Quick Guide to Koufonissi, Greece

Guide to KoufonissiAhhh reflecting back on our Greece trip…it already feels like ages ago! Two weeks ago I was dancing the night away on an island in the Aegean, and now here I am nestled on my couch writing this post, looking at all my photos from a place that feels so far from reality.

The first island we stopped at on our trip was Ano Koufonissi, a small island part of the Cyclades. There are actually two islands known as “Koufonisia” but one of them is basically uninhabited. Ano Koufonissi is the smallest island of the Cycladic group (Mykonos, Santorini & Milos are also a part of this group), so we didn’t plan much time there thinking 24 hours was enough. Surprisingly, this little island turned out to be our favorite of this trip. Both Leo and I wished we had spent more time there! It truly is a hidden gem.

Upon our arrival, the hotel receptionist gave us a quick overview of the island. Some fun facts include:

  • – They don’t allow tourists to rent cars or motocycles, so you have to rent a bike or walk everywhere (the entire island is walkable)
  • – There is one taxi driver on the island – we actually saw him a handful of times and felt like we had spotted a celeb – and he is apparently always late

Since we didn’t spend enough time to create a full guide to the island, I’ll share a few details on the 24 hours we spent there – we’ll definitely be heading back one day! Below is my quick guide to Koufonissi, Greece  –

We stayed at Portes Houses, which was cozy & comfortable. The staff was so friendly, to the extent that I missed breakfast and they went out of their way to prepare something for me. We were a close walk to the town and to the busier beaches on the island. The pool at the hotel was pretty amazing as well – we spent an afternoon lounging poolside, drinking freddo espressos. Portes Houses KoufonisiaPortes Houses KoufonisiaWe went to Kalofego for dinner – it was recommended by friends. Turns out it’s the top rated restaurant on the island! It was conveniently located near the beach we walked to, and the views from the restaurant were gorgeous. The food was also delish and so fresh, which was to be expected!Kalofego KoufonissiKalofego KoufonissiSince we couldn’t rent a car (and decided against biking), we walked our way around the island. This included a 45 minute hike to the beach we ended up at, along a trail that went through all of the beaches on the island. Our final destination was a little further out than we expected, but we enjoyed every moment of it. The views were stunning! We spent the day at Pori Beach, which was right by Kalofego. Because it was off the beaten path, it wasn’t as crowded. No loud music from nearby beach bars, few children running around…it was just what we wanted (no offense to the parents out there!).
Koufonissi Greece Travel GuidePori Beach, Koufonissi GreeceI can’t even call this  “going out”, but we did go out for one drink (and managed to fall asleep on the couch outside the bar – ha!). We were still jet lagged, so one drink was all we had in us. Luckily, we ended up at Sorokos bar, a super chill cocktail bar along the water. I loved that their outdoor seating included both couches and candlelit blankets overlooking the sea. Major hippie vibes, and I was so into it. It’s also a great spot for stargazing, if you’re into that sort of thing!

Nordstrom Anniversary Sale: My Top Picks

Nordstrom Anniversary Sale: My Top Picks

As a former Nordstrom employee (Nordy’s basically paid for all my bar tabs in college), I get particularly excited about the Anniversary Sale every summer. I remember back in the day the chaos that would ensue the first day of Anniversary – running “dump” (what we called tried on clothes that had to be put back – WHY did we call it “DUMP”?!!), fighting for the best Anniversary shifts (the first day of the sale mornings were always best!), making sure the floor was spic & span after hundreds of people had rummaged through. Things have changed a bit now with presale & early access, but one thing that hasn’t changed is the killer deals!

For the Nordstrom rookies out there, this sale is all brand new fall gear marked down. Once the sale is over, whatever inventory is left gets marked up to regular price, so now is the time to go cray. I will be the first to admit I’m not one who shops in stores much anymore, but this is an event I show up for.

Now we’re in the phase of “early access”, which means you can only shop if you’re a Nordstrom Credit or Debit card holder (if you’re not, find a friend who is STAT). Otherwise, everyone will be able to shop from 7/21-8/6! I’ve linked to my favorite products below – so so many good things to choose from. Shop away!

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Monday Mindfulness

Monday Mindfulness

The worst part of going on vacation is always the aftermath…coming back to reality. I tend to reflect on all of the beautiful places I visited, and am saddened that I don’t have the flexibility to spend more time seeing other parts of the world. To my surprise, coming home from this last trip I found the transition to be slightly less difficult.

I thought about why my vacation blues didn’t linger as long as usual. It could just be that I’m getting older and am becoming more of a homebody, but I don’t think that’s the case. I think that I’m finally in a place where I’m able to recreate the things I love about vacation at home (outside of exploring the world, of course). It’s more about that excitement and ability to decompress. I’m excited about our new home and spending time enjoying it. I’m excited about summer in Chicago and exploring new restaurants, bars, and summer events. I’m excited about hosting friends and sharing our home & city with them. I’ve learned to plan better (aka learning to say “no”) so I’m not overcommitting – definitely a source of stress for me in the past. Bottom line is, I don’t feel like I’m only happy on vacation, which is a good thing!

I realized I didn’t do a mindfulness post in June, so it was hard to pick just five articles this month! So many good reads out there! Below are a few links across the web that have inspired and motivated me the last couple of months –

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7 Ways to Get Dewy Summer Skin

7 Ways to Get Dewy Summer Skin

Annnnd I’m back! I feel like I’ve been gone for ages, yet at the same time my vacation didn’t feel long enough (does it ever?!). I can’t wait to share more details on our trip – we had the chance to explore new islands, eat tons of Greek food (went overboard as we always do), spend quality time with close friends AND celebrated a wedding. All in all, it was an amazing trip and it came and went too fast. I can’t wait to share more juicy dets next week!

Though my post-vaca blues have officially kicked in, the fact that my skin is on point right now has softened the blow a bit. Relaxing on the beach for a week straight definitely has it’s benefits (as long as you wear SPF 30+!), and I’m determined to keep this look going for as long as possible post-beach life. Below are my tried and tested ways (7 to be exact) to get the lovely dewy summer skin we all strive for –

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Five Things Before I Leave for Greece

Five Things Before I Leave for Greece

I’m officially off to Greece! I’m probably on a flight as you’re reading this right now…

So so excited for this trip. I was in desperate need of a vaca – this time I’m going without my laptop, so I can TRULY check out for once. That said, you won’t be hearing from me here for a week or so, so make sure to follow me on my Insta as I’ll be posting TONS of pictures and stories over the next 10 days!

You probably know this by now, but Leo is Greek, so we go back to Greece once a year to visit his friends & family. These pics are from one of our trips to Milos a few years back – I swear the backgrounds are real and not Photoshopped. The last few summers, we’ve had weddings on various islands (I know, it sounds terrible right?). This year, we’ll be spending a couple days in Athens, followed by a few days in Naxos, and then heading to another wedding in the small island of Astipalaia! Lots of moving around over the next 10 days or so…but I’m pumped!

Before leaving, I wanted to share a few things, many of them Greece focused…for obvious reasons!

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10 Things to Buy at the Zara Sale

10 Things to Buy at the Zara Sale

Sheer Dress: Zara, sold out (similar here) | Unitard: Topshop last season (similar here) | Shoes: French Connection Pepper Flatforms | Bag: Saint Laurent Mini Betty Bag | Lipstick: Rodial Suede Lipstick

I spent most of last weekend preparing for my Greece trip – I’m leaving on Thursday! Totally snuck up on me. It could not have been better timing for the Zara sale, because I of course was on the hunt for last minute items that I needed for the trip. Mainly stuff for the beach, because I haven’t had enough time to enjoy the sunshine here! I came across this gorgeous sheer dress that I thought would be ideal for the beach, but then quickly realized it would look super cool layered over basically anything. I got this unitard from Topshop last fall, and decided to pair it with this sheer metallic piece for something a little different. The shine is so subtle, but looks stunning in the sunlight!

There were a million other things I wanted to buy at Zara, but I’m trying to hold back so that I can shop on vacation! Below are a ten items you should buy while you can –

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Five (Expert-Approved) Summer Wines

Five (Expert-Approved) Summer Wines

I am by no means a wine person. I’m a cocktail girl alllll the way (or vodka soda if I know I’m in it for the long haul), BUT something about the warmer weather gets me craving a good glass of wine on occasion. There’s nothing like a refreshing glass of rosé when you’re basking in the sun!

Given I know close to nothing about wine, I thought it’d be fun to ask my cousin Jasmine, who drinks wine like it’s her job (well, because it is), to share her current favorites for summer. Now I feel like I can “rosé all day” like a pro.

Jasmine is on the winemaking team at Seghesio Family Vineyards (I wasn’t joking when I said drinking wine is part of her job). She lives in SF – this is the cousin I visited a few weeks back – and works in Sonoma County where the vineyard is located. The vineyard specializes in Zinfandel and Italian varietals. Below she shares five of her favorite wines for summer – she did mention she had MANY MANY favorites, and that narrowing down to five was really tough!

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How To Reinvent Your Closet in 3 Steps

How To Reinvent Your Closet in 3 Steps

Those mornings you spend staring hopelessly at your closet, feeling like you have NOTHING to wear…we’ve all been there. A closet full of clothes with nothing to wear – how do you get around this? Considering most of us are on a budget, buying a whole new wardrobe is just not an option. I used to face this conundrum often, until I recently revamped my closet. It took me a weekend to do, but now I wake up excited to wear what I have and I no longer have the urge to buy more (which is rarity for me!). Don’t get me wrong, I have still been getting little things here and there, but more accessories than anything. Have I convinced you that you need to do this yet?!

Now, put some time aside and prepare to fall in love with your wardrobe all over again. The steps I followed are fairly simple, they just take time and energy. Grab a glass of rosé, put on a good playlist and GO!

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Five 90s Inspired Skirts You’ll Want ASAP

Five 90s Inspired Skirts You’ll Want ASAP

WEARING: United Colors of Benetton Mini Skirt (super old but you can find a similar one here and here!), Oversized white blouse (similar here), Vintage Levi’s denim jacket (found one just like it here), White platform sandals (I got these at Yoox last summer – similar ones here)

CONFESSION – I’ve had this skirt for maybe 5 years and this is the first time I’m wearing it. I never knew what shoes to pair with this thing…and then it clicked. Platforms! I feel like I came straight out of Clueless rocking this mini, and not going to lie, I’m into it. I’m not typically one for mini skirts (I’m super self conscious about my legs…have been my entire life), but this mini was just too cool to pass up. I love the purple & cream combo, and the higher waist. It pairs perfectly with a tied oversized blouse and a denim jacket.

This is the first time in my life (one of MANY to come I’m sure) where I’ve witnessed fashion trends come & go. The recent 90s revival has brought me back to my childhood, rocking scrunchies, choker necklaces, overalls, denim on denim…you get the picture. It been nostalgic, and I’m wishing I could fit into some of my childhood clothes because they would make for some killer vintage pieces! ha. Below, I’ve linked to a few other 90s inspired skirts you can rock this summer. Get on it if you haven’t already!

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Home Spotlight: Outdoor Lighting Ideas

Home Spotlight: Outdoor Lighting Ideas

We’ve finally wrapped up construction in the house! YAY! It’s SOOOO nice to not have contractors in and out constantly…and after hours and hours of cleaning, I’ve managed to get out the dust. We’re starting to feel settled, which is an unfamiliar yet very welcomed feeling. There’s so much open space now that we don’t have boxes, equipment, paint and other random stuff laying around. I can’t handle clutter – I was losing my mind towards the end there! Anyway, I’m ready to move on from this stage to more fun, exciting things like home accessories.

Our next project is furnishing our deck. One recent discovery (& a warning for those of you who are as clueless as I was) – outdoor furniture is EXPENSIVE. Like, way more than you’d want to pay for furniture that is going to be sitting outside taking on the elements. Another thing I’ve never spent too much time dwelling on is outdoor lighting. I always thought it was just…THERE. Yeah, not the case. We realized we needed more lighting ASAP after having our first BBQ a few weeks back – we all had our iPhone lights on to avoid face planting down the steps and/or dropping the delicious food/cocktails we had just carefully crafted.

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