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Halloween Feature Friday: Artist Marie-Pascale Gautheron

Happy Screen Shot 2014-03-14 at 17.05.05 … HALLOWEEN EDITION!

SONY DSCThere’s no one better for this themed feature than Marie-Pascale Gautheron. She makes and paints amazing skulls and finds a way to make something that is usually frightening, a work of art! She creates these incredible skulls in her hometown of Paris and shows them in galleries all over the city! Her paintings also include other typically scary elements such as bats, wolves, and snakes, but we love how she has chosen to focus mainly on skulls. They’re definitely her trademark. Keep reading to hear why she chose to fixate her art on skulls and see some frighteningly beautiful works of art! Happy Halloween!

Castle Logo: Tell us a little about yourself. 

MP: I have always been immersed in the artistic environment as my mother is an art professor and painter. Since my childhood I’ve been navigating between her classes and art schools. At first, I did an artistic BAC, then a BTS in Graphic Design and finally a Master’s in Plastic Art. Today, I am trying to become well known by the general public and to increase my collaborations and exhibitions.

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Castle Logo: Why did you start making pieces of art out of skulls?

MP: Skulls are terrifying objects. A lot of people are scared of them, even me when I was younger! That’s why I try to give a beauty to this object by adding to it a lot of pattern and color, to deconsecrate death and not be afraid of it anymore.

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Castle Logo: What intrigued you about working with skulls and how do you make them?

MP: The skull is an object that always fascinated me aesthetically speaking, whether it’s human or animal. It’s the symbol of death, which surrounds us permanently and that’s what fascinates me. It’s in every painting and sculpture I make. Some of my skulls are made with homemade mold, but the animals one are all real.

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Castle Logo: What inspires your creativity? 

MP: My work is, before all, autobiographical. It is connected with my childhood, my past and my intimate imagination. As a result, my path, my life experiences and my sensations inspire me while I am drawing.

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Castle Logo: What do you like most about sharing your work, whether through Instagram or gallery shows?

MP: I really like to share my works on social networks. First of all because it’s essential to be recognized. Sometimes it gives you access to new opportunities and allows you to meet new amazing people. It’s pleasant to have compliments/feedback from people all over the world. With the time, more and more people follow me, it’s incredible! But that’s also because I like to give a visual pleasure to people. FOLLOW ME!

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Castle Logo: Your pieces are so intricate and detailed. How long does it take to create one skull?

MP: Right, I am very meticulous and I love details! I like when people spend time to look at my work! There is always something hidden that people can’t see at first sight. My skulls take me 2 to 3 days of work. My paintings sometimes several weeks, even if i have the reputation to be a fast worker.

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Castle Logo: What are some of the challenges of selling your work (running a business on Etsy) and creating at the same time? 

MP: For now, Etsy orders don’t take a lot of my time, quite the opposite, I would like to have more orders !

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Castle Logo: Where do you see your art career going? Biggest dreams?

MP: I just finished my art studies. I had already two personal exhibitions and I just want to continue! I would like to find an art gallery and sell more.

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Castle Logo: What are some of your favorite things to do where you live?

MP: I have a lot of luck to live in one of the most beautiful cities in the world, Paris! I like to go for a ride with a bike at the twilight with my boyfriend, take a trip in a park, or discover new artists in one of the numerous museums or art galleries present in my city.

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Castle Logo: Any advice?

MP: Give simple pleasures to people around you and smile to life!

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Castle Logo: Today is Halloween in America. What would be your perfect costume? 

MP: A zombie from The Walking Dead! I am a big fan, of the TV show «The Walking Dead» ! There was a time where I liked to make fake wounds to scare my friends and my family. I admire people who do that amazing make-up, so I guess I would be a scary zombie. 

See more at:

http://mpgautheron.com

http://instagram.com/mpgautheron

https://www.facebook.com/mpgautheron

https://twitter.com/mpgautheron

https://www.etsy.com/fr/shop/mpgautheron

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oxfordstreetlondon-parismetro-benandsadeyBY CAILIN BURKE

It’s the last Friday of the month which means we’re back to our Feature Friday Traveler Series! This week, we’re showcasing Ben and Sadey of The Wanderlusty who are always traveling and sharing their experiences with others, whether it’s on Instagram, their website, or even Trip Advisor. These two are lucky enough to be able to travel in their careers and it definitely will inspire you to try to find a job that allows you to pursue your outside interests as well. After Ben and Sadey’s interview, I’ve added Helsinki, Finland and Berlin, Germany to my travel bucket list and I hope you guys will want to go to some new places too! Read more for some travel inspiration, advice, and beautiful photos from all over the world.

Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 01.34.24: Tell us about yourself.

wanderlustylogo: We are Ben and Sadey, 20 something, husband and wife, travel junkies otherwise known as The Wanderlusty. We own an advertising agency based out of Texas with clients across the states. Our line of work allows us to travel both for work and pleasure. Passionate about music, the arts, history, food and most of all culture. We’ve set out on a mission to experience the world. Our journey has been filled with unusual experiences, great people, crazy adventure and wild nights to say the least.

Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 01.34.24: Where have you traveled to so far?

wanderlustylogo: Costa Rica, Panama, Canada, Hawaii, most of the Caribbean, a good amount of Mexico, England, France, Italy, Germany, and Finland.

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Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 01.34.24: What’s next on your travel bucket list?

wanderlustylogo: At the end of the year we’re heading back to England, France, Germany and Scandinavia but we’ll be marking off a few new ones from our bucket list by going to Estonia, Morocco and Spain. We are currently planning for our next trips to South Africa in the summer of 2015 and Asia in the winter of 2015.

Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 01.34.24: Out of all of the places you’ve visited, what is your favorite?

wanderlustylogo: As Graphic Designers, Helsinki inspires in every direction you look, the streets are filled with amazing design right down to the street signs. The Finnish have pride for their country and it shows. They’ve been able to keep the old and incorporate the new and still have the city be enchanting.

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Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 01.34.24: What is your favorite thing about traveling?

wanderlustylogo: For us its the ability to live a different life. Being home can become routine, so jumping on a plane, flying half way around the world, and sitting in a cafe or walking around a city that is completely different from where you live is… rejuvenating. It’s that point when your most lost, you find yourself.

Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 01.34.24: What advice would you give to people who want to travel but are unsure of how to proceed?

wanderlustylogo: RESEARCH. It’s an obvious one, but If you’re interested in a certain city or country, do your research on it.. customs, exchange rates, hotels, transportation, etc. When planning our first trip to Europe, we can’t even begin to explain how much time we spent onTripadvisor.com. Become a member of an airline & hotel loyalty program that has routes/hotels around the world. Our preferred airline is Virgin, and with their partner airlines, we’re pretty much covered worldwide. For hotels, hands down is Hotels.com, we book every hotel through them. We like not being tied down to just one hotel chain. Hotels.comoffers great discounts and you get a free night after 10 stays… with no cap. Lastly, you should lose any fear or anxiety of leaving your comfort zone. Travel is about new experiences, learning, living, and letting go.

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Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 01.34.24: What are some of the best things you’ve eaten throughout your travels?

wanderlustylogo: Theres this little restaurant in Rome, in a dimly lit alley off of Via Del Corso called Il Falchetto… oh my god. We stumbled into this place after being denied at a top rated restaurant due to no reservation, THANK THE GODS! Everything here is wonderful, but the Insalata de Carciofi is hands down my favorite. Ben’s favorite is definitely 600 grams of meat flesh and potatoes at Black Dog, this metal dive bar in Paris, France that doubles as a Argentinean kitchen during lunch and dinner hours.

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Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 01.34.24: What is the most exciting thing that has happened when traveling? What is the scariest thing?

wanderlustylogo: The most exciting… probably when Ben proposed in his total cheese ball style, on a beach in Cozumel at Sunset. For him, it was probably the scariest, because I told him the ring was fake and I wasn’t falling for his tomfoolery (Totally horrible I know, but we laugh about it now, and it makes for a funny story).

Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 01.34.24: Do you have a favorite moment from any of your trips?

wanderlustylogo: There’s too many amazing moments to pick just one favorite, but anytime you’re able to blend with the locals is awesome… we’ve met a lot of friends from just being in the right place at the right time.

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Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 01.34.24: Do you have any tips for some of the cities you’ve visited?

wanderlustylogoTIPS– 1. In London, not all pubs are created equal. If you walk in, and there’s only tourists, leave. Move on, find a new one, don’t be scared, sit down, order a pint, and enjoy.

2. In Paris, they have great public transportation, the metro may seem overwhelming at first, but it’s really simple. It’s color coded, and labeled my area & landmarks, just make sure you’re paying attention to the announcements for your stop.

3. In Jamaica, it’s all about leaving your resort… don’t be frightened, the locals are welcoming and happy to share their life stories and a laugh with you. The food outside the resorts is amazing! Eat where the locals eat and you won’t be disappointed. Try Scotchie’s if you’re staying in Montego Bay or De Bus in Negril.

4. In, Venice, DON’T take a private boat from the train station to your hotel, take the Vaporetto (water bus) it’s much more affordable than the private boats. Once on foot, you WILL get lost, Venice is one big maze… when lost, grab a glass of wine or if you’re brave a shot of Grappa, and then try again.

5. In Berlin, Go in December.. Berlin is a great city, but it really comes to life during Christmas. German Christmas markets is really something that everyone should experience. You’ll enjoy amazing food and drinks (try the Gluhwein with a shot of rum added, it will warm you right up), you’ll find unique and sometimes unusual gifts, and feel real Christmas spirit… German style.

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Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 01.34.24: Describe your transportation and living arrangements.

wanderlustylogo: We’re all about the boutique hotels. When it comes down to it, comfort, cleanliness and sleep quality are at the top of our list, so we tend to splurge a little on hotels… but this is where our loyalty to using hotels.com comes into play, during the year since we travel a lot for work, we bank our free nights then use them on our end of the year trip. It cuts our cost for hotels by at least a 1/3 which leaves us with money to splurge on dinner at the best restaurants in town. For transportation.. its really about how we feel and the time factor… Tired or Time Crunch = Taxi, No place to be = Walking or Public transportation. For Air travel within Europe & the UK, check out Easyjet, they’ve got great rates even on last minute flights, just make sure you pay for your luggage ahead of time and don’t go over their weight allowance for luggage.

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Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 01.34.24: How has traveling changed you?

wanderlustylogo: We’re no longer Tourists, but Travelers. Traveling has inspired us, to try new things, jump in head first, immerse ourselves in culture, and to live life to the fullest. Travel to Live, Live to Travel.

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If you’d like to follow us as we trade our briefcases for suitcases and share our love for this earth and the people on it you can find us at:
www.thewanderlusty.com
instagram.com/thewanderlusty
twitter.com/thewanderlusty

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BY CAILIN BURKE

1044483_10152003468289196_2128690760_nThis week we’re changing it up a lot and starting our Feature Friday- Traveler Series with Kate Lyons! Instead of focusing on an artist or designer, the last Friday of each month we’ll share some tips and stories from people who have traveled everywhere. As both Tara and I love to travel, we wanted to bring more travel inspiration to Castle Foundations. Hopefully reading about other’s epic adventures will get you to save some money and go out and travel too! If you’ve already got the travel bug, then we have some advice that can help you plan your next trip as well. This week’s feature, Kate Lyons, has done extensive traveling throughout Europe and seeks to spend the rest of her life continuing to see more places and continents. Her most recent trip gave her the chance to trek through London, Amsterdam, Paris, Rome, Malta, Venice, Nice and Galway for six weeks.

During her time there she not only got to see some of the world’s most famous sights, but didn’t have to break the bank to do so. Currently she has her own blog to document her travel experiences and give others tips about how to travel affordably. She also has a lot of advice for anyone who wants to go on a similar trip so keep reading and check out hopelesswanderer1.wordpress.com to hear more about her travels!

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Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 01.34.24: What made you decide you wanted to travel?

Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 19.00.27: I’ve always had the desire to see more of the world for as long as I can remember, probably from watching movies and shows as a kid. I told myself that I would do a big trip around Europe when I was in college. So when I finally got to college it was almost like I didn’t have a choice in the matter, like I was fulfilling some kind of prophecy I had made for myself. Even with all the factors saying it wasn’t a good idea, this was just something I had to do, even if financially it didn’t seem to make sense. And now, I’m so glad I did it. I don’t regret a single dollar I spent. I will make that money back eventually. Those experiences were invaluable.

Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 01.34.24: Out of all of the countries and cities you’ve visited which was your favorite?

Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 19.00.27: My favorites were London and Malta for two very different reasons. From the first full day in London, I felt like I could see myself living there. It’s so easy to get around and it’s really not all that different from a city here in America so it would be an easy adjustment. There’s just so much to do there, I couldn’t imagine ever being bored of it.

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Malta, on the other hand, I loved in an entirely different way. It’s so beautiful and relaxing. I don’t think I could ever live there, not until I’m retired at least, because I don’t think I would get any work done. It’s so hot and sunny I would just want to relax by the Mediterranean all day every day. I traveled with my boyfriend Frankie and since his family lives there we had an apartment to ourselves and ate every meal for free at his aunt and uncle’s seaside restaurant. His family welcomed us with open arms and showed us everything the island had to offer. It was so different after a month of traveling alone, and everything we could have asked for.

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Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 01.34.24: What, if anything, do you wish you had done differently?

Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 19.00.27: We did this trip with the mentality of being on a very strict budget. In almost every circumstance, if it cost money and wasn’t necessary, like food or travel expenses, we didn’t do it. We only spent $3,000 each for six weeks, which was a lot less than we anticipated and it was great to come back with more money than we expected. Looking back, we both agree that we wish we had done a few things that at the time we said were out of our budget. In hindsight, we should have sprung for one nice, real Italian dinner in Rome or taken the 40 Euro bus ride to see the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland.

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Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 01.34.24: How does one go about planning a trip like this?

Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 19.00.27: We planned everything meticulously. We did hours and hours of research. First we decided where we wanted to go and found some big things to do in each city and used that to decide how long we wanted to spend there. Then we searched for tickets to and from each city and plugged in different dates to find the best prices. That’s how we determined the order we would go to them in. We did find out that it’s cheaper to fly into Ireland than any other part of Western Europe. Even if Ireland isn’t somewhere you want to go,  you can fly to other countries from there.

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After we bought all our tickets we looked for places to stay. We compared prices, locations, and all kinds of of factors between different places in various areas of each town. Then we bought all of our bus and train tickets from the airports to our hostels. We didn’t leave much room for spontaneity, which might sound like it takes the fun out of things, but we met a few people who were figuring it out as they went along. They seemed much more stressed out and ended up spending hundreds of dollars more than we did.

Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 01.34.24: Tell us a little about your housing/living situation while there?

Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 19.00.27: We stayed in almost all hostels with the exceptions of Paris, where we stayed in a inexpensive hotel, and in Malta, where we stayed in Frankie’s dad’s flat. For the most part we couldn’t have been happier with the places we stayed. We had a lot of reservations about staying in hostels from all the horror movies out there, but we never felt unsafe. When we were choosing where to stay online, in a lot of cases we chose a cheap price and a good location over cleanliness and level of service, so we didn’t have very high expectations. But in all but a few (like Venice, where there was a pretty bad bug problem) we had great experiences. We met a lot of great people and made some memories with them that we’ll never forget.

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 Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 01.34.24How did you travel from place to place?

Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 19.00.27: We took planes everywhere. Fourteen in six weeks. It turned out to be the cheapest option after buses and we didn’t want to spend entire days sitting on a bus. Planes got us to a different country in about an hour and for only around 30 to 40 Euros.

 Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 01.34.24What were the best foods you ate while there?

Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 19.00.27: We did everything on the cheap so nothing we ate was too gourmet, but we did try to eat one meal that the city is known for everywhere we went. In London we went to a pub for fish and chips and shepherd’s pie; in Amsterdam we got pannekoeken, or Dutch pancakes, for breakfast; in Paris we bought baguettes and brie and salami and ate them under the Eiffel Tower. In Rome and Venice we were always able to get affordable pizza and pasta, but it was never fantastic. We ate our fair share of gelato and drank a lot of wine pretty much everywhere we went.

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Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 01.34.24: What advice would you give to people who want to try backpacking?

Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 19.00.27: Just go for it. Don’t let anything stop you. You can find a way to do it. Even if you don’t have anyone to go with – we met plenty of people who were traveling solo and they actually met more people and probably had a more social experience than we did.

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 Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 01.34.24What’s next on your travel bucket list?

Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 19.00.27: What isn’t? I’m dying to go to Eastern Asia. For a while I was focused on Thailand but I’ve heard that I might like Vietnam even more. But it will be a while before I can afford that plane ticket.

Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 01.34.24: Tell us a little about the blog you keep to document your travel experiences.

Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 19.00.27: I started the blog as a way to show people that it is possible to do a trip like this without spending as much as you might think you have to. We learned a lot when we were planning this trip and I don’t want all that knowledge to go to waste. I write about our experiences in each city and what we learned both in preparing to leave and once we were there. Blogs like this really helped us when we were looking for things to do, so I want to help other people in the same way. I think this is an experience everyone should have if they want to!

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In the Spirit of St. Patrick’s Day

BY CAILIN BURKE

Since St. Patrick’s Day is right around the corner, Tara and I’s favorite Parisian bakery started selling Chocolate Guinness macarons and there’s no way we could pass that up! We are half Irish after all. So today we picked up our friend Jenny (who is also Irish!) and drove a 30 minute distance to get these delicious macarons from TC Bakery. We got a few of them and also got Chocolate Caramel ones which are our absolute favorite.

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Now we’ve tried macarons from Laduree and Pierre Herme in Paris and I have to say that TC Bakery is just as good as both of them. It’s great to be able to get macarons that taste like they’re from Paris, but instead are from a little town in New York.

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We then went to Jenny’s house and had them with tea, because for some reason they taste so much better that way. To stay true to our St. Patrick’s Day theme, we had Irish Breakfast Tea and talked about Ireland all afternoon long, since Jenny is going to Ireland this summer and Tara and I had a lot of tips from when we went last year.

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All in all it was a very Irish-filled day and the Chocolate Guinness macarons were decorated with green sprinkles to have even more Irish spirit. Besides the amazing texture that macarons have, these had a tiny Guinness taste that wasn’t overwhelming and went so well with the chocolate.

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Although Tara and I have had many strange macaron flavors like Liquorice, Olive Oil and Vanilla, the tea flavored Marie Antoinette macaron, and the strangest one of all, Cognac, I’ve never heard of a place that has had Chocolate Guinness macarons! That’s why it was necessary that we try them and add them to our long list of interesting flavors. I’m glad they tasted more chocolatey than Guinnessy though, because I’ll never forget how strange and weird I thought that Cognac macaron was. Although you may be skeptical, if you want to treat yourself this St. Patrick’s Day don’t hesitate to combine Ireland’s favorite beer with chocolate because it ended up being a pretty great combo!

Why Travel?

BY CAILIN BURKE

I have the travel bug so badly that for some reason I think everyone else wants to travel as much as I do. However, some people don’t want to spend the money or would rather spend their money on something else, while others have never even thought about it. Most people say you should travel to “expand your horizons,” “learn about yourself,” or “immerse yourself in another culture,” but there are many more reasons that you should consider traveling… some less typical than others.

1) You can try some amazing food. You may not like to travel, but you probably like to eat… right? Some foods you’d never be able to try in your own country, and in other countries your favorite foods might taste even better! When I went to Nice, France for example, I had a beignet filled with Nutella and it was the most delicious thing I’ve ever had in my life. Also, I discovered that Nutella in England tastes better than the Nutella in the US. Plus, you know you want to try the pizza in Italy… and pasta… and gelato.

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2) You can see some of your favorite things. Maybe museums, architecture, or famous landmarks aren’t particularly interesting to you, but there are other things you can see in a different country! If you’re a Harry Potter fan than you NEED to go on the Warner Brothers Studio Tour in England. Or if you’re a huge Beatles fan, there’s nothing cooler than going to Abbey Road to mimick their album cover. Doing this is actually known as pop-culture tourism where you purposely go to locations found in movies, literature, or any form of entertainment.

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3) You’ll really bond with the people you’re with. Traveling with your friends or family will definitely bring you closer. You’ll have new inside jokes, something to always talk about, and times where you can say, “Remember when…?”

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4) If you have a hobby or activity you like doing, chances are in another country it’s better. A skiier? Go skiing in the Swiss Alps. An art lover? Go to Paris and visit the Louvre and the Musee d’Orsay to see some of the world’s most famous pieces. Hiking? What’s a local mountain compared to hiking Machu Picchu? Love cute animals? Walk down the streets of Cinque Terre and you’ll see cats everywhere. Not a cat person? You could pet a koala in Australia, see sloths and monkeys in Costa Rica, or see a lion on an African safari. Music lover? Discover underground bands in London.

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5) You get some great pictures for Facebook or Instagram out of it. Chances are you like having a really cool profile pic or an artsy Instagram. Go to a different country and there will be endless opportunities to take incredible pictures. You’ll probably get a ton of likes too!

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6) You can step in the same footsteps as your idols. It’s always fun to live out something your favorite actress did in your favorite show or movie. Walk down the streets of Paris with macarons like Blair and Serena did in Gossip Girl! Or go to Rome and throw a coin into the Trevi Fountain (in hopes that Paolo will arrive) like in the Lizzie McGuire Movie. Even better, pretend you’re Kate Middleton on her wedding day and walk through Westminster Abbey.

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7) You can see a part of history. There’s nothing like revisiting history exactly where it happened. You could see what’s left of the Berlin Wall in Germany, Anne Frank’s house in Amsterdam, or imagine gladiators fighting in the Colosseum.

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8) You can let your guard down. You may not want to go somewhere that’s new and uncomfortable, but think about it this way… no one there knows you! So do some things you would be too embarrassed to do in front of your acquaintances. Sing in a karaoke bar, have a silly photo shoot near a landmark, or even doze in a public area.  You may get some funny looks, but chances are you’ll never see those people again.

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9) You can buy some unique trinkets. Want a cool bag? Go to South America and get one that’s crocheted by local artisans. If you want something more fancy, go to Italy and shop at a leather market. Some things you can only buy in certain places. My favorite souvenir is my Loch Ness Monster stuffed animal. Saying you got a “Nessie” at the real Loch Ness is so much cooler than saying you got it off of eBay.

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10) You’ll have great stories (and memories!) to last a lifetime. Needless to say, traveling gives you tons of great memories to reflect back on, but it also gives you a lot of stories. Traveling is the perfect conversation starter and can help you relate to others. If you meet someone new and you’ve both been to London, there you go! You’ll have tons of things to talk about and stories to share back and forth. You’ll also have a bunch of cool things to share with your friends when you get home!

Even if you’re scared to go somewhere unfamiliar or didn’t think you were interested, there are a lot of great things about traveling that you may not have even thought about! 

There’s No Time Like Tea Time

BY CAILIN BURKE

Today I tagged along with Tara to the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) to eat lunch at the cafe they have there. She was meeting someone for a job interview, but I love CIA so I wanted to go get some food too! I had been there two times before but only had items from their lunch menu, and this time I was feeling tea and a pastry. After living in London for almost four months, I’ve learned to love tea with scones, biscuits, or crumpets. Since the cafe is known for their pastries, desserts, and macarons, I thought what better place to have tea time?! The cafe is completely run by the institute’s students so they have some really great chefs who are constantly practicing and making new things. Every time you go, there’s something different and they make all of their food look so beautiful! For today though, the Maple Frosted Brioche Donut looked pretty appetizing so I got that with a pot of English Breakfast Tea. I then got a Raspberry Macaron Tart to split with Tara after her interview was over as a treat!

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Museum Fashion

BY TARA BURKE

Not much can make you feel more cultured and elegant than visiting an art museum in an outfit you feel really confident about. For my day at the Louvre I kept it simple with a houndstooth patterned black and white dress, red heels and a floppy hat.

Dress: Rabbit Rabbit

Hat: H&M wool hat (similar version here)

Shoes: Nine West (similar version here)

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Ten Things to Do While Abroad

BY TARA BURKE

1. Take 100s of photos. The memory is a strange thing. Often times you can remember where you went, but not what you saw. Photos will vividly bring back those memories, are tangible ways to share your experience with family and friends, and are great keepsakes to look back on in     future years.

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2. Put down the camera. At the same time, taking a million photos of that pretty flower you fell upon, will not make it any prettier. Take a moment to step back and enjoy your surroundings in the now.

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3. Keep a journal or blog. Write everything you do down. It is always fun to reflect on traveling. The amazing things you did, saw, learned and felt will all make for a wonderful trip down memory lane.

4. Try something new. Go zip-lining, ride a camel, surf, eat an insect, volunteer, make new friends, rent a vespa, or go dancing.

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5. Do anything and everything that is completely cliché about your destination. Take some touristy photos of yourself in those red phone booths in London and pretend you’re touching the tip of the Eiffel Tower in Paris. You know you want to, so just go for it!

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6. Buy some mementos. Even if it’s just a postcard from every place you visit. When you get home, you can place them in a cute travel box. On another note, it’s inevitable that you will shop a little while abroad. Don’t overpack. Girls, I know we are always tempted to bring our entire     closet because of that nagging voice inside our heads that says, “What if I end up wanting to wear this?” Ignore that sucker, instead bring a few key outfits that you are dying to show off. The rest should be comfortable, easily washable and interchangeable classic pieces.

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7. Don’t fret over the small things. Sure you got fined 50 Euros on an Italian train ride for         unknowingly not validating your ticket, or a cockroach climbs up your skirt in a metro station in Spain (sad, but true stories)… Be livid for 5 minutes. Don’t let it ruin your whole day.

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8. Have at least a few unplanned hours in your itinerary. You’ll be surprised at what magical things you can fall upon by strolling around aimlessly.

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9. Go to local places. Local restaurants, stores, bakeries, hotels, grocery stores and parks. Absorb yourself into another culture. Some cultural differences might make you appreciate home more, while others may make you want to stay in that place forever.

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10. Use the local lingo or speak the native language. I know we are told that it can be annoying when foreigners practice their speaking skills with locals, but most are openly willing to oblige. After taking years of a foreign language in school, don’t be afraid to try it. Plus, the level of      accomplishment you feel after ordering the correct meal in another language is unparalleled.

Most of all have a blast! Being able to travel is a huge privilege and every second should be enjoyed.              

Happy Travels!