A Weekend in Philly

Earlier this year, we took a road trip to Philly with Madewell as an ode to the art of the weekend road trip. Philly is just a couple of hours from DC, and though I’d been there in the past, it had only been for short stints. I’ve never really gotten to know the city until now but let me tell you; I’m in love. The food, the architecture, everything – it’s one of those great cities that I loved right away. The entire city is actually a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and it’s easy to see why. I did a longer recap on the Madewell and Artifact Uprising blogs, but thought I’d share a few outtakes here. Until next time! madewellblog2

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Where we stayed: 

Loews Philadelphia – This hotel was stunning with incredible views, and cloud-like beds, a must after a long day walking around the city.

Where we ate: 

Little Fish – Absolutely amazing seafood in a cozy, intimate BYOB spot

Hungry Pigeon – A great spot for some good coffee and a pastry before starting your day

Root Restaurant – A newer spot with a beautiful interior and a great menu

Tredici Enoteca- This wine bar and restaurant is amazing! You’ll come for just a glass and want to stay the rest of the evening!

What we saw: 

Race Street Pier – Beautiful bridge views right on the waterfront

Philadelphia City Hall – A historic building that is such an icon in the city

Longwood Garden – This is outside the city, but a must-visit! I could have spent an entire day here exploring the gardens. It’s such a unique and inspiring place.

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On and Around the Farm

Back in January when we visited India, the first few days of the trip were spent around my family’s farm, about four hours south of Mumbai. My dad grew up on the farm ,and my mom is from a nearby town so it made for a really great, special part of the trip. The day before we left we toured the actual farm land, and got to see some of the crops (banana trees, coconut palms, mango trees) which was pretty crazy/amazing. These snaps are from around the farm, and the neighboring cities of Navsari and Bilimora (where my grandparents used to live!).

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Jaipur

Personal photos always seem to take the backseat to everything else, but I’ve finally gotten around to putting together some of the photos from my trip to India. Jaipur seemed like a good place to start – we had a short amount of time there, but in those few days we experienced more than I thought possible to squeeze in. That being said, the city is absolutely sprawling, and I know there’s still lots left to see.

Truthfully, I left knowing I’d want to go back soon just for the sheer amount there is to see and do. The history of the city is astounding, and I left really wishing I had time to see more. Until then, a few snaps!

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Carribean Relaxing

Like most people heading to the Caribbean, we were really excited for a chance to relax and unplug for a few days while on our Carnival cruise. We had four different ports to visit during the trip plus a couple sea days so it was important to us to get in a good mix of relaxing all while exploring the different islands (and the ship!). IMG_5809

This time around, I thought it would be fun to highlight some of our favorite relaxing (and in some cases, straight up indulgent) moments of the trip. Take me back to 80 degree temperatures, room service, and mimosas on the balcony, please!

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 We started off pretty much every morning with room service, and it never got old. Waking up to fresh coffee, fruit, and bagels every day was something I definitely miss now that I’m back home. It was such a simple thing, but it really set the tone for a slow and relaxing morning. image4.jpg

We can’t talk about breakfast in bed without talking about the bed though. The comfiest. I slept so well the entire trip, and am about to upgrade all my linens at home, ha! Good quality sheets and a solid mattress make such a difference when you’re vacationing (or am I just getting old?).

carnivaldecks.jpgDuring sea days, we’d try to find a quiet deck to stroll around while getting some sun. Watching the ocean with a drink in hand and the wind in your face ­ the best.

IMG_5963 A big highlight was the Serenity adults only area on the ship. It was much quieter than other parts of the boat, and it made for a good little spot to relax and take a nap. Definitely get ready to snag a spot early though as it does fill up. Best of all, it’s was located right above the spa on the Breeze making it super convenient. I got my hair done one morning, and then popped up to the Serenity area right after.

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Some of our ports were definitely more chilled out than others, but Antigua tops the list as most relaxing in my book. The water was the clearest I’ve ever seen, and the beach we headed to, Dickenson Bay, was absolutely perfect. There were very few other travelers around so it really felt like we had our own space to spread out. For lunch we ate at a local restaurant, Coconut Grove, and had some amazing Caribbean chicken and a couple of local beers. The rest of the afternoon was spent lazing around on the beach reading, and needless to say, it was the perfect lazy port day. IMG_5649

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One of my absolute favorite parts of the cruise was relaxing on the balcony after a not­-so-­tough day. I could honestly sit out there, and stare at the ocean forever. A little champagne and cheese to go along with certainly doesn’t hurt either ;). We’d usually sit out there most afternoons reading, and taking in the sunset before getting ready for dinner. balcony

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 I feel relaxed just looking at this view. We loved getting back on the ship, and watching the views changed as we sailed away. It was a perspective you’d never see from the land so it was a really cool thing to experience.

For our final port day, we took an excursion to La Casa En La Playa in Amber Cove, Dominican Republic. I’d highly recommend it if you’re looking for a low­-key, tranquil excursion. Hours of napping in a hammock, walking along a secluded shoreline, and snacking on Dominican treats was a major highlight for me. From visits to the spa to cocktails by the pool, this trip was relaxing, luxurious, and exactly what we were hoping for.

This post was created for Away We Go with Carnival, the destination for getting in the getaway state of mind. Head on over.

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Pollo Guisado and a Rum Spritzer

Trying new foods and eating my way through a new city or country is hands down, my favorite way to travel. You can learn so much about a culture through their food, and there’s nothing better than having a local show you their favorite bbq spot or watering hole as you navigate a new place.

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 It’s hard to believe it (especially with the current temperatures in DC), but we were visiting the Caribbean just a few days ago on the Carnival Breeze. As a food lover, I was so excited to explore all of the offerings both on and off the boat, especially since I’ve never been on a cruise before. In researching some of the cuisine that we’d encounter at our ports prior to sailing, the Dominican Republic stood out to me. I’d been there a few years ago, and fell in love with the friendly people and the incredibly delicious food. Our final stop on the cruise was in the Dominican Republic, allowing us to try some more of the local food there, including some incredible chicken and fish dishes cooked right on the beach (take me back!).

To pay homage to some of the great food we tried on the trip, we opted to try our hand at pollo guisado, a chicken dish that is very popular in the Dominican Republic. Until you make your way to the island yourself, this tasty chicken dish plus a recipe for a cocktail to go along with will have to do!

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POLLO GUISADO
Servings: 4 people

Ingredients:

-2 lbs. of chicken thighs (skin on and bone in)
– 2 limes, freshly squeezed
– 1 teaspoon of oregano
– 1 small onion, chopped
– 2 stalks celery, chopped
– 3 cloves of minced garlic
– 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
– 1 teaspoon of sugar
– 4 small tomatoes, chopped
– 2 bell peppers, sliced
– 1 jalapeno, diced with seeds removed
– 15­-20 green olives
– 1 cup (8 oz.) of tomato sauce
– cilantro for garnish
– 1 teaspoon of salt
– 1⁄2 teaspoon of pepper

Directions:

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  1. Squeeze the juice of both limes over the chicken thighs in a large bowl
  2. Mix together the chicken, oregano, onion, celery, salt, pepper and garlic. Marinate for at least 1 hour in the refrigerator
  3. Heat oil in a large pot and add in the sugar, browning it slightly over medium­-high heat. Be careful not to burn it!
  4. Add the chicken to the pan and cook for just under an hour on each side until browned
  5. Add 1⁄4 cup of water. Cover and simmer over medium heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally
  6. Add onion, celery, tomatoes, bell peppers, olives, jalapeno and garlic. Cover and simmer until the vegetables are cooked through, about 5 minutes
  7. Add the tomato sauce and half a cup of water, simmer over low heat for 30-­45 minutes to let the liquid reduce. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Plate each piece of chicken with some fresh cooked rice and top with cilantro

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CITRUS RUM SPRITZER

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Ingredients

– 1 oz. freshly squeezed orange juice
– 1 oz. freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
– 2 oz. dark rum
– 1⁄2 oz. simple syrup
– 2 oz. seltzer water

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Directions:

  1. Combine the grapefruit juice, orange juice, rum and simple syrup in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake vigorously for at least 15 seconds
  2. Pour liquid into a glass and top with seltzer water

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This post was created for Away We Go with Carnival, the destination for getting in the getaway state of mind. Head on over.

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