Traveling Greece: Naxos

After we headed out to Mykonos, our second stop on our Greek journey was to the island of Naxos. This gorgeous island is the largest in the Cyclades island group and is only a short hour ride by ferry from Mykonos. It ended up being the perfect balance between the lively and super touristy island we had just left.

You step off the ship to see the Temple of Apollo sitting there on the hillside, its arch watching over the entire town. It sticks out from the mainland into the water on this little peninsula surrounded by beautiful blue ocean. It’s no wonder the ancient Greek’s picked the spot! It made for amazing pictures, and crowds lined up to see the sunset from the top at night.

Naxos Town

The town of Naxos is so fun! Though much smaller than Mykonos and quaint, it really had a lot to offer. The road that runs along the water is lined with shops and restaurants, cafes and cocktail bars. Families wander through the downtown every night of the week. Soccer (football) plays on outdoor screens at cafes, with lounge chairs and couches and strong espresso. Octopus hang on strings outside the restaurants just waiting to be picked by you to eat. It really is amazing.

Head up the side roads, and you’ll soon find steep narrow winding alleyways and quaint shops leading up to the castle of the town. It has been renovated into a walking museum of sorts and has some beautiful architecture hidden away inside.

It’s safe to say we were enchanted right away by this island. The hotel we picked ended up being perfect here also. Aeolis Boutique Hotel was situated just outside of downtown which made us feel like we really lived amongst the Greeks for our two short nights here.

Beaches

Naxos luckily has a fully functioning bus system, and for 3 euro we were able to jump on for a short drive over to Plaka beach which was highly recommended. These beaches are much less touristy than Mykonos. We went around 6pm to a mostly empty beach and stayed to enjoy our own private sunset on the water. Couldn’t have been more beautiful!

Overall

Naxos was the perfect compliment to Mykonos and I would highly recommend. You could even spend more days here than we did and do some of the bus tours or boating excursions the island has to offer. The quaint but lively town offered us the perfect view into true Greek island life.

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Traveling Greece: Mykonos

Where do I even begin with you, Greece? When my best friend texted me out of the blue and said “let’s get away”, picking our destination was an easy choice. Greece is known for being beautiful, and I fell in love with each place we went for different reasons. I can’t believe I am finally starting to share all of these pictures with you! Let’s talk Mykonos first.

Our trip included hopping from island to island followed by Athens, but we spent the most time out of any place in Mykonos. The amazing beaches and party scene here has given this island quite a name for itself. Though we knew we didn’t want to dive too deep into the crazy-ness, we just had to see for ourselves what makes this island so special.

Our Hotel

We got extremely lucky with our hotel pick. There were tons out there but I would highly recommend Hotel Alkyon to anyone traveling to Mykonos. These fantastic views overlooked the town because of the hill/cliff/mountain it sits on and was a short walking distance to everything there! The pool at our hotel may have been our favorite place on the whole island, especially for sunset views.

Mykonos Town

The town is lively and bustling with tourists and Greek families (yes, people actually do live here!). Cats roam the narrow white and gray stone streets. Flowers creep down on vines from overhead planters in windows. The winding alleyways lead you to something beautiful with each new turn. Tons of stores from high-end luxury designers to small mom-and-pop tourist spots, along with tons of restaurants/bars/cafes. I highly recommend walking down to the water here to see the windmills and the yachts at the old port (especially at sunset).

The Beaches

I will preface this by saying: rent a car! The beaches are too far to walk (they all have long steep roads down the mountain-sides) and are even far apart from each other. Each beach also has a different vibe so make sure to interview others about their favorites before choosing where to go. All of the beaches you pay somewhere between 15-30 euro for a lounge chair with umbrella and they wait on you table-service style.

Elia beach was by far my favorite; it’s crystal clear water was overlooked by beautiful mountain cliffs with houses and a view hotels. It was also all sand and no rocks which is a huge plus! It is more low-key and farther on the island making it slightly less touristy than others.

Paranga beach is a little more lively than Elia but also had a lot of families and children when we went. Music beats in the background and drinks are passed around all day! We had fun here. Scorpios overlooks this beach which is one of the many sprawling restaurants/bars/beach party spots in Mykonos.

Psarou beach was also gorgeous, with white sand and some really fun parties. We made a reservation at Nammos for lunch/dinner and it did not disappoint! This gorgeous high-end restaurant had amazing food and drinks, had bars butting right up to the sand, and really attracted the crowds. By the time we left people were up dancing on the tables and bars without a care in the world. I would definitely recommend this spot to anyone visiting Mykonos (but not families)!

Overall

Mykonos definitely blew me away. Though we craved some relaxation time away from the tourists at moments, being around so many others seeking out the island is truly wonderful. The scenery was also undeniably beautiful. The ultimate Greek island destination!

 

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A Day at Jones Beach

We are already at the end of July, and this past weekend was my first time heading to the beach. Talk about late to the game! It’s been such a busy season for me, it was nice to finally feel that sand under my feet.

My friend from Long Island picked me up at the train station and drove us to Robert Moses State Park. This spot is a little farther out on the Jones Beach strip but was well worth the drive: the beach is long and less crowded than other fields and generally really clean. Through some small cloud cover I was able to work on my base tan for this upcoming trip to the Greek islands and shoot some pretty great pictures at the same time.

Beach Beauty Tip: I always bring a conditioning spray and a wide-tooth comb in my bag when I hit the sand. Everyone knows that “beach waves” at the actual beach is a myth; its more like a “beach mess of knots-and-tangles”. The minute you get out of the water, spray Verb’s Leave-In Mist liberally all over your hair and comb it through. It’s an easy and much more comfortable look than the salty/sandy sticky knotty mess that we all know.

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Life in a New Neighborhood: Madison Square Park

I know, I know. I’ve been bad. You haven’t since me on the blog since the END OF JUNE. How could I do this to you guys? The good news is that now that my apartment move is finished, my birthday passed by, the craziness of the July 4th holiday is behind us, I will be back in the full swing of blogging in no time.

I have some really exciting content on the way. My all-time favorite hair care brand Verb sent me a goodie box last week with some free samples I can’t wait to show you guys. I have been filling my apartment with a ton of new goodies, and I can’t wait to get some shots of that (once it’s finished of course). Last but not least, I am traveling to Greece at the beginning of August and can’t wait to show you everything from my trip.

Can you even believe it? Talk about a busy summer.

For now, here are some snapshots of beautiful Madison Square Park which is just a short 10-min walk away from my new apartment. It’s always been one of my favorite outdoor spaces in NYC. The location is central, the Flatiron building is so cool, and the neighborhood has a ton to see and do.

P.S. Thoughts of Gramercy is where you can find all of the shots from another nearby beautiful outdoor space, Gramercy Park.

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Grand Banks on a Summer Saturday

When a fierce rainstorm decided to roll through to cancel our Pinknic plans, my friends and I last minute had to throw something together instead for our Saturday. We had been eyeing up Grand Banks at Pier 25 in Tribeca for awhile and decided this was the perfect savior plan for the day.

The atmosphere at this small but beautiful boat is top-notch. Grand Banks boasts amazing cocktails and soft island music. You almost feel that any minute the boat could take off for a tropical island, or even Nantucket. The menu is small but features really good oysters and upscale American summer fare. We all opted to go for the lobster roll which definitely did not disappoint. To drink, I recommend ordering the Skipper Key (made with rose, cucumber and strawberry).

We all left with a great buzz and some sunburns, but were overall really impressed with this place. As opposed to the party atmosphere of The Frying Pan this is definitely more of a date spot or a place to impress parents when they visit the city. I can only imagine how great it is at night when the sun is setting and it gets cooler on the water.

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Summer Nights at Citi Field

They call baseball “America’s Past-time” but most of the games I go to involve ice cream and beer rather than sport watching. Baseball games in the summer are undeniably fun. I’m slowly in the works of putting together a comprehensive guide to my favorite places in New York. Citi Field is bound to make this list.

Citi Field (where the Mets play) is super easy to get to by the 7 train on the NYC subway line and tickets are much cheaper than at the more touristy Yankee Stadium. Last summer, I purchased tickets in the lower level section for $30 each. After the games MTA offers express 7 trains back to Manhattan so you can easily get to the stops at Grand Central and Times Square without much difficulty. Express trains are also available on weekdays to the stadium.

The stadium feels brand-new and clean. They have all the food you could possibly want like Nathan’s and Mister Softee. My friends and I when we went recently were impressed at the beer selection they offer. Citi Field had everything from basic Bud Light to Shocktop to Brooklyn Summer Ale. They just so happened to also stock one of my favorite craft beers Victory’s Summer Love from a local PA based brewery.

Next time you are planning a trip to NYC in the summer, consider riding out to Citi Field.

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Wide Leg Jeans for Summer

As I’ve grown older I more frequently stay away from shorts even on the hottest days of summer. Being a 5’8″ human can make shorts seem inappropriate in some cases, and they don’t necessarily fit me well. When choosing jeans in the summer it’s important to buy pieces you feel comfortable in but can stay relatively cool in as well.

I’ve had my eye on the wide leg jean trend for awhile. You can find them at nearly every denim retailer these days. While I wasn’t ready to splurge on this pair of Madewell jeans, the pair I found from Uniqlo satisfied my craving and also are one of the most comfortable pieces in my closet. They fit like a glove and look fantastic with dressier tops or with tucked-in casual T shirts.

I know what you’re thinking: sure it looks cute, but wasn’t she sweating all day? The key is breathability. Uniqlo denim is made from a super soft lightweight fabric and the wide leg gives a breezy feel without being too constricting. They are super stretchy as well so you don’t feel like you are suffocating when sitting down. They check off nearly every criteria on my list, and being wallet-friendly isn’t a problem either!

Top is Anthropologie [Similar Here]. Bottoms are Uniqlo [Here]. Shoes are Steve Madden [Similar Here].

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How to Use Succulents to Dress up a Space

I am happy to say that I officially signed the lease on my new apartment! Could not be happier. Now that the first step is done, the next part is where the fun begins; decorating!

Especially in NYC, having green things inside your apartment can help a space feel like an oasis and home-y. It creates a welcoming respite to the chaos and concrete outside. Browsing through the Union Square Greenmarket recently I couldn’t help myself at one of the flower vendors who had an amazing array of succulents and cacti for the home. I thought it would be fitting to talk about a few tips to help pull off green in your home.

Quantity: When it comes to house plants, grouping them in places that make sense are key. Choose a few of each variety that you like, and style them together in groups of 3 around your home.

Placement: Because they don’t necessarily need much light there is no need to put them near a window, but I still recommend placing them around the outskirts of your living room rather than smack dab in the middle. On the work desk in the corner or around the TV on your TV stand are a couple of great places to start. This way it can help pull your eye out to the green, and make your space look bigger!

Maintain: I love the idea of having succulents or cacti in the kitchen for added style, but you don’t want any mess in your food! Using floating shelves can be super beneficial in any room to keep your plants away from your nice furniture and avoid messes. [Try this shelf from Ikea].

Do you have any other tips on using succulents in the home? More to come will be the reveal of the inside of the apartment (once it’s FINALLY done of course)!

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Brooklyn Heights Photo Essay

New York is one of those cities that just demands exploration, and some of the best ways to do it is with a walking tour! Free Tours on Foot has some of the best selection of tours that run every week and weekend and are completely free (unless you want to donate to your awesome tour guides!).

My friends and I picked the Brooklyn Heights one for a Saturday with no other plans and it turned out to be so fantastic. We learned a lot about the history of New York, and it’s cool to know that this place was not always the concrete jungle. Not to mention the photo sessions were top-notch. Even though I had explored on my own through Brooklyn Heights before, the tour made me see the brownstones and water-front views in a whole new way.

Shoutout to John for a funny and easy-going tour!

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Do-It-Yourself Headboard

While deep in the midst of apartment hunting, I can’t stop thinking about interior design options almost as obsessively as trying to find a place. Home decor has been a bittersweet topic for me ever since graduating and “becoming an adult”. Options are expensive and the amount of decor and furniture you need to fill a space can be overwhelming not just in price but also in finding that perfect piece.

I’ve been browsing West Elm and CB2 for inspiration lately, but figured I would talk about one of the most innovative and inexpensive home design moves I ever pulled: making my own headboard! Since I was bringing my old bed from home when moving into my first apartment, and it didn’t have a gorgeous headboard to elevate the style, my parents and I got creative and made our own.

Step 1

Form the base for the headboard with four 2×4’s and use a drill to combine them into a rectangle with extra hanging off the end pieces for the legs. [We had measured out the width of my full length bed before starting this endeavor]. We then added a flat piece of plywood to the top and bottom to solidify the “box” we had just made.

Step 2

Next hit the craft store. I picked up a couple yards of batting (like you use for quilt making) and some plain color fabric that would match my design ideas. Batting is basically the inside of the quilt that makes it puffy, so using it on my headboard made it soft and comfortable so that I could still lean up against it while sitting around in bed.

Step 3

Next we grabbed the staple gun and proceeded to stretch the batting first and fabric second around the headboard to secure it. The result was clean and chic and added the right pop of color to the apartment space. The whole project cost me around $30.

Would love to hear about more of your creative apartment DIY ideas!

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