Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

BeachToteEssentials

The number one reason summertime is awesome? How about getting the golden glow of a nice tan – a great pick-me-up to leave those doldrums of winter behind.  If you’re going out to the beach this summer, make sure to take these along with you:

1. Oversized tote.

This J.Crew tote is neutral enough that I wouldn’t feel guilty passing it off to Darren if I got tired of carrying it *ahem*. I like the versatile look of this one from Land’s End, which will take you into fall and beyond. Need something punchier? This Target tote has a fun print and won’t break the bank, and this PVC one will keep your goodies dry.

2. Oversized beach towel.

It’s happened to us all- you fall asleep on the beach, roll over, and face plant into a mouthful of sand. This towel is 39″ x 67″, so no sand-munching. I also like the tassels on this preppy number. Not big enough for you? This blanket has weighted pockets to hold down unruly corners, and this one folds into its own pocket.

3. Sunscreen.

I’ve tried the spray kind, and while convenient, it just doesn’t offer adequate coverage for me. This Neutrogena one can be used on both face and body (it’s non-comedogenic). If you tend to get sweaty, I recommend a waterproof + sweatproof option. I also use this on my face before I run outdoors, and it doesn’t budge. Don’t forget to protect your lips either! And if you’re still not an SPF believer, hopefully this NYT article will convince you otherwise.
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Hello friends! Darren and I spent an extended weekend in Destin, Florida- otherwise known as the Emerald Coast and/or The World’s Luckiest Fishing Village. We had perfect weather for one day out of our 36 hour trip, followed by two days of rain, rain, and more rain. Yesterday, our U.S. Airways return flight was cancelled *glares*, leading to a last-minute chaotic frenzy of airline phone calls. Nonetheless, we had a relaxing trip and would return to Destin again in a heartbeat! I’ll follow up with some tips for if you plan on visiting the area, along with a few beach-bound shopping picks. We’ve got quite a backlog of travel posts to share from Portland (and a few stragglers from our Philly trip), along with some new recipes and DIY, so check back often or follow us on Bloglovin for updates.

Destin, Florida Destin, Florida
Strong sun means floppy hats // Found this guy while walking on Crystal Sands beach

Destin, Florida- Back Porch destin, florida
Oysters were SO cheap down South- I’m talking $7.95/dozen, compared to $24 in the DC/MD/VA area (non-happy hour prices). Oh, and they were gimongo- the one on the right was the size of my hand. Gulp.

Destin, Florida- Vintij Wine Boutique and Bistro destin6
Visited a wine shop/restaurant called Vintij Wine Boutique and Bistro and had the most amazing shrimp and grits. The wines were pretty tasty too!

Destin, Florida- Boathouse Oyster Bar Destin, Florida- Boathouse Oyster Bar
Visited the divey-est of dives, Boathouse Oyster Bar. More cheap oysters, and fried gator bites (left)

Destin, Florida Destin, Florida
On Crystal Sands beach // Testing out some cool shades at the local Target during a rain shower

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Keep Portland Weird

We spent a fair amount of our recent four-day trip in Portland hanging out with family, which made for a bit of an erratic schedule. In lieu of a complete itinerary, we’ve boiled down the City of Roses into a checklist of 10 must-see/do activities if you visit. Without further ado…

waterfront, portland, or waterfront, portland, or
http://darwindiscovered.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/darwindiscovered_portland_10things-waterfront1.jpg http://darwindiscovered.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/darwindiscovered_portland_10things-waterfront1.jpg
waterfront, portland, or http://darwindiscovered.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/darwindiscovered_portland_10things-waterfront1.jpg

1. Run/walk/bike the Governor Tom McCall waterfront.

You’ll find fantastic views of the city’s many bridges. The backdrop also makes a great setting for a picnic.

portland saturday market, portland, or http://darwindiscovered.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/darwindiscovered_portland_10things-rose3.jpg

2. Visit the Portland Saturday Market.

Located by the Waterfront Park and Ankeny Plaza, the Saturday Market is a bit of a misnomer, because it’s open on both Saturday AND Sunday. A wide variety of arts, crafts, and food vendors can be found. The Skidmore Market is also located adjacent to the Saturday Market, so plan on spending a few hours perusing all of the goodies!

voodoo doughnuts, portland, or

voodoo doughnuts, portland, or voodoo doughnuts, portland, or

3. Grab a doughnut at Voodoo.

As they say, “The magic is in the hole.” The line extends across the block on weekends, but a bite of the Maple Bacon doughnut and Butterfingering (shown above) will make the wait worthwhile.

stumptown, portland, or

darwindiscovered_portland_10things-stumptown2

4. Wash it down at Stumptown Coffee Roasters.

Quality roasts, great people watching, fair prices. They’ve expanded to NYC and Seattle in recent years, but this is where it all began. The cold brew comes in cool bottles, too.

international rose test garden, portland, or international rose test garden, portland, or

international rose test garden, portland, or

5. Visit the International Rose Test Garden.

It’s free and picturesque for all you budding photographers out there. The garden serves as a testing ground for new rose varieties, so expect a dazzling array of colors, shapes, and sizes. If you have extra time, the Japanese Garden is right next door and spans 5.5 acres of tranquility. Admission to the Japanese garden costs $9.50 ($7.75 with College ID).

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Darwin, Discovered - Xiao Long Bao (Dim Sum Garden)

Dim Sum Garden
59 North 11th Street, Reading Terminal/Market East

As frequent visitors of New York City, we always make a point to grab some xiaolongbao (Shanghai soup dumplings) whilst playing in the concrete jungle. When we heard there was a place that served the same in Philly, naturally, we had to check it out.

Located in an underpass nearby Reading Terminal Market, Dim Sum Garden is a small hole-in-the-wall conjuring up memories of Chinatown NYC (or really anywhere, for that matter). Set with small Ikea plastic tables and chairs (some of which have seen better days), the layout was open enough that you didn’t feel like you were dining with strangers, despite its size (a common occurrence in NYC).

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The Franklin Mortgage & Investment Co.
112 S 18th St, Rittenhouse Square

Franklin Mortgage Investment Co. - Gordian Knot  Franklin Mortgage Investment Co. - Battle of Blythe Road
Left: Gordian Knot; Right: Battle of Blythe Road

Stepping back in time,  Franklin Mortgage Investment Company is a Prohibition-era speakeasy tucked away amongst the bars and restaurants on 18th Street. It has received numerous accolades for serving up some of the best cocktails in the city, so we decided to investigate.

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Ray’s Cafe and Teahouse
141 9th Street, Chinatown

darwindiscovered_philly2013_rayscafe04

When I think about siphon brewed coffee, images of handlebar mustaches, skinny jeans, and plaid come to mind. Chinatown? Not so much. D and I desperately needed a place to recharge, and since Yelp does not lie…into this cozy establishment we went. Ray’s boasts an impressive line up of beans, including Jamaican Blue Mountain, Hawaiian Royal Kona, and a variety of blends. I selected the Japanese charcoal roast (sumiyaki) and spent the next 30 minutes in a state of caffeinated bliss. The cup and saucer! The chocolate/sprinkle dipped madeline cookie on a doily (sprinkles are key)! The eensy weensy cream pitcher! Here’s the best part…the cream remained untouched because the coffee was that smooth. At $7.50 a cup, I wouldn’t make this a daily habit, but for a pick-me-up experience it was worth every penny.

Ray's Cafe and Teahouse, Philadelphia, PA

 Ray's Cafe and Teahouse, Philadelphia, PA  Ray's Cafe and Teahouse, Philadelphia, PA
Not a java fiend? The bubble tea was perfectly creamy, the tapioca balls just the right amount of chewy. Hungry for more? The food at other tables smelled delectable, and I also hear it’s BYOB. Service is friendly and quick. Give this place a go.

More posts in our 48 Hours in Philly series:

Philly Sips: La Colombe Torrefaction
Philly Sups: Pat’s vs. Geno’s
Philly Stay: Radisson Plaza- Warwick Hotel Philadelphia (Hotel Review)
Philly Sips: Ray’s Cafe and Teahouse
Philly Sips: The Franklin Mortgage Investment Co. 
Philly Sups: Dim Sum Garden