While I am away at a work conference, I thought it would be a great time to start the home tour. We will begin with showcasing my beautiful princess bed. And thank you for asking, it was indeed handmade and designed by my talented friend and myself. It all started with a little photo I found on Pinterest, an amazing friend who knows a thing or two about building, and many hours constructing this beauty.
I won't lie, my creation of this bed really consisted in just the design, walking into Home Depot and handing beers to my friend while he did the rest. So three cheers to great friends, awesome handmade princess beds and inspirational .
I am sorry for being a little MIA the past few weeks. I am sure you were expecting awesome photos from maybe South Africa or Ireland, instead I have been spending my time packing. That's right, packing. I am moving from my little island to the big city. I am a bit nervous for this change, but excited for the opportunity to live in a high-rise overlooking the ocean and beautiful city skyline. I am hoping it will just be like the TV show Friends, where I stop by different friend's floors and invite myself into their apartments to hangout over coffee ;)
However, I am going to miss island life. My departure will be bittersweet, as I leave the little space I spent the last four years. The same place I began my Miami adventure and where over 100 amazing friends and family have visited.
Things I will miss the most:
I will miss the mailman knocking on my door to hand me a package he knew I was waiting for, passing by to tell me I have a special letter from "home" waiting for me in the mailbox, and just chatting about the latest news.
I will miss the Fedex driver pulling his truck over to say a quick "hello" as he sees me walking down the street, exchanging prayer topics, and talking about how his son is doing in Iraq.
I will miss how the Post Office man knows me by name, and always gives me free tape as he gave up negotiating with me years ago. I will miss how he asks how work is going, truly cares that all my packages arrive to their destination safely, lets me pay the next day when I forget my cash, and allows me to take all the extra Restoration Hardware books from his shop.
I will miss long-boarding to the grocery store down a palm tree lined street, especially during sunset.
I will miss hearing live Spanish music flowing from the little cafe's and restaurants that line our tiny strip of stores, and watching families walk through our little island park
I will miss my one block commute to the private beach and knowing I have a quiet place to go
I will miss crossing the most beautiful bridge to get on or off the island, where sailboats and the city skyline greeted me daily.
I will miss my local Starbucks, where the barrister's would yell from behind the counter, "You are late for work," if I arrived to Starbucks after 9 am.
I will miss how the popular mode of transportation around the island is by golf cart, and nothing is perceived as strange when you are "speeding" 14 miles per hour down back roads and over speed bumps, heading to work. #normal #islandlife
And I just might miss how everyone assumes my first language is Spanish, though I could not look more Irish.
I will miss many things about Key Biscayne and the amazing life this little island provided me. So many adventures have been had here, so many friends and family have visited, so many beautiful memories have been created from friendships, to work experiences, beach-time, KB national park trips, activites, photo shots, etc. I feel blessed to have called this little island my home for 4 years. Now I am off to the big city to see what "condo living" is all about -- and try and figure out how I can re-create the TV show Friends in real life. I pity my new neighbors, as they are about to discover my enthusiasm for community life and actives.
P.S. I will be posting a few photos from my house tour next week.
P.P.S I will be posting South Africa photos after the tour, truly I will!
P.P.P.S Who thinks I should purchase a moped to fully embrace city life :)
Word on the street has it that summer in South Africa is amazing, so I am secretly planning my eventual summer return ;) Packing for consistent summer weather is a bit easier, so we will keep this little list pretty basic and full of neutrals and light layers.
Packing for South Africa's Summer (our winter):
You won't need much in the summer, so I would recommend packing only a light rain jacket, such as my favorite from North Face.
When packing your tops, I would recommend keeping the wardrobe light and breathable. Stick with the same simple color palette to ensure you can mix and match. Such as, 2 v-neck t-shirts (white and grey), one stripped t-shirt to mix things up, two light tank tops, a fun fancier shirt for going out, and another little zip up, like this one from Lulu Lemon, for when things get a bit chillier at night.
One pair of skinny jeans for the chillier nights or a summer safari, boyfriend jean shorts (Ex: here), colored or textured shorts (Ex: here), one pair of yoga pants for those hiking days, and either a fun skirt or maxi dress. If you mix and max correctly, you won't need to pack too much.
If I could wear my flip-flops everyday, I would. So I would definitely bring those along, in addition to gladiator sandals to match just about everything, and a pair of converses/runners for adventure days.
Same as the winter months, but I would bring a few more fun accessories to switch up the outfits and simple tops.
Refer to the winter packing post, as most of the items would be the same; aside from packing 2 swimsuits, a beach cover-up, maybe a rash guard, and a fun hat for the sunny days.
As I work to pair down my actual closet and simplify my life, I realize the same goes for traveling - you need less then you think. It is much easier to pack a few basic pieces with different textures, then to pack all your favorite items that can't be mixed and matched.
Feel free to shoot me an email with any other packing questions, as I know I had tons of questions on how to pack for a safari, wine tour, and shark diving adventure all in the same small suitcase.
I thought I would begin my South African series with the most exciting post yet, packing! Okay, maybe it is not the most exciting, but packing is a pretty great topic. And I wish someone told me how to pack for a trip with quickly changing climates and varying activities, so I thought I would make one for you. Oh, and did I mention these packing tips are for 2 weeks of travel using only a small carry on. Good, didn't want to leave that part out. Packing for South Africa's Winter(our summer)
Everyone says layering is key, which is true during a South African winter as the weather changes from 40-70 degrees within the span of a day; however, I am not a fan of carrying those layers. If I could go back and repack I would change a few things, actually almost everything (that's embarrassing). First, I would bring one of those super thin North Face jackets that roll into a tight ball - The North Face Thermoball. This jacket would have saved me from packing sweaters, more layers, a rain jacket, and a vest. Second, I would pack a pair of thin gloves, scarf, and a warm hat for the early morning safari trips. It does get a bit nippy before the sun comes up and you are speeding along the dirt roads trying to spot a lion.
This section is always a bit tricky, and again I packed all wrong. (Seeing a trend here). I would have brought two fun J.Crew button down shirts, a chambray button down, two plain v-neckt-shirts (white and black), one nice long sleeve dressier top (for the fancier dinners), one shirt for hiking, and a long sleeve zip up, such as this one from LuLu Lemon. Mixing and matching is better :)
This section is easier to master. Pack a nice pair of skinny jeans, black skinny pants, long black yoga pants (to wear on their own or under the jeans during a Safari), and one cute skirt. Such as one of those nice black and white striped skirts that just make any type of top look cute. And we can't forget to pack super warm PJ's. The mornings are freezing, trust me on this, and by the afternoon you are running around in a T-shirt.
I would recommend packing of pair of tall leather walking boots, as you can wear these with tall socks on the safari, walking around the city, looking stylish during the wine tours, or pairing them with your cute skirt and tights. A pair of multipurpose sneakers, such as converses, to use while hiking up Table Mountain or walking around the city when you are tired of your boots. Lastly, pack those flip-flops -- as they are nice to have just encase the weather gets into the high 70's.
Accessories: I am not the best at accessorizing, but I did learn that bringing a few accessories along can expand your wardrobe ten fold. Such as packing a little number like this one, and bringing a few bracelets to dress up a plain top.
Definitely bring a cross body purse. It makes taking your camera in and out easy as pie, and it's nice to carry in the front when walking through busy markets. I brought one like this one and loved it. And yes, it fit my SLR camera perfectly.
The extra bits to pack in your personal bag would include: Face wipes (for a quick face wash after a dusty safari or 18 hour plane ride), antibacterial lotion, a stocked Ipad (for in-flight entertainment), tons of snacks for the plane, travel socks, your camera, binoculars, an electrical converter, and a straightener. No need to bring a hardcover book, it takes up too much space and when you are on your way to "hunt" for the big five, reading material is not a high priority.
So that is pretty much a wrap! Moral of this first post - don't pack like I did, but pack like I say. And pick a neutral color pallet, add in a few pops of color via your accessories, and go with it. You can get some great guidance tips on using the rule of thirds for dressing by following the savvy fashionista, Caroline.
Next I will be sharing the second most exciting post titled: How to Pack for a South Africa Summer. Once the applause dies down on these posts (and my photos arrive), I will share a few less exciting posts about lions, great white sharks, and other bits ;)
I am sure you were expecting a little post about South Africa, but I could not keep the completion of this little website a secret anymore! I have been working with a developer for the past 10 months to set this space up. I know 10 months seems like a long time, but we worked together on this side project amidst busy work schedules and travel. He helped me take an idea and turn it into a beautiful reality. This site is everything I hoped it would be - simple, clean, inviting, and my own :) I hope you enjoy it, and I will be working to add more photos slowly.
I also wanted to give a big thank you to my friend, Omar Cordero, who runs his own amazing Crossfit apparel company, Stronger RX. One day last year after CrossFit, he offered to help me find a way to create a website to publish my work. He then connected me with his own developer and helped guide the project - for that I am very grateful! CrossFit has proven to be a beautiful community that not only encourages each other to be their best physically, but also to excel in all other areas of their lives. Their support is a blessing!
A great big thank you to everyone who helped me make this happen and for all of your patience!
I remember sitting in my college class listening to my professor tell stories about his adventures in South Africa and how he loved the country. Ever since that class, I have dreamed of traveling 18 hours across the world to see this country for myself. Ya know, go on a safari and see a few lions, wear a hunter green shirt with binoculars around my neck, and act like I know how to spot the big 5 in the bush. (Or maybe that is just an Australian term). Either way, I am excited!
I am off next week with 4 amazing girlfriends to explore South Africa! A little wine tasting, mixed with mandatory shark diving, a real safari experience (the walls are random pieces of wood nailed together with no electricity), combined with a few hikes and random adventures - might prove to be the most epic vacation yet!
Oh, and I forgot to mention I will be meeting-up with my sweet blog friend Megan from over at The Sun House! She has been so helpful as we prepared for our trip, and will be showing us a bit of her amazing city :)
I will be posting a few photos on Instagram to assure my family I am alive, so feel free to follow along. I just hope my trusty old iphone 4 holds up :)