Posted: May 31 2017
NRFB Blog » travel
Posted: Mar 24 2017
Posted: Aug 24 2016
Weekend road-trips, impromptu day trips up and down the coast, and nighttime adventures to quaint coffee shops and forgotten beaches are our favorite. Since many of our stores are along the Southern California coast, we’ve decided to highlight some of our favorite spots (though the list is lengthy, trust us – there is so much more!). Ride along with us as we divulge all the secrets!
To start off, driving on Pacific Coast Highway is a must, preferably with the windows down and music blasting.Image Courtesy of Katie StuartImage Courtesy of Gayle Dawn Photography
Joshua Tree National Park: Straddling the San Bernardino County/Riverside County border, Joshua Tree National Park is the perfect place to camp out under the stars.
Image Courtesy of Chelsea Lauren
Salvation Mountain: Beginning with fantastical roots when his hot air balloon failed in the desert, Leonard Knight set up camp and began to build his final masterpiece: Salvation Mountain. Inspired by love, the folk art monument is the result of years of sculpting and painting, making this candy-colored mountain a must see near the Salton Sea.Image Courtesy of Philip Le Clerc
Point Loma Tide Pools: Also known as Cabrillo Tide Pools, the Tide Pools reside near the Cabrillo National Monument. Here, you can see the Old Point Loma Lighthouse while discovering some of San Diego's diverse sea life.Image Courtesy of Koman PhotographyImage Courtesy of Corin Jones
San Juan Capistrano: Mission San Juan Capistrano is a popular location for engagement and wedding photos, and the whole area surrounding it is absolutely gorgeous. An older town, lined with brick buildings and railroad tracks, there is an historic arts area that just beckons for one to explore.Image Courtesy of Anaheim Packing District
Image Courtesy of Anaheim Packing District
Anaheim Packing District: A former Sunkist packing house from 1919 n the Spanish Colonial Revival style, the building was renovated in 2014 into a communal gathering place and foodie haven. Filled with delicious eateries (grilled cheese, pressed juices, ramen, macaron cookie sandwiches), calligraphy workshops, and even a secret speakeasy - there's something for everyone here.
Image Courtesy of Georgia Ana
Image Courtesy of Katie Stuart
Victoria Tower/Beach >in Laguna Beach: While it's awfully difficult to photograph and sometimes to access, due to high tide, Victoria Beach is quite the spectacle. With an old lighthouse (dating back to the 20's or 30's) that leans up against the bluffs, the area looks like a small cove that *mermaids* would totally hang out in. To access the beach, one must find the hidden staircase in the small neighborhood on the cliffs.
Image Courtesy of Places Magazine
Crystal Cove Beach Cottages: Initially built as sets for silent films, a handful of beach bungalow structures dotted Crystal Cove’s shore. By the 1930's, many more equally colorful cottages were added – each one constructed with salvaged materials, including pieces from a shipwrecked vessel. There are some really great hikes here, too.
Image Courtesy of Hannah Morgan
Image Courtesy of Samantha Mde
TK Burger in Huntington Beach: This is a local favorite and some might argue that it's even better than California's famed In-N-Out Burger... but you'll have to try that for yourself. Situated next to the newly opened Pacific City, and just down the block from Main Street, grab a burger here, then relax on the beach.
Main Street Seal Beach: Still with much of its original charm of being a small, seaside town - bike ride along the pier and visit the many restaurants and bakeries along Main Street.
Image Courtesy of Chelsea Lauren
Wayfarer's Chapel: Overlooking the Pacific Ocean and nestled in a grove of redwood trees, the Glass Church blends lush greenery with architecture. Also known as Wayfarers Chapel, this masterpiece invites one to “Pause for a moment, Wayfarer, on life’s journey. Let these waters restore your soul and nourish your inner being.”
Image Courtesy of Chelsea Lauren
Image Courtesy of Chelsea Lauren
Mosaic Tile House: A swirling labyrinth of shining mosaics and vibrant paintings, the Mosaic Tile House in Venice is a collaborative effort of two artists that fell in love. Inspired by the likes of Gaudí, the house quickly became a canvas to their lives and their colorful kingdom has been in a work in progress since 1994.Image Courtesy of Katie Stuart
(We know that the list isn't close to being complete and that there is so, so much more to feature - so just wait... Part Two is definitely in the works.)
Posted: Aug 12 2016A messy fishtail bread and a sweater you can layer over everything are travel essentials -- especially for the cool climate of Sweden.Get This Look: Natalie Wool Sweater
Stockholm, the capital of Sweden, is built of 14 islands; the city center is virtually situated on the water. It seems as if everywhere I look, there is a beautiful cityscape framed by the sea. The city is a puzzling paradox – one minute a bustling metropolis, then right around the corner there’s a quaint alley that swiftly transforms it into a peaceful sanctuary. The labyrinthine like streets, each with their own personality, keep me wanting to explore, to leave no stone unturned and discover all of its secrets. I feel as if I could spend a lifetime wandering Stockholm’s winding roads and I still wouldn’t see enough.
Gamla Stan is the old city, dating back to the 13th century, the whole area is comprised of medieval alleyways, cobblestone streets and antiquated architecture. Here, the pace of life is a bit slower, the coffee is a bit sweeter, and all that walk its winding streets can feel the history – it’s a living museum, full of sights, restaurants, curios and souvenirs. Gamla Stan has a unique character, with the buildings in so many different shades of gold; the facades seem to tell a story of their own.
I stroll, taking in the sights and the fragrant smells – something sweet is baking up ahead, so naturally, I go in search. Large open shutters reveal a young girl, her blonde hair pulled back in a ponytail, sitting next to a metallic machine. She’s concentrating, with one foot placed on a pedal – like with a sewing machine; her hands are delicately stitching together waffle cones. The sweet scent fills the air and my stomach rumbles, she looks over, smiling, and invites me to come inside.
It was here, in this tiny dessert shop that I learned about the Swedish word of “fika”. Pronounced “fee-ka”, it refers to a sacred tradition that all Swedes partake in daily – sometimes even multiple times a day. Fika is the almighty Swedish coffee break.
A woman behind the counter giddily says, “Hallo!” I look up, realizing that I’ve been salivating over the ice cream flavors and Nutella drenched waffles for minutes. Admittedly I can’t decide on which to choose, “What’s the most popular flavor here?” I ask. Her face lights up, “Oh! You have to try this!” She rushes over to the ice cream chiller and dishes up a spoonful of a yellow, blue and white blend. “This is the most popular flavor in Sweden – it’s vanilla with something like blueberry. It’s our national ice cream flavor.” My taste buds dance in delight, and I nod my head yes, “Okay, definitely this, and maybe one of those,” I point over to the girl at the waffle maker.
“Please, go sit – in the open window, and enjoy. Fika!” She insists. “Fika?” I thought to myself, maybe I misheard her. Taking my ice cream cone, I sit in the windowsill, and watch the world pass by. I hear different languages mix together as groups of people walk by – families, friends, people from all around the world, laughing and talking with each other. The sun starts to peak over the buildings of the alleyway, and my blue and yellow ice cream takes on a honeyed sort of flavor as it begins to melt into one.
Inside I ask for a napkin; “How was your fika?” The woman asks, smiling at me again. “My what?”
“You know – fika!” She then went on to explain that the concept of fika is simple. It is a pause in the day to truly enjoy the present moment, typically with a baked good (or sweet) and a coffee. You can do it alone, or you can do it with friends. The essential thing is that you slow down and savor the moment: that’s what fika is all about.
Posted: Aug 03 2016
For the girl with the severe wanderlust, the one that’s been saving her pennies and counting the days until she boards that plane – this is for you.
This month, we’ve been sharing photos on our Instagram with #bridgetgoestoeurope, and now we’d like to let you in on all the little secrets: the hidden alleys, the quaint cafés, and the bike-laden streets of the countries in the Nordic region. Nordic countries can be used pretty interchangeably with the term “Scandinavia”, which is commonly used to describe Denmark, Norway and Sweden (while Nordic countries also include Finland and Iceland).
Though the places are commonly grouped together, each is distinctly their own; starting off our 'Wanderlust Series' is the capital of Denmark: Copenhagen.
In Denmark, I learned about the Danish word, “hygge”, pronounced “HOO-gyah”. There are many ways to describe hygge, yet no exact definition – but it’s essentially the Danish ritual of enjoying life’s simple pleasures: friends, family, and being cozy. For those in the Nordic countries, when winters run long and very dark – it’s vital for one’s well being to find things that make them happy, amidst the lack of sun; to find something that renews their spirit. The high season for hygge is during the winter months, with up to 17 hours of darkness per day and the average temperature below freezing, people spend a lot of time indoors. In order to combat winter blues, the Danes focus on getting cozy, by lighting hundreds of candles, wrapping themselves in the warmest of blankets, sipping mulled wine (or hot cocoa), and enjoying the company of others. The idea is to relax completely and feel as at-home as possible, forgetting life’s worries. It’s being kind to yourself – indulging and having a nice time; enjoying a piece of cake and not punishing yourself or denying yourself of anything. And as Denmark has consistently been voted one of the happiest countries in the world, I think that they’re on to something.
The sun-filled summer months do not hinder the Danes celebration of hygge; it’s become part of their lifestyle. They pride themselves on making their friends, social gatherings and happiness a priority. Instead of the living to work philosophy, it’s more the other way around – where you work (just enough) to live, and live in the most joyous way possible. This consists of daily picnics in the park, attending outdoor concerts and street festivals, cooking delicious meals every night, taking time to sip coffee slowly, or even enjoying the warmth of the sun with a good book.
It’s said that hygge is not meant to be translated, but rather it’s meant to be felt. Candlelight is hygge (according to the European Candle Association, Danes burn more candles per head than anywhere in Europe). Bakeries are hygge. Dinner with friends is hygge. Doing things that make you feel good -- creating an interior that makes you happy, or wearing clothes that you feel great in; those are hygge. Going to brunch and having it last three hours is hygge.
Kalaset - One of the best brunch places in Copenhagen. The interior is warm and cozy, with meals that will keep your belly full for hours. We sat in a little nook that was framed by candles.
Our other favorite brunch was at Wolff & Konstali (known for being one of the most photographed brunches in Denmark).
There’s really no surprise that hygge sounds a bit like our word for “hug”.