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Category: Globetrotter

6 Feb

Bermuda

So even before Sohail and I left to visit this pretty little paradise, I had “Kokomo” by The Beach Boys on repeat. I could not wait to be on another island and escape this icky, cold NY weather. And since our flights cost $200 total for the both of us it was a super sweet escape. Does anyone else get extra hyped when you get a good deal on something? Last year, half of our domestic travel cost us nothing! We flew for FREE! I want to share some pictures from Bermuda but also how we were able to utilize a total of 15,600 JetBlue points in order to fly to this island. Not only was it super easy to get there (a 2 hour and 11 minute direct flight) but that extra vitamin D didn’t hurt and flying JetBlue is always a pleasure.

People often ask how we get to travel so much, so hopefully this is a bit of a guideline for everyone. I’m going to add a sample itinerary to demonstrate.

Note: you do not need to have a JetBlue credit card to  redeem points for flights. You would need a TrueBlue account and can sign up for free. We use the American Express gold card that collects points for our everyday purchases. You get 3 points per dollar when you purchase airline flights, 2 points per dollar from grocery stores and gasoline purchases and 1 point per dollar on all of your other everyday purchases. When we signed up for the AMEX gold card there was an offer when you spend $1,000 in the first three months you receive a 50,000 points bonus. I was able to transfer AMEX points to my true blue account and to delta’s skymiles program and redeem them for free flights out of  NY to New Orleans, Chicago, Charleston and Salt Lake City last year.

If you open up the JetBlue app or log into the mobile site you will see that at the end of March, the points to Bermuda are 2,000 TrueBlue points one way [JFK-Bermuda]. Make sure to select the ‘pay with TrueBlue points’ before you proceed. Once you select your round trip flight you will only be paying 4,000 points and approximately $100 in tourism taxes from the Bermuda government which isn’t too bad for a round trip flight at all. We utilized 3,600 points per flight with the same amount in taxes so this is a huge steal right now.

This outgoing flight from JFK to Bermuda international is direct and 2,000 points plus taxes and fees. We purchased one way tickets for 3,600 points, so this is def a steal.

Notice here as well the flight back is 2,000 points but the price on top of the points is about $95 in tourism and government fees. In total each flight would cost 4,000 points and approximately $100 per person. That’s like flying to an island for $50 one way!


Peace out Bermewja

I love sharing my travel photography with you guys but I’m also going to start sharing some tricks on how to get to places without draining your bank account. Stay tuned.

8 love
21 Dec

Salt Lake City

Sohail had a day off for Labor Day weekend and of course you can count on me for taking advantage of that. With the help of some airline miles we took a trip down to Mormon town. On first approach flying in from the east coast, Salt Lake City appears like foreign territory. Its landscape bears more similarities to the Middle East than New York, and there is a dream like quality to the flat desert valley surrounded like a citadel by the rugged (and beautiful) peaks of the Wasatch and Oquirrh mountain ranges. This was by the way my first time flying this far out west. And that’s why you guys can count on me for taking every photo that I could.

The laid back vibe was a second culture shock, the people of Salt Lake are endearingly friendly, with a respectful approach that is unlike anything we have ever encountered on our domestic travels. The conservatism was beautiful. A beautiful middle.

We stayed at the Grand Hotel America, downtown and it was phenomenal. We walked into our room with a beautiful view of the mountains along with orange creamsicle macaroons as a welcome amenity. We spent our time going to cafes, driving around, walking to cool street art locations and spending time with friends.

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Grand Americas pastry shop is as Parisian as it can possibly get. The macaroons were SO good, but the decor was cuter.

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Beautiful Utah

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The rose isn’t your typical hipster cafe. Or maybe it is. There are succulents, fun drink fusions and super creative desserts. I highly recommend the Rose establishment. So fine, we dined here twice.

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We spent a day driving around the valley and decided to stop by the Great Salt Lake.

 

We walked around downtown a bit.

Walked around downtown a bit.

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Shoe game: Schutz shoes on 655 Madison

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Eva’s boulangerie is a cute French influenced patisserie and boulangerie which will definitely satisfy both of your sweet (artisanal desserts) and salty (croque monsieur) needs.

Went out to dinner for Mexican one night at The Red Iguana.

Two words: mole sauce

Found a cool book shop

Love me a good book store

Right behind that book shop was this awesome mural

Right behind that book shop was this awesome mural and you know by now I couldn’t pass that up.

I love the West.

8 love
11 Oct

Manchester

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As summer wound down this year I decided to embark on one last international adventure. The only catch? My usual travel buddy would be unable to ride along, as he was busy saving sick kids back home. His loss ?

The plan was to snag a direct flight from the northeast US to Northern England so I could reconnect with a friend from medical school who was living in Carlisle, the capital of the English county of Cumbria. After a night of ticket sleuthing, I found a seat from Boston to Manchester, England on a very English sounding airlines, Thomas Cook. From Manchester, I took a two hour train ride to Carlisle where my friend greeted me at the train station. Carlisle was a quaint, beautiful and traditional English county sect. We stayed up all night talking, catching up and just being silly (those of you who saw my snapchat might remember us ordering in pizza, conversing with the pizza delivery guy with full on face masks like it’s totally normal ?) After 24 hours we bid farewell to Carlisle and took a train back to Manchester.

Although Manchester isn’t as eventful as London (Sohail and I were there earlier this year, but I never wrote a blog post on it because I accidentally deleted all of my London photos ??), it was still nice to leave the homeland and be in a different place, even for just the weekend. The best part about it was catching up with one of my oldest and truest friends and seeing her with her soul mate. It made my heart happy.

There was a street I loved in particular in Manchester and that was Tib Street. There was so much street art, and well, you guys know by now fine arts are my jam.

So if you’re ever in Manchester and in need of a photo backdrop, here you go:

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Flying over the Isle of Man

Flying over the Isle of Man on my way home

8 love
7 Sep

Portland

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Our recent adventure led us up I-95 to the cutest little town by the sea – Portland, Maine. My “Maine” objective was to taste the famous Lobster rolls, which, by the way, were on point. It is also a vibrant and scenic city that I have been eager to cross off my domestic adventure list this summer.

Portland is only a 2 hour drive north from Boston if you stick to the interstate, although we opted for the slower but charming coastal route through Hampton Beach and Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Whatever route you prefer, make sure to experience this colorful city sitting at the mouth of the Fore River as it empties into Casco bay. Portland is the essence of New England with an unexpected variety of culture, food, shops and trendy cafes.

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We started our trip off by having lunch at 3 Buoys

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Oh sweet Maine. This lobster roll and sweet potato fries were to die for ??

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After lunch we walked to the boardwalk and came across the lovelock bridge

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Walked around downtown for a little bit

Walked around downtown for a little bit

Tried so hard to get a picture of this mural but there were trucks parked in front of it! If you know where MECA is downtown, walk around there and you will find this awesome mural!

Tried so hard to get a picture of this mural but there were trucks parked in front of it! If you know where MECA is downtown, walk around there and you will find this awesome street art. 

Before heading home we stopped by Cape Elizabeth to check out the lighthouse. It was so beautiful.

Before heading home we stopped by Cape Elizabeth to check out the lighthouse. 

If you want to experience the true essence of New England, visit Portland!

⚓️

14 love
10 Aug

Chicago Art Hunt

Chicago is my favorite city in the continental United States. I’m definitely a little biased though, because I lived and rotated there for a while. It’s the home of Hillary Rodham Clinton, Michelle Obama, Oprah and Kanye West.

And whenever I fly into Chi-town it feels like I’m simply coming back home. ‘Homecoming’ by Kanye West plays in my head the whole time I’m there. It was awesome bringing Sohail to Chi town this past month because not only did I get to play tour-guide (is tour-guidess a word? because I was totally going to type that) but we were finally able to experience my favorite city together! I’ll be honest with you guys, I was in the moment so much that I kind of forgot to take pictures but I’ll share whatever I did take, as always. Here’s a little street art guide next time you’re in Chicago and need a backdrop for a photo or two.

How dope is this mural? I got a lot of questions on where it is and I have all the info for you guys.

Location: 2236 N Milwaukee Avenue in Logan Square

Artists: Victor Ving & Lisa Beggs.

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If you go to the above mural and look to your right, you’ll find this one under the train tracks.

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Walk the opposite way of the Chicago mural and you’ll find this in the alley way.

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Soley loved this one. Walk through that little alley way and you’ll find this abstract piece covering the entire wall next to a department store.

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And if you’re on the hunt for some good latte art, go to Sawada cafe in the west loop. We had the military lattes which are a 10/10.

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I love coming back home.

12 love
3 Aug

New Orleans

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As some of you who follow us on IG know, Soley and I visited NOLA early June. For us it was an early birthday trip (my birthday was June 19th). But we went early because we wanted to walk (and eat!) around New Orleans without having to worry about hosting a celebration for my actual birthday which also fell on Father’s day this year. Early June seemed like the perfect time, and the trip couldn’t have been better!

I wasn’t going to really share my New Orleans travels because it’s considered more domestic if anything, but whenever I see the food pictures and charming French architecture in my camera roll I feel like you guys neeeed to know.

Flying over the Mississippi River! ✈️

Flying over the Mississippi River! ✈️

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The beautiful flower arrangement at the lobby of the Ritz Carlton, New Orleans

Loved our room. We had a courtyard view. The room had such a southern touch!

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Strollin through the streets of ‘nawlins 

We went to Muriel's for lunch and it was SO flipping awesome. If you're going to eat anywhere, eat here for sure.

We went to Muriel’s for lunch and it was SO flipping awesome. If you’re going to eat anywhere, eat here for sure.

If you go upstairs after lunch they have a seance room.

Go upstairs after lunch they have a seance room which is kinda scary but also pretty cool.

Look at this presentation. Definitely go to Muriel's for lunch. The set up was so boss.

Look at this presentation. Definitely try Muriel’s for lunch. Everything was so good!

Crawfish and goat cheese crepes. Drooool.

Crawfish and goat cheese crepes.

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The balcony upstairs. I love Parisian architecture.

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Try the beignets and iced coffee with chicory from Café Du Monde.

We enjoyed our coffee and beignets at this pretty piece. Walk behind Cafe Du Monde towards the market and you will find it.

We enjoyed our coffee and beignets at this pretty piece. Walk behind Café Du Monde towards the market and you will find it.

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Took this picture right outside of the spa. Outfit deets here.

Took this picture right outside of the spa of our hotel. Outfit deets here

NOLA skyline ?

NOLA skyline 

14 love
27 Jun

Istanbul

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I know, I know, I say this about almost every new city I discover- but believe me this time when I say that the vibrant and sprawling Turkish metropolis of Istanbul has become one of my favorite places on earth. I was so impressed by the city’s unique fusion of ancient and modern as it effortlessly intermingled with the traditional and trendy.

The decision to visit Istanbul was ultimately a difficult one for my husband and I. He wanted to go and I did not.

The Syrian War and the rise of the Islamic State to the south of Turkey’s border coupled with the recent conflict between Erdogan’s government and Kurdish rebels has lead to a rise in terrorist attacks targeting military and tourism. Just a few weeks prior to our trip, there was a suicide bomber that killed several tourists in Sultanahmet square. There was also recent conflict with Russia, when Turkey shot down one of Russia’s fighter planes near the Syrian border leading to cold thaw in relations between the nations. I remember telling a few friends Soley and I would be traveling to Istanbul, and receiving “be safe” text messages and calls. (Read my blog post regarding our brush with the Syrian crisis here

Having spent three days in Istanbul, I guarantee you that it is still definitely worth traveling to, despite the danger. With traveling there is always a risk, anywhere you go.

Istanbul is comprised of three areas- there is the European side which includes the Beyôglu district, ancient Sultanahmet and the Golden Horn, and the Asian side with its multitude of Istanbulli suburbs. The Asian and European sides are connected by the only bridge in the world that connects two continents- the Bosphorus.

Flying over the Bosphorus bridge

Flying over the Bosphorus bridge

We stayed at the Four Seasons Sultanahmet for two nights and it was more than we could imagine. We went to Saudi Arabia after our trip and detoured back into Istanbul before we started our travels to Greece. On our third night, we stayed at The Witt in the Beyoglu district. Fell in love with Istanbul so much we canceled our Athens trip to stay in the city of seagulls a little bit longer.

The Blue Mosque in Sultanahmet

The Blue Mosque in Sultanahmet

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Views from Suleymaniye

Views from Suleymaniye

Pottery at the Grand Bazaar, also located in historical Sultanahmet

Pottery at the Grand Bazaar

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Tea & Sofia

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Inside Sofia

Blue and Sofia facing each other

Blue and Sofia facing each other

The Spice Bazaar

The Spice Bazaar

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Topkapi cielings

Topkapi ceilings

Inside Topkapi

Inside Topkapi

Inside Suleymaniye

Inside Suleymaniye

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Galata tower

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Faint view of the Bosphorus bridge

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Hotel room view at The Witt

Street art in the Beyôglu district

Street art in the Beyôglu district

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You guys know how I feel about breakfast and views by now ✌?️

You guys know how I feel about breakfast and views by now ✌?

15 love
10 Jun

Barcelona

In my world, I envision parts of Barcelona as my own personal heaven. It’s a precious slice of surrealism on earth.

Also – Antoni Gaudi was a crazy, crazy man.

Don't these little houses remind you of gingerbread houses? Photo taken at Park Güell.

Don’t these little houses remind you of gingerbread houses? Photo taken at Park Güell.

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Architecture inspired by Antoni Gaudi

Sohails favorite city is Barcelona. He told me a little story- as a resident he has a week off so decided to travel to Spain. He flew into Madrid and took a train to Barcelona. He was supposed to go on and visit southern Spain but he fell in love with Barcelona and stayed the remainder of the week.

Sohails favorite city in the entire world is Barcelona. He told me a little story- as a resident he had a week off and decided to travel to Spain. He flew into Madrid and took a train to Barcelona. He was supposed to go on and visit southern Spanish cities like Seville and Córdoba but he fell in love with Barcelona and stayed put the remainder of the week. I’m so glad he brought me here. I’m so used to having adventures and discovering new things and places with Soli but I gotta say- it was pretty awesome having my own personal tour guide (and it didnt hurt that he was super cute to look at too)

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Fractal and glass art by Gaudi

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Intricate details at La Sagrada Familia

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Casa Milá, Barcelona

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Catalan views

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Breakfast in luxury

17 love
9 Jun

Santorini

Our delightful view!

Santorini was enchanting. It was the perfect place to lounge and unwind after a few hectic days of traveling. There really is no other place in the world like Oia. I feel like this is exemplified by the many tourists that come to have their picture perfect wedding photos taken here- and there seems to be a lot of them!

We stayed at the Art Maisons Aspaki Hotel which hands down had the most premium view in all of Santorini. Aspaki is built upon volcanic cliffs with breathtaking views of the caldera, cliff side blue domes and the Aegean Sea. The service was faultless, there weren’t very many steps to the hotel (which is prime for the isolation we desired) and the food- I literally still daydream about the breakfast.

I wanted to share some of my travel photos with you guys, some of which I’ve taken and some of which a native Santorini photographer in Oia has taken. I stalked his Instagram page so hard once we decided to go to on our trip and lucked out that he was free on a day that we were there!

So if your thinking about your next vacation and are in the mood to lounge around serene and inspiring views while being pampered by friendly Grecian service – I highly suggest Santorini. ??

Right outside of Aspaki

Right outside of Aspaki

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Photography by Kimonas

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The 'Atmospherico' suite at Art Maisons

The ‘Atmospherico’ suite at Art Maisons

Tough life

Tough life

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Photography by Kimonas

Breakfast and the Aegean

Breakfast and the Aegean

16 love
7 May

Iceland

Iceland deserves its own post. The aesthetic was so dope.

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found this farmhouse while driving the ring road in iceland

jokulsarlon, iceland

some people are worth melting for

snaefellsness, iceland

snaefellsness, iceland

driving the ring road

ran into a rainbow

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snaefellsness, iceland

reynisfjara, vik

reynisfjara, vik

snaefellsness, iceland

snaefellsness, iceland

16 love