two years of concrete and kitsch

It’s hard to believe I’ve been at this blogging gig for two years now.  Having just re-upped concrete and kitsch’s Bluehost account for another year of blogging indentured servitude, I was filtering through old emails from my blog infancy.  Turns out, that June 25 was my two year blog-iversary!  It’s a fun coincidence that I have just published my hundredth post – making my post frequency about one per week (that is an average, of course, as the last few months I’ve been pretty good at posting once per month…).  I thought it apropos to do a little roundup of our travels since I started blogging (especially taking into account that I never got around to a recap of our 2016 travels).  

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Let’s start with some stats, shall we? Read more

Balkans, Baltics, and Caucasus, Oh My! 2015 in Review

So I know that the time for year in review posts has come and long gone, but, like your hoarder neighbors who leave the Christmas wreath up until Spring, I too have put off this seminal blogging event.  Blah blah, working 50-60 hours a week, I won’t give you excuses so you don’t have to read them.  Instead, let me jump right into a recap of what became my most eventful year in travel ever.

Tbilisians are not afraid of a little color.
Tbilisi, Georgia
Exploring Tbilisi in Winter allowed us to avoid the tourist hordes.
Tbilisi, Georgia

Read more

5 Reasons to Travel in the Off Season

When one thinks of a vacation, usually it’s very much associated with the summertime, when good weather is almost assured and families with children are able to take time off to jaunt to exotic locations around the country and the world.  This said, of the three big trips we’ve taken over the past year, two have been in the off season, and one in the almost off season.  

And we certainly wouldn’t have it any other way.  Traveling in the off season is, for us, a much better alternative than traveling in peak season.  Here are the reasons why:Jpegs-470Jpegs-460 Read more

High Heels and Crucifixes: Attending a Gozo Festa

When we first were thinking about our honeymoon, we tacked Malta on to the end of our week in Tunisia to provide some rest after a week of what was to be some intense exploration.  And when we cancelled Tunisia after the tourist-targeted terrorist events there earlier in the year, and decided to spend that week in the Baltic States, Malta remained the more laid back portion of the trip in our mind.  For whatever reason, neither of us did much planning for this week of the trip – opting to plan for some pure R&R sitting by the pool of our Gozitan farmhouse.

I'll be here all week. Literally, right here, not moving. Gharb, Gozo, Malta.

A post shared by Nick M. ✌🏽❤✈️ (@concreteandkitsch) on

Read more

Gozo Beaches: Comparison is the Thief of Joy

It may be unfair, but when I’m on a beach vacation, I always end up comparing my current location to past vacations I’ve taken.  The beach vacations that have defined the way I look at  beach vacations are those I’ve taken in Latin America (in Mexico and Nicaragua) and, even more so, Southeast Asia.  It was therefore that comparative lens that I had to look through when my husband, David, and I went to the island of Gozo, in Malta.

Sigh - Ko Nang Yuan, Thailand.
Sigh – Ko Nang Yuan, Thailand.
Fresh fish on the beach on Little Corn Island, Nicaragua.
Fresh fish on the beach on Little Corn Island, Nicaragua.

It may be that Gozo and its beaches were doomed from the get go. Read more

The Hippie Homo Baltic Honeymoon (+Malta)

Photo by

Hey friends – there’s about to be a couple of weeks of radio silence here, as I do not plan on doing any heavy blogging while I’m on my honeymoon (maybe some quick pictures here and there).  So I thought I’d write up some of the details of our trip.  I’ve got a list of potential posts a mile long that I’m planning from the trip, but if you have any insider tips on the destinations listed below, I would love to hear from you – either in the comments or via email at!

I’m excited as this will be my first big trip I’ve taken with intent to blog.  I’ve got all my kit ready like a kid on his first day of school, and I’m really excited to share the details (good, bad, weird, funny, and clumsy alike) with you when I return!

Read more

The Accommodation Paradox – Apartment or Hotel?

I am not a graphic designer, clearly.
I am not a graphic designer, clearly.

I’ve been traveling in fairly offbeat/exotic places for a solid chunk of time now, and one thing I find myself talking to folks about over and over is how I choose a place to stay.  Now keep in mind that, despite having closed the hostel chapter of my life (temporarily, at least), I don’t crinkle my nose at staying at places that wouldn’t be considered luxurious.  Quite the opposite – as a story collector, I often find that a night or two at a grotty “hotel” in a random corner of the planet (I’m looking at you, Casa Iguana on Little Corn Island, Nicaragua) can yield some incredible memories that dazzle at cocktail parties.  And while I admire the long term travelers who stay at such places without qualms (as being thrifty with accommodation is one prong of a strategy that allows those folks to stay on the road for so long), putting in my time at my 9-5 for 11 months a year financially allows me to spend a moderate amount of coin to ensure relative creature comforts while on the road.

Read more