First things first, I want to wish everyone a happy new year and reiterate how excited I am for this new year and new decade (if you haven’t read my last post)! Thank you all for keeping up with me for yet another year. If you haven’t seen my first video of the year on my YouTube channel, it is linked in the sidebar. 🙂
Since I ended 2019 with a reflective post, I wanted to start off this year with some travel-related content. This holiday season, Away luggage installed a pop-up here in Dallas as it prepares to open a flagship store. I’m sure everyone has seen those pink hard-shell suitcases in the airport or being advertised on Instagram. Away founders, Jennifer Rubio and Stephanie Korey, were inspired to launch Away in 2015 after doing some extensive travel and finding that their luggage could not stand the test of time. Now, the luxury luggage brand is opening flagships around the country. Continue reading “Away We Go!”→
Fall to winter is the most festive time of the year with each month having its own holiday. I also think everything slows down in a good way at this time of year. Since many people become hermits with colder weather, the time you get with everyone seems more intimate and special because they peeled themselves out of the warmth of their bed for you. Though initially annoying as the call for Christmas gets earlier and earlier each year, the stores start to smell like cinnamon and vanilla and you get that urge to buy as many things that will make your home a cozy oasis. Another plus is that travel is the most affordable and popular places are significantly less crowded.
Unfortunately, I will not be able to take advantage of travel this winter season, but I thought I would share some destinations that I believe are worth investing in during the colder months–based on my personal travels–instead of saving your money for one big, expensive trip in the summer.
Maui, Hawaii Traveling to any of the islands of Hawaii is obviously a big item no matter where you are coming from, but not only are temperatures mild in the winter, it is also whaling season. You can see the whales swimming about and jumping into the air according to the locals I met when I visited this past July. Another random fact is that if you visit the lavender farm I visited in Maui, it is also when the lavender is in bloom and the farm is a purple hue. Ultimately, it seems the island just comes alive and is not only restricted to the summer months. I have only heard positive things about various islands in Hawaii, but I can only speak from my experience there: it was worth every cent.
Barcelona, Spain I visited Barcelona last September and my friend, Ilse, went last December; we both enjoyed warm temperatures and sunshine on our respective trips. I could really go on and on about why you should visit beautiful Barcelona, but that’s why I have a blog post and vlog about it. 🙂
New Orleans, Louisiana I have made the God-awful mistake of going to New Orleans in the summer, but I also went last October with friends and was able to enjoy a t-shirt and shorts the whole weekend. I personally don’t remember a significant temperature drop at night, but if you are going there for the same reason everyone else goes there, temperatures won’t matter (*wink wink*). Because of where New Orleans is located geographically, it is always susceptible to showers or storms, but hurricane season ends in November, so that’s a plus. I will be returning myself in January!
Los Angeles, California This one really needs no explanation. I pretty much stopped cataloging my trips to L.A., but you will never be at a loss for suggestions in a simple Google search. Like Hawaii, L.A. is expensive to fly to at all times of the year unless you’re flying from the west coast, but there is sooooo much information out there on how to make the trip itself inexpensive. Not to mention, there is so much to do which is why L.A. is…well, L.A.
Austin, Texas It’s been a while since I have been back to Austin, but Texas is a great place to visit in the winter because of our mild weather. Austin is even further south than Dallas, so their temperatures are usually on the warmer side. Austin is a playground for everyone–it has great music, great food, great nature activities, and everything is in close promixity because the city is really not that large. It is also home to our state university, so there is always a lot of going on and the city has a young energy. There’s a reason SXSW and ACL get bigger and bigger every year!
The unnecessary amount of money I spent this summer during my trips definitely taught me a lesson about how I want to travel next year. Though I won’t be able to explore new territory this fall or winter, I hope to hit the ground running sooner than later so I can come back with even more suggestions next year. And if you are like me spending your cold months in the comfort of your home, I have some travel vlogs that can maybe help transport you to a far away location for somewhere between 3 to 20 minutes–depending on where you go. 🙂
Edit: Please see the comment below from klassyhk–her recommendations are spot on and all places I have personally visited and enjoyed! ❤
Week before last, I visited the Dominican Republic–and the Caribbean–for the first time! I went with my tried and true travel partner, Ilse, for five days of R&R. We both had a lot going on in our lives this summer and, contrary to my personal travel style, opted for a lazy, beach vacation. This trip ended up being a lot more than we bargained for; while we had plenty of relaxation, we also had some trials and tribulations.
We stayed in Cabarete, a small coastal town known for its kite surfing; Ilse’s grandfather built a small home here on the beach which is where we stayed.
We were assaulted by mosquitoes almost constantly through this trip, lathering on layers and layers of repellent to the point that there was really no point in showering. Speaking of showering, we were also given a mid-week shock when the unfortunate drought in the city prompted a citywide water shutdown for about 24 hours without warning or update of when it would be turned back on. Even with these inconveniences, however, the location was definitely prime for everything going on nearby.
Last weekend, we took our first family vacation to one of the Hawaiian islands: Maui! Yes, you read that correctly–it was our first family vacation (and yes, it was in Hawaii, haha). The four of us embarked on a 10-hour journey toward this beautiful island that left me in awe. None of us have been to Hawaii and I genuinely cannot put into words how breath-taking it was. So, let’s get into it, shall we?
Day One: Getting a Full Day Back ◊ Checking in Though we left Dallas at 7:00 a.m., we arrived in Maui at 12:00 p.m. local time. We were exhausted, but our spirits quickly picked back up when we saw the beauty in front of us. Our condo rental was a 40-minute drive from the airport, but it was easily the most scenic 40 minutes I have experienced. With the Pacific Ocean on one side and mountains straight from Jurassic Park on the other, I didn’t know what to pay attention to. Something absolutely amazing about the island that we noticed off the bat too was the lack of traffic. Talk about a great start to a vacation.
We actually got to our condo too early, so we grabbed lunch at Down the Hatch. Frankly, the place was a bit overhyped. There are tons of reviews on this place and recommendations from other bloggers, but I found it to be overpriced and underwhelming. It definitely stands out in the main little shopping area on that side of town, so I understand why traffic flows through. Oh, and they have a koi pond. They do have a great happy hour deal though, so if you are going to go, go for the drinks!
Normally, I rarely talk about accommodation, but I could not believe the place we were staying in once we were able to check in. From the outside, it doesn’t look like much and when they handed us a key instead of a key card, we were all worried that it would be outdated in terms of decor, but boy, were we wrong. We rented a beachside condo with Lahaina Shores Beach Resort and it. was. insane. If you take no other recommendations from this blog post, take this one. When they say ocean view or ‘along the beach’, it was essentially on the beach. When my vlog is posted in the future, I will be able to put a visual to what I am saying, but the beach was quite literally in our backyard (see last picture).
What you don’t see in the photos above is that it came with two bathrooms–both with showers. Where those bushes are in that last photo is the only barrier between the property and the beach–to the right is the gate with direct access. I would also like to add that maid service and parking (daily and covered) are free for guests and they provide beach towels in the rooms. A fun addition that I personally enjoyed is almost every room had dimmers with their lights which I find to be a personal luxury, especially when you do not want to be blinded when you first wake up.