Over the next couple of posts I will be sharing my experience with everyone on my cruise to Cuba. I've been wanting to go to Cuba for a while but was hesitant. Maybe it was because I didn't have the time to plan the perfect Cuba getaway. Maybe it was because there wasn't enough information or all the information I read was conflicting. Some people love it and some people hated it. When my family decided to take a cruise to Cuba I jumped at the opportunity. I mean everything would be planned out and I wouldn't have to worry about anything other than how to spend my days in Havana. Well I started to look things up and found very limited info on this topic as well.
I decided to share my experience with everyone in hopes it will help you plan your vacation to Cuba. Please note if you are from the US be sure to check out the updated rules on travel to Cuba. I went on a people to people visa but at the time of this post that is no longer an option.
FI cannot explain why it took me so long but I finally got a chance to spend a weekend in Montreal. It's always been on my places to visit and my friends talk about it all the time but for some reason I never made any plans to visit. Well that has changed. We decided to go on a road trip and it was awesome.
So I used to live in Miami. Everyone asks me why did I leave. Well because New York City is home. But after over 10 years being back in New York it is nice to visit Miami as a tourist. I will blame Ricky Martin for my latest infatuation with Miami. Vente Pa’ Ca is my fave song right now and the music video makes me want to dance in a pool with 100 of my closest friends in Miami. Hehe. I didn't exactly get to dance in a pool with Ricky Martin but I did have a blast sipping Rosé.
So can we talk about the hotel I stayed at for the weekend. It is called The Plymouth and I loved it.
Our second day in Sonoma started out with a morning mud bath. Haha. True story. DH was thrilled. I almost threw up because it was so hot. We drive up to Calistoga because I have been dying to try a mud bath. It was an experience. Not sure if the experience will repeat itself however I did feel great afterwards. We were on the red eye that evening so we started driving back down to San Fran stopping at a few wineries on the way. We ended up visiting three wineries where I drank and DH, who was driving, supervised. I am not sure how fun that was for him but he is awesome for participating. Needless to say I slept the whole way home. On the plane. On the train. On the bus (I think there was a bus). Monday was a bit brutal but it was all worth it because we had an amazing time in Sonoma.
What do you do when you have a $500 airline credit to burn? Well you book three weekend trips of course. This weekend I'm heading to Miami but a couple of weekends ago we spent an amazing 48 hours in Sonoma. We visited a total of 7 wineries over the weekend. (I was suffering come Monday). The first day we did a wine trolley which I would definitely recommend. We had the opportunity to visit four wineries. All were beautiful. I of course have my faves. The weather was perfect and we had such a great time that we feel asleep as soon as we got back to our cottage and missed our dinner reservation. Oops.
Why do I look so angry? Because it's hot and I don't like when it is hot. Haha. At least I don't like having to dress up for work when it is 9 million degrees. When it is hot I like to go to the beach or the pool or maybe just curl up in my pjs with the AC on blast. So let's talk about the fact that I am pretty sure I bought this dress almost 15 years ago. I paid about 10 bucks for it and it is still going strong. I LOOOVEE this dress. It is great for a hot summer day, throw on a blazer and you are work ready.
Dress: Old, No Name Similar Here or Here
Blazer: Old, No Brand Similar Here or Here
Shoes: Ralph Lauren, Similar Here or Here
Sunnies: Michael Kors, Similar Here
The fact that I love to travel is no surprise however how I can manage to afford it is a mystery to some so today I decided to share with you some of my favorite travel sites that I have used in my hunt for a deal.
So Kayak is not a big secret however it is usually the first place I go when I am looking to book a flight. Kayak allows you to set the times you want to take off, land, how many stops you want and even gives you the ability to check flights a day earlier or later. I usually fly Jetblue and am willing to pay the extra money for it sometimes however sometimes there are deals that are too good to pass up and Kayak is a great resource when I quickly want to look into price options for a specific time and place.
This has become my new favorite. This app is great for people that are flexible with their travel. If you want to go on vacation but don't know where to go enter your home airport, destination everywhere and time frame whole year and the app scans flights for you all over the world that you can view by country and by price. This app is great for planning holiday weekends. For example this year we had a four day weekend for New Years Eve. I ran a search and found flights to Denmark direct for $400 roundtrip. Unfortunately DH was not very interested. It is a great tool if you are flexible with travel. It also a great way to see what time of year is cheapest to visit your favorite place.
Did you know that you can cruise for under $30 a day. It is a true story. It has been over a year since I have been on a cruise but it is one of my favorite ways to travel. I love cruises. The ships nowadays are amazing and it is great way to see a lot of places in a short period of time. Cruisesheet is a very simple site however it is a great resources to find cheap cruises. Especially if you are open to last minute deals. I have recommended this site to a lot of friends and they love it.
I just recently used this site for my birthday vacation and was able to score a trip to Jamaica at a five star resort for under $1000 per person for 9 days. This is an auction style site which can be intimidating for some however the great thing about this site is that you can work with one of their concierges to plan your trip. It was a pretty easy process and I was able to save a ton of money. It is great way to stay at luxury resorts without the luxury price
I will never book a hotel without checking it out on Tripadvisor. It is a great resource for reviewers on hotels and it has helped me to decide if the deal I am about to buy is really in fact a deal. It doesn't matter how much money you save if you end up in a dump. Tripadvisor is also a great place to get information on your destinations. I always plan my own excursions when I am away and the forums have been a great resource for me. I highly recommend everyone visit Tripadvisor prior to booking anything to make sure you are making the right decision.
Do you have any favorite travel site you like to visit? What has been your best travel deal to date?
I am slowly getting back to my active lifestyle which is always a difficult task in the dead of winter when it is too cold to workout outdoors and the gyms are packed with people trying to kick start their new years resolution. Today I am taking it back to San Francisco where we had an opportunity to take a day trip out to Muir Woods for some hiking. I not a big hiker or so I thought. Initially I thought it would be a fun walk in the woods. That walk turned out to be much more of a work out than I anticipated. Thank god for the jetted tub back in my hotel room. If you have never been to Muir Woods you must go. It is absolutely beautiful. These pictures do it no justice. I have been to a lot of cool places in my lifetime but I have to say Muir Woods definitely is up there on my list of faves. I am hoping to try this hiking thing again once the weather warms up. I am a fan of a cold but I am not a fan of getting lost in the woods in the cold so I will reserve my hiking adventures for warm sunny days.
Location: Muir Woods and Marin Headlands
What I Wore:
Jacket: Uniqlo. Similar here
Shirt: Unknown Similar here
Jeans: JBrand Available here
Shoes: Toms Available here ( I DO NOT recommend wearing these for hiking. I forgot my sneakers at home)
Scarf: Street Vendor Similar here
The best thing out living in New York City is being able to plan a last minute weekend trip to places like Washington DC. With our Bolt Bus tickets in hand we decided to head down to DC to see the sights. DC can be as expensive as you want it to be. For me I am always looking for a deal so here is how I did DC for less.
Bus Tickets- If you stalk the Bolt Bus website you may be lucky enough to find dollar fares. The sooner you plan the better chance you have of getting the deals however I have been lucky enough to find them even last minute. I always start my planning here.
Hotel- Something that most people do not know is that getting a hotel on a weekend in DC for under $100 is actually easy. Most of the hotels in the area are business hotels which means that everyone checks out on Friday and doesn't come back to Monday. This means you can take advantage of deal on those hotels. I use sites such as hotels.com or kayak.com to find deals. I also always look for refundable rooms. If for some reason I find a great deal before I figure out my transportation I can snatch it up without having to worry about losing money on my reservation.
Sightseeing- Most of the sights in DC are free so there is no need to really have a big budget for this. Download a free walking tour from Frommers or check out a DC guide from the library and you are good to go. I almost never hire a tour guide. There are so many resources out there that you can DIY and it is a lot of fun to do it this way as well. I personally think tours are BOOOORRRIING.
Food- This is the most important right. So the whole time we were in DC we followed two rules. Booze Brunch and Happy Hour There are deals can be had. Here are some of my finds:
Irish Whiskey Public House-They do dollar champagne bottles for brunch. (Yeah it is cheap champagne but who cares). For about 15 bucks for person you will get a filling meal and the next best thing to an unlimited boozy brunch. This is how we started out our Saturday Morning before sightseeing
Acadiana- They do a great happy hour at the bar that has deals on both food and drink. You can do drinks and small plates for five bucks each which is a great deal at this top rated restaurant in DC. The best part if they offer happy hours on Sundays from 4pm-9pm.
Boqueria-I love this place They also do a happy hour from 4-7pm where most drinks and small plates are about five bucks.
Now let's talk clothes. For a day of sightseeing I wanted to keep comfortable in a pair of Seychelles Ankle Boots, and my fave J Brand Black Skinny Jeans. I tried to dress it up with a silk button down that I could take into the evening without have to go back to the hotel to change.
You are probably wondering what a bull has to do with food. Well it really doesn't. I just like the picture. We had the opportunity to spend a long weekend in Dallas and we spent the better part of our time eating. I love food and the food was soooo good. Our first stop was a place featured on Food Paradise for having the best bacon. Next time you are in Dallas stop by The All Good Cafe for breakfast. Not only was breakfast budget friendly but it was sooo good. Who doesn't love bacon.
After breakfast we decided to do some sightseeing to build up an appetite for our next stop. This is where the bulls come in. I think we were just trying to kill time and not be greedy. After going to the very first Neiman Marcus (and walking out empty handed) we decided it was time for lunch.
For lunch we decided to go to the Pecan Lodge which has been voted best barbecue and I 100% agree. We had brisket, ribs, pulled pork and macaroni and cheese of course. I could not stop eating. I did not want to stop eating. It was the most amazing barbecue in the world. My mouth is watering just thinking about it right now.
After taking a nap (slipping into a food coma) we ventured back out for some Mexican Food at Pepe's and Mito's. The dish to get is the Sopa de Albondiga (Meatball Soup). It was yummy. Way better than my entree to be honest. By that point I think we were all foodied out. Let's just say I have been on a bit of a food break since that day in Dallas. Have you been to Dallas? What are your favorite restaurants to visit while there?
**All photos taken with my camera phone hence the quality**
Location: Dallas, Texas
Top: NY & Company Kinda Similar here
Shorts: Old Navy Available here
Sandals: Crocs Available here
Jacket: Old Navy Similar here
Who is Taima?
I am a native New Yorker that is addicted to travel and fashion. Wealth is not measured by the amount of money you have but by your life experiences.
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