Chicago Travel Guide

I had the opportunity to visit Chicago for a week and I crowdsourced from my friends and online blogs a list of things to do in Chicago. Since I still had to work, I primarily ate a lot. I really should rename this blog post to A Chicago Food Guide. Although I was only here for a bit, I really enjoyed the city. It has taken its place as my favorite city in the US (probably because I have not experienced its winters). It reminds me of a clean New York without the stressful hustle and bustle and I love how a river flows through the city. I'm a Cali girl and need to be near water.

I’ve categorized the blog post by Places, Food, and Things To Do. Unfortunately, I did not take as many photos as I wanted to, but I've added some HUJI Cam and instastory photos I took in the post. Hope this helps you plan your trip to Chicago or inspires you to make the trip out there!

Places

I mainly stayed in two regions: Wicker Park and Downtown Chicago (right next to Millenium Park).

Wicker Park was a very hip place to be. Imagine insta-worthy coffee shops, thrift stores, and great bars (and a kava bar). It was a great place to work and hang out with friends.

Downtown Chicago is very touristy, as most downtown areas are. Around the area is all the classic tourist attractions: Cloud Gate (The Bean), Magnificent Mile, and Willis Tower. I recommend going to Cindy's Rooftop bar ($$$) for a drink. You get a great view of Millenium Park. Also, if you don't want to pay the $20 entrance for Willis Tower, you can go to the 96th floor bar in the John Hancock building. The view is incredible and we ended up watching the Fourth of July fireworks there.

FOOD

Main Dishes

Purple Pig ($$$)
Purple Pig is amazing! They serve large size tapas that are all very well made.  I loved it so much I came here twice during my trip. They change their menus every season, but I recommend getting the bone marrow, crispy pig ears, asparagus rissotto, and pork dishes if they are available. The wine is pretty pricey but they have nice cheese plates that pair well with the drinks. The tapas are pretty salty, so drink lots of water and stay hydrated. There is also usually a line here so I recommend coming at odd hours.

Small Cheval ($$)
This restaurant serves the burgers from the famous Au Cheval, without the fried egg on the burger. It’s great if you want to taste the burger without waiting hours for a spot at the main restaurant. 

Nando’s Peri Peri ($)
This place serves great chicken dishes with varying spice levels. It was a great fast meal that was ultra-filling. I had enough left over for another meal.

Wildberry Pancakes and Café ($)
This is a very popular pancake place that usually has a 2hr + wait time. I recommend putting your name down and wandering around. It is located near the Bean, so this is the perfect opportunity to check out the big tourist spots. I ordered an omelet and their fruit pancake (what they are known for)

Beatrix ($$$)
Great for a nice healthy lunch. I got their mushroom quinoa burger and blueberry basil refresher. They serve coffee and also have wifi. I ended up coming back to just work at the restaurant's coffee bar. 

Lou Malnati's ($)
Deep dish pizza is a must! This place is one of the most famous pizza joints in Chicago. They serve great deep dish pizza with standard toppings. Some joints are take-out only, so make sure to check on Yelp before going!
 

Eataly ($$)
I loved Eataly in NY and was so happy there was a location in Chicago. This place is essentially a super market that also sells amazing food. Lots of great pasta, food finds. I ended up coming home with bundles of squid ink rissotto, pasta, red chilli pasta, truffle salt, and much more. 


Other restaurant's I was recommended but didn't have time to try: Portillo's for Chicago Hot Dogs, Girl & The Goat
 

COFFEE

Wormhole Coffee ($$)
This is a great place to work if you are in Wicker Park area. The interior of the shop is filled with 80s video game references, along with interesting drinks (Peanut Butter Koopa Troopa, Honey Bear Latte, etc.)

Ipsento 606 ($$)
This was another great work spot with nice lighting and delicious lattes. They had plenty of outlets and free sparkling cold water. The only downside was that they don't serve food (although it said coming soon on the blackboard). This place is located near Small Cheval.

There was also Intelligentsia (any LA Intelligentsia fans??). Two Zero Three was another coffee shop to work at in the downtown area. I was unsuccessful in finding much near the tourist places aside from Starbucks and Peet's Coffee.

DESSERT

Jeni’s Ice Cream
I believe this place is a chain, but it was definitely a great stop in Wicker Park.

Stan's Donuts
Amazing old fashioned pistachio donuts here. This place is a chain, so there are plenty around Chicago!

Do-rite Donuts
Another donut place in Chicago with similar donuts but much fluffier. 

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Apologies for having less content available for this travel guide compared to my other ones. I hope it still helps and let me know down below if you visited any of these places!

x Alice

Travel Diary: CABO SAN LUCAS

I have wanted to vacation in Cabo San Lucas ever since I received a Cabo Spring Break shirt in undergrad. This March, I finally went on a Cabo weekend trip to celebrate a friend’s birthday and I had such a blast! Cabo is the perfect place to go for your ultimate beach getaway. It was roughly 80 degrees every day with slight cool breezes at night. Having been to Tijuana and Enseñada, I would say this place is definitely a lot more touristy. I personally did not mind - the beaches and activities were still amazing and I like how I could speak English everywhere I went. There is also news online about the safety in Cabo, but I felt reasonably safe.   

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To get around Cabo, we depended on private taxis that the resort offered and felt very safe. I would say the taxis were the most expensive part about the whole trip. It cost us around $20 to get into downtown Cabo San Lucas and several trips downtown really added up. Likewise, it cost $75 for two people to get from the airport to the resort. We paid only in cash for the taxis (and the rest of the trip). I highly recommend bringing a lot of cash. Most places accept American dollars, but you do have to double check the conversion rate. Some places purposely hike up the price when you're paying in dollars (more than the actual peso to dollar conversion). Paying in pesos is the best way to resolve this issue.

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We stayed in the private resort area called Montecristo and found our villa through Airbnb. Upon arrival, we were stunned by how beautiful this place was. Our Airbnb was two stories and it had an infinity pool plus a Jacuzzi. The rooms were spacious with beautiful bathrooms. In addition, the resort itself had lots of security along with maid service. Honestly, I didn’t want to leave the villa at all during my stay.

 

 

 

 

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For our excursions, we took a snorkeling cruise that left from the Marina. It was roughly four hours long and the all-you-can-drink cruise took you to another snorkeling destination an hour away. On the way, they stopped by the famous Arches and provided us with lots of photo opportunities. I had so much fun just lying on the boat and sun-tanning. At the snorkeling location, there were tons of blue fish. The best part about snorkeling next to the boat is that you can go up when you’re tired and re-enter the water when you feel ready again.  

 

 

 

Around the Marina, there were plenty of places to eat and shop. There’s even a Forever 21 in case you need to shop for a last minute outfit. We explored the local shops and many people bought fun hats.

On our last day, we stopped by the beach that was connected to the Pueblo Bonita resort. Make sure to go to the beach early to reserve chairs. The best part about being on a beach owned by a resort is that we could order food and drinks from the hotel. Next to Pueblo Bonita was Pueblo Bonita Rose. The resort had the prettiest pink walls and cacti that made for the best photos (for all you Instagrammers out there!).

 

Overall, I highly recommend coming to Cabo. It was the perfect place to sit back and relax. I do recommend staying at a nice resort for safety reasons. Some hotels have been reported online to have (not as safe) alcohol. Make sure you read reviews on the resort online before booking. Aside from that, have fun! If you have also been to Cabo, please comment down below with what your favorite part was. I would love to have more recommendations for the next time I go.

 

Kauai Travel Guide!

Hey everyone!
I was in Kauai for 5 days and 4 nights and wanted to share what I did, ate, and where I stayed to hopefully help you plan your trip.

WHERE TO STAY:

For the first two nights, I stayed at the Grand Hyatt Resort (click for an in-depth review). It is the perfect place to sit back and relax because its located right next to the beach and there are tons of food and drink options. 

 Grand Hyatt Resort in Kauai

Grand Hyatt Resort in Kauai

For the next two nights, I ended up camping in Anini and Haena Beach. I HIGHLY recommend camping in Kauai! The campground is pretty much anywhere with grass near the beach. At both beaches, I camped pretty much right next to the water and fell asleep to the waves crashing. In the morning, I watched the sunrise with rainbows appearing in the sky. It was one of the most magical experiences I have had. HOWEVER, there are a LOT of roosters on this island and they are very loud. At Anini beach, roosters were crowing at 11pm, 2am, 4am, and 6am. Do bring ear plugs. You also need a permit to camp at these beaches. They are roughly $3 a night per person (so cheap!) and you can buy one by mailing in a cashier check. You can also get it the day of, but I have heard that the beaches get full pretty fast. At Haena beach, there is also a cave across the street that is fun to explore. Haena beach is also very close to the famous Kalalau Trail, so it is convenient to camp within close proximity to the hike to avoid the morning rush.

WHAT TO DO: 

 View from Kalalua Lookout (there are so many rainbows on this island)

View from Kalalua Lookout (there are so many rainbows on this island)

If you are renting a car, I recommend listening to the Shaka Guide for fun historical stories at each of the main tourist attractions in Kauai (#notsponsored). 

1) SNORKEL
There are so many great snorkelling places on this island. During the winter, snorkelling occurs on the South Side of the island due to the extra high currents on the North Shore. In the summer (you guessed it), snorkelling happens on the North Shore. I snorkelled in Poipu Beach, right next to the Grand Hyatt, and there was a convenient shop right next to the beach to rent gear (for only $8). You can also buy fish food, but the fish get aggressive when they're fed. Just by walking in and dipping my head in, I already saw so many different coloured fishes. It was incredible. 

2) HIKE
I would say Kauai is probably one of the Hawaiian islands with the most hikes. First, the West side of the island has Waimea Canyon and Koke'e State Park. The most popular hike in the Waimea Canyon is the Canyon Trail, which is roughly a 2.9 mile trail. If you are going during December, the paths are extremely muddy, but worth it. Don't forget to grab one of the sticks at the entrance of the trail. It will help a lot. 
On the East side, there are many hiking trails by Wailua and Opaeka'a Falls. I personally opted out because I was there during my last day, but I saw people swimming in the falls below and it looked fantastic.
On the North side, we have the famous Kalalau Trail. This 11-mile one-way trail is one of the hardest trails in the world because of one cliff edge where people literally crawl to get across. At the very end, you reach a remote beach that can be only accessed by the trail. It is also the only trail along the famous Na Pali coastline, which is something so beautiful that most cameras can't capture it. You must see it in person. But, don't fret if you're not ready for the 22-mile round trip hike. The first 2 miles actually takes you to the remote Hanakapiai Beach. In December, the trail was extremely muddy, so make sure you add an extra 30 or more minutes to your estimated time because its hard to walk fast on this trail. There is also a stream you have to cross. Do read up on the warnings of this trail because the stream has killed people before when there flash floods. Beyond Hanakapiai Beach, you can hike another 2 miles to reach the beautiful 120 feet tall Hanakapiai Falls. 

3) VIEWPOINTS
You must see the Na Pali Coast from either boat or helicopter. It is the prettiest part of the island for sure. I opted for the helicopter tour and took a helicopter with no doors. I don't recommend this if you do not like wind. Otherwise, this is definitely worth it even if you get airsick. The views were absolutely stunning and the helicopter gets really close to the canyon walls. You get to see Waimea Canyon, most of the waterfalls, Hanalei Bay, and Na Pali Coast. The pilot also tells you where all the movies were filmed. 
On the other side of the North Shore, there was the Kilauea Lighthouse. It is a $5 entrance fee to get in, but there is also a lookout point before the gate. You can see so many different types of birds flying around and nesting. You can also spot a Nene, which is the endangered Hawaiian goose. Be careful, they can be mean if you get in their way. 
In Koke'e State Park, there are many lookout points as well if you are not interested in hiking. Each of the points gives you a view of the canyon or part of the Na Pali Coast (and of course many rainbows!). 
In the East Side, all the waterfalls have a lookout point and there are many stop points to see Heiaus. 

4) BEACHES
Just relax on a beach! There are seriously so many beaches on every side of the island. In the East, there is Polihale. In the South, there is the Shipwreck Beach in front of the Grand Hyatt and Poipu for snorkelling. In the North, there were many including Anini, Haena, Tunnels, Ke'e, Secret Beach, and more! My personal favourite was Moloa'a because there was no one there. 

5) KAYAKING
Although I did not personally do this, I saw many people kayaking and stand-up paddle boating in the Wailua River. It looked very fun. If you have done it, leave a comment down below and share with us your experience!

WHAT TO EAT

 JoJo's Shaved Ice

JoJo's Shaved Ice

I am a huge foodie, so of course the first thing I do at a new place is eat all the traditional local foods. Here's a list of Hawaiin food you must try and where to find the best ones:

1) Loco Moco
Loco Moco is my all time favorite Hawaiian dish. It features rice, beef, egg, and a thick sauce. It is so filling and will fuel you up after a long day of hiking. Mark's Place had amazing Beef Stew and Loco Moco. 

2) Spam Masubi
When spam was introduced to Hawaii during WWII, it became incorporated into Hawaiian dishes and became a staple. Spam masubi can be found pretty much anywhere. I found them in local grocery stores and also at the other restaurants that I mentioned. 
 
3) Kalua Pork
Kalua Pork from Smiley's Local Grinds was hands down one of the best things I ate on the island. The pork was so flavorful and it was wrapped up in seaweed that just fit perfectly. Together with rice, I was so full and happy. They also have amazing oxtail soup. 

4) Shaved Ice
With the warm weather, shaved ice in Kauai will make you instantaneously happy. They have many fun tropical flavors, such as lilikoi and coconut. I went to JoJo's and boy were the servings huge. 

5) Haupia
Haupia is a Hawaiian traditional coconut dessert. It tastes like a mushier, more solid jello and is definitely a fun treat. I found Haupia at the Koloa Fish Market and Village Snack Shop & Bakery.

6) Poke
Poke on the island is nice and simple, no extra ten toppings you can add like the stores here in Cali. Instead, the poke is each flavored differently and you pick and choose. On the south side, Koloa Fish Market was bomb. My favorite was the Kimchi poke. On the East Side, Pono Market had nice fresh poke and other seafood options, such as octopus. I was told that Ishihara Market is the best on the island, but I didn't have a chance to try since it was on the West side. 

7) Local Fruits
Island weather also means amazing tropical fruits. The avocados here are HUGE and the papayas were insanely sweet. Of course, you also have to get a coconut. Moloa'a's Sunrise Juice Bar had amazing tropical smoothies and lots of fruits to choose from. Highly recommend. It is also located across the King Kong Mountain so you have a nice view while eating. The taro on the island is also supposed to be very good, but I did not have a chance to try.

8) Pastries
Of course, every place needs some good breakfast places. My personal favorite was the Kilauea Bakery & Pau Hana Pizza. There were SO many options to choose from. I was there at 9:10 am (the place opens at 9am) and everything was already selling out. I got a breakfast strombolini, sweet bun, fruit bread (honestly can not tell you what was inside, but it was so good), guava macarons, lilikoi cream puffs, coffee, and fresh OJ. I pretty much stuffed it all down my throat because everything was so good. Another good breakfast option is the Village Snack Shop & Bakery for their fun tropical pancakes (coconut, lilikoi, and macademia nuts).

9) Seafood
As an island, they have great seafood dishes aside from poke! I ate at the Tidepools in the Grand Hyatt and have a review of the food in this blog post. 

WHAT TO WEAR

I packed three dresses and a whole bunch of workout clothes and bikinis because Kauai is all about the hikes and beaches! For the resort life, I highly recommend a cute maxi dress that can blow in the wind because it makes you feel like an island princess (and who doesn't like that?) and a formal dress for fancy dinners. The two dresses I wore is from ShopSugarSands and I absolutely love them (click on the link to shop Dress #1 and Dress #2). I also brought a shorter dress to use as a cover-up that won't drag in the sand when I went on the beach. For athletic clothes, I recommend long pants if you're going in December because the paths are very muddy. It is rainy, so I also recommend bringing a light rain jacket, waterproof hiking shoes, and waterproof socks. 

I hope all of this was very helpful and would love to hear what you did in Kauai (if you did go) or what you are planning on doing (if you have not) down below!

xx

Travel Guide: Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon

Everyday we are connected on to our mobile devices or computer, and once in a while we all need that digital detox break to feel connected with the real world again. I took my break this spring in Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon. These have been on my list of go-to places ever since I went to Antelope Canyon and it was the perfect relaxing vacation I wanted. Below, I have compiled my experience at these two parks and I hope this guide will help you plan your next trip there. (This is not sponsored of course.) 

Travel and Lodge

Coming from San Francisco, I flew to Las Vegas and rented a car (you definitely need one). We drove for roughly two and a half hours to get to Zion National Park, where we stayed in Quality Inn right outside the park. Campgrounds are available for pre-bookings, but when we called they were all full. At the park, there are available slots, but people start lining up at 6AM to get them. Also, it was around 30-50 F when I was there (end of March) and the tents were freezing. If you go in the spring, I do recommend a hotel. Airbnbs were pricey and far away. 

Valley of Fire

No this is not Zion or Bryce, but I was recommended to come to this place by a stranger in Las Vegas. It is an hour out of Vegas and on the way to Zion. It's a majestic place right off the highway that has rolling orange sand (I'm not kidding). There are small one mile hikes around the park that is great for a quick stroll. The sand is probably some of the softest sand I've ever touched. There are also hieroglyphs on the rocks. Do stop here if you are driving to Zion or if you are in Vegas and have the time to drive an hour out! 

Zion National Park

Cost: $30 for one car to be let in. DO take a car in even though there is a bus that takes you to Zion! An individual walking in cost ~$20 so it is only worth it if you are traveling alone. The drive around the park where the shuttle does not access is absolutely stunning and I felt like I was in an amusement park ride. We were able to see the mountain goats, deers, and many more animals. 
Travel within the park: There is a shuttle that takes you up and down to all the main trails. 
Hikes: 
1) The Narrows: 

This is the last stop on the shuttle. Check the water levels before coming! We were excited for the Narrows hike, only to find that the water levels were too high and we could not do it (pictured above). But we were still able to walk along the beginning of the river on the River Walk trail and it was still beautiful. There were many (vicious) squirrels. 
2) Angel's Landing (pictured above)
This hike is no joke. DO bring hiking shoes! I went out to buy some because you do not want to fall off this mountain. There is a very steep paved ascent for the first 3/4 of the hike up to Scott's Landing. However, after Scott's Landing there is a chained section all the way up to Angel's Landing. If you are afraid of heights, I do not recommend this part. The path is very VERY narrow and you have to hold on to a chain to prevent following off the side of the mountain. I would also AVOID this hike if it is raining or if there are high winds. The view is stunning, but not worth your life. The hike was roughly five miles and took us about 4 hours when leaving at 7:30 AM. I recommend taking the first shuttle out at 7:00 AM to avoid the crowd of people. The chain section is already scary with no people and it will be much worse when there is a crowd. 
3) Emerald's Pool
A
nother great hike alongside of Angel's Landing. I did not make it there because there the path was entirely mud due to the rain. However, other people have made the trek and said it's worth the hike. 
4) Observation Point
This hike will take you to the opposite viewpoint of Angel's Landing where you will see the other side of the valley. It is similar to Angel's Landing and also very stunning. The hike is around 8 miles with an estimated time of 4-6 hours. 
Food: There is a Zion lodge on one of the bus stops with typical camping food served (burgers, fries etc.) We ate outside of Zion in Springdale (town adjacent to the park) at the brewery and Cafe Soleil. This cafe had the cheapest sandwiches we could find in town (~$10) and the brewery was one of the only places open until 10pm on the weekend. The beer is not very good and I do not recommend it.  
Nightlife: there is none. But there are campfires around the park and at night the star gazing is stunning. Watch out for the mountain lions. 

Bryce Canyon


This national park is located another one and a half hours away from Zion and it is at a higher elevation so it was much colder. I believe spending one day at Bryce was already enough and I would recommend spending more time in Zion. I do not know of a bus that goes there, so you would probably need a car to get there. 
Observation Points: all of them are very close to each other, so I recommend stopping at all of them. They are pinned on the map that is handed to you when you enter. The entrance fee was $30 for a car. 

Hike: I recommend going on the Sunset to Sunrise Trail. It allows you to walk within the canyon and you can see the Hoodoos and the various rock formations up close. Again, I recommend wearing hiking boots because some parts were very slippery due to the mud. Note: the sunrise is much better at this park than the sunset and if you can make it out to this trail during sunrise it will be spectacular. 

I hope this guide was helpful for you and has inspired you to plan a trip to Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon National Park. I've compiled a short vlog-styled footage of my trip below. Please let me know if you have any questions down in the comments below. Enjoy!

Photo Credits: Jordan Jozwiak

Travel Diary: Iceland

I've been dreaming about going to Iceland for a long time and thanks to the dropping airfares lately, I decided to go this winter. I was there for four days and got to see most of the natural attractions I wanted to see. Unfortunately, the weather blocked most of Northern Iceland, but there was still a lot to do in Southern Iceland. 

Day 1: 
On the first day in Iceland, we landed at 7:00 AM in the KEF airport and picked up our rental car from Sixt. I recommend getting a heavy duty four wheel drive that is approved for highland conditions because the roads were incredibly icy and we experienced several hail/storm/wind/rain storms that rocked our already-very-heavy car. From the airport, we went straight to the Golden Circle. There is only 4 hours of daylight during the winter, so we had to get there while the sun was still out.... or when the sun came out and left. It was roughly a two hour drive to the airport and we made it to our first destination: Laugarvatn Fontana. 

Laugartvn Fontana Outside View

This place is a thermal bath house, but we just came to admire the view.

Next, we went to the Geysir, which is the second destination in the Golden Circle

Geysir pre-erruption

The Geysir destination has a cute restaurant, parking lot, and a short hike to see all the little geysirs + the big one. This was a great place to stop for lunch, take that much needed restroom break, and enjoy the short walk. The water holes were so beautiful in person and I highly recommend visiting this stop. Warning: it smells like sulfur here! So does all of Iceland's water... 

Afterwards, we drove to the Gullfoss waterfall in the pouring rain. 

Gullfosss Waterfall from Middle Viewpoint

This double layered waterfall was incredible in person, but it requires a hike to the different viewpoints. This is a MUST see and don't forget to layer up because it's very very cold here. There are also hikes around the waterfall, but due to the rain and lack of sun, we decided skipped it.

After seeing the three main Golden Circle attractions, we drove to our cabin in Hella, Iceland. Many of these towns have one restaurant with overpriced food, so I recommend buying groceries and cooking.  

Day 2: 

We left our cabin around 7:00 AM and drove along the coast of Iceland to Skaftafell (5 hours drive). Along the way, we stopped by two gorgeous waterfalls in the dark: Selfjalandfoss and Skogafoss. They were ten minutes away from each other. We went back to both of these waterfalls in the daylight as well, but I thought going at night was more miraculous because you are by yourself with just the waterfall. For Selfjalandfoss, there is a trail that can lead you behind the waterfall. 

Selfjalandfoss at night

Skogafoss at night

After the waterfalls, we reached the glacier and went on a Glacier Hike Tour of Skaftafell. This hike consisted of wearing crampons to walk on the ice, see a mini-version of Glacier Lagoon, and we got the opportunity to explore ice caves in the glacier. 

Mid-glacier hike on Skaftafell

After a long hike, we drove two hours back to Vik, which is a town located in the middle of Southern Iceland. I recommend looking for $ restaurants because $$ restaurants had >$50 meals. Not worth it, in my opinion. We had some yummy lamb galoush and called it a night in our Airbnb.

Day 3:
The next morning, we adventured around Vik and went to the famous black sand beach. This beach had the SOFTEST black sand I have ever felt and the rock formations were absolutely incredible. I HIGHLY recommend this place even though we got hailed on on the beach

Black Sand Beach at 10:00 AM 

After attempting to take pictures in the hail, we ventured off back to Reykjavik. On the way, we saw many Icelandic horses and took pictures with them. We also stopped at all the waterfalls mentioned earlier to experience them in the day.

Unfortunately, there were many tour buses there already and the experience was not the same. In Reykajvik, we walked around and explored the town. Our original plan was to see the Northern Lights, but unfortunately it was too cloudy that night and we could not see anything. 

Selfjalandfoss in the day

Driving back to Reykjavik

Hallgrimskirkja in Reykjavik

Day 4:

Today was supposed to be our relaxed day at the Blue Lagoon, but we forgot to book tickets! You MUST book tickets in advance because the tickets sell out months ahead. We were lucky and took two spaces that opened last minute. While waiting for our time slot, we stopped by the Viking World Musuem in Keflavik. It was closed for the winter, but we were able to wander around the viking hut replicas. This was a great place to learn about Icelandic history. The Blue Lagoon was an amazing experience despite the strong gusts of wind. I recommend getting the comfort package because it includes a drink and two face masks + a towel which is definitely needed. We spent a few hours just floating around and it was so relaxing. The perfect way to end the trip despite not being able to see the Northern Lights!   

Viking World in Keflavik

Blue Lagoon at 4pm

The next morning, we took off to London. The trip was amazing and I definitely want to come back in the summer. I hope you all enjoyed reading and please let me know if you need any more recommendations if you are also planning a trip there! I'd be happy to respond to emails, DMs, or write another blog post :)

Love,
Alice

All the amazing photos are taken by Jordan Jozwiak

Travel Diary: Maui

I was in need for an island getaway, so I packed up my bags and made my way over to Maui. This was my first time there and it was just as spectacular as everyone makes it to be. Below, I've listed a few spots that I went to and added a little blurb about what I thought about them.

1. Haleakala National Park

I left this photo unedited because I want to show how truly beautiful this place was without any additional changes on the photo. This is a volcanic crater located about two hours away from Kihei, Maui. There is an outlook spot at 10,000 feet, but I would HIGHLY recommend the 12 mile hike. This hike takes you threw the entire crater and you get to see the progression of the volcano. You start off in this red-ish land that makes you feel like mars and end up in a jungle. It was definitely a life changing hike. I also highly recommend both the sunrise and sunset at the summit. You will be above the clouds which allows you to see the entire sunrise and sunset. I would get there around 4:00 AM if you're planning on watching the sunrise because there's a long line and they will cut you off if the summit is full. 

2. Big Beach, Maui

If you're looking for soft sand and perfect waves, then this is the beach to go. It's not as touristy as the other beaches which means you get to be the first to walk upon all that soft sand. There are also volcano rocks in the surroundings. One beach over, and you're at another beach called Small Beach. This was the perfect place to lounge around and read. 

3. Road to Hana

The Road to Hana is the Hana Highway, which starts at a town called Paia and ends in Hana. However the best part of this highway is the numerous amount of nature gems located on the way. I used the app called Maui Revealed and stopped at all the recommended places. The app does a better job explaining than I can, so I will refer you all there. I would recommend not worrying about the time and really enjoying yourself at each spot. Trust me, there is not much to see in Hana. I left around 8am and got back around 8pm, so load up on that coffee of yours if you're planning on doing a day trip. Some people like to stay the night in Hana and drive back. Both are great options!

Maui was amazing and I highly recommend you all to go there for a few days.

Let me know if you want me to talk about any of my other Hawaii experiences either down below or on my Instagram!

xx

Travel Diary: New York

Hey everyone! I took a little trip to New York and thought I'd share with you all where I went and what I thought of them. Hopefully this can help you plan a great trip to New York!

1) Time Squares

This place is definitely a tourist trap. I honestly felt like I was going to suffocate and also worried I was gonna get whacked by a selfie stick. There are so many people and dancing elmos trying to rip you off. Also, the lights are so insanely bright from all the ads that it makes me feel like I'm going blind. I recommend going there once to experience this, but to never return again. If you do go, make sure to wave into that billboard that has a camera on the street. 

2) Empire State Building

I basically went to every touristy place in New York and this place is definitely one, cue Empire State of Mind by Alicia Keys. However, I actually really really enjoyed this one! I could never grasp what exactly New York looked like since theres a bridge here and then some park in the middle there. Going up to the 86th floor (too cheap to pay the extra $20 to go up to the 112th floor), I got to see all of New York and where everything was in New York finally visually made sense. New York is such an impressive city. It's worth going up to get wow'd for a small price of $36. I went Friday mid-afternoon and there was hardly a line. I heard it gets really packed over the weekend, so I would recommend coming here on the weekday. It's also windy up there so bring that jacket of yours.

View of New York from 86th floor

3) Chelsea Market

I find this place slightly overrated. There were an unimpressive amount of food places and they were all so insanely expensive. I tried the currywurst shop, craftbar, and the coffee shop. The currywurst shop was too salty, the craftbar famous pastrami sandwich made me want to cry cause it was spicy, and the coffee shop was just your good ole overpriced shop. I might have just chosen all the bad places to eat, so I would only recommend coming here if you have some food recs. 

Some pretty lights in the market place

4) Broadway Show

Definitely watch one! I watched Phantom of the Opera after buying some cheap tickets off of Today Tix's and it was so worth it. Even though we were in nose bleed seats, the talent on Broadway is 100x better than the stuff here in California. I was so engaged into the show (could be due to the wine) and I really felt like I got the New York experience. Plus, its next to Times Squares so if your'e that tourist that wants to go check it out, it's super convenient. Note, no food allowed. I learned this the hard way

View from nosebleed seats taken from a great angle to make it look less nose-bleedy

5) Katz's Delicatassen

Have you seen Harry Meets Sally? Yeah me neither, but apparently they come to this deli and eat here. There's even a sign so it must be true. But besides being famous for the movie, the food was SO GOOD. WOW. GET THAT PASTRAMI SANDWICH! It's perfectly cut, perfectly cooked, they give you SO much meat, yummy pickles, your own choice of bread. All for a whopping $16 (gotta love New York pricing). My friend got some soup that looked good but I didn't try it. Won't comment on it. Do note, you pay when you leave so don't lose that ticket of yours. I also got here at Thursday 11am and there was no line. Apparently theres usually a huge line, so I recommend weekdays before lunch.

So many options

5) Brooklyn Bridge

It's so Instaworthy. Enough said. I would recommend going to the DUMBO side and walking back because there are less people heading that direction. It's really worth the walk across because the wiring detail is so intricate and you really get to see the other side of New York. If you want to see the Statue of Liberty but don't want to travel over there, you can see it from the Brooklyn Bridge. 

much wire

6) Grand Central Station

If you want that Gossip Girl Serena moment, yes come here! It's actually incredibly beautiful inside and I love how everybody there is off to another destination. There is a Magnolia's Bakery inside so if you want those yummy cupcakes here's your chance. There's also a cool wind tunnel area where you can face the wall as if you're in time out and the person on the other side can here you talk even if you whisper. There are also a bunch of shops so you could really just spend a long time in here.

I went to a few more places, but these were just the ones I felt strongly opinionated about. Feel free to comment below, slide into my DMs, or email me if you want to know more about my thoughts on New York or what else I did! 

All photo credits go to Jordan (@jordanjoz

xx

Travel Diary: Palm Springs

I took a little weekend trip to Palm Springs to relax and clear my mind. Initially, I wanted to write a Palm Springs travel guide blog post, but I realized I really don't know too much about the place considering the fact that I was really only there for about 48 hours. Therefore, I thought I'd just talk about my trip and give you my opinion about the places that were "must-sees". 

1) SPLASH HOUSE

I've been to a fair amount of festivals and day clubs and I would have to give Splash House a mediocre rating. It's a large pool party in Palm Springs that spans across multiple hotels. At first, the idea of partying in Palm Springs sounded amazing until I got hit by the 120 degree weather. Seriously... how do people survive?! It was so hot that I had to go at 5pm because I couldn't deal with the sun. The hotels themselves are very small and the pool became instantaneously disgusting. Don't bring any floaties there because people will immediately steal them (I didn't get to take cute swan floatie photos :( ) The music + stage was also alright and it was hard to travel between hotels because they were far and you have to depend on their shuttling system which seemed non-existent. If you like hot weather and dirty pools, I recommend this pool party. If not, I would say you can skip it and not feel like you missed out in life. 

2) RICK'S

All I really wanted in Palm Springs was yummy brunch and a lot of the places were booked that Saturday morning. We ended up choosing this breakfast joint from yelp called Rick's. They give large portions of food for a relatively decent price (~$12-15). I ordered the vegetable omelet and it came with a large size omelet with some vegetables plus lots of french fries. It was definitely filling and I couldn't finish all of it - great if you're lowkey starving. However, the service is incredibly slow and if you're in a hurry I really do not recommend this place. 

3) NORMA'S + THAT ORANGE DOOR

Ok, NORMA's was on pretty much all the top brunch place lists so I was really excited to finally get a spot here on Sunday. First, this place has the famous Palm Springs orange door that most Instagrammers take photos at. It's worth being obnoxious and telling everyone to move to get that photo.

 

The food itself was EXPENSIVE. Why are the brunch dishes >$30?! Being the cheap ole me, I split the dishes with my friends and I was still excited because it's worth paying for good food. However, I was pretty disappointed when the food came out. We got the lobster scramble, french toast, and crab cakes and none of them wow'd any of us. Also for the price, we were just plain disappointed. The only thing that was worth getting were the smoothies. I would only recommend coming here for the photos outside because the hotel is gorgeous, but I wouldn't spend money on food here. 

4) THAT PINK DOOR

 

Yes, that famous pink door you see on IG is in Palm Springs and yes it is worth going to. The house is so aesthetically pleasing to just stare at in person and it makes for a great background. PROTIP: wear a flowy dress and walk across for photos. Seriously, my friend did it and it looks amaaaahhhhzing!! There's also a funny crab house nearby that is also fun to stare at. 

That sums up the majority of my trip. Joshua Tree is a good 30 mins away so if you have time I would recommend going. I got to watch the Perseid Meteor Shower there and it was mind blowingly awesome.

Let me know if you want me to talk about anything else, but for now that's a wrap! Palm Springs is overall great and has awesome desert photoshoot locations. I still highly recommend visiting, but maybe less in the summer so you don't burn ;)'

Outfit Details:

Orange Door Picture: Dress: Tobi, Sunglasses: Miu Miu, Shoes: Steve Madden

Pink Door Picture: Top: Zara, Skirt: Forever21, Shoes: Steve Madden, Sunglasses: Miu Miu