Seeing Savannah

There’s a short list of places my friend Megan and I have been dreaming of traveling to together since we were in junior high, and Savannah is at the top. So once she moved down to Georgia not too long ago, I knew it was only a matter of time before this trip would finally come to fruition.

Despite our schedules both being incredibly chaotic lately, we purposely opted for this trip over a vacation, which is just another reason why I think she and I have been able to keep our friendship going this long. Neither one of us can sit still for longer than a couple of minutes without feeling lazy or like we’re wasting time. It’s all about learning, doing, and living, which is exactly what we’re doing here in Savannah.

This morning, we went on the Culinary and Cultural Walking Tour to get exactly what we came for: a little low-country food and a lot of history. Savannah is, after all, the largest National Historic Landmark District in the country. It’s seen a colorful past of pirates, cotton, slaves and civil war, and it’s historical preservation is beyond anything I have experienced in my 25 years of life. More pictures to come!

screen-shot-2016-09-17-at-3-58-35-pm
Unintentionally blending in
screen-shot-2016-09-17-at-3-59-04-pm
I love the coloring
screen-shot-2016-09-17-at-3-59-14-pm
Cathedral of St. John the Baptist
screen-shot-2016-09-17-at-3-59-33-pm
Inside the Cathedral
screen-shot-2016-09-17-at-3-59-58-pm
You can find these (amazing) bars at Wicked Cakes of Savannah

 

screen-shot-2016-09-17-at-4-00-11-pm
Aesthetic goals ^
screen-shot-2016-09-18-at-7-56-32-am
The kolache I had here was delicious – as was the long pour espresso
screen-shot-2016-09-17-at-4-00-25-pm
We walked past this French cafe that looks just like a picture straight out of my dream world.
screen-shot-2016-09-17-at-4-35-08-pm
The Bohemian Hotel – voted one of the best hotels in Savannah by Conde Nast
screen-shot-2016-09-17-at-4-00-37-pm
Savory shrimp & grits served in Tondee’s Tavern – the site where, for the first time in Georgia, the Sons of Liberty read aloud the Declaration of Independence.
screen-shot-2016-09-17-at-4-00-47-pm
A replica of the General Oglethorpe Statue, as the first was taken down by a freak car accident very recently
screen-shot-2016-09-17-at-4-01-08-pm
We couldn’t leave Savannah without tasting some sweet Georgia honey. Highly recommend this tasting at Savannah Bee Company
screen-shot-2016-09-17-at-10-00-49-pm
I found this place on Trip Advisor and was pleasantly surprised to find it was more of a local spot than a touristy one.
screen-shot-2016-09-17-at-10-00-38-pm
Panzanella, mac & cheese and sauvignon blanc
screen-shot-2016-09-17-at-10-00-17-pm
Fountain at Forsyth Park
screen-shot-2016-09-17-at-10-00-03-pm
I somehow fought the temptation to purchase anything here

Fun fact: Savannah holds the second largest St. Patrick’s Day Parade in the U.S., and third largest in the world.

Navigating Atlanta

I couldn’t tell you how to get to…many places in my hometown without resorting to naming mental landmarks. Growing up, parents bring you from A to B and it’s not necessarily up to you to tell them how to do it. It’s not until you start driving yourself that you figure it all out – and by the time I got my license, I was already gearing up to move away for school.

Moving to Syracuse was a small but important step in learning to be my own guide. Then came Florence, then Charlotte, and finally New York City. It’s safe to say that there’s not one city transit system out there now that I’d be afraid to at least attempt to navigate.

screen-shot-2016-09-16-at-1-12-15-pm

This weekend, I flew to Atlanta to visit my friend Megan, who recently moved to Georgia for work. I’d only ever been to Atlanta once before, and all I really got to see was the airport. *Collective sigh*

Since Megan couldn’t get the day off, and my flight arrived incredibly early, I had a few hours to kill. And while I could have spent that time in the airport (again) to play it safe, I really wanted to make the most of the time I had. Plus, the airport only serves chain-restaurant fried chicken, which I could get on 86th street somewhere, I’m sure. So, I decided to do some exploring and navigated myself (via the MARTA and a bus) to Ponce City Market.

The place itself reminded me of a much less condensed and better designed version of Chelsea Market. Meaning: I was able to actually walk around without feeling like I was pissing off at least twelve people just for existing. Not to mention, the (amazing) fried chicken! So if you’re ever in the area, this place is definitely worth a visit.

screen-shot-2016-09-16-at-3-12-53-pm
Hop’s Chicken – Because if you didn’t get fried chicken while in the South, did you even go down South?

P.S. I highly recommend a chai tea from Spiller Park Coffee (pictured below). Also pictured below is a brass hashtag from West Elm that I have had my eye on for the past 6 months. I couldn’t find it ANYwhere in New York City, or on the store’s website. Today I found it in the Ponce City Market location… on sale. Who said Mercury was in retrograde? 

screen-shot-2016-09-16-at-1-40-58-pm

More on this trip to come. Next stop, Savannah!

Five Tips: For Your First Cruise

capture

This past May marked the first vacation I’ve taken on my own dime. Having been on cruises before, I had an idea of what to expect, but never before had to sort through all of the billing, paperwork and adult-like things that come along with planning them. Fortunately, Norwegian made it easy as pie and I didn’t have to turn on my Type-A personality (too much) to have a good time. And so after what I can only describe as the most relaxing vacation of my life, I’ve a few tips to share for first-timers.

Pack a few sealable sandwich bags: You’re bound to take multiple photos while lounging on the beach, whether to save for yourself for later, or to rub in the faces of your cubicle mates back at work. And in order to do that, you’ll need a phone that isn’t waterlogged or full of sand. So for those moments (hopefully there are many of them) that you aren’t taking instagram-worthy photos and only need your phone to tell the time, sealing your cell in a sandwich bag is a great way to keep it safe.

Don’t forget a travel steamer: I haven’t been on one cruise ship that provides an iron or steams for free, so on this last trip, I brought my own portable mini-steamer, and it was a lifesaver! Despite rolling my dresses and linen rompers, they always ended up wrinkly after getting past airport security. So aside from sunscreen and bug spray, this was one item I was beyond happy to have with me.

Ask the locals where to eat: The best places to eat and drink typically aren’t the most advertised. That’s why asking the locals on excursions is a great way not only to truly meet different people, but to get the inside scoop as to what the island has to offer. Of course with this tip comes a disclaimer, and I’ll put it in my dad’s words: “Your dad isn’t Liam Neeson. Don’t be an idiot while traveling.”  In other words, make sure that if you’re taking the locals’ advice, you’re doing so in groups.

Book excursions through the ship: While I’m usually the girl to advise against paying top-dollar, booking an excursion through anything other than the ship is extremely risky. Unforeseen circumstances like an overcrowded port or bad weather could deter the ship from sailing to the island you have plans on. And while you might think that the world is fair, your cruiseliner likely thinks otherwise and will feel no remorse over your nonrefundable cash.

Set multiple alarms: No matter who you are, where you’re from, what you did, the cruise will leave without your bronzed behind if you aren’t back in time before departure. And so assuming that you want to assume the carefree lifestyle while exploring different locations, setting your alarm (a few times) is a safe way to ensure you’re back before departure.

Lesson learned in Italy

screen-shot-2016-09-10-at-11-28-23-amI’ve posted a number of dishes from Italy this past week, ranging from seafood over pasta (left) to a handmade tiramisu birthday cake. What I haven’t posted however is the photo of the guy behind it all, and that’s because my camera storage was somehow erased before entering the states. (This is what happens when you wait four years to get an upgrade and use your phone furiously, as my mother says).

Anyway, he was the chef kind enough to cook for my family in Sant’agata for the week we were there. Not only were we lucky enough to have enjoyed the most delicious, handcrafted meals at least (I’ve) ever had in my life, we were also lucky to have had the chance to meet this genuine, kind person.

After dinner on our last night, we said our goodbyes. we then drowned him in some pretty well deserved compliments, to which he replied with more than just a thank you.

He said, “There was a fire in the jungle, which burned beside where a lion and a fly were sleeping. When they smelled the fire, the fly flew to the nearest stream for water, and poured it onto the flames. The lion asked, “What are you doing?” and the fly replied, “I’m doing my part.”

screen-shot-2016-09-10-at-11-33-57-am

Pretty heavy for a friday night, but so was the red wine I drank along with dinner. So while he was being modest about his knack for producing actual heaven on dinner plates, what he was saying really struck a chord with me.

I’m constantly wondering if I’m doing enough in terms of progressing my career, volunteering, or just getting to know the community I live in. I can hardly sit on the couch for longer than five minutes without getting up to do something, and sometimes I take on too much. It’s unrealistic to try and tame an entire fire in the jungle alone, but there’s a certain pressure you feel living in a concrete one. So for now, I’m taking comfort in feeling that I’m doing my part by balancing the role I’m taking to help myself, and the role I’m taking to help out other people. For volunteering opportunities in the city, visit nyc service.