DENVER Travel Diary

Happy Thurdsay!! Unfortunately this is not a holiday post (don’t worry, lot’s of those to come), but it’s all about my trip to DENVER a couple weeks ago. My friend and I booked super cheap flights on Southwest and Spirit for a quick four-day trip to Denver, and it was such a great trip. It was never a place I had really thought much about, but I feel like those trips always end up being the best. So read on, enjoy and I’ll see you soon for lot’s more holiday content! xx

Where we stayed

We found a great little Airbnb for two on Garfield Street, just two miles away from the downtown area and right by City Park. It’s a pretty safe neighborhood but a little sketchy, but then again what cities aren’t. There were a ton of little restaurants, coffee shops, boutiques and supermarkets right down the street from us, so it was a perfect location. On the first day we walked down Colfax Avenue down to the Lodo area and it was a really nice, easy walk (or an Uber was about $6 for a pool for two. Our place was also right across from City Park, which made for a perfect morning walk before heading into town for the day. I would highly recommend staying in this area if you’re ever in Denver.

Where we went 

Since we stayed so close to the downtown area, we spent quite a bit of time there, around 16th Street Mall and Larimer Square. Our first day was full of shopping. We wandered down to the LODO area and walked in and out of all the stores and boutiques, and making quite a few purchases (because #vacay right?) and stopping for a quick lunch along the way. Since Commons Park was at the end of the mall, we walked down there to look at the city and snap a few photos. In the afternoon, we Ubered down to the North Broadway/6th Ave area where there are a lot of thrift stores. Before going to Denver, almost all of our family and friends told us we had to check out the thrift stores (if you want to see what I bought, keep an eye out for my October Favorites post, going up tomorrow) where I found a ton of super cute things. We also stumbled upon an 80s costume store that had all the little toys and knick-knacks I used to have/play with when I was younger, so of course I had to pick out some of those goodies. By 5pm, we were deliriously tired (since we flew overnight and landed at 8am that morning), so we picked up food for dinner and headed home for the night, passing out for a solid 12 hours.

The next day we decided to head up to Boulder for the day. So we made our way to Union Station, which was absolutely beautiful, to grab a pastry and some coffee before we left. We decided to take the bus, which was $10.50 for a round-trip to Boulder which took about 50 minutes each way. It was so easy and inexpensive, so I highly recommend doing that. That day was a Sunday, so we were hoping to find a farmers market or something, but what we found was even more special. It happened to be Indigenous People’s Day, so there was a market and a small celebration of Native people celebrating, which we were lucky enough to be a part of for a little bit. There were little stalls set up selling jewelry, home decor and clothing, so I picked up a few pairs of beautiful earrings. After that we stopped for lunch and spent the rest of the afternoon shopping for anything and everything. The boutiques and stores lining Pearl Street Mall were stocked up with so much goodness, that by the end of the day we had our arms full of bags. At 5, we were ready to head back so we grabbed a coffee to go and jumped back on the bus back to Denver, where we stopped for dinner before going back for the night.

Our third day we didn’t really have much of a plan, but we started our morning by grabbing coffee at a neighborhood coffee shop and walking across the street to City Park, where we spent an hour soaking in the Denver sun and taking lot’s of photos. After that, we were hungry and ready for brunch so decided we had to try Snooze at least once during the trip, so we hopped in an Uber and went over. The line was about 40 minutes long, but it was SO worth the wait (check out the next section to see what we ate). By the time we were done with brunch we were absolutely stuffed and wanted to walk it off, so we wandered down Larimer Square before starting our walk over to the Botanic Gardens. To be honest, we got super lost on our way there and ended up walking for about two hours, but we finally made it to the area around the Gardens, so we looked around there a bit before deciding to walk over to Cherry Creek Shopping Center, a super cute, quaint mall. We spent a couple hours popping into some of my favorite stores and picking up a few things. For dinner we had plans to meet some friends, so we met up with them and spent a fun night together.

On our last day, we decided that we HAD to go back to Snooze, so after finishing up our last minute packing, we Ubered over for our last brunch. We tried different things than we had the morning before, and it only reaffirmed that it was one of the best brunch places I had ever been. After being stuffed, again, we walked around the downtown area once more before flying back to LA. We walked through Larimer Square again and past Coors Field. We popped back into a few stores that we had missed the last few days and picked up some smaller souvenirs to take home. Knowing we needed to get to the airport by later-afternoon to make our flight, we walked back down Colfax Ave while going back into the boutiques, bookstores and stores we had passed on the first day. Before getting back to our Airbnb, we grabbed some Greek food to go and hopped in an Uber to the airport.

What we ate

Voodoo Donut-After doing some research on the area we were staying in, I found a Voodoo right down the street from us and knew that we were going to have to try a few. We stumbled upon it while walking around on the first morning and Denver and stopped to get a little treat for the morning. I got two donut, a chocolate coconut and a big Oreo, peanut butter and caramel donut which was probably the best donut I’ve ever had in my life. Anyone who knows me knows I’m in love with donuts, especially big loaded ones, so I was so excited to finally try it. They are loaded with toppings but without being too sweet or oily, which made them even better. We went back on our last day to pick up a few more for the road, so I tried a pumpkin spice canolo (a half canoli, half donut type thing) and another coconut-y donut, both of which were amazing.

Snooze AM Eatery– We didn’t make a whole lot of plans for what to do in Denver, but Snooze was the one place I knew we had to try. It popped up on every Denver travel/food guide and looked incredible. On the third morning, we Ubered over to Snooze and waited around 40 minutes for a table before sitting down and getting our food ordered. I usually don’t like waiting (I’m the most impatient person I know), but this was 100% worth the wait. We both ordered Eggs Benedict (I got one with prosciutto, a balsamic glaze and white cheddar Hollandaise and another with avocado and tomato) and shared a plate of three pancakes (sweet potato, maple-pecan, and blueberry lemon) and we ate EVERYTHING. The Eggs Benedict were so different (in the best way possible) and the pancakes were hands down the best pancakes I’d ever had. It was so good that we ended up back there the next morning, this time ordering completely different stuff. I went for the breakfast pot pie with an egg on top, a bacon-infused Bloody Mary (the best I’ve ever had) and we also shared a plate of coconut, strawberry french toast (which was possibly also the best french toast I’d ever had). All of the hype around Snooze did not disappoint, it’s an absolute must if you’re ever un Denver!

Sherpa’s Restaurant– Our day in Boulder was made even better by stumbling upon the cutest Himalayan cuisine restaurant called Sherpa’s. We walked past the restaurant which had the most adorable patio dining area and knew we had to stop there for lunch. It was so different from the places we had seen in Denver and Boulder so far, so were excited to try something new. We ordered the Chicken Korma and the Tibetan pan-fried noodles with a side of garlic naan, and it was delicious. Everything was so flavorful and reminded me of true home-cooking, which was much appreciated while traveling. I also ordered a hot chai latte, which was their homemade recipe, to go with lunch. I’m such a chai lover, and this was hands-down the best chai I’d ever had. It was so spicy and just slightly sweetened and was perfect for a cool, fall day. The people at the restaurant were so sweet and friendly and put the meal over the top.

Little Man Ice Cream– After meeting up with some friends for dinner one night, they took us to Little Man Ice Cream. It was super packed (especially for a Monday night) so we stood in line for a while before ordering our ice cream. I went for the Salted Maple Pecan, and it was amazing. I like ice cream, but I’m much more of a donut-kinda girl, but this was ice cream I’d wait in a long line for. It was so creamy and the perfect balance of salty and sweet which I love in a treat. The location was also super cute with all the fall-vibes. There was a little slide and haystacks and pumpkins all over the place, making it a pseudo-pumpkin patch. It was such a great place to end a cozy fall evening with friends.

What I wore

One of the things I was most excited for in Denver was the fall weather. It had been super hot in LA all month, so I was excited to get some cooler sweater weather, and I knew I had to use to my advantage.

‘Vivienne’ Black Sunglasses from Quay– I got these black aviators in one of my FabFitFun boxes last year and they’ve been my go-to’s this fall. They’re super comfortable and go well with any outfit. They’re really easy to wear and fold up pretty thin making them really easy to pack and carry around as well.

Rose Gold Wildgo Sunglasses– My other favorite pair of sunglasses are these rose gold one’s from Wildgo that I found this summer in Barcelona. They are also super comfy and easy to wear, so I’ve been wearing them a ton, especially over the summer, and am so glad I had them to go with some fun outfits in Denver.

White Long Coat- I found this at a random thrift store so I don’t have a link for it, but it’s one of the pieces I’m most excited to wear this fall/winter season. It’s a great staple to have in your closet that can be worn over almost anything. I love throwing it on when I’m trying to be a little dressier, but it’s also easy to wear on a day-to-day basis.

White Denim Jacket– A white jean jacket is such a great staple for a fall wardrobe. It keeps you really worn and, again, can be thrown on over any outfit. I wore mine in Denver over mom jeans and a pink t-shirt and it kept me warm and looking cute all day long.

H&M Skinny Jeans– I have these in almost every color and wear them all the time during the fall. They’re super comfy and soft and also fold up really small so they’re easy to pack. I can wear them in the fall and winter without being too cold as well, so they’re a great piece to travel with.

Longchamp Le Pliage Backpack in Pink- I got this backpack last year for Christmas and it has been my go-to travel bag. I love using a backpack when traveling so that I don’t have to carry anything in my hands and this is the perfect one. Like all Longchamp bags, it folds up into a perfect little rectangle so is easy to pack, but it actually fits a lot (I’m able to fit my camera, wallet, phone, gloves/beenie and passport in it without an issue).

Louis Vuitton Monogram Neverfull– I, very luckily, got this as a hand-me-down from my mom and it’s one of my all-time favorite bags. It’s such a beautiful piece that can be worn during any season and is amazing to travel with. It’s so light to carry but really is never full. It’s definitely a piece that you would save up for and work towards, but if you ever are able to, it’s such a special bag to have and use.

Prada Black Bumbag– Bumbags are all the hype right now and for a good reason. It was so easy to throw this on before heading out for the day and not having to worry about carrying anything. I threw my credit cards, keys and phone into it and had it right in front of me the whole time with easy access.

Adidas Sleek Sneakers in Periwinkle– These have been my all-time favorite shoes since I got them at the end of the summer. They’re so comfortable to walk around in all day (like I would walk between 20,000 and 30,000 steps in these without any issue) and go so well with any outfit. They have them in quite a few colors, but I think the periwinkle is just so beautiful and adds a statement too your outfit without being too much.

Lele Sadoughi Silver Circle necklace– I’ve been in love with this piece of jewelry since I got it in one of my FabFitFun boxes, and it’s been one of my go-to necklaces that I rotate throughout the week. This is also the necklace that I always take with me when I travel because, again, it goes so well with any outfit so I don’t have to pack too many pieces. It’s such a beautiful piece that looks beautiful on anyone.

October Favorites 2019

Good morning loves and happy November! I know I say this every month, but I can’t believe October is already over. It flew by so quickly and was jam-packed with a lot of exciting things. I absolutely love this time of the year when the weather starts to get a bit cooler (well, cool for LA) and the holiday season kicks in. But before getting carried away with all the holiday goodness, I have to share my monthly favorites, because I have a ton of new, fun things to share with you all this month. So read on, enjoy and I can’t wait to share the holiday season with you all! xx

Skincare Product- I got the H20+ Elements Jelly Cleanser at Ulta the other day and have been loving it. I’ve never tried a jelly face wash before and wasn’t sure if I’d like it or not, but this one is a keeper. It’s also a makeup remover/cleansing balm with argan oil and pearl extract that clears your face of all makeup/product and leaves your skin super soft. There’s a really subtle, clean scent to the cleanser that smells so good and is really calming at the end of the day.

Makeup Product- The other day I was snooping through Sephora (what’s new) and found the Becca Glow Gloss in Champagne Creme (currently on sale so grab it while you can!) and had to buy it. I’ve been super into lip colors and glosses right now so I was so excited when I found this. It’s a really beautiful champagne-toned gloss that applies so smoothly. A lot of times lip glosses are really sticky and tacky, but this one doesn’t leave that icky feeling on your lips, but actually leaves them feeling hydrated. It has little specks of glitter in the formula, but without feeling gritty. There’s also a slight minty flavor/scent which I absolutely LOVE. This is definitely going to be my go to gloss for everyday use this winter.

Clothing Item- This month I traveled to Denver for fall break and the one thing everyone suggested we do was go thrifting. Over the few days we were there I found so many cute, fun pieces of clothing that have quickly become some of my favorite. But one of my favorite pieces I bought was a long, white fuzzy coat with big white buttons down the front. I bought it at a thrift store and can’t find a link for it, but it’s from the brand Love Tree. I’ve been wearing this on top of an all-black outfit with black sunglasses and it’s such a chic, put-together look and I’m sure I’ll be wearing it a ton over the winter.

Swimsuit- I found a white, one-piece swimsuit (similar one linked) with striped cut-outs down the side this summer at Forever 21, and finally wore it the other day as a top under some mom jeans. I had been so scared to wear it to the pool or beach because of the weird tan lines, but wearing it as a top was probably even more fun than wearing it as a swimsuit. It’s a really cute, summery outfit that was much needed during the crazy, late-fall LA heats.

Shoes- I bought the Adidas Sleek sneakers in periwinkle a few months ago and I’ve been wearing them almost every day the last few weeks. I also wore them everyday in Denver, and they were super comfy and got me through long days with lots of walking without any blisters. The periwinkle is also so pretty and adds a little pop to any outfit. They have solid white soles which makes them easy to dress up if needed. I have a few pairs of Adidas shoes now and these are by far my favorite and I’m highly considering getting them in other colors too (as if I need any more shoes).

Restaurant- I’ll talk about this more in my Denver Travel Diary (coming soon, keep your eyes out!) but the one place that we knew we had to eat at in Denver was Snooze, and it was the best brunch I’ve had in a long time. We were in Denver for four days and we went to Snooze for two brunches. We had the best Eggs Benedict, sweet potato pancakes and coconut and strawberry french toast, and their drinks (the bacon-infused Bloody Mary is a must) were amazing. Everything was so good and I’d seriously fly back to Denver just to eat there.

Sweet Treat- Another place we knew we had to visit in Denver was Voodoo Donut. I have been dying to try their donuts ever since I first read about it, and it was SO good. I’m such a sucker for a good donut, and Voodoo really hit the spot. I tried three different donuts (possibly three of the best donuts I’ve ever had in my life), as well as a pumpkin spice cannolo (a canoli, donut type thing) and that was amazing. I know it wasn’t Portland but it was so good, and they’re so photogenic, so what’s not to love about that.

Song- Anyone who knows me knows I’m a sucker for throwback music, and for some reason I’ve been listening to a lot of old Jesse McCartney music lately, especially Leavin‘ and Better With You. I don’t know why, I don’t know how it started, but those songs have been on loop for the last couple of weeks, and I’m not mad about it one bit.

Movie- So I finally watched the Jonas Brothers documentary, Happiness Begins, on Amazon Prime the other day, and it had me feeling all the feels. I grew up in the time of Camp Rock (and all of those iconic Disney Channel movies) and have been in love with the Jonas Brothers ever since (call me ridiculous, I don’t care). I thought they’re new album was SO good and lived up to all of my expectations, and so did this movie. I’m not gonna say much more, but if you love the Jonas Brothers, or even just like them or have ever listened to them, just watch the movie. It’s so sweet.

Los Angeles Spot- I finally finally finally made it out to the Louis Vuitton pop-up store/museum on Rodeo Drive the other day, and it was as amazing as I was expecting it to be. It’s absolutely beautiful from the outside and even more beautiful on the inside. The history of Louis Vuitton was on full display throughout the museum, with all the designs, bags and clothing out for everyone to see. There are a ton of really cute and fun places to take photos, and going on a sunny day makes the photos stunning. If you’re out in LA, I highly recommend spending a few hours there, especially if you’re into fashion!

September Favorites 2019

IT’S SPOOKY SZN. Happy October! We’re one week into fall and SO many new things to add to my favorites for this month. Seriously I’m in full fall mode, pumpkin spiced everything, all the candles, sweaters and boots you could think of and already beyond excited for the holidays. But before we get too carried away let’s get into this months favorites!

Skincare Product- The end of summer means soaking up all those beach days and laying out in the sun, but not without sun protection! I started using the Hawaiian Tropic Island Tanning Coconut Oil (SPF 25) and I’m obsessed with it. It smells so so good (if you know me you know I love anything and everything coconut) and is in a spray bottle. Who doesn’t love a spray bottle. I was a little weary at first because it is an oil, but it’s so dry that it soaks up right away and doesn’t leave that weird oily film on your skin. But it’s never left me burnt, always just with a nice, even tan.

Beauty Product- I just went a did a little the other Friday night Ulta haul the other day and picked up the Ulta Hydrating Coconut Stick (can’t find it online, I found it in the store) which has saved my skin on those long days. I love grabbing it in the middle of the day when my skin just needs a little pick me up. It doesn’t leave m kin feeling claggy or sticky (like some sticks can do), but just cool and refreshed. I’ve even used this over a little bit of makeup when it’s been on for a while and it doesn’t mess with or move makeup (haven’t tried it on top of foundation though). It’s just an easy and inexpensive product to use quick and on the go!

Makeup Product- I always find myself wanting to use more lip colors and products in the fall/winter months and I’ve been loving the Urban Decay VICE Special Effects lip topper in Seether. It’s supposed to be used on top of a matte lipstick, but I’ve just been scrubbing my lips, putting on lip balm and then going in with the color on top. It’s a really glittery and shimmery shade but isn’t too chunky. It’s a pretty bright red/orange-y color but doesn’t ever look too much. I’ve used it for both casual and more dramatic looks and it always looks good!

Haircare Product- During my Ulta haul I also stocked up on a few of the Not Your Mother’s haircare products, which are my absolute favs. I started using their stuff when I found the Beach Babe Texturizing hairspray and I’ve been obsessed every since. I got the Clean Freak and Beach Babe dry shampoos, one more Beach Babe Texturizing hairspray and the Plump for Joy hair thickening spray (which I tried for the first time the other day and love). Their products work so well in my hair and always do exactly what they’re supposed to. And plus they smell incredible so what’s not to love.

Clothing Item- Not anything specific, and no links or photos but I’ve been LIVING in large, oversized sweaters as the weather has cooled down a bit.

Swimsuit- I know it’s fall but I’m out here in LA still pretending it’s summer (even though I’m obsessed with everything and anything fall right now). I’ve gotten a lot of new bikinis over the last few months, but one of my favorites has been an olive green top and white cheeky bottoms for Forever 21. It’s a really easy suit to wear and stays in place so is perfect for playing around in the water at the beach. It’s also just so cute and looks good in the summer and the fall.

Food- I tried the Trader Joe’s apricot, cherry and cranberry goat’s cheese the other night during a casual cheese night a couple of weeks ago and it was SO yummy. It’s super creamy but the fruit all around really cuts through the fattiness. We got a bunch of different kinds of crackers and a baguette and spread it all over that and it was delicious. It’s definitely one of my favorite cheeses I’ve ever tried from Trader Joe’s (and I’ve tried a lot) and I can’t wait to get get myself another one (or two or three…).

Drink- Move over PSL, Starbucks’ pumpkin cream cold brew is my obsession right now. I tried it super randomly without having read anything about it when it first came out and it’s soooo good. I love my pumpkin spice lattes, but I find them too sweet sometimes to drink too much of. The pumpkin spice cold brew is literally just cold brew with a sweet, pumpkin flavored foamy cream on top, and it’s the perfect blend of summer and fall. I’ve been drinking them all day everyday and am sure I won’t be slowing down anytime soon.

Fall Treat- Continuing on the trend of pumpkin spiced treats, I found pumpkin spiced yoghurt covered pretzels and Sprouts a couple of week ago and have been loving those. They’re super sweet so it’s hard to eat a lot of them but the pumpkin spice flavor is SO strong that it’s the yummiest thing ever. Also because it’s Sprouts you just scoop however much you want in a bag and it’s super inexpensive so we love that too.

Movie- Not really a movie, but I finally watched the Fenty Fashion Show on Amazon the other night and it was incredible. I had been reading all about it and seeing all the hype and it did not miss a beat. It was super fun and the performers were great but more than that the message it sent was so clear. I had goosebumps the whole time watching and seeing how all of these girls at all ages, races, sexualities and SIZES were being praised. They all looked incredible in Rihanna’s lingerie and I honestly think this has set a new precedent for all fashion shows to come. It was just a reminder that everyone is beautiful, regardless of size.

TV Show- Season 16 of Grey’s Anatomy is back and that makes me SO happy. That also means that I’ve started re-watching some of my favorite older episodes because who doesn’t do that before a season premier. I haven’t been with the show since the beginning but I caught all the way up and have been watching live for the last 6 years so I’ll take that and call me a fan. The first episode was so good and I’m excited for the rest of the season but I’m also just loving watching all these older episodes right now.

Song- Don’t know why, but I’ve been listening to Lorde’s Supercut on repeat the last few weeks. It had been a minute since I listened to it but after hearing it in the movie Someone Great, I’ve been obsessed with it again. It really just gets me in my feeeelz if you know what I mean.

WEIGHT STIGMA AWARENESS WEEK

Hello, happy Sunday, happy fall, all that good stuff! This last week was NEDA’s first-ever Weight Stigma Awareness Week; an effort to bring awareness to this aspect of ED’s that often goes unnoticed. This post is all about raising awareness, sharing my story with weight and, once again, b r e a k i n g  t h e  s t i g m a. I read a quote from NEDA’s Instagram that said:

“Trying to prevent and treat eating disorders without directly addressing weight stigma will always be like trying to get rid of weeds by cutting off the tops. In order to truly prevent and allow full recovery from eating disorders, we must attack the problem at it’s root. And that root is weight stigma.”

That could not be more true. I don’t believe, and I don’t think other people believe, that weight stigma is the cause of eating disorders, but it definitely doesn’t make recovery any easier. BMI is not a measure of physical OR mental health, it’s an algorithm created by and for white men decades ago to measure the ratio between height and weight, not taking into account any other factors. When we define others, or even worse define ourselves, by the number on the scale or our BMI ratio, we’re taking an unrelated figure and allowing it to dictate our health. And people always say ditch the scale or don’t think about numbers, but weight has taken on a life of it’s own, and it goes way beyond the scale. Weight and appearance have become one. If you look heavier, you weigh more. If you look smaller, you weight less. People make these assumptions without knowing anything more than what you look like. And that’s dangerous beyond words.

And how can we blame anyone for how bad weight stigma has gotten. It’s penetrated our world, everything is about weight. It’s everywhere. Advertisements are constantly reminding us all that we must be under a certain weight to wear their clothes. Brands that have one size clothing that are equivalent to a size 2-4 create their brand around people who are under a certain weight. When we run into an old friend, the first thing we say is “you look so good!”. WHY. Why is the first comment we make to a friend after a long time apart about their appearance. Why can’t we praise people about anything other than their weight and appearance. It’s all just adding to the weight of weight stigma (no pun intended).

Honestly, I feel a bit hypocritical saying these things because I’ve never found peace with my weight. The scary thing is, I’ve been at my highest weight and I’ve been at my lowest and I’ve never been happy with how I look or how much I weigh. I’ve been at the point where people have straight up told me I look like I’d gained a lot of weight, and I’ve been at the point where people have gushed over how great I look after purging my brains out to lose weight, and none of these have ever made me feel good.

My natural body type is prone to heavy weight fluctuation. Day-to-day, week-to-week my weight goes up and down so easily. I would love to say that I am confident enough to not let me weight affect me, but that would be a lie. Every morning when I wake up, the first thing I want to do is check what my body looks like in the mirror. How bloated am I, how defined are my abs, how flat is my butt looking; it’s so easy to get sucked into all of that. Some days I look at myself and feel AMAZING and other days I look at myself and just want to cover it all up with leggings and a big sweater. Sometimes I let me weight control me, sometimes I don’t. But I have never gone a full day without thinking about my weight. It’s something that has controlled my life (I’ve learned that it truly is the voice of the ED) for so long. So while I would love to come on here and say everything is perfect, that wouldn’t be real.

It’s okay to have days where I don’t like how I look, it’s part of being human. But it’s not okay to just sit back and allow everyone to become consumed by that number on the scale. We are more than that, and that does not define  a n y o n e. Bodies are beautiful. Bodies allow us to do so much. Bodies are allowed to carry weight. But it shouldn’t have to carry the expectations that other people put on us.

Instead of telling someone how great they look, tell them you’re proud of them for starting a new, exciting project. Instead of commenting on someone’s weight or size in a photo, tell them how happy they look. Instead of commenting on their muscles, fat or anything else about their bodies, tell them they look healthy. Because at the end of the day, what does weight actually mean. As long as your healthy and happy, both physically and mentally. That’s all that matters.

Let’s use this week and all the inspo that came along with it to smash the stigma. We can do it, we are stronger than it.

Sending all the love, joy and positivity for the best week ahead. Lots of love xx

SPAIN Travel Diary

Fourth and final in the Europe Travel Diary series is beautiful BARCELONA! It was the last stop on our magical Mediterranean adventure and I am so excited to share a more of this beautiful, vibrant city with you.

DOWNTOWN

The city center/downtown area of Barcelona is sprawling and full of things to do (and by things to do I mean places to shop). It’s such a fun area with a really cool vibe. It’s pretty easy to walk around (but be prepared to walk a lot!) and the public transportation, especially the bus system is pretty easy to navigate as well. We figured out how to use the bus the second half of the trip and it was so convenient to get around to all the places we were wanting to visit. We kept on finding little side streets to walk down which took us to little hidden gems of the city. A bunch of the cool restaurants we found were placed we stumbled upon while walking around. I also LOVE European stores, they’re just the best. I found so many cute tops, bikinis and little pieces of jewelry (and makeup!) at all the stores. The Gothic Quarter is a really fun area to spend a chill afternoon shopping and grabbing some yum food. Honestly, I could have just spent the whole time walking around the cute little side-streets, but there’s so much more to this crazy city!

MONTJUIC

One of the places we visited that I loved was Montjuic, an iconic hill with multiple monuments up top. It’s absolutely gorgeous and castle-like as it overlooks the Mediterranean. There have been a lot of archaeological discoveries there in the last few years which gives it a really cool medieval vibe while still being really natural and green (with a stunning view of the ocean). From the top you also have a cool birds eye view of the city center which seems so distant even thought it’s only about 20 minutes from the city. It was just a beautifully serene place to spend a few hours in the morning. There’s a mall right across from the bottom of the hill that has some great restaurants (we ate at Enrique Tomas and it was incredible) to grab a bite to eat at.

SAGRADA FAMILIA

When in Barcelona… Of course we had to spend a few hours at the iconic Sagrada Familia. There’s something so special about a building that has been worked on for decades and decades and will be worked on for decades to come. Even though it’s not technically fully built, it’s still incredibly beautiful. Since it’s so crowded, we made sure to book our tickets online to avoid long lines (but we still had to wait in a 10 minute line). But the lines and waiting in the heat was all worth it. Once you get inside you are hit by the sun shining through the multi colored stained glass windows. They line the walls all the way up to the ceiling creating an ominous yet beautiful glow inside. We spent almost an hour just in awe of the beauty and spent a few minutes in the silent prayer area, such a special moment. We went at 4pm, which was perfect because the sun was beginning to set by 5 creating the most amazing golden hour you’ve ever seen. It is by far one of the most beautiful moments I’ve ever experienced in my life. [Sidenote- if you do go, please dress respectfully, cover your shoulders and avoid exposing too much of your legs since it is a place of religious practice.]

LA BOQUERIA

The place I was most excited to visit (haha of course) while in Barcelona was Mercado de la Boqueria. The famous public market full of fruit, vegetable, seafood, nuts, spices and everything else vendors and loaded with fun little bars to grab a bite to eat at. I’m not going to lie, we visited the market three times during our stay which I have no regrets about. Each time we got lost in the chaos walking around for hours in awe of all the fresh produce and fun food items they had. I would stop from time to time to get a box of calamari, a cup of fresh cherries to nibble on or to try some cheeses and meats. The third time we went, we decided we would bite the bullet and line up (for 40 minutes!) at one of the tapas bars for lunch. While I was a little antsy waiting for that long, we finally got a few seats at the bar counter and got our food ordered. Calamari, fried peppers, croquettes and sangria were a few of the things on the menu for the day. Our food came out pretty quickly and I don’t think I can say this enough, it was DELICIOUS. And the calamari was hands down the best calamari I’d ever had in my life. And I love me some good fried squid. It was so fresh and crunch but not oily at all with very light seasoning and the best aioli ever. SO GOOD. It was such a fun lunch, followed by another hour of walking around the stalls, chatting with some of the owners and making a few purchases. Hands down a must visit place in Barcelona.

PARK GUELL

One of the last places we visited on our trip was Park Guell, one of Gaudi’s masterpieces. This was the place I had seen the most photos of (gotta get that perfect Insta) so I was so excited to be able to see it in person. We made our bookings for 5pm which was a gorgeous time to go. It wasn’t too hot, but the sun still kept the sky lit and lay a beautiful blanket of light over all the architecture. The first part of the park was the iconic colorful, mosaic tile-work. With the city and the deep blue sky behind it, the colors stood out and contrasted so beautifully. We spent some time at the first part taking photos and taking in all the beauty before starting to walk down the path to the bottom of Park Guell. Towards the exit, there are two more Gaudi buildings that are filled with rooms and gift stores that you can walk into and take the stairs up to the top. There was a cool Disneyland-ish vibe about the park (and I’m saying that in the best way possible) that made me feel like a happy little kid. Gaudi’s structures and designs are so distinct and simply stunning to look at.

FOOD

And how can I not include a whole section on food in this post. My family’s been really into Spanish food and tapas this year so we were so excited to get to spend time eating our way through Barcelona. Thinking back on it all, there really wasn’t a meal that wasn’t anything less than amazing. None of the meals were blah or even just okay, they were all great. One thing I fell in love with was pan con tomate, basically the Spanish version of garlic bread served with almost every meal. I also am such a grilled octopus girl and had a decade’s worth of good octopus this trip. They were all so tender and fresh with the best seasoning. A lot of meats and cheeses were also eaten during this trip, which I will never complain about. We also ended up buying TONS of meat to bring home which we are slowly savoring. We also found a few tapas places and just tried a bunch of things during those meals like patatas bravas, chorizo, tortilla and so many other yummy things. On our last day, we also stumbled across the cutest little store called Le Cava Cakery which did cava (Spanish champagne) and cupcake pairings while I of course had to pop into. We did cava and rose cava pairings with salted caramel, raspberry and dulce de lece cupcakes and I don’t think I’ve ever been as happy as I was in that moment (anyone who knows me knows that bubbly and cupcakes are the most me thing ever). And to finish off my food bucket list, we stopped for some churros and chocolate at a cute little street side cafe, with a perfect view of the Sagrada Familia, and I will never look at churros the same again (infinite amount of heart eyes). The food in Barcelona was just so good and I feel very lucky to have gotten to spend time eating around the city.

So that’s all for this Europe series! My incredible trip of a lifetime around the Mediterranean; Greece, Montenegro, Italy and Spain. I do want to end this post by saying how grateful I am for the life I live. I never take for granted all that my life has allowed me to do, and I never want anyone to think that I’m not grateful, because I am. I’ve spent so much time thinking about how my life has been the last 20 years, and I am truly the luckiest girl in the world. Whatever else happens in my life, no matter how dark the days, I have to remember that I am blessed. Traveling the world has truly changed my life and I’ve found so much pure joy, passion and love in exploring all these amazing corners of the world. And with that, thank you for following along on this adventure, I’m so glad I got to share it with you.

Lots of love, Aime xx

 

 

 

 

August Favorites 2019

Hi everyone, hope you’re having a lovely long weekend! I’m back and school now and back to the grind. I had an amazing end of summer full of long lake days, endless days in the sun and pool parties. I have so many fun and exciting new things lined up for this fall and I can’t wait to share it all with you. But for now, here are all the things I’ve been loving this month!

Skincare Product- This summer I’ve been using the Sephora Coconut Water Hydrating Mist all summer long. It’s super cheap but feels and smells so good. It just feels like it’s pure coconut water in a really nice spray bottle (which I absolutely love) and it feels so nice as a refresher on your face after a long day in the sun. I also like using this right after washing my face and using my moisturizer and a quick and easy toner.

Makeup Product- I talk about this product all the time but I’ve seriously been using it every single day this month, and it’s the Tarte PRO Glow palette. It’s perfect because it has four beautiful highlighters and two bronzers which is all I’ve really been wanting to use during these hot summer days. They are all so nicely pigmented and don’t smudge or rub off if I get too sweaty or even if I jump in the pool for a bit. It’s the perfect summer face palette for an easy, glowy look.

Jewelry- This month I’ve been wearing the 2Bandits Athens opal bar necklace (from one of my FabFitFun boxes) almost everyday. It’s a small and understated, yet elegant piece that can be worn with a t-shirt and shorts or a nicer outfit. I usually love wearing bigger statement pieces, but I’ve found that this small one is easy to wear around town, to the lake or even to a pool party because it doesn’t get in the way, but it still adds a little pop.

Clothing Item- I’ve been living in a new pair of Forever 21 mom jean shorts (linked similar ones) the last few weeks. It’s a darker denim with five buttons going up making it high-waisted. I’ve been pairing it with tight crop tops or even just a bikini top. It’s super easy to thrown on and is loose and comfy in this crazy LA summer heat. All I’m gonna say is mom jeans are out, mom jean shorts are IN!

Swimsuit- I just got a new order from She In a few days ago and I got a swimsuit that I am obsessed with. It’s a dark green and white striped halter bikini with cheeky bottoms. I bought it on sale for $5 so was expecting it to be pretty bad quality but I’m so pleasantly surprised by how nice it is (I actually love SheIn bikinis, they’re so great for what you’re paying). So I’ve been living in this suit the last few days trying to wear it as much as possible before summers over. If you’re looking for a cheap, cute suit for the last little bit of summer, check out SheIn (sizing tends to run on the small side or size up!).

Movie- I don’t know how it took me so long to watch this movie, but I finally watched Someone Great on Netflix a couple of weeks ago and it was SO GOOD. I’m such a sucker for a good, cheesy rom-com and especially one set in NYC so there was no way I wasn’t loving it. And I also have a major girl crush on Gina Rodriguez so that was just a bonus. If you haven’t already watched it, your homework for tonight is to sit in bed with a face mask on and watch it.

TV Show- I haven’t actually started watching this yet, but I’m really wanting to get into the Sex and the City series. I absolutely love the movies (and by love I mean I’ve watched both 1 and 2 like three times over the last few weeks) and can’t believe I’ve never watched the show. So this month I’m making it my goal to become obsessed with the show, because we all know I really well. But I’m also on the lookout for new fun shows so if you know of any good ones send me a DM or leave your suggestions in the comments below.

Song- I’ve been listening to anything and everything Jonas Brothers the last couple weeks, especially Love Her and Year 3000. But I’ve also been playing Someone You Loved by Lewis Capaldi and Supercut by Lorde on repeat the last week. Basically I’ve been really into finding new songs this month getting ready for all those long nights in the library.

Back-to-School Item- Now that I’m back to school and back to the grind I needed to get some stuff to help me get and stay organized for the crazy year ahead. Last year I used the Kate Spade ‘Things We Love’ 2018-2019 planner and I absolutely loved it, so I went with another Kate Spade one this year. The Gold Spade Flower 17-month planner (large) is beautiful and makes staying organized and on top of everything so easy. And the best part, it has two pages of cute, gold metallic stickers to use throughout the year, because even your school work needs to be a bit bedazzled, right.

Tokyo Spot- Right before I left Tokyo to come back my mom, sister and I finally went to TeamLab Borderless in Odaiba, Tokyo and it was incredible! I had heard so many good things about it and was beginning to think that it may have been overhyped, but it absolutely was not. It was even better than I expected and was so worth the trip. It was so big that we didn’t even get to all the rooms while spending an afternoon there. Highly recommend a trip there if you’re ever in Tokyo (tip: buy tickets online ahead of time- it’s crazy crowded)!

ITALY Travel Diary

SICILY, MESSINA

The next stop of our magical European adventure was ITALY! What a dream. The second we stepped into the streets of Messina, I was struck by all of the quaint, cobblestone streets lined with colorful, rustic buildings with balconies filled with plants. We spent a bit of time walking around a little square complete with a beautifully sculptured fountain and a grand church over-looking the streets. Turn each corner to find a cute little corner general store, a coffee shop with plenty of outdoor seating and little bistro-style restaurants. The city center of Messina has an incredibly old yet comforting style of architecture with ratty buildings that are just so charming.

After a full morning of walking around and relishing in the beauty of Italy, we decided it was time to find somewhere for lunch. Leading up to Italy, I only had one request: I needed to find the best seafood pasta. So this was my chance. After looking and looking for the perfect little restaurant, we found Osteria del Campanile tucked away in a little side-street off of one of the main roads. Thinking it looked a little run down and a bit out of the way, I honestly wasn’t expecting much. But after looking at the menu and seeing that they had a seafood spaghetti in a tomato-based sauce, I just had to order it. I still don’t know the words to properly describe it, but it was hands down the BEST pasta I’ve ever had in my life. And I eat a lot of pasta. That’s all I can say.

After being stuffed with meats, pasta and red wine, we headed out for the afternoon. We walked through the city center a bit more before heading to the shopping district. Simply a few rows of streets lined with stores on end. One of the stores I discovered while in Italy was Kiko Milano. I was on the hunt for some new colorful eye shadows when I first walked into their store. Everything is so affordable, but the products I’ve tried so far have been really good. After a few more hours of shopping, it was time for our first Italian gelato. We found a little coffee shop and popped it for a sweet treat. Overtaken with all the flavors, I finally settled on one scoop of cherry amaretto and one scoop of almond dark chocolate. Not to sound like a broken record, but best gelato I had ever had in my life.

AMALFI

Up next, the Amalfi Coast. The drive there was nothing short of incredible, stopping along the way at all of the prettiest of panoramic views. The picturesque shoreline with scattered villas, hotels, vineyards and houses was exactly what I was expecting. I constantly felt like I was looking at a background, so so so beautiful. The water was such a rich shade of blue that it almost seemed otherworldly. The town of Amalfi was exactly what I would have expected. The second you pull up, the salty smell of the ocean surrounds you as the sound of waves crashing lightly on the shore and the voices of so many happy people fill your ears. People say Disneyland is the happiest place on earth, but I might want to argue that.

Walk into the town center of Amalfi, a walled in area of streets and stores, to find even more bustling. Boutiques, food stores, cafes and restaurants are absolutely everywhere you look. There’s no stopping, there’s no break, it’s just go go go, in the best way possible. The buildings’ first floors were all filled with stores, but the second and third floors were all balcony and flower-lined, looking like someone may live there. We popped into store after store and I was simply stunned by the sheer amount of things stuffed into every small space. Every kind of pasta you could imagine, snow globes, shot glasses and magnets lined shelf after shelf, and bottles of limoncello could be found at almost every store. The whole time walking around, we were hot, sweaty and sticky from the Italian summer sun beating down on us, but it was also just so magical I didn’t care if I was sweating or not.

With the heatwave coming up to the southern coast of Europe from Africa, it was absolutely sweltering. And what’s the one way to cure a hot, Italian summer day: more gelato. I had already had my first, and what I thought was the best I would ever had, gelato in Messina, but I was ready to have another one. This time the flavor was Amalfi Limoncello. It was tangy, sweet, icily creamy and refreshingly cold. The heat was beginning to softly melt the triangular scoop of beautiful yellow gelato, but that did not stop us from finishing every last drop. As the days moved from morning, to mid morning, to evening, the Amalfi just seemed to get more and more beautiful. Sunshine draped over the town creating beautiful pockets of light and shadows on every building.

NAPOLI

Our last stop of the Italy leg was Napoli. Another quaint town, similar to Messina. The city center seemed to be a shopping district, filled with more boutiques and name brand stores. The public library was as grand as you can imagine, looking over the downtown area. We spent time walking in and out of stores, trying to cool off every second we could. Still looking for my Italian pizza, we were ready for an Italian pizza lunch. Once again, we happened to just stumble upon this little cafe/restaurant that we decided to sit down at for a break. Not expecting too much from their pizza, we just ordered a margherita pizza, a pasta with olives, capers and tomatoes and a salad to share. Seriously not trying to sound redundant, but it was the best pizza I’d ever had in my life. It was so simple with some crushed tomatoes, whole slices of mozzarella and basil leaves, but it was so delicious. The dough was soft but chewy and had a deep taste of bread. Italian pizza, check.

Another visit we made in Napoli was to Pompeii. It was quite a different experience, given the history. I still remember learning about the history of Pompeii during history class in sixth grade and it was so incredible to be able to visit the site of the buried city. We decided not to buy the headsets with the audio tour as we thought we could just walk around on our own, but I would highly suggest going for the audio tour since the area is so big and sprawling that it’s a bit hard to navigate on your own. But besides that Pompeii was actually gorgeous, despite it’s dark history. It just made me think of how much natural beauty can come out of something so dark. The afternoon we visited, the sky was a deep blue with just a few clouds scattered around. From a few spots within Pompeii, we had a perfect view of Mount Vesuvius, which was half scary, half amazing.

The last afternoon in Italy, we ended up snooping around a Sephora and Zara at an outdoor shopping mall-like area of downtown Napoli. It was another hot afternoon, so what else did we do that sit down for a glass of iced coffee and, yes, another gelato. This time it was strawberry, and just as delicious and refreshing as the other ones had been. The best end to the Italy leg of this adventure.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

July Favorites 2019

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but Happy August! We’re in full summer mode and I’m absolutely loving it. The month of July was incredible for me with lot’s of travel, family and much appreciated down time. I’m at my lake house now in Northern Japan and enjoying long, sunny days out in the sun. I’ve been working on a lot of different and cool posts for the coming months and I can’t wait to share it all with you. I honestly have just been super chill this last month, so this month is a bit shorter, but nonetheless here it is, enjoy!

Skincare Product- This is basically makeup, but I’ll put it here for now. During these weeks at the lake, I haven’t really been wearing a lot of makeup, but I do like to have a nice little glow going, especially since I’m out in the sun all the time. I’ve been using the Benefit Girl Meets Pearl luminizer to highlight my cheekbones and down the bridge of my nose.

Makeup Product- I talked about this in my last favorites post, but I bought five new eye shadows from Kiko Milano in Sicily and Barcelona and absolutely love them. My favorite eye shadows are typically Tarte and the Colourpop super shocks, and these easily match up to those two. I was looking for more colorful shades to test out and found some beautiful purples, pinks, blues and yellows. They apply so buttery and smoothly without creasing, even after wearing it throughout a long day.

Clothing Item- While I was in Barcelona, I was on the hunt for a new, cute white bikini top, and I finally found the cutest one at the store Undiz. It was only 10 euros and is such good quality with good support (kinda hard to find that combo in bikini tops!). I’ve been wearing it a lot here at the lake and keep on getting comments about how cute it is. Such a steal, such a great purchase, be sure to check them out!

Movie- I talked about how much I loved ‘The First Monday in May’ in a favorites post a few months ago, and this month I finally watched ‘The September Issue’ the other day and I love it just as much. It follows the life and career of Vogue’s Anna Wintour, who I am absolutely obsessed with. It’s such a great movie, and if you’re looking for something to watch after watching ‘The First Monday in May’, watch this!

TV Show- I started watching Designated Survivor on Netflix at the beginning of the month and finished the first two seasons (48 episodes) in about 5 days and finished the third season soon after that. It’s such a good and addicting show that’s very current and relatable to what’s happening in our political world today. I’m so sad because news just broke that the show just got cancelled, but I think it’s still 100% worth it to watch those three seasons anyway.

Song- Like everyone else, I’ve been obsessed with Ed Sheeran’s new collaboration album, but I’ve especially been loving South of the Border. It’s such a great album and did not disappoint, especially with all the hype. But I’ve also found myself listening to a lot of Jess and Gabriel’s cover songs (on Spotify) that I’ve been really liking.

See you soon, stay tuned for more posts xx

Aime

MONTENEGRO Travel Diary

KOTOR

Montenegro was never a place that crossed my mind as somewhere I wanted to go, but I’m so glad I did. The views, the food, the people were all so amazing and made it a place that I can’t wait to visit again. After looking at pictures, I was expecting Kotor to be blue, green and very pretty, but it exceeded those expectations. It’s one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever visited, and I truly mean that. The beautiful was as deep in color as the Santorini water, but a little more turquoise, reflecting the green hills surrounding the bay. There was just a natural, serene beauty to the town that I don’t think I’ll ever be able to put into words. I was genuinely awe-struck, and there’s not many times that that’s happened to me.

The port of Kotor was filled with yachts and sail boats, big and small, all shaded by the mountains around it. One morning we drove up to the top of one of the mountains to get a picture-perfect view of Kotor Bay, which was absolutely breathtaking. There was nothing but blue water, green trees and scattered terra-cotta colored rooftops that could be seen. The bay was almost fully enclosed by surrounding mountains. A 30 minute drive to the old town of Perast along the coastline was a great way to see more of the city. Filled with AirBnBs and boutique hotels, we spent the ride talking about when we could visit again next. We walked around Perast for a few hours, admiring all the small boats and yachts that people were sailing around the water. Piers were filled with locals and tourists laying out on towels, enjoying the summer. Waterfront hotels had lined lounge chairs along the piers where even more tourists were out under the sun. A mid-morning break called for local unfiltered beer which was, surprisingly, really good.

Another highlight from Kotor was spending an afternoon in the down-town area, the cutest little square. The city center is contained by old, brick walls, a historic way to protect. We spent time looking around the stores and shopping for souvenirs and gifts from the unique destination. We bought so many things to remember the trip, from snow globes to stickers and Christmas ornaments. After walking up an appetite, we were ready for lunch and a short break. Wanting to find local foods and dishes, we found a local restaurant hidden in the backstreets where we ordered a selection of local cured meats and cheeses. Sipping on glasses of wines and cocktails, we enjoyed every bite of the local delicacies. Everything from prosciutto to salamis and cow’s milk and goat’s milk cheese were incredibly delicious.

Not knowing much about Montenegro or Kotor, we were so surprised by how much we loved it. Like I said before, everything about it was amazing. The moment we got there we were flocked by tour guides and car drivers ‘selling’ their tours and drivers to us. We decided to hire a driver one morning to drive us everywhere, and I’m so glad we did. We typically like to explore new places on our own and do everything on our own schedule, but this time it worked out so well. Our driver was so sweet and knowledgable about Kotor. He was simply a driver but was able to explain everything about his home city. He took us everywhere we wanted to go and gave us time where we wanted it. If you’re ever in Kotor, I would highly suggest hiring a driver or tour guide at least for part of one of the days you’re visiting the beautiful city.

I could say this until I’m blue in the face, but Kotor was such a surprise and I can’t be more grateful that I was able to visit. If it’s not on your list, it really should be. Now onto Italy!

GREECE Travel Diary

The first of four travel guides to come. First stop- GREECE!

ATHENS

Marking the beginning of our three week trip, we landed at the Athens airport in the wee hours of the morning before hopping in a short cab ride to our AirBnB in Kolonaki, which was an amazing place to stay. Right in the middle of the local hustle and bustle of the city, but not too far from any of the things anyone would want to do. We spent our mornings trying out different neighborhood coffee shops for breakfast drinking Freddo Cappucinnos (Greek iced lattes) and having different kinds of pastries and sandwiches. During the days, we walked around the Syntagma Square/Ermou Street area where there are tons of high fashion stores and boutiques. Right at the entrance to that area is Parliament where we watched the changing of the guard (takes place every hour). One day we walked a little further down Ermou Street to reach the Plaka area which was a bit more touristy, but filled with lot’s of cute little stores filled with everything and anything Greek. We did a bit of shopping around there to get some souvenirs including evil eye keychains, bracelets and red wine soap. We would often grab lunch back around the Ermou area and share some combination of Greek salad, souvlaki or gyros, spanakopita, and moussaka with a cold glass of 1.50 euro wine, no better way to spend your days.

We also had drinks a couple of times at the rooftop bar of the Grande Bretagne Hotel in Syntagma Square. The drinks are a bit on the pricier side, but it’s accompanied by the most stunning view of Athens and the Parthenon so it’s well worth it. And speaking of the Parthenon, we also spent half a day at the Acropolis (quick tip: buy your tickets online ahead of time to avoid lines). It was beautifully sunny with very few clouds scattered in the sky making for a perfect day. Although it was crowded, it didn’t make the experience any less special. We had visited Athens and the Parthenon in 2006 and I had very few memories of that so it was fun to be able to see the wonder again. Our last adventure in Athens before moving on was up to Lykavittos, the highest point in Athens. We took a little cable car up to the top and enjoyed a glass of coffee accompanied by a stunning panoramic view of the city. Lykavittos is also known as Mount Lycabettus who’s peak sits around 300 meters above sea level, making it arguably the best view of Athens. It was a beautiful way to start our last morning in Athens before heading onto Santorini.

For dinners, we tried to mix it up every night. Dexameni’s is an establishment that has been around forever. Located at the bottom of Lykavittos, it’s scattered tables sit sprawled out on a hill. For our dinner there we ordered a bunch of small dishes to share including a tomato salad, taramasalata and roasted potatoes. It was such a fun atmosphere with good food. Another one of our favorites was the Stinking Bishop which had some funky fusion dishes and a great bar. Although a bit on the pricier side, very worth it. But our favorite had to be Zurbaran which serves Greek food with a modern twist. A swanky bar, a picturesque terrarium-like dining section and bustling outdoor seating, it was hands down our best meals (we actually ended up going twice) in Athens .

Favorite Restaurants: Dexameni, Zurbaran, Stinking Bishop, Le Grande Bretagne Rooftop Bar (for happy hour).

SANTORINI

As beautiful as I had painted Santorini to be in my head, it was even more beautiful in person. We took a boat into Santorini and I was instantly in awe of the natural beauty of the island. The water was a deep, royal blue, glistening and sparkling as it reflected the sun. I had dreamed of visiting this magical place ever since I can remember, and it’s incredible how much it exceeded my expectations. People were so incredibly friendly and seemed genuinely happy to help and serve us. There seemed to be a natural light in everyone’s eyes and everyone’s spirit was as warm and welcoming as the Santorini sun. The overwhelming sense of bright blue just made my eyes glisten with joy and was paired so well with all of the sparkling white buildings. See, just like you’d imagine it to be.

We took a little bumboat from the one side of the Island over to Oia, to explore that area. Again, in awe of the stunning water. After walking up to the top of Oia, we basked in the sun and took hundreds of photos of the photogenic scenery. Mid-morning coffee/cocktail (we were on vacation, it was always happy hour!) pit-stops filled with Aperol Spritz’s and iced coffees made mornings even more serene. After hours of walking down the pebbles sidewalks, we had always worked up an appetite. 218 Cafe was one of our favorites, serving local, Greek food with a perfect balcony view of the ocean and parts of Oia. We sat forever eating all grilled octopus, stuffed squid, pita and hummus we could, simply in awe of the setting we were in. The Teleferic (cable car) down from the top to the waterfront is an absolute must-do, no matter how long the line is (trust me- I hate lines but this was well worth the wait). It’s about a ten minute ride with an incredible view of the whole island and ocean from the sides and bottom of the cable car. As sad as it was to leave, the trip was incredible and made for infinite memories.  Santorini was an absolute dream and I cannot wait to be back again soon!

Favorite Restaurant: 218 Cafe & Restaurant

Now on to Montenegro!