Palm Springs Travel Guide - Where to Eat, Sleep, and Have Fun!

Palm Springs Photo Shoot Locations

Part of my mission since moving to LA is to explore as much of Cali as possible. The state is full of gorgeous beaches, stunning deserts, and charming little towns that are begging to be explored. Palm Springs had been on my list for a while so I was pumped when we got to go for my friend’s bachelorette trip this past weekend. Palm Springs is just as cute as I expected so you really can’t go wrong with planning a trip here, but if you need some guidance check out my tips for where to stay, play, dine, and of course, take pics!

Palm Springs Travel Guide
Palm Springs Travel Tips
Instagram Spots in Palm Springs
Instagram Doors Palm Springs

Where to Stay in Palm Springs

If you are traveling with a group, the best thing to do is rent a house. Sites like AirBnB, Home Away and Avant Stay are a great resource for finding amazing houses. We stayed at a beautiful property with great amenities that was perfectly located, and comfortable for my group of 5. If it’s just 2 or 3 of you, check out hotels since they may end up being cheaper than a big house. The Saguro is super famous, and the Kimpton and Miravel are known for their luxe views and amenities. 

Best Restaurants in Palm Springs

We didn’t have a bad meal when in town! The city has everything from low-key taco spots to high end 5-star restaurants. Don’t miss Sugar Hill at Azucar, or Eight 4 Nine and make sure to load up on the many tequila-based cocktails that pop up on the menus. 

Things to do in Palm Springs

If you go in Summer like I did, the most important things you can do are wear sunscreen and stay cool and hydrated! The desert heat is no joke and the effects can be detrimental. Once you cover those basis, Palm Springs really is full of options. Spend the days pool partying and the nights wandering around downtown.  If you like views check out the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway or explore Joshua Tree National Park. Just don’t over schedule your days because you will appreciate having down time when you start feeling the effects of the heat. 

Instagrammable Photo Locations in Palm Springs 

You can’t leave Palm Springs without getting in some photos! The city is full of gorgeous spots to snap pics, but some of my favorites were outside the Hotel California, The Saguro Hotel, and on random streets and roads. Plus most of the restaurants are made to be grammed, so you will find plenty of photo ops as you dine and drink. I like to avoid trespassing and, so did not go to the famous Pink Door. There are plenty of open streets that have gorgeous views of the palm trees and mountains, so you really don’t need to disrespect people’s private property for a shot in front of a colorful door. 

 Check out this post for more about how I get great photos when I’m traveling. And shop the story below!

Palm Springs Travel
Instagram Spots Palm Springs

Personal Shopping Made Easy with Stylust

Asos Yellow Blazer

Keeping my wardrobe updated is essential, but shopping really isn’t my thing. I avoid it as much as possible, finding new ways to style old favorites and finding ways to get new goodies without the pain of spending hours going in and out of stores. So when the Stylust team reached out to me for a partnership I was so excited to try it! Stylust is a service that puts a personal shopper in your pocket. It’s free to use and super easy! Say you are scrolling through Instagram or Pinterest and see something you want. Just text them the picture and they will source the item for you! You can also tag them in your Instagram pics if you see something in your feed and instantly want it.

Parisian Outfit Inspiration
Summer Dressing in Paris
Asos Yellow Blazer
What to Wear in Paris

They can find the exact item in minutes, let you know the price and if you approve it, place the order for you. Pretty sweet right? If the item turns out to be out of stock or out of budget, they can also find similar alternatives for you.

The first thing I knew I wanted was a chic yellow blazer, but I had no time to look in stores or browse the whole internet looking. I found an inspo pic on Instagram, and texted them a screenshot, and moments later I had options! I didn’t love the first round, so asked for other options, and eventually went with this mustard yellow double breasted baby from Asos. It arrived at my place a few days later, and it was simple as that.

Plus it doesn’t stop at clothing! Stylust also sourced a gorgeous burgundy storage ottoman for my new apartment. It took a little bit of back and forth before I found one in my price range that also had storage, but the final one could not be more perfect.


Photo Shoot Fresh: How to Get Perfect Travel Photos

Eiffel Tower Paris

Instagram has definitely had an impact on how people travel and document their adventures. There are Instagram hot-spots all over the world, with hundreds of tourists being inspired by (or downright copying) their favorite travel influencers. It’s easy to understand! Travel bloggers have feeds full of gorgeous imagery from far-flung, exotic destinations. I have definitely made efforts to elevate my travel content over the past year. It takes a bit more planning but I think I’ve got a formula down that helps you get gram-worthy photos without compromising your vacation time.

Paris France Photography Tour
Fashion Photo Shoot Eiffel Tower
AirBnB Experiences Paris Photo Shoot

Find an affordable professional photographer

I know it sounds like diva behavior, especially for a normal tourist, not blogger. But pro photographers are fast and know the best locations! I have found that in spending 1 hour shooting with a pro, I can get enough content to last at least a week, if not more! That means I never have to worry about bugging my friends for photos, or spend time editing while on the go. I’ve worked with professional photographers in Savannah, and most recently in Paris and it was amazing. My photos were way better than anything my friends or bf would have taken, and because pros can be faster than the average person, I was able to squeeze in multiple outfits and different locations. I usually shoot the first or 2nd day of the trip just to get it out of the way, and because the photographer may take a few days to send the pics. AirBnB Experiences is a great place to jumpstart your search, and I’ve also had luck on Groupon Goods when browsing in the US!

Plan Your Outfits Accordingly

Instagram photo magic doesn’t just happen! Half the battle is having the photographer, and the other half is the person in the picture. If you don’t feel comfortable wearing something glam or eyecatching when traveling, just bring extra photo shoot outfits so you can change just for pictures. If you are shooting with a friend, try to coordinate but not 100% match, and don’t forget to finish your look with the right hair/makeup.

Practice Art Directing Before You Have Someone Shoot You

If you can’t find a pro or don’t think it’s worth the cost, you can still get amazing travel photos from your friend/travel buddy or other tourists if you are alone. In most touristy sites, you’ll see people or couples taking pics of each other or trying to take selfies. I usually offer to take one for them, then ask them to take one for me. Before I hand them my camera, I demonstrate exactly how I want the image framed and place it in their hands at that exact angle. I know it’s nitpicky, but that ensures I get the image I want, instead of someone’s random interpretation. Half the time they nail it, and half the time they move the camera and miss my angle, or something else goes wrong and I hate the picture. In that case I politely thank them, wait a few minutes until they leave, then try again with someone else. This can take a few tries, but I’ve really never waited more than 10 minutes at a popular tourist site to get the perfect photo.

Pack Your Tripod and Shoot Yourself

I love playing with self-portraits! I always pack my tripod when I travel solo, mostly for cute hotel room shots or if I’m staying at a resort with lots of good photo ops on the grounds. Before you pull out a tripod in a public area or tourist spot, double check the rules. A lot of places, especially rooftops don’t allow them, and you also want to make sure it’s a safe place to set it up. Use your judgement on that front! I usually prefer to pull it out in areas that are quiet enough that I can get a good shot without people staring at me like I’m crazy, but still have a decent amount of foot traffic so I won’t worry about anyone grabbing my camera. Again, use your judgement before trying this approach, and above all make sure it is safe!

Let me know how you guys get travel photos where you are off to next!

4 Ways to Get Perfect Travel Photos

France Lookbook and What to do if Your Luggage is Lost!

French Travel Style

Travel is an adventure and sometimes the craziness starts right at the airport! My trip to France started perfectly normal. I had packed a selection of fun outfits and product for collaborations all edited carefully so it would fit in my carry on. I knew that I would be moving in between several cities over the week so wanted to pack light enough to make all the travel easier

Nice France Travel.jpg

However I couldn't get around the weight limits imposed by Norweigan! Most low cost airlines have pretty strict requirements on size and weight for carry on bags, and even though my suitcase was fine size wise, it was about 4 pounds over the weight limit. Their weight limit is only 10kg, which equals around 22 pounds. And that has to include both your carry on and personal item! The gate agent made me check it and I wasn't too worried since it was a direct flight so less chance for it to get mixed up or delayed. Little did I know, there would be some major logistic issue with the baggage carousels. When I landed in Paris, an agent at baggage claim informed me that over 150 bags from the LA flight had been misplaced!  Normally, if I plan to check luggage, I would have an extra outfit or 2 in my carry on. But since I was rushed and made to check last minute I didn't take anything out of the suitcase. Big mistake, I know! So there I was in Paris with the clothes on my back. Luckily I kept my toiletries and makeup in my carry on so I could still keep my face and hair together!

Making the situation even worse, our flight was an hour and a half late, which meant that by the time I could get from the airport to the city, all the stores would be closed. I only had one day in Paris before heading to Nice so my boyfriend helped with the missing baggage report and as soon as I landed in Nice I needed to shop! At that point I had spent 2 days in my airport leggings, crop top and dad sneaks and it was starting to get funky. 

Tips for a Lost Luggage Complaint

If you didnt know, airlines are responsible for reimbursing you if you need to purchase replacement items when your baggage is delayed or lost. The exact amount and procedure for filing a claim varies, but in the European Union, airlines can be liable for up to 1300 euros! At that point I assumed my bag would be retuned in 2 or 3 days, but I also knew this was my only chance to shop. After Nice I would be spending 3 days in the French countryside, with plenty of vineyards but no malls! I decided I needed to get clothes for 3 days and 1 dress that was glam enough for a night out in Monaco. And I hoped that my luggage would be sent to the residence in the countryside no problem. 

Satin Polka Dot Dress
Classic French Inspired Style

Remember, just because the airline is liable for reimbursement, that doesnt mean you get to go crazy.  Skip Gucci and shop sensibly! I opted for Zara, H&M and Mango. Check out some of the looks I pulled together below! I was able to find a lot of the exact items on the US site, luckily, and included some alternatives as well!

Pretty good choices right? I also picked up some basic undies from H&M and the tote bag was necessary to use for travelling the rest of the week, since I couldn't lug around shopping bags. However my luggage did not arrive in the country as expected since the Courier said it was too far from the main city and they needed a 3 to 4 day window for that region (which was 2.5 hours from Paris, 30 minutes from the local airport in Bordeaux so go figure). So I had to handwash and line dry a few pieces country style and wear them again as I headed back to Paris! My bag was finally delivered to my hotel on the last day of the trip!

Lost Luggage Claim Tips


So if you find yourself in a missing baggage situation here are my tips for getting through!

  1. File your claim asap - the representative at the airport can give you the necessary paperwork so they can start tracking the lost luggage

  2. Learn your rights - they vary depending on the origin/departure city but check out what the carrier says and go a quick Google search. Norwegian's website obviously wouldn't say the max they can be held liable for, but researching "delayed baggage compensation in Europe" turned up loads of info from European regulatory sites. If you file a claim and the airline tries to underpay or claim they arent responsible, you need to know your rights to fight for your money 

  3. Shop reasonably - remember it is time to purchase replacement items for your trip, not go on a luxury shopping spree

  4. Save your receipts! And take photos just in case you lose the originals

  5. Include all your expenses - i didn't have to buy toiletries since I had those in my carry on, but if you lost those include them as well. If you have to make international phone calls every day to follow up with customer service, add in the roaming charges! Think about the little things and make sure they are all included

  6. Leverage social media - the Norweigan customer service center was so not responsive or helpful, even though they had English speaking representatives. But when I started blowing up their mentions on Twitter I got more attention. And not just me! I looked at their Tweets/Replies and saw different users airing their concerns and getting responses as well. Help your complaint stay stop of mind by making it visible!

I’ll keep you guys posted once my claim is processed on what the final result is, but let me know in the comments or on Instagram if you have questions in the meantime!

I Moved to LA for Love. This is What It's Really Like

Beverly Hills Hotel

I’ve been in my new home in LA for a few weeks and it’s been great! The stress of a cross-country move has settled down and I’m finally starting to get out and explore the city. I’ve been sharing some of my favorite pics of LA and my new apartment, but haven’t yet shared the reason behind the big move yet.

Traveling in Los Angeles
Summer Beauty
Exploring Los Angeles

After spending 2 years in a long-distance relationship, we finally had the chance to move in together, but that meant moving to LA for his next job opportunity. We both had our hearts set on him moving back to NYC since that was home for both of us. But life had other plans. I knew I loved LA and had visited several times, but I never imagined myself quitting my job and giving up everything for a boy. I had built my career and close friendships all around New York, and I felt judged at every turn for my decision. I had already made a big global move for grad school, but moving for a relationship was different. We’ve all heard stories about the silly girl that gave up everything to follow a boy that ended up breaking her heart, and my friends and family worried I’d end up like that.

However I’ve learned how to drown out other people’s voices so I can listen to my own. My voice and my heart were telling me this was the right decision, the only decision. Making a big life decision is never easy, but it’s especially harder when so much of that decision is wrapped up in another person. If you’ve moved for a relationship or are thinking about it, know that it can be equally joyous and overwhelming, fun and frightening. If your partner is worth it (which they better be if you are moving for them!) they will recognize and appreciate the sacrifice you are making for them. Remember that no one’s opinions or thoughts matter as much as your own. If you ever feel like you are a bad feminist for the choice you make, remember that feminism is all about a women’s right to make her own choices.

And make sure wherever you go for whatever reason, you find a way to make it your own!

Everything You Need to Know About Moving for Love

#NYCStories: What Life in NYC Has Taught Me

New York City Glam

I started posting a series on Instagram sharing some of my favorite NYC Stories. Growing up in this city has shaped me in ways I’m slowly becoming more and more aware of as I get older and travel more. If you don’t live in NY, living here is like no place else. If you are planning a move or even a trip, here are some things you need to know to make the most of your experience!

Advenures in NYC
The Plaza Hotel NYC
The Plaza Hotel NYC
The Plaza NYC

NYC Life & Travel are Expensive

If you’ve never been here before, the prices wil be shocking! Growing up in the city made me a little more used to seeing extreme prices at every turn. That skill comes in really handy when traveling because I rarely get sticker shock (except for in Switzerland, where the combination of pricing and exchange rate is insane). Save up and prepare yourself and your wallet for outlandish rent, overpriced restaurants, $15 cocktails, and a view that can bring tears to your eyes.

You’ll Make a Lot of Friends But Only Have a Few Friends

Living here means you are constantly surrounded by people. The opportunities to socialize are endless and you’ll be able to meet new people at every turn. However I’ve learned that true friendships and authentic bonds are few and far between. In retrospect I wish I had devoted more time to those relationships, but it seemed we often took for granted that we could see each other any time. Have all the fun you can with all the right people, but make sure you find ways to prioritize the relationships that really count.

Street Food Is Always a Good Idea

From the halal stands to the gyro carts, NY street food is legendary. If you are germophobic or nervous about eating off a truck, start working on that before you land in the Big Apple! Of course the city is known for it’s concentration of incredible high-end restaurants, but considering the need to respect your wallet as discussed above, make sure you explore the low-cost options that can be just as delicious!

The Options Are Endless and the Familiar is Comforting

The city that never sleeps is also the city of endless options. There is so much amazing everything - restaurants, museums, lounges, and the list goes on. Anything your heart desires, you will find and it will be good! Even though we are spoiled for choice, you’ll see that New Yorkers often frequent the same spots! You might think we bounce around to a new place every night, but the fact is we all have our neighborhood bar or go to restaurant that we hit up a few times a week. If you visit NYC or make it your home, find the balance between visiting your faves on a regular basis and exploring something new when you can.

tips for living in nyc

If you are planning to move or visit NYC, let me know your questions in the comments!

Everything to Do in NY This Spring!!

where to see cherry blossoms in ny.jpeg

Spring has officially been here for a few weeks, but it’s finally starting to feel like it! The weather is warming up and the days are getting longer, so it’s time to get out and start enjoying the new season. NYC is beautiful this time of year and the energy is so refreshing after what felt like a winter that would never end! Spring is a pretty short-lived season, so get out and make the most of it while you can! 

new york botanical garden daffodil hil.jpeg
nybg orchid show.jpeg
new york botanical garden orchid show.jpeg

Check out the Cherry Blossoms and all the Spring Blooms

Cherry blossoms are blooming everywhere right now! The ones in Central Park are full and fluffy, and the blooms at New York Botanical Garden and Brooklyn Botanical Garden are nearing peak bloom. Some people consider Sakura Matsuri the can’t miss cherry blossom moment of the season, but it’s insanely crowded. I prefer to visit on an off day when I can really take my time wandering the garden and enjoying the view, without the hundreds of people. 

NYBG is also home to stunning fields of daffodils and azaleas that are about halfway to peak bloom right now. Keep your eyes on their bloom tracker to best time your visit. And definitely don’t miss the Orchid Show, that is running until April 28th! 

 

Get Reservations at all the Rooftops and Gardens

Dining al fresco is so necessary but getting coveted tables for you and the squad can be tricky! I usually start booking reservations a few weeks in advance, then making plans with friends as I go. Waiting until the last-minute means missing out on prime outdoor seating during the most popular hours. A lot of places do take walk-ins, but I prefer not to be at the mercy of a wait list that can easily be an hour long! Plan a head or pick less popular times to make sure you can have the perfect Spring dining experience while the season lasts. My favorites are Lauduree, Public Kitchen, Jimmy for drinks and Serra at Eataly

 

Visit New Exhibits at all the City’s Museums

A museum day is one of my favorite things to do, especially on days where the weather is not quite nice enough to be outside. The iconic Costume Institute at the Met Museum opens May 9th and Brooklyn Museum has an incredible Frida Kahlo exhibit on now through May 12th. That one requires timed entry passes and they are selling out fast, so make sure you sign up asap! And on May 3rdthey open Nobody Promised You Tomorrow, a collection of work from 22 LGBTQ artists 50 years after Stonewall. 

 

Update Your Wardobe with Some Spring Shopping

Let your closet get a little taste of fresh air with some affordable fashion finds! Check out all your favorite retailers for Spring sales not to miss. You will need some new sundresses, flirty tops, comfy sandals, and standout accessories to get through the season! 

everything to do in NY this Spring.png

 

4 Ways to Save on Summer Travel!

luxury travel tips.jpeg

Spring is the perfect time to plan a trip or take a last-minute getaway! Its early enough to catch a deal for a summer trip and the weather has warmed up in a lot of places so you'll have plenty of options. Here are my tips for planning a bucket list worthy trip on a budget!

travel on a budget .jpeg
affordable travel tips.jpeg

Be flexible on location

If you aren’t set on a specific destination you can easily find deals because you'll have so many options. You can look for flight deals or hotel specials and end up somewhere amazing for a bargain. It’s especially easy to save when you are going to a destination in the off season, which may be even more fun because it will be less flooded with tourists! You may have had your heart set on Paris in the summer but may be able to get that Parisian feel in another European destination. 

 

Look for deals in unexpected places 

If you are a seasoned traveler, you already are on the most popular deals and steals email lists. If you are looking for even more discounts or ways to sweeten the deal before buying, check out cash back sites like Ebates. Yes, you can earn cash back on your travel purchases! I’m also a big fan of browsing Amex Offers and members only deals in their travel section. They may not be big discounts, but you can often find things like free room upgrades or perks that will make your stay a special one. 

 

Plan based on a favorable currency exchange

Make your money go even farther by picking a destination with a favorable currency exchange! I recently went to Toronto for work and stayed at the super stylish Bisha Hotel, a boutique hotel with incredible ambiance. The exchange rate worked in my favor, saving on everything from the hotel, to meals, transportation and even shopping! If you really want to stretch your dollar, think about destinations in South America, Africa, or even Asia, and avoid Europe, especially Switzerland!

 

Go with a group

As much as I enjoy solo travel, costs can add up pretty quickly when you don’t have anyone to split things with. If you can round up 3 or 4 friends, you will save a ton sharing costs for accommodations, which is usually the biggest expense.  When I went to Colombia with a group of 8 we were able to get an incredible luxury villa that ended up costing around $100 a night each! Plus there were plenty of less fancy options for a fraction of that cost. Round up your squad and get to searching! 

 

Let me know what vacation destinations you have in mind this year! And follow me on Instagram to stay tuned to all my summer travel! 

 

4 Ways to Save on Summer Travel

A Sunny Staycation at Hollywood Hotel

Hollywood Hotel Review

This post is sponsored by Hollywood Hotel. All opinions are my own

Sometimes you need a winter escape. NYC has been freezing so I planned another little getaway to LA to get in some fun in the sun! I love the Hollywood area and Hollywood Hotel was gracious enough to partner with me on this post.

The 130-room Hollywood Hotel is one of the most reasonably priced hotels in the city and offers incredible value in a central location. Situated in Hollywood, it’s minutes away from boutique shopping, world-class dining and cutting edge culture, and the closest hotel to The Hollywood Sign, Griffith Park, LA Zoo, Greek theater and Mount Hollywood hiking trails.

The hotel has an on-site fitness center so you can squeeze in a workout when traveling and a beautiful, open-air fountain courtyard, and outdoor pool. Plus they offer a complimentary hot breakfast buffet served daily. A unique feature of the hotel is Hollywood Hotel’s own Comedy Club, which brings all-star comedians to the property on a weekly basis.

Hollywood Hotel Los Angeles
Hollywood Hotel Balcony
Hollywood Hotel Pool
Hollywood Hotel LA Review
Hollywood Hotel Bar

The weather during my visit was pretty wet and chilly so didn’t encourage much exploring, so luckily the hotel was comfy enough for staying in. Make sure you stop by the bar, Route66 for happy hour and check out the vodka tasting!

Let me know if you end up here in LA and how you liked it! And thank you again to Hollywood Hotel for partnering with me on this post.

Hollywood Hotel LA Review

What to Do in Savannah (If you DGAF About Plantations & Trolleys)

Savannah Shopping Tips

I went on my second trip to Savannah a while ago and was once again enchanted by the beautiful city! If you have never been you seriously need to add it to your list! It’s full of charm, history, and fantastic food. A lot of the activities revolve around historic trolley rides, ghost tours and visiting plantations. I’ve heard great feedback about that kind of stuff, but it just isn’t how I’d like to spend my vacation. If you are thinking about going to Savannah but have no idea what to, here are a few ideas for how to spend a weekend, without once setting foot on a plantation! 

Savannah Nightlife Guide

Must-See Shopping in Savannah 

Savannah has some amazing shopping! There are so many cute boutiques for everything from fashion and accessories to honey. Check out Satchel, and if you are staying at the Perry Lane Hotel take advantage of the VIP experience. Hotel guests can have the concierge set up a meet and greet with the boutique’s owner and the chance to design your own leather bag or wallet. Also, be sure to stop in City Market, an open-air shopping center with boutiques, restaurants and art galleries. I also love The Paris Market for charming French goodies and the Savannah Bee Company for honey and honey infused beauty products. 

Explore the Tree-Lined Streets of Savannah 

The city is full of charm and is perfect to explore on foot. Wander aimlessly down River Street for scenic views and don’t miss Jones Street, which was voted one of the most beautiful streets in North America! 

Rooftop Parties in Savannah

Have a Beach Day

Tybee Island is just 20 minutes away and has a gorgeous coast and fresh seafood. If you’ve got time and are up for a longer drive, head down to Saint Simon Island, a gorgeous strip of beach about an hour South. There are also beaches on Hilton Head Island, if you aren’t up for the longer trek. 

Eat the Best Southern Food in Savannah 

Savannah is a great foodie destination! For fancy dinners check out the  Olde Pink House. Five Oaks Taproom or 700 Drayton. Don’t miss Café M or Two Cracked Eggs for a casual fun and yummy breakfast or lunch. And be sure to satisfy your sweet tooth with a visit to Leopold’s Ice Cream or Savannah Candy Kitchen!  

Get the VIP Experience with a Professional Photo Shoot

Commemorate your trip with a pro photo shoot! Destiny Creations Photography is an amazing husband and wife team that will get you unforgettable photos from your trip! If you want to take the experience up a notch, bring in Charisse Styles, a fantastic stylist that works with the team! I worked with them on my last trip and she did a great job putting together these fun looks so I could get great pics without overpacking. It’s definitely worth it if you want to make the trip extra special!

Where to Eat in Savannah
Savannah Travel Guide

Let me know if you guys have been to Savannah and your favorite ways to pass the time there! 

48 Hours in Milwaukee

Kimpton Journeyman Hotel Review

I recently came back from another trip to Milwaukee! I’ve been there several times for work and on most occasions we are in and out of meetings all day so there isn’t much time to explore. However my most recent trip I had a little bit of extra time, so got to take advantage! Milwaukee may not be the most obvious choice for a domestic vacation, especially not in the Midwest. However I’ve found that it has a certain charm, an impressive food scene, and lots of trendy boutique hotels popping up that promise a stay you won’t forget. Check out a few of my tips for how to spend some time there!

48 Hours In Milwaukee Travel Tips

Where to Stay in Milwaukee

I’ve stayed at both the Iron Horse Hotel and the Kimpton Journeyman and both are amazing! They are stylish, comfortable, trendy, and in prime locations. Stay at the Kimpton if you don’t want to miss out on your IHG rewards and access to the unforgettable rooftop with a tabletop fireplace.

Blue Bat Milwaukee
Rooftop Cocktails Kimpton Journeyman

Restaurants to Try in Milwuakee

Both Iron Horse and Kimpton have fabulous restaurants! Make sure to stop in for drinks and dinner no matter where you end up staying. I also paid a visit to Blue Bat Kitchen and Tequilaria, a taco and tequila bar a few blocks from the Kimpton. The fish taco and salmon bowl were amazing and the margaritas strong and cheap, just like I like them!

Kimpton Journeyman Hotel Review
milwaukee-4080_1920.jpg
milwaukee-1809393_1920.jpg

What to Do in Milwaukee

Just being honest, the winters can be brutal! It was so cold even when I had time to get out I just couldn’t stand the weather. If you go in a less frigid time of year, the riverwalk is supposed to be a great place to explore, and there are plenty of brewery tours if you are into the beer scene. You can also explore the Historic Third Ward, which has a fun, artsy, vibe and lots of beautiful architecture. And don’t forget to wander through the Milwaukee Public Market for shopping, snacking and of course, drinking.

If you do bring any one thing back, definitely make it the cheese! Seriously! I picked up a few bricks of cheddar at the airport and it was to die for! if you have time grab it at one of the markets for something that will probably be even better.

That’s it for now, or at least until my next trip!





New Year New Look: My New Healthy Hair Routine for 2019

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #HaircareWithIntegrity #CollectiveBias

South Beach Miami Beaches
Summer in Mami South Beach
Summer Style in Miami

How is the first week of 2019 treating you? Hopefully you are recovered from plenty of time spent ringing in the New Year, and are ready to start the new year with a bang! This time of year is great for reflecting on all the changes the previous year, diving into your goals, and trying something new. I’m not particularly one for New Years Resolutions, but I did set one that I’m going to try to keep – take better care of my hair! It may sound shallow compared to people that are setting career, fitness and other big life goals. But self-care is important, and it goes for both the inside and out. I have to admit that I was not the best to my hair in 2018!

I experimented with color and a chemical treatment, and did way more straightening than I used to. By the end of the year my strands were, dry, frizzy, full of breakage and desperately needing some TLC. I decided that I’m going to dedicate the first half of 2019 to restoring the health and strength of my hair. Part of that journey means lots of protective styling to give my hair the break it needs. Protective styling breaks are essential for naturally kinky textures since our hair tends to be drier, more coarse and prone to damage from frequent manipulation. So you will see me wearing lots more protective styles like braids and wigs, which still allow for flexibility and fun with your hair, but they keep your natural hair safe from damage causing elements. I also found some new star products that so far have been a hero for my hair! 

Hover over the image below to start shopping the products!

Biotera Natural Origin Collection features seven color-safe products that gently restore beauty and radiance, delivering the honest-to-goodness healthy hair you need to achieve salon perfection. The products feature up to 97% naturally derived ingredients, offering a high quality alternative to some premium products for a fraction of the cost. 

Biotera Masques at Sally.jpg
Biotera Nurture Conditioner.jpg

I’ve been using the NURTURE Conditioner and Masque, which is perfect for dry hair. It’s enriched with nourishing Coconut Oil and Honey and smells just delicious! I alternate the NURTURE line with the RESTORE strengthening line, which repairs damaged hair. It’s enriched with nutrient-rich Goji Berry and Chia Extract, and all their products are free from silicones, sulfates, parabens and dyes. They also use biodegradable formulas and 100% recyclable packaging, so you can care for your hair and the Earth at the same time. Here’s a quick tutorial on my new healthy hair routine and how I’m saving my strands without compromising my style! 

Sunday’s are wash day so I start by gently detangling my hair using the Biotera Nuture Conditioner. I separate my curls into small sections and using just a little bit of my homemade spritz (aloe vera juice & rosewater) and a lot of the conditioner, I gently finger detangle each section. I do not use a comb or any styling tools, just my fingers and a lot of patience. Then I pop on a plastic cap and let that sit for a bit, mostly just to give my arms a break! Then shampoo and follow with a deep conditioning mask. I alternate between the Nuture and Restore Masques to balance moisturization and strengthening. As far as styling, I’m keeping that super simple! My hair hangs out in braids or twists and during the week I play with fun hair accessories, headwraps, or wigs so I always look cute and stylish. The routine is easy, simple, and keeping my hair healthy. 

Biotera Products at Sally.jpg
When shopping for my hair/ beauty essentials, like my Biotera products or fun hair accessories to style with, Sally Beauty is the place to start. Look for Biotera next time you are there, and learn more about the brand and product line on their site!

Let me know what your 2019 resolutions are, for beauty, hair, health or whatever! 

Secret Weapons for Healthy Hair

2019 Travel Bucket List - 4 Can't Miss Destinations

2019 Travel Destinations
travel tips for 2019

Something highly unusual is happening for me right now. It’s almost the end of December, and I seriously have ZERO 2019 trips planned at this point. This time last year I had 4 trips planned between February and May, so this is definitely not my style! Granted, I did say I was going to prioritize my savings in an aggressive way, so cutting back on leisure travel is a big part of it. But I’m still completely itching to hop on a plane to somewhere for a few days! Hopefully I’ll drum up some business that takes me somewhere exciting, but in the meantime I’m fantasizing about a few places that are hot on my list this year.  Fingers crossed I make it to a few of these!

 

Bordeaux, France Wine Country

I love spending time in Europe in Spring and summer, and have been lucky enough to explore a lot of the continent since I lived in Italy. Yup, did you guys know I speak Italian? I’ve been to several cities in France, from Paris to the South, but have always skipped over wine country. I’ve been pretty inspired to go since one of my old friends bought a GORGEOUS villa there! It’s the Domaine de Montvert by Sitawi-Bottone in Saint Emilion Bordeaux wine country. It’s unbelievably charming and big enough for a family or group of friends. Bordeaux is supposed to be one of the most stunning regions in France, and since I already have the perfect place to stay in mind, I need to start planning a trip However, for the first trip on my 2019 Travel Bucket List, I'm considering a visit to my friends at JP Linguistics (www.jplinguistics.com) to help me brush up on my French before I go! They offer really fun language classes in French, Italian & Spanish in SOHO, NYC and it might be just the right time to pay them a visit as I prep for the first trip on my bucket list!. France can be a pretty tough country to travel if you don’t speak any French, so taking a few lessons will come in handy!

 Sri Lanka Beaches

 

Another region that has been on my radar all year is Sri Lanka. It’s quite a trip, but the scenery looks so stunning and it’s supposed to be pretty affordable once you are on the ground. 

 

All Over California

 

In 2018 I said I wanted to do more domestic travel, and I’ve had a blast in several new cities in the US. I went to Cali a few times this year, mostly for business, and every time I went I wished I had more time there. So in 2019 I owe myself a true California vacation experience – no work, just beaches, scenery and exploring!

 

Zanzibar, Tanzania

I’ve been ready for another trip to Africa since my incredible journey to South Africa a few years ago. Zanzibar has been calling me loud and clear, so WHEN I can afford that long-haul sure to be pricey flight I will be on my way. 

2019travel destinations!.jpg

Let me know what is on your travel bucket list for next year any beyond, and shop this story below!

 

 

 

 

All the Art Basel Events You Can Actually Get Into!

Wynwood Miami Art Basel.jpg

I’m on my way to another Art Basel Miami! I pretty much go every year, mostly because I love the art but also because it’s a great excuse to get somewhere warm when NY is freezing cold. If you are planning on attending but not sure what to do when you get down there, here are a bunch of options. These events are all open to the public so you can buy tickets and have an amazing time on the scene, even if your VIP pass went missing AGAIN!

Art Basel Miami Art Fairs

Obviously if you are in town for Art Basel you need to see some art. All of the fairs are open to the public and you can buy tickets online. You also MUST pass through Wynwood and explore the incredible street art all over the neighborhood. I’m leaving links to my favorites below. If you plan on attending let me know in the comments and maybe we’ll bump into each other!

The Official Art Basel

Scope

Pulse

Art Miami

Untitled

Art Basel Parties & Events

Part of the fun of Art Basel Miami is the parties and events. Here are a few that are open to the public that you can buy tickets to. I will probably check some of these out myself.

Pigment International

Style Fashion Week Presents Fashion Basel

Pulse Young Collectors Cocktail

Art Basel Miami Hot Spots

And while you are in between shows and events, pop into these hot spots to grab a drink or app, and of course, see and be seen!

The Edition Hotel

Freehand Miami

News Cafe

The Standard Hotel

The 1 Hotel

If you’ve got time and patience, check out Eventbrite for hundreds of other events as well! The options really are endless. And if you can squeeze in some beach time. I know I’ll need it before flying back to frigid NYC!

Miami Art Basel Guide


Cyber Week Sales You Can't Miss

Cyber Week Shopping Tips

Happy Thanksgiving guys! I’m getting ready to start stuffing my face, but before I do, I had to share some can’t miss deals you need to start shopping. This is the best time of year to save big on everything from holiday presents, your favorite things to stock up on, and even travel deals for your next vacation! If you are ready to do some serious shopping, here are my favorite sales for Cyber Week!

Fashion Sales and Deals

BB Dakota

Take 50% off Fall 2018 Black Styles starting Friday, 11/23, and starting Monday, 11/26 shop Fall 2018 Outerwear at 50% off. Use code THANKS50 at checkout for both!

Fashion Nova

How’s up to 80% site wide sound? Get some amazing discounts on already affordable items with code BLACK40.

Topshop

Take up to 50% off selected lines, prices already marked down on site!

Revolve

Influencer fave Revolve is also having 50% off select items! Some stuff can still be a bit pricey, so if you are anything like me, sort by price before diving in!

Nordstrom

Black Friday is the best time to shop Nordstrom, maybe even better than the Anniversary Sale! They are offering up to 60% off across categories, including Women’s, Men’s Kid’s and Home!

Cyber Week Beauty Sales

Beauty and Skincare Sales

Nars

One of my go to brands is having a 20% off sitewide sale, including exclusives you won’t see anywhere else! This is the only time of year Nars offers discounts, so stock up while you can!

Ulta

A slew of Black Friday deals, from $10 mascaras $15 palettes, and 40% off beauty faves from Anastasia Beverly Hills!

Sephora

They just wrapped their VIB Sale, but are still offering up to 50% off items in their Beauty Sale section! Take a look, especially if you missed out on the VIB discounts!

Hum Nutrition

My go-to vitamin brand for pretty much anything is offering 50% off site wide with code HUMDAY18. I take about 6 of their vitamins on a daily basis so will be stocking up on my faves!

DevaCurl

Give your strands some TLC with Devacurl! I love their product line and they are currently offering Buy 2 get 1 Free on select products. Not the best deal, but they are pretty pricey and don’t discount often, so take what you can get!

Cyber Week Shopping Sales


Holiday Travel Deals and Steal

Delta

Yes airlines have sales too! Delta is hands-down one of the best and on their limited edition Black Friday sale International Flights are on sale in a big way! I’ve seen fares from several major US cities to European destinations like Paris, Portugal, and the UK. Get to browsing and be prepared to get creative with your dates!

Priceline

The discount travel site is offering a slew of Black Friday hotel discounts for email subscribers, with Express Deal coupons for up to 50% in savings on hotels. Get on their email list so you don’t miss out!

Cathay Pacific

A flight to Asia for $600! Yes please. Cathay Pacific’s Black Friday sale is on, with up to 60% off flights to several Asian destinations.

IHG Hotels

IHG Hotel group is offering 25% off the best available rates on over 5,000 properties in their network, plus additional perks and bonus points for loyalty members. So if you aren’t planning a vacation, now is a good time to start!

cyber week 2018.jpg

Let me know what you guys are most excited about buying!

3 Savannah Travel Tips You Need Now!

Savannah Travel Guide
Malikah's Picks-7.jpg
Forsyth Park Savannah
Savannah Travel Ideas

Happy to be back home from a lovely weekend in Savannah! I’m making so much progress on my goal to do more domestic travel this year, and I can only say I wish I made it to Savannah sooner. It was my first time exploring the city, and I got a beautiful couple of days to experience the charm, beauty, and incredible food. We kept our itinerary light, even though there is so much to experience there. You could spend over a week here easily, just taking it all in! Here are just a few highlights of the trip!

Eat and Drink Everything

Some cities can be hit or miss with the restaurant scene, but not Savannah. I didn’t even have one single mediocre meal in town. Definitely do breakfast at 2 Cracked Eggs, brunch or lunch at Cafe M, and dine at 700 Drayton or The Olde Pink House. Plus there is no open-container law in Savannah so feel free to take your drinks around town with you.

Skip Plantations, Explore the Parks

We made it a point to avoid any plantations or related tours. As a woman of color it was not something I felt motivated to see, even though there are SO MANY options if you are into that. The parks and streets of Savannah are just as gorgeous and I didn’t feel like I missed anything by avoiding them.

Enjoy the Shopping (or Browsing)

Downtown Savannah has the cutest collection of local boutiques, antique shops, and mom and pop stores. I’m not big on souvenir shopping, but loved wandering in and out of the charming shops exploring all the little goodies.

SAVANNAH TRAVEL Guide.jpg

Let me know if you visit this charming city! And if you are in town and want some professional shots to commemorate your trip, check out Destiny Creations Photography. I decided to leave my tripod at home, save my Insta-Hubby the trouble, and partner with a pro instead, and I’m loving the results!

3 Ways to Travel More in 2019!

San Diego Beaches

What are the things that keep you from traveling more? For most people it’s a combination of financial resources or not having people to travel with. Since this was requested in my last Instagram story survey, I’m sharing a few of my tips for affordable travel on your own!

Holy Matcha San Diego

 Save for It

In addition to my main savings account, I regularly stash away my coins in a travel fund. I’m never saving for a specific trip or destination, more just making sure I always have funds set aside for when the opportunity arises. I use a savings app called Digit which skims your checking account and quietly transfers small amounts of money into a separate bank account. The transfers are usually small -$5 here, $10 there and they include overdraft protection just in case one of their withdrawals accidentally causes you to into the negative.  I’ve saved thousands of dollars in the years I’ve been using them! Since transfers back to your back account typically only take a day, when I book a trip on my credit card I can immediately transfer money from my Digit account to pay it off.  I also loosely follow a great tip I read in one of R29’s Money Diaries – pop $20 a week into an envelope that you keep in a secure location in your apartment. At the end of the year that’s $1000! So when you see a super-cheap fare sale to an amazing destination, you can jump on it!

Old City San Diego
Aruba Renaissance Island

 Try a Travel Group

Instagram travel groups are pretty much everywhere, from Travel Noire to Sisters and Suitcases. If you don’t have a group of friends you can travel with but don’t necessarily want to go alone those are a great option, albeit not the most affordable. I do think it’s worth paying a bit extra since they are conveniently organized and include some great experiences, but there are also a ton of travel groups on Meetup that organize different trips, and usually have get togethers in their city so you can get to know the squad before hopping on a plane with them. 

 

Mallorca Spain

Choose Your Destination Differently

You may have your heart set on an adventure with your squad in Thailand or somewhere far-flung and exotic, but if you are on a budget and going solo you need to think about destinations that make sense for you. Think about destinations you’d like to visit and how you would spend your days there. If you’d be happy to lay on the beach with a good book, cocktail and seaside massage, the Caribbean or even Southern California would be perfect! If you are an art buff and love museum and gallery hopping, there are plenty of affordable cities that are art nerd friendly, like Philadelphia in the US and London abroad. It’s not the cheapest, but fare sales are plentiful if you are flexible on timing and all the museums are free. Start trip planning not by thinking about the destination, but activities you would like to do and would be comfortable doing alone. I made a New Year’s Resolution to do more domestic travel this year, and I’ve been enjoying fun little weekends to classic destinations like Savannah and random spots like Hawley, PA.  

 

And now that you’ve found your dream solo-trip, this post has everything you need to make sure you still get amazing travel photos! Also let me know in the comments or on Instagram if there are other topics you’d like to see me cover! 

Pin me for later!

Pin me for later!

Fall Goals! The Perfect Halloween Weekend in the Poconos

ledges hotel balcony.jpg

You guys know the Poconos is one of my favorite weekend escapes from the city! It’s cute, it’s close and has a burgeoning foodie scene that is not to be missed. I spent a lovely weekend there in partnership with Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau to get in the spirit of Halloween! Check out some of the highlights from the trip below!

We stayed at Settlers Inn, a quaint property that sits on six acres of land and is bordered by the Lackawaxen River. It was built in 1928 and boasts a garden and farm-to-table restaurant with an award winning wine list. It’s the perfect place to relax for a weekend, eat way too much amazing food and enjoy the stunning views. The Halloween highlight was the Storytelling Dinner. The week before the dinner they host a Pumpkin Carving, where over 100 pumpkins are intricately carved then set on display around the hotel. I could spend hours exploring the unique, creative designs that are lit up all over the hotel and dot the tables in the Storytelling Dinner. We indulged in the decadent Fall inspired menu as a storyeller regaled us with spooky Halloween tales.

Storytelling Dinner Pumpkins (1).jpg
Storytelling Dinner Pumpkins2 (1).jpg

The next day we took the long, scenic walk to the up to the Hawley Silk Mill. It’s a former silk and textile factory that now houses a coffee shop and assortment of local shops. I wish I had planned to do some shopping because there were so many lovely candles, body butterss, crafts and home decor waiting to come home with me! After a bit of wandering, we headed down the road to Ledges Hotel, a chic, modern property at the base of a natural river gorge fall. It has a stunning bar called Glass, with unforgettable views of the river Fall and a great menu of wine and tapas. It started raining so we stayed inside with a bottle of wine for a bit, then headed back to Settlers.

hawley silk mill.jpg
Hawley Silk Mill Shops
ledges hotel 2.jpg
waterfall ledges.jpg
wine ledges hotel.jpg

The weather wasn’t really conducive to exploring, but Lake Wallenpaupack is supposed to be quite a stunner. You can have lunch at The Dock at Silver Birches and take in the views. And be sure to take the scenic route back to NY on Route 6. You can explore the charming town Milford and stop by Raymondskill Falls or GreyTowers National Historic Site.

If you are thinking about a late Fall or Winter weekend getaway, definitely make the trip up to Hawley! Check out the Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau for everything you need to plan your trip any time of year, but especially for next year’s Storytelling Dinner!

The Perfect NYC Staycation at Nomo Soho

Images by Wini Lao

Images by Wini Lao

Sometimes you just need to escape from it all! When life gets way too crazy and you find yourself getting overwhelmed, the perfect way to check out and relax is to take a little staycation. We can’t always jet off to exotic destinations unless you just happen to have major bank and unlimited time off, so a staycation is the next best thing. You can find a deal at a great hotel in your city to hideaway for a few days and get some much needed peace and quiet.  

Nomo Soho Staycation
Staycation at Nomo Soho
Nomo Soho Staycation Destination
DIY Skin Care Treatments

Nomo Soho is one of my favorites. It has everything you need for the perfect solo staycation – beautiful modern décor, a stellar restaurant and bar, comfortable, luxurious linens, plenty of cute nooks for photo opps, and heavenly plush bathrobes you can cozy up in! If you are feeling a little social the bar and lobby lounge are always great to hang out in. Or you can just lock your door and indulge in some of your favorite beauty treatments while ordering room service. Just be sure to get a room with a view, because the city skyline is not to be missed. 

If you are looking for great last minute deals I love Hotel Tonight and TravelZoo. And old fashioned, I know, but sometimes just calling the hotel reception can get you a major discount or unpublished rate. They may have a ton of rooms open last minute that they would love to fill. I’ve done this several times, for last minute trips and ones being planned weeks in advance, and have gotten up to 25% off the published rate, just by asking! 

NYC Hotel Guide

3 Ways to See Flamingos in Aruba

How to Visit Flamingos in Aruba.jpeg

First things first – if you’ve never been to Aruba add it to your list immediately! The desert island is a quick 4 hour flight from NYC and is home to beautiful beaches, amazing food, and lots of rugged island terrain begging to be explored. You have probably seen lots of pictures of Aruba, and I bet some of the most iconic shots include flamingos on the beach. It’s one of the most well-known sites in Aruba, but there are a few things you need to know if you want to see the flamingo beach. I’ll be blogging more about the trip overall next week, but for now, here are 3 things you need to know if you want to see flamingos in Aruba!

Flamingo Beach Aruba.jpeg

They are only on one private beach

‘Flamingo Island” as it is sometimes called, is actually Renaissance Private Island, a private island owned by the Renaissance Hotel. It’s a beautiful private island with 2 strips of beach, a restaurant, bar, spa cove, and private beach front cabanas you can rent for the day. The flamingos, all 6 of them, live on one strip of beach on the island. There are also baby flamingoes that live on the other side, but we were told they like to hide from visitors so we didn’t get to see them. 

 

Swimming with Flamingos in Aruba

Access to the island is kind of a pain

If you are determined to see the flamingos, you either need to be a guest of the hotel or purchase a day pass. I was with a group of 8 so we had a villa instead of hotel rooms, but I did debate booking a room for one night just so we could go to the private island. However only one other person wanted to join so it wouldn’t have been as cost-effective. The hotel also sells a limited number of day passes to non-hotel guests. Those will cost you $100, and since they are so limited you will need to be up in line at the crack of dawn to make sure you get one. The hotel staff starts selling them at 7, and they are gone within minutes! The concierge said that typically there is a line wrapped around the lobby, with the first people arriving at 5! Some of you might be early birds, but for me, getting up that early on a vacation is out of the question, especially since you have no real guarantee you will walk away with tickets.

But I did some further digging and found out that the only other way to access the island without being a hotel guest or having a day pass is to book a spa appointment! The hotel operates a full service spa, and a beach front cove on the island that offers a few different massage packages. Me and my friend booked a couples massage with lunch (it was cheaper than doing 2 individuals!) and that was our way to definitely get in without sacrificing sleep! We booked appointments for 11, and rolled up to the hotel to catch the ferry around 9:30. That gave us plenty of time to wander the island, get to know the flamingos and get some great shots, then enjoy a relaxing massage before lunch.

Flamingos in Aruba

It's pricey but worth it

The spa package set us back about $200 each, which is in line with what you’ll pay for spa treatments at a high end hotel spa, but still was A LOT to spend in one day on a trip. But I do have to say it was worth it! The massage was great, scenery beautiful, and seeing flamingos up close and personal IRL is really a unique experience. 

Pin me for later!

Pin me for later!

 

If you go to Aruba, let me know if you visit the island, and how you get in!