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Nov 262014
 

My mother is the bomb of #awesomesauce and her birthday, happens to be today. I couldn’t be there due to our current Italian adventure so we’re sending our love the best way we know how (cue the backstory)…

romeo, juliet, gulietta, veron, italy, travel, photography, juliets house, shakespeare, mother, birthday

Growing up, I was entertained primarily by three movies: “Gone with the Wind,” “The Sound of Music” and Franco Zeffirelli’s, ”Romeo and Juliet.” These were my mother’s favorites. I was raised by these three movies. I knew them by heart because my mother played them for me often, since birth really. I knew the script, the dialogue, the blocking, all by heart. And to be honest, I get why she loves them.  They’re well written, brilliantly acted and the leads have the best chemistry I’ve ever seen! It’s easy to fall in love with these movies.

Well my husband and I are currently in Verona, the birth place of the Romeo y Gulietta stories, so we thought we’d put together a little something for my mom. Here’s to love, here’s to shakespeare and heres to one of the best renditions of both. Cheers, from Verona and Happy Birthday mom. We put this together just for you.

from Juliet’s home to the walls, moats and squares of Verona, Happy Birthday and Happy Thanksgiving (Double whammy).

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Juliet’s Balconyromeo, juliet, gulietta, veron, italy, travel, photography, juliets house, shakespeare, mother, birthday

The costumes worn by the famous (Zeffirelli) star-crossed lovers.romeo, juliet, gulietta, veron, italy, travel, photography, juliets house, shakespeare, mother, birthday

Juliet’s houseromeo, juliet, gulietta, veron, italy, travel, photography, juliets house, shakespeare, mother, birthday

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Flip side of the balcony. Joe is graciously demonstrating where Romeo would have climbed in. lol.romeo, juliet, gulietta, veron, italy, travel, photography, juliets house, shakespeare, mother, birthday

And these are the hundreds upon hundreds of love letters that are left daily for Juliet, asking for her advice. Some answered, some not, they continue to cover the walls that encircle her house.

“There is no world without Verona walls, 
But purgatory, torture, hell itself. 
Hence-banished is banish’d from the world, 
And world’s exile is death.”

(W. Shakespeare)

Nov 232014
 
The next few weeks are going to be all about Italy but since we needed to catch our flight to Milan via the Newark airport, I decided to stay in New York four days prior. Joe joined me two days later where we ran around New York like a couple of school kids. We were on a tight budget though, since Italy was right around the corner. So how do you do New York on a tight budget?! Breath, It’s possible. We did it and below are a few tips to help you with your next New York adventure…
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Globe-Trotting, Travel, destination Italy, New York, Budget Travel, iphoneography, iphonesia
  1. Bring friends! The more the merrier right? Of course. Bring friends to split the cost and enlarge your New York network. The more connections the better- the better the suggestions and better the savings. Between our connections (this round) and our friends, we were able to stay at an Apartment on the upper East side, obtain comped entrance to The Standard’s Boom Boom Room, The Marquee Club, and even get on the green at the NY Giants vs. 49ers Game. I was also able to take two days to visit my Jersey family. It must be a give and take though. Make sure to be able to give to your friends as well. You can’t just be a taker. Try a house swap with your bi-coastal friends. They stay in Los Angeles, you stay in New York, etc. Everybody wins. With friends, you can also be sure that the trip will be fully documented. The more friends, the more smart phones, the more pics. We had a selfie stick that was used and abused. If you can’t go with friends, make new ones. New York is all about its people so try to connect to your networks or make it your goal to befriend someone new each time you go.
  2. Focus on the free. They can be hard to find but do your research prior to leaving. There are many museums, parks and historic buildings that offer free admission or ask for a small donation. Start there. Know the days that are offered for this and then comprise a schedule. If the statue of Liberty is too much for your budget, go to Time Square instead or Central Park or the 911 memorial site. Think out of the box. Everybody has a free jazz night. Find it. The city is full of musicians dying to play. Also, research the history and walk in that direction. You can take your own self-guided tour. The city is rich with history.
  3. Always, always, always take the subway. It’s America’s finest. It goes nearly everywhere so there’s no reason not to take it. You can also burn a few calories with the walks in-between.
  4. Download a daily budget ap. and use it. I use “Trail Wallet.” (See below) It’s quick, easy and has totally kept us on track. It’s been a huge tool for us on this trip.
  5. If you can’t stay with friends or swap homes, look into vacation rentals. NYC is back and forth on the vacay rentals right now so they may not always be available but when they are, they’re good on the budget and often located in a great area. Hotels can get expensive in the city so why not stay in someones home? A great place to find vacation rentals is “Trip Advisor.” We used their suggestions for most of Italy. I’m not big on “Airbnb” but that’s another option. I just don’t want to share my rental with anyone else. I want it to myself and Airbnb tends to rent out shared units or even couches within someone’s living room! No thanks. Be aware when booking a vacation home. Make sure to look at their feedback/ratings and don’t be afraid to ask questions.
  6. Mini booze bottles for the plane. They’re usually 1.5-2 ounces so you can throw them in your carry-on. I like to sleep when it comes to long flights so the minis help to knock me out. It’s also a fun way to toast the new adventure with my hubby. Drinks on the plane can cost up to $10.00 per bevy so these come in handy and work in a pinch.
  7.  Don’t go out every night/ every meal/ every drink. Plan to cook for a few. If you are staying in a vacation rental, you usually get the luxury of having a kitchen or kitchenette. Use it. Shop at the mom and pop a few blocks down the road and cook. It’s a great way to get to know the neighborhood and the produce. Eat snacks and keep it simple for breakfast/ dinner, go big for lunch instead. Due to the variety of New York lunch specials, this is a great way to try the local cuisine for a fraction of the cost. As far as drinks go, start the evening off with a few drinks from your hotel/ rental instead of having them all out. Make this your time to squeeze in a Skype call, check email, eat the dinner you cooked or catch up with the friends you came with and then move the party outside.
  8. Try to do New York during their Restaurant week: July 21-August 15th and February 17-March 7th. The deals that go on during this time are completely incredible. They also have a Broadway week from September 1-14th where you can buy two for one tickets. Incredible. Huge on the savings. Do it. *Dates tend to change a little each year so look them up to double check.
  9. If it’s cold (like it was for us this round in NY) find a window, order something warm and watch New York pass by. It’s that simple. Sometimes you need a break from the sites and the hustle-bussle so why not do a little people watching in one of the most populated cities in the country? #JustSaying
  10. Never ever ever buy anything in Time Square. You’ll find it 5 times cheaper, 5 blocks down.
TRAIL WALLET AP-    Globe-Trotting, Travel, destination Italy, New York, Budget Travel           Globe-Trotting, Travel, destination Italy, New York, Budget Travel
(#love)
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That’s it. Some of these are self explanatory, some took me time to learn. Either way, I hope these tips help you in your next New York minute.
Nov 142014
 

I’m happy to report that I am writing this from the airport! In one hour I board a plane and celebrate everything New York for four glorious days. After that, I’m off to Northern Italy.  Of course, I’ll be posting about the entire experience, reviewing all of the fun and debauchery detail for detail but before that begins, I thought I’d share a few of my favorite travel accessories. Most of these I use every time I travel (would never leave home without them) while others are new discoveries that I intend to try out on my next adventure. They each bring a sense of ease/ comfort to my ongoing travel routine and I can only hope they do the same for you.

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  1. Ceptics International Travel Adapter. $7.99 If you’re leaving the country, it’s good to have one of these in your bag. This kit is small, light and convenient. It’s a must.
  2. Eagle Creek Sandman Eyeshade. $12.50 An eyeshade always helps to make a long flight shorter by allowing you to catch some zzz’s. I can’t fall asleep on a plane without this. Sometimes the airline gives them out for free but you can also bring your own. They come in a wide array of brands and styles- from scented to silk, making it easy to find your perfect match.
  3. The Vinni bag. $28.00 Not everyone collects wine on their travels but I’m going to Italy. Need I say more? Wine is a must for souvenirs so the Vinni bag made the cut for this favorites round.  This bag blows up into a protective bubble for your precious cargo so you can throw it into any suitcase.
  4. 16GB Credit Card Design USB Drive. $13.48  This is great for storing important documents (such as photos of your passports, credit cards, and contacts) or just storing a few travel photos. This card holds up to 16GB and can easily be stored within your wallet or money belt.
  5. Kenu Iphone Leash. $14.95 No matter where you go, your iphone is vulnerable and sometimes (no matter how hard we try) our presence screams “Tourist!” so hook this leash onto your phone then your pants or purse and you’ll be sure to never miss it.
  6. Giant Tote. (priced from Forever 21). $27.90  This is an absolute must for me since I travel with a ton of carry-on baggage. My camera equipment is always on me which, according to the rules, then only leaves me with one purse to take in addition so I take a giant-sized tote and throw my purse, laptop and all of its accessories in there. I’m then good to go.  Be prepared though because it does get heavy.
  7. Gucci Fanny Pack. $100-600.00 (depending )  Have you heard? Fanny packs are back. There’re constantly on the runway, even Gucci and Louie Vuitton have a variety of designs for them and they’re cuter than ever. Thinner in design , they make the perfect money belt. You can hide it under your shirt or wear it loud and proud. I wear mine loud and proud. It’s the perfect accessory when I just don’t feel like toting a purse.
  8. Speakeasy Travel Scarf. $52.00  I’ve never used this item but I so plan to. You can find this clever creation on “Etsy.” Hide your passport, cash, credit cards, CIA paperwork, etc. all within this big cozy scarf. I think the idea is amazeballs and another great alternative to the money belt.
  9. Belkin Travel Surge Protector. $19.99 Three protected electrical sockets and two USBs. It’s amazing. You can charge up your entire mobile office as well as your neighbors. No more fighting over the sockets at the airport! This ensures that everyone wins.
  10.  Travel Clothesline. $7.50  Even if your staying in a seven-star hotel sometimes, depending on the country, a Laundromat cannot be found. So if you need to wash a few things while  exploring, just bring this and a small bottle of soap and you have your own mobile Laundromat.. It’s super easy to travel with and can be used for a variety of needs.

Some other things to consider…

This thing cracks me the hell up. It’s called The Ostrich Pillow- “It’s neither a pillow, nor a cushion, nor a bed, nor a garment but a bit of each at the same time.” It has one giant cushy hood for your head and two arm holes for when you’d like to rest your head on a desk and keep your hands toasty inside. With The Ostrich Pillow you can take your naps or meditate anywhere. The company started on “Kickstarter” and have had great success ever since. If this is your thing and you don’t give an F about how you look wearing this stylish accessory in public, It’s yours for $99.00.

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Another important set of accessories for travel now, are the aps. Here are a just few to consider…

travel accessories, globe trotting, destination Italy, New York, Travel Adapter, Eyeshade, Vinni Bag, USB Flash Card, Kenu IPhone Leash, Tote, Fanny Pack, Speakeasy Travel Scarf, Belkin Surge Protector, Travel Clothesline, The Ostrich Pillow, Anthony Bordain, No Reservations

Whenever I travel, I also bulk up on the research. Yes, I google (of course) but that quickly gets boring so I have a variety of excellent travel bloggers that I run to (& there are many out there). I also watch a ton of travel documentaries. A big favorite of mine is Anthony Bordain’s “No Reservations.” He’s a genius when it comes to the local flavor. His advice has proven to be amazing time and time again so I always look to him first for food suggestions since he’s covered most major cities/ Countries.

travel accessories, globe trotting, destination Italy, New York, Travel Adapter, Eyeshade, Vinni Bag, USB Flash Card, Kenu IPhone Leash, Tote, Fanny Pack, Speakeasy Travel Scarf, Belkin Surge Protector, Travel Clothesline, The Ostrich Pillow, Anthony Bordain, No Reservations

I hope these tips help bring zen to any of your trips. If you have any additional accessories, I’d love to hear them. In the meantime, Happy Trails!