Highlights from Across the Pond

The week before last I was over in the UK visiting friends that live in London and Scotland. It was my first time to both places and it was great to be able to experience the cities from a local's perspective thanks to my top-notch hosts! Here are some photos, recommendations and musings from the trip...

 
Tate Modern

Tate Modern

 

London officially earned a spot on my "favorite cities of all time" list. I loved absolutely everything about it and even the city's absurdly high costs weren't enough to rid my face of my unrelenting idiot American smile. 

Westminster // Marylebone 

Westminster // Marylebone 

 
Big Ben

Big Ben

 

Some of my top London highlights included...Getting our buzz on while being cultured at the Restaurant at Tate Modern (amazing views as well)... Meandering through St. James Park,  wondering if the ducks had British accents and stopping at every red phone booth for a photo op...

Avenue  (brunch spot) // London Eye //  SCP  //  APC

Avenue (brunch spot) // London Eye // SCP // APC

Being tempted to drain my bank account while perusing the shops in both Marylebone and Shoreditch (London has an astounding knack for visually merchandising the shit out of everything)...

 
"Snacks" at Borough Market

"Snacks" at Borough Market

 

Indulging in some pre-brunch "snacks" at Borough Market accompanied by coffee from Monmouth...

Tate Britain // The Wolseley 

Tate Britain // The Wolseley 

Over-indulging to the nth degree during afternoon tea at The Wolseley...

 
Hockney at Tate Britain 

Hockney at Tate Britain 

 

Eating our body weight in Indian food on Brick Lane... And finally, strolling the stunningly beautiful corridors of the Tate Britain for a healthy dose of art.

 
Corridors of Tate Britain 

Corridors of Tate Britain 

 

Oh London, you were so bad for my waistline yet so good for my soul. I miss you dearly. 

Edinburgh // St. Andrews

Edinburgh // St. Andrews

Next, off to Edinburgh I went. The train ride alone was gorgeous and pulling up into the city, I was convinced I was arriving at Hogwarts. Edinburgh is just so quaint with it's winding cobblestone roads sprinkled with cozy shops, restaurants and pubs. 

 
St. Andrews

St. Andrews

 

Here are some of my favorite Scotland moments... Meandering through the ruins and along the golf course in St. Andrews... Afterwards, enjoying the best Salmon salad of my life (and quite possibly the only vegetables of the trip) at Mitchell's...

St. Andrews coastline

St. Andrews coastline

View from Edinburgh Castle // Flowers in St. Andrews

View from Edinburgh Castle // Flowers in St. Andrews

Strolling the streets of Edinburgh, occasionally (every 30 minutes) popping into cafes for a tea n' scone... Giving a vegetarian version of Haggis a whirl at Blonde (not bad!)... 

 
St. Andrew's Castle ruins 

St. Andrew's Castle ruins 

 

...Hobnobbing with Edinburg's elite and sipping aggressively strong cocktails at The Balmoral Hotel... And walking the streets of Queensferry and then admiring the entirely charming overuse of tartan inside of the Hawes Inn over a cozy pub-style lunch.

 
South Queensferry

South Queensferry

 

All in all, the entire trip was a mighty success (in terms of both weight gain and emotional fulfillment). Buckets and buckets of thanks to my gracious hosts and dear friendsErin and Emily. When my digestive system forgives me, I will start planning my next visit.

Weekend Vibes

This week was non-stop hustle and even my poor Netflix account is feeling neglected. I've been doing some editorial work for the lovely ladies over at Apartment 34, so between there, here, design projects and the day job I'm feeling mentally pooped but so creatively fulfilled. Nonetheless, I'm looking forward to a smidge of chillax time this weekend.

Here's hoping the weekend has a little R & R in store for you as well!

 
Tate Britain

Tate Britain

 

PS- I'm planning to post some photos from my trip to the UK next week, but here's a sneak peak in the meantime. The rest of the pictures are primarily of scones so set your expectations accordingly.

Weekend Bits: Palm Springs Edition

Some friends and I journeyed to Palm Springs this past weekend to celebrate the birthday of our dear friend Chris. We stayed at The Ace where we spent the days lounging by the pool, subsisting off of spicy margaritas and avocado toast. At night, we sat around our patio fireplace discussing anything from the life choices of the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills to plane crash conspiracy theories. It was the perfect pre-Spring break-break. Hope you had a relaxing weekend as well!

 
 

You Got This, 2015

Alight 2015, you can do it. All you have to do is not be a jerk and everyone will love you. DO NOT let me down. Alright??? Alright. Now that that's out on the table, let's move on.

As relaxing and enjoyable as the holidays were, it's good to finally be back in the swing of things and officially kick off my Kale, Water, and Chewing Gum-Only diet.

I was fortunate to spend the holidays split between Hawaii and San Diego, soaking up some sun and living up to my "sNOw way!" motto. My extended family and I spent Christmas on the North Shore of Oahu where we rented a big ole' house near Haleiwa and cooked big ole' family dinners every night. We hiked, swam, got beat up by huge surf, listened to old Jack Johnson albums, played games, ate a ton, drank copious amounts of wine and made fun of each other. It was fantastic. 

 
 
 
 
 
 

One of the coolest spectacles we saw was an evening of insane surf at Pipeline. The waves were about 20 ft and the surfers looked like tiny water ants on a huge mountain of ocean. Epic rides and gnarly wipeouts all over the place. My cousins, sister and I promptly went home and searched high and low for Blue Crush on Netflix.

 
 
 
 

The trip was going swimmingly until the moment I decided to purchase a $10 pineapple drink, thereby blowing any chance I had at becoming one with the locs. Back to the mainland I was sent...

 
 

Hope you all had a relaxing holiday and here's to a happy and healthy 2015! 

Tulum

Last week, my BFF Brittany and I took a short vacation to Tulum, Mexico. Let me tell you, the place lives up to the hype (now that I said that, you will undoubtedly claim it doesn't live up to the hype). 

We stayed at Papaya Playa and would recommend it to anyone looking for a place to stay in Tulum. While it’s a short cab ride or bike ride north of all the good restaurants, you can’t beat the mile of beach-front property they have access to. For this reason, it never felt overly-crowded and the service was excellent. 

It’s pretty much off the grid (with the exception of electrical outlets and shoddy WiFi connections available in the lobby and hotel restaurant) so be ready slow your Instagram roll and practice the art of Being Present. 

As far as places to eat and things to do, we didn’t stray too far from the Birkenstock-beaten path paved by Brooklyn hipsters (Hartwood, Coqui Coqui, Gitano, Posado Margharita, Casa Jaguar, etc… "What about El Tablano?!?” you ask? It was closed. #WhompWhomp). The food was excellent all around and if you’re looking for a place to refine you Mezcal palate, look no further.

We also visited the Mayan ruins (neato), dropped in on a yoga class at Amansala (excellent), and swam in Gran Cenote (cool in concept, but filled with creepy freshwater turtles with freakish claws and bats whizzing around the insides of the caves).

I think the thing that stuck with me most about Tulum was the simplicity of it all. From the decor to the attitude—Mexico just doesn’t bother to put up a fuss. You want to have a margarita AND walk down the street with it? By all means. You want to not take a real shower for five days? Neither has the guy serving you the freshest grilled fish you’ve ever tasted. You want to post a photo on Facebook? Well, we can’t help you but here’s a freshly cracked coconut and a pastel-colored sunset to hold you over until you’re able to find your next WiFi connection.

Comin’ atcha with a mega fist bump, Tulum. Well done and I can’t wait to be back.