Marooned in Miami

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YES Miami IS my favorite place, true… but what happened that time when I got stuck there accidentally and ended up with NO clothes except what I had on?!

Bite me, Hercules!

Bite me, Hercules!

It MAY surprise you, this is the story of how Lola was a flexible traveler that rolled with the punches. You see, in the earliest days of January I went down to Miami to see my lovely dear friend, Mrs. O Around the World, who happened to be stateside for the New Year. She figured she could convince me to go to Miami since it IS my go-to place. She was right. However, like any typical New England January, I had a massive snow storm to contend with. Worry not, I was determined to get down to South Beach and the warmer climes even if it meant 12 hours behind schedule.

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While it wasn’t the usual sunny Miami I know and love, I still managed to have a super time AND the sun peeked out for just a bit on Sunday before my flight home. Off to the airport I went and once there, learned that my flight to Boston was massively delayed due to icing on the planes. Long story short, I was forced to flit between gates, restaurants and bars while waiting for my plane to leave. Not departing until 8pm (supposedly) I made my way back to my gate at 7:40 to learn they had given up my seat. You see, I may have beaten ‘Hercules’ the snowstorm and made it to Miami on Friday but lots of people never made it OUT of Miami starting that Friday. So, 30+ people, 3 days of trying to fly stand-by, well a lucky person scored my seat. BIG BUMMER right? I really didn’t know just how bad it was until I went to the airline club to get rebooked. The SOONEST that I was going to be able to fly out of Miami was Wednesday. CRAZY right?! But it was a real problem all over the country practically. So, what can you do? Deal with it. I was actually due to return to Miami on the upcoming Friday morning, so after a bit of mulling it over, it seemed silly to leave only to return less than 2 days later. I called back to the airlines (who returned my call 4 hours later – that’s how backed up they were) to say, let’s cancel my return and departure back. After half an hour on the phone, I had my points and dollars back BUT…I still needed to sort out a few important things. Like where was I going to stay AND more importantly wear, since my bag DID go to Boston on my original flight out.

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I decided to head over to Fort Lauderdale as I could get a deal there for a few days and then go back to South Beach on Thursday before my friends arrived Friday. That part was easy. The hard part was, wait for it…SHOPPING! Where could I go and what would I buy that could get me through the next few days. A mall made sense but I’ll tell you a little secret about me. I actually don’t enjoy shopping all that much. Especially mandatory shopping. Buying underwear & flip flops exactly like the ones you sent home isn’t very fun. I like my stuff. I didn’t wanna have to replace it. I tried to be practical with my white jeans and one cardigan I had and I actually think I did really well in 2.5 hours. Then I had to virtual shop my closet with my best friend at home, so that she could Fed Ex me stuff for the weekend. Also an interesting exercise. Finally, I had NO BAG to tote my stuff around (newly purchased and what was being shipped). So onto to Amazon I went and bought a backpack that I knew I’d need anyhow for my summer travels. It was actually a very funny thing, planes were not getting in or out of lots of the East Coast but Fed Ex and UPS made it to the W Fort Lauderdale Hotel the next day with my stuff, no problem. The irony!

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Now, I’m sure you’re thinking, “oh, you poor thing, getting stuck in Miami” said super sarcastically. Well, I’ll just let you know that week was total crap for weather. Rainy and cold, there was no sunshiny bonus for moi. AND the other irony is that I didn’t travel with my computer so I really couldn’t get much work done. So, what did I learn and what’s the moral of this story?!

1) If you must get home during bad winter weather do not, I repeat, DO NOT leave your departure gate. Airlines stink and you never know when they’ll suddenly board and give your seat away despite your already having checked into the flight! Airline employees try to throw around their authority and take advantage of people’s desperation in situations like these. I refuse to be caught up in their nonsense so I readjusted and made my own rules.

2) Shopping makes for fun travel souvenirs AND forced vacay isn’t the absolute worst.

3) Always keep your make up and toiletries in your carry on ladies. While this little detour in plans set me back a bit due to the shopping spree, let’s face it, make up, etc. would have cost a fortune more and that I didn’t have extra of at home to be shipped to me.

4) Travel with your computer, LOLA, you never know what is going to happen and you’ve proven Murphy’s Law TRUE.

5) Isn’t it better to just roll with it than to stress and spend hours at the airport for days on end or on the phone?! YES I say! I am far more flexible than you might ever imagine and that’s one of the BEST things travel has taught me.

Has something like this happened to you before? What would you do in this situation?

PS: The staff at W Fort Lauderdale were amazing and I really loved the hotel!

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5 of the World’s Most Interesting Beaches

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If you think beaches are all simply about lounging on the sand, joining the bucket-and-spade brigade or taking a dip, then you’d be entirely wrong. While the world is full of breathtakingly beautiful beaches, there are some which don’t just look good, they’re also fascinating because of the color of the sand, their history or because of who uses them. Here are just 5 of the most intriguing.

Boulder’s Beach, South Africa

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There are few places in the world where you can picnic with penguins. But at Boulder’s Beach near Simon’s Town, Cape Town, the colony of jackass penguins, so called because of the noise they make, is remarkably unafraid of people, sitting within arm’s reach of you while you sunbathe. It feels like you’re in your very own wildlife documentary as you watch pairs of birds waddle their way clumsily down to the water’s edge before plunging into the Atlantic and swimming off like bullets. While the first section of bay is fairly empty of feathered friends and the final stretch is for penguins alone, climb over the boulders in the middle and you will be able to get up close to these beautiful black and white birds.

Pendine Sands, Wales 

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A stunning seven-mile sweep of dune-backed sand, Pendine Sands is a view to behold. It has been a draw for speed demons since the early 1900s when it was used for car and bike races, with Motor Cycle magazine describing the beach as “the finest natural speedway imaginable”. Since then, it’s been used to set land speed records, with Malcolm Campbell famously setting a record of 146.16mph on Pendine Sands in his Blue Bird car. In 2000, Campbell’s grandson set the UK electric land speed record in the same spot in the Bluebird Electric 2, achieving a speed of 137mph. Motorbike speed trials still take place there and there’s always plenty of parking because a six-year ban on bringing your car onto the beach car park was lifted in 2010.

Perissa, Santorini

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While a beach is usually considered most beautiful if it has sand so white it looks like sugar, the sand at Perissa, on Santorini’s east coast, is pure black. Overlooked by the huge rock formation Mesa Vouno, the beach gets incredibly hot during the summer because the black sand holds rather than reflects the heat, meaning shoes are essential if you want to make your way down for a swim. The waters are crystal clear, although look dark and deeper than they are because of the black sand.

Harbour Island, Bahamas

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If black sands aren’t quite your thing, then how about rose-tinted ones? The beaches along the east coast of Harbour Island are all pink because of the tiny particles of coral which have mixed in with the white sand. The contrast between the pink and the turquoise waters of the Caribbean is simply breathtaking.

Cow beach, Goa, India

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While cows are considered sacred creatures in many places across the globe, in India they are so revered, they even get their own beach. At Cow Beach, herds of cows wander among the tourists catching a few rays. No one is allowed to move the cows so if one does lie down next to you, your only option is to find another spot or share your beach towel.

Whether you’re a sun worshipper, an animal lover or simply love all that is unusual or quirky in the world, there’s a beach out there for you.

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Getting Glam + Glitterati in LA

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Welcome to Hollywood!

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How else do you do a weekend in LA? I mean it IS the capital of celebs. The home of beautiful people. When I think of LA I think of the silver screen, the award shows, the hair, the make up, the clothes! So I really was really happy that our FourPlayGo weekend included a day of this kind of GLAM LA treatment.

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Saturday started with breakfast in bed for moi, followed by meeting up with the lovely Mrs. O Around the World, Jetset Extra & Vanity Girl – all three sassy and very stylish jetsetting women! We met at Fragola in West Hollywood, a high-end designer showroom that flaunts fashion collections from the likes of Gucci, Valentino and Versace to name a few.

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Not only were we styled in haute couture, we had our very own hair and makeup stylist, Lyric Cross, as well as a jeweler to the stars, Gerald David Bauman.

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After trying a few options including vintage pieces, Lola was dolled up in a Nina Ricci frock and GINORMOUS aquamarine necklace and earrings. I also managed to wear very high heels and not fall down. A minor miracle! Playing dress up is always fun for me but this day was exactly how I imagine a day in the life of a starlet to be AND it was all captured by photographer Charles Hopkins.

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Once we wrapped up at the showroom, we didn’t want to waste our perfectly coiffed hair and gorgeous make up so the FourPlayGo gals headed over to grab a quick pre-dinner drink at Tortilla Republic, the trendy modern mexican resto & tequileria next to our dinner destination, SUR Restaurant and Bar. I sipped on a delish cucumber lavender margarita that was like none I’d ever had before at Tortilla Republic. MMMM.

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Taking the glitterati party over to SUR (Sexy Unique Restaurant) my cocktail experimentation just got going. Let’s just start with this is Lisa Vanderpump’s restaurant of “Vanderpump Rules” and many of the cast members were working that night. It was like stepping into a set of a TV show for the beautiful and famous. A definite see and be seen kind of place. So perfect for us glammed up ladies!

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The bartenders were HOT and FLIRTY, my favorite, and dinner was great. SUR’s menu is an interesting variety of things that seem like comfort food and I went with chicken enchiladas. BUT I have to say the cocktails and scene make the place what it is famous for – a very sexy LA spot!

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The only thing that could make this experience any more ‘LA celeb worthy’ would be having your photos snapped all night by a professional photographer like you were being followed by the paparazzi. Soooo that’s what we did. The amazing Alyson, from Flytographer, fired away all through our dinner capturing some awesome shots for our GLAM FourPlayGoLA memories.

This fantabulous day was organized by Maxine Tatlonghari aka @VanityGirl in conjunction with West Hollywood. Thank you to all the people involved, making this day very star worthy indeed. If you’re interested in having glamorous Hollywood Insider experience like this, please reach out to VanityPR@me.com.

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5 Gifts for your Travelin’ Girl

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The day of hearts and flowers is coming soon and, while I trust you know this, I know there are many last minute and dumb-founded shoppers out there. If I were being completely honest about my Valentine’s Day gift wish list, it would include something like a round-the-world plane ticket or a week long vacay on St. Barts. Possibly a hotpink Mini Cooper with a rhinestone tiara thrown in for good measure. BUT that’s definitely not realistic for most and especially last minute shoppers. So, Lola’s here with some Lola Approved suggestions that will make your travelin’ girl’s heart go pitter pat.

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First of all, if you must go with chocolates and flowers, FINE. Just don’t make that all you do. Your money would be better spent, however, a lot of other ways. I’m sure your travelin’ girl is practical so why not consider investing in a practical yet luxurious and fun gift like a Theodora & Callum scarf?! These pretty scarves are perfect for changing up an outfit on the road and could easily double as a cover up if your girl is somewhere warm. See?? It works in any climate and situation. Clever!

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OR you must know us gals like to look our best while traveling. I have found myself in between mani/pedi appointments many a time while away from home. Some gals need their eyebrows waxed or are in need of a facial, etc. How about a lovely Bliss Spa gift certificate?! They have so many spa locations all over the USA and several internationally as well. BUT your girl could even just use the thoughtful gift certificate to purchase their awesome Bliss products. A perfect traveling companion!

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Another thing we girls are typically in need of is a good traveling jewelry case to hold all our bobbles. I’m obsessed with Stow London products (they make them in LOLAPINK) and would recommend both the Hester and Amelia jewelry cases. Because, you know, one for an overnight and one for a longer getaway! ;) AND if you are really trying to impress her, get her a travel charm from one of her favorite places and put it inside for an extra surprise! (Your welcome)

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Maybe your travelin’ girl has all these things and wouldn’t be impressed with a spa gift card… so perhaps a quirky and artistic gift is better. You know something cool yet sentimental. All good travelers need a notebook for their, um, notes. (you could include your own love note inside) Archie Grand has been a Lola fave for some time. Depending on your gals interests, a few of their “cool notebooks” you might want to consider are DRESSES I HAD AND LIKED – for the girl who plans her packing. FAUX PAS I MADE AND LIKED – for the girl who likes to remember all the funny things that happened on her travels. Or WINES I HAD AND LIKED – for the girl who cannot remember her favorites tried during wine tastings when away. Personally, I’ll take the BRITS I MET AND LIKED because, as you know, Lola’s an Anglophile!

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AND my final suggestion, well I think it’s a goodie. I recognize planning a surprise trip is a BIG undertaking as well as a pricey one. So, how about a Jetsetter gift card? Because you can get them in all kinds of denominations and it is a promise to pick a fabulous place to stay anywhere in the world at some point down the line. Hello sexy and spontaneous! That should really get your travelin’ girl’s heart racing. Plus, it’s a gift you both can enjoy. Sooooo…it’s a WIN WIN!

XO – Lola

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One Day Stay: Montreal, Canada

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I was fortunate enough to visit Montreal in both the winter and summertime. Seeing this culturally diverse city in both extremes was amazing. Full of energy, Montreal has a thriving nightlife, unique dining experiences and more adventurous things to do – I just adore it. This ‘One Day Stay’ visit was extra fun since I traveled with girlfriends. Who couldn’t have a great weekend with your pals in such a cool city that is Montreal?!

DROP YOUR BAG

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Le St-Martin Hotel Particulier is a contemporary 123 room hotel in Downtown Montreal and is a perfect mix of modern & comfort. Some things to expect from St-Martin are complimentary wifi (dream come true), Keurig coffee maker in your room and afternoon complimentary treats delivered to your door! The friendly multilingual staff will assist you in discovering some of the best restaurants, bars & nightlife Montreal has to offer. Also, onsite is a 24 hour fitness center and heated lap pool (available year round). Bistro L’Aromate serves up a delicious breakfast but also offers a mix of Mediterranean, Californian & Asian cuisines for lunch & dinner. I particularly enjoyed cocktails out on the terrace AND the cool lighting effects that change colors.

DO

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It’s not my first inclination to do something active on my quick getaways but I’m not sure why not. I always enjoy a little adventure and exercise disguised as fun! This visit I partook in bike tour with Ca Roule Montreal through some of Montreal’s lesser known neighborhoods. It was fantastic to be able to bike primarily along the city’s bike path to discover different parts of Montreal. We had an amazing tour guide, Ruby, who shared much of Montreal’s history – old and new. Our halfway point was stopping at the Atwater Market, which I adored. It’s always a feast for the eyes and the stomach to go to the local markets in destinations.

DRINK

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Given that this was my summertime visit to Montreal, I just had to take part in what is a big deal in their culture – the patio/terrace season. My favorite happy hour spot was Terrasses Nelligan. Not only was the sangria FAB but the scene was jumping and its rooftop location in Old Montreal made it perfect to view the beautiful scenery all around.

DINE

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Located in the trendy Mile-End neighborhood, Nouveau Palais is an old-timey feeling diner that serves delicious fare to the hipster crowd. They also feature a classic cocktail list that isn’t too shabby either. I opted for my often go-to Negroni cocktail and had their famous burger. I wasn’t disappointed by either.

I was invited by Montreal Tourism to come enjoy #MTLmoments in the summer. MERCI for arranging the wonderful itinerary, hip stay at St-Martin Hotel, yummy dinner at Nouveau Palais and the super fun bike tour with Ca Roule Montreal. Once again, Montreal proves to be very ‘Lola Approved’!

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Filed under canada, hipster hotels, one day stay, travel