life curation · travel

An Abbreviated Travel Itinerary

Happy Thursday, beloveds! I’m enjoying my first full day in Raleigh, NC and, if all goes well, I’ll have a special treat for you all in the next few days. I thought I’d share with you all some of the basic things I consider when planning my travel. I hope it helps you to plan your perfect trip!

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Make a list, check it twice

  • Visit to at least one museum
  • Dine at one of the finest restaurants in the area
  • Dine at a “local favorite” (a restaurant most highly recommended by people living in town)
  • Spend time in a park, at a river or on a trail in the city I’m visiting
  • Shop at a local thrift store
  • View the local monuments and the downtown area
  • Visit a local bookstore

Whenever I plan a trip, I try to include as many of these things as possible. For me, these things comprise an ideal trip: shopping, dining, sightseeing, books, and some time in nature. Every now and then, I can incorporate two or more of these things in one outing (for instance, a visit to a park in the downtown area that’s located a block or two away from the “local favorite” restaurant).

One item that I didn’t list on this sample itinerary that I *hope* you all will include is REST. I can’t begin to describe how hard it is to do all of the fun stuff you’ve planned when you’re exhausted. So make sure that SLEEP is part of your plans, as well!

That’s it for my mini-itinerary. Enjoy your Friday, and I’ll talk to you all tomorrow!

 

 

 

art · travel

Flashback to Kansas City, Pt. 2 – The Kemper and Nelson-Atkins Museums

I mentioned in a previous post that I had spent some time in Kansas City, MO and I thoroughly enjoyed the time I spent there. In that post, I mentioned that I visited 18th and Vine and I also went to the Jazz Museum there. This post discusses two different cultural institutions in Kansas City – the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art and the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.

The Kemper Museum was, sadly, closed when I went. However, there was an enchanting outdoors sculpture garden that I photographed while I was there. Fun fact: while en route to the Kemper Museum, I saw a chipmunk for the first time (they aren’t as common in the area where I currently live). I enjoyed the sculpture garden so much that I vowed to return to Kemper and see the works inside of the museum. My return trip hasn’t happened yet, but I suspect that it won’t be much longer before that trip becomes a reality.

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Sculpture of Bellephoron taming Pegasus

The Crying Giant at the Kemper Museum

Spider Statue on the lawn of the Kemper Museum

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A much younger me posed under the giant spider

After leaving Kemper, I went to Nelson-Atkins, where I promptly fell in love with the meticulously maintained grounds and gardens. This was a very popular spot for newlyweds, as I saw at least 5 different wedding parties taking photographs on the lawn. I knew that these were different wedding parties because I counted the different colored bridesmaids dresses that I saw with each group!

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Exterior of Nelson-Atkins – it looked like one of DC’s museums

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Close up detailing on a vase on the exterior of the museum

Two of the famous giant shuttlecocks on the lawn of the Nelson Atkins Museum

Rodin’s The Thinker at the museum

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A view of the lawn

Unfortunately, I didn’t take any pictures inside of the museum, but I have a few from from the exterior. I would love to return to Kansas City and do a proper tour of both museums. Fingers crossed, I’ll be able to make that trip happen within a year!

art · travel

Flashback to Kansas City, Pt. 1 – 18th and Vine

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18th and Bovine by Jeff DeRousse, located near 18th and Vine

When I’m in Raleigh in a few weeks, I’ll be checking out as many art museums, galleries and fine restaurants as I can. But while I’m looking at some of Raleigh’s attractions, I began to reminisce about my first “big” trip away from home.

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Statue of Charlie Parker near 18th and Vine

Nine years ago, I traveled to Kansas City, MO and instantly fell in love. This city reminds me of my hometown but it had a lot of features that I found enchanting. Kansas City has more operating fountains than any city outside of Rome, Italy. I also recall the excellent museums, fun club scene, and rich musical history. I’m going to share some of the pictures from that trip, taken on my (awful) BlackBerry Pearl. Hey, it was the best I could do at the time!

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18th and Vine is an intersection within Kansas City that used to be a hub for Black music and culture. Jazz legend Charlie Parker grew up in this area. While there, I visited the American Jazz Museum, a glorious tribute to the history of jazz music. I was (still am!) a huge fan of Ella Fitzgerald, so this museum was a treat. Unfortunately, the museum didn’t allow photography, so I have no pictures of the exhibits.

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Front of the museum

The museum is in the heart of what used to be the epicenter of vibrant Black creatives. The area used to be thriving and full of shops, bars, and jazz clubs. It was disheartening to hear how the museum is going through financial trials and may temporarily close in order to reorganize.

Artwork near the museum: cutouts made out of mirrored material. Gorgeous to behold, impossible to photograph

This area is magical. You can feel the history all around you. I pray that the museum can turn things around and come back stronger than ever. 

I’ll share more from my Kansas City trip in the next few weeks. Until then, enjoy!

life curation · travel

Planning My Birthday Getaway

Happy Friday, friends! I’m just a few weeks away from my birthday and I’m in the middle of planning my birthday getaway. I’m so excited – it’s been a couple of months since I got away for a bit. This year, I’m going to Raleigh and I fully intend to have a grand experience: lots of great restaurants, sightseeing, and fun with friends.

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Time for another mini road trip!

It’s been a while since I’ve spent some days in Raleigh, so I’m looking forward to returning. I usually go to Charlotte when heading to North Carolina, so Raleigh will be a nice change of pace. My only regret is that I won’t be staying at one of my favorite hotels: sadly, they were booked solid when I tried to make a reservation. But at least I’ll be trying a hotel that I’ve never visited before, and (of course) I’ll review it for you all. I’ll also be reviewing the art museums, restaurants and other attractions that I visit.

I’m winding down after an insanely busy week, so I’m keeping this one brief. Anyhoo, I’m writing my review of last month’s book selection this weekend, so look out for that. Otherwise, enjoy your Friday, and I’ll talk to you all soon!

food · travel

Remembering Anthony Bourdain

I remember first watching Anthony Bourdain several years ago, and I found myself hypnotized by his storytelling, humored by his authenticity, and delighted by his respectful observations of different cultures. He was the real deal, and his diplomacy via gastronomy was a sight to behold.

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(photo courtesy of Headout blog)

Bourdain passed on June 8, 2018, and I know that this day will never be the same for me. Many of us will never know what goes through the mind of someone contemplating suicide, but I know, for sure, that our world is a less-beautiful place without souls like Anthony Bourdain. May he rest.

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(Photo courtesy AZ Quotes)

art · travel

Review: Philadelphia Museum of Art, Part 1

No trip to Philadelphia would be complete without a trip to the Philadelphia Museum of Art. This two story incredible museum has many treasures, but is probably best know for the exterior stairs that were featured in the infamous scene of the movie “Rocky”, where Sylvester Stallone does his boxing training by running up and down the steps.

If you want to run up the steps, help yourself, but once you get to the top of the staircase, be sure to go into the museum and buy a ticket, then take a leisurely stroll through the corridors as you soak up the rich art history around you.

I’m breaking my photos into two or three separate posts, because it takes a bit of time to write up the artist information under each picture. I’m also a little disappointed that I only got to view the bottom level of the museum: on this trip, time was not on my side. But that’s okay, because I plan to return. And when I do, I’ll have more time. In this post, I’ll share the most humorous pieces from the “Biting Wit and Brazen Folly: British Satirical Prints, 1780s–1830s” exhibit“Biting Wit and Brazen Folly: British Satirical Prints, 1780s–1830s” exhibit, on display until August 22.

I’m delighted to also mention that my ticket was complimentary because I am a member of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts at the Partner Level (you can also get reciprocal privileges at several major metropolitan museums, as well as the North American Reciprocal Membership and Reciprocal Organization of Associated Museums, at the Supporters level).

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The museum exterior

Statue outside of the Philadelphia Museum of Art

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The famous Diana statue inside the museum

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The Gout by James Gillray

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A Peep at Christies or Tally-ho & His Nimeny-pimeney taking the Morning Lounge by James Gillray

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The description next to A Peep at Christies was almost as interesting as the cartoon itself!

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The Blue Devils by George Cruikshank

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An explanation of what the “blue devils” are

Look out for more photos from my day at Philadelphia Museum of Art in the upcoming days. Enjoy!

food · travel

Review: Wiz Kid Restaurant

Happy, happy Monday, friends!

After the auction I attended a few days ago (you can read about it here and here), I was famished. I didn’t know how hungry I would be, but I think I underestimated how long my breakfast would stave off hunger (something about travel throws off my ability to correctly gauge when and how much I need to eat, but I digress). In any case, I figured I could probably grab something suitable close by. I looked up nearby restaurants and learned that a vegan restaurant was just around the corner from the auction house. So of course I had to check it out.

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(from the Wiz Kid website)

I stepped into Wiz Kid and was instantly charmed by the intimate size and hits from bygone years playing in the background. The restaurant boasts a small but flavorful vegan menu. I was greeted by a friendly cashier as I looked over the menu. I decided to try the Yucatan chopped salad and rhubarb-ade.

My tasty Yucatan chopped salad

The salad was large and filling. This was a delicious vegan take on the southwestern-style salads that can be found at many popular restaurants. According to the website, the salad features, “black beans, grilled zucchini, pico, poblano, cauliflower, tortilla crumble, cilantro goddess”. I can confirm that all of those ingredients were in my salad, and it came together beautifully.

I really liked the crunch that came from the tortilla crumbles: that variance in texture went a long way in making this salad more interesting. The cilantro goddess dressing was creamy and delicious. I was really impressed with this hearty salad.

The rhubarb-ade was also a hit! Tart, sweet and unique: it was the kind of original take on lemonade that I’m always looking for when I go out. Rhubarb is such an unusual choice: I liked it a lot!

Photo taken from outside of Wiz Kid

Overall, I really enjoyed Wiz Kid. My only wish is that they expand the menu, but I can also appreciate the carefully curated selection. Why mess with a good thing, y’know? So, on that note, I must recommend Wiz Kid in Philadelphia, PA. It’s located at 124 S 19th Street. Make sure you check it out when you’re in the area!