Category Archives: florida

One 2017 Bucket List Item

Before we jump to the fun plans of each of our bucket list items for 2017, I wanted to share something more personal. 2016 was a very difficult year for me in terms of heartbreak and loss and I have felt the grief and despair that I believe Anita experienced too. Without the care, friendships and love from friends and family, I feel certain that she and I would have shared a similar fate. Those around me knew how much I was hurting and really pulled me through the darkness. It is my hope that anyone who feels helpless seeks the help they need. Life isn’t a sprint – it’s a marathon and there’s always lessons to live through and learn from.

In 2013, the travel blogging world lost Anita Mac, and many of us lost a friend. Anita inspired each of us in different ways with her huge, welcoming smile, eagerness to help, colorful fashion sense, as well as a shoulder to cry on and a willingness to comfort and listen. For many of us, Anita comes to mind almost daily, but most often during our travels, so each year since her death, our goal has been to honor her in some way. We want to pick up where she left off, as her blog focused on bucket list travel, so we are going to dedicate an item from our own bucket list to her during 2017.


Beautiful Anita – you’re gone but not ever forgotten

We hope this reminds our readership of the wonderful world we live in, how we can all experience it, and how fragile life can be. For Anita, we pledge this for 2017:

Where in the World is Lola? (moi)

This past year I didn’t have a bucket list item for Anita but I guess my own personal yearly bucket list wish is to always travel somewhere new. I can happily say that did happen in 2016. I traveled to the Dominican Republic and was able to donate some of my time helping those in need there. Otherwise, 2016 was a pretty quiet year for me travel-wise. I’m hoping 2017 will be a bit more active.

Lola with Stay Adventurous and The World Wanderer on a cruise to the Dominican Republic

Lola with Stay Adventurous and The World Wanderer on a cruise to the Dominican Republic

I am starting off my year headed back to New Orleans and cannot wait. Other than that, I have no firm travel plans as of yet. I think I would like to prioritize traveling with some of my travel buddies somewhere – new or old! Some thoughts I have are Scotland and Vietnam but I’m open to anything so long as it is with people who are near and dear to me. Anita would love this. She loved us all being together as a group. Her last trip was, in fact, a group trip with several travel gals to Montreal. So, I hope you’ll consider planning an adventure together with me (you know who you are!).

Montreal shenanigans - miss you Anita

Montreal shenanigans – miss you Anita

Traveling Ted

In less than two months I will be traveling to Anita’s hometown. This is the second time I have visited since she passed away. When I met her at TBEX in Toronto, and I told her I might be skiing the Gatineau Loppet, she invited me to stay with her. When I finally did make it to Gatineau, which is right across the river from Ottawa, Ontario, Anita had already passed. I sadly spent most of my time alone. This year I will be returning to the region to ski in the Canadian Ski Marathon.

The fact that I am returning to Canada actually has nothing to do with my bucket list item for 2017.  I am psyched to return to Anita’s homeland, but that is not my 2017 bucket list item. The Canadian Ski Marathon is an endurance race where participants partake in two days of skiing totaling 100 miles. If the number one travel experience I was looking forward to in 2017 was to ski myself into complete exhaustion, then I would be insane. I just needed a hook to tie in travel and Anita. Now that you are honed in on my bucket list, and wondering what the hell it is, I am going to switch gears from cross-country skiing and Canada, but not too far away.

Me after skiing the Gatineau Loppet near Anita's home, but this photo has nothing to do with my 2017 bucket list item

Ted after skiing the Gatineau Loppet near Anita’s home, but this photo has nothing to do with his 2017 bucket list item

Since I am quite sane, my 2017 bucket list item is to visit Maine, and I am pretty sure it is going to happen. I have signed up to join Bullmoose Patrol on a wilderness canoe trip in October on the Allagash River. I have never been to Maine, so I hope to see some moose, breathtaking fall colors, catch and eat some fresh fish, canoe a beautiful river, and drink some Allagash beer near its source. I am quite certain Anita would approve of all the above.

Adventure on!

Follow Ted’s travels on his blog Traveling Ted

The World Wanderer

In 2016, my bucket list plan was to hike Patagonia. At the time, I had only made tentative plans with friends, and those plans eventually fell through. Since I lived most of the year off of my savings, it wasn’t an ideal time to make the trek to South America, so last year’s bucket list item didn’t happen, although I did made it to Colombia in December.
Erin road tripping the USA

Erin road tripping the USA

This year, I am going to try to be a little more realistic with my goal, so my plan is to finish off my states in the United States. If I take two road trips or one major one, I will be able to check off 13 states in the contiguous United States. That will leave me with Alaska, which could be a more difficult one to finish up in 2017, but I am going to try. I think Anita would love this goal of seeing my home country, and she’d sure love the adventures to be had in Alaska. I think it’s the perfect way to honor her.
Follow Erin’s wanderings on her blog The World Wanderer

Stay Adventurous

Craig fly fishing in the Florida Keys

Craig fly fishing in the Florida Keys

With a singular fly cast out into the flats of the upper Florida Keys backcountry, I smiled, not solely because I realized a dream, a bucket list item, but because I also completed my 2016 dedication to Anita. I really owe a lot to my friend Scott,  who not only helped make it happen and also snapped the image I shared on Instagram (which has captured the most likes of the year for me).  Next year he promised we will catch one.
Beaches of Central America

Beaches of Central America

So now as I look towards 2017, I am staring at the snow falling in Lake Wallenpaupack and I am debating a winter adventure. Yet my recent trip Belize reminds me how much of the Americas I have still yet to explore. So for 2017, I plan to visit a NEW destination and a NEW place somewhere on one of the American continents. Maybe I’ll return south of the border, find my way to a winter adventure, or both. Wherever it takes me, this year I plan to discover (more of) the Americas.
Follow Craig’s adventures on his blog StayAdventurous


We encourage you to join us in this quest and take on at least one Bucket List item in 2017, but more importantly, we also hope you take the opportunity to (re)connect with friends and loved ones during this holiday season and throughout the year.

The purpose for writing this post is not only to inspire others to travel the world and explore, but as a way for us to remind all of you who are reading this post to look around you, see who you can reach out to and possibly help reach their goals and feel supported and loved. Our friend and fellow traveler, Anita took her life because she didn’t see any other options, we don’t want anyone else to feel that way.

Please share the momentum.


Filed under bucket list, dominican republic, florida, Maine, travel, USA

The Top 6 Florida Beaches

The Beach is that WAY!


Why not head down to Florida this summer? Goodness knows, it is one of Lola’s favorite places for several reasons. Most importantly, the Sunshine State is home to some of the world’s top beaches and resorts. No matter what’s on your vacation check-list, there is definitely a beach here for you. Pack your beach hats and sunscreen because we are going on a tour of Lola’s top 6 Florida beaches!

 South Beach

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What’s a Florida beach story without mentioning the infamous and chic South Beach?  SoBe is a universal playground offering non-stop dining, luxurious hotels, high-end shopping and killer nightlife. No wonder celebrities, jetsetters and vacation lovers have made this beach one of the hottest and most popular places to visit in Miami (and all of Florida!).  Not to mention, it’s walking distance to my favorite luxury swimwear  store, The Orchid Boutique!

Panama City Beach

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I hope you are ready for Spring Break!  This beach is one of the most well-known Florida gathering spots for college kids, especially during Spring Break and other holiday break months.  There are plenty beach-side activities to do along the shores and don’t forget the nightlife!  I guess the Las Vegas adage can definitely apply here: “Whatever happens in Panama City stays in Panama City…” Bring over your friends (and killer Brazilian bikinis) and get ready to party! PS…once upon a time this was MY playground!!

Fort Lauderdale

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Fort-Lauderdale’s proximity to South Beach makes this beach too often overlooked, especially considering how UN-crowded it is.  In the past, this beach was recognized as another hotspot for beach-crazed Spring Breakers. However, the tides have turned and this beach is now celebrated for its family oriented environment and budget-friendly ambience. Most of the resorts in Fort-Lauderdale even offer much lower rates than its more popular neighbor, South Beach.  Fort Lauderdale also has great beachfront dining, clear waters and a fantastic nightlife scene. Sounds tres bon to moi!

Naples Beach

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One of my favorite things about Naples Beach is its gorgeous long pier that is seems to extend endlessly out into the horizon. Not only does the pier have a nostalgic country-feel on one side, but on the other, there are beachfront mansions on Millionaires’ Row that are always amazing to gawk at.  In addition, most Naples residents will boast at how soft the sand is on their beaches (and trust me, it really is!) with the soft sand, a gorgeous pier that provides incredible sunset vantage point and beachfront views of the lifestyles of the rich and famous, who wouldn’t want to travel here for a beach vacay?! HELLO sugar daddy!

Key West

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Located at Florida’s southern-most tip, the beaches on Key West are absolutely breath-taking! It has the ideal clear-blue waters to spend the day swimming, fishing and snorkeling.  And here’s an added bonus: you can do these activities alongside the famous Fort Zachary Taylor historical landmark! Better yet, you can make a road-trip out of the drive down to Key West with your friends and family. Be sure not to miss out on the scenic views on your way to Key West. I can see myself crusin’ in a convertible with the top down right about now!

Sanibel Island Beach

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It’s hard to find a beach with calmer waters than on Sanibel Island.  Its true claim to fame is the beach’s abundance of shells on its shores.  Spend an afternoon collecting them is an activity that Sanibel Island locals call “shelling.” One of Lola’s favorite pastimes…makes a pretty souvenir!

Now that I’ve dished out the details on my favorite Florida Beaches, you’ll need to pack accordingly to be ready for a fun, tropical vacation at any one of these hotspots! Check out the exclusive swimwear and resort wear outfits, courtesy of The Orchid Boutique, that Lola recommends you add to your packing list:


SoBe/Ft Lauderdale

This swimsuit and cover-up duo are perfect for the South Beach scene or Ft. Lauderdale where you may find yourself going from an afternoon at the beach to early evening cocktails at the bar!

panama city

Since it’s a youthful crowd on the beaches of Panama City, you probably want to sport a swimsuit that’s comfortable yet cute!


Love the bright colors in this cover-up. To me, it says sexy & sophisticated, which is everything Naples captures!

Key West

Key West always conjures up classic novels and old movies. It must be because it was once home to Ernest Hemingway and the set of many Hollywood films. This retro swimsuit and colorful bag would fit right in!


Sanibel Island is renowned for its shells so a smart but sassy monokini would be a practical choice. You’ll need a sunhat to cover your face and shoulders if you’re going to hunt long for those beautiful treasures from the sea!


Filed under fashion, florida, miami, travel

Four Seasons Miami – Reasons to Escape South Beach

If you know ANYTHING about Lola, you know I LOVE Miami and I’m a beach girl completely. However, on my last visit to Miami, I got the opportunity to visit the gorgeous Four Seasons Hotel Miami in the trendy & hopping Brickell neighborhood away from the beach. I have to say, I was most impressed with this stunning property. Four Seasons Miami came on the scene in 2003 and is the tallest structure south of Atlanta with its 70 floors, 221 guest rooms, residences and modern office space. Two years ago this fall, Four Seasons Miami debuted redesigned guest rooms to reflect a blend of modern European luxury with Miami’s Art Deco style and flair. Tres Bon!!

Deluxe City View Room

Four Seasons Miami is perfectly equipped in every way for the business traveler and sensibly caters to that clientele but that doesn’t mean it’s not a luxe spot for any lover of Miami. Touted as an urban retreat, on-property you will find a world-class spa and full service hair salon. Of course, there are pools AND a 50,000 square foot gym, Sports Club/LA, offering over 100 classes a week led by some of the city’s hottest instructors.

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Only 8 miles from Miami International Airport as well as a short drive to the Miami beaches and swanky shopping, you can see how Four Seasons Miami is conducive to both business and leisure travelers with discriminating taste. Listed as Conde Nast Traveler’s Readers’ Choice Awards Top 20 Hotels in Florida as well as receiving the Forbes Travel Guide Four Star Award in 2012, Four Seasons Miami leaves nothing to be desired. They have a full floor dedicated to meeting space, 24-hour complimentary business center, 24-hour room service and a kids’ club for those traveling with their brood.

Edge Main Dining Room

The “crown jewel” of the 2011 renovation is the hip and delicious EDGE, Steak & Bar. EDGE is a contemporary style steakhouse offering smaller & interesting cuts of meat, local fresh seafood and produce complemented by spices, peppers & herbs from the restaurant’s own garden. It’s definitely a destination not just for hotel guests but residents of Miami as well. The Brickell neighborhood has emerged as a “go-to” destination in Miami for fine dining, shopping and nightlife and EDGE reflects this with their trendy yet comfortable feel in stylings, drinks and menu. Showcasing a modern take on 50’s & 60’s aesthetics, EDGE is sexy and cool. The outdoor space has views of Four Seasons Miami’s 2-acre pool area, downtown Miami and pretty Biscayne Bay which are really hard to beat. The mood is further set with cozy fire pits, dancing candlelight & the surrounding greenery.

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Executive Chef Aaron Brooks has put together a FAB menu and the evening I dined with EDGE I sampled some of the restaurant’s most popular and very best. On tap for moi were 2 different delicious cocktails, The BBQ Collins – a bacon-rimmed glass with Knob Creek Bourbon, BBQ bitters, lemon sour AND The Ginger Brickell – Malibu Black, Domaine Canton Ginger, lime & coconut foam. Both interesting, different and YUMMY! As stone crabs were in season, I had to sample those served with mustard remoulade as well as oysters with mojo mignonette. EDGE likes to do unique takes on the classics and this was proven with their Edge Caesar served with a free run hen egg. Naturally, steak was in order so I tried the black angus filet mignon featured with a variety of dipping sauces – malbec jus, béarnaise and chimichurri – OUTSTANDING. Dinner was finished off with a carmel-popcorn cream, carmel ice cream and peanut powder dessert. HOLY COW!! (no pun intended)

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OH and taking a cue from Miami’s vibrant art scene, I should also mention the property’s over $3 million dollar art collection with works from local Miami and Latin American-based artists. Not to be missed, and an anchor to the collection, are 3 sculptures by celebrated artist, Fernando Botero. Four Seasons Miami is incredibly proud to be home to “Adam & Eve” and “Seated Woman”. The art collection alone might be reason enough to visit this beautiful property.

Four Seasons Miami hosted my amazing meal at EDGE, Steak & Bar. I thank them for the wonderful evening & lovely hospitality and will gladly return on my own dime for the fun and fab food.


Filed under florida, miami, swanky luxe stays, travel

Travel Style – a #FriFotos Special Edition

Stylin’ & Profilin’

Lola's #Style is #lolafied

Lola’s #STYLE is #lolafied

I’m excited to share that I’ll be co-hosting #FriFotos on Twitter this Friday, April 26. In case you aren’t clear what #FriFotos is exactly, it’s a 24-hour chat that trends internationally. People worldwide share their photos that match the week’s theme and you can play along if you’re on Twitter or Instagram by following the #FriFotos hashtag and including it in your Tweets with your photos.

The usual hosts will be there: @FriFotos who can also be tweeted to as @TravelDesigned, @EpsteinTravels & @CharlesYap. I’m sharing co-hosting with ooo lala @purplepassport AND you can find me @LolaDiMarco. NOW onto this week’s theme. After a little discussion we decided on #STYLE. I think this is a fantastic topic for #FriFotos because it can apply to lots of things with regard to travel. Like is your #STYLE solo travel, backpacker or luxe? Is your accommodation #STYLE swanky, hip or budget? What’s your travel food #STYLE or even libations #STYLE? You get my point, right?! #STYLE is about the LIFESTYLE of travel too. Of course, I think the more creative the better and to help inspire you I’ve put together some ideas to show you LOLA’S TRAVEL #STYLE.



Theres no doubt about it. My travel #STYLE involves lots and lots of PINK wherever I can pull it off!

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Lola’s drink #STYLE of choice is COCKTAILS

Seen here are a Dark & Stormy at The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas, Ultimate Gin & Tonic at SLS Beverly Hills, CA, 3 different versions of Negronis at Four Seasons Florence, Italy & the delicious Eastern Standard at Soho Beach House, Miami.

my travel #Style most certainly includes luxury hotel stays

my travel #STYLE most certainly includes LUXURY hotel stays

Don’t know what your #STYLE is for accommodations but mine’s definitely one where I’m looking for something special! These properties absolutely fit the special #STYLE bill. Seen here are two Four Seasons properties: Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons in Beverly Hills, CA and Four Seasons Milan in Milan, Italy. AND two Relais & Chateaux properties: Bellevue Syrene in Sorrento, Italy and Villa Galicci in Aix en Provence, France. I can assure you that I have never stayed in any Relais & Chateaux or Four Seasons property that didn’t meet every expectation in GREAT #STYLE.

Lola #Style also goes with HIP hotels

Lola’s #STYLE also goes with HIP hotels

My travel #STYLE enjoys finding the new hot spots too. These hotels certainly exude a HIP #STYLE. We’ve got Mondrian SoHo in NYC, W Barcelona in Spain, The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas & The James Royal Palm in Miami. All very HIP. All very COOL.

FACT: Lola hearts the #Style of a beach vacay

FACT: Lola hearts the #STYLE of a beach vacay

It’s gotta be NO surprise that my travel #STYLE is definitely one that leans toward beach vacations. Sun, sand & the sea make me so happy! Here are a few of my favorite beachy spots: Miami Beach in Florida, Gouverneur Beach in St. Barts, Lucy Vincent Beach in Martha’s Vineyard, MA and Cas Abao Beach in Curacao.

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very important in my world…minibar #STYLE

One thing that I’ve found that really sets some properties apart is a beautiful, well-appointed minibar! First up is the BEST up so far – Soho Beach House, Miami. To the right is Mondrian SoHo, NYC. Below is Four Seasons Florence, Italy. To the left is W Barcelona, Spain. If you love a cocktail to start your evening off right or to have a night cap at days end, a minibar with serious #STYLE is essential! Just sayin’

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Lola’s #STYLE is definitely all about a FAB hotel pool

I don’t care if it’s not even warm enough to sun yourself, there’s something amazing about the #STYLE of great swimming pool. Granted, I prefer the sunshine & warmth option in my travel plans. Found here are Delano South Beach in Miami, W Barcelona in Spain, Petit Palace in Santorini, Greece and Soho Beach House in Miami. I ask you what’s not to LOVE about these pool’s #STYLE?

I hope these examples of #STYLE has got your creative juices flowing. It will be so FUN if you come PLAY along on Friday on Twitter with #FriFotos. Don’t forget to tweet to me @LolaDiMarco and add the hashtags #STYLE and #FriFotos to your photos. I look forward to seeing you & your travel #STYLE there!

xo – LOLA


Filed under amalfi coast, barcelona, california, caribbean, cocktails, curacao, europe, florence, florida, france, greece, hipster hotels, italy, martha's vineyard, miami, milan, new york, spain, st. barts, swanky luxe stays, travel, USA, vegas

One Day Stay: Miami, Florida


If you know much about Lola, you certainly know that Miami is one of my favorite places to visit. Why? It is easy to get to from practically anywhere. Certainly from chilly Boston but this visit I actually flew direct from Barcelona. How about that? Then there’s the whole great food, great cocktails, great hotels, great beaches – the list goes on! Finally, since I love international travel, Miami is a perfect place for me with so many people from all over the world visiting and living there. Here’s my ‘One Day Stay’ round up of Lola’s visit this time to Miami.



Newcomer on the Miami South Beach scene, The James Royal Palm debuted in November 2012. This luxury boutique hotel originally built in 1939, has 179 guest rooms and 211 studios and suites, most with ocean views. Tres bon! A totally prime location being steps off the beach and world-famous Ocean Drive and Collins Avenue, The James Royal Palm has two swimming pools, a poolside bar, a fun lobby lounge and a full-service spa. The hotel serves as a modern tribute to the Royal Palm’s rich history keeping the European-influenced Art Deco style and playing up the style’s vertical elements and horizontal lines meant to denote movement and fluidity. Also, on property are two fabulous signature restaurants – Florida Cookery and CATCH. Yummy! The James brand has 2 other properties – one in New York and one in Chicago. I look forward to checking out these locations as well as this hipster hotel is completely ‘Lola Approved’.


Delano Cabana Day

This isn’t new Lola Miami news. When I get to South Beach, I cannot resist a cabana day at Delano. Everything is always “just right” at this posh destination. It’s the way to chill & play amongst the cool set. You can rent a cabana for the day and enjoy all the perks the guests of Delano have but at a fraction of the cost. How does little hourly treats from the gorgeous staff sound? What about complimentary neck or foot massages? YES…I thought you’d like that. Plus, the crowd is always fun and friendly. I’ve truly been hard pressed to find a better day long pool scene. TRUST ME ON THIS!


ultimate gin & tonic at SLS Miami

As you know I’m not one to shy away from a good cocktail. During my most recent visit to Miami, I had a few that I could carry on about. Every drink at Delano during my annual cabana day tasted amazing for starters but, then again, don’t most poolside cocktails?!  Nevertheless, my favorite cocktail of this adventure was the ultimate Gin & Tonic at SLS South Beach. It tastes delicious but the presentation is so pretty, it’s a drink you hope lasts all evening!


Khong River House

Khong River House is one of the newer hot spots to try in Miami. Serving fabulous Thai-inspired food, the best loved dishes are the Burmese Noodle Wraps, Roast Chicken, Crispy Shrimp and Coconut Cake. Also known for their yummy cocktail list and attentive staff, Khong River House is a hip and trendy place without any of the attitude. HOW DELICIOUS!

PS – an honorable mention goes to Florida Cookery at The James Royal Palm. Your experience here is meant to be innovative and fluid, serving globally influenced seafood. All I can say is my server, Ashley, was one of the most knowledgable I’ve ever had and after describing all her favorite dishes, that is what I promptly ordered. AMAZING!



Filed under florida, hipster hotels, miami, one day stay, travel