Tom’s Thumb and Thumbelina

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hiking trails in AZ

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hiking in phoenix

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hiking in az

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Hiking, in my opinion, is one of the only ways to survive the city. I don’t do it to escape the noise of the streets but to listen to the sounds of the wild. I don’t do it to forget about my worries, but to remember that there is so much more to life. I don’t do it for the exercise, but for the ways it strengthens my sense of wonder. I’m pretty much saying, if you don’t hike, you should.

Arizona has a much overlooked beauty that is so apparent here at Tom’s Thumb Trailhead. Once you get a bit higher you have the option of perusing the scenic route or to take on climbing some boulders, I take the latter.

I have always loved the story of Thumbelina, and how everything is so big to her, because she is only the size of a thumb. How small and insignificant she must have felt, while still being brave and never giving up.  At Tom’s Thumb that day, I think I finally understood how she felt.

This is one of my favorite quotes that I’ll just leave for you here “…there is no way to prove that sperm whales or giant sequoias are not philosophers and poets far exceeding any human merit.” -Robert Heinlein from Stranger in A Strange Land.

Bottoms: Reebok   Sports Bra: Victorias Secret   Hiking Boots: Hi Tec

 

 

Playing in Playa del Carmen

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Let me just start off by saying that at the end of every trip I have gone on, I feel the slight pang of “I’m so sad we didn’t get around to do that,” or “I really wish we had done this.” But folks let me tell you, we did this Caribbean vaycay right in every way. It couldn’t have gone any better, even if the Travel Gods had handed it to me on their golden platter of voyaging and wanderlust.

We booked our first day in Playa del Carmen with an ancient ruins and cenote excursion through Entertainment Plus. We had a private driver take us to Chichen Itza, where we hired a guide to tell us all the hidden secrets. Daniel and I love love love guides and we highly recommend them. They point out details that, without extensive knowledge on the subject, would go unnoticed. I learned that the movie The Road to El Dorado, was actually very on point! The sink hole near the pyramid was where gold and jewels were thrown into the water as gifts to Xibalba, as well as live scarifies. Daniel and I were a little skeptical taking kissy pictures near this sacrificial well, but when your Mayan guide says “now kiss,” you don’t really question it.

We were then taken to the cenote, Ik Kil, where it felt like I literally walked into Fern Gully. I refused to leave or get out of the watery oasis so I ended up treading water for over an hour!

We ended the day at Coba Maya where we actually got to hike up to the top of the pyramid. It was so amazing to get to actually walk on the steps of Mayan ingenuity and craftsmanship.

The second day we went to Xel Ha, a mind blowingly beautiful eco park, where we snorkeled, frolicked through the jungle, and explored underwater caves. We also did what is called a Zip Bike, which is pretty much riding a bike in the air over the gorgeous scenery. It is in my top 3 coolest things I have ever done!

The next day we played in Playa del Carmen and strolled down 5th Ave. You must try the restaurant La Parilla! Such delicious and mouth watering enchiladas! It is such an adorable district, where you can’t help but walk into every shop.

Our last full day we took the ferry out to the island of Cozumel. We rented a scooter, because for some reason, when I am in a different country, I am adamant about traveling around on these things. Nothing feels more adventurous! We scootered over to the other side of the island where we went to Playancar beach. We had the shore and sparkling, clear blue water all to ourselves! Peacocks roamed nearby and hammocks lazily swung from the trees.

I would defiantly go back to Playa del Carmen, Mexico maybe even live there! I was never in fear or worried about the safety of our lives. When traveling just be aware of your surroundings and book excursions through reliable companies. Happy adventuring!

 

Beauty in the Backyard

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Almost everyday I feel as if the world is passing me by, and that at this exact moment I need to be on the next plane out to the grassy slopes of Machu Picchu, or the Fairy Pools of Scotland, to be anywhere and everywhere but here. Yet time and time again I must remind myself of all the adventures and wonders awaiting me in my very backyard. Traveling should not always be about some far off and distant land, sometimes it’s about enjoying the marvels that are beckoning you within your very reach.

monument valley az vacation

Monument Valley, Arizona was just the place! I had always seen this beautiful stretch of land in several of my favorite movies: Forrest Gump, Indiana Jones, and Back to the Future, but I never truly grasped how sacred and treasured this valley really is to the Navajo people who live there. To preserve and respect this land, it is impossible to see some of these sites without a cultured and native guide. Our guide was amazing, and took us to beautiful arches, ruins, petroglyphs, and lookouts.

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We were even taken to a hogan, where a Navajo woman was waiting inside to show us how wool is made and turned into beautiful rugs and blankets. She sat me down and brushed my hair with Buffalo Weeds, then tied my hair in a beautiful bun using only a piece of string!

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Monument Valley is one of the most tranquil and magnificent places I have ever been. Such rich culture, views that will take your breath away, and a history that is just as ancient as anywhere else. Never forget to find the beauty in your backyard.

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And here’s a nice high kick picture.

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Greeks, and Everyone Else Who Wish They Was Greek

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Being in Oia Santorini Greece, felt as if I died and went to heaven. All the pictures I have ever seen of the iconic white buildings and blue rooftops simply did not do it justice.  The culture, architecture, people, and food were enough to make me start telling people I’m Greek!

We stayed at Andronis Luxury Suites, a beautiful hotel that cascades down the side of the mountain. Each suite is built into the cliff side, making every room a luxurious cave named after a Greek God. We stayed in Dionysus, the God of wine and art, where we had our own private cave hot tub over looking the Caldera. Our first night there, we played in the infinity pool all night and watched the sun set over the Aegean, while sipping on Sangria and Miami Vices.

We walked the whole city on foot and when we couldn’t walk anymore, we rented a four wheeler and drove around the entire island. I finally got to live my Mary Kate and Ashley moment, by having a very handsome man (aka my husband) on a quad, drive me around a foreign country. Take that Olsen twins.

Swimsuit: Jessika Allen | Romper: Urban Outfitters