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Travel

Five Travel Bloggers That Will Make You Want to GTFO & Take a Vacay

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So help me god I am promising to make 2018 a year where I travel more.  The above photo was from a shoot I was helping my friend Kara, of Right Foot Creative with for the State Department and let me tell you, it made me want to leave dodge for a bit and explore.  This past year I've been a little limited with my weekend schedule, which has left me hanging out in DC a littttttle more than I'd like. Needless to say, I'm itching with wanderlust and these are my favorite bloggers to follow and well, live vicariously through. 

1. The Blonde Abroad

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Kiersten, a California native, left her job in corporate finance to become a world traveler.  She's since traveled to more than 50 countries and her instagram feed is insane.  Ask me to trade lives with anyone on social media, and Kiersten's would be a top contender. Check out The Blonde Abroad here. 
 

2. The Wayfaress

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Ironically enough, Alexandra, The Wayfaress herself, and I went to college together.  I've loved following her many many journeys (to more than 30+ countries to be exact) all while practicing corporate law here in DC. Alexandra is new(ish) to the travel blogging world, but don't let that fool you, her social media is rich with experiences and thought-provoking captions. Alexandra is a wonderful storyteller and her blog, showcases that beautifully. 

3. Barefoot Blonde

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Another blonde? Yep. Sorry not sorry.  I've followed Amber Fillerup Clark for a good while now and chances you have too.  Known for her incredible instagram braiding technique, Amber and her adorable little family have become the picture-perfect poster children for #travelfamilygoals.  Relocating pretty regularly, Amber shares a lot of tips on her insta-stories and honestly, they are all just so fun to watch. "Goals" doesn't even really do them justice. 


4. Wild Terrains

Another DC-based blog, but more importantly, boutique travel company started by my friend, Lauren Bates is Wild Terrains. Wild Terrains has plenty of detailed tips, custom itineraries, and tons of inspiration. What I really love: the Travel Guides page. Consider my next vacay booked through Wild Terrains. 


5. Cake and Lillies

My god friend Monica, of Cake and Lilies has always nailed the Travel Guides, whether it's staying in Annapolis in 24 Hours or a getaway to Thailand.  I've loved how easy and to the point her posts are.  My current favorite: this feature on Scott's Cheap Flights. I personally struggle with where to purchase inexpensive flights, so I always run to Monica's blog for suggestions. 

Any trips planned soon? Who do you go to for your travel needs? 

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My 10 Beach Essentials - LDW Edition

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1. Sunscreen - I'm really trying to be a stickler for sunscreen, especially when it comes to my face. Lately I've been loving this roll-on sunscreen that looks like a stick of deodorant. It goes on really clean and blends into my skin without feel heavy. Something else I've learned, that your hair also needs sun protection.  A friend also suggested I try this Brush on Broad Spectrum sunscreen, which is literally a bronzer brush that has mineral powder sunscreen to keep you protected when you don't necessarily have a bottle of sunblock on you.  Very intriguing. I'm also very into this Coola Makeup Setting Spray with SPF 30 - for those of us who like to wear a little makeup to the beach (I know you're out there.)

2. Beach Blanket  - I have a serious bias toward the colorful Las Bayadas beach blankets.  They're lightweight, easy to wash, and more importantly, colorful.  I got mine from the Waiting On Martha Shop.  Here are some other colors:

3. Sunnies - I'm not typically someone who owns more than 2 pair of sunglasses at a time. When I like something, I want to wear it all the time and I want be able to wear it with whatever. This is no exception when it comes to sunglasses.  After what honestly felt like years of searching for the perfect pair, I finally found this pair of Ray Bans.  When I say these look good on everyone, I really mean it. My guy friends have worn these, and even 6 of my best friends tried them on, all with different complexions, hair color, face shape, etc. and they looked great on everyone.  I think I may have found the Traveling Pants of sunglasses. 


4. Cover Up - Cover ups are a great way to keep clothing light and easy at the beach. Lightweight linen coverups are breathable and easy to dry. What I didn't know is that there are a lot of great companies that make coverups that have sun protection built in.  Take Cabana Life for example, all of their items have built in sun protection. I own this Moroccan tile printed tunic in blue and absolutely love the look and the feel. Best part, it blocks 98% of UV rays. 

5. Swimsuit (Duh) - Do we need to discuss in detail? Prob not, so here are just a few swim suits I'm laaaaaahving. Also, here's the first one-piece I've owned in about 14 years and it's the softest, most flattering suit ever. 

6. Drinks on the Go - Finding the perfect and more importantly, portable drink for the beach is v. important.  So when Seagram's sent me their new line of Escapes drinks, I immediately saw myself bringing them to the beach with me.  

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7. Sandals - I've become a woman obsessed with Madewell's sandals. If I could have a pair in every color, I obviously would. These are also a great option (I wear them almost every day.)

8. Water Bottle - I got my first S'well water bottle a few years ago and have since been hooked.  If you haven't used one yet and have only heard the hype, believe it. 100% This bottle keeps my water cold in spite of how hot its surroundings are.  I'm sure you can only imagine how crazy I went over this collaboration that S'well did with my favorite photographer, Gray Malin

9. Light Reading - So I'm pretty bad at sitting still, especially at the beach. I've never really been able to nap or read at the beach but it's definitely something I could improve on.  A few light reads that I've enjoyed lately include: The Girls, Men Explain Things to Me, The Interestings, and I Take You

10. Beach Bag -  My friend recently started her own company and these Bodnar bags are some of my favorites for summer. As a larger bag, a highly recommend this straw tote. And my other favorite, SCOUT bags. I take this big bag everywhere, the grocery store, weekends away, and yes, the beach. 

Where are you all traveling this Labor Day Weekend? I can't believe it's already (almost) September. Eek.

My Interview about DC on Krrb

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A few weeks ago I had a great interview on Krrb, "Locals Share What Gives Washington DC Its Distinct Flavor"
Check out my responses in the article or below!
 

If you had to explain the vibe of DC in one sentence to an outsider, what would it be?
LR: A city of young, passionate, type-A’s who work hard and brunch harder.


We know certain foods are synonymous with different cities. What foods or recipes would you say best represent DC?
LR: While most would probably say a half smoke, I think great crab dip or Hank’s Oysters and a fresh orange crush by the waterfront rep DC pretty well.
 

And what local restaurants do you frequent?
LR: A little bit of everything. Thip Khao for amazing Loation food in Columbia Heights.Maketto for the best bao buns and coffee on H Street. Rose’s Luxury on Capitol Hill for the obvious reasons. (Quit complaining about the line and hire a Taskrabbit to get your food.) The Red Hen to feel like you’re getting a home-cooked meal in Bloomingdale. Fiola Mare in Georgetown for the freshest seafood tower. DC really has it all. You just can’t get stuck in the Founding Farmers and Old Ebbitt Grill tourist traps. Explore the city and try new places.


Which music style would you say best represents Washington DC?
LR: I think was makes this city so great is the cultural and regional influences. To narrow it down, I feel as though the music scene that comes into 9:30 Club sums up the mixed bag that DC caters to. Just this past year they’ve had the range of Beach House, Years & Years, Shakey Graves, to Pusha T, and DC favorite White Ford Bronco.


Are you fans of any local bands or musicians?
LR: I was actually just introduced to music by Aaron Estes of Black Hills not too long ago. I love a good synth album now and then for summer rooftop relaxing and his song, “Glass” sets the scene perfectly. I’m also a big fan of folk and bluegrass and try to make it to theKingman Island Festival in DC every year. It’s a great way to hear more local talent, even if it’s just a random group sitting in a circle jamming.


If you had to describe one design style or local designer as best representing DC, what or who would it be?
LR: Traditional and predictable. Not in the worst way but I’m always reminded of how vanilla DC’s style is when I go up to NYC and see the variety.
 

Which stores or shopping destinations would you say summarize the fashion/style of DC locals?
LR: J.Crew is the first that comes to mind. It’s a great one-stop shop for suits and office attire and also a fun sundress for the weekend. I also love Tuckernuck for both men and women’s clothing and accessories. It’s preppy, it’s professional, it’s very DC. It can be a challenging place to find inexpensive antiques and flea market finds in the city. When I want to go on a “hunt” I head straight for Loudon County, Virginia to my all-time favorite,The Old Lucketts Store. You can find everything from deer antlers to crystal decanters to a clawfoot bathtub. I highly recommend taking the trip in fall when they sell pumpkins and spiked apple cider next door.
 

And lastly, where do locals gather to hangout and enjoy the best of DC?
LR: You can usually find my girlfriends and I on 14th Street enjoying a glass (or four) of rosé or an Aperol Spritz at Pearl Dive. Sunday brunch at Le Diplomat is always a must. And I can’t get enough of the burrata and burgers at Duke’s Grocery. Extra truffle oil please.

Thanks again for the interview Krrb! 
Remember to follow me on Snapchat and Instagram for more DC ideas. 

Photo Source: Hense

Travel Guide: Charleston, SC

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This summer, Charleston easily became one of my most favorite cities, and apparently I'm not alone in this adoration.  This year it took home the number one spot in Travel + Leisure's Best Tourist City in the world and for good reason.  With lush greenery, beautifully colorful homes, and top of the line restaurants, Charleston manages to preserve its quaint charm in spite of it's popularity.  My girlfriends and I were not alone in selecting it as our getaway for a Bachelorette. It's a far cry from the quintessential trips to Vegas or Miami but still keeps up with exciting nightlife. 


Where to Stay

The Spectator Hotel. Named the #1 City Hotel in the U.S., staying at the Spectator was a no-brainer. Everything about this hotel was spectacular, from the butler service, to the complimentary bicycles and breakfast.  The staff was incredibly friendly and accommodating and the bathrooms were larger than most NYC apartments. We kicked off the weekend with delicious cocktails and bottles of Dom. If you're going to do it, do it right.   

 Souce:  @  laurendurden

Where to Eat

Husk. Ask anyone who lives or has been to Charleston this question and they will across the board tell you that Husk is one of the best in town.  It's centrally located in downtown Charleston and truly captures the essence of great Southern cuisine.  While the menu changes day to day, the jalapeño boiled peanuts are a must.  Drink up too, the cocktails are one of a kind.  

Edmund's Oast. If you're anything like my friends and I, you often plan vacations around restaurants you are dying to try.  Edmund's Oast was a place we couldn't pass up, and I am so glad we didn't. Known for their beers and cocktails, Edmund's Oast boasts and impressive list of draft and house-brewed beers. One interesting (and delicious) selection was the Edmund's Oast Peanut Butter and Jelly Beer, brewed with peanuts, grape juice, and milk sugar, for a sandwich in a glass experience.  Don't think for a minute that the food here takes second place to the drinks.  In typical fashion, we ordered nearly everything on the menu.  I give my highest recommendations to the Chicken Liver Parfait, the Sweet Corn Salad with fennel and gem lettuce, and the Cauliflower with creamy chèvre and calabrian chiles.

The Darling. If you love seafood, go to The Darling Oyster Bar. If you don't suck it up and still go. Trust me, you won't regret it.  We discovered this adorable brunch spot after seeing countless Instagrams of the monster Lobster Claw Bloody Mary.  Everything is incredibly fresh and flavorful.  Besides all the seafood, ordering the Clam Chowder French Fries is an absolute must. 

What to Do

Rent Bikes. As mentioned, if you stay at the Spectator, you have access to their adorable bicycles equipped with adorable baskets and bells. If not, seriously consider renting some for a more fun and active alternative to the horse carriage tours.  Charleston is an incredibly easy city to navigate either by walking or by bike. The drivers are incredibly conscientious of the bikers and horse carriages, making it safe to explore the city. 

When the Celine bag fits perfectly into the bike basket..

Visit the Mansions on Rainbow Row. Charleston is known for its beautiful pastel mansions on Rainbow Row. Most notably, the bright pink mansion overlooking the water.  The charm and the history of the homes are too beautiful to miss out on.

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Candle Making Class. This was quite possibly one of my favorite activities in Charleston.  Candlefish, a local candle shop, offers group candle-making classes where you can explore the 100 scents of the Candlefish Fragrance Library and select your preferred scent. After your class, you officially become a chandler and get to enjoy your two large, personalized Candlefish candles.  The classes are BYOB (woot), include two large candles to make and keep, and are only $45 a person.   

Shop My Charleston Outfits

Make sure to check out some of my blogger friend's posts on visiting Charleston for more ideas!
Cake and Lilies
Southern Anchors
Primp and Proper
A Touch of Teal
Champagne and Bluejeans
 

Sunflower Sundays

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For my readers in the DC area you still have time to see these beauties at the Mckee-Beshers Wildlife Management Area in Poolesville, Maryland.  Just up the path (about a mile past the field of dead sunflowers) there's still a field blooming sunflowers.  Aren't they amazing? Even though we went on what felt like the hottest afternoon this summer, it was well worth the sweat and sunburn. 

Special thanks to my talented friend Jonathon Weller for these amazing photos and for remembering to set a calendar reminder to see the flowers a year after we missed them last July! 

Photographer: Jonathon Weller

Design Destination: Montauk's Surf Lodge

Interiors, TravelLibby RasmussenComment

We've longed to stay at the boutique hotel, Surf Lodge in Montauk for some time now.  The crisp gallery white-washed walls with pops of aqua blues and citrus yellows give the look and feel of a refreshing oasis.  Interior designer Fiona Byrne, incorporated our all time favorite, Gray Malin's art in all 21 rooms.  Zero complaints here. Fiona also had some great pointers for how to get the look of the hotel in your home on The Coveteur

I live for an advertising antique like this lifesaver. I found it at Mantiques in Chelsea where you can find the craziest stuff. It’s given the room a gallery feel by hanging in an all-white space.
— Fiona Byrne
Refinishing your furniture can drastically change the look and feel of your space. In many bedrooms at Surf Lodge, we custom finished the beds with a whitewash that has pink tones that correspond with the Montauk sunsets. It’s super easy to do and will change the look completely. I think a vintage lamp is always a good look—I like Porter James in Greenpoint for well-curated vintage home shopping. The best place to keep up with new items is on their Instagram.
— Fiona Byrne

So who's going to the Surf Lodge this summer? Please let me know ASAP so I can hop in your suitcase. What a great place to spend the 4th!