travel

His and Hers: 5 Travel Essentials We Love

His & Hers: 5 Travel Essentials By Darwin, Discovered

Happy Friday! Since we’ve had packing on our mind this week (3 more days till Peru!), we thought we’d bring you a few of our travel favorites.

His

(From Darren)

1. New Trent Portable Battery charger
Don’t know where I would be without this one.  Now that I use my phone for everything when travelling (mostly looking at google maps for places to go and yelp for places to eat), I can always count on my battery dying at some point.  With a portable battery charger, especially one that has 5200 mah or 7000 mah, you can charge your phone 2-3 times while you are out.  Or if you don’t like carrying something extra (or your girlfriend dislikes carrying your gadgets in her purse – AHEM), I also use a built-in extended battery case like the Mophie JuicePack Air, which you can find on Groupon for half the price every so often.

2. TripIt
I’ve gone with four electronics devices as my other four travel essentials, so I might as well continue the theme.  TripIt takes a little while to set up to the way you want to use it, but once it is ready, you never need to worry about printing itineraries again.  It syncs everything online, so whether you access your itinerary from a computer, or on your phone, you’ll know exactly what’s next.  You have two options in the free version: you can forward your confirmation emails to TripIt, and it will automatically add it into your itinerary, or you can allow it to search through your emails for confirmations.  I use the former, and it works great, but if you use the latter, I would love to hear your experience!  TripIt is free to use, with a paid “Pro” version ($49/year) that enables instant alerts (like flight delays, cancellations, gate changes), frequent traveler points tracking, and seat alerts.

3. JVC Marshmallow Earphones
I’ve had several iterations of these for the longest time now, mostly because my ear canals are so oddly shaped that normal buds don’t stay in.  These I chose because they have a memory foam tip, ensuring a snug fit regardless of the activity.  They are dirt cheap (<$12, even for the one with the built-in remote) so you won’t kill yourself if you leave them on a plane, or in a cab.  BONUS: the snug fit of the memory foam makes sure creates a semi-noise-cancelling effect, perfect for drowning out the hum of an airplane engine.  Or a screaming baby.

4. Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover for iPad
This thing is awesome.  One, it serves as a sleek, magnetic cover for your iPad, complete with matching aluminum-casing, so you almost look like you are carrying a really small MacBook.  In its other form, it serves as a sleek, full-functioned bluetooth keyboard so your iPad really becomes your laptop replacement.  Keys are quiet, the stand is sturdy (and magnetic), and the battery life is off the charts.  Get one, and say good bye to lugging your now (relatively) brick-like MacBook around.

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Portland Sights: International Rose Test Garden

I think I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves for this post. The test garden has been around for close to 100 years, and the folks here know their flowers. Best of all? It’s free! Bring a book, find a bench, and smell the roses.

DSC01265-77  DSC01266-78DSC01268-79DSC01272-80DSC01274-81DSC01292-85  DSC01278-82DSC01279-83DSC01281-84DSC01295-86DSC01297-87DSC01307-88DSC01318-91  DSC01314-90DSC01319-92DSC01320-93DSC01329-96Want more things to do in Portland? Check out these other posts:

10 Things to Do in Portland

Weekend Snapshots, Portland Edition

Travel Notes: Destin, Florida

Travel Notes: Destin, Florida

Tucked away in the Florida Panhandle on a peninsula separating the Gulf of Mexico and Choctawhatchee Bay lies Destin, otherwise known as “the world’s luckiest fishing village.” If you’re Destin-ation bound (heehee), Destin’s white sands and emerald green waters are sure to please. Here are our notes from our weekend in Destin. Have fun!

Getting There and Around

The closest airport to Destin is Northwest Florida Regional Airport (VPS), followed by Pensacola (PNS) and Panama City (ECP). VPS is approximately 20 minutes away from Destin, while PNS and ECP are approximately 1 hour away. You’ll need a car to get around; I didn’t see much by the way of public transportation.

Stay

We stayed at the Country Inn & Suites by Carlson for 28,000 Club Carlson points. The hotel was no-frills, but it had free Internet and breakfast, so for 28k points you can’t really complain. It is located across from Henderson Beach State Park and right in the middle of Destin, so location was ideal. The hotel also had free fresh-baked Otis Spunkmeyer cookies nightly!

Travel Notes: Destin, Florida

Eat

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10 Beach Bag Essentials

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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Weekend Snapshots, Destin Edition

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

Want more? Follow us on Instagram @winnie_dora and @thedarebear

10 Things to Do in Portland

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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