Mid-Year Travel Recap

Though the year has already a fair share of ups and downs, I’ve had the good fortune to be able to do a bit of traveling in 2017. I visited Las Vegas and Mexico for work, and Los Angeles and Ohio for play. I have a few more trips on deck for this year – including my biggest/furthest away trip to date – that I’m really looking forward to as well. Leave it to the one year I didn’t make a New Year’s resolution to travel more that I actually travel more. I digress…

Here are my 2017 travel superlatives to date:

  • Location with the brightest lights: Vegas
  • My favorite trip/city: long weekend in Venice/Santa Monica
  • Most impromptu weekend: home to Ohio
  • Hottest work escapade: 8 days in Cancun

Where Everybody Knows your Name

A week ago, my friend and I traveled to Boston for a quick weekend getaway. Neither of us being native New Englanders, we had never visited before and were eager to knock the city off of our bucket lists before the real tourist season starts (it apparently ramps up in May). I tried my hand at airbnb-ing for the first time, sipped beers at the bar my favorite TV show is based on, and channeled my Elle Woods alter ego for a few days. As it always goes for me, it was great to spend a few days in a city less chaotic than NYC, and I especially loved the charm of Cambridge. From Harvard to Fenway, I found Boston delightful and would certainly love to visit again someday – especially as it’s only a four-hour bus trip (or super fast plane ride, if you’re the non-poor type) away. Here’s a few pictorial highlights of our visit:

A DC Independence Day

If your parents aren’t interested in American history, maybe don’t plan a family vacation to Washington DC.

If you hate being amongst huge crowds of humans 24/7, probably don’t travel over the Fourth of July weekend.

If you do not enjoy walking around, sight-seeing AND all of the above things also exist, our nation’s capital over Independence Day is definitely not for you + your family.

But guess what my parents and I did over this year’s holiday weekend!? An expensive monuments cruise which showed us nothing, a three-hour bus tour guided by the world’s least funny non-comedian that was so hot we almost melted, and crowded, expensive brunches filled with annoying tourists (like us) were the highlights. BUT. I did capture a handful of mediocre photos, and, of course, it was nice to spend the holiday with family. Plus: DC, as clean and structured as it is in contrast to NYC, always makes for a nice getaway from the daily grind of a sweaty Manhattan summer. At long last, here are a few photos I managed to shoot during that hot and humid weekend at the beginning of July.

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More Bounce in California

A few weeks back, I had the privilege of visiting the land where the seasons never change – Los Angeles, to be specific. I went out for a good girlfriend’s wedding and stayed to spend time with some friends who left me in New York  permanently migrated out west. The catch phrase of my trip was “I’m moving to LA!” and I haven’t stopped thinking about how differently my life would have unfolded if I moved out there in 2011 as planned.

I unfortunately didn’t take any real photos at my friend Ashley’s Malibu wedding, so a few cell phone pics and my word will have to suffice, but you guys – it was the most gorgeous wedding I’ve attended in my life. The church overlooked the ocean, she had her wedding party photos right on the beach, and even the cake was picture perfect (and tasty!). I won’t even get started on how perfect the bride looked. I am so insanely happy for and proud of my friend; she is hands-down one of the best humans I know and seeing her more often would make my heart smile. And now that I know how much I dig California… we’ll see what I can manage. : )

I spent a few days post-wedding wandering around Venice and Santa Monica, hiking up to the Hollywood sign and falling deep in love with everything “old Hollywood” (my number two catchphrase from the trip). I wanted to find out if they really do have more bounce in California than all y’all combined, and according to my findings, they do (sorry, NY). Here’s a few of my favorite photos I captured from my California adventures. And City of Angels, let’s not go another four years without seeing each other, deal?

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Home for the Holidays [a Non-Recap]

I went to my birthstate of Ohio for Christmas, and it was lovely. While I wish I had a hilariously long and witty event-filled recap for you, that wouldn’t be paying proper homage to my hometown. But full disclosure: doing a whole lot of nothing for six days was exactly what I needed. I was able to spend some quality time with all of the friends and family I wanted to see, and to me, that’s what home is. Well, that and Wal-Mart people-watching, Bob Evans’ breakfasts and $5 movies at the 11% occupied “mall.” I unfortunately wasn’t able to get any good family pictures this time around, which is seriously depressing because my mom’s Facebook default is from the stage of my life when an old manager informed me I had the hairstyle of an Orthodox Jew. But I suppose that’s just another reason for them (my parents, not Jewish women) to come and visit me in old New York!

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Happy Christmas Eve!

Rock TreeHappy nondenominational holiday eve to all! Just kidding, Christians only. Today, I embark on my week “vacation” to Ohio. I’ll likely be taking the rest of the week off blogging to celebrate the holiday and catch up with friends and family; I will allegedly resume normal posting duties on Monday the 30th. Try not to miss me too much. And you guys, amidst all the crazy, please don’t forget the real meaning of ChristMAS: the “más” which means “more” in Spanish. More presents, more food, more wine. :) But really, I hope Santa’s good to all of you Beliebers out there! Xo.

Falls to the Wall Weekend Fun

Although there are many great things about autumn in NYC, having a suburban, Midwest background leaves some more seasonality to be desired than what the city can offer. Wanting to fill this void, a few of my friends from the Buckeye State and I headed North to Outhouse Orchards, in Croton Falls, NY this past Saturday to fulfill our craving for all things “fall”.

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Fall - Mountain2From apple picking and hot cider donuts to corn mazes and pumpkin patches, this place had everything one could imagine to get their season’s fill of activities and beautiful hilltop views. This fantastic place is only about an hour outside of NYC and is accessible via  the Metro North! I would definitely recommend this excursion to anyone wanting to escape the city for a day and truly experience the best things about this great season.

Columbus Day Blues

Happy Columbus Day! While many believe today’s holiday is for celebrating the anniversary of Christopher Columbus’ arrival in the Americas, I know the true meaning: to commemorate the great city that is Columbus, Ohio. ;)

Although I didn’t exactly grow up in C-bus, my small hometown was a little under an hour away, so when describing where I’m from, it’s usually my default answer. Once my friends and I were of age to drive, we jetted South as often as we could and spent many weekends and summers in various Columbus neighborhoods, to add some kind of urban flair to our lives. To show my respect for the great capital of the Buckeye State, I’m going to make a list of the things I miss most about my almost home-city, Columbus.

  1. Easton Town Center. Especially around the holidays. I loved it even when I worked there :)
  2. Gallery Hopping in the Short North
  3. Shakespeare in Schiller Park
  4. Bento Go Go. (Cheap and amazing sushi which allegedly and sadly is no more.) I really just miss it because my friends and I posed in pictures like this there:
Bangs were a bad life choice.
Bangs were a bad life decision.

5.  Jeni’s. How do I get my hands on some Cinderella Pumpkin ice cream, stat?
6.  OSU Football. Duh.
7.  Comfest: the best hippie festival in the state.
8.  The Columbus Zoo
9.  North Market
10.  And because I’m a huge cheese-ball, the last but certainly not least thing on my list is all of my family and friends who live there. I’m definitely feeling more homesick than normal for central Ohio today. :(

Feminist Friday: Human Trafficking

Human trafficking is the third biggest crime operation in the world, only after illegal drug and gun trade.

It grosses approximately $32 billion dollars each year.

The two main types include slave labor (about 20%) and sexual exploitation (80%).

More than 70% of these trafficked individuals are women.

According to the FBI, 83% of domestic victims are not undocumented immigrants or even qualified aliens, but United States citizens.

The average age in which someone is generally sold into the sex trade is 12-14 years old.

Do you have goosebumps yet?

The punishment for engaging in human trafficking is less harsh than the punishment for engaging in illegal drug trade.

Every 30 seconds, a new victim is brought in.

The facts speak for themselves. These people are not criminals, they are victims. Human trafficking is one of the biggest human rights issues of our generation, especially for women and children. I’m not going to go into more detail on why this is such an important battle to engage in, because I’m thinking it should be pretty black and white. Press on this issue has picked up since Obama’s been in office, but the fight’s far from over. Here’s what you can to do help:

  • Raise public awareness.
  • Find out your Slavery Footprint and realize the importance in engaging in fair trade.
  • Volunteer. Most of the victims come from broken homes. By spending time with at-risk youth and serving as mentors, you can directly impact their lives by showing them they have other options.
  • Encourage local organizations to offer non-judgemental support.
  • Advocacy. Contact your Senator and demand increase anti-trafficking and business transparency laws.

Justice is what love looks like in public.

A Summer in New Rochelle

As I’ve mentioned only a million times prior, I spent the better part of the past four months in Southeast Westchester. I’ve definitely had my ups and downs there (not enough lunch options, I tell you), but overall, I’m glad I was able to spend a significant potion of my summer outside of New York City. From the gorgeous views of the Long Island Sound, to having a coffee shop that knows my name and order when I walk through the door, I’ll definitely miss this weird little city and all of the adventures it brought me. Thanks for an unexpectedly good time, New Rochelle.
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