June 6, 2013

Climbing Mountains in Hats

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The ocean front mountains of La Jolla, California are so breathtaking that when surrounded by them, surreal feelings of grandeur caused me to decide to try a very difficult, hidden hike (in case you were wondering, I am in no way a hiker).  This off-the-beaten-path hike is one only known by the hardcore local surf scene who will do anything for private beaches and a good ride.  Lucky (?) for us, a friend of ours happened to be one of those surfers and lead the way down this very steep mountain, which had narrow paths surrounded by massive cliff drops, mandatory rope climbing, small pieces of wood to walk across covering long deathly falls, and very slippery rocks.

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I, thinking more of the photographs and not knowing much about hiking, decided to try out my new Michael Kors white summer cardigan over my fun Free People tie-dye shorts and this great chapeau I had just picked up in the local La Jolla Shops.

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I certainly did not account for multiple hard falls onto the dirty rocks or the strategically placed holes in my sweet cardi finding themselves stuck in every branch or twig in a ten-foot radius.  I also did not plan for my new hat being blown right off my head once we got to the top of the mountain.

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Basically, the moral of the story is do not wear what I am wearing in these photographs ever while hiking or you will find yourself losing your hat and burying your new favorite cardigan.

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RIP,

TLV

 

June 6, 2013

Oreana Wine Co.

IMG_4485While passing through Santa Barbara, I

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happened to stumble upon this little gem near the famous wharf. What drew me over to this side street was the music coming from the great band they had playing. Barrels covered in lights,

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an unassuming sitting area, friendly staff, and a fun crowd kept me there. A massive amount of wine tasting ensued.

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My standout was most definitely the pinot noir, but then again I am always partial to my smooth and fruity pinot. The chardonnay was also quite refreshing on this hot summer day.

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The band rocked out to tunes requested by the audience, which was mostly an early 30s trendy type crowd. Oreana created a light and relaxing atmosphere for people to enjoy, where informal attire is perfectly appropriate.

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When in Santa Barbara, this spot is beyond a must to check out.

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Cheers,

TLV

June 5, 2013

Feeling French?

IMG_3329Anyone that knows me

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definitely has figured out by now that I have a large place in my heart for anything french. So, of course, my favorite restaurant in all of New York and the only place in this endless city that I must visit during my travels is the lovely Tartine. Featuring homemade french cuisine and a BYOB style service, Tartine is situated in the cozy and stunning West Village. The vibe, whether going in day or night, is that you have happened upon your long lost French Grandmother’s home (who is ready to feed you piles of mussels to make up for being absent).

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Of course, how can one not go to a french restaurant without trying the french onion soup? That would be a major faux pas here because it is quite possible the best version of this soup that I have ever had, and I’ve had a lot.

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Sit back, relax, and enjoy the endless baskets of warm french bread.

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One of the most important things to remember when coming here is that the only way you will

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be enjoying a nice french pinot noir is if you bring it yourself. While there, I saw a couple on a very awkward first date sitting at the table next to me leave because there was no alcohol available to be sold. This policy is wonderful as long as you remember it (specially with the no corkage fee).

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The Gnocchi is incredible and this was actually just the half portion!! Best part: only $9. Below is the decadent crowd-pleaser, bouchee a la reine.

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Final note: Cash only, which is also my final critique. Come on, no one carries that much cash these days.

*

Bon appétit,

TLV

June 5, 2013

The Decadent Delicatessen

IMG_3194What better way to assess a restaurant than by the display and taste of their burger offerings? Clearly from the above photograph, Delicatessen in NYC lived up to my expectations. Located in my favorite New York shopping destination, Soho, Delicatessen is a vibrant and delicious rest spot featuring fabulous comfort food; I actually ended up dining here twice on my stay. Here are some standouts that I picked up on during my time here.

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The crowd features the young and particularly good looking New York scene. I also find myself partial to any restaurant that has great people-watching views of the streets of NYC. Servers and bartenders were knowledgeable and very friendly, always a bonus in this tough city.

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There is not a better hangover cure in the world than Delicatessen’s spicy Bloody Mary. Beware though, when they asked if I wanted it spicy and said yes as I do everywhere when I order this beverage, I was unable to drink it without my head literally wanting to burst into flames. They had absolutely no problem bringing me a less spicy version instead. Much better, unless you like murderously spicy drinks.

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As far as appetizers are concerned, the cheesy spinach dip was right up my alley and their mac and cheese variety was unique and very appealing to an American girl like myself.

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The pastrami was a masterpiece and a definite standout for me, complete with parmesan garlic fries as a side.

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All in all, it doesn’t get much better than enjoying an espresso after brunch as I waited for yet another fickle New York storm to pass.

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Eat well,

TLV

June 3, 2013

Summertime Sadness

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Well, it’s official: I am a college graduate. Like many recent grads, I decided to spend my first month as a serious adult traveling, gypsy style. On the surface, blowing all of your graduation money on summer fun may seem a bit irresponsible (and it is), but I must say that in a month, I learned many life lessens that it would have otherwise taken much, much longer to learn. I also may be completely wrong and should begin to write fake statistics on the issue, In Her Shoes fashion. For instance, when traveling to San Francisco, I never before knew that there was a place called the tenderloin district, which may sound like a delicious little area to be in, but where you, under no circumstances, want to stay. That is, unless you enjoy homeless people screaming outside of your window all night, the smell of crack being smoked, prostitutes earning their wages, and multiple fire alarms being set off in the middle of the night. I made this and many other mistakes on my travels, but one thing that I can say for sure is that I don’t regret and wouldn’t change a thing (I am lying, there are definitely some things that I would change and in the upcoming weeks I will tell you all about them). But let me go ahead and start from the beginning with the dreaded packing.

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Packing for this trip was excruciating, but I did learn a few things along the way.

1. You can never, I repeat never, have to many J Crew button-up cardigans. Most places in the world are clearly much cooler than Florida and in May weather can be quite unpredictable. Also, whether you are wearing a skin-tight boldly colored maxi-dress or shorts that show everything that your momma gave, a cardigan thrown on can help you blend in places that you wouldn’t want everyone to be staring at you. In conclusion, if you just graduated college like me, J Crew just seems appropriate.

2. Lululemon is a lifesaver. By the end of my

trip, all of my sweatpants other than those by the Lemon looked absolutely terrible. These indestructibles made me wish i had more than only one pair, not that I even needed more. The defy logic.

3. Shoes are a waste of space. When you are living out of a single suitcase for a month, bringing your favorite silver pumps because they make one outfit look fierce is much too frivolous. When going out in locations that I had never been before, my main goal always lead to comfort (since I knew no one anyways) and the four pairs of heels that I brought virtually went unworn the entire trip. They also weigh a ton.

4. Black skinny jeans are everything. All three of the pairs that I brought were useful in many ways. My first were my old AllSaints ones, faded and ready for a rugged-good time. The second were my nice and new AllSaints, ready for an afternoon of shopping or a fancy dinner, and the last were a cheap pair by a brand called Just USA, which were solid backups. They all were useful and needed, because I just brought tops that go with black jeans.

5. Plan to buy. Doesn’t matter if your budget is piggy-bank size, odds are you will be shopping. My shopping consisted of finding the best thrift stores in every area that I went and, wow, did I find some great items. I eventually did have to purchase a new carry-on in Chinatown that would fit in all my new pieces, which I also adore, so try to have a enough room for a few cool items unique to where you go.

6. Expect the unexpected and realize you probably will have to purchase items, even if you don’t want to. Weather changes quick and unpredictably in areas unknown.

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All in all, you will always be missing something, so just let go, have fun, and pack whatever makes you happy.

*

TLV