5 Travel Apps You Need On Your Phone

With having a smartphone, traveling can be made so much easier. We no longer have to carry 30 different maps, and rely solely on books to get information about locations we are visiting. I use travel apps on my smartphone nearly every day, especially now that I am in a foreign country. Below I’ve added the (free) travel apps that have helped me out the most.

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FlixBus- I use this app mostly in Europe, but now Flixbus is also (somewhat) newly available in the United States which makes it perfect for so many travelers. FlixBus is a company that has helped make traveling so much more affordable by offering low price bus tickets to the most popular of destinations. Seriously…I’ve gotten tickets for as low as $13.99 to visit a different country. FlixBus has a website, but I find the app so necessary because you can see real time updates of where your bus is, the next time it’s stopping, access to your e-tickets, and lastly the ability to refund/rebook any of your trips!

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Momondo- If you’ve read any of my blog posts like, How I Travel On a Budget then you know I RAVE about this website. Momondo is a program you can use to find the best possible flights for your next destination. Thankfully, they also have an app! I find this so important to have on your phone because you can book your next ticket no matter where you are. My favorite feature of this app is that you can set up flight alerts for certain dates and locations. This is great because it means you never have to miss that “so cheap it’s hard to believe” flight again just because you weren’t checking your email back-to-back.

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GoEuro- This is only applicable for those in or traveling to Europe, but I know this is a common destination so I had to mention it! GoEuro is an app that will allow you to search the place you are going to and will tell you the best prices for flights, buses, and trains for the date you are going to. It also allows you to book either directly in the app, or will do a quick transition over to the site you need to book on.

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Google Maps- This app has saved me more times than I can count. Why do I love this app so much? Because it lets you download OFFLINE maps. This means that when you are in the middle of nowhere, or if you are exploring a different country and don’t have internet access, you can still view the map! All you have to do is pre-download the map for the area you are going to be in when you have wifi and you’re set! This is also a great app because it will allow you to see attractions, restaurants, and cafes that are closest to you.

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The Outbound- This app is so much fun! This app allows people from all over the world to share their adventures. This is a great way to find local adventures, and share yours as well. Basically you log in to the app, and then you can type in your location or what you are looking for whether it be hiking, swimming, climbing, and so many more activities. Most of the guides will give you full details about how to find the spot, and also tell you about local regulations.

 

Hike to Sedona’s 7 Sacred Pools

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Sedona is by far one of my favorite places in Arizona. There’s beautiful red and white rock, an adorable town, and plenty of activities ranging from off-roading, to hiking, to swimming. If you are in Sedona and looking for a family friendly hike, or just a short hike that offers some great views I can’t recommend the hike to 7 Sacred Pools more! The “pools” you will see at the end of the hike were naturally formed, and have served as a survival essential for wildlife in the area, which I think is pretty cool. To get to this spot you need to park at the Soldier’s Pass trail head right off Soldier Pass road. From there walk along the soldier pass trail.

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This trail is mostly exposed to the open sun, so especially if you are hiking during the day be sure you bring enough water for yourself, and plenty of sunscreen because neither are offered on the trail. There’s lots of beautiful desert flora and fauna on this trail so keep an eye out on the ground of some of the beautiful cacti and wildflowers. You won’t gain much elevation but what I loved was how you were literally going from a neighborhood to what feels like a place where there’s not people for miles…in minutes. The space really transforms around you and makes you feel really small really fast. On your hike you also get the chance to see Devil’s Kitchen, a sink hole that has been forming for centuries. This is a nice place to sit and enjoy the view of the red rock and pine dotted forests. neweditstyle2.jpg

As you make your way along the trail pay special attention to the rock formations, I think this is a perfect intro hike to Sedona because it gives you such an awesome taste of what the rest of the place is going to be like. You get a chance to see the deep tree filled canyon, but you also get a hint of that orange/red/and white rock that makes Sedona so famous.

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You’ll know when you’ve made it to the pools because you will somewhat stumble upon them. The pools can be viewed from above on the trail or if you want to explore down below them I would say most able-bodied people could climb down and back up the rocks without much of a problem. The whole trail is 1.7 miles, but should only take you about an hour or so to do the whole thing. Although this trail is really easy, make sure you are following the trail signs or any maps you have because it’s easy to get on a different trail and end up in the wrong spot. As always, leave no trace and enjoy yourself!

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Take a Stroll Through Bryce Canyon’s Wall Street

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Sandwiched away between Dixie National Forest and Grand Staircase-Escalante NM lies Bryce Canyon National Park. Let me just start by saying that there is absolutely nothing I could compare this place to because it is so unique. The park is famous for its ‘hoodoos’ which are the rock spirals within the park. What made me fall in love with this place though, was the colors. The rocks boasts an almost perfect gradient of orange to white rock, and to make it even more surreal there is an even more perfect contrast of green pine trees dotted along the canyon.

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When choosing a hike, I knew I wanted something that would give me both views from the rim but also would allow me to see the hoodoos up close and personal. After doing some research, my friend and I decided we would do Wall Street and Queen’s Garden which is a 3.3 mile loop. We started at sunrise point and walked toward to sunset point (to the right) to find the entrance to the Wall Street trail.

From there we descended down the trail, and into another world. As you make your way down the switchbacks, the hoodoos start to tower over you. It almost feels like you are on Mars or something because of the red glow between the canyon walls. The walk down is steep at some points, however it is not hard to keep your balance because the trail is so well maintained.

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Once you make it through Wall Street, keep following the loop that leads you to Queen’s Garden Trail. You will see many rock formations in Bryce, but these are one of the parks most well loved. The Queen’s Garden Trail is named after Queen Victoria, as at the end of the trail there is a rock that has a formation just like the Queen. It’s ironic because Native Americans believed that the hoodoos were actually people that had been trapped and frozen inside by an evil coyote god. As you go on you will go through this mini slot canyon, this was my favorite part of the hike because I loved how the rock somewhat closed in on you. For claustrophobic people reading this, don’t worry  this part only takes about a minute.

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The hike will take you through many different elevation levels, so you can get  different views of the park. Make sure to have proper footwear because the switchbacks can be really challenging at points. Along the way you will find places to rest, and this also is a great opportunity to enjoy the quietness and energy of the park.

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You don’t need expensive gear, regular hiking boots or tennis shoes will do just fine. Make sure you have a backpack and  in your backpack you have plenty of water, some quick snacks, and sunscreen! Some of my favorite trail snacks are WOLO Wander Bars, dark chocolate almonds, and fruit. Just make sure you are bringing things that can provide you with the energy you need! As you reach the end of your hike the incline gets steeper and steeper but the scenery is unreal! Just imagine a white and orange sanded desert.

Lastly be sure to stop for a look in the many arches you will find a long the way. They really made me feel like I was walking through some sort of magical storybook. This place has a lot to offer, we enjoyed pizza at the local pizza spot in the park. There are little shops and the people you find along the trail are quite friendly.

 

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The National Parks Service does a tremendous job of maintaining this place so that people can enjoy it. Do your part and be sure to stay on the trails, be respectful of the space you are in and the spaces of others, really just LEAVE NO TRACE. We want people to be able to enjoy these places for years to come, we need to make sure we are doing our part to make that possible.

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Your Ultimate Guide To Riviera Nayarit, Mexico: Where to Stay, Where to Eat, What to Do

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This past week, I traded my hometown Kentucky scenery and headed south of the border for some fun in Mexico. I flew using American Airlines miles, however since it is low season plane tickets are about $240-$280 depending on when you buy them. My family and I flew out of Evansville and into Puerto Vallarta since that is the closest major airport. From there we took a cab to the small town of Bucerias, which should cost you around 350 pesos. Bucerias is a small beach village, that comes to life in December-April. However if you visit in July like me, you will find it to be the quietest and most quaint little place.

Where to Stay

For our stay we chose to reside in a condo which you can find on VRBO, called Punta Arena. This place way nothing shy of amazing. All condos have a 40 foot deck overlooking the ocean, and the kitchen comes fully equip with anything you could possibly need. They also include internet, a water jug and filter (don’t drink from the faucet), television, glass showers, beach towels, and ours even had Netflix already set up on the TV. Plus the infinity pool and workout room on the first floor were nothing shy of amazing. The condo itself is situated in the middle of everything, which we loved. One step out of the condo and you have hundreds of locally owned restaurants, cafes, and a convenience store. There’s also street vendors lined up all over the street selling any souvenir you could want from handmade items to a poncho with your favorite sports team. Take a left outside of the condo and you’ll find yourself within minutes walking distance from the city center. The village of Bucerias is also perfectly situated between Punta Mita and Puerto Vallarta, making it easy to do day trips to either of these places.

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Where to Eat

I cannot even BEGIN to tell you all how amazing the food was. If you know me, you know I love food and this place was foodie heaven! This doesn’t just include good Mexican food either, as there was almost nothing you couldn’t find here. Below I’ve listed the places I loved the most and what to order. Everything here is significantly less if you are converting from USD to Pesos, so the price signs are in relation to pesos not USD.

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Breakfast

  • Riviera Cafe $- This tiny little cafe was located just across the street from the condo. It’s an open door restaurant allowing you to people watch no matter where you are seated. I ordered the omelet with green onion, cheese, tomatoes, and mushrooms. I also tried the London Blue, which is Mexico’s spin on a London Fog and it was wonderful.
  • Paninos $- This place was by far one of my favorites. Paninos is a cafe that serves breakfast, lunch, and fresh pastries and bread. There is a location close to the condo and another in Sayulita (a town I will later talk about.) Everything here is delicious, no seriously everything. For a heavier meal, the salmon eggs benedict is to die for. If you are looking for something a bit lighter, their breakfast bagel sandwiches are also wonderful and come with fruit and potatoes. The waiters and waitresses are all beyond welcoming and will help accommodate to you in any way. They also gave us so many tips on the best ways to travel around and what to do in different places. Not to mention, if you want the best cappuccino in the world you should definitely go here.
  • Cafe De Bucerias $-  This is a local cafe run by a family that also runs a couple hotels in the area. The small corner cafe which also serves pastries is the perfect place to find a classic Mexican breakfast. My two favorite things there were the Chilaquiles Naturales and the healthy bowl which was greek yogurt with seasonal fruit, granola, and chia seeds. They also have an amazing iced chai tea latte and for dessert the banana cake is to die for.

Lunch

  • La Rustica $$-  Found in Sayulita, this pizza place was more than worth mentioning. Wood fires, and made with fresh ingredients this place is the perfect spot to grab a bite after exploring Sayulita for the day. For drinks, I got their house made bloody mary and it was one of the best I’ve had in a while. For food, I highly recommend the calamari and the La Margarita and the El Italiano which has prosciutto, arugula, basil, Parmesan, and mozzarella cheese.
  • Karen’s $$- Just a few blocks from the condo is Karen’s, a beachfront restaurant connected to a cute little hotel. Here you can find interesting cocktails like cucumber and Chile margaritas, or my favorite which is their house made sangria. For the food, I highly recommend the stuffed mushrooms as an appetizer and enchiladas and coconut shrimp for the entrees.
  • Wakika $- Located in Sayulita, this isn’t exactly a food place but it’s worth mentioning. This little shop serves up some of the best ice cream I’ve had. I really enjoyed the berries and cream, but if you aren’t an ice cream person they also have popsicles and slushies.

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Dinner

  • Chin Gon $- Didn’t think it was possible to find Thai food south of the border? Think again. Located also a few blocks from the condo, this place is locally owned by the most lovely and hospitable couple. All ingredients are prepared fresh and cooked to order. We really enjoyed the yellow shrimp curry, fresh green iced tea with hibiscus.
  • Saundra’s $$- This place is as colorful as the food on the menu. Complete with art, handmade pottery, and a beautiful garden this place is nothing short of unique. Think Greek food meets Mexican. We enjoyed the Mediterranean chicken and roasted vegetables with hummus, but the fish tacos with homemade sauce was by far our favorite. The owner Saundra is very passionate about her work and ensures your happiness with each bite.
  • Mezzogiorno $$$- This place is the most pricey, but trust me it is worth it. The servers here are extremely knowledgeable about the menu, plus the restaurant is perfectly situated on the oceanfront. They have a stellar wine list, and the food is some of the best Italian I’ve had in a while. I highly recommend the bruschetta to start and for the main meal the fettuccine Alfredo and ravioli are delightful.
  • Street vendors $- Don’t be scared of the literally open kitchen, this food is some of the most authentic Mexican food you can find, they seriously make it all in front of you. We chose the ones in the city center and were so pleased we came back almost every single night.

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What to Do

We chose to stay in Bucerias because it’s right in the middle of everything. About 30 minutes from Puerto Vallarta and Sayulita, and 20 from Punta Mita. We packed a lot into one week but these were our favorites.

  • Los Colomitos and Horse Beach-  Los Colomitos, known as Mexico’s most tiny beach is only accessible by foot or boat. Just tell your taxi driver to take you to the water taxi’s in southern Puerto Vallarta and they will know where to go. We didn’t take a water taxi because we wanted to snorkel as well, but there are literally tons of people who will take you on their boat down where the water taxis are. If you rent a private boat like us, be prepared to spend around $250 USD for 3-4 hours plus snorkeling. We chose not to get out at Colomitos because it was very crowded, but it is still very beautiful to look at. Horse Beach however was our favorite because of how quiet and empty it was. The waters are aqua blue and it has a nice little beach bar as well to grab a quick bite or drink.
  • Day-Trip to Sayulita- Located about 25-30 minutes from Bucerias is the lovely fishing and surfing town of Sayulita. From Bucerias you can either take a bus, taxi, or uber however it is very inexpensive to take a bus, which is what we did. There is tons of things to do in Sayulita, but my favorite was the hippie market. Running 7 days a week, this market has everything from crystals to handmade falsas to knitted toys and leather shoes. All prices are negotiable here, so bargain with the people a bit before you decide a price. The town is easily walkable so down worry about having a car. Grab an ice cream cone, throw on your swimsuit, and take a stroll down the streets to admire the street art along the building walls.
  • The Marieta Islands- If you’ve ever heard of “hidden beach” this is exactly where to find it. These uninhabited islands are a wildlife refuge, protected by Mexico. This place is boasting with wildlife. You can swim, snorkel, bird watch, or explore the many sea caves. These islands are only accessible by special tour, as it is protected lands. You will get on a boat at Punta Mita and from there it is about 20 minutes to the island. If you snorkel, you can expect to see whales (depending on the season,) tropical fish, coral reefs, crabs, starfish, and if you are lucky sea turtles. We chose to not do the hidden beach as it’s very expensive and you can only stay for around 20 minutes.

Your Complete Guide to 5th Water Hot Springs

Reasons tohike on yourbirthday.pngThis place is undoubtedly one of the most magical places I’ve ever been to. I remember finding it from fellow hikers and falling in love with the beautiful photos that almost seemed too good to be real. So, I planned a trip to Provo and decided I had to see this beautiful natural wonder for myself.

This is located in Uintas National Forest right outside of Provo, Utah. The forest is insane, overflowing with green trees and purple toned snow cap mountains. There’s about 1000 waterfalls within the forest, and so many other hikes that lead you to incredible elevation gains. I arrived into the forest late into the night and parked right at the trailhead, as I knew I wanted to get there before anyone else. There were a few other cars in the parking lot, but all seemed empty, backpackers off deep into the wilderness I suppose. That night my boyfriend and I slept under the stars in his 4-runner which we had now turned into our car, kitchen, and bedroom. The forest was quiet and calming and the only sound besides our breathing was a soft wind rustling the trees.

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We got up around 6:30 to eat and get ready for the hike. It’s 5 miles total, so not terrible but definitely something you want to prepare for. The hike in was absolutely beautiful, you walk alongside the creek while behind you are stunning mountain views. The only faces we saw were hikers coming out of the forest, but beside that it was complete solitude. You know when you are reaching the hot springs because of the smell. A thick smell of sulfur filled our noses as we made our way up the trail, but we didn’t mind that only meant we were getting closer. The water starts to change as well from the typical green/brown creek color to powdery blues.

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As we climbed over the final hill I knew we had made it. Powder blue and green hot spring pools lay in front of us, and not a single person in them. Beautiful. The hot springs are *technically* clothing optional, so in the mornings it’s not uncommon to find some aspiring nudists out for a skinny dip. The ones at the bottom are about the temperature of the perfect hot bath, I’d say around 98 degrees give or take. As you keep going up toward the waterfall they gradually get hotter and hotter.DSC_0519.jpg

Once you get to the waterfall you can actually climb up and under it, which I thought was pretty neat. In addition to that it’s a pretty easy climb to the top of the waterfall and from there you have a beautiful view of all the forestry and hot springs.

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To be honest I was a bit hesitant to share this post. I usually don’t share locations out of fear that they will soon be ruined by over-trafficking of these beautiful lands. When we got here there were only a few pieces of trash, which made me happy to see that people had left places either the same or better than they found them. Remember to keep these places wild, clean up after yourself, and leave the place better than you found it so we can continue to enjoy these spaces. Happy hiking!

How to Make Your Summer Trip to Chicago Perfect

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Everyone knows about The Bean, the Skydeck, and Navy Pier; being a local I of course avoid these places like the plague. Chicago has endless opportunity for fun, and if you spend all your time hitting major tourist attractions you are honestly missing out on what this city has to offer. Let’s get started

Where to Eat

Yo…other cities…I’ma let you finish, but Chicago has some of the best food I’ve ever had. Skip Giordono’s and Garrett’s Popcorn, hit these places instead!

  • Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinder– This is hands down my favorite restaurant in the whole city. Tucked away in Lincoln Park is this small and locally owned pizza place that has been around since the 50’s. The restaurant specializes in two things: pizza pot pies and and oven grinders. A pizza pot pie is exactly what you are thinking and that’s the only way I know how to describe it. The oven grinder’s are these HUGE and yummy sandwiches. I typically do the full 3 courses and get a chef salad, with Mediterranean bread, and a cheese only pizza pot pie (you can add meat or mushrooms if you want.) I MUST warn you though, this place does not take reservations and it gets busy FAST especially on the weekend. I would highly recommend going around 5:00PM to avoid a long wait.
  • The Athenian Room- Not only a favorite of mine but also a favorite of the beloved Tina Fey as well. I love this place because it doesn’t break the bank, but it has some of the most amazing Greek food I’ve ever consumed. Like Tina Fey, my favorite meal would also have to be the Chicken Kalamata and crack fries. It’s kinda simple, but the flavors will blow you away.
  • Clarke’s on Belmont– Looking for the perfect hangover food, or maybe a good place for some comfort food? Clarke’s is the exact place. This diner, which is a Chicago native serves some of the homiest food you can find in the whole city. They honestly have something for everyone, whether you want Salmon Eggs Benedict, the perfect waffle, or just a classic breakfast sandwich their menu covers it all.

What to Do

  • Museum of Contemporary Art- Don’t get me wrong, the Art Institute is absolutely beautiful. The MCA has such a different vibe to it though. At the MCA you are going to see more culturally relevant pieces that really make you think and feel something which I don’t find as easy in some of the pieces at the Art Institute. The displays are constantly rotating and they always have really neat exhibits up. On top of that they also have a beautiful outdoor cafe for you to sit at after you take in all the art inside. PLUS, students and Illinois residents always get a discount. This is also perfect walking distance if you are staying on the Magnificent Mile.
  • WhirlyBall- This isn’t kid friendly, but god it makes you feel like a kid. WhirlyBall is a business located in Lincoln Park that pretty much specializes in a good time. They have a bar, bumper cars, games, and bowling. Plus this place is open until 3:00 AM, come on you know you all want to get a little tipsy and then play bumper cars.
  • Lincoln Park Conservatory- Lincoln Park Conservatory is one of Chicago’s only glimpses of nature in the whole city. Although I prefer Garfield Park Conservatory much more, for the sake of visitors though LP is just a much more centralized location. This beautiful conservatory features beautiful plants from all types of environments. This is perfect for families and children as well. Make a whole day out of it and after you finish up at the conservatory, walk across the street to Fullerton beach, grab an ice cream cone from one of the many vendors, and relax with the picturesque skyline behind you.
  • Shop in Wicker Park and Logan Square- These two neighborhoods are by far my favorite places in the whole city. There’s tons of food, bars, street art, and shopping along the street. You can get everything from a Ramen Burger, to classic comfort food. The walk between Wicker Park and Logan Square is about 2.1 miles, but if you enjoy walking and window shopping it’s not bad at all. For me personally, I love shopping at Ragstock, Buffalo Exchange, Village Discount, Kokorokoko, and Crossroads Trading Post. There’s honestly something for everyone in each of these shops.

Where to Drink 

Chicago is not only boujee, but boozy! Check out these fun bars below

  • Cindy’s Rooftop- Located downtown, across the street from Millennium Park is the stunning Cindy’s Rooftop. Cindy’s has a home-y but still modern vibe, and the drinks are the same way. In addition to the fun and crafty cocktails, there’s also an absolutely STUNNING rooftop overlooking Lake Michigan and Millennium Park. A must for first-timers in my opinion.
  • Emporium- Located in Wicker Park, this bar takes you back in time. Complete with hundreds of arcade games like Pacman and Pinball and a vintage 70’s setting, this bar is sure to have you feeling like you are in a different decade. For my crafty beer drinkers, this place is made for you! Emporium has DOZENS of beers for you to choose from as well as hand-crafted cocktails.
  • Three Dots and a Dash- Head straight to the island with Three Dots and a Dash. Located in West Loop, this Polynesian bar will give you all the beach vibes. Not only is the whole place decorated in Polynesian attire, but the drinks are as well. All of their juices are cold pressed daily, and paired with fresh seasonal fruit to ensure some of the freshest drinks you can find. Nearly every drink comes in a cute tiki themed cup. Put your watch on island time, and dance the night away.
  • The Green Mill- This one is a bit different, but it’s too great for me not to mention it. The Green Mill, located in uptown is a bar that has been around since Prohibition times. Velvet booths line the stage with a giant stage in the front for local musicians or speakeasy poetry on Sunday evenings. Behind the bar you can find a tunnel in the floor that was used to hide alcohol in the 1920’s. My favorite part about this place though is that it was also Al Capone’s favorite, and he even has a booth dedicated to where he would sit and enjoy his cocktails when he would take a short break from being a mob boss

That’s it everyone! I’d be more than happy to answer any questions you all might have so shoot me a message if so. Have a great 🙂

Phoenix’s Most Instagram-Able Spots

Phoenix’s Most Instagram-Able Spots

Recently I took a trip out to Phoenix to escape some of the cold weather in my hometown and enjoy myself. I’ve been to Phoenix a couple times and it is by far my favorite city in the US. It’s warm year around plus the desert aesthetic is just breathtaking. Another amazing part of Phoenix is of course all of the photo-ops you get from being in such a beautiful place. Below I’ve taken my own little spin on the best places for photography in Phoenix.

 Desert Botanical Garden in Scottsdale, this is a little nature preserve dedicated to plants from all different deserts. They also have a monarch butterfly garden that is purely surreal.

Roosevelt Row in downtown Phoenix, this whole area is dedicated to street art and is flooding with the most interesting murals

 Phoenix Art Museum in downtown Phoenix. This museum had so many displays but my favorite by far would have to be the firefly room pictures above which featured millions of little string lights to mimic fireflies in the summer

Friendship Inn Motel, this isn’t really a destination spot as it’s really just an old motel that closed down but I fell absolutely in love with the whole aesthetic of this place. The pastels of this place really turn it into a dreamy desert scenery

 McDowell Sonoran Preserve, I opted out of choosing a close up picture of myself so I could show off some of the beautiful desert flora and fauna. This preserve is in northern Scottsdale and has tons of different trails ranging in difficulty. Also I might add it’s an absolutely breathtaking place to watch sunset.

Last but certainly not least, Phoenix Mountain Preserves. This place is so beautiful and allows you to see views of all the mountains in Phoenix along with views of Scottsdale, Tempe, and Phoenix. I chose to hike Piestewa Peak and it definitely did not disappoint.

4 Days In New York: What I Ate, Saw, and Did

Happy Tuesday everyone! I’m actually typing this from a coffee shop in Brooklyn because I missed my flight back to Chicago…oops. This long weekend in New York was absolutely amazing. I made some new memories, ate great food, and saw beautiful sights. Luckily for me, New York had really amazing weather. Minus it being a bit chilly and rainy one day, it was 40’s and 50’s with lots of sunshine which is basically the equivalent of summer after living through negative temperatures in Chicago winter. 


While I do like to be “boujee” when I travel, I also like to do whatever I can to save money so that I can keep traveling. I talked about this in my last post about how I travel on a budget linked here in case you haven’t read it yet! For our stay in the city we did one night in a Manhattan hotel and then the other 3 nights in the cutest Airbnb in Bushwick, a neighborhood in Brooklyn. I highly recommend staying in this area if you enjoy street art and like hanging around locals instead of the tourist-y vibes of Manhattan. Bushwick has tons of nightlife if you like to go out but also has tons of options for food from your typical NY pizza to Pan Asian hole-in-the-wall places. The neighborhood is very safe and family oriented which I really liked because it’s nice to see how others in the area live and what they like to do. 


In Manhattan, we stayed in the Hyatt House Chelsea/Soho and loved it! They offered free breakfast which was great because I was able to snag some snacks for the day, and the views from the rooms were breathtaking. On the first night of course I had to make a VERY QUICK stop in Time Square. I only did this because I haven’t been to New York since I was literally 12 so I just wanted to see it one more time for memories. If you have been to Time Square before, there’s honestly no reason to see it twice because it’s a huge tourist trap. After Time Square we headed to the famous Joe’s pizza for a slice of NY pizza. Joe’s is perfect if you aren’t trying to spend a lot but still get a really good meal. It’s fresh and classic NY pizza so not much more you can ask for. We called it a night early, but the next day we got up early and made our way to Soho, a huge neighborhood known for it’s shopping and affluent residents. Soho is adorable, but a little stuck up in my opinion. Still, it was a super cute place to window shop and walk around. 


After a few hours in Soho, my friend and I made our way to Little Italy. You can lyft there if you prefer a faster route, but personally walking was my favorite part. You’ll get to see cobblestone streets, little pop up stands with everything from mugs to handmade jewelry and t-shirts. There’s also lots of aesthetic coffee shops on the way which I definitely appreciated. I’m a self-proclaimed soft serve addict so on our walk through little Italy I had to make a stop at Milk and Cream Cereal Bar. This is actually one of the coolest food experiences I’ve seen. Basically you go in and they have tons of cereal, so you choose your ice cream and cereal and they blend it. Then they top it with anything and everything you could ever want and swirl it into a little cone or cup. Now this place is a bit pricey for ice cream not going to lie, however I feel it’s an experience worth having. 

Next on our list was Greenwich Village. Greenwich Village is literally my favorite part about New York. The neighborhood itself is so friendly, there’s so many parks and great places to eat. We were in Greenwich Village a couple times throughout the trip because we just couldn’t stay away. Our favorite restaurants there would have to be Rossopomodoro a classic Italian pizza and pasta place, and Big Gay Ice Cream. Big Gay Ice Cream is a soft serve ice cream shop adjacent to Stonewall in. 

 Before dinner, we finished up our time in Manhattan by taking a stroll through Central Park. After our stroll we headed to Brooklyn for some Mexican food. We ended up going to this little hole-in-the-wall called Los Hermanos. This place was super close to our Airbnb as well which made it convenient for us. As I said before our Airbnb had tons of restaurants in the area so if you’re considering staying there some of our favorites were King Noodle (Pan Asian, amazing wings), Knickerbocker Bagel, and Dweebs (coffee). 


While in Brooklyn, we stopped at Smorgasbord. Smorgasbord is a outdoor market hosted every Saturday in Williamsburg and had been on my bucket list for AGES. They have everything from edible cookie dough, to Thai fried chicken, to artisan fries. It’s also really close to a lot of clothing and book stores so after you’re finished it’s nice to window shop in the area. We also made a stop in Dumbo so that we could walk across the Brookyln Bridge and get some views of Manhattan. 


So overall, it was an amazing long weekend in New York City. I didn’t include everything we did or else this post would’ve been a book so if you have any questions let me know! I’d also love to see some suggestions from fellow bloggers who have visited or lived in the city! Have a great day, loves!

How I Travel On A Budget

How I TravelOn a Budget

Being a college student, it’s no secret that most of us don’t have just a plethora of money laying around to travel the world with. Between all the papers and projects we have it’s challenging to be able to make money to travel as much as some of the older people in the blogger community can, but that doesn’t mean it’s not possible! I am someone who possess major wanderlust, so because of that I’ve done everything I can to be able to travel. Because of the tips and budget tricks I practice I’ve been able to go to Phoenix twice, San Francisco, LA, and New York all in the past 6 months. I know how important it is to travel, traveling opens us up to new cultures and allows us to broaden our horizons. We also get that escape from reality we all need sometimes. Below I have included my favorite tips and trips for traveling!

 

Getting there can sometimes be the most expensive part of the trip. Driving isn’t always an option, and flights can be so expensive sometimes. To make sure I’m getting the best possible deal I always use Momondo, a website dedicated to helping you find the best possible flight deals. Through this website I’ve been able to find ridiculously cheap flights to places like Phoenix for $200, NYC for $145, and LA for $230. Another thing I like to do is if I have the option of a 5 hour layover in a cool place or a 12 hour layover, I always pick the longer one if it means it’s cheaper. This gives you a chance to maybe mark a place off your bucket list without having to spend any extra money.

 

 Another tip is that if you are going to have to rent a car once you reach your destination, DO NOT rely solely on the large rental car corporations to help you find a car. There’s so many apps like ZipCar or GetAround that offer rental cars for about half the price that a big car rental company would. These apps only require you to be 18+ which is great because most car rental places require you to be at least 25. In addition, these apps are really SO inexpensive so it’s easy to find something within your budget and they are also a lot more flexible with their cars and prices. Another cool thing is that many companies like enterprise often partner with universities, do if you are a student then you can rent a car through them as well. While we are on the subject of transportation, I cannot tell you the amount of money I’ve saved from using public transportation. Trust me, I know public transportation can be daunting especially if you are from a small town like me where it’s not common. 90% of the time though your phone will show you the exact route you need to take, and once you get the gist of public transport it’s pretty easy to navigate in any city.

I’m a huge foodie, and often times I’m always thinking about what I’m going to be eating next. Buuuut, food can be seriously expensive. Whenever I’m paying for the trip with my own money I try to pick maybe 2 and max 3 places I want to eat out at. Other than that though, I’m buying groceries the whole time. I usually pick up a throw away cooler from a grocery store and get lunch meat, cheese, bread, and a couple snacks and that’s what I eat for most of the trip. It’s not exactly gourmet, but it keeps me sustained and allows me to keep doing what I love.

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Lastly, I know it would be perfect if we could all afford to stay in a 5-star-hotel in Mykonos, however that is just not within the budget sometimes. Hotels and Airbnb don’t mess around, and that can break the bank. One tip I have to keep from that is using Momondo! I know I’ve touched on it a few times throughout this post, but that’s honestly because I love it so much. Momondo and other websites like Hotels.com, Kayak, and Booking.com can save you so much money when booking hotels. A way I’ve saved money using Airbnb is by getting a shared room vs. the whole house. I know it may seem awkward, but more times than not the host is extremely welcoming and helps create a more home-y environment for you during your stay, plus most are more than happy to give you the local scoop. Finally, if you are in a country outside of the US it’s completely common to find hostels to stay in for next to nothing. This allows you to have a cheap and safe place to stay, plus meet other travelers along the way.

Happy Travels!

5 Places That Need To Be On Your Southwest Bucket List

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Phoenix has always been a favorite of mine, however this past week I got to explore some more of the southwest. My boyfriend and I road-tripped from Phoenix up to Salt Lake City, and got some mind-blowing views along the way. To make a long story short….I’m more in love than I thought possible. I love the red rocks and how they contrast with the blue sky. I love the rich history of these places. My words and pictures can’t even begin to do these places justice. I can’t wait to make my way back here in a couple of months. Below I’ve created a list of my most loved places in the southwest. 


Monument Valley 

Monument Valley is on the Navajo Reservation on the border of Utah and Arizona. It’s basically a 17 mile drive through the desert that has amazing monuments that are thousands of years old. There’s hotels here if you’d like to catch this place at sunrise, but I only did the drive. 

Glen Canyon 

Glen Canyon is on the border of Utah and Arizona, but is mostly in Page, AZ. We took kind of a different route and decided it would be fun to kayak around the Lone Rock area of Glen Canyon. We totally loved it, it was very private and we got to explore the areas that literally no one sees. Once you kayak across Lake Powell, you’ll come along a little hidden canyon that you can hike around. My favorite part though was the white rock, and the soft waves created by water in the formations along the shore. Plus the blues of Lake Powell made us feel like we had taken a little trip to Greece. 

Canyonlands 

Everyone knows about the famous Arches National Park in Moab, but WAYYY too many people forget about Canyonlands, which is also in Moab. This place has me at a loss for words. We watched sunset here, and the colors along the canyons created one of the best sunsets I’ve ever seen. The reds and orange compliment the bright sun and leave this burst of fire within the canyons. We hiked the Mesa Arch and it did not disappoint. It’s about a mile hike roundtrip and it’s super family friendly. 

Sedona 

Sedona, known for it’s mystic vortexes filled with energy is equally as home-y as it is beautiful. Sedona is a cute little town about 2 hours outside of Phoenix. The rocks are white and brown with giant red streaks running through them almost as if someone had done it with a paint brush. We did a 4×4 trail for sunset with my boyfriends Toyota 4-Runner and had a wonderful time off-roading on a mountain while the sun set in the distance. Sedona has hikes for people of all abilities and ages, plus the quaint town is worth checking out. 

Horseshoe Bend

Pretty much everyone knows this place, or has seen a picture of it. Tourist traps aside though, this place is worth seeing. Looking at pictures you think you know what it looks like until you get there, and then you do and it’s like the only thing that comes to mind is “this is massive.” The blue and green swirls of Lake Powell wrapping around the canyon below are seemingly endless and mesmerizing. On top of it all, it’s free and close to so many other attractions like Antelope Canyon and Glen Canyon.