My baby sister, Natalie. I feel lucky I get to travel with her. Even though we argue, annoy each other and pick on each other from time to time, I know that we laugh, love and support each other more than anything else. At the end of the day I know that I can’t do without her. My little babe.
I remember back when we were little girls, I hated when our mom would dress us up in the same outfits. I was a child desperate for her independence, and that went all the way down to the color of my shoe ties. Flash forward to the present day, and here we are, Natalie and I, wearing the same Carolina K dress in different colors, but purposefully. Oh man can things change over time. It goes to show that maturity really is a thing that can fully come to fruition. I’m sure mama is proud 🙂
Love you Nat Nat 🙂 Photos taken in Carmel, California one peaceful morning. xx
These past week has just flown by like no other! I’m surprised that I’m still in one piece at this point! My late nights catching up on work turned into mornings far too quickly. Maybe it’s the jet lag, but come one . . . the difference between Los Angeles and NYC isn’t thaaaaaat much. I came back from a lazy west coast life without a chance to ease into the NYC grind once again, and the deadlines are overwhelming me just a bit. The days just don’t seem long enough. And it’s only been a week, and already I feel like I need a vacation. But then again I’m heading back to Los Angeles for most of next week for work, and well, the coordinating of my life has been quite hectic. I’m always trying to fuel my creativity, read things and watch things and do things that make me feel inspired so I can keep creating the type of content that inspires others, see my friends, talk to my family back home . . . and then all of a sudden, I stop and think woah, it’s past midnight. The relaxed vibes one supposedly gets after a visit from Cali went straight out the window as soon as I landed back in NYC. Not too hard to imagine for those who live in this city and understand its pace. My to-do list for this year (not to mention this month) is insane, and I’m working on editing it down to something at least semi-reasonable. So it makes me start to ponder all sorts of different things . . . sometimes jumping out a window (just kidding), or jumping off this cliff featured in these photos (kidding once again), just curling up into a black hole over the weekend and not returning the calls of any of my friends, or just giving into my frustrations and giving up (but no, I would actually never do that).
So here’s the question I know we all are asking. How do we keep our cool when work seems to never end? This question in particular is a very hard one for a blogger to answer because for us, work and real life overlap a ton. It’s inescapable, that feeling of 24/7 being on duty. In a way, for us, life itself is the focus of our work. Or at least the creating of a perspective of life, if that makes more sense. Sometimes I ask myself, where should the line be drawn? But it’s hard sometimes to even draw a line because I enjoy what I do so much. Taking photos of things in my own personal life; I feel the need to share them with others because of the beautiful feeling they give me. Sharing my outfits on the internet started as a hobby to help me feel more inspired with the way I dress. Although it is now a job that I fully support myself with, in a way it still it feels like a hobby. But when things start piling up, and every detail is overanalyzed, everything has the potential to feel a bit too much like work. And that’s when the magic is lost. I want to share things that I am passionate about and that will inspire others. But at the same time, there come opportunities where it feels more like a business deal, and being organic can be a struggle. But that just means being more creative. I’ve come to learn that there are some sacrifices one must make to support a business. Now I see it as less of a struggle, and more of a challenge. It’s hard striking a balance, that’s for sure. Some days I wish social media was totally on my back burner, and then there are some days I can go go go, post post post. Energies fluctuate, and especially so with those who share things online. It’s because what we do can be so personal. And I think that that exactly is the answer to the question. To know where to draw the line when the division between digital and IRL become too blurry. To stand back to gain a little more perspective on the bigger picture of the life that isn’t always in front of the lens.
Let this post serve as a reminder to focus on what is right there in front of you as much as I can, even when the digital screen can be a tempting distraction. The last thing you want is your life to turn into Episode 1, Season 3 of Black Mirror (watch it on Netflix, it’s super relatable to today’s digital age world!!!). I felt it paralleled so much of reality, especially for someone like me. As a blogger, it’s hard to not let things like numbers, likes, comments, and comparisons affect me. I fall into the gimic of it every once in a while. It’s inevitable. It doesn’t always make me feel like the best person, and so I place my focus elsewhere. Onto things and people who made me get into this from the get go. I have found that the best way for me to express myself most truly on this digital space is to live things fully in the real world. To give you all something more than just a pretty picture. To tell better, heartfelt stories. And that is my goal for 2017, to get better at telling stories that you want to listen to. My boyfriend actually is inspiring me to do that. Let’s see how that goes . . .
There’s something undeniably special about the California coastline, as you make your way towards Central California but not quite all the way north just yet. For me, it’s still close enough to home, but at the same time it feels like I’m transported lightyears away. It’s a quiet sort of loudness that is spoken by the crash of the waves just a few blocks away, the stars that seem to twinkle brighter than ever, and the reliable rainfall that calls for an early night in. That’s exactly what I think about when I visit Carmel-by-the-Sea, a little escapist town on the coast north of the famously fantastic Big Sur. This place sounded like the perfect city to start the first day of the new year in. My family and I, we just came out of a pretty crazy and busy holiday week, and we weren’t looking for a party or a town that would keep us up all night. No, were looking for some peace and quiet, and a whole lot of nature. A drive up the California coast was exactly what we were in pursuit of. And here at Hotel Carmel in the heart of Carmel-by-the-Sea, we found a gem of a spot to spend three delightfully slow days in. Hotel Carmel feels like home. Slightly bohemian in style, but with a minimalistic nature that suits everyone’s tastes I would assume. As soon as I walked into the front lobby, I was warmly greeted by a rustic brown leather couch covered with Southwestern style pillows. The wood of the decor was earthy and warm all around the innermost portion of the lobby. I felt like I was transported back in time to a place where the fireplace is always lit. The side of the lobby near the front windows was brighter and lighter, with shades of blue complementing white walls. It was a nod to the sea that was just a few blocks away I was pretty sure about that. Instantly, I felt like I could kick up my feet for however long that I pleased. Now that’s how a hotel should make one feel.
The rooms were spacious in just the right amount; simple yet modern feeling. My room had shuttered windows that allowed the morning light to stream in like a hazy dream. The bed was so warm and cozy that I forgot that it rained nearly the entire evening before. I always slept well to the sound to those drops. The rain, it’s a part of Carmel, and it’s the reason for its lush beauty. It’s the reason why Carmel is where one goes to find peace and comfort in the quieter things, like a good book on the deck outside of one’s room, a glass of red wine to be drunk long and slow (there’s complementary wine hour in the lobby every evening at 5:30pm), or a melodically paced walk down streets that seem to wind in circles but that bring you to surprises at every corner (like a jaw-dropping Spanish-tiled staircase or one of the most authentic bowls of pasta one could ever try outside of Italy). Really, Carmel-by-the-Sea is completely walkable, and we only used our car to drive farther south along the coast to Big Sur. It made it one of the most convenient and effortless of trips.
The friendliest of staff is always there to greet you. In the morning, a well-rounded continental breakfast awaits in the lobby for all guests before they start their morning adventures exploring Carmel and its neighboring cities. Hiking, swimming at the beach, going for a run, taking the dogs for a walk, getting inspired by the panoramic views along the coast. There’s so much to do and see. I think Carmel and its neighboring Big Sur are sure to bring out the photographer in every person. The simplicity of nature and its beauty is really what these places are all about. Below the lobby is a bar with good food owned by the hotel called Brophy’s Tavern. It’s a favorite of locals in the area!
One of my favorite parts of our stay at Hotel Carmel was the outdoor patio and fire pit, along with the intimate hot tub. It’s this hot tub and fire pit that we started conversations with tourists from all over the world, each having unique stories on what brought them to Carmel. Couples. Families. The lone traveler. As someone born and bred in California, I have always known of Carmel, but never really gave it a good chance because I always put other, more exotic places higher up on my t0-see list. I road tripped along the coast a few times, but always passed by Carmel! As I’ve gotten older, I’ve grown to appreciate more what is closer to home. What’s literally in my own backyard (or at least a 5 hour drive north of where I was born). I’m glad that I decided to explore more of what is more accessible within California during this trip home for the holidays. There is such an expansive array of landscapes and paces of life within this wonderful state, I can understand now why tourists come from all over the world to Carmel to see what all the mystery is about. Just about everyone we met at the hotel was on there way to or from San Francisco, and made sure that Carmel was the place to stop by on the way. That speaks loads. It looks like everyone is looking for a peaceful retreat on their international travels more often nowadays. And Big Sur, which I mentioned before. To rest ones eyes on the cliffs and rocks and green and sea in the way that it is meld together as it is in Big Sur, is to really understand what the meaning of what the word “meditative” is. The views easily calm as much as they excite the imagination. It’s a balance that is so unique to this part of the California coast.
Our stay at Hotel Carmel was magical to say the least. I left well-rested and recharged. Exactly what a new year should have us feeling like. Looking forward. Not dragging on what’s behind. I hope to be back very, very soon!! Thank you Hotel Carmel for our stay 🙂
This past year was a whirlwind of beautiful and delightful destinations. I feel like I’ve already spoken so much about what I’ve been grateful for in my self reflective blog posts from the past few months, that I felt like focusing instead on the places that I got to explore in the past 12 months. New places and old. With each place, I feel like I’ve built upon the foundation of myself. My independence and confidence heightened as more parts of the world entered my eyes and brain. My travel have given me a perspective that happened to just put everything in a place where there became no room for taking things for granted. My spontaneous trips have made even more pronounced the fact that taking chances can very well be worth the gamble. That no matter what, if you open your eyes and heart to what may seem strange and unknown, new places can seem like old friends in a very surprising way. The most amazing part is how different every place is from each other. Yet with time and energy spent enough, you can really find parts of yourself in each and every culture. What seems unlikely on the first day may become second nature by the third. But that adrenaline rush that comes with adventure . . . it’s priceless. I’ve fallen in love again with the city I grew up in. I visited Paris three times this past year, and no three visits have been the same at all. I learned that the world can be even more vibrant as the most abstract of art. That you can literally feel like you are walking in a painting. I traveled to keep from feeling sheltered. I traveled to find love. I traveled to find ambition. I traveled to see hope in new starts. I traveled to keep from getting bored. I traveled to hide from the cold. I traveled to escape work. I traveled for work. I traveled to reconnect with family. I traveled to take pictures. I traveled to head bang to bands I like. And bands that I dislike. I traveled for no darn reason at all. And I have come to find that any reason you have to travel, take it. And immerse yourself with full force. You’ll be surprised at all the parts of yourself you will become aware of that you never were aware of before. And that’s the most amazing part.
PARK CITY, UTAH
KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA
I always like to keep count of all the places I visit in a year. It makes me want to pinch myself. Here are some highlights from a few of my favorite travel destinations from the past year. You can look up these travels by entering the destination in my search bar at the top right hand corner of my blog.
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA
LA FORTUNA and PENINSULA PAPAGAYO, COSTA RICA
REIMS and PARIS, FRANCE
SASQUASH and VANCOUVER, CANADA
I hope your 2017 is full of love and motivation and confidence. Surround yourself with things that make you happy no matter what 🙂 xx