During my Greece trip a few weeks back, we spent a few days in Dubai. I know, it’s not like it’s just around the corner from Greece…we went for a reason. Leo’s best friend got married in Athens, and both the bride & groom wanted to share a few special days with their closest friends in a place none of us had been before. Dubai just happened to be that place.
After nearly one week of being on vacation, I’ve finally let go of everything going on at home. I’m a big believer of long vacations – I’m not able to decompress over a long weekend, and to me a successful holiday is one where you release every stress of daily life and enjoy the little things. Let’s just say I’ve been indulging on the “little things” lately and am loving every moment of it!
The last few days, we’ve been in Rhodes. This is both Leo and I’s first time on the island, and despite it’s large size, it’s actually quite charming. As with most Greek islands, you have the option to dress up or down depending on your mood and planned activities. The other night, we planned a low-key dinner, so I decided this was the perfect moment to wear these funky linen pants I picked up in Athens last weekend.
Over Memorial Day weekend, my mom and I decided we needed a quick getaway from the city. Leo was away in Greece at a bachelor party (MAJOR #envy ) so I thought, why not? I’d never properly seen Michigan, and my mom has been talking it up for years now. I was also overdue on my annual Mom trip.
Mom put together a super aggressive schedule for us…I wasn’t too psyched about driving for ~14 hours there and back, but it actually turned out to be a nice little road trip. I popped in some of my favorite podcasts, and enjoyed driving sans Chicago traffic (although we did get our taste of it coming back to the city – a nice welcome back to reality!).
Our first stop was Empire, Michigan, home of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. I was pleasantly surprised at how beautiful this place was. I’d never seen Lake Michigan like this before – it was so clean and a stunning bright blue. Surrounding the lake were these massive sand dunes, conveniently lined with trails that lead straight to the beach.
I find myself spending more and more time in Logan Square. What used to seem so far away is now only just a few stops away on the Blue Line. This happens to be the “in” neighborhood at the moment in terms of where the coolest new bars and restaurants are popping up, and of course I follow the food wherever it goes (shocker). I will say that the dining & bar scene in Logan is unique to the rest of the city – the owners are taking more risks and don’t succumb to what’s currently mainstream. It’s also unbelievably pretty. The charm of the beautiful, historical houses on Logan Blvd and all of the greenery is truly hard to come by in Chicago. Clearly, I’m a big fan. Anyway, I can go on and on…so let’s get down to business. Here is my latest Chicago neighborhood guide – my top spots to eat, drink, shop & explore in Logan Square (I’ll keep adding to it as I discover new places!).
Part of the reason I was MIA last week (and you may have caught this on Instagram) was because I took a long weekend & visited friends in New York City. After four days of eating, drinking, shopping, & exploring – I was EXHAUSTED. I love love love NYC, but I can understand why it’s not for everyone. Just being in such a crowded & congested environment can really take a toll on you! I will say, however, that one thing I find fascinating about New York City is that even amongst the craziness, I feel at home. I get the sense that a lot of people share the same sentiment. Perhaps it’s the diversity of the city – it’s welcoming & comforting in a way. All in all, our trip was a success, so I wanted to share some spots we checked out while we were there (only ones I’d go back to..obvs)!
Around this time last year, I took the trip of a lifetime with my mom. We hiked the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, camping for 3 nights in the wilderness (I should add this was my first camping trip EVER). With Mother’s Day around the corner I couldn’t help but reminisce on this unforgettable trip we took together.
We’re all guilty of letting life distractions get in the way of family time (and if you’ve solved this problem, please fill me in on your secret!). Although I’m lucky enough to have my parents nearby, I still feel like I could be spending more time with them. And let me tell you…the older you get, the more difficult it is. Knowing how rare it is to get uninterrupted Mom time, this trip we took together last year will always have a special place in my heart.
Take this weekend to spend quality time (and I mean “no devices” quality time) with Mom and let her know how much you appreciate her. Don’t just get her a gift, give her your time. Our Moms gave us 18+ years of their undivided attention – I think we owe it to them!
For those of you struggling to find the perfect gift, check out last year’s Mother’s Day Gift Guide.
I’ve been to Athens a few times over the last 3 years, and I will admit that it has grown on me. People have different opinions on the city – I’m one of those who believes it’s completely underrated. Not only is there so much history there, but you’ll find that it is so rich in culture. People there have an appreciation for all the beautiful things in life – music, art, food, friends & family. No matter what the economic situation is, the cafes and restaurants are packed with people enjoying themselves. As the city is massive, it can be very overwhelming and visitors don’t know where to go outside of the touristy spots. Here’s a list of things to do to get you started. You won’t be disappointed!
This summer was my first time in Crete, and I think it’s safe to say it’s my favorite Greek island so far. My boyfriend and I have had a running joke the last month or so about how we’re just going to pack up and move to Crete (with Chicago winter on the way I’m willing to move sooner than later). The first thing that immediately stood out to me upon arrival was that the island is GREEN. Coming from the Cyclades, which are considered dry islands, seeing greenery was a pleasant surprise. The landscape in Crete is unlike any other Greek island that I’ve been to. Mountains, canyons, palm trees, farms, just beauty all around. The island is also not as windy as the Cyclades islands, so the likelihood of getting what I call “sand blasted” (this occurs when the wind is so strong that it causes the sand to lift up off the ground and into your eyes, mouth, hair, etc.) is slim to none. Outside of all that, the food and people in Crete were by far the most memorable. Cretan food is known to be the best of the Greek cuisine, and after experiencing it, I see what the hype is all about. The locals on the island were so welcoming and hospitable, always offering a shot of Raki (the Cretan Spirit made from the residue of a wine-press) and fresh fruits for you to enjoy. Warning: Raki is insanely strong, and it’s rude to not finish it (yep – you gotta suck it up). I was lucky enough to spend time in two of the larger cities on the island, Rethymno and Chania.
Ahh Mykonos, where to begin. I’ve been to Mykonos quite a few times now, and it truly does not get old. Although it has the party island rep, I’ve found that Mykonos is what you make of it. If you don’t want to party, that’s okay. There are plenty of great restaurants and shopping to check out if clubs aren’t your thing. If you’re looking to party until 6AM and grab a delicious crepe for breakfast, you can do that too. With gorgeous beaches, a variety of tasty food, luxury shopping and a booming nightlife, let’s just say you won’t be bored. To set expectations, things to do tend to be on the expensive side here as it is a major tourist destination. However, it definitely deserves a visit. Did I mention how beautiful the town is? And that I spotted Jeremy Piven out and about?
My first island stop on my Greece trip was Milos. One of the Cyclades islands known for their white & blue buildings, Milos is a hidden gem. The beaches are the most beautiful I have seen in Greece thus far, and the food is excellent. This was my third year in a row visiting this island; my boyfriend vacationed here as a kid, so he really enjoys going back for nostalgic reasons (& also because it truly is a beautiful place). The unique thing about Milos is that the flow of lava has created strange rock formations around the island, and these formations have become places for people to lay out and swim. You can go from swimming in caves, to laying out on a beach with fine sand, to swimming in a small pool of sea water between moon-like rocks. Also, there is a ton of history in Milos – the famous Venus de Milo (name make sense now?) was found here back in 1820!
As the island is rich in minerals, the economy doesn’t solely rely on tourism. As a result, prices at restaurants and bars are reasonable and you can get a feel of the local culture and traditions. You’ll find beaches on this island that haven’t yet been taken over by beach bars and lounge beds – in some cases, it’s just you and the sea. Milos is the perfect spot for those who want more of a cultural experience, a quiet getaway, great beaches and tasty Greek food. If you ever plan on visiting this special place, here’s a quick travel guide to Milos.