Travel Month - July 2014

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Each month I like to reflect upon my monthly travel and explorations in my current city. I love remembering past trips and enjoy looking ahead to future plans. These monthly reflections help me to do just that.

This month I headed from the US to the China for an epic trip with J in toe. I spent the month of July in Beijing, Xi'an, and am beginning my travels in Yunnan Province (my old home). In Beijing we hiked the Great Wall, saw some old friends, and wandered the art district. From Beijing we took an easy 2 hour flight to Xi'an where I was overwhelmed by the Terra Cotta Soldiers, ate street food in the Muslim District, and melted in the heat. From Xi'an we traveled to the capital of Yunnan Province, Kunming. I'm excited to show J around my old home province, visit my friends, and eat my favorite foods. I'll be posting more about our travels in China in August after we return to Lithuania. For now here are a few teaser photos. 

For more photos and travel stories you can follow me on Twitter and Instagram (@DashOWanderlust).


Where am I now? check my China Itinerary
What I packed for China is totally working out for me.
Not traveling currently and need some wandering stories? Here are my favorite books to temporarily satiate my wanderlust.

What did you get up to this month? What are your plans for August?

I love reading comments but will be a bit slow to reply to comments while away. I'll get back to you as soon as possible :)

The Tastes of Summer in the U.S.A.

Monday, July 28, 2014


S'mores are a delicious treat that are made from roasted marshmallows, chocolate, and graham crackers. The perfect toasted marshmallow (for me) takes on a golden brown color and gets all melty.

roasting marshmallows over a fire

s'more fixings

a s'more

Pink Lemonade

Lemonade colored pink (often by cranberries) tastes even better than regular lemonade- can it be? Learn all you could have ever wanted to know about pink lemonade here.

pink lemonade


Strawberry Shortcake

Strawberry shortcake is made with a shortcake biscuit, strawberries, and whipped cream. The perfect summer dessert. 


In Connecticut and the rest of New England, seafood is plentiful and fresh in the summer months. I'm not a huge fan, but seafood restaurants are ubiquitous in the summer.


There is nothing better than a cold beer on a hot day. Am I right?

What foods remind you of summer?

I'm currently enjoying the summer flavors of China so I'll be slow to respond to comments. I'll get back to you as soon as I can :)

Top 5 Hidden Gems in Southeastern Connecticut

Friday, July 25, 2014

In no particular order, here are some of my favorite places to visit in southeastern Connecticut.

1) Devil's Hopyard: Devil's Hopyard is a park is a great place for hiking, picnicking, birding, and camping.  The park has beautiful waterfalls and it may be named after large pothole stone formations near the falls that were originally thought to have been made by the devil's hooves. Find Devil's Hopyard at 366 Hopyard Road East Haddam, CT.

2) Gillet's Castle: A home owned by William Hooker Gillet, who was a famous actor, playwright, and director in the late 1800s and early 1900s. For his home he built a 24 room mansion in the form of a medieval castle. I've been to Gillet's Castle several times and the grounds and castle itself are stunning.

3) Stonington Borough: Stonington Borough is a quaint New England town that has gotten a lot of attention because of the movie "Hope Springs" with Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones. I love visiting Stonington Borough to eat at their amazing restaurants (go figure!). I'm a big fan of breakfasts at Noah's and Mexican food at Milagro's.

colors in pots and flowers of stongington borough
The beautiful colors of Stonington Borough

Stonington Borough

Pink door and pink flowers in Stonington Borough

Stonington Borough

Artistic chair in Stonington Borough

4) The Ledyard Fair is a typical Connecticut fair with farm animals, rides, games, exhibits, and delicious foods like cotton candy.

5) Buttonwood Farm Ice cream in Griswold has amazing ice cream, and plants hundreds of sunflowers each summer. It is an amazing sight to see when the sunflowers are all in bloom. I've written about it more here.

Sunflowers in Griswold, CT

What are hidden gems in your city?

I'm currently exploring hidden gems in China, but I love responding to your comments. I will get back to you as soon as I can!

Today I'm linkin-up with the Local Adventurer Link-Up with Esther and Jacob.

Coventry Farmers Market (Connecticut)

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Coventry Regional Farmers Market

My favorite thing about living in Madison, Wisconsin was the giant farmers market that took place on Saturdays around the Capital Square. This summer, while I'm spending a bit of time in Connecticut with my family I decided to check out area farmers markets. The Coventry Farmers Market is the largest farmers market in Connecticut and takes place every Sunday from June to October from 11 am - 2 pm. The farmers market has a huge selection of fresh vegetables, handicrafts, food trucks, sweets, live music, and coffee. I thought many of the vegetables/fruits were over-priced, but I loved the option to check out food trucks and support local businesses.

The Coventry Farmers Market in Connecticut

Cannoli truck
Yes I think I will have some amazing cannoli from this truck

s'more cannoli
S'more Cannoli?!

live music at the coventry farmers market

cupcake truck

Grilled Cheese Truck
Grilled cheese from a grilled cheese truck

The Coventry Farmers Market

Do you like farmers markets? Which one is your favorite?

I love reading and responding to comments but I am currently eating all of the food in China. I'll get back to you soon!

Cultural China : Karaoke at KTV

Monday, July 21, 2014

Oh Karaoke! I have such a love - hate relationships (mostly hate) relationship with karaoke. If you haven't heard, karaoke is BIG in Asia. One of the most popular places to go sing karaoke in China is a chain called KTV. Karaoke in China is different from karaoke in the US, because you sing only with friends in a private room. I had never been to karaoke, nor sung in public - until I visited China. Because karaoke is SO popular in China I can now say that I've attended karaoke at least 10 times. In the photo below I was in a very rural part of Yunnan Province working on my dissertation research. I visited karaoke with some friends and colleagues for a fun evening and the only English songs they had at this KTV was "Happy Birthday to You" and a Michael Jackson song (I can't remember which). At this period of time in China I didn't know any Chinese songs (I do now!) so I had to make due with those two.

OMG I cannot believe I am posting this photo online

I'm currently belting out Beyonce at KTV in China. I love reading and responding to comments but will be slow to respond. I will get back to you as soon as I can!

Mini City Guide to East Greenwich, Rhode Island

Friday, July 18, 2014

I'm from southeastern Connecticut so I frequently drive to Rhode Island for day trips to enjoy the beautiful shoreline. I've never been to or heard of East Greenwich, Rhode Island but I was recently in the area, and my mom suggested we stop by this cute town. East Greenwich is an adorable New England small town that overflows with restaurants, cafes, and beautiful buildings. My mom and I really enjoyed our few hours spent walking around the streets and grabbing a delicious snack.

On your tour of Rhode Island (let me suggest stops in Newport, Narragansett, Providence, and Westerly), I would absolutely suggest a pit stop in the quaint and cute town of East Greenwich. Walk around the town to see the beautiful library, pop into the cute stores, and have a meal. But, do save room for a really tasty cupcake and some bubbly from the Silver Spoon Bakery (58 Main St)!

Cafes in East Greenwich Rhode Island

dog bowls for east greenwich

the east greenwich rhode island library

painted sidewalks in east greenwich rhode island

armory in east greenwich rhode island

canon in east greenwich rhode island

Oreo cupcake from the silver spoon in east greenwich rhode island

Have you been to East Greenwich, Rhode Island? What is your favorite town in RI? Where else should I visit on the East Coast?

Books to Temporarily Satiate Wanderlust

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

I love to read. My parents used to tease me for being anti-social because when I was in the midst of reading a good book I would stay in my room until I finished. I also love to travel. Sometimes trips are few and far between so I satiate my wanderlust (or more likely make it worse) by reading books set in different countries. Here are a few of my favorites.

1) Tarquin Hall writes a series of mysteries that are set in India. There are four books in the series (so far) and they include a cast of colorful characters like the private investigator, Vish Puri, his mother, Mommy Ji, and several assistants with descriptive names such as Tube Light. I have really enjoyed reading this series and I get a kick out of the glossary that is full of Indian English. Several of the books also have Indian recipes in the back that really sound mouthwatering. 

Tarquin Hall books
Tarquin Hall - Mysteries set in India (plus bonus Indian English Glossaries and Recipes)

2) Alexander McCall Smith's series entitled The No. 1 Detective Agency. These stories are set in Botswana and follow Mma Ramotswe's investigations into missing people, affairs, and stolen goods. This series is an easy and enjoyable read that makes me want to travel to Botswana! I recommend curling up with this book and a cup of rooibos or honey bush tea.

Alexander McCall Smith books
Alexander McCall Smith: The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency

3) Neil Humphreys, a British expat who lived in Singapore, wrote Complete Notes from Singapore the Omnibus Edition. I saw and purchased this book in Singapore and read this gigantic edition voraciously. 

What books do you love to read? Any suggestions for books set in different countries?

I love reading and responding to comments but I am currently traveling in China so I will be a bit slow. I'll get back to you as soon as I can!

Photo Journal: Love Lock Bridges in Europe

Monday, July 14, 2014

Love Locks are beautiful tokens that are a meant to lock together love forever. Below are some of the locks I've seen around Europe.

love locks in Vilnius, Lithuania

love locks in cinque terre italy

love locks in venice italy

a mass of love locks in venice italy

a marry me love lock

Have you seen love locks? Have you placed any love locks?

Packing for a month in China

Friday, July 11, 2014

I went over my itinerary for my summer travel in China on July 9th. For today's post I'm giving you a sneak peek into what's in my bag.

le sportsac wheeled suitcase in black from amazon
The bag - Le Sportsac Wheeled Suitcase

clothes I'm packing for China

clothes for china

clothes and suitcase

  • 1 long dress
  • 2 skirts (it will be hot!)
  • 1 pair of shorts (patterned shorts from UNIQLO and I love them)
  • 1 pair jeans (unlikely to wear them but I needed them in the US)
  • 4 t-shirts
  • 1 long sleeved shirt
  • 1 button up sweater
  • 3 tank tops
  • 1 swim suit (just in case)
  • thick socks
  • 1 pair of Toms shoes
  • 1 pair of black flats
  • 1 pair hiking boots (left at my friend's apartment in China)
  • 1 jacket
  • 1 scarf
  • 2 quick drying towels
  • sunblock
  • pocket knife
Did I forget to pack anything? What else do you pack?

I'm currently traveling in China. I love reading and responding to comments but will be slow to respond as I'm prevented by the Great Firewall. Thank you for stopping by and I'll get back to you as soon as I can!

China Itinerary

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Today begins the first day of our trip in China. I'm so beyond excited for this trip! I'll still be blogging three times per week, but I be slow to to respond to comments because of the lack of access to google blogger.

proposed china trip itinerary

July 9 - Train to Newark - stay in a hotel with a shuttle to Newark in the early morning

July 10 - Leave very early for the airport and arrive in Beijing in the afternoon

July 11 - Visit the summer Palace and hang out with a visiting friend

July 12 - Art district, Hutongs, pulled noodles, Cooking class with the Hutong at 2 pm, hang out with my local friend

July 13 - Visit a section of the Great Wall of China

July 14 - Fly to Xi'an (flight booked with C-trip)

July 15 -  Wander the city

July 16 - See Old Town Xi'an, eat delicious dumplings

July 17 - Terra Cotta Warriors

July 18 - From from Xi'an to Kunming, Yunnan Province

July 19 - July 21 - Woohoo! Visit my best friends in Kunming and show J my old stomping grounds.

July 22 - Fly to Lijiang (Yunnan Province) to visit a colleague and explore her field site.

July 23 - Take a long bus ride from Lijiang to Lugu Lake.

July 24 - July 26 - A festival and hiking around Lugu Lake.

July 27 - The long bus trip back to Lijiang

July 28 - Fly back to Kunming

July 29 - August 10 - Hang out with friends in Kunming, visit sites in Kunming like the botanical garden and west mountain.  Somewhere in there take a weekend trip to Yuanyang for the beautiful rice terraces. + do anything else fun that comes along.

August 10 - Fly back to Lithuania

August 11 - Arrive in Lithuania

For my own trips I don't typically make day schedules so everything but the flights, the cooking class, and the trip to Lijiang is flexible. How do you plan your trips?

I love reading and responding to comments but I will be a bit slow during my trip in China. Thank you for stopping by and I'll respond as soon as I can!

Packing Guide: Beach Bag

Monday, July 7, 2014

I grew up by the beach and during the summer spent most days running wild on the sand and swimming in the ocean. Through my years as a beach bum I've become an efficient beach bag packer and always have a packed bag in my car.

Beach Bag Packing Guide

  • A few different types of sunblock in SPF 30 or higher to protect my skin
  • Water bottle
  • Book - my current read is The Paris Wife
  • Hat to protect my skin and eyes from the sun
  • Sun glasses
  • Beach blanket
  • Swim suit (I'm currently loving a black bikini from H&M last year)

packing guide for your summer beach bag

photo of the beach in Niantic Connecticut
Loving my Micky Mouse comforter as a beach blanket

What do you pack in your beach bag? What are your favorite summer read?

I'm linking up with Bonnie Rose and her co-hosts for Travel Tuesday.

Celebrating 4th of July Home and Away from Home

Friday, July 4, 2014

I love holidays. My family gets together and we spend the day hanging out and eating. A perfect recipe for any holiday. This isn't an option though when I'm living out of the country. So what do I do then? I grab my local friends (who have become my family) and we eat and hang out!

I threw a 4th of July party in Kunming, Yunnan several years ago where I made a pile of burgers, served watermelon, and cold beer. It was such fun to be with my friends for their first burger experience and see what they put atop their burgers.

My lovely friends posing for a food photo (I couldn't find any burger photos-sorry!)

Happy 4th of July! What are your plans? What do you when a holiday rolls around and you aren't home?

Today I'm linking up with Frank About Croatia for #SundayTraveler!