Los Angeles Bachelorette Party: 7 Things to Do Before You Say “I Do”

Los Angeles Bachelorette Party: 7 Things to Do Before You Say “I Do”

A bachelorette party is my favorite excuse for a girls-only getaway, and what better destination than the sunkissed California coast? Here’s what to include on your prenup party itinerary in La La Land.

1 – Boozy Brunch at The Bungalow, Santa Monica

Come for the bottomless mimosas, stay for the cozy, beach house vibes. Inspired by the laid-back culture of Baja, Mexico, the Bungalow is a rustic chic hideaway that exudes charm — its intimate enclaves are adorned in an eclectic mix of surfboards, sombreros, and playful patchwork floors. As one of Santa Monica’s few beachfront hangouts, you can take your eggs and bubbly with a side of ocean views.

2 – Booty Shaking Yoga at Studio U, Marina Del Rey

Skip the pole dancing class and sweat it out at the wildest fitness class in town: buti yoga. Not your mama’s yoga practice, buti (not to be confused with booty) combines primal movement, tribal dance, and plyometrics all into one seriously hardcore workout, set to the soundtrack of pumping beats. Leave your inhibitions at the door because there’s nothing better than shaking it with your besties.

3 – Beach Barcycle along Abbot Kinney, Venice Beach

If you plan to bar hop the most infamous street in Venice (hint: you should!), pedal your way from bar A to bar B on your very own “barcycle”. This pub-on-wheels makes a few stops at my favorite Venice hotspots — Venice Ale House, Bank of Venice, and Cabo Cantina — but the real party happens on the barcycle where you can blast your favorite tunes as you cruise through town. The ride is BYOB, but it does come with your own dedicated bartender.

4 – Rosé All Day at Malibu Wine Safaris

Sprawling vineyards, open air safari jeeps, and adorable wild animals —  need we say more? Malibu Wine Safari takes you and your gals on a sunny adventure through the breathtakingly beautiful Saddlerock Malibu Estate Vineyards, where you can taste wine among Hollywood’s biggest stars. Animal stars, that is. The vineyard is home to retired animal “actors” including Stanley the giraffe who you may recognize from The Hangover 3.

5 – Rooftop Pool Party at the Standard, Downtown LA

Get your Vegas pool party fix without the 5-hour drive. The Standard boasts the best summer soirees on Sunset Strip, where you can hop in the pool with a marg and soak up those chill west coast vibes. With retro waterbed pods, amazing food, and unparalleled views of downtown, it’s the ultimate place to get your bronze on while celebrating your last days of singlehood.

6 – Dinner and Reality Star Spotting at SUR, West Hollywood

As the setting of my favorite sultry reality TV show Vanderpump Rules, don’t be surprised if you see patrons snapping a photo with a bartender or waitress. SUR (it stands for sexy, unique restaurant) is an opulent wonderland where no detail has been left untouched — the sensual ambiance is complemented by romantic candles, lavish chandeliers, and fresh cut flowers. Go for the goat cheese balls, if nothing else.

7 – Dance Your Heart Out at The Abbey, West Hollywood

Lauded as the world’s best gay bar, The Abbey is what bachelorette party dreams are made of — think multiple dance floors, yummy cocktails, and smoking hot male go-go dancers. This iconic West Hollywood nightclub is hands down the most fun and rowdy place to let loose in LA, and celebrities agree; it’s not uncommon to see Lady Gaga, Lance Bass, or Christina Aguilera drop by on any given night.

Galway Girl: 9 Things to Do in Ireland’s Most Charming City

Galway Girl: 9 Things to Do in Ireland’s Most Charming City

Timeless shops full of character, winding cobblestone streets, and a lively nightlife Galway is everything you expect Ireland to be, wrapped up in a vibrant, bohemian spirit. Read on to discover the things that always top our Galway itinerary.

1 – Indulge in breakfast at Griffin’s.

Start your day with a carbohydrate fix from Galway’s most iconic bakery. Once recognized as the best baker in Ireland, Jimmy Griffin does not shy away from experimental breads (try the seaweed sourdough!), but nothing beats cozying up in the tearoom for a full Irish brekky.

2 – Order a smoothie at the Jungle Cafe.

This palm-fringed, chilled-out oasis near Eyre Square is a peaceful respite from Galway’s rowdy pub scene. The cafe’s funky outdoor patio is full of comfy couches and rattan chairs that will mentally transport you to the tropics.

3 – Shop for a traditional Claddagh Ring.

However you wear it to connote your relationship status, there’s no better souvenir than an Irish claddagh ring. This Irish symbol of loyalty, love, and friendship originated in Galway, and you can get one at Thomas Dillon’s, the oldest jeweler in Ireland that has been making claddagh rings since 1750.

4 – Taste native oysters at the Galway Market.

Every Saturday, the Galway market comes to life with hundreds of stalls selling everything from paintings and pottery to artisan crafts and jewelry. But the best part is the fresh oysters they’re shucked right in front of you and served with a dab of buttermilk.

5 – Sail through Galway Bay.

What better way to explore the west coast of Ireland than to set sail into the wind and relax on your own private yacht? You’re guaranteed to get the most Instagrammable view of the Long Walk, Galway’s famous stretch of colorful homes.

6 – Soak in the outdoor hot tub at Hotel Meyrick.

Complimentary for all guests to use, the rooftop hot tub makes Hotel Meyrick our favorite place to stay in Galway. Melt your worries away while you bask in panoramic views of the city and a cool ocean breeze.

7 – Have afternoon tea at Secret Garden.

An eclectic urban sanctuary and quite possibly the most peaceful place in Galway, Secret Garden is the perfect spot to find your zen. Part tea shop, part art gallery, it’s a gathering space for artistic souls and you can typically catch live music or poetry readings on any given day or night.

8 – Sip a pint of Guinness at Murphy’s Bar.

No trip to the Emerald Isle is complete without savoring the country’s signature tipple at a traditional Irish pub. One of the oldest pubs in Galway, Murphy’s is a true local’s gem that gets packed to the brim every evening.

9 – Dance to live music at Tig Choili.

We would be remiss to write an article about Galway and not include live music! Galway’s pubs are always pumping with traditional Irish music, but our go-to for a good time is Tig Choili, where famous fiddle-playing Irish musicians like Sharon Shannon have been known to drop in.

7 Things to Skip in Dublin (And What to Do Instead)

7 Things to Skip in Dublin (And What to Do Instead)

Whether it’s a quick stopover from London or the first leg of your Ireland adventure, Europe’s “friendliest city” never disappoints. Make the most of your city break by skipping these tourists traps.

#1 Skip the Guinness Storehouse. Go beer tasting at the Open Gate Brewery instead.

From the outside, the Guinness Storehouse reminds us of Willy Wonka’s factory, except it fills Dublin with the scent of hops instead of chocolate. But if you’re a beer lover expecting a glimpse of how Ireland’s most iconic stout is brewed, you will likely be disappointed by the heavily branded, museum-like self-guided “tour”. As the city’s most popular tourist attraction, more than 3,000 Guinness-guzzlers flock to the Storehouse each day, making it nearly impossible to claim your complimentary pint at the famous Gravity Bar.

Just a few blocks away from the Storehouse, the Open Gate Brewery offers a beer-tasting experience that impresses even the most discerning of beer snobs. For over 100 years, this is where brewers have been given full license to explore new recipes or reinvent the old, and it just opened its door to the public last year. You’ll be able to try early, small-batch versions of experimental beers that may or may not end up on taps around the world. The menu is a bit of a secret, but past flavors have included a sea salt and burnt sugar stout, tropical IPA, and apple pie Christmas ale.

#2 Skip the Book of Kells. Visit the Chester Beatty Library instead.

The Book of Kells is arguably the most famous book in the world, which is why you’ll see a painfully long line of people waiting to see it, winding around the courtyard of Trinity College every morning. Completed in 800 AD, the elaborately decorated manuscript is the world’s oldest book and considered one of the great masterpieces of early art. While there’s no denying it’s a beautiful artifact, you have to cram inside a room full of pushy tourists and only get to see two pages.

Skip the fuss and satisfy your appetite for age-old books at the Chester Beatty Library. Although Lonely Planet lauded it as “not just the best museum in Ireland, but one of the best in Europe”, this breathtaking library still manages to fly beneath the tourist radar. Spread over two floors, the exhibit houses more than 20,000 manuscripts, rare books, paintings, and other historically significant artifacts —  heaven for history buffs and bibliophiles alike.

#3 Skip the high-end shops on Grafton Street. Go vintage shopping instead.

With musicians, street performers, flower carts, and pubs, there’s no denying that Grafton Street is buzzing with life. It’s worth a walkthrough to get a feel for the fun, albeit touristy, atmosphere, but if you left extra room in your suitcase for shopping, this is not the place to swipe your credit card. Yes, the street is home to one of our favourite department stores, Brown Thomas, but why waste your vacation time shopping for things you can buy anywhere?

Dublin is a surprisingly rich city when it comes to vintage shopping, and we could easily spend an entire day there sorting through colorful racks of clothing in search of timeless treasures to take home. Set aside time to peruse weird and whimsy pieces at Lucy’s Lounge, shop discounted cashmere at A Store Is Born, and score second-hand Celine and Vuitton at Siopaella.

#4 Skip St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Visit the crypts at St. Michan’s instead.

Built in honor of Ireland’s patron saint (who was reportedly not even Irish!), St. Patrick’s Cathedral is the largest church in Ireland, designed with Gothic architectural elements that give it a somewhat foreboding facade. The edifice holds some important historical artifacts and is full of history itself, but with a relatively high entrance fee and a gift shop in the back, we couldn’t escape the feeling that this church had gone commercial.

We preferred our visit to a church that was far less conspicuous and just a tad bit creepy. Built in 1095, St. Michan’s isn’t much to look at — you might even miss it as you stroll down Church Street — but its mystique is in what lies below. The dark and musky crypts are home to mummies preserved from the 17th century, and their deteriorating coffins are said to have inspired Bram Stoker’s Dracula.

#5 Skip the Jameson Distillery. Tour the Irish Whiskey Museum instead.

We’ve all ordered a Jameson on the rocks to sound cool, but in Dublin it’s a rite of passage. Most tourists only visit the North side of the river Liffey to tour the famed distillery, but much like the Guinness Storehouse, don’t expect a backstage pass to see the distillation process. No whiskey is actually produced here, and the “distillery” is more like a glorified museum (with complimentary Jameson, though).

If you want to gain a broader understanding of the Irishman’s favorite tipple, embark on the hour-long tour at the Irish Whiskey Museum. Not only will you learn a trove of fun facts about the history of whiskey (spoiler alert: it originated in Ireland, not Scotland), but you’ll also get acquainted with several different brands, including Jameson. Whether you’re a whiskey aficionado or not, expect to leave the museum with a warm belly.

#6 Skip Temple Bar Pub. Listen to live music at The Cobblestone instead.

Deemed the “most Instagrammable” place in Dublin, Temple Bar is frequented en masse by thirsty tourists looking for a taste of Dublin nightlife. It looks like the quintessential Irish pub from the outside, but you probably won’t find a single person who’s actually from Ireland on the inside. With expensive pints and dirty bathrooms, we’d say the pub’s one redeeming quality is the live Irish music, but there are better places for that.

Nestled in one of Dublin’s oldest neighborhoods, The Cobblestone is the authentic Irish pub you’ve been looking for — quaint, warm, and intimate with a friendly neighborhood vibe. Serving up creamy pints of Guinness and nightly Irish music jam sessions, it’s by far our favorite place in Dublin to “have a craic”, as the Irish say.

#7 Skip The Blarney Stone. Trek the Howth Coast instead.

Kiss the Blarney Stone and you’ll be granted the gift of gab. Or so they say. A popular day trip from Dublin, the Blarney Stone might just be the most overrated tourist trap in all of Ireland. It’s hard to believe that 400,000 people visit the Blarney Castle every year, climbing 120 steps just to kiss a rock. In case we didn’t already convince you, the Blarney Stone was once recognized as the world’s most unhygienic tourist attraction.

If you’re looking for a worthwhile day trip out of Dublin, stoke up a natural high by hiking the Howth Coast, just 30 minutes outside Dublin. Home to Ireland’s most photographed lighthouse, the landscape ushers you along coastal cliffs and jaw-dropping vistas, allowing you to soak up the natural beauty of Ireland.

Where to Eat and Drink in Dublin

Where to Eat and Drink in Dublin

From pizza buses and Guinness flavored ice cream to Michelin-starred dining in a basement, Dublin’s food scene has something for everyone.

Guilt-Free Breakfast: Honest to Goodness

No trip to Ireland is complete without a full Irish breakfast: bacon, sausage, eggs, and potatoes, cooked to perfection in creamy butter and served with a side of pudding and Irish soda bread. For a slightly healthier take on this artery-clogging hangover cure, grab a table at local favorite Honest to Goodness. Using all-natural ingredients with zero preservatives, this gem of a restaurant doesn’t even have a fryer or microwave, so you can rest assured that your brunch is (somewhat) healthy, wholesome, and fresh.

Pizza and Beer: The Big Blue Bus

Hidden in the backyard of Dublin’s most notoriously hipster pub the Bernard Shaw   The Big Blue Bus is probably the only place in the world where you can grab a slice on top of a double decker bus. We love that the pizza is made with organic and locally sourced ingredients, but the reason we keep coming back is the vibe. Surrounded by funky street art and attracting a friendly, laid-back crowd, the Bus is the perfect summer hangout where you can relax over a cocktail or two.

Fine Dining: Chapter One

Michelin starred but not stuffy, Chapter One is the place to go when you’re feeling a little fancy. The restaurant is set in the former basement of George Jameson (you may know of him from his whiskey), and aims to capture the convivial spirit of the traditional Irish home, while sourcing from local growers and artisans. Splurge on the 8-course tasting menu at the Chef’s Table, which is made from dramatic, highly glazed volcanic rock.

Vegetarian Eats: Cornucopia

Cornucopia is our go-to spot for a filling and flavorful plant-based meal, but you don’t have to be a vegetarian to leave this place feeling full and happy. The menu changes every day and is served buffet style with gigantic portions just be sure to save some room for dessert because the pastries are to die for! Situated in the heart of Dublin, Cornucopia’s quaint dining room fills up fast, so your best bet for grabbing a table is a late lunch or early dinner.

For the Sweet Tooth: Murphy’s Ice Cream

The “best ice cream in the world” is a bold claim, but Murphy’s is definitely up there. The Dingle-based chain was started by two brothers who take pride in knowing where their ingredients come from they use milk from their own cows, make their own sea salt, and shy away from artificial flavors, coloring, and powdered milk. While Murphy’s ingredients are simple, their flavors are anything but. We’re still dreaming of their signature Guinness and caramelized brown bread ice cream!