Amanda DiGiondomenico

Amanda is an Interactive Producer for TravelChannel.com and considers herself a resident of both Baltimore and Washington, DC. She loves taking road trips up and down the East Coast, but looks for any excuse to escape to California. She’s perfected the art of traveling with just a carry-on and finds airports oddly relaxing. When she’s not blogging for the Traveling Type or keeping the Ghost Adventures website buzzing, Amanda spends her time learning how to build apps and writing for her personal blog, The Spendicate.

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Posts by Amanda DiGiondomenico

A Hindu Temple in Bali

Today is the most important day of the year for the Balinese. They believe that each family’s ancestral spirits will return to their home for a 10-day celebration of good over evil. Called “Galungan,” meaning “when the Dharma (good) is winning,” the festival is held every 210 days. During the festival, it’s believed that the Balinese gods visit their living descendants on Earth, so the occasion is marked with ceremonies that involve offerings, food and dance.

The residents of Jimbaran village dress to the nines in white Balinese attire, make huge, colorful offers of fruit and build penjor —  tall, decorated bamboo poles. The markets fill with activity as everyone prepares for elaborate feasts.

The AYANA Resort and Spa’s staff follows the tradition, making this a particularly special time to visit Bali. With a name that means “place of refuge” in Sanskrit, the AYANA resort offers just that to weary travelers. Perched on limestone cliffs above the Indian Ocean near Jimbaran Bay on Bali’s southwestern peninsula, the resort is a luxurious place to visit, whether you come during Galungan or not.

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Trip Flip in Times Square

We’re taking a tour of the United States this week when our hosts take their adventures to both coasts — from Jordan the Toy Hunter taking on the collectibles of San Francisco to Bert trip flipping a NYC getaway.

Tonight at 9|8c, Andrew Zimmern gets deep into central Florida for this season’s finale of Bizarre Foods America. While there, he discovers the “other” Florida – the part that’s rich in tradition and about more than theme parks. Check out the Bizarre Food of the Week for a taste of this all-new episode!

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With the Republicans holding their convention from August 27-30 in Tampa, and the Democrats in Charlotte September 4-6, we decided to see just what these cities have to offer the political junkies that’ll be making their way there.

From Charlotte’s neighborhoods to Tampa’s nightlife, there’s plenty to see in both of these cities — aside from a glimpse of Barack or Mitt, of course. When you’re not cheering for your candidate, try Tampa’s seafood with your fellow elephants or pile on the barbecue with your donkey buddies. After all, you can’t give every dollar to their campaigns.

So, no matter who you’re rooting for this election cycle, check out our City vs. City guide and decide which city you’d rather visit!

Photo by Dave Vann

Once in a while, a music festival can inspire a road trip. Sure, it’s super-convenient when your favorite bands happen to stop somewhere close to home, but sometimes it’s fun to make the journey to partake in one of the biggest gatherings of music lovers around. So why not take that to a new level? Book a cruise.

Concert cruises aren’t a new idea — there have been the Rock Boat, Jam Cruise and even John Mayer’s Mayercraft — but if you follow travel news like we have, there’s reason to believe that this trend is going to take off.

In fact, the world’s largest passenger ship will set sail for a Beatles tribute cruise next year. Royal Caribbean’s 5,400-passenger Allure of the Seas will host the 7-night Cruise for Beatles Fans 2013.A Beatles tribute band will be onboard along with other musicians — all with a Beatles connection — such as Mark Hudson, a producer for the Beatles’ Ringo Starr; Billy J. Kramer, who has recorded songs written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney; Joey Molland, a singer from Badfinger, a band signed by the Beatles’ label.

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Tonight at 9|8c, Andrew Zimmern treks the Blues Trail for Bizarre Foods America, where he tastes the occasionally bizarre flavors of the Mississippi Delta. Get a peek at what he encounters with our Bizarre Food of the Week!

Then Tuesday at 9|8c, Don Wildman recounts mysteries that are out of this world … literally … with this special episode of Mysteries at the Museum. To get a closer look at these otherworldly stories, we stop by the National Museum of the US Air Force in Dayton, OH, The Mutter Museum in Philadelphia and the Allen County Public Library in Indiana, where there’s a strange photo of Abraham Lincoln — taken years after his death.

Wednesday at 9|8c, our resident Toy Hunter, Jordan Hembrough, journeys to Texas, where he tries to rope in a huge find for one of the largest auction houses in the country — and uncovers the first Barbie doll ever released.

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Toy Hunter

Tonight at 10|9c and 10:30|9:30c, Toy Hunter Jordan Hembrough takes toy picking to a new level as he takes on collections in New Jersey and North Carolina. A renowned toy dealer and ultimate toy hunter, Jordan has a reputation as an “in-demand dealer” that everyone wants to have evaluate their stash.

Jordan finds the picks of a lifetime for struggling business owners, annual toy events and even a few celebrity collectors throughout the season. The stakes are high and the haggles are tough because people’s livelihoods are on the line if he doesn’t deliver!

Get a sneak peek at the Rise from Ashland episode, and get a look at Jordan’s journey to the Jersey Shore. Summing up his career, Jordan says, “It’s the hunt that has always driven me. The next cool find is always right around the corner.” Learn more about our toy hunter with a Day in the Life of Jordan.

Have a toy collection of your own? Post photos of your best finds to our Rate My Toy community and see what else people have hiding in their basements!

Museum of American Finance

Need a little more culture in your life? Get a behind-the-scenes look at the best museums in the country with our new At the Museum web series with Don Wildman, host of Mysteries at the Museum.

Get inside the mind of a spy at the International Spy Museum in Washington, DC.

Find your gross-out limit at Philadelphia’s Mutter Museum, full of outrageous medical oddities.

Learn about unknown animals at the world’s only Cryptozoology Museum, located in Portland, ME.

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Pig Vicious Food Truck in Austin

Tonight, at 9|8c, Bizarre Foods takes Andrew Zimmern to Austin, TX, where he samples a “weird” cuisine, including this Bizarre Food of the Week!

Wednesday at 9|8c, Adam Richman brings the top contenders to Food Network’s Studio B at Chelsea Market in New York City to crown the winner of Best Sandwich in America.

Following Best Sandwich at 10|9c, Jordan Hembrough — the Toy Hunter – stops in North Carolina and Ohio to look for rare toys in this series premiere.  Then, at 10:30|9:30c, Jordan heads to New Jersey for more adventures in “toy picking.”

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Los Angeles Food and Wine Festival
Photography by Los Angeles Food & Wine Festival

This weekend, Los Angeles has been taken over by foodies from around the world. Chefs come from near and far to show off their skills in cooking demos, offer their expertise at roundtable discussions and serve their delicious creations to the gourmands who were smart enough to buy a ticket to the Los Angeles Food and Wine Festival.

This is only the second year of this festival –with venues in Santa Monica, downtown LA, Hollywood and Beverly Hills — and it’s already a big deal. Last year’s festival featured more than 30 restaurants and 200 vineyards, and this year’s tops that with chefs such as Giada de Laurentiis, the Voltaggio brothers and even our own Andrew Zimmern serving the 15,000 people who are expected to attend.

Need another opportunity to fill your stomach with the best food and wine around? Check out our photos of the Best Food & Wine Festivals in the US, see The Lost Girls’ picks for the best destinations for a food and wine-themed girls’ getaway or grab your significant other and take a Wine Tour Weekend.

British Museum in London

By Mommy Points

After an overnight flight from the US, we arrived in London to experience the magic of the Olympic Games.

Having been to the 1996 Atlanta Games, I think I was mentally prepared for a semi-repeat of that experience. I was just a teenager in 1996, but I distinctly remember the heat and the crowds.  However, London is dramatically different; it is almost chilly here, and while there are many people around, the city seems quite able to handle the crowds.  I was shocked when we breezed through London’s Heathrow Airport in a matter of mere minutes.

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