Travel, When in

Best Cities for Solo Travellers

Solo travel is one of the best options for a little “me” time. Don’t get me wrong, I love travelling with my family but sometimes I just need a personal getaway. I get to see the world on my own terms, make my own schedule and not feel rushed when site seeing. Besides, there is just something about that type of independence that’s freeing and energizing. I picked 5 destinations that are perfect for solo trips – some places I’ve already visited and some are on my travel goals list for 2021 and 2022.

Austin,Texas

Texas is a lot of fun and has a ton of fun places to visit. But Austin by far is the best! Known as the “music capital of the world”, you’ll hear lots of music and see lots of performances so bring your dancing shoes. And forget your diet, there is so much tasty food to eat. Plus, Texans are SUPER friendly so you’ll never feel truly alone while visiting. Summers in Austin are packed with events from the SXSW to the Pecan Street festival and there are lots of places to visit. Its the perfect place to meet new people!

San Francisco, California

If you really want to be free, head to San Francisco, California where literally anything goes! I fell in love with San Francisco when I visited and plan on returning soon. In general the Bay area is beautiful and the temperature is perfect. The multicultural aspect of the city is amazing and fun, you’ll get tons of experiences. Plus there are lots opportunities for rejuvenation and relaxation from a yoga or meditation class at sunrise to hitting the beach to visiting any 1 of the amazing spas.

Moab, Utah

If your an outdoor enthusiast, love van or camper life, hiking and bouldering Moab is where you want to be. From Canyonlands to Arches National Park you have plenty of space for outdoor activities and enjoy the wonders of our gorgeous earth. There are a ton of incredible rock formations to see! When your done with your outdoor activities, you can hang out at the free campsites or coffee shops and watch the sunset over Dead horse point.

Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Cape Cod is absolutely beautiful! Its very safe, easy to get around and about an 1 from Boston or Providence. You’ll definitely want to explore its beautiful beaches and epic sand dunes. If your a shopper, be sure to check out Wellfleet flea market on the weekend. Don’t forget to enjoy some delicious clam chowder at any of the fantastic restaurants.

Charleston, South Carolina

The perfect quaint southern spot, Charleston has lots of history and hospitality. This is the perfect solo trip if you love the beach, sipping tea-Charleston tea that is, or visiting a craft brewery! The best time to visit is the Spring and Fall as the temperature will be milder. One the best experiences to have is oysters and live music, a favorite past time for Charlerstonians.

Travel, When in

5 Reasons to Travel by Train

If you plan on traveling, why not take the scenic route and travel by train. Traveling by train gives you plenty of opportunities to the see your country and towns, both big and small. Other than the great views, there are some other reasons you should travel by train. Here are out top reasons to travel by train.

  1. Save Money: Traveling by train is very cost effective no matter the destination compared to other forms of travel. Plus, you get deep discounts on tickets for children, seniors and students.
  2. Flexibility: Unlike flying, you can literally go to the train station and buy a ticket the day of you trip. No worries about reservations, seat availability or last minute fees. Its the perfect way to do a spur of the moment trip.
  3. Eco-friendly: Trains are more energy efficient per mile than planes or cars. Carbon emissions from trains are less damaging to the atmosphere. In turn, this keeps fuel prices low and less susceptible to price increase. Thus, train prices stay pretty consistent and affordable especially in an unstable economy.
  4. Relaxation: Trains and their seats are roomy, comfortable, and have plenty of leg room. unlike on an airplane. Trains are soothing and less stressful especially as you watch the beautiful scenery go by.
  5. Family Friendly: Along with ticket discounts for children, traveling by train is a great opportunity to spend quality time with your children. They will be thrilled and full of questions about all the things they will see along their trip.

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Food, Surviving Chaos

Brigadeiro: Traditional Brazilian Desert

Brigadeiro

How about a chewy candy to start your new year off right! Brigadeiro are rich “little chocolate nuggets” popular in Brazil and were created by confectioner Heloisa Nabuco de Oliveira. Brigadeiros typically accompany birthday celebrations but you can have them for any celebration. This Brigadeiro recipe is easy, kid friendly and makes quite a few….12-14 total!

Ingredients

  • 1 14 oz (300 ml) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 3 tablespoons (22 g) unsweetened cocoa
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) water
  • 1 tablespoon (14 g) butter
  • chocolate or rainbow sprinkles

Let’s Make It!

  1. Use half of the butter to grease a big plate or platter.
  2. In a small bowl or cup, mix the cocoa and water so the cocoa dissolves.
  3. In a medium-sized, heavy saucepan, use a wooden spoon to combine the dissolved cocoa, condensed milk, and the remaining butter over medium-low heat.
  4. Keep stirring until the mixture thickens and starts to look a bit like brownie batter. When you drag your spoon across the bottom of the pan, it should take a moment before the gap fills back in. Hang in there, this step can take as long as 20 minutes.
  5. Spread the chocolate on the buttered platter and let it cool to room temperature. If you want to speed up the cooling, pop the platter in the fridge.
  6. Once the mixture is cool, grease your hands with a little butter. Scoop up some chocolate in a spoon and then roll it between your palms to form a ball.
  7. Roll the ball in sprinkles. Scoop and roll the rest of the chocolate the same way. Enjoy!
  8. Muy delicioso!!

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Style, Surviving Chaos

2020 Year in Review: Favorite Books

Although 2020 didn’t quite work out the way we planned….we still managed to get some reading done. I ended up reading more books this year because we’ve been staying at home to stay safe. I found myself reading books in new genres like fantasy, historical fiction, books written by women of color, autobiographies, trilogies and more. Diving into a good book has helped me stay sane, especially during the chaos of this past year and gave me some me time away (self care) from everything happening in the world. It’s been a tumultuous year!!! Below is a list of my 5 favorites books from this year, some you have heard of and others you may not. Although these are my 5 favorite books, I did have some honorable mentions that are definitely worth picking up on your next trip to the bookstore. Happy reading!!!

Queenie” by Candy Carty-Williams

Queenie is a great exploration of being black modern women in today’s world. I was so glad to read a book from our perspective and dealt with issues within the black community that are rarely discussed. Summary: Queenie Jenkins is a 25-year-old Jamaican British woman living in London, straddling two cultures and slotting neatly into neither. She works at a national newspaper, where she’s constantly forced to compare herself to her white middle class peers. After a messy break up from her long-term white boyfriend, Queenie seeks comfort in all the wrong places…including several hazardous men who do a good job of occupying brain space and a bad job of affirming self-worth. As Queenie careens from one questionable decision to another, she finds herself wondering, “What are you doing? Why are you doing it? Who do you want to be?”


Where the Crawdads Sing” by Delia Owens

Where the Crawdads Sing is a wonderful novel based with strong appreciation for the natural world. I really enjoyed being part of the main characters journey and she navigates childhood to womanhood, love and loss, growing independence and survival. Summary: For years, rumors of the “Marsh Girl” have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life–until the unthinkable happens.


The Midnight Library” by Matt Haig

The Midnight Library was definitely a book that took me out of my comfort zone. A story about life, regrets and missed opportunities, this book will definitely have you reflecting about your own life. I love the philosophical nature of the book and all the lives the main character thought she wanted only to come back full circle to her own life. Summary: Nora Seed finds herself faced with this decision. Faced with the possibility of changing her life for a new one, following a different career, undoing old breakups, realizing her dreams of becoming a glaciologist; she must search within herself as she travels through the Midnight Library to decide what is truly fulfilling in life, and what makes it worth living in the first place.


Behind Closed Doors” by B.A. Paris

If your looking for a good page turner, Behind Closed Doors is definitely it! I love the suspense of this book, the twisted nature of the characters and being on the edge of my seat. This book is definitely worth reading. Summary: Everyone knows a couple like Jack and Grace. He has looks and wealth, she has charm and elegance. You might not want to like them, but you do. You’d like to get to know Grace better. But it’s difficult, because you realize Jack and Grace are never apart. Some might call this true love. Others might ask why Grace never answers the phone. Or how she can never meet for coffee, even though she doesn’t work. How she can cook such elaborate meals but remain so slim. And why there are bars on one of the bedroom windows.


The Fifth Season” by N.K. Jemisin

The Fifth Season is book 1 of a great fantasy trilogy with lots of twists and turns. I loved the level of detail that intricately connects the characters and their story lines. Plus I love seeing the representation of my ethnicity and culture portrayed throughout the book. Summary: Three terrible things happen in a single day. Essun, a woman living an ordinary life in a small town, comes home to find that her husband has brutally murdered their son and kidnapped their daughter. Mighty Sanze — the world-spanning empire whose innovations have been civilization’s bedrock for a thousand years — collapses as most of its citizens are murdered to serve a madman’s vengeance. Across the heart of the vast continent known as the Stillness, a great red rift has been torn into the heart of the earth, spewing ash enough to darken the sky for years. Now Essun must pursue the wreckage of her family through a deadly, dying land to save her daughter.


Notable Mentions

  • A Song of Wraiths and Ruins by Roseanne A. Brown
  • Hollow Kingdom by Kira Jane Buxton
  • Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
  • The Turn of A Key by Ruth Ware
  • The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
  • Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Food, Surviving Chaos

Gyeran Mari: South Korean Rolled Eggs

Eggs can be eaten in many different ways…scrambled, hard boiled, poached…but have you eaten them rolled?? Gyeran Mari are rolled eggs that can be eaten as a side dish and at any time. These eggs are not just for breakfast! Customarily eaten as a tasty side dish; Gyeran Mari makes an appearance outside of breakfast and can be found in kid’s school lunches in South Korea. My husband has enjoyed this dish in his past visits to South Korea. You can find out more about his trip to Seoul here. This recipe is easy to make and is an egg-cellent addition to any meal!

Ingredients

  • 3 eggs
  • pinch of salt
  • vegetable oil
  • 1/2 small carrot finely chopped
  • 1 green onion finely chopped

Let’s Make It!

  1. Crack eggs into bowl and add salt. Beat eggs well with fork or whisk.
  2. Lightly grease medium sized (9 inches or 23 cm across) pan with vegetable oil. Place pan over low heat.
  3. Once pan is hot, pour half of egg mixture. Swirl (don’t stir) the egg to entirely cover the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle the carrots and onion on top.
  4. When the bottom of the egg starts to get firm but the top is still wet, roll it from one side to about the middle of the pan.
  5. Slide the rolled egg back toward the edge of the pan, and pour half of the remaining egg into the empty side of the pan.
  6. When the new egg starts to firm, roll it again from the edge to the center of the pan.
  7. Slide the rolled egg back toward the edge of the pan, and pour the last of the egg into the empty side of the pan.
  8. Once all the egg has been added to the roll, carefully move it from the pan to a cutting board.
  9. Let cool for at least 5 minutes before slicing. Mashisseoyo (Delicious)!

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