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Travel

Travel Log: Montréal, Canada 

January 11, 2018

This Travel Log also doubles as a Throwback Thursday, as this epic girls trip to Montréal, Canada, took trip place last August. Click through the slideshow for a glimpse at some of the highlights.

Me and my boos — Yvette, Sierra and Andrea — wanted to get some travel in together. But where to? Savannah? Santa Fe? Boulder? Suddenly, Canada looked pretty good since we could go international without going too far for our weekender. As a kid, I took a day trip from Detroit to Toronto with my brother Robert and my aunt Betty, but I had been wanting to give Canada a real go. I’m so glad we settled on Montréal. And thus began a new tradition for our crew.

Sierra and I arrived within an hour or so of each other on Friday, Aug. 25, so we met up at the airport and Ubered to our Airbnb, which was located in Old Montréal and not too far from downtown. Yvette was next to arrive, and the three of us wandered to find a brunch spot. Immediately, I was charmed by the architecture and foliage everywhere. It felt like we were in France. Oui oui! We soon met up with Andrea, who arrived a few hours later, and set out to have a proper lunch. I was pleasantly surprised by how accommodating the locals were by offering double-sided menus in French and English because I tried Duolingo and my French accent is especially atrocious. We wandered a few blocks away from the square where we brunched and were enchanted by a quaint restaurant that had corks on display. I had a delicious steak and fries and the girls feasted on clams, and all enjoyed a bottle of red wine over lunch. I could get used to this cosmopolitan-ladies-who-lunch life. The rest of the evening consisted of a fancy dinner at L’Original. The smothered pork chop and spaghetti was everything. On the way to find a bar for a night cap, we encountered a movie playing on the side of one of the buildings. It turns out it was part of an art installation for Montréal’s 375th anniversary celebration. We ended the night at Saint Pierre, a newly opened bar run by a black woman (aaoooww!) and playing dope music. I had a refreshing drink called “Respect Your Elders,” which included elderberries. Who would have thunk?

The next day, we got an early start and went on a dining walking tour that left from the steps of the Notre-Dame Basilica, which we would find out was Celine Dion’s church. It was there where she got married and had the funeral for her husband. The tour guide pointed out important landmarks and gave us tons of historical anecdotes (Did you know that Montréal was named after its proximity to Mount Royal?), plus we got to try some great traditional bites along the way. Delicious custard-filled tarts, duck and pork patés, macarons and a smoked meat sandwich made the tour well worth it. The awkward mix of outlandish characters on the tour was memorable, and also a point of contention as we wanted to slap one of the ladies for making a borderline racist comment about an interracial couple. Folks be wildin’. Of course, we ate again shortly after the tour, but this time we felt better equipped to pick a place and had a good lay of the land. I tried my first poutine (Fun fact: It’s really pronounced “poo-ten” — far less fun to say than “poo-teen” in an aggressive Southern accent, which is how I still choose to pronounce it) and a tasty flight of local beers. We went back to the Airbnb to rest from all the walking we had done. That evening, we took a short Uber drive to a fun restaurant, where we ordered a number of dishes to share and proceeded to do shots like college girls on spring break. Hahaha. We still got it!

On our last full day in town, we had a lovely brunch after being lured in to a swanky hotel restaurant with the promise of a free mimosa. I mean, why not? We went to see the rainbow balloons lining the LGBT neighborhood and stocked up on last-minute souvenirs. Those Coffee Crisps — imagine a coffee-flavored Kit Kat candy bar — that we discovered at the grocery store were smackin’, and I left with several to bring home. We finished the night at a cute little tiki bar called Le Mal Nécessaire, which translates to The Necessary Evil, where we drank some potent punches and lamented the early morning flights we had back home.

Montréal, you beautiful beast. Thanks for your hospitality and the adventures I had with my girls. I could definitely see myself living here if I had to live in a foreign city. Either way, I will be back.

To see previous places I’ve jetted off to via my Travel Log, click here.

ashley ♥ adores

Travel Log: Orlando and Bahamas, 2/17 – 2/20

February 28, 2017

It’s the dead of winter, so a trip to a tropical atmosphere was in order, starting first in Orlando, Florida, then taking us to Nassau and CocoCay, Bahamas. I mean, I can’t really complain living in Southern California, but my good friend Zita is going through it with snowstorms in Boston. So we got out of dodge and spent four glorious days and three lively nights on a boat in the Atlantic Ocean. Yes, we cruised it up! Click the slideshow to see some fun visuals, and read all about it below.

DAY ONE: Friday, Feb. 17
I landed at MCO (Orlando International Airport) bright and early at 6:30 a.m. and waited for my pal, Zita, to arrive. I posted up for a few hours and got caught up on some episodes of “Z” on Amazon Prime. Thank God for WiFi and headphones. When, she touched down, we fueled up on some light snacks then boarded a shuttle for the port at Cape Canaveral. Off in the distance, we could see our ship, Royal Caribbean’s Majesty of the Seas, which would be our home for the next four days. We breezed through security at the port and checked in on the gangway, where we were greeted by Jock Jams blaring through the speakers. “Y’all ready for this?!” Why, yes. Yes, we were. Our first stop: the pool bar.

With unlimited drinks available (Hot tip: You’re gonna want to buy the drink package in advance!) at the swipe of our Set Sail card, we ordered our first libation of the trip — an ice cold piña colada. Zita immediately began mapping out the day’s plans as outlined in the Compass. Should we dance under the stars or hit up bingo? The world was our oyster! At about 3 p.m., we were able to go into our stateroom, located on the third deck. We would later find that this was actually one of the better decks on the ship. You felt the swaying most on the upper decks, and Lord knows ain’t no body got time for sea sickness. As our ship departed Orlando, I observed from the room’s porthole a flock of pelicans flying in a perfect V formation. It was truly magical. Something I didn’t catch on camera because I was immersed in the moment.

After a bit of a fiasco with the dining room assignment for our 8:30 p.m. dinner time, we were seated at a table among a crowded sea of people. We were surprised that we were expected to eat dinner with complete strangers, but thankfully, our table mates, Sarah and Lacey, were good company. We kinda felt bad for Kelly, another table mate who was ditched by her 17-year-old daughter, who was busy meeting boys in the teens-only section of the ship. Shame! After dinner, we found our way to the seventh deck, where we were promised free champagne and the possibility of winning raffle prizes (the magic words). We both made off with a free print and were encouraged to return the following afternoon for an art auction with even more raffle prizes. Exhausted, we called it a night early.

Find out how the rest of my cruise went after the jump!

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Wednesday Word

February 22, 2017

This Wednesday Word No. 89, courtesy of Redbubble, is where my head is after this past three-day weekend. I’m fresh off my first cruise — we went to the Bahamas — and all I can say is I need more travel in my life. The anticipation, the expectation of a new adventure in a new part of the world is exhilarating. Thursday night, I boarded a red eye for Orlando, Florida, and Friday afternoon set sail on a cruise to Nassau and CocoCay with my pal, Zita. I’d been on many boat rides, but this was different. The crazy part about it was we were literally out in the middle of nowhere. This huge, blue, choppy expanse that could chew you up and spit you out — also known as the Atlantic Ocean. To feel so small in this ginormous ocean was humbling. We really did disappear those four days and three nights. And it was quite magical. The goal of the vacation was to relax, soak up the sun and just escape from the day to day (or in Zita’s case, the snowy weather in Boston) — and we did all of the above. As the quote says, “You don’t need magic to disappear. All you need is a destination.” Stay tuned for my Travel Log about my journey!

To get inspired by previous Wednesday Word posts, click here.

ashley ♥ adores

Wednesday Word

September 28, 2016

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Man, I could really use a vacation. That’s what’s at the heart of this Wednesday Word. With all the chaos going on, I need to get out of Dodge, like yesterday. You know, slow down, relax, clear my mind, experience a change of pace and scenery, appreciate all the things that really matter. Thankfully, I’m heading to Europe (Munich and London, to be exact) for a week real soon. So when I stumbled upon this quote by Ella Maillart, a French-speaking Swiss adventurer, travel writer and photographer, I naturally got all giddy. This Wednesday Word No. 85, found via Brainy Quote, is as good an excuse as any to break away from the routine, as Maillart said, “that dreadful routine that kills all imagination and all our capacity for enthusiasm.” There’s something about visiting a new place that excites and reinvigorates a person. I’m so looking forward to exploring Europe with new lenses, and seeing what my creativity and imagination conjures up. It’s great timing, too, as I’ll be starting a new job shortly after I return from my vacation. You know I’m gonna have to report back via one of my Travel Logs here! Auf wiedersehen, y’all!

To get inspired by previous Wednesday Word posts, click here.

ashley ♥ adores

Found Objects: Luggage Tags

September 22, 2015

I was walking to my office when I happened upon these two nondescript scraps of paper strewn across the dusty concrete. When I took a closer look, I discovered that these were something entirely different: luggage tags. And I was dying to know the backstory.

Read more after the jump!
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Fancy Things Friday

January 30, 2015

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1. Jet set in style with this Wander On (Blue) Duffle Bag, designed by Christine Herrin for Punchdrunk Panda. Perfect for world traveling or even working out, this bag has all kinds of fun, functional features. All I can think of is, “Where to next?” (punchdrunkpanda.com)

2. I have small wrists, which make finding bracelets and watches that fit a Herculean task. Thankfully, this malleable Measuring Tape Bracelet by Monserat De Lucca makes it easier for a gal like me to have style by the mile. (shopbop.com)

3. Appropriately adorable casual wear, this Killian Cropped Cotton-Blend Top by Elizabeth and James is the ideal Saturday lounge wear. Whether you’re catching up on some Hulu or enjoying a leisurely a.m. stroll, this top will do the trick. (theoutnet.com)

4. Zara’s Raincoat has got you covered (literally and figuratively) the next time showers roll in. Heck, with this light-pink dream I wouldn’t mind doing a rain dance just to be seen in it! (zara.com)

5. These Check Wool Trousers from 3.1 Phillip Lim are the right mix between preppy and relaxed. (polyvore.com)

Travel Log: Spain, Portugal and Gibraltar, 12/15/13 – 12/23/13

February 11, 2014

This post is super late, but the memories I have from Spain, Portugal and Gibraltar are clear as day, as if they happened yesterday. In mid-December, I traveled abroad with the boo-ski and his mom. His family spent Christmas there, but I flew back to the States in time to spend the holiday with my family and friends. Long story short, my European vacation was ridiculously fun. Here are some of the highlights of my weeklong stay abroad.

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After enduring what felt like THE longest layover known to mankind in Amsterdam, I arrived in Málaga, Spain, on Monday night. It’s located near the south of the country, near the Mediterranean Sea.

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Travel Log: LACMA Lampposts, 10/4

October 9, 2013

File this one under “hometown tourist,” as this is one of the things I’ve been wanting to see but have never gotten around to. This past Friday night I met up with my pal, Zita, in the Miracle Mile for a night of dive bars and exploration. Little did I know, we would pass the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and one of the most enviable photo-opp venues in the city: the lampposts, also known as the “Urban Light” installation from Chris Burden.

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Just gorgeous. The photo, of course, pales in comparison to the spot’s true beauty.

Interestingly enough, this large-scale assemblage sculpture consists of 202 restored street lamps from the 1920s and 1930s — the majority of which once lit Southern California streets.

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Seeing the sparkle of the lights across the clear night sky just does something for my peace of mind.

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And then there was a whole lot of this.

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Can’t forget about this either.

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