Binge-Worthy Television Shows

We’re cooped inside because of Covid-19. And the #1 question I keep getting from my friends is do you have any TV show recommendations? Why yes, yes I do. In the beginning of quarantine, I think I watched 50 hours of television in 2 weeks. But even before that, I made a terrible habit of watching a couple hours each and every night. I’d like to say I’m TV free for a full week. But that’s only because I moved, haven’t been able to hang my TV, and stupidly threw away my TV stand. Yes, I know I can watch on my computer. It’s just not the same. Plus I’ve got home projects to do.

The Usual Suspects

  • Ozark (Netflix) – Laundering money for a drug cartel in the middle of nowhere. They recently launched the 2nd season
  • The Morning Show (Apple TV) – Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon star as pretty opposite morning show hosts
  • Locke & Key (Netflix) – Not going to lie, this scared me a little bit watching alone. But after the murder of their dad, a family moves to his childhood home which is filled with magical keys.

A Little Lighter

  • Schitts Creek (Netflix) – A rich family of characters loses it all and moves to Schitts Creek where they run a motel
  • I’m Sorry (Netflix) – She’s a really funny mom who tells it like it is
  • Glow (Netflix) – A show about female wrestlers in like the 80s
  • Troop Zero (Amazon Prime) – It’s a movie about a little girl who is a bit of an outcast and dreams of going to space. She and her misfit friends enter a contest to record a message with NASA. It’s so cute and heartfelt.

Old School Shows You Probably Haven’t Seen

  • Chuck (Amazon Prime) – Your average nerd gets implanted with a database of secret information and skills becoming a spy while living his everyday boring life. You’ll root him on the whole time and there are quite a bit of funny scenes
  • Being Erica (Hulu, Amazon Prime) – A 30-something has hit her rock bottom and meets a mysterious shrink who allows her to go back in time and try to change her most regrettable moments
  • Cable Girls (Netflix) – Ok, it’s a mexican show dubbed. But if you can stomach that it’s a great soap opera about these strong ass women who stick up for their needs and rights and it’s filmed with more drama than The Housewife franchise

Other Binge Worthy Shows

  • The Boys (Amazon Prime) – Super heros that are mainly terrible people in private
  • Dead to Me (Netflix) – two women become friends after one loses her husband and spirals… they end up having an interesting connection

Documentaries/Mini Series

  • McMillions (HBO Go) – Did you know that the McDonalds Monopoly game was rigged for years and the mob was involved? There’s arrogant/funny FBI agents, mysterious deaths and all the juice to have you loving this…
  • Don’t F*** With Cats (Netflix) – There’s a man that kills animals on YouTube. A bunch of nobody’s form internet groups to try to identify the man and serve justice.
  • The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst (HBO Go) – A rich, eccentric real estate tycoon practically gets away with several murders
  • Tiger King (Netflix) – The dumbest show you’ll ever watch. You’ll be asking yourself the whole time “What am I watching?” and “Do people like this really exist?”
  • Going Clear (HBO) – exposes scientology
  • Cheer (Netflix) – It’s about cheerleading. Didn’t initially seem like something I’d want to watch but there is a cast of characters with excellent back stories. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and most importantly you’ll cheer them on because you want to see them succeed.

2019 Year in Review

According to astrologist Susan Miller, this was my emerald year – a year of rewards in almost every area of my life. I’ve gotta say, it was fairly lackluster with the exception of finding a new job (I guess that’s major considering I was trying to find one for 3 years) and a bunch of travel.

I interviewed quite a few times this year – for small and huge companies, For roles from Manager to Senior Executive Director. I got a whole lot of bites. It was exhilarating and nerve racking. Most of the positions were out of state so I envisioned my life in all of these different cities. I hate that feeling of waiting to hear about next steps… of getting so hopeful, only to be crushed later. I did several video interviews with Google. That was exciting to know I could even be Google potential, and that helped boost my confidence a little. I also interviewed with Beauty Counter, Sephora, Swarovski, Wyndham, and a few more. In fact, the day I accepted my new position, I was still getting calls to interview.

I eventually landed my gig at a pharma company. I interviewed for a Senior Manager position but they hired me as a Manager. They really wanted someone with pharma experience (not me). While the title was a little bit of an ego blow, they matched my current salary and gave me a sign on bonus. So that was swell. But one of the most life changing aspects of the new job was the commute. I gained SO much of my life back. There’s no way to verbalize how much happier I am without that miserable commute to NYC. Also super happy to enter a new industry where there’s a lot of potential.

Prior to departing Avon, I went on a couple fun work trips. I went on an incentive trip to Los Cabos Mexico. We stayed at the Hyatt Ziva. The property was so beautiful and the food so delicious for an all-inclusive that we never left the resort. I definitely need to make a point to get back there. I also went to New Orleans for the third time. Our annual conference was there so it was mainly a lot of work and it was super hot. However I did make it out to Bourbon Street, Frenchman Street, and ate a few beignets.

In 2019 I also traveled to Arizona (Phoenix, Scottsdale, Sedona, Grand Canyon), Georgia for Easter with my family, London, and my cousin’s bachelorette party in Austin. It was the perfect amount of vacation time. Although I almost always visit an island and I didn’t get to make that happen this year.

My car lease was up in February. I ended up extending it because I had no idea what kind of car I wanted. I was literally all over the map between a car and an SUV. A normal brand, or a luxury brand. I spent months researching, many weekends going to dealers, and eventually landed on… another Mazda but this time an SUV. I wasn’t used to a big car, and within a month or two, I backed into something and shattered the back window and put a big gash in the back. Whoops. Definitely one of the pits of the year.

Moving on… I also played around with my look. I chopped off my hair – something I never thought I would do. I was obsessed with long hair. I even wore extensions for a good part of the decade after discovering them during a reality TV show makeover. However, my hair was becoming so thin from the stress of the job and straggly at the end. So I sat in the chair and had her chop it off. I was pleasantly surprised. I also got botox for the first time. As a single lady, I definitely have to maintain my youth.

Some other fun things I did this year – became a god mother to the sweetest niece, joined a fancy gym near work and took up barre and spin, many wedding festivities for my cousin, quite a few shows/events/meals out/ happy hours/ nights out, etc. To name a few – saw my first professional soccer game, went to a Pop Sugar event, saw Frozen on broadway, went to a fancy fancy spa which also consisted of a sage scrubbing, got a reading by an astrologist thanks to a good friend, saw the Grand Canyon, road a few boats, etc.

I ended the year getting pre-approved for a home mortgage. So 2020 will probably be consumed with a new hunt.

Did I say my year was a little lackluster? I guess I take that back!

Plan Trip to London

There’s so much to do in London. All you have to do is walk out of your hotel door and you’ll stumble upon lots of great gems. I highly recommend London for a girls trip or a romantic retreat. 

Where To Stay:

The Strand Palace Hotel in Covent Gardens

The hotel as undergoing construction but was centrally located. We easily walked to Piccadilly, Trafalgar, etc.  It’s more of a boutique hotel though so rooms are small. We had two separate twin beds. The halls reminded me of a hospital. Also, somehow our reservation got cancelled and we had to rebook and the new reservation was much more money.. so yeah, not a fan of this place.

Marriott Marble Arch

This was more like your typical American hotel with bigger beds and more space.  It’s about a 10 minute walk to the tube and to Paddington Station.  The area itself doesn’t have much happening and is more of an Arabic neighborhood.

What to Eat:

Everyone I consulted pre-trip warned me about London food.  I went in with low expectations and was pleasantly surprised.

I suppose they were talking more in terms of dishes that London is known for.  This includes fish and chips, meat pies, bangers and mash, and kebobs. None of those dishes were particularly good.  They’re also known to have good indian food which I happen to agree with.

I can’t recommend these restaurants enough:

Dishoom (Indian) – There’s a few of these around town and they all have great reviews. Think of it like a Dos Caminos in that it’s a modern spin on traditional food.  The plates weren’t that large, so we got a few appies to share. Including Samosas and Paneer rolls. Paneer is basically fried cheese – if you’re a picky eater you can’t go wrong with that. I also tried Chicken Tikka – no masala. It was great.  We went later in the night and even then, the wait was an hour. Expect to kick back at the bar for a little.

Glorias – This was a super cute, super delicious spot in Shoreditch.  We arrived around 5:30 to put our name in.  The earliest time to seat us was at 9PM so you have to be willing to wait it out as they don’t take reservations. You also have to get there early to score a time slot.  While there, I drank a Limoncello Spritzer which was the best cocktail of my life.  My friend had a drink that was served on fire.  I grudgingly ordered a pumpkin pizza, and it was absolutely divine. Can’t recommend this place enough especially since the atmosphere is so cute for a girls’ dinner.

While we didn’t eat here, several people told me to try Duck & Waffle. 

Similar to NYC, there are areas devoted to certain cuisines.  We ate in Chinatown and it was pretty good and very reasonably priced. Brick Lane is where the Indian food is at.

What to Drink:

London is known for 2 drinks – gin and cider. Don’t ask me why because quite frankly, I don’t know.  But Beefeater gin and London dry gin come to mind.  That’s all I’ve got for you.

Where to Drink:

Literally, there is a pub on every corner in London. The coolest things about these pubs, you can take your glass outside and drink it on the street.  The pubs were all pretty much the same, but one in particular stood out and is worth a visit – the Churchill Arms in Kensington/Notting Hill.

A fun place for nightlife is Shoreditch.  A bit out of the way but if you can make it there, it’s well worth it.  There are hotel bars, dancing bars, pubs, etc.  There’s something for everyone and lots of live music. We started our night at Hoxton’s which is a hotel bar.  It’s got cool vibes.  We also went to Old Street Records which was more affordable, had a younger crowd, and a live band.  Book Club has hip hop in the basement (but don’t bother going on a Thursday… dead zone). I also recommend the Blues Kitchen the place is massive and is set up for a big crowd.  The band on the night we went played typical cover songs but in blues style – in my opinion, very cool. Other bars we were told to check out there: Nobu Hotel and Night Jar for a cocktail.

One of my friend’s local friends took us on a fancy bar crawl. We started at Dukes which is in a swanky hotel and supposedly the world’s oldest martini bar.  Expect to pay at least $20 a martini.  Then we went to the Edition Hotel.  Also I highly recommend The Mandrake. Their Mandrake Martini was out of this world (and I don’t even like martinis).  Their bathroom is also picture worthy.  For some reason, the hostess didn’t want to let us in, I guess they’re pretty exclusive, but luckily our friend had a connection.  We then had dinner at Blakes Hotel which really wasn’t anything special.

You can also bar hop in Soho which is near the main tourist attractions.  For day drinking there’s a few boat bars along the Thames. 

What to Do:

  • See a show.  We saw the Book of Mormon. I would say it was on par with NYC Broadway productions but WAY cheaper.
  • You can walk around and knock all these off at once – Picadilly, Trafalgar Square, and Convent Gardens.
  • Have high tea. We enjoyed tea at the Connaught hotel which came at a price, but it was quite enjoyable. Their scones were out of this world.  A lot of people also recommend Sketch to me.  And if you’re in the mood for some tipsy tea (which I’m so bummed I didn’t get to do) check out the tourist hotspot Mr. Fogs which is open on Saturdays and Sundays.
  • See a soccer game. You can’t really get tickets unless you’re a member but we bought tickets from Stub Hub and they worked just fine. Just know, you can’t bring a drink back to your seat in the stadium which was a huge bummer.
  • Churchill War Room – It’s affordable, only takes about an hour, and is an interesting way of learning about World War II as you peruse through an underground bunker.
  • Borough Market – this was one of our favorite stops. There were so many food stands and it was so lively.
  • Sky Garden – It’s got a lot of hype and it doesn’t necessarily live up to it, but it’s free and offers beautiful views of the Shard and other London hot spots.  You can reserve your spot online early, or take your chances at the door.

What to Skip:

  • London Eye – Over $30, super slow, and you can see the same views from the Sky Garden
  • Notting Hill – cute to see the market and colored houses, but there’s not much to this place
  • Hop on Hop Off Bus – You’ll likely see all of the attractions while you’re walking.  The pickup stops are hard to find and what you learn from the audio isn’t earth shattering.
  • Day Trip to Bath – Unless you’re pairing it with another stop there’s not enough to do here to justify the cost of the train (which was over $100).  The Roman baths are cool but in reality you’re just looking at one of the oldest spas. 

 A Few Tips:

  • Don’t bother converting your cash to pounds. Just about everywhere took credit card. There were a few places that didn’t, but they have ATMs.
  • The traffic is horrific.  Whenever possible, I’d recommend the tube. It’s probably faster.  Their tubes are cleaner and not as crowded as NYC. It’s also a lot pricier though. So if traveling in a group it may be cheaper to take a taxi. Just look up the traffic first – because it seriously takes an hour to go a couple of miles.
  • It rains like everyday but it’s also sunny at times. Be prepared for all types of weather.  
  • Wear comfortable shoes. This is a walker friendly city.
  • Places are big on reservations.  Be prepared to get denied if you don’t have one.

Girls Trip Sedona Arizona

If I had to describe Sedona in 3 words it’s stunning, spiritual, and relaxing. This isn’t the destination if you want to be boozy and hit on men. This is the place you go when you want to be a sophisticated grown up. It’s a place you relax with your gals or even consider a solo trip to.

sedona arizona

Where to Stay:

We stayed at the Arabella Hotel. It wasn’t our top pick, but it was a very reasonable pick considering we wouldn’t be spending much time at the hotel. However, I would 100% recommend this hotel. From the front of the hotel there’s views of Sedona’s famous red rocks. There’s pools, fire pits, and nightly entertainment. They also host star gazing with telescopes that you’d think were stolen from NASA and in a prime location.

If you have money to burn and time to enjoy all of the super spa-like amenities that Sedona is known for then I’d also look into these spa retreat hotels:

What To Do:

Hiking & Vortexes

The vortexes are rumored to be super alive with energy. I’m stealing this wording from this site because well it totally captures the magic of vortexes -“The term Vortex in Sedona refers to a place where the earth energy swirls and draws to it’s center everything that surrounds it like a tornado. At these magical sites, trees often exhibit this swirling or twisting of their trunks due the powerful vortex energy at the core of a Sedona Vortex.” There are companies that do vortex tours, but don’t waste your money. They’re easily accessible and the only fee if you do it on your own is parking. Some of the sites state you need to pay for parking spots in advance, but all of the destinations I went to had machines to pay.

Bell Rock Vortex Sedona
I swear it, this was my happy place and where I felt the energy of the vortex. Sat here for a while thinking about literally nothing.
  • Bell Rock – There’s a bunch of separate trails. I say, get lost and see what you find.
  • Airport Mesa – I wouldn’t call this a hike. You literally can walk up and down in 20 minutes. However, the parking is super limited (maybe 10 spots) so you’ll likely have to park up the street and then have about a mile walk to and from to get to the Airport Mesa. I absolutely loved being up there. You have 360 degree views of red rock. I went early in the morning and there were few people there so it was super peaceful.
  • Boynton Canyon
  • Cathedral Rock
Seriously?! How do you deny a vortex when you see that type of swirling energy?

Pink Jeep Tour

The Pink Jeep Tour came highly recommended to go off road and experience the red rocks. However, we couldn’t fit it into our schedule. If you plan on doing this, book it in advance because the best times sell out. I plan on going back to Sedona one day because I missed this activity.

Cowboy Barbecue

I came across 2 BBQ experiences that looked super fun:

  • Blazin M – About a half hour from the center of Sedona, you can experience a BBQ for $44.95 per person and some cowboy entertainment
  • Diamond Ranch – Horse ride (I had to correct myself, I originally wrote cowboy ride…), cowboy cookout, and live music for $120. You can skip the 1 hour horse ride if you wish and just pay $56 per person.

Other Suggestions

  • Tlapeque Arts and Crafts Village – the cutest little shopping village you’ll ever see. So many boutiques for one of a kind items and the aesthetics of the village is so quaint and tranquil. Skip the Secret Garden restaurant though – not a fan.
  • Psychic Reading – Across from the village is a new age center with plenty of psychics on hand to tell you your future
  • Spa Day – Sedona is known for its luxury spa hotels
  • Sedona Trolley
  • Day Trip to Grand Canyon
  • Breweries of Flaggstaff – Less than an hour away. A great place to stop on your way back from a Grand Canyon field trip
  • Day Trip to Scottsdale- It’s about 2 hours and 15 minutes each way

Where to Eat:

These restaurants came up again and again in our search for being delicious and scenic. We loved Hudson so much, we ate there twice. I’d suggest reservations at all of the below keeping in mind restaurants don’t stay open all night.

  • HudsonAmerican food / classy cocktails / beautiful views. You MUST try their peanut butter dessert and their chicken dish
  • Mariposa Latin food / beautiful views
  • Salt RockSouthwest native type food

Botch and Learn

  • It’s smack dab in the middle of Sedona and Grand Canyon so you can build it into a road trip
  • Things fill up fast here, so book it in advance
  • You will need a car to get around and the car rentals are not cheap in Arizona
  • 7/11 sells wine if you’re looking for a beverage to sip around the fire pits
  • Make sure to star gaze in a remote area like the corner of a parking lot
  • Things close relatively early, so plan for that
  • Sedona is a day city, not a night city. So maximize your day by waking up early. That’s the best advice I can give you for visiting.

Fab Fit Fun Secrets

It’s Friday night and I’m raging on my couch drinking pinot G with a deep cleansing mask on. I’ve got 15 minutes to kill as it works its magic and I’m all sorts of giddy because I just scored some amazing finds on Fab Fit Fun. As I share my excitement on snap with a few gal friends all of their responses were… “It’s always sold out when I look”, “Do they restock?”, etc.

No girl, there’s a secret to scoring the good stuff and Imma ’bout to tell ya.

During a certain time each month, Fab Fit Fun offers Add-Ons to purchase. They ship with your monthly box. They’re all products which are deeply discounted. Some of them are no name brands and some of them are must have well known brands.

Needless to say, the must have brands sell out pretty quickly. But I’ve learned the secret. Only took me a year… My friends, this is a LIVE sale. Which means people add and remove stuff from their cart all the time. And when it gets removed from someone’s cart it goes back up for sale.

So to score the good stuff here’s what I do. I click the little heart next to everything I want but is sold out. This adds it to my favorites.

Then Fab Fit Fun has tab called “My Favorites”. So rather than have to refresh the whole catalogue and waste precious time loading everything, you just to have to refresh the My Favorites page. I leave it open on my laptop during the entire sale.

Whenever I’m logging into my computer, I give the browser a little refresh and let it work it’s magic. If something becomes available, then the “Add to Box” gets some color and becomes clickable. Click fast because it’s possible it sells out before you click it.

I’ve just scored 2 different R + Co Products which I am very excited about. And once those were added to my cart, I removed a No Make Up Bundle from my cart because I now had products I wanted more and I was trying to stick to a budget. So that bundle went right back into stock and some other lucky “favorite refresher” snagged it. Ya see how it works?!

I got a lot of good loot, a total of $216 worth of product for………… $76. That’s a 65% saving!!!

PS – Fridays at 8PM EST was a great time to refresh and grab the goods.

PPS – I was going to share a polaroid of my face mask but the lighting is horrific so instead you get an XOXO Katie.

Girls Trip Scottsdale Arizona

I’m obsessed with Scottsdale Arizona. I would totes move there.  With its myriad of outdoor eateries, the most perfect weather (in April at least), nightlife, shopping, and nature… Scottsdale is all around a joyful city.  Two nights there were definitely not enough although  we  certainly  squeezed  in  plenty.

Hotel: Saguaro

Located in the heart of Old Town, the Saguaro was the perfect place to stay.  We could easily walk to dinner, shopping, and night life.  It’s super cute with a retro/pop vibe which outweighs the mediocre room.

Upon arrival we snagged a spot poolside where I ordered a frose (which melted in minutes). We spent a few hours relaxing out there and taking in the Arizona sun.  The weather in April was absolutely perfect and the best part – no humidity.  


First stop on the list was Diago Pops.  This Instagrammable Mexican hot spot came up in our research repeatedly.  The reccos were spot on.  It’s the cutest little restaurant with soft pinks and turquoise decor and a massive outdoor patio.  I had a watermelon mint margarita which was super fresh and so fab, I had to have another.  We split chips and guac and for the main event I got one of each of the chicken tacos.  They also bring out a carton of sauces.  There was a pink beet sauce that was surprisingly tasty.  We loved it so much, we came back on our last day before the airport.  This time, I grabbed the chicklets on the way out. Totally reminded be of 8th grade Spanish class.

For dinner we had a reservation at Olive & Ivy. This place had a bunch of good reviews so I was excited to check it out. It definitely was not worth the hype. The menu was expansive so its suitable for picky eaters and the place itself is massive.  Like most of the Arizona eateries, there was a big outdoor patio which was located on the water. Unfortunately, our hostess refused to sit us out there, the service was slow, and the food was nothing special.  I enjoyed my Mediterranean salad  but how do you mess that up?  My friends got some sort of chewy chicken and overcooked shrimp risotto .  Neither were impressed with their meal.

On the first day I woke up super early and  strolled the quiet streets of Old Town and ended up at Cartel Coffee. I grabbed an iced chai tea latte and a cookie because they looked freaking amazing and it did not disappoint.  

We met for breakfast at Farm & Craft.  You order and pay at the counter which I loved. It’s great if you’re with a large group and makes bill splitting easy because you pay for what you got.  I got a green juice which was very good and then I also ordered an egg sandwich.  Also good.  My friends enjoyed their food as well but the acai bowl was a little on the small side.  I saw on Instagram they serve drinks in watermelons. I would have loved one of those but it was way too early.


Didn’t snag a pic so got it from here.

We also ate at another Mexican joint, Cien Agave which was a couple of blocks from our hotel.  Got guac and tacos as well.  Tacos came with rice and beans which was nice.  Also tried a prickly pear martini. Apparently prickly pear was very Arizona.  It was a little sweet for my liking. Overall food was enjoyable but I still preferred Diago Pops.

Spa Day: 

Did you know Scottsdale boasts the highest number of spas per capita in the entire United States?  So a spa was definitely on the to do list.  It’s not quite the mega spas like Miraval and the Enchantment but are still quite nice.

Well & Being Spa at the Fairmont Princess.  It was a bit of a drive from Old Town – probably about 20 minutes.   We had a 2 o’clock appointment and arrived before noon to enjoy the amenities.  They had a pool with  a stunning  mountain view and poolside service. I enjoyed a mojito and salad.  There was an outdoor waterfall jacuzzi next to a picturesque courtyard.  Inside there’s the usual hot tub, cold pool, sauna, steam room, swiss shower, and nap pods. 

After enjoying the extras I had the Havasupai Falls service. This full body service was more about releasing toxins and negativity energy so it began with a sage smudging followed by a dessert salt body scrub.  Then, I rinsed it all off then sat in a magnesium bath for about 20 minutes. I wasn’t aware a bath was part of the service and annoyed that I had to waste 20 minutes of it in a tub.  At least my lady left cold wash cloths, ice water, and hydrating spray by the side to make it more enjoyable.  After that a quick hot stone massage, then I got cacooned in a warm herbal wrap which is basically wet towels and blankets that help you sweat and release toxins.  Closed it out with a Sedona red clay mask on my face and a warm coconut scalp massage. 

Overall it was a very relaxing experience. However, it cost almost $500 with tip and it definitely was not worth that. I wish I got a massage or something basic.

I did a lot of research on the spas before landing on Well & Being.  Other spas that looked super cool were Joya at the Omni which was Moroccan themed, Sanctuary Resort & Spa, The Four Seasons Spa, and Spa Avania at they Hyatt Regency.


We road an Uber bike from our hotel to Fifth Avenue.  There aren’t exactly bike lanes so I almost got hit by a car pulling out of a bank soooo needless to say we did not take them back to the hotel.

Fifth Avenue in Old Town is filled with boutiques and souvenir shops.  It annoyingly is open from 10/11 to 6PM which is smack dab in the middle of the day.  It’s not like New York. The owners seem to stroll in and open whenever they want.

The stroll down the street is enjoyable. There’s a couple of statues and many benches with cool stats.

There were a few cute stores there but I wasn’t really impressed.  I wouldn’t say this is a must do if you only have a couple of days.  However, if you LOVE shopping, you’ll probably enjoy it a lot more than I did.


Around 9 on a Friday, we took a golf cart for $3 each to the Entertainment District in Old Town.  I was in awe when we arrived. There were so many bars in one location and it’s easy to bar hop.

Every girls trip I find my favorite spot and always end up back there. For this trip it was Dierks Bentley Whiskey Row.  The early hours played country but the late hours played top 40.  Loved the low key vibes here.  Bathroom line was quite long though. Def not enough stalls.

Then we went across the street to El Hefe.  The music here was more techno and dance.  There was a tiny “dance floor” in the front by the DJ.  It definitely wasn’t the scene.

After that we went to The District which is connected to Maya. It was a nice open outdoor area but the party was definitely not there that night either.

We also checked out the Bottled Blonde. Holy crowded.  When you walk in there are all bottle service tables around the perimeter. There’s only a tiny space between those tables and the bar and security is constantly pushing you forward.  The crowd there was also super drunk and obnoxious.

There were many other bars there that we didn’t have the opportunity to check out.  I also feared that this would be super young and collegy but it wasn’t.

In addition to those bars in the entertainment district there were many random bars scattered throughout. Some with rooftops, etc.  So definitely a heavy bachelorette party location.

Botch and Learn

  • There’s a little River in Old Town. I insisted we had to take an Uber to Olive & Ivy because of that bridge. Nope, it’s completely walkable.
  • We only stayed in Scottsdale 2 nights I would have liked one more and I wish I also explored Phoenix.
  • We rented a car to drive from Scottsdale to Sedona and the Grand Canyon. Luckily I had my Hertz points otherwise for 4 nights and 5 days it would have been almost $700!  That’s cray. Instead it was just shy of $200.  So expect pricy car rentals.
  • For the most part, I did everything I wanted to do. I was a little bummed that I didn’t fit in a hike through the Sonoran dessert.

Motivational Playlist

You see, I love music.  For me, music is my meditation, happiness booster, motivator, mind setter, my escape but also a way to ground myself in reality.  Damn, who knew one thing (music) could be that much to someone (me). Spotify creates a personalized playlist just for you tiled “Your Top Songs 2018”.  It’s composed of your most listened to songs throughout the year. As I review my playlist, I’m hit with a common theme.  In 2018, I really focused on living each day fully and getting back up. Whether I succeeded at that or not is debatable.  But these are the songs that inspired me daily to turn that frown upside down. 

Warning: I rarely listen to new music anymore, and I don’t have a particular genre I favor so… here you have it.  Songs to inspire.

I Lived, One Republic

“Hope that you spend your days, but they all add up and when that sun goes down, hope you raise your cup”

Seriously, I’ve contemplated what does it mean when someone says a life well lived. This… this song is what it means.

Good Day, DNCE

“Today is gonna be a good day.  Don’t care what anybody else say.  I don’t need a fortune cookie, to tell me the way I’m feeling.  Gonna be a good day.  A good day”

This is the song I played when it didn’t feel like it was going to be a good day LOL.  It says good day so much, I suppose it was hypnotic and could reframe my point of view.

Dare You, Hardwell

“I dare you to fall, and lay on the ground. I dare you to feel, I dare you to be.”

Someone sent me this song once before Hardwell was even a thing.  Likely because I was closed off and super cautious.  This is the song I play when I need to remind myself to take some risks!

Life’s About to Get Good, Shania Twain

“Oh! Life’s about joy, life’s about pain.  It’s all about forgiving and the will to walk away.  I’m ready to be loved, and love the way I should. Life’s about, life’s about to get good.”

I think this is more of a breakup song, but it still speaks to me in the same way that Good Day does.  You gotta believe that the future is bright.


Be As You Are, Mike Posner

“There are moments when you fall to the ground, but you are stronger than you feel you are now.  You don’t always have to speak so loud, no just be as you are.  Life is not always a comfortable ride, everybody’s got scars that they hide. And everybody plays the fool sometimes, yeah… Just be as you are”

This is the song that reminds me to learn from my botches, be authentic, and get out of my comfort zone.


Anything Could Happen, Ellie Goulding

“But now I’ve seen it through, and now I know the truth.  That anything could happen, anything could happen…”

Couldn’t tell you what this song is about but I remember Fifth Harmony’s performance on X Factor clear as day.  They were the underdogs who sang this song – and you know what anything could happen… like pretty sure they lost and went on to become one of the greatest girl bands (then the girl band with all the drama that is no more… but hey I’m keeping it positive.)

Remember the Name, Fort Minor

“This is ten percent luck, Twenty percent skill, Fifteen percent concentrated power of will, Five percent pleasure
Fifty percent pain, And a hundred percent reason to remember the name.”

I interpret this song as someone doing what they love and pursing it hard core.  Not for the fame, not for the money, but because he’s passionate, good at it, and works hard sooooo those things follow. 


We Got The World, Icona Pop

“They say you’re a freak when we’re having fun.  Say you must be high when we’re spreading love.  But we’re just living life and we never stop. We got the world. We got the wo-wo-wo-wo-wo.”

Probably another love song… because what song isn’t [insert hands up by side emoji].  But I interpret it as life is about fun and don’t care what other people think about you.  Is that a stretch?!


A Moment Like This, Kelly Clarkson

“Some people wait a lifetime for a moment like this. Some people search forever for that one special kiss.  Oh, I can’t believe its happening to me.  Some people wait a lifetime for a moment like this.”

This song reminds me of Kelly’s moments on American Idol.  It reminds me of humble beginnings and again… anything could happen.  It’s the song I’d expect to hear playing in my head when my biggest dreams are realized.



2018 Year In Review

Well, it’s that time of year again.  The time to look back and reflect on all that’s transpired this year.  I have to say, this year was WAY better than last year.  If I had to sum it up quickly – I travelled a boat load, got a promotion, paid off my student loans, lost some weight, gained it back, started a side hustle, and might just end this year as an Aunt!

I kicked off the new year with a trip to Antigua.  I love me a beach vacation. 

Then I travelled a little for work, and luckily mixed in some pleasure.  I cruised to Bermuda aboard Royal Caribbean’s Anthem of the Seas. Seriously, Bermuda has the prettiest water I’ve ever seen!  This was the trip that totally derailed my diet and it was all down hill from there.  Whoops.  Work had its annual conference in Columbus Ohio.  I wasn’t excited about going, but it ended up being a lovely city.  They have tons of cute shops, bars, and eateries.  I could picture going there for a girls trip for sure! 


The highlight of the year was a trip to Greece. I am SO spoiled.  Nana and her sister took me and my girl cousins to an unforgettable trip to Athens, Santorini, and Mykonos.  While there, we road donkeys, chartered a sunset sail, visited ancient ruins, hit up the beach, ate and drank A LOT, and so much more.  If you haven’t been, add this to your bucket list.

mykonos with fam

Just before my trip to Greece, I flew to Miami for an interview!  While there, I explored Brickell and Wynwood.  I envisioned a future there.  I obsessed over apartments, made new budgets, and explored extracurricular activities.  I saw myself getting fit, walking on the beach, taking road trips to all these Florida cities, and hosting my home peeps for a visit.  I was hopeful, but scared as heck that my life could change so drastically especially with a niece on the way!  Anyway, it didn’t work out because I was out of their budget. BUT they reached out months later to see If I was still interested and things were moving quite fast.

As I was re-interviewing for that position, I was also being considered for a promotion at work.  It was such an anxious time, because my future was up in the air. I had two excellent options on the table – what would I do if both worked out? How would I feel if none did?

In the end, I stayed at my current job and was promoted to a Senior Manager of Program Strategy and Experience.  It’s nice to finally be recognized for hard work.  This year, I’ve grown a tremendous amount professionally.  For starters, I was given a platform to connect with our Representatives on Facebook Live.  I love being in the spotlight and shooting videos is super fun for me.  I also learned to articulate my opinions and back it up with data, stick up for myself, and think bigger, badder, better.  I have to be honest though, I was super stressed at times and let it spill into my personal life.  I cried often, became depressed, and even wrote my resignation letter- I was seriously 2 seconds away from quitting.   I stuck it out, and I guess it all worked out.  That in and of itself was a big learning experience for me.  I know that the tough times are there to make you stronger, and they pass.

I also started selling Avon.  I made a few extra hundred dollars from this endeavor, and I love trying out all of their products.  If you’re interested in shopping – check out my online Avon store.

As if you didn’t hear enough about my jet setting life I took yet another trip.  I did a European tour with two girlfriends.  We met a friend we previously studied abroad with in her home town of Copenhagen.  We then went to Budapest and ended the trip in Iceland


In November, I went to Asheville North Carolina with a friend I hadn’t seen in a while.  We visited the Biltmore (Vanderbilt’s home) which was beautifully decorated for Christmas.  We ate a lot, shopped even more, explored the many breweries, and enjoyed the night life.  This trip happened to coincide with a huge milestone for me.  I finished paying off my student loans!  I wiped out my savings to do this, but it’s such a relief to not carry that burden anymore.  Next year, I’ll focus on replenishing that.  Speaking of student loans… I also had my 10 year college reunion.  Holy smokes… where does the time go?

I celebrated by 33rd birthday this year. For some reason, I felt old this year!  I didn’t really plan any celebrations but my friends kept surprising me with dinners and nights out.  I think people sang “Happy Birthday” to me the most out of any other year. Just prior to my birthday, my parents had to put our family dog Roxie down.  I’m glad I got to see her just before at Thanksgiving.

Entertainment-wise, I saw the broadway play Beautiful. Finally checked out Oktoberfest and Bear Mountain, saw the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, checked out the Liberty Science Center after Dark, saw my first outdoor concert at PNC (Lady Antebellum & Darius Rucker), took a weekend trip upstate to Troy New York, went to the San Gennaro Festival, checked out the Pizza Museum… sensing a theme that I like italian food LOL.  I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I ate out this year.  Especially by the water. That seemed to be a recurring theme, I always wanted to be by the water! I also enjoyed my parents boat – hi light of course … taking it out to eat on the water.  I also got back into crafting, reading, and baking more.   Finally, this may have been the first year I didn’t have any weddings to attend in like a decade.  I certainly attended my fair share of baby showers though.  Speaking of which….

I’m hoping to close out the year with the arrival of my first niece.  I can’t wait until Savannah makes her appearance in this world and I get to see my twin sister become a mama and me an auntie.

4 Day Road Trip in Iceland

I hate driving, cold weather and don’t appreciate nature as much as I should. Yet, I still ventured to Iceland in September with two of my girlfriends.  By the end of the trip, I learned to appreciate nature more.  My peaks of the trip were the natural spas – that’s nature right?!

I have to be honest, my friend Sera made this itinerary.  I then googled the heck out of it to learn more and put a picture to each location because at that point, it was a foreign language to me – literally.  I also looked up the directions and played with the order of stops to reduce travel time.  What follows is the most comprehensive, easy to follow four day road trip. It’s epic.

Here was the order of stops:  AIRPORT -> HELLA->HOFN->VIK->REYKJAVIK

  • Reykjavik -> Hella (4 hrs driving)
  • Hella -> Vik ->  Hofn (5.5 hrs driving)
  • Hofn -> Vik (3.5 hrs driving)
  • Vik->Reykjavik (2 hrs driving)

Day 1: 

We began our trip straight from the airport.  No stopping in Reykjavik.  I’ll admit, it was exhausting to have an early flight and then immediately begin a road trip. But looking back, I wouldn’t have changed it.

Thingvellir National Park: I’d say this was fairly anti-climatic compared to everything we saw. But it broke up the drive.  Parking will cost you $7 and you could go for a walk/hike.

Kerid Crater: My friend recommended this and it was a great stop.  The water was the most beautiful color I’ve seen and there were lots of photo opportunities.  You’d probably only spend about 20 minutes here.  It’s $4 per person to “hike” up to the crater and down.

Geysir: It’s a famous hot spring in the geothermal area.  You could see tons of water explode out of the earth – and it’s all natural.  It’s actually pretty remarkable if you think about it.  A few warnings: don’t touch the water because apparently it’s super hot and the sulfur makes it smell like rotten eggs. As an aside, there’s a cafe there with a really great mocha.  You’re going to need it if you start your trip straight from the airport after pulling an all nighter (yup, I did that). 

Gulfoss Waterfall: It was way to cold by the time we got to this waterfall. And for some reason, it was cold by all of the waterfalls. It was massive but I literally looked at it, snapped a photo, and ran back to the car.  Looks like you can walk around it.

We ended the day at Laugarvatn Fontana Spa.  A great recommendation from my friend, and perhaps the peak of my trip.  What a great way to end a long day! It seemed much more upscale than the Budapest baths, very pristine.  The view was gorgeous.  It was so relaxing and it’s seriously miracle water.  They also have a buffet where you can grab dinner.  You must try their volcano bread – it’s baked in the earth and scrumptious! (Did I just use that word?)

After the spa, we drove about an hour and a half to Hella.

Day 2:

Seljalandsfoss Waterfall:  You can climb the stairs and view the waterfall from a different angle. I also believe it’s possible to walk behind the waterfall. We didn’t do this because we didn’t want to get wet, although I’m not certain we would have gotten wet. But I swear I saw people drenched there and blame it on that.

Skogafoss Waterfall:  Definitely not the largest waterfall, but by far my favorite out of the many I saw this trip.  It’s so picturesque and we were lucky enough to catch it while there was a rainbow!  Apparently that happens often which is a result of the spray from the waterfall.

Sólheimasandur Airplane Wreck: We saw cars, pulled over, and thought we were walking towards a black sand beach.  There was a sign upon entering that it would be a 3-4 hour hike to get to the plane. We laughed at it like “no way” and had every intention of just going to the beach that looked close enough.  Well it was a never ending path along black “gravel”.  We haphazardly ended up at the plane.  I wouldn’t recommend you walk out of your way to go, as it’s not that impressive and there’s not even a good story behind it. However, I think we did the round trip walk in about 2 hours, and we weren’t hustling (that’s for sure).  Iceland is  filled with natural miracles and perhaps the miracle here is the mirage. Warning: objects appear closer than they are.  If you want to though, you can endure the walk for the “gram” because it was some of the most impressive photos I got on my trip.

Vik’s Black Sand Beach & Dyrhólaey: It was stunning but we didn’t see puffins 🙁 

We then stopped in Vik for dinner at Sudur Vik.  It was extremely cute and we were all happy with our meals.  It was a bit pricy for what we got. I got a salad and glass of wine and it was about $50. 

After all of the stops, we drove about 3 hours to Hofn.  We saved the stops along the route for tomorrow.

Day 3:

Snowmobiling: We used the company Iceland Advice to snow mobile on Vatnajokull, Europe’s largest glacier.  It includes a ride up a rigorous mountain which you wouldn’t be able to drive on your own and then one hour of snowmobiling.  There was another company that operated there, but their tours were bigger and on more of a paved path. We were more free.  Our instructor was a member of search and rescue, so I felt safe with him.  We did go quite slow.  We happened to go on a super overcast and gloomy day so it just seemed like a white abyss. But if you go on a clear day, the views are supposed to be spectacular.

Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon: This photo doesn’t do it justice.  The color of the broken glaciers and lagoon are out of this world.  It’s hard to believe that this is all natural. This is a MUST on your Iceland to do list.

Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon:  So I really didn’t want to go here. I was exhausted and just wanted to head back to the hotel to get my free wi-fi.  As I told you earlier, I looked up pictures before so as we were driving in, I thought this rinky dink thing on the side was the canyon.  But we kept driving up.  To be honest, it looked like we were heading the wrong way, but we kept going and then we found it.  You walk up a few stairs and see the most surreal thing ever. Like really, this photo isn’t even edited.

Skaftafell National Park: You can hike here and the views are kind of nice. But at this point in the trip, I was tired, cranky, and lazy. Plus I had gotten some pretty terrible news from back home and din’t feel like going for a hike. So I hunkered up in their cafeteria while my friends walked. Best – move – ever.  Wi-Fi, warmth, and wine.  PS. my friends said I missed nothing.

Stay near Vik in Edinborg, a super small town but it has more affordable hotels.

Day 4:

Blue Lagoon:  I think this is on everyone’s Iceland bucket list, and for good reason.  This is insanely incredible.  Where else can you immerse yourself in the bluest waters that’s filled with minerals and feel good power as you look out on rock formations unlike anything you’ve seen.  The water is hot, and it just feels amazing in the cold air as you see the steam rise.  You do have to reserve this in advance as they only let in a limited amount of people.  It’ll cost you about $90, but you can stay as long as you’d like. It includes a locker to store your belongings too and there’s free wi-fi there.  I was concerned about a few things before going –

  • Was it a good idea to go before flying home? Yes, best move.  I was sore from all the walking previously and this helped to relieve it. I still had plenty of time to enjoy it and then head to the airport which was about 20 minutes away.
  • Was it going to destroy my hair? No. They provide conditioner to put in your hair to protect it.  The minerals in it can be drying but I didn’t experience any of that. I debated not showering before heading to the airport, but I did and my hair is A-OK.
  • Was it going to live up to the hype?  Yes. It’s like Wicked on Broadway. You go in with the highest of expectations, and they’re surpassed.

After this, you can check out Reykjavik. I headed straight to the airport but my friends checked it out and said I missed nothing.

A Few Tips:

  • Gas is fairly pricy, be prepared for that. 
  • While I didn’t drive, road signs were different. You may want to study up on those beforehand.  There was NO traffic anywhere, so you’re good with that.
  • The food options are slim. I’d suggest sticking to finding hotels with breakfast and having one meal out a day.
  • Bring boots.
  • Wear layers. 
  • Don’t bother doing your hair, it’s too windy. 
  • Don’t plan on partying, there’s no place to party on the road trip (that I found, although Reykjavik is supposed to have some night life)

Plan a Trip to Budapest

Budapest is beautiful, fun, and affordable.  It has a great mixture of nightlife, food, sightseeing, and relaxation.  This city should be on everyone’s bucket list.

Where to Stay:

I guess it depends on what experience you’re looking for.  The Danube River divides Budapest into “Buda” and “Pest”. 

The Buda side of town is more laid back and probably better for families and older people. Attractions there include the Royal Palace and Fisherman’s Bastion.

The Pest side of town is probably better for most people who want to be close to all of the action.  This area is the heart of shopping and night life.  I stayed in an Air BNB in District VI.  It was perfect, because most attractions, restaurants, and nightlife were within walking distance.  District V and District VII are also good options.  District VII is where most of the bars are.

What to See:

Fisherman’s Bastion: This is on Castle Hill on the Buda side of town. It’s a viewing terrace that overlooks the Danube River. The architecture is absolutely breathtaking but the views are equally as stunning.  There’s also a little cafe up there next to the arches.  I had a Palinka cocktail at a cafe there, and it was one of my favorite moments of the trip.  [As a side note, Palinka is a Hungarian liquor. The menu made it sound like a sangria, but it most certainly is not that.  It’s more like a fruity brandy.] 

Thermal Baths:  There are a few baths Széchenyi, Rudas, and Gellert.  I only made it to Széchenyi, the largest spa complex in Europe.  I thought it was lovely but my friends thought it was dirty. It was less than $20 to enter.  It’s some fine architectural work and the medicinal springs are filled with water from deep within the earth filled with all these minerals. Couldn’t tell you what minerals these are, but I know they’re great for you and I left feeling relaxed and refreshed. I was so sore from walking 10-13 miles a day around the city and it felt like miracle water to me.

Danube River: There are tons of cruises that line the river but also lot of boat restaurants.  We opted for a night cruise that was included with our hop on hop off ticket. It was lovely to see the city lit up at night. They served alcohol on board too.

Heroe’s Square: Right near the famous Szechenyi baths is Heroe’s Square.  It’s a large plaza with a center column and statues throughout.  

Funicular – You can take a tram car up the mountain. It’s a super quick trip and lets you off right by Buda Castle and other beautiful scenary. You can see the whole Pest side of town – bridges, Parliament, etc.

Other things to Consider: Opera House, Parliament, Museum of Terror (if that’s your thing), Synagogue, St Stephan’s Basilica, Buda Castle, Budapest eye (ferris wheel).

Night Life:

I will preface this by saying I was in Budapest mid-week.  But the night life was still booming.  It seems to be acceptable to go out every night of the week. However, the majority of late night party goers were definitely college aged students and tourists.  I’m sure it’s entirely different on the weekend.  But either way, it’s fun!

Budapest is famous for its Ruinous pubs. These are concentrated in District VII and are bars in run down buildings that each have their own unique flair to them.  It kind of reminded me of Rainey Street in Austin Texas.  The main night life streets are Kiraly Street and Kazinczy Street.

  • Szimpla Kent – probably the most famous ruin pub and a must see. It’s the first one created.  It’s located in a run down building with a court yard and some weird decor from a hanging gnome to a Barbie straddling a keg.

  • Gozdu Uvar – This is more like a “mall” of bars and restaurants. There are a lot of choices here of places to eat and drink. We just happened to stumble across it when walking home from dinner. We went to Vicky Barcelona there which was tiny but had a great DJ.  I entered with my leftover pizza box from dinner which I wouldn’t recommend LOL.
  • There is a party complex. I can’t tell you the name of it because it’s composed of over a dozen different bars/clubs. I believe the famous bars within are Instant and Fogas.  We ended up here every night in Budapest. It’s perfect because you can roam from bar to bar each with it’s own feel and music. Our favorite room was under a giant parachute.

Our Air BNB host also recommended these places, although I didn’t have the opportunity to check them out.

  • Wine Bars: Doblo Wine and Bar, DiVino Wine Bar, Kadarka Bar
  • More Ruin Pubs: Corvinteto is a rooftop above an old supermarket, Ellato Kert, Ellato Haz

I also grabbed a drink at this place called 360 bar. It was 1,000 forints to get in and it did have views of most of the city. Definitely over priced compared to the rest of the city, but it’s got nothing on New York.

What to Eat:

I’m a picky eater, so not the best to recommend food.  However, I know these items are fairly unique / popular in Hungary

  • Chimney Cake – Pull apart bread rolled in topping cooked rotisserie style. I didn’t have one while there (biggest regret) but I have had one before covered with cinnamon sugar and filled with a little nutella.
  • Stews & goulash 
  • Anything with paprika
  • Kifli – Shaped like a crescent, but bread. I had this once there – wasn’t impressed.
  • Langos – Hungarian deep fried dough made with mashed potatoes and flower.  I had a chicken burger on this bread from a food truck at this food truck lot called Karavan and it was A-mazing.  But it looks like they also turn this into their own unique pizza-type thing.

Know Before You Go:

  • You can get a lot for your money there.  When I was there $1 USD = 280 Hungarian Forints.  To put that into perspective a cocktail was 1,000 forints.  It equated to like $3.  I was able to get a fancy meal out with drinks for $20.
  • Do bring money with you or grab some from an ATM, many places were cash only.
  • We were warned about the taxis from several different people. Seems they take advantage of clueless tourists that don’t understand the currency.  We experienced it ourselves when the taxi driver claimed to have a broken credit card machine after picking us up from the airport. When she discovered we had no cash and there were no ATMs on the block her machine magically worked.