Misha Gillingham


I’ve been beyond blessed to have been able to travel to 5 countries in the last 5 weeks, but I am way behind on all my travel posts. So this morning when I needed a little motivation I visited Misha’s new lingerie blog FAIR VERONA, and became instantly inspired by how she has managed to travel her way through Asia, (Tokyo, Beijing, and today the Great Wall of China!), while still blogging and looking hot! I can’t think of anything sexier than a lingerie travel blog… Except for pink onesies! Haha!

Dorking out with Misha in our super sexy pink onesies! LOL

Dorking out with Misha in our super sexy “Moose Caboose” onesies! LOL

Not exactly the kind of lingerie he had in mind but your mom will love it...

Not exactly the kind of lingerie he had in mind but your mom will love it…

Follow Misha's travels through Asia...

Follow Misha’s travels through Asia…

Follow Misha's travels around the world in lingerie at www.fairverona.com

…And around the world in lingerie at www.fairverona.com

Dorkspiration: Never grow up! Don’t take yourself too seriously! Never lose your wonderment with life. Dream. Discover. Love. Travel. Inspire. Change the World… And laugh while you’re doing it all! xo, Vanessa Rivers

A Desert Paradise

I am more then ecstatic to announce that I just received word of my upcoming trip to Amangiri. In 6 days from now, I get to cross this Grand Canyon luxury Resort off of my bucket list! But even more exciting are the intrepid desert adventures awaiting me. Be sure to follow our Instagram for trip photos!









Plitvice Waterfalls






A Balinese Beach BBQ


There is sand in my hair and my skin is covered in salt from the ocean. I love it. Our guide at Amankila leads us from our private suite down a candlelit sandy path. We eagerly trek on down the cliffside to a large grassy area lined with palm trees and tropical flowers. After making our our way through the trees we could see little bits of sandy beach peeking through at us. Here is where we got to meet the local chefs who are preparing our “beach BBQ” private dinner.

Once our feet make it to the white sand we notice a stack of logs where they intend to light a romantic beachside bonfire. They had cleared the entire beach for just us. This was our little slice of heaven for the night, and forever in our memories. A few steps further and we see the enchanting little dining set up they have arranged for us, right there on the sand. Nestled back in the trees behind it, a thatched roof daybed with pillows and blankets awaits our arrival. A perfect spot to cosy up and watch the sunset with a drink in hand, while our dinner is prepared. As the sun lowers it’s blazing face behind the ocean it spurts out bright colors of pink, orange, and yellow. This picturesque sky has been painted with bliss, seemingly just to quench my never-ending thirst for nature’s awing beauty. (or so I like to believe). Our server brings us a cold glass of chardonnay. I become overwhelmed with my inner contentment. I feel so alive. I am so far from home, in such a different world, in all this beauty. I am in sensory overload and I know that moments like this don’t come easy. “Bapak and Ibu, your meal is ready.” They called my husband “bapak” and me “ibu” which is Balinese for “father and mother”, and is also a way of saying “Mr. and Mrs.”.

Barefoot and sandy in our beach clothes from the daytime, we make our way over to our own personal mini restaurant on the sand. Candles and lanterns now light up the sky, and the sun has gone down for the evening. The stack of sticks is set on fire beside us and our dinner is served. For me, 7 bowls lined up, each with a different little feast inside. For my husband, a gigantic lobster and even more bowls of deliciousness. All this for just us two? We are laughing and thinking we’ll never be able to devour even half of this delectable Indonesian spread. Low and behold, we stuff ourselves like two jolly elephants in a banana eating contest. (Have you ever seen an elephant eat bananas? Funny stuff!) My tastebuds experienced the most exciting time of their lives! The tastes of the local spices: lemongrass, red chiles, peanuts, and lime, Oh my! Perfectly concocted sauces, the fresh organic local produce they used!!! All together manifest a gigantic raging party in my mouth! WHAT. A. MEAL.

And in the end it was back to our little thatched roof beach bed to stare up at the stars, and drift off to sleep.












An Interview with The Blonde Abroad


A few days ago we did a post on the top 10 Sexiest Travel Bloggers. Coming in at the top of our list (well almost the top, We modestly put ourselves at number one) is the all American, all time hottie, Kiersten Rich. For starters, she seems to love bikinis almost as much as we do, and we just can’t get enough of her or her blog. This girl just doesn’t stop. I had been trying to track Kiersten down for the past 2 weeks to do an interview with her. First she was in Australia traveling through the outback, apparently chowing down on some creepy crawlers, then headed straight to Coachella, and rumor has it she is now leaving yet again for a tour around Europe. All in a 2 week period? We cannot wait to see what she has in store for us next!



Misha: People often ask me how I can afford to support my travel lifestyle. I am going to ask you the same question (especially at such a young age!)

Kiersten: At 24 years old I’m definitely not bringing in the big bucks from my blog. That is probably the most asked question that I get, “How can you afford to travel so much?” The reality is, travel doesn’t cost as much as people think. I’m not taking exotic “vacations” every month. Most of the time, I’m staying with friends or in hostels (usually under $20 a night) and eating at inexpensive cafes or cooking for myself. The biggest bank account buster is airfare, which is why I try to take longer trips. I’ll save for my flight and budget my entire trip on what is left over.

In the US, we are raised on the idea that living paycheck to paycheck is a bad thing. While I mostly agree, I say take a chance while you’re young. I’ve reduced all of my expenses back home in the US and moved back in with my parents to save on rent. (Also a big cultural no no). By reducing my cost of living and making a modest income, I can travel on less than $2,000 a month. Back when I worked as a professional in Finance, my rent alone in LA was $1200 a month! I’ve found that by going against the “American Dream” of a house, car and kids I’ve been able to create my own dream lifestyle. It’s all about compromise.


Misha: What is your long term goal with your site? Are you hoping to get picked up by a travel show, or advertise and make money off of your site, or is it purely just a hobby?

Kiersten: I’ve always aspired for The Blonde Abroad to be something much more than a blog. I hope for the brand to inspire others to live a fulfilling life, whether it incorporates travel or not. I want my blog to forever remain a credible source for others to gain inspiration and to get genuine advice. Which is why my blog is ad-free. I want the blog to benefit my readers so, in the end, I can’t make it about money. Any product or company I recommend will always be one I would use myself, not because I’m getting paid for it.

My dream has always been to host a travel show. Whether on TV or online. I love making people laugh and I believe the best way to bring people along on my journeys is through video. Hopefully you’ll be seeing The Blonde Abroad on television or a web series soon!


Misha: Who do you usually go on your travels with? Do you ever go alone? How do you feel about women traveling alone?

Kiersten: I typically always travel alone. The worst mistake you can make is waiting around for someone to book a flight with you. Sometimes you just need to book it and go. This may be shocking, but there are people all over the world. No matter where you go, you will meet people and make friends. We are never “alone.” I always tell people to try traveling solo. Use common sense and always practice caution, but you’ll find the solo experience to be incredibly empowering. You’ll meet more people, see and do more things and be surprised with your own capabilities at the end of it.


Misha: Do you make all of your own travel videos, web content, etc?

Kiersten: Ah, yes. I wear many many hats. My blog posts, social media and videos are all me. It’s a lot of work, but it’s also my creative outlet. The most challenging thing is trying to not spread myself too thin. You can imagine it’s a never ending commitment.

I’m most passionate about my videos though it’s something really challenging to do on my own. I’ve taught myself to film, edit and produce all of my own YouTube videos. It’s been a long process of trial and error but it’s definitely my favorite thing to do.


Misha: How much time do you spend on your website? Is it a full-time gig for you?

Kiersten: The Blonde Abroad is like trying to keep a machine well-oiled. There are so many aspects of blogging in today’s digital world that I find myself not “blogging” as often as I’d like. I’m on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Mobli sharing photos and videos every day. I’m producing videos for YouTube and photographing on every trip. I’m also journaling along the way to then write compelling blog posts. It’s definitely a full-time gig but it keeps me busy and gives me purpose. I love what I do. What I’d really like are more hours in the day!


Misha: Do you have a favorite travel blog of your own?

Kiersten: There are so many travel blogs out there it’s hard to pick just one! I actually am a big fan of fashion and lifestyle blogs at the moment. We always want what we can’t have! www.ABeautifulMess.com is one of the quirkiest, cutest and craftiest blogs I’ve ever seen. I could spend hours digging through the site!


Misha: For all our male readers out there, describe your dream guy. Is he adventurous and wild, like you, or does he balance you out by being your opposite?

Kiersten: I will have to let you know when I find him! I can’t say I have a type; unless tall, dark and handsome with broken-English is a type. In all seriousness I’m a bit all over-the-place myself (pun intended) so it’d be great to find a partner in someone that understands and respects my lifestyle. He could be wild and adventurous or subdued and mysterious. I just can’t do boring. He needs to be passionate about something.

Misha: Amen to that!!! We have no room for boring in our lives.


Be More Fascinating

Who doesn’t want to be more fascinating?! I know we sure do which is why Misha & I have been doing research on how to make our travel blog better and how to become better travel writers. Today while I was surfing the net I came across this video and loved it because it deals with exactly what we want to learn about, how to be more fascinating. In this vid Marie Forleo chats with Sally Hogshead about how we all have the ability to captivate others if we learn to use our core personality advantages. Sally asks “In a busy and crowded world what is the best and highest use of our personality?” Check out the full video below and join us on our journey to become more fascinating! I can’t promise I’ll become any less dorky though! LOL  xo, V

TOP 10 Sexiest Travel Bloggers

I’ve got a big project in the works, which had me scouring the web for travel bloggers far and wide! It dawned on me that there is something so attractive about the adventuresome personality of those who can just pick up and go in almost any situation and still enjoy it. After looking through hundreds of blogs, I came across these people who seemed to have it all. Not only did they look sexy, but their care-free personalities seemed to perfectly accent their good looks. These top 10 hotties’ love for travel is shown through their writing, photos, and effort to maintain a successful blog.

Victoria from Pommie Travels


Anthony Middleton from Man Vs. Clock


Kate McCulley from Adventurous Kate


Ellen Keith from La Viajera


Larissa from The Blonde Gypsy


Yvonne Zagermann from Just Travelous


Adam and Hanna from Getting Stamped


Alex Baackes from Alex in Wanderland


NUMBER 2 (she is actually our choice for number 1 but hey, we’ve got to self promote right?)
Kiersten Rich from The Blonde Abroad
*Interview with Kiersten coming soon…


Duh!!!!!! US! (We should be ashamed of ourselves for doing this Haha!) Vannessa and Misha from Glitter and Mud

Lake Como: A photo Journal

Taking photos in Lake Como was like photographing a supermodel. Impossible to snap a bad one!

A castle built into the mountainside

A castle built into the mountainside

Villa D' Este

Villa D’ Este

One of the most heavenly places on earth, Villa Balbienello

One of the most heavenly places on earth, Villa Balbienello

Villa Balbianello

Villa Balbianello

Two steeples overlooking the massive expanse of water

Two steeples overlooking the massive expanse of water

Gates to Villa Balbianello, only accessible by boat.

Gates to Villa Balbianello, only accessible by boat.

A perfect location for a romantic, secluded wedding

A perfect location for a romantic, secluded wedding

Lush green vines cover the arches of the villa

Lush green vines cover the arches of the villa

A quaint, lake front, Italian-style home

A quaint, lake front, Italian-style home

Misha and Nila enjoying the sights

Misha and Nila enjoying the sights

Tranquil Beauty of Lake Como

Tranquil Beauty of Lake Como

I stepped off of the airplane and took a deep breath of crisp fresh mountain air. It was a bit chilly but the sunlight seemed to shine down on me in a magical way and provide the perfect amount of warmth. The vast open spaces and mountains in the distance gave me such a strong sense of freedom. As we were driving to Jackson we saw a sign that said, “the last of the old West”. I loved that. What a completely different world from the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles! I immediately felt like my happy dorky self and started bouncing around and giggling.

Welcome to Wyoming!

Welcome to Wyoming!

The Antler Arch in Jackson

The Antler Arch in Jackson

When we drove up to the secluded Amangani Resort, the first thing we noticed was the glorious view of the immense snow-capped and jagged mountains. It’s pretty safe to say the early French voyageurs must have been total pervs because they named these magnificent mountains “The Tetons” which literally means “The large breasts”. Now I’ve seen some nice tatas in my day but these beauties must be double D’s because they are huge and go on forever! I could take that one step further, but I won’t….

It's just me and Tetons =)

It’s just me and Tetons =)

Amangani Pool with view of the Tetons

Amangani Pool with view of the Tetons


Amangani pool



I am so excited to now be able to cross Amangani off of my bucket list! That’s four Aman Resorts down and 23 more to go.Each resort is so different and really embraces it’s natural surroundings. They do not go overboard in plush decor here, they use just enough to perfectly accent the culture and environment in which they are situated. I would describe Amangani as a mix between Western and Asian if there is such a thing. But it is done in a clean, modern and tranquil fashion. The thing that makes the Aman resorts so top notch is the unmatched perfect service they provide. They go above and beyond to make sure each guest is treated like royalty.

The view from my bathtub

The view from my bathtub

The view from our room

The view from our room

View  of the Tetons from our balcony

View of the Tetons from our balcony

I usually spend a lot of time writing about food and restaurants, because I’m a big foodie. But I won’t spend much time on food reviews this time around because it is the great outdoors that makes Jackson so amazing. I will briefly say that The Grill at Amangani is delicious. If you aren’t staying at the hotel, at least come here for the restaurant. Other then that I’d recommend Local or Snake River Grill for dinner, Cowboy Bar for cocktails, and a patio table at Westbank Grill at the Four Seasons for lunch.

The concierge at Amangani suggested we try 2 of their activities. After trying the reccomended activities at their Bali Resorts and absolutely loving them, there was no way we were going to pass up on these. One of them was a wildlife tour and the other was dogsledding. We did both. The wildlife tour was guided by a man named Jared, who seemed to know everything there is to know about animals and plants. It was really quite fascinating. We saw bison, bald eagles, elk, coyotes, swans, hawks, bulls, deer, mountain sheep, and more. The terrain we covered was so breathtakingly beautiful. The dogsledding was also a wonderful experience. We glided across the snow covered trails of the national forest area, zipping around trees along the river that ran beside us. Oh Wyoming, who knew you would be so beautiful?

Some of the animals we saw on the wildlife tour

Some of the animals we saw on the wildlife tour

We didn't have to go very far out of town to see this deer!

We didn’t have to go very far out of town to see this deer!

A hawk perched on a fence in front of the Tetons

A hawk perched on a fence in front of the Tetons

Deep in the national park, the lake is frozen solid

Deep in the national park, the lake is frozen solid

On the dogsled =)

On the dogsled =)

The sheer beauty of Yellowstone

The sheer beauty of Yellowstone

Happy little runners!

Happy little runners!

Getting ready to sled!

Getting ready to sled!

Screen Shot 2013-04-04 at 12.51.01 PM

Mountaintop View

View from sled

River by sledding path

The Flag Series: Wyoming

My trip to Jackson Hole, Wyoming has been nothing short of amazing. I have so many wonderful things to write about! I will be doing a full post of my trip on Thursday. But for now, Vanessa and I came up with a new photo idea. We decided that wherever we travel to, we will take photos with a flag that represents the place we are in. I found that this is a lot more difficult then it sounds! Posing with a gigantic flag and making it look natural is no easy task! My first attempt was rather embarrassing. I had to ask my husband to take the photos, and people could see me holding this massive Wyoming flag while wearing my bikini! Haha! Well, here is what we got in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

Misha and the Wyoming Flag

Misha and the Wyoming Flag

Misha in Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Misha in Jackson Hole, Wyoming