Fine Dimes: Miami Times…And My 2 Travel Must Haves

Fine Dimes: Miami Times | The Bombshell Files

So this is a day late and a buck short, but I wanted to post some pics from the holidays in Miami AND share some must haves when traveling.

Christmas Eve | The Bombshell Files

{The first full day we were there was Christmas Eve/Noche Buena.  J’s Aunt always throws a big party, with tons of people, great food, and a fun band.  And the only picture I got from the night was of the tree.  But it was gorge.}

Travel Must Haves:

2 of my travel must haves these days are my kindle and podcasts.  I used to get so bored on flights because I’d either pack a book that I wasn’t that into, or get tired of my playlists…or forget to download my amazon songs onto my phone, which apparently you can’t access 40,000 ft in the air.  But these 2 little lifesavers have been gold.  Now, I look forward to fly days where I can just read or listen, uninterrupted for hours :)

I’m not sure why I got a kindle so late in the game, but color me obsessed.   I feel like everybody blows up books, like, oh my god nothing beats holding a paper book, kindles just aren’t the same.  Which okay, I get it, but the ease of a kindle wins in my mind by a freaking landslide.

Not only are they ridiculously light and portable, you can get new books so easily.  I always keep it in my purse.  It’s great to pull out in a waiting room or when you’re taking a break at work.  Oh! and how easy is it to hold one of those when reading in bed?  I just love.  I find myself reading so much more and I know the convenient factor is playing a huge part in that.

Kindle By The Water | The Bombshell Files

{Reading The Cartel by Don Winslow}

And podcasts!  Where were these when I was living in Chicago taking the L and buses all the time?

Now, I listen to them on my drives to and from work.

Currently LOVING The Joe Rogan Experience.

Joe Rogan is the host/interviewer and he has so many great guests.  He gets guests from all walks of life.  He has comedians, professors, psychologists, and so many interesting people.  He is also an MMA fighter host so he has a lot of those guys on his show, but I’m not too into those so I usually skip to the other episodes.  But he’s been doing 3-4 shows per week for the last 6 years, so he has a shit ton of shows to listen to.  And he’s a really great host because he has so many interests all across the board and always asks his guests the questions you want to ask.

Can you tell I love that podcast?

It’s been keeping me entertained for months.  But I am definitely open to new ones too!  Any good ones out there I’m missing?  I am planning on checking out Tim Ferriss’ podcast.  I hear he’s super motivating and has a lot of business/productivity wisdom.

Now back to the Miami trip:

Hibiscus Champagne | The Bombshell Files

{My sis-in-law made these gorgeous champagne/hibiscus drinks on Christmas morning}

New Years Nail Polish | The Bombshell Files

{The prettiest rose-y nail polish I picked for my toes on New Years}

New Years Eve | The Bombshell Files

{Me and J before the ball dropped.  I chose athleisure for my New Years attire}

Grapes At Midnight | The Bombshell Files

{Gotta eat those 12 grapes the first minute of the New Year.  Pretty sure I forgot all about that and just casually ate them while watching fireworks}

One of the big highlights for me on this trip (randomly) was the Pitbull New Year’s Party.  I guess he hosted this event last New Year’s and it’s becoming a tradition.  So, I kind of love Pitbull (it’s a secret love not many people know about) AND we would be able to view/hear the concert from my father-in-law’s apartment.  I was super pumped!  I get to enjoy the New Years celebration in the comfort of our apartment in my athleisure attire.  Yes, please.

Then, it ended with fireworks (my fave, duh).  But can we talk about how hard it is to take good pictures of fireworks??  Is it just me?  My pics always end up looking smoky and not impressive.  Sorry guys, no firework pics.

All in all, great times!

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Don’t forget to let me know about any podcasts you are loving!

♦ Stephanie

Fine Dimes: It’s the Little Things

Here’s a recap of some little things I’ve been loving lately.

Ulta and Sephora Birthday Gifts
Ulta and Sephora Beauty Gifts | The Bombshell Files{New favorite lip products in classic colors.  And who can’t use an Urban Decay mascara?}

I know a million and one places want you to sign up with them to be a member, but Ulta and Sephora are worth it.  If you are not signed up with these guys, you at least have to do it for the birthday gifts.  Every year, the gift is something that I’ve been wanting to try, or something I didn’t know about that ended up being fantastic.  Always a win.  Do it.

Honey Whiskey

Honey Whiskey | The Bombshell Files

You guyyyyysssss.  So good.  My old standby fave drink of life has been vodka soda with a squeeze of lemon…for YEARS.  But this drink snuck into my life and majorly surprised me.  Just a shot of honey whiskey, topped off with sparkling water and bam! it tastes like a delicious cream soda with a whiskey buzz. 

Europe Things

Euro Things | The Bombshell Files

Here are a few little things I picked up in Europe.  Since we were traveling by backpack, anything I picked up had to be small and light because I would literally be carrying it on my back.  One thing I knew I wanted from the get go was Murano glass from Venice.  So I picked up this gorgeous little perfume bottle. Then, when we were in Paris (I will get to this post soon), I saw Nuxe oil for $13 (!!!) I HAD to get it. I tried a sample of it once and really liked it.  I like to use it on my face at night (smells so good), on the ends of my hair and on my cuticles. I also I grabbed this necklace in Brussels from the store Brandy Melville.  Have you heard of it??  I know they’re in the states, but the first time I’d ever seen it was in Europe.  And they were all over the place there. It reminded me of Forever 21, and I was obsessing over the jewelry section there. I had packed minimal jewelry, so I was ready for a little flair. And of course, I bought a little magnet of Dutch clogs from Amsterdam.  I was crushing hard on that city and just needed something that screamed Amsterdam.

Fall Decor Details

Fall Decor | The Bombshell Files

I’m not a crazy, themed out decorator.  That just seems like a lot of work.  But, I will add a few touches when the mood strikes.  I was walking into Trader Joe’s the other day and they had all these cute pumpkin’s and squash, so I grabbed a few to be festive.

Pink Jeep

Hot Pink Jeep | The Bombshell Files

Saw this hot pink doll on the drive home from work the other day ♥

Quote

Quote | The Bombshell Files

I follow Shay Mitchell on instagram because, Pretty Little Liars.  She posted this quote the other day and I loved it.

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Hope you guys are doing well!  I can’t believe the holiday season is right around the corner.  Any fun plans in the coming months??

♦ Stephanie

VENICE

Venice, Italy

For the 3rd leg of our Euro vacay we went to Venice for a few days.  Venice was so perfect at this point in the trip.  It felt, casual.

I felt like I was in some fantasy world in another time.  We would get lost in a maze of Italian architecture and there were canals and gondolas everywhere.  We had the best Italian food, at a local spot, run by an Asian couple, and went to a jazz club where Latin Jazz was the theme of the night.  This is also when my affair with prosecco began (and lasted throughout the rest of the trip).  Venice was amazing.

Venice CollageFirst Day:

I broke my sunglasses on the train, so I was on the hunt for a nice cheap pair for the next leg of the trip.  There were all these ‘street sellers’ on the first canal bridge and I started trying on a few pairs.  Next thing I know,  all of the people that were selling purses and sunglasses, grab all of their supplies in their blankets and start booking it!  The guy we were shopping from grabbed everything out of our hands and we were like, we’ll take that pair for €5,00.  Done deal, for about €10 cheaper than he wanted.  Hah!

We settled into our next B&B.  We had our own personal bathroom this time…score!  This place was more like a mini hotel.  Norman Bates ran this place and he was great.   But seriously, the hotel owner was named Marco and he was the oddest person, but also, super nice.  But definitely odd.  If I go back to Venice I will 100% find Marco and say hi.  I wish I had video of him, the jokes between me and J were nonstop the rest of trip.   Ohhh Marco…

Dinner in Venice

(View from our table.  To the right was the river/canal intersection.  No idea why we didn’t get a picture of that)

But anyway,  after we settled in a bit, we started scoping out trip advisor for restaurants.  We usually tried to find places where the locals go.  We like to avoid the “too touristy” spots.  This restaurant was at a river/canal intersection.  It was one of the best meals we had while in Italy and was owned by a really cute Asian couple.

Cafe Noir

After dinner, it was around 8 or 9 and the streets were pretty quiet.   We took tons of pictures and ended up finding this little lounge bar called Cafe Noir and grabbed a prosecco and well, lounged.   This was my first prosecco of many for the  rest of the trip.

Second Day:

Today was full on time to explore.

Venice Canal

Our main goal (in every place we visited) is always to just roam around and get lost in the city.  Our sub goals were to see the Grand Canal and San Marco Square.  We always have a rough idea of what we’re doing, but don’t get stuck on the details.

So we made our way to both spots and window shopped and explored other little areas on the way.  Did you know it costs €1.50 to use a restroom?  Like, WHAT?!  So usually when it was time to hit the bathroom, we would grab a drink or a bite so we could use the bathroom in the bar/restaurant…1 prosecco please.

Steampunk Masks in Venice

(Steampunk Masks)

Piazza San Marco

(Piazza San Marco)

Then we ended our night at this jazz club that everybody said would be amazing…and it was!  The band was so great.  The theme of the night was Latin, which just cracked me up.  Of course we would be in Italy and listening to Latin Jazz.

After that, we headed back to our place to relax and get ready for our next city.

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Have you been to Venice?  What was your favorite memory there?

♦ Stephanie

FLORENCE + CINQUE TERRE

Florence & Cinque Terre

Hey guys!

In this post, I’m heading back to a couple of months ago to talk about another stop on me and J’s Euro trip.

For the 2nd stop of our trip, we were headed to Florence for 3 days with an excursion to Cinque Terre on one of the days.  Our first train experience was pretty badass.  We got the Eurail pass (we’re still not sure if we saved money getting that or not, but I’m pretty sure we did), and when you use your pass you always get first class, which includes champagne (hell yes) and usually some food.  I decided that high speed trains are where it’s at and the U.S. needs to get on board with a sick high speed train system.  Why does it take 7 hours by train to get to Chicago from St. Louis when I can drive it in 5?

Florence

(Piazzale Michelangelo)

Anyway, we headed to Florence and walked from the train station to our B&B.

I’ve never stayed at a B&B before, and this place had 3 rooms and 1 bathroom.  I was a little concerned because I think I’m a little weird about bathroom privacy.  Like, I want one accessible to me at all times.  Is that too much to ask?  hah!  I managed :)

Florence Basilica

(Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore)

After we checked in, we pulled out the map our B&B lady gave us and started to explore the city.  She said you could walk across the entire city in 30 minutes.  I was pretty stoked about that after our infamous 7 mile walking day in Rome  (I don’t think I’ve ever been that sweaty in my entire life).

Florence Basilica

(Crazy angles with the selfie stick)

We started walking down all of the cute little streets, went to check out the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore.  And continued to explore the city.  We ate some delicious tiramisu > > >  One of our goals was to try all of the foods each country was known for.

Then we went to Pizzale Michelangelo (pictured above).  This was one of the coolest most memorable things we did.  I love a great view and this spot gives you the most breathtaking view of the city.  It was seriously phenomenal and I would recommend it to everyone.

Tiramisu in Florence

(This is about as good as tiramisu gets)

The next morning, we were off to Cinque Terre!  Probably the most beautiful place I’ve ever been.

Cinque Terre

On day 2 in Florence we did a 13 hour excursion to Cinque Terre (meaning “5 towns” in English).  OMG this was the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen.  When I go back, I would definitely plan a few more days here.  It was a super small and quiet beach town that was so unbelievably picturesque.  It recently became a national park.

Cinque Terre

With our excursion group we hit up 4 of the 5 towns using a boat and train to get between them.  If the water was too choppy we would have missed out on the boat experience, and that was so unbelievably beautiful.  We were so lucky not to miss that.

Cinque Terre

After lunch, we picked up a bottle of wine at one of the stores, walked a little bit, and found a few steps to just sit back and enjoy the view.  You could not find a bad view here if you tried.

Cinque Terre

(You can see our view from lunch (bottom pic), in my sunglasses (top left pic).  And some rocks we picked up from the beach to store in some little dish in our house)

At our last stop, we grabbed a couple of beers and just relaxed & people watched…lots of relaxing going on this day.

Beers in Cinque Terre

Just waiting for the train to pick us up…

Cinque Terre Flowers

Ciao Cinque Terre!

Ciao Cinque Terre

(Rocking my tour group sticker…word up)

So those were another set of fantastic days…up next, Venice!

♦ Stephanie

FINE DIMES: NEW ORLEANS

Fine Dimes - New Orleans

2 weeks ago, J and I rounded up our summer with a trip to New Orleans.

I loved New Orleans.

This city has major personality.  It was charming and colorful and straight up fun.   If it were a person, it would be the laid back, cool kid, that just wants to have a good time.  That’s my kind of guy. There was live music everywhere, especially a lot of jazz.  Live music is the way to my heart.  And there is fun energy everywhere you go.  Swoon ♥

New Orleans

New Orleans Market(A little market that was opening up around 8)

We stayed at the Hilton Riverside downtown and there was a trolley right outside our hotel.  Yes, a little red trolley with no windows.  So fucking cute I can’t stand it.

And ALL of the food was beyond amazing.  I think New Orleans might have the best food of any city I’ve been to, no joke.  Everything was delicious.

New Orleans Bourbon Street

(From left to right:  Shelf of voodoo dolls.  A shot of Bourbon Street.  My favorite NOLA drink – hand grenades.  A mini coffin of more voodoo dolls.)

Our first night, we hit up Bourbon Street and that place is crazy and packed.  I can’t even imagine it during Mardi Gras, I think I would freak out from the crowd.  But it was so much fun.  It was all lit up with little shops and bars and strip clubs for blocks and blocks.  It went something like this…

Bar. Bar. Shop. Bar. Strip Club. Strip Club. Bar. Strip Club.  you get the idea : ) lol

Swamp Things - New Orleans

One of the days we took a swamp tour.  We rode on one of those air boats and were on the hunt for swamp things.  Our tour guide wanted to show us a 13 foot gator but he didn’t feel like coming out.  But we saw a lot of smaller ones and I now think alligators are cute (even though I ate fried alligator the day before…sorry guys!).  

Alligator Swamp Tour

(The guide would throw out marshmallows to lure them toward us.  They think they’re turtle eggs so they go after them to eat)

After the swamp tour, we hit up a market and had lunch before heading back to Bourbon Street.  We stopped by the bar that Jon Taffer redid on his Bar Rescue show (let me know if any of you guys have ever seen that show.  I love how worked up he gets haha!) and then we went to Tropical Isle to load up on some more hand grenades…ummmm delicious.  And then we danced our asses off to this great band for the rest of the night.

Little Souvenirs

(2 purchases from the trip.  The skull came from the market in NOLA and the harmonica was from Memphis.  I totally plan on learning how to play it and then will carry it around with me, you know, just in case)

The next day we drove all the way back home in one go.  About a 10 hour drive.

On the way to New Orleans we stopped in Memphis for the night – Shout out to Beale Street!

But since we had a 10 hour drive ahead of us, we downloaded the audio book, The Girl with All the Gifts.  You can download it for free with a 30 day trial membership.  We both really liked it.  I don’t want to say too much because I don’t want to give anything away, but you can check out the summary if you click on that link.  And the voice that reads is really nice (which is so important, because if there is anything weird with the voice I can’t do it.)

All in all, great trip, and I can’t wait to go back!

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Have you guys been to New Orleans?  How much did you love it?

And I haven’t forgotten about posting the rest of my Europe trip.  I will be throwing those on here soon.   I’m trying to find ways to keep those recaps short and sweet.  Have a great weekend!

♦ Stephanie