explore_istanbul, turkey

Istanbul is amazing. A city so rich in history and culture that has been beautifully preserved while at the same time adapting to modernity and Western influence in such a tasteful way. Physically, it is an incredible site with centuries of man's creation against a backdrop of hills and the sea. Despite being littered with tourists (especially in areas like Sultanahmet district), it still feels so authentically real. No matter where you go, what you do, you are absorbed by the Turkish way. Turks are so proud of their culture, and seem to have found a balance of maintaining that pride while Western influence continues to pervade. A balance that I haven't seen in many other cities. 


Breakfast at Van Kahvaltı Evi

I pride myself in making elaborate breakfasts for myself daily, but Turks are on another level. A table full of delicious spreads, local honey, and cheeses and refills of turkish tea. It is so so good. 

Visit Van Kahvaltı Evi


Hang out at Yaba

No idea how we stumbled on this spot, but while walking down Istiklal, a detour into a building and up some stairs led us to listening to old Turkish records with the owners of Yaba, a thrift store for books and a small collection of records. Luckily their son spoke a bit of English, and found my interest in records entertaining. 

Visit Yaba



My most favorite baklava in the world (sorry Lebanon!), this stuff is insanely addictive. Luckily, there is a cafe in NYC that has it flown in on a weekly basis. But eating fresh baklava from Güllüoglu was part of our daily schedule in Istanbul. It is THAT good.

Favorite location was in Taksim 


Shop at Grand Bazaar

It's super touristy, but just do it. Opportunities to buy this kind of beautiful craftsmanship don't come often, and you're supporting local artisans.


Yeni Lokanta Dinner

Not quite authentic Turkish food, but a really solid take on a modern interpretation of traditional Turkish cuisine. The space is beautifully designed and has a great ambiance, if that's your thing. Opt for the tasting menu for maximum dish exposure.

Visit Yeni Lokanta


Visit Kadikoy

You'd be a moron to go all the way to Istanbul and only experience the European side. The Asian side feels drastically different, and way more authentic. The ferry is quick, and you'll enter street markets to stroll as soon as you disembark.

Have a Turkish coffee at Fazil Bey, serving the best since 1923.

explore_paros, greece

Once you've checked the box of the main 3 in Greece (Athens, Santorini, Mykonos), make your way over to the smaller vacation island of locals – Paros.


Sativa for brunch

Unique combinations for fresh juices, smoothies and dishes. The beet juice was full of ginger and mint, and my eggs were topped with tahini and goji berries - both were UNREAL. 

Visit Sativa

Antiparos for the day

Worth the mini excursion - recommended to me by a local, Antiparos is 10 min boat ride away from Paros, and is much more calm and trendy (literally only Greeks) compared to the larger towns of Parikia & Lefkes on Paros


Shop at morethanthis

A stunningly designed shop filled with pieces by upcoming Greek designers. The perfect place to pick up gifts for the non-gimmicky-tchotchke people in your life including ceramics, paintings and jewelry. Created by Elena Xanthopoulou whom also designed the space.

Visit Morethanthis


Barbarossa for dinner

This one is no secret; you'll find it easily on trip advisor – but for those who enjoy seafood, this spot cannot be missed. It's located at the very edge of the island and you're surrounded by water on all sides

Visit Barbarossa

moped paros

Rent some wheels

Getting around Paros is next to impossible and insanely expensive (I'm pretty sure there are maybe 10 taxis on the island, and each one rakes in thousands a day during peak season). Until Uber arrives in Paros, do yourself a favor and stay independent by renting a moped, car or ATV to get around.


Recommend Paros Bike Rentals

holi in india

Gulaal, the colored powder used for Holi, "is one element that wraps the diverse nation of India into one united race. No caste or racial differences; only one color reigns."