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Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Birthday Trip to New York (to see Hamilton!!!!)

It's no secret that we love New York. We go at least once a year, and even spent a month there last summer (home exchange, FTW!)

Something you may or may not know about me, is that I absolutely LOVE going to the theater. Love it. I've seen a lot of shows on Broadway, London's West End, and a few traveling shows (and even one in Vegas) and they were all incredible! I love musicals, but I truly just love the way the theater makes everything so magical. They make everything so vivid, even without elaborate set changes and only a small number of people to play dozens of roles! How do they do it?!

About 18 months ago, I (along with most of America) became OBSESSED with the Hamilton soundtrack. It's one of the most innovative things I've ever listened to in my entire life. I knew I had to see it live. With our month in NYC approaching, I knew I could try for the lottery, but it was unlikely I'd win. So in June, I took matters into my own hands and bought tickets --- for March 2017. Yes, a solid 9 months in advance. So I knew we'd have an NYC trip for my 31st birthday!

SO yes, that's the entire reason we booked this trip. We had a home exchange we needed to use up anyway, so it was the perfect time. And if you have the chance to buy Hamilton tickets, do it. One of the best I've seen!

View from the Highline. I love those long, straight avenues :) 

The view from our 41st floor TriBeCa apartment was incredible! I've never had such a great view of the city.

New favorite brunch place - Maman TriBeCa. Such an inventive menu. The decor was very French Country but done so beautifully.

I love Lower Manhattan. 

More of our view - we could see the sunrise over Brooklyn. Amazing!

Other new favorite brunch - Bubby's. Apparently this place has been here a long time, and there's a reason. Get the pancakes. You won't regret it! (because I regret not getting them) Their huevos rancheros was also one of the best I've had!

An old man offered to take our picture on the Highline - he took 4 pictures, and the other 3 had his finger in front of the camera completely :) 


We had dinner at VBar Seaport and it was delicious. They had a great mezze plate and pasta, it was perfect for a rainy, cold night. 

Our final brunch was at the Butcher's Daughter in NOLITA. It was fresh and vegetarian, perfect for me! :) 

Our trip was awesome. The weather wasn't my favorite (40 and rainy), but that's "spring" for you. I did all of my favorite New York things - saw a show, got my nails done, had bubble tea, wandered downtown, had pizza by the slice, saw friends, and ate and drank a lot of great stuff! 

Then, after 3 days, we hopped on a plane to LONDON! To be continued....

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Monday, April 10, 2017

This Week in Travel: Vol. 49

WE'RE BACK! We spent 3 days in NYC seeing Hamilton (YES, it's as amazing as you think it will be), seeing friends, eating food, and walking around in the freezing cold. We did a Home Exchange and stayed in TriBeCa on the 41st floor - so the view was incredible (see above). 

We also spent 7 days in London, my favorite place. The weather was incredible, in the 60's and sunny every day (basically summer in the UK!) and everything was in full bloom. I saw all my friends, enjoyed the sights, and just lazily wandered my favorite city. Recaps on both coming soon! 



Thursday, March 16, 2017

GIVEAWAY! West Elm Travel Set

Today I'm here with a little something fun - I'm giving away a 4 Piece Travel Set from West Elm!

The set includes:
  • Ear Plugs
  • Jersey Eye Mask
  • Inflatable Neck Pillow with removable (aka washable!) Jersey cover
  • Jersey Storage Pouch

I use this set myself and it has served me well. I love that you can inflate/deflate the neck pillow, so you aren't stuck carrying it around for your entire trip. The eye mask is incredibly soft. And the little drawstring pouch fits everything inside for easy packing!

Entering is easy, just use the Rafflecopter below to enter! And follow along for extra chances to win. PLUS, share this Facebook post for 2 extra entries (4 chances total!)

Good luck! The winner will be announced on Monday.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*This is in no way sponsored or connected with West Elm or any of their sister or parent companies*


Wednesday, March 8, 2017

24 Hours in Memphis

We recently road tripped to Memphis to complete our Global Entry Interview & take a bonus pit stop at Ikea. Once I started researching Memphis (I've never been!), I realized that we had to stay at the Peabody Hotel.

It's super old and historic, has gorgeous high ceilings, and has the DUCKS! There's a whole history around this, but there are ducks that live at the Peabody. They live upstairs on the roof in a special duck penthouse, except every day from 11am-5pm where they live in the fountain in the lobby. They march into the elevator when they hear the John Phillip Souza march - it's adorable! If you are going to see the ducks (you don't have to be a hotel guest to go!), I suggest getting there at least 45min-1hr in advance and grab a seat. You can't be standing unless you're behind certain areas. We snagged a seat at the bar and had a drink while we waited for the little quackers to do their march :) I loved it!!!!

We ate dinner at South of Beale and it was so good! It was located in the arts district about 1 mile from the hotel & Beale St. It had a lot of vegetarian and non vegetarian options. It was casual, had a good beer list, and they give you this incredible popcorn (that I think might be laced with crack) when you sit down. I would definitely eat here again. Matt's side of mac & cheese was absolutely delicious!

We had a drink at the ultimate dive bar - Ernestine & Hazels. This place was a brothel back in the day, and it definitely hasn't been updated since. Like Santa's in Nashville, they serve 4 or 5 different type of bottled beer. It was awful and awesome all at the same time. 

Beale Street, or Memphis' version of Broadway in Nashville, was underwhelming at best. This photo was taken around 10:30pm on a Saturday night - I couldn't believe how few people were out and about! The street is blocked to cars, so pedestrians can wander in and out of bars. Many of the bars were charging a $10 cover, so we didn't head into any. But if you wanted to hit up some live music, this is the place.


This was pretty much it! We hit up Ikea the next morning on our way back, but I didn't take any pictures of the Ikea, since it looks just like all the others :) But good news, Nashvillians - this over an hour closer than the Atlanta Ikea. (it took us about 2hr 45min)

Have you ever been to Memphis? Did you see the ducks? What did we miss?

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Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Wine Tasting in Niagara-On-The-Lake (aka, the cutest town in North America

In August, we did a Home Exchange in Toronto for a week. We also still had our Southwest Companion Pass then, so instead of flying into Toronto, we flew into Buffalo, NY and drove to Toronto (it's about a 2 hour drive). I went to Niagara Falls when I was 11 or 12 years old, so I have a faint memory of the Falls, but I thought it would be fun to visit again as an adult. When telling our friends who used to live in Toronto about our upcoming plans, they suggested we stop in Niagara-On-The-Lake for some wine tasting and dinner. And I'm so glad they did! We absolutely loved it.

Since we were there in August, it was SO HOT. Plus the mist from the falls made everything extra humid. We were basically drenched in sweat and mist all day. But it was still really fun to see the falls. I have to say, the Canadian side is SO much better than the American side. If you're feeling nerdy, Google pictures of what it looked like when they put up a dam in 1969 to stop the flow of water to the American Falls in order to study the rocks. It's crazy looking! They're apparently going to do it again in the next few years, and I can't wait to see what crazy stuff they find down there.

After we got our waterfall viewing on, we drove about 20 minutes north towards Niagara-On-The-Lake. Before we got into the town, we hit up a few of the famous ice wineries. Ice wine is special, because they pick the berries while they are still frozen on the vine, which makes a very sweet, concentrated dessert wine. Not necessarily my cup of tea, but it was fun to try.

We went to The Ice House & Inniskillin.

THEN we actually got to Niagara-On-The-Lake! It might be the cutest place I've ever been. This adorable downtown main street, perfectly sculpted landscaping, with cute shops and restaurants lining the boulevard. I loved it.

We found a brewery and did a tasting, and spent a few hours wandering in and out of shops. Adorable. This would be a great place for quiet getaway where you stayed in a B&B and did wine tasting every day. That actually sound idyllic to me... booking that now ;) 

Seriously - could this place be more adorable? We only spent the afternoon here, but I'd be happy with a luxurious long weekend to enjoy all of its cute corners.

Have you ever been to Niagara-On-The-Lake?

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