Archive for August, 2013

Sunrise in the 7th arr

Sunrise in the 17th arr

And… she’s off! Jeez, give the girl two months at home, in New York City no less and watch her literally bounce off the walls.  Apparently visitors and local distractors aren’t even helpful.  Of course none of this has a thing to do with the recent meeting I had with a certain Dreamy VP.  😉

During what was a massively distracting week, with a full head… I was just barely pulling myself down to reality long enough to plod through the intricate details of a Europe trip for clients.  I was so jealous.  Their journey started dans mon deuxieme ville preferee, Paris.  I whined a bit to the guys and somehow wriggled my way onto the beginning portion of their trip.  If anything can bring me back to earth, it’s got to be one of the most romantic cities in the world!  Ha!  And funnily enough, it’s where my AJ ‘escaped’ her own head to as well!  The clients will traipse through a few countries back and forth, so I’ll be on my own.  Mornings to myself, to courent sans le beloved Luxembourg de Jardin, watch les enfants sur le carousel, drink champagne in the afternoons, gain some perspective and immerse myself in the french culture which I adore.  Maybe I’ll put Pavane on repeat and wander through the Louvre!  Then have the evenings to work, write and order room service!!!  Maybe even a bubble bath.  I don’t know about anyone else, but there’s just something so enticing about a fancy hotel bubble bath!

I know this all might sound a bit dramatic and indulgent, however, for my mental state, it became an absolute necessity.  And my plan above all sounds lovely, healthy and fabulous in theory, but I would venture to guess there’s some mischief that will creep up next to me and tap on my shoulder, at some point.  Isn’t there always!?  Though it’s doubtful I’ll be kissing any bartenders this time around!  I do have loads of hoteliers I’ve met, some even friends.  Suppose I ought to legitimize this trip with a few sites!  Besides, kicking around Le Meurice, Fouquet Barriere and Bel Ami is not such a bad ‘work day’ to arrange.  And there will be no truffle soufflé this time around either!

Timing is everything: the bumpkin’s NY trip cancelation, my new rock star Ashlee, clients’ plans in the EU, and my two months without a flight in sight.  As I was shutting down the Mac to pack it in for the airport, my lovely designer sent me his second round of the rebrand!  Now I’ve got 7 hours to focus on that project!  Or, just daydream and re-read the same texts and emails that transpired the past six days, over and over and over again.  😉  But the designs are brilliant and I’m getting truly excited and very comfortable with my decisions thus far.  Thanks to a few pushes and shoves and valuable feedback!  The Armani Boy from Dubai is now part of my ‘red team’.  😉

Whenever possible, I try to fly on weekends, or nights when normal working people (though not too many of my clients are really normal, are they) would otherwise be asleep or with their families.  So, it’s kind of fun, I have to figure out where to go for the weekend after Paris!  I could only get the special Liz rate through Friday.  It’s kind of cool to leave it open!  While I might be impulsive and a tad bit spontaneous, I usually have the full plan sorted by this stage.

But in a totally unexpected twist, my presence was suddenly requested in Frankfurt for the next Monday.  So whereas the question was originally posed by asking where should I fly home from, it’s now morphed into where in Europe to kick around from Friday to Sunday!!?  By plane or train?  Suggestions welcomed!  Or projects, site requests or any other distractions which could be thrown my way.  I’m thinking of flying to Berlin for two nights, then taking the train to Frankfurt from there on Sunday.  Have been keen to mingle with the allegedly subversive Viennese though.  A far less desirable project was nixed: to find a fabulous boutique within a 25 mile radius of Leverkusen!

Currently The Stone Roses “I Am The Resurrection” is jamming and has just catapulted me full on… back into ‘dreamy’.  Sigh…

Bonjour Paris, the City of Love (or is it Lights).  Wish me luck with my whole gluten free obsession!  Actually, I’ll be lucky if I can muster up an appetite at all!  Hopefully any further updates will be laced with my usual wit and humor…

PS: there’s almost nothing hotter than a man wearing a scarf!  J’adore l’Europe!

My favorite architecture in the world!

My favorite architecture in the world!

Perfect!  Free WiFi, champagne and located just outside my gate!

Perfect! Free WiFi, champagne and located just outside my gate!

Emirates is an absolute class-act.  However, on the Dubai side, they wouldn’t allow lounge access at the airport.  How dare they comp me business class flights and three nights at The Armani, yet forbid lounge access in Dubai?  Clearly, I found a perfect alternative and the perfect way to spend my last 200 Dirham.  Moët.

This has been one of the most bizarre weeks I’ve had, on several levels.  Not sure If I explained the program I was invited to participate in.  Emirates launched this global effort to bring people like me from all over the world to show them what its all about.  They made arrangements for people to have various activities available to them throughout the week.  And my infectiously radiant Oz friend works for the airline and was responsible for much of the organization of the event, I learned.  We are now New York, Phuket, Las Vegas and Dubai buddies!  Oh so worldly we are.  😉  Her new nickname is Mrs Jetsetter.

During the economic crisis, Dubai crashed big time.  You know, around 2007-2009.  Was told loads of stories about all the expats abandoning their Mercedes at the airport and getting the hell out of dodge, because it was just cheaper to leave.  Please take into consideration my memory and adorable quirk of misquoting facts… I think I have it sort of right though.  Sheikh Khalifa of Abu Dhabi, and President of UAE finally bailed the sheikh of Dubai out, as they are inter-related through one of their several wives.  Gave Dubai a few billion to work with.  So Dubai was free to do with this money as they wished.  Given there actually is not any oil in Dubai, the emirate is pushing hard now to bring in the tourism money.

There were only a handful of travel people at the Armani.  Most were German and Russian.  Then, there was the mini-me, a blondie from New York with the red lipstick.  Sweet thing, just 23 years old and relatively new in a storefront NY agency doing leisure travel like cruises and crap like that.  She is a blast though, and well… we all know me!  We were like a really cute Mutt & Jeff all week!  I did my part to show her the finer skills of networking.  😉

I actually ran into a couple other people I’d met in Cannes in December.  Or Vegas last August.  Bizarre.  But for me, trips like this really are about relationships with hoteliers, airlines and land operators.  Mini-me and I took full advantage of some of the fabulous activities arranged.  It was tough because there were some early starts and remember I have to keep up with the regular biz.  London would wake up around 1:00pm, NY around 4:00pm and then SF/Seattle.  I was up working until nearly 3:00am every night.  But it was well worth it.

The desert safari was really fascinating.  We had the coolest driver (who took extra special care of mini-me!), drove us to the dunes, 4x4ing through the largest sand desert on the planet.  Then we met up with my Jetsetter for a massive desert party filled with camel rides, falcons, palm reading, belly dancing, fire dancers and henna artists.  Oh yeah, and the hookah.  It was over-the-top but fabulous.  Of course sweet Jetsetter invited me to join her hotelier tables, and I brought mini-me along as well.  It was an absolute blast.  It was set up like the desert scene from Sex And The City 2 movie, with ‘chairs’ being pillows on the desert ground covered with massive Persian rugs.  Of course I’m seated with some people I’ve never met before, all hilarious… but next to this smug Brit with whom the banter was quality.  He just happens to be the Armani guy, so I was of course appreciative for my lovely accommodation at his hotel.  Totally spoiled with such amazing industry hospitality!

As some of you may know, I’m going to really focus on growth in 2013.  New look, new logo, new staff and potentially a new name.  The Armani boy, knowing me for just a few short minutes, launched right into massively teasing me about my company name.  His timing was so ironic as my designer had just sent his first draft of new names… and he was hysterical.  He carried that pathetic LMC card around all week long and continued the banter.  Busting it out whenever I got lippy or like when the executives of Emirates would come find me to chat.  Oddly enough, other Emirates employees, hoteliers and Arabian Adventures people were curious how did I know so many people already!  One even asked me to make an introduction, which of course I obliged.  Hilarious!  I know people because Jetsetter introduced me and I speak articulately about the several interesting facets of our businesses.  Just such a bizarre week.  The people I met (or were reintroduced to) will be with me for a long time.  The group’s last night gala was basically my having a fabulous time with all my friends, being dragged into the corporate photos, dancing at Prive, where the Armani boy slyly stocked the tables with Grey Goose.  There were so many randoms.  A few guys trying to get me to join them in feeding the sheikh’s lions later that night, attempts at dancing the tango, and listening to a rather talented duo belt out Celine Dion and Andrea Bocelli.

Most people flew to their homes yesterday morning, but I chose the 2:00am flight so I would be on the ground in time for clients, and a snowstorm apparently !!! for Friday morning.  I was not aware when I booked that Emirates has better WiFi than Starbucks.  It worked out rather well as it allowed time for dinner with my new smug friend on Thursday night, which is the start of the UAE weekend.

I know many of you think I’m a bit nuts, but I never go looking for freebies, these opportunities fall into my lap.  But I truly believe it’s a reflection of my work ethic and dedication.  All this hotel and airline executive networking has proved to benefit my clients time and time again.  It was an amazing opportunity, filled with unbelievable contacts!

Have started my decent into New York.  Clients still hopefully resting after their weather apocalypse panic yesterday…

Dubai is a bit weird.  Almost indescribable.  I was in an Armani Residence so I couldn’t have booze in my room, yet, last night I had loads of charcuterie and osso bucco for dinner.  Hypocrisy at it’s finest?  Tallest building in the world, biggest mall in the world, highest restaurant in the world, biggest fountain show in the world and of course, the largest sand desert in the world.  Largest sand desert because it’s very clean sand, no stones and dust.  I learned a lot about the middle east and most importantly, that the world really is not so scary.

Wheels to tarmac!  Hello JFK, where is all this supposed snow!!?  Or is just American media hype!?  I know, I know… it’s not like my country to hype up anything in the media.  😉

Dubai 2013_101

Bye-bye East 74th Street, I’m headed to the desert!


Oh life is strange!  A couple weeks ago, if that, I was en route to London for some meetings and to make up for broken promises from December.  As surreal as it was and definitely must have sounded, the day I was leaving, I was randomly invited to Dubai.  I’m a bit tough to keep up with these days, so it seems.


I’ve just boarded my Emirates flight from New York to Dubai.  I’m excited to meet up with my lovely Oz girl and wonder if I might get to finally meet her hubby!  I’ve had my Vueve Cliquot dinner and am now seated in an almost-private suite on the A380 aircraft.  I didn’t even have to leave the lounge to board the plane!  It is really fancy and simply amazing.  I have my own little personal minibar fresh with Voss, 7Up and Perrier, literally just to my left!  I’ve got two televisions.  One bigger screen directly in front and a little iPad mini sized one to the left, lest I decide to turn my pretty little head.  The menu is pages long, as this 13-hour flight serves three meals.  Page one showcases their booze.  Shoot, the vodka is Grey Goose.


Some of you may have recently been victims of my complaints about having hearing problems in my left ear.  Obviously I fly often enough so I suppose it shouldn’t be such a big surprise.  Mainly it was happening while at home, working away, and my left ear would just go into this weird muffled-like zone, kind of like how it feels with the pressure change on a flight… but in like 3 minute-long spurts.  Then everything I hear sounds like I’m listening to the teacher from The Peanuts Cartoons!  I regret to admit that I have officially self-diagnosed myself with tinnitus.  And I know the exact moment it happened, which wasn’t even within 24 hours of a flight!  In London a week or so ago, I walked into a busy restaurant in Chelsea.  I spotted my girlfriend, waved and was fussing with coat-check.  Halfway to our table, my left ear had a little: pop!  No pain, no big sound and oddly no muffley feeling.  Yep, I’ve got the ringing!  It has not let up, for a second, since January 23rd.  Luckily it’s not very loud.


I am possibly more excited for this trip than I have been for one in a long time.  I think Dubai is going to be something unlike anything else I’ve experienced.  We shall see!


Oh and big welcome to LMC’s new employee in a couple weeks!!!  SO excited.  We’ve got the bumpkin to thank for that one!  Just need to work on your palate, girl, so we can go to a non-American cuisine restaurant together!  Speaking of the bumpkin, apparently he’s just booked himself flights to NYC !!? and asked if he could ‘stay at mine’.  WTH?  I’m conflicted with my American close-minded upbringing and trying not to be so uptight about it.  He’s a Brit, that’s all it is – very comfortable being a squatter.  Hope he likes my new couch!  It really is quite cozy!  😀


I have to shut down now, doors are shut, unexpectedly, but I promise more once I land as long as I’m not sold into Arabian slavery!

Warm and cozy with the fireplace, inside the gorgeous Baglioni Hotel

Warm and cozy with the fireplace, inside the gorgeous Baglioni Hotel

Had one of those amazing flights, again, which will hopefully prove to deliver another a long-lasting friendship.  This gorgeous black man from the club lounge, who was secretly wanting to bring me cheese and crackers and then let me cut in line with him to board the flight, happened to be my seat mate.  Our supposed 7-hour flight was oddly short and we were unprepared given the titillating conversation and lack of any rest.  The Pisces and the Scorpio.  Say no more.  Both with amazing careers that could, or more accurately, should potentially benefit one another.  This man delivered me the best three lines I might have ever heard, the first one being, “You seem like a woman I might have a use for”.  The second hilarious one we both already forgot, and the last, after they shut down the main cabin lights: “Can you see me right now?  I’m black.”.  C’est la vie, pour moi.  We could not stop laughing… so hilarious!!!  Our champagne and chardonnay journey ended with a freaking train ride into Paddington.  How have I let this gorgeous black man lead me to a train and taxi instead of car service?   I am finally solo having champagne breakfast at The Baglioni Hotel, overlooking Hyde Park in Kensington, next to a crackling cozy fireplace and watching the snow fall while I wait for my park view room to be readied.  Yay… it’s snowing in London!!!

This week has been an odd one, though massively productive.  My sleep patterns are not quite normal after last month’s world tour, but there’s no sense in rectifying now, and you’ll soon understand why.  I had a fabulous end to the week, no real loose ends which is rare.  Today, I apparently watch snow and drink champagne.  Yesterday I had lunch with a friend and got a well-needed lesson in packing.  (thank you, for my $20 Arm & Hammer travel-sized toothpaste!).  I was sent off with my super sweet Polish driver and had a relatively stress-free day!

I have to share what I woke up to this morning.  I received an invitation to participate in something, not quite sure what, but industry-related.  The dates so conveniently fall between my London trip, my pitch meeting with the event-heavy salon where I get my hair done, and the next trip to San Fran.  I registered, it asked for passport information, and was immediately confirmed for this “whatever-it-is” trip to Dubai!  Huh!?  Alrighty then.  I had to get up and packing for London so not a lot of time to digest.  A lovely industry friend, was former sales director of an amazing property I stayed at in Phuket, Thailand has just moved back to Dubai and accepted a job with Emirates, the UAE airline.  She has done me and my clients right and knows me well enough from fun nights out in Phuket and Vegas.  We hadn’t caught up in a while… so now was as good a time as any and maybe she’ll be able to give me a sneak peek of what I’ve just gotten myself into.  Turns out it is a business class flight on Emirates, and three (or could be two) nights hotel, and I’m unclear of the obligations while in Dubai.  Hello Dubai!  Wow!  Yes Gram, I am headed to a Muslim middle eastern country and I will be FINE!  You cannot worry yourself sick, as I will be with friends, hosted, and possibly in another UAE brothers’ business venture: a Jumeirah hotel, which are usually the ‘best of the best’.

Tomorrow I am meant to have lunch with the country bumpkin I met in Argentina last year, at the pub.  Whilst here in December, he met Ashlee and I out on our first night, and was hilarious.  I was sick as a dog, being fed lemon ginger tea in between my gooses, and it all ended with his mum’s cold pizza in the back of his car.  🙂  This time around, the bumpkin even made a reservation at a restaurant overlooking London Tower.  I love being in this time zone and bonus: America will be relaxed with their US holiday tomorrow!

Every day that I live continues to deliver the unexpected, and usually in the most fabulous ways.  LMC Direct will turn four years old on March 5th.  I’m rebranding, possibly renaming and am consistently proud of my work, my ethic and integrity and the unbelievable network I have been fortunate enough to grow.  Happy New Year to me.  Seriously.

Now the xanax I took on the short plane ride is starting to kick in.  Couldn’t possibly be all the champagne!  Though the Sunday Moët is sort of free flowing at the beautiful Baglioni (eat your heart out over there in your central London condo), but now I really want my room.  The view is stunning, but I have early client dinner tonight and no recreational vicodin to help me just power through.  And yes, I realize this is not one of my wittiest pieces of work and should therefore call it a day (or night?).  My loose schedule this full London week will hopefully provide something a bit more entertaining later on.

Ah, five more minutes for my room to be ‘sorted’ out.   😉

We learned this trick from the best... and had a *really* big bottle of goose to polish off!

We learned this trick from the best… and had a *really* big bottle of goose to polish off!


I feel as though I’ve used up about seven of my nine lives on just this trip alone, with my tattered Langham Love painted nails.  I’ve just executed one of the most well run, thoroughly enjoyed and over-the-top successful events in my career.  Although upon quick reflection, they are all usually quite good if I do say so myself.  This trip has been flailed by injury and illness, but I persevered nonetheless!  I do feel a bit like Wonder Woman, as some clients refer to me.  Either that or Carrie from Homeland, which is growing a bit tired to hear.  Although an odd little fun-for-the-farm fact I learned today is that the actual ‘Brody’ was in our hotel this week.  I really am not a slutty little stalker!  😉


Am in 2A on KLM, glass of champagne in hand, back at Schiphol, with ‘Oppan Gangnam Style’ eternally seared into my temporal lobe, relishing in the fact that I honestly don’t really have to use my vocal chords for at least another 13 hours.  I’m quite lucky to be here, again, at the Amsterdam airport.  I had an amazing day Wednesday.  It went long and hard from about 7:00am to 2:00am with little room for sustenance, with the exception of Ash and my frenzied chicken club, which ended up mostly on their nice shag carpet.  Clearly, Ashlee and I had our priorities set straight and came to the event well prepared for the weak ass London pours.


We rocked that company party’s world.  And we did it amidst my crazy busy, lack of preparation and full-on massive head-cold.  Things just went our way and Ashlee had a TON to do with that.  A perfect team… which did not go unnoticed.  The guys were teasing me last night when Ash said she was going out with a younger client, at like 1:00am, and I got a little tug on the heart strings. Like, “should I let her” and “make sure you text me when you get home”.  I don’t know how you kid-people do it.


Anyway, as many of you know… I tend to pack heavy.  Which is then even an understatement.  So you can imagine a week in Cannes, weekend in Amsterdam, and a week of event-execution in London had my room in a bit of shambles when I woke up yesterday at 9:03am realizing I had no text!  I rang Siegel Woman Número Tres several times and then went down to help her pack, get her sorted and get the scoop.  Then I sort of had this vertigo experience when I walked into my disaster area of a room.  Where do you even start!!?  Wednesday I drugged and drank myself into fake wellness.  Yesterday… not so much.  But I got ‘er done.  Slowly and surely.  I developed one of the worst head colds and chest coughs EVER on my last day in Amsterdam, deel een, and the cold air and talking have been absolutely brutal.  Painful even!  The Langham hippo and ginger lemon tea in my room was comforting though.  I hope I did well and managed a little time for a small London tour for Ash.  ANYWAY, I got all my crap packed into a now 32kg suitcase, dropped stuff with clients, met with a partner and had my taxi on order at the time I was told.  I look a bit gimpy but I no longer care (until Saturday!).  I was told London City Airport would be FAR more convenient, and it took me about one hour 45 minutes to get there.  Missed my flight.  Called Delta to fix me up and they secured me on their last flight to Amsterdam.  I had to go to AMS in order to utilize the very expensive ticket I bought long before all these other complications came into play.  Seriously, the CityJet people could not help, under any circumstance, unless I paid $3k for the 40 minute flight separate, and possibly lose the biz class 12 hour flight to SF tomorrow in that process.  It was too stressful to even try to relay, but together we all made it happen.  Me: on the phone to Delta, them: checking my 32k bag through to SFO to allow for the weight, and then the amazing tall CityJet man who all but carried me through security and the airport to get me on my flight.  I cannot believe it happened.  But I made it to Schiphol!!!  What an ordeal.  I’m not quite sure what would have happened had that man not taken me under his wing.  I gave him the Harrod’s chocolate I intended to share with the fam at AJ’s wedding, but, at least I WILL be present.  And yes, I’ve just touched wood.  This morning checking in brought more chaos and confusion.  Whoever said tears at an airport doesn’t pay off is mistaken.


I might not be in a body cast, but FFS I made it happen through some serious strife and tribulation!  And even though I’ll arrive SF today in my second day joggers and Sheraton brand shampooed hair, I will BE there.


Good news is the Schiphol shops are so fantastic I bought new panties and socks!


Ashlee Siegel: my clients have already expressed their hope to work with you in the future, and no, not just your last night cohort.  They, and me as well if not more, am so grateful.  YOU nailed it.  You saved me and this would have been absolute shite without you.  Thank you!!!  I wish you had more time to see more of London than Ryman’s and Washstone’s.  You’re on call for next time.  It’s undecided either Shanghai or New York next year.  Your presence has already been requested.


Do you think those MFs even noticed our cut-out logo circles on the tissue paper!!?  Telly did.  😉


Gotta shut down.  Watch out SF here I come.  Oppan Gangnam Style!



In love with Amsterdam, it's canals, Indonesian food and charm

In love with Amsterdam, it’s canals, Indonesian food and charm


Just when I thought I was secure with my future intention of defecting the US for France, I am deeply enchanted by Amsterdam.  And no, not because the other night walking through the ‘red light’ district with a local, a friendly stranger on a Zijstraat shared a quick puff with me, unsolicited.  But despite the snow and 25 degree weather, this charming Dutch city full of style, handsome tall men in scarves, mad bikers, coffee shops and canals has stolen my heart.  Holland’s unique kiss-kiss-kiss, three times rather than the European standard two, well… that sealed the deal.


Yesterday I slept late, went for lunch and my nail appointment, had drinks and Dutch Voorgerechten with a hotelier, then bundled up, as it was then 20 degrees out and decided to experience my first coffee shop.  It was so cold but people were still out, on their bikes and just generally good-spirited.  I did it!  And it was very cool.  Something you just have to experience to understand.  I kind of wanted to buy a cake and try to smuggle it into London today, but decided against.  Walking home, through the quiet cobblestoned streets and canals that I imagine are exactly as they must have been in the 17th century… I felt a little bit like Lara from Dr. Zhivago.  Wrong country, I know.  But so enchanting and historic, I heard some distant clock striking ten o’clock.  I bet those clock bells have rung every night for a few hundred years.


I went a bit hard my first night here, after an interesting day departing Cannes.  Most flights to Amsterdam were cancelled due to snow, and my flight was delayed by four hours.  I spotted an Amsterdam new hotel’s General Manager after check-in, we’d met briefly here and there throughout the week, like on the Hyatt Yacht outside the Palais des Festivals.  Anyway, I invited him up to the Air France lounge with me since there is next to nothing after security in the Cote d’Azur Airport.  He knew I was staying at the renowned Hotel de L’Europe, and an hour or two in, a few wines later, he called his people and I hear him saying something about transport for Ms Costello and Hotel de L’Europe.  I had no idea the hotel existed as it only opened four weeks ago.  The day went on, and the German born world-traveling GM and I discussed how to become an ex-pat, US politics, other parts of the world, families, etc.  Just before boarding we were looking at pictures of his award winning design hotel and I began to wonder why I wasn’t staying there!  He suggested I cancel my current hotel but I was outside cancellation policy.  As we boarded our flight, we called (from his phone!) the De L’Europe and told a white lie of a flight cancellation and poof, I was staying at the best hotel in Amsterdam.  The GM had a canal view room all arranged, a bottle of champagne waiting and even made the nail appointment for me.  My arrival to Holland couldn’t be more special.  After a tough week of taking care of others, quite intensely, I’ll admit it was nice to feel a bit babied.  That luxury continued into the wee hours of the night, having a rice table at an Indonesian restaurant with a local client of a client, and his British buddy.  It was hilarious, though my voice is now shot.  Thankfully, Andaz has supplied me with verviene tea and honey to sooth the chords.


I was a bit sad to leave Cannes.  After being reminded of its beauty and near perfect culture, then having an unexpectedly successful and enjoyable week, albeit intense beyond imagination.  I am comforted by the fact this conference will now be my early December ritual.  I met the most amazing people, the personal contacts are priceless.  Even though Ashlee and I are now required to wear OPI’s ‘Langham Love’ pink nail polish next week in London, it’s a fun trade off to make with the hotel’s boss’ boss for having haggled the use of his posh bar for my group, free of charge.


The last night in Cannes was the only night I went to one of the several lavish parties I was invited to.  At the famed Carlton Hotel, an InterContinental. Wow.  Dark rooms, purple neon and smoke all over the floors, followed by Cirque du Soleil dancers and sexy amazing french women just rocking the latest pop music, it was truly an experience in itself.  A luxury Madrid hotel owner and I ganged up on our new Roma best friend and pushed him into the spotlights, amongst many other funny hilarious antics throughout the night.  It was spectacular.  Only bummer was I was in flat boots and couldn’t really dance with all these amazing European men, as I ordinarily would have.  Even though the magical French with their creams and Compeed cured my foot, I still erred on the side of caution.  The friends I’ve made truly are good friends to have.


Thus far, my trip has been chalk full of pleasant surprises, unbelievable business and one exciting thing after another!  Though I’m now sad to be leaving Amsterdam, I have the Thalys to Brussels connecting to the Eurostar to London, which I’ve never done before.  I can only be excited about that!  What is it about me that gets off so much on logistics?  Who needs South America?  Seriously.


Looking forward to meeting Ms Siegel this afternoon in London and am hopeful her jet lag won’t be so severe and we can goof off a bit in the UK!  Was really cute last night on the phone, going over all the steps and what to do or expect when she lands.  Part of Ash’s first call to order was to pick up the duty free in LAX.  I woke up today to two texts saying “They don’t have Vueve, only Moët.  But they have the Goose!”.  So cute.


I really will miss Amsterdam, and could spend so much more time here.  I am happy to be here in the winter and snow.  I look forward to coming back (hint, hint AJ) very soon.


But, off to London I go!  A week full of managing a client’s events, keeping up the regular business and drinks out with three unrelated friends who live there.


Been an amazing time so far, despite it’s panicked beginning.


Liefde voor alle!


Good as new at the Virtuoso closing party at the infamous Carlton Hotel

Good as new at the Virtuoso closing party at the infamous Carlton Hotel


My Louboutin-wounded ankle from stepping out of the taxi with about 27 wooden hangars, after my NY event

My Louboutin-wounded ankle from stepping out of the taxi with about 27 wooden hangars, after my NY event


I made it to Cannes!  Now we all know I tend to procrastinate and there’s always some degree of mischief I gravitate toward.  But I have to admit, that in this particular case, I have been preparing for this trip for what seems like forever.  Yet, it’s been a comedy of errors, as usual!  It all started with an honorable invitation to a very elite International Luxury Travel Market.  How I got invited is still a bit if a mystery, but as I lie, foot elevated and iced, in my massive suite in this gorgeous 5+ star boutique just a block from Palais des Festivals, with the most amazing champagne-included complimentary breakfast, I am certainly not complaining.  I’m participating in a conference, which required me to read 1600 bios, then choose and rank 60 travel suppliers (i.e, hotel or airline) that I care to meet with, in order of personal importance, for 20-minute appointments, each.  I will have 50 in 3 days.  Then after-parties, at least three every night.  This is no brag, it’s been a ton of work.  I still have the business to keep up!  But I had been practicing my Rosetta Stone, planned to do my newsletter last weekend, would pack last Wednesday, do an event on Thursday, and end-of-month invoicing and reports on the plane!  Voila!  Pas de probleme.


Originally, I decided to go to Amsterdam after Cannes since I’ve not been and have clients that go regularly.  I swear it has nothing to do with the recent lift of their ban on tourists partaking in the local… um, culture.  Local culture, that’s it!  To my defense, I am scheduled for drinks and dinner with a client of a client who lives there.


Then I was meant to head home before the Berkeley festivities begin.  But a couple months ago, a very important client asked me to be onsite in London to manage a three-day event for their entire company of 31 people.  It just happened to fall right in between Amsterdam and the wedding.  My naivety and ego gracefully accepted with nothing but an ‘I can do it’ attitude.  Realizing this meant that I would now have to go straight from London to San Fran, having no time to stop home in NY for even a night.  That is a lot to pack for!  Conference and cocktail parties all week, followed by kicking it in Amsterdam, followed by managing biz meetings, hosting team-building then another cocktail party, then my appropriate wedding attire.  I decided to pamper myself by hiring personal assistance for the London bit.


As a few of you gorgeous people are fully aware, sometimes that ego morphs itself into anxiety!  And your continual support are what actually got me to France.  xoxo


Now I am not shy about over-packing, but it was a bit scary waking up the day of this whirlwind tour in excruciating pain, having not packed a thing yet and unable to move my left foot.  This was Friday.  Here’s what happened:


Just to keep it interesting, my same client for the London gig, hired me for a gig in NY on Thursday night.  Thankfully, that office party was executed better than I imagined and all was well.  Until the inevitable after-party.  I was in my best fancy office party dress and Christian Louboutin stilettos.  I have to play the part, which I might add, the shoes did not go unnoticed.  The after-party ensued a little internal employee drama, which I somehow felt compelled to help fix, making it a later than expected night.  But, after gathering all my things (radio, hangars, computer, etc) and grabbing a taxi, honestly only a couple cocktails in, when I stepped out of the taxi on my cute little E. 74th Street, I just stepped wrong out the left door and sort of slow-motion fell forward onto one knee… not hard, no scrape even.  Bobby, my homeless guy was on the heat grill in front of my building and even came over to help me.  “Liz, are you okay… are you wasted again?”  He is so sweet when he’s not on crack.  I was actually fine, Bobby helped me up, I went upstairs and washed my hands  🙂  and thought hmm, I might ice my left foot.  Then I was called in for duty, my friend needed an ear and helpful analysis after his aforementioned drama.  I needed to pack!  But, what are you gonna do!?  When someone needs you, you just deal.


I went to bed late, ice pack on my dresser (warm) and awoke in this crazy pain with a swollen foot.  Several tears, a little panic, and cries for help later… my own personal team of experts had me up and running by 1:00pm.  My sweet little pseudo-daughter, I could not have made it without her ibuprofen and getting me an ace bandage and red bull.  Total kismet, she just happened to have an early two-hour lunch and her mom’s 800mg ibu on her!


Technically, I don’t ‘have to’ do anything until Tuesday, for the conference.  I had planned to tour, shop and go for fabulous jogs along the Mediterranean Sea, but I knew if I could just GET to Cannes, I should be okay and could nurture my injury just as well (or as its turning out, better) whilst here.  My sis Kath’s advice to force some boots on for ankle support was priceless.


I slept, iced my foot, and worked all yesterday, until 2:00am local time.  Now I’ve finished this lovely French breakfast, after sleeping late, and look forward to my spa day.  Or, rehabilitation-due-to-swollen-foot day.  Trust me, I’d rather be jogging. Or at least jogging before spa!


But, I did it!  3 tall boots, 3 jackets, 3 suits and 7 jeans.  I did it.


When Mrs. Roper, diligently researching custom cake options for the London party called me on Friday, it could have been her effervescent “well if anyone can do it, you can!”, coupled with the house call, pep-talks, instructions for care, and good old-fashioned support that got me up and packing.  I’m very fortunate and grateful.


A glass of champagne-for-breakfast in, I wonder, almost seriously, why do I not live in France!!?  Un jour, je le ferai.


Wish you all a happy Sunday!  My journey has barely just begun, but you know I will make the most of it.


And yes, I will apply heat at night now!   😉


Breakfast at Five Hotel in Cannes, perfectionnement!


A boring photo to coincide with a boring place!

A boring photo to coincide with a boring place!

What the f just happened?

I realize the question must often pass ones mind: “why does she keep going to San Francisco if she hates it so much!?”.  Here’s your answer: Kelly, my goddess of youthful agelessness and injections.  Oh.  And my aunts and cousins.  🙂  I love you family, you know I do… but until one of you are able to deliver such glowing results to my physical appearance, Kelly gets the cred.  Vanity.  I learned it from the best.  Or, more pointedly: ‘self-love’.  🙂

I think I’ve officially stolen the word ‘diatribe’ and it will be used in the book.  Proper acknowledgment will follow.

I’m very confused right now, because I’m inflight, and ‘cute guy’ from the lounge just walked from first class back toward coach and I don’t think he’s resurfaced.  Although he did wave.  Let’s see if I spot him by the end of this.  I did have a bit of an entrance to my flight.  I missed my opportunity to board with everyone else.

But a diatriber, I am!  The last few hours were so comical, I simply have to share.  In case it wasn’t clear, or more to the point, if anyone cares, I’m not so fond of slow-mo SFO.  However, I will continue to come three times a year and as work requires, until the day I die.  Unless Kelly moves.

I flew to San Fran on Monday, and its no big secret how stupid busy I am with work.  But I attempted to have a little Liz time anyway.  Which is next to impossible when you mix business with pleasure as much as I do!

Though, I had an exceptionally lovely day yesterday.  Adult lunch with the perfect couple (not that I don’t love your kids, but I will hopefully see them in December!), then off to my appointment, new knee high boots with an unexpected $100 off, drinks with a friend also in town, followed by dinner with auntie.  And it is WELL noted that we had a plan, a res and it actually happened.  Needless to say, yesterday was like living in never-never-land (wait, that used to be what we called my house).  Today was a little different.

I woke up at 5:57am, with a massive headache, every light on and still fully clothed, sans the pants.  A quick pass by the mirror nearly frightened me.  Full make up, red lips still and I looked like a battered girlfriend.  I shut everything off and tried to ignore the repeated dings of incoming email as long as I could.  I worked all morning, or more appropriately put: I fielded incessant unnecessary email, diatribe-chatted with ‘my person’, dealt with London, and packed up early for the airport.  I needed SF Soup Co. hangover-cure tortilla soup and a glass of champagne.  Hair of the dog was a requirement so I could continue to work vigilantly.

Here’s the necessary visual: I am in my new favorite lulu, sneakers and day-old hair.  Because I don’t care anymore.  I can’t market the biz right now so why not be comfortable.  It looks like Kelly and I had a cat fight at my botox appointment.  It happens.  Not the cat fight bit, but bruising with botox.  Doesn’t usually happen to me, but it matters not.  Completely worth every stare in the airport.  It sort of adds to the hilarity.

Anyway, headache was finally gone, soup eaten and in the lounge I sit, scoping the cute guy in a suit with no wedding ring at the other end of the bar.  Would have been nice if someone had told me I had chicken tortilla soup crusted onto my chin, to go with my black eye and joggers.  🙂

I observed how much I hate San Fran all the way to the airport with my new Malian driver, sharing hate text with my cohort of SF hatred, and feeling like the whole world, or at least San Francisco, was moving in slow motion.  It took me literally 30 minutes to get from Stockton and Sutter to the fucking freeway.  I digress.

Back to the lounge and the flurry to finish the last sip before heading to the changed-gate flight.  I am sensitive to this for reasons that a few of you might remember.  So of course, with all my nifty travel agent tools at hand, I keep checking flight status and think it’s a bit odd that when clicking on ‘where did this flight come from’, it references the exact flight I flew in on Monday.  Weird.  Figured it’s another glitch in United’s new system.

I lost sight of the cute guy and headed down to gate 86, mind you, I have my usual gear in tow: Sees Candy for Ivo and a box of tall boots that is about as tall as I am.

False alarm.  Nobody boarding.  However cute guy walks up and makes conversation.  Although his lead in question after the initial, “what’s the word on boarding” was: “are you planning to work out on the plane?”.  Kind of a douche bag question.  I answered honestly, “no.  I’m hung over and decided to be comfortable today.”  Let’s not lose sight of the battered girlfriend look I’m sporting.  [all worth it Kelly, this email touches no one who doesn’t ‘get it’ – and that I write for affect, or is it effect? Janice help!].  He made up for his lame question, a little, with banter and finding out that our flight, delayed due to ‘airport conditions’, was indeed the aircraft I flew here on Monday, stored in a hangar and it would be a while before it got to the gate.  Then I spot Tara.  This two-doors-down neighbor who I see at Le Steak from time to time.  Cute guy has no interest in watching Tara and I catch up, and bails.  Any earned points with the flight update vanished immediately.  Chatting with Tara (not always the easiest, especially if you know the Le Steak crowd), she takes a call so I wander back to the lounge.  I take the time to tell the lounge lady my sitch and need her to make an announcement for flight 637.  She calls gate 86, everything is good.  My flight kept being pushed out 10 minutes, and so I wait patiently, work, listen intently for my announcement.

A few moments later, my heart about dropped.  This couple, clearly work mates, come and approach one of the two spaces me and my boots occupy.  I begin to move things, make space and apologize, then I look up and seriously thought it was my former sleazy boss.  I actually had to secretly look a few times even after the initial eye contact and look of battered girlfriend horror, to triple check that it really wasn’t him.  He was even wearing the same ugly old-man Wrangler jeans.  Wasn’t him though.  Just a friendly little reminder of my looming encounter with him this Monday night!

It started to get late and the flight updates stopped, so I mosy over to the counter and see the word ‘CLOSED’ next to my flight.  Admittedly, I began to freak.  And we all know that is no pretty sight.  Battered or not.  No, I was semi-okay, just firmly insisted they call the gate, explained there was no announcement.  I had specifically asked for an announcement given that one never knows how long it will take for a plane to be towed out from the hangar.  I threw out a few “love United’s customer service” comments out there.

I dart back to my spot, collect all my items and hurry, but not high-tail it, to gate 86.  Lounge ladies ignored my update request as I dash by.  Slow-mo prevails and I am trapped behind the high heeled girl, and then short round guy.  My boots, carry-on, jacket and I arrive to the empty gate and they say “oh you’re Ms. Costello, no worries.  We are waiting for the food”.  I enter the plane, which had probably been boarded for thirty minutes, and I was clearly the only action they’d seen in a while.  I was a little frazzled and some guy was sitting in my seat.  5A is mine.  I wasn’t oriented or clear if I entered in first or biz so I walked through, then had to backtrack.  I said nicely to the man, “excuse me, I believe you’re in my seat”.  His response: “well… uh, she (insert pointed finger here) said I could switch”.  A few seconds later he mumbles “I like the window”, then asks “uh… do you want the window or aisle?”.  My curt reply was “I would like the seat I booked six months ago”.

Meanwhile, the flight attendant (I cannot be racist), in her broken english, keeps repeating “you get beef”.  I’m thinking WTF is happening.  I haven’t even sat down.  Am I on a game show?  Am I being Punk’d?  If cute guy unzips a body suit to reveal himself as Ashton Kutcher, I would think it was hilarious.

Obviously due to my early menopause hot flashes  😉  or maybe just my hang over (thanks auntie and HDJH, really, thank you), I’m flush and ‘glistening’ in my battered botox glory.  The other flight attendant interrupts the incessant ‘you get beef’ lady, and takes the boots and jacket from me to help.

I finally settle down.  ‘you get beef’ clearly has some food issues, and some safety issues.  She is banging around her late-arrived bins of food and replays the safety video for my benefit.  FFS.  My thoughts are, “this will be a fun flight”, “where is neighbor Tara” and “am I making a scene”.  My seat mate turns over to me and says “last minute upgrade, eh?  I’m Joe from Livermore”.  Just shoot me now.

They closed the doors about 15 minutes later and while taxiing “you get beef” comes over to me, genuinely apologizes and says she’s looked up my status (I am no 1K) and says I may have chicken or pasta too, if I would like.

Thank Zues I wasn’t pee crazy.  And I still have not spotted cute guy.  We’ll leave that fun for baggage collection and awkward attempt to avoid Tara for fear she’ll want to hone in on my car home.  :/

(update on cute guy- I’ve just stored my stuff for landing and he’s in row 9.  Smart guy, exit row like me.  Which also means he was witness to my chaos upon entrance)

I will admit that I actually had one of the best visits, when all is said and done.  Although my cohort of SF hatred and I already promised never to admit that the weather was actually good.  😉

See all you San Franciscans in February for a little pre-birthday pick-me-up, literally!  Oh wait, I’ll be back for the ceremony in December.  xoxo

The Andes Mountains

The Andes Mountains


I have mixed more languages in the last few days than I even knew I know.  Nobody can understand what the hell I’m saying anyway, so I just lead in with “mi espanol es un paquito” and leave it at that.  Then it’s a free-for-all of “s’il vous plait”, “da nada”, “quantos cuesta”, “ciao” and “obrigado”.


On the final stretch now, and I no longer care.  Especially flying over the gorgeous snow capped Andes, back to Brazil.  I’ve been convinced to ‘give Rio a try’ since I’m already right here.  I’ve deduced my mission for this part of the trip to finding hot Brazilian women topless and in thong bikinis to photograph.  Not for me, of course.  The things I do for my clients…


Thanks to my incredible Skype tutor, I can talk on the phone for cheap!  The other night a friend said: “you’re in third world countries”, along with repeated reminders to please be safe.  Third world really is not the case.  Though let’s leave the teetering Brazil out of it for now.  This continent was discovered not long after (I think 1492, with all due respect to the indigenous people) North America, and they have their own thing going on!  In Argentina and Chile especially, the metro system is fabulous, technology seems to be up to par and it’s not, by any stretch of the concept: third world.  Chile is so clean, and big.  Tidy but mellow, if that makes any sense.  People on their mobile phones, in suits, grabbing lunch to go, but not like NYC at 1:00pm in midtown.  Less chaotic.  Argentina was far more Parisian.  Chilean wine, I discovered, is my personal preference.  Again, leaving Brazil out, the food was remarkable in Chile especially, and Argentina.  And I’ve been told I am picky!


So I am now back to the horrifyingly expensive Brazil.  Transfer to my hotel on Copacobana Beach was offered for a mere $215 USD.  I kid you not.  Rio de Janeiro, sigh.  No wonder Nilmar left!  I am more nervous coming into ‘Bail Rio’, especially after shit hole Sao Paulo, than I have been anywhere else, except maybe Dayton, Ohio.  Hopefully I will be pleasantly surprised (rather than actually chopped up into little pieces) and can give a clean bill of passage to those hopeful Olympic spectators.  I can tell you this right now: start saving your bennies (not pennies), because this glorified Mexico is going to break the bank.


I don’t remember if I was as ready to come home after my big Thai trip last year.  I think maybe the business has grown giving me less freedom.  And being on the same time zone is harder.  But thanks to three especially helpful, competent, patient and supportive friends… looks like I’m going to make it through!  I’m severely missing NYC and my Hale & Hearty salad, run in Central Park and egg-spinach wrap.  😦  I’ll heed the advice from What About Bob and baby step it to this weekend when I am HOME!


More importantly, why is LAN, which I’ve discovered is (deservedly) South America’s #1 airline, playing stupid Two and a Half Men with loser Charlie Sheen!!?  He should just marry Lindsay Lohan, NOT procreate, and drug each other to their hearts’ content, outside the eye of the public.  Or, here’s a thought, maybe the American public could stop giving a rat’s ass what either of them do!  (tangent, sorry)  I want to organize a ‘Keep LiBlo Out of Media’ club.


Genuinely, I am grateful for the opportunities I have, and then there’s this side: ‘blow me United’.  All of this is their fault with baiting me to make Platinum this year.  Bravo Liz, alfajores for all!  I’m so relieved to realize my priorities are in good shape.


Happy Birthday, albeit belated, to Handsome DJ Handsome.  🙂

Buenos Aires is absolutely lovely, and so green!

Buenos Aires is absolutely lovely, and so green!

I wish I could say this beautiful photo was taken on my jog along Avenida Adolfo Berra in the newly beloved Buenos Aires.  I wish.  Instead it was taken from the window of my taxi en route to Palermo SoHo to shop after my sites at Park Hyatt and Four Seasons.  Shop.  That entailed a quick peruse through a street market, a short negotiation on two pair of super cute Argentine earrings, and then I spotted the pub.

This was yesterday afternoon, but let me start with my arrival in Argentina a few days earlier.  You need the back story.

First of all, Brazil blows.  I couldn’t get out of there soon enough.  I originally reported how smooth everything was in Brazil.  Argentina was even better!  And it involved a reciprocity fee in addition to immigration.  But I can now enter Brazil, Argentina and Chile for the next ten years free of charge!  I won’t be taking advantage of the Brazilian admittance anytime in the near future, if ever.  Might even boycott 2016 Olympics!  🙂

Anyway, Argentina is just lovely!  The people, the food, the sprawling, chic and beautiful ciudad reminded me so much of Paris!  It was amazing.  Blew me away, maybe even more so than Istanbul.  That would be a tough call.  I was blown away, not quite sure why, by all the trees all over the place.  There seemed to be every varietal of tree all within the one city.  Palm trees next to fig trees, next to loads of other types of trees that I don’t know the names of.  I thought certain trees only existed in particular climates, and perhaps that is the case and I’m just a bit daft.  But for whatever reason, the Argentine trees left an impression on me.

I will definitely be taking advantage of my paid reciprocity fee to Argentina.  This portion of my South American trip will be forever close to my heart.

On day two in Argentina, I went jogging, worked, the usual… and was feeling antsy having not seen anything yet in my two days.  I finally put work to rest and just had a quick walk around Recoleta, by the cemetery and vicinity.  Work started to get impatient and I found myself rather far out so I took a taxi to Park Hyatt.  I was kind of discombobulated, more so than my norm, as I entered.  I hear someone call my name.  Mind you, I was sober.  Great minds obviously think alike, it must’ve been about 4:30pm-ish and clearly time for a cocktail.  I kid you not, the illuminating Susie was standing there on the steps calling my name.  Duncan and Susie are old buddies from B&B and used to live in San Fran.  I think they moved home to New Zealand (sadly, though happily for them) before I moved to New York, and I think before LMC Direct’s inception.  What a GRAND surprise!!!  Neither of us could really believe it for a good pause of time!  For me, seeing the Oldes was my best travel surprise to date.

I’m now going to loop you back in on yesterday’s taxi ride to shop and my propitious entrada to the pub.  I had to meet Duncs and Suse for dinner at 9:00pm.  I had four hours to kill, which, along with several brain cells, I did well.  There were four Brits on a ‘boyfriend trip’ at the bar, pissed still from the night before (in the same pub), and we got on well from the get-go.  They pretended to be annoyed that my grey gooses were being served with lemon zest around the edge of my glass and garnished with hearts and flowers.  🙂  Turns out the boys are headed to Rio, same time as me.  Oh man, what a hard night that’s going to be!  (stay tuned!)  They were super funny, but admittedly got me a bit ‘pissed’ with shots and who knows what else.  The boys needed etiquette lessons (sigh… the English) understanding why its NOT okay to call the bartender Pablo even though his name is Ignacio, and some taming down of their desire to play Phil Collins, which, oddly enough, I mentioned him previously being played in the Brazilian taxi.  It was all good fun, but after four hours of Peter, Paul, Paul and Brian (who did NOT get why I told them they needed a Mary in their crew), I showed up to dinner already well juiced up.  Thankfully, I’ve got this hollow leg (yes, the left one) I was blessed with at birth.

Needless to say, I had a hell of a time packing and trekking to the airport today.  And what is up with Excedrin!!?  When will you come back to me!?  It was a rather miserable journey over the snowcapped Andes to Santiago.  But the Ritz is so amazing, they went to the pharmacia to collect la aspirina con cafeina for me!  Now she (me) is back in the saddle again and my Chilean Sea Bass, while in Chile, just arrived!

Buen provecho!  xx

Best travel surprise EVER... from 'half the world away' equally

Best travel surprise EVER… from ‘half the world away’ equally