Category: My Favorites

My Favorites

A Love Letter to New York City

Processed with VSCO with g3 presetScott Fitzgerald once wrote “The city seen from the Queensboro Bridge is always the city seen for the first time, in its wild promise of all the mystery and the beauty in the world.” That is exactly how I feel each time I see the captivating city in the distance.

I had been going to the city for years during hot summer days. Each time going to the same mainstream showcases of the city, like Time Square and downtown Manhattan. Even though I was only familiar with a few places, I had always been a little infatuated with this idyllic metropolis. Each year I found something new to love about it. But it had always been just puppy love.

I abandoned the bright lights for some time when I moved south. But I made sure to hold onto the images of tall skyscrapers and lit up billboards, tucking them away in my heart.

When I was 17, I came back as nearly an experienced wandress. I went with my theatre troupe in the midst of a polar vortex and nearly froze. Snow fell the moment after our plane landed. At night the falling flurries made the city glisten in the cold winter night. This time I went to New York with a broader mind. I saw more, I tried more, and absolutely fell in love. I fell in love with the Broadway shows, and the actors who made the story come to life, and right after portraying completely different people became themselves disappearing into the crowd of regular New Yorkers. I fell in love with the buildings that seemed to reach the skies and with the feeling of belonging to this land of diverse dreamers, even if it was just for a moment.

I promised myself I would return. And this week I finally did. I was worried that the city would fall short to what I had remembered and wanted it to be. Now that I had seen more of the world, the city would fade from the illusion I had created.

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These anxious feeling soon subsided. The city seems to get better with age, still leaving me breathless and in awe. I entered the city through the Lincoln tunnel, where one minute I’m seeing the city from afar and it feels untouchable and then in a blink of an eye I’m there in the heart of it all. I’m suddenly thrown into the chaotic mess that seems to work well for New York. Taxis honk, while people walk in front of cars with no fear. I realized that there is nowhere else I’d rather have been.

With this trip, I uncovered that I have now developed a deeper, more mature state of love for this seemingly endless concrete scene. I respect its history and the unique changes its gone through to be the city it is now. This time I went, I saw more of what locals saw, ate where the locals ate and I really immersed myself into the raw culture.

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As an old man played “New York, New York” on his trumpet in front of St. Patrick’s Cathedral, I fell deeper in love and felt the beauty that this city could hold and make any willing person feel. And just like the song says “I want to be a part of it”. I truly believed in that and even though I only spent a few days in the land where dreams come true and everything feels like a part of something bigger, I knew I would soon come back, to see my love, New York City.

xoxo

Melody

My Favorites

Ten Travel Films You Might Have Missed

Watching a movie, film, or like they said back in the day, a talking picture, are all escapes for the mind. Films are something to get lost in, like you would a book; you become involved with the characters, wanting to know how it will all end. Travel movies add something extra to this immediate feeling of compassion, because not only do they insert you into other people’s thoughts and actions, but they also transport you into a whole different mindset because of the new and different location.

I am a movie fanatic. I love re-watching my favorite films and discovering new movies to watch. We’ve all seen some great popular travel movies like Eat, Pray, Love (2010) and Letters to Juliet (2010), but there are so many more out there to discover!

Here are my top ten travel films you may have not seen!

  1. Before Sunrise (1995) featuring Ethan Hawke and Julie Delphy

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Makes you want to buy a ticket to: Vienna, Austria

Two strangers meet on a train and decide to spend the day together in Vienna. I traveled to Vienna recently and because I had watched this film, it made the city feel familiar. The conversations that the two characters share is raw, real and will leave you wanting more.

  1. Only You (1994) featuring Robert Downing Jr. and Faith Corvatch

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Makes you want to buy a ticket to: Italy

A woman, with faith in destiny, believes that her true love goes by the name of Damon Bradley, although she has never met anyone with that name. But right before she is set to marry someone else, she gets her first lead on the name prompting her to fly off to Italy to find him. This movie is one of the 90s classic travel films I love to watch from time to time.

  1. Midnight in Paris (2011) featuring Owen Wilson, Rachel Adams, and Marion Contillard

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Makes you want to buy a ticket to: Paris, France

An American writer is traveling in France with his fiancée; but soon finds that he has traveled through time in Paris ending up in the Jazz Age, where he meets his writing idols. The cinematography in this film is enough of a reason to see the movie, but bring in 1920’s Paris and it makes it that much better.

  1. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013) featuring Ben Stiller

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Makes you want to buy a ticket to: Iceland

This story is about a guy who leads a boring life but dreams of doing more, finally he decides to leave his current life and travel. I watched this film for the first time on my first solo flight to Germany before I began college and it truly inspired me to travel instead of study.

  1. A Room with a View (1985) featuring Helena Bonham Carter, Maggie Smith and Julian Sands

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Makes you want to buy a ticket to: Florence, Italy

Two Englishwomen travel to Italy and meet a group of English travelers in Florence and one of the ladies falls in love. This film is a classic and feels timeless. It is a wonderful interpretation of the book by the same name.

  1. Adore (2013) featuring Naomi Watts and Robin Wright

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Makes you want to buy a ticket to: Australia

Two best friends fall in love with each other’s son. While the film isn’t about traveling, it has some beautiful shots of Australia, that made me wish I was there. It is a bit strange, but it is also an amazing story that’s definitely underrated.

  1. Copenhagen (2014) featuring Gethin Anthony and Frederikke Dahl Hansen

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Makes you want to buy a ticket to: Copenhagen, Denmark

An American travels to Denmark to find his grandfather and forms a friendship of sorts with a local teenage girl who helps him out. I found this film on Netflix and it was a great film that also seems to be highly underrated.

  1. Leap Year (2010) featuring Amy Adams and Matthew Goode

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Makes you want to buy a ticket to: Ireland

An American girl plans to propose to her boyfriend on leap day, but instead ends up traveling through Ireland to Dublin with an Irish guy. This is one most of us have seen but if you haven’t, be sure to check out some of the amazing shots this film has of Ireland’s greatest places.

  1. Under the Tuscan Sun (2003) featuring Diane Lane

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Makes you want to buy a ticket to: Tuscany, Italy

An American woman goes through a divorce and decides to move away from everything she knows to live in Italy. I feel like I have re-watched this movie more than a thousand times because it’s such an inspiring movie that makes you feel like you are capable of doing anything you want and to inspire you to have trust in the universe. Definitely watch this film if you want to travel and you’re looking to be inspired.

  1. French Kiss (1995) featuring Meg Ryan and Kevin KlineMakes you want to buy a ticket to: France

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A women finds out her fiancé has found love abroad on a business trip, she sets out to get him back but finds unwanted help from a French man. I love this film so much for many different reasons, the witty dialogue, and beautiful scenery and of course, the romance. It all combines to make a spectacular film that many people haven’t seen and it’s a shame to miss out on this one.

I hope you enjoy some of my favorite traveling movies. If you have any other suggestions for films, be sure to leave a comment below!

My Favorites

Around the World in 8 Young Adult Novels

J.K Rowling once wrote “I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book.” I believe that too. Reading has always been an escape for my mind if I had to stay put somewhere. Now with my current job I have become a very avid reader which I love. One of my favorite kinds of genre is Young Adult (YA) probably because I’m close to the age the characters are themselves and I find that I can relate to them the best. But the best YA books are the ones where the characters travel all over the world. They’re brilliant books because they let me see and envision what these new places in the world hold.

Here is a list of my top 8 favorites countdown!

  1. 13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson

13envelopes_maureenjohnsonMakes you want to buy a ticket to: All over Europe

Thirteen letters arrive for Virginia (Ginny) Blackstone with instructions from her Aunt Peg to buy a one way ticket to London. It’s a beautiful tale about a shy girl’s adventures abroad with crazy instructions to do things in new places. I love the descriptions in each new place Ginny goes to that it makes me feel like I’m there as well

  1. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Makes you want to buy a ticket to: Paris, France71n-haxibzl

A cute story set in a boarding school in Paris where Anna meets a wonderful boy who unfortunately has a girlfriend. This one will make you swoon and fall in love under the twinkling lights of Paris. I like this one because of the way Stephanie Perkins is able to make such amazing unique characters that make the whole story feel real and heartfelt.

 

 

 

 

  1.  When Irish Guys are Smiling by Suzanne Supplee1883317

Makes you want to buy a ticket to: Ireland

The main character Delk brings us along in her journey as she learns the ins and outs of Ireland while also meeting some cute guys. I loved learning more about Irish culture in this fun read.

  1. The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith

Makes you want to road trip or buy a ticket to: Mid-West USA, New York City, California, Englandebfdbec7094d521603428dfc5910b27f

Lucy and Owen get stuck on an elevator together in New York City during a blackout. Their lives intertwine and separate before they know it while Lucy moves away to London and Owen heads to the West Coast. Will they be able to forget about their one special night and each other? Jennifer E. Smith is one my favorite travel fiction writers with her great characters and unforgettable moments.

 

 

 

 

  1. The Juliet Club by Suzanne Harper3017947

Makes you want to buy a ticket to: Verona, Italy

Kate Sanderson gets an opportunity to travel to Verona, Italy for the summer for a Shakespeare symposium. Along the way she meets some new friends and maybe her very own Romeo while she enjoys pasta and gelato in beautiful Italy. When I first read this book I absolutely fell in love with the descriptions of Verona and the fun times Kate goes through as she falls in love.

  1. Saving Juliet by Suzanne Selfors

51lb-6q9sulMakes you want to get a time machine and go to: 1500s Verona, Italy

Mimi Wallington comes from a very famous Broadway family which is why she is playing Juliet in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet opposite her nemesis Troy. But one night during the show Mimi and Troy are thrust back to Shakespeare’s Verona. Will they be able to get back and save Romeo and Juliet from their tragic destinty? Mimi and Troy are both such amazing characters in this great book that I could barely put it down. I loved learning more about Shakespeare’s time and how his characters could be more relatable that we think.

 

 

  1. The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith5142jjgkghl__sy344_bo1204203200_

Makes you want to buy a ticket to: London, England

Told in a time frame of twenty-four hours, Hadley Sullivan is on her way to her dad’s wedding in London, but misses her flight at JFK and during her new flight sits next to very handsome Oliver. Hadley and Oliver spend the whole flight to London talking and end up losing each other in the mist of airport chaos. Can fate bring them together again before the day is through? This is everyone’s dream meet cute (including my own): meeting someone on a plane and falling in love and it’s spectacular. Jennifer E. Smith has a way of combining real life troubles with finding love and I loved every second of this book.

  1. Just One Day/Just One Year by Gayle Forman

chatsworthhouse1Makes you want to buy ticket to: Mainly Paris and all over the world

Allyson Healey meets a laid back Dutch actor William De Ruiter in London and they head off to Paris for a magical day. There are not enough things I can say about these two books. Written by the same author who wrote If I Stay comes a beautiful story about love, life, and finding ourselves. These books will make you laugh, cry and contemplate why you’re not buying a ticket out of the country. I’ve included both books in the series because they go hand and hand and I recommend reading both. So if you only read one book out of this whole list, these have to be it.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my list! And leave your own recommendations below!