From Milan, With Love

Our final stop in our Italy-Greece trip was back where it all began. Milan, a fashion capital up there in the ranks with Paris, London and New York. A major component of Fashion Month, and I was there, in the middle of it all. My dream was to be able to catch a show during my visit, but during the planning, it just wasn’t possible to fit into our already packed schedule. So, I settled for the next best thing. A walk around the city, filled with art, history, food and just a little fashion.


Duomo di Milano

The Duomo di Milano is a Catholic Church in Milan, considered the 2nd largest cathedral in the world, is over 600 years old. You don’t even have to be religious to appreciate the incredible architecture of the structure and the awe-inspiring art that lies inside. With a whopping 3,400 statues, 135 gargoyles and 700 figures, plus the stained glass windows and paintings, the Gothic era church is truly impressive.

Louis Vuitton Time Capsule Exhibit

While we walked around the Piazza di Duomo, something caught my eye. There was a long line of people waiting to get into what seemed like an oddly placed square structured, that didn’t quite fit in with the rest of the architecture in the plaza. As we approached the entrance to the Museum by the Duomo, I realized it was what seemed to be a pop-up exhibit for the Louis Vuitton Time Capsule. And I was right! My husband rolled his eyes, but I promised I’d take him to the best Italian foodie experience that night if we could go see the exhibit after the church tour. 
In this traveling exhibit, Louis Vuitton’s story is told through an exclusive selection of one-of-a-kind objects from the Maison’s archives from 1854 to today.  Presented as a thematic itinerary, the exhibit celebrates the strong pioneering spirit that has characterized the Maison since its creation 165 years ago. Focusing on four fundamental aspects: inventions, travel, the art of preserving objects and the icons of the Maison, Time Capsule shows just how visionary Louis Vuitton has been in foreseeing travellers’ desires and needs as everyday means of transportation has drastically evolved over time.” – Time Capsule Exhibition in Milan
 “For this Italian edition, one of the special pieces on display is “Boîte Milano”, a unique trunk made for the International Exhibition of Decorative and Modern Arts of Paris in 1925.”

I was in awe! I was a little bummed that we didn’t get to visit the Fundazione di Prada, but I figured that was the most fashion my dear husband could take. We ended on a high note, visiting the one place that houses all things food in Milan, Eataly. It’s towering 4 floors packed with food to dine or to shop, wine as far as the eye can see and the best gelato in the city. I even found a fair trade, vegan chocolate scoop for myself. It was quite the experience. 


This takes us to the end of our wonderful trip. Next I’ll share a travel guide for you! Many have asked, so I’ll do my best to compile something very special. Until then, Ciao! Arriverderci!

From the Office to Holiday Happy Hour

If you’re bored of the same old button down/slacks combo for your office wear like me, it’s the perfect time to spruce it up with a fun skirt suit! This look is perfect to take you from work to the Office Holiday Party or Happy Hour down the street. I paired the suit with a turtle neck top that has a fun surprise in the sleeves, but can easily be hidden for that big reveal after office hours, and a pair of edgy white booties. The look can easily be more winter ready, with fun cream colored cable knit pattern tights. Don’t be afraid to play around with patterns, textures and even color! You’ll be turning heads at the office!

Español

Si ya te aburre el mismo atuendo de oficina de camisa de boton/pantalon de vestir como a mi, entonces es el momento perfecto de cambiar por un traje de falda! Este look esta perfecto para transicionar del trabajo a la fiesta de oficina o al Hora Feliz que te queda cerca. Lo combiné con una blusa de cuello tortuga, que trae una sorpresa en las mangas que se puede esconder debajo del saco para una gran revelación luego de horas de oficina, con un par de botas un poco atrevidas. El look se puede llevar mas para el invierno con un par de medias gruesas con patrón. No le temas a los patrones, texturas y hasta los colores! Serás la sensación de tu oficina!

What I wore | Llevaba puesto:

Double Breasted Plaid Blazer & Skirt: Shein
Leg of Mutton Sleeve Ribbed Knit Jumper: Shein
Syd Lace-up Heeled Boot: JustFab

Cyber Monday Sales at Shein & JustFab going on right now! Use my special code *PROMOTE on us.shein.com for an additional 15% on top of the current sale up to 90% off!

Photos

Location

Alamo City Studios

Viernes Verde | Green Friday

Post Thanksgiving haze, it’s time to start prepping for all the Holiday parties we’ll be attending. I personally don’t engage in the practice of waking up at the crack of dawn to brave the cold in endless lines and overwhelmed by crowds trying to catch those impossible deals. I’d much rather stay at home, enjoying lighter versions of leftovers, Holiday movies and maybe some online shopping (if the deals are actually good). What I’m definitely doing today is shopping my closet. Since I have the week off, I’ve been going through my closet to do some inventory on clothes I either haven’t worn ever or in the last year, been photographed in or styled in a certain way. I recently wore a dress to a Holiday party that no one had seen me in but those who celebrated last New Year’s Eve in, so I styled it differently with pointed toe shoes and slicked back hair. I received so many compliments, I thought I really don’t need more clothes, just new styling to old pieces. For the look in this post, I combined a top I had purchased for the Europe trip but never wore and slacks I bought last Christmas. The green bra and shoes are newer, though, but believe that I’ll be getting a ton of use from them this season. Restyling older pieces is the most sustainable way of shopping. It’s funny how people really think that I never repeat clothes, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Restyling has been my trick for so many years. Another sustainable shopping option is vintage, thrifting or shopping at consignment stores, I’ll go more in depth about that in a future post. For now, here’s a Holiday party look I put together, which can also be styled with a camisole under for a more conservative look.

Español

Luego de Acción de Gracias, ahora es el tiempo de prepararse para todas las fiestas que estaremos celebrando. Personalmente, yo no participo de la practica de levantarme al amanecer, hace filas interminables en el frío y agobiarme con la multidud de gente tratando de aprovechar las ventas imposibles. Yo prefiero quedarme en casa, comer sobras mas light, ver películas navideñas y tal vez hacer un poco de compras en linea si las ofertas de verdad valen la pena. Lo que sí estaré haciendo es ir de compras en mi propio guardarropas. Como he tenido la semana libre, pude entrar a mi closet para hacer inventario de las piezas que no me he puesto o no me han fotografiado y revisar combinaciones que nunca he intentado. Recientemente, fui a una fiesta y me puse el traje que llevé de Año Nuevo, pero lo combiné con zapatos, cartera y estilo de cabello diferente y recibí muchísimos cumplidos. Me recordó que realmente no me hace falta nada nuevo, sino que necesito re-estilizar mis piezas! Para este artículo, combiné una blusa que había comprado para el viaje de Europa, per nunca me puse con unos pantalones que compré las Navidades pasadas. El brasier verde y los zapatos son mas nuevos, pero créanme que les sacaré mucho uso en esta temporada. Re-estilizar piezas es una de las maneras mas sustentables de “hacer compras” y aunque mucha gente cree que yo nunca repito ropa, no podrían estar mas lejos de la verdad. Yo llevo haciendo este truco desde que tengo uso de razón! Claro, otra manera de hacer compras de manera sustentable es comprar vintage o tiendas de segunda mano o de consignación, ya entraré en ese tema más adelante. Por ahora les dejo con este look de fiestas que combiné, el cual también puede llevar una camisilla debajo para algo un poco mas conservador.  

What I wore | Llevaba puesto

Top: Shein
Pants: Shein
Clutch: Vintage
Necklace: Greece gift
Shoes: Just Fab

Photos by: 

Location:

Alamo City Studios

Santorini: Was it everything I dreamed of or Overrated?

I’ve wanted to visit Greece since I was 16 years old, when I saw it on the Travel Channel and became obsessed with visiting the ancient ruins, the white and blue aesthetic and chasing sunsets on the Aegean Sea. I would pour through Greek Mythology books and took special interest in Humanities studies in College. Greece was at the top of my travel list, and convinced my husband that we absolutely HAD to make it part of our Anniversary trip this year. For some reason, I was fixated on Santorini, but started having some doubts when a friend visited earlier this year and came back to say that it was highly overrated, but something inside me was determined to prove them wrong.

The biggest thing I did differently was some research. I searched for the best place to stay while staying within our budget. My friends visited the Greek Isles by cruise, so I knew that staying on the islands I wanted to see would make a bigger difference since we would be on our own schedule, stay in the most accessible spots, and eat locally to have the most authentic experience as possible. I avoided the super touristy areas, which I found on AirBNB. One thing we didn’t “do right” was transportation, so that was a definite learning experience. So, we stayed in Santorini on two separate occasions. It was our first stop as we flew in directly from Milan, which by the way, was extremely cheap. We stayed 2 nights, for that first leg, on the very peaceful and quiet southern town of Perissa, home of the famous Black Sand Beach (pictured in the photo above). We stayed in a lovely Bed & Breakfast called the Aegean, nestled in the valley just a 15 minute walk to the beach, designed in the typical Cycladic style with white smooth walls and blue doors, windows and trimmings. It was so dreamy, but I must admit, I wish it were ocean front because that’s my thing. Good thing the place had a beautiful pool to take a dip or just relax with my hubby with a glass of local white wine.

Our B&B hosts were extremely helpful! They scheduled the biggest adventure we would have on this entire trip, a day tour that would take us to a volcano, the caldera, an island and ending with a sunset in the most popular spot on the island Oia (pronounced ee-ah), for 45 euros each. Perfection! Or so we thought…
So, we were picked up in front of our B&B by a big, beautiful, comfortable bus that would take us to the port for the boat to reach all of these amazing destinations. The boat ride was lovely, just feeling the cool breeze as we navigated through the Caldera was amazing. First stop was the Nea Kameni Volcano, and we were given about 2 hours to explore, climb to the top and take super cool photos. It was quite the hike, but very doable. The views were insane, and the active, but somehow dormant, volcano was both awe-inspiring and terrifying at the same time. 

Top of the Nea Kameni Volcano
Next stop was the Hot Springs, a product of the volcanoes sulfur, the warm water is said to be therapeutic, so we did what any explorer would do, we jump from the boat and swam in it. Little did we know that we would only have 30 minutes to swim from and back to the boat, making it a very athletic trek. One thing to point out, the high levels of sulfur make the water a deep yellow, and if your swimwear is white, it will permanently stain. After the springs, we were taken to the island of Thirassia, also inside the volcanic caldera, and we were able to enjoy local lunch, you can’t beat $2 gyros, you just can’t. We hiked all the way to the top of the town. Quite possibly the most tired I’d ever been in this part of the trip since the path was steep and the steps were far apart, but it was so beautiful once we reached the top, it was worth the hike. By the end our legs were linguini, but what came next would shake me to my core.

For the final part of the tour, we took the boat back to the docks where we began and were to be taken via bus to the northern part of the island to enjoy the sunset in the idyllic town of Oia, where all the most famous photos of Santorini, showing the blue tops of chapels while the sun would set magically into the sea. We were instructed to confirm our final destination in order to get on the right bus that would take us to Sunset heaven and then back to our hotels. I asked about 3 times, which was our bus, and in all the mess of people asking the same questions, we were directed to a bus and got situated. As soon as we reached the point where all the buses turned to go north, towards the sunset, our bus took a sharp left, away from the directions we were supposed to go. I immediately started to freak out and gave my husband a terrified look and he just gave me the good old “I don’t know” gesture. I waited about 5 more minutes to see if we would change routes, but we kept going in the “wrong” direction. When we turned at the sign to our beach town of Perissa, I knew we were in trouble. So, I bothered the nice couple sitting in front of us and as calmly as I could asked them if knew if we were going to see the sunset. They looked at me as if I were crazy, and said, “No, we’re going back to our hotels”. I busted out a “WHAT?!” and they confirmed it. I was livid! Mind you I was really looking forward to that moment, but at the same time, extremely tired. My bratty side really wanted to come out, but I had to take a breath, appreciate the amazing day we’ve had and not think about how we kinda got screwed out of what we paid for. Then I remembered that we were set to return at the tail end of the Greek island hop and just made it a point that the purpose of that second stay would be to catch that damn sunset.

After, visiting 2 more Greek Islands (I’ll save that for a later post), we returned to Santorini. This time around we were able to stay in Oia, just outside the city center in the cutest beachside villas we’ve ever seen. 


Our hostess helped us set up transportation to the city center to catch our elusive sunset, and though we were warned, I was not expecting the insane amount of tourists cramming themselves in the the one spot to get the coveted shot of the beautiful cliffside showing those gorgeous blue topped cupolas. We spent all of 10 minutes to see what the fuss was about, and though I hate being caught in a tourist trap, we got the shot and it was well worth it. Somehow, we found some lovely spots to take pictures and enjoy a delicious dinner as the sun hid behind the cliffs into the sea.



So, is Santorini overrated? If you only take a half day tour and get caught up in the one tourist trap, maybe. If you have some time to explore, check out the southern towns as well as the north, do some trekking off the beaten path, you can truly enjoy the beauty of this idyllic island.

Manarola: The Cinque Terre Postcard Town

As I was planning our European trip, I had certain must-see locations and one of them was Cinque Terre. I’ve poured through travel blogs and they had all recommended a visit to this magical land by the sea. I’d also looked into the Amalfi coast, but I became obsessed with Cinque Terre due to the easy travel, walkability, and and colorful cliffside vistas. Cinque Terre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in Northwest Italy, only a 3 hour train ride away from Milan, lies West of La Spezia and is composed of 5 villages connected by hiking trails or 5 minute train rides away from each other. As I mentioned in my previous blog post, we stayed in the middle town of Corniglia and we explored 4 towns in a long exhausting day, leaving one for last, Manarola. Many of those amazing bird’s eye view shots of Cinque Terre are actually taken in the village of Manarola. Although, all of the villages are extremely colorful, beautiful and picturesque, there’s something very special about this one that has everyone flocking to this specific spot for the ‘gram. 

We loved all the towns; they each had different vibes, beauty and so much history. Something very magical had us stop in our tracks when we visited Manarola. Maybe it was the quiet, peacefulness in the morning as shops and cafes were setting up, or the waves gently rocking the boats on the dock as we made our way up, or the stillness before the town awakened to the hustle and bustle of the tourist as they made their way into the town. Whatever it was, we felt as if we were the only ones there that morning, as we said goodbye to that leg of our trip while we sipped our espresso and breathed the cool breeze of the Ligurian sea before we continued on to the next adventure.

Outfit details

Top: Shein
Faux Leather Shorts: Shein
Sunglasses: Quay Australia

Italian Getaway

For years, more than I can remember, I’ve dreamed of visiting Italy and Greece. Obsessed with Greco-Roman mythology since I was a teenager, I said those are the 2 places I absolutely have to visit before I die. Well, the dream became a reality when my husband and I got serious about planning my dream trip and realized it was much more attainable than I thought. I researched what the best season to travel is, and found that the season starts in April and ends in October. Since our wedding anniversary is in October, it was the perfect time to go. Turns out that the end of the season has beautiful weather and is super cheap to travel! 
The first part of the trip was in Italy, Cinque Terre being the main attraction. We stayed in the town of Corniglia, which is the highest point of all the seaside towns and is centrally located in the middle of the 5 lands. It was quiet, peaceful and so beautiful. We spent the first day exploring the town, had a lovely dinner and they even let us take a bottle of wine back to our AirBNB room from the restaurant Il Cecio, which is associated with the B&B. We got caught in a little rain, but it was so romantic, we didn’t care. The next day was meant for exploring. We hiked a little through the trails that lead to the next town over, but realizing that it would take us 2 hours just for the full hike and we only had a day and a half to be there, we decided to buy a train day pass (16 euros each) so we can check out all all the towns instead. We hopped from town to town, having lunch in Vernazza, coffee in Monterosso al Mare, then dinner in Riomaggiore. The last morning, we had breakfast in Manarola, the famous seaside town that’s the star of all those beautiful photos depicting Cinque Terre, but I’ll leave that one for the next post. The villages were filled with steps, hidden treasures and lovely people. It was truly an amazing experience!

Ate all the pasta and drank all the wine! 

Summer at the J.W. Marriott Hill Country Resort

Photo via Marriott.com
My birthday was almost 2 months ago and we finally got to do the plan we had originally set up for the day. We had planned to spend the day at the JW Marriott Hill Country Resort in San Antonio, but the storm rolled in and we had to postpone. We finally had the chance to go and the day was absolutely perfect! The sun was shining, the pool was cool and the husband and I were extremely relaxed. The best part was when the checkin girl said she loved my outfit, so naturally we had to do a mini shoot, haha! In all, the experience was great. The resort has a huge pool, an adult infinity pool overlooking the golf course, a sandy beach pool, a heated whirlpool, a lazy river you can float with the provided inner tubes and a full on waterpark grade slide. We opted to cool off and just relax, though. One thing’s for sure, the food and drinks are highly overpriced and you can’t bring anything from outside, but who’s to say your insulated water thermos is actually water? Just saying… Aside from that, the staff is attentive and the relaxation is well worth it. A Day Pass grants you access to all the water activities and the game room for the kids, as well. I might opt for the Spa Pass next time. The Lantana Spa has amazing reviews so I might just check it out. This Summer I plan on enjoying myself and continue to discover what Texas has to offer. Rivers, lakes, hiking and, pool time and outdoor fun is what is all about!

Prada Marfa

The famous Prada Marfa exhibit had been on my Texas Adventure Bucket list. You’ve seen the iconic photos, artwork and high fashion magazine spreads. The Prada Marfa installation in the middle of the West Texas desert is like a myth, far and unattainable. While we were staying in Marfa, mostly relaxing with the relaxed vibes and practically paused pace of the entire town, I was pretty excited to get the chance to visit the spot and take some great photos. I couldn’t believe that my husband would actually be down for a cute couples shot, but I just went for it, set up the tripod with the timer and got such a great photo, that we’re gonna blow it up and get it framed for our Master Bedroom! Check out the photos and see for yourself. The 6 hour drive from San Antonio, totally worth it!
Prada Marfa is a permanently installed sculpture by artists Elmgreen and Dragset, situated 1.4 miles (2.3 km) northwest of Valentine, Texas, just off U.S. Highway 90 (US 90), and about 26 miles (42 km) northwest of the city of MarfaThe installation was inaugurated on October 1, 2005. The artists called the work a “pop architectural land art project”. The installation is just another demonstration of the highly artistic community established in the area. People from all over the world, including major celebrities, have taken photos in front of the structure. It’s pretty damn cool that I finally got to visit and take my very iconic shot there, too!

Cosmic Vibes in Marfa

I’ve been wanting to visit Marfa pretty much since I moved to Texas. I’d read about it and seen gorgeous photography in major fashion magazines taken at key spots in this West Texas town that is now iconic and it’s been on my bucket list ever since. Why is Marfa so special? Marfa is city in the high desert of the Trans-Pecos in far West Texas, between the Davis Mountains and Big Bend National Park. In the early 70’s, artist Donald Judd moved to Marfa from New York City. He basically turned Marfa into his personal artist’s playground, laying the groundwork to transform buildings into art spaces. Today, the city is a tourist destination and a major center for minimalist art. With two art foundations, the Chinati Foundation and Building 98, Marfa invites artists, collectors and enthusiasts from all around the world to appreciate the art. The other great attraction in Marfa is it’s mysterious lights. The Marfa Ghost lights have been said to be seen from Highway 90, right outside the entrance to the city. There have been many possible explanations to the phenomenon, from atmospheric phenomena, to car lights to a gas leak, but all inconclusive. Regardless of the origin, spectators flock to see these mystery lights in hopes that there is something eerie causing, adding to the fun of visiting Marfa.

I researched where to stay and hands down the best place to get the real Marfa “experience” is at El Cosmico. It’s Glamping at it’s finest. When I searched it online years ago, the first thing that drew me in was the tee-pee experience. We so badly wanted to stay inside one! Unfortunately they were booked for the date we planned to go, but we got to stay in a Safari Tent, which was immensely cool! The grounds also have  yurts and fun colored airstreams, but we felt that a safari tent or a teepee for as far “glamping” as we wanted to go and it would be a more authentic experience that way. The showers are “al fresco” which was secured, but an interesting experience nonetheless and the restrooms have the feeling of an outhouse, but are very clean and with running water. The best part, really was hanging out in front of our tent at night, blankets and wine in hand, talking and staring at the stars. It’s so peaceful out there and the perfect getaway from the day to day.

El Cosmico is pet friendly, too!
Teepees

Yurts

Why I Cut Alcohol from my Diet


I’ve been on a health and wellness journey for quite some time now. I mentioned on a previous post that nutrition has played a huge part of my weight loss and fitness journey. Thanks to the nutrition services offered at InBalance San Antonio, I was able to lose a great deal of weight and really advance in my fitness goals. During that time I had been mostly plant-based and slowly but surely, the weight was coming off, but I would plateau for a very long time and become discouraged. I’d seen here and there how people would start the new year with a Dry January. That meant no alcohol for the entire month, and they would do it for different reasons like detox from Holiday drinking, jump start their weight loss, reducing excesses, etc. I decided to try it. I took a deep look into my habits and realized that the one thing that I hadn’t removed from my intake was alcohol. I thought to myself, “how is it that I live by a whole food, plant-based diet, habitually workout, yet I can’t seem to shake off this weight?” Granted, my drink of choice is red wine, but what about the Sunday Funday Mimosas and the margaritas? Something had to give, so I decided to quit for the month of January. I started the year with a Juice Cleanse using the fantastic new juicer my husband and I bought at the end of 2018, which turned out to be the healthiest investment we ever made! After the juice cleanse, I continued to use the tools and recipes provided by Inbalance, plus new recipes my sister sent me, who has recently become a nutrition and wellness coach using holistic, plant-based foods to improve overall physical and mental health. It would be a breeze, with all the available tools I had, but it didn’t come with it’s challenges. 
January kicked off with events lined up for me every single weekend, like blogger hosting, celebrations and plenty of launch parties. All I can say is thank goodness for flavored sparkling waters and the best Mocktails I’ve ever had, using Mingle Handcrafted Sparkling Mocktails. I discovered these delicious, non-alcoholic, low calorie beverages when I searched #DryJanuary on Instagram and found that they are meant for those having a Dry Month, Dry Year or Dry Life. They can definitely be used as Mixers for your boozy beverages, but they don’t need much if you’re cutting down on alcohol. So far, my favorite flavors are the Blackberry Hibiscus Bellini, which I added smashed and whole berries to, and the Cranberry Cosmo which you can serve in a martini glass and feel so fab while enjoying a night with friends. I love that you don’t have to “feel left out” especially if sobriety is challenged when you’re the host of the party. 


I noticed the pounds just melted away, in just 8 weeks I lost 12 lbs and counting. But, the truth is that as soon as January ended, I immediately drank a ton of wine on that first weekend of February. Like I had earned a prize or something. I realized that my drinking habits weren’t bad when I was out, socializing with friends. The cold hard truth is that I was definitely drinking more when I was alone, in the comfort of my home. I got a hard dose of reality when my husband brought up his concern, and questioned how I could give up all animal products for my health, but was still poisoning my body with alcohol. So, I decided to cut back drastically, again. The entire month of March was dry for me again. I did enjoy some champagne during a wedding on the last day of the month, but promised myself another dry month for April and just celebrate with a lovely wine on my upcoming birthday, in moderation, of course. As we are trying to conceive, I also want my body to be the healthiest vessel to carry life. I’m preparing for the biggest role in my life and I need to be the best version of myself as I hopefully take on pregnancy and motherhood. Drinking in moderation can work for me, as long as I am very clear that it has no power over me and I can limit my consumption to only special occasions. In the meantime, I’ll enjoy my favorite sparkling waters and mocktails.