On the Border, Grenada and Apple Wine in Frankfurt

This week saw one of my big projects wind down, so I'm back in pitch mode, scouring the world for more bylines and, hopefully, another anchor client. The freelance life is constantly in flux and while I'm always in some phase of pitching, I was able to go lighter the last couple of months due to a large anchor client and many random things being assigned to me, which is always a delight. The ride never ends!

I had an essay--my first personal essay--go live at Flung Magazine, which was my first byline for them. It was about a heavy day I spent on the eastern Arizona/Sonora border and all of the tensions and contradictions therein. It reads a little sensational--mentions of El Chapo, the Sinaloa Cartel, Al Qaeda and migrant deaths--but the reality is these are facts that are part of daily life in that area of the border. I'm really quite proud of how it came out, especially since it was my first stab at this kind of writing.

Photo credit Jackie Bryant

Photo credit Jackie Bryant

I also had a feature published at Thrillist, in their national travel section, which is so exciting because that site gets a crazy amount of eyes on it. It was about my trip to Grenada--why you should go, why people haven't been going, and what you should do while there. I really like working with Thrillist--their editors are great and they've highly collaborative and accessible. They also move quickly and pay quickly, which are two things that are a bit of a rarity in this business.

Photo credit Jackie Bryant

Photo credit Jackie Bryant

A short piece of mine went live at Roads & Kingdoms, which was about drinking apple wine in Frankfurt and how surreal it was being in Europe during the first round of the French elections, particularly after our own American election last fall. That story ended up having a happy ending, but I didn't know that at the time I was experiencing it.

Photo credit Jackie Bryant

Photo credit Jackie Bryant

On the horizon is a quick trip home to New York, a lot of deadlines, some new freelance bylines and a month-long trip to Barcelona with a quick side trip to Italy to do R&D for upcoming Salt & Wind trips. With a helluva lot of pitching in between!


I'm exhausted, a little sick and physically worse for the wear but writing from a very happy place: home and AFTER our inaugural Salt & Wind trip to Baja.

It was a raging success! I feel so lucky and grateful to be bringing people who would have never ventured just south of the border to Tijuana and the Valle de Guadalupe and can't wait to do it all over again. Truthfully, we had no major snafus--none of the mood killers or organizational problems that would have killed a group trip. There were some minor things that need smoothing out, as any first run of any venture will reveal, but mostly everything worked exactly the way we wanted it to. Mostly, it was so exciting to hear people's genuine excitement about the region, as well as their surprise over how fun and special they think it is.

We were able to show our new friends all of the dynamic businesses of our Baja friends: design stores, art galleries, boutique hotels, taco stands, breweries, fine dining restaurants, wineries and more. Being in San Diego, I know people here are inundated with info about Baja. I forget that outside this area, not many people know about all of the exciting things happening there, so it's a true honor to be able to showcase that. Below are some snaps from the past four days -- here's to many more!

Boycotting Venice, Hanoi and Centipede Moonshine

I think that's a clickbaity title if I've ever come up with one, no?

I arrived back from Germany this week and think I'm getting the hang of this constantly traveling, wrangling jet lag thing. I was able to get back into my routine fairly quickly. The end of my trip was spent in Berlin, where I reconnected with a good friend from high school who happened to be visiting at the same time. Berlin is a captivating city: naturally counterculture, intensely livable. I wish it were an option for us!

I am currently at Portland International Airport, waiting for my flight back to San Diego. I spent the weekend in the Tualatin Valley, checking out quirky hotels, good coffee, local food and the wonders of Oregon pinot noir. It was a treat being able to taste so much Oregon pinot & riesling, something they're known for, right on the heels of having tasted all this pinot & riesling in Germany, something that country is known for, as well. 

This was another fun week for publishing. I had my very first byline at The Independent, one of the UK's largest digital publications. The city of Venice recently announced they would try to enact charging for entry into Piazza San Marco. Having witnessed similar measures in Barcelona, I think it's a bit ridiculous and doesn't adequately address the crush of tourism. I managed to sufficiently piss off the "Save Venice" internet mob, who seemed not to read the details of my piece--but are you even publishing real opinions if half the internet doesn't come after you for it? Nonetheless, I stand by it and I'm glad I wrote it.

I also had a small contribution to this Thrillist roundup of places you need to visit before you turn 30 (HA!). I wrote about Hanoi, Vietnam, where I lived for a time when I was 21.

I also wrote a short story for Roads & Kingdoms, about the centipede/marijuana/deer horn/overproof rum hooch I sampled while in Grenada a few months ago.

T-2 weeks until Salt & Wind Baja trip liftoff! Tomorrow it's off to Tijuana and Valle de Guadalupe for our final "trip before the trip."

Here are some snaps from my trip to Germany:


Dresden Philharmonic at the just reopened Kulturpalast Dresden

Dresden Philharmonic at the just reopened Kulturpalast Dresden

The Bauhaus-style exterior of the Kulturpalast Dresden

The Bauhaus-style exterior of the Kulturpalast Dresden

Frauenkirche in Dresden

Frauenkirche in Dresden

Schloss-Proschwitz winery in Meissen, Saxony

Schloss-Proschwitz winery in Meissen, Saxony

Ruedesheim, Germany

Ruedesheim, Germany

Assmannshausen, Germany

Assmannshausen, Germany

Lunch at the Meissen porcelain factory (on Meissen porcelain!)

Lunch at the Meissen porcelain factory (on Meissen porcelain!)

Germany, Tijuana, Long Island and mas Baja!

I cannot believe it's practically May--this time last year, I was almost a month out of my finance career, freaking out and hitting the pavement. That hasn't exactly abated, but life is busy and good and I can't believe I'm doing all of this just a year later.

I'm typing this from Dresden, one of my new favorite cities in the world. What a dynamic place--being here and experiencing its energy, it's easy to forget it's only 500,000 people. Prior to this, I spent time in Meissen, where I slept at a winery owned by an actual Prince and Princess; Frankfurt, where I drank a lot of Apple wine and walked the entirety of the city; and Ruedesheim, where I ate an ungodly amount of schnitzel and drank my face off with Riesling. Tomorrow, I head to Berlin and from there I'll fly back to California. This trip was incredible--I was on my own for most of it, which I love, and I enjoyed Germany every bit as much as I expected. Now comes the "fun" part, selling articles! I have two lined up with many more good ideas right behind it.

I had a lot published this past week. At Salt & Wind, I published a guide about what to eat in Baja California. My boss and colleague, Aida, who owns and runs the site, realized that nothing out there gives a comprehensive guide to Baja food. So we decided that I should write it for us. 

At AFAR, my long-awaited story about Long Island wine went live. It focuses on cabernet franc and mentions some of my most favorite wineries. Writing this made me decently homesick and sad that I don't have plans to go back any time soon. Nonetheless, I'm glad Long Island wine is finally quality and getting its time in the sun.

New Worlder published my eat list for San Diego, which has some surprising picks apart from the usual lists that pop up around town (if I do say so myself) and is LatAm heavy, as one should expect from reading the site. It's also basically my and my husband's "where should we eat tonight" go-to list. The photos are beautiful and it came out really nicely, I think.

My cheeky list of things you have to know before visiting Tijuana for the first time went up at Thrillist San Diego. This was a quick and dirty one and I got to fire off a few pot shots at pendejo gringos while mentioning some businesses and people I love supporting.

Getting a head start on monthly San Diego print articles was the lead feature I wrote for Pacific Magazine, which was my first story for them. It was--shock!!!--about Tijuana, specifically where to go, what to do and why. It was chopped up into a couple of sections, but this is the whole series, which is worth checking out.

Tomorrow is off to Berlin, home for a few precious days to actually spend time with my husband who I miss terribly, and then later in the week I'm out again to Washington County, Oregon for a quick two-day trip. Then to Baja for some final trip prep--we're in crunch time at Salt & Wind. Adios!

Grenada, Mezcal in Guatemala and monthly San Diego

Greetings from the magical island of Grenada! I've been here for the past 4/5 days on a whirlwind tour of this misunderstood island nation. I don't want to give too much away here, since the blog is primarily for sharing published work and I intend on saving the good stuff for forthcoming articles, but this place is wonderful. Grenada is less touristed than other Caribbean islands but just as beautiful--essentially, a winning combination. More to come.

I've been working like a madwoman but things have been slow to publish, and I'm pretty sure I have a whole lot of yet-to-be-published work out in the world that will surface without me remembering I even wrote it. Which is exciting! This short piece at Roads & Kingdoms went live--it's about my recent trip to Guatemala with the folks at Ilegal Mezcal. The brand owner also owns a bar, called Cafe No Se, and I think it might be the greatest bar in the world. And definitely one of the shadiest, but that often goes hand-in-hand. 

On the print front, it's time for the monthly magazine release and deluge. My Ranch & Coast column talks about botanical cocktails you can find around San Diego. I have a very short part of San Diego Magazine's Best of North County issue, where I plug my favorite Spanish restaurant in the United States, Cesar in Rancho Santa Fe. In Modern Luxury San Diego's April issue, I wrote the Eat Sheet, which talks about the new incarnations of local favorites: the new Buona Forchetta in Liberty Station, the new Streetcar Merchants in La Jolla and Herb and Wood's casual eatery, which recently opened in Little Italy. Called Herb & Eatery, it's my designated "on the way to Mexico" stop for their awesome vanilla-mint latte and its location right off the freeway. I also wrote about the opening of Hive, a new eating and drinking adult arcade on Convoy. 

Lots of good things on the horizon, including the launch of our Salt & Wind trips in late May and trips to Baja, Napa, Seattle, San Francisco, Germany and Oregon's Tualatin Valley. Almost all of it is work-related, so keep an eye out for corresponding articles.


Natural wine, mezcal, Arizona, Baja and surfing

Did I mention our Salt & Wind trips to Baja are on sale? Because they are. Tell everyone you know! We did an Instagram takeover at New Worlder yesterday, so head to their account to check it out (@new_worlder).

I just returned from a week in Arizona, where I was traveling around Southern Arizona and workshopping with a great author, Tom Miller. We had many adventures on both sides of the border and I have a lot of great material for stories to come. The most striking difference, to me, was how much more angry and politicized the Arizona border is than the line in San Diego. Other than that, it was a delight spending the waning winter days in the desert. I'm starting to become one of those "desert people"--I really love the beauty, serenity and strange vibration of the Sonoran Desert.

I wrote this guide for surfers at Luxury Living International. It details the best places to live and surf in the Caribbean, Central America and Mexico.

My second piece for Ranch & Coast Magazine was posted online. It's a print mag, but they eventually reproduce the pieces digitally. This one is about natural wine, last month's was about mezcal. I may have mentioned this before, but it's absolutely one of my favorite assignments. A monthly drink column, short and sweet. It's really fun to write and to continually be brainstorming about what comes next. I hope it'll continue for awhile to come.

Off to Cabo now, with all of my friends from New York! Have a great weekend.

Mas Tijuana, Mexican Spas, and a Salt & Wind Baja Update

I had yet another busy week--decompressing from Guatemala and getting ready for a week-long run to Tucson and Cabo San Lucas.

Firstly, we are getting ready to launch our Salt & Wind trips! A lot of blood, sweat and tears (literally) has gone into this planning and we can't wait to start booking and taking people on adventures. March 8th is the date, with four trips going live in May and June. We are working with some wonderful partners, including the roving supper club Club Tengo Hambre

I had yet another piece go live about Tijuana, this time at Roads and Kingdoms. Unlike the others, this was a short narrative about an afternoon I spent with Food Not Bombs in Tijuana's Zona Norte, searching for Haitian chicken and learning about food politics.

Also published was a piece I did for AFAR about the best spa I've ever been to, no exaggeration. Cabo San Lucas' Resort at Pedregal, besides being one of the nicest resorts on the planet, has a killer spa that infuses local curanderismo principles with treatments adhering to the cycles of the moon and sea.

On the print front, I had several local pieces come out. My second installation for what's looking to be a monthly drink column for Ranch & Coast was printed in the March issue. It's about biodynamic/natural wines (you can find it by clicking on "Clips") and I got to include a nice quote from a great interview I conducted with Rajat Parr last spring. San Diego Magazine's March issue also went live, which includes a feature about why San Diego is better than Los Angeles. My contribution is, unsurprisingly, about the fact that we're a border city. You can also find my byline in Modern Luxury San Diego's March issue, with a reprinted bit about a North Park-based speaker console designer called Wrensilva. It was originally printed in the winter issue of Modern Luxury Interiors California (also in "Clips"). 

Hello, 2017!

Initially, I intended for this space to be an online home for just my portfolio - nothing else. Over time, I realized that it would be helpful and fun to talk about the interesting things I see and eat that don't make it into an article, as well as have a place to kick some ideas around without the pressure of publishing. Also, I wanted another space to share some published work I don't necessarily want to post on my portfolio, for reasons of brevity. 

Since this site will, primarily, remain a spot to share published work, I figured I'd start 2017 with a roundup of things I wrote that came out in 2016. Enjoy, and thanks for visiting!


First things first: I was incredibly proud to publish at Roads & Kingdoms for the first time. Especially considering it's about a topic near and dear to my heart, Mexico's Valle de Guadalupe. Wonderful though the area is, it has a major problem that spells big trouble for its future.

This story, also about the Valle de Guadalupe for Harper's BAZAAR digital, was my first national piece and what broke everything wide open for me, so to speak. I was happy to do another piece for them later in the year about a wonderful culinary trip I took to Oaxaca in July 2016.

I began contributing to a new site about food and culture in the Americas, called New Worlder. I'm proud to be among their ranks and excited to see how the site will grow - if you check out the various contributors, you'll see everyone has a pretty stacked resume and is putting out great content. I wrote about the classic Oaxacan street food, the tlayuda as well as the rise of another agave spirit called raicilla, for which I won 1st prize in the food category at the annual San Diego Press Club Excellence in Journalism Awards.

I also began contributing to AFAR digital, where I wrote stories about the Valle de Guadalupe (and profiled a man who, unknown to me at the time, would end up being my boss for 6 months just a few months later) and raicilla.

I returned to the Infatuation to host a dinner in San Diego for them in partnership with American Express. The corresponding article lists the best spots in San Diego for celebrations. Later in the year, they invited me to produce a re-write of a guide to Barcelona that I had originally written for them in 2014.

I became a digital contributor to Long Island PULSE magazine, my hometown regional publication. I wrote a restaurant overview as well as a few "Strong Island" pieces, including this one, which was one of their 10 most read of 2016.

I had a few month-long stint as the lifestyle editor for a luxury lifestyle site called JustLuxe, which sadly, is closing its doors in January 2017. While there, I got to write some great features: an interview with the Roca brothers of Spain's El Celler de Can Roca (3rd place in the Profiles category at the San Diego Press Club Excellence in Journalism Awards), an interview with Spanish-American chef Jose Andres just before he was awarded his first Michelin stars, a dive into the world of natural wine, a insider's look at the value of the Aspen Food & Wine Classic, an interview with JetSmarter CEO Sergey Petrossov, an interview with yacht designer Luiz de Basto, a profile on the ultra-exclusive dating app Raya, a look at South Africa's booming fine dining scene, and the billions that go into the Monaco Grand Prix.

I had a memorable year in print, as well, producing several pieces for Locale Magazine, Modern Luxury San Diego and my first solo byline for San Diego Magazine, which was about a culinary-themed trip I took to Arizona.

I produced several pieces for a San Diego-based travel company, called Classic Journeys. Although they're marketing material, I'm actually quite proud with how they came out and would feel comfortable recommending any of them to someone visiting the Basque Country, Vietnam or Iceland - all places I've visited (and lived in) and loved

At the very end of the year, I formally joined Luxury Living International as their editor. Prior to that, I wrote about the Valle de Guadalupe, raicilla, handmade yachts, developer and jack of all trades Peter de Savary, Cabo San Lucas' Resort at Pedregal and the best spots in the Caribbean to host a wedding.