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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

1

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

2

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.

3

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.

4

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. 

5

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.

6

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

7

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.

8

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. 

9

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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24 Hours in Denver | How Brittany Makes the Most of Business Travel

Art, City Adventures, Destinations, Food & Drink, Portraits, Travel By May 10, 2017 Tags: , , , , , No Comments
I first met Brittany quite a few years ago when I was organizing a charity bar crawl in Baltimore. My good friend, Kelly, said she was going to to invite her co-worker who “just wanted to explore new places and dance.” That description alone made me want to be friends with Brittany and luckily that came true. Soon there after, Brittany hit it off with my other good friend from college and more recently I had the honor of capturing their wedding photos this past September. When Brittany was in need of some updated headshots, we knew we had to go wander around one of our favorite neighborhoods in Baltimore, Fells Point.
Baltimore-Headshot-Portrait-Photographer-Fells-Point
Besides being super friendly and silly, Brittany is also really good at finding unique and interesting things to do, always making the most of her time anywhere. I can always count on her to be down for a new adventure. Sometimes she might have up to 5 different activities planned for a Saturday, I don’t know how she does it, but she does. And at the end of the day, she always finds time to read on her deck with a glass of wine, taking in some sunshine and tending to her plants. It’s simply rude impressive.
Brittany is also lucky enough to travel for work a few times a year, most often to Denver. She says she is usually short on time between traveling and work, but as mentioned, she always tries to pack a ton in.
“I consider time spent in my hotel room and not out exploring to be wasted.”

8 Things to do in Denver

That being said, I thought she would be the perfect person to ask for recommendations if you were looking to make the most of 24 hours in Denver. Here’s what Brittany would do:

1. First things first, breakfast! I love Mod Market (900 16th St.). It’s healthy, fresh and delicious.

Denver Colorado Museum of Contemporary Art

Museum of Contemporary Art | Photo by Brittany Geronimo

2. Before checking out the Denver beer scene, take in some culture at the Museum of Contemporary Art (1485 Delgany St). It’s a smaller museum and very manageable in an hour or so. After you’ve had your art fill, check out the rooftop cafe for coffee with a view.

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Bridge to the Highland Neighborhood | Photo by Brittany Geronimo

3. After the museum, head out of downtown across the Platte River to the Highland neighborhood, one of my favorite areas. It’s a pretty walk across the bridge, and on the way you can check out the flagship REI store.

4. Fuel up at Postino (2715 17th St.) with the best bruschetta ever. Seriously, I still think about it. I can also recommend the salami with pesto and the prosciutto with figs and mascarpone, but you can’t go wrong.

Denver-Beer-Co-Colorado

Denver Beer Co. | Photo by Brittany Geronimo

5. First beer stop: Denver Beer Co. (1696 Platte St.). This place is great with tons of indoor and outdoor seating.

Linger-Denver-Colorado

Linger | Photo by Brittany Geronimo

6. Continue the afternoon at Linger, a former mortuary turned restaurant/bar (2030 W. 30th Ave). Head up to the rooftop and grab a drink out of their Airstream bar and take in the views.

7. Now, it’s time to head back toward downtown, where I often stay for work. It’s hard to go wrong with a Colorado brewery, but one of my favorites is Great Divide. They have food trucks everyday, so check them out for dinner!

Denver-Colorado-State-Capital-Building

The Colorado State Capitol Building | Photo by Brittany Geronimo

8. Round out the night in Capitol Hill, a quick ride from downtown. You’ll see the beautiful state capitol building as you make your way along Colfax Avenue, what Playboy once called the “longest, wickedest street in America.” I’d recommend two stops here – Lost Highway Brewing Company and Alpine Dog Brewery. Alpine Dog has delicious beer and great merch – I bought one of my favorite pint glasses there.

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Alpine Dog | Photo by Brittany Geronimo

Most importantly, one last tip from Brittany: drink more water than you think is necessary. The beers may go down easy, but the altitude will dehydrate real quick!

 Do you have any favorite spots in Denver? Share them in the comments below or let me know over on Instagram!
Becky-Stavely-Our-Endless-Adventure
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Meet Renee – Baltimore Blogger Shares How She Makes Travel a Priority

Baltimore, Destinations, Photography, Portraits, Travel By April 24, 2017 Tags: , , , , , , , , , No Comments

As many of us know, travel doesn’t just happen. It costs money and takes time, but it is so incredibly worth it. I recently met up with a friend and local blogger, Renee Beck, who seems to have perfected how to consciously make travel a priority in her life. I asked her to share how she plans travel to make the most of her trips, time, and money. I’ll also share some of her go-to travel resources and how she finds inspiration. I’ll leave you with some of Renee’s favorite travel spots, what destinations are next on her list, and what should be added to your travel bucket list. She also let me capture a few portraits of her at one of her favorite neighborhood coffee shops, Order & Chaos Coffee

Baltimore Travel Blog Portrait Photographer

Renee at Order & Chaos, Baltimore MD

Baltimore Blogger, PR Maven, and My Unofficial Life Coach

Renee and I met when I first interviewed for OrderUp, turns out we already followed each other on Instagram, so naturally our friendship budded from there. We often worked side by side, collaborating where our roles met on social media, launches, and other marketing strategies, all while eating Kinderhook cookies and encouraging each other on our workout plans. It’s all about balance, people.

She now works at Terra’s Kitchen, an amazing meal delivery service that makes eating healthy food easy and delicious. Beyond work, I feel like Renee is always going to the coolest events and destinations in Baltimore and beyond. When she isn’t sharing her travel adventures and fun around Baltimore, her Instagram account is often showing her husband’s hilarious notes and her cat’s silly antics. While Renee and I share a lot in common when it comes to traveling, it dawned on me at a dinner with our friends that our tactics are a little different than others and thought that might be good to share.

Renee and Steve in Arizona

6 Actual Ways to Make Travel a Priority

Despite what some may think it, travel doesn’t just happen seamlessly like it may appear on Instagram and it often requires planning, unless you are truly a go with the flow kind of person (spoiler alert: not me, not Renee). Planning trips can require attention to detail, lots of decision-making, and figuring out a budget – some things that a lot of people like to avoid doing. That being said, even though it costs money, Renee and I both agree that should never be a hindering factor as there are ways around that.

Renee didn’t travel much when she was growing up, but quickly got the travel bug in her early 20s. More recently, Renee was lucky enough to work at a job where she got to travel a lot domestically. (Shoutout to OrderUp!) We both had the benefit of unlimited PTO, which for Renee, “even though I didn’t actually take any more time than usual, it made travel feel more accessible.” Many of Renee’s friends also love to travel and after hearing about their adventures, she decided to stop seeing barriers to travel and started to say, “This is important to me. I’ll make it happen.” More tactically, here is some advice from Renee to help make travel a priority:

  • Create a separate savings account: Renee and her husband, Steve, have one account that they use only for travel. They agree on a certain amount to put in each month. It started very small — maybe $25-50/pp each month — but as they’ve made travel more of a priority, they have amped up their monthly savings significantly.
  • Use tax refunds for travel: Not everyone gets refunds or likes to, but Renee and Steve always designate any amount they get back directly to their travel savings.
  • Get a travel rewards credit card: Renee got the Southwest credit card for the 50K bonus points and had 136K by the end of her first year. She pays for EVERYTHING (including some bills) on the card. She recently switched to the Chase Sapphire to take advantage of another 50K sign up and double points in dining and travel. It takes control because it’s easy to lose track of your spending, so you do have to monitor yourself. Also, this is only recommended if you have strong credit.
  • Budget the rest of your life: Renee has kept a really, really detailed spreadsheet of her spending money since 2010. It sounds crazy, but she can look at it each month and note where she is spending too much and where she can cut back to put money toward the travel fund. Renee is not guessing where her money goes.
  • Keep an eye out: Renee subscribes to emails from sites like Travelzoo and occasionally checks out deals. You can go to Paris from Baltimore this spring/fall for $400 roundtrip!
  • Look for work travel opportunities: Renee has been able to take advantage of work travel; when her husband is sent to London for work, she joins (free flight and hotel for him) and they extend the trips after his work week. When she’s traveled for work domestically, they have done the same. She’s even had day trips to NYC on Amtrak and stopped over in Philly on the way to have dinner with a friend. As long as prices are the same, employers usually have no problem with you tacking on personal travel.
Renee Beck Baltimore Travel Blog Portraits

Renee at Order & Chaos, Baltimore MD

Go-To Travel Resources

Can you imagine planning a vacation or trip back before internet existed or even just 5-10 years ago before so many websites and apps existed? Lucky for us, that is no longer the case, but now it can sometimes feel like there is too much out there. Where do you start? For inspiration and planning, Renee would highly recommend the following:

  • TripAdvisor – Renee is a big fan of this site for reviews and traveler photos.
  • Hipmunk – Renee loves Hipmunk for flight searches; you can search by typical things like price and time, but also “agony.” She finds the user experience to be much more pleasant than other flight search sites.
  • Hotels.com or RocketMiles – Renee uses Hotels.com (for free nights) or RocketMiles (for Southwest points) when booking hotels and Airbnb when she wants to stay in a home.
  • Visit A City – Renee’s favorite planning site and app is Visit A City, which offers adjustable itineraries based on your pace, what you want to see, etc. It will help you figure out what’s closest and when things are closed. She has found this super helpful when traveling in Europe.
  • Instagram – Renee spends a lot of time searching Instagram before trips and follows people who are posting from where she is planning on going. She finds it’s one of the best ways to get local info, especially about food. There are also particular things that she always looks for when traveling, so she’ll use Instagram to seek those, like markets, food halls, and architecture. It’s even easier with Instagram’s new Collections feature!
Florence Italy Travel Blog

Renee’s Photos from Florence, Italy

Favorite Places You Should Add to Your Bucketlist

  • Florence – Hands down, Renee’s favorite place. The people are friendly, the city is walkable, and the food is amazing. She said it felt like every turn was another Instagram-worthy pic. Not to mention, the best pasta of her life and amazing wine for only $4/glass. Read more about her trip on her blog.
  • Barbados – A very, very different and a very, very close second. The beaches are white sand, the people are so warm, and the views are truly jaw-dropping. It’s also further south and east, so not as many Americans go there, which gave it a less touristy feel for them.
  • Boulder – Renee went to Boulder years ago for work and had only a few hours to check out Pearl Street, the downtown mall. It was so charming and she loved the juxtaposition of the mountains in the background. Renee is not an outdoorsy person, but she knew that her husband, Steve, would totally love it. When she was in Denver two years ago for another work trip that coincided with Steve’s birthday, she extended her time there and he flew out to join her. They spent a day in Denver and 3 days in Boulder and Renee fell IN LOVE. Learn more about their trip, split into Hiking & Running and Eating & Sleeping. (Remember, it’s all about balance!

What Destination is Next?

Renee and Steve just booked a week in Tulum, Mexico. A few friends have gone and she kept seeing pics on Instagram. It’s a smaller beach town south of Cancun that hasn’t become as developed as other areas of Riveria Maya. Also, those Hotels.com points are getting them a free night, they’re using Sapphire points to rent a car, and Southwest points are covering the flights!

Light City Festival Baltimore Maryland

Renee’s Photos from Light City 2017

Why Baltimore Should Be On Your Bucket List

Last but definitely not least, I wanted to hear Renee’s perspective about the city we both call home, Baltimore, and why she thinks you should make Baltimore a destination for your travels in 2017. I couldn’t agree more with Renee when she said so much is happening here in Baltimore! Here are a few of the top reasons that came to her mind:

  • The food scene is extraordinary; we have James Beard award-winning chefs and teams that are taking some really cool risks to make Baltimore a hot dining destination. Some of Renee’s favorites are Baba’s Mediterranean Kitchen and La Cuchara (she fell in love with Basque food after visiting Spain).
  • There are so many charming neighborhoods, some of her favorites being Federal Hill, Fells Point, Hampden, and the up-and-coming Remington.
  • We also just wrapped up the second annual Light City, an amazing light installation show and conference, which is the first of its kind in the US. Mark your calendars for April 2018!
  • Since Renee is an architecture geek, she had to mention that Baltimore is known for its adaptive reuse projects and all of it’s historic buildings. She recommends checking out Silo Point, a former grain silo; the new Pendry Hotel, a historic recreation pier; and Bar Vasquez, once an operating train depot.
  • Plus, Baltimore is affordable! You’re not going to break the bank while having an awesome experience.
Renee-Beck-Baltimore-Blogger-Portrait-Photography

Renee at Order & Chaos, Baltimore MD

A big thanks to Renee for taking some time to chat through her favorite spots, travel tips, and next adventures. You can follow along on her journey at @reneelbeck or on her blog. Hope you were able to take a few travel tips away from this post and it helps to inspire your next adventure!

 

Until Next Time,

Becky-Stavely-Our-Endless-Adventure

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A Look Back on 2016 in Photos

Art, At Home, Baltimore, City Adventures, Destinations, Engagements, Food & Drink, Lifestyle, On The Road, Outdoor Adventures, Photography, Travel, Weddings By January 23, 2017 Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , No Comments

It may have taken me a little longer to put this post together for many reasons, but mainly because I got a little lost in reminiscing through it all. 2016 was a big year. It was filled with travels, decisions, friends, milestones, and lots of memories. I’ve heard that the only time to look back is to see how far you’ve come and before I fully kick it into 2017 (yes, I know it is already the 22nd of January), let’s take a look back on 2016 together.

austin1

The year kicked off with a trip to Austin, Texas – where I immediately felt at home with all of the delicious food and funky street art. Ironically, I took a picture of the weather sign while there was nearly 2 ft of snow falling at home in Maryland.

Niece

Despite the snowstorm threat, my brother and sister-in-law had their second child once it all calmed down. Needless to say, we all fell in love.

Nashville-5

I had the opportunity to join my husband in Nashville, which is basically his second home with work travels. I was cool with Nashville becoming my second home for a bit too.

Nashville-6

Especially with all of the cool murals and delicious food in East Nashville. My mouth is now watering for some Hot Chicken and biscuits.

Key-West

We headed to the southernmost city in the US to celebrate a good friend’s 30th birthday. Not much can compare to a friendship that has lasted for over 20 years. Something like that deserves a trip to Key West! Pineapple drinks for all. Even the roosters in the streets were ready to celebrate.

Puerto-Rico

We had the chance to go to Puerto Rico to visit our friend’s amazing home in Vieques with a quick stop in Old San Juan. I. Need. To. Go. Back. If you want in on the good times and laid back vibes, look up the Oreanda!

Light-City-Baltimore-2016-Maryland

2016 was the first year of Light City, a festival of light, music & innovation in Baltimore. From the light installations to the energy on the streets to the official Light City cocktail, it was a very special time for this city. I am honored to be involved with making 2017 bigger, bolder & brighter.

Denver1

Our endless adventure then took us to Denver, Colorado – the mile high city. The food, the music, the beer, everything, Denver rocks, especially the Red Rocks. (hey oh)

Chitown

A good friend recently moved to Chicago, Illinois and she gave us the best tour of all the best spots in just under 48 hours. Must return for more deep dish.

Savannah2

What better way to celebrate a friend getting married than to discover a new city together? Savannah was full of beautiful sights, ghosts, and coffee. Thanks for having us, Georgia!

Rehoboth

Then said friend had a perfectly intimate and loved filled wedding in Rehoboth Beach, which I had the honor of capturing. I can’t wait to capture more intimate weddings in 2017.

Loch-Fells

As the maid-of-honor AND engagement photographer, I was super excited when my good friend and her fiance had no issue taking an adventure into the woods of Loch Raven Reservoir and then to the piers of Fells Point. Can’t wait for June 2017!

torchystaco

When I visited Austin earlier in the year, I knew I had to come back. At the very least, for the tacos. Torchy’s Tacos does not mess around.

Austin

I also wanted some of my closest ladies to experience Austin with me. From kayaking to mural hunting to getting down on Rainey Street, a huge thanks to them and the city of Austin for making my 30th birthday one that I will not forget.

San-Diego

We couldn’t forget to celebrate Chris and his birthday. San Diego seemed like a good choice. While the sunshine, beers, and tacos were amazing, it was even more wonderful to catch up with high school and college friends. Thanks for living in paradise so we can visit often.

Baltimore

In between trips, there is always more to explore in Baltimore. 2016 was a big year for @thebmorecreatives. It feels like their event at the National Aquarium was ages ago. Chris and I also fully enjoyed heading back to our old ‘hood to enjoy the lights.

Madiera

As if 2016 didn’t have enough fun packed in, one of my dearest friends, who I have know since I was about… 6 months old, decided to get married on New Year’s Eve in Madeira, a tiny Portuguese island off the coast of Africa. We couldn’t say no.

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It was a truly a magical island and a magical night. I’d like to find other words to describe it, but magical is really nailing it.

Home

But at the end of every trip, there is nothing like snuggling up with my little family at our home in Baltimore. Not pictured: our spotted pup that I was cuddling.

Looking forward to 2017 and all that it will bring.

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Miracle on 34th Street | Hampden Neighborhood Guide

Art, Baltimore, City Adventures, Destinations, Food & Drink By December 5, 2016 Tags: , , , , , , , 2 Comments

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You may have heard of the classic Christmas movie, Miracle on 34th Street, but have you ever been to THE Miracle on 34th Street? Every year, a crazy wonderful amount of homemade and store-bought holiday decorations light up a block of 34th Street in the neighborhood of Hampden, Baltimore. The lights go live the weekend after Thanksgiving and you should definitely take the time to check them out before New Years.

For those coming in from out of the neighborhood, as a past Hampden resident, I must insist that you do not try and drive through. For one, it is nearly impossible. You either end up spending too much time waiting in a long car line or the road might be closed. Also, you must explore the neighborhood! I wanted to pull together a few of my favorite spots to help guide visitors, but picking my favorite spots in Hampden is like picking a favorite child, so I brought in a few local Hampden lovers.

charmcitycookMeet Amy, also known as the @CharmCityCook. Amy is a consultant and blogger, who loves the weirdness of her neighborhood of Hampden.

 

louMeet Lou, who many have dubbed the unofficial mayor of Hampden. If you’re lucky, you may even be able to get a trike ride from him to the lights, synchronized to music of course.

 

alyshaMeet Alysha, who helps to share what’s happening around Baltimore through @DiscoverCharmCity. Alysha suggests that you take your time to look through all that Hampden has to offer.

 

 

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First Things First, Where Do I Park?

If you come earlier in the day, you will have better luck finding some street parking. Otherwise, there is plenty of metered parking along 36th street (fondly known as “The Avenue”) and some down Chestnut Avenue. For easiest parking, check out the parking information here

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‘Tis The Season for Giving, Check Out the Shops for Gifts

I highly recommend to come earlier in the day and do some of your holiday shopping. Amy suggests that your first stop be her favorite shop, Trohv, a home and gift shop. It is my personal favorite for finding the perfect gift for friends and family. Lou recommends checking out the painted crabshells from Razzo for a truly unique gift. Some other great shops to include (but are not limited to):

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My Food Market favorite, the Buffalo Pickles

Before the Hanger Hits, Find Some Dinner

All of that shopping would lead anyone to have quite an appetite and you are in luck, Hampden has many dining options. If Amy had her pick, you would find her at the bar of The Food Market, enjoying a delicious dinner and a martini. I would also recommend reservations if you are looking for a table.

If You Are Looking for a More Casual Dinner

  • Luigi’s Italian Deli is one of my personal favorites. While passing owners throughout the years, it remains a staple in Hampden. I love the Italian Cold Cut, but you will hear many rave about the Scooch or the Chub.
  • You will find one of the largest Royal Farms right on the Avenue. RoFo can be quite family friendly and affordable when you are exploring with kids, especially since there is seating and the fanciest Royal Farms ceiling you’ll ever see. (Update: It wasn’t named the best fast food fried chicken by Food & Wine for no reason.)
  • Lou recommends holding out for the Hot Dog Cart on 34th Street, sponsored by The Food Market and all proceeds go to the GreenMount School. All food and drinks served by the students. 

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Save Some Room for Dessert

Alysha and Lou advise that you grab a Hot Chocolate from the Charmery before walking down to the lights. Get ready for some huge handmade Marshmallows. 

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Save Water, Drink Beer

If you are looking for a local brew, head over to Waverly Brewing Company and Union Craft Brewing. Both within walking distance. Amy recommends the Foxy IPA or the Double Duckpin, her personal favorites from Union.

Wine Not?

If grapes are more your thing, head over to 13.5% Wine Bar. You won’t be disappointed by their wall of wine.

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It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Cocktails

If you are looking for a craft cocktail, you must find the Other Corner. It is essentially the back room of the Corner Charcuterie Bar, but with a different vibe that is away from the hustle and bustle of the holidays. Alysha likes it because it is dark and cozy with great music. If you’re Lou, you always end up at the back corner because “once that door closes, you could be anywhere in the world.”

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What’s New?

New businesses are constantly opening in the quirky neighborhood of Hampden. Try out some of these new spots:

  • Five & Dime Ale House – a new take on a classic neighborhood tavern 
  • Wicked Sisters – restaurant brought to you by the same wonderful people who created Papi’s Tacos, Alexander’s Tavern, and Huck’s 
  • Paulie Gee’s – a delicious pizza joint. Alysha recommends the back bar that has a nostalgic basement feel, complete with trophies.

Make a Night of it

Because after a few drinks, you wouldn’t want to miss a delicious brunch in the AM.

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Happy Holidays!

Becky-Stavely-Our-Endless-Adventure

 

 

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Top Events To Do This November Around Baltimore

Baltimore, City Adventures, Destinations By November 4, 2016 Tags: , , 1 Comment

Happy November, y’all! I feel like I say this every month, but when on earth did it become November?! Life has been pretty hectic recently (a good hectic) and the weather has been a bit warm for this time of year, so I suppose that has thrown me off. Nonetheless, here we are, in the month that yours truly was born, the month that I turn the big 3-0. It should be a good one. I have never been one to want time to stop or to live in the past, I am always excited for what is to come, including my thirties. Plus, I love any excuse to get together and celebrate with friends and family, so celebrate we will. All. Month. Long. Yep, one of those girls.

Since I don’t want to leave you out of the celebrations, I wanted to share a few fun things to do around my hometown, this glorious city of Baltimore. Yes, the weather is cooling, but you don’t have to hibernate quite yet. There is a lot going on around Baltimore in November, from fishies to tapas to plants and bikes. Read on.

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November 6th

It’s Pay What You Want Day at the Aquarium. Yes, you heard me, guests may choose their admission price to access nearly 20,000 animals at the National Aquarium. That’s a lot of animals. Grab the amount of dollars you want to spend and make time to reconnect with all of the world’s aquatic treasures.

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Grilled Cornbread with Pimento Cheese, Photo Taken by Tapas in the City

November 7th & November 9th

There isn’t much that brings people together like food does and Tapas in the City gets that. Every month, they partner with a different Baltimore restaurant to create a new culinary adventure where you can enjoy a multi-course tapas style meal. On Monday, November 7th and Wednesday, November 9th, join Tapas in the City for a six course tapas meal with an optional drink pairing to taste all the delicious food from Chef Rafael at Wayward Southern Bar & Kitchen. You can buy your tickets here using promo code WBK for $5 off.

This month’s menu will include:

  • Grilled Cornbread with Pimento Cheese
  • Pulled Pork Arancini
  • Burrata Salad
  • Smoked Gouda Brisket Mac N’ Cheese
  • Wayward Slider
  • Grilled Biscuit with Vanilla Bourbon Ice Cream

Also, because Tapas in the City and I love food AND you all so much, we are giving away 2 tickets to Monday’s dinner adventure at Wayward Southern Bar & Kitchen. Simply follow @ourendlessadventure and @tapasinthecity on Instagram or Facebook, then tag a friend you want to join you in the comments! Head over to Instagram or Facebook to enter to win. No purchase necessary to win. Winner will be drawn at random on Sunday, November 6th at 12PM.

November 8th

Do your patriotic duty and VOTE MOTHATRUCKAS

November 10th

Head over to the Rawlings Conservatory to mingle and enjoy botanically-inspired cocktails, including the signature Palm House Punch. I am super super sad to miss this one because this is where Chris proposed and it would be amazing to have cocktails in this magical place, so please, go do this for me. I will live vicariously.

November 25th

Time to burn off the Thanksgiving food in the most fun way – Baltimore Bike Party! This month is a super cozy PJ theme and ends with an after-party at the Ottobar.

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November 27th

Since Thanksgiving will be over, it will then be appropriate to start thinking about December holidays! Join the Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter (BARCs) in Harbor East for Pet Photos with Santa! They provide on-site print outs of your pet photo, as well as a link to download the digital file after the event.

Enjoy your November and hope to see you around town!

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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