My First NYFW As a Blogger

The past few months have been a whirlwind, y’all! The fact that I’m even speaking from the frame of “blogger,” is still so surreal to me! I just want to pause and thank every single one of you for giving me so much love and grace in this new season of my life!

Just recently, I returned from a trip of a lifetime! NEW YORK CITY, BABY! Now if you know me, you’d know that nothing makes me happier than the Big Apple! In fact, that’s where I plan to move next! So when I was invited to my first show, three weeks before NYFW, it had me thinking. I am not as well versed in the fashion world as others in my industry are, I’d never been to fashion week… how freaking intimidating, and OMG, it’s like three weeks away…I’M NOT READY! But then I had a change of heart. How amazing would it be just being in the city that brings me so much life, surrounded by fellow creators from all around the globe! PLUS, I would take full advantage while we were there and begin apartment hunting! SO, all this to say, the decision to attend became fairly easy as more thought went into it!

Next, we had to search for hotel stays! Since, I am the last person knowledgable about NYC lodging, I went about asking all my NYC gals for fun, hip, and central accommodations in the city. I may have asked, 20 girls and the one common denominator between them all was YOTEL New York .

If you are into views beyond your wildest expectations, modern design, and affordability, Yotel is THE place to look into! So once we finalize our stay with the lovely staff at Yotel, we could breathe a bit, because we knew we’d be taken care of with their more than helpful staff. Questions I had: “how close are you guys to the shows?” “Do you have views of the Empire State? “Will there be enough room for me to hang up all my lewks for the week?” They left me feeling more than confident, that our stay would be 10/10.

*HINT: IT WAS BEYOND AMAZE!!*

Then we moved onto outfits. Since the decision to attend was sooo last minute, I decided to attempt to thrift all my lewks in efforts to save some $$$ and for sustainability, hunniee. 5 thrift visits later, I had about 12 outfits solidified and ready to go!

So many thoughts raced through my head the night before as I had absolutely no idea what to expect but I was beyond excited! I knew I had to go in with a few intentions, however. 1) I would not compare myself or my outfits to the other babes’ attending, 2) I would be less critical during our shoots around the city, and 3) I would soak it all in! Every. single. moment. And that’s EXACTLY what I did, hunaay!

WELCOME TO NEW YORK:

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When we arrived, it was pouring rain but honestly I couldn’t have asked for a warmer welcome! Only a few minutes drive away from the iconic Empire State Building, our exciting NYFW adventures were about to begin, starting at Yotel.

When we first walked in, we were greeted with the option of checking in swiftly with a seamless airline styled self-service check-in or of course, the friendly concierge…modern AF. During our time there, we coordinated to stay in different rooms so that we could experience all that Yotel had to offer! 

Upon our initial check-in, we arrived in our King Junior Suite with views that left us speechless. As a west-coaster, you only dream of views this stunning!

The entire room was Smart Equipped. Interchangeable touch LED lights, adjustable Serta SmartBeds, and fully stocked body & skincare products.

The next day, we headed to some NYFW events and of course, shot throughout the city, along the way!

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We then headed back to Yotel to experience some R+R in their King Jr Suite with Terrace. I mean, come on…a freaking terrace in a hotel room…but not just any terrace, one with a private jacuzzi!!

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INSANE! After some much needed down time, we headed off to a few more events to close the night.

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As an creative, the most exciting part of the job, is being able to connect with so many people from around the world. As soon as we headed into our first event, it was as if I reuniting with old friends. I mean, I literally met IRL like 10-15 girls right off the bat whom I’d been chatting with for years. It was amazing! The energy in those rooms were electric!

That next day, we headed back out on the town for another full day of festivities. So many meet ups, events, pop-up shops, etc etc.

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The girls had us catching trains to the hidden gems of the city. Adventuring across town was maybe one of the top 3 highlights of my trip!

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We made our way back to Manhattan to check-in to my favorite room of the trip, Yotel’s Penthouse King Suite. I MEAN, I BASICALLY CRIED WALKING INTO THIS ROOM.

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THESE VIEWS MADE IT SO HARD FOR US TO WANT TO LEAVE OUR ROOM!

That following morning, we decided to take it easy and spend most of the day at Yotel. We headed to the rooftop bar to enjoy some, “Social, Drink, and Food”!

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After a few hours of enjoying the views, we checked-in to our newest room, the Corner Queen.

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Once you walk in, you have direct views of the Hudson River and on the right, you have ongoing views of Midtown.

We soaked in the views until the evening, ate close-by in Time’s Square and ended the night back on the rooftop.

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My face knowing our trip was coming to an end! LOL, TEARS.

We woke up early, and DUN, DUN, DUN…DID OUR FIRST WAVE OF APARTMENT HUNTING. SO EXCITING! Later in the day, we planned for a series of shows. But of course, on the way, we shot some content.

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Unfortunately, we got lost for several hours along the subway and missed all of the shows for the day 😦 LIKE WHAT A FAIL! It was def a huge bummer but at the end of the day, I was still so overwhelmed with gratitude and joy from the past few days. We went with the intentions of experiencing NYFW but actually gained so much more! That night, we stared out at our views, in absolute awe.

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In awe of the city, we will soon call home. In awe of the city where we fell in love. In awe of a week that gave us so much conviction of where we want to go. A place that connected so many souls and established friendships and reunited old ones. A place that nowhere else compares.

If you are wanting to attend NYFW next year: my advice is to go for it! Even if you are not invited to shows, still buy that plane ticket, sis! Just being apart of the energy, where you’ll bump into likeminded creatives at every corner, the inspo and zest of the city, and going out of your comfort zone to even attend, will be THE experience in itself. The shows and events are just the cherry on top. So hopefully next year, you’ll be able to call me a New Yorker, and I’ll know the subway system well enough to not get lost during the shows, hehe!

Thank you, Yotel, for making our stay feel like home; An Instagrammer’s dream, for sure! Til’ next time, NYC! XO

The Ultimate LA Day Date: Universal Studios Hollywood Edition

Whether you’re a LA native or visitor of Hollywood, Universal Studios Hollywood is an immersive experience all of it’s own. Beyond it’s iconic red carpet entrance, this movie-based theme park and active studio lot puts you in the center of the action where your fav blockbusters come to life. Experience movie magic in multi-dimensional thrill rides, special effects, and re-created signature environments.

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After much FOMO of this magical land, we finally got to experience the enchantment of “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter” for ourselves. The entire land is so masterfully curated, you truly feel as though you were transported into the big screen. From the snow-capped roofs to the cobblestone walk ways, this quant village of wizardry is one unforgettable experience!

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If you’re a HP fan, you can appreciate how closely the park referred to the books for inspiration in creating these environments. We were so enthralled during our strolls throughout Hogsmeade Village.

Next, we walked around the the recreated streets of  New York.

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Then, we made way towards the famous Studio Tour — Behind-the-Scenes Tram Ride. Aside from working soundstages and filming lots, there are a variety of special effects rides along the way.  It is recognizable by the landmark buildings and star-covered sidewalks. Some of our fave cult-films took place here! In addition to the soundstage recreation experiences, we encountered War of the Worlds and other famous movie sets. Pure Hollywood magic!

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As the afternoon warmed up, we knew the perfect way to cool down would be to head to the lower lot and experience the mega attraction, Jurassic World– The Ride, ft dinosaurs from the film, lush interactive designs, and the rollercoaster drop made for thrill-seekers like us.

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We finished the day by enjoying a European vacation in the heart of Los Angeles, Bienvenue!  We walked around this Parisian Courtyard with all the Euro Nostalgia.

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What a day! 10/10 recommend if you’re wanting to spend a day with bae or even feel like a kid again. Growing up, it was a family tradition of ours for us to make our way down south to Universal Studios Hollywood. Some of my best childhood memories are associated with this park and it’s pretty amazeee to be continuing that tradition. And, for my IG babes, content galore!

Blogger Trip: Los Cabos

Four content curators walk into a Mexican resort………….. and leave with the best of memories! HAHAHA!

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Feeling nostalgic AF while I write this piece as this trip signified not only my first all blogger getaway but also my first official week of being a full-time Content Curator! EEEK! The expectations of some R+R were far beyond met on this unforgettable trip!

Hotel El Ganzo 

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Welcome to Paradise!

El Ganzo is Los Cabos’ one stop shop for artistic, hipster, luxe boutique hotel vibes! Decorated in contemporary art, this unique hotel is what I’d describe as an experience. With it’s very own recording studio, cultural program, expansive views of the Sea of Cortez and Puerto Los Cabos Yacht Marina, you truly get the best of both modern and indigenous worlds.  Truly, one of it’s kind in Los Cabos. PLUS, THERE ARE SO MANY INSTA-WORTHY AREAS TO SHOOT!

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Each of us had our own ocean-front room equipped with a wooden soaking tub, which may I add, we took full advantage off! Together we scoped each other’s rooms and it was funny how we all entered, with “OOOOhs and AWWEs.”

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For dinner, we went down to one of El Ganzo’s four restaurants, and enjoyed some yummy tacos and guac.

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Acre Baja

A jungle lush dream!

On our second day, we headed to this tucked away lux sanctuary, where tree houses, an organic farm, and palm forest meets modern chic aesthetics found in every corner.

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We enjoyed this hidden gem for most of our day. From the farm to table dishes, playful  billy goats, and the most picture-esque poolside, Acre is an Instagrammer’s dream! If you’re looking for an all-things serene and visually appealing ambience, Acre is your place to visit!

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SUR Beach House

Island Dreams AF!

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On our third day, we headed to Cabo San Lucas to spend the day at SUR. When you walk through their entrance doors, you are instantly transported into your own personal private island, overlooking Cabo’s shoreline and of course, the magical arch. We were greeted by the most impeccable staff with the best Berry Hibiscus Mojitos I’ve ever tried, and the freshest guac I’ve ever tasted! This open-air dining space gave us all the Greece vibes, for sure!

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Once we finished our delish meals, we were then taken to our private beach chairs, where we were quenched with some chilled champaign and toasty vitamin D!

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After sinking our toes in the sand, we were then escorted to SUR’s very own boat service where our group was taken out on our private boat to El Arco. We spent about an hour circling around the rock formations, captured some awesome moments, and even saw some tropical fishies!

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We headed back to Hotel El Ganzo, and soaked up our final night together over looking the marina. How magical that this digital media platform, connected all four of us and our partners from all over the US, allowing our group to bond in one of the most culturally rich countries in the world #blessed .

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On Sunday morning we shared one last meal and said our goodbyes *cue the tears*. This trip will forever hold a special place in my heart! Thank you, Hotel El Ganzo, Acre Baja, and SUR Beach House for making it all possible!

If you’re thinking about heading to Cabo, I highly recommend checking out these bomb establishments. I’m very much about aesthetics, safety, and ambiance and these places were 10/10.

Things to Remember:

  1. Cabo is humid AF! And if you’re like me and are sensitive to the sun, make sure you come prepared with big sun hats, sunnies, hydro flasks to refill your water, and a sh*t ton of sunblock. THAT SUN WAS NO JOKE!
  2. If you have dietary restricts, (like me) *eyeroll* be sure to communicate that with the chef before ordering. I did find it a bit difficult to find non-triggering food options throughout the trip however, all the above restaurants, accommodated my dietary needs as best as they could.
  3. Do not wander off the beaten path. I felt entirely safe during our trip but that was because we did our research ahead of time with the areas we would be frequenting, we made sure we always stayed with our group, and rented a car versus relying on taxis or Uber’s. This is not to say, other means of transportation is dangerous, but it felt a little more comforting knowing we were in control with where we were heading.
  4. Rent a car! Los Cabos and Cabo San Lucas is about a 45 minute drive from each other and with Uber’s being so far and in between, we saved a lot of time just hopping into our car. Plus, if you are planning to shop and location scout, it is much easier to drive there 🙂
  5. Live yo’ best life! This is Mexico, GO LOKO!!

XO

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How to Travel On a Budget

“To travel is to live” Legit one of my fav quotes ever! I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: the first time I’ve ever truly felt alive was when I first traveled abroad. But let’s face it, traveling is a luxury! And most people just don’t have it like that!

So in order to make traveling more feasible, I’ve decided to share/backdown what has helped me in planning/budgeting for my travels.

Since this topic was highly suggested, let’s jump right in!

The biggest question I receive is: “How much should I have saved up for a trip like this?

So it really depends on where you are going, some countries are legit so expensive (I could cry) but others can be very reasonable!

To be safe, I always say to give yourself a $2,000 limit when booking a trip abroad.

But considering I have lived and traveled throughout Europe, I will recommend ways in which you can stay under that amount (wellllll, assuming you agree to really ball on a budget).

And I say this because I know many people who only travel in luxury but in all honestly, you can still have the time of your life while watching your pennies, okurrr.

But be forewarned: these amounts are based off of MY experiences in EUROPE, no where else.

ROUNDTRIP AIRFARE ~ $600

This should be the largest lump sum of your trip. And the first matter of business in your planning. You don’t always have to fly in and out of the same country but keep in mind you will have to plan the in-between flights.

I suggest purchasing a non-stop flight as many sites will try to trick you into a good deal but one that has a gnarly layover in a random country, so be thorough with your search.

You will find a reasonably priced non-stop if you are patient. I have made the mistake of booking welllll in advance and honestly, I found much cheaper tickers for the same flight closer to the date. Airlines take advantage, y’all! So be smart with how you book! I say, a good time to book a flight is 2-3 months in advance. Oh, and ALWAYS PURCHASE INSURANCE! The extra $12 is so worth it!

Useful Sites: (Hover for links)

Google Flights

Skyscanner

CheapOair

Orbitz

Expedia

(These sites will compare prices for you, however, sometimes it is cheaper just to go through the specific airline itself)

& In my opinion: Norwegian Air  has had some of the cheapest roundtrip flights into Europe that I’ve seen.

STAY: ~ $350-$600 (Based on a 7 night stay)

Once you have solidified your roundtrip flight, the next order of business, I would suggest booking, is your stay(s).

Now, this is where your budget can significantly be affected.

I say: stray away from hotels. Your best options are either highly rated hostels or Airbnb’s. If you are looking into hotels, be well prepared to spend over $150 a night!

You can find hostels that offer private rooms for as little as $20 Euro per person if you are in a group of 2 or more and entire Airbnb’s for less than $75 a night.

Or if you are a solo traveler: you can choose to stay at a hostel as well, but in a common room and you’d also only be looking at $20-35 euro a night. This is a great way to save and meet other travelers! I’ve gone this route plenty of times with random groups of other women but also men!

But remember: this amount can vary dramatically by the city and/or accommodation method you choose. But the good thing here, is that this total amount most likely will be split amongst you and your traveling buddies.

Side note: London & Paris tend to be the more pricier of countries( for hostels at least) but we found the dreamiest Airbnb in Paris for only $70 a night! So it really depends.

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FOOD: ~$300-$450

Again, this is another area which can highly affect your budget!

If you plan on eating at the hottest restaurants in town and drink your days away, this price budget may not be for you!

But it is possible if are choosy with how and where you dine.

You are traveling, so of course, #treatyoself! BUT, be strategic about it.

Breakfast: Pastries will be your best friend. I know in America, we are used to the grand All-American breakfast: eggs, bacon, toast, avocado, the works! But in Europe (and I’m sure many other regions) breakfast is not as heavy. However, I have seen Europe begin to implement our style of breakfast.

So, in order to save, buy yourself a few pastries to fill up until lunch. We are talking a couple bucks per pastry.

Lunch: Some easy pizza, panino, sandwich, etc ~$10.  I know it may be tempting to have a midday bougie lunch or sangria (which is fine) but I say wait for dinner to do this.

Dinner: This is where you can splurge! I def like to map out a few days of the trip to do this but keep in mind, splurging every night can easilyyy take you well off of your budget. A glass of wine, sure, but this doesn’t mean it HAS to be at the trendiest place in town! Don’t underestimate hole in the wall locations! I’ve found some of the YUMMIEST restaurants that were still 5 course meals but under $15 a person. Yelp will be your best friend!

Dessert: This is also where ya girl splurges! Gelato, Nutella anything, hot chocolate, crepes, etc.

Alcohol: So inserting my opinion heavily on this one but alcohol is one of the easiest ways to break your budget.

I say, limit yourself to some wine at dinner and maybe a couple nights out at the local bar, but save what you would have spent on drinks, to pay for an extra day of (exploring connecting flight, activity, etc). And I say this because you can drink all you want back in your home country, but if you’re on a budget, you can reallocate your money towards the real adventures. BUT, this does not mean, don’t drink. Something I’ve done in most of the countries I’ve visited is simply head to the local supermarket and pick up a few bottles of wine (usually $2-$4 a piece) or mini liquor bottles and enjoy them for a night in or just bring them with me for night time picnics, late night strolls, etc.

Side note: There are so many different cuisines throughout Europe so don’t feel bad if you aren’t eating that particular country’s cuisine every single night. Asian and Mediterranean cuisine are quite popular and inexpensive options as well!

CONNECTING FLIGHTS/TRAINS:  ~$300 (OPTIONAL)

One of the things I love so much about Europe, is that travel amongst cities/countries is relatively cheap. Usually you can find roundtrips for under $100.

Cheapest options:

Airline Sites:

Ryanair

Vueling

WOW Air

EasyJet

Norwegian  

Train Sites:

GoEuro

HappyRail

(Here you can search and compare for the cheapest train options for your destination country)

CITY TRANSPORTATION: ~$100

In Europe, (at least) be prepared to walk, and A LOT! BUT… there will be days when you will need a metro, tram, taxi, and/or bus ticket. Each of these will likely cost ($1.50-$3.00 a piece, excluding taxis) So if you’re looking to explore the entire city, these small amounts can and will add up! Unlike the US, one pass is only good for one stop. Many people aren’t aware of this and get fined a hefty amount. PRO TIP: VALIDATE YOUR TICKETS FOR EACH STOP! So many of us (myself included at one point) have tried to beat the system and just sneak on but I highly discourage this (we did eventually get a 100 EUR fine!) From what I was told, many cities have been stricter on their public transportation so just be safe and cover your bases. As an alternative, some cities do offer City passes that you can purchase in bulk (which would avoid you having to purchase a ticket each and every time you ride).

SHOPPING/SOUVENIRS: ~$20

I personally do not shop abroad, unless its an item, I absolutely need. I use the same logic here that I do with alcohol. I can shop back home and instead allocate that money towards my adventures. However, if you are really dying to shop, most cities usually have cheap flea markets that you can potentially pick up some finds.  If you are looking to bring home some souvenirs, I suggest something small but thoughtful: postcards,  certain packaged foods from that region, etc.

IF YOU ARE A BLOGGER: ~$50 (OPTIONAL)

You may need to allocate some funds for outfits and props. I would suggest thrifting and/or working with brands/hotels to help alleviate the costs.

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IN SUM: ~ $1,500-$2,000.

SOO obviously this budget is not a one size fits all model, BUTTTT I swear, it’s what has worked for me.

I hope this break-down encourages any of y’all who view travel as impossible at the moment, as something that can actually be attainable…when done right!

Happy travels, y’all! Xo

Where to Stay in Rome: The Yellow

When you think of Rome, the first words that come to mind are culture, cuisine, architecture, and extravagance. Four years ago, I made the best decision of my life and studied abroad in the greatest city in the world! In fact, so did my boo! It was truly the first in my entire life that I felt alive! Not only did I fall in love with adventure and the richness of this place, but I also fell in love with the way this city made me feel! I was enchanted, I was left in awe, and I marveled at every single corner, dish, and attraction I encountered. Throughout my time in Rome, I stayed at several hotels whenever a family member or friend came to visit. All were… mediocre stays, (if all you want is a bed to sleep on and a hefty bill). It was not until a friend recommended, The Yellow Hostel that I even considered staying in a hostel! At first, she had talked this place up to another level! She described how this trendy stay was the hub for travelers and millennial locals alike: a hipster, party-style vibe, but one that feels like home. Rather than just a stay, The Yellow was an experience. An experience that offers a plethora of activities to acclimate you into the Roman lifestyle. So I was like, okurrr, did my TripAdvisor/Yelp research and let me tell you, it was clear how well liked The Yellow is… worldwide! I also discovered that the Yellow had won #1 hostel by TripAdvisor several years in a row AND was even considered as one of the cheapest stays in all of Europe! So you know, ya girl had to give it a shot!

We booked a private room (but you can do the traditional hostel way) and honestly, we were blown away by the experience! It was literally unforgettable! We learned for ourselves that this was a hostel with travelers ready to meet other travelers, those ready to share a few drinks and sing karaoke. But when the morning came, the people here were ready to explore the beautiful city.

Come four years later, bae and I decided to make our way back to Roma! The easiest part of the planning was deciding where to stay! I mean, after all, this is the place to be if you want a mix of R&R + good vibes!

I’ll talk a bit more about our recent experience in a bit, but let me start off by saying, LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION!

Location:

The Yellow is so freaking close to everything! A literal 5-minute walk from the Termini Train Station (and if you’re planning on traveling really anywhere throughout the city and/or Europe, Termini will be your hub for transportation), 10-minute bus ride into the city center, and footsteps away from their popular “Yellow Bar” which also serves as a yummy brunch spot: this location will be of such convenience, TRUST ME!  (Your feet and wallet will thank you, hehe)

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So straight from Rome’s Fiumicino Airport, bae and I bought a $10 bus ticket into Termini. From Termini, we lugged our heavy bags only a few blocks down until we reached the beautiful, Yellow. It all felt like home again!

As soon as we walked through their reception (which is opened 24 hours a day, BTW) we were welcomed with open arms and bumping indie/house hits in the background. It was just like I remembered it, youthful and friendly as heck! We were assigned our room and holy sh*t were we in for a treat!

Private Room:

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Our cozy fourth floor room, had the most picturesque classic Roman balcony views!

In addition to this bomb view, our room was equipped with a private ensuite bathroom, independent air conditioning and heating, a safety deposit box, a hair dryer, Wi Fi, and most importantly, such a comfortable bed!

If that’s not enough, what I love so much about The Yellow is that they provide TONS of activities every day of the week.

Although bae and I had plans of our own, we made sure we signed up for two classes: 1) Kitchen of Mamma Cooking Class and 2) The Night Tour (but let me tell you, they provide so many more! For reference: they have an escape room within the building, (like, what?!), a bike tour, gelato classes, an entire city tour, + more!

Kitchen of Mamma:

Leading our cooking class was Marco, an eclectic local Roman who made sure our class was nothing short of hilarious.

We shared the class with two other couples, one from the UK, and the other from NYC. Little did I know, we’d become sort of besties with these people!

Marco took us on a short walk to where he says is the best open market in all of Rome. We selected some fresh ricotta and pork for our soon to be home-made cuisine!

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Once we arrived back to the kitchen (oh, yeah…The Yellow has a fully equipped kitchen), Marco began the lesson with of course, some vino!

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We started off by prepping our dough and were taught the important art of rolling (never by the handles, but rather the middle).

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Marco then showed us the different types of pastas we could create.

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Everything smelled so good already! I couldn’t wait to eat, hahaha! I then, began cutting and stuffing the noodles for our two different pastas: Spaghetti Bolognese & Pumpkin Ricotta Ravioli.

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Not only were we about to feast on some authentic Italian cuisine, but also we were sharing laughs with these just recent “strangers”!  Here we had four different cultures blending onto one dinner table! I was thinking mid way, “wow this is truly a gift, something you couldn’t get outside of here!” We laughed and ate and drank some more, (welllll after the class was scheduled to be over) and honestly were soo bummed out that we all had to split ways! And I know what you may be thinking, a hostel…no thanks! But, this type of internationally blended camaraderie could not have been found in a fancy shmancy hotel or Airbnb!

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The next morning, bae and I had already been anticipating our night tour scheduled that evening. We both had previously lived in Rome and had gone on plenty of tours, so in full disclosure, we questioned if we would just be retold the same ol’ information.

Well… to our pleasant surprise, we were not at all!

Night Tour:

Lucky for us, we were scheduled with Marco again, but this time as our tour guide!

The tour was scheduled for only 2 hours, but we ended up staying out for 4. He’s seriously: the man! Funny AF, extremely knowledgeable, and just a good time!

We were joined by two solo travelers from Belgium (which I was like: yasss, more friends!)

We went around the majority of the city (by foot). But honestly, this walk was the highlight of my entire trip in Rome. Rome, to me, is already the most beautiful city in the world, but at night: man, it is truly something else!

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And boy, were our fears wrong; Bae and I learned so much that night about the city, it was mind blowing! Like how did we both live in this city before and not know any of this information?! Plus, Marco (above) answered with ease like every single one of my million questions.

We ended the night with wine and gelato! Seriously could not have asked for a better night out!

The next few mornings we did our laundry (on site) and cooked a few meals in the kitchen. My fave part was sharing our breakfast together on our beautiful balcony! Full disclosure, on our last night, I cried while outside on our balcony, because the thought of leaving really shook me! And I think that is what traveling does to you! There are just certain places in the world that stick with you forever.

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Ah, I could literally write a novel on how much I adore The Yellow! Both of my stays here were so perfect and I’m low-key sad even typing this because I miss Rome so much already! Whether you are planning on making your way to Rome and just reading this for leisure, just know, there may not be another person out there as obsessed with Rome as I am! Trust me when I say, The Yellow has had such an impact in my love with this city!

Avoid the hassle of finding an Airbnb or spending unnecessarily at a fancy hotel!

At The Yellow you will find culture, cuisine, architecture, and extravagance! You will absolutely love it here! Whether you’re into socializing from dusk til dawn or just some much needed R+R, this place legit has it all! Do yourself a favor and book your next trip to la Città Eterna. Xoxo

Palm Springs Getaway: The O Spa

Welcome to paradise aka The O Spa. If you’re looking for the perfect weekend vacay, I’d high recommend making the trip! Whether you decide to rest your body in the warm mineral spring waters, chill in the private cabanas, or enjoy the 24-hour access spa room, you are in for a treat! Oh, and this resort is an Instagrammer’s dream! Decor to the nines with a touch of “hippie chic.” Talk about the ultimate getaway!

Bae and I were looking for a retreat of sorts, one that would take us away from hustle and bustle of the city! So we figured, “lets go to the desert!” There are so many trendy hotels in Palm Springs so we thought we’d just go ahead and book any of those! But thank goodness for my indecisiveness!! I suggested we looked at Airbnb and I am so happy we did! Bae presented me with a few private cottages and one resort a bit outside of PS. Now, although an entire cottage to ourselves sounded appealing, I just could not look passed the countless positive reviews of The O Spa. From what everyone was describing, this place was an experience rather than just a relaxing stay! But let me tell y’all: The O Spa surpassed all expectations! But just be forewarned, not even these photos do this place justice!!

The O Spa:

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Located in Desert Hot Springs, just 20 mins away from Downtown Palm Springs and 30 minutes away from Joshua Tree National Park, lies one of the prettiest oasis’ I’ve ever seen!

As we walked in, Rick, the owner greeted us at the gate and gave us the initial tour of the place! I mean, we were literally in awe! Not to mention, we had the entire place to ourselves, yas!

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Once we got back to our fab room, we decided to hit the pools! Now, the pools were my fave part! Natural spring water + you could adjust the temps, YASS, honey!

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We spent a good chunk of our time chilling in the water with a bottle of champagne, watching the sunset.

For dinner, we were surprised with how many dining options were just a few minutes away! I mean there was Thai, Mexican, American Grill, ah!  To end our night, we went into the spa room where jazz music was conveniently playing and literally zenned out. Soon after, we dried off in one of the patio areas, around a cozy fire pit!

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The entire resort looks almost prettier at night! Rick installed LED multi-colored lights throughout the pools and patio area. I would show you, but you’re just going to have to check this place out for yourself, hehe!

Anyway, the next morning we woke up at sunrise to experience more of what this place has to offer!

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We seriously did not want to leave! What a dream of a place, truly! If you’re looking for a home away from home, some TLC, private lounges, and killer amenities, The O spa is your place! We seriously can NOT wait to go back! Xo

Our Road Trip to Solvang

It is no secret that the boo and I love exploring nearby towns! We try our best to jam pack our weekends with road trips, site seeing, and of course a good time! This week we decided on Solvang, CA. We both went to college nearby but surprisingly, I had never visited this quaint town during my time in the Central Coast.

Abundantly rich in the culture of the Danish settlers, this village is historically preserved with gorgeous architecture, tasty bakeries, authentic restaurants, wine rooms, flowers galore, and some of the warmest people I have ever met! It was truly a utopia of its own.

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We ventured for the day but with so many activities to enjoy, we decided to plan for a weekend getaway in the near future!

I had always heard great things about Solvang and now I know why! I would definitely  suggest planning a trip to this picturesque historic village as soon as possible! Xo

 

Frolicking in the Flower Fields

For my 25th birthday, I wanted to celebrate in a setting that exuded beauty and tranquility.

Naturally, the besties and I took a mini road trip to The Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch

An Instagrammer’s dream really, this place was pure perfection! The fields spread across farther than the eye could see and the aroma was to die for!

Prior to frolicking around, we brought some picnic food, bubbly, laid out a huge blanket on the grass and soaked up the sun!

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I would definitely recommend this gem to anyone who is looking for a cute day trip, ideal photo op, date idea, etc. You can literally wear any color outfit because there are an array of colorful flowers for your liking! The fields are open for only one more month so go out and experience this beauty for yourself ❤ Xo

Los Angeles Travel Guide

Ahhh, Los Angeles, The City of Angels! When I first moved to LA, I arrived on a Friday. On that following Monday, I began my first day of work. SOOO needless to say, I definitely did not have the knowledge of the “must-go” places within the city.

Now almost three years later, I’ve ventured to what seems like every corner of the city, but in all honesty, I have barely scratched the surface. There are thousands upon thousands of yummy eateries, numerous beaches, hipster cafes, bars, scenic hang outs…the list goes on and on! To help narrow down that list, I have compiled my top go-to hot spots within the city.

 

Brunch:

 

Blu Jam Café: I heard only rave reviews about this place, so naturally I had it give it a go! Let me tell you, it did not disappoint! Crunchy French Toast is the way to go! If you have a larger appetite this place is for you (:

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Mocafe: Variety. Variety. Variety!! Huge portions, fresh ingredients, lovely service and a great location. My favorite dishes are the Nutella Waffles and The Protein Scramble! P.S. their potatoes are to die for!

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Restaurants:

 

Bambou Le Pho: I’ve tried probably 30 Pho restaurants in my life and after trying this place on a whim, I’d say it would make it to the top of my list! There are so many dishes I’d recommend but my favorites item is their fried egg rolls… OH MY LORD! YUM.

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Sunset Thai: Massive portions and super yummy dishes! I’m very particular about my Thai Food but this place is spot on! I’d recommend their Pad Thai and Orange Chicken.

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Clifton’s: This place is truly a gem! Considered the largest public cafeteria in the world, this multi-level building serves some of the best hearty food I’ve ever had, has the coolest decor and vintage bar around AND  is a swing dance venue on the upper level as well. I’ve enjoyed live jazz and swing classes here as well! This place is definitely an experience to have.

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George’s Greek Grill: I saw a friend post a photo of their meal from this place and I just had to try it! The dishes here are fresh and very authentic! Their Grilled Chicken Entrée is bomb.com!

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The Albright: If you’re in the heart of Santa Monica and looking for some fresh seafood and beer, this place is for you! I’m pretty surprised how in such a prime location, there is hardly ever a wait. My favorite dishes are the Clam Chowder Bowls (OMG) and the Chips and Guac!

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Eataly:  Great ambiance and tasty food! I love the Eataly concept in general. It is like a Costco for Italian foods, wines, spices, etc.  You can buy pre-maid or dried foods (as you would in any super market). The restaurant inside the giant market is worth the wait! Of course, my favorite items of the menu are the Margarita Pizza, Cacio e Pepe, and Cannolis.

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Nightlife:

Harlowe Bar:  In love with their Old Hollywood feel! It is close to being a full-on club but yet somehow remains true to its chill cocktail bar vibe. There is a DJ on site playing almost every genre in mind.

 

Adults Only: This dive bar is tucked away in a pocket of a strip mall. The aesthetic of this gem is of a classic video store, when you first walk through the entrance, you pass the “adult section”. There is a pool room in the very back and not to mention, their drinks are pretty good!

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The Misfit Restaurant + Bar: Walking distance from the pier, this bar is literally such a fun & affordable time! A perfect spot for day drinking, with one of the best happy hours this city has to offer! From 12-7pm they serve $6 cocktails! Like heller, this place is a must!

 

The Edison: This renovated power plant, serves absinthe, some of the strongest craft cocktails, a burlesque show & live music! The Edison’s prohibition feel, is one to experience for yourself!

 

Ace Hotel: When I first moved to LA, I was introduced to this rooftop bar, and let me tell you, I was a weekend regular for much after that! The views are stunning, the laid back vibes are contagious, and the pool is so nice to dip your feet into, especially during those warmer Summer nights. I would suggest however, to arrive earlier in the night, as the line does get long.

 

Places to go: 

Runyon Canyon: The various routes of this hike, make it suitable for just about everybody! There are extremely steep paths as well as lighter ones, perfect for striking up a conversation. I’ve met countless of celebrities on the trails and the views of LA are pretty amazing! There is free street parking nearby as well!

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Museums: Whether it be, LACMA, The Getty, The Broad, Museum of Broken Relationships, the list goes on and on – you are sure to have a pleasant time and (some pretty cool IG pics) from your visit.

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Melrose Avenue:  LA’s trendiest hub filled with funky stores and cafes… great for people-watching and getting some cool IG shots. I personally love the painted walls on the buildings which are always changing.

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The Global Angel Wings Project Wall

 

Bike Ride from Venice Beach to Santa Monica:  One of the most relaxing ways to get around in LA! Enjoy one of the most beautiful and interesting urban bike paths in the World! This is Coastal California at it’s finest! I have found BOGO coupons online so this is def a fun and cheap adventure to share with a loved one! Once you arrive in SM, you can lock up your bike and walk the pier 🙂

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*As you can see, the possibilities to explore are endless. Because of that, I am seriously so in love with this city. I grew up in the Bay Area and I thought no where could compare to San Francisco, but boy was I in for a treat! Xo *

 

 

When in Rome…Literally

Roma, La Città Eterna! Ugh, where do I even begin? Rome: A mesmerizing mix of modern and ancient, a rare and colossal capital. I consider myself extremely blessed to have called this place home for four months. I felt the most alive in those 4 months than I ever have. This trip absolutely changed my life. And I’m certain it can change yours too!

Prior to living here, I had so many questions but yet expectations of what this city had to offer. You see the stereotypical depictions in the media of Rome being this magnetic place where the All-American girl meets the love of her life. So I asked myself, would Rome be all that is it lived up to be? This magical land, far far away….

Well, I went looking for adventure but instead I gained so much more; I ended up falling in love with the idea of love and passion and discovery of myself and my environment. If the opportunity arises, experience for yourself the history, mystery and cuisine that Rome has to offer.

Here is my go-to guide for venturing out the front door and onto an experience of a lifetime!

You know… When in Rome!

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Trastevere:

The language, scenery, cuisine, and just the way of life… was as if I was living in a postcard. I lived in one of Rome’s favorite neighborhoods, Trastevere. Just a scroll across the Tiber river, this picturesque, formerly working class district, is truly a slice of modern Roman life. With delicious restaurants nestled in what seemed like every corner and even the tiniest of cafes in between, it would be impossible to find yourself hungry here! If I had to use two words to describe this neighborhood, it would be: romantic and authentic. Should you and your loved ones find yourselves wandering the winding cobble stone streets, y’all are in for a treat! You’d stumble upon nightlife, locals gathered  around smoking and chatting about, all while dodging Vespas zooming past… this is THE place to explore. Trastevere will take you away from the crowds to the hidden corners of Rome.

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Public Transportation:

One of my favorite things about Trastevere is how many sites of interest are at an easy walking distance away. We explored the city, in its entirety, by foot. But if you are on a quick vacation, and do not have the time to do so, there are other easy options: You can hop on the Tram, Bus, Subway, Taxi, etc. In my experience, public transportation throughout the city was extremely reliable and safe! The Metro stops are near most of the major tourist sites or just a quick walk away from a bus stop!

 

 Language Barrier:

I arrived in Rome at the end of August. This is the time of year where many Italians take their month long vacation, leaving many restaurants, shops and cafes in local neighborhoods closed. Streets were fairly empty and the foot traffic was light. It were as if, we had the entire city to ourselves! The cobblestone streets, vine wrapped archways, and the exaggerated hand gestures that the locals exchanged, made my first couple of days all too surreal yet perfect. It was not until we had to grocery shop or order food for the first time that reality hit! Talk about lost in translation…

Unlike, other countries I had visited, Italy was the most stern in speaking in their native tongue. When I first arrived, I mistakenly greeted everyone at all times of the day with, “ciao,” and struggled with the most basic phrases, and after very long, awkward exchanges, I would get: “Just speak to me in English!!” Or  “Non, capisco” (“I don’t understand”) . Very quickly did I pick up on the fact that I was approaching the language barrier and assimilation to the culture, poorly. This was not a forgivable place, where my American ignorance could get me by. I had to learn the language or at least try my very hardest to.

One of the most challenging yet rewarding aspects of our school was our Italian classes. I believe we had a midterm (entirely in Italian) on week three! The first thing we were taught was that “ciao” is an informal greeting. It is only used correctly when it’s said among people who know one another. So it all began to make sense, having gotten sideways glances from locals I did not know to whom I was throwing “ciao” to. Once, I began to use the correct formalities and genuinely gave Italian a-go, I felt like I gained their respect. As my time there proceeded, I noticed how much more welcoming the locals were with me. On my walks to school, I developed rapport with the market/cafe/restaurant owners. Closer to the end of my experience, I was greeted by name, a few times a day, by these individuals. This is by no means to say, Italians aren’t friendly, in fact, I met so many locals who were more than willing to help make my visit unforgettable, but rather, When in Rome, you should expect to become familiar with the unfamiliar and appreciate such an authentic culture. And isn’t this the goal when traveling?… To fully immerse yourself in a new culture and engage in authentic local interactions and experiences. So even if you are not planning on learning the language before your trip to Italy, this is your friendly reminder to pack the basic travel phrases along with your belongings 🙂

 

Safety:

From my personal experience, I always felt extremely safe and comfortable within the city! As with every major tourist destination, there are pickpockets and scummy con artists waiting to take advantage of the distracted tourist so take precautions. My biggest piece of advice is to NOT carry your phone or wallet (ahem, men!) in your pockets especially in the back pant pockets. This is pertinent, particularly in public transit! Carry your valuables in a backpack and wear it in front of you, holding onto the bottom portion. I had seen some pretty intricate theft schemes, so I even went as far as locking my backpack and purse to itself while I was out and about. This is something I feel many people don’t talk about when marketing such a beautiful city, but I will definitely suggest to be mindful. Pay attention to your surroundings and keep an eye out for one another. That said, Rome is an overall safe city, with the massive armed presence both the locals and the tourists are well looked after.

 

Favorite Piazzas:

Now, the good stuff! Roman daily life revolves around their piazzas. Piazzas are the hubs for eating, drinking, catching up with friends, or simply sitting by the fountains and watching the world go by.

  • Piazza di Santa Maria : This medieval piazza, is filled with shops, cafes, and religious beauty. Sit alongside locals and tourists at the steps of the fountain. Here is a great place to watch live music, eat up your gelato, or simply people watch.

 

  • Piazza Navona: My favorite of them all! Arguably the most beautiful of all the piazzas in Rome, Piazza Navona is particularly stunning at night. The Baroque architecture, showy fountains, and colorful buildings feel as if you were transported back in time.

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  • Piazza Campo De’ Fiori: This piazza, provides one of the most lively atmospheres I’ve ever experienced! A jewel, really. In the daytime it’s a bustling outdoor market offering fresh produce, flowers, meats, and spices, that transforms into a popular nightlife center in the evening. Mid-day the tents are put away, restaurants set up their outdoor seating options, and the buzz begins. From the Swedish bar to the English pub and Italian wine bar, there is something here for everyone.

     

  • Piazza Dell’Orologio:  My second favorite of them all, this charming piazza is nestled away (just walking distance) from hustle and bustle of the Vatican and Castel Sant’Angelo. A place you’d likely walk among the locals, this piazza is where I spent most of my time! Not only is this the piazza where my school was located but in all honestly, this was probably the most aesthetically pleasing piazza to me. The square’s name, “Orologio,” which translates to “clock” derives from the 17th century clock highlighted on top of the church bell tower. Wander along the narrow cobble stone side streets and find beautiful mosaics, churches, eateries, and some of the prettiest multicolored buildings, you will find! This piazza is for sure an Instagrammer’s dream!

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  • Largo di Torre Argentina: This square is the site of where Julius Caesar was assassinated! For that reason alone this place is worth a visit. It is also maintained  as a cat sanctuary today. It is a good stop off and resting point if you are walking through the city.

 

  • Piazza Venezia: This white marble modern spectacle is considered the hub of today’s city traffic. This square was the headquarters, if you will, of the Fascist Regime in the 19th century. In fact, this was the very balcony that Mussolini greeted his crowds. It is a stark contrast in architectural style to the neighboring Roman Forum and Colosseum. You can tour the palace and go up to it’s vantage point of the entire city. It is absolutely beautiful!

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  • Piazza di Trevi: Arguably the most magical place in all of Rome! As legend has it, be sure to throw a coin from your right hand over your left shoulder, this will ensure that you will return to Rome. Unfortunately, the fountain was under construction the entire time I was abroad, but I will be revisiting later this year…so I guess the legend is true 🙂 You can also find a lot of eateries, shops, and bars nearby.

 

  • Piazza Della Rotanda: Home to the Pantheon. It is yet again, a majestic marvel. There is the famous Renaissance fountain in the center of the square, and surrounding restaurants and bars.

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  • Piazza Di Spagna: The imposing 138-step staircase, is the perfect gathering place for tourists and locals alike. It was one of my favorite areas to relax in the evenings with some snacks in hand. In the upper Piazza, Trinita dei Monti, you’ll see the stunning twin tower church dominating the steps. From atop, you get one of the best vantage points of the city…domes, church steeples, hotels, in all their glory. Flanking the piazza on all sides is the main shopping street, where some of the world’s largest brands are represented.

 

  • Piazza San Pietro: This holy site, will literally leave you in awe. No words suffice to describe this architectural splendor.  It really is THE place which unites people from all over the world. Marvel over Bernini’s work all while overhearing a Sunday service by Papa Francesco. Religious or not, visiting St. Peter’s Square is an almost out of this world experienece that you will never forget. There are also tons of really yummy restaurants to the right of the basilica.

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  • Piazza del Colosseo: I mean!!! I legit cried walking up to this beauty! Mind you, it is a very congested area with tons of foot traffic but still a great area to rest or marvel in awe. It will cost you € 12.00 to get inside, but once you’re in, you can choose from a guided tour, underground tour, or simply walk around the fascinating grounds at your own speed. Head into the ancient past by visiting the Arch of Constantine before walking through the Roman Forum and up Palatine Hill. Explore the impressive ruins or have lunch at any of the several nearby restaurants.

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Recommended Restaurants:

  • Dar Poeta: This hidden gem is in the heart of Trastevere, nearby the Tiber River. They are famous for their Nutella & Ricotta Calzone.

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  • Mama Angela’s Trattoria: HANDS DOWN MY FAVORITE EATERY IN ROME! It is just a short walk away from the Termini Train Station. Their Cacio e Pepe and Creamy Truffle Pasta were by far my favorite meals. I tried this place on a whim one night and loved it so much, I began going at least once a week!

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  • Ci-Lin: One of my favorite things about Rome was the plethora of Chinese Restaurants. Ci-Lin was the Chinese Restaurant I frequented the most! Yummy food at amazinggg prices. I’m talking about $5 for three course meals!

 

  • Bar Amore: In the heart of Piazza Orologio, this family run eatery, is where I spent all my free time at…breakfasts, lunches, and mid afternoon pick-me-ups! There is a vast variety of fresh, yummy food on their menu. My favorite was the Nutella Panino! Not to mention, the staff here is amazing (ask for Fabio)! They take the time to get to know you, help you out if need be, and they provide such speedy service! Recommended stop for all hours of the day.

 

  • Forno Campo de’ Fiori: As the name suggests, this eatery is in the heart of Campo de’ Fiori. If you are looking for authentic pizza slices, this is your place! Yummy quality pizza at an affordable price.

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  • Gelato at Giolitti: A visit to Rome isn’t complete without gelato! Giolitti, is a famous café and pastry shop as well as the oldest gelateria in Rome. Opt for one of the unusual flavors like champagne or pumpkin pie.

 

Recommended Nightlife:

  • Almalu: In the heart of Trastevere, Almalu serves all kind of funky cocktails, including their famous, “Harry Potter Shot”. This was the first bar I experienced in Rome and definitely a good starting point to your night.

 

  • Art Cafè : This popular dance club is definitely worth a visit. Tucked away near the Borghese Gardens this place is a fun way to dance with the locals. Popular Hip Hop and EDM hits are usually played. However, I would suggest to dress up here.
  • Bum Bum di Mel: This place serves some of the strongest drinks I had in Rome! The size of the glasses are larger and they use tons of fresh fruit in their drinks! It is a more intimate bar but thrives as a relaxed environment.

 

  • Ice Club: This place!! Def a COOL experience! A bar cased in ice, kept at a very cold temp, serves drinks in ice cones while everyone is handed an insulated poncho to wear. This is definitely not a place to bump into locals at, but should be tried during your time there!

 

  • G BAR: One of Trastevere’s most popular bars! This is usually the pregame bar, somewhere with cheap drinks, a great international crowd, and pop hits. You’ll find a mix of locals and visitors alike.

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Recommended Stay:

  • The Yellow : This is a hostel BUT let me emphasize how amazing this place is! I discovered the Yellow on TripAdvisor as it has won #1 hostel several years in a row. I stayed here whenever I had visitors in town and it was by far the cleanest, prettiest, and cheapest place I stayed in in all of Europe! The Yellow is just down the street from Termini station, has a popular bar and yummy brunch spot located downstairs and thrives in a youthful and friendly atmosphere. I know what you could be thinking, a hostel…no thanks! But private rooms were less than $20 a night! Don’t go through the hassle of finding an Airbnb or spending hundreds a night at a fancy hotel, The Yellow is def the place you want to stay.

 

Whew! This was a long one but I hope it has provided you enough information and inspiration to plan a trip! So in conclusion, is Rome this magical place where you’ll fall in love blah blah blah….? Well….it really is! You may not find your Fabio but you will fall in love with the way this city makes you feel. You will feel enchanted, you will feel in awe, and you will marvel at every single corner, dish, and attraction you encounter. Rome is really more than just a city, it is an experience. Xo

 

 

Newport Beach Recap

This pristine town by the sea is the ideal weekend getaway from the hustle and bustle of the city! Nearly perfect weather, endless eateries, shops galore, and not to mention, Newport Harbor: the largest recreational boat harbor on the west coast. Unique to other seaside cities, (aside from fishing, kayaking, paddleboarding, sailing, etc.); Newport is home to daily commercial maritime operations, including Catalina Flyer Ferry and whale watching charters. In addition, families can utilize Newport Dunes Waterfront Resort. This RV park and marina consists of a mile-long beach front property with access to the water park, pool, inflatable water obstacle course, etc.

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With so many attractions at your fingertips, Newport is surely a destination for everyone! This town is close to my heart as I’ve had literally made some of the best memories here. There is simply a special vitality to this town. One that can only be experienced for itself.

For me, the main attraction is Davey’s Locker Whale Watching. On their website you can purchase a ticket for $36. But, I found a sweet deal on Groupon for only $10!

This charter provides first-class views to marine life! I’ve gone home with tons of footage of these ocean giants each and every time (this was my third time aboard)! Davey’s Locker provides year round tours: view the gray whale migration during the winter and the blue and finback whales during the spring! The staff is very knowledgeable annddd there’s a food and drink bar on the boat.

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Once the charter docks back into shore, you’d be in the heart of Balboa Village. Balboa Village is quaint and charming. This area is so beautifully maintained! There is a plethora of dining options, dive bars, and boutiques to check out including the Fun Zone!

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For lunch, we walked (literally feet away) to Balboa Lily’sEnjoy the zest of flavors all while relaxing over the view of historic main street Balboa.

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There is a real hipster vibe to this eatery!

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Our post-meal walk consisted of wandering along the water front homes and taking the pup out to the Balboa Pier. You can also rent beach cruisers for you and the family or enjoy a stroll down the boardwalk.

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Btw, these waters are spectacular to photograph!

To catch the sunset, we headed a few minutes down to Newport Pier. You can also walk the short ~3 mile distance on the ocean front sidewalk.

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Here was a little more crowded than Balboa, but still nothing in comparison to more concentrated areas likes Santa Monica or Venice Beach.

For dinner we sat down at the Urban Cup Restaurant. This beach front eatery had some of the best Vietnamese cuisine I have ever had (and that says a lot as I eat an unhealthy amount of Vietnamese on the weekly)!!

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Soon after, we literally walked along the sidewalk for hours, just admiring the massive homes.

We stayed the night at the Newport Channel Inn. We were extremely pleased with the size of our standard room plus the short three minute drive from the pier, didn’t hurt :)!

For breakfast we headed back to Balboa Pier and ate at the Orange Blossom Cafe.

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LITERALLY THE PERFECT BEACHSIDE CAFE. Everything was made to order and extremely yummy… (the view was pretty grand too)!

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Long story long, Newport should be on your top, “must visit destinations” this year! Whether you’re looking for a quick day-trip or relaxing weekend getaway, there is something for just about everyone here! Xoxo

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Oh, and @troytheshihtzu agrees too 🙂

Lake Tahoe | Snowglobe Recap 

Revel in Wintertime bliss in the Rustic charm of Lake Tahoe!

Maybe its just me but 2017 was one hell of a year. With that in mind, we decided to head up to Tahoe and dance into the new year at the Snowglobe Music Festival!

Ever since I was young, Tahoe has been a favorite winter getaway of mine.

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The girls and I stayed in a tiny condo in the heart of South Lake Tahoe. Just steps away from our complex, we had sweeping views of the lake as well as the desert valley and mountains!

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About 15 minutes down the mountain, we reached The Shops at Heavenly Village.

For a hearty meal, I’d definitely recommend Azul Latin Kitchen. Many of the other restaurants in the center had hour waits, whereas Azul sat us instantly, handing each of us warm blankets while we ate.

Another yummy eatery to try is Orchid’s Authentic Thai Cuisine. Service was great and the portion size was pretty massive!

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Not sure if its apparent in the photos above, but to our surprise – there was no snow! This time last year, Tahoe endured heavy snow fall. In fact, Tahoe is not expecting snow for another two weeks or so! So all this to say, plan accordingly! The warmer afternoons across ski country make it ideal to hike, boat or fish.

Although the city is beautiful, we primarily spent our time at the Snowglobe grounds.

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At night the temperatures dropped close to 20°F so we layered up like crazy! For each day, I wore up to five top layers and three bottom layers! As warm as I dressed, I still managed to feel cold by the end of the night!

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I usually rave about my festival experiences, but unfortunately Snowglobe was my least favorite. The line up was amazing but the venue was troublesome. There were two shuttle locations: The closest to us, (about 15 minutes away), was an $80 uber ride one way! Once we arrived to the venue, there was a solid 10 minute walk through essentially the woods. At first I thought, “whoa this is pretty cool,” but after almost rolling my ankle several times, (as there were no added lights) I began to think what a hazard this entrance was. Once inside, I was pretty shocked with how small the grounds were. There were two main stages a short distance from each other. The distance was nice because you did not have to walk far to get to the next stage but on the same token you could hear the other stages’ music. Weirdly enough, I thought the music projection in general  was pretty low for a festival.

The most difficult aspect of the venue was the muddy grounds. There was no escaping this! Everyone had mud up to their knees! My snow boots were completely ruined and there were moments that crowds of people slipped. And to my surprise, there were no designated seating areas. At Coachella and EDC for example, you could sit down essentially anywhere you turned. But as for Snowglobe, there was literally one tent which had maybe 15 chairs! There were also no tables (even in the food tents) and if you wanted to sit on the ground you’d be covered in thick mud.

Turns out, after spending some time talking with the locals while out to dinner, 2018 will be the last year this festival will be held at the Lake Tahoe Community College. This is because the large attendance has almost completely ruined its’ Athletics Field. Hence, all the mud!! AND due to the amount of noise complaints the city received in previous years, there was a noise ordinance in place. Hence, the lower sound projection.

All this to say, I don’t think Tahoe, but specifically this venue, was the best location for this large of a production.

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Overall, this girls’ trip was still successful and I’m glad I was able to check Snowglobe off of my list! But will I return for Snowglobe 18′? Probs not, ha! Xoxo

NYC Recap

As I sit here, reflecting on the past number of days, I’ve found difficulty in looking for the right words that best describe this trip. In short, NYC was… SIMPLY MAGICAL. I had high expectations for the city, and to be honest… my experience surpassed all of them and then some!

* Cue “Welcome to New York” by Taylor Swift *

Day 1:

We stayed in an adorable Airbnb in the Bed Stuy neighborhood of Brooklyn. We were just two blocks away from the G subway train which took us everywhere throughout the city!

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Bed Stuy is a neighborhood full of character. Between its famous Brooklyn brownstone row-houses and untouched storefronts, this up and coming community had a number of hipter cafés and eateries along the way!

Our favorite: Marcy & Myrtle Café. This quaint little shop was our go-to stop, first thing in the AM!

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We made way to Midtown Manhattan. Let me just say, the second we stepped out for the night, (5 layers deep and allll) the cold still hit me like a ton of bricks!

As we were walking down the avenues we had to pause to gawk at the Saks Fifth Ave. holiday light show. It was effing majestic!

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As I had no idea where anything was, I was not aware we were literally right across the street from the Rockefeller Center! Seeing the iconic Christmas tree and ice staking rink, definitely was a “pinch me-moment.”

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We then made way inside to the Top of the Rock. This Observatory on the roof of the Rockefeller Center features 360 VIEWSSS of the city. It was absolutely breathtaking.

*As we were paying for our tickets we realized there was a “CityPASS” option which gave admission to the top 6 NYC attractions (def came in handy)!*

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We explored for about 10-15 minutes before we reached Time Square. AHHHH!

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Day 2:

We took the G line to downtown Brooklyn and walked through some of the prettiest streets, I have ever seen!

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For lunch we stumbled upon – Oaxaca Taqueria

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Our burritos were not only massive but also bomb.com!

We then walked our way to the Brooklyn Bridge.

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These views were stunning!

We walked across the bridge into the financial district and cozied up inside a local coffee shop for a good chunk of time.

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We set out for dinner in Midtown at uber-chic bistro/bar, Madison & Vine. Music was on point and the food was absolutely delish!

We then grabbed some drinks at the Top of the Strand. This cozy rooftop lounge featured a cool glass ceiling which allowed for unobstructed views of the Empire State!

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We were warm, drinks were strong, and we had the best seats in town 🙂

Later, we walked just a few blocks to the Empire State!

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We arrived just past midnight but with doors closing at 2AM, we basically had the views all to ourselves (:

Day 3:

Waking up in a winter wonderland = UTTER HAPPINESS! This was by far a dream come true, especially for a California girl.

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We had our morning coffee fix and headed to Central Park!

We passed the Columbus Circle Christmas Market and ventured throughout the park.

An Instagrammer’s dream, really. Just picture: horse-drawn carriages plotting by, little kids mid snow ball fight, and live saxophonists playing our favorite holiday tunes. It was a scene straight out of a movie.

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We headed for lunch near by at Le Pain Quotidien.

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We then spent several hours in the 9/11 Memorial Museum. I def recommend putting a couple of hours aside for this as it really put our time in this beautiful city into perspective. 

For dinner we ate next door at the Osteria Della Pace-Eataly. My favorite dish from Rome was Cacio e Pepe, so seeing this item on their menu thoroughly excited me.

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FYI, IT WAS PERFECTION!

We then headed out to another part of town. And boy was I in for a treat!

Blue Note Jazz Club

*LIFE MADE.*

Day 4:

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First things first, caffeine.

We headed to the harbor and made way to see Lady Liberty!

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Next stop, DUMBO.

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For lunch we ate at the cute and yummy Westville eatery.

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We then walked to the neighborhood of Brooklyn Heights.

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It was the cutest neighborhood I have ever seen! #ACTUALgoals

Madison Square Park

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For Dinner we ate at Rolf’s German Restaurant

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PROST!

Brooklyn Bridge Park

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Views of the skyline and the Brooklyn Bridge set way for the most romantic stroll.

Last but not least, we could not miss out on the Raging Bull.

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All in all, this trip was an absolute dream! It was romantic and full of the Christmas spirit. I utterly fell in love with the city. The charm of this city makes it hard to not want to go back! Xoxo

 

The Yellowstone Loop– Our Unconventional Road Trip…

As the seasons are changing, many of us are looking for our next winter wonderland adventure. If you are looking for that magic experience, this trip might be for you!

We wanted to unplug. A week away from it all – to remind us that less is really more, and that beauty usually lies far away from the hustle and bustle of the city. We had read that  cell phone reception was weak in these regions, which for us meant that we’d be tuned in with the surrounding beauty… an express route of being present, per say.

Just picture: vast scenic landscapes composed of majestic peaks, spectacular frozen plains, untouched snow, crisp air, an abundance of wildlife and cozy mountain cabins with their western glory.

I describe this trip as “unconventional,” as we did not plan for it very well… but the unexpected, surely makes for a great story!

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We first flew into Salt Lake City, Utah, as it’s known as a gateway city to the National Parks. We rented a car in the city and began our journey. From the start, this drive was absolutely breathtaking. The snow caps grew increasingly whiter as the mountains shot dramatically from the valley floor, framing the city. A couple of hours later we reached Logan Utah, where the winding and narrow paved roads led from the beautiful lush of the national forests into Idaho.

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After a few more hours throughout Idaho, we had finally arrived in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. This once bustling, cowboy cosmopolitan stands as a prime example of contemporary Western architecture. There are foursquare cabins, saloons, and a general store lining of the Town Square.

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*I definitely would suggest stopping by Million Dollar Cowboy Bar/Restaurant. There’s a real Old West feel to this place, as you can sit on saddles up at the bar!*

Our cabin was THE perfect winter retreat where we sipped on our hot chocolate and roasted s’mores on the open fire. This stunninggggg cabin in the woods was located on Buffalo Run, in Moran, WY. Moran lies in Grand Teton National Park – close to Yellowstone all while just about 40 minutes from downtown Jackson Hole.

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Our first mishap was loosing track of the time and arriving into Buffalo Run, way past sundown. These roads were pitch black, icy, and extremely narrow. We took a wrong turn and in attempts to reverse, our truck became stuck in the snow for over an hour. Here we were, standing around in the middle of the woods – with no bear spray or cell phone reception. We saw several glowing eyes throughout that hour which was terrifying to say the least! Rocking the truck back and forth, digging around the wheels, and adding traction EVENTUALLLY did the trick.

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Our cabin was also located nearby Oxbow Bend. Easily, one of the most recognized images of Grand Teton National Park – the scene overlooking a flat water section of the Snake River with Mount Moran’s mirror-like reflection and the Tetons standing tall in the background.

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It is a primary location for spotting wildlife like moose, bison, bears, deer, and elk. Bear spray is smart to have in this area, as is common sense (which we clearly lacked throughout the trip..haha).

We first dedicated an entire day to venture throughout Wyoming.

We spent significant time along the Snake River. 16 rivers and creeks make up the Headwaters of the Snake. It is considered one of the last intact functioning temperate ecosystems on Earth and is also often referred to as one of the most pristine in the nation! Wildlife sightings near the Snake occurred so often, it almost felt surreal. In a span of 10 minutes, we witness a fox running across the way in pursuit of a chipmunk, in the distance, a momma and baby moose drinking water, and to our right, a lone wolf scavenging for food. These majestic creatures have made this valley their home and thrive by the waters.

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*Elk Refuge*

Of course, we were anticipating on doing different excursions (skiing, kayaking, wildlife tours, etc) but unbeknownst to us, we were visiting literally in mid-season…ski resorts had just closed down for the off season, ice layers were still too thick in the river, and tours were not yet operating  -____-

All that to say, I’d recommend going either in the very beginning of winter or later in the spring time to take full advantage of all that Wyoming has to offer.

We had utilized a brochure which highlighted important sites in the area, there was also a check-off list of wildlife sightings, which I would suggest using on your next trip! It was definitely an interactive way of exploring the area.

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Due to the time of year, bear sightings were limited thus far, so naturally our curiosity was spiked when we saw footprints in our driveway!

It was suggested to us that we stop by Oxbow Bend, a place bears frequented. Yet again, without bear spray we went into the forest and explored. We heard the rustling of leaves every so often but there were no bears in sight! We shared our confusion with a few of the locals once we got back into town and it was explained to us that it is common for  bears to be perched up on trees and their branches, especially to Oxbow!! Soo all that to say, thank the lord we were safe.

Idaho

The next day, we decided to head down to Idaho Falls, Idaho. From the mountains of the Teton Pass to the plains of Eastern Idaho, this three hour drive was nothing short of scenic.

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If you wanted to take a pitstop of a lifetime, I would stop by anywhere along the 3,000 miles of rivers, including the Salmon – the longest free-flowing river in any state! We saw hundreds of people out fishing, hiking, and rafting – a premier alpine river experience.

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Idaho Falls was not so much waterfalls but rather a series of cascades, located right on the greenbelt in downtown Idaho Falls. 6 miles of paved pathway follow the Snake River here, offered a great place to picnic, stroll, bike, run.

*Press play*

The drive home should have taken three hours but of course we were snowed in on the Teton Pass for six (in the dark)! Due to the unpredictable driving conditions, I would suggest filling up your gas as often as possible. We found that the gas stations were few and far between and often times, the smaller stations were covered with thick layers of snow, making it impossible to get gas from.

Yellowstone

The next day we had woken up before dawn and were ready to take on Yellowstone! Our main adventure was about to begin, from the geothermal wonders of Old Faithful, the unsurpassed beauty of Yellowstone Falls and the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, we were freaking stocked!

Yellowstone’s closest entrance was a short, hour and a half drive from our cabin. Once we arrived at the South entrance a ranger delivered some pretty shitty news to us…. most park roads were closed to regular vehicles from early November to mid-April. In fact, the roads leading to the Old Faithful geyser, Yellowstone Falls, and other popular Yellowstone destinations were also closed!! The only road open year-round is from the North Entrance at Gardiner, Montana. We thought okay, a couple more hours wouldn’t hurt, LITTLE DID WE KNOW… the North Entrance was over six hours away!! All this to say, it takes several hours to drive between these entrances, so be sure to check the status of roads at the entrance you intend to use, hahah.

Not too far from the North Entrance is The Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Center. T’was pretty damn magical! This facility housed nuisance bears or their orphaned cubs. The Bears and wolfs were rotated into the habitat, allowing its visitors to stand just feet away during their interactions.

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Montana

Yellowstone’s amazing geologic features were even more spectacular than I had imagined. Once we arrived into Yellowstone, we drove along the river and made an interesting stop at the Mammoth Hot Springs.

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*Mammoth Hot Springs*

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It truly felt like an other-worldly experience. You’ll see gurgling mud pots and steaming hot springs surrounded by frozen landscapes.

There were a number of people swarmed around areas of the hot springs. So naturally, we followed the crowd UNTIL we were pulled aside by rangers. We were scolded then cited for not walking along the designated boardwalks. At first we were taken a back at how seriously we were reprimanded. But then we were given recent examples of a number of people who fell through the crust and burned to death.

Two months later, a similar report came out…

“Yellowstone visitor, 23, who died after wandering off designated trail, falls into acidic hot spring that dissolved his entire body”

All this to say, be careful and stay along the boardwalks, people!

The rest of the day was filled with close wildlife encounters and spectacular f*cking views:

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This moment was too awesome. At first we were in awe…but as they began to surround our truck, we became increasingly freaked out. It went something like…”OMG, OMG, HOLYYYY SH**T!”

The car was scratched up and even rocked a bit but it was quite the greeting!

Later in the evening, we saw a pack of wolves feasting on a baby bison in the valley. Pictures were too gruesome to post, but it was fascinating to watch! In fact, this was a bear vs wolf showdown. A grizzly bear would takeover the carcass, which queued the wolves to back off – but there was a teetering of this exchange throughout the night.

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On our last day, we literally just drove throughout Wyoming. We had absolutely no idea where we were headed, our reception was little to none, so we just winged it. I am so glad we went off the map as we discovered some of the most breathtaking panoramic views.

We then encountered this massive frozen lake! We were obviously in awe and a bit nervous to step foot on it. According to a local who lived nearby, he saw people who had cross-country skied the lake earlier that morning…so he believed that we’d be okay with walking on it ourselves.  *And for some reason, we trusted that. HA!*

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*Pretending not to be scared out of my mind*

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In retrospect, we took many chances on this trip! But I hope by sharing my experience, it’ll urge you to make this Yellowstone Loop adventure for yourself. This trip was one of the best weeks of my life. Break free from the daily barrage of emails, texts, social media alerts and everything else that over stimulates us these days. Make the commitment to go off the grid this Holiday season. Be present in nature. If you have always dreamt of visiting somewhere peaceful, wild, rugged, and untamed – this trip may be just what the doctor ordered.