Drink Scotch Whisky, All Night Long

(A memorable line from one of my favorite Steely Dan songs on the Aja album.)


IMG_0506Or all day long, if you are in Scotland!
On a truly Scottish morning, grey and damp, we got an early start to walk about the city and plan the day.  Walking past Edinburgh Castle shrouded in misty, passing through a market, and from Old Town to New Town.  Seeing this beautiful city on foot is really the best way to go.

After a stroll, it was 11AM and time to head off to the Scotch Whiskey Experience for a lesson on scotch whisky making and a little tasting.

What?  Scotch Whisky at 11am?  Are you crazy?

Maybe only a little crazy, but it’s actually best to do a tasting earlier in the day before one’s pallet is tainted.  And besides, what could be more Scottish?!

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This tour included an entertaining little ride in a barrel to discover the ingredients and techniques used to make scotch whisky as well as a lesson on the different scotch making regions in Scotland, each with different flavors and specialties.

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After the learning came the tasting! We got a review of the old swirl, sniff, and sip techniques while admiring one of the worlds largest collections of unopened scotch.

 

 

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After this, if you possessed the “Golden Ticket” you had the opportunity to sit in the cafe and explore a tasting flight of 4 additional different Scotch samples from the different regions discussed on the tour.  I discovered Highland Scotch is for me and anything to smoky makes me cough, but there was no complaining involved, how often will this get to happen!

 


Now personally, I’ve always been a gin girl myself… but there is something very pleasing about a smoky scotch to warm you on a chilly evening.  I was also in luck, as there was plenty of gin to be found in Scotland!  My favorite haunt?  Nicholson’s Bar– basically a whole section of the menu dedicated to “build your own Gin & Tonic” and I was in heaven.

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My favorite of the evening?  Williams Aged Sloe & Mulberry Gin with Lemon Tonic.

If I could get this in the states, I would fill my apartment with it (sadly they don’t bill or ship outside of the UK).  Basically a little sweet and more tart then other gins I’ve had. Very different from many gins in that the juniper flavor was very low key.  The Lemon Tonic added a lot, and who knew there were so many different options for tonic!


So yes, on this trip there was a lot of (good) drinking.  Instant coffee all morning- don’t get me started on this!- and Spirits all night.

On our walking adventures we did find a cute local coffee shop, aka not Starbucks, and had a peaceful sit down to sip lattes and watch the people go by.  I’ve found that everywhere I go I’m looking for a local coffee place to perch relax, it really helps me feel like I’m actually living in a place and in that moment, a member of the local community.  It’s like a tradition.  My local corner in Upper Manhattan, Anomali Coffee in Ubud, Bali and  now Procafination in Edinburgh!  Really no better place to get a feel for a city, while taking care of my never ending caffeine need  😉


Have you had the opportunity to drink whiskey in Scotland?  What fun drinks have you found on your globe trekking adventures?   Share them in the comments below!

Always,

C

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If you give a Jones a passport…

She is going to want to leave the country.

If you let a Jones leave the country…

Upon her return, she is going to want to leave again!


And again and again… Yes it’s happened.  I told ya’ll I’d been bitten by the travel bug and within 3 months of my first international trip, I’ve already come and gone once more.  And with the travel list growing, I’ll be on a jet sooner then I ever expected, I’m sure.

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I’ve come to find that international travel, while it can be pricy, it’s that scary or hard, as I always imagined.  There are so many beautiful, amazing, historical, and exciting places out there and I want to see them.  I don’t want to look at the pictures others take, I want to take my own but see each scene though my eyes first.  I understand now how to leave and enjoy the journey, then come back and live my life with all the life changing experiences in my back pocket.

Growing up I want’s going to London or Paris for Spring break.  I didn’t spend summer on a beach in Mexico or the Caribbean.  I didn’t study a culture that is currently in existence (ancient Rome and Greece are buried somewhere among modern day cities) that one can visit for a semester.  I mean, I hardly traveled by air plane until I moved to New York and couldn’t always be road tripping home.  Some may say I missed out, but I always had my passport… I just needed the right people at the right time to actually pick a place, pack a bag, and go!


Traveling as a young adult is actually pretty great.

I get to pick where I’m going and what I’m doing when I get there.

As I’m paying for the travel, I’m planning wisely and then thoroughly enjoying it all, cause I know I worked very hard to be where I am. IMG_0316

Other then my kitten, I don’t have much to worry about that I’m leaving behind.  I am not always worried or checking in on the family.  There isn’t someone fussing about and waiting for me to come home to cook, clean, or do anything.

As we know, I’m a planner, which means I can give my job plenty of notice and then work very hard to set the studio up for success as well as rack up my little vacation hours.  This way, as soon as wheels are up, I can relax while I’m away.

All of this because you gave a Jones a passport.  And that passport, after sitting in a lock box for years is finally getting a little rough around the edges and filled with stamps.

That’s it.  Just a quick little thoughtful post.  Nothing to fancy, nothing to long.

Where are you headed with your passport?

Always,

C

Stand Clear of the Closing Doors: NYC Subway Culture

Look ya’ll!  We made it to Wednesday!  And I think all of us New Yorkers can agree that between the weather and the politics and the tourists and the usual day to day grind of work and home life, the city has been it’s usually frustrated self and then some.

If you’ve even traveled through New York by subway, I’m sure you will be able to relate to this post. Underground is a whole different culture, playing by it’s own set of rules, with it’s own set of problems and frustrations.

As someone who lives here and travels by train several times a day, I’ve seen a lot of strange and annoying things… and I’ve smelled even stranger. I thought a piece on “train culture” would be interesting and would give me a chance to share some of my top favorite train experiences.

Mostly, it’s all about the people. Sure, sometimes the MTA system screws you over and never tells you your train will be out of service or running local when it should be express. Or you get stuck in a tunnel without cell service- so you can’t tell your boss you are gonna be late for that important meeting… but some of that wouldn’t be so bad if you were just able to sit in piece and deal with it alone. Instead, you are surrounded by people, tons of strangers… all trying to get to someplace.

The weather, the time of day, the temperature outside and inside the car, all of these affect the commute and the people on the train. I’ve seen full out fights start because people won’t move into the center of a car and someone else can’t get in, so they push and shove and piss someone off.

It’s not always bad, thank goodness. When men stand and offer their seat to women, when someone holds the door cause they see you running to the train, those that you share a moment with when there is a crazy homeless person on a screaming rant and the train has stalled out in the tunnels. Remember that post a few weeks ago, “OH the 1 Train”? While I seriously disliked having to stand and have that guy hit on me the whole commute, the girl I ended up chatting with later and the other passengers who shared in a laugh at my facial expression was very fun.

Usually though, as soon as you descend down those stairs underground, the rules all change. We fight for seats, we push and shove to get into a crowded car, and we all deal with annoying things. Here are some of my favorite subway irritating moments… at least to date. Pictures and “definitions” are all mine… as are the titles themselves for that matter.

The Poll Hog:

Definition: Leaning a large portion of one’s body on the center polls that are meant to over a place for multiple people to hold onto when standing on a moving train and offer stability so one does not fall and the train lurches down the tunnels.IMG_1333.JPG

 

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I only understand this one when the train is nearly empty or you are the only one standing. But when you are one of many on a crowded train—DON’T LEAN!! Suddenly there is so many fewer options for everyone else to find a place to hold onto. I’ve been one of 10 people holding onto one poll before, but in the blink of an eye, one person can hog a whole spot and the rest of us might just be outta luck. I don’t know what makes some people feel so entitled as to do this!

Man Spread

Definition: Taking up more then one seat per-person. For men, most often accomplished by sitting with legs spread. For women, most often accomplished by allowing ones purse to have a seat of it’s own.

I’m sorry if it’s uncomfortable, or you really don’t fit in the seat, or you don’t want to keep your personal belongings in your personal space… but you don’t need 2 seats on the train. What? You don’t want someone sitting next to you… or you think you are better then everyone else and you need more space? Oh GET OVER YOURSELF!! It’s rude, it’s also unslightly. And then glare when someone brave enough comes over and squeezes in. In a city where everyone thinks they are entitled either because of who they are wearing, what they do, what they Don’t do, how old they are, and on and on… it’s almost expected, but totally annoying. And I know, it the spots were reverse and I were taking up 2 seats… well, it wouldn’t last long!

The Chicken Wing

Definition: Someone who holds onto the bars and totally forgets where their elbow is… or that they have one at all? Or that it MAY be in someone else’s face! So it reminds me of something like a chicken wing, just flappin’ around wherever.

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I experienced this one for the first time last week. It’s early on a Tuesday morning on a packed train, and I’m sitting in my seat (totally minding my own business) maybe falling asleep every few minutes… when I open my eyes and just a meer 4 inches away from my noise is some mans hairy elbow! Like it’s RIGHT THERE! And shift of my head, his body, or the train will send it smack right in my face! What got me was that the whole trip, he never seemed to notice how close his arm was to me or that I couldn’t move. This could have been remedied if he chose to pull his arm closer to himself, hold the bar a little higher, or angle himself another direction. As it was, I get this great picture and stayed awake the rest of the trip!

 

At Crotch Level

Definition: I think the name really says it all.

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These are the people who stand right in front of your seat (if you are sitting) and don’t bother to angle their bodies or hold on the to bar with one hand and turn sideways… NO, they stand square in front of you and we… if you are sitting your eyes usually fall right at crotch level. Then of course, as the train rocks and rolls down the tracks, they may swing closer or further from your face. Mostly it’s just awkward and uncomfortable. I understand, you have to stand, I’ve been there. It’s totally cool (but I’m glad to be sitting) just, like, I don’t want to be looking there for the next hour of my commute!

 

 

The Screamers… and all those Loud Talkers

Definition: People who treat the train car like their own personal living room. They talk, fight, laugh (cackle), scream, cry… or don’t stop their bratty children from screaming and crying… and don’t for one moment seem to care if it’s bothering every single other person stuck on the train with them.

I have had to look away or close my eyes and restrain myself from glaring at so many people, or worse- from saying anything. Especially mothers with screaming children who act like it’s totally fine that their child is crying at the top of it’s lungs and make no effort to silence them. This is about as bad as the adults who carry on for the whole world to hear. Don’t you care about your privacy at all? I mean, even if you don’t… just shut up! Or use your indoor voices! It’s not that hard and it makes the whole time on the train so much better for everyone.


These are some of my favorites… that are funny, worthy of a definition, and that I can get a pretty good picture of. The list of annoying, frustrating, and unique things on the trains also include, but is not limited too: the incredibly smelly, the drunk, the good the bad and the ugly musicians, the dancers (yes, like the kids who blast music and take up the whole isle to dance and usually hit someone in the face), the starers, and the napping (those lovely people who fall asleep and tip onto their neighboring passenger).

There is always something interesting

What have you encountered on a NYC train?  Anything fun that you’d like to share, please comment!  As always- follow, share, like, comment, etc!  And check out the Official Instagram for the blog @runlivelove_blog

Always,

C

5 Reasons to Have a Travel Buddy

My dearest friend Savannah recently posted a piece on the amazing perks and benefits of traveling solo.  Read it here and check out her entire blog while you are at it!

While I am fully on the same page, solo travel looks like it can be amazing, I thought why not take a few minutes to write a counter piece to hers?  Just for blogger fun and to show case another side of traveling.


My amazing roommate (and great friend) Megan and I have been taking to the skies quite a bit in the past few months.  While she has traveled solo, I have yet to leave the country on my own- one thing at a time!  Between our 10 day trip to Bali and our quick but exciting weekend excursion to Scotland, we have come across a lot of good reasons to travel with a trusted travel buddy.

1. Double check that packing list::  Traveling with someone means you both have a build in bag checker.  Are you notorious for overpacking?  Always forgetting the basics?  When you are packing for a trip with someone else you have the amazing added benefit of a second set of eyes that can go over and through what you packed and make sure you have all the basics (socks?  toothbrush?) and your are not over doing it (for a 3 day trip do you really need 5 pairs of pants?).

Knowing you have what you need makes every trip that much less stressful!

2.  Personal photographers::  As much fun as it is to take selfies at every scenic spot, or never be in your own pictures, or walk up to other travelers and ask then to take a picture of you… when you have a travel buddy, you can take turns getting just the right shot of each other.  You both have build in photographers!  Today so much of our lives are wrapped up in social media, how could you live if you didn’t post just the right shot on Instagram?

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3.  Try new things::  As Savannah mentions in her post, when you are traveling solo there is no need to compromise on places you want to go, things you want to eat, mountains you want to hike, or scenes you want to see.  But on the other hand, when you travel with someone you can push each other to see new sights and try new things.  The borders of your comfort zone may be shifted a little, but usually it’s for the best and you may get a chance to explore something totally new that you never though of!  When we were in Bali, I may never have thought of taking a cooking class or swinging into a waterfall, but I did (thanks of Megan) and those may have been some of the highlights of the trip!

4.  Watching your back::   Safety in numbers.  And if you are traveling in a pair or group you are not alone.  Personally I have yet to have any sort of situation, but I feel more comfortable knowing I have someone who knows where I am and should I not come home, get hurt, or act to strange… it’s good to know someone should notice and take action.  Traveling with a buddy you also have someone to watch your bags when you stop to use the restroom or step into a fitting room.

5.  Second opinions::  “Now do you really need that shirt?  It’s like the other 2 you got yesterday…”  Yes, traveling with someone means you have someone to run decisions by.  Should we spend the day at another temple?  Do you need that shirt?  Maybe we should eat someplace else?  You have someone to bounce ideas off of and continue to push your boundaries a little.

Having a travel partner also means you can split checks, take turns thinking of plans and making arrangements, split the responsibilities of trip planning in general!


Megan and I have started taking turns picking our next travel destinations and that’s great too, cause I wouldn’t think of doing 10 days in Spain & Portugal (2018…?) and maybe she wouldn’t have thought of Bali, but we are sure glad we went!

OK, so your thoughts?  Travel solo, travel with a buddy?  Share your experiences and let’s see where we end up next!

Always,

C

New York Living 101 *

*Disclaimer, the following are thoughts, tips, and advice from my personal experience. Results may vary.*

So, I believe last week I promised a NY life tips post… And here it is… I hope I remember everything I want to say! (Sorry, no pics). :-s

Transportation
If you are new to NYC, the subway system can be an intimidating thing, but once you learn it and adjust to the vibe of it all, it’s a great thing to make use of.
-Study a map (but don’t to it in the subway, know where you want to go ahead of time so you can move quickly and smoothly in the station and on the platform.
-Know if you want Uptown or Downtown. Lines and directions are clearly marked… Do read the signs!
-Express or Local… What’s the difference? Well from what I’ve experienced, local trains stop at every stop along their line and express only stop at select stops. Express trains get you to your destination faster, but if your stop is not an express stop … Things can be frustrating.
– Be aware of weekend schedule changes as well as service changes due to construction or maintenance at select stations or select times. Signs are usually posted, but this can really mess up your trip!
– Leave with enough time to get from point A to B. Allow for train delays and foot traffic.
– Always have your MertoCard!
– Lastly, keep to yourself and keep all your personal belongings with you at all times.

FOOD
If you are walking as much as I am, which in this city is kind of a given, you get hungry! Staying well fed and hydrated can help keep you healthy and ready for the city.
– Stay hydrated… Drink water! Not just coffee…
– Eat healthy food… Maintaining a balance of all major food groups. Fruits and vegetables can be hard to buy because they are price and spoil quicker, but still important.
– Maybe don’t eat out everyday… It can really chew a hole in your finances and personally I find it fun to go to the grocery store and prepare my lunch before work.

Personal Time
Regardless of your job(s) or lifestyle… It’s important to remember to take time for yourself!
– New York has tons, and I mean tons, of public parks with running/walking/biking/skating trails, tables and chairs, spacious lawns, and amazing views. Take advantage of these as places to relax, excessive, or both.
– Make an effort to meet up with friends or coworkers to socialize.
– Enjoy a morning/afternoon/evening in with your favorite book or movie and a cup of tea… Stay in, don’t put on those 5 inch heels or your contact lenses… Give your body a rest.
– Find a yoga or dance class or running trail and be sure to set aside so,e time for your health and wellness.
– I’m not saying every day… But some time every week will keep your body and mind fresh so you can always perform your best 🙂

What else…?

– Get used to always being around a lot of different people
– Adjust to the noise and smells of the city
– Be prepared to walk… A LOT!
– The pace of this city is always set on High… And it will keep moving by you– Keep up!!
– I discovered this… The more preconceived ideas you have about New York, the more it proves them false, or at least partly false. Be open minded.
– Yes it’s expensive… I’ve found it really makes me consider what I buy and if I really need the, or just want them. Save and treat yourself to something really special once in a while.
– Wear your walking shoes and carry the fancy heels! Otherwise you really do end up beating up your expensive shoes and your priceless feet. Put on the good shoes when you get where you are headed.
– More or less keep your gaze to yourself… It’s not that New Yorkers are all rude as much as they have things to do and places to be. There are so many people and you see so many things you may never have thought you would see– just don’t respond and move on.

Does this help a little? In the past month and a half I’ve worked to make the transition from tourist to New Yorker. To not get overly distracted by bright lights and store fronts, but to find the lovely small hidden places, where you can see NYC for what it really is– home to many many different people– always a step ahead in fashion perhaps… But home.

Well, I must be off to work soon… I’ve written this from a cozy green seat in Bryant park, smack dab below Times Square. I hope you all enjoy and look out for another post very soon with all the excitement of my life! Haha

<3always,
Christiane

Remember- Don’t look up.

Live from Scotland 

Well, made it to  Edinburgh! Actually we got in yesterday but its been non stop exploring and adventuring… And after not getting any sleep on the flight across the pond, it was a very long day.   So while, it’s well past 11pm over here, it’s just getting to be evening back home and what else would you all love to do but read a blog post from yours truly.  

I’ll try to keep it short and sweet. I can promise there will be some good pictures to go along with my babbling writing! Please forgive any typos or layout mistakes, WordPress on an iPad is very difficult to work on… Anyway… Off we go-

Upon landing, navigating the tram, and  getting into the city center, we found our hostel and got checked in.  We pre-booked beds at Castle Rock Hostel (full review coming soon) cause Savannah was staying there, and it’s literally right outside of Edinburgh Castle… So my view comic or going at any time is sorta kinda AMAZING!

View of Edinburgh Castle from the front door of my hostel!


And speaking of Savannah, once we were checked in and on the wifi, we found each other and started off on our first adventure.

Chris, Savannah, and Megan with Edinburgh Castle in the background


The first stop on this adventure, lunch. And a drink.  Even after 2 small bottles of wine on the initial flight over (oh I have so much to tell y’all about international carriers and flights, it might be a 2 part post) and a 5 hour layover, I had hardly slept and airport snacks will only get you so far.  When someone recommends a place and we get aids out if we show our hostel card you say YES! First stop- Fiddlers Arms for a drink and some food. The Drunken Roommates and Savannah had officially come to Edinburgh.

Our faces may not be pictured, but I think our drink selections give us away 😉


After being properly fed, it was time to explore Old Town and see what’s in the neighborhood.

View from Edinburgh Castle. Literally, there’s home!

Little stair cases and alleys or “close” wind all around connecting main streets and looking amazing.

Literally just some pretty building fronts along a curving road in Old Town


Gorgeous, right??

We ended the day with my favorite, GIN! Yes, we found a place that specializes in all sorts of different gins and tonics. Basically you can build your own and I chose a combo I’ve never had before and may never have again, so it was time to enjoy– Williams Aged Sloe & Mulberry Gin with Lemon Tonic. I don’t think that  right now I have the words to describe the amazingness of this, so just enjoy looking at it and secretly wishing you had one in your hand this Friday evening!

Williams Aged Sloe & Mulberry Gin with Lemon Tonic

Today we did a 12 hour bus tour of the Scotish Highlands, Urquhart Castle, and Loch Ness.  Maybe we saw Nessie, maybe we didn’t… That’s for another post on another day but I’ll just say, there will be a lot of sheep and castle coming your way!


Have a Scotland experience to share?  Enjoy, can’t wait to hear from you!
Always, 

C

Tips to Travel: Let’s Pack

Packing

Not one of my least favorite things, but not something I’m the best at either.  I always pack way to much and have a seriously heavy bag.   “But I don’t know what I’ll want!” I always say.  Or I’m traveling by car and can throw things in till the very last minute.  

Now I’m off on my second ever international trip and I figured it was time to talk about my travel bag and packing technique. 

I’m writing this from the Heathrow London airport, but let’s look back to packing for my Bali trip.

Well, this time it was different.  I get one carry on bag and I get to be in Indonesia for 10 days.

Pack light. Pack smart.

That’s the focus here today.  (Have I mentioned this is my first trip out of the country?  There are things to pack that I didn’t even think about at first, thank goodness for guide books!)

Well, where to begin.  Let’s start with the bag.  I’ve been saying this whole time I don’t want to be that little white girl tourist with my neon pink and orange Vera Bradly cotton duffle… so getting a new piece of travel luggage was essential.  I didn’t want wheels so backpack it was.  I talked to friends who travel more then I about brands and did my own online research into bags as well as retailers- to make the most informed, practical, and economical decision.  I settled on Osprey brand, the Porter series.  It’s a backpack that opens and packs like a suitcase (not rummaging to the bottom for things) and the straps can be tucked into a pocket so it turns into a duffle.  There are external pockets for easy access to travel essentials and electronics.  It’s water resistant and “Carry-On” approved size- for most major airlines- so basically everything I wanted in a bag.

What’s going in this fabulous thing?  Well packed clothes and toiletries specific to this trip.  As it’s December- it’s cold in New York and, ummhmm, Bali is in the tropics… so the seasonal clothing is very different.  I’m planning on purchasing a fair amount of things there- harem pants, sarongs, dresses- but some things- shoes, undergarments, yoga cloths- will be coming along from day one.  Toothbrush, toothpast, mouth wash, lotion, the works will all be neatly packed in my airline approved clear quart size bag.  I’m exploring something new for this trip- bar shampoo- to cut back on things that are liquids and save room, as well as bar soap.

I’ve been torn between using Packing Cubes or Vac-Pack bags to neatly fold and store clothes during this trip, or just kinda throwing stuff in and hoping for the best.  … Ok, no I wouldn’t do that, but is it worth it?  Packing Cubes- they come in different sizes and neatly hold your clothes- which can be sorted by style and size.  The cubes usually fit neatly together in the bottom of your bag and can be stacked with ease.  Vac-Pack bags are a serious space saver.  Even if you think you are packing and folding tightly- get clothes in one of these things and roll or “vac” out all that extra air- and it’s like you have nothing in your bag.  They can lay flat in the bottom of a bag and a zip-lock like quick release makes it easy to access your things.

I guess we shall see and I’ll be telling ya’ll about it when I decided!

(Ultimately I went with one Vac-Pack bag and one storage cube. Everything else just neatly folded)

Let’s talk electronics and chargers for a hot second.  No, computer will not be making the trip, iPad is a maybe.  Phone, does anyone travel anywhere without one anymore?  For all devices, remember your charger and cords!  Not all electrical plugs are the same- so an international charging converter is a MUST.  

I took a page out of Savannah’s play both here, and got a cute but inexpensive little bag for all my chords and chargers.  This way they can all be in one place and easy to get to.    In general I like to separate things into their own little bag, then nothing is just loose in the large compartment of my main bag.

Guide books and maps will be coming along, of course, as well as a journal.  

The more I’ve begun to travel, the easier it has become to pack appropriately and neatly.  I’m off to Scotland for 3 days, so I’ve packed much lighter then Bali but I’m still ready for adventure.
I’ll post Live From Edinburgh once I’m there!
Always, 

C