Parisian Doors

Paris may be known for delectable macarons and amazing museums, but I can never get enough of the gorgeous doors that line the city streets.

Here are a few of my favorites from our recent visit. The first two were just down the block from our hotel on the Boulevard de La Tour-Maubourg. It took us 10 minutes just to walk down to the adorable corner cafe for our morning coffee and croissant, since I kept stopping to snap pictures.

Here are a couple of addresses I specifically sought out - and Scott sweetly indulged my desire to do photo sessions in front of them.

74 Rue du Cardinal Lemoine - a third floor flat at this Latin Quarter address was the first Paris home of Ernest Hemingway and his wife Hadley.

Finally, 81 Rue de l'Université, which was the first Parisian address for Julia Child and her husband Paul. You can read more about our Parisian cooking adventures here, and a bit more about my fascination with Madame Child.

What are some of the out-of-the-ordinary sights you seek out when traveling?

Diana's Dresses

I have been an Anglophile since the Royal Wedding. Not Kate and William - the other one. So when Scott and I first visited London together a few years back, he was very patient as I slowly strolled through an exhibit of Diana's dresses at Kensington Palace.

London is calling me again this year, with this new exhibition of Diana's dresses that marks the 20th anniversary of her August 1997 death. However, since we just visited London again last fall, and will be nowhere in the neighborhood of Kensington Palace this summer, I am enjoying scrolling through photos from the exhibition from the Daily Mail, and on the Palace web site.

In middle school, I thought so many of these dresses were quite stylish. I suppose they were at the time, but in hindsight, some of the early ones (like that billowing wedding dress) aren't really my cup of tea. A few - like the shift dress above left or the one below in which she famously danced with John Travolta at the White House - are a little more timeless than some of the other frothy frocks.

You can check out most of the dresses on display here. What are your favorites?


* Photos from The Daily Mail.

The Journalists' Church

During our visit to London last fall, we downloaded a Rick Steves podcast walking tour that explored the nooks and crannies of The City - the old square mile that houses many of the London's oldest and most historic sites.

While I loved seeing well-known sites like St. Paul's Cathedral, one of my favorite spots was St. Bride's church - a beautiful Christopher Wren church with a "wedding cake" steeple that is hidden in a courtyard off of Fleet Street.

Known as "The Journalists' Church" - because of its proximity to Fleet Street, which for decades was the home of British tabloids and other media - the church offers a spiritual home to those who inform us, sometimes risking their lives to do so.

Such a refreshing thing- especially at a time when journalists are under attack - both literally and figuratively - from so many directions.


Most pews and seats are sponsored by news outlets and journalists - or are memorials to those who lost their lives in the line of duty.


Memorials and plaques like this throughout the church are somber reminders of the dangers journalists to face every day throughout the world.


A pianist was rehearsing for a lunch hour concert during our visit. I look forward to going back and attending a worship service next time we are in London.

What are some of your favorite "hidden" spots you have discovered in your travels?

Our (Second) Shot at "Hamilton"

We looove it when family ventures up to New York City to see us - especially during the dead of winter, when there is a decent chance you will be treated to one of our surprise snowstorms or President's Day blizzards - or land in the middle of a polar vortex.

But the sun came out - all weekend - and the weather got downright warm in the 50s and 60s for our visit from Scott's brother and sister-in-law. We invited up them since we had two extra tickets to (wait for it...) "Hamilton" on Friday night, and they decided to make a weekend of it.

They arrived early Friday morning, giving me an excuse to make a ham, mushroom and soufflé for breakfast. After fueling up on soufflé and hot coffee - plus croissants and brioche from our nearby Maison Kayser - we jumped on the M3 bus and headed uptown to the Hamilton Grange, a National Park Service site and museum that includes the only house that Alexander Hamilton ever owned. Not surprisingly, with the popularity of all-things-Hamilton over the last two years, the number of visitors to this place has increased.

We saw - and loved - "Hamilton" when it opened in 2015. I have been pre-gaming a bit in recent weeks, listening to the soundtrack more than usual and getting back into the revolutionary spirit, so this was the perfect pre-show outing.

Here's the view of from this uptown property at 141st Street and Hamilton Terrace. It's quiet there.

And a peek inside the Hamilton's parlor.

After a bit of non-Hamiltonian sightseeing at The Cloisters (part of the Met Museum), and much needed afternoon naps all around, we met up at the theatre and took the obligatory pre-show selfies.

Do we look excited or what?