Dominican Republic Vacation #tired

Forgive me. I planned on writing about my trip to the Dominican Republic while in the Dominican Republic. I was just there to lounge with my boyfriend so figured we’d have a lot of downtime, some of which would lend itself to writing. I was wrong.

Surprisingly enough, downtime just sort of disappears on vacation. You’re doing one thing like building castles on the beach and the next thing you know, you’re making dinner and playing rummy and sipping on Cuba Libres. The night’s done and then it all flows into the next day once more.

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The trip – 8 days in the Dominican Republic. Time spent relaxing and sunning in the Caribbean as neither of us have ever been . It was an amazing time!

I plan to elaborate more but I literally just got back today after running around and trekking back on a long trip involving buses, taxis, airplanes, and more. I need a nap.

Posts will soon come but just to tide you over, below are some quick pictures from our second day in the DR. The first night was spent in Santo Domingo but we were so worn out, I forgot to take pictures (I did Snapchat so you can follow me there for in the moment updates, @aliciacbarnes).

 

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Top 5 Travel Destinations For 2017

2017 has a been a crazy albeit, unforgettable year thus far. With all the noise and stress going on, we need to remember to take care of ourselves and to take a step back. One way of doing this is going on a vacation. But where?
I’ve made things simple for you. Recently in touch with luxury travel experience brand, Black Tomato, I’ve curated a list of the top 5 travel destinations for 2017. Providing a magical setting for a once in a lifetime adventure, the below locations are guaranteed to leave you feeling rested and in awe of the sheer beauty within nature. Already reaching the second month of the new year, it’s time to get serious. Plan your vacation, and make it unique by heading to one of the below!
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FINLAND:
Finland is a natural beauty. Wander it’s snow covered landscape in the winter, taking in the magic that is the Northern lights or get great lake views and green forestry in the summer. The heart of other Scandinavian countries, you can stay in Finland for a few days and then take a quick trip to bustling cities (such as Stockholm and Helsinki) that are easily accessible.
Not yet as popular as other parts of Scandinavia, Finland benefits from far fewer crowds but just as many delights. While there, you can stay at the friendly HavsVidden hotel – incredible Baltic Sea views awaits. While there, you can sail down from various Scandi seaports or board a super short flight from Stockholm or Helsinki into Mariehamn, where you can take a scenic 45 minute drive up to HavsVidden, just off the Havsviddsvägen trail. Bursting with open-air activities both on and off shore, the HavsVidden is prepared for everything from incredible wreck-diving to unforgettable wildlife and nature experiences.
For added luxe: Try out the winter wonderland package complete with a real husky sleigh ride experience.
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OMAN:
Oman is a sandy playground rich with sand dunes and culture. An Arabian oasis, the region is relatively unknown to the average traveler which means you’ll have charming beaches, lively souks and magnificent dunes to explore all to yourself. Some fantastic hotels that can’t be missed include The Chedi Muscat, Al Bustan Palace and Sahab Hotel. Make sure to make your way to Muscat, the capital of Oman, to explore all the rich culture that this city has to offer. Visit the Grand Mosque for it’s remarkable architecture, before you head over to one of the oldest markets in the Arab Would, Mutrah Souq, and stop in for lunch with an unforgettable view at the Mumtaz Mahal.
For added luxe: Take the spa hopping retreat and move on from Oman to the Maldives!
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URUGUAY:
Uruguay is great for travelers who want an authentic South American experience. It boasts quaint colonial towns, hip costal villages and amazing vineyards. Another fun fact, the area is quite lively, leaving you to lounge away the day followed by a long and crazy night out!
Stay in Playa Vik Jose Ignacio for an oceanside retreat. Stroll along the endless beach to find a restaurant that serves the freshest fish daily or have a bonfire on the beach with friends before returning to dine at Parillero under a ceiling made of canes. If quirky architecture is your thing, take a 10-minute drive along the coast to Puente Laguna Garzón, famed for its circular shaped lagoon crossing. The structure allows people to enjoy the panoramic views, lending itself to amazing photos.
For added luxe: Travel from the vineyards to the beach with a stop in Argentina before heading off to Uruguay.
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VIETNAM:
Vietnam is amazing for any foodie with a love for the beach. Offering some of the most sensational cuisine, spend your morning tanning on the sandy beaches, bask in the culture inspired by French elegance during the afternoon and dine on some of the most flavorful food to ever touch your palette. The region also has beautiful jungles, dreamlike waters and majestic mountains waiting to be explored.
Visit the Song Saa – a picture perfect beach, exquisite tropical reef and an unspoilt virgin rainforest all set on a couple of little known islands floating in the Gulf of Thailand. Made up of not one but two islands connected only by a footbridge.
For added luxe: Check out the Vietnamese Wanderlust package that moves you throughout Vietnam and all it’s hidden gems in the city.
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SRI LANKA:
Sri Lanka is an exotic local home to lush greenery and tropical landscapes. Located near the heart of the Indian Ocean, the region boasts spectacular views over Sigiriya, beautiful sunrises over the vast tea plantations and leopards and elephants in the Yala National Park. Offering dazzling beaches and a variety of 5 star accommodations, Sri Lanka is the decadent paradise you never knew you needed to visit.
For added luxe: Go on a safari and ponder how Mother Nature was able to create animals and a location so exquisite.

Women’s March + Trump Thoughts

America, what is happening? World, what is happening?

There’s nothing wrong with the Right side in theory. I believe in balance. In Yin and Yang. In dark and light. We need opposing forces at time to counter one another, preventing someone or something from feeling as if they are so powerful that they can do anything.

Now, I feel we are in a time where one side feels they can do anything. The Right.

Daily, I come across or am informed of new articles about right-winged members pushing forward their agenda and calling for a rise of right power around the world (that sounds alarmingly close to another type of power). This scares me. Not because they are the new majority, but because of the statements they are making about what they feel is good for the people seems completely off. Maybe I’m biased. I am liberal. I’d prefer if Trump had not become the President of the U.S (as I’m sure many wished this as well). But, the real question is what’s happening?

Why does it appear as if we’ve come so far only to see injustices and inequality to tip the scales once more? Why are people calling for isolationism and exclusion when we are supposed to be one? Why does it seem like we are falling down some dark abyss into this dystopian society Hollywood and authors have been scribbling down as of late?

I’m confused. I want to help but I’m not sure how. Did I participate in the women’s march? Not really, I stumbled into the NYC one. Why didn’t I? Wasn’t it my right and duty to help the cause and do what I could make change come about?

Well it was brought to my attention that although the women’s march was inclusive and a fabulous show of support. There were still exclusionary properties to it. Women, I believe, are any females on this planet. No matter the color or age. The Women’s March when first created tried to brand itself after a march that already took place featuring all black women standing up for their rights. Why did the new march try to poach their name? Because they had no idea it existed. How can women not be aware of other women struggles for people of color? I think that’s wrong. It’s not right and still, even as a woman person of color, you’re fighting for not only your gender but your race. Life!

This is me talking frustration. I’ve traveled to many places and met people from all over. I haven’t been to every country or even what I consider a lot (maybe I’ve been to about 10 or 12), but I’ve met a lot of women. Each one unique, distinctive, with their own set of problems and opposing forces that they face in their country. It’s freaking crazy what some have been through. But all I can think, we need to get better.

We need to find a way to survive Trump. Not in a victim way but actually figure out a solution to all his wrongdoings so America and the world comes out relatively unscathed from his term in office. There has to be a way. We need to find it.

We need to be better as people. We need to be inclusive. We need to remember that a racial slur is a racial slur no matter if you’re progressive and only joking. We have to be aware and make changes. Continuing to grow and better ourselves, one day at at time. We have to!

Summer Styles in Tenerife

Now that you know all about my adventure in Tenerife, I wanted to share a couple of my looks that I style out on the island.

All photo credit goes to my boyfriend.haha. I just added filters to some of these.

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#ignore the socks

I’m always causal at heart so I wore something simple.

Grey crop top – River Island

Hat – River Island

Shorts – Pull & Bear

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Coat – H&M

The next day. Still keeping it simple.

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Dress – H&M

Sandals – DSW

Glasses – Etnia Barcelona

Day 3 equals more shorts!!

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Bodysuit – Negative Underwear

Shorts – Pull & Bear

Scarf – Old Navy

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Black crop top – River Island

Hat – River Island

Shorts – Pull & Bear

Let me know what you think – I tried!

Tenerife – A Canary Island Story #3

More adventure awaits! It was time to ride bikes in Tenerife so we went to Bike Point El Medano.

The place is known for their high quality bikes mainly used for training or extreme sport but we wanted to do a leisure pedal along the beach. Partly because I’m no BMX rider and the other reason was although many people travel by bike on Tenerife, there aren’t any real dedicated bike lanes.

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We were geared up with helmets and state of the art bikes for our ride through El Medano. I was quite wobbly and afraid of getting smashed by a driver but I survived! I did scratch up my leg a bit but the ride was really nice. We got to get our blood pumping, take in some sights of the town and then stop off for a cute little picnic of sandwiches on one of the volcanic beaches nearby.

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I’m not sure if the photo is doing this any justice but our sandwich making skills were on point. Olive oil, salami, jamon and cheese, fresh tomatoes – DELICIOUS!

We carried our bikes down onto beach and listened to music while chatting about random stuff. It was great! The weather was perfect and it was nice to just lay there and relax.

Pretty soon, we realized we had to get going as we were trying to make a special dinner to celebrate my birthday. We didn’t take many pictures but it was delicious and so filling! Two appetizers (basically the size of entrees), fresh bread and spreads (aioli, butter, creme fraiche), and then a large meal of pork cheeks for me (sorry not a vegetarian) and lamb for him. Both super tasty!

We ended the meal with creme brulee and my boyfriend tried to get the waiters to come out and sing happy birthday to me but they seemed to have forgotten the request or misunderstood. Whatever, the thought was there.

We later went back home where we danced in front of the fire (it sounds romantic and I guess it was) and then watched some Fresh Prince on Netflix because it’s awesome.

For our last full day, we spent most of time in this cute town called Garachico. We went to the beach, strolled the streets, took photos and had some ice cream.

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We then made a dash to the market to buy supplies in order to make ourselves NYE dinner.

Totally amazing time. Super low key, great weather and lovely company. Tenerife was the best and I’d definitely recommend going there if you want gorgeous views, nice weather and loads of things to do!

 

Tenerife – A Canary Island Story #2

So, still in Tenerife. Still loving it. Now we hit the next day where we were off to visit El Tiede.

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Volcano Tiede is the third largest volcano in the world. We took a nice long drive through the national park, taking in out of this world views, overlooking vistas and chowing on pastries that were literally the size of our heads. The ride up was amazing!

We did suffer from ear popping (because of the changing altitudes) but we had good conversations about life and silly things while feeling the warmth of the sun from inside the car.

When we arrived at the volcano, we took a cable car to the top which was covered in snow!

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We were dressed for summer but luckily enough brought some warmer gear with us so we wouldn’t freeze our butts off. We threw on everything we had so hopefully that explains why I had a dress on in the snow.

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I think we spent about an hour on top of the volcano, hiking about the paths and trying not to fall. I mean I was. Although there was a path, it was very slippery and my sneakers didn’t have a ton of grip so I was desperately trying not to go off the side of the cliff. I must admit I was chicken to hike up any further but the old boyfriend was egging me on to keep going.

We then came back down the mountain and warmed up before navigating out of a tight parking spot to make our way back to the Airbnb.

During our ride, I made us have an impromptu picnic in the car, overlooking El Tiede. We were both hungry and we had the sandwich supplies in the boot of the car so I figured why not. Our next destination was an hour away and usually, I always forget to feed myself properly on holiday. Somehow, that always escapes me. Eating. I get snacks but those real meals man, so hard to remember!lol

Later we made our way to El Medano to see the end of the sunrise and to chat about life as we walked along one of the volcanic beaches.

After that stretch of the legs. We were hungry again – time for dinner! We went to a spot that looked like a home restaurant. They don’t have menus, you just get what they serve you and it’s all really cheap! We had cheese and bread, slated potatoes, bacalao and garbanzo beans. It was an interesting meal for sure but definitely tasty and dirt cheap – 12 euros for two people!

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After that, we called it a day and rested up for another day of fun.

 

Tenerife – A Canary Island Story #1

This year (or rather last) was my golden birthday. 27 on the 27th. I’m glad to be alive and get older but really, that much closer to 30 and still moving through life like “huh?” I guess there are worse things. And at least, I have a better idea or inkling to do something but back to the point.

As it was my golden birthday, I decided to keep the Birthday travel tradition alive and go away this year as well as rendez vous with  my boyfriend. The meeting point, Tenerife Spain. One of the canary islands. It’d be an island getaway full of romance, sun and adventure.

To begin the trip, I left from JFK on the 26th. Desperately trying to over come some cold or flu thing that tried to take me down on Christmas Eve. I didn’t care though, I wanted to see my boo, my bags were packed and the trip had been paid for. See ya NYC!

I took two flights. A long flight from NY to Madrid and then the next leg was Madrid to Tenerife. I actually got to Tenerife at around 2:30 PM on the 27th – my birthday. I then spent an additional five hours waiting for my boyfriend’s flight to arrive so the holiday could really start. At around 8 PM, we picked up our rental and were off to our Airbnb. Yay!

Although the 27th was my birthday, we didn’t go crazy doing much. We ended up missing all the restaurants so had a dinner of scrambled eggs and bread before heading to bed and exchanging Christmas gifts. Low key but very sweet. The next morning though, we were ready to run about the island.

We tore through Puerto de La Cruz, grabbing pastries, walking about the town and taking a few pics!

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Cabello Pastry  #yum

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After that, we jumped in the car for a windy road adventure toward Buenavista del Norte – sun was out but there was also a bit of wind.

Got a little bit vain but we also took some time to take in the scenery!

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As we only really ate a light breakfast and coffee treat, we ended our day grabbing pizza and ice cream. Was really delightful! No pictures unfortunately cause we were starved but I did Snapchat it (it’s gone now).

Tenerife part 2 coming soon!