Lunch at The Culinary Institute of America.

Now, that summer has officially arrived, I have more time to do some exploring close to home. Today, after finishing up my classroom at school, I wasted no time and headed upstate to Poughkeepsie, New York. I had an appointment to get fitted for a bridesmaid dress for my cousin’s wedding, but I dragged my Mom along with me, and she suggested that we have lunch at The Culinary Institute of America. Even though she had been there before, I was excited to experience the school for the first time. Immediately, it exceeded my expectations. Just an hour and a half north of New York City, the campus, which is set on the Hudson River, feels a million miles away.

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What I Loved About Aruba: Top 5.

It wasn’t hard to fall in love with Aruba: warm temperatures, cool breezes, swaying palm trees, and turquoise waters. Everyone was friendly, and I loved that people from all over the world seemed to flock to this beautiful island. That, of course, made me fall in love with the country even more, and of all the islands I have visited, this one would have to be my favorite.

Of course, I love it here!

Of course, I love it here!

While I loved everything about Aruba, there were 5 things that I loved the most about the island.

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A Night in Tibet and Argentina.

Resolutions are usually hard to stick to. But, not with the right resolutions and the right people around to help you stick to them. My resolution for 2012 was a big one, one that created a change in my life that was absolutely necessary. That change was to live my life more as I do while traveling, and part of that is to treat each and everyday as a travel day, as if it is just as special.

January started off quite well, with many adventures discovered nearby home, and February seems to be off to the same start. I’m learning that there’s just so much to see, and finally realizing what I’ve been missing the past few years. Last night was a pure example of that, where I was able to experience two entirely different cultures and experiences very close to home.

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5 Brunch Spots Not to Miss in NYC.

In honor of the weekend, I’ve decided to dedicate my post to something New York City does better than anywhere else – brunch. With unlimited cocktails, creative menus, and time to bond with friends, there’s no better way to spend your Saturday or Sunday morning.

While there are plenty of places to enjoy brunch up and down the island of Manhattan, here are five places that should not be missed.

Obviously the drinks are the most important part of brunch. Paradou, September 2009.

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Mui Ne

I finally fell in love with Vietnam, far, far away from Ho Chi Minh City in a small, fishing village called Mui Ne.  It’s serene and tropical, the perfect get-away from city life.

Our hotel, Pandanus Resort, sits above the town, about a ten minute drive away. The rooms are clean and simple, just what you’d want for a beach resort. The pool is huge, and it sits overlooking the South China Sea.  While the beach isn’t the nicest, the pool makes up for what it lacks.

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Each night we were here, we ate at Sankara, a trendy restaurant and beach club. You sit overlooking the sea, while dining on some of the best food we’ve had in Vietnam.  The staff is very friendly and the atmosphere feels as though you’ve been transported to Miami.

We spent our nights at Jibe’s, a wind-surfing club at night turned beach bar by day. Even though it is low season, we managed to befriend three guys, Canadian, English, and Welsh, who met each other while traveling Asia. The next night we met two Irish girls who were traveling down Vietnam from Laos. It was nice to finally meet other travelers to share tips and stories of our travels.

Now we are off to Nha Trang, which is exciting, though I’m going to miss it here. We plan on stopping here again on our way back to HCMC. 

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