El Matador State Beach is one of Los Angeles’ best kept secrets that I have to reveal. This is a very unique beach away from tourists. While most people are flocking to Santa Monica Beach and Venice, locals are running to Malibu.
I got the pleasure of being invited, by the coordinators of the festival, to the Coffee and Tea Festival in Philly. It was held at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center. It was a two-day event. I was only able to attend the last day, and it was very crowded as I pulled into the parking lot. I arrived an hour after it began and there were people everywhere hovering over the booths.
Upon checking in, they give out orange reusable bags with lots of goodies inside from different companies. It was also great to have to put flyers and other things potentially purchased in the bag. Some of the things that came in the bag were different teas and coffees, chips, cookies, granola bars, and flyers. I decided the best way to start checking everything out was to head to the back of the festival and work my way to the front. I stopped at the majority of the booths and tasted tons of samples. Obviously there were many great products, but these are the ones that stuck out to me… Take Time For Tea– I thought this was pretty awesome. They sell teas, tea cups, and more. What stood out to me the most, was they offer tea parties. They will come to you with tea and little sandwiches as long as your up to no more than 2 hours away. They also teach etiquette. I especially thought this was a great thing for children. What little girl wouldn’t like a tea party? They have reasonable prices and do bridal and baby showers, children’s parties, and more. You can find out more at: http://taketimefortea.com/
Capital Teas – Not only did they have the most people visiting their booth at once, they had the most friendliest people working the booth. They had some great tasting teas. One called the Fountain of Youth, which is a white tea I will be purchasing in the near future. The main thing that stuck out at Capital Teas was the Chardonnay tea and the tea beer. I don’t drink except once in a blue moon, but this was really good! I would have never thought to mix tea with alcohol. The mint tea with Stella Artois was great! Something I would certainly attempt to make myself. All if not most of their teas are loose and I was told that it would last up to 3 months. Their website is pretty great, they even talk about cooking with tea. If your lucky you may have even had an opportunity to stop in at one of their brick and mortars, but if not you can always order some online at: http://www.capitalteas.com/
Javazen– Now I am not really a fan of coffee. Smells good, but the taste has never really been my thing. My best friend on the other hand cannot function without her Nespresso fix! Just the other day she was telling me all about a useful guide to some of the different Nespresso capsules out there that she discovered on the full moon cafe website. Ultimately, Javazen made me think differently about coffee. They put cacao in the coffee I tasted and it was really good. When I spoke to the gentleman and told him I don’t really like coffee, but that Javazen was good, he said a lot of non-coffee drinkers were saying that. They liked it so much that some of them had even ordered coffee makers from companies like the great coffee brewers, so that they could enjoy Javazen whenever they wanted it. Honestly, I think it’s pretty great considering I don’t drink coffee. One thing they definitely want you to know is that it is certified organic. It seemed like the chocolate made all the difference. Find out more at http://www.drinkjavazen.com/
Zest Tea– This was pretty interesting, especially for those who drink coffee or energy drinks to give you that boost. They decided to put a lot more caffeine then you would normally find in teas rather than succumb to coffee or energy drinks. According to them, Zest Tea has as much caffeine as coffee and 3x the levels of traditional tea. It also has amino acids to reduce jitters and crashing. It tasted pretty good. So if you are looking for an alternative try them out at: http://www.getzesttea.com/
Sahpat Teas– They had a really nice set up with an abundance of tea that drew me to them. I tried their Organic Green Tea with mango and their toasted almond tea. I purchased a box of the Organic Green Tea with Mango and I kick myself everyday for not getting the Toasted Almond. I will certainly have to order some soon! The tea is loose, so I have been making it with the Keruig. It smells and taste so amazing and smooth. I have tried several different green teas and this has been one of the best! Check them out at: http://www.sahpat.com/
WildFlowers Tea– It looks like coffee, but they made it in a blender. It tasted pretty good. The lady was explaining how it helps with the immune system, nerves, mental clarity, and so much more. I was drawn in and interested to learn more, especially since it tasted good. They have 3 different types: Beauty, Longevity, and Elite. It is supposed to work from the inside out. Beauty is supposed to revitalize skin. Longevity is said to support healthy aging and boost vitality. Elite is for the athletes out there boosting stamina and enhancing immunity. Needless to say I was intrigued, but they didn’t have any for sale. They are supposed to be sending me a sample, hopefully that comes soon. Learn more about them at: http://www.wildflowerstea.com/
Although it was a coffee and tea festival there were some really great edibles. Salzon Chocolate – They are the first salted chocolate brand. It was different, but I love chocolate so I wanted to try some. They had 3 different flavors: Organic Dark Chocolate with Sea Salt and Organic Candy Canes, (which was my favorite), Organic Dark Chocolate with Sea Salt and Organic Black Pepper, and Organic Dark Chocolate with Sea Salt and Organic Cayenne. The Black Pepper was very subtle. The Cayenne kicks you in the mouth once you give it an opportunity and it is pretty hot. They have other flavors and they cost $4 a bar. You can order some at: http://www.salazonchoc.com/
TerraNut – This was pretty good. Gluten free and vegan. It is all natural raw snack. They are great snacks to carry around. I describe it as eating trail mix, but in a couple of yummy bites. http://terranut.com/
BumbleBerry Farm– You can’t go wrong with some yummy honey. The lady I spoke to was a beekeeper at BumbleBerry Farms and she had some great products with honey. There were some pretzels out with honey creams. I tried the Squirrel Crazy Maple, honey cream on the pretzel, and it was delicious! I wanted to try more, but the crowd was growing around the tables. I will have to order some. There are other flavors and even more on their site at: http://www.bumbleberryfarms.com/
With the holidays coming up these would be some great products to get your hands on! If you don’t get some for that coffee or tea lover than get some for yourself!
Also check out the Coffee & Tea Festival when it comes to a town near you! It is a lot of fun, a lot of great information, and some great tasting products. Thank you Philly Coffee and Tea Festival for having me! Disclaimer: Whilst receiving a pass to attend this festival, all opinions are my own and have not been influenced.
With the holidays quickly approaching, everyone will be traveling to visit friends and family. Holiday travel can be crowded, crazy, and even expensive! If you’re jumping over the pond to Europe, making sure you have the right hotel for your stay like galway hotels, is important for you, it will keep your journey a pleasant one from start to finish. So here are some things to keep in mind… 1.If you are flying, hopefully you have already purchased your tickets or are planning to soon. If you are thinking that you will reach out to someone for a buddy pass, think again! Using a buddy pass to travel is not the best idea. Wondering why? See my story : Passing on Buddy Passes. 2.If you live in, or are planning to visit a city with more than one airport, do your research. One airport may be cheaper to fly in and out of than another. Doing your research can go along way! For example, flying into LAX is typically cheaper than flying into Burbank and flying into Long Beach airport is even cheaper. I’ve done it, so I know. You could alternatively leave it up to a travel agency to book this for you, as they are the experts at this sort of thing. 3.Sometimes going directly to the source is your best bet. Many airlines have cheaper tickets on their website rather than sites like Kayak and Expedia. Some airlines like Southwest don’t put their prices on those sites at all. 4.In case of delays or you just couldn’t help it and went the buddy pass route, make sure you have the following: You should always be prepared, and have your own snacks, because airport food is super expensive!. In the event you forget, try apps like Gate Guru, to inform you of what there is to eat near your gate. 5. It isn’t all about flying. Look into taking the train, a bus, or driving. I have taken the bus to Washington, D.C. from New York on Christmas and it was inexpensive. Many buses now have Wi-Fi, outlets, and tables to make your ride more enjoyable. If you are are looking for a bus rental nj may be good place to begin. You also need to consider transport after you’ve flown abroad somewhere. It can be overwhelming left to your own devices in a country you don’t know and figuring out public transport is difficult. It may be best to rent a car from companies like Rental Center Crete to make the experience easier.
***Check out the new website WanderU that lets travelers compare bus and train fares***
6.It is beginning to look a lot like cold and flu season as well. Make sure you bring hand sanitizer, soap, and lotion to keep your hands, and face from getting dry after you wash them. Travel can take it toll on your skin! Stay hydrated and keep some Airbourne near by. A great place to get soap and lotions,to help your skin in all weather, go towww.OuiJeHandmade.com and try out the whipped body butter and soap. They smell amazing, hydrate your skin, and even come in travel size! 7.Lastly keep in mind you’re not the only one traveling. So get to the airport early because TSA lines will be long! You can easily miss your flight trying to get from the TSA line to your gate. Depending on the airport your gate could be a good long walk away. Leave early from your house, I have had friends almost miss their flights because of car accidents causing traffic.
If you have any tips for holiday travel let me know below.
One of my favorite things to eat is seafood. Shrimp and crab legs being my favorite. A restaurant that has some great seafood is Spondivits in Atlanta, Georgia!
I have visited Spondivits a few times over the years and they never disappoint with the food nor the atmosphere. One great thing about Spondivits is that even if you are just in Atlanta for a few hours on a layover you can still indulge. They are located five minutes away from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.
Even better they have a full kitchen till 4am. They are celebrating 35 years, showing how great they really are.
If you’re not in the mood for something to eat, they also have a fully stocked bar.
Last time I was there I ordered the Combo Bucket from their wide variety menu. The Combo Bucket came with shrimp, king crab legs, snow crab legs, and lobster tail. It was steamed and severed with garlic butter. I couldn’t even eat everything. I had to take my leftovers, which was fine with me. Another time I had ordered a shrimp po’boy, which was also equally delicious.
Every meal that I have seen people order is more than enough to satisfy your appetite. You can come as dressed down or as dressed up as you want. If you drive, there is complimentary valet parking.
Spondivits is certainly a gem not to be missed when in Atlanta!
To see their menu and learn more visit their website http://www.spondivits.net
Anywhere you go, one of the important things we all want to know is…how am I going to get around? Many people opt for public transportation in many cities. If you aren’t too familiar with a city or even if you are, you need to know how to get from one place to another. Even as a New Yorker, I look up how to get to certain places. One of the best apps to use to get around is Citymapper.
Citymapper is a great free app that gives public transportation info for New York, Boston, London, Paris, Rome, Berlin, and many other places. They even allows users to vote on the next city to add to their app. Doesn’t matter if you are getting around via trains, bike, ferry, or bus they have you covered.
Citymapper gives insight to which trains are delayed or have service disruptions. It even links to official subway or bus Twitter pages so you can see up to the minute changes. It also allows you to tell someone where to meet you and sharing a map with directions.
Another great feature is it lets you know where the nearest modes of transportation are, where they are going if it is a bus, train, or ferry, estimated time it will take for you to get to it, and what time one is coming. Makes things simple and easy.
It is a pretty good go to app for getting around in many cities around the world. So much in fact that it has won several awards. NY Times said “Citymapper is quite simply the best travel app to be introduced to New York City.”
So next time you’re in a city trying to find your way around, make sure to use Citymapper. You will be able to reach all your favorite or planned destinations easily. They are constantly improving the app and are always looking for feedback from users. There is even a survey that allows you to improve your city.