Traveling Solo Through Berlin

Berlin is one of Europe’s most influential cultural hotspots, with a mix of important historical sites, galleries and museums, as well as an underground music and art scene that attracts visitors from around the world. Whether it’s your first time traveling through the capital of Germany or you happen to be a seasoned visitor, here are a few things to do and see along the way.

The Nightlife

For anyone looking to make new friends, you’ve come to the right place. Berlin is home to what many consider to be Europe’s most eclectic and exciting nightlife, with a mixture of trendy bars, grungy music venues and large and small clubs. The areas of Kreuzberg and Mitte are great if you’re looking for a larger quantity of new places to discover, but if you’re after some of the best hot spots, then make your way to Prenzlauer Berg.

Museum Island

museum island

One of Berlin’s most popular attractions and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Museum Island is home to five fantastic museums and galleries. Expect an array of world-class artwork and historical relics from Germany and around the world. From ancient Egyptian artifacts in the Neues Museum to Byzantine sculptures in the Bode Museum, if you’re looking to enjoy some classical artwork and potentially meet like-minded cultural enthusiasts then this is the place to head.

Consider a Pub Crawl

As previously mentioned, Berlin is replete with a great bar and pub scene. If you’re looking for a few people to have a drink with, then there is no better chance than on an organized pub crawl. If you happen to be staying in a local hostel, then they will often have one organized, or be able to tell you where to go to find one. If you’re not staying in a hostel, then ask around at a local bar or pub.

Rent a Bicycle

berlin bicycle

Berlin is not an overly large city, and many of its best sites can be seen while making your way down its streets. To feel more like a local and get a better understanding for the layout of the city, consider renting a bicycle, it will give you a great sense of direction and place for future Berlin city breaks.

Berlin is a great place to head to discover important parts of Europe’s modern culture and history and relax at the same time.


Filed under berlin, germany, travel

Top 5 Ways to Get Around Malta

Train travel may be one of the most relaxing and effective ways to travel, but it’s not possible to get everywhere by rail. The Maltese islands in southern Europe are a classic case in point. This small archipelago isn’t traversed by train tracks, so while you’re visiting the islands, you’ll need to think of other ways to get around. Luckily, there are plenty of options. Here are five of the best modes of transport on Malta, once you’ve landed.


1) Bus

The distinctive, brightly painted vintage buses that used to be a feature of this country may have gone, but what the new bus system lacks in character it makes up for in efficiency and comfort. In 2013, the system was taken over by Public Transport Malta, which was run by the Government, and offers impressive coverage of the island. Many of the bus routes run from the terminus in Valletta and they snake out to virtually all parts of the main island. You can purchase tickets on the buses, at the airport, in Valletta and Sliema bus stations or from machines that are found near to the stops.

2) Taxi

Taxis are also a good way to get around. Official cabs are white and have a taxi sign on their roofs, and they’re usually Mercedes. Drivers are now obliged by law to use meters to determine the exact fare unless they’re traveling from the airport or sea port. Set fares are offered for these journeys. As an alternative to these white cabs, you can use unsigned black taxis operated by private companies, which tend to be cheaper. The best way to book a cab is to ask your hotel reception for the contact details of their preferred service.


3) Ferry

It’s easy to get between the islands too. You can travel from Malta to Gozo on the service operated by Gozo Channel. Departing every 45 minutes between 6am and 6pm, and around every 90 minutes overnight, this car ferry runs from Ċirkewwa on the main island to Mġarr on Gozo. There’s also a car ferry from Sa Palma to Gozo that runs on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays and takes some foot passengers.

4) Bike

In addition, it’s easy to get around Malta on two wheels. Bikes are available for hire from around €5 per day and shops offering rentals and repair services can be found in the main towns. You can also book yourself on organised group tours. Meanwhile, with its quieter roads, Gozo is particularly good for cycling.

5) On foot

Last but not least, there are lots of good hiking routes to be found. Your best bet if you want to stretch your legs is to get away from the urban areas and resorts and head to more secluded spots. Picturesque walking areas include Dingli in the north of the main island and Delimara Point in the south. Much of Gozo is great for hiking too.

So, while it may not have any trains, Malta certainly isn’t short of transport options.


Filed under malta, travel

Boston Bacon and Beer Festival 2015

shojo boston

I have been dying to go to this event for literally YEARS. Every time it came around it would sell out immediately and I was never able to attend until this year. In their 6th annual year, eatBoston’s Boston Bacon and Beer Festival moved venues to Fenway Park and so could accommodate more people. Even with space for additional attendees, the event was still a sell out.  I found out why!

While it was fun to suck down some cold pops and sample some new brews, the beer wasn’t the highlight of this event for me at all. The inventive chefs of 38 restaurants were what stole the show. The things they did with bacon were incredible. My personal favorites were…

The Bacon Doughnut by Blackbird Doughnuts

blackbird doughnuts

A Bacon Smore by jm Curley

JM Curley

Bacon Flavored Ice Cream by Lincoln Tavern

The “Beast in Show” winner of the event voted by Bacon & Beer attendees was Shojo Boston with their Togarashi Mantou Stuffed with Bacon & Cheddar. Unfortunately, I didn’t try this one out.

shojo boston

Other bites I’m disappointed I never got around to trying were the Bacon Mac & Cheese and the Maple Bacon Cotton Candy by Sweet Cheeks BBQ. (apparently a favorite for several years)

The winner received the obvious recognition but even better $750 donation toward their charity of choice. That’s right, this delicious fun-filled event has a charitable aspect too! In fact, the entry fees to the event went to several charities including Lovin’ Spoonfuls – dedicated to rescuing and distributing healthy food that would otherwise be discarded to organizations where it’s most impactful. Community Servings – not-for-profit food and nutrition program that provides medically tailored meals to people with critical and chronic diseases in Massachusetts. And the Red Sox Foundation – raising monies for several programs focused on children and families in Massachusetts.


What I loved and what I didn’t love:

Fenway was an AMAZING venue. Perfect for this event. Better yet was getting access to the grandstands when the park was practically empty – what a treat!

Since this was my virgin Boston Bacon and Beer Festival I didn’t know exactly what to expect but one thing for sure, I thought I’d get a TON of plain ole bacon and those tasty strips were NO WHERE to be found. Also, carting around a map, beer and plate for the various tastings (as well as an iPhone for photo evidence) I wish there had been a few empty tables scattered about so that attendees could put down things and enjoy a bit more instead of juggling things in their hands. Other than that, I thought this event was truly fun and worth the ticket price! I’ll be back next year AND I hope it’s still held at Fenway. I know I have a few followers that now want to attend too.


Filed under boston, massachusetts, travel

Fun Jewels on Loan with Rocksbox


Have you ever heard of Rocksbox? It’s a new discovery I have found that I simple adore. Rocksbox is a premium jewelry subscription box where you become a “Shine Insider” and rent from an ever-changing inventory of designer jewelry – unlimited – for as little as $19 a month. As a frequent traveler, jewelry is one of the smallest, easiest and best ways to change-up an outfit so I love the idea of borrowing items for trips. AND it’s as easy as 1-2-3 to sign up. Look…






As a “Shine Insider” you get $10 every month to apply toward anything you’d like to purchase from your Rocksbox at an “Insider” discounted price. You may be thinking where’s the catch… there is NONE. Your Rocksbox is shipped free to you with a free pre-paid return label for when you are ready to ship your jewels back. The wish list process is simple. You take a survey to help curate your style. Next, you can look at every option or narrow your options down by your interests. For example, I almost always wear the same earrings so I only chose rings, bracelets and necklaces for my wish list. You can leave feedback expressing specific things or you can leave it up to a Rocksbox stylist to curate your box. I left it up to the stylist and was so excited to receive my first box. I was not disappointed. It was like receiving a birthday gift.


The Rocksbox arrived in a darling sturdy box with a big ribbon bow to untie. Once you open it up there’s a personalized note from the stylist. I was super impressed with the quality and presentation of everything in my Rocksbox and have literally worn the two items that the stylist chose for me almost daily.


Even better, Rocksbox asked me to be a #RBItGirl and that means YOU can try Rocksbox for free for your first month using my promo code LAURENDIXOXO. I can’t wait to receive my second Rocksbox soon. Watch my Instagram to see what the stylists selected for me next!


Rocksbox treated me to a three-month trial subscription so I could review and share my thoughts on their service. I LOVE IT – it is completely LOLA APPROVED!



Filed under fashion, travel

Fun Forecast: New Finds in 4 Great US Cities

Over the course of four weeks this spring I traveled to 3 out of 4 of the United States’ biggest cities and was lucky enough to uncover some great new finds in four US cities. From tours, to shopping, to galleries to where to see and be seen, check out if any of these ideas tickle your fancy too.

New York City

still house whiskey

Small batch distillers in NYC have become ALL the rage so much so that you can find self-guided and somewhat more official distillery tours offered there now. While I have not officially tried the Brooklyn Booze Trail (self-guided tour showcasing the borough’s new generation of spirits, from whiskey and rum to grappa and hibiscus liqueur) or New York Craft Cocktail Tour, I have sampled some of these small batch distillers’ products. My favorites were The Noble Experiment, a small batch rum distiller and Van Brunt Stillhouse, makers of rum, whiskey and grappa. I only sampled their American whiskey and while I would not say I’m a whiskey connoisseur, I found Van Brunt Stillhouse’s whiskey delicious. One or both of these tours are on my radar for a future visit 100%.

Los Angeles

abbot kinney

Abbot Kinney Blvd. located in the Venice Beach neighborhood of LA is a cool street full of fun boutiques, galleries, restaurants and amazing architecture. One of my notable favorites is Beach House Brand – a boutique meant to inspire wanderlust – carrying personally curated items to bring you an “Endless Summer” travel experience of your dreams. I found beautiful dresses, never before seen bikini brands and all kinds of awesome travel accessories. Burro was my other absolute do-not-miss. They carry an eclectic, thoughtful selection of items from all over the world – from stationery, jewelry and home decor to modern toys for kids. Burro says that while their shops are a destination location for tourists they remain the local “go to” favorite. I found some of the best greeting cards ever there as well as a very entertaining selection of gift items.


peter tunney

Peter Tunney Experience is a gallery located in the Wynwood Walls area of Miami. Peter’s work helps us redefine our way of interacting with and understanding the world around us. Using optimistic headlines such as “BELIEVE”, “GRATTITUDE” and “CHANGE THE WAY YOU SEE EVERYTHING”, Tunney is counter attacking the media’s constant relay of stories of death, destruction, hysteria and greed. It is a refreshing way to think positively and not think or live in fear. The Wynwood Walls area is an international destination within itself, giving Miami a place to gravitate to and explore and serving as tribute to graffiti and street art, which has been somewhat under appreciated and not always respected historically. Both of these things are an absolute, take the time out, must-see.


soho house chicago

Opened a little less than a year, Soho House Chicago is a private club with some public spaces such as their ground floor restaurants and bar. Soho House was founded in 1995, in London, as a private members’ club for those in film, media and creative industries BUT you don’t have to be a member to enjoy a drink at Fox Bar or a slice at Pizza East. The Allis is a spot within Soho House Chicago for a coffee, quick bite or cocktail. Also, let’s not forget Chicken Shop where you can enjoy free range chicken from the spit. Now, if you are lucky enough to be a member or know one, I think the roof top deck is the place to see and be seen while viewing downtown Chicago’s skyline. Located in a historic former belt factory in the Fulton Market neighborhood, Soho House Chicago should be a must-do.

PS – all four of these US cities I’ve highlighted have a Soho House!


Filed under chicago, los angeles, miami, new york, travel, USA