Recent Writing Articles

The Winner of the 2012 My Life’s a Trip Vacation Photo Contest is….

The judges have voted and the votes have been tallied. The Grand Prize winner of the My Life’s a Trip Vacation Photo Contest 2012 is…

Jökulsárlón by Claudia Cooper (USA):

Blue ice, a lagoon, the people on the hill… this picture made me want to visit Iceland and warm up with some Brennivin.

Congratulations, Claudia! You made ice look incredibly intriguing and inviting.

The photographer who shot Jökulsárlón, Claudia Cooper, wins a super fly grand prize package worth $1,000 including:

For 2nd place we had a tie!

Dreamland by Jayanta Roy (India) ….

This colorful, joyful entry was wildly intriguing

and Prayer by Sudipto Das (India) :

We were wowed by these sari-clad women praying in the Ganges

Both these colorful entries had identical scores, so instead of casting a deciding between them, we chose to award two 2nd place prizes. Both photographers will receive:

  • A $50 iTunes Gift Card
  • A copy of iPhone Photography: How to Shoot, Edit and Share Great Photographs, the new eBook by Misho Baranovic

Our 3rd Place Winner is Into the Land of Snow and Ice by Zoran Stanko (Croatia):

This mountain scene is nothing short of icy and epic.

For more of Zoran’s Work, check out his

The Third Place winner receives:

Because the judges final scores were close, I have decided to award a few images honorable mentions, since it they were neck and neck with the winners and it was just a matter of points. The photographers of the following images each win Honorable Mentions and a $10 iTunes gift card.

Honorable Mentions go to:

Muir Woods by Melissa Vincent( @misvincent on Instagram and Twitter), Andalusia by Taylor Mitchie(@racingwinds on Twitter), Walled City in Dubrovnik by Laurel Stewart(@lfstewart on Twitter and Instagram), Swiss Alps by Kevin Chen, About to Touch Down (Seattle) by Dina Maccabee, and Strange Bed Pillows by Ver Latorre.

The judges all commented on the quality of the entries and how difficult it was to narrow down the selection. Much thanks to all who entered and to our international panel of Judges Misho Baranovic, Severin Matusek, and Rebecca Adler Rotenberg for taking the time to review the finalists and help decide the winners.

Congratulations to all the winners, and everyone who participated. We’re hard at work coming up with a fun theme for a new photo contest which we will announce after the holidays.

My assistant, Anastasia, will be coordinating with the winners via email to see what country they are located in, and how best to redeem their prizes.

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My Life’s A Trip Vacation Photo Contest 2012: Finalists Shortlist!

I’m extremely excited to announce the 41 finalists whose images will go on the next round of the My Life’s a Trip Vacation Photo Contest 2012. We received hundreds of great entries from all over the globe, and the images are truly a world tour of interesting places. There were and very, very few bad photos. A few images had to be disqualified because they were submitted incorrectly, and a few shooters have more than one image progressing to the finals.

There were some stunning images that I loved, but that lacked enough context to make them unable to stand alone in a contest (although they would be publishable and work great in a photo essay). All the photographs I selected gave me an emotional response. They made me want to know more about the destination, or to be along on that trip, or want to see more of the place.  I wound up being intrigued by a pillow fight, sandy beaches, mountains, giant redwoods, a smoking rasta, Hawaiian slugs, wet dog smell, saffron robed monks, trains, planes, and the rear view mirrors of automobiles. Harsh winters caught my attention as did African sunsets, fairs, fog, sun flare, rooftops, ice floes, and exotically colored Indian saris as well as moments of everyday life.

I’ve narrowed it the entries to the shortlist of 41 images featured above. Now I will pass these images along to my international panel of fabulous photographer judges Misho Baranovic, Severin Matusek, and Rebecca Adler Rotenberg,  who will decide the Grand Prize Winner as well as 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners. I really have no idea who is going to come out the winners– I am pretty sure I can guess which images might appeal most to Misho, Severin, and Rebecca individually, but together? I haven’t a clue! So this is very exciting for me too. In the event of a tie, I will cast the deciding vote.

The photographers whose images are above are listed below (but not in order, as to keep the judging process a bit more anonymous). Congratulations to all of you and thanks so much for participating. Stay tuned for the winners, which should be announced by December 15th (or earlier).

  • Alex Hamilton-McLeod.
  • Ali Jardine.
  • Amber De Grace.
  • Amo Passicos.
  • Andre Boto.
  • Claudia Cooper.
  • Dina Maccabee.
  • Edi Caves.
  • Eva Lim.
  • Harsh Wardhan.
  • Jayanta Roy.
  • Joe Kunin.
  • Karen Hanson-Sharp.
  • Kevin Chen.
  • Kristin Luna.
  • Laine Walden.
  • Laurel Stewart.
  • Lesley Towns.
  • Lorenzo Gonzalez.
  • Marita Hodges.
  • Melissa Vincent.
  • Michael Blades.
  • Mike G. Abelson.
  • Misha Zagorac.
  • Natalie Taylor.
  • Ravi Kotecha.
  • Robin Bengtson.
  • Ron Murnik.
  • Ryan Hickey.
  • Shuhei Nishikawa
  • Stephanie Mueller.
  • Sudipto Das.
  • Taylor Michie.
  • Ver Latorre.
  • Zoran Stanko.

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The My Life’s a Trip Vacation Photo Contest has been Extended!

Marita Hodges: Nothing says Hawaii vacation like skydiving at dawn. Shot this guy on my window this morning.

The MLAT team has been blown away by quality of images that have entered in our First Annual Vacation Photo Contest, and due to popular demand, we’re extending the deadline for the contest by two weeks. The new deadline is Wednesday, November 14th. Then we have to decide which images we will move forward to our international panel of really cool judges.

In this post we’re showcasing some of our recent favorite entries.

Remember- There’s a Super Fly Prize Package in store for the Grand Prize winner worth over $1,000!

The grand prize winner of the first ever My Life’s A Trip Vacation Photo Contest will get enough goodies to take an actual vacation (or at least a weekend away). I’m throwing my hard earned points and miles in the kitty to put together this grand prize package worth over $1000*:

25,000 United Airlines Miles (good for a domestic US roundtrip coach ticket)
50,000 Club Carlson Points (good for nights at properties by Radisson, Park Plaza, Park Inn, and Country Inn & Suites)
A copy of iPhone Photography: How to Shoot, Edit and Share Great Photographs, the new eBook by Misho Baranovic
And, since every other contest gives one away… a $100 iTunes Gift Card!

The amazing images in this post are by the following talented photographers from around the globe:

    • Ali Jardine.
    • Andre Boto.
    • Angela Failor.
    • Aoife Kirk.
    • Biondić Josip Joža.
    • Claudia Cooper.
    • Curtis Matwishyn.
    • Danielle Jurgens.
    • Diego Camposeco.
    • Dina Maccabee.
    • Eva Lim.
    • Halbert Bai.
    • Harsh Wardhan.
    • Joe Kunin.
    • Karen Hanson-Sharp.
    • Kevin Chen.
    • Kristin Luna.
    • Leka Huie.
    • Lesley Towns.
    • Lindsey Williams.
    • Marita Hodges.
    • Mihai Scorpan.
    • Misha Zagorac.
    • Ravi Kotecha.
    • Ron Murnik.
    • Timothy Henry Charles Tamm.
    • Verity Bowater.

Remember, as a condition of entry, it is necessary to “Like” the MLAT FB page.

Here’s how you enter. Good luck and keep those entries coming!

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Where to Eat in Paris: Frenchie (and How I Scored a Reservation)


Duck fois gras and tête de cochon at Frenchie Restaurant

Scoring a reservation at Chef Gregory Marchand’s neo-French Bistro, Frenchie, is notoriously difficult. So how did I wind up at this tiny 24 seat restaurant on a cobblestone street in the 2nd arrondissement?

Simple– I was dining with the right people, who had right concierge (also, I am a very lucky girl and my friends rock.)

I loved the open pass at Frenchie, which allowed me to see the food being plated

I was traveling with two other couples, all of them hardcore foodies. My friend, Paul, works in the deli business and he and his wife stayed at Relais Saint-Germain, a very charming hotel on the Left Bank that caters to foodies. One of the big yet relatively unknown perks of staying at Relais Saint-Germain is that they are seriously hooked into the Parisian food scene, and the concierge secured us a same day table for six when the restaurant had a last minute cancellation. NOTE: THIS IS THE PARISIAN EQUIVALENT TO KNOWING HOW TO ORDER OFF THE SECRET MENU AT IN-N-OUT BURGER

A beautiful plate of food at Frenchie

In September, Frenchie revamped it’s space, with a wine bar across the street and a charming and unpretentious dining room. It’s just the sort of hole in the wall I love– it’s not “too too.” The big draw here i the carte blanche menu which packs a lot of value for money at a reasonable €58 for 5 courses of the chef’s choosing. You can also order a la carte at Frenchie, with entrees starting at €16.

Shorthorn beef tartare by Tim Wilson, tonnato sauce and autumn sprouts.

Our meal began with an seasonal and delicious plate of roast cauliflower which set the tone for the entire dinner. It was a perfect portion size, and had a lovely texture and hinted at the flavorful seasonal goodness to come. It paired nicely with the 2009 Santenay Les Charmes Dessous that Paul selected.

Left: Figs, muscvado, purple shiso and Brilat-Savarin cheese cream Right: Line-caught brill with mushrooms and wine sabayon

Next up was the most memorable course of the evening– an exceptional Shorthorn beef tartare served with tonnato sauce and autumn sprouts (available a la carte for €17). This is never a dish I would have selected for myself if I was ordering a la carte. It was bright, fresh, clean and delicious with the perfect amount of acidity.

Roasted chicken from la cour d’Armoise, artichoke, goat milk and peppermint (available a la carte for (€35)

The rest of the meal was a delicious blur–  Roast chicken with a delicious artichoke; line-caught brill from l’ile d’Yeu, served with black trumpet mushrooms, spinach and a savaganin wine sabayon, and and a not overly sweet dessert served with purple shisho. There was more wine, which I failed to photograph because I was too busy having a good time.

Roast cauliflower was first up, and unforgettable

My meal at Frenchie was a delightful surprise– I didn’t know any of the hype about it until I ate there, but it would have exceeded it, had I been in the know. Mostly because it was charming, unpretentious, reasonably priced and memorably delicious.

The cozy chic interior of Frenchie

It wasn’t overly loud, and I got to enjoy good, not overly fussy food and wine with the company of good friends. If you’re planning a trip to Paris, I recommend attempting to to book a table several weeks in advance with the hotel’s reservation concierge, or use your hotel’s concierge. They also take reservations using an OpenTable like service called La Fourchette.

Frenchie’s wine bar across the street

If you can’t secure a reservation, try out the wine bar across the street.

Restaurant Frenchie

5-6, Rue Du Nil 75002 Paris

Open Monday-Friday Only

Reservations phone : +33 (0) (Monday-Friday, between 3-7pm)

Online Reservations



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Where to Eat in Paris: Brasserie Bofinger

The stunning stained glass window above the main dining room at Brasserie Bofinger

I recently returned from a trip to Paris where I broke my habit of gravitating to old favorites and dined at as many different restaurants recommended by friends as possible.

First up was Brasserie Bofinger, a 150 year old brasserie in the Marais. Entering Brasserie Bofinger felt like stepping back into the 19th century, and the Belle Epoque atmosphere alone is worth the cost of admission… fortunately the food is great, too.

Gorgeous iron details on the staircase at Brasserie Bofinger

There’s a spectacular stained glass window in the main dining room, and several smaller dining areas in the front and upstairs. I was seated in the main dining room, which filled up quickly with locals and delicious wafting smell of sauerkraut. I noticed that most tourists (with suitcases in tow) were seated in the front rooms.

The stunning stained glass window at Brasserie Bofinger

Bofinger’s menu focuses on Alsatian cuisine, and claims to be “the most Alsatian of the Parisian brasseries.” However the staff had considerably less attitude than my belovedly rude Brasserie Lipp. Brasserie Bofinger had a large selection of seasonal oysters from Normandy, Brittany, and Ireland, as well as gorgeous shellfish towers which seemed very popular the day I was dining there.

A cozy dining space upstairs at Brasserie Bofinger

I always order steak frites when trying out a new (to me) brasserie since it’s such a classic dish. Bofinger had an exceptional chateaubriand (filet). My waitress did not wince at me when I ordered it medium, and the meat was delicious and the sauce was served on the side (I did not use much). The frites were a bit soggy, but I didn’t care much, I only wanted a few. My meal was really all about the steak, and it was fantastic.

Since the tables are narrow, the courses get piled up on top of each other

The tables at Bofinger are close together, so courses are stacked rather than served side-by-side.

Utah Beach Oysters

Next time I’ll probably order one of the sauerkraut dishes (starting at €24), based on their alluring aromas and how much they seemed to favored by the locals. My husband went for the oysters, and particularly liked the briny freshness of the ones from Utah Beach.

Left: Oysters from Utah Beach Right: shrimp on a shellfish platter

Brasserie Bofinger also has an overflow space across the street, Petit Bofinger, should you not be able to get into the main restaurant.

The chateaubriand served with tomato, frites, and green beans

Brasserie Bofinger is a great choice for a classic brasserie experience and will appeal to those who like La Coupole and Brasserie Lipp. It’s only a few minutes walk to the green space of Place des Vosges, which is a great spot to people watch when the weather allows.

Brasserie Bofinger’s exterior on Rue de la Bastille

Meats courses start at €22

Oysters and seafood start at €17

Brasserie Bofinger

Address: 5-7 Rue de la Bastille, 75004 Paris, France

Phone:+33 1 42 72 87 82

Book online

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