Candacetravels

The Travel Diary

Tag: travel (Page 1 of 4)

Septembers to Remember!

Phone pics 391

Hello Fellow Travel Enthusiasts! We meet again. My sincere apologies to all of you for my absence!! The months of July and August were both quite busy, so I did not get the opportunity to share any new content. However, I am back in action and ready to share lots of nuggets of travel gold with each and everyone of you. So here goes!

Starting out, I would like to share some past experiences, that can help make your next celebration a special one! September just so happens to be my birthday month, so I am doing a bit of a flashback, to share some of my most memorable (birth month) moments from September’s past. I am a huge fan of birthdays, primarily because I realize that another year of life is an incredible gift… and secondary, because I love an opportunity to celebrate!! Can you blame me? Who doesn’t love a grand affair, dinner at a swanky social club, or dancing under the Eiffel Tower? Count me in anytime for all of the above. I am here for all of it and I relish the moments that I get to spend with family and friends.

Some of my favorite memories include one of the best birthday presents EVER…and that was getting my first article published in September of 2013! Can you say, “excited.” That would have been an understatement to describe how I felt that year. Yes, my piece on the beautiful island of Curacao, was published in Global Living Magazine’s September/October edition! I wrote all about this spectacular Caribbean gem and about many of the fantastic places on the island. From the Queen Emma bridge, to Kura Hulanda Museum. Check it out! Then there was that one year (2012) I had a rooftop party in Atlanta (at Rooftop 866,) called the “Sapphire Affair,” where all my guests were charged with the task of arriving in various hues of amazing blues, to accompany the theme of the posh affair. It was fabulous, I even had custom M&Ms with my face on them!! Also, I cannot forget my time in Panama City, where I noshed out on all types of deliciousness and basked upon the ocean for 3 days witnessing creation at its finest….By the way, Captain Andy even let me get behind the wheel, on one of our day trips out. It was the best! I most definitely cannot exclude last year, 2016, from the list, considering I danced beneath the Eiffel Tower, dined throughout the city of Paris and combed the streets in search of great finds (when I wasn’t working that is,) just a couple weeks after my actual birthday with friends. It is going to be difficult to top 2016! However, there was that one birthday I spent in Vegas taking goofy photos with the Blue Man Group in 2009 and another where I spent the entire month celebrating in Tampa, St. Pete, Clearwater and Orlando, in 2011. Oh…and what about 2013, when I had a party at Pier W off the Lake (Erie) in my hometown of Cleveland??…I most definitely cannot leave that year off the list. There have been so many wonderful Septembers to Remember that I am just grateful for them all and always looking forward to the next! I hope you enjoyed this stroll down memory lane and that you got some fun ideas for your next born day celebration. Side note- I had to stop here, or we would have gone on for days, looking back over all of my birthday celebrations! There have been many many more, but if I go on, I will end up having to tell my age 🙂

Follow me on Instagram at Candacetravels, for more September Birthday flashback photos!!  Until next time, happy and safe travels to you all!

Candacetravels

 

 

5 Ways to Make Memorable Experiences Abroad: Summer Edition

Greetings, fellow travelers!!! It’s been some time since we last connected, but I am excited to share a previously written piece, posted on Black Enterprise, on the best ways to,” Make Memorable Experiences Abroad.” It’s summer here in the US, and many are looking for new and exciting places to visit and want some creative ideas on how best to enjoy them. Please click here to learn more about how you can enhance your next overseas journey and create lasting memories. Happy travels and hope to see you in an airport soon!!!

_DSC0316-ANIMATION.gif

Sweet Adventures!

Happy early Valentine’s Day to my fellow travelers who celebrate! I’m writing this post on the eve of this beloved, nationally recognized Love Day, and flashing back. Last February 14th, I had the pleasure of roaming the streets of South Beach, before heading out on a 4 country Caribbean tour.Those were great times last year, but I am so ready for some adventures. I really don’t mean to complain because living in Florida certainly does afford you certain vacay-like opportunities on a regular basis, but come on..who doesn’t love a great (new) expedition, every now and then (or monthly, lol.) That would so totally work for me. In any case,  there’s something so incredibly amazing about combing new territory and discovering the unknown -that just gets me all excited!! I’m sure many, if not all of you, can relate. So on that note, buckle up, because we’ll be heading out soon. Get ready for some new, new, new adventures. Unfortunately, I’ll be spending this Valentines evening doing…uhm…much of nothing, unlike last year’s travel schedule…but we’ll be flying the friendly skies again soon. Don’t feel bad for me though at all. I’ll be laughing and smiling, eating strawberries by the pool. Ha! I had to slide that in, just in case someone out there in The Travel Diary land started getting all teary-eyed, when they read that I didn’t have plans. I’ll be spending part of the time on my tablet, planning Sweet NEW Adventures. So again, enjoy your V-tines Day this week travel- lovers, and for those of you who will be somewhere super cool, doing something totally fun, be sure and tag me on IG in some pictures. I’d love to see how you’re spending Cupid’s favorite day of the year! I bid you peace, love and new adventures. Until next time friends, safe travels!❤️

FullSizeRender (43)

Some Sweet Shop on South Beach February 2016

 

 

 

 

Candacetravels’ 2016 Year In Review

“When asked if my cup is half full or half empty, my only response is that I am thankful I have a cup.”

FullSizeRender (41).jpg

Babe’s Cafe – Brecksville, Ohio

What a year! 2016 doesn’t owe me a thing. Of course it wasn’t perfect, but it was certainly eventful. I gazed across the city of Dallas, TX from 470 ft up in the air, as well as dined on-the-go, spent Valentine’s Day strolling through South Beach in Miami, chased butterflies in Aruba, snorkeled and sampled cactus liqueur in Bonaire, lived like a local in St. Maarten while staying at Alegria, smashed dinner at my favorite spot on the French side, Cynthia’s, in St. Martin, changed planes a few times in Curaçao (visited there a few years ago,) stood in a ridiculously long security line in Newark, skipped along the cherry blossom filled Tidal Basin in Washington D.C., relaxed like a queen at The Ritz Carlton in Arlington, ate at a cute lil cafe in Eufaula w/my sis, let the ocean breeze blow over me in Panama City, where I saw the most beautiful sunset, chowed down on some delicious food in Atlanta w/a friend, while in between cities, attended the CAVS championship parade in Cleveland, among various other activities, made some new connects in Orlando, caught like a million flights back and forth between FL and OH alllll year long, learned about horticulture in Clermont during my down time, kicked back in Tampa and Clearwater when I wasn’t working, ate the best pumpkin risotto and mushroom sliders in Oslo, where I would happily spend my summers, staying at Scandic Vulkan, danced at the base of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, where I celebrated my B-day with friends, prayed inside the gorgeous 100+ year old Sagrada Familia basilica in Barcelona, after eating some yummy paella, spent a few hrs in beautiful Lisbon (which wasn’t long enough,) chilled out in the hot tub in Boston after my flight back to the US, and slept like a baby in Detroit! In the process, I smiled alot, caught a ton of flights ✈️(approximately 30,) rode on quite a few trains 🚉 (too many to remember) and in quite a few cars 🚘, (definitely lost count) as well as hit the water on a handful of boats 🛥 (that sounds about right) this past year too -and thanked God all the way thru! 🙏🏾In the midst of all of this, I met great people, sometimes traveled alone, while at times with others, and always with my favorite items – and wrote about many of my 2016 adventures on/in Candacetravels.com, in Upscale Living Magazine, on A Luxury Travel Blog, in Global Living Magazine and on Black Enterprise.com – I’ve included several links above for you!! Just click to read the full articles or posts. A HUGE THANKS goes out to all of you for your support, and a big thank you to 2016 for a superb Global Expedition that included 7 countries (well technically 8 because St. Maarten and St. Martin are considered two separate countries,) and a host of cities. But… now it’s time to make room for 2017!🏾 Let’s prepare to create some new epic adventures together. Happy New Year everyone!!

✌💕

Candacetravels

This post includes both sponsored, as well as non-sponsored material. However, the events noted above do recount my actual experiences regardless of post. My goal is to provide you with useful information to make your travel experience as rich as possible.

5 Fun Things to Do in Barcelona

Hola friends! Welcome back to The Travel Diary. Today we will take a look at a few of my favorite to do’s in the beautiful city of Barcelona. This locale is home to some of the most unique architecture in all of Spain. From the fabulous works of Antoni Gaudi, which are spread throughout the area, to the top of the Monument a Colom, located at the lower end of the famed, Las Ramblas Boulevard- there is much to see and do. So kick back…and enjoy reading about some of the best Catalonia region to dos.

IMG_4019

  1. Sagrada Familia

A visit to this renowned church is a must! The construction of this project first began in March 1882 by architect, Francisco de Paula del Villar y Lozano, who resigned shortly after, leaving the job to the acclaimed, Antoni Gaudi, to complete. It has been 100 years since his death and the basilica is yet undone. Despite being fully completed, this neo-gothic piece of history is still remarkable inside out. While the exterior leaves much to the imagination, considering its “busy” design, (which is in true Gaudi fashion,) it’s the interior that really takes your breath away. I have never laid eyes on anything even remotely comparable to Sagrada Familia, before in my life! Everything about it draws you in. There are stunning stained glass windows, a striking ceiling and pillars, statues adorned throughout and carved inscriptions. To call this church impressive doesn’t even begin to do it justice. There is also a designated space for worship and reflections within the basilica, in the Chapel of the Holy Sacrament and Penitence. Here, all are welcome, regardless of faith, to witness this “symbolic expression in stone of the Christian faith.” (sagradafamilia.org). The church is meant to serve as a place where people can come together and unite as one. Sagrada Familia holds masses throughout the year, where visitors can attend. There are also several other items on display in the outer hallways from times past. Though a work in progress for the last 100+ years, post Gaudi’s death, the church is finally slated for completion in the year 2026. And to think, this is only “one” of his creations. There is also the Park Guell, Casa Mila and Casa Batllo to name a few. Since it’s difficult to put into words how magnificent the Sagrada Familia is, I’ll just have to show you below. The church is also located in an area that is surrounded by numerous souvenir shops, restaurants, businesses, living quarters and markets. I’d highly recommend purchasing tickets in advance, to avoid the sell-out crowds that this landmark draws in. Nothing comes close to this marvelous piece of history. Stay prayerful and enjoy your visit!

IMG_4013

Sagrada Familia Exterior Side View

IMG_4030

Sagrada Familia Exterior View

IMG_8256.JPG

Sagrada Familia Interior View

IMG_4077

Sagrada Familia Interior View

IMG_0267.JPG

Sagrada Familia Interior View

  1. Monument a Colom

This beautifully chiseled monument sits in the Placa de la Porta de Pau square. It provides some of the best 360 degree views of the city, from atop the 197 ft tall column. Just an elevator ride up, and visitors can behold the amazing Barcelona views! You will see the neighboring port and the famous Gothic Quarter, among other notables from up high.


Barcelona Port and City Views from Atop Monument a Colom

IMG_7650

Here’s a little history. The monument was designed by Catalan architect, Gaieta Buiga, and it first opened in 1888, in honor of Christopher Columbus’ first expedition to the Americas. There are items for purchase on the base level and different entrances and exits. Make sure to have your cameras ready, and have plenty of space on your sim cards.

Visitors can also do a wine tour, through the Mirador de Colom wine tourism experience, on the base level.  Guests can sample different cava and wine, and get additional information on other wine experiences in the region. Salud!
IMG_4056

Monument a Colom Exterior View

IMG_8564

Barcelona City Views from Atop Monument a Colom

  1. Authentic Paella on Repeat

I am happy to say that I got my fill of vegetable Paella this Barcelona run. My first time in the area was limited; thanks to a 3 day delay in NY, so it prevented me from indulging too much. But this time… success! I pretty much sampled paella everywhere I went to eat, and I don’t regret it at all. This dish is one of my favorites at Cuban restaurants in the states, so I just had to try it (again and again,) while in Spain. Did I get sick of eating it? NOway! It was delightful and prepared a bit differently each place I went. While dining at one restaurant, Ultramarinos, I did get the opportunity to also nosh out on some pretty yummy guacamole and chips, too. Their paella actually came in at number 2, behind a little local gem nestled amidst other small eateries, over near Sagrada Familia in Eixample. They had the best olives and…I was so famished that first day, after such a long night, I don’t remember much else. My stomach won the head battle that day. Yep, that’s me- the crazy hungry, travel blogger. Moving on. The cool thing about Ultramarinos -is that it’s located right on the popular La Ramblas strip- in the midst of all the action. The ambiance and décor is awesome, and the street views are great. From the colorful lights to the signatures of prior guests scribbled across the walls, it was the perfect spot for a rainy afternoon lunch. My suggestion- eat as much paella as you can while in Barcelona!

IMG_0024

Ultramarinos Restaurant

IMG_0025 (1)

Ultramarinos Restaurant Lights

IMG_0047Tea, Guacamole and Chips at Ultramarinos

Processed with Snapseed.

Authentic Paella at a Local Restaurant in Eixample

4. Stroll Las Ramblas 

This acclaimed boulevard is a tourist and local favorite. There are numerous hotels nestled throughout, as well as tons of restaurants, markets, souvenier shops, vendors and museums. Located near Port Vell, where the cruise ships come in, it is considered the heart of the city. The atmosphere is bustling, both day and night, and the La Boqueria Food Market, even offers a paella cooking workshop. I couldn’t resist mentioning that, lol. The street is pedestrian friendly, and is known for having street performers, artists and tourists from around the globe. From people watching, to eating and shopping, this is the place to be, so get your walking shoes on!

IMG_4047

Street Performer on Las Ramblas

IMG_7651

Museu de Cera (wax museum) located on Las Ramblas 

  1. Explore. Explore.

Visit as many other museums, monuments and sights as you can.  Barcelona has something for everyone to see. There are walking, city, bike, sightseeing, food and cultural tours. There is an endless list of places to explore. From Picasso to the theater, you will not get bored. Also, depending upon when you visit, consider making a trip to the beach. Yes, Barcelona has beautiful beaches, where you can swim, relax or even sail. Unfortunately, it rained most of the time this trip, so I missed out on the beach. The city is so vibrant and colorful, and equally as much multicultural. I met shop and restaurant owners and workers from various parts of the world, who were really nice. Also, don’t forget to mail your postcards back home, while you’re out exploring! Have fun!

Visit Candacetravels on Instagram to view more photos and videos of this gorgeous destination.

Processed with Snapseed.

Candacetravels Mailing Postcards Back to the US in the rain

City Details

Locals can be heard speaking both official languages; Catalan and Spanish. There are numerous taxis, as well as a subway, buses and airport shuttles. Hotels are plentiful throughout the city, and range from moderately priced to deluxe. If you don’t plan to rent a car, consider staying on or near Las Ramblas. This location will provide easy access to entertainment and sights, as well as to the metro stations. I split my time between Eurostars Monumental in Eixample (which is in walking distance to Sagrada Familia) and Arc La Rambla, which is located on Las Ramblas Boulevard.

IMG_7624

Hotel Arc La Ramblas Front Entrance

IMG_7618

Views from my 7th Floor Room- Eurostars Hotel in Eixample 

Thank you for stopping by today. I hope that you learned a little more about this beloved Spain destination- and are eager to explore. Until next time, I bid you safe and happy travels. Adios amigos!

A special thank you goes out to the Barcelona Tourism Department’s Premium Division, for assisting with my stay, and for sponsoring my press access to the area’s landmarks.

 
 

Travel.Smile.Go

fullsizerender-38

I’m fresh off a European run that included time in Oslo, Paris, Barcelona and a brief pit stop in Lisbon too. I don’t have to tell you how much fun I had…but of course I will anyway!!! After a 9 hr flight from Miami, FL to Oslo, Norway, I was ready to experience the land of the Vikings- but not without a short nap first, of course. I didn’t sleep much on the flight over, so I had to rest up to get ready to explore. Once I awoke, it was time to smile and go. Thanks to my Smile Brilliant teeth whitening trays, I didn’t have to worry about my pearly whites on photo! Buckle up and enjoy the ride, as we trek across the globe. Cheese!


First Stop

During my visit to Oslo, Norway, I canvased the area by foot, bus, tram and train. From beholding the majesty of the Nobel Peace Center, to the beauty of Aker Brygge harbour and fjord, there was much to see and do. I gazed at the magnificence of the Royal Palace and was moved by the exquisite beauty of the Parliament. It was awesome! I smiled a lot and met the friendliest residents ever along the way.


Second Stop

Next up, was home to none other than the Eiffel Tower. Paris, France was full of energy, action and nonstop movement. It’s a melting pot of ethnicities and the city never sleeps. I spent time feasting, exploring and laughing all over town. What a joy! Paris is one of those places that you have to visit at least once in a lifetime, and if you love rich history, tons of people and nonstop action; then this is most definitely a place that you will love. Lots of smiles and giggles happened over countless bon jours.


Third Stop

The third leg of the journey was Barcelona, Spain. Although it rained, it was still an adventure packed few days. From the vegetable paella to the famous Familia Sagrada Church, I smiled and oohed and ahhhed a lot. I pounded the pavement of the famous, Las Ramblas Street -where all the action happens and strolled through the hallways of the area wax museum. The architecture was quite a sight, and the views from my hotel were incredible. I certainly relished in the moments, grinning from ear to ear.

Although I didn’t get much time in Lisbon, I still managed to do a good bit of smiling and even some light (souvenir) shopping while on the run.

So, this is how I travel, smile and go! It’s important that I keep my smile bright, as an avid tea drinker. As noted above, I confidently did so in Europe, because I used my Smile Brilliant Teeth Whitening trays before I left the US. They kept my smile white, bright and…and in perfect sight… for the best photos EVER! Haha! I’m kicking off a contest today, so check out the dets below. Win your very own Smile Brilliant Teeth Whitening trays- a $139.95value.

*One winner will receive $139.95 credit

o 1 tray creation kit + 6 gel syringes of your choice (3 whitening and 3 desensitizing or 6 whitening)

o Enter name and email on giveaway link 

Giveaway link: Smile Brilliant

Unique 5% off coupon code for all followers: candacetravels

Smile Brilliant! My opinion of this product is in no impacted by the products sponsored. This post is a true depiction of my experience with the teeth whitening kit.
 

Party In Paris: 5 Things to Do To Celebrate

parissign

Office of Tourism, Paris, France

Hey hey ladies and gents! Good day to each and every one of you. I hope this post finds you well. I recently spent some time in Paris, France and wanted to share my experience with you. Though I was there working on a project, I still managed to find some time to celebrate a bit. I’d just welcomed another birthday thankfully, so when a few friends said they wanted to help me start this new season off right, I jumped at the chance. A little late birthday jollification is always in order…and when it can be done in style, well certainly why not then?!? Also, for the record, this post will not include any drunken wild nights, with individuals passed out in the back of UBER cars or anything. We had some good ole fashion fun, hanging around town in Paris! Although, there was that one UBER driver, who drove us back to the hotel on two wheels, while blasting music with every expletive in the book, but otherwise, it was rated PG 13. We took in Paris in style! So, here goes. Here are 5 things to do, when you want to Party (celebrate) in Paris.

img_3801

Eiffel Tower, Paris France

Visit the Eiffel Tower

This was my first time seeing the Eiffel Tower in person. During my brief pit stop in the area last year, I didn’t get the opportunity to see it. However this time, I made it a priority. When I reached the vicinity of the grand edifice, I was filled with jubilee. Upon finally witnessing it in person, I was mesmerized and in awe by its strength and beauty. It was a strong tower indeed. After eating just across the way, my friends and I headed over to take some pictures. We captured shots from just about every angle imaginable, and I even got the chance to dance beneath the massive structure. It was truly a dream come true. What a special day!

img_7510

Candacetravels and Friends- Eiffel Tower

img_3820

Candacetravels Dancing – Eiffel Tower

Bon Appetit

One of the best ways to celebrate is by toasting and noshing out on some palatable eats. Paris is a foodie’s dream and dentist’s worst nightmare all in one, simply because of all its fabulous food and sweets. Known for its rich and tantalizing cuisine, the city provides a smorgasbord of options to all who come hungry. While there, I was fortunate enough to dine at some incredible places. Yes, I veered away from my primarily plant-based diet, as I am known to do on the road at times, and indulged in a few succulent, le poisson (fish) entrees and delectable, vegetable dishes. I also splurged and ate a little BREAD, too. I know I shouldn’t have, but I did. It was tough considering the French eat bread with everything. They kept shoving baskets of it on the table everywhere I went. It was awful on my system, but oh so yummy to my tummy…well at least at the time, but not so much thereafter, lol. I paid for it later. In any case, my Parisian food affair commenced at Le Bistro Parisien, which sits just along the Siene River (across from the Eiffel Tower,) with a perfectly prepared piece of salmon over a bed of vegetables. It was followed up by a delightful mousse. Can you say fantastic!! And the gastronomical jocularity didn’t stop there. We celebrated that evening at Le Passage over wine and other comestibles; fish, salad, lamb for the carnivores at the table, and a combination of chocolate inspired desserts. In the following days, I feasted on fish and chips at Leon’s, savored the best vegetable soup ever at Le Bouquet, wolfed down a mouthwatering quinoa based veggie burger at Mamie’s and reveled over a delicious vegetable, Thai dish at Bistrot Pyramide. My advice- prepare your palate for the party of a lifetime!!

img_7384

Celebration at Le Passage

img_7388

Dinner at Le Passage

Other Landmarks

There is so much to see and do in Paris- from taking in the beautiful Arc de Triomphe up close and personal, to roaming the grounds of the acclaimed Louvre Museum. Then there is the spectacular Palais Garnier, Opera House that is fit for a queen. The city is a historical gem at every turn. Day or night, it’s a party in the streets, what seems like all the time. Paris is New York City on steroids. There are people everywhere, and constant energy in the air. It is crazy! There are actually too many people for me. I like a more toned down vibe at this point in life. However, beholding the gorgeous landmarks in person is well worth the visit. If you want other ideas on things to do, stop by the Paris Tourism Board for some assistance. Be sure to get all your selfie sticks ready- for shots of yourself in front of all the famous landmarks for your visual gallery, too. Say cheese!

img_3886

Musee’ du Louvre 

img_3870

Academie Nationale de Musique

Shopping

I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that Paris is a shopper’s paradise. Whether you live the fabulous life or are simply more of  a souvenir shopper, this locale has something for you. Paris, France has it all. From $2,000 (euro) Chanel bags, to $5 (euro) tee-shirts on the street, you can get something that suites your flavor. There are several areas spread throughout the city to help you spend a little or a lot. It’s the best!! Lovely handbags, scarves, shoes and hats grace the shops on every street, in every direction. While there, I also spent some time at BAUDE fashion house, and was completely smitten with the entire line. You can also skip over to Tiffany’s or Hermes for a new edition to your exclusive collection, or venture off to a less notable boutique -for a rare find. Treat yourself!…And don’t forget to pick up some Paris goodies for friends back home, or forget to enjoy shopping til you drop.

IMG_3942.JPG

BAUDE Purse

img_3935

BAUDE Fashion House

Mellow Sounds

One Saturday night, my friends and I spent the evening at the magnificent Duc des Lombards, Club de Jazz. The band was AWESOME. The vibe was relaxed and easy, and we tapped our feet and nodded our heads to the melodic tunes of the smooth harmony. It was a very chill evening, complete with a full house of spectators onsite to witness the greatness of this crew. After a long day of sightseeing, laughing and roaming the streets with cameras in tow, it was the perfect way to unwind. If you are in the mood for something a little more soothing, you’ve found it. Kick back and take in the show solo or with a group.

img_7403

Band Performing at Duc des Lombards

fullsizerender-35

Candacetravels Outside of Duc des Lombards

My time in Paris, France was a blast. It was definitely a great way to ring in a new birthday year! So much fun!! Until next time, safe and happy travels my friends!

 

 

 

 

5 Ways to Give Back While Traveling: Airport Edition

Greetings fellow travelers! I  hope this post finds you well. Today I want to discuss the topic of traveling with the goal of being a blessing to someone else in mind. We all love and appreciate the epic moments we experience while on the go, but how often are we thinking of doing something nice for others?  My question to you today is, do you travel with the goal of putting a smile on someone else’s face, or are you only thinking about your upcoming adventure? After reading this post, perhaps you will give it further consideration. I’m all for a great time! Lord knows I am, but it is important to me, to make a positive impact wherever I can. So, here are 5 easy ways to extend a blessing to others- during your domestic and international travels.

Buy a Little or Latte

We all know how long those Starbucks lines are in the airport. How about striking up a conversation with the person in back of you next time, and finding out what they plan to order. Engage in random, “How’s the weather where you’re headed” type of questions first, then work your way up to what they typically order. When the moment arrives, and you actually reach the counter 30 mins later, pay it forward! It’s not only a nice surprise for the person after you, but it also gives you and warm and fuzzy feeling inside, too. You just may make a new friend for life, and even if you don’t, at least you did something to put a smile on someone else’s face. Cheers to iced chai latte (tea) with coconut milk…in case you are ever standing in the line in front of me! Haha..but seriously! LOL.

Fork Over Your Window Seat

If you happen to find yourself on a row with the kindest person ever and their little anxious toddler, who is so excited to fly for the first time, consider doing the ultimate! Let them get the sweet taste of the window seat. Chances are you’ve flown a million times by now, and even if you haven’t it’s still just nice to do. Help make the kid’s first flight an epic ride that he or she will never forget. Your incredible act of kindness will last a lifetime, or at least for the duration of the flight, and when they grow up, hopefully, they’ll consider doing the same for the little travelers who come behind. In addition, you’ll be taking some added stress off of the parent, too. The views outside will keep their little one so occupied, that it’ll make for a smooth flight for everyone…including you! This will lesson the amount of “Are we there yets?,” because they’ll be too busy counting the clouds. Look at you!

Invite a Stranger to Lounge

I was just in this position last year. I was the stranger, who got an invite to the lounge. I wasn’t able to make a Barcelona flight out of JFK one day, and the nicest guy, who just so happened to work for Delta, didn’t make the flight either. He noticed my distress and invited me up to the Delta lounge. He totally saved the day. I was beat and had been in the airport all day. Before you freak out, I felt totally safe. If you’ve ever been in one of the airline lounges, then you know, they are packed with people, well lit and have staff available onsite. There is food, TVs, places to lounge and even access to showers. They are fantastic! If you have a pass and strike up a great conversation with a random stranger, who is on your super delayed or canceled flight, be a superhero and help them out. They will be oh so grateful! As a matter of fact, I’m friends with my Delta angel to this day.

A Not So Blind Lunch Date

I’m sure by now you can tell I spend a ton of time in the airport! With a ton of flying comes delays, cancellations and even reroutes. With that being said, the airport is a great place to meet some really awesome people. I find myself talking to people at the gate or in stores all the time. How about a not so blind lunch date? Not a date, date, unless you just so happen to make a connection with a really amazing guy or gal, but otherwise, I mean a “one good human being doing a good deed to another” type of date. You can learn a lot about life and people over a meal. And if you just so happen to find a match and meet the love of your life after reading this post- because you decided to buy someone lunch, you can thank me later! I accept payments in the form of airline miles, tickets and hotels. LOL. Just kidding….uhm…unless you really just feel led to bless me of course. But seriously, there’s no better way to make a person’s day than by buying them a hot or cold meal. Bon appetit!

Share the Plunder

There have been a few times in my life where people have complemented certain items of mine, and I felt led to give it to them. Just recently, on a reroute to Detroit from Boston, I met the nicest lady and her daughter. She’d just turned 21 (the daughter,) and really liked my jean tote bag. I was so exhausted that night, considering we’d just endured the day from well… it certainly was not Heaven let’s just say, and it was roughly 12:30 am by the time the airline got us all situated with a hotel. I wanted to just give her my bag then, but didn’t have the energy before we parted, to dump the contents and pass it on. Fortunately, we’d exchanged names, etc. and they reached out to me of FB, to offer me a ride the next day to Cleveland. We had all been on a cancelled flight, and Detroit was the closest place that 5 of us decided to head to. We all figured it would be pretty easy to get to OH from there, and after being stuck in Boston for 13 and a half hours, I was ready to get to just about anywhere else, that wasn’t there. In any case, I didn’t get to take them up on their offer for a ride, because I’d already made arrangements earlier that next morning to get to Cleveland. I was trying to get to my aunt’s memorial service, so it was imperative that I make it to my home state in time. In any case, I was so thrilled to hear from them and upon getting to Ohio, I got the address to send that young lady my tote bag. I have a million of them, so why not bless her with one. No biggie!! Happy to share the spoil and hope she had a super 21st birthday.

FullSizeRender (34).jpg

Jean Tote with Contents Prior to Passing It On

Thanks for reading, dear friends! Here’s to happy, safe and “paying it forward” travels to you. Have a great November and remember to be thankful for all that’s been given to you.

Candacetravels

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scandic Vulkan Hotel: Oslo

img_3571

Front of Scandic Vulkan Hotel 

Hotel Info & Location

Scandic Vulkan hotel is the perfect place to lodge during a brief or extended stay in the Oslo, Norway area. It is located right by the Akerselva River and sits just a stone throw away from the famous, Mathallen market, which is sure to excite any foodie’s palate. Here, visitors can feast on prepared food, or opt to pick up something fresh to take home and cook. Scandic Vulkan is also surrounded by a host of other eateries and restaurants, including a cute little crepe shop with swings for seats and a rustic designed sit-down called the Lucky Bird! The hotel is also by a park and is a short, 5 min walk away from the popular, Grunerlokka shopping district. Additionally, Scandic Vulkan is a bus or tram ride away from downtown Oslo- where a bustling city awaits. Central Station is also located in downtown and provides direct access to the Oslo Airport in Gardermoen, as well as to a host of other Oslo area sights and locations.

img_3597

Crepe Cafe

Rooms & Views

Scandic Vulkan has 6 room types; Standard Single, Standard, Superior, Superior Plus Superior Extra and the Blogger’s Inn, which is where I stayed (get it- Blogger’s Inn.) My room was perfect! It had a comfortable bed, a night stand, 2 sitting chairs and a small table, a desk and chair with a lamp, an Espresso Machine with coffee and tea, and an iron and ironing board, a safety box, a flat screen TV, wood flooring with a plush rug near the sitting area and a good sized bathroom with a glass encased walk-in shower, a hair dryer and FACE Stockholm products; hand soap, shampoo and shower gel. The room also had a really cool wall, dedicated to social media, air conditioning, which I didn’t use because of the brisk temperatures outside, free Wifi and super duper incredible views of the area from the 7th floor. The windows are ceiling to floor length and provide a panoramic view!!! Overall, I felt that the room was a good size and that it was more than comfortable. It was a bit chilly in my room at night, so the front desk even provided me with a small heater for use during my stay. All in all..Blogger’s Inn was a hit and my visit was a huge success!

img_3783

View of the 7th Floor Room Wall- Blogger’s Inn

img_3594

Close-up View of Bed-7th Floor, Blogger’s Inn Room

img_7328

Entryway- 7th Floor, Blogger’s Inn Room

FullSizeRender (24).jpg

Desk and Chair In-Room View, Blogger’s Inn

img_3585

Bathroom View- 7th Floor, Blogger’s Inn Room

fullsizerender-23

FACE-Stockholm Bath Products- In Shower

fullsizerender-29

Bathroom View of Superior Room-Media Photo

img_3587

Exterior Views-7th Floor, Blogger’s Inn

img_3591

Exterior Views- 7th Floor, Blogger’s Inn

Amenities

The hotel has a large and cozy lobby, with plush seating for use of lounging, working or mingling with other guests, as well as a business center area, library, mini shop and beverage café. There is also a fire pit that comes on in the evenings, conference space and a full restaurant on the lower level (a brand new and much larger restaurant area is actually under construction on the very bottom level,) a workout room with modern equipment, and guests also have the option of using bikes or walking poles for outdoor activities.

img_3569

Lobby Beverage Counter/Cafe

img_7071

Lobby Entryway Seating-Daytime View

img_7276

Large Lobby Area With Plush Seating Across From Beverage Cafe

img_3630

Lobby-Fire Pit

Processed with Snapseed.

Lobby-Library, Evening View

fullsizerender-28

Workout Room-Media Photo

img_3575

Front Exterior Bike View at Scandic Vulkan

Restaurant

The Ristorante Ferro (onsite) offers a range of locally sourced items for breakfast and dinner. Guests of Scandic Vulkan can enjoy everything from salmon lox and flat breads, to a variety of fresh fruit, granola and yogurt. There are also both traditional and gluten-free baked goods and Norwegian hash, meat and eggs, too. Additionally, there is an assortment of drinks including; fruit infused water, coffee, tea, milk and juice. The offerings for breakfast are vast and you can try something different each day during your stay. It is also a wonderful time to get acquainted with other guests. You never know who you might meet at the espresso machine! During the evening, the restaurant completely transforms their menu for dinner, offering salads, proteins and the most delicious pumpkin risotto…ever found on the planet earth! It’s the same warm atmosphere with a whole new selection of comestibles on the menu, for guest’s dining pleasure. Yummers!

FullSizeRender (25).jpg

Breakfast- Media Photo 

fullsizerender-26

Vast Offerings-Breakfast-Media Photo

img_7323

Current Restaurant- Dining Table View

img_7322

Delicious Pumpkin Risotto

I had an absolutely fabulous stay. The staff was delightful and helpful, the location was ideal and my room and views were superb!!! Scandic Vulkan is a must stay next time you visit Oslo! I cannot wait to return to the area for another visit. For more information on Scandic Vulkan and the Scandic Hotel line, visit scandichotels “A Home Away From Home.”

fullsizerender-22

Rear View of Scandic Vulkan Hotel

Visit Candacetravels on Instagram for a visual gallery of this property and the city of Oslo!

*I was a guest of Scandic Vulkan while in the Oslo area. This has in no way impacted my view of the hotel, amenities or location in any way. This is a true depiction of my experience and time at the property, while reviewing it.

 

Smile Brilliantly…While On the Go!

Welcome fellow travel aficionados! Today we’re going to discuss how to maintain a million dollar smile, while on the go. If you’re a tea or coffee drinker, or even a smoker, I’m sure you’ll appreciate this information. Even if the aforementioned don’t apply to you, I’m sure you’ve hoped for a brighter smile at some point in life. If you’ve ever found yourself stuck in a hotel (room) bathroom, fumbling with those over-the-counter whitening strips or gels- just a few days prior to an important meeting, then this post is most definitely for you. Since a great smile is equivalent to the perfect accessory, I have the perfect solution for you. Here’s how you can get your pearly whites to stand out in your meetings, as well as on your Instagram photos!

Today we’ll take an in depth look at Smile Brilliant, a professional grade teeth whitening kit that will amaze you by how fast it works. I recently became acquainted with this incredible product, which provided me with high quality results in record time, a short while ago. This one is most certainly a suitcase keeper!

img_3511

How It Works

My Smile Brilliant kit arrived in a square box, complete with everything I needed for a brighter smile. I must confess that I didn’t have layers of stains beforehand, but I am an avid tea, and very rare (on occasion) coffee drinker, so I wanted to lift my smile a shade or two for personal and professional purposes. I meet with a number of clients in different places, and I’m sometimes asked to be in pictures, so I like to look my best.

img_3536

The Kit– Inside I found instructions, molding putty, two trays; one for my upper teeth and a second for my bottom teeth, and 3 ml gel whitening syringes. Included was even an extra set of the modeling putty in case I had a misstep with the other, during the application. Fortunately, I didn’t have to use it, because I had my Iphone handy, to time the molding process – to ensure accurate results.

img_3522

I followed the card inside, which instructed me to mix the white and blue putty together until I could no longer see any white. Once it was ready, I spread the mixture in the upper tray and bit down to create the mold. I repeated the process for the lower tray and let them both sit for the recommended length of time. When ready, I dropped both of the trays with molds inside the envelope provided and mailed them back to Smile Brilliant, for the creation of my custom teeth whitening trays. In just a few days, my custom trays arrived, and they fit perfectly! I was eager to test them out. A short time after, I took a syringe from the Smile Brilliant kit and lined each tray with the whitening gel. I placed each inside my mouth and made sure the gel covered my teeth completely. I kept them in for approximately 20 mins the first time, and couldn’t believe the results I witnessed. Each syringe has enough gel inside for about 4-5 whitening sessions.

img_3533

Teeth Whitening Results

I could see a difference after just one use. Since then, I repeated the whitening process 6 more times to achieve my brightest, whitest smile yet. I found the entire Smile Brilliant process quite easy from beginning to end. The whitening kit provided such great results- that I would compare it to what you’d expect to find at a dental office, just minus the hefty price tag. Aside from being easy to use, the trays and gel-filled syringes are also easy to transport in any luggage. The tray container is the size of the case that houses my retainers from 15 years ago, post my braces days. It also fits effortlessly into any carry-on, tote bag or purse, making it simple to carry, if you need to lift your smile a few shades while on the run.

img_6869

img_6880

Fits easily into a makeup bag!

For those with sensitive teeth, there is also a desensitizing gel that’s available for use to serve as a barrier.

img_3509

Smile Brilliant offers a high quality teeth whitening product that is sure to not only boost your confidence while talking to others at home or on the road, but it will also aid in the success of your magnificent social media selfies- one photo at a time.

GIVEAWAY!!!! One winner will receive $139.95 credit, which is 1 tray creation kit, plus 6 gel syringes of your choice (3 whitening and 3 desensitizing or 6 whitening.) Click here to enter your name and email address for a chance to win!

*Stay tuned for pics of me and my new pearly whites!! Part II coming this week~

 

 

Page 1 of 4

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén