Diving in Puerto Vallarta: Los Arcos

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The best way to share my dive experience at Los Arcos is through pictures.

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Los Arcos = The Arches

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Virgin Mary at 50 ft

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Stingray

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Stingray trying to blend in

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Exchanging camera shots with the camera guide

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Underwater life at its best.

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Sea life at 90 feet

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School of fish

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Love seeing all the starfish

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Peaceful

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Some fish at 90 feet

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Checking out the life on “Deaths Wall”

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Coral life

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Fish trying to blend in

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LOVE

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Praying the jellyfish stays near the dive master

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Safety stop (or as the camera guy put it “my angelica” moment)

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Another good dive complete!

Picking a travel destination

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Picking a travel destination can be a hard thing to do sometimes but doesn’t have to be a stressful thing. Here are a few simple tips when picking a destination:

  1. It doesn’t have to be some exotic location. Sometimes the best hidden gems are merely a car ride away. Traveling doesn’t have to be expensive.
  2. Use the internet to research destinations. Find “Top 10 Lists” or “Best Destinations To Visit”. There are tons of great travel bloggers (theblondeabroad, Adventurous Kate) that have a fantastic social media presence. I always get great travel ideas when I see some of the pictures they post. I also love this book.Snip20170325_14
  3. Create and pick a place from a bucket list. We all have places and things that we want to visit or do. Every time you say “If I could go here someday, I would” put it on the list. Now make it a point to go there. Don’t live your life with “should of, could of, would of”.
  4. Don’t be afraid to pick a destination and go solo! There is nothing wrong with putting on a backpack and going on an adventure.
  5. Once you pick a destination, try to do things that are a little uncommon. It is easy to stick to the “touristy” stuff but sometimes it is fun to just make your own itinerary and live a little. Don’t be afraid!

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Do EPIC shit!

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I’m back from a brief hiatus and time to get blogging again. Over the last few months, I have been blessed to have some amazing adventures with some pretty awesome people.If you follow me on Snapchat or Instagram you have seen some snippets of what I have been up to.  I never thought at my age I would be able to take the world by storm. I learned very quickly that I needed to be the storm. I really have embraced that motto fully and have done things that I only dreamed of. Life is full of so many adventures and today is just the start of them. I can’t wait to share them with you through my blog. Hope you stick along for the ride!

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Travel Must Have’s: August

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5 products that I have fallen in love with this month

 

  1. Packing cubes => These are so convenient for separating items. My parents gifted me some a few Christmas’ ago and I never take a trip without one or two.
  2. Allbirds => These are by far the most comfortable shoe to travel in. They are made of wool and are super lightweight. I love that I don’t have to wear socks with them. I haven’t actually run in them but I typically wear these on the airplane and these end up being my walk around shoes when I don’t have flip flops on my feet.
  3. Lo & Sons Catalina Bag => This has become my go to bag for traveling. I can do anything from an overnight to 4 days (if packed efficiently).
  4. Snapchat => This is the best way to keep up with friends and fellow bloggers. I have added all my favorite travel people: The Blonde Abroad, Chief Adventurer, Expat Edna (she is covering behind the scenes at the Olympics), and xx.  Their stories are fun and they keep it personal which is cool.
  5. Wetbag => In the summer months I always have a bikini in my suitcase. The wetbag is great because it keeps it separate from my clothes.

 

Destination: Las Vegas, Nevada

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For about the last 10 years I make at least one trip to Vegas every year. The annual trip has fallen over July 4th for a few years now and actually my travel partner in crime, Emmeline, has come the last four years. I know it is one of the hottest times of the year but when you are sitting poolside temperature is just a number.

I love Las Vegas for so many reasons and it doesn’t even involve gambling. Here are my top 5 things to do in Vegas.

Day bed at Cypress Lounge

The Cypress Lounge is the ADULT only pool at the Bellagio. It is a little bit of a splurge. The chairs are $50-75 a day (more during the holidays) but totally worth it. You have dedicated pool attendants (cabana boys) and a server that sees that your cup never goes empty. What is cool is that starting around 11 am, you get treats on the hour every hour. It normally starts with a mocktail and ends with an ice sorbet around 3 pm.

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Daily view from the chair

I recommend that you get there right at 9 am so you can fully get your monies worth. Last call is around 5 pm and this pool closes at 6 pm.

Drinks at Cosmopolitan Lounge

There is a drink menu…… and there is a DRINK MENU. This lounge has so many creative drinks (a little pricey) but absolutely a must! Oh and don’t forget to order of the menu because they have some secret drinks that are worth asking for.

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Try the Schnozberries =>Thumbs up

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Yes that is a flower-pot with the drink.

Shows

This is the city where entertainment is at your fingertips. I have seen every Cirque Du Soleil show on the strip and can tell you none of them disappoint. If you are a first timer I suggest starting with Mystere. It is the oldest show in residence. I think it has been running for 20 years. I saw it the year it opened and have seen it several times since and every time the show is different. I like it as a first time show because it does a good job with incorporating a variety of all what they are know best for => amazing acrobatics. The story line is easy to follow too!

If you are looking for something different take in a concert. A lot of artists come in for a show or have limited residencies. Totally take advantage of it. I managed to score last-minute VIP tickets to see Britney Spears over July 4th. I had always wanted to see her in concert and I finally did!

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Hey Britney….

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So close we could touch her.

Last July 4th, I was able to see Kenny Chesney.  Make sure you check out Lasvegas.com to see all the headliners.

Sushi at Yellowtail

BEST place for sushi and ambiance. It can be romantic or just a night out with girls. Two things that are a must: 1) Get a reservation and ask for patio seating and 2) order the Popping Spicy Roll. I guarantee that if you are able to get both in you will have an AMAZING experience.

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Random fun and sort of free things

1. Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Gardens => They change-up the theme 4 times a year and they are different every year. The horticulturists and designers are true artists. One trip I am going to do a behind the scenes tour just so I can see how they come up with such amazing themes. The current theme is “Under the Sea”. I guarantee you will leave there speechless.


2. Las Vegas Sign =>Your Instagram or any social media post won’t be complete without a stop here.

3. Shops at Caesars Forum => This is a cool place to just walk. Make sure you look up to enjoy the painted ceiling. You will forget what time of day it is. If you manage to make it to the end (Cheesecake Factory) hang out for the free show.

4.  Downtown Container Park => Check out how shipping containers were reused and upcycled into boutique stores and restaurants. If you are feeling hungry stop at Pinches Tacos. Talk about fresh salsa…….

5.  Neon Museum => This does have an entrance fee but totally worth it. You can see and even touch some of the signs removed from various places around Las Vegas. If you every wondered “what did they do with those signs” now you will know!

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Packing 101

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Packing to me has turned into a little bit of a science. Years ago I was a horrible packer. I would wait until the last-minute and cram things into a suitcase. I always would try to plan for every bit of weather possible with numerous “just in case outfits”. Over the years,  I have learned lugging suitcases around with clothes that I will never wear was not fun. Here are a few tips to help with your next trip:

Tip 1: Check the weather starting a week out from your trip. I add the destination to my weather app on my iPhone.

Tip 2: Pack early!! I start a week out for planned trips. I lay a suitcase in the spare bedroom and start placing clothes in the suitcase. As the week goes on, I whittle my clothes down based on the weather forecast. I even take a piece of paper and write down my outfits. This helps to identify pieces that I can mix and max. No need to pack 2 black sweatshirts. Figure out how to make the 1 work.

Tip 3: Have travel kits pre-made to just throw in your suitcase.  Some people might find this a luxury but to me I like to have “kits” already put together of my traveling items. This makes it super easy or put together a suitcase. The kits I have:

  • Toiletry: Take a quart size Ziploc bag and put a toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, lotion, razor,
  • Hair: I have really long hair so this type of bag is a must for me. It contains a hat, headbands, hair ties, brush, comb,
  • Makeup: Take a quart size Ziploc bag and put duplicates of your make up in here. I don’t wear a ton of makeup so it contains the basics: moisturizer, foundation, powder, mascara, eyeliner, perfume When at all possible I try to take advantage of samples from Sephora or any beauty counter. Don’t be afraid to ask for samples when you purchase something. These are perfect for traveling and you can dispose of after using.
  • Running: Since I run everywhere I travel, I keep a bag backed of my running essentials => running skirt, sports bra, tank, socks, sunglasses, running belt and Gu. I have learned that I don’t really need to take a running outfit for each day. Reusing is okay. Besides I always include a small spray bottle of the sport Febreeze that helps to keep it fresh.

Tip 4:  Roll clothes because it saves space. There is a continual debate on whether rolling or folding is better. I prefer the rolling for one simple reason – keeps my outfits together. Once I decide on my outfits, I roll them all together. This makes it convenient when I am unpacking because I don’t have to remember what I had planned to go with what.

Tip 5: Don’t panic if there is space left in your suitcase. There is nothing that says you have to use the full weight allowance of 50 pounds. I am pretty sure that the airlines would be happy that your bag didn’t require a “Heavy” tag.

Happy traveling!

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Destination: Washington DC

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I was looking for a quick trip to get me out-of-town for the night and headed up to Washington DC. This was a last-minute trip but I decided that I wanted to make this a trip of unusual things to see in Washington DC.

First, I hopped on Kayak and found a great deal on a Kimpton hotel right in downtown Washington DC. What drew me to this chain was their pet friendly vibes and it being on Dupont Circle. I wanted to be within walking distance to stuff.  I admit that I am a pretty loyal to Hilton because of being a Gold member but this place was too good to pass up.

Basically I had 24 hours in the city and I made the most of it. The whole purpose of this trip was to cross off items I had said I wanted to do never did.

International Spy Museum

Talking about a FUN museum. I could have spent 5 hours in this museum. The coolies thing was they had en entire floor dedicated to James Bond. I grew up on watching James Bond movies with my dad and personally think that Roger Moore was the best Bond with Daniel Craig being a close second. The museum was celebrating the 50 years of villains. This was the highlight of the trip!

Shopping in Georgetown

I admit I have done this before but could not pass up a quick stop at Tory Burch (window     shopping only) or a stop at Georgetown Cupcakes. The walk back from M Street to the hotel also let me pass one of the coolest art pieces at the Embasy of Qatar.

Biking Embassy Row

Another perk of staying at the Kimpton was free bikes. I had planned to rent a bike from the Capital City Bike Share bit free works so much better. Normally I would be skittish of biking in such a big city but the dedicated bike lanes made it safe and fun.

Visit the National Cathedral

At the request of my friend I stopped in the cathedral for service on Sunday and to find the gargoyles. I spent a good portion of the service staring at the beautiful stain glass windows and pondering all the famous people who have sat in these pews. After the service I did spend time wandering the grounds and circling the building to find the gargoyles. After not being able to find them I went and did the self guided tour of the cathedral. I read the story behind each of the xx stain glass windows and literally got lost exploring all the mini chapels

Paddle Boat at Tidal Basin

Thank you Naila Abbasova and her WowAir snapchat story for inspiring this must do! She had so much fun she did it twice. I took full advantage of the hour-long batter powered (yes I opted not to paddle) to cruise the basin and check out the Washington and Jefferson. From the boat you can also see the Japanese Pagoda,  FDR Memorial, MLK Memorial, and planes flying very low into Reagan National. I brought along my lunch and a book to pass some of my time. I bet doing this when the Cherry Blossoms are in bloom or at sunset would be a fun experience.

Walk Old Town Alexandria

I love all the eclectic shops on King Street. I am in search of a new light fixture over the dining room table but struck out.

It was a fun trip and just the short getaway I needed. I was glad that I didn’t bring the pup because I wouldn’t have been able to do as much on Sunday. It is best to leave a few things for the next trip up!

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