Hitting the Re-set Button in the Outer Banks + Autumn Goals

Hi friends!

Dancing for Donuts | Hitting the Re-set Button in the Outer Banks + Autumn Goals

The past 10 or so days have been an absolute whirlwind! There was a ton of celebrating (my birthday, seeing family again, and a wedding) and I had an absolute blast.I made it to the Outer Banks in NC on September 1st, aka my favorite place on the planet, and got to enjoy the next week soaking up some much-needed time with family. In between moments of fun were plenty of relaxation on the beach and a bit of work, too. Oh, and I ate like a friggin’ QUEEN. Here’s some proof:

Dancing for Donuts | Hitting the Re-set Button in the Outer Banks + Autumn Goals

My favorite ice cream from Big Buck’s – peanut butter cups and fudge on the bottom, coffee cookie on top! 2 scoops because #yolo.

Dancing for Donuts | Hitting the Re-set Button in the Outer Banks + Autumn Goals

The most incredible and doughy bagel with pastrami smoked salmon & veggie cream cheese – I kid you not when I say I had 4 bagels in 6 days. What can I say, we just don’t have good ones back in LA!

Dancing for Donuts | Hitting the Re-set Button in the Outer Banks + Autumn Goals

Homemade crab cake benedict with hollandaise sauce – I can’t take credit for this one, my dad & bf were some very impressive chefs!

Dancing for Donuts | Hitting the Re-set Button in the Outer Banks + Autumn Goals

And Frozen grapes by the pool because literally nothing is better on a hot day!

There was also some blogging involved (did you catch my recipe for nutty whole grain chocolate chip cookies?!) and therefore eating of the props, as well…and I taught my boyfriend how to take photos on my fancy camera! I’d say he got pretty into it 😉

Dancing for Donuts | Hitting the Re-set Button in the Outer Banks + Autumn Goals

We also caught the gorgeous sunsets that are characteristic to the island and one of the things I love so, so much about my annual trip there. What is it about rainbow skies that makes us feel happy and grateful and humbled?!

Dancing for Donuts | Hitting the Re-set Button in the Outer Banks + Autumn Goals

…And the love my parents have for each other? That’s another thing that makes me feel happy & grateful 🙂 I know this picture is kind blurry, but it instantly makes me smile. These two have been married for 37 years, how incredible is that?!

Dancing for Donuts | Hitting the Re-set Button in the Outer Banks + Autumn Goals

One thing that was extra special about this year was that my boyfriend was able to join me. It was pretty wonderful getting to share my favorite place with my favorite person. It just makes me love it even more 🙂

Dancing for Donuts | Hitting the Re-set Button in the Outer Banks + Autumn Goals

And then we rounded out our amazing week with a wedding for one of his friends in Minneapolis, a city I’d never been to before. As exhausted as I was, it was so much fun. I also really liked the city from what I could tell, it’s very clean! I’d love to go back someday.

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Now that I’m back, a part of me feels a bit sad that I don’t have this trip to look forward to anymore. I know that’s kind of silly since I had such an incredible trip, but I get so completely blissed out while I’m there that the week just flies by. This trip also always coincides with my birthday (and the start of a new school year), which makes it feel like both an end to the previous year and a kickoff for the one ahead. I like to take advantage of the down time I have while I’m there to check in with myself, re-evaluate my goals, choices, and general path in life. And I guess as much of a bummer it is that it’s over, I without fail always come back with a new perspective. I have so many goals for my 28th year, but here are just a few top-line ones!

Autumn Goals

-Try one new fall recipe each week

-Get back into a fitness routine and aim to workout 6 days a week (I need a serious re-set after all the celebration and vacation this past month!)

-Start bullet-journaling

-Blog 2-3x each (something I’m generally already doing, but want to be more consistent about)

-Carry my DSLR camera  + fancy lens everywhere and take more photos!

-Map out my blog goals both short and long-term, and how I will achieve them

-Spend more time outside (I know this one sounds counter-intuitive because the weather will be cooler, but I’d much prefer the cold over the heat from the summer!)

-Give my beauty routine a re-fresh and upgrade, it is MUCH needed!

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Do you make seasonal goals, too? What are you focusing on as we head into fall?

xo Jordan

Saying Yes to the Big Things.

I don’t think many of you know this, but for about 5 straight years of my life, I worked almost every single weekend night.

Dancing for Donuts | Saying Yes to the Big Things.

It actually kind of started during my senior year of college when I’d decided to move to Los Angeles. I knew I needed to save money for my move, so I got a job hostessing on Friday nights at a restaurant in Manhattan. When I moved here to LA, my main sources of income were nannying and hostessing, as well, so that I would have time to audition during weekdays (and the funds to actually keep a roof over my head/food in my fridge). Between those two jobs, I worked every single Friday and Saturday night, and most Sunday nights as well, which meant saying no to having a life like most people in their early 20’s. Part of that, I’ll be honest, was due to me being a little too anal about saving money, but in my defense I wanted to save for rainy days or when gigs were few and far between…

Dancing for Donuts | Saying Yes to the Big Things.

That’s not the point of this post, though. The point is to tell you that the other day I was listening to one of my new favorite podcasts The Goal Digger and she was talking about how to graciously say no to things, people, events, etc. that don’t serve you. She also said that while you can’t say yes to everything (for your own mind and heart’s sake) you should absolutely say yes to the big things. What I took away from that is actually something I’ve been thinking about, and trying to do, for quite some time now.

Dancing for Donuts | Saying Yes to the Big Things.

I’ve spent more money on travel, food and drinks, adventures, and gas money to visit my friends in the past year than I ever have before. I’m probably making slightly more money as well, but the real reason is that I’m tired of not living my life. Our time on this planet is waaaaay to short to not try the restaurant we’ve been dying to eat at, visit the countries on our travel bucket lists, to let important relationships fade (or not create new ones), to miss out on events or trips we know will be a blast. For the first time in my life, I’m finally loosening up the purse strings, (as my mother would say) and enjoying life.

Dancing for Donuts | Saying Yes to the Big Things.

You will never regret a trip you took, or a weekend you spent creating memories with new friends in a new city, of that I can promise you. I went to my first multi-day music festival last weekend and it’s safe to say that my tired feet and slightly unsettled stomach from the fried food were absolutely worth it. And I don’t just mean the money, I mean the time and energy, too. I’m still exhausted 2 days later, but I’m going to have the memories of bobbing up and down to the Killers with my boyfriend, grabbing the best tacos I’ve ever eaten at midnight, and watching a new band (that I now love!) from backstage, for as long as my memory holds up.

Dancing for Donuts | Saying Yes to the Big Things.

So for all of you babes on a budget out there, and those of you who may not be fully living because you’re afraid of the calories in a cocktail, and even for those of you who feel like you don’t look as good in your outfit as you wanted to, find something better to spend your time thinking about. Because none of those things are worth missing out on your life.

Dancing for Donuts | Saying Yes to the Big Things.

xo Jordan

How I Stay Sane [Because “Health” is More Than Food + Fitness!]

Do y’all ever feel like, even though you’re eating well and getting your exercise, your mind doesn’t totally feel at ease?

Dancing for Donuts | How I Stay Sane [Because Health Isn't Just Food + Fitness]

The other day I was listening to one of my favorite podcasts by The Healthy Maven, and her guest said something that resonated with me so much that I actually had to stop mid-walk and write it down in the notes app on my phone. Niki, from Healthnut Nutrition said, “Health isn’t just the food you eat, it’s the thoughts you think and the relationships you have.” I mean, I literally could not have said this better myself. How valid is that?!

Dancing for Donuts | How I Stay Sane [Because Health Isn't Just Food + Fitness]

As I get older, I’m starting to realize that, while eating well and sweating it out does make me feel great, that’s not the only thing my body (and soul) may need. Don’t get me wrong, when I’ve had a stressful day or I’m totally freaking out about something, I crave a cardio session or POUND class to let it all out, but I also think that this isn’t the only way to calm down, get some perspective and gain peace of mind. For me, sometimes the last thing I want (or need) is an intense workout, and what really will make me feel better is writing it all down, talking it out with a friend, or even just unplugging from my phone and social media for a bit.

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I don’t exactly meditate, not because I don’t think it has benefits, but because I think I just meditate in other ways than silently and sitting, you know? I think my meditation comes in the form of walking and maybe listening to an uplifting podcast (swear my a roundup of my faves is coming soon!), or writing in my planner. I’m still with my thoughts, and thinking about how I feel, but without having to sit in silence. Does that make sense?

I’m no health expert, as you all know, but I will say this – being happy, in addition to healthy, requires a certain mindset. And running around like a crazy person trying to squeeze in a workout 7 days a week for an hour and a half plus thinking about how you can eat every single superfood in the 15 hours you’re awake, can often do more help than good. I’m working on this myself, and have gotten a lot better at it in the last year or so, but this whole “self-care” thing is more important than I have a feeling most of us think it is.

Dancing for Donuts | How I Stay Sane [Because Health Isn't Just Food + Fitness]

Here are some of the things I do to help de-stress before or after a long day, on a lazy Sunday when I’m not quite ready to get back to Monday, when I’m on vacation hoping to reboot, or even on my lunch break…

Make a to-do list before bed at night or first thing in the morning – I don’t know about you, but sometimes it literally takes me 5 hours to fall asleep (just ask my boyfriend who gets woken up by me asking him if he’s still awake at 3am…). A lot of times this is because I’m thinking about all of the things I have to do the next day, week, month, whenever. I find that writing things down in my planner right before I go to bed not only helps me organize my plans, but also keeps me aware of things that are happening days from now. I do the same thing in the morning at work so that I know how to organize and time-manage my day. It definitely keeps the stress at bay when I have everything written down in front of me that I can check off throughout the day!

Keep a journal – This one sort of goes with my point above in the sense that getting our thoughts down on paper helps get them out of our heads. I used to be a huge journal-er when I was in grade school, but it became less of a priority and more of a time commitment over the years. Instead of writing massive entries like I used to, chronicling every single thing I said and did in a day, I use the 5-minute journal method or the 52 Lists Project (my favorite) to jot down some thoughts and move on. Even though it takes only a few minutes, it puts my head in a better space and re-focuses my thoughts. (I’ve linked my favorite journals/notebooks at the bottom of this post!)

Dancing for Donuts | How I Stay Sane [Because Health Isn't Just Food + Fitness]

Go for a walk – If you know me at all, you know this one’s my go-to. I try to take at least a 30 minute walk every single day in the middle of the day, and sometimes one at night as well, just so that I can get myself away from my desk. I find that if I’m having trouble focusing, a walk helps me re-center myself so that I can come back to my work feeling refreshed. It gets the creative juices flowing and also allows me to step away from my tech, where I often have 8,000 tabs open and get distracted super easily! I also think walking kind of forces you to think/feel since there’s nothing you’re responsible for in that moment except for putting one foot in front of the other.

Call a family member or friend – While I think it’s super important to think through things on your own, I also know how incredible and important it can be to get someone else’s perspective, or even just talk it out without expecting a response. Depending on what’s going on, I’ll call either or both of my parents, my brother, my boyfriend, or my best friends to get their opinions if I’m dealing with a tough situation. Other times, I just like to hear someone else’s voice, listen to how their day is going, and separate myself from my own problems. Not only does this help take your mind off of things that may be bothering you, but it also allows you to be there for someone else if they need it and gives you an opportunity to fortify a relationship or keep in touch with someone far away. After all, Niki did say that health is about relationships, too!

Find a good hardcover or paperback book (not an audiobook!) – As you probably know already, I am a die hard fan of audiobooks and podcasts right now. However, I think unplugging completely, holding a book in your hand and focusing on just that can do wonders for our minds. When an audiobook is on, it’s easier for us to multi-task, and I think part of unwinding should be the opposite of just that! I recently started going back the local library and it’s been amazing. Books are always worth it, but the library makes them so accessible and free for this #BabeOnABudget!

Dancing for Donuts | How I Stay Sane [Because Health Isn't Just Food + Fitness]

Alright y’all, that’s it for now. I hope everyone is having a stress-free week! Don’t forget to make time for the things that make you happy!

xo Jordan

 

Friday Finds.

Happy Friday, friends!!

Dancing for Donuts | Friday Finds.

I’ve already lamented about how this week was a bit of a doozy, so let’s just cut to the chase (and some light reading for your weekend)!

10 Things to Always Have in Your Freezer – I literally didn’t know 1/3 of these things could be put in the freezer. GENIUS.

12 Healthy Travel Tips to Keep in Mind for Summer Adventures – Does anyone else get totally thrown off during vacation? Love that these help mitigate that!!

15 Vegan-Friendly Frozen Desserts – How are these all so beautiful?! And I seriously need to be making popsicles more often…

Tips for Getting More Done in a Day – PLEASE. My Netflix addiction always runs rampant in the summer months…

10 Simple Habits that Will Improve Your Life – Currently working on #’s 5, 8 + 10!

7 Budget-Friendly Places to Hit This Season – The wanderlust is real, y’all.

Have a beautiful weekend!

xo Jordan

 

Highlights from Cabo [ + My top 5 Travel Tips for Babes on a Budget]

Hey y’all!! I’m baaaaaaack!

Highlights from Cabo [ + My top 5 Travel Tips for Babes on a Budget]

I know every human says this but like, how friggin’ awesome would it be if we could just be on vacation forever, you know? Ugh, it was not easy coming back to reality after 5 days out of the office and playing catch up. Hopefully writing this post will transport me back to my Cabo mentality of lounging poolside sipping mojitos 🙂

Highlights from Cabo [ + My top 5 Travel Tips for Babes on a Budget]

We had such an awesome trip to Mexico that was the perfect combo of exploring and relaxing. If you’ve never been to Cabo before, it’s essentially 2 small cities about 45 minutes away from each other, Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo. The first is a much more touristy spot with a ton of restaurants and bars, sailing, water sports, and hotels, while the second is farther away from the hustle and bustle and lends itself to a much more laid back vibe (which in my opinion felt more authentic!).

Highlights from Cabo [ + My top 5 Travel Tips for Babes on a Budget]

We rented a car so that we could explore both and split our trip between a hotel in Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo. If you’re planning on visiting and don’t necessarily want to do the all-inclusive thing where you barely leave the resort, a car is must! Transportation to and from the airport alone can be an arm and a leg too, so we had flexibility and probably spent about the same amount. More on that later!

Highlights from Cabo [ + My top 5 Travel Tips for Babes on a Budget]

I’m going to spare you most of the boring details of our trip and just give you the highlights! Consider this a mini travel guide in case you’d like to plan your trip to Cabo soon 🙂

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Where we stayed…

Playa Grande – Our hotel in Cabo San Lucas was just a 15 minute walk from all of the restaurants and shops, which was amazing! It was also on the beach, had a massive pool area and the food/drinks were delicious. They had great deals each day too, like 2 for 1 specials. We even lucked out with a top floor room and epic view, too 🙂 Our room was huge and had a balcony – I’d highly recommend this place! The only thing was that wifi (and the fitness center) weren’t included, but for $13/day it was worth it to be able to use our tech!

Highlights from Cabo [ + My top 5 Travel Tips for Babes on a Budget]

JW Marriott – I literally don’t even have words for how gorgeous this hotel is. I know it’s more expensive during peak season, but this place was unreal. They re-did just a couple of years ago after a hurricane and it’s got a very modern feel but with warmth to it too, if that makes sense! The service was unbelievable and the rooms feel so luxurious. They all have balconies as well, and the views make you want to jump out of bed in the morning. With about a zillion infinity pools, amazing restaurants, and a swim-up bar, this place was everything we could’ve asked for. We’re already planning our next trip back!

Highlights from Cabo [ + My top 5 Travel Tips for Babes on a Budget]

Where we ate…

The Office – Ok so this place is literally on every Cabo travel guide ever, but it’s kind of just one of those places you have to visit if you’re in the area. The food is classic delicious Mexican food at a decent price, and it’s right on the beach. We actually ended up there on a Thursday night without reservations, and they have a full-on show on Thursdays (as far as I know!) with dancers, contests, and a band. We grabbed margs and guac at the bar while we waited for a table and then ate right on the beach. It was such a fun first night, I’d definitely put this one on your list!

Highlights from Cabo [ + My top 5 Travel Tips for Babes on a Budget]

Romeo y Julieta – Okay so this was one of our favorite meals of the whole trip. If you’re looking for a slightly fancier meal that’s not actually super expensive, this is where you’ll find it. The cocktails were so damn good and the food was incredible. From the caesar salad they make right at your table to the homemade pasta and then gelato to finish, this dinner was a standout. The service was stellar and they had a guitarist playing live music, as well.

Highlights from Cabo [ + My top 5 Travel Tips for Babes on a Budget]

Cazuelas del Don – So good we went twice, this hole in the wall (even though it’s actually sort of outside so it’s not?) was unforgettable. It’s run by the sweetest couple ever and serves the most delicious food. Their tortilla soup is absurd and they make these dishes called “cazuelas” that are essentially clay pots filled with meat, vegetables and cheese that you can fill a tortilla with. I’m honestly kind of hungry again just thinking about it. Don’t even dare judge this place by it’s exterior, it is delicious.

Highlights from Cabo [ + My top 5 Travel Tips for Babes on a Budget]

Habanero’s – Another great find in San Jose del Cabo, I bet this restaurant is absolutely packed during peak season. We margs to start and then split two dishes – the chile relleno and (don’t judge me) chipotle tequila bbq baby back ribs. And let me tell you, those ribs were bomb. I distinctly remember us saying we wanted to have a light dinner, but those two dishes were so worth it!

Highlights from Cabo [ + My top 5 Travel Tips for Babes on a Budget]

Flora Farms – I totally saved the best for last. Flora Farms is another one that’s on every Cabo travel guide, and for good reason. I can’t say enough wonderful things about this place – it’s the most beautiful and colorful farm right outside San Jose del Cabo and everything they serve, they grow or raise. There’s so much more to see and do than just eat at the restaurant like little shops, a pop-up ice cream stand, a farm tour and a coffee bar. I know they’re opening up a micro-brewery and building homes there, too. Like it’s literally my dream to live there after visiting once. The food is so good, I swear all I said was “mmmmm” for about an hour and a half. Also the Bloody Mary! Do not, I repeat do NOT, skip it. Best Bloody Mary I’ve ever had.

Highlights from Cabo [ + My top 5 Travel Tips for Babes on a Budget]

And finally, my top 5 travel tips for babes on a budget ’cause let’s be real, this sh*t ain’t free!

1. Do your research – We did at least a coupe of hours of research on flights and hotels before we booked our trip to Cabo. We searched primarily on Kayak, Booking.com and Hotels.com to figure out which hotels offered the best packages and which flights would fit both our budgets and time constraints. We also learned that transportation to and from the airport can be super expensive, plus the two cities we were staying in were 45 minutes apart, so we opted for a car rental. If you plan on doing the same in Cabo, we recommend Cactus – they give you all of the fees up front (which are all super reasonable) as opposed to competitors which show you a cheap price to begin with and then surprise you with a massive bill at the end.

Highlights from Cabo [ + My top 5 Travel Tips for Babes on a Budget]

2. Pick up basic groceries at a local market – We decided that for breakfast during half our trip, we’d have something healthy and easy – yogurt with fresh fruit and granola. For less than $10, we grabbed 4 bottles of water (definitely do not drink the tap water in Mexico!), 2 croissants, 4 plain yogurts, a bag of granola, a bunch of baby bananas, a 1/4 gallon of milk, 2 mangos and a lime. This lasted us breakfast for two days plus snacks and we used the milk for coffee in the room (a bag of coffee grounds that we also bought!) so we wouldn’t have to buy the $5 cups downstairs at the resort. Plus it was mango season and the mangoes we got were hands down the best ones we’ve ever eaten!

3. Check before you go – I highly recommend doing a quick Google, Yelp or Pinterest search to find out where you want to eat or shop instead of just venturing out and picking the first option you see. One of the best meals we had, and by far the cheapest, was the result of a quick Yelp search that led us to Cazueletas del Don. We loved it so much we actually went twice!

Highlights from Cabo [ + My top 5 Travel Tips for Babes on a Budget]

4. Take advantage of deals – Our first hotel had 2 for 1 drinks that varied day to day. We made sure to check which ones were part of the promo before we ordered, so we ended up getting 2 mojitos for $6 one time and 2 beers for $3 another. We also took advantage of a fixed price menu option at Romeo y Julieta that was 3 courses per person plus coffee all for $65 total. For a nice and delicious meal out, that’s a steal!

5. Know when to splurge – My parents always say, “Who knows if and when you’ll be back? Just enjoy.” Remember that you’re on vacation, which means stressing about petty things like spending some cash here and there for a really delicious dinner or fancy cocktail is a waste of precious time. It also means that if you have the opportunity to take a semi-expensive day trip, like a boat ride around an island where you get to snorkel/kayak/paddleboard/learn about the place you’re visiting, DO IT. One of my favorite memories of all time was kayaking around Lagos, Portugal and I’m confident that if our boat tour in Cabo hadn’t been cancelled this trip due to high seas, it would’ve been a close second. It’s important to be present where you’re traveling and take advantage of the adventure it has to offer.

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That’s all for now, friends! Hope everyone is having a great week!!

xo Jordan

Highlights from Cabo [ + My top 5 Travel Tips for Babes on a Budget]

Portugal Travel Guide.

Almost exactly one year ago, I made a fairly last minute decision to hop on a plane to Europe and visit a country I’d never been to before.

Dancing for Donuts | Portugal Travel Guide.

I ventured out to Portugal, one of my favorite places of all time, and spent a week exploring with my boyfriend. We had the time of our lives and now know a ton of friends heading that way this summer, so I wanted to put together a travel guide with my recommendations!

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This guide goes in order of our trip after we flew into Porto from Madrid. As for transportation, I recommend renting a car when/where possible and driving down to the south of Portugal. This is the most cost-effective way to see everything and also gives you the freedom to move around if you want to explore other towns!

Dancing for Donuts | Portugal Travel Guide.

Dancing for Donuts | Portugal Travel Guide.

Dancing for Donuts | Portugal Travel Guide.

PORTO

Where we stayed… After a decent amount of planning, we decided on the Eurostars Porto Douro for our first stop in Portugal and were so happy we did! After a welcome glass of porto (of course!), we found our way up to our gorgeous and modern room that had insane views of the Douro river and bridge. We passed on the breakfast (for however many extra euros) so I can’t speak to that, but I would happily recommend this hotel to absolutely anyone, especially since it was an awesome price! The only thing to note is that you’ll be walking a decent amount, as this hotel is about 10 minutes from the base of the hill/stairs to get up to the actual town of Porto. So worth it!

What we did… Since we only had about 24 hours in Porto, we spent a decent amount of that time just walking through the city, exploring shops, grabbing tapas (a must) and an afternoon cup of cafe. We did stop by this really cool antique type shop that actually had a bar in it too (and a super cute dog!) called the Armazem. I think my two favorite visual memories of Porto are looking out over the city and its gorgeous red roofs from the Torre de Clerigos and taking a moment to sit by the river and people watch.

Not to be missed… If you can, I highly suggest you book a table for dinner at Cantinho de Alvillez. The food was out. of. CONTROL. I think this meal might’ve been our favorite meal of the entire trip, and that’s saying a lot! We even found one of this chef’s restaurants in Lisbon later on in the week, which I’ll mention below. I also recommend taking a look at the NY Times 36 Hours in Porto guide, as that has some awesome recommendations!

Dancing for Donuts | Portugal Travel Guide.

Dancing for Donuts | Portugal Travel Guide.

FARO

What we did… Our time in Faro was fairly short because we were eager to get to Lagos, but we did take a stroll through the city, the night we arrived, grabbed a delicious seafood dinner at a nearby restaurant (it’s a fishing town!), and booked a boat trip to the Ilha Deserta, the southern-most part of Portugal!

Not to be missed… The beach on Ilha Deserta is so, so beautiful! It’s fairly cheap and quick to take the boat ride over, and we spent the day there. The water was a bit chilly and rough the day we went, but it was hot so it was very refreshing! There’s one restaurant there that we loved called Estamine where we had homemade pasta with clams, salads, and oysters. The fish was so fresh and the service was amazing, too!

Dancing for Donuts | Portugal Travel Guide.

Dancing for Donuts | Portugal Travel Guide.
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LAGOS

Where we stayed… Ok so we kind of splurged on this one since it was our one really nice night of the week. Lagos is a pretty romantic place in my opinion, and we pretty much stayed at the most romantic boutique hotel ever – the Hotel Vivenda Miranda. I can’t even say enough wonderful things about this place – the people are so welcoming and there’s champagne waiting for you when you check in so you can relax on the veranda and look out over the cliffs to the ocean. The room itself was pretty massive for two as well, with its own patio and everything. The views from this place are definitely worth noting, as well as the incredible buffet breakfast (so many options!) and gorgeous pool. I’m dying to go back here!!!

What we did… Exploring the town of Lagos the night we arrived was SO fun, we just found a cute restaurant for some more seafood (it’s their specialty, we couldn’t pass it up!) and gelato…duh. We also booked a kayaking tour for the next day, which I literally recommend to anyone who tells me they’re going to Portugal. The cliffs and rock formations on the outer parts of the Algarve are so stunning and you can’t really get the full view unless you’re way out in the ocean. We did the kayaking tour for a few hours that day, which starts and ends on a little boat that takes you out there. The tour goes in and out of the rocks and they tell you all about the history of the city and what each formation represents. It’s insanely beautiful, I wish I’d had a waterproof camera back then but I took lots of mental photographs 🙂

Not to be missed… Whether its 99 degrees during your trip (like it was for ours!) or a bit cooler, the Praia Dona Ana (pictured above) is a MUST. You will never see anything else like it, I can promise you that. To get to the beach that’s surrounded by rocky cliffs, you’ll go down a pretty large set of stairs. There isn’t a ton of space to lay out, but the Portuguese are nice so you’ll have friendly neighbors! We brought beer, bread and cheese with us for a picnic and took a dip in the water after lunch. The seas can be a bit rough, but if you go in the summer you’ll need to brave it! The image of this beach, with its cliffs and colorful beach umbrellas, is engrained in my mind with the fondest of memories!

Dancing for Donuts | Portugal Travel Guide.

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Dancing for Donuts | Portugal Travel Guide.

LISBON

Where we stayed… The best pick for Lisbon in my opinion is an AirBnb! There are tons of great options and the prices are awesome. The other thing is that you probably won’t be spending much time in the room anyway since you’ll be out exploring, so splurging on a fancy hotel room doesn’t make too much sense (unless you want to!). I also think it’s kind of nice staying in the heart of a real neighborhood instead of someplace touristy, too. You get a better feel of what it’s like to live there, I think! Here’s the link to ours – we LOVED it.

What we did… So because it was hot as a mother the two days we had in Lisbon, we actually decided to spend the majority of our days in Cascais (a train ride away!) and Sintra, which are both detailed down below. The afternoons and nights we spent in the city, though! This is another city that’s perfect for just taking a stroll and exploring. There are so many shops and cafes to sip sangria at! We found another restaurant by the chef from the place we had dinner at in Porto called Pizzaria Lisboa – so delish! We also stopped by a bar afterwards called Pensao Amor. This place has so much character around every corner, and even a sex shop in one of them in case your drinks make you feel frisky 😉

Not to be missed… The Time Out Market was definitely one of the highlights of the entire trip. We went here twice, once before our train ride and day trip to Cascais, and once after for dinner. There are endless options and everything is insanely delicious. The gelato and doughnuts were standouts in my eyes, as well as the jamon iberico and cheese plate!!

Dancing for Donuts | Portugal Travel Guide.

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Dancing for Donuts | Portugal Travel Guide.

CASCAIS

What we did… This town is so charming, I fell in love immediately. After walking around and exploring, we headed down to the beach for a mojito and some standup paddle-boarding! The water is super warm (at least in the summer) and the beach is packed. Doing a water activity is a good plan since you’ll fit in some activity while getting to see the coastline from out in the water! As far as I remember, it couldn’t have been more than $20 to rent the board for an hour or so, either!

Not to be missed… You have to HAVE to go to the House of Wonders. I can literally still remember this meal because it was so fresh and delicious. We actually went here twice in two days because we were craving something healthy by the end of our trip! Their healthy plates are packed with veggies, but they have fresh smoothies and pastries, too! The rooftop is the perfect place to dine since you can see out over the town, and it’s so colorful!

Dancing for Donuts | Portugal Travel Guide.
Dancing for Donuts | Portugal Travel Guide.

SINTRA

What we did… There are two gorgeous castles in Sintra, but we only had time for one of them. We went for the Quinta da Regaleira since my boyfriend had been to the Pena Palace before (it’s the super colorful one you’ve probably seen in photos!). We drove our rental car way up to the hill, grabbed some croissants and coffees, and then walked the rest of the way to the castle, which has so much to see! There are many gardens, secret tunnels and caves, a beautiful well that you can climb up, and the gorgeous castle itself. The views from the grounds are gorgeous, as well!

Dancing for Donuts | Portugal Travel Guide.

Alright friends, that’s all for today! Have you ever been to Portugal before? If you have any other recommendations, please share them in the comments so others can see them, and if anyone is thinking about going there, I’m happy to answer any questions 🙂

xo Jordan

Dancing for Donuts | Portugal Travel Guide.

My Summer Bucket List.

I know summer doesn’t technically start until June 20th, but it sure feels like summer already to me 🙂

Dancing for Donuts | Summer Bucket List.

I’ve always been a fan of creating bucket lists for each season, mostly because they’re fun to make and even more fun to cross off. Being an adult definitely means summer is less fun & games than it used to be, but I still love to take advantage of everything the months have to offer. LA is kind of an anomaly in the sense that seasons don’t totally exist here (and yes, the sun does shine year round), but there are a ton of things that happen here only during summer months, like outdoor concerts, movies, and special events. Not to mention the weather is warmer, so you don’t need a sweater to lay on the beach!

Here’s my list for 2017 (so far):

Dancing for Donuts | Summer Bucket List.

 

What’s on your summer bucket list?! Do you like to make bucket lists for each season, too?

xo jordan

This Girl’s Got Game | Feature + Full Interview!

Hey y’all! I have some exciting news to share today, as I mentioned in my post last week!

Dancing for Donuts | Feature + Interview for This Girl's Got Game.

I’ve been featured in Gameday Couture‘s monthly magazine and special column, This Girl’s Got Game, for their Destination Away edition 🙂

Dancing for Donuts | Feature + Interview for This Girl's Got Game.

When my friend Stephanie asked me if I would be willing to do an interview for their column that features inspirational women, I couldn’t have been more flattered. I think most of the time, we’re so busy running around that we don’t stop to think about how and why we’ve become the people we are today. Answering some of the questions was actually super fun for me and really put things in perspective. While not everyday is wonderful, and I have so far to go, I’m grateful for my journey and am proud of following my dreams.

Dancing for Donuts | Feature + Interview for This Girl's Got Game.

If you don’t know my story (about how I moved to LA 6 years ago to become a professional dancer and all of the things that came afterwards!) you can read more about how I got to be who I am today. The full interview can be found here , or you can read it below 🙂

Dancing for Donuts | Feature + Interview for This Girl's Got Game.Dancing for Donuts | Feature + Interview for This Girl's Got Game.

(professional photos by Nicole Balsamo)

What’s one thing you’re grateful for that led you where you are today?

xo jordan

3 Travel Hacks to Keep Your Budget in Check.

Hello Hello! I know I say this pretty much every month, but can you believe it’s almost May already?! Where the heck is time going?!

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I suppose when you’re busy and traveling, time goes by way faster, though. I just got back from my weekend in San Francisco and it totally flew by. I had so much fun hangin’ with my boyfriend, one of my best friends whose wedding is in less than 3 weeks (!!!!!!!) and my other childhood friend who’s been my bestie since literally the first day of kindergarten. I still can’t believe I have two of my closest friends of all time in the same state as me, and just an hour flight away no less!

That being said, I’m definitely not the type of person who can afford, or even take time off work, to be jet-setting all the time, but my friendships take a priority in my life. To balance it all out, I’ve found ways to save on my trips that make life a lot easier! Aside from the obvious ones like getting a credit card with airline mileage points, using Airbnb instead of hotels, and flying at off-peak times, here are my favorite money-saving travel hacks that also help you stick with your health and fitness goals while you’re away.

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Plan Ahead. – 2 words: Airplane. Snacks. – Nobody likes to spend $12 on a mediocre sandwich that’s been sitting out for 4 hours, or even worse, a soggy salad. I refuse. On my flight out to SF last weekend, I shoveled in a turkey wrap from Trader Joe’s that I made sure to pick up that day during my lunch break. On the way back home, I wasn’t starving, but didn’t want to wait until I landed at 9:15 to eat something, so I snacked on a Lenny and Larry’s cookie in one of my favorite flavors, snickerdoodle (aka heaven). Occasionally I’ll pick up something from the airport when the options are decent (they seem to be getting better!), but taking the extra 5 minutes to think ahead when you’re at the grocery store can save you the cash and calories down the line. That’s actually good advice in generally, really!

Dancing for Donuts | Travel Hacks for Keeping Your Budget in Check.

Bring Breakfast. – This tip is super similar to the one above, but i worth mentioning. Who else has spent $10 on a nasty bowl of plain oatmeal from the hotel market downstairs in hopes of picking the healthier option over the breakfast burrito? *Raises hand.* Word to the wise: go with the breakfast burrito for the taste & fullness factor and just add a few minutes to your workout later ’cause let me tell you, that bowl of oats is not worth it. What is worth it, however, is that whole planning ahead thing. I bought this $2 cup of instant oatmeal from TJ’s (when I was pick up my dinner from the night before) and used the coffee pot in our hotel room to make hot water. Add a sliced banana and you’re good to go, just make sure your instant oatmeal doesn’t have a billion grams of sugar (this one didn’t and I highly recommend it!). Saving on breakfast is so much easier and more worth it than any other meal when you’re traveling because most of the best restaurants are lunch and dinner places, anyway!

Dancing for Donuts | Travel Hacks for Keeping Your Budget in Check.

WALK. – I don’t know about you, but I freaking love walking. That may be the New York City gal in me, but I think walking is not only a total stress reliever, but a really easy way to get some exercise in. When you’re traveling, Ubers can add up real fast. Now, if you’re in a city like San Francisco that has some unexpected dicey areas, you’ll definitely want to Uber if you’re going more than a mile or so in a place you’re not sure of, but if you’re just going to dinner or hitting a few spots that are near each other, just save your cash and work off your afternoon snack at the same time. Plus, walking after dinner and/or drinks is literally the best, especially if it’s nice out! You get to digest a little before you go to sleep and enjoy the fresh air before heading back to a stuffy hotel room. It’s a win-win.

Alright y’all, that’s it for now! Hope everyone has a wonderful week!

xo Jordan

Meeting Commitment with Self Care.

Oh, hello! I’m so sorry I’ve been pretty MIA lately. Life and work have been a little nuts and the madness threw me off my game.

Dancing for Donuts | Meeting Commitment with Self Care.

That’s actually why I wanted to write this post, to be honest. I feel like my schedule has gotten a little out of hand (as everyone’s can from time to time) and instead of listening to my mind and body, I’ve focused on fulfilling a billion commitments. If you don’t already know, I’ve always been someone who likes to be busy. I genuinely enjoy filling my time with things that make me feel like I’m progressing as a human, whether that’s physically at the gym, financially by working side hustles, or emotionally by spending time with people I love. And, while I absolutely still enjoy those things, I’m starting to realize the importance of quiet and alone time, doing things that are just for me, and making sure I’m taking care of myself.

Dancing for Donuts | Meeting Commitment with Self Care.

This notion of self care has been really trendy lately, and I know it kind of sounds like some b.s., but it’s not. I’m glad it’s becoming more main-stream, and even more acceptable for us to slow things down, if that makes sense. There’s so much in our society that demands us to just go, go, go and I think social media has a lot to do with that today. We’re inundated with images of people traveling the world, going out to eat, and doing all kinds of activities. I think this is so amazing because it inspires us to go out and see the world, but I also think it makes us feel pressure to do as many of those things as we can right now. But we don’t have to do what everyone else is doing, we can do one thing today and one tomorrow, or no things today at all if that’s how we feel. And the concept of self care let’s us step back from this pressure and just chill for hot second.

Dancing for Donuts | Meeting Commitment with Self Care.Dancing for Donuts | Meeting Commitment with Self Care.

I was listening to my absolute favorite podcast, Soul on Fire by The Balanced Blonde, and in her most recent episode she interviewed Mary Beth LaRue, a health and wellness expert, yogi, and entrepreneur. Jordan and Mary Beth were talking about how they’re both so busy and so productive, but that it’s important to “meet commitment with self care.” This really resonated with me, particularly this morning, because I just got back from a bachelorette party that I planned (which I had a blast at!) and have also been coming off of some really crazy weeks at work. For the past 7 days I’ve actually had some gnarly stomach issues randomly, as well, and for the life of me couldn’t figure out why. Fortunately, my stomach woes have seemingly come to an end, but it’s kind of strange because pretty much the moment I got home from our trip and the 5 and a half hour car ride back, I started to feel better. How weird is that!?

The only thing I can think of, unless my pains come back of course, is that it was anxiety. I’ve never experienced a reaction like that from stress ever before, but I think it was a sign that I need to slow things down. My dad always tells me “don’t burn yourself out, child” and even though I usually laugh it off and tell him I definitely won’t, I may have just done it.

Dancing for Donuts | Meeting Commitment with Self Care.

So, that being said, I’m not entirely sure what the point of this post is, but I do know that taking care of yourself (/myself) needs to be a priority. My advice to you and my future self is to say “yes” to just one less thing, maybe leave half of a day in your planner blank, and don’t be afraid to check out of life for an hour or so every once in awhile.

Have a wonderful week 🙂

xo Jordan