4.09.2017

Where to Eat with 24 Hours in Baltimore

The Light City festival gave us the perfect excuse to zip up to Baltimore, but let's be real... when my friends and I road trip, it's all about the food. Here's the tick tock, in case you wanna recreate it, hon.

11:30am Saturday  Depart Washington, DC
Grapefruit Crush at Thames Street Oyster House
12:30pm We drove straight to Thames Street Oyster House in Fells Point for lunch. This is a no fuss spot that takes their seafood and cocktails seriously. We started with the calamari (basic, I know, but it was delicious) and a grapefruit crush cocktail. The lobster roll was all meat, no mayo, and I paired it with the broccoli salad.
Lobster Roll and Broccoli Salad at Thames Street Oyster House
1:30pm Right across the street from Thames Street Oyster House is the much talked about, new Sagamore Pendry Hotel. The property is stunning and right on the water in Fells Point. I'd book a room there just to lay by the pool when it warms up.
The Pool at the Sagamore Pendry Hotel
2:00pm Arrived at the Four Seasons Baltimore. Our room wasn't ready yet, so we walked around the neighborhood and took in shops like MadewellSassanova and South Moon Under. I somehow managed to not spend any money. Win.

3:30pm Finally got into our gorgeous room and promptly took a nap. [NOTE: You may want to fill this time walking around the Inner Harbor of Baltimore or visiting nearby Little Italy.]

6:30pm Met up with friends at Dylan's Oyster Cellar, which quickly became one of my favorite spots. The bartender was grouchy and someone else told me I couldn't use the barstool next to them. But, like a bad boyfriend, I was so smitten and determined that they would like me. Just a few minutes later, the grouchy bartender served me a fantastic gin-n-tonic and my neighbor gave me the barstool next to the electric outlet so I could sip my drink *and* charge my iPhone. Swoon.

Dylan's Oyster Cellar in Hampden

Dylan's has this gorgeous ramp roots on toast, with creamy cheese, honey drizzle and sprinkled sesame seeds. I wanted to stay, but we had reservations...

7:30pm Next stop, La Cuchera, a spacious Spanish joint very close to my Baltimore favorite, emeritus, Woodberry Kitchen. La Cuchera had a lively bar with fun cocktails and wine flights. When we sat, we had pintxos, croquetas and charcuterie. But, the best bite of the night was the rabbit, three ways.
Rabbit, (one of the) Three Ways at La Cuchera
10:00pm After dinner, we went back to the Harbor to walk around and take in all of the light installations. There was a rainbow ferris wheel, lights that moved based on motion, lit-up see saws and more. Light City is worth checking out next year.
Light City, Baltimore
12:00am Sunday There were midnight fireworks and then we all crashed.

10:00am  As sounds of the jazz brunch at Wit & Wisdom wafted through the lobby, we checked out of the Four Seasons. After all trusted friends had all been telling us about this brunch we needed to try...

10:30am Bar Clavel lived up to the hype. We basically ran the brunch menu and loved the tuna ceviche with tangy pineapple, the crispy chilaquiles and the breakfast tacos.
Breakfast Tacos at Bar Clavel
11:30-12:30 Before we hit the road home, we hit Hampden for some Artifact Coffee and to peruse cute shops like Trohv and In Watermelon Sugar.
Artifact Coffee

An hour later, we were back home with fun memories and plans to go back and try more next time.

So, what are your Baltimore must dos? Share em in the comments or tweet me @tammy.



3.28.2017

The Best Place for Drinks in Georgetown Right Now is Chez Billy Sud Bar a Vin

I'm smitten with Chez Billy Sud Bar a Vin and I don't care who knows it. 

I avoided it because I thought it was just a bar inside Chez Billy Sud (which would be fine, but the bright, busy French hot spot is a bit small.) But, just to the right of the restaurant provides an entirely different experience. I am just embarrassed that it took me this long to figure it out. 

But, my office is now in Georgetown, so I guess I'm reintroducing myself to the neighborhood. 

Bar a Vin has a great happy hour deal for wine, rosé on tap, a fun mix of folks and great bartenders. Snack wise, the warm goat cheese topped with honey and baguette could be my dinner any given night.

 It was still chilly outside, so I followed that up with the French Onion Soup. Classic, filling and perfect

Three glasses of rosé, a full belly, and great friend hang time and I was on my way. But, I have every intention of making this a regular hang spot.

What else am I missing in Georgetown?

Chez Billy Sud Bar a Vin is located at 1039 31st Street NW in Washington, DC

3.27.2017

First Look at Mirabelle in Downtown DC

I've been following Chef Frank Ruta and Pastry Chef Aggie Chen around Washington, DC since they first sold me on Manhattans and cheeseburgers at Palena Bar (RIP, Palena). When I heard they were opening a new restaurant, I stalked them on Instagram. I followed their travels and research in Paris. And, I waited.

Well, I didn't wait that long. Mirabelle opened on Monday for a trial lunch run and I held out til Thursday before I roped Rachel into joining me for a taste test.

Rachel and I were both torn between the Oven-Roasted Poussin and the BelleBurger. So, we got both and split them.

The poussin is cooked perfectly and falls off the bone, but the crawfish and morels that it's sitting in was what made me swoon. (You can see there, I paired it with a Virginia rosé - love that they are putting Mid-Atlantic wine on the menu!)

The BelleBurger kicks Ruta's cheeseburger up a notch. It's basically like if a French onion soup had a baby with a perfectly cooked cheese burger. You can order it "wet" or "dry"... this version is wet. Because, why not?

The dessert cart that is wheeled around the dining room will have you saving room for pastry. I loved the Mille Crepe with an incredible caramel sauce. It was light enough that it didn't send me into naptime, just out the door with a big smile and plans to return soon.


A few things to note. The restaurant is gorgeous and very close to The White House. I suspect once it opens up for dinner, it's going to be extremely busy since it's the most luxurious, chef-driven spot in the neighborhood.

I'm looking forward to drinks at the bar. The cocktail and wine list is alluring, and maybe, just maybe, I'll be tempted by the absinthe.

Mirabelle is located at 900 16th Street in Washington, DC. It's close to McPherson Square and Farragut West/North metros. Snag a reservation while you can!

3.26.2017

Creative Mid-Atlantic Dishes Dazzle at Hazel Restaurant in Shaw

Recently, my parents were visiting to check out the cherry blossoms. And, you know what that means. A lot of showing them the new restaurants in town that we love.

I'd been to Hazel once before - when it was warm enough to sit on the patio, remember that? I remember raving about the vegetable dishes.

This time, the proteins were the break out stars.

Check out this gorgeous crudo. It tasted as good as it looked, but I would order it again just for the Instagram hearts.


I love a good steak tartare (I know, high school me would die to know I'm eating raw steak), but pair it with tater tots and I just lost my mind. Yes, I said tater tots. Go immediately and order this dish.

Finally, we ordered the zucchini bread... just to have a good carb to share. Well, it was the table favorite. The zucchini bread was toasted and served with a creamy paté. Make sure it's on your order if it's still there.


I can't wait to see what Chef Rob Rubba is going to do with all of the incredible vegetables headed our way from Mid-Atlantic farms. And, that patio is going to be perfect for spring days.

Hazel Restaurant is located at 808 V Street NW (right across from the 9:30 Club and Atlantic Plumbin Landmark Theatres.)

2.07.2017

#WorkingLunch: The Oval Room in Washington, DC

Since I started my own business, the world is my office.

"Won't you feel isolated, working by yourself," people said to me. But, the reality is, I meet at my client's offices or events. On any given day, I might be live tweeting a television broadcast from The National Mall or advising a CMO in a board room. But, it's rare that I'm just chilling on my sofa in pajamas (though, I'd be lying if I said I didn't relish those days.)

One thing that I've come to value is the mobile office. Whether it's on a different continent, in the middle of the ocean or just down the street, a place that combines a good view or good lunch with a strong wifi signal and access to electricity makes a great spot to settle in.

One of my clients is located steps from The White House. And, in our weeks hunkered together, I've become a big fan of The Oval Room as a haven for a working lunch. Not the kind I recently spotted Rahm Emanuel having there, but the kind where I break open my laptop and get work done right there. Each seat at The Oval Room's five-seat bar has a double set of plugs. That means you can charge your laptop and phone, while simultaneously perusing the menu.

If you sit at the bar during lunch, you get a special menu and exclusive deal: $20 for a glass of wine (red, white or sparkling), a lunch entree and a dessert.

Today, I had the crispy skin-on salmon with red beets and ruby red grapefruit for lunch. I paired it with a tart Sauvignon Blanc.
Crispy Salmon with red beets and ruby red grapefruit at The Oval Room 

As the kitchen team prepared my meal, I knocked out emails by the dozens, read the news and scheduled another round of meetings for my next project.

The salmon arrived, perfectly cooked. Despite my decades-old jihad against roasted beets, I loved these.

In past meals, I've had the roast pork Cuban sandwich, the roasted chicken salad and the gnocchi. So, far, I haven't had a bad meal at the bar for the lunch deal. It does change seasonally, so feel free to consult with the talented staff if you have questions.

One of my favorite parts of The Oval Room's lunch deal is the closer: dessert. You can get fresh-baked cookies to take back to the office (today they were chocolate chip or ginger molasses.) If you've got time and appetite, they will turn those fresh baked cookies into an ice cream sandwich. Their daily offerings range from quirky flavors like black garlic, salted caramel, coffee, and also your more traditional strawberry.

Today, I got the chocolate chip cookies and stuffed them with the strawberry ice cream. (I also recommend the ginger molasses cookies stuffed with salted caramel.)
Ice Cream Sandwich at The Oval Room

Perfect amount of food, time and electricity to keep me going for the next round of meetings.

Where should I take #WorkingLunch to next?

The Oval Room is located at 800 Connecticut Avenue NW, Washington, DC. It is near both Farragut West (orange/blue) and Farragut North (red) metro stations. It's close to the White House, just across from Lafayette Park. For tables, reservations are recommended in advance. For the bar, just pop by. Lunch special is only available at the bar.

8.24.2016

My Favorite Places to Eat in Marseille

Even though it's been a few months since I stayed in the South of France, I wanted to write this post to ensure I remembered all of my favorite spots in Marseille.

Marseille isn't an easy city to figure out, restaurant-wise. There aren't a ton of recommendations or stories from the food writers and bloggers that I follow, so I did a lot of Googling. I ended up with a big, unwieldy, and not well-sourced list.

What I ended up loving were places I passed on my morning runs, adorable storefronts, Michelin reviews I found, or simply the incredible smells that drove me to the door step.

Ya Gotta Try the Bouillabaisse: Le Miramar
Marseille is the birthplace of bouillabaisse and you have to try it while you're here. But, there's an etiquette to this. You need to call the restaurant (or email, stop by) at least 24 hours in advance if you're going to order bouillabaisse. The restaurant literally shops for the seafood daily based on the orders they know are coming. It is also usually prepared for two or more. I emailed my hosts and asked them whether or not it was considered a faux pas to order it solo and they told me not to be silly. They also took the scariness out of this for me by reaching out to their favorite neighborhood spot, Le Miramar and making me a reservation.
Le Miramar
Side note: I came to Marseille solo and thought I would just explore restaurants through their bars. I found very few no restaurants that had bars where it was considered appropriate to sit and have dinner. I'm not sure why, but it is what it is. Lunches were ok to drop in, but dinner required a reservation (even if they had open tables.) This means that it takes some Googling to figure out what online reservation system each restaurant uses - if they use one at all. I'm going to include links for reservations with each recommendation, where I found them. 

Ok, back to bouillabaisse: Le Miramar treats you well. Even as a solo diner, I was flattered with the attentive service, wine recommendations, and gentle reminders about how to eat this dish. In the United States, when I've had it, it all comes in one dish, almost as a seafood stew/soup. In Marseille, this is a multi-step process. First, they present you with the seafood. Ooh and ahh and get excited. The broth comes next and you eat it like soup, paired with garlicy crostini. Then the seafood comes separately
Bouillabaisse
Le Miramar is located at 12 Quai du Port in Marseille. There are indoor and outdoor tables. If it's a nice day, you'll want to choose outside and enjoy the gorgeous scenery and people watching. Their website is available in English, as well as French and offers online booking.

My Favorite Croissants in Marseille: Patisserie Sylvain Depuichaffray
I'll own up to the fact that I found this one on Yelp. It got me to a new neighborhood, just off the Port. This whole street is really cute and loaded with boutique stores. It's also on the way to the Cathedral if you walk up from the Port.

There are a ton of baked goods, cakes and sandwiches, as well as these flaky, pillowy croissants.

Croissants in the window of Patisserie Sylvain Depuichaffray
Patisserie Sylvain Depuichaffray is located at 66 Rue Grignan in Marseille.

My Quest to Get Into: Bistrot L'Horloge
I was smitten with Bistrot L'Horloge from the first time I walked past. It was spilling out into the street and filled with people that looked fun. I had seen on Trip Advisor that it was ranked high for food, but it was also just cool. I fumbled with my French and asked for a table. In return, I was told by the glance inside the busy space, that they were full.

I went online to find out if I could make a reservation. No website. I circled it on my daily runs around town, trying to crack the code.

In my last week there, I put on a cute outfit and (prepped with my Google Translate script), stopped in for lunch when it was less busy. I landed this great table with a view. I ordered a glass of rosé and my favorite salad. It was such a good moment. I loved the food, the vibe and the fact that I finally made it there. If I lived here, I think this would be a spot I would regularly visit.

Bistro L'Horloge
Bistro L'Horloge is located at 11 Cours Honoré d'Estinenne d'Orves in Marseille.

Italian in Marseille: Le Table de Casimir
I wrote about this one in the moment. It was so welcoming. Like a bear hug. Which I needed after feeling a bit isolated after a solo week in Marseille. The food was also fantastic.

Le Table de Casimir
Le Table de Casimir is located at 21 Rue d'Italie. You can make reservations on Trip Advisor.

Exploring Le Panier: Bar des 13 Coins
If you go down an internet rabbit hole looking for traveler advice on Le Panier, you'll find a lot of warnings. I was both fascinated and freaked out. I kept dipping a block or two in and then popping out. One of my final days, I came up a few steps from the Cathedral de Major side and found Bar des 13 Coins. It was so cute, but I needed to wander a bit and get comfortable. I loved that day. So much street art. Great cafes. Neighborhood vibe.

I came back to Bar des 13 Coins after getting lost on side streets for an hour. I ordered a glass of wine and started thinking about what on the chalkboard menu I wanted for lunch. At this point in my stay, I was trying to speak in French. But, the knew I was American (duh) and were ok with English.

I ordered this crostini thinking it would be a small snack and it was huge. Fresh ingredients, beautiful day on a patio in the South of France... that was a good day to be alive.
Bar des 13 Coins
Bar des 13 Coins is located at 45 Rue Saint-Francoise in Marseille. For lunch, reservations are not needed, but you can make them on their website. 

My Favorite Coffee Shop: Maison Geney
Listen, Starbucks got me through the first week. But once I found Maison Geney, I was done. It's adorable and family-owned with a neighborhood vibe and fantastic coffee and food.
Maison Geney
While I was still in Marseille, I wrote a post about it.
Cake and Latte at Maison Geney
Maison Geney is located at 38 Rue Caisserie in Marseille. 

I'm So Glad I Tried: Le Sardine
I had this built in anti-sardine thing going. But this spot kept luring me in. Le Sardine was on the ground level of my building. It always had a steady flow of customers. They were everyone from stylish neighborhood friends to old men. I wasn't sure how I felt about a menu based around sardines, but it's a staple of the Marseille diet.

Well, I loved it. Maybe I wussed out by getting them fried, but they were delicious. And, came with this fantastic tomato compote and thin sliced fried potatoes. Pair it with a bottle of wine and a patio table.

Le Sardine
Le Sardine is located at 2 Boulevard de la Libération in Marseille.

My Favorite Neighborhood Bar: La Caravelle
La Caravelle is old school and cool. Great cocktails, balcony seating, music and this view of Vieux Port:


La Caravelle is located at 34 Quai du Port in Marseille.

Casual Cool Bistro for Dinner: Malthazar
Malthazar was another one I tried to visit multiple times. It was only open for dinner and didn't seem interested in a drop by guest. Beg a friend who speaks French to make you a reservation or book your table online via Michelin Guide. I don't think I have a good photo, but I had a fantastic steak tartare and chocolate dessert with a lovely bottle of wine and good service. But, you definitely need a reservation.

Malthazar is located at 19 Rue Fortua in Marseilles.

I also have a long list of places that I wasn't able to make it to. Next time, but here's a list:

NOTE: You may also want to check out my post on working from France.

8.14.2016

My Favorite Spots to Eat and Drink in St. Martin - Sint Maarten

I've been meaning to write this post for weeks. But, you know, when you get back from a great vacation... you just want to wallow in it for a bit. And, then life takes over.

But, I didn't want to forget to share with you my favorite places to eat and drink in St. Martin and Sint Maarten.

First of all, everyone will ask you, are you staying on the Dutch or French side? I was staying in Orient Beach, on the French side. And, mon dieu, was that the right move. The first place we went was the grocery and it was as if the markets filled with rosé from southern France had been transported to the Caribbean! Walls of rosé. Rosé in the refrigerators next to the sodas. Rosé at all of the beachside bars. And, good rosé. Pale rosé. Provence rosé.
Orient Beach
I know, I have a problem. I'll wean myself off of it in the the fall.

But, back to food and drink... Orient Beach was a great spot to stay. The neighborhood was quaint, fairly quiet. The condo we were staying at was walking distance to the beach and an array of good restaurants. The beach is lined with open air beach bars and bistros that are fun to hop between.

We also loved that you can rent two beach chairs, with an umbrella, all day for twenty Euro (dollars were also accepted almost everywhere) which also got you wifi and restroom access. We found that you could negotiate a bit, and often got four chairs for our group for thirty Euro. Each place also serves out on the beach, so cocktails and food come to you.

Where to Eat for Breakfast
Our regular became Coco Beach while in Orient Bay. Their staff was incredibly sweet, the view amazing and their breakfasts delicious and abundant. We ate at Coco Beach for breakfast three times, and even stayed and rented chairs with them one day. They are on the quieter end of the beach, so it was nice to relax and unwind on that end one day.


Breakfast View from Coco Beach
We had heard Sunday was the day everything closed. Luckily, Le Noon was open. We had espresso drinks and Nutella crepes. It's definitely an awesome little local haunt where you eat outside on the patio tables. Nothing fancy, but solid and friendly.
Le Noon at Orient Beach (OPEN SUNDAY)
Where to Drink Rosé on the Beach
One of my favorite moments of the week was watching the Euro Cup Finals (which France lost) amid a slew of French folks. Here's why I love French people. I know they have a reputation for rudeness... and I mean... if you're just randomly speaking English to them, I get it.  My experience has always been that if you attempt French and smile, you're likely to get a decent reception.
Sunset at KaKao

KaKao was slammed. Every table and every seat were taken. We jammed up to the bar and ordered a bottle of rosé. People were tossing back magnums like they were Bud Lights on college football night in the US. It was amazing. The French lost. A glass shattered. Everyone went back to their wine and spilled out on to the beach. An American football was tossed around. Stray dogs were loved on. We sipped our wine out of plastic cups smuggled out of the White House. It was an epic day. What I'm trying to tell you is... KaKao was fun. It's also hilarious to say over and over after way too much wine.

To the immediate left is Bikini Beach. I ended up going there for my last sunset - on an evening where I was flying solo. I brought a book. I listened to Frenchmen and tried to understand a word or two. I watched a breathtaking sunset go down in the books. And, I Googled how to say "One more rosé, si vous plait." It was wonderful.
Sunset at Bikini Beach
There were probably a dozen other places we should have checked out. They will have to wait for the return trip, because I. Will. Be. Back.

Where to Eat a Healthy Lunch
After a week carousing with my friends, I found myself adventuring solo and craving some serious greens. I set my Google Map to go to Joga which promised healthy eats and yoga. It's a little hard to find and is set off the road, but worse... it was closed. Maybe for the season? There was no sign. And, I was on the opposite side of the island with no plan.

I ended up driving a little bit up the road and happily stumbled upon Top Carrot in Simpson Bay.  I was revived by green juices and fresh salads. And, then took a walk around the cute neighborhood.
Salad at Top Carrot


Where to Watch Planes Land with Cheap Coronas and Average Nachos
Sunset Bar & Grill. It's cool. You have to do it once. But, this is a food and drink post, so let's move on.
Sunset Bar & Grill watching planes land
Where to Find the Best Macarons
Oddly, my favorite French bakery was on the Dutch side. I found cute little waterfront La Suciere right after my health Top Carrot lunch. Naturally, I proceeded to eat four of their macarons while taking a conference call back in the States. It was one of my favorite moments. A life is really, really good moment. I picked up chocolate almond croissants to eat on the way to the airport the next day.
Macarons at La Suciere
Where to Have a Romantic Dinner
I was having a girls weekend. But we drank and ate at a few spots that would have made a pretty epic date location. Two come to mind in the Grand Case neighborhood - Sunset Cafe and Le Tastevin. Both had jaw-dropping sunset views, fantastic wine lists and fresh seafood (amongst other choices.) Staff at both places were friendly and shared recommendations that made our meals memorable. Both were also sweet about plugging in our dying iPhones.
Sunset Cafe rosé with the fabulous Jennifer Keene
Where to Have a Casual Dinner on the Dutch Side
Sint Maarten Yacht Club. Gorgeous view. Solid food. Great staff. Awesome t-shirts and gear to take home. Bar full of amusing randoms.

Where to Avoid Like the Plague
We landed late Saturday night, so our first big meal choice was a Sunday. I had read online that most places close on Sundays and found that to be largely true. One that it said was always open and serving brunch was the Westin Dawn Beach. I'm a fairly active Starwood SPG member, so I was wanting to check out the brunch, the hotel and the beach for future trips. We planned to rent a cabana until we were ready for the brunch and then make that home base for the day. Well, PSA: If you are not staying at the hotel, do not try to go there. Staff swarmed down on us and told us we were not allowed on the beach or in the pool. We were not allowed to rent cabanas or sit at tables. The only place we could sit was at the six seat pool bar on the bar stools. Well, that was tacky and awkward to sit in the shade with our beach bags and such. We ended up bailing and decided to just eat brunch before leaving. Bigger mistake. It's an all you can eat, flat price deal... which should have been a red flag... but we were there and hungry. The seafood was watery at best and questionable at worst. Service was glacial (and I don't mean temperatures.) The sushi rice was dyed purple and green. The ice cream bar had melted. The chocolate fountain was out of things to dip in it. The best thing I ate out of the whole experience was the potato gratin. Yeah. Skip that spot.

Best Non-Food and Drink Tip
Rent a Jeep (mine came from Avis). The weather was perfection and we took the top off for the entire week. It made the visit so much more fun to have an open view and the wind in our hair.
On SXM, we Jeep
NOTE: I also wrote a post on how I worked from the island - get my tips here.

7.13.2016

Seven Tips on Working from Saint Martin - Sint Maarten

You might recall that back in March, I worked for a couple weeks from Marseille. Well, another Home Exchange came up that I couldn't resist - and it was in Saint Martin.
First look at Orient Beach. Please note, I'm carrying a baguette, grocery bag of rosé and a bag of chargers.
I had just finished the biggest month of my growing business. Now was both a great time for a mini-break to take stock of where I was, where I was going, and what changes I needed to make for the second half of the year. All while still managing my workload and ensuring I was accessible to my clients.

As I prepare to depart island life, here are the things that really helped make this week a success - and the things I would do differently.

1. Scale You.
One of the reasons I was able to do this was because I have really found an amazing tribe of talented, business-savvy women to work with me. Before I left, I met with each of them and we talked through the client needs for the week, when they would be there in person or on the phone (because I would be mid-air), and being my back-up. I can not overstate how wonderful it is when you are starting a business to have someone that you trust to do great work and to make sure your clients remain happy if you are not there in person.

This does not mean you walk away for a week, lay on beaches drinking rum drinks and letting the business happen. When you are starting your own business, you are never off. Use your talent to scale you. Determine when you need to be present. And, be there for them when they have questions.

2. Proximity Matters
Where you are staying plays a big role in crafting your work day. The Home Exchange that I had was just a few blocks from Orient Beach. This meant that I could get up early, work in the morning and then go have breakfast and reply to morning emails from the beach. At lunch - I needed a sun break anyway - I would come in and get more work done. Once the mid-day rush was done, I would return to the beach through sunset and then handle anything else that had arisen in the day.
Closest beach chair to my house.
3. Plan Ahead for Calls
Let me assure you that you think you can take that conference call from the beach - you should not take that call from the beach. There are so many factors that can go wrong, from wind, to loud people, to just a bad connection. If you have a scheduled client call, plan to take it from your house. (Trust me, I made this mistake for you.)

Depending where you are on the island, a wifi-connected Skype or Google Hangout may work better than a phone call. Learn your surroundings and what works best - before your client call.

That said, sometimes you can't plan ahead. My friends were shocked when I got a 9pm call and took it. Business comes fast and when you are the principal, that means taking an emergency call from a Jeep whizzing across the island after dinner. I communicated quickly that I was in a bad location, but would be back home shortly and could respond to the need.

4. Pack Sunscreen and Bug Spray
This doesn't seem like business advice, but packing sunscreen and bug spray means that if you find a great spot to work from outside, that mosquitos or sunburn won't mess up your day. Sometimes sitting by a beach and letting your mind wander is a great way to come up with inspiration for your clients or new business. Don't cut that short because you didn't plan.

5. Double Down on Chargers
Island wifi and data is rough on the phone battery. I found that even a fully charged phone drained multiple times a day if I was working. I was constantly keeping backup chargers plugged in and in my bag. You can never run out of battery. That means business is at a full stop. Charge. Charge. Charge.

6. Activate Your International Data Plan
If you think you can come to Saint Martin and work with wifi alone, think again. It will save you money, for sure, but you will be limited to working wifi at home and at bars. And, let's face it, bars are probably not the best place to do business.

I was just there for five days, so I didn't settle into daily life and office hours the way I did in France. But, this still worked really well. I managed to get in a little rest and relaxation, explored a beautiful island - and stayed on top of business. Don't be afraid to try it. It just takes planning and discipline.

7. Find the Best Spots for Wifi in Saint Martin (or Your Island)
These spots will become your anchors when you are away from home base. In Saint Martin, I stayed in Orient Bay. My favorite wifi spot was CoCo Beach, which had great breakfast, friendly service, a beautiful view, and wifi that reached the beach chairs.

Watching planes land from Sunset Bar & Grill is kind of a rite of passage on this island. The bonus - the wifi password is posted behind the bar and is strong enough to support everything from you checking email to a livestream of the planes landing.
Me broadcasting a Facebook Live of the plane landing. 
TasteVin in Grand Case saved me from being the one to ask by clearly placing their wifi password on their menu. The benefit for them - lots of people post views of the stunning view along with their delicious meals. I had the gazapacho, sea bass and a great bottle of Provence rosé that our server recommended. All while being there in case my team or my clients needed me.

I don't have much desire to be a full-time digital nomad. I'm building a business and a life in the States that I love.  But, it is so nice that as I break away from a traditional 9-to-5 job environment, that I can still find ways to make an escape affordable and compatible with my business needs.

I've got Home Exchange offers in my mailbox for Italy, Iceland, Croatia - and more locally in Asheville, NC and Captiva Island. Maybe if I keep growing the business, I'll be able to make one of those happen by the end of 2016 or early 2017!

Let me know if you have any questions - in the comments below or on Twitter at @tammy.

NOTE: I also wrote a post on my favorite places to eat and drink on island - get my tips here

If the islands aren't your scene, here are my tips on working from the South of France.

4.04.2016

My French Grocery Store Latte Hack

Once I started grocery shopping for the day to day, I knew I needed to devise a way to get caffeine without taking off my pajamas.

After much experimentation, the perfect formula for a home French "latte" (short of an espresso machine) is 1/3 Nescafe Cafe Crema to 2/3 Nescafe Cappuccino.


If you're feeling randy, stir with a spoon that's been dredged in Nutella. You're welcome.


Side note: I've missed the easy morning convenience of my Keurig. And, I should have packed my AeroPress.  Those conveniences will be awesome to get back to in my own home. And, I'm also looking forward to my first Wydown Coffee visit back in DC. 

4.03.2016

Finding My Favorite Coffee Shop in Marseille: Maison Geney

The first week in Marseille, I pretty much stuck with the Starbucks on Rue de Republique in Vieux Port. The latte was consistently what I expected from a Starbucks in the States. My baristas were lovely and patient with my French. (Hint: "Grande latte, si vous plait?" goes a long way.) And, the wifi worked like a charm.

By week two, I had finally found a few local options that satisfied my morning latte routine. Green Bear Coffee and My Garden (loved the Bob Marley playlist) both have solid espresso drinks and pretty good food.

But the place that really captured my heart was Maison Geney. First rate croissants, pain perdu and almond cakes paired with a legitimately creamy perfect latte. And, all served in a space that just screams happiness.

There is beautiful light streaking through the windows, friendly owners and staff, and the countertops are covered in so many baked goods. You'll want to come back to work your way through all of them. Don't miss the little sofa nook in the back of the shop, where newspapers and fashion magazines provide you with ample time wasters as you sip your coffee.

Also, it is usually preferred to get your coffee in one location and then your croissant or pastry in another. Masion Geney is a great combination of both, a rare find.

And, if you're lucky, you just might get approached by a handsome young man, like I did.


I've only got three days left, but I just may spend them becoming a regular.

Maison Geney is located at 38 Rue Caisserie in Marseille, France.