Stories by: Sara

Dining & Nightlife, San Francisco, TravelCocktail Scene in San Francisco

When it comes to cocktails, San Francisco and New York City arguably offer the best in the country. With the resurgence of classic cocktails and speakeasies, there were many appealing establishments to choose from during my recent getaway, but unfortunately, limited time! Here’s a few of the best places I visited during my time in San Fran!

San Francisco’s most notable speakeasy is Bourbon and Branch. As stated on their website, “Bourbon & Branch is a glimpse back on the 1920′s and the era of Prohibition when the sale and consumption of alcoholic beverage was outlawed. You’ll experience the ambiance of that time in an actual speakeasy that operated illegally at this location from 1921 to 1933.” Reservations and a password are required, as well as a list of rules to follow during your time at Bourbon and Branch. While it sounds strict and stuffy, B&B is anything but; the servers and bartenders are incredibly knowledgeable, beyond talented, and  more than happy to offer their wisdom and advice to craft the perfect cocktail for you! From the amuse-bouche to delicate cloth cocktail napkins, nothing is overlooked! Their menu is extensive and slightly overwhelming, but I finally settled on the Millionaires Cocktail (dark rum, gin, apricot brandy, lime juice) and the Clermont Affair (rye, Amaro Nonino, whiskey barrel aged bitters and clove tincture float). They also have an extensive array of whiskeys, bourbons, rums, and tequilas. Finally, do some wandering around, as there are hidden doors, rooms, and even exits to be discovered. If you have only one night in San Francisco, make sure you visit Bourbon and Branch. It’s a destination not to be missed. READ MORE

Boston, ShoppingTed Baker’s Boston Arrival

Occupying the former Gap space on the corner of Newbury and Exeter is Ted Baker, one of the fastest growing lifestyle brands in the United Kingdom. Ted Baker has recently begun international expansion, with Boston being the 11th city in the United States! Ted Baker sells a variety of items, including men and women’s clothing, accessories, and even small gifts.

I’d never heard of Ted Baker until I learned of the store opening, but after a little research, it seems they have quite a following. While out-and-about today, I stopped in and perused the store. The clothes are fun, trendy, and clearly European, without being over-the-top. In a strange way, Ted Baker’s style and pricepoint reminds me of a cross between Zara and Cynthia Rowley, respectively. Two dresses immediately caught my eye: the Eoke and Namao. If my closet wasn’t overflowing with cocktail dresses, or bank account seriously diminished by purchasing said dresses, I would have surely indulged!

Boston gals- if you’re in the market for something unique with a slight European flair and not completely budget blowing, head over to Ted Baker at 201 Newbury St.

IntimatesThe Lacie by Victoria’s Secret

My underwear collection has certainly outgrown the small top drawer in my bureau, and now dominates a larger, deeper drawer normally used by sweater, jeans, and bulky clothing. Yes, I have an addiction and find myself “needing” a new pair or two just about every time I indulge in retail therapy.

Within the past year or two, Hanky Panky seems to be the undergarment of choice, with their lacy, feminine design and with their “one size fits most” claim, they go with everything and fit nearly everyone. Well, Hanky Panky literally had my panties in a bunch, as they do not fit me! For someone who is of fairly average height and build, the saleswomen and I were baffled why they don”t working for me. READ MORE

Hotels, San Francisco, TravelIntercontinental Mark Hopkins San Francisco

Located in the Nob Hill neighborhood of San Francisco, the Intercontinental Mark Hopkins proved to be a solid hotel choice on my recent San Francisco vacation. The hotel itself is in of the quieter areas of the city, so if you’re looking for something more removed from the crowds and lights of Union Square but still in a convenient location, this is a great option.  It’s a short cable car ride (or hilly walk) to Chinatown, Union Square, and the Ferry Building, among other hot spots. READ MORE

Food, TravelCupcake Delivery from Georgetown

Whenever I travel, I always make an effort to investigate what cupcake eateries and bakeriea exist at my destination. I’ve literally organized cupcake crawls in Las Vegas and Portland, and looking forward to visiting many “cupcakeries” during my upcoming trip to San Francisco. I’ve heard so much about the cupcake scene in Washington DC, with the standout being Georgetown Cupcake. I’ve been dying to try them, but I rarely travel to DC, so when I read that Georgetown Cupcake was now offering shipping within the continental US, I knew I wanted them. Then, when I saw their seasonal flavors, I knew I NEEDED them, and now!

Georgetown Cupcake offers three different flavor packages for cupcake delivery, but seeing as I am a lover of anything pumpkin and cupcake, I went with the Seasonal Dozen: six Pumpkin Spice and six Chocolate Hazelnut cupcakes. Shipping cupcakes sounds a little precarious, since cupcakes are so delicate. “How could they ever survive being jostled and thrown around during shipment? And how in the world could the be bakery fresh upon delivery?”, I wondered. Well, I am thrilled (and revealed!) to say that my cupcakes arrived in perfect form; beautifully packaged, frosted, and even came with a insert about how to store my cupcakes!

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Beauty, Fragrance, MakeupShiseido’s Fall & Holiday Boston Launch

I’ll admit it; unlike most of the other TDO editors, I’m not a beauty junkie. While I love the occasional blowout, massage, or splurge on makeup, but my indulgences are normally of the food, libation, or travel variety. When I came across the opportunity to attend the Shiseido Fall & Holiday Boston Launch at the Mandarin Oriential, I was nervous! And intimidated! But let me tell you, not only did I have a fabulous time, but learned about Shiseido’s new products (and fell head over heels for a few!). READ MORE

Beauty, Dining & Nightlife, Food, Shopping, TravelPortland: Part 3

My final day in Portland began with a morning visit to Bijou Café for their infamous pancakes. While the idea of heading up to Stepping Stone in the Alphabet District and tackling their pancake stack featured on Man vs. Food was quite tempting, I was urged to go to Bijou instead, and I’m glad I did. Bijou is quintessential Portland, with an old fashion yet slightly hip vibe. The diners were more mature than other places I’d been, with an equal number locals and businessmen alike. I had never had oatmeal pancakes, but my shortstack was fantastic.  Best part of the pancake experience? Marionberry syrup. In no time at all, I concocted a dipping sauce of maple and marionberry which I happily dipped my pancakes in while people watching and making small-talk with the waitstaff.

After filling up on the pancakes and Stumptown Coffee I began exploring with no specific destination. I made my way through Old Town, which is Portland’s Chinatown. Unfortunately, Old Town has not experience the gentrification as other Chinatown communities across the nation have. While it was interesting to see, Old Town lacks any interesting shops, restaurants, or bakeries. READ MORE

Dining & Nightlife, Food, Shopping, TravelDay Two in Portland: The Culinary Adventure

After a great first day in the City of Roses, I decided to check out the East side of Portland. My first stop would be the Hawthorne neighborhood, which is a collective of many independent coffee houses, ethnic restaurants, and funky boutiques. I spent a good two hours wandering the street and popping into every store that caught my eye. My favorite stops included Presents of Mind for jewelry, accessories, cards, and funky gifts, Mink Boutique for women’s clothing, and Fat Straw for bubble tea.

From Hawthorne, I made my way up to Alberta Street, an up-and-coming section of the city known as the Alberta Arts District. While Alberta is similar to Hawthorne in the sense of many fun boutiques, coffee houses, and restaurants, it really caters to the artist community in Portland and supports local artists through rotating artwork for sale on café walls, as well and standalone galleries. READ MORE

Food, Hotels, TravelExploring Portland

Ever since I was a child, I’ve traveled to the Pacific Northwest at least once a year to visit my grandparents in Vancouver, WA, a suburb just north of the Oregon/Washington border. While Vancouver is nothing to rave about, visiting them has afforded me the opportunities to travel to other areas in Washington and Oregon. On this trip, I decided to spend a few days in Portland by myself; exploring, dining, wandering, and learning all about the city on my own! READ MORE

Hotels, International, TravelCelebrating Friendships in the Dominican Republic

I’m pretty certain there’s no better way to unwind, relax, and celebrate a decade-old friendship than with a beach vacation. While we’d ALL love to be able to splurge on top-notch accommodations, food, and service, sometimes it’s just not possible (grad school? Boston rent?! Eeek!) However, ever since we were in sixth grade, my best friend Karen and I have always talked about going away to tropical destination together. Well, a few weeks ago, we finally made our fantasy a reality with a week-long, all-inclusive stay at the Majestic Colonial in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic!

I’m a girl who speaks the truth, so I’m going to be honest; this was not my ideal vacation. Typically when I visit foreign countries, I like to immerse myself in the local culture as much as possible. Obviously, staying at an all-inclusive isn’t really conducive to my desire of hanging out at corner bodegas, learning salsa and the meringue late-night in local discos, and chowing on authentic, well-made Dominican food. But for $1000 each including airfare, this was a great budget friendly, worry-free beach vacation. READ MORE

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