Lift off with Lufthansa: Day 2

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My god did jet lag get the best of me on day two. You know when you fall asleep and wake up in the same position? Yeah, that happened. And, I was wide awake at 5:30 in the morning… aka 11:30PM my time. Instead of falling back asleep, I worked from my window seat at the Ruby Lilly hotel. Yes, worked (#entrepreneurship). My room was on the top floor, so I got the best view of the sunrise over the city and the snow coming down. Yes, you read that correctly, snow. Being from Boston, I’m used to all sorts of crazy antics from Mother Nature, so naturally I came prepared on my trip with a winter coat and waterproof shoes. This is an affirmation to always, always, always check the weather before you hop on a plane.

Luckily, most of our day would be spent inside, and the parts that were outside were totally worth being a little chilly. First stop (after copious amounts of breakfast down in the lobby) was Magic City – a formal ode to street art in Olympic Park. As someone who was there on the first day that the Jeff Koons exhibit opened at The Whitney in New York, I knew this exhibit would be right up my alley. I like art that pushes the boundaries and invades our life a bit. This exhibit highlighted everything from graffiti on subway cars in NYC to fun optical illusions, and even had a few Banksy pieces thrown in for good measure.

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After a substantial amount of time goofing around and checking out the artwork, it was time for lunch! Right around the corner from the Magic City exhibit is the city’s highest restaurant – Restaurant 181. And yes, it rotates. Because of it’s location in Olympic park, you get a unique point of view on the different arenas, forward thinking architecture, and some must-see structures in the city. For those looking for a little more of an upscale lunch experience, I would definitely recommending heading here mid-day. It was asparagus season, so I started with the asparagus soup. Lunch was meatballs, and, oh boy, were they tasty. I was actually way too full for dessert, but luckily, our lunch date for the day, a team member from the City of Munich, ordered the three-course lunch, and got the most beautiful dessert. I, of course, stole it and took many pictures before he could enjoy it himself. NO SHAME!

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After lunch, we made our way to The Eisbach, which in English translates to “ice brook.” For those of you who don’t know, it is a man-made tributary of the Isar River which flows through the city of Munich and the English Garden (which is a must-visit as well). While the river alone isn’t special, what residents of the city have done with it is. It’s a surf spot! As someone who has been to many a surf spot in my day, I was super stoked to learn about this unique “wave” in the heart of the city. While I’m comfortable paddling in on a wave in Hawaii, or even my home state, Maine (yes, they have waves there), I don’t know how successful I would be on this particular “swell”. Side note: I particularly liked the camaraderie between everyone whether they are a spectator or surfer. Lots of good vibes in this spot.

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After a quick reprieve back at the hotel – who am I kidding? I did more work – we got dressed up to head out to one of the premier vegetarian restaurants in Germany. Now, I am no vegetarian, but if veggies were like this everyday, I absolutely could be. We ended up enjoying an 8-course dinner at TIAN; this restaurant is included in the Michelin guide, so you know it’s going to knock your socks off. You literally had to roll me out of the restaurant at the end of the meal, but it was such a nice evening surrounded by good company, filled with really tasty food, and topped off with an excellent selection of cocktails and wine. Robbin made fun of me for being picky about the wine list, rightfully so. How can one not sound snobby AF while trying to ask about the particular region in Germany that this bottle of wine came from? You can’t , you just can’t. BUT! You didn’t hear anyone complaining about the wine at the dinner table, so, small victories. We ended up getting back to our hotel a little after midnight. I immediately crashed because the next morning we were going to take advantage of the good weather and shoot all around the city. Keep your eyes peeled for the next post with all of my fave shots from that early morning in Munich!

 

The Cape

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While many believe Cape Cod is only fun between the months of May and September, the real locals know that good times can happen during the less popular travel times, as well. The third weekend in October marks one of the last big weekends in Cape Cod before many store owners start to close their shutters for the winter. Meaning one final hurrah before winter comes. (Insert some sort of ominous Game of Thrones quote here.)

So, how do the locals celebrate? With oysters, of course! I headed down to check out the Wellfleet OysterFest, which is a time-honored tradition encouraging mass consumption of every seafood fanatics favorite aphrodisiac, drinking copious amounts of craft beer, and supporting local artisans. Does it get much better than that? Me thinks not!

The festival attracts vacation home owners, locals, Bostonians, and even a few tourists. And, while it is a big crowd, don’t let that deter you! The festival is all about community, having fun, and enjoying Cape classics — especially chowder, oysters on the half shell, and lobster rolls. So mark the calendar for next year, remember to pack your stretchy pants, and get ready for a fun time with good people, great music, and all of the expected Cape accoutrements.

Although things are definitely slowing down on the Cape and Islands, Fall is a great time to visit a quaint bed and breakfast with a loved one, or schedule a girls’ weekend away. While you won’t be packing your swimsuit any time soon, the draw of a traditional New England weekend away, filled with hot mulled cider and scenery to boot, will keep you cozy and relaxed. Besdies, who wants to be bothered working on their ‘bikini bod’ during the upcoming holiday season? Not I! Need any other excuses to journey to the Cape this Fall? Check out a few other things to do here.

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Great Heights

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When traveling from Thailand to Bali, I decided to make a few quick stops in Singapore and Kuala Lumpur. I knew that if I was only going to be spending roughly 48 hours in KLL, I needed to stay in a place that was close to the sights and the nightlife. The Trader’s Hotel was a perfect fit, which offered amazing views from my room, perfect service, and a complimentary happy hour with tea and biscuits (perfect to catch up on some blogging). They are one of the few hotels where you can actually see the full view of the Petronas Towers, and the rooftop bar, SkyBar,  is particularly popular, meaning a short commute back to your hotel room. The cherry on top? It’s centrally located, meaning you’re close to tons of great culinary options including Shanghai, Bijan, and Cilantro.

For my one full day, I decided to trek out to the Batu Caves. I had heard mixed reviews, but I am a sucker for anything that gets me outside. If you’re staying close to City Central, which you likely are, you will need to arrange a cab to take you to the caves. Have your concierge strike a deal for a ride there and back, so you don’t have to hassle with a cabbie for a ride home. An added bonus: it will usually save you a few bucks, too. Once you arrive at the caves, you’ll see a giant set of steps and a massive gold statue of Murugan, a Hindu deity, identifying the caves as a place of worship. Because of that, it is important that you dress appropriately. I err on the side of covering up. I kept on a long sleeve top and a skirt that hit below the knees, just to be safe.

Once inside, it’s a little dark and dingy, and for the most part it’s not all that interesting. Because of this, I can see why people would be disappointed. I decided to stick around and check out every nook and crany, and after a period of time, chanting and prayer began. For me, this was the real treat. As much as I try to be respectful of the people around me, I do still find religion in general quite fascinating, so I stood back and spectated from afar. I didn’t take any pictures because I feel like that’s pushin’ it. Afterwards, I journeyed back to my hotel and treated myself to a solo dinner and then drinks upstairs at the bar. I ended up meeting a group of MMA professionals in the city for a tournament, and we stayed out until the wee hours of the morning. Just proof that you never know who you are going to meet when you travel.

So, if I had to leave you with three tips for a quick trip in Kuala Lumpur: 1) Book a hotel in City Central with a great view. Trader’s would be my pick. 2) Spend more than 15 minutes at the Batu caves and enjoy the people watching (remember to dress appropriately!), and 3) Enjoy the burgeoning food scene with a dinner at Bijan for traditional Malay cuisine.

Do you have any tips for a long layover in KLL? Leave me a comment!

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Midwestern Musings

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There’s more than one way to pack your day full of activities in Chicago, but if I had my choice, my Saturdays in the city would be spent eating great food, supporting local businesses, catching a game, and walking through the park.

Chicago doesn’t have the hustle and bustle of other cities, but the energy is captivating nonetheless. I recommend starting your day off right with an early lunch at Ikram. I know I’ve mentioned this cafe before, but the food and shopping is too good to only talk about once! Dishes are local, and your server will be able to tell you which farms’ produce is on your plate that day. Downstairs, thumb through the likes of Proenza Schouler and Givenchy in their bag section, or check out the shelves of amazing sneakers in the back.

If you’re looking for local, fair trade goodies, head up to Lincoln Park to check out the Green Heart Shop. This is great if you need to pick up a gift for just about any occassion, and their handmade jewelry selection always has cool one of a kind pieces.

No weekend in Chicago is complete without a trip to Wrigley Field. Whenever I travel, I always make an effort to go to a sporting event. Rubbing elbows with the locals while throwing back a few is always the way to go in my book. And if it just so happens to coincide with looking at cute guys in uniforms, who am I to say no? For great deals on tickets, go to ScoreBig.com. It’s like Priceline for sporting events; you get to bid on the ticket price. I usually end up snagging great seats for half off!

Finish out your day with a stroll through Millenium Park. There are tons a cool sculptures (aside from just Cloud Gate) and great little side parks to poke in to. Often times there will be games of chess happening on the sidewalk. Depending on how many beers you’ve had at the game, you can always challenge one of the pros for a quick round. Otherwise, sprawl on to the grass on the Great Lawn and watch the clouds go by.

What does your perfect day in Chicago consist of? Let me know if the comments below!

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Bali Bungalow

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When I was looking for a place to stay during my few weeks in Bali, I wanted the best hospitality without separating myself from the energy and culture of the town. The White Villas, in the heart of Ubud, is a beautiful oasis fit for any intrepid traveler that gives you the best of both worlds.

During my stay, I have never felt so well taken care of and so at home. Every morning, complimentary breakfast of your choice is delivered to your door — or even better, your patio. I chose traditional options like nasi goreng paired with fresh local fruit and yogurt, which was always the perfect start to my day. Another great touch is that they have passion fruit growing in the garden that you’re welcome to pick and snack on. It doesn’t get much better than that!

Because there are only three villas on the premisis, the service has loads of personal touches and works around your schedule. The staff would help me choose great tours, like this one, and would take care of arranging all of the transportation. In addition, they would often check in to make sure I was doing well and taking advantage of all the activities and restaurants in downtown Ubud. Because I was traveling alone, they took extra care to make me feel safe and welcome, which I really appreciated.

Often times, friends and family ask where I would like to return to in Asia. While I have seen so many beautiful places, my first answer is always Ubud, and I have to credit the amazing people at The White Villas for making my experience a memorable one! If and when I return to Bali, you can bet your bottom dollar I will be staying in The White Villas again.

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Windy City

Screen Shot 2014-08-27 at 7.33.06 PMEmbracing the few days off I have left in Chicago, I decided to check out some of the sites that I had yet to see in the city. Between the River Walk, Cloud Gate, Millenium Park, and a few stops along the way to satisfy my sweet tooth, it was a successful outing.

Normally, I don’t traipse around the city in heels, but these ones by Guilhermina are so gosh darn cute and comfortable, that I’ve had a tough time taking them off these past few weeks. Now that the weather is slowly starting to cool down, I’ve been working to transitional those summer pieces into something a little more wearable for Fall. My advice: get ready to layer, and start sticking to a more neutral, muted palette.

If you have the need for sugar and sustenance like I do, consider taking the hike out to Ukranian Village where you’ll find  Hoosier’s. The mini pies are great to share, and I love the decor!

Feel like staying in River North? Ikram is a great non-touristy option. They have a cafe on the second floor serving seasonal salads and thoughtfully prepared entrees. But, the real treat is the cookie plate that is perfect to share with friends! After you’ve satisfied your culinary craving, head back downstairs for some of the best shopping Chicago has to offer. The handbag selection alone is enough to make your head spin!

Looking forward to a few more updates on Chicago. Keep your eyes peeled for my Wrigley Field post coming soon! ❤

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Outer Boroughs

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While in New York City working on the Ben & Jerry’s Core Tour, I was back and forth to Brooklyn on almost a daily basis. One of my favorite little neighborhoods I grew to love was DUMBO (down under the Manhattan Bridge overpass). With great spots to like Ample Hills Creamery to Jane’s Carousel to channel your inner child, and design shops like Stewart/Stand Design Store, there’s a little something for everyone.

Whenever I head across the East River, casual is the name of the game — meaning  denim shorts and bright colors! I snagged this chunky, yellow sweater on sale, which has turned out to be one of my go to knits this summer. To add a touch of Manhattan, I completed the outfit with crisp, black accessories that give the look a little bit of edge. This Givency tote holds everything I need for work from my MacBook Air to my DSLR camera, meaning it’s fashionable and funcitonal. Does it get much better?

No matter how fun the trips to Brooklyn are, I’m always happy to head back over the bridge. At the end of the day, Manhattan will always be my happy place. ❤

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