Buenos días!

Nestled within the secluded beach community of Punta Mita, located just 40 minutes from Puerto Vallarta, this resort is the definition of Mexican luxury.

The St. Regis is a resort like no other.  Driving through the gated community, surrounded by private homes, the Four Seasons resort and golf courses, we officially arrived in paradise.  We were greeted with two mouth watering margaritas followed by a personalized check in service that overlooked the most breathtaking infinity pool – Ah, does life get any better than this?

As soon as we stepped into our room, we were greeted by our personal butlers, Juan and Jose.  We were extremely fortunate for these two guys as they looked after all our dinner reservations (incredible dining recommendations)! I do not know about you guys but coffee is a must and growing up we not only had a 10 o’clock rule for anyone phoning our house, but my mom would always joke (not really) and say “do not talk to me until I have had my coffee”…Fast forward ten years and I have become my mother!  The butler service included complimentary tea or coffee at any time of the day and brought us a fresh craft of coffee every morning, along with the morning newspaper.

In terms of accommodations and service, the St. Regis, Punta Mita truly outdid themselves  – the service was impeccable.  Every detail was sought out and every time we thought to ourselves, “it cannot possibly get better than this”…it did.

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California Dreamin’

California is just one of those destinations that you can never get enough of. I suppose my love for California all started when The OC came out. I remember having my popcorn in hand weekly mesmerized by these California teenagers living what seemed to be the California dream.

Little did I know that with this vacation, I would be living my own California dream. We had the pleasure of staying at The Fairmont Del Mar and oh my, what a pleasure it was!
Secluded in the hills of Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve, this Mediterranean inspired design was a true artifact.

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Whether you are looking for a day at the beach, a hike through the trails, or a visit with Mickey Mouse there is something for everyone, that is one magical thing that this state represents. California, you will always play a special part in my heart and a huge thank you to the Fairmont Del Mar for making our fifth year anniversary a memorable one!

Until next time xo

Abu-Dhabi-Doo!

Dubai. Any thoughts? I know what a lot of you are thinking… Sex and the City 2, the desert, the high life of the rich and famous and one of the most recognized buildings in the world, yes, that looks like a sail boat, the Burj Al Arab. I had traveled to Dubai about ten years ago and of course at that time, your typical ‘high school girl’ was much more interested in and focused on what was going on with the drama back home and the confusion as to why MySpace was restricted in the UAE, talk about first world problems, am I right? I think its safe to say that I have grown up quite a bit since then and am feeling very grateful that I was able to make a trip back to Dubai!

We live in a day where oftentimes the media paints a distasteful divide between the West and the Middle East. Prior to this trip, many conversations consisted of people saying “Why Dubai?” “Please be careful” and worst of all, ”Don’t end up in jail”. Over time, some of these comments had me feeling apprehensive of both the fear and curiosity of the unknown. What did they mean by “Don’t end up in jail?”

So many conversations, a little confusion but most importantly, getting to truly experience that unknown. Five ladies, ten suitcases and we are more than ready for takeoff!

I have listed some of my ultimate highlights of must-sees and dos!

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Madinat Jumeirah

Madinat Jumeriah, which means city of Jumeriah, is a stunning little area which resembles a contemporary Arab village. Along the strip you will find luxury hotels, fine dining and some of the most breathtaking views of the Burj Al Arab from various lookout points.

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Mall of Emirates/Mall of Dubai

One word, INSANE. Growing up in a family where we consider shopping part of our daily cardio, I think if we ever made the move to Dubai we would be in the best shape of our lives! These malls are incredibly large (I am talking about 1,000+ stores large). The design and architecture that were put into these malls are completely mind blowing. The Aquarium and Underwater Zoo in the Dubai Mall is a 10 million-liter tank filled with all sorts of beautiful fish, sharks, stingrays and stunning artificial coral. I highly recommend checking this out!

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Safari and Camel ride

The Desert Safari and Camel Ride is a must. We were extremely fortunate to have had the most incredible tour guide named Dauhd. We booked our tour through a company called Desert Safari Adventures. They picked us up at our resort and we drove straight into the Desert where we began our unforgettable ‘Dune Bashing’ adventure. For those of you who have sensitive stomachs this may not be the best idea for you, however this was an experience that I will never forget! The safari ended with a camel ride through the desert and a traditional dinner under the stars with a belly dancing performance.

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Helicopter ride

This was by far one of my favorite things we did. This 15 minute Helicopter Tour soared above The Atlantis Resort, Islands of the World, The Palm Jumeirah The Arabian Gulf Coastline and other landmarks. All five of us were completely speechless once we landed and would have loved to gone on a second flight!

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Captivated by the history and culture of Dubai, I feel like I discovered a whole new world and just like any country you are expected to follow and respect certain customs within. I feel so grateful that I was able to see this beautiful city once again and of course seeing and spending time with family. Beautiful city. Beautiful people. Beautiful memories.

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Arrivederci!

It is hard to believe that three years have past by since receiving my Bachelor’s Degree from Brock University. It is even harder for me to grasp my head around the idea that our unforgettable graduation trip to Europe marks its third anniversary today. Of course, since it is Thursday, why not dedicate this #TBT to a week in my books that made an unforgettable trip and that made memories that will last a lifetime.

I guess we will take it back to when two of my closest girlfriends were brainstorming what we should do as a celebratory trip for our graduation. Checking your typical destinations (Mexico, Cuba, Dominican Republic) became exhausting after a while, advertisements popping up on travel sites saying we could save over $300 on taxes or if we booked now or we could get a free upgrade to an Ocean View Suite, I suppose none of which interested us. Factoring in that if we were willing to spend roughly around $1500 per person, we figured, why not do a different type of trip…

Being fortunate enough to have my mom working in the airline industry we were able to save a good amount of money on flights (& yes, those of you wondering, mamabear absolutely did come along the adventure with us – I’m telling ya, she is my sidekick and without her we wouldn’t have been able to make this trip possible).

We flew into Rome, and checked into an adorable boutique hotel named Regna that was about a 5-minute walk from the Coliseum. Highly recommended to anyone looking for a reasonable place to stay in Italy. The next couple of days of course were filled with sightseeing, typical tourists (and all that walking means you can justify having gelato every night, am I not right!

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After taking in all the beautiful scenery in Italy we were off to the races once again, and this time it was to catch our cruise ship!

I suppose you could consider my mom and I to be Veterans when it comes to cruising but it was a first for my two girlfriends which made everything that much more exciting (kind of like Christmas morning)!

We took a shuttle to our port which was in Civitavecchia and we sailed off on a 7-night cruise to..

Barcelona (Spain), Valencia (Spain), Palma De Mallorca (Spain), Marseilles (France) and Capri (Italy).

A lot of people do arrange tours when cruising, I definitely recommend it if you do not feel comfortable venturing out on your own in the city. We decided to do our own sightseeing (& of course, shopping).  I think cruising through the Mediterranean is a great way to explore different countries and get a feel for whether your next vacation may be one of those destinations.

Everyone’s gone a little O’ahu!

Calling all winter birds! (No, I don’t mean Robins, Blue Jays, or Chickadees!) I am specifically referring to those of you who I like to classify as winter travel embracers and escapers! I mean, of course there are some fabulous perks to the cold weather however, not everyone likes to rock those winter jackets! A perfect day begins with passport in hand, the anticipation of arrival and upon arrival telling your friends and family that you “just got leid” (and yes, I am talking about the traditional Hawaiian flower) and of course, what better place to get “leid” than the beautiful island of Honolulu, Hawaii!

Hawaii has always had a very special place in my heart for a very very long time now. My mom and I have been traveling to Hawaii annually for over nineteen years. I wanted to share with you some of my all-time favorite places and things to do in Honolulu.

Honolulu Zoo
The Honolulu Zoo has been a tradition of ours every time we make the trip to Hawaii. Although we started this tradition at a very young age (2 years old to be exact), this is a place that all ages are absolutely welcomed! The animals at this zoo have so much character and personality.  This is also a great way to get out of that scorching sun for a while as many areas of the zoo are shaded by the most beautiful trees!

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Diamond Head
Another one of my favorites! For all you #fitfam lovers out there, Diamond Head is a great hike, make sure to take a bottle of water with you as the temperatures do increase a great amount in the afternoon. The 1.1k is absolutely worth the journey, the scenery/view from the top is absolutely breathtaking!

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Kalakaua Strip
Calling all shopaholics! (we were there for Black Friday so you can only imagine..) The shopping along this strip is magical! Chanel, Kate Spade, Louis Viton, Fendi, the list goes on and on. This is also an absolute must in the evening, the palm trees are all lit up, the streets are still filled with people, overall amazing atmosphere and energy!

The BEACH
Of course, I saved the best for last, the beach is a place that will always be number one in my heart. I decided to venture out of my comfort zone this trip and rented a paddleboard/surf board. Extremely glad I tried this out, will definitely take these activities up in my upcoming trips, great work out and a perfect way to catch some Hawaiian rays!

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Until next time, Mahalo xo

#YVR

A few weeks ago I flew down to Vancouver to visit my other half, although my mini-vacation only consisted of a few days, we still managed (like we always do) to not only take advantage of the time we have together but to squeeze in as many excursions as possible. Every time I visit Vancouver, it seems to become harder and harder to leave, perhaps this is a stepping stone that I will be taking in the near future of officially becoming a “Vancouverite”

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Wingardium Leviosa

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Wands, wizards, broomsticks, and butterbeer are just a few things that come to my mind when I think of the wonderful Wizarding World of Harry Potter! After taking two steps into Islands of Adventure at Universal Studios, I was surrounded by exactly those things, (oh, and of course, the thoughts of running into “you know who”, but lets not get into that). The amount of detail that was put into everything within this section of the park is truly astounding. I would strongly recommend the “Forbidden Journey” which is an attraction that consists of a real life Quidditch match, while soaring over Hogwarts (you are talking about a girl who does not like rides, and I am proud to say that I soared over Hogwarts at least five times that day).

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Suess Landing was another part of the park that not only made me feel like a little girl again, but it gave me those classic butterflies in my stomach (and no, it wasn’t because I ate green eggs and ham). This section of the park is surrounded by so many bright colors and silly suessey signs!

“Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened”
–Dr. Suess

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Hakuna Matata

Girlfriend getaways are always a must, whether, its needed due to an awful breakup, a stressful situation at work or a what the heck kind of getaway. This girlfriend of mine that I am talking about is the type of friend who most definitely could pass as your sister, the type where the two of you not only share an equal amount of love for cupcakes, peonies and Christmas, but have an even bigger obsession with a place that is said to be the most magical place on earth!

“Where dreams come true”, DISNEY! As soon as you walk through those gates, you start to re-live your childhood – Cinderella, Snow White, Mickey Mouse, the list goes on and on. In some magical way, you truly do feel that there is fairy dust floating in the air.

We have both been to Disney numerous times in the past and let me tell you, every time still feels like the first.

This trip we decided to stay at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, which was absolutely breathtaking! The lobby was spectacular! African style architecture and a variety of exotic animals that you can view from your balcony, it does not get better than that! Or does it….

Kilimanjaro Safari, located in The Animal Kingdom section of Disney is a safari adventure and to be honest, I think it was one of my favorite things that we did that day. Our driver was hilarious, fantastic personality and I cannot even begin to express how amazing it was to be so close to the animals. Crocodiles, Elephants, the Hippopotamus, Zebras, Rhinos, the list goes on – are you in Africa or DISNEY?!

Like I mentioned before, Disney always has a place for my heart, and I always leave with a happily ever after ending!

Opa!

Ever since I’ve been a little girl, I have been extremely fortunate and have had the opportunity to travel to many places around the world. A few months ago, my boyfriend and I were sitting around trying to brainstorm which destination we would like to travel to next, may I add, he may or may not have just as big of a travel bug than myself (one of the many reasons I love him). We finally came to a decision, Greece!

We decided to divide our trip into Athens, Ios, Mykonos, and Santorini.

I tend to get a little anxious a few days before taking a trip, checking off one thing at a time, making sure I have packed the necessary items and of course, slowly adding unnecessary items into the suitcase, the dress, the bathing suit, the three cardigans that will never be worn….

Our trips are usually very organized in terms of where we stay, how long we go for, the activities that we’re interested in doing…you get the idea. This trip was a bit different, and when I say a bit, I mean I may or may not have been in tears a few days not knowing where we were going to sleep at night once we landed in Athens. That is where my boyfriend comes in; I like to think of him as my better half. The precious planner that he is organized every hotel and figured out the best transportation method to and from each destination.

The top three hotels that I would recommend to anyone would be…

Ios Palace (Ios)

Altana Traditional Suites (Santorini)

Mario and Christos are twin brothers who run the hotel at Altana. Upon arrival, Christos treated us to a taste of Vinsanto, which is a traditional local Santorini wine. Both brothers spent an endless amount of time taking us the through the map of the island, tailoring recommendations and preferences. The hotels architecture is a masterpiece in itself, it is located next to an old church, and the décor inside and around the premises are very traditional and tasteful.

Overall, we experienced a trip of a life time, Greece is absolutely a place we would love to go back and visit again one day