New Orleans

This post is about our trip to New Orleans that was actually in July, but better late than ever, right? Ever since watching season 11 of Top Chef, I have wanted to go to New Orleans. Then the movie Chef made me want to go even more, specifically for beignets from Cafe Du Monde. So basically I just wanted to go for the food, but I ended up enjoying more than just that. Everywhere we turned, there was stunning architecture that I just couldn't get enough of. Exploring the French Quarter felt like we had stepped back in time to the 1800s. I half expected to see women walking around with corsets and parasols. 

The food did not disappoint, especially the beignets from Cafe Du Monde which literally melted in your mouth. We also ate at this really cool live music venue on Frenchman Street called Maison. If you ever get a chance to New Orleans and want a place with live music and great food, go there. I had their Vietnamese Po-Boy and Andy had their red beans and rice and mac-n-cheese, all of which were so full of flavor and absolutely delicious! I am so glad we ventured to Frenchman Street as it was much more of the New Orleans I imagined, compared to the craziness on Bourbon Street. Overall, I really enjoyed our time in New Orleans (even though it was hot as balls with the humidity). I'm not sure it's a city that I would be jumping to go back to, just because there are others I would like to visit more, but I'm glad I got to check it off my list! I had such a hard time narrowing down which pictures to post because I took soooo many, but some of my favorites are below. Feel free to check them out and let me know what you think! :)

Colorado

We went to Colorado for vacation this year and met up with my side of the family. Colorado tends to be the location of choice for family vacations just because it's the most convenient for most of my family, but I don't mind because I have so many fond memories from vacations spent there as a kid. This trip, we decided to rent a cabin near the mountains for a few days. We were pretty much in the middle of nowhere, but it was nice just spending time together as a family without the normal, day-to-day distractions. I didn't take too many pictures other than when we went for a hike and when my sister and brother-in-law modeled for me. If you want to see some pictures of the stunning couple, you can check them out here. 

The hike we did was absolutely beautiful. It ran along the Royal Gorge canyon and had stunning views. There were also some caves at the beginning of the hike that were pretty cool. The trail itself was flat, which was nice because my niece was with us and I was carrying Gabby on my back. Even with the easy trail, it took us forever to even make it to the halfway point because we kept stopping to take pictures and had a snack break. Andy also decided to try flying the drone, which was awesome....until it crashed into the side of the mountain. Luckily it flew into the mountain next to us, and not the ones on the other side of the gorge. Jacob, my brother-in-law, was able to safely retrieve it from the cactus it had landed in and thankfully, the drone was okay other than a chipped propellor. We got some good footage out of it though, including the crash! Below are some of the photos from our hike, feel free to check them out. :)

Puerto Rico

Our pictures from Puerto Rico have been sitting on my computer for over a year now, so I figured it was time to share them. We had such a fun time and would love to go back again. We stayed at an AirBnB in Luquillo, which was about an hour from San Juan. We had the nicest host who told us all about the area and gave us recommendations for things to do and places to eat. While most people probably want to stay in San Juan when they visit, I would actually recommend Luquillo if you want something more laid back. Also, the public beach there has a snack bar with amazing empanadillas for really cheap. Seriously my favorite thing we ate the entire time and I would go back just to eat them again! Another place we enjoyed eating was at the Luquillo kiosks, which is a strip of restaurants and little souvenir shops. Our favorite kiosk was Ay Bonito! Grill, which Yelp sadly tells me is permanently closed. We ate there twice because we liked the food so much, and the staff was very friendly.

As far as things we did while we were there, we spent a day exploring Old San Juan, which was fun. Parking was difficult to find though, and we ended up getting a parking ticket. We ate at Barrachina, which is the restaurant where the piña colada originated from. We got the paella which was delicious, and of course I had to try their piña coladas! After we ate lunch, we just walked around and explored the area. We eventually made it to the San Felipe del Morro Fortress, which had some amazing views! On another day we did the Bacardi tour. It was only $12 per person and included a free drink with a cup that you got to keep. We enjoyed the tour and felt like it was well worth the money.

It was cloudy most of the time we were there, but we had one sunny day which we spent at Luquillo beach. About five minutes after arriving, Andy lost the GoPro in the water, so that kind of put a damper on his time there. Otherwise we enjoyed the beach (and the empanadillas!). I really wanted to visit El Yunque National Forest when we were there and do a little hike. We finally found some time on our last full day there and did the hike to Mina Falls. It was a relatively easy trail, although there were a lot of steps and some of them slippery! It was also a popular trail, so there were a lot of people at the falls by the time we got there. It was still beautiful to see and a hike I will always remember. Below are some photos of our time in Puerto Rico, I hope you enjoy!

New York City

We spent Memorial Day weekend in New York City, one of my favorite places to visit! We scored an awesome deal on the Renwick hotel, which used to be an extended stay hotel where famous writers John Steinbeck and F. Scott Fitzgerald stayed. We could not have asked for a better room. We had our own balcony with an unbeatable view of the Empire State Building. The hotel was also in a great location - steps away from Grand Central Station, Bryant Park, and Shake Shack! If you ever get a chance to stay at the Renwick in NYC, we highly recommend it! Overall, it was a pretty relaxing visit. We spent time with Andy's family, ate lots of good food, and just walked around and explored the city. Here are some of the pictures from our weekend in NYC.

Fort Monroe

I was a little stir-crazy this weekend after being holed up in our house working on two papers for school. By Sunday afternoon, I had had enough and had to get out of the house. We initially planned on checking out a nature preserve in our area, but it was going to be closed by the time we got there. Instead, we went to Fort Monroe to go for a little walk and explore. It was pretty windy by the water so we didn't stay too long. After freezing our tushies off at the beach, we decided to check out Oozlefinch brewery located on the Fort. They rotate food trucks at the brewery and we happened to come when they had Flame and Pie, a food truck that sells wood fired pizza. I cannot rave about the pizza enough. It was seriously one of the best pizzas I've had in my life - and I've had a lot of pizza! If you're in the Hampton Roads area and love pizza, you have to check them out! 

Outer Banks, NC

Last weekend we decided to head down to the Outer Banks for a final little getaway before I started school up again. The weather was absolutely perfect - warm, but not too humid. We stopped at this really cute 50s style diner on the way and had some delicious burgers. We spent most of time our time eating good food and hanging out in the pools at the hotel (yes, pools plural). My favorite was the lazy river pool. Who doesn't love to just sit back and relax on a floatie while the current pushes you? We also walked down to the beach for a bit, which was right behind the hotel. On Sunday morning we planned to wake up and watch the sunrise over the ocean, which neither Andy or I have done, but it was cloudy so we went back to sleep after the 6 a.m. alarm (I wasn't complaining). All in all, it was a fun, relaxing weekend. Just what we needed before things get busy again!