#OOTD: The casual romper + the SECRET to living the life of your dreams

CHEERS TO 2108 BABES! I hope everyone is sticking to their New Year resolutions and looking forward to an incredible journey ahead. 2018 is going to be THE BEST YEAR YET! One of my absolute favorite quotes that radiates positive vibes in regards to new beginnings and moving forward that I want to share with you is “The only time you should ever look back is to see how far you’ve come.”
If I could sum up my 2017 in one photo, the photo below would be the one. A moment of stillness. A moment of reflection. A moment in time of manifesting how I want my life to look moving forward while appreciating my life behind me. This snapshot represents my realization of what I am capable of accomplishing and who I am destined to be. How powerful and insanely beautiful is that??

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Do you take time for yourself to reflect? Do you take time to think about what you want? Do you take time to ASK the universe for what you want? Do you take time to map out the direction you want to move while taking into consideration your deepest hopes, desires and dreams? Life is about being the greatest version of yourself you can possibly be. It’s about creating who you WANT to be, NOT “discovering” who you are supposed to be. We’re only a week into the new year…it’s not too late to take time for yourself RIGHT NOW. So go grab a journal and a pen so you can start taking notes on how to life the best life imaginable!

The funny thing about life is that sometimes the people around you wont understand your journey or what the hell you’re doing. The beautiful thing about that though, is they simply don’t need to because it’s not THEIR journey. You and ONLY YOU are responsible for what you do with your life and there is absolutely no need to answer to anyone else. How else will you gain fulfillment if you don’t go after what YOU want?
I truly believe that everything in life happens for a reason. Each chapter serves a purpose. So if any of you babes are struggling to get where you want to be or have absolutely no idea what direction you should be moving, JUST KEEP GOING. I know it’s easier said than done but the truth is, no one has ALL the answers even if it looks like they do. And you don’t have to have it all figured out to move forward…you just have to take the next small step!

ruins 3I’ve never really opened up about my personal life on my blog before, so for the sake of it being 2018, there’s a first time for everything! It was a really interesting year for me. I left sunny, warm Los Angeles after 14 months to move back to freezing cold New York City in the dead of winter for the sake of making my romantic relationship work and to support the person I love most in his career. That same person encouraged me to chase my dreams by launching my own online store, Moonlight Gypsy, which is something I had always wanted. I started blogging shortly after to support the launch of my store which quickly became the creative outlet in my life I had absolutely NO idea I had been missing all these years! It wasn’t until I traveled to BEAUTIFUL Turks & Caicos that I really began my journey of getting back into photography. I minored in photography in college but hadn’t picked up my DSLR in literally 8 years. It felt really damn good!
I started a new job at Victoria’s Secret.com and couldn’t be happier continuing to work in digital eCommerce fashion.

Throughout the Summer I partnered with Kristin @ThePetitePearProject to shoot content for our blogs together. We shot some awesome photos all around NYC and I quickly realized I needed direction on how to actually monetize my blog. I had run across @PangeaDreams blogger retreats on instagram which are led by successful instagram influencers who teach you how to grow your social media presence and make money through brand and hotel collaborations. When I signed up to join Pangea Dreams in Tulum, Mexico I honestly had no idea what to expect. Little did I know, the retreat helped me realize I was on the right path but the best part was connecting with other like minded blogger babes that have similar goals as me.
(My blog post about my entire experience can be found HERE along with a 10% off promo code!)

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…which brings me back to the lovely photo I mentioned above of me sitting alone on a giant cliff overlooking the Caribbean: the best representation of the most rewarding year of my life yet.
For me, 2017 was the first year in my 29 years where I feel like I finally figured out WHO I am and WHO I want to be moving forward. I realize now that anything is possible as long as you constantly remind yourself that nothing stands in your way unless you let it. You are your own cheerleader OR Debbie downer. It’s simply up to YOU to decide how you want your life to look and ultimately up to YOU to get there.
So what’s the SECRET to actually getting where you want to be?? You have to master the art of goal setting!

GOAL SETTING
Did you know if you write down your goals on paper you are 80% more likely to ACHIEVE those goals? How amazing is that??
Our biggest hopes and dreams in life are NOT accomplished overnight. It takes HARD work, dedication and staying motivated each and every day. Goal selling is the one thing you can do to get organized and focused so you’re making daily and weekly progress towards getting what you want. One baby step in the right direction is better than no steps at all and the key is to set small,  MEASURABLE and SPECIFIC tasks to achieve those goals EACH WEEK.
Do you realize that spending 2 hours a day working towards a goal = 730 hours a YEAR = 30 full days (aka an ENTIRE month)?!

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I’m choosing to share my personal goals for 2018 with you babes because I’m hoping it will help you brainstorm ideas of your own and inspire you to live the life you’ve always imagined. Hopefully it will encourage you to think about different ways to work towards toward achieving everything in your wildest dreams or at least spark some ideas!

MY 2018 PERSONAL GOALS
1. BE ORGANIZED.
Utilize a weekly planner! Every Monday I am dedicating time to create a “to-do” list for the week and hold myself accountable for what needs to get done starting with my biggest priorities. If I don’t get everything done, I re-add those “to-do” tasks to the following week.
2. STAY FOCUSED. 
Every day of the week I am choosing a specific category to spend 2 hours of my time focusing on after work. Remember that 2 hours a day = 730 hours A YEAR = an entire month! Tuesdays: Instagram strategy. Wednesday: Website updates. Thursday: Pinterest focus & inspiration.  Friday: Upcoming travel planning. Saturday: Blog focus. Sunday: Brand and hotel collaborations.
3. NETWORK. 
Research and attend blogger/influencer events in NYC to network with other travel babes! I am challenging myself to meet up with one NYC blogger babes OR while traveling once a month.
5. EXPAND CREATIVE THINKING.
Two specific goals in this realm for me include a photography class to become an expert with my DSLR camera, take a light room class to learn new editing skills and eventually learn how to shoot and edit video content! Skillshare.com anyone??
6. STICK TO A FITNESS A ROUTINE.
I struggle with staying in a consistent gym routine. (Which is ridiculous because my gym is only 32 floors below me so I have NO excuses!) After a long day at work and 2 hours of working on my website or blog each day I never really feel like going to the gym. I am holding myself accountable to do a 30 minute workout MINIMUM 4 days a week.
7. SET ASIDE TIME FOR YOURSELF.
I am challenging myself each morning to journal 3 things I am grateful for and 3 things I love about myself while setting positive intentions for the day. I’m not a morning person so I know I’ll never be able to wake up early enough before work to meditate. (Clearly needs to be a goal for 2019!) BUT I am setting a goal to meditate on the weekends at home so I can at least get it in twice a week.
8. STICK TO A HOLISTIC DIET.
After being diagnosed with Grave’s Disease (hyperthyroidism), Epstein barr (chronic mono) and lyme disease this Summer, I was put on a holistic diet plan to cut out all dairy, all refined sugar, corn, gluten (aka most carbs) and high sugar fruits (aka my FAVORITE ones). My doctor also recommended that I stick to organic fruits and veggies, organic lean meats, grass fed beef and no fish other than wild caught Alaskan salmon. Crazy right? Throughout the process I found that I have a gluten sensitivity and am also sensitive to acidic foods and coffee (YIKES…my fav!!) I have no problem sticking to eating healthy throughout the week due to intense weekly meal prepping but I am allowing myself ONE cheat meal a week!! (In all seriousness though, who would ever think of tortilla chips and tacos as a cheat meal?!)

My biggest and most challenging goal of 2018 is to be more present and appreciate the moment. “Life is a journey, not a destination.” My favorite quote of all time, probably because this is something that I personally struggle with more than anything else in life. I’m a dreamer at heart and some days I sit in my office chair at work blinding staring at my computer screen wondering what the hell I’m doing with my life or dreaming about my next vacation adventure. I guess you could call it WANDERLUST but I know I’m not the only one who does that…And no one should ever feel bad for feeling this way. It’s part of our human nature.
Ultimately life is also a journey of figuring out who you WANT to be and I accept that right now I am not quite where I want to be. It’s just important to define what that person looks like and actively pave a clear road of how to get yourself there. This year I will make it my mantra to be present and enjoy the moment. “Because the greatest part of a road trip isn’t arriving at your destination, It’s all the wild stuff that happens along the way.”

So…Where do you see yourself this time next year? In 3 years? What about in 5?
Would you think more about it each day if you knew you only had 365 days left to live on this beautiful planet? How would you live your life differently than you do right now?

The time is NOW. What are you waiting for??

SHOP MY LOOK:
Shein Floral Romper $15
MoonlightGypsy Straw Bow Hat $28
Moonlight Gypsy Straw Basket Bag $120
Moonlight Gypsy Fringe Earrings $14
Converse High Tops Sneakers $55

Pangea Dreams Retreat Diary: Tulum 2017

Photo Dec 06, 12 16 05 AM_previewIt’s been almost three weeks since my Pangea Dreams adventure! Since then I’ve gotten a several DMs on Instagram from other bloggers who are curious what my experience was like and if I would recommend attending a future Pangea Dream retreat.

I remember the first time I stumbled upon the Pangea Dreams Instagram page, wondering what it was was about. Colorful photos in tropical destinations with girls in bikinis and cute yoga outfits grace the tiny squares of the Pangea Dreams Instagram page. With my curiosity and strong desire to expand my knowledge of the blogging world, I reached out to several girls who were tagged in past retreat photos to ask them about their experience. All of them had the same response: “YOU HAVE TO GO!!”
If you’re a part or full time blogger, or if you’re just starting out on your blogging journey, Pangea Dreams is for you! Attending work shops each day allows you to expand your knowledge on how to build a media kit to work with brands and hotels, how to create strong content, how to pose in and arrange objects in your photos, how to edit them and most importantly, how to utilize your social media platform to build your personal brand and following.

Lucky for you, I actively journaled each night after the retreat so that you can follow along on my actual journey from start to end in order to get an in depth understanding of what my daily experience was like! Read on for more and should you decide to attend a future Pangea Dreams retreat, mention my personalized code MELANIEM10 to save 10% on your booking!

A glimpse of what you’ll learn on the retreat:

1) How to build your brand
2) How to build a media kit
3) How to collaborate with brands and hotels
4) Photography tips, tricks and the best phone apps to use
5) How to use Lightroom and edit your photos
6) How to build your instagram community and build your following on social media
 And so much more!!
Ready?! Buckle your seatbelt…
Day 1
I finally made it to Tulum! I was so relieved to have another girl attending the retreat on my flight from NYC to Cancun who had come all the way from Italy. It was nice to connect with someone immediately after landing and getting to know each other while making it through the customs line. Once through, we headed outside where we were greeted by our driver and waiting for the other 6 girls to arrive. In the meantime, we grabbed a delicious frozen margarita right outside at the airport Margaritaville bar. Hola Mexico! It was just what I needed after 6 long hours of traveling. As the other girls started to arrive one by one, we began getting to know each other and eventually all jumped into the van with our driver to head to Tulum.
I wasn’t sure at first if I was more excited or nervous at first! Was everyone going to be friendly? Would people judge me based on my blog, Instagram or website? What if their skill set was more advanced than me? Naturally, I’m not a big social person but it was refreshing to know that we were all strangers and on the same journey together, taking a leap of faith to come somewhere none of us had ever been before.
After a 2 hour drive from Cancun airport to Tulum, we arrived at the beautiful Kasa Hotel Tulum. Lush green palm trees and plants adorned the lobby along with crochet hammocks and friendly staff. I was so excited to be in a new place and was overwhelmed with the adventurous and spontaneous mindset that typically hits me whenever I’m in a new place!
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Upon arriving at the resort, our main hosts Tracy Komlos (founder of Pangea Dreams) and Lisa Homsy (Travel/Lifestyle Creative & Influencer) greeted us. We were paired up with one other girl and headed to our rooms to check out our new “home” for the week. At first I did realize that I would be sharing a room with someone else (let alone a king size bed!!) I didn’t read on the Pangea Dreams website that the retreats are shared accommodation so that completely my miss, but I was quickly distracted from being greeted by so many cute branded goodies in our room that I quickly forgot! I honestly didn’t mind too much anyway. It’s just something to be aware of so you’re not caught off guard when you arrive.
We changed into yoga pants and joined our hosts in their hotel suite for our first mediation practice. I haven’t ever attended any kind of wellness retreat before so I was excited that Nicole, a reiki master who specialized in reiki healing and meditation practices was our wellness host on the retreat. If you’re not familiar with what reiki is, it’s a Japanese stress reduction and relaxation technique that promotes healing. I have participated in guide meditation before which was definitely what I needed after a long day of traveling to help me focus on settling into a new place and put me in a relaxed mindset for the next week. During the course of the week we would be focusing each day on each one of our chakras which are each connected to our overall health and to the evolution of our consciousness.
In our first meditation practice, we focused on our root chakra which is our foundation chakra. We went around in a circle to share what we were most grateful for. At first I was a little hesitant to share in front of a bunch of new strangers, but it got a little bit easier as we each went around in a circle and took turns. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one that felt slightly uncomfortable at first! After our first meditation, we headed up to the beautiful dining patio overlooking the pool to enjoy a delicious dinner. We sat down to a beautiful candle lit dinner of delicious vegan salads, fresh veggies and steak plus the most delicious corn tortillas you’ve ever tasted!
One thing that I found incredibly amazing about Tulum that I didn’t realize before visiting is how passionate the community is about sustainability. Majority of the food served at Kasa Hotel Tulum is either from the local farmer market or provided by Woolis Green Solutions, a farm dedicated to organic waste collection from restaurants and resorts around Tulum. They turn this waste into compost, feed for their animals, top soil and fertilizer for their vegetable and herb gardens. What an incredible way to appreciate mother nature and to give back!
In addition, one thing I really enjoy about the resort is that they provide all natural travel essentials for every day use including organic, non-toxic soap, oil, body wash and hair products which included ingredients like coconut, honey and lavender. They smell AMAZiNG!
DAY 2
After a really great night of sleep, I woke up on day 2 feeling refreshed and ready to take on the day. I still felt a little nervous given that I still didn’t know the girls all that well. We headed to the suite for our morning ritual which was definitely more intimate than I expected. We worked on our sacral chakra today and set our intentions for the day. A lot of this workshop was focused on self love which really helped me become more comfortable in my own skin, bringing me into the right mindset for the day.
Breakfast was absolutely DELICIOUS. Fresh fruit, yummy eggs and fresh tangy, watermelon juice! I can still taste it!! (And I already can’t wait to have more tomorrow morning!) 😉
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Workshop 1 was all about building our brand. What is the overall feeling of your brand? Who is your target audience? What brands or bloggers inspire you? What are your brand goals? All of these questions were things I had thought about but never really put on paper. It was so nice to carve out time to reflect on all the work I’ve done in the last 9 months for my blog and online store, Moonlight Gypsy Shop. What message do I want to convey to my audience? What stories did I want to tell them from each photograph I post on my social media? The open discussions were AMAZING. Each of us shared our opinions, passions, curiosities and who we are striving to be. We quickly began to learn more about each other and what type of authority we wanted to become in our instagram, blogging and/or brand space.
Our hosts gave us a run down of photo tips and tricks – what apps to use, what gear was necessary and additional online resources that would help us edit our photos effectively. It was a great open forum to ask questions and learn from successful women who are doing an amazing job at building their brand and social media presence!
After the workshop, we met with our hosts for some awesome one on one time. What do I want to accomplish during my time here? What do I struggle with? What do I want to learn more about? It was really nice to feel so supported and I loved that the girls took time to understand and ask questions about what kind of direction I was looking for.
After each of our one on one sessions and a beautiful vegan lunch, we started on workshop #2 which was a wellness workshop focused on exploring our life purpose and understanding our values and fears. This excersise was INCREDIBLE for me. Each of us reflected and shared what we are most afraid of and how to let go. I didn’t expect to feel so free and liberated afterwards. I almost felt like a completely new person, like anything is possible. Nicole really helped us shift our mindset and allow our minds to see that we could do and be anything we want. All we have to do is ASK. The law of attraction is real and all we have to do is ask tell the universe what we want.
After working on ourselves, it was time to start working on our photography skills. It was pouring down rain so we decided to practice shooting around the hotel. We started in the lobby where Tracy and Lisa began teaching us how to visually lay out a photo, what details to shoot with and how to elongate our legs so we actually look taller. How did I never notice how they pose in their photos until now?! We each practiced in different areas and look some really cute photos louning in hammocks as well as group shots around the hotel. It was a really great first practice with each of us feeling a bit awkward at first and our hosts telling us how to tweak our poses, facial expressions and getting us to feel confident and comfortable in front of the camera.
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After getting shots of each of us, we enjoyed a beautiful vegan dinner and had some fun hang out time with the hosts and special guests. It was really cool to bond with everyone and feel like we were all there just hanging out, sharing funny and interesting stories. It truly felt like the perfect end to a perfect day (despite a little bit of rain!)
DAY 3

Today was the best day yet! We started with a beautiful morning meditation focused on our solar pixel chakra, sending away negative energy and bringing in positive energy both mentally and physically. Some of the exercises we did seemed silly at fist, like shaking our entire bodies in place, but I was amazed at how alive and energize I felt afterwards. If it works for Tony Robbins, it works for me!

After meditation, we had breakfast and started with our first workshop of the day: How to build your media kit. Lisa walked us through her very first media kit and helped us understand how to create our own using the same tools in order to collaborate with brands and hotels. It was really cool to see her first media kit when she had 6,000 followers vs. her current media kit with a 110k following! I appreciated that she took the time to show us her progression of media kits because it was a nice reminder that we all have to start somewhere. It helped me realize that we are each on our path to success and that every successful blogger or influencer has been excalty where I am at one point!

After our workshop, we enjoyed an amazing lunch and headed to the beach to shoot some photos. We worked on a brand collaboration with Maaji Swimwear which offers gorgeous reversible swimwear and mix and match bikinis. I was OBSESSED with the adorable printed bow headbands they gifted us! Their swimmer was so comfortable and soft. I can’t wait to check out what other patterns they offer!! Our time at the beach was a great opportunity to shoot photos of our own and practice taking photos of each other. Practice makes perfect!
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After shooting for 30 minutes or so, it started to downpour. We all rushed inside the hotel but shortly decided after 10 minutes that the storm wasn’t stopping so we should get in the ocean for a swim! After all, we were in Mexico!! I HATE getting my hair wet, but as an opportunity to bond with the other girls and push myself out of my comfort zone, I decided to worry less about running mascara and wet hair so I ran full blast into the ocean with my new best friends.
The water temperature was PERFECT. It felt so nice and was fun splashing around in the rain. Nicole had us all join hands and form a circle in the water. With the waves coming and going, each girl moved into the middle of the circle one by one and said out loud what they wanted the universe to bring them. Love, wealth, opportunity, friendship. It was definitely my favorite experience of the retreat so far! How cool is it to already feel so safe sharing my deepest desires with these awesome women and already feeling so close to them?!
After the storm died down a bit we took a few more photos and headed back to the hotel to enjoy dinner and ended the night with soft yoga poses and a nighttime meditation. It felt so good to listen to my body while stretching and clear my mind before bed. It was so relaxing that I almost fell asleep on my yoga mat!
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DAY 4
Today was SO MUCH FUN! We had a free morning to sleep in and enjoy breakfast while working on our media kits and hanging out before starting our day. It was nice to relax before such an adventurous day ahead.
We were exclusively invited by Woolis to check out their sustainable farm that provides most of the food for Kasa Hotel Tulum. The farm was located 45 minutes from the hotel, deep in the what felt like the Tulum jungle. When we pulled up, it was really cool to see all of the untouched plants and magestic trees and to observe what a sustainable lifestyle looks like. Talk about getting the inside scoop on what farm to table really means!
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The first thing we did after exploring the grounds was head to the private centote on the property which was so incredible! A cenote is a natural hole in the earth formed over time which creates a natural swimming cave underground.
It was so beautiful and the water felt absolutely amazing. I could literally have stayed there swimming for hours. After shooting some photos for the girls in the Pangea group, a couple of us stayed back to watch Tracy and Lisa shoot photos of each other in the cenote. It was really cool and super inspiring to watch them in action!Photo Dec 06, 12 13 20 AM_preview
After our cenote adventure, we got to check out the greenhouse where all of the beans, basil and tomatoes are grown. We explored different areas of the farm and sat down to a delicious lunch filled with cucumber salad, roasted sweet potatoes, mixed veggies, fresh tortilla chips and guac. What more do you need in life?!
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Being in nature is extremely refreshing for me, so the fact that we were in the middle of the jungle surrounded by gorgeous trees felt so cleansing. All I kept thinking about was how grateful in that moment I was for life to feel so simple, so unrushed and feeling at peace with my surroundings. Not long after our meal, Aliza, one of the girls on the trip who used to teach yoga hosted a yoga session just for us! The sun started going down during our yoga session and my favorite part about the entire thing was the singing of crickets that started and got louder and louder during the session as the sun was going down. It was almost as if they were singing just for us!
We hung out for a couple more hours and also  enjoyed a yummy vegan dinner and grilled pineapple with vanilla ice cream for dessert. Such a unique and authentic way to spend a day in Mexico with my Pangea babes!
DAY 5
We began our day with meditation focused on our heart and throat chakra. We focused on sharing our favorite words and setting our intentions for the day. My words for the day included create, love, adventure and fearless. I’ve struggled with being open and trusting others a lot as I’m a very guarded person so I was excited to have my one on one session with Nicole, our reiki master, after meditation and enjoying another amazing breakfast.
I shared a very personal and painful experience with her that had left a burden on my heart which I had been carrying around with me for the last 10 years. I cannot stress how amazing my time with her was! She was able to help heal me and allowed me to close a chapter that was long overdue while creating a new beginning. Happy birthday to me! I feel so lucky and grateful to have met such a beautiful soul and someone so passionate about helping others. I highly recommend using her services if you just need someone to talk to! Check out her Facebook page and contact her here.
After my time with Nicole, we moved right into our next group workshop which was about how to approach hotels and brands for collaborations. It was so interesting to hear about everyone’s experience and ask a lot of detailed questions about this subject. We also covered how to build your Instagram community through engagement and Instagram pods.

After our workshop, we headed to the Tulum Mayan Ruins which was absolutely breathtaking. Tracy and Lisa took turns taking photos of us in a couple different locations and a few different group shots throughout the ruins. Everything looked like it could been fake, right out of a movie! I genuinely felt like a couple of my photos look like I photoshopped myself right in!
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After leaving, we ran across a super cute coconut and fruit stand right outside the ruins and enjoyed delicious coconut water and fresh coconut meat. I wish I could enjoy something so simple every day!
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We headed back to the hotel for another meditiation session with Nicole who taught us how to take time to listen to our bodies given the office environment most of us work in every day. She went over essential oils and how they can naturally heal the body as opposed to using conventional drugs.
Afterwards, we enjoyed a delicious dinner of lentil curry and rice noodles with veggies. Cant argue with a delicious meal and some #BossBabe time!
DAY 6
Today was the last day of the retreat and it was such an amazing day! We started our morning with a really cool meditation focused on on third eye/crown chakra which really allowed me to focus on connecting with my “creator”. I’ve practiced meditation occasionally, but today was the deepest meditation I’ve ever had and was truly magical. Whenever I meditate, I always find myself on a beach with lush green palm trees, bright pink Hawaiian flowers, birds chirping and the calm waves of the ocean crashing on a pristine white sandy beach. Today I was able to expand my consciousness to an even deeper place where I could feel the warm sun on my skin and smell salt water in the air. I was also able to visualize my creator which was pretty incredible. It’s amazing where mediation can take you and if you’ve never tried it before you totally should! It was the perfect start to a perfect day.

After meditation we enjoyed a quick breakfast and Tracy and Lisa both shot some fun breakfast photos of each of us individually around the pool. Check out the cute photos below! Coconut water anyone??

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After breakfast we headed to some of the cutest markets off the beaten path with gorgeous hand pained dishes, ceramic animals and Mexico inspired souvenirs. I picked out some really colorful Bohemian style Christmas ornaments with hand painted flowers, flamingos and tropical fish as well as some really fun pom pom garland. I just decorated my Christmas tree with them last week and they look so cute! Next we checked out a couple handmade dream catcher shops on the side of the road and I purchased a gorgeous cream crochet dream catcher to put on the wall above my bed. It was so beautiful and so unique to Mexico that I couldn’t pass it up!
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After a few hours of shopping, we had lunch at a resturant on the beach called The Real Coconut. They have a grain free, gluten free and dairy free menu, utilizing coconut flour for most of their dishes. They also have a ton of vegan options. We had delicious avocado toast, shrimp tostadas and for my entree, I ordered vegan tacos with veggies and plantain falafel wrapped in a coconut flour tortilla. I also needed a caffeine kick so I ordered a delicious frappachino with espresso, coconut milk, almond butter and dates. Totally copying this recipe at home by the way…It was insanely delicious!
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We spent the rest of the afternoon shooting photos for each other on the beach and walking through Tulum’s main hotel strip filled with restaurants, cafes, bars and shops. There were so many cute places we stopped at with unique gifts, clothing and accessories…I was in Boho HEAVEN! We dropped by an incredible gelato place where we grabbed coconut popsicles and as I’m sitting in bed writing this journal I would give my left leg just to have another! I can’t even describe how yummy it was dipped in chocolate with shredded coconut sprinkled on the outside. YUM!
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We ended our day at Coco Tulum, a gorgeous hotel with fabulous beach views and a relaxing lounge space. The sun unfortunately had already gone down so we didn’t get to take any photos but it was a beautiful beach area. We are actually planning to wake up early tomorrow to go shoot there! After heading back to the hotel, we enjoyed our last dinner together and met to go over our assessments and give the Pangea team feedback on what we set out to accomplish at the beginning of the trip an she what we learned and how we progressed. I really appreciated this and it was incredible to hear from everyone about their progression and what they felt they had learned.
DAY 7
This morning was so weird waking up without my roomie! She had an early flight out so had to leave Tulum at 5am. I didn’t like it. =( It’s crazy that meeting a complete stranger and sharing a room and bed with them for a week can bring you to become so close in such a short period of time! Everyone met for our last breakfast together and said our goodbyes. It was a really amazing moment to reflect on the friendships we made, the confidence we built in ourselves and the motivation we gained to go out into the world and be our own #BossBabe! 

It was so fun to shoot more photos together and relax before heading to the airport. What a perfect day to end an incredible week!
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SHOULD YOU JOIN THE PANGEA TRIBE?
If you’re thinking about joining a future Pangea Dreams retreat I HIGHLY recommend it!! If you have a blog or are looking to start one, are a Digital Influencer looking to scale your following and opportunities, wondering how to collaborate with brands or hotels and are looking to bond with some really amazing women, this retreat is for you! I promise it’s worth every penny!!

The wellness aspect of the retreat was an incredible added bonus and allowed me to dig deep into who I am and where I want to go. Reflecting each day on what I’m grateful for and setting intentions for the day is something I plan to implement into my everyday life go forward.
I am so grateful and excited to share my experience with you and grow with so many amazing women. Together we can conquer this world!
Feel free to shoot me an email or DM on Instagram if you have specific or additional questions. And don’t forget to use my special 10% off code on your future Pangea retreat! MELANIEM10
View and book upcoming Pangea Dreams retreats here. Happy traveling babes!
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Summer Popsicle Recipes

Hi lovelies, I hope everyone is having a great weekend!
As you know from my instagram, today is National Prosecco Day. {And I am pretttyyy excited about it!}

Last week I went to a really unique rooftop bar in NYC called Loopy Doopy which is on top of the Conrad Hotel and their menu of prosecco and rose “poptails” is exactly what inspired me to write this blog post so you can make your own! I’ve seen a couple of yummy popsicle recipes on Pinterest lately that I’ve been DYING to try because all I’ve craving this Summer is ice cream, popsicles and refreshing cocktails.
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Below are a couple recipes I’ll be trying before Summer is over and I hope you enjoy them too! Please enjoy responsibly and only with booze if you are of age. 😉 These can also be made without alcohol by substituting water.
First things first…You can purchase popsicles molds from these retailers below!
Target: SHOP POPSICLE MOLDS
Bed Bath & Beyond: SHOP POPSICLE MOLDS
Walmert: SHOP POPSICLE MOLDS

Strawberry Rose Lemonade Popsicles

STRAWBERRY OSE
INGREDIENTS (6 Popsicles)
1. 1 cup of Rose (I recommend The Pinot Project or Whispering Angel)
2. 1 cup of fresh strawberries
3. 2/3 cup of fresh lemon juice
4. 1/4 cup of sugar (I like to sub coconut sugar or stevia)

HOW TO MAKE IT:
1. In a medium size bowl, mix the rose, lemon juice & sugar until dissolved.
2. Pour evenly into popsicle molds and add chopped strawberries.
3. Insert popsicle sticks.
4. Freeze until solid (about 6 hours) and enjoy!

Blueberry Mojito Popsiclesblueberry

INGREDIENTS (10 Popsicles)
1. 6 tablespoons of Light Rum (This is hardly any booze..so in my recipe I would probably double the amount!! Also, I LOVE a hint of coconut so would use Malibu rum without the mint on this one for myself.)
2. 6 ounces of blueberries
3. 30-40 mint leaves
4. 1/2 cup of water
5. 3/4 cup of fresh lime juice
6. I/2 cup of sugarHOW TO MAKE IT:
1. In a saucepan, mix the sugar, water & mint together & heat over medium heat until sugar is dissolved & remove from heat.
2. Once cooled, strain out mint leaves and pour into medium bowl.
3. Add lime juice & rum.
4. Pour evenly into popsicle molds.
5. Add 1-2 mint leaves & 12 blueberries to each mold.
6. Insert popsicle sticks.
7. Freeze until solid (about 6 hours) and enjoy!

Tequila Sunrise Popsicles
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INGREDIENTS (16 Popsicles)1. 3/4 cup of tequila (I like Patron best!)
2. 1/4 cup of grenadine
3. 2 cups of pineapple juice
4. 1 lb. pineapple, peeled & pureed

HOW TO MAKE IT:1. In medium  size bowl, combine & stir pineapple juice, pureed pineapple & tequila.
2. Fill popsicle molds 3/4 of the way full.
3. Add 1 teaspoon of grenadine to each mold.
4. Freeze until solid (about 6 hours) and enjoy!

 

Raspberry Peach Bellini Popsicles

bellini
INGREDIENTS (16 Popsicles)
1. 1 & 1/3 cup of Prosecco or Champagne (I recommend La Marca Prosecco)
2. 1 16 ounce bag of frozen peaches
3. 1 cup of frozen raspberries
4. 6 tablespoons of sugar

HOW TO MAKE IT:
1. Puree raspberries, half of the prosecco & half of the sugar in a blender until smooth
2. Fill popsicle molds 3/4 of the way full
3. Puree peaches, the remainder of the prosecco & sugar in a blender until smooth
4. Fill the remainder of the popscile molds
5. Insert popscile sticks
6. Freeze until solid (about 6 hours) and enjoy!

Curls for days! {How I get my long lasting curls}

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How do I get long lasting, beautiful curls you ask?? Here’s my “mane” regimen of tools and products I use and LOVE!
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WHAT YOU’LL NEED:
1) A damn good blow dryer (brand recommendations below!)
2) Regular Hair brush
3) Round Brush
4) Deep conditioning mask
5) Smoothing serum
6) Hair clips
7) Curling wand
8) Finishing cream or serum
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FINDING THE RIGHT BLOW DRYER
If you’re looking for a great blow dryer, I would recommend one that has at least 1875 watts of power + using the blow straight attachment on the end that typically comes with most blow dryers. I used to be the haircare Buyer at Macys.com so I personally feel it’s worth it to splurge on a good blow dryer because you’ll have it for years AND because more expensive ones typically have ceramic, ionic or torumaline technology. This technology helps to lessen frizz and reduce the amount of heat damage to your hair. If you’re looking to learn more about the difference between these technologies, read more HERE. In addition, many brands offer a 1 to 2 year warranty which is sometimes also renewable for a small price in case something goes wrong or it breaks.
Best brands (in my opinion) are SolanoBabyliss and DryBar. For the ultimate splurge, go for T3 or GHD. Personally, I use and love Solano because I feel like you’re getting a good value without spending $250+.
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PREPPING + THE PERFECT BLOW DRY
Step 1
In the shower, wash your hair as you normally would with shampoo & conditioner.
After conditioning, I recommend using L’Oreal’s total repair damage erasing hair mask in the shower. It will make your hair feel soon soft and adds an extra layer of protection to hair breakage and heat damage. It’s only $5.99 at Target.com and you can shop the product HERE.
After you apply the mask, and let it soak in for 5 min per the instructions. Brush your hair out in the shower using a detangling brush (I use the $15 Tangle Teaser from Sephora HERE) and rinse out the mask under COLD water. The cold temperature of the water actually helps to reduce frizz!
Step 2
Once out of the shower, towel dry and brush out your hair before applying a smoothing or frizz reducing hair serum. Ive been using John Frieda’s anti-frizz and smoothing hair serum for YEARS and swear by it! It works wonders for my natural beach waves and curly hair as well, even on humid and rainy days. It’s only $7.99 at Target.com and you can shop this product HERE.
Let your hair naturally air dry for 20 minutes before blow drying {as long as you’re not in a rush}. This reduces frizz and dry time..the best of both worlds!
Step 3
Start by sectioning your hair half up with a clip. (I find that it’s easiest to blow dry the bottom portion of my hair first.)
 
Section off the bottom half into two sections and pick a side to start with. Depending on the thickness of your hair, you may need to break this section out into 2 more using another clip. I have super thick hair so I do but it’s not always necessary!
 
Step 4
Start with a round brush at your head and place your blow dryer on the round brush, working your way down the section. Simply repeat this step over and over until each section is dry. Make sure to completely blow dry each section of hair before moving to the next section!
 
Step 5
After blow drying the bottom potion of your hair, break out the top portion into 2 or 4 sections as you did the bottom portion, again depending on the thickness of your hair. Dry each section at a time until complete.
Once your hair is completely dry, I recommend waiting until the next day to actually curl it. This allows your hair to produce natural oils which will hold your curls better and longer!
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CURLING
Just as I walked you through blow drying your hair in sections, I also curl my hair utilizing the same sections. Most importantly, I use a wand instead of a traditional curling iron because you can start curls closer to your head and because a wand holds curls better. I use the Conair Infiniti Pro Curling wand, only $20 at Ulta. It will take some getting used to but I promise you will be SO happy with it once you learn how to use it! I may take you 4-5 times to get the hang of it. Buy this amazing wand at Ulta Beauty HERE.
Step 1
Start by clipping the top half of your hair up. Break the bottom portion of your hair into 2 sections and start with about an inch thickness of hair and begin with the wand pointing down and thickest part of the curling wand on your section of hair closest to your head. Wrap your hair around over and over working your section of hair down the wand. Again, it may take some practice but I promise you will get the hang of it!
Step 2
Once you finish curling the bottom section of your hair, begin with the top section. As when you blow dried, break out the top portion into 2 sections. Start with an inch of hair and continue to wrap it around the wand, again with the wand pointing down and thickest part closest to your head. Repeat with each section until complete.
Step 3
For finishing touches on my curls, I use biosilk. It’s smells AMAZING and also makes your hair luxuriously soft. You can purchase a travel size version that goes a long way for $15 at Ulta Beauty HERE.
It may come as a shock, but hair spray is an absolute NO NO for me. It allows my curls to look more natural when I sleep on them. I’m able to make my curls last up to 3 days and use dry shampoo & conditioner to look fab all week!
If you’re looking to make your blow dry and curls last longer, I recommend using dry shampoo and conditioner each morning. I use Oscar Blandi, Living proof or Drybar brand but prefer the powder over the spray because I feel like it absorbs grease and dirt much better. Shop Sephora’s dry shampoo products HERE and dry conditioner products HERE.

Happy Curling!