Category Archives: travel

18 Hours in Stockholm

In the nearly 10 years that I’ve been writing this blog, I have been colossally terrible at writing about my travels (which is a shame, since I’ve traveled a lot.) I’m trying to get better, but honestly, no promises. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

With that said…the last leg of my New Year’s trip this year was life-changing, life-affirming, and so very worth writing about.

A bit of background on me: I was adopted as a baby. My birth mother’s family was Swedish and British; my birth father’s family was all Swedish. My birth parents met each other in Sweden, where my birth mother was studying abroad. I’ve known I’m of Swedish heritage since high school, but I’d never been there, and honestly, don’t know a ton about Sweden…though I’ve now started listening to the Sweden And… podcast to learn more.

A bit of background on the trip: we were flying home to NYC from Marrakech, and our options included either an overnight layover in Stockholm or in Amsterdam. Clearly, I hopped on the Stockholm option. Meg asked me why I’d never been to Sweden before when I’d so clearly wanted to…and I’m not sure I have a good reason, other than fear? But I’m glad something gave me a reason to go…

I wish everyone could have a friend who’s as good to travel with as Meg is. She’s super smart and organized, and very savvy since she’s well-traveled. Our flight got in around midnight on Saturday night, and we flew out around 5pm on Sunday. Meg suggested we stay at the airport’s hotel, to cut down on time getting into the city late after the flight and then back out to the airport to fly home. We stayed at the Radisson Blu Arlanda. After 10 days of the beautiful old riads in Morocco, we were beyond grateful for a more modern hotel with an excellent heater.

By the time we got down to breakfast it was 9am. We were planning on being back to the airport by 3:30, so we really only had 6.5 waking hours in Stockholm. After a quick breakfast at the airport hotel, it was off to Stockholm we went! The airport is about 25 miles away from downtown, so we took the Airport Express train, which takes you straight into downtown.

From there, we had an ambitious agenda planned:


Fabrique Sweden

This was a cute coffee chain we found on Instagram. Swedish people are OBSESSED with their coffee (me too!), and we loved this cozy little coffee shop. I don’t know if it’s a common Swedish thing (or that we were in a major city) or if I’m stretching here to figure out what’s nurture and what’s nature, but in our coffee experiences, we found non-dairy milks incredibly easy to find.

Swedish Royal Palace

Swedish Royal Palace

This palace was nothing short of amazing. It’s still completely functional, so it was super cool to see rooms that were still used for state dinners (see above!) or hosting visiting dignitaries.

Old Town Stockholm

We walked through Old Town Stockholm, and despite my inadvertently stopping to take this pic in front of a gazillion chain stores…this was a super charming area.

Omnipollos Hatt

Omnipollos Hatt

Meg is a beer person, and apparently this is a kind of big deal beer place—it was also including the NYT’s 36 Hours in Stockholm. They’re known for their stouts and sours…so we ordered one of each and shared them. The thing we kept remarking in both Stockholm and Barcelona: even though bars or restaurants were crowded, they were never so loud that you couldn’t hear, unlike here in NYC. If we didn’t have a flight to catch, and one more stop on our self-imposed itinerary, we could have sat here all afternoon.


Kvarnen Stockholm

I’d read that this restaurant was the real deal for Swedish food and a Swedish beer hall, so I wanted to stop here—and this was my favorite stop all day. I was dying to tell a real Swede that I had a Swedish background and it was my first time there—and our bartender responded by saying that she actually was surprised to hear me speaking English because she was convinced I was Swedish. MADE. MY. DAY.

As we made our way back to the airport on the train, I cried happy tears—so, so grateful that I’d had a taste of where I came from. I loved Stockholm, even from this tiny taste, and I plan on going back to see more…in warmer weather. I’ve never felt so at home anywhere else in the world, and it was such a heartwarming feeling. (Don’t worry Dad, I’m not moving there.)

Four Great Days in LA

I am back from LA with my dreams and my cardigans, and my heart is full after five days in the sun with friends.

Ever since visiting there just weeks after my mom died (and then, again after my birthday), I’ve held a special place in my heart for the city. So, the week before last, after feeling particularly rough again for a few weeks, I booked a flight there on a whim, and I’m so glad I did.

(Speaking of particularly rough, I am really proud of this article I wrote for Women’s Health on my experience with depression and hospitalization.)

In the 3.5 days I was there, I visited the beach three times. NOT MAD. Upon landing, I picked up my rental car (pro tip: I generally use the Delta portal so I can get miles for car rental—you get 500 just for booking and then 500 per day, but otherwise I use Priceline and get some awesome deals) and headed straight for the beach!

hermosa beach












Hello from Hermosa beach!

Apparently I brought June Gloom with me, but I’m still not mad.

I kept talking about how I wanted to spend a lot of time at the beach while I was out there…and of course, forgot a bathing suit. I headed to Target, and I ended up getting the bikini top in this cut (I joke to friends that I’m a “boobfluencer” because my links that do the best are for bras or bathing suit tops) and the bottom in this one. Just a heads-up that the top seems to run a bit big—I got my normal 36D and it was a little too big. I was fresh out of fucks and didn’t even try it on.

Hermosa Beach













I sat in the sand and talked to an old friend on the phone for a long time, as I gazed out at the waves, feeling content and loved. For dinner, I met my dear friend Jordan  at Love and Salt. The food wasn’t bad by any means, it was fine, but the company and the ambiance were better!

Sweat Yoga Santa Monica

I’ve been a ClassPass user (on my own dime, nothing sponsored here) for quite a few years now, and one of my favorite things about the service is that when you travel to other cities, you can flex your membership and use it there. (This link gets both of us $40 off, if you’re a new member.) So, obviously I had to try a class! I had Santa Monica beach plans, so I tried Sweat Yoga. Omg. First of all, 11/10, would yoga again. The class is a sweaty beast with weights, similar to CorePower Yoga. There were several flow-on-your-owns, similar to Y7, which I don’t love, but overall I really enjoyed the class sequencing, and I got an amazing workout and was probably sweatier than I have ever been. NOT KIDDING.


Santa Monica Beach










Another day, another beach, and I met Amy for some beach and catch-up time. Of COURSE the sun came out the second I left the beach. Oh well.

Tocaya Organica Tacos Santa Monica













I asked Amy for a taco rec, and she told me Tocaya Organica was great, and she was not wrong! For dinner, I was staying with Jen, and her boss treated us for dinner at The Tower Bar, and we rolled home in food comas.


On Saturday, I did all the activities! I had not yet surfed in LA, so it was on the top of my list. I ended up going with Aloha Brothers for my lesson, mainly for ease of booking online + price, and I was not disappointed…with them. Me? Let’s just say there’s plenty of room to improve in my surfing game. I think I’m just going to practice surfer get-ups in my living room.

But, as I said on Instagram, surfing is my favorite thing that I suck at. When I do get up on that board, even if it’s only halfway, only for half a second, it’s so so worth all the falling down. (There’s also probably a life metaphor in there…)

And, I get beach hair, so it’s also worth it.

But why stop at surfing? Meggie and I have talked FOR YEARS about playing tennis together, and it only took her moving 3000 miles away for us to finally make it happen.

tennis boot camp













We played with the Dial Jones Tennis Academy, and did a tennis boot camp which was a mix of tennis drills + bodyweight exercises. I’m so out of practice playing tennis (hello, NYC buds? anyone wanna play?) but it still brings me so much joy. (It was my first sport love before running.)  After these two intense workouts in the sun, I collapsed on Jen’s couch for a while…

malibu pier










Before we drove up to the Malibu pier for dinner. We sat out there at the end, overlooking the water.




















Sunday morning, we drove up to the adorable Ojai, and I fell in love with this OUTDOOR BOOKSTORE. May I move in?


Plant Food + Wine












And then I had brunch with my college friend, Shelley, and her MUFFIN OF A DOG, Lydia. We went to Plant Food + Wine, a delicious vegan spot on Abbot Kinney in Venice. It’s the kind of vegan that’s actually just vegetables, not a bunch of fake stuff pretending to be meat, and it was amazing.

We strolled Abbot Kinney afterwards, and you’d think Lydia was mayor of Venice for all the times she got stopped!

All in all, exactly the LA visit I needed to recharge my batteries and restore some peace in my life as I approach the year anniversary of losing my mom. Looking for more LA in NYC moments 🙂