world wanderer: Swede dreams

Surrounded by beautiful woods, Stockholm entrances with sleek style and a dose of Old World charm. Built on a series of islands, bridges connect the land masses of Sweden’s capital. Take an adventure with me to this beautiful Scandinavian country.

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Find new meaning to serving a cocktail “on the rocks” at Icebar by IceHotel Stockholm.

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Discover the inspiration for Game of Thrones at The Royal Palace. Curious to know the real story behind “the red wedding?” I bet you are…

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Unearth history aboard a 330-plus year-old warship at Vasamuseet.

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Commune with the wolves at Skansen.

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“Drop in” on the royal family at Drottningholm Palace.

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Discover a seaside escape on one of the many islands that makes up the Stockholm Archipelago.

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Welcome to Stockholm, Sweden.

Stop in soon for a closer look at each of these wondrous sites and a taste of Scandinavian culture. Up next, my latest dining adventure… You’ll never guess what exotic meat I sampled!

dream it: 5 inspiring travel quotes to encourage your wanderlust

You probably have dreams aplenty that keep your bucket list brimming with possibilities.  If you still need motivation to pack your bags and head out on that horizon, let these 5 inspirational travel quotes be your mantra.   Hit the road or hop a plane because the world beckons!

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-Ibn Battuta

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Author unknown.

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-J. R. R. Tolkien

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-The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

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-Francois Rabelais

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I’m finishing off a beautiful weekend here. After quality time with family & fun-filled evenings with friends, I am ready to tackle the week with enthusiasm! Here is some inspiration around the web to help you launch your week:

At first glance, this scenic view looks like the elven paradise from the Lord of the Rings trilogy.  This national park in China certainly seems to be a dreamscape.  It’s real enough though.  Shall we go see it for ourselves?

These small gold studded earbuds are ideal travel mates that can fit in your pocket.  As you travel along, you can play your own wanderlust-inspired playlist or listen to travel guides & design your own unique tour.

I live in leggings in the winter, particularly fleece-lined & textured ones.  These comic strip leggings ought to be added to the closet.  What do you think?

Create a visual aid to help you master your work week. This daily interactive reminder will help keep you on track.

Embracing who you are, faults & all, can only strengthen your character.

dream it: Ireland

Happy holidays to you near & far!  I hope that wherever you are you look forward to celebrations with the people you love most in the world.  Here’s hoping you get many of the things on your wishlist.  Of course, there are some Christmas wishes you make just for yourself, knowing that it is up to you to make those dreams come true.  For instance, I wish to take a new adventure somewhere in this grand world.  How about you?  What is on your travel wishlist?  I’m dreaming of touring Ireland in the next couple years.

Surrounded by water, Ireland offers mysterious beaches like this rock bridge in Donegal known as Stroove Beach.

Considered one of the most beautiful places on the planet by the likes of National Geographic, Dingle Peninsula offers winding roads by seaside cliffs & sandy shores for you to dip your toes in.

Standing at over 700 feet tall & 5 miles wide, the Cliffs of Moher are nothing if not magnificent.  Plus, some of my favorite films showcase the cliffs, such as Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.  You can also catch them as the “Cliffs of Insanity” in The Princess Bride.

I fully plan on taking part in the tradition of kissing the Blarney Stone at Blarney Castle & earning the gift of gab during my visit.

Trinity College in Dublin is considered an ancient university as it was built in the late 16th-century.  The library boasts of literary wonders, including the Book of Kells.

Last but not least, a pub crawl through Dublin is an absolute must!  It’s really all a matter of deciding what pub crawl suits my speed…  I think a musical tour of Dublin’s brewhouses is right up my alley.

Dream big this holiday season & share your travel wishes for next year with me.  I’ll be back after the new year with fresh content, more European travel guides & additions to my city “hotspots.”  Till then, I wish you & yours the merriest of times & the happiest new year!

mapped it: Treasure Island, Florida

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What is the number one reason people travel to the coast?

Necessary beach therapy.  It was indeed requisite beach time.

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Before we took #BeachBoundBob to his destination, we explored the downtown area of St. Pete’s Beach for some souvenir shopping & popped in at a local brewery, Green Bench Brewing Company.  Aaron & Jen came away with a couple of growlers & souvenir glasses.

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Some of us (ahem) simply enjoyed the company of great friends & enjoyed the lively atmosphere of the tasting room.  We could see the crew shooting hoops just beyond the bar where the fermentation tanks were kept.  The laidback groove of everyone was enough to make anyone want to jive right alongside.

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We had to introduce our longtime friend (& college roommate) Erin to that amaaazing saltwater pool with the fantastic view.

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But finally…it was time.  #BeachBliss

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We made it over to Treasure Island (crossing a drawbridge to do so) just in time to catch a few rays before a gorgeous sunset.  Smooth sands, warm waters, & a balmy breeze made our rendezvous with the beach everything we needed it to be.

Treasure Island 18#BeachBoundBob wishes he could walk around on those…what do you call them?
Oh yeah, feeeeeet!

Treasure Island 15It also made it really hard to leave…

Stop in next week to find out to what city we stopped off at before heading home!

mapped it: Downtown St. Petersburg, Florida

One of my favorite things to splurge on while away from home is food.  One of my favorite types of cuisine is seafood.  Take a girl who loves seafood to the coast & don’t you dare judge her for how much she consumes.  I mean, come on…you’d be hard-pressed to pass up such savory meals!  So dive in & dine in with me on our foodie exploration of St. Pete’s Beach.

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First stop: a midnight meal at Papa Angelo’s.  We drove into St. Petersburg late, which left very few options for dining since most kitchens were closed.  That led us to a pizza joint & bar in the heart of downtown.  Angelo’s surprised us with its’ giant pizzas & chummy owner.  He & I hit it off right away when I asked for his wine options & he revealed his love of vino to us.  Jen asked for a porter & he was clearly caught up in someone to talk wine with that he thought for sure she meant “port.”  As I’m usually outnumbered by beer-drinkers, this left me grinning ear-to-ear.  My eyes lit up however when I spotted the shrimp alfredo.  We enjoyed this place so much that we made sure to come back for another visit during our short stay.

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The next day, we woke up later than intended (but hey, it’s vacay!) & needed to find a place for lunch. Rather than search online for a decent review of the local fare, I suggested we just venture out & hope to stumble upon greatness. & we so did. Allow me to introduce you to The Oyster Bar. This tavern appealed to our adventurous side & promised more food than we could hope to consume. I’m setting down a rule for all you fellow food-lovers: when in an oyster bar, you must have an oyster shooter. We each tried a unique drink: the Classic included vodka, tabasco & lemon juice. The Hangover had pale ale & cocktail sauce, & I tried the Texan, which consisted of vodka, zing-zang & horseradish. We dumped the shucked oyster shots down our throats, hoping for the best. Everyone appreciated their concoction while I was left scrounging for a chaser. Still proud I tried it!  We opted for the parmesan crusted oysters covered with a yummy herb butter and chipotle crab cake to share.  I managed to snag a picture of Jen’s scrumptious ahi tuna with wasabi & soy dipping sauce before we dug in, but the rest of our meals disappeared too quickly to capture (including my filet mignon…oops).

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We stopped in for a midday snack at a nearby chocolate shop, Schackolad.  It was impossible to look in the display cases and not immediately want to sample a little of everything.  Aaron & Jen bought a box of assortments with the best of intentions but those souvenirs made it as far as the car ride home.  Greg & I bought a handful (okay, maybe two) & went to town.  Imagine chocolate-dipped Oreos, creamy white chocolate seashells, crispy chocolate bites & peanut butter cups.  Salivate over deep chocolate truffles & mocha creamy nuggets.  It is heaven in your mouth.

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The creme de la creme to our downtown St. Pete’s Beach visit was an indulgent dinner at Cassis American Brasserie.  Erin, our old college roommate, came as our dinner guest.  (She hit it off quite well with #BeachBoundBob.)  Erin was the only one of us who exercised some self-control that night.  The rest of us ordered dinner & one elaborate appetizer.  Allow me to introduce you to our seafood extravaganza:

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The mack daddy of seafood trays included freshly shucked oysters, succulent jumbo shrimp, plump little mussels & two crabs (because, y’know, one is clearly not enough).  For real, I still dream about this platter.  We had to pack up our dinners in to-go boxes because there was just.  no.  room.

Stop in on Friday for my #MuseMoments & be sure to catch up with me on Monday to read about our last hurrah before we headed north for home!

mapped it: St. Petersburg, Florida

Meet #BeachBoundBob, our Floridian tour guide.  Jen found him sans legs one day & started something by bringing him to work for office pranks.  Our paraplegic poster hunk became a sensation.  He came along with us & inspired many fantastic photoshoots (like this one!).  I think you’ll come to love this quirky little guy as much as we do!

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#BeachBoundBob gets handsy with my Po’ Boy!

The Florida sun is hot hot HOT.  The rays beat down on you, only relenting when a quick rain rolls through.  Y’know, some like it hot.  I like it hot if it means I can jump into a big pool when I’ve had enough heat.  Our condo at Coquina Key in St. Pete’s Beach promised just that.  Within a gated community lies this upscale colorful marina.  Our unit resided within walking distance of the yacht club & saltwater pool.  Our backyard let out to a marina & we could smell the salty air of the ocean from our deck.

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I spent every morning breathing in that air & gazing at the docked boats, making note of their names: Anna Molly (anybody else singing Incubus now?), Paradise, Adventure…  What name would you give your boat?  Greg & I would choose “Albatross” to not only pay homage to a fascinating poem (The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge) but also to our favorite television show & related movie.

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Recognize this?  If so, YOU’RE MY KIND OF AWESOME.  If not, get to watching Firefly Serenity stat.

Jen & I chose to spend our afternoons poolside by the sea, making the most of our time by sunbathing, reading, & taking dips in the tempting water.  We were treated by a dolphin sighting even before the boys joined us!

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We invited Jen’s college friend to join us at the yacht club that evening.  After all, it was Taco Tuesday & they offered $2 margaritas!  How can one resist?

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Come back next Monday to learn what unusual treat we tried (& mostly enjoyed)!