i’ve packed my virtual bags!

come visit me soon – XO – lola

dear lovely subscribers & readers of where in the world is lola?,

i need to share with you something i’ve been holding back. it’s not an easy transition but i have decided to move on. i’ve packed up my pictures, words & stories and found a new & improved home for them.

YES, i’m moving on to bigger things but i’m NOT breaking up with you. i moved from wordpress.com to my own domain.com. i would like to keep in touch and remain in contact. here’s my new address, friends and fans.

www.lolastravels.com

please come visit me anytime at my new home! your subscription cannot be moved with this change, so if you wish to resubscribe, i would welcome your company.

hope to see you soon!

XO – lola

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foodie adventures in NYC

travelin pals - foodie international, kirsten alana & epstein travels with lola

i’ll be honest, while i do think i like a lot of different kinds of food, i don’t think of myself as that adventurous of an eater. strange foods scare me a bit. i think i might even have a texture/sensory issue that was never dealt with but that’s another story.

i’ll be traveling to Asia this august and i figured this would be the BIG food exploration experience for me. Asian food really scares me. but, in order to have an adventure of a lifetime, i’m going to get past that. i’m going to be willing to try things i wouldn’t ordinarily choose to eat AND here’s how i know i will…

i ate SCARY ASIAN food in New York at the end of march. it wasn’t intentional. not at all. but there was a formula that led to the scary Asian food eating and here it is:

  • going to a happy hour mixer on an empty stomach & finally eating dinner at midnight = i’m so hungry i could eat a horse!
  • being a little tipsy (ok maybe really tipsy) = i’m drunk enough that it’s a good idea to put something in my stomach
  • dining amongst well-traveled peers = i feel like i’m on survivor and this is a crazy dare that i must take so i don’t kicked off the island!

good times at Kenka - east village - NYC

all of this chow-down took place at Kenka in the east village.

here’s the run down of the crazy-ass Asian food i ate. just typing this makes me a little nauseous but i’m going to persevere just like i will in august.

  • takoyaki – fried octopus balls
  • yakitori – chicken skewers of thigh meat, chicken liver, hearts, gizzards
  • bull penis – bull freaking penis
  • kaeru no kara age – fried frog

it really wasn’t all that bad with the exception of the aforementioned texture issues with the bull penis – YUCK.

like kids in a candy store!

BONUS was DIY cotton candy and cheap big pitchers o’beer! that, and hanging out with three totally cool travel peeps that i’d been dying to meet til 1:30am! thanks miss foodie international, kirsten alana & jonathan epstein for a night i’ll soon not forget!

XO – lola

*cotton candy photo credit to Kirsten Alana – photographer extraordinaire

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i have a dream!

did you know, i have a dream?

some of you do…some of you don’t. my dream is to travel and write fun & funny stories about the experiences i have through the eyes of a woman named LOLA. LOLA is a personality, a brand if you will, that people seem to be drawn to because who doesn’t want to have fun? who doesn’t want to have a laugh? life is FAR TOO SERIOUS sometimes and it’s nice to just be light and airy – NO?! in my dream, people enjoy LOLA and her writing so much that she is able to make a career out of her writing and brand. wouldn’t that be nice to have a BIG DREAM come true?

in order to continue to move MY DREAM forward, i set some goals for myself at the beginning of 2012:

  1. i will get published once a month somewhere else besides my own blog.
  2. i will diversify where i write so i show that i can adapt to different styles.
  3. i will build a real website to be more professional.
  4. i will call myself a travel writer because if i can’t who can?
  5. i will go to conferences to learn more about the trade.
  6. i will network with people that are influencers in the space.
  7. i will take on challenges that will put me outside my comfort zone.

it’s mid-april and so far so good, LOLA. i so appreciate the support of those who encourage me and are proud of what i’m doing. it is HARD to start something new and attempt to be good at it. i truly love traveling – the world is a wonderful, wonderful place with so many interesting people in it. i am so happy to have the opportunity to cross paths with new people and see new places and then return home to write about the things that i’ve experienced and learned. THANK YOU!

i hope i never stop traveling. i hope i never stop learning. i hope i never stop making new friends. i hope i never stop writing. i hope i never stop dreaming!

happy DREAMS & TRAVELS to you! XO – lola

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I Want to Go with Oh to Paris

Paris with a twist, that is!

I am lucky enough to have visited Paris three times in my life.  It is the first place that brought tears to my eyes upon arriving and is one of my most favorite cities. I feel as though I have a connection with Paris, like Lola must have lived there in a past life. Whenever I’m asked if I could live anywhere abroad for a year or two, Paris is always the city that comes to my mind. Why? Oh, a lot of the same reasons many people are enamored with Paris.  It’s beautiful. It’s delicious. It’s sexy. It’s fashionable. It’s diverse. It’s romantic. It’s alive.  I adore the French language and would truly love to speak it without making a faux pas. And, not to toot my own horn, but in February during a visit to the South of France, the French were quite fond of Lola.

soaring light

Tour de Eiffel

Despite having done the Parisian touristy thing a few times, Lola would still choose to Go with Oh to Paris and bring my fun-loving spirit to the “City of Light”. Of course, I will stroll the streets, taking in the sights and enjoy wonderful French meals as well as divine wines and cocktails.  Those are givens on my wish list.  However, I would like to DO Paris differently than one might imagine. So, using some of my favorite films with ties to Paris as inspiration, this is what my oh-so-chic Parisian itinerary would be.

Sabrina

A quote from Sabrina with a Lola spin…

Once upon a time, on the north shore of Massachusetts, not far away from Boston, there was a nice Victorian house on a hill where there lived a family by the name of DiMarco. There were NO servants inside or outside the house, nor boatmen and gardeners, not even a single tennis or swimming pool specialist in sight. NOT even a chauffeur, but there was  woman named Lola who wished she had some of these luxuries, because in Lola’s mind, she should be a wealthy heiress with loads of hired help and could jet off anywhere at any time.  BUT, since that’s not reality, instead Lola will enter a blogging contest in hopes of being the lucky winner of a month-long stay in Europe.

Luxembourg Palace

Luxembourg Palace

Just like Sabrina, Lola’s first wish is to be shipped off to Paris to work with Vogue magazine.  Lola won’t be a photographer’s assistant though. Lola will be the subject of the photo shoot on location at Palais du Luxembourg for a day.  Do you know this beautiful place? It’s a palace built by Queen Maria de’ Medici at the beginning of the 17th century. The surrounding gardens are divine and a parfait place for my photo ops!  Now, you may be wondering what on earth Lola might wear when having this tres magnifique photo shoot. Entre wish number deux.  Luckily, Lola is invited to attend a Paris Fashion Week event featuring some of the most prestigious designers.

The Devil Wears Prada

Since Lola is a travel writer and aspiring journalist like the character Andrea in The Devil Wears Prada, it makes perfect sense that I should attend a Fashion Week event in Paris.  I will write many a witty post describing the sassy stylings of all the fab designers and about the muses from around the world that don these lines.  I’ll be interviewing the models and designers to discover why they adore Paris and its fashion scene.  Unlike Andrea’s plain character turned trendy, Lola already is a fashion maven, so naturally, we all become friends.

en vogue, lola

Upon hearing about my upcoming Vogue gig, the designers plead with me to wear some of their hottest new designs for my photo shoot.  I tour the designers’ studios and discover where they create their most fashion-forward frocks and fabulous haute couture. I’m treated to an unbelievable day of pampering and then glamorously styled for my photo shoot. Alas, after a couple of days of walking on supermodel air, Lola needs to come back down to earth and dive into some history. Since I’m making my way into the travel-writing world, you know I love the great authors of the past. Oh, how they must have enjoyed Paris’ heyday.

Cafe de Flore

Cafe de Flore

Midnight in Paris

My third wish would be to step back into time just as Gil Pender did every night in the film Midnight in Paris. Since this isn’t really possible, unfortunately, I’ll have to settle for a coffee and cocktail crawl to famous authors and artists’ haunts of a bygone era.  I will have my café au lait at Café de Flore and drink absinthe at La Closerie des Lilas.  In my imagination, I am pursued by Picasso as a love interest while sipping on coffee at Les Deux Magots and I’ll have lengthy chats at La Rotonde with F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway about becoming a better writer.  It will be fascinating to retrace some of the famous stomping grounds of Toulouse-Lautrec, Gauguin and Degas.  Energized by the engaging conversations and loads of coffee, I will have the vitalité to revive one of my talents and kick up my heels at Moulin Rouge.

colours of fun

the infamous Moulin Rouge

Moulin Rouge

This shouldn’t be a huge stretch – Lola was made for the stage.  And, I wasn’t joking about the dance routines either.  Back in the day, Lola was on the school dance squad doing synchronized high-kick routines during halftime of the football game.  Can you believe it?!  Throw in my boa and BAM, you have a Moulin Rouge moment.  Let me be clear, I’m not suggesting that Lola take on the starring role of Satine by any stretch.  I really cannot sing, so let’s cast me in a supporting role.

woot! high-kicking it!!

Wish number four is to spend a day learning a high-kick dance number and get all dolled up Belle Époque cabaret-style for a performance at the legendary Moulin Rouge.  How fun would that be? And a great workout, to boot, which I’ll need after all the wining and dining I’ve been doing.  After my fifteen minutes of fame on the bohemian stage, I’ll be exhausted. I’ll need an opportunity to unwind, and a nice cup of tea and some delicious pastries will do the trick. Who am I trying to kid? Lola doesn’t ever do anything subdued. My fifth wish is to spend all day and night at a garden party at Versailles.  And get this, I will be in a full-on Marie Antoinette costume. I might as well go out with a bang.

Marie Antoinette

After my exhausting day of high-kicking around the Moulin Rouge stage, I can now squeeze myself into a tiny, pink corseted dress.  Phew!  I know you think blue when you think of Marie Antoinette; I do too. But, I’m Lola and Lola only does pink.  It’s a firm rule of mine and a part of my branding that I’m unwilling to negotiate.

curls

de toute beauté, Marie Antoinette!

This lovely garden party at Versailles will be held out in front of the Chateaux near the Water Garden.  Just like any good garden party, it will be tented and illuminated with candles.  All the guests will be dressed in costume just like me.  Can’t you just envision me in a powdered wig and beauty mark?  Ooo-lala! As far as the men go, they will be dressed like revolutionary soldiers without the fussy wigs.  Think Count Axel von Fersen, Marie Antoinette’s rumored lover – yummy.  We will be dining, drinking, dancing and gambling just like the queen who “let them eat cake”.  The drink of choice will be fine French champagne, of course, and there will be gobs of gastronomically-delicious French food and pastries.  Everything looks and IS delectable!  What a way to wrap up my Parisian stay.

Thuet Macarons

bon appétit

So, what do you say?  Don’t you want to follow along as Lola runs around Paris doing all these fantastique things?  Armed with my pink beret and boa, I think Paris and Lola were made for each other. It’s high time that Paris got LOLAFIED!

ooo-lala lola

Merci beaucoup for reading, and now for your perks…

Just because I’m throwing my boa in the ring to be the lucky recipient of a European tour doesn’t mean you can’t too. There are other prizes you can win as well.  Through Go with Oh’s Facebook contest, you can win tres chic Samsonite luggage, a Panasonic Lumix camera, an iPad2 or 500 Euros in holiday accommodations!  Boom chica chica wow wow…let’s all be winners!

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somewhere over the rainbow – Kauai, Hawaii

aloha lola

Hawaii – is it worth the journey? well…I’ve always been a skeptic. i am fortunate enough to be so much closer to Europe and the Caribbean so i’ve poo pooed Hawaii. it is beautiful – YES. it has the comforts of the US but feels different than other states – YES. it’s a LOOONG way to go.

it’s not something i’ll be doing often. BUT i truly enjoyed my visit there this time. people really reaaaallly love it there and there must be a reason. for me, it was the tremendous pride i saw in the local people. their culture is special and unique to the United States. for that i am proud too. their history, folklore, dancing & story telling was fascinating.  here are some other likes and dislikes from my visit to the Aloha state!

things i loved:

the ocean

the surfers

the sunsets

things i didn’t love:

the expense

the food

the rain

Best of the Best: Waimea Canyon

the grand canyon of the pacific

Worst of the Worst: MAJOR flight delays & losing 3 full days traveling

Favorite Moment: being over a rainbow at the Nepali Coast

incredible to be over the rainbow!

Biggest Regret: not trying surfing

until next time – mahalo Hawaii!!!

XO – lola

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te amo Miami

big surprise, i know. heading back to my happy place today. can’t wait…here’s a preview of my love, my Miami!

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the ever lovely Aix en Provence

fountains, fountains everywhere!

this trip to Aix en Provence was actually my third. i love it every time and every time for different reasons. the first time i visited it was spring and everything was in crisp & in bloom. the second visit was in the fall and Aix was colorful and romantic with cozy fires lit and warm dinners every evening. this time was full on winter and it was cold in Aix. so cold, in fact, that what struck me most this visit about beautiful Aix en Provence was how many lovely fountains there are all over the city. i hadn’t really noticed them during prior visits but because so many of them were frozen and icy they really stood out. even still, they held a magical beauty.

Aix en Provence has lured many an artist from Cezanne to Van Gogh. today it remains a bustling artsy kind of place that is home to many university students keeping Aix extra lively…just like its fountains. enjoy the photos and visit Aix en Provence if you ever get the chance – you too will be taken by the city’s joie de vivre!

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