November 29, 2017

Steal her Look: Meghan Markle's White Wrap Coat (for less)



Everyone has been raving about the outfit Meghan Markle wore two days ago to announce her engagement to Prince Harry. I mean, what's not to love about it. As expected, her coat and dress sold out within minutes (and even crashed the brand's website). She wore a white wrap coat by the Canadian brand called 'Line,' which has now been renamed 'The Meghan.' 

In case you didn't get to score the wrap coat before it sold out (neither did we, sigh) not to worry. As always, we have similar looks for less that will do the trick. 




Wrap Coat, $360





Wool Coat, $135



Coat, $69 (similar style in a different color)

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November 28, 2017

Amalfi Coast Travel Guide (+ Tips for Traveling with Kids)



The Amalfi Coast was the last stop of my Italy summer vacation. It was also my favorite! After being non-stop for a week visiting Venice, Florence, Pisa, Rome and Pompeii, it was nice to just sit back and relax. This is one of the reasons I purposely left it for last. Here are a few tips to help you plan your own trip to the Amalfi Coast.

How to get there: After visiting Rome we took a train from Rome to Naples and then had a private driver meet us at the train station to take us to our hotel in Sorrento.  It was probably a 40 minute drive, however we did stop for three hours to visit Pompeii. I booked the driver at least three weeks in advance through Your Italy DMC (they were great!).

Quick Tip: If you are traveling with children, I highly recommend hiring a private driver as oppose to taking a bus. I read a few things on Trip Advisor about pick pocketing at the bus stations, plus it’s a hassle if you’re traveling with luggages, strollers…etc. It’s well worth the money.




Where to stay: Essentially when people visit the Amalfi Coast they typically stay in Positano or Sorrento. These two locations are perfect for island hopping. I was originally planning on staying in Positano, but all the hotels were sold out (I traveled in July). Many Europeans take their annual holidays in mid-summer and head to the Amalfi Coast, so things can sell out pretty quickly. I finally got lucky and a hotel opened up in Sorrento.

I actually enjoyed staying in Sorrento over Positano, mainly because I was traveling with my four year-old and Positano has so many stairs it would have made it such a mission going up and down with a stroller or even having him walk. I loved walking the streets of Sorrento (for the most part it’s all flat) and not to mention I loved admiring all the lemon trees. 

Planning day trips: 




Capri 
After arriving to Sorrento in the afternoon, we used that day to relax and head to the beach. The next day I planned a day trip to Capri. I recommend you get there early (around 10AM). I booked a private boat through my hotel, which was perfect (especially if you want to take tons of pictures and don’t want other people staring at you haha). You can also book a semi-private boat if you’d prefer. Our boat driver made a few stops so we could take pictures, go snorkeling (the water was AMAZING) and we also went inside the Blue Grotto. The Grotto (a natural sea cave) was so much fun and the water is an azure blue, which was stunning!

The boats basically parks outside the cave opening and you have these smaller wooden row boats that pick you up to take you inside the Grotto. The entrance to the cave is so tight you have to lay on your back in the rowboat to get inside. There’s typically a separate fee to go inside the Blue Grotto, not covered in the boat tour price (unless they tell you it is).







Positano
On our third day, we booked a private driver (we used Your Italy DMC again) to take us to Positano. We were originally planning to visit Positano, Ravello and Amalfi, but the streets to Ravello and Amalfi were closed so we ended up just visiting Positano. Looking back, adding the others would have been too ambitious and I'm glad we were able to dedicate a day to Positano.

Positano was absolutely gorgeous. There really are no words to describe this place. The pictures you see on Instagram don't do it justice. I loved seeing the rows and rows of orange umbrellas alongside the colorful homes on the cliffs.

Spiaggia Grande is the name of the beach we visited and one of the most popular ones in Positano. It's a bit pricey though--about 20 euros per person (this will get you inside as well as get you a chair and umbrella).

After lounging on the beach, we headed to grab lunch at Chez Black. They had one of the yummiest pizzas I had in Italy. Then we walked around and visited some shops.


Quick Tip: The beach is made up of stones, which can get pretty hot. So if you're traveling with little ones make sure you bring them some reef shoes (and maybe some for yourself too!)









Sorrento
We spent another two days in Sorrento before heading back home to Miami. My favorite was Leonelli's beach (it's more of a lagoon).  I highly recommend this one for families and kids. It's one of the few places you can actually get a sunbed on the sand along the coast. The other ones are on a platform and you have to go down a few steps to go inside the water.






Other helpful quick tips: 

Don't forget to pick up a bottle of Limoncello in Sorrento. It's a sweet, Italian lemon liquor and makes a great souvenir.

For my fashion lovers, you must get yourself a pair of leather sandals. Artisans make them on the spot! You'll find better deals in Sorrento as oppose to buying them in Positano.




Overall, visiting the Amalfi Coast is an experience I'll never forget. I can't wait to go back. Hope this was helpful. I'll be sharing more Italy travel guides in the coming weeks, so stay tuned. In the meantime, here's a link to my entire Italy itinerary.

Happy travels!




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November 27, 2017

Key Pieces You Need to Get Meghan Markle's Effortless Style on a Budget



We couldn't be more ecstatic about today's announcement that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are engaged! We also can't get enough of her style. It's classy, timeless and effortlessly chic. Not to mention easy to recreate on a budget. We've rounded up a few of our favorites and where you can get it for less. Oh, and you'll be able to score them at even better deals today that it's Cyber Monday! 





Ballet Flats, $31
















Cargo Jacket, $119 (additional 25% off)








Loafers, $39


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November 26, 2017

A Thankful, Heavy Heart



Hi guys! Hope you had an amazing Thanksgiving. For me, this time of year can always be a little tricky. It brings up so many memories and emotions. It was Thanksgiving day, two years ago, that we noticed something wasn’t quite right with Fernando. He barely ate anything that day and was feeling super bloated. Two weeks later he was diagnosed with stomach cancer. We didn’t know then, but that would be our last Thanksgiving together.

Yet, I still wanted to express all that I am grateful for. For me, gratitude has become an every day thing (not just on Thanksgiving). Gratitude helps us see our situations and hardships in a way that lessens our heavy hearts. You see, no matter how dark it can get, there will always be something to be grateful for—-even if it is just one thing.

I’m grateful for my healthy, smart son that brings so much joy to my life. I’m grateful that I’m also healthy and I get to wake up every day. I get to open my two eyes and see! I’m able to walk, eat, exercise. I’m grateful for my supportive family. I’m grateful I have an amazing boyfriend that loves me and Andy so much. I’m grateful for my job and that I get to do what I love everyday. I’m grateful for what was and what is. I’m grateful for the promise that God gives us that we will see our loved ones again. I’m grateful for my amazing readers. I’m grateful for SO much.

I encourage you this week to keep a little journal next to your bed and write down the things you are grateful for. It will make such a difference and will give you a different perspective on life.

Hope you have an amazing week!

 xx,
Carmen


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November 24, 2017

2017 Best Black Friday Deals



If you're still in your pajamas after all that Thanksgiving turkey, not to worry. We've rounded up a few Black Friday deals you can score online. Happy Shopping!

Neiman Marcus — Up to 60% off.

American Eagle--Take 40% off everything. All online purchases come with free shipping.

Nike — Take an extra 25% off sale styles with code EPIC25. Valid through 11/28.

Shopbop — Take up to 75% off sale items and 30% off full-priced styles with code MORE17. Valid through 11/27.

Express-- Take 50% off everything. Valid 11/24-11/25. All orders come with free shipping.

Saks--- Get up to 40% off at the Thanksgiving Sale. Valid 11/22-11/24, and get $75 gift card with any $150 purchase, use code BLKFRI17, through 11/24.

Macy’s — Take 20% off Black Friday with code HURRY. Valid 11/22-11/25. YOOX — Take an extra 60%. Valid 11/24-11/26.

Nordstrom: Take an extra 20% off select sale items. Valid 11/24-11/27. SSENSE — Take up to 50% off starting 11/22.

REVOLVE — Take up to 50% off sale styles starting 11/23.

J.Crew — Take 40% off everything. Use code THANKU. Valid through 11/26.

TopShop — Get up to 50% off and free shipping. Valid 11/22-11/27.

Old Navy-- Get 50% off your entire purchase online on Black Friday.

Asos — Take 20% off everything with code WIN20. Valid 11/23- 11/28.

Madewell — Take 25% off everything with code DONTSTRESS. Valid through 11/26. The Outnet — Take an extra 10% off new arrivals with the code FRIYAY, valid through 11/24.

Farfetch — Up to 50% off, plus an extra 10% off with code X1017, valid for a limited time.

Urban Outfitters — Buy one, get one 50% off, valid 11/22-11/24.

Boohoo — Take 60% off everything, valid through 11/24.


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November 21, 2017

Video: Black Friday Shopping Tips with Telemundo's Un Nuevo Dia



Thanksgiving is just a few days away and with it also comes Black Friday shopping! This morning I was on Telemundo's Un Nuevo Dia sharing some Black Friday shopping tips with Sawgrass Mills. You can click on the picture above to check it out.

 Hope you have an amazing Thanksgiving with your loved ones.


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November 7, 2017

Staycation x The Diplomat Beach Resort, Hollywood, Florida



I always say that the great thing about living in Miami is that you don’t have to go too far to feel like you’re in paradise. After a busy month, I was long overdue for a little getaway. So thanks to the Diplomat Beach Resort, I headed there with Andy and my mom for a much needed staycation. The resort is located in Hollywood, Florida, just a quick 15 minute drive from my home. 

The ocean-front resort itself is gorgeous. It recently had a $100 million dollar transformation. After checking in, I headed to my room to relax before heading to the pool. Each guest room depicts two separate design schemes: Sunrise and Sunset. Ours had a sunrise scheme, which was modern with earth tones and accented with blue ocean colors. It was so refreshing and beautiful. I can easily see myself trying to incorporate some of this decor in my own home. The one-bedroom suite was perfect because I could watch movies in the living room, while my four-year old slept in the bedroom ha ha.











The rest of our afternoon was spent relaxing by the pool, which I must say is one of the highlights of this resort. It has an outdoor-bridged beachfront pool with a see-through bottom (great for Insta pictures lol) and waterfalls flowing into a lagoon style pool below. Kids will get a kick out of it—I know my son did. Not only that, but there’s also a Dip + Slide for kids too, which has dump buckets and water cannons.








After our swim we headed back to our room to get ready for dinner at Monkitail (how cute is that name by the way). The restaurant is Japanese-inspired. Let me tell you, The Diplomat Beach Resort really takes its food seriously. None of the restaurants are your “typical” hotel restaurants. Their approach to food is actually: whatever you want, wherever you are. They also use a lot of locally sourced ingredients.




The food at Monkitail was SO good and it had the ambiance to match (so romantic and intimate). The decor actually reminded me of the restaurant Buddakan in New York. We had the Chef’s Tasting Menu, which had everything from tempura tacos, black cod fried rice, crispy brussels sprouts, tuna rolls and duck scrapple bao. It’s so hard to pick a favorite, everything was delicious. I could easily see myself coming back to this restaurant, even if I’m not staying at the resort.



The next day, we got up bright and early and had breakfast at Point Royal. I loved their breakfast buffet, which was so complete. After breakfast, we spent some time at the beach. The day was so pretty, I couldn’t help but feel so blessed.






Y’all know by now how much I love massages, so of course I had to check out the spa too. It overlooks the Atlantic Ocean. The Swedish massage was just what I needed and I think I might have even fallen asleep during it—- it was that good.

For my gym aficionados, the gym at the resort is really impressive. The two-story fitness center has everything from cardio machines and weights. I would have probably gone, had I not forgotten my gym clothes back home—sigh.




After the massage, I had the most amazing fish tacos and watermelon salad at the restaurant Playa (also located inside the resort).

The resort also has a Kids Club, which I always enjoy when I travel with Andy. I love that he can have new experiences and make new friends. Just the other day he mentioned “I wonder how my friend Brian from Canada is doing, can we call him?” Ha Ha, this was a little friend he made at a Kid’s Club during our last trip lol.

The Kid’s Club at The Diplomat Beach Resort is offered to kids ages 4-12 and featured things such as sand castle building, painting, sculpting, imaginative play and discovering oceanic creatures. They also have this cool activity called Kitchen Chemist where kids can mix together play dough and imaginative ingredients to pretend cook.



That evening we also had reservations at the Diplomat Prime, a steakhouse and seafood restaurant. It’s beautifully decorated and also has that intimate boutique feel. I ordered the salmon, which was delicious. The servers were also so nice and friendly.



Overall my weekend was perfect and just what I needed to reenergize. I highly recommend this place if you’re traveling with kids or if you just want to plan a relaxing getaway. Best of all, you’ll find everything there, you won’t have to leave.

Thanks again to The Diplomat Beach Resort for the wonderful stay. I can’t wait to be back.


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