Saving For Your Next Adventure

Saving for your next vacation doesn’t need to be stressful and you surely don’t need to get into debt by putting it on a credit card and never paying it back.  

Let me share with you what I’ve been doing for years that has helped me on all my big trips. This may not be the best form of saving for you but take it and make it your own. 

Step 1 : Open a travel credit card

Now this is completely optional but if you travel a lot this can be a great addition with all the perks and protection they come with. Do your research, and ask your friends and colleagues if they have a preferred travel card and why. Definitely check out The Points Guy who has built a career helping travelers maximize their experience. Brian (TPG) and his team have done most of the hard work and provided a top list of travel cards and different categories to compare them. 

The Points Guy

  Also, check with your bank to see if they have a travel card and if they have any promotions for you to join. I personally went with the Capital One VentureOne card so I could do the following: 

Step 2: Open a free Checking Account aka “Travel Account”

Opening up a checking account just for your travel fund may seem weird but it helps to keep your normal checking and savings accounts separate. 
After opening my Capital One VentureOne credit card I looked into their “360 Checking” account, which is a great option since it’s completely free and doesn’t have minimums or fees. 

*credit card link is a personal referral, if you sign up and are approved, I am compensated by Capitol One*

Step 3: Create your budget 

You’ve got your travel account, now it’s time to save some money. If you don’t have your next trip in mind, that’s fine start with figuring out how much money you can comfortably set aside from each paycheck. Some employers give you the option to split your check deposit into multiple accounts so it’s out of sight, out of mind. Continue to save money until you have a trip to plan.

With a destination in mind, you’ll be able to figure out how much money you need to save and budget for. I personally like to plan a bigger well rounded trip from the beginning and cut things out later that just won’t fit the budget. Start by researching the following.

  • Transportation: Round trip flights, taxis, car share, train rides, etc. However, you plan to get to your destination and explore it. 
  • Accommodations: Price out three tiers of places to stay. Luxury, Moderate, and Budget. If you plan on only using a room for sleep and spend most of your time exploring you might find more value in selecting a budget or moderate accommodation. 
  • Food and Beverage: If you’re a big foodie and your trips revolve around eating all the stuff, you may want to give yourself a bigger spending amount in this category. If you just need substance to keep you going, setting a daily food budget may work best. 
  • Attractions & Activities: Make 3 lists; Have to do, would like to do, and if budget permits.
  • Spending Money: For souvenirs and random things that pop up. I suggest adding a cushion in this category. It’s always good to be prepared with extra funds in case something happens, like your luggage breaking and needing to buy a new one. 

You have now created your budget! After saving all the money you’ll need in your “Travel Savings Account“, you can purchase everything with your travel credit card and pay that off immediately with the savings account. 

Step 4: Book and enjoy your trip

Go have fun, you deserve it! You worked hard to save and budget for this trip, now get out there and adventure! 

— Where are you planning on going next? —

15 Geeky Things to do in Las Vegas

Most people think of gambling, clubs, and shows when you say Las Vegas, but we’re not most people. Actually, I think of hot summer nights hanging with my friends and family as I was born and raised in the City of Sin. So since we’re not like most people what do we do when we visit a city that never sleeps? Well here are 15 geeky things to do when vising Las Vegas.

1. Millennium Fandom

My favorite bar in Las Vegas! Not just because the drinks are good or the decor is awesome but more so the people you get to meet and interact with. Thanks to the owner, Alex, this place is a community and a safe place to be yourself.

2. Alternate Reality

This is the most rad comic shop with the best owners. Ralph has been a mentor for Joey and me when it comes to opening our own shop, although it’s still a pipe dream I can’t help but thank him for inspiring us.

3. Pinball Hall of Fame

A room full of pinball machines creates the best place for a first date, hanging with friends, or a day out with the family.

4. Marvel Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N

Calling all Shield Agents, it’s time for you to defeat Hydra.

5. Bad Owl Coffee

When you can’t go to Hogwarts for coffee, you can go to Bad Owl Coffee.

6. Tournament of Kings

Fit for a king and no one has to bend a knee except to sit down and enjoy the show.

7. The Mob Museum

The original sin of the city, immerse yourself in the darker side of Vegas history.

8. Zia Records

The best place to find music, movies, knick-knacks, and get lost.

9. Player 1 Video Game Bar

Photo: Wade Vandervort
Photo: Wade Vandervort

Drinking and video games…done.

10. Madame Tussauds

Taking pictures with celebs and icons is pretty fun and totally creepy at the same time.

11. The Neon Museum

A boneyard of Vegas history. One of my first-ever photo shoot locations, pretty awesome.

12. Wii Play Games – West

Who’s in for a D&D one-shot? Roll for initiative!

13. First Friday

Time to get artsy at this event every first Friday of the month.

14. Amazing Las Vegas Comic Con

Get into your cosplay, this con is only getting bigger every year.

15. Artisan Hotel Boutique

Definitely, a unique spot to stay in town or visit for a small bite to eat and a drink.

So where will your Las Vegas experience take you?

A Geek’s Guide To Comic Con

Let’s talk comic con! Better yet, let’s create a geek’s guide to comic con and rejoice in all of the geeky bliss.

Pick Your Convention

Choose your own adventure! Look up the cons in your area or cons you’re willing to travel to. The major comic conventions out there include; San Diego Comic Con International, New York Comic Con, WonderCon, and Emerald City Comic Con to name a few. A lot of cities have been hosting their own conventions or expos on a smaller scale but still just as fun and typically easier to get tickets to.

Buy tickets (passes, autograph/photo ops) in advance and as close to the release date if possible as comic conventions are growing in popularity. Take San Diego for example, they are one of the hardest cons to ever get into unless you already bought the next year’s passes at the previous con or wait in a virtual queue which can take hours or potentially crash. Follow the cons social media for announcements and release dates.

Make a Plan

With a limited amount of days, multiple panels, autograph/photo ops, meet-ups, and vendor shopping, there’s a lot to see and miss. The best way to manage your time and hit all your must-dos is to make a list. Check out the comic conventions website, and look for a program schedule and vendor/show floor map. Figure out which panels you want to attend and be sure to give yourself some time before the panel starts to get a seat. Some panels depending on the convention you’re at will line up hours before the panel’s start time. Check your favorite artist’s social media to see if they will have a booth at the con you’re attending and what area they’ll be located in.

What to Wear

Do you plan on cosplaying? if so, have a plan and do some research. Does your cosplay adhere to the cons policy? Will you be comfortable all day walking around and in crowded areas? Do you plan on changing throughout the day? Will you be able to easily use the restroom or do you need a friend’s assistance?

Don’t feel like cosplaying? That’s ok! Wear something you’re comfortable in. My favorite go-to is a t-shirt with my favorite fandom on it and some jeans. If you’re still unsure you can always search hashtags from previous cons, you’ll see plenty of show floor pictures and what people decided to wear.


Although food choices at convention halls have gotten better over the years they are still pricey and limited. Bring a few snacks in your backpack or bag along with a water bottle you can refill at the drinking fountains. You can always search the food vendors the convention hall has beforehand on their website. Depending on the conventions you go to, food trucks can also be an option and typically within walking distance outside of the convention center.

What to Bring

  • Portable charger – don’t want to miss taking pictures of all the awesomeness
  • Art tube – don’t want the precious prints you buy to get destroyed
  • Pen & Paper – always a good idea
  • Expect to collect business cards so have a place to store them
  • Snacks – as mentioned above
  • Cash – most vendors will accept cards but wifi connections in convention centers are typically horrible and can slow the card process way down

Convention Day!

Woo hoo! I’m so excited for you and this is just the planning phase. I hope you’re excited too! Comic Con is so much fun, you’ll never want to leave.

Nerd Wood Design – click on the picture to check out my friend’s art. He’s constantly coming up with awesome new pieces.

Le Petit Elefant – aka Genevieve Santos is one of my favorite artists. Click on the picture to view her talents.

Besides the panels, there are the exhibitors and artist alley to explore. My plan of action is to always do a loop of the floor and make a note of things I liked and want to buy, this helps me stick to a budget and not go crazy or broke on the first day. If you see something you plan on buying, but are waiting until the last day or end of the day, don’t! Far too often I see people say they’ll come back later only to find that item is sold out. Check with the vendor, that if you purchase the item if you can come back for it later, or if they have extra stock of it, if you decide to wait on purchasing the item.

Don’t expect huge discounts by waiting on the last day to buy things. Some huge vendors may give discounts because they don’t want to haul a huge supply back but for most, the product they have is how they make a living. If you find something you really like but don’t have the funds to get it then grab a business card and see if you can purchase the item later and have it shipped to you.

The most important aspect of the day is to have fun! You’re surrounded by a bunch of geeks who love fandoms just as much as you do. Strike up conversations while waiting in lines for panels or special guest opportunities, and you may make some new friends. So let’s talk about it, what are your favorite things you look forward to at comic con? comment below!

Trip Report: Tokyo

Konichiwa! We recently returned from Tokyo, Japan where my husband and I celebrated 10 years together. Tokyo has been on my husband’s bucket list for a long time, and visiting all the Disney parks is #1 on my bucket list! So off we went, 11 hours from LAX on Delta Airlines arriving at NRT the following afternoon.

Day 1: Welcome!

After getting through security, it was time for us to locate the Klook desk to retrieve our Friendly Limousine Bus vouchers. Klook is a discount travel website, perfect for traveling in Japan and the Limousine Bus is airport transpiration into the city. While doing this, we were approached to do a T.V. Interview where they asked us questions about our relationship. After looking into it, I found this was for the popular show “Why Did You Come To Japan?”. So keep an eye out for billboards and merch coming soon like Homer Simpsons, Mr. Sparkles.

After taking the hour journey into the city, we arrived at the Conrad Tokyo to check in. Hands down the most luxurious hotel we’ve ever stayed at, and the most wonderful service. Now, if you haven’t realized I like to plan and be prepared, so when I couldn’t book my Disneyland tickets online it made me panic a bit.  So after checking in we scurried over to the Disney Store in Shibuya to purchase our tickets. Arriving at the cutest Disney store we quickly got to the 3rd floor where the ticket counter is located. Tickets were extremely easy to purchase and the Cast Members were very friendly. With the tickets in hand, we explored a bit of Shibuya before heading back to our hotel to rest after a long day.

Day 2: Tokyo Disneyland

We woke up at 4:45 am due to a combination of jet lag and excitement. After getting ready we jumped on the train and headed to Maihama Station and walked over to Disneyland, arriving an hour before opening. To no surprise, there was already a short line to get in and only grew longer as the hour passed by.

Being very aware of how long the queues get, we raced over to Pooh’s Hunny Hunt once the gates opened. It’s a very cute trackless ride that differs from the one in the States. Next, we needed to get a FastPass for Monsters, Inc. Ride & Go Seek so we could come back later in the day to bypass the normal queue. After running around we made our way to the front of the park to take our time going in a clockwise direction to visit each land. We made sure to fuel up at the Sweetheart Cafe with the goodies below.

Jungle Cruise was a highlight in Adventureland and I especially loved the little food area by China Voyager, it felt like a small market. Unlike Disneyland Anaheim, the train at Tokyo Disneyland only goes around 2 lands but is still worth a ride with great photo ops. We also made sure to catch a showing of Country Bear Theater since it’s no longer at the Anaheim Park. When we needed a short break we stopped off at Camp Woodchuck Kitchen in Westernland which has balcony seating that overlooks the river. There’s not much to do in Critter Country beside Splash Mountain but I definitely suggest taking a peak or dining at Grandma Sara’s Kitchen.

Next, we made our way to Fantasyland which is a cute area, similar to the other parks. We were able to ride Haunted Mansion, Peter Pan’s Flight, and Pooh’s Hunny Hunt from earlier. Probably the cutest dining in the park is located in this land and is all Alice in Wonderland themed, Queen of Hearts Banquet Hall. You’ll notice a lot of the restaurants and carts can quickly get lines, especially if they released new seasonal offerings. Our favorite cart in Toon Town is Mickey’s Trailer which offers different Spring Rolls, including a Pizza Roll!

After we grabbed a few Spring Rolls we made our way to Tomorrowland to use our FastPass for Monsters, which is similar to Buzz Lightyear’s Astro Blasters just without the points. After exploring Monstropolis we grabbed a bite to eat at Plazma Ray’s Diner and Pan Galactic Pizza Port which has an awesome little show above the ordering window.

After a long and exciting day, we headed back to the hotel and ordered room service while watching crazy fun Japanese game shows.

Day 3: Tokyo Disney Sea

We woke up again pretty early to make sure we got to the park to line up before opening. While in line we got pretty hungry so I went to find something to hold us over. There are a few drink vending machines near the lockers and for food the closest place is near Maihama Station, so come prepared. Once the park opened we raced towards Mysterious Island to ride Journey to the Center of the Earth which quickly became our favorite ride. After our thrilling journey, we made our way to obtain our first fastpass of the day, the Tower of Terror.

In search of some food, we took the DisneySea Electric Railway from American Waterfront to Port Discovery and walked over to Lost River Delta. We were able to skip the line on Indiana Jones with the single-rider option, which a lot of people don’t utilize. For Joey, we found some chicken and a fruit soda drink at the Lost River Cookhouse. For myself, I got a Chandu chicken curry steam bun at Sultan’s Oasis in the Arabian Coast. They say you’re supposed to wait 30 minutes before going in the water after eating but that wasn’t going to stop us from going under the sea at Mermaid Lagoon.

Tower of Terror is awesomely themed with my favorite Imagineer, Joe Rohde playing a role as the main character, Harrison Hightower. The Cast Members were extremely nice and gave us a history sheet in English. While in the area we made sure to get the Alien Mochi and flavored popcorn to continue our snaking quest. The theater shows in the park are very popular and either have long lines or have a lottery system to view them so we skipped over those. Instead, we took our time strolling through shops and taking in the amazing atmosphere to end our day.

Day 4: Both Parks!

This was our chance to sleep in and take the parks at a slow leisurely pace. We stopped off at Starbucks to get the morning started and to my dismay, I forgot to purchase a “You Are Here” mug to add to our collection. We got to Disneyland right at opening and saw how LONG the lines can get if you don’t show up early. Not to worry, the lines move rather quickly to get in although become a little jumbled with “merging”. After walking around Disneyland took the adorable monorail to Disney Sea.

We stopped off at The Teddy Roosevelt Lounge to enjoy some drinks and light food. TRL is a very well themed bar with dark woods and sophisticated decor. Since we felt so fancy we strolled over to the Venetian Gondolas for a gondola ride in the Mediterranean Harbor as the sun was setting. We spent the rest of the day filming on the GoPro and exploring the Ports before calling it a night.

Day 5: Asakusa & Shibuya

We spent the day exploring Asakusa and the temples which really gave us a feel of traditional Japan. Certain places were very calming with people paying respect or taking in the beauty of the surroundings. It’s not uncommon to see people dressed in kimonos around the temple, and most are excepting of photos being taken. The shops in the area pull a huge tourist crowd and there are a lot of souvenirs to choose from.

While trekking all across Tokyo my boots failed me and I needed to find a new pair of shoes. What better place to go shopping than Shibuya? Even late at night, this place has such electric energy, with its beaming lights and music blaring from shops. We watched as hundreds of people crossed the famous Shibuya Crossing from the 2nd floor of Starbucks, where I also didn’t think to get my mug 🙁

Day 6: Akihabara

I bet you’re wondering how we started our day, right? I hope you guessed WITH OWLS!!! Tokyo has a lot of animal cafes and going into one I wanted to make sure the animals were treated right and cared for properly so I did A LOT of research. This is how I found my best friend, HoneyBee who I now send owl posts to weekly. I could have spent all day with these beautiful creatures but there was a lot more for us to explore.

What is one to do after spending time with owls? Explore Akihabara of course! Most of the buildings we wandered into have 8 stories give or take a few, truly a geek’s paradise. The arcades are so incredibly loud and colorful, it’s very exciting to witness. The crane games are especially fun to watch or play but also addicting so watch out or you’ll end up broke. What’s great is you see people of all ages playing and having a fun time.

To top the day off, which was definitely hard to do, we dressed up in costume. Not just for any reason, oh no, we dressed up as Mario and Luigi to go-kart around Tokyo! Driving through the streets of Tokyo with the Sky Tree in the distance and a pack of go-karts following a guide was so exhilarating. People would wave at us as we zoomed past or take videos at stoplights which made the experience so much more memorable.

Ending the night was difficult to do as there was so much racing (haha) through our minds. When we got back to our new hotel they had special treats set out for us to celebrate our anniversary and we viewed the Disneyland Castle Fireworks from our bed. Mirroring a Cinderella moment but with my Prince by my side.

Day 7: Harajuku & Shinjuku

Woke up wondering if we were going to relive day 6 like the movie Groundhogs day. Nope! There are still a lot of exciting things to see and do. We took the train to Harajuku to check out the famous Takeshita Street. Not a street for those who like to avoid crowds as this is another huge tourist spot. Bright pastel colors are found in stores, people, and even food.

After a walk through a neighborhood and we found our way to Yoyogi Park, Shinjuku, and Golden Gai. Although we only walked around that day in these areas we could have easily spent multiple days taking in this bustling area.

Day 8: Sayōnara

With only a few hours to spare before being whisked away to the airport, we decided to visit Disneyland one more time. Even with 8 days, we didn’t have enough time to see everything that we had planned but that’s the beauty so we can start planning the next visit. The people and city have so much to offer and were so welcoming. Thank you Tokyo, you will hold a special place in my heart.

Have you been to Japan? What are your favorite things to explore or what would you look forward to most?

3 Days in Paris

Paris is a beautiful city that you can probably wander around for a lot longer than 3 days, but when you’re limited on time, 3 days in Paris are magical.

Day 1: Welcome to Paris!

Check into your accommodations and freshen up before heading out to explore the city.
We stayed at a lovely Airbnb apartment in Montmartre, right about the quaint shops.

Hop on the Big Bus Tour to get a glimpse of the city. Yes, this is super touristy but it’s one of the best ways to see all the famous landmarks around the city without killing your feet. Because of the great experience I had on the Big Bus Tours, I look for them in any major city I go to.

Take in the beauty of the Eiffel Tower, you have the option to go up and view the city but might I suggest going up the Arc de Triomphe instead? They say the view from the Eiffel Tower is beautiful but it’s missing one thing…the Eiffel Tower in the background.

Grab a sandwich or savory crepe from Happy Caffe and walk through the Jardin des Tuileries Garden until you find the Louvre Museum, you won’t have time to explore all the art but you can look into the eyes of the Mona Lisa. If you have an extra day to spare you should lend it to the Louvre so you can appreciate the beauty it has to share.

Next walk along The Seine River and the Bouquinistes, which are the green boxes where you’ll find merchants selling books, art, and souvenirs. Take a stroll along one of the bridges to Notre Dame Cathedral and take a moment to appreciate the Gothic architecture. After exploring the area make your way to Shakespeare and Company and purchase a book or two.

You are now in the Latin Quarter, wander the streets until you find the perfect location for dinner.

End your night with a good view of the Eiffel Tower on the hour to watch the lights dance around and fill you with childlike wonder.

Day 2: Paris Explorer!

Spend the morning walking around Montmartre and up the steps up to the Sacré-Coeur Basilica. Follow in Amélie’s footsteps to Cafe Des 2 Moulins to take a few photos before heading to lunch at La boite aux lettres.

After lunch, it’s time to explore the famous Paris Catacombs, and spend a couple of hours walking through tunnels lined with human bones.

Now it’s time to walk like royalty through the immense grounds that is The Palace of Versailles. Or if walking is now a bore to you with your royal mindset you can rent a bike and ride through the gardens.

If you have a kitchen in your accommodation pick up some items to have a home-cooked meal. You can get fresh cheese, baguettes, meats, pasta, and sauce to make a hopefully memorable meal.

Day 3: Disneyland Paris!

Get up! We’re going to Disneyland Paris!

A bit out of the city but easy to get to, you’ll want to arrive and line up before the park opens. I suggest starting at Walt Disney Studios to knock out the big rides before heading over to Disneyland where you’ll probably spend most of your time.

Spend the day being a big kid, running around with happiness. Find your way to Disney Village (Downtown Disney) for shopping, food, and entertainment.

Disney Tip: Everyone runs to Crush’s Coaster when the gates open.

Paris Tip: Don’t let anyone hand you anything, put anything around your wrist, or ask if you speak English as they try to have you sign something. It’s all a scam! They will try to make you pay, pickpocket you, or get you to put your bags down while someone comes around and takes off with them. Unfortunately, theft is a big thing in Paris so make sure your possessions are protected and brush up on the latest scams with a simple Google search. With all that being said, don’t be afraid to explore and see new things.

Well there you have it, you just spent three days in Paris and boy are my arms tired…huh?

25 Things to Do in London

London Calling! Are you ready to explore one of the greatest cities in the world? As Joey Tribbiani says “It’s London Baby”…just leave the hat and pop-up map at home.

  1. Harry Potter Warner Bros. Studio Tour

    Of course, this is going to be the first on my list! For all of us who have been waiting for our Hogwarts letter, this is for you. Strut your house gear along the Great Hall, and Forbidden Forest as well as sets from the entire movie franchise! 

  2. Sky Garden 

    The Sky Garden is a FREE attraction that I recommend going to when you first get to the city. A gorgeous view of Central London is a great way to say, “Welcome! You’ve made it”. Also, a great alternative if you want to save money/time and skip the London Eye or The Shard. You must book your reservation in advance and don’t forget to bring the printed ticket.

  3. Palace of Westminster & Big Ben

    See how the House of Parliament works with a guided tour or admire the architecture from the outside. Keep an eye out for Peter Pan flying around the clock tower which is named Elizabeth Tower, Big Ben is the bell. 

  4. Westminster Abbey

    Although you can’t take pictures inside this royal church, its beauty will leave a lasting impression

  5. Trafalgar Square  

    image via

    Great place to grab an afternoon snack and people watch.

  6. Hyde Park

    You can either stroll through or spend hours exploring the many treasures in Hyde Park.

  7. Harrods

    Forget the little blue bag, you want the green bag from Harrods! If you get lost it’s ok, they have food! 

  8. Victoria & Albert Museum

    image via

    One of the many free museums in London, this one has over 2 million objects.

  9. Tower Bridge 

    Not to be confused with the London Bridge which is actually now in Arizona (weird right?)  This beauty has become an iconic symbol of London and you can go up it!

  10. Borough Market

    image via

    Come hungry and leave full, this food market should not be missed on your list.

  11. House of MinaLima

    OMG! Have you read the latest story in The Daily Prophet? Don’t fret, you can pick up your copy here. Mina & Lima are the two behind all the graphic design work in the Harry Potter films, with their most recent work being in the Fantastic Beasts films. 

  12. Tower of London

    This place is so cool with its gorgeous grounds and dark history. 

  13. Theatre Show 

    Is it safe to admit most great actors come from the UK? there seems to be a debate about this in Hollywood, either way, see for yourself and catch a show.

  14. Camden Market 

    Such a cool market to find unique treasures either for yourself or gifts for others. 

  15. Millennium Bridge 

    A walking bridge that may look familiar to you if you throw in some Death Eaters flying around as they attack London.

  16. Covent Garden

    image via

    Shopping, food, and entertainment all in one spot. 

  17. Tardis 

    You’ll find this beauty right outside the Earl’s Court Station, watch out for Daleks. 

  18. Leadenhall Market 

    image via

    Once a meat market now houses shops, cafes, and pubs. However, it’s probably better known as a filming location used in “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” for the Leaky Cauldron entrance. 

  19. Sherlock Holmes Museum

    The queue to take a picture in front of the door can get long but you can easily walk into the shop next door and visit the museum. 

  20. Natural History Museum

    image via

    The building is worth the visit alone, but count this among the many free museums in London.

  21. Portobello Road Market

    Antiques galore! You can probably find anything here, and I do mean anything!

  22. Neal’s Yard

    image via

    A quaint area you can stroll through while in Covent Garden

  23. British Museum

    image via

    Free! Give yourself ample amount of time to explore, unlike me, who tried to cramp in everything 40 mins before closing .__.

  24. Big Bus Tour 

    image via

    I am such a fan of Big Bus Tours. Yeah, they’re “touristy” but aren’t we all tourists in a place we’ve never been? The tour lets you see all the major attractions from the top deck, lets you hop on and off at different stops, and saves your legs. 

  25. The London Pass 

    image via

    Gain access to most of the major attractions with fast-track entry and ride a Hop On / Hop Off bus. Check out the website and make a list of the attractions you would like to visit, then compare pricing to see if it would be worth buying.  

    *BONUS RECOMMENDATION! Forbidden Planet – Megastore

    image via

    Totally geek out here and spend all your money on fandom gear.

    This completes our tour of London, what do you plan on checking out on your visit to London?

15 Places to Eat in New York City

There are thousands of restaurants in NYC, and with so many choices it can be hard to narrow them down. I’m here to help! In no particular order, here are 15 places to eat in New York City that you should try at least once that won’t break the bank.

  1. Eataly NYC

    image via

     When top chefs collaborate, you’re left with the world’s largest artisanal Italian marketplace. Plenty of choices for anyone in your party.

  2. Nom Wah Tea Parlor

    image via nom wah

     This vintage dim sum parlor opened in 1920 and is still offering up great food you can share with friends and family.

  3. Joe’s Pizza

    image via

     Joe’s Pizza has created quite the following over the 40+ years of being open. Celebrities, locals, and tourists all agree it’s a great slice of pie. 

  4. Chelsea Market

    image via chelsea market facebook

     You could eat here all day with the how many food vendors there are. You may even run into some important people who occupy the upper floors of the building like Google, Food Network, or Major League Baseball.

  5. Katz’s Delicatessen

    image via

     Known for their pastrami sandwiches = bring on the meat sweats.   

  6. John’s of Bleecker St.

    image via

     NYC is known for its pizza, and John’s of Bleecker St. helped make that true. Their motto; “The world has changed, but we haven’t. We are still The “Original” John’s Pizzeria on Bleecker St.”.

  7. Crif Dogs

    image via

     These aren’t you traditional “dirty water dogs” you can get on the side of the road. They actually make me want to eat hot dogs and they have veggie options too.

  8. Shake Shack

    image via

     Since opening in Madison Square Park back in 2001, Shake Shack has been serving great burgers, fries, and shakes to the masses. 

  9. Momofuku Noodle Bar

    image via

     The first of the Momofuku restaurants. This spot is serving up some amazing ramen and pork buns. You’ll catch owner, David Chang on “Ugly Delicious” during your next Netflix binge. 

  10. Clinton Street Baking Company

    image via clinton street baking

     Breakfast! Get your day started with some blueberry pancakes or whatever you fancy. 

  11. Urbanspace

    image via urbanspace

     Dive into the marketplace with over 20 eateries. Don’t worry, you’ll walk it all off.

  12. Lombardi’s Pizza

    image via lombardi’s

     Opening in 1905, this is the United States first pizzeria. Lombardi was also a teacher of sorts, inspiring some of his employees to open up their own famous pizzerias. We, along with the Ninja Turtles, and so much of pop culture owe it to this legend. 

  13. The Halal Guys

    image via the halal guys

     Starting as a cart in NYC, they quickly gained traction with their decadent meats, falafels, and hummus. 

  14. Best Bagel & Coffee

    image via

     You can’t go to NY and not have a bagel, it’s a rite of passage. I mean it says it in the name! Don’t you trust everything you read on the internet?

  15. Time Out New York Market

    One never really needs a reason to go to Brooklyn, but if you do, here it is! The hardest part will be choosing which top chef eatery to enjoy, or sample them all. 

    Are you hungry yet? Tell me your favorite NYC places to eat and let’s go find our next food coma. 

Reading is an Adventure

Reading is an adventure
that never ends
– Charles Shulz

One of the best ways for us to travel is with our own imagination. It may sound cliche but Charles Shulz was onto something magical, reading is an adventure! Think of the writers who brought you books that you will read over and over again, are you transported to a new place? Can you imagine the taste, smells, or emotions that the characters were feeling? That’s the power of reading!

I remember getting those Scholastic book fair catalogs in elementary school, rushing home, and circling all the books I was hoping to get. Finally, the day had come, I would walk into the school Library with the money I begged my mom for and pick my new adventure. “Magic Tree House” and “The Boxcar Children” were among my favorites, wondering where the next journey would take us. I still get excited anytime I walk into a library or book store, a library card is a mini passport waiting for stamps. What would be in your “reading passport”? Maybe Middle Earth or the Forbidden Forest?

So let’s celebrate reading and continue the adventure by simply opening a book.

Business Insider “The 21 greatest travel of all time”


Find Travel Gear on a Budget

Find Travel Gear on a Budget

Finding cheap travel gear on a budget can be hard and frustrating. The anger that takes over when you decided to take the plunge and buy that expensive gear only to see it on sale 3 months later makes you want to Hulk SMASH! Don’t worry, I’m here to help you find the best deals for gear that won’t break the bank, so you can spend more on your travels.


What are you looking for? A reliable suitcase, stylish but warm winter coat, the perfect hat that says “Yeah, I’m on vacation”, or maybe you have no idea what you need but you need to find it. Doing a quick Google search will bring up endless possibilities and somewhere in the haystack you’ll find the deal.

A large source of my travel gear I find on Amazon, they usually have great prices and most time free shipping. I don’t make this my final stop though, I find what I’m looking for and keep their price in mind as my starting point.

REI used travel gear     Steep and Cheap     Overstock

Thrift Stores

I find so much travel gear at thrift stores and I get excited every time. It’s fun to think about the history of the item, what places has it been? Did someone just buy it for one trip? You’ll be surprised at what you can find at a thrift store…travel or not. One of my favorite Reddit threads is “Thrift Store Hauls”, people are constantly sharing their amazing finds for a fraction of the cost.

scary huh? but don’t let that stop you from finding gold

Dig high and low! Check the book section for travel guides or maps of places you’re planning on visiting. They may be a few years old but most of the content will still be accurate for general things to see and do. You may even find a book for a destination you haven’t thought about visiting yet and add it to the bucket list

Scan through the clothing racks, there’s no need to spend $800 on a coat when you can score a North Face jacket for $15. Look out for good walking shoes or boots, you can find name brands barely worn. Funny enough when I decided to do this post I went to a local thrift store to gather pictures when I found this Travelon anti-theft bag during a 50% off sale for only $7 when it retails for $65, so happy!

Found this in that scary mess I mentioned, brand new only $3

Don’t stop there, next check out the techy section, display cases, and cosmetic bags area. Target will send their after-clearance items to Goodwill Industries, sometimes even items that were opened but never used but they clearly couldn’t be put back on the shelf. That’s how I found brand-new adapters for half the price.

Don’t forget garage sales when the season is right.

Off Price Retailers

I always take a look at Ross or Burlington for travel accessories like luggage locks or travel pillows. I got a pair of Skullcandy headphones for less than $10 when they retail for $40. Costco will have luggage deals from time to time if you’re a member, and great quality too. Look for the nearest outlet mall/store for past season items at a discount some even have extra discounts on their sale stuff.

Friend Swap Travel Gear

Share travel gear with your friends and coworkers, it’s a great way to test out an item that you’re not ready to buy yet. Obviously, if you damage the item you are expected to replace it. As I write this a friend is borrowing one of my Travelon bags while she explores Europe. We’re a community, we have to help each other follow our dreams.

Where do you like to find your travel gear on a budget?

A Geek’s Guide To Vancouver BC

A Geek’s Guide to Vancouver BC

So you want to explore Vancouver British Columbia, and why wouldn’t you? It’s clean and vibrant, and you get the best of both world, nature, and city all in one location. You can spend a weekend here or a lifetime and always see something new.

Planning Your Visit


Vancouver Metro Map

Vancouver Map

I always recommend looking up the official tourism site for the destination you’re visiting. The travel bureau wants you to see the best stuff its city has to offer to make sure you spread the word and keep coming back.

Official Visitors Guide via Vancouver Tourism

Where do you want to stay? Hotel overlooking the city or vacation rental to live like a local in a residential neighborhood?

During our latest visit, we stayed at the lovely Hampton Inn & Suites in Downtown Vancouver. This was the ideal hotel for us for our location and budget. The hotel staff is friendly and knowledgeable about the city and surrounding area. They also have a fun Instagram page to give you more insight into their favorite locations. There are many hotels in the city that are budget friendly or pamper you with luxury.

The next thing to plan is how you want to get there.

  • Vancouver International Airport (YVR) is less than 8 miles from Downtown Vancouver
  • Drive the distance. Make sure to have a vehicle that will tell you kilometers per hour and expect to pay everywhere you go for parking.
  • Train choo-choo. Amtrak gives you a chance to see all the beauty the Pacific Northwest has to offer

What To Do

Stanley Park

This park is huge! Being one of the city’s largest attractions you should plan at least a half day to explore. The seawall is a nice walk or bike ride to work off all that poutine you ate. Check with your hotel or vacation rental as many will supply bikes to ride for a few hours. There are also plenty of bike rental shops near the park entrance or Citi bike once in the park.

Granville Island

Take one of the little boats across False Creek to enjoy the Public Market and shops on Granville Island. Expect to spend a few hours here exploring and trying the food including Granville Island Brewing Co.

From there continue the little ferry ride to Maritime Museum Dock where you can get beautiful views of the English Bay.

Kitsilano Beach Park

Kits Beach is the perfect place to soak up the sun and spend a summer day relaxing or playing beach sports.


Gastown is a small charming neighborhood with a famous resident, the Steam Clock. There are only 7 working steam clocks in the world and Vancouver is home to one of them. It’s fun to take a few moments watching the gears turn or hearing the whistle blow. There are also a few souvenir shops near the clock if you’re looking to take some goodies home.

A short walk away you’ll find Canada Place.

Canada Place

An iconic landmark, Canada Place is a great place to feel welcomed. It’s the Convention Center, a major cruise terminal, and so much more. Also in the area, you’ll find the 2010 Olympic Torch and the digital Orca statue art.

Movie/TV tour

image via

Commonly referred to as “Hollywood North”. With some big studios in the area, there’s filming going on most times of the year. You can look up some of your favorite films and hit the streets kid, live like the stars.

Whale Watching

image via

During migration, you may have a chance to see these majestic creatures. The best months for spotting a whale will be March to October and there are many different tour companies to choose from.

Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden

image via

Fans of Nat Geo should recognize this gem as they named it the World’s Top City Garden.

Capilano Suspension Bridge

image via

A stunning place to take in the beauty nature has to offer and take Instagram worthy photos.

Vancouver Aquarium

image via

No need to go to P Sherman 42 Wallaby Way when you can visit all your favorite fish here.

Grouse Mountain

image via

Only 15 minutes from downtown with spectacular views of the city.

Science World

image via

Weird Science! Be a kid and get creative with science.

VanDusen Botanical Garden

image via

Sip some tea, take in this wonderland, and daydream under a tree like Alice.


Vancouver is on the list for being a “Foodie City” and for great reason, they have food trucks, well-respected chefs, and amazing cuisine. Where will your taste buds take you?

Blue Water Cafe

image via

Best known for its seafood and outstanding wait service, you can either have an elegant dining experience or wallet-friendly happy hour experience.

Earnest Ice Cream

image via

We all deserve a sweet treat. Especially after deciding what flavor you want from the mouthwatering list.

Cactus Club Cafe – English Bay

Food with a view! Great place to laugh with friends and loved ones over a great menu.

Vij’s Restaurant

image via

A local favorite and recommended as a must-do

Cafe Medina

image via

Vancouver locals are huge on brunch and this is the spot to do it at. Lines can form so get here early.

Storm Crow Tavern

Truly one of my favorite geek restaurants! The whole atmosphere pulls you in, you can meet there with friends and family and play board games all afternoon.

a few other recommendations

  • Tacofino – TACOS! need I say more?
  • Fanny Bay Oyster Bar – Happy Hour!
  • Meat & Bread – grab a sandwich and head to a park
  • Nicli Antica Pizzeria – pizza and drinks, yes, please!


  • If you’re driving expect to pay for parking everywhere
  • There’s free “neighborhood” wifi in Yaletown
  • The currency is the Canadian dollar (CAD). Paper bills include $5, $10, $20, $50 & $100. $1 coin known as a loonie and a $2 coin known as a toonie

What are your favorite places to see and do in Vancouver?