Greece Travel Diary

If you have been keeping up with my social for the last week and a half, you would have noticed that I was traveling all around Greece. It had been a long time since I’d traveled to Europe, but I fell in love with the country and its islands and wanted to share my experience with you, in case you are also planning a trip!

If you know anything about Greece, then you know that it is made up of some incredible and absolutely beautiful islands. My family and I narrowed it down to visit Athens, Naxos, and Santorini. Don’t be fooled, even from the east coast the flight was long. We broke it up with a stop over in London and then finally made it to Athens, where we settled in for our first day. We stayed at the Electra Palace, which was a very nice hotel in the area of Plaka. The hotel had a beautiful rooftop view of the Acropolis, which is of course a must see! We spent one whole day in Athens, which was plenty. We hiked up to the Acropolis, which do not be intimidated, it was an easy walk up, and I did it in a dress. The view from above is breathtaking. You can see the whole city as far out as the mountains. My tip is to go in the morning right when they open. We went at around 10am, and it was perfect, but as we exited an hour and a half later, it was packed with tour groups. I also want to note that May is the perfect time to go. Several locals told us peak season is June, July, and August, and much of the area is crammed with cruise ships and plenty of tourists. They all recommended May or even September as the best time to visit. While it was crowded at times, it wasn’t as bad as it usually gets. After the Acropolis, we visited the museum down the road, as well as grabbed lunch and shopped. While Athens was a great experience, it was definitely not my favorite. It was the type of city where people try to lure you into shops, and there is this feeling of constant harassment to buy something. After that one day, I was ready to head to the islands.

After our day in Athens, we packed up and headed back to the airport where we flew to Naxos. The flight was barely even 20 minutes in the air. We landed to beautiful blue skies and crisp white homes. The airport was its own kind of treasure. It was probably the tiniest airport I have ever been to. It takes one flight at a time and baggage claim is a tiny room with a barely there conveyer belt. We chose to fly as opposed to the ferry because the ferry from Athens to Naxos was around 6 hours, and my dad and sister tend to get sea sick. When we arrived, we arranged a cab with a wonderful woman named Ireney, who actually ended up taking us around the island a few days later. Naxos is like nothing I have ever experienced. The island is small and has very few tourists. The downtown is right on the water and filled with cafes and shops that line one main street. There, we stayed at the Nissaki Beach Hotel. It was right on the water and had a lovely pool, as well. Not to mention the food! We ate at the hotel restaurant the first night, and it was impeccable! The people at the hotel were also so lovely. Because it was small, you often encountered the same people working during the day at night. We spent the first few hours lounging on the beach trying to get a tan and just relaxing after our hectic day in Athens. The next day, we ventured more into the downtown area where we shopped and visited the Temple of Apollo. The temple sat at the top of a secluded peninsula and looked out over the ocean and town. We also visited the castle in Naxos, which was more of a hidden gem. The castle, which still fully stood, was surrounded and swallowed by homes and a small village that was built around it over the years. Exploring that area felt like typical Greece. It was filled with winding paths, homes, and hidden restaurants. There was almost a sense that if you stumbled on a quaint cafe in there once, you may not be able to find it again. One of our favorite lunch places to hit in Naxos was called Yasouvlaki. If you go to Greece and don’t try a gyro, what are you doing?! They had the best gyros, and we even went there twice because nothing could compare. We also ate at a restaurant called Strofili. Again, the food was so good! All of the fish is so fresh there, and they combine traditional mediterranean ingredients with cool twists.The next day we had our taxi driver from the airport, Ireney, drive us around to see the sites outside of the area of Naxos that we were staying in. She took us deeper in the mountains. We stopped at the Temple of Demeter, which overlooked the countryside. While I loved the beach in Naxos, the winding mountainous roads were breathtaking. The view from the cliffs overlooked far and beyond. There was a church at the very top of a rocky mountain that once a year people walk, take donkeys, and more modern, drive up to to celebrate its existence. It was at the very point where it almost looked as though it would tumble over. We ventured into smaller villages where the locals didn’t speak English. It was such an experience to see outside of touristy Greece. We visited a distillery where they had once produced the local popular liquor of the country. I gave it a try, but I couldn’t do it. I’m more of a sweet alcohol type of girl. That day, I also saw my first donkey! Greece is known for their donkeys for transportation and carrying of goods. I of course got a picture and the man guiding the donkey even got in it!

The day we left Naxos was bittersweet for me. I fell in love with it, and to this day, it’s one of my favorite places. I was sad to leave Ireney who was such an amazing person! She showed us around the island, and it’s people like her that you meet on trips that make it memorable. We were headed to Santorini that day, which was our final stop. We chose to take the ferry because it was only a 45 minute ride. This is a warning if you will be choosing to use the ferry system in Greece: they are never on time. Our ferry was very late, which wasn’t a big deal to us because we didn’t have anything planned for the first day. However, the ferries have a tendency to run late, but then rush you off and on the boat, as if it will save them the time they lost. Honestly, when I go back to Greece in the future, I will not be taking a ferry again. And this is not just the company we used, this seems to be all of them. As soon as we hopped on (which was rushed), we left our baggage below and headed up to the top deck. I don’t get sea sick, but I felt nauseous that moment. The ferry, as big as it was, rocked back and forth. It felt like it was going to tip over. I literally fell into a woman’s lap with my bags. Not to mention, the inside smelled awful. We spent the ride outside on the deck, which was more peaceful. However, as soon as it came time to get off the ferry, they herded us like cattle. They get everyone down to the below section to grab their bags and then stand there until you are forced up against others and rushed off the boat. It was horrible and definitely not an experience I want again. But as soon as we got off, we found our taxi and headed off to our hotel. We stayed in Oia, which is the point of the island. Santorini isn’t just one island, but is made up of a group of 5 or 6 all together. The one we stayed on was with the main tourism, while several others in its vicinity are either tourist free or not inhabited at all. We stayed at the Canaves Suites, which was the perfect location. We traveled down several cobblestone steps, and it overlooked the ocean. Our room had a balcony that we ate breakfast on every morning, and it was a dream. The hotel overall was stunning. Like the rest of Oia, it was built onto the side of the cliff and was on several different levels. It had a very relaxing pool area and again was the perfect location to the downtown area with all of the shops. In case you plan on traveling to Santorini, please note that the tap water there is not drinkable. The first day we got there we freaked out because I have traveled with my mom to a place where you couldn’t drink the water, and we both got sick. But the water in Santorini isn’t dangerous and does not contain bacteria. The reason the locals say it isn’t drinkable is because it goes through a process of desalinization, but does not fully clear their water source of salt. So if you drink it, you can clearly feel the salty grit. It is safe for bathing and brushing teeth. We did not have a problem when we were there. For someone with a super sensitive stomach like me, nothing happened. It is essentially just really salty and not appetizing to drink. So note, bottled water is a must.

We really started our Santorini adventure the next day when we ventured into the downtown area. There are a lot of small shops for souvenirs, as well as designer boutiques, essentially catering to the tourist crowd. I recommend getting up earlier and heading into the shopping area at around 10/10:30. That was the time before many of the buses and cruise ships settled into the area and let groups of people off. In Santorini fashion, I of course wore a flowing white dress and sunhat, which was much needed because the Santorini sun is HOT. That day we ate lunch at a place called Lotza. Walking by, it smelled of rich foods and oregano. The food was delicious. And of course while in Greece, I tried a fish pedicure from Kissingfish. I first heard about it on an episode of the Kardashians when they had their Greek vacation, and I of course had to copy. It actually wasn’t as ticklish as I thought. It felt like a foot massage, and surprisingly left my feet feeling so soft and smooth!

 

Our dinner that night was right on Amoudi Bay, as we ate at the Ammoudi Fish Tavern. The dinner was not only fantastic, but they also let you pick the fish you want. Once you sit down to eat, they bring you over to show you the fresh catches. You can have any fish prepared either grilled with pasta etc., and you choose the amount you want! From the distance, you can see hundreds of steps up to the top of the island and the donkeys that settle there to bring people up.

On our last full day, we ventured onto a catamaran to check out the other surrounding islands and beaches. It was quite chilly and very rocky that day, as the wind was SO strong. Being able to see the islands and be on the boat was relaxing, but it is not the same kind of experience you will get being on a catamaran on a tropical island. We had been on quite a few before that were fantastic, and this one was just okay. We never settled on an actual beach and spent very short amounts of time at each location. One thing I found so interesting though was the danger of the Red Beach. Much of Santorini’s beaches were formed because of the island’s volcanic history. The Red Beach has been having issues with rocks from the island falling. It had closed, but many people ignored it and continued to use it. One of the workers on our boat told us that two weeks prior, rocks had fallen on a several beach chairs. You could see from a distance several old chairs pushed up against rocks and buried. So be warned, do not go on the Red Beach. If you can, definitely charter a boat and see it from a distance, along with several other of the islands and the Caldera. They are breathtaking.

Our final night for dinner, we had an amazing view of the island and enjoyed our last Greek meal at Ambrosia. Again, the food was fantastic. If you go, try the salmon tartare for an appetizer. You cannot go wrong!

My Greece trip will be something I’ll forever remember. I hope these tips and my travel diary help you plan your future Greek getaway. It is a beautiful country and one that I will definitely be returning to in the future!

P.S. I took some video footage with my GoPro, which I will edit and get up as soon as I can!

-XO Courtney

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Mother’s Day Gift Guide 2018

Mother’s day is around the corner, and we should celebrate all the mommas in our life! Every year, I am always in search of the perfect gift for my mom. She has such amazing taste and has definitely some fantastic items already in her closet. My go-to is always Nordstrom. They have a range of items for anyone’s likes and needs. Below are a few items from their site that I felt were perfect options for any and every mom out there.

1. Kate Spade New York Mom Knows Best Pave Charm Necklace

2. Home is Where Mom Is Accents Pillow

3. Voluspa Embossed Glass Chawan Bowl Candle

4. Sweet Dreams Short Robe

5. Embroidered Cotton Tee

6. Baublebar Gabriela Fringe Earrings

7. Kate Spade New York Thompson Street- Sam Fabric Handbag

8. Anastasia of Beverly Hills Soft Glam Eyeshadow Palette

9. Tory Burch Thin Flip Flop

Since it’s spring, I leaned toward pastels, florals, and soft elegance. My favorite is the floral robe. My mom loves pajamas, so something cozy for her to hang around in is perfect. I also loved the tassel earrings. For a mom that loves a pop and to spice up an outfit with accessories, tassel earrings are the perfect piece for her. There is always options for the home lover too, with the Voluspa candle or a cute decorative pillow specially personalized for mom and the day.

Not on the list is athletic wear, which is the perfect gift for a mom that is active and likes to get outside. With warmer weather coming, there are always fun, bright colors in workout leggings and tanks that are great additions to a mom’s workout attire. These items here and here are amazing options!

Celebrate your mom this year with an item that she will love! Happy mother’s day to all the moms out there!

-XO Courtney

 

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For The Love of Farmers’ Markets

If anyone knows me, they know I love a good farmer’s market. It’s my chance to scope out the fresh produce and flowers and look stylish at the same time! Below is a recap of my outfit and day at the Portland Farmer’s Market!

Top: Forever 21      Sunglasses: Loft     Necklace: Pretty Poppy (Similar)

Backpack: Steve Madden (Similar)     Shorts (Not Shown): Gap (Similar)

On this day, my boyfriend and I were really interested to see what the Portland Farmer’s Market had to offer. They were one of the bigger ones that I have gone to and had so much to buy. From pickles, to fresh fruits and veggies, and the giant sunflowers (my favorite), there was so much to look at.

That day, I wore a simple white off-the-shoulder top with chambray shorts, sunglasses, my little backpack, and a dainty necklace! It was the easiest outfit to sport on a hot day, especially while looking at all the yummy food!

I definitely recommend checking out a local farmer’s market! It’s a great way to spend the day and spot some delicious treats!

-XOXO Courtney

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My 22nd Birthday Recap!

Last Wednesday was my 22nd birthday, and it was the best one yet! I spent the week enjoying time with friends and family and doing some pretty exciting things! Below is a recap of my birth week!

I enjoyed a Red Sox game on a beautiful night, tasted local wines at Nashoba Valley Winery, sipped on rose at my birthday dinner at Yvonne’s in Boston, created a masterpiece at Muse Paint Bar, and got my game on at Dave and Busters!

The entire week was filled with such fun and love, and I couldn’t ask for anything more!  Stay tuned for more on my Instagram and an exciting trip that I will be going on soon!

Thanks for all the birthday wishes!

-XOXO Courtney

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My Picks For The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale

The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale has officially begun! The sale opened today for  cardholders until the 20th, but will officially be open to the public on July 21! This sale is probably the biggest of the year! You can get so many designer pieces and more (brand new for fall) on sale! But BEWARE! It goes by super fast! Prices go back to their original mark up on August 8th, so make sure you take advantage as soon as you can! For more details, just go to the Nordstrom website.

Every summer, I keep a close eye on this sale because it is the one time of the year that I splurge and get all of my fall closet staples! It may still be 80 degrees out, but you better know that I am buying sweaters, jeans, and suede boots, if they are a deal! Below are my picks for this year’s sale!

From L to R:

Topshop Layered Ruffle Sleeve Cardigan

BP. Lace Trim Slipdress

Halogen Corbin Slide Loafer

ALLSAINTS Raye Leather Tote

Topshop Stripe Colorblock Cardigan

STS Blue Ashley High Waist Ankle Skinny

Leith Blouson Sleeve Sweater

BP. Faren Bootie

Topshop Jamie High Waist Skinny Jeans

Adidas Originals Trefoil Crewneck Sweatshirt 

Happy Shopping!

-XOXO Courtney

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Hydrate Your Skin With Grace and Stella Co.

Grace and Stella Co. recently sent me a new product of their’s to try out, and I was super excited. I am all about hydrating the skin and making it look its best, especially in the summer. My skin tends to be the driest with being in the sun all day and working out constantly. They gifted me their Organic Shea Butter Lotion, which was going to fit my needs perfectly.

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The Shea Butter Lotion comes in a 16 oz bottle. The packaging is simple with light purple detail and a cute quote that says “You’re my butter half.”  The pump makes applying the product easy and quick, and the overall size of the bottle makes storing the product easy and looks adorable in any bedroom or bathroom setting. I am so in love with its soft scent. It is light and not over powering, so you won’t feel overwhelmed and on a verge of a headache like many other body lotions.

What I love most about this product is how light and non-greasy it feels. The formula is thinner than other typical lotions, which once applied to the skin, soaks in, giving you the best hydration. I always apply it after my shower, and I never once feel sticky or like I need another shower. The product is 100% pure and refined, giving your skin the best and most natural results.

Since using this product, I have noticed such a difference in my skin. My legs are no longer flaky and dry. It preserves my natural tan and even enhances it, giving me a natural glow. The product doesn’t just sit on top of the skin, but soaks in to the deepest layer, giving you the most amazing, natural hydrated feeling!

I would definitely recommend this product! It is only $14.95, and since the 4th of July is around the corner, Grace and Stella is offering up to 70% off their products from June 30 to July 5! In addition, they have given me an exclusive coupon code just for my viewers to get and addition discount!

Check out the product! I hope you love it as much as I do!

-XOXO Courtney

 

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Summer Date Night Makeup and Routine

My favorite kind of nights are the ones that I can sit down, pamper myself, do my makeup, and get ready for a date night out. I love to take my time and use products that I normally wouldn’t on a day to day basis when I am in a rush! Below is my latest youtube tutorial of me getting ready for my night out! Enjoy and check the products I used below it!

-Use the Pacifica Vegan Probiotic and Spice Mask for 10 minutes

-Apply Makeup Forever Step One Smoothing Primer

-Used Too Faced Born This Way Foundation in Warm Nude

-Apply Urban Decay Naked Skin Concealer

-Baked with Laura Mercier Secret Brightening Powder

-Set rest with Makeup Forever HD Powder

-Bronze with Benefit Hoola

-Use Too Faced Sweetheart Blush

-Highlight with Anastasia of Beverly Hills Gleam Palette

-Use Tarte Swamp Queen Palette on eyes

-Use L’oreal Mascaras (fave is telescopic)

-MAC lipliner in Whirl

-NYX gloss in Fortune Cookie

-XOXO Courtney

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Dainty Necklaces To Add To Your Collection

With summer dresses and off the shoulder tops, my favorite accessory to add are dainty necklaces. They are simple and perfect for layering, which is a trend I have been obsessed with! Below are a few, perfect for any look.

Moon and Lola- Metal Engraved Bar Necklace 

Moon and Lola- Metal Nameplate  Necklace 

Bauble Bar- Asymmetrical Alpha Pendant Necklace 

Bauble Bar- Edvina Bar Necklace 

Kendra Scott- Elisa Pendant Necklace 

Zoe Chicco- Dangling Semiprecious Stone Choker 

Simple necklaces like these are perfect to pair with simple tees and tops to add a pop to any look. I love this one that can double as a choker and long necklace.

-XOXO Courtney

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Summer Peach Makeup

Summer is around the corner, and it is time to get glam with peach shades and a glowing highlight!

Below are a few of my favorite peach toned makeup products perfect for summer (and featured in the tutorial)!

Too Faced Peaches Palette

Becca Highlighter- Champagne Pop

Anastasia Of Beverly Hills Gloss- Sunset Strip

Mac Peaches Blush

-XOXO Courtney

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Review of ToSave.com

I recently received a package from the website ToSave.com and wanted to review the items I got in the mail!

ToSave.com offers inexpensive fashion, beauty, and electronic items for any need. The company is based out of China, and the website is set up very similar to Amazon. When I first looked at the items, they all had Pinterest images to represent each piece, which seemed promising. The styles were cute, and I was curious to see how the items looked.

Casual Stripe Off-The-Shoulder Shirt

One Piece Bandage Push-Up

Sexy Women’s Lace Top

A month went by, and I finally received my package! The items looked identical to the pictures on the website, but with some differences. The quality and fabric was slightly less than what I was expecting. The burgundy swimsuit is very thin, and also is not made up of a material that would be waterproof . It also claimed to be push-up, but there is no padding. In addition, I was so sad that none of the pieces fit me properly.  I ordered a large in all the pieces, because of the fit and look, but they ended up not fitting like a normal large usually would. The swimsuit did not go far enough up my torso to cover my chest, and the off the shoulder shirt did not look properly sewn to be an off the shoulder shirt. The white lace top is the one piece that worked out perfectly, and looks perfect with some ripped denim.

I was really excited to try out these items, but wish they worked better for me. Their pieces are adorable, but just beware that some of the sizes are unpredictable and may not fit properly.

-XOXO Courtney

 

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