Monday, November 30, 2009

Seasons Greetings from LA

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I just got back to New York after a lovely week in Los Angeles enjoying the sunshine and Thanksgiving festivities. It was a wonderful week with the whole family and really fun to watch my 15-year-old Bichon Frise, BJ, try to cope with Rheana, my sister's 2-year-old Puggle who visited LA for her first time. Some cute pictures will come in the next few days. Even though I was only in LA for a short time it reminded me how much I love Los Angeles, and I decided to come home a week early in December to spend some time exploring my old home. Then I'm off to Puerto Vallarta so expect some tropical pictures and fun reviews to come your way.

My favorite part of Thanksgiving being over is now its time to start celebrating the holidays! Christmas and Hannukah will start to flood the streets and make its way into our lives! I always wait till now to break out my awesome christmakkah music mix and now it will be playing on my ipod 24/7 so expect pictures in the next few weeks to be infused with their merry spirit!

I posted a photo of Manhattan Beach a few days ago where I spent my Thanksgiving on a lovely walk with the family. I highly recommend this walk to anyone who wants to be by the beach, but not walk on it (no sand in shoes!) and likes to look at gorgeous houses and really beautiful flowers! Enjoy some pics below!

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Friday, November 27, 2009

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Los Angeles Zoo, Griffith Park

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As part of my ongoing series Animals in Captivity I try to make it to as many zoos as I can.  Whenever I head to a new city the zoo is one of the first places I would like to go.  I go to the zoo all the time in New York, as a member of the Central Park Zoo I try to stop by at least once a month.  However I had not been to the Los Angeles Zoo in 4 years- since the day I got my D2X as a graduation present from high school.  I'm back in Los Angeles this week and thought I would head over to check it out. 

It's just as fun as I remembered and I highly recommend it for a fun excursion in LA, you can make a day out of it and go on a hike in Griffith Park and see some animals in the wild like coyotes and hawks.  As always some of my tips and tricks:

  • Wear bug repellent it gets buggy!
  • Go early in the morning the sun is best for taking pictures and the animals will be active and hungry.
  • Even though the zoo closes at 5pm all the large animals go in to their enclosures for the night at 4pm so you'll want to plan to leave around 4 as there is nothing left to see.
  • Wear comfortable shoes and bring a jacket!  There is a lot of walking to be done and it gets cold later in the day during winter!
  • Ask the zoo keepers questions, they are there to help and know a ton of information and can really enhance the zoo experience by giving you a little education about the animals.
  • Check the website ahead of time for any special events like seasonal extravaganzas for Christmas and for feeding times for the animals.

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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Paris Weekend Tripping

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With Thanksgiving just over a week away I am reminiscing about last year's celebration. One of the highlights of living in Europe is having all of Europe at your finger tips for weekend trips. It's really easy to jump on the eurail or chunnel to hit up Amsterdam, London, Brussels, or Berlin- but some of my favorite trips are within France itself. There's so much to explore- Bretagne, Provence, the Loire Valley, and Champagne- where I spent last Thanksgiving. It's a really easy drive from Paris and there is so much to see and do! Paris is so beautiful this time of the year, but its still fun to take weekend trips! Don't forget to bring some warm clothes, it gets cold there this time of year and you will want to be walking around outside a lot because the small towns are so beautiful!

The largest city in Champagne is Reims, which is a beautiful city with lots of history. It is the site of the beautiful Reims Cathedral with stained glass windows designed by Chagall, and the traditional site of the crowning of French Kings. The city is amazing this time of the year and sets up an adorable Christmas market where one can buy hand made gifts, cidre chaud and marrons glaces.

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I would suggest staying a little outside of the city at one of the amazing Chateaux in the area. There is nothing like staying in a chateau built next to a castle to literally make you feel like royalty.  I would suggest the Chateau de Fere.  It is absolutely amazing, an amazing opulent Chateau built next to the ruins of a castle in 1209 by the grandson of King Louis VI. The rooms are beautiful with comfy beds, plush couches, and nice big bathtubs to take hot bubble baths in, because it gets cold out in November!  There's also a great restaurant on site where you can have dinner, because those country roads get dark and you may not want to leave the comforts of the chateau at night.  I do however urge you to explore the chateau's grounds at night, they light up the castle and a beautiful marble fountain.

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In Champagne you can arrange tours of each Champagne house. We chose to tour Mumm and Moet & Chandon (which includes Dom Perignon.) I wouldn't suggest doing more than two as they get a bit boring- watching the generic video of how one makes Champagne, but it is really interesting to see all the bottles and where the magic happens. The Moet & Chandon housed miles of tunnels underground of bottles, they wouldn't tell us the exact number of bottles, but they said it was more than the population of France and less than America. The best part of the tour is the tastings- which I highly recommend!

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Drink up and enjoy your weekend!
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My parents with their tasters at Moet & Chandon

Monday, November 16, 2009

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Monday, November 9, 2009

Bengal Cat on a Walk in Central Park

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and now enjoy these adorable Bengal Kittens as they watch a feather duster on youtube...

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Central Park Autumn

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There is something amazing- almost religious- about the transition of Fall to Winter.  The trees one day magically burst into bright fiery reds, yellows and oranges.  Then as soon as it came the leaves fall from the trees leaving the barren winter branches.  I love that quick burst of colors, but it saddens me because like all truly wonderful things I know it will end soon and bring with it months of cold dreary weather.  However today was one of those perfect New York days where the weather is beautiful and the city just glows.

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