travel diary

Catalina Island Travel Diary

A few weeks ago I went to Catalina Island for the day, and it was so beautiful I had to share. Catalina Island is is a little island off the coast of Southern California, about an hour ferry ride away from Orange County. I have had it on my list of places to go since I moved to LA, and finally made the little trip.

When you pull up to the island, it looks like a postcard from the South of France. There are colorful houses lining the hills and boats docked in the water — it truly looks like paradise. I think one of the reasons I was so excited to travel here was because it reminded me so much of Nantucket Island. I used to go to Nantucket almost every summer with my family, and it is still one of my very favorite places in the world. Something about taking a ferry to a little island reminded me so much of those trips, which I loved.

Anyways, I thought I’d share a few recommendations for places to eat, things to do, and some places to stay on Catalina Island, in case you’re heading to the quaint little island in the near future.

 

What is your favorite place for a weekend getaway?

 

Joshua Tree Travel Diary

Last weekend I took a little day trip to Joshua Tree, which I have had on my list for quite some time now. It was unlike anywhere I have ever been before, and certainly did not disappoint! For those who aren’t familiar, Joshua Tee is a national park here in Southern California (roughly two and a half hours from LA, and just outside of Coachella Valley). It is in the Colorado and Mojave deserts, and mostly known for rugged rock formations, Joshua trees, and crazy cacti.

Whenever I go somewhere new, I like to create a little travel diary to showcase my top recommendations for you in case you’re planning a trip of your own. I typically give my suggestions for everywhere to eat, play, shop, and stay, but today’s guide is a little different. I left out the “shop” category since I didn’t do any shopping while I was there, and didn’t feel like there were any must-sees in that category. So, without further ado, here is my Joshua Tree National Park travel diary. I hope you enjoy x

{pin this to your travel pinterest board for future trips!}

Since I only spent one day in J-Tree, I’m going to give you what I would describe as the perfect day there:

So just outside of the national park there is the little town of Joshua Tree. I would suggest starting your morning there, with breakfast at Crossroads Café — they even have soyrizo as an option on the menu for my fellow vegans 🙂 Once you’re fueled and ready to go, I would make a pit stop at Joshua Tree Coffee Company and get a coffee to-go, then head into the park.

Since it is a national park, you will have to pay a fee to get in, but the pass is good for a few days. Once inside the park, I would hit a few things off the list under the “play” category. Arch Rock, Skull Rock, and Cholla Cactus Garden were some of my favorite hot spots. Driving through the park is also a sight within itself, and there are tons of places to pull off and take pictures or take in the scenery, which we did a few times.

We brought a lot of snacks with us, and there are a few stops along the road with picnic tables which was perfect. If you want to leave the park and go back into town for lunch or snacks, I would highly recommend Natural Sisters Café; they have juices and smoothies, soups, salads, sandwiches — the works. They even have options for vegan desserts… Take something to go to enjoy once back inside the park.

One thing that I would consider a must-do would be to watch the sunset at Key’s View. This is — I believe — the highest point in the park, and it overlooks all of Coachella Valley. It’s a beautiful view and makes for a perfect sunset viewing point. It was pretty crowded while we were there, so a lot of people had the same idea! J-Tree is known for its stunning sunsets so you won’t be disappointed 🙂

There was one thing on our list that we didn’t get to do, and that was the Smith Ranch Drive-In. I haven’t been to a drive-in movie theatre since sometime in middle school, and would have loved to go to one. It is outside of the park, a little ways past the town of Joshua Tree in Twentynine Palms. It’s a classic, cash-only drive-in, open Thursdays–Sundays. They also have a concessions stand with popcorn, candy, drinks, etc. Next time I am 100% planning on going here!

Since the park is so secluded and dark at night, it’s also a great place to stargaze. This was something I was really excited about! I have always really, really loved looking at the stars, so when I get to be in places like this where I get a great view of them, it always makes me really happy.

A few miscellaneous things to note: Dress in layers! There were times where it was super nice and warm in the sun, and others where the wind was blowing so much we couldn’t stay warm at all, lol. Definitely be ready to take layers off and put them back on at your next stop. Also, beware of rattlesnakes and other dangerous wildlife. We were told just to “not put your hands or feet anywhere you can’t see.”

Those are my top travel tips for a trip to Joshua Tree National Park. I hope you enjoyed!

 

What is your favorite weekend getaway destination? I’d love to hear about it 🙂 Thank you so much for reading x

A Los Angeles Fall

When I came to LA last year, I shared a lot of my favorite places to eat, play, shop, and stay in this travel diary. Now that I’ve lived here for a little bit and have spent an entire fall season here, I wanted to share an updated travel diary, but themed for fall. This will be perfect if you are visiting the area during this time of year, or if you live here and just need a few ideas for some fun things to do.

Fall in Southern California is a bit different than fall in the Northeast (where I’m from). It’s definitely a different type of festive, but still festive nonetheless. There is plenty to do, just without the changing leaves and chilly weather. If you’re in SoCal and looking for that, I’d say take a day trip to Big Bear. Without further ado, here is your guide to a Los Angeles fall…

First thing’s first: pumpkin picking. In my mind, nothing quite says fall like a pumpkin patch. I went to Mr. Bones Pumpkin Patch, which is in Culver City, and I loved it. Once you’re inside, you would never know that you’re in the middle of a big city, which was perfect. There were tons of pumpkins to choose from, along with some other fun activities and, of course, food. Fun fact: I randomly saw Mr. Chow from The Hangover while I was there… I can confidently say that there were never Hollywood stars at my pumpkin patches back home, lol.

It’s also no fun to go a fall season without at least one pumpkin spice latte. Though they are as basic as it gets, they’ve become this popular for good reason. I’m not embarrassed to say I’m a fan of pumpkin spice, as you know from this recipe I shared earlier this season. I’ve tried a few pumpkin spice lattes from different coffee shops in the area; this is my favorites (spoiler alert: they’re not Starbucks).

The winner in my eyes is Peet’s! They actually have locations all over California and even a few other states, so if you’re not in LA, you may still be in luck 🙂 One of the things I love about Peet’s is that the coffee is brewed in small batches so every cup is so so fresh. The pumpkin spice is delish, and I can’t wait to try their holiday drinks.

Another one of my very favorite parts of fall is going to haunted houses and hayrides. Fortunately, there are a few great options in LA. Some of the most popular spots are Los Angeles Haunted Hayride, Knott’s Scary Farm (which is down in Orange County) and Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights.

Pumpkin picking, pumpkin spice lattes, and haunted houses are staples for any fall, so I hope you enjoyed this quick guide on how you can get all three in LA!

What are your favorite things to do in LA in the fall? Thank you so much for reading x

Big Bear Travel Diary

Last week I took a mini road trip to Big Bear, which is a town in the San Bernardino Mountains, about two hours away from Los Angeles. Picture the perfect little ski town with mountains, a lake, cute shops and restaurants — the whole nine yards. It was the perfect fall getaway, and it was so nice to get a taste of fall, which we — of course — don’t get much of here in LA.

As most of you know, I grew up in Upstate New York, not far away from the Adirondacks. I would go to the mountains every fall, so it was nice to continue the tradition here in California. If you’re from the east coast or familiar with the ADK, Big Bear was very similar to Lake Placid or a even like a bigger Old Forge.

I haven’t shared a travel diary in quite some time, but this felt like the perfect opportunity. With all that being said, consider this my guide to the fall season in Big Bear, with all the best places to eat, play, shop, and stay. I hope you enjoy!

{pin this to your travel pinterest board for future trips!}

I was only in Big Bear for the day, so I didn’t get to do everything that I would have liked to. One of the things I so badly wanted to do but didn’t have enough time for was a helicopter ride. I have only been on one helicopter ride before, but had so much fun. I would love to do another one soon, and Big Bear would have been the perfect spot (especially with all of the colorful leaves!). However, these are just better excuses to return to Big Bear soon and get more done 🙂 I’m definitely going to visit during the wintertime and see the snowy mountains and hopefully even snowboard.

As soon as I got in town I stopped at The Copper Q for some coffee, and it was the perfect cup for walking around The Village at Big Bear Lake. I got latte with the vanilla soy milk, and it was the perfect amount of sweet. The Village is a specific area of the town where there are cute tree-lined streets with tons of shops and restaurants. It was so pretty, and just like the mountain towns in the Adirondacks.

After walking around the town for a bit, I drove around to some of the trails and parks just to scope out the fall colors. It was so peaceful and relaxing; I had such a great time just exploring for the day.

Even the drive up to Big Bear from LA is stunning; I pulled over so, so many times just to snap a few pics along the road. There are mountains as far as you can see, and with the fall foliage it couldn’t have been a more perfect view.

 

What is your favorite fall getaway destination? I’d love to hear about it 🙂 Thank you so much for reading x

Los Angeles Travel Diary (& Video!)

I touched down back in New York a few days ago, and have been in a delirious state ever since… Jet lag has magically hit me much, much harder than it did for my trip to Bali! Anyways, today I’m back with my favorite kind of post: a travel diary. I’m sharing all of my favorite places to eat, play, shop, and stay in the Los Angeles area (and boy, do I have a lot of recommendations!), and giving you all the details on my trip. Also, I have a quick video that I filmed while I was there, so stay tuned until the end to watch! Without further ado, here is my Los Angeles travel diary…

This was my first visit to LA, and I absolutely loved it! In fact, I was shocked at how much I enjoyed the city. It is so, so different than New York City — my second home — in the best ways possible. We all know the weather is near perfect, it is so much less crowded when you’re walking around, it felt cleaner, the people were friendlier, it is much more progressive — the list goes on and on! The traffic didn’t even bother me. What might be my favorite thing is how you have the mountains and the beach right in the same area; that’s essentially my dream world 🙂

Did I mention that I saw Kendall Jenner, Brittany Snow (one of my absolute favorites), and Cameron Dallas? I never see celebrities in NYC for some reason, so it was so funny to see so many in such a short amount of time.

{around west hollywood}

We stayed at an Airbnb in West Hollywood, which ended up being my favorite neighborhood in Los Angeles. The palm-tree lined streets were filled with cute coffee shops, tons of amazing shops and restaurants, and the coolest street art everywhere you looked. It was amazing.

My absolute favorite places to eat in WeHo were Carrera Café or Verve for morning coffee, Rawberri for an açai or pitaya bowl, Urth Café for lunch, and Gracias Madre (all plant-based Mexican? Yes, please!) for dinner. All of these places were picture perfect, and I would go back to each in a heartbeat — there were so many more items on the menus that I would like to try!

{view from hollywood hills}

Hollywood Hills is truly amazing. The houses are gorgeous, the winding roads weaving up and down the hills are insane, and the view of the city of Los Angeles can’t be beat. We went on a quick hike at Runyon Canyon which was nice — it was sunny and beautiful and an easy hike. Parking was a little iffy — we were so happy that we were driving a Jeep Wranger that could park on the uneven grounds! I would love to do a hike to the Hollywood Sign next time around.

{malibu views}

{el matador state beach}

{malibu wine safari}

My other favorite area was Malibu, which is of course a little ways outside of Los Angeles. It was absolutely stunning; there are no other words to describe it. All of the beaches that we saw were gorgeous, but I’d have to say my favorite was El Matador State Beach.

We also visited Malibu Wine Safari which was nothing short of perfect. We did the Giraffe Tour, so we got to meet and feed Stanley the giraffe who is a retired Hollywood actor. (Yes, seriously). We basically all got into a safari-style truck like you’d see on an African safari and rode it around Saddlerock Ranch. We got to meet so many animals who all had the most clever names… My personal favorites were the llamas, including Barack and Michelle Ollama, the Dalai Llama, Kendrick Llama, and Llama Del Rey. In between meeting and feeding the animals, we tasted both red and white wines. Animals and wine — you couldn’t ask for a more perfect combo!

As far as food, Sunlife Organic was my favorite place that we ate at in Malibu. I had one of the best açai bowls I’ve ever had! Too good.

{santa monica}

{venice}

The Santa Monica and Venice areas are talked about a lot, but I have to say they weren’t my favorite parts of the city. I’m so glad I got to see and experience them, but I didn’t love them as much as the other neighborhoods that I talked about. The Santa Monica pier was fun to see (and the sunset from there is supposed to be really pretty!), the Venice sign was iconic (stop by Animal House to shop around while you’re right there), and I could sit and people watch at the Venice Skate Park all day long. Other than that, it was a little too gritty for my taste.

{a few random iphone snaps}

A few posts ago, I mentioned that I would be placing a heavier focus on videos moving forward. So, I decided to put together a one-minute look into my trip. It’s definitely not my favorite thing I’ve ever created, but it felt like a great way to get started with cinematography. I recently read a quote that said something along the lines of, “in order to get good at something, you have to be willing to be bad at it.” It really resonated with me, and perfectly describes how I feel about videography at the moment.

That being said, this video was so much fun to create, and I can’t wait to make more (better!) videos soon. Thank you so, so much for watching — it really means more to me than you know! I hope you enjoy. And hey, if you have any ideas for videos that you want me to make, please just let me know 🙂

{you can subscribe here to see early releases of videos!}

 

So that just about wraps up my Los Angeles travel diary! Have you ever been to LA? What are your favorite places to eat, play, shop, and stay in the area?
01. Bali Travel Diary
02.
Kennebunkport Travel Diary
03.
Montauk Travel Diary
04. Lake Placid Travel Diary
05. New Orleans Travel Diary
06. 
Quebec City Travel Diary
07. Nantucket Island Travel Diary
08. Newport, Rhode Island Travel Diary
09. Mont-Tremblant Travel Diary

Surf Sand Sun

YOU GUYS. I just got back from my trip to Bali, and I couldn’t be more excited to share it with you. If you follow me on social media, then you know I was gone for 10 days, getting sandy and sunkissed at a yoga and surf retreat. (If you’re not already, you can follow along here!)

Today I’m going to be sharing some of my favorite photos from the trip, and talk a little bit more about my experience — it was quite the Eat, Pray, Love moment! So without further ado, here is my Bali travel diary…

{around the retreat / endless smoothies by the pool, lush gardens, outdoor yoga chalet, & more}

The retreat itself was nothing short of heavenly. It was through Goddess Retreats, and it was even better than I expected (and I had high hopes!). There are a few different options for the retreat — I chose the yoga one in Seminyak.

The retreat was wellness-oriented, so we had yoga twice a day, which was amazing. It was in an outdoor chalet, and I seriously don’t know how I’m going to readjust and start going back to doing yoga inside! We also had unlimited spa treatments, so I had facials, manicures, a pedicure, hair treatments, and more. There were also tons of massage options, body scrubs, an aloe vera treatment for skin that has seen a little too much sun — it was too great.

The chefs vegan-ized every single meal for me, which was so, so nice. It was seriously some of the best food ever; there were so many flavors that you just don’t get in America. Possibly my favorite part? The vegan cookies on my nightstand that were restocked daily (yes, please!).

I also had a few “Bliss Days” as a part of the retreat, where I got to choose from a list of excursions… I chose a bike ride through the countryside and rice fields of Ubud — which was amazing — and a day at Sundays Beach Club, which was also picture perfect. Some of the other options were snorkeling, SUP yoga, a tour of a temple, and white water rafting.

{playing around with over/under shots on my gopro}

{sundays beach club / clear turquoise waters, white sand, seemingly endless views of the indian ocean, & more}

{sunny sights}

{ubud rice fields}

{a few of the many, many bali dogs around the island}

Bali has such a unique energy to the island that I truly cannot describe with words. I met multiple people who said they visited once for a vacation and never ended up leaving — it’s that captivating. It is spiritual and just plain joyful… It is the true definition of “good vibes” (as much as I hate that saying, it’s just too fitting). It’s like magic! Not only that, but it is incredibly beautiful. The Indian Ocean was the perfect turquoise color and you could see right through it… It reminded me so much of the water in the Bahamas, which up until this trip was the prettiest water I’d ever seen. Pair that with the soft white sand and you end up with the perfect beach. The rice fields and waterfalls aren’t so bad either 🙂

Getting there was quite a hike being that it is on the exact opposite side of the globe from New York. It took almost 30 hours of traveling to get there, but it was so worth it. In fact, I am already planning my next trip back and cannot wait to explore more.

 

Have you ever been to Bali? What are your favorite hidden gems on the island?

 

 

Kennebunkport Travel Diary

Kennebunkport is without a doubt one of the most charming places I have ever been. The seaside town is equal parts rugged and refined, and it’s just so quintessentially Maine. If you’ve never been to the state, you really should plan a trip out there. While I have been to Maine a few times, it was always when I was much younger, and I have never been to Kennebunkport. It truly did not disappoint — it was the perfect quaint coastal town.

We were there at a great time because with Memorial Day Weekend already upon us, the high season is just starting. We beat the crowds by just a few days, and had pretty nice weather the entire time. I would be lying if I didn’t say that I’m already planning my next trip back… I would love to visit during both the fall-time and during the holiday season.

Today I’m sharing my recommendations for places to eat, play, shop, and stay in Kennebunkport — my favorite kind of posts! I had a few ideas of what I wanted to do before I got there, but I met up with Jackie and Paul (and their adorable pup, Poppy!) for drinks on my second day in town and they gave me all of the best recommendations from a local’s perspective. They were seriously the sweetest and I’m so, so happy I got to meet them in person! If by the odd chance you’re not following them, you must! They’re the best and their photos and videos are to-die for.

{pin this to your travel pinterest board for future trips!}

We stayed at The Grand Hotel for the first few nights, and we truly couldn’t have had a better experience. The staff was so nice and accommodating, and they really went above and beyond to make us feel at home — they even had a little bag of vegan goodies waiting in our room when we arrived. It is right near Dock Square and the main part of the town of Kennebunkport, so the location couldn’t get any better. Our room had its own private porch which was perfect for either morning coffee or some happy hour rosé, and the heated floors in the bathroom and fluffy white bathrobes were the perfect luxurious touches. They had beach cruisers to use, which was perfect to take for a short ride to the beach. I even did an Instagram takeover of their account during my stay, so you can find that here.

For our last night, we stayed just outside of town in a more wooded area at The Lodge on the Cove. This place had such a funky 60s/70s vibe with turquoise and green accents everywhere, and it has much more family-oriented atmosphere. The pool area was stunning, and there are lawn games all around, an outdoor ping-pong table, a fire pit, and even yoga on Saturday mornings and movies on Saturday nights. They also have a poolside restaurant, The Dory, which opens back up for the season over Memorial Day Weekend. It obviously wasn’t open while we were there, but we only heard great things about it! The staff was also great here, so we couldn’t have had a more enjoyable stay.

Have you ever been to Kennebunkport? Where are headed this summer?

01. Montauk Travel Diary
02. Lake Placid Travel Diary
03. New Orleans Travel Diary
04. 
Quebec City Travel Diary
05. Nantucket Island Travel Diary
06. Newport, Rhode Island Travel Diary
07. Mont-Tremblant Travel Diary

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