TRAVEL

A Weekend in Istanbul, Turkey

A bustling city resting on the banks of the Bosphorus, also known as the Straight of Istanbul. Forming the boundary between Europe and Asia or Asian Turkey side and the European Turkey side, this straight is the hub and center of the city. Tour boats, shipping docks, hundreds of men fishing off the bridges to catch fish, tourists taking pictures, families on the boardwalks selling chestnuts, mussels, and roasted corn, restaurants built underneath the bridges for visitors to enjoy the view. Its nothing but magical and exciting to see.

The various types of architecture throughout the city has something everyone will love, from the beautiful old buildings and mosques from the Byzantine Empire era to the more ornate, grandiose palaces which housed Sultans and royal families. Additionally, the Turkish people were so welcoming and hospitable, it made our stay that much better.



The weekend was filled with site-seeing, wandering around the new and old town in addition to tasting an absurd amount of Turkish delights and mixed kebab plates. On our first day, we took to the streets wandering from the new part of town, Taksim Square, through the winding and bustling streets across the Bosphorus to the Old Town. Stopping along the way to admire all of the handcrafted lights, tiling, handwoven scarves, Turkish towels, artwork and of course all the baklava and treats, I was overwhelmed with the beauty and energy Istanbul had to offer. We finally managed to make our way over the river on the Galata Bridge after stopping to watch a mid-day prayer at a local mosque while the somewhat eerie, but beautiful prayer call played throughout the city. We were finally off to explore the major attractions. The (Sultan...) Blue Mosque, Hagia Sofia and Topkapi Palace. Words can’t explain the overwhelming beauty and detail that each of these places exhibited. They all were so magical. Having visited countless amounts of ornate churches throughout Europe, it was incredible to finally experience first hand what a practicing mosque looked and felt like. Shoes off, cover your head, women in one area and men in another. Although we weren’t allowed to enter the Blue Mosque while prayer was taking place, we visited another, much smaller and less popular Mosque where we were able to enter while prayer was taking place. It was a memorable experience to say the least.



Lastly, we visited the both the Basilica Cistern, Ortakoy Mosque, The Grand Bizarre and the Dolmabahçe Palace. Used during the Ottoman Empire, this palace was nothing short of immaculate. Breathtaking is an understatement. Each room had its purpose. Prayer room, musical room, tea room, sitting room, you name it, there is a room dedicated for it. But the showstopper was the Grand Ballroom. Reaching 35 meters high, this room absolutely took my breath away. Crystal chandeliers in every corner and a hand painted dome with gold plated work as far as the eye could see. I could have stayed in this room for hours. Truly something build for a “king”…or Sultan.

A quick weekend in Istanbul can be done, but is definitely not enough time to fully experience all of the amazing things Turkey and it’s people have to offer. It’s energy during the day only is amplified into the evening. Make sure to visit the Taksim Square at night. Street vendors selling chestnuts, muscles, musicians playing on the streets, smells of shisha in the air, people shopping and buying Baklava at 1 am, it’s an incredible site to see. Venture down one one of the side streets and another world of restaurants and bars appear. Be prepared to stopped at every place and asked to eat at their restaurant. Every place we tried had the most incredible Turkish food. You definitely can’t go wrong eating a unknown local spot.

Se apaixona por Portugal | "Falling in love with Portugal"

Se apaixona por Portugal or falling in love with Portugal would be an understatement. I just returned back to Prague from my Spring holidays traveling throughout Portugal and when the time came to go, it was a very hard to say goodbye. There are only incredible things to say about Portugal, along with everything and everyone in it. 

Arriving late in the evening, I was able to see Lisbon at night. Lively, sexy, dimly lit beautiful alleys and cobblestone for as far as the eye could see. I could only imagine how beautiful this city was with the sun shining. Waking up the next morning, I walked out on to the terrace at our hostel and was greeted with the most breath-taking view. Bright orange rooftops crammed next to one another and a beautiful cloudless blue sky. 

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As with most of my travels, I tend to not have any solid plans that I need to abide by or fulfill. Most often I love to get an early start and simply wander throughout town, the streets and enjoy getting lost. In Lisbon, this was the perfect place to wander. Around each corner were the most beautifully tiled and decorated houses, streets and buildings. The embellishments on the exteriors of the buildings changed constantly and kept your eyes staring at the beautiful patterns. It is a photographers dream. I'm pretty sure I stopped to take pictures every other building I walked by. In addition to the beautiful tiles that Portugal is known for, the street art in Lisbon is incredible as well. It filled the alleys and stairways and was amazing to see how much detail and effort is put into this. 

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Markets

 

 

Markets: Time Out: 

If you consider yourself a "foodie," or simply just love good food, eating and socializing, Time Out market is one of the best places to go in all of Lisbon. Opened in 2014, Time Out market has a concept of a market feel, while having high-end restaurants and shops within it. 24 restaurants to choose from all with various cuisines and incredible chefs, 8 bars and a farmers market. Also, absolutely do not miss getting an "egg tart" from the incredible Manteigaria in the market.

Market: LX Factory

Another incredible area to check out when in Lisbon is the LX Factory. With over 200 business ranging from Cafes, restaurants, design houses, show rooms, clothing stores, bars, it has everything to offer. LX Factory offers amazing culture and design to look at. While there, make sure you stop at Mez Cais LX. This quirky, yet incredibly lively restaurant is the place to get amazing margaritas, listen to good music and eat good food (do not miss out on the avocado mousse)! It has a great vibe and both times I went there (yes I went twice in 7 days), every table was full.  

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Porto

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After spending our first days in Lisbon, my friend and I took the train to the city of Porto. As being the birthplace of Port wine, I knew I was going to be in heaven. Give me all the red and white port wine, please! Porto was a lovely, very walkable city. Small and incredibly charming. Incredibly friendly and warm people. I can't say enough amazing things about this town. Since we visited during the winter season, it was raining most of the time we were there. I would highly recommend visiting in Spring/Summer. 

First things first, we checked into our adorable Airbnb and scoped out the best places to brunch, grab wine and to eat good food. We walked around town and stopped by the infamous library, Livraria Lello. Although being overly congested with people, the library itself was charming. It felt like stepping into a Harry Potter novel, with the beautiful hanging staircase and old, worn wooden shelves. There is an entrance fee of around $11-12. 

We then braved the wind and rain and wandered throughout the streets, looking at the architecture and made sure to stop and do a port wine tasting. Also, make sure you try the local and famous dish of Porto, Franceschini. This sandwich is filled with various meat, and covered with melted cheese in a hot tomato and beer sauce.  Yum, right? It was actually incredible.

After exploring both Porto and Lisbon, I can truly say that Portugal has been one of my favorite places I've been to. If you are planning a trip there, see all of my recommendations for places to eat and cafes to stop by below. 

Places to be obsessed with: Lisbon

Cafe: Organic Cafe Estoril - Rua da Misericórdia 139
Cafe: Bowl Lisboa
Cafe: Royal Cafe (incredible veggie burger) 
Restaurant: A Cevicheria** (has 1 michelin star) - absolutely do not miss going to this place. It doesn't take reservations, but has the best fresh ceviche I've ever tried and the vibe is incredible. 
Restaurant: Costa Do Castelo
Drinks/Food: Mez Cais or Mez Cais LX (Mez Cais LX is located in an incredibly cool and trendy area call the LX Factory). 
Drinks: Fox Trot
Drinks: Park Bar or Topo

Places to be obsessed with: Porto
Drinks: Candelabro 
Restaurant: Cruel
Cafe: Zenith cafe (great vibe and amazing food) 
Cafe: Progresso

Hope you've enjoyed this post! If so, share it with others and make sure to follow my adventures @tripleoblog on Instagram. Cheers! 

Ciao Italia | Travel Umbria, Italy

Ciao everyone! 

I've recently returned from a long weekend  in Italy. While on holiday from teaching, I reunited with a few friends, Tanira and Loris, who I met while in the Grand Caymans, who are temporarily staying in a town located in the Umbria region of Italy, called Terni. Terni is located just about two hours north of Rome and is nestled within and surrounded by large hills and mountains. Its a beautiful, quaint town where the people tend to grow up and remain most of their lives. Its incredibly and quintessentially Italian and just what I needed, a real, authentic Italian experience. While in Terni, I stayed at my friend Loris's Nonna's (grandmother) house. I was greeted with such  warm welcome and by the end of my time there, she invited me to stay forever, "if I'd like." 

The best part about staying in the Umbria region is there are endless amounts of small villages you can pass through and meander throughout. We didn't manage to see them all, but made quite the dent. I fell in love with Italy this time around. Even though I had previously visited Italy years back, I couldn't help but fall more in love with the perfect blue skies shining down on the rows of olive trees covering the hillsides, the dilapidated and worn down towns once used for movie sets to film the infamous Pinocchio, flowers adorning every windowsill,  persimmon trees as far as the eye could see and The Dolomite mountains peaking out from a distance. It was a dream. The best vino I've had in ages where the tasting just so happen to be free! How could it get any better, you're asking? Well it did. I was staying with an Italian family and chef, who would make fresh bruschetta every morning and evening on their log fireplace, be served homemade espresso boiled from the kettle on the stove and pick oranges from the tree outback. It was a slower and much more simple way of living and I absolutely enjoyed every minute of it. 

Civita De Bagno | Italy

The first town we visited was called Civita De Bagno or "the dying city" as Loris likes to call it. This town's buildings cling to the edge of the cliff that has been slowing eroding away over the years. Be prepared to walk, because there's no transportation to visit this village, but once you arrive, it's breathtaking. Beautiful architecture, flowers, unending views and cats strolling along the streets everywhere. It was definitely a perfect way to start the trip. 

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Orvieto | Italy

We arrived in the town of Orvieto, and were starving from all of our walking thus far. So we grabbed lunch and of course, what do you get when staying in the Umbria region...besides wine, anything with truffle, or a sandwich from a porchetta shop! So we ended up getting a truffle cheese panini from a porchetta shop. Perfecto! The umbria region is known to have incredible truffle mushrooms which are special to the region. Since I am obsessed with anything truffle, of course I bought a jar of whole truffles, along with truffle oil.  

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Spoleto | Italy

Spoleto, spoleto, spoleto...a town with such stunning architecture and alleyways, that one (aka: me) nearly couldn't make it through the town without stopping every 5 minutes to take a picture. Each building carefully detailed and painted with a different color, made me realize how much beauty there is around us. We walked through the town square which was getting decorated for the upcoming holidays, grabbed lunch at another trattoria where we ate more meat and cheese on the most beautiful charcuterie board I had ever seen. It was so big, it spanned the entire table.  

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Papigno | Italy

Pinocchio, the movie that put this town on the map. This movie was filmed in the town of Papigno. Papigno is one of the most magical villages I've ever been to. Small, but perfect. Old, but historic. I couldn't seem to understand how one small village could exude and hold so much beauty. Surrounded by mountains, next to olive tree fields and nearby the Marmore Falls, Papigno is a perfect place to getaway and enjoy the beauty in life. We walked around the town, weaving in a out of alleys, up and down stairs and greeting locals who wanted nothing but to provide us with advice on where to go and what to check out. This town, although your visit may be quick, is one not to miss. 

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Peidei Lugo | Italy

Only spending a few short hours here, wandering along the lakeside, feeling the chilly winter air, the town of Peidei Lugo was breathtaking. Known for being more of a summer town with beach and water  activities on the lake, it still had a wonderful feeling to it, where you could take in the views of the Dolomites from a distance and grab a espresso from a local cafe. Umbria was nothing but incredible. 

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Cheers to Italy, friends and more travels to come! 

Drop a comment below or give me a follow on Instagram @tripleoblog

 

Views of Vienna

Hallo! 

I am so excited to share all about my quick getaway to Vienna the other weekend. After a wild and nonstop weekend in Amsterdam, it was time to slow it down a bit and check out all of the breathtaking views of Vienna. 

Only being a four hour train ride away from Vienna, Austria, this seemed like the perfect place to getaway to for a quick weekend trip. Furthermore, since it is is peak Fall season, I knew Vienna wouldn't lack in beautiful fall colors, as the town is filled with parks, trees and areas to walk around and take in the nature. 

Vienna definitely blew me away. I hadn't anticipated the incredible amount of diversity in things to do. While there, I visited the Naschmarkt filled with vendors offering a taste of their most delicious delicacies. Falafel's, baklava, candied nuts, dried fruits, turkish candies and more. The market also had a variety of restaurants to sit down at and enjoy the crisp fall air, with of course a blanket and heating lamp provided. 

We visited the most famous Schönbrunn Palace, and made our way through the winding pathways throughout the perfectly manicured archways of trees. The gardens of the Schönbrunn Palace were magical. Spanning as far as the eye could see, the variety and types of flowers seemed to never end. 

As we continued our walking day tour around the city, we realized one of the best parts about Vienna, is that everything is located so close to each other and incredibly easy to get to by foot. Not once, did we take the metro or public transportation. This also allowed us to stumble upon narrow alley ways and admire all of beautiful and traditional Viennese architecture.  

Lastly, we visited the National Gallery and also the incredible city hall of Vienna, known as the Rathaus. This is definitely not like any city hall I've seen before. The city hall where I am from, has two rooms and a front door. Walking up to the plaza towards the Rathaus, I was mesmerized by the gothic architecture and beautiful red flowers adorning the windows. 

Overall, Vienna was a total blast and there are so many different things to do, whether you're into museums, architecture, cafes, good food, shopping, Vienna has it all. There isn't a lack of beauty or things to do in this city. Check out a few of my recommendations below for your next visit!  

Must visit restaurant: Motto & Kussmaul 

Must visit place: Naschmarkt

Must visit cafe: 

Must Visit Museum: Leopold Museum 

Schönbrunn Palace 

Schönbrunn Palace 

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Gardens of Schönbrunn Palace 

Gardens of Schönbrunn Palace 

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Burgring Cafe 

Burgring Cafe 

Burgring Cafe

Burgring Cafe

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Adventures in Amsterdam

Wow, after being in Prague for nearly 3 months now, I couldn't imagine a more incredible first weekend traveling, than my time spent in Amsterdam the other week with my girlfriend. I can't even begin to count how many times I've thought of going to Amsterdam and decided against it, thinking it was too touristy and overcrowded. I am so excited to share with you all of the incredible places we went to, but I don’t even know where to begin. There were so many places I had on my list to check out and not enough time, so we made sure we hit up the cutest neighborhoods, cafes and places to grab dinner and cocktails.  


When arriving in Amsterdam I was completely overwhelmed with the charm and accessibility of the city. Not once, did we take public transportation as most places are easy to get to and stumbling upon hidden alleyways, graffiti painted walls, local shops and the endless canals throughout the city were some of my favorite times while in Amsterdam.

I still can’t describe to you how much I fell in love with Amsterdam after visiting and the best part is that we barely did any of the “touristy things,” that most people come to do. Having no agenda and getting lost within the city made for the most enjoyable times.

Although my major recommendation to anyone visiting, would be to first just wander and explore the streets and canals, I of course have some incredible places you must check out as well.

Shown below: 

Must Visit Café: Lavinia Good Food Café

Must Visit Café: Café Georgette

Must visit restaurant: Bull & Dogs

Must visit place: Pulitzer Hotel

Must visit restaurant/bar: Palladium (mainly for drinks) (not pictured)

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Must Visit Café: Café Georgette

Recently opened this cafe, is light, bright and incredibly well decorated. Their healthy and incredibly creative food options are endless and beautifully done. We both ordered avocado toasts, one being pomegranate, feta and avocado and the other with arugula, prawns and a soft-boiled egg. YUM! Oh and of course, I needed to test out their acai bowl. Pretty much in love.

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Must Visit Café: Lavinia Good Food Café

So, I have to be honest, this place was so good, we went back for a second time. The food is so fresh, healthy and there are a ton of veg/vegan options, it is the perfect place for everyone. Additionally, the endless options of fresh juices, nut mylks, dairy free options and the turmeric golden latte, had me swooning. I ordered their breakfast truffle, egg and tomato flatbread and can pretty much say it was one of the best things I've ever tried. Clearly this is a must stop when visiting Amsterdam. Oh...and its incredibly cute inside. Perfect for taking photos. ;) 

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Must visit restaurant: Bull & Dogs

This place...I literally have no words. It was heaven. Look at this milkshake. After coming across this place while doing our research, we knew we NEEDED to stop and check out Bull & Dog's incredibly creative and artistic milkshakes and hot dogs. Interesting combination, but it works. My friend Catie & I decided to go with the Big Banana Bash surrounded with peanut butter and chocolate mixed somewhere in there. Needless to say, it was gone within a matter of minutes as well as the Bourbon Bacon Dog we ordered too. This is definitely a must on my list of places to check out. 

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Must visit place: Pulitzer Hotel

If you are looking for a perfect place to grab a cocktail or glass of wine with incredible decor, this is the place. Located centrally in the Nine Streets neighborhood its incredibly convenient to get to. Make sure to check out the incredible gardens

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I can't wait until you experience all of the wonders this adorable town has to offer. Comment below if you visit and have anymore tips for future travelers. 

Cheers!! Make sure to follow my adventures on Instagram @tripleoblog 

Czech Republic Day Trips pt. 1 - Kutná Hora

I am so excited to finally be in the Czech Republic! It has only been one week, and I already feel an instant connection to Prague and the place I live. Very similar to where I grew up, it has trees, parks, running trails everywhere and everyone loves to be outdoors. I have been so busy getting my new life organized that a day trip outside of Prague sounded like the perfect way to get immersed into the culture and see what this amazing country has to offer. So, this past Saturday, I decided to head to a town called Kutná Hora. 

Just an hour east outside of Prague by train, Kutna Hora is an incredibly easy and accessible town to get to. Most known for its unique Sedlec Ossuary or "skeleton church," which adorns skeleton bones on its walls and throughout the building and St. Barbara's Church which showcases its beautiful gothic architecture, it is worth just coming here for that. 

But, Kutná Hora is so much more than that. Developed in 1142, this sweet, charming town seems to have withstood time. I was immediately transported back into the early ages while walking over the broken cobblestone roads and sidewalks and admiring all of the well-kept buildings painted with every color the eye could see. To really experience all that the town has to offer, one needs to explore and get away from the tour groups and typical scenic areas, as I did. Walk along quiet streets, stop into small shops and restaurants that are open. Grab a beer and maybe a sausage too. 

So that is exactly what we did. Situated near St. Barbara's Church, we finally came across one of the only open restaurants around and stopped in. Having not eaten all day, I was starving and ready for a hearty Czech meal. Beers were ordered and we asked for menus, only to find out they weren't serving food and only had a total "4 sausages left and two pairs" of what looked like pairs of hotdogs left. Needless to say, we left that place still hungry, but was a perfect place to rest our feet. 

If ever visiting the CR or Prague, visiting Kutná Hora is definitely a recommendation of mine. It can easily be visited in one day or if you leave early enough, a half day. It gives travelers and tourists a taste of rural life and the villages which border Prague. Life is slower, people are friendly and the beers are amazing. 

WEEKEND IN SCOTTSDALE, AZ

Scottsdale. Perfect weather. The perfect combination of relaxation & adventuring. The perfect getaway destination. 

Having visited the Phoenix, Scottsdale area many times while since I was young, I have seen this area change immensely into a iconic destination for celebrations, fun, hiking, exploring and just a place to enjoy the heat. There is a perfect blend of the old city charm with chic new restaurants, rooftop pools and amazing views. 

A perfect weekend getaway in this lovely city should include a stay at the adorable and chic Saguaro hotel, which is also a "bloggers paradise." This colorful, lively and well decorated hotel is located in the heart of Old Town and a short walk down the road from another favorite of mine, Misson restaurant. Hands down, some of the best Mexican cuisine I've had. Make sure to try their traditional marg and make to order guac!  Of course Fashion Square shopping will have everything your heart desires and lastly stop at the W Hotel Scottsdale for some cocktails next to the rooftop pool. 

Photos from my weekend getaway below: 

Pacific North West + Canada Travel Diary

It has been a whirlwind of a summer, with school, weddings, parties, etc, I was eager for the start of Fall. You know that peaceful feeling that comes over you when summer is coming to a close and you're looking forward to winding down and excited to throw on that comfy sweater and leggings and have a relaxing weekend... well that is exactly how I was feeling and this trip to the Pacific Northwest & Canada was the perfect answer. Sometimes a trip with no agenda is the way to go and I think there is no place better than this area to just put your to do list aside and get lost and explore. 

Arriving in Seattle, I was overcome with excitement and beauty. The harbor bordering downtown Seattle made it a perfect city to be outside, walk around and enjoy the views of the shipping port, West Seattle and boats passing by. Spending quality time with my sister also made it that much more enjoyable and relaxing. We wandered around the city exploring all the eclectic neighborhoods Seattle has to offer such as the Queen Ann neighborhood with its hilly streets, the Ballard neighbored with its quaint eateries and shops lined with trees and lights and the Capitol Hill district where my favorite cafe by far is located (see below). Of course, you must visit Pike Place Market and spend a few hours site seeing and people watching. 

Must visit cafe - Seattle: Oddfellows Cafe + Bar 
Must Visit Restaurant - Seattle: How to Cook a Wolf

As we left Seattle and ventured through winding roads of towering pines, we arrived in Vancouver with eagerness to cross the border, for my first time. There are so many lovely things about Vancouver, it is a melting pot of cultures, neighborhoods and people. From the streets of China Town to the crowded streets and trails of downtown filled with bikers and fitness enthusiasts to the vast nothingness of nature starring out into the ocean or amongst the tall red oaks, Vancouver has something to offer for everyone. 

Must do adventure - Vancouver: Capilano Suspension Bridge

Of course, without knowing it, we saved the best for last as we departed Vancouver on a ferry to the city of Victoria on Vancouver Island. There are so many lovely things I could say about the city of Victoria. With cheerful, friendly people, quaint shops, and a quintessentially British feel throughout the town, I immediately fell in love. Of course one of my personal must dos was to have High Tea at the Empress Hotel. This gorgeous hotel sits right on the harbor overlooking the float planes and boats coming in and out and provides the most suburb food and tea. 
Also, of course, you can't go to Victoria without visiting the Butchart Gardens. This was one of the most magnificent display of flowers I've ever seen. Flowers of all colors, bursting out of their gardens, hanging above you, beside you, topiaries, Japanese gardens, fountains, and beautiful smells all around, it felt as though I was in a dream. It took a minimum of two hours just to get around the whole area, but worthwhile and a must do when coming to Victoria. In addition to this, we spent another portion of our day whale watching. I highly recommend coming to visit during the end of Summer or start of Fall as the whale sightings will be more likely and prevalent. It was an incredible life experience that words can't describe. These animals are so smart, curious and majestic, it was thrilling to see them up close and in person. 

Must visit place- Victoria: Empress Hotel
Must visit place- Victoria: Butchart Gardens
Must do adventure- Victoria: Whale Watching

This adventure was a perfect way to kick off the Fall and spend time out in nature, exploring and appreciating all of the beauty that is around us. Don't have every day planned out, take time to wander, get lost and run into new adventures and places you wouldn't normally go. I hope you enjoy the pictures below of my travels out West and recommendations. Make sure to comment or write below. I love hearing from you and love sharing. 

Packing Picks & Tips

Hi Guys!! So I leave for NY tomorrow and I am so excited! My boyfriend Paul and I are headed there for his birthday weekend & for a super fun getaway!

So, because its New York and one of the most fashionable cities in the world, it is so hard to not pack all of my cutest pieces! But, that wouldn’t really work if you’re just going for a quick getaway, over the weekend with a carry-on! So, I thought I would do a packing tips & picks post to share with you all. So, here are my tips and travel picks for my upcoming weekend! J

Its going to be Springtime in NY and the perfect time to show off your adorable spring dresses, lace & patterns! (Check out my Spring Picks & Pattern Play posts for ideas). So for my first tip, and for the short answer, try and bring as little as possible (because you’re going to want to go shopping) & items that can double for multiple occasions! If you need or forget something, its New York, go shopping!!

But, for the long answer of what you should pack, here are my suggestions:

1-    Dress or jumpsuit for going out

1-    Pair of jeans for both day & night

      a.     Night – throw on a pair of heels for the evening & you’ll be good to go!

1-    Jacket

1-    Pair of shorts or romper

1-    Pair of dress shoes

1-    Cute walking shoes – for all of your site seeing! J

2-    Sweater or shawls

3-    Cute tops that double for either day or night

Tips:

1.     Jewelry – roll up or fold in tissue paper or even a sock

2.     Delicates/lingerie – put in plastic bags & can use for dirty clothes as well

3.     Clothing – rolling vs. folding – rolling saves more space & no wrinkles

4.     Pack minimally & pack items that can double for multiple occasions

5.     Pack a scarf – it takes up literally zero room & will keep you warm & is a cute accent piece

 

I have been busy planning my outfits for each day that I am out in NY, so take a peek below to get some outfit combination ideas and inspiration for your next trip!

This first combination I put together is the perfect summer dress that still keeps you warm on that chilly Spring day! With the high neck and a jean jacket over it, you’ll be sure to stay warm! Accent this outfit with a long necklace & hat! The dress and necklace were both purchased at Francesca's and the purse and hat were purchased at Urban Outfitters. You can find the shoes at DSW. 

This second combination I put together encompasses more pattern & lace! This long maxi skirt and crop top goes perfect together with a loose shawl to throw on as well! Also, these colors are everything! The shawl and maxi shirt can be found at Francesca's and the top can be found at Forever 21. The shoes can be purchased at DSW and the necklace is from MODERNROOTS

The third outfit combo I put together was more of a casual look with jeans and a cute top! Throw on a pair of strappy flats or wedges and you have the perfect outfit to walk around town in! Accent this outfit with some dangly bracelets! You can find the bracelets at Alex & Ani. The top is from Forever 21, the jeans can be found at Gap

Lastly, I threw together one last outfit for the evening, when you’re going out to dinner, a play or a bar. This reddish-pink floral romper, along with a pair of nude pumps makes the outfit complete & is SO simple to put together.  The romper can be purchased at Banana Republic

I can’t wait to share more photos of my upcoming trip to New York with you this weekend, so follow along with me on my Instagram and Snapchat (OliviaJoan21)!! Oh and PLEASE leave me a comment below or suggestions you may have!

 

Taiwan...Asia's Hidden Gem

My idea for my first post about traveling was an easy one for me. One of my favorite places in the entire world and that I am OBSESSED with is, Taiwan!

Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall 

Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall 

First off, I am OBSESSED with traveling, in general. I can easily say, this is the number one thing that I love and that I love to do. It is a passion of mine and I plan to never stop exploring. Having the opportunity to do some extensive traveling in the past, I have a few places that you NEED to explore and that I can't wait to tell you about. But, for right now, I will give you tips and information about why you must visit Taiwan at some point in your life!

I am OBSESSED with everyone in Taiwan, aka. the Taiwanese people/expats/etc. I am obsessed with its culture, people, food, its natural landscapes and language. A few years back, I moved to Taipei, Taiwan. I lived there for a year and fully immersed myself into the Taiwanese culture. The moment I arrived, I was greeted with an inviting welcome, hospitality and eagerness to please and help. Taiwan is a hidden gem of an island, located off of the coast of China and its beauty is insurmountable. The capitol city of Taipei, is very commuter-friendly by the Mass Rapid Transit system (MRT). The bullet-train from the north side of the island to the southern most tip of the island, allows for a quick and easy way to check out both sides of the island, and lastly you can easily explore the nearby islands by taking a quick hopper plane or ferry to, to check these islands out for the day, as they are right off the coast of Taiwan.

Southern most tip of the island - Kenting 

Southern most tip of the island - Kenting 

Taiwan has temples and night markets everywhere you go, allowing for an exposure and insight into its incredible culture and ways of living. While in a temple, you will have the opportunity to participate in the praying rituals such as offering up items or lighting incense, or just observe and watch. Longhshan Temple is a must while exploring the capitol of Taipei. Oh and DO NOT forget to go to Shilin Night Market. Shilin Night Market is located off of Jiantan Station on the red line and is the largest night market in all of Taiwan. You will be delightfully overwhelmed, when entering the market, with noises, lights, smells and people in every direction you go!! It is incredible! And if you're daring, you'll try and stinky tofu!! 

Longshan Temple 

Longshan Temple 

Furthermore, I am mostly obsessed with Taiwan because of how safe it is. Having a sense of safety and security while walking alone or not having the worry if any of my possessions would be stolen, made my time there, so much more enjoyable and put me at ease. The Taiwanese are wonderful people who believe in karma, so they try not to cause anyone harm or to do anything bad to others as they believe it will come back to them. Pretty amazing, right? Can't we ALL think this way? 

Finally, Taiwan's natural beauty and landscapes will keep you mesmerized and busy for days, even weeks! Taiwan not only has mountains, oceans, beaches and an incredible downtown metro area, it has also incorporated many parks into the surrounding city limits as well as having a national scenic park outside of the city called Sun Moon Lake and a World Heritage site called Taroko Gorge.

Temple in the mountains in Taroko Gorge

Temple in the mountains in Taroko Gorge

Mountains in Taroko Gorge

Mountains in Taroko Gorge

Out of all of my many travels, I can say I am truly OBSESSED with Taiwan and that you should experience everything it has to offer at some point in your life!

Olivia's Obsessions/Recommendations:

1  Head north on the MRT to Xinbeitou. Walk around the quaint town and visit the natural hot springs and take a dip in the thermal hot spring baths. Here, you will also find hotels offering traditional Taiwanese massages. Spend the day relaxing and pampering. 

2  Day trip to Wulai. Wulai District is a mountain indigenous district in southern New Taipei City and also is known for its hot springs. Take a hike through the mountainous region to a natural three tier waterfall to experience the natural beauty of Taiwan. 

3  Shillin Night Market - As the largest and most expansive night market in Taiwan, this is a must. Right off of the Jiantan station on the red line, it is a short 20 minute commute outside of the city center. 

4  Taroko Gorge. (see above) - Located on the east side of the island, you can take a three hour train on the coast to Hualien. From Hualien, you will then be able to drive, rent a scooter or take a tourist bus to and through the famous Taroko Gorge. 

5  Kenting - at the southern most tip of the island, this beach town is filled with fun activities to do during the day as well as a great place to party. Check this out, if you're looking to get out of the city and for something more laid back and relaxing. 

6  Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall - this massive memorial hall created for the leader of Taiwan who led the revolution against the Chinese is a must. I am actually OBSESSED with its detail, enormity and overwhelming beauty it offers! 

Enjoy & travel well!