Indonesia

Every few months, Paige and I get that feeling in the middle of our stomaches. It’s hard to explain and can’t really be put into words, but when you get it, you know exactly what it is: I need to see something new. So we sit down and we say to each other, “let’s get the heck out of here.”


For everyone who has also experienced this, the next question is always, “where should I go.” Paige and I had never traveled too far away, but trust me, if its somewhere, it’s on our list. It was just deciding on exactly where we wanted to experience next. Paige has always wanted to see Asia, so we compromised on foreign, adventurous, wild and beautiful. Next stop: Bali, Indonesia.


Bali, although relatively poor and cheap once there, is a pricey place to get to and stay. So the two of us continued to push off this specific trip to honestly just afford it. I started to read up on Bali a lot on Pinterest (our absolute go-to place to get real information about a place from others) to decide where we wanted to stay and which part of Bali we wanted to make our home base. Once we agreed on Ubud, Bali, we took the advice of pretty much every single blogger we found and began searching Airbnb’s, which they all agreed was the smartest, cheapest and greatest way to immerse yourself in a foreign country. So just like that, I changed my mindset from “resortresortresort” to “privately owned villa” and my goodness was I not disappointed.


We chose the Shala Bali, located in the middle of a rice field a short walk from the main road. Our driver dropped us off at a small convenient store, where we walked down a small path that led to another universe. To be perfectly honest it was the most incredible place we had ever stayed (and I’ve stayed in a resort that was built inside a cave on the side of the Mediterranean). First, it was a privately owned villa in the middle of a yoga resort, so we were never alone truly because there were about 4 other villa’s in our close vicinity. The infinity pool was beautiful and the yoga studio was equally as lovely. The staff was so caring and truly wanted you to have the most amazing time in their country.

Our Airbnb turned out to be a stunning private 2 floor villa, featuring a living room, kitchen, outdoor shower, bathroom and 3 balconies. Despite there being 4 other villas, we hardly saw anyone apart from by the pool or at breakfast. Yeah, did I mention this villa provided you complimentary breakfast (literally as much as you wanted) as well as room service? It just kept getting better.  Apart from eating breakfast here every single day (banana french toast, acaì bowls, coconut pancakes, eggs and so much fruit), we also often ordered french fries frequently because of the homemade ketchup.


The staff is also willing to help you out with anything you may possibly need, including travel and ideas for adventuring. Check out the website http://abnb.me/EVmg/vgqQEV5FxG , if you’d like to learn a little more!


The woman who owns the villa is extremely informative, helpful and willing to answer any of your questions both before and while you’re there, not that you really need her because of the staff. She set up a driver to meet us at the airport.


Be sure to check back in a few days for the 2nd part of our trip to Bali, talking all about places to visit and the person who made our trip everlasting.


 

Hana

Previously I had posted about my trip to Maui, and quick tips you should follow and places to visit. The selling point of Maui, for me, was The Road to Hana. When I saw it, I knew it was something I needed to experience immediately.


The Road to Hana is a drive from the bottom of a mountain, all the way to the very top to the town of Hana. Along the way, there are mile markers that you pass and just about each mile marker has something to see. Please be aware, there is absolutely no way you can stop and see every single mile marker along the way. Some of them are easy and you just pull over to the side of the road. Others are miles of hiking that take hours. I did intense research and came down to 6 mile markers I could not miss.


Though the town of Hana is very nice, many people have been saying that you should spend the night up there on the mountain, I didn’t see the purpose of that. We left for Hana around 8 am and we got back to the bottom in the late afternoon. We were exhausted. From the hiking, climbing, jumping, swimming, undressing, redressing, getting in and out of the car, it was an action packed day, but it was probably the best day of my life.


To get to the very top, where Hana is, is around 55 miles up and then you have to turn around and come back down. So please plan accordingly, because it is a full day of adventure and it is very tiring at the end of it. But all the stops you make are so worth it.


You also need to know that the Road to Hana can be very dangerous at points in the car. When crossing bridges or going around turns at points, it becomes only one lane of traffic for both ways. When you’re on the road in your car, you think “how the heck can this tiny road be for two ways of traffic?!”, but you make it work. Just be sure to drive slow and beep when you are coming around a turn, so a car coming at you is aware. Also, at some points there are no guard rails, so stick close to the side of the mountain.


Things you need to bring:

-sneakers (they’ll get wet)

-a few pairs of socks

-bathing suit (make sure you’re wearing it)

-shorts and a t-shirt to throw on

-snacks

-a towel to sit on in the car (you’ll dry off by the time you get to the next destination)

-BUG SPRAY! ( we forgot this and had a million mosquito bites)

-money (for banana bread and smoothie stops along the way)

-a camera

-your list of mile markers you want to stop at (there is no cell-phone service on The Road to Hana, so be sure you know where you want to stop and where it is)


These are the Mile Markers I could not miss:


MM 7 / The Rainbow TreesWe pulled over to the side of the road and got to see these incredible trees. Make sure you have your bug spray on.


MM 16 / Ke’Anae Penninsula

If you want to see the bluest water crash into an abundance of black lava rocks, this is the place to go. Don’t get too close to the crashing water, because the tide can take you in quickly. You drive down a small road to the very end, where you’ll see cars parked. Get banana bread before you leave and return to the Road.


MM 19 / Three Bears Waterfall

Park your car on the side of the bridge. At first you think, “Oh! Let me just stand here on the bridge and admire these three waterfalls.” Yeah, definitely do that. But then, walk across the bridge and on the left side is a small opening. It may seem steep and crazy, but climb down under the bridge, walk through the wildlife, climb the rocks and swim under those waterfalls! Be sure to stick to the left side as you walk through this sort of jungle. People have made this trip before, so you have a sense of direction as to what to follow. The water was freezing! But hey, you’re in Hawaii, on the side of a mountain, under a waterfall.


MM 32 / Wai’anapanapa State Park

Drive down the dirt road to the very end, where there is a large parking area. Follow the path down the middle, past the welcome center and to the left. This is where we found the Black Sand Beach and the Cave. It was a little crowded, but no one was really swimming, which we planned on doing. The beach is in this small little cove, so the waves come in at an awesome speed and you get incredible views of a world you didn’t even know existed. Out in the ocean was this large lava rock, and as we were walking up the hill back to the car, we saw a man jump off of it. This is a must see spot and also the only place I had cellphone service.


MM 48 / The Venus Pools

THIS WAS THE BEST PART OF MY WHOLE TRIP. If you do anything, please do this. It is beyond any words I can say to you. Park before the bridge and past the chain link fence and into the field where there are cows. You will see a sign that warns you that it is private property and to be safe. The sign is not a warning, but just a reminder that if you get hurt, it is your own fault. Take the small path that leads to the opening of the pools and the cliffs to jump off. Follow down to all the rocks on the right, where people will be sitting and taking pictures and leave your stuff here. Then venture back up to the cliff and jump from the 40 foot edge. The water below you is very calm and in a small cove, so you can even bring blow up floats to just relax for a few hours. This was the most relaxing place, with the most fun. Anthony jumped off the cliff 4 different times and everyone cheers for you. There are a few smaller jumps if that one seems a bit high. Then you swim to the bottom of the rocks and begin your climb back up (this part isn’t too easy because the rocks are slippery).

***At this point, we had made it into Hana so the mile markers stopped going up and began going down, because you are making the decent down the opposite side of the mountain. At one point we were at MM 32 and then the next one was MM 52. That is why we went to the mile marker 48, before we went to mile marker 41. Just continue along the Road to Hana you had been traveling to get to the next one.***


MM 41 / Haleakala National Park

It cost 20$ to get inside (credit card only), but I had been waiting for this part in the trip. Re-apply bug spray here, because you’ll be in the forest. The hike to the waterfall was 3.5 miles in total, but we only traveled around 2.5 miles in total to the Bamboo Forest. I had mental mile markers along this hike to know when we were getting closer. First I wanted to see the Giant Banyan Tree, then pass over the bridges and finally to the Bamboo Forest. It was a beautiful hike and worth it, despite how tired we were at this point.


Once we were finished here, we got back in the car and traveled all the way back down the mountain. We got caught in some rain, which was extremely funny because we had to quickly put the top back on the jeep and we were soaked, but loved it. We stopped along the way to get smoothies and listened to the rain hit the windows.

Maui


Aloha! In the summer I took Anthony away for his birthday. I wanted it to be a place we had never really talked about traveling to and one we’d both get our fill of relaxation (for him) and adventure (for me). Many people have been asking me about my trip to Maui, Hawaii, especially for Honeymoon purposes, so I figured I’d write a few tips as to places to definitely check out and adventures to be had. First, write out a list of your must do’s! Here’s mine:


-The Road to Hana

-scuba dive

-eat shaved ice

-luau

-hike to the Rainbow Trees

-waterfalls

-Nakalele blow hole

-heart rock hole

-watch the sunset

-cliff jump

-find a cave

-bamboo forest


I had done a lot of research before traveling here and these were the things I knew I definitely wanted to experience with Anthony. I mapped out the island, where many of these things were located and how far away they were to the resort I was interested in staying in. I always rent a car when I go away, and I recommend this too, because it gives you your own freedom to see the island and become a part of it. We went big with the 2 Door Jeep Wrangler and despite the extra cost of it, I knew it would be worth it to stand up in the jeep with the roof off as we drove through the winding edges of this incredible island.


When you travel here you’ll have your own list of must do’s, but I want to stress that before you leave, please do your research on The Road to Hana, if this is a place you are interested in traveling to. I will be blogging about Hana and my must do’s for that adventure in a later post.


This is what you need to know. Maui is a dream. I cannot stress this enough.


The temperature outside and of the ocean are always a perfect, comfortable feel. I was never extremely hot or uncomfortably chilly. When the breezes pass they only add to the atmosphere and experience. So when packing for your trip to Maui, I’d pack light clothing, tons of bathing suits and an assortment of sneakers, sandals and flip-flops. I’d also recommend bringing a pair of easy shorts to throw on when you want to quickly get dressed. There were many moments where we’d see a beach or a cliff to jump off, so it was easier to just take off the shorts I was wearing then to fully get undressed. However, most of the time I just walked around in my bikini when we weren’t leaving the resort.


The sunsets in Maui are out of this world! And the locals and staff are genuinely kind and I’d recommend throwing out a shaka sign to them as you pass.


When picking a place to stay, I did a lot of research as to the location I wanted to be in and what I wanted the resort to offer. I ended up choosing The Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa located on Kaanapali Beach, in Lahaina. It had a number of pools (infinity, with slides, with basketball hoops, with a cave bar), was directly on the beach and offered a number of restaurants, a shaved ice stand (which I ate at least once a day because it was so amazing), and a luau experience. It also had hammocks and a ton of different cabana’s located around the property. The property was very large, so we had a lot of fun exploring the area. It was also on a strip of other resorts that led to a cliff jumping spot at the end and a shopping area. The suite we stayed in had 2 balconies and ocean views that were incredible to wake up to.


When deciding on a place to eat, we really went off of what locals recommended and on occasion the buffet at the resort, when we just wanted to take a plate of food and eat on the beach. Eating in Hawaii is fresh and has so much flavor, so I recommend traveling anywhere, getting out of the resort area (because the prices are much higher) and really exploring. I’ll highlight 3 places: 


The first place we drove to was on the property of the resort strip, called The Paradise Grill. It was a local bar but the food was incredible. We ended up eating here on two separate nights because we loved it so much. Did you notice the Aloha on the bun? Too cute!


We then traveled to a different side of Maui which was about 45 minutes away, where it was more homes and less resorts. We ate at Nalu’s South Shore Grill, which was an amazing indoor/outdoor experience (because of the open walls) with live music every night and a friendly and warm atmosphere from the locals and staff. 


We also went to a small town on Front Street which was about 20 minutes away from our resort. We ate at a place called Cool Cat Cafe, which was outdoor seating on the 3rd floor of this building with shops. If you want a quick burger and onion rings, this is the place to go.


Traveling in Maui is easiest when you have a car and I cannot stress enough how much better it makes your experience. In Maui, when you see the ocean, you can just pull over to the side of the road, park your car on the highway and run in. They have very little restrictions when it comes to getting into the ocean and finding that perfect surf (even the weather report on the news is based around where to surf). Having a car gives you the advantage of joining in on this key part of their lifestyle. Hawaii is all about “Aloha,” which isn’t just a greeting, but a feeling. It is seeing what the world has to offer and experiencing it, without damaging or changing it. To get the true Aloha experience, you need to be able to get around on your own will.


If Maui is the place you want to travel to next, I would say it’s worth it. Everything was wonderful. When we were leaving I felt like I had really experienced this tropical island and hadn’t missed out on anything. The only thing I recommend is doing your research, because there is so much to offer. Also, always stop for the smoothies on the side of the road.

 

 

Panda Panda

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With the Pokemon craze going on and the summer coming to an end, what else to enjoy but a Cotton Candy Pikachu ice cream? Originally, this wasn’t the reason I wanted to go here. It was for Paige. She loves panda bears and anything cotton candy. Did I say anything? I mean it. These are two of her favorite things.

On Sunday we took a fun trip to Ruimilk in Queens, NY. The store itself is a rather tiny ice cream shop in their Chinatown, which is connected to another store. However, the staff is crazy incredible, accommodating and extremely in love with what they do. It took a solid 5 or 6 minutes to create one. But I say create because it truly is a work of art. Finding the ears for the top of my Pikachu alone, they took 2 minutes to pick out the right ones. I’d recommend going here for them alone.

You can order the following cotton candy ice cream combos from Ruimilk: tutu, thunderbolt, panda bear, rainbow, hearts, hot air balloon. (Special request the Pikachu!)

The ice cream is simple soft serve Vanilla, but it is made even better by being topped with pop rocks!

The only difficult part about our trip here was the parking situation. If you plan on driving, I’d drive around a little and search for a cheap lot. We found one about 2 blocks away that was $6.00 for one hour.

On the way home we stopped to eat french fries and walk around Brooklyn Bridge Park to see all the Public Art before it is taken down at the end of August.

What Tori Wore:
Necklace: Urban Outfitters
Sandals: Forever21 ( on sale now !)
What Paige Wore:
Necklace: Urban Outfitters
Bralette: Urban Outfitters

Travel Guide Santorini

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Traveling, to me, is the most important thing you can possibly do in your life. Each destination that you visit adds a new layer to you, making you into the person you want to be. There are always specific places that you especially want to go to, to experience and to take away with you. Traveling is something that stays with you forever. For my birthday, Nick took me on the most incredible trip to Santorini, Greece. I have always, always wanted to travel here. I have never seen a photo of Santorini and didn’t wish to see it all come to life in person. 
If you have always had a deep longing to visit and/or are planning a trip for the future, I created a simple travel guide to getting the most out of your visit to the breathtaking Santorini.

Things and tips to know about Santorini:
  1. The locals in Santorini are the sweetest people you will ever meet.
  2. Transportation: If you are planning to explore the island you need a way of getting around. The most popular form to rent is ATV’s or Quads. They’re fun, fast, easy to use and definitely add to the Greek style of living and exploring. We decided on a car because we were staying there for a while and wanted to be sure to be comfortable if the weather changed and because of the heat. The car ended up being an extra 10 euro from the other transportations totaling 50 euro per day, with gas included.
  3. Parking: It’s free. Just look for giant “P” signs.
  4. Currency Exchange: The airport in Santorini does not have a currency exchange, and to be honest, I would never exchange money in the airport. The change is ridiculous and you end up getting nothing in return. It’s a waste of your money, so always exchange ahead of time. You can go to a post office or a bank. The bank in Santorini was halfway across the island.
  5. Credit Cards: If you’re planning on using a credit card, be sure it is a Visa or Mastercard. No one even knew what a Discovery card was, and American Express is hardly accepted anywhere. They have a card called Diners International.
  6. Foot Wear: Pack sneakers! Since I never check bags at the airport (I am an expert packer and always just bring a carry-on), I cut out sneakers which was a big mistake. There is a lot of uphill walking in Santorini that will leave your feet hurting at the end of the day if you’re not wearing proper footwear. 

The Airport:
From the moment you step off the plane you are hit with the culture and lifestyle of the people there. I had never heard of any of the stores or restaurants here, which made the whole trip so much more exciting. 

Places to go and things to do: 
  1. Fira
There are two main shopping towns, and Fira is the busier of the two. It is filled with the most beautiful shops and delicious places to eat.
-You can find the Fira Trail. If you take the cable car, a donkey or walk down the 588 steps, it will lead you to the boat dock, but along the way you have incredible views of  Santorini. I didn’t pack sneakers, so we took the cable car for 5 euro each way. It was extremely calm and we really got to appreciate the beauty around us.
-Try a gyro! We tried ours at “Nick the Grill.” I had never tried one before but it ended up tasting amazing. Plus they put french fries inside which was fun and a delicious bonus. 
-Get a fish pedicure! You can find so many different places to get this done, and all are basically the same price. We did 10 minutes for 10 euro at the “Kissing Fish.” At first, all I did was laugh because it tickled so much! I’d watch a specific fish and then he’d start nibbling on my foot and it was hilarious. But after a minute or so, I got use to it and it became relaxing and felt nice. Afterwards my feet were super soft and I was happy I did it.
-Get gelato. I had never tried gelato before, but now I am a little bit obsessed! You can find many shops within Fira, so be sure to stop and try some!
-Watch the sunset at dinner and see the town light up at night. We went to a restaurant called Zafora, which was in a perfect location and completely open all around us. It allowed you to see the whole town and watch the sun slowly set amongst the boats below.
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  1. Oia
Oia is known as the perfect place to watch the sunset. At the edge of the town, you will find a look out point where people line up and wait for hours before, just to get the perfect spot to glimpse the view. I’d say skip this, because we saw incredible sunsets all around Santorini. Try getting here before the crowd to get photos of the town. This is where you’ll see tons of blue roofed churches and buildings scaling the sides of the hills. There is a church you can visit right in the center that allows visitors. Everything was gold and breathtaking.
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  1. Cliff jump at Amoundi Bay
On the fourth of July we came to Amoundi Bay. We had written a small to-do list and cliff jumping was close to the top. It was even better than I could have imagined. I was a bit nervous because everyone kept saying how it hurt their butts, but I decided to just go for it! I made the jump and fell for what felt like forever, but that might have been because my eyes were closed. It was amazing and I did it over and over again. This was my favorite day in Santorini.
How to get to Amoundi Bay:
  1. Go to Oia’s looking point and walk down the 300+ steps. Follow the path which includes a bit of climbing over roads on the side of the island. At the end of the path, you will see lots of people all gathered around sunbathing. Drop your things here and take a swim over to the area for jumping!
  2. For an easier way, you can drive down to Amoundi Bay, park and walk around the island from here.
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  1. Take a Catamaran to the Hot Springs
I was very excited about this day trip. Be sure to shop around before you settle on one catamaran. There are so many different companies that offer this type of excursion and the prices range from 135-150 euros, depending on the type of boat you want to go with. This price was worth it for us, because we knew it’d be an all day attraction. Along the trip we saw, black sand, red sand and white sand beaches. We passed the lighthouse, a volcano and then finally reached the hot springs. Our catamaran stopped three times along the way, for people to jump off and swim. The hot springs were a tiny area of orange sulfate water that you can swim inside. It is a warm, comfortable temperature that allows a nice float. After, the boat finds a calm area to stop for 2 hours, where we were able to sit, swim and just relax while the staff cooked dinner. It was the most amazing Greek BBQ. The trip back allowed us more incredible views of the sunset. 
**Note**
Be sure to NOT wear a light colored bathing suit. My bikini top was white and when I left the springs it was orange from the sulfate. I’d definitely recommend a dark colored bathing suit.

5. Go to the beach!
-Most of the beaches of Santorini are black sand beaches. The one we went to was called Perisa. It was so clean and welcoming, with its rows of brightly colored beach chairs. I had never seen black sand before so it was a great experience. Be careful though, because the sand is extremely hot! Our hotel had their own chairs set up for us, but renting them only cost 10 euro, and came with free lunch.
-We visited the red sand beach, which was more like a red rock beach. You can drive here but then have a 15 min hike to get to the beach. 
-There is also one white sand beach but we only saw it on the Catamaran because it was only assessable by boat!  
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6.Go to the highest point of the island
To get here, you will have to go through the town of Pirgos and continue going up the one lane windy road to the end. It is so high, it is as if you are in an airplane looking down on the entire island. In the distance you can see Fira and Oia and the endless blue sea. It is the most relaxing and peaceful place to just sit, look around and of course, watch a sunset.

Gelato

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Today Tori and I took a spontaneous adventure into the city for gelato. Yes, it rained today. Did that stop us? No way. There are less than 3 weeks of summer left and we are making the most of it. Rain or shine. That’s why the umbrella was invented. 


Once September comes it’s back to school for both of us and less opportunities for afternoon sister trips. We drove in and had made a quick plan that morning of what we both wanted to do. It centered around gelato, but we figured, why not experience the other things on our summer list if they’re in the area? We parked at an Icon Parking Garage that was across the street from our first stop. Fun Fact! If you know where your destination is, check out the Icon website, find one nearby, and they have coupons for all day parking that is always cheaper than what they try to charge you.


Our itinerary for the day consisted of: Gelato, Shake Shack, The Shakespeare Gardens


Tori loves both flowers and (since her return from Europe) gelato, so why not go somewhere that consists of both? We found this little shop called Amorino, that uses gelato to create a flower cone for you to enjoy. It’s actually very beautiful and … very, very delicious. You step in, walk to the counter where a server will take your order. You can get a small, medium or large, but the very best part is … YOU CAN GET AS MANY FLAVORS AS YOU WANT! And trust me, they have enough that you’d want to try them all.

Tori ordered, (from center) Raspberry, Strawberry and Lemongrass gelato in a medium cone. I ordered, Strawberry, Lemon, Salted Butter Caramel and Passion Fruit. My order may seem weird, but all the flavors went so well together and I have a very hard time saying no to anything salted caramel.

Our next stop was Shake Shack. I don’t think I need to go into details about this. It’s the best burger joint in NYC. Probably on the East Coast. I’d go as far to say in the United States. Nothing compares.

Finally, we walked down the block, into Central Park and walked a short distance to the Shakespeare Gardens. I am a huge Shakespeare fan, have been since high school. Tori loves wild flowers and gardens. It was a perfect place for both of us. By each section of flowers was a quote from a Shakespeare book that mentioned those very flowers that were blooming around it.

It may seem weird to eat gelato before food, but we went on the trip for the gelato, so that’s where we started. We do what we want. It actually worked out awesome because there was no line for the gelato and by the time we had reached the Shake Shack it was a light drizzle. By the time we reached the gardens the sun was shining.

What We Wore:
Tori is wearing a dress I bought at a boutique in Dallas, Texas.
Her black velvet choker is from Urban Outfitters. Similar to: Leather Choker
Her gold choker is from Free People.
I am wearing this butterfly long sleeve airy shirt from Abercrombie & Fitch.

Also, I got a haircut! I’ve always loved bangs and I went for this very shaggy short haired fringe.

Ambassador

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Before I talk about my trip to Greece as a whole, I’d really like to highlight the hotel that I stayed in.

Staying in Ambassador was a total dream!

It was, by far, the most beautiful and luxurious place I have ever stayed in during a trip away. It made our trip 10x more of a wonderful experience than I had even planned. Found on the south end of Santorini, in a town called Akrotiri, Ambassador is the perfect place to be if you are interested in taking a break from the city life or any people at all, really.

We took a 20 minute cab right from the airport to a small gated entrance to Ambassador hotel. Greeted immediately by a quick and friendly employee, they take your luggage to your room while you check-in and are offered a fruity free beverage. The hotel is one giant cave! In order to get to your room, you have to walk through the cave that is only lit by tiny lights along the floor and small passageways in different directions. You get your own house key and door bell, which really makes it feel more like a home than a hotel suite. Once inside the room, it is all arches and cave walls, filled with white furniture and infinity pools. The back of the room that led to the outdoor terrace was all windows, giving you the most beautiful views of the Mediterranean Sea. Every night ended with us sitting outside, watching the most amazing shades of red and yellow, as they formed into a sunset. We had watched the sunset from a few different points on the island, but nothing topped the one from our suite.
Apart from the hotel itself, they had some really nice features and small details that I really appreciated and loved. First off, the staff was out of this world, incredible. They could have been the staff at Disney World. Before we even arrived in Greece, I received an email from our personal hotel assistant filled with information and maps about the area. They were really attentive and accommodating. Anytime we needed something, a car or a booked appointment for an activity, they gave you ten options to choose from. Once you picked what you wanted to do, they arranged the transportation and time, you just needed to be there to get picked up. They ultimately just really wanted to make your life easier and help out in any way they could.
I also really enjoyed the way you ordered breakfast in the morning. Each night before, you would fill out a breakfast card that was left in your room and room service would pick it up or you could drop it off at the front desk. I would order 4 glasses of their peach juice because I was obsessed with it. I have seriously been on the hunt to find something that compares since we’ve gotten home.
The hotel also features a community pool, a spa, a gym and one restaurant called Omega3. This is where we would eat our breakfast each morning.

Deep in the Heart

The summer is quickly approaching and if you are like me, you know that school is out and vacation is on the mind. Sometimes I enjoy traveling far and sometimes I like to stay in the United States, but the one constant in my life is that I want to travel somewhere.

If you are in need of a quick getaway and do not wish to spend crazy amounts of money or time, Texas is a wonderful weekend adventure.

In April, I decided to take my boyfriend on a surprise trip to Wrestlemania 32 which was taking place in Arlington, Texas. Since we are NYC based and it was mid school year (teacher problems), I could only miss one day of work for traveling home. We left on Friday night and flew home that Monday afternoon.

Some things to know about Texas:
-Everyone is so incredibly kind and helpful.
-Rent a car!
-No one beeps their horn.
-Everything was within a 30 minute drive from our next destination.
-There was no traffic (except around the arena).
-It was chilly in the morning, but the afternoons were comfortable and warm.

Saturday was our most eventful and productive day. We started off at the Breakfast Buffet in our hotel (I always make sure wherever we stay, this is included, because I am not a big breakfast eater, but I do enjoy a quick biscuit or some fresh fruit). We had a mental list, as well as an actual list (thank you AnneDel), of all the places and things we wanted/should see. This was our Saturday Adventures: 
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1.) The West End, Dallas, Texas.
The Downtown Dallas is very diverse and lively depending on the time of day you go. We started our day pretty early (at around 11 AM), so the restaurants were only just starting to open up. However, that wasn’t why we started at this spot, so it didn’t affect us. The reason we started our adventure here was for Dealey Plaza and the Grassy Knoll. The spot of the assassination of JFK, it is very easy to find by foot. We parked in a lot a block away for 5$ and walked over to the obvious area where there was a large crowd.

Things to know if you’re interested in visiting:

-The area is an actual highway, so be careful when trying to get into the street. There is a light at the top of the hill, so you have a few good seconds to run in the middle and snap a photo. Be aware, there will be other people doing the same, but this is Texas, so be kind and wait your turn.
-Don’t buy any photos from the people around here selling them. You can clearly take your own photos.

-Take a moment to sit on the lawn across the street from the Grassy Knoll. It’s a really nice spot and you get a moment to really appreciate this area of Texas.


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2.) Bishop Arts District, Dallas, Texas.
If you know anything about me, it’s that I love a good art district. In fact, I am willing to travel pretty much anywhere if I can find one. If there is good food there, even more of a reason for me to visit. This was by far, the most incredible place for me to be in Texas. Art galleries, local shops, food and colorful homes. Those are just a handful of the things you can see when you’re there.

Things to do:

-Eat breakfast at Oddfellows and sit outside by the windows. They have this awesome seating area that is perfect for 2 with great music.
-Find a BBQ restaurant. We went to Lockhart Smoke House. Everything was right out of the smoker, placed on a cutting board, and given to you in brown paper with a stack of sliced bread. Get the ribs and mac & cheese.
-Eat the pie. Just do it. Go to Emporium, the most lovely, incredible pie shop and eat the pie. It’s amazing. I ordered the “Lord of the Pies” which was Apple Pie with Cinnamon Streusel and 2 scoops of ice cream. Anthony ordered the “Smooth Operator” which was French Chocolate moose with Pretzel Crust.
-Find the __ + ___ = heart sign and ask someone to take a picture of you. It’s Texas, anyone will be willing to do it. We met the nicest couple here, took a photo for them and they did the same in return. (They even invited us out to eat afterwards!)

-Don’t want BBQ? Go to the Dallas Grilled Cheese Co. Enough said.


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3.) The Water Gardens, Fort Worth, Texas.
I loved everything about Fort Worth. Home to Leon Bridges (look him up, you won’t be sorry), the downtown area is really alive and worth a visit. The Water Gardens were the highlight, located in the middle of a busy neighborhood but a different world once you step into the park.

Things to know:

-There are 3 pools: The Active, The Aerating and The Quiet Pool.
-In The Active Pool, you are able to walk around the quiet top area and follow the steps deep down into the loud and powerful bottom of the pool. The water is crashing around you and very worthwhile. Be aware of the people around you because there is only one way both up and down.
-The Aerating Pool was build to give the illusion that you could walk on water.

-The Quiet Pool had a purpose/feeling for what they wished you’d experience while finding it. The inspiration was Alice in Wonderland, so while you’re walking down the steps, they begin to get more narrow and it feels as though you are getting larger. However, once you reach the bottom and turn the corner, the walls around the pool are extremely high and gives the impression you have shrunk. Very cool and worth seeing.


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As well as the Water Gardens, while we were in Fort Worth, we also went to the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth and Steel City Pops, for a Strawberry Lemonade Ice Pop and a Chocolate Ice Pop. We ended up eating dinner at Whataburger (an Anthony request) and then heading back to our hotel in Irving.

On Sunday we had 2 adventures, the first to Deep Ellum and the second to Wrestlemania.
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1.) Deep Ellum, Dallas, Texas.
“Cool as a Friday night in Deep Ellum.” That was the slogan seen frequently and it was well deserved. The day we visited was an arts festival and we had a great time eating and exploring and purchasing art. You already know how I feel about art districts. We took some photos and ate at Pecan Lodge for some BBQ (line was huge but if you go to the To Go Line, its quicker and you can eat in the town). We spent about two hours here, which was just the right amount of time before traveling to the show.

All in all, the weekend was pretty perfect. We did just about everything that was on both lists and had some down time to really enjoy all of it. We were in no rush whatsoever. We also visited Highland Park Village where you can shop (we did not because all the stores were very high end), as well as Darrell  Abott’s grave (another for Anthony, I didn’t know who that was). We drove around the towns and looked at the homes and ate as much food as we could stomach. Definitely worth a weekend.

WEEKEND

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IMG_6455IMG_6475IMG_6476Me and Paige were just talking about how we think the best part of Instagram is all the cool things you learn from it. Like hidden places you’d never think to travel to, local places you’d enjoy to eat at and small shops and businesses you wouldn’t have found elsewhere, or as easily. People judge things by their eyes first and Instagram has really capitalized on that.

Today we took our adventure to the city, which has endless places to visit, eat and shop in. New York City is the greatest city in the world and we are slowly making our way to see each place we are interested in and think you’ll enjoy. This week we visited Black Tap Craft Burgers & Beer in the Meatpacking District of the city. There are 2 locations (this and Soho) but we chose this one for the booth seating. Immediately, we were drawn in by the milkshakes. Both Paige and I love anything sweet, so just seeing the pictures alone would make you fall in love.
Let’s start with the atmosphere. First, walking in you are greeted by the staff. They were friendly and encouraged us to sit at the bar while we waited the short 5 minutes for a booth. It has a very urban, underground, industrial feel. The tables are covered in messages from past visitors and the walls are covered in chalk boards and bricks. I usually don’t enjoy going to the city because of how small places are and strongly avoid eating in places that have strangers sitting so close to me. However, Black Tap had nicely sized wooden booths and a long high bar, with tables located in the back. They had bottles to pour your own water, which we really appreciated because there is nothing worse than waiting for a refill. Everyone was laid back, small mason jar glasses and menus on crumpled/folded pieces of paper and clipboards. 
Now, lets talk about the food. We ordered The All-American Burger and The Texan Burger with a side of onion rings. Both burgers were fantastic and the onion rings were Out. Of. This. World. We are true lovers of the onion ring and theirs were flakey, crunchy and close to perfection. The food came quickly and covered in fries (which is always a bonus because the more fries the better, obviously).
Finally, we order the shakes as a sort of dessert because I really don’t think we could have drank them with the food. The shakes took a while to come out and we realized why when they finally got to the table. Paige is obsessed with cotton candy, so she ordered the vanilla shake with cotton candy, rock candy, lollipops and icing. I got a vanilla cookie shake with a chipwich, chocolate chip cookies, icing and chocolate syrup. The shake was made with Chips-Ahoy! cookies, which are my favorite! The best part was that even though each shake was outrageous and had so much going on, it wasn’t sickening to drink. It was actually extremely enjoyable and we both drank about half of each. (Half was a lot because we had just eaten so much food!)
I found this jacket on ASOS and I loved the big funnel neck part of it. It’s a bit big, but I figured that would be better to fit layers underneath since it isn’t warm enough for the really cold winter days. I really love how wearing it can instantly make your outfit look fancier then it is. I got this Anthropologie blanket scarf for Christmas and it just happened to match amazingly! It is also so comfortable I just want to wrap myself in it.
In the winter my go to thing to wear is for sure a pull over sweater. I found this one in H&M and after I tried it on I bought it in every color they had. It is roomy and warm and just so great for the cold winter days (as well as being only $20)! It also looks great dressed up or just casual laying around.
Paige is wearing her 3 new favorite pieces. If you see Paige out and it is below 40 degrees, she’ll probably be in this jacket. She is obsessed with it and honestly, I can’t blame her. Entirely fur-lined, it is the perfect winter coat. Hands down. It is like wearing a big snuggly bear. The second piece is her new   fierce Jeffrey Campbell lace-up heels. Again, understandable as to why their her favorite. They’re gorgeous and comfy and really that’s all you need in a heel. Finally, I bought her the Quay Sunglasses she is featured with. We all know that this brand of sunglasses (pronounced key) are extremely popular and seen on tons of celebrities nowadays. And rightfully so. They too are beautiful, comfortable to wear and priced very reasonably. If you don’t have a pair, be sure to order them soon. Summer is right around the corner!
Tori’s Jacket: ASOS
Tori’s Sweater: H&M
Tori’s Beanie: On sale in stores in Garage
Tori’s Boots: Sold out on Forever21, Similar here
Paige’s Jacket: Urban Outfitters
Paige’s Shoes: Jeffrey Campbell
Paige’s Sunglasses: Quay

It’s the Holiday Season

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Every year our mother insists on the three of us taking Christmas photos. She mentions it in June and doesn’t stop begging for a photo until November when we all agree. Whether we like it or not we will probably be doing it until we are 30. Which I don’t mind because it actually ends up being fun in the end. I had pictured the perfect setting for our photos in my head. A home with a front porch, all decorated in Christmas wreaths and garland. I was willing to make everyone drive around and just stop at the prettiest house I saw on the street haha. Luckily we stopped by Historic Richmond Town and the buildings there were perfect! Everything about them. It was as if someone had gone into my brain and knew exactly what I had been looking for. The houses were all beautifully decorated and just screamed Christmas. 

I found this super cute sweater with reindeer all over it on ASOS and I just knew I had to get it for Christmas! Each one even has little red noses! It was too adorable to pass up. I paired it with a simple red skater skirt that I found in Forever 21 a while ago. I’m sure you can find one similar any where, especially around this time of year. As we all know, Paige is in love with Abercrombie & Fitch, so she bought her sweater there. They had a few other styles, but she loved this one because of the polar bears riding bicycles. All the sweaters were inexpensive and the fabric is so soft. It helped that the whole store has been 50% off everything. The skirt she wore in London matched her sweater perfect and complimented my own for our Holiday photos. She pulled her hair back with a black bow from American Apparel.


Hope all are having a wonderful Holiday & a very magical New Year.
xo TP