5 THINGS: A Travel Guide to Detroit

COMMENTS: 14

travel  5 THINGS: A Travel Guide to Detroit
travel  5 THINGS: A Travel Guide to Detroit

In “5 Things,” I ask some of my favorite bloggers in cities all over the country to share insider travel tips on where to eat, shop, stay, and play in their neighborhoods (plus, what to pack to make the adventure complete). This week, Nicole Dula of Dula Notes shares insider tips on Detroit, Michigan.

5 Things: Detroit
Nicole Dula of Dula Notes

It’s hard to put into words what exactly makes Detroit so special, but when you’re there, you just feel it. The sense of community, entrepreneurship, grittiness, hard work, and overall positivity has me visiting as often as I can. Its checkered past has inspired its citizens to take action and start to develop a different story for the city—urban farms, great restaurants, charming shops and creative businesses are popping up seemingly everywhere these days. If you’ve never been or have been away longer than a year or two, it’s time for a visit!

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5 Things: A Travel Guide to Oakland

COMMENTS: 11

travel  5 Things: A Travel Guide to Oakland travel  5 Things: A Travel Guide to Oakland

In “5 Things,” I’ll ask some of my favorite bloggers in cities all over the country to share insider travel tips on where to eat, shop, stay, and play in their neighborhoods (plus, what to pack to make the adventure complete). This week, designer Emma Robertson offers us a glimpse into the best of Oakland.

5 Things: Oakland
Emma Robertson

My name is Emma Robertson and I’m a Bay Area graphic designer and art director. I’ve lived in the East Bay for about two-and-a-half years now—I started out in Berkeley, and have now landed in Oakland. My fiancé is currently getting his PhD from Berkeley, with about a year left, and we aren’t sure if we’ll stay in the area or move away once he’s done— so I’m currently in a state of trying to do anything and everything I can while I’m here!

This place is truly one-of-a-kind. The weather is magical—constantly providing a fresh, cool environment to run around in. I’m also incredibly inspired by the vegetation—not just in the bay, but in California, in general. Between the natural beauty, the hustle and bustle of being in a big city, and all the cool cats that reside here, I’m incredibly satisfied!

EAT:

travel  5 Things: A Travel Guide to Oakland

travel  5 Things: A Travel Guide to Oakland

Cholita Linda, 4923 Telegraph Avenue, (510) 594-7610
Souley Vegan, 301 Broadway, (510) 922-1615

Cholita Linda is my absolute favorite spot for lunch or dinner. It’s within walking distance of my apartment and is surrounded by lots of fun shops. No matter what time of day, this area is always high energy and lots of fun. (Also, if you’re a fan of fish tacos, go right now!) Another spot that really stands out to me is Souley Vegan, a small spot in Jack London Square that serves a vegan take on Louisiana-style soul food. Mmmmm! It’s close to the water, so you can get it to go and enjoy a great view of the bay.

SHOP:

travel  5 Things: A Travel Guide to Oakland

travel  5 Things: A Travel Guide to Oakland

travel  5 Things: A Travel Guide to Oakland

Temescal Alley, 49th Street between Telegraph Avenue and Clarke Street

If you’ve read any articles about Oakland this year, you’ve most likely heard about Temescal Alley. It’s a one-stop shop for basically anything you could want during an afternoon of shopping—ice cream, coffee, vintage clothing, a hair cut, plants, jewelry, herbs, anything! A few other great spots that are outside of the Alley are: Oakland Surf Club, Issues, Hawthorn Boutique, Umami Mart, and Lost & Found.

STAY:

travel  5 Things: A Travel Guide to Oakland

Airbnb—Oakland

Since our apartment is tiny (and our guest room is now my office) we aren’t able to easily host friends and family when they come to visit—so usually, I recommend renting an Airbnb space up in the hills. Everything is quieter and more lush up there, and the roads are small and windy and create this amazing viewing experience as you make your way up to the top. Each turn provides a new and different view of the bay—it’s magical. There are lots more animals and vegetation up there, too—it’s got a woodsy peaceful vibe.

PLAY:

Lake Merritt, 568 Bellevue Avenue

My fiancé and I are big bike riders, so we love exploring the bay on two wheels. We recently rode the bike route on the new Bay Bridge, which has a designated path where you can walk or ride. There are benches and look-out spots that allow you take breaks and enjoy the view. I’ve lived in a lot of cities over the past few years, and none of them are as bike-friendly as Oakland or Berkeley! Also, Lake Merritt is a wonderful spot for a picnic, a walk, or a public nap if you need a break. There’s a walking path around it that draws people to the area so it’s always very busy and full of energy—plus, there are lights strung around the entire lake, so it gets very moody and romantic around sun-down.

PACK:

travel  5 Things: A Travel Guide to Oakland

travel  5 Things: A Travel Guide to Oakland

Big Baggu, $12

Definitely bring layers! BUT. I’m happy to share that the East Bay is always 5-10 degrees warmer and sunnier than San Francisco. Also, I never go anywhere without my Big Baggu—a lot of spots in Berkeley and Oakland require you to pay for bags when you’re shopping, so it’s nice to have one packed down in my purse. It comes in handy when I run quick errands or make an unexpected shopping stop!

Also, if you want to invest in a great resource, check out This is Oakland: A Guide to the City’s Most Interesting Places. It mentions everything above and MORE.

Thank you so much, Emma! Best wishes for your upcoming wedding—which I believe is right around the corner! (Thank you to Shoko Wanger for her help with this series.) Photos by Ashley Batz for Emmadime.

P.S. More 5 Things Travel guides. And one weekend in Oakland.

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5 THINGS: A Travel Guide to San Diego

COMMENTS: 10

travel  5 THINGS: A Travel Guide to San Diego
In “5 Things,” I’ll ask some of my favorite bloggers in cities all over the country to share insider travel tips on where to eat, shop, stay, and play in their neighborhoods (plus, what to pack to make the adventure complete). This week, photographer Jamie Street shows us around sunny San Diego.

5 Things: San Diego
Jamie Street

I moved to San Diego when I was fresh out of high school. I only stayed for six months, but I knew I’d be back—and since returning, something about the temperature, the people, and pace of life in San Diego has kept me planted for over a decade.

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Carry-on or Check-it?

COMMENTS: 34

travel  Carry on or Check it?

When you fly, do you like to check your luggage or carry it on?

This isn’t usually a choice I have—with small children along (i.e. two little people who seem to need an awful lot of stuff but who don’t carry their weight)—so it seemed like such a luxury to fly carry-on when I took a quick trip to New York for My Austrian Evening last month. It seems like the preference of most less-encumbered travelers: no baggage fees, no risk of missing bags, a quick exit when one gets to skip the carousel… etc. But Aron loves to check our bags, and I get why. The upshot is walking through the airport with only a jacket and a tote (with true essentials—like a bathing suit for a beach trip), and boarding at the very last minute because ‘who cares about overhead space’? It’s really freeing.

I was surprised to read here that Anthony Bourdain prefers to check. “I do not want to be one of those annoying people who can’t fit their carry-on into the overhead. …[But] I’m prepared for things to go wrong because they do go wrong all of the time.”

However, I loved rolling through the airport with nothing but a carry-on this time. (It was a bit dangerous to go to a city with such great shopping and no kids—but, thankfully, Madewell actually shipped home the sweaters I bought at no charge).

What’s your preference? 

P.S. My Carry-on essentials and What to Pack for a toddler.

Pictured: Henley and Coat from Anthropologie; Shoes (past season, similar) and Denim from Madewell
Lipault Foldable Packing Case (courtesty of Lipault): Lipault had offered that I try one of their featherweight foldables (that slides even under our very, very low bed once collapsed)—verdict: very nice!

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5 THINGS: A Travel Guide to Paris

COMMENTS: 19

  travel  5 THINGS: A Travel Guide to Paris     
In “5 Things,” I’ll ask some of my favorite bloggers in cities all over the country to share insider travel tips on where to eat, shop, stay, and play in their neighborhoods (plus, what to pack to make the adventure complete). This week, Nichole Robertson of Obvious State Studio—and author of the beautiful books, Paris in Color and Paris in Love, and The Paris Journal series—guides us through her favorite city, one outside of the country.

5 Things: Paris
Nichole Robertson of Obvious State Studio

Though I live and work in the New York metro area, my husband and I have a studio apartment in Paris. We spend about eight weeks per year there depending on the projects we’re working on.

Paris is my zen. I don’t go to shop, sightsee, or hit the current hot spots—I go to slow down, wander, and think. (I also go for the butter—a large slab of salted French butter and a hot, crispy baguette would be my last meal!)

EAT:
travel  5 THINGS: A Travel Guide to Paris

Fromagerie Laurent Dubois, 47 Ter Boulevard Saint-Germain, 75005 Paris, France, +33 1 43 54 50 93

Laurent Dubois is where I pick up my beloved salted Bordier butter and favorite young goat cheese. I can get wonderful aged cheese in the states, so I focus on the freshest varieties when I’m in Paris. The shop is stunning, and the cheese is presented in a way that reminds me of a museum.

SHOP:
travel  5 THINGS: A Travel Guide to Paris

Citypharma Du Four Bonaparte, 26 Rue du Four, 75006 Paris, France, +33 1 46 33 20 81

This place has a cult following for a reason, and pharmacies are the exception to my no-shopping modus operandi. A few of my staples:

Avibon. Avibone is an inexpensive Vitamin A cream similar to Retin A, but doesn’t require a prescription (read: cheap). It’s currently off the market for reformulation, so I’ve switched to A313 cream, which is similar.

Biafine. Though this is formulated for burn and chemical peel recovery, I use this as a regenerative night cream (the secret is out!). It’s extremely healing, and I’ve been shocked by how fast a blemish scar recovers with just a dot of Biafine.

Bioderma. The best makeup and debris remover ever. Though it’s colorless and odorless like water, it clears pores like magic. It’s very easy to spot as there are large displays of this and other micellaire waters at the front of most pharmacies.

Embryolisse CC Cream. I am obsessed with this and make sure I never run out. It’s light coverage, and leaves your skin perfected and dewy. (It’s worth noting here that I worked as a copywriter in the beauty industry for 15 years, and I am dubious when it comes to claims of “perfect skin” and “flawless finish.” But this stuff delivers.) The closest thing I’ve found in the states is Clinique’s Moisture Surge CC cream.

STAY:
travel  5 THINGS: A Travel Guide to Paris
travel  5 THINGS: A Travel Guide to Paris

We’ve always rented apartments and I recommend rentals over hotels. I love being able to stock the refrigerator with essentials like butter, eggs and yogurt, and do laundry so I can pack light. Erica Berman’s Haven in Paris and Gail Boisclair’s Perfectly Paris are my go-to rental agencies.

PLAY:
travel  5 THINGS: A Travel Guide to Paris

Luxembourg Gardens, 6e Arrondissement, 75006 Paris, France, +33 1 42 34 23 62

When we travel with our boys, the Luxembourg Gardens are always at the top of their list (boats and ice cream!). And though it’s incredibly kid-friendly, it’s still a peaceful spot to rest, dream, or in my case, scheme—many of our studio’s projects are a result of wine-fueled conversations in this park.

PACK:
travel  5 THINGS: A Travel Guide to Paris

Next to nothing! For a week in Paris, I pack one pair of boots, two pairs of jeans, two or three sweaters, and some basic tees. I do laundry every other night. I walk so much and rarely need to be dressed up for dinner, so I let comfort dictate my wardrobe—besides, I need plenty of room in my carry-on for butter and French pharmacy finds!

Thank you so much, Nichole! One of your photographs of Paris hangs in my office. I fear I’m going to crave a hot baguette with salted French butter every time I sit down to work. (Thank you to Shoko Wanger for her help with this series!)

P.S. Our Paris travelogues and the apartment we rented from Haven in Paris (one of Nichole’s recommendations). 

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Travelogue: Positano & the Amalfi Coast, Italy

COMMENTS: 45

travel  Travelogue: Positano & the Amalfi Coast, Italy
travel  Travelogue: Positano & the Amalfi Coast, Italy
travel  Travelogue: Positano & the Amalfi Coast, Italy

This is the last leg of our trip to Italy

Positano is built almost entirely on the side of mountains—dramatically and precariously so. It practically drips into the sea, defying all expectations of gravity and foundations. One wonders how it came about. I suppose it stands as a testament to the value of the sea that anyone would dare consider building such a place.

We’d visited Positano on our first trip to Italy together and I always hoped we might return. Swimming in the sea is actually my favorite kind of swimming. Warm ocean waters with soft sand are the ideal for most people, but I actually love a pebbly beach that leaves you salty… and your sandwiches free of sand. And the Mediterranean is just so beautiful.

Everyone warned us that we would regret visiting the Amalfi Coast in August, so we were happy that our dates left us arriving in the first week of September. We booked our stay in Positano for six nights almost as soon as we purchased the tickets.

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Travelogue: Tuscany & Umbria, Italy

COMMENTS: 34

travel  Travelogue: Tuscany & Umbria, Italy
travel  Travelogue: Tuscany & Umbria, Italy

The drive from Rome north to Siena took only a few hours and passed quickly. Once we actually left with the rental car (a process that took far longer than expected), the kids fell promptly asleep in the back seat and Aron and I looked out the window as clumped stone villages perched precariously on hilltops started to rise out of nowhere.

The trick was to navigate up into one!

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Thoughts on Italy with Kids

COMMENTS: 35

travel family  Thoughts on Italy with Kids
travel family  Thoughts on Italy with Kids

travel family  Thoughts on Italy with Kids
travel family  Thoughts on Italy with Kids

One morning, while we were in Positano, we rented a boat from one of the stands along the beach. Most people decide to rent a rubber boat—the likes of what we rented in Sardinia—and jet down the coast with the sea-air whipping through their hair.

We were taking two small children out, so we went with the charming, but very slow fisherman’s boat.

travel family  Thoughts on Italy with Kids

Hudson was quite thrilled and looked out intensely. I asked if he was okay and he told me that’s the face he makes “when I very interested.” Fair enough!

He’d point to passing boats and exclaim “Those boats are fast! But not as fast as ours… Right daddy?!” Sure kid.

travel family  Thoughts on Italy with Kids

But about 10 minutes later, only slightly out of the village’s harbor, he was a bit bored; Aron and I both admitted that the slow rocking was making us a little queasy; and Skyler’s fussy squeals were a sign that she would not be sleeping as expected. Aron and I exchanged frustrated (nauseated expressions) and wondered how soon to call it a fail and turn the boat around.

I tried to channel those memories of Sardinia, when being out on our own boat was so exhilarating and recalled that it was the thrill of jumping off the bow into the cool water—the sort of thing completely unique to being out on a boat versus going to the beach—that really made the day.

travel family  Thoughts on Italy with Kids

And so we pulled into a small, picturesque cove and dropped anchor. Hudson counted to three and I lept! That queasy feeling disappeared instantly. Hudson and Aron went next as we took turns in the boat with Skyler.

It changed everything.
travel family  Thoughts on Italy with Kids

It’s not as if the memory of that slow ride disappears, but it’s now something to look back on and laugh about, to maybe even say “not again” in reference to—but to wholly appreciate.

That morning changed from total fail to total highlight—even though those actual moments of jumping in and swimming were brief. It felt incredible and I’ll appreciate it for a lifetime.

When we returned the boat, we were on a high and decided to walk from the main beach to Fornillo beach to get lunch. Then, Hudson had a meltdown—we should have known not to push it around nap time—and back to the room we went.

travel family  Thoughts on Italy with Kids

This is all to say: the pictures never tell the whole story. I don’t pull out the camera and snap photos of Hudson crying. It’s not because I’m trying to hide anything or forget that it happens, but it’s just not what makes sense in that moment—and it’s usually not representative.

From my experience, one of the biggest threats to a happy vacation is having unreasonable expectations. One wants to assume that because you’re somewhere amazing, doing really special (and expensive!) things, your kids will be so wowed by it all that they’ll behave differently than you’re accustomed to. But in my experience, kids are kids, toddler are toddlers, wherever they are. Hudson’s pretty terrific as little travel companions go, but we play to his strengths (and remember his weaknesses) whenever possible.

So I always hope that as you read these travelogues and you have kids, you just take for granted that even if I don’t describe every time Hudson wanted that piece of basil removed from his pizza or cried because we closed the door and he wanted to do it, it is still happening.

We endured all of those same toddler antics in Italy that we endure in Davis. I think my children are wonderful and I of course don’t want to go out of my way to have Hudson think that all I noticed on any trip were those exasperating moments. But I want to be honest, too.

travel family  Thoughts on Italy with Kids

And the honest truth? Most of the time, you just dive in and it’s all well worth it.

Coming up next: A travelogue from Rome

Update: Thanks for asking–source for my swimsuit

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The High Line, Phase Three

COMMENTS: 9

travel new york  The High Line, Phase Three

travel new york  The High Line, Phase Three

travel new york  The High Line, Phase Three

I was in New York for roughly 36 hours this week. I was in town for a special event (that I look forward to sharing more about after the weekend—though you may have glimpsed on Instagram), but it was just long enough to tack on a visit to the newest section of the High Line—which opened just a few days prior. I won’t lie: I hesitated. I could only visit in middle of the day which usually translates to thicker crowds and bad photo conditions. But the larger timing was hard to beat.

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Take One More Day

COMMENTS: 14

travel  Take One More Day

Summer may be over, but that doesn’t mean you should stop thinking about vacation.

Did you know that the US Travel Association found that 429 million vacation days were left on the table by American workers last year?  Essentially, 40% of us are donating money (in the form of earned time off) to our employers.

I say, collectively, we need to band together to stop this and to create a culture where taking the time needed to recharge, to travel, and to come back to work with renewed energy is prized. Take your vacation! 

travel  Take One More Day

Granted, our family just returned from an extended holiday—three weeks abroad—that isn’t feasible for everyone, but it amazes me how much good just a single day of vacation can do. In fact, it’s been shown that there is no relationship between the length of a vacation and overall happiness.

MasterCard wants to join in encouraging all of us to take advantage of all the days we’ve earned.

Here’s how to take one more day:

Embrace the Daytrip. One of the most relaxing (and funny) day trips Aron and I ever took was a trip to Spa Castle in Queens, when we were living in New York. Essentially a Korean day spa, it’s a giant complex of saunas (“Sauna Valley”), hot and cold pools—some with requisite nudity—sleep rooms, and massage tables. (Psst: Word is they’re coming to Manhattan!)

Some other favorite day trips have included:
Swimming in the Yuba River; Spending the day on Fire Island; Driving through vineyards for a long lunch in Healdsburg; and Paddleboarding on Angora Lake (in the Lake Tahoe wilderness region).

Extend your weekend. It’s said that taking several three- or four-day-weekends throughout the year can have the same effects (happiness, relaxation, etc.) as a single long break.

Here are a few of my favorite getaways we’ve taken using a single day of vacation (plus a weekend):
A fall weekend in Yosemite Valley; a spa weekend at Solage in Calistoga; and a family getaway to Monterey where we checked out tide pools!

travel  Take One More Day

And for those of you parents who need a weekend away without the kids, we found on our trip to Lake Tahoe that the easiest way to ask others for help is to start your weekend on weekday, when your kids will be spending some of the time at school, engaged in their usual routine. (Bonus: you’ll spend less time in weekend traffic!)

travel  Take One More Day

A few more tips: 
Use your credit card rewards. A study commissioned by MasterCard shows that at least a third of people would likely take another vacation in 2014 if they had benefits to offset the cost. 35% of rewards card holders admitted they are only a little, or not at all knowledgeable about their program perks and services. We booked our trip to Bali and our trip to Europe this summer using perks from our card!

Plan Ahead. 53% of Americans prioritize travel but 28% end up cramming vacation days into the last months of the year. Plan ahead and don’t risk losing your earned time. I once read that Marissa Mayer (Yahoo CEO) plans one weeklong vacation every four months. If you (and your employer and your coworkers) come to expect your taking your vacation as part of a routine, you’ll be less likely to let things like office guilt get in your way.

No, seriously. Plan Ahead. A study in the Netherlands revealed that planning a vacation contributed as much to happiness as did the vacation itself.

Get something on the calendar (even that three-day-weekend getaway) so that you can start reaping the rewards immediately.

Take the pledge to take #OneMoreDay. This is a sponsored post on behalf of MasterCard. I received compensation for this post, however all opinions stated are my own. 

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5 THINGS: A Travel Guide to Seattle

COMMENTS: 7

travel  5 THINGS: A Travel Guide to Seattle
travel  5 THINGS: A Travel Guide to Seattle

In “5 Things,” I’ll ask some of my favorite bloggers in cities all over the country to share insider travel tips on where to eat, shop, stay, and play in their neighborhoods (plus, what to pack to make the adventure complete). This week, designer, illustrator, and photographer Julia Manchik shares Seattle’s spoils.

5 Things: Seattle
Julia Manchik of Yuriy + Julia

Although I grew up in a small town, I adore Seattle. It may be a big city, but it’s surprisingly easy to escape to the outdoors — we have great food, music, and shopping within walking distance of our apartment in Capitol Hill, but we’re also just a short drive from areas where we can bike, kayak, ski, and hike. I love that the city is built around water and mountains — even downtown, it’s incredibly green. I love it. I could see myself living here for a long time.

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Shoulder seasons (& Friday links)

COMMENTS: 22

travel  Shoulder seasons (& Friday links) travel  Shoulder seasons (& Friday links)

Are you done with travel until the holidays or do you have any other getaways planned? I feel like now is both the time I most want to be a homebody and the best time to get out and hit the road. Shoulder season, when the days are still long (and in many places quite warm) but the crowds are thin is a great time to travel. Last year, we spent a beautiful weekend in Yosemite around this time.

Yosemite in the fall: Highly recommended.

Of course if you’re staying in, and getting reacquainted with Dr. Mindy Lahiri, Olivia Pope, the Bravermans and the like… I can get behind that, too. Here are a few links to supplement the return of fall television…

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Sant’Eustachio il Caffe, Rome: Best Espresso?

COMMENTS: 20

travel food drink  SantEustachio il Caffe, Rome: Best Espresso?

travel food drink  SantEustachio il Caffe, Rome: Best Espresso?

Whether or not it’s the best, the espresso at Sant’Eustachio Il Caffè is perhaps one of the most famous to be pulled in Rome. The classic experience involves standing at the bar, quickly sipping an espresso or caffé with a pastry. We opted for the fairly pricey table service, so that we could better enjoy the relative calm in the small piazza and better savor the rich, wonderful Nutella Aragosta (lobster-tail pastries) that Aron and I so fondly recalled from our last visit. The coffee is amazing, but these are honestly some of the best pastries we had on the trip (or ever). 

travel food drink  SantEustachio il Caffe, Rome: Best Espresso?

We’re just back from what was a wonderful three weeks in Italy. And though we’re still paying some of the price in jet lag, I’m already feeling nostalgic as I look at these photos. Alas, it’s probably best to put some distance between us and the permission we gave ourselves to schmear Nutella on anything bread-like.

I hope to share travelogues—I’m thinking it might make sense to break the trip into three parts—later in the month.

In the meantime, I couldn’t help but share these photos from one particularly pleasant morning in Rome:

travel food drink  SantEustachio il Caffe, Rome: Best Espresso?
travel food drink  SantEustachio il Caffe, Rome: Best Espresso?

Aron and I alternated sips of caffé latte and Gran caffé (slightly larger and frothier than an espresso); Hudson had a cup of chocolate, which was thick and slightly bitter and which Aron spooned for him as if he were a baby bird until the temperature was just right. Oh, the life of a (lucky) three year old.

The whole situation reminded me of this very decadent breakfast in Paris.

travel food drink  SantEustachio il Caffe, Rome: Best Espresso?

With most meals consisting of some combination of tomato sauce and Nutella or gelato, we realized we would be doing laundry every day unless we started having Hudson share Skyler’s bibs. (Eventually, he took to donning his “cape” and running very fast.)

travel food drink  SantEustachio il Caffe, Rome: Best Espresso?
travel food drink  SantEustachio il Caffe, Rome: Best Espresso?

Back when William Grimes of the New York Times found the espresso in New York to be lacking (many years ago), he famously wrote: “When the need for a real espresso becomes overpowering, buy a ticket to Rome, tell the taxi driver to head straight for the Sant’Eustachio cafe. The espresso will be perfect. A little expensive, but surely worth the trouble.” You could do worse than to follow that advice. Just be sure to try the Aragosta, too. 

Okay… back to bed.

P.S. Our pick for best croissants in New York.

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5 Things: A Travel Guide to Charleston

COMMENTS: 8

travel  5 Things: A Travel Guide to Charleston

In “5 Things,” I’ll ask some of my favorite bloggers in cities all over the country to share insider travel tips on where to eat, shop, stay, and play in their neighborhoods (plus, what to pack to make the adventure complete). This week, Olivia Rae James shows us around charming Charleston, South Carolina.

5 Things: Charleston
Olivia Rae James

I first visited Charleston when I was in middle school, and immediately knew I would live here one day—it’s such an easy place to fall in love with. The peninsula on the South Carolina coast is small and walkable, but chock-full of amazing gems. To experience all the incredible food and drink here you’d have to stay weeks (or eat twelve meals a day), and there are constantly new alleys or secret gardens to be discovered. It’s a charming little city that’s perfect for getting lost in, but just in case you’re more of a planner, here are a few favorite must-see spots.

EAT:
travel  5 Things: A Travel Guide to Charleston travel  5 Things: A Travel Guide to Charleston
Chez Nous, 6 Payne Court, (843) 579-3060

Located in a tiny house tucked away in an alley, Chez Nous‘s small daily menu (two appetizers, two entrees, two desserts) never fails to amaze. Exquisite French food, intimate setting, charming people—I’m sold.

travel  5 Things: A Travel Guide to Charleston
travel  5 Things: A Travel Guide to Charleston

SHOP:
travel  5 Things: A Travel Guide to Charleston
travel  5 Things: A Travel Guide to Charleston
The Commons, 54 1/2 Broad Street, (646) 408-3447

The Commons is a little shop filled with the most amazing collection of American-made treasures. Hidden away on Broad Street, it shares a space with Heirloom Book Company, where you can find unique cookbooks, both new and old.

STAY:
travel  5 Things: A Travel Guide to Charleston
Zero George Street, 0 George Street, (843) 817-7900

Zero George Street is a bed-and-breakfast made up of five restored historic houses. With its contemporary decor, delicious breakfasts, gorgeous courtyard, and ideal location for walking anywhere in the historic district, it’s my favorite hotel downtown.

PLAY:
travel  5 Things: A Travel Guide to Charleston
travel  5 Things: A Travel Guide to Charleston
travel  5 Things: A Travel Guide to Charleston
My favorite thing to do in Charleston is to walk around the southernmost part of the peninsula, also known as South of Broad. It’s home to the most gorgeous houses, gardens, oak-shaded streets, narrow alleys, and endless water views. Battery Park is a perfect destination for running around with kids or dogs, and enjoying the stunning surroundings.

travel  5 Things: A Travel Guide to Charleston
If you feel like getting off the peninsula and heading to the coast, the drive to Sullivan’s Island is short and scenic (and the beach is beautiful).

PACK:
travel  5 Things: A Travel Guide to Charleston
travel  5 Things: A Travel Guide to Charleston
A sun hat, $98, and a light-and-easy dress, $80

Charleston gets very hot and very humid. Unless you’re visiting in the short winter season, prepare to bring cool clothes and sun protection. I love this straw hat from Accompany and this breezy white dress from Proud Mary.

Thank you so much, Olivia! And thank you to Shoko Wanger for her help with this series. I’ve only spent a couple of days in Charleston, for a wedding—but I just loved it! I hope to return soon and put these tips to use.

P.S. Olivia wrote a lovely guest post here while I was enjoying my first days home with baby Hudson. Seems like ages ago!

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5 Things: A Travel Guide to Brooklyn Heights

COMMENTS: 9

travel  5 Things: A Travel Guide to Brooklyn Heights
In “5 Things,” I’ll ask some of my favorite bloggers in cities all over the country to share insider travel tips on where to eat, shop, stay, and play in their neighborhoods (plus, what to pack to make the adventure complete). This week, Erin Boyle of Reading My Tea Leaves shows us the sights in beautiful Brooklyn Heights.

5 Things: Brooklyn Heights
Erin Boyle of Reading My Tea Leaves

My husband, James, and I have lived in Brooklyn Heights for just over three years and the quiet tree-lined streets that first attracted us to the neighborhood have equal appeal for visitors hoping to experience a respite from the crowds of Manhattan. In the summertime, the Brooklyn Heights Promenade fills with tourists hoping for a glimpse of the iconic downtown Manhattan skyline from across the river. We encourage visitors to pack a picnic blanket and lounge in nearby Brooklyn Bridge Park for a while. This may be New York, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take a little break from the hustle.

EAT:
travel  5 Things: A Travel Guide to Brooklyn Heights
travel  5 Things: A Travel Guide to Brooklyn Heights

The River Deli, 32 Joralemon Street, (718) 254-9200

The River Deli is one of our favorite spots in the neighborhood for a dinner out. It’s not fancy, or particularly trendy, but it’s affordable for young families, always yummy, and it’s tucked into a quiet corner that gives you a real taste of the neighborhood. Maybe best of all, it’s just a stone’s throw from one of the neighborhood’s greatest assets: Brooklyn Bridge Park. (Bonus: a window seat affords you some pretty nice neighborhood people watching).

If you’re planning a picnic, pick up supplies at Willowtown Store #7 on Columbia Place. And if you’re in the mood for something a little more refined, try dinner at Iris Café #9.

SHOP:
travel  5 Things: A Travel Guide to Brooklyn Heights
travel  5 Things: A Travel Guide to Brooklyn Heights

Holler & Squall, 119 Atlantic Avenue, (347) 223-4685

Holler & Squall on Atlantic Avenue is one of my favorite neighborhood shops to browse in on a lazy weekend. Filled with an eclectic mix of antiques, the shop always has a patinaed lamp or cozy Chesterfield sofa worth ogling (or splurging on). For something a little more family-friendly, BookCourt is just a few blocks away in nearby Cobble Hill and is a fantastic spot to pick up some vacation reading for adults and kiddos.

STAY:
travel  5 Things: A Travel Guide to Brooklyn Heights
travel  5 Things: A Travel Guide to Brooklyn Heights
travel  5 Things: A Travel Guide to Brooklyn Heights

AirBNB — Brooklyn Heights

Largely a residential neighborhood, I think visitors to Brooklyn Heights get the best sense of the neighborhood by finding an Airbnb rental in their budget that they can call home for a few nights. To consider: proximity to the Brooklyn Heights Promenade! (The French doors on this rental look dreamy.) For folks hoping for a more traditional hotel experience, the Marriott in downtown Brooklyn is also close by.

PLAY:
travel  5 Things: A Travel Guide to Brooklyn Heights
travel  5 Things: A Travel Guide to Brooklyn Heights

Brooklyn Bridge Park, 334 Furman Street, (718) 222-9939

Brooklyn Heights gives visitors a chance to experience the iconic Brooklyn Bridge, the Brooklyn Heights Promenade and its stunning views of lower Manhattan and New York Harbor, and the constantly expanding Brooklyn Bridge Park. James and I practically live in the park on the weekends, but it’s a place that’s as thrilling for out-of-towners as it is for neighborhood folks. For visitors, I’d recommend a morning walk over the Brooklyn Bridge (if you need to keep your reserves, just walk to the first tower and loop back around) and a lunchtime picnic at Pier 1. If you have kiddos, cool off at the splash pad at Pier 6 (and make things even easier on yourself by grabbing a pizza at the nearby Fornino outpost at Pier 6 or an ice cream from Ample Hills at Pier 5). If you’re visiting on a Sunday, the Brooklyn food fest extravaganza Smorgasburg at Pier 5 also provides plenty of lunch options. If you’re hankering for more of an adventure, catch a ride on the ferry to Governors Island (only $2.00) from Pier 6, and take a stroll around the leafy island before heading back to home base.

PACK:
travel  5 Things: A Travel Guide to Brooklyn Heights

A favorite picnic blanket, $99

One of the best parts about the neighborhood is its newly developed waterfront and the chance the park gives you to relax and soak in the energy of the city, from a distance. Pack a blanket and a few snacks and let the salty harbor air wash over you as you give your feet a rest. This buffalo check blanket from the Brooklyn-based Kaufmann Mercantile is a classic option for picnicking families.

Thank you so much, Erin! We loved Brooklyn Heights when we lived in New York (Holler & Squall as well!) but I wish we’d been around long enough to make use of these suggestions and to see the new waterfront park. I’m so looking forward to returning one day!

And thank you to Shoko Wanger for her help with this series! 

P.S. More of the “5 Things” series. And you may recall Erin from this post, too.

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We’re still here.

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travel  Were still here.

travel  Were still here.

travel  Were still here.

We’re eking out the last drops of summer in Italy, doing our best to ignore the changing light that heralds fall. It’s been quite warm here in Tuscany, and so it has been easy… until yesterday, that is—when storms came through and I bought a scarf to keep off the chill. Fortunately, it’s beautiful here no matter what the forecast.

I’m taking far too many photos (editing is going to be a tough chore when we come home) and eating just enough gelato (at least one a day, sometimes more). I’ve been posting some photos on Instagram while it’s been quiet on the blog, if you follow along there, but I’m looking forward to resuming the two new series this week: first, 5 Things, with a second travel guide to Brooklyn (this time, Brooklyn Heights); and second, The Work We Do, with a lovely friend and entrepreneur.

I hope you will check back! Ciao!

travel  Were still here.

P.S. The first two 5 Things: Travel Guides to Williamsburg and San Luis Obispo. And The Work We Do with The Wonder Jam.

[Photos taken just outside of Monticchiello di Pienza‎, at our Agriturismo]

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Arrivederci!

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travel  Arrivederci!
travel  Arrivederci!
travel  Arrivederci!

Buon giorno! A few travel hiccups, but we just arrived in Italy!

These aren’t our photos, but rather some graciously sent to me by readers by way of my crowd-sourcing experiment. (I didn’t forget!)

Above: Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe from Gourmet Traveler // “Lago di Como, Varenna, number 3″ from Edward Brydon, and the beach at Tropea from Michelle Summerville at 3ontheGo.

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