Malibu: The California Dreamer’s Paradise

There’s a 27-mile stretch of the Pacific Coast Highway that dips and rises, drops then peaks, allowing its riders both the feeling of being enveloped in the coastal cliffs and the exhilaration of cruising above the endlessly blue and shimmering Pacific. Malibu, California is only 30 miles from the bustling downtown LA, and myriad movie stars, Hollywood elites, and affluent Angelinos are lucky enough to call its beaches and bluffs home. With a Mediterranean climate and breathtaking estates sprinkled across its hills, Malibu manages to make an average day feel like a holiday.

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So, when you wake up early on a day off in Los Angeles and are wondering over your morning coffee how to best soak up your daily dose of Vitamin D, why not head to “The ‘Bu”?

Kickstart your morning with a healthy sweat
Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or more of a nature-walker, the hills of Malibu provide a medley of trails to suit your style. Each hike has its draws, but when I want a moderate challenge and impressive panoramas, the Los Leones Trail is my top pick. This 7.2-mile hike starts in the Pacific Palisades and winds through Topanga State Park. Relatively graded, judiciously shaded, and beautifully lush, the coastal-canyon trek summits at 1,525 feet, and the ultimate view of the sprawling coast makes it so worth the sweat. You’ll know you’ve reached the top when you find a lone bench; sit, stretch, meditate, or just absorb the awe-inspiring vista. You’ve earned it!

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Stunning views on top of the Los Leones Trail

Reward yourself
Malibu Farm is a full-service restaurant and bar at the start of the iconic Malibu Pier. To best appreciate its prime real-estate, I opt to sit outside on the patio, stilted above the waves as they crash on the sandy shore. With something for everyone’s taste, the menu takes advantage of local, fresh produce, and each item comes out of the kitchen impeccably presented and reliably delicious.

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Contently taking in the view chardonnay in hand

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One of my favorites on the menu is the Cauliflower-Crust “Pizza” – it has just the right amount of pesto and mozzarella spread atop a perfectly crispy crust. The Chicken-Broccoli Quesadilla and Raw Brussels Sprouts Salad are two other must-orders if you’re looking for shareable starters. Or, if you want something a bit more substantial after burning calories on your morning hike, the Breaded Mustard Chicken Sandwich offers juicy chicken breast breaded ever-so-lightly in a hint-of-mustard breadcrumb mix, topped with tomato, arugula, red onion, and tomato aioli.

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Care to imbibe? The General Manager, David Shoham, is also the Bar Manager and has crafted some signature cocktails just for this ocean-side eatery. Leading my list are the “Watermelon” – mixing cucumber-infused vodka, watermelon and lime juices, and organic agave; the “Coconut” – featuring toasted coconut-infused rum, coconut agave, and fresh pineapple juice; the “Smoke” – blending mescal, shishito peppers, chipotle agave, and freshly squeezed lime juice; and the “Jalapeno” – balancing Uno Dos Tres organic tequila blanco, jalapeño agave, and lime juice. Special shout-out to the Jalapeno cocktail, as it allows for the awesome flavor of this popular pepper without too much of the heat. And the best part? The agave syrup used in these masterpieces is made in-house! Or, maybe you’re feeling like a chilled glass of wine, instead; I recommend the crisp and dry Sonoma-Cutrer Russian River Valley Chardonnay. Yum! www.malibu-farm.com

Inside-restaurant Malibu Farm
Pop inside for a Malibu Farm Cookbook or gourmet gifts to bring home.

Taster’s Tip: The Malibu Farm Café, a sister site to the restaurant and bar, is located at the opposite end of the same pier!

Catch the sunset
If you’re looking for a change of scenery after your meal (although, you’ll probably never want to leave your cozy, ocean-front seat!) and a taste of the grapes of the coast, Malibu Wines is an ideal final destination from which to watch the sun go down over the Pacific.

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Wine with this view: What more could you ask for?

The Malibu Wines Tasting Room is nestled in the Santa Monica Mountains and offers two labels of wines: Semler and Saddlerock. Choose whether to take part in a tasting flight or indulge in a full bottle; either way, sip your wine on this estate’s vast lawn or at one of the rustic tables provided. Outside food is allowed, so if you’re still peckish after your bite at the Farm, stop by the Malibu Country Mart on your way for some snacks to graze on while you drink.

As you soak up the last moments of daylight, drinking your fermented grape of choice and listening to the rocking live music (it never disappoints!), you’ll wonder why you didn’t find a way to make all those other ordinary days before into extraordinary ones; and, you’ll already be planning your next unforgettable day spent in Malibu.

Love,

Shae

*Shae is our guest blogger from Los Angeles. An educator whose lust for experience influences her teaching, she travels with the desire to immerse herself in diverse cultures, seeking new adventure and inspiring others to engage with compassion and expand their world view. Follow Shae on Instagram! @seekvantage

More about California? Read Shea’s tips about hidden gem Marina Del Rey:

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The First Ever Vegan Food Court Will Open in New York

We love New York because it’s constantly evolving and discovering new trends. Food is a big thing over there and even though New York is a big city with lot’s of pollution, it’s also becoming more conscious about sustainability, health and animal welfare. We were happy to hear that the big apple will open the world’s first vegan food court!

vegan food court. Photo: danielle-macinnes

Unfortunately we need to wait a while before we can all enjoy this vegan walhalla because they are planning to open in early 2019. The food court will be named Home Food Hall and will be the first permanent food hall serving totally plant-based foods. They are now looking for 15+ vendors from all over the world to take part in the first vegan food court. Some of the vendors are already signed up and among these are the popular Beyond Sushi and Cinnamon Snail, both based in New York.

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Beyond sushi will be one of the vendors in the first ever Vegan Food court.

Besides the food they will also open a boutique fitness space hosting yoga, pilates, dance, meditation, kickboxing classes and more. They will also rent spaces where you can host get-togethers, events or private screenings. Home Food Hall will be established in Midtown East.

Follow The Home Food Hall on Instagram or Facebook to follow the updates.

Love,

Wander-Lust

How To Spend An Entire Day In Central Park Without Getting Bored

Central Park is the heart of New York City and the very first public park built in the United States. The thing I love most about it is that even though it is one of the biggest attractions in the city, it doesn’t feel overwhelmingly touristy like some other places. It is a beautiful and peaceful place to visit where you are able to quietly relax and enjoy being outside while taking in the melting pot of diversity that is New York City. Everywhere you turn you see people from all over the world speaking different languages and exploring everything the park has to offer.

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I recently realized that there are so many places throughout Central Park that I’ve never ventured into. Stretching over more than 840 acres, it’s decorated with sculptures, monuments, and fountains that pay tribute to literary characters, famous explorers, and artists. Knowing that I have the park to visit whenever I want, I’ve gotten into the bad habit of entering through the same entrance and walking around the same areas over and over again. So I decided to spend the day walking the park from top to bottom to take note of my favorite locations. It can be an unexpectedly overwhelming place if you are unsure how to navigate your way around or what exactly it is you’re looking for.

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Central Park never get’s boring

Here’s a list of a few of the best attractions to visit when taking a stroll through the heart of New York City:

The Loch
A series of cute waterfalls and bridges that make you forget that you’re in Manhattan and give you a feeling as if you’ve transported to an enchanted forest. Location: North West corner of the park, just above the W 103rd St. entrance.

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Belvedere Castle
A small, beautiful castle that makes you quickly notice the contrast between the park and the modern city surrounding it. A great spot for photos!
Location: 79th Street in the middle of the park – Between the Museum of Natural History (west side) and The Metropolitan Museum of Art (east side).

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Shakespeare Garden
One of the top spots for NYC weddings and a great place for photos. It’s best in the spring or summertime when the flowers are in bloom and contains interesting monuments from some of Shakespeare’s plays. Location: Right next to the Belvedere Castle. For more info check the official website.

The Boathouse
A great restaurant overlooking the lake. Spring for a lunch here if you’re feeling ~lavi$h~.Location: East side of the park, north of the 72nd st entrance.

The Boathouse Central Park

Alice in Wonderland Statue
Every kid’s favorite part of the park as it’s a large statue that’s easy to climb. This is also a good midway point in the park with a large seating area for you to rest your feet for awhile. Location: slightly West of the boathouse.

Alice in Wonderland statue Central Park

Bethesda Terrace & Fountain
A familiar spot as it is the filming location for many movies. It’s a great place to sit and people watch with many tourists and street performers visiting. The architecture is also great for photos! Location: Center of the park, 72nd street.

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The impressive Bethesda Terrace

The Mall & Literary Walk
A row of American elm trees that line the parks wide pedestrian path. Perhaps one of the most photographed features of the park. There is also a statue of Christopher Columbus along with 4 other prominent writers. Location: A long path that leads from Bethesda Terrace down to the south end of the park, leading down toward the 59th street exit.

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Central Park’s designers had a simple goal: to create a place where city dwellers could go to forget the city. A combination escape hatch and exercise yard, Central Park is an urbanized Eden that gives both locals and tourists a different taste of one of the world’s greatest cities. Even though New York eventually grew much taller than the trees planted to hide it, the park is still a place to find peace and solace in an otherwise high-strung and, at times, overwhelming city. Without Central Park’s winding paths, tranquil lakes, ponds, and open meadows, New Yorkers (especially Manhattanites) might be a lot less sane.

Love,

Casey

*Casey is one of our guest bloggers from New York. She’s a 25 year old that grew up in Long Island NY. After graduating college, she moved into NYC and took a job in marketing. She and her large friend group of about 9 girls are all about trying out trendy restaurants and keeping busy with all this amazing city has to offer. She also has her own personal blog, Adolescent Adulthood. She will publish an article every start of the month.

Marina del Rey » The Hidden Gem of Los Angeles

When most people plan a visit to Los Angeles, they think of Hollywood and expect the fast pace of a big city: crowded sidewalks, bright lights, and busy restaurants and shops. And, it’s easy to see why so many are drawn to that exciting lifestyle, whether to live or just pass through. But, first timers to this vacation hot-spot without the guidance of a local resident might find that they come all the way to California and miss out on the most beautiful part of LA. Marina del Rey is nestled just south of Venice, California and is arguably Los Angeles’s best kept secret. A working marina and home to over 6,000 boats, it was finished in 1965 is the largest man-made marina in the United States. And, if you’re looking for a spot to sunbathe with half the crowd, the Marina del Rey Beach on the south side of the Venice Pier offers more untouched sands than you’ll find in Venice and Santa Monica.

If you’re lucky enough to spend some time exploring this area, here’s what you should plan to do:

1. Take a stroll around the beautiful, clean marina
Whether just stopping by or docked more permanently, the sailboats, powerboats, and yachts anchored in Marina del Rey are some of the most impressive on the west coast. If you have a free afternoon, head over to Fisherman’s Village and rent a small boat of your own to take out on the water and into the sunshine!

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2. Walk down Washington Boulevard toward the beach
Along this beachy street, you’ll find a mix of restaurants, bars, and boutique shops. Interested in some new swimwear? Want to pop into a yoga class? Or maybe you just want authentic Mexican tacos with a view. Either way, Washington Boulevard has it all (including some awesome opportunities for people-watching!)

3. Get a coffee from Cow’s End
A Marina del Rey/Venice must-visit, Cow’s End is a cool, beachy, privately-owned stop for coffee, juices, smoothies, and small breakfast or lunch bites. The cashiers and baristas are super-friendly locals, and if you look closely enough at the walls, you’ll see photos of what the area looked like more than 50 years ago (and the stashed “customer punch cards” belonging to the restaurant’s regulars so they can tally up points toward free drinks!) www.thecowsendcafe.com

‘Marina del Rey is a strong competitor for the area’s best hidden gem’

Cow's End Marina Del Rey

4. Wander north to Venice
One of the best parts about Marina del Rey is how close it is to so much of Los Angeles! Take a walk up the beach for a stroll along the famous Venice Boardwalk. It’s no surprise Venice Beach is the most visited beach in the United States; there you can find street performers, Muscle Beach, an always-busy skate park, and more restaurants serving fresh ceviche, fish tacos, and local beers and wines than you can count.

5. Relax with food and drinks at some of the best Happy Hours in town
While LA restaurants, particularly on the west side, offer too many Happy Hour specials to count, those in the marina come out on top. A local favorite is Killer Shrimp, with their signature cocktails (like “Pieces of Eight” and the “Westside”), spicy shrimp bowls, and a lobster mac and cheese that will keep you coming back for more. Then there are restaurant/bars like SALT (in Hotel Marina del Rey) and Beachside (in the Jamaica Bay Inn); these chic yet casual spots offer deals on food and drinks seven days a week! www.killershrimp.com

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Cocktails and Mac & Cheese at Killer Shrimp

View-Seeker Pro-Tips:
» When you’re ready for a bite to eat or something to quench your vacationer’s thirst, The Whaler on Washington Boulevard by the beach will provide both, along with a view of surfers and the pier!
» Headed a bit farther north? High rooftop restaurant, atop Hotel Erwin, gives you a bird’s-eye view of Venice’s local life.
» If you happen to make a new local friend who lives in one of the many Marina del Rey apartment buildings, like The Shores or Marina 41, be sure to head up to their roof for a view unlike any other in Los Angeles. From a high enough point in Marina del Rey, you can see the whole coastline (all the way up to Malibu!), as far east as Downtown LA, and even the famous Hollywood Sign!

One of the reasons Los Angeles is such a great vacation destination is because it has such a variety of neighborhoods for anyone’s personal taste. But, from Beverly Hills to Santa Monica, or Silverlake to Venice, Marina del Rey is a strong competitor for the area’s best hidden gem.

Love,

Shae

*Shae is our guest blogger from Los Angeles. An educator whose lust for experience influences her teaching, she travels with the desire to immerse herself in diverse cultures, seeking new adventure and inspiring others to engage with compassion and expand their world view. Follow Shae on Instagram! @seekvantage

Top 5 » Amazing Winter Chalets and Lodges

When it’s cold you just want to snuggle in front of the fireplace and enjoy a glass of mulled wine (or hot chocolate!)
But it can get even better. Just imagine staying in these a-ma-zing winter chalets and lodges.

Chalet Zermat Peak, Switserland
In at number 1 is this amazing chalet that sleeps up to 10-12 people and has a full staff catering (with a personal chef!), a large hottub and like every good chalet, it has a fireplace. This luxury chalet, located just minutes away from the centre of Zermatt, enjoys breath-taking panoramic views across the entire village and mountain ranges. If you sleep here you’ll be welcomed with champagne and you get a laptop for you to use. Prices are not available on the website, so that says enough.
www.mountainexposure.com

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Zermatt Peak chalets
Source:mountainexposure.com

2. W Snowtop Court, Heber City UT, USA
This 14,000 sq.ft. of interior living space includes 8 bedrooms and 10 bathrooms (yes, each bedroom has an en-suite bathroom) and is for sale!
It’s yours for $11,300,000. Ok, maybe we should just dream on but seriously, this place is pretty amazing!
It kinda feels like you own private ski resort for you and all of your friends. Every room has spectacular views and the house is designed and build with natural materials.
www.skihomesinutah.com

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Source: skihomesinutah.com

3. Lake Placid Lodge NY, USA
If you want to get away from the big city and relax, then you should go here. You can find this amazing lodge not far from New York City.
Overlooking the Placid Lake, you completely forget about the stress that you may have. Each room features wood-burning fireplaces, private porches and traditional interior that fits the surroundings perfectly. The ground has several lodges/chalets to choose from. Big, small, cosy and for families. You can also host amazing dinners here and in the winter you can ice-skate or go ice-fishing.
www.lakeplacidlodge.com

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Source: lakeplacidlodge.com

4. Wrangell St. Elias National Park Lodge, Alaska
Voted as one of the best places to stay in Alaska, this lodge is surrounded by the most amazing nature and wildlife parks.
You can hear bears roam, wild moose graze and birds tweet. It’s the ultimate lodging experience for the adventurous traveler.
To get here, you must travel by a small plane and it’s not an easy destination to book. This needs to be planned. But the reward is one of a kind. The best wilderness experience you will get.
www.ultimathulelodge.com

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Source: ultimathulelodge.com

5. Wintersport resort Courchevel, French Alpes
This winter resort is known as one of the best credited chalets around France.

The interior is warm and cosy with everything made out of wood. The resort is popular with rich Russian and film stars such as George Clooney, Uma Thurman and Bruce Willis. I wonder why…!

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courchevel chalet
Source: http://theaddressmagazine.com

For the best treehouses in the world check here!

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Love,

Elke

*Source featured image: Chalet Zermat Peak, Switserland

Top 5 » Wander Spots around the world

I have traveled a lot and one thing I love to do is walking around and find that piece that you keep with you for ever.
From luxury goods in London to quirky finds in Panama, to large shopping in New York,  I can easily wander away for hours or a whole day.

Hereby a few of my wander spots…

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USA Roadtrip » Part 1

It’s probably everyones dream: USA Road trip West Coast! Last October we finally made the dream a reality, packing up a RV and hitting the road in what would become a 1600-mile journey from LA to San Francisco via Las Vegas, Grand Canyon, Death Valley & High Way 1. Read more