My new Steve Madden tote ($70) and Kenneth Cole luggage ($120) from Nordstrom Rack. Prices are a steal for quality luggage!
I have a love/hate relationship with the fast-paced lifestyle in Los Angeles. I find myself getting biweekly massages or acupuncture treatments just to de-stress from all the chaos that is my life. Our generation, in particular, has some of the most ambitious, busy people and living in the hustle-and-bustle of L.A. just adds to the madness. We get caught up in our busy routines day-in and day-out and we sometimes just need to stop and smell the roses—or in my case, the plumerias in Hawaii.
I’ve always been a firm believer in pursuing everything you are undeniably passionate about. Life is too short to look back and say, “I wonder what would have happened if I just tried _______?” I can attribute this mentality to my very supportive parents who always reminded me that I can truly accomplish anything with passion and hard work. Let’s just say, I took them very seriously. I’m currently in school to become a registered nurse to hopefully work in ER or Pediatrics, I co-own a bartending service that is thriving after three years of blood, sweat and tears, AND I bartend in the city two days a week because I just love being behind the bar, creating cocktails and interacting with bar crowds. I also have three dogs to take care of who are the world’s most spoiled furry babies ever! And last but not least, I write Live & Love in L.A. Gosh, just reading that makes me exhausted and even though I love doing all these things, I desperately needed a vacation from the hectic schedule.
The past month has been especially stressful with our 15-year-old pit bull needing emergency surgery, searching for a new house in LA, juggling events for my bartending company, interviewing for a We TV reality show whose casting company loved my blog and wants to document the dating lives of me and my single girlfriends (fingers crossed), dealing with crazy people (but don’t we all?) and other little hiccups along the way. It started to feel like if one more thing was put on my already full plate, my head would have exploded into millions of tiny pieces!
In order to prevent the nervous breakdown I felt brewing, I knew I had to put my responsibilities on a brief pause and escape into my ultimate favorite thing to do—travel! There’s almost nothing that can compare to the thrill of discovering new places, indulging in new cuisine and meeting interesting, new people in a foreign land. Other than education, there’s no better investment in oneself than exploring this big, fascinating world. It blows my mind to think how differently the rest of the world lives and thinks and I’m so eager to learn all about it.
Last summer, I was fortunate enough to travel along the Mediterranean with my family and my boyfriend and experienced the best of Italy, Greece & Turkey. Visiting The Parthenon, Pompeii, Vatican City, the ruins in Ephesus and the astounding city of Oia in Santorini were moments I won’t ever forget as I only read about these magical places in textbooks—and there I was, in the flesh. Being there first-hand and taking in all that history were some of the richest moments of my life. I call them “snapshot moments” when I’m looking at something in awe and silently tell myself, “Don’t forget this exact moment—how it looks and how it makes you feel”.
Top: Santorini, Greece. Left: Ephesus, Turkey. Right: Capri, Italy.
This summer, I knew I couldn’t travel too far or too long being that I was so busy with everything at home so I decided to make sure my big annual trip included a little bit of ALL my favorite things.
Last Friday, my cousins and my sister picked me up for a fun girls’ weekend to a very familiar destination, Las Vegas! We spent the short weekend catching up with each other, reuniting with some of our family out there, and dancing until the wee hours of the morning in Sin City’s hottest nightclubs. There’s something about an all-girls-no-boys-allowed bonding trip that brings out your inner teenager excited to have a sleepover and talk about boys. Only now, boys are just a small portion of our conversations and instead of just being school-girl friends, I’m reminded I have a solid group of sisters that are strong, smart women who uplift me and make me a better person. It’s rare to have that kind of circle of friends living in L.A. Finding a non-catty, drama-free group of career-driven girlfriends who genuinely have your best interest at heart is just as hard to find as Mr. Right. I’m forever grateful.
Speaking of Mr. Right, my summer wouldn’t be complete without a few sexy getaways with my gorgeous boyfriend, Nathan. Being as he is a very hands-on business owner, stress is something he is also all too familiar with. Luckily, we’re both pretty good about “leaving work at work” but we can admit when it’s time to decompress and get away from it all! By the time we left for Maui, the day after I got back from Vegas, a vacation for us was long overdue! Nate surprised me with plane tickets to Hawaii on my birthday and we’ve been counting down the days until departure. We left our dogs with our parents, took time off work, and just indulged in the island of Maui. We snorkeled face-to-face with giant sea turtles, got wrapped around by a school of hundreds of fish, went ziplining 800 feet in the air above the most lush valleys, had the best crab & lobster stuffed mahi-mahi at the exquisite Mama’s Fish House, made the long drive to and from Hana, and even made it all the way up to the famous Haleakala Crater to watch the sunrise. And if all that wasn’t the definition of a fantastic summer, I took advantage of awesome Groupon deals to Palm Springs so we could sneak away for a couple one-nighter “staycations” since it’s so close by.
On top of the clouds watching the sun rise at Haleakala Crater.
Seven Sacred Pools in Hana.
In front of our favorite restaurant in Paia, Mama’s Fish House.
Magnificent waterfall on the road to Hana.
Shopping for souvenirs, specifically a “Spam” T-shirt for Seth, on Front St. in Lahaina.
The last couple of days of recovery from my whirlwind vacations have been so relaxing. I feel physically and emotionally reenergized to take on the world! Okay, maybe not that extreme—but I do feel refreshed. I’m back on the grind of my daily duties with a little more enthusiasm than before.
If you find yourself in a similar position and in need of a little pick-me-up, why not go to your dream destination? Now let’s be realistic, we can’t close our eyes, pick a spot on the map, grab cash off the money tree in the backyard and take off. So plan ahead and save ahead. If you can stash away your big tax return check or just save $100/month for a year, you can afford to take a pretty great vacation.
Summer vacation essentials: bikinis, bikinis, bikinis!
Don’t get stuck in Los Angeles your whole life. As much as I love this city, there’s a big world out there just waiting to be explored. The inner globe-trotting goddess in you is wanting to get away and waiting to exhale.
Safe travels! XOXO.
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