learn something new every day:


I love love love the new Beauty and the Beast movie. One of the best parts, of course, is the Beast’s library, so I wrote “Belle Would Be Enchanted by These 10 Lovely Libraries in Hotels” for USA Today 10Best.

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shorebreak hotel, huntington beach

Posted on November 6, 2015

Shorebreak couch surf art

If you want to experience an upscale version of the quintessential Southern California surf culture, you have to spend a night or two at the Shorebreak Hotel in Huntington Beach.

With its sophisticated surfer vibe, this signature Kimpton boutique hotel does what Kimpton does best — it captures and celebrates its local neighborhood while offering impeccable service and lots of amenities.

Be prepared for a lot of photos because when Michael and I were invited to stay there a couple of months ago, I couldn’t stop snapping away. more »

w hotel los angeles west beverly hills

Posted on November 4, 2015

W hotel sign

Michael and I were lucky enough to get tickets to the taping of Oprah’s Super Soul Sessions at UCLA a couple of months ago, and we decided to make a weekend out of it.

We were invited to stay at the W Hotel Los Angeles in West Beverly Hills, which is within walking distance of the campus as well as a gigantic Ralph’s, which has a Starbucks and a fantastic bakery inside. This was perfect because not having to worry about a car in Los Angeles is, just like the hotel, a luxury in itself. more »

australia, oprah-style!

Posted on October 22, 2015


After a friend pointed me to eShores the other day, I got so involved in all the possibilities for future trips that I spent way longer than I should have on the site.

Not surprisingly, I ended up in Australia, reliving my trip Down Under with Oprah and 301 fellow Ultimate Viewers. That was almost five years ago, and I still happily reminisce about it all the time.

You can read all about my Ultimate Australia Adventure, and then, hopefully, plan your own. There are lots of companies that offer tailor-made packages, and I found some great multi-centre itineraries on the eShores site that would enable you to follow our trip — well, minus Oprah, of course. more »

flying ethiopian airlines from lax – to dublin!

Posted on October 6, 2015

Ethiopian AIrlines screen

I almost turned down my invitation to The Retreat, the amazing trip I took to Ireland this summer, because I had been traveling so much and, honestly, the actual traveling part is sometimes so difficult, I wasn’t sure if I was up for another 12 hour flight even to one of my favorite places in the world.

But then Tourism Ireland offered to fly me in business class so I could test the new Ethiopian Airlines direct flight from Los Angeles to Dublin, and I was in! This is the only airline flying direct from Southern California to Dublin, so I was eager to check it out. more »

4 luxurious places to recharge!

Posted on October 5, 2015


Paradise Island Resort

I’ve been traveling a lot lately, and have been having a love/hate relationship with my phone on every single international trip. I love that I can take photos without lugging a camera, and I love that I can check email in my hotel. But I hate that I have to worry about ridiculous charges, so I end up turning off my cellular data unless I’m in a place that has wifi. Then I have to turn it on and remember to turn it back off again before the charges start creeping in.

It becomes a source of stress, which is the last thing anyone wants on vacation.

I was complaining about this to someone on my last trip and she told me to look into Recharge.com. If you get a prepaid phone with a local carrier — which is usually pretty inexpensive — you can then buy phone credit on their site and top it up instantly whenever you need it. This seems like a great option, and one I will definitely be looking into.

While we were talking, we somehow segued into a conversation about our own favorite places to recharge! I loved hearing her suggestions, which I’m going to share here. The only one I’ve been to is Dubai but, after hearing her descriptions, I’m sold. more »

#theretreatireland, day 4: the merrion, louise kennedy and o’donoghue’s

Posted on September 8, 2015

Trinity College

Although we were exhausted from the past three amazing days on The Retreat Ireland, my blogging soul sister Stacie Haight Connerty and I got up early to do yoga on the roof of The Marker Hotel with Mari Kennedy.

Boy, were we glad we did. more »

#theretreatireland, day 3: russborough house, dublin and the marker hotel

Posted on September 3, 2015

Rossborough House

After packing up and enjoying the last thousand calorie buffet breakfast I was quickly getting used to at the Powerscourt Hotel on The Retreat Ireland, we headed off to Russborough House, a Palladian mansion rightly considered one of the most beautiful in the country. more »

#theretreatireland, day two: lainey keogh, rocco tullio and the guinness estate

Posted on August 31, 2015

Powerscourt lobby

We started Day Two of The Retreat Ireland in a quiet room at the Powerscourt Hotel doing yoga with the adorable Michael Ryan. He definitely knew his audience because his session was gentle and mindful and allowed us to spend a lot of time on our backs.

Afterwards, we went right to the buffet, where I enjoyed my already-usual meal of fruit, scrambled eggs (Powerscourt makes the best I’ve had in Europe. Usually they’re runny, which I can’t stomach, but theirs are fluffy and solid and so good. Okay, TMI.) and chocolate croissants. Those may not be part of a traditional Irish breakfast but they were delicious.

Once we were fully fortified for a very busy day, we boarded our little shuttle bus and headed out into the country to visit Lainey Keogh. Now, if you’ve never heard of Lainey, you’re in for a real treat. Start Googling her and you’ll see that she’s an amazing knitwear designer who’s created iconic pieces for some of the biggest rock stars. She’s even been featured on an Irish postage stamp! more »

#theretreatireland, day one: powerscourt, avoca and the irish countryside

Posted on August 30, 2015

Powerscourt Hotel view from patio

If ever a trip seemed custom made for me — and probably you — it’s the one I’m on right now.

Led by acclaimed interior designer (and just plain wonderful person) Grania Murray, The Retreat Ireland is an amazing week-long luxury tour of Ireland that’s all about shopping, eating and spa-ing. Best of all, Grania takes you into the studios of some of the country’s best clothing and home designers and gives you experiences you’d never be able to have on your own.

On this debut press trip, Grania is hosting five writers, and after just the first day, we’re all ready to sign up for the official launch — which, by the way, is in November if you’re interested. And, trust me, you will be. more »

join me (virtually!) on “the retreat” in dublin!

Posted on August 20, 2015

Powerscourt Spa

This weekend, I leave on The Retreat, a trip I’ve been drooling over for weeks. When you check out the website, you’ll see exactly why.

Led by acclaimed interior designer Grania Murray, whose clients include Pierce Brosnan, Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf, this is a total luxury trip to Ireland. Seriously, I’ll give you another minute to check out the website.

See what I mean? more »

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