A Few of My Favorite Travel Things

Think back and recall one of the best vacations that you have ever had.  Have one in mind?  Wonderful.  Did you happen to consider the type of accommodations that you stayed in during that trip?  Maybe it was a hotel or maybe it was a hostel.  In today’s world with endless opportunities of places to stay, it could have very well been an AirBNB.

Luckily for me, I’ve been to all of the above.  Do note that this isn’t an “entitled” statement, I’m just saying that my family has been able to save up and expose my sister and I to a wide range of vacation spots.  True, most of the places that were “grungy” and a little suspicious were when I was in charge of selecting the booking.  But, that aside, we’ve see everything from the Motel 6/Hostel where you aren’t sure if they ever change the comforter or clean the carpet, to some much much nicer digs where you are greeted with a complimentary drink and warm towel.

I do have to say, the latter are much more enjoyable.  There are even a few locations my mom and I still dream about them at night.  One such location – the Fairmont Kea Lani on Maui – helps us fall right to sleep.  Ahhhh, when we find ourselves stressed or trying to find sleep, so long fluffy sheep, we start to imagine we are walking around those high arched ceilings, listening to the sound of the waves on the beach, and subtle Polynesian music throughout the lobby.

Fairmont Hotels recently reached out to inquire about my travel essentials and what I might like to see at hotels when I stay.  Sure, every hotel should be equipped with a nice soaps and lotions, fluffy towels, and charging outlets.  But it’s certain amenities that make you just wish you could extend your trip a little longer.  Who needs work anyways?  Oh yeah, so you can actually pay for said trip…good point.

So, from my world traveling ways (or coast to coast jaunts), here are my thoughts:

Go-To & Must-Have Travel Essentials

  • Phone charger – This goes hand in hand with my iPhone, which I could have listed as a must-have item, but I practically treat it as a third hand or another part of my body.  I never go anywhere without it.  So, call me Linus and it’s my security blanket.  Notes, photos, videos, Instagram – I use it all.  And then my battery dies as soon as you can say viola.


  • Snacks (usually in the form of energy bars) because hanger is overrated and I should not unleash the “not really enthused with you because I’m hungry” Kaitlin.
  • A book (either the physical thing or electronic via my Kindle Fire) – My mom taught me at a young age, always have a book on your person because you never know how long those doctor appointments (or you know flights, bus rides, etc) may last.
  • Hand sanitizer –  Trust me.  I live in New York City.

Accommodation Amenities

So, it’s oh so true that everyone travels differently and the way that certain hotels and accommodations greet their guests varies from spot to spot.  Since I’m a California girl born and raised (#westcoastbestcoast…sorry my New York friends), I wanted to take a look at the west coast hospitality.

Looking at some of the fabulous Fairmont locations here in our great state, I thought it would be neat to think about what a few could offer guests upon arrival or during their stay.  Most of these locations would be well suited for a little bike ride along the water front or towns nearby, so offering beach cruisers would be a swell idea.  Also, as a general request for all hotels, not all of us enjoy the firm pillows, so providing a couple options (cushy + firm) would be ever so kind and appreciated.  But now it’s time to get creative.

  • Newport Beach – Yes, traveling to the nearby Balboa is a must, so obviously being greeted with a frozen chocolate banana would be ideal but that’s not entirely plausible.  Something about bananas being an acquired taste (cough cough Meghan).  So, instead, let’s include a nautical candle or succulent plant.
  • San Diego – A beach towel and bucket of goodies (sunblock, magazines, and maybe a shovel or two…who said only kids get to have fun building sand castles?)


  • San Francisco (2 >> Claremont & SF itself) – A nice loaf of Boudin sourdough and a bar of Ghirardelli chocolate to soak in that San Francisco flavor. (or Bi-Rite ice cream! noms…)
  • San Jose – Ah, the land of Silicon Valley.  So I doubt anyone would have a personal computer waiting for you, but arriving to some notepads from Google, roses as seen on Santa Clara’s gorgeous campus or San Jose Rose Garden, or maybe garlic goodies from Gilroy gives you a sense of what potential this area holds. (*fun fact, I had a senior year graduation party here. yep, good story.)


  • Santa Monica – One of the “coolest” places of LA, filled with shopping, workout spots (hello Santa Monica Stairs) and so many hipster coffee shops.  Access to daily acai bowls or simply some beach goodies and shades will help you fit right in.
  • Seattle – Possibly a bag of Seattle’s coffee and some homemade scones to accompany the brew.  Pike Place sure does have a lovely selection.
  • Sonoma – A bottle of locally made wine, perfect for a hors-d’oeuvre platter in the afternoon or maybe to bring home for another time.  Either way, this could give you some ideas of where (or which wineries) you might want to explore while there.  If wine isn’t your thing, how about some really good juice?

What are your thoughts on hotels?  Anything you would like to see upon your arrival or in a Fairmont location?


*Please note that all opinions are that of my own and I was not compensated for this post. This was shared out of my true love for Fairmont Hotels.

Life of Late ~ 11.20.15

Get this. I’m home again.  In California.  Sort of seems surreal to be honest since this is my first Thanksgiving at home in a few years.  Some people think it’s silly to travel so much around the holidays, but hey, it’s one word – “family”.  Sure, I could be using this time to travel to places outside the United States and make the most of the fact that I’m halfway there (hello direct flights to Europe), but there’s time and place for that.  I do however happen to have a bit of a travel itch and have been trying to set a plan for 2016 and of course consider the important things like budget and days off.  For now, I’ll be enjoying some west coast love.


^^ Being home means I don’t get to see these lovely ladies and my New York NP crew. Alas, there’s always NP_LAX.  Also, We looooooove our Lululemon shorts.  Even in the fall.  Even when it’s raining.  Especially when they are on sale in the We Made Too Much section.

IMG_3449^^ What we at November Project call the bounce.  Because every workout requires a mighty good warm-up. Safety first, right?


^^ Updated view of the park.  So long to those harvest leaves and (almost) hello to bare branches.

IMG_3429 ^^ Throwing it back to that good ‘ol casual style.  You know, I probably will wear sweats more often while I am home than I do in New York. That is because my house is built like an igloo (meaning one wears layers upon layers to stay warmish) and my apartment has central heating (blessing and a curse) so we just walk around dressed as if it is summer.

IMG_3461 ^^ Why hello Jo Malone.  The Columbus Circle mall just opened a fine and fresh scent shop and if I’m not careful, I’ll be spending a good deal of my lunch breaks there.  Or in Whole Foods.  Or Williams Sonoma.  Or JCrew.  Basically a mall that has too much good stuff.


^^ With the holidays comes the return of the gorgeous star decor inside the mall.  I haven’t seen a full on musical production just yet, but I’m sure we’ll catch a glimpse after the Thanksgiving holiday.  I know it’s not Macy’s Christmas Spectacular, but I do recommend checking it out if you are in the area :)

Mashable ~ “35 Career Goals” ~ Know your strengths, weaknesses, when to say no, and just know you.  Too often we start to say things about ourselves that aren’t true (are we detail-oriented or do we just want to be detail-oriented?)  Pick a side project, get involved, learn how to delegate and try something that scares you. 

The Muse ~ “13 ‘Crazy’ Interview Questions That Awesome Companies Will Ask” ~ Well, if that’s any indication of the complexity of the applications, I’m not sure if I’m ready for the likes of Google or Apple just yet.  Let me also say that my answer to one of the Tournament of Roses Court questions – what’s your favorite class? – was “lunch”.  Yeah that’s a real winner Kaitlin.  Obviously didn’t get asked back and probably got an eye roll and talking to from my mom.  What can I say?  I’m a keeper. 

Elle ~ “The Case Against Career Ambition

Ali on the Run ~ Just her blog in general makes me happy.  I’m slightly biased since we share a birthday.  Naw, she’s just real and it’s amazing.

The College Prepster ~ “4 Ways to Break Your Digital Addiction” ~ Boy, isn’t this one true.  Let’s just say that my phone is at 49% by noon most days.  More often than not, I feel like stranded without my phone.  No means of getting in touch, scheduling with others or even my own schedule (sad but I live through my iCalendar), etc.  But then there is another part of me that feels relieved.  As if I don’t have to respond to anything and it’s a way of saying get out and do something different.  There are many times that I think to myself (while scrolling through some stupid app while watching TV), that I’m wasting my brainpower.  Isn’t that sad?  People used to read books and educate themselves or learn a new skill.  I sit and scroll and swipe and respond to things.  I’ll probably add something related to this in my 2016 resolutions but for now, I’ll just try to be more mindful. 


^^ Thanks Coach Brian for being an epic runner who can not only run a marathon, but have enough energy and stamina to run around the water coolers taking pictures of all of us and then go off and chase down whoever he was running with or pacing.  That’s what we call #beastmode.

Dinners with friends are hands down the best.  Especially when you get to eat at places like The Cellar – a restaurant in Beecher’s Cheese Place.


^^ world’s best mac & cheese + kale & red peppers mac + harvest flatbread


^^ PUMPKIN PUMPKIN PUMPKIN CHEESECAKE.  Seasonal selections for the win.

Volunteering for work means catching glimpses of Neil Patrick Harris, Taylor Schilling (aka Piper), Sharon Stone, Kathy Griffin (who is actually hilarious), Common, Kelly Ripa (tiny tiny thing), Chris Noth (Mr. Big), Zachary Quinto, and my favorite –  Anderson Cooper.  It also means listening to stories about individuals like you and me, making big changes in the world and giving back way beyond belief.  I’m talking about CNN Heroes, which will be broadcast on Sunday December 6th at 8pm ET.  I highly highly recommend watching this.  You might need a box of tissues as well.

Buzzfeed ~ “13 Reasons Thanksgiving is Not a Holiday for the Weak” ~ TRUTH

IMG_3420Have a fabulous weekend, enjoy the week of the turkey, and share your love and thanks near and wide!

when friends come to town

When friends come to town, you decided to check out all the restaurants and plays that you have had on your list for ages, but just haven’t gotten around to.  You walk all over Manhattan in search of nothing in particular, but just a means of catching up and seeing all the sights. This last weekend I had one of my good college friends, Alexis, fly out from California to spend some time soaking in the amazing east coast fall.  While she arrived in a storm (no literally, there were rainstorms and overcast skies for two days), the sun came out and we managed for two glorious days in the city.

Friday turned out to be surprisingly packed, so I had to scrap the leaving early on-time plan.  Since Alexis is always good at sampling different cuisine, I decided to take her to Jeepney, a Filipino joint in the East Village.  I had been there once before and really decided on it because they served Ube ice cream for dessert, which was one of Alexis’s favorite.

When we had arrived, the hostess said there was supposed to be a 90 minute wait for a table.  Since my hunger levels would have turned to hanger levels in that time frame, we opted for bar seating and may have had more fun in doing so.  There we could watch as the bartender whipped up drink after drink, topped with various orange peel and berry art.  I wasn’t in the mood to drink, but really should have at least asked about their virgin selection.  Those juice combinations would have tasted mighty fine.  Ah well, all the more reason to go back.

IMG_3466 ^^ One great thing about friends, especially good friends, is that they are generally open to ordering and splitting a couple different items.  This means sampling more of the cuisine at half the price and still leaving room for dessert.  Entree #1 Bicol Express {slow-roasted pork shoulder, coconut milk, sili, bagoong sauce, vigan longganisa, pickled chilies and baby bok choy} and a baby pot pie.  Double thumbs up for the bicol express with the savory sauce and tender meat.   I wasn’t as much of a fan of the pot pie or bao buns we sampled, but such is life.


^^ The real reason we ate there.  Because it’s normal to center a meal around dessert.

On Saturday we slept in (try 9.5 hours of sleep!!! unheard of and evident that my body was still recovering from Monday’s red-eye), I went for a run, and then it was off to explore Manhattan.  I took her down to one of my favorite bagel shops (since Ess-A is no longer close by) Tompkin’s Square Bagels, where we drooled over the selection of sandwiches and spreads.

IMG_3471 ^^ Whole wheat everything w/ cream cheese + lox for her and whole wheat everything with blueberry cream cheese for me.  Deeeeelish and not to mention beyond filling.  Thank goodness we were banking on walking the rest of the day.

IMG_3470  No cookies were purchased on this venture, but it makes me smile when I see black-and-white cookies in every store.  Such a symbol of New York.  The rest of the day was honestly spent walking all around the city and if my FitBit were working and syncing properly with my phone, I would be able to tell you all the steps we took, miles we walked, and calories burned ;)

IMG_8191 IMG_8195 IMG_8201 ^^ Both of us agreed that the west village is where it is at, especially with the quaint looking brownstones and lovely fall leaves.  Alexis was just glad that she could wear a winter coat and dress up for cooler weather since cooler weather is rarely a thing in California.

IMG_8202 IMG_8205

Who wants to even guess how much it would cost to live in one of these apartments?  Maybe my life savings?

IMG_8211^^ Since we had eaten our bagels around brunch time, we skipped out on a full lunch meal and decided to regroup, warm our hands, and charge my phone inside a Starbucks. This happened to be my FIRST red cup of the season (despite the changing temps, I have always gone for the good ‘ol iced cold brew) and don’t see what all the controversy is about.  Anyways, a new favorite combo >> skim peppermint mocha with only 2 pumps peppermint and make it extra hot :)


Got to love me some Snoopy and Macy’s :) Avoiding some of the chaos, we made our way through Herald Square (NOT my favorite place in town) and up to Bryant Park where the ice skating rink and holiday shops are already open for business.  Luckily for us we managed to take a picture right before the sun set, then continued to walk around and decide on a place for dinner.  Oh if we weren’t planning to go eat a full meal later, I would have taken to buying a snack or two from the vendors because the smells were so inviting.

IMG_8216 IMG_8217 ^^ I still don’t know what that delectable concoction is/was but I will make it my goal to get someone to go back to Bryant Park with me and split one before the holiday season is over.

IMG_8220^^ Not the best quality photo buuuuuut we ate ETHIOPIAN FOOD!  I have never been to an Ethiopian restaurant and was actually baffled at the selection on the menu.  I let Alexis do the deciding and we ended up with a meat combo and veggie combo, all atop this spongey pancake.  They don’t even provide utensils and the trick is to use the pancake in order to scoop up the toppings.

So.darn.tasty and I have to say, it’s pretty cool to explore the different cuisines in the city.  After all, that is something NYC is known for and I tend to stick to my Chipotle and Bareburger.  Once we had digested a bit more, we set off in search of the musical theatre by Lincoln Center.

IMG_8222Though this is a true classic, I had never seen it, not even the movie, so this was quite the treat!  We had picked up tickets at the TKTS booth by South Street (lower Manhattan) so the tickets were 50% off and right near the orchestra!  Originally we had tried to see “An American in Paris”, but all the Saturday tickets had been sold.  Anyways, who knew they had broadway productions outside of Times Square and at Lincoln Center?  (Don’t answer that.  That may have just been me…)

IMG_3472 Since we were watching the musical at Lincoln Center, we decided to drop by Magnolia’s to complete a day of eats with a little sweet banana pudding.  Because when in Rome New York, right? I probably should stop using that excuse since I live here and work right by a Magnolias.  Or not.

“Friendship is always a sweet responsibility, never an opportunity.” – Khalil Gibran

NP-LAX, Family Time, and a Wedding

First up, a big thank you to all of our veterans, those who have served and who are serving today.  I appreciate your courage and dedication to this nation.

Looking back, this weekend all seems like a blur.  I flew out on Thursday night and was able to take Friday off of work.  There was an epic hill workout with November Project Los Angeles, coffee and shopping with mom, the new James Bond movie with the parents, and oh, a wedding!

IMG_3347 ^^ Whenever I’m home, I try to walk and hike as much as possible.  Sure, exploring the streets of New York keeps me going, but views like this sure trump the increasing homeless population in Union Square.

IMG_3349^^ My friend Laura and I may have gotten lost on our morning hike, but the views were worth the extra half hour detour. (^ photo creds to Laura’s iPhone 6)


^^ After the hike, Laura and I met up with our other two friends for a little carbo loading before the wedding.  I went for Dish’s selection of pumpkin pancakes, bacon (eh, I’ve had better), and over-easy eggs.  Of the lot, I would say the highlight was the maple butter on top of the pancakes.  I’m not a huge fan of big breakfasts (or pancakes for that matter…lapse in judgement and sold on the holiday aspect), but it was fun to meet up with friends and catch up.  My random thought from the morning was that unless you spread the butter evenly on the bottom pancake, it gets far less love and doesn’t taste nearly as good as the top.  So here’s to the bottom pancake.

Later on in the afternoon, it was time to paint my nails, get ready, and head over with some girl friends to the first wedding of our friend group.  These two have been dating since high school and are THE CUTEST.  It wasn’t a matter of if they would get married, but rather, when.  Honestly, there were tears and laughter, the whole shebang.


^^ The entire family is beyond crafty (#lifegoals) and made a majority of the signs and structures (note the epic contraption below, which was used as the backdrop of the wedding ceremony)

Processed with VSCOcam with p5 preset

>> west coast to east coast love <<

IMG_3393 ^^ High school mini-reunion basically better than any reunion we will be having in the near future.

Once the ceremony was over, we moved our way inside to test out the special “His” and “Her” drinks >> Dark & Spicy (dark rum, allspice dream, ginger beer, lime) and Greyhound (gin, ruby red, grapefruit juice) and explore the seating.  The dinner menu was on point with family style platters filled with chicken, grilled vegetables, steak and chimichurri sauce.


^^ COOLHAUS COOKIE BAR FOR THE WIN.  This baby was made up of the snackfood cookie (pretzel and potato chips similar to this recipe), gluten-free coconut almond chip, and candied bacon ice cream.  The true winner ice cream was the seasonal boozy selection, which was a take on a cherry manhattan.

{cookie options included: chocolate chip, coconut almond chip, ginger, and snackfood w/ ice cream options: balsamic fig & mascarpone, seasonal boozy, nutella almond, brown butter, and candied bacon}

Their wedding was beyond amazing.  The food, the atmosphere, and decor.


^^ How adorable of an ending.  The two met in orchestra back in junior high, hence the music note.  Then the truffles were made by a little venezuelen chocolate store in Pasadena.  Absolutely DELISH.


^^ Sunday called for a walk with the Bodie man, a walk with a college friend, and a few foodie finds at the local Sprouts market.  I’m a sucker for overpriced health items, but this gem was a steal and oh so tasty.

Later in the afternoon, I played a round of golf with the parents, helped make dinner back at home, and then it was off to take a red-eye back to NYC.  There’s really no good way to get back and forth from west coast to east coast.  At one point in my life I thought I would be open to traveling for business.  After countless flights this year, a couple red eyes down and a few more to go, I don’t know if I’d like that lifestyle.  But, never say never.

“The real act of marriage takes place in the heart, not in the ballroom or church or synagogue. It’s a choice you make – not just on your wedding day, but over and over again – and that choice is reflected in the way you treat your husband or wife.” — Barbara de Angelis

LA Eats: The Village Bakery and Cafe

Though I am from Southern California, I have spent very little time outside the realm of Pasadena.  No exploring of the hipster coffee shops, countless hiking trails, and nifty hole in the wall treasures.  Well, now that I’ve made that my life out in New York (exploring as MUCH as possible), I figured I would give California a chance to shine through, even in the unfamiliar territory across town.


When I was home over the summer, I took my mom to the Wednesday November Project – Los Angeles workout at the Hollywood Bowl.  I was able to work via my cellphone (woohoo technology) and my mom was off for the summer, so we decided to splurge and find a breakfast treat nearby.

IMG_1026 ^^ Obsession with tiles much?  But really, these stones remind me of the architecture style you see all throughout Santa Barbara.  Something about that mission style and flair.


^^ My mom had taken my grandma to this village bakery & cafe and thought I would love it just as much.  How can you not fall in love with the exterior and bright colors?


Inside you will find an extensive menu and bakery items.  The menu is perfect for breakfast, snack, lunch, or dinner.  I was even eyeing some of the sweet treats for later, because #willrunforsugar. 

IMG_1037 ^^ Like I said, how can you not fall in love with this vast array of pastries?  Usually I pass up on some of the muffins and breads, but with an array like this, I could have sampled each and every one.

Some of the favorites include the maple bacon scone, olive oil cake, and various bars. Don’t they just look divine?


^^ Even the interior has a certain charm with the communal tables, bright paintings, and iron-like chairs. In some ways, I want to say “it’s so L.A.”, but I’ll have to spend some time figuring out exactly what that means ;)


^^ My mom stuck to a simple scone and latte, while I sampled the granola, fruit, and yogurt combo – filling and oh so satisfactory.

And of course it wouldn’t have been right to leave without sampling something extra buttery and delicious.  We did workout after all ;) #s’moresbarearned

IMG_1043Village Bakery & Cafe
3119 Los Feliz Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90039
M-F: 8am-7pm
Sat-Sun: 8am-4pm

*Make sure you check the streets for information on street cleaning! You don’t want to find yourself with a parking ticket!

Life of Late ~ 11.6.15

Keeping it short and sweet this week.  1 – It’s my half birthday.  Good times.  2 – I’m spending the weekend at home for a couple of high school friend’s wedding and then it’s back to NYC for a week and back to California for Thanksgiving.  3 – I booked my travels awhile ago and while it seemed like a good idea to take such a long time at home (+working in the LA office), of course all the fun events are just NOW getting scheduled. Ah well, live and learn.

For now, it’s a little R&R with the family, quality walks with the dog, and studying for that stupid media math test again.   Yep, I don’t like tests and tests don’t like me.  But I am grateful for the people I work with and their desire to help me grow and be a better sales planner.

IMG_3185^^ Last week’s impromptu outfits.  Twinning

IMG_3178^^ Food, food, food for days.  Taking a stroll through town led me to Broadway Bites – a selection of pop up restaurants selling everything from paella to pad thai, doughnuts to burritos.  While I didn’t end up buying anything, I couldn’t help but snap a picture of this Spanish selection, something that I was almost sure to find if I flew back to Barcelona right now.  Oh paella, patatas bravas, and churro


If you follow me on Instagram, you will surely see that I have gone overboard on pictures of fall and pictures from Sunday’s marathon.  No shame.  Just reliving some excellent weather and excellent memories.

IMG_2999 ^^ Last year I highlighted the Greenwich Village Bluestone Lane and its fabulous Aussie brunch.  But when word got out that there is a pop-up location around Bryant Park AND now at Central Park (outside Engineer’s Gate), I HAD to test it out. My life and my wallet have been changed.


^^ This is what I’m talking about.  Avocado toast with feta + prosciutto.  Who needs a Lenny’s sandwich when you have this?

IMG_3263^^ Early morning workouts in Central Park.  Last Friday’s November Project workout was at the Bethesda Fountain, right by the Boathouse.  While I do adore the hustle and bustle, sometimes the best moments are when there is practically no one awake and the sun is just starting to rise.  Oh and of course you are working out amongst your best friends ;)


^^ Fall brought to you by Central Park. Isn’t it lovely?

Strava ~ “The NYC Marathon” ~ Can’t get enough, right?  Check out some of our tribe members features in the article!  Woohoo Feeny and her first marathon!

Tech Insider ~ “I woke up at 4:30 a.m. to try this free workout — and I can’t wait to go back” ~ Seriously, lots and lots of traction.  How about showing up for this weekend’s Better than Bedtime event?  Just show up ;)


What’s new with you?