Happy Bithday America!

July 4, 2013 at 12:26 pmBY Joanna

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Happy Birthday America!

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That’s What She Said: Our Alt Summit NYC Recap

June 27, 2013 at 10:00 amBY Lorien

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As you may already know, Joanna and I went to NYC last week for Alt Design Summit. Since we went last year, we felt like seasoned pros going into it but Alt outdid themselves and topped last year’s conference. More bloggers came, more speakers spoke, more sponsors to interact with… more awesomeness all around. It was a whirlwind few days (especially with staying at the over the top hotel the Dream Downtown (can you say pool with a see through bottom above the lobby), and we’ve finally had a few days to let all the knowledge we learned sink in (Also if you’re ever in NYC go to the Spice Market, it was so good we had to go back again this year).

Lorien says:
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I’m not a good blogger as I don’t socialize well with others. Ok, this isn’t entirely true, but anyone who knows me knows I’m extremely shy so things like the Alt Conference are challenging for me.

On Wednesday night we attended a dinner with 15 other bloggers and the organizers of Alt, Sara Urquhart and Gabrielle Blair of Design Mom. Honestly, I was sort of dreading attending because of my shyness, but luckily the dinner was one of my highlights of our time in NYC.

Besides having the best ice cream of my life, the dinner was a great chance to have one-on-one time with other bloggers, pick the brilliant brian of Gabrielle Blair and have a no-frills networking experience. Low maintenance and good conversation focused around the things that really interest and matter to Joanna and I; we talked about the topics that we hoped to discuss when attending Alt. Thank you to the Alt organizers for an amazing evening.

2. “Blaze your own version of a path” and “embrace change”. Both are quotes from Grace Bonney from Design Sponge, the opening keynote speaker and someone who is a role model for us when it comes to blogging. With our blog being so personal and an extension of us, these two quotes are something I am going to lean on.

Like the first year, being around other bloggers I feel pressure to be the “perfect blogger (whatever that means). While I could go on about it, I will say that after this year’s conference I’m even more confident in doing my own thing. Doing what’s comfortable for me. Challenging myself in ways that work for me. Do me. Don’t try to do what everyone else is doing – blaze your own version of path.

Through her lecture, I feel inspired to embrace change especially with Get Along and Go. That it’s ok to have your brand evolve and change from the original mission statement. You’re not failing but you’re growing. Change scary to you too? To kickstart a change, break it into small steps.

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3. “Play is the highest form of research” – Albert Einstein. The two speakers from They Draw and Cook shared this quote with us and I 100% believe in it. I think hearing all the speakers talk about their creative endeavors they would all agree how important this is. I must remind myself to do this more, to go and seek fulfilling activities.

4.“You want your audience to have a crush on you, to seek you out”. I feel like I’m letting out a blogger secret or something, but I love when Jen Koss from Brika (a brand that I blogged about here) said this. I think this is important for any brand.

5. Thank you again ALT for an amazing experience, the conference was invigorating and inspiring. Alt, you were the kick in the butt I needed. And not to get too corny, I’m proud of myself for going in and staying true to who I am as a blogger and to really focus on what I wanted to get out of the conference. Now to take what I learned and make some changes! Hope to see everyone in 2014, fingers crossed for another Alt NYC!

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Joanna says:

1. Just like last year, we had a fantastic time attending Alt Summit.  Getting out of town and spending a few days surrounded by like minded, creative entrepreneurs is not only inspiring, but also a rewarding way to enjoy the work we do.  I have to say, this year brought many unexpected outcomes, the first of which was being invited to a special dinner Wednesday night with the organizers of the conference (the sponsored dinner we were signed up for was cancelled, so this was a surprise and a treat).  Seeing as we often organize large scale events, it was really wonderful to get some one-on-one time with the organizers of Alt.  Gabrielle Blair from Design Mom sat across from me and she was truly generous with her time – I just hope I didn’t bombard her with too many questions.  So thank you Alt for inviting us to dinner.

2. Ok – another unexpected take-away (or personal realization) from Alt…I’m not good at networking, and I’m completely OK with that.  Going into this year’s conference, I was a little nervous about how many people I’d be able to connect with, how many business cards I’d hand out, how many people would leave knowing about Get Along And Go…ugghhh.  Total nightmare for me.  Thankfully, while at the conference I found some sort of zen place about the whole networking thing when it dawned on me that one solid connection is more valuable than trying to introduce yourself to everyone.  Networking just seems empty to me unless it’s supported by concrete thought and content.  I always knew this, but hearing the closing keynote speaker Garance Dore state – ‘do not network’ (she meant in a superficial way) was some serious validation in a room swimming with possible connections that I was missing.  I was thrilled to introduce myself to a few other conference attendees who I hope to connect with more in the future, but I was completely OK with not pressuring myself to chat with everyone.  Pheeew…

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3. Alt is an amazing conference for so many reasons (it’s difficult to recap everything we enjoyed – this post would never end), but for me, the biggest take away was very personal.  For me – attending Alt was like performing in front of a mirror, in the sense that for some reason at Alt I become acutely aware of my own strengths and weaknesses.  Last year that may have freaked me out, but this year I embraced that awkward but honest realization.  And thankfully so – because this year at Alt I realized that I need to take a step away from all the social media, put the laptop down every now and again, and actually return to being creative with my hands.  At Alt I got to try out some crafty projects during the conference thanks to Martha Stewart (who has a beautiful new website by the way).  So – in the words of Grace Bonney of Design Sponge, ‘embrace change’.  That being said, Lorien and I are so excited to sit down and really examine what we love, what we hate (it’s mostly me who hates things), what this means for Get Along And Go, and where we go from here.  It’s a very exciting time and we’ll be sharing our thoughts along the way!

So thank you Alt for all the hard work.  We know these types of events take an amazing amount of time and energy to pull off, but when they’re done well, the reward is well worth the hard work.  Alt Summit 2013 was fantastic, and I was so pleasantly surprised with so many unexpected self-discoveries.  Can’t wait to see you next year.

 

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A New Find: Tiny Atlas Quarterly

June 18, 2013 at 11:03 amBY Lorien

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I can’t really travel far this summer, but I am looking to plan some weekend camping trips or small staycations. But Tiny Atlas Quarterly, an online photography publication that I just discovered, has me wishing I could travel farther and more.

A new publication, I’m excited to see where it goes and what adventures they capture with their cameras. Created by a photographer with more photographers, stylists, art directors and designers contributing, I find Tiny Atlas Quarterly is simple, personable and relatable (all great things!). What is Tiny Quarterly Atlas about? In their words:

” With Tiny Atlas we are creating these stories for ourselves and for you. And while our clients may want the ever-sunny day, we also relish a moody storm sweeping acorss a moutnian range. With Tiny Atlas Quarterly we want to show you the places we lvoe to travel ourselves, both high and lowbrow. We also want to show you how we see our own backyards”.

I love the part about showing us how they see their own backyards… the rest of the About Page is just as well written and charming. I’m excited to see more pictures from Tiny Atlas Quarterly. Any other online magazines, publications that I should be seeing?

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Before and After: A 240 Year Old Map is Reborn

June 17, 2013 at 10:19 amBY Lorien

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On Wednesday Joanna and I are once again attending the conference Alt Design Summit in NYC. Last year was our first time going and we are thrilled to be going again. We learned so much from the speakers and from meeting fellow bloggers, and sitting in the offices of Martha Stewart wasn’t so bad either.

This year the speakers and the panel, in my opinion, are even better than last year and I know I’m going to learn so much. We’re ready to learn and to be inspired, and to spend some time in NYC (the weather is looking good, fingers crossed).

On my hunt to find things for Joanna and I to do while in NYC, I of course wandered from my search and I came across this story in the New York Times about a 240 year old map that was restored. It was amazing to see the before and after, and even if you don’t read the story, check out the interactive feature to see the amazing restoration that took place close-up.

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That’s What She Said: Taking a Trip to Vinny’s Antiques Center

June 13, 2013 at 10:30 amBY Joanna

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For this week’s ‘That’s What She Said’ post we made our way to Vinny’s Antique Center in Seekonk, MA. What a gem of a place, if you haven’t been yet it’s worth taking a drive (it’s less than a 1/2 hour from Providence). Two floors filled top to bottom, left to right with treasures from clocks, chairs, kitchenware, clothing, furniture, pictures…. a little something of everything. .

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Lorien says: Joanna had been before and since she is always raving about Vinny’s, I was excited to check it out. There were so many things to look at and so many things I could take home, but I went in with some tunnel vision. I went looking for tables and chairs that we could use in our house since we’re in need of a new kitchen table and possibly more seating. While I didn’t find my kitchen table I did find….

This amazing trunk. Even with being on the floor, the bright yellow caught my eye immediately. I love how worn in it is and I even love the color. I would love to take this home and find a place in our home for it. Such a great storage solution.

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The shape and the fabric, surprisingly, is what attracted to me to this chair. And while I do love the fabric I would love to reupholster this chair, maybe in a grey or grey tweed, and put it our family room. The brown of the chair would go great with my brown couch, and I love how thin the legs and arms are (I’m currently having a mini obsession with finding furniture that isn’t bulky).

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Every vendor has their own area, so as you walk the place you feel like you’re stepping into each vendor’s family room, and even if you’re not on the hunt to buy things it’s fun to just walk around. I love this one particular’s vendor spot. It was filled top to bottom with antiques from this gorgeous fan to vintage beer taps, toys and signs. The quality of everything was amazing and could easily go into anyone’s home as is. Everything about this vendor’s area was exactly what you thought of and wanted when you go to an antique store.

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Joanna says: I’ve been having a love affair with Vinny’s for years now.  When I first moved back to Providence from NYC, I combed Vinny’s for furniture (I had none), and found my kitchen table and chairs, my dresser, and a bazillion end tables (maybe 5).  They always have inexpensive pieces of furniture that just need a little love – sometimes a repaint or just a good cleaning. Absolutely the place to go if you’re looking for something unique and affordable.vinny's03vinny's02

Given that I am thinning out my collections of collections….I went to Vinny’s this time with restraint.  I mostly wanted to introduce Lorien to one of my fave shops, and I knew she was on the hunt for some new furniture.  Instead of looking for new chotchkies – I went through the store looking for inspiring graphic design.  Vintage packaging from mid-century always seems to be my favorite.  I found some fun examples…I love this Alka-Seltzer box and it’s colors.  And who wouldn’t want to read ‘Explorations in Non-Traditional Study‘ with that title and cover art.  Two thumbs up to a successful trip to Vinny’s.

 

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Must-Haves for Keeping Cool

June 4, 2013 at 10:36 amBY Lorien

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Boy it was hot this weekend. As I laid on the beach on Friday and spent Saturday night camping in the heat, all I wanted was things to keep me cool. The heat almost made me dive into the ice cold (ice cold!) and it definitely made me obsessed about stopping for ice-cream on the way home (which we did and it was amazing).

As we camped Saturday night, I realized how important it is to pack things that keep you cool and refreshed. I’m determined to not complain about the hot weather this summer, and these few items will help me do just that.

1. I’m eager to try these Peanut Butter Banana Pops. They look simple to make and who doesn’t love chocolate and peanut butter combined? I love that this recipe used almond milk instead of milk.

2. I love dresses for the summer (I know I’m not alone) that you can just throw on and know you’ll look put together and will stay cool. I’m a big fan of this one from Madewell (I’m excited one is coming the the Providence Place Mall soon), it basically looks like a big t-shirt, which for me is a “I need one in every color”.

3. I swear by these Cleansing Wipes from Simple Skincare. I’m a little obsessed about these and I could write a whole post about how amazing these are. I’ve been camping twice over the last month and these saved my face. You feel refreshed and clean after you use them but they do not dry out your skin. They’re not perfumey so they’re great for everyone.

4. The kitchn shared this recipe for a Cold Noodle Salad with Creamy Peanut Sauce that will be a perfect dish for a hot Summer day, whether you’re at work or on the beach.

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From the Weekend: Camping in Cooperstown

May 28, 2013 at 10:48 amBY Lorien

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What a weekend! So many good things were squeezed into three days… How was your Memorial Day Weekend? We went up to Cooperstown on Saturday to camp for a night at the Ommegang Brewery. There was live music, fireworks, lots of good brews, we drove by a few parades, the weather finally warmed up on Sunday – so many good things were squeezed into only two days. I feel like it’s officially Summer.

And after a weekend away, it feels good to be back.

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That’s What She Said: Shopping Excursion to Benny’s

May 9, 2013 at 10:40 amBY Joanna and Lorien

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Lorien and I were in need of some retail therapy, and where better to go than Benny’s??  Their tagline is ‘your favorite store’, and I think they’re right.  We love Benny’s.  It’s got that old school hardware store feel, reminiscent of times before the giant Home Depots.  They have everything from paint supplies, to gardening tools, to kitchen supplies and camping gear…plus other more obscure knick knacks.  Just what we were looking for.

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Joanna’s finds:  After much deliberation, and poking around, I settled on some awesome accessories for gardening this season (I had to have restraint to not fill my carriage).  I’ve done a fair amount of research on gardening hoses, and was so shocked to find out most of them contain lead that seeps into the water over time and grows into vegetables (gross).  After many unsuccessful searches for a ‘drinking water safe’ hose at the bigger garden centers, I found what I was looking for at Benny’s (this happens all the time – they have all the good brands).  This never-kink hose is made for boats and campers and is safe for watering veggies.  Plus – it never kinks…..or so it says.

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I also found these replacement lids for Ball canning jars.  I suppose I could have ordered them online, but I kept forgetting to do it.  The lids always rust after being used, so you need to replace them each time you use the glass for pickling.  Of course they had them at Benny’s.  I finished of my shopping with some natural bamboo stakes for the garden.  Believe it or not the bigger garden center only had the died green stakes, which I think are kind of terrible looking, so score again at Benny’s.  I’m not exaggerating (and they’re not paying me) when I say that I always leave this place pleasantly surprised with their inventory.  Cheers to a successful shopping trip!

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Lorien’s Finds: One can spend hours in Benny’s and find a million of reasons to buy pretty much everything in the store…. all of a sudden I found myself wanting a dart board, to paint my walls, to buy tons of tupperware, beach chairs, a grill….you really can find everything you want at Benny’s. But once I started to focus, I realized they had a lot of things for my kitchen, I’ve been needing to put the finishing touches on the corner that surrounds our large hutch…..

First up, I found a nice collection of frames that were the perfect size for two prints I’ve been wanting to hang up FOREVER, one from Craftland and the other from Jill Bliss. Most of the frames at Benny’s were black, but that worked out for me since most of the frames I have in my home are also black. And for $7.99 and $10.99, the prices are hard to beat ( We totally sound like Benny’s salespeople but it’s so easy to get on the Benny’s bandwagon once you’ve been).

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Then I actually found a bicycle basket for $10 that I want to use for storage for knick knacks. It’s a little weird and unconventional, but it’s actually perfect size for my kitchen. The part that would go over the handles is perfect for hanging up, I just have to get a little handy and a little DIY. There is actually a larger basket that I want to go back for, it will be great to hold my magazines and books for the family room.

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Who knew Benny’s would be the place to go for cutting boards? They have such a selection of sizes and prices of cutting boards… which was fantastic since I needed a large cutting board to cover the surface of our hutch, we basically needed something to act like a big coaster. Since it’s a good size, it will also act as tray when we eat outside on our porch…and as the perfect cheese platter.. gotta love Benny’s.

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That’s What She Said: Top 5 Daytrips

May 2, 2013 at 12:00 pmBY Joanna

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We’re over the moon about this nice weather and we both are already planning warm weather adventures like the Brimfield Antique show and Newport Folk Festival. So for our second joint post, we decided to pick our top 5 day trips…Trips that you/we can easily do on Saturday or Sunday…

So here are our 5 top picks for day trips. Are we missing something? Share with us!

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Jacob’s Pillow – Jacob’s Pillow is on my list because the Berkshires is great place to spend a day. The Berkshires is only two hours from Providence, so it’s an easy drive and everything in the Berkshires (Lee, Lenox, Great Barrington) is a half hour away from each other (or just about). You can visit numerous towns in one day – do some shopping, enjoy some fantastic food (The Dreamaway Lodge and Baba Louie’s are my favorites), all before visiting of my favorite places: Jacob’s Pillow. Dance companies from all around the world come to perform at Jacob’s Pillow to perform in their numerous theaters on their 220-acre property. Being surrounded by the talent of the dancers and watching them perform surrounded by such gorgeous scenery, the place is enchanting and really unique. Their Inside/Out Performances are free performances they perform on their outdoor stage. Tt seriously doesn’t’ get better than this in the summer.

Institute of Contemporary Art – I’ve never been to the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston, but it’s a place that has been on my list for a while and making a day trip out of it seems like the perfect excuse to be in Boston (something that I don’t do often enough, even though it’s so easy to to get to). It’s only $15, or free every Thursday from 5 to 9pm and is located on Boston’s waterfront, only a short walk downtown.

Brooklyn Flea Market – The New York Times called the Brooklyn Flea Market “One of the greatest urban experiences in New York”, and I’ve heard more rave reviews about the Brooklyn Flea Market so I hope this summer is the summer that I finally make it there. While it would be a shame to visit Brooklyn and not do anything else, since there is so much to see the Brooklyn Flea Market it is possible. They have “hundreds of top vendors of antique and repurposed furniture, vintage clothing, collectibles and antiques, as well as a tightly curated selection of jewelry, art, and crafts by local artisans and designers, plus delicious fresh food”.

Blithewold Mansion – One of my friends just posted a picture of herself surrounded by daffodils, and I knew immediately that I have to check out the gardens of Blithewold Mansion. Located in Bristol, I can visit the gardens, then hit the beach and enjoy a seafood feast for dinner. Yes please!

Newport Vineyards - Visiting Newport Vineyard is one of the those obvious choices of things to do in Summer, that I have yet to do. What can be better than enjoying glasses of wine while be surrounded by the beauty of Newport Vineyard. This summer I hope to cross it off of ‘Rhode Island To-dos’. They’re open 7 days a week, with tours Sunday-Friday at 1 & 3pm and Saturday hourly from 11am-4pm.

5-tripsJust thinking about all these day trips has me all excited to pack up the car and hit the road.  I’m ready for a little adventure, and these five trips seem simple enough to pull off on a weekend without having to take time off from work (boring I know, but I’m just to busy to take a long vacation).  There were so many places to consider.  It’s kind of amazing how far you can go in one day…but these five locales are top on my list this summer.

Brimfield Antique Show – I look forward to this massive antique show every year.  I’ve found most of my favorite home decor at Brimfield.  Last year was the absolute busiest I’ve ever seen it (it was a bit uncomfortable) so if you’re thinking about checking it out I’d say skip the weekend and go earlier in the week.  Wear comfortable shows, bring cash, and a wagon or cart on wheels.  It’s well worth the trip.

New England Aquarium – It’s so ridiculous that I’m always planing on visiting the New England Aquarium, but haven’t actually made it yet.  I’m excited to check out their Seadragon exhibit (there are two types – leafy and weedy).  I’ve heard of seahorses, but seadragons??  For $20 this sounds like a great day-trip.

B.F. Clyde’s Cider Mill – This is more of a fall trip (they don’t open until September), but I’d recommend putting it on your calendar.  Clyde’s boasts the oldest cider mill in America – and they’ve set up viewing windows so you can watch the process.  Before visiting Clyde’s I’d never heard of cider wine, just hard cider, but Clyde’s has both (and many varieties of each).  They offer cider wine tastings while you’re there, and then you can leave with jugs of you’re favorites.  Plus – don’t miss out on the apple cider doughnuts – they’re the best I’ve had.

Block Island – As a Rhode Islander, Block Island is a regular stop each summer.  Just a short ferry ride away (bonus – the ferry has a bar), this tiny little island takes me away to a simpler time…no chain restaurants, no strip malls, just small shops and restaurants and plenty of beaches.  It’s hard to say what my favorite beach is (they’re all really top notch), but if you’ve never been I’d recommend bringing a bike and checking out a few.  The island has 17 miles of beach, and they’re all free.  This is the kind of day trip that only requires a bathing suit, sunblock, and some beer money.

Mass MoCA – With a focus on ‘new art’ the Mass MoCA is full of  talented artists I’ve never seen before.  Their site calls the museum, “the most fertile site in the country for new art. The museum thrives on making and presenting work that is fresh, surprising, and challenging.“  With an ever changing rotation of exhibits and live performances the Mass MoCA makes a perfect annual trip.  Plus it’s located in the heart of the Birkshires which is a beautiful trip on it’s own.

 

 

 

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Dream Vacation: Barcelona

April 26, 2013 at 10:00 amBY Joanna

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I’ve been stuck in place for a while now.  Partially it’s having a needy dog (we’re leaving her behind for the first time this weekend – thanks Lorien!), and I think partially it’s putting in too many hours at work, and of course money, and all the other reasons people don’t travel.  I just haven’t in a very long time, and likely won’t go far in the near future.  It’s all about weekend get-aways in real life, but a girl can dream right?  When I decided to work on this Dream Get-Away post, the first challenge was where to first?  What pretend journey was on the top of my list?  After finding this amazing little apartment in Barcelona, and the choice was made.  It’s so quaint and crisp, with that perfect mix of natural materials and stark white.  This hidden dishwasher and refrigerator make it look so uncluttered.  The complete antithesis of my house.  I just love it and the video tour makes me want to leave today.

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I’ve actually been to Barcelona before, but it was so long ago, and I’m sure much of it has changed.  I know that I have (I was 10 years old).  So this would be a perfectly new adventure for me.  I’ve had so much fun checking out Barcelona’s restaurants and shops (there are so many options!).  Muebles RAM looks like one of those places I could spend hours combing through, and from what I can see in the pictures, I’d likely have to buy another suitcase.  The Guardian says…’Muebles RAM is nostalgia distilled, packed into a warehouse‘.

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In all this searching of Barcelona – I haven’t visited one site yet that didn’t have something to say about Tickets Bar…I guess that means it’s worth a visit.  Their website certainly looks spectacular, and all the reviews I’ve read highlight the creativity behind this trendy tapas bar.  I’m always up for a little flash with my food.

So the sad news is, I’m not going to Barcelona (not today anyhow) I’m just day dreaming….but if I ever get the opportunity to, I know just the place to stay.  That has to be worth something.

Have a wonderful weekend, happy Friday!

 

 

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