Friday, June 24, 2016

Maui is home. I've been lucky enough to go since I was a child, and it's really the one place that connects me to my more spiritual side. My godfather lives there, and when I was in high school, I spent an entire month staying with him at his cottage. He's been there for me my entire life, and now that he's 70 and is battling health problems, I worry about him so it feels more important for me to see him. He's my partner in crime :) I even thought about moving there after graduation, so Nate and I always joke about my decision to stay in my hometown and marry him (which was a very wise choice by the way). Anyway, so many of my fondest memories are tied into this island, so I know I'm extremely biased when I tell you that out of the two I've visited, Maui is and always will be my favorite. The entire island has scenic views of the ocean, but whenever we go, we set up shop in Kihei. This trip, my godfather let us stay in a condo, and I can still sit here as I type and hear the sound of the waves crashing outside our window. I slept like a baby the four nights we were there! In fact, since coming back home, I've had insomnia and I think one reason is because I miss that indescribable white noise.

Maui is much more laid-back than Oahu. This is good and bad, depending on your personality and what it is you're looking to get out of a vacation. If you want a more quiet place to relax and enjoy a romantic time with your partner, then Maui it is. There's a reason why so many couples get "Maui'd". I'll never get tired of visiting every couple years. If we could go more often, we would!

Now onto the pictures, which again are not doctored. Enjoy!

When you're in Maui you have to:

Go snorkeling. We went to Molokini this time, which was slightly traumatic for a non-swimmer such as myself. Yeah, I love the ocean and I can't swim. Go figure. My personal favorite place to snorkel is Honolua bay. It's calm, protected, and easy for everyone. 

Visit the shops at Wailea, including taking a little self-guided tour of the Grand Wailea hotel.

Grab happy hour at The Seahouse overlooking Napili Bay. Cheap apps and drinks that don't taste cheap!

Visit these restaurants for great food - Cafe O' Lei, 5 Palms, and Cheeseburger in Paradise.

Go to Local Boys for shaved ice. Trust me on this. You'll see shaved ice stands everywhere, but Local Boys is the absolute best. I get mine with ice cream on the bottom.

Go the BACK way to Hana to see the famous black sand beach.

Wake up before the crack of dawn and travel up to Haleakala to watch the sunrise. I've done it twice. It blew me away. Just don't jump around too much. The elevation is so high that I nearly fainted once.

Iao Needle, or as we like to call it, the giant green phallic symbol :) Wear bug spray though.

I could go on and on, but you get the idea. I'm sure many of you have already been to Maui so I might be preaching to the choir here. And I'm not sure how this happened, but google took one of my photos and turned it into this, which I am going to proceed to print soon. 

Are you ladies ready for some style posts? That's coming next week! Thank you for humoring me while I've played wannabe travel guide/wannabe Hawaii expert. You guys are awesome :)

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Hey everyone, I'm back! Did ya miss me? I was gone for nine days, but somehow when I'm on vacation and not reading blogs, I get this feeling. Like I've been missing out, even though I had an amazing time and didn't want to come back. It was great to unplug, and it has made me realize how much time I spend on social media and my computer. Don't get me wrong, I love it! But sometimes you need to take a break and recharge so you can feel inspired again.

We went to two islands this trip, the first being Oahu. It was my second time there, but my first with Nate. The Hawaiian islands are so beautiful that I really just want to dedicate this post to sharing its natural beauty with you. I didn't filter any of these photos, and they were all taken on my phone. Oahu is more like San Diego in that it combines a city atmosphere with golden beaches. Though we stayed in Waikiki, my favorite part of the island is the east side and north shore. You still encounter plenty of tourists, but it doesn't feel as overwhelming as Waikiki and Honolulu. It has more of that local vibe that I love, and the beaches are much more pristine. I would recommend going to Oahu if you want a fast-paced island experience with plenty of things to do and see. I just don't remember it being so crowded when my friends and I went in December of 2014 (you can read about that here). Maybe the Summer has something to do with it? Regardless, we had a wonderful time!

If you're on Oahu you have to:

  • Eat at Lucky Belly in Honolulu. Your belly will definitely feel lucky. 
  • Visit the north shore including Haleiwa.
  • Rent a car for a couple days and explore the island, stopping along the way.
  • Do some shopping at Ala Moana Center.
  • Visit Pearl Harbor.
  • Be prepared to do lots of walking.

I'll be back on Friday with our re-cap of Maui. I hope you're all doing well and staying cool in this heat! I'm playing catch-up on blog reading, but I missed so much that I'm just starting with recent posts :)

Monday, June 13, 2016

For my second guest post, my best friend Katie takes you on a tour through her Little Italy neighborhood of San Diego. There are so many people that visit SD, but they often don't even know that Little Italy exists, which is such a shame. I love staying with her as often as I can. She doesn't currently have a blog, but please check out her Instagram if you like what you see! She's quite the tour guide, and often shares photos of her adventures in San Diego. I hope you find this helpful. Enjoy!

~ Noelle

Ciao Bella! My name is Katie and I have been lucky enough to call myself Noelle's best friend for well over a decade now. When she asked me to do a guest post on her blog, I was thrilled. We both bonded over a creative writing class in high school and I think that is when we met the two loves of our lives- writing...and each other. After high school, we each went our own path and I found myself in San Diego, where I met the third love of my life- this city.

I currently reside in a little borough outside of downtown proper known as "Little Italy". Let me tell you, all the years I spent in college and into the first half of my twenties, I didn't even know this neighborhood existed. Then when my husband and I made the leap and traded beachside living for city life, we stumbled upon an ad for an apartment in Little Italy and the rest is history. It was our little hidden gem that in recent years has grown so much. 

Little Italy is about as charming as it gets. Streets lined with lights year round, bustling coffee shops and wine bars galore, boutiques that offer unique finds, all only a block from the harbor. Art is found on sides of buildings, painting classes are offered weekly. The association throws festivals year round. The restaurant and bar scene feels like something out of a movie. Everywhere you look is just a unique twist on a standard novelty. Even my nail salon is in an old home from the turn of the century. My flower lady, (La Belle Bloom) is in a warehouse next to a bar. Dogs are welcomed almost everywhere, because most local residents have a dog. It's a neighborhood that has a personality all its own. If it were a person, it would probably be a really cool, hip, artsy, diverse, cultured, animal loving individual that has the kind of personality that people are just drawn to and want to be around. 

So, next time you find yourself in this great city, take a day to visit Little Italy. Here are some of my favorite establishments that are worth paying a visit to:

1. El Camino- a funky cantina restaurant/bar, decorated with Dia de los Muertos meets Virgin Mary meets seventies' funk scene. Best day to go in my opinion is Sunday. Pull up to the outdoor bar and order some bottomless mimosas for $12 from Jorge. Wait for the DJ- Kanye Asada to play his tunes outdoors on the patio and hang out with the best group of staff and people watching you can find. Go. Try the California burrito and corn on the cob. You won't be disappointed. 

2. Bencotto- If you want traditional italian food- like from Italy (not the Americanized kind)- go here. Fresh pasta made daily, a cool, modern environment. You can bring your own bottle of wine too. Try the squid ink pasta. No complaints there. 

3. Bracero- An authentic Mexican restaurant (again not Americanized Mexican). The owner has another restaurant just the flip side of the boarder and has been featured on Top Chef. If you want to venture into cool craft cocktails, an octopus appetizer and a beef tongue taco, all while overlooking the bustling street below, this is the place to go. 

4. The Crack Shack- Can you picture fried chicken, an all outdoor restaurant in the dirt, a giant chicken statue and The Beatles next to a bocce court? Well then come here! Awesome food, even better sauces, cocktails and all outdoors to enjoy the beautiful weather. This is the creation of Richard Blais (Top Chef). Try the Coop Deville. Yum. 

5. The Waterfront and the waterfront- let me explain. If you walk a block west, you will hit the water and see the oldest sailing ship still around- The Star of India; cruise ships pulling into port and a massive waterfront park. It's beautiful. Now if you want a stiff cocktail and a dive bar to rest your feet at, walk back up a block and go the The Waterfront- San Diego's oldest dive bar and never a bad time. Try the bloody Mary- Waterfront style- oh and the popcorn. 

6. Little Italy Mercato aka The farmer's market: Every Saturday from 8:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m., the streets turn into one of the best farmer's markets around. Pick up some fresh flowers, Bitchin' Sauce, uni and oysters on the half shell, crepes and even some unique handmade jewelry and soaps, all in a two block radius. 

This is only the tip of the iceberg of what this great neighborhood has to offer. So next time you want to visit Seaport Village or the Gaslamp, do yourself a favor and take the exit before and drive down India Street. You can take in an art gallery, a wine bar, some authentic food, craft beer, boutiques and an ocean view all on one street while walking less than a mile. There are worse places you could go. 

Ciao Bella!

Thursday, June 9, 2016

 Nicole has been a dear friend of mine since high school. We have been there to witness each other's ups and downs, happy times and bad. When I asked her to guest post for me while I'm on vacation, she immediately said yes and I'm so excited to have her here. Please show my "red" some love!

~ Noelle

Hello Noelle’s beautiful readers!
What a fun thing it is for me to be able to write a guest post on beautygirl24. A little about myself, I am the daughter of my heavenly father, I am the wife of almost 6 years to an amazing man, momma to twin three year old boys and a newish blogger. I’ve had my blog (fittobetwinned) for a few years actually and before this one, I had another one. It wasn’t until recently I really decided that I wanted to write more, share more (but hopefully not too much) and have something to call mine. I’m a stay at home momma and that transition from Bachelors degree working woman, to stay at home mom was a tough one for me, but having this little space helps me feel like I’m doing something. My hope is that people can relate to my stories, learn something, laugh, or just feel like someone else in the world gets whatever it is you're going though. That’s why we all like to follow blogs, right?

When Noelle approached me to write a guest post I was so excited! My mind started reeling with what I could write. She left it wide open, and even though we shop at the same places and I love all of her pieces, my concept of getting dressed up is skinny jeans, a black top and a nice necklace, which is few and far between these days. However, in thinking of what I wanted to write my sister came up with an awesome idea. She suggested I talk about why it’s important for me to get ready every day.

Before I was a stay at home mom, my vision of a stay at home mom was that of non stop fun, sleeping in with snuggly babies, staying in yoga pants all day long, no schedule, the list goes on…well, let me tell you…sleeping in with snuggly babies is nearly impossibly when a small child (who is no longer a baby) sneaks into your bed in the wee hours of the morning and spends the next 2 hours kicking you in the back! Staying in yoga pants happens on some days but makes me feel lazy. That whole "no schedule" thing is a laugh because your entire life is a schedule with small children. Last but not least we do have a lot of fun but it’s equally as much work to do anything fun at all.

I decided early on that I had to do one thing for me to just help me feel productive and if that’s putting on makeup and doing my hair so I can just make meals all day, break up fights and love on my sweet boys, then that’s what I’ll do. When they were small this was really hard and I totally understood how someone could go a day or days without showering or getting ready. I struggled with PPD, although not officially diagnosed, I know what I felt wasn’t normal after having a baby or two! I felt secluded, anxious, and like my life was never going to feel normal again, I felt like I was never going to feel like myself again. Yes, I did change, I became a mom but that didn’t mean I had to give up all things that make me happy. One of those big things was just waking up, taking a shower, getting in clothes other than yoga pants, doing my hair, and putting on makeup. When I started that routine, it just helped. It might sound funny, but fighting for that part of me and having me time was so important. Do I still have my days of workout clothes, messy hair and not showering until after 1pm? Absolutely! Life happens and I have twins! But just having that little bit of time to get ready helps me face the day ahead.

So ladies or even men, if you have kids, want kids or are waiting for your special gift from above, just know that yes your life will change, but you don’t have to give up everything about yourself. When you become a parent, your life is that baby. It is so easy to get wrapped up about caring for them and your spouse but don’t forget about you along the way. It’s not selfish, you’re not a bad parent, but you will not be happy unless there is a bit of yourself for just you!

Take Care Everyone,


Nicole's blog can be found here: