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Nastasia

Lifestyle Shopping

Where in The World to Find The Best Jewelry

Jewelry is not only beautiful and can carry a special meaning for its wearer, but the story of where the products come from and how they came to be make them even more incredible. There are different specialties for jewelry all around the world depending on what is available and produced locally. For example, there are some cities that have jewels as their specialty and where you can go only there to get the most beautiful pieces of jewelry in the world.

Here are a few places around the world where you can find beautiful jewelry:

Milan

Italy is well-known for its high-quality 100% Made in Italy items. It also has beautiful gold that you can find used to create some beautiful jewelry pieces throughout the country. At a luxury store such as Pisa Orologeria, a watch and jewelry store in Milano, for example you can find luxury watches and accessories. In addition to gold, you’ll find precious jewels, including diamonds and colored stones.

Santa Fe, New Mexico

Santa Fe is a city that is home to a blend of Native American and Hispanic cultures. Some of the most incredible jewelry that you can find and purchase here is turquoise jewelry. It has a special significance in Native American culture, representing life, and it is more precious than gold. You can find beautiful pieces of turquoise jewelry here, including rings, necklaces, bracelets, earrings and more.

Paris

Paris a historic city that is well-known for its blend of the old and of the new. For trendy pieces head to 3rd Arrondissment, but for pieces that are pre-loved and still beautiful, check out flea markets across the city. From gold to sapphires, you can find a whole range of incredible jewelry in the city. Would you expect anything less than the city of fashion?

New York City

New York City is another fashion hub with plenty of luxury items, and you can find beautiful precious metal jewelry here in the famous Diamond District. For example, you can find gold (yellow, white, etc.) and platinum jewelry in accessory types of your choosing.

Hong Kong

Yellow and white diamonds, pearls and more are amongst the beautiful jewelry you’ll find in Hong Kong. Hong Kong is known for having high quality jewelry that is unique and reasonably priced, and recently there are more designers that are coming out with distinct designs that honor the pieces’ origins.

Overall, if you want to buy high-quality gold pieces, Hong Kong is one of the most affordable places to do it.

These are all cities where you find pieces unlike anything else thanks to their unique aesthetics and design talent. Knowing where your jewelry is sourced from as well as designed and created gives an even greater appreciation into the beautiful pieces you use and love.

Travel Planning Trips

Traveling On a Tight Budget: How Next Vacay Can Take You Places

Taking a vacation is the perfect way to disconnect from your busy schedule and reconnect with the world around you. However, if your budget is tight, finding the funds for a lavish trip might feel impossible. Enter Next Vacay, your go-to resource for finding the best flight deals and putting your vacation within reach.

The Breakdown: What Next Vacay Is

Next Vacay is a subscription-based service that gives you access to the best deals on flights to just about anywhere in the world. It’s different from other flight deal service providers in several key ways. First, you only see deals on flights leaving from your nearest airport(s). No more sifting through pages of flights that don’t apply because they’re departing from other states. Your flight deals are customized for your location, allowing you to see where you could travel to for a great price.

Another difference is that Next Vacay’s powerful and innovative system uses advanced technology to search thousands of flight databases. You’re not limited to a single airline or flight site. Instead, you get the best possible deals as soon as they pop up, sent directly to your email. All deals are verified by the Next Vacay team before they are sent, ensuring that you have accurate information to help you make a decision about when to book.

Airlines often sell discounted tickets to fill flights, but those seats tend to go quickly. If you don’t know where to look or you don’t have the time to spend hours sifting through options, you could end up paying more than you have to for a flight. Next Vacay simplifies the process, connecting you with the best possible prices on flights to a wide range of destinations.

Another key difference between Next Vacay and other flight providers is the fact that Next Vacay is not a third-party booking agent. You book directly with the airline via the link sent in the email from Next Vacay. By booking directly, you can eliminate the middleman and ensure that you’re connected to the airline in the event of a flight change or delay.

Who Is Next Vacay For?

Anyone who loves to travel and save money is a prime candidate for Next Vacay. Flexible travelers tend to get the most value out of the subscription, as the deals that pop up may include dates that fall outside your planned vacation time. If you can adjust your departure or return date, even by a few days, you may be able to score a lower price for the flight.

Make the Most of Next Vacay

It’s helpful to have some flexibility in your departure and arrival location. Driving a few hours to a nearby airport could help you save, as could traveling through a larger hub airport and connecting to your final destination on another flight. Successful Next Vacay users also tend to act quickly, which means staying connected to their email. When an alert comes through, you may need to jump on it to get that price. Flight prices change quickly, depending on demand.

How to Find Cheap Flights With Next Vacay

The first step is signing up with Next Vacay, which authorizes the company to start sending you email alerts about cheap flights. The company offers a free trial period of 30 days, allowing you to start your search at no cost. After the trial period ends, the service only costs $25 per year, so it’s an affordable way to save on flights in the long term. During the signup process, you’ll enter your home airport location. If any airports are within a few hundred miles of that location, Next Vacay will include deals leaving from those airports as well.

Get Started 

After you sign up, Next Vacay’s system will begin scanning the databases for flights departing from your nearest airport(s). When any lower-priced tickets pop up in this search, the flight deals team at Next Vacay will verify to determine whether they should be included. You’ll then receive an instant alert after the verification process is successful, which will include details around the ticket price, the range of dates for which that price is available, and the destination. If it looks good to you, click the included link and book your ticket at that affordable rate.

Pros and Cons

Using Next Vacay provides a number of benefits to those who want to score discounts on travel. You can use the system to find flights to destinations all over the globe, including within your home country and to places across Europe, Australia, North and South America, Africa, and Asia. The deals provided via the emailed instant alerts will typically include flights available immediately as well as those up to 10 months out, with a range of dates that allow for some travel flexibility.

If you travel from many different locations and don’t necessarily have a home base, Next Vacay may not be as helpful for you. The system works by searching for deals from your home airport location and other airports within a few hours’ drive, so if you don’t have a location to enter, it won’t be able to perform the database searches. On the bright side, if you have multiple airports you travel out of frequently, you can set up an alert for several, you’ll just need to get in touch with their support team for them to customize your account.

Next Vacay is the most effective if you have some flexibility with your destination and travel dates. If you have firmly set travel plans, Next Vacay can’t guarantee that they’ll find a deal for you to that specific place, within that specific time frame. But, to offer the most flexibility, the team sends deals that are valid up to 10 months away. If you’re able to book quickly, this should still allow you plenty of time to make vacation arrangements at your job. Those who have to request time off and receive approval before booking may also have trouble making the most of Next Vacay, but to offer the most flexibility, the team sends deals that are valid up to 10 months away. If you’re able to book quickly, this should still allow you plenty of time to make vacation arrangements at your job.

No matter your travel budget or where you want to go on your next trip, Next Vacay can help you find affordable flights that make it possible to take that vacation you want to experience. Get started with your free trial and start scoping out the best prices on flights from your nearest airport.

Featured Lifestyle

Items Bringing Us Joy During Social Distancing: Autumn Edition

As we continued to navigate this “new normal” way of life, we’re making the most of the little things that bring joy and we’d love to share those with you as we continue on into the fall season. We do feel that it’s important to continue to stay safe and to find adventures and things to fuel the traveler’s soul within our own hometowns, cities and destinations nearby that don’t require a lot of travel. Now, more than ever it is important to work together during this pandemic so we can all move forward to a brighter future. I’ve been using this time I have in New York City to become more in touch spiritually, in search of healing,  helping others, making my home cozy and treating myself to the little things I’ll be sharing in the post below. I hope they bring you joy too!

Calhoun & Co. Butterfly And Moth Woven Throw Blanket

My mom always used to call me butterfly because she said I’m fragile yet resilient and although I’m always flying away, I eventually come back so it’s no wonder my heart exploded when I found this blanket! Brooklyn based Calhoun & Co. is a gift and home decor line with a mission to bring joy and they do it well. Their inspiration comes from community, friendly faces, interesting places, and spending Saturday morning cozied up with a cup of coffee and their dog, Slug!

Simplify Your Cookware with Just One Magical Do-It All Pan

We don’t know about you but ever since the world went into lock down, cooking has kind of been our new thing and the experience has been enhanced by the brilliant Always Pan by Our Place. Living in New York City comes with its challenges- like not having enough cabinet space but the Always Pan is designed to replace EIGHT traditional pieces of cookware! It acts as fry pan, saute pan, steamer, skillet, saucier, saucepan, non-stick pan, spatula, and spoon rest. It’s also GORGEOUS. Our Place also offers stylish and really well made dinnerware and glassware.

We also greatly admire the founder, Shiza Shahid who is also the co-founder of the Malala Fund.

Relax with Hemp CBD

We all know 2020 has not been easy for majority of us. heck, we wouldn’t even be sitting here writing this post right now if it weren’t for all of the drastic changes happening in the world! We would probably be relaxing on a beach in Greece but here we are in our home city of New York, anxiously waiting for better days. One way I’ve been able to stay as relaxed and chill as I can be is by taking KindUrth™ Organic Hemp CBD gummies. They have been a lifesaver! I’e tried many other brands but they just didn’t do it for me until I tried KindUrth™.  Organically grown in the USA  and are non-gmo, vegan, gluten free and 3rd Party Lab tested for purity and quality. My favorites are the 1500 mg Premium CBD Gummies (THC Free).

Cozy Jacket by Heartloom

For those quick runs to the grocery store or outdoor dining with friends, we love the super cool Patrice Jacket by Heartloom.

Olive & June The Nailfie Ready Box

We are huge fans of Olive & June, based  and now even more so with these gorgeous fall colors! The box includes an 8-piece mani system of tools and products to help you achieve the prettiest mani from home.  It doesn’t hurt that their branding and packaging are absolutely brilliant, fully quipped with even a holder to prop your phone so you can have FT manis with friends!

Silk Masks by Claire & Clara

Being in New York City during the entire lockdown and witnessing everything we did during those few months has made us huge advocates of wearing masks as evidenced by the way New Yorkers truly flatted the curve and it has stayed that way because majority of us wear masks. With that being said, finding fashionable masks with filters has become a fun hunt! We discovered these gorgeous satin masks by Claire & Clara and were so excite to see that they also include a PM2.5 Filter. *Disclaimer via website: – This is NOT a medical device. This product should NOT be used as a replacement for conventional and approved Personal Protective Equipment (surgical or N-95 masks). The product has not been industry-tested nor has it been NIOSH approved.*

Fresh Work Out Gear by Outdoor Voices to Get You Motivated to Stay Active

I just recently discovered Outdoor Voices for new workout gear and I am in love! I pretty much live in the TechSweat 7/8 Leggings. They’re incredibly comfortable and I love switching it up from the usual Black with their gorgeous Evergreen color. I pair it with the TechSweat Cami Tank Top which has a built-in shelf bra, removable pads, and adjustable straps.

Stay Safe, Sanitized and Give Back with Clean Beauty VIVI Naturals

We’re loving the VIVI Naturals hand sanitizer that comes in a gel or spray form with a blend of Vitamin E, Peppermint Oil, Aloe Vera, Lavender and Ethyl Alochol. All of their products are Vegan and natural: Sulfate, Paraben, Silicon and Phthalate free and are created using clean, feel-good ingredients and packaged using recycled glass, paper and materials that meet the highest environmental standards. I also love their mission of giving back by partnering with Hunger in America & the internationally recognized World Vision Organization.

Get Inspired for Future Trips with Dame Traveler: Live the Spirit of Adventure Coffee Table Book!

Our dream is that the Dame Traveler book transports you to every corner of our beautiful planet. We hope you sift through each page and imagine yourself there, soaking in cultural experiences, scaling mountaintops, learning from locals, discovering new, untouched European towns or road tripping through America.

Even if your travel plans have halted, the world is still your oyster. And we hope each and every page keeps that fire to adventure glowing until the right time comes to hop on that plane. Available at @westelmdumbo, @westelmbroadway, @strandbookstore@mcnallyjackson @rizzolibookstore in nyc and @barnesandnoble @target @blackwellbooks @powellsbooks and more.

Get Cozy at Home with Custom Designs by Sasha Hayatt Designs

We have been living in these gorgeous lounge wear pieces, custom made by Dame Traveler, Sasha Yakoub herself! She’s constantly updating her website and Instagram with new designs so be sure to follow along to stock up on all of the cute coziness for this fall season!

 

Interviews

Interview with Dame Traveler Alaa Razoky

Thanks so much for chatting with us today! Could you tell us a little about your story and what you do, for anyone who doesn’t know you yet!

Hi there, my name is Alaa Razoky. I was born in Baghdad, Iraq and before the age of five, I had already lived in three continents and four countries. Maybe my love for the world started even before I knew it. I am 44 (as of August 29th). I was a teacher for 14 years, then a real estate broker and now I do a little bit of both remotely. I wasn’t always a traveler. In my 20’s, I saved for three years to take a big international trip (about three weeks of travel). As I became more financially stable, the trips increased. The turning point was when I was 33 years old and living my best life in New York City. I told myself that if I wasn’t married by 33 and looking to start a family, I was going to truly enjoy my life and really TRAVEL THE WORLD. I left NYC, moved to CA, where my family is, and started to plan. In the fall of 2010, I went to Belize for a week, came back home for 36 hours and turned around and headed to Australia, New Zealand and Fiji for five weeks. That was the beginning of my crazy travel life. Then I decided to set a goal: seven continents before I turn 40. Even though I had hit North America, Europe and Asia already, I had to touchdown on all seven in the seven years until my 40th birthday. Let me tell you this, there hasn’t been a goal I have set that I haven’t met. Two weeks before I turned 40, I touched down in the US after spending a month in Africa. That was continent #7.

Tell us a bit more about the trip that changed your life

Africa. I love that continent so much. I spent a month in Tanzania, Zanzibar (Tanzania), Zambia, Botswana, and South Africa. Aside from the amazing safaris, it was the people and their lives that touched my heart the most. I was in the land of extreme poverty and the highest rate of disease but yet I encountered the kindest, bighearted and happiest people in all my travels. It confirmed that you don’t need much to be at peace, to be content. I know they struggle daily but they smile, they enjoy barefooted dances in the streets and small gatherings among those they love and cherish the most. The farthest thing from a spoiled society but yet they know how to find a little happiness in everything that they do. They have a special gift and I don’t think this is something you can encounter unless you step foot onto this continent.

What has been your favorite destination so far and why?

This is one of the hardest questions to answer. How about a list my favorite city and /or country in every continent? Obviously that’s hard for Antarctica but I can do the rest. Here goes:

North America-New York City, USA: I have loved this city ever since I was in high school. I’m sure a lot of people fall in love with NYC even before stepping foot so I was no different than most. However, I spent my early 30’s living in the Big Apple when I was financially stable and could truly live it up in NYC. Anything you want to do you can do in New York. Best years of my life. I would not rule out moving back there sometime in the future.

South America-Buenos Aires, Argentina, known as the Paris of South America, BA has its own charm. The food is unbelievable, the people are kind, the city is beautiful and very fun. One thing you won’t see a ton of in BA is designer stores because of a tax placed on imported goods. It makes it more authentic than most cities. c) Africa-Serengeti, Tanzania-Animals, animals, animals. The number of animals you see in the Serengeti National Park is unbelievable. What’s even more wonderful is how protected this land and its inhabitants are. It’s a different side of Africa and it is amazing!

Australia-Whitsunday Islands, Australia-Imagine sailing for three days in the Great Barrier Reef amongst the Whitsunday Islands. We saw so much daily but the most spectacular sight, other than an abundance of coral underwater, was the stop we made to Whitehaven Beach. It is the WHITEST and SOFEST sand you will ever step foot on. It was pure heaven.  

Europe-Paris, France-I mean, it’s the city of love. It oozes romance, beauty, love, style and class. Yes, the French have a reputation for being rude but they’re not all like that. I have been there three times and I never get bored or sick of it. I love the language (studied nine years when I was schooled in Canada but far from fluent), the food (escargot and beef tartare), French wine and seeing a metropolitan city light up at night. I just love everything about Paris!

Asia-Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Vietnam-It’s hard to imagine that this city in a communist country that endured such brutality in the Vietnam War is as amazing as it is (be sure to learn about the war when you’re there). The food will blow you away, the city has views that are beautiful from many directions, it’s a bustling city, lots of markets and shopping but most importantly, the kindness of the Vietnamese people just warms your heart.

Through your experiences, what has travel taught you? What lessons does travel bring to those who experience it?

Travel has taught me that we are incredibly lucky and blessed in the US. When you see how others live, how little they need to get by and how they truly survive on the necessities, it is quite amazing. It has caused me to not live lavishly and constantly purchase things I don’t necessarily need. I am more humble because of this and I have chosen to help people around the world.

Have you ever faced any hard circumstances or issues as a female traveler? 

Once I was followed by a man in Italy. It was in a busy area so initially I didn’t know if it was just a coincidence or if he was really following me. I kept looking back and he was still there. I would dip into a store and as I walked out, I saw him waiting and then continue to follow me. It wasn’t until I ran into a store and pointed the guy out that the man took off running and I never saw him again. Another time La Paz, Bolivia, I was told never to hail a taxi on the street and never to walk at night. I followed those rules. Recently in Quito, Ecuador, I knew two people who had been mugged. Having this information, I decided to get rid of my purse and put my ID, credit card and money in one pocket and my cell phone in another pocket. If they didn’t see me physically carrying anything, I wasn’t of interest to them.

 Other than that, I follow warnings and guidelines while traveling in all countries.

What piece of advice would you give to women who would like to travel but are afraid to? 

It’s one of the best things I have ever done in my life. I have met tons of friends who I see occasionally, have met men that could have been potential mates, learned so much, more than a textbook could teach me, and can do what I want when I want without having to worry about someone else. If you worry about being lonely, you won’t be. The people you meet along the way will be more than happy to do things with you.

Why do you think it’s important for women, specifically, to explore the world?

I am a very independent woman and I believe that’s an important characteristic in females. If we follow the traditional path in life such as school, marriage, kids, we get so wrapped up in working and taking care of our family that we rarely have time for ourselves. I see it a lot in women who took this path. How wonderful would it be to have the freedom to travel, see the world, experience the globe for yourself before you settle into domestic life. To me, you’ll look back and be glad you did that before you made the huge commitment to do the other life events.

Fun fact

One thing I have been doing is buying gems from locations that mine them. So far, I have a tanzanite from Tanzania, a ruby from Vietnam and an emerald from Colombia. I then have them set when I return home and the result is amazing. I will send you pictures of those as well.

Also, I take all my own photos. I don’t have any formal training. Sometimes I get lucky with great shots and sometimes I don’t. I don’t journal when I travel as I feel my photos tell the stories I want to tell. With that said, I started an Instagram account @missworldwide that showcases my photos, gives a brief description and certain posts are connected to some travel writing I do for a lifestyle magazine, Nspire Magazine, located in the Pacific Northwest. I don’t know where this will take me but I wanted to share my joy of traveling with others around the world and hopefully inspire women to travel solo to find themselves, find happiness and true contentment.

 

Europe

Tips for a First-Timer Visiting the United Kingdom

The UK is among the world’s most popular tourist destinations. English-speaking, prosperous and full of history, it has a great deal to offer. But what should first-time visitors do to prepare for their arrival?

What is the UK?

This is one of those countries, like the Netherlands, which presents a few opportunities for confusion. Indeed, many of the natives might struggle to tell you exactly what the difference is.  There are actually three countries which comprise Great Britain: namely England, Scotland and Wales. A fourth comes in the form of Northern Ireland, to create The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The British Isles isn’t a country; it’s just the name for the landmass.

Public Transport

While the trains and buses don’t meet quite the same standard as set on mainland Europe, they’re still the easiest way for a new arrival to get from one place to another. Car rentals and taxis can be extremely expensive, especially if you’re traveling frequently. For example, the train from Eastbourne is a safe bet for those looking to head to Hastings to check out the battlefield and the beach.

Etiquette

When visiting any new country, it’s worth getting to grips with the local customs concerning etiquette. To begin with, the British know how to form an orderly line, and will take a pretty dim view of anyone attempting to push in. In the UK, the chance of any new arrival causing a serious commotion are fairly small; at worst, you’ll probably get a pointed tutting, or an “excuse me.”

The Currency

The currency is sterling. Notes come in fives, tens and twenties (and, very occasionally, fifties). You might find different sorts of notes if you’re in Scotland. These notes are legal tender everywhere, as Scottish people will never tire of telling you.

The Weather

The UK has a famously temperate climate, being surrounded by water. You won’t get extremes of heat or cold, and you can expect to be rained on at least once, even if you’re heading there at the height of summer.

City or Country?

The UK is quite a small country, especially compared to the United States. As such, you’ll find quite a lot of variety crammed into just a small area. You might use a city as a base of operations, and from there venture out into the countryside. London tends to take the lion’s share of the tourist traffic, but there are other places in the country worth visiting – and you may find that the cost of things in smaller towns is markedly lower.

When to Go

The UK provides plenty of distraction throughout the year. If you’re travelling in summer, then you’ll benefit from the traditional seaside and city breaks – though you should be aware that the prices will rise accordingly. At winter time, there’s more of an emphasis on indoor attractions. Some of the country’s outdoor adventures are best undertaken during autumn and spring. The countryside looks its best at this time of year, but you’ll still get a full day of sunshine.

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