Honeymoonin’ in Greece

For as long as I can remember, Greece has always been on my bucket list. When my girlfriends and I would plan our travel, Greece would come up, and I would always say that I was saving it for my honeymoon (even though I wasn’t even engaged). I’m sure my friends would roll their eyes lol, but I am a firm believer of putting things into the universe. Sure enough, 5-6 years later, I was able to live my dream of celebrating my honeymoon in beautiful Greece.

If I’m honest, I started planning wish lists on online shopping websites YEARS before it was even a possibility or a plan for me to go. It was so fun to shop for Greece! I wanted to do bright colors to stand out against the white & blue backdrop. I ordered the majority of my ensembles from Lulus. They are my go-to for cute, unique, vacation, as well as everyday pieces.

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‘Mr & Mrs’ Headed out on our honeymoon

The first stop on our honeymoon was Athens, Greece, where we had a short stop before we made our way to Santorini. We explored for a little, and had dinner at a cute spot right in the center of Athens called Azzuro Cafe. That night, we took a ($30) flight from Athens to Santorini, Greece. Fun Fact: We did our entire honeymoon for a little over $1k. We actually rarely spend over 1k on our trips (I will do a separate blog on this later).

One of the best parts about our honeymoon, was that my best friend was actually on her honeymoon at the same time. They were already in Santorini when we arrived. When we got to the teeny tiny airport in Santorini, we were greeted by my bestie holding up a hand-made sign that read “The Browns”. I loved it. Especially since it was the first time seeing our name written out. My bestie and her hubby then drove us to our resort, the Andromeda Villa & Spa. (We paid $389 for 3 nights). As we walked down the stairs into the resort, it instantly took my breath away. The views were incredible, even at night! I couldn’t wait to see it in the daylight.

 

One thing I will say, is that we got to Santorini right as the season was starting, so not all of the resorts were open, and a lot of business were just opening up for the season. This also contributed to the low-cost of everything.  Later on during the trip, we were informed that the best time to come to Greece, is September. The summer months are insanely busy, and everything closes after October.  We heard from multiple people, that in September, the weather is still nice, and it’s not as crowded. During the time we were there (April) things are just opening back up, and it is a bit chilly.

 

 

As I have mentioned before, I am OCD, and plan everything out down to the minute. This trip was the first time that we had zero excursions pre-booked. We never do that. Ever. This was mainly due to the fact that I was planning  a wedding, while simultaneously planning the honeymoon.  Most of my time and energy went to the wedding. I did however have a general list of items I wanted us to do, and places to see. It was actually a nice change to do nothing, and relax.

 

The next day, we met up with my best friend and her hubby, and we ventured out to visit black sand beach. In my research I found a bunch of cute beach bars that I wanted to check out. We drove down the strip of beach, and to our surprise it was empty. Like a ghost town. We drove down a long stretch of deserted beach bars puzzled. We later learned that this was because the season was just starting, so nothing was open yet. We came across literally the only place that was open – restaurant Forty-One. When we entered, the owner instantly greeted us warmly, and offered us shots. Our kinda place. We settled into a cute table outside overlooking the caldera, took our shots, and then the owner gives us a tour. The place is really cool, and even had an old wine cellar inside. The food was impeccable, and the view was breathtaking. I highly recommend visiting, you wont be disappointed.

 

The scenic views were so gorgeous that we had to have a photo shoot, of course! We dragged our hubbies out to take some photos of us on the black sand beach. It was a such a fun day full of smiles and laughter.

 

Santorini is picture perfect. Everywhere you look is like a postcard. They have charming shops, restaurants, and the views are incredible.

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Enjoying our Resort

The next day we had breakfast at a restaurant that was recommended to us. It was such a  scenic, gorgeous restaurant. It was completely outdoors, with gorgeous flowers, and even had lemon trees! The food was incredible, and we were surprised to find out there was a wine cellar underground that offered wine tasting. We would have done it, but we didn’t have time.

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After breakfast, we rented ATVs, and took off to explore the island. My husband and I make it a point to ride ATVs in every country that we travel to.  We had a map, but it didn’t serve us much help. We wandered all around to different beaches, up the hills, and took in all that we could see. It was exhilarating. And cold. And we got lost. But that was part of the fun!

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Riding the ATV around the island of Santorini

That night, we had dinner at the famous Sunset Tavern. The restaurant is known for having the best views of the sunset in Oia. It took us a little while to get to the restaurant, as it was on the opposite side of the island from where we were staying. We parked at the top of the hill, and walked down to the restaurant (even the walk had stunning views). We had pre-reserved a table next to the water, since we were told that reservations for this place were recommended. They sat us at a table right on the water. The setting was incredible, and so romantic. I wanted to be adventurous and try out the Octopus, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it. Nonetheless, we had a very nice dinner, and the restaurant lived up to their name with the most stunning views as the backdrop while we ate.

 

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View of the Sunset from Our Table

The next day, we took a boat to Mykonos, Greece. We took a speed boat, that took a little over 2 hours to get to there. When we arrived a representative from our hotel greeted us at the boat dock, and drove us to our hotel. We stayed at Vencia Boutique Hotel. (We paid $297 for 3 nights) The resort completely took our breath away. The views were incredible!

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View of Mykonos from our resort

Mykonos was very different from Santorini. It is considered the “party island”, while Santorini is more laid back, and romantic. We were walking distance from “Little Venice”. Little Venice is the part of Mykonos you see all the Instagram pictures of. It is cobblestoned streets, white walls, and blue doors. It is a maze of cute little boutique shops, homes and restaurants. It was actually designed intentionally as a maze to combat pirates. It was set up, so that the pirates would get lost, and not make it to the main land.

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Exploring Mykonos

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You don’t have to worry about what you will eat in Mykonos. Every place we went to, whether a little shop, fancy restaurant, or mid size eatery, ALL had amazing food! There are a strip of restaurants that face the water. We ate at one of them called Kadena. When it was time to order, the waiter asked if I would like fresh fish. I asked what type they offered, and he left the table. He came back to the table with a platter of literal freshly caught fish.

 

This was common at almost every restaurant we went to. While I wanted to partake, hey “while in Rome, right?” it was a little too fresh for me. I stuck to chicken. Everything tasted amazing, so I am sure the fish would have been great.

 

We continued our explorations through little Venice to the windmills, did a little shopping at the boutiques, then headed back to our hotel.

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Little Venice in Mykonos

When we arrived back to our resort, it was right at sunset. We were so enamored with how gorgeous the sunset was, we didn’t make it to our room. Instead we snuggled on the pool deck, and watched the sunset. There are no words to describe the beauty of this sunset.

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After a nice dinner at our hotel, we headed back out into little Venice. We wanted to see what the Mykonos nightlife that we heard so much about was like. We settled at a cute little bar called Argo.  It had really good music, and a fun vibe. We were pretty tired from traveling that day, so we didn’t stay long.

 

The next day, we hung out for a while at the pool, before heading back into town.

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Infinity Pool at our Resort

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On the deck at our Resort

We did pretty much the same thing as the previous day, except that night we went to an actual club. All of the places on the island are pretty small in general. The club we went to had the capacity for many 30-40 people. We had a nice time, but it seemed like EVERYONE there smoked, so after a while it was too much for us, so we left.

Even though the nightlife was a lot of fun in Mykonos, we definitely would like to go back during the peak season to see the differences on the island. From all accounts, it is the place to be, and a lot of fun. We experienced this, but at a minimal level compared to how we have heard it is.

 

The next day was Easter, which we found out, is a HUGE deal there in Greece. It was incredible to see the various celebrations, and to see how this culture celebrated Easter. We truly felt so blessed to be able to witness it.

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Easter in Greece!

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Our next stop was Athens, Greece. We arrived pretty late in the evening, so we didn’t do much. My hubby headed out to explore, but I stayed behind, and relaxed in the room. We stayed at Royal Olympic Hotel ($89). The next day we had a beautiful brunch on the rooftop of our hotel. We could see the Acropolis clearly right from the rooftop. The hotel had incredible views, and the breakfast was delicious.

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View of the Acropolis from the breakfast table at our hotel
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Relaxing at the Pool in Athens

We ventured out to explore some of the ancient ruins. We paid a few Euros each to enter the park. To be honest, it was cool to see the ruins, and battle sites, but there wasn’t much to them. If you ever visit Athens, I wouldn’t stay more than 2 days max. You can see pretty much everything, and get a good feel of it in just a couple days.

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We had a really nice lunch in the city. It actually reminded us a lot of Italy, with the cobblestone walkways, cute boutiques, and cafes. We ate gelato at the cutest gelato place I have ever seen.  You could tell that the owner really took her time in decorating the shop. It smelled heavenly inside, and even had a running chocolate fountain!

 

After our lunch, and gelato we walked around a little more, then hopped on the plane to fly to Amsterdam ($10 flight). We arrived in Amsterdam later that evening, and checked into our hotel. It was pretty chilly in Amsterdam, so I took a long hot bath (at last, as none of our hotels in Greece had bathtubs, and I love my baths), ordered room service, and snuggled under the plush covers.  My husband LOVES Amsterdam, so while I relaxed in the room, he ventured out solo.

The next morning, it was time to head back home.  We hopped on a flight back home to the US, happy, sleepy, and excited for the next time we will visit Greece!

Check out our Vlog of the trip here:

Santorini Vlog

Mykonos Vlog

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New Years in Paris

Happy New Year! People have been telling me for YEARS that I should start a blog. I actually had a whole website started years ago, and it just sat there. I never actually used it, but today is the day I change that. I’m doing it! This is my first time blogging though, so bear with me. With it being a new year, I figured the best way to start out my blog would be to discuss, well, my New Year! I did something totally unique this year. My husband & I invited our close friends, and cousin to join us in Europe to celebrate the New Year.

I immediately started researching fun, unique activities, and looked for hotel accommodations. The first thing I do when planning our vacations, is always book hotel & airfare. I do this since it is usually the most costly, and the price goes up every day that passes. I like to get that out of the way, then, I find activities. One of my go-to sites for excursions is Viator. They have some of everything and you can read reviews, get tips, and even see pictures of the activity to see if it is something you would want to do. Lastly, I research fun places to eat, and top rated restaurants, because outside of traveling, my favorite thing to do is eat!

After I have a general itinerary written out, I start the fun part – SHOPPING!! On every vacation, I carefully plan out each ensemble, all the way down to what I wear to the airport. Also, my husband and I are that cheesy couple that wears coordinating outfits. I find that it looks better in photos if we wear things that go well together rather than clash. I also think it is important to plan out your outfits. I want to be sure my photos come out great, and I never want to look back at the memories we created and think “what was I wearing?” I will do a more detailed blog on packing for my trips later.

Now, the fun part – the actual Trip!! We started in Amsterdam, and did something I have never done in my multiple trips to Amsterdam, and that was stay in a Hostel. There were 6 of us … 3 couples, so it was a challenge to find one that could accommodate all of us. I found this really cool, modern, ultra hip hostel called Via Amsterdam. It reminded us of being back in college. The room had 3 sets of bunkbeds, a set of lockers, a bathroom, and a seating area. If i’m honest, this was the part of the trip I was most nervous about. How will 6 people share one room? How long will it take 6 people to get ready? One Bathroom?These are thoughts that ran through my OCD, detail – oriented brain. All of that worry was for nothing! It turned out to be so much fun, and an awesome way to bond, and start out the trip…minus the serial snorer LOL!

 

 

Confession: We were so exhausted from traveling overnight, and being in airports for over 24 hours, that when we took the train from the Amsterdam airport to our hotel, we rode it back and forth for at least 30 minutes just so we could sleep. Not one person objected, and we still are not sure how we decided to do it, but were glad we did. I don’t recommend anyone do this, but, we needed the power nap and we now laugh about it.

The first day I didn’t plan much, because I knew everyone would be tired and jet-lagged from the overnight travel. To my surprise, everyone was down to get out and explore. We went to dinner at a cute little Italian restaurant. We knew we were at the right place when as soon as our waiter saw we were American, he said “Fxck Trump!”. LOL.. perfect start to the night. After dinner we hung out at a little night club next door, then ventured off to the Red Light District. In my many visits, I had never actually been to the red light district, so this was intriguing.  We walk down the alley past windows with red lights, and scantily clad women waiting on their next “guest”. Shockingly, as my cousin stated, these women were “booked and busy”. The majority of the women were ‘booked’, and only a handful were actually available. Interesting!

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The next day we had a full day planned. We started with high tea, at The Duchess inside of the W Hotel. We had a blast! They have a cocktail called “in the clouds” – I highly recommend it, as it will definitely leave you in the clouds. The place is so picturesque – perfect to take cute Instagram photos, and the food was really good as well!

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Tea Time at The Duchess

 

Next up was the Heineken experience. My husband had been wanting to do this for awhile, so he was particularly excited about this part. We did the package that included a canal cruise, as well as access to a view point that looks out over all of Amsterdam. We never made it to that part. We had such a blast at the Heineken experience that we literally shut the place down! We drank up all the beer, and it will take years to replenish. Kidding. But, it sure felt like we did. The entire experience is really cool, interactive, modern, engaging, and something I highly recommend. At the end, you end up in the basement, which is setup with multiple bars and was a really cool place to hang out. I am not a beer drinker, so while I tried it to be a good sport, I gave my husband all my beer tokens, which in turn started the competition of who could sneak the most beers.  We each took turns going to the bar, and pretending that we lost our tokens, or just flat our snatching beers. It was so much fun! I am pretty sure they caught onto us, but they let us have our fun. Definitely a must-do if you ever find yourself in Amsterdam.

 

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Beer Tasting at the Heineken Experience

 

Next, we headed back to our hostel. We were tired from being out all day.  We ordered the best pizza the night before, so we decided we would just hang, eat pizza, and play some games. When we walked into the lobby, to our surprise, there was a DJ spinning vinyl hip hop records to a full crowd but empty dance floor. Immediately, without any thought, we all run to the dance floor and start dancing and singing to classic hip hop songs. Everyone stared at us in awe for a few minutes, and then we felt the lights on us, as everyone starts recording us. I am pretty sure we are on quite a few YouTube videos, Snapchats, you name it across the world.

Saturday morning, we headed out to our next destination – Paris! This was what everyone was waiting for. The only thing planned for this day was a cabaret show. We booked the late show knowing that we would be busy traveling during the day. We had a nice dinner in the private room at Vesuvio on Champs- Elysses, then headed to the show.

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Headed to the Lido Show in Paris! … and no our outfits weren’t planned 🙂

We met the head dancer LaMichael ahead of the show. He immediately realized from our non-accent that we were American, and it turned out he was originally from Brooklyn.  We had a nice conversation, snapped a few photos, then the show started.

The show was INCREDIBLE! We watched in awe as the singer and dancers worked the stage. We sat in the front row – my husband could literally touch the stage, so we were able to really interact with the cast. We had the best time! At the end, we got a personal shout out from LaMichael saying how we were the best group they ever had, and how much they appreciated us. A personal shout out at a world renowed cabaret show? Life made.

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Us with LaMichael before the show

We actually weren’t sure whether to book a show at the moulin rouge, or Lido. We ended up going with Lido, since it had better reviews, and are so glad we did! I don’t want to spoil it for anyone who wants to attend, but I HIGHLY recommend that you see it if you make your way to Paris. You wont regret it.

Sunday – New Years Eve – we planned a sunrise photo shoot at the Eiffel tower, complete with formal dress. We wanted to take really nice New Years Photos, so we could have great pics that we could have forever to commemorate the trip. Despite being out until 3 AM the night before, we still managed to get up at sunrise, which was 8 am. Minus the freezing cold temps, we managed to look alive, and take beautiful photos.

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Next, we went back to our rooms to nap, and then headed out to do some shopping. We only made it to one store. A common trend on this trip was shutting places down. We went to Louis Vuitton first, as I planned on making a purchase there. If you are going to add to your Louis Vuitton collection, there is no better place to purchase from than the flagship store on Champs-Elysses. There was a long line to get in, but of course we were able to walk right in (cant share that story, ha). We immediately got some bubbly and the shopping began. After a few round of bubbly, and after everyone bought more than they intended, we headed out to get ready to bring in the new year.

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Shopping at Louis Vuitton

My husband an I have a few friends who live in Paris, who we met up with for dinner. We had a nice meal together, and they suggested we join them at Queen nightclub to ring in the New Year. We quickly changed, then headed back out to bring in 2018. We started on the streets on Champs-Elysees to do the countdown, and watch the fireworks. As we had been doing the entire trip, we shut down the streets of Paris. While walking to Queen, we were blowing our party horns, dancing, and just enjoying life. Everyone was marveled at our unapologetic knack for having fun, and either joined in, or recorded us. Im telling you, we are on SEVERAL YouTube videos, and Snapchats around the world. LOL.

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Midnight Kiss Under the Fireworks in Paris on Champs – Elysses .. someone pinch me!
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New Years Eve!

 

 

The next day, we planned to see the Palace of Versailles in the morning. Didn’t happen. We also planned to go sight seeing, and maybe do some of the shopping we didn’t get to do the previous days. Also didn’t happen. No one got out of bed before 3pm. Everyone was EXHAUSTED from our non-stop adventure, staying up all night, and waking up early. We had a dinner cruise that we pre-booked months prior. That was the only thing we made it to.  I think the cruise was the perfect end to our trip. We got to relax on the boat as it glided past some of the most popular attractions in Paris – the Notre Dame, the Eiffel Tower, and the mini Statue of Liberty. They played music on cue to each attraction; for instance “New York” by Alicia Keys played when we passed the statue of liberty and Moulin Rouge. It was perfect.

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View of the Eiffel Tower from our table on the Dinner Cruise

 

 

We planned to possibly go out after the cruise since it was an early dinner cruise. Nope. Everyone retreated to their rooms, and didn’t surface again until morning.

Overall, it was an incredible experience, one you had to be there to experience the full effect. I have gone over the trip in my mind a few times wondering if it is something that I would do again, and I say absolutely! In fact, I wouldn’t change a single thing if I were to do again. Time to start working on next years plans!

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The Crew!