Rebekah Pizana
my food & fashion journal

Four Essential Travel Apps

You won’t want to step on the plane without these…

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More and more, independent traveling has become a communal experience. We share photos, videos, stories, and underground tips with each other simply through our own casual participation in social media. This type of crowd sourcing is extremely valuable for local communities and tourism. It also makes “adventures” doable. We no longer have to explore unknown territory alone (someone else has already been there, done that), and there’s an app out there to prove it.

Finding a good travel app is challenging, and there are far too many apps one can tap into, including some really lame ones. I tend to “crowd source” my apps of choice, asking friends and family what they’ve used and recommend. It’s worth every new-app-learning second to achieve the end result. In just a few downloadable minutes, you can find out where to go, how to get there, what to do, where and what to eat, and probably a few other cool tidbits.

GETTING THERE
WAZE
Navigation

Before you can even start going where you need to go, you need to know how to get there. And once you’re there, it’s nice to know how to get around. Waze Social GPS Maps & Traffic helps you achieve both. Waze has been around since 2008, but most of us were not aware of it until after Google acquired it in 2013.

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This community-driven application uses GPS-based geographical navigation, pulling information from the movements of almost 50 million users (Forbes, June 11, 2013). Once installed on your smartphone, it’s much like Maps for iPhone with turn-by-turn voice navigation, but with far more real-time data and alerts. The Waze “community” can report navigation and mapping errors, traffic accidents, traffic jams, speed and police traps, road updates, landmarks, house numbers, and the cheapest fuel station on your route. Not only is Waze great for an easilylost person like myself, it is also fun to contribute and help fellow travelers save time and the headaches of traffic.

Windows, Apple, and Google Play. Perfect for traveling in the following countries: United States, Canada, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Belgium, Israel (where Waze originated), South Africa, Colombia, Ecuador, Chile and Panama (more maps to come).

PHOTOS
FIELD TRIP
Lifestyle

Once you arrive at your destination, learn about the obscure places around you, or find a restaurant or cool event with Google’s Field Trip app. Released in 2012 (for Google Glass in 2013), Field Trip operates as a virtual tour guide. Wondering about the history behind that statue or building? Field Trip runs in the background of your phone and highlights points of interest in your immediate area using push notifications with text and photos to describe your surroundings. The app relies on sources like Zagat and Thrillist, and lets users choose how frequently they receive updates.

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Google Play, iOS devices, and Google Glass. Currently available in more than 80 countries and 30+ languages. Best results in large cities.

ACTIVITIES
SOSH
Lifestyle

Sosh is a personalized city guide listing only the coolest, hippest activities in your area. Operating as a sort of “concierge service,” or a city-savvy friend, The New York Times calls Sosh a “highbrow version of Yelp.” Sosh makes recommendations and shows the number of users who have bookmarked a spot…without getting bogged down in crowd-sourced “reviews” and opinions. Sosh makes recommendations on where to find the best artisan cocktails, pop-up dinners, concerts, and ideas for unique date nights.

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(Reservations through OpenTable)

Google Play and iOS devices. City Guide for San Francisco, New York City, Chicago, Washington, D.C., and Seattle.

EATING
FOODSPOTTING
Food & Drink

That meal…that one dining experience you will never forget, the one that makes you want to shout to the world how good it was. Foodspotting has been letting users do just that since 2010. While you’re exploring during your travels this summer, contributing traffic tips with Waze and bookmarking hot spots with Sosh, you can search for your next meal by the type of food you’re craving. Or share that incredible (or interesting) meal you just had. Using Facebook, Instagram, Foursquare, Pinterest, etc., users can upload photos, tag the location and list whether they tried it, loved it, or want it. (Reservations through OpenTable)

Google Play and iOS devices. Used globally – results vary from country to country.

(As seen in Posh Seven Magazine’s June 2014 Travel Issue)

Cheers!

Rebekah

Blueberry cobbler for the win #memorialday #enoughtofeedanarmy #breakfast #recipe #blueberries #monday #meatlessmonday

Blueberry cobbler for the win #memorialday #enoughtofeedanarmy #breakfast #recipe #blueberries #monday #meatlessmonday

Apricot Ginger Cocktail with Brewed Tea

It’s not every week you get featured TWICE on Style Me Pretty Living… I had the absolute privilege of working with Carlene of Healthfully Ever After, and fabuloso photographer Yvonne Rock for this shoot. This refreshing cocktail is spicy, tangy, and I would like to think… jam-packed with antioxidants! Made with an apricot brandy tincture and ginger-apricot brewed organic tea, you can’t go wrong! See the full recipe here

Cheers!

Rebekah

April Showers Bring Strawberries ‘n Cream

Strawberry, Vanilla Bean & Brandy Gelato

I have recently become obsessed with Wilderness Poets' Superfood products. I picked up a jar of their Pure Vanilla Powder at the Home Farm Store in Middleburg, Virginia. This whole, raw, powder is created by pulverizing wildcrafted, sun dried vanilla beans.

"Vanilla stimulates general feelings of well being. it is a known mood enhancer in aroma therapy. Vanilla is used medicinally to calm nerves and an upset stomach, its soothing fragrance helps to relax in moments of stress and anxiety," says Wilderness Poets.

My favorite way to use this powder is in gelato - that first mouthful just pops, and the gelato is beautifully specked with vanilla, maintaining the benefits of the raw bean.

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I prefer not to use stabilizers in my ice cream and gelato recipes (i.e. corn starch or Xantham Gum), but still want to enjoy a smooth, creamy dessert. A little bit of alcohol does the trick. For this particular recipe, vanilla and strawberries call for a touch of something sweet and caramelly. A dash of E&J VS Brandy gives just the right touch. Their flagship brandy is light bodied, with flavors of toasted brown sugar and dried fruit, adding a slight kick while also keeping the gelato from forming ice crystals. 

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Recipe

2 cups heavy cream

2 cups whole milk

1 1/2 tsp. Pure Vanilla Powder (or 2 vanilla beans, scraped)

1 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup diced strawberries

1 TB E&J VS Brandy

I often substitute coconut milk and cream for the dairy. It comes out slightly richer, and obviously delicious.

Blend cream, milk, sugar, and vanilla together. Add to ice cream maker (I use Cuisinart) and let churn for 25 minutes or until fluffy. Remove and with a spatula, stir in brandy and strawberries. Put in freezer for about 20-30 minutes before serving. 

Cheers! 

Rebekah

On a blustery day in March, Malbec, Sangria and Cava was flowing inside Sofitel Hotel Washington, DC’s iCi Urban Bistro. The lively, fast-paced tempo of tango music filled the hotel restaurant. Led by Claudia Gargiulo, and backed by bandoneon, double bass, and guitar, and sexy tango dancing by René Davila and Andrea Moragues of Tango Brillante

The Grand Opening on March 18 launched the week-long “Argentina Through Flavors and Sceneries” event featuring the traveling exhibit ”Deep Silence” by Argentine photographer Marcos Furer of his native (view select images here) untouched landscapes. Visiting chef Olivier Falchi, of Sofitel Buenos Aires Arroyo, collaborated with iCi Urban Bistro’s executive chef Franck Loquet to create traditional Argentinian dishes to coincide with the exhibit. 

Falchi and Foquet’s sophisticated menu selections included beef empanadas and dulce de leche pot de crème on the lunch menu, and duo of lamb or sea trout carpaccio; chimichurri, espuma de humita and chipa; and goat cheese and dulce de leche mousse on the dinner menu. 

No puedo esperar para más eventos at Sofitel!

- Rebekah

Hotel Sofitel Washington DC Lafayette Square, 806 15th Street N.W., Washington, D.C. 202-730-8800. iCi Urban Bistro, 202-730-8701.

I was honored to be a part of Elie Tahari's 40th Anniversary - celebrating Tahari as an internationally acclaimed designer, known for his iconic silhouettes, unique fabrics, and luxurious trends.

The sold out trunk show and lunch was hosted by dear friend and style blogger April Yvonne at Capella Georgetown, one of Washington, D.C.’s most sophisticated boutique hotels.

Photos by Laurie Bracewell Photography, Elie Tahari, and Revamp.com

Candied Kumquats dipped in Dark Chocolate

Kumquat season can’t start soon enough for me. Beginning in January and lasting until almost April, these mini orange-like fruits are delicate and gorgeous, and a fabulous healthy snack.

Full of Vitamins A, C, and E, kumquats are incredibly rich sources of healthy dietary fiber, minerals, and flavonoid (i.e. pigment) anti-oxidants. The peel is not only a zesty snack, its also a bite of essential oils. Combined with dark chocolate, you might as well eat them all.

 Recipe:

1 pint kumquats, sliced into 3 or 4 pieces

1/2 cup Lyle’s Golden Syrup (or similar Cane Syrup)

1/4 cup honey

1/4 cup water

2 TB granulated sugar

2 oz. 60% dark chocolate

In a small pot over low heat, stir together honey, syrup, and water. Add kumquats and allow to simmer for 20 minutes, or until kumquats begin to appear translucent. Remove from heat. With a slotted spoon, move each kumquat piece from the pot to a cooling rack.

Heat oven to 180 degrees. Place rack with kumquats over the same size baking sheet, and put in oven for 20 to 30 minutes or until pieces are slightly dry. Sprinkle with sugar. Allow to cool for at least two hours.

Melt chocolate in a stainless steel bowl over a pot of bowling water. As soon as the chocolate starts to melt, remove from the pot and stir until completely melted. Dip each kumquat piece halfway in chocolate and place on cooling rack. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes until set.

Cheers!

Rebekah

THRILLED to be a judge again at Loudoun County YMCA’s 27th Annual Chocolates Galore and More! gala. This will be my third year participating as a Critic’s Choice judge, and my fifth year attending the event. There’s still time to register!
Hope to see you there,
Rebekah

THRILLED to be a judge again at Loudoun County YMCA’s 27th Annual Chocolates Galore and More! gala. This will be my third year participating as a Critic’s Choice judge, and my fifth year attending the event. There’s still time to register!

Hope to see you there,

Rebekah