Vegas Baby

There is never a dull moment in Sin City. I am not a big gambler, but that doesn’t mean I can’t play with the best of them! I wouldn’t say I won big, but I sure tried to look the part!

IMG_7270

IMG_7274

IMG_7275

IMG_6939

IMG_7282

IMG_7278

IMG_7285-0

IMG_7264-0

IMG_7283-0

Advertisements

P.S. New York I love you

I’m back! I took a little break from writing. My life has recently taken me to NYC. Sometimes things just appear in front of you, don’t ask why, you just trust the new path.

I moved from NYC almost 4 years ago. NYC was my home for 6 years. Let’s just say it’s the longest relationship I have had in a long time. Just like in some relationships, I needed a break. I needed to experience new things, new people, in a new place. I needed to start over. I am so happy I took this step. I think this is the only way we grow in life. You have to take chances. Since moving to Venice Beach, California I have been so lucky to visit NYC almost every month. But since last May that changed. I no longer was getting my city fix. I had this huge craving to see the city I was in love with for so long. Two months ago a job offer came out of no where, and I was on the next plane. I was New York City bound, and on a mission to fall in love yet again.

New York is the city that inspired me to travel. The city for me is full of beautiful magic. It makes me feel alive. I know for most people the city that never sleeps is a lot to handle. Most are happy with just a long weekend. If you give the city a real close look, you will see it has so much to offer. Yes, nothing ever seems easy. Yes, you walk until your legs feel like they are going to fall off. Yes, winter and the rain are no fun. But then there is that perfect fall day, or when all the holiday decorations are making the city shine bright . This is when I smile and appreciate all the big apple has to offer. In a matter of minutes you can feel like you are in China, Italy, to Poland. There are little worlds of culture everywhere. Exploring the city and getting lost is like traveling around the world by foot.
A southern girl straight out of college stepped foot on the island of Manhattan 10 years ago and has never been the same. The city has played a major part in making me who I am. I have grown and experienced more than I could of ever imagined. It has given me the courage to travel the world without any fear. I always say NYC is bootcamp for life. If you can survive here, you can make it anywhere. Once you get over the hump of the weather and the constant struggle that the city is fighting against you. You have made it. You can call yourself a New Yorker. You deserve it.
Since my days as a concierge, It was my job to know the city inside and out. I am going to let you in on some of my secrets and my favorites places. Some of them are new, most are my old goodies.
Remember that Times Square is the theater district, but it is not the heart of NYC. The people who have lived or live in NYC do not go there. So be like a true New Yorker and get out of that bubble. Explore the best city by foot. Start walking…and enjoy! Fall in love with everything it has to offer. I will let you borrow my boyfriend for a bit 😉

New restaurants:
Dirty French
Carbone
Gato
Charlie Bird
Chefs Club
Narcissa
Bowery Meat Co.

NYC staples:
Il Buco
ABC Kithen
Balthazar
Mercer Kitchen
Gramercy Tavern
Maialino
Locande Verde
Gemma
Lure Fish Bar- happy hour
DBGB
Public
Peasant
Beauty and Essex
Il Mulino
Blue Hill
Standard Grill
Babbo

Budget Friendly:
Supper
Barrio Chino
Emporio
Frank
Jacks Wife Freda
Criff dogs- come on! Hot dogs and tater tots. *secret bar inside Criff dogs. Walk into the photo booth and pick up the phone and say how many you are. Bar is called PDT- (please don’t tell)
Miss Lilly (east village)
The Smile
Lovely Day
Rubirosa

Bars
Boom boom room (top of standard hotel) – best view of the city )
Angel share
Death and company
PDT (see above)
Apothecary
Madam Geneva
Little Branch
Mulberry Project
Standard Biergarten

Explore:
Central Park- it is huge. But go anywhere in the park. It is worth your time to explore. (Take a carriage ride- might be touristy but worth it. Grab some champagne to enjoy while you stroll around)
Highline park- this once train track just recently expanded along the Westside . One of my favorite NYC parks.
Downtown: west village, greenwhich, soho, Nolita, east village, lower east side. I’m a downtown girl. Walk it all
Chelsea Market
Brooklyn Bridge- walk over it to Dumbo. Once on the other side. Best view of the NYC skyline
Museums- American history is my favorite
MET and MOMA are also a must see

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/dd7/66296896/files/2014/12/img_84791.jpg

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/dd7/66296896/files/2014/12/img_85211.jpg

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/dd7/66296896/files/2014/12/img_85981.jpg

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/dd7/66296896/files/2014/12/img_86881.jpg

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/dd7/66296896/files/2014/12/img_85391.jpg

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/dd7/66296896/files/2014/12/img_86031.jpg

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/dd7/66296896/files/2014/12/img_86851.jpg

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/dd7/66296896/files/2014/12/img_89451.jpg

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/dd7/66296896/files/2014/12/img_84981.jpg

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/dd7/66296896/files/2014/12/img_90041.jpg

Keep calm…and carry on!

When you commit to traveling either to multiple places, or even just staying put in one location for a short amount of time, you have deal with your luggage. And sometimes you have to be able to be on the GO. Everywhere you go you need to be able to carry your bags up and down and be fully mobile. You need to be able to run to a train, plane, or boat. Some days I would ride all three in a matter of hours. It does get tiring, but that is why packing light is key. I did not bring my big hiking backpack on my last trip. I had a roller carry on. You heard me right. Carry on for a month long trip. It will save your arms and your sanity. I also always bring bags inside of bags. That way I can even out the weight. Sounds crazy, but a week into the trip you will want to leave your bags behind if you don’t listen to me! You need to re-look at your bag and decide what is a necessity. What can you re-wear in multiple ways. I always pack outfits that can be easily switched up with other outfits. I always have one outfit that can be worn to about any occasion. For me traveling is not a runway show. I am there for the adventure. And think about it, anywhere you are in the world has stores. Trust me…and keep calm and carry on 🙂

Cary on

The Southern City that has it ALL

The city that has it all. This might sound a bit impossible, but if you have had the pleasure to visit the southern city, Charleston, then you know exactly what I am talking about. I grew up in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. Then after a few years at University of Tennessee I landed at the College of Charleston. After just moments I felt at home. The city does have it all. Everywhere you turn there is history, culture, food, fashion, THE BEACH, and just great people. What else could you ever want? There is a pause I get when I say my family all lives in Charleston. It is a pause of why did you ever leave? I ask myself this question all the time.

I do something different every time I go to Charleston. I eat at new places, I go to a new beach, and I soak up the sunset from a new secret spot. You can do anything you want. Historians say that the city of Charleston was saved from fires during the civil war because a Union General was having an affair with an established lady of the south. She said do not touch my city! The city survived a war and continues to soar in amazing directions. You can feel that romance walking down the cobble stone streets. Or when you get lost around the battery where Charleston took up its defense.
The restaurants are really making an impression in the foodie world. Some of my new favorites are:  Leon’s, The Ordinary, Macintosh, Husk, Poe’s Tavern, Xiao Bao, the list goes on and a new distillery on the famous King Street, Charleston Distilling Co. One of my favorite magazines, Garden and Gun, is also based out of Charleston.
Some might say that I am biased as a southerner. But ask anyone, Charleston is one of the greatest cities in the world. I get lost everyday of my life on this travel adventure, and my answer has never changed. Run, not walk, to the city that has it all. I promise you will not be disappointed. The greatest thing of all is that the city was saved by a woman, you know I love that!

Who said climbing trees are for kids?

 

The beautiful state flag

 

The beautiful Ravenel bridge

 

The architecture and history still seems to amaze me

 

Some of the trees in Charleston are up to 1400 years old

 

Palm trees make me happy

 

Marina of Charleston

 

Make sure to take a pedicab around downtown

 

Life is about champagne and fried chicken in the south

 

It is a boat life
History tours on board a horse and carriage

 

A trip to Charleston is not complete without going to the market and seeing the craftsmanship of the handmade sweetgrass baskets

 

About to shuck a lot of oysters

 

Famous rainbow row

 

Seeing the rosey side of things with fresh fish ceviche and a glass of bubbly

 

Hey! Pick on someone your own size

The Aeolian islands are Natures fireworks

I have decided to take island hopping to the next level. Volcano hopping sounds crazy, probably is, but I was intrigued. The Aeolian islands are about 16 miles from Sicily and only 2 hours from the southern port of the mainland of Italy.
There is a group of small islands of all shapes and sizes that have been there since 4,000 years before Christ. The island of Vulcano dates back so far that name Volcano originated from it. The main islands are made up of Lipari, the most inhabited and oldest town In Italy. Stromboli and Vulcano are the islands with the active volcanos. Panarea is called the VIP island by the locals. It is a way to say where the very wealthy live. Salina, filicudi, alicudi, and Basiluzzo finish out the list of the Aeolian islands. I did not get to visit the last four, but I had my work cut out for me with the others.
After a train ride to the overnight ferry, we arrived at the Aeolian Islands. We are exhausted by this time, the rain is falling as we arrive to the port, but it fades away when you see the picturesque views of the small island of Lipari. We were picked up by a smiling man named Marcello. He and his wife own the bed and breakfast, Al Salvatore. We will be staying at their home turned into a B & B for the next few days. He says upon our arrival, “The island cries for joy for your arrival and shines for your goodbye. Thanking you for your visit.” Doesn’t that sound nice. I suddenly changed by attitude and smiled at the rain.
I quickly found out that the islands pride are their volcanos. Every local said it was a must to visit or hike the Stromboli volcano! After a rainy day of exploring on Lipari, we made plans to take a boat ride with Capt Barney to Vulcano and explore Lipari by boat. Vulcano is an island with an active volcano, but had it’s last major eruption in 1888. It is covered in black rock and sand. The island is also known for it’s natural mud baths. The baths were hot and relaxing, but the smell of sulfur was so strong we had to throw away our bathing suits. We also smelled for the next few days. Not such a cute look.
We had a full day on Barney’s boat and were ready for our next challenge to hike the famous Stromboli volcano. You take a boat ride to Stromboli where you rent hiking gear and set off around 5pm. The hike up is 3 hours and 2 hours down. You are racing to get to the top before sunset. The active volcano is made up of coarse sand and rock. You are hiking in almost quick sand and it is a steep up hill the entire time. This was one of the hardest things I had ever accomplished hiking at 3,000 feet.
Stromboli thunders when it erupts every 15-20 minutes. The closer you get the more terrifying and amazing it becomes. We watched the volcano erupt for an hour. It was a display of natures fireworks. You become in a trance by the beauty and disbelief.
The Aeolian islands might be off the beaten path, but worth the very long trek to get there. They are beautiful and explode magic.
free facials! Natural mud baths on an active volcanoes.
island of vulcano
this is how I research my next move. Where to next on my adventure? We shall see!
Are they sure we are qualified to hike this volcano?? Am I sure about this?
Capt. Barney
Goodbye until next time
last sunset in beautiful Lipari
Morning breakfast at Al Salvatore
Quick food stop at the local stand for dinner ingredients
Quick stop at Barney's cave. Wait I think my ride just left me!!
Smelly Volcano girls
Volcano
We have arrived in Lipari
We have new friends. The birds are following us! One of the most beautiful things I have ever seen.
We made it! This is insane. When the sunset we could see the erupting lava!
what time is it? Time to hike a volcano!

Seattle shines bright like a diamond

From the moment we landed in Seattle we never once saw a cloud. The immediate sigh you get from everyone about the weather in this beautiful city did not show its true colors to me. I fell in love with its skyline, wine, food, and nature. We lose sight sometimes in the true beauty of everything around us. We quickly go through each day not looking up. Seattle is the perfect long weekend to get away and take many deep breaths. It helps to have great friends as hosts. So I will dedicate this post to the amazing Jaime and Alex. I truly believe that you can make the best of any situation if you are with great company. I had the honor to have just that!
Seattle is broken into a few neighborhoods, all of which have great character all their own. I stayed in Bellevue, but of course went by foot to get lost. If you only have a few days, like I did, you want to hit the ground running.
I asked the donut shop, the restaurant owner, his wife, and even the neighbor, where would you go if you were me? I can google all day long, but I want to know where would YOU go?
Seattle is known for Starbucks, but try something new. We went for coffee and homemade donuts at Top Pot. They were heaven and managed to last for dessert that night too. It helps if your travel buddy is a guy who is a good navigator. We all know my getting lost track record. It also allows you to just enjoy the ride and really soak it all in.
A day of trolley riding, neighborhood exploring, and just amazing food really leads you to start looking at the neighborhood that you could actually live in. I just connected to Capital Hill. It reminded me of San Francisco meets Brooklyn. Two of my favorite places. I also had one of the best meals ever. La Bete is a cute intimate neighborhood gem. I had a local tell me to run to this restaurant before it sadly closes its doors. I just hope it reopens with the same charm and chefs as before. The same lovely local owns a bar close by and we were ready to see the city at night. Liberty is everything you want in a bar. But that is just it, it does not just feel like a bar. They invite you in, explain in details the mixologist style drinks, and then guide you in the right direction. You can even get your cocktail set on fire! You need to check out this bar on your next trip to Capital Hill. Tell Andrew that Lindsay sent you!
We were lucky enough to be in Seattle during the BAM Arts Festival. Over 300 vendors and some heavenly greasy food. There is also a long list of Wineries just a short drive from downtown Seattle. We wanted to visit a few before we hopped back on the plane. We started with a bang with a very popular winery. Chateau St. Michelle did not disappoint. We had a very helpful and very happy man named Gary help us. I just adored him. That is half the experience for me in anyplace. The people. I try to connect, and to listen. Check out the winery online. They have a great lineup for concerts all summer long. After you wine taste, purchase a bottle, buy some cheese and meats from the store, and grab a spot on the grass. This is where it all kicks in. Do I really need to go back home? I could stay here all day…everyday. The nature in Seattle is beyond refreshing. Thank you Seattle for being beautiful, delicious, and making it a magical trip. I will be back…and soon!!!

Seattle Sunset from above

Downtown Seattle

Wine Tasting

Chateau St. Michelle Winery

Fish Market

BAM Arts Festival

Top Pot Donuts

Liberty Bar

Mount Rainier

Me and My wonderful host

Get bit by the travel bug

Once you step outside your world that you have built for yourself for another one..you will feel it. The travel bug is a real thing and I got bit when I was 16 years old. It happens when you walk the walk of lands you have never been before, or you get the shock of everything new and different. It’s exhilarating. It is my favorite feeling in the world. It’s a rush. You have no idea where you might be or even how to communicate, that’s my high. Try it. Try something new, something that challenges your normal vacation or weekend getaway. Let’s all live a little and get bit by that big fat travel bug.