Photo by Trey Ratcliff

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Greenland: Tours that are Sustainability Focused

Even savvy travelers have misconceptions about Greenland: it's hardly a cultural bastion, it's at the end of the earth, activities revolve solely around the polar ice cab and dog sledding. All untrue! But one of the most remarkable things about Greenland is its wee capital, Nuuk, that brims with contemporary art, design, and architecture. Yet, with soaring mountains within striking distance of Nuuk that sits at the mouth of a picturesque fjord, the capital is oh-so close to numerous nature-based activities. Now, there's a new tour operator in town, Greenland Escape, that offers knowledgeable and fun guides who provide sustainable experiences in Nuuk and far afield for the whole family. This is the article on Greenland Escape that I recently wrote for Forbes.

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Sunday, December 9, 2018

Chattanooga's Art Scene in Photos

Art aficionados who delight in the contemporary will delight in Chattanooga, a city sprinkled with the cool and the creative whether it’s the Sculpture Fields at Montague Park with its three-dozen-some, often avant-garde, pieces; the Hunter Museum of American Art with an extensive array of paintings housed in its glass and steel confection; outdoor murals on myriad facades in downtown; experimental installations along a few of the city's alleyways; or newly-opened hotels that pepper the interior and exterior with some curious works. These are a few discoveries I made on my most recent trip to this vibrant city.

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Saturday, December 8, 2018

Gear Review: Eco-friendly, Packable Dishware for Traveling

Whether you’re planning to picnic along a hiking trail, camp in the wilderness, stay in a hostel that has cooking facilities, or simply bring your lunch to work, easy-to-pack dishware and cutlery is a must. But, imagine my surprise when I was introduced to a stylish, eco-friendly mess kit produced by the Seattle-based company UCO. Their new Bamboo Elements Mess Kit is mostly (90%) natural, made of bamboo fiber plus a little corn starch! The kit includes a lid that doubles as a plate, plus a bowl that, when “locked” together, forms a leak-proof container for carrying along food items. And the shock cord that secures these and the cutlery -- a four-in-one Switch Spork utensil (fork, knife, spoon or extended-length spoon or fork for stirring a pot of stew or spearing a hot dog on the bbq, for example -- doubles as a clothes line, of sorts, so that the just-washed dishware can be hung out to dry. The holes in the cutlery are not for aesthetics; rather, they can be used to clip them to your bag, slip the tether through them and hang them to dry, or cinch them and other utensils together when transporting them. I always love gear that performs well and looks good, too.

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Sunday, December 2, 2018

Gear Review: Tiny Headlamp for Travelers

If you’re not hiking, cycling or Nordic skiing at night, you might think you have no need for a headlamp. But, I often bring along one on my trips that don’t doing involve any of these or other adventurous activities. Whether I’m staying at a rural accommodation or an urban inn, a headlamp comes in handy. Just a few weeks ago, I was staying in Guildford, Connecticut that’s hardly a wilderness retreat. Yet, my inn was a 10-minute walk from the town green, a 10-minute almost completely dark walk at night where the street lamps were mostly nonexistent. I carried my UCO Hundred, a small headlamp that measures barely 2” x 2” x 2” and weighs in at two ounces. The light is ultra bright and has three settings with the high beam producing 100 lumens that was bright enough to light up the sidewalk almost 200 feet ahead of me. This lamp not only allowed me to avoid any sidewalk obstacles but it also made me visible to drivers who crossed my path at intersections.

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Sunday, November 18, 2018

The Small, Enticing Island of Saba in the Caribbean

A mere 15-minute flight from St. Maarten -- and a landing on the world’s shortest commercial running -- brings visitors to the wee isle of Saba, a diver’s and hikers paradise. The  almost 3,000-foot-high Mt. Scenery is, by far, the most popular destination for hikers. Climbing the more than 1,000 steps to the top, hikers will pass through a cloud forest that makes the last section quite slippery. But, on a good day, the views of Saba's villages and the nearby islands are phenomenal.

The island’s most noted artist is Heleen Cornet who camped on Mt. Scenery to sketch her many evocative forest works. Aside from these treasures, it took Cornet two years to paint this dramatic mural in the Sacred Heart Church in The Bottom, the capital of Saba. The scene melds religious with Caribbean themes and even includes the faces of local children as the cherubs.

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Saturday, November 17, 2018

Pop-Up Craft and Art Market Event

Save The Date!!! December 6. In New York City -- starting at 8:30PM.
Handmade goods -- including my new bag collection
and tee-shirts, photographs and plush AngryJ dollies  -- from
seven creative people.
And artisanal chocolates by Rue Claire .

Plus, yummy tacos and tostadas, wine/sake/beer available
from NYC’s prime poke place, Sons of Thunder.

If you're in NYC, I hope you can stop by.
Fun, informal vibe, good food, and big sales on some of my
creations for this event.

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Sunday, November 11, 2018

Another Connecticut Shore Town

My explorations on Connecticut's southern coast continue with another gem of a town: Guilford. (It’s slightly closer to New Haven compared with Madison.) Not only does this town have one of the loveliest town greens around, as well as Connecticut's oldest house (dating from 1639), but there is also a beautiful beach within walking distance of downtown. On my way to the beach, I discovered this short but scenic boardwalk winding through Chittenden Park. At the end of the boardwalk are a couple of benches to enjoy the scenery. Then I continued my wanderings to Jacob's Beach that was completely deserted. All of this was within walking distance of downtown.

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Saturday, November 3, 2018

A Connecticut Coastal Town Not Far From Manhattan

On Connecticut's scenic coast, not far from New Haven, the town of Madison is a true gem. The downtown is walkable and chock full of contemporary works of art, like this sculpture. (Pick up a self-guided brochure at the visitor's center and try to find all the public works of art.) In addition, it’s a short stroll from main street to three public beaches and an easy bike ride to a fourth. Among the must-dos: sipping a glass of wine at Bar Bouchee, a French bistro with a large selection of wines by the glass; browsing the numerous staff recommended titles at R.J. Julia Booksellers, a large independent bookstore; and enjoying a lunch of crab cakes or mac and cheese at the low-key Elizabeth's Cafe.

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Sunday, October 28, 2018

My New Bag Collection

When I design clothes and accessories, I’m all about minimalism and pockets. I don’t believe a bag should reveal itself to everyone who, for example, may be standing next to you on a crowded metro. My bags -- as well as my vest -- revolve around simplicity, practicality and pockets that are hidden. And that includes my new canvas cross-body bag collection. From the outside, this cross-body canvas bag has a minimalist silhouette with a magnetic snap. Flipping it open reveals three zippered compartments that, together, are big enough for most any of your personal items, including sunglasses, cell phone, credit cards — organized in a separate, easy-to-access section with its own snap flap — currency, plane or train tickets, sunscreen, lip balm, travel toothbrush, you name it. There’s a limited quantity of these bags -- they sell for $49.95 and are Made in America -- that are perfect for traveling to far-flung locales or around town.
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