Seattle To Do List

Friendship, Travel

With Lauren’s time in Seattle coming to an end in April, we decided to make a to-do list of Seattle activities.  Some to do before she leaves and some for future visits I’m sure.  As sad as I am that she’s moving to California, I’m so excited to have a friend in a new place for me to visit!  It’ll add some spice to our blog as well, having her blog from California and Jenna and myself in Seattle.

Our Seattle bucket list is great if you are visiting Seattle for the first (or second or third) time, if you’re playing tour guide for out-of-town visitors, or if you’re simply looking for new activities in your city.

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Ride a water taxi

Take a dance class

Eat at Paseo

Find and go to secret bars

Ride a seaplane

Go for a hike

Go to the Ballard farmers market & Fremont Sunday market

Ride the Great Wheel

Pike Place Market Ghost Tour

Seattle underground history tour

Kayak or paddleboard on Lake Union

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What are your favorite Seattle activities?

-S, L & J

My favorite travel blogs

Curated, Travel

I read a lot of blogs. It started a couple years ago when I stumbled across some travel blogs. I was immediately hooked, getting to know the bloggers and their stories and daydreaming about visiting the places they write about.

Travel blogs are ubiquitous — there’s something out there for everyone. If you’re looking for travel tips or just want to satisfy your wanderlust vicariously, check out my favorites.

Adventurous Kate

Arguably the most popular solo female travel blogger, Kate has been writing about her adventures for years. She quit her job at age 26 to travel and now she travels full-time and gets paid for it.

The Wanderlust Project

Sheryll blogs about her life teaching English in Asia, and also reviews Asian beauty and skincare products. She currently lives in Vietnam.

This Battered Suitcase

Brenna has been traveling for 8 years and has been to an astounding 90 countries. I’ve spent many a pleasant afternoon reading through her heartfelt and helpful blog posts.

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What are your favorite travel blogs? We can always use new adventures to read about!

-L

Traveling Flubs

Travel

A Facebook friend recently posted a status asking what peoples most expensive traveling mistakes have been, and it inspired me to write about mine!  It was such an utter failure, I can only laugh about it now and hope others learn from my mistake.  I sure as hell won’t be repeating it.

In 2012, after studying abroad in Australia, I wanted to go on a trip to a country vastly different from the western countries I’m used to.  I thought about Thailand because it was a popular destination for Australians. Ever since seeing Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love starring Julia Roberts, I’d dreamed of Bali.  One day while running with my friend Amanda from Sri Lanka, she suggested I come stay with her and her family in Sri Lanka.  I honestly don’t think I’d heard of Sri Lanka before meeting Amanda, so what could be better than a mysterious island for my adventure!  I could write a whole blog post on that experience, but I’ll save Sri Lanka for another time.

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With the budget airline I booked, I had to spend a night in Malaysia each way.  This was a bonus — I got to hit two countries in one trip.  A family friend had been to Malaysia many times and had all sorts of shopping and eating suggestions for the city, which were incredible.  All the noodles my heart could desire, a shopping spree at Zara and architectural marvels galore.  It was the end of my travels, 6 months away from home and I was ready to get back to my friends and family.  I arrived at the budget airport with plenty of time and had my last Malaysian meal.  I decided to check out what movies I could watch on the flight, but I didn’t see my flight listed.  I headed to the counter and was informed that my flight had taken off yesterday…I missed my flight by an entire day and the next flight didn’t leave until the next day.  By that time the next day I would have missed my expensive flight from Australia back to the U.S.

First things first, I curled up into a ball on the floor and cried because I had no way to communicate with my parents or our family friends in Australia who had planned to pick me up and were probably panicking like I was.  Once I pulled myself together I asked the girl at the counter how I could possibly get back to Australia that day, to which the only solution was to bus to the fancy airport, purchase a $1000 ticket to Melbourne, from there call my parents and have them buy me a ticket from Melbourne to Brisbane where my plane took off back to the U.S. the next day.  I flew Malaysia Air and had the fanciest flying experience ever, where I was served tuna sashimi salad for dinner and watched movies on a big, flat screen T.V.  Thank goodness this was before the issues they’ve had this year or I would have had a much more severe panic attack.

All in all, an experience I’ll never forget and never repeat!  Always check your itinerary VERY carefully.  I’d love to hear other traveling flubs, feel free to share in a comment!

-S

These Shoes Aren’t Made for Walking: Barefoot in Florence

Travel
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Post gelato, smiling through the pain

I learned a great lesson while traveling. I actually have learned many, but this particular one takes place long ago in the city of Florence… We rose early in the morning with just a day to explore. We planned for a quick walk around town, grab some breakfast, and head back to the apartment to change for a hike up to the Piazzale Michelangelo, the famous square with panoramic views of Florence. But plans change and we found ourselves on the Ponte Vecchio crossing the Arno river, getting closer to the stairs to climb up to the square and all of a sudden the haze disappeared, the sun came out, and the 95+ degree heat in the middle of Italy hit me. And it hit my sweaty feet against the leather sandals I wore.

Blisters quickly formed… and as a dancer, I am used to blisters, but these spanned the whole bottom and side of my foot and with each step grew bigger and more painful. There was no point in going back now, half way up to the square I took off my sandals. Now it was just my bare feet against the burning stone steps. I may have gotten a few stares, but what could I do? The only saving grace was the sight of a gelato shop at the top. To this day I will never forget that gelato shop and the strength it gave me. Well, enough strength to get up the rest of the stairs and take the picture above before retiring to a bench. I don’t remember how I got back to our apartment but I am assuming it was sans sandals.

Moral of the story: When traveling, don’t even bring shoes or sandals that aren’t good for walking. Don’t even allow the temptation or you could end up like me… barefoot [with blisters] in Florence.

A pair of sandals I’d recomend for any hot weather travels are these Teva flip flops.

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If I ever do return to Florence, I would love to go back to the Piazzale Michelangelo at night, with a trusted pair of running shoes on my feet. Just imagine the view!

Fashion Blogs to Follow

Beauty, Dating, Fashion, Quick Read, Travel, Workplace

These are my most visited blogs and I’ll tell you why!

purse 'n boots

pursenboots.blogspot.com

Written by: Ashley Glorioso

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Senior Stylist for Nasty Gal.  She is a bad ass boho chick, who knows how to make fun of herself and some of her off the wall fashion choices.  I love the little tidbits she writes at the bottom of her photo’s that chronicle a bit of her life and how/why she put that particular outfit together.  She wears lots of Zara, For Love and Lemons, Nasty Gal and amazing vintage finds.  Her style faves seem to be booties, ripped tees, sequins, fur jackets, lace/knits and a touch of well layered and simple jewelery.  Check out her feature on the Nasty Gal Blog as well.

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talesofendearment.com

Written By: Natalie Joos

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I think of her as the real life Carrie Bradshaw.  A real, New York City casting agent and consultant to fashion brands across the board.  She’s a street style favorite and has a look that is so uniquely her own, I have yet to see anyone else master it quite as well.  With pieces of clothing that look more like artwork to me, she is able to mix and match bold prints and shapes that many would never think to do.  She pulls it all off, always, with simple hair and makeup that rivals all the gold and glitter I’m usually attracted to.  A must read from vintage to modern fashion lovers.

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chicityfashion.com

Written By: Jena Gambaccini

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I am not totally sure how I stumbled upon this blog, but I think it was through the popular page on Instagram.  I’d love to live in Chicago at some point, so I started following chicityfashion with the idea that I could get a feel for what the fashion there is like.  Turns out Jena is a girl after my own heart who loves food, fashion and living the city life!  Her style has a bit of a structured, tomboy feel, with lots of girly details.  She loves everything over sized, simple gold jewelry and mani Monday.

Above are my top three, that I literally look at almost everyday.  Here are a few others to check out.

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thezoereport.com

Written By: Rachel Zoe & Team

The Zoe Report is less of a blog and more straight to the point fashion and beauty recommendations.  The reason I don’t frequent it more often is because the products are often out of my price range, which just makes me sad.  I am not a fan of window shopping, which is what it feels like to oggle over designer goods on The Zoe Report.  What I do like is the the coverage of fashion trends and happenings in the fashion world.

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refinery29.com

Founded By: Philippe Von Bories, Justin Sefano, Christene Barberich & Piera Gelardi

This site has many writers now, but started from a small team of four friends.  Their posts are definitely aimed at the mid-20’s gal which obviously appeals to me. The overall tone of the site is best described as cheeky.  Most of their articles have a fun/naughty twist which makes reading about things like cures for acne more tolerable.  I’ve put to good use much of their beauty and fashion advice.

 

 

Magical Tools for Planning Your Next Trip

Travel

Saying I’m a “planner” is an understatement. When I travel, I make sure I’m organized before I leave. I spend countless hours on the internet planning out every detail. The last time I planned a big trip was in 2011 when the possibilities were endless and I had to sort through all the information myself. Back then, I had time to devote to this. Now? Not so much. Luckily, people have identified this need and have created tools that are helpful when leveraged correctly! Let me show you how I use them:

1. Rome2Rio.com: Where to go

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When the world is NOT your oyster you need Rome2Rio. Nothing is worse than getting your hopes up that you can travel to your two favorite cities and then realize that it would put you over budget. When I’m in the dreaming stage of planning, I start here.

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You can see all options for travel on the left and can drill in for more information.

I simply put in two cities of my choosing and it will shows me all the ways to get from A to B and how much it could cost. Looks like a plane is the best way to get from Madrid to Paris. If I can’t find a good flight, the train is the next quickest option and the bus is the cheapest!

Tip: If you are doing a multi-city trip you can sometimes buy rail passes that can save you money!

2. Utrip.com: What to do there

utrip

This is my new favorite tool! I am going to San Francisco with my sister to visit family friends and we have NO idea what there is all to do there. So I came to Utrip and created a trip with our location and dates. I was able to customize the type of trip I wanted (First Timer) and my activity preferences. I clicked “Plan My Trip!” and my itinerary was created for me!

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Set your preferences for a custom itinerary. You can see potential activities on the right which will help you see if you are on the right track.

The best part: You can edit your itinerary! I switched out a few of their recommended activities for new ones, added my flight time so it can schedule travel days accordingly, and I added my sister so she can help me plan!

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In the itinerary view by date you can edit the list while having a visual of the location of each activity!

Note: Currently this is only available for select cities in Europe and the US. Also, rumor has it there is an app!

3. Bing/Google Maps: How to get everywhere

I have a pretty good sense of direction, but you can’t expect someone to have one in a new city. Even after my fifth visit to NYC I can still get a little twisted around. I started using map services through Bing and Google when I went to NYC to take dance classes and needed to know how to get to and from each studio. I realized I could create a trip where I put in the addresses and label all the different restaurants and activities we had planned. I then saved screenshots to my phone so I could access them without internet or send it to whoever I was traveling with.

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We labeled this map with all the shows we were seeing, an amazing cookie shop, a dance studio, a dance shoe store, and a pizza place with gluten free pizza for my sister. You can also see the subway stops and lines!

This also helped us be more spontaneous and if we became hangry (hungry + angry) while at a last minute activity, we pulled out the map and found restaurants in the area we already checked out (and had gluten free options for my sister).

Now that you have some new tools, go forth and plan that dream vacation! I’ve heard planning the trip brings us more joy than actually going on it. Don’t mind me as I go plan a fake vacation to London… — J