Friday, July 21, 2017

7 Reasons To Go To Puerto Rico

7 Reasons To Go To Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico had so much to offer and we had the best time exploring the island. Lots of people have asked us how and why we chose to vacation there this summer so we thought we'd put together a little list with 7 reasons why you should go to Puerto Rico. Hopefully, after reading this, you'll be convinced in wanting to book your flight. If you missed our first hotel review, you can see it here. 

The Food

B: In my mind, Puerto Rican cuisine contains components native to Africa and Cuba with a bit of flare all of its own. White rice dishes with red beans, crispy plantains, and mixed vegetable medleys accompany every meal. An overwhelmingly large selection of fish species are available at most restaurants, in addition to the ever present pork platters. Mojitos with local mint, extra brown sugar, and the local Don Q are a must. I even tried foie gras for the first time. Katherine would not partake, but I was proud of her for expanding her willingness to sample different fishes. With restaurants on every street, you can try some amazing dishes if you are up for an adventure.



Atypical Beaches

K: I'm so used to the beaches of Mexico. Endless miles of sand, calm waves, and tons of people. Puerto Rico was so different in the sense that the beaches were what I'd consider "atypical". Giant rocks unfurled from the bright blue waters, humongous waves crashed upon the shore, and all of the beaches were public. For us, this meant that the only beach that was private was the small area included in our hotel (we'll be posting pictures of that spot next week). Despite this deviation from a "normal" beach, we absolutely loved it! There were still areas without rocks so that we could dip into the ocean and our small private beach was continually empty during the trip, allowing us a prime spot for reading and soaking up some sun. It was a nice change for someone like me who's really only had one kind of beach experience. The scenery was absolutely breathtaking and we loved what the Puerto Rico beaches had to offer. 

The History

B: Puerto Rico holds a rich history in culture ranging from its original inhabitants to colonizers, and even more modern tourists, and internationals that now call its lands home. With an abundance of Catholic cathedrals, colorful architecture, and historic landmarks, you can easily feel like you're in a faraway country without ever having to use your passport. Our favorite historical marker was the massive fortress wall that expanded around all of Old San Juan's costal bounds. Katherine and I walked around the entire wall, snapping photos and stopping for a breathtaking view over the ocean. We day dreamed curiously of the Spanish soldiers that guarded these turreted walls long ago. We love traveling anywhere with a rich culture and history behind it. Puerto Rico definitely accomplished this for us both. 

Easy Travel

K: Out of the two of us, Brandon is much more inclined to plan a trip full of adventurous travel. He's often mentioned wanting to go to India and drive the whole country, change planes, and hop around to different islands along the way. I don't want to ever say no to travel or an adventure; however, I'm not embarrassed to say that sometimes, I'm not the best traveler. For years I used to get sick on planes, boats, pretty much anything that moved. Part of the reason we chose Puerto Rico was because it was easy to get to. So easy, that we didn't even need to bring our passports. We flew from San Antonio to Atlanta, then Atlanta to San Juan. The short ten minute cab ride from the airport to our hotel was easy and traffic-free. I loved how easy it was for us to get to the country, and travel around once we were there. We knew that in planning a trip this summer, we wanted to save an "extravagant" trip for another year. Opting for something close like Puerto Rico was a great decision in the long run because of how easy it was to plan.

Cell Service

B:  Essentially an extension of America, Puerto Rico had amazing cellular service. Between our three cell phones, neither Katherine nor myself roamed even once with Sprint or AT&T. This made communication and navigating Old San Juan via Google Maps a breeze. For those of you that cannot live without your phones for a few hours, whether that be for work related reasons, or the need to browse our Instagram page (here), Puerto Rico is a superb location. Wi-Fi is also accessible and even freely available in a surprisingly large number of locations across San Juan. Needless to say, Puerto Rico has a significant amount of adventure to be had, and we put down our phones for the majority of the trip to chat with each other and look at the sights of the historic city scape.

Tourism/Hospitality

K: Puerto Rico's number one source of income is tourism. While we often try to avoid tourist traps during our travels, Brandon and I found that the country had just the right amount of tourism for us. The city is filled with history, amazing architecture, activities, and fun restaurants. During our stay, we had no problem with language (I speak a little bit of Spanish but we discovered that most Puerto Ricans knew English) and every single person was so friendly. I love any country that makes you feel right at home and we definitely felt that during our trip. 

Small Island

K: Puerto Rico is a very small island compared to our giant state of Texas. The whole thing spans about 110 miles long by 20 miles wide, allowing you to drive from east to west in a few hours. This is such a change for us, coming from Texas where you can drive for over eight hours and still be in the state. We only left San Juan one time for a tour on the east side of the island. It was so easy to get to our new location and we even talked about how we would feel comfortable renting a car if we ever go back. Ideally, you could explore the entire island if you stayed for a week or so. Brandon and I both love a trip that allows you to see as much as possible and I feel like Puerto Rico definitely offers that for any traveler.


*PS: Today is the first day that you can shop the anniversary sale for the public! You can see my Nsale posts here and here (more coming next week!). 

On Katherine: Zara dress (sold out, similar here and here), Splendid shoes, Michele watch, Target sunglasses, Elaine Turner bag (on sale!!)


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Wednesday, July 19, 2017

The Transitional Dress (From Summer to Fall & From Work to A Date)


 K: As a teacher, I'm always struggling to make sure that my closet is balanced. There was a point when I realized that so many of my clothes looked a little too "teacher-y" and I didn't have much that would work for a date night or just simple weekend wear. I am constantly on the lookout for a great dress for school and for a date; this dress just so happens to do both...a rare find.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Puerto Rico: A Review of The Condado Vanderbilt


K: We're back! Our trip to Puerto Rico was exactly what we needed. Filled with rest and relaxation, Brandon and I took full advantage of a vacation together and now we're excited to share our pictures and stories with you! For the next few weeks, you can expect to see a full recap of our trip, starting with a review of our second hotel: The Condado Vanderbilt



The overall aesthetic of the Condado is breathtaking. Set on the rocks of the beach, the entire backside of the hotel is one long patio and sitting area. Brandon and I loved this spot for pictures because of ocean views and the darling blue lounge chairs and umbrellas. I sort of expected Puerto Rico to have a similar vibe to Mexico, but we found that it was quite different. The Condado was elegant, polished, while still remaining "beachy" at the same time. I think our favorite part of staying here was the location, the views, and the fact that it was not crowded at all! Most days, we had the beach and the adult pool all to ourselves.