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Archive for the year 2014

2014

Family Travel Guide to Traveling With Kids

September 1, 2014 by  

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  travel with kids I may look motherly – but I’m not! I never wanted kids of my own. I’m not sure why, it just never appealed to me; taking care of someone, the diapers, crying, responsibility, and especially the toddlers – I don’t do well with toddlers. However, that doesn’t mean I don’t like kids – I love other people’s kids. Yes, they still may cry, but they aren’t my responsibility 24/7. However, over the last 3 years I found myself traveling with other people’s kids quite often and that meant taking responsibility for them for extended periods. It’s quite a challenging and enriching endeavor for me personally. Whenever I start another trip with one of my nieces for the Niece Project, I still get a moment of panic that makes my stomach flip as we’re about to take off. It’s knowing that if something goes wrong – it’s my responsibility – my family is depending on me to keep everyone safe. Since I’ve completed 3 trips now with my nieces, I also realize that I know a lot more now then I did on my first niece trip. I noticed my stress level…

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Exploring Vietnam Through a Camera Lens in Full Color

September 1, 2014 by  

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Vietnam was the first country I visited after officially becoming location-independent, and for that reason alone it will always hold a special significance to me. In this way, my trip to Vietnam was also one of the last I took purely as a traveler, and not as a “travel blogger,” “travel writer” or “travel photographer.” Looking back through my photos and reading back through the writing I did at the time, I find work that is both embarrassing and refreshing in how unfocused it is.
 


Eating Our Way Through Karlvolasi in Samos Greece

September 1, 2014 by  

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This post is about dining on the Greek island of Samos, where I have now been there three times for stays of a month or more.  I started with Mytilini, the largest of the mountain towns and also where we stayed. This post covers Karlovasi, the second largest town on the island. It has a working harbor and nice old section up on a hill over the new town,  located on the northwest side of the island. The School of Sciences of University of the Aegean  is located in the town. It was a flourishing tannery and tobacco manufacturing centre in the early 1900s. Many magnificent neoclassical mansions can be seen from that period as well as the remains of the large stone-built factories at the “Ormos” seaside. Dionisos is an excellent restaurant in the middle of the new town at Plateia 8is Maiou, Below you can see some of their offerings. They include: fava bean spread, sautéed field greens, grilled cheese, cheese pies, goat in tomato sauce with fries, and chilled cherries for desert. IMG_2073  IMG_2074  IMG_2075  IMG_2076  IMG_2077  IMG_2079 We also went to a fish market where you can order fish cooked to pick up in the afternoon. You see some of the…

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Wine Country Weekend in Napa for Ramen, Donburi, Wine & More

August 31, 2014 by  

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1-ramen.jpg Ramen Gaijin is a new pop-up in Sebastopol featuring authentic Japanese ramen.
zazuexterior1.jpg Zazu will host a spirited dinner with local distillery Spirit Works.
First, we’ve got to state the obvious: there was a whole lotta shaking going on last Sunday. But Napa wants everyone to know it’s still very much open for business. Despite some damage and a few red- and yellow-tagged restaurants in downtown Napa, nearly everyone has reopened. The good news is that many newer restaurants are in historic brick buildings that have already been retrofitted and thus survived the earthquake with relatively little damage. The vast majority of wineries are also open, despite some of the scary images of wine barrels that toppled like Lincoln Logs. Sonoma County escaped relatively unscathed other than a broken dish or two, so its restaurants are also open for business. ~WINE COUNTRY WEEKEND~ is the top dog of wine events in Sonoma County and one of the most fun. More than 200 top-notch wineries and restaurants bring out their “A” game for the weekend. It is a see-and-be-seen hoopla that no…

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Behind the Scenes in Lisbon Portugal

August 31, 2014 by  

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July started off with an unexpected trip to Lisbon. My husband had been invited to speak at The Lisbon Challenge and I was fortunate enough to tag along for the weekend. Technically, I had been to Portugal before but it was very short lived. I spent a memorable day in Faro during my semester studying abroad. It was meant as a pitstop on my way to see a friend who was living in Sevilla, Spain. Well, I had a fabulous time in Portugal and after hearing stories about how beautiful Lisbon is, I’ve been dreaming about visiting it ever since. Our high-rise hotel, Tivoli Oriente, was located in the northern part of the city, which is mostly characterized by impressive modern buildings featuring varied architectural styles. It wasn’t until later that day that I headed to the Barrio Alto area and wow, was it different! I had a field day walking on cobbled streets, exploring hidden alleyways and taking pictures at every turn. What fascinated me most was the vibrant street art that appears in pockets of the downtown neighborhoods. I quickly learned that Lisbon is truly a city of contrasts. The graffiti-covered walls are a stark change from the historic monuments and the modern architecture seen…

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A Luxury Stay at Ritz Carlton Westchester, a Stone’s Throw From Manhattan & Charming Towns

August 31, 2014 by  

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I’ve always loved the Ritz Carlton and have never had anything but a luxurious experience with top notch service every single time I’ve stayed in one. Earlier this summer, I began to explore Westchester in New York State for the first time, a stone’s throw from the Big Apple. The great thing about Westchester is that within an hour or so from New York City, you can get access to nature and a slower pace, which means that Westchester County makes a great weekend getaway from the city, whether you live there or are visiting from overseas or another state. It’s also just minutes from Scarsdale, Tarrytown and Rye New York, charming towns to visit, as well as only 20 minutes from Greenwich CT. Because my roots are tied to technology and have been for years, I’ve been to White Plains New York but never stayed at their Ritz Carlton until recently….what a surprise!  At one point, Anthony looked at me in the hotel lobby as we were leisurely having lunch on our first day and said, “it feels as if we’re in another state, maybe even country….” Like all Ritz Carlton properties I’ve experienced, the service was outstanding! We…

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South Africa: The Best of the Bush in Late August

August 30, 2014 by  

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The first heat has hit and the knobthorns are flowering and the first Wahlberg’s eagles have been sighted, a sure sign that winter is coming to an end. Although I am excited to once again be driving through verdant green hillsides and have all the migrant bird species back, I can’t say I won’t miss winter. The chill of the early mornings and the mist hanging low in the valleys are two of my favourite things about the bush. CheetahSunset2 It’s not over yet though, and there is still a nip in the air in the mornings. The wildlife in South Africa continues to impress, so while we await the first rains in a month or two, enjoy this photo journey. Cheetah The male cheetah surveys his domain. Will he and the female mate again and have more cubs? We are hopeful, as both have been spending time in similar areas. EllieCross An elephant bull snatches a quick drink as he crosses the Sand River to rejoin his herd. HoodedVulture This hooded vulture had landed to investigate the scene of a Sparta Pride kill. Finding nothing left, he…

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What You’ll Find at the Brooklyn Flea Market

August 29, 2014 by  

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  L1010084 Recently during a move, I suggested we check out the Brooklyn Flea Market with the sole purpose of finding the perfect nightstand. (Brooklyn Flea without purpose = disaster.  I love EVERYTHING.) There are 3 different locations: Fort Greene, Williamsburg, and Park Slope, and we chose Williamsburg because I also really wanted to drive through the Hasidic Jewish community while we were there. Seriously: such a fun Sunday afternoon!  Along with vintage clothing, furniture and more tchotchkes than you’d ever know what to do with, there were also tons of food vendors there selling anything you could possibly be craving.  Hibiscus donuts?  Done!!! L1010083 L1010089 L1010090 L1010093 L1010095 L1010096 L1010097 L1010094 In the end we did find the perfect nightstand: an old crate that I’ll turn on its side.  Of course the hubby was like #youpaidhowmuchforthatthing?!, but it was a fraction of what the furniture stores were charging. Plus: vintage!  And fun day Sunday!  Totes worth it:-) L1010092 L1010099

Have you ever been on a mission to find the perfect {insert random object here}?  If so, where did you end up finding it?  Share below!

     


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