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Showing posts from May, 2011

For Rock n' Roll, Ribs, and Reflection Part I

    Memphis is unique because of its blend of history, culture, Southern tradition, music and food. Each of these contributes to the reasons why people go and love Memphis. For any of these given characteristics there is so much to see and do you have to narrow your list. You have to find what speaks to you. So I picked my must dos and it all led to a well balanced trip.  Sun Studios My first stop was to Sun Studios. I have always wanted to go here and that urge heightened after I saw and fell in love with Million Dollar Quartet on Broadway. This play tells the story of the most famous impromptu jam session in history. Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, and Carl Perkins were all there on that infamous day in 1956. This was the birthplace of rock n’ roll and is still an active recording studio.  This tour featured a walk through a mini exhibit of all of the legends of rock n’ roll and had intriguing items like Elvis Presley’s social security card and the original r

For Rock n' Roll, Ribs, and Reflection Introduction

What invention has most affected your life? Aside from my digital camera and dvr, I would have to say for me it is the airplane. It is not that I necessarily love the act of flying; lord knows I certainly do not love the act of going through airport security and customs. But the thought of flying relaxes me and puts a smile on my face. That is because I associate the sight of an airplane with freedom and joy. It will take me to places I have only dreamt and read about.   It will allow me to break free from my regular ordinary life and live briefly in another, usually better space. There is nothing like taking off to go away. It is an inevitably happier experience than coming home, no matter how homesick I get, because coming home gives me the vacation blues until I begin planning my next adventure. I have wanted to go to Memphis for as long as I can remember. Or more accurately probably since I saw travel icon Samantha Brown go there. By now those who have been reading and followin

For a Game Plan Part V

Packing   Packing can be the most annoying and yet important part of a trip, after booking the trip that is. What you pack is crucial to your comfort and ability to conform to changes in the weather. If you are walking around freezing or drenched from rain your ability to enjoy yourself just went down the tubes.    That is why after I establish an itinerary template; I also have a packing template. It allows me to always remember to pack the basics and I can always modify the clothing options depending on where I am going.   Here are the things you MUST pack for every vacation: A mini umbrella- so that you don’t get caught off guard or pay $30 for one unexpectedly; All of your research and booking documents; Snacks- that will travel well in any weather, like pretzels or granola bars. They are good to have for the plane, early mornings, and times in between meals; An extra camera battery and memory card. Also make sure someone else traveling with you has a camera just in case; Min

For a Game Plan Part IV

Traveling tips Here are my most valued travel tips broken down into 2 stages: planning and safety. Within each there are the things to do ahead of time, and the things to do while away. Of course domestic and international travel have different rules but I have included all here for a one stop shop. Planning This information can be used while creating your itinerary as well. For more itinerary specific information please see the previous blog, For a Game Plan Part III. ·       After booking your trip, no matter if it’s through a travel agent or online, always call the hotel to make sure your reservation went through and ask for email confirmation. You don’t want to end up with no place to stay as computer glitches are part of life; ·       Check out the cheapest way to get to and from the airport or train station. Depending on where you are going it might be worth it to pre-book your ride. It can save time, money, and prevent aggravation; ·       It might seem obvious; but th

For a Game Plan Part III

The itinerary God bless Microsoft Excel! It’s just as crucial as a flag highlighter. Itineraries can be done in Word but I prefer Excel’s setup and charts. I treat my itinerary as a bible. It is my sole resource when traveling. Although I still bring my books and other materials, the itinerary is designed so that I only have to carry it. I know where I am going and what I am doing when I get there. I have the contact information so that if I need to make a call or reservation I can do so at the touch of my finger tips. To begin an itinerary, I create a spreadsheet that labels each day and date I will be away (i.e. Monday April 2 nd , Tuesday April 3 rd and so on) and go through the following columns so that no detail is left behind. A good itinerary should include the following details (in columns going left to right): Attraction; Day and time you plan to go; Address (and contact information including hours of operation, websites and phone numbers); Directions (whether you

For a Game Plan Part II

How to research Can I just say that I heart flag highlighters?! For those of you who don’t know what a flag highlighter is I feel sorry for you. But not to worry, I will show you: I use them for everything!! I flag cookbooks, travel books, and basically anything that I might want to reference in the future. It is a genius invention; I could and would not want to live without them. That being said, once I have my newly purchased flag highlighters the next step is getting the guide book. For my research, I always always always always begin with a Frommer’s guidebook. It is my guidebook of choice. No matter where I go I get that book. I love the layout as well as the kind and quality of information presented. It usually comes with a map that is detailed oriented but easy to follow. This purchase allows you to skip having to buy a map when you arrive at your de

For a Game Plan Part I

Why we research Every day this week I will be posting a new section of a series entitled, For a Game Plan. This series is about research, planning, and even packing for your vacations. I have been in travel planning mode for the last couple of months for a recent trip to Memphis. All of this preparation has made me think of all of the steps I take prior to any outing or trip, as well as the helpful tips I can share. We research so we can relax. Or at least I do.   I can’t even pretend to relax or get excited about a trip if I haven’t researched it properly and set all my plans in motion. First comes the research, and then comes the itinerary. In order to plan a proper visit anywhere, one must first know what he/she is looking for. You have to have an idea of the kind of vacation and experiences you want to have. If not, you will need to do even more research. Research is the first, most important and exciting part of any trip for me. It doesn’t matter if you are going on a day

For Rocco Dispirito’s Favorite Pizza

I love the show “The Best Thing I Ever Ate” on the Food Network. I am always watching the reruns and even re-watching episodes I have already seen looking for a gem I have missed. Whenever I can I try to go to the places I have seen on this show that make my mouth water and try whatever was recommended by that particular celebrity chef. About a year ago, I caught a repeat and the topic was "Last Supper." Rocco Dispirito, of television fame, was talking about Umbertos in New Hyde Park New York. He mentioned it was around the corner of his childhood home and how he loved the taste and quality of ingredients. I remember very clearly that they made their own mozzarella cheese and how delicious it looked. Since I saw this episode I have been aching to visit and taste this pizza. Recently I finally got there and the best part is now I can cross it off my 2011 to do list! As I am a native of Brooklyn, and half I-talian, we can be snobbish about pizza especially when it