Traveling Greece: Athens Photo Essay

Despite the mixed reviews we had from others, Athens was a nice surprise at the end of our Greek vacation. The Old City which is where the Acropolis sits directly in the middle of is full of beautiful white washed houses with terra-cotta plated roofs. Graffiti lines the streets in the most beautiful arrays of color. Cafes and tavernas dot the streets and keep it loud enough to not feel empty.

The National Gardens are a nice shady respite from the blaring heat of the sun of this city. The neighborhood of Monastiraki which lies close by has tons of restaurants, and a huge outdoor market.

Here is a sprinkle of some of my favorite photos from Athens. Hope you enjoy!

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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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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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Thoughts of Gramercy

The summer is rapidly approaching, and with it is coming a huge new exciting change. Moving in with my boyfriend! One of the things we agreed on 100% was location. The Gramercy Park area has always been one of my favorite neighborhoods in Manhattan. It’s small enough to feel like an actual home, but close enough to the most exciting parts of the city that you don’t feel out of touch.

Though just getting into the beginning of our search, I almost dropped on the ground when I received a text from him; “the apartment has a key”. One of the oldest remaining private parks in New York State, Gramercy Park only has less than 400 keys circulating. Most of the buildings surrounding the park have keys as well as the Gramercy Park Hotel which has several for guests. You have to pay a decent chunk of change annually to have access. But the money is very well-spent [as you can see from these gorgeous photos].

A beautiful sunny warm day was the perfect backdrop for some photography [I know, MORE flowers]. From the ornate buildings to the gorgeous landscaping, I could have spent all day here. P.S. I see you Chrysler Building!

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Spring or Summer?

More spring! Can you believe this beautiful Easter day? Despite being so humid and hot, which brings back stifling memories of NYC in the dead of summer, the day was a much needed escape from jackets and umbrellas. Though you may be sick of my pictures of flowers and Spring foliage I couldn’t help myself yet again at Washington Square Park where everyone from NYU students to 80-year olds were enjoying the beauty. Even the piano man was out, but to my surprise it was a different guy than I normally catch there.

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Brooklyn Beauty

Let’s get real, even though I may have traveled to Brooklyn for this set of photos the truth is that I rarely find myself in the borough. Brooklyn at times can seem large and overwhelming especially when there are so many different neighborhoods to explore. My favorite ice cream shop in NYC just so happens to be Brooklyn based — Ample Hills Creamery is a stop you can’t pass up. Their 2-story rooftop deck Gowanus location is awesome but I stopped by their Prospect Heights location before heading to Prospect Park to enjoy some beautiful weather recently. Signs of springtime life are popping up everywhere!

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