NOLA, Here We Come!

In just a few weeks, Chris and I will be a Sazerac deep into our first visit to New Orleans. The southern city has been on my bucket list for quite some time -- and due to rave reviews from our jazz-loving friends, I'm more excited to see it than ever. 

Our plan is to eat and drink our way through NOLA's celebrated restaurant culture, and then spend our evenings hunting down the best live music the city has to offer.

Excited to check out the newly renovated Brennan's, where "breakfast revelry is taken as seriously as a decadent dinner." Source: Facebook

Excited to check out the newly renovated Brennan's, where "breakfast revelry is taken as seriously as a decadent dinner." Source: Facebook

We have some ideas on what to do, but (against my nature) I'm planning to let things come as they may in the Big Easy -- sourcing out tips from locals we meet, along with letting one of Chris's childhood friends turned New Orleans restaurateur play concierge. 

That said, we all know I'll break down and pull together some plans between now and the trip -- so do you have any insider tips to share? Must-see neighborhoods, unique boutiques, archetypal streets to explore? I'd love to spend a day following your off-the-beaten-path recommendations so I can report back once we return.

Thirty Somewhere: Mapping Out 2015 Travel Goals

Pop the champagne: Thirty Somewhere is officially one month old today! Thanks so much for following along over the first few weeks -- it's already been a fun ride, and we're just getting started.

Now that I have a month under my belt, I've started thinking about my bigger goals for the blog -- and for my own wanderlust. I started Thirty Somewhere purely to share my own travel experiences and hopefully give you ideas for new places to explore. Plus, I know how hard it is to find good travel tips online, so I hope I can serve as a trustworthy resource as you're planning your own trips. 

Over the next couple months, I'm going to continue sharing my favorite places, especially using Jauntful more to bring you in-depth city guides for a growing variety of domestic and international destinations. I'm also excited to start pulling in tips and stories from some well-traveled friends and experts with unique perspectives and experiences to share.

And finally, and perhaps what I'm most excited to share, I also have a few personal goals to start working toward that will (hopefully!) translate into even better content for your reading pleasure. So without further ado, here are my travel goals for the remainder of 2015:

Wish me luck, and stay tuned for fun updates as these plans get underway. Do you have any travel goals this year? Let me know, and I'll do my best to come up with some fun ideas for you to help bring them to life!

Three Midwest Places That Wear Winter Well

Braving snow-covered sidewalks and below-zero temps on my morning commute accentuates the less glamorous side of winter. But in the right setting, snow and ice can bring out the best in some of the Midwest's best gathering spots. Below are three of my favorite winter respites in the region.

Seven Saints - Champaign, Illinois

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As a proud University of Illinois alum, I can vouch that most of the time students don't venture too far away from campus. That said, Seven Saints is a Champaign restaurant well worth the trip -- and I spent a good deal of Sunday afternoons warming up with a cup of soup and sandwich at this cozy eatery on the outskirts of downtown. Seven Saints is especially welcoming for whiskey enthusiasts, with a wide selection ranging from Canadian and Irish whiskeys to bourbon and scotch. 

Boyne Mountain - Boyne Falls, Michigan

The Midwest's ski slopes may pale in comparison to the West and Northeast -- but the buzzing atmosphere at Michigan's Boyne Mountain more than makes up for it. The Mountain Grand Lodge & Spa is a hub for outdoor enthusiasts, with downhill and cross country skiing, tubing, snow shoeing, horseback riding and ice skating, just to name a few. Plus, the lodge is a cozy gathering spot with bars and restaurants to gather and indulge your apres-ski appetite. 

Copperstone Inn - Rockton, Illinois

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Just a few miles from my childhood home lies a new, world-class bed and breakfast catering to those looking for a quiet, rustic chic retreat. The Copperstone Inn in Rockton, Illinois, is the perfect respite to seek solitude by a cozy fire as the snow piles up outside. Plus, a jacuzzi and full-service spa adds an upscale touch to a romantic weekend getaway.