Category Archives: travel

day diaries bend oregon

Day Diaries: Bend, Oregon

Micro-breweries.  Homemade kombucha.  Fire pits.  A stunning view of the Three Sisters mountains.  These are a few of the staples of character-filled Bend, Oregon.  Bend is a charming and well-rounded city, celebrating the arts as well as rugged adventure.

Keep reading for all of our recommendations after the jump!

Stay
One cannot talk about downtown Bend without mentioning the historic McMenamin’s Hotel.  Once the Old St. Francis Catholic School campus, McMenamin’s is now a pseudo-resort featuring a 60-guestroom hotel, movie theater, restaurant, pub, cigar bar, and more.  Perhaps its most unique feature is the Soaking Pool — a former chapel which has been converted into a cross-shaped hot tub.  Surrounding the pool are breathtaking mosaic murals.


Play

In addition to the aforementioned features, McMenamin’s also features the Fireside Bar (with cozy fireplace, billiards, and shuffleboard tables); weekly live music, and a movie theater.  Available inside the theater is a full-service bar, pizza, and of course popcorn.  We also stumbled upon the vintage arcade called Vector Volcano. V.V. included all of the classics including Street Fighter 2, Mortal Kombat 2, Space Invaders, and a slew of old-school pinball machines.  


Every first Friday of the month (spring and summer only), downtown Bend becomes a sprawling art show.  This is called the First Friday Art Walk.  Art galleries and various shops open their doors to exhibit local artists, and many will serve refreshments.  We also encountered a marching band, and a scantily-clad group performing tribal music and dance.  

Eat

To our amazement, the Old St. Francis Pub was able to accommodate 25 of us without a reservation.  The service and the food were stellar.  I highly recommend the Expedition Elk Burger with coffee-bacon jam, black garlic aioli, and white cheddar.  

Later that week, we visited Toomie’s Thai Cuisine.  Their Red Curry was to die for; as was their Kauteo Heng noodle dish.  Caution: when it comes to spiciness Toomie’s are extra generous.

When it comes to coffee, Thump Coffee Roasters has got it figured out.  The exceptional ambiance, service, and espresso made Thump our go-to java joint for the week.  Lastly, we cannot forget to mention the food truck lot called The Bite.  Representing at The Bite were
high-quality food trucks such as The Rogue Chef, Rico’s Tacos, and Nuthin’ Fancy BBQ; as well as an open-air taphouse.  The taphouse serves a slew of local brews, as well as fresh kombucha. In true Central Oregon fashion, The Bite has a Cornhole game setup, live music, and a cozy fire pit. 

We loved adventuring in Bend and can’t wait for our next trip!

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tasting tour australia

Tasting Tour: Australia

Australia has amazing food. Regardless of whether you’re in a city of millions or a town of 300, there will always be a pub, cafe, and bakery, full of delicious finds. Aussie’s love their meat and fresh food. Many of the ingredients that have caused controversy in the states are banned in food production in Australia. Because of this, there are no hormones, genetically modified ingredients, artificial food color, and high fructose corn syrup allowed in food. Even a simple sliced tomato with salt and pepper on toast, brings the fullness of flavor of a tomato. With a diet focused on fresh veggies, meat, and some of the best breads you’ll find, discover the tastes of Australia.

Keep reading for the full post after the jump!


Coffee:

The coffee scene in Australia is around ten years ahead of the States and is absolutely unparalleled. Not only is it good, it’s the best cup I’ve had in my life. A few things to note, when purchasing coffee at the end of summer an iced coffee is incredibly different than what we have come to know stateside. Filled with ice cream and whipped cream, iced coffee is a stunning dessert and treat rather than a summer temp coffee. If you’re looking for coffee beans, make sure to purchase them in the city, as coffee shops in the country won’t carry them.

Meat:

With a countryside filled with cattle and sheep, get ready to consume a large amount of protein. From thinly shaved wagyu beef, to lamb burgers, and freshly seared kangaroo, you’ll find phenomenal mains, prepared flawlessly. As someone who loves lamb occasionally, make sure to take every opportunity to enjoy this dish. While on my trip, I enjoyed lamb burgers, lamb shoulder, and a grilled lamb pizza. Over the past five years, kangaroo has shifted from a rarity to a protein that is found in any market. Pan seared medium rare and finished with a sauce, make sure to try this meat while in Australia. Make sure to try sausages, meat pies, and sausage rolls from area bakeries. This is a long-standing Aussie tradition and a must try.

Seafood:

With over 16,000 miles of shoreline, Australia has a great assortment of fresh seafood to choose from. While there make sure to try barramundi, a species native to Papua New Guinea and Northern Australia. Boasting a strong flavor, it has a similar texture to cod but is far richer in depth of flavor. I recommend trying this fish served grilled or in fish and chips. For mains I also tried tiger prawns in linguine and the best calamari I’ve ever had. (I’m hoping to recreate soon.) In the states calamari is known for being overdone and thickly battered. Not the case with this dish. Pan seared with lemon, salt and pepper, the calamari was served in thick strips and cooked perfectly. It was phenomenal.

Morning Tea:

Brought from the days of British heritage and colonization, tea stands as a staple within the day. Much like a mid-morning break, head to a bakery and try a sweet treat to pair with a proper cup of coffee or tea. Bakeries are filled with amazing treats and I recommend trying a few native to Australia. If you’re looking for something savory go for a meat pie or sausage roll. If you’re looking for something sweet, a lamington or caramel slice are perfect.

We hope you’ve enjoyed our posts from Australia. We have loved sharing them with you!

Just in case you missed the other posts:

Photo Diary: Australia
City Guide: Melbourne

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city guide melbourne

City Guide: Melbourne

Located on the coast, Melbourne is a major city on the southern tip of Australia. Filled with skyscrapers, arcades, and bustling streets, this city is thriving metropolis in Victoria. It boasts fresh food, a fast pace, and some of the best food and coffee in the world. Any time you grab a cup or plate it will be sure to impress. Whether galleries or the water are your thing, you will find amazing places to explore in this city.

Keep reading for the full post after the jump!




Duke’s Coffee: Located in the downtown corridor, this shop is amazing and has phenomenal coffee. The coffee scene in Melbourne is around 10 years ahead of America and this space is gorgeous. With classic emerald trim on the windows, touches of gold on the exterior, and a stunning mid century mod interior, Duke’s leaves no detail unnoticed. The packaging on the coffee beans was equally as beautiful.


Republica: Found on the waterfront and St Kilda Rd, this restaurant is what dreams are made of. With a phenomenal indoor and outdoor space, it boasts food reminiscent of Aussie cuisine with an updated flair. I opted for the tiger prawn linguine. Others at my table ordered the Wagyu beef and calamari. Each plate was beautifully presented on pottery from a studio in Victoria. We took in our meal by the sea at sunset to finish a full day of driving and exploring the city.

Lorimer Gallery: On the waterfront, you’ll find plenty of local artisans and this gallery is one of our favorites. With rotational shows, views of the sea, and a phenomenal cup of coffee, stop here to take in some beautiful artwork and local culture. Whether you find yourself in front of an expansive realistic portrait, surrealist photography, or abstract cityscapes, it hosts work with a wide breadth of style.



Laneway Greens: If you’re looking for a bit lighter fare, head here for cold pressed juice, salads, and bowls. Their design aesthetic and packaging is gorgeous and food is equally tasty. We opted to go for a quick juice. The interior of the shop is minimal and classic, with touches of copper, tile, and smart editorial details.

What are some of your favorite stops in Melbourne?

We’d love to hear from you! Let us know in the comments below.

photo diary australia

Photo Diary: Australia

It’s been a week hiatus from the blog and for good reason. I’ve just returned from a work trip to Australia. It was a great nine day adventure and I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed traveling to this country. First, a few facts about Australia. (Some of which I didn’t realize prior to getting there.) Australia is a country and land mass equivalent to the United States in size, minus the state of Alaska. Second, it boasts of population of 24 million people. Needless, to say the country is wild, exotic, and full of beauty to be discovered. In seven days, we merely scraped the tip of what is this beautiful country and can’t wait for our next trip to explore more.

Keep reading for our photo diary after the jump!

I spent most of my time in the Australian countryside surrounding the city of Melbourne. Whether 3 hours to the north or the south, the road trip was full of new discoveries from mining towns to the coastline, kangaroos and rows of gum trees, we found ourselves enjoying the low lying mountains of the Great Dividing Range.


Much of our time was spent driving from place to place. Here we’re south of Wodonga, where they had a very dry summer. The climate was dry and arid, sprinkled with hearty trees, bright blue skies, and the most beautiful stacked clouds.



One of my favorite parts of visiting other countries is discovering how people live. I had the privilege of touring this Scottish stone home, which was featured on the TV show, Restoration: Australia. When this home started it was a plot of grown up land with a broken down hearth and bricks. Now what exists is a beautiful piece of architecture, finished out with plaster and wood. Not to mention, the view and spa. We had a bbq here, enjoying the summer day on the covered porch, where I tried kangaroo for the first time.

Located near Inverloch and Venus Bay in Victoria, we explored the beach and took in Eagles Nest. This rock formation is beautiful and has stunning reefs near it. With clear blue water, it is a stunning sight as you stroll along the beach.  If you have time, make sure to head to Phillip Island and meet the penguins. (We were here in late summer, so it wasn’t the right season, but will be a stop on our return trip.)

We’ll be back tomorrow with some of our favorite stops in Melbourne!

what's in my bag australia

What’s In My Bag: Melbourne, Australia

The day has come! As we speak I’m flying over the Pacific Ocean to travel to Australia. While it will be a quick trip, around 7 days to be exact, I can’t wait to experience a distant land that I have already come to love. It’s been a battle to get on the plane, but one where the promise of adventure has been worth all the hustle.

Keep reading for the full post after the jump!

what's in my bag australia

Sources: High Waisted Shorts | White Relaxed Tee | Denim Dress | Striped Button Down |
Bomber Jacket | High Waisted Denim | Striped Tee Dress | Black Tee | Black Sandals | White Converse | Zipped Booties | Swimsuit

whats in my bag australia 2

When it comes to being a freelancer, I always get asked what I pack for my mobile office. I try to keep things streamlined with only the essentials. As I choose bags, I pick quality and carry on items that look stylish, but not super tech savvy. When traveling internationally, it’s always best to choose bags that don’t look like they house cameras and laptop gear. It makes hopping on trains, walking from place to place, and airports, less of a target. Anyways, these bags have gone with me to Eastern Europe, all over the states, and are now traveling to Australia.

Sources: 15 inch Macbook ProMagic Mouse | External Hard drive | Canon 6D Body | 50 mm Prime Focal Length Lens | Moleskine Notebook | Modern Commuter Backpack | Twill Weekender