Could This Be The Perfect Travel Tote? A Look at The Lo and Sons O.G. Bag

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The search has been long and hard. It has produced broken straps, bags that couldn’t withstand the contents and that lingering feeling that something was missing. There weren’t enough compartments. I would wish the zipper would go all the way around. After buying what seemed like a $50 tote bag from various chain stores for every trip since I was 18, I finally caved and splurged on the Lo and Sons O.G. bag. Could this finally be the one? A few years ago, I posed the question, “Where art thou perfect travel tote bag?” Many others joined in on their troubles of locating the perfect bag for Continue Reading

Cuenca, Spain Wishes You Were Here

Cuenca's Casas Colgadas

In many ways, I ran to Cuenca. Roughly two hours outside of Spain’s capital in the Castile-La Mancha region, the small town of my refuge teeters on a rocky ridge. Like a tightrope walker, I tip-topped through this UNESCO World Heritage city, almost as if I wasn’t supposed to be here. Then again, I wasn’t. Cuenca was never on my Spanish itinerary, until perhaps by happenstance, we checked into what could have been a minimum-security prison in Madrid. Just off of Puerta del Sol, I lost a little piece of my soul in that Madrid hotel. The accommodations reeked of trash, attracted salty characters Continue Reading

Stop and Smell The Roses: A Pinrose Travel Perfume Review and Giveaway

Pinrose Petal Packs

Scents latch on to memory with a firm grip, leaving us lingering in places long after we have left them. While photographs are all fine and well to remember where we have been, I tend to find the scent I was wearing while on the road one of the best ways to remember the places I have been. Like magic, that scent transforms from liquid in a bottle to the fastest flight of my life. I am put back in Greece for a moment or the Southern U.S. depending on what I wear on any regular Tuesday. At the same time, traveling with scents isn’t always a walk in the park. Big bottles of perfume are either Continue Reading

Zaragoza, Spain Wishes You Were Here

Aljafería in Zaragoza

Every time we left a roof over our heads in Zaragoza, it rained. No matter the shelter, from awnings, hotel roofs to rentals cars, without fail, Zaragoza opened up and poured out to us. With nothing more than the imagination of how appropriate an umbrella would suit this situation, we carried on, determined to get the most out of one day, our only day, with the city often lost between the shuffle of Barcelona and Madrid. Even in the rain, Zaragoza greets in grand fashion. Located on the banks of the Ebro River, the provincial capital of Aragón boasts a history dating back to the Romans and Continue Reading

Spain By The Parador

Parador de Almagro

In a quiet corner of La Mancha, we arrive to our accommodations for the night, a 16th century convent. Our rental car dips beneath an archway and instantly grumbles. The stones below the tires are old and bumpy, producing a sound only medieval stones can. We park in the courtyard, next to a bubbling fountain. Some other guests are arriving at the same time of the gray hair variety. The couple takes one look at my husband and I in wonder. “What are these young people doing staying in such grand digs?,” they seem to say. Tonight we aren't staying in a crumbling guesthouse, hostel or budget Continue Reading

Abruzzo, Italy Wishes You Were Here

The Drive to Sulmona copy

You can spot L’Aquila not with the help of road signs or even a compass, but rather by following the construction cranes. After following the crane compass rose to L’Aquila, I arrive on the streets of the regional capital of Abruzzo. Etched across crumbling buildings is a simple saying, “L’Aquila rinasce.” Meaning, “L’Aquila reborn,” the phrase describes the efforts to rebuild what was once a community of elegant squares and historic palazzi after a highly destructive 6.3 magnitude earthquake in 2009. L’Aquila’s centro storico still very much remains a construction site five years later. I Continue Reading

The Long Way Around: Rookie Car Rental Mistakes To Avoid in Europe

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We picked up our car rental in Rome from a double-parked position. I should have known this was in fact a metaphor for my car rental experience in Europe this summer. Having rented vehicles in Ireland, Italy and Germany before, I figured that I had the process down. Hidden expenses and catastrophes along the way wouldn’t surprise me. As we jumped in our rented wheels in the middle of Rome’s swarming chaos, I knew right from the first seat belt click, we were already making rookie rental car mistakes in Europe. To prevent seasoned pros and also rental car rookies in the truest sense from making Continue Reading