Lets Get Personal

Life. Oh, life. I’ve worked tirelessly on coming up with a marketing plan for my blog, endless trip planning, blog post planning, every other kind of daily life planning. Planning – planning – and more planning.

On the real-life front, I’ve picked up extra shifts at work to get to my trip-saving-goal. Since I work in a hotel (open 24 hours, booooo) I’ve had a crazy schedule for the past 2 years, but I’ve finally settled into early morning shifts Sunday through Thursday. I know this schedule may seem horrifying to some, but it’s actually pretty good in the hospitality world. It also leaves a lot of time for me to work on my blog after work! Yay!

I appreciate each of you for accompanying me on this blogging and travel journey. I still feel like this project has given me life again – a busy life – but a good life that I’m happy with. Light at the end of the tunnel, as they say. That being said…

I apologize the posts slowed down the past week or so. Unfortunately I had my first ever kidney stone, which was quite unpleasant (incredibly-unimaginably-painful) to say the least. A lot of pain killers, gallons of water, and several home remedies later, it’s thankfully over.

Now, if you’ll excuse me. I have some writing to do.

I’m back bitches!

Later dolls! <3

Best Croutons (& Pizza) Ever

Cheese Pizza, John's Pizzeria Bleeker Street

Cheese Pizza, John’s Pizzeria Bleeker Street

Hello my lovelies! I just had to share my trick for the best croutons ever. A few days ago I went to John’s Pizzeria on Bleeker Street, my personal favorite pizzeria in Manhattan. They also have a 2nd place off of Times Square that fills up 3 stories of a refurbished old church. Both have fabulous pizza, but I love the feel of the eclectic cobblestone Bleeker Street place. Luckily we had 1 slice leftover, which inspired this post!

The goal of this blog is definitely not cooking, but I do enjoy cooking in my free time and I noticed that there aren’t many posts about how to use leftover pizza as croutons. Whaaaaaat?! This is my absolute favorite way to use leftover pizza. It will take a plain salad from 0 to 100.

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Nice Little Saturday: Brunchnado

Big Breakfast, Benson's NYC

Big Breakfast, Benson’s NYC

Hey dolls! How fast did this week go? Jeez Louise. I capped off my week on Saturday morning with what I’m now referring to as Brunchnado. My dear friend just moved to New York City from Florida, so naturally we had to hit up one of Manhattan’s coveted boozy brunch spots.

After my usual research (beast-mode) I decided on Benson’s NYC down in the Lower East Side. For those of you who aren’t familiar with New York, the LES is rich with history and creative types. There are countless small restaurants, coffee shops, bakeries, and more. I know some tourists feel like they need to stay in Midtown when they visit, but please, please don’t! Midtown has less culture than any other neighborhood in Manhattan (#sorrynotsorry). Venture out more than 15 blocks from your hotel and you won’t be disappointed! Promise.

Brunchnado kicked off with a Mimosa toast to congratulate my friend on finding his first NYC apartment! Round 1, the Big Breakfast, did not disappoint. You’ll get 2 eggs, bacon, sausage, toast, and spinach with mushrooms. We opted for double bacon instead of sausage. Then there’s the presentation. I mean come on, this board was just begging for me to snap a picture.  Everything was delicious, but that bacon – that bacon was memorable.  It’s thick cut and cooked to perfection. I’m usually an extra crispy person, but this place did thick cut right. Try it.  Do it. Right now.

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Nicole Vs. WordPress

I almost posted a photo of me wanting to pull my hair out with this post. That wouldn’t be very glam of me now would it? But as promised, I’m going to delve into the pros and cons of WordPress that I’ve experienced so far. I’m by no means an expert (quite the opposite), but it wasn’t easy to find information this basic, so I thought I should share. Let me preface this post by saying that I’m very happy that I chose WordPress.

After reading a slew of blogs about blogging it was pretty clear that  WordPress is the best platform to use across the board. I’m sure there are plenty of people who prefer other platforms, but my research suggests that WordPress is the way to go without a doubt. I’m not here to try to sell you on WordPress, but if you do a quick search on Google you can see for yourself.

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Saving Made Simple: My 3-Step Plan

Cash MoneyMy lust to travel the world and write about it isn’t new. I’ve dreamed of returning to Europe for years after getting a taste on week-long family trips in 2000 and 2001. Frankly, it never seemed possible. Between needing to renew my passport, convincing my family it wasn’t a horrible idea, and needing to save a ridiculous amount of money, I was starting to think it would never happen. Heck, it still might not work out how I want it to! But, you’ll never know unless you try.

So, you’ve decided you’re 100% willing to take a chance? What do you have to lose, right? I don’t think everyone should quit their job to travel, but if it’s something you want to do with every fiber of your being, then by all means, try to make it work! The next thing you need to do is start saving that money honey.

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Solo-Travel: Where to start?

I started traveling alone back in  2010 when I  was 25 years old. It’s hard for me to believe that just 6 years ago I was nervous to even eat alone at a restaurant, let alone travel to a different country. I come from a family with very traditional and conservative values, so saying they weren’t thrilled about the idea of me traveling all by my lonesome is an understatement. To ease their minds, and my own, I started small. If you’re nervous about spending a lot of time with yourself, this is a great way to start.

Sunset over the Gulf of Mexico in Naples, Florida

Sunset over the Gulf of Mexico in Naples, Florida

My first “trip,” and I use that word loosely, was in my hometown – a “staycation,” if you will. I packed up a bag and drove myself over to The Ritz-Carlton Naples Beach Resort in Naples, Florida. A big part of being comfortable traveling alone is being comfortable spending that much time by yourself. Of course you will always meet people in your travels, but you need to be comfortable operating by yourself too.

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Best 5-Star Travel Backpacks

Side view of the Tortuga Travel Backpack

Side view of the Tortuga Travel Backpack

Chances are if you’re an experienced traveler you already own a great travel backpack. For those of you planning or about to embark on your adventure – this is for you.

When I first decided to quit my job to travel I knew the first step towards my goal was to start saving money. This left me with an incredible amount of free time – no more big bar tabs, no more fancy dinners, no more Sephora shopping sprees. I figured I should use all of this new-found free time to research my upcoming adventure.

Buying a travel backpack wasn’t something that had even crossed my mind. “I’ll just use my big suitcase with wheels,” I thought to myself. That notion changed very quickly. After reading travel blog after travel blog I realized that I didn’t think this suitcase thing through at all.

Check it – you have cobblestone streets, foreign airports, and never-ending dirty staircases- and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. my rolling monster-of-a-suitcase isn’t going to cut it.

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If You Write It, They Will Come

Note-Taking Blog Post

Over the past few weeks I’ve discovered that anyone can become a workaholic when you love what you’re doing.

Researching this blog and travel adventure has given me life again. I find myself in an almost OCD-like frenzy plugging away on my keyboard at all hours, and I like it. No, I love it. I’m excited. I’m excited for the research, I’m excited for the blogging, I’m excited for the travel. I’m excited for it all.

In this whirlwind of a week I discovered that I’ve created 7 lists on OneDrive. Suddenly it dawned on me that these lists could easily be turned into blog posts; everything from budget lists, to trip plans, to types of backpacks. That is one of the points of a blog, right? To compile all the information for the readers, so they don’t have to do it themselves? Yaas!

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My 1st 2nd Step

image1(1)The reason I called this post the 1st 2nd step is simple. The first step is deciding to make the career change. The 2nd step (but the first physical step) is putting things in motion. In this case, research!

I made a promise to myself that I will spend the next year of my life planning the start of my new career. A year might seem like a long time, and it is. All good things take time, and planning a huge career change requires start-up money and a solid plan. If it takes me the whole year that’s fine, if it doesn’t and I get to my goal early, then I’ll happily depart abroad ahead of schedule.

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