All posts in Travel

Bora Bora Nui, Bora Bora, French Polynesia

World’s Best Awards (Homebody in Motion Edition)

The gears are turning again.

It’s been several months since I’ve even been on a plane — not since I got too pregnant to fly (after a pretty impressive run of second-trimester babymoons). But hubby and I have had some solid powwows on where our next travels will take us (the planning powwows are some of my favorite parts) (they’re all my favorite parts), with or without twins. And I’m feeling quite inspired.

In that spirit — and in my travel downtime over these weeks with new babies — I’ve been savoring the reruns in my head of some of my most favorite places on earth. And having collected them into a neat little mental box tied with a big, pretty bow, I’d like to present my own personal World’s Best Awards here for you too… like a stack of very loving postcards from so many life-alteringly magical memories. Read more…

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best travel photographers on Instagram

7 Travel Feeds to Follow on Instagram Right Now

Instagram is my special, sacred place on social media. Unlike the cacophony that is my Twitter feed, for instance, my Instagram feed is a highly curated mix of about 150 posters whose every image I want to savor. They are almost entirely individuals, with a only a couple of brands mixed in, and my feed is tightly enough edited that I don’t miss anything. My favorite topics include nail art, vegan food, cats (obviously, hello), Los Angeles lifestyle, events — and most of all travel.

Behold my personal and completely unscientific sampling of some of the best travel photographers on Instagram, and one wanderlust-inspiring brand too: Read more…

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Four Seasons Los Angeles at Beverly Hills

A Luxe Babymoon Staycation (Or Combatting the Summer Pregnancy Symptom Known as FOMO)

I often hear people talk about how awful it was for them, or must be for me, to be heavily pregnant in the summertime. And I generally disagree wholeheartedly—it’s been mostly fine! But there is one majorly uncomfortable issue with being pregnant in these hot months, and it’s not the heat. Here’s the real reason why summertime pregnancy is tough: FOMO.

Given I’m carrying twins—and big ones at that, about six pounds each (!!) at last measure—I outgrew maternity jeans weeks ago, and closed-toed shoes on my swollen dogs sound like torture. So, thanks especially to my wardrobe of flow-y caftans and maxi dresses from the likes of Rachel Pally and T Bags, being pregnant in the summer suits me just fine (notwithstanding that three-week period when our home AC decided to poop out, because: Murphy’s Law).

But there’s this: Summer is my jam. My husband has always said I have a solar battery, and I get totally charged when things heat up. I want to be everywhere, every weekend: somewhere far flung out of town, somewhere fab within driving range, or at the beach or hiking right here in L.A.

Now that I’m close to 36 weeks pregnant and using a motorized cart just to get around Target, aint none of that happening.

My best friends all planned a camping/July 4 party weekend in Northern California, and I gulped with—what was it? Envy? Longing? (Maybe acid reflux.) It would be the first time, pretty much ever, that I’d miss out on a trip like that. I even sort of half considered, “Well, maybe…” and then I’d remembered that these days I cannot actually turn over in bed without David’s help, or make it to the bathroom at night without using multiple pieces of furniture as crutches, or that I could go into labor any day. So even relentlessly, mercilessly festive me had to admit it was time to wave the white flag on that idea.

But! We had a plan. Read more…

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Punalu'u Black Sand Beach Big Island Hawaii

Big Island Babymoon Part Deux: Black Sand, Volcanoes, Waterfalls (and Seriously Spicy Thai)

One of the very best things about travel is seeing something you’ve never seen before. How many times in our adult lives do we really get to do that on a given day? (That’s one reason David and I have a strict no-repeating-country-stamps-in-the-same-passport policy.*)

Still, the lure of a perfect beach is a tough thing for me to resist, and so, if left to my own devices I might never have pulled myself away from the Big Island of Hawaii’s Kona coast, were it not for the hospitality of the Volcano Village Lodge up near Volcanoes National Park, which hosted us for two nights of our last and final (?!) babymoon.

After dragging ourselves away from the Four Seasons Hualalai‘s spectacular pools and beaches, we set off for the drive to the lodge, without knowing much of what we’d find. Although we were told to plan for about three and a half hours, we easily made the drive in under two and a half. (I kind of love how Hawaiians give you estimates based on island time — I feel like in L.A., we’d say instead, in a moment of desperate wishful thinking, “Leave an hour if there’s no traffic,” and then it would take you that long just to execute your first left turn.) Read more…

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Hilton Waikoloa Village Big Island Hawaii

Big Island Babymoon! A Last Hurrah (for Real This Time) and a Glimpse Into our Family-Travel Future

At this point in my pregnancy — just about 26 weeks — I’m getting a lot of, shall we say, feedback, from strangers. Feedback like, “You’re about to pop!” (No, I’m not, but thanks, person who was obviously raised in a barn!) And, “Shouldn’t you be at home knitting booties quietly in your already-set-up nursery plastered in hokey decals, with your hospital bag dutifully packed?” OK, well, not quite in those words, but there seems to be a prevailing sentiment that pregnant ladies are fragile patients who ought to retire to rocking chairs and wait obediently until delivery day.

But if you know me, you know that slowing down doesn’t come naturally — there’s so much fun to be had in the world! Beyond that, we couldn’t even be peacefully nesting in our house while in the midst of a dusty, disruptive remodel anyway. And everyone knows that baby names are best chosen over a mid-air brainstorm, jotted on airplane napkins (so says years of peer-reviewed scientific research). So surely I was in no position to say no to a generous offer from the Hawaii Big Island Visitors Bureau to take one last babymoon (this time, I mean it) on its spectacular shores. Read more…

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Saguaro Palm Springs

“Where Should I Stay in Palm Springs?” I’m Here to Tell You

“Where should I say in Palm Springs?” People ask me that a lot. I like to think this is because I always look so well rested and have such a glowing all-over-even tan. But it’s probably just because I’ve been out to the desert a zillion times, love it, and have stayed just about everywhere. Here’s my quickie guide for where to stay in Palm Springs and why. Read more…

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Hard Rock Hotel Palm Springs pool scene

Babymoon Part Deux: A Hard Rock Hotel Palm Springs Weekend (Including Shameless Bikini Bumpin’!*)

*Bikini baby bump not pictured anywhere here, obvi, hello.

As long as I can waddle, I can try to squeeze in one more babymoon. (I should put that in a pretty script font and circulate it as Instagram wisdom — because you can mark my words, so help me.)

No, but seriously. Our big European adventure was the technical last hurrah before babies — but so were Vietnam, Bali and Belize. So that’s how we do.

The next few trips on the docket are weekenders, including last weekend’s little Palm Springs jaunt. (A quick trip to the desert is something we’d talked about even while freezing our tushies off in Venice and Paris especially.) We stayed at the Hard Rock Hotel Palm Springs, which had just made its debut with an official grand opening party the week before. The Hard Rock replaces (and totally revamps) the former Hotel Zoso on Indian Canyon Drive — walking distance from basically everything. Read more…

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pasteurized cheese paris babymoon

Pregnant in Paris: A Babymoon in the Land of Unpasteurized Cheese

I’ve been a vegetarian for so long (20-plus years!) that I don’t experience any sense of active compromise when I’m quickly scanning menus for the limited dishes I can eat. And certainly when I travel, I don’t necessarily expect to eat that nation’s specialty, and I don’t bemoan it if I can’t. I’m very used to this, and I like to think I’m low maintenance in that regard, though I do actively seek out vegetarian restaurants when I travel if it’s a possibility.

You’d think that a babymoon in Europe (France, Italy, Spain) would be kind of a perfect scenario for a pregnant vegetarian: first-world cleanliness practices, and tons of bread and pasta and cheese as national specialties, available anywhere from street corners to fine dining rooms (especially compared to some of the more far-flung or meat-loving places where we’ve traveled recently, like Indonesia, Istanbul). Easy peasy, right?

Totally wrong, as it turns out. American pregnant women are not advised to eat unpasteurized cheese (or milk, or juice), and it turns out Europeans are not real big on pasteurizing their stuff. Ironic, right? Given that Louis Pasteur‘s birthplace was indeed France. Read more…

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Valentine's Day in Paris

A Very Clichéd Valentine’s Day in Paris (Or Why We’re Never Celebrating Again)

Several years ago, I had the privilege of covering the opening of the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas casino resort. It was a really wildly splashy affair (in the recession, no less) that involved a spectacular black-tie New Year’s Eve dinner designed by Colin Cowie, and a concert in a rather intimate ballroom by such up-and-comers as Jay-Z, Coldplay, Beyonce, Kanye West — you know, no biggie. Of course, the fabulous food and champers flowed, and surprises like poolside concerts and other treats popped up around the property all weekend. After that, David and I decided, “OK, we don’t have to do New Year’s Eve anymore. We can put the whole holiday to bed. We’ll never top this.”

Valentine’s Day in Paris was kinda like that. From the second deck of the Eiffel Tower after sunset, we declared, “It’s a wrap on Valentine’s Day.” Read more…

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Paris Babymoon, Eiffel Tower Winter

International Babymoon Ideas: Where Should We Go for a Safe Last Hurrah?

First of all, just to put it out there: The word “babymoon” is pretty obnox, right? But the concept, of course, is something I can totally get behind.

Obviously, when I found out I was pregnant, there was zero chance we were going to miss heading out for (at least) one last hurrah abroad. Of course, we got the doctor’s OK (he was relievingly unconcerned), and then we tossed around a ton of babymoon ideas.

Where to go? In recent years, our travel has tended to favor remote and third-world places, often accessed by super-long flights from Los Angeles. This time, we had a few specific criteria: Read more…

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