Spring Break Recap

Hey all! So as promised, I wanted to post an update on my Spring Break getaway! As you may have already seen on my last post, my vacation plans to a last minute turn. I had spent months planning the perfect road trip to Boston and once the unexpected snow had reared its ugly head on the news, I cancelled my accommodations and booked a trip to sunny South Florida!

With the Priceline Express deal option, they allow you to purchase a ticket at the lowest possible price with only one exception… they choose your take-off times! Thankfully I love early morning flights and my flight out to West Palm Beach, Florida was scheduled for 6 a.m. My boyfriend, Chris and I trekked to the airport at four-in-the-morning with little to no sleep! But the excitement was too much to bear.

I love airplanes. I don’t know it is, but there is something so serene about taking off and flying among the clouds. I was so at peace that I dozed off as soon as we took off into the sky and as soon as my eyes fluttered open…we had entered paradise.

The first thing you notice when you step off the plane is the heat! We had left New Jersey at 19 degree weather and it was so refreshing to hear the pilot declare that we would be landing at Palm Beach International Airport (PBI) in 78 degree sunshine. After collecting our bags, we ventured off to pick-up our rental car! When in West Palm Beach, I always rent through Sixt. This car company is super inexpensive compared to the on-site airport rental companies and although it is a few miles away from the airport, there is a convenient shuttle that circulates every five minutes to pick you up and drop you off!

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Great deal on a Mercedes C Class with Sixt!

 

After picking up our car, I was absolutely starving so we ventured off to my favorite place to eat in West Palm Beach! A little cuban food spot called Havana located just a few exits south of i-95 from PBI has been coined as “The Best Food in Town”, and it is so true! The food comes in massive portions and just one bite of anything on their menu can send you straight to heaven. Within minutes of being seated, we were approached with incredible service and received our warm toasty cuban bread, beef empanadas, cuban sandwiches and bistec con arroz (steak and rice) within minutes.

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Photo Cred: Me!

 

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Photo Cred: Pinterest

After our bellies were full, we checked into our hotel. Again with the Priceline express deal, they give you the lowest price for a hotel in the area you are seeking…but you don’t know the hotel until after you’ve booked the deal! Thankfully, we got the Ramada which I was super excited about! I am a huge fan of Wyndham brand hotels and the Ramada really lived up to my expectations. They allowed us to check-in early which is always such a huge bonus for me and the front desk staff was super friendly. The property, although it could use some updates, was very clean and well maintained. The property had a beautiful pool area, laundry services, a business center and was only minutes away from great shopping and restaurants. Overall, I would definitely stay again if I was in the area!

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Photo Cred: Wydhamhotels.com

The next four days were filled with nothing but relaxation, beach trips, shopping and dining at some of my favorite restaurants in West Palm Beach!

Change of Plans: Why You Should Always Go With The Flow

Hey all! So as spring break has unfortunately come to a close, I wanted to share with you my experience when it came to getting away this past week! So as you may have known from my previous posts, I was in the process of getting all set for my roadtrip to Boston, MA. I had the hotels booked and my travel check list all set as of months ago, so as the time quickly approached I genuinely felt more prepared than ever.

However, last Friday the terrible news struck. I turned on the Weather Channel only to discover that the Northeast would be expect a HUGE nor’easter…and as for Boston, that would mean over 24 inches of snow! I set into full-fledged panic mode as I realized that my plans had been completely ruined. There would be no way that my junky Nissan Sentra could handle trudging through a snow storm and who would want to explore this beautiful, historic town under state of emergency conditions. I had to come to grips that it would really not be safe to travel.

So Friday afternoon, I frantically called the hotel to cancel my reservation and kissed my perfect Spring Break vacation goodbye. I was so bummed that the vacation I was looking forward to for months was completely ruined. After many hours of feeling super upset, an idea struck me…

I had been talking about how I wanted to go back home to Florida for such a long time and what could be better than skipping out on this snow storm to bask in the hot sun! So I logged into my laptop and searched for any available plane tickets to the Sunshine State. Thanks to Priceline.com, I was able to find a pair of round-trip tickets to West Palm Beach, Florida for a great deal! I was on such a travel high that within an hour I had booked both my rental car and hotel accommodations. I had always been under the impression that saving travel plans for last minute would be a huge expense, but with Priceline.com’s express deals , I was able to book my four day trip for much less than what I expected!

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Thank you Priceline.com!

From there, it hit me. I would be leaving to Florida within 36 hours!!! And quite honestly, it was the best decision I ever made. I’ll go into more details about my trip in future posts (I promise to go over all the sunny deets!), but to get away from reality for a few days was so much needed. I always talk about how traveling is such an important remedy and I feel like I cannot emphasize it enough! The stress of school and work were really beginning to boil and that is why it was so important for me to get away this Spring Break. As soon as I stepped off the plane, I automatically felt a sense of serenity!

So the moral of the story is, go with the flow! Travel plans will sometimes fail to go the way that you want them to. When considering so many factors, such as weather or even personal-life situations, we can often become discouraged to fulfill an adventure we were looking forward to. But I encourage everyone to defy the odds! Instead of allowing plans to fall through or stressing over the unpreventable, always look on the bright side and live in the moment! As cliche as it sounds, you only live once. Make sure to make the most of every moment life has given you.

Just take myself for example…instead of wallowing in a snow storm, I spent a glorious four days wiggling my toes in the sand.

Until the next excursion…xo

 

 

 

Road Trip Foodies: Best Snacks For Your Next Road Trip!

As my road trip to Boston is coming up in just one week (YAY!), it’s time to start thinking about the important details….the snacks of course! As a huge foodie myself, going shopping for snacks is always one of my favorite parts of planning a lengthy road trip. In total, it will take 4 hours to get to Boston from Jersey, and although it isn’t a huge time lapse, the thought of my belly grumbling the whole way is enough to make sure I am prepared.

During past road trips, I am always the type to refuse to stop (unless it’s for gas of course) because I am super pumped to get to the final destination! Therefore, stopping at local fast food joints that align the highway is not only time consuming, but expensive. I always want to save my allotted road trip funds for my destination! So grabbing an assortment of your favorite foods is the best way to save on $$ and fulfill your hunger cravings. Here are some of my best snacks to have for your next road trip:

  1. Beverages

Whether it may be water, juice or soda – pack what you like best! Personally, water bottles are always my go-to beverage! I have a handy mini cooler (check out the dollar store if you need!) I always bring and filling it with beverages for every road trip. Even if you don’t have a cooler, you can always pick up a couple bottles of your favorite beverage the next time you fill up on gas. This is the perfect way to stay hydrated throughout your trip!

       2. Fruits

From bananas, apples to the little cutie oranges! This is the perfect healthy snack to keep you full. My last summer road trip, I filled a Ziploc with frozen grapes! Dried fruits are also a great alternative.

3. Chips & Pretzels

Although this is the not so healthy alternative, they are great munchies! I am huge Cheez-It fanatic and I always find that I immediately grab a box (or two) for my trips. So just simply grabbing a box or bag of your favorite crunchy food with definitely conquer your salty cravings!

     4. Nuts

I am a huge almond lover so I always have  a large container handy, and bringing them along for lengthy car rides are a must! Having a handful of almonds or any other nut alternative keeps me full and is also a great source of protein! Trying trail mix is also a great option to consider too.

      5. Crackers

Whether it may be grabbing a bag of Goldfish or a box of Ritz, crackers are fantastic road trip munchies! Crackers come in so many different varieties and flavors, so by heading down the grocery aisle there will definitely be something you can scoop up! Sometimes I’ll even bring along cheese slices an ultimate road trip snack.

6. Cheese Sticks

Okay, so I know I’m not in elementary school anymore…but I can’t be the only one who loves cheese sticks! They are a fun and delicious snack to enjoy at anytime.

7. Yogurt

I am huge fan of Chobani Greek Yogurt and just one cup is bound to keep me full for hours! The great thing about any kind of yogurt is that it comes in so many flavors to fit any craving. Also, adding in some dark chocolate chips, almonds or coconut shavings in a cup of yogurt is such a fun and delicious treat!

8. Gum

Personally, I think gum is a must-have for any road trip! Although I am unsure if it its under the “snack” category, chewing on some fresh minty gum is the perfect way to stay alert and awake during those long car rides!

I will be heading to ShopRite within the past couple of days to stock up on my road trip munchies! The reality that Spring Break is coming soon is really starting to hit me and I cannot wait to share with you all my next big east coast trip!!

Until our next excursion…xo

 

 

Why Having a Travel Diary is a Must-Have!

A few years back, I adopted the idea of writing my travel experiences in a diary. Growing up, I have always loved the idea of writing about my thoughts in a diary – especially during those awkward teenage years (where the drama was always flourishing). As we get older, finding the time to sit down and write about  “life” is sometimes impractical and I found my collection of diaries collected dust in the corner of my book shelf.

However, I discovered that its all about the passion! When I discovered how much I LOVE to travel, I knew I had to channel that passion somewhere. In this day in age where technology rules the world, we are often capturing moments through micro-lenses and digital screens. And don’t get me wrong, this is a great way to document a vacation. Grabbing your new Cannon to capture a beautiful beach scenery or posting your night out in a new town on your SnapChat story are all great ways to capture moments.

But…hear me out! There is nothing like having a unique and memorable artifact to hold with you forever. As cliche as that sounds, a travel diary is a physical treasure that you can flip through for many days, years and decades to come. It allows you to write about those experiences from your perspective. Just think about the pages you could fill with every spontaneous road trip or your next out-of-this-world vacation! Looking back, it will transport you back to the blissful past every time your eyes absorb those memories again.

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Recently purchased a new travel diary! Home Goods, $5.99

Personally, not only do I write about my travel experiences in my diary, but I fill it with a bunch of different other cool things, such as receipts from my new favorite restaurants, concert tickets, printed out photos, and even little pieces of nature. For instance, when I went hiking in the Poconos last fall I found a heart-shaped leaf and taped it in my diary. Or  when I went to a concert in Upstate New York, I saved the tickets and wrist bracelet to include in my diary. By including these personal touches, it just makes a travel diary even more special. Just think how in ten years, how much it would mean to look back at your past memories!

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So I encourage everyone who is reading this post to go out and grab a travel diary! You absolutely will not regret it.

Until next excursion…xo

My Favorite Things To-Do in West Palm Beach, Florida

Growing up in West Palm Beach, Florida has definitely spoiled me! This east coast destination is definitely one that keep close to my heart. Since moving to New Jersey a few years ago, I have tried to make an appoint to travel back as much as I can, because let’s face it – WPB is paradise and for those who have never been, I 1000% recommend! I can definitely say that I took advantage of living in the sunshine state and now that I am 1,200 miles away, I am missing every bit of it.

West Palm Beach  is located on the east coast of south Florida and is a magical tourist wonderland. It is the center of gorgeous beaches, restaurants, night life, shopping and fun attractions for all ages. Most importantly, the weather remains at  beautiful temps all year around so whether you are traveling in the summer or winter, you will always have the opportunity to take advantage of what WPB has to offer!

Although it would probably be impossible to list my favorite things to do when back home, I listed a couple of my favorite things to do when I am back home…

City Place

Ohhhh, CityPlace! When visiting West Palm, this will be the top destination you must visit! This upscale lifestyle center in downtown West Palm Beach is located along South Rosemary Avenue and is the premier shopping, dining and entertainment destination. Whether you are in the mood for some good eats or indulge in a comedy show, CityPlace has everything you are looking for. Macy’s, Muvico Parisian Movie Theater, LA Fitness and Publix are the center’s anchors. Hotspots include Panera Bread, Cheesecake Factory, Brio Tuscan Grill, (the famous!) Sloan’s Ice Cream, and Starbucks. In December 2013, Revolutions, a bowling alley, opened a location in CityPlace, which I personally have enjoyed very much!

{700 S Rosemary Ave, West Palm Beach, FL 33401-6023}

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City Place, July 2016

 

Palm Beach Zoo

This fun attraction is great for anybody of any age! According to their website, this zoo houses more than 550 animals (190 species), many of them endangered, within 23-acres of lush tropical habitat. As someone has visited this zoo on multiple occasions, I can definitely vouch how incredibly fun it is voyaging through the park and getting to see the exotic animal life! What is even better is that the zoo has several events throughout the month, such as Everglades restoration and Family Night!

{301 Summit Blvd, West Palm Beach, FL 33405}

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Palm Beach Zoo, Photo Cred: palmbeachzoo.org

Juno Beach

Okay so obviously West Palm Beach would be renowned for their beach….but its just so true! Living in New Jersey and going to school by the Jersey Shore, I always find myself comparing the two…and to me, nothing compares to Florida beaches. Although there are many beaches that align the coast, my favorite is Juno Beach. Almost a 20 minute drive from downtown West Palm Beach, it is hands down the most relaxing and serene. The beach is never too over crowded and you will always find a spot away from others. The ocean is crystal blue and warm all year around, and the sand is always so clean!! Another great feature is the Juno Beach pier, which is great for fishing and even snapping a great photo!

{Juno Beach, Florida 33408}

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West Palm Beach (check out that seagull!)

Mounts Botanical Gardens

Mounts Botanical Gardens is a destination certainly worth adventuring to! It is the oldest and largest garden in West Palm Beach with over 2,000 specifies of tropical and sub-tropical plants from over six continents! The garden is sectioned off into different categories – such as, a butterfly garden with a dozen different species of butterfly or rose garden that is filled with indulgent aromas.

{531 North Military Trail, West Palm Beach, Florida 33405}

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Photo Cred: Delta.com

Clematis

When in West Palm Beach, Clematis Street is a must go! This street is the historical heart of downtown West Palm Beach and includes colorful boutiques, nightclubs, live music, restaurants, antique shops and historical landmarks. Thursday nights are the best time go explore as from 6-9pm when Clematis Street transforms into Clematis By Night – great live music and plenty of appetizing foods to enjoy!

{Clematis St, West Palm Beach, FL 33401}

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Clematis St, Photo Cred: AdmiralsCove-home.com

Are you an “over-packer”? (I have your solution!)

Hey all!

So if there is one thing I am totally guilty of, it’s over-packing. Whenever I am planning for a trip, one of the first things I do is analyze the big question: “What will I pack?!” After making the booking official (whether a road-trip or long distance getaway), I will lug out by big red suitcase and commence the packing ritual…where I pack EVERYTHING!

I don’t really know where my logic stands, but my mind always breezes through a thousand different scenarios. “What if rains?” (Packs rain boots) “What if it gets too chilly?” (Packs seven cardigans) “What if I my heel breaks while walking through the city?” (Packs every single pair of pumps, boots, or even sandals for comfort.)

You guys, its ridiculous. I often find my suitcase either unbearably heavy or at the end of the trip, impossible to zipper shut. And what’s even more bizarre is that I often do not use half the stuff that I pack! But thankfully, I feel as if I have discovered a solution and since my big spring break road trip to Boston is coming up soon, I am more than excited to put them into action!

  1. Know the weather:  Something as simple as checking a weather app or logging into weather.com can go a long way! Once you aware of the weather patterns for next vacay, you have the opportunity to plan ahead and avoid any uncertainty.

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    Quick example of the weather for West Palm Beach, FL! Most apps have a hour by hour replay of the weather for the day.

  2. Don’t pack “just in case” items: Repeat after me…less is more! Whenever I used to pack for vacation, I would always fill up my suitcase to its max capacity. and most of the time, I would never use half the stuff I packed! And more than likely, neither will you. Instead of stressing about the “what ifs”, take a deep breath and just pack the necessities. This is the best way to minimize luggage clutter!
  3. Clothes must be interchangeable:  This is a great tip to minimize your excessive luggage load! Instead of packing a dozen different outfits, make sure that your outfits are interchangeable. Instead, a cute cardigan can pair with a trendy pair of jeans or a flowery summer dress! The same way a pair of basic black leggings can be worn with an over-sized sweater or a cozy sweater dress. I promise, there are tons of different ways to alternate articles of clothing!0

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    A great example of how universal a pair of black leggings can be! Photo Cred: Pinterest

  4. Pack more tops than bottoms: I usually never have an issue with this, since I naturally have more tops than bottoms in my closet. But I still always find myself in overpacking mode, so keep in mind that tops can always be interchangeable with bottoms (Just like I mentioned in tip #3!)
  5. Downsize your toiletries: Not to be weird, but I love travel sized toiletries! Instead of packing a full tube of toothpaste or an oversized 32oz bottle of shampoo, the best thing to do is to grab some mini’s from your local Target, Walmart, Walgreens or literally anywhere else that sells hygiene products. These tiny toiletries are a fairly inexpensive, a great way to save space and can be reused on future vacations!

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    Mini kit from Target, $4.99

  6. Remember: You can do laundry while you are traveling!: People always tend to forget that most hotels and resorts have a convenient laundry room that is available to guests. So instead of packing an outfit a day, take advantage of the laundry perk and downsize! When planning your next trip, log onto the hotel website or give a quick call to the from desk to inquire if they have this amenity!
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    Hilton Garden Inn’s are equipped with laundry rooms! Photo Cred: Hilton Garden Inn Website

    Overall, I hope these tips will encourage you all to rid of your luggage clutter! Remember your vacation is all about the memories and not about how much “stuff” you need to bring along with you. So downsize and dream big!

Until our next excursion…xo

Why a romantic getaway is the best gift for your significant other

Okay lets face it, as Valentine’s Day has came and went, I am sure that most of us felt a little stressed about what to get our significant others for the big day of love. Personally, my boyfriend always tends to brush off the idea of a gift with “I don’t need anything”, and anyone else in a relationship knows how frustrating that is! It is not like we can show up on the big day with nada! I would feel terribly guilty.

But in that same token, shopping for material items can be exhausting. In the past, I have found that the majority of the gifts I buy just seem to be a waste. For instance, last Valentine’s day I purchased him a gift card  to one of his favorite car product websites (He’s a huge car guy) and a button up flannel t-shirt. One year later, the flannel shirt is still hanging aimlessly in the closet and although the gift card was used, it just seemed extremely un-personable afterwards. Like something I would get a coworker or a distant aunt.

But I had an epiphany the other day while I was in the car listening to one of my favorite podcasts. If you guys have never heard of The Minimalists, I suggest you check them out ASAP. The podcast consists of two guys, Joshua Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus,  that help people live more meaningful lives with less. On my 40 minute commute to school, listening to their words of wisdom can be truly inspiring!

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The Minimalist podcast is available to download at the Apple Store and online!

The episode that sparked my interest was Episode 52, “Stress”, which talked about how they handle stress, tension and anxiety. However, at the end of the episode they sparked a conversation about material things and how they are just so unnecessary to have. Milburn then stresses the importance of gifting people with experiences instead. For instance, instead of buying an expensive handbag or overpriced designer tie, purchase something that will create a life time of memories. That can be anything from a night out at a nice restaurant, concert tickets or a weekend away to somewhere you have never been!

You guys, I was literally dumbfounded by how great of an idea this was! As someone who is so incredibly passionate about traveling, why is that I had not thought of extending the gift of traveling towards others (in this V-Day case, my boyfriend.) So this Valentines Day, I purchased a romantic evening dinner cruise that loops around the New York City harbor for just the two of us. We have yet to make our reservation, but I cannot wait to experience the beauty of the city and a great meal with my one and only! And better yet, the look when he opened the gift was priceless – he has not stop talking about it since Tuesday!

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Boyf’s Valentines Day Gift, Photo Cred: Cornucopia.com

I reminisce about the past and how our best memories as a couple have been the vacations we have taken together – whether big or small! This past Christmas we got to get away to the Borgata in Atlantic City, and for those who have not been, its a lovers paradise. This gorgeous hotel and casino includes spacious rooms (the shower is to die), delectable restaurants, a spa for a relaxing couples massage and even a jacuzzi tub in the indoor pool area. When I look back at that experience, it topped any other gift I received this past holiday – hands down!

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Borgata Hotel & Casino, Photo Cred: The Spa Finder

So instead of stressing about what material item to score for your significant other, whether it be V-Day, a birthday or Christmas…consider a romantic getaway instead. It will give you memories to last a lifetime!

Until the next excursion…xo