Puerto Rico Adventures

It’s been long overdue since I’ve shared some of my travel adventures with you all! I’ve been traveling a lot for the past couple of months, and finally found some time to gather some photos from Puerto Rico.  I went to Puerto Rico in March and boy was it such a fun experience.  I went to celebrate my friends bachelorette party.  It was a refreshing alternative to the usual bachelorette party in Vegas. Plus, it was a perfect excuse to visit another country and make a vacation out of it.IMG_7075 IMG_7081We stayed at the beautiful La Concha Resort. Perfect spot close to bars and restaurants. IMG_7070I am ALL about excursions, exploring, and going on new adventures.  My girls and I took a day trip to visit the El Yunque Rain Forest. El Yunque is the sole tropical rain forest in the U.S. National Forest System.  They don’t call it a rain forest for nothing either.  When we got there, it immediately started raining.  You can plan day trips out to visit this beautiful place filled with a wide variety of native plants and wildlife. IMG_7122 IMG_7129IMG_7127I can never get tired of palm leaves.  They are definitely my kind of shade.  I absolutely loved being engulfed in so much lush greenery and being one with nature. IMG_7138IMG_7157 IMG_7201 IMG_7151 IMG_7163 IMG_7166 We also got to check out Luquillo Beach for a day of R&R.  It was a perfect little beach for some fun in the sun.  Stay tuned for more Puerto Rico pics from Old San Juan!

 

 

 

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Peru Part II – Sacred Valley

Sacred Vally Cusco RLRBI’ve finally got around to post Part II of my Peru adventure this past November!  If you missed Part I, check it out here.  This time I’ll be sharing my SACRED VALLEY adventures.  Work has been super crazy busy for me these past two weeks, that I’ve been left to feel nothing but nostalgic over all my travels. I really reallllly miss Peru. It was so peaceful, relaxing, and a reminder for me that there is so much beauty in a simple life.

Pisac Ruins Peru DSC_0554You know, just frolicking around the ruins.Pisac ruins cusco peruPart of my tour of the Sacred Valley was a stop at the Pisac Ruins. If you are ever in the Cusco region, I definitely suggest you check these ruins out. They were breathtaking and our guide enriched us with so many facts and history about this area. The inca civilizations were so self-sufficient and brilliant engineers.  I fell in love with the stone walls – the colors, shapes, everything!  The placement of each stone had a symbolic meaning.

Peruvian cornI’m drooling over the Peruvian corn.  The oversized kernels are described as chewier, starchier and less sweet than other types of sweet corn.  Peru harvest numerous types of corn.  They are distinct from all the others because of their huge kernels.

RLRBRuins Peru Travel RLRNMy cubicle for the day wasn’t too shabby.

Ollantaytambo Ruins Peru RLRN Ollantaytambo ruins RLRBWe then explored the Ollantaytambo Ruins. To get to these ruins were about 30 minutes from Pisac.  Prepare to walk up a ton of stairs to get to the top.  However, it was all worth it.  Again, the architecture and construction of all these ruins never ceases to amaze me.  It was love at first sight.

DSC_0563 Pisac Ruins RLRB cusco IMG_4593 Pisac market rlrb Last stop of our Sacred Valley tour was the Pisac Market.  Pisac is a pretty village and has plenty of small handicraft shops and is worth a visit on any day of the week. There are local buses departing from Cusco every 15 minutes for the one hour ride to Pisac village.  One thing I am OBSESSED with are all the Peruvian textiles.  I meaaaaaan, if I could buy this whole market, I probably would.  I appreciate and adore all the efforts that go into making handmade products.  There is so much more history and meaning towards them.  The style and they way they mix colors are amazing.  I love the bright funky colors and designs.  You know I did some damage at this market. 🙂

Stay tuned for more of my Peru adventures…..!!!

 

Moraga Steps and Turtle Hill

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Jacket – Madewell + Jeans – AG Jeans + Scarf – RLRB + Shoes – Converse

Happy 2nd week of 2015!  Anybody sticking to their resolutions so far?  I decided to continue a positive attitude and work on things with more focus this year…. plus, travel and explore more.  I also do want to attempt to blog more often.  I know I always fall off the band wagon, but I def want to carve out more time for this in 2015!

Anyhoo, there’s nothing more beautiful than artsy mosaic steps and an awesome view of the city during a radiant sunset. A couple unconventional spots you can check out whenever you are in San Francisco are the Moraga Steps and Turtle Hill.  Turtle Hill is right up the hill from the artsy Moraga Steps.  For all you looking for a great photo op, this is the place to be.

Located on 16th Avenue (between Noriega St & Moraga St) in the southern part of San Francisco, this area draws a crowd all day long and depicts a good picture of the artistic community that San Francisco creates. Inspired by the famous stairs in Rio De Janero, these steps were meticulously created to build a beautiful walkway for the whole city to enjoy.

Conveniently up the hill is Turtle Hill. A great spot to just get away from the hustle and bustle, to clear your mind, or enjoy a scenic view of the city. I personally can never get tired of a sunset. You never know what new colors the skies will illuminate everyday.   They are also daily reminders of how beautiful the world can be. #itsthelittethings

Hope you all have a great week!

Muir Woods

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I spent the holidays in San Francisco and got the opportunity to explore areas that I always wanted to check out, but never had the time to.  Since I was in the Bay Area for over a week, it was the perfect time to hit up Muir Woods National Park.   I love to explore new areas, go on hikes, and be outdoors.   The crisp and sunny weather also permitted my friends and I to have a beautiful hike around the red woods.  Muir Woods holds lots of history that stems back to 1945.  The redwoods themselves dominate the scene, but there are also various plants all over the forest floor and the canopy above our heads.

The redwood trees are over 200 years old.  At the park, you could choose from various trails that range in distance.  Being engulfed around so many skyscraper-high trees felt extremely calm and serene.  There’s something about natures natural beauty that rejuvenates me.  The hike at Muir Woods was not too long and not too short.  Perfect for a Saturday stroll.  If you are ever in the San Francisco area for a short trip, here are:

Five places to visit in San Francisco:

1) Muir Woods – For the outdoor, adventurous side in you.

2) Moraga Steps – For the colorful mosaic steps. Will have a blog post about my time here soon!

3) Twin Peaks – For a clear view of the city.

4) Golden Gate Bridge – For what San Francisco is known for all over the world.

5) Dolores Park – For the chill, laid-back side in you that wants to have a picnic and people watch.

There is so much more this city can offer.  It’s def my second home!

Peru Part I – Cusco

After weeks of traveling, crazy work schedules, and holiday shopping/parties, I’ve finally been able to carve out some time to share with you all some pictures from my trip to Peru this past November.  I’ve definitely been bit by a travel bug this year!  From Thailand to Bali to Peru – I just want to explore, go on adventures, meet different types of people, and learn about other cultures.  To be honest, Peru was kind of a spur of the moment trip for me.  Luckily I have crazy girlfriends just like me that are down to travel and globe trot the world with me.  Thus, with the thought of experiencing Machu Picchu, within a matter of two months, here I was in Peru!  There are just too many adventures that we partook in Peru that I decided to break up my posts to focus on the four cities we explored.  First up – CUSCO also known as CUZCO.

Cusco is such a cute and beautiful town, full of culture and amazing architecture. We stayed at Hostal Into Wasi which was perfectly located down the street to Plaza De Armas, which is the place to be if you are visiting Cusco.  It’s in close proximity to everything.  Plaza De Armas is a plaza where you can go shopping, wine and dine, and bar hop.

Hostal Into wasi Cusco Hostal Into Wasi Cusco peruI absolutely loved the boutique vibe of this hotel.  It was affordable, decent, and very accommodating.Coca Tea Leaves Travel Peru CuscoI didn’t think I’d be a victim to altitude sickness, but boy was I wrong! Altitude sickness is no joke!  If you ever do venture into Cusco, be prepared for the high altitude.  I would suggest that you take it slow the first day in order to acclimate yourself.  All the hotels most likely will offer you coca tea as well.  Above, is the coca tea my friends and I consumed every morning, in between our excursions, and right before we went to bed.  The raw coca leaves helps alleviate the tingly, light headed feeling you get in places of high altitude.Plaza De Armas Cusco Cuzco Peru travel Cusco Peru Travel RLRB Plaza De Armas Cuso Peru TravelPlaza De Armas was breath-taking.  From the pebbled stone floors, to the detailed architecture of the buildings,  I saw beauty everywhere and in everything.  Cusco Sunset Plaza De Armas Peru RLRB Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset Peru Sunset Cusco Plaza De Armas RLRB blogCusco during a vibrant pastel sunset is even better.  It was love at first sight.Cusco Peru Textile RLRBTextiles I do adore! Cusco Plaza De Armas streetstyle Travel Streetstyle Travelstyle PeruWho wouldn’t fall in love with a city this beautiful?  The vibrant blue door was a great pop of color for this streets of Cusco.  It was the perfect backdrop to sneak in a picture.  Peru Rugs Textile RLRB designI really had to restrain myself from buying all these frazadas and rugs.  I would go back to Cusco just for all the beautiful, handmade, and authentic fabrics.  Cocoa Cacao Museum Cusco Cuzco Peru Cocoa Museum Cusco Peru Travel RLRBLast but not least, if you are visiting Cusco and have a major love for chocolate, you must visit the Choco Museum.  For those of you that don’t already know, I have the biggest sweet tooth ever.  Chocolate is my weakness.  At the Choco Museum you get to learn the history of cocoa and its origins.  You can also take a class and make your own chocolate.  I can rightfully say, by the end of our visit to the museum, I was chocolate wasted.

Stay tuned for more of my Peru adventure diaries!  Happy Monday!

 

10 Things To Do in BALI

I’ve finally gathered my pictures from my amazing trip to Bali this summer.  Indonesia is such a gorgeous country.  Bali is so full of culture, art, and beauties of nature.  If Bali is a vacation destination you want to someday pursue, here are 10 things that I loved from my Bali trip.

1) Uluwatu Temple – The views at this temple were beautiful.  For all the ladies – Every time we visited a temple, we had to cover up our legs. It was super hot and humid in July, so wearing pants was the last thing on my mind. Luckily, every temple provided fabric to wrap around your waist. I personally thought the purple and yellow made my outfit more festive.

This temple was swarming with wild monkeys. If you do decide to check out Uluwatu, make sure you leave your sunglasses in the car. The monkeys tend to snatch the tourists glasses in exchange for food. They are aggressive and will fight back.

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2) Surfing at Kuta Beach – This was probably the most fun, exciting, and adrenaline-pumping experience for me in Bali.  I’ve never attempted to surf ever in my whole life, so having my first surfing lesson in Bali was very special to me.  They have instructors all over the beach that can teach beginners like me how to surf.  They were extremely friendly, helpful, and patient.  My instructor broke down every move I had to make in order to successfully catch a wave.  Though I had huge doubts in my ability to actually stand up, surprisingly I did! I was able to stand up and ride a ton of waves that day. Being a surfer babe isn’t as bad as I thought.  Indonesia is known to be one of the best surfing destinations out there in the world, so this is definitely a must try.

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3) Rice Terraces in Ubud – The picture below doesn’t do justice to the breath-taking views of the Rice Terraces.  There was a little cute cafe overlooking the serene scene where you can just relax and enjoy the view.  It felt like an “Eat Pray Love” moment for me.  There’s something about being engulfed in the beauty of nature and just unplugging your mind and thoughts from the craziness of the world, that I feel like everyone needs to do to re-charge.

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4) Jimbaran Bay Seafood Dinner – If you are going to Bali for a honeymoon or romantic trip, I would definitely recommend going to Jimbaran for a sunset dinner.  Such a romantic setting, especially while the sun is setting.  Jimbaran is known to host the best seafood dinners in Bali.  The best part, the view of the Bali sunset.  I must also say, the food was scrumptious!

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5) Batik Painting: Sari Amerta –  Bali is known for being so rich in culture and arts. Lots of designers from the U.S. go to Bali for sources, fabrics, and materials.  Batik is a technique of manual wax -resist dyeing applied to whole cloth, or cloth made using this technique. Batik is made by drawing dots and lines of the resist with a spouted tool called a canting.  It was so cool to see first-hand how the Batik ladies made the cloth.  Preserving cultural history, they used machines made out of wood to create the cloth.  This is a true example and testament of manual labor of love!

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6) Otonan: Balinese Birthday – We had the luck to celebrate Ontonan which is the Balinese birthday that is celebrated every 6 months. During this scared celebration the men and women all over Bali provide their organic offerings and also wear their traditional Balinese outfits.  I felt one with the locals and appreciated the culture all around me.  I mean, the views and temple architecture were also breath-taking.

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7) Shopping in Ubud – Ubud is an awesome town away from the busy city.  It’s a little north and a great destination for shopping.  I will warn you though that the sellers may be very aggressive.  Thus, if you are not 100% certain that you want to purchase an item, then don’t try to bargain for the deal. There are blocks and blocks of shopping areas that you can easily spend half a day here.

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8) Mi Goreng – Traditional Balinese dish made out of noodles, meats, eggs, and vegetables.  A must try!

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9) Batuan Temple – Another temple we visited in Bali.   It’s a beautiful Hindu temple set in the middle of Batuan Village strategically located beside of the main road from Denpasar to Ubud.  This temple also displayed amazing Balinese architecture.  If you want to learn more about the culture and Hindu temple, definitely visit Batuan Temple.

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10) Padang Beach  – As I mentioned above, Bali an awesome destination for surfers.  Padang Beach is a famous surf spot that is located in Uluwatu south part of Bali Island and appointed as one of the best surf spots in Bali.  We happened to visit this beach while a surfing competition was going down, so it was great watching all the surfers at their best.  As you can see from my picture below, lots of tourists love this beach.

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That sums up my amazing and unforgettable trip to Bali.  Hope you all one day get to visit this place!

Patara Elephant Farm

Hands down the absolute most memorable experience this summer and in my whole life thus far.  Bold statement, I know.  The Patara Elephant Farm in Chiang Mai, Thailand was such a surreal experience. One of the main reasons why I chose to visit South East Asia was for this sole experience. Close friends and family know that I love and collect anything with elephants on it.  Especially if the trunk is up, which means good luck.

After hours of research for the best farm that didn’t promote mishandling of elephants, I finally stumbled upon Patara Elephant Farm and immediately knew this was the tour to experience.  It allowed each of us to be an elephant owner for the day, which is also called a mahout.

The first thing we had to do was make sure our elephant was happy.   There were 5 things to look for: 1) If their ears were wagging, 2) If they tails were wagging, 3) If they had sweat on their toe nails, 4) If they had at least four pellets of poop, and 5) If they had dirt on the side of their body – meaning, they slept on the ground at night. If they were up all night, more than likely they are not in a good mood the next day.

Patara Elephant Farm

My elephant was named Memong.  She was 28 years old just like myself.  We first fed our elephants bananas, and local fruits from the farm.

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We then were handed a bundle of leaves to dust off the dirt on our elephants skin.  By the way, how amazing was this purple ensemble they all provided us with?  It was the perfect outfit for this activity!

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Next, we went to the river bed and washed our elephants.  This was such a surreal experience to be one with nature while also bonding with these amazingly kind creatures.

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Of course I had to take a jumping picture with my new friends! Clearly, I was having way too much fun splashing around with them.

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We then rinsed off at the fresh waterfall down the river bed.  The water felt so fresh and clean!

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Happy Camper indeed! Can you tell by my gigantic smile?!

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We ended the 6 hour tour with our elephants with a nice, relaxing, and serene ride along the jungle.  This will definitely one of the BEST days ever in my book.  If you are planning to visit Chiang Mai, please vist the Patara Elephant Farm for a memorable adventure!

TGIF EVERYONE!