St Barth’s is the tiny island, only about six miles wide, in the Caribbean that has become quite the holiday hotspot. It was formerly a French colony, which means it’s full of beautiful, wonderfully snooty people and lots of delicious buttery carbohydrates to feast upon. Around New Year’s, big boats drop anchors around the port and swanky pads with beach views open their doors to a slew of holiday parties. Some say it can be an intense experience — I liken it to the Upper East Side on amphetamines — but since I spend the first part of the holidays in a rather slow paced Midwestern pattern with my family in Missouri for Christmas, I’ve come to crave the excitement. In fact, this is the fourth time I’ve found myself down there to ring in another fun filled year.

The cast of characters isn’t too dissimilar to those I see in other parts of the world. The Brant boys (including the illusive Dylan, who joined Peter and Harry) are always a welcomed spitting to see at any party, as was their mum Stephanie Seymour this year, and friends like Olympia Scarry, Elisa Sednaoui and Elisabeth von Thurn and Taxis made the pilgrimage too. Dasha Zhukova, a very lovely lady who introduced me to the island, is the girl to know down there. I bunked with my St. Louis sister Karlie Kloss on Gouverneur Beach with some friends; we had a truly jovial time in no small part because girlfriend knows how to cook. Samantha Boardman led us on morning hikes through the cliffs and foliage of Colombier beach, and Marjorie Gubelmann and Rachel Zoe would meet us on Flamands Beach for rehydration and sun damage afterward. There were boat rides and dips in pools and long lunches with fresh fish. And, this being a former French colony and all, there was also a fair amount of Eurotrash, which I love, at clubs that had novelty pillows that said things like I Heart My Yacht. And no, I’m not talking about Puff Daddy’s, though we did end up on his yacht at a New Year’s after after party and he definitely did love his yacht.

But, as always, what’s most important when it comes to any vacation is that you’re with people that you love. While I’ve never made New Year’s resolutions (actually, last year at this time I made a list of Non-Resolutions, things I hadn’t ever done, which you can read here), I do believe that the head space and the people with whom you start a year will set the tone for the rest of it. That’s why I’m happy to report that after a too-short stay in a Caribbean paradise, I’m ready to sink into a fabulous 2013. Happy New Year!

Captions, from top:

The view from a morning hike around Colombier Beach; a sandy crew on a last dip in 2012, composed of Josh, Karlie, Elisa, Alex, me, Olympia, Dasha and Neville; the Brant boys in all their beauty, Dylan, Harry and Peter; the Caribbean sun setting on boats in port; Alex and Elisa; Constance spreading peace around Flamands beach; this picture of Guy Oseary, Rick Rubin and Brian Grazer, taken on Puffy’s yacht, may be my favorite from New Year’s Eve; Lizzy after midnight; Dasha, my queen of the island; Edward Sharp from the Magnetic Zero’s; Mr Pigozzi and Anna; Puffy on the mic; Rachel, Samantha and Marjorie at Dasha’s party; a four legged, hard shelled friend I met on a morning hike; Josh getting carried away with a view; Elisa, Dasha and Alex on a submarine expedition; me with not one, but two Stephanie Seymour’s, both on my chest; an offensive pillow; sails in the sky; Neville on Olympia showing me up on the paddleboards; my favorite ladies on the island, Lizzy, Elisa, Dasha, Karlie, Olympia and Wendi; Karlie as my New Year’s kiss; and a heartfelt farewell on our last day at the beach.