{Long Trip Essentials}

After successfully traveling through Europe for 5 weeks, I like to think of myself as somewhat of a pro when it comes to packing for a long trip.
It can be a bit intimidating packing for a trip that you haven’t taken yet, but hopefully with this list, your trip preparations can seem a lot less daunting!
If you have any long trip essentials to add to the list, let me know- I’m always looking for other tips and tricks!

1. Most important piece of advice (at least in my opinion) – Wear good shoes!
Now, I am one of those girls who often chooses fashion over comfort – if they are beautiful, I’m getting them! Who cares if I’m hobbling all the way home afterwards– but when traveling (read: walking for miles and miles), comfort is mandatory. While sneakers are always a must, I am not one to wear them with my dresses or skirts. I bought these walking sandals, and no joke, I wore them almost every day while I was away (You can see me wearing them here). They are so comfy and even though they are a bit different to my usual sandal choice, at least I got to wear sandals instead of sneakers with my cuter outfits. So ladies (and gentlemen), trust me– suck it up and choose comfort over fashion when traveling. Your feet will thank you!

2. Camera, and a water bottle, and a wallet, and your phone, and a map and some lip gloss… oh my! When I travel, I try to bring only the basics – but lets face it, there are a lot of them! I bought a cross body travel safe bag for Europe, and it was one of the best pre-trip purchases that I made (You can see me wearing it here).
A cross body bag is essential when traveling because it deters thieves away- it is much easier to rip off a bag from a women’s shoulder than lifting it off her body. This bag has locking zips, a roomy interior with compartments and also has pockets on the outside for a water bottle and an umbrella.

3. Buying a water bottle from a vendor everyday (or multiple times a day) can be expensive. So, how can we cut down this expense without dehydrating?
Bring your own water bottle and purchase large bottles of water from grocery stores. Grocery stores sell liters of water for very cheap- buy water from the store and split it amongst your group or leave the leftovers in the hotel room for another day.

4. The thought of paying foreign transaction fees every time I want to purchase something or getting an awful exchange rate while abroad is something that I am not willing to suffer through. I took out a Charles Schwab checking account just for traveling. You pay no foreign transaction fees wherever you are, are reimbursed for any ATM fees and your exchange rate is the VISA rate. No more fees, no more searching for a specific bank, no more carrying a frighteningly large amount of foreign cash– with the ease of spending, now the trick is to not spend too much!

5. And last but not least….drum roll please… a Microfiber Travel Towel! OK, not sold?
Going to the beach? For a picnic? Walking in the rain (Not usually planned, but it does happen)? Hiking? Sleeping in a hostel? In a hotel with small towels? Well, if you are doing any of those things, you will absolutely need a towel. The best part about the travel towel — its light, its small and it dries incredibly fast.

So there are some of my essentials for long trips. Have any that you can’t leave home without when preparing for a big trip?


{Weekend Snaps}

After a pretty hectic week, I was really looking forward to a slow weekend at home. And that’s just what I got!
Some time in the sun at Newport Green Park (and its little beach!).
A tour of the New York Red Bulls soccer stadium.
Good food at Taqueria– their cactus tacos are amazing!
And walks on the boardwalk along the Hudson River.
After such a nice weekend, I feel ready to take on what the week has in store!

{My Monopod Manifesto}

If you have gone on a solo trip, you have definitely experienced the horrible result of trying to take a photo of yourself. You know what I’m talking about… either your arm is making an appearance in the bottom of the picture, you have cut off the object you are trying to take a picture with or worse, you have cut off your own head! If you have traveled with one other person, the problem becomes, do we take pictures individually so that we get good photos even though that will make it look like we didn’t travel together, or do we suck it up and try to fit us both in the photo even though the photo will be at a weird angle? We have all had the conversation over who has longer arms in the hopes that the winner will be able to fit everything in the shot. Then there is the “solution of asking someone else to take the photo, which oftentimes results in a useless photo because your photographer has no idea how properly to frame a shot. So what’s the solution? How can we take good photos of ourselves?
Before our trip to Europe, Adam and I struggled with this. We wanted to figure out how we could both be in the photos (we were going on this trip together after all) while still ending up with good pictures that showed both of us and the sites we were seeing.
The solution? A monopod! Gone are the days where we politely grinned while thanking someone for taking an awful photo for us, or the days where we took photos that were “good enough”.
Most people have heard of tripods, but monopods are the next thing! Recently, I have heard people refer to them as “selfie sticks”, which actually makes me want to puke, but regardless of the name, the concept is genius! It allows you to use your iPhone or your digital camera to set up the photo and frame it how you’d like, put the timer on and take the perfect photo!
The monopod that I bought was inexpensive and easily transportable. It also had a tripod connection, which was great for when we wanted to take photos from further out. We bought our monopod on Amazon and even though I can’t find the exact one, I liked these other ones that I found here and here (These examples can act as a starting point in your own research to find your perfect monopod! Note: These are affiliate links).  We loved having our monopod with us throughout Europe. We never had to stop others in the streets to take photos of us, and we could both be in the photos together!
*We found it most effective to have one person hold the monopod and the other frame the shot and activate the timer. All the photos (except for the first action shot) are taken with the monopod 🙂

{Fall Fashion Must Haves// Accessories}

It’s no secret… I love fall accessories. In my mind, a new pair of black suede booties, a plaid scarf, camel trench, fishnet stockings or even a new tote bag is a welcome addition to my accessories collection.
Yes, I did say collection– you might collect postcards, plates or even cars, I collect accessories! Every season, I search the web, stores, online media and fashion magazines for the hottest trends, styles, and colors and carefully choose new additions to my closet. My trick: I try to purchase things that I will be able to wear the next season; items that will look fresh and new the next year when I pair them with a new pair of pants or a different dress.

This season I am feeling colored bags, ankle boots, and scarves.

1. The Perfect Fall Bag:
Bags are the perfect way to bring a pop of color to your wardrobe. I usually find myself wearing more muted colors during the fall months (cold weather + living in the NY/NJ area will do that to you!). Something as simple as a great colored bag can bring your outfit from subdued to chic in an instant!
Forest green is a favorite fall handbag color of mine (it’s the color that I will definitely be carrying around most days this season, and a great way to incorporate green into my fall wardrobe: a must-have color this season!). But I am seeing shades of reds and purples pop up too!

What I am lusting after….

2. Ankle Boots:
Your ankle boots will quickly become your favorite pair of fall shoes. Pair them with rolled up jeans and a great chunky sweater for a relaxed weekend look, or with tights and a pencil skirt for the perfect stylish work look. Refinery29 did an article on ankle boots last month, and ever since then I have been on the hunt for some chunky ankle boots (I already have a black pair, but I am feeling the need for a camel colored pair!)

3. Plaid Scarves
Scarves are one of my favorite accessories in general, especially during the colder months. They are functional and such a great way to bring in some color or pattern to your outfit. Plaid is going to be big this season, and if you are unsure of how to incorporate it into your wardrobe, a plaid scarf is the perfect starter piece and a sure way to give your wardrobe the proper boost it needs!

{Date Night: The High Line and Chelsea Market}

Most nights Adam and I eat dinner at home, but last night we decided to treat ourselves to a date night in the city. We started off with a walk on The High Line, a park/walkway built on an old New York railroad. The area is quiet, peaceful, architecturally interesting and a really fun place to walk or sit and relax.
When we got hungry, we headed to Chelsea Market, an indoor food hall. Adam spotted a Korean Ramen restaurant and suggested we eat there. I had never had Ramen before, but Adam really likes it so I decided to give it a try. I got a vegan ramen and Adam got the classic. Our dishes came in giant bowls filled to the top with soup, noodles, vegetables and our proteins (mine had tofu, his had meat). I would definitely not suggest getting Ramen on a first date- slurping, noodles hanging out of your mouth, fiddling with chopsticks in one hand and a spoon in the other- it is so much fun but in no way attractive!
We ended the night with a cup of gelato (not as good as Italian gelato, of course!) and headed back home. Even though every meal with Adam can be considered a date, it is still special when we make plans to do something out of the ordinary together.

{Greenwich Village// New York City}

I found myself in a gorgeous neighborhood called Greenwich Village yesterday… or “The Village” as the locals call it. The area is rich in history and it seems that nearly every street has a special historical significance ranging from important moments in the LGBT movement’s history, to bars/clubs where famous pop culture icons got their start, and even to the location of Monica’s apartment building from Friends!
But what I liked most about this area…I felt like I could have been walking down a street in Europe. The Village boasts brownstones and row houses (many of which had flowers on their stoops), tree-lined streets that are curved and narrow (a stark contrast to the typical New York City grid), and a quaint feel. At times, I thought to myself, “if there was only a canal in the middle, I could almost be in Amsterdam!” But the European feel doesn’t end with the residential streets. Washington Square Park, the main park in this area, has a beautiful arch that was modeled after the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. As someone who absolutely loves Europe (especially Amsterdam and Paris), I loved that The Village had a slight European feel to it!
…And if you are thinking that you have found where you are moving to tomorrow, hold on to that dream a bit longer because unfortunately the area is very expensive! Trust me, I checked.
Also, The Village is notorious for its incredible food. These are a few that are on my list to try:
Bleecker Street Pizza. They are known for their… well duh… pizza, but they aren’t just any pizza place- Food Network has named this restaurant the best pizza in the City for a number of years.
Faicco’s on Bleeker Street. Apparently they have really good rice balls.
Bantam Bagels on Bleeker Street. They make donut hole size bagels!

{A Walk in Central Park}

Every once in a while, it is nice to break from the hecticness of life and have a day to yourself. That is exactly what I did yesterday; and I did it in Central Park!
I love to walk (I think I get it from my Grandpa), so you can imagine how much fun I had strolling around the park enjoying the happenings of the day.
Central Park is unlike any park I have ever been to. Not only did I get to see beautiful greenery, picturesque lakes, and squirrels foraging for food, but I also got to see a saxophone player, a man making giant bubbles, and a break dancing performance all in the span of about a mile!
They say that the leaves will begin to change color very soon and within 2 weeks, the whole park will be deep shades of red and orange. You can definitely believe that I will be returning to the park in the end of October, and I can’t wait!