the ins and outs of mortgage-backed securities during the height of its rise.  I found the contrasts between the writer’s life and the financier’s life to be one of the most compelling parts of this book.

Sweet Martha

Sweet Martha

You may be wondering why I’ve taken such an interest in Martha and her work.  As usual, serendipity played a hand in our connecting with each other.  I actually skied with her, her family and some friends of hers last March in Telluride. We both shared that we were writers but little else about our work was discussed. Since it was the height of the busy season, I didn’t find a moment to Google her.  I feel as though I really came to know Martha after she sent me “Dear Money” later on in the spring, especially because it’s a book that has resonated so much with my writer’s life (sans the bond trader dimension, of course).  Now perhaps the next time we ride the chairlift together we’ll shed our squirrel-y shyness about our work (seemingly a classic character trait of writers) and get down to some real exchanges about the creative process.

It looks as though that just might happen since plans are in the works for Martha to give a presentation at the Wilkinson Public Library in Telluride next March.  I’m vying for that program to include a writer’s workshop, too!

If you’re a writer, you must listen to the Travel Fun interview I conducted with Martha earlier this summer. Avid readers will love it as well.  And how’s that pile of summer reading doing at your bedside?  I bet it has dwindled but if you’re like me, you feel like you’re just warming up. Keep adding to the stack and continue that summer reading mode all year long.  I provide some great reading suggestions at the end of this interview that will steer you toward more excellent book picks, both fiction and nonfiction.

Click on the play button below to listen to my interview with Martha.

20 Apr 2010, 12:38pm
Beauty Fashion & Style French Life New York Paris Podcasts Telluride Travel:
Comments Off on Talking Travel and Style with Kate Betts

Talking Travel and Style with Kate Betts

Kate BettsKate Betts

Travel and style go together like form and functionality.  I had fun chatting about both and much more recently during a Travel Fun interview with Kate Betts, fashion and style editor extraordinare.  Kate has worked as the driving force at illustrious publications including Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar.  She has also written about fashion and style for the New York Times and is currently contributing editor at TIME Magazine. Kate and I met many, many years ago in Paris when she was an intern at the International Herald Tribune and I was operating Chic Promenade, a shopping service I had created in France. We share many interests, mutual French friends and a passion for France (although we do love to chuckle together about some of our pet peeves about la mentalité française!)

I was happy to snatch her for an interview during her March trip to Telluride.  Click on the play button below to hear what Kate has to say about style and travel.  As Kate says, “It matters what you look like, how you feel about yourself, how you present yourself.”  She provides beauty and packing tips that she uses on all her travels whether she’s off to the fashion shows in Milan or heading out to the Rockies for a ski vacation. I loved what she shared about visualization and I’ve already picked up her favorite all-purpose moisturizing cream that’s her special secret.

Listen to what she has to say about fashion editors.  I had to ask her if they’re all hung up on what they wear!  You’ll enjoy hearing her response along with her explanation about the difference between fashion and style.  People obsessed with fashion follow the crowd whereas style setters follow their own beat.

Kate’s latest project has been the researching and writing of a book about Michelle Obama, entitled “Everyday Icon:  Michelle Obama and The Power of Style.” “The way she has used style to set the tone has been very powerful for women,” Kate says.  “Her voice has been her style.  She is the quintessential American woman.”  I felt lucky to get the scoop on all this since mine was the first interview Kate conducted about the book, to be published February 2011 by Clarkson Potter.  In our chat, Kate also talks about her impressions of our first lady and her charismatic husband.

Throughout our conversation, Kate refers many times to the French, especially in terms of their sense of style.  “Style is something you have within you,” Kate says. I guess that’s why I often say that French women are born with the knowledge of how to tie a scarf.  They know how to properly apply their make up as well, being careful never to over do it, just like in Telluride.  Kate and I commented that we rarely do ourselves up in T-ride but we both smiled about having touched ourselves up a bit for our radio interview.  As Kate says, it does matter how you look, how you feel about yourself and how you present yourself, no matter where you are, right?

Click on the play button to hear lots more good stuff from Kate.

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