Travel

My Exciting, Romantic Weekend Getaway in Punta Cana

About a week (and a half) ago, I went on a really nice, romantic vacation with my sweet boyfriend to Punta Cana and I’m finally getting around to writing about it. Keep on reading to hear all about our first real baecation!

To start, we stayed at the Secrets Royal Beach Punta Cana which is a 4 star all inclusive resort. It was really nice and we were pleasantly surprised by how good it was. The service was top notch, and we felt like we were always treated well! We were also pleasantly surprised by how big the rooms were too which was a nice extra surprise. The resort in general was small, and didn’t have a lot of guestrooms so it was very cozy and intimate. We spent a lot of time seeing the same people, which was comforting, though a little weird at first!

The only thing we were really not that thrilled about was the food. We felt that there was only 2 good restaurants for dinner and we were really underwhelmed by the breakfast and lunch options. The resort also always had tons of activities going on throughout the day. You could relax at the beach or by the pool or you could participate in yoga on the beach, water aerobics, a foam party or so many other activities. Plus every night, they had a themed show! Our first night was a rock and roll themed show and another night was belly dancing. It was really cool actually and the performers did an excellent job!

We also did an excursion where we went snorkeling/diving, parasailing, and swam in a natural pool. That was a lot of fun! Andrew did the diving but I was too scared to. He got some great pictures down there which was really exciting for him. Parasailing was also a lot of fun, it just felt like floating up in the air and was not scary at all. Plus swimming in the natural pool was relaxing and a great way to end the excursion.

I think overall, we had a great trip and it was a really nice and relaxing way to spend time together. It was our first big vacation together and it could not have gone better! We would love to head back there with friends again one day, but we’re already thinking about where our next trip should be! Any ideas?

P.S. Keep up with me on instagram: @karenmauritzenn

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Travel

My Easy Vacation Packing Guide: Punta Cana

Hello, everyone! Welcome back! Next week I have an exciting trip coming up so just like I do for all my travels, I wanted to share some things I’m planning to pack. This would include clothes, accessories, toiletries, and anything else I think will come in handy on this fun trip I’ve got planned. Keep on reading to see what I’ve got packed for my trip to Punta Cana!

Clothing

Obviously clothing is super important for a vacation because you can’t walk around naked. We’re only staying 4 nights/5 days so I don’t need TOO much, but I will most definitely over pack because of who I am as a person. Some of the things that I’m really focusing on purchasing for this trip are evening outfits. The resort we’re staying at is pretty high end, so I feel like I can get away with looking extra nice for dinners. Plus it’s a baecation, so I want it to be extra special. I decided that rompers and dresses are the way to go for dinners because they are super easy to throw on, while still looking put together. Plus it’s going to be hot and humid so I want to wear something easy to keep me cool too. Below are a few things I’ve had my eye on for a fancy dinner!

Swimsuits

This is like a no brainer, honestly. Going to an island means that I’ll need some cutie swimsuits! I plan on spending my days in swimsuits and my nights in the dresses above, because I plan on baking in the sun for 5 days (with spf on don’t you worry). I got a few swim suits before going to Greece earlier this summer and I shared those in my swimsuit collection blog post, linked here. I don’t need too many, but I do want to share a few that I saw on ASOS for less than $30 per piece. I’m loving a neon swimsuit and of course, you can’t go wrong with classic black!

Toiletries

Other than my usual skin care, I don’t plan on wearing TOO much make up or anything but I figured I’d share some of my favorites that I definitely will bring. Currently, Sephora is having 20% off for Rouge members which ends today, August 27! I get my FAVORITE mascara there so I wanted to share. It’s the Dior Diorshow Mascara and the Dior Diorshow Volumizing Lash Primer. I have also been thinking I’d pick up the Nudestix Nudies Matte Blush and Bronzer in Sunkissed because it’s been sold out every time I try to buy it. It’s perfect for a vacation where you don’t want to wear a ton of makeup but you still want to look bronze and glowy.

Some Other Necessities…

Some other things I will definitely be bringing with me is a few different cameras. I love to bring my Polaroid camera on vacation with me because it’s a fun way to capture the memories, plus you get to see the photo right away! Here’s the one I use, it’s the Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 Instant Camera. Along with that I always get a multipack of the film because I find it the most cost effective. It’s the matching Fujifilm Instax Mini Film. And last but not least, you know I LOVE to use a disposable camera so of course, I got the Fujifilm QuickSnap Flash 400 Disposable 35mm Camera. I usually buy these in a 3 pack also for cost effectiveness.

This blog post contains affiliate links from the following retailers:

  • Nordstrom.com
  • ASOS.com
  • Amazon.com

P.S. Keep up with me on instagram: @karenmauritzenn

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Travel

July Favorites 2019

The month of July was all about day trips and eating lots and lots of food. So, for my July Favorites, I figured I’d share some of the places I went (mostly around Long Island) to give you all a few last minute ideas for what to do this summer too! Let me know in the comments, what some of your favorite things were from this past month?

1. Greenport

A few weeks ago, I took a trip out to Greenport (on one of the hottest days of the year mind you) and it was such a nice easy experience. Greenport is all the way on the eastern end of long island, on the north fork. There’s all kind of great vineyards over there also! This day we went to visit the famous lavender fields, called Lavender By The Bay where the lavender is only in bloom for about 6 weeks in the summer! It’s a little pricey to get in at about $9 per person, but the field is one of the most instagrammable places around there, so it’s worth it (if that’s what you’re into). After that we stopped by the Greenport Harbor Brewing Company, which is cute and has a bunch of great beers. If you do a tasting there, you can even keep the glass! Finally, we stopped by Lucharitos for some tacos and margs and I had the BEST jalapeno margarita, probably ever. The duck breast tacos were also delicious!

2. Fire Island

For fourth of July weekend, we took a little trip out to Fire Island for a little R&R and lots and lots of drinks. We relaxed on the beach all day long, drank some beers out of red solo cups, and soaked up as much sun as possible. After a nice long beach day, we headed over to the bar there for rocket fuels which are frozen, rum, amaretto, and pineapple drinks. They were good, but I’m not big on frozen drinks so I only had one but it’s basically like a rite of passage. After that, we spent the night watching the fireworks, across the bay all across Long Island. If you ever get the chance to do this, take it! It’s an amazing view, that sort of makes you realize how small you are compared to the rest of the world.

3. White Plains

Also during fourth of July weekend, we took a trip up to White Plains and had ourselves a night. We spent the day and night drinking all kinds of margaritas, eating even more tacos and nachos and guacamole. We ended the night with some much needed Domino’s Pizza and some good old quality time. Th next morning, we treated ourselves to some bagels and coffee (and some Advil), which is not quite the same as the kind from Long Island but you know, it did the trick.

4. Montauk

Ahhh, Montauk. Honestly, one of my favorite places on Long Island. It’s the literally end of the island. It’s so far east that you could drive 2-3 hours to get there, and not even leave the island yet. It’s also got a little bit of everything. There’s tons of cute vineyards on the way there when driving through the Hamptons, lots of cute shops for food, coffee, and clothing on the way and even in town. There’s the Montauk Brewing Company, with the most aesthetically pleasing packaging for a beer you’ve ever seen. And of course, we can’t forget the beach. On my trip out there, we stopped for tacos (duh) at Tacombi, which is my favorite taco place in all of Long Island and Manhattan. Then we took a little walk around town to get some iconic Montauk apparel. They had sweatshirts 2 for $35! After that, we went to Kirk Beach which is the public beach in that town and finally our last stop was the Montauk Brewing Company for my favorite, the Watermelon Session Ale.

5. Michael Anthony’s Food Bar

THIS PLACE IS AMAZING. Truly and honestly, the most amazing culinary experience of my LIFE. Our host for the evening, Cassandra, is truly a sight to see. She has such a knack for what she does, you’d have to think she’s reading your mind. This restaurant in Wading River, NY is one where the host, basically reads the energy and the feel of the group and chooses your entire menu for you along with wine pairings for each course. It’s really a game of trust, and she hit the nail right on the head every single time. Some of our favorite dishes from that night included Spanish Octopus, Calamari, Wild Boar Ribs, Escargot, Duck Breast, Monkfish, and Lambchops. It was really the best experience and if you are adventurous and interested in trying new foods, I would highly recommend this place. However, save it for a special occasion, because the price tag is not fit for every day eating!

6. Core Life Eatery

This place is not as exciting as Michael Anthony’s Food Bar, but I love it just the same. There are a bunch of these restaurants all over, actually, but I’ve only just discovered it this month! This place is basically Chipotle, but for super healthy food. They have a variety of pre-selected grain or rice bowls, green bowls, and broth bowls or you can build your own. Everything is made with fresh produce and meats. The portions are a pretty good size, where you might not finish everything but if you did, you won’t feel horrible about it after. It’s really delicious and I highly recommend trying it out if you can!

P.S. Keep up with me on instagram: @karenmauritzenn

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Travel

Traveling to Greece: Athens, Santorini, and Mykonos

Over the last few weeks I went on one of the biggest vacations I’ve been on in a few years. This was a trip that I had been looking forward to for the last 6 months so it was really exciting once it finally came. I went to Greece for the first time ever and visited some really beautiful places in the process. I’m very thankful for such a wonderful experience and I’m looking forward to possibly going back someday.

Athens

Our first stop on this trip was in Athens which was a good experience but definitely not the best. As for the ruins, they were absolutely beautiful and it was so interesting seeing history right in front of my face. It’s truly amazing what the ancient Greeks were able to do and the lasting culture they built. We saw the Acropolis which includes the Parthenon. We also saw the original Olympic stadium and explored the rest of the city. This was also where I had my first authentic Greek salad! It wonderful seeing all the ancient ruins, but unfortunately, it was city that I couldn’t feel very safe in. I constantly felt like I had to watch my back everywhere I went, which made it a bit unpleasant. With that being said, it was still a wonderful part of the trip, but I would do my best not to return to Athens.

View from The Acropolis
View from The Acropolis
View from The Acropolis
View from The Acropolis
The Acropolis
The Parthenon
Original Olympic Stadium
Gate to the Temple of Zeus
Streets of Athens
Streets of Athens
Streets of Athens
My authentic Greek salad

Mykonos

I’m the kind of person that is happiest laying on the beach, under a beach umbrella, with a drink in my hand and alternating napping and swimming in the ocean. So naturally, Mykonos was my favorite place. We sort of took a break here and just relaxed. We did a little bit of exploring but mainly stayed at the pool and the beach which is exactly what I needed, personally. This island is so beautiful and I highly recommend going here if you can! It was the best experience.

Ocean View
Ocean View
View from the hotel
First night dinner outfit
Exploring the town
Ocean View
Bathroom Tiles
Pool Day
View from the Hotel
Second night dinner outfit
View from the beach
Beach Day
Ocean View
Last night dinner outfit
Final dinner in Mykonos – Grilled Salmon and Veggies

Santorini (Thira)

Santorini was another really beautiful island and I would definitely go back here. Similarly to Athens, it was a place where I felt I had to be much more cautious but not to the same extent as in Athens. One thing I loved about Santorini was that you can see the ocean no matter where you are on the island. The history of the island was also interesting, considering the little cities are built surrounding an active volcano! We explored all over the island, from the famous Fira and Oia to the vineyards for a wine tasting and back to the red and black sand beaches. It was absolutely beautiful and I would highly recommend this island to anyone who wants to take a trip to Greece!

View outside Hotel
First night of dinner outfit
First night of dinner outfit ft. mom
First day of exploring outfit
Exploring Oia
Exploring Fira
Exploring Oia
Exploring Oia
Exploring Oia
Exploring Oia
Exploring Megalochori
Exploring Megalochori
Exploring Megalochori
Exploring Megalochori
Exploring Megalochori
Exploring Megalochori
Wine tasting
View from the highest point on the island
Red sand beach
Dinner for the last night – super fresh sushi!
Mojito made with sake
Last night dinner outfit

P.S. Keep up with me on instagram: @karenmauritzenn´╗┐

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Packing Guide: Greece

I can’t believe this trip is finally here after months of planning! I will be traveling to Greece next week for vacation and I am so excited. Since this is a pretty big trip, I thought I would put together a packing guide of some things I’m planning to bring with me for this trip. I hope you enjoy!

1. Dresses

The very first thing I plan to bring with me is a bunch of dresses. All kinds of dresses. In general, I love wearing dresses because they are so easy to just throw on and go while still looking put together. I plan on bringing a bunch of maxi dresses because they are so pretty and easy. I’ll also bring some cute mini dresses and even a few rompers because I just love them so much.

2. Mini Backpack

I figured instead of bringing a purse or a bunch of different bags, I’ll bring a mini backpack with me for walking around during the day. It’ll be big enough to care all the essentials such as my camera, wallet, sunglasses but not too big that it starts feeling heavy after a long day.

3. Cameras

For this trip, I decided to try a few different things for my photos. I’m of course bringing my cell phone to use as my main camera, but I’m also bringing my Polaroid camera to try and get some more interesting shots. On top of that, I also decided to buy some disposable cameras too to get some more vintage looking shots too! Using film cameras is so popular lately, that I figured this trip was the perfect time to try it out.

4. Sunglasses

This is pretty much a given, but I’m planning on bringing a few pairs of sunglasses because, duh, it’s sunny in Greece. However, I’m bringing some of my cheaper ones, so that I don’t care as much if they break or I lose them for some reason.

5. Swimsuits

We’re spending about 2-3 days on the beach for this trip, so of course I’m bringing quite a few bathing suits just in case! This will be my first chance to go to the beach for this summer so I have to be strategic about getting my base tan, so bringing some bandeau style bathing suits and of course lots of sun block! The Mediterranean sun is very strong so, sun block is a must!

6. Books

I’m also bringing a few books to read at the airport and on the plane! Reading is actually my favorite thing to do on long flights, so I picked out a few books that I’m considering bringing. One of them is called Thinking Fast and Slow that I’ve been holding on to for a few months for this trip. I’m so excited to finally start reading it!

P.S. Keep up with me on instagram: @karenmauritzenn

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Weekend Getaway: Lake Placid, NY

For this past weekend, I took a trip to Lake Placid with my boyfriend for Memorial Day. Today, I’m sharing some thoughts about it with you! Overall, it was such a wonderful trip and we had a really great time. It was a great start to our summer and we’re really looking forward to planning more weekend trips in the future.

To start, on our way up to Lake Placid, we actually stopped in Glenn Falls for lunch. We went to the Davidson Brother’s Brewery and got some soup and sandwiches and some beers! Andrew and I both agreed that this was our favorite meal of the whole trip, which definitely says something. We also stopped and got some gelato after lunch and then headed back on the road because we were running a little behind schedule.

We stayed in an Airbnb for this trip also since it was close by and it was such a great experience for us. The house was about a 10 minute drive from the town and had great amenities. The hosts were so sweet and friendly and provided everything we needed. We really enjoyed staying there and would definitely go back!

For our first night of dinner, we went to the Big Slide Brewery which was a really popular brewery in the area. We really like this place! We tried their hot pepper ale and a few of their mixed drinks which we really liked. The atmosphere was also great. It was young people, but not a crazy bar scene like you sometimes see. For dinner, we got an “impossible” burger (a vegan protein burger that is supposed to taste like meat) and a pizza with venison, pickled blueberries and pesto sauce. The food, unfortunately, was sub-par but we still enjoyed this place!

For our second day, we took a very long walk around Mirror Lake and through town. This was a wonderful day; the weather was perfect and we had a great time. It was warm and sunny which definitely played a factor in how exhausted we were after the walk. We stopped for coffee (a few times) and at a few shops in town. We also got lunch at The Cottage which is a really popular restaurant over looking the lake. This was probably our second favorite meal here! The drinks were in full pint glasses which is always a plus and the food was great! Our only complaint is that is was definitely overpriced but it was a great experience and we recommend this one.

On our way home, we took a stop in Saratoga Springs for lunch and some coffee and to walk around this area since Andrew had never been. Then we prepared ourselves for a slightly frustrating, very scenic, very long drive home.

Overall, this was a GREAT trip. A favorite of mine for sure, because we went at our own pace and didn’t try too hard to plan and jam pack our day with activities. It was relaxing and we enjoyed ourselves, but we decided we’re staying away from long drives for a little while!

P.S. Keep up with me on instagram: @karenmauritzenn

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Weekend Getaway: New Paltz, NY

Over this past weekend, Andrew and I took a little mini vacation up to New Paltz, NY to do some hiking, relaxing and visiting his Alma Mater. We ate lots of great food, drank slightly too much and saw some great views while we were there. New Paltz is a really small college town but it’s really got some cute hidden gems!

Our first stop when we arrived in New Paltz was for lunch at La Charla, which is a Mexican restaurant right on Main St. We ordered our margaritas and some tacos and queso. The food was REALLY good and the drinks were really well made! We were pleasantly surprised considering the place was a ghost town when we walked in during lunch time! I personally wouldn’t go back next time just so we can try somewhere else, but it was a good choice for a first timer.

After lunch, we headed over to Lake Minnewaska to do some “hiking”. The trail was very easy to walk which is why I’m putting hiking in quotes but it was pretty high up so we got some beautiful views out of it. It was really humid and there were lots of bugs which is not my favorite thing but I think the views were worth the inconvenience.

After our mini hike, we headed over to our Airbnb to rest, shower and get ready for dinner. This place was one of the best I’ve stayed at. It was absolutely stunning and the host was fantastic to work with! My only concern was that it was about about 20 minutes outside of New Paltz, in the middle of nowhere so it made getting an Uber pretty difficult. I would probably prefer to stay somewhere closer next time but I really loved this place and would want to go back again!

For dinner that night, we went to the Gilded Otter which is a microbrewery right on Main St. with some really great beers and great food too! Andrew and I both got flights to start so we could try a few flavors and were both really happy with our choices. We both found one that we liked enough to get a full pint of. My favorite was the Sunset Blood Orange and Strawberry Sour Ale. There was also a raspberry wheat ale that I liked a lot!

After dinner, we headed out to the bars! Since it’s a college town, there were obviously lots of college students around. It was fun to people watch because we’re not in college anymore but we still vividly remember what it was like. We also both were so shocked (and ecstatic) to be paying $4 for a mixed drink because we got so used to paying $14 for them in NYC!

Overall, we had such a great weekend and were so happy to get to spend some quality time together in a new city. It was my first time in New Paltz and Andrew’s second time visiting his old college so it was a really special experience for both of us! I would highly recommend taking a trip over there if you can. We’re always surprised at how much we can do in our home state!

P.S. Keep up with me on instagram: @karenmauritzenn

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