I left for London New Year's Day. New York winters post-holidays are nothing to stick around for. While London isn't much warmer, it's easier to push past the discomfort when I'm only visiting. I temporarily moved into the new apartment of my old SoHo roommates and spent two and half weeks back at the SUITCASE office. I sheepishly pretended to be a beer fan while secretly drinking cider at happy hour, ogled clothes at Liberty for hours on end, spent my nights in the bar upstairs at Ronnie Scott's, and frequented Dishoom more often than I should probably admit.
Leaving London, I went straight to Paris. I stayed in an AirBnB studio in Le Marais, just a few minutes walk from Place des Vosges. My morning routine consisted of an almond croissant and freshly squeezed orange juice from Le Moulin de Rosa, an hour and a half walk to Proenza Schouler's showroom in the 17th arrondissement, and a pit stop in the Tuileries on the way - it's best enjoyed at 7am before the chaos of the crowds. Spending ten days in Paris without knowing anyone was a dream. I met an elderly couple at the Louis Vuitton Foundation, a piano player at the Jim Haynes dinner party, and interior designers dining at the counter of La Boissonnerie. People watching at Le Barav with a plate full of cheese was my favorite pastime.
I returned to New York on January 28th. The next weekend I went to my parent's home outside Baltimore for my Grandfather's 7th birthday. We dined decadently - seared scallops with truffle butter, duck breast with fig, foie gras toast with blackberry jam... many, many bottles of wine. I didn't have any trouble falling asleep that night.
Two weekends later I caught a plan to Miami and spent a long weekend on Fisher's Island. If golf carts and seaside sushi are your thing -it's quite a treat.
I spent 10 days on a boat in the BVIs, I grew up boating, but this was the most time I spent consecutively on the water. We lived our days from sunrise to sunset. My skin was covered in salt and stained by the sun. We ate conch seven ways and sang old David Gray songs.
I laid low for most of the month. I spent a long weekend in Connecticut with friends who are practically family. As with anytime I'm out of the city. I took advantage of the space and cooked as much as I could. It was a girls' weekend and we pulled out all the stops - face masks and movie marathons. Thelma and Louise was a hoot.
We flew into St. Barths on an itty bitty plane - a 9-seater to be exact. We were a team of about twelve there for a photo-shoot. Our days started at seven and ended around midnight; it rained four of our six days there, but none the less we had a great time. Staged shots turned into pool parties and six course dinners. When we wrapped the shoot on our last day, we decided to shoot another small story.
Wanderlust turned into reality. After two years of dreaming about photographing, candy colored convertibles and crumbled estates, I made it to Cuba to experience it with three friends. I danced a dance I can't even call the salsa because I butchered it too badly. My dance partner for the night I later found out was a male stripper. Havana was only the beginning.
For the next two weeks, we took taxis down the country. Driving four or five hours every two to three days, we covered a lot of ground. Standout memories include breaking down on the side of the road on the way to Cienfuegos and having a group of guys push the cart to give us a running start, horseback riding in Trinidad, getting stuck in Camaguey and watching all the boys from town makeshift a slip 'n slide during a thunderstorm, jamming to Marc Anthony's Mi Vida on repeat, and eating Coppelia ice cream for dinner because we couldn't fathom another pizza. Let's not mention the missed flight on the way home.
Back to Paris for fifteen days before heading south to Provence. It's easy to fall back into my routine there. In the mornings I ran along the Seine, in the evenings wandered through streets. Bastille day was unforgettable. Sitting with my mom, a bottle of wine and a blanket amidst couples in love - wouldn't want it any other way. We walked back to our place laughing hysterically. On the 15th we left for Ménerbes, our home base for five days in Provence.
Our sightseeing there revolved around food. Lunchtime there was sacred, whether weekday or weekend. We dined at no frill brasseries and Michelin star restaurants, visited a truffle farm and sought out lavender fields. When we weren't eating, we browsed antique shops and artist ateliers. I found my version of heaven.
Post Provence we met my dad in Portugal. We started in Lisbon, then visited Madeira and Porto. Most of my time in Madeira we spent above the clouds. We hiked to Pico Ruivo and followed the trail for 25 Fontes. I discovered I'm more of a nature girl than I thought.
I flew home from Portugal on the 31st of July and moved into a new apartment in the East Village. It was in my first time in New York for an entire month all year, so in a way it felt like traveling. In my time away new restaurants and bars popped up and I lived in a new neighborhood - there was much to explore.
I transitioned back into the routine of work and caught up with friends. I spent a day at the beach in New Jersey and went to the John Mayer concert at PNG Bank Arts Center.
In the middle of the month, I traveled to Los Angeles for work. We had a quick in and out celebrity shoot. With my little bit of downtime I walked the boardwalk and checked out the beach. The only other time I visited LA was when I was 12 years old and I didn't remember a thing.
For the first issue of dimanche journal, we took a road trip up to Montreal, Paige's childhood home. We worked dusk till dawn and didn't see much of the city. But I got to know Oka, Québec quite well. It's a bit of a boondocks town with cigarette stands, farmland and shooting ranges.
To be continued...
Finishing up the year, I'm headed to D.C in November for The Lumineers concert and Waco, Texas in December to stay at the Hillcrest Estate, a property of Chip and Joana Gaines' from HGTV's Fixer Upper. Here's to hoping 2018 is filled with as much adventure.
Words and Images by Carly Smith