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!

Wedding Wear It Again

IMG_7092When you are going to a wedding, it is important to look your best but also feel comfortable for a night of dancing and celebrating! I had been eyeing this dress for months and it finally went on sale at Anthropologie (unfortunately it is sold out now). I justified purchasing a dress I really didn’t need because I have so many weddings this year and it is just perfect to wear to a couple of them because it isn’t white! Surprisingly about 70% of my wedding appropriate dresses are white, so I really need to get my act together.

IMG_7096(High/Low front and back of this lace dress gives it a nice flow)

IMG_7097(It has a subtle snap in the front to keep it all together. This necklace was a gift from my grandparents on my 8th grade graduation- it’s still my favorite)

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I feel like Steve Nicks in this dress and that is never a bad thing! Check your local Anthropolgie to see if they still have this dress in stock, it’s such a beautiful color!

 

My Pale Skin.

You’ve probably already watched this video, but if you haven’t I would encourage you to take a peek. Em Ford is a YouTube personality who specializes in her makeup tutorials. When I came across this video months ago, I was moved and disheartened by the kinds of things that strangers say to one another. She has brought to light the kinds of hurtful comments that she comes across on a daily basis and I think the video is a great way to show people that beauty comes from the inside but if you choose to wear makeup it is a way to express yourself! Makeup is a lot of fun and while I don’t experiment too much with my makeup, I have recently gotten into watching these tutorials and learning more about the exciting ways to update my look!

Screen Shot 2016-07-24 at 4.53.26 PM.png(My mom got me this eyeshadow kit for Christmas and I have been learning more about how to use all of these colors with my green eyes. Now that I know a bit more about the smokey eye, I am LOVING this palette. Isn’t the packaging amazing?)

Screen Shot 2016-07-24 at 4.44.33 PM(While I was watching tutorials, I came across this video that creates a cat eye look with dots of various summer colors. This is the kind of stuff I would never think to do on my own but it is so creative!)

Do you experiment with your makeup? If so, what inspires you?

Summer Casual.

IMG_7159You may have gathered that I am on a quest to invest in quality pieces that be paired in various ways to create new outfits. This shirt was one that I recently picked up and found versatile enough to wear with jeans and skirts in any season. The last few days have been fairly cool which is the perfect time to pull out a shirt like this and make the outfit pop with a burst of color from my purse! Have I told you how much I LOVE this purse? I hope so, because I love it.

IMG_7163(Shirt- sold out but similar here)

IMG_7162(Purse- Kate Spade, sold out but similar here)

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Weekend wear should be easy so I almost always wear these Franco Sarto shoes. They are easy to slip on and go with most everything.

This outfit would be nothing without this purse, have I told you how much I love it yet? I do!

Icelandic Ice Cave

DSC_1123Nick and I recently honeymooned in Europe and spent the majority of our vacation in Iceland. My favorite thing that we did was explore an ice cave that was dug into one of their largest glaciers. It was as cold as you would expect but I loved the way that they would incorporate LED lights into the ice to create a glowing effect. It was definitely an experience I would recommend to any visiting the area!

DSC_1058(The entrance of the cave was this massive tunnel- it was a little scary at first but they had twinkle lights set up to guide us in)

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DSC_1063(It was kind of like being in a gigantic igloo.)

DSC_1066(The light would illuminate one portion of the cave and keep the rest in the dark. It was so beautiful)

DSC_1091(The had their own chapel where couples could get married in if they wished. Say goodbye to the dress, you would freeze!)

DSC_1098(There were a couple of forks that would take you into different tunnels, we made sure to stick with the group so that we didn’t get lost!)

DSC_1115(When I saw this, I got a little spooked. Part of the cave was melting and creating this gorgeous view, the ice looked like crystal. But it got me thinking…the glacier was melting. Unfortunately, this ice cave probably won’t be here in the next 5 years.)

DSC_1137Here is the view from the glacier. Something I loved about Iceland was that at one moment you were soaking up the sun and the next you were standing on snow. From waterfalls to geysers, Iceland is a pretty magnificent place!

Dream Closet Inspiration.

DSC_0182The average woman has over 120 items in her closet and that doesn’t include shoes, purses, and undergarments. Getting ready in the morning can be a little overwhelming and that is why concepts like the Capsule Closet and the KonMari method have taken over the internet as of late. I’ve tried everything to pare down my closet to basics that can be mixed and matched to create many different outfits. Let’s be brutally honest, it is hard to get rid of clothing that you want to hold on to for rare occasions or holidays and even pieces that you hardly ever wear but still hold sentimental value. We recently came across a company called MakeSpace that helps you hold on to your stuff and free up your closet with the seasonal pieces that you are actually going to wear! They have an app which sends a representative to you to pick up your stuff on demand, and they’ll put it in safekeeping for you until you need it back. It really solves for a problem most of us have- we just have too much stuff! A few of my friends swear by this concept because it allows them to keep all of their seasonal pieces and donate anything that they end up not wanting to store! I’m willing to try it if it means not having to part with the winter coats I love but get minimal use!

DSC_0183Shoes are the items in my closet that I can’t seem to get under control. I have boots upon boots but never wear them in the summer! With t-shirts and long sleeves this isn’t a huge problem because they don’t take up a ton of space but boots seem to get thrown on top of each other and clutter my entire closet. I would sort through all of my shoes first when filling up my first MakeSpace box, it would give me a better idea of any excess and help me focus on seasonality.

Makespace 1(Doesn’t this image inspire you? I really love sorting through my clothes- it makes me eager to update my wardrobe, reminds me of my clothes that get lost in the clutter, and organize the things that I love so that I can get to them more easily!)

Screen Shot 2016-07-24 at 3.44.54 PMIf we are talking about a dream closet, mine would be insanely organized. I love going into stores like IKEA and the Container Store and admiring how they organize their closets. Shoes are categorized by heel size, purses are displayed like art, and jewelry is tucked away in velvet lined drawers. I want this look, it would make getting ready so much easier!

outfit.jpgAnd in honor of these summer sales happening around us, here is a outfit that would be perfect for any closet! It has staple and quality pieces that could be mixed and matched easily (from day to night) and remain classic enough to be worn for years to come. I recently purchased these shoes and they have been my favorite purchase of the year. They go with everything and are extremely comfortable to wear! Score!

Don’t you feel inspired to organize now? If you’re like me and have too much stuff to wrap your head around, start with piles of what you want to keep or donate. Then sort by season. If you want to give MakeSpace a try, check if they are in your city! 🙂

 

Wedding Ready.

IMG_7113You guys know what time of year it is- wedding season! Now, I love a wedding as much as the next person but I have nine this year (including my own). This means I needed to shuffle through mu closet and make sure I have what it takes to be a stylish and appropriate guest to all of these parties. Luckily, I wore a wedding dress to my own in May so that was easy to prepare for and I am in my friend Tasha’s wedding at the end of the month so I just have that one taken care of too! Anthropologie just had their major summer sale and I scored big on some dresses that I knew would be perfect for a few particular weddings, plus I had been eyeing these dresses all spring long! Patience does pay off sometimes 😉

IMG_7110(The entire dress is embroidered which is one of my favorite things in the world)

IMG_7119(This collar is magic)

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IMG_7114 Unfortunately Anthropologie is sold out of this dress but you can still catch the end of the sale now!

Have you been to or plan to attend any wedding this summer? Tell us about you plan to wear or any other special details- we would love to hear about them!

Summertime Linen.

IMG_7150While in London on our honeymoon, Nick and I tried to go into British stores to see how they differed. Well, I will tell you that Harrod’s was a true experience and I got turned around pretty easily in that place! While Harrod’s was a lot of fun, it was Hobb’s that I actually made my only purchase in London at. Nick picked out this dress and it is perfect for these sunny summer days that we have been having in the Bay Area.

IMG_7156(I love the wrap on this dress)

IMG_7151(Perfect length for booties)

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Happy Summer!

Food Trend: Geode Cakes

If you’re like me, you find appreciation and beauty in the things that you are unable to create yourself. I am a fairly crafty person who would prefer to make something with my hands if possible but one thing I just cannot pull off is bake. When I stumbled upon these gorgeous Geode cakes, I was in awe. This is a trend that is taking off and it is entirely edible!

geode 1(This is my favorite color scheme I have seen- A Squad Bake Shop)

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(Is this real life? Cake by Sainte G Cake Company)

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(Who doesn’t appreciate a beautiful amethyst? Cake by- Intricate Icings Cake Design)

geode.png(A beautiful emerald color for the perfect Summer or Fall cake, just gorgeous! Cake by- Kake by Darci)

geode 5.jpg     (I love the gold foil detail on this one. Cake by- Carrie’s Cakes, Photo by- Emilie Ann)

Well, I am off to learn how to make rock candy now! Honestly, these should be in a museum- they are like pieces of art. I wonder how they taste…probably just as amazing as they look!