The Travel Brats

Sofia Blanno, Natalie Brouwer

Your one-stop media destination for inspiration to create a travel-filled life you don't need a vacation from. The Travel Brats are building a community around a love for travel, uncovering hidden gems with locals, and empowering exploration from your home city to around the globe. read less
Society & CultureSociety & Culture

Episodes

From BBQ to Boot Scootin': A Bride and Her Tribe on an Austin Adventure
13-02-2024
From BBQ to Boot Scootin': A Bride and Her Tribe on an Austin Adventure
Some are old, some are new, some are wild, and some are blue. Bachelorette parties can often be too much or too little. It can be hard to please everyone, especially with a group of different personality types. In reality, the only one who needs to have the time of their life is the bride, but it's always better when everyone has a great time!When I flew to Austin, Texas, for my future sister in law's bachelorette party, I did not know what to expect. I had never been to Austin, and I had never met any of the girls coming besides Jess (my now sister-in-law) and her maid of honor, Natalie. I was pleasantly surprised by the entire trip and the people I was with. We had an absolute blast, getting along famously, and got a little bit of everything Austin had to offer in just a few short days.When to Go and Where to Stay.The best time to visit Austin is in March when there is lots of sunshine, but the weather isn't too hot yet, and the air is breezy and filled with the blooming of Texas spring. For a bachelorette party, there are many excellent Airbnbs to choose from. Their price ranges are very fair. Plus, staying in a house with a group for bonding is always better!Lunch/BrunchFor a fantastic Tex-Mex spot, try Gueros Taco Bar. I had some of the best breakfast tacos I have ever had, and I also got a frozen margarita that was top-notch. My favorite lunch spot was, hands down, Terry Black's BBQ. The brisket melted in my mouth, and because I was so stuffed, I took my cornbread on the plane ride home with me!ShoppingThe streets of downtown Austin were lined with thrift booths and handmade jewelry. From cowboy boots to handmade copper jewelry and unique fringe jackets, this little shopping area was such a blast! I got a super cute floral blazer at one of the vintage vendor booths. When moseying around downtown, don't forget to get an "insta pic" with the famous "I love you so much" wall downtown!Dinner My favorite dinner spot was at the Oasis. This is a MUST-do when in Austin. The entire restaurant, bar, and shopping center sit on the cliff overlooking the gorgeous Lake Travis. The view is spectacular and unlike anything I have ever seen. It had a serenity, and you felt like you were looking at a coastal area in Greece! You can eat excellent Mexican food on the cliff with the view of the setting sun. The stars come out after and set in a rich blue-shaded sky that looks like the ocean. For a fancier dinner night, try Il Bruto. Il Bruto is a charming Italian-inspired eatery nestled within the heart of the city. It is a mix of rustic, stylish, and cozy! Renowned for its handmade pasta dishes crafted with fresh, locally sourced ingredients, Il Bruto is basically traditional Italian cuisine mixed with innovative twists. SnacksMy favorite local culinary delight had to be the Kolache. Originating from Central Europe, this delectable pastry is a sweet treat filled with an array of delightful fillings like fruit, cheese, jam, or meat. Crafted from a yeast-based dough, it's then generously stuffed with the chosen filling before being baked to perfection. Kolaches are widely enjoyed as a breakfast staple across various countries, including the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, and the United States. In the late 1880s, Czech immigrants brought the tradition of Kolache to Texas, and it soon found its place in Texan culture!DancingAustin has a poppin' party scene! Whether you are looking for a club vibe or boot scootin', you will be pleased. Some hot bars were the Neon Grotto, Shangri-La, Sam’s Town Point. Also, check out Rainey Street, where a local told us the fun is at. The night we went out on the town, we stopped at Domo Alley-Gato Tatsu-Ya for drinks, went to Il Bruto for dinner, and learned to western dance with some real cowboys at The White Horse. Texan VinoIf you are with a group of wine girlies, check out The Duchman Family Winery in Driftwood, Texas. This hidden gem sits at the heart of the Texas Hill Country, and they're all about crafting wines that scream Texas pride. From their vineyard tours to tasting sessions, they're all about letting your group hang out while letting you sip on some funky vinos. And guess what? They only use Texas-grown grapes, so you know you're getting a taste of the Lone Star State in every glass. When we went, the weather was perfect, and we continued bonding in the breezy yard out front of the winery. Whether you're into a zesty Vermentino or a bold Aglianico, a trip to the Duchman Family Winery is a fabulous place to hang out in the sunshine and taste Texas charm.Outdoor ActivitiesAustin has beautiful scenery with a mix of rolling hills, rivers, and cityscape. It also has quite a few natural hidden gems. The two-mile hike to Hamilton Pool Preserve was quiet, & relaxing. It was non-strenuous, and the rocky cliffs and sparkling streams were serene. The pool was spectacular, but the water was cold! I took a relaxing nap in the warm sun with the sound of the trickling water. Another must-see spot is Zilker Park. Here, you can relax in the cool river or rent kayaks and adventure through the calm water. We saw so many turtles tanning on logs and Grackle birds. We kayaked through the tranquil water under bridges, getting a great view of the city. Afterwards, we relaxed in the park and had a little picnic with the view of the city behind us. Austin, Texas is the ultimate destination for an unforgettable bachelorette party. With its lively atmosphere, diverse entertainment options, and vibrant nightlife, Austin offers the perfect backdrop for celebrating the bride-to-be in style. From indulging in mouthwatering barbecue and craft cocktails on Rainey Street to dancing the night away to live music on Sixth Street, there's no shortage of excitement in this bustling city. With its abundance of trendy boutique hotels, scenic outdoor activities, and pampering spas, Austin provides endless opportunities for relaxation and adventure alike. Whether cruising down Lady Bird Lake on a party barge or exploring the city's eclectic shops and art galleries, Austin promises a bachelorette party experience that's as unique and memorable as the bride herself.
How to Enjoy a Grand Day in Ghent, Belgium
06-02-2024
How to Enjoy a Grand Day in Ghent, Belgium
Located in the Flemish region of Belgium, Ghent is the capital of East Flanders and a major port city. Its location makes it a convenient spot to explore both the Dutch and French-speaking parts of the country.Ghent’s city center is full of historical buildings, including the majestic Castle of the Counts and the iconic St. Bavo Cathedral. The city is also home to several museums, art galleries, and theaters, making it a cultural hub.One of the city’s most famous attractions is the Gravensteen Castle. The castle was built in the 12th century and served as the seat of the Counts of Flanders. Today, it’s a popular tourist destination, allowing visitors to explore its ancient walls and learn more about its history.The city is known for its vibrant nightlife, with plenty of restaurants, bars, and clubs to choose from. Ghent also boasts several festivals throughout the year, including the Ghent Festival, one of Europe's most significant cultural events.Ghent is also a great place for shopping. From its bustling markets and boutiques to its designer stores and malls, Ghent has something for everyone. Whether you’re looking for souvenirs or want to pick up some new clothes, Ghent has it all.Overall, Ghent is a city that has something for everyone. Whether you’re looking for a cultural getaway or a night out on the town, Ghent has something to offer. With its stunning architecture, vibrant nightlife, and rich history, Ghent is a must-visit destination.
Finding the Perfect Travel Coverage with Ben Camille and Travel Defend
23-01-2024
Finding the Perfect Travel Coverage with Ben Camille and Travel Defend
Q1: Why is travel coverage necessary, and what aspects does it typically include?Travel coverage is crucial for mitigating unexpected events during your trips. Ben emphasizes that it usually includes medical coverage, trip cancellation, lost baggage, and even coverage for unforeseen travel disruptions. Having comprehensive coverage ensures peace of mind and financial protection.Q2: Are there common misconceptions about travel insurance that people should be aware of?Ben sheds light on the misconception that travel insurance only covers trip cancellations. Travel insurance encompasses a broader range of situations, including medical emergencies, travel delays, and even coverage for activities like adventure sports. Understanding the full extent of coverage is essential for making informed decisions.Q3: How can travelers find the right coverage for their specific needs?It is crucial for travelers to assess their individual needs and preferences. Factors such as destination, duration of travel, and planned activities play a significant role in determining the proper coverage. Shopping around and comparing policies from different providers can help travelers tailor their insurance to match their unique requirements. This comparison and contrast for the right travel insurance plan is what Travel Defend can do within seconds!Q4: What are some noteworthy tips for saving on travel insurance?It is wise to build coverage with other policies, such as home or auto insurance, to potentially secure discounts. Additionally, booking insurance early and considering annual coverage for frequent travelers can be cost-effective strategies.Q5: What are some key takeaways from the podcast episode regarding travel coverage?One key takeaway is the importance of understanding the specific terms and conditions of the insurance policy. Reading the fine print is crucial in avoiding surprises during claims. Additionally, the episode stresses the value of proactive planning and choosing coverage that aligns with the individual's travel habits.When it comes to the world of travel coverage, Travel Defend has you covered. With Ben's expert advice on selecting the right insurance for a worry-free travel experience, travel enthusiasts can get protected and ensure confidence and secure travels.
A Journey Through Tuscany: Culture, Cuisine, and Countryside
16-01-2024
A Journey Through Tuscany: Culture, Cuisine, and Countryside
The region is home to historic cities such as Florence, Siena, and Pisa, each boasting stunning architecture, art masterpieces, and a vibrant atmosphere. Florence, the birthplace of the Renaissance, houses renowned museums like the Uffizi Gallery and the Accademia, where Michelangelo's David stands as a symbol of artistic brilliance.Tuscany's culinary scene is a feast for the senses, featuring world-class wines like Chianti and Brunello di Montalcino, along with traditional dishes like ribollita, pappa al pomodoro, and the famous bistecca alla fiorentina.SienaSiena, Italy, is a charming medieval city renowned for its rich history, stunning architecture, and vibrant cultural scene. Nestled in the heart of Tuscany, Siena is famous for its well-preserved medieval streets and the iconic Piazza del Campo, one of Europe's most fabulous medieval squares.The city's medieval center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, showcasing Gothic and Romanesque architecture that transports visitors back in time. Siena's most iconic landmark is the Duomo di Siena (Siena Cathedral), a magnificent example of Italian Gothic architecture adorned with intricate sculptures and beautiful frescoes.Siena is also renowned for the Palio, a historic horse race that takes place twice a year in the Piazza del Campo. The Palio is a centuries-old tradition that captivates locals and visitors alike, adding a touch of excitement to the city's cultural tapestry.Beyond its historical treasures, Siena offers a culinary experience that captures the essence of Tuscan cuisine. Visitors can savor local delicacies, including Pici pasta, ribollita soup, and the region's exceptional wines.With its timeless beauty and cultural richness, Siena stands as a testament to Italy's enduring charm and is a must-visit destination for those seeking a glimpse into the country's medieval past.San GimignanoSan Gimignano is a picturesque medieval town nestled in the heart of Tuscany, Italy. Known as the "Town of Fine Towers," its skyline is dominated by 14 well-preserved medieval towers, offering a unique and enchanting atmosphere. The town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is renowned for its medieval architecture, charming cobblestone streets, and rich history.Visitors to San Gimignano can explore the Piazza della Cisterna, a central square surrounded by medieval buildings and inviting cafes. The town is also home to remarkable landmarks, such as the Collegiate Church of Santa Maria Assunta, featuring stunning frescoes and art.Aside from its architectural wonders, San Gimignano is celebrated for its local produce, including the famous Vernaccia di San Gimignano wine. The surrounding vineyards and olive groves contribute to the region's gastronomic delights, making it a haven for food and wine enthusiasts.With its well-preserved medieval charm, breathtaking views of the Tuscan countryside, and delectable local offerings, San Gimignano is a must-visit destination for those seeking an authentic Italian experience.Pisa Pisa, a charming city in Tuscany, Italy, is renowned worldwide for its iconic Leaning Tower. Nestled on the banks of the Arno River, Pisa is not just a one-tower wonder; it boasts a rich history, stunning architecture, and a vibrant cultural scene.The Leaning Tower of Pisa, part of the Piazza dei Miracoli (Square of Miracles), is a masterpiece of medieval engineering. Its unintentional tilt has captivated visitors for centuries, making it one of the most recognizable landmarks on the planet.Beyond the tower, Pisa is a treasure trove of historical gems. The Pisa Cathedral, also located in the Square of Miracles, is a breathtaking example of Romanesque architecture adorned with intricate sculptures and artwork. The Baptistery, adjacent to the cathedral, is another architectural marvel that adds to the city's allure.Wandering through Pisa's narrow streets, you'll encounter charming cafes, lively markets, and centuries-old buildings. The city's university, founded in 1343, adds a youthful energy, making Pisa a dynamic blend of tradition and modernity.Pisa's cultural scene is vibrant, with museums showcasing art, history, and science. The Palazzo Blu, for instance, hosts rotating exhibitions, providing a glimpse into Italy's rich cultural heritage.Whether you're drawn to the Leaning Tower's quirkiness or the city's historical charm, Pisa offers a delightful escape into the heart of Italian culture and history.Whether exploring charming medieval villages, enjoying the serenity of the countryside, or indulging in the region's culinary delights, Tuscany offers a truly enchanting experience for every traveler. It's a destination that seamlessly combines history, art, and nature, making it a must-visit for those seeking a taste of authentic Italian beauty and culture.A Renaissance of Wonders: Exploring Florence, ItalyNestled in the heart of Tuscany, Florence is a city that breathes history, art, and culture at every cobblestone turn. Known as the birthplace of the Renaissance, Florence boasts a rich tapestry of architectural marvels, world-class art, and delectable cuisine. If you're planning a visit to this enchanting city, here's a Travel Brat-approved guide to help you make the most of your time.The Duomo and Brunelleschi's DomeNo visit to Florence is complete without marveling at the iconic Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral or Il Duomo. Admire the intricate facade and climb to the top for breathtaking panoramic city views. Be sure to appreciate the genius of Filippo Brunelleschi's Dome, a masterpiece of Renaissance engineering. Don't forget to visit the baptistry and bell tower too!Uffizi GalleryHome to an unparalleled Renaissance art collection, the Uffizi Gallery is a treasure trove for art enthusiasts. Works by Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Botticelli, and Raphael adorn the walls. Some favorite works include Birth of Venus or Primavera Botticelli, Doni Tondo by Michelangelo, Annunciation, Adoration of the Maji, The Baptism of Christ, Davinci, Madonna del Cardellino, Saint John the Baptist in the Dessert Rafel, and Madona and Child by Filippo Lippi. Book your tickets in advance to skip the lines and allow ample time to explore this artistic haven. Galleria dell'AccademiaThe Galleria dell'Accademia is where you'll find one of the most celebrated sculptures in the world – Michelangelo's David. Witness the sculptor's mastery up close and explore other works by Michelangelo and other renowned artists. Here, you will also find four other unfinished works by Michelangelo.Ponte VecchioStroll across the Ponte Vecchio, Florence's oldest bridge spans the Arno River. Lined with charming shops, Ponte Vecchio is the perfect spot to shop for jewelry, art, and souvenirs. The bridge offers splendid views of the cityscape, especially during sunset.Palazzo VecchioPalazzo Vecchio is a medieval fortress turned town hall located in the heart of Florence's historic center. Admire the impressive frescoes, sculptures, and the opulent Salone dei Cinquecento, which showcases the city's political and artistic legacy. Boboli GardensEscape the hustle and bustle of the city with a visit to the Boboli Gardens, a stunning example of Italian Renaissance garden design. Wander through the landscaped greenery, fountains, and sculptures, enjoying a peaceful respite.Piazza della SignoriaThis historic square is an open-air museum, surrounded by iconic sculptures like the Fountain of Neptune and a copy of Michelangelo's David. Sit at one of the cafes, soak in the atmosphere, and witness the pulse of Florentine life.Florentine CuisineIndulge your taste buds in Florence's culinary delights. Savor local specialties such as ribollita (a hearty Tuscan soup), bistecca alla fiorentina (Florentine steak), and gelato from one of the city's renowned gelaterias. For a relaxed and delicious meal, try Bis Trot Tre Tavoli authentic casual, and for an upscale meal, try II Guscio.Santa Croce BasilicaVisit the final resting place of some of Italy's most illustrious figures, including Michelangelo, Galileo, and Machiavelli. The Basilica di Santa Croce is not only a place of worship but also a testament to Florence's cultural and intellectual heritage.Sunset at Piazzale MichelangeloWrap up your Florence adventure with a visit to Piazzale Michelangelo, a panoramic terrace offering unparalleled city views. As the sun sets over Florence, you will be treated to a magical sight that perfectly encapsulates the timeless beauty of this remarkable city.Medici Chapels The Medici Chapels, located in Florence, Italy, are a stunning testament to the wealth and cultural influence of the Medici family during the Renaissance. Commissioned by the powerful banking family, the chapels are part of the Basilica di San Lorenzo complex and serve as a final resting place for several members of the Medici clan. The New Sacristy, designed by Michelangelo, is a Renaissance art and architecture masterpiece. Its grandeur is characterized by intricately carved statues and elegant tombs, including those of Lorenzo the Magnificent and Giuliano de' Medici. The Chapel of the Princes, another notable section of the complex, was intended to be a grand mausoleum for the Medici rulers.Perfume Making If you need a break from sightseeing, you can make your very own perfume right in Florence at the Antica Spezieria Erboristeria San Simone Firenze.Where to stayStay like a local in the heart of Florence at the Horto Convento.Florence, with its artistic legacy and timeless charm, is a destination that transcends the boundaries of time. Whether you're an art aficionado, a history buff, or simply seeking the pleasures of Italian culture and cuisine, Florence is sure to leave an indelible mark on your heart. Immerse yourself in the Renaissance spirit, and let Florence cast its enchanting spell on you.
Join us in Beautiful España with Hannah Johnson
09-01-2024
Join us in Beautiful España with Hannah Johnson
Back in 2019 to celebrate graduating from college and getting into the Master’s program, Hannah and her friend Jamie used Costco travel to plan a trip. They paid one price for a round trip flight, a hotel stay in both Barcelona and Madrid as well as transportation to and from the airports. The trip was for 8 days! Barcelona: Stayed at the NH Collection Barcelona Podium HotelCustoms was really easy in Barcelona, and they made it there pretty quickly. Immediately after putting their luggage in the hotel room, went on a double decker bus tour of the city-this was a good idea because Hannah says they had some things planned but let the bus tour tell them where they would want to go after that.At night they went to Fonta Magica de Montjuïc and saw the coolest fountain and light show!After that they walked down to the restaurants to find some food and ended up at a rooftop bar in a hotel. Great drinks and food! It's called 173 Rooftop Terrace Tapas Bar.The next day they went to see the prize of Barcelona, the Sagadra Familia Basilica. This thing is MASSIVE. They went inside and looked at all the stained glass and got to go up in one of the turrets! She says it was scary and breathtaking.After this they ate lunch at a cute spot nearby called Casa Angela where she had the best croquetas and patatas bravas!After that they went to Parque Guell- which is one of Antoni Gaudi’s most famous architecture works. It’s like a botanical garden meets a surrealist painting. It is made up of interesting buildings and features built into the side of a mountain.Montserrat Monastery They then took a train from Barcelona to a sketchy little outpost station in the middle of the country. Hannah says they then took the scariest rickety cable car ride of her life up the mountain. It opens up at the top where you can see the craggy rocks of the mountainside. This area is a beautiful monastery that is built into the side of the mountain. It is known for having a black Madonna carved in the 12th century-known as “the dark one, our lady of Montserrat." It survived the storming of the abbey during the Spanish civil war.There are tons of things to do in this area: fun hikes, a few cafes, outside viewing of the living quarters of the monks and nuns, walking around the gardens with the holy water fountains, and listening to the choir and organ inside the nave.Madrid NH Collection Madrid AbascalThe next portion of the trip was Madrid! They took the train from Barcelona to Madrid, and had lunch service on the way, lots of fields, rural areas, not a lot of houses or villages but we saw a lot of farms, lots of pigs-Spain is known for their ham.On their first day in Madrid they went to the Royal Palace and got to see all of the rooms. Lots of history-over 3000 rooms, a grand staircase, beautiful art including “Salome with the head of John the Baptist”, and the royal armory! After the palace they explored more of the city. Text next day, went to the Del Prado Museum which is the classical art museum in Madrid-they got to see so many baroque paintings and Hannah's favorite painting Las Meninas by Diego Velasquez which is one of the most analyzed paintings ever.The next day they went to the modern art museum called the Reina Sofia—and saw the Picasso and Dali exhibits! Because it was a rainy day they spent a lot of time there. For almost every dinner in Madrid they went to this little tapas bar right down the road from the hotel because it was so good!! Hannah says she had ropa vieja empanadas and paella that was to DIE for-this place is called La Gabinoteca.Toledo Aka Castillo La Mancha They took the train from Madrid into the country and stopped at yet another sketchy outpost station! Toledo is Medieval walled city on top of a mountain that is surrounded by the Tagus river on three sides. It is the oldest city in Spain and built pre-Roman empire but captured by the Visigoth Kingdom after the fall of the Roman Empire in like the 5th Century. Known for being the “City of the Three Cultures” where there are heavy influences of Christians, Muslims and Jews throughout history. In the city you can still see mosques, cathedrals, and synagogues from over the centuries that hold art that is culturally and historically significant to those religions.Hannah and Jamie stopped at McDonalds and had some interesting combos—they have eggs on some of the sandwiches, and you can get just plain cherry tomatoes as a side. Top sites to see: Cathedral de Toledo-13 century cathedral Alcazar de Toldeo- the fortress during the Spanish Civil War, Military MuseumSinagoga Santa Maria La Blanca- one of two of the twelve surviving original synagogues in ToledoIglesia de Santo Tome-home of El Greco’s  most famous work: “the burial of the count of Orgaz”
Part 2 - Inside the Life of Third Culture Woman, Urmi Hossain
26-12-2023
Part 2 - Inside the Life of Third Culture Woman, Urmi Hossain
Urmi Hossain grew up in the cities of Palermo, Vigevano, and Milan, Italy. Her family moved to London for one year before moving back to Italy where they then settled in Milan. She then moved to Montreal, Canada to pursue an undergraduate degree in finance. Upon completion, she stayed in Montreal to begin her career and still resides there.In her book, Discovering Your Identity, a Rebirth from Interracial Struggle, Urmi expounds on the reality of being a “third culture kid.” Being a mix of Italian and Bengali culture, Urmi has struggled to find which nationality she identifies with.Growing up in Italy, Urmi has always felt more Italian than Bengali as she considers Italy as “home.” Despite London having a large community of Italians and Bengalis, to her, it never quite felt like home. It wasn’t until arriving in the melting pot of Montreal Canada, she began to discover her true cultural identity. Urmi loves volunteering as she believes in the power of giving back to her community. As the leader and social media manager of the Women in Leadership Organization Victoria Chapter, Urmi advocates for women's empowerment and is very passionate about serving as a teacher and mentor for young women. Urmi also serves as the VP of Education for Toastmasters and a bucket list goal of hers is to deliver a TED talk. Urmi has been all over Italy and the go-to cities to visit are Rome and Venice. Outside of Italy, she enjoys Barcelona, Spain, and Switzerland. In North America, Urmi's favorite US cities are New York and Boston, and she loves the tropical oases of Cancun, Mexico, and the Dominican Republic. She wishes to travel to Peru, Bali, South Africa, Brazil, Morocco and the Maldives.Alongside finance, public speaking, writing, mentoring, blogging, and travel, Urmi has many hobbies, which include reading 12 books each year, baking and pasta making, practicing Muay Thai, and watching Korean soap operas and Bollywood movies. Urmi fluently speaks Italian, Bengali, English, and French and she is currently working to master Spanish. She loves pasta, chocolate, and coffee from around the world. Any activity that is high intensity or that involves learning, Urmi is up for it. As a “student of life,” Urmi is constantly hungry to learn and curious about all things.
Inside the Life of Third Culture Woman, Urmi Hossain
19-12-2023
Inside the Life of Third Culture Woman, Urmi Hossain
Urmi Hossain grew up in the cities of Palermo, Vigevano, and Milan, Italy. Her family moved to London for one year before moving back to Italy where they then settled in Milan. She then moved to Montreal, Canada to pursue an undergraduate degree in finance. Upon completion, she stayed in Montreal to begin her career and still resides there.In her book, Discovering Your Identity, a Rebirth from Interracial Struggle, Urmi expounds on the reality of being a “third culture kid.” Being a mix of Italian and Bengali culture, Urmi has struggled to find which nationality she identifies with.Growing up in Italy, Urmi has always felt more Italian than Bengali as she considers Italy as “home.” Despite London having a large community of Italians and Bengalis, to her, it never quite felt like home. It wasn’t until arriving in the melting pot of Montreal Canada, she began to discover her true cultural identity. Urmi loves volunteering as she believes in the power of giving back to her community. As the leader and social media manager of the Women in Leadership Organization Victoria Chapter, Urmi advocates for women's empowerment and is very passionate about serving as a teacher and mentor for young women. Urmi also serves as the VP of Education for Toastmasters and a bucket list goal of hers is to deliver a TED talk. Urmi has been all over Italy and the go-to cities to visit are Rome and Venice. Outside of Italy, she enjoys Barcelona, Spain, and Switzerland. In North America, Urmi's favorite US cities are New York and Boston, and she loves the tropical oases of Cancun, Mexico, and the Dominican Republic. She wishes to travel to Peru, Bali, South Africa, Brazil, Morocco and the Maldives.Alongside finance, public speaking, writing, mentoring, blogging, and travel, Urmi has many hobbies, which include reading 12 books each year, baking and pasta making, practicing Muay Thai, and watching Korean soap operas and Bollywood movies. Urmi fluently speaks Italian, Bengali, English, and French and she is currently working to master Spanish. She loves pasta, chocolate, and coffee from around the world. Any activity that is high intensity or that involves learning, Urmi is up for it. As a “student of life,” Urmi is constantly hungry to learn and curious about all things.
Clear for Takeoff to Clearwater, FL with Ryan Holiman
12-12-2023
Clear for Takeoff to Clearwater, FL with Ryan Holiman
Clearwater, FL with Ryan Holiman  of Seasoned SalsaGreat Eats:Frenchy's CaféOpened in 1981, serving the freshest fish you can find, Mike Preston worked and learned the restaurant business for eight years before opening his location. Do not leave without trying their well-known Grouper sandwich, and if you are lucky, you might be in town for stone crab season!Jimmy's Crows NestLocated on Clearwater Beach, Jimmy's Crow is a fantastic place to spend watching the sunset. If you are lucky to be at the bar during that time, they offer a complimentary sunset shot! Casa TinaKnown for its focus on fresh ingredients and healthy cooking, Casa Tina brings authentic Mexican cuisine from Miami, where both owners, Tina Avila and her husband, Javier, started their first restaurant. Island Way GrillKnown for its fantastic seafood and award-winning Sunday Morning Brunch, Island Way has come to be many local places to be. Feel free to dive right into their buffet, available all day, and their sushi bar.Big Storm BrewingCreated in 2012, this local brewing company is any craft beer fan's dream. While there are many locations throughout the state, Clearwater is their main production facility. In addition to beer, they also serve fantastic "pub grub" to go along with whatever drink you choose. As you leave, grab a bag of their signature coffee or canned beer so you can continue the party at home or at your hotel. Entertainment:Clearwater BeachAt Clearwater Beach, the sand is as soft as powdered sugar; as the name suggests, the water is crystal clear. While the beach can sometimes be crowded, booking a room at any of the hotels or resorts can land you a great spot in the sun!Wave Nightclub at Shephard's (21+)If you want to taste the nightlife, Wave is THE place to be on a Friday or Saturday night. Open from 10 pm to 2:30 am, dance the night away with great music and drinks with your friends. Bottle service is provided for those who reserve a table on the first or second floor, but be fast because tables go quickly.Pier 60Spanning 1,080 feet in length, Pier 60 is the spot for catching fish, rays (Sun rays), and drinks with family and friends. Throughout the day, you might spot artisans, performers, and musicians setting up around the area. Take the time to check them out, as they are the heart and soul of Pier 60.Captain Memo's Pirate CruiseThis unique experience has been around for 40 years and shows no signs of sinking. Captain Memo's Pirate Cruise is a two-hour experience where friendly pirates sing, dance, and serve complimentary drinks. If you go but aren't booking the entire ship, there is an adults-only room where beer, wine, and champagne are served while the kids are elsewhere listening to stories, going on treasure hunts, playing games, and having water battles. The ship also seeks out dolphins, so there is a high possibility you will see aquatic friends.
Shows and More With Our Very Own Natalie
05-12-2023
Shows and More With Our Very Own Natalie
Currently Natalie is working at Players Circle Theatre doing a Christmas Concert/Cabaret called Ho! Ho! Ho! The Christmas Show. It is a one act, 90 minute performance full of some of the greatest Christmas and Holiday songs of all times! From Silent Night to Feliz Navidad and even a special visit from Elvis, it's a great way to spend your time enjoying the season and doing something festive if you are going to be in Fort Myers anytime during the month of December. The show runs from now until December 23rd, 2023. The theatre is located off of McGregor Blvd, and you can go to playerscircletheater.com for tickets and information. This is the last show she is in with them for a little while, but you can check out the rest of their season on the website or on FB/Instagram!Next she will be performing in one of the hottest jukebox musicals that is currently out there - Beehive! According to Theatrical Rights Worldwide: "BEEHIVE celebrates the powerful female voices of the 1960’s with such timeless hits as “My Boyfriend’s Back,” “Be My Baby,” “Son of a Preacher Man,” and “Me and Bobby McGee.” Told from the perspective of six young women who come of age in this enigmatic decade, BEEHIVE takes us from their first Beehive Dance to the challenges we faced as a nation." This show will be held at Florida Repertory Theatre, in downtown Fort Myers, FL. You can access information and tickets at floridarep.org, and it runs from January 9th-28th, with a possible extension to the 31st.Right after Beehive, Natalie will be jumping into rehearsals for Beautiful: The Carole King Musical at The Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre, also in Fort Myers, FL. This theatre does a lot of big musicals, so definitely check out their website to see what other exciting shows you'd be interested in seeing this next year! Broadwaypalm.com. And the food there is quite delicious, as it is a dinner theatre after all. She will be playing Betty and other ensemble roles, while understudying the Carole King role. The show runs from February 23rd-April 4th. Go check out your local theatre scene, whether you're in Fort Myers or elsewhere!
How to Party Like a Bachelorette, Fort Myers Style!
28-11-2023
How to Party Like a Bachelorette, Fort Myers Style!
Day 1: Beach Bliss and RelaxationKick off your bachelorette weekend with a relaxing day at one of Fort Myers' pristine beaches. Whether you choose the iconic Fort Myers Beach or the more secluded Lovers Key State Park, you're in for a day of sun, sand, and surf. Rent a beach cabana, sip on tropical cocktails, and soak up the Florida sunshine with your besties. Consider organizing a beachside yoga session or a paddle boarding adventure for a healthy and fun start to the day.Day 2: Explore the Edison and Ford Winter EstatesFor a touch of history and culture, spend your second day exploring the Edison and Ford Winter Estates. The beautiful botanical gardens, historic homes, and Edison's laboratory provide a unique glimpse into the lives of two American innovators. Take a guided tour to learn about their inventions and enjoy the lush surroundings. Consider packing a picnic and enjoying it in the picturesque gardens for a delightful afternoon.Day 3: Sunset Cruise and Nightlife ExtravaganzaAs the sun begins to set, embark on a memorable sunset cruise along the Caloosahatchee River. Many tour operators offer private charters with sunset views, light bites, and refreshing beverages. It's the perfect opportunity for some pre-dinner festivities with your bridal party. After the cruise, head to the vibrant downtown River District for an evening filled with eclectic dining options, live music, and dancing. From trendy rooftop bars to lively nightclubs, Fort Myers' nightlife scene has something for everyone.Day 4: Spa Day and ShoppingAfter a night of revelry, treat yourselves to a relaxing spa day to unwind and rejuvenate. Fort Myers boasts several luxury spas offering a range of pampering treatments, from massages to facials. Once you're feeling refreshed, indulge in some retail therapy at the Bell Tower Shops or the Edison Mall. Pick up matching souvenirs or find the perfect accessories for the bachelorette party outfits.Day 5: Adventure and AdrenalineFor the adventurous bride-to-be, Fort Myers offers thrilling activities like parasailing, jet skiing, or even a group kayak tour through the mangroves. Break a sweat and create lasting memories as you embark on a high-energy adventure together. Alternatively, consider a group cooking class or a wine tasting experience for a more relaxed yet entertaining afternoon.Fort Myers, with its mix of natural beauty, historic charm, and lively entertainment, is a fantastic destination for a bachelorette party. Whether you're basking in the sun on the beach, exploring cultural landmarks, or dancing the night away in the downtown district, Fort Myers has all the ingredients for a perfect celebration with your favorite ladies. So, pack your bags, gather your squad, and get ready for an unforgettable bachelorette bash in the Sunshine State!
Relax and Enjoy Loews Sapphire Falls Resort at Universal Orlando
21-11-2023
Relax and Enjoy Loews Sapphire Falls Resort at Universal Orlando
Nestled within the heart of the enchanting Universal Orlando Resort, the Lowe's Sapphire Falls Hotel stands as a beacon of tranquility and luxury. This Caribbean-inspired paradise offers a respite from the exhilarating theme park adventures, providing guests with an immersive and relaxing experience. Join us we share the wonders of the Lowe's Sapphire Falls Hotel, uncovering its unique charm and the myriad of amenities that make it a standout destination in Orlando, Florida.From the moment you step into the lobby, you are greeted by the warm and inviting ambiance that permeates the entire resort. The vibrant colors and tropical decor transport you to a Caribbean island, setting the tone for a delightful escape. The friendly staff, adorned in island-inspired attire, ensures a seamless check-in process, making you feel like an honored guest from the start.The Lowe's Sapphire Falls Hotel boasts a variety of accommodations, from standard rooms to spacious suites, all designed with comfort and style in mind. The rooms are tastefully decorated with a blend of modern amenities and Caribbean flair, creating a soothing atmosphere. Whether you're traveling with family, friends, or solo, there's a room option to suit every need.One of the highlights of a stay at Sapphire Falls is the culinary journey that awaits. Amatista Cookhouse, the hotel's signature restaurant, offers a delectable array of dishes inspired by the flavors of the Caribbean. From fresh seafood to exotic cocktails, each bite is a celebration of the region's rich culinary heritage. For a more casual setting, Strong Water Tavern provides a cozy spot to enjoy small bites and handcrafted cocktails while soaking in the lively atmosphere. They specialize in rum, and wow, the drinks are divine!The crown jewel of the Lowe's Sapphire Falls Hotel, however, is undoubtedly its spectacular pool area. The sprawling pool is surrounded by lush landscaping, creating a tropical oasis that beckons guests to unwind. A water slide adds an element of fun for the young and young at heart, while the hot tubs offer a more serene experience. Lounging in a cabana with a cool drink in hand, you'll find it hard to believe you're just steps away from the thrills of Universal Studios.Beyond its luxurious amenities, one of the major advantages of staying at the Lowe's Sapphire Falls Hotel is its proximity to Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. A short water taxi ride (so convenient!) or a leisurely stroll brings you to the theme parks, allowing for easy access to the magic whenever you desire. This convenience makes it a top choice for those looking to maximize their time exploring the attractions.In the heart of the excitement that is Universal Orlando Resort, the Lowe's Sapphire Falls Hotel stands as an oasis of relaxation and indulgence. From its Caribbean-inspired design to its exceptional dining options and world-class amenities, this hotel elevates the overall Universal experience. Whether you're seeking a family-friendly getaway or a romantic escape, a stay at the Lowe's Sapphire Falls Hotel promises a memorable and rejuvenating adventure in the heart of Orlando, Florida.
A Travel-inspired Christmas Gift List For The Frequent Traveler
14-11-2023
A Travel-inspired Christmas Gift List For The Frequent Traveler
For the BloggerAll travelers need a good laptop case to protect their expensive laptops! Try a high-quality laptop bag and a waterproof case to keep your precious cargo safe. For other fun laptop covers and cases, check out our Amazon Shop.For the Content CreatorEvery content creator needs a good selfie stick that can stand alone as a tripod. The 40-inch Selfie Stick or the 60-inch Sensyne Selfie Stick. To keep your phone dry, try a Waterproof phone pouch or case. For an exceptional gift, a GoPro is the perfect gift.For the WriterYou also can’t go wrong with a travel journal. From DIY travel journals to fun prompts and bucket list journals, remembering where you go and the thoughts and memories made there can be recorded in a travel journal and even turned into a scrapbook. Check out more of our favorite travel journal options in our collection.For the Short ReaderTravel magazine subscriptions give great inspiration for the next adventure. Some of the most fun travel subscriptions include National GEO, Travel & Leisure, Artful Living, Wanderlust, Afar, and Global Traveler. For the Long ReaderThere is nothing better than a good book on a plane ride or a good audiobook on a car ride! From fiction to nonfiction, we love mysteries, dramas, history, and more! Visit our Amazon Novel Collection to shop our favorite reads for vacation. We also have collections of motivational & business books, as well as our favorite spiritual books to dig deep! If you are traveling light, invest in a Kindle!For the Organized PackerThe organized packer is always looking for more gadgets. Cordbrick is a great block to hold and wrap your cords in. If you love to organize each item category within your suitcase, you need the proper organizers for your toiletry bag, clothing, jewelry, sunnies, and bras. If you are taking a short trip, try GoToobs and a travel shaving kit. If you only bring a carry-on suitcase, pack liquids and creams in magnetic capsules and try out a HiBar Maintain Shampoo and Conditioner Set. To keep hats from bending, we love a good hat case. For the BackpackerIf you are backpacking, you will need a foldable raincoat, a  Collapsible Water Bottle, an electronic cord organizer, and a universal travel adapter. For rain protection, check out the the Osprey Waterproof Bag. For organizing a carry-on backpack, try our favorite Electronic organizer.For the Flyer and Road tripperHere are the top items everyone needs in their carry-on - eye shades, neck pillows, a packable travel blanket and pillow, noise-canceling headphones, word searches, Mad Libs, and a travel wallet to fit and protect their passport. Favorite Travel BagsAfter so many travel adventures, a piece of luggage starts to give out. A new luggage set is the perfect, thoughtful gift for someone who is always on the go. Some reputable brands to look into are Long Vacation, Rockland, Coolife, Samsonite, SwissGear, Travelers Club, and Luggex. Our favorite weekend bags are from Etronik and Minkars. We also have a favorite fanny pack and love the Cotopaxi Travel Backpack.What to WearLoungewear for the airport is a must because you want to be comfy, but there are also photo ops moments that mean you need to be cute and casual. Some great brands are Lululemon and Calvin Klein. In terms of clothes, splurging on a quality pair of hiking boots might be the way to go. Try Colombia hiking boots. For deals on boots, you can also try Bass Pro Shops. For comfy airport shoes, HOKAs are our fave. For more travel sneakers, check out our Amazon sneaker collection. For maximum comfort, wear some cozy socks on the plane or pack some to slip your feet into. PJs are a great gift, and versatile ones are needed for traveling. For more cute looks for your vacations, check out our Amazon Store and Shop Best Dressed.For the “Experience Lover”For those who enjoy experiences more than material items, find a worthwhile voucher or certificate to do something exciting. For example, you can buy flight vouchers or gift cards for Delta, United, Southwest, or American so they can have funds for their next travel adventure. Some other good experience gifts are tickets to a music festival, concert, skydiving, or scuba diving certification. Another voucher that goes a long way is the Key West Express voucher, which lasts two years. For the Artsy TravelerOne of the best things about traveling is coming home after an adventure away. Shutterfly can meet all your personalized and picture needs, and you can even create photo books on their website. If you are a Costco member, you will receive a 50% discount on all purchases. If your loved one prefers scrapbooking, try a Polaroid camera. A third option is to buy a photo album and print out images of your adventures.There are options for everyone in the Travel Brats gift guide, but if you are not a big gift giver, you can write a loving card and perhaps include a picture. Enjoy the holidays coming up, and purchase with love.
Visit one of the Top 5 Most Exciting Cities in Florida, Tampa
07-11-2023
Visit one of the Top 5 Most Exciting Cities in Florida, Tampa
A Tapestry of Cultural DiversityTampa's cultural landscape is as diverse as its population, reflecting the influence of various communities that have shaped the city's identity. From the historic Ybor City, once known as the "Cigar Capital of the World," to the contemporary art scene in the Tampa Bay area, the city is a melting pot of different cultures and traditions. Visitors can immerse themselves in the vibrant Cuban, Spanish, and Italian heritage, evident in the local cuisine, architecture, and lively festivals that celebrate Tampa's rich multicultural tapestry. Some of the most unique areas of Tampa to visit are Downtown Tampa,  South Tampa/Bayshore, Ybor City, and Citrus Park.Ybor City is a vibrant, historic district filled with attractions, unique restaurants, and plenty of entertainment opportunities. The area is known for its Cuban heritage, evidenced by the many cigar factories and Cuban restaurants, bakeries, and cafes. Ybor City also has numerous antique stores and specialty shops, accompanied by a variety of museums, art galleries, nightclubs, and music venues. The area holds several festivals, such as the annual Cuban Sandwich Festival, as well as performances from the Tampa Bay Rowdies soccer team. Ybor City is also home to the world's largest fireworks display, held on the Fourth of July every year. It's also home to many popular restaurants, like The Columbia Restaurant and The Bricks of Ybor City. Overall, Ybor City is an ideal destination for visitors who appreciate culture, history, and a unique atmosphere.A Paradise for Nature Enthusiasts For nature enthusiasts, Tampa offers a myriad of opportunities to explore its breathtaking natural beauty. The city is renowned for its stunning beaches, including the famed Clearwater Beach and the picturesque Honeymoon Island State Park, where visitors can indulge in water sports, sunbathe on pristine sands, or enjoy a stroll along the shoreline. For Class II rapids, check out Hillsborough River State Park.Additionally, the nearby Florida Aquarium and the Lowry Park Zoo provide immersive experiences for wildlife lovers, showcasing an array of marine life and exotic animals worldwide. On hot summer days, don't forget to visit  Adventure Island and  Water Works.Urban Excitement and Entertainment GaloreBeyond its natural allure, Tampa is a bustling urban hub that never fails to impress with its dynamic entertainment options. The lively Riverwalk, flanked by trendy restaurants, bars, and shops, offers a scenic backdrop for leisurely strolls and exciting evening activities. For shopping, and hanging with friends, visit Hyde Park,  Armature Works, Centro Ybor (Historic District), Sparkman's Warff, and Channelside. Hyde Park offers a vintage experience with rustic cobblestone streets, and the yummy treats you will find within the village cannot be overstated. In addition, Bayshore Blvd has many trails to explore. Tampa has its very own large-scale amusement park, Busch Gardens. As Florida's premier amusement park, Busch Gardens is an excellent option if you want the whole family to be involved. From roller coasters to shows to animals, you can spend your entire day smiling and laughing. If you like escape rooms, Breakout Games Escape Room is the best escape room I have ever been to.  Armature Works is a historic building & outdoor event space in the historic Heights district on the banks of the Hillsborough River. The historic building is a vibrant space containing bistros, bars, boutiques, and a full-service restaurant. Here, visitors can experience the rich culture of Tampa, the best of the city. Sporting Events Gone WildSports enthusiasts can catch a football game at the iconic Raymond James Stadium or a hockey game at the Amalie Arena, home to the city's professional football and hockey teams, respectively. Fun fact about Amalie Arena- students who show up in Lightning apparel and present their student ID can get into the "student rush," where they will place you in empty seats. You could be sitting right behind the glass!Stay like a CelebrityThe most unique hotel to stay in when in Tampa is the national landmark hotel, the Floridan. Located on 905 N Florida Ave, the Floridan was officially listed in the National Register of Historic Places on March 12, 1996, and is Tampa's only historic grand hotel still standing. Developed by architect Francis Joseph Kennard from 1926 to 1927, the hotel reflects a roaring 20s vibe. It shows the rich oasis that was inhabited by orange juice barons and other business tycoons, as well as high-ranking Military officers, Mafia members, and movie stars. The hotel is also a base for the Cincinnati Reds baseball players during Spring Training!Drinks and ClinksSome of our favorite breweries include Tampa Bay Brewing Co. (located in Ybor and Westchase), Coppertail Brewing Co. (located in Ybor), Brew Bus Brewing (they have buses that take you all over Tampa to different breweries), Cigar City Brewing Co. (located in South Tampa), and Six/Ten Brewing (located in Central Tampa by the airport). Bru is a 16-tap taproom that sells beers from only Florida Breweries. They have games and trivia. They are dog-friendly and kid-friendly and have a kombucha and cold brew for non-alcoholic options.Culinary Delights and Epicurean AdventuresTampa's culinary scene is a tantalizing fusion of flavors, reflecting the city's diverse cultural influences and its proximity to the Gulf of Mexico. From traditional Cuban sandwiches and Spanish paella to fresh seafood delicacies and farm-to-table dining experiences, Tampa offers a culinary journey that caters to every palate. Visitors can indulge in gastronomic adventures at the local farmers' markets, upscale restaurants, and charming cafes, savoring the delectable creations of talented chefs and experiencing the warmth of Southern hospitality at every turn.Hidden Gem Foodie FavoritesMichael's Grill has impressive authentic Italian food. Ulele has super cheesy macaroni and cheese in Tampa and has won several awards. King of the Coop is the spot for Nashville Hot Chicken. Bahama Bucks has top-notch shaved ice, and Jeremiah's has the best Italian ice. Green Lemon has excellent Mexican food, and Loli's Tacos has the most authentic tacos that are served in a little shack. La Teresita Restaurant was established by Cuban immigrants in 1972 and has served presidents, governors, senators, mayors, and other movers and shakers. The Floridian has the best Cuban sandwich around (pork, swiss cheese, mustard, pickles and salami).The Alessi Bakery evolved from a small bakery on Cherry Street in 1912 to a full-scale dining establishment with a bakery, deli, and distribution center. Alessi has long been a household name in Tampa. Founded by Nicolo Alessi, this Tampa landmark has been passed on down through the generations and remains a family-owned and -operated company today.Tavern FoodiesMaloney's Irish Pub has incredible $7 burgers on Wednesdays and trivia nights as well. Burger Culture is a food truck that serves fresh burgers to order. They have great fries, too. Eddie and Sam N.Y. Pizza is top-notch pizza. Front Porch and Bart's Tavern is located in a two-story Victorian house on Florida Ave. They have string lights and frequent live music.Deli DelectablesMott and Hester's Deli has the best cheese ziti and meaty sandwiches. Datz is a deli that serves eclectic food, from sandwiches to bacon-stuffed meatloaf. They also have a chocolate shop that makes incredible little truffles and a bakery called Datz Dough (two locations, one in Downtown Tampa and the other in St. Pete).                                                                                                                          Upscale EatsColumbia Restaurant is a renowned upscale restaurant, famous for its 1905 salad and amazing traditional Cuban food. Daily Eats is very fancy and serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Bern's Steakhouse and Dessert Room is phenomenal, and you can also just come by to try their specialty desserts. On Swann is located in a renovated historic home in south Tampa. Comfortable yet classy, industrial and vintage, On Swann is unique and trendy. On the menu, you'll find everything from shareable dishes like wings and flatbreads to entrees like sea bass and risotto. There's also a fantastic selection of cocktails and wines, as well as several vegan and vegetarian options. The pork chop is my personal favorite. For those with dietary restrictions, On Swann has something for everyone. Whether you're vegan, gluten-free, or lactose intolerant, the staff goes above and beyond to ensure that each diner enjoys a delicious and enjoyable meal. But that's not all — On Swann also has a unique game room. Here, you can play pool, darts, foosball, and other classic games. The unique ambiance of On Swann makes it an excellent spot for date night, as well as a great place to hang out with the girls.If you're looking for a chic stop for lunch or brunch in Tampa, look no further than Oxford Exchange! Located in a historic 19th-century building, Oxford Exchange is a beautiful and inspiring oasis of food, goods, and services. Dining-wise, guests can choose from breakfast, lunch, grab-and-go items, and espresso and tea beverages. The menu features dishes from hand-flipped trout and fried green tomato sandwiches to the mega-popular breakfast burrito. Dinner and a book are also available, you can order up some delectable red wine and a tasty dinner and browse their selection of books. Oxford Exchange's goods selection features gifts, books, and home decor. Whether you're looking for the perfect tea towel to give as a gift or a cozy candle to light up your own home, this eclectic selection is sure to satisfy you. Finally, Oxford Exchange offers signature cocktails, private dining and events, full-service catering, gift wrapping, and more. Whether you're looking for an enjoyable evening or a cool place to grab brunch, Oxford Exchange is the spot to go!Tampa, Florida, is a city that seamlessly blends history, culture, nature, and modernity, creating an enchanting tapestry that leaves a lasting impression on all who visit. With its warm climate, welcoming locals, and an array of attractions for every interest, Tampa promises an unforgettable experience for travelers seeking a perfect blend of relaxation, adventure, and cultural exploration. Plan your next getaway to Tampa and immerse yourself in the allure of this coastal gem in the heart of the Sunshine State!
The Best Autumn Eats & Exploring in Dallas, Texas during October
24-10-2023
The Best Autumn Eats & Exploring in Dallas, Texas during October
In the heart of the Lone Star State, Dallas, one of its major cities, is a vibrant blend of rich Texas history and modern charm. From the iconic skyline to the rich cultural culinary scene, Dallas promises an unforgettable adventure for every traveler.We ended our Dallas trip in big ole Dallas. We kicked off Sunday with an outstanding church service at Park Cities PCPC church in downtown Dallas, then changed in the car (yes, we did that) and sped over to our JFK Assassination and Museum Tour. We met at the JFK memorial, which was ugly, isolating, and empty. A solitary place for thinking and apparently singing, this spot was supposed to be ugly, a prominent reminder of the tragedy that occurred on November 22, 1963. We booked this trip through TripAdvisor, and we were taken on a full walking and driving tour around the city. Our fantastic tour guide gave us the history and background of Lee Harvey Oswald, a tour of JFK's exact assignations spots, and the conspiracy (or truth) behind the horrific events. We even explored the Lee Harvey Oswald Rooming House, where Lee resided. The tour was terrific and quite informative; however, make sure you get to the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza on time! We arrived 5 minutes late to our scheduled time, and the grumpy employees would not let us in! Apparently, it was the first time this had occurred. The tour started at 1:40 p.m. and lasted about 4 hours. Mid-tour, our guide took us to the Dallas Farmers Market, where I had the best brisket I have ever had at Beyond the Butchers Homestead Grille. If you don't like BBQ, the market had everything from sushi to Jamaican food and cute boutiques and shops. Here, I discovered the best-smelling soaps and lotions at Abundantly Aromatic and bought way too many of them!If you are a foodie looking for the best eats around town, try Hudson House. If you are more of a coffee person, try LaLa Land in lower Greenville, where you can order breakfast but focus on the excellent coffee. For an elegant French-inspired brunch spot, try Toulouse Cafe.Try these Tex Mex. spots for lunch or dinner: Mesero in Klyde Warren Park, Las Palmas and Gloria's in Uptown, Meso Maya in Downtown Dallas, Javier's, and Casa Mama's.The Velvet Taco is a great fast-food taco spot. My fave late-night downtown taquito spot was Uno Mas. They are open till 11:00 p.m. and are perfect for any late-night cravings! Their tacos and queso fundido were terrific, and our waitress was super cool and friendly. For the best Margarita in Dallas (called the Mambo Taxi), try Mi Cocina in Highland Park Village. For excellent rooftop drinks, try HG Supply Co. For a Casual New American kitchen & wine bar, try Sixty Vines. For the best pizza in Dallas, try Cane Rosso. For fresh seafood, try TJ's Seafood Market. Uchi has incredible sushi, and Bob's Steak & Chop House is an A+ steakhouse. The Honor Bar has shareable snacks and delectable sandwiches, and Pecan Lodge is a phenomenal BBQ joint. For a casual burger restaurant, try Rodeo Goat.Other unique spots for tasty lunch, dinner, and drinks are The Henry in Uptown, Dolce Rivera in Uptown, and Casablanca in the Bishop Arts District. If you are looking for other activities to do in Dallas, the Fort Worth Water Gardens are a different sight. The Dallas Arboretum is gorgeous in the Spring or Autumn. We also saw the Rocky Horror Show at the Majestic Theater. It was a bit crazy for my speed but very interactive, and the regular playgoers loved it. Other fun areas in and around Dallas to explore include Highland Park Village, West Village, Deep Ellum Dallas, Trinity Groves, John F. Kennedy Memorial Plaza, Northpark Center, and Klyde Warren Park. The homes in Highland Park are spectacularly enormous. West Village is perfect for people-watching while you eat. Deep Ellum Dallas has fun restaurants, breweries, and bars. Northpark Center is a local favorite mall, and Highland Park is a great shopping spot for all your luxury needs. We stayed in the Magnolia Hotel while we were in downtown Dallas. It was beautiful on the outside and a little dusty on the inside, but I loved the view of downtown Dallas, the full-length vintage mirror, the large bathtub, and the cute coffee shop attached to the Hotel. I found the Magnolia on Expedia and would give it a B+.Some other Hot Hotel Recommendations are the Canvas Hotel, Crescent Court, The W, Virgin Hotel, and Canopy.
Tips, Tricks, and Top Haunted Houses at Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights in Orlando, Florida
17-10-2023
Tips, Tricks, and Top Haunted Houses at Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights in Orlando, Florida
Haunted HousesWe went on the first Saturday of October and had a blast. From the horror-themed food to all the different haunted houses, we were totally spooked but made it through 8 out of 10 houses. The houses we thought were the scariest, in order, are as follows: Exorcist Believer, Blood Moon Dark Offerings, The Darkest Deal, Universal Monsters Unmasked, Dr. Odd Fellows Twisted Origins Chucky Ultimate Kill Count, Dueling Dragons Choose Thy Fate, and Yeti Camp Ground Kills. Blood Moon Dark Offerings was about a satanic cult, and The Darkest Deal was bayou-themed. Dr. Odd Fellows Twisted Origins was a twisted spin on clowns and creepy creatures. Our personal favorite was Universal Monsters Unmasked, and the creativity award goes to Dueling Dragons Choose Thy Fate, where I am almost positive I saw the Game of Thrones Night King in there multiple times. Express PassWe recommend splurging on an express pass if you want to make it through all the haunted houses in one night. We missed 2 of the most popular ones, The Last Of Us and Stranger Things 4, which remained between 75 and 90-minute waits. If you have a season pass, you can get a discount on your Halloween Horror Night tickets.Scare ZonesThere were also five trippy and wild scare zones, including vampire hippies, Dr. Odd Fellows’ shipyard, jungle monsters, and chainsaw chasers.Tips for Halloween Horror NightsUniversal Studios closes at 5:00 p.m., and the Island of Adventure stays open till 10:00 p.m. If you have a season pass or a day pass, stay in the park for horror nights and go to a holding spot that starts at 5:30 p.m. vs. 6:00 p.m. because the line to get into the park is extremely long.Download the Universal App for all the details on Halloween Horror Nights, park wait times, and more.Always check the Universal App for park hours because they vary by day, season, etc. A note for season pass holders: A season pass acts as an express pass once for each ride after 4:00 p.m.Dress in black to get in the spirit, and try not to scream too loud!