Travel Photo of the Month: August 2014

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The famed Pike’s Place Farmers Market is in downtown Seattle, a stone’s throw away from the original Starbucks. Here at the market, one can buy gorgeous fresh flowers, and experience the energetic and charming fish-tossing gentlemen made famous in the Fish! book. I spent the summer of 2006 living in the Queen Anne neighborhood of the Emerald City, and I greatly enjoyed my adventures on foot in this walk-able urban area.

Pike's Place Fish Market

Des Moines: French for The Moines

For our second annual Mom/Daughter Eating/Drinking/Touring Extravaganza, my mother and I visited Iowa and Nebraska this weekend. Friends and acquaintances asked why we’d make a specific trip to visit what is known as the “flyover states,” yet I am glad we did–Des Moines is quite a cosmopolitan treasure to explore! We arrived on a Friday morning, and after some navigation of the downtown area’s easily explorable streets, we hit the gorgeous state capitol building.

Iowa was my 36th state capitol to visit, and it was well-worth the trip: a beautiful 23 karat gold dome, a collection of miniature inaugural gowns of Iowa’s first ladies, and an incredibly gorgeous law library. If I lived in Des Moines, I’d try to figure out a way to have my wedding in the library–from stunning spiral staircases to rows and rows of books, it’s no wonder that international dignitaries and politicos regularly visit.

We enjoyed bloody mary drinks and lunch at a local spot before heading back out for a visit to the Center Street Pedestrian Bridge and the Robert D. Ray Asian Gardens. Free to the public, this was a nice way to burn off lunch…another of which being some light shopping on Locust Street. My favorite store was RAYGUN, which sold wonderful Midwestern-themed graphic products, including wares with this week’s blog headline “Des Moines: French for The Moines” emblazoned across them.

We drove by the well-known Salisbury House and walked through the Pappajohn Sculpture Park–worth a stop. Our evening was spent relaxing at our hotel’s evening reception (a perk to staying at the Embassy Suites) before heading to a delish prix-fixe meal at Lucca, both ideally located on Locust Street, with a beautiful night view of the capitol. We were in town during Iowa’s Capitol City Pride Fest 2014, as well as during an evening concert on the river, so our night ended with a glorious fireworks display. With or without the pyrotechnics, we found Des Moines to be charming!

 

Homage to a Cocktail: Verbena

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In honor of an upcoming staycation in Las Vegas–and my very first time to stay at the glamorous Cosmopolitan–I thought I’d pen a homage to my favorite cocktail on the Strip: the Verbena. Off of the menu at the glitzy Chandelier Bar (which is worth a trip alone), this delectable drink has a ginger-y, margarita-esque taste. What makes it unforgettable is the buzz button, which amps up this cocktail to a tasty explosion. When one chews this edible flower with the delicious drink, the palette of flavor becomes that much more intense!

Since I am a travel blogger and not one to wax eloquently about cocktailery, I will leave it at that. One doesn’t need a reservation to feel luxurious at the Chandelier Bar–and the Cosmopolitan as a whole…it’s one of my favorites!–and spending the approximately $15 for this incredible elixir will make you feel like a million bucks. Or like you are drinking nectar from inside of a chandelier…which you are. Let’s just hope my upcoming visit is as spectacular!

Chandelier Bar

Chandelier Bar

And in case you missed my first post about this wonderful city, you can read Las Vegas Like a Local here. And if you want more to drool over, why not check out this incredible TV spot from the Cosmopolitan: Vice and Virtue…can you tell I’m obsessed?

Atlanta, Georgia…on My Mind

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This gallery contains 6 photos.

Three of my best friends and I recently spent a quick–yet lovely–weekend in Atlanta, and here are a few of the highlights. We stayed at the Renaissance in Midtown, and it was a great central location to explore a lot … Continue reading

The Great American City

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This gallery contains 18 photos.

In honor of the upcoming quintessential American holiday–the 4th of July–I decided to blog about my favorite US cities. This week’s theme is not rooftop bars, but it could be. Join me on a tour of some of my favorite urban … Continue reading

Temple, Texas, Y’all

I grew up in a very small town in the midst of the beautiful Texas Hill Country. When I was in my teens, I can recall thinking that I wanted to grow up and be a global traveler…although I wasn’t sure what path I would take to get there. In college, I studied marketing in hopes to land a job after graduation at a global company. Since those days, I’d like to think of myself as a global citizen, yet I love to visit Central Texas to remind myself that home is where the heart is.

Central Texas Sunset

Central Texas Sunset

After a fabulous family vacation this weekend, I will always have a bit of Temple, Texas in my heart. It’s little big town–smaller than more well-known Central Texas towns like Austin or Waco–and you could argue that one must be creative to find things to do. One of the definite highlights of the city of around 65,000 inhabitants is the Temple Railroad and Heritage Museum. Located in a beautifully restored former railroad depot, it has been beautifully restored. I’ve been to a private event there in the past, and it is a gorgeous building and worthy of a museum visit. My young nieces loved it.

I could write about the few local restaurants in the town–the inexpensive but truly filling Chinese buffet at Yank Sing or the famous white wings at Las Casas Mexican food–yet I don’t go there for the culinary experience (although I’ve been known to crave an ice cream treat at the local Dairy Queen). It’s still a place where one can walk the neighborhood at dusk and feel safe. It’s where a visit to the renovated H-E-B grocery store where encounters several friends. It’s an afternoon shopping excursion to Hobby Lobby or Brickwood Boutique for local treasures. I visit because it is family. I journey for the memories.

This blog post is more introspective than most of my recent entries, and I’ll end on this note. I hope each reader has a lovely place in the world to visit like Temple, Texas…a place to unplug, relax, and relish the smaller things, like fields of gigantic sunflowers or a Central Texas sunset.