Hanapepe Art Night

Every Friday is a little art night in Hanapepe, on the South side of Kauai, featuring local artists and food. It’s fun because although being pretty popular, tons of locals like to head over and check it out, too. My grandparents and I went to Japanese Grandma’s Cafe  for dinner, a cute and new little sushi restaurant inside a shop right on the main drag. Outside, a local band was playing under twinkly lights with people dancing in the street ❤  My kinda night.

If you’re ever in Kauai, I would check this out if you get the chance.

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One of the shops along the street is a woodworker who actually built a dinner table for my grandparents for their new house. They wanted to see if he had finished it since it was supposed to be ready within the next few days or so, so we popped in, and it was right there when you walked in! This was their first time seeing it finished!! They were so  excited, can you tell? hahaSAMSUNG CSCProcessed with VSCO with c1 preset

I had the veggie roll with some ahi nigiri and edamame. Soooo yumz.

A Day in: Sedona, AZ (sorta)

We arrived in AZ around 7pm from Santa Fe, and left the next morning so I can’t exactly call this #adayin, BUT we were able to see the beautiful red rocky mountains and stop by a great juice shop on our way out! Not to mention staying at an amazing hotel. I think Kimpton hotels have officially made it to the top of my favorites list of hotels i’ve stayed at. Every single location is incredible and so well tailored to the cities they are set in.

Besides the scorching heat, Sedona was something special and I’m glad I don’t live too too far because another road-trip/long weekend getaway is definitely in order.

Where we stayed: Amara Resort & Spa We went night swimming under the stars with some friendly visits from the local bats…more cute than scary!

Where we ate: Dinner was leftover road trip snacks but the next morning after working out we headed downstairs and ate breakfast at the hotel. Great omelettes and they even serve fresh green juices! We ended up at this juice shop to grab some goods for the road. It was so cute and so up my alley! Not to mention having all the on-trend juices/wellness powders/nut milks and great cold brew! Their packaging and entire layout/design was perfect.

What we saw: If I had to choose my favorite part of Sedona, I’d have to put the drive in within the top 3 on that list. Coming from Santa Fe, we took the scenic 89A route around dusk time and wowwwww. That time of the day, with that light and the way it hit those red red rocks was somethin’ else.

Before we headed out the next day, I’d heard about the amazing views from their local airport, which at first sounded weird but everyone seemed to rave about it, so we decided to check it out. And let me tell ya, it was very much worth it. You just drive up a road, park in the gravel lot, walk a few feet to the lookout and there it is! So for anyone not up for a hike it’s perfect.

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Drinks at the Hotel bar before the pool!

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Beautiful in person gahhhh #airportlookout

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Breakfast with a view

P.S. I got a lot of my Sedona tips and recommendations from this article. So many other places I need to come back and see!

A Day in: Santa Fe, NM

Turquoise + silver + desert + spanish-style everything = my heaven. Therefore, i LOVED Santa Fe. So my style with the white buildings and clay-tiled roofs. Yes plz.

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Last time I was in NM was for a soccer tournament in Albuquerque a long time ago (2006ish ?). I still wear a silver/turquoise handmade ring that I bought from one of their flea markets to. this. day. I love it so much. Must be the sentimental aspect/me missing soccer that is playing a part in my obsession with this teeny piece of jewelry.

Where we stayed: La Alameda Inn (HIGHLY recommend). Loved the vibe and architecture of this boutique hotel. Completely epitomized Santa Fe without trying too hard.

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What we ate: For dinner the first night, we ate at Mucho Gusto, right around the corner from the Hotel. Amazzzing Mexican food. The next morning we grabbed breakfast/lunch at The Modern General. I would check it out just to see the space alone. It’s literally a modernized general store with a kitchen, garden, and home section. Such a cute idea.

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What we did: Walked around the main square at sunset with all the touristy stuff. And after being hunted down by various store clerks (as they all sold pretty much the same things), I landed on purchasing a (surprise surprise) silver/turquoise handmade ring from one of the local sidewalk vendors. I guess i have to make it a tradition now of buying a new piece of silver jewelry every time i’m back in NM!

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PATTERNS
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Fav part of the trip!
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New ring, same dry hands ahaha

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A Day (or two) in: Aspen, CO

Aspen…

I can’t even describe how beautiful just the state of Colorado is itself. The drive in to Aspen alone is one of the highlights of the trip. Even if you are deathly afraid of heights, you can appreciate the beauty and crisp air of Colorado. (And their beyond beautiful Whole Foods stores omg…my version of heaven haha) img_5803

Everyone seems to be so healthy and appreciative of the outdoors which was really refreshing to see. Aspen is almost a mountain version of La Jolla, CA (pretty people, expensive shops, clean city, healthy food, etc.).  I was, however, surprised by the lack of good coffee shops!

Where we stayed: My mom and I met my dad who flew in, and my uncle + girlfriend who had been renting a house there all month so we stayed with them,  which was just off the main drag in Aspen. Had some major 70’s era vibes which I wasn’t mad about.

What we did: Browsed the Farmers Market, then hiked the Hunter Creek Trail (a total of 6 hours) so we were pooped, but it was SO so worth it. Filled with meadows, creeks, and stunning views of the mountains. Dad ended up taking his shoes off and walking barefoot because Vans aren’t exactly the best hiking shoes…

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Kettle corn was too big for my backpack…
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I LOVE sunflowers! – very beginning of the trail.

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Abandoned homes of mining families back in the day

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We also hiked along Maroon Bells the next day which was again: STUNNINGGG. Later that day we went on the Gondola which I really recommend as well. Pro tip: they like to call it the “Ganjola” because of obvious reasons haha. P.S. We may or may not have bought some edibles…idk

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Maroon Bells
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Aspen trees are some of the prettiest ❤
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View from the Gondola
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Cute boutique in the main square

What we ate: Dinner at J-Bar inside of the Jerome Hotel – which is one of the coolest hotel lobby’s I’ve ever seen. We also had breakfast one day at Spring Cafe. A super cute, healthy cafe on the edge of the town that I definitely recommend!

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J-Bar
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Walking to dinner. From the left: Dad, Uncle Bob, Mary, Mom ❤

Caffeinated at: besides Starbucks, we checked out Victoria’s Espresso + Wine Bar which was pretty good! Their food menu looked really good, too. I ordered a quad-shot espresso for the first time as recommended by my uncle. It’s basically a latte but without as much milk and more buzz. Why have I never heard of this before again???

Overall, Aspen was one of the coolest places i’ve seen since starting this road trip. Need to come back during ski season!! Best way to see this town is to ride a bike or walk and obviously go on as many trails and outdoor excursions as possible!

 

A Few Hours In: Columbia, MO

Drove into Columbia, MO pretty late from Ohio so my mom and I grabbed some dinner then headed to the Tiger Hotel after looking at Hotel Tonight’s app and finding a really great deal. That app is a lifesaver for anyone traveling by the way.

The hotel was unexpectedly charming and nice. We chatted with the front desk agent for a bit and she talked about the history of the hotel and how the rooms were once dorms for students, then how it underwent different management throughout the years, etc etc. They’ve always kept the “Tiger” name since day one though. Pretty interesting! Love when a hotel has a bit of authenticity and history in its walls.

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Antique chandeliers inside the lobby that have been in the building since the beginning!

9am: After sleeping like a rock, mom and I walked to Fretboard Coffee after perusing yelp for a bit (when am I not?) I decided this place looked kind of cool. (All about those yelp reviews and strange coffee shops ya know? haha). This Ernie’s Cafe is right next door. Isn’t it cute?! (Minus the plastic chairs in front)

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When a coffee shop looks like a science lab inside an abandoned garage you can bet they have top notch coffee. Which they did. The coffee was on fleek.

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Science lab vibes, no?
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Stephen’s Lake

We decided to get some exercise in before the drive so we drove to Stephens Lake park with coffee in hand and walked around the lake. I ended up making mom do 4 sets of 20 lunges for which she was hating me the next day haha. YEAH MOM.

The lake is a must see if you’re in Columbia, or a student who just wants some nature away from stressful school life. SO beautiful!!

11am: After showering and packing up, we checked out of the hotel (grabbed some candy) and acai bowls at Nourish Cafe. If I were to open a healthy, quick grab and go restaurant/cafe, it would look a lot like this place. Acai bowls, fresh juice, nut milks, salads, etc. We were so happy to find this gem.

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Nourish Cafe for breakfast.
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Hidden in an alleyway was this cute shop. It was closed but we wanted to go in so badly!!

11:30 And we were off! Next stop: Kansas City, MO.

 

A Few Hours in: Westport, CT

A few days into being in NY and seeing some friends in the city I decided to head up north to Boston/Rhode Island for a few days. On my way up I headed into Westport, CT to check out where my college roommate grew up!

Pic of one of the pretty tunnels I went through (minus some biotch woman flipping me off for going the speed limit, aka: too slow) entering into Connecticut.

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First stop: Terrain

Okay guys, this place. If I could live in any store, this would be it hands down. Also, this post is basically only about Terrain because I didn’t really spend time anywhere else/nor did I want to…Think: Plants EVERYWHERE, healthy cafe/restaurant inside and outside seating, amazing light fixtures, candles/soaps/lotions/Jack Rudy cocktail products /plant related books and decor, etc!!! Perfection all around.

Pretty sure I was in there for at least a solid hour and a half. I would’ve eaten at the cafe but I was on a tight schedule and wasn’t super hungry.

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Had my first ever Bartaco experience afterwards. The location is right along the water which was super beautiful and right outside of downtown (I think).

The tacos are teeeenie! The really nice NY couple sitting next to me gave me some pro menu tips and we got to talking about traveling and NYC in general. I figure I’d be curious too if I saw a girl with a camera sitting at a table, ordering tacos and rose all by herself haha. We both agreed that there are so many hidden gems all around NY and as crowded as it is, there’s really no place like it. Their son was around my age and was apparently traveling around Europe post-graduation at the same time so that was cool to hear. I’m not alone!

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They use crispy whole tortillas as the chips – genius!

After some tacos and guac I drove along the water for a bit to see the houses. The beaches are so tiny and pretty and the houses are really beautiful, more upscale homey vibes if that makes sense? haha. Cute little town though for sure.

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Wish I had more time to really investigate and explore the cute neighborhoods/coffee shops.

A Day in: Boston, MA

Where I stayed: (On a budget & everything was booked so don’t judge haha) Park City Inn

Rating: */*****

9am: Woke up, showered, had to get OUT of this motel asap! Ate breakfast at Loyal Nine Cafe/Restaurant. Just as hipster and good as I’d read from various sources. Felt like I was outside due to the open windows and doors in the cafe, even with the stormy/rainy weather it was still cozy. Loved the touches of neon lights and huge outdoor patio seating area.

Tip: Even if the restaurant part of Loyal Nine isn’t open, they will still let you enjoy your coffee/work on your computer in the seating area inside!

Ate: Yogurt Bowl

Drank: Cashew Milk Latte ❤ 

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Came with granola and blueberries
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Love the neon signs ❤

Drove into downtown Boston (the traffic is pretty bad) and stayed most of the day in Beacon Hill. Paid for parking at the Hyatt. Pricey but worth it to know my car was safe. Attempted to go to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum because it looked so beautiful but literally no parking in sight + rain + and only a day to explore  = ugh. Walked around Charles Street and Chestnut Street in Beacon Hill. Every corner I turned was something instagrammable if that gives you an idea of the area haha.

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Loved this chic little shop on Charles Street where I bought some cute candles and jewelry. They import most of their stuff from France!
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So many window box #goals

3pm: Lunched at Tatte, a cool and pretty famous cafe/bakery in the heart of Beacon Hill.

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Tatte was so good. Should’ve indulged on a pastry though…
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I mean….

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6pm: After wandering through the cute little streets and dying over everything brick/covered in vines I left for Rhode Island (which will be another post). I really wish I would have had even more time to indulge on the historic aspect of the city.

Boston in a few bullet points:

  • Green
  • Historic
  • Bricks
  • Hidden Gems

If I were to do it again I would…

eat: Toro (Spanish Tapas), Flour Bakery (GF options and salads and overall cute vibe), or Clover Food Lab (constantly changing menu, locally sourced food, known for their “fast-food” serving you in under 4 min!)

coffee: Caffe Nero (cozy/family run/high quality coffee shop)

see: Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Harvard Natural History Museum

do: Hop on and off tour, Walk along Longfellow Bridge over the Charles River, Spend the day at Nahant Beach