Traveling Punta Cana

What would the Winter season be without an escape to a tropical paradise? Although I love living in New York City, this time of year can really drag me down. My boyfriend convinced me to book a tropical vacation months ago and I’m so glad we did. Punta Cana you really did not disappoint!

I had never been to the Dominican Republic before but many of my friends that I work with originally have family from the island. I had gotten an amazing recommendation for the all-inclusive resort Excellence Punta Cana and could not have been happier. Thank you to all of the staff that made our time there so great! The rooms felt brand new, the beach and pool were clean, the food was great and quite literally endless. On top of all of that the prices were extremely reasonable (almost shockingly so). I can’t wait to plan my next trip back!

As far as excursions go, we couldn’t wait to head out for some sailing and snorkeling. The company Happy Fish took us out on a catamaran boat sailing for around 2 hours. We then jumped in and got to do some great snorkeling and swimming. I could not recommend this excursion enough either. Overall the whole experience was about 4 hours.

There’s no doubt that getting to some warmer weather in the middle of Winter really helps lift my spirits. As we try to push on through the next few months of winter, I can attempt to hold onto my tan and dream about sunshine and paradise.

Exploring San Francisco

Being able to escape New York once in awhile is definitely a treat, and a city like San Francisco is the perfect place to do so. Besides that fact that walking can be difficult (I see you hills), this city has everything. Here are some of my favorite places I explored while on a short weekend there.

Mission Thrift

Seated right in the heart of the Mission District this thrift store has a ton of character and definitely was worth seeing. The Mission is also home to the Everlane Lab and a Reformation storefront.

Tartine

This bakery has probably the best croissant I’ve ever eaten. This legendary spot is well known for having decadent cakes and eclair’s also so make a trip here! Tartine Manufactory is the bakery’s restaurant and is relatively nearby the bakery but I didn’t make it there.

Mission Dolores Park

Peaceful, sunny and full of people even on a weekday. This park was the perfect way to end a day of non-stop walking.

Mr. Holmes Bakery

Well-known for their cruffin I had to make a spot here to pick up a few pastries for my family to try. I throughly enjoyed the cruffin. They also come out with a special flavor each day; you never know what you might get!

Jane on Fillmore

I heard so many things about this place before arriving. Jane has an awesome menu and an inviting atmosphere for a perfect lunch. It can get crowded but waiting for a table is so worth it!

Haight-Ashbury Streets

The birthplace of the hippie movement still has a ton of spunk. Lined with trendy thrift stores, record shops and cafes. I loved exploring here with my family. It’s also nearby some awesome parks.

Painted Ladies

What San Francisco trip would be complete without a trip to the iconic Full House setting? The painted ladies are truly awesome but be prepared for the walk up-hill to get to them!

Cliff House

Sure, it may be a huge tourist destination but Cliff House is a really a must-see in my opinion. The views are incredible and is definitely unlike anything we ever get in NYC. Make sure to take a jacket because the winds and fog can get chilly. Catch the sunset here and a few drinks.

Overall my short trip 3-day trip to San Francisco was definitely sweet. This city is large with a ton of things to see so make sure to come hungry and ready for exploring!

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!

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.

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!