**scroll to bottom for itinerary**
Honestly, where do I begin with this trip...
To say it was the best, most blissful, peaceful, serene week of my life thus far, would be a good place to start. Before I get into it, I just have to say how incredibly blessed I feel. I know life isn't always this sweet, I know it ebbs and flows but when things get tough, I'll pray for the peace I found in these moments. It's weeks like the one I had that make life worth it.
I had decided pretty early on into the week that it was the best week of my life, maybe by day 2 or so...then I was proposed to.
I had this idea to do a trip for my 24th birthday, because I've been dying to see big, beautiful, vast mountains. Last year, Tyler and I went to the Bahamas, which was lovely, but like most of my travels in the past few years, it was a tropical vacation. I felt a void in my travels. I wanted to feel small. I wanted to be humbled. I wanted vast space of land to fill my eyes instead of highways and high rises. I wanted to forget about where I put my phone and ignore everyone for a week. (no offense everyone)
Planning this trip definitely took some effort (logistics wise), and I think that's why I've gotten such a high demand for the itinerary. It's pretty overwhelming trying to research these sights. It helped that I already knew I wanted to see the Antelope Canyons & Horseshoe Bend. Those two destinations alone were really what incentivized the whole trip.
LAS VEGAS, NEVADa
Once I started diving into the research for the trip, I realized we had to fly into Las Vegas or Phoenix and drive to Page, AZ where the two sights are. It's about a 4-hour drive from both airports but after hearing that Vegas was the more scenic route, we ate the $100-$200 price difference and booked our flights to Sin City. Though I don't have a drive from Phoenix to compare it to, I think it was definitely worth the extra buck to enjoy the long drive. Especially being from Florida and only ever seeing flat ground on the highway, driving through the mountains was a treat in of itself.
We rented a Jeep Wrangler with FOX Rentals, which was the most affordable option considering they don't have a young driver fee. I had checked their reviews online after Tyler booked with them and was honestly really nervous when I saw how many bad reviews they had. We debated booking with another company but realized our purchase was non-refundable so after thinking about it for a few days, we decided to cross our fingers and hope for the best. We ended up having a great experience (thank god) and we also totally scored with the Jeep! Four-wheel drive is the way to go out there and we took the roof off everyday which was so so lovely.
Now for where we stayed- I say this every-time, but if you are still using hotels to travel, you are seriously missing out! We rented a clean & comfy room in Vegas for one night and crashed there for only $46, tax included. I'm sorry but you can't beat that.
The next morning, we headed out to our 3-hour UTV tour (like an ATV but bigger) with Southern Utah Adventure Center. It was a two-hour drive from Vegas so we grabbed some bfest to go and hit the road. **PRO-TIP there is an hour difference between Nevada and Utah. Take that hour into account if you are planning any activities.** We learned this the hard way! We hauled ass and made it by the skin of our teeth, and thank god we did because I literally can't remember the last time I had that much fun. Our tour guide was so friendly and knowledgeable on the land. We got lucky and only had one other couple in our group. They were retired and living their best lives. We all bonded and had so much fun together. Worth every single penny and this was a huge highlight of the trip. Definitely go out of your way to do this if you can and I'd highly recommend Southern Utah Adventure Center!
After the UTV tour, we grabbed a yummy lunch at River Rock Roasting Company (the Beet Salad was bomb.com) and then made our way to Under Canvas Zion. I knew I wanted to spend at least one night camping/glamping so I dug deep into researching all glamping hotels in the tristate area (there are a few different ones). I had my eyes set on Under Canvas because it looked like my type of camping. King size bed, hot showers, and a restaurant on site...shit, call me a happy camper.
We checked in right before sunset and got to enjoy some games and s'mores before the sky turned dark. So here's the deal with the tents- Under Canvas offers several different tent options based on the level of glamping you're looking to do. I ended up going with the Safari Tent, which includes a king size bed, and wood stove to keep the tent warm at night. I debated upgrading to the Deluxe tent which includes a private ensuite bathroom, but for one night I didn't think it was worth the extra $200. We used the communal bathrooms and showers which were totally fine and did not feel like a gross dorm hall bathroom at all. Each stall has its own shower, toilet, and sink. It was actually fun and made the experience feel more like camping.
The camp does have an onsite restaurant within the lobby which was convenient and yummy. We had dinner in the lobby with fellow campers and enjoyed our night playing board games and coloring. They don't have wifi on the campsite but instead provide guests with board games, which I thought was a sweet gesture and a nice change for once. It was so cool being in a big tent full of people watching them interact and laugh with each other instead of lost in the world of the internet. I could not have been more content spending my 24th birthday night under a big canvas tent with the love of my life, coloring with markers and playing board games next to a cozy warm fire. It was simple, sweet, and perfect.
The following day was left open on my itinerary because I just wasn't sure what we would want to do before driving to Page. I had looked up things about White Pockets and The Wave, but I read that you needed permits and TBH it overwhelmed me. So, we asked around the camp and got some great tips from locals. They recommended going into the actual park (Zion National Park) and exploring. Not sure if I'm the only one, but National Parks have always been a little intimidating to me. I imagined needing hiking gear and maybe a course or two on how to survive in the wild in case of emergency. To my surprise, the park was dummy proof and well organized for the average and uncoordinated folks like us. They have a shuttle system that makes your life as simple as sitting on a bus and picking which of the most popular spots in the park you want to get off at.
We spent the day going to a few different stops and hiking some easy trails. It was BEYOND beautiful and I was really excited that we got to catch the leaves starting to change color. Although the trails we took were pretty easy, you definitely want to go into the park prepared. Water, sunglasses, chapstick (necessity- my lips were not used to the dry cold), hats, jacket to throw on in the shade, and comfy sneakers are a must.
We hit the road for Page right before sun set and the drive out of the park was just as incredible as what was inside it. We jammed out with the roof off and enjoyed the cold breeze. The golden hour sunshine glowed over the vibrant rock formations and we chased the sunset looking for a good spot to catch it. We finally found a climbable rock formation and hopped out of the car while it was damn near still moving. We ran to the top and caught the last 60 seconds of the ball of fire sinking into the top of the mountainside crest.
We arrived at our Air Bnb in Page and got settled in. We quickly learned that the town of Page is pretty small, so there's not a ton of options for restaurants and stores. You can pretty much look down on the whole town from any high point. I actually really enjoyed the simplicity of a small town. I also learned the streets quickly which was a nice change for my directionally challenged self. We splurged a little on the Air Bnb because, well, we wanted to and I'm SO happy we did. Again, worth every penny. We had access to the backyard which included a hot tub, fire pit, & grill and we had a washer and dryer in the house. You just get so much bang for your buck! (p.s. ready for that collaboration whenever you are @Airbnb)
I should have known what was ahead of me when we got dinner that night and Tyler only got wings and salad for us to share. He usually has quite the appetite...
The next morning, we had our Antelope Canyon tour! For those who don't know, there are two options for the canyons- Upper and Lower. After a lot of research, I decided to go with Lower because apparently it was less crowded this time of the year. I booked the Deluxe Tour with Ken Tours which is a little more private with a smaller group (1-4 people) verses the normal tours which typically have a bigger group (I believe 7-10). To my surprise, Tyler and I were the only ones on the tour so we basically got a private tour, which was awesome. The canyons were so incredibly beautiful. The tour only lasted 30 minutes so I really tried to soak up every minute because it really did feel magical.
The tour guides are also photographers which comes in handy because they know how to get the best shots in the canyons! As soon as we got in, our guide started snapping pics for us, which was great, but to be completely honest I would have been fine without SO many photo ops- I want to ACTUALLY enjoy the canyons and not just look like I was enjoying them for pics. It was interesting to see how popular the destination has become due to the power of social media.
As we were snapping pics through-out the tour, we approached a photo op spot called "The Arch". Our guide slipped in front of us to set up for the shot and I turned around to pose with Tyler and next thing I knew, he was on one knee.
He said "I want to do this forever, will you marry me?" Immediate sobs and I cried "yes".
Everyone's question is "did you know?!". I'll be honest, yes and no. It was definitely not a complete shock, as we talked about it all the time. We had talked about rings here and there so it's not like I had NO idea. He was so nervous he was shaking like a leaf. I'll never forget that moment and how surreal it felt. I'm so excited to marry my best friend.
After the canyons, we went straight to the Horseshoe Bend, which I was so looking forward to. I've seen it in pictures for years and I couldn't wait to see the vastness with my own eyes! The two destinations are pretty close to each other, maybe a 15 minutes drive or less so you can easily knock both out in a day. There is a parking lot then a short walk down to the viewpoint. I've read online that it's a hike but it's really just a long path.
The view is absolutely breathtaking and honestly a lot to take in at first. The space is so vast that it's hard for your brain to make sense of it. I actually turned my back to it to get my bearings before looking at it again. It leaves you speechless.
We walked and climbed all around the Horseshoe Bend area. Surprisingly, it's completely open for visitors to explore on their own time and at their own risk. We walked all along the side of the canyon and found some good photo spots. We walked far enough from the crowd to find silence and just take it all in. I got to take bad-ass photos of the ring with the Horseshoe Bend as an epic backdrop which I was pretty giddy about. We headed back to the Air BnB and celebrated with wine (for Ty) and some time spent by the fire pit and in the hot tub. God is good!
The next morning we rented paddle-boards for Lake Powell which is what the town is really known for since it covers so much of the land and is a big tourist attraction as well. We rented through Lake Powell Paddle-boards, and got them for a full day ($45 per board) which includes 6 hours (plenty of time). They help you strap the boards to your car and give you directions on how to get to the lake and where to go once in it. We made a rookie mistake of renting paddle boards during Fall instead of kayaks which is definitely a better option when the water is that cold! We chatted with a few locals while on the water and found out that paddle-boarding the lake is more of a summer activity. I had a good thing going with my board and switched between standing and sitting. Tyler on the other hand had trouble keeping water off of his board, so if you ask him, he wouldn't recommend it. He was bitching the whole time. I enjoyed having the option to stand up or sit down on the board since we were on the water for 2-3 hours.
The canyons were so so beautiful and getting such a close look at them was an amazing experience. I played some music and really enjoyed the stillness of the lake and surrounding rock structures. Paddling gets a little tedious but I think that's the point. I found a good flow and rhythm with my stokes and stayed present and mindful throughout the trail. I felt the power of my paddle pushing me through the lake and the resistance of the water with each stroke. I watched the water glisten and dance under the stunning red rock structures while gazing through the water at the world happening under me. It was so tranquil and the perfect ending to the trip.
On our last day, we decided to take the long route back to Vegas so we could drive through the Grand Canyon. It was a little out of the way but we wanted to cross it off our list and we had nothing better to do than drive! We left early AM and headed to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. It took a while actually getting into the park but once you do there are signs every mile or so that direct you to different viewpoints. We stopped here and there and jumped out of the car to take a look. Once we felt like we got our fix we hit the road again towards Vegas. We watched our last sunset of the trip on the road and it was one of the most beautiful I've seen. Not sure if it was because of how I felt or if it was really that beautiful or maybe a mixture of both. We managed to make a pit stop at the Hoover Dam too, just so we could say we did and check it off the list too.
I've traveled a lot these past few years, but this was a trip of a lifetime-for obvious reasons. I've never been so at peace with myself, my life, and my love. Arizona and Utah will always have a special place in my heart. It reminded me that life can be, contrary to belief, simple. I truly found my peace in those mountains.
After a few days of being home and getting back to the chaos of life, I found myself stepping outside, looking at the sky, taking a deep breath, and visualizing myself back in those special moments that grounded me. I'm so thankful for the life I live, the opportunities I have, the love in my life, and my faith in the universe.
I hope you enjoyed getting an "inside my head" take on this trip beyond just the IG photos. If you have the opportunity to take this trip I would 110% recommend it. Go off grid, get off your phone and be present! If you have any questions at all, don't hesitate to DM me.
I attached my actual itinerary that will be easier to follow. Pick and choose as you please.
-Land in Las Vegas
-Shuttle to Fox Rent a Car
9:00am: Drive to Zion (2hr 16min/146mi) (account for 3 hours due to time difference)
12:00pm: Sand Mesa UTV Tour
3:00pm: Drive to Under Canvas Zion (28 min/16 mi)
3:30pm: Check into Safari Tent
-Check out of Under Canvas
-Zion National Park
-Drive to Page (2hr 40min/152 mi)
-Check into Air Bnb
9:00am: Leave for tour (Kens Tours in GPS)
9:30am: Kens Tours Antelope Canyon check in
1:30pm/2:00pm: Horseshoe bend
hot tub/fire pit
9:00am: Lake Powell Paddleboards
4:50pm: Return Paddle Boards
Drive back to Las Vegas
8:00pm- Drop off rental car
This month, I had the incredible opportunity to partner with Universal Orlando Resorts to stay at the stunning Aventura Hotel. I was so so excited when they reached out to me for this collaboration, as I've always loved theme parks since I was a little girl and I was way overdo for a fun theme park trip! I took my bestie, Jessica, and we had SUCH a great girls weekend.
We arrived at the hotel and the first thing that caught my eye was the gorgeous open concept layout in the lobby. We checked in with ease and met their friendly little robot helpers! The staff explained that the robots help with room deliveries, share candy in the lobby, and even tell funny jokes. Talk about the future. SO cool.
The dining area is conveniently located next to the lobby, which made it really easy to chow down then head straight to the parks! They even have a Starbucks to grab your morning brew to go.
Once getting up to the room, I went right over to the window and checked out our sweet view that looked right over all three of the parks. Although the view was quite impressive, what really wowed me was the advanced in-room technology. The iPad next to the bed controlled literally everything in the room. When I say everything, I mean it! It controlled the lights, temperature, TV/ Netflix/ YouTube, room service, dining reservations, etc. I was even able to set a timer for the TV to turn off at night when we were ready to hit the sack. They really thought of everything!
We headed to the parks and made our first stop at Universal Studio's Florida. Of course, we had to take a pit stop on the way to get the notorious wave picture! We ran around the park for hours and had the best time. My favorite parts of the day had to be visiting The Wizarding World of Harry Potter for the first time and riding the Revenge of the Mummy.
Once back at the hotel, we headed up to the rooftop bar, Bar 17 Bistro, to catch a sunset drink and some bites. We invited some local Orlando friends to join us and we had such a lovely evening catching up while looking over the beautiful city lights.
On day two, we stopped by the outdoor bar, Sol Bar, to grab a drink before heading back to the parks. Our server was so friendly and even gave us some good "pro-tips" for navigating the parks, like taking the Hogwarts Express to get from one park to another instead of walking! My feet thanked him later for that.
For our second day, we went to Universal's Islands of Adventure. Our first stop was The Incredible Hulk Coaster and holy cow!! Talk about an adrenaline rush. Later in the day, we got a Turkey leg for lunch and it really lived up to our childhood memories of it. My favorite ride of the day was the Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit. We rode it three times and honestly, I would have done it 100 more if we had the time!
All in all, Jess and I had such an incredible weekend. After working so hard for months, taking this weekend to dedicate to pure FUN was so necessary and needed! We truly had the best time and our hotel, Universal’s Aventura Hotel was the perfect mix of comfort, style and convenience for the modern traveler.
A special thank you to Universal Orlando Resorts for having us, we can't wait to be back!
Every so often, my friend group and I like to plan a trip somewhere together. With most of us living away from each other, we've found that taking trips together is the best way to spend time and make memories together these days. After all, getting seven girls together is not the easiest of tasks. Our first idea was to go for the cabin/campfire vibe in Georgia, but when we decided we wanted to leave the boyfriends at home and make it a girls only trip we chose Nashville instead. Not quite sure how it happened, but it did.
All I had known about Nashville previously was that just about every country music artist was born and/or discovered there. Ironically, I hated country music growing up. I was that person who would make fun of the corny lyrics that talked about love at first sight, going through heartbreak, or growing up in a small town.
That changed when I met my boyfriend, Tyler. He grew up listening to country music so I inevitably listened to a lot of it when we started dating. The more I was exposed to it, the more I started to enjoy and appreciate the thoughtful song writing and instrumental music behind it. I realized that it was refreshing to hear lyrics that told a story or had a lesson behind them verses lyrics that glorified lifestyles lost in partying, drugs, and sex.
Since then, I have been an avid listener of country music and it's become one of my favorite genres. So, when Nashville was the decided destination, I was all in. YEEHAW.
Broadway is the strip in downtown that’s notorious for it's live music bars and country music celebrities being discovered. You can’t miss it from a mile a way, the strip glows with neon signs and music pours out from every bar on the street. They call it NashVegas for a reason. The cool thing about the bars is that they all have 3 floors with different live music on each level. So, if you're not feeling the music, just head upstairs (or downstairs).
We started at The Stage and bar hopped down Broadway for a few hours. The bands mostly play covers to popular songs, which is great because dancing to music you don't know can get boring. They also make sure to cover a good amount of rock and alternative hits, so you’re not totally drowning in country. We danced and sung our hearts out for literally hours. Even my two girlfriends who hate going out and hate dancing, were up having the time of their lives. We got back to the air bnb and couldn't stop talking about how much fun we had. Nashville was off to a great start.
We had brunch reservations the next morning at Louie's Wine Dive. The girls ordered bottomless mimosas and we chatted for a few hours. I ordered the crab cake Benedict and it was to die for. Our server was awesome and gave us some good insight on where we planned to head next, which is an area between Music Row and Downtown, known as The Gultch. A friend had recommended this to me as a place to shop, walk around, and even rides Bird scooters around. (If you don’t know what those are, Google them, they are all the rage.)
Although we enjoyed our time, I wish there had been more affordable boutiques in the area. The few we came across were way out of our shopping price range. But we did ride around on the Birds and that was hilarious. We headed back to the house and spent the night in. We ordered pizza, caught up on each others lives, laughed, cried, you know, just your typical girl stuff.
Day 2 came around and we headed over to another recommended spot, Arrington Vineyards. There was a bit of a late start to the day, so by the time we made it there it was around sunset. The girls ordered their tastings and I picked out my cheese & meat selections for the group. We found a nice table on the outside patio that was dimly lit by white Christmas lights. We chatted about life, relationships, and our futures. Two bottles of wine later we laughed our way out of the winery and hit the road for dinner (me as the DD of course- if you don’t know about my alcohol allergy, you can read about it here). The Southern Steak & Oyster was the chosen spot since it was close to downtown and also a recommendation. The oysters and the service were phenomenal. However, the pasta dish with fried eggs on top of it, not so much. Not sure who’s idea that was.
The decision to head back to downtown was strongly influenced by the amount of fun we had the first night. But as anyone could have predicted, going out on a Monday night is much different than a Saturday night. Not that we didn't enjoy ourselves, but it seemed that the single men of Nashville were out to mingle. We couldn't go 5 minutes without a different guy in a cowboy hat approaching one of us. To be honest, it was really annoying. Guys-I’m all for you shooting your shot, but when you see a group of girls clearly enjoying each others company, for god sake, let them be!!
Day 3 approached and we found our way back to The Gultch to hit a hot spot called Biscuit Love. My overall impression was that it was charming and clean. The food came out shockingly fast and it was delicious. Everyone was pleased with what they ordered which is a rarity when trying to please seven people. I kept it simple with the Egg Plate (the cheesy grits were SOOO good). After breakfast, we headed to a space called Pinewood Social. This place was recommended to me by one of my followers and I was sold by the old-fashion bowling alley photos I glanced at on Yelp. The space itself was pretty cool- kind of like a lounge/bar and coffee shop/work space all in one. The vibe reminded me of Soho House- but without the exclusivity. The old fashion, 50s themed, bowling alley hid in the back of the warehouse styled building and it made for the sweetest surprise. We had fun competing against each other in a retro, throwback setting.
Our last stop, and probably my favorite part of the trip, was a 6 o'clock show at The Listening Room. The tickets were $7 each, with a $15 food & drink minimum. The show was worth every penny. It was really special to get a more intimate listening experience compared to the live music at the bars on Broadway. By the end of the show, we all agreed that we were SO happy we came and it was the perfect note to end our trip. (See what I did there?)
Although I was bummed to leave Nashville and my best friends, I felt so fulfilled with the memories this trip gave us. There wasn't much planning in advance, we kind of played by ear, but it usually works out better that way anyway. Thank you to my friends & followers who sent recommendations! We had the best time and would do it again in a heartbeat. Nashville now has a little piece of all of our hearts. If you are planning a trip I hope this gave you some insight on places to go or what you have to look forward to! Feel free to leave any questions or comments below. Until the next adventure. xx
Serendipity - an unplanned, fortunate discovery
While talking over lunch with my friend K.C. recently, I mentioned that I had been invited to take a trip to Joshua Tree, but I didn’t think I was going to make it. K.C.’s eyes lit up as he blurted “I’m down”. I had a few things to consider- I already made plans with my BFF, Maddie, and her roommate, Esther, to take a train down to San Diego to do some exploring. Add to this that I had just rented a car to run errands around LA. I over planned myself and had too many options for how to spend the day. I was torn.
But if you know me, or have read any of my other travel blogs, you'll know that adventure always trumps errands.
I'll kill 2 birds with one stone-screw the errands...Let's all take the rental car to Joshua tree for the day.
So off we went in our little Toyata Prius into the dry heat of Joshua Tree National Park.
Not sure what it is about me and the desert, but per usual, we didn’t do any research before our arrival; we just drove into the park and winged it.
About half way into the park, we pulled over and walked out into the desert. My very first observation was the silence. I can’t remember the last time I heard such a complete and total silence. It was a truly refreshing sensation. It felt like the static in my mind had finally turned off; it was like my mind could breathe. We sat—eyes closed—appreciating the stillness of the desert.
After several minutes, we were off to find our next spot. Every park stop had a unique set of rock formations that were special in their own way. As we climbed up and explored the formations, we felt like we were little kids again, playing on a jungle gym in the playground. We had the idea to take our shoes off and boy, was that the best idea of the day. Feeling the cool rocks on our warm and slightly sweaty feet felt so grounding. (TMI?)
It was thrilling to be out in nature, completely focused on climbing the rocks with caution and skill; a feeling we rarely get to experience in our hectic everyday life and man made world.
I was reminded of my true love for nature and being outdoors. I was reminded that it is where I feel the most alive and human.
We sat on the rocks in silence, and solemnly observed nature’s beauty. The gradient color schemes in the rocks appeared like it was inspiration from an interior design magazine. The patterns, the light, the combination of colors, That’s when I realized that it all comes full circle. As they say, art imitates life and Mother Nature is the greatest of artists. As a society, we are constantly trying to imitate nature, whether we are aware of it or not. It makes sense that natural elements serve as the greatest inspiration for designs in architecture, furniture, and even fashion.
We lost ourselves in the journey. Some climbing and exploring later, the sun was already setting. We ran to the highest point on the rocks and caught the last 10 seconds of the very tip of the sun as it slipped behind the silhouette of the mountains. For the next 20 minutes, we enjoyed the variations of colors of the sunset desert sky.
Maddie and I talked about how thankful we were for the abundance in our lives, and how we are so blessed to be able to feel the thrill of climbing rocks and see the beauty of the sunset with our eyes. After shedding a few tears or joy and gratitude, we headed back down towards the car to begin our journey home.
With the windows down and music blasting, I watched as the night sky turned dark and stars began to shine bright. I thanked the universe for that moment, and carry it with me still.
I encourage all of you to get out and explore this world. Nature has a way of making you feel so small in the very best way. It humbles you, it excites you, it challenges you…it IS you. Get out there.
All photos taken by KC Fritz. Below is developed film shot on a FIJI disposable camera.
When I get an invitation for adventure, my initial reaction is to jump to a quick "I'm down!" but when my friend (and roommate in LA) Laura, invited me on a camping trip to Lone Pine, California with her photographer friend, John Duarte, I had second thoughts.
Me? Camping? Yikes. At first, I was hesitant. What the heck do I know about camping? A) I had never been, B) I don't particularly see myself as a "camper" type. But there is one thing that I am always game for, and that's some good ol' fashion adventure.
After some back and fourth bickering, Laura got me on board. John sent us a mood/style board so we did a quick trip to Urban Outfitters to pull some looks.
Our alarm clocks rang at the ungodly hour of 5am and off we went, groogy-eyed, to meet up with the rest of the crew. A rental Jeep, plus two cars full of wardrobe and camera equipment made its way 3.5 hours north to the dessert of Lone Pine, California. I slept most of the way and woke up to views I had never seen before. Desert in front of us, snow caps on the mountains in the distance. My initial reaction was just "wow".
We started shooting immediately to make the most out of the daylight. There was so much variety in the terrain that we were able to switch up outfits and make it look like a completely different place!
After shooting for about 4 hours, the sun went down and so did the temperature. We went out for a group dinner at one of several restaurants in the small town of Lone Pine. If you ever find yourself that way, I'd recommend the Mexican restaurant, Bonanza. Don't worry about forgetting the name; you can't miss it, it's the only one!
Thankfully, we thought to drop a pin at our "home base" because there was zero service and it was pitch black when we got back. Honestly, I was kind of excited to camp! There's a first time for everything and I was ready to feel at one with the desert. First things first, we started a fire then started the process of setting up our tents. Just a few minutes in and the situation turned into a bad episode of Man VS. Wild. I didn't want to feel useless, so I got out there and tried doing what I could to help. Hilarious idea. Just picture a 6-person tent blowing against 105 pound me while I'm shouting "THIS F***ING THING IS GOING TO BLOW ME AWAY!". Hah!
After fighting the wind for a solid half hour, we turned around to realized that the fire we had started was blowing onto dry ferns and starting little fires all around us! We ran to stomp them out and at that point, we called it quits. The last thing we wanted was to start the next wildfire in CA. Our next option was to look into one of the motels in town-not my first choice, but definitely another opportunity for adventure. Unfortunately, no motel had any vacancies...can't say I was too disappointed. Our final option was to drive home. At that point, I was happy that I was going to be able to sleep in a bed.
So we hit the 395 South and made our way back to LA. On our way home, every single sign on the highway had a wind-advisory warning. LOL. There was also a bizarre situation in the middle of all of this that involved a stray dog & crazy lady but I'll spare you the details. Just trust my word when I say it felt like I was thrown into a Twilight Zone episode. But hey, I did ask for adventure...
So my friends, the lesson learned from this adventure? Check the weather- before going camping, or really before embarking on any outdoor activities. Seems like common sense, but you would be surprised.
Here are my favorites from this epic day trip. Photographed by John Duarte.
Though I've been to la la Land a number of times before, I'd have to say that this past trip was the most significant, in more ways than one.
The main purpose of this visit was to meet with a few modeling agencies that were interested in representing me in the Los Angeles area. Luckily, the agency that expressed the most interest in me was my top choice as well. I don't want to give too much away until things are set in stone, but exciting news coming soon!
Another big reason why I knew I had to book this flight was because I was long over due to visit one of my best friends, Maddison, who moved out to LA almost a year ago with my other close friend Rachel. It was so nice spending quality, bestie time together with them and catching up on life!
I had two agency meetings set up on my second day in town and I knew the day was going to be a long one. Thankfully, I was able to coerce Maddie into keeping me company and playing my stage mom for the day. (Love ya Madds)
We started the day at a café that was recommended to us by a local. He told us Coral Tree Cafe was the spot; he was right (thanks elevator stranger). We shared the Farmers Market Vegetable Scramble and Almond Crusted French Toast (pictured above). Both were so yummy and totally hit the spot. P.S. For anyone wondering about my vegan diet transition- I'm still eating eggs and seafood. Full blog post coming soon!
On our way to a friends place, we noticed this adorable house covered in flowers and vines. It may or may not have turned into a full-blown photoshoot.
a day in Malibu
It's funny, I've always had this distant vision that one day I'd be driving down the PCH (Pacific Coast Highway) in a convertible, blasting good music, with good people, loving life. I can't help but think that I had manifested this exact moment and without much effort or thought, it came to life. Maddie's mom came into town to visit and celebrate her birthday. In the spirit of celebrating, she rented a convertible BMW and we thought what better way to spend the beautiful day than to drive up the coast?
Along the way, we made a few pit stops, mostly to stretch but also for those spontaneous photos opts.
This day felt particularly special because I hadn't seen Maddison in such a long time and it was so nice to get that girl time in. Flash back to about 16 years ago- we were playing dress up in her backyard and she was my first sleepover ever!! These type of friends are like rare gems so I keep her close to my heart.
We ended up driving past the coast and into a small little town called Oija (pronounced "Oh, Hi"). After walking around for a bit we spotted a Kombucha Bar, Revel. At this point, we were ready for a snack break and this looked like the perfect fit.
By no means am I a Kombucha expert; I knew it was good for your digestive system so I had tried it a few times(health and stuff right?). The server explained that they serve a special Kombucha called Jun Kombucha, which is made with Green Tea and honey rather than vinegar and sugar. The taste was a lot more delicate and didn't have that vinegary punch. We ordered two tasting flights and I couldn't get enough of it! The different flavors ranged from things like "Pink Moment"-blend of hibiscus ginger & orange zest, to "Blue Moon"-infused with Ojai lavender & Summer blueberries. So so yummy.
This little spot is also known for their Açaí Bowls and of course we couldn't turn it down. This was the first time I had an Açaí Bowl made with Açaí sorbet rather than a smoothie texture. I fell in love and am now on a mission to find a place in Miami where they make it like this!
After our tasty snack break we hit the road again.
On our way back south, we stopped by El Matador Beach, which is well-known by locals and a hell of a find for tourists. I did a photo shoot at this beach a few years ago during my first visit to LA and it is still one of my favorite shoots till this day, so this spot has a sentimental place in my heart. Pics from the shoot below!
As we drove down the coast we wanted to find a good place to watch the sunset and end our day. We looked up nearby restaurants on Yelp that had good reviews and found The Sunset. Suiting, right? The food and atmosphere were great. Maddie and I ran out of the restaurant to watch the last minutes of the sun setting on the beach. Perfect ending to a great day.