What exactly do you do for work?
I work full-time at a small, specialty pharmaceutical company that is based both in the States and in India. I oversee operations and business development for the company.
Since our work is highly confidential, you’ll excuse me if I don’t share any additional details.
I’m also the founder of Portavi Company, a travel services firm.
Why do you travel so much?
The bulk of my travels are for the aforementioned job – I’m constantly traveling to India to meet with our R&D team, and around the world to attend conferences and meet with our partners. I’m very lucky that my job allows me to fly business class when traveling internationally – it makes the experience much more enjoyable.
I also love traveling to new places, and my husband and I travel to one new place each year. Having a stockpile of frequent flier miles and hotel points certainly helps!
What advice do you have for travelers?
Commit to an airline and hotel chain early on – I’m a United/Marriott loyalist. Always travel carry-on. Never pack jewelry or electronics in your checked-in suitcase. Go on food crawls when traveling to a new city – eating a couple of appetizers at multiple restaurants over the course fo an evening is a great way to acquaint yourself to the city and local cuisine. Plan for an afternoon or evening to just wander. Always purchase tickets in advance for major tourist attractions. Print EVERY confirmation. Always carry a paper map. Instead of toting every beauty product you own, squeeze a small amount into a contact lens case – particularly if it’s something you use little of (hair serum, cortisone cream, etc). Never leave home without a first-aid kid – mine’s filled with this Help! set, Mucinex, and Tums.
You’re kidding with the carry-on comment, right? What do I pack?
I’m not kidding! I only check a bag when I’m traveling upwards of 3 weeks, and even then it’s under duress. I’m big on packing versatile basic items that can be worn for multiple occasions – silk blouses from Joe Fresh & Hunter Dixon, sheath dresses and pencil skirts from Ann Taylor, dark skinny denim (the Emma is my favorite) from DL 1961, patent pointed flats, and a fitted blazer from Rugby Ralph Lauren. Throw a clutch filled with jewelry and a silk scarf into your suitcase, and you’re set.
If you need additional help, that’s what Portavi is for.
What has been your favorite place to travel to?
I’m admittedly biased towards India – it feels as much as home to me as the United States. Russia, Thailand, and Spain are some of my favorite international destinations. In the United States, I love traveling to New Orleans, San Francisco, Seattle, and my hometown of Philadelphia. You can find all the details of these places (and more) here.
I’m coming to visit New York City. What should I see/do/eat/stay?
In absence of a city guide (which I am working on!), here are my New York favorites:
Stay at the Park Central hotel – great location and conveniently located to multiple subway lines. My favorites restaurants are Anejo, Capizzi, 44 & X, Junoon, Antica Pesa, Cookshop and Redeye Grill. For a truly special meal, you can’t go wrong with Jean Georges or the Four Seasons Restaurant (ask for a table in the pool room). Visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the American Museum of Natural History, and Central Park. My favorite things to do in NYC are taking a walk on the High Line, hitting balls at Chelsea Piers, and hunting for treasures at the Hells Kitchen Flea Market.
What kind of camera do you use?
In December 2012, I upgraded my camera to a Canon 60D (from a Rebel XS). I shoot predominantly with a 50 mm/1.8 f prime lens. I edit my photographs in Adobe Lightroom. I work with Lydia Hudgens on my personal style posts, and I photograph the rest of the pictures shown on my blog.
If you’re looking to get into digital photography, I highly recommend taking Okello Dunkley’s DSLR Workshops. I’ve yet to find a better photography instructor and resource.
How do you make your collages?
I use SnagIt to make my collages.
I want to start a blog. Any recommendations?
A blog is a wonderful outlet, and I say go for it. However, it’s important to determine the intent of your blog from the get-go – is it purely a hobby, or is it something you’d like to develop into a business? Regardless of the answer, putting together a high-level business plan is key for focusing the direction of your blog. This is my go-to business plan template. A posting schedule and editorial calendar keeps you focused, and I recommend having a month’s worth of posts banked before you press publish on your first one. Great photography and visuals are a key element in successful blogs, so play around with available free/discount resources – Fiverr for design/coding work, SnagIt, 1001 Free Fonts, Pinterest for compelling images, etc. If you’re looking for professional guidance, I highly recommend my friends’ Victoria and Meg‘s services – they are great at it.
What do you do for fun?
I love to read – I’m always reading juggling three books at the same time. Aerial yoga is my newest addiction, and I try to go a couple of times a week. I love to cook and eat, which makes living in New York City a lot of fun. Spending an evening over a good meal with good friends is my idea of a perfect evening. I spend a good amount of my free time snapping pictures and working on craft projects.
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