Merry Christmas & Happy New Year 2019!

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Faux Leather Leggings: Spanx | Sweater: Banana Republic | Shoes: Tory Burch | Watch: Michelle | Earrings : Loft | Christmas tree: Amazon | Pillows: Pier 1 |

I love December, but mostly the time between Christmas Day and New Year.  Lights and decorations are still on, many of our loved ones are still visiting from out of town, and the Christmas spirit is still very much present in everyone and everything!

I’m also energized by the excitement that comes with the beginning of a New Year.  Personally, I LOVE setting new goals.  Actually, I intentionally come up with a few too many just so I increase my chances at accomplishing a lot in the year, but more to come on that on a later post ;).

For now, here are a few details on my look.  Let me tell you….these SPANX are a must have! I don’t know how to stress that enough…not only do they feel amazing but they are so easy to wear.  Just about anything would look good with them.  This time I matched them with my favorite Tory Burch shoes and a fuzzy white sweater.

That’s all I have for now my sensational readers.  Hope you are enjoying the season and talk again soon!

XoXo

Nicole

Maui, a Tropical Paradise

I just returned from Maui 2 days ago and I am ready to go back!  Ok, that might not be very realistic at this time but I can assure you that you will have a hard time going back home! 🙂 We had a wonderful vacation and I am excited to share some of the highlights of our trip!  If you are considering to visit Honolulu, don’t miss my earlier post on this Hawaiian island by clicking here. Now let’s

Getting there & accommodations:

  • Maui’s International Airport (OGG) is named Kahului Airport.  This is the island’s main airport that can also connect you to other Hawaiian islands.
  • A direct flight from Phoenix is 6 hours.
  • The North and South side of the island are the most popular for lodging due to the nearby attractions.
  • We stayed at Sugar Beach Resort and could have not been happier with our choice.  Not only we had a great deal through our friends at Agoda, but the accommodations were also fantastic.  Condo was right by the beach, and offered a pool, spa, and a tour agency at the site with friendly staff.  The condominium is  located in a city named Kihei about 45 minute South from the airport (with an Uber / Taxi). Click HERE if you want to learn more about the latest  DEALS, they run daily!

Tours & Excursions:

While there is an unlimited number of excursions that you can select from, we chose these 4 because it exposed us to a variety of different experiences while enjoying the island.

Helicopter Excursion:

Did you know that 80% of Hawaii is inaccessible? The only way to take a peek is by taking a helicopter tour.  We decided to go with Maverick Helicopters since we loved their “Molokai Voyage” option.

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Dana and I about to take off on the Maverick Helicopter.

We were amazed by the incredible views from our helicopter adventure!  We were treated with majestic waterfalls and beautiful weather!

 

Zipline:

Another fun adventure.  This time, we were recommended to Pi’iholo Ranch Adventures and we were treated to another unforgettable day.  Our package included 5 ziplines through the mountains and the crew is incredible friendly.  Check them out at www.piiholozipline.com

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Zipline Fun in Maui!

Snorkel & Sailing:

If you just want to spend a good part of your day sailing the Pacific waters of Hawaii and be treated to first class service all the way, you will want to check out Alii Nui. Personally, I wanted to snorkel with sea turtles and visit the Molokini island so this tour allowed me to do both.  You will also have the option to scuba dive if you are certified.

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Sailing with Alii Nui

Turtle watch:

Ho’okipa Beach is known for great surfing AND for guaranteed turtle sighting!  Every sunset, dozens of huge sea turtles come to shore to rest and many spectators line up to watch.  Make sure you don’t miss it, all you have to do is show up!  Just don’t get too close to them, rumor has it that there is a hefty fine if you touch one.

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Sea turtles at Ho’Okipa Beach.  Maui, Hawaii.

That’s all I have for now.  The one activity that I wish I could have done is the Road to Hana but we ran out of time.  Hope you liked the post.  I am looking forward to your comments and suggestions as I am definitely planning to go back.   Be sure to check my instagram account for more pictures!

Have a sensational day!

Nicole

Charming Seville, Spain!

Hello my sensational travelers!

I have been meaning to blog about Sevilla, Spain for a little over a week now and I am finally getting to it tonight!  In a nutshell, you should not go to Spain without visiting this electrifying city.  All you need is 2 – 3 days to enjoy what this energetic city has to offer.

The weather was great in October.  It averaged about 78 degrees Fahrenheit and we enjoyed sunny skies.  We also arrived to Sevilla by bus.  I have to say that it was pretty easy to get there from Sagres, Portugal (about 8 hour ride) and I found the bus transportation system easy to use.  We stayed at a Hilton and while it had a nice accommodation, it was a little removed from downtown so we had to take a taxi every day (which wasn’t difficult).  If I had to do it again, I would stay in a more centric place.

Personally, my favorite landmark was the Cathedral.  Not only is considered the largest Gothic Cathedral in the world but it is truly captivating to just look at it.  So if you have a couple dates to visit this city, these would be my top 5 most visit / do:

  1. Visit the Cathedral of Sevilla
  2. Climb the Giralda Tower (the view at the top is incredible!)
  3. Visit the Real Alcazar
  4. Bring home some olive oil and cherry wine
  5. Have tapas and an authentic paella
  6. Watch a flamenco performance…ok, we ended with top 6 instead of 5 🙂

But let me explain it better with pictures!

 

 

Cathedral Entrance
At one of the many entrances of the Cathedral

 

Cathedral at Night
The Cathedral at night
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Enjoying a beautiful afternoon with some sangria and tapas
Ovejas Negras Sevilla Spain
If you are looking for a restaurant, I highly recommend Ovejas Negras.  Great ambiance, moderately priced and delicious food.
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Giralda Tower view next to a handsome olive tree 😉

I sure miss Sevilla, and I want to go back!  Have you been? Did you like it as much as I did? I am excited to hear about your experience in the comment section below.

Until next time my friends!

Nicole

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It’s Fiji Time!

What time is it? It’s Fiji time!  That’s the most serious answer I could get when visiting the enchanting archipelago!  After a few days, you really no longer care what time it is ;).

Fiji consists of an archipelago of over 330 islands.  From those 110 are permanently inhabited. They rely mainly on revenue from the tourism industry and sugar exports.  And yes, Fiji bottle water is from Fiji!

Getting there and cost:

In my previous post “Beautiful Sydney, Australia” I revealed one of my most precious discoveries…I purchased my trip through Groupon under the getaway section.  I live in sunny Arizona, and the deal departed from Los Angeles.  A day day trip to Sydney and Fiji cost me $1999.00 and it included roundtrip airfare, all hotel accommodations (pretty decent ones) and transfers to hotels from the airport.  The airfare alone would have cost me $2000.00 if I would have tried to do it on my own so I was pretty happy with the package.

Nadi International Airport is their main entry point and is located in their main and largest island Viti Levu.  The airport is relatively small which makes it easy to get through.  Also, the Fijian people are incredibly welcoming so you should make some time  talking to them and learning more about their ways of living.  There is much to learn and you will enjoy the conversation.

Temperature is mostly warm all year around.  I personally experienced an average of 78 degrees Fahrenheit in mid September.  It was perfect!

Below are a few pictures of my wonderful time in Fiji with my friend Nancy!

Savala Island: 

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Savala Island

Oolala day trip to Savala Island was a great choice!  We got to enjoy the crystal blue waters of this deserted island.  Great snorkeling, kayaking, paddle boarding, and swimming.   Personally, I just wanted to enjoy the water and relax under an umbrella with a refreshing drink!  It was a memorable day!

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Nancy and I at the beach (Savala Island)
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Yes, the water is that clear!  That’s me! Nicole 🙂

The Garden of the Sleeping Beauty:

Another great attraction that you won’t want to miss is the The Garden of the Sleeping Giant.  This garden houses Fiji’s native plants as well as an impressive collection of orchids.  We spent about half a day at the garden but you could spend the entire day walking through the place and enjoying the peace and beauty of this majestic place.

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Nicole at The Garden of the Sleeping Giant
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Don’t you love the tree huggers? They protect the garden!

 

The garden houses more than 2000 kinds of orchids.

Namaka Market:

You can’t come to Fiji without experiencing kava!  Fijians use kava to hold a special ceremony whenever they have a special guest.  The roots of the plant are used to produce a drink with sedative and anesthetic properties.  Kava is consumed throughout the Pacific Ocean cultures of Polynesia, including Hawaii, Vanuatu, Melanesia, and areas of Micronesia.

 

Mud Pools:

Interested in hitting the spa?  What about a very natural spa?  While in Fiji, you can visit their popular mud pools.  They are made from hot spring water that is mixed with volcanic ash to form a mud bath pool.  Fijians claim that to take full advantage of its therapeutic value your first need to coat yourself in mud, followed by standing in the sun until it dries.  The last step is to wash it off in the hot spring water.

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Last stage of the mud pool “process”.
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Does it look therapeutic to you?!?

Fiji Hindu Temple:

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Sri Siva Subramaniya Tempe

If you want to experience the cultural and architectural diversity that Fiji is known for, then Sri Siva Subramaniya is a must stop.

Will I go back?

Yes, in a heartbeat!  I would probably also combine it with a trip to New Zealand.

What do you think?  Are you planning to go to Fiji any time soon?  Have you been before?  I want to know your thoughts so please don’t hesitate to comment. I can’t wait to hear from you!

Nicole

Beautiful Sydney, Australia

Is visiting Sydney part of your bucket list? Well, it was sure part of mine and I couldn’t be happier with the experience.  Traveling to Australia was a dream come true.  While I knew that I was going to have a lovely time, the city exceeded my expectations by far.  Personally, I traveled from Phoenix, Arizona and although it was a long flight to get there, I will do it again in a heart beat!  It is definitely a place that I want to go back to!  Here is a summary of my amazing trip.

Getting to Sydney and cost:

I found what I thought was a great deal in Groupon!  Yes, I said Groupon.  A 10 day trip to Sydney and Fiji cost me $1999.00 and included round trip airfare from Los Angeles, CA, all hotel accommodations, daily breakfast, and transportation to and from the airport to the hotels.  Click here to be directed to the Getaway section of Groupon and search for your all inclusive trip.  The hotel locations were in a very centric place and I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the hotel accommodations.

I will warn that the trip was loooong.  A 14 hour flight is not easy to take; however, the City of Sydney is so beautiful is well worth it.  I also went at the beginning of September and the weather could have not been better as the temperature ranged from 60 to 78 degrees Fahrenheit.

Once you are in Sydney: 

You will be amazed by how friendly the people are, the streets are incredible clean, and the architecture is incredible.  Sydney Harbor is like an aquatic playground.  With only a few days to spare, I chose to purchase a Hop On Hop Off Cruise ticket that would allow me to explore Sydney by water.  The cruise had a very flexible schedule that stopped at the main landmarks and destinations including: Darling Harbor, Circular Quay, Watsons Bay, Manly, and Luna Park.  Once you are at the Sydney Harbor you won’t miss the majestic views of the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Bridge.  You can purchase the Hop On Hop Off ticket for about $38 for a 24 hour pass.

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Hop On Hop Off Cruise – 24 hour pas

 

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View of the Opera House from the Hop On Hop Off Cruise

One of my most beautiful memories is riding in the Hop On Hop Off Cruise and taking the incredible view of the city from it.  You might want to note that the term “cruise” is used lightly since it is more like a boat designed to transport people from landmark to landmark.

Many is another stop that you will want to take advantage of.  The place reminded me a little of Southern California.  The island has a laid back vibe, with bike trails, great restaurants, activities and much more.  The atmosphere is welcoming and it is a great way to spend the afternoon.

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Manly Beach

 

Taronga Zoo:

You don’t want to miss this attraction!  Not only it is one of the many convenient stops from the Hop On Hop Off, but you don’t want to miss the charismatic kangaroos that Australia is so well known for.

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My friend Nancy and I at the Taronga Zoo in Sydney, Australia
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My date for the trip!

Blue Mountains:

Katoomba is the name of the city that houses Australia’s Blue Mountains.  If you are interested in leaving Sydney for a day this is a great option.  Katoomba is located less than two hours from Sydney by train.  The train is easy to use.  All you have to do is purchase a day pass and get on board.  This part of Australia reminded me a little of the red mountains in Sedona, Arizona.  The main difference is that the mountains have a a natural blue haze that results from the forest when it releases oil that then mixes with water vapor and sunlight.

 

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The Three Sisters at Echo Point
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Main Entrance

Will I Return to Australia?

Absolutely yes!  There are so many other places that I didn’t get to visit in Sydney.  While I was proud of myself for finding such a great deal in Groupon, I have to admit that I would have liked to stay longer if I would have known what a gorgeous place this is.  Also, keep in mind that Fiji is only a short flight away so check out my post by clicking HERE to learn more!

Hope you found this post beneficial.  Let me know what you think and if you are planning to visit anytime soon.  I am planning to go again in a year or two so I’ll be interested in your thoughts if you have visited this amazing spot on Earth recently.  Let me know and until next time!

Nicole

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