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:

Yotel 21

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!

yotel46

yotel42.JPG

Yotel3

Yotel9

Yotel2

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!!

YOTEL40.jpeg

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

yotel22

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.

Yotel1

Yotel10

Yotel 13.jpeg

Yotel7

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!

Yotel4

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.

Yotel 27

Yotel 20

Yotel5

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”!

Yotel 26

Yotel 22

yotel25

Yotel 24

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

yotel03

yotel20

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.

Yotel 28

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.

Yotel6

Yotel8

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.

yotel45

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.

DSCF6183

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!

CFHP (1)

DSCF5874

DSCF6079

DSCF6064

9D23ED88-806F-4B21-83E6-3CCC5046AC1D

DSCF6063 (1)

DSCF6091

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.

DSCF5927

DSCF5907

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!

DSCF5957

DSCF5969

DSCF5966

DSCF5960

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.

DSCF6023

DSCF6030

DSCF6037

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.

DSCF6151

DSCF6135

DSCF6102

DSCF6150

DSCF6101

DSCF6140

DSCF6153

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!

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.

sv13.jpeg

sv1.jpeg

sv3

sv9

sv12

sv14

sv5'

sv6

sv4

sv7

sv10

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!

FF2

FF3

FF4

FF5

FF6

FF7

FF8
FF9

FF10

FF11

FF12

FF13

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

What To Wear For a Desert Road Trip

Hey, guys! If you follow me on IG: @_jasminvanessa you might have seen that I went on a weekend getaway to Joshua Tree National Park, a couple of weeks ago.

Considering Coachella season is upon us, I thought I would share some looks I brought along with me to the desert.

Packing for the desert presents a specific set of challenges… during the day it can be either windy as hell or dry AF. During the night, prepare to experience almost freezing temps, ha!

Luckily, you can pull off a range of your favorite outfits as long as you come prepared!

*I have also attached the links of where you can find these items*

What to pack:

Fedora Hats & lots of em! Macy’s

jt10

Sunnies!! H&M

jt14

One thick coat for the frigid nights! ZARA

jt13

jt12

Denim – I’m a sucker for Wide-Leg Jeans. Higher waist and wide, flowing denim – screams desert boho vibes. ZARA

Comfortable booties for the long trails and rough terrain. Forever 21

jt9

Long/short sleeve crop tops for the winds but also #fashion. Forever 21

Sheer Embroidered LongLine Kimonos. Forever 21

jt4

jt3

jt1

Props for the aesthetics. I picked up flowers, some pretty fruit (not pictured) and my Polaroid camera!

jt15

And of course, you can’t forget the Long Sleeve Dresses with Ruffle Trims! Forever 21

Hope you find inspo in some of these looks! 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!

IT10

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.

IT6

IT30

it2.jpeg

IT1

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.

ITCF.JPG

IT36

  • 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!

IT11

it12.jpg

IT14

ITSS.JPG

  • 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!

IT20

  • 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.

IT35

  • 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.

IT23

IT27

IT4

IT3

 

  • 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.

IT19

IT28

IT17

IT25

IT16

 

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.

IT50

  • 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!

it50.jpeg

  • 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.

it26.jpg

  • 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.

IT24

 

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.

np5.jpeg

np23

NP30.jpeg

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.

np6.jpeg

img_1094-1.jpeg

np33.jpeg

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!

IMG_1110

np2.jpeg

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.

IMG_1105

IMG_1106

There is a real hipster vibe to this eatery!

np17

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.

np24

np21

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.

IMG_1118

np15

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)!!

np16.jpeg

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.

np18

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

IMG_1111

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

np20

Oh, and @troytheshihtzu agrees too 🙂

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!

ny36-e1513830233187.jpg

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!

ny25.jpg

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!

ny60

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.”

ny3

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)!*

ny56

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

img_0171-e1513790737502.png

Day 2:

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

ny661.jpg

For lunch we stumbled upon – Oaxaca Taqueria

ny8-e1513742758809.jpg

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

We then walked our way to the Brooklyn Bridge.

ny

ny88

ny90

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.

IMG_0246

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!

ny70

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!

ny621.jpg

ny11.jpg

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.

ny24

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.

ny89.JPG

ny58

ny85

We headed for lunch near by at Le Pain Quotidien.

ny82.jpg

ny65

ny16.jpg

ny53

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.

ny18.jpg

ny19.jpg

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:

ny34.jpg

First things first, caffeine.

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

ny26.jpg

ny49

Next stop, DUMBO.

ny28-e1513833849181.jpg

ny33

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

ny29

ny31.jpg

ny32.jpg

We then walked to the neighborhood of Brooklyn Heights.

ny38

ny40

ny39

ny37

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

Madison Square Park

ny41

ny71

For Dinner we ate at Rolf’s German Restaurant

ny44

ny45

PROST!

Brooklyn Bridge Park

ny51.jpg

ny72

ny61

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.

ny84.jpg

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

 

Keeping Memories Alive: The Value of a Photo

Us, Millennials easily receive the most flack over our digital media consumption; You know, our desires in taking selfies, posting pictures of our food on Instagram, and snapping aspects of our day-to-day…just to name a few. But I say, there’s nothing wrong in doing so!

Ever since I can remember, I have always been in love (or to some, obsessed) with both being the photographer AND subject of a photo. At the end of every school year, I would find myself piecing together scrapbooks, making space for even more photos in my giant albums and handing out those ridiculous classic mall glamour shots.

 I truly enjoyed looking through my albums from time and time and recounting all of my childhood shenanigans.

Once I discovered Photobucket, I was livingg. A digital photo album? Yaaas.

But it obviously didn’t stop there. When Myspace came about, I was shoooook. You know the standard duck lips and peace sign, angled selfies? Well, those were kind of my thing. Updating my profile with photos of my summer, after school activities, etc. was literally a pastime.

But wait! Come social media and iPhones….O  M  G!!!

Finally, there was a forum for photo taking lovers to share and connect with others. With the explosion of social media, there is of course the critique/truth that it has the ability to disconnect us from the real world. But in moderation, I think capturing the moments we experience, is quite incredible! Like yeah, sure, memories do last a life time but sometimes yo’ girls memory is not that good.

To this day, I find myself constantly looking through my feed/photo library. I get super nostalgic, looking back at the different phases of my past, the changing trends, friends, and life events. And more often than not, I think, “OMG, I totally forgot about that!” Like you know, those crazy nights, sleepovers, travel adventures- that you reallly can’t remember (b/c of the bubbly) or even try to forget (again, b/c the bubbly).

Like guys! I truly truly believe in the power of a photograph. Photos do much more than document. They have the ability to heal, capture raw emotion, and transcend us into unseen worlds.

Speaking of healing, photos really helped my family cope during the passing of my dad. Obviously, his generation did not grow up on smart phones or social media, so finding photos of him throughout his life was tough. My dad was in his mid-forties when I was born, so I had hardly seen photos of him prior to that. Luckily, his aunts and siblings dug up a handful of Polaroids they kept in albums over the years.

We pieced together all of his photos and created a video montage for his funeral. As heartbreaking as it was to watch it all come together… it was equally as cathartic and beautiful. We all got a glimpse into his sense of style, (which included: wacky 70’s & 80’s outfits – and lets not forget- those infamous 90’s dad jeans), his groups of friends throughout the years, his hobbies, and of course his everlasting smile!

I’m also equally as grateful of social media for allowing me to document some of the final memories between my dad and I. We would play around with the different Snapchat filters and laugh over the ridiculous ones. Whenever I would ask him to take a picture with me, he would always preface with, “Now, Jas, I’m only taking a couple, alright?!” And that statement made me laugh every time because even with his illness, he still remembered how annoying I could be with pictures.

Every now and again, when I feel down, I look through our photos and they instantly bring a smile to my face. And… I’d like to think that is the beauty of pictures… they literally bring memories to life.

I know of a lot of people who hate having their picture taken or who are opposed to posting much of their personal life. But in 20 years, their kids may be interested in who they were as youths and not to mention memory worsens over time. Photos provide that instant recollection of some of the best moments of our life. I say, SNAP AWAY, PEOPLE!