Thursday, May 28, 2015

A Trip EVERYONE Should Take

Garrett and I were sitting down to dinner the other night and the first thing I thought was, "It's so quiet! I miss Julia and Thomas!" Our trip to Alaska was hands down the best trip I've ever taken. The closest trip as far as amazingness goes in my memory is when my eighth grade class went to Italy. But we were kids.

This trip to Alaska is the kind of adventure I think every person in their twenties should experience.

It doesn't have to be Alaska (although, I'm a huge fan now to say the least), but a road trip. With a small, close group of friends. Go with a flexible itinerary– one that will keep you on track but also gives you the freedom to relax and explore at will. And, above everything else, have fun.





The whole time we were traveling, I just kept thinking, "This can't be real life." Not only were we in this insanely beautiful setting and venturing through unknown (and sometimes muddy) land, but we were having the times of our lives simply by being together. And you know it's a good sign when you get back and immediately start scheming/saving/planning for the next trip.

My tips for planning the best friend trip:

1. Get excited | I was actually a little nervous about the trip. Mostly because I didn't know what to expect and we were traveling with friends we hadn't yet traveled with before. But having a group text for the weeks leading up with a few Google docs (itinerary, maps, packing lists) allowed all of us to get really excited. Half the fun is the countdown and build up for the trip. 

2. Pick some place no one has been before | The four of us decided we wanted to travel together back in February. Julia had visited a friend in Anchorage ten years ago, but hadn't seen a lot of Alaska and the rest of us had never been at all. I do think trips are fun when someone can play tour guide and take you to amazing places, but there's something really fun about discovering a place for the first time at the same time. The excitement we each had when we'd pull off the road and see a stunning mountain was really fun to enjoy together. 

3. Be on the same page and set expectations | I cannot emphasize this enough... everyone needs to be on the same page. Traveling with friends is different than hanging out with friends. It's 24/7 friendship! I've traveled with friends before where it just doesn't "work." We get along perfect for a few hours at a time, but long term? No. 

The four of us spent almost every second together, including hours on end in the car, and never got sick of one another. We knew going into the trip that we wanted to pull over as often as possible to take in new sights and take photos. We all knew what kinds of activities we did and didn't want to do. 

4. Eat often | This is a huge huge tip. EAT OFTEN. Be the person who recommends a stop for a snack. Keep sweet and/or savory bars in your purse. Insist on breakfast and a morning coffee. I'm not going to point fingers, but some people (ahem, the guys) would get cranky if we went too long without food. I think 99% of road trip problems can be solved with a little snack or two. We actually stopped at the Target in Anchorage right after we landed at the airport to stock up on snacks for the car. If something's not going well or moods seem off, suggest you stop somewhere for a little meal.

5. Smile | Traveling with friends is different than traveling with family. With your family, it's easier (and possibly even expected) for you to be a little short. With friends, it's almost always worth it to smile, let something go, and remind yourself to enjoy your time together. There will very likely be something that bugs you, rubs you the wrong way, or maybe even frustrates you. Be a good friend and compromise, forgive, and smile. Maybe you don't make it all the way to the top of a mountain (sorry guys! that wind was freaking me out!!!) or perhaps you end up hiking up a slippery, rocky hill wearing Converse sneakers (happened)... do it all with a smile! The bottom line is that the trip should be fun and often that means you should simply smile.

Have you ever done a road trip with a group of friends? Any tips to add?

xoxo

PS Don't worry, I'll be sharing more of the Alaska trip in the next week or so, including where we went and what we did. Please bear with me as I sort through photos!
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Wednesday, May 27, 2015

NYC Delis

Some of the most distinct memories of traveling to NYC with my family as a child are our trips to the delis around the city. We'd always go to Carnegie Deli after seeing a Broadway show and there were multiple trips to Katz's for what she's having sandwiches the size of our heads. 

I love a good deli. To me it tastes like comfort food.

Last year, Garrett and I stumbled on a deli around the corner from his apartment. He was craving matzo ball soup and I went on a deep dive on Yelp reviews to find the best. Little did we know that the best in town was basically down the street. We would go once or twice a week, always getting the same thing: turkey sandwich, fries, and the matzo ball soup.


While on the red eye back from Alaska this week, we both watched a great documentary called Deli Man– The Movie. The documentary follows the few remaining deli men from around the country as they try to keep the deli traditions and recipes alive. Including, our favorite, 2nd Ave Deli!

My Grandma grew up in Brooklyn and she cooks a lot of these wonderful traditional foods that are featured in the movie. While nothing beats Grandma's cooking (we've been trying to get all her recipes written down recently!), it had me absolutely craving a good meal at a deli. So much so that Garrett and I just had to stop by 2nd Ave Deli for dinner. We've never been to the uptown location before even though it's a five minute walk from my apartment... can't tell if this is a great thing or a really dangerous thing, ha!

Delis are really quite the cultural experience. If you've never visited one before, I highly recommend finding one in your neighborhood... or better yet, visiting NYC for the real deal.





That sandwich though.


2nd Ave Deli brings chocolate egg cream shots to the table after every meal. It's a little bit of an acquired taste but such a sweet ending!


Wearing: Lilly Dress (c/o) + Tassel Necklace (c/o)

xoxo

PS I've added Deli Man– The Movie to my list of favorite documentaries!
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Tuesday, May 26, 2015

The Best Things I Packed for Alaska

We're back from Alaska and I have to say, it was a trip of a lifetime. Truly one of the best vacations I've ever gone on for so many reasons. I was pretty anxious about the trip because I didn't know what to expect but we had more fun than I ever could have imagined. And Alaska is stunning. I have more detailed posts on the way– just need to sort through all the incredible photos first! (In the meantime, you can see my recent Instas.)

I thought I'd start with something that's kind of relevant for the upcoming summer season.... what to pack for a trip like this. One of my biggest unknowns going into the trip was what to pack! Based on the emails/comments/tweets I've received it seems like a lot of people have trips coming up for Alaska or want to go and I thought I'd answer some of the questions I had before my trip when it comes to packing.

I was pretty surprised that I packed pretty well for the trip. I think I wore 95% of what I packed at least once, which rarely happens!


The best things I packed for the trip:

1. Patagonia Nano Puff | This was the biggest purchase that I was most on the fence about. I felt weird buying a puffer jacket in May and I also felt weird spending $200 on something that I might not wear for months in the future. Wrong and wrong. This was hands down the best thing I brought for the trip. It's super lightweight and still super warm. (But also not too warm, magically!) We were traveling between places and some cities were chillier than others and even day by day temperatures changed dramatically. I wore the nano puff at some point every day (if not all day), even if it was 70 degrees.

I'm so glad I bought this and I'll know I'll pull it out for some chillier on-the-water vacations this summer and definitely the falls/winters to come. I actually want to get a few more colors I love it so much.


2. Hunter Rainboots | I almost didn't bring these and I'm SO glad I did. They were my go-to choice of shoes, and Julia's too. I wish I had brought two pairs. I feel like every trip I go on, I rave about how much I love the travel packable Hunter boots. They are just too perfect for traveling and that is especially true for Alaska. We even got complimented by our fishing guide on being just like the girls in Alaska because they wear their boots with everything, even dresses. 

We drove a lot and would pull off on the side of the road to take in the views. We never knew what the ground would be like and the boots were great for water, mud, dirt, and even climbing some hills. It was so nice to not worry about getting shoes dirty or wet, we were just good to go. 


3. Hiking Backpack | I hated this backpack when I got it. Garrett encouraged me to get it and I was just not a fan. (I wanted to get a "cute" backpack.) Wow, this backpack ended up being my best friend basically throughout the trip. I never took it off. It fit everything and was incredibly comfortable throughout the entire trip. If you need a daypack for hiking this summer, this is your bag. I got the blue/grey but it also comes in a pretty magenta. 


4. Striped shirts | Striped shirts are simply the best for travel, I've determined, no matter where you're going. They're great for layering and can add a little extra pop to an otherwise simple outfit. LL Bean, Saint James, J. Crew, and J. Crew Factory have some of my favorite options. And I firmly believe you can never have too many striped shirts.


5. Field Jacket (c/o) | If I wasn't wearing my puff jacket, I was wearing this field jacket. Julia and I showed up at the airport wearing nearly identical outfits– including the jacket. It was great for layering over some of my warmer sweaters if it was chilly or just a t-shirt if it was warmer. I wore it mostly with my jeans, but I actually think it'd be cute to dress down a pretty white dress this summer.


6. Denim shorts | I mostly wore jeans and expected the trip to be generally chilly, but we had some genuinely warm afternoons! I wish I had brought more shorts, and these denim shorts turned into my go-to. 

7. Mosquito spray | Self explanatory. The mosquitos are no joke. We were pretty lucky that we were just arriving at the beginning of the season and they weren't too bad. The ones that we did see were massive. Basically flying horses. I only got bit one time and without the spray and I'm sure we would have been eaten alive.


8. French braids | This is not so much what I packed, but what I didn't. I left my blowdryer, straightener, and curling iron behind. I was constantly braiding my hair, but it was the best option while traveling in Alaska. No need for pretty hair and I had a lot of hat days because of the cold. French braids, fishtail braids, side braids, pigtail braids. I had them all throughout the trip.


xoxo
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Monday, May 25, 2015

Easy Homemade Bruschetta

Louisa is sharing what might be my favorite recipe to date. Delicious bruschetta reminds me of my childhood summers spent swimming in the pool. My mom would always whip this up as our mid-afternoon snack. There's just something so satisfying about fresh tomatoes in the heat of summer

Easy Homemade Bruschetta
Guest Post by Louisa

A couple of summers ago, my girlfriends and I would make bruschetta almost daily. It’s one of those ridiculously easy dishes that is really fresh and packed with flavour. Basically, it’s perfect for summer. I think this dish highlights what my food philosophy is all about: simple, fresh and flavourful. Sometimes it’s the simplest and easiest dishes that make the biggest impact and bruschetta is definitely one of them. 

You can just kind of wing it with bruschetta, but if you’ve never made it before this recipe will get you started. Next time you make it, you can adjust it to your own taste. It’s also a really big crowd-pleasing dish for a summer potluck or barbecue that will get eaten up right away. 

In Canada, we just had our May long weekend, which is the unofficial kick-off to summer so I thought it was the perfect time to share this favourite recipe of mine with all of you. It’s great if you’re having a few friends over by the pool or the lake, but sometimes I’ll make bruschetta and have it for dinner with a bean salad on the side. This would also be an amazing surprise to whip up for your parents one afternoon on a sunny day - trust me, they will love it! 

I love this recipe so much that I even made a video last summer to go along with it.  




Ingredients: 

1 fresh baguette, slided
5 tbsp olive oil, divided
3 cloves garlic minced, divided
1 pint cherry tomatoes, quartered
7-8 basil leaves, chiffonace
salt and pepper to taste

Directions: 

1. Preheat broiler.
2. Whisk together 3 tbsp olive oil and 1 clove of garlic.
3. Brush olive oil and garlic mixture over bread.
4. Toast bread under the broiler for 2-4 minutes (watch closely so it doesn’t burn)
5. Toss cherry tomatoes with remaining garlic, basil leaves and remaining olive oil.
6. Spoon tomato mixture over toasted bread. 

For more healthy recipe inspiration, follow along on Twitter and Instagram

xoxo
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Sunday, May 24, 2015

Summer Essentials

With Memorial Day almost here, it's the unofficial start of summer. That means weekend jaunts, dinners al fresco, and a cute wardrobe. I'm ready to tuck away all my heavy sweaters and pull out all my swimsuits.

Some little pieces of clothing that are inspiring my summer wardrobe:


xoxo
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