Hidden (Vegan) Gem of Edinburgh: Paradise Palms

If you are a vegan then you know how hard it can be to find food to eat while traveling in Europe. Europeans are not nearly as adapt to the new lifestyle choices, such as vegetarianism and veganism, as Americans are. With each city that I visited in Europe I tried to hunt down the local vegan spots to test out. This one in Edinburgh was by far my favorite vegan restaurant that I visited while abroad.

Paradise Palms Edinburgh

Paradise Palms in Edinburgh truly is a one stop shop. You can basically find anything you want to fit all of your hipster needs. Not only do they serve vegan and vegetarian food, but they are also a bar, an event venue, a vinyl store, and a record label. Crazy right!? It is impossible to not have a great time at this place, even when visiting alone, like myself.

Edinburgh Paradise Palms

I’m a firm believer that the environment of a restaurant contributes to your experience there. With an atmosphere as cool as this one how can you not enjoy yourself? The space is filled with records, neon lights, and quirky trinkets hanging from the ceilings. It truly is a space that you will never forget.

Edinburgh vegan nachos

Not being able to eat meat or cheese, I had to order these vegan jackfruit nachos when I saw them on the menu. They were absolutely delicious and worth every bite. The nacho chips were topped with pulled barbecue jackfruit and mango & pineapple salsa. Is your mouth watering? Because mine is just thinking about it once again! And yes, in case you were wondering, I did finish this all by myself. Don’t judge!

Edinburgh vegan hot dog

In addition to the nachos, I had to try the vegan hot dog. Since becoming a vegetarian I have missed a good hot dog with ketchup and mustard. While it definitely tasted like tofu, it filled the hot dog fix I was looking for.

Edinburgh Paradise Palms street art

Whether you are a vegan, vegetarian, or meat-lover, I highly recommend this one-of-a-kind restaurant in Edinburgh. The atmosphere and energy make it unlike any other restaurant. If I ever return to Scotland I will definitely be making a special stop here to check out the rest of the menu.

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Parisian Street Art (the 10th arrondissement)

The 10th district of Paris is abundant with colorful street art and lively characters. It is not what one would expect when thinking of Paris. I personally loved seeing this side of the city, covered in music posters and graffiti, because of its contrast to the classic Parisian architecture.

Paris grafiti art

Paris street art

Paris street art

These graphic stickers of random faces could be found on various corners throughout the district.

Paris street art posters

Along the canal were plenty of pop art posters promoting local events and concerts.

Paris canal

fun Paris street art

Paris canal art

Stickers saying “J’existe”, or “I exist” in English, were stuck all over the canal barriers and street signs.

parisstreetart2

This area could easily be considered the Shoreditch or East Village of Paris for those of you familiar with London or New York. If you love street art and exploring the younger scenes of cities, then visiting the 10th district of Paris, by the canal, is a must.

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London’s Best Restaurants

It is no secret that I like food. Ok… I more than like food; food has become a hobby for me in all aspects. I love hunting down new restaurants, trying new flavors, photographing dishes, and cooking healthy meals for myself. Being a foodie truly is a lifestyle!

While I was in London I had a chance to try many different restaurants all over the city, each a different type of cuisine. Many people say London has poor tasting food; well they clearly weren’t eating at the right places. Here are my absolute favorite restaurants in London, each a favorite for a different reason.

Oka in Primrose Hill

Oka describes itself as a traditional and fusion Japanese restaurant. They offer sashimi, sushi and stir-fry meals. My absolute favorite thing on the menu is the chili edamame, as shown below. It is something so simple yet bursting with spicy flavor.

Oka Primrose Hill London

Another one of my favorites, and an absolute must-have if you are a sushi lover, is the salmon jalapeño roll. The flavors are fresh and subtle, which is what makes it so good. The wasabi at Oka is even homemade, adding a special touch to every sushi roll.

Oka sushi London

Be sure to book this spot in advance if looking to dine here in the evening. Don’t forget to hike to the top of Primrose Hill, first, and enjoy the sunset!

Da Mario in South Kensington

A favorite of Princess Diana, this restaurant is a go-to when looking for yummy Italian food in London. All of the pasta is homemade and the sauce is to die for. Not only do they offer pastas but they make their own pizzas as well. I love how friendly and welcoming the staff is to everyone that walks in. My favorite here has to be the potato gnocchi; the gnocchi is so plump and melts in your mouth!

Sketch in Chelsea

If you are Instagram obsessed like I am then you have definitely seen pictures of Sketch’s decor. As soon as you walk in the door you feel like you have fallen down the rabbit hole and ended up in Wonderland. I was lucky enough to visit during the Chelsea Flower Show when the entire restaurant was covered in pink peonies and roses.

Sketch London breakfast

While the afternoon tea is quite expensive and usually booked months in advance, the breakfast option is usually always available and not nearly as expensive. I enjoyed some porridge and fruit with a few cups of the matcha green tea.

Sketch London breakfast fruit

While the food is certainly delicious, what makes Sketch one of my favorites is the one-of-a-kind atmosphere. Each room is decorated differently; whether you are sitting on pink velvet couches or in a forest of flowers, the experience is magical.

City Best Kebab in Shoreditch

I had to add my favorite post-night-out spot to this list; the perfect spot for a cheap and quick meal. London is filled with falafel shops so it can be quite hard to find the best one. Luckily, this one was right around the corner from my flat and has the best falafel I have ever tasted. You never know what kind of crowd you are going to come across either, which is what makes it so entertaining.

Pacata in Covent Garden

I purposely saved the best for last with this restaurant; ironic since this was also the last meal I ate in London before leaving. Pacata specializes in thai comfort food, making the best tom kha soup and pad thai.

best pad thai in london

I know I’m making a big claim here but this may have been one of the best meals I have ever eaten. I am a huge fan of squid ink pasta and order it whenever it is on a restaurant’s menu. Pacata had squid ink pad thai, a combination of two of my favorite things. The flavors were so unique and worked together so well. If you are near Covent Garden you must try this dish!

Stay tuned for more of my favorites in London and other European cities by following me on here, InstagramTwitter, and Facebook.

 

 

The Many Sides of Dubrovnik

Croatia is a country with many different sides… There are beautiful hikes, crystal blue waters, islands galore, and a city whose architecture makes it feel like a fantasy land.

Dubrovnik city center

Dubrovnik cable car

Dubrovnik architecture

The terraces of each building makes for the perfect place to enjoy a cup of tea in the morning or glass of wine at nice.

Croatian coast

The greenery of the coast contrasted with the blueness of the water.

Dubrovnik city center Croatia

Dubrovnik city walls view

Orange roofs speckle the sky up into the mountains.

Croatian coast

painting Croatia

Croatian boat port

Boats float around in the port, moving with the calm waves of the Adriatic Sea.

Dubrovnik Croatia city center

For more information on the places to go while in Dubrovnik check out The Ultimate Guide to Dubrovnik- What to See, Eat, Do. Follow me on Instagram for more photos of my travels.

The Ultimate Guide to Dubrovnik- What to See, Eat, Do

Last month I traveled to Dubrovnik, Croatia for a little spring getaway before my finals began. Croatia is a beauty unlike any other city I’ve visited. The crystal blue waters, marble city floors, brightly colored roses, terracotta roofs, sloping cliffs… The beauty cannot be put into words, or even pictures for that matter.

Dubrovnik is a city I would recommend everyone to visit, even if you aren’t an avid Game of Thrones fan. It has a little bit of everything; from the beaches and hiking to the city life, it is the perfect destination no matter what your typical travel style is.

To See…

Dubrovnik Croatia streets

Walking the stairs that take you around Dubrovnik’s alleys is a must when trying to see the city. This is the way to find the best restaurants and tiny shops. I found a beautiful art shop with the most amazing gold-leafed paintings. The view down the alleys from the top of the stairs, with the colorful laundry blowing in the wind, is like no other.

dead sea lokrum island

Just a 15 minute ferry ride from Dubrovnik is an island called Lokrum. There are no inhabitants on this island except for some beautiful natural wonders and wild animals. I thoroughly enjoyed watching the bunnies hop around and the peacocks spread their feathers. My favorite part of this island was the Dead Sea, which was just a short walk from where the ferry drops you off.

After much, MUCH searching, climbing through bushes, and scaling down rocks, my friend and I were able to find the cave which we came to the island with the purpose of finding. We saw this on a famous travel blogger’s Instagram and had to hunt it down. Little did we know we would have to walk the entire island and its many hills just to find it in the place where we started the adventure.

Lokrum Island Instagram blogger spot

Travel bloggers make finding magical spots like this seem so easy and care-free. I am here to tell you that that was not the case at all. We climbed the rocks and almost fell in the water multiple times just to get the perfect shot. We even almost got stranded on the island and had to hitch a ride from a maintenance man back to the ferry which was leaving for the day in 2 minutes. Maybe I should have sacrificed for the sake of my blog and slept on the island for the night? Regrets…

To Eat…

Croatia is known for its incredibly delicious seafood and, let me tell you, it did not disappoint. Being the seafood connoisseur that I am, I took full advantage of all the seafood the country had to offer.

Our first stop after landing was, of course, Dubrovnik’s city center for some mussels, octopus and anchovies. This restaurant, Kamenice, was recommended to us by our Airbnb owner as having extremely fresh seafood. There are many different places with similar menus so be sure to pick the places that the locals recommend!

croatian octopus

Dubrovnik food blogger

I love my sushi so any chance I have to get a spicy tuna roll made with the freshest of seafood, I jump on it. These rolls at Shizuku were made of big chunks of fish marinated in soy sauce. While this restaurant is located on the outskirts of the city, it is well worth the Uber ride there.

Dubrovnik sushi

In addition to seafood, Croatia is known for their wine. It is absolutely essential to visit a wine bar and educate yourself (and your palate) on the flavors of the country. I sampled a flight of red wine at D’Vino Wine Bar which was a lovely experience. The waiter even informed us on all the different types of wine that the country grows and the flavors of the grapes from each region. I was surprised to learn that the white Zinfandel, now grown in California, originates in Croatia.

To do…

Dubrovnik Croatia view

Climbing the Dubrovnik City Walls will give you the most impressive views of the city center and the buildings that make it up. It is a beautiful sea of orange. Warning: you will take thousands of pictures of the view (trust me, I learned the hard way). Walk around when the sun isn’t too bright and take in everything that you are seeing without a lense in front of your eye.

Dubrovnik Croatia view

Of all the beaches in Dubrovnik, Banje Beach was by far my favorite. It is so small and intimate, making it the perfect place to lay out and relax. The beach even has a club on it with yummy drinks and lounge chairs that are well worth the money.

banje beach croatia blogger

After visiting the port, follow the cost and you will come to steep stairs leading down to the beach. The beach itself is free so if you are looking to save some money be sure to bring your own towel and/or chair to lounge on.

banje beach dubrovnik

If you love breathtaking views then the Dubrovnik Cable Car is for you. And if you don’t like views (or are scared of heights), it is well worth facing your fear. The cable car scales 778 meters up the mountain, giving you a view of the entire east coast of Croatia.

Croatian cable cars

Not only can you see the entire city of Dubrovnik, but you can see the mountains and countryside surrounding it. I was surprised to see that the other side of Croatia is completely covered in mountains and farmland.

Dubrovnik cable car

After enjoying a cup of hot tea in the restaurant on the mountain we hiked our way down in order to find some beautiful city outlooks. We came across a spot covered with boulders and yellow flowers. I am a firm believer that you need to venture off the typical path in order to find the true gems.

fashion blogger dubrovnik

This smile says it all. Croatia is a country filled with happiness, beauty,and life and that just radiates from within yourself when visiting the country.

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Take Me to Paris

Paris is the city of love and magic. It is a city that I have wanted to visit ever since I was a little girl, obsessed with all things fashion and fairytales. This past week I finally got the chance to see the monuments that make the city so special and experience a little sliver of the Parisian lifestyle.

While my experience definitely was not like what Lana Del Rey sung about in her song Paris, it was just as special. Sorry Lana, no making out in dark restaurants and staying out late when you are on a family vacation where there’s a 6am wake-up call every morning.

fashion blogger eiffel tower

The first thing I wanted to see when I got to Paris was the Eiffel Tower. Cliché, I know, but this is the icon that represents Paris in every non-Parisian’s mind. Once you see this architectural wonder, that is when you know that you have arrived in the most romanic city in the world.

After a long day of traveling I drug my family through the streets of Paris in order to find an unobstructed view of the tower. Even though they complained the entire way, I refused to give up on finding it. Obviously I couldn’t just take the easy way out and order an Uber right to the area. I needed to find that perfect view on my own, only by wondering through the streets. Eventually, after many winding roads, we ended up in a large park with a perfect view of the Eiffel Tower at sunset. I am a firm believer of taking the roads least traveled by; that is when you end up finding the most beautiful undiscovered treasures!

artsy Eiffel Towr shot

While the Eiffel Tower was much smaller than I pictured, it was quite wonderful to see in person. If you have an appreciation for architecture like myself, then you know there really is nothing like it. Sure, it is the symbol of Paris’s beauty, but it is also a work of art in itself. Make sure you pay special attention to the placement of the iron beams when riding the elevator to the top.

louvre

When you think of Paris the second thing that often comes to mind is the Louvre, or perhaps even better known as the museum that houses the Mona Lisa. While I think the Mona Lisa is overrated because of all the tourists it now attracts (but that is another story), the Louvre has a beautiful collection of Greek and Roman sculpture which I have always yearned to see. It still amazes me how these sculptors were able to create movement in their pieces while lacking the advanced tools that we now have.

Notre Dame spring

Did you really travel to Europe if you didn’t visit a cathedral? Nothing compares to the cathedrals in Europe. Nothing. Each one tells a similar story but in a completely different way. The Notre-Dame in Paris is no exception to that. Similar to the Greek and Roman sculptures, it blows my mind to think about how artists of the past were able to sculpt works of art like these. They are so grand that their building process is completely unfathomable to think about.

Notre Dame fashion blogger

And last, but not least, you cannot leave Paris without trying some Ladurée macarons. Believe me, macarons in Paris really do taste better than macaroons anywhere else. They are the perfect treat after traveling to the top of the Arc de Triomphe, which is right around the corner. After climbing 284 steps, you sure earned the right to indulge in some sweet treats!

laduree

Paris is a city that gives you a new experience every time you visit it. Your experience all depends on what you do and who you are with. I hope to someday experience the city with best friends as well as someone I love. I will eat crêpes in the beautiful parks below the Eiffel Tower and socialize at the sidewalk cafés while drinking champagne. I will have a picnic by the Seine with a good book that I bought at a local bookshop. It is amazing how endless the possibilities of exploring a new city are. À la prochaine, Paris!

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Hidden Gem of London: Cafe Miami

A positive, pretty café makes for the perfect work environment. I am a firm believer that your surroundings set your mood and how productive you will be that day. This is why it is so important for me to find the best places to study, read and write in while in London.

I recently stumbled on a little place in Hackney called Café Miami. The glass storefront and pastel colors instantly drew me in. The welcoming staff, attention to detail, and delicious food made this place a new favorite spot of mine.

Cafe Miami London

The interior is everything. Cute quotes, pretty pink tables, powder blue chairs. How can you not love looking at this place?

Cafe Miami London coffee

My favorite part of Café Miami was the fun-shaped sugar cubes. This detail may seem so small but it was the most precious thing! I am a sucker for the little things in life and these cloud and heart-shaped sugar cubes are no exception.

Cafe Miami London

Cafe Miami London waffle

Not only were the sugar cubes in the shape of hearts but so were the waffles and the cinnamon on the top of my latte. Who doesn’t love hearts all over their food!? The hearts simply warm my heart. No pun intended.

Cafe Miami London latte

Cafe Miami London

I ordered the Waffle Burger (minus the chorizo) with avocado, fried egg, and hot sauce. The waffles were made with corn which made it savory and delicious. While it wasn’t a breakfast to fill a starving stomach, it was just what I needed that afternoon.

Cafe Miami London egg

What are you waiting for? Hop on the 55 bus and head to Hackney for the prettiest afternoon you’ve had all spring. You surely won’t be disappointed!

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The Colors of Portugal

The bright and vibrant colors of Portugal make it the perfect summer travel destination. Patterned tiles cover the buildings lining the narrow city streets, making every walk an experience.

Colorful Alfama buildings

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Alfama, Portugal

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Amsterdam’s Art Scene

When I think of Amsterdam I just think of a cool city with cool people. And naturally, when a city and its people are cool, there is a pretty mind-blowing art scene. Not only are there some amazing, well-known museums, like the Van Gogh Museum, but there are galleries and exhibits that are rarely mentioned in the plethora of guides to Amsterdam that you see on Pinterest.

Amsterdam art galleries

One of my favorite places that we stumbled into was the Home of Art art gallery. I loved this lantern-like exhibit that was displayed in the front of the space. The way the sun shone through the windows was beautiful.

Amsterdam small hidden art galleries

I think I loved this gallery so much because of the people that ran it. They were welcoming, offering us up some wine and snacks, and left us alone to enjoy the art. If you are a frequent gallery-goer than you know that those running it make or break your experience. A lot of people can be stingy, watching your every move, judging you, or simply ignore your presence all together.

Amsterdam Van Gogh museum

Of course we visited the Van Gogh Museum, which was an amazing experience. I learned so much about the artist that I never knew. I loved seeing how his work evolved throughout the different time periods in his life and changed depending on where he moved. The museum does a brilliant job at intertwining Van Gogh’s history with his paintings, explaining his story perfectly through his art.

Amsterdam Moco Museum

Lastly, right next to the Van Gogh Museum, is the Moco Museum, a pleasant surprise for someone who loves street art or impressionism. I had never even heard of this museum before walking by it. It houses an extensive collection of Banksy and Dali, walking the viewer through the meaning of their different pieces. While we did not get the chance to go inside, this will definitely be the first museum I visit the next time I’m in Amsterdam. Remember to hit up all of the museums early in the day so you don’t face the same struggle against the 5pm closing times that we did.

Amsterdam Moco Museum

To learn about more of my favorites spots in Amsterdam, check out my Ultimate Guide to Amsterdam- What to See, Eat, Do, and be sure to follow me on Instagram to see all of my European adventures!

My Daily Commute in Pictures

Every time I walk from Old Street station back to my flat I think how lucky I am to be in London in this beautiful neighborhood. While this may not be everyone’s idea of beauty, especially those used to the more traditional London, beauty is all in one’s own perception. Here is my daily commute through Shoreditch in my eyes:

Shoreditch photography

Shoreditch building photography

Shoreditch street shot

Shoreditch street art photography

Shoreditch graffiti art

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