Amazing Apps: Travel

I am going on a big trip soon and I am so excited!

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Parts of my trip have been all planned out for me while other parts have been left completely up to me. Exciting and overwhelming. Luckily traveling has been made easier through some very handy apps. I wanted to share a few I have been using and plan to use on my travels.

1. JetRadar: This app is soooo helpful. It is really user friendly and can help you find a flight from anywhere to anywhere.  All you have to do is plug in where you wanna go and when and the app does the rest. You can set limits on how many stopovers you have, flight duration, airline, and it will literally give you hundreds of flights to choose from. You can select favorite flights and save your searches while you shop around. You can also purchase tickets directly from the app or from the website.

2. Kurrency: The best thing about this app is its simplicity. Open the app and choose which currency you want to convert as well as the amount. I also like that is gives you the name of the currency along with the conversion rate. I have traveled before and kept a little card with the conversions on it. Trust me the app is better. It gives you up to date exchange rates and can easily switch from one conversion to another.

3. iTranslate: Like Kurrency this app is simple and easy to use, plug in the languages and what your trying to say and bam its there. It also has a microphone feature that will read the word or phrase out to you, so not only will you know what to say you will know how to say it!

4. Citymaps2go: This app provides offline maps that you can use without using your data. You just need to download the maps and your ready to explore! I can’t wait to use this app while aboard. It will be much handier than carrying around huge maps all the time and will help me look less like a tourist!  The full version costs $2.99 but there is also a free “lite” version that allows you to download a limited number of maps.

Enjoy and let us know what apps you like to use while traveling!

-K

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Winter Wonderland!

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Happy winter! I have been so so so excited for all of the joys that this fabulous season brings, sights, smells, lights, friends, family, you name it- I love it! Similar to this post about my love of fall, I decided to put together a list of things I want to do to celebrate winter!

1. Spend a night walking around the neighborhood to see Christmas lights.

2. Have a fabulous New Years Eve, maybe wear this uh-mazing dress!

3. Host a girls night in and watch chick-flicks for Valentines Day

4. Make a snowman.

5. Go to a cabin and relax by the fire with family.

6. Decorate cookies to give to neighbors for the holidays.

7. Try not to fall while ice skating.

8. Indulge in peppermint lattes.

9. Donate to Toys for Tots, food bank, or another local charity.

10. Keep my New Years Resolutions (at least until the end of February)

What is on your winter to-do list?photo 3-3

Kira in the snow in Chicago

-A

Some Windy City Fun

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 I recently took a trip to Chicago!

I’ve been to Chicago a handful of times and each time I find something new to love. My last visit was in February, the weather was frightening and kept me inside so this time was chilly but manageable.

Most of the time was happily spent with family outside of the city. I pretty much ate constantly and enjoyed catching up with the fam. If your ever out in the midwest go to Steak ‘n Shake! It is amazing. Essentially a diner, I think I’ve only eaten there once but every time I’m out there I go for a shake. They always have your standard flavors plus amazing other creations, and they are open 24 hours.

While I was in the burbs most of my trip, I was able to go into the city several times. My first trip into the city was to go see improv! Chicago is famous for improv and many great comedians and SNL folks have come through the Chi Town circuit. I went to IO for a Saturday night improv show. It was my first professional show and was so much fun. There were amazing comedians and it was just a fun night with my family. IO is downtown right by Wrigley field so we also got to walk around downtown a little and check out a few bars too!

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Second City is also in Chicago, if you wanna go to either venue I suggest checking out shows and buying tickets in advance. Shows will sell out and I did see plenty of people tuned away at the door.

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Another new discovery for me was the Wicker Park area. It’s a little hipster but was fun to walk around for a few hours. There are tons of great little stores and cafes to check out. I got an amazing Chai Latte from Filter and definitely would have spent more time there if I had it. It was so warm and comfy in there. The barista was super nice and the couches looked so inviting.

I also found a great gallery, the Jackson Junge Gallery they had lots of different pieces and had tons of prints and Chicago art if you wanted to take a piece home. If street art is more your thing Wicker Park has tons of it.

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Enjoy the pictures and Chicago if you get a chance to go!

-K

Central Coast Getaway

photo 1A few weeks ago I went on a weekend getaway with my mom and aunt. We were celebrating my aunts birthday and decided that a quick trip down the coast would be perfect. We ended up in Pismo Beach which is about 4 hours south of San Francisco. Pismo and the surrounding area is the perfect beach town – perfect views, great people, and delicious food.

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I wanted to offer some tips for planning a weekend getaway and share with you some of the fun times we had. We picked a hotel off the main highway, we wanted it to have ocean views and close proximity to all of the area without being right downtown. We did some research to pick out what would be the best place for us – which included a fabulous balcony.photo 3

When picking a hotel you should really consider these three questions;

1. How much time will you be spending in the room?

2. How close is it to the activities that you will be doing?

3. What amenities will you be using at the hotel/do they offer them?

During the weekend we had two fabulous dinners. One at Steamers and one at Ventana Grill. I highly recommend both restaurants if you are in the area. They both offer great drinks and a full and flavorful menu.

The big highlight of the weekend was an afternoon at the Sycamore Mineral Springs spa. The mineral springs have been around for over 100 years and the resort was built around them. The spa was tucked away in the forest and featured a variety of massage packages. Additionally you can rent a private hot spring for an hour. It was definitely worth it, and the grounds of the resort were absolutely breathtaking.Image-4

On our way out of town we stopped at Avila Valley Barn, they had a pumpkin patch (which I checked off my list), sunflower fields, farm animals, and local produce and goods to purchase in their store. We weren’t planning on going but saw it on the road and decided that it would be a great stop.

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Weekend getaway tips:

1. Do some research about what the town or city has to offer.

2. Talk with locals about their favorite things to do (restaurants, sights, ect).

3. Don’t plan too much – go in with some ideas but leave time for exploring whatever you may find along the way!

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Happy travels!

-A

(Social) Networking 101

In my line of work I have to do a lot of networking with people in my area. I go to at least one or two networking mixers each week to meet new people and talk with clients. I have met tons of different types of people at these events, some came across incredibly reliable and interesting, while others did not. I have put together a little list of do’s and don’ts when it comes to professional networking, however I do believe these can be tips for many other types of connections as well. These can be helpful when it comes to any kind of work event, first date, or even what you put on social media.

Do bring plenty of business cards. This will be key in making new connections in your field.

Do smile – it is a great way to show others in the room that you are excited to be there and meet new people. Smile while you are approaching a new person, some people might be intimidated or not know how to start a conversation. Personally I like to find a group of 3-4 people and talk to them as a group about something – the location of the networking event, someone’s great shoes, or what the specialty cocktail is.

Do dress appropriately. A nice dress, skirt and top combo, or slacks and a cardigan are a great way to go. Also, make sure you have comfortable shoes. You will be standing most of the event.

Do be willing to talk to new people. Sometimes I have talked with people that I didn’t think I would click with and they have ended up being great connections! Ask simple questions about their business, where they live, or how they heard about the networking event. These are good questions that you can then follow up with.

Do follow up with the people you met the next day so you will still be fresh in their minds. Ask them to get coffee the following week or ask for a tour of their business. If you wait too long you will loose that great contact.

Don’t talk negatively about your company. You never know who might be listening.

Don’t discuss your weekend plans, or how drunk you got at that fun concert the night before – leave that talk for your friends.

Don’t flirt! If you meet someone good for you, however leave the flirting and hand-holding for another time.

Don’t  get drunk, I met a woman at an event once who was so drunk they had to call her a cab to get home. Talk about making an impact!

Don’t be nervous! Networking can be intimidating, so remind yourself before you go that you are there for a reason and to make great connections with people in your field!

-A

Fall in love with Fall

 

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Oh, October! There is such a different pace to the fall. People are finally relaxing after the hectic summer months, school is back in session, and pumpkins are everywhere. I love looking forward to new activities, colors, and smells (isn’t the fall smell amazing?!) I thought I would put together a little list of some things I am really looking forward to this season and I hope it will inspire you as well.

1. Go to a pumpkin patch. There are some great pumpkin patches in the Bay Area, especially in Marin and Half Moon Bay. It makes for a perfect Sunday activity with friends – and a great place to take pictures! If you live in the Bay Area check out these pumpkin patches for some all day fun.

2. Drink lots of apple cider. My aunt makes it with cloves and cinnamon and lets it sit in the pot all day – delish!

3. Wear big sweaters and boots. Nothing says fall like a comfy sweater and your favorite pair of worn in boots. I’m currently obsessing over this sweater and these boots.

4. On a rainy night, stay in with friends. A rainy night is the perfect time to have some free fun with friends; pick out a great movie, do a puzzle, or host a game night.

5. Perfect a soup. I love to cook and I love the flavors of fall, one of my biggest goals is to make a go-to soup for the season.

6. Take after dinner walks. Meet up with some friends and catch up on your day, bring your dogs along for some extra fun.

7. Go to a college football game. I’m really looking forward to November 2nd when my alma mater, University of Arizona plays against Cal! Bear Down Wildcats!

8. Become obsessed with a new show. Say it with me – fall tv!

9. Plan a great halloween costume. I already have mine all planned out, but you will have to wait to see.

10. Do something crafty with leaves. Very Pinterest stereotypical, but a nice calming activity of a Sunday afternoon.

-A