Maui is one of my husband & my favorite destinations in the world. Our first trip in 2014 was our most enjoyable vacation we’ve ever taken & we’ve been dreaming of visiting again ever since! Since moving to LA almost two years ago, we’ve been looking for any excuse to go since it’s such a short flight from here and we finally pulled the trigger for a quick weekend getaway in October for my 30th birthday. This post is SO long overdue but I got pregnant soon after and life has been a whirlwind ever since! Before our lives get flipped completely upside down in 2017 (in the best way possible!), I’m making it a point to backtrack and get all of my remaining 2016 travels up on the blog! *ahem* Can’t fall behind while I’m brainstorming babymoon destinations! ;)
We stayed in the southwest side of the island during both visits – Kihei during our first trip and Wailea this past October. Kihei is a working/beach town so this time around I wanted a more luxurious experience in the gorgeous resort community of Wailea – just south of Kihei. Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea was so generous to host us for my birthday and it was such a wonderful quick trip! I’ve stayed at Four Seasons Resorts around the world and this is the first hotel I’ve experienced with staff that will remember your name every time!
They were undergoing some renovations during our stay and they let us know beforehand that there might be some noise but we honestly didn’t see or hear a thing. I do believe that their renovations are now complete anyways! The friendly staff welcomed us with tropical drinks and fresh leis before we were quickly transferred to our ocean-view room – where we had even more treats waiting for us! We had a huge fruit and cheese platter that we seriously munched on all weekend lol at one point we were scooping cheese with more cheese it was so good haha!
Since our trip this time was for such a short weekend, we stayed at the resort most of our time (aside from one Road to Hana day of course!). The property is huge and restaurants are so good so if you’re not in the mood to explore the island, there is more than enough to do at the hotel! We had my birthday dinner at Ferraro’s and the food was amazing of course but what I loved most was the atmosphere. It’s located outside and oceanfront so the temperature, sounds, and fresh air are so relaxing! It was already past sunset by the time we made it down for dinner but even without the views, I was loving all the fresh Hawaiian air and the sounds of crashing waves.
The beach and reef are spectacular so even though the Four Seasons has amazing pools, you have to take the couple steps down to the beach. We spent our first afternoon strolling along the shore and playing in the water. The next day we loved our time at the adults-only pool and lounging in our cabana. The friendly service was so quick and the drinks were awesome!
A huge thank you to my husband for such a great birthday while I was moping about turning 30 lol! & to Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea for the lovely stay! Let’s get on with the photos..!
Hello from the United Arab Emirates!
Waseem and I have been in Dubai for a little over a week with still quite a few days left! Waseem is here on business and I was at Pop Con Dubai over the weekend speaking on a social media panel as well as being Chrisspy’s model for her masterclass (also at Pop Con!). I’ve been to Dubai several times, usually for long layovers so my mom could hit up the gold souq; but Waseem and I also visited for our first wedding anniversary almost three years ago! I was excited to come back for such an extended period of time with a little bit of experience under my belt. What I was most excited for was the chance to drive down to Abu Dhabi and visit the gorgeous Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque again! This mosque is my favorite place I’ve ever visited in the world – how can it not be?! It is so gorgeous and peaceful – not pretentious like I expected prior to my first visit. It’s beyond decadent, adorned with marble, gold, precious stones, and crystal galore, don’t get me wrong – but I think there’s something really beautiful about feeling proud of your place of worship.
The Grand Mosque was established by the late president, who wanted to create something that truly unified the Muslim world – its peoples, history, & art. Materials and artisans from all over the world were brought to design and create this mosque and the design is best described as a fusion of Arab, Persian, Mughal & Moorish architecture. Yes, I got that from Wikipedia haha ;) The Grand Mosque accomodates over 40,000 worshippers and is made up of over 1000 columns and 82 domes, it will seriously take your breath away!
Tourist hours vary depending on the day. I was lucky enough to pray jummah (Friday prayer) twice here! In 2014 it seemed as though tourist hours began right after prayers ended (busloads of tourists came through as we were getting out) but the current schedule shows that tourist hours begin after 4:30pm on Fridays – be sure to check the schedule! I was a bit nervous about taking photos after prayers but no one said a thing & the mosque seems to be very photo friendly – they even host a photography competition every year! I have heard that you cannot bring tripods though, luckily I didn’t visit alone! :) To be honest, I don’t understand the Rihanna controversy from a few years back – she wasn’t doing anything that everyone else wasn’t doing! All tourists take a million photos. It’s the #1 tourist destination in Abu Dhabi and there are guided tours daily!
I drove down to Abu Dhabi with my friend Shyema (who took my bomb photos!) on Friday for Jummah prayer. Waseem & I spontaneously drove down last night and I have to say it is also soooo beautiful at night! To visit during Mahgrib (sunset prayer), is on my bucketlist! I don’t know if I can handle another drive this week, but God willing – next time!
This year has been quite the doozy! I think I’ve traveled internationally at least once a month since March, with the exception of May. Not only has it been an exciting year traveling the globe, I got to visit my dream destination twice in the same season! My husband and I visited Santorini during our anniversary trip in March and I was back again in August! Santorini Secret Suites & Spa was generous in hosting me and their property was such a quintessential Oia dream – everything was so white, clean & dreamy. Located right off the pedestrian walkway in Oia, shopping and restaurants were available all around the property. During our first visit at a different property, our room was on the street level so it wasn’t built into the cliffside like the rest of the hotel and like most of the residences in Oia. At Santorini Secret, we had such a Cycladic experience living and sleeping in our cavernous room!
Everything is carved into the cliff so be prepared for a ton of stairs! I get tired easily so I was happy to have a higher room; but the lower you get, the more private the rooms get as well. I had no issues with guests walking by when we were lounging on our terrace though (which was rare anyways!); & from inside the room you can’t hear a thing! So peacefully quiet & private.
Santorini is the most photogenic place I’ve been & any picture taken outside on the terraces or stairs at the hotel will be flawless by default. You can’t take a bad photo with all the light reflecting everywhere and the ever-so-perfect backdrop! You gotta check it out below to believe it!
Last month as I was closing out a long Eurotrip, I found myself with a 2 hour layover in Doha. With my in-laws living a short plane ride away, I suggested that they visit me for some long overdue quality time…. & my 2 hour layover became nearly a week haha! My wheels are always turning and I’m always ready to seize the moment! My father in law is a big foodie so with recommendations from family and friends in tow, we spent most of our time restaurant hopping without a single complaint from me! The food in Doha was so good everywhere we went. We started off at an Iraqi restaurant and over our few days we consumed so much more; fish & chips, Pakistani food (& a halwa puri brunch one day, yum!), Egyptian, traditional Qatari, & I don’t even remember what else! It was a blur of amazing food! We got in a little bit of sight seeing as well but not as much as I would have liked because the days were so hot so we wouldn’t really begin our outings until 4 or 5 pm. Our main outings were Souq Waqif, Museum of Islamic Art, shopping at the mall (duh! The Middle East loves malls!), & dune bashing in the Arabian Desert with Qatar Inbound Tours. I don’t recommend the last with your parents if they’re not the adventurous type lol! Trust me when I say that my mother in law was f r e a k i n g o u t! I’ve dune bashed before in Dubai, so I should have known but my father in law really enjoyed himself – we would have stayed longer if we could have!
Enjoy all the photos, I’ll chat about all the places as we go! Starting with Souq Waqif..
Enhancing and illuminating my cheeks is my favorite makeup-application step so it’s no surprise that my highlighter collection is constantly growing. I just discovered Revlon’s PhotoReady Insta-Fix™ Highlighting Stick and it has become the perfect addition to my makeup bag! I’ve always been constantly on the go; but this year has been a completely different kind of busy with international travels every other month. I’ve gotten packing my to-go makeup bag down to a science. I need items that not only travel well but can also be applied quickly and easily. Revlon’s PhotoReady Insta-Fix™ Highlighting Stick is a mistake-proof highlighting stick for adding precise pops of glow anywhere & anytime. In this case, I’m coming to you from the Greek Islands! Folegandros to be exact. When I’m traveling, I don’t even bother with eye-makeup so I have to make extra sure that my complexion products are on point. Luckily for me (and my photos!), Revlon’s PhotoReady Insta-Fix™ Highlighting Stick’s super-refined pigments reflect light in such a beautiful way that it leaves a soft focus retouched effect. Perfection!