Happy Fri-yay! Exactly two weeks ago I was stepping off of a plane in the northern-most city in the United States, located less than 200 miles south of the Arctic Circle – Fairbanks, Alaska! One of my husband’s dreams has been to see the Aurora Borealis, aka the Northern Lights, and its found its way onto my bucketlist as well. Periodically from time to time I check fares to Iceland and Norway with our Aurora dreams in mind but fares are always a bit pricey or we simply don’t have the time, especially now that we live on the West Coast crossing the pond aint so quick or easy! I randomly saw a great fare to Anchorage, Alaska from LA and I started to get curious and got my Google on. Can you see the Northern Lights in Anchorage? Oh, faintly? Well, where in Alaska can I get good viewings? Fairbanks! <– That was my train of Googling & internal thoughts. Turns out Fairbanks is an amazing place to catch the Aurora Borealis as it lies within the Aurora Oval. Places within the Oval will have viewings directly overhead – from further away you can view them closer to the horizon. Apparently there were gorgeous sightings in the horizon from our connecting flight from Seattle but of course we were sitting on the opposite side of the plane, womp womp. To make a long, bummer of a story short, the entire weekend was too cloudy to see anything and although I was so disappointed over it we seized our time and had an amazing weekend getaway together! Fairbanks is so beautiful and peaceful we had an amazing time just driving around, flying our 3dr Solo drone, and filming. Apparently Alaskans like to shoot drones out of the sky lol.. luckily our bird made it home safe and sound!… View Post
In the quiet town of Fajardo, you’ll find one of Puerto Rico’s nicest and most well known resorts, El Conquistador, a Waldorf Astoria Resort. This resort sits on top of a 300 foot cliff overlooking both the Atlantic Ocean & Caribbean Sea. The views are truly picturesque and we were lucky to be able to take it all in from our cliff-top room. The grounds are huge so we really appreciated the hospitality upon checking in – we would have been completely lost trying to find our room and getting our luggage there would be even more difficult.
The resort is beyond self sufficient. If you’re the resort-y type that loves to relax at a fab hotel, by the pool, or on the beach you literally won’t have to leave. El Conquistador offers personal concierges, pre-arranged babysitting, four freshwater swimming pools, a huge golf course, seven tennis courts (yes, seven!), 32 restaurants, bar, & lounges, a water park, private island….. I can go on & on!
After settling into our room we decided to head down to the waterpark, Coquí, where we enjoyed slides, a lazy river, and an infinity pool. It was so fun to be a kid again with my BFF! We took a cable car down the cliff to then walk over to the waterpark which gave us even more stunning views and a nice walk past the marina. The marina offers deep-sea fishing charters, sailboats, catamarans, & yachts BTW! Now about El Conquistador’s private island… Palomino Island: you can enjoy horseback riding, scuba diving, and so much more. I swear I felt like I needed a week just to explore the property! A water taxi leaves to and from Palomino Island from the resort every 30 minutes so its very easy to go back and forth and I’m sure the water taxi ride itself is a fun adventure! I had my heart totally set on horseback riding but unfortunately we didn’t get to check out Palomino Island due to time constraints :-/ I’ll get into why and everything we explored when I do my full Puerto Rico travel diary! For now, I know you’re dying to see photos so please enjoy & I’ll chat as you scroll… View Post
TGIF! I hope everyone’s week is winding down easily!
I made my first trip to Puerto Rico two weeks ago with my BFF and had such an amazing time!! We split our trip in half, starting in San Juan and finishing off on the east side of the island in Fajardo. I’ll get in to everything we did and experienced when I do my full Puerto Rico travel diary but today I’m sharing with you where we spent our first couple days — The Ritz-Carlton, San Juan. We landed around 1 and were surprised to see how close the hotel was to the airport, less than 10 minutes drive. Old San Juan is about a 15 minute drive from the hotel as well so the location was very convenient. The property is classically elegant, we pulled up to the hotel on a brick cul-de-sac hidden away by lush palms. Luckily for us, our room was ready even though we arrived a couple hours before check-in time. We had a private check-in at the club lounge, everyone was so friendly and hospitable and made us feel ultra comfortable. We were able to grab premium drinks and snacks in the club all day and enjoyed a fabulous breakfast there during our mornings which you’ll see down below.… View Post
Happy Humpday! I hope everyone’s week is going well, we’re halfway through!
I’m totally kicking myself for falling out of the momentum I had going with my South America posts, it takes so much longer to remember the little details and memories when too much time has passed. Luckily, this is the last post of Buenos Aires and soon we will be exploring Brazil! We added Buenos Aires to our intinerary at the last minute because it’s just so close! It’d be a shame to travel that far and not pay a visit. As I mentioned previously in my Iguazú Falls post: we landed on the Brazilian side but decided to cross the border into Argentina immediately to explore the falls before flying out for Buenos Aires.. it saved us an international flight! I noticed that flights within Argentina and within Brazil were much cheaper than from one country to the other even though everything is relatively close.
We spent two nights and two days in Buenos Aires at the gorgeous Four Seasons Hotel! We didn’t get a chance to do much research before arriving in Buenos Aires (since we added it on so last minute!) so we kind of winged it. Not mad about it at all because I absolutely loved the city, it really is Paris of South America. However, I definitely want to make a trip back with more time and having done a little more research, there’s so much to see and we only grazed the surface. I’ll chat as we go… View Post
The most expensive real estate In Buenos Aires might be reserved for the elite of Argentina but, ironically, only the dead. It might sound like an odd place to visit but La Recoleta Cemetery became my favorite stop in Buenos Aires. If our trip was longer I probably would have returned daily with coffee in hand to just stroll and take it all in. The cemetery began as holy grounds but after the practice of using churches for burials became outlawed.. the first public cemetery of Buenos Aires was created in the vegetable garden of the convent. The elite thought: (I quote our tourguide from our second visit) If I can’t be buried close to my God then I will bring my God close to me! These “graves” are so much more than just that, vaults, mausoleums, tiny ornate churches; I couldn’t help be be impressed with the level of excess and vanity that was so important to all of these people even after they’ve passed. It’s all about the legacy. There are over 6400 mausoleums and the architecture is a such a mish mash resembling Gothic chapels, charming homes, Greek temples, little boutiques and some so modern that they look like ATMs haha! Maintenance is all up to the families so while most are kept in immaculate condition, we did spot a few abandoned grave-sites with broken glass and garbage thrown about.
This massive 14 acre cemetery is a true necropolis organized just like a city with streets signs, blocks, and even a town square. A quick walk down any of the passageways at La Recoleta will have you rubbing elbows with Argentina’s rich history (& the plain rich!): ex-presidents, celebrities, politicians, Napolean’s granddaughter, & the most famous and visited tomb: Eva Peron. Yes, Evita! Evita’s final burial here was extremely controversial and a slap in the face to Argentina’s high-society that opposed her so much during her time. She is buried with her family under her maiden name, Duarte. You can’t miss her site, just look for the crowd paying their respects!… View Post
Good afternoon from LA!
My husband and I got home from South America yesterday and spent the day on the couch with our cats watching netflix and just recuperating from our busy two weeks away! I’m back to work today and ready to share with you some of our travels! As you may have noticed from my previous two posts – I will be breaking this trip down over several posts instead of one large travel diary. There is just too much to share!
We began our trip in Puerto Iguazú & then made our way to Buenos Aires where we spent 3 lovely days at the Four Seasons Hotel. This was my first Four Seasons experience and it was nothing short of luxurious! Located in the cultural center of the city in the affluent Recoleta neighborhood; the area was super safe and very close to historical landmarks, great restaurants, and shopping. All of Buenos Aires feels like different parts of Europe but Recoleta is all Paris!!!
I fell in love with everything about the hotel upon arriving. The hospitality and service were absolutely amazing, every recommendation the concierge made for our nights out were a slam dunk! An equestrian theme runs throughout the Four Seasons Buenos Aires beginning with a gorgeous sculpture on the front lawn which is even more beautiful at night. Splashes of blue are found throughout the lobby representing the sky of Buenos Aires as well as the Argentine flag – the lobby was my favorite place in the building because I loved the color palette so much. We stayed in a mansion-view junior suite where we had stunning views of the city as well as the largest avenue in the world: 9 de Julio. Our suite was super spacious with separate living and sleeping areas each with large balcony-like windows – directly above the hotel’s heated Roman-style pools.… View Post
One thing about Argentina I was super excited for was opposite seasons! It was the tail end of winter during our stay in Buenos Aires and the temperature felt amazing — I always miss Michigan like crazy during the fall and those are the types of feels I was having. Buenos Aires purposely feels like Europe and is known as the Paris of South America so I made sure to pack a couple chic coats to look and feel good during my stay. You’ll notice that I forgot closed toe shoes though haha oh well! Be sure to head over to Waseem‘s blog too to check out his full look, enjoy!
Las Cataratas del Iguazú is one of the seven natural wonders of the world and was an amazing place to begin my first trip to South America! To clear up any confusion over nomenclature – the falls are located on the border between Brazil and Argentina; Internationally, they are known as Iguassu Falls but locally they are named Cataratas del Iguazú in Argentina & Cataratas du Iguaçu in Brazil.
The falls are easily accessible from either country and the border is a very quick and easy journey as long as your visas & paperwork are all squared away. We flew into Foz do Iguaçu International Airport in Brazil and crossed the border into Argentina straight from the airport via taxi. You will need a visa to enter Brazil; the cost for Americans is $160 but luckily, it is good for 10 years. While Argentina doesn’t require a literal visa, there is a reciprocity fee of $160 which is also valid for 10 years. You will not be able to pay the Argentinian fee at the border so be sure to get it done online ahead of time and have your printout ready. Aside from the visa and reciprocity fees, the rest of our journey to Iguazú Falls was pretty easy and we totally had luck on our side. We landed in Brazil around 6pm and were in our cab within an hour. We headed over to the taxi line and asked about a flat rate to our hotel across the border in Argentina. We paid about $40 USD. Our driver drove us to a station to get our Brazilian exit stamp and even escorted us inside; we then drove over to the border and were able to pass very quickly and easily. We were traveling on a Monday evening and there was no line at all. Very simple; It felt very much like crossing the US border into Canada. The whole journey airport to hotel was about 45 minutes.
We stayed at the Sheraton Iguazú Resort & Spa in Puerto Iguazú, Argentina. The ultra convenient thing about this hotel is that it is inside the Iguazú National Park so starting our day the next morning was very easy and convenient. Our time in Puerto Iguazú was limited so the little time-saves really added up. Sheraton guests are required to pay the entry fee for the park as we enter the grounds to get to the hotel – but remember how luck was on our side?? No one was at the booth and the gate was open! The concierge even said that we were fine as long as we stay in the park. Woop! I believe the entry fee is about $23 USD per person.… View Post
What day of the week IS it?! Ahhhh I’ve been running around like a crazy person. I’m leaving for Miami in less than 24 hours and I need to shop, pack, and who knows what else! I’m going to be gone for about two weeks and I’m so excited and stressed out at the same time. From Miami I’ll be going to Ohio for a wedding, back to LA for a few hours to leave for Brazil and Argentina later that night! o_0 Yikes! Feeling super overwhelmed but super blessed at the same time – it’ll be my first time in South America (or the southern hemisphere at all!) and I can’t wait! If any of you have been to either country – please leave me some tips and must-sees (& must-eats!!). Also, please make sure you’re following me on Instagram and Snapchat where I’ll be sharing everything!! #irenesarahtravels
When I travel I try my hardest to take as little makeup as possible.. You guys know I layer and layer and layer when I go full glam but I always end up breaking products or leaving things in hotel rooms when I’m living out of a suitcase. So today I’ve created for you a look with just a few products and even fewer brushes – I also used drugstore foundation because I get paranoid about taking the pricy stuff through TSA. *Regina George voice* Is foundation a liquid?!
Enjoy dolls!… View Post