travel destination oktoberfest; FLiP W Magazine october 2016

This article is being re-posted from FLiP Magazine October 2016.  FLiP Magazine is a great publication with insight into pop-culture for both men and women! Aeri Rose is a regular contributor to FLiP W, the female focused half of the magazine.  You should definitely check it out, and subscribe for the free digital editions! Even if I’m quiet here…I’ll always find something to say there!

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Travel Destination: Oktoberfest

By: Aeri Rose

“O’zapft! Prost!”

“The barrel is tapped! Cheers!” two men in lederhosen and white shirts shout as they clank their massive glass beer-filled tankards together. Others around them are singing traditional German drinking songs, tankards sloshing in one hand, legs of roasted chicken waving in the other.

Welcome to Oktoberfest.  Where each year in late-September and early-October millions flock to Munich, Germany to celebrate beer and Bavarian life.

Beer is a lot of what Oktoberfest is about.  There are over 30 beer tents at Oktoberfest, though the term “tent” doesn’t do justice to  the massive wooden structures temporarily erected at the Thereseinwiese Fairgrounds. Each tent has a different theme and different beer served, hinted at by the elaborate decorations at the entrance. Inside, traditional German music plays, while festival-goers sit at long wooden tables with long wooden benches, drinking German beer, specially brewed by German beer companies for the festival.  Barmaids in dirndls walk the halls balancing heavy trays of full masses (what the full liter glass tankards are called) rapidly bought up by drinkers with empty or nearly empty cups. Traditional Munich brewers that adhere to strict Bavarian Purity Requirements are the only beers served at Oktoberfest. There are only six brewers that serve beers at the festival, the youngest of which was founded in 1634.  These are old giants of the German beer industry.  They are Augustiner (the oldest Munich brewery, founded in 1328), Hacker Pschorr, Hofbrau, Lowenbrau, Paulaner, and Spaten.

But beer is not all that Oktoberfest is about. Its also about the food, the clothes, the song, the shopping, the games, and the rides. Some beer tents sell hot food inside. Try foods like roast chicken, pork, sauerkraut, and specialty German white sausages.  Or take a break from the hall and wander outside where a carnival atmosphere fills the air with excited energy.  Vendor stalls sell traditional foods like pretzels, bratwurst, and fried potatoes; and sweets like fried cakes, ice cream and pastries. Try a carnival game or two and win your beau a stuffed bear as a prize. Decide that you too need to look the part and outfit yourself in a completely new Bavarian look: leather breeches (lederhosen), suspenders, and a white shirt for him; a below-knee length skirt with blouse, bodice, and apron (dirndl) for her.  Or maybe a traditional alpine hat is enough for you.  These hats are made of a thick wool felt with a small brim and a decorative braided band, sometimes enhanced with a spray of feathers.

Properly attired, return to the beer tents for another round.  Before 6:00 pm the music is quieter, with traditional German folk bands playing on center stage. In the evenings things get kicked up a notch, with modern electronic music replacing the polka bands.

Oktoberfest can be enjoyed fully in one day, or make it a weekend adventure. If you are traveling far, consider adding a couple extra days to spend exploring Munich itself as well. It is a beautiful town full of history, culture, and ambiance. Always bustling, you’ll catch it at its most excited and energetic when filled with other curious travelers like yourself, trying to experience all this lovely city has to offer.

Start your day at the Altstadt (old city), at Marienplatz, the main square in the center of the city. From here wander towards the Viktualienmarkt, and graze your way through your favorite food vendors for lunch. Sample fresh produce, cheeses, and traditional German foods. Car buffs should visit the BMW headquarters with their famous BMW museum where visitors can see classics, race cars, prototypes, and many others in the BMW family. For dinner check out the Hofbräuhaus, a traditional beer hall and Bavarian restaurant.

Whatever you decide to do on your trip, be prepared to eat, drink, and be merry in Munich.

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306545_10100339996775636_297841040_nHave you ever had the urge to just drop what you were doing, pack a bag, and set out on an adventure? Seven years and over two dozen countries later, Aeri Rose is proof that excitement, independence, and discovery await those who are bold enough to say “yes” to life’s craziest choices. When not exploring the world with her little grey backpack, Aeri Rose an be found living a nomadic lifestyle traveling the United States as a writer and entrepreneur.  To follow Aeri on all her adventures, check her out online at travelingwithaeri.com; or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/aerirose.

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spas around the world; FLiP W Magazine july 2016

This article is being re-posted from FLiP Magazine July 2016.  FLiP Magazine is a great publication with insight into pop-culture for both men and women! Aeri Rose is a regular contributor to FLiP W, the female focused half of the magazine.  You should definitely check it out, and subscribe for the free digital editions! Even if I’m quiet here…I’ll always find something to say there!

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Spas Around the World

By: Aeri Rose

We had been at a bar in Copenhagen the night before; talking with some fellow travelers, swapping stories and sharing recommendations.  They had been at a spa on a coast in Sweden that day and were encouraging us to go.  We had been traveling hard for a good week and a half at that point and the thought of a peaceful spa day with practically no museums or statues to gawk at sounded pretty refreshing.  Maybe they glazed over the details. Maybe we were so intrigued by the thought of a traditional Swedish Spa that we only heard what we wanted to hear.  They did say that the spa used the salty sea water in its treatment.

They neglected to mention the fact that they didn’t bring the sea water to the spa…they brought the spa-goers to the sea water. In the form of an ice cold dip in the frozen Baltic sea, with one small ladder going down into a sizable hole hacked through the frozen surface.

Not quite what we were expecting, but those travelers had looked pretty relaxed, and we were already at the spa, so we might as well embrace the local traditions and dive right in. Literally.

In many of the Nordic/Baltic countries their version of a relaxing spa day involves lounging around naked in large dry heat rooms until you’re sweating out of every pore and can’t stand a moment longer. Then you dash outside, across the snowy deck, and jump into an icy hole. The theory is that alternating dry heat with cold salt water is good for the circulation system, helps you sweat out toxins, and then cold shock your pores closed, keeping them out.

It is definitely invigorating. And after a couple of rotations we got used to both the hot sweaty nakedness of the saunas and the shocking coldness of the sea. We could even be found lounging on the still snowy deck between rounds, or walking to the very edge of the pier, barefoot, wrapped only in what was little bigger than a hand towel, relishing the invigorating yet calm energy we felt coursing through our veins.

Our spa day was an immense success. In part because we let it be. We could have turned away at the first snowy pier, or the first old naked sweaty man we passed, or the first sight of that hole hacked in the ice. But we didn’t. We embraced the newness of the experience and just went with it.

I highly recommend just going with the flow. Try out things you’ve never tried before and learn something new while learning about yourself.

Spas are usually a pretty good way to try something new. Every culture has a way to relax, and most of the are quite unique and area specific.  I mean, it would be pretty hard to make the Nordic spa day work in muggy Florida, where the water is often lukewarm at best.  Not nearly as refreshing as a cold dip in the Baltic Sea.

Some of my favorite spa days have included Turkish Baths, Korean Spas, soaking in Hot Springs, and exploring Chinese Medicine treatments.

In Turkish Baths you enter a big heated room with a giant heated marble slab in the center and small wash stations all around. You wash off, then lounge and relax on the marble slab for as long as you like. You can return to the wash stations at any time and can use extreme exfoliating soaps and sponges to really scrape off every dead cell.

Alternatively, Koreans use their spa experience as a mini-vacation.  Whole families go, and are allowed to stay for up to 24-hours. The spa house is open all night long.  There is a wet area, segregated by gender, with baths, hot soaking pools, and steam saunas.  Then, clad in little cotton uniforms, families can reunite in the dry area. The dry area is a collection of hot rooms of various temperatures and different energies. There are pine rooms, and amethyst rooms, and gold rooms, and more. Each room is designed to tap into a different healing practice. There are often comfortable chairs to lounge in in the common areas, and delicious cafes where you can get snacks and meals.

Hot springs can be found all over the world.  Small or large, these bubbling pools are often mineral filled and very healthy. Some are just holes in the ground at the end of a trail. Some have been tapped into and plumbed into large well-maintained swim centers.

In China it is easy to find a spa house specializing in massage, ear candling, cupping, acupuncture and more. Ear candling uses a lit candle to suction the ear wax and dirt out of your ear canals. Chinese Cupping Therapy uses small cups and heat to suck to the skin and to create a vacuum. This is thought to promote healing and blood flow.

I could go on endlessly about the many different spa traditions of cultures around the world.  But I think you get the point.  The next time you take a trip, look into the local spa traditions. It could be a fun way to immerse yourself in the local culture. You might find yourself relaxing in ways you never thought possible! You might even get home and install a steam sauna in your garage you love it so much!

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306545_10100339996775636_297841040_nHave you ever had the urge to just drop what you were doing, pack a bag, and set out on an adventure? Seven years and over two dozen countries later, Aeri Rose is proof that excitement, independence, and discovery await those who are bold enough to say “yes” to life’s craziest choices. When not exploring the world with her little grey backpack, Aeri Rose an be found living a nomadic lifestyle traveling the United States as a writer and entrepreneur.  To follow Aeri on all her adventures, check her out online at travelingwithaeri.com; or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/aerirose.

 

slow travel: be in the journey; FLiP W Magazine February 2016

This article is being re-posted from FLiP Magazine February 2016.  FLiP Magazine is a great publication with insight into pop-culture for both men and women! Aeri Rose is a regular contributor to FLiP W, the female focused half of the magazine.  You should definitely check it out, and subscribe for the free digital editions! Even if I’m quiet here…I’ll always find something to say there!

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“Slow Travel: Be In The Journey”

Did you know that the average airplane travels approximately 550 miles per hour at a cruising altitude of 36,000 feet above sea level?  Thats pretty high and pretty fast. But here’s a question: on your next trip, while traveling 550 mph, 36,000 feet above sea level, how many new experiences will you have? If you are an avid traveler and a frequent flyer probably not many. How many new people will you meet? Maybe two if you’re the type to strike up a conversation with your seat mates.  Put that way, the fast and efficient travel by air doesn’t seem very great at expanding your life experiences does it?  Not particularly.  Thats why this month’s article is all about slow travel, and enjoying the act of traveling as much as the destinations themselves.  Don’t believe me? Here are five reasons why you should try to incorporate slow travel into your next adventure.

Delighting the Senses

First off, what IS slow travel? Slow travel is seeing more by seeing less. It does away with the tours that offer a mad dash overview of a place; of stopping just long enough at each site to snap a photo in front of this famous building or that ancient sculpture before rushing off to the next attraction. No, slow travel moves at a relaxed pace.  It is walking or biking in a city, it is taking the train or the boat to the next destination, and it is quietly observing and absorbing the beauty that surrounds you. How often have you traveled the same routes at home, barely registering the changing scenery on your daily routine? With fast travel it is easy to pack that ambivalence and take it along with you. With slow travel, you can leave those blinders at home.  Open your senses to your surroundings.  Explore the plants on your trip. What colors are they? How do they smell? Listen. Is this city full of street performers? Are the bird songs different from park to park? Has the enticing scent of a corner bakery attracted your nose? Go in and have a snack.  Taste something new and decadent.  With slow travel, your trip will be a delight for all your senses.

Meeting New Friends and Travel Angels

As mentioned above, slow travel is about exploring all modes of transportation, and taking roads less taken.  Sometimes that means you’ll get lost. It does. Trust me.  But thats OK! Because with slow travel you don’t have to have a schedule. So you’re never lost, you’re never running late, you’re just taking a different route.  And despite what language or alphabet you’re trying to decipher, the expression for “bemused confusion” is pretty universal.  So if you’re feeling uncertain, don’t be afraid to ask for help! Ask for directions. Ask for advice when ordering a meal or planning a day trip.  The kindness of strangers is a real and wonderful thing, and often locals will happily offer advice, directions, or recommendations.  I have lost count of the number of times travel angels have come to my assistance when alone and lost. They have hailed me cabs, driven me across town to catch ferries, helped me order, and protected my luggage.  Some I met only once, and some I’m friends with to this day.

Immersing Yourself in New Cultures

Did you know that in China some travelers pay for a train ticket with no seat. They stand in the isles, or sit on a stool they bring along with them. Often travelers with seats will take turns in the isle, offering their seats to these other travelers.

Did you know that on the days long train journey across the Russian Siberia you can always find someone in the meal car willing to play cards. Or that at every stop there are old ladies selling delicious fresh piroshki and smoked fish?

Did you know that in Morocco it is common to share a cab with strangers if you are both going in the same general direction?

Travel is an important part of any culture. So to truly immerse yourself in a new country, you should make every attempt to try to travel like the locals do.  You are really denying yourself a gratifying and enlightening experience if your only travel experience is the flight in and the cab to your resort.

Bolstering Your Self-Confidence 

While living in Hangzhou, China, I discovered that the most difficult thing to master was the public  bus system.  Bus stops had giant maps with complex bus routes smeared with Chinese characters. Even the numbers were written in Hanzi, rather than Arabic numbers. It took weeks of riding busses just to see where they led, getting unbelievably lost, and eventually hailing a cab home in exasperation, until I finally got a halfway reasonable understanding of the system.  It was an incredible victory the day that I finally rode the bus from my apartment across town to the imports grocery store without getting lost.  That french cheese was victory cheese. I was powerful, clever, and self-reliant. I had conquered that bus!  Never mind that I got lost again the next day. Because I knew that I could figure it out eventually.  And that is a great feeling.

Finding Hidden Gems and Surprise Discoveries 

I know it is tempting to chase after each ancient tourist site, infamous restaurant, and trendy bar recommended by Lonely Planet, Trip Advisor, and WikiTravel.  But do you know why those trendy places got discovered in the first place? Because some travel writer out there knows that the real secret to exploration is to wander the less beaten paths looking for the hidden gems. Be your own trip advisor! You go find those surprise discoveries, and then you can be the clever traveler that impresses all your friends with little known wonderful recommendations.

I hope I’ve convinced you. Slow travel is wonderful travel. It is delightful, relaxing, enlightening, and inspiring.  But don’t take my word for it. On your next trip, try to slow it down a bit, and be amazed by all the incredible experiences you’ll have.  I guarantee it.

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306545_10100339996775636_297841040_nHave you ever had the urge to just drop what you were doing, pack a bag, and set out on an adventure? Seven years and over two dozen countries later, Aeri Rose is proof that excitement, independence, and discovery await those who are bold enough to say “yes” to life’s craziest choices. When not exploring the world with her little grey backpack, Aeri Rose an be found living a nomadic lifestyle traveling the United States as an artist and entrepreneur.  To follow Aeri on all her adventures, check her out online at travelingwithaeri.com; or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/aerirose.

lense love: why setting up a photo shoot may put your beauty in perspective; FLiP W Magazine March 2015

This article is being re-posted from FLiP Magazine March 2015.  FLiP Magazine is a great publication with insight into pop-culture for both men and women! Aeri Rose is a regular contributor to FLiP W, the female focused half of the magazine.  You should definitely check it out, and subscribe for the free digital editions! Even if I’m quiet here…I’ll always find something to say there!

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Lens Love: Why setting up a Photoshoot May Put Your Beauty in Perspective 
By: Aeri Rose
I still don’t know why I did it really. One minute I was enjoying Pomegranate Martinis and Spicy Tuna Rolls at a happy hour, and the next thing I knew I was planning a boudoir photoshoot with my friend, Alyssa, for the next morning.  Alyssa is a professional photographer, and her brand Faded Infinity specializes in private photoshoots, particularly boudoir scenes.
A boudoir shoot, as I soon learned, is one that depicts the model in a sensual or sexual way. She is typically in lingerie or nude- implied or otherwise- but the thing that most distinguishes a boudoir shoot is the tone of elegance rather than eroticism. They are quite commonly seen in Victoria Secret ads or used as gift for that special someone.
Alyssa loves working with her clients on boudoir scenes because she feels the shoot really gives them a chance to own their beauty and to be confident in their sexuality. That’s what she’s into, making women feel beautiful and comfortable in their own skin. But that’s the hardest part. How do you get someone who doesn’t really know how to feel about their body in front of the camera?
Luckily, I got the sudden urge to be daring (maybe those martinis had something to do with that). I have never done any type of modeling before, and the thought of showing all that skin was really intimidating. But I’m always up for something new. I trusted Alyssa. And, I’ll be honest, I was kind of excited at the thought of trying out all my sexy-time faces in front of the camera. What did I look like as a seductress? Did I have some bonafide smoldering eyes or was I still more of a duckface?
Man did I have a blast! During the shoot I didn’t really care whether my far off gaze looked introspective or addlebrained. I had a great time rolling around on a spare mattress dragged out into the garden – all made up with pillows and a fluffy comforter. I felt like a fairy queen napping under the orange trees on that warm Arizona morning. Alyssa did my makeup and helped me pick out a few outfits that I felt good in and that she thought would really represent me in the photos. I started out the shoot with a nightie, a flannel shirt that I always wear and, of course, my furry uggs. By the end I was wearing nothing but my panties and a faux fur blanket.  I got into it. I got comfortable. The layers came off while I explored this confident sexy side of myself. It was easy once we started having fun and laughing. Occasionally she would show me a shot she was really excited she got. Seeing myself on the little screen of her camera and how excited she was just inflated my enthusiasm and gave me even more energy to roll around with.
Alyssa did a great job. I really think some of the pictures turned out amazing. I was so excited but nervous to see them, even after the previews. But they turned out beautiful. Hey, I’ll admit it: I love these pictures of myself! Just like she promised. I  learned to love my body and embrace my unique beauty. For the first time, in perhaps my whole life, I really truly knew that I was beautiful.  And now, looking at the photos afterwards, I regain that happy confidence and it fills me with more love for my body. My own look. Me.
Working with Alyssa and Faded Infinity on a private photo shoot really helped me see what I truly look like without my own insecurities clouding my vision.
So really, get out there and find your confidence. I recommend it.  Go find a photographer you can trust, or that makes you comfortable, and take an afternoon to have a fun sexy time photo shoot.  Don’t just do it so you have some readily available sexting photos. Do it for yourself.
Do it so that the next time those freshly washed jeans feel too tight and try to steal your confidence, you can remember you are a smoking hot mamma without any clothes on and no pair of PANTS is going to make you feel otherwise.

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Photographer credit:
Alyssa W. Johnson

where and when to find the best travel deals; FLiP W Magazine August 2015

This article is being re-posted from FLiP Magazine August 2015.  FLiP Magazine is a great publication with insight into pop-culture for both men and women! Aeri Rose is a regular contributor to FLiP W, the female focused half of the magazine.  You should definitely check it out, and subscribe for the free digital editions! Even if I’m quiet here…I’ll always find something to say there!
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Where and When to Find the Best Travel Deals 
By: Aeri Rose
Once, while tanking up at a gas station in the middle of deserts of New Mexico, a hippie wanderer told me there were three things worth going into debt over: education, health, and travel.  Then he climbed back into his 1987 Chevy Van and drove away, trailed by a cloud of exhaust fumes and Bob Dylan tunes.
While I agree that travel is one of the most important things to do during your life, I don’t think anyone should have to go into debt while adventuring. So this month’s topic is travel deals: where, and when to find them.
The internet is a great resource for every kind of adventure. From planning transportation, to activities, to lodging all things can be learned on line. Travelers LOVE talking about what they’ve done, so there are tons of great travel forums, blogs, and wiki sites just waiting to share their knowledge with you.
For transportation, two of my favorite sites are kayak.com, and vacationstogo.com.  Kayak is my go to site for flight booking. They seem to consistently have the broadest selection and the lowest rates for flights.  And they have this really awesome feature called “Explore” that I absolutely love playing with whenever I need to spend some time daydreaming about my next adventure. You pick your departure airport, time frame and price range and it shows you all the flights all over the world that fit your requirements. So, say you have 20 days and $700 to spend on a flight in November. Kayak Explore just told me that I could get from D.C. to Hong Kong, Moscow, Cairo, Dublin, Peru and more for that or less! The possibilities are endless!
Or, if you are more of a boat girl than a plane girl, then maybe vacationstogo.com is more your style.  Here, you can find lots of cruise trips around the world offered at a last minute discount rate. Crossing the Atlantic by boat is definitely on my bucket list, and when the time for that adventure comes I will definitely be checking out vacationstogo.com.
If you are flexible on your time or season to travel, try to find out what your destination’s off-season is. Often everything from flights to lodging to activities and meals is much less expensive in the off-season. Enjoy the solitude and beat the crowds- embrace the perk of traveling when most other tourists are at home.
If when to travel is important, when to buy is also important. Lots of research, including an in-depth report by Expedia, has been done on when exactly is the best time to book tickets. The majority agrees that buying tickets on Tuesday or Sunday is best, and planning in advance can really pay off. Everyone agrees it is best to buy tickets at least three weeks in advance, but research seems to think that 57 days in advance is the absolute best day to buy. Sometimes I don’t know what I am doing 57 minutes in advance, so 57 days seems like a real stretch to me. Yikes! These timing recommendations are definitely something to keep in mind…but don’t be disheartened if you have to book that last minute trip. Remember- there are plenty of companies looking to fill empty spots at the last minute too!
So, you’ve got your “to” and “from” figured out. What will you do while you’re there? For this, I believe in “knowledge not reservations.” Thinking about and researching potential plans is one of my favorite pre-trip preps.  I like to know what to look for once I arrive, but I don’t like to be bound by schedules before I even get there. What happens if I meet this really cool person in the hostel lobby who is about to go on the most awesome adventure ever, but I booked a ghost tour of the local art museum before I even arrived and I have to turn them down? Totally lame!
For my pre-trip research I turn to travel community websites like Lonely Planet, and in particular their Thorn Tree Forum, as well as Wikitravel. These forums have great searchable databases where travelers have helped each other answer questions about everything from how to catch a public bus in Bolivia to when the best time to find the Norther Lights in Alaska and everything in between.
And remember: life and travel is often about the journey rather than the destination. You can often save time, or money, but not both. So if you’re down for an adventure and trying to save some dough, don’t look for the most efficient path when there is a road less traveled to explore. Take a bus rather than a train, a boat rather than a plane, and embrace the rewarding experience that this totally immersive slow travel can provide.
Check out these websites when planning your next trip:

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Have you ever had the urge to just drop what you were doing, pack a bag, and set out on an adventure? Five years and over two dozen countries later, Aeri Rose is proof that excitement, independence, and discovery await those who are bold enough to say “yes” to life’s craziest choices. When not exploring the world with her little grey backpack, Aeri Rose can be found living a nomadic lifestyle traveling the United States as an artist and entrepreneur. To follow Aeri Rose on all her adventures, check her out online at aerirose.com or travelingwithaeri.com; or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/aerirose.”

when to take that first trip together, FLiP W Magazine January 2015

This article is being re-posted from FLiP Magazine January 2015.  FLiP Magazine is a great publication with insight into pop-culture for both men and women! Aeri Rose is a regular contributor to FLiP W, the female focused half of the magazine.  You should definitely check it out, and subscribe for the free digital editions! Even if I’m quiet here…I’ll always find something to say there!

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“When to Take that First Trip Together”

By Aeri Rose

This month’s article is definitely a case of “do as I say, not as I do,” because honestly the best first date I can imagine would be a backpacking (urban or backcountry) adventure somewhere.  Why?

A) It is an excuse for a weekend backpacking adventure.

…and…

B) Because it is a brief and intense way to really get to know this new person of interest.

But then, I’m one of those perpetually single types, so what do I know?

But if I was going to hazard a guess to the best time to go on that first get away with your new beau, and offer tips on planning the adventure, this is what I might say…

So the basic relationship timeline goes something like this: meet, friend each other on Facebook, spend the weekend stalking their page with your girlfriends, go on a first date, spend a whole weekend together, spare toothbrush in the bathroom, spare dresser in the bedroom, fart/drool/snore barrier is broken (this seems to fluctuate in the time line based on the individual), fight, break up, get back together, move in together, here it gets a little vague, and then viola happily ever after. Of course not every relationship makes it to every step. But if your budding relationship seems to be cruising along down the time line and you’re itching for a new adventure for two, I would schedule that first trip somewhere after “fart/drool/snore barrier is broken” and “move in together.”

If you haven’t broken the bodily functions barrier, I hope you are ready, because there is no way you will make it through a red-eye flight, mystery airline meals, and/or an overnight train ride without crossing that bridge.

If you have made it this far, congrats! Crack open a travel magazine and follow these Do’s and Don’ts when planning that epic first adventure!

1) Don’t take him somewhere you’ve been already. Don’t try to show him something you thought was wonderful and you want to share with him.  There will be time for that kind of trip later. For this first one, try to avoid places where you have pre-set expectations for his response.  Don’t make the trip a test. Do go somewhere neither of you have been, so you can share in the discovery and experience together.

2) Don’t go to a secluded love nest in the Caribbean or somewhere equally isolated.  Even though you’ve made it past “spending the whole weekend together”, having your own errands and your own apartment can be a comforting escape exit if necessary.  Even if you’re having a great time, an isolated love nest can leave you feeling trapped.  Do go somewhere with versatility: alone time, culture, nightlife, etc.

3) Do keep it short and sweet. Try not to plan any year long around the world journeys just yet. Stick to a weekend adventure. Hold off on the big bucket list treks until you can be sure you won’t go crazy after 30, 60, 300 days of the same bad sports jokes and compulsive need to straighten the silverware when you eat.

4) Do consider both of your interests when researching the local attractions. Be willing to compromise on activities. Encourage him to do something you’re passionately interested in, but be willing to branch out of your comfort zone and do the same for him too. Don’t expect to do everything together though. A little alone time is healthy and can be exciting, especially if conversations start to lag half way through the trip. Taking time to explore alone will give you hours of fresh conversation fodder when you’re back together.

5) Don’t consider the trip a superhero/sidekick adventure. Sure you want to show off how chic and independent you can be, what a cultured traveler you are, but stop pruning your feathers peacock! The way you two behave on this trip is a small glimpse into the future. So treat this trip like the partnership you hope your relationship will be, and enjoy the journey together.

=====================================================================================Have you ever had the urge to just drop what you were doing, pack a bag, and set out on an adventure? Five years and over two dozen countries later, Aeri Rose is proof that excitement, independence, and discovery await those who are bold enough to say “yes” to life’s craziest choices. When not exploring the world with her little grey backpack, Aeri Rose can be found living a nomadic lifestyle traveling the United States as an artist and entrepreneur. To follow Aeri Rose on all her adventures, check her out online at aerirose.com or travelingwithaeri.com; or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/aerirose.”

fashion for all seasons, FLiP W November 2014

This article is being re-posted from FLiP Magazine November 2014.  FLiP Magazine is a great publication with insight into pop-culture for both men and women! Aeri Rose is a regular contributor to FLiP W, the female focused half of the magazine.  You should definitely check it out, and subscribe for the free digital editions! Even if I’m quiet here…I’ll always find something to say there! And this month I was a feature designer, with a model sporting my duds on the cover page! Check out the full article below:

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Photography by: Andrew Nimrod Hair and Makeup by: Angela Rose Model: Alexis Nicols

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Q: How did you come up with the idea for this editorial?

We have been expressing nature in art since cave drawings. It only seems natural to me to explore the organic lines and natural flow of the environment in our clothing. There isn’t a color or shape that can’t be found in nature. So nature is really a limitless source of inspiration and ideas.  I chose the four seasons as a way to explore the variety of nature with something of a loosely limiting factor to help focus my thoughts.

Q: Once you had the idea, how did you go about creating with the designs for each season? Tell us about each season and what the inspiration for each was.

Spring is a pink blooming daisy. It is a cotton sun-dress that is hand-dyed using a dip/drip dye technique I have been working with for some time.

Summer is a blooming rose.  It is a three piece ensemble: a skirt with wire edging to give it shape and structure, a strapless fitted top, and a green rose hip vest designed to mimic the tiny green leaves found at the base of a rose blossom.

Fall was focused on displaying the vibrant color palate of fall leaves.

For the Winter look I wanted to explore frost and the hibernation that trees go through in the cold.  There was plenty of white Ice Queen looking pieces in her outfit, but the accessories in this look were really important to me. They are brittle brown branching pieces of jewelry designed to mimic the bear vulnerable branches of trees in the winter.

Q: How did color and fabric play a part in the design for each season?

When building up the layers of a costume couture piece, your work is half design and half sculpture.  Many of the fabrics were chosen based on the texture and dimension they would lend to my design concept.

Q: Your choices for the summer season are darker than most would expect.   What brought that on?

Nature, really. In our minds, summer is bright, bold, and neon because neon goes great with our new store bought highlights and spray tan.  But look around you next summer.  The natural world is at its fullest and most lush. The spring flowers can be pastel, young, and fresh; but summer flowers are vibrant, tropical, and confident under the steady sun beams of each hot summer day.

Q: As a designer and fashionista, what is your favorite season?

I love spring.  It is fresh and new. It starts out chilly, dragging in the tail end of winter fashions and outerwear is still a consideration.  But like a butterfly emerging from a cocoon, we steadily shed layers to reveal the fun colorful inspirations that will carry us through the summer.

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Q: You refer to your company as a Costume Couture Boutique.  What does that mean and why do you classify yourself in such a way?

So when you think about the difference between costumes and clothing, the word “costume” implies that one is dressing specifically to look like a different person or thing (thank you Merriam Webster).  Dressing to look different than what one feels is their natural state.  I also use the world costume to imply that my looks are more heavily influenced by particular and unique sources of inspiration, and designed to have a great deal of visual similarity to their inspirations.  It does not mean that these pieces can be worn once a year at the work Halloween party, or that weird Convention your new boyfriend wants to take you to.  If you like what you see, wear it whenever you want!

Couture really just means “the business of designing, making, and selling fashionable custom-made women’s clothing” (again, thank you Merriam Webster), which is exactly what my small boutique does.

So I am carving out a tiny little niche in the fashion industry, producing high-quality, hand-made, theme-specific women’s couture and ready-wear pieces.

Viva La Hand-Made Revolution!

Q: How and why did you get into costuming?

Women have a weird relationship with clothing.  Some are more adventurous and explorative than others, but for the most part shopping for everyday wear is a bittersweet chore.  We love new clothes, but there is always a bit of a drag on our inspiration.  What cuts and colors are season? What is proper for our age/position/societies standards?

With costuming that is different.  Women feel freer to choose what they love and not what they think they should be wearing.  They explore different silhouettes that make them look and feel beautiful.  They choose colors that make them beautiful, and themes they find fun.  I love dressing women in costumes because they allow themselves to fall madly in love with what they are wearing.  I just wish I could find a way to help them carry that same energy into their everyday looks!

Q: Your designs were recently featured in Baltimore Fashion Week.  What was it like seeing your designs on the runway?

So Awesome! It is one thing to have a vision in your head, or to see the clothing sitting stiffly on the dress forms, but once a piece is on a model she breathes life into it.  That is when a designer really gets to see this idea as she envisioned it.  And that’s when she gets to share that vision with others.

For the Cirque De Cru fashion show I sent each model down the runway with a balloon, to lend a fun carnival air to the evening.  They had so much fun with the balloons! I was worried that it would be an encumbrance that would mess up their strut on the catwalk, but all the models got so into it, which was so great and really filled the collection with exactly the energy I was hoping for.

Q: What’s next and where do you see Aeri Rose going?

At Aeri Rose we like blurring the boundary between high fashion and your imagination. We want to help our customers have fun with their clothes.  To that end, our most recent collection “Cirque De Cru” was a ready-wear collection inspired by 1940’s traveling entertainers and circus folk.  It is easy to go down the rabbit hole with a circus theme, but we really refrained from going over the top in order to make this fun flirty theme more accessible to more people. We hope to continue to maintain this balance: going to over the top costume couture to keep our imaginations sharp, and then pulling back to flirt on the edges of interesting themes and historical periods for inspiration for ready-wear collections.

Q: How can our readers keep up with you and your work?

They can follow me on twitter (@TravelingAeri), on Facebook (www.facebook.com/aerirose) or online at www.aerirose.com.  I am especially active on the Facebook page, posting new shows, new designs, and fun ideas pretty regularly.

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the art of the exotic palate, FLiP W November 2014

This article is being re-posted from FLiP Magazine November 2014.  FLiP Magazine is a great publication with insight into pop-culture for both men and women! Aeri Rose is a regular contributor to FLiP W, the female focused half of the magazine.  You should definitely check it out, and subscribe for the free digital editions! Even if I’m quiet here…I’ll always find something to say there!

FLiP W Cover November 2014
FLiP W Cover November 2014

 

The Art of the Exotic Palate: Trying and Declining New Foods

By Aeri Rose

flip w article nov 2014

Being polite can be very similar to knowing an intricate dance. When you don’t know what you’re doing, it is easy to step on some toes. And when traveling abroad, it is easy to feel like you’ve packed two left feet. Just like a ballroom dance, research and practice will help you avoid a misstep, but sometimes you just have to jump in and do the twist. So, to help with those impromptu moments, this month’s travel article is called “The Art of the Exotic Palate: Trying and Declining New Foods”, and we will talk about a particular situation when a polite and graceful demeanor is the most important: during meals. So, enjoy our stories, and our universal tips to help keep you fed and happy on your next vacation.

Tip # 1: Be Inquisitive and open minded! Taste and try everything.

Remember you are on an adventure, you are open minded, curious, and hoping to turn strangers into friends all around the world. If someone has invited you into their home, invited you to share a meal, or even just made a recommendation after seeing you hem and haw over the lunch menu, accept their advice! Even if it ends up being the worst thing you’ve ever tasted…at least you will have a new story to Like the time I was encouraged to try silk worms in a Korean marketplace. They were served in a clear plastic cup with some broth and a toothpick. High in protein I was told. I was able to crunch a few down before they got cold, and they really weren’t even that bad. OK so maybe they were really gross. But I ate them and lived to tell the tale! And you can too!

Tip # 2: Taste but don’t waste!

Some dishes are recognizable, others strange. Some smell amazing, others…strange. When trying new things, take small portions so you will still be able to finish a dish even if it is not to your liking. Please do try to finish what has been served. Your host might have been using your visit as a chance to prepare some specialty dishes with expensive or hard to find ingredients that would be a shame to throw away if the crazy American took too much and couldn’t finish it. Remember, if you like something you can always follow the tiny first helping with a second larger helping, provided everyone else has already served themselves as well.

It is important to note that while food should never be wasted, often leaving one or two bites on a plate is the unspoken signal that your appetite has been satisfied.

Tip #3: Don’t be childish or immature if you encounter unexpected, unappetizing, or visually shocking

My Sicilian grandmother came to America when she was 17, and shortly after arriving in Maryland she was invited to a crab feast. Anyone who has ever shelled crabs knows they are odd, ugly little things that are cooked alive. She screamed when she saw them, and thought she was being made to eat a giant spider. My point is…everyone eats weird things in weird ways. It’s only weird if you aren’t used to it. So contain your gag reflex, control your urge to dissect your meal like a 7th grade biology lab, and keep your screams to a minimum when exploring exotic meals.

Tip # 4: Follow your host’s lead.

When in Rome, do as the Romans do! Preparing and eating foods and drinks like the locals will give you a chance to taste and learn about a new thing, or a new way to enjoy an old thing. Take tea for example. Everyone has a way they like to drink their tea: with lemon, honey, sugar, milk, hot, cold, etc. When you’re traveling don’t drink tea the way YOU like to drink it, drink it the way the locals do. When you’re in England, take tea with milk and sugar and a piece of shortbread. When you’re in Turkey take it strong in a tiny clear glass with too much sugar. In China? Dump some leaves in a cup, swirl them around, and spend the rest of the time trying to figure out how they drink the tea so gracefully without getting mouthfuls of tea leaves. And then call me and tell me what you’ve learned, because I still haven’t figured it out!

Tip # 5: If you absolutely cannot attend or cannot eat a dish served, say “No” as soon as possible, politely, firmly, and perhaps up to three times.

Being a picky eater, or having something else sort of planned that night are not really acceptable reasons to decline. But, if you know that fried crickets and blood pudding will be on the menu and you just will NOT be able to navigate a graceful decline at the diner table, than perhaps declining the initial invitation is your best choice. If you do have to decline, do it as soon as possible. As in, DO NOT accept and later change your mind, and definitely DO NOT accept and then stand them up.

Some acceptable reasons to decline might be because of known allergies or strict dietary restrictions, or because non-negotiable travel plans have already been booked. Like, for example, if you are a vegetarian hiking through the Gobi Desert and a Mongolian nomadic family invites you into their Ger to share their evening meal, you can be certain it will be 99% comprised of various cuts of goat meat, organs, and cheese products with perhaps one onion diced and boiled in your honor. As a vegetarian, you might find it easier to offer them some sweet mint tea and continue on your way.

So to recap, the dinner dance can be intricate, but there are always some general guidelines to keep in mind to help navigate any meal without stepping on too many toes. And when in doubt…say please and thank you and make your mamma proud.

Good luck and enjoy! Buon Appetite!

=====================================================================================

Have you ever had the urge to just drop what you were doing, pack a bag, and set out on an adventure? Five years and over two dozen countries later, Aeri Rose is proof that excitement, independence, and discovery await those who are bold enough to say “yes” to life’s craziest choices. When not exploring the world with her little grey backpack, Aeri Rose can be found living a nomadic lifestyle traveling the United States as an artist and entrepreneur. To follow Aeri Rose on all her adventures, check her out online at aerirose.com or travelingwithaeri.com; or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/aerirose.”

savvy souvenir shoppers, FLiP W July 2014

This article is being re-posted from FLiP Magazine July 2014.  FLiP Magazine is a great publication with insight into pop-culture for both men and women! Aeri Rose is a regular contributor to FLiP W, the female focused half of the magazine.  You should definitely check it out, and subscribe for the free digital editions! Even if I’m quiet here…I’ll always find something to say there!

flip cover july 2014

“Savvy Souvenir Shoppers

By Aeri Rose

There is a fine art to souvenir hunting and becoming an expert shopper takes some serious practice.   Of course, there is no wrong way to shop- if it makes you happy, you’re doing it right- but to get the most bang for your buck, and the biggest prize for your pesos, follow these five tips on your vacation this summer.

Tip #1) Seek the Authentic:

Most tourist stops and downtown walks are well canvassed by souvenir shops filled with inexpensive mass produced imports making a cheap parody of the local cultural arts and staffed by jaded and hardened sales clerks. Try not to shop here; except maybe in Finland, where they have made it a point of stocking their souvenir shops with goods from local artisans.

Instead, try to seek out the authentic: local craft shows, artisan boutiques, and traditional workshops. Never pass up the chance to walk through a street festival!

Sometimes finding these gems is a matter of trial and error until you stumble into the right shop. Once, on a hunt for hand painted ceramics in Cefalu, Sicily, I poked my head in countless stores and found nothing but the same low quality plates, until at long last I found a shop owned by two brothers who threw the pottery and painted the pieces right there in a workshop in the back.

Sometimes finding these gems takes as little effort as a well-placed question at the hotel reception.  In Gorёme, Turkey, on the hunt for, funnily enough, more painted pottery, I found myself overwhelmed by the choices until a local tour guide took me to the next town over where a centuries old workshop was still buzzing away, happily carving out red and white clay from the riverside and turning it into incredibly detailed, hand-thrown, hand-painted pieces of functional artwork.

Don’t settle for parodies when you can find the real deal! Enjoy the hunt as part of the experience!

Tip #2) Consider Logistics:

Speaking of pottery- beware fragile products and delicate tokens that do not travel well.  There are few things sadder than opening your suitcase at home to find a pile of brightly colored gravel where once there was a bowl, or finding your clothes have become a purple soggy mess when once there was a bottle of wine. If you just have to have that fragile thing, and nothing else will do, consider shipping your prizes home. The extra cost of recruiting an international shipping company, like UPS or DHL, to transport your fragile treasures is worth the reward of getting them home in one piece.

And size matters! When packing for a trip, always remember to leave a little extra room for new things.  Then, once on your trip, remember how much extra room you have to fill.  No one wants to be stuck trying to pack up an hour before departure only to find that unlike Mary Poppins their suitcase is not going to magically grow to fit everything they want to bring home.

It is best to buy things that are small but poignant, can be compressed, are sturdy enough to make the trip, or flexible enough to make packing a breeze.

Otherwise you must consider logistics when making your purchases- to pack and carry, or to ship and pay.

Tip #3) Admire the Practical:

Perhaps it is a more practical treasure you are after.  Pick up an extra jacket, scarf, or hat for a chilly evening and be reminded of your trip every time you wear that great accessory at home. Answering “Bolivia” instead of “The Gap” when an admirer asks you where you picked up that trendy new piece can be a great conversation starter.  Or browse the kitchen gadgets isle at a local department store for fun and interesting gadgets.  Pick up olive pitters from Greece, metal chopsticks and bamboo dumpling steamers from Korea, or tiny caviar spoons from Russia.

Remember that anything can be a souvenir as long as it reminds you of your trip!

Tip #4) Authentic Does Not Mean Expensive:

Some of the best souvenirs can be free! Dried leaves and flowers from a hike, ocean smoothed pebbles from a stone beach, sketches from a train, and printed and framed photographs from a trip all make wonderful memories and gifts.

Consider sending postcards!  They are an inexpensive yet delightful way to show someone you’ve been thinking about them while adventuring. After the trip, spending the time making a poster collage is a great way to look back on all the photos taken and memories made.

There are quality authentic souvenirs and trinkets to fit any budget!

Tip #5) Souvenirs are memories, not scavenger hunts:

The most important thing to keep in mind is that souvenirs are not meant to be conquests checked off of a “to do” list.  If you know you will never use it, don’t get the fur hat just because you’re in Russia. Souvenirs are tokens meant to be a reminder of a great trip.  So when traveling, buy things that reinforce those memories in the making.

Wait to make purchases until you’ve learned about the unique place you are visiting and you’ve experienced the richness of that new place.  What do the local cultures take pride in producing? What experiences have they wanted to share? Enjoy seeing those cultural treasures pop up again and again. And then when you find that perfect piece, buy it, even if it is out of your budget, because you might never get a second chance to buy it again.

C’est la vie and happy shopping!”

==================================================================================================Have you ever had the urge to just drop what you were doing, pack a bag, and set out on an adventure? Five years and over two dozen countries later, Erica Hession is proof that excitement, independence, and discovery which awaits those who are bold enough to say “yes” to life’s craziest choices. When not exploring the world with her little grey backpack, Erica can be found living a nomadic lifestyle traveling the United States as an artist and entrepreneur. To follow Erica on all her adventures, check her out online at aerirose.com or travelingwithaeri.com; or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/aerirose.

 flip july 2014

making your dream travel plans into a reality, FLiP Magazine October 2014

This article is being re-posted from FLiP Magazine October 2014.  FLiP Magazine is a great publication with insight into pop-culture for both men and women! Aeri Rose is a regular contributor to FLiP W, the female focused half of the magazine.  You should definitely check it out, and subscribe for the free digital editions! Even if I’m quiet here…I’ll always find something to say there!

flip cover oct 2014

“Making your Dream Travel Plans into A Reality: It isn’t a dream vacation: it’s an unplanned adventure!

By Aeri Rose

The problem with dreams is that we think they are almost impossible to achieve. We put dreams on a pedestal and think about them fondly and frequently, but with a certain amount of aloofness and pragmatism, being pretty certain they will never come true. We can dream of being the queen of a floating cloud island, but unless we find an unmarried king with a decent cumulus that dream just will not come true.  We can dream of being the most famous Martian designer, but until we master interplanetary space travel, those catwalks will have to go without our fierce alien styles.

We should not dream about a vacation because travel is attainable. You CAN go on those trips you’ve always wanted to go on. You can and you will, as soon as you stop dreaming and start planning. In order to start planning successfully, there are a few misconceptions we are going to clear up right now. Don’t ever think you can’t travel because:

  1. You can’t afford it.
  2. You can’t go if no one will go with you; it isn’t safe to travel alone.
  3. If you travel alone, you’ll be lonely.
  4. You can’t decide where to go.
  5. You can’t leave right now.

Let me explain.

  1. You can travel, because travel does not have to be expensive.

Many budget travel bloggers, myself included, can talk for days about tips and tricks for frugal tourism.  For a smattering of those tips you should check out my blog www.travelingwithaeri.com. I can promise you that there are trips to fit every budget.

Saving for your trip does not need to be scary either.  A couple of friends once told me that they were having trouble saving for a trip they wanted to take until they put it in perspective.  They asked themselves what the trip was worth to them. Turns out it was worth more than soda.  So they gave up soda, and every time they felt a craving or thought about buying a bottle of pop, they would put that cash into a jar.  And sooner than you would believe, they had kicked an unhealthy habit and had a jar full of potential adventure.

  1. If you act smart, being alone in their country is no worse than being alone in your own.

Traveling alone is not asking for trouble. It is not the dangerous and intimidating experience your grandmothers want you to think it is.  Not all strangers are trying to lure you into their vans with candy. Most strangers are perfectly nice people going about their day just like you would be if you were home.

I have a few strategies to get comfortable with a new place, like to timing my arrival so there is still daylight, and taking a walk around the area to orient myself as soon as possible; but beyond that, don’t be afraid to explore! Ask for directions! Get a little lost wandering off the beaten path. That’s often where the best memories are made.

  1. “To Old Friends, New Friends, and Strange Places.”

I have raised my glass to this toast many a time, in many a place, with many a face.  Travel is your chance to get outside your bubble. Travel is more than looking at the architecture and geography of a place; it is about getting a feel for the culture too! Go introduce yourself to someone new! Smile at the bartender, get a drink at the hotel and chat up some fellow travelers! Ask the locals where you should eat and then invite them along! You might never see these people again, but there is comfort in knowing that there are people half a world away that you forged a genuine connection with.

But remember to take time to be alone too. Don’t be afraid to sit quietly on the bus and stare out the window. Remember the way the countryside looks as you ride past. Capture the serenity of a solo sunset and you’ll be able to access it the next time you’re surrounded by stress and chaos.

  1. This isn’t your only trip, it is only your first trip.

Don’t put the trip on a pedestal. Don’t you do it! Get it off of there! This doesn’t have to be the perfect, best, trip-to-end-all-trips trip.  It just has to be your first trip. Pick somewhere sort of interesting, and sort of in budget, maybe sort of nearby, and go for it. It might be great, it might not be what you expected, but no matter what it WILL be an experience to remember. You’ll learn from it. You’ll find things you love and things you hate. And you’ll discover that you are capable of so much more than you thought. And the next time you plan a trip it will be that much easier to get your butt out the door, and you’ll have that much more confidence in yourself, and that much more enthusiasm for the world around you.

  1. No time like the present.

There will never be a perfect time to go. There will never be a time when you have no deadlines at work, no significant others (people, pets, or plants) requiring your attention at home, and no other expenses demanding your hard earned dough. You will never get ALL your ducks in a row. So just leave them in a pile and get out there! Do it for yourself. All your ducks will be waiting for you when you return.

Now it’s your turn to decide what travel is worth to you, and recognize your own strength and independence. Don’t dream of cloud kingdoms; plan your next adventure instead. Travel is attainable! Go get it, girlfriend!

=====================================================================================Have you ever had the urge to just drop what you were doing, pack a bag, and set out on an adventure? Five years and over two dozen countries later, Aeri is proof that excitement, independence, and discovery await those who are bold enough to say “yes” to life’s craziest choices. When not exploring the world with her little grey backpack, Aeri can be found living a nomadic lifestyle traveling the United States as an artist and entrepreneur. To follow Aeri on all her adventures, check her out online at aerirose.com or travelingwithaeri.com; or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/aerirose.”

flip oct 2014