How To: Be a Foodie in Los Angeles

We’re always on Instagram. We always see those yummy food pages with the amazing food and dessert.

Now it’s your turn to be that page when you travel to Los Angeles.

I love New York – I truly do and I love the food, but Los Angeles is my second favorite.

  1. Brunch like a celebrity? 
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    Viviane Restaurant located at 9400 W Olympic Blvd, Beverly Hills, CA 90212
    • I was aiming to be healthy on my trip. So naturally I ordered a salad, but of course what’s brunch without fries? We don’t know! Surprisingly enough I ran into a few celebrity makeup artists while I was sitting down eating my food. This was my first stop when I got out of the airport. The food is a bit on the pricier side, but completely worth it for the quality.
  2. Brunch like Dr. Seuss?
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    Blu Jam Cafe  7371 located at Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90046
    • Did someone say green eggs and ham? Almost! Green poached eggs and steak hash! This was my favorite brunch meal while in Los Angeles. Blu Jam Cafe is one of the hip places where everyone goes for brunch. The music and vibes are chill. Only downside is it’s busy ALL the time! We went on a Tuesday and it was surprisingly crowded. This place does allow you to make reservations, but be punctual. If you miss your spot, you may end up having to wait up to an hour for another table. We would say this falls in the medium range when it comes to the price point of the menu.
  3. Get Nutella Wasted
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Cafe Los Feliz located at 2118 Hillhurst Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90027

We would say this falls in the medium range when it comes to the price point of the menu.

    • One of my favorite things on this planet is Nutella. When I came across this little cafe on Instagram. I knew I had to try it. I looked up the Yelp reviews and everyone was raving about their Nutella waffles and of course I had to come and try! If you decide to rent a car, take the trip from the main part of Los Angeles and check it out!

These three spots were our favorites in Los Angeles! If you decide to visit, it’s a must-try!

Recommendations:

  • Rent a car if you plan on driving farther away from the main part of Los Angeles.
    • Ubers are pretty cheap, but keep in mind Los Angeles traffic is horrendous and the fares can go up.

Let us know if you’ve been to LA or any part of California! We want to visit more parts of the “Golden State!”

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How To: Travel Tulum

When people think of Mexico, the first thing that comes to mind is Cancun and spring break – am I right?

There’s much more to it especially if you’re looking for a different ambiance.

I’d been to Mexico before two years ago, and stayed at a hotel. Mexico has so many all-inclusive resorts. I stayed at one and unfortunately the food was crappy which is expected at an all-inclusive.

You’re limited to what you can do since you stay at the resort unless you buy excursions. I had fun and visited one of the “New 7 Wonders of the World,” but I wanted to experience Mexico like a local.

First thing I had to do was find an Airbnb and then look up flight prices.

Out of all the places I found in Tulum – this was my favorite. (link) 

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My host was amazing and the community had a security guard on duty 24 hours. I went with two other friends and we had the pool all to ourselves!

I referenced FarahPink’s blog post on her first time in Tulum and figured I could use the tips since I wanted to stay like a local!

We rented out bikes since that would be our means of transportation. We used our bikes to go everywhere from restaurants, the Ruins, and the beaches!

  • The Tulum Ruins:
    • The first time I went to Mexico and visited the ruins I got a tour guide, but this isn’t necessary. All you’ve gotta do is research the history beforehand and it’ll make the experience even better! Check out JauntingJen’s post with an in depth guide! Screen Shot 2017-12-14 at 5.06.17 AM
  • Tulum Sign:
    • If you’re interested in taking an Instagram worthy picture with your friends, there is a spot right before heading up to the Tulum Ruins! #TULUM Everyone is friendly so it’ll be easy for you to spot someone who is willing to take a photo of you and your group of friends like we did!Screen Shot 2017-12-14 at 5.19.13 AM
  • Coba Ruins:
    • Please be aware. If you are afraid of heights, it is not recommended to climb the Coba steps. It is 120 steps up to the top, but it is extremely steep. The only thing there for grip is a rope in the middle of the set of steps. Like the Tulum Ruins, there is lots of history surrounding Coba. Check out this post to learn more! IMG_4519.jpg
  • Ziggy Beach Club
    • This place offers beach service which makes it easier for you to work on that tan! It opens at 7AM and closes at 11PM. The food is delicious and the service is impeccable. We were convinced that everyone in Tulum is nice – which is refreshing as New Yorkers can sometimes be too angry.

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One of our favorite parts of Tulum were these street signs with inspo instead of directions! Screen Shot 2017-12-14 at 5.22.37 AMScreen Shot 2017-12-14 at 5.22.19 AM

Tulum was one of my favorite trips like Switzerland because I got to enjoy it like a local. Also, on this trip I was super active so I didn’t feel bad about all the food and drinks I was having!

Recommendations:

  • Research Airbnbs in depth and know where you’re staying.
  • Reach out to your phone provider and ask if they offer a service in Mexico this way you’ll be able to use your GPS and apps like Uber.
  • Make sure to exchange money in the U.S! The banks over there charge much more for the exchange rate.
  • Most to all places in Mexico are cash only. They won’t accept cards and sometimes don’t have ATM machines. Make sure you take enough or are willing to pay extra to exchange your money over there!

Would you travel to Tulum? It’s a risk for some as many people feel more safe staying at a resort in Mexico, but we definitely recommend it for a group of three or more!

 

 

How To: Travel in Seattle

Seattle is the largest city in Washington and one of the rainiest cities across the entire United States – so why would you want to visit?

Well for starters, the original Starbucks and Nordstrom is in Seattle and it was rated the most ‘hipster’ city in the U.S.

Also, if you’re an avid Grey’s Anatomy watcher – you’ll get a chance to see some of the original filming sites! (link)

Before going, you may want to research when is the best time to go especially if you don’t love the rain!

Here’s another blog with tips on how to avoid some mistakes when traveling to Seattle. (link)

Well for starters, the original Starbucks and Nordstrom is in Seattle and it was rated the most ‘hipster’ city in the U.S.

  1. Visit the Pike Place Market. This market overlooks the waterfront and is the oldest farmers market that started in 1907. Now there are much more shops!Screen Shot 2017-12-14 at 4.28.25 AM
  2. Visit the Great Wall of Gum in the Pike Place Market – disgusting to some, but still a part of the Seattle experience.Screen Shot 2017-12-14 at 4.28.48 AM
  3. Visit the Space Needle Center! It is one of the landmarks in the Northwest region of the U.S. and one of Seattle’s top icons.Screen Shot 2017-12-14 at 4.35.57 AM
  4. Visit the Chihuly Garden and Glass. Dale Chihuly is one of America’s glass sculptors and is a Washington native. The exhibition has been around since 2012 and is located next to the popular Space Needle which makes it all the more convenient when planning your itinerary. I first stumbled across the exhibition on HappyToWander’s blog post.Screen Shot 2017-12-14 at 4.28.35 AM
  5. Visit the different art districts in Seattle. There are colorful murals to see and take photos of! e0fea7dabc6ac4fa435f6236e892cd75

Recommendations:

  • Bring an umbrella and hat! Check out this article from a Seattle local on what to pack for your trip! (link)
  • Rent a car as it will be easier for you to travel.
  • Stay in the city center as you will be around more places and can walk back to your place without a problem.

Seattle is a fun place to visit with either friends or a loved one as there are so many things to do! Seattle has been ranked as one of the best cities in the United States in 2017. link

Check out Seattle and let us know if you agree with this rating! It’s definitely one of our favorite cities in the country despite the rain! Let us know in the comments below if you’ve visited or plan on visiting anytime soon!

How To: Travel in Switzerland

What’s the oldest neutral country in history since 1815?

If you guessed SWITZERLAND, you were right!

Switzerland is rich in culture AND chocolate + cheese! 

One important fact to know – there are three national languages spoken in Switzerland. It is German, Italian, and French. I stayed in Zurich which is closer to the German border, so everyone spoke German.

Many of the people I encountered spoke different languages including Spanish and English which definitely helped me when I wasn’t with my friends family members.

I never like to visit a country without knowing at least a few important words/phrases from their spoken language. I looked up what the best apps were to learn a language and stumbled across this article on Duolingo. (link)  It’s like having a language professor, except it’s free and at your leisure.

Switzerland is ranked the most expensive country to travel to.

At the time when I went, the Franc was worth more than the Dollar. Because I knew this beforehand, I did my research and planned ahead thanks to Nomadic Matt’s blog about traveling to Switzerland on a budget. (link)

Fortunately enough for me, my friend’s family lives in Zurich, Switzerland so I didn’t have to book a place to stay but I still did make an itinerary.

On the list:

  1. Lake Zurich or Zürichsee
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    Lake Zurich Tour Boat
    • Lake Zurich is one of the most popular lakes in Switzerland. It is one of the cleanest lakes I’ve ever seen which may also be due to the fact that I live in New York and have only seen lakes in the Tri-State area *shrugs.* One of the most interesting things I learned while on the tour around the lake is that the water is purified and is safe to drink. All throughout the lakes they have little shores where people go for swims and actually have mini water slides and diving boards.
  2. Lucerne or Luzern
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    Panoramic View of Lucerne
    • Lucerne is popular for its medieval architecture and its art on buildings. It’s called the most atmospheric city in Switzerland. It has an old town center full of cobble stone pavements and small shops run by locals. One of the best parts about Lucerne was the chocolate shops everywhere. They have your typical Lindt chocolate that you can buy in the U.S. but they’ve also got one of my favorite chocolates to this day: Branches. People in Switzerland eat bread and chocolate for breakfast or any time of the day really, so it’s safe to say I fit in just well.
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  3. Lake Lucerne + The Swiss Alps
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    Photo at the top of the Swiss Alps with cattle in the far back
    • From Lucerne, you can take a boat to get a tour of the lake and visit the Swiss Alps. To get to the top of the Alps you take an open cable car with a guide. The ride is about 30 minutes up. The scenery is like no other and not even photos can do it justice. They’ve got small houses and hotels all over the Alps where locals and tourists stay.
    • Next time I visit I plan to stay in The Cambrian Hotel. The Alps are beautiful to visit in both summer and winter.

       

      Recommendations:

    • If possible, book your flight months in advance. The flights to Switzerland redeye and direct can be pricey.
    • Do your research. Know where you want to go beforehand.
      • Here is a link to what you should know before traveling to Switzerland. It will give you an idea of what to expect before making the commitment.
    • As always, exchange your money before you arrive in the country. Not all places will accept American debit/credit cards, so it’s best to have cash just in case!

Have you ever thought of traveling to Switzerland? If so, which part of the country interests you? Let us know in the comments and we’ll help you build an itinerary before you plan your trip!

How to: Traveling in Amsterdam

Amsterdam is the capital of the Netherlands. You’ve probably seen it in movies. It’s completely surrounded by little natural and man-made canals. It’s home to the Van Gogh Museum and Anne Frank House along with many more tourist attractions.

Before planning my trip I did a ton of research and looked up vloggers and bloggers who had been to Amsterdam. I found the perfect one – a Dutch vlogger named Matt, aka Reformatt Show and watched his video on “15 Hidden Secrets & Best Places in Amsterdam.” I always like to get actual information and advice from people who live in the country or city I want to visit or have visited. These people will typically give you the pros and cons – not just the beautiful things tourist sites show you.

What makes it one of my favorite cities ever? Well firstly, if you’re a New Yorker like me, you enjoy walking and riding your bike on the streets. You can walk just about anywhere in Amsterdam depending on where you stay. EVERYONE rides bikes. It’s more common than owning a car.

First things first – make sure to exchange money beforehand. Most places in Amsterdam don’t take credit/debit cards. They’re big on “Cash ONLY.” If you exchange money in the U.S. beforehand, you will get a better exchange rate. Take enough so that you can avoid transactional ATM fees and a lower exchange rate. Amsterdam uses Euros! Necessary item: Universal Adapter! 

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What should you do? 

Make sure to take a photo with the AMSTERDAM sign! 

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Take a canal ride because honestly it’s the best time and the tour guides explain everything about the history of the capital! 

 

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Admire the crooked houses along the canals! Fun Fact: The ground in Amsterdam is swampy and houses were built with wooden poles. The aging  wood causes the houses to sink into the soil unevenly!

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P.S. if you book your flight in advance, you can probably find a great deal! I booked my roundtrip flight for $400 – does it get any better than that? I think not! 

 

How To: Brunchin’ in NYC

We’re constantly running around our City, but do we actually take the time to try out new places/things we haven’t before? Not always!

I was on a hunt to try three new places this month for Brunch that I’ve never been to before! As always, I was on Instagram and came across the Infatuation NYC page! Please be aware you WILL get hungry looking at their feed and website! Infatuation is an online recommendation service, also an app, with restaurant guides to the latest and greatest in your city! They’ve got restaurant guides in 9 different cities including London!

Here’s the verdict:

Yuca Bar – located in ABC city. 4, 5, 6, L or F lines are easily accessible. 

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Yuca Benedictos: shrimp & yuca hash browns topped w/guacamole poached eggs & cilantro Hollandaise sauce

Brunchin’ on a budget? Yuca Bar is just the place for you! For only $12, you get to choose from a delicious menu. Yuca Bar is an affordable Latin Cuisine restaurant. If you get to go in the summer, they do offer outdoor seating and our favorite part: bottomless mimosas! This place does get busy, so make reservations and make sure your entire party is on time!

 

Cascabel Taqueria – located in Harlem. 1 train accessible.

 

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Chilaquiles a sunny side-up egg, fried tortillas, salsa del arbol, shredded amish chicken, papalo and cotija cheese

While most NYC brunches do offer bottomless mimosas for free with the meal, this place doesn’t – but they do offer unlimited margaritas! I’m not complaining at all – margaritas are just as good as mimosas! Cascabel Taqueria is a trendy Mexican restaurant on the Upper East Side.

StreetBird – located in Harlem. Accessible by B or C train.

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Bacon, Egg and Cheese and Cheese Sandwich with a special waffle

StreetBird isn’t your typical eggs Benedict and french toast brunch spot! The restaurant is known mostly for its rotisserie and its affordable prices. They don’t have unlimited mimosas during brunch, BUT they do have happy hour during the week from 3-7PM!

Try these different spots and let me know what you tried and what you think!

How To: Traveling to Multiple Countries in Europe

First things first – us girls always overpack. We want to take a pair of shoes to match every single outfit. We need a different top to go with each different pair of pants. We need a purse for every day, BUT this tactic doesn’t work when traveling overseas going to more than one place.

My first time traveling to more than one country at a time was this past September. I planned my trip to Amsterdam, flew into Germany, flew back into Amsterdam, and then came back home. 9 days of vacation and the worst part was not all of my airline carriers allowed you to check in your luggage.

I already knew I had an issue, because I am queen of overpacking. The worst part is I overpack and end up never wearing all of the clothes. Isn’t that how the saying goes? “A closet full of clothes, but can’t find a damn thing to wear” That’s the story of my life.

Because I knew I was already a terrible overpacker, I went on YouTube and looked up some videos for tips! I found a savvy, creative account that gives you tips on just about anything, but most importantly travel! Anne Le, known as Anneorshine, made an entire video on “Travel Tips on How To Pack Light.”  Check out her site for more videos and watch this one before going on your next trip!

 Step 1:

Invest in a good carry-on luggage. Most carriers have a height x width restriction. Make sure to do your research!

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Away: The Carry-On Size 21.7” x 13.7” x 9” Weight 7 lbs. Available on away.com for $225

 

 

Step 2: 

I know we can all get annoyed when we organized our clothes perfectly and when we open up our luggage, it’s completely out of place. Do yourself a favor and buy travel cubes! They will be your organizational best friend when traveling!

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Available on Amazon.com by JJ Power for $17.99

Step 3:

The last thing you need to properly pack for a multi-country trip is a set of storage bags. I got a pack of 8 and the best part about them is they don’t add any additional weight to your luggage like most storage bags do. Most of us struggle to clothes our luggage, but these will help you solve the problem!

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8 Storage Bags available on Amazon.com for $16.84 by The Chestnut.

 

Try these tips the next time you travel to multiple countries or domestically too! You’ll thank yourself and save yourself the headache of packing!

 

How To: Traveling Internationally on a Budget

Being a working full-time student and traveling really seems like two things that don’t mix, am I right? I thought so, too – at first.

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Lucerne, Switzerland (2016)

The first step to being able to travel is to budget your money. College students are always on a budget. We’ve always gotta buy books, Metrocards, more books, spend money on food, you know the rest. If you start to save a percentage of your check in advance, you’ll slowly but surely have enough for your travels!

The second step is plan smartly and in advance. If you know where you want to go on your trip, set up Google Alerts! Google Alerts will give you all available options with the dates you want to travel. And the best part is Google Alerts will literally tell you when they expect flight prices to drop.

Another way to save money is to travel with a group of two or three friends/people you trust! If you do this, you’ll be able to save on the cost of your AirBnB! AirBnB is an online marketplace that allows you to rent rooms/homes for reasonable prices!

A personal experience that has truly helped me is making a list of places I’d like to visit including tourist attractions and restaurants. If you look up these things beforehand, you’ll know just how much you actually have to take with you to spend as you’d like!

One of my favorite bloggers to get travel advice from is NomadicMatt. My first solo trip to Europe with some friends was to Switzerland and he wrote an entire blog on “7 Ways to Travel Switzerland” on a budget.  Check out his site to get some more great tips on traveling on a budget – it’s the perfect resource for students!
The last and BEST step is actually booking your trip after you’ve figured it all out!

Good luck!