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!

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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 šŸ˜‰

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

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It is big and ‘Sur’real!

There are places that are so picturesque that you can not take a bad photo. Then there is Big Sur. The ‘sur’real land along the central California coast stretches 90 miles long. You hear stories about the beauty of big sur. But this is not a land that can be told by stories. This is a land you need to fully soak in and one that needs to be explored. Big Sur is an actual slice of heaven.

You have no choice but drive on highway 1 along the coast. The roads are very windy and seem to go on forever, but that all just fades away. You get lost in the dramatic cliffs and crystal blue waters, forgetting that you are still in California. It is the most exotic place I have been, while still on US soil.

Big Sur truly has it all. There are tons of great hikes. The camping is some of the best in the world. You can even rent a lavish cabin on the cliffs. It even brings something for the top foodies. You have to check out Big Sur Bakery and also Napenthe. Napenthe has the food and the view. The bakery has everything one could ask for: great food, and a beautiful rustic atmosphere.

In my book Big Sur is a top wonder of the world. If you have not yet experienced the wonder, you are missing out on a magical and mythical place. Trust me…Big Sur will blow your mind.

Accommodation Tips: Unless you plan and book way in advance, It is hard to get a room in Big Sur. Camping is always an option, but the camping grounds book up as well. Or you can do what I did and stay in Monterey. The city is not a far drive from the top
of Big Sur. It is also a cute city to explore. Carmel is also an option. Both are usually on the more affordable side. If you are determined to stay inside of Big Sur just make sure to plan many months in advance.

No words..just perfection
Life is a balancing act My last Big Sur picture....until next time!!! All love Big Sur perfection Drive along highway 1 Following the light...to paradise Happy place Having fun on our hike House on the hill Living the woods life My new favorite mirrored glasses Paradise drive by Post card picture Trees for days Watched 20 whales feed and dance for hours. One of my favorite things I have ever done! Shining bright light a diamond The Marina at Fisherman's warf Yup! My mind is blown

Beautiful Circus by the Beach

What do you think of when you hear Venice Beach? Maybe Muscle Beach, or skateboarders, or surfers? Yes, this all still exists. But the little beach town in Los Angeles has charm and infectious ways that make you never want to leave.You can not help but fall in love with Venice Beach. It makes you just overall very happy. Whether it is the constant sunshine, or the fact that you are biking and walking everywhere. You just can’t help but smile.
Coming from NYC I have to have a little eccentric flair. I like different. I like a little character. Venice sums it all up.
You feel like you are in Italy by visiting the Venice canals. You can walk down the boardwalk and see everything from the bearded lady, to getting your fortune read while you watch the best skateboarders around do tricks. Ocean Park walk brings crazy adventure, but you can easily bike to Abbot Kinney and eat and shop your way into a food retail coma. I have all my favorites in streets surrounding my house. I have my Mexican taco truck on Rose Ave and 4th Street, my coffee at the Toms Store, my go to cocktail spot at Tasting Kitchen, and, of course, Gjelina for everything. Eat like a local and get the Gjelina take out. Given any day I could be sipping a Sake Coconut on the beach at the Venice Ale House. The possibilities are endless. But unlike most cities, Venice makes you feel very welcomed. You will feel like you are apart of a community. Isn’t that what life is about?
The many personalities of Venice are all there in shining colors. Just like if you lived in NYC you don’t frequent time square. I feel that way about the Boardwalk. But I am a happier person knowing that it is an arm reach away.
Hollywood is just around the corner, but for me, my heart lies in the circus by the beach. I have never seen a more beautiful sunset. And who knows you might even see Arnold Schwarzenegger at Golds Gym pumping iron where he started so many years ago.
I have always believed that life is short. That being said, I am making my best attempt to make it a colorful one!
See you at the circus!
Seeing only color
A good morning starts with a Gjelina Cappuccino
California sun can save your life!
Famous Venice Skate Park
I always take time to soak up the sun and appreciate the amazing place I call home
I have to get my oyster fix. This time from Fishing with Dynamite
I was on the search for Tom Hanks, but got my fortune read too!
In Venice graffiti is art
My favorite Mexican taco truck serves the freshest Ceviche Tostado
My happy place is my hammock life on my porch
My morning run never looked so good
My picture wall inspires me
The famous Venice Sign
Venice view from above
View from the Santa Monica Ferris Wheel
Weekends are made for local wine tasting
Venice summer sunsets are the colors of the world

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: Ā 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

Kissed by the Greek Gods

When you think of Greece, you think of the Greek Gods. The land was made for and by the gods. It shows in every city and every island. You can easily get swept away with its color and charm. And let us not forget about the food. I have eaten all over the world and the Greek Mediterranean diet is one of my favorites. I decided to concentrate on one island that I have been dreaming of going to for years. That island is no other than the amazingĀ Santorini.

But before you enter the jaw dropping islands, you have to pass through Athens. I love athens. I have been here before. Since I was here for just one night, I wanted to live like a local. I seeked out some art and culture. Luckily enough there happened to be The Athens Art Festival. I decided to attend the African dance version of Swan Lake. After buses and trains and walking many miles. I was outside my comfort zone (which I love) and far from city center. I was of course lost yet again. I finally found the warehouse theaters, and it was worth everything. It was breathtaking, beautiful, and tragic. Happy with my night, I had to get ready for my early ferry to Santorini.

The island lived up to it’s very big shoes it had to fill. I could feel the Greek magic over take me as I pulled into port. I wanted to beach hop, and the island is way to big to walk. We figured 4 wheels were safer than 2, so we rented an ATV. We were a little naive. It was scary, but we managed to explored the entire island. I wanted to see the famous sunset and eat fish. I did both, everyday. I saw the red beach and the black sand. We toured and sampled local wines at Santos Winery. At the winery the views could be one of the most beautiful I have ever seen. We finished our last night by riding our ATV to a local outdoor movie theater. We had no idea what to expect, but were just excited to see an English movie. And it just happened to be Pompeii. We were there just weeks before. And the magical little theater might have been my favorite thing on the island. It was all outdoors with recliner chairs and jazz playing in the background. You could drink wine and beer and sit among new friends. We all couldn’t help but share in each other complete happiness in the moment. It didn’t matter what movie was playing. It was the perfect night.

I was very happy with my last hurrah of European island hopping ending in Santorini. I was once told by a friend that Santorini was the only place she had ever been that looked better in person than it’s google images. It is true. It’s hard to explain how gorgeous the island is without experiencing it firsthand. Everyone out there make sure the Greek islands are on your bucket list. The gods created them for a reason!

Pure perfection

Sunset in Santorini

 

Beach day in Perissa

 

I am ready....is Santorini ready for me? On the loose!

 

Sometimes you just need to kick up your heels and soak it all in.

 

Santorini - Perfection

 

When you walk down to the bottom...this guy is your ride back up. I named him Milo

 

Morning coffee in the perfect mug.

 

Hey...thats my purse!!!

 

Seafood, sunsets, and rose...oh my!!!

 

African dance performance of Swan Lake. Breathtaking!

 

Sampling the finest from Santos winery.

 

Fish..it's what's for dinner!

 

Movie date! We watched Pompeii at the open air cinema.

 

Ready for my night out on the town

 

View from above