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Hotel Revival | Baltimore Staycation

Baltimore, City Adventures, Destinations, Lifestyle, Travel By June 13, 2018 Tags: , , , , No Comments

Travel has a way of letting you slow down and enjoy the details around you, but why reserve that only for a vacation away? This past weekend, we had the opportunity to stay at the new Hotel Revival in Mount Vernon and were excited to be hometown tourists for a couple days.

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This boutique hotel was originally a private mansion owned by an art enthusiast and at one point, the site of the Baltimore Museum of Art’s inaugural exhibition in 1923. Needless to say, the property that is now home to Hotel Revival has a history deeply rooted in art. You can tell that they took this to heart when designing the hotel, thinking through every detail and having fun with it.

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Here are a few of my top reasons why you should make Hotel Revival a destination as soon as possible:

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1. Topside has the best view of the Washington Monument in Mount Vernon by far, along with a nearly 360 view of the rest of Baltimore. We enjoyed dinner in this rooftop restaurant with amazing dishes from Chef Wilbur Cox, paired with a variety of local craft beers and cocktails.

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2. When we were done dinner, we enjoyed a little friendly competition over some foosball and then headed over to the adjoining Garden Room to relax amongst plants from B.Willow. I’ve told Hotel Revival once and I’ll say it again, I’m seriously ready to move into this room.

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3. Head down the elevator to Square Meal, a farm-inspired restaurant serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner. We enjoyed some coffee, a cold-pressed juice, and delicious breakfast to soak up the cocktails from the night before. I’m excited to get back to taste their dinner and cocktail menu in the evening.

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4. And while you are down there, try to find the hidden in plain sight B-Side karaoke rooms. You can choose between three private rooms, each with its own funky decor and easy access to food and drinks from Square Meal. I know what I am reserving for my birthday!

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5. What I really like about Revival overall is the eclectic decor – a mix of antiques, patterns, colors, and art. Not only that, each room is decorated differently and a lot of the hotel’s art is available for buy from the hotel’s partners. Like really… when can I move in?

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6. At the Square Meal entrance, there is a fun letterboard sign that rotates through fun quotes and the weather. And it’s name is Vernon, too cute.

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7. It’s dog-friendly! There’s something about a hotel run by dog people. We chose not to bring our four-legged friend this time, but maybe for a future stay!

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Overall it was a great weekend stay. I love how this hotel brings fresh bars and restaurants to the city, yet they fit perfectly and feel like they have always been a part of Mount Vernon. Thanks for the stay, Hotel Revival. Can’t wait to get back!

Becky-Stavely-Our-Endless-Adventure

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9 Ways to Tap Into Sedona’s Energy

City Adventures, Destinations, Travel By September 18, 2017 Tags: , , , , , , , No Comments

Houndmouth’s song about Sedona has long made me want to visit the town for my own Saturday night kind of pink from the glow of the Red Rock canyons. Beyond the physical beauty, I quickly learned that this community was very into the energy surrounding Sedona. Spiritual seekers, New-Agers, and healers have long been making the journey to this town. It has become a hub for spiritual healing, along with shopping, outdoor adventures and more.

“It is said that whatever you hold in your consciousness will be magnified and multiplied while in Sedona.”

My week following Sedona was going to be filled with hiking galore, so I figured I might as well tap into Sedona’s energy, when in Rome.. or Sedona, whatever. Here are 9 ways you can do the same:

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Airport Mesa Vortex

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Visit a Vortex – All of Sedona is believed to be a vortex, which are said to be areas of nature that have concentrated or heightened swirling energy coming in and out of the Earth. Some physically feel the energy. Others believe the swirling energy causes twisted trees, seen at many vortexes. Guided vortex tours are available, but you could also easily visit some of the top ones on your own: Cathedral Rock, Bell Rock, Boynton Canyon, and Airport Mesa.

I went to Airport Mesa twice. The first time, it was packed and I had to wait for one of the few parking spots. While there were a lot of people, I took a moment for some meditation, definitely felt a release of emotion. Whether that was triggered by the vortex or just because I am a highly sensitive person, one may never know. When my friend, Carolyn, came to town, I thought it would be a great and easily accessible spot to come back for sunrise before we hit the road, which was quite lovely (if only the clouds had cooperated a little better). Others were respectful of the quiet in the morning, quietly meditating or enjoying the morning with a loved one.

“Some say Sedona’s vortex energy is so powerful that you can actually feel it and that it is powerful enough to help people take giant leaps with their spiritual development.” – Visit Sedona

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My Red Aura Photograph

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Get Your Aura Photographed – Since aura photography is having a moment right now, I couldn’t resist. Many places to do this in Sedona (unlike most of the US), so I did a little research and made an appointment at the Center for the New Age. After perusing their store, I headed into a small dark room, pressed my hands lightly onto two electric boxes with metal plates on top, and awaited further instruction from my aura reader, Jamie. Jamie has been on The Bachelorette and Good Morning America, so I figured she must be an expert in this field I know nothing about. Jamie informed me that your aura is an invisible (to most) field of energy that surrounds a person. Auras are not like mood rings, they do not change daily or weekly. While significant life changes (like the death of a loved one, a new job, or even intense workshops) can change aspects, people typically have the same color aura for a lifetime.

I could go more into how this is photographed, but I won’t do it justice, so just google it. People have been doing it for a long time and I can be easily swayed into putting meaning behind anything, but I tried my best to be a little skeptical, not providing her any information about myself beforehand, which meant she could only draw conclusions from my physical appearance and my aura reading. And just like that, she told me things about myself that I knew and things I was just beginning to learn myself, bringing me to tears a little (surprise surprise). It was quite self-validating as I have been making changes in my life over the past year and continue to make plans for my future.

Since my friend, Carolyn, came to town a day later, we couldn’t get her an appointment at the same place, but found another spot for her. After talking to the aura reader there, I jumped at the chance to do it again, just to see, ya know? She had a slightly different camera set up, not as vintage and charming, but she captured the same aura color for me as the day prior, but then dove into a whole different reading, which was still, all very accurate. Carolyn is open minded, but is slightly more of a skeptic than me, so it was very interesting to see how accurate she found hers to be as well. Both aura readers recommended we record the session so that we can go back and listen to it, which was great. At the end of the day, Carolyn and I listened to them again, discussed how we aren’t going to live and die by these readings, but that they are an interesting tool to explore ourselves. We thought through the aura reader’s observations together, drew our own conclusions, and then made our own plans to be true to our own auras.

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Learn About Crystals, Stones & Gems – Apparently, when Carolyn and I grew up, we both separately loved collecting crystals, stones & gems. We have no idea where they are now or if they were at all valuable, but we were fascinated with them and at the very least, they were pretty and we realized we are the right amount of nerd for each other. That being said, we easily became fascinated again by all the stores selling them in Sedona. We spent some time in the Crystal Sound Healing Center, learning about chakras, the benefits of various stones, and getting a little taste of a Chakra energy reading. We were told that sometimes the crystals just speak to you and you know what you need. Unfortunately, only the really expensive ones were speaking to me, so I had to pass this time.

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Enjoy Some Bodywork – Take your vacation massage to the next level and check out some signature bodywork massages that combine physical and emotional benefits. I didn’t have time for it this time, but would love to in the future. 

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Get a Psychic Reading – A good psychic is not hard to find in Sedona. Spin in a circle and walk in a direction, you will find one.

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Take a Class at the Sedona Meditation Center – From guided meditation to yoga classes to in-depth workshops, the Sedona Meditation Center wants to help you discover who you really are. Sedona-Amitabha-Stupa-Peace-Garden

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Visit the Amitabha Stupa and Peace Garden – Stupas are a Buddhist commemorative monument that house sacred relics associated with the Buddha or other saintly persons. This one contains millions of prayers, holy texts, and sacred objects, a physical embodiment of all the Buddhas’ wisdom and compassion. People come from all over to pray, to recite mantras, and to simply sit near it. It is believed to be beneficial to circumambulate the Stupa, walking in a clockwise direction, at least three times, while reciting a mantra or heartfelt prayer. The Amitabha Stupa and Peace Garden was quite lovely to go to right at sunset, a quick little walk through a path covered in peace flags, ultimately bringing you up to the peaceful location of the Stupa.

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Get Your Float On – You can see my full description of floating and my review of a different float tank in Nashville here. I’d highly recommend the experience to anyone looking to disconnect and dive into meditation. True Rest is the Float Spa located in Sedona. 

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When in Doubt, Hike – Sedona is surrounded by red-rocks, steep canyon walls and pine forests, providing easy access to Red Rock State Park. Get outside!

If you are already planning a trip to Sedona, hopefully this helps to guide you to a few spots. If you aren’t, what are you waiting for?

Sending positive vibes your way,

Becky-Stavely-Our-Endless-Adventure

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Big Sur is Open for Your Next Road Trip

Destinations, Outdoor Adventures, Travel By September 7, 2017 Tags: , , , , No Comments

Big Sur is known as one of the most breathtaking regions on the California coast, with its winding roads, rocky coastline, dramatic cliffs, and magnificent seaside views, you quickly realize why it is often featured in movies, TV shows, and photographs. It was an obvious must for our cross-country road trip.

Unfortunately the region underwent a severe winter that included multiple mudslides, fallen boulders, and a collapsed bridge, resulting in a portion of the iconic Highway 1 being closed. When I heard this, I was heartbroken for those who live and run businesses in the area and was selfishly sad that we were not going to be able to visit one of my #1 spots on the road trip bucket list.

As the trip got closer though, I was happy to hear that they were slowly opening portions and many businesses were still open. I was doing research every week to see what else had been opened and where we could visit. Here are some tips from our recent trip:

  • Adjust Your Route – While there is still a portion closed, you can head into the region from the south and north quite a bit. We personally were coming from the North and we were able to follow the coast all the way to Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, where the road is closed just south of it.

  • Stay in One of the Open Parks or Hotels – We were able to find a campsite at Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park. It is typically difficult to get campsites up and down the California coast during peak summer season, so take advantage of many not knowing these spots are open. There was also the Big Sur Lodge right there at the park and next time we come back, I want to stay at the Big Sur River Inn, complete with a restaurant, store, pool, the world’s cutest gas station (yep, that’s a thing), and the best part being that you can…

  • Have a Drink in the River – Grab a drink from the Big Sur River Inn bar and head down to their adirondack chairs that are in the river, not next to, but in the river. Dip your toes in the water and sit back. Why isn’t this a thing in more places?

  • Stop at Bixby Bridge – while the Pfieffer Canyon Bridge is being rebuilt, the iconic Bixby Bridge is stunning as always. I would recommend being ready to pull off on the right or left before you drive across it. Go slow because it can be quite busy, but this is where you’ll find get beautiful views easily for your photographs.

  • Stretch Your Legs – while many trails are also recovering from the winter and fires, we headed over to Andrew Molera State Park for a hike to the beach. It was all flat, led you through some trees and opened up to a spectacular beach. It felt a big majestic as you looked around to see dozens of driftwood structures built by those who had previously been there.

  • Shuttle Further South – The Pfeiffer Canyon Bypass Trail was created by residents and opened to the public in July. You can use this trail to access the southern side of Big Sur and can board a shuttle at Andrew Molera State Park to get there. We were hoping to do this to go have lunch or dinner at Nepenthe, but unfortunately ran out of time.

While we wanted to explore and stay longer, the road trip must go on! We were obviously not able to continue to drive south on Highway 1, but in a similar amount of time it would take, we went north (yay, one more trip over Bixby and Carmel) and took a detour to Highway 68, through Salinas Valley, to Highway 101, down through San Luis Obispo (a town that Oprah claims to be the happiest city in America) and then we continued south to Santa Barbara.

To learn more and stay up to date on openings and closures, head over to See Monterey’s website.

Happy Travels,

Becky-Stavely-Our-Endless-Adventure

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Favorite Street Art & Murals in Nashville

Art, City Adventures, Destinations, Travel By June 19, 2017 Tags: , , , , , No Comments

My husband, Chris, has been traveling to Nashville for work for almost three years now, which has given me the pleasure of visiting the city with him many times. It has grown to be one of my favorite places and literally his home away from home. While everyone knows Nashville for it’s music scene, they also have a strong street art and murals scene, which is big in my book. It has been crazy to witness the amount of growth the city has seen over the past few years and I love seeing colorful walls be added with it. From small businesses to developers to non-profits, everyone can quickly see what a little color and creativity can bring to a neighborhood. Here are a few of my favorite mural walls I have seen over the years.

It’s a bear party over on the side of East Side Bicycles, painted by artist Leah Tumerman

 

I Believe in Nashville (left) located at Mitchell Deli, 1306 McGavock; East Nashville mural (right) located on the side of the Joyner and Hogan building at 600 Main St

 

Local Nashville artists Nathan Brown and Chris Zidek painted this mural at the corner of Overton and Mansion Street, across from Barista Parlor (which you should totally go grab a coffee from after checking this out!)

 

A huge green mural brightens a parking lot in the Gulch, along 11th Ave South, by artist Ian Ross

 

And directly next to it is a mural by Jason Woodside

 

A few thought provoking murals are found on the backside of the Treehouse Restaurant in East Nashville (left) and while not made of paint, it is a reminder that art can be living (right), location in East Nashville forgotten, sorry!

 

Found myself a patch of flowers in 12 South, on the wall on the right side of Green Pea Salon

 

And just do a 180 spin in that parking lot to see this one!

 

Go find some peace at the Performing Artists Co-op at 5 Points

This does not capture nearly the amount of murals out there. I am excited to get back to Nashville to explore more. If you are looking for more, check out the Nashville Walls Project, complete with a map!

 

Stay colorful,

Becky-Stavely-Our-Endless-Adventure

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When in Austin, You Best Brunch

City Adventures, Destinations, Food & Drink, Travel By October 13, 2016 Tags: , , , , , , , No Comments

I’ll start off this Austin post by saying I am literally wearing a Wheaties “Breakfast of Champions” shirt while I write this. Coincidence? Absolutely. Proof of my dedication to breakfast and brunch? Without a doubt (now is the time for my husband to tell you it is a hand me down from his college days, shhhhh, don’t let him ruin this for us).

Either way, I want to share with you some of my favorite breakfast and brunch spots from one of my favorite cities, Austin. To me, brunch is one of the best meals of the day. You are bright and ready for the day (or hungover and in need of a cure) and I find that some of the best conversations happen over some sort of combination of eggs, cheese, and freshly baked goods. I loved the variety that Austin had to offer and cannot wait to try more soon.

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Grilled Skirt Steak, Served Over Handcut Fries, Topped With Two Eggs & Herb Butter from Banger’s

Banger’s

Head over to Rainey Street for Banger’s Sunday Big Band Brunch (say that 5 times fast). Had I known my flight home that afternoon was going to be cancelled due to a blizzard in Maryland, I would have totally partook in the Manmosa, a 1 liter glass stein of champagne with a splash of orange juice. Apparently it is such a party in a glass that there is a limit of one per customer. Due to such lack of knowledge, I only consumed a Michelada from the BYOM Bar (it is like a Mexican bloody mary, but so much more).

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Red Wine Braised Beef Benedict, Photo Credit: Olivia Facebook Page

Olivia

My friend and college roommate, Elizabeth, is now a food blogger in the Austin area and I had to get her local take on brunch spots. She personally recommends the Biscuits and Gravy from Olivia. Don’t mind if I do.

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They Don’t Lie, Torchy’s Tacos are Damn Good

Torchy’s Tacos

For a wide variety of messy tex-mex tacos with a touch of humor, head over to Torchy’s. We were lucky that our Airbnb was right down the street from one of their new locations. I personally felt like I was in good company when I was asked if I wanted a side of chips & queso… at 9AM, with my breakfast tacos. Austin, you are my kind of people. Even Obama couldn’t resist and had to stop in there earlier this year before SXSW.

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Brunch So Hard at L’Oca D’Oro, Photo Credit: @atasteofkoko

L’Oca D’Oro

I also reached out to Jane, another local Austin Food Blogger and founder of A Taste of Koko, who has an appetite for good food and eye for beautiful tablescapes. She highly recommended a new spot in town, L’Oca D’Oro. They source everything locally and make everything in house. #kokoapproves

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Bagel O’Clock at Rockstar Bagels

Rockstar Bagels  

Anyone who knows me well (or let’s be real, maybe even vaguely), knows that I value a good everything bagel with cream cheese. I’m still waiting for someone to tell me it’s the next superfood so I can be a little less guilty about my desire. While visiting East Austin, we wandered over to Rockstar Bagels to get my fix. They had bacon cream cheese. Nuff said.

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Austin Brunches To Try Next Time

With an upcoming Austin trip on the books for November for my 30th (!) birthday, I have been keeping my list of places I still want try, including, but not limited to:

  • The Omelettry – kickin it diner style since 1978. Cheesy omelette for me. Chocolate chip pancakes for the husband. Done and done.
  • Bouldin Creek Cafe – especially delicious for those looking for vegetarian options, while creative enough for all carnivores.
  • Biscuits + Groovy – you can’t be in Austin without trying a food trailer and this is the one for breakfast.
  • Elizabeth Street Cafe – 2 reasons: Breakfast Bahn Mi and Stumptown Coffee. Yes, please.

More to come from Austin in November! In the meantime, head over to my Instagram for the ever so often snapshot of bacon, bagels, and anything brunchy.

 

Brunch Now, Sleep Later,

Becky-Stavely-Our-Endless-Adventure

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