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Good Vibes from Tulum

Tulum is the of the most spiritually abundant beach towns I’ve ever experienced in Mexico. It is a perfect place to practice yoga and meditation, while taking in the sights, scents and sounds of the Caribbean ocean. To get around town you can walk or rent a bike or a vintage VWs. We’ve rented a car in Cancun airport (for $10 a day at Hertz!) and drove to Tulum for about hour and a half.

Whether you want to deepen your yoga practice or just enjoy pristine beach and catch some good vibes, Tulum is the place to visit. People are young in heart, happy and relaxed, food is healthy and delicious, water is warm and healing. Everywhere you turn, there’s a reminder that life is beautiful and all we need is love. Tulum is an invitation to enjoy life and the present moment.

Now about fashion – to go with the scene everyone is dressed in easy going flowy dresses and colorful kaftans over one-piece swimsuits.

There are so many boutique hotels, yoga retreats, spas, open air restaurants, vegan food cafes, and beach clubs to try out. Here’s the short list of my favorite places:

Boutique hotels/ Beach Clubs:
  1. Be Tulum – is my favorite place in Tulum. You can enjoy good vibes, live music and delicious food while taking a swim in the ocean or a pool, and staying late into the night. This place is adults only and offers an overnight accommodations, as well as walk-ins for the day at the beach ($100 min spend per couple for food and drink) or club at night.
  2. Nomade Tulum – a neighbor to Be Tulum, a hotel and spa with the similar look and fee. Here’s their mission written on their website, I couldn’t describe it better:  “Nomade Spirit… to be in never ending movement, walking this planet, expanding the horizons and landscapes… transforming ourselves to be free from thoughts and judgments.”
  3. Casa Malca – a luxury resort for dreamers who appreciate art, design and creativity. Casa Malca is a former estate to Colombian drug dealer Pablo Escobar, which was turned into a hotel with luxury amenities and decorated with contemporary art.
  4. Casa Violetta – another beach club, restaurant, a yoga retreat, all in one. It’s a beautiful, simple, bright and serene place that you can’t help but fall in love with. Their food is delicious and views are breathtaking.

All these places are great to stay at with a nice company of friends or girlfriends, or just your loved one (that I prefer) or even alone (which can also be great and rewarding). These are the places where you can really nourish yourself with high quality vegan food and juices, meditate on the beach,  think about life and write a postcard to a friend (or a blog post to your followers ;), all while enjoying the sights, sounds and smells of the ocean.

All these beach clubs I mentioned above have amazing restaurants, but here are few more places where we had an great experience, to add to the list:

  1. Hartwood is the best restaurant in town, everyone wants to get there, make sure to make reservations ahead of time via email, if you want to take park of this gastronomic experience. If you don’t get it there’s a place right next to it that also has the same vibe, open kitchen and swings at the bar, you won’t miss it.
  2. Raw Love offers the most amazing vegan acai bowls, juices and vegan deserts.
  3. MatchaMama is a cute, must stop by, juice bar that offers matcha and kombucha drinks, smooties and vegan ice-cream.

PS Also check out my other posts about Tulum from my visit in February 2016 (Ruins and Cenotes)

Italy travel style

Thank you for following my Italian getaway. As promised I am sharing links to items I wore on the trip that are still available online or very similar in style. I am working on post with detailed itinerary and will be posting soon.

Ciao, Elena

Venice

“Venice is a city that has the sea for its floor, the sky for its roof and the flow of waters for the walls” – B. da Signa.

It’s true that all cities in the world are more or less similar to one another, but Venice is unlike any other. I keep going through my pictures and admire this gorgeous gem and what an amazing time we had in Venice. When I first saw Venice few years ago, visiting with my husband, I was in complete awe and in love. This time I brought my kids, as I wanted to share with them my feelings for this beautiful place. My husband taught them a lot about its 1500 years old history, the legends, the carnival, the history behind the main monuments. But what I wanted them truly to experience (and I know they are young and may not fully appreciate it now) but the eternal beauty and uniqueness of this city. They may not remember exact dates and events in history, but they’ll remember the grandness of St Marco square and how much fun they had feeding the pigeons – it’s local residents. They will remember our walks on narrow streets surrounded by water, the gondola rides, the reflecting canals, the hidden courtyards, the mysterious islands, and the beautiful ornate buildings that looked like they were suspended between water and the sky. I really wanted them to be amazed and appreciate the beauty, to ask questions and be curious. And by the look on the faces I knew that we succeeded.

Under the Tuscan sun

One of my favorite days in Italy was a day we drove around Tuscany, stopping at the hillside villages and various wineries. We were based in Siena for a couple of days, which we found very convenient to explore Tuscany. We stayed in a cute boutique hotel Italia just outside the city walls. It was very affordable, had great breakfast and easy parking by the hotel (the cars are not allowed within most of the walled-out cities in Tuscany). We walked inside the city, visited its famous gorgeous Duomo and had one the best dinners with red wines of Montepulciano. The next day we drove south from Siena towards beautiful valley called Val d’Orcia, driving through the towns of Asciano and Montepulciano. It is such a picturesque ride with wavy hills, cypress trees, wheat fields and unlimited blue sky.

We stopped at Pienza town (or village to be exact) for some coffee, desert and cheese tasting, the most famous cheese in that area is Pecorino. The town, like all towns in Tuscany, is located on the hill and surrounded by the wall.  Following Pienza we drove to town of Montalcino, stopping by wineries to taste Brunello di Montalcino wine, which is now my personal favorite. At home in New York I often drink Montepulciano wine and we’ve done Chianti region wine tour on our previous trips to Italy (that’s north from Siena). This time around we tried a different route and wine from a different sort of grape and we were pleasantly surprised. To try Brunello wine, I highly recommend stopping Val di Cava and Casanova de Neri wineries. There are ~140 wineries in that small region and I am sure they are all great, but these two caught our attention on the road and we decided to stop by.  Following the wine tasting, we were ready for lunch which we had right in town of Montalcino at a local Osteria. This village is also located on the hill and provides an extraordinary view of Tuscan valley. We spend a lazy afternoon walking the streets and squares, grabbing coffee for us and gelato for kids.

I hope this gives you a good idea on what to enter into your GPS when you’ll be in that region driving around. And without any further write-up my pictures tell a good story of our wonderful day and experience.

Early Morning in Italy

Finally got a chance to go through my pictures from Italy and was planning to write a post on the blog and then stopped, thinking what do I really want to share…
If I were to give one travel advice for anyone going to Italy, or anywhere for that matter, is to experience the city at the sunrise. Every city I visited – Rome, Florence, Venice, it was an amazing experience to see those ancient cities waking up, before all the residents and tourists fill their narrow streets and grand plazas later in the day. The early morning is a time when you know precisely why so many great artists and poets found these cities so inspiring. They are reflecting, magical, even mystical, and full of stories of all the people that walked them for hundreds of years before us. You can’t help but feel yourself in a different lifetime, the feeling was so consuming to me that I wondered who I was and what I did to deserve to live this life here and now and see all this beauty. I wanted to freeze the time and remember how I felt that moment – grateful for this life and in great compassion for myself. I promise you’ll feel the same if you give yourself a gift to appreciate the sunrise and get connected with the place and with yourself. All answers are within.

PS pictures are taken at Spanish steps in Rome and St Marco Square in Venice – the rare case of them being empty (not counting the pigeons), only in the early morning

Travel Style – Accessories

My friends who travel with me can attest that I always travel with one suitcase almost the size of a carry-one, even after becoming a “fashion blogger”. My secret is that I plan out every outfit and never bring with me things I won’t wear. I write down and take pictures of all my outfits when packing. I consider how many days I will be sightseeing, on the beach, on the boat, etc. Any outfit is made by an accessory, so I make sure to bring few statement necklaces and earrings, 3-4 scarfs, 3-4 wide belts, 4-5 sunglasses, 3-4 flat clutches and one large straw bag where I pack all these accessories. I wear my fedora hat on the plane and always take a canvas bag that folds, where I can put a hat, scarf and other things while on the plane. I usually bring 2-3 pairs of flat sandals in neutral colors of black or white, as well as gold, as I can mix and match with all my outfits. I also take beige or white heels that go with any evening ensemble, as well as rubber shoes by Melissa that are comfy, waterproof and go with all my nautical outfits. While on the plane I either wear white or silver sneakers / walking shoes, that I can later pair with shorts, dresses or pleated skirts while sightseeing. See my previous post on the cloths I pack and check out things on the shopping list here, which you’ll find me wearing on my upcoming trip.

  • Straw Bags

  • Statement Bags and Clutches

  • Statement Earrings

  • Hats

  • Footwear

Travel Style

The question that I get the most is how do I pack for vacation. Here are the pictures of my looks from the previous trips. And I am sharing items on my shopping list for my upcoming trip to Italy’s Tuscany and Amalfi Coast.

I’ve never went on vacation without white shorts and jeans, a white blazer and a white dress. These are my staples. I know I can wear them multiple times with different accessories. White feels and looks good on pictures in any scenery.

To go with the Italian vibe and the colorful coastal and Tuscan scenery, I will be bringing lots of dresses and tops in red and hot pink, red and blue stripes, yellow and possible something deep green. When it comes to prints, stripes are my long time favorite. I love accessorizing blue stripe shirts and dresses with red or yellow accessories.

Also don’t forget to bring basics like white and black tees, ripped jeans and a cardigan and scarf for the night.

In the separate post I will share footwear, bags and other accessories that make any outfit complete, as well as easy to pack. Happy Shopping.

  • White crochet

  • Stripes

  • Dresses in Color

  • Ruffles

  • Basics

Maxi dress and straw bag

Love the look of maxi ruffle dress with a trendy straw or wooden bag. My snake print ruffle dress is by Roberto Cavalli and I have it for years and a blue dress is by Zara from last season, but I like these ruffles dresses from Free People for a similar feel, I actually want to buy all three :

Wrap ruffles blue dress / White midi dress / All day Maxi dress

Round straw bag I bought in Cartagena at the local boutique, but I sound a similar here and here and Cult Gaia bags in many colors here.

See my other post for the looks with this bag.

Rosario Islands, Columbia

While in Cartagena we stayed at Movich hotel in the center of old town with the most magnificent view of the city from its rooftop with the pool. We also rented a boat for two days to do island hoping. Rosario islands are about 45 minutes from the city port by boat. The water is amazing and clear, the sand is soft and warm. While on islands we were offered the most delicious snapper, shrimps and langoustines caught and cooked right in front of our eyes. They were served with coconut rice and fried plantains. What a treat. Also on islands we got a great message and shopped for beautiful pearls, sea shells and other beauties that the nature offers on these islands. We didn’t want to leave, everything was so good.  As I was sitting on the beach half of my legs in the water I felt so happy and wished I could put that feeling in the bottle and bring it with me to New York. But as I am writing this, the feeling is still there in my heart and I have pictures for the memories.

PS to shop my outfits go these links : Red ruffles swimsuit / Black onepiece / Cross-over onepiece / Leaf print beach dress / Embellished bikini /

Cartagena

I love to travel and see new things and places, but what travel most importantly offers me is a new way of seeing myself. When I am surrounded by unfamiliar setting I become more mindful and this trip was no exception. As I was going through the pictures to select the ones I want to share here, I was mesmerized once again how beautiful, unique and in a way, untouched Cartagena is. It’s not as grand as Paris or Florence with its art and history but it is as romantic. It transforms you to another era with its vibrant architecture, colonial style heritage buildings, intricate balconies adorned with blooming pink flowers and the doors, those colorful doors that invite you to sit by them on the footsteps, to pause and to take it all in.

PS To shop my look: Black Jumper / Ark Bag / White outfit (old)