Category Archives: travel

The Women’s March on Washington

January 23, 2017

inspiration / life / travel / weekend

Well, we did it. We turned out in droves and marched across the country, across the globe and man, we were heard. My mom and I traveled to Washington, D.C. for the historic Women’s March on Washington and here’s what we saw…

We stayed between D.C. and Baltimore and planned ahead to take the train to the march. Even with tickets purchased in advance, we arrived at the station around 6:30 a.m. and waited for two hours. We were surrounded by a sea of pink hats and enthusiastic crowds. It was such fun to see everyone turning out but excitement quickly turned to panic when the southbound trains kept passing us because they were already full. We split an Uber with a group of ladies and as we pushed our way through the station saw the train stop and let people on. We waited for two hours on that platform in the cold, so we were crushed. We didn’t lose momentum, though. We crammed into a car and made our way to Union Station.

The ride was an opportunity to connect with the women we met on the platform. Two of them were from Kansas City, Missouri and the other was an Italian immigrant who traveled from Los Angeles for the march. I loved hearing their contrasting perspectives. They shared their fears about the upcoming administration and what inspired them to come to Washington. We told them how we impulsively purchased plane tickets on Christmas Day and they told us they planned the trip before the election. They wanted to be a part of history and see the first female president’s inauguration. What a turn of events, right? One of the women said her sister, who lives in Sweden, was marching too. I checked my phone and saw marches were taking place around the globe: Berlin, London, Paris, even Antarctica. That’s when I knew something big was happening.

We got dropped off at Union Station and bid adieu to our car mates. This is when the excitement really set in. We followed the sea of people toward Independence Avenue, chanting and taking photos along the way. We passed the Capitol and it felt so bittersweet that the day before I watched on TV as President Obama walked down the stairs to Marine One and departed for the last time. The buildings are so grand and beautiful and the whole scene felt even more perfect with the nation’s people marching by.

To be completely honest, I’m not sure where we ended up. March volunteers and law enforcement were kind enough to tell us when to turn and which direction to go, but once we reached Independence and… some cross street… the crowd was so packed, it was difficult to get anywhere. We managed to squeeze our way in to a spot where I could just barely hear the rally speakers. I actually didn’t know where the stage was or who was speaking so we pushed closer to hear Michael Moore, Scarlett Johansson, Ashley Judd, Alicia Keys, Sen. Tammy Duckworth and Sen. Kamala Harris. I caught a glimpse of the monitor and settled in for each speaker’s inspiring words. I didn’t catch Gloria’s speech, but watched it more than once at home.

I would have liked to have stayed longer, but we had a flight back to Florida to catch. Even as we sat on the train back to Baltimore, we mingled with fellow marchers about the success of the day. Twitter posts were shared about the size of the crowd and how every demonstration was peaceful. It was especially entertaining to listen to one woman explain Twitter to these two older ladies. They were amazed at the information being provided and one woman asked,  “How do I Twitter?” while the other emphatically piped in, “Can I see Donald Trump’s Twitter?”

Overall, the day felt like success. We were heard. We were peaceful. We were powerful. I walked away feeling like change is possible and for the first time, ever I think, I felt united with people. Everyone got along, everyone supported each other, and we came together (with creative and funny signs!) to make history. If anything, I’m more inspired to see the world through the eyes of people who are not like me and to listen to them. In listening to everyone, not just those who agree with us, we can learn, we can progress, and we can come together. Since sharing my experience, I’ve found that not everyone agreed with the march or they saw it as a movement of sore losers. We all marched for different reasons and even though we don’t all agree on the issues, I have found that more than anything, people want to be unified again. They want to come together as a country, and the first way to do that is to listen.

ICYMI:

America Ferrera

Michael Moore

Scarlett Johansson

Elizabeth Warren at the Boston March

 

 

The Colors of Old San Juan

December 7, 2016

travel

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When Puerto Rico comes to mind, most people imagine the colors of Old San Juan. From the bright buildings to the blue cobblestone streets, to the vibrant ocean water peeking through the cityscape, every inch of Old San Juan is bright and happy and bursting with life.

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We stayed at an AirBnB on Calle San Sebastian, and I couldn’t have been more pleased with the location. I highly recommend staying in Old San Juan for your first trip to Puerto Rico because it eliminates the need for a car, which is great because parking is next to impossible in this area. The red building above is home to my favorite bar, Aquí Se Puede. One evening Victor, his father (also named Victor), my dad and I had the whole place to ourselves. The bartender was a phenomenal mixologist (he made best old fashioned I’ve ever had) and even played Sam Cooke upon my request.

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El Morro

October 26, 2016

travel

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Guys. I am so behind. I’ve traveled to some really fun places this past year but I’m so behind in sharing. Truth be told, I didn’t even finish posting the rest of L.A…. and that was in January! Maybe I’ll do a flashback post.. idk, haven’t worked it out yet. Stay tuned. ANYWAY. Look! I went to Puerto Rico! It was fun and colorful and adventurous and here’s what I did first…

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We stayed in Viejo San Juan, which is like the Orlando of the island: touristy and colorful. It’s totally walkable which is exactly what we did our first morning. We walked to El Morro, a national historic site located at the edge of the island. It makes for a beautiful photo opp, and it was free and relatively vacant, so you know I was all about it.

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This type of history is not exactly my cuppa tea, but from what I gather, Columbus landed on PR, claimed it for Spain, later the Dutch wanted in on the action but didn’t last, the British invaded somewhere along the way, and after the Spanish-American War, the U.S. took control of it. It was partially restored and used to monitor the surrounding waters in WWI and WWII, and the surrounding lawn was converted to a golf course.

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We climbed to the top for the gorgeous views. I’m not sure if you can tell, but my knees are totally wobbly here. Anything for that vacay shot…

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I didn’t anticipate such a hilly lanscape in Puerto Rico but it adds to the character and beauty of the island. We returned to the El Morro area a few days later and the lawn was filled with families flying colorful kites. It was a really cool sight to see.

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Stay tuned, I still have brightly colored buildings, blue cobblestone and a rainforest to show you! Xx

Part Two: Williamsburg

October 12, 2016

travel / weekend

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Day two of my Virginia adventure took me to Williamsburg to visit my oldest friend (not in age, but in relationship). Leigh and I have been friends since freshman year of high school. I think we bonded over a mutual love for Celebrity Jeopardy and mutual hate for pep rallies and school spirit in general.

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I didn’t want to arrive empty-handed to Leigh’s so I popped in Sugar Shack on my way out of town for a few sweets. Oh-mah-gah. I grabbed blueberry donut holes to snack on while driving to Williamsburg and I still dream about how fresh and delicious they were. Coupled with a big cup of dark roast coffee, and I was in heaven. They had so many fun donut flavors to choose from, so I highly recommend this place if you have an opportunity to pop in one of their many locations. (They’re in Florida!)

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Leigh, her husband, Ben, and daughter Harper lived in Williamsburg and since my visit, they’ve welcomed baby Caroline and moved back to Florida.  They were gracious enough to show me around Williamsburg so after getting settled, Leigh, Harper and I took to the streets and explored America’s second oldest college campus, William & Mary, and Colonial Williamsburg.

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We walked around and caught up on life, all the while feeling sorry for the kids who’s parents took them on an educational vacation instead of to Disney. We made it to a cute cafe where I almost had a panic attack when tasked with pushing Ms. Harper and her stroller out of the door by myself. I don’t know how people do it. There were chairs, and people and maneuvering and I literally wanted to say “Make way! Lady with a baby!”. It was seriously only 10 feet but it was easily the most difficult thing I did that day. Fortunately, Harper was all smiles and oblivious to my panic sweat.

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Our next stop was Jamestown Settlement. It was pretty cool, even though the weather had turned chilly and misty. Nevertheless, we saw some cool old stuff, walked around, and chatted. Some of my favorite things.

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For dinner, Leigh, Ben, Harper and I ate at Dog Street Pub, the cutest little gastropub in Williamsburg. They have an extensive beer list (always a win), delicious food, and a bustling atmosphere. The building itself used to be a bank and remnants of its history can be seen in the classically shaped windows and marble floors.

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The next morning, I left a very gray Williamsburg early to drive back to Florida. Per the recommendation of my hosts, I took the ferry across the James River as a scenic alternative to going back the way I came. I was grateful I had an opportunity to visit with friends, even if it was a short stay, and that they were kind enough to welcome me into their home. Of course, I’m even happier they’ve moved back to Florida so I can bug them on the regular now.

 

 

Part One: Richmond

September 19, 2016

travel / weekend

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What would summer be without a road trip? For the long July 4th weekend, I drove north to Virginia to visit friends in Williamsburg. My first stop though, was Richmond, a city I had not visited before, but immediately took a liking to for it’s natural beauty, culture, and good food. Here’s a glimpse into my one-day highlight tour of Richmond, Virginia…

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My first stop was Libby Hill Park. Located in the Church Hill area, quaint brownstones line small streets leading to this picturesque park. It was a great way to get acquainted with Richmond because the Jamestown River and downtown cityscape can be seen from the same spot.

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summer music / 1

July 12, 2016

entertainment / travel / weekend

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I mentioned in the previous post that I surprised my dad in New Orleans with Weezer tickets. To be honest, I was a little nervous he wouldn’t like standing outside in the heat for hours surrounded by a huge (rather eclectic) crowd. But he seemed to love it when all was said and done so I was grateful for that. There’s something about summer and live music that I just can’t get enough of. In an effort to keep the good vibes going, and maybe inspire your summer playlist, I’m sharing the set lists from Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness, Panic! At the Disco, and Weezer…

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I’ve had a strong obsession with Something Corporate since my high school days, so Andrew McMahon’s latest project, Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness, is the perfect transition into a modern sound. His set was short, but I loved hearing his live variations of Canyon Moon and a throwback to popular Jack’s Mannequin hit Dark Blue. His enthusiasm onstage really got the crowd the pumped.

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Apparently, I have seen Panic! At the Disco before with Dashboard Confessional in 2008 at UF, but had no recollection until the friend I went with brought it to my attention. I don’t know if frontman and the only remaining original member, Brendan Urie, has changed his performance style since then, but Panic! puts on quite a memorable show now. For the younger members of the audience, this was the main event. Urie was enthusiastic, humble, and addressed the crowd between songs. He played drums, piano, sang like Sinatra and even did a few backflips. I’m a fan of their latest album, Death of a Bachelor, which they played a lot of, and their cover of Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody wasn’t bad either.

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FAVORITES: Ballad of Mona Lisa, Hallelujah, Nine in the Afternoon, Miss Jackson, Death of a Bachelor, I Write Sins Not Tragedies, Victorious

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Weezer is one of those bands that subtly permeated my adolescence and young adulthood.  Undone takes me straight back to high school, Surf Wax America reminds me of late night hangs with my best friends, and El Scorcho was my unrequited love anthem throughout college. They have so many amazing songs because they’ve been around for what feels like forever, or, 1992, and their new album, Weezer aka the White Album, is SO GOOD.

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New Orleans

June 28, 2016

travel

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New Orleans. There’s so much to do, see, eat, drink, smell, and laugh at. I only had a few days, but tried to get in as much as I could, and while I barely scratched the surface of my to-do list (because let’s go again!), here are the highlights from my first visit to this wonderful city…

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My dad and I set out to New Orleans for a long weekend, but made a lunch detour for beachside oysters at Flora-Bama, a charming dive bar/restaurant on the Florida-Alabama state line.

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The cajun oysters were my favorite, but the fried pickles, which they call frickles, were de-lish too!

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New Orleans has some incredible hotel options, but I ultimately decided to Airbnb it in the Mid-City neighborhood. Our rental was only a few blocks from City Park, the New Orleans Museum of Art, and the streetcar line. Known as “The Heart of New Orleans” this neighborhood is totally walkable, full of great restaurants, and French Quarter adjacent. The architecture of the homes and our amazing host allowed us to feel like part of the city, and not just tourists. After getting settled, we grabbed dinner at Liuzza’s, a neighborhood restaurant with a cool, local vibe. My recommendation: the eggplant po’boy. You won’t regret it.

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Pensacola Beach Pier

April 26, 2016

travel

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When I was planning the final project for my digital photography class, I knew I wanted to shoot at the coast. I chose Pensacola Beach Pier because I had never been, but thought it was sure to attract more visual interest than the deserted beaches I love on lazy weekends. So, on a chilly and gray Saturday morning I hit the road, a little nervous about getting my shot. What I discovered was a pleasant surprise…

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As soon as I arrived at the beach, I bought a walking pass onto the pier. It was sunny and I loved watching all the people with fishing poles line the edges of the pier. I walked to the end and looked for potential shots for my project. We were asked emulate a photographer of our choosing. I chose Max Wanger, a longtime favorite of mine.

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I think I’m going to turn this one (above) in for my final. I love the simplicity and the composition mimics Wanger’s style perfectly. I took it from the very end of the pier, squeezed between fisherman with thick southern accents listening to country music.

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I didn’t look at my watch while I was on the pier, but once I figured it out, I walked up and down for about three hours total. The changing light and never-ending movement of beachgoers proved inspiring and I couldn’t walk away. Unfortunately, my extended day on the pier led to a nasty sunburn (only on my wrists, back of my neck, and tops of my feet though!). But, the burn will fade, the photos will remain.

I finally called it quits after I ran out of water and the blisters on my feet burned as bad as my fresh sunburn. I walked over to The Stand for the best chicken taco I think I’ve ever eaten and an ice-cold Corona. I people-watched while I refueled and wished I had brought my bathing suit to enjoy the rest of the day.

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Shortly after a stroll down the coastline, I decided to head home. I was almost sad to leave this vibrant, bustling beach. It was so beautiful and the people were so  nice. I plan to go back for a longer day next time, maybe without my camera, most definitely with sunscreen.

Hotels that Inspire: Quirk Hotel

April 11, 2016

inspiration / style / travel

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I love love love staying at boutique hotels. There’s something so cool about local art on the walls, unique installations in the lobby and impeccable styling at the hotel restaurant. I stayed at The Line in L.A., and it was the perfect reflection of uber-trendy Koreatown. I’ve been looking to visit a few other cities around the country this summer, one of which is Richmond. After finding the Quirk Hotel, I’m even more inspired to stop in and stay.

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The lobby is bright and colorful with delicate details. It was constructed in 1916, which is why it has those gorgeous arches. Looks like the perfect place to people watch while enjoying a cup of the hotel’s signature blend coffee.

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