winter getaways

It is way too cold out.

I love the idea of winter. Waking up to the sun shining through the blinds on a cold winter morning, sipping a hot cup of coffee in bed or snuggling up under piles of blankets and watching a movie are some of my favorite parts about this time of year. It is nice and cozy inside, but ask me to go outside in this weather, and I immediately want to hop on a plane and go somewhere warm.

I have to wait another seven weeks until I am in paradise again, but in the meantime, I want to share some of my favorite all-inclusive vacation spots for a winter getaway! If I can’t be on a beach soaking up the sun’s rays in this extraordinarily chilly weather, at least writing about it makes me feel like I am!

Secrets The Vine Cancun

This trip was the epitome of relaxation. From lounging by the ocean and swimming in the infinity pools to exploring an island and getting the best massage ever, we had an amazing time!

The Resort:

Our trip to Secrets The Vine Cancun was by far my favorite trip we have taken together. This adults-only resort is beautiful, the rooms are incredibly spacious and there is so much to do on the property. With five gourmet restaurants, a buffet, a grill and a cafe, there are plenty of different options for dining for all guests. There is also entertainment offered every night, so after finishing a nice dinner, that was definitely a great way to unwind before the next day’s adventures!

The view from our room!

If you are traveling for a special occasion, be sure to tell the concierge! Connor and I booked this trip for our anniversary, and after our first day on the beach, we came back to our room decorated for the occasion! Our door had a Happy Anniversary banner on it, we received champagne and we had a complimentary breakfast delivered to our balcony any morning we wanted! It was definitely a nice surprise!

What to Do

We loved the resort so much that we spent almost our entire trip there! Our typical morning included waking up early, grabbing breakfast from the buffet and heading down to the beach. There was never a concern about grabbing chairs first thing in the morning because the beach was staffed with attendants who bring you to chairs and set up an umbrella for you if needed! There were also waiters available to take any food or drink orders if you did not feel like moving from your oceanfront seats!

If you were ever looking to step away from the sand and surf for a bit, the buffet was open throughout the day, as well as an oceanfront restaurant and bars. There are also several heated pools at this resort, including two infinity pools that look out to the beach.

We dedicated one day to an excursion while on this trip. We decided to go snorkeling and take a boat ride to Isla Mujeres. Unfortunately, the weather conditions were not ideal for snorkeling that day, but the captain made the best of it for us. Before we reached Isla Mujeres, he stopped the boat to let us all swim in the ocean for a bit! Once we got back on the boat, we sailed the rest of the way to the Island, where a tour guide took us around for the day. It was such a beautiful trip, regardless of being unable to snorkel! You can’t beat this view!

The view from Isla Mujeres

We also booked a massage at the spa while on vacation, which was one of the best decisions we made! We chose a wine therapy couples massage, and it was an incredibly relaxing and refreshing experience! Before the scheduled massage, we were also able to use the spa facilities at our leisure. The spa was beautiful, clean and well worth the price.

All in all, this was an amazing trip. This truly is the perfect place to stay if you are looking to satisfy all of your vacation needs in one location! From amazing food (our favorite was Italian!) to beautiful views of the ocean, we could not ask for much more! We cannot wait to go back again some day!

Majestic Elegance – Punta Cana

Our first all-inclusive vacation we ever booked was to Majestic Elegance in Punta Cana. This adults-only resort was filled with fun activities, great excursion packages and wonderful rooms and dining options!

The Resort:

Majestic Elegance is a beautiful resort located in the Dominican Republic. Adjacent to Majestic Colonial, a family-friendly resort, the Majestic property is massive. We only visited Majestic Colonial to try and win some extra cash at the casino, but unfortunately, we did not have much luck there!

The rooms at Majestic Elegance were great — we had a jacuzzi inside and a balcony with a view of the large pool area. The hotel also has six restaurants and 11 bars — plenty of options for even the pickiest eater! We tried to sample as many restaurants as possible, but our all-time favorite was El Asadito Steak House, an Argentinian steak house!

The view from our room!

What to Do:

img_7690.jpgOur hotel room was about a five minute walk away from the beach, and once on the beach, there were chairs available to bring over to the ocean, or there were tiki huts to sit under to escape the sun for a bit! After spending our days by the ocean, we would wrap up the day at the swim-up pool bar before heading in for dinner and nightly entertainment.

The entertainment at Majestic Elegance was great. Our favorite night was the circus night! We sat back and watched people perform tricks and trapeze artists swing high above the ground. We even got to hang out with this man on stilts before the show!

In addition to spending time at the resort, we also booked two excursions on this trip. The first excursion we went on was such an amazing experience! We hopped on a boat and set sail to swim with sharks! We even got to hold a sting ray! That is definitely not something you get to do every day!

Our second excursion involved driving through the Dominican Republic to zip line through the trees! The views were amazing from the treetops, and we had a chance to see more of the Dominican Republic than we would have if we just stayed on the resort property. Our tour guide for this excursion gave us so much history and information about the culture and lifestyle of the people who live here. He also brought us pure cacao beans to try, and we had an opportunity to explore and do some shopping before going back to the resort!

We had a great time at Majestic Elegance, and we met some really great friends that we are still in touch with today! We were very happy with this trip, especially since it was our first all-inclusive vacation! We definitely got the travel bug after this trip!

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Our next winter getaway is a little different than these trips — we will be setting sail on our first cruise together, with some friends, to the Eastern Caribbean! I cannot wait to go on this trip and document it all to share once we are back! I am counting down the days until my next winter getaway — when and where will yours be?

 

travel guide: nashville, tn

Nashville is by far my favorite city I have ever visited in the U.S. The country music, hot chicken and live bands almost everywhere you go are just some of the reasons that I fell in love with this Tennessee city.

I went to Nashville with a few of my friends in 2017, and since then, I have been itching to go back (thankfully I am going back later this year!). From doing a pedal tavern in a rainstorm and celebrating the Nashville Predators winning two Stanley Cup games, to talking about how we pretended to be a bachelorette party on the radio, it is safe to say that our trip to Nashville was full of adventures! Read on below for some of my favorite activities and places we visited while we were there!

Where to Stay

Courtyard by Marriott Nashville Downtown
Just two minutes away from the historic Ryman Auditorium, the former home of the Grand Ole Opry, and a short walk to Lower Broadway, the main street of bars and restaurants downtown, the Courtyard is a great location to stay at while in Nashville. The hotel has clean, comfortable rooms and a Starbucks — the perfect combination to kickstart a full day in Music City!

What to Do

Grand Ole Opry Tour
Normally, I would recommend seeing a show at the Grand Ole Opry if possible, but unfortunately, there were no shows scheduled when we visited. I still wanted to check out this important piece of Music City’s history, so my friend Allie and I jumped in an Uber and spent an afternoon touring the Grand Ole Opry. Having the opportunity to go backstage and even step foot on the Opry stage is something I will never forget! Find out more about the backstage tour here!

Join the Studio Audience at The Ty Bentli Show
Formerly known as the Ty, Kelly & Chuck show, the Ty Bentli Show on Nash FM is one of my favorite radio programs to listen to. When I found out you can be a part of the studio audience, I knew it was a must for my trip to Nashville. As someone who works in media, it was great to see Ty and Chuck in action. They were incredibly welcoming, and they even gave me an opportunity to be part of the show! After the show, we got to tour the other studios in the building, and we even learned how to line dance with Shawn Parr from Nash Nights Live! Whether you listen to Ty’s morning show every day or hear it for the first time while in Nashville, this is an experience I highly recommend! Click here to learn more about how to join the audience!

Nashville Pedal Tavern
When you walk around in Nashville, you are bound to see groups of people pedaling through the streets, singing songs and drinking. While there are several different pedal taverns to choose from, we chose Nashville Pedal Tavern and had a great time. Unfortunately, it was pouring out the day we were scheduled to ride, but Nashville Pedal Tavern employees provided us with ponchos and a driver who made the day so much fun despite the bad weather! The Pedal Tavern also stopped at a few bars along the way, giving us an opportunity to explore parts of Nashville we had not been to yet. Book your bike tour here!

Lower Broadway
Lower Broadway is a must for your Nashville getaway. No matter where you go, there is live music playing all day and night. The bands are so talented and they all take requests. Some of our favorite spots include Tootsies, Honky Tonk and Nudie’s!

The Gulch
Have you ever seen pictures of the famous wall murals in Nashville? My favorite is this one pictured here: “What Lifts You?” created by Kelsey Montague! You can check them out in person by visiting The Gulch. A short ride away from downtown, The Gulch also has some great boutiques and restaurants, including a few of my favorites: Kittenish and Biscuit Love.

Belle Meade Winery
Belle Meade Winery just exudes southern hospitality. We booked a food and wine pairing with one of their sommeliers, and it was such a great experience. We got to taste Belle Meade’s award-winning wines, pair them with foods and learn about the proper ways to taste wine. After our pairing, we were able to enjoy the property while sipping on a few bottles of wine and snacking on some cheese and crackers. The best part is that they ship wine to almost all states, so you can enjoy Belle Meade’s wines long after you leave Nashville!

Shenanigoats
Two words: Goat. Yoga. This is definitely not something I ever thought I would try, but when I visited Nashville for my friend’s bachelorette party, this was at the top of the agenda. The goats are incredibly cute and playful, and are ready to climb all over the yogis in the room! They are even willing to pose for some fun pictures at the end of the session!

Where to Eat

Biscuit Love
We may have waited two hours in the hot, Tennessee sun, but Biscuit Love was well worth the wait. This is the first restaurant we stopped at once we hopped off the plane, and from fluffy biscuits to large mimosas, Biscuit Love did not disappoint! Make sure you try a Bonut (fried biscuit dough) while you are there. I promise you, you will not regret it!

Pancake Pantry
This was my favorite breakfast spot we ate at while in Nashville, and we all agreed that the food was amazing. I am a big fan of breakfast, and Pancake Pantry exceeded all of my expectations. From the best crepes to melt-in-your-mouth hash browns, I am still dreaming about this meal!

Hattie B’s Hot Chicken
Hattie B’s Hot Chicken has some of the best hot chicken around Nashville. You can’t go wrong with a hot chicken sandwich and a side of pimento mac & cheese!

Burger Republic
Declared one of Zagat’s 50 Burgers in 50 States, the Tennessee burger at Burger Republic is one of the best burgers I have tasted to date! Topped with a Jack Daniel’s honey glaze, maple bacon and crispy onions, this burger was absolutely delicious! Definitely make this one of your stops while in Nashville!

5th & Taylor
The drinks, appetizers and dinner coupled with a cozy, family-style ambiance makes 5th & Taylor the perfect place to go to celebrate a special occasion. Everything is delicious, especially the duck wings appetizer and the pork tenderloin with rattlesnake beans, peach and jalapeño.

These are just some of my favorite spots we visited during our weekend in Tennessee! I hope this travel guide inspires you to put on a pair of cowboy boots, blast some country music and travel to this amazing city!

travel guide: charleston, s.c.

I like to say that I leave a little piece of my heart everywhere I travel, and that is definitely true of Charleston, y’all!

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This summer, Connor and I traveled to South Carolina for a family wedding, and we immediately fell in love with Charleston! We decided to stay a couple of extra days after the wedding so we could explore this southern gem, and from some of the tastiest foods to the liveliest night life, Charleston certainly didn’t disappoint! Read on for some of my recommendations for a charming weekend getaway!

Where to Stay:
King 583: Located on King Street, King 583 is a suite-style boutique hotel that is never more than a few steps away from a good meal, a cool drink or a strong cup of coffee. The rooms are clean, spacious and are equipped with a kitchen and fireplace. What more could you ask for?

Processed with VSCO with hb2 presetCourtyard Charleston Waterfront by Marriott: Located near the French Quarter, this Marriott is a quick ride away from downtown Charleston. This hotel has greatwaterfront views, a pool and a nice outdoor space to enjoy a late night snack while reminiscing about the day’s adventures.


Where to Eat
:
Toast: The food at Toast was so good, we went back twice! If you have a sweet tooth, try the stuffed French toast, but if you’re more of a savory foodie, the Eggs Meeting Street option is the way to go!
Another Broken Egg: This was a great breakfast spot to pop into while walking around downtown! The infused mimosas are a must!
Blossom: This restaurant is a short walk away from Rainbow Row. The blue crab ravioli at Blossom was amazing, and the drink menu was full of great options.
Hall’s Chophouse: Conveniently located on King Street, this is a Charleston-must for all steak lovers. With a wide variety of steak options, full-sized sides for the table and delicious desserts to top off the evening, you cannot ask for much more! I highly recommend making reservations before you go!
Indaco: Located on King Street, this restaurant offers a rustic environment and great Italian meals. Try the Corn Mezzaluna for a great twist on the classic ravioli dish!
Stars: Connor and I popped in here on our way home from dinner, and we stumbled upon a cute rooftop bar with fun drinks like frozen bellinis! I recommend getting there early if you want a table, but even on a Friday night, there was plenty of room to stand comfortably while taking in some downtown views!

Where to Grab a Sweet Treat:
Jeni’s Ice Cream: This is the only ice cream shop I have ever been to that offers a flight of ice cream: three half scoops of whichever flavors you would like, plus a piece of a waffle cone! This was my personal heaven. The ice cream here is packed with flavor – some of my favorites were frosé sorbet, cream puff and darkest chocolate. Jeni’s was probably the spot we frequented most on this trip!
Carmella’s Café and Dessert Bar: If you have a sweet tooth, you must try Carmella’s! The desserts here looked so good, that it was hard to choose just one! We settled on the coconut raspberry cake and the tiramisu (one guess who picked the mini cake…and finished it later that night…). Not only does Carmella’s offer desserts, but it also offers a full bar and specialty cocktails!

What to Do:

8beb215d-9c39-40ee-9981-393cf5558313-e1538669366986.jpgBoone Hall Plantation: America’s most photographed plantation is bursting with history and picturesque views. Upon entering the plantation, you will drive through the Avenue of Oaks, a beautiful path of oak trees that John Boone, the original owner of the plantation, started planting when he lived there. Once on the grounds, you will see that nine of the 27 slave cabins that were present on the property are still standing today. All nine have been turned into exhibits to educate visitors about the lifestyle of the slaves who once lived there. After exploring the cabins, head over to the mansion for a tour. Hint: you may recognize the mansion from The Notebook – it served as Allie’s family’s summer home. End the day with a walk around the gardens, and a wagon tour of the property.
Rainbow Row: This is Charleston’s famous line of pastel-colored row houses. Located right near The Battery, it’s the perfect place to stop after walking along the water and learning about Charleston’s history!

Historic Charleston City Market: This market extends four blocks and is full of vendors selling products. There are so many things to see and purchase, plus there are plenty of other shops and food places to pop into along the way!
Second Sunday: If you happen to be on Charleston on the second Sunday of the month, then you are in for a treat! King Street shuts down so people can walk through the street freely. All shops are open and musicians and other artists line the streets, providing entertainment for all those exploring downtown! Maybe you will even find Charleston Max enjoying a mid-day treat!


We had an amazing time in Charleston, and we cannot wait to go back and explore more of this beautiful city! I recommend you walk as much as possible while you are there, so you do not miss out on any of the southern charm that this city has to offer!

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