Vinales, Cuba – 3 must do’s!

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What can I say, by now it’s probably a bit obvious that I’m a sucker for farm towns.  I’ve just returned from spending a week in Cuba (mainly in Vinales) and after all of the research I did before the trip, I wanted to share my learnings and some of my favorite spots/stops from the trip.  Throughout the week, I hope to help debunk some of the rumors and also help in the planning of your trip or inspire you to visit Cuba!

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  1. Horseback ride through Vinales Valley!  There are so many places to link up with a horseback riding guide.  We were lucky enough that there was a spot right next to our Casa Particulares in which I would highly recommend.  For $25 CUC, we spent hours riding horses through the valley where we took a tour of a tobacco farm, a coffee farm, a cave, and a restaurant with a look out over the entire valley.  You pay for food and drinks along the way but that was to be expected.

    IMG_13982. Eat the local fruit!  You will likely get a taste of this from your host if you stay in the Casa Particulares and have breakfast with them but we also stopped and bought a massive bowl of mangos for $1 CUC.  They were delicious and the fruit is just so tasty on the island.

    IMG_12953. Eat at Finca Agroecologica.  This is not somewhere you will see locals eating so it is quite well known by tourists but it’s truly an amazing experience.  You can walk the farm and see them growing everything you will eat.  It’s a beautiful farm to table experience in one of the most epic sceneries.  We loved it so much, we went twice!  You will get more food than you can ever finish.  My favorite thing was actually a special smoothie type drink they made with peppermint, local honey, pineapple, coconut, and more.

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    Miguel, the grounds keeper showing us the animals and around the farm.

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    If you can speak and/or understand Spanish, Miguel will tell you a lot about the property.

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    Just looking at these photos makes me want to go back!

    I would have also added climbing to this list but I know not everyone would be up for that.  I will dedicate a separate post for any climbers out there :).  Cuba was incredible but since it is starting to become easier for Americans to travel there, there are many things changing about travel to the country.  I read so many myths before our trip that I didn’t realize until we got there but also so many solid travel tips that I’m glad I was prepared for.  I will post those later this week.  For now, enjoy!

Tribal Threads.

IMG_7101I’ve been digging Top Shop’s trends lately and when I saw THIS thick threaded tribal skirt, I knew it was right up my alley.  It’s comfortable and fits like a glove.  Also, since it’s a thicker material I can wear it with a tank top in the summertime and a long sleeve in the winter.  A perfect addition to a capsule closet.

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IMG_7106I add my fringe heels here and call it a day.  They are super comfortable as well and go with pretty much everything.

LBD.

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A little black dress is a great investment because you will have so many purposes for this one piece of clothing.  Whenever I’m stumped over what to wear that is dressy enough but not too much, I throw on this dress from Top Shop (sold out but similar here).

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I add this Madewell gold necklace to add some flare to the high neckline.

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These fringe heels are the perfect way to add some fun to a simple black dress.

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The back also has a long slit that I liven up by wearing a bright neon soft bra.  This way you can still wear a bra but have it be fun that it’s showing.

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Voila!  This is my way of dressing subtle but adding my own style.

Would you rather live 70 years as a lamb, or 30 years as a lion?

I came across this quote recently and it made me pause for a moment.  It’s seemingly ironic timing with my turning of 30 years old today but more than that, this is a question that seems to rear its head so often to my generation.  There’s always this yin and yang of either being too static or being the bravest version of yourself.  What if you could find a solid but brave place?  In a life full of choices, how have you chosen to live your life?  I don’t have all the answers but I have learned a lot in the past three decades.  Here’s some open thoughts to myself full of advice and learnings.

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If you want something, make a plan and don’t wait for anyone else to help you get there.  Put it out there in the universe and start brainstorming.  No idea is a crazy idea but a crazy idea is an idea without a plan.
TRUTH:   I wanted to start rock climbing outdoors and think maybe I was waiting for someone to invite me to start going.  But that didn’t really happen.  So I started going to the climbing gym more frequently to try to meet people to climb with.  Then I started taking courses to get better at climbing.  I actually set a goal of one big outdoor climb by the time I turned 30 a few months ago.  Well, today I turned 30 and not only have I done one big outdoor climb but I’ve done multiple climbs across 5 state parks.  I’ve accomplished a hard rating route (to me), done two multi-pitch climbs, and learned to set anchors and rappel, all outdoors.  Thanks to the help of many along the way who I cherish and continue to climb with.

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South Lake Tahoe

Six degrees of separation is a real thing and it’s pretty awesome to encounter when you least expect it.  Also, like people find each other so most people that you gravitate towards are probably for some similar awesome traits that you haven’t yet discovered about yourself 🙂

Always be kind.  You hear it all the time but you really don’t know what someone is going through and when that person is you, remember to also still be kind.

You’re not always wrong.  People will try to convince you of this but the important thing to take away is a lot of times this really translates to a disagreement.  Don’t mistake this for being wrong for feeling a certain way.  

Embrace the unforeseeable future but know that every experience you’ve had along the way has helped groom that path.  It’s very rare you will be steered in an unfavorable direction so embrace the adventure!

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Time is the most valuable gift to give so nourish the worthy relationships in your life, they will bring you the most joy.  Also, let go of the ones that you know you should even if it’s hard.

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The hobbies I enjoyed the most as a kid, I enjoy the most as an adult.  Think about what made you happy when you were younger and try it out at a later stage in life if you’ve let it go.  It feels good to remember the good, innocent fun.

Laugh inappropriately at appropriate times or just whenever you want to but not at other people’s expense. 

Try to keep cash on you, always.  You never know when you are going to need it and so many times, I’ve failed to have it when I needed it.

I’ve loved all the learnings I’ve been able to gather from my friends and family.  Like this article a friend of mine wrote.  Or my mom’s children’s book that just won an award!  Everyone has their talents and it’s awesome to watch them flourish and learn from them.

If you don’t ask, no one will read your mind.  Flip the situation in your mind of what would think or how would you feel if this person approached me about this.  It often softens the blow of what you need to say.

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When given the chance to jump in or stay dry, always jump.

And when someone spontaneously invites you to have the next best day of your life, fucking YOLO.

These are all things that have stuck with me along the way and I’m sure there will be many more to add but as I pass over the threshold of 30, I know that I can live to 70+ years as a lion. 🙂

 

 

 

 

National Park Summer.

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This past weekend I made my first trip to Yosemite/Tuolumne Meadows and was in complete awe of the beauty.  I can’t believe it’s taken so long to get there and I can’t wait to get back.  Here are a few photo reasons to go.  Above is a more eastern view of half dome.

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Tenaya Lake.

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The stunning vista from afar.

More photos to come.  What’s your favorite national park?

Barn Daze.

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Since we have finally received some rain, it’s so nice to see the hills so green!  I put Maz in this plush, beautiful and green pasture to play with his brother Phillip (the white horse in the photos).  They were having a great time so I brought my camera and snapped some pics of them.  As much as I love winter, there’s nothing like a sunny barn day to relax and hang out.

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Maz was really loving running around!

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After they’d run around for a while, they’d stop and pluck some grass.

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Then I let them join their other horse friend, Joia, and the birds came swooping in.  I wish there was such a thing as a professional horse photographer, I’d be all over that 🙂