My Kind of Town

Chicago has many nicknames, with the most popular one being the "Windy City." 

I looked up the other nicknames, and it took me two seconds to choose my favourite – "My Kind of Town". It is exactly how I feel about Chicago!  

There were two reasons why I returned just a few weeks ago: the first was to reconnect and snuggle up with the Peninsula Bear…

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I Left My Heart in Ballyfin

There is an estate called Ballyfin in County Laois, Ireland. The only reason why I know of its existence is because of a photo I spotted several years ago while leafing through an edition of Travel + Leisure magazine.

The picture was of a housekeeper in a classic chic black-and-white uniform, ascending an elegant cantilevered stone staircase. The backdrop was a wall painted in the prettiest shade of blue I have ever seen. On it were large, colourful portrait paintings, set in wide gold frames.

The moment I laid eyes on that image I knew I would be climbing those stairs one day. I mumbled something along the lines of: "Heaven's me… where is this place?!" Well! It took me over seven years… but this past September, there I was: Ballyfin, Ireland.

And up the pretty stairs I went!

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Where Life Approaches Perfection

If you look up the word Shangri-La in the dictionary, you will find the title to this article. After reading the definition I picked a phrase I felt was most relevant – "Where Life Approaches Perfection". 

The title is the most accurate way to describe the Shangri-La Hotel, Paris, and here, through my images, is some solid validation as to why I feel that this establishment is flawless. I realize "flawless" is a big statement, but I cannot find a thing off in this exquisite hotel! 

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Glorious Days and Magical Nights in Marrakech - Part Two

When I travel, the greatest gratification is when a hotel gets the first impression right. It's all about the arrival. When a handsome man in a tailored hotel uniform opens your car door, with two others standing behind him, and the first thing you hear is: "Welcome to Amanjena, Mrs. Thiessen!" – you know you're in for a real treat. They make you feel special, as though they've been waiting for months for you to arrive. 'It's me! I'm here!' I wanted to yell out. (Of course, with a little self-control, I kept it all inside – but really, this was how I felt.)

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Glorious Days and Magical Nights in Marrakech - Part One

Welcome to the Royal Mansour Marrakech – "where dreams live and emotions are born."

I'd say!

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Sleeping in the Trees

It may safely be said that just about every child's dream is to have a treehouse. Honestly, what could possibly be more fun than having your own little private place up in the trees during your younger years? A place where your Barbies can make out in peace (teehee!) and where your Hello Kitty diary is kept safe? Perhaps even the spot where you stash the candy you purchased with the coins you "borrowed" from mom's purse while she wasn't looking?

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How is it August Already?

What do you do when the summer just hasn't been quite hot enough? (Sarcasm!)

Why, you book a trip to a destination that's even hotter, of course! Yikes! And, with the late summer deals and all, my beautiful hotels were calling.

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My Beautiful Mexico City

Dear Mexico City,

How pretty are you!? I really had no idea. 

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Pinch Me!

Have you ever had a "pinch me" moment? When you just couldn't believe something was really happening?

One of my greatest pinch me moments involves Coco Chanel, and the time I was invited to visit her original apartment in Paris.

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My Beautiful Paris E-boutique

Despite the fact that I'm no trendsetter, I am constantly asked where I've purchased this and that. Do I have a favourite pair of comfy flats, a favourite travel bag, cosmetic bag, or, yes, even a favourite coffee mug? And what am I currently reading? I have been pulled aside many times and asked where I bought my coat, my scarf or my bag, and so forth.

Because of these constant queries, I decided it was time to open an e-boutique!

Drum roll please!

Ta-dahhhhh ­– I am excited to introduce to you the My Beautiful Paris E-boutique at!

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