Browsing Category

Travel

Float Therapy Review | Are Sensory Deprivation Tanks For You?

City Adventures, Lifestyle, On The Road By May 31, 2017 Tags: , , , , , 1 Comment
Float-Therapy-Pure-Sweat-Studio-Nashville-Isolation-Tank

Image From Pure Sweat + Float Studio Website

I first heard about “floating” from some co-workers a couple years ago. During our conversation, there were a couple of people who had done it before and spoke highly of it. On the other hand, there were quite a few people who had never done it and thought it sounded weird. That quickly intrigued me, but I didn’t get around to trying it until this past week. Read on to hear what floating is, why you should do it, and my experience! I’ll let you know if I plan on trying it again.

What is Float Therapy?

Float therapy is when a you occupy a tank or pod that is designed for short term sensory deprivation. The tank of water is heated to body-temperature and filled with thousands of pounds epsom salt (magnesium sulphate) in order to make you completely buoyant. It is often combined with a light-less and sound-free atmosphere for an ultimate sensory-free experience.

These tanks were originally created in the 1950s by neuropsychologists, gaining popularity in the 1970s, and with a more mainstream resurgence recently. Float tanks are also known as Isolation Tanks or Sensory Deprivation Tanks. Although, the not so friendly thoughts around the words “isolation” and “deprivation” have led to a rebranding as “floating” or REST, which stands for “restricted environment stimulation technique.”

Floating-Therapy-Isolation-Tank-Review-Nashville-Pure-Sweat-Studio-2

Why Should You Float?

Sounds pretty crazy, huh? Perhaps, but it definitely caught my attention. These tanks can create a powerful environment to force the brain to take a break from endless thoughts and technology. I have heard that it can be comparable to (if not better than) meditation, yoga, and even drugs.

Float therapy has been connected with a number of benefits for the brain and body. It has been said that the sensory deprivation can slow brain waves until they reach the theta state, which is similar to the state attained during meditation.

With my, what some may call, “monkey brain” jumping around from idea to idea, topped off with a layer of anxiety, and occasional bout of insomnia for good measure, I am always ready to try new ways to slow down and enjoy life. Not to mention, many have seen spikes in creativity after sessions, perhaps from giving your brain some much needed time to reboot and refresh. I have even heard of creativity being compared to a deer, if you become very still and quiet, it is more likely to show its face. You officially have my attention, float therapy.

Potential Benefits from Float Therapy

  • Induce deep relaxation and alleviate anxiety
  • Reduce stress by lowering cortisol levels
  • Relieve pain on the back, joints, and sore muscles, manage chronic pain
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Increase hair and skin health
  • Alleviate insomnia

My Float Tank Experience

As I mentioned, it took me two years from first learning about floating to actually pull the trigger. A few things that held me back: the idea of getting in a small tank filled with water for a long period of time, discovering that my slightly possible claustrophobia is actually real after paying a good chunk of change, and the lack of options in the Baltimore area. But I often hear that all the fun is outside our comfort zones, so hey, I went for it.

I had some extra time when I was in Nashville and had come across Pure Sweat + Float Studio in an article. They just opened a few months ago and the photos looked quite nice, a lovely mix of boho and spa. Not too fancy, but reputable, so I made an appointment online. For first time floaters, it is $75, so at least it was a little less for my first experience.

As I was approaching the new location in Belle Meade (the super swanky, old money side of town), I passed 2 wine bars, 2 juice bars, a yoga studio, and a few high-end boutiques. I was on my way to try something new and while I like all of those things, I was quickly feeling out of place. Spoiler alert: I’m not very swanky or luxury-seeking. Also, hello to the very anxiety I was there to reduce.

Floating-Therapy-Isolation-Tank-Review-Nashville-Pure-Sweat-Studio

My worries were quickly put to ease though when I walked into Pure Sweat + Float Studio. It is a very welcoming serene environment and I was greeted by some friendly faces. I was taken back to one of the float rooms and had the full process explained to me. I was to pop in some earplugs and rinse off in the private shower prior to getting into the pod, which was about 5 feet wide, 8 feet long, and a few feet deep.

The state-of-the-art Evolution Float Pods at Pure Sweat + Float Studio offered some customizable settings based on my personal preferences. I had the option of keeping the lid open, dimming the lights, and playing some music, or I could lower the lid for a more sensory-free experience. I went for the latter. I figured if I was going to do it, I was going to fully do it. The lid intentionally does not fully close or latch, plus it has a bit of height even when closed, which eased my potential claustrophobia.

I don’t know what I expected, but with the amount of epsom salt, you truly float right up to the surface. It was really cool gravity-free feeling. They had a little floating plastic ring I could put my head in to ensure my face stayed above the surface, which made my neck ache at first as I adjusted my posture forced by my buoyancy, but that passed. I had a dry towel on hand just in case any water got close to my eyes and I quickly took myself through some meditations to help jump into relaxation.

For my first time, I think I was a little distracted by the experience to get into a deep meditative state that I know I can reach, but I can see the potential there and would love to try again now that I know the drill. At some point, with the heat, it felt a bit stuffy, but I easily cracked the lid without taking away from my relaxation. Despite it being very exploratory, I still found myself forgetting about my worries and to-do’s. I tried my best to not let my brain go down the road of all the reasons why I should open a float studio in Baltimore. Before I knew it, the 60 minutes was up, the lights were automatically easing back on and a relaxing voice recording was telling me to exit and rinse off. I left feeling very refreshed and seriously ready to sleep (even though I had to head to the airport to fly home and was greeted with a 2 hour delay, hello reality).

Floating-Therapy-Isolation-Tank-Review-Nashville-Pure-Sweat-Studio-3 copy

First Timer Suggestions

  • Show up early for the paperwork and a walk through, ask for a rundown if they don’t readily explain the process to you.
  • Be prepared to shower on location before (to remove the oils) and after (to rinse off the salt), typically places have shampoo, conditioner and towels, but bring a brush.
  • Don’t shave the day of, especially if you have sensitive skin. It will burn.
  • Wear loose clothing and sandals/flip flops to easily hop in and out comfortably.

Overall, I would suggest going into the session with a low expectations. Don’t seek a life-changing experience your first time because like meditation and yoga, it takes time and practice to reach that. However, do give yourself the opportunity to rest and recover and see what benefits it can bring you personally! While I am not going to add this into my weekly routine, I think I will try it every few months to help press the reset button. Now to convince Pure Sweat + Float studio to open a Baltimore location!

Please note: I am not a doctor of any sort (surprise, surprise). If you want more medically proven information, I would recommend doing what we all do: google it. Also, this is not a sponsored post. As always, thoughts and opinions are all my own.

 

Float On,

Becky-Stavely-Our-Endless-Adventure

Share:

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.

Denver-Colorado-Bridge-Highland

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.

Alpine-Dog-Brewery-Denver-Colorado

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
Share:

Don’t Miss These Austin Murals | Street Art Tour Guide

Art, City Adventures, Travel By May 1, 2017 Tags: , , , , , No Comments

Are you heading to Austin soon? Whether it’s the music, the food, or the every so popular weirdness taking you there, I would highly recommend setting some time aside to explore the murals and street art that fill the city. At the very least, keep an eye out as you adventure around town. I have put together a guide for where to find some murals around town. Note: this is not a definitive guide as I find more every time I visit, but simply a tour of those I have seen over the years.

I first visited Austin in 2008 when my husband, Chris, and I drove cross country after graduation. Since then, Chris has started visiting Austin for work and I try to join as much as possible. Every time I go, I find even more I love and can’t wait to go back already.

This photo was taken back in 2008 during our first Austin trip, when my fascination with street art was blooming. “Jeremiah the Innocent” is located at Guadalupe & 21st and is still there today.

South Congress offers a lot to be explored, from the infamous I Love You So Much wall at Jo’s Coffee (on the left, be sure to grab a coffee!) to the Love From Austin mural on the side of Magnolia Cafe (on the right).

Two more fun murals found off South Congress Ave, near Hey Cupcake!

Home Slice is known not just for their delicious pizza, but also the fun art surrounding both buildings.

When in SoCo, you might as well grab a cone at Amy’s. The line is worth it. And what better way to grab a photo of your cone than with this in the background?

Both of these murals are found on the sides of Bird’s Barbershop off of South Congress Ave.

Don’t miss your chance to grab a snap of this Austin postcard mural located at South 1st and Annie Street, on the side of Roadhouse Relics.

The Hope Outdoor Gallery is worth setting aside some extra time to explore when in Austin. It is ever-changing and you can watch as artists paint while you are there.

It is the only park of its kind in the USA and was developed to provide muralists, street artists, arts education classes and community groups the opportunity to display large scale art pieces driven by inspirational, positive & educational messaging.

There are a few of these located around town, but you can find this stencil mural on the wall of the Mexic-Arte museum on 4th and Congress.

And I couldn’t forget this oh-so-popular Austin mural located at 2000 E MLK Jr Blvd.

Am I missing any of your favorites? Add them in the comments below! I love finding new ones each time I visit.

Also, what goes better with a mural and street art tour than brunch? Check out some of my favorite places to brunch in Austin.

xoxo,

Becky-Stavely-Our-Endless-Adventure

Share:

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

Share:
Becky-Stavely-Our-Endless-Adventure-Baltimore-Travel-Photographer

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.

Madeira-Small-Intimate-Wedding

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.

Share:
miracle-34th-street-hampden-baltimore-guide-13

Miracle on 34th Street | Hampden Neighborhood Guide

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

miracle-34th-street-hampden-baltimore-guide-8

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.

 

 

miracle-34th-street-hampden-baltimore-guide-2016

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

miracle-34th-street-36th-avenue-hampden-shopping-baltimore

‘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):

miracle-34th-street-hampden-baltimore-food-market

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. 

miracle-34th-street-hampden-baltimore-charmery

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. 

hampden-baltimore-union-craft-brewing

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.

other-corner-charcuterie-bar-hampden

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.”

34th-36th-street-miracle-hampden-baltimore

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.

miracle-34th-street-hampden-baltimore-guide-9

 

Happy Holidays!

Becky-Stavely-Our-Endless-Adventure

 

 

Share:
november-baltimore-to-do-chalkboard

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.

 national-aquarium-baltimore

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.

cheesy-cornbread-wayward-tapas-in-the-city

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.

harbor-east-barcs-pet-photos

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

Share:
carolyn-adam-engagement-loch-raven-reservoir-fells-point-maryland-baltimore-8

Carolyn & Adam’s Adventure | Loch Raven & Fells Point Engagement

Baltimore, Engagements, Outdoor Adventures, Photography By October 17, 2016 Tags: , , , , , , No Comments

I recently had the pleasure of capturing engagement photos of two of my good friends, Carolyn and Adam, who are getting married next June. When chatting about spots for photos, they were hoping for a balance of some outdoors and some in the city. I was super excited when they completely trusted me to go wander in the woods to find a reservoir that none of us had ever been to. Loch Raven Reservoir was very gorgeous in early October and we already want to go back for more adventures. We then wrapped up the session with a gorgeous autumn evening in Fells Point, one of my favorite neighborhoods in Baltimore.

I first met Carolyn in middle school, as she was good friends with my sister. In college, I was lucky enough to live with Carolyn, along with a few other amazing ladies, and we have been pretty inseparable ever since. Carolyn is one of the most loyal and incredibly caring friends I have, always willing to put everyone before herself. She is upbeat, friendly, and ridiculous, needless to say time with her is never boring.

Adam and Carolyn met through some mutual friends. After months of Carolyn talking about how rugged and handsome our friend’s friend was, all they needed was a not so coincidental table assignment at a wedding for their romance to truly start. From there, there were many weekend trips back and forth between Maryland and Connecticut, with Adam eventually making Baltimore his new home with Carolyn.

While I did not know Adam previous to their relationship, I can say I’ve never seen Carolyn so happy and in love. I believe they truly complement and balance each other. You can tell they care deeply for each other by all that they do for each other and with each other, all with a great sense of humor about life. Also, I love that they are just as happy to curl up on their couch on a Saturday night with their dog, Winston, as they are up for sailing around the Caribbean (where they also got engaged, not romantic at all, right?). I have so many other details I would love to share about them here, but I need to save some details for my maid-of-honor speech!

Without further ado, enjoy some moments with Carolyn and Adam below. Happy Engagement!

Much Love,

Becky-Stavely-Our-Endless-Adventure

carolyn-adam-engagement-loch-raven-reservoir-fells-point-maryland-baltimore

carolyn-adam-engagement-loch-raven-reservoir-fells-point-maryland-baltimore-2

carolyn-adam-engagement-loch-raven-reservoir-fells-point-maryland-baltimore-4

carolyn-adam-engagement-loch-raven-reservoir-fells-point-maryland-baltimore-3

carolyn-adam-engagement-loch-raven-reservoir-fells-point-maryland-baltimore-5

carolyn-adam-engagement-loch-raven-reservoir-fells-point-maryland-baltimore-6

carolyn-adam-engagement-loch-raven-reservoir-fells-point-maryland-baltimore-7

carolyn-adam-engagement-loch-raven-reservoir-fells-point-maryland-baltimore-9

carolyn-adam-engagement-loch-raven-reservoir-fells-point-maryland-baltimore-10

maryland-engagement-fells-point-carolyn-adam-baltimore-4

maryland-engagement-fells-point-carolyn-adam-baltimore-4

maryland-engagement-fells-point-carolyn-adam-baltimore-4

maryland-engagement-fells-point-carolyn-adam-baltimore-4

maryland-engagement-fells-point-carolyn-adam-baltimore-4

maryland-engagement-fells-point-carolyn-adam-baltimore-4

maryland-engagement-fells-point-carolyn-adam-baltimore-4

maryland-engagement-fells-point-carolyn-adam-baltimore-4

Share:
austin-welcome-brunch-our-endless-adventure-travel-blog

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.

bangers-austin-brunch-sunday-big-band-our-endless-adventure

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).

Olivia-Austin-Brunch-Our-Endless-Adventure

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.

torchys-tacos-austin-brunch-our-endless-adventure

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.

L'Oca-D'Oro-Austin-Brunch-Taste-Koko-Our-Endless-Adventure

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

Bagels-Austin-Texas-Brunch-Our-Endless-Adventure

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.

austin-food-trailers-sign-visit-our-endless-adventure

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

Share:
VW-Bus-Cross-Country-Roadtrip-Our-Endless-Adventure-Travel-Blog

I Quit My Job, Now What?

Lifestyle, Photography, Travel By October 13, 2016 Tags: , 12 Comments

Yes, you read correctly, I have quit my full-time job and as you may have noticed, started this new blog. Hello blog post #1 of Our Endless Adventure. I have to confess, I’m super excited AND super nervous. If you were wondering how I got here and what this means for you, I invite you to keep on reading.

Obligatory Background Story

In 2008, my now husband and I put our stuff into storage and drove cross country for a month. We quickly learned that not only could our relationship survive a month living out of a 1995 Lincoln Continental that his Granddad lent us, but we also learned that we loved traveling together, discovering new places, and creating our own adventures. Since then, from Mexico and Italy to Aruba and Puerto Rico, we haven’t stopped making travel a priority in our lives.

We also haven’t stopped talking about driving across the United States again because there is so much to discover here in our own country. Every time we see an airstream trailer or a VW bus, Chris can just sense my eyes lighting up and is already saying “I know” in a loving manner before I have a chance to gush. Recently, we found ourselves in the Red Rocks of Colorado, where the idea of a 2 week drive down the coast of California next year quickly turned into many what if’s… what if it was a 1 month trip? Or… 2 months across the country? Maybe it was the local greenery speaking to me, but fuck it, maybe even 3 months? I knew I couldn’t let this idea go.

I’m not going to lie, I became a bit obsessed with this idea. Chris and I have had many conversations about this idea since Colorado. Somewhere, in between a few glasses of wine on our deck, in the minutes before drifting off to sleep, and on summer evening walks with our dog, it started to become something bigger. It became something we simply had to experience again, but differently, because 21 year old me and soon to be 30 year old me would definitely do things differently (as is with most of life). It became the inspiring force behind a major shift in my career. It became a new chapter in our lives.

Cross-Country-Roadtrip-Our-Endless-Adventure-Travel-Blog

Our First Cross Country Roadtrip, Circa 2008

But Why?

What was driving this desire, this new found obsession to get up and drive across the country for a few months? We had talked about trying to have kids once I turned 30 (t-minus 30 days until that happens, eek), was I trying to avoid this reality? Things had been changing at work, was I no longer happy at my job? We had recently bought a house in Baltimore City, was I regretting the decision of being so committed to one place? We dug deep, we had some tough conversations, but amazing conversations that make me so grateful for my husband, my best friend. Naturally though, none of these truly answered the why. I had a bad-ass, flexible job, I love our new home, and I can’t wait to raise a family here in Maryland, but I still had this desire to just… go.

It might be that I value the sense of freedom and independence it takes to find out who I am by exploring the world. It might be because I’m scared of being trapped, financially and/or creatively. Maybe it’s because there has always been a part of me that doesn’t want to be told what to do. I respect those who can chart their own path and are different, not for the sake of being different, but because it works for them. I personally don’t want to live my life how others think I should because I want to find what works for me.

It’s also possible I simply have a serious case of FOMO. I do not want to look back and regret that I didn’t experience all of the things I want to. I know that to an extent travel will become more difficult as we have children and that it may fall to the wayside, but I am also honest with myself that my priorities will change once we have a little one to take care of. I am okay with that, in fact, I am kind of excited for when that time will come, but we are just not there yet. I also genuinely believe that in expanding my perspectives through travel, I will not only grow myself, but have the ability to be a better parent (again, when that time comes). I have to admit, I still haven’t figured it out yet, but I am thinking with a little time, some fresh perspectives, and new surroundings, I might get closer.

Or if you asked Donna from Parks & Rec, maybe it’s just the return of Saturn, we may never know.

Our-Endless-Adventure-Desk-Job

Working hard at OrderUp, Photo Credit: Jason Palumbo

So Why Did I Quit My Job?

I’d love to say it was because I worked in some boring cubicle, handcuffed to a desk, working long hours on boring things, but I can’t. For over the past year and a half, I’ve had the pleasure of working for a company called OrderUp. From a Baltimore based startup to a recent acquisition by Groupon, I have happily lived that #orderuplife and surrounded myself with people who love food. I have taken a part in launching over 9 new markets, worked with some of the most talented people I have ever met, and have watched as OrderUp delivered happiness to many new customers (in the form of food). Prior to that, I worked for McCormick and Company, the largest spice company in the world, filled with people who are dedicated to making your food more flavorful and less boring (you might be sensing a theme… I love food). I am honored and grateful to have been able to work with so many creatively hungry people and to have done my part to help each company grow to where they are now, but it is time for my next adventure.

Now What?

In order to make things like a couple month cross-country trip in the future come true, Chris and I had to rethink our current lifestyle and figure out how we could get there. Moving forward, I plan to concentrate much of my energy on this new blog, where I will be sharing photography and stories from my travels and my day to day lifestyle. I hope that in sharing my experiences with others, I can inspire and empower others to get out and explore themselves.

I will also be pursuing marketing consulting opportunities where I can use my brand and digital marketing expertise to help businesses tell their story to their customers. As with my blog, I am passionate about sharing exciting experiences, small businesses, and connecting them to the people who want them. You can learn more about my services here.

And let’s not forget, late next summer, I will be driving cross country. Routes and timing to be determined, I’ll obviously want your recommendations and input! Between now and the great roadtrip of 2017, I will have some other adventures to share… NYC, Austin, San Diego, Portugal, Thailand, Iceland, and more.

becky-stavely-travel-blogger-RV-baltimore-photography-our-endless-adventure

What Does All of This Mean For You?

I will have more to post here! I will be focusing on sharing authentic experiences and stories that I encounter, as I genuinely believe that these experiences make for a more fulfilling life. I will be putting myself out there, learning to explore this ordinary world in novel and extraordinary ways. I believe we become more physically and emotionally engaged when traveling and through that, I want to find both peacefulness and exciting new energy. I want to learn more about myself and meet others unlike myself. I want to see parts of the world that have not been touched by humans, while also finding things that could have only been created by truly creative souls. And then I want to share this all with you.

I will be documenting these adventures right here on the blog, sometimes in the form of delicious spots to eat, where to find your next drink, adventures in and outside of cities, and everything colorful and creative I find along the way. In true Becky fashion, I’ll be sure to include the occasional cat photo (#sorrynotsorry). I know all of these adventures will change my perspective on life and guide where we may go from there, knowing that after all of it, I will always be grateful to come back home.

Speaking of, for my Baltimore lovers, I will always be BSinBMORE at heart. I will always be a big advocate for our hometown and will continue to share things to do around this charming city. There is so much cool shit going on around Baltimore and I continue to learn more each day as I expand outside of my network of people and meet more creative, like-minded folks. Maybe, perhaps, I’ll be able to share with others that Baltimore can be an amazing destination for their travels.

If you are down to follow along on this endless adventure, please sign up for my email newsletters, like my page on Facebook, and follow along on Instagram for daily updates. And if you are so inclined, share this blog and my pages with any like-minded souls who have an appetite for creating their own adventures.

Stay tuned for more,
Becky-Stavely-Our-Endless-Adventure

Share: