Who doesn’t love themes?! After tons of research (and to surprise my husband with a pretty unique birthday weekend), I came up with a little fun way to explore Philly and entitled the weekend: our “Colonial ‘Cool’ Weekend.” I know, you must be like “Loren, what does that even mean?” Basically, it’s all about letting the 18th century influence our present-day activities; think about what people back then would be doing/using/watching and find an equivalent to now! While cozying up to a fireplace is great, is there a fun way to experience a fire that outdoors? And with music?

Come, let me whisk you away to the itinerary!

Day One:

After driving in from NYC to Philly (an easy 2-hour car ride), we parked our car into a garage (using the SpotHero app, where we saved $$$ off our first booking and, well, let’s say this app gave us such a steal! Have you guys ever tried it? It was our first time!); it was seamless and we were off to our hotel– the Sofitel Philadelphia– in no time. Although the hotel offered valet parking, we really didn’t need the in-and-out privileges! Hey, save money where you can, right? ūüėČ The Sofitel Philadelphia is part of a French chain and is located in the city center— perfect if you’re going to be doing more of the history stuff around town (book using this referral code to get $25 back after your stay!)

Let there be light!
Create your own candle @ Wax + Wine

image from wax + wine Instagram

The founding fathers (before Franklin’s lightbulb) relied on candles for light, so why not make your own?! An alternative to the sip + paints we’ve been seeing around the country, Wax + Wine delivers a different (and pretty cool) experience to Philly: candle making! It’s a BYOB bar that’ll let you bring in your favorite bottle of vino (or champs) (and snacks!) and they’ll provide you with glasses and plates.

You then descend down to the “scent cellar” where you get to select your favorite scents (ex: lemongrass, rose, blood orange, coffee) and bring it up to create your own candle! They will help you through the whole process and you walk away with a one-of-a-kind! Perfect activity for a date or girl’s night out. Get creative: want a candle for meditating? For dancing? For when you’re taking a warm bath? Go wild!


Dine with the ghosts of our Founding Fathers @ City Tavern

So, while the ghosts are “rumored” to be there (I didn’t see any), there is no denying the fact that this tavern is pretty historic! It is the first tavern ever in the USA [read: old] and the one where George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams would come to discuss constitutional affairs and have their fill! It’s also the place our founding fathers celebrated the first ever “Fourth of July.”

The food at City Tavern is gourmet colonial, inspired by the same food eaten in the 18th century and recipes of that era that were the favorites of some of our past presidents! I actually ordered for a birthday cake to be made using Martha Washington’s Chocolate Mousse Cake recipe and, let me just say, de-li-cious!

Your host/ess and waiters are dressed in colonial garb, you’ll dine under candlelight, drink water from goblets and, after 5:30pm, find a live harpist sending melodies into the air, completing the dining experience.


philadelphia itinerary winter

Glide Over Ice + Chill by a Bonfire @ BlueCross RiverRink

They had ice skating back in the day, so why not enjoy some of that present day, too? From December to March, you get the chance to ice skate next to the Delaware River with the Ben Franklin Bridge lit up behind you, all in the middle of Philadelphia’s Blue Cross WinterFest! Sessions start on the hour (and if you have health insurance with any sort of a cross on it, skating is free! (I wish I knew that beforehand as you’ll have to show proof!)).

After your 1.5 hour skating sesh, head on into the food hall for some grub, play your luck at one of the arcade games in the arcade cabin, or head outside to sit next to a bonfire! They have make-your-own s’mores available, as well as hot chocolates/ice creams (and drinks for the adults at the ski-chalet cabins ;)). The WinterFest lasts until March, making it a fun evening activity during the winter!


Day Two:

Grab a Pourover @ La Colombe and brush up on your Science + Tech
@ Franklin Institute

After a wonderful night’s rest, head on over to Philly-born La Colombe for some pour over coffee and a baked good (word on the street is that their coffee is taking the nation by storm!). Have your drink to stay (the tables and coffee cups & saucers are so elegant (I mean, they are custom made in Italy ;)) or take it to go! A 15-minute walk will get your blood circulating as you make it to The Franklin Institute. “In Honor of Benjamin Franklin” stares at you as you walk up the steps into the museum, where you’ll actually be stared down by Ben himself as you make your way to the ticket desk.

Walk into a human heart, compete against your favorite athlete in a running challenge, catch what the 3D printers are printing, step into a giant steam engine locomotive or catch an IMAX movie, whatever you’re doing, it’ll be sure to be interactive and you’ll walk away learning something new!

PS: I’d give yourself three hours to see everything, not rushing.
PPS: We saw a Paleontologist take apart owl poo and rebuild a rodent’s body. yeah, cool!


candy store USA

Sugar-Coated Candies, Chocolates and all 18th Century– Oh My!
@ Shane Confectionery

Shane Confectionery is the oldest candy store in the USA and holds some of the yummiest chocolates and candy inside! One step in through the door you feel like you’re instantly transported back in time with the moldings/glass cases properly preserved and the shopkeepers dressed in colonial garb.

Head to the back of the candy shop where you’ll find hot chocolate, ice cream and milkshakes being made to order. The flavours on the menu are very unique and insanely delicious! We picked up a Jasmine petal and orange zest hot chocolate and all I can say is.. YUM! Our chocolate pellets were weighed, added into a beautiful copper pot and stirred with a wooden whisk! If you’re unsure about which drink to get (because Jefferson’s hot chocolate seemed like an amazing option, too) for $15 you can get a flight of three hot chocolates to try!


Havana, Oh Nana (ay)
@ Cuba Libre

Okay, so Cuba Libre isn’t exactly Colonial, but the interior is made to look like old Havana and, the way I look at it, Old Havana was founded before the 18th century… like Philly… sooo… there’s that :). Plus, I was craving some latin food ;).

Come with an empty stomach because the portions here are HUGE and, if coming on a weekend evening, be sure to make a reservation on OpenTable! I had the shrimp cilantro-lime with rice that was good, but I hear that their brunch pancakes with mango-cinnamon butter are amazing.

xx,

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Brooklyn native, Latina, and founder of Enlightened by Bravery, an adventure/travel and wellness blog that focuses on drawing inspiration from adventures around the world back into your life // iPhoneographer // Francophile

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B.

Beaufort: Small City, Big History, Lots of Beauty

I like pushing the envelope. It’s just what my curiosity does to me. It’s a curse, perhaps at times, but when it comes to travel, however, I find it as a true blessing. It was no surprise, then, when planning my trip to Georgia that I wanted to squeeze in a day-trip to South Carolina. Now, I knew my days were tight, so I made sure to make this destination worth it. Cue in Beaufort, SC, a little city that opened my heart and mind through its history.

As a NYC resident, I wanted to explore more of a southern coastal city (can you blame me?)  and so when I saw Beaufort featured in the New York Times (and then after I booked my trip saw it featured in Southern Living and Vogue,) well, you know I just had to check what this city was all about.With a population of about 13,000 (and it being the second-oldest city in South Carolina), I must say, I felt pretty close to everyone I encountered and felt the history instantaneously upon my arrival.

I partnered with the Beaufort Regional Chamber of Commerce to plan my trip and when I asked:
“What’s the best way to see the city?”
“Via a walking tour,” is what they non-hesitantly replied.

So, my husband and I got in the car, waved ‘bye’ to Savannah for the day and headed up north about 1.5 hours.

When we arrived to the visitor’s center in Beaufort, we were happily greeted and given recommendations of where to eat and what to check out. Never be shy about asking locals – they are the best source of information!

We started our day with lunch at Plums. Real talk: I have been having SO much delicious butter (and shrimp!) down south that I opted for a refreshing chicken salad – oh, and some oysters on the side, of course to change things up a little bit and give my body a bit of a break. As we entered the restaurant, we requested outdoor seating and were escorted to the back, right by the Waterfront Park, a wonderful spot for people-watching and seeing¬†boats pass you by. Interestingly enough, every couple of minutes during our conversation, we’d have to stop talking because we had fighter jets fly over us; turns out, we were right near Parris Island, a Marine Corps Air Station. How cool, because you never see those jets flying around in NYC!

After lunch, we went on our walking tour of Beaufort where I walked amongst some of the most beautiful Antebellum houses I have ever seen, built on what used to be plantation fields and learned that they were used during the war. Today, many of the homes are residential and used for films! There were so many movie references while on the tour, I wish I was a big movie person to understand; but it was okay, I understood the history and, honestly, just walking along the streets filled with oak trees, Spanish moss, birds chirping, carriage steps and imaging myself back in the 1700s was just incredible.

Friends, look at the following photos and imagine yourself hearing horseshoes and standing in front of these beautiful homes while feeling the slight breeze on your cheek.  We walked around the city for about two to three hours. All worth it. So in love:

After our super informative tour, shopping was obviously next on the list. I sometimes wish I had a cute little beach home that I could decorate √† la plage. But, who says that daydreaming is a bad thing? ¬†Even if it’s to go inside and imagine the d√©cor I’d put into my beach home, I have a wonderful time just strolling around, touching every piece of glass, opening up and flipping the pages of freshly printed coffee table books, and sniffing every candle my nose can handle. ¬†At this point, my husband was¬†outside sitting on a bench waiting for me as he turned to his phone and flipped through who-knows-what. Either way, I stayed¬†inside the store and kept exploring. Scout Southern Market was¬†such a great find! They have such wonderful things inside that are one-of-a-kind and I poo-poo on myself for¬†not buying the beautiful blue & white porcelain dish I kept going back to! ¬†Lucky for me, they deliver. ¬†I’ll be adding¬†that¬†to my to-do list ;).

As we know, shopping works up an appetite (yes, yes it does, ladies ;)) and I was craving something sweet. I recalled the gelato sign we passed by earlier in the day and headed back to Common Ground Marketplace Café where I indulged in a wonderful lemon sorbet. As a lactose-intolerant soul, I highly appreciate when places that carry gelato also carry sorbet. It was the perfect treat after walking around for hours under the sun.

After our little snack, we sat by the Waterfront Park on its swings for a while and enjoyed the beautiful waterside view. We made our way through some more cute shops and pondered about how great our day was, how much we learned and which restaurant would be our last stop for¬†dinner (we love to eat, don’t judge ;)).

We ended up crossing over a little bridge and (per a local’s strong recommendation- I mentioned I loved locals, ya?) headed on over to the Dockside Restaurant for dinner. I KNOW. ¬†I know. ¬†I said I wasn’t going to have any more shrimp. But… it was strongly recommended… and how could I not? ;).

As we finished up our dinner, we packed ourselves back into the car and headed back down to Georgia. Our day in Beaufort was as beautiful as its homes, its nature, its water, its friendly people and, most of all, its rooted history (for the history buffs, check more out here). In a city that I knew nothing about, I walked out knowing so much and banked the trip in my memory, so happy I fed my curious mind.

xx,
Loren.


Outfit

Dress: Revolve | Shoes: Nine West | Watch: Fossil | Sunglasses: Shein

2.

2018: Goodbye NYC, Hello New Zealand!

…and I don’t mean it just as a vacation. Family & friends, it is with great excitement and joy that we share with you all that we are leaving everything we know about NYC behind and heading off on an adventure abroad for the year!

We are moving to New Zealand!!

There have been so many factors that played into our decision: one of them was attending a Tony Robbins seminar (that post coming next!), another was experiencing the beautiful culture in Denmark last summer (gosh, I love that bicycle life), and another was that, frankly, I have been left feeling a little uninspired by NYC lately. Nothing against the concrete jungle, but maybe that’s my problem: too much concrete.

I don’t know if I ever shared this, but there were two times in my life that I literally¬†sobbed on the plane as we took off: once was when I wheeled up from France after studying abroad there (oh, the¬†tears!), and second was when we left Denmark (how could I live without all the pastries and that bike life?!). I started noticing a pattern and it drew up a concern for me: why was I crying so hard? And what was it about those countries that made me want to stay forever?

In my efforts to understand myself, it was clear that those other places (and travel in general), always filled a void of unpredictability, new adventures and new customs/cultures. When I landed, it was like a game of strategy in which you must survive, learn the rules and get excited about all the different things happening around you. I know NYC is a giant melting pot, but having been born and raised here, it all has just started to feel and become a little, well, predictable. I already know we are all celebrating the fourth of July no matter what state in the country I am in. And while I love traveling around the country (the USA is beautiful), I am seeking something more.

It occured to me that in order for me to continue to grow, continue to be inspired and continue to love deeper, I need to get out. NYC, USA, it’s not you, it’s me; we need a break. You will always be my home, but I feel that distance will make the heart grow fonder. You give such great opportunities that I have yet to be thankful for. The opportunities¬†are endless and you¬†can be whoever you want to be; yet, I’m not grabbing anything by the horns.

So why New Zealand? Well, why the heck not?!

xx,