California Dreaming

Happy Monday friends!  Today I’m sharing a much overdue post about one of my favorite cities to visit, Los Angeles, where we visited over this past Labor Day holiday. If you’ve ever been, you know what I mean when I say the city is bursting with cool things to do. From unique museums, Rodeo Drive shopping, or maybe just some classic Hollywood sightseeing, there’s a little something for everyone. This was our second time visiting, and even when we stayed for nearly a week this time, I still feel like we’ve barely brushed the surface. Not to mention the restaurant scene is exploding right now with emerging chefs from all over the world making it one of the most exciting food towns in the county.

Where to Stay
We decided to try Airbnb for the first time, and ::drum roll:: it was a great experience! The house we rented was in the heart of Echo Park and equipped with a pool, a gas fire pit, and a wrap-around deck with views of the Hollywood sign. Our newest pooch Zoe, who’s small enough to fly in the cabin with us, came along and certainly appreciated the extra space as well. We even cooked dinner in one night, which was a nice break from eating out every night.

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Zoe basking in the sun on the deck of our Airbnb.

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The beautiful Echo Park was right around the corner from our Airbnb. A film crew was setup here one afternoon — so LA!

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Pool time with my Zoe girl!

 What to Do
One of our favorite things to do in LA is to check out the Melrose Trading Post, a market held every Sunday in the parking lot of Fairfax High School, offering handcrafted jewelry, local artwork, vintage tees, and antique pottery. Admission is only $3.00 and it’s a great spot to find a one-of-a-kind souvenir.

On our must-do list was hiking Runyan Canyon. Luck would have it that Los Angeles was experiencing a heat wave during our trip, so the 90 degree sun made the hike particularly challenging. BUT once made it to the top there was a nice shot of the Hollywood sign, as well as an amazing view of downtown LA, so it was 100% worth it.

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Something that’s been on my bucket-list was to see a taping of a live television show, so we were able to snag tickets for Dancing with the Stars from On Camera Audiences.  We’re not really fans of the show, but it was still interesting to see how it’s filmed behind the scenes.

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The judges — you can see Simon and Heidi sitting in their chairs.

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The GOAT Julia Roberts. If you ever see a taping at the Dolby Theater, definitely take some time to look around at the photographs from past Oscars.

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While you’re in the area, peruse the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Touristy yes, but still fun!
You may know by now that we’re those weird childless Disney fans, which means we can’t make a trip to Southern California without checking out Disneyland. East Coasters will probably gasp blasphemy for this statement, but it’s actually our favorite of all the Disney parks!

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The money shot!

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A must.

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Dole Whips are LIFE.

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California Adventure Park.

Warner Brother Studio — we did this during our last visit, but it’s certainly worth another mention… please check it out if you visit LA! The tour takes you through a working prop room, a variety of film sets, some of which included Gilmore Girls and The Big Bang Theory,, and a huge costume display.  They even have a replica of Central Perk from Friends.

Where to Eat

Grand Central Market
A huge, amazing food market in the heart of downtown Los Angeles. A must visit!

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Enormous taco platters from Tacos Tumbras a Tomas.

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The BEST ice cream from McConnell’s.

Osteria Mozza
The “it” restaurant right now, co-owned by Nancy Silzerton (of the famed La Brea Bakery), Mario Batali, and Joe Bastianich. Osteria Mozza was featured on an episode of Mind of a Chef. It was too dark to take pictures sadly!

Night + Market
Do you like Thai food? Okay trick question because doesn’t everyone? A cool hole-in-the-wall joint in the Silver Lake neighborhood. Super friendly staff considering how busy they always. The food is authentic and delicious.

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Beef Curry

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Crispy Rice Salad

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Shrimp and Green Beans Stir-fry

Melrose Umbrella Co.
Funky cocktail bar with an umbrella theme — dangerously good cocktails! A very “see and be seen” feel.

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Sqirl
A cute little cafe with a Los Angeles hipster vibe and delicious homemade jams.

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Sorrell Pesto Rice Bowl + Green Goddess Salad

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Brioche Toast with Ricotta + Jam

 

…Last but not least, I CAN NOT go to the West Coast without my In-N-Out fix! And yes, animal style all day everyday!

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Thanks for reading friends! Do you have any favorite spots in LA that I missed?!

 

 

Photo Album: St. Regis Maldives

Warning: What I’m about to say is going to sound basic AF (#basicandproud) so brace yourselves… Fall is just around the corner here in Richmond, VA which means I can barely wait to bust out my cozy sweaters, boots, and leather jacket. The slight chill in the air makes me completely giddy with excitement for halloween decor, burnt orange leaves, and pretending I like sports at football parties. And before you even ask, no I do not like pumpkin spice lattes (#notthatbasic).

As summer comes to an end it always feels like the start of a new year to me. I think it’s a feeling that has stuck with me since I was younger and geared up to start school every September. It almost feels as though I’m in reboot mode and I begin to plan new trips, while reflecting on where I’ve been the first half of the year.

I wanted to share some photos of one trip in particular that was definitely a bucket-list kind of vacation. Joe and I typically plan a big trip every winter after Christmas and last January knew we wanted to go to Hong Kong, but couldn’t decide where else to visit while in Asia. That was until we saw a blog post by The Points Guy about an amazing points value deal to stay at the brand new St. Regis Maldives. After figuring out some transportation logistics, like for example, how exactly does one even get to a private island in the middle of the Indian Ocean, we were all set and impatiently awaited our trip to paradise.

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Our journey to the St. Regis Maldives started at the resort’s seaplane terminal. They insisted we take this picture when we arrived, and let’s be honest, I never turn down a photo op. At the end of our trip they surprised us with a hard copy as we departed — such a nice touch by the staff!

 

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Our seaplane chariot awaits!

 

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When we booked the trip I knew taking a seaplane to the resort would be a challenging obstacle standing between me and a beautiful tropical oasis. The thought of a tiny aircraft diving into an ocean abyss during landing was an unpleasant thought for my sense of mortality or proneness to getting motion sick, but nonetheless it had to be done. The breathtaking views, along with lots of Dramamine, certainly helped though.

 

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View of the the St. Regis as we arrived.

 

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Welcome cocktail. I always choose the bubbly!

 

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St. Regis overwater bungalows.

 

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View from the deck of our bungalow. Not too shabby.

 

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The resort held a daily yoga class overlooking the ocean. Not a bad way to start the day.

 

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We were going to be “stranded” on an island for five nights, so I knew our only dining options would be the restaurants on the resort, and I’m not going to lie, I was skeptical. Would it be overpriced, sub-par resort fare? Or cuisine worthy of a Michelin star? Well my friends, the food turned out to be spectacular and the St. Regis culinary team totally knocked it out of the park. One night we went to a fancy shmancy wine dinner with the Executive Chef and Wine Director, and ermahgerd you guys, it was incredible. It’s also worth pointing out that they can create this amazing meal IN THE SMACK DAB MIDDLE OF AN OCEAN, all while I can barely put a frozen pizza in the oven on a Wednesday night.

 

613F5ECC-9211-40C5-8EB1-1F578075F8EFWe decided to try our luck with traditional Maldivian sunset fishing, and if you know me, you know outdoorsy activities aren’t really my cup of tea. I’m more of a cocktail in the sun, laying by the pool kinda girl, but with that said, I ended up loving it and even caught a fish.  I guess I could survive in the wilderness after all.

 

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The Chef grilled the fish I caught for lunch the next day.

 

A2DDA2FE-67A5-47AC-B3B2-57DAC0C24EC9Relaxing in the spa’s hydrotherapy pool. It was nice but kinda small (kidding).

 

1978B2A2-D73B-407C-AF8D-F1D9F56431FDThe staff gave us this cute little cake the morning we left.

 

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Our sea plane to leave paradise waiting for us. Don’t make me go!

 

 

 

Weekend in Boston

Hello friends! Is it just me or did this summer fly by?  I feel like I say it every year, but I seriously can’t believe it’s already Labor Day!

One of my favorite trips this summer was visiting the great city of Boston. Beantown holds a special place in my heart after I spent freshmen year of college there at a small private school. I hadn’t been back in nearly five years, so I was super stoked to have the opportunity to visit again with Joe and his family. Not only is there an endless variety of fun things to do, Boston is also super walkable and easy to navigate. Since I’ve seen a lot of the city already, we wanted to leisurely explore the town and didn’t plan too many activities in advance — so this itinerary is for the traveler looking for a more laid-back visit.

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Eating + Drinking Dublin

Happy Monday Friends! It’s a rainy, dreary morning here in Richmond, similar to a typical day in Dublin which got me thinking about our trip last month. This post is all about where we ate and drank while visiting the Irish capital. Although Dublin is well known for their pubs, the food scene goes a bit unnoticed, and despite the misconception that you can’t eat well there, we found some really yummy spots! Below is a short guide to my favorites:

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Five Reasons Why You Need to Visit Prague RIGHT NOW

When planning a trip to Europe most people typically envision the charming café lined streets of Paris or gondoliers dressed in stripes singing along the Venice canals. The truth is, Prague isn’t usually the first city that comes to mind when planning a trip over the pond, and I’ll admit, Prague hasn’t always been on the top of my must-see list either. But after talking with a friend who had been (and loved it), along with it continually popping up when I googled “foodie cities in Europe” (yes, I google things like that), it was quickly added to our summer trip itinerary and let me tell you… I fell in love! I don’t think Prague gets the attention it so rightly deserves, so I’m here to spread the word!

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Kentucky Derby Weekend in Louisville

Whether you’re a fan of horse racing fan or not, you’ve likely heard the Kentucky Derby referred to as the most exciting two minutes in sports. While I can confirm the truth of this statement after experiencing first hand the running of the roses a few weeks ago, what you probably didn’t hear is that the entire derby weekend in the city of Louisville is an experience in itself. The excitement was contagious from the moment we touched down in Louisville on Thursday night. It’s no surprise that the city knows how to do it right though. After all, this isn’t their first rodeo — the Kentucky Derby has been going strong for 143 years.

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Top Five Must-Eat Disney Snacks

Happy hump day folks! I hope the week has been going amazingly for y’all so far. I’m pretty sure I’m still hungover from our trip to Louisville and the Kentucky Derby last weekend (blog post will be up soon!) and I’ve been in recovery mode — i.e. taking a hiatus from alcoholic beverages. This got me to thinking about some of the more “innocent” activities I enjoy and my mind went straight to Disney. Call me a five year old but where else can you completely escape from real life into a world of your favorite childhood characters, thrill rides, and most importantly SNACKS?! It took me a few Disney trips before truly discovering the best of the best bites, so I wanted to share a list of my top five must-eat snacks in the most magical place on earth.

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The Markets of Hong Kong

Hello! Welcome to my final Hong Kong post about the markets in Kowloon we visited on a tour with Urban Adventures. The city’s markets have been around for 100+ years so it goes without saying they are an integral part of Hong Kong’s culture and heritage.

The first market we visited was the Flower Market. Bursting with bright colors, unfamiliar fragrances, and exotic vegetation, this was my favorite out of the eight markets we saw. As you walk past dozens of shops and wholesalers you are immersed in a jungle of exotic house plants and vibrant floral arrangements.

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RVA Events & Happenings

It’s Thursday y’all! You’ve almost survived the work week dealing with stressful deadlines and annoying coworkers eating your clearly labeled yogurt from the breakroom fridge. You’re one day away from opening up a frosty beverage and enjoy some fun events around town! To ease you into the weekend I’m sharing my top five events and happenings in RVA this weekend and into the following week:

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Richmond Spotlight: Easter on Parade

Happy Monday Folks!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter Sunday and enjoyed the beautiful warm weather yesterday! My day was spent with family having brunch at our house and then strolling over to Monument Avenue for Easter on Parade. If you haven’t been before, contrary to the name, it’s not an actual parade in the traditional sense. There’s no marching band or floating snoopy balloon; instead the “parade” is made up of attendees in their Sunday best and crazy hats “parading” down Monument Avenue.

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