Travel Diary: Paris

Travel Diary: Paris

Bonjour! I’m back from Paris and my post-trip sadness is beginning to set in, but with Paris Fashion Week currently underway, I wanted to get my Paris Travel Guide up stat. This way, those of you that are IN Paris currently can hit up my favorite spots.

Below, check out my favorite things to do, places to see and places to eat.

THINGS TO DO

  • Shop along Avenue Montaigne: Here you’ll find all the high end stores like Celine, Dior, Chanel, etc. Even if you don’t plan to purchase anything, it’s still fun to window shop and see the latest high end fashions
  • Head to Marais: This area reminded me a lot of SoHo, New York. Here you’ll find low to mid-end clothing stores, cafés and fragrance spots. Walk around, take in the view and do a lil’ shopping
  • Relax around the Grand Palais: While I would also consider this a “place to see,” there is just so much to do around the grounds of the Grand Palais. You can relax in the plush gardens, grab a cappuccino or meal at a café or hit up small shops. I found an AMAZING vintage store called Dugrenot that was unfortunately closed, but by the looks of the window display, I’d definitely recommend going

PLACES TO SEE

  • The Louvre: Go in the early AM to avoid swarms of people
  • The Eiffel Tower: At night, look every half hour to see the lights sparkle
  • Musee d’Orsay: Housed in the train station building, constructed by Victor Laloux for the 1900 World Fair, the Orsay is a national museum devoted to all the arts between 1848-1914
  • Arc de Triomphe: Same note at the Louvre, go early to avoid large crowds
  • Grand Palais: As noted above

PLACES TO EAT (Cafés and Restaurants)

  • Costes: My absolute favorite spot for dinner or drinks! The lively restaurant has terrace seating, and a trendy lounge/bar with live sets from international DJs. The décor is sexy and moody. You may even see a celebrity dining at this hotspot (I saw Adam Lambert). If you’re feeling risky, try to escargot – you won’t regret it
  • L’Avenue: My favorite lunch spot. If you want to lunch like one of your favorite Instagram influencers (Marianna Hewitt) or even a celeb, look no further. L’Avenue is the place to find the world’s most fashionable people and the best food. Sit outside, take in the view of Rue Montaigne and enjoy! I’d recommend getting the Spicy Tuna Tarar with avocaodo
  • Monsieur Bleu: If you want unreal views of the Eiffel Tower at night, look no further. Offering a high Art deco ceiling and stunning terrace, this is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful restaurants in Paris – with an unrivalled, magical view of the Eiffel Tower.
  • La Societe: This posh space has a huge stained-glass ceiling and offers French bistro fare. I’d recommend ordering the crispy duck
  • LouLou: If you’re in the mood for some delicious Italian cuisine, this is the spot for you. This new restaurant, located at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, boasts a unique and privileged location at the heart of the Palais du Louvre. I’d recommend indulging on the buratta and flatbread
  • Ladurée Paris Champs Elysées: Stop into this upscale bakery with Parisian origins, specializing in French macarons in a number of flavors. I grabbed an iced coffee (I know, so American of me), while my sister enjoyed a salted caramel macaron.
  • Café Le Nemours: If you’re visiting the Grand Palais, be sure to stop by this beautiful café, known for the delicious quiche. Of note: Angelina Jolie filmed “The Tourist” there

I hope this helps! Any questions? Comment below and I’ll be sure to answer them. Ps. You can shop all of my Paris looks below. Au revoir!

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Travel Diary: How to see Charleston in 72 Hours

Travel Diary: How to see Charleston in 72 Hours

When my BFF packed up and moved to Charleston, South Carolina a few months back, I was naturally upset, but knew it just meant I had another place to visit and cross off my travel bucket list.

I’ve been to both North and South Carolina a few times, but never made it to Charleston – until now! First of all, I totally see the appeal. The city is the perfect mix of classy, beautiful and beachy. The old school architecture combined with the leafy palm trees paint the most picturesque backdrop.  Plus, the killer food and amazing bars are just an added bonus.

Below, find my guide to seeing the city in just 72 hours. I think you’ll find it’s the perfect mix of fun and cultured.

Shop this jumper before it sells out:

WHERE TO STAY

Honestly, there were so many beautiful boutique-style hotels, but my friends and I decided to stay in an Air BnB on Spring St. and couldn’t be happier with the way things turned out!

HISTORIAL TOURS

Charleston Carriage Works: I highly recommend taking a horse carriage tour because it’s a great way to learn about the rich history of the city. You can relax while discovering quaint cobbled streets and the picturesque architecture that give the city its unique charm. Also, what I really liked was that the tour was straight and to the point, which made it easy to do any time of day. This isn’t something you need to revolve your entire day around. It takes about an hour tops.

Boone Hall Plantation & Gardens: The Boone Hall Plantation is a must-see while in town. If you’re not into history, at least go for the sole purpose that “The Notebook” was filmed there! Remember Allie and Noah’s epic breakup scene in front of her parents’ house? Yup, happened there. Also, remember reading about Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds wedding? Yup, happened there, too. This place is beautiful, historic and picturesque. A must see.

RESTAURANTS

Husk: Everyone that visits or lives in Charleston will tell you the same thing – “go to Husk.” The restaurant is centrally located in historic downtown Charleston and is the newest offering from James Beard Award-winning Chef Sean Brock. If you want a gourmet southern meal, look no further.           

5Church: This posh New American dining destination & cocktail bar is located in a former church with dramatic décor and delicious bites. If you’re an adventurous eater, go for the beef carpaccio and oysters as starters.

Obstinate daughter: The perfect brunch spot. This eclectic spot boasts New American fare, plus a raw bar and pizza & pasta served in an elegant, country-style space. One thing is better than the next, but definitely order a “Old Danger” pizza for the table (pancetta, mozzarella, white sauce, farm egg, scallion, black pepper, parmesan).

Me and my best friends! Most of us have known each other since preschool.

BARS

Market Pavilion: The Pavilion Bar is a rooftop oasis, complete with views of historic Charleston, a cascading pool, signature cocktails, eclectic cuisine offerings and the city’s most spectacular sunsets. This bar maintains a sophisticated and stylish atmosphere for its guests. If you want a bite, get the tuna tar tar tower – it was unreal.

Blind Tiger: I spotted a Southern Charm star while at Blind Tiger. Head here to enjoy upscale bar food in an alehouse dating back to 1803, featuring a charming, brick-walled courtyard. This place is perfect for after dinner drinks and mingling.

Home Team, Sullivan’s Island: If you’re in the mood for some day drinking and killer BBQ nachos, look no further. Hit the nearby beach, and then head to Home Team to get your afternoon started with their signature poison – The Game Changer.

Trio: If you’re going to town for a Bachelorette party or just want to get rowdy, Trio is the place to go for a good time. Touted as the Southeast’s “most refined new private dance club,” you’ll be sure to go home sweaty from a night of dancing.

Red’s Ice House: If you want a low-key spot with a dive atmosphere and awesome views of the water, head to Red’s in Shem Creek in Mt. Pleasant during the daytime or sunset. Here’s you’ll enjoy live music, fresh local seafood and a laid back setting. Be sure to check out the upper deck.

Well, that’s all I got for you folks! We did go to a few other places, so do let me know of any questions you may have in the comments below.

What’s in my Travel Tote?

What’s in my Travel Tote?

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and LIFEWTR. All opinions are mine alone. #ThirstInspiration #CollectiveBias

I don’t know about you guys, but when I travel, I always feel dehydrated and completely thrown off. With so many upcoming trips planned (London, Charleston, The Hamptons, Miami, Jamaica – to name a few), I want to make a vow to be prepared this time around. As such, I’m excited to partner with LIFEWTR, which is easily available at any 7-Eleven and has quickly become my new best friend.

I’m sure you’ve heard it before, but water intake really does work wonders (just ask my trainer, he’s been making me consume so much). It restores my body, refreshes my mind, quenches my curiosity and even enables self-expression. All of this from water? Yup! Aside from having the coolest packaging, LIFEWTR is purified, pH-balanced water, with electrolytes for taste.

Enough about my obsession with water consumption – let’s get to the fun part. So you may be wondering, what exactly goes into my travel tote bag? I’ve listed my go-to items below for your enjoyment. Hopefully, you can use this as a little “pack list” for yourself before you hit the road for your next trip or grab a cab to the airport.

    • LIFEWTR: This is my #1 must-have. When I’m traveling to the airport, I love to drink a full water bottle during my commute. This way, once I’m on the plane, I’m already feeling hydrated. If I’m just heading somewhere via train/car, I’m still sure to pack a bottle in my travel tote. Either way, I love to arrive at my destination feeling nice and hydrated.
    • Headphones: If I forgot to pack my headphones, I literally want to rip my hair out. Traveling without headphones is the worst. I listen to music and get excited for my new adventure.
    • A Sleep Mask: I’m really sensitive to light and need to sleep in the pitch black, so if I have any hope of catching some Zzz’s, I need my sleep mask.
    • Magazines: Nothing screams travel time like a trashy weekly magazine. As if I don’t follow pop culture enough, sometimes I just need a little good ol’ paper copy to hold on to vs. looking at my phone.
    • A Snack: Clearly, I like to be prepared here. This means making sure I have a stash of healthy snacks in case I go hungry (the horror). I like to keep almonds in a plastic baggy because they’re easy, nutritious and filling.

Like me, I hope you make a vow to make water consumption a priority during your travels. As always, feel free to leave me any questions in the comments! Ps. Check ThirstForInspiration.com for more information. 

 

Travel Diary: London (My Recommendations & the Most Instagram Worthy Spots)

Travel Diary: London (My Recommendations & the Most Instagram Worthy Spots)

It is easy enough to do a quick Google search to identify what to see in London – watch the Changing of the Guards at Buckingham Palace, ride the London Eye, see Big Ben & the Parliament, visit Harrods, etc. But if you’re like me, you don’t want to just see the “main attractions” when you’re visiting a new city. You want to see the hidden gems and get a true sense of what it’s like to live in another place.

Since I had the opportunity to spend an extended period of time in London, I was able to really get a feel for the culture. Aside from seeing the main tourist attractions, I got to see nearly every part of the city. As such, I’ve compiled a list of not only my favorite restaurants and recommendations, but the most Instagram worthy spots around the city.


RESTAURANTS & CAFES

SKETCH

While this destination for food, drinks, art & music screams Millennial Pink, it’s actually been around for quite some time. The quirky, 18th-century townhouse tea room transforms into a cocktail lounge every evening. It’s no wonder this place is a celebrity & influencer hotspot. I had seen Sketch all over social media and was unsure what to expect because we all know places can sometimes be overrated. However, this did not disappoint. In fact, visiting Sketch was one of my most memorable experiences while in London. The afternoon tea serves up an assortment of delectable treats, such as caviar and quail egg, an assortment of tea sandwiches, pastries and the most delicious scones with jam.

Millennial Pink AF 🥂✨#Cheers #Cheerio #champagne

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CLOS MAGGIORE

This modern French restaurant features a flower-filled conservatory and log fire. Be sure to make a reservation in advance so you get seated in the most scenic back room. As you could imagine, the French cuisine is rich (but in the best way possible) and served by a slew of professional staffers. Plus, the wine menu is extremely notable – with something for everyone. I’d recommend ordering the duck – duh!

MASSIMO RESTAURANT & BAR

While I was staying at the Corinthia Hotel, I decided to dine within at upscale Italian eatery, Massimo. The space has opulent art deco décor and serves seasonal dishes. Each and every meal was absolutely exquisite. From the charcuterie board and bread basket starters to the delicious main meals and wine – this place did not disappoint. After dinner, you can stay within the hotel and head to BASSOON BAR, an elegant, relaxed hotel bar with black and cream decor, for classic cocktails and live lounge music. The young man singing was absolutely amazing!

The love of a #family is #life’s greatest #blessing.

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AUBAINE SELFRIDGES

Another French favorite! This all-day bistro is a modern, light-filled space with exposed pipes, tiled floors and gorgeous purple flower decoration. If you’re looking for a restaurant near Bond Street, look no further. This spot is in the midst of the luxury shoe department in Selfridges. Aubaine is perfect for those who wish to shop and lunch. Sounds perfect if you ask me!

PEGGY PORSCHEN

By now you know I love pink, so Peggy Porschen is no exception. This pink, chic bakery features creative cupcakes, fancy cakes and other sweet treats, plus tea and champagne. What else could a girl want? This spot is notorious for “flatlay” photos and exterior snapshots. I had the chance to shoot here with a London-based photographer and came across a few other people trying to snap a photo as well. It’s too pretty to pass up!

Spring has sprung at the Peggy Porschen Parlour! #pretty #flowers @dickinsondoris #greatcakes #coffee #cupcakes #peggyporschen

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CLERKWELL GRIND

This restaurant is located in an old warehouse building in Clerkenwell, which is cool within itself. The cobalt blue and pink décor makes for the perfect photo. Plus, the food is delicious – serving up breakfast, lunch and dinner. The Club Bar portion is open late night and offers an assortment of dinks as well.


MUST-SEE LOCATIONS

BYWATER STREET, CHELSEA

In the heart of Chelsea is Bywater Street, a small little alcove lined with colorful houses and a cobblestone street. Among this area you can find “Brownstone” style houses ranging in soft colors like baby pink, soft yellow and light blue. This is the perfect spot to capture a photo or to just take a leisurely stroll. What I was most impressed by was the amount of homeowners that I noticed coming and going while I posed for photos. The street may appear secluded, but everyone was out and about.

This side street is goals. #London #TravelPublyssity

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WESTMINSTER

This area is an obvious must-see. Here, you can see how strikingly beautiful the Parliament Building and Big Ben are. Plus, the London Eye makes for a great backdrop for any photo. If you have the time, you can even purchase a ticket and ride the London Eye to get 360 views of the entire city. As if that’s not enough, pop into an infamous red photo booth for a signature London-esque picture.

The view from that day of the boat trip on the river Thames 🛥

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NOTTING HILL

This affluent district in West London is extremely picturesque with buildings featuring colorful hues and beautiful architecture. Arrive early in the morning to avoid big crowds so you can get the perfect shot.  Denbigh Terrace road, just off Portabello road is recommended.

CHERRY BLOSSOM AVENUE IN GREENWICH PARK

If you’re visiting London in the springtime, be sure to stop by this beautiful treasure. The avenue leading up to the Ranger’s House is covered by a slew of cherry trees, which leave remnants of beautiful pink petals all over the ground. If you’re lucky enough to see this beautiful sight, you’ll understand why it’s made the list.


SHOPS

LIBERTY LONDON

This place is a must-see London staple. Liberty is a department store on Great Marlborough Street in the West End of London. The store sells an array of luxury goods including clothing, cosmetics and fragrances, jewelry, accessories, homeware, furniture, stationery and gifts. The spot is famous for its floral and graphic prints, which are sold at the store. Plus, you’ll notice the outside of the shop, including its lovely flower display, is often showcased on social media.

I’ve taken this exact same photo every time I’ve been in London 😂🙈 #jetsetjrs #london #libertylondon

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FORTNUM & MASON

Aside from Tiffany & Co, I’ve never seen a store use turquoise packaging – until now. This department store in Piccadilly is unlike anywhere I’ve ever been. Within, you can find an assortment of gourmet chocolate truffles, biscuits and teas, as well as an array of décor like teapots, serving dishes and linens.

Hello, London. #GoodMorning #RiseAndShine #ThisIsLondon #Piccadilly #Fortnums | FortnumAndMason.com

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HARRODS

I couldn’t leave out this famous luxury department store. While it’s unlikely you’ll be shopping for home furnishings or high-end décor while traveling, you can head to the “souvenir” floor to purchase some affordable keepsakes such as ornaments, scarves and trinkets.

Hope you enjoyed this guide! Any questions? Let me know!

Travel Diary: Tulum, Mexico

Travel Diary: Tulum, Mexico

I have to be honest, Tulum wasn’t really on my radar long before I decided to pack my bags and partake on a 6-day trip. A friend of mine recently had visited and her pictures were just so beautiful that I knew I needed to check it out for myself. I followed in her footsteps and booked a stay at Coco Tulum, an “eco-chic” hotel that features an old style cabaña village on the beach.

Upon arrival, the staff was just so pleasant and wonderful. On my initial walk to my “hut”, where I’d be staying for the next 5 nights, I was immediately drawn to the beauty of Tulum/the resort. My room was literally a few steps from the beautiful turquoise ocean and each hut has its own hammock and little patio for taking in the views.

My favorite part was the hotel beach club, which has the most beautiful white and light turquoise aesthetic.  Also in the hotel was this amazing Italian restaurant, Juanita Diavola, which churns out fresh pizzas from a brick oven. They also serve non-Italian options like smoothies, fresh juices and fish.

While my hotel stay was as magical as could be, what I also loved about Tulum was how free you were to roam around the town.  My friends and I found ourselves walking right into other hotels to enjoy their amenities like their beaches or restaurants. Everyone was so chill that they never asked questions and happily made your stay an enjoyable one. Below, I’m going to list some of my must see places in Tulum!

Hotels (for day trips + lunch)

  • Coco Tulum (where I stayed); If you’re not staying here, at least walk to the beach club for lunch to take in the beautiful views and delicious food.
  • Ziggy’s; We stumbled upon this place during a walk on the beach and decided to go back for dinner one night. The food was amazing (get the tuna nachos) and the ambiance was beautiful! There was a live band and fire pit.
  • Papaya Playa Project; A must see! We walked here one day (what felt like a mile-long walk, if not further) and we were so happy we did! The beach is beautiful, but what I really loved was the outdoor seating during lunch time. There was live music and amazing fajitas.
  • Zamas; The New York Times recommended this colorful hotel. While we didn’t stay long and just passed through, I love the energy and colorful environment. I’d recommend going for drinks/lunch.

Restaurants

  • Juanita Diavola (restaurant in Coco Tulum)
  • Gitano; My favorite restaurant by far! While most of Tulum is low key, this place is fun! The atmosphere is beautiful (think lights and disco balls draped under lush trees) and the food was delicious too!
  • Hartwood; I’m kicking myself because we actually didn’t even make it to Hartwood (we tried, but it’s closed on Monday’s so keep that in mind). However, I’d still recommend it because EVERYONE you talk to will tell you it’s the best restaurant in Tulum.
  • Celti; This is located in the heart of town (will need to take a cab) and is true authentic Mexican. You feel like you’re dining at grandmas house.
  • Mateos; The best taco joint in town! Go for drinks and a good time.
  • La Zebra; We didn’t make it, but people go here for salsa lessons and dancing!

Things to do

  • Chichen Itza (Mayan Ruins); A must see! These are considered 1 of the 7 “new” wonders of the world. Recommendation: we didn’t get a tour guide and instead just read up on everything prior to going. We were able to walk through in about 1 hour vs. being stuck on a 2 hour tour. We arranged a car from the hotel for around $250 USD (for four people) that took us to the ruins and cenotes.
  • Cenotes; These are a natural pit, or sinkhole, resulting from the collapse of limestone bedrock that exposes groundwater underneath. The natural mineral water is amazing for your skin, plus they are BEAUTIFUL. We went to the Cenote Kil Il (which is one of the most scenic ones). I’d recommend it!
  • Shop; There are hidden shops throughout the strip of land parallel to the beach (where all the restaurants are). The shops could be a bit pricey, so for the authentic stuff head into the center of town (you’ll need a cab to bring you).
  • Yoga on the beach; Coco Tulum offers private sessions for $20 a head
  • Massages; You can walk along the beach to find one