Category: Travel (page 1 of 5)

Nashville: Travel Diary


Hey y’all! I was in Nashville recently for one of my absolute favorite human’s bachelorette weekends. It was delightful so I thought I’d share a couple of highlights in case you ever find yourself in Music City.

First of all, we stayed in a cute little Airbnb which I would definitely do again. Ubering everywhere was easy and getting around the city was never more than 10-15 mins in the car.

We kicked off our first night with a Sprocket Rocket bike tour – one of those mobile bar thingies where you blast music, drink, and pedal around the city. We had a bartender pouring beer and a driver who took us around Broadway – a can’t miss. It’s honkey-tonk central with bars and live music galore. We actually went to Broadway again a few nights later because there’s sooooo much good music (and people watching).

Layla's Nashville

The next day we did some wine tasting, whiskey tasting, and beer…. drinking. We had a lovely little private tasting room for the wine part of the day at Grinder’s Switch Winery. The wine was on the sweet side – which, as our sommelier told us, is pretty standard for the south – so if that’s not your thing, the winery is a part of Marathon Village. Housed in an old automotive factory, this seemingly unending row of shops, tasting rooms and cafes is the perrrrrrfect place to do a little drunk shopping. I may or may not have bought all of the t-shirts. And a large candle that may have caused airport security to double search my carry-on bag. Whoops.

Okay, okay. Get to the good stuff.

What’s In My Toiletry Bag?

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Can we have some real talk for like just a sec?

Q: What’s the first thing you do when you’re staying at a friend’s place and need to get ready?

A: Obviously try their products in the bathroom.

Don’t even try to lie to me. I will call you out so hard.

What kind of human are you if you don’t try the shampoo, conditioner, face wash, moisturizer, etc. that your friend has in the bathroom? A liar. That’s what kind of human.

Well I am not ashamed to admit that if I have stayed at your house I have most definitely tried your products.

So I thought, “Why not give the people what they want!?” And I know that what you really want is a look into my toiletry bag.

Here you go. A few things I’m digging on lately that you should try.

1. Dr. Perricone Pre:Empt Series (a travel size exfoliating pore refiner, skin perfecting serum, and oil-free hydrating cream)

2. Secret Clinical Strength (nobody likes a summertime stinker)

3. Blemish Extracting Tool (that little silver toothpick thingy – Google this and say goodbye to blackheads)

4. Crest 3D White Luxe Glamorous White Toothpaste (the polishing compound of toothpastes)

5. Jack Black Protein Booster Eye Rescue (I use it a few times a week to keep the crow’s feet to a minimum)

6. Epicuren Lip Balm (I’ll be honest – this was a free sample and I haven’t tried it yet but the gold packaging was pretty)

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Iceland

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I just returned from an incredible week-long vacation to Reykjavík, Iceland so I thought I would throw together a quick travel journal to share some of my experiences. I hope this little sampler platter of Iceland inspires you to book a trip. It was truly incredible – breathtaking, awe-inspiring, rejuvenating… i could go on. But I’ll pause.

I’m all about short and sweet lists these days so here are my favorite memories from our unforgettable trip.

Sights: tough to narrow this down, but here are my top three

#3 Blue Lagoon
We spent a full day at this popular attraction and honestly I would have gone back again if we had the time. Soaking in silica-saturated sea water, rejuvenating algae and silica face masks, indulgent dinner and drinks at the onsite restaurant – this day was heavenly. We followed the sage advice of friends who had been to Iceland before us and did the Blue Lagoon on our first day. It was the perfect way to recover from flying and relax into the week.

#2 Golden Circle
To be fair, I was torn on including this one. I loved the sights, but being stuck on a bus with the most stereotypical tourists for a full day was pretty rough. The saving grace was a day jam packed with sights outside of Reykjavík – including exploring the rift between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates, watching the “original” Geyser erupt every few minutes, learning about greenhouse farming, and taking in the Gullfoss waterfall.

#1 Sólheimajökull Blue Ice Glacier Hike
This was by far my favorite day. I didn’t really know what to expect from a glacier hike, but we had an amazing guide who taught us so much. We learned about Iceland’s fire and ice – volcanoes and glaciers that are so much the heart and soul of the country. We did a full day hike across the Sólheimajökull glacier with full on crampons and ice picks. Our guide even gave us the chance to repel down and climb back up a shear wall of ice. Stopping at the Skógafoss waterfall on the drive home was the cherry on top.

Eats: let’s be honest, I’m already planning dinner as we’re sitting down for lunch

Fish Market – high end spot for mind-blowing dinner
Public House Gastropub – delicious high concept tapas with an asian twist
Perlan – incredible views of Reykjavík and the surrounding vistas in slowly rotating (360 degrees every 2 hours) glass dome high above the city
Lava (Blue Lagoon) – decadent and delicious
Nora Magasin – great place for a quick beer and bite (lamb bigger to die for)

Nightlife: if you’re looking to fall in love in a hopeless place, Reykjavík’s nightlife scene consists of cozy bars where folks drinks and dance till dawn

Kiki Queer Bar (I know… eye roll… But! – amazing music, mixed crowd, dance till 4am when the sun is bright in the sky
Dillon – chill whiskey bar
Kaffibarinn – small bar but fun music

I have so much more advice – so if you’re planning a trip, just shoot me a note and I’ll give you some pointers!
IG: @champagnejason

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Harajuku Lover

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Oh nooooooooo! It’s the last of my Japan pics!

I don’t know why but I just said the line above out loud in the voice of Aziz Ansari. Weird.

But anyway – I guess since I’ve now fully unpacked and gone through all my photos… It’s time to plan my next trip!

This day was a super fun one because we wandered around Harajuku – which was like a shopper’s paradise mixed with an Alice in Wonderland fantasy. It’s a colorful section of Tokyo to say the least.

And obviously when I saw a random sign wearing the exact same colors as me we had to stop to take a pic.

The Essentials:
shoes – K-Swiss
sweater – H&M
shades – Ray-Ban
scarf – J.Crew

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My Issue With Statement Sweaters

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I’m still riding the high of a nice long vacation but now that I’m back stateside I’ve had a chance to appreciate the adventure with a little perspective.

We live in a crazy world and there’s plenty of heartbreak in the headlines on a daily, nay, hourly basis.

I don’t know what tomorrow might bring but today I’m doing what makes me happy – which includes some travel reflection and some quirky styling. And I hope looking at this irresistible quail sweater and that HUGE buddha will bring you some small shred of inspiration.

Don’t you just want to rub his big belly??

This guy lives in Kamakura, Japan at the Kōtoku-in temple. He was cast in 1252 and has survived several typhoons and tidal waves, many of which destroyed huge sections of the surrounding town in the 14th and 15th centuries.

But I digress.

The point of my post today is that I have an enduring love / hate relationship with statement sweaters. By ‘statement sweater’ I mean one which has such a unique quality about it that it makes a bold statement the first time you wear it; for instance, eliciting a response such as, “OH MY GOD LOOK AT THOSE CUTE BIRDS I LOVE THEM SO MUCH!”

That’s pretty memorable.

But there’s the double edged sword! It leaves such an impression that the second time you wear it you’re just the guy who’s wearing that cute bird sweater again… jeez doesn’t he have any other sweaters? Didn’t he just wear that?

So let this be a cautionary tale. Buy that statement sweater because you know it will make people smile and you’ll love it. But don’t spend a fortune because you also know that you’ll probably never wear it again.

~j

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