Stef’s Five Faves: Florence Edition

I recently published my top-ten travel highlights of 2017, and in the numero-uno spot is a thing I’m going to tell you more about RIGHT IN THIS VERY BLOG POST! It’s the most exciting thing to do in Florence (IMO), it requires two wheels, and — to give you another clue — it starts with a “Ves” and ends with a “pa.” I think you’ve got it! But let’s not blurt the answer out just yet. In this post I’m going to share with you my favorite things in Florence, aka, “Stef’s Five Faves: Florence Edition.”

So let’s get going!


Florence is an A-lister when it comes to must-experience destinations. It’s the birthplace of the Renaissance, for Pete’s sake! ALL of the Turtles created masterpieces here (Donatello, Leonardo, Michelangelo, Raphael). Plus, so many other heavy hitters in the world of Renaissance Art made it a priority to get themselves to the center of it all: Florence. It’d be wise for you to get thee there too!

Once in Florence, here’s what to do: Continue reading “Stef’s Five Faves: Florence Edition”

The Shitholiest Places to Visit in 2018

So far I have no travels planned for 2018, which makes me super antsy! I know I’ll be traveling to Europe for work, but I haven’t received my tour assignments yet. Thus, I’ve got some seriously itchy feet. This lack of concrete travel plans got me thinking — what shithole places should I visit in 2018?

The Shitholier, The Better!

My motto has always been, the shitholier, the better! So when I think of how many shithole places I haven’t visited yet, it just makes me want to cry! Like, I need to get out of the shit, and into a shithole, ASAP! Can you guys help me figure out what shithole destinations I should visit in 2018?

Here’s what I’ve been thinking. I follow some fierce ladies on Instagram. Some of the shitholiest are @haitiancutiebea, @1stclassfrance, and @hownottotravellikeabasicbitch. Like — GAWD! — the crapfactor is real!  Continue reading “The Shitholiest Places to Visit in 2018”

Meet Miss Filatelista: Writer, Traveler & Women’s Empowerment Advocate

For this installment of Spotlight Traveler, I’d like to introduce you to Lola Méndez. The more I learn about her, the more impressed I am by what Lola’s accomplished in her short time on the planet. Yes, she’s a world traveler who’s visited fifty-plus countries. But that’s not all. Lola is an advocate for global gender equality. She works hard in the realm of ethical travel and promotes experiences that benefit local communities. Plus she documents it all so beautifully on her blog: Miss Filatelista. (We’ll get to the meaning behind the blog name later.) And since she’s the best narrator of her own story, let’s get on with it! Please meet Miss Filatelista: Writer, Traveler & Women’s Empowerment Advocate.

Lola Mendez -- aka, Miss Filatelista -- in Jodhpur, India
Lola Mendez — aka Miss Filatelista — in Jodhpur, India

How long have you been traveling?

I’ve actually been traveling my whole life. My first trips were across the border to Mexico as my mother loved to go shopping for fresh produce in Tijuana instead of at home in San Diego, California. When I was three I made my first trip over the equator when we moved to Uruguay, my father’s homeland.

Growing up in an international Uruguayan-American family exposed me to travel at a young age and resulted in my compulsive sense of wanderlust which has percolated throughout my life. These experiences made me fearless and curious. I didn’t hesitate to move from Kansas City, where I grew up, to Los Angeles alone at age 17. I had never been to New York City but I moved there alone at 19 and when I was 25 I resigned from a life and career I loved in NYC to head out to explore the world. Continue reading “Meet Miss Filatelista: Writer, Traveler & Women’s Empowerment Advocate”

Travel Highlights of 2017

I feel fortunate to have experienced some incredible things this year. And in the spirit of giving my future self something to look back on, I’ve created a quick and dirty top-ten list of the past year — aka, my Travel Highlights of 2017! They’re listed in no particular order, except that I saved my most-fave for last.

10. Suspended over Reutte, Austria

Just south of the border from Bavaria in the tiny town of Reutte, Austria, is Highline 179. Connecting two castles, it’s a suspension bridge that is simultaneously terrific and terrifying!

I walked Highline 179 this summer and temporarily regretted the decision two-thirds through. But I survived the crossing — twice! — and am alive to tell the tale. Watch a time-lapse video of the adrenaline-pumping walk (above) in less than 45 seconds! Continue reading “Travel Highlights of 2017”

Prrrrrty Cats Around the World

So, the title’s a wee misleading. In a post called “Prrrrrty Cats Around the World,” you’d expect to see cats from at least six out of seven continents. (I’m pretty sure Antarctica doesn’t have cats, you guys — but lemme know if I’m wrong!) Instead, this should be called: “A Selection of Cats from Ten Countries on Four Continents in the Northern Hemisphere.”

But “Prrrrrty Cats Around the World” sounds better and is more succinct, don’t you think?

Roman cat
Disapproving side-eye glance from Roman cat

Yeah, I thought so too. 

Prrrrrty Cats Around the World

The sole purpose of this post is to share some cool encounters of the cat kind from three-or-so years of travels, where I’ve crossed paths with captivating kitties from Paris to Tangier, from Greek Isles to British Isles, from Switzerland to Seattle — and more!

Athenian cat
Athenian cat is not Siamese if you please.

Hope you’ll enjoy. And don’t forget! Every time you share this post with your cat-loving friends, a kitty gets its wings! Meow!

Continue reading “Prrrrrty Cats Around the World”