Travel TBT: Sutro Baths + San Francisco Brunch

I was up in Northern California for two week’s this month for Ashley’s wedding and my birthday. I didn’t feel particularly inspired to throw myself a big celebration for my 29th; my only wish was to do a little hike outdoors and have a great brunch. Here’s how the day went:

Sutro Baths

After some research into hikes near San Francisco, I ended up choosing more of a scenic walk because I wanted to be able to go straight to brunch after without changing. Priorities, haha. I have done the “Lands End” hike around the northern coast of San Francisco before, but never went down to the Sutro Baths. You get to the baths with a quick downhill walk and a series of stairs. What you end up seeing are the ruins of what used to be a public bath facility, which is actually very cool to imagine (you can read about the history here). This is by no means a hike, but a great little scenic walk… shall we say, for the gram?

Brunch at Aina

After scouring a few foodie websites (my go-to are Infatuation and Thrillist) and asking an old co-worker from my days at Tasting Table, I landed on brunch at Aina in the Dogpatch neighborhood of San Francisco. They do not take reservations, so we went straight from our walk to put our names in. We arrived at around 11am on Saturday and were told the wait would be about an hour…not too terrible for a new restaurant! We took a quick little walk of the neighborhood and got a snack of fresh beignets to-go at Just For You Cafe on the next block over. The beignets ended up being VERY good. Plus, what is more in theme with celebrating your birthday than having dessert before brunch?! Aina called us about an hour and 10 minutes after we put our name down.

Service was super friendly and the food was AMAZING. I’m not sure I’ve ever truly had Hawaiian food, but this place makes me want to eat it constantly. The flavors were absolutely incredible. We shared the (homemade) spam bao to start, which I was scared of. However, do not be scared of the word spam, this musubi was INCREDIBLE. We also had the kalbi loco moco (their most popular dish), trout and smoked mushroom entrees. All 3 were fantastic! We drank their white wine and red wine lemonades, both were very tasty.

 

All around, an excellent birthday morning.

Xoxo,
Truett

Travel TBT: Bachelorette in Tulum!

Tulum has been on my bucket list for a while now, so you can imagine how ecstatic I was to be able to go there for my Bachelorette party with my three best friends (Truett included! Duh!) last weekend. Travel has always been such an important part of my life, so I’ve always known I didn’t want to have your typical Vegas bachelorette with a group of drunk girls walking barefoot down the strip while I’m forcibly wearing some type of bright pink “Last Hoorah” sash over my too tight/too short minidress. More power to the girls who are down for that, but I just can’t hang anymore…which is why Tulum was perfect for me.

The health and wellness aspect of Tulum is what initially drew me in. It’s always been my dream to move to a beach town for a season to teach Pilates, eat acai bowls, and bum around for a few months, and after experiencing Tulum firsthand my dream has only grown bigger (for reasons you’ll soon find out)! Just as appealing is the pure beauty of the town, beaches, and turquoise blue waters. The absence of any gimmicks and all inclusive resorts literally speaks to my soul. When I think of a tropical vacation, I don’t think of high rise resorts…I think of boutique hotels and beach bungalows. And that is EXACTLY what Tulum is.

There are tons of things to see and do and incredible food to eat, so the below itinerary is just a glimpse of the many amazing options available in beautiful Tulum. But I promise you will not be disappointed if you choose to replicate our trip!

Day One – Thursday 

This day was mostly a travel day, but we made it to Tulum by early evening so we still had a few hours to take advantage of.

AirBNB – We chose to stay in an AirBNB rather than a hotel so we didn’t have to be on top of each other with all of our suitcases and Bachelorette-y party favors (i.e. penis balloons). Our particular AirBNB was about a 10-15 minute taxi ride from the beach in an area called Aldea Zama. Our condo was super cute and modern and included all upgraded finishes. The host was great with their communication, and despite a few hiccups, we really enjoyed our stay here. If you have a smaller group or are just with a significant other, I would recommend staying at a hotel as they are all located on the beach and that’s where you will be spending most of your time.

Rosa Negra – After checking into our condo and freshening up, we took a taxi to the beach and stumbled upon Rosa Negra. A combination of our ravenous appetites and the restaurant’s beautiful decor made our decision for us and it’s a decision we did not regret! We all ordered an array of salads, tacos, empanadas, and ceviche and were in absolute Heaven. Everything was so fresh and delicious, I’m salivating even thinking about it now. 10/10 would recommend!

Day Two – Friday

Sanara Tulum – Per my future sister in law’s recommendation, we started our day off with yoga at Sanara and breakfast at The Real Coconut. I cannot think of a better way to start my day or a more beautiful setting to do so. The yoga studio is situated right on the beach and the retractable walls were all open so we could hear the sound of the waves crashing while we flowed through our practice. After building up an appetite we made the short walk over to The Real Coconut – the most adorable, made for Instagram cafe – where I had probably the healthiest meal of my life. In keeping up with the theme in Tulum, everything was incredibly fresh and delicious. We definitely left with happy bellies!

 

Gran Cenote – After breakfast we made our way to Gran Cenote, an amazing cavern/swimming hole. This was definitely one of the highlights of our trip, if not THE highlight. The water is a stunningly clear blue and it literally looked fake in some parts. We had a blast swimming and exploring the multiple caves and looking up at the bats flying around. At one point there was a torrential downpour and it was absolutely surreal. Any trip to Tulum wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Gran Cenote, and when planning your visit make sure to go early to avoid the crowds!

Hartwood – Every person I know that has been to Tulum told me to go to Hartwood for dinner. We made reservations a few weeks in advance and were blown away by how fantastic the food was. Everyone in our group has slightly different palettes (one of which being vegan) so it was really cool to see how the different restaurants in Tulum were able to accommodate our different tastes. Hartwood was no exception as we all slowly died over our meals. One of the most memorable for all of us was the side sweet potato I ordered. It is unlike anything we’ve ever eaten…slowly cooked over a wood stove with honey butter and cacao (?!?!?!). TO.DIE.FOR.

Mur Mur – After dinner we strolled through town and stopped at a few boutiques and bars, but we ended up planting ourselves at the cute little bar at Mur Mur and had a great night. As I’ve mentioned in the past, I don’t drink and have been drunk only once in my life (off two glasses of wine in my old apartment with my fiancé). Considering it was my Bachelorette party, I figured I should let loose a little bit. Two glasses of rose and two shots of tequila later…I was SMASHED. My friends thought it was the most hilarious thing they’ve ever seen. “Our necks should support our heads better.” – Me

Day Three – Saturday

Ahau Tulum – We came to Ahau for breakfast on the beach and I swear to you I had the best breakfast burrito I’ve ever had in my entire life. I used to live in San Diego so that’s saying A LOT.

Beach Day – One of my biggest priorities on the trip was having a day to relax on the beach. Donning the matching bathing suits my besties got for us, we found a public beach next to Azulik and rented lounge chairs for 300 pesos per person (to go toward food and drinks). After living on the freezing East Coast for the past few months this was exactly what I needed.

Posada Margherita – Most likely owned and operated by the creators of Pinterest. This Italian restaurant is one of, if not THE cutest places I have ever been to. We ate right on the beach (as in toes in the sand) during sunset and were basically on one big honeymoon because it was perfect. The pasta is made fresh and was some of the best I’ve had anywhere in the world. Something to note is that Posada does not take reservations and gets really busy during the late dinner hours so if you want to avoid waiting you may want to consider coming early.

Papaya Playa Project – Other than small bars along the main road, Tulum is fairly quiet in terms of nightlife. The one night the town really comes to life is on Saturdays at Papaya Playa Project. This beach bar turned nightclub is right on the water and has multiple levels with various bars scattered throughout. We had planned for this to be the one big night of the trip, but were unfortunately disappointed with how it turned out. The potential this place has is huge, but the whole vibe really fell flat to us. Maybe we were just unlucky, but the DJ on that particular night played nothing but lounge music and it felt like you had to be on drugs to really enjoy it. We put in a solid effort but after a couple hours we decided to head back to our AirBNB, where we ended up having an awesome time drinking and played Heads Up. LOL

Day Four – Sunday

This day was another travel day as we prepared to head home, but we managed to take advantage of our last few hours by using the bikes provided by our AirBNB to explore Tulum Town on our way to breakfast.

DelCielo – Another Instagram worthy cafe located in Tulum Town. Truett literally ordered Huevos Rancheros every day and she said her favorite was at DelCielo, which means A LOT coming from her! I had an acai bowl with a croissant on the side. 🙂

 

Three and a half days in Tulum definitely was not enough when considering all this dream of a beach town has to offer, but I was SO happy with how my Bachelorette trip turned out and I wouldn’t change a thing for the world. A special thank you goes to my best friends who gave me the trip of a lifetime. I can’t wait to return the favor on your future Bachelorettes!

If you have any questions or favorites from your past trips to Tulum you think we should know, please send us a note because we will definitely be back!

xo,

Ashley

Travel TBT: Fiji

I traveled to Fiji at the end of 2011/beginning of 2012 with my (now ex)boyfriend, and I can honestly say I have never been more relaxed in my life. 2011 was a rough year for me so I was in desperate need of an escape…and Fiji ended up being just what the doctor ordered. I spent the entire two weeks I was there with absolutely no agenda or itinerary. I woke up when I wanted, ate what I wanted, and chose to spend my days how I wanted. It was incredible, but let me tell you…island fever is REAL. Two weeks is a little TOO much relaxation for even me, and that’s saying a lot because I’m probably one of the laziest people I’ve ever met. If I could have changed anything about the trip I would have probably cut it down to about 10 days, but complaining about being in paradise for too long is definitely a #firstworldproblem so I’ll shut up now.

Viti Levu

We started the trip with a week on Fiji’s main island, Viti Levu. We flew into Nadi and took an hour shuttle ride that passed through some of the country’s most substantial sugar cane plantations to my hotel located on Natadola Beach. Nadi is the main hub for travelers so this is where your trip will start and end whether you’re traveling to one of Fiji’s many islands or heading out to go home.

Intercontinental Fiji Golf Resort & Spa – This resort is one of the nicest hotels I have ever stayed in, even to this day. It’s not particularly luxurious or anything, but everything from the grounds to the staff are all first class. Fijians in general are incredibly warm and hospitable people, but everyone at the Intercontinental went out of their way to make sure we enjoyed our stay. Which is pretty important considering this is the type of resort you don’t really leave. It has everything you could possibly want: multiple restaurants serving cuisines from all over the world, an incredible spa with every amenity imaginable, several different pools for all types of uses, a gym in case you’re the type of person that works out on vacation, and of course the beautiful beach the hotel is nestled on. This is the part of the trip we splurged on as it wasn’t exactly cheap, but it was definitely worth every penny.

Biausevu Waterfall – The concierge at the hotel set up an all day hike for us that led to the beautiful Biausevu Waterfall on the Coral Coast. Our amazing tour guide, Chimmy, picked us up from the hotel and took us to a small village to start the hike. This was one of my favorite parts of the trip as we were able to get away from the resort vibe and immerse ourselves into the culture (as best as we could with the short amount of time we had) and see what the real Fiji was all about. This hike is definitely a must if you ever find yourself on Viti Levu!

Tokoriki Island

We spent the second half of the trip on Tokoriki Island. To get there we shuttled back to Nadi from the Intercontinental and took a boat to to Tokoriki. Although Viti Levu is technically an island, Tokoriki gives you more of the island feel as it’s fairly small and is home to only two hotels.

Amunuca Island Resort – Luckily for everyone in the world, this hotel no longer exists. But this is where we stayed so I might as well mention it. Looking back it’s pretty hilarious how bad this place was. The room was a joke, the staff gave zero fucks, and I remember eating an inordinate amount of Pringles that week because the food was THAT BAD. The one redeeming quality Amunuca had was its location, which ended up making up for most of the negatives. Tokoriki Island is an absolute dream with the most beautiful white sand beaches and clear, blue water. We spent most of our time on the beach and in the ocean…tanning, jet skiing, kayaking, snorkeling, etc…so the fact that our hotel sucked didn’t really take away from our experience.

Monuriki Island – The watersport hut at the hotel hosted tours to different nearby islands every day so we chose to visit Monuriki, where the movie Castaway was filmed. The island itself is stunning and once we got there we had a few hours to ourselves to explore and swim. One of the things I couldn’t help but laugh at was the island’s proximity to its neighbors. Tom Hanks literally could have just swam to a hotel and called his wife. Ugh. 😉

Tokoriki Island Resort – On one of our kayak trips, we discovered Tokoriki Island Resort – the only other hotel on Tokoriki Island. The drastic difference between this resort and ours was comical and we immediately regretted not doing better research because Tokoriki Island Resort is AMAZING. I swear even the air felt different on its side of the island. The grounds were spectacular and the staff actually enjoyed being alive. We came here for dinner the night after our discovery and the food was just as delicious as expected. If I ever go back to Fiji this is where I will be staying and I recommend you do the same!

 

When I was initially planning my trip I juggled with the idea of possibly traveling to somewhere other than Fiji, like Bora Bora or the Maldives. You probably can’t go wrong with any of those options, but I am SO glad I chose Fiji. There is so much more to this beautiful place than just the beach and turquoise waters, and having the opportunity to see parts of the country Google doesn’t show and meeting the sweet locals that were beyond proud of their homeland was something I will cherish forever. If you ever have the chance to visit this amazing country you should absolutely take it.

 

xo, Ashley

Travel TBT: Austin, TX

I was in Austin for a bachelorette last weekend and had an absolute blast, even though we happened to be there the hottest weekend of the entire summer (105 degrees is no joke). Below is everything we ate, drank and saw!

Restaurants

Kemuri Tatsu-Ya: I found this fusion restaurant on a must-eat in Austin list (I think Thrillist) and it was very good. It is Asian crossed with BBQ and the flavors are insane. 10/10 recommend.

La Barbecue: I did quite a few searches looking for the “Best BBQ in Austin” and La Barbecue was consistently on the list. Plus, it is owned by a woman (rare in BBQ) so I had to try it. We made a giant order for pickup (must be done 5 days in advance) and ate it as leftovers for days. However, if you feel like eating there, they have a free keg of beer for anyone waiting in line.

Trace, W Hotel: $1 mimosas. Excellent food. Inside the W Hotel. Need I say more?

Torchy’s Tacos: If you haven’t heard, you HAVE to eat queso while in Austin (it’s a thing). This place not only has great queso, but excellent tacos. Plus, it is a chain, so there are many places to try.

Pho Please: Hungover pho is the go-to for my group of friends. We live in California where there are copious choices, so we consider ourselves somewhat connoisseurs. This place did the trick!

Bars

I separated out the bars we tried by neighborhood, most were recommended by friends in town or who had recently visited.

West 6th: a more laid-back and slightly upscale restaurant: Kung Fu, Parlor & Yard, Native Hostel

Rainey St: similar to West 6th: Container, Bungalow

Dirty 6th: This refers to the street. I honestly don’t remember much, because they close the streets here and the bars honestly are all very similar. I can say for sure we went to Cheers Shot Bar, then walked from there (they have a photobooth!).

Site-Seeing

Shopping on South Congress: There are a ton of shops on South Congress, with a mix of vintage and contemporary. All are super cute and fun to window shop (or shop!) in. We went into Maya (cute and fun), Uncommon Objects (insanely cool antiques), By George (very fancy), Lucy in Disguise with Diamonds (vintage and every costume you can think of), Little Barrel and Brown (we actually had brunch here), Allen’s Boots (hundreds of leather boots!), Flowers on the Fly (mini succulents sold outside of Guero’s Taco Bar).

Barton Springs: This is a an outdoor pool filled with natural spring water from nearby, for a small entry fee. It’s the perfect place to relax and cool off on a hot Texas day.

Where we stayed: We found a house on E 8th St. using Homeaway, which is similar to Airbnb. The house was great. One of our friends also stayed an extra day at the Driskill Hotel, which is a historic hotel and was absolutely gorgeous.

xoxo, Truett

Travel TBT: Thailand

I traveled to Thailand with two of my best friends in January 2014 and had the time of my life. I had always heard amazing things about Thailand, but it was my first time traveling to Asia so it was definitely a step outside of my comfort zone. Forget all that nonsense though because I never wanted to leave! The country itself is unbelievably gorgeous, the people are so incredibly kind, and the food is to die for. Here are some of the highlights of our trip:

 

Phuket

We started our trip on Phuket, which turned out to be my favorite part because the island is insanely beautiful and there are so many fun things to see and do. After a loooong day of traveling we arrived at our fabulous hotel, Kalima Resort & Spa. At check in they were hilariously apologetic about having to upgrade us to a private villa because the room we originally booked was no longer available. Let me just say, there was NOTHING to apologize about. The grounds of the resort are stunning and the views are even better. 100/100 would recommend.

Sightseeing: We hired a driver to drive us around to the main sights in Phuket one day and it was the best decision we could have made. He was super hospitable and genuinely enjoyed showing us around. The spots we hit were: Big Buddha, Wat Chalong, and Tiger Kingdom. The next day the concierge at our hotel set up an elephant trek for us and we had a blast. I know this topic is controversial among some circles, but at the time it wasn’t really spoken about.

Phi Phi Island – We took a catamaran tour that took us to a few different islands around Phuket, including Phi Phi Island and Maya Beach (where The Beach was filmed). There were probably 20ish other people on the boat and we all had an incredible time. The boat would stop every once in a while for snorkeling and we had more than enough time to explore every island we stopped at. This was one of the highlights of our trip so if you go to Phuket you HAVE to do it.

Bangla Road/Patong Beach – The infamous Bangla Road! This place comes alive once the sun goes down and you better make damn sure you have your party pants on. Just walking down the street is entertaining enough, but if you want to partake in any of the festivities you have plenty of options. Open air bars with dancers flying around on stripper poles line the streets, lady boys strut around in full on character mode, and little Thai men work their asses off convincing tourists to check out the ping pong shows. If you’re feeling like a near death experience to cap off your night, I would suggest taking a tuk tuk ride back to your hotel. Just make sure to pick the right one!

Food – I am kicking myself in the ass as I write this because I cannot for the life of me remember the name of the restaurant I had the best meal of the trip at. My only wish is that you stumble upon it just like we did because the food is unreal. Just in case, here are a few I actually do remember:

Baan Rim Pa Kalim: This restaurant is within walking distance from our hotel and both the food and atmosphere are fantastic. The views are amazing and the Pad Thai is even better. I hope you’re not on a diet while on your trip because I’m also going to recommend that you order the fried rice because it will ROCK YOUR WORLD. It’s not just at this one spot though, something about the fried rice in Thailand is just plain unbelievable. Please do me a favor and order it everywhere you go. Thank you.

Savoey: We came here the night we went to Patong Beach after it was recommended by a local. This restaurant is a Patong staple and the food is super freaking good. You can literally pick out your seafood, that’s how fresh it is. Make sure to order the coconut ice cream!

 

Koh Samui

We flew into Koh Samui from Phuket and stayed at Nora Beach Resort & Spa. The grounds of the resort are nicer than the actual rooms, but we were almost never in the room anyway so it wasn’t a huge deal. What we loved most about this hotel was the crack in a glass watermelon juice they greeted us with upon our arrival. I honestly think we ordered it like three times a day after that. IT’S THAT GOOD. Another highlight was the Thai massages we got almost immediately after checking in. Make sure to get at least one wherever you stay because you’ll be in Heaven. Unfortunately for us the weather wasn’t that great while we were in Koh Samui so we weren’t able to take advantage of the beautiful beaches as much as we would have liked, but we still had a good time.

Spirit House – The ambience of this restaurant is so amazing and the food is on the same level. If you don’t eat anywhere else in Koh Samui you have to go here.

Ladyboy Show – The ultimate Thai nightlife experience. These women are so fierce they burn the house down. This was our favorite night in Koh Samui and is a total must. I’m pretty sure this is the birthplace of AsiaSF. You betta werk, bitch!

 

Bangkok

We saved our last day and half for Bangkok and I kid you not the city announced an official state of emergency an hour after we got there. We were literally in the middle of the 2014 Thai coup d’etat and were freaked the F out. Luckily tourists were safe so we were free to *cautiously* carry on with our touristy agendas. For some reason a lot of people don’t recommend going to Bangkok, but we really loved it. The city atmosphere is definitely a drastic change from the island life we had been living for the past week, but there is so much going on and the culture is so rich that it would honestly be stupid to miss.

Banyan Tree Hotel – We splurged for the last leg of our trip and got a suite at the fabulous Banyan Tree in the heart of the city. Splurging is a bit of an exaggeration because that same hotel anywhere else would be wayyyy more expensive. The rooftop bar/restaurant is the highest in the city and the views are incredible. The food and drinks are equally as incredible, however the proper definition of splurge is suitable in this situation because $$$$$$.

Wat Po – The temple is gorgeous and the Reclining Buddha is enormously impressive. The Palace is within walking distance to the temple, but make sure you don’t go on a Sunday like we did because it it will be closed.

Chatuchak Market – This is the world’s largest weekend market and has everything from jewelry to puppies (literally). You can spend an entire day weaving in and out of the different stalls. Have fun and make sure to put your best bargaining hat on!

 

Thailand still is and will most likely always be one of my favorite countries. The country is so naturally beautiful and you really get the chance to immerse yourself into the culture. I never realized I loved Thai food (and Thai Tea, omg) as much as I did, but my obsession still continues to this day. If you’re on a budget this is the perfect place to travel to as your money will stretch further than you’d expect and you’ll realize you don’t have to break the bank to have an amazing vacation!

 

Khawp khun, kha!

Ashley

Travel TBT: Croatia

I don’t even know where to start. I can give you enough advice to last you an entire summer, but I’ll do my best to narrow it down to just a week or two. My mom was born in Croatia and moved to the states when she was 12. The rest of her family still lives there, so we travel back to visit practically every summer. Over the years, Croatia has become my second home. I want others to love it just as much as I do because I take it personal. This country is unbelievably gorgeous, but it’s so much more than that. The history and culture run incredibly deep, and to get the full experience you need to go all in. Don’t be that yacht week guy/girl. Eat the food, drink the pivo, sit at a cafe all day and get to know the locals. There will never be another place like the old country.

 

My family lives in a small mountain village about an hour outside of Split, so I’m really only qualified to give advice on the southern(ish) part of Croatia as I’ve spent very little time in the north. But like I said before, there’s so much to do that you’re going to have to make multiple trips to really get the full experience. The itinerary I’m giving you will include the cities I visit every summer as they are my favorite places in the world. The only thing I’m not going to include is my family’s village because the mountains are pretty much a no go zone for tourists and you’d probably be looked at like a freak if you somehow ended up there.

 

******Depending on how much traveling around you plan on doing within the country, I would recommend renting a car. There’s not really any public transportation other than those huge tour buses (which are horrible), so just make your life easier and rent a car. Just be careful while driving as the people drive like psychos and other than the new autobahn that doesn’t span the entire length of the country yet (yay developing countries!), your only option will be a two lane road along the coast that might or might not always have guard rails.

 

Makarska:

Fly into Split and drive an hour to Makarska, an adorable little beach town on the Adriatic. I’ve been coming here since I was little, and while people were slowly but surely discovering Croatia, Makarska was able to fly under the radar for a really long time. This is where the people from the mountains take their holidays, but over the last five or so years the tourism industry has taken over. When I’m in Makarska I literally do the same thing every single day for like a week and I freaking love it. I wake up late, head to the beach to bake in the sun for eight hours, go back to my room to take a nap, get ready for a late dinner, and then party all night until the sun comes up. Granted I’m getting older and the party all night thing is becoming more and more rare with every year, but it’s so easy and so fun to just pretend you’re 21 again while in this adorable little town.

Hotel Dalmacija: When I don’t feel like making the 30 minute drive from my grandma’s house to Makarska, I either stay at my aunt’s rental apartment or at Hotel Dalmacija. The hotel is nothing special. Like at all. But it’s cheap, the location is perfect, and you’re never going to be in the room anyway. There are several hotel/apartment options throughout town so you’ll never have any issues finding a place to stay, just make sure you pick a place within walking distance to the beach.

Buba Beach: One part of the super long beach is dedicated to this cool little beach bar that bumps awesome house music all day long. Keep in mind that the beaches in Croatia have rocks, not sand, so it’s totally worth spending the 20ish Kuna (~$4) to rent a lounge chair for the day. When you’re not dancing, drinking, napping, or swimming, take a walk down to the day market on the other side of the beach. The vendors sell a lot of cheesy knick knacks, but there are a lot of good gifts for your friends back home. One thing you should absolutely get is the tanning oil the little old ladies sell along the beach. It’s literally olive oil mixed with lavender, and it will get you the tannest you’ve ever been in your life. I swear by it. (If you’re like Truett and are borderline see through, avoid the oil (and the sun for that matter) and buy the strongest sunscreen you can find)

Cliff Jumping: While on your walk, ask one of the locals where the cliff jumping is. It’s a bit of a hike from the beach, but it’s so much fun and you get some pretty cool views/photo ops. There used to be this awesome little bar with glass floors built into the side of the cliff, but it has since been abandoned. My uncle and the owner used to get hammered together all the time so I’m going to go ahead and assume there was just nothing left for the customers.

Club Deep: Speaking of cliffs, this is where you’re going to want to spend your nights. This club is built into a cliff right across the water from the cliff jumping spot and is just so much fun. It’s not very big but the atmosphere is amazing. Another fun place to dance not too far from Deep is Petar Pan. Remember that in Europe people do not really go out until after midnight, so prepare to stay out until at least 6am. The best part is walking back to your room as the sun comes up just in time for the Pekara (bakery) to open.

 

Dubrovnik:

After spending 2-3 days in Makarska, make the two hour drive along the coast down to Dubrovnik. I fell in love with this city when I was just a little girl, and it’s still my favorite place in the entire world. The wall surrounding Old Town (a UNESCO World Heritage Sight) is intimidatingly beautiful, and the views of the Mediterranean Sea and surrounding mountains are equally as breathtaking. Dubrovnik isn’t just a pretty face though, it’s a history book with hundreds of thousands of pages. The mountains at the top of the city are said to still have mines and shell casings from the war. It’s very easy to be a tourist and appreciate Croatia’s beauty from a surface level perspective, but this country and its people have been through some shit. That very war is why my family came to America. So before I get back to the fun stuff, I just want to ask one thing of you: respect this country, respect the people, and enjoy all that it has to offer. Ok moving on…

Where To Stay: Most of the time I usually just do day trips to Dubrovnik, but on my last visit I decided to stay for a few days and stayed at this Airbnb. The owner is super sweet and the house can be rented as a whole, or you can rent individual rooms that all come with their own bathrooms. No matter where you stay, you want to make sure your hotel or airbnb is in Old Town, which is where you’ll be spending 98% of your time.

Things To Do:

-Walk the wall. Like I said before, the views are amazing. Take note that Croatian summers are HOT. Like hot enough to have given me heatstroke once. So keep water on you at all times. And when you’re at restaurants, don’t be afraid to ask for more ice. Croatians think you’re going to get pneumonia from cold drinks, but just ignore them and get your damn ice.

Game of Thrones Tour: If you’re a GOT fan like me, you’ll know that Old Town Dubrovnik serves as the setting for King’s Landing (where Cersei just recently f’d shit up last season). I’ve never done the tour, but it’s something to do if you feel like nerding out!

Buža Bar: One of the coolest parts of the city. This bar/cafe is built into the rocks on the outside of the wall. You’ll want to spend the better part of one of your days drinking/tanning/swimming/cliff jumping here. You’ll see it while walking along the wall, but It’s pretty hard to actually get to so you’re going to have to ask someone where the little entrance door is.

-Explore the city: walk around the little alleyways, peek into some of the 100+ churches within the city limits, window shop, eat an endless amount of sladoled (ice cream), and do like the Croats do and sit at cafes all day and silently judge tourists/people watch.

Nightlife: If you’re into the club scene, check out Club Revelin. Otherwise there are tons of bars and cafes in Old Town to choose from.

Food:

Avoid eating at any of the restaurants in the main squares as they’re tourist traps with subpar food. The best restaurants will be found within the millions of alleyways. Ragusa 2 is one of my favorites, as well as…

Taj Majal: Great for authentic cuisine. Order the Ćevapi (my favorite Croatian dish) and enjoy!

 

Hvar:

Take a ferry to Hvar from Dubrovnik and give yourself at least three nights here. The island is a dream and perfect for taking a few days to kick back and relax. If you don’t need to relax all day every day, there are tons of fun activities you can partake in both during the day and at night so you’ll get the best of both worlds. Most important of all, Beyonce, Jay-Z, and Blue have been named honorary citizens of Hvar by the mayor himself. While Bey was pregnant with little Blue, the couple (supposedly) came across the Blue Ivy plant while on vacation in Hvar and were inspired to name their daughter after it. Whether it’s true or not, it’s a fact that Queen B and Hov both love Croatia, so you should too.

Amfora Hvar: Other than Dubrovnik (tourist central), Croatia is relatively inexpensive as a whole. Since I spend almost nothing on my trips back to the old country, I always splurge on a few nights at Amfora. The resort has an amazing pool that overlooks the Adriatic (both of which you’ll probably end up spending most of your time at), and is within walking distance to Hvar Town where the harbor and restaurants are located. There are plenty of other options for accommodations on the island if you don’t feel like spending the money, but I wouldn’t know because I choose to treat myself :).

Hvar Fortica Španjola: Wake up early one day and take a hike (more like a brisk walk) up to the fortress at the top of the island. The walk through the city and the alleyways that criss cross through it is fantastic and the views from the fortress are stunning. You’ll get a little history lesson if you actually go inside the castle, but make sure to bring a few Kuna just in case they charge a cover.

Food & Fun:

Divino: My favorite restaurant in Croatia. The setting is beautiful and the food is amazing. Get there just before sunset so you can enjoy the views, and make sure to order at least one dish with black truffles because they’re to die for and are native to Croatia.

Butchery & Wine: Probably the only place in the entire country you can get a real steak (I’m probably lying). The food is delicious and the views of the yachts on the harbor are fantastic.

-Get some gelato after dinner and stroll along the harbor while gawking at all the impressively luxurious yachts you’ll never have the opportunity of stepping on. It’s actually fun…very little sarcasm here. I’m actually serious.

Carpe Diem: One of the tiny islands adjacent to Hvar is home to nothing but Carpe Diem, a beach bar that is accessible only by water taxi. I’ve never been during the day for the beach parties, but I have been to the club at night and to be completely honest it’s either a hit or miss. Remember that nothing good happens before 12am, so keep that in mind if you choose to take the 10ish minute boat ride from Hvar Town. It’s totally possible to have the time of your life here, in which case you can thank me later, but keep in mind that it’s equally as possible you’ll regret going (I sort of warned you). If you want to take the easy route and have a guaranteed good time, hop around the little bars along the harbour in town.

Once your stay in Hvar comes to an end, take the ferry from Hvar to Split instead of heading back to Dubrovnik. The trip is about an hour shorter and you’ll have ended up right where you started. In my opinion, Split isn’t exactly worth exploring (although some people feel differently), but go for it if you have an extra day before your flight leaves.

 

I hope you fall in love with Croatia just as I did so many years ago. If you need advice on any city not listed above, please feel free to reach out! Enjoy!
Xo, Ashley

New Blog Alert!

With Ashley living in California and Truett in New York, we decided to close the distance as best as we could by creating this blog for all of you to (hopefully) become obsessed with. We have a lot of worthwhile information to share with all of you, and are super excited for you to get to know us while we continue to get to know ourselves.

First and foremost, we both have shared passions for fitness, food, and travel. We’ve both spent our fair share of time experimenting with different workouts in search of what we enjoy most/what works best for our bodies. We understand that everyone is different and that specific body types require specific fitness programs, so we’ve done a majority of the legwork for you and want to share the knowledge we’ve gained over the years in hopes that you feel inspired and motivated to work towards an even better, sexier you.

Almost just as important as the fitness aspect of the sexy new you is the FOOD. And we love food. All kinds. Healthy, colorful, home cooked, make your soul smile FOOD. They weren’t lying when they said abs are made in the kitchen, and it’s taken a shit ton of trial and error to find out how to find our abs, but we did it! There’s no one algorithm or magic trick (it’s leviOsa not leviosA), but rather a perfect combination between healthy foods for your belly and not always so healthy foods for your soul. We want to share all of our tips and tricks for staying healthy for both your mind and your body and we hope you’re just as excited as we are.

We may have different body types and sometimes different tastes in food, but one thing we will always agree on is our love for travel. We have made it an actual life goal of ours to visit as many countries as possible in our lifetimes, and so far we’re doing a pretty great job. Being in a new country for the first time surrounded by complete strangers with an endless amount of possibilities for exploration is an indescribable feeling that we want everyone else to have the opportunity to experience.

Above all else, we want to be real. For the most part we have our shit together, but there are a considerable amount of times that we just don’t. We workout like madwomen 90% of the time, but then there are times when we fall off the wagon and just stay off of it. And did you know that it is an actual proven fact (proven by us) that pizza tastes exponentially better than quinoa? Crazy! We’re not perfect and we don’t even want to attempt to be. Our goal in life is to be happy. We genuinely enjoy working out and love the way a healthy lifestyle makes us feel, but we have an equally fond appreciation for the way sugar and butter make our hearts feel, especially while people watching at a cafe in Paris. We’re real human beings with real human being dreams and real human being faults and major human being struggles. We can relate to every internal dilemma you’ve had regarding going for a run vs. eating donuts on the couch because we’ve been there. Most of the time we’re going to tell you to go for that run, but sometimes we just might tell you to sit your ass down. Life is a balancing act, learn to enjoy it!