Coron, Palawan

Posted on: January 9, 2018

Kayangan Lake

Our tour guide had a brand new puppy that joined us for the day! Meet sweet little Tom!

Twin Lagoon. Cannot wait to edit the drone footage we got of this place!

The Philippines has been on our travel list since my little brother lived there for some time. The biggest question was which part of the country do we spend some time in? EVERYONE suggested we visit Palawan so the research began! The most popular of travel destinations in the Palawan region is El Nido. It’s become a bit of a tourist destination in the last couple of years so we opted to see Coron instead. The two destinations are SO SIMILAR that is was a difficult choice, but in the end Coron was magical!

Where to stay:

We stayed at the Coron Westown Resort but there are a ton of options out there! If it’s in your budget, The Funny Lion or the Two Seasons Resort both have excellent reviews!  The benefit of staying at a hotel is they will organize airport transportation as well as daily tours. Our hotel offered tours at the same or even cheaper rate than we found in town.

If a resort is not in your budget, there is a plethora of hostels and guest houses great for backpackers!

Where to eat:

This is the one thing I’d say Coron is really lacking. Because it’s not as popular as El Nido the resturant scene is a little small. But never fear we did find a few gems! Generally the hotels have decent food but sadly our resort did not! So we branched out a bit. ALWAYS REMEMBER to drink only bottled water and stay away from street food. I know it’s tempting but it’s not worth spending your vacation bent over a toilet! Most restaurants will wash fruits and veggies with filtered water but if you are concerned just ask 🙂

Buzz Cafe: Once we found this place we ate there twice! Lots of healthier western menu items and a great breakfast spot.

Altrove Coron: Delicious authentic Italian pizza.

Brujita Bar and Restaurant: We didn’t get a chance to eat here but the reviews are awesome! Tasty Asian dishes!

What to Do/See:

Island Hopping

This is the whole reason why you go to Coron! Take a day trip with a local tour company to the remote surrounding Islands. IT IS SIMPLY STUNNING and not to be missed! The tour is about $35 per person and you can rent snorkel gear for dirt cheap if you need it! Our hotel organized the tour for us and there are shops all over town offering the same tours. Don’t forget to bring sunscreen and your camera because it is a full day in the sun hopping from one gorgeous island to the next.

Kayangan Lake

You can book a day tour to see Kayangan Lake. The lake is secluded (although can get quite busy with tourists) and is dubbed the cleanest lake in Asia. The water is crystal clear and you are surrounded by limestone cliffs.

That same day tour will include some other must-see spots:

Siete Pecados Marine Park
Beach 91 (this is where we had lunch on the tour)
Skeleton Wreck: Old Japanese ship wreck snorkeling area
Malwawey Coral Garden: Snorkeling
Twin Lagoon

I would recommend booking the Coron tour to see all the locations listed above. You have the option of hiring a boat to do so, but the price is much higher for a private tour.

Maquinit Hot Springs

Hire a trike to take you to the Maquinit Hot Springs. Natural hot springs that have been super well preserved and updated to be visitor friendly. There is another day tour that includes the springs but we decided to visit them on our own time. I’m so glad we did because there was hardly anyone there! Perfect activity after a morning at the spa.

Final Tips

The Philippines is known to get hit often with tropical storms. Even during the dry season. Be prepared for unexpected weather and go with the flow.

Bring cash! The hotels will accept credit card but the local businesses won’t. Exchange some money at a major airport before landing in Coron.

Pack bug spray, sun screen, and water shoes.

Be flexible! It’s the island lifestyle after all!

xoxo

 

Patios De Cordoba

Posted on: December 20, 2017

We flew down to the Malaga for a quick little getaway and we wanted to take advantage of a few other cities in the near by region. So after spending a few days in Malaga, we rented a car and headed out to explore!

The drive is about an hour north and it feels like you are stepping back in time. Cordoba was originally settled by the Romans then colonized by the Muslims armies in the 18th century. The Muslim influence is clear in the architecture and main structures of the city.

We didn’t have much of a plan, besides visiting La Mezquita, and we stumbled into the Patios of Cordoba or the “courtyards”. Due to the hot, dry Cordoban climate, the city’s first inhabitants, adapted the typical design of the popular house to their needs, making the home center around an inner courtyard, normally with a fountain in the middle and often a well to collect rainwater. The locals made further adjustments, giving the house an entrance from the street which passed through a porch, and filling the courtyard with plants to give the sensation of freshness.

To my surprise, there is even a yearly contest and festival around these patios! You can pay a small fee to take a mini tour through the winding neighborhoods. We visited at the end of summer and most of the plants had died by that point so I can only imagine how gorgeous they would be during the spring bloom! Oh and think of the smell!

What struck me was how kind the habitants were! Everyone of them was welcoming and excited to show to off their patio. I can imagine they hold such pride in maintaining the beauty and tradition!

If you are visiting the south of Spain I highly recommend Cordoba! If not for La Mezquita alone, Cordoba has so much to offer and is an “authentic” Spanish experience!

xoxo

 

Malaga

Posted on: December 6, 2017

Malaga has to be one of our favorite spots in Spain! The coastal town is located on the southern tip of Spain and it’s just a skip over the ocean to Africa! We haven’t made that skip yet but it is on the list! We have seen A LOT of Spain and if I had to pick a handful of cities to visit, Malaga would be on it!

We stayed at this airbnb ($40 dollars off with this code) which was located right on the coast!  Just behind the apartment is a promenade full of restaurants and a bus stop 2 mins away to the best beaches! An ideal location with not too much noise at night.

We LOVED Malagueta Beach and La Caleta! Malaga has an adorable town center and a lot of great shopping! Be sure to stop by the old city center to see the HUGE Cathedral and of course the Picasso museum. It is his birthplace after all, so be sure to catch it! The museum is FREE on Sunday afternoons, but that means it is busy so plan accordingly.

xoxo

Castle Hunting in Germany

Posted on: November 27, 2017

Schloss LichtensteinNeuschwanstein

Hohenzollern

Cochem Castle

Carson planned a killer weekend in Germany exploring some of Europe’s most famous castles! Although the weather was COLD, we bundled tight and made the best of it. I can only imagine how welcoming these charming cities would be in the budding spring! The one plus side to cold weather is that not many tourists were around to explore. We basically had most tours to ourselves and we didn’t feel rushed to keep moving. My personal favorite part was exploring the small towns that lay at the feet of these castles. Brightly colored buildings and old fashioned squares that hold old stories and legends. We managed to squeeze in five castles in our short excursion!

We flew into Munich and from there rented a car and headed straight to Neuschwanstein to catch a glimpse of Cinderella’s castle. Disney modeled both Cinderella’s and Sleeping Beauty’s castle after this epic architecture and being the Disney nerds that we are, we had to see it! This was the one castle that did indeed have a good amount of tourists so get there early to secure yourself a ticket to see the inside. If it’s sold out, you can still ride the bus up to tour the outside and take pictures on the iconic bridge!

We decided to stay in airbnb’s in the surrounding towns but managed to see Schloss Lichtenstein, Hohenzollern, Cochem Castle, and the Marksburg Castle. My personal favorite was in Cochem but each of the historic sites contained rich history and if only the walls could speak! All photos above taken by me! Please ask permission to use them 🙂

Check out our little video of our castle hunting adventure!

YouTube Preview Image

xoxo

Caminito Del Rey

Posted on: November 20, 2017

The Caminito was originally built between 1901 and 1905 and was used to transport material and people between two power stations that were built either side of the El Chorro gorge. It wasn’t until the early 1920s that it was officially opened by King Alfonso XIII who walked its whole length and gave it its name. Due to the erosion and ware of the original path, it became one of the worlds scariest climbs. Before restoration began in 2013, many adrenaline junkies lost their lives scaling the walls!

Tickets need to be purchased online at the official Caminito Del Rey website. If you are like us and function a little last minute, you can still get tickets at the gate. After discovering it was “sold out” online, we read on a few blogs that we could get there as soon as it opened to secure ourselves a walk! So we got up early and drove about an hour from Malaga. Parking is super easy and only costs a few euros. Pack some cash as the little kiosk does not accept cards!

One of our favorite things we have done in Spain so far and it is ALWAYS nice to get out in nature! Here are our tips for a killer day trip:

  1. Wear tennis shoes. You will not be allowed on the walk with sandals
  2. Bring your camera! The view is incredible!
  3. Pack a small bag with water/snacks
  4. Arrive early to avoid large tour groups on the trail
  5. Bring Cash (cards not accepted)

xoxo

 

La Mezquita [Cordoba, Spain]

Posted on: October 6, 2017

People say that “a picture says a thousand words” and in this case I couldn’t agree more. An easy day trip from Malaga landed us in Cordoba to see the famous Cathedral built on top of a Mosque.

One of the MOST incredible sites in Spain that we have seen thus far and the merging of two cultures creates a breathtaking experience. Rich catholic history built side by side with Muslim architecture and culture.

In order to snap the best photos without a ton of tourists, arrive early by 9 am or after 4 pm! During the day, La Mezquita is full large groups of visitors and organized tours. Give yourself at least an hour if not more to wander the large site.

A little history:  The Mezquita’s architectural uniqueness and importance lies in the fact that, structurally speaking, it was a revolutionary building for its time. Earlier major Islamic buildings such as the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem and the Great Mosque in Damascus placed an emphasis on verticality, but the Mezquita was intended as a democratically horizontal and simple space, where the spirit could be “free to roam and communicate easily with God”.

The Mezquita is registered as one of UNESCO’s World Heritage sites and is one of the largest Mosques in all the world. Rent a car from Malaga and make the day trip! An easy drive to witness one of southern Spain’s most beautiful monuments.

xoxo

 

All my Favorite Things [Flight Edition]

Posted on: September 18, 2017

 

It’s no secret I spend A LOT of time on planes! When we lived stateside, I traveled a ton for choreography but now living abroad, I spend even more time in the air! I get a lot of questions about what’s in my carry on bag so I thought I would share with all of you my secrets! I’ve also linked up my favorite things to travel with! You may be sent to the product listed through an affiliate link! I only link the items I love and it helps me keep this blog afloat.

First things first is staying healthy! I am a big fan of essential oils and my sisters got me hooked on Doterra! I like to use the On Guard oil previous to my flight! On Guard supports healthy immune and respiratory function, supports the body’s natural antioxidant defenses, and promotes healthy circulation! All helpful things when flying:)

I just rub a few drops on the bottoms of my feet before flying. I only do this if I am wearing shoes that require socks! Don’t apply if you are wearing sandals. (sounds a little bit gypsy-ish but I swear it works!) You can also drop a few drops in your water bottle and sip it if you prefer or Doterra just came out with an On Guard hand sanitation spray! I need to get my hands on that… where my Doterra friends at?!

Favorite Books

The plane is THE BEST place to catch up on some reading! Normally I spend way too much time on my phone but sitting on a plane for nine hours with no wifi forces me to read.  I am always searching for new reads so comment below with your favorites!

My most recent favorite reads are:

The Muse by Jessie Burton

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero

Favorite items in my Carry On

 

Burt’s Bees Cleansing TowelettesSophia+Joy ClutchNoise Cancelling HeadphonesRX BarsTravel Pillow. Scarf/Blanket. S’well Water BottleBag.

I don’t normally wear a lot of makeup while traveling but nothing beats the feeling of a clean face after an overnight flight. And I LOVE Burt’s Bees and their commitment to better ingredients!

Next I like to keep all the little things I’ll need while flying in one safe spot. I pack my passport, chapstick, keys, gum, lipstick, a pen (handy for customs paperwork) and other small necessities in one little bag! That way I am not digging through the endless pit of my bag for what I need!

Noise cancelling headphones have changed the way I fly. Not only is the sound top quality and ideal for music/movie listening, but they make it easier for me to sleep. You can switch on and off the “noise cancelling” function and the padding around the ears is very comfortable.

Everyone knows airplane food is awful so I always travel with some guilt-free snacks! I’ve recently discovered the RX Bars and I love them because they only have a handful of ingredients. I always recommend traveling with snacks because you will either pay and arm an a leg for airport food, or suffer through the provided meals.

Obviously a great travel pillow is ESSENTIAL! There are so many options out there but this is the one I use and it works for me!

Ok you may be thinking “why the heck is she traveling with a scarf?!”…This isn’t any old scarf my friends! It doubles as so many other things but I love to use it as a blanket or a pillow cover when traveling. The fabric is SO MUCH softer than the blanket provided and I always freeze on planes! I have a girlfriend that uses it as a hood and wraps herself up all tight to fall asleep! To each their own right?!

Water water water!!! So important while you are traveling and it will help keep your swollen ankles from getting super large! The little free glass is never enough for me, so traveling with my own bottle is a must!! Love this one from S’well!

Last but not least, you need a great bag to put it in! I feel like I could’ve linked 100 bags that I love but I’m a backpack girl through and through! I love this one from lululemon because I’m a huge fan of all the pockets and compartments! I also have a Fawn Design bag that is actually a diaper bag, but I use it for travel! No babies just yet 🙂

Travel doesn’t have to be stressful or something you dread. I love it and traveling prepared makes for a great start to your trip!

Where are you off to next?!

xoxo

No More Wasting Time

Posted on: September 12, 2017

I sat on the beach this past Monday to soak up the last bit of summer and I realized something while listening to a Podcast. With every wave coming in I begun to see that I’ve been wasting A LOT of time. And somehow this is just hitting me.

Your probably wondering what I’ve been doing to waste all this time. Instagram, netflix,  or facebook (all time wasters) but not the culprits this time. This time I was wasting precious life.

As most of you know we re-located to Spain last August and it has been a whirlwind. Tons of change and it left me feeling a little shaken and not knowing who I was. I’m not legally permitted to have a job so that presented some interesting challenges and I’m surrounded by a foreign culture/language/people.

I’ve written about that “lost identity” feeling and I let it overtake my life last year. By no means am I saying I’ve got it all figured out but I’m learning everyday. I chose to justify feeling lost or sad because of my circumstances. I felt alone and without a community and I reveled in that rather than separating myself from that feeling and learning from it. Get out of the house Jessie and go find a community right?! I wish I had that little face palm emoji that I could insert right here.

THERE WERE SO MANY lessons to learn and I wasted most of them. The silliest things like learning of few vocab words in the cab while he potentially ripped me off because I’m American. Or the new friends I met from all over the world while I fumbled through Spanish classes.

Even the hardest moments provided mini lessons or opportunities to change my perspective.  So you see it wasn’t netflix that took my precious time but the way I chose to live life. I wasted lesson after lesson while wearing my “this life is hard” goggles. Now life can indeed be REALLY hard. It isn’t peaches and cream everyday and I am not saying I don’t feel sadness and loneliness because I do. I feel those a bit too often but it’s the time I spent in those moments, not noticing lessons, that I wasted prime experiences. Feel fully first and then separate yourself from those feelings like watching a TV screen. Recognize it, analyze it, then learn from it.

Is how I am spending my time serving my life for the better?  That statement kind of makes me want to roll my eyes because let’s be honest….I spend too much time scrolling on insta or enjoying some good netflix but…I need to make sure in those moments my thoughts are serving me for the better. Are they thoughts of creativity, inspiration, and excitement? Or are they thoughts of comparison, negativity, and self doubt? And if they are the later, what can I learn? How can I shift my focus?

It’s easy to compare our lives to others when we think ours is less than. For me it’s watching my friends work in jobs I want but can’t have being in here Spain. But….I AM IN FREAKING SPAIN. So it’s a change of perspective and a promise that I will not waste a single more moment!

Wanna join me?!

xoxo

 

What You Need To Know for Flight Travel with Dogs

Posted on: August 7, 2017

Traveling tends to be a stressful process and adding a furry friend makes it a little more complicated. But never fear! I have all the insider tips for you whether it’s domestic or an international flight! I have included some of my favorite travel accessories as well! You may be sent to the product listed through an affiliate link! I only link the items I love!

You can find more information regarding documentation for international travel in this post here.

Dogs can travel on commercial flights in one of 4 ways:

IN CABIN: Dogs can travel with an adult in an airline approved carrier stowed under the seat in front of you. Different airlines have different weight restrictions so call ahead previous to booking.

We have been using this pet carrier for all our travel in cabin and I love it! The mesh paneling offers breathability, yet I have the option to cover the mesh for less outside distraction to the pups. Most passengers have no idea I’m traveling with pets when I use this bag!

I also love this black carrier as well as this one that’s a bit more stylish. This one has wheels which is life changing!

CHECKED BAGGAGE (CARGO): Dogs traveling with a passenger that are not permitted in the cabin can be transported as checked baggage in the cargo hold.

Your pet must travel in an IATA compliant pet crate and meet certain other requirements depending on the airline. It is considered best to have only one animal per container, but the IATA rules state that two animals can share the same container if the animals are under 14kg (30lbs) and are of the same species and compatible. It is up to the airline to set their own rules and most of them do.

I would recommend these pet crates made by PetMate since they meet all the airline requirements! You can find more information about crate specifics here!

MANIFEST CARGO: Unaccompanied or very large pets will travel as manifest cargo in the hold.

SERVICE/COMFORT ANIMALS: Service and Emotional Animals can travel in the cabin with a disabled passenger on many airlines.

Traveling with a service/comfort animal requires specific documentation. Please call your flight carrier while booking to confirm details regarding service animals on board.

**check with your airline for complete policies. Some airlines don’t allow in cabin pet travel or cargo.

Helpful Airport Tips:

BUDGET FOR EXTRA FEES: Flying with dogs will cost you a bit extra! Prices can range from $50-$500 if you are flying as cargo and average $125 in cabin.

PET COMFORT: If your dog is traveling as cargo, place an old t-shirt or sweater in the kennel. It will smell like you and provide some comfort! Some airlines also require water and food in the kennel when they are traveling as cargo.

PET RELIEF AREAS: Some airports have indoor/outdoor pet relief areas in the terminals. You can find what airports provide this service with an easy google search! If the airport doesn’t contain a relief area, find a private restroom and put down a puppy pad!

SECURITY SCREENING: Pet will have to be taken out of carrier and a carried through metal detector. Put the pet carrier bag in the scanner first so you can easily place the dog back in the bag and collect your other things. Your hands will likely be swiped by TSA as added security.

KEEP YOUR PUP ON A LEASH: This is a common courtesy to other travelers, especially those with pets! I usually leave mine in the bag to avoid added stress.

My Favorite Pet Travel Accessories:

 

 Dog Waste Bags. leash. food carrier. collar. rope toys. pet carrier bag.  the indoor restroom for pets  pet food travel-tainer kit. jumbo collapsible travel dog bowls .

xoxo

How I Stay Fit While Traveling

Posted on: July 31, 2017

Fitness usually isn’t something I like to chat about since I am NOT a certified trainer or medical professional, but I get a lot of questions about staying fit while traveling so lets chat about it!

Fitness is something I have always valued due to be a dancer as well as from an active family! Sweating has been apart of my routine for a LONG time and traveling tends to throw a wrench in that! So how do you maintain your habits while traveling?

I am a big believer in BALANCE and I do not think that working out should overtake your travel adventures! Enjoy the local food, culture, and attractions ,but I’ve got a few great ideas on ways to enjoy your new city while getting sweaty!

Online Workouts

If you have got a wifi connection and a little space your good to go! If you don’t have space in your hotel room or wherever you are staying, find a local park! A great way to enjoy a little green space and get sweaty!

Here are my favorites:

Ballet Blast: Ballet barre inspired workout recorded live 3 times a week! You are part of an online community through Facebook and it costs less than a $1 a day! Requires minimal equipment and can be done anywhere in the world! Killer burn for the muscles you didn’t know you had!

The Yoga Collective: Online subscription based platform which provides its online family (members) with High Quality, HD yoga classes taught by some of Los Angeles’s top teachers. The coolest thing is they donate 50% of the profits to Charity!

Beach Body Guide by Kayla Itsines: 12 week program designed to target fat loss and muscle gain. 28 min HIIT workouts that can either be downloaded by PDF or accessed through the Sweat with Kayla app. I prefer the downloaded pdf’s since the app costs $19.99 a month and the ebook download is a one time fee of about $55. I take those with me everywhere! They are easy to pack in my bag and I can do them anywhere with a little creativity for equipment.

Local Studio Deals

Screen Shot 2017-07-29 at 7.55.37 AM

When we are city or country hoping, I jump online and find the nearest workout studios! Whether it’s yoga, cycling, boxing, or pilates! Normally, studios will offer a “first class free” or even a discounted intro week!

Hop from new studio to studio and you’ll have a full week of free classes just like that! You may even discover your new favorite workout and meet some locals!

If you are settling in a new city long term, buy your workout classes in bulk. Most studios offer deals for bulk purchases or a longer term memberships.

Some large retailers like Nike, Adidas, Under Armor, or lululemon usually have organized run clubs or free in store workouts!

Join a worldwide gym. There are many gym organizations that are actually worldwide! For example, I can visit any Anytime Fitness around the world for the cost of my monthly membership. This makes it really easy when I visit home and have the comfort of a gym I am used to!

Get Out and Explore

I can guarantee that everywhere you travel there is a park, hiking trails, or even organized walking tours. Get out and explore (without a car) and you’ll burn calories without even knowing it! I walked a total of 10 miles just exploring London in a day and didn’t even realize it! Of course my feet were tired but I got to see a new city and a workout.

Download walking tours and spend a few of your travel days out an about. Learn the history of the architecture, taste local food, and enjoy culture.

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

The best piece of advice I can give you is to first ENJOY your trip and then secondly worry about staying fit. Staying fit while traveling can be an easy task, but not one that should overshadow your adventures! Incorporate it into your daily schedule and you won’t miss a sweat!

Happy sweating my friends!

xoxo

All rights reserved © Jessie Ann James · Theme by Blogmilk + Coded by Brandi Bernoskie