A Guide to New York City’s Central Park

Summer is my favorite season in New York City! The tulips are fully bloomed, the birds are constantly chirping and you no longer have to wear a jacket at night. Outdoor activities are very limited during the Winter, but luckily NYC is home to some of the world’s best indoor museums and restaurants (which you will definitely want to check off your list during your Summer visit as well!)

During the Summer, New Yorkers spend most of their time in Central Park to relax, get some sun and picnic (if they’re not off to the Hamptons for the weekend of course). I’ve lived in New York City for 8 years and have created a one day guide that includes the most popular sights to see and activities to do in Central Park. ENJOY!

Tips before you go: Make sure you bring comfortable walking shoes. Central Park is 2.5 miles long and a half mile wide. My guide below guide requires about 3 and a half miles of walking. Fun fact: On average, the typical New Yorker walks two to five miles in a day!
There will be plenty of street vendors throughout the park so make sure to bring cash so you can pick up bottled water or snacks as needed throughout your day. I would also suggest bringing sunscreen if you plan to knock out my entire list below!

9-10AM Weekend brunch at the famous restaurant Tavern on the Green 
Located on the West side of Central Park at 66th Street & Central Park West, begin your morning enclosed in a beautiful glass room or on the outdoor patio sipping fresh squeezed orange juice and enjoying homemade pastries, French toast, eggs Benedict and more. The restaurant opens at 9am Saturday and Sunday and closes at 8:30pm. Be sure to book a reservation two months in advance (the earliest possible) as it is one of the most popular restaurants in Manhattan!
View their brunch menu here, lunch and dinner menus here.
(About half a mile walk to next destination, 10 minutes)Tavern on the Green Restaurant Central Park Top Activities in Central ParkTavern on the Green Restaurant Central Park Top Activities in Central Park
10:15 Visit the Strawberry fields “Imagine” mosaic

In memory of John Lennon, 2.5 acres of landscaped land has been dedicated to this former Beatles member. Check out the famous “Imagine” mosaic which is adorned with flowers daily. There might even be someone playing Beatles music and/or singing Beatles songs as a tribute during your visit!
Expect to spend about 10 minutes here.
(About half a mile walk to next destination, 12 minutes)
Imagine Mosaic Central Park Top Activities in Central Park10:45 Belvedere Castle
Located in the heart of Central Park, Belvedere Castle was built in 1869 and offers some of the highest and best views of the park. Typically, hours are from 10am to 5pm but it is currently closed due to renovation and will re-open in 2019. Regardless of the renovation, it is still a major tourist destination within Central Park and is worth a visit and photos!
Expect to spend about 20 minutes here.
(About 0.3 mile walk to next destination, 7 minutes)
Belvedere Castle Central Park Top Activities in Central Park11:15 Bow Bridge
Bow Bridge was built in 1862 and was constructed out of cast iron. Spanning a total of 60 feet long, it is the most iconic and largest bridge in Central Park; perfect for taking beautiful photos of the lake, Loeb Boathouse and memorable photos during your visit.
Expect to spend about 10 minutes here.
(About 800 feet walk to next destination, 3 minutes)
Bow Bridge Central Park Top Activities in Central Park
Bow Bridge Central Park Top Activities in Central Park
Bow Bridge Central Park Top Activities in Central Park11:30 Bethesda Fountain
Bethesda Fountain is located at the heart of Bethesda Terrace and is one of the most famous fountains in the world! It is very iconic to Central Park, measuring 26 feet high and 96 feet wide, featuring an 8 foot bronze angel on top. A beautiful sight to see and great for turtle and people watching.
Expect to spend about 10 minutes here.
(About 0.2 mile walk to next destination, 5 minutes)
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Bethesda Fountain Central Park Top Activities in Central ParkNoon-1:30pm Have lunch at the Loeb Boathouse & take a boat out on the lake
One of the most famous places in all of Central Park and definitely my favorite! The boathouse is over 150 years old and offers lakeside dining with delicious lunch menu options including crab cakes, ahi tuna, salads, burgers and more. You can dine inside or out on their patio while you watch the boats go by. The Loeb Boathouse offers dinner as well as weekend brunch only. View the full menu here.
House are based on seasonality which you can view here.
I would highly recommend taking a boat out for an hour after your meal! Boats are $15 an hour, but make sure you bring cash as they do not accept credit cards.
Expect to spend about an hour and a half here (lunch and one hour of boat time).
(About 800 feet walk to next destination, 4 minutes)

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The Loeb Boathouse Central Park Top Activities in Central Park1:30pm Alice & Wonderland Statue & Conservatory Pond Boats
The Alice in Wonderland sculpture was built in 1959 and was made from smooth bronze. One of the most visited statues in the city, children are encouraged to play and climb on it if they wish!
Expect to spend about 10 minutes here.
(About 0.6 mile walk to next destination, 14 minutes)
Alice In Wonderland Statue Central Park Top Activities in Central Park2-4pm Visit the Central Park Zoo
I bet you didn’t know there was a zoo located inside Central Park! Check out penguins, sea lions, snow leopards, grizzly bears and more. You can watch the penguins and sea lions being fed twice a day and there is also a children’s area with a petting zoo.
Zoo hours are 10am to 5:30pm and tickets are $13 for children, $18 for adults & $15 for seniors 65+. You can purchase tickets here.
Expect to spend two hours max at the zoo.
(About 0.4 mile walk to next destination, 9 minutes)
Central Park Zoo Top Activities in Central ParkCentral Park Zoo Top Activities in Central Park4:15pm Ride the Central Park Carousel
The original Central Park carousel was built in 1871 and operated with a horse and mule underground! It has since then had four total remodels. The current carousel was built in 1908 and is one of the largest carousel’s in the US with 52 horses and 2 chariots.
Fun fact: 250k people ride the Central Park carousel a year!
The carousel is open from 10am to 6pm daily, weather permitting, and costs $3 a person.
(About 0.3 mile walk to next destination, 7 minutes)
Central Park Carousel Top Activities in Central Park4:30-6pm Picnic and people watch in Sheep Meadow
My favorite thing to do in the Summer! I typically drop by Whole Foods in Columbus Circle for a bottle of Rose, cheese and crackers. Technically you’re not allowed to have an open container in public in the city so make sure to bring some plastic cups and throw out any glass bottles when you’re finished. I would suggest popping by there beforehand to grab a snack. Be sure to bring a blanket, sunblock and a football to throw around with friends or family!
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Other popular activities in Central Park include: 
8pm ‘Shakespeare in the Park’ shows at Delacorte Theater. Purchase your tickets here.
Bike riding in Central Park. I would recommend renting a bike for an hour or two at the corner of Central Park West & Central Park South (at the Columbus Circle park entrance).

The 5 Best Arizona Hiking Trails

If you love the outdoors as much as I do, Arizona is a destination you NEED to add to your bucket list! For my 30th birthday, I planned a road trip from Scottsdale, through Sedona and Grand Canyon National Park to Page, Arizona. Not only was there so much to see and do, but the drive through the desert and red rocks was insanely beautiful!
I would highly recommend visiting between the months of April and May or September and October to avoid extreme heat, cold, snow and large crowds as these are off peak months to visit and therefore, typically less expense. Here are the top 5 best Arizona hiking trails that I would highly recommend for your trip to Arizona as well as some helpful tips if it’s your first time.

1. Camelback Mountain in Scottsdale, Arizona
Located in the heart of the city and iconic to the city of Scottsdale, this stunning mountain is called Camelback because it actually does look like a camel – head, hump and all! I had read that this hike was hard, but with all the hiking I had done when I was living in California, I thought it would be a piece of cake. I was wrong!
There are two trails you can take up: Echo Canyon Trail, which is apparently the harder if the two, and Cholla Trail, the easier trail that I took. I wouldn’t recommend finishing the last third of this hike if you’re terrified of heights, only because it’s pretty easy up until that point. The last third of the hike is literally rock climbing up the mountain. None the less, it was an absolutely breathtaking hike with incredible views of Scottsdale and the view from the top alone is totally worth it! Although I found parts of the trail quite challenging, there were young kids on the trail which means if they can do it, you can too.
Tips: Make sure you bring PLENTY of water. You’re going to need it! I also recommend real hiking shoes on this one but you can wear regular gym shoes as long as they have pretty strong tread. I was totally fine in my Nikes.
I would recommend starting your Cholla Trail hike first thing in the morning at sunrise to avoid the extreme heat and crowds. It’s a 3.1 mile roundtrip hike which will most likely take around 2.5 to 3 hours total.
In addition, the best place to park where you won’t get towed is on Cholla Lane. Pass the Phoenician Golf course on your left while driving down N Invergordon Road and take a left on Cholla Lane. You can park pretty much anywhere before the residential neighborhood and follow the signs to Cholla Trail.

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2. Devil’s Bridge in Sedona, Arizona
This was by far the highlight of the time I spent in Sedona! The hike up to the bridge was pretty easy and the views on the hike itself were absolutely stunning even before reaching the bridge. I already can’t wait to go back here and do this hike again someday!
Tips: There are 3 ways to get to Devil’s Bridge via 3 trails. Picking which route you’d like to take really depends on how far and how intense of a hike you’re looking for. I was unfortunately short on time so took the easiest and shortest route from the Dry Creek Road parking lot.
For the shortest and easiest hike, plan to park right off of Dry Creek Road. The official Devil’s Bridge trailhead is at the end of the paved road and only a mile hike to the bridge. The hike is pretty flat for the first 3/4 mile and you will come to a fork in the road. Make sure you follow the signs to lead you towards the bridge!
When you arrive at the bridge, it looks extremely skinny, but it’s actually quite wide! Everyone was really nice about taking turns to take individual photos on the bridge. PLEASE be careful when walking out onto the bridge as it extends 80 feet above the ground!
Make sure you also bring plenty of water with you. This hike can be done by children of all ages – Just make sure you keep an eye on them and don’t let them get too close to the edge. The other more challenging and longer trailheads that lead to Devil’s Bridge include Chuck Wagon Trail which is 8.4 miles roundtrip or Mescal to Chuck Wagon Trail which is 5 miles round trip.
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3. Bright Angel Trail in Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
The Grand Canyon has been a destination on my bucket list ever since I was a little girl. I had seen it in movies but in person, there is NOTHING that compares! The size of this natural beauty is absolutely mind blowing and photos do not do it justice whatsoever.
Note that in order to get into the Grand Canyon National Park, there is a $30 fee per car. I would 100% recommend doing the entire drive through the Canyon via the South Rim which will take you about 4 hours from start to finish because there are about 8 different look outs to stop and take photos.
Tips: Start your journey by entering the park through Tusayan, Arizona. I would also recommend staying in this little town so you can start you’re hiking and exploring early in the morning. There are several hotels to choose from but I stayed at the Best Western Premier which has a heated pool, hot tub, bowling alley and bar inside!
Once in the park, park in parking lot D and walk to the canyon from there. There is a large paved road you can walk along next to the canyon with restaurants, shopping and bathrooms. You can hike Bright Angel Trail early in the morning and go as far down into the canyon as you’d like. Please note that the trail is pretty skinny (6-8 feet wide in some parts) and it’s extremely easy to fall in if you’re not cautious and winds are high. It DOES happen!
There are also mule ride tours that take this trail down and back up so hikers are expected to move out of the way to allow them to pass.
I only hiked down about an hour and hiked back up about an hour and a half because I wanted to take time to explore El Tovar Hotel, have drinks of their patio and eat at Harvey House before our drive through the park and up to Page.
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4. Antelope Canyon in Page, Arizona
Although it’s really considered “a hike,” there are NO WORDS to describe how absolutely stunning Antelope Canyon is in real life. There is an Upper Antelope Canyon and Lower Antelope Canyon, both of which offer daily tours through different tour companies. I chose to explore Lower Antelope Canyon with Ken’s Tours because it’s apparently less crowded than Upper Antelope Canyon, although quite honestly it was extremely crowded in my opinion.
Tips: Make sure you book your reservation to tour Antelope Canyon far enough in advance, especially if you’re traveling during Summer months when it’s most crowded. The canyon only allows 2,500 visitors per day and turns away on average 4,000 who failed to make one!
If you choose to tour the lower canyon, note that you do go up and down a 2-3 steep latters. In addition, the best time of day to visit either canyon is between 10am and noon as the light is shining directly above, making the lighting ideal for photographs. As noted in my Antelope Canyon blog post, I would recommend hanging back at the end of the tour group to snag some solo photographs. The tour last about an hour or more so you will have plenty of time to take a lot of photos.
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5. Horseshoe Bend in Page, Arizona
Horseshoe Bend is technically considered more of a walk because it’s just a short ten walk from the parking lot! Despite the lack thereof, it is definitely a sight to see and should be on your bucket list! This natural beauty has taken over a BILLION years to form and was created by the continual flow of water through the canyon walls. Dont get too close to the edge! It’s a 1,000 foot drop to the bottom which is equivalent to a 99 story building.
Tips: The best time to photograph Horseshoe Bend is mid day when the sun is directly overhead. At sunrise, part of the canyon will be darkened by shadows and at sunset (although extremely beautiful) the sun will be directly in your way of photographs. I would also suggest checking the weather to see how windy it is. When we first arrived the winds were 20 miles an hour which was pretty painful in shorts given that the sand was flying everywhere!
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Antelope Canyon Tours

My love affair with Antelope Canyon began when I was 12 years old. My family would travel to Las Vegas every Summer for a long weekend so naturally, since I was well below the age of 21, I had to find age appropriate activities to preoccupy my time. Second to pool time, shopping was clearly the answer! My younger cousins and I would spend hours walking the strip, popping into store after store with the end all be all typically being Caesar’s Palace where our favorite shops were. I remember being bored out of my mind as we stumbled across a photography gallery that stuck out to me among many of the retail stores: Peter Lik Gallery. I’ve always had a huge interest in art and photography so decided to pop inside.

I’ll never forget the first time I laid eyes on a photograph of Antelope Canyon. The way the light and vibrant colors danced throughout the smooth walls of the canyon completely mesmerized me. It looked absolutely breathtaking and like nothing I had ever seen before! I marveled at that fact that this was a real place and one that not many people had actually explored. After speaking with the gallery manager about what Antelope Canyon was and where it was located, I promised myself that one day I would visit this natural beauty in person.
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Antelope Canyon is the most photographed slot canyon in the world and was discovered only 24 years ago, in 1994. The land owners didn’t even know it existed until their herd of sheep disappeared one day and they were found seeking shelter inside the canyon. Located 118 feet below ground, Antelope Canyon earned it’s name from the antelope that  once called it home. Antelope Canyon was naturally formed by the erosion of sandstone from flash floods and rainwater that would run down from the top, picking up sand and rushing through it’s narrow passageways. How cool is that?!
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There is an Upper Canyon and a Lower Canyon. I chose to tour the Lower Canyon as it is typically less crowded. Each day, the canyon only allows 4,000 people max to tour and they turn away an estimated 2,500 people who have not booked reservations in advance. There are two main tour companies that run tours at Lower Antelope Canyon each day: Ken’s Tours and Dixie Ellis, both of which have fantastic reviews. I toured with Ken’s Tours which was a really great experience. The tour was $50 a person and lasted about an hour and a half. We had a total of about 40 or 50 people on the tour which was a bit overwhelming. If you’re looking to get photos of the canyon without people, it’s pretty difficult so I would suggest being at the very back of the line! If you want great photos, make sure to tour between 10am and noon where the light hits just above the canyon. I hope I can convince you to add this to your bucket list of incredible places. I promise it won’t disappoint!
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The Best Beaches in Barbados

The beautiful island of Barbados has over 70 miles of beaches, each of which are unique and different. Beaches located on the Caribbean (West side) of the island are suitable for water activities like snorkeling, paddle boarding, jet skiing and sunbathing due to their calm nature while beaches on the Atlantic (East side) are more rocky and good for surfing or sunbathing. It was incredible to see so many different types of beaches on such a small island which added to the charm and beauty of Barbados! Here are my top 5 favorite beaches you must visit during your travels to this magical island.

1. Bottom Bay
Bottom Bay was the most scenic of all the beaches I visited in Barbados. As soon as I arrived, I was greeted by a magnificent cliff over looking the prettiest turquoise water I’ve ever seen! The tall palm trees on the beach down below made for the perfect backdrop. There’s plenty of beach here to sunbath and have a picnic or you can do the same from above and enjoy the view on the rocky cliff.
If coconut water if your thing, you can buy a fresh coconut at the top of stairs that descend down to the beach from some of the local Bajans who actually climb the tall palm trees on the beach and shake down the coconuts! I would highly recommend this beach for sunbathing, swimming and picture taking.
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2. Bathsheba Beach
Bathsheba Beach was one of the most unique beach I’ve ever visited! Located on the East side, Bathsheba was extremely windy and the waves looks like a surfers dream come true. Dangerous rip curls and undertows do not make Bathsheba an ideal spot to swim, however, you can enjoy the water in many of the shallow natural reef pools located just a few feet from the shore. During the winter, layers of seaweed wash up on shore so I appreciated the view from far away because it made for some cool photos. The giant rock formations are what make this beach a stunning sight to see! I would highly recommend Bathsheba for sunbathing during the Summer and picture taking and surfing during the Winter. Experienced surfers only!
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3. Alleynes Bay
Alleynes Bay has crystal clear water which makes it the best beach in Barbados to snorkel and swim with sea turtles. I entered the beach from The Lonestar, a really popular restaurant and hotel in the bay which I would highly recommend for breakfast or lunch before your swim. Bring plenty of snorkel gear and an underwater camera if you have one!
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4. Paynes Bay & Sandy Lane Beach
These two beaches are home to some of the island’s most luxurious resorts. Located on the West side of the island, the soft white sand and calm waves make these two beaches the best for water sports, sun bathing and swimming. I stayed at a private villa in Paynes Bay during my stay and enjoyed watching the boats dock out in the water, the jet skis go by and taking strolls to nearby Sandy Lane Beach.
Sandy Lane, an exclusive high end luxury resort, is located here. You can admire the signature pink umbrellas and walk the beach, but don’t be expected to be allowed into the resort for a cocktail unless you’re a guest at the hotel or have a meal reservation!
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5. Brandon’s Beach

Brandon’s Beach was a little off the beaten path and more secluded than the other beaches, but I loved how private it was and the fact that you could relax and watch the locals surf here. I would recommend making a pit stop here after you take a tour at the famous Mount Gay Rum Distillery!
Barbados 2018-1128Barbados 2018-1081If you’re looking for additional thing to do during your stay, check out my blog post on the the top activities to do during your trip to Barbados!

Top 5 Activities to do in Barbados

I’m an explorer at heart and am always up for an adventure! My favorite thing about traveling is when I find opportunities to experience the natural beauty of our world and time to marvel at the beauty of animals in their natural habitat. During my 10 day trip to Barbados, I got to see so much of the island and planned some fun activities that completely beat my expectations and blew me away.

If you’re planning a trip to Barbados, here is my list of the top 5 activities I would highly recommend you do to satisfy your craving for adventure!

1. Feed the monkeys at the Barbados Wildlife Reserve
This was the highlight of my trip! I didn’t expect the monkeys to be so friendly and agile, but when it comes to food they love humans and don’t mind getting up close and personal. I totally didn’t expect them to eat right out of my hand but they did and it was incredible! You can read more in depth about my wildlife reserve experience here and see all the photos I took of the animals in the reserve. Admission costs $30 BDS ($15 USD) for adults and $15 BDS ($7.50 USD) for children. Hours are from 10am to 5pm and it is recommended that you are there around 2pm as this is the animal feeding time so you are more likely to see many of the animals at this time.
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2. Swim with sea turtles
If you love being in the water as much as I do and you enjoy water activities like snorkeling or scuba diving, Barbados is a great place to experience swimming with sea turtles! The best part about this activity is that you don’t even need to pay to go out on a catamaran because the turtles can be found many places right off the beach. You can even feed and pet the turtles when you swim with them!
Head out early in the morning when the turtles are likely to be scouting for food. We snorkeled and swam with the turtles in Alleyne’s Bay (located behind the Lonestar hotel and restaurant) where many of the glass bottom boats and catamarans stick around. Other good areas to swim with turtles include Freights Bay, Carlise Bay & Paynes Bay.
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3. Visit Hunte’s Gardens
This beautiful outdoor garden was stunning from the moment we pulling up to the entrance to the moment we left. I’ve never seen such lush, colorful plants or palm trees so tall in my life! This walkable garden holds different surprises around each corner and I could have literally spent an entire day taking pictures of all the exotic scenery, birds and animals among the soft classical music playing throughout the garden. Admission costs $30 BDS ($15 USD) per person and hours are from 9am to 4pm daily. It truly is a magical place unlike any other!
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4. Explore the natural beauty of Animal Flower Cave
Discovered in 1750, this naturally formed cave is the only accessible cave on the island and was formed by natural limestone similar to cenotes found in Mexico. Build in 1912, coral steps lead down to the cave floor which is estimated to be 400,000 to 500,000 years old! Be sure to wear sneakers or take your shoes off while in the cave because it’s pretty slippery and easy to fall if you don’t have good balance. There is also a separate swimming chamber in the cave if you’re up for it! Make sure to visit when the waves aren’t too big because it will close due to the strength and size of the waves on occasion. Admission costs $20 BDS ($10 USD) per person and hours are from 9am to 4:30pm daily. In addition to a guided cave visit, there is also a restaurant where you can grab a quick bite to eat and drinks on top of the cave with an incredible ocean view, open from 11am to 3:30pm daily.
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5. Enjoy a Rum Punch at the Mount Gay Rum Distillery
Honestly, I was mostly excited for rum cocktails upon showing up to the distillery, but the best part ended up being the incredible history lesson behind Mount Gay Rum! I highly suggest taking the Signtaure Rum Tour through the distillery where you will learn the history of the brand and enjoy a tasting of 3 different rums. You receive a delicious rum punch at the beginning of the tour and it ends at the bar where you can also enjoy specialty rum cocktails. The tour costs $40 BDS ($20 USD) per person and hours are from 9am to 4:30pm Monday through Friday and 10:30am-2:30pm on Saturday and Sunday. Cheers!
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Other activities I would highly recommend depending on how much time you have on the island include:
Oistnis Friday night fish fry
Sunset sail with Cool Runnings
Paddle boarding
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Barbados Animal Wildlife Reserve

If there’s one thing you should know about me, it’s that I have a very special place in my heart for animals! When I researched top activities in Barbados, I found that there is an Animal Wildlife Reserve on the island where animals roam free and you can see wild green monkeys. I had to check it out for myself! Upon pulling up to the parking lot, we were greeted by incredible banana leaf fields, countless rows of stunning palm trees and beautiful lush, tropical plants.
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There were three green monkeys near the ticket counter when we arrived and after paying the entrance fee, we were given chopped up sweet potatoes to feed them. Six more monkeys joined us shortly after they realized food was present, including a couple baby ones.
I was absolutely amazed at how gentle and sweet the monkeys were that I wanted to take one home with me! They each had their own personality and many times they would hold my hand (or a finger) while eating directly out of my hand.
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We entered the grounds and started our journey walking small brick pathways throughout the reserve. There were tons of large tortoise which were easy to spot and although they’re known for being slow, they actually move pretty fast. While I was taking photos, one almost walked directly over my foot! Walking a little deeper, we discovered a mother deer feeding her baby!
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If you love animals as much as I do or want to see green monkeys up close and personal, I would highly suggest coming to visit the reserve during your stay in Barbados! Admission costs $30 BDS ($15 USD) for adults and $15 BDS ($7.50 USD) for children. Hours are from 10am to 5pm and it is recommended that you are there around 2pm as this is the animal feeding time so you are more likely to see many of the animals at this time. It was truly a magical experience and feeding the monkeys was definitely an experience to remember. It was so much better than viewing animals behind bars at the zoo!
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Moonlight Gypsy Shop Earrings $14
Moonlight Gypsy Shop Embroidered Straw Cherry Bag $30
Forever 21 Selfie Leslie Smocked Top $35
One Teaspoon Denim Cut Off Shorts $98

10 Ways to Increase Self Love & Happiness

Photo Feb 23, 8 10 37 AMIf there’s one thing I take to heart, it’s the fact that we should always be working towards being the best version of ourselves we can possibly be. Life isn’t easy. I have days when I wonder what I’m doing with my life and days where I don’t feel like getting out of bed. Other days I feel extremely accomplished, empowered and ready to take on the day!

It’s hard living in a world where we are constantly bombarded with advertisements telling us we’re not good enough, we aren’t pretty enough and that we need to buy things in order to be something we’re not. Our comparison of ourselves to photoshopped magazine covers, supermodels and celebrities over time can lead to insecurity, self doubt and ultimately self sabotage which is extremely unhealthy. It’s hard to be happy with yourself and the world around you if you’re not comfortable with who you and what you look like. I promise YOU ARE PERFECT JUST THE WAY YOU ARE!

So how can you increase self love & happiness on a daily basis? Grab a journal and a pen!

#1 Ask yourself “What are 3 things I’m grateful for?” and write them down.

Gratitude is so important to be thankful with what you have in your life right NOW. It’s easy to get caught up with what we want for our future but those thoughts lead us away from the present moment.

It could be as simple as the gift of sight or the fact that the sun is shining today. Whether you’re grateful for a friend, a family member or a pet, we are so fortunate to have access to fresh water, nutritious food and have a roof over our head. There are many people in the world struggling each day to attain these three basic necessities.
In order to achieve daily happiness, we need to train ourselves to be happy with what we have in our life NOW because focusing on things we don’t have ultimately leads to unhappiness.
#2 Ask yourself “How do I want to feel today?” and write it down.
The first thing many of us do when we wake up is check our social media, open our email or turn on the news.
Make it a best practice to explore how you’re feeling instead, then decide how you actually WANT to feel. Setting intentions on how you want to feel first thing in the morning allows us to think positively about the day ahead. Any time you start feeling differently throughout the day, think back to the intentions you’ve set and align your mind to stay on track.
#3 Ask yourself “What are 3 things I love about myself?” and write them down.
This is my favorite exercise because it’s the most challenging one for me. It’s 100% ok to struggle with answering this question because we don’t take enough time to really appreciate our gifts, talents and beauty on a regular basis.
Really dig deep. What DO you love about yourself??
This can be physical attributes including the color of your eyes, your perfect manicure or the fact that your hair looks killer today.
It could also be your optimistic attitude, the fact that you’re an awesome cook or that you love your ability to save $100 each week. Whatever it is, it’s important to love the little things about yourself!
#4 Ask yourself “What do I want to accomplish today?” and write it down.
Did you know you are 80% more likely to accomplish a goal if you write it down? Goal setting is something I’m very passionate about. More about that HERE!
Life is short and we tend to stop chasing our dreams that older we get. We let other things take priority and forget to put ourselves first. It’s so important to create goals and stick to them! I keep a weekly planner that I update regularly and create daily tasks of what I want to accomplish or learn in order to help hold myself accountable.
We should accomplish at least ONE thing each day to help us feel like we’re moving forward in life. It could be booking a cycling class you’ve always wanted to try, attending a photography class to finally learn how to use your camera or booking a trip you’ve been wanting to take. The smallest of tasks can help you feel like you’re working towards something and constantly learning or growing. The more you do it, the better you’ll feel about your life purpose and direction, ultimately leading to increased happiness and self love.
#5 Choose a ‘Quote of the day’ & write it down.
The quote I choose largely depends on how I answer the above questions. You’ll tend to notice a theme in how you answer them based on how you’re feeling. I typically go to Google or Pinterest to search for a quote that speaks to me. When I find one I love, I simply jot it down and take 2 minutes to reflect on what it means to me before starting my day. Doing this provides feelings of empowerment, confidence and optimism.
#6 Write down the following & repeat them out loud to yourself in the mirror:
I am Beautiful.
I am Confident.
I am Unique.
I am Fearless.
I am Loved.
I am Amazing.
I am Perfect just the way I am.
We become our thoughts and what we tell ourselves each day. Writing down and repeating affirmations while looking in the mirror help us to see and speak to ourselves in a positive light. You’ll be surprised how much you actually start believing what you tell yourself every day if you do it consistently. We should ALWAYS be feeding our minds positive thoughts! The moment you consciously recognize a negative thought, dismiss it immediately and replace it with a positive one.
#7 Spoil yourself once a week!
Buy yourself a bouquet of fresh flowers, indulge in a cupcake at your favorite bakery or treat yourself to that pair of shoes you can’t stop thinking about. It’s important to treat yourself even when you’re on a tight budget. Something as small as a $3 cupcake a week can’t hurt and is a great way to treat yourself because you deserve it!
#8 Meditate
Meditation is SO good for the body and mind. Not only does it allow you to relax and remove yourself from a state of anxiety or stress, but it can help you look inwardly to reflect on your emotions and feelings. Sometimes it also uncovers issues or problems you didn’t even realize were there! Other times it can help heal your spirit and rejuvenate your soul. The more you meditate, the more you work on yourself. The more you work on yourself, the happier you will be! My favorite app is the CALM meditation app. It helps you reduce anxiety, sleep better and feel happier. I love it because it offers 10 minute meditations focused on different attributes including happiness, gratitude, calmness, stress, self-esteem and more. Give it a try! It’s honestly life changing.
#9 Take a break from social media
It’s so easy to get caught up in the “reality” of our peers or celebrities. Try to remember that MOSTLY everything you see on TV or on social media is NOT REAL LIFE. My instagram may be filled with beach photos and exotic vacations but I actually live in NYC and have a full time job just like most people! Yes, I get exhausted & have days where I don’t want to go to the gym or cook dinner but I’m a normal person and don’t go around jet setting the world.
Its easy to compare our lives to other people but truthfully we should only be comparing ourselves to where we were yesterday!
#10 Complete 1 small act of kindness a day
Buy a co-worker a coffee, give a homeless person your left overs, compliment a complete stranger. If you can consciously seek opportunities to complete a small act of kindness each day, you will begin to feel more humble and giving, thus opening yourself up for more self love and happiness.
I hope this helps you babes as much as it’s helped me. Let me know in the comments what you do to increase self love and happiness!
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