Sunday, 1 May 2016

SANTORINI, GREECE- April 21-24 2016

Oh if I could describe Santorini in one word it would be: magical. From the vibrant culture to the amazing scenery to the great food, our 4 days in Greece were nothing short of perfect. I've had so many questions from friends and family about where to go, what to do, etc that I thought it would be easiest to put it in a blog post! Here are just a few suggestions if you're thinking about taking a trip to this wonderful place soon:

1) Where To Stay- We stayed in a cute little hotel right in the town of Fira. It had a great roof-top area overlooking the sea and was clean, comfortable, and affordable. It's walking distance to the main streets of Fira and a great place to be based for your Greek adventures! Our room had a little balcony area perfect for reading or having breakfast. The hotel pool is quite small and more jacuzzi sized than pool sized. It would definitely be a little awkward if there was more than 5 people in it at one time so if you're looking for a poolside vacation, it might be worth checking more of the resort style hotels on the island! Here's the link for the place we stayed at:

http://www.summertime-santorini.com/index.html



2) Boat Cruise- Volcano and Hot Springs: Santorini has so much to see and do, our 4 days were definitely not enough! Walking around Fira and exploring the little shops and streets was my favorite part. I prefer wandering around when I'm on vacation and finding things that are off the beaten track. However, we did mix it up with some guided tours as well. We used this site and decided on the " Volcano and Hot Springs" tour which was the perfect combination of guided tour for part of the Volcano and then self exploration for the rest of the time.

http://www.in-santorini.com/santorini-volcano-tour.php

It's really convenient too as they have a nice pirate-style ship pick up everyone at the harbour! The volcano was really neat, but the hot springs were more like "lukewarm water that was slightly warmer than the rest of the ocean." Looking back, I probably wouldn't have done it had I known it would be freezing though this obviously would depend on what time of year you go.

The harbour where you get picked up! 




3) Winery Tour- Since we had rented a car ( highly recommended!!), we spent a day just driving around the island with no destination in mind. Just randomly, we saw a sign for a winery saying " Free wine tastings" and we quickly swerved around to go back like the alcoholics we are. The winery, Faros Market, was warm and inviting- it's been a family business for the past 70 years and guests are welcomed like family. Our guide Maria, who now helps to run the business, explained their processes and the different wines they produce. The best part was guests could even bottle and cork their own wine, right in the cellar! There is also a shop upstairs which homemade jams, olive oil, and other delicious items which we all bought:

http://www.farosmarket.gr/contact




3) The Town of Oia- We ended up driving over to Oia to explore the town before we had a dinner reservation and it was breath-taking. The town is very romantic and quaint and so incredibly beautiful that it almost doesn't seem real. I definitely had to pinch myself a few times! I would recommend starting at the bottom and seeing the harbour area before driving or walking back up to the actual town. The sunset view is gorgeous and there are lots of good restaurants!






*Just a few more places and tips worth mentioning:
- Red Beach
- White Beach ( Only accessible by boat)
- Ancient Thera
- Car hire is definitely recommended!
- Bring cash as most places don't take card
- When walking around, you'll see lots of people trying to get you to take a donkey ride up and down the hills. While this may seem really cute and everything, it's extremely cruel to the animals as they are made to take tourists up and down 7-8 times a day in the scorching heat. The locals definitely discourage taking donkeys as transport. Read more here:

http://mygreecetravelblog.com/2013/04/12/dont-ride-the-donkeys-why-tourists-should-avoid-taking-the-mule-taxis-on-santorini/

I hope this has been helpful! As always, feel free to message me with any questions!

Xoxo,
Karen

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Tuesday, 22 March 2016

SALLY'S VISIT TO LONDON!

Hey Everyone! I can't believe it's been so long since I've last posted. Life's been keeping me busy, but I did have an excuse to stop and relax for a couple of days... because my friend Sally from home came to visit! We had the best time running around London for 4 days eating at some amazing restaurants and visiting lots of cool bars. I loved showing Sally the best of London and it was definitely a glamorous 4 days to say the least!

First stop was the London Eye! Luckily, the weather was clear and we got a great view of London:


To me, London is best when seen at night so we dined at Darwin Brasserie at Sky Gardens one night. Safe to say, it's my new favorite place! Sky Gardens has the most incredible views and the atmosphere was fun with a live band and everyone chatting away.



Another night, we went to this awesome speak-easy themed bar that was underground. It was like being transported back in time with prohibition themed drinks and a live band. Plus, I got a mini-pineapple with my drink. How do you beat that?



We had the best time catching up and doing lots of girly things around London!

Until Later,
Karen
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Sunday, 31 January 2016

LIFE LATELY

Hello there, it's been a while! I've been so bad at keeping up with blogging as life has gotten busier and busier. So many wonderful things have happened these past few months that it would be such a shame not to document them.

1) The biggest change that I've had recently is: a new job! I've worked for the same company since I graduated from college in 2013 and I've recently moved from the banking side to the recruitment side! I absolutely LOVE my new job and it's so perfectly suited to me. I never used to think that people could actually wake up in the mornings and think "I'm excited to go to work", but I'm now one of those people and it's wonderful. My new job title is Campus Recruiter- basically I plan, market, and recruit for our programs for students. I'll get to travel around Europe visiting campuses and hosting events so I'm so excited for 2016!

2) Anyone who knows me knows that I'm obsessed with dogs and especially Lee because I beg him for one daily (sorry honey). I know that it wouldn't be fair to have a dog in our London flat because of the lack of space so... I've found a way to play with a pup while not having the responsibilities! There's this app called Borrowmydog and it allows dog owners to connect with dog lovers. My little friend is called Jiwo and he loves walks in the park, playing ball and snuggles :)


3) My beautiful best friend, Aleigha is going to be a BRIDE!!! We've known each other since freshman year of college and have been inseparable ever since. Even though we don't see each other as often nowadays, we still talk daily and facetime regularly. She'll be getting married later on this year and I am so honored to stand with her as her MOH. I can't wait to see her be a bride!


2016 is going to be full of adventures, travels and fun and I can't wait. I'll have to start blogging more! Until then, stay well everyone :)

Xoxo,
Karen
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Tuesday, 1 December 2015

ONE YEAR REFLECTIONS


Today marks one year since I got on that one-way flight to London, leaving my safety net of home in North Carolina. Oh, what a year it's been! When I think of this past year, one word pops to mind: adventure. From travelling to multiple countries, to starting new jobs, to navigating London life, and everything in between, it's all been an undeniable adventure.

In so many ways, this year has been the best and the most difficult year of my life. Moving abroad comes with its challenges and looking back, I didn't realize how difficult it would be. How homesick I would be some days and how desperately I would miss everything about life in North Carolina. I can honestly say it took me a good 8 months to actually feel like me again.

However, I have no regrets because any challenges along the way ultimately brought me to where I am today: content, happy, and grateful. There are no words to describe how grateful I am for everything London has given me. Here, I found my dream job, a wonderful mix of friends from all over the world, so much culture and worldliness that fulfills me daily, and a place that accurately reflects my love for life.

One year down, and many more to go! London, thank you, thank you, thank you for everything; for teaching me to be strong, for making me go outside my comfort zone, for giving me friends that mean the world to me.....

but most of all, thank you for this amazing adventure.
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Monday, 13 July 2015

FAMILY TIME PART I- LONDON

Hey Everyone!! Hope you all have been doing well and can you believe it's mid July already?! I've been keeping super busy recently with work and my family came to visit! They just left this morning so I'm a bit sad, but we had an amazing 8 days together laughing, exploring new places, and just being with each other. I'll always cherish these memories. The first 3 days we stayed in London and saw a lot of the tourist sites before heading to PARIS for 3 days ( separate post to come on Paris!). Here's what we got up to in London:
Went on a tour of Westminster Abbey with Mom!

Buckingham Palace as regal as ever
Gorgeous flowers at the Victoria & Albert Museum!

My not so little brother :)
And of course, we had to do Afternoon Tea! I brought my family to this amazing place I found a couple months ago, original post on it here
How amazing is this tearoom? Love Sketch London

Hope you all enjoyed seeing what I've been up to!

Xoxo,
Karen
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