Why You Must Visit Spain in July 2016

The best party I’ve ever been to happens every year in northern Spain. San Fermin festival, the running of the bulls, is only about 5 minutes a day of bull running, and 23 hours 45 minutes of partying. It is true that women run from the bulls, some will even shave their heads to ensure they won’t get kicked out. Yep, Basque Country is a little old school. No women are supposed to run and cops were yanking girls out of the line left and right. Be warned, there is no official recording of this. If you want to run, your best bet is to lay low! I plan on running this year (2016) if anyone wants to join.

What is the one party you really shouldn't miss this #summer? The Running of the Bulls! See why you should make it to #pamplona this summer. #sanfermin

It’s a real party

People are marching around, banging on drums, dancing wildly in the streets. I took a moment to bask in the sun and roll in the grass, next thing I knew sangria was being poured into my mouth by a random lady. Then the crowd started spraying champagne on each other and riding on each others shoulders.

The

It might not be around for long

San Fermin has been happening in July since 1591, but you’ll notice an increasing number of die-ins. This is where activists peacefully protest the somewhat archaic festival by painting themselves black and red, and laying in the formation of a bull on the ground. Now, people have even taken to nude protesting to get more attention. I’d say it works

The one party you shouldn't miss this summer. #pamplona

It’s in a part of Spain you probably wouldn’t otherwise visit

It’d be lame if you missed it, but you’re not, so don’t fret! Basque Country is absolutely gorgeous, with jutting mountains and pristine shores. And Pamplona itself? Winding streets, lively people, heavy on the champagne and beer! You’ll feel a little like Hemingway six beers later, stumbling along the cobbled road with newly made friends.

 The one party you can't miss this summer! #explore #travel #sanfermin

You can camp on one of the best beaches in Spain

One of the best parts of the trip was staying in San Sebastián. We camped with a crazy little company called Stoke Travel who encourages, no joke, “partying with your pants down.” It’s not as creepy as it sounds! Just a bunch of cheeky Aussies whose main concern is keeping everyone drunk and secondly safe.  Regardless of who you stay with, this little surfing town is the pride and joy of Basque Country and an hour away from the festivities in Pamplona. Find board rentals lining the beach or ask a local to show you how it’s done.

sanfermin10

Even if you don’t remember a thing, it will be one of the best memories of your life…

This was the balloon my friends gave me as a leash of sorts- I could run around and they could see where I was. I’ve pieced a lot of this together from pictures, stories from my brother/friends, and a salvaged pamphlet. What I do remember is feeling the swell of prideful love for a home that wasn’t even mine. The energy is unreal! It happens from July 6-14th, and the party goes on all night. If you can spend the night in the city, you most certainly should.

 

Have you been to the Running of the Bulls? Would you try to run?

Wanderlust Worthy Passport Covers for 2015

So I’ve finally broken down to purchase a passport cover, although I’m fairly certain mine may already be passed the point of scanning. After studying up on Pinterest (duh) I was sad to discover all of the ones I wanted were already off the shelf/sold out! Tis an unnecessarily deep wound! Here are a collection of passport holders I found inspiring and where to find them. *AND* all the ones that have an asterisk are on sale 😉

 

 A crisp, clean, flying-through-the-sky blue.
$40.00. Nordstrom.

 

 “I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list.”
$20.00 Aloha Custom Covers on Etsy

 

 Get your Kanye on.*
$46.80 Nordstrom.

 

 NEVER STOP EXPLORING. It’s a way of life.*
$27.97 Kikki-k.

 


Very cool, very modern.*

$10.99 Jonathan Adler

 “i’m outta here” in a classy gold cursive.
$24.00 Nordstrom.

 

 A trippy little pink elephant to accompany you on your travels

$14.99 11:11


“Fly me to the moon.” Can this be any cuter? Oo and holds all your goodies + a pen!
$47.00 Amara by Ted Baker

 

 

I’m leaning towards the NEVER STOP EXPLORING.

 

What’s your favorite? Any that shouldn’t have been included?

Ballin’ on a Budget: U.S. Cities Edition Part 1

One of the most delightful parts of meeting travelers in SE Asia was that nearly everyone asked me where they should visit in the USA. Everyone knows about New York City and San Francisco (both extraordinary places!) but with 50 other states with countless cities, you’d be selling yourself short if you didn’t at least attempt to visit the following gems. 

I’ve seen many a beautiful budget busted on food and drink, including my own (damn you, Italian food).  American food can be quite pricey if you aren’t careful, but luckily the happy hour is still alive and kickin. More recently, food has been included (and encouraged) in the happy hour menu, which is a superb way to check out a restaurant you wouldn’t normally be able to afford.

 

Phoenix

Orange clay mountains make for a surreal backdrop. Arizona definitely seems like another planet, and I think it’s pretty out of this world (so friggin punny, I know). 

Ballin on a #Budget || a tipsy gypsy life #phoenix #travel

source: desertusa.com

Camelback Mountain… a great way to see the city, literally. The top of the mountain provides a remarkable view of all things Phoenix. Be sure to go early in the morning and hydrate well, Phoenix can get up in the high 90’s.

Stingray Sushi… An ode to the wonderful West coast sushi. In other words, they don’t f**k around. Get delicious rolls anytime, and an impressive half-off happy hour from 2:30-6:30. Find what you’re looking for here.

Scottsdale McDowell Sonoran Preserve… Don’t get pricked! You can’t go to Phoenix without playing in the desert. Those cute cacti with the little arms are called Saguro Cactuses. Visit at dusk for surreal scenes and cool weather.

Where to Dine & Drink

Liberty Market
230 N. Gilbert Rd, Gilbert, AZ
An ungodly amount of meat and full bar, get The Tower Burger, Kettle Chips, and a Kir Royale

Humble Pie
2333 N 7th St, Phoenix, AZ
Local organic vegetables and any pizza you can concoct, get a 10 in. Buffalo Chicken Pizza, Half Strawberry Gorgenzola Salad for $10.95. Add in the waiter’s wine suggestion. 

District Restaurant
320 N Third St, Phoenix, AZ
Nothing over 9$ at noon, get the 3rd Street Carnitas, S’mores Ice Cream Whoopies, and a Phoenix Ale Brewery Camelback IPA

 

Austin

One of the quirkiest cities in the U.S. is also quite different from the other major cities in Texas, Houston and Dallas. You might have heard of the SXSW (south by southwest) film and music festival that is held in here in March, while the festival is definitely an experience, Austin has SO much more to offer.

Ballin on a #Budget: U.S. Cities Edition || a tipsy gypsy life #travel

source: 365thingsaustin.com

Baylor Street Art Wall – For a bit of art and a prime photo opp be sure visit this local favorite. For tips on how to photograph graffiti, look no further.

Food Trucks Galore Austin loves a good food truck and plenty of them are BYOB, like the Fat Cactus serving navajo tacos. Or go really Texas with it and get BBQ at La Barbecue. Check the city food truck map here.

Watersports on Lady Bird Lake- People in Austin are always playing outside and when you visit you’ll see there is no denying that. Try SUP (stand-up paddle boarding) if you’re looking for something new or you can pick a classic kayak. You’ll fit in fine.

Where to Dine & Drink

Austin is a come-back king of Happy Hour. The food is even better than the drinks, y’all.

Lucky Robot for Happy Hour 5-7
1303 S Congress Avenue, Austin, TX 
7$ Sake Carafes, 2$ Ichiban, and some of the best sushi in the city

The Hightower for Happy Hour 5-7
1209 E 7th Street, Austin, TX
 $5 cocktails like the deep eddy splash (waterloo gin, deep eddy ruby red grapefruit, and mint). Have some smoked redfish spread to go with it. 

The BuzzMill for Brunch
1505 Town Creek Drive, Austin, TX 
$7 bottomless flapjacks with house-made bacon and eggs, $4 make-your-own Bloody Marys, and $2 mimosas.

 

New Orleans

It really pains me to have to cut this so short- there are SO many died-and-gone-to-heaven meals in the Crescent City. When you think of foodie, you might think NYC or Paris, but don’t sell this southern gem short. Whether you desire pecan-crusted gulf fish (my FAVORITE), macrons, or life-changing coffee, NOLA has it.

Ballin on a #budget || a tipsy gypsy life #travel #wanderlust

Don’t skip brunch. Elizabeth’s is a local favorite, and for damn good reason. Praline bacon and the fried green tomato Benedict are must haves but if you’re hungover get the shrimp-n-grits. Oh did I mention pour-your-own mimosas, brandy milk punch, and the-best-damn-bloody-mary-in-the-world? You won’t be disappointed.

Thanks to a diverse population, New Orleans has some of the best pho in the country. But if you think I’m full of malarkey, take it from cuisine king Anthony Bourdain. While truly every place you dine at will be remarkable, there are a few gems that are outstanding. Lilly’s on Magazine street is a guaranteed hit, just be sure to get her Lily rolls, a special take on the classic spring roll.

You can’t visit New Orleans without getting a po’boy. The sandwich was originally made for streetcar workers on strike in the 1930’s, and the city hasn’t let them go since. Crisp, delicate French bread stuffed with fried shrimp, lettuce, mayo, and tomato makes for the perfect hangover prevention. A meal for under $10 USD at Adam’s Street Market.

 

Where to Dine & Drink

It would be downright shameful to not catch all of the classic New Orleans drinks.

Elizabeth’s for Brunch
 601 Gallier Street, New Orleans, LA
Bananas Foster French Toast, Red Neck Eggs, and a Ghetto Fabulous Mimosa 

The Ruby Slipper Cafe for Brunch
1005 Canal Street, New Orleans, LA
BBQ Shrimp n Grits, Hot Smoked Salmon Benny, and an Irish Cream Coffee 

Lilly’s Cafe for Lunch
1813 Magazine Street, New Orleans, LA
Lilly’s Rolls, Pho Rare Flank & Brisket, and an Iced Vietnamese Coffe

Adam Street Grocery for Lunch
1309 Adams Street, New Orleans, LA 
Shrimp Poboy, Zapp’s Voodoo Chips, Abita Strawberry Harvest Beer 

Liuzza’s by the Track for Dinner
1518 N Lopez Street, New Orleans, LA
Creole Gumbo, Shrimp Remoulade, and a Pimm’s Cup

Mr. B’s for a Dinner Splurge
Oven Roasted Pork Belly and Fig, Pecan Crusted Redfish, Dirty Martini , and Bread Pudding

 

 

St. Petersburg

One of the reasons I refuse to move North of I-10 is because I grew up in the sunniest place in the world.* The main attraction is lucky free- the gorgeous white sand and greenish-blue sea. I’m sure it would be impossible to pull you off the beach, but in case you have a cloudy day there are plenty sights to see.

Ballin on a #Budget || a tipsy gypsy life #travel

For a real bargain… Visit the Wagon Wheel Flea Market, an indoor/outdoor monstrosity that has been family-owned since 1966. Open Saturdays and Sundays rain or shine, they also serve cold beer to beat the heat.

For a bit of brilliance… Visit the Dali Museum, one of the cities pride and joys. Get in for $10 on Thursdays after 5 pm.

For an aquatic adventure… Get over to Egmont Key, one of the areas many natural reservations. Snorkel in the crystal clear water with dolphins and turtles. If dolphins are near, there is a good chance they’ll swim to you or your boat. SO friendly, but they can also get a little frisky

Where to Dine & Drink

Since the city is surrounded by water, the seafood is exceptional. Redfish, grouper, and conch fritters are local favorites and the fish can be served blackened, fried, grilled, and anything else you can think of.

Red Mesa Cantina Happy Hour
128 3rd St S, St Petersburg, FL
Huachinango Ceviche, Crab and Shrimp Quesadilla, Cucumber Margarita 

Middle Grounds Grill
10925 Gulf Blvd, Treasure Island, FL
Key West Chowder, Coconut Almond Shrimp, Key Lime Pie Martini

The Oyster Bar 
249 Central Ave, St. Petersburg  FL
Smoked Fish Spread, Crab and Arugula Salad, Grilled Pineapple Mojito

Seattle

Seattle has a reputation for rainy days and grey skies, which makes for great lighting. One of the biggest regrets I almost always have about traveling is not taking enough pictures. Don’t be selfish, inspire some wanderlust and share. I’m also a HUGE fan of Halloween and spooky things so keep that in mind 😉.

Ballin on a Budget US Cities Edition || a tipsy gypsy life || #wanderlust #travel #seattle

source: tcif.org

Gas Works Playground…  This former gas company building turned park is a local favorite. Get a cheap sheet to lay on and one of the many local microbrews  and enjoy the great outdoors.

Pike Place Market… You can’t really go wrong with a waterfront market. It gets pretty packed, so be prepared for flying fish and bargaining. It wouldn’t be a real visit without tasting some of the amazing food, now would it?

Kerry Park… The absolute best view of the city, with the Space Needle, snow-capped mountains, and the skyline. Visit it at both day and night for vastly different scenes.

Where to Dine & Drink
Food trucks are a common quick and delicious way to get your grub around Seattle. It also gives you a chance to mingle with some locals.

Fusion on the Run
Key flavors: fresh pineapple, pork, cilantro
Boneless Short Ribs Tacos and Jicama Slaw

Street Treats
Key flavors: coconut, brown sugar, chocolate
Carrot Cake Cream Cheese Sandwich and Pumpkin Pie Bars (it’s Fall y’all…)

Off the Rez
Key flavors: quinoa, slaw, raspberry jam
Indian Taco and Razzleberry Fry Bread

Ballin’ on a Budget – European Hotels Edition

Welcome to my new series “Ballin’ on a Budget.” In this weekly series, we will discuss how to spend and how to save while traveling. This week we focus on hotels in European cities, an often tricky and disappointing adventure. 

Want luxury for less without breaking your #budget ? Follow the series "Ballin on a Budget" || a tipsy gypsy life #travel

Whether you’re a backpacker looking for a night of rest and relaxation or a well-seasoned traveller who knows what she wants, we all occasionally desire a little luxury for less. Also known as “ballin’ on a budget”, the following properties make sure you feel pampered without the “I-just-blew-my-budget-on-the-second-week”guilt. Enjoy yourself, you deserve it.

 

Barcelona, Spain
Hotel Market, Carrer del Comte Borrell, 68, 08015 Barcelona

Under $100.00 USD
Book here

In one of the most vibrant cities in Europe, Hotel Market is a romantically urban gem. Every room has a full bathroom (bubble bath anyone?) and drumroll please…. AIR CONDITIONING! Spending a hung-over July morning in Barcelona fanning yourself out of hotel the window is just cruelty, trust me, I’ve been there. You don’t even have to stray far from your temporary home, the restaurant is exquisite and the bar is even better.

 Want to ball out without breaking your budget? Follow the travel series "Ballin on a Budget" || a tipsy gypsy life #travel #tips Oh yeah, free Wi-Fi

 

 

Praha, Czech Republic
MOODs Praha, Klimentská 2006/28, 110 00 Praha, Czech Republic
Book here

~$80.00-$100.00 USD
Praha, or Prague, whichever you prefer, is a city that doesn’t sleep. Absinthe, stag parties, and decriminalized cannabis adds to the persona. After all that adventure you might need a massage and a nice long bath. Get the best of both worlds (if that’s what you’re into, you little rascal) at MOODs Praha. Want to ball out without breaking your #budget? Follow the series ballin' on a budget || a tipsy gypsy life #travel #tips

Amsterdam, Netherlands 
Boutique Hotel View, Leidsekade 77, 1017 PM Amsterdam, Netherlands
About $100.00 USD
Book here

The perfect blend of culture and craziness, Amsterdam should be a must-see on any traveler’s list. It is one of the more expensive cities, although totally worth it, so accommodation can seem intimidating. This perfectly adorable boutique hotel is a classy little place with an awesome view- make sure to get a room over looking the canals for the full Amsterdam experience. Location is prime, putting you at walking distance of the Museum District and Vondel Park. If you couldn’t tell, Amsterdam is one of my FAVORITE cities that I hope to call home one day 🙂
Want luxury for less while traveling? Follow the series "Ballin on a Budget" || a tipsy gypsy life #travel

Paris, France 
Hotel Mayet, 3 Rue Mayet, 75006 Paris, France
~$110.00- $130.00 USD
Book here
Paris is another notoriously pricey town that shouldn’t be missed. Located in the Saint Germain des Prés district, guests can expect a quiet neighborhood with friendly locals. Each room was colorfully decorated by local the local artists André and JonOne. Besides the decor, a delightful mini-bar (yes, there is a pattern here…) is the star of the room. Free wi-fi and A/C make it that much sweeter.

Want luxury for less in Europe? Follow the series "Ballin on a Budget" || a tipsy gypsy life

 

Berlin, Germany
Park Plaza Wallstreet Berlin Mitte,  Wallstraße 23-24, 10179 Berlin, Germany

 Under $110.00 USD
Book here

For those looking for less of a boutique and more of a all-inclusive ordeal will love the Park Plaza Wallstreet Belin Mitte. Take advantage of the fitness center because we all know how important staying fit while traveling is. The hotel bar is open until 1 a.m. and room service goes until 11:00 p.m. The menu boasts items such as “fried scallops on mango and papaya salad with cinnamon foam puree.” I’d say you’d be pretty satisfied staying in.

Want luxury for less without breaking your #budget ? Follow the travel series "Ballin on a Budget" || a tipsy gypsy life #travel #tips

 

Do you have any hotel suggestions? How do you stay on budget while traveling in Europe?