Fifty million Americans go hungry in our country with one in four children not knowing where their next meal is coming from. In one of the richest, strongest nations in the world we are seeing our own citizens deprived of a basic human right: food. The film, A Place at the Table, explores the growing hunger strife of America–from backwater towns to sprawling cities–showing that the faces of hunger are not what we presume.

This week on The Traveler Series meet Carmen of La Carmina—she is a Canadian blogger, author and TV host who swapped law school for a colorful career writing about alternative travel, fashion and pop culture. Known for her Harajuku-style, Carmen (who goes by La Carmina) is a popular blogger who has been writing full-time, hosting travel TV shows around the world and covering topics that range from Hello Kitty cafes to heavy metal festivals. Having been featured on TLC Asia, National Geographic and the Discovery Science Channel, La Carmina also has her own travel video series that is filmed in countries such as Hungary, Mexico and Jordan and is aired on Business Insider and the Huffington Post. Here I interview La Carmina on her best travel advice, what inspired her website and what’s next for 2014.

Today’s #travel apps can do everything from find you affordable airfare, comfortable accommodations, overcome language barriers and keep you connected to friends and family back home. Here, I share my go-to travel apps.

This week on The Traveler Series, meet Max Hartshorne of GoNOMAD. Max has been the editor of GoNOMAD–a successful travel website–since 2002. Over the past decade, Max has had the privilege of working with writers and publishing travel articles about nearly every country in the world! He is a regular on two radio stations where he shares his latest travel tales and before he bought GoNOMAD, Max was the Managing Editor of Transitions Abroad magazine. On his blog Readuponit, Max writes about the people he meets along the way, the places he visits and his life as a travel editor, grandfather and bon vivant. Here I interview Max on what has been his favorite destination, his best advice to budding travel writers and what’s next for 2014.

When an event promises to deliver the best day of you life, it is a tall order that can mean many things to different people. While one person’s ‘perfect day’ may involve a beach, another’s might include a lazy day at home–yet despite your preference it is likely your best day will always include two things: delicious food and drinks.

This weekend, Thrillist invited me to join them on their #BDOYL or ‘Best Day of Your Life‘ outing on Saturday. As a lifestyle brand that is celebrated for offering insider knowledge on food, drink, entertainment, nightlife and more, I was curious to experience their version of what a best day ever would entail. With high expectations (and a large appetite) I headed towards the East Village to pick up my all-access day pass that would let me breeze through locales to enjoy free drinks and meals.

As someone who lives in New York and is often spending time in the East Village, I was intrigued by all the unfamiliar bars included in the event. Let it be a testament to New York City and its ever-changing food & drink scene that after almost 3 years of living here, I am still surprised by places I have yet to discover. From Polynesian punches to Pickle backs, the day took me through the streets of the East Village–stopping off at eateries and bars I had often overlooked. By 5pm, the past few hours had turned into a blur of mouth watering meals and refreshing cocktails that left me in a happy delirium.

When I think of mybest days, they all involve discovering new places, enjoying good company and tasting delicious food. So while jumping on the subway to the East Village can hardly be compared to flying to an exotic destination; Thrillist’s Best Day of Your Life event gave me great food, yummy cocktails, good company and new places to explore.

Bar 13

35 E 13th St

Johnny Appleseed cider, a swingin’ band and a savory pork roast made Bar 13 my favorite stop on Thrillist’s #BDOYL map. While other places served just a bite of food or a sample of whiskey, Bar 13 served up generous portions of mouth-watering, slow-roasted pork served with a fresh bun and slew of coleslaw. As if the meal wasn’t enough to have me calling this the ‘Best Day Ever,’ it was the open air rooftop and sultry trumpet sounds of the live band that sealed the deal.

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The Nugget Spot

230 East 14th Street

I love chicken nuggets as much as the next person–it is a nostalgic treat that I will always associate with childhood and school cafeterias. So, when I spotted the Nugget Spot on the #BDOYL map, I was curious to taste these craft, bacon-coated nuggets served with a maple dipping sauce. While clearly not a treat to eat on a daily basis, the Nugget Spot is a delicious splurge that revamps the classic chicken nugget with different toppings and creative improvements.

Beauty Bar

231 East 14th Street

Men may have their whiskey bars, cigar hang outs and sports haunts but now ladies have Beauty Bar–a fun spot for where girls can enjoy cocktails and manicures. For the price of $10, you can enjoy a drink–such as the Redhead Cocktail–and sit down to get your nails done. While I have heard of Dry Bara great spot to get a blow out while sipping champagne and watching Dirty Dancing– I hadn’t discovered Beauty bar until today! With fluffy, pink cotton candy in hand and an Elvis impersonator singing in the back, Beauty Bar was a fun spot to explore.

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Juke Bar

196 2nd Avenue

In one hand I’m holding the Bourbon Juke Barmaid–a yummy libation of bourbon, mint leaves, fresh lime and ginger beer–and in the other hand I have a Taiwanese pork bun topped with cilantro and peanuts catered from BaoHaus. Juke Bar is a classic spot serving strong cocktails paired with a new food menu being launched this month.

Dos Toros Taqueria

multiple locations

Move over Chipotle! If I am jonesing for a taco on the go, Dos Toros is the place to check out. Whipping up different tacos like carne asada, pollo asada and carnitas–the tacos are fresh and delicious. Today I enjoyed (and devoured) a complimentary carnitas tacos served with a fresh dollop of guacamole, sour cream, salsa and cheese.

The Roost

222 Avenue B

My friend, who lives on Avenue B, said it perfectly when she described The Roost: “tons of coffee places have opened and closed on this street but The Roost is the one that stays.” While a coffee shop hardly sounds like a stop on a ‘Best Day Ever’ map, The Roost is both a coffee lounge and a speakeasy. With a bar hidden in the back, The Roost serves up craft beer and brown spirits promising a place where all can come and spend the day–from morning to night. I am quite the fan of speakeasies and have visited my fair share of prohibition-inspired places in NYC, so I’m happy to have been introduced to The Roost.

6 Reasons to Cheer for Colombia this World Cup

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I’m surrounded by a sea of bright yellow jerseys, Aguila beers, and the smell of fresh arepas and simmering Sancocho. Everyone is watching the television, holding their breaths, eyes glued to the screen; all of a sudden the restaurant erupts into Spanish cheers and chants of “COL-OMB-IA! COL-OMB-IA!” I know I’m somewhere in New York City but at this moment it feels like the subway dropped me off…

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DSC_0350This week meet Colleen of Leap, a travel blog with a focus on food and striking imagery. Having recently left the comfort of her D.C. firm, Colleen moved to Germany with her boyfriend for a year sabbatical. Now, four months into her year abroad, Colleen is learning German, exploring the world of German cuisine, sampling all of the local wines, and writing about her adventure–one plate at a time.…

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The sun was blazing, bearing down on the bare shoulders and backs of all the people surrounding me, eagerly making their way slowly towards the entrance. Some of the styles that people were sporting were so outlandish that I couldn’t help but laugh—it was like a parade of hippies with bikini tops, body paint, tie-dyed shirts and headbands making their way across the RFK Bridge in New York City.…

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Just in time! Your Guide to the 2014 FIFA World Cup

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Every four years countries from around the world will shelf their political differences and step into the world of sports for friendly matches in the World Cup. Passionate, sporting the colors of their country’s flag and watching the television like a religion, soccer fanatics come together to cheer for their teams. Whether you’ve converted to the religion of Fútbol or are in it for the…

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Becoming Savvy on for Saving on Airfare

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As a twenty-something year old living in New York City and lacking any sort of bottomless trust fund, travel used to seem like an unattainable luxury. While visions of balmy nights in Buenos Aires or volunteering with elephants in Thailand would dance across my mind, the reality of airfare kept me grounded (literally) and stuck day-dreaming. While I would happily have swapped hotels for hostels…

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