Dominican Republic: Isla Catalina

Many tourists are afraid to leave resorts in foreign countries. However, there are always plenty of safe options you can take to discover what else is out there… especially in the Dominican Republic. For example, my Dad and I took a day trip to Isla Catalina. It was a few hundred dollars well spent (unlike the money I lost at the casino the night before). And what could be classier than spending the day on an exclusive island? Upon leaving our resort, the drive to the boat dock was about an hour and a half . Along the way we passed by many Dominican towns, schools, railroads, and sugar plantations.

 
 
 

At a tourist-friendly rest area along the way, I saw some little Dominican boys on the other side of a fence. They seemed happy and waved to the travelers but everyone was ignoring them. I walked up and started a conversation in Spanish. None of them could speak or understand much English besides “American dollars.” Although we were advised not to give money to any Dominicans or others who beg for it, my Daddy and I couldn’t help but give them some of that dinero they asked for. They thanked us gratefully and posed for some photos as a few travelers looked at us with disgust. As the famous verse goes, “And now abideth faithhopecharity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity (Corinthians 13:13). Not only was helping these poor children the classy thing to do, but the Christian thing to do as well.

 

Once we arrived at the boat dock in La Romana, we hopped on board the boat and set sail to La Isla Catalina. Along the way we passed through Casa de Campo marina, which is famous for its waterfront celebrity estates. In about 45-minutes we arrived at the island of paradise… Isla Catalina.

  

 Isla Catalina has several private beaches, many  of which are owned by cruise companies (like Costa Concordia) so their travelers can explore and play on this heavenly island. There is no habitation or development on the island other than some tiki huts. Many swimmers, divers, and snorkelers visit Isla Catalina for its turquoise waters that are filled with coral reefs and sea creatures.

  

 Activities for the day included suntanning, snorkeling, banana boating, tubing, and swimming.

A Dominican barbeque was served for lunch, which included hot dogs, chicken kabobs, lobster, cajan pork, and all the typical backyard barbeque side dishes with a tropical island twist. I was definitely a bit nervous to eat the food for health purposes but I just had to trust it. It ended up being a unique (and tasty) cultural experience.

  

Daddy and I spent the last of our time on La Isla Catalina hanging out in our classy beach attire and praying that the storm clouds rolling in would hold off. Luckily they did.

  

As we headed back to the mainland, we enjoyed drinks and dancing on the boat. There was a fantastic view of the sugar mill that La Romana is known for. Each day sugar churns inside the factory and smoke pours out of its tall stacks. The sugary-scented breeze can be smelled for what seems like miles! Just around the corner, we passed by the largest Italian cruise ship, a Coasta Concordia. Please note it was not the same ship that was involved in the tragic accident off the coast of Italy in January.

  

Isla Catalina was an effortless exploration that I would love to experience again. Still, there was one last stop on our little adventure that turns out being one of my favorite places…Los Altos de Chavón.
Post. Coming. Soon.

Xoxo,
Lindsay

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Dominican Republic: Punta Cana

Every classy girl needs a tropical island getaway to leave the brutally cold winter weather behind for a few days. Just before Christmas I traveled to the Dominican with my Dad for a little R&R after a stressful final semester of school. Punta Cana is a family-friendly vacation spot year-round and popular Spring Break destination for college students in March. With dozens of fabulous resorts to choose from, there truly is somewhere prefect for everyone. In Punta Cana, the beaches are sandy and white, the waves are big and blue, and the sun is high and scorching.

  

The ocean water is always a perfect temperature for swimming, but in case you don’t want to get salty and sandy, there is always the pool. Most resorts have more than one pool and they usually include swim-up bars, water slides, and built in chaise lounges. I suggest reserving a room with an ocean view so after a long day lounging by the pool, you can enjoy the sunset and fall asleep to the sound of crashing waves and swaying palm trees.

  
  

All-inclusive is absolutely the way to go so you can eat, drink, and play all day without having to worry about your wallet. Be sure to make reservations for resort restaurants each day (the food and experience is much more enjoyable than the buffet and is at no extra cost). They offer various cuisines including authentic Domincan, French, Italian, and Japanese (hibachi).

  
 

The resort will keep you busy day and night from the ocean and pool to twenty-four hour food and bar service. Our resort even had a trapeze bar so one afternoon I took a few minutes to swing higher than the palm trees. There is also plenty of nightly entertainment including a casino, nightclub, and shows.

  

The resorts in Punta Cana are perfect for relaxing and enjoying vacation time, but trust me, the Dominican Republic has so much more to offer! Look out for another post coming very soon to find out what lies outside the resort and across the island.

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Be Mine, Saint Valentine

A certain sultry red and hot pink holiday is less than a month away. A holiday that some love…and others loathe. No matter what your personal feelings are, hearts, x’s and o’s, red, and all hues pink will be taking over from now until February 14th. So if you find yourself wandering about the avenues of Manhattan, definitely stop by Dylan’s Candy Bar and Ladurée for some sexy and sweet treats. As always, Victoria’s Secret and Hanky Panky are classic go-to brands for all your lingerie needs. Even a simple heart-inspired accessory like a pair of shades, pumps, scarf, tote bag or earrings is sure to attract a secret admirer or two. And if you have no plans, no problem! There is no sense sulking when you can always watch Valentine’s Day with your friends or sorority sisters while doing nails and devouring yummy chocolates. Happy Valentine’s Day! xoxo

 1. Essie, Nail Polish in “a cut above”, $8
2. Urban Outfitters, Sweet Heart Sunglasses, $14
3. Victoria’s Secret, Heartbreaker Push-up Plunge Bra, $24.99
4. Lilly Pulitzer, Murfee Scarf in Love Bug, $118
5. Dylan’s Candy Bar, Boyfriend Bar, $5.75 & Sweet & Naughty Body Frosting, $14
6. Ladurée, Coffret Saint Valentin in grapefruit, $25*
7. Modcloth, With All My Heart Tote, $49.99
8. Hanky Panky, Heart Boxed Low-rise Thongs, $54
9. Christian Louboutin, Bianca 140mm in hot pink $845
10. Amazon.com, Valentine’s Day (2010) DVD, $4.99
11. Forever 21, Be Mine Stud Earrings, $1.50

*available at the Madison Avenue Shop in NYC starting Feb. 10th for a limited time only!

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Swagga So Bright

For those of you who want to add some “swagga” to your style…look no further! You will definitely walk with confidence wearing any of these pieces so don’t forget to pack them for your spring break trip. Whether you are walking on a beach or into a bar, these bright beauties are sure to catch everyone’s attention, and like always, the compliments will bombard you.

1. Fornash, Channel Bracelet in Green, $25
2. Cosabella, Love Is In The “Aire” Three Pack, in Colbalt, Shocking Pink, and Sunshine, $55
3. J.Crew, Bubble Necklace in Turquoise, $150*
4. Betsey Johnson, Pink Strap Watch with Multicolor Dial, $65
5. MICHAEL Michael Kors, Jet Set Travel Tote in Tangerine, $278
6. NARS, Duo Eyeshadow in Rated R, $33
7. Chanel, Le Vernis Nail Color in Mimosa, $26
8. Tory Burch, Glitter Eddie Ballet Flat in Purple, $198
9. Kate Spade, “spring trellis” iPhone 4 & 4S Case in Pink Multi, $40

*Remember to present your student ID to receive 15% off each purchase (online and in-stores)!

“Swagga so bright I don’t need a light!” -Lil Wayne

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Thanksgiving Tabletoppers

For some of us, Thanksgiving is a favorite holiday because it brings together food, family, and fun….so why not bring together your tabletop too? If you feel like getting creative and going the extra mile, here are some accessories and accents for your table this year. Each piece incorporates all the colors of Thanksgiving and coordinates with the other items. You can add class to your table with some great deals from Crate&Barrel or splurge on some Tiffany&Co flatware. Sprinkle some Godiva chocolates on artificial leaves or around the base of some real pumpkins and gourds from your local market. Use one, few, or all of these items and ideas to really impress your guests this Thanksgiving Day. Not entertaining this year? Not a problem! Simply bring one of these items as a gift for the host as they as sure to love it and display it on their table too!

1. Crate&Barrel, Scatter Leaves (Set of 12), $9.95 now $5.95
2. Lauren Ralph Lauren, Table Linens in Fenton Paisley Collection, $12-14 now $5.99-6.99
3. Stonewall Kitchen, Fall Wreath, $64.95
4. Tiffany&Co, Chrysanthemum Place Setting, $580
5. Westland Giftware, Pilgrim Salt and Pepper Shaker Set, $13.98
6. Bloomingdales, DIANE von FURSTENBERG Twirl Drinkware in Yellow, $17-70
7. Godiva, 36 pc. Assorted Gems in Caramel, $18
8. Crate&Barrel, Antuco Amber Pillar Candles, $6.95-$13.95
9. William Sonoma, Verde Dinner and Salad Plates, $40-56 and Heirloom Pumpkin Salad Plates $39.95
10. Crate&Barrel, Vine Gourds, $9.95-19.95 now $5.95-12.95

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Crazy for Camden Markets

One of the many things London is famous for is its shopping and perhaps the city’s most famous shopping experience is Camden Markets. Take the Underground Northern Line to Camden Town or Chalk Town Road to get lost in a maze of marvelous markets. The marketplace is the compulsive shopper’s paradise where you can find anything and everything at fairly reasonable prices.

 

The merchant-rich streets are home to stores and stalls of clothing, jewelry, accessories, and home goods from antique to modern modes. Most clothing and accessories date back from the 1980s to 1950s. Shoes and accessories are the most common find and can be from as far back as the 1930s.

 

You can find booksellers with carts and walls of all types of literature. Throughout Camden Stables market, you can find tons of antiques items that would be great additions to your home. So whether you are looking for a good read or a good decoration, you are sure to find it here.

 

Camden Stables is also your place to find trendy jewelry and alternative fashion.

  

If you are looking for distinct souvenirs, you are in the perfect place. There are plenty of take-home keepsakes that will remind you of your time in London. Be sure to do your birthday and holiday shopping here to guarantee irreplaceable gifts for everyone on your list.

 

If you need a break from shopping, there are plenty of savory snacks to satisfy your sweet tooth. There are also tons of vendors that offer different international cuisines for breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert, and snack time.

 

The World’s End and The Camden Eye are popular pub’s with a great atmosphere where you can have beer and classic English dishes with your friends and family. It caters to a classy crowd and is a favorite of Kiera Knightley.

 

Camden Market is like no other market in the world.

At the end of your day in Camden Town, you will have had the shopping experience of a lifetime.  Your purchases will consist of classy items for yourself, your home, and most likely close friends and family members.
So next time you are in London absolutely have Camden Markets on your to-do list.
You won’t regret it and your wallet won’t either.

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Fall in Love with Fall

It’s the end of the first week of fall, and whether the weather shows it or not, we are all itching to switch to this sensational season’s clothing and accessories. The vibrant colors of autumn encompass blazing red, burnt orange, gentle yellows, and glowing golds. All these paint a magical illustration accompanied by a brilliant blue sky. Although the air will soon start to cool, these cozy colors are sure to keep you warm. Many of you will fall in love with this season while someone will fall in love with your fashion sense. For chilly mornings throw on some dark jeans, layer up, and add a scarf.  Don’t be afraid to use bold bags and shoes, as these will accent your outfits from the blander blacks, beiges, and browns.  As for the nail polish, use one, two, or all three colors to coordinate your manicure with the autumn landscape. And don’t forget your sunglasses because we are in store for plenty of sun-shining days.
Here are some pretty pieces for your perfect autumn outfit:

1. Anthropologie, Ascot Swing Coat, $168
2. DIANE von FURSTENBERG, Roxanne” Penny Loafer Pumps in Cranberry Suede, $280
3. Anthropologie, Tansy Pullover, $98
4. Essie, Midnight Cami, $8
5. Essie, Cute as a Button,$8
6. Essie, Shifting Power, $8
7. Modcloth, Meandering in Midtown Skirt, $42.99
8. Kate Spade, Lady Marmalade Small Bracelet, $148
9. Rag & Bone, Fray Edge Scarf, $175
10. J.Crew, Ankle stretch toothpick jean in classic rinse, $125*
11. Marc Jacobs, Quilted Large Single Shoulder Bag in Poppy, $675
12. Tom Ford, “Sophien” Sunglasses in Dark Transparent Brown,$390

So go put on that new outfit you’ve been dying to wear or go shopping with some friends to find one.
Embrace autumn and exist elegantly in all the foliage and fashion it has to offer.

*Remember to present your student ID to receive 15% off each purchase (online and in-stores)!

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