2017: “The New Paris” Year

31 December 2017
The New Paris Smithsonian Magazine

As I think of 2017’s swift end, I think of the disparity between what I observed for the world at large — a tumultuous year punctuated by political strain, instability, destruction, and uncertainty — and what I felt in my own little world. How do we reconcile personal accomplishments and contentment all while feeling distraught at the direction the world is heading? Perhaps enduring the emotional and psychological impact of the grim news cycle can’t be disassociated from the rest of our lives? I don’t have a firm answer to either question but what I do know after the intensity of the last year is that gratitude, support for others and the recognition that beauty can be found in the most unlikely of places, has never been more important. It’s probably why I’ve thrown myself wholly into holiday festivities this year and have allowed my spirits to be lifted by every twinkling light and rendition of Jingle Bells. I’ve also finally had a moment to reflect on the fact that the biggest project of my life was released into the world this year. I feel tremendously proud of “The New Paris” but mostly I feel grateful that so many readers have reached out to me to discuss it. It’s after the eight months since its release that I […]…

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2015: A Year in Review from Paris and beyond

31 December 2015

Looking back at my thoughts on the last day of 2014, it is clear that I am in a much different place now. Emotionally, professionally, even physically. If one year was about challenging my impulses for radical change, 2015 began swiftly with reasoned change and a foray into a lifestyle I didn’t have the confidence or strength to believe I could pursue before. I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned it explicitly, but I’ve been working for advertising agencies in addition to writing about travel, food, and lifestyle for newspapers and magazines. Up until April, I was juggling freelance writing with an almost full-time gig at a large digital agency in Paris that I held since 2011. When the itch for change came knocking (or….itching, as it were), I paid attention and considered what it would mean to heed the call. That’s effectively how I spent holiday time in the states at Christmas last year; my mind filled with the realization that if I didn’t make a move in 2015, my ambitions would remain abstract dreams and nothing more. Pull the plug or let the illusion of comfort in familiarity dictate my future. Pas possible. When family asked how things were […]…

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2014: A Year in Review from France and Beyond

31 December 2014

Two years away from American soil is a long time; long enough to spark a flurry of incongruous feelings when faced with an impending visit – nervous anticipation, excitement and of course the disruptive concern that the people and places I know and love have changed irrevocably, either because I’ve become too detached or because environment truly does alter perception. Fortunately, my homecoming has been delightful, without too many heartbreaking changes and full of down time to indulge in some end-of-the-year woolgathering while lounging in front of the sparkling Christmas tree. I still haven’t figured out how to condense a roller-coaster year into one neatly polished synopsis or conclusion but I can say that I had to white-knuckle my way through it; asking myself uncomfortable life questions along the way all while attempting to pursue my goals and keep the online curtain drawn to the disorder.While the rewards were legion – from co-authoring my first book to contributing to the WSJ – they were punctuated by what I can only call an emotional pummeling. For more than half of 2014, I was convinced that something – an ineffable something – needed radical change. I was listless and pessimistic which only […]…

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Happy New Year from Philly

1 January 2010

Almost every year without fail, something dramatic happens on my vacations in the US. Last year, my mom fell and dislocated her elbow the day after we arrived, requiring us to be her personal servants helpers, running errands, taking the dogs for walks 5 times a day and taking her for follow up doctor’s visits before she needed an operation. In September when I visited, she unexpectedly needed surgery  causing the trip to be more stressful and worrisome than relaxing. Previous years were also just as dramatic. This year, it falls on me. Between a canceled flight and catching a stomach bug for a few days, this trip has been…. well, eventful. BUT we made it here, I’ve spent quality time with my little brother Gavin, seen friends, taken a 2 day trip to DC with my husband and father, and took a much needed social media vacation. Once I’m back in Paris it will be back to work, back to a routine and back to lots of computer time. My eyes have rested and I’ve gone back to reality. No, twitter really isn’t reality although I could write a “I am thankful for Twitter because…” post because it really […]…

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