How to Be Successful on Instagram: The Basics

Continuing the series I started last month, How to Be Successful on Instagram, I want to start with a confession and then talk about the basics that anyone who uses the app more than casually should be trying to stick to.

How To Be Successful on Instagram: The Basics
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Kirsten Alana - Too funny!! And yet I’m also so glad to read that, Holly. Thank you :)

Holly - Funny thing about your long captions; when I first started following you on Instagram, I remember thinking “What is she doing? Aren’t captions that long exactly what they tell you not to do?” But I pretty quickly discovered that I love all the extra info you give!

How to Spend a Spring Weekend in Texas

Texas Tourism, the City of Austin, Fredericksburg and the Four Seasons Austin invited me down to Texas but as always with sponsored travel, all opinions are entirely my own.

I was looking forward to visiting Texas for the weekend during Spring wildflower season, but I was really happy to say yes when I found out that also on the trip would be my friend Christine of the fantastic blog, C’est Christine. I visited Texas a number of times during college in Arkansas, when a friend’s parents were so welcoming as to give us an open invitation down to the Dallas/Ft. Worth area. But I’d never done more than drive by Austin. Yet every year, living in NYC, I hear about how amazing it is from all the people returning from SXSW. Another great resource for me before visiting, was the show Best Bars in America on Esquire Network. When they visited Austin, the episode was filled with fun, great stories, interesting locals and above all: great craft beer and artisan cocktails. I couldn’t wait to discover Austin for myself.

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The Complete Guide to Where to Dine and Drink in Scottsdale

I’ve been a guest of the Scottsdale CVB now two times for the purposes of research and though some of these referenced experiences were made possible by them, even in such a case, all opinions are my own as always.

Incredulity seems to be a common reaction when I tell people how amazing Scottsdale, Arizona is. Especially as a food town. But it is. Amazing. Especially for those people, like myself, who like to celebrate life and all its beauty by dining and drinking.

In order to support my case, I decided to compile as complete a list as possible of all the best places to fill one’s belly in the greater Scottsdale (sometimes Phoenix) area. Of course, I haven’t yet been everywhere, but I will confess I made the title for SEO purposes primarily and since I love Scottsdale so much, I do plan to add to this list with future trips!


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Lindsay - Your photos are stunning! I think I’ll start with cocktails at the Jade Bar and then scoot over to the ice cream bar. Hope to visit Scottsdale one day!

Kimberly Killebrew - Oh. my. gosh! Scrolling through these pictures were sheer torture – in a good way! 😉 My husband’s from Mesa with family in Scottsdale. It really is a great place for terrific food. Thanks for sharing and for all these fabulous recommendations!

Carrie @Frugal Foodie Mama - I have never been to Scottsdale myself (yet!), but I think that would have no problem eating and drinking my way through the city, lol. 😉 LOVE that it has such an active craft beer scene there. The Sip Coffee & Beer sounds right up my coffee addict, craft beer loving alley.

Andi - I have been to Phoenix many, many times but looks like I have missed something really amazing in Scottsdale. I need to make time to head that direction, and when I do I am just going to follow your eating and drinking itinerary because it looks amazeballs!

Julie - this is totally comprehensive – thank you, and I’m bookmarking now! I am particularly enthralled with the place that does coffee + beer. Why don’t more places do this? It’s amazing and I have had literally countless situations with friends when, inevitably mid-afternoon, someone will want a coffee and someone will want a beer. And two stops are made. Genius.

Kirsten Alana - I’m so glad you agree about Scottsdale, Lauren! I still have a hard time when people don’t want to believe that. I’m a huge fan!! Glad you like the guide.

Kirsten Alana - Yay!!! This is exactly why I blog, Emily. To help people like you. I’m so glad this will come in handy. And I hope you’ll keep in touch and let me know places that you discover which I don’t yet know about! 😉

Emily - THANK YOU for this!! I’m moving to Scottsdale this summer (in July, because I’m crazy and love to torture myself with hot weather, apparently) with my boyfriend. He grew up there and wants to move back, so this Midwest/East Coast girl is on a new adventure, one that I hope will include LOTS of eating and drinking. I haven’t read through the whole thing yet, but I pinned it and plan to work my way through it soon. :)

Lauren - Scottsdale, Arizona is a wonderful place to visit. Thanks for sharing this guide of what to do when visiting!

United Airlines and the Tribeca Film Festival

I was given free entry to the event mentioned in this post but otherwise, I have no relationship with United Airlines and I was not compensated for sharing this information with you. All opinions are, as always, my own.

I love movies! Dante and I love movies! Not a week goes by that we’re not watching some movie. So almost any news to do with movies, gets me excited, and when United Airlines invited me to the Tribeca Film Festival for a screening of the movie Anesthesia, I couldn’t resist the chance to see a movie and learn more about United’s commitment to independent film. 

United Airlines and the Tribeca Film Festival

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Kirsten Alana - Yes we do!!

Connie Hum - Great photos! Now we need to figure out which Broadway show to go watch together and when!

Capturing the Beauty of Spring in New York City

I’m asked fairly often what, in my opinion, is the best time in which to visit New York City. My pick is springtime! But take a look at these photos and tell me whether or not you agree…


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Deborah - I have always wanted to see NYC in the spring. Absolutely breathtaking!!

Nutmeg Nanny - These are such beautiful pictures! I love NYC in the spring. Living just a little north of the city I always take the time to head down in the spring just to take it all in.

Lindsay - Gorgeous photos! I think springtime is the most beautiful time of year, too. So lovely after a drab winter. Thanks for capturing it and sharing!

@Travelpanties - You’ve done it again! Such stunning photographs. I think you captured spring in NYC perfectly! You may have possibly made it look even more gorgeous. I never want it to end! So many flowers, so little time!!

Ashley | Spoonful of Flavor - Simply beautiful! I need to place a trip to the city just so that I can visit the Brooklyn botanical garden. I love when everything is blooming, so pretty!

We're the Russos - These photos are amazing! So glad we stumbled upon this post. Definitely adding Brooklyn Botanic Gardens to our list of places to visit. Thanks for sharing.

Toni | BoulderLocavore - Such a beautiful tour of the gardens! Your photos are fantastic and I was going to ask what lens you used! Thanks for posting it. We are expecting cold rain this weekend in the west. Will be visiting this post again for a spring pick-me-up.

Carrie @Frugal Foodie Mama - Gorgeous photos! I have only been to NYC in November right before Christmas and that was pretty magical.. but New York City in spring looks just as magical! :) I definitely want to plan a visit there during a warmer season. Thank you for sharing these!

Joseph - Love these shots! What a gorgeous day captured in amazing photos.

Kimberly - Oh, this is so gorgeous, LOVE it!! Absolutely fabulous and inspiring photos, Kirsten, thanks for sharing!

Christina - Oh my! I think I’d have to agree! I had no idea that New York would every looks this beautiful! I missed seeing the cherry blossoms in DC by 2 days, two years ago, so I have never seen anything like your photos myself, yet.

I’ve only been to NYC once, but am dying to return…hopefully in the springtime!

Kirsten Alana - Thank you, Cathy! And I hope you are able to visit next year and see it for yourself!

Cathy Pollak ~ Noble Pig - Absolutely gorgeous shots. I have never experienced New York in Spring…need to change that!

Kirsten Alana - Thank you so much for your comment, Glen! No macro lens, just a trusty prime that I love. It’s all in knowing how to get the most out of a lens. And I hope you *do* visit NYC in Spring!

Glenn Manderson - Kirsten, love the colour and especially the detail in your shots; felt I was in Japan as opposed to New York until near the end. Thought you might have used a macro lens for some but then found you only used one lens which is not in my repertoire – yet. I have been to New York in all seasons but the Spring so will have to put it on the agenda for next year.