romantic

ESPANA

So my last post was April 3rd…I always tell myself I won’t allow any of these long hiatuses to occur, but here we are. A lot has gone on since April and between work and my personal life this took a back seat, but I am back – and what better way to come back with a nostalgic post about Spain?! Around this time two years ago I was travelling all over Spain, loving every second of it, even the historical heat wave we faced in Madrid (well, maybe not that part). Spain was absolutely beautiful with such an incredible culture and people, so I cannot wait to share these images and stories with you!File_003(2)


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  • Madrid

Our first stop was Madrid. Beautiful beautiful Madrid! I have never been to Spain before so I wasn’t too sure on what to expect, but I was pleasantly surprised. Throughout all my European adventures, I have never seen such detailed architecture before. The plazas were extremely large, much bigger than the ones I saw in Italy. The nightlife was unmatched – watch out NYC, they are the true city that never sleeps…well, aside from the whole siesta thing (yes it is real!). Literally everything shuts down during siesta time, I had extreme trouble finding even a convenience store to just grab a bottle of water!

I loved exploring everything Madrid had to offer, from the museums, to the parks, to the flamenco dancing, and of course the tapas and wine! They also have great trips available to places like Toledo (so sad we didn’t get to go!). I would definitely recomend renting a bike (we were able to do so at a gas station lol), see a flamenco show, and explore EVERYTHING. Don’t be afraid to get lost!

Oh and if you’re there in the summer be sure to order a the popular summer wine cocktail, tinto de verano. It literally translates to red wine of summer. Super light and refreshing 🙂

Let’s start with some of the sites you can’t miss!

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The Palacio Real de Madrid (The Royal Palace of Madrid) is just breathtaking. The size alone will leave you in awe! No pictures are allowed to be taken inside but surely what you see will be engraved in your memory. The rooms are so beautifully (and ornately) decorated and full of indulgence, you could only imagine a king living here! They have gardens surrounding the place, making it hard to believe this is right in the middle of Madrid! They also have an armory full with an incredible collection, some even say the best in Europe.

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Plaza Mayor is a typical plaza full of street vendors and little stores, but what makes it so unique are the murals painted on the Casa de la Panaderia (Bakery House). the building was constructed in 1619 and as assumed, has undergone many renovations. It was originally designed to house the Baker’s Guild, which was extremely powerful as they controlled grain prices. the original paintings on the walls were redone in 1992, so pretty recently! It is now home for the Madrid Tourist Information Center, so if you are looking to get any information, this is the place to stop by! Also, typical to touristy areas, I would stay away from the cafes in the plazas, you can find a much more authentic and reasonably priced place one off the beaten path.

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Statue of Felipe III in front of Plaza Mayor

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Plaza de la Villa – just a cute little square close to Plaza Mayor 🙂

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  • Marbella

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Down to Andalusia we go! Marbella was a great way to relax on beautiful beaches and drink some tropical dranks after a bunch of touristy things (and a TON of walking) in Madrid. There were a ton of British and Russians there when I was there, I am not sure if they like to vacation there or if they kind of took over. Nonetheless it was absolutely beautiful. From the little stone pathways, the winding tiny streets. It reminded me of Sorrento or Cinque Terre. They had the cutest boutiques, the most quaint little cafes. I would totally recommend just walking around and getting lost and see what you stumble upon. They have wonderful ocean front dining and clubs at night right on the beach. I have honestly never heard of it before coming here, I assume places like Ibiza overshadow it, but it seems pretty family friendly too as I saw a ton of families with young kids! We literally just ate, drank, and relaxed on the beach during our time here, we didn’t do much exploring at all.

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  • Granada

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Our final stop before heading back to Madrid to go home! And WOW, what a way to end a trip of a lifetime! Granada was just breathtaking, from the 1000 year old Alhambra and the views, to the wonderful markets and vendors, to the Turkish baths, to the modern shopping and dining, Granada has it all. I will certainly be adding more pictures as I unearth them from my computer, but the views I was able to capture from the Alhambra Palace are literally nothing like I have seen before. It was totally worth the trip to see and explore the grounds here. It truly felt like I was time warped to the past. This is another city with a ton of winding little alleys and streets that you should get lost in. It also had a very Arabic feel, with Arabic restaurants, vendors, etc. Completely different vibe and energy form Marbella and Madrid and anywhere I have been really. Loved every second of it.

Also, though there are no pictures here (we weren’t allowed to take them), of the first Turkish baths in Spain, I highly recommend going. After a long trip of travelling and walking around, see and learning and being apart of this awesome history was just incredible. The baths were beautiful and clean, and we got massages after!

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View from Alhambra Palace

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Food from restaurant that overlooked Alhambra – I want to say it was the Carmen Mirador de Aixa

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Amazing work being done by hand in the palace.

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The Perfect Valentine’s Day Guide

I can’t believe how fast time is flying, one of my most favorite holidays are rapidly approaching! I know that when I tell some people that, I get a major eye roll in response, guess I’m just a romantic what can I say?! Valentine’s Day is supposed to revolve around love, so to me it doesn’t matter if you’re single or in a relationship, there is still plenty ways to enjoy the day. If you’re in a relationship, you’ll celebrate with your significant other and if you’re single you’ll spend it with the ladies (Galentine’s Day!) – either way it’s supposed to be a time of love and celebrations with the ones you love and who love you.

The concept of Valentine’s Day has actually been around since the Middle Ages but wasn’t made popular in the USA until about the 1700s, and then massively popular in the 1840s.I feel like in recent years, Valentine’s Day has gained more and more momentum, like there are some really unique ways people have begun to celebrate it. Of course I like to be wined and dined, but I am not one to turn down a nice night in. Check out some ideas for plans, gifts, and celebrations!


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Making the Plans

  • Couples
    • A Night Out
      • Make reservations ahead of time! Having roses when you pick her up may help too – hint hint to my BF is he’s reading this 😉
      • I love surprises, so when she starts asking about V-Day plans (she will), try to keep it vague, maybe just a “put on that red dress and I’ll pick you up at 8”. Hot damn.
      • I would definitely choose a restaurant that is intimate and romantic. Your gal def does not want to be taken to Applebee’s on V-Day! Perhaps one of your favorite restaurants, where you had your first date, her favorite cuisine, a place with a view, etc.
      • V-Day seems to be a day where we go a little bit more above and beyond. Treating her to a nice dinner doesn’t mean fancy, but perhaps a step above of what you two usually do.
      • Since it falls on a Tuesday this year, celebrations typically take place the weekend prior. After dinner nightcaps are always a safe bet, or if you’re at a place with a view, take a romantic stroll.File_000 (6).jpeg
        • A Night In
          • Homemade dinner + romantic playlist.
          • This may seem really easy, but making it the perfect, candlelit dinner is actually pretty hard – from the set-up, the mood, the food, it’s a bit nerve wracking!
          • If you’re not a chef, I’d say give it the ol’ college try. She will def appreciate the effort moreso than the taste (or at least she should lol). But, if you’re really just a hazard in the kitchen, maybe order some take-out from her favorite restaurant, or her favorite dish and plate it nicely. Don’t forget the candles, and spreading some rose petals is a beautiful touch!
          • Have the vino poured and the playlist in the background and the mood is set. For the playlist, Spotify has some great playlists you can choose from, or you can make your own and fill it with your favorite songs.
          • Here are some Pinterest ideas for recipes and table settings!

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  • Galentine’s Day Brunch
    • Yasssss! So the hardest part about this is going to be gathering all the girls. Once that is done, it is an absolute breeze.
    • Stock up on some wine, some bubbly, cute decorations, tapas, and get a super upbeat playlist. No sad movies and ice cream! Also a Polaroid camera can make for some great instant pictures!
    • There are little quizzes you can do, little favors like nail polish you can hand out.
    • Check out some ideas below!

Gift Guide – this is basically the most important part of the article haha!

  • For Her
    • Roses + chocolate are basically a must, oh and so is a beautiful card. I am such a mush when it comes to a card and a hand written note ❤
    • To me, V-Day gifts are supposed to reflect on the love you share and is something that is sentimental. It doesn’t have to be some lavish thing. I would suggest something like a piece of jewelry, a LoveBook, something personalized, something that means a lot to her. A gift to both you and her would be lingerie hahah!
    • Some examples below:
  • For Him
    • Well usually Valentine’s Day is a holiday for the ladies, but the guy should get some credit too!
    • Guys are pretty simple to please I have to say, and they honestly may not be expecting anything. See some ideas below:
      • Cologne – this smells so sexual and doesn’t break the bank like Creed does.
      • Watch
      • Wallet
      • 52 Reasons Why I Love You (take a deck of cards and write a reason on each one, instructions here!)
      • Open When Letters…
      • Scrapbook
      • A date of something HE wants – maybe going to a racetrack, seeing a movie he likes, a restaurant he likes, etc.