I know George Clooney has been dating Amal Alamuddin for a while now, but only lately, amongst all the wedding gossip (in a city I know all too well), did I get a chance to read more about this dark-haired beauty, and I’ve decided she is very much a #WCW. I mean, she’s perfect. She is a lawyer, a human rights activist, and she also writes?!? I barely have the focus to do my one job as an auditor let alone multiple! And her style. Don’t get me started on her impeccably chic cream-on-cream outfit she wore pre-wedding.
Brazil 2014 Part 3: Praia de Pipa (Pipa Beach)
By the time we arrived at our final destination, sand and surf were the only things on our minds. From the moment we stepped foot into Sao Paolo airport, Melanie and I were overwhelmed with the sights, sounds, and tastes of Brazil, in the best way possible. By our seventh day, we were exhausted but ready for one last adventure at a much slower tempo.
I’m so grateful that our Audley travel agent Renata recommended Praia de Pipa, a beach village tucked away from the neighboring city of Natal. The nearest airport was about two hours away, so the ride to Pipa was an interesting look into a side of Brazil you don’t see in the larger cities under a tourist-friendly blanket.
Our days at Pipa were luxurious in the sense that we had no plans other than relaxation, eating, and shopping. Freshly-squeezed fruit juices and ice-cold coconuts were as common as water, and nightlife was not lacking. We got up early every day to stake out a good spot at Baia dos Golfinhos, which translates to “Dolphin’s Bay.” True to its name, this portion of the beach was filled with wild dolphins. At least five dolphin sightings were guaranteed during a given day, and it was so exciting to see who would get closest to one since they swam up to the surface unannounced to do a flip or take a breath.
On our second day, Melanie and I rented paddle-boards from Pipa Surf School and tried our hand at stand-up paddle-boarding, which was more difficult and required more concentration than it might seem (whenever a dolphin got close, I’d get so excited that I would wipe out). When 4 p.m. rolled around and the tides became too high to lay on the beach, we walked up to lunch and ice-cream at Real 14—the only shop where I’ve found Ferrero Rocher flavored icecream (exotic, I know).
Having to come back to actual reality after ten days in an altered one was a hard transition. But, as with any vacation, Melanie and I came back with a renewed sense of purpose and motivation. I cannot thank Audley Travel enough for taking the heavy-lifting of planning off our shoulders, making this trip a truly enjoyable and relaxing one.
Photos by Dara Fang
Accommodations: Pousada Tartaruga
Beach activities: Pipa Surf School at Baia dos Golfinhos (Dolphin’s Bay)
Travel arrangements provided by Audley Travel in Boston. I was NOT compensated in any form for this post—just honest opinions and comments about my trip! For a recap of my entire Brazil trip, check these posts out.
Brazil 2014 Part 2: Rio de Janeiro
Oh Dios Rio. The most anticipated leg of our short journey around Brazil and it did not disappoint. After spending the morning relaxing at Iguassu Falls, we took an afternoon flight to the city in Brazil’s spotlight. On hiatus between the World Cup and the Olympics, Rio de Janeiro is a city stuck with a major identity crisis. Major improvements to city infrastructure were made for the World Cup, but there is still so much to be done before the world convenes again in 2016 for the Summer Olympics. Our driver-guide during our stay at Rio, Ra Barroso, explained all this to us as we sped along the highway through the favelas of southern Rio to the glitzy glam North. However, when asked how he felt about the World Cup in Rio, he echoed on behalf of the entire city population that it was a proud moment for all Brazilians to see a sport so loved by the people celebrated on their territory, even if they were not crowned as winners.
Brazil 2014 Part 1: Iguassu Falls
For me, traveling is the ultimate luxury, hence a topic that is frequently featured on this diary-blog of mine. My semester abroad during spring of 2012 was the highlight of my college experience, and I have that semester to thank for some lifelong friends whom I would probably have never met otherwise. Melanie, one of aforementioned friends, and I have long discussed a trip to Brazil after our semester in Europe, during which we visited many cities together by sheer luck (we both had similar itineraries and weekends).
Between Melanie and I, we had ten days blocked off this past August in planning this trip to Brazil. Rio de Janeiro was an obvious stop, and in surfing through some of my favorite blogs The Glamourai and Ann Street Studio, we narrowed down our itinerary to include Iguassu Falls and Salvador. Originally, we had tried to plan the entire trip completely on our own, but once that proved to be more difficult than you would think, we enlisted the help of Audley Travel, a travel agency specializing in customized trips. With much appreciated advice and planning by Renata DeSousa, a Brazilian native and Latin America specialist at Audley, we modified our itinerary to Iguassu Falls, Rio de Janeiro, and Pipa Beach. Given how Melanie and I do not have unlimited funds, Renata excelled in making a thoughtful itinerary, giving great recommendations on where to save, where to splurge, and which beach town to visit. The end result was a completely relaxed and smooth trip, especially considering all the bouncing around we did.
My friend Mel and I just touched down from an epic trip down in South America. Thanks to a very meticulously planned custom itinerary in Brazil by Audley Travel, a UK-based travel company, we were able to get together for another one of the infamous Mel-and-Dara adventures in a country neither of us had experienced before. More pictures and narratives to come about the three places in Brazil we visited: Iguassu Falls, Rio de Janeiro, and Pipa Beach.
Photo above: my super-model friend at Copacabana Beach, taken on 25 Aug. 2014.
Today, I went on a much-talked-about-but-never-executed run. I woke up to perfectly blue skies and no plans…so if there was ever a better time to go on a solo run, that was it. The goal was to hit Memorial Drive for a view of the Boston skyline my Uber driver told me about once when I told him I thought Storrow Drive “was the coolest view of Boston at night.” (He scoffed.)
The funny thing is (and friends tell me this all the time): I am the planner in the group. I like having a list of activities and exploring for each day. Nothing makes me more unsettled than waking up on a beautiful day and having my boyfriend tell me he wants to “sit inside and watch Game of Thrones" all day. For the Fourth of July holiday weekend, I tried my hand at being whimsical. Usually when I visit New York City, I have a list of restaurants I want to go to or things to check out. This time around, I made no plans other than a visit to the Whitney Museum. Most of time, I was sitting around my sister’s apartment or the park reading a captivating book I had just bought. It was the most relaxed I’d ever been after a visit to NYC, which normally leaves me exhausted. Ironically, it’s when I don’t make plans that I end up discovering the most: my sister’s favorite places in the city (including my new favorite wings place), “The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere” inscribed on the Longfellow Bridge, the fact that Memorial Drive did in fact have a pedestrian trail, and Charles River sailing lessons I can’t wait to try.
We are the online kids, and we should be grateful to be living in this period of opportunity. But again, as it is always in life, it’s all about finding the right, healthy balance. Heaving a beautiful Instagram feed can be very illusional, posting nice inspirational quotes doesn’t make you a good person, it’s what you do in real life that will define who you are. The way you are with your friends, family, with your neighbors or just society in general.
--Kristina Bazan, of Kayture—a fashion blog I discovered via Pinterest by way of this simply chic outfit
I should preface this post by saying that I am not a runner. The idea of jogging has somehow always bored me and left me breathless at the same time, and in retrospect I attribute this to a terrible habit of resorting to the treadmill at the gym. When I signed up to do the J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge 5K a couple months ago, I figured it would be a great motivator for getting outside and running in order to train (yes, I’d need to train for a 5K). Unfortunately, work and procrastination got in the way and last Tuesday, I dragged my feet to the starting line at Boston Common so reluctantly you’d think I was getting my wisdom teeth out again. I had gotten about 1.5 hours of sleep the night before (thanks but no thanks to this road trip) and worked all day. I was so tired by 5 pm that I didn’t even have energy to eat before this race (not a good idea, by the way). Nonetheless, I ended up running about 2.5 miles and walked one. Considering all of the factors surrounding my physical and mental state that day, I’d say my time (42 min and then some) was a pretty decent one for my first 5K, and the experience with all my friends and co-workers have made me into a outdoor runner of sorts.
Have you ever done something you’ve never done, only to be turned into a convert?
Dairly Tunes: The ‘Hey Sista Soul Sista’ Playlist
During a particularly slow day at work, my co-workers/friends and I were talking about the songs that are our current 24/7 jams. Somewhere in the middle of this conversation, Hannah came up with the idea of which the above playlist was the product. The idea was stupidly simple and intricately genius all the same: each of one of us was to pick out five of her favorite songs and add them to the group playlist, no repeats. There were five of us, so the playlist would ultimately result in twenty new songs to add to our workday jukebox. As the day progressed, the playlist kept growing and growing (it was immensely difficult to limit to five songs!). Given how different our personalities and tastes in music were, it was interesting to see what other people would add to the playlist—it’s like a window to their inner beings. Since the playlist creation yesterday, I haven’t been able to stop listening to this playlist we’ve created that I’ve decided to share it with all of you as well. Hope you enjoy, and happy Saturday!
The past weekend’s family road trip down to Myrtle Beach, SC was just what the doctor ordered in terms of a mental health break. We stayed in an oceanfront room at Captain’s Quarters after a long 13-hour trip driving from Boston all the way to South Carolina…I can’t even remember the last time we did that as a family, but as always, adventure ensued. We were so exhausted from the trip down that the only desirable activities from day-to-day were to eat and sleep—from bed to sand—and talk and talk and talk until we all feel as though we haven’t all been a bit disjointed before between college, work, and travels.
This past Tuesday, a couple friends and I attended an advance screening of this new movie (c/o Loew’s AMC Theaters in Boston Commons). When my friend first described this movie to me—”a comedy about abortion"—I almost spat out the water I was drinking and was, all in all, pretty skeptical. I was surprised to find myself laughing out loud pretty much the entire movie. It helps that the main character is a comedian (Jenny Slate does an amazing job in the lead role). Even more so, I find that this movie takes a more realistic and relatable approach on an otherwise overly-austere and stigmatized topic.
Have you seen ‘Obvious Child’? What were your thoughts?
Thank you...for the bravery and courage that allows America to be the great country it is. Happy Memorial Day.
Photo: Nantucket, this past weekend.
It’s hard to imagine that, having grown up (and living in) Massachusetts for all but two years of my life, I’ve only been to the Cape ONCE. My parents, being the free-spirited travelers they are, rarely visited the same place twice. On the other hand, all my classmates in elementary school, middle school, and high school, had houses on the Cape (or knew someone who knew someone who had a house on the Cape). And every year, like clockwork, my neighbors made a pilgrimage to the Cape and basically could not be bothered until September. This weekend, I’m heading back out (very very early Saturday morning) to re-experience what I vaguely remember from my childhood—the salty air, the shell-littered shores, the lobster—and some new things: MaryLou’s famous iced coffee, the original Cape Cod Bracelet, and Nantucket.
What are your Memorial Day plans?
Decorating the apartment has been pushed way way aside the past few months, especially since I spent most of it moving around for work. Now that my schedule has settled down, I’ll be able to spend more time and resources into decorating.
Though overlooked at first, the apartment my friend Niti and I rented has several small features that have so much potential for implementing Pinterest ideas—hidden medicine cabinet, deep linen closet, exposed brick, ample closet storage, and deep windowsills. In my bedroom, there are two adjacent windows (with the aforementioned windowsills) that have bothered me for the longest time. I had placed some frames on one, and created a jewelry station on the other—but that proved difficult to maintain when the nice weather rolled around and I wanted to open the windows. Next to my bed is an IKEA Expedit shelf that I’ve moved around at least four times—against the wall, tilted in the corner, on the right side of the bed, on the left…turned 90 degrees—and I can’t figure out what to do about styling the shelves!
As always, I turned to Pinterest to find some solutions: a decorative mirror to complete some empty wall space, gallery wall above the bed (or across from it), matching prints, office storage for the Expedit shelves, and flowers and books along the windows.
What are some tips you have for styling small bedrooms?
This past weekend was one of those weekends that makes you forget that winter ever happened. Just when you think the world is going to end with an intercontinental arctic freeze, Mother Nature throws a much-anticipated reward: beautiful picnics in the park, a mid-work-day lunch break on the Charlestown dock, and an early dinner tapas snack al fresco at Tapeo.