COACHELLA Survival Guide

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This will be our sixth year going to Coachella, and every year we get a little wiser in attending the festival. I can still recall our first Coachella in 2014, where we almost got our wristbands cut before even entering into the campground. We’ve camped for three years, stayed in a hotel once, and this will be our second year staying at an Air B&B, it’s safe to say we’ve been through it all (except our tent flying away, my husband is pretty good at staking down our tent).

Let’s start with the biggest key of survival, your stay. You can choose to camp, hotel, or airbnb, all are great options based on what you are looking for and willing to spend. We camped for three years, and it was the time of our lives, but now at 26 I will NEVER camp for Coachella again, it’s pretty rough tbh. Camping is rough because you don’t get much sleep, the sun and your neighbors wake you up at 6 am and you probably don’t go to bed until 1 or 2am. However, camping is a vibe like no other, and you are so close to the festival.

If this is your first Coachella, or your first time going all 3 days, or you’ve had a rough prior experience, here are some of my favorite tips to get you through this magical and hectic weekend.

 

1. Hydration

This has got to be the most important factors to your weekend. I’ve seen so many people pass out at festivals for not being hydrated. Aside from passing out, your body gets extremely sluggish when its not hydrated. The desert sun is no joke, and neither are the countless beers from the beer gardens. You have to make sure you are staying properly hydrated from the morning you wake up, to going to bed. There are two ways I love to stay hydrated.

  1. Liquid I.V-If we’re friends, it’s safe to say I’ve given you a Liquid I.V before, or you’ve seen me post about it excessively.  The reason why is because it works. One hydration multiplier is equivalent to THREE water bottles, More hydration, less trips to the bathroom! I always stock up before festivals and make sure the squad stays hydrated. Save 20% off your order & get free shipping with my code “Jessmarquezz” by clicking on this link -> Order Liquid I.V
  2. Vibedration CamelPack- If you don’t already own a camelpack for festivals or hiking, get yourself one now! My favorite company to order from is Vibedration! I’ve ordered two and have gotten two of my friends one as a birthday present so we all stay hydrated. They have super fun ones with designs and serve as a backpack to hold essentials like chapstick, gum, etc. The best part is, you’re wearing it (or your man is haha), and your hands are free slash you are less likely to leave it behind like you would a Hyrdoflask. I also have a discount code that saves you 10% off by using “Jess” at checkout Vibedration Hydration Packs
  3. FREE Water- The festival has free water refill stations, if you have a hydration pack you can fill it and have it for some time.
  4. $2 waters- You can also get water bottles pretty cheap at Coachella. They also offer a cool incentive, if you bring back 10 empty water bottles to recycle they give you a free water bottle. You’ll be surprised to see how many water bottles you’ll find in spots other than the recycle bin.

2. Surviving the Dust/Allergies

If you are someone that gets allergies, do NOT forget to pack your zyrtec or claritin! There is also a lot of dust floating around especially when walking in and out of the festival, pack a bandana or a mask to prevent sneezing and your allergies going rampant.

3. Sun Protection

Like I mentioned above, the sun is no joke! It might not feel as warm when you head into the festival that you think you can skip out, but do not! Not all of the tents are shaded so you will be directly under the sun for many hours. Apply facial sunscreen under your makeup and apply it to your whole body. I would even recommend bringing one in and sharing it with a group, just make sure it is one that is allowed. I believe they don’t allow aerosol spray but I could be wrong. Lipbalm with SPF is also key because your lips will burn. Sunglasses, and hats are also great ideas to protect you from a possible burn.

4. Portable Charger

Okay I’m including this on my list to remind myself. Every year we say we are going to bring one and forget. TBH my phone is on airplane mode most of the festival and I only pull it out to take pictures and record parts of sets. If you are planning on meeting friends at some point in the day, this is where a portable charger will be very convenient. Since the service is kind of spotty at Coachella, your battery will drain as it is searching for service, hence why I keep it on airplane mode. It’s also great to make sure your phone has battery in case you get separated from your group and you need to contact someone. Which brings me to my next point….

5. Designate a Meeting Spot

Losing a friend at a festival is one of the most worrisome experiences ever. This happened to us last year and I had the worst anxiety from it! Once you walk in pick a meeting spot in case one of you gets separated from the group. Having the meetup spot picked out at the beginning will also make it easier for you to meet before sets if you split up to see other people (which will happen, we all have different taste and you should never miss someone you truly want to see).

6. Comfortable Shoes

I’m the queen of comfort when it comes to my shoes at Coachella. Pictures from the ankle up have been the motto, as I was wearing chucks or comfortable sneakers with a cute outfit. You know those influencers you see at coachella with heeled booties, yeah they’re not there most of the day, those people come into the festival for a couple hours and often change their shoes after getting a good picture. Personally, I would not recommend sandals either unless you want to end up with a broken toe nail and dirty feet. However there are some grassy areas where I’ve gone barefoot and let me tell you how amazing that feels. Last year was my first year wearing Doc Marten boots to Coachella and those were lifesavers, they make your outfit look even better and your feet are protected. Just try to break them in before, and wear thick socks.

7.  Rent a Locker

Renting a locker is SO CLUTCH. This last year was the coldest Coachella I had ever been to. I ended up spending $40 on a blanket because of how cold I was. I’m a wimp when it comes to the cold, and although the desert days are Hot, the temperatures can drop at night and the wind is pretty intense at night. If you rent a locker with some friends, you can split the cost and shove a light jacket to use at night. Also it’s a good spot to save your merch so you don’t lose it. Oh and buy your merch the first day, the lines multiply as the days go by!

8. Bring Cash

Card is accepted almost everywhere, but you will come across some water bottle stations or popsicle stops where they only accept cash. Having a couple single dollars makes it easy. Also if you happen to accidentally lose your card, having cash will be nice.

9. EAT

I know it is really easy to forget to eat when going to festivals #guilty. I typically make sure I eat something dense before going into the festival to hold me up just in case we don’t get a chance to sit down for food. I’ll make sure my breakfast is heavy on protein and carbs cuz carbs are energy. There are sooo many delicious food options at Coachella catering to all sorts of diets….I can already taste the crab fries.

10. Pack Bathroom Essentials

Wipeys are essential to festivals! Keep your hands clean and also take them with you to the bathroom. The bathrooms near the Sahara tent are always pretty clean and have toilet paper, but carrying wipeys and hand sanitizer just in case is a must. Tissues are also great to carry and can serve as toilet paper if there is none.

11. Take Breaks

Our first coachella we were savages who survived front row of A$AP Ferg. Now that I’m 26 I don’t feel the need to be so up close and crowded by people. The stages are massive so you can see and hear perfectly. Take breaks and sit on the grass, and look around it’s one of my favorite sights to take in. There are a lot of cool Air Conditioned lounges, my favorite is the Heineken House (21+), because they typically have some well known lit D.Js playing. There are also lounges exclusive to card holders like American Express. Another spot to get some shade and AC is the Yuma tent which is definitely a vibe.

12. Explore the Grounds

Personally, I like to go in with extra time to wander the festival grounds. Every year the artwork is different, I scope out spots to take pictures and play in the immersive art. If you’re staying at an AirB&B or a hotel, give yourself ample time to get to your shuttle and into the festival, it always takes more time than you think. We normally go in earlier the first day to explore because as the days go on you get more tired and lag.

13. Bring Some Sleep Aids

Getting enough sleep or rest is as important as staying hydrated. It can be difficult to fall asleep after a music festival, pack some melatonin, an eye mask and even ear plugs to tune things out. CBD is also great to pack to relax your body and mind.

14. Earplugs

This will be the first year I bring my earplugs to Coachella. Ever since I started doing Spin obsessively, I began wearing earplugs to class. I went to Escape for halloween and my ears were so sensitive to the sound. You know the ringing after festivals….thats noise induced hearing loss YOU WILL NEVER GET BACK. As someone who has taken Audiology courses, and has neglected protecting their hearing for years, I vow to protect my ears when I can. I already know I have some hearing loss, it only gets worse with age so pack them in case. The music still sounds great especially if you have a good pair, I prefer Eargasm Earplugs.

15. Plan, yet go with the Flow

Going with a group is the highlight of Coachella, however it can be pretty difficult at times. If I could tally up how many hours we spent at the Beer Gardens last year waiting for people to meet up, I would have seen 4 extra sets, not going to lie sitting down with an IPA is also nice. The truth is you and your group are going to have different music interests, don’t be afraid to be eager to watch an artist you have been anticipating. Since I’m a Virgo, I plan out my whole weekend set list the moment it drops on the app. I just have them planned out in case, but once you are there, be ready to let things go out of plan. Check out a new artist you’ve never seen, last year was my first time seeing Rufus Du Sol & now I listen to them weekly. That’s the magic about Coachella, it’s such a versatile festival, you can discover so much new talent!

With that being said my biggest piece of advice to survive Coachella is to get lost in the music, take all the pictures you want, catch the sunset, dance with all your closest friends and tell the people around you that you love them, catch you on the Empire Polo Grounds in April!

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xoxo,

Jess

 

 

 

Whitening Sensitive Teeth at Home

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I’ll start this out with my before and after….

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If you know me, you know I love big, white, pearly teeth like Pauly D’s. Something about a big, white smile, that stands out makes me happy. As someone who drinks coffee 5 times a week, I noticed my smile getting a little dull. I decided to do something about it, which led me to try Smile Brilliant. I am honestly so happy I began to use Smile Brilliant, because the results were immediate.

I’ll preface this by saying that I have experience in whitening my teeth before. I’ve used crest white strips in highschool, and I can recall some of the shivers I felt from the sensitivity. I have also whitened my teeth at a whitening center, which was an amazing experience but more costly. I got the same results from whitening at home with Smile Brilliant, than I did when I went to a teeth whitening center. The best part about it was the ability to do it from the comfort of my own home, before getting ready for the day or night!

The best part about Smile Brilliant, was that you whiten using customized trays designed for your teeth. In your smile brilliant kit, you will receive product to create your own impressions. The instructions are easier to follow than I thought! Once you create your impressions you send them to the lab, where they make your custom trays. Having custom trays ensures you whiten your teeth in the most optimal way! The whitening gel is able to get into all the crevices of your teeth.

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This is what comes in your whitening kit. You get the Base and Catalyst to create your own impressions for your teeth. Once your impressions come in then the fun part begins….the whitening. As you can see from this picture, your kit comes with whitening gel as well as desensitizing gel which is used after whitening.

 

The desensitizing gel was such a great component to the kit. Sensitivity is one of the biggest worries when it comes to whitening your teeth. I have areas on my teeth that are pretty sensitive from over brushing (the area by the root of the teeth near the gum). I’m not going to lie, I was worried I would experience discomfort in that area of my teeth when whitening and I did NOT get any tingles or shivers.

 

I did about 7 whitenings with the product spread out over the course of three weeks. What I love about this product is that you can create your own schedule for whitening based on what you want. If you have a big event like a wedding coming up, you can whiten day by day leading up to the big day in the comfort of your own home and pajamas. I also like the fact that I have a couple syringes of product left so I will use them to touch up my smile before a social event.

 

Here is my before and after of using the product

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Because I loved my results so much, I want to share this with my family, friends, and followers to give you an opportunity to try Smile Brilliant.

Click the Link : www.smilebrilliant.com/g/jessicaochoa

ALSO use “jessicaochoa15” to receive 15% off sitewide!

 

Couples Getaway: Mexico (Baja,California).

I always refer to this region as Baja, California, because when we go we typically move through the peninsula. There are so many different cities you can choose to stop at. If you want to party and drink on the beach, Rosarito is your spot. If you want seafood (lobster), Puerto Nuevo is your spot. If you want wine, aesthetic views, and gastronomy, Valle De Guadalupe is your spot. Finally, there is Ensenada which is a stop on many cruises from the U.S. Personally, I would not take a cruise there, when you could drive there. Ensenada is full of adventures, from quad riding, to La Bufadora, there are a lot of options on how to spend your day there.

In this blog, I will highlight our recent weekend adventure into Baja. We did a day and a half, ideally if it is your first time I would carve out two or three days to explore the region. However, if you are a busy person this weekend guide will be perfect for you. 

 

The First Day….

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-My husband had to work, so I drove down to his work and from there we drove down together. We drove straight down to Puerto Nuevo to eat our first meal of the day….LOBSTER. I am obsessed with the lobster meals from Puerto Nuevo. This town is cute, and colorful, and full of 31 restaurants which serve a similar menu. My personal favorite one is Villa Ortega’s (it is all the way to the left, and end). This one has a beach view, and you can dine on the outside while you hear the waves crash and feel the sun shine down on you. We normally get Lobster for two and it comes with lobster, rice, beans, tortillas, and tortilla soup!

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You can walk around and explore the town, this is a good spot to shop for souvenirs, and get free tequila samples. There is also a really yummy ice cream shop and panaderia which has different kinds of bread.

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from there, I recommend driving to your hotel or AirBnB to check in! 

For our stay this time, we chose AirBnB and we had an amazing experience. I will link our stay below! We were nestled in the Valle De Guadalupe and we were so close to the wineries. My favorite part was the breakfast that came with our stay, it was fresh and cooked specially for us.

https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/9202418?source_impression_id=p3_1582053997_zuI%2F5x%2FFOmuPJAhP

Bed & Breakfast located at Quinta Monasterio

 

Most things in the Valle close early like typical wineries they close around 7pm. There are two location which I recommend and are close to each other.

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-Casa Frida is open till midnight. You can get in without a reservation, but it will be for their outside lounge or the restaurant. If you want to go to their indoor terrace, make a reservation.

-King & Queen Cantina. We got here around 11pm and they weren’t seating anyone without a reservation, so we didn’t get a chance to visit.

 

The Next Day (full day of Mexico)….

This was our full day in Mexico, and I had the day planned out from stop to stop to strategically maximize our time, since everything in the Valle is spread out.

 

Stop 1: Bruma (reservation required)

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This is one of the most gorgeous and unique wineries. There is a beautiful tree in the middle which goes underground and above. The tasting is 17$ pp and includes a tour of the facility, with 3 wine tastings. A little overpriced in my opinion, but you pay for the photo ops. There is also a restaurant called Fauna, which I have heard great things about.

Stop 2: Finca Altozano

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(reservation strongly recommended, if you get there before 12 you can get seated, depending on your party size. Either way I would make a reservation). This restaurant is like no other, its beautiful and has amazing selections of food. The restaurant is situated on a large spread of land, so you can walk around the property and see their animals. There are also a lot of photo opportunities! Our favorite thing to order here is the Oysters, Lengua Tacos, and Seabass Chicharones. We’ve tried other things on the menu, like Octopus, Milanesa, and Tuna. If you are lucky you might even see the two pigs walk past your table. There are also 8 or 9 dogs which live on the property and their name and photo is pictured on the menu. Save some room for desert, there is an ice cream shop located here as well.

 

Stop 3: Casa Frida

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(reservation required). Even though we came here at night, I HAD to go back to explore during the day. We reserved the wine tasting experience, which was $40 for the both of us. Wine tasting is in a separate room that is immersed in art and paintings. If you do not do wine tasting, you can hangout at the restaurant, or hangout in their outdoor lounge which plays funky house music all day. Since we had extra time, we asked if there was space at their Mixology Terrace. I would highly recommend making a reservation for this area, there is a minimum consumption limit, but it is worth it. The views of the Valle are gorgeous, funky house music is playing, and there are delicious hand crafted cocktails to indulge in. Aside from the views, there is even more art to see and take pictures with. Make sure to check out the bathrooms for even more fun photo-ops. Basically this place is an Instagram heaven.

 

Stop 4: Bar Bura @ Cuatro Cuatros

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(reservation required, or take your chances on waiting to get an opportunity to ride the shuttle to the top). Bar Bura, is located on the top of Cuatro Cuatros, and it is the most picturesque bar I have ever been to. You pay to ride the shuttle to the top of the mountain and you get to choose between a soda, water, or beer. You immediately feel like you are transported to somewhere in Greece. I always strategically plan the reservation around sunset hours, the sunset here is breathtaking. You can also order food here, I love their Ceviche. If you need some coffee, there is also a coffee truck at the top, which would be great for your drive home.

 

GETTING HOME

Crossing the border can be a nightmare, because of the waiting time. We’ve waited as much as 8 hours before. On average I would say it takes 4 hours to cross back on a weekend. Just recently on this last trip, it only took us an hour and a half on a Holiday weekend, because my husband figured out how to enter the Ready Lanes! Watch this video and save yourself time! Warning: on the weekends there is a higher volume of traffic, which makes it harder to enter the Ready Lanes, just drive back further and enter in. OH AND YOU CANNOT GET AWAY WITH GOING THROUGH READY LANES WITH NO PASSPORT. Technically you should not even risk going without a passport, however people do many times, in the ready lane they don’t mess around because they use RFID technology to process you faster.

 

 

Thanks for reading! Hope to see more of you venture off into Mexico. If you would like to book a tour, click on my Guide to Valle De Guadalupe Blog, which has my favorite company linked!

xoxo

Jess

Why I’m Hiding My Scale This Month (and why we sometimes need a break from it).

The Scale……ever since I could remember I’ve had a terrible relationship with the scale. It started in my childhood; I always dreaded going to doctor check ups because that was the first thing they checked. I would feel my mom’s eyes dig into my back as the nurse repeated the number out loud, crap there goes my chance of asking for McDonald’s on the way back to school.

The relationship only intensified as I got older and went through high school. By this point I would go to my mom’s room when no one was home and weigh myself. I wasn’t aware of what a good weight was, I only went off the comparisons of the weights mentioned by other friends. I managed to find my groove towards the end of my junior year of highschool and found myself in a good spot mentally and physically. I didn’t depend on a number to make me feel good.

until……

I went to college and my weight got out of control. I could easily look back to my first year of college and reflect on how depressed I was. I struggled to find my niche, but the dining hall and snacks were always there. Steadily, I gained the freshman 15 times two. I tried so hard to change things my second and third year of college, but I was stagnant. My junior year of college is where I found myself in an obsessive cycle with the scale. I shared a bathroom with a housemate, who had a beautiful digital scale right when you walk into the bathroom. It became an E V E R Y D A Y cycle. Wake up, use the bathroom, weigh myself, feel bad about myself; this is how I started my everyday. Things only got worse when a frat douche bag decided to make it his mission to taunt me about my weight. Being bullied + feeling bad about myself for a number of mass, didn’t result in the best thoughts. In my head, I struggled and internally thought of ways to provoke an eating disorder to lose the weight. Too bad I’m too much of a pussy to make myself throw up, and I couldn’t imagine not eating and not having energy to make it through school and work.

Even though its been 5 years that I’ve been consistent with my weight loss journey, and I’ve managed to lose and keep off 40 lbs I found myself in a similar cycle…  I have a beautiful digital scale in my bathroom and I began putting too much significance on the number reflected. I know the advice, but as a human fall victim as well. I know to “ditch the scale, take progress pictures, take measurements, and focus on how you feel”. I tell people this same advice, yet will find myself in a time where I can’t seem to follow it. I’ll go through periods where I’m great and don’t put too much significance on the scale and won’t use it. But just recently in the last month (maybe the pressure of a new year?), I found myself falling into the same vicious cycle. It became the most detrimental on  Monday mornings, weighing yourself after a weekend of travel or drinking with friends. Getting off the scale and being unhappy with the number and yourself is not the best way to start your week.

Things only get more frustrating when you’ve had a great week working out and eating well and you are soooo ready to hop on the scale and see a big change. To only see a pound or two difference, really gets you in a negative mindset. You begin to contrive ways in your head to shorten your caloric intake throughout the day. This always happens to me when I have weeks where I’m lifting more than doing cardio. You could wake up looking lean AF, booty looking round from hitting legs 3 times that week, and once you hop on the scale and not meet the expectation in your head, you find yourself upset. It honestly is not a good way to start your day….I began to recognize the patterns and the way I was starting my day. So that’s when I decided to say goodbye for now.

I do believe the scale is helpful, and to some people it may be motivating. Unfortunately, to some of us it can be very detrimental and we do not realize it. Many of us have had weight struggles from our childhood, and there are a lot of internalized feelings whether we are aware of them or not. One of my biggest pieces of advice for someone on a weight loss journey, is to not be unhappy while you are doing it. Unhappiness will not lead you to success, find something in the journey that makes you happy and focus on that. If it means taking booty pictures of your progress, go for it! If it means scheduling your spin class 3x a week, go for it!

So if you are finding yourself in a rut, and feeling bad about yourself because of the number displayed on a scale, say fuck the scale for a bit, hide it somewhere and bring it back whenever you are ready. At the end of the day you are SO much more than the number reflected and if you need to remove something from your life to believe it, do it.

xoxo

FlexWithJess

New Orleans Guide: 3 day weekend in NOLA

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I’ve had my eyes set on New Orleans, Louisiana for quite some time now. As a major foodie, this places was on top of my list because the possibilities were endless. I was ready for Oysters, Po’Boys, Gumbo, & Beignets galore. Aside from having some of the NOLA staples I got really adventurous on this trip and decided to try new foods I might have never tried, like Chargrilled Oysters (cheese), Alligator Sausage, Turtle Soup, and Quail.

Aside from all the food that drew me to New Orleans, I was also drawn in by the culture. Mixed with Spanish and French influence, New Orleans is a city full of vibrant sounds, views, and people. New Orleans has definitely been the city I have visited with the most live music, from bands playing covers at bars, jazz brunches, or jazz set ups on a street, you can’t help but stop and feel the music.

At the end of this blog you can find my detailed 3 day itinerary which is perfect for a long 3 day weekend. Like my previous Austin post, it is very busy, but you can take what you want from it and make it your own. I strategically mapped everything and placed it in the itinerary in a way where you could see the most by foot. Ubers&Lyfts were relatively cheap, I  DO NOT recommend renting a car.

 

Uber/Lyft from the airport is very controlled and efficient. We paid $40 for the ride from the airport to our hotel.

Hotel: We stayed at the Lafayette Hotel. It was in a prime location, if you are going to Mardi Gras, this is a great hotel to stay, because there are bleachers for the parade right by the hotel. If you enjoy walking, everything is a 13-20 minute walk or a 5 min drive.

Nightlife: Nightlife in New Orleans is like no other. We HAD to check out Bourbon street, there are so many options for bars. If you want a good Hurricane go to Lafitte’s Blacksmith shop, we had one at Pat O ‘Brien’s and it was wayyy too sweet. I avoided the Hand Grenade because I heard it was nasty, but if you want a good buzz and don’t care what you drink, go for it. Also the nightlife is so lax, you can bring your own alcohol and take your drink from bar to bar. Our favorite part of the night was people watching from the Balconies and the bars where they did live covers to songs and requests.

without further a due, lets go into the trip!

Friday Day One

We landed and quickly checked in and got ready for the night. First stop was food obviously. We headed to Acme Oyster House and this was definitely our Favorite meal and spot we went to all weekend, I wanted to go back. We had raw oysters, chargrilled oysters, and we split a seafood fried platter that had the BEST catfish.

From dinner we went to Bourbon street to see the debauchery. It was SO fun and unlike anything we’ve seen before. We checked out Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop Bar, Pat O Brien’s, Saints & Simmers, and Bourbon Bandstand.

 

 

Saturday Day 2

After finding out I booked the wrong Mercedes-Benz stadium tour (whoops) we had to make a change to our itinerary. This goes to shows that no matter how much you plan, things can go wrong. We laughed it off and made a quick change.

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Instead of the stadium tour, we went to the Historical Pharmacy Museum which was only $5 to visit and very well worth the cost! This is one of thee coolest museums I’ve seen with a lot of artifacts and instruments used back then.

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Lunch Recommendation: NOLA Po’boys, they’re pretty big and a staple in NOLA.

After lunch we headed back to the area where the stadiums are to go to Smoothie King Arena to watch the Pelicans and Clippers play. One of our goals in life is to visit as many sports stadiums so it was a must to check out a game while we here. Tickets are also significantly cheaper, when we were walking to our seats I couldn’t help but think wow if only we could sit this close at a Laker game back home.

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After the game, we decided to walk back to our hotel area since it was only a 13 minute walk. We decided to stop by the Auction House Market, I wish I would have gotten pictures of it, but I did manage to get a picture of their aesthetic bathroom. It’s a really trendy, cute, and IG friendly market. We split two empanadas and an iced coffee to fuel us for a long night ahead.

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For Night two, we decided to do a Ghost Tour of the City of New Orleans. We did it through Haunted History Tours. I really recommend doing a walking tour because you get a lot of fun, historical information you may have never heard, like the tales of Madame Delphine or Marie Laveau. During the tour you also stop at Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop, which is one of the oldest buildings still up and supposably, very haunted.

We finished the night with a midnight treat, Beignet’s at Cafe Du Monde, which is 24 hours. I honestly would say going the latest you can is the best idea! We sat down and ordered immediately, during the day and morning the lines are ridiculous.

 

Sunday Day Three

We made this day a strategically planned walking day to see the most around town. Which meant waking up early on a Sunday and beating the crowds. We began by grabbing a beignet and coffee at Cafe Beignet, another popular and cute spot.

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Next stop: St. Louis Cathedral and Jackson Square Area

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Next Stop: Carousel Bar (opens at 11am) If you want a spot on the carousel get there 10-15 minutes early to get in line. Luckily we got there and found two spots! Although it was super early to grab a drink, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to visit the bar.

Next Stop: Lunch at the Gumbo spot. We split the Aligator Sausage (must try), Shrimp Gumbo and Chicken Andouille Gumbo!

Next Stop: Voodoo Museum, it costs $8 per person to get in. To be honest, I would skip this, it wasn’t worth the price. The Pharmacy Museum is a lot better.

 

We kept walking and decided to find some of the sights from the night ghost tour, in particular Madame Delphine’s Murder house. We had just watched American Horror Story Coven prior to this trip so I was really intrigued by the horror tales.

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Next Stop: The Spotted Cat Music Club, which is a fun, packed, jazz bar! The ambiance and crowd was on point.

Nighttime: We hit Bourbon street and bar hopped. I love how lax the nightlife is here, we were wearing football jerseys and carrying our own alcohol into each venue.

 

Monday Day 4

Our last day in NOLA and we only had half a day because our flight departed at 3:30 pm. Nonetheless, we got up early, packed and made the most of the time we had.

 

Our first stop was Miss Robichaux’s Academy for Exceptional Young Ladies, better known as the house from American Horror Story Coven. It’s located in a beautiful neighborhood and the house is majestic.

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Next Stop: Drink Beauty NOLA

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I found this pink, instagram dream coffee shop on instagram and knew I had to go. Aside from the decor and aesthetics, was their drinks. We tried two different lattes which had CBD in them, each latte had its own benefit and they both tasted so good. My favorite part was picking out what design I wanted on my foam for my latte, and the bathroom walls (lotss of boobies)

Next & FINAL stop of our NOLA trip: Lunch at the Commander’s Palace

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So what drew us into this place was their lunch special, which allows you to get 25 cent martinis (max 3 martinis). This sounded like a good idea until we wokeup hungover on Monday, it is safe to say I only had one martini (they’re strong). We kept hearing about the famous Turtle Soup, which I was pretty apprehensive to try at first. I had some bold food adventures on this trip, and if you know me you know I am an ex-picky eater. When I first met Ed, I was that person that ordered a safe burger and fries or chicken. Luckily, traveling has pushed me to be more explorative in my food choices and I am so happy (still don’t like cheese though lol).

Here’s a snapshot of the food we got! Turtle Soup was BOMB, and so was their famous desert! You must dress nice in this restaurant or they won’t let you in.

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Thank you for following along! I highly encourage you all to visit New Orleans if you get a chance. I would love to come back because I feel like there is still SO much to see and do. Ideally I want to come back in a warmer month or fall (to catch a Saints game). I also would love to do a Swamp tour, Plantation Tour, and National WW2 Museum in the future!

My weekend itinerary is below in case anyone needs a structured list to follow!

Feel free to screenshot it and make your life easier on your future visit to New Orleans.

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Guide To Exploring Valle De Guadalupe (Baja California MX’s, Wine Region)

Viva Valle

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Lately I’ve been seeing a lot more friends venture into Valle De Guadalupe and it makes me so happy. I’ve managed to plan epic wine tasting adventures in Valle and show the beauty this area possesses to people who may have never had an opportunity to get down there. Visiting Vinicolas (Wineries in Spanish), has become a fun adventure as we get older, and I live for going to the wineries in Mexico (especially if I get lobster at Puerto Nuevo on the way down)/

Please for the love of God, come with a passport! I cannot stress this enough, border patrol agents and people in your car do not want to deal with any issues. Avoid any mishaps and pack your passport or make sure you get one before coming down.

If you live in Southern California, the drive is manageable and quick, especially if you are coming from Temecula or San Diego.

Driving Tip 1: Set your GPS to your location before driving into Mexico. Make sure your GPS works down there or someone else’s in the car, typically T-Mobile gives the best coverage in Mexico.

Driving Tip 2: Bring Cash and Change for the Toll Roads. When driving on the 1D you will make 3 toll stops which can only be paid in cash dollars or pesos.

Driving Tip 3: Drive safely, follow road directions that you would in the U.S, and be cognizant of speed when driving.

Driving Tip 4: If you don’t feel comfortable driving/staying down there, there are tour companies that pick you up at the border and take you back. There are also tour companies that pick you up at your hotel or airbnb and take you back. I have a reputable company I have used on two occasions, once for 17 guests and then another trip with  12 guests. They provide excellent service and go above and beyond, bring cash to pay and tip your driver 🙂

 

Valle De Guadalupe Tour Recommendation: Ruta Del Vino Tour

https://www.yelp.com/biz/ruta-del-vino-tours-valle-de-guadalupe-4

  +52 646 113 8246

I prefer to contact them through WhatsApp! I have had Carlos and Jacinto as drivers and they were both amazing. You contact them, let them know how many people are in your group and what wineries you want to visit. If you don’t care which wineries, they can plan the day for you. They also plan a spot for you to stop and eat at (Typically Finca Altozano which I dream about going to constantly). Once you figure out how many people are in your group, and how many hours you want to be driven for, they will give you a rate.

You can also drive from winery to winery if you would like, your GPS typically works and you can map your day out. If you plan on getting tipsy I would recommend booking the private driver through Ruta Del Vino, save yourself the hassle and enjoy more of the day.

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Favorite Spots to Visit

 

1.Cuatro Cuatros

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Location:El Tigre, carretera libre
Tijuana-Ensenada Km. 89 s/n
El Sauzal de Rodriguez,
Ensenada B.C., México

 Phone Number: 646) 174 6789

This is one of the most beautiful locations I have ever been to, its so dreamy and you feel like you are transported to another side of the globe. I’ll start out by saying that if you want to go to the top for the view and bar, you have to make a reservation. You can take your chances and put your name down when you arrive, or if you do not make a reservation try getting there when they open. My favorite time to visit is an hour before sunset. The most magical views happen at the top when the sun goes down. You can order food at the top and drink from a wide menu of cocktails and beers. If you want to do wine tasting, that is downstairs when you park and wait for the bus that takes you to the top. You also get a complimentary beer, water or soda when going to the top.

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Had to include a picture of the bathroom, the most magical pee ever taken.

 

2. Finca Altozano

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Location: Carretera Tecate – Ensenada Km 83 Ejido,  Francisco Zarco, 22750 Valle de Guadalupe, B.C., Mexico

Phone Number +52 646 156 8045

Whatever you do, save your appetite and make this your lunch stop. Whether you are driving there yourself, or request it as a stop on your tour, this is one of my favorite stops for lunch. The restaurant is GORGEOUS, wooden accents and open, you feel like you are on an hacienda in Mexico. Reservations are required, but you can always put your name down and wait. If you wait, there is a lot to entertain, from the wood barrel photo ops, to the livestock that lives on the property, to the ice cream shop. Another one of my favorite quirks about this restaurant, is the dogs that live on the property. There are about 9 dogs who live at Finca and spend their day lazily roaming the restaurant, you can find their name out on the menu. We’ve been here about 4 times, one time with a group of 17! The service is phenomenal and the food is delicious. We love the Oysters, Lengua Tacos, Sea Bass Chicharones, and Octopus. Be careful ordering uuuuun taco because you will get the whole cut of the meat which is 5 tacos (lol Aura).

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3. Bruma

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Location: Carretera Avinicola La Cetto fraccionamiento A-B P74, 22760 Valle de Guadalupe, B.C., Mexico

Phone Number: +52 646 116 8031

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I found this winery through Instagram (typical), and it was such a tranquil experience. One of the most thought out and detailed wineries I’ve been to. What’s crazy, is that the roots and body of the tree go down to a room down under. The roots and body of the tree are enclosed in a glass cage and you do your wine tasting down there. Bruma also has a restaurant called Fauna. Make reservations for tastings, you won’t regret it!

4. Villa De Frannes

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Location: Camino Vecinal al rancho Cañada del trigo, 22750 Valle de Guadalupe, B.C., Mexico

+52 646 688 1955

It’s extremely accommodating for large groups. They have an indoor and outdoor tasting section. The outdoor section is so picturesque and serene, definitely one of my favorite views and a good spot to admire nature’s beauty.

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We will be going back to Valle for Valentine’s Day this year and I will share the experience. This time I am eager to see Casa Frida Valle De Guadalupe, and also Vinicola Adobe Guadalupe. We will also be staying at a new location located in the heart of Valle De Guadalupe, and I am so excited to show you guys the new location.

I truly hope everyone finds a way to come down and visit Valle, the hospitality is so great and the aesthetics of the locations are so beautiful. This is a great birthday trip or anniversary trip, also a good idea if you want a tranquil and cute bachelorette.

 

Do you have any favorites or recommendations in Valle De Guadalupe? I would love to know, Share them Below ❤

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I love the Baja California region and frequent it often, so keep an eye out for more future blogs on the area!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Ultimate Thailand Guide: Part 1 – Bangkok

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In 2018 we went to Thailand for our honeymoon. We had been eyeing Thailand since we back came from studying abroad in Italy. The reason we kept holding out on it, was because we wanted to make sure we had plenty of time there. The flights are typically all over twenty hours, so my number one recommendation if you’re going to Thailand, give yourself at least 10 days.

There is SOOO much to see in Thailand, it was very hard to limit it and create the perfect route. We wanted a good balance between adventure and relaxing. I read many blogs and specifically watched Lost Le Blanc’s Thailand video series to create the perfect Thailand trip.

Before you begin to plan your route, be aware of what season Thailand is in, because the weather will impact your itinerary!

 

This is the route we took

Bangkok -> Chiang Mai -> Krabi -> Phuket -> Koh Phi Phi -> Phuket -> Bangkok

originally we had planned to do Koh Lanta after Krabi,  since we went during rainy season, we heard most of the island of Koh Lanta was a ghost town and not very well picked up due to the rain and tide. We decided to go Phuket instead, since it was huge and had a lot to see, and we did not regret our decision!

Currency: Bhat is the currency used in Thailand, it is imperative to carry their cash at all times. There are a lot of places that accept cards,  but save yourself the hassle and pull out cash from Thai ATMS with your regular bank card, just don’t forget to notify the bank of your travel plans.

Affordability: Thailand is extremely affordable!!! To be honest we did not budget our trip since it was our honeymoon. We booked all of our hotels in advanced online using Hotels.com. Food and alcohol is extremely cheap as well, especially all of the delicious street food, which is a must!

Weather: Make sure to check the season you are traveling! We knew going during July, we would be in the middle of rainy season. This meant a lot of rain, hiding for cover from the downpour, but also less of a crowd.

In order to make this guide comprehensive and detailed, I will break it down into 3 regions, Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and the Islands.

Bangkok

I read online many times to skip Bangkok when visiting Thailand, but that is not a good idea. We loved Bangkok, from the temples, to the rooftop bars, to the markets, the culture is so rich. Ed and I love the hustle and bustle that big cities bring, so we took advantage of our time in Thailand.

 

Day One:

We landed in Bangkok at about 4 am! From the airport we took a taxi to our hotel and we checked in at about 4:30 am. We were too antsy to sleep, especially since we had spent most of the time hibernating while on the plane. So we freshened up and left the hotel around 6 am to begin our adventure.

Surprisingly, I didn’t have an itinerary planned, but we had mapped out what we wanted to see. As we were walking to our first destination, we ran into a taxi driver, Mr. Saifon. I told him I wanted to go to the Grand Palace, he then showed us a brochure of places he could take us. I saw a market on the list then asked him if he could take us  to the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market. Running into Mr.Saifon was one of the greatest blessings of the trip, we ended up having him as our personal driver for most of the day, and he only charged us $30 and we tipped him well!

Stop 1: Damnoen Saduak Floating Market, wow this was one of the most iconic markets I’ve ever visited. It is pretty far from the city of Bangkok, about an hour and a half, taking a personal taxi like we did is the most optimal way. When we got there, our taxi driver arranged us to purchase our ride through the market. Make sure to bring cash with you, or ask your boat driver to stop for you. This market is a bit more pricey than most of Thailand, but you pay for the experience. There are also excursions you can stop and do while at the market, we chose to visit a settlement of women that wear brass neck coils around their necks to elongate them. There are also beautiful temples you can stop at, just make sure your shoulders and knees are covered.

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Here is some of the food we got at the floating markt , the icecream was soooo good, I wanted seconds. Also we HAD to get pad thai for our firs meal in Thailand.

 

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Stop 2: Mr. Saifon took us to grab lunch at a random but very cute outdoor restaurant, I probably will never find this place or Mr.Saifon again unfortunately 😦

 

Stop 3: Maeklong Railway Market

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I had seen this market photographed on Instagram and also asked Mr. Saifon if he could take us there. The market sits on the side of train tracks, the train goes by every so often about 8 times a day. We were lucky to arrive at a good time to walk the whole market, drink some coconuts, and watch the madness unfold. A bell will sound off and you will see all of the shops bring everything in and make way for the train to come. We made sure to get a good spot to see the action happen. This market was best to buy fruit, vegetables, and drinks! I bought my favorite fruit, which I can’t find everywhere in the U.S…lychee!

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Finally, after spending about 6 hours with Mr.Saifon, we returned to our hotel in Bangkok and got ready for the nighttime.

Bangkok is well known for their elegant rooftop bars with the best views of the city, we decided to have dinner at one called Red Sky Bar. We dined like Kings and Queens and it was so inexpensive (thank you to all that gifted us cash for our honeymoon, you made this possible!)

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Day Two

For day two we decided to stay local and explore all the beautiful sights on foot. I wanted to ride a Tuk Tuk really bad, but heard to be cautious because of all the scams. We kind of got suckered into one, he took a picture of us, and then we realized he was a scam so we jumped out and set out on foot, afterall more walking means more room for food later.

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Our first stop was The Grand Palace. We purchased the self directed audio guide tour and walked around. Make sure you dress appropriately if you want to enter the Temples. I had to buy pants outside the Palace, and wore a kimono to cover my shoulders.

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After the Grand Palace, we stopped for some Thai food and then headed over to our next stop; Wat Arun. We took the ferry boat over to Wat Arun and explored its beauty.

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We wanted to check out another rooftop bar but were not dressed appropriately since we had left the hotel at 9am and had been exploring on foot all day. We stopped at a department store, and I used some makeup samples to freshen up….lol ratchet. Ed bought a cheap dress shirt from a street vendor, I managed to roll down my shorts to an appropriate length, ed wore my temple pants, we checked out backpack in, and they surprisingly let us in, talk about a story we will always remember.

This was my favorite rooftop bar for sure! The cocktails were delicious and the views were phenomenal, especially at the time we went.

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We ended the night by walking the notorious Kkao San Road. We had street food for dinner and tried the best deserts Nutella Roti.

 

Time to back our bags because we are headed to beautiful Chiang Mai next! Look out for part two and three on the blog!

My Experience Doing a Juice Cleanse (Recipes Included)

**I want to preface this by saying, I am NOT encouraging a juice cleanse onto anybody. This is simply my experience with a Juice Detox/Cleanse/Fast, whatever you want to call it. If you are offended by this and the content, simply don’t waste you time with negativity. This fast is not for everyone, you should have significant knowledge of nutrition before proceeding. There are many benefits to a juice cleanse, I’m not going to get into the detail of that, you can easily find the information on the web **

 

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I also want to say that everyone’s experience is different and everyone’s body reacts differently as well. I enjoyed the 3 day cleanse, I’ve done it as a reset twice. You will loose weight and tighten up. Personally I wouldn’t mind using this tactic to prep for something like  Vegas or a trip full of bathing suits. You will gain the weight back if you are not responsible with your eating after. Also, your skin will glow and feel so bright because of all the nutrients you take in.

 

After talking with a couple at my part time job, that gave me insight onto this cleanse, I decided to do my research. I watched over 10 youtube videos, read about 10 articles, and read through forums. This is pretty typical of me when I discover something new. I love watching youtube vlogs because I feel they are more raw and show you the daily step by step. Some videos did discourage me, and made me think this was going to be impossible and difficult, however I found this to be quite simple (after conquering your mind). I will say that this process was MUCH easier with my husband by my side doing it as well, and helping with preparation and juicing.

 

WE JUICED EVERYTHING OURSELVES. Yes this was extremely demanding, and cleaning the juicer is the worst part lol. If you juice everything yourself it is way more economical than buying a cleanse directly. However, I know most people don’t have time or a juicer, I have recommended Pressed Juicery’s cleanses to friends and they have enjoyed that as well. I don’t have a fancy juicer either, it is rather cheap from Amazon but it got the job done.

 

Here is the Juicer we used!

 

I found most of my recipes through Pinterest. I aimed for juices that contained mostly vegetables and only one fruit or sometimes two to sweeten it up. It is really easy for someone to use a bunch of fruits because they taste the best, however that would be too much sugar and not beneficial. If anything the excessive sugar would make you extremely thirsty.

Water Consumption: When you are juicing you MUST MUST MUST drink a lot of water. I drink a gallon of water a day on the regular. When I was juicing, I found myself feeling more thirsty than ever, I would listen to my body and drink more than one gallon. I also drank Liquid I.V electrolytes and that curbed my thirst instantly.

Activity Levels:  I read many contrasting opinions, some people say not to workout when juicing. Others say to do something like light cardio, walking, or yoga. I messaged a friend who had juiced several times about this. She told me to listen to my body, workout, yet take it easy and make sure to consume a juice an hour before. On my first cleanse I went to spin each of the three days, I avoiding lifting because I didn’t want to feel lightheaded.

Sleep: The most essential part of a cleanse! I got my 8 hours of sleep each night, which only happens for me when I am on breaks from my education job. I will admit I woke-up extremely tired the second and third day of the cleanse. On the 4th day (regular non juicing day), I woke-up feeling like I had gotten hit by a truck, I felt really sluggish and my body felt heavy, I laid in bed for another hour.

I did consume half an avocado each night! I did this to ensure my body was getting some sort of healthy fats. This could also be done with Omega 3’s and fish oil. I enjoyed eating my avocado with some lime and pink himalayan sea salt.

 

How Much Juice: Pressed Juicery’s cleanse kit gives you 6 juices daily. I tried to model my consumption in a similar manner, except we did about 5 juices daily.  At night, instead of a juice, we would do a Banana and Almond Milk as a drink. We also drank coconut water, and sparkling water throughout the day.

 

Here are pictures of some of the juices we drank. I juiced for two people at a time, that is how much produce we used. I also added coconut water to fill the mason jars to the top!

 

JUICE 1: My favorite! We sprinkled chia seeds for extra nutrition. The chia seeds get gooeey and taste good in the juice.

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JUICE 2: Apple, Carrots, Turmeric, Oranges, Lemon (didn’t end up using the pineapple)

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Juice 3: Beets, Carrots, Apple, Lemon, Ginger & Turmeric

this juice is great to take before a workout because beets may help blood flow and exercise ability. Beets are very prone to stain, so drink this one with a straw.

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Juice Not Pictured: Carrot, Tomato, Bell Pepper, Lemon Juice… this was more of a savory juice.

 

 

 

Here’s a snapshot of some of the groceries we got for our juices.

Some of my staples for Juicing: Cucumbers, Celery, Carrots, Power Greens Mix, Kale, Ginger, Lemon, Turmeric, Beets, Apple, Pineapple, Oranges, Grapefruits.

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The key to survive a juice cleanse, it to ensure you’re getting proper nutrients through the fruits and vegetables you’re consuming, stay hydrated, and consume a juice periodically. Since I am someone who practices intermittent fasting, I did this while juicing and I did not feel starved, if anything practicing IF helped me adhere to the juices even when working at a Mexican food restaurant.

 

If you have any questions, ask below! or message me on IG @JessMarquezz, I would love to help and answer any questions. & Remember to ALWAYS do your OWN research before implementing something in your life.

 

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Christmas Date Ideas in Southern California

Tis the Season! I love Christmas, I’m the kind of person that envisions Christmas right when Halloween is over. I love the lights, decorations, vibes, everything about Christmas. From the smell of my Christmas tree walking into my house, to the classic movies we watch every year. I have compiled 5 Christmas date activities worthy of checking out this holiday season.

Ice Skating at Hotel Del Coronado

Location: Coronado / Cost: $30 online $35 in person

IMG_1781Iceskating is a must during the holiday season. There are so many ice skating rinks all over Southern California worth visiting, but my personal favorite is at the Hotel Del Coronado. The rink is spacious, and the quality of the skates is great. I love skating here because you are skating by the sea, the ocean and palm trees are in the background….only in California! The hotel is iconic and worth exploring while you’re there.

 

Mission Inn Festival of Lights

Location: Riverside / Cost: Free

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Although the Mission Inn festival of lights is not that big, it is such a beautiful display of lights and very romantic and cute to visit. The hotel is also very historic and worth visiting. There are also a lot of cute outdoor christmas shops and spots to get hot chocolate and snacks.

Tip: Visit the Riverside Food Lab when you’re there, its a 2 minute walk from the Mission Inn, save your appetite and grab dinner!

 

L.A Zoo Lights

Location: Los Angeles / Cost: Value Night $15, Premium Night $ 22

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So much fun! Lots of walking and intricate light displays. I’ve only been here once but each year it keeps getting bigger and better.

 

Christmas on the Farm & Bainbridge Circle

Location: Peltzer Winery (Temecula), Bainbridge Circle (Murrieta)

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Believe it or not, Temecula has high Christmas spirts. There are so many different christmas stop spots. Two of my favorite are Peltzer Winery and Bainbridge Circle. Peltzer Winery has an Ice Skating rink and has a ton of festive activities for all ages.

Bainbridge has been a tradition for some time, Ed and I have gone together the past 8 years, this will be our ninth…wow. You can tune your radio to the designated radio station and drive through it, or find parking and walk around the magical street. There is a lot of traffic due to the popularity so be patient and don’t forget your Christmas spirit when visiting.

 

Here are some other recommendations I’ve seen, but have not had a chance to do! Comment below any of your favorite ones worth visiting, even in other states!

 

-Enchanted @ Descanso Gardens

-Moonlight Festival @ LA Arboretum

-Newport Beach Boat Parade

-Queen Mary Christmas

 

 

The Ultimate Guide to La Riviera Maya (Cancun, Playa Del Carmen, & Tulum)

IMG_3096La Riviera Maya is hands down my favorite place to vacation to, because there is so much to see and do. I have been fortunate enough to travel there a couple times, and every time I leave, I am left wishing to come back and do something we didn’t have the opportunity to do. One of the best parts of traveling to this region, is the water. Cancun is located in the Caribbean Sea, so the water is warm and turquoise. There are parts of the Riviera Maya, where the water is nicer than others, the best water is closer to the Islands, such as Isla Mujeres & Cozumel.  Aside from the ocean, the Yucatan peninsula is home to more than 6,000 cenotes, each one is unique and an adventure visiting. The adventures are endless in La Riviera Maya, and this place is great to travel to for families, friends, but my personal favorite is with my significant other. This post is going to highlight some of the must see & do things while in the Riviera Maya, as well as food recommendations.

I’ll be moving down this list region by region geographically! When you fly in, you fly into Cancun so it is typically better to work your way down from Cancun -> Playa Del Carmen -> Tulum.

Getting Around: Renting a car is the best option if you are up for driving in Mexico. You can either rent a car for your whole stay or for certain days of your trip. If you are driving in Mexico, it is imperative to make safety your priority. If you would rather not worry about driving there are private shuttles which can take you around. If you are staying in Cancun & Playa Del Carmen, a car is not necessary at all, you can walk to most places or take the local bus or collectivos. You can also take ADO busses from Cancun, to Playa Del Carmen, and to Tulum. Make sure to check their schedule at the station to plan your trip accordingly! Tulum is also easy to move around in, the best way is through bike rental!

Cancun

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Many people insist on skipping Cancun, because of how oversaturated it is with tourism, I strongly disagree and love visiting the area. Cancun actually has way nicer beaches than Tulum does. Tulum is more for the Instagram and Cancun is more for the nightlife/ beaches. Cancun is also located north in the Yucatan peninsula and it is most optimal to visit certain tourist spots from this area.

Chichen Itza

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Known as one of the 7 wonders of the modern world, Chichen Itza is a must visit. In my opinion, the most optimal way to visit Chichen Itza, is through a tour. The tour company will pick you up and take you home. They often pair this with a visit to one of the most beautiful cenotes.

Cenote Ik-Kil

This is my favorite cenote to visit. It’s huge and super refreshing, it is also very deep, so if you are not comfortable treading water, I recommend you grab a life jacket. You can also jump into the cenote from various altitudes if you are seeking some adrenaline.

Coco Bongo

You can’t visit Cancun and not go to Coco Bongo, the experience is worth every penny. It is not like a regular club, its an immersive experience that blows your mind. The performers go all out, there is acrobats, stunts, live covers of favorites from Queen, Michael Jackson and many more. The ticket also includes open bar so make sure to get there early and get a good spot because it does get packed.

Isla Mujeres

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If there is one place of the Riviera Maya, I could go back to today, it would be Isla Mujeres. Since it is an island, the water is the best in the region. The island is beautiful, I recommend staying there for a night, you can find many affordable hotels and air bnbs. Isla Mujeres is accessed from Cancun from the multiple ferry ports, the ferry is cheap and a nice ride itself (as long as its not raining lol). Now the first thing you need to do when you arrive to Isla, is to rent a golf cart. Pack a day bag and wear your bathing suits, you can drive through the whole island and make pit stops to hop into the beach. There are even bar stops along the way for you to grab a cold cerveza or coco. Playa Norte is the most popular region on Isla and has the best sunsets.

Where We’ve Stayed

-Real Inn Cancun

-Hotel Bahia Chac Chi (Isla Mujeres)

Both of these hotels are super affordable yet still nice and enjoyable!

Restaurants

While were in Cancun, we typically do tours which feed you, so I really don’t have many places to recommend for eating except one.

Mextreme- Located on the strip where the nightlife is, this place has really good mexican food and even better margaritas. The restaurant is also super fun and has live music and the workers get into it by stacking drinks on their head.

and now we work our way down the Peninsula to……….

 

Playa Del Carmen

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Playa del Carmen is definitely worth visiting, especially if you love shopping. They have a main strip with a ton of restaurants, bars, and shops, the decor is beautiful especially at night with all the twinkle lights. Playa del Carmen is the most centrally located and is a good spot to stay to visit the most in the area. Tulum is only an hour away by car and, the island of Cozumel is also a ferry ride away. The best part of staying in Playa Del Carmen, is how close the excursion parks are, such as Xel-Ha, Xcaret, and Xplor. Finally, Playa Del Carmen is also close to many beautiful cenotes worth visiting.

Getting around Playa Del Carmen via Collectivo

My best recommendation to visit the cenotes/Akumal, is to take the collectivos from Playa Del Carmen. I should explain what this is, a collectivo is a local shuttle van that picks up people in Playa Del Carmen to take them to various stops along the highway which ends up at Tulum. The locals take these collectivos everyday to get to work at the various resorts along the highway, so they are super safe, just be aware of their times of operation so you do not end up stranded. The collectivos are cheap make sure you have small pesos in hand. Collectivos can be found on Calle 2 between 20th and 25th avenues. 

Xel-Ha

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Xel-Ha, if I could live here, I would. The ticket comes with all you can drink all you can eat. Did I mention, it’s all you can drink ALCOHOL? The buffet food is also really delicious. This park blows any disney resort out of the water. From the snorkeling, lazy river, cliff jumping, cenotes, and much more, this places is for everyone. There are even hammocks for you to take a nap in post alcohol binge.

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This is the parent of the parks, its huge and best for families. There is a beautiful cultural show that will marvel the beauty of the Yucatan culture. To be honest, I haven’t been to this park yet, Ed and I always say we will come back to it when we have kids.

5th Avenue

The best shopping in La Riviera Maya. From local artisan crafts, to chain stores like forever 21, you are bound to find your perfect souvenirs here. Pro-tip: buy your souvenirs at the local wal mart, you will find the exact same things at cheaper prices (we were told by locals).

Akumal Bay

Have you ever wanted to swim with sea turtles? This is the place to go. We took a collectivo for a couple pesos from Playa Del Carmen to get to Akumal bay. We also bought our own snorkel mask and stick from Wal Mart and brought it with us to swim with the turtles. You do not need a tour to do this, and you can save money by doing it on your own. Swimming with the turtles was a beautiful experience, just be cognizant and respectful of their environment.

Cenote Jardin Del Eden

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 Cenote Jardin Del Eden, is actually the first stop of 3 cenotes worth visiting. It costs 5$ to get in, if you have your own snorkel gear, bring it with you to see the fish and underwater life. You can cliff jump into this cenote & it has some of the most beautifully colored water.

Other favorite cenotes to visit that are close by, Cenote Azul, Cenote Chickin Ha.

Where We’ve Stayed Before

-La Pasion Hotel Boutique- WE LOVE THIS HOTEL and it is also super affordable, just researching the name right now and the hotel costs 50$ a night. It is in a perfect location super close to all the walking shops and restaurants. It has a rooftop pool, rooftop bar, and another pool in the hotel. You also get free breakfast (sit down, restaurant style), and the amenities of the hotel are pretty sweet.

-Grand Mayan at Vidanta- I only stayed here because my mom has a timeshare. This resort is freaking awesome. Its huge and there is SO much to do, it probably would take two days to cover and explore everything this resort offers. One of the best things this Hotel offers, is its proximity with Cirque Du Soleil, where you can watch Joya! We loved watching the show here, it was much more affordable than Vegas and you can order packages where you you get drinks and appetizers.

Restaurants in Playa Del Carmen ( we have two favorites that we always make it a mission to visit to when were in the area).

-El Oasis Mariscos Calle 12 (best seafood ever) So many options to choose from and it is not that expensive

-El Fogon (there are various locations) best place to go for quality mexican food like tacos, especially el pastor.

and finally we head down to Tulum!

 

Tulum

 

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Tulum is every avid Instagrammer’s heaven, people go for the aesthetic and are drawn in by beautiful photos shared online. Because of how popular it is, this region is also much more expensive but it depends on which side of the town you are on . Typically most tourists go to the Tulum Hotel Zone, and if you are only there for the day, this is the region you want to visit and stay at. If you are in Tulum for an extended amount of time and are looking for a much more affordable stay with gorgeous AirBnB’s look into staying in Tulum Town. The only difficulty with staying in Tulum Town, is getting to and from the Hotel Zone where most of the attractions are located. Some of the airbnb’s do offer bikes which make traveling to the Hotel Zone a fun adventure.

here are some of my favorite spots to visit in Tulum

Azulik Hotel

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This hotel is so dreamy, I dream of staying there one day. For now i’ll just visit the beautiful attractions they offer. In this hotel you can find Kin Toh (restaurant), Sfer Ik (immersive art gallery that changes), and suspension bridge walkway at Azulik.

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Pro-Tip: Dining at Kin-Toh is pretty pricey and tbh the food was alright in my opinion. I did enjoy their cocktails and & bread they brought, but the food was kind of average. It is extremely expensive to dine on the nets and birds nests, but most people stop in for a drink at their bar, hop on the net for a quick picture and head out.

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Matcha Mama

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By far the best Acai Bowls i’ve ever had! They sell Acai bowls, smoothies, coffee, matcha, juices, and my personal favorite immunity boosters made out of juiced ginger. I love riding bikes here, and making this a pitstop. Aside from all the delicious food options, it makes for a perfect picture stop.

 

Coco Tulum

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One of my favorite stops for a drink and some beautiful beach views. This is also a great place for groups, in particular bachelorette parties. It has an all white aesthetic and has a great vibe to it.

Other Places worth Visiting in Tulum

-Casa Malca (Pablo Escobar’s Mansion)- Been dying to go here, last two times I was in Tulum it didn’t work out. Super cute and trendy for photos, check out the restaurant so you feel comfortable hanging around since it is a hotel.

-Coba Ruins ( you can climb these ruins, further away so you definitely need a car)

-Tulum Ruins (beautiful & by the water, there is also a trail that leads to a beach, can be accessed by bike coming from the hotel zone)

-Grand Cenote

-Cenote Calavera

 

 

 

 

since this blog is getting long, I will cap it off here. There are honestly SO many places to visit, you will love any region you travel to. These are just some of the highlights from the past times I’ve been. There is still so much I am yearning to see, I can’t wait to go back.