When I was in Brooklyn last month, I was able to spend some time in a friend’s garden.
It seems like we were in New Orleans ages ago!! It was really only about two month ago that we traveled with my husbands family to one of my favorite cities. The only thing that I put on our family trip agenda was to go to the New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA).
Although I had been to New Orleans several times, and had visited the free sculpture garden adjacent to the museum, I had never visited the museum itself. It’s a very small museum but it’s pretty jam packed. We had a limited time for this visited so we did end up skipping some of the more classic art, and heading right to the modern art. We were pleasantly surprised that the modern and contemporary art areas were quite large. That’s usually our favorite part of any museum and this was no exception.
Many of our favorite modern artist were on display including Rauchenberg, Picasso, Ernst, Pollock and more! There were also some super fun new artists and peices to learn about and explore.
I think a trip to NOMA is a must at some point for those visiting New Orleans. The museum itself is great, it’s also a very doable size, and the attached free sculpture garden is also awesome. Both are right at the entrance to City Park, which is a stunning free park to visit. The museum is a little pricy at $15 for adults. I think this is worith the price and feels good to support, but it makes the free garden and park even more exciting and inclusive as you can still see some amazing work while on a budget.
Has any reader been to this museum? Does anyone have suggestions of other museums to visit in New Orleans, LA?
When I travel, I tend to only take a backpack. For a longer trip, I might take a carry on. But mostly a backpack will do me. When packing for New Orleans, I realized that it was basically, more or less, what I pack when I go anywhere.
My packing always starts with what I’m going to wear for the actual traveling. Since I was flying this trip, I knew I needed something that would keep me very warm and comfy. But since I was traveling from a cold place to a warmer place, I didn’t want to wear a big coat.
So naturally I opted for lots of layers that I could use later in my trip, too. I wore a tank top, a mockneck, a sweater, one of the two pairs of jeans that I brought, a sweatshirt, and a jacket. As always I had a scarf and a hat. I chose to wear my new vans that I had bought the day before leaving. I love to wear slip on shoes when I fly, bc they make the security check much simpler.
Once we arrived, I broke up this outfit, changed into a tee shirt, and switched to my broken in shoes. On such a short trip, I ended up wearing many items over and over, like the sweater.
On this trip, I wasn’t sure how warm it was going to be so I packed a two dresses. These didn’t end up getting orn, but they are small and easy to pack. I could have also worn one as a top if I ran low on tee shirts. The other items that didn’t get used was pajama pants and top. I always pack PJs but rarely end up using them. Better safe than sorry!
Here is the final packing list:
3 tank tops
1 mock neck
1 bathing suit
under garments and socks
Overall I think I packed a little too much, but with not knowing what the weather would be doing, I the best I could. I’m always trying to streamline packing, use layers, rewear items, and be comfortable when traveling! I also packed my toiletries, my zero waste kit, and my accessories (books, noteboos etc…) for this trip and fit them into a backpack and 1 small tote. Let me know if you would be interested to see those items!
Are you a minimalist packer for trips? Are you an over packer? Share your advice in the comments!
We are not big occasion people. We don’t buy xmas gifts, we don’t go on dates, we don’t dress up. But one thing that we have celebrated for the last six years is our wedding anniversary. We always try to take a little trip around this time and this year, we headed back to an old favorite: Cape May, New Jersey.
We took a leisurely time to drive down to Cape May and stopped at a few thrift shops we enjoy along the way. We arrived just in time for the sunset. They are usually quite spectacular in this town.
The night was easy and we took advantage of a warm room and a strong shower. In the morning we ate at the hotel restaurant before heading out into the snowy landscape.
The Victorian homes and square are particularly striking in the snow.
We always like to take a look at the sunken concrete ship at the end of the state.
We recently headed to one of our favorite small towns, Allentown NJ, and finally got to stop in at a Moth Coffeehouse. I’ve been wanting to try it for a long time but somehow always visit the town when the cafe is closed. I was not disappointed. I love that this coffee shop is in a hundreds year old building and that it offers a lot of healthy and vegan options.
The whole cafe and aesthetic is lovely. They have plenty of low waste options, to stay cups and plates. It’s cozy and if I lived closer, I could easily see myself becoming a regular.
What’s your favorite coffee shop?
Last month we took an impromptu trip to one of our favorite places, Cape May NJ. We left pretty late as it was a last minute decision to go, but it was a ridiculously gorgeous day and once there, we went right to the beach! It’s about an hour and a half drive so it was really relaxing to swim and lay out.
Congress Hall is a favorite of ours when we stay in the area, but it’s also great to pop in and see how it’s decorated or for a bathroom break.
We walked around town and popped into a few shops, but then made our way down to Sunset Beach. We love the weird gem shop there and that there is a sunken ship still visible. We even got to see a flag ceremony with muscat salute! It’s also known for it’s sunsets, of course.
On our way back into town we stopped at the Animal Outreach Of Cape May. It was too late for it to be open, but we got to see a few kitties.
On the way back north, we stopped at Big Wave Burritos. It was pretty tasty! I was happy to try a few local spots this trip that we hadn’t before. Earlier in the day we also got a nice coffee at Out There Coffee.
I’m so glad that we live so close to Cape May now and it makes for easy day trips to one of our favorite places! One day in this town is plenty to see and do a lot and I highly suggest a visit if you are close by.
Do you have a near by getaway that you love to revisit again and again.
Can you be homesick for a place you never lived?
My mother and I had vacationed in the same part of Vermont for 17 - 20 Summers (after that amount of time, one losses track!). We spent almost a month there year after year until about 7 or 8 years ago. Bc of work, and wanting to save to buy a house, we decided not to go. It was a tough choice to break the tradition. If we hadn't made that choice, I'd be in Vermont right now.
Every year, leading up to August, I think more and more about Vermont. I can't completely describe why it's such a special place. It's more than a place to me, in fact, but a symbol of a way of life that I strive for. Vermont to me embodies slow, simple lifestyle, no waste mentality, fresh food resources, community reliance, and a balance between nature, industry, and a peaceful life.
Obviously that's just want it embodies, to me, not what it actually is. But it is a state that strives to keep big box stores out, to value different and alternative lifestyles, renewable energies, farming, clean living, and statewide community.
While thinking about it this year, I want my nostalgia to motivate me towards my evolving lifestyle. For the end of August, I'll be meditating on what I want my life to look like for the end of this year, what I want my life to look like going forward, and what that means for this blog space. My time in Vermont will be an inspiration for me.
Hopefully getting back to Vermont will be part of our near future, but for now, I can use my memories to motivate my present!
Is there a place that inspires your day to day? Where is your home away from home?
Whenever I go on a trip I like to take some time to see some art, a museum, a gallery, and I try to see some nature, a park, a garden, And I love to see a combo of the two.
When I went to Cleveland in June, I didn't get to seek out any museums or botanic gardens, but luckily, just walking around the city, I got to see quite a bit of art and nature!
I loved how much street art and how many murals were just peeping out around town. It gave the city a very new and cared for feel. With the old architecture, and repurposed spaces, made the whole city feel like it would survive anything and still live on.
A city on a body of water is a glorious thing and it was nice to walk only a few minutes from the heart of town and find yourself on a curving river or expansive lake at sunset.
Parks and little bits of nature were all over, and people were out enjoying them at the start of Summer!
Although Cleveland isn't the most ideal walking city, it was the perfect way for me to get acquainted with it! Next visit, I hope to get to a museum, park, or combo of art and nature, but for a first visit I got the perfect taste!
In my usual style, I crammed a lot into five days when I recently visited Cleveland Ohio. I wanted to highlight the architecture and the feel of the city and you can see that in my last post. There was so much more I wanted to include, so for this part two post, here are some of the places I went and saw.
Bc I was in Cleveland for a wedding I stayed in the Hyatt Arcade, a very historic and fancy hotel I most likely wouldn't have chosen myself. This ended up being perfect for me bc it exemplified the reuse of historic buildings that I enjoyed so much in this city.
I visited a few cute coffee shops, one was right in the ground floor of the hotel!
Cleveland is known for having a ton of great breweries and I was lucky enough to visit four of them in the 5 days I was there. My two favorites were Great Lakes Brewing on the West Side and Noble Beast which is in Downtown.
A must visit for Cleveland is the West Side Market and I almost missed it! The first day I tried to go, it was closed! I made it a point to go back and it was well worth it. I could have spent a lot of time and money exploring this classic indoor food market.
I went to a bunch of other sweet spots and I'm sure there are many more to explore when I go back!
Have you visited Cleveland Ohio? Do you live there? Do you have suggestions of places to visit?
In late May and early June I had the opportunity to visit Cleveland. I had never been there before, except briefly passing through. I had a few days to wondering around and I loved the city!
I stayed in Downtown Cleveland and spent time walking around, seeing some landmarks, and going to the aquarium. One of the things that struck me most about the city was the amazing architecture and how many old buildings were repurposed into something new. Many were also used for their original purpose and still going strong, like the West Side Market, a bustling food hall full of shops and restaurants. Or small local spots that seemed straight from the 40s.
Here are some of my photos from Cleveland, OH.
I have so much more to show of Cleveland! Look for a Part Two of my trip! Do any of my readers come from or live in Cleveland? What are your favorite places?
This is our third year going to the Whitesbog Blueberry Festival and it's one of our favorite June events!! This year was much cooler and cloudy than previous years. It was really nice to do some exploring, eating and observing when it wasn't a million degrees.
We also saw this amazing dog!! How cute and tough is he?
I love to visit and revisit the places we love around NJ. It's so great to see an area in all different weather. Where are your favorite places to visit in your state?
Last week I found myself in Cleveland Ohio and decided to visit the Greater Cleveland Aquarium.
This is a really sweet little aquarium on the West Side of the Cuyahaga River. It's under ground, housed in the lower levels of the FirstEnergy Powerhouse Building which was built in 1892. It's a gorgeous brick building and being right at the edge of the river makes one feel that they are going deep under the water.
This aquarium is pretty kid friendly, with touch tanks and little activities to do throughout. It is a little pricey to get in at $20 for adults. I understand that these attractions need money to survive as well as our support. But I often wish they could find a way to be more accessible as well.
By far the main attraction and the big finish for this aquarium is the shark tunnel! This is a really neat feature towards the end of the space and it's worth the price of admission!!
I found Cleveland to be an extremely nice and interesting place to visit and this aquarium was no exception. I would definitely recommend checking it out if you are in the area!
Has anyone else visited the Greater Cleveland Aquarium?
Last week we had some time to explore NJ and headed to the Morris Museum in Morristown, NJ. I had never been to Morristown before and it was not at all what I expected. The area has a lot of beautiful landmarks, including churches and Fort Nonsense (a revolutionary war historic site). But mostly the town has a lot of financial businesses, a million banks, and a lot of big name brand stores.
The Morris Museum is located outside the main part of town and boasts a large collection of working automata. This was the main reason we went and worth the price of admission. They have daily shows at 2pm, which we unfortunately did not know before going and missed.
The Morris Museum is also well known for it's large collection of gems, many of which were found in NJ.
I always really love to see a big collection of gems together and this was a really great gallery.
I was really glad to visit this museum, and I would definitely recommend it! We will be back soon to see an exhibit on kinetic art. Ans of course to revisit the gem room!
What are your favorite galleries to visit in museums?
While we were in Philly at the beginning of the month, we discovered that our hotel was right near the Fabric Workshop and Museum. Before we visited, I had never heard of this little museum and didn't know their mission. Here's how they describe themselves:
The Fabric Workshop and Museum was founded in 1977 with a visionary purpose: to stimulate experimentation among leading contemporary artists and to share the process of creating works of art with the public. Providing studio facilities, equipment, and expert technicians, FWM originally invited artists to experiment with fabric, and later with a wide range of innovative materials and media.
The exhibit that was at the museum when we went was a sort of retrospective of many of the artists that had come to the Fabric Workshop. Process and Practice: 40 Years of Experimentation showcases many of the artist's work as well as their notes, sketches, scraps, prototypes, etc... that they generated while working on the major project. We didn't know what artists there would be or what to expect, but it was really lovely to see the process and production of notable artists like Kiki Smith (next three pictures).
There were a ton of recognizable artists, and many that I had never heard of. I really enjoyed the way the museum was laid out and the way each artist and their work was displayed. Being primarily a textile museum, there were lots of clothing, a quilt, some stuffed toys, some embroidery, and other fabric works. But there were also works of paper, film, and projection.
The Fabric Workshop and Museum is right in the heart of center city, one block from the Reading Terminal Market. The entry fee is only $5 suggested donation. This museum and exhibit is a great way to see some more obscure pieces of your favorite modern artists, or to introduce people to modern art and textile arts. I love how accessible this museum is and I would highly recommend checking it out!
Has anyone else visited this museum? What is your favorite suggest donation museum near you?
For our fifth wedding anniversary we weren't sure what we wanted to do, if anything. I have been trying be mindful about marking events that are important to me where my family is concerned. It's easy for me to just let an event or special day pass with little fanfare.
After much hemming and hawing, we decided to spend one night in Philadelphia. We haven't visited for several years and not since we moved to NJ. Philly is only about an hour and twenty minutes from Asbury Park! We left a bit late in the day and made a stop at one of our favorite vintage toy shops in Allentown, NJ.
We only spent about 24 hours in the city and plenty of that was sleeping, but we got to walk around china town, eat ramen, dim sum, pastries, have a cocktail in the hotel bar, see a cool museum, smash some pennies, see some historical sites, and walk around some more!
I didn't get to explore any zero waste resources on this trip but I'm excited to do more research next time!
Philadelphia has so many interesting pockets and neighborhoods and it's really easy to see a lot in a short time. We will definitely be going back for day trips and easy overnights. Especially concidering how easy it is to drive there for our house!
Please leave your Philly recommendations in the comments!
Last week The American Museum of Natural History in NYC closed the doors of the Hall of Gems for several years while they refurbish and redecorate it. We decided we needed to see this magical place one more time.
One of the greatest things about this space is that it is dark, cramped, and narrow. It always seemed a bizarre choice and something they will change in the new hall. But it was part of what made the experience so otherworldly.
One of the reasons they are renovating the hall is to accommodate this massive amethyst!
We were totally happy to get to see all these beauties one more time, to touch meteorites and huge quartz. Before we went, I thought there was no way I would like the new design and would be unhappy. But after our trip, I can't wait to see what the new hall will look like!
For our fourth wedding anniversary, we opted to skip a larger trip and stay closer to home. We took several day trips over the course of a long weekend. One stop on our list was Princeton, NJ and specifically the Princeton University Art Museum.
We arrived in town and meandered around a bit, stopping for lunch and exploring some shops before making our way thru campus to the museum. The Princeton University Museum is free and open to the public. It sits in the heart of the campus.
This little museum packs a lot of punch!! We were quite surprised at how much was going on with it. There were ancient pieces from all over the world, recent artworks, too, and some modern art. The whole way through the museum we were amazed at what we saw and how much there was.
One of our favorite parts (which I failed to get a photo of) was a small hallway where items from greek, roman, and many other ancient cultures were assembles in packed glass display cases. This was specifically designed so that art students (and others) could come and sketch and study the artifacts.
After quite a long time exploring the museum we went out in search of a Serra piece we had read was on campus. Before coming to Princeton on this visit we did now know that there were so many large scale modern sculptures on campus. The architecture of the school is nothing to sneeze at, either!
I highly recommend the art museum and walk through the university if you're in the area.
Last month, for our anniversary, we went to explore some art in Princeton, New Jersey. We went to see the Princeton University Art Museum (more on that soon), but we didn't realize that there were so many large scale works of modern art scattered around the campus.
Quite unexpectedly, we found two special pieces while we were there. The first we spotted as we drove through campus and it really blew our minds! This Ai Weiwei sculpture, Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads, depicting huge lifelike busts of the Chinese zodiac, has special meaning for us; My husband and I saw this sculpture on our second date! It was in Manhattan then, and we had no clue it would be in our new home state on our 4th anniversary!
The second astonishing piece we saw was by Richard Serra, one of our favorite contemporary artists. The Fox and The Hedgehog consists of three massive curved sheets of steel, which can be walked through as well as around. We particularly love that aspect of some of his work. For some reason, you get a strange sensation to be inside of his sculpture. As if your molecules are drawn to and becoming part of the art, and you are involved more than observing.
We are very excited to get another opportunity to return to Princeton and see more of there outdoor sculptures. I highly recommend a visit if you ever happen to be in the area.
Who is your favorite large scale artist?
A few weeks ago we took some day trips around NJ. We headed down to Atlantic City, but not for gambling as you might suspect. We headed to see some Jersey Shore sights and visit the Atlantic City Aquarium.
We only spent a few hours in town but we were struck by the shocking contrast of the gaudy, loud, false facades of the casinos and boardwalk, and the serene beaches and skies. The clash of nature and man is very apparent. The divide between opulence and extravagance and utter poverty is everywhere.
Like much of the once great coastal attractions AC is falling into ruin. With casinos closing, damage from Super Storm Sandy, and depletion of natural resources, the old family friendly beach resort is crumbling. I will definitely be keeping an eye on what happens to Atlantic City in the future.
Last week was our 4th wedding anniversary and we decided to take several day trips around NJ instead of one bigger trip. We are still new to living here and there are so many places to explore. New Jersey has many unique areas and environments for a small state.
Atlantic City is a sprawling peninsula/island in South New Jersey. Obviously known for it's casinos and gambling, it also has lovely wide beaches, protected wetlands, and is a stopping point for tons of shore birds. The aquarium is on the north west point of the land mass.
This aquarium is pretty small with two floors plus a bonus tiny third floor that is really more of an observation deck. The views are quite spectacular.
The Atlantic City Aquarium has been open since 1999 and houses many creatures, both local to the area and exotic. An interesting aspect of this aquarium is that there are lots of touch tanks scattered throughout the exhibits. We were able to see rays feeding and rushing around their tank and touch them as they sped by! There were horseshoe crabs and small sharks to touch as well.
There were quite a few workers there, minding the touch tanks, and available for questions. We talked with one for quite a while about a giant loggerhead sea turtle in one of the larger tanks. We learned that he was rescued and brought to the zoo about 15 years ago. He is blind and had beached himself, a sure sign he was close to death. Now 22 and living comfortably in the AC Aquarium he is hand fed squid and fish jello everyday and can live out his remaining 75 years in peace.
Outside the aquarium, there was a small village, amphitheater, and shops, which were not open while we were there and must be a Summer attraction. There was also a diving bell which had been an Atlantic City oddity. Visitor could pay to get submerged off one of the boardwalk piers.
This seems like a perfect place for smaller children and a good stopping point as you make your way thru NJ. There are docks, and other things to do in the immediate area, a seemingly small oasis from the rest of the City. AC is a bizarre mix of opulence and utter despair. Gold gilded casinos line some block while the next block seems completely burnt out or abandoned. Besides the aquarium I would like to visit the Absecon Lighthouse, which had closed by the time we got to it on this trip. While most of AC made me feel uneasy, the Atlantic City Aquarium was a peaceful place. I would definitely recommend this aquarium and will be coming back to visit in other seasons.