I have been traveling SO MUCH lately. I’ve missed you all! So, let’s catch up on recent travels real quick!
A few weeks ago I was in Atlanta visiting friends and attending a Beautycounter event! I met these inspiring ladies that I am so proud to call co-workers and friends!
Then I was in Charleston with Cassy, Vanessa, Juli, and Stacy! Charleston is SERIOUSLY so cute. Here are some Charleston recommendations: Husk, Butcher and Bee, The Obstinate Daughter, Zero George, Fig, The Ordinary, Eli’s Table, 167 Raw, The Grocery, The Darling Oyster Bar, Cru Cafe, Another Broken Egg Cafe, Prohibition for cocktails and live swing music, Fleet Landing Restaurant & Bar, Live Jazz at Bar Mash.
Most recently, I was in Ithaca, New York (and I can’t wait to go back) glamping at Firelight Camps celebrating my good friend Gina and all of her hard work on her newest cookbook, Skinnytaste One and Done!
We had the best time, and I left inspired, motivated, and with a full heart from quality time with these amazing, caring, talented, and giving ladies! Check them out, and make sure to follow their blogs, too!
I can’t believe how long it has taken me to write this post! I apologize for all those who have been patiently waiting for our Italy recap!!! We ended up going to Rome, Florence, and a day trip to Venice. If you remember, we were all booked for Cinque Terre but weather held us off from going so we quickly changed our plan last minute (travel pro tip #1: don’t be obsessively tied to your schedule)!
P.S. here is the travel camera and the lens that I used for all of the photography (note: this is a macro lens which I love, but that means there is no zoom, so you have to step further away from your subject.
We took a red eye with Alitalia airlines, Boston to Rome FCO and arrived at 11:50 AM!
We flew home with Alitalia airlines, Rome FCO to Boston, getting home at 6:20 PM.
We took the train from Rome Termini to Florence.
We took the train from Florence to Venice.
Mike and I flew into Rome and really had so much fun exploring the city. We were there during the Rome Marathon so that was pretty cool to see. We stayed at the most gorgeous hotel, and did all the tourist-y things you just need to do your first time there!
Sistine Chapel (shhh…)
Where We Stayed:
We stayed at the amazing Rome Cavalieri, a Waldorf Astoria Resort which is situated in a 15-acre private Mediterranean park, overlooking Rome and the Vatican City. It’s located in a prestigious residential area of Rome, just 3 km from the Vatican City and 5 km from the historic city centre and it’s numerous attractions. It’s a quick train stop or Uber ride to the center of things, within proximity to city center!
I loved this hotel so much. It’s the home of the famous La Pergola Restaurant & Bar, which is the only hotel in Italy to boast a Michelin-rated three star restaurant. The stylish roof terrace offers panoramic views across the city. We enjoyed an amazing dinner at L’Uliveto Restaurant, located at the hotel – overlooking the landscaped park and outdoor pool, this restaurant serves a full menu of Mediterranean and international dishes.
The hotel bar in the lobby served up the largest (and delicious) espresso martinis! The pool and spa were unbelievable, and was a total vacation in the hustle-bustle of Rome, since you are not staying right in the center of the city but for sure within proximity to city center!
What We Did:
We bought tickets (in advance) to a Roma vs. Fiorentina Futból game at Stadio Olympico which was SUCH a cool experience. It was really fun to see how another country experiences sports games, and it was kind of like how we do! Fun Fact: Different from American culture, nobody was drinking much or getting drunk at the game, but plenty of singing and cheering and fun all around, just like in the US.
We did the “Caesar Shuffle”, as they call it, exploring from the Colosseum to the Forum, Capitoline Museums, Victor Emmanuel Monument viewpoint, and Pantheon. We bought tickets to the Colosseum online so we were able to cut the line.
Vatican City — St. Peter’s Basilica and Vatican Museums, which was SUPER hectic, but special, since I studied Art History in undergrad.
We did what they call the “Dolce Vita Stroll” along Via del Corso (start at Piazza del Popolo and end up at Piazza Venezia for great sunset views) — also see the Spanish Steps while around there!
Honestly, I don’t know if we did it wrong, because I’ve heard people love the food, but I wasn’t crazy impressed with the food in Rome as I was in Florence. Here are a few stand out spots that we loved.
Voglia di Pizza: Amazing Gluten-Free Pizza + inexpensive wine.
La Proscuitteria Trevi: Small hole in the wall with amazing chopped salads and epic charcuterie platters.
Dinner at L’Uliveto at Rome Cavalieri: This meal was amazing!
Dinner in Trastevere (area in Rome): I wasn’t in love with where we ate, but was in love with the area and recommend dinner and exploring the area.
Gelato For Days: Geletaria La Romana was pretty amazing!
Places we didn’t go that were recommended (not gluten-free per say): Pierre Luigi Taverna Antonina, Spirito Divino, Ristorante Le Cave, Dar Poeta, Taverna Trilussa, Ginger Sapori E Salute, La Scala- Ristorante in Trastevere, Nonna Betta, Roscioli Ristorante Salumeria, Osteria Zi’ Umberto, Giolitti, Old Bridge Gelato.
Roma vs. Fiorentina
Florence was hands down my favorite of the three places that we visited. I loved that it was a walkable city, unlike Rome where I felt like we were constantly Ubering (is that a word?) everywhere. I loved the food, the culture, the art, and the atmosphere in Florence so much. As I mentioned, I studied Art History for my undergraduate degree, and this was always a place I wanted to visit. In college when everyone went abroad, finances kept me back from going, so I am so grateful I finally was able to visit a place I learned so much about and really wanted to experience!
Gluten-Free Pizza at Ciro & Sons — SO good!
Where We Stayed:
We decided to stay in an AirBNB, to switch it up from hotel life in Rome, and honestly, I regret it. I loved the location of our AirBNB (literally right down the block from the Duomo), but after walking around all day and having jam packed days and a filled schedule, I think it’s nice to come home to fresh towels and a made bed, you know? Especially since we weren’t planning on cooking in the apartment or anything like that. So if I were to do it again, I’d personally go for a hotel. Just my two cents. When I travel within the U.S., I love AirBNB, but for traveling abroad, I think I prefer hotels 100%.
What We Did:
Tuscany Day Trip: We did this though “Tuscany in a bottle”, and did the Super Chianti option. This day was so amazing and I highly recommend adding this to your list of things to do while in Florence. We ate great food, drank great wine, and had a lovely day in Tuscany.
Academia (David) — make a reservation!
Uffizi Gallery (unforgettable paintings) — make a reservation!
San Lorenzo Market area, shop, and have lunch in or near Mercato Centrale. Shop the leather district!
Explore and shop the Piazza della Signoria/Ponte Vecchio area.
Trattoria Dall’Oste: Amazing steakhouse.
Osteria del Cinghiale Bianco: An amazing dinner on the other side of the Ponte Vecchio.
La Giostra: Another amazing, romantic meal near the Duomo.
Ciro and Sons – Restaurant Pizzeria Firenze: We came here twice for amazing gluten-free pizza and food. The owners are unbelievably hospitable. I loved it so much!
Trattoria ZaZa: Get the truffle omelet and an Aperol Spritz or two!
Places we didn’t go that were recommended (not gluten-free per say): Acqua al Due, Gusta Pizza, Gusta Panino, Gusta Osteria, Fishling Lab, Il Latini, Sostanza, Brindellone, Oil Shoppe.
Gorgeous Ponte Vecchio
Espresso All Day!
Winery Day in Tuscany
Chianti Region Wine
Day Trip to Venice:
As I mentioned, we had train tickets and an AirBNB booked in Cinque Terre but last minute had to change our plan due to weather (bummer), however we made the best of it, went to Florence a few days early, and booked a train ticket for a day trip to Venice. Man, did that city blow my mind. The colors, the charm; it was truly breathtaking and so romantic. As much as I loved our day in Venice, I was content with one day there, and so was Mike. I didn’t feel like I needed multiple days, but if I did, I would have planned an excursion to see some Murano Glass!
What We Did:
Since this trip was rather last minute, we kept it casual and went with the flow (not my usual planner self), and it was actually so perfect. So while I don’t have amazing food recommendations for you, I’ll share a bit of what we did!
Gondola Ride: Highly recommend this! We did this in the quiet areas of Venice and not in the crazy touristy part and it was pure magic. Our amazing Gondola driver sang beautiful songs to us while navigating the tiny water streets and it was so special.
Lunch: We stumbled upon a random restaurant and it was yummy. I’d do some research for food here. We just winged it.
Walked the entire proximity of Venice!
Gelato: I don’t remember where, we stumbled into a spot and it was yummy!
Rooftop cocktails and espresso by Piazza San Marco (overpriced but the view was gorgeous). We liked the quieter streets better than this area, though, as it was crowded and more touristy.
A Glimpse of Rome:
A Glimpse of Florence:
A Glimpse of Venice:
Those who have traveled here, what would you add to this list of places to go and places to eat?
We have a ton of upcoming travel this year from business, to wedding trips, to just fun destinations we’ve been wanting to go to! I thought I’d share with you a little insight to how I plan our vacations, and some resources that I use and love.
I am excited to bring this post to you today sponsored by my friends at Trip Advisor. Since I always use Trip Advisor as a resource for our trip planning, it couldn’t have been a more perfect partnership! All opinions are always my own.
Where are we headed in 2016?
First, I am flying to one of my favorite cities, Austin, Texas, for a conference called PaleoFX! I’ll be doing some stuff for the release of my upcoming cookbook and am super excited to continue to eat and enjoy the Austin vibes.
THEN, I am headed to Puerto Rico with my girlfriends for my bachelorette party and some fun girl time!
I’m planning some local weekend trips for the summer, like Woodstock, Vermont, back to Portland, Maine, and little trips to put together travel guides of Boston and New York for you!
We’ll end the summer with our WEDDING, where we’ll then take a little mini-moon to San Fransisco, Napa Valley, and Yosemite. I’ll be planning a big Europe trip later in the year for this, too!
WHOA. That’s a lot of travel. Let’s chat a bit about resources and planning!
Travel Tips & Planning:
The earlier the better, in my opinion! Do your research on where you want to go and when you are planning the trip. Of course, certain weeks are pricier than others, so take that into consideration. You can do some price comparisons but since airfare is always fluctuating, the earlier the better. If the prices go down, you can always call the airfare and often they will adjust the difference. Also, applying for a credit card that connects to an airline is a great idea. You’ll eventually have enough points to fly for free!
I always use the Trip Advisor hotel tool for this! I really really do. It’s so easy to navigate and to do some comparisons with their PriceFinder. They have tons of pictures, reviews, and pretty much every detail you could want when searching for a hotel.
Things to Do:
I always like to plan some sights and restaurants that I want to visit. Whether it’s checking out more local, authentic spots, or visiting renown restaurants and sights, I always try to plan some of these excursions at least 2-3 months out. This ensures you get where you want to go! Trip Advisor honestly has amazing restaurant reviews, and I’m not just saying that! I think it’s a perfect restaurant resource when traveling because you get reviews about traveling and dining out, different from people reviewing a restaurant in their own city! You can even ask questions and get real live answers. So plan, plan, plan so you can enjoy and do all those wonderful things you’re planning on doing while on vacation!
Enter to WIN!
I hope those little travel tidbits helped! If you are in the midst of your very own planning for your 2016 travel, take advantage of Trip Advisor’s #BookToWin Trip-A-Day giveaway!
Simply book your hotel through Trip Advisor during the month of March and be automatically entered to win some amazing prices. For starters, 31 winners from every day in March will win $1,500 towards any getaway of their choice, anywhere in the world, booked on Trip Advisor! And one grand prize winner will win 15,000 towards their getaway! Not bad, eh?
How To Enter The Trip‐A‐Day Giveaway:
● Option 1: Book your hotel on TripAdvisor during the entry period and automatically be entered in the Giveaway.
● Option 2: Find your hotel on TripAdvisor, then click from TripAdvisor to book on another site, then complete the entry form.
P.S. Don’t forget these 11 healthy travel tips!
Happy 2016 travel planning, my friends! What destination is on your list?
Good morning! Did you catch my Instagram pictures from this weekend? We had an awesome 24 hours in Portland, Maine this past weekend. We loved everything from the food, the cocktails, to the boutiques, friendly people, and the scenery! It’s a wonderful little get away for us, being that it’s just a two hour drive from Boston.
Before I get into my 10 places you must go to, let’s talk about accommodations and some other little details!
Where we stayed:
We stayed at the Portland Regency Hotel & Spa, which is part of the Historic Hotels of America. They have valet for your car which you can come and go as you please, friendly staff, and tons of history! It was beautiful, clean, had an awesome bar calledThe Armory, and it is in the BEST location. It is right in the heart of all the shops, restaurants, and just exactly where you want to be situated for a night in Portland. Our room had a really nice balcony which you can sit at and enjoy coffee and a newspaper in the morning. Next time we come, we are definitely taking advantage of the spa, which has a sauna, steam room, and all of the awesome spa amenities you’d be looking for!
Portland is such an awesome city because within the 24 hours we were there, we felt like we knew already our way around! There is so much to do in this city. It felt like a smaller Boston with tons of character. P.S. They do have Uber, but with where we stayed we easily walked everywhere we wanted to go.
Are you ready? 10 things you definitely need to do, plus some pro-tips to go along with it!
I recommend getting small plates or sharing, so you can check out a variety of places. Keep in mind that most places do not take reservations so be prepared for a bit of a wait. Also keep in mind that this is from a foodie perspective, so we did a lot of eating 😉
I wouldn’t go here for lunch (if you eat like me), since it’s mostly paninis. Their poutine and fries are worth checking out though for sure. Pro tip: While waiting, have a drink next door at East Ender. May I suggest the Lemon Drop Martini! It was one of my favorite cocktails of the trip.
There are awesome little boutiques, tons of fun stores to pop into, and of course more restaurants and unique bars to try. Milk Street, Market Street, Exchange Street, and Congress Street are where we spent most of this time. We liked Motifs for little fun gifts!
We came here Sunday morning before heading out. We got there around 9:15 and had a 20 or so minute wait. By the time we were there for 10 minutes, the wait went up to 45-1 hour! Get their early or be prepared you might have to wait! It’s worth it. We tried a few things that were all fantastic, but their homemade smoked salmon was out of this world.
10. Grab another donut at The Holy Donut
Yes, I’m serious.
Places we didn’t make it that we are definitely getting to next time:
Boda (Thai) for a meal
Hunt and Alpine for a cocktail
Fore Street for a cocktail and food
I also heard that Grace, Street & Co, and Fifty-Five are phenomenal choices.
Another suggestion we received was to take the mailboat tour which brings mail to all of the small surrounding islands. We heard it’s really wonderful (and it’s BYOB), but it was a little too cold for us to brave. Plus, with only 24 hours, we wanted to explore the town more.
This is not a sponsored post. We did receive complimentary hotel accommodations. All opinions are 100% always my own.
Have you been to Portland, Maine? What was your favorite thing to do?
Last week I cerebrated my birthday with good friends, awesome readers, and some amazing paleo-friendly food at Tempo Kitchen & Cocktails. I love that Tempo uses local ingredients and I LOVE that they offer most of their menu gluten-free, so it was a pleasure collaborating with them on this special evening!
If you follow me on social media, you may have seen me sharing details of this event throughout the past month. I worked with the chefs at Tempo and we created a wonderful 6-course dinner. The night was so wonderful and I can’t wait to host more dinners soon!
A bunch of readers and friends who attended the dinner requested a recipe from the night. I took a little poll and the scallop dish won. So I am SUPER excited to share it with you today.
Here’s a sneak peek of the dinner, course-by-course!
Watermelon Gazpacho Shooter with Toasted Cumin and Jalapeño.
Brussels Sprouts with Smoked Bacon and Lemon Vinaigrette (this dish was SO popular, I may need to share it with you, too!)
Prosciutto Wrapped Local Day Boat Monkfish
Heirloom tomato Sugo, and Local Farm Arugula and Pistachio Pistou
Seared Local Scallops
Zucchini, King Oyster Mushroom and Summer Squash “Spaghetti”, Shaved Garlic, White Truffle Emulsion
Grilled Wagyu Top Sirloin Steak
Sweet Potato, Parsnip and Turnip Hash, Local Farm Asparagus, Fig Demi
So much amazing food! Are you full just looking at it? They also made an Upside-down Nectarine Cake based off thisLCK recipe, and paired it with coconut ice cream. NOM.
Now… The scallop recipe everyone raved about!
Seared Sea Scallops with Zucchini, King Oyster Mushroom and Summer Squash “Spaghetti”, Shaved Garlic, and White Truffle Emulsion
Place the truffle oil, almond milk, half of the almonds, and the dried shitakes into a small sauce pan and heat over medium heat for 20-25 minutes. Using a blender or hand blender puree mixture until smooth
Slice whole peeled garlic cloves into thin slices using a very sharp knife
Shave the king oyster mushrooms on the mandolin (if king oyster mushrooms are not available substitute white button, or cremini mushrooms)
Slice each end off both the zucchinis, and the summer squashes. Shave zucchinis and summer squashes into spaghetti with your spiralizer
Now add the zucchinis, summer squash, and king oyster mushrooms and sauté slowly, once the vegetables are nice and wilted remove from heat and mix in the arugula, and the remaining almonds
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Mike and I had the greatest weekend. On Friday night we drove up to Lenox, MA to the gorgeous Canyon Ranch for a little pre-birthday celebrations! We arrived late, were greeted by the most friendly staff, had a quick dinner (they packed us gluten-free cookies to-go in our room), and we went to relax before a fun-filled day ahead.
We woke up and explored this gorgeous place. It is so serene, quaint, friendly, and relaxing.
We walked down, sat on some adirondack chairs overlooking the woods and rocked (in the words of Emily from Zivamind) a 15-minute meditation to kick start a day of fitness, relaxation, and wellness.
We ate phenomenal food, took awesome fitness classes, got pampered in the spa, and got to take in the gorgeous views of Lenox. At night, they have quite the epic DVD collection filled with old and super new movies. Since the lovely staff always gave us soft, delicious gluten-free cookies to go, the nights were relaxing and filled with cookies and movies in bed, something we never ever get to do! It was delightful.
All in all, it was truly a fantastic weekend getaway, and with all there was to do- over 40+ indoor and outdoor fitness activities daily, workshops, talks, treatments- I could totally have seen us staying for days and days!
There are two main restaurants at Canyon Ranch. The Dining Room (where we ate dinner the first night and lunch the following day) and The Cafe (where we are breakfast both days and dinner Saturday night). The Cafe is new. It is farm-to-table style, and also where you can grab a snack throughout the day, a cappuccino, a smoothie, and so on. Of course, The Cafe was right up my alley and we loved loved loved it there. Especially Sunday brunch because… brunch!
I’m merging together breakfast (Saturday) + brunch (Sunday), because they were both just so fantastic. I started each day with an almond milk cappuccino and went from there. The accommodations for gluten/grain/dairy-free were beyond amazing. I was greeted with a full ingredient list of every single food at CR upon arrival, down to the brand of tomato sauce they use! They had three different types of almond milk, local maple syrup, coconut water for the smoothies. Everything down to the T!
The breakfast you ordered, with the open bar to help yourself to other things, and the brunch was station buffet-style.
Everything was beyond delicious! We grabbed a quick lunch on Saturday, and then got right back into our day of fitness and the spa!
Dinner at The Cafe was a highlight for sure. I loved seeing where a variety of the food I was eating came from. What is better than that? It is so apparent how much the chefs value their food and their expertise.
Bravo to the CR Lenox chefs. It was truly amazing seeing your craft in action.
P.S. There is no alcohol served at Canyon Ranch. I actually really enjoyed this little detox aspect.
CR Lenox is different then any spa I’ve been to. It is super focused on fitness, wellness, and health out of just the food and the spa. There were lectures on sleep, an integrative medicine practice where you could actually get tests done right there, and so much more.
I took a circuit class, a spin class, and a yoga class. Now I’m not the biggest Yogi but I am making an effort to get more into it, so I decided to take a class. Antoinette was the teacher and she was beyond amazing. I loved her nature, energy and the vibes of the class. I wish she was here in Boston! Mike took a meditation workshop, a yoga class (more intense than mine), and a kettlebell class which ended up being one-on-one since he was the only person who showed up!
I really loved the classes, and also loved spending time in the Women’s Spa. Sauna, steam room, hot tub, relaxation area, and more. Total bliss.
Another highlight that we loved was the natural “sports drink” in the fitness area. Seeing the word Sports Drink you can imagine what I thought the ingredient list would look like, but I was in fact wrong! A blend of iced teas, orange juice, white grape juice, lemon oil, and sea salt. That’s it! We added a little to our waters to fuel us through the day. I think I’ll have to recreate this one for all of you 🙂
Next time, we’ll stay for longer and get outside for one of the hikes and other activities that we couldn’t fit into our stay!
Mike and I both got massages, mine an 80-minute deep tissue and his a 50-minute Swedish. I also got a deep cleansing facial which was phenomenal. I loved the spa area of CR and the awesome, knowledgeable staff there!
Disclosure: I was not paid to write this post, but did receive complementary amenities. All opinions are 100% always my own!