Author: hoanth01

Must Do’s: Oxford, England

I traveled to Oxford for work several times over the past few years and fell completely in love with this English city.  Oxford is full of picturesque historical buildings that have been perfectly preserved.  You feel like you are walking through history along the cobble stone pathways.  The local myth is that Hitler wanted to make Oxford his new headquarter and therefore ordered for it to be “left alone” during WWII.  We are fortunate enough to have this city  preserved for our enjoyment. It’s also favorite location for the film industry.  You might feel a sense of familiarity with the buildings as Harry Potter was filmed at Christ Church, Bodleian Library and New College.  Downtown Abbey also used Oxfordshire (the suburbs of Oxford) for their filming locations. For more information on locations used by the film industry, click on Film locations. Here are my recommendations for Oxford. Getting to Oxford: Oxford is a close day trip for those staying in London.  I normally fly into London and stay a day or two to visit friends before heading to Oxford.  My …

4 Essential Drug Store Items For Travel

I have traveled  more than 30+ countries in the past 10 years  for work and have learned from experience on the travel essentials. I often stay several weeks in a foreign country at a time or a few days depending on the assignments.  The four items that are always in my luggage are budget friendly drug store items that are also multi-purpose. These are my must haves for traveling. Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser for Face & Body Travel Size Source:  Target This try and true sensitive skin cleanser is great for washing your face and body in a foreign environment. The local water can range from soft to hard water and this product helps offset any skin irritation. It’s a great face wash. However you still need to take your makeup off first with a makeup remover for it to be effective. It can also be used as shaving gel to give you a closer shave. Johnson’s Baby Oil Travel Size Source:  Target I have used baby oil for years to moisturize my skin after a hot shower. It is cheap …

Weekend Unexplored: Portland, Maine and surrounding area

Portland, Maine, is a quick 2 hour drive north of Boston, making it a perfect weekend trip.  My husband and I fell in love with Maine few years ago, especially Portland and its surrounding areas.  You can find beautiful scenic sights, plenty of outdoor activities, antiquing, great food scene and, of course, lobster rolls.  After so many years, we have perfected our weekend trip itinerary and where to take our “out of town” guests.  Here are some of our favorites and make sure to also scroll all the way to the end for our sample weekend itinerary. HOTELS The Press Hotel (119 Exchange St, Portland, ME 04101) Website Source: Instyle *If you are a history buff, then Press Hotel is a must stay.  The hotel used to be the Gannett Building that housed the offices and printing plant of the Portland Press Herald.  The building was converted to a hotel after the newspaper shut down in 2010.  The hotel has vintage-styled furniture juxtaposed against contemporary interiors and playful newsroom references making it my favorite hotel in Portland. …

Boston Spotlight: Finding Hidden Sushi Gems

After getting a thorough education on sushi during my time in Japan and my 8 years living in NYC, I considered myself knowledgeable enough on quality sushi.  Ever since I moved to Boston three years ago, I have been on a mission to find quality sushi around the Boston area. My definition of quality includes freshness, authenticity and creativity. I am a purist so I generally stick to only sushi or sashimi and always try to go for an Omakase.  Boston doesn’t lack the abundance of sushi restaurants, but good quality sushi is hard to come by.  I spent hours trying to find the “hidden gems” and scouring “Eaters Boston” and “Yelp” for recommendations and coming back a little disappointed each time.  The sushi god has  finally led me to 2  worthy restaurants that can go “toe to toe” with the best of them.  They have the killer combo of amazing sushi or sashimi and a reasonable price point. Cafe Sushi (1105 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02138; Cafe Sushsi Website) After eyeing this restaurant for quite some time, …

Provencial Lamb Chops & Grilled Tomatoes

One thing I learned while living in France for a year is this deceptively simple and delicious recipe for grilled lamb. Herbes de Provence is a mixture of dried herbes that is typical of the Provence area in France. The mixture can be found in any market and includes savory, marjoram, rosemary, thyme, oregano, lavender and other herbes. I was inspired to write up this recipe from my recent trip to Provence where I purchased the most fragrant fresh bag of Herbes de Provence right from the source. This recipe is rated easy and takes half an hour to prepare and serve 2 – 4 people. The marinade time is for 6 hours. Ingredients: 1 pound of lamb cuts (shoulders, blades, etc…) 1 teaspoon of wild honey 2 teaspoons of Herbes de Provence 1/4 teaspoon of either khosher or sea salt 1/4 teaspoon of pepper 2 garlic cloves finely minced 1  red onions thinly sliced 2 tablespoons of olive oil 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard a few heirloom tomatoes or …

Hotel Review: Millennium Bailey’s Hotel (London)

I am a huge fan of BBC shows that showcase 18th century London scenery. There is something ultra romantic about the ornate mansions and row houses around the city. I can imagine the Victorian ladies with their lace parasols taking a stroll around the block. For my trip to London, I decided to stay in a converted mansion instead of the usual hotel chains.  Millennium Bailey’s Hotel came up during my search and  I fell in love with the impressive 19th century London mansion that is situated in the affluent Kensington area.  Let’s find out if the interior and hospitality are just as impressive. Address: 140 Gloucester Road, London, SW7 4QH, United Kingdom PROS: The hotel is perfected located for sightseeing. You can walk to the Natural History Museum, Hyde Park, Kensington Gardens and of course, the Palace. It is conveniently located across the London tube Gloucester Road station. The rooms are recently renovated and has a highly stylized decor. It conveys a the hip boutique hotel vibe. There are plenty of mirrors and good lighting for girls to …

Air France (AF):  How does the AF’s premium economy stack up to other airlines?

Over the past few years, airlines have created the premium economy class to meet the demands of its customers for a class between  cramped economy and expensive business. This premium class is offered on international flights due to generally long distances traveled and customers’ desire for little bit more leg room. Air France is one carrier that recently revamped its premium economy class and we tested the offer on our recent trip from New York to Portugal. Flight: Premium Economy from NY JFK connecting at Paris-CDG airport with the final destination arriving in Lisbon on Boeing 777-300ER. Lounge Access: None. Non-business passengers do not have lounge access. Priority Line: Premium class customers have Sky Priority access which really is the only perk to the economy premium class. Sky Priority is reserved for Premium, Business and First class customers. You will enter through the expedited passport, customs and boarding line. Sky Priority is worth it if you have a connecting flight in Paris. The passport and security line is very short for Sky Priority which is necessary for going …