Archive for October, 2014


A view across Chain Bridge to the Buda side of the Danube!

I ordered a sparkling water and a glass of rosé, to go with my goulash. And apparently this is ‘the’ typical daytime beverage of choice for the Hungarian people. Mixing sparkling avec gas frizzante water, which was invented in this spectacular country, along with their rosé wine. This is pretty much how my life seems to go these days. Everything fits perfectly. Obviously I am full of stories, always true and generally funny… usually with some sort of cringed image of whatever mischief I’ve managed to bump myself into. Unintentionally.

The same unintentional theory is still applicable now, it’s just that it’s all suddenly perfect. 😁 Remember the intro scene to ‘Meet The Parents’ with Ben Stiller? Leaving Chicago with everything sorted out and on time. The weather is perfect. A taxi happens to be right outside, every traffic light flashes green as they approach, random upgrades to first class at the airport. Everything is ‘just so’. ✨ It makes me laugh because I don’t think anyone, myself included, could ever use the descriptive words ‘just so’ with regard to me. Hmm… at least not pertaining to my personal life, to be fair. It’s quite bizarre to live in this world of random perfection for over a month, continuously. Or am I just viewing the world now through rosé-coloured glasses? 😉 Non… il est: “ce sentiment qu’on appelle l’amour”. 😍

What little bit of Budapest I’ve seen thus far, blows doors on several other destinations, especially Prague! But not in a sustainable way, like my new French home in Bordeaux. Budapest is alive, a bit gritty, quite cold out, breathtakingly beautiful and one of the most authentic cities I’ve ever visited. The people are warm and inviting, the food is incredible everywhere, and the culture is rich with a light buzz and true depth. Now that I’m thinking about it, perhaps it’s a little bit like New York! The New York of Europe!!! This place has got heart… and the goods to back it up. I had a soft, mellow arrival. The apartment is perfect, well located and I’ve not broken any keys in the five doors and locks required for entry. I had a head cold probably caught in chilly Munich, and some devastating news from Switzerland. 😪 I took it easy in preparation for all the excitement that will take place in my short time here.

Perhaps I am the only idiot in the room, but honestly… I needed to answer the “what is goulash” question upon my arrival. Which just happened to be the 1956 Revolution Memorial Day, and start of a long national holiday weekend. Not yet certain of the logistics, such as: where can I buy wine? 😉 I sauntered over to the Four Seasons where I knew they would accept my sick puffy-eyed disheveled presence. Wow! Goulash is amazing!!! And it’s got a kick, it perked my little pathetic ass right up! Hello Budapest! 😃 I was all warm and fuzzy inside and had seen just enough magical castles across the lit-up Chain Bridge (if you like that sort of thing) 😉 to go back to my apartment and hibernate for a few days.

Now that I’m healthy again and realise I’m carrying an extra 5kg 😣 of Italian gluten and French happiness… now it is back to reality! Squats and jogs and Hungarian Mud Body Wraps for me. How convenient, there are several gyms within a block in any direction, and a beautiful jogging course along the Danube. I will be ready for the half marathon in Bordeaux!! Hint hint, let’s register! 😄 I actually abstained from booking a weekend flight to visit the Illustrious Frenchman, despite how much I miss him. He will be in Budapest soon enough! 😊 sigh…

Instead I will continue this bizarro world of things like: “hmmm, I need a coat” and boom!🚦Green light… there’s the Burberry store with the trench you always wanted, cheaper than in the US and a 13.5% tourist tax refund. And… I’ve wanted to see Mozart’s Cosi Fan Tutte for quite some time, and boom! It’s featured this month at the extravagantly famous Opera House which my apartment overlooks. Or, “hmmm, I’ve been craving Mexican for about a hundred years now” and boom! There’s a Hungarian taqueria on Teréz kôrût about 500 meters away. 😐 It’s incredible. Incroyable. I now exercise patience (hold your laughter!) in anticipation of all that is ahead. 😁 it is not an easy thing for me: patience.

Fortunately, the lights are all green and I am consistently amazed every time “Illustrious strikes again”. 😍 Now there’s a Liz-story which is practically unbelievable💫 but very true. xx


My favourite new necklace… which needed a chain, and the first shop I walked in had the perfect match. Bizarro world continues…

Packing up Bordeaux était doux-amer

Posted: October 24, 2014 in Travels

The beautiful spa inside the Grand Hotel Bordeaux

I remember the precise moment I chose Bordeaux 🍷 as the second destination for waifdom phase III of Fabulouso 2014. It was on the plane from New York to Las Vegas in August headed to Travel Week. Sigh… who knew then all that could transpire!!? My decade-long obsession with France has been no secret, nor should it come as any surprise. Finally, the decade-long half-assed attempts to actually learn the language now pays off. I never expected to fall so deeply in love with Bordeaux… or have the overwhelming fortune of my name on a mailbox in the most beautiful flat at Gambetta Square. I just love the 18th Century Haussmann-esque beauty. I even like the red brick San Francisco-esque Toulouse, nearby. 😊 At least their weather is not shit! Only positives!

Packing up to leave was bitter sweet. Even though my staunch return is not far off. The lovely owners stored one of three Tumi at their home in Teste de la Buche… preserving all my spring-time outfits for 2015. Only seven more cities between now and December 7th… and probably 7,000 texts with the Illustrious Frenchman. 😘 Mais… tout va bien. Tres bien.

In anticipation of inevitable Bordeaux homesickness, I decided to celebrate my farewell with pure self-indulgence at The Grand Hotel. After all, it is my job to know how the spa treatments actually are, whether they’ve got hammam and sauna… what the temperature of the jacuzzi pool is, things like that. 😇 It is my job! 😊 and it was magnificent. Alas there was laundry to finish, Peppone pizza (and more fucking fromage) to enjoy… plus a 13:28 TGV to Paris to look forward to. Three blissful nights with Dorchester and Park Hyatt, which will never be forgotten. Nor will my gratitude ever wear thin. 😘 Experiencing Paris in my beloved and crazy industry with the Illustrious Frenchman, was the most sane, funny, grounded, loving and fabulous time I’ve had… perhaps in my whole life. 💕

For the first time in as long as I can remember, I did not squeeze in seven hotel sites a day. Of course Envizage is always my priority… perhaps this trip focused a bit more on the concierge aspects of my business. 😉 There was incredible live jazz in St Germaine de Pres, exhibits at Pompidou Museum of Modern Art, a magical sweet kiss on Pont Neuf and greasy pomme frites avec moutarde at 2 o’clock in the morning. At Le Meurice’s Dali 228, Pascal remembered me and AJ 😉 (duh) from 2011, and they now have the best gin, ginger and Tabasco cocktail. It was a fabulously unexpected French month which is best explained by Pulp’s brilliant song ‘Something Changed’. We celebrated Park Hyatt’s new Michelin-star at Pûr and it was one of the most extraordinary dinners ever. Everything cooked to perfection, reasonable portions and definitely no truffle soufflé to gag on. However I suspect a ‘run to the border’ when I am home for Thanksgiving will be rather extraordinary as well. 😁. Tu me manques France, already.

However, Budapest awaits! With hilarious visitors, French lessons and the Illustrious Frenchman to look forward to. It is strange not to have been in an airport since August, yet I feel like I’ve traveled the entire universe. November and December will more than make up for my airport love. ✈️

Each destination has delivered such incredibly different experiences. I expect nothing less from my month in Budapest, complete with a fireplace and balcony overlooking the Opera House. I am afraid it will go by quickly. For now, I am grateful for Rome (especially my last Friday night), fell unexpectedly in love in Bordeaux… oops I mean: in love with Bordeaux 😉 and intend to make the absolute most of Budapest while working seriously hard, in preparation for all the incredible events that lay ahead. And I’m still just talking about 2014!

I wonder if my French fairy tale is coming true. I wonder… 😘 🇫🇷 and thank you 🇮🇹. x and ooo


Alain Ducasse champagne and Paprika Pringles! A Le Meurice ‘must’


The Illustrious Frenchman is multi-talented…

I found my heart in Bordeaux

Posted: October 4, 2014 in Travels

The Reflecting Pool at La Bourse, along the Garonne River

Sorry Tony Bennett… I couldn’t wait to get the hell out of San Fran and I most certainly didn’t leave my heart there. And while I have vivaciously been in a New York State of Mind for several years now… I think I actually found my heart in Bordeaux. 💘 En français: J’ai trouvé mon coeur à Bordeaux. Get Benjamin Biolay on the phone STAT… I think we definitely have another hit song here in ‘La Belle Endormie’. I don’t ever want to say au revoir.

Bordeaux is not the easiest city to get to, except from maybe Paris or Toulouse 😉 I have to admit I kind of like it that way! This is no place for the faint-hearted. From the moment I dragged my 5th piece of cargo up the 67 steep stairs into my flat… I just ‘knew’. 😍 Isn’t that what ‘they’ say about love? Shortly after, I shared a vin rosé aperitif with the owners and friends to celebrate. I text them the following morning to lock in mon grand retour. Victor Hugo, a fellow Piscean and massively talented Frenchman, felt love for Bordeaux as well. My only worry is that the climate is a bit too temperate. I will miss the snow, and the palace in NYC… the one on Park Avenue. F the one in midtown! !!! I must admit to my excitement for spending Christmas-time and the winter here. Do my beloved European Christmas markets exist in the southwest of France?? Or is it too warm for vin chaud. 😳

I’ve joined InterNations, an expat community as a newbie Bordelaise! 😃 I was so disappointed to miss a dinner on Wednesday due to my invoices and end-of-month. La prochaine fois. I have started month five of the self-induced squat/tricep/ab challenge and am looking forward to working off the noticeable intake of pizza! pasta! pizza! pasta! that is unavoidable in Roma. Baguettes à la France are no help! Jogging along the qais, the Illustrious Frenchman and shopping in centre-ville will trigger motivation! Rosetta Stone and I are back to talking nightly about assiettes bleu et les poissons rouges nagent. 🇫🇷 I must improve my French.

Having said that, I have been shopping en français! I’ve replenished all my vitamins and coconut oil, tried on and acheté un manteau, and made trois reservations at the train station! All in French! Unlike the lovely VP, I do not dream en français… one can only aspire! 😉 Instead I dream of a grey kitten I fret over… WTF!!? Oh jeez, that dream book mom gave me is packed up tight in New Jersey storage! Qu’est-ce que ça veut dire !!? 😆 Translation: what does it mean!? I think all of it means that I have found my heart in Bordeaux. The beauty is that I really cannot be bothered to be anything other than incredibly happy… unless le chaton gris shows up on my doorstep! Living in France is like magic. ⚡️ It’s better than a fucking fairy tale! The Costellos are all en fuego (oops wrong language). Love in Bordeaux, babies in Washington and a new career in Bangkok. Wow. I just love us! 😊

For the record… everyone can stop with the Eat Prey Love crap. I never saw the movie and couldn’t get through the first chapter of the whiny book.  Pour moi: “It wasn’t money or love I was looking for. I had a heightened sense of awareness, was set in my ways, impractical and a visionary to boot. My mind was strong like a trap and I didn’t need any guarantee of validity.” Sigh… Je t’aime Bob Dylan!

Bordeaux seems somewhere I can stand still for a bit. I’ve only got seven more fabulous cities to love before that happens. Starting with Toulouse today! 😁 Absence makes the heart grow fonder… if it’s meant to be, that is!  x


Beautiful Gare de St Jean, on route to a truly beautiful weekend in Toulouse x