Keep cool and stay elegant when the temperatures rise with a sleek nautical midi skirt, cropped lace off-the-shoulder top, shapely crossbody bag, gladiator sandals and aviator sunnies.
I recently traveled to Los Angeles to visit my twin sister and it was such a great experience. Out on the west coast, it’s all about that relaxed lifestyle of exercising, brunching, or having a fun day with friends by the pool or on the town. I’d love to share some of my favorites and recommendations from the trip so next time you’re in LA you can check these off your to-do list:
1. Hiking. When in LA you have to go hiking on one of the many massive hills that surround the city.
2. Brunch. When in LA, you must brunch, it’s the way of the angelenos. There are endless trendy cafes and brunch spots that you have to take advantage of. Some of the staples to hit are Urth Caffe, Toast, and of course my favorite in West Hollywood, Gracias Madre.
3. Shopping + Sightseeing in Beverly Hills. If you want to get fancy, get yourself to Beverly Hills. There are rows of incredible shops and beautiful modern storefronts of high-end designers to explore in this area. Also, a drive up past the mansions and tall palm trees is a must-do.
4. Santa Monica. The oceanfront in Santa Monica is gorgeous with a backdrop of the mountains that surround Malibu. You have to go here to walk along the boardwalk, grab a quick happy hour drink, shop and even visit the pier carnival. The area is very modern but with a touch of beachy class and is definitely a must-see.
5. And, along with all these daytime activities, you have to at least take the town a few nights while here. Most of the bar areas are far apart from each other so you really have to know where you want to go so that you don’t end up wandering for a hot spot. Some of the best are in West Hollywood, like The Hudson and Laurel Hardware, both of which get packed so either know someone at the door or get there earlier. Other spots to check out are in DTLA and parts of Hollywood: Good Times at Davey Wayne’s, The Roosevelt Hotel, No Vacancy, and obviously anything on a rooftop like The Standard.
There’s nothing quite as picturesque as looking down on Manhattan from above. The sprawling landscape seems to seem so much smaller as you look down on rows of streets sprinkled with yellow cabs and scattered greenery. It gives you the feeling that you are actually on top of the world. The view from Le Bain on the Standard Highline Hotel’s rooftop has incredible sights of One World Trade, the Hudson, lower Manhattan and it even stretches uptown toward the Empire State Building.
The one thing you have to do when you’re in NYC is to see the city from this perspective. Nothing gives you that “if I can make it here, I’ll make it anywhere” feeling (pardon my cliche Frank Sinatra reference…) than being up top above the crowds, above the noise and above what seems like everyday life. If there’s one thing you have to see, trust me it’s this.
The rooftop of Le Bain has the coolest decor and design too, so it’s completely worth the trip. When you first get off the elevator you come into a semi dark room with a hot tub and a lengthy bar. Then if you head up the staircase, you make your way out to a green turf space with pink and yellow furniture accents, a crepe bar, and a full bar with tons of unique drink options and of course the stunning view of Manhattan.
My boyfriend and I just recently got back from an amazing stay in Punta Cana. We stayed at the beautiful Royal Catalonia Bavaro, an all-inclusive adults only resort. I can’t sing enough praise for this place, it was literally amazing! From the grounds (which were stunning by the way… palm trees everywhere), to the food and drinks, and the gorgeous suite style rooms, this resort was more than I ever thought it would be.
Check out the infinity pool by the beach:
Those palm trees are so dreamy.
And those palms right on the sand:
We stayed at the resort for 5 days 4 nights and spent every morning down by the beach under our tiki hut by the water after getting breakfast at this great sit-down breakfast/buffet restaurant that is near the lobby of the hotel. It is called Thalassa. Each morning, drinks are served around 10am at the beach bar so pina coladas and coco locos were a must for that early morning beachside relaxation as well.
The water has a beautiful greenish blue hue to it and is extremely calm, minus a few ripples from small boats excursions (run by this amazingly happy man who walked the beach all day listing off water activities). It is really shallow water as well so no need to be afraid of sharks coming out of nowhere either.
And a quick pro tip**- you can find huge conch shells hidden about 10 inches underneath the shallower edges of the shoreline. My boyfriend Tom spent a good 2 hours digging in the sand with other vacationers to find the perfect shells. It was totally worth it because he dug up a nice intact one that makes for a great decoration in his apartment. Legend has it, the shells were thrown in the ocean 50 years ago when the islanders who caught them in deeper waters ate the conch meat on the beach… Then the sand covered them up close to the shoreline.
Look at how stunning it is there:
After our daily dose of beach, we usually would head up to one of the lunch restaurants for a quick bite to eat. Snack Sea Blue had really good tapas lunch options and was super close to the beach area and infinity pool. But, the best lunch spot by far was at the neighboring hotel, Catalonia Bavaro, which guests at our hotel were able to have full access to for restaurants, bars, pools, beaches, casino etc. It is called the La Palapa restaurant and is literally right on the beach. They have tons of buffet options and the chicken and veggie options are amazing- we wished we went here more!
From lunch, the best thing to do was to either explore the grounds, stay at the beach or head up to the pool with the swim up bar that was right outside our room. This pool was so great because it always tended to get rowdy later in the afternoons when people had a little too much to drink… Definitely a good place to get in a few more tropical drinks before cleaning up for dinner and the night out.
I recommend trying out almost all of the dinner options if time permits. All of them were pretty good in their own unique ways. There are only 3 restaurants to choose from at our resort for dinner and about 6 at the neighboring resort and they all open for service after 7pm. As far as the best goes, I absolutely loved the tapas restaurant, Cata Tapa, that was on our resort down by the infinity pool. It is laid over a shallow lake so it feels like you’re floating on water when you are inside and has a modern decor. The tapas are all delicious, you can literally order as many options and plates as you want (be careful it’s dangerous + tempting). Another one I liked was the Mikado Hibachi restaurant at the other resort. They put on quite a show- everyone wants to go to this one so it usually has a long wait. I wouldn’t recommend going to the Grand Caribe buffet style restaurant though, we dropped in for a minute and the food was super salty so it wasn’t worth it, and it’s buffet which isn’t too much fun for dinner.
In the lobby of the Catalonia Bavaro:
I definitely would say to make most of your dinner + night out adventures happen on the grounds of the neighboring hotel Catalonia Bavaro because they have the biggest entry space with super cool decor and tons of restaurants and outdoor bars all in close proximity. There are also fun beach bars that had parties and DJs at night which are worth it to go to after dinner even if you are too tired from being in the sun all day.
Our stay at the Royal Catalonia Bavaro was so much more than I could’ve ever asked for and ranks up there really high on the all-inclusive list. They do such an incredible job with their grounds, service, and entertainment options that it makes for a very memorable stay. We will definitely be back to Punta Cana, the palm trees on the beach call my name all the time, they are just too beautiful the way they are scattered across the beach sand- most places don’t have beaches like that. Don’t you just wish life could always be a vacation? I think it should be. Now get traveling.
Getting ready for spring’s bohemian and whimsical Continue reading Braided