Featured

5 TIPS FOR GETTING BACK INTO ROUTINE AFTER A BREAK

photo-1473496169904-658ba7c44d8a.jpeg

I’m sure we’ve all come back from a break, fearing our inboxes, washing piles and the vacation blues, the following five steps are ones I aim to take after every break to help ease me back in to day-to-day life in a way I look forward to.

I hope you’ll find this post helpful, and I’d love for you to share any tips or tricks of your own in the comments


GIVE YOURSELF TIME TO RE-SETTLE.

photo-1488381397757-59d6261610f4

When you return from a trip that airport transfer/hire car situation/late flight is going to have tired you. Travelling is tiring, no two ways about it. Rather than assuming you will slot right back in to your routine, give yourself some buffer time to re-settle. Cut yourself some slack.

For me my buffer time looks like one quiet ‘settling in day’, followed by a light week. I make no big commitments for the week following any travel as I know I will have work to catch up on, as well as sleep and general life.

This also means that I keep communication light, I don’t want to be pitching to any big clients, or committing to lots of social events. I need a little home time to get my feet back on the ground. Furthermore travelling often spark ideas or thoughts for me, I write these down in a journal whilst away and like to take some time when I am home to process.

Takeaway: Whatever that buffer time looks like for you, rest assured that it is completely normal to take a little time to re-settle. If you mentally allocate this buffer, you can cut yourself come slack if you don’t get right back in to the swing of things on day one.


 UNPACK, CLEAN AND REFRESH YOUR HOME.

photo-1502301197179-65228ab57f78.jpeg

When your home has been left unused for some time it can feel stale. I like to use my ‘quiet settling in day’ (ref. above ^) to unpack, clean and refresh my home.

I open all windows and fold back my bed sheets – or change them if I didn’t do so before going away. I collect things like any glasses we forgot to wash up.  I then have a general freshen up and potter about the house reacquainting myself with it.

I try (and I admit that this is currently on the back burner for me!) to unpack right away, put things in the wash or hang them right up. It is so nice to be able to put away the suitcase and use your wardrobe like normal. I’m seeking solace in that slack I talk about above – I know I’ll properly unpack once I have a bit more time over the weekend.

The final touch for me is always fresh flowers. This week I bought some new stocks and lilies and it feels like there is life back in the house again. When I walk in to my office now I am greeted by a beautiful glass vase of white stocks which helps me feel at home as I settle in to some work.

Takeaway: There is nothing like a clean, organised home to help you feel calm and settled. Aim to get reacquainted with your home as soon as is possible for you. If possible, leave your home when you go on holiday in a way which will feel nice to come back to. Or if that’s not possible (hello last-minute packing explosion!) then allocate some time to sort it when you are back.


TACKLE YOUR INBOX.

photo-1483058712412-4245e9b90334.jpeg

Eek – the post-holiday inbox 🙈!

I recently shared some of my thoughts on how and why to take a proper holiday. I’m happy to report that I took my own advice and had one of the best holiday holidays I’ve ever had. One of the reasons I feel this holiday was more successfully restful than others was the time of year I chose to go away. I have learnt that for me personally, high summer is a quiet time of year. A quiet time means less emails, which naturally means less to follow up on when I get home.

I tackled the emails I did receive systematically whilst I was away, so as not to be bombarded when home. I also put on an out of office which helped me to manage the expectations of people emailing me.

I’d love to say I didn’t check my emails at all whilst I was away, but truth be told I like to be kept in the loop. As a business owner I can’t afford to miss a potential client’s email, or an important communication from my team. In order to avoid getting dragged down by emails whilst on holiday, I dipped in to my inbox every day, flagged any important emails and deleted the rest. I found that on average I only had a few per day which required immediate attention, I got back to these and didn’t give the others a moment’s thought.

This being said, if you do come home to a particularly busy inbox when you get back from your holiday, I advise using the one touch technique. Prioritise the emails you need to get back to and allocate focused time to getting them answered. If you focus, over a few days I am confident you can get your inbox back on track.

Takeaway: Set an out of office reply before you go away to manage the expectations of people emailing you. Be systematic on your return from holiday and work through your inbox, using whatever email management system works for you – I like flagging my important emails. Delete everything else so as not to clutter your inbox. Focus in on allocated slots for emails, and know that it will likely take a couple of days to get your inbox under control.


GET BACK ON TRACK WITH YOUR HEALTH COMMITMENTS.

photo-1498837167922-ddd27525d352.jpeg

As I have mentioned before, my health and wellbeing has become an important focus for me this year. I tried to stay on track with my fitness whilst on vacation which has made it an easier transition once I got home.

Either way – if you have or haven’t had the healthiest of vacations (I’ve seen either side of that coin my friend!) – getting back in to your health groove will help you to settle back in to your routine.

There is nothing like feeling well in your mind and body to assist with focus, sleep and energy levels. This includes habits, exercise and diet.

For me, I have tried to get back in to my happiness habits, and include some activity in to my routine. I gave myself a few days to recuperate on sleep, and now have workouts in my schedule like normal which I am looking forward to.

Further to exercise, eating in a way which makes you feel good and energised is everything. If you do one thing when you first get home – do a food shop. It will save so much ‘searching time’ when deciding on what to eat, what to take for lunch and what to snack on. If you do a healthy shop, it will most likely encourage you to make healthy choices.

Takeaway: Do a food shop, book your gym classes and ease yourself back in to your health and wellbeing routine. A healthy mind and body supports everything that you do, so getting on top of this as soon as possible is going to make everything else you are coming back to feel easier.


BOOK FUN THINGS IN TO AVOID THE VACATION BLUES.

photo-1470229722913-7c0e2dbbafd3.jpeg

I admit that when I was lying on the beach on my penultimate day in Menorca, I started to feel the post-holiday blues creeping in. I am such a homebody that this was actually quite an alien experience for me, but I truly couldn’t imagine being anywhere more beautiful, or with people I loved more (except my Mama wasn’t there as she had to stay home for work – so plus my Mum would have been perfect!).

I had had an inkling before going away that I may get struck by the post-holiday blues so long before we departed I booked a girls weekend in with my favourite girlfriends. I also ordered a couple of items to arrive for when I got back including some photos from one of my best friends’ recent weddings. Knowing that I was going to see some of my favourite people, and receive some exciting deliveries, on returning home made me really excited to be landing in England again.

Takeaway: Decide on something you would look forward to, and make plans for it before you get home. Getting coffee with a friend . . . having a manicure . . . allocating a couple of magazine hours for yourself – be sure to have some fun things to welcome you home.

photo-1550399504-8953e1a6ac87.jpeg

Featured

8 Summer Fashion Hacks That’ll Help You Beat the Heat

photo-1518912217224-3b1ae276c89e

Summer is just around the corner and it’s that time again where heat and humidity are super high. And while you love the warmer temperatures perfect for outdoor activities or a quick beach visit, unfortunately, we all hate excessive sweating.

But thankfully, I’ve found down below some awesome summer fashion hacks that’ll help you survive summer while still looking stylish. These are style ideas that will help you feel comfortable and make you look fashionable. They’re the perfect summer outfit ideas that you might want to try. So check them out below and let me know what you think!

Keep Your Clothes Loose

As the temperature goes higher, try getting clothes that are actually loose. A flowy maxi dress will keep you cooler than a pair of shorts and a skintight tank. The less fabric that touches your body, the more comfortable you’ll feel. The loose clothing allows air to pass along the skin and exit, speeding evaporation and carrying off excess heat. So the looser, the better.

photo-1496747611176-843222e1e57c.jpeg

Know the Fabric Rules

One of the easiest and simplest ways to get the right summer clothes is by knowing what fabrics they’re made of. Try cotton, it’s light and breathable which makes it perfect for polos and shirts. Also, linen doesn’t retain moisture so any sweat will dry quickly. And, think about the active wear fabrics, they’re all made of synthetic blends. They can help you combat the heat while effortlessly making you look stylish. Mix and match them and you can look cool and be cool when wearing them.

Wear the Right Shorts

Shorts are a summer staple. They allow ventilation for your exposed legs and they’re great to wear in the hottest times of the year. So try getting comfortable ones made from the kind of summer fabric that works best for you.

Go for Light Colors

Compared to light colored clothes, dark colors absorb more light and that can make you feel hot. So whenever possible, try to stick to light colored clothes that reflect light and will keep you cool.

Wear a Wide-Brimmed Hat

Who say’s you need to be on the beach to wear those wide-brimmed hats when you can wear them evenin the city. They’ll protect you from too much sun and provide shade to the head and face. Not to mention, hats can effortlessly up your fashion game. So consider getting those that are made of lightweight and breathable material to offset the trapped heat.

photo-1521826588903-0ba642bf37fc.jpeg

Turn Your Flipflops from Boring to Awesome

Flipflops are your feets best friends during the summer season. So why not make them more stylish and fun. All you have to do is simply wrap a ribbon first in the straps of your flips while joining them both. Then stick some beads and bells on them with a strong glue. Let them dry for few minutes and voila, fab and chic flipflops in no time.

Use a Scarf to Keep Your Hair Off Your Neck

If you have a long hair like me, then we both know how annoying it is whenever it sticks to the neck. As a great solution, get a small cotton scarf and use it to tie up your hair. It will help absorb sweat and will make you feel extra cool and fashionable.

Wear Minimal Jewelry

To complete your summer look, try to add some accessories like jewelry. They can add a touch of glam to your look while still keeping it elegant and sophisticated. Just be sure to choose minimal ones since they can easily make feel you irritated once the temperature rises. Earrings are fine because they don’t really touch much of your skin, but necklaces, bracelets, and rings, you should skip them.

photo-1535556116002-6281ff3e9f36.jpeg


 

Featured

10 Movies That Need A Female Reboot

photo-1533488765986-dfa2a9939acd.jpeg

Anne Hathaway and Rebel Wilson’s The Hustle is the latest all-female reboot of a male-oriented movie, gender-swapping the classic Michael Caine/Steve Martin comedy Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. With the success of movies like Wonder Woman and Captain Marvel, it won’t be long before women can simply lead their own movies without being tied to earlier properties starring men. But until then, while actresses gain the kind of influence in Hollywood that they’re long overdue, more female reboots of older movies starring men will be on the way. So, with that in mind, here are 10 Movies That Need A Female Reboot.


THE USUAL SUSPECTS

The-Usual-Suspects-castIt’s rare that women get to play gangsters in movies. The crime genre is one of the most male-dominated categorizations in Hollywood. But there are female criminals out there and they’re underrepresented on the big screen. The premise of The Usual Suspects is that a bunch of criminals meet in a police lineup, pull off a heist, and then have their story twisted by an unreliable narrator reading names and locations from around the room. That could easily be swapped to an all-female cast, with the police lineup simply revolving around a female suspect instead of a male one. It would make a great ensemble piece, too, like Ocean’s 8, a chance to get a bunch of awesome women on-screen together.


BOYHOOD

Boyhood.jpgRichard Linklater shot his coming-of-age opus Boyhood over a decade or so, in order to capture his lead actor growing up. It’s a grand, sweeping movie about growing up – but it’s about growing up male. Only boys can relate to Mason’s story. A female remake titled Girlhood could give young girls a character they can relate to. It would mean another child actor growing up with a film crew stopping by every couple of years to shoot some more scenes of the movie she’s in, but as Boyhood has shown us, the rewards of this unique kind of filmmaking are obvious.


RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK

Indiana-Jones-in-Raiders-of-the-Lost-Ark.jpgAs long as the Tomb Raider movies continue to screw up the female version of Indiana Jones that we already have, a female reboot of the Indiana Jonesfranchise sounds like a good idea. Steven Spielberg seemed open to a Raidersreboot with a female Indiana Jones, even if his wording was a little clunky: “We’d have to change the name from Jones to Joan, and there would be nothing wrong with that.”

Jones is the last name, so it would be weird to leave a female version of the character with a male first name and a female first name instead of a surname. Still, Spielberg’s open to a female Indy, so it could happen.


FIGHT CLUB

Fight-Club.jpgAs possibly the most masculine, male-focused movie ever made, nothing is screaming out for a female reboot louder than Fight Club. Melissa McCarthy suggested “female Fight Club” as a bridal shower as a joke in Bridesmaids, but it’s not a bad idea. With Netflix’s GLOW, Charlize Theron’s visceral action movies, and more and more female superheroes making it to the screen, audiences are getting used to women fighting on-screen. The female Fight Club wouldn’t follow exactly the same plot, since everyone knows the twist by now, but it could have the same anarchist message and black-comic tone. “I am Jane’s dream of a female reboot of Fight Club.”


TRADING PLACES

Trading-Places-Poster.jpgTrading Places is a classic comedy, but it’s also an interesting study of the class divide. Dan Aykroyd plays a wealthy businessman and Eddie Murphy plays a streetwise grifter. They both think they’d be better off in the other one’s shoes, so like it says on the tin, they trade places. In the same way that Dirty Rotten Scoundrels was a two-hander whose male leads were replaced by women in The Hustle, Trading Places is a two-hander that would work just as well – if not better, with an even more socially conscious plot revolving around women in the workplace – with female leads instead of male ones.


 

THE EXPENDABLES

The-Expendables-Cast-1.jpgThe point of The Expendables franchise was to bring all the old-school, muscle-bound action movie stars from the ‘80s together in one movie. So, why not do the same for all the female action movie stars? The Expendablesfranchise has a great cast, but they’re all male. The third one brought in Ronda Rousey, but that was too little too late. An all-female Expendables movie called The ExpendaBelles (seriously) has actually been in the works for a few years, but it’s time it actually got off the ground. Sigourney Weaver, Linda Hamilton, Charlize Theron, Michelle Rodriguez, Uma Thurman, Zoe Saldana, Demi Moore – the casting possibilities are endless.


TAKEN

2.-Taken.jpg

We’ve seen what happens when a male ex-CIA agent’s daughter goes missing overseas and he flies over there to track her down. Now, let’s see what happens when the same circumstances befall a female ex-CIA agent instead. To keep the gender-swapping consistent, the daughter could even be swapped for a son to subvert the trope of the damsel in distress.

It wouldn’t need to be a straight remake of Taken. Instead of Paris, it could be a different major European city – or a different continent entirely. Instead of being sex-trafficked, the kid could be sold off as a drug mule.


THIS IS THE END

This-is-the-End-Seth-Rogen-James-Franco-Craig-Robinson-Jay-Baruchel-Danny-McBride.jpg

Apart from a couple of cameos by Rihanna and Emma Watson (the latter of whom reappeared for one scene later on before fleeing with all the food), the star-studded apocalypse comedy This is the End was very male-oriented. The 2013 original starred Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill, Craig Robinson, and everyone else for their comedy clique as the worst versions of themselves. Let’s see the Bridesmaids gang play themselves and tackle the same apocalypse from the other side of Los Angeles from a female perspective: Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Rose Byrne, Maya Rudolph, Ellie Kemper etc., all playing themselves. It would make a pretty awesome movie.


TRAINING DAY

Training-Day2.jpgThe Heat proved that women could lead a buddy cop movie, so there’s no reason why they couldn’t lead a grittier, more dramatic cop movie. Training Daywould be a prime candidate for this, as its premise is simple and character-driven, and therefore easy to rewrite for a female cast. It stars Denzel Washington as a veteran cop who takes rookie Ethan Hawke out on his first day. As the day progresses, Hawke realizes Washington is dirty and tries to expose him. Washington went on to win an Academy Award for his performance in the movie. A female reboot of Training Day could grace the screen with a new iconic duo with fantastic chemistry.


THE AVENGERS

The-Avengers-2012-Film.jpg

We got a taste of what an all-female Avengers movie might look like in one scene in Endgame, and it was awesome. Captain Marvel, Valkyrie, Shuri, the Wasp, Gamora, Nebula, Mantis, and every other badass female superhero from the MCU fighting alongside each other was such an incredible sight that it warranted more – like a whole movie of it. Brie Larson has already said she’d be open to an all-female Avengers movie, and she just proved that a female-led MCU film can be a huge box office smash with her $1 billion-grossing solo movie, so there’s no reason not to do this.

Featured

Top 10 Summer Bag Essentials

photo-1524498250077-390f9e378fc0

The temperatures are soaring, flowers are blooming, the sun is shining. . . it feels like summer to me.  For our family, summer means impromptu play dates, trips to the splash park, lazy beach days, and lots of ice cream.  It’s hard living a block from the best ice cream spot in our city, but somebody’s got to do it. 

The bad part?  The crazy mess that’s left over when the fun is done.

Or even worse, running late because you can’t find the sunscreen or mosquito spray or insert whatever else you can’t leave without.

Enter the summer bag.

One place for all your essentials to be immediately emptied out and repacked when all the fun is done.

The summer bag was our sanity saver last summer, and this year will be no exception.  Here’s my list of 7 items we don’t leave home without, and a few nice-to-haves for certain outings. Also you can customize anything on this list and add things. 


Your Favorite Sunnies

photo-1551281812-f1e0aabc4650.jpeg

Nothing says summer like a flirty pair of shades. Whether you’re on the way to the office, laying out on the beach, or cruising in your car–– there’s always an excuse to wear sunglasses. Plus if you’re like me, you’re forever losing and finding them.


A Portable Charger

c33e6d30-1496-0134-e76c-0a315da82319.jpg

Welcome to 2019: The year of SocialMedia, and phone batteries that always seem to be running at less than 10 percent. This portable charger is thin enough for even the smallest bag and, if you ask me, it’s quite chic


Hair Ties

7dc8ad40-1497-0134-24bd-0e1b1c96d76b.jpg

I’d say the only downfall to summer is how hot (and sweaty) I get when my hair is down. A set of cuter-than-cute hair ties will give your basic ponytail an upgrade, and keep you hair from sticking to the back of your neck.


On-The-Go Perfume

photo-1541643600914-78b084683601.jpegNote…this isn’t travel size**

Rollerballs are small, TSA-approved, and look just as pretty as they smell. Plus, you don’t have to worry about over-spraying since you can directly apply the scent to key points of your body (behind your earlobe, back of the neck, wrists, etc.).


Bobby Pins

abf81e90-1496-0134-24be-0e1b1c96d76b.jpg

Keep a stash of bright bobby pins in your bag to add a fun accent to your outfit, or to simply tuck back the annoying strands of hair falling out around your face.


Facial Mist

21f6aef0-1543-0134-24c3-0e1b1c96d76b.jpg

It’s small, it’s scentless, and it’ll cool your skin when you’re stuck in 100 degree weather. And, did we mention a water-based mist also does a superb job of setting makeup? Goodbye, runny mascara.


SNACKS

photo-1464195157370-5b596406ff80.jpeg

Keep everyone happy with a small selection of healthy snacks.  My favourites to take are apples, blueberries, cherries, crackers, and rice cake chips.


 

Featured

The 15 Best New Books to Add to Your Summer Reading List

Your mission, should you choose to accept it: Tear through all these beach reads by Labor Day.

Book enthusiasts know summer is high season for juicy fiction and gripping tell-alls. This year, several household names are back with new work — Elizabeth Gilbert, Margaret Atwood, and My Favorite Murder podcasters Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark. See these and many more titles readers can’t wait to dive into.

We couldn’t get enough of Helen Hoang’s debut novel, The Kiss Quotient, so it’s no surprise her second book is at the top of our list. This time, we’re following the story of Khai Diep, a man who doesn’t think he’s capable of having feelings. He’s still unconvinced when his family tries to assure him that his autism makes him process emotions differently, and his mom sets out to find him the perfect bride in Vietnam. 

 

Every black sheep needs to bring this read on their next vacation. Even as a renowned neurosurgeon, Dr. Trisha Raje can’t seem to please her strict family. She wants redemption from breaking her parents’ rules, and finds a way when she crosses paths with a chef named DJ. 

 

OUT MAY 28

We’ve heard what Karen and Georgia have to say in their popular podcast My Favorite Murder, but now they’re expressing themselves using a different medium. They share personal stories, recommendations for advocating for yourself, and more in their debut novel. 

OUT JUNE 4

We watched the protagonist jump into new adventures in Eat, Pray, Love, but the latest novel by Elizabeth Gilbert takes a look back at the past. Vivian, a now-95-year-old woman, finally shares her love story from the 1940s. A combination of lust, scandal, and fun, this is another novel you won’t be able to put down. 

 

Top 20 Major Heros In The MCU Officially Ranked From Weakest To Strongest

Over the last 10 years, Marvel Studios has been responsible for introducing several live-action versions of popular comic book characters. It started its venture in 2008 by introducing Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark, aka Iron Man, but since then it has introduced dozens of other superheroes and villains. Some of these characters are well known in the comic book world, while others are more unusual characters that many people haven’t heard of.

With the 20 movies that currently make up the Marvel Cinematic Universe, there are too many characters to count, but some heroes are stronger than others. Sometimes the movies make the heroes weaker than they appear in the comics, but this list will be ranking the heroes based on their skills that have been established in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Some of these characters are simply humans with fancy gadgets, others have actual superpowers, while others have powers equivalent to the gods.

Since many of these characters haven’t squared off on screen before, it can be hard to determine who exactly would be declared the definitive winner in a fight, but certain heroes have a clear advantage over others. This list also doesn’t take into account which heroes survived Thanos’ snap since those who survived were completely chosen at random.

And sorry about all of the MCU posts…I had all of these scheduled around the time Endgame came out, and I was on vacation around that time, so just bare with me 🙂

MANTIS

Mantis, played by Pom Klementieff, made her first appearance in the Marvel Cinematic Universe in the movie Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. She was introduced as Ego’s servant, but became a member of the Guardians of the Galaxy after Ego’s downfall. Unfortunately, Mantis just isn’t that strong of a player.

She has the ability to sense people’s feelings by touching them, but this is basically just a parlor trick as compared to other heroes. She can sometimes alter people’s emotions and was able to keep Thanos docile for a short period of time, but Mantis just doesn’t stack up compared to other heroes. 

FALCON

Played by Anthony Mackie, Falcon has been included in a handful of the MCU movies. First appearing in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Samuel Thomas Wilson quickly became a trusted ally of Captain America.

He formally served in the United States Air Force and the Air National Guard, but his military training doesn’t add much when being compared to other heroes. Falcon may be good with a gun, has the ability to fly, and has proven himself as an adequate fighter, but even weaker heroes like Ant-Man were able to take him down.

DRAX

Drax is no doubt a powerful fighter, but he unfortunately is the least powerful member on the original Guardians of the Galaxy team. Each member of the team is powerful for their own reasons, but Drax mainly relies on his brute strength to get jobs done.

Even though he is used for comedic relief in the movies, Drax is often seen as oblivious and at times, just downright dumb. With that in mind, he does have superhuman strength and durability, while also being skilled at hand to hand combat, so that counts for something. 

WAR MACHINE

James Rhodes has been a part of the MCU since the very beginning of the franchise, although Don Cheadle replaced Terrence Howard after the first Iron Man. Rhodes may have not been an incredibly powerful character early on in the series, but by Iron Man 2, the character had become War Machine.

Rhodey is lucky enough to battle alongside his best friend in one of his Iron Man suits, but Rhodey just isn’t as skilled with a suit as Tony is. With that in mind, his use of the War Machine armor with his military training does put him a bit higher up on the list. 

BLACK WIDOW

Many people debate over who is more powerful between Hawkeye and Black Widow, and they truly are pretty evenly matched. That being said, Natasha Romanoff has been trained as a lethal assassin and talented spy from a very young age.

When she was introduced in Iron Man 2, it was joked that she was simply eye candy for characters like Tony Stark and Happy Hogan, but she quickly proved herself as an incredibly brutal fighter. Black Widow fights with no remorse and full force and while she may just be a regular human, she fights just as well as some of the other genetically enhanced superheroes on this list. 

STAR-LORD

Star-Lord, played by Chris Pratt, may be the most comedic member of the Guardians of the Galaxy, but he can still pack a punch. Not only is Peter Quill talented in close-quarters combat, but he is also half-Celestial.

His powers were developed a lot in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 when he met Ego, but unfortunately, after he destroyed his father, his powers faded. Since then, Star-Lord is still an expert thief, marksman, and pilot, but he often lets his emotions cloud his judgments. 

ANT-MAN

Scott Lang may just be a regular human without his Ant-Man suit, but his most powerful ability with the suit is size manipulation. Using tech developed by Hank Pym, Scott can alter his size, which allows him to compress force and energy, redistributing it at his enemy. Lang can shrink down to the size of an ant, which allows him to sneak past guards and through small cracks, but can also grow up to 65 feet.

After being trained by Hope van Dyne, Scott became a formidable fighter, and can also control insects by using an EMP Communication Device. Ant-Man is no doubt powerful, but he can also be clumsy at times. 

BUCKY BARNES

Bucky Barnes, aka the Winter Soldier, is a childhood friend of Steve Rogers. Barnes became a prisoner of war during World War II, and as a result, was experimented on by Arnim Zola in an attempt to recreate Cap’s super-soldier serum. This allowed Bucky to survive into the present day, where he continues to develop his skills.

In Captain America: Civil War, Bucky helped Captain America defeat Iron Man, and even battled Tony without the help of Cap. Bucky is an incredible fighter, but became he even more powerful when he received a Vibranium arm while recovering on Wakanda.

NEBULA

Originally, Nebula was seen as a villain, but in recent movies, she has grown to become a hero in her own way. If Nebula would have grown up with a normal childhood, she probably would have been lower on this list, but she became incredibly powerful since Thanos took her at a young age.

Thanos crafted her into the fighter she is today, while constantly upgrading her with cybernetic enhancements. Due to her bionic enhancements, she is able to repair herself if she is severely injured, and has a much higher physical capability than the average fighter. 

GAMORA

Gamora and Nebula are almost on the same page when it comes to combat. Both Gamora and Nebula were trained by their adoptive father Thanos, but Gamora would always win against her sister. Gamora may not be able to heal herself like Nebula can after a fight, but Gamora has proven time and time again to be the superior fighter over Nebula.

When compared to other heroes, Gamora has a big advantage when it comes to combat thanks to Thanos. Gamora’s hatred for Thanos allows her to fighter harder and stronger, especially when she has a sword by her side. 

SPIDER-MAN

Several versions of Spider-Man have been seen over the years, but the current version of the character is being played by Tom Holland. Peter Parker in the MCU is still in high school, but has already proven his strength as a superhero. He was not only able to become a successful crime fighter with a homemade Spidey-suit, but he was also able to become an even better fighter with the suits Tony Stark provided him.

Parker gained many superpowers after being bitten by a radioactive spider, including wall-crawling, a Spidey-sense, and a regenerative healing factor. As his character further develops he will likely become stronger, but the famous web-slinger is stuck near the middle since his character is still developing. 

IRON MAN

Robert Downey Jr. kicked off the Marvel Cinematic Universe ten years ago when Iron Man hit theaters in 2008. Tony Stark has been a crucial character in all of the Avengers movies to date, and seemingly gets more powerful with each movie. The source of Tony’s strength is no doubt his Iron Man armors.

Without his suit, Tony is an average fighter, but his armors give him protection, allow him to fly, and give him an array of weapons with incredible strength. Iron Man has taken down many enemies throughout the last ten years, and even put up a fair fight against Captain America. 

BLACK PANTHER

One of the newer characters to the Marvel Cinematic Universe is T’Challa, aka Black Panther. T’Challa is a skilled fighter even without his Black Panther suit, but the advanced technology of Wakanda give him a huge advantage over his enemies, and other heroes on this list.

The Black Panther suit is made out of Vibranium, which can absorb kinetic energy and store it in order to attack enemies later on. Besides the clear advantage Black Panther has with technology, he is also skilled at creating strategies and tactics for battle. 

CAPTAIN AMERICA

Another one of the original Avengers who comes higher up on the list is Captain America. Captain America has many advantages over his opponents, but among his greatest source of strength is the super soldier serum that was developed by scientist Abraham Erskine. Captain America’s shield is also made out of Vibranium, which allows him to adequately protect himself while also using his shield as a weapon.

As if his enhanced speed, stamina, and agility weren’t enough, Steve Rogers is known for being incredibly loyal and determined. While that may not make him physically stronger, never giving up is likely what will help him overcome the odds of beating Thanos in Avengers: Endgame. 

HULK

Hulk is often considered one of the strongest superheroes in existence, and people aren’t wrong. The biggest advantage Hulk has is his absolute brute strength. Hulk is by far one of the strongest Avengers, and his alter ego Bruce Banner is also incredibly powerful.

When Bruce Banner returns to his human form, he has a genius-level intellect and is often considered one of the smartest human beings in the world. Unfortunately, when he transforms into the Hulk, his brains go out the window, as Hulk has a very rudimentary form of communication. 

SCARLET WITCH

Unlike her brother Pietro, Wanda Maximoff is by far one of the most powerful superheroes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Scarlet Witch has an array of superpowers, all of which are incredibly powerful. Wanda can project energy in the form of blasts and waves, has telekinesis, and can form a psionic force-field.

She is also skilled in telepathy, can manipulate people’s minds, and can also use her powers to levitate. Scarlet Witch and her lover, Vision, are pretty evenly matched, but the only thing that puts her below Vision is that she sometimes struggles to control her powers. 

VISION

Vision started out as Tony Stark’s personal A.I. named J.A.R.V.I.S. but was given a synthetic Vibranium body in Avengers: Age of Ultron. Vision has all of the common superhero traits like superhuman strength and durability, but he has so many more powers that set him apart from his fellow heroes.

Vision can manipulate his density, phase through objects, fly, and has a genius-level intellect since he is a form of A.I.. Vision has proven to be invaluable during a fight and was one of the few characters with the ability to lift Thor’s hammer. Vision was powered by the Mind Stone, which has since been ripped out of his head. 

DOCTOR STRANGE

Stephen Strange started out as an arrogant neurosurgeon, but has since grown to become an incredibly powerful sorcerer and a member of the Masters of the Mystic Arts. Strange can create weapons and shields out of energy using magic, use his Sling Ring to travel between dimensions, and can fly using the Cloak of Levitation.

Strange was formerly able to manipulate time with the use of the Eye of Agamotto (which held the Time Stone), but Thanos of course obtained that in Avengers: Infinity War. Doctor Strange has proven himself to not only be a master of the Mystic Arts, but was even able to outwit Dormammu and battle Thanos one on one. 

THOR

Thor was one of the six original Avengers, and is by far one of strongest heroes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. As an Asgardian, Thor is naturally strong and an adequate fighter, but his powers have only grown since his first appearance. In Thor: Ragnarok, it was discovered that Mjolnir isn’t the source of his power, and that he can manipulate weather and electricity at will.

In Avengers: Infinity War, he survived the full blast of a star to form Stormbreaker, which he was able to use to nearly defeat Thanos. Thanos is often considered one of the most powerful beings in the entire MCU, and Thor nearly defeated him in one hit.

CAPTAIN MARVEL

While it may seem premature to include Captain Marvel on this list, she will more than likely be introduced as the most powerful hero of the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe. The trailers have already showcased her incredible cosmic powers, which include superhuman strength, energy manipulation, and energy absorption. This means that she can blast her enemies with hyper-charged photons, while absorbing other energy to make her more powerful.

Carol Danvers is also a skilled pilot, who served time in the United States Airforce. While she hasn’t been seen on the big screen yet, she is widely believed to be the strongest hero in the MCU, and the key to undoing Thanos’ destruction.

STAN LEE

No list ranking powerful heroes could be complete without Stan Lee. There is a popular fan theory that Lee is actually playing one of the Watchers; an ancient race that simply watches over the events that unfold across the universe.

While he has appeared in every MCU movie to date, Lee is more than just a powerful hero in the movies. Stan Lee was a real-life hero to many of his fans around the world and his work in the comic book industry has no doubt been a crucial part of the development of the MCU. Needless to say, Lee will never be forgotten and will always be considered a true superhero.

Fear of flying over water?

We all know a lot of people are scared of flying. It’s a remarkably common fear. I give a lot of tips for fearful flyers on this website in the hopes of helping. But, like any other phobia, a fear of flying has many different faucets and faces. It’s not fair to claim each person’s underlying anxiety is identical.

As such, this post will particularly focus on if you have a fear of flying over water, and the different ways you can address this specific anxiety until (hopefully!) it’s long gone.

Honestly, for me, night flights over the Atlantic Ocean are the worst. I don’t know if it’s due to the fact that I suddenly became scared to fly on a transatlantic international flight or if water is just … scary.

I don’t think I’m alone in this apprehensiveness either. I mean, oceans are big, man. Shudder.

Honestly, if international travel is a lifelong dream for you, you’re going to have to fly over water, probably an entire ocean.

I know. I know. It’s an intense thought. Sometimes the mere thought of flying over an ocean is scarier than the actual experience of boarding a plane and gritting your teeth.

But I have faith you will complete your journey.

If I can sit on a plane, one soaring high over the sea, then you will be able to do it too. Have confidence in yourself.

1. CHOOSE AN AISLE SEAT OR CLOSE THE WINDOW SHADE.

Honestly, if flying over water freaks you out, then you don’t want to have visual reminders of its bloody existence. You know what they say … Out of sight, out of mind.

Therefore, put that damn water far out of your mind!

In order to accomplish this task, you need to take control of your seat as soon as you book your airline ticket. Most airlines, especially major ones, will let you choose your seat online during the booking process.

You want to select an aisle seat. No windows, no reminders of the ocean. You can pretend you’re riding the bus in your hometown if you want. Now let’s say you get stuck in the window seat. Close the shade and keep it closed. I don’t care if you annoy your seat mates either. Your comfort takes priority.

Now I understand some airlines are super annoying about prices, and thus, they’ll charge an unseemly fee for selecting a specific seat ahead of time, but you need to determine if you’re willing to fork over cash in order to be comfortable. If you are, great! Then do it!

2. OCEANIC AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL EXISTS.

You might be thinking it is impossible to track airplanes over the ocean. You’re remote. Gone. No hope.

Well … that’s not 100% true.

Air traffic control is more than capable of tracking planes over the ocean. Two examples of oceanic air traffic control are Gander Center located in Newfoundland, Canada and Shanwick Center in Ayrshire, Scotland.

Say whaaaat? Yes, it’s true. For instance, Shanwick monitors the area of international airspace located in the northeast portion of the Atlantic Ocean. This is some awesome news for you. Why? Well, a huge chunk of flights coming from the United States and Canada will fly through this area. Meaning, it’s okay, the pilots are communicating with other highly trained individuals, all of them promising to get you safely to your final destination.

At the end of the day, you’re never too far from oceanic air traffic control. Planet earth is smaller than we think, yeah?

3. REMEMBER ALL THE FLIGHTS SUCCESSFUL COMPLETED OVER WATER.

Seriously, if you try to actually do this task, you won’t be able to count all the routes without dedicating a significant amount of time. I’ve tried it, haha.

Now I know it’s super easy to pretend that your little plane is alllllll alone over the big scary ocean. But this simply isn’t the case. We’re all well connected. You’re on the same route as many other pilots and planes.

I want you to think about the gigantic number of airliners soaring over water every single day.

How many of these planes have ever crashed? … … Not many. At all. The odds are in your favor, as they say.

Not to mention, these pilots are always in frequent contact with one another and monitoring conditions. You’re not all alone over the scary ocean, I promise.

4. PILOTS ARE AWARE OF ALL PRIMARY ALTERNATE AIRPORTS (DUH!).

Okay, there’s no law in the books stating that planes are only allowed to land at the airports printed on the tickets. Common sense, I know, but I still feel like it needs to be written plain and clear.

At the end of the day, a commercial jet is never all that far away from an alternate airport should an emergency occur over the ocean.

Let’s go back to the United States – Europe route example. Reachable diversion airports include Bangor International, Gander Airport, CFB Goose Bay, Halifax Stanfield International, Keflavík International, Shannon, Bermuda, and Lajes (Azores), just to name a few.

Need more airports to relax your fears? What if you’re flying over the Pacific Ocean? Indian Ocean? The Polar Route?

At the end of the day, the odds are you’ll probably be flying a route where an airport isn’t incredibly distant. So breath.

5. PLANES HAVE SO MANY BACK UP SYSTEMS THAT IT’S WILD.

Man, I wish my adorable Honda had as many back up systems as a commercial jet! It’s really remarkable when you think about it.

Now I know some of you are probably aware of this fact, but I still think it bears repeating, especially if you have a deep fear of flying over water.

A Boeing 777 is not just going to fall out of the sky into the ocean. It just isn’t.

Am I making a bold claim? I don’t think so.

There are redundant systems for all critical systems on an airplane. Landing gear? There’s a back up. Flaps? Back up. Engines? You bet.

Even if a system fails over the ocean, your plane is equipped to deal with it. Crazily enough, planes can even glide for very long distances with no engines at all.

And keep in mind a plane is a multi-million dollar piece of engineering equipment. It is in everyone’s financial interests to keep the physical plane itself safe and sound.

6. REMEMBER THOSE BLOODY STATISTICS AND HOLD THEM CLOSE!

I know, I know. You’re probably already rolling my eyes at what I am about to write, but please hear me out.

I get it. At this point, we fearful flyers have all heard about the safety statistics regarding commercial air travel. But still, the numbers are comforting.

For example, according to estimates, you have a 1 in 7,000,000 chance of perishing on a US-based airline. For comparison, you have a 1 in 14,000 chance of dying in a coast-to-coast car trip.

You likely have a better chance of winning the lottery than perishing in a flight over water. Numbers and science are both firmly on your side. See them as allies.

Marvel Movie Villains Ranked from Worst to Best

photo-1505489435671-80a165c60816.jpeg

The Marvel movies are beloved the world over, and they are consistent box office and critical hits. But if there’s an Achilles heel to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it’s its villains. They’re not particular good or even interesting. And given how many films they’ve made now, it’s become a bit of a running joke that Marvel’s villains are lackluster. Of course they make up for it in the protagonist department, but that doesn’t mean creating a fascinating Marvel movie villain is impossible. In fact, they’ve come close a few times and there is one indisputable great Marvel movie villain.

So the following list is from worst to best


12. Whiplash – Iron Man 2

RASPUTIN

You really can’t blame Jon Favreau and Marvel for wanting Mickey Rourke to play Whiplash in Iron Man 2. At the time, Rourke was in the midst of what would ultimately be an incredibly brief resurgence thanks to his terrific performance in The Wrestler. But when he showed up for Iron Man 2, he basically wore his same clothes off the street, demanded the character have a pet bird, and mumbled his way through the film. Ivan Vanko was supposed to be a formidable foil for Tony Stark that brought up all of Tony’s daddy issues, but Rourke’s performance is so stilted and odd that Vanko/Whiplash just comes off as one big joke. While Iron Man 2 certainly is one of the MCU’s worst films, a lot of the film’s stink is due to this complete dud of an antagonist and Rourke’s unwillingness to give Favreau and Co. anything resembling an actual performance.


11. Emil Blonsky/Abomination – The Incredible Hulk

abomination-emil-blonsky-the-incredible-hulk.jpg

The Incredible Hulk is an outlier in the MCU for many reasons—it was produced at the same time as Iron Man, and yet only two characters from Hulk have appeared in any other MCU films. It’s a weird movie that’s kinda-sorta part of the MCU mythology, but as a film itself, it’s pretty forgettable. That extends to its main villain Emil Blonsky (Tim Roth), who in the film is basically just portrayed as a macho military dude who wants to get Hulk-sized ripped. He becomes Abomination because reasons, fights Hulk, and is beaten to a pulp. The end. He really only exists in the film to justify a big third act fist fight between Hulk and a formidable challenger, and as a character is as paper thin as they come.


10 Malekith – Thor: The Dark World

malekith-thor-the-dark-world.jpg

In the long line of pointless villain roles in the MCU, Christopher Eccleston’s Malekith in Thor: The Dark World ranks as one of the most pointless. Case in point: I bet you forgot/didn’t know Christopher Eccleston was even in a Marvel movie! Malekith is a mean Dark Elf who wants to rule the universe. That’s the beginning and end of his story, and the film makes no efforts to inject any sort of pathos or emotion into the character at all, just using him to get in the way of Thor and Jane. It’s all the more glaring when coming off of Loki in Thor, who was chock full of pathos. But Eccleston’s not alone in the MCU legion of wasted talents.


9. Kaecilius – Doctor Strange

mads-mikkelsen-doctor-strange-social.jpg

Mads Mikkelsen dodged a bullet when he passed on the Malekith role in Thor: The Dark World, but he didn’t fare much better by taking on Kaecilius in Doctor Strange instead. Co-writer/director Scott Derrickson admits he chose a simplistic villain given the complexity of the protagonist and mysticism he already had to deal with, and indeed Kaecilius is something of a blank slate. He does get in some great fight sequences, and Mikkelsen looks tremendous when going toe-to-toe with Strange and other characters, but at the end of the film we don’t much care what happens to Kaecilius. He’s more of a pest than a dastardly antagonist, which again given that the script also had to deal with the Ancient One stuff and Strange’s arc is semi-forgivable, but he’s certainly not a memorable entry into the MCU.


8. Alexander Pierce – Captain America: The Winter Soldier

alexander-pierce-captain-america-the-winter-soldier.jpg

Captain America: The Winter Soldier is somewhat unique in that it’s one of the more grounded films in the MCU, and Robert Redford’s Alexander Pierce is very much a “suit-and-tie” villain. He has no superpowers or plans to gain superpowers. Instead he’s just an evil Nazi dude who’s trying to keep Hydra’s infiltration of S.H.I.E.L.D. a secret. And he’s…fine. The character is kind of a waste of Redford’s talents and indeed, the film seems to let Redford’s mere presence do a lot of the heavy lifting. But there’s nothing particularly memorable about Alexander Pierce and he hasn’t really made a lasting impact on the MCU, so he’s very much one of the franchise’s middle-of-the-road baddies.


7. Yon-Rogg – Captain Marvel

captain-marvel-jude-law..jpg

There’s a recurring theme in the MCU of “good guys who turn out to be the bad guys,” and while Jude Law‘s Yon-Rogg in Captain Marvel isn’t as forgettable as Yellowjacket, he’s nowhere near as substantial as someone like Ego the Living Planet. Part of that is due to a miscalculation on the part of the Captain Marvel‘s filmmakers and Law’s performance—it’s abundantly clear that he’s a bad dude early on in the film, but the movie wants you to believe he’s an ally to Carol until the third act. Much of Law’s screentime is spent merely talking to Carol via Space Phone and trying to steer her clear of answers, and while one could maybe make the argument that he’s a stand-in for “Man Who Gaslights Woman Then Thinks She Owes Him for Helping Her,” there’s simply not enough for Law to do for the film to really dig into anything of substance.

That’s kind of the give and take of a villain reveal like this, and for his part Ben Mendelsohn is fairly compelling when we’re under the impression that his character Talos is the film’s Big Bad. I will say the larger twist that the entire race of the Kree turn out to be the bad guys while the Skrulls are actually the good guys is an interesting one, as the film examines how meeting and getting to know someone markedly different from you can allow you to see the world from an entirely different point of view (empathy, amirite?). But for the purposes of this list, since Yon-Rogg is technically Captain Marvel‘s villain, he lands towards the back half of the pack.


6. The Winter Soldier – Captain America: The Winter Soldier

captain-america-the-winter-soldier-bucky.jpg

From a physical standpoint, The Winter Soldier/Bucky Barnes is one of the most formidable baddies in the MCU. He’s lead to some of the franchise’s best close-quarters combat scenes and offers an emotional point of conflict with Steve Rogers. But at the end of the day, his motivation in Captain America: The Winter Soldier is simply “I’m brainwashed,” and we really never get to see much of Bucky shining through or reckoning with what’s happened to him, so from an emotional standpoint it’s a bit disappointing. Ultimately, “The Winter Soldier” is a physical obstacle whereas Alexander Pierce plays the more straightforward villain of the story. Regardless, Sebastian Stan’s Bucky is a really strong visual antagonist and the personal connection to Steve Rogers makes the audience investment all the more significant.


5. Ultron – Avengers: Age of Ultron

avengers-age-of-ultron.jpg

Avengers: Age of Ultron is quite one of the weirdest movies Marvel has made thus far, and considering it’s the sequel to their biggest movie, that’s quite a risk. Writer/director Joss Whedon is asking big, difficult, and dark questions with this film concerning parentage and basic humanism, and James Spader’s evil robot Ultron is something of a mouthpiece for these ideas and concerns. Ultron is essentially Tony’s legacy in humanoid form, and this is a story of a son denying his father and carving out a legacy of his own. While the visual design of the character is a bit underwhelming, his motivations and Shakespearean-like dialogue are delectable, and Spader makes a meal of it. That final scene between Ultron and Vision, in which they discuss the value of humanity itself, is something that could only come from the mind of Whedon in the context of a massive blockbuster sequel, and Ultron makes for one of the MCU’s very best baddies.


4. Thanos – Avengers: Infinity War

avengers-infinity-war-image-thanos.jpg

Possibly the most important task Avengers: Infinity War had was making Thanos an interesting and formidable villain. The character has been teased as the one pulling the strings since the end of The Avengers, but until Infinity War we had no motivation, no pathos, and certainly nothing to show for it—he had amassed exactly zero Infinity Stones until the events of Infinity War. So did Marvel succeed? Well, kinda.

Some hail Thanos as the best Marvel villain ever, and while I wouldn’t go that far, Infinity War does a fairly compelling job of fleshing Thanos out. Josh Brolin‘s performance has a lot to do with it, as the No Country for Old Men actor brings some much-needed humanity to the character. And there are a couple of scenes designed to flesh Thanos out as an emotional being that sort of work.

His motivation, however, is a bit shaky. Thanos wants to wipe out half the population of the universe, claiming that in doing so he’s sacrificing many to save many. By cutting down on overpopulation, Thanos believes the rest of the universe’s inhabitants will thrive. There are some allusions to Thanos’ backstory as motivation here and there, but ultimately we’re not given a super compelling reason why beyond “Thanos is deadly passionate about his political beliefs.”

There’s also the attempts at pathos with regards to Thanos’ relationship with Gamora, with an entire flashback designed to make the audience see Thanos as an emotional being. While the scene with the soul stone mostly works, ultimately we’re again not given a convincing enough reason as to why Thanos genuinely loves Gamora, especially as he’s simultaneously pulling his other daughter, Nebula, apart.

So yes, Infinity War mostly does a good job of making Thanos at the very least formidable—especially considering how many other characters the film has to juggle.


3. Red Skull – Captain America: The First Avenger

captain-america-the-first-avenger-red-skull.jpg

It’s a shame that Hugo Weaving didn’t seem to enjoy his time in the MCU, because his villainous Red Skull remains one of Marvel’s absolute best antagonists to date. The World War II setting of Captain America: The First Avenger necessitated a period-appropriate villain, and Weaving’s Nazi scientist Red Skull is the perfect fit. Weaving brings a terrifying stoicism and focus to the role that telegraphs Red Skull will let nothing and no one get in his way, and the way he kind of just blows Captain America off sets the tone for their relationship. And while it’d be great to see Weaving reprise the role, perhaps we look back on the character so fondly becausewe’re left wanting more.


2. Killmonger – Black Panther

black-panther-michael-b-jordan-image.jpg

Black Panther is Marvel Studios’ most substantial film to date, and it achieved that through the precise, thoughtful, and bold creative vision of co-writer/director Ryan Coogler. That vision wasn’t just one of T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) getting into fisticuffs with a threat to the Wakandan throne, but a story about the African experience contrasted with the African-American experience. The latter is embodied by Michael B. Jordan‘s Erik “Killmonger” Stevens, a Wakandan raised in America—an outsider to his own homeland. This character is written so well, so empathetically that it’s weird to even call him a villain. It’s easy to agree with Killmonger’s motives to share Wakandan technology to help the oppressed people of African decent all over the world, and even though his methods are extreme, you see his point. How rare is it to be moved to tears by a film’s antagonist? But that happens in Black Panther thanks to Jordan’s phenomenal performance and Coogler and Joe Robert Cole‘s pitch perfect screenplay. Honestly, the only reason Killmonger isn’t #1 on this list is because he doesn’t show up until about halfway through the movie. But his impact is deeply felt long after the credits roll.


 

1. Loki – Thor and The Avengers

tom-hiddlestn-the-avengers.jpg

But when it comes to the ultimate Marvel villain, come on, it’s Loki. Not a single MCU villain to date comes close to touching the pathos of Tom Hiddleston’s Loki, who basically stole Thor even before he was revealed to be an antagonistic force. We care about Loki, even when he’s doing awful things, and his story is ultimately one of tragedy. That’s what makes him compelling, and that’s what no other Marvel movie has been able to replicate. Granted, Loki got to build his pathos as a friendly face first before being outed as a baddie, but even in The Avengers there’s a dynamism to the performance and the role that makes it utterly watchable. While he’s no longer with us, and while Loki made the turn more towards “good guy” in later MCU films, he remains the most interesting and layered antagonist Marvel has introduced thus far.


 I know there are many more that I didn’t mention, but in the comments let me know your list and what you thought of Endgame (If you seen it)

48 Hours in Pittsburgh

IMG_8636-1.jpg

In the midst of an extreme makeover, Pittsburgh has evolved from steel town to boom town. A city of 90 neighborhoods, three rivers and year-round fun, at its core is a robust arts and culture scene, headlined by major talents like Andy Warhol. Pittsburgh’s cool factor is climbing by the day, thanks to an influx of new hotels, restaurants and attractions that make it ripe for discovery. Pittsburgh is close to home…Only 2hours from where I live, I often make a weekend trip out of Pittsburgh.


Morning

To start off the day, act like a local and grab some coffee and massive pancakes at the Oakland neighborhood breakfast joint Pamela’s. Trust me: it’ll be worth the wait. If you’re with someone else, I suggest splitting the meal as you’ll be doing a lot of eating today.

Since you’re already in the area, head over to the University of Pittsburgh’s Cathedral of Learning and take a tour of the 30 historical national rooms. Each of the rooms has been donated to the university by the national and ethnic groups that helped build the former steel town. Each room holds a different character and highlights the diversity that brought Pittsburgh to life.

14812509602_eb4d2f9dfe_o.jpg

If you’re not feeling too cultural, you can always take a stroll over to Phipp’s Conservatory and meander through some of the city’s best nature. Nearby to the conservatory is Schenley Park where you can catch a quick concert by a local busker, encounter some sort of civic protest or have a roll-down-the-hill race. Seriously, the hills are lush and prime for rolling.

Noonish

If you’re in the mood for a quick snack, pop over to Conflict Kitchen, one of the town’s most unique eateries. It only serves up fare from a country with which the United States is currently in conflict. The food comes served with informational blurbs so you can better understand the situation. If you’re not hungry, that’s okay too. I told you to split the pancakes!

After your snack, hop in a cab (5 minutes), bus (27 minutes) or walk (1 hour) over to The Andy Warhol Museum. Most people don’t know that the art legend originally hails from the ‘burgh – an anecdote of which natives are proud. Wander through the multi-level art haven and get a glimpse of why his art became – and still is – an international success.

photo-1470755711115-961e80ee0284.jpeg

Afternoon

One of the must-see views on any trip to Pittsburgh is the cityscape atop the famed Mt. Washington. You can hitch a ride up to the top to take in the sights by riding a mountainside funicular known as the Duquesne Incline for under $5. There are several lookout points to choose from but remember it’s going up on the ‘gram so choose wisely.

After peeking through some of the city’s relics, grab a cup of coffee at Smallman Galley’s Coffee Shop located in the Strip District’s unique chef incubator. It’s home to a number of start-up restaurants and hosts some of the city’s most innovative up-and-coming chefs, which is pretty badass.

If you’re feeling up for midday drinks, head over to Church Brew Works to sip on a locally brewed pint in a unique setting. When was the last time you could say you enjoyed a fresh, locally brewed pint within the confines of a restored Roman Catholic church? Formally known as St. John the Baptist Church in Pittsburgh’s trendy Lawrenceville neighborhood, Church Brew Works has been serving a hearty menu to pair with its award-winning beers. Cheers, y’all.

photo-1539642061330-e8c0b115029f.jpeg

Evening

No trip to the Steel Town is worth it without paying homage to the city’s booming restaurant scene. Sure it’s known as a sports town with an affinity for fried fodder and cheap beer, but Pittsburgh is so much more. One of the most notable farm-to-table joints in town is Cure, a rustic space which serves up some of the best – yep, you called it – cured meats. Herbivores, don’t you fret. The chefs at APTEKA aim to bring Pittsburgh’s historical influence of Central and Eastern Europe to life through their fresh, vegan fare. Be sure to grab a pierogi or seven while you’re in there.

Finish the busy day with a nightcap at Arsenal Cider House and Wine Cellar, a Civil War-themed watering hole that celebrates the Union Army’s Allegheny Arsenal. This little spot is a great place to listen to live tunes and relax in a backyard in Pittsburgh’s up-and-coming Lawrenceville neighborhood.

photo-1521985068534-cec90327c93b.jpeg

10 tips for 24 hours in Pittsburgh

  1. Be prepared to drink lots of beer
  2. Get ready for lots of hills
  3. Give back to the local mom and pop shops (they’re everywhere)
  4. Visit in the summer or autumn
  5. Rent a bike
  6. Peep the local happy hour specials
  7. Definitely take the incline to Mt. Washington
  8. See live music at Mr. Smalls Theater (it’s a renovated church)
  9. Carry change with you for bus fares if needed
  10. Have Google Maps handy

photo-1539627004328-7fbc510deb1d.jpeg

Featured

48 Hours in New Orleans

photo-1549965738-e1aaf1168943

New Orleans (or NOLA) is located in southeastern Louisiana, and occupies both sides of the Mississippi River. The heart of the city and its French Quarter is on the river’s north side. The city is known for its distinct French and Spanish Creole architecture, as well as its cross-cultural and multilingual heritage. New Orleans is famous for its cuisine, music (particularly as the birthplace of jazz) and its annual celebrations and festivals, most notably Mardi Gras. The city is often referred to as the “most unique” in the United States.


Getting There

  • Airport – Louis Armstrong New Orleans International (MSY)
  • Currency – U.S. Dollar ($)
  • Language – English
  • Population – 380,000

From New York, New Orleans is a quick 2 and a half hour flight, and Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport is only 30 minutes from downtown. I took the Airtrain to JFK airport ($8 instead of $50) and used TSA Precheck to skip the security line.

Tip – I often board planes ASAP to avoiding checking my carry-on. Ever since airlines implemented checked bag fees there has been a spike in carry-ons, limiting overhead space.

 


Day One:

First things first, grab some breakfast and head to the WWII Museum. This is a great first activity, as it may take several hours, and is certainly not something you want to do hungover tomorrow morning. Explore for 2-4 hours.

travel-museum-768x384.jpg

Upon leaving the WWII Museum, you will see a streetcar near the front entrance. Hop on the streetcar and head to the French Quarter to grab a Po Boy for lunch!

After munching down your Po Boy (and beer) we recommend heading to Saint Louis Cemetery for a creepy tour of the oldest graveyard in NOLA.

Unknown.jpeg

After scaring yourself in the graveyard, head back to your hotel or hostel and get ready for a wild night out!

Looking fresh? Good! Head to Muriel’s Bistro for dinner and enjoy some delicious local Creole food.

Now it’s time to party. Head to Bourbon Street, grab a Big Ass Beer and start your evening!

photo-1537185154600-5833804dd36d.jpeg


Day Two:

Hungover? That will happen. It is NOLA after all.

Breakfast at Cafe du Monde

Wake up and get wired with a classic chicory coffee at Cafe du Monde, one of the country’s most popular coffee spots. Soak up last night’s booze with a helping of sugary beignets. Live music can be heard from musicians surrounding the quarter, a picture-perfect way to start the day. 

cafe-du-monde1.jpg

Hop on the streetcar and head to Jacksons Square. Sit in the sun for a while, enjoy the live Jazz, beautiful paintings and street performers. Once you’re bored, head to the river near the French Market – it’s a 5 minute walk!

Grab a beer at the French Market and start exploring. We recommend grabbing a plate of raw oysters from inside!

travel-pimms-768x384.jpg

Head to Magazine street and get in your last minute shopping.

While walking around Magazine street, stop inside any of the numerous Creole Seafood restaurants for dinner!

Ready, Set, Drink! Enjoy your last night on Bourbon Street! Make sure to stop into some of the famous bars, strip clubs, and jazz bars to ensure you see a little bit of everything!

photo-1533477590952-1abe5a706b61.jpeg

End your last night with a midnight Voodoo tour if your so inclined! But I’ll pass on the Voodoo

pexels-photo-1144283.jpeg


So What’s It Going To Cost?

Here is how much we spent, and what we spent it on, in 48 hours. 

Food: Breakfast: We spent an average of $5 USD each morning at local cheap breakfast restaurants. 
Lunch: We spent an average of $10 USD each day at local restaurants.  
Dinner: We spent an average of $15 USD each evening, usually trying all the “best” Creole restaurants. 
Total for Food = $30 USD each/per day.

Beer/Alcohol: It’s NOLA. You’ll drink a lot. Enough said.
Total for Beer/Alcohol = $40 USD each/per day.

Transportation (Including getting to and from the airport): We took a taxi to and from the airport which cost $36.00, each way. In order to get around the city, we mainly used the $1.25 streetcars and would also walk as the city is fun to explore by foot. 
Total for Transportation = $40 USD each (total).

photo-1551475565-b74cef78ca53.jpeg