Travel

new york new years

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Hello New York! To ring in 2018, my boyfriend and I decided to jet off to New York city. We make it a goal to go somewhere every year and after having a relaxing vacation in Miami, we decided to opt for the cold for New Years. Having gone to grad school in Boston, I have spent a lot of time in New York and each time I go back, I always do something new. This time was even more special because I had never been during the winter. Here’s a glimpse at my New York new years!

One World Observatory: I have been to the One World Observatory once before and yet, it still took my breath away. This building is a beautiful reminder of the strength of the United States and it is a definite must see while in New York. The views are incredible, from the sight of the Statue of Liberty to the Empire State Building. 

Brooklyn Bridge: Somehow during each of my previous visits to New York, I had never quite made it to the Brooklyn Bridge. I’ve always wanted to go because the pictures I see are beautiful, but timing never worked out. However, this trip, although it was absolutely freezing, Grant and I decided to take the walk across the bridge. I definitely am glad we did. It really is a beautiful view of the skyline, and the walk helps you get closer to your 10,000 steps a day goal!

Ice Skating at Rockefeller Center: This was something super touristy, however, it was so much fun. We decided to go ice skating after dinner and drinks. This was something I always wanted to do during the winters in New York but never got a chance to. I would recommend buying VIP tickets because that way you do not have to wait outside in the cold!

New Years Eve: You know you had a good New Years Eve when you only take about 2 photos, right? For New Years Eve, Grant and I went to Catch NYC for dinner. This was my first time at Catch and it was absolutely delicious. If you love sea food and tapa type foods, go go go! For the countdown, we decided to get as far away from Times Square as possible and we went to the Jane Hotel. This is an awesome venue, it’s super old school and it even has a fireplace to keep you warm!

The Standard Grill and Ice Rink: This is part of the Standard Hotel in in the Meatpacking Industry. There’s a lot of options here and it’s trendy and delicious! During the warmer months they also have a German Beer Garden!

The Refinery: The Refinery Rooftop probably has one of my favorite views of New York. It is directly across from the Empire State Building and

Catch NYC: I talked about it above but just go. You won’t regret it.

Budakkan NYC: Omgosh, this restaurant is absolutely delicious. It’s Asian food and the location is absolutely gorgeous. You walk in and it looks small, but trust me, there’s multi-levels and multiple different rooms and nooks for you to eat at. This was by far my favorite meal while in New York.

Cafeteria: This restaurant, near Chelsea Market, is open 24/7. They have yummy cocktails and a great menu!

florida guide

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Hello everyone! I finally feel like i’m coming down from the high of my trip to Florida a month ago. This trip was perfect in every way imaginable. But let me preface – I never thought much of Florida…but when you’re best friend lives in Key West and she’s getting married, you GO! The timing of this trip was difficult because I was dead in the middle of student teaching and it was right around Thanksgiving, but since my boyfriend and I were flying out there anyways, we decided to stay and explore Key West and Miami for a few days past the wedding.

We decided to make the most of our time (and my bridesmaid schedule), so we took a red-eye from LAX to Miami and immediately rented a car and drove down the Keys. One thing that I do not feel like I was fully prepared for when driving down the Keys was the debris still out from Hurricane Irma. When that hurricane hit, I sat in front of my television and watched as it roared through Florida. I was very aware of the devastation it caused and the lives it wrecked. However, after hearing how quickly Key West cleaned up after the hurricane, I did not expect that the whole one hundred and something miles of the Florida Keys to be lined with the leftovers from the hurricane. This was very eye-opening to the resources available during the aftermath of a hurricane, and I am glad I was able to see it.

But on a happy note… Key West is a dream, and my friends wedding was even more of a dream. 

Where we stayed: Casa Marina 

Since I was in Key West for a wedding, I did not spend a ton of time eating at restaurants, however, we did go out to quite a few spots. If you find ourself in Key West looking for something to do, head down Duval street. After recovering from the wedding and spending a few days relaxing in the keys, Grant (he has a name!) and I drove back up the keys to spend a few days in Miami. We had booked a really nice hotel, because we anticipated wanting to relax and spend our two days at the pool, but we did not quite understand how nice of a hotel we booked. Needless to say, we went out and walked around the neon light district for a little bit, but other then that, there was no reason to leave our hotel. It had absolutely everything we needed and it was so Instagramable! Just take a look for yourself:

Where we stayed: One Hotel South Beach 


The beautiful and talented Hope Taylor Photography shot this wedding. How lovely are her wedding photos?!

planning a bachelorette party

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Wedding season is once again upon us! With weddings comes bachelorette parties! I feel like this month in particular, my life is revolving about bachelorette parties… So I decided to put together a post with some tips I've learned about planning a bachelorette party! If you have any great tips or ideas you've learned while planning your own party, comment below!

1. Decide on a location: Chat with the bride and decide where you want to go! We chose to go to Paso Robles wine country because the bride loves wine and wanted a relaxing weekend away. But there are definitely other options out there, like Las Vegas, Palm Springs, Austin, or even Savannah (I’m actually heading there in a few weeks for another bachelorette party!)

2. Create a budget: Once the location is decided, research accommodations, like hotels or houses. It’s also a great idea to look into what activities you want to do and how much they cost. This way, you can make a detailed budget that includes accommodations, activities, food, and goodie bags. Creating a budget is important because when planning and participating in bachelorette parties, the guests typically split the costs amongst each other. Having a budget allows the host to give the guests an estimated cost of how much they will be spending. I mean, who wants to think they're going to be spending $300 on a weekend but then are charged for $500? Definitely not me!

Finally, when it came to handling money, my friend and I split everything amongst ourselves. We did this because in the end, it’s a lot easier to Venmo 2 people instead of all 14 attending. We also decided to create a three-part payment plan. For example, the first payment was due a month before the party, the second payment was due two weeks before the party, and the final payment was due at the party. This allowed the girls to pay a little at a time, instead of handing over a large chunk of money. And for us, it allowed us to begin getting payments in order so we weren’t left with a maxed out credit card.

3. Send out invites: I know everyone loves the cute in the mail invites, but when it comes to a party that requires a lot of communication, we opted to go with Paperless Post. This is an online invitation website, think Evite, but a lot more cute and a lot more organized. Of course we were able to create our invitations and send them out, but the invite also let us ask for that persons shirt size and any other questions we wanted answers to. We were also able to track if people opened their invites, send reminders if people didn’t RSVP on time, and send emails through the site to each person.

4. Don’t Wait to Book! Simple enough. If you know what weekend you’re going and you know where you want to stay, BOOK IT! You don’t want to get screwed out of a price or availability by waiting. Also, if you know what you want to do that requires reservations BOOK IT! For our bachelorette party, since we were in Paso Robles, we obviously spent a day wine tasting. If you’re thinking of heading up there for a weekend or for a party, look into Lush Limo’s. They were great to work with and very affordable!

5. Plan! Now that you know the total number of people going and you have the big things booked, it’s time to do the fun stuff! For me, the fun stuff is planning the decorations, gifts, shirts, and any other things that you want to include in the party! When planning this past party, my friend and I wanted to keep things cohesive from one thing to another, so we decided to use one font of each thing we included in the decorations and gifts. For instance, we first focused on planning the shirt. Once the shirt was planned, we used the same font from the shirt for the everything else, such as the hats, wine tumblers and itineraries. We also played off the shirts for a color scheme for the room. For instance, the colors on the shirt were white, grey, and coral, so the room decorations, like the photo wall, included shades of those colors.

Goodie Bags: I think goodie bags are a fun start to a bachelorette party. It’s a great way to inform the guests of the plans (like putting an itinerary on the guest bag) and giving them everything the need for the weekend. We included: shirt, hat, wine tumbler and ice cubes, flash tattoos, fan that plugs into your phone (it’s super hot in Paso!)

We also made a hangover kit for our guests. This idea was inspired from something I saw on Etsy and I loved it. Let’s be real, you’re at a bachelorette party, you’re drinking a lot, and you may be a bit hungover the next day. I don’t know about you but I would definitely appreciate if someone had thought this through and threw in some hangover goodies to help ease the pain. We bought these hangover pouches here and they included: excedrin, band-aid, dental hygiene, protein bar, emergen-c, wine wipes

Ok, now you booked everything and the decorations and goody bags are ready to go, now what? Pack everything up and enjoy the bachelorette party!!!

*If your bachelorette venue has a pool, I highly recommend buying my man Hank here.*

Paso Robles:  If you are heading to Paso anytime soon for a weekend or you have a party up there, here are some fun activities I enjoyed:

Hike in Cambria or Morro Bay. I’ve hiked in both places and I love that you’re able to walk right along a water path.

Wine Tasting: a must if you’re heading up there. I mean, why would you go to Paso if you weren’t planning on doing that? Here’s a list of my personal favorite wineries:

Finally, I love heading into downtown Paso Robles for dinner and drinking. I love Artisan for a great meal!