Tag Archives: Travel Destinations

Italy: Part 1 – Milan

For someone who loves to travel and travels often, I had the biggest fear of flying overseas. There was just something about flying over water for an extended period of time that scared the shit out of me.  A couple months ago, I decided to suck it up and bought tickets to Italy with my best friend. It was an eight hour flight, non-stop, on Emirates Airlines. The seats were bigger, there was more leg room, and the food was pretty good. There was a bigger and better selection of entertainment, compared to domestic flights, to keep me busy. It was not as bad as I imagined it to be and totally got over my fear. Hello, world!

My friend and I only had four days in Italy, but we made the most of our time there. The food was incredible and the Italians were so sweet to us. Everyone spoke English, so it was easy to navigate around. There were so many well dressed men and women! I mean – it makes sense – Milan is the fashion capital.

Climbing the steps of the Duomo di Milano was probably one of the highlights of Milan. We enjoyed a couple of glasses of wine at a restaurant on the top floor of the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II overlooking the Duomo. The Galleria is one of the oldest malls in the world. And, of course we had to try real Italian pasta and gelato.

Nobu is a well known Japanese restaurant with locations all around the U.S. and the world. My friend and I thought we’d be bougie and take it up a notch by eating at the Nobu in Milan. It’s located within the Emporio Armani Store. We chose the prix fixe menu; the sea bass sashimi was my favorite.

Before leaving to Rome, we had to try authentic Milanese food. I found this small mom and pop restaurant down an alley near the Expo. My friend ordered Milanese risotto with saffron and I ordered the grilled sea bass. The risotto was such a comfort food dish. The sea bass was so light and refreshing. It was such a simple recipe – just olive oil, lemon and herbs.

 

Stay tuned for Italy: Part 2 – Rome!

Vizcaya Museum & Gardens, Miami

Yes, I am always in Miami. After all, it is my second home. I love museums and I am obsessed with flowers, so what better place to combine the two than at the Vizcaya Museum & Gardens?

In 1912, the mansion was built by a retired millionaire, James Deering. He also had a love for traveling and named his estate after Vizcaino, the Spanish merchant who explored the Americas in the early 1600s. (That was a little history lesson for ya’ll!)

Photographs are not allowed inside the mansion, but believe me it is GORGEOUS inside and throughout the whole estate. And the garden is so romantic and magical. If you’re ever thinking of proposing to your significant other, this would be the perfect setting. You’re welcome!

A weekend in the Windy City – Chicago, Illinois

Back in November, I met up with my cousin in Chicago to celebrate her 30th birthday. We had such a wonderful time – just the two of us!

First stop was the John Hancock Observatory, which is also known as 360 Chicago Observatory. If you’re ballsy enough, try TILT. You get a downward facing view 1,000 feet over the Magnificent Mile and Chicago’s skyline. It wasn’t something my cousin and I were up for, but the view from every side was beautiful. From what I heard, there’s also a view from the bathroom that we missed out on! I think we were getting tipsy at the bar and just forgot about it. But it’s alright. It’s an excuse to go back to Chicago. 🙂

We went to Skydeck at the Willis Tower. Skydeck has glass boxes that stick out 4 feet from the building for more scary but amazing views of the city from 1,353 feet up high. I won’t lie, I was terrified. We were on the 103rd floor!

We met up with my friend and walked down the Magnificent Mile. There are so many places to eat and shop there. We walked over the Chicago River, saw the famous Chicago Theater, checked out The Bean at Millennium Park, and had a cocktail at the Chicago Athletic Association. It sounds like a gym, but it’s a hotel with a restaurant/bar and a gorgeous view of Lake Michigan.

One of the highlights of our trip was going to see The Weeknd at the United Center. The concert was LIT. Literally. He had fire going on and everything.

If  you want a real dining experience you must try Alinea Restaurant. You have to book reservations on their site and they only book two months ahead. We checked the website every day before our trip and we got lucky! We got the last reservation for that night. There is a set menu and it is pricey, but it was worth every dollar spent. I would say the best part for me was dessert. The apple taffy helium balloon was so fun to eat. My cousin and I had a ball sounding like chipmunks. But that wasn’t all for dessert – a chef came out and painted our table with edible art! (I’m only posting one picture because I don’t want to ruin the experience for anyone. Every dish was beautifully plated.)

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In every city that I visit, I like to go to at least one museum. On this trip, we went to the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago.

We stopped by Downtown Dogs and I tried a Double Downtown Dog. It’s two hot dogs on a bun with mustard, relish, tomatoes, onions, pickles, hot peppers and celery salt. For someone who doesn’t really like or eat hot dogs, I did enjoy it. It was definitely different and something I’ve never had before. I mean, I had to try it. I was IN Chicago.

Getting popcorn from Garrett is a MUST. If there is a long line, just wait in it. I think we waited 20 minutes, but it was worth it. Get a few bags of the Garrett Mix to eat right away and to bring home – you won’t regret it.

Traveling during a Worldwide Travel Alert

Our thoughts and prayers are still with the friends and families of the 130 innocent people who lost their lives and the hundreds who were wounded in Paris, France. Hearing such horrific terrorist acts does discourage travelers to travel less. The fear that terrorists are trying to instill in all of us innocent people is crippling. But I believe continuing with our plans and dreams is a step closer to healing and standing against this evil. I like to believe I’m a true wanderlust, so it’ll take a lot more than terrorism to stop me from exploring the world.

The U.S. Department believes that terrorists will continue to plan attacks, so they issued a Worldwide Travel Alert for U.S. citizens. The Travel Alert is in full effect and expires next year on February 24, 2016. If you’re ballsy like me and will be traveling in the near future, here are some tips from the Department:

  • Exercise vigilance when in public places or using transportation.
  • Be aware of immediate surroundings and avoid large crowds or crowded places.
  • Exercise particular caution during the holiday season and at holiday festivals or events.
  • Monitor media and local information sources and factor updated information into personal travel plans and activities.
  • Be prepared for additional security screening and unexpected disruptions.
  • Stay in touch with your family members and ensure they know how to reach you in the event of an emergency.
  • Register in STEP (Smart Traveler Enrollment Program).

If you’re wondering what STEP is, it’s a free service for U. S. Citizens and nationals traveling abroad to enroll their trip with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.  The benefits are that you will receive important information from the Embassy about safety conditions in your destination country. Enrolling would help the Embassy contact you better in case of natural disaster, civil unrest, or family emergency. It will also help your family and friends get in contact with you in case of an emergency. Safe travels!

Source: U.S. Department of State

Travel Deal – Milan, Italy

Good news, fellow wanderlusts! Emirates has a great deal to Milan, Italy for as low as $550 USD per person. What’s the catch? You just have to book economy class for two people, which totals up to $1099 USD. This trip is a round-trip, non-stop flight from JFK airport. There is a 3 day minimum stay and 3 months maximum stay for outbound travel between November 20 through November 23, 2015, December 1 through December 03, 2015, January 07, 2015 through March 16, 2016 and April 10, 2016 through May 26, 2016. Travel must be completed on or before May 30, 2016. Some black out dates apply. Read here for more Terms and Conditions. The deal ends November 16, 2015, so hurry up. Grab your travel partner and buy those tickets!

Image: Victor Emmanuel Gallery from emoticonswallpapers.com

October is National Plan a Cruise Month: #CruiseSmile Sweepstakes

Our friends at CruiseSmile.org has put together a sweepstakes to celebrate National Plan a Cruise Month. You have a chance to win one of 31 cruises for the month of October, and all you have to do is take a photo of your #CruiseSmile and submit daily on CruiseSmile.org. If social media is your thing, post your ‘cruise smile’ on Twitter or Instagram tagging #CruiseSmile and #Sweepstakes.

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Every daily entry with a new photo will get you closer to a cruise vacation to travel destinations including a seven-night luxury voyage to Tahiti and the Society Islands in the South Pacific, an eight-day European river cruise on the Seine River from Paris, a magical family-friendly three-night Bahamian voyage at sea and even a 14-day FarEast Discovery cruise visiting exotic ports throughout Southeast Asia. We got the full list, click to see the rest.

To see the sweepstakes rules and more information go to http://www.cruisesmile.org/

Good luck! – The Perfect Travel

CruiseSmile-Sweepstakes

Source: Cruising.org