Explore New Orleans Like a Local

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I chose to live in New Orleans for six glorious years. New Orleans is real, gritty, crazy, violent, and beautiful. There really is nothing like it. The people are warm and friendly, oozing with southern hospitality and the streets are filled with vibrant colors and deep potholes. It’s a place where many people go to party and a place that anyone who has ever been holds near to their heart. It is a special place and a difficult place and that is how I will always describe it. I love this city.

In the words of the late Anthony Bourdain, “In America, there might be better gastronomic destinations than New Orleans, but there is no place more uniquely wonderful. So I would say New Orleans. With the best restaurants in New York, you’ll find something similar to it in Paris or Copenhagen or Chicago. But there is no place like New Orleans. So it’s a must see city because there’s no explaining it, no describing it. You can’t compare it to anything. So, far and away New Orleans.”

I am often asked for recommendations – where to eat and what to do – for New Orleans and I am happy to share. Rather than continuing to craft a list over and over again, I am sharing my recommendations here — How to explore New Orleans like a local.

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Best Moments of 2016

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On almost every website you surf these days, someone is waiting to convince you that 2016 has been a horrible year. While I’ve experienced my fair share of challenges in 2016, I am a glass half-full kind of gal and would prefer to reflect on my BEST moments of the year instead. Here’s what I have to be grateful for this year:

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One Week in Mexico City

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Hola, Mexico! I’ve just returned from my work and holiday in Australia and am now off to Mexico City for a week to visit my new friend, Andrea. Andrea and I met while traveling in New Zealand and I quickly decided a trip to visit her and explore her city was necessary. Knowing and visiting people in other countries is one of the best parts of making international friends, isn’t it?!

I’ve briefly visited Mexico on family cruises but had not spent any significant amount of time in the country. Mexico has always been a curious one to me. It’s a US neighbor and many Mexicans choose to live in the United States, bringing delicious food and culture with them. I feel as though I am the most familiar with Mexican culture, and yet, my understandings and experiences were limited to my American point of view before this trip. Mexico City is vibrant, busy, and dangerous with pockets of extreme poverty and some of the best street food you’ll ever have. It’s the 8th largest city in the world and the traffic makes this statistic abundantly clear.

I planned a week around the city and made sure that food, lucha libres, and pyramids were at the top of my list. Here’s how I spent the week…

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48 Hours in Chattanooga

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Chattanooga is one of Tennessee’s hidden gems. Located less than 10 miles from the Georgia state border and nestled among the curves of the Tennessee River, Chattanooga is a city made for people. I spent 48-hours exploring this small city and loved every moment of it. With countless hiking trails, a charming downtown, riverside views, and delicious food, Chattanooga is not to be missed.

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Australia’s Strangest Towns

IMG_9652.jpgAustralia is well-known around the world as being the country to house the most dangerous animals on the planet but, upon visiting or speaking with the locals, you quickly realize your chances of interacting with these creatures are slim to none. The real story is all of the unique landscapes the country has on offer, including several quirky and strange small towns. And it’s no surprise that these towns can be found deep in the Australian Outback and in the island state of Tasmania. My favorite among them below.

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Photo Diary: The Great Barrier Reef

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Purple starfish, sea slugs, blue spotted fantail rays, clown fish, and coral-chomping parrot fish are a few of the many colorful locals you’ll meet among The Great Barrier Reef. While it’s true that some of the reef is dying, a greater portion is still teeming with life. I had the privilege of snorkeling in two spots along the Reef: Hastings Reef and Michaelmas Cay. Both were filled with colorful coral and curious sea life, both sparkling under the sunshine.

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