5 Best Places to Visit in India

I’ve been home from my two month India/Nepal trip for about three weeks now and the reminiscing is in full effect. There are so many places we stopped by and so many people we met. Here’s a list of the top 5 places in India my mind keeps drifting back to.

Udaipur

This is a fairytale city if I’ve ever seen one. I want to eat Indian food at cozy rooftop restaurants and watch the sun set over the lake every night for the rest of my life. If you know someone who invents a machine that could do this, let me know.

Goa

Sort of a wasteland of hippie travelers, but that’s what makes it fun. The beach is nice and the people are friendly. I have so many fun memories of sitting around with new friends and sipping lime sodas under the sun.

Mumbai

There is so much going on here. There’s great food options for the homesick traveler as well as the adventurous eater. Not to mention, you can work for Bollywood.

The Backwaters in Kerella

The way the rivers and canals flow through the landscape of these villages is beautiful. I loved disappearing into our village home stay, where I could swim in the river, walk through the rice fields and eat guavas from the trees.

The Taj

I’ll be honest, I hated Agra. The Taj, however, is worth the stop. I expected the site to be anticlimactic due to the thousands of photos I’ve seen of it in my lifetime. Sort of like being shocked by how small the Mona Lisa painting actually is. This didn’t happen. Screw anticlimactic, I was blown away. No photo I’ve seen has done the Taj justice. Nothing managed to capture how much it shines and how delicate it appears. It’s awesome.

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5 Food Blogs to Make You Hungry

Ever since I’ve come back to the States cooking has become my religion, the kitchen my sanctuary and these food blogs my bible:

  • La Tartine Gourmande: This food stylist and photographer makes food look too pretty to eat.
  • Seven Spoons: The combination of anecdotes and recipes are a treat to read.
  • The Pioneer Woman Cooks: I think I bookmarked 95% of her recipes to try when I returned from Peace Corps. Sometimes I scroll through her posts as fast as I can so that the photos appear like a movie. You’ll get what I mean when you click on the link.
  • Steamy Kitchen: I could plan out meals for a month with this blog. There is enough variety and inspiration to keep me scrolling through recipe after recipe.
  • smitten kitchen: This blogger will make an asparagus salad look fancy and fun to make.

Also worth checking out: The Kitchen Sink, the kitchen generation, Sunday Suppers, Sprouted Kitchen, pictures and pancakes, Picky Palate, honey & jam, delicious: days, eat live run

5 Reasons I Love Pokhara, Nepal

I went to Pokhara with the intention of staying a few days and stayed 19. It happens. Why did I stay so long? I loved it. Here’s why:

I Can See Nature!

I love cities. I love the hustle and bustle and feeling like I’m in the midst of something so much greater than me. I enjoy walking around to discover new restaurants and shops. But I love nature too. I love nature with the equal force I love cities. I love walking around in nature and feeling like I’m in the midst of something greater than myself.

Pokhara contains a fun balance of city and nature. The city lies in a basin of giant hills with a large lake at the edge. In Pokhara I am in a city where I can see nature surrounding me. Perfect.

Jumping Off Point for Adventure

Nepal is a natural playground and Pokhara is a great jumping off point for adventure. There’s rafting, trekking, mountain biking, paragliding, enough to keep me busy for a long, long time. I found myself signing up for one adventure trip, coming back, and signing up for another and another. After one trekking trip and two rafting trips I still felt like I’d only scratched the surface here.

Stayed Long Enough to Make a Few Friends

I love Pokhara because I stayed long enough to make some connections. I made friends with a hotel manager, some rafting guides and a few forever drifters. I visited a home in the village and found out where the locals eat their dhal bhat (meals). These connections in a city I was already fond of made me not want to leave.

The Food

There’s plenty of dhal bhat and Tibetian food to go around here. These dishes are definitely worth trying and were staples of my diet in Nepal. But there’s not just dhal bhat and Tibetian food in Pokhara, there’s yummy foreign food too. Just in case you’re one of those travelers who likes to mix things up a bit. The options for foreign food ranged from cheap and easy to pretty and a bit more spendy. There were also plenty of baked goods to go around. Plus, there’s a lot of healthy foods available, like organic coffee and muesli. And another thing: the grocery stores are a snack food paradise. So many people come in to stock up on snack foods before trekking, that the stores are stocked with goods like granola bars, crackers, cookies and chocolate. Lots of chococlate.

It’s Chill, Dude

I went on so many trips that based out of Pokhara, that when I returned I craved some R & R. While in town, I could lounge on my hotel balcony, sip some tea and look at the view of the lake and hills. Or stroll around with some friends to find a chilled out restaurant or place for drinks. I could come back from a 5 day trek or 3 day rafting trip and feel at ease, like I had found a home away from home.

5 Healthy Living Blogs ~ Friday Five

If I wrote a healthy living blog, it would look like this:

Today I ate a pizza.

Today I am on a strict diet of refined sugars

Today I laid on the couch all day and cussed at anyone who gave be grief about it.

Mmmmm…beeeeeer

If that doesn’t inspire your healthy lifestyle, then maybe you should check out these blogs:

  • Kath Eats Real Food: The reining queen of oatmeal resides here. I love her photos, oatmeal mixes and meal inspiration. I also like that she does not write obsessively about running marathons.
  • Carrots and Cake: This lady does like to run marathons, however she balances that craziness with indulgences like cake and cocktails.
  • Zen to Fitness: This blog acts as a guide to healthy and fit living by focusing on one topic at a time. A lot of good tips and information here.
  • Daily Garnish: This healthy living blogger is a vegetarian chef and makes some tasty looking meals.
  • Shut Up and Run!: I love her combination of no nonsense and humor. This is one of the funniest blogs I read.

Others worth checking out: Eating Bird Food, Mega Nerd Runs, Oh She GlowsThe Fitnessista, Skinny Runner

5 Personal Style Blogs ~ Friday Five

If I wrote a style blog it would look something like this…
It that doesn’t inspire you, then you should check out these personal style blogs…
  • The Man Repeller: My hero. Homegirl can take a regular looking outfit and make it look man repelling chic-ish in two seconds flat. At least that’s the vibe she gives off. Plus, if I had a witty blog award for wittiness, I’d give her witty blog that witty award.
  • The Daybook: Love, love her style. Plus she has a series of posts called Awkward and Awesome Thursday. Swoon.
  • Sea of Shoes: I love how fearless she is when it comes to fashion and expressing her style. And the pictures are preeeeettttyyyy.
  • the glamourai: Her style is so glamorous and chic and adventurous. Plus, she wears a lot of awesome shades.
  • Style Scrapbook: Girl is fierce. Ok, I’ve officially run out of words to describe people’s personal styles. But seriously, this personal style blog is good too.

5 Ways to Avoid Strangling Your Travel Partner

Traveling with a partner can get ugly. I once got so frustrated with a travel buddy that I ended up yelling at her in the middle of the Vatican City over something completely trivial. In order to avoid such a scene, I thought I’d share some helpful little tid bits to keep you and your travel partner smiling and giggling and having a grand ol’ time together.

Are You Sure You Should Travel Together?

If there’s trouble in paradise before you get on the plane then please for the love of god, work out your issues before going on a trip together. Traveling will only make it worse. And please don’t travel with someone only because you want a travel partner. You will have so much more fun going solo than tagging along with someone who sucks the fun out of your adventure.

Make Friends Along the Way

So many issues with travel partners have little to do with isolated events and a whole lot to do with being around the same person and talking to the same person day in and day out. Make friends in the hostel, talk to the tour guides and shop owners, mingle with some locals, keep in touch with friends from home, chat it up with the cute little monkey stealing your food. Do what you gotta do to chat with someone besides your travel partner for a bit.

Be Silly

Make up a scavenger hunt together, create your own inside jokes, play a drinking game, speak your own secret language, do whatever you need to do to laugh together and make some memories.

Talk It Out, Hug It Out

Don’t let those bad vibes fester. Grab some coffee or a beer and talk out your issues, then do what Ari Gold would do (explicit) and hug it out.

Spend Some Time Apart

Go your separate ways. Some time apart can be good, whether it’s to explore something your partner isn’t as interested in or just to rejuvenate.

Side Note

Ok, Puzie and I weren’t really fighting in this photo. We were sad that the ferris wheel was too expensive to ride. True story.

5 Dessert Blogs to Drool Over

I love dessert blogs, almost as much as I love desserts. Here’s five worth checking out:

  • Joy the Baker: I kind of have a crush on Joy the Baker. She’s witty and clever and a baker. What’s not to like? Most of the dessert recipes I save come from her blog.
  • Sugar Plum: This lady is a baking competition extraordinaire, including two final rounds in the Food Network’s Ultimate Recipe Showdown. Go girl.
  • Tartelette: This lady makes desserts real classy. The food styling on this blog is amazing and she is Martha Stewart approved, oh yeah, it says so on her blog.
  • Desserts for Breakfast: Anyone who encourages me to eat desserts for breakfast is someone I can hang around with. Great ideas, great photos.
  • Completely Delicious: Well, the photos look completely delicious. She includes lots of step by step photos, as well.

Some other dessert blogs worth checking out: bakerella, Brown Eyed Baker, Buns in My Oven,  a sweet spoonful, 17 and BakingMy Baking Addiction