I have a confession to make…

I visited Amsterdam with my girlfriends and for the most part, it was all a dream. Literally! Amsterdam had so much to offer when it comes to the Arts and it is home to some of the best museums in the world. For the most part, we squandered the opportunity to enjoy this history and art away. How was it squandered away you might ask? Special Cake… But I will get to that later.

In my opinion, Amsterdam is not a thriving culinary city, and we spent half of our first evening there searching for a suitable place to eat. We settled on a pub that offered shepherd’s pie and french onion soup to get us by. After dinner, we headed straight to the red light district! It was everything that I thought It would be and more. The red light district was full of streets lined with sex shops, peep shows and women posing casually in windows of walk up brownstones waiting for you to make an offer. No photography was allowed of the ladies in the windows, but they were not shy and their intentions were very clear.

Later that night, we stopped by a coffee shop for dessert and stumbled upon what the locals call “special cake”. Amsterdam is famous for its free spirit and long time legalization of weed. It comes in all forms, and one of the most common ways that it is served in Amsterdam is in baked goods. So back to dessert… We had coffee and cake at the Damkring and that is all I can remember about Amsterdam until our last day and our visit to the Anne Frank Museum.

My friend Avital’s father, Fred Spiegel is a Holocaust survivor and author, and because of his ties to the Anne Frank foundation, we were able to walk right into the museum and house to enjoy the tour. As you can see from the photo below, the line gets pretty long very early, so it is recommended that you purchase tickets online before going. You can also purchase them up to two months in advance.

Unfortunately, we did not go inside of the Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum, or the Rembrandt House. Blame it on the “special cake”. According to my photos, we walked by and I do know that we had a great time! Amsterdam is a great hub to other countries in Europe by plane or by train. We took a roundtrip flight to Rome for $85 from Amsterdam. When we came back, we took the train from the airport to the Hague for about 10 euro and stayed for a couple of days. We explored the North Sea and ate amazing Argentinan food by the beach. I must go back!

So to recap, you have your four must see museum’s in Amsterdam, be sure to check out Fred Spiegel’s book Once the Acacias Bloomed and if all else fails with food, eat pomme frities and waffles!

At the end of the week, I will be traveling to Europe with my In- laws, so be sure to follow my travels on instagram and catch my instastories for the details.

Live, Love, Travel…


8 Essential Items for Long Flights

8 Essential items to keep you comfortable on long economy fare flights…

I reached out to a travel agent at the end of the Summer to start planning for me and my husband’s dream vacation to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary coming up in February. We are not going to take the trip until April. The flight is 24 hours plus, so we want to be comfortable. We are thinking, we have plenty of time to pay the trip off, let’s splurge and get those nice first class cabins. Not!!! We received a quote of $4,800 per seat for business class. There will be no luxury cabins on this ride. We will pass. To the back of the plane we go!

We are not going to let small seats and an overly long flight keep us from taking two tickets to paradise! We got creative with our flight itinerary and managed to get a day layover each way in a great destination that we have never been to before. This will allow us to not spend as much time on the plane at once and turn what would have been one vacation into two.

Now here is what you need to make it work. We are flying Turkish airways for this flight that we will take in April, but some of the economy airlines do not provide anything in return for low prices on fares. Some do not even provide snacks or drinks, so pack protein bars, trail mix and buy beverages once you have passed through security to take with you on the plane.

8 Essential Items to make your long flight comfortable

1). Travel Pillow:  Travel Pillow $9.99

2). Fleece Throw Blanket:  Fleece Throw Blanket $2.99

3). Ipad (I prefer the iPad so that you can save your battery on your cell phone and listen to music, read books and watch movies that you have downloaded if there is no entertainment provided on the plane).

4). Bose noise cancelling headphones (they offer great surround sound and cancel out the loud noise from the plane and the people around you).

5). External cell phone charger: $7.99

6). Infinity Travel Scarf (keep your passport and wallet on you in a comfortable place while you sleep on the plane).

7). Personal Hygiene kit (freshen up with a toothbrush, mouthwash, hand sanitizer and wet wipes to wash your hands, and a hair tie to keep your hair in place). $5.49

8). An Eye Mask to shut the light out in case someone near you wants to turn the light on and read or raise their shade. $5.99

Passport Covers

My very own line of leather custom passport covers for ladies who love to travel!

 Many of you may know, but some of you may not know that I have owned and operated an online clothing and accessory boutique called Ivy & Vine Clothing Company since August 2015. Ivy & Vine carries unique accessories for women and girls as well as t-shirts that I have designed.

I love to travel, hence the travel blog, and have carried a line of passport covers since opening the store. As an entrepreneur, my goal is always to create new concepts and expand my brand while feeding my passion.

My motto for the blog, as well as one of the shirts that I have designed for Ivy & Vine is “Live, Love, Travel”… So many of us are on this quest at different stages in our lives. When I started my international travel journey in 2005, I was a carefree single woman in my mid 20’s living life. I was also on a quest to find love. My two pain priorities were to see the world and find a husband! I sold my home in Alabama, moved my things into storage and took a job as a contract therapist. I was able to work in any state including the caribbean for a minimum of 3 months at a time. If that does not make the playing and travel field wide open, I don’t know what does! My work/ travel journey took me to New Jersey/ New York, Chicago, San Diego then Atlanta. Between my assignment in San Diego and Atlanta, I decided to take a month off to travel to South America and a few other countries. I was getting a little discouraged at this point. All of my girlfriends were in serious relationships, and I had been to all of these places and could not make it pass two good dates with a guy. I decided to just let love go and live my life and travel. If love was meant to come my way, it would. I took my trips and came back to Atlanta and got ready to start my new contract assignment. The night before I started my job, I met a guy (my husband) but he lived in Florida! We hit it off immediately and we were forced to really become friends and get to know each other from afar since it was long distance. I worked my contract out from April through July and moved to Florida where he was to see if it would work out at the end of July. This is where we bring the love back in to my life! He proposed to me that September and the rest is history. We will celebrate our 10 year wedding anniversary on February 3rd. He did not have a passport when we met, but he had a desire to travel and the fact that I already did was something that he loved. He got his passport right away and we have been living, loving and traveling together since we met. He also knew that it was important to me to take my vacations with my girlfriends. He respected that and has never objected to me taking trips without him. That is very important when it comes to finding a mate. They should respect your love for travel.

My story brings me back to my passport cover design. I created it as a way to remind you of the importance of travel, no matter where you are on your journey. Whether you are single and doing solo travel, going on a much needed girls vacation, or a romantic getaway with your spouse. Live your best life, love who you are, the people around you and take the time to travel.

This line of passport covers is also dedicated to my fellow Greek sisters. I am a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated. The covers are available in the colors of each sorority so that you can represent and have Greek pride while traveling abroad. The passport covers are available at

I have created a discount code just for my readers in honor of my founders day. Use code “livelovetravel” from now through January 15th to receive 40% off the passport covers.

I hope that your 2017 is off to a great start and that you are planning to travel!




And why it is cheaper to order red wine than coke…

I visited Rome while on a girls vacation, and we ate our way through the city! We flew to Rome from Amsterdam roundtrip for $85 on American Airlines. It is always a great idea to have a little extra time on your hands while visiting Europe so that you can take advantage of the low airfare deals that may be available. I just came across a deal today on Vueling that offered one way flights to select cities for 14 euros.

When it comes to transportation and getting around the city, location is everything. We stayed at the Turner Hotel which was located in the heart of Rome, within walking distance of many historic sites including the Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain and Via Veneto. The Colosseum, Roman Forum, Piazza Navona and fine stores of Via Condotti were also located nearby. We took the bus to the Pantheon from the hotel for free and we were able to walk to all of the other monuments and attractions for the day from there.

While in Rome, if you make the Pantheon your starting point for the morning, here are the main attractions that you can see for the day that are in walking distance.

  • Trevi Fountain
  • Spanish Steps
  • Galleria Borghese Museum
  • Navona Square/Piazza Navona
  • Colosseum
  • Palatine
  • Pantheon
  • Forum Romanum/Roman Forum

Gelato shops and sidewalk cafe’s that serve, cappuccino, pizza and pasta line almost every street in Rome. Food is plentiful and ready at any time. We enjoyed scoops of Gelato and slices of pizza for 1 euro each during the day and enjoyed dining at Trattoria’s and Ristorante’s at night.

A Ristorante is a restaurant. Here you’ll find the ambiance a bit formal or at least the decor is thought out and cohesive. Tables are usually dressed in linen; tableware and china all match. Waiters are professional and knowledgeable. The menu is usually extensive and the food is often inventive. Expect to pay for all this service. At dinner this night at a ristorante is where I found out that it was much cheaper to order a glass of red wine than it was to order a coke. I have never been a red wine drinker, but the wine was flowing this night. I opted for coke. At the end of the dinner when the bill came, there was a charge for 10 euro. That was for my coke and a refill. The wine went for 3 euros per carafe. When in Rome!!!

A Trattoria is a small, family-run eatery that often serves a few choice regional dishes (think carbonara), with many of the recipes past down from generation to generation. Mom or grandma usually cooks. Dad handles the cash register. The kids wait tables. Decor can range from neat and comfortable to a “hole in the wall.” Prices are usually much less than a ristorante. In the pictures below at this Trattoria, the dessert selections were left out on a table in the middle of the room for you to choose from. After you made your selection, your server brought you a fresh one out from the back to enjoy.

I recommend that you book your tour for the Vatican City in advance and leave yourself enough time to enjoy the Sistine Chapel. TripAdvisor is a great resource for tours and reviews, but don’t just click on the first package that you see with a nice price point. We had an amazing tour guide who was an American exchange student, studying religion in Rome. He offered free tours of the Vatican as a way to practice teaching. We all gave him a tip at the end of our tour and it was very detailed, but most important, we could understand what he was saying!

Shopping in Rome was on point. There were street vendors outside of our hotel that sold leather handbags and shoes for as low as 20 euro and there were perfume shops on every corner set up like pharmacies that sold fragrances that had not even been released in the US yet for half the price.

Between the plane ticket to get there, splitting the hotel room 4 ways, food and entrance fees to the museums, this 3 day, two night trip to Rome cost me about $225 including the taxi ride to and from the airport.

If Rome is not on your list, it should be, and you should always take a little time for the possibility to see more while in Europe. You never know where you could go!


Live, love, travel…