Motivational Monday w/o June 27th: Difficult People

Thank you to all the ‘difficult’ people in my life. In younger years, I would have been frustrated and let you get the best of me. Now, I realize every encounter is necessary to learn something. You are also teachers in my life.

And what’s not to say I’m not a difficult person in other’s lives teaching them something, too… Have you been ‘Brielle-ed?” 

Stay inspired (and open-minded). #stayinspired #3QT

Difficult People

Miami – 2016

Ahhh, the Magic City. I am probably in Miami 4x a year. My first adventure was in my early 20’s (I’m dating myself)….and each trip truly gets better.

BRI MIAMI

*Bienvenido a Miami*

Miami is always changing. There is so much more than lounging on the beach – although it is absolutely stunning.

SOBE

You have a cultural scene, a growing food community and new districts popping up. It’s full of vibrancy, decadence, art, music, and literature. Because of this, I will definitely be updating this guide. But for now, these are my favorites.  Enjoy!

MIAMI BAR COCKTAILS

*One of our first BNB Trips*

To Stay:

South Beach

  • Faena Hotel is the place to be right now.

faena

Everything about this hotel is superb. They have two exquisite restaurants: Los Fuegos (South American live fire cooking!) and Pao (French, Spanish, Japanese and Filipino!) The bar is stunning. They also have an old Hollywood theater where they do cabaret performance. Very old-school and super sexy.

faena food

*Steak at Los Fuegos – it was as close to my Buenos Aires steak experience in the U.S.*
  • The Edition is the other fabulous hotel. Basement is the underground lounge with a bowling alley and ice rink. My best friend, Linda, and I had a very good night here…

brielle bowl

*Rocking the gutter ball*
  • 1 Hotel is a stunning hotel with such a chill, beautiful vibe. Get up to the roof for dinner/cocktails. Also had a great time here with a few lovely ladies.

one hotel roof

Belle Isle

  • The Standard (spa is awesome and so are amenities – they have outside tubs!) I try to stay here if I don’t need to be on South Beach. I call it my retreat. The food is healthy and delicious, also.

Brickell

  • Viceroy is beautiful and the spa is beyond amazing.

To Eat:

Steakhouse

  • Red Steakhouse – Ridiculous steak and the veal parm is phenomenal.

red

*Flintstone style meat*
  • Prime 112 – the beautiful people/see and be seen steak house. Sexy vibe. Good steaks. Great meatballs. The Rock was there filming Ballers – I would love to dine with him 🙂

PRIME 112

Asian

  • Juvia (French/Japanese) – On the top of a parking garage. Very cool atmosphere and food.
  • Baoli – just a trendy cool spot.

Farm To Table

  • Michael’s Genuine is healthier classic contemporary American in the Design District.

Fried Food

  • Yardbird Southern Table and Bar – FRIED CHICKEN!

Gastro

  • The Bazaar by Jose Andres – very interesting, unique dishes and pairings that are unexpected but super delicious.

Simple Fun

  • Cecconi’s (in SOHO Beach House) – Mediterranean / Italian. Because it’s in SOHO house you have a lot of industry people there. Chill vibe.

Classic

  • The Forge – old world Miami steak. It still has an 1822 Château Lafite Rothschild worth $165,000.
  • The Restaurant @ the Setai is stunning. A beautiful overall experience.
  • Joe’s Stone Crab – if in season, best crabs around. I could eat a plate myself.

Italian

  • Il Gabbiano is one of my favorite Italian restaurants in the world. Chicken and Veal parm are outstanding. All pastas are divine and the wine list is extensive. Very beautiful atmosphere, too. Gino Masci is one of the owners. Sweetest guy.

IL GABBIANO

*Hello Veal!*

Brunch

  • Zuma Downtown is a very fun Sunday brunch.
  • 27 hands down. Brunch is overwhelmingly delicious.

27

Best Cubans

  • Versailles or Havana 1957

Chinese

  • MR CHOW is always a fun Americanized Chinese restaurant. Chow’s Peking duck is ridiculous.

Spanish

  • Matador Room is Jean George’s new spot in The Edition Hotel. They took his ABC Cocina menu and revitalized it for a little more upscale experience.

Greek

  • Milos Greek is high concept Greek. The seafood is delicious.

Cocktails:

  • 1 Hotel rooftop

One hotel cocktail

  • Anywhere in the EDITION or Faena Hotel
  • Rec Room
  • Delano Hotel by pool (classic)

WHITE PARTY

*Headed to the Delano for the all white party…*
  • Broken Shaker
  • Honorable mention: Ted’s Hideaway – dive bar with a jukebox – need I say more?

JukeboxTeds

To See/Do:

  • Design District is fun to walk around in. Great boutique shops.
  • Bal Harbour Shops – high end shops. Fun people watching, too.
  • Sky Diving
  • Lincoln Road Mall
  • Experience Cuba in Little Havana

Exercise Spots:

  • Barry’s Boot Camp (right by The Standard Hotel)
  • Soul Cycle (in 1 Hotel)
  • Cross Fit outside

The Nightlife:

  • I stay away from clubs these days. That was my jam in my 20’s…BUT if you go this route, LIV, Cameo and Story are the big ones.
  • Honorable mention: E11even – the 24 hour club/bar/rooftop/eatery – pretty much everything you want or need at 4am. Wound up here by accident (long story) but it was an epic night. It’s across the street from Club Space…

11

*Rooftop of E11even*

 

Motivational Monday w/o June 20th – Simplicity

In a world with so many choices, sometimes the simplest things are the best for us:

Simple

Keep it simple & stay inspired.

Advice for Traveling with a Pet

For some pet parents, a trip is no fun if their four-legged members of the family can’t join. Traveling with a pet can be very stressful so if you’re planning a trip, here are tips I learned to ensure a safe and comfortable journey for all involved.

rambo carry on

*Mom, this is not the correct carry-on*

Make sure your pet is microchipped for identification and wears a collar and tag imprinted with the owner’s name, phone number and any relevant contact information. It’s a good idea for your pet’s collar to also include a temporary travel tag with your cell phone and destination phone number for the duration of your trip.

Traveling by plane:

newark

*Dad walking me through Newark Airport*

Unless your pet is small enough to ride under your seat, it’s best to avoid air travel with your pets.

Rambo luggage

*I barely fit into the carry-on for my trip to Florida*

If you must bring your pet along on the flight, here are suggestions to keep them safe when travelling in cargo:

  • Book a direct flight whenever possible. This will decrease the chances that your pet is left on the tarmac during extreme weather conditions or mishandled by baggage personnel during a layover.
  • Make an appointment with your pet’s veterinarian for a checkup. Prior to your trip, make sure your pet’s vaccinations are up-to-date and obtain a health certificate from your veterinarian dated within 10 days of your departure.
  • Tranquilizing your pet is generally not recommended as it could hamper their breathing.
  • If you plan to travel outside the United States, additional planning and health care requirements may be necessary. Contact the foreign office of the country you are traveling to for more information.
  • Purchase a USDA-approved shipping crate. The crate should be large enough for your pet to stand, sit and turn around in comfortably, and lined with some type of bedding—shredded paper or towels—to absorb accidents.
  • Prior to your trip, tape a small pouch of dried food outside the crate so airline personnel will be able to feed your pet in case he or she gets hungry during a layover.
  • The night before you leave, freeze a small dish or tray of water for your pet. This way, it can’t spill during loading and will melt by the time they’re thirsty.
  • Make sure the crate door is securely closed, but not locked, so that airline personnel can open it in case of an emergency.
  • Make sure your pet’s crate has proper identification. Mark the crate with the words “Live Animal,” as well as with your name, cell phone and destination phone number, and a photo of your pet. Should your pet escape from the carrier, this could be a lifesaver. You should also carry a photograph of your pet. (I mean why wouldn’t you do that anyway!)
  • Tell every airline employee you encounter—on the ground and in the air—that you are traveling with a pet in the cargo hold. This way, they’ll be ready if any additional considerations or attention is needed. If the plane is delayed, or if you have any concerns about the welfare of your pet, insist that airline personnel check the animal whenever feasible.

Taking a Road Trip:

Traveling with a pet by car involves more than just loading the animal in the back seat, especially if you will be driving long distances or plan to be away for a long time. Here are a few car travel safety tips to help you prepare for a safe trip.

rambo truck

*Can you see me?*
  • Prep your pet for a long trip. Get them geared up by taking them on a series of short drives first, gradually lengthening time spent in the car.
  • Pack toys or pillows to give your pet a sense of familiarity.

rambo babies

*All my babies come with me wherever I go*
  • If you’re traveling across state lines, bring along your pet’s rabies vaccination record. While this generally isn’t a problem, some states require this proof at certain interstate crossings.
  • Keep your pets safe and secure in a well-ventilated crate or carrier. The crate should be large enough for your pet to stand, sit, lie down and turn around in. Secure your pet’s crate so it will not slide or shift in the event of an abrupt stop. If you decide to forgo the crate, don’t allow your pet to ride with his head outside the window, and always keep him in the back seat in a harness attached to a seat buckle.
  • Prep a pet-friendly travel kit. I personally require: food, a bowl, leash, a waste scoop, plastic bags, grooming supplies, medication and first-aid, books and any travel documents.

rambo books

*My summer reading*
  • Be sure to pack plenty of water, and avoid feeding your pet in a moving vehicle.
  • Never leave your animal alone in a parked vehicle.
    • On a hot day, even with the windows open, a parked automobile can become a furnace in no time, and heatstroke can develop.
    • In cold weather, a car can act as a refrigerator, holding in the cold and causing the animal to freeze to death.

Hope these tips were useful. Woof to a great vacation the whole family can enjoy.

Love,

Rambo

Los Angeles – 2016

Los Angeles – I hate to love you so much…seeing that I’m from the East Coast 🙂

The weather is perfect. The traffic is a nightmare. The culture is laid back, yet trend-setting.

You are a global metropolis with an extraordinary history and a rich cultural heritage. You are the Entertainment Capital of the World and have miles of sunny coastline. Your multicultural neighborhoods are eclectic, progressive, trendy, laid back and retro. There is something for everyone.

I have made countless trips to LA and felt it was time to just consolidate my list of places to go and things to do since people ask me all the time. This city guide will definitely get updates as things are ever-changing.

Downtown LA

Hotels:

I haven’t stayed here – just visited the neighborhood.

Restaurants/ Drinks:

-Philippe the Original: This is where the French dip sandwich was invented a century ago. Cash only.

Philipe

– Daikokuya: Best Ramen in Little Tokyo – they even have cold ramen (yum!).

– Cana Rum Bar: Feels like a speakeasy (in the back of a parking garage). Tiny and very chill – crafted cocktails where rum is the superstar.

To Do:

Disney Concert Hall

– Staples Center: Sporting events (Cana is across the street)

– Museum of Contemporary Art

Silver Lake

Hotels:

I haven’t stayed here. Just visited for a lunch or dinner and walked around. Very bohemian.

Restaurants/ Drinks:

Cliff’s Edge: One of the most beautiful dining experiences. Food is out of this world – esp. if they have the tasting menu available (check in advance). The cocktails at this bar are top notch.

CLIFF'S EDGE

– Café Stella: Wine and jazz…pretty much a classic French bistro.

– 4100 Bar: Jukebox heavy and very unpretentious crowd.

– Thirsty Crow: Saloon style setting, tons of whiskey and a laid back atmosphere.

– Little Dom’s: Best kale salad, fried oyster po’ boy and Italian deli sandwiches.

little doms

To Do:

–  Griffith Park: Observatory and Hollywood Sign – they equate this to LA’s ‘Central Park’.

GRIFFITH

– Greek Theatre

West Hollywood / Hollywood / Beverly Hills

Hotels:

The Standard: Great location – Sunset Strip – walking distance to adorable boutique stores.

– The Roosevelt: Great location and simply one of the coolest hotels in LA – across from Chinese Theater, Kodak Theater, Star Walk of Fame, great valet service, In and Out Burger is down the street…I stay here when I’m in Hollywood.

hotel roose

– Chateau Marmont: Where all the movie stars stay and do very bad things – hehe… If anything, have a drink at the Bar Marmont or lunch on the beautiful terrace. You feel like you’re in Europe.

chateu

Restaurants/ Drinks:

Spare Room (in Roosevelt): Game parlor/cocktail lounge. Has its own bowling alley.

– La Descarga: Sexy, awesome rum and cigar lounge bar. They even have spicy salsa act!

– Roscoe’s House of Chicken and Waffles: The name says it all.

– Jitlada: Fantastic Thai food. Try the spicy papaya salad.

– Life Food Organic: Raw powered fast food!

– Writer’s Room: Hidden in an ally, this classic joint – Hemmingway and Fitzgerald mingled with starlets here – is a classic vintage-inspired cocktail bar.

– Coolhaus: Ice cream sandwiches that are bigger, bolder and more imaginative than you could imagine – think Whiskey-Lucky Charms, Pastrami and Fried Chicken and Waffles.

coolhause

-A.O.C.: Simply excellent with a glorious courtyard, lovely wine list and a dark, roasted chicken that is unforgettable.

– The Bazaar by Jose Andres (SLS Hotel): Modernist ode to Spain. Go with an open mind and try everything. The Philly Cheesesteak is a standout.

bazaar

-Rao’s: The famed NY stalwart made its way to the West Coast in 2013. All I can say is baked clams, oversized meatless and Sunday gravy. Absolutely classic.

– All About the Bread: The Godfather sandwich is a memorable experience. The bread is absolutely delicious.

– Pizzeria Mozza: The flour is King Arthur Sir Galahad and it’s baked for a minimum of 8 minutes at 600 degrees. It’s a one of a kind recipe that is life changing.

– Osteria Mozza: Red Sauce Dinner nights include a Sinatra soundtrack. The Puglian burrata purse, chickpea pop in the soffritto-laced parmigiana and the linguine with clams between the grilled octopus and the braised veal breast staccato are stand outs. To note – the kitchen will happily split an order into perfect small bites if you’re willing to share.

– Janes’ on 3rd: Amazing breakfast spot. Closer to mid-city area so a drive.

– Spago: Wolfgang Puck’s Classic – a seasonal menu in a stunning space with classic delicious dishes (smoked salmon pizza).

– Mel’s Diner: Anyone who has seen the 1973 film “American Graffiti” remembers the neon sign at the gang’s favorite hangout spot buzzing in the background. For late night grub, this is my go-to spot.

Mels

– Son of a Gun: Great seafood. Menu changes daily.

– Terrine: It’s a playground of flavor at this French hot spot. Foie gras with sweet and sour prunes…frog legs?! The charcuterie plate does not disappoint.

– Maude: This restaurant pays homage to California farmers by selecting ingredients that typify California (think: avocado, fits, artichokes). Their menu is a creation of delicious, interesting plates of food. Each month the menu spotlights one ingredient either as the star of the dish or as an accoutrement. Prix fixe only.

– The Ivy: The quintessential alfresco lunch spot in L.A. It feels like a French country cottage with a yard. The Maine lobster ravioli is delicious.

the ivy

– Madeo: Unassuming Italian with an off the menu black truffle pasta that is out of this world.

– Bouchon: Legendary chef Thomas Keller’s casual French brasserie serving classic long lunches. The seafood platters are a must and the burger with truffle fries is heavenly.

– Honorable mention *Victor’s Cafe*: Closed in 2015 but was a community clubhouse for those that just loved staple deli food. I had the pleasure of meeting Bill Gotti a few years ago. His blintzes and bagels were NY worthy, and his matzo ball soup with chunks of carrots, celery and chicken was life-changing. He was born in the Bronx, raised in Brooklyn and the younger brother of the late Mafia boss John Gotti. His cafe will always remain in my heart.

To Do:

– Kodak Theater (Oscars)

– Grauman’s Chinese Theater

– Walk of Fame

– Rodeo Drive J = Treat Yo Self!

– Mulholland Drive

– Hike up Runyon Canyon – 130 acres Public Park. Beautiful especially at sunset.

Santa Monica

Hotels:

Viceroy: Cool, hip, modern.

– The Huntley: Classic, beautiful and great location to everything (this is my favorite hotel to stay in – 1 block from Soul Cycle, the beach and the 3rd St Promenade).

hUNTLEY

Restaurants/Drinks:

– Rustic Tavern: Local organic producers and menu shifts with availability.

– Real Food Daily Santa Monica Location: New world vegan cooking (currently closed – with plans to re-open soon).

– Basement Tavern: Craftsman cocktails and live music.

– Tender Greens: Healthy food – counter service; sit and eat.

– Goji Juice + Vitamins: Great green juices and acai bowls.

– A Votre Sante: Light, natural, healthy fare. It’s no-guilt dining!

To Do:

– Santa Monica Pier and Beach

SANTA MONICA

– 3rd St. Promenade: carefree and car-free strolling and shopping

Venice

Hotels:

I would stay in Santa Monica – Venice is next door.

Restaurants/Drinks:

Intelligentsia: BEST coffee ever!

– Joe’s: Cali-French.

– Abbot’s Pizza Co: Seriously good pizza – especially for the West Coast!

– Venice Beach Wines: Wine and charcuterie.

– Cafe Gratitude: Very healthy (We have a Café Grumpy in NY, haha).

– Dudley Market: Farm to table eatery. Low key vibe during the day, but transforms into an intimate 20 seat restaurant at night. The Orata fish with salsa verde is very good.

To Do:

– Boardwalk/Muscle Beach: Such characters.

muscle beach

– Abbot Kinney Shopping District: AMAZING BOUTIQUE STORES and restaurants/bars.

Malibu

Hotels:

Malibu Inn OR just drive up Pacific Coast Hwy (PCH) for a lovely afternoon and have a late lunch/early dinner.

Restaurants/Drinks:

Café Habana: The NY dining scene hits Malibu with this retro-hip Havana styled eatery. The spacious patio is glorious on a beautiful day (ever day in Malibu). Chicken Tinga Tacos are unreal. The Cuban sandwich is a hit too. Habana hosts a Taco Tuesday and Karaoke Wednesday. Habana is also located in Malibu Lumberyard which has a ton of great shops!

– Paradise Cove: Classic Malibu establishment. Portions are HUGE. Sit outside. Take a stroll on the beach after and admire the Malibu cliffs.

paradise cove

– Nobu: Imagine the beauty of the NY restaurant on the Pacific – absolutely stunning. If anything, have a cocktail at the bar. Apps are terrific and the food is sumptuous.

To Do:

Malibu Lumber Yard shopping.

Other Stuff

– Rose Bowl in Pasadena: Classic landmark. Was lucky enough to see a USC – UCLA Game!

– Universal Studios in Burbank: Fun for a day trip.

– Mexican Food Trucks are AWESOME late night!

– LA is the worst for traffic. Prepare yourself.

la traffic

– LA thinks it’s known for their burgers. Try for yourself – Unami and In and Out are the fast food leaders.

– Take a Rise Nation Fitness class. It specializes in a killer 30-minute full body cardio climb (rise-nation.com). Alternatively, you always have Tracy Anderson, Barry’s and Soul Cycle.

– Sip a classic Bellini at Beverly Hill’s Mr. C Hotel – owned by the Cipriani family. Every guest receives one upon arrival (kids get a virgin version). Naturally, check-in takes place at the lobby bar.

 

Motivational Monday w/o June 13th: Commitment

After this week’s Life Coach training, this quote really resonated with me –

“When you’re interested, you do what’s convenient; when you’re committed, you do whatever it takes.” – John Assaraf

Stay Inspired!

Comittment

How To Travel On A Budget

It’s no secret. I live to travel. I will go anywhere, at any time given the chance. I find it to be the most educational & rewarding experience – even more so than food! (Gasp!). Every place, like every person you encounter, is a teacher. Just open your eyes and take it in. Let go of your ego and be open to something new, uncomfortable, challenging and absolutely life-changing.

travel-the-world

Over the years, I’ve visited some extraordinary places and many people have bombarded me with the questions –  “How did you pay for it? That must’ve been expensive…” “You must make a lot of money.” Gotta love everyone’s assumptions. First of all, I’m not a millionaire but I’m a damn independent and resourceful adult.

nOTRE

To be honest, my paycheck is more like a reality check. People say find the courage to take a leap of faith and do what you love. Well, I love writing (hence the birth of this blog). I love sharing ideas, giving advice on daily tips, food, travel, motivating my loved ones, talking about how cute my dog Rambo is 🙂 and finding a way to document my life so I don’t forget the adventures and can hopefully share with future loved ones. They say if you know a writer you will never die. That’s pretty amazing to think about.

I also have to pay bills, so after years of hemming and hawing, and dabbling here and there, I officially launched my consulting company, BLC Communications. That’s a whole other post. But it’s really awesome being your own boss! OK, back to this post…

Trips are affordable and don’t have to put you in debt but you have PLAN. Listen folks, we all have bills, rent/mortgages, student loans and other obligations. It’s easy to put off those dream trips, but when is the time really right? Never and now!

ticking now on check boxes

  • Rack up credit card rewards: Almost every card has a point system or a cash-back clause. This means every time you make a purchase you’re automatically earning redeemable extras on the side.
  • Apply for airline and hotel points: Get those loyalty rewards! Signing up for an airline / hotel membership is almost always free, so why not collect miles with each flight / hotel you book for no cost? Remember you can sign up for multiple carriers and hotel chains, or if you prefer one airline / hotel chain, look into their credit card affiliates.
  • There are always travel deals: I have never paid for a first class/business flight. I’ve used points or been upgraded because of my flying status. If you do not have either, then I suggest you dig through a bargain bin when it comes to airfare.
    1. Good sites: The Flight Deal, Sky ScannerAir Fare Watchdog
    2. Apps: Hopper and DealRay (not free but great finding price ‘mistakes’)
    3. Check your airline websites – they offer some great deals
    4. I love perusing Jetsetter, Living Social Deals and Groupon
  • Search for affordable destinations: Look for countries within your budget. While I am dying to go to New Zealand + Australia that trip is going to have to wait. This year Keith and I are going to China + Southeast Asia. Points for flights + hotels, and when you land the US dollar is strong! There are also a ton of affordable European and South American countries thanks to the low exchange rates and discounted flight routes (see #3 and the sites for carriers).
  • Consider low-cost lodging: I, personally, have never done a youth hostel, although it’s an option. You don’t have the stay at the Ritz (unless you have points, of course!). Really consider other options like chic boutique hotels or AirBNB!
  • Save small for a big returns: We all have daily habits that can add up. I love trashy gossip magazines and the food bar at Whole Foods. By cutting back on these ‘vices’ for a month you could save a bunch.
  • Be open to when you travel: Sadly, it’s almost impossible to find cheap summer fares to Europe or inexpensive winter flights to South America. Your best bet? Go in the spring or fall when there’s still good weather, but no crowds or high prices.
  • Save your personal time off days: Tack your vacation on to a holiday (Memorial Day in May, Labor Day in September, and Columbus Day in October). Since these are domestic days off, traveling outside the country won’t be as crazy as New Years, Christmas or Easter.
  • Use inconveniences to your advantage: Things don’t always go according to plan. In these cases, it never hurts to ask for a refund or at least an upgrade. For example, on a recent trip, Keith and I had just checked into our villa. It was around midnight and a drunk guy tapped on our patio window. It was not a dangerous situation, but could have been. We called security and the staff handled everything professionally and comped that night. Although it was a slight frustration, a free night is a free night! Cha ching!

Motivational Monday w/o June 6th: The Universe

One of my favorite books is The Alchemist. The main character, Santiago, goes through many trials and tribulations on his journey. One of the things he learns that resonates the most with me is:

Universe

Try it out this week. #StayInspired. #3QT