CinCity

A few weeks ago I woke up feeling completely defeated. Nothing was going my way and everything just seemed exhausting. I wanted to crawl into my bed and be magically transported to anywhere other than here. So I made a call and ran away from every problem.

I always hate that the majority of my friends don’t live anywhere near me, but in moments like this, it works to my advantage. One my amazing travel partners picked up and moved to Cincinnati, Ohio not too long ago and I decided that a long weekend surrounded by fun and love was precisely what I needed. All that was left was Erin saying YES.

I booked my flight Tuesday morning at about 1am (I truly believe that Tuesdays are the best days to book flights) and left Friday night for a 3 day weekend in CinCity. I won’t lie, I had no idea what to expect from this trip. All I knew was that I needed to forget and focus on something new and exciting.

After waiting for hours on delay at the airport, arriving in Ohio Friday night was the best thing. We spent the whole night catching up, drinking wine and reminiscing. It was just what the doctor ordered.

Saturday morning we woke to a beautiful sunny day and began our walk to the Ohio River. The entire area was immaculate. It was clean, the people were friendly, and did I mention it was beautiful?

We headed to Jefferson Social for lunch, sangria and tacos, what could go wrong? Unfortunately, a few things. The sangria had some peach schnapps which gave it an odd taste, and the tacos were a bit too spicy for me, even after I asked about the spice level. That being said, everything was cooked well and the guacamole was pretty good.

After that we started the long walk to Rhinegeist. Rhinegeist literally translate to “Ghost of the Rhine” and is located in the OTR or Over-The-Rhine area of Cincy. On the way we passed the beautiful Findlay Market. Filled with cute shops, fresh eats and tons of locals, Findlay Market is the perfect place to pick up a few things or just meander about for a while.

When we finally reached the brewery I was thrilled to discover it was located in an old bottling plant that while having been updated, had still kept many of the original features. I tried a few beers and ciders, and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. When I was first told about Rhinegeist I was a bit hesitant that it wouldn’t be good or I wouldn’t find anything, but I was incredibly wrong. Everyone was friendly and allowed lots of tastings which always helps. Plus, there was a rooftop area which was magnificent. The views were lovely, the weather was great, the bartenders rocked, and the beer was delicious. I would head back there a million times over.

That night we decided to enjoy a low-key dinner at a local Pub, Nicholson’s. It’s listed as a Scottish-American gastropub. I had a quintessential across the pond meal of fish and chips which was just ok. The fish was overcooked, but the fries were pretty damn good and the beer was cold.

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Nicholson’s was really just to fill our bellies for our good time at Tin Roof. Walking into Tin Roof felt like going back to the days of frat boys, sorority girls and adults way to old for the entire environment. That being said, there was a live band who were great, beers the size of my head, and super friendly (sometimes overly friendly) people. The whole place was just a great time.

The following day it decided to rain from morning until night, so we kept it pretty relaxed. On a side note, we wanted to do brunch, on the east coast, brunch runs from morning until nearly 4pm. In Ohio, brunch apparently stops at 1pm. So we were not prepared after our extremely relaxing wake up to head straight to brunch, so we missed it. But we definitely made up for it on Monday morning. Hang over easy was the perfect end to my CinCity trip. Great food, great drinks, great service. It’s located near the college so it’s a bit of a drive to get to (or really long walk) but worth it in the end. I wish I had photos of its beauty, but I was starving so you’ll just have to take my word for it.

Now that I have returned to life on the east coast, I sometimes miss the relaxed pace of my CinCity trip. More than that I miss though, I miss my friend and the great hospitality. No, Cincinnati is not a European adventure, and no, you won’t be surrounded by ancient old stuff, as I like to call artifacts, but it is worth it. Cincinnati is relaxing and quite beautiful. There’s definitely enough to do for a long weekend. In fact, there’s a few hikes I want to check out with my friend so I see a revisit in my future. In the meantime, I will start plotting my next adventure and maybe you’ll start plotting one for Ohio. Did you ever think you’d read that sentence?

How Not to Act on a Plane

I have taken a flight or two in my life and by that I mean, a lot. There are a few things that send me into overdrive while trapped in a flying tin can and they are mostly based around my fellow passengers. Now, I’m not perfect, but I’m pretty damn close so here’s my list of things that one should never do on a plane:

  1. Be Ignorant to the Flight Attendants. So this seems self explanatory but I’m going to go into it anyway. Recently on a flight, with 12 rows, 1 bathroom and 1 flight attendant, I listened to a girl yell at her during the safety speech. Every other sentence I heard this early 20 year old yell back “WHAT? I CAN’T HEAR YOU.” If you’ve flown before you could probably recite the whole thing, but that’s not the point. It’s just rude. STOP IT. I turned around and threw shade that could have covered Texas. Thankfully the girl stopped, but not for long. You’re an adult. Act like it.
  2. Make Ebola/crashing/bomb jokes. These jokes are not funny. Therefore they are not jokes. Jokes, are funny.
  3. Being overly loud. I get it you want to talk to whoever it is that you’re with, and yes the engine itself is rather loud, but I don’t need to hear every word of every story for the duration of the flight. Oh, and if my headphones are in and I can still hear you, you are clearly too loud.
  4. Encroaching past the arm rest. Yes, we are sitting close, but keep your elbow on the armrest, not in my seat.
  5. Sprawling into the aisle. People are trying to walk. Move your bag/foot/jacket/ whatever into YOUR seat. The aisle is not part of your seat.
  6. Putting all of your bags in the overhead. I had this conversation with another passenger just recently when we were told we needed to check our wheelie carry-ons at the gate. We were both incredibly confused. Turns out that each passenger apparently decided to put their wheelie, diaper, purse, EVERY bag into the overhead. You get one carry on and a personal item. If your personal item is a diaper bag, squeeze your book or tablet in it and stick it under your feet. I carry a giant purse that’s bigger than me as a purse when I travel and guess where it goes? Under my feet. I’ve brought a knitting bag on trips, my tablet went into that bag. There’s only so much space, share the wealth.
  7. Getting drunk and belligerent. You are not cute. You think you’re having fun, but really you’re being obnoxious and this also goes back to number 1 and number 3.
  8. Being rude to your fellow passengers. I didn’t do anything to you. I’m sorry you’re having a crummy day/ flight/ life but I didn’t cause it, so please don’t take it out on me.
  9. Forgetting your headphones and thinking it’s at all ok to play whatever you want out of the speakers on your tablet/laptop. It’s not. That’s it.
  10. Not tending to your asshole kid. I get it kids cry, but that’s not what I’m talking about here. I’m talking about the kickers, the runners, the yellers. Those kids are being assholes and as their parents it is your responsibility to reign them in. Not mine, not the flight attendants, yours.
  11. Kicking the chair in front of you. Especially if you’re an adult. YOU KNOW BETTER.
  12. Wearing overwhelming scents. We are about to be in a confined area with recycled air for the duration of this flight. Please wear deodorant, or even better take a shower, but your grandma perfume and aftershave bath can stay at home.
  13. Asking me to pray with you. I don’t want to be that rude bitch who has to tell you no. And unfortunately, I will be, mostly because I don’t want the plane to be struck by lightening just in case, so please don’t put me in that awkward situation. It’s really not good for either of us.
  14. Trying to get it on in the bathroom. Why? I mean really, why? Why is this appealing? Aside from being the most uncomfortable place to have sex, it’s pretty high on the list of the most unsanitary as well. Just, EW.
  15. Pulling on the seat on front of you when you get up. I get it, you may need to stand at some point but why must you jerk my chair back in the process? Can’t you just stand up if you’re on the aisle or slide over? This surprise whiplash is the most uncomfortable thing and will do nothing but irritate the person in front of you. Not to mention, I know that you also hate it when someone does it to you.

I guess the nutshell of this whole list is that we are all traveling. While we may not be having the best experience please just try to act like a normal, moderately decent human being and everyone around you won’t want to throw you into the clouds.

Now, if you’re trying to piss everyone off then do each and every thing on this list from start to finish. I promise no one will like you. Particularly me.

Walking High

To say that there are a lot of things to do in New York City would be a massive understatement. There’s everything from shopping, to museums, history, hikes, you can basically do it all on that tiny island. But after being in there a few times you start to love certain places more than others and you may begin to repeat those favorites instead of adventuring to something new. The NY High Line is definitely one of those repeat events for me.

The New York City High Line was originally made for trains to commute above the city, now it is a place for the people. The High Line is a 1.45 mile long structure that encompasses beautiful landscaping while keep the old railway structure. It has become a beautiful juxtaposition of the hard NY skyscrapers with the gentleness of the landscape. It is definitely something to experience. There’s always something new happening or a chance to notice something that you may have overlooked.

Flora and fauna aren’t the only things you’ll discover on your walk from Gansevoort Street to 34th. The High Line is also an amazing place for cultural events, art installations, performance artists, classes, and even snacks along the way. You can find everything from coffee and ice cream, to soda and sandwiches. That’s right you can find everything in one beautiful, high in the sky location. Which means you can discover new foods while taking in those incredible views.

And about those views! They are simply incredible and on a nice day it really can’t be beat. I went on a chilly-ish November weekend, and while the High Line can certainly get congested, it wasn’t too bad. I will say that the earlier you go the better, but watch out for those runners speeding past.

Oh, and did I happen to mention all of this incredibleness is free? So take a stroll of a New York from a different perspective and see what you can discover.

 

Griffith Observatory

For those of you who don’t know, I lived in Los Angeles, CA for about 3-4 years. It was one of the most incredible journey’s of my life and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. In all of my time living there though, I didn’t really partake in many of the typical touristy activities. I mean I was a local, why would I do that? Now, all that has changed. Every time I head back to the West Coast, I make it a point to do something that I haven’t done and the Griffith observatory was pretty high on that list.

The Griffith Observatory is one of the most notable and iconic buildings in LA. It is located in Griffith Park above Los Feliz on the South side of Mount Hollywood (yes, that’s a thing) and having never been there, it definitely took some finagling through the winding park roads. Griffith is completely free and features exhibits, an incredible telescope and some of the best views of both Los Angeles and the Hollywood sign. Griffith is listed as the third planetarium in the US and houses the most used telescope in the world.

I probably spent a good 2 hours just meandering through the park trying to take it all in. On a clear day you can see straight out to the Pacific, but on any day you will have your breath taken away at the beauty that is LA. I know, I know, LA isn’t often viewed as a beautiful city, but when you’re standing 1,134 feet above sea level, there’s a certain feeling that comes over you. High above the traffic and the lights, it’s almost as though nothing else exists and in LA that’s not a feeling you get very often.

Aside from those incredible views however, there are also exhibits where you can learn something. So for the price of nothing, you get incredible sites and gain some knowledge. My favorite exhibits are on the lower level and are all space driven, but they are all unique, beautiful and a bit educational.

Los Angeles is so much more than just celebrities but sometimes it takes a bit of digging to find it all.

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Spruce Street Harbor

Every once in a while the city of Philadelphia comes up with a glorious idea. Spruce Street Harbor Park is one such idea. Located right on the Delaware River, Spruce Street Harbor has become a favorite by locals and tourists, and I am no exception.

Walking into Harbor park is a bit of a nightmare. It is always swarmed with people and in the summer that simply makes everything a bit hotter. Once you’ve learned where things are though, it becomes much easier to navigate. I have a few favorite spots, but first a bit about the Harbor.

Starting in late Spring until early Fall, the Harbor becomes inundated with food, drinks, hammocks and fountains. It basically becomes one of the best meeting spots in the city. While the park is open daily, the evening is when it really shines. The lights turn on and the cool air sweeps in making it the perfect atmosphere for a beer on the barge. But there’s so much more. This year you can get ice cream from Franklin Fountain, donuts by Federal and Tacos by Distrito. Seriously there is something for everyone.

Personally, I love heading out to the bar on the barge and relaxing there. It’s a bit more away from people but still have access to alcohol which is what really matters. The upside is that they only allow so many people on the barge, the downside is that if you leave you need to get back in the awful line. The moral of the story? Don’t leave the barge.

You can find hammocks and lawn games, ping pong and giant jenga, all for free. So if you’re in Philly it’s definitely a place to check out and kick back.

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Hudson Cruising

New York City is like a second home to me. I feel like I’m there at least 10 times a year visiting friends, shopping, seeing shows, meandering or just plain relaxing in the city. However, because I am there so often, it’s very rare that I participate in a tourist-y activity. My boyfriend on the other hand is not quite as comfortable with the city and by that I mean, he hates going and wishes I had more girlfriends to go with. Every once in a while though I twist his arm into just the right position that he caves and decides to spend the day with me in the magical land that is Manhattan.

On my most recent trip into the city I was really only going to get my hair done (yes, I get my hair done in NY, shush), but once Steve said he would join me for the day we decided to figure out something to do. I rattled off a few things we hadn’t done together, Central Park, MoMa, China Town and some things we had done, the Highline, Times Square. Eventually we decided on something completely different, a Hudson River Cruise. Once we had a made a decision I headed on to Viator to find the perfect one. We decided that we wanted something that was a few hours, had some food and drinks, and that as reasonably priced. In the end we chose a New York Harbor Happy Hour Cruise. It was a 2 hour cruise with music on board, food and drinks. There were four ticket options (1) just the cruise, (2) cruise with food, (3)cruise,  food, beer and wine, or (4) cruise, food with an open bar with prices ranging from $30-108.00. We chose to do food, beer and wine for $82/per person. Our thought was, how much can you really drink in 2 hours and make it worth the cost.

In any case, we headed to the South Street Seaport for our 6pm departure, ensuring that we would at least catch a glimpse of the incredible sunset behind the city skyline. To put it lightly, we were not disappointed. Everything was perfect. I recommend getting there on the early-ish side. We were able to get a table near the railing, but there were a lot of people standing without seats. The food was buffet style and offered a lot of options. There was certainly something for everyone. There were at least 2 bars so you never had to wait long for a cocktail.

As the sun began to set behind the skyline we looped down toward the financial district and back past the statue of liberty. I am one to always want to view a city from the water, and honestly I can’t believe it took me this long to get there. This little two hour cruise is something I would do a million times over. It was relaxing, peaceful, and reminded me just how much I adore Manhattan. There really are no words.

I mean really…those views though….

 

 

 

Water, Water Everywhere

Let me begin by saying that I have a few must have items when I go anywhere and my water bottle is fairly high on that list. I stopped using single use water bottles years ago and since then I have become rather obsessed with buying new ones and finding the perfect bottle.

However, the perfect bottle is not perfect for all things. Some are good for running around, some for making sure you drink loads of fluids, while others are perfect for tossing in a bag and taking with you. That’s what this post is all about.

So without further ado, here are my top 5 water bottles, why they are perfect to throw in a bag, and why I love them oh so very much.

  1. I’m going to begin the list with EarthLust. These bottles are metal, fancy, functional and kinda beautiful. The art that goes on these bottles makes you not want to wash them for fear you’ll rub off the gorgeous-ness. Personally, I have the 1 liter version but they also come in 13 and 20 ounce sizes. An EarthLust bottle is specifically for cold liquid, and they recommend hand washing and not using carbonated beverages. They are however in the process of creating double walled insulated bottles, so I’m looking forward to that. Downside is this one doesn’t fit in the cup holder in my car.
    However, if you’re heading out on a hike or know that you may need a bit more fluids, this is perfect. It’s pretty durable, but if you’re tossing it in a handbag it can be a little heavy.
    This is my EarthLust bottle and you can find it on the website for $21. PS They also have a sale page 🙂
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  2. Meet Bobble. I had been eyeing these bottles for quite some time and on a whim I decided why not. The main reason I bought one was because I was filling from tap water and wanted it to be filtered. Bobble has created a line of funny shaped bottles that are durable, functional, and filter out all of the ick from a faucet. That’s what makes this a great bottle for travel. No matter where you are you can get cleaner water straight from your water bottle. The sport version is squishy, while the original is a harder plastic, but both are light and easy to tote around. This is another that doesn’t fit in my car cup holder though but that doesn’t stop me. They now have infuser bottles too….may need to add that to my list. Also, they are also a seventh generation company now, so there’s that.
    I have the classic in a 20oz.
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  3. Alex. Always Live Extraordinarily. These bottles are just plain cool. So this bottle twists apart. Yes, that’s right. They cut in half and you can create different sized bottles. The Alex bottle is metal and again, hot beverages are not allowed, but that’s not a deterrent for these bottles. Thanks to their ingenious design, you can put just about anything in these bottles.  Smoothies, powdered anything, wine, drink mixer, you can use the bottom as a bowl, think cereal on the road. Plus, the bottom fits into the top which makes it great to toss into your luggage. Split the bottle in half, shove your socks in it and you haven’t lost any room.
    I have a 26oz-er and it was $32.99. On a side note, they also sell one that’s glow in the dark. I wish I had this for camping!

     

  4. Welcome to the world of the Anti-Bottle, Vapur. These bottles are probably the most unique on this list, mostly because they’re not bottles at all. A Vapur bottle is like a refillable Capri-Sun container. The best thing about this is that when full they hold a decent amount of water, mine is 18oz, but when you’re done the magic happens. These full size bottles turn into little fruit roll ups. IDEAL for travel. They take up zero room until you need them. They are light to carry around and can withstand virtually anything.
    Anyway, these ones vary in price, but most are in the $10-$15 range.

     

  5. Last but certainly not least, S’well. These may be my all time favorite bottles. For starters they are double insulated so they’ll keep it cold for 24hrs, and hot for up to 12. I have put redbull in these and still had carbonation THE NEXT DAY.
    What’s amazing about S’well is that they also work with UNICEF, American Forests, and Drink Up. Which means that you’re helping even more when you purchase one. Not only are you not using plastic and polluting but your contributing to one of these incredible foundations. Their sizes range from 9oz, 17oz, and 25oz which means they can even hold a bottle of wine. I love these for travels because I feel like the fluid is always at a temperature that I want it at, it’s fits in my car cup holder, and every water bottle holder, ie my bike. There are a few downsides though, it’s hard to get ice in them, and they can be a bit difficult to clean.
    These bottles definitely aren’t cheap though. They start at $25 and go up to $45.

Well, there they are. My top five beautiful bottles. Do you have a favorite that you always use and depend on?