When Laguna Beach comes to mind, most people think of the gorgeous sandy shores, blue waters, sunny skies, and the relaxed beach town. I picked Laguna Beach as my destination for a quick weekend babymoon with all of those in mind, but also due to the abundance of breathtaking hiking trails in the surrounding area. The sheer number of hiking trails is crazy! The hardest part of planning my trip was choosing which trails to hike.
Since I think hiking in the hills is just about the best way to see Laguna Beach, I wanted to highlight some of my favorite trails with views of the trip. Keep in mind that these are more easygoing walking trails than true hikes, all the better for taking in the scenery!
About two hours south of Santiago, in between the massive Andes mountains and the cool central coastline, lies one of Chile’s best wine regions: the Colchagua Valley. Most famous for robust red wines, they also produce excellent sauvignon blanc. Visiting will give you a taste of the Chilean countryside and provide you with breathtaking valley and mountain views. Out of all four wine regions I visited in Chile, the Colchagua Valley stole my heart above the rest.
There are so many wineries in the area, I’d recommend spending at least three days in the Colchagua Valley alone. I wish I had stayed longer! Here are some of my picks for the best places to eat, drink, and stay -- starting with the most important: wine!
When I planned my recent trip to Chile, my heart was set on the wine country and the coast. I wasn’t too excited about visiting Santiago. But because I was paying for most of the trip using points, I decided to stay in Santiago for a few nights as the rates were lower and I could maximize my points. The city really surprised me and I left wanting to lure all fellow wine lovers south.
Here are a few of the reasons why wine lovers will fall hard for the city:
THE VIEW AT THIS WINERY WITHIN CITY LIMITS.
I’ve been to wineries all over the world, places as stunning as Santorini and the Douro Valley. My jaw dropped when I walked through the gates of Viña Aqutania. There is truly nothing quite like sitting among the wines and gazing up at the massive Andes mountains towering over the vineyards in the distance. I was surprised how close the mountains seemed, like you could just reach out and touch them, a glass of wine in hand.
As our Hanoi transfer van pulled up to the port, I was already awestruck by the view of Halong Bay in the distance. It’s a place so beautiful that it truly leaves you speechless. You have to see it in person to fully appreciate its beauty. Shortly after boarding our boat, lunch was served, and though we could see the magical landscape from our table’s window, it took every ounce of my patience not to leave lunch to go take pictures. I convinced myself that it would only get prettier, and it did. Halong Bay was on my bucket list ever since I saw a picture of it a few years back, and after seeing the photos in this post, I know it will be on yours too.
The first five minutes of our cab ride from the airport were a brief introduction into the chaos that defines Hanoi. Cars and motorbikes weaved back and forth, leaving inches of space between them, while our cab driver drove down the breakdown lane of the highway, inches from the concrete center barrier, as if it were meant for traffic. I knew immediately that Hanoi would live up to its reputation for being in a near constant state of pandemonium.
As we drove into the historic Old Quarter, the streets were engulfed with vast numbers of people walking in every which direction with seemingly little regard to the motorized traffic. Every few feet there were fires of what we thought was trash burning in the streets (we later found out the fires were offering to the gods). Stepping out of the cab we felt the thick, hot air and realized that even at 9 PM there was no break in the heat. Hot and tired, I went to bed that night glad we only had one full day in Hanoi, as I wasn’t sure I would enjoy the city.
Luckily, our full day in Hanoi changed my opinion of the city for the better.
Lisbon has everything you could want in a European city: history, delicious food, vibrant culture, and cobblestone streets to get lost on. What takes it over the top is the friendliness of the people and the city's sheer beauty. I love Paris and Rome, but there's something about Lisbon that pulls you in and makes you never want to leave. It's hard to put a finger on all of the reasons that Lisbon is one of my favorite European cities, but below you will find a few!
My husband and I checking off three bucket list destinations this summer: Japan, Thailand, and Vietnam. We will spend two glorious weeks in Asia paying only $95 per person for all flights and hotel stays. Granted, once we get there we will still have to pay for food and activities, but our final bill will be drastically lower than the out of pocket dollar cost we would have paid without points. I know that the points game can be confusing, especially when you factor in credit card bonuses, so I wanted to share a few tips on how we made this trip happen so that you can do the same!
South Africa has long been at the top of my bucket list. Whether you dream of seeing the “big five” (lion, elephant, buffalo, rhino, & leopard), basking on the beach with penguins gazing at the mountains surrounding the water, sipping wine at one of the many vineyards within an hour of Cape Town, or simply exploring the rich culture of the city – South Africa has something to lure in every traveler.
The scenery, wildlife, vineyards, and beautiful city of Cape Town are a feast for the eyes. Below are ten photographs that will ignite your wanderlust for this majestic country.
Cappadocia is a fairytale region in central Turkey that dates back to the sixth century BC. It is so unique that people liken the topography of the region to that of another planet.
Many people have never heard of Cappadocia and even I had almost forgotten this magical place existed. My husband and I almost added on a few days in Cappadocia to our honeymoon itinerary, but regrettably missed out.
The extraordinary landscape was formed through volcanic eruptions and erosion. The cavern architecture dates back to the fourth century AD. Not only are there ancient houses, businesses, and now hotels carved into the sides of the rock, but there are also entire cities underground. The ancient city of Derinkuyu, the largest excavated underground city in Turkey, is eleven stories deep and connects to other underground cities through a network of tunnels. The city could accommodate up to 50,000 people – talk about a good place to hide!
La Rioja is a breathtaking wine region situated in the Cantabria Mountains of northern Spain. It's best known for spectacular red wines, though amazing white wines are also produced there. La Rioja has a unique mix of history and modernity. You can visit a family winery that has been producing wine for hundreds of years in the caves of the walled city of Laguardia, or visit modern wineries with extraordinary displays of architecture and state-of-the-art wine-making processes.
With an abundance of great choices, it can be overwhelming to decide which wineries to visit. In order to have an authentic and unforgettable experience in the region, here is a quick guide to my top winery picks in La Rioja.
Houston is my hometown. It’s where I was born and raised. I love it with all my heart. The city is a giant melting pot and has one of the most vibrant arts and culture scenes in the country. The theatre district rivals New York City and there are more museums than you can imagine. The food is unparalleled. From globally acclaimed restaurants to authentic Tex-Mex, from food trucks to Chinatown – Houston will not leave you hungry.
The fourth largest city in the U.S., there is always an exciting event going on. Bot nothing brings the city to life more than the annual Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo. To a native Houstonian, there are few phrases that incite excitement quite like, “HOU-STON. ARE. YOU. READY. TO. ROD-E-OOOOO” echoing through Reliant Stadium.
No questions asked, the rodeo is the best way to experience Houston. Here’s why:
You’ve probably seen Portugal popping up as a top travel destination. Travel & Leisure named the country the “destination of the year” in 2016. The Huffington Post coined Portugal as the “new Iceland” and said it’s “the country everybody will be visiting in 2017.”
Breathtaking. Gorgeous. Unforgettable.
It’s impossible to find the right combination of words to describe the appeal of Portugal.
The people are incredibly welcoming and just about everyone speaks English. And with Portugal being one of the closest European countries to the United States, it’s hard to find a reason not to visit.
While each of these deserves its own highlight, here is a taste of five places that will make you want to book your plane ticket immediately:
As the holidays are quickly approaching, I thought I would share a few of the travel items that I am loving and lusting over. There is a range of price points for any gift-giver – from luxury to stocking stuffers. *Please note that I do not receive commission on any of these items. They are things that I genuinely love and use, or are high on my personal wish list!
There's a reason the first photo you see on my website is of a breathtaking Greek island. Santorini is, without a shadow of doubt, my favorite place in the world. I visited the island on my honeymoon in May of 2014. It was at the top of my bucket list, so I had no trouble choosing it as one of our honeymoon destinations.
Even the plane ride into Santorini is magical. The flight from Athens goes by in the blink of an eye, especially if you sit in a window seat, eyes glued to the myriad of tiny little islands below.
Santorini was five days of pure bliss. I'd go back in a heart beat.