Cozumel Mexico North America Travel tips

Activities in Cozumel

We flew into Cozumel, Mexico and took a taxi to our resort Iberostar. This was my first time at an all inclusive and it was so much fun! There are a variety of activities everyday that you can find in a calendar on the Iberostar app. This was helpful to pick and choose what to engage in throughout the week. I chose water aerobics and then created our own games of beach volleyball and cornhole.

Viewpoint of Cozumel
Downtown Cozumel

However, there are also excursions you can choose at the reception desk. We were fortunate to do various activities in Cozumel like take a jeep tour around the island, swim with dolphins, and snorkel around the island.

Jeep Tour

This jeep tour got us off the resort to see what else Cozumel had to offer. We started by visiting Mayan Ruins and learned about the culture that has been for a very long time. Then, our drive to visit alligators at a swamp like location where they were just relaxing under the dock we were walking on. After, we snorkeled in the ocean and also had a tequila tasting and yummy tacos for lunch.

Jeeps in line at lunch spot
Jeeps of the tour at the snorkel spot

After that, we headed to a lighthouse where there were shops! When you do this jeep tour, be sure to bring sunscreen, LOTS of mosquito repellant, and water!

Ocean view
View from the lighthouse

We started the tour in the morning and arrived back at our resort at about 4pm- just in time to shower and get dinner! The tour makes it super easy as we walked out of our resort to the street and they had our jeep ready for us so we hopped in and got going!

Beautiful white wash lighthouse
Lighthouse stop

Swim with Dolphins

We were gifted this opportunity to swim with Dolphins at Dolphin Discovery. This has been something I wanted to do for so long and finally had the chance to do it!

Kisses from my dolphin
Dolphin kisses

It was so much fun and our dolphins were named Charlie and Myranda who were so smart and playful! There was about 10 of us in the group in the water and the instructor stood out of the water and told us how to position our body for the dolphins to swim up. Once we were in position he sent the dolphins to us.

Holding onto dolphins fins
One of the positions we were able to do!

There are a variety of things to do with the dolphins from getting a kiss on the cheek to being pushed out of the water. Dolphin Discovery definitely made it a time to remember, so this is a must do when you choose activities in Cozumel.

Snorkeling the second best reef

Island Reef boat for excursion
Boat for snorkeling

I had no idea that Cozumel has the second best reef in the world, after the Great Barrier Reef! Luckily, Iberostar Cozumel had a dock where tons of fish hung out under. I’m not good with types of fish so you’ll have to take my word for it. We also saw starfish and stingrays!

Stingrays near the boat
Stingrays in the knee deep water

One day we did a snorkel trip where we swam two locations, including 1 that was knee with stingrays. The snorkel spots were bout 30-40 feet deep in the ocean so you definitely should be a strong swimmer to do this. This is where we ate lunch before heading back to the resort.

There was a mix up with dock closures so we left in the afternoon at 1pm and then docked at 7pm after being told we would be back at 6pm. Not sure what happened there, but we saw more of the Island and downtown Cozumel which was full of shops and restaurants.

Rainbow over the ocean water
View from the boat, waiting to dock

We also snorkeled on our Jeep tour which was fun as we walked into the water and swam to the coral reefs and saw tons more fish and conch shells.

Must do to enjoy your vacation

We definitely took advantage of the time we had and enjoyed every second of it. These activities in Cozumel should definitely be on your bucket list!

Destinations North America Tennessee Travel tips United States

Things to do in Pigeon Forge

Mountain range at Clingmans Dome

The closest airport to Pigeon Forge is McGhee Tyson Airport near Knoxville. Luckily, we met our family there who picked us up to drive to our Airbnb. Otherwise, renting a car would be necessary since it’s an hour drive and no public transportation is available.

Our Airbnb was in Pigeon Forge in the mountains which was beautiful, quiet, and about 30 minutes from Gatlinburg, Smoky Mountains National Park, and Sevierville. This Airbnb had a hot tub, pool table, and incredible views. This was the perfect spot to spend a weekend as it was easy to access and allowed us to do all these things in Pigeon Forge and surrounding areas.

Three things to do

When visiting, here’s three top things to do in Pigeon Forge! All three of these things were easy to get to and puts you in a perfect spot to keep the adventure going and see other towns like Gatlinburg and Sevierville.

Clingmans Dome

  1. Drive through the Smoky Mountains to Clingman’s Dome

Here you pass through Gatlinburg which is another fun town. If you’ve been to Nashville, it’s like a mountain version of that. Lots of restaurants, wine tastings, bars, and an amusement park. After you spend time here, you can head back into the car to drive through the Smoky Mountains. The scenery is beautiful and at the end of April in the Spring, the trees are popping with greenery.

Clingmans Dome


  1. Visit the Nike Clearance store as well as other stores in the Island of Pigeon Forge

I’m not a big shopper when traveling, but this was a must do for me. It was fun to go to and check out what they had to offer. Nike can be pretty expensive, but this has deals going. I got shoes for about $40 which are normally $80+. Close by are other shops like Guy Fieri’s restaurant, other bars, coffee shops, and souvenir shops. 

Moonshine tasting

  1. Do a Moonshine tasting at Ole Smoky Holler

To get the full Tennessee experience, we were surprised with a Moonshine tasting that was super cool! We got a tour of where the Moonshine is made and sent out all across the nation. It was interesting to see the corn meal and hundreds of pounds of sugar heat up due to the chemical reaction itself. Afterwards, we got 12 samples- including peaches, blue flame moonshine to sour watermelon, and finished with two cream like samples of butter pecan and orange shinesicle cream. At the end of the tour, they give you a t-shirt and discounts to purchase the moonshine.

The Holler Distillery

Plenty of options

These three things to do in Pigeon Forge and surrounding areas will have your weekend set up for a great time. Each spot has other activities or shops or things to see to keep the trip flowing. I was pleasantly surprised at how much there is to do. They have a variety of family friendly places like attractions to see and interact with if you want to try something different from what was mentioned above!

Destinations Europe Italy Travel tips

Weekend in Bari

Airport to Airbnb

Traveling from northern Italy, this was a perfect getaway trip by spending the weekend in Bari. We quickly grabbed a taxi after landing and drove 30 minutes to where we were staying in Mola Di Bari. The Airbnb was perfect for 3 of us as there was a master bedroom and a couch, along with a petite kitchen and rooftop to enjoy dinner and the sunset. The train station was about a 16 minute walk from our Airbnb which was our main mode of transportation. The trainline app could not make it any easier.

Mola Di Bari train station

Breakfast in Italy

To keep expenses low we went grocery shopping to grab the necessities to make dinner and breakfast. Walking along the water near our Airbnb, we found a café where we ate croissants and coffee. Don’t expect a big breakfast in Italy. Being from America you have these huge breakfast options including, but not limited to eggs, bacon, toast, oatmeal, fruit, pancakes, etc. However, the croissants are always delicious so I do not mind eating those every day.

rooftop brekky

Places visited in Bari

As mentioned before, we didn’t need to rent a car for the weekend in Bari because the train took us to where we wanted to go. If we didn’t use the train, we walked because that’s the best way to learn a city and stumble upon more hidden, or local places. During our weekend trip here, we visited Castello Svevo Di Bari, Polignano a Mare, hidden cafes, and hung out on the rocks near the water. 

Castello Svevo di Bari

Castello Svevo Di Bari included a fee to get in which was about 5 Euro for ages over 18 and it’s free for 0-17 year olds. Here we walked around the Castle as it was self guided and appreciated the architecture and history. It was built in 1132 and is surrounded by a moat except on the northern side. 

We stopped for some food and of course grabbed an Aperol Spritz. As we walked through the town, we found some fisherman hanging out on the rocks so that’s what we did! We climbed down the ladder and spent some time on the rocks soaking up the sun. 

Quiet water spot

Later on, we visited Polignano a Mare where we spent the day and enjoyed swimming in the Adriatic Sea.

One viewpoint of Poligano A Mare

Travel tip when spending a weekend in Bari

Be ready for lots of people as you can walk throughout the town and find quieter places, but the main viewing point is filled with people. You can swim into the caves and cliff jump. We were lucky enough to find a spot to sit along the rocks where there was just enough room to sit and jump into the water and able to climb back out.

Sitting on the rocks overlooking the Sea

When traveling to Italy, definitely add Bari to your list! There’s so much to do, even if you just spend the day in Polignano a Mare and enjoy the water. This is just one of the perfect places to spend a weekend in Bari.

If you want more ideas of places to visit in Italy, check out Lake Como as it is one of my favorite spots!

Destinations Europe Malta Travel tips

Visit Malta

One of my favorite travel hacks is how easy and affordable it is to fly within Europe. When my boyfriend came to visit me for a week in Italy, we were looking for places to travel to and of course we had to visit Malta. We were on a time crunch, but we were ready for adventure.

We ended up booking our trip from Milan to Malta for 2 days where we stayed at Plaza Regency Hotel. Our trip was quick as we planned a sunset tour one day and the rest, we were ready to go with the flow.

views from hotel room when we visit Malta
View from our room, and across the street is the water.
plaza regency hotel views when you visit Malta
Breakfast buffet and views!

Arriving in Malta

We booked a taxi from the airport that took us right to the hotel which was about 15 minutes away. Looking back, I would suggest doing the bus because you can get a feel as a local and it is way cheaper. But, we wanted to get right to our destination so we did not do that. Sometimes it’s just easier and more comfortable to grab a quick taxi.

Dinner and a Sunset Tour

Our trip was a quick one as we flew in early evening around 5:30pm, and went out for dinner at L’ Ostricaio Balluta. We ordered a shrimp pasta dish and a lobster pasta with a bottle of wine, of course. If you’re looking for a restaurant by the water, this is the place to go when you visit Malta!

shrimp pasta near hotel
Shrimp pasta dish.

The following day we enjoyed our time by the beach, soaked up the sun, grabbed a snack, and then headed to our sunset tour.

Churros and oreo donut from a shop visit Malta
Churros and Oreo Donut for fuel.
stepping on ladder out of the water
Enjoying a swim in the water.

We booked our reservation through Get Your Guide, Camino: Blue Lagoon, Crystal Lagoon, and Sea Caves Tour where we snorkeled, had one too many drinks, and a yummy dinner on the boat. Our dinner was included with the tour tickets, but we did have to put down a security deposit for snorkeling that we got back once equipment was returned. This is one thing you have to do when you visit Malta!

Overlooking the boat from the land.
Hop on the SeaBird boat when you visit Malta.
Snorkeled here in the water and cave.
Spot where we snorkeled.

Leaving Malta

We headed out the following day to the airport, severely hungover, where we thought we would try the buses back. Instead of taking two buses, we took three which honestly isn’t too bad looking back on it now. At the time, we were stressed, and I thought I lost my phone, but it all worked out as we got to the airport on time, and my phone was indeed with me!

Us on the boat during sunset for our visit Malta
We had the best time!

Plans to return

I would definitely go back to Malta as it is a small island, but there’s so many more things to see and do. Next time, I would love to see more architecture, visit the capital, Mdina, and maybe even scuba dive! This blog post has great ideas to things to see!

Looking at the Island from the airplane when you visit Malta
Overlooking the Island
Europe Slovenia Travel tips

Places to visit in Slovenia

Bled Island
Bled Island

So you plan on going to Slovenia, but you don’t know which places to visit in Slovenia… You’ve come to the right place.

The perfect getaway that includes being close to Lake Bled, surrounded by beautiful scenery, delicious food, and a hot tub right outside your room, you NEED to go glamping at Garden Village, Green Resort and Restaurant in Slovenia. 

Garden Village; places to visit in Slovenia
Garden Village entrance

Types of Accommodations

Glamping is like glorious camping… Here you can pick options that range from treehouse, to pier house, to a tent space that sleeps a range of people. We stayed in a tent that slept 5 of us comfortably. You won’t regret booking accommodation here or putting this down as one of your places to visit in Slovenia.

tent room option to stay in
Tent space that 5 of us shared

Staff and food is unmatched

Upon arrival, the staff was warn and welcoming. After checking in, we visited the restaurant where we had fresh food as they grow their own fruits and vegetables on the land. It’s one of the best places to visit in Slovenia.

Fresh food and drink from staff at restaurant
Beverage and food to eat when we checked in

You can check out more here regarding the locally sourced food they use. “From seed to plate”, you cannot go wrong with eating at this high quality restaurant that sources the food locally. We love and support those kind of places.

Pepper on our tent site
Peppers on our tent site.
Fresh zucchini on our tent site.
Zucchini on our tent site.

One night we ate at the restaurant, and had an amazing meal prepped by the staff. Although I don’t remember what it all was, it was definitely delicious. If you don’t stay here, definitely come here for one of your places to visit in Slovenia for the restaurant experience.

Soup for starters
First up, appetizer of soup
Main course of veggies and meat
Main course of veggies and meat of some fish or chicken.. can’t remember now.
Ended with a very delicious dessert!

We stayed here for about 2 days and wandered the village to see what was around. The treehouse rooms look amazing to stay in, but I did love the hot tub our tent room had.

Treehouse accomdation
Tree house option to stay in
Hot tub outside our tent
Our hot tub outside our room

Heading into Lake Bled

Walking from the village to Lake Bled was about a 10 minute walk. There’s convenience stores to grab food as well as activities to do on the lake. 

We took a boat ride to the island in the center of the lake which has the Church of Assumption, a museum to tour, and a 99 step stairway. It took about 20 minutes to paddle to and then you can walk around and tour the island. Some boat tours have time limits so you have to be aware of how long you’re out there. 

Lake Bled is an absolute must see, so add it to your list of places to visit in Slovenia!

Lake bled and  boat we paddled.
It was a perfect day to take the boat out.
Stairway on Bled Island
Stairway on the Island.

Triglav National Park

There’s also a hiking trail we did that lasted about 2-3 hours. You do have to drive here, and I’m not sure if there’s any busses or trains that can bring you here. So keep that in mind when choosing your places to visit in Slovenia.

It was a long hike but absolutely gorgeous. There are hiking trails in the municipality of Gorje in Triglav National Park and this was just one we picked. We walked along the rushing water and found fish swimming, headed into a small town with cows, and made our way back to the car. It sounds a lot simpler than it was. It was a variety of steepness, roughness, and scenery.

Triglav National Park
Triglav National Park
Picture of cows and town we walked through
Town we walked through on our hike

We ended our hike and drove to Public Bar and Vegan Kitchen Bled which was on the way back our accommodation.

Our time here was short, but I think we made the most of it. Next time. I would definitely check out Bled Castle that’s on the hillside and do more hiking trails. 

Let me know if you’ve been to Lake Bled and what you would recommend doing!

Travel tips Wellness

Sunday Routine to Reset for the Week

Sundays are different for everyone. But if you’re like me and want to set your week up for success here’s some ideas of what works for me. Maybe it’ll work for you, or not.. But hopefully it gives you some inspiration to try something new to add to your Sunday routine to reset for the week!

Clean sheets, Happy Tori

To start, I like to change my sheets weekly. This may seem simple, but I didn’t start to do this until after I graduated college. Now, this has become a habit and it makes a difference in overall cleanliness. Something about clean sheets helps me sleep better at night. It’s the simple things to add to your Sunday routine to reset for the week. 🙂

Meal preparation!

The next thing I do is meal prep. I hear from friends and coworkers that they don’t like to prepare meals for a couple reasons. One is they don’t want to eat the same thing multiple times. To that I say, split your week with two types. Do three days for one meal and two days for another. Or prepare two different meals for four days and then have one day be a left over day from the dinner you eat.

You can definitely split things up and you don’t have to prepare just one thing for the whole week. 

There has also been push back regarding the time it takes. Yes, meal prepping does take time. But think about the quality of food you pack for lunch the morning of. If you even get to pack a lunch. I know when I do this last minute, it’s all random things, or I probably forgot something, or it’s just not enough food.

The time you put in preparing meals probably equals the time it would take every morning to pack it. If anything, think of the quality of food you will be eating for the whole week. So this could leave time to do something else, or maybe sleep in if you need it.

Either way, you can experiment and try new meals and see what you like and don’t like. I also love to use these Bento Boxes because they’re super sturdy and have utensils that come with. I am always forgetting a for so seeing this special compartment always reminds to check for a fork.

Add meal prepping to your Sunday routine to reset for the week!

Overall clean space

Cleaning the apartment is a must! On Sundays I love to clean my space and make it organized. During the week, I can get messy and start to throw things around so it’s nice to reset, put things in place, and deep clean from the week. From vacuuming to clearing my desk, to folding clothes, it all needs to be done. I love using Branch Basics as it’s toxic free and safer to use compared to the cleaning supplies in stores.

The truth

I won’t lie. Some Sundays I feel super lazy and might wait a couple extra days to do the sheets, or make meal prepping super easy to where it’s just chicken, rice and some type of veggie.

We’re all different, so do the things that make you feel accomplished and feel good. Don’t worry about what other people are doing. All that matters is that you feel ready good with your Sunday routine to reset for the week! 🙂

Chicago Travel tips

Eats in Chicago

Living here for about 5 months, we have checked out quite a few good spots to eat at. We are definitely fortunate to dine out like we have, so I want to share these gems of good eats in Chicago in case you come to town! I included breakfast, lunch, dinner ideas, and there’s of course more, but we’re sticking to three for now.

Breakfast vibes

Egg Harbor Cafe

Hopping off the main street of Michigan Ave, you can find this delicious brunch place on E Illinois Street. The perfect brunch with apple cider mimosas, egg omelets, and more! We reserved our table ahead of time online, and received text updates for when to come in as it gets closer to your time. You do have to check online for what the wait time is, which was nice as it gave us more time to get ready and head out. I’m not sure what the parking situation is as this was within walking distance of where we stayed so it was easy to get to. 

The service was great as the staff was very friendly. We ordered our food and left with happy tummy’s.

goog eats in chicago
Apple cider mimosa & egg omelet.
Look closely for the french toast!

Lunch or Dinner vibes

Su Casa

We always pass this place on our way to the grocery store and one night, we decided to head inside. The margaritas were delicious, and I (usually) always get enchiladas. These enchiladas are the best ones I’ve tasted since living in Southern California. I could never find enchiladas that compared until we went to Su Casa. 

It was inviting and a great atmosphere to be in. We had no wait time and we even went in on a Friday night. That’s hard to find here in Chicago as everyone is out and about.

They dropped chips and salsa on our table, and then we ordered our yummy drinks and food. Check this place out for good eats in Chicago.

good eats in Chicago
Mango Margarita & Chicken Enchiladas

Dinner, or Celebration vibes

Bavette’s Bar and Boeuf

It is on the more expensive side, but the food is absolutely amazing. The vibes and environment is exactly what you would expect from a steakhouse. It has a French inspired flair but more relaxed. Our servers were super friendly and attentive. We came here for my boyfriend’s birthday and they took his wine off the total as a gift. It was so hard to choose what to eat. We decided to go with the 42 day dry aged bone in ribeye, broiled asparagus, and the most delicious, buttery mashed potatoes you could ever imagine.

Birthday boy with the ribeye, potatoes and asparagus
The Birthday boy and our delicious meal

Hidden Gems

These places aren’t your average first picks of places to eat since there’s so many options to chose from. But, they are definitely worth it! Bavette’s is more popular and more of a fine dining place for celebrations, so that might be easy to find. However, if you’re like me then you would not have found it. Steakhouses overwhelm me as there are so many to choose from. Good thing, the guy in the picture above is a big foodie to help me. 😉

Check back soon for more recommendations as we check out new spots!

Czech Republic Destinations Europe Greece Italy Oman Travel tips

Best places to travel

After traveling to 14 countries, I wanted to share the top 4 best places to travel to! Read until the end to find some travel hacks!

Kayla and I

There are so many beautiful places out there that have so much to offer and I love every place I’ve been to. But, I’m going to break this down into 4 categories that are specific to my experiences.  The categories I came up with are favorite architecture, favorite activities, favorite food, and most unique experience. All of these should be on your bucket list as they are the best places to travel to!

  1. Crete, Greece
  2. Prague, Czech Republic
  3. Muscat, Oman
  4. Lake Como, Italy

Now can you guess which city/country matches which category?

Favorite Architecture

This was pretty easy to choose because the moment I walked over Charles Bridge, I fell in love with Prague, Czech Republic. Ever since I was a sophomore in college in 2018, I wanted to travel to Prague. And I had that chance when my brother and I backpacked Europe in 2021.

If you need ideas for how to pack for a backpacking trip, check this out!

Zach and I overlooking Prague
Overlooking Prague

The architecture was different than anything I’ve ever seen as it was built in the Gothic and Renaissance era. Even though I haven’t seen all of the Harry Potter movies (we’re on number 3), I just felt like I was in a character in the movie. It was so beautiful, so magical, and super easy to navigate!

Saint Vitus Cathedral
Saint Vitus Cathedral
Views from top of Saint Vitus Cathedral
View from Saint Vitus Cathedral

We took the Lime scooters all around town and saw all the main attractions. Within two days of being there, we did a total of 7+ miles on the lime scooters. For my Beatles fans, John Lennon has a wall that surrounds the seat of Maltese Order and in the 1960s, messages appeared here as he was perceived as a symbol of freedom during the regime. 

Wall of John Lennon- freedom figure
John Lennon wall

HACK: Czech people are super friendly and welcoming! Check out Hostel Downtown for the perfect location of being in the heart of the city. Remember, it’s cheaper to book a dorm room than it is to book a private room. Always worth a shot to look at both!

Favorite Activities

Now, this is hard… So many places have tons of things to do and it really depends on what you’re in the mood for. I decided to choose a place where most of our adventures were spontaneous.

And the place I’m choosing is Chania, Crete, Greece!

Honestly, when I think of Greece, I think of the whitewashed buildings in Santorini. As you probably do to. However, that is not the case in Chania, Crete. We had a girls weekend at this location because it was one of the more affordable places for us to go. We booked the flight and hostel, and found places to go to via this video on YouTube. Thanks to That Greek Guy!

One of my favorite things was take a day trip to visit Balos Beach. Now, this isn’t any old beach. This was an ADVENTURE.

Rough terrain drive along the coast
Drive to Balos Beach starting point

First of all, we had to drive along the coast (not a paved road) and pay to get in. There were goats along the way and we had to drive maybe 15 minutes to get to the parking lot. Once we were at the parking lot, so many more goats showed up!

Goats along the way
Goats along the way

We didn’t know the extent of the hiking so, if you go to Balos Beach, bring sneakers! Us four girls were walking in flip flops down the mountain to get to the beach. But, the views and water was absolutely worth it.

walk down to the beach
Walk down to the beach
Me with Balos Beach in the background
Beautiful Balos Beach

The next thing we did was visit Kourtaliotis waterfall. Again, more hiking as you had to go down a stairway, but the views and journey to get there was so fun. The water was freezing, but of course we had to go in!

Walking down the mountain to the waterfall
Walk down to Kourtaliotis waterfall
swimming pool area
Swimming area and through the cave is a waterfall!

Once you get to the swimming pool area, there’s a cave you can swim through to see the waterfall.

After this, we went to Kalypso beach where you can actually stay in the hotel, but we just went for a few hours.

Kalypso hotel
Swam, snorkeled, and napped

After these adventurous days, we decided to stay more in the downtown area and got some tattoos, yummy food, and some shopping! It was a quick weekend, but filled with so much adventure. Definitely one of my favorite trips.

HACK: Some people were surprised we chose to travel here because again when people want to visit Greece, they choose the more popular cities like Santorini, Athens, etc. Nothing is wrong with tha, but this is just a great city to try out if you want to get away from the crowds of people, and experience a quieter island. 

Favorite Food

Okay, I lied. I said my favorite activity spot was hard to choose. Nope, favorite food is hard to pick because I love food and there’s TONS of options.

The winner for this will probably have to be Lake Como, Italy. Traveling here for a quick 2 day trip was nowhere near enough time! One day it was rainy and gloomy, but we still walked around, checked out the churches, and shops. 

Art piece on water
A 10 minute walk from the hostel

However, there’s this train called the Como- Brunate Funicular Railway that takes passengers from the bottom of the lake, up the hill to a town that has an amazing restaurant that overlooks the lake. Apparently, you can hike down instead of returning back down the mountain on the railway. This is something I want to try next time I visit!

We went up in the evening for dinner so we didn’t see much of the views of the lake, but the food was delicious. We ate at the Trattoria Dei Bracconieri Brunate and we started with a tasty meat plate and got two pasta dishes. Of course we had a wine, and if I remember correctly it was a fizzy red wine. The whole experience, meal, and service was 10 out of 10.

Appetizer of meat platter
Delicious variety of meats

My advice, go during the day to see the amazing views.  

HACK: Stay at Ostello Bello for another amazing hostel experience!

Most Unique experience

This is an easy one because it’s a place that a lot of people questioned me about. “Are you sureeee you want to go there?” “Why there?”

Let me tell you why…

Overlooking a town in the moutains

In the Western world, Islam is not talked about very often so I have had limited exposure to it. And when it is talked about, it’s usually negative.

However, I don’t have any negative experiences after visiting Oman. My perspective grew and I appreciated their culture more than ever.

To dive into it, we visited Muscat, Oman freshman year of college for a week long “preview” trip. This is what my college did to get a taste of study abroad. Quite, genius actually. The week we (my class and I) had spent was definitely a trip of a lifetime and just like anywhere, you have to be aware of what’s happening in your surroundings. 

Place we stayed at along the cost
Our hotel we stayed at along the coast

So, to start this week-long trip we flew into Muscat, and then moved to the coast for a couple days, then the sand desert, and finished in the mountains. We had an amazing tour guide and native from Oman, Said, who taught us all about the culture and took us around his beautiful country. We were also led by Jeff Rose, an archaeologist who dedicated most of his career to find human migration out of Africa and Arabia. My eyes have never been wider and ears have never listened more.

Jeff Rose, National Geographic
Jeff Rose, picture creds to Kayla!

Being an outsider in a new country, it is crucial to have respect for the people and culture. We were lucky enough to go inside the Grand Mosque where we had to take off our shoes, cover our hair, and wear long pants and shirts.

Grand Mosque
Grand Mosque
us girls at the mosque
Aquilla, Kayla, and I at the mosque

Before prayer, there is a purification ritual that includes washing the face, hands, arms and feet. Said also sang the Quran which was so beautiful to listen to even though I didn’t understand what he was saying. 

Tour guide, Said, singing
Said singing

Did I forget to mention we went dune bashing, swam in caves, and rode camels?? When I say this was a trip of a lifetime, it was just that. A TRIP OF A LIFETIME. 

Dune bashing, cars lined up
The cars we rode while dune bashing in the sand desert

Shout out to my professors and classmates who was along with me on this trip. Comment your favorite part about it <3


I think all trips are the trip of a lifetime because it’s all so different and unique in it’s own way. Whether you’re going to a new restaurant, traveling a few hours away, or going to the opposite side of the world.. It’s all so special and should never be taken for granted!

Travel hacks

Okay, to summarize… Remember to always look at hostels. The community within hostels is so fun and you meet so many amazing people. Enjoy the journey because traveling can be stressful but enjoy the time as it’s just as important. Don’t be afraid to go somewhere that’s a more quiet street (or city) because there is just as much beauty, probably better food, and better prices. (cough, cough, side streets in Venice.) Continue your search on google flights and skyscanner. I hope you find the best deals.

Talk to the local people, they’re the best ones to meet!

P.S. You didn’t say Australia?!

If you know me, you know I studied abroad in Australia in 2021. And yes, you’re right… that is definitely one of the best places to travel to.

But, that’s a story for another time. <3

What to pack

What to pack for 10 days

So… flight is booked, hostel is booked, transportation is ready, things to do and see, but what do I pack?!?

Trip of a lifetime

When my brother and I backpacked Europe for 2 weeks, we had just ONE backpack each. (Duh, it’s called backpacking.) And I know you’re thinking, no way can I go 10-14 days with just a backpack. 

Well, I’m here to tell you, yes… yes, you can. And you WILL!

For our trip, we went from Treviso to Prague to Berlin, to Warsaw, to Brussels, to Amsterdam and back to Treviso in September. Naturally, you look at the weather to figure out what to pack. For us, the weather was perfect and we didn’t need big coats, fancy outfits, or things like that. We stayed in each city at most 2 days.

Zach and I in Prague looking over the city, what to pack
Looking over Prague, Czech Republic

If you’re backpacking Europe, probably best to do it in the summer. You can backpack any time of the year, but in the winter, you’ll want warmer clothes than this packing list includes.

And here you are freaking out on what to pack.

But, here I am to help relieve this stress.

Backpacking- what to pack when traveling 10 days
Zach’s backpack. Not sure how he packed, but this is all he used for our 10 day trip.

Packing list

This is a rough idea on what to pack for a 10 day trip:

  • One travel day outfit, you can wear this to your destination and back.
  • 4 shirts 
  • One light jacket
  • 2 pairs of shorts
  • 2 pairs of pants
  • Comfy walking shoes (I wore converse the whole time.. mistake)
  • Underwear
  • 2 bras, or #freethetitties 
  • 3 pairs of Pajamas (Could maybe get away with 2)
  • Toiletries (face wash, face lotion, sunscreen, tooth brush, toothpaste, contacts, contact solution, deodorant, shampoo, conditioner, body wash, hairbrush)
  • Sunglasses
  • Phone charger 
  • Adapter for outlets
  • Camera/ Go pro charger
  • Headphones
  • Book to read on trains/planes
  • Passport
  • Confirmation of all hostels/hotels
  • Debit card

*You can always do laundry in hostels, or hotels. Make sure all liquids are travel size (3.4 oz)*

During this trip, I was doing a jump rope challenge so I also fit in a jump rope, work out clothes, and running shoes. It was a full backpack!

What to pack, purse and backpack for 10 day trip
This is the best picture I have of my backpack. I had this purse which had my important documents and things close by. Then I had a normal Dolfin brand backpack. (Like a Jansport size).

With that being said, Zach and I did laundry one time while traveling. The idea is to re-wear your clothes. Your shirts can be worn twice, and bottoms can be worn at least twice before washing. The more neutral items you pack, the more you can mismatch.

Lastly, for my picture taking people, it’s okay if you have the same outfit on in multiple pictures… that’s also why you pack neutral items to switch it up.

And just like that, you’re ready for a 10 day trip!

This was the best two weeks a girl could ask for with her brother. Shout out, Zach, love you. 

I want to hear from you!

Let me know where your next trip is and if this helped you pack! 

Did I forget anything??

Extra tip!

Pro tip: Download Google Maps and TrainLine for Europe travel! Google maps makes it easier to get around the cities by walking. TrainLine has affordable train tickets that you can purchase ahead of time or day of.

Earth friendly Hair care Skin care

Safe Beauty

Did you know that the U.S. bans 11 ingredients in cosmetic products? This compares to the EU who bans 1,300+ ingredients, and Canada bans 500+ ingredients. But the cosmetic industry says we have nothing to worry about? Our skin is our largest organ and it can be unpredictable how much of products can seep into our bloodstream. Many products contain ingredients that can affect our hormones, cause cancer, or result in irritability. We need to support safe beauty companies that work towards limiting toxic ingredients in our products.

Cosmetic products do not get approval before being put onto shelves of stores. The exception are color additives in products that must have an explanation of the intended use. The FDA’s website has more information on what ingredients are regulated and how it is used. The caution on products saying how to use them is as far as regulation goes for most products. Here is an example about regulation of parabens.

However, the Environmental Working Group  (EWG) focuses on environmental health by looking into legislation, agricultural practices, and loopholes that companies find to put our health at risk. According to EWG, women apply about 12 products onto their skin a day exposing themselves to 168 ingredients daily. Men average about 6 products a day, or 85 ingredients a day.

Beautycounter, a Safe Beauty brand

My cousin introduced me to Beautycounter and safe beauty about a year and a half ago. The opportunity to join as a consultant fell into my lap and I joined for a few reasons. One reason is I love the advocacy that Beautycounter does to change laws and the testing that is done to use safe ingredients in their products. 10 laws have been put into place to regulate the cosmetic industry, and that is a great win so far!

My two favs! Cleansing Balm for make up remover and hydration
mask, and the AHA Reflect Effect mask for exfoliation and
leaving my face so smooth!

Skin care, hair care, and more!

Think of how many products you use daily. Now, think about what it would be like if you swap it out for a safer product. Start with hand soap and hand sanitizer, or shampoo and conditioner, or make up, or lotion to try something new of safe beauty. Beautycounter gives high quality results, and these products are rigorously tested to make sure toxic ingredients are extremely limited.

Check out the Never List to learn more about the 1800 ingredients that are never found in these products. 

If you need a new skin care routine, check out my two step skin care routine here!

Sunscreen for face and body, and tinted sunscreen

Sustainability in Safe Beauty

In addition to rigorously tested products, the wide range of products you can shop at, Beautycounter also focuses on reusing and recycling almost every part of the product. The cream blush is reusable and you can swap out the colors to replace the blush part. The shampoo, conditioner, and body wash pumps are usable as you can keep the pump and replace the bottles when you run out. Beautycounter dedicates their mission to offset greenhouse emissions and is working to be carbon neutral by 2030.

Save the pump, recycle the bottle, and get a new one!

Support brands who are earth friendly

Support safe beauty brands who are doing the work to protect consumers and are making a difference in the cosmetic industry. It can be more expensive when you buy from Beautycounter, but it is for your health. If you think about the high end skin care lines, the prices are most likely the same. But, those companies probably are not doing the work to be sustainable, advocate for laws, or perform at the level Beautycounter does.

You are investing in your health to minimize exposure to toxic ingredients and supporting a company that goes to the federal level to demand changes in laws and regulations. Safe beauty is what you deserve and Beautycounter is a great place to vote with your money!

*These are affiliate links meaning I receive a percentage of your purchase.