11/30/16

3 Fun Dream Date Ideas

Being in a long-distance relationship, we don't get too many date nights unless we happen to be in the same city. For me (as a super planner) this leaves plenty of time to fantasize about dream dates and all the fun things we can do together when we're finally reunited.

We are relatively chill couple, meaning we spend a lot of time watching movies on the couch or just hanging out together since we have to make the most of every minute, but I would love to start changing it up.

Here are some of my ideas:

1) Take a cooking class

We always have a lot of fun in the kitchen, but everything we make tends to be fairly simplistic in nature. Don't get me wrong, I love baking cookies together-- My bf's favorite since they don't really do chocolate chip cookies in France (!?)-- but I really want to learn some more intricate dishes. I try my best from Pinterest recipes, but quite frankly even those are pretty basic. I need to learn from an actual chef, so that I can seriously up my food game.

The start of a strudel we made for Valentine's Day


2) Dress up for dinner

Again, going back to the laid-back couple thing, we don't tend to get fancy very often. If we do it's for a major event like New Year's Eve. As someone who is slightly obsessed with clothes and getting made up, I think it would be so fun to dress to the nines-- hair, makeup, clothes, the works-- even if that just means eating at home. As much as going to a fancy place can be cool, most of the time it's the getting ready part that is the most enjoyable part for me.




3) Day-trip adventures

If you read my blog, you know how much I adore traveling. The wanderlust never dies. Unfortunately, I don't have a billion dollars to spend on flight travel all the time (a girl can dream) so I've been really trying to explore my own area recently. Thankfully, in Chicago I have my own car (unlike NYC or Paris which was a mega challenge at times) but not gonna lie, sometimes it's a hunk of junk. I recently drove to Ohio in it, and it was... well... interesting. That's where amazing companies like Turo come in: they let you rent a car from other people in your area. And not just any cars, amazing cars. Their rental page has all the info you could need. If we are continuing on my fantasy date theme, I would totally rent this Audi convertible to zip around in. We could head up to Wisconsin or down to Nashville stopping at all the little towns in between.. *sigh* a girl can dream right?




First I need to work on getting the boyfriend out here, and then we'll work on the convertible...

Hope you enjoyed my date night picks! Let me know some of your own ideas for a dream date in the comments :)

9/30/16

Travel Guide: Santorini

What looked like snow capped mountain tops from afar were actually cliffs dotted with white stucco buildings. As soon as I stepped off the ferry, I knew I was in paradise.




I took the bus from the port into Fira, where I took another bus to Perivolos. I'm so thankful for the welcoming, helpful Greek people helping me figure out where I needed to go because otherwise I would have been totally lost.

The roads are not for those with vertigo. We wound up the cliffs in our big bus in a serpentine fashion. I'm still not sure how we managed those tiny roads.



One of our first stops was Oia. The pretty picture off the post cards. We rented ATV's which you can find all over the island. It was about a 30 minute ride with some of the most stunning views I've ever seen.

The white and blue city is a dream to behold with its quaint, little buildings stacked on top of each other. Blue skies and wide open views of the sea made it obvious why Oia has become known for its breathtaking sunsets.


Between the adorable shops selling traditional garments and pottery, and the men riding up the stairs on donkeys (yes this is a real thing that happens!), the city lived up to and even exceeded all of my expectations.

Next stop, was the Red Sand Beach. It was definitely not what I expected it to be. It was worth seeing, but don't bother bringing your swimsuit (unless it's just to take pictures) because "beach" is a bit of an overstatement. It's more like a patch of sand, and there are way too many tourists to do any actual swimming or tanning. 



This is literally all of it. We ended up taking the ATV's to another nearby beach called Vlychada which was gorgeous and much less crowded than many of the other popular beaches. It was a little hard to find though. Don't trust Google maps! It led us to a dead end where we could see the beach, but couldn't access it. Follow the signs instead. There are some near Agios Giorgios. Just a warning though if you walk too far down the beach there are some nudists (unless that's your thing than go for it!).


We spent a lot of time on the beautiful black sand beach near our hotel. You can rent lounge chairs or cabanas. The sand gets extremely hot during the day, so it's best to do so unless you somehow manage to have your own. Most importantly ENJOY. Greece is such a magical, beautiful country.

3/23/16

Bedroom Inspiration

I am currently in the process of ridding myself of the horrendous orange and pink walls in my childhood bedroom which I decided were a good idea when I was 13. My ideal room would be a white, airy, luxurious space that feels fresh yet warm.

Check out my inspiration pictures. Hope they inspire you too! I'll post an update on how my renovation is going.

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3/14/16

On Travel Snobbery:

I, Nicole Moore, formally admit to being a recovering travel snob.



Now what exactly is travel snobbery? While the most obvious iteration would be those who just can't bear to travel without staying in a five star hotel and tanning on their yacht throughout the day, I would argue that there is a subtler form of pretension that has invaded the current travel set, and in my recent adventures, I was totally guilty.

This attitude is not about fine living, but about roughing it-- just enough-- while simultaneously getting that cute Instagram shot.

We the travel snobs are "true" travelers because we stay in hostels, and we don't do guided tours. That casual pic of us looking dreamily over the cityscape? We happily stumbled upon that spot, and by no means were furiously Googling pictures of the coolest locals in the city ahead of time.

We dress as the locals do: effortlessly chic. God forbid we look like a stereotypical tourist.

But here's a secret I learned when I recently traveled for two months between five different countries: sometimes those super cute boots that look really great in photos end up making you miserable as you trek through the cobblestone streets, and sometimes the guided tour will be the best part of your stay.

While I am all for solo travel (seriously do it) and staying true to your style, "Doing it for the 'gram" is typically not worth it.

Eat all of the cinnamon buns in Stockholm. Fika is the best.
I embarrassingly lit my napkin on fire trying to get the perfect picture of my "fika" (Swedish for a coffee and pastry break). I decided at the last minute to take a guided tour which felt like a cop-out until I reached the Swiss mountain top that took my breath away.


Traveling is about taking risks and experiencing new things even if those things aren't 'grammable. Did I post a picture of the minibus that made it clear to all of the Swiss locals that a bunch of foreigners were rolling through? No. Am I glad I took said minibus? Hell yeah. I learned way more than I would have taking the trip on my own.

I'm sure I'm not the only one who gets caught up in the perceived negatives associated with the idea of being a "tourist." I will probably never be the fanny pack wearing, guidebook toting tourist that you see in the movies (or basically every stereotypical portrayal of an American tourist ever), but it's okay to stop and take pictures of things in the street even if it makes the locals roll their eyes.

So here is my promise: I will work on controlling my own desire to roll my eyes when people overtly display their travel inexperience. I am so #blessed to have been able to travel like I have, and not everyone is comfortable enough to break out on their own. I'm way more embarrassed of the fact that I side eyed someone wearing their I Love Paris sweatshirt home on the plane than the fact that I too wore my I Love Paris sweatshirt on the plane ride home six years ago.

There is no excuse for my snobbery. I travel to open my mind and heart, and I am so happy and excited for others who choose to do the same.

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