Travel Diary | 1.5 Days in London


London Edited-17

I’ll say it right now: my time in London was way too short. Sandwiched between a week in Paris and a quick jaunt to Rome, London was my first experience with backpacking and a welcome break from struggling through my limited foreign language vocabulary.

Getting there alone was an adventure — to save money on travel and hotel for an extra night, we opted for a 10-hour overnight bus ride from Paris, which involved the bus itself boarding a boat and us being paraded through customs in Calais.

We arrived without much of a plan and flew by the seat of our pants for the next two days. After fueling up on some English breakfast at a greasy joint near Kings Cross station, our first order of business was to find the nearest Wifi spot  to book a hotel for the night (thank God for Starbucks!) My friend Jusan had been to London a few times, and Alex and I were more than happy to follow his lead, as he took us on an epic walking tour through London, guided mostly by memory and the occasional glance at Google Maps.

As we explored one neighborhood after the other, I couldn’t help making comparisons to New York — from what we saw during the two days, London felt like New York City’s cooler, more mature sister with a distinct European flair. Continue reading

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The Ultimate Guide to Summer in NYC

The Ultimate Summer Guide to New York City - 17 summer bucket list ideas

Monday was the first official day of summer, but let’s face it — I’ve been in summer mode since the first warm day back in May. As I’ve written here before, this is absolutely my favorite season. The days are longer, my energy levels are higher and New York City becomes my playground. It’s the one time of year that I’m not dying to get on a plane out of here.

Here are my favorite summer activities in New York City, for locals and tourists alike. Go ahead, add them to your summer bucket list. Continue reading

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5 Awesome Restaurants To Try in Paris


Paris Food Guide: 5 Awesome Restaurants to Try in ParisOne thing you should know about me is that I take my food seriously. I love a good home-cooked meal, but going out to eat at quality restaurants with good people is another kind of pleasure. So when I travel, one of the first things I do is scope out the dining options and make a list of places to try. Paris was no different.

Food can be pricey in Europe, but I’d honestly rather skip the shopping trips and fancy hotels so I can eat better. Still, we tried to keep things affordable when possible — on our first day in Paris, we had French McDonald’s at Alex’s insistence (my verdict: not that great, but that’s to be expected) and ate breakfast everyday from the little boulangeries and cafes in our neighborhood. We even bought food at a little shop on our block and made ourselves some scrambled eggs and ham one morning.

But at least once a day, we’d try to venture out a little more. Here’s a round-up of the 5 best meals we had in Paris. Even if you’re traveling on a budget, I’d recommend trying at least one of them while you’re there.

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Get to know me + a blogging award

Liebster Award

So I’ve been nominated for a blogging award! Last time this happened I slacked off on doing the associated questions and following the rules, but I’m turning over a new leaf.

First, thanks to autumnchocolatebooks for nominating me! Please be sure to check out her blog.

Even though I usually shy away from blog challenges, I thought this would be a good opportunity for us to get to know each other since many of you are new here. See my challenge for everyone at the end of this post.

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I’m Terrible at Accepting Compliments

Paris Edited-1-6PSD

About a month ago, I was helping to clean up an event space where a gala I’d spent the last few months planning had just wrapped up. As the guests started to head out, I felt a combination of intense relief and pride at how my team’s hard work had all come together.

“This was amazing. You did a great job!” said one my co-workers to me in the earshot of a few other people.

My automatic reply was something to the effect of “Thanks, but I can’t take all the credit. It was totally a team effort.”

“Yes, but I’m saying YOU did a good job. I’m sure you worked really hard on it.”

I chuckled nervously and insisted that I couldn’t have done it on my own.

“Just accept the compliment,” she said in mock exasperation. “I’ll congratulate them too, but right now I’m congratulating you.”

She was right, of course. Ever since that moment, I’ve been thinking about how uncomfortable I seem to be with accepting praise.

My go-to response is generally to talk about all the help I received or to downplay the accomplishment, in what I can only guess is an attempt to seem humble. Continue reading

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Paris Travel Diary

View of the Eiffel Tower from the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.

I don’t know when I started dreaming about Paris. It must have been back in college, somewhere between watching one too many Audrey Hepburn movies and pondering the possibilities of studying abroad.

I never did get there until last fall, but the years only intensified my fascination with the city.

In my mind, my boyfriend and I would stroll the banks of the Seine with a baguette in one hand and a bottle of wine in the other. We’d ride bikes through the city, exploring the hidden alleyways that you see only in romantic movies and blog photos. There would be cobblestone streets everywhere. And maybe, just maybe, the theme song from “Midnight in Paris” would be on repeat.

A sweet kiss in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Click for more cool photos. Continue reading

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June Bucket List


Since everyone left such positive feedback and encouragement on my 101 in 1001 list last month, I thought I’d do a monthly bucket list to help me stay on target now that I have so many people to keep me accountable.

By the way, I already crossed off two items in May: creating a capsule closet (more on that soon!) and an editorial calendar (which hopefully means more consistent posting around here).

I’m hoping this will be a fun way to focus on a few things at a time and slowly make progress on the larger list, but I’m not putting too much pressure on myself.

Most exciting on the agenda for June is learning how to drive and finally getting my driver’s license, which I’ve been putting off for years. It will be a dream come true to finally be able to drive out of town for long weekends and actually be able to do road trips (assuming my mom will let me have the car!)

I’m also looking forward to doing a couple things for the first time, like seeing Shakespeare in the Park and going to the Whitney in its new location in the Meatpacking District. Even though I’ve lived in New York City for more than 10 years, I’m sad to say I never even visited the old location.

Back to you: What are some things you’re looking forward to doing this month?


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What To Do in NYC this Memorial Weekend

Memorial Day Weekend in NYCSo, Memorial Day weekend is approaching and it seems like you’re the only who doesn’t have plans to leave town or have a backyard barbecue. Consider yourself lucky, since you’ll either be saving on gas, airfare or a catch-up session in the gym. At least that’s what I’m telling myself..

As usual, my plans are tenuous. I never think about three-day weekends until it’s way too late. If you’re also stuck in NYC this weekend, here are some ways to make the most of the holiday weekend. Continue reading

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101 Things To Do in 1001 Days

101 things in 1001 days - via

I just published my new 101 in 1001 list – a collection of 101 goals, adventures and new experiences I want to accomplish in the next 1001 days.

I’ve been keeping a list like this since January 2013, and it’s one of the best decisions I’ve made. Writing down my dreams (both big and small) and posting them here for the world to see has helped me travel to new places, try new things and connect with new people.

One of my favorite parts of the new list is the “Long Overdue” category. It’s time to put my money where my mouth is and cross of some of the things I’ve been talking about doing for years – like getting my driver’s license, so I can do other bucket list items like go on a road trip or spend weekends upstate. For someone who loves traveling to new places, it’s hard to believe I’ve put this off for so long.

Speaking of places, I could make a whole separate travel-related bucket list – there’s just so many places I want to visit! – but I decided to keep it broad with goals like Visit 5 new countries and Visit 5 new states. This way, I’ll keep an element of spontaneity. Plus, it’s a great reminder to prioritize local travel too.

Read the full list of travel, food, personal and professional goals here.

To be clear, this is a sprawling list and I know I probably won’t checking off every single item in under three years. (I actually checked off less than half of the items on my first list). But the point is I’m putting these things out there and committing to at least pursuing them.

It’s not about driving myself crazy by single-mindedly trying to cross off every line – its about the journey, cliché as it may sound.

Find me on social media for real time updates!
Facebook . Instagram . Twitter . Snapchat (@jhaneelmarie).


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What I Learned From Having a Bucket List

bucket list 5

This post is long overdue.

Back in 2013, I created a list of 101 things to do in 1001 days. It pushed me to really think about what I wanted to accomplish in my life – from new skills I wanted to learn to more meaningful experiences I wanted to have. And I’ve had a lot of fun crossing things off.

But my deadline for finishing the list actually passed several months ago on September 27, and I’ve been meaning to properly write about my experience. Here are the top three lessons I’ve learned in the last three years of keeping a bucket list.

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