You Should be Here: The Next Time You’re in Atlanta!

It seems like Atlanta is growing day by day. Don’t believe me. Just try driving down 75/85 on ANY given day of the week. That just means there’s more to see and do, and the traffic never stopped me anyway. I share my my favorite spots to eat and a few things t do in three neighborhoods: Virginia Highlands, Ponce de Leon, and Midtown.

Poncey-Highland

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A mix between the neighboring Ponce de Leon and Virginia Highlands, you can find Ponce-Highlands. This area caters to families and young professionals who have decided to live and work in the Atlanta area. From luscious green parks to small business and restaurants to lovely street art, you’re bound to find something that appeals you.

Eats
Sweet Auburn
I never let a trip to Georgia pass me by without making a stop here. I’m a sucker for bbq. I usually get their pulled chicken, but I recently tried there wings. Magnifico! I also love the rustic vibe of this place and how they have a community dining table which is perfect for a solo traveler like me.

-Folk Art
This is the place where my foodie adventures began. On my birthday, May 2014, I created a foodie tour for myself of different restaurants all around the city. This is one you cannot miss. Have you had their brunch?!

My fave: French Toast and a side of their fried chicken along side a mimosa will have your morning feeling just right! I guarantee it.

Other places to eat in the surrounding area:
-The best WholeFoods I’ve ever been to (and I’ve visited a lot)
-The Vortex

-King’s Pops (an ATL favorite)

-Front Page News

-LaFonda Latina

-Honey Bubble

-Mary Mac’s Tea Room

-Majestic Diner

-Fellini’s Pizza

-Gusto!

-Noodle

-Ponce City Market (several places to eat)

Things to Do:

-Go visit small boutique and custom goods shops such as Paris on Ponce and Citizen Supply with goods from local artisans.

-Take a bike ride through Freedom Park.

-Little Five Points is not too far. Check out the artsy scene here with vintage shops, bars, and street art on the corners of buildings.

-Watch an indie film at Plaza Theatre.

Midtown

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Ohh Midtown, you have grown on me. This neighborhood used to be a little too polished for my liking, but I love how the Midtown Alliance initiative has worked on making this area more of a community. In Midtown, you’ll find the Woodruff Arts center, historic neighborhoods, history, and places t stop and play. Midtown offers an experience and a beautiful city backdrop you’ll definitely want a picture of. In the mix between lifestyle, culture, art and business, you’ll understand why Midtown Atlanta was voted a 2016 “Great Neighborhood” by APA.


Things to Do:
-Checkout the “Autoeater” sculpture
-Take a picture at the midtown sign
-Play ping pong, Badmiton, etc. at one of the community play areas at different parts of the city.

-See a show at the Woodruff Arts Center or take the kids to the Center for Puppetry.

-Go see the new exhibits indoor and outdoor the High Art Museum.

-There’s most likely some festival happening in Piedmont Park, always.

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Eats.

-Woody’s Cheesesteaks (my all-time fave/go to)

-LaHacienda (soooo good!)

-5Church Atlanta

-Midtown Tavern

-The Nook at Piedmont

-Cypress Street Pint & Plate

-The Flying Biscuit

-Lure

-Tin Lizzy’s Cantina

-Zocalo Mexican Kichen & Cantina

-10th & Piedmont

-Mary Mac’s Tea Room

-Proof & Provision

Check back for updates and the Atlanta Coffee Shop Guide!

 

The Oahu Travel Experience

Destination: Oahu, Hawaii USA

               This year’s birthday was an absolute dream come true. I celebrated my 27 Spins Around the Sun on the island of Oahu in Hawaii. I have always dreamed of visiting Hawaii. So much, to the point that, birthdays from 12-21 were all “luau” themed. To my parents luck, they were always able to use the same decorations and I was never disappointed. Hawaii was everything I ever dreamed of…from the food, fun, and of course the beach, I was indeed destined to experience FUN IN THE SUN. This is by far, the best birthday celebration yet!

oahu statue

Pack and Go

As part of my transition to living a minimalist lifestyle, I am working to making my trips away apart of that as well. Check this link to help with packing for your next trip. This 4 day round trip from Las Vegas to Honolulu required little prepping and packing.  

Purposeful Packing Tip: Small luggage and a carry on bag. No check-in needed! Don’t forget the sunscreen!

Stay

Pacific Beach Hotel

Steps away from the beautiful sands of Waikiki Beach lies Pacific Beach Hotel. Pacific Beach Hotel has newly renovated rooms that were modern and very clean. The hotel is walking distance to restaurants, shopping, and cafes. 

As transportation to get around the island I used Uber. (Need the promo code for $$ off, comment below!)

We also rented a car from Enterprise using Expedia. The pick-up location is a short walk away from the hotel.

Eat and Drink

-Atlantis Seafood & Steak

-Grab a spiced chai tea latte from Olive & Oliver Coffee Bar.

-Head over to Goofy Cafe & Dine to try their Big Island Honey French Toast.

-After you hike to Manoa Falls, dine at Manoa Treetops Restaurant. Beware of the running chickens!

Play and Do

Chief’s Luau at Sea Life Park was my dream come true! 

Waikiki Beach and Shopping

Waimanalo Beach State Park– My preference for white sand and less tourists.

-Go snorkeling in North Shore. This was an adventure list item I was able to cross off the list. The experience was breath-taking…literally!

-Stop by the Makapu’u lighthouse before landing at Makapu’u Beach.

-Hike to Manoa Falls.

 

See

We rented  a car for a day, which allowed us to navigate the island a little more and go off the beaten path.

-Aloha Tower

-Street Art in The Ward Village District

-Makapu’u Tide Pools

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Hula Figurine at Olive & Oliver’s Cafe. You must try the delicious Taro muffin at Goofy’s.

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Green Luscious Mountains in Oahu, Hawaii.

 

Chief’s Luau Aloha Experience

 

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Makapu’u Lookout!

Adventure Awaits!

 

Adventure Thrill List: Snorkeling

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This trip I decided to cross a thrill off my list in Ko’Olina. Snorkeling in 35 ft. of water  with fish, turtles, and other beautiful sea creatures. You can either go during the day to possibly catch a sight of a few dolphins or in the evening to watch the sunset on the horizon. This experience included dinner and drinks. Well worth it!

back views

If you’ve been to Oahu, please share you adventures below. I hope you enjoyed the Oahu Travel Guide and safe travels to you!

5 easy steps to Purposeful Packing

I am an over-packer. Not just a little bit, no… I can go a bit overboard. Not intentionally, though. I just want to have everything I need without feeling like something is missing. I also like to have ‘just-in-cases.’ You know? The items you throw in the bag “just-in-case” that probably never get used. Well the past two trips, I have decided to incorporate my recent adoption of minimalist practices (I’ll talk about that in a later entry) and pack my bags for my Mexico City and Hawaii trips purposefully. Perhaps, these “5 Steps to Purposeful Packing” can help you out on your next trip too!

Step 1: Pick Appropriate Sized Luggage

For the past two weeks I have been on a luggage hunt. I wanted to have quality luggage for a decent price. I also wanted different sizes to go with the length of time I’ll be at each destination.

I figured that by having three different sized luggage, I’ll be able to pack everything I need perfectly!

Small- 3-5 day stay || Medium- 6-12 day stay || Large- 13 days or more

Step 2: Pack the Essentials

Sometimes we stay at AIRBNB listings (use the link to get $20 off). There are unique places to stay. They only thing, for those who need one, is you do not have a housekeeper and sometimes toiletries are not provided. Packing travel sized toiletries saves you time when packing a carry-on. *Money saving tip: Purchase travel sized bottles that come with twist-off caps. Refill these bottles using your full-sized favorite products from home. More bang for your buck!

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Step 3: Roll, Not Fold

I learned this trick from my aunt. Now, I always roll my clothes. It makes for much more room in my luggage. I’m also able to see everything I’ve packed when pulling out outfits and separating the clean from the dirty.

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Step 4: Comfort, Cute, Classy- You Decide!

Think about the type of trip your going on, where you are going and what you may do. Will I need my hiking boots? Will I need to pack sunscreen? Are those heels necessary?

Step 5: Treat Yourself

When packing, you shouldn’t have to feel like you’re leaving things that you really like to have with you. I personally carry one tote bag for those ‘little things’ I like to travel with. My beau often carries a backpack. In our carry-on, we pack small things we like to have on our flight or that we may need on an excursion (ipad, notebook, etc.).

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“There’s no better lesson of the necessities in life, than one who packs for the value in the adventure.” -Raven Love

Packing can be very frustrating, but it doesn’t have to be. Start with the essentials and move forward from there!

What are some packing practices that have helped you pack less?

Pack Light!

xo, Ray