Where has your scent transported you?

{Interview} Discovering the Planet with Brooke Saward World of Wanderlust Posted on 6 Jan 15:44 , 0 comments

We love learning about other adventurist’s journeys and experiences. People are driven to travel for different reasons; some want to see the world, some want to experience different cultures, and some crave the adventure of the unknown. Every traveler has a unique motivation that makes their travel bug tick. We recently caught up with Brooke Saward of World of Wanderlust to learn about what drives her to keep on her quest of discovery, and how she has documented her steps along the way. 1. What inspires you to travel? I think I’m addicted to that feeling of discovery. Whether it’s a new country, city, culture or language, I just love to discover the world and experience it first hand. I’m endlessly inspired by that feeling of discovery – like there’s a whole world out there to discover and despite how frequent I travel or how many countries I have explored, it always feels as if I’m still only scratching the surface. IMG_9947   2. How did you get started with your blog? It actually started really organically and almost as a mistake. I began a travel blog to keep all my information (travel tips, recommendations and dishonorable mentions) in one place to refer all of my family and friends to. The more I traveled, the more questions I would get from family, friends, family friends, extended relatives, etc. etc. for my free travel advice. Finally I decided I would purchase a little piece of the internet to refer them all to. After a while I noticed people were commenting from random corners of the globe. How could this be? The internet is a crazy place! One thing led to another and I knew I was onto a great idea – to travel, write about it, and hopefully one day be paid to do so. The rest is history! 3. When did you decide you wanted to make it your career? When I first started out blogging it was out of pure necessity to prevent repeating myself to my friends and family seeking my travel advice. But when I found that I was building a global readership – albeit small at first – I started to get the inkling that perhaps something was missing on the internet. And alas, World of Wanderlust was created. I wanted to create an internet destination where likeminded travelers could come to source inspiration for their next trip. 4. What are your travel challenges? Living out of a suitcase, losing the concept of home after being on the road for an entire year, keeping a healthy diet, learning new languages (though I do try!), and of course so much time solo can at times be challenging. 5.) What is your best travel memory? I think the best experience I have had to date was going on safari in South Africa. As an animal lover, this had always been something high on my list of travel experiences, so when I was finally there it was just so surreal. I’m sure I annoyed the entire group in our Land Rover as I belted out the soundtrack to The Lion King. 6.) What is your favorite travel scent memory? As someone who possesses a sweet tooth that would rival the sweetness of Tinkerbell, I can’t go past anything sugary. Walking through the Christmas markets in Germany is therefore heaven on earth for me! 7.) Where is your favorite destination you’ve been to so far, and why? This is such a hard and unanswerable question! I can’t pinpoint just one, so I’ll have to say a few highlights recently have been: The Scottish Highlands, Ireland, Bosnia & Herzegovina, the South of the USA, St Barthelemy, Chile, and the North Shore of Hawaii. IMG_90398.) Where would you want to return to? I would absolutely love to return to Hawaii to explore the other islands – particularly Maui and Kauai. There’s something so magical and spiritual about Hawaii that I really gravitate towards, yet each time I have visited (now 3 times) it has only been for a few nights on work trips. I’d love to go back, rent a car, load it up with my friends, and explore the islands and greater lengths. 9.) What are your tips to people who want to travel but can’t find the time/funds? You can always make time and you can always prioritize saving for travel over other luxuries, even if it is as simple as spending $50 less at the supermarket each week. I completely understand that not everyone is in the position to travel, but I do believe we are the masters of our own fate! I would rather travel in my younger years than build up an attractive savings account for my retirement, so in some aspects I’m just living my life in reverse! 10.) Best hotel you’ve ever lounged at? Singita Sweni – smack bang in the middle of the Kruger National Park in South Africa. 11.) Best meal you’ve ever had while traveling? A delicious three-course lunch at Le Cinq, the 2-michelin starred restaurant inside the Four Seasons George V Hotel in Paris. 12.) Weirdest travel encounter you've ever had? Walking through the Witches’ market in Bolivia. Oh, if I could un-see some of the things I saw that day!

Nomaterra Perfume Oils Now Available at Merz Apothecary in Chicago Posted on 18 Dec 16:25 , 0 comments

[caption id="attachment_2862" align="aligncenter" width="660"]merz apothecary, chicago, nomaterra, perfume, perfume oils, fragrance Nomaterra Now Available at Merz Apothecary in Chicago![/caption] As of this month, Nomaterra is available at Merz Apothecary in Chicago at the following address: 4716 North Lincoln Avenue Chicago, IL 60625 773.989.0900 Founded in 1875, Merz Apothecary has a LONG-standing history within its community. First, as a pharmacy where locals could get both holistic and modern remedies, and then later, after being purchased by pharmacist and current owner, Abdul Qaiyum, expanded into a quality source of all-encompassing holistic products for health, wellness, and beauty. What we love most about Merz is their continued dedication to curating the most quality, holistic products that can be found in the world that enhance people's health and lifestyles inside and out. I first met Anthony Qaiyum, Abdul's son, in August 2013 during a trade show, and then Abdul in January of this year at the NY NOW trade show at the Javits, I was impressed by their knowledge on natural medicine and beauty, but what resonated most with me was that they are a truly family-run business, just like us. All members of their family are involved in the business in some way or another, and they perpetuate that familial vibe and warmth to their customers and the community they serve. We're really excited to be a part of the Merz family, and we encourage those of you who live in the Chicago area to visit one of their two stores, as well as their extensive apothecary website,, where you can buy Nomaterra products as well. [caption id="attachment_2863" align="aligncenter" width="1500"]Merz Apothecary, chicago, perfume, perfume oils, fragrance Nomaterra joins Merz Apothecary at their 4716 North Lincoln Avenue location in Chicago.[/caption]

Nomaterra's 2014 Art Basel Picks Posted on 2 Dec 16:10 , 0 comments

Art Basel Art Basel in Miami Beach is a conglomerate of the art/cultural world and is one of those trips to add to your bucket list. Running December 4-7, this year’s event will show off modern and contemporary art in 250 galleries and is expected to draw nearly 100,000 people. With so much to see and a small window of time to cover all the ground, here are some tips to maximize your visit. miami Early bird gets the art: The party crowd will be up late, to events late and out late. To maximize your visit, rise early, see the exhibits early without elbowing your way in, and make reservations at the best restaurants early to ensure easy in & out. The more you plan the less you’ll stress. Be early, have a plan, and enjoy. Look Local: Check out a few local Miami art galleries while you’re there. A few worth visiting are; Alejandra Von Hartz Gallery (2630 NW 2nd Avenue, Wynwood, Miami), Locust Projects (3852 North Miami Avenue, Miami)  and Diana Lowenstein Gallery (2043 North Miami Avenue, Wynwood, Miami). twigs Pop Culture Art: Musicians are artists too, and Art Basel has quite a lineup of musical acts this year including FKA Twigs who is performing with hip-hop producer Clams Casino on the YoungArts Campus on Thursday, December 4 on the YoungArts Campus. Doors open at 7PM. James Blake will be performing at the YoungArts Campus on Friday, December 5. Also on that day, Kitsuné will stage a show with Twin Shadow, The Knocks, and Fred Falke will play at the Soho Beach House. Packing: Pack light and include versatile options that can take you easily from day to night and can transition through any unforeseen weather that may arise. Flat shoes for day are a must as you will be covering a lot of ground. Sunscreen will be a staple along with your Nomaterra Miami Orange Blossom fragrance, of course! Other not-to-miss highlights: solange Solange curates SELECT: Solange is slated to curate a series of nightly performances along with many artists from her label, Saint Heron on Wednesday, December 3 until Saturday, December 6. 7PM. SELECT Fair 7200 Collins Ave. Queen of the Night: Nicole Ehrlich and Up & Down present a celebration of women in art: creative royalty on December 3, 2014 at 10pm. For the first time, queen of the night, one of the biggest entertainment spectacles in performance art, will make its debut outside of New York City at a historic Miami Beach theatre. The evening will benefit the Brooklyn museum's Elizabeth A Sackler Center For Feminist Art & School Of Doodle. Lynda Benglis Artist Talk: Lynda Benglis will kick of Art Basel's Conversations series on Thursday, December 4. 10AM-11AM. Miami Convention Center, Hall C auditorium, entrance through Lobby C, 1901 Convention Center Dr. Stevie Nicks' Selfies: Stevie Nicks will show her self-portrait collection taken between l975 and 1987 from Thursday, December 4 until Friday, December 5 at Dream South Beach, 1111 Collins Ave. "Big Eyes" Screening: Tim Burton's upcoming film starring Christoph Waltz as Walter Keane and Amy Adams as Margaret Keane will screen on Friday, December 5. 8:30PM at the Colony Theatre, 1040 Lincoln Road.

Nomaterra's Team Reminisces About Their Favorite Thanksgiving Scents Posted on 27 Nov 14:59 , 0 comments

We asked a few our our Nomaterra staffers what scents they remember most from Thanksgivings past. The responses have our mouths watering and our sensory buds going. Here's what they had to say: "I love preparing the cranberry sauce and just before dinner is prepared and served, you grate an orange rind onto, and the orange zest mixed with the smell of fresh cranberries is perfect. that reminds me of Thanksgiving." - Michael Hoeffler, Graphic Design [caption id="attachment_2803" align="aligncenter" width="290"]orange zest, cranberries, cranberry sauce, thanksgiving, dinner "Scent of orange zest mixed with the smell of fresh cranberries is perfect."[/caption] "Yams with marshmallows are quintessentially Thanksgiving in my family. You know when it is done baking when you smell the sweet melted marshmallows emanating from the oven." - Benjamin Burnett, CEO [caption id="attachment_2802" align="aligncenter" width="293"]marshmallows, yams, thanksgiving, dinner, festive Sweet, gooey marshmallow scent emanates from the yams, straight out of the oven.[/caption] "My favorite scent memory is of crescent rolls baking before we eat. It's my grandmother's recipe, and to be honest, I don't love the taste of them, but they smell amazing and it makes me think of the days when the entire family would get together for the holidays and celebrate. The whole family used to fight over them. It's a magical scent." - Emma Abbott, Social Media Associate [caption id="attachment_2800" align="aligncenter" width="327"]homemade, crescent rolls, thanksgiving, dinner, traditions, scent The scent of homemade, buttery crescent rolls[/caption] "My Thanksgiving scent memory is actually not food related. When I was younger, our family and family friends would travel to Killington, VT, rent out a house right off the ski mountain or stay at a ski resort, and have a huge pot-luck Thanksgiving dinner. Everyone would bring a different part of the meal, but the scent memory that stands out to me most is the real fire wood that would burn in all the fireplaces in the house or resort, from the minute we arrived until the moment we left. That combination of firewood with snow, fir trees, and fresh air are what I remember most about my Thanksgivings. " - Agnieszka Burnett, Creative Director [caption id="attachment_2804" align="aligncenter" width="293"]fireplace, fire, firewood, Thanksgiving, dinner Thanksgiving Dinner by warm fireplace. The scent of firewood, crisp air, and fir trees.[/caption]


- The Nomaterra Team

24 Hours in Quebec City (Part 2) Posted on 6 Nov 15:35 , 0 comments

Last week you read and saw our walking itinerary of what many consider North America's Paris: we journeyed back in time through the Petit Champlain district, Lower Town, and the start of Upper Town in the ever romantic and historic Quebec City. This week we explore the rest of Upper Town, The Citadel (the actual fortification of Quebec City), and we share our recommendations on where to stay and eat. To read last week's itinerary, click here. TAKE A WALK DOWN LA RUE DU TRESOR (AKA LA RUE DES ARTISTES): This tiny cobblestone alley located on the border of Lower and Upper Town instantly transported me back to Montmarte in Paris. It's lined with local artists and photographer selling their works, and is a nice alternative memento to take back home instead of a cheap-y souvenir. [caption id="attachment_2732" align="aligncenter" width="580"]rue du tresor, rue des artistes, paris, photographers, painters, artists, quebec, quebec city, lower town, canada, canada travel, travel Rue du Tresor is lined with local artists and photographers selling their work. Great place to buy a nice memento.[/caption] GAZE AT THE DETAIL IN THE ARCHITECTURE AND DECORATION OF THE NOTRE DAME CATHEDRAL: It is the oldest cathedral in the Americas north of Mexico and worth and visit. The holy door, found on the left side of the main Cathedral entrance, is open now, but closes on December 28th, and will be closed for 25 years until the next Holy Year. [caption id="attachment_2746" align="aligncenter" width="580"]Notre dame, cathedral, holy door, old quebec, quebec, quebec city, canada, canada travel, travel Interior of Notre Dame Cathedral.[/caption]   GRAB LUNCH AT CHEZ BOULEY AND STAY FOR AN HOUR: Chez Bouley is located on Rue St. Jean, a main shopping and restaurant street in Old Town. It's very cozy yet modern inside, fitting for a restaurant that is based on Nordic eats and a boreal atmosphere. The food is delicious and nicely portioned, and we were definitely reenrgized and warmed up for the latter part of the day after this filling lunch.

[caption id="attachment_2788" align="aligncenter" width="580"]chez bouley, quebec city, quebec, old town, canada, canada travel, travel, fall, winter, autumn, champagne Chez Bouley ( is the best spot to grab lunch and to warm up, especially if you're traveling to Quebec in the Fall/Winter. They serve a delicious, 3-course lunch menu and champagne for $30 p/person and everything was very tasty. The menu changes daily.[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_2763" align="aligncenter" width="580"]Chez Bouley, Quebec, Quebec City, Canada, canada travel, travel, boreal, nordic cuisine, swordfish, creme brulee, champagne, salad I had the butternut squash soup, swordfish salad, champagne, and a shared creme brulee. All were delicious. The menu changes daily.[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_2764" align="aligncenter" width="580"]van Houtte, canada, canada travel, quebec, quebec city, old town, espresso, gran marnier, coffee, maple syrup, people watching On our walk down St. Jean Street, we came upon a Van Houtte, which had become our go-to coffee shop during our trip in Canada. We ordered two specialty, seasonal espresso drinks that were unbelievably good—4 layers that included Gran Marnier, Organic Maple Syrup, Milk Foam, and Espresso. Since clearly that wasn't sweet enough for us, we also got two maple cream cones. We lounged for about an hour, reveling in the fact that it was Wednesday at 2pm, we didn't HAVE to do anything, and just enjoyed our coffee and a treat, the 'Parisian' way, while people watching and just relaxing. [/caption]

EXPLORE THE LENGTH OF THE CITADEL WALLS FOR THE BEST VIEWS OF QUEBEC CITY AND SAINT LAWRENCE RIVER: You'll get the best landscape and panoramic snapshots here, and really get to see the whole city from all sides. Tourney Fountain is a site to see at night, when it's all lit up in different colors each week depending on the event or celebration.

[caption id="attachment_2750" align="aligncenter" width="580"]the citadel, parliament hill, canada, canada travel, quebec, quebec city, travel, autumn, adventure A walk atop the thick walls of The Citadel with Parliament Hill in the backdrop. Blissful. ([/caption]

[caption id="attachment_2790" align="aligncenter" width="580"]citadel, quebec, quebec city, old town, canada, canada travel, autumn, fall, parliament Mid-day snapshot of Parliament from atop The Citadel.[/caption]

BEFORE SUNSET, GO TO BAR 1608 AT CHATEAU FRONTENAC FOR A LOCAL WINE AND CHEESE PAIRING: After visiting the Citadel make you're way through the St. Louis Gate toward Old Town, and walk all the way down Rue St. Louis and you'll hit Le Chateau Frontenac on the right. Chateau Frontenac is an iconic hotel built by the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1894 and it's grand, castle-like stance is impossible to miss. The main arch from Rue de Cameres leads to the main entrance of the hotel, and at the end of the long, gilded hallway will be Bar 1608, named after the exact year of Quebec City's founding in the exact location where you can now find the bar. Grab a seat by the windows and get cozy in the Victorian chairs, as you watch the sun go down over a tasting of local wine and cheese.

[caption id="attachment_2734" align="aligncenter" width="580"]Chateau Frontenac  Chateau Frontenac[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_2733" align="aligncenter" width="580"]wine, cheese, chateau frontenac, saint laurent, saint lawrence, river, view, fall, autumn, old town, quebec, quebec city, canada, canada travel, romantic Bar 1608 in Chateau Frontenac glistens due to the beautiful gold decor and ambient lighting yet its modern at the same time. Seat yourself on the other side of the bar by the windows, which overlook the stunning Saint Laurent River. A great place to watch the sun set and enjoying local wine and cheese.[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_2791" align="aligncenter" width="580"]cheese, wine, chateau frontenac, old town, bar 1806, quebec city, quebec, canada, travel, canada travel Local goat cheese and wine pairing at Chateau Frontenac Bar 1608 ([/caption] SEE THE REST OF THE CITY AT NIGHT: All of the historical and government buildings, fountains, and streets are lit up by twinkling lights at night. [caption id="attachment_2739" align="aligncenter" width="580"]Petit Champlain, quebec, quebec city, old town, canada, canada travel, travel, romantic Rue du Petit Champlain at night.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2756" align="aligncenter" width="580"]montmorency park, light installation, notre dame, cathedral, lower town, old town, quebec, quebec city, old quebec, canada, canada travel Light installation to celebrate 350 years of Notre Dame de Quebec Basilica Cathedral in Montmorency Park in Lower Town. This installation will only be up until the end of this year.[/caption]   [caption id="attachment_2757" align="aligncenter" width="580"]Old town, quebec, old quebec, quebec city, canada, canada travel, travel, romantic, frontenac Backdrop of Old Town with the light installation in the forefront at night. Just stunning.[/caption] I'm already trying to plan my return to Quebec City. I absolutely loved it and can see why it's now been rated #18 on Conde Nast Traveler's Top 25 Cities in the World by readers. I've heard from talking to locals that the holiday time is one of the best times to visit, so if you're looking for a holiday getaway this December or January, and don't mind the cold, I'd highly recommend taking the 2-hour flight or 9 hour road trip up North to this now not-so-secret gem for a romantic getaway. The Winter Carnival is supposed to be one of the largest in the world with snow/ice sculptures, night parades, snow baths, shows, and the famous Ice Canoe Race. And in the winter, just outside Old Town, is the Hotel de Glace, the only ice (igloo) hotel in North America where you can take a day or evening tour, or take the risk and stay the chilly night! Both Part 1 and Part 2 of our Quebec City itinerary were done in 24 hours. We were easily able to see everything without feeling rushed, though next time we'd want to stay for a whole week! Have you been to Quebec City? If so, what are you favorite things about it? What do you love to do and see? Lunch Recommendations:  Chez Bouley (for an all-around great meal with nice ambiance); Chez Ashton (for the best poutine in Quebec City and a quick bite);   Dinner Recommendations:  Le Lapin Saute (for traditional French dishes and a charming atmosphere); Bistro Sous Le Fort (romantic French bistro with satiating dishes that are constantly being rotated); Restaurant Initiale (for a special occasion multi-course meal that won't dissapoint);   Where to Stay: Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac (you'll feel like you're living in a real castle and the luxury rooms and amenities make this 5-star experience unforgettable); Hotel Le Priori (an excellent option for a more boutique feel, this romantic hotel is set in the heart of Petit Champlain district, and offer a comprehensive delectable breakfast in their adjoining Toast restaurant);      

5 Easy Yoga Poses to Do While Traveling Posted on 17 Jun 19:28 , 0 comments

“Yoga takes you into the present moment, the only place where life exists.”                                                                                                                         -  Anonymous Nothing compliments  a nice relaxing vacation or business trip like some stress-relieving yoga. Yoga is the perfect "on-the-go" workout that you can literally do anywhere at anytime - and it requires no equipment! In addition, yoga has a myriad of  benefits: it stretches you out, massages your internal organs, improves circulation, and reduces anxiety. So whether you are in your hotel room, or about to suffer a long train, plane, or car ride, these quick yoga moves will prepare your mind, body, and spirit for that business meeting you're about to tackle, or "mental break" you've been looking forward to all week!  

Pose 1: Seated Spinal Twist

[caption id="attachment_2501" align="alignleft" width="300"]Photo Credit: CNN Travel Photo Credit: CNN Travel[/caption] How-To: On the edge of your seat, or on the ground, gently cross your right knee over your left knee. Then, bring your left hand across your right knee and your other arm on the armrest. If you are seated on the floor, place your left elbow on the outside of your right knee, and your right hand on the ground, directly behind your back  and aligned with the spine. Next, take a deep inhale and then turn towards your right side on your exhale. Take five deep breaths. Then repeat on other side. ¹  Why It's Good: Spinal twists are great for realising daily stress and tension, stimulates circulation, helps to alleviate strain and calms the nervous system.        

Pose 2: Bridge Pose

[caption id="attachment_2553" align="alignright" width="300"]yoga-pose-full-wheel-pose-1439-1 Photo Credit:[/caption] This pose is perfect if you have some time to kill in your hotel room or if you are taking in some beautiful scenery at the beach or park. How-To: Place a hotel blanket or towel on the floor and lie on your back with your knees bent and feet on the floor. Rest your arms by your sides. Press your feet and arms on the ground as you exhale, contract your abs, and press your hips to the ceiling. Roll your shoulders back and underneath your body as press your back up further, and clasp your hands beneath you, or if you are up for the challenge, try grabbing your ankles for an extra stretch. Why It's Good: Not only does this pose strengthen your glutes, spine, thighs, and core,  but it also helps to improve flexibility, stimulates the thyroid and combats any menstruation problems.  

Pose 3: Standing Forward Fold

[caption id="attachment_2552" align="alignleft" width="260"]yoga-folds Photo Credit:[/caption]

This is, undoubtedly, one of my favorite poses, as it is such a great relaxer and helps to relieve any tension on the back.

How-To: Stand with your feet hip distant apart. Exhale and bend forward from your hip joints, and tilt forward with your knees slightly bent. You can either let your arms hang down freely, place one hand onto each elbow, or touch the floor if you are flexible enough for a deeper stretch. Press your heels firmly on the floor, lift your sitting bones towards the ceiling.  Take 8-10 deep breaths, then stand up slowly. Why It's Good: Forward bends strengthen your hips, hamstrings, thighs and calves,  lengthens your spine, and rejuvenates and clams the body.  

Pose 4: Tree Pose

[caption id="attachment_2504" align="alignright" width="380"]Photo Credit: CNN Travel Photo Credit: CNN Travel[/caption]

How-To: Standing with your feet together, ground down on all corners of your feet. First, distribute your weight evenly between both legs. Then,  shift your weight onto your left leg. Take a big inhale and bring your right foot onto your left anklebone, with your knee out wide. Grab your ankle and guide it to inner left thigh as you look ahead. Be sure that your foot is either above or below the knee. Next, press your foot into your inner thigh, while also pressing your inner thigh against your foot.  Hold the pose. Another trick is to think about pulling your right knee and inner thigh towards the back of the room. Your hands can stay on your hips, or alternatively, you can bring your arms in front of your chest into prayer position, or "spread your roots" with your arms actively reaching above your head. Hold for up to one minute. While exhaling, release your foot and arms back down. Repeat on the other side. Why It's Good: This pose is great for improving focus and concentration while calming the mind. Other benefits include the strengthening and toning of the legs, buttocks, ligaments and tendons of the feet, while also building self-esteem and self-confidence.²  

Pose 5: Chair Pose

[caption id="attachment_2551" align="alignright" width="300"]11223093215_0633440c2e_o (2) Photo Credit: Flickr User Amy[/caption]

How-To: Stand with your feet and knees together, with big toes touching and heals slightly apart. Then, inhale as you raise your arms above your head, and exhale as you bend your knee. You can either keep your arms perpendicular to the floor, or bring palms together. Alternatively, you can also reach out in front of you, extending your arms parallel. Try to bend your knees and bring your thighs as parallel to the floor as possible, keeping your shoulder blades down and below your ears. Breathe deeply for five-10 breaths or for up to one minute. Inhale as you  straighten your legs and release to standing

Why It's Good: Chair pose is the ultimate leg strengthener. It is a strong pose, and strong legs keep you grounded, even while flying. Chair pose builds muscle tone in the entire  lower half of your body, as it strengthens hip flexors, ankles, calves, and back. It also stretches out the chest and back, and stimulates the heart, diaphragm, and abdominal organs.  

Are you an avid yogi? Share with us some of your favorite yoga poses to do while  traveling!

    References: Dodson, C (2011, September 9). "Airplane Yoga: 18 exercises for healthy living." CNN Travel (Online News Article). Retrieved                                 from: Kiltz, R. (2010, October 29). "The Health Benefits of Vrikshasana (Tree Pose)" (Weblog). Retrieved                                                                                           from:

A Weekend of Music in Memphis Posted on 15 Jun 19:12 , 0 comments

Last weekend, I traveled with my husband to Memphis, TN for four days full of music, soul food, and some southern culture, everything that the "Deep South" is know for. Growing up in New York, I've always had a fascination with the South, and it's otherworldly way of being—the drawl-ish accents, the slow-paced life, the kindness of the people. We chose Memphis for it's musical history, it's considered by many the birthplace of Blues, Gospel, and Rock n' Roll (Elvis), but we got so much more. Memphis has that old-world charm that just draws you and makes you feel right at home. Four days is barely enough time to discover and enjoy this rich city. [caption id="attachment_2458" align="alignleft" width="303"]Main Street in Downtown Memphis Main Street in Downtown Memphis[/caption] IMG_8684               We rented a car and stayed at the famous Peabody Hotel in downtown Memphis. You actually don't really need a car if you're staying in downtown Memphis, as everything is literally within walking/trolley distance. We only used the car twice to travel to Graceland and Overton Park, but you could get to those places just as well without a car. Our first two days were all about hitting up all the best spots in downtown Memphis. We started with a late breakfast at the historic Arcade Restaurant on South Main Street. So many movies have been filmed here, The Firm, Great Balls of Fire, 21 Grams, Walk The Line, to name a few and it's been a hot dining spot since the 1950's. My husband ended up ordering The Travel Channel Favorite, "Eggs Redneck." Portions were as expected, HUGE, especially for us New Yorkers, but the food was absolutely delicious. [caption id="attachment_2544" align="alignright" width="300"]Arcade Restaurant Memphis Tennessee The famous Arcade Restaurant in Memphis[/caption] Breakfast was followed by a 40-minute tour of the Gibson Factory, we were lucky enough to go while the factory workers were still there, which made for a very cool experience. We saw all aspects of the making of a Gibson Guitar—starting with the type of wood and it's cutting and shaping, to the custom artwork stations, and then the stringing and testing, almost every step is actually done by hand and it takes several weeks to complete one guitar. Job training takes as long as 9 weeks and the whole factory is kept at 45% humidity to keep the wood just the right amount of moist. My favorite part was by far the painting station, I had no idea an artist actually spray paints each guitar by hand (which made me think...what if he messes up!?) Tip: Go when the workers are there, so any time before 2:30pm, except for their lunch time, which is around 11am, it makes for a much more complete tour. Tickets are $10 p/person. [caption id="attachment_2461" align="aligncenter" width="225"]Gibson Guitar Factory and Store Gibson Guitar Factory and Store[/caption] Our night excursion started with a ride on the trolley, which immediately took us back a few decades. Racket-y wood seats, old ticketing machine, and woman singing her blues-y heart out to the strum of a guitar. The place we were planning to eat at was packed, so we walked down Beale Street and randomly stepped into King's Palace, a Blues Club/Cajun Restaurant. Given that this was on the super tourist-y Beale Street, our expectations weren't high, but we were definitely proven wrong. The food was delicious, the drinks strong, and the entertainment - a guy singing some of our blues and rock favorites to his guitar, was superb. We followed this up with the Bruno Mars concert at the FedEx Forum, which seemed even larger than Madison Square Garden, and was packed to the the max. People had traveled in from all over the South to see him sing that night. The Moonshine Jungle concert was fantastic—high energy, phenomenal singing and dancing by a super talented artist. The whole night was this unique, contrasting experience of music in the old and new form, from Blues in a bar on historic Beale Street, to Bruno Mars at a massive and modern entertainment center. [caption id="attachment_2462" align="alignleft" width="225"]Historical Memphis trolley Historical Memphis trolley[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2463" align="alignright" width="300"]Beale Street at night Beale Street at night[/caption]                 The next afternoon we took the Mud Island monorail, which gives you spectacular views of the Hernando De Soto Bridge and of the Mississippi River. The bridge is in the shape of a wide letter M, and is lit up by 200 sodium vapor lights. It lights up the whole city at night, and you can pretty much see it from all parts of town. It was so cool to see the Mississippi River in person, considering it's the fourth longest river in the world, and even water sources as far as Pennsylvania and New York feed into the Mississippi. It's also been and is still a key source of commerce for towns like Baton Rouge, New Orleans, and Memphis, among others. Mud Island River Park was a fun way to learn about the topography and commerce on the Mississippi River, it's a miniature replica of the river from start (in Minnesota) to finish (the Gulf of Mexico). Our favorite part though, was surprisingly the Mississippi River Museum on the 2nd floor. It started off a bit slow at first and then became increasingly better with each segment. You get to walk through a replica of a saloon of an actual steamboat that was used for entertaining back in the 1800's. You can sit at the bar, with the ornately designed walls, ceilings, and chandeliers above you and feel like you're on a dinner-time ride on an 1830's steamboat in the 1830's. The rest of the museum brings you through segments of the Civil War, slavery, and the development of Gospel, Soul, Blues, and Rock and Roll music in Memphis, all done in a very interactive way. We walked out of that museum being shocked by how much there was to see and learn in what seemed like a small, unassuming space. [caption id="attachment_2466" align="alignleft" width="300"]Mud Island River Park Mud Island River Park[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2465" align="alignright" width="300"]View of the entrance to Mud Island Memphis trolley, Mud Island River Park monorail[/caption]                 [caption id="attachment_2468" align="alignleft" width="300"]In front of Hernando De Soto Bridge at Mud Island River Park In front of Hernando De Soto Bridge at Mud Island River Park[/caption]   [caption id="attachment_2546" align="alignright" width="229"]Hernando De Soto Bridge Tennessee Arkansas Hernando De Soto Bridge between Tennessee and Arkansas at sunset[/caption]                       [caption id="attachment_2484" align="alignright" width="250"]Restaurant prices of local dishes from 1950's at Mississippi River Museum Restaurant prices of local dishes from 1950's at Mississippi River Museum...everything under 25 cents![/caption] [caption id="attachment_2480" align="alignleft" width="300"]Sun Studios Replica at Mississippi River Museum Sun Studios Replica at Mississippi River Museum[/caption]                   [caption id="attachment_2482" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Beautiful view of Memphis city from Mud Island River Park Beautiful view of Memphis city from Mud Island River Park[/caption] That night we spent the evening hopping from one blues bar to the next on Beale Street, and the talent of these artists in these dive bars is incredible. Music abounds everywhere in this city, and no more can you find this than on Beale Street. We really enjoyed listening to soul singer Natalie, at Blues Hall Juke Joint, though we heard B.B. King's and the Hi-Tone Lounge on North Cleveland Street are also top notch. At around 12am, we followed the music into Silky O' Sullivans, where a phenomenal cover band was playing old and new hits. There's a beautifully lit, large outdoor patio at O' Sullivans where we sat and grabbed a late-night snack, but the music was too good to stay seated for long. We joined the crowd of people dancing up at the stage and basked in the warm, Southern weather.  At around 1 am, Alfred's on Beale switches from a band to a dj that blast the music onto the street, and street dancers and performers break it down to crowds of people circling them and cheering them on. A fun fact: you can buy drinks on the street at any of the outdoor street bars that line all of Beale Street, and just sit yourself down on the stoop on the side of the street and people watch. An entertaining ending to a wonderful night. [caption id="attachment_2488" align="alignleft" width="300"]Blues Hall Juke Joint...a dive bar worth visiting for the musical talent. Blues Hall Juke Joint...a dive bar worth visiting for the musical talent.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2487" align="alignright" width="300"]Beale Street stays alive into the late hours Beale Street stays alive into the late hours[/caption]                   [caption id="attachment_2486" align="alignright" width="300"]Neon-lit outdoor street bars on Beale Street Neon-lit outdoor street bars on Beale Street[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2467" align="alignleft" width="300"]Main Street in Downtown Memphis Main Street in Downtown Memphis[/caption]                   We designated Sunday for traveling to Graceland (not far from Memphis, about 15 minutes). Neither my husband or I grew up listening to Elvis, but we felt we couldn't visit Memphis without visiting Graceland. This place is not to be missed! As with the rest of the trip, we were more than pleasantly surprised with the way the tour was led, we learned so many interesting facts about Elvis that we never knew before, his charitable nature—he would write checks to anyone and everyone to help pay people's bills and help support hospitals and endless charities, his obsession with music that went beyond concert performances—he would invite friends, family, and his management team to play up on the roof of his hotel after playing a full concert he'd done just an hour earlier. He led a very full, though short, life, and was an energetic spirit that definitely resonates to this day. His decorating skills were extravagant—from the peacock room to the jungle room (where he held impromptu recording sessions in the 70's), to the decor of his planes, everything had an exotic and energetic touch to it. On our way back to downtown Memphis, we made a stop into Sun Studios, where Elvis, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis and other musical stars had recorded when they were first starting out. [caption id="attachment_2492" align="alignleft" width="300"]Peacock Room Elvis Presley's Peacock Room at Graceland Mansion[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2493" align="alignright" width="300"]The Trophy Room at Graceland Mansion The Trophy Room at Graceland Mansion[/caption]                   [caption id="attachment_2495" align="alignleft" width="300"]At Sun Studios At Sun Studios[/caption]     [caption id="attachment_2494" align="alignright" width="300"]The Pool Room in Graceland Mansion The Pool Room in Graceland Mansion[/caption]                     The last stop of the day was Overton Park, the perfect ending of live music on a green lawn, with local beer crafters and food vendors. During the summer they have free concerts on the weekends (Levitt Shell Free Music Concert Series). Following the concert, we snuck into the Memphis College of Art, and browsed the local art of students. [caption id="attachment_2476" align="alignleft" width="300"]Levitt Shell at Overton Park in Memphis where free concerts are held during the summer time. Levitt Shell at Overton Park in Memphis where free concerts are held during the summer time.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2477" align="alignright" width="300"]Memphis College of the Art beautifully lit up at night. Memphis College of Art beautifully lit up at night.[/caption]                         The nicest thing about Memphis, especially for a romantic like me, is that it completely transports you to another time and place. It's a romantic and nostalgic city, holding on to its Blues and Rock fame, and it has so much soul that is deeply immersed in its food, music, and people. This is a must-go. Best Time To Go: May for the month-long cultural and musical celebration Travel Types: old souls, romantics, music afficionados Best Nomaterra Fragrance for this trip: Savannah Magnolia   [caption id="attachment_2479" align="aligncenter" width="335"]Downtown Memphis Sunset Downtown Memphis Sunset[/caption]  

Make Your Memorial Day Memorable in East Hampton Posted on 23 May 13:50 , 0 comments

[getty src="108163406?et=PHGm1yt5RUVBc6mleJOarQ&sig=HXF2tmm05rdfAjqTd4rryb6MSk8kgJjS_I8QqXY7lfg=" width="509" height="385"] Memorial Day weekend, the official kickoff to the Hamptons summer season, is right around the corner. Nomaterra has the perfect weekend planned for those looking to create a Memorial Day weekend that’s unforgettable. Sip wine and watch the sunset beachside What can be better than watching a sunset while sipping on a delicious glass of wine? Luckily, Lieb Cellars offers estate grown grab-and-go boxed wines for the beach or boat, as well as kegs of wine for larger parties. You can’t go wrong with their nationally recognized reserve Pinot Blanc and Blanc de Blancs sparkling wines, or try a more medium-bodied red, such as their Bridge Lane Red Blend, a dry red wine comprised of black cherry, cedar, and spice flavors. While sipping wine is wonderful by itself, pairing wine with the right fare enhances the entire experience. We recommend perusing Lieb’s food and wine pairing suggestions, which focuses on some of the local foods from the East End of Long Island. Catch a concert while raising money for a social cause The Surf Lodge, a much sought-after bohemian escape, is partnering with eBay Giving Works to raise money for the Montauk Playhouse with a private performance by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros on May 25th. The Montauk Playhouse Community Center Foundation is raising funds for the restoration and development of the historic Montauk Playhouse, creating a vital community center for the arts, education, recreation and human services for Montauk and East End of Long Island. The Surf Lodge has an impressive line-up in 2014 for their ever-popular FREE Summer Concert Series  - so great musical acts will be going on all summer long. Browse an art gallery East Hamtpon’s reputation as an artist’s colony began with painter Jackson Pollock, as he resided in what was known as the Pollock-Krasner House and Studio. East Hampton’s Guild Hall has one of the oldest non-juried museum exhibitions on Long Island and is one of the few non-juried exhibitions still offered.  The top honor is a solo show in the museum’s Spiga Gallery. This exhibition will be on display from May 3 till June 7. In addition, be sure to view Arlene Slavin’s upcoming exhibit, Intersections. Guild Hall will exhibit a new series of sculptures and paintings referencing work Slavin exhibited in the mid-1970s. Similar to her early work, these sculptures and paintings are pencil, diagonal, grid-based, with layers of lush, translucent stained colors.  

Travel Spotlight: City Guide to Savannah Part II Posted on 5 May 09:00 , 0 comments

[getty src="168447264?et=mTLQv0QpRatEe1A0KRGGxA&sig=UF9EKjkLfZfJRi35SYs55INL2d7NnCiiPoN84uz6O2A=" width="507" height="387"]Last post we gave you the ins and outs of Savannah’s best in boutique hotels and shopping. This week, we reveal some of the city’s amazing artistic and gastronomical scenes. Get ready to explore even more of the "Hostess City of the South." Browse the Savannah Art Scene It’s hard to talk about Savannah and not mention its marvelous art scene. Every year, the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) hosts the SCAD Sidewalk Art Festival. This festival offers students, alumni and prospective students an opportunity to create temporary chalk masterpieces on the paved walkways of Savannah’s scenic Forsyth Park every Spring. The event is free and open to the public which gives them the opportunity to view and photograph the amazing creations. In addition, SCAD holds an annual runway Fashion Show. It’s one of the premier fashion shows in the country, as students showcase works that have been chosen by some of the fashion industry’s top professionals. Perhaps you’ll find the next big names in fashion? And if you can’t get enough of the art scene, SCAD is also featuring the annual Sand Arts Festival. This festival displays incredible sand castle designs, sand sculptures, and sand relief and wind sculptures. Of course, if that doesn't satisfy your artistic cravings, you can always venture to City Market, which is the center of Savannah’s vibrant art scene. Here you can explore and visit over 50 local artists and art galleries.   Best in Dining If you are looking for a unique dining experience, leave it to President Obama to discover the best, off-the-beaten path food establishments in Savannah. His favorite place to eat when visiting Savannah? Mrs. Wilkes’ Dining House. This restaurant caters to those who love indulging in great southern comfort food. With platters of fried chicken, butter beans, red rice, collard greens, and mac and cheese, it’s no wonder President Obama continually makes this diner his “go-to” place when visiting Savannah. Those who would like a more inimitable experience should visit the Olde Pink House. Legend has it that several ghosts haunt the 19th century Georgian mansion that is known as the Old Pink House. While the potential for the paranormal could be unsettling, don’t let it distract you from the restaurant’s superb food and cozy ambiance, as the Southern-influenced cuisine is flavorful and features a large selection of pork and chicken dishes. Lastly, the 45 Bistro on Broughton Street is an obvious choice for fine diners. The elegant restaurant is located on the ground level of the Marshall House Hotel and serves up a rotating selection of eclectic and brilliantly executed dishes that are bursting with flavor and cooked with the utmost care. An attentive staff and extensive wine list make this the perfect spot for a romantic Savannah evening.     Are you an avid Savannah traveler? Tell us your favorite places to browse great artistic works or unique places to dine!  

Travel Spotlight: City Guide to Savannah Posted on 25 Apr 15:00 , 0 comments

[getty src="90799871?et=mw0h0g57RHVMQvQfYMAp_Q&sig=LY8U5DYrmhOootm5_sCAlA5kxqjDMnuc1Faf5sXFIPU=" width="507" height="387"] Savannah, the oldest city in the state of Georgia, will arouse any traveler’s senses. Its eclectic culture, quaint cobblestone streets, majestic Colonial architecture, and Spanish-moss-swathed garden squares are what sets this town apart from any other. Savannah’s beauty is rivaled only by the city’s reputation for hospitality, as it has become one of the country’s most popular vacation spots. The best time to visit Savannah is during the Spring and Summer. This is the time when the city is bursting with gorgeous blooming gardenias, dogwoods, honeysuckles and magnolias. Of course, it’s the magnolia’s intoxicating scent that inspired one of Nomaterra’s most popular fragrance, Savannah Magnolia. Savannah is a prime vacationing spot, as there are an abundance of activities, lodging, dining and shopping in the area, especially within the Historic District. Read Part I of this two-part series, as we on to uncover the best hotels, boutique, activities, and restaurants to do in one of our beloved cities.   Best in Boutique Hotels The city of Savannah is brimming with unique and eccentric boutique hotels. One that comes to mind is the Bohemian Hotel Savannah Riverfront, Autograph Collection. It combines chic designs with vintage charm and is set above the 18th century cobblestone streets that line the Historic District. Overlooking the famous Savannah River, the ambiance is one that is vibrant yet relaxed. The gorgeous hotel features design accents that utilize reclaimed oak floors and brick walls adorned with original artworks, antiques, and unique lighting fixtures. Enjoy a night cap on the popular rooftop lounge which offers spectacular views and a casual elegance. Also, the Mansion on Forsyth Park, Autograph Collection is another popular hotel. Located on the famous 22-acre Forsythe Park, this boutique hotel is just a short distance from art galleries, exquisite restaurants and boutique shopping. The hotel’s opulent interiors and diverse art collection reflects the unique history of Savannah, while offering a memorable hotel experience. Built in 1888, the remarkable Victorian-Romanesque exterior structure offers an array of architecture, art, music, and cuisine experiences such as the Poseidon Spa, Grand Behmian Gallery, 700 Drayton Restaurant and 700 Cooking.   Best in Boutique Shopping Leave your car behind as you stroll through Savannah’s Broughton Street, where local designers showcase their greatest talents. The first stop along your stroll should be the Paris Market & Brocante. In this two-story bazaar, you’ll find rustic antique lightings, architectural fragments, Parisian fabrics, and Fauchon chocolate cubes. Next, explore DC2 Design. Created by three young designers, DC2 features authentic home furnishing-and-accessories, fabulous purses, jewelry, and a dessert-and-coffee bar. Do you really need anything else? The last must-see store on our list is the globally-inspired, Zia Boutique.  Here you can peruse jewelry from around the world, designer bags, African masks, and Cuban oil paints. The owner, Zia himself, intermingles his heritage from Kenya, Japan, and India to produce a diverse selection items.     Are you a frequent visitor of Savannah, GA? Then tell us your favorite lodging, dining, shopping and activity hot-spots in the city!  
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