Rome, Italy.

Roma, Italia. The second stop on our honeymoon.

Rome is the capital of Italy, packed full with almost three thousand years of history. It would be easy to spend week in the Eternal City and still not experience all of it’s magnificent history.  Everywhere you look, every street you walk down, a bit of history can be found. Rome can prove to be an overwhelming city, with the vast amount of history and tourist attractions present. But, despite the large crowds and sweltering heat, Rome is truly extraordinary.

We spent 7 days and 7 nights in Rome. A week in Rome was perfect for us, we were able to see all of the major tourist attractions without overwhelming ourselves. We wandered the beautiful cobblestone streets, indulged in the most delicious Italian cuisine, and drank all the wine (and some beer too- variety, ya know?). Rome and all of it’s beauty stole my heart and added a few pounds to my frame, just like any great love would.

Where to Stay.

I highly recommend renting an airbnb in Rome. By staying in the heart of one of Rome’s fantastic neighborhoods, you are able to be immersed in the culture, away from the touristy hotel area, and the best part- the restaurants are authentic and delicious! We rented an apartment through airbnb in Trastevere, Rome. Trastevere is on the river, tucked away from the main attractions, and filled with great eats, local pubs and wine bars, boutique shops, churches, and a bustling night life.

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Where to Eat.

Il Miraggio (Trastevere): delicious, authentic Italian cuisine. Definitely a “Ma & Pa” restaurant on a quiet street. We ate here twice and only saw locals eating here. The mussels & clams, house white wine, gnocchi, lamb, pizza, tortellini, espresso, and tiramisu were all delicious!

La Prosciutteria (Trastevere & Trevi): hands down, our favorite place we ate. We also ate here more than once, three times to be exact! This is a deli that serves sandwiches, meat & cheese boards, and wine! I wish we could have cloned this restaurant and brought it to our hometown.

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Bir & Fud (Trastevere):  Honestly, go here for the beer over the food. The food was good, but the beer is better. The variety of Italian craft beer on draught here is legit! We tried two IPAs, a sour, and a Berliner weiss.

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Roscioli:  We stumbled upon this gem while strolling the cobblestone streets. We walked into this deli/restaurant/wine bar without a reservation and were able to be sat immediately at the bar- score! (We then heard the couple next to us at the bar say they had to wait three days for a reservation just at the bar- so we got really lucky!) Handmade pasta, decadent meats & cheeses, and superb wine are the staples here at Roscioli. Everything we tried was beyond delicious!

Things to Do.

The Colosseum

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The Roman Forum

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Palatine Hill

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I would HIGHLY recommend the tour offered on Viator for the Colosseum, Palatine Hill, and the Roman forum. It was highly informative!

The Pantheon

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Trevi Fountain

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The Vatican City/ Vatican Museum/Sistine Chapel

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The Spanish Steps

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Take a day trip to Frascati & visit Merumalia Wine Resort

Honestly, this was one of our favorite days! Frascati is located 20 kilometers southeast of Rome, just a quick train ride from Rome Termini. Frascati is located on the Alban Hills, so it is ideal for harvesting grapes, and then producing delicious wine. We arrived in Frascati, had lunch with a view, and wandered around the quiet, beautiful hilltop city. Then, Giulia, picked us up from the train system and drove us to her family’s vineyard, Merumalia Wine Resort. We were fortunate enough, that Adam and I were the only guests for the winery tour and wine tasting that day. We were able to talk with Giulia and her family, taste their delicious wines, and enjoy a meat and cheese board. Their Primo wine is to die for- we will be placing an order to be shipped to the States ASAP! We also learned that they offer stays through airbnb and host events and weddings! Honestly, the winery is beyond beautiful, the family is wonderful, and the wine is fantastic. For anyone wanting to escape the overwhelming crowds of Rome for a day, you must to make a trip to Frascati to visit Merumalia Wine Resort!

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Rome is a truly magical and unique city. We were so lucky to be able to spend a week in the Eternal City. I hope this post inspires you to get out of your comfort zone, travel, and adventure!

xo, Chels.

 

Nice, France.

Stop number one on our month-long honeymoon and Eurotrip:  Nice, France. 

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Now, when one mentions the French Riviera, the beautiful picturesque turquoise waters of the Mediterranean sea, lavish yachts, wine, and expensive food comes to mind; but, Nice is so much more than that.

Nice is situated on said stunning blue waters of the Côte d’Azur, complete with a beautiful promenade, pebble beaches, and the charming Old Town. Nice is the fifth largest city in France, and is a wonderful combination of history, culture, delicious cuisine, and superb wine. The city of Nice is so beautiful, and we were lucky enough to explore for six days!

Where to Stay.

We decided to use our beloved airbnb and rented an apartment in the heart of Old Town. This was a great decision. By staying in the city center, we were immersed in the everyday life that occurs in Nice. The only down side- Nice is a place where people love to party! Since we are now an old married couple, and we like to go to bed around 10:00PM, we were woken up on a few occasions by some drunken people. Oh well!

What to Do.

Wander the colorful streets of Old Town and get lost!

Everyday we found a new street with more shops, bars, and restaurants! This was one of my favorite things we did. How fun it is to explore an old city by foot.

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Cours Saleya

This is a pedestrian only street situated one block from the promenade, inside Old Town.

Tuesday- Sunday, early morning until early afternoon, vendors set up shop and there is a wonderful farmer’s market. From fruits and vegetables to meats and cheese to trinkets, there is something for everyone! On Monday’s there is a beautiful antique market that takes place instead of the farmer’s market. Bonus:  every morning there is a flower market!

There is also a plethora of restaurants situated along Cours Saleya. Great place to sit and have a drink and/or snack and people watch! Because let’s be honest, who doesn’t like to people watch?

Promenade des Anglais

The promenade stretches along the pebble beaches of the Mediterranean Sea for 7 kilometers, from the airport to the port of Nice. Throughout the day you can find both locals and tourists running, biking, and walking along the promenade. We enjoyed our morning runs on the promenade, it is so much easier to run with the beautiful scenery! There are also many beach bars located just off the promenade, below on the beach, that are always busy. The promenade offers spectacular views and great people watching.

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Castle Hill

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Castle Hill, or Colline du Chateau, is the highest point in Nice. Therefore, it offers the best views, as you can clearly see above! It is quite the hike to get up to the hill, but let me tell you, it is so worth it. (Side note- taxis are available to take visitors to the top of the hill. But I suggest the walk!) Once on top of the hill, you are greeted with breathtaking views of the coastline and the city of Nice.

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Take time to explore once on Castle Hill. We stumbled across ruins of the fort and castle, a waterfall, a cemetery, and more than enough views of the Mediterranean Sea and Nice.

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The Beach

Obviously while you are in the French Riviera, you have to go to the beach! Be sure to bring a mat, or extra towels- the rocks are not too comfortable! I would recommend water shoes- we did not have any, but I sure wish we did! Walking on rocks barefoot is no fun.

Relax, grab a bottle of wine or a can of beer, and soak up that sun and those turquoise waters.

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Shopping

There is no shortage of shopping in Nice! From the small boutiques in the Old Town to the large shops on the bustling streets of the city, there is something for everyone! My favorite though? The street vendors! I bought a few cute Panama hats that I just adore.

Day Trips from Nice

  • Monaco
  • Cannes
  • Antibes
  • Eze
  • Saint Tropez

We took a boat from Nice to Monaco for a day, I highly recommend this! Seeing the coastline of the French Riviera from the sea is breathtaking. In Monaco we toured the Prince’s Palace, watched the changing of the guards, wandered the streets, and visited the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco.

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Where to Eat.

There is no shortage of delicious food and wine in Nice. What I was surprised about was the huge Italian influence! Many great pizza and Italian restaurants lined the streets.

The wine. Try the wine, try all the wine! The French whites and rosés were so tasty and refreshing. Oh and the best part- the wine is SO cheap! That is a win in my book.

Citrus delicious French cuisine in the heart of the Old Town. The wine recommendations were superb!

Olive & Artichaut- make a reservation! This place is a must. Amazing French cuisine, wine, and dessert. What more could you ask for?

L’Ecurie- Italian food and pizza for the win. The meat & cheese board, pizza, and house wine were fantastic!

Les Distilleries Ideales- great bar with a large selection of wines, beers, and cocktails.

Glacier Arlequin & Fenocchio Glacier- both places serve up some delightful gelato! Perfect for a night-cap.

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Nice was incredible and far exceeded our expectations! If and when you have a chance, visit this beautiful city! The memories we made will last us a lifetime. How lucky in love are we to explore the world with each other?!

Next stop:  Rome, Italy.

xo, Chels.

 

 

 

Our Wedding.

June 24, 2017. Our wedding.

On this day the wedding of our dreams became a reality. It was perfect.

When Adam proposed to me on April 2, 2016, we decided that we wanted a destination wedding. We went back and forth between Hawaii, St. Martin, Mexico, or anywhere in the Caribbean. After a month of research, we decided on a location: Tulum, Mexico; venue:  Dreams Tulum Resort & Spa. This decision led us to our perfect day!

The Venue.

Dreams Tulum Resort & Spa is located approximately 5 kilometers north of Tulum’s city center. It is an all inclusive resort with much to offer. The grounds are immaculate! Literally, the most beautiful resort I have ever seen. From the moment we arrived we were treated like royalty. The staff was so kind and attentive.

The true rockstar though, our wedding planner, Nayeli!  She was my guardian angel during the entire wedding planning process. She was prompt with email replies for the entire year leading up to the wedding and made me feel at ease. She is so kind, organized, and a genuinely nice person–what more could you ask for in a wedding planner?! Once we met with Nayeli on Monday, 5 days prior to our wedding date, everything was in place and ready to rock n’ roll, just as we had hoped!

The Wedding Week.

Adam, Dustin (my younger brother), and I headed south to Mexico on Sunday June 18th. My parents met us in Mexico on Monday, and the five of us spent the next few days in Playa Del Carmen! We had an airbnb rental that was right on the beach, and a 2 minute walk to 5th Avenue. 

On Wednesday is when the real party started. We packed up and headed south to Tulum! The majority of our 50 wedding guests were arriving on Wednesday…which only meant one thing, Wednesday night was likely to be a s**t show. We met two of our friends for lunch and the drinking and good times began! Shortly after, we met in the lobby and waited for the rest of our family and friends to arrive. One by one they strolled in, and with each arrival the noise decibel increased…significantly!   

The best part of our wedding week were our guests. Honestly, we had the funniest, loudest, best crew! It was so great that we were able to spend a full 3 days with everyone prior to the wedding! I truly think this improved our wedding. So, shout out to all of our wedding guests- you da best! Thank you for coming and celebrating!!

Okay, back to Wednesday. After we were all settled into our rooms, we met at The Sugar Reef Bar. We made more introductions and consumed more cocktails! We all the went and had a nice Italian dinner at Portofino. And after, the party continued!

Thursday morning the group who so desired, went to the Tulum Ruins! Wow, what a sight! The ruins were much larger that we expected, and the situated right on the coast. It was beautiful!

Thursday night, my sister in law, Jonna, threw me a surprise bridal shower with my mom, mother in law, and all the girls! It was such a sweet and much appreciated gesture!

After the bridal shower, we gathered the guys, and headed into Tulum! We went to Batey Mojito Bar. This is a MUST if you are in Tulum! The mojitos were fantastic. Cane sugar was being ground fresh directly in front of the bar out of an old VW Bug converted to do the job.  Another fun, crazy, drunken night in the books! The town of Tulum is so cute and eclectic–next time we will spend more time exploring there!

Friday morning Adam and I enjoyed a couples massage at the spa at Dreams. It was heavenly, and much needed! Who knew a wedding could be stressful? (Joke.) After our massage we headed out to Cenotes Dos Ojos. For those who are unaware, a cenote is an underground cave or cavern, and in the Yucatán Peninsula, they are filled with fresh water. What a fun day spent with our friends and family snorkeling in the freezing water!

Friday night, with the help of our wedding planner, Nayeli, we coordinated a dinner with all of our family and friends who were staying at Dreams. We were able to spend quality time with everyone, eat delicious food, indulge in cocktails, and relax prior to our big day!

The Wedding Day.

Pre-Wedding.

Adam and I woke up Saturday morning, spent quality time together, had breakfast, and relaxed prior to my spa appointment. This was such a special time for us. We did not want to get caught up in the stress of a wedding. We wanted to be sure that we were relaxed and focused on each other. Mission accomplished! 

As I headed off to meet my mom and mother-in-law at the spa for our hair and make up appointment, Adam headed to the pool to relax- oh, and write his wedding vows! (He is not a procrastinator or anything!) The lady in the spa who did my hair and makeup was the sweetest, and she did such a wonderful job! Even with the language barrier she was able to give me the perfect look I was dreaming of!

Momma- Thank you for keeping me calm throughout the day 😉

Remember how I mentioned the staff at Dreams was phenomenal? The spa staff had a golf cart waiting for me to drive me back to our room. That is great customer service!

When I returned to our room, my handsome husband-to-be was finishing up getting ready. I could have cried right then, this perfect man in front of me was about to be my husband! My heart was so full.

After I assisted Adam with perfecting his bow tie, he poured me a glass of champagne and headed off to the pool side bar, where all our guests were meeting.

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My Handsome Groom!

Once Adam was out of site, my parents showed up to our room, and we started to get me ready!
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Side note:  Having both of my parents there with me in the moments prior to getting married was SO special. My biggest supporters were by my side in true fashion, making sure everything was a perfect as it could be. And let me say, my dad, who is the rock of our family, was having a very hard time. He had tears in his eyes every time he looked at me, which made it almost impossible for me not to burst into tears!

Our photographer, Teo, showed up to the room, and we instantly connected. He was so professional and I felt at complete ease.  Teo and my dad stepped into the hallway while my mom helped me get into my wedding gown. (So many emotions were running through my head; I was excited, nervous, and above all, head over heels in love with Adam, which is really all that matters!) Once my wedding gown was on, Teo captured pictures of me and then pictures with my mom and dad. I was focused on making my dad laugh so I didn’t cry ;)! Those pictures turned out so beautiful, and I will cherish those memories for the rest of my life.

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The Ceremony.

Nayeli then came knocking, and it was show time! She led my parents and me to a shaded area near the ceremony location. My mom went with her, and my dad and I were able to watch our guests be seated! Now, this is when my nerves and tears started to come. But I kept calm, hung out with my dad, and waited patiently!

While the guests were being seated, we played acoustic and reggae beach music. We wanted our beach wedding to be as relaxed as possible. We even encouraged our guests to have a cocktail with them- to keep hydrated of course.

“One look at you; my whole life falls in line.”

We chose the song, “I get to love you” by Ruelle for me to walk down the isle. It is truly a beautiful song. Once I heard the music and those lyrics, a wave of emotion rolled over me. Luckily my dad noticed this, said “You’re okay” complete with a smile and squeeze of my hand. At that moment nothing else mattered. I was walking with my dad to meet the man of my dreams!

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Our Wedding Ceremony location- what a dream!!

Walking down the isle, I lit up when I saw Adam! I also snuck some glances at our guests- how loved and lucky were we that all these people came to our wedding!?

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Our wedding was special in the fact that the judge spoke Spanish to us and Nayeli translated into English. I actually found this to be extra special and cultural since we were getting married in Mexico!

Adam and I asked my brother, Dustin, to say a few words at the ceremony. He nailed it! He read from 1 Corinthians and then spoke heartfelt words to the both of us. 

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We then read our vows to each other. I went first, and read my vows to Adam, promising to always love him. Adam went next, and his vows made my heart swell. During his vows all I could think was “How did I get so lucky in love?”.

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After our vows, we went through the reading with the judge. When she asked if Adam took me to be his wife, he replied with, “Si”, which made everyone laugh! He’s funny.

We then signed our marriage certificate and even had to place our thumb prints on the certificate with ink!

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Once the formalities were complete, we exchanged our rings! And then we finally heard, “Adam, you can kiss your bride!” And that is exactly what he did!

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We then walked out to “Marry You” by Bruno Mars! Our ceremony was truly perfect!

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After the ceremony, Teo was able to get a large group picture of us with all of our guests. Our guests were then escorted to the cocktail reception on the other side of the beach, and Adam and I took our pictures! Adam is not a huge fan of pictures, but Teo did a great job getting him to relax and captured some absolutely amazing photos!

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Cocktail Hour.

We then joined all of our guests at cocktail hour! We had a Mexican Trio playing during cocktail hour, and they were great! Our signature drink was a mojito, but the open bar was available to make anything our guests desired! The hor d’oeuvres were delicious; they served ceviche in a puffed pastry and baked apple rings with goat cheese on top. So good.

The Reception.

The reception was about to get started, and Adam and I walked in to “Hooked on a Feeling” by Blue Swede! So fun! We sat down at our sweetheart table, able to see all of our guests and the toasts began.

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My dad spoke first, and man, did he do an amazing job. His speech was heartfelt, a tear jerker, and full of love and joy! He captured the attention and hearts of most, if not all of our guests. Shout out- I love you, Daddy!

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Next, Adam’s mom, Kathy, spoke. She was so sweet, kind, and loving with her speech. I am truly lucky to be a part of Adam’s family! I was for sure blessed with a great mother-in-law!

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Dinner was then served! Bon appetite! I honestly do not even remember what I ate, but what I do know is it was delicious!

While our guests were eating, music was playing, and Adam and I started to get the party started! We started off in the photo booth we rented! The photo booth was honestly the hit of the night! Complete with props and printed photos for our guests! Best part? We were given a USB thumb drive with all of the photos! What great (and some disturbing) memories that were captured!

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We then moved onto the cake cutting! We had a chocolate cake with buttercream frosting. Heaven in my mouth. We were cute and nice to each other with the cake cutting! No cake smashed in either of our faces- thank goodness!

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Our first dance. “At Last” by Etta James played, and we danced. What a magical moment, it was as if were were all alone, dancing on the beach. Ah- I am wishing I could relive this moment as I am writing this!

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The father-daughter dance. “I Love Her First” by Heartland. This song is so special to me and my dad. Every time it plays, I cry happy tears! I will forever cherish this moment, and am so thankful for my relationship with my dad.

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The mother-son dance. “Forever young” by Rod Stewart. Kathy and Adam have such a special bond. The first time I saw Adam with his mom, it made my heart melt. Yes, he is a momma’s boy, but he has SO much love and respect for her! That is exactly the type of man I wanted to marry- jackpot!

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After the three dances were complete, we got the party started with “Jump Around” by House of Pain! With in seconds we had most of our guests out on the dance floor dancing, jumping, and singing! For three hours we drank, danced, and took full advantage of the photo booth! The DJ was great, he played music that kept the party going! We were highly impressed. The wait staff was wonderful! They took such great care of Adam and I, as well as the wedding guests! They kept bringing us drinks, water, and were even serving shots on the dance floor!

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Our wedding was perfect, for us. It was everything we dreamed of, and more! While my lovely husband was slightly inebriated after our wedding, he kept saying, “Let’s do this again tomorrow! This was the best night ever!” God, I sure do love this man.

Thank you, to my parents who made our wedding everything we could dream of and more, and to our guests who came to Tulum to celebrate with us! We love you all!!

 

Palm Springs.

My mom and I took a short two day trip to Palm Desert & Palm Springs last weekend. Girl’s trip! She wanted to go, hang out, and take me shopping to celebrate Adam & my upcoming nuptials! Who am I to say no to that?!

First off, let me begin by saying that our trip was very relaxed, due to the fact that I have bronchitis. Who gets sick in May? This girl. So, between overdosing on DayQuil & Mucinex, excessively coughing, and constantly blowing my nose we still managed to have a fun little trip!

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My dad booked our hotel for us, and we stayed at the J.W. Marriott Desert Springs Resort & Spa in Palm Desert. Fancy, fancy! The resort was beautiful, the grounds were immaculate, the rooms were extremely clean, and the food and drinks were delicious. You cannot ask for much more than that.

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Desert Springs is approximately 14 miles from Downtown Palm Springs. A quick 20 minute drive through Cathedral City and we arrived in downtown Palm Springs! What a neat little town! The architecture takes you back in time! It looks like it was all built in the 1950’s, complete with the pink and teal accent colors. Super cute.

We began our day by eating at Cheeky’s. Do not go to Palm Springs and miss out on the food at Cheeky’s. Yes, there will be a wait; yes, the wait is worth it. Cheeky’s is open from 8:00 AM- 2:00 PM everyday except Tuesday. Breakfast is served all day, and lunch is served starting at 11:30 PM. Best part? The menu changes weekly! Honestly, I would return to Palm Springs just to eat at Cheeky’s again.

There is no shortage of shopping in Downtown Palm Springs! Adorable and affordable little boutique shops line the main drag. A few of my favorites? Paperdolls Boutique, Lush Boutique (everything in the store is $16.99- woah), Diane’s Beachwear, Ooo La La, and Shoe La La.

PS. You can follow Paperdolls Boutique on Instagram- and they ship their products!


Near Palm Springs is the mecca of outlet shopping malls:  The Desert Hills Premium Outlets. The outlets are located in Cabazon off the I-10. I’m sure most people have seen these outlets and passed them to and from LA.

(The crowds here are a bummer, not going to lie. And filled with people who like to stop directly in front of you when you are walking.)

But, if you can get over the crowds, this place is filled with great stores and great deals! High-end designers such as Coach, Michael Kors, Kate Space, Gucci, Burberry, DVF, Dolce & Gabbana, Dooney & Bourke, Fendi, Prada and Jimmy Choo attract large crowds. Other great stores present at the Desert Hills Premium Outlets include, but are not limited to:  J. Crew Factory Outlet, Nike Factory Store, Levi’s, Banana Republic, TOMS, Aldo, American Eagle, BCBG, Hugo Boss, DKNY, Lululemon, Express, Fossil, Joe’s, and Lucky Brand.

Piece of advice: It is very windy! So, don’t do your hair all nice or anything & bring a sweater!


Overall it was a great weekend with mi madre!

Palm Springs is a cute town and the J.W. Marriott was a beautiful place to stay. But, this is not a destination I would frequent often. Except if I want a solid weekend to do some damage shopping!

San Diego Brewskies.

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First, let me get this out of the way, I love beer. Adam constantly reminds me that I am a rare find; I’m a girl who will only drink IPAs and sours. He is very proud of this (it’s the little things- ya know what I mean?).

Living in Phoenix, means we are just about a five hour drive to San Diego. While we love Southern California, and would love to live there, we don’t love the cost of living. So, we settle for our semiannual trips to San Diego. While in San Diego (obviously I’m saying this in a Ron Burgandy accent) we enjoy the beach, the sunshine, and above all- the craft beer.

Southern California, and especially San Diego, is known for their craft beer. So PLEASE, do not make a trip to San Diego without visiting at least one of these fantastic breweries!

Mike Hess

  • GO HERE, seriously.
  • There are three locations:  North Park, Ocean Beach, and Miramar. The North Park location is our favorite! Great modern and trendy taproom with ample space and board games are provided for your entertainment.
  • I would recommend ordering a flight of beer. With a flight of beer you receive a Mike Hess collectible pint glass. We have a few and let me tell you- they are pretty dang awesome.
  • Beers:
    • The IPAs at Mike Hess are SOLID.
      • Grapefruit Solis
      • Solis
    • My Other Vice Berliner Weisse.
    • Kolsch.

Stone Brewery

  • I’m sure everyone has heard of Stone. I mean, I hope you have. Stone revolutionized the craft beer scene on the West Coast.
  • There are two locations in San Diego County:  Liberty Station and Escondido. Both locations have beautiful grounds.
  • Take a brewery tour in Escondido! Even if you do not enjoy the tour, you get to sample all their current beers on tap after! Win-win situation.
  • The food here is phenomenal! The beer cheese soup- heavenly.
  • Beers:
    • Delicious IPA
    • Go-To IPA
    • Tangerine Express IPA
    • Enjoy By IPA
    • Any IPA really

Amplified Ale Works

  • Amplified is a brewery and restaurant located in Pacific Beach. The location, beer, and eats here are out of this world. Sit out on the deck and enjoy a cold one with a view of the Pacific Ocean!
  • Food:
    • Doner Fries
    • Pita & Hummus
  • Beers:
    • Electrocucion IPA
    • Citravesa

Ballast Point

  • Ballast Point began as a small group of home brewers and quickly grew into a West Coast brewery unlike any other. Since opening in 1996, Ballast Point has crafted some amazing brews, including the popular Sculpin.
  • Locations:
    • Miramar
    • Little Italy
    • Temecula
    • Long Beach
    • Scripps Ranch
    • Home Brew Mart
  • Beers:
    • Sculpin
    • Pineapple Sculpin
    • Grapfruit Sculpin
    • Habanero Sculpin
    • Mango Even Keel

Coronado Brewing Company

  • Located on beautiful Coronado Island, you will not be disappointed with a trip to the Coronado Brewery!
  • Beers:
    • Guava Islander IPA- my fave.
    • Idiot IPA
    • Islander IPA
    • Orange Ave Wit

Pizza Port

  • What began as a pizza place, quickly snagged a spot in San Diego’s craft beer scene.
  • Locations:
    • Solana Beach
    • Ocean Beach
    • Carlsbad
    • Bressi Ranch
    • San Clemente
  • Food:
    • Pizza- enough said!
  • Beers: there is a VAST amount of Pizza Port beer available at all locations. You cannot go wrong with any of them! They offer all types of craft beer, including:  IPAs, session IPAs, wheat beers, ambers, summer ales, pale ales, red ales, stouts, and much more!

Monkey Paw Brewing

  • A small brewery near the heart of downtown.  A local hangout spot with solid beer and the eclectic cask ale from time to time. If you make your way to this brewery you will not be disappointed.

Thorn Street Brewery

  • A small brewery located in San Diego’s North Park. Great atmosphere and even better beer! Grab a beer and check out the local food trucks! Thorn Street Brewery is pet and kid friendly!
  • Beers:
    • Relay IPA
    • Far Far Away
    • Tropic Daze
    • Mob Barely

 

So, if you are a lover of beer, on your next trip to San Diego be sure to check out a few of these breweries! I guarantee you will not be disappointed.

 

xo, Chels.

Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica.

COSTA RICA

Pura Vida.

Pura vida. Pronounced POO-rah VEE-dah, in English translates to, “Pure Life”. However, per the locals, these two words have much more meaning throughout the Costa Rican culture.

Our trip to Costa Rica was the first international vacation Adam and I embarked on together. We were invited to a destination wedding, and created a ten-day vacation out of it! (Seriously people, this is why destination weddings are the BEST.)

I was SO excited about this trip to Costa Rica that we started planning our adventure eight months ahead of time. (Side note- I may be a little bit Type A.)

Prior to heading south, we had high hopes for our trip to Manuel Antionio. Well let me tell you, Costa Rica did not disappoint. To be honest, it far exceeded our expectations. The culture, the views, the food, and the people were amazing.

Manuel Antonio is a small village situated on Costa Rica’s central Pacific coast. Beauty is not scarce in Manuel Antonio. The jungle meets the beach; it is breathtaking. Manuel Antonio is known for its white sand beaches, coral reefs, and vast wildlife, including monkeys, sloths, and hundreds of bird species.

Accommodations.

Adam and I traveled to Manuel Antonio with his brother, Joe, and sister-in-law, JonnaLee. We opted against a hotel, and rented a beautiful airbnb located in the rainforest. Best. Decision. Ever. We stayed at Casa Gina, a two bedroom, two bathroom home with a private patio and pool.

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The front of Casa Gina.

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The backyard and pool at Casa Gina.

The only hotel recommendation I have is La Mariposa Hotel. The wedding we attended was held at said hotel. I cannot speak for the rooms or amenities, but I can speak for the views. It was situated on a hill overlooking the Pacific Ocean. It was beautiful, to say the least. IMG_5406.JPG

Food.

There was no shortage of delicious eats in Manuel Antonio. The only thing there was a shortage of was good beer- sorry, Imperial, but your Bud Light taste did not do it for us.

Here is a list of some of our favorite restaurants and what we enjoyed the most at each!

  • Cafe Milagro
    • This cafe was amazing. The roast their own coffee (you can buy their coffee on their website- you will not be disappointed!). Their espresso and macchiatos were out of this world. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner is all served here!
    • The best part? This is the ONLY place in Manuel Antonio that was serving craft beer! The IPA- damn. Hoppy and knocked us on our asses!
  • El Wagon
    • Wood fired pizza. Because seriously, who doesn’t love a great pizza?!
    • Pair the pizza with a  refreshing mojito and enjoy the views.
  • El Avion
    • This restaurant is on the list because of the ambiance and decor. There is a full size airplane in the center of the restaurant. SO neat.
  • Falls Garden
    • This is the cutest little place, with mouth-watering food. Honestly, we ate lunch and dinner at Falls Garden, and everything here was delicious.
    • My favorite item on the menu was the fresh ceviche served with plantain chips. I still have dreams about that meal.

 

Activities and Adventures.

In Manuel Antonio, there is no shortage of activities to fill those sunny, warm days.

First, the beach. Duh.

  • Playa Espadilla is located across from the entrance of the Manuel Antonio National Park. White, sandy beaches and some big waves live here! Head down to the beach early and rent a beach chair and umbrella (this is worth the money- trust me). Spend your days soaking up some Vitamin D and grabbing fresh food and cold drinks from the nearby beach clubs.

Second, the National Park.

  • Manuel Antonio National Park is a must while in Manuel Antonio. Take a stroll through the park to experience Costa Rica’s wild life, including monkeys and sloths! Then head to the fresh water lagoon to soak in the views. This place just kept impressing us!
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Fresh water lagoon.

Third, the adventures.

Two of our days in Manuel Antonio we spent on some extreme adventures! We booked our two adventures through Amigos Del Rio. I highly recommend this company. Their customer service and prices were impressive.

  • ADR, 10 in 1 adventure.
    • Hiking, ziplining, repelling, free falls, etc.
    • SO. MUCH. FUN. Adventuring through the Costa Rican rain forest was definitely an exciting, memorable experience.
  • White water rafting.
    • What a great day! Our guides were a blast and the river was beautiful. We took a break in the middle of our rafting and hiked to a beautiful waterfall for a hike and swim.

 

Get out there and explore, people! You will not regret it!

Costa Rica, you are beautiful. We will be back to see you. Pura Vida.

 

 

xo, Chels.

Puerto Vallarta.

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So, I tured 27 last month. Adam decided that we needed to take a vacation to celebrate said birthday, so we headed south to beautiful Puerto Vallarta!

Let me just start out by saying, it was my best birthday yet. It wasn’t about receiving gifts, money, or cards; it was about spending a special day with the love of my life, while celebrating life and all it has to offer. Adam made sure that our time in Puerto Vallarta was a perfect as it could have been. Let me tell you- I am one lucky lady!

To be honest, we didn’t do a whole lot of anything- besides eat, drink, and lay on the beach. It was an actual relaxing vacation- what a concept!

 

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Accommodations.

There is multiple areas to stay while vacationing in Puerto Vallarta. We decided to stay in the Romantic Zone or Zona Romantic. Let me tell you- we were not disappointed in our decision! The Romantic Zone was the perfect location, complete with the beach, fantastic restaurants, and nightlife all within walking distance. It’s also out of the way of all the major chain hotels and resorts- which is always a nice thing!

Adam and I are HUGE fans of Airbnb. How great is it to live like a local?! We found a beautiful condo two blocks from Playa De Los Muertos! We would highly suggest renting a condo versus staying at a hotel, but hey thats just our opinion!

Food.

One thing that Puerto Vallarta is not short on, is delicious food! A few of our favorites were:

  • Tacos Revolucion– holy moly. We cannot say enough about the tacos here! The service was wonderful, the food was delicious. This place is a MUST! Grab a beer or margartia and enjoy!
    • My recommendations:  carne asada and chorizo tacos, chips and guac!
    • Adam’s recommendations:  shrimp taco (he swears this is the best shrimp taco he has ever had) and the Taco Revolucion.

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  • The River Cafe- we ate here for breakfast three days in a row, and I’m not ashamed to admit that. Everything we had here was fantastic. The wait staff was incredible as well, which always makes the experience better!
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Chilaqueles!

 

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Bacon, egg, & gouda sandwich! Complete with fresh fruit & rosemary hash browns!

 

  • Cafe Des Artistes– Adam made reservations here to celebrate my birthday dinner. Thank the Lord he did. Holy cow, I cannot say enough about Cafe Des Artistes. The food, the wine, the employees, the service, the outdoor seating, the ambiance, etc. I could go on and on about how incredible this place it, but I think you get the point. We decided to splurge and ordered the 5 course meal with a wine pairing. Again- INCREDIBLE. As our dinner came to an end, our waiter and other employees presented us with a extensive dessert display while singing me Happy Birthday. It was a night to remember.

     

PV.

Honestly, PV is an insanely beautiful city that we would recommend to everyone! The architecture, the food, the beach, the picturesque views, and the people are all amazing. We even toured a new condominum building- we couldn’t help ourselves! One day, one day.

 

xo, Chels.