A Weekend at Civana Resort in Arizona

Okay so I drove to Arizona twice in three weeks…how crazy am I😂

I can’t help it, though! Arizona is absolutely STUNNING and when my best friend asked me if I wanted to meet her for a weekend getaway, I knew we had to go to Civana – a new wellness resort just north of Scottsdale. Picture tall cactuses everywhere, mountains as a backdrop and the most relaxing weekend of all time🌵

It’s super easy to get to – just over 6 hours in the car from LA, and my bff flew into Phoenix, which is just a 40 minute drive from Civana. And while it was nice to have a car, we actually didn’t even leave the resort until it was time to checkout! It truly has everything you could ask for including a cute café with coffee and quick bites, sit-down restaurant, bar, pool and hot tub, full gym, non-stop fitness and wellness classes, incredible spa, and spacious rooms.

Upon arrival, we were greeted with fresh juices and wonderful service – everyone there is unbelievably kind and helpful! We then went up to our rooms where we were brought the sweetest welcome gift, a bottle of wine and charcuterie plate! Full disclosure, we were gifted our stay at Civana, but all opinions are truthful and my own, of course!!😊

We spent the rest of the night indulging, catching up and losing track of time – that always happens when we see each other!

In the morning, we slept in a bit and then grabbed coffee before heading out on a walk in the neighborhood. The temperature in the morning is absolutely perfect and even during the afternoon when it warmed up, we were super comfortable! I think fall/winter must be the perfect time to visit.

When we got back to the hotel, we got smoothies at the café and enjoyed them while relaxing poolside until our Athletic Stretch class at 1pm.

I was SO impressed by the class offerings at Civana – they had everything from Aerial Yoga (which we wanted to take but couldn’t get a spot fast enough!) to Boot Camp and Yoga. Sign up sheets for activities go up every day at noon, so get there asap since those spots fill up veryyy quickly! But what’s nice is that most of these classes are built into the cost of your stay, so you really get a bang for your buck.

After class, we went back to the pool for more Vitamin D and lunch. We enjoyed apps including red pepper hummus and broccamole (their specialty!) plus watermelon margaritas. We really lived it up💃🏻💃🏻

The afternoon brought us to the spa – a brand new part of Civana that is unbelievable and easily the nicest spa I’ve ever been to. All guests have access to the spa whether a treatment is booked or not, but I can tell you that it is SO worth the splurge to get one. I had the best facial of my life and Michelle had a massage!

In addition to those, we were able to sit by the spa’s lap pool, dip into the aquatic wellness pools and hot tub, sit in the sauna and steam room, and chill in the relaxtion rooms. There’s one upstairs that we managed to juuuust catch the gorgeous sunset from! That room is massive with an indoor and outdoor area, plus refreshments.

Dinner was at the more formal restaurant, Terras, where the food was exceptional! We started with a scallop crudo, then I had salmon while Michelle had a polenta lasagna. Dessert was coconut sorbet with a chocolate shell. YUM.

The next morning, we woke up early to grab coffee, take advantage of one more class, Hatha Yoga, and grab smoothies/juices to have while packing up. While our stay was brief, I can honestly say that I left feeling relaxed, rejuvenated and so content!

Civana is the perfect place for a girl’s weekend or mother/daughter getaway and I truly can’t wait to go back!

Have you ever been to Arizona or a wellness resort? Either way, Civana is calling your name😉

xo Jordan

How to Spend a Week on the Big Island of Hawai’i

Hello hello!! We’ve just come back from a glorious 9 day trip to Hawai’i and I have to tell you, I think it might just be my favorite island out there.

How to Spend a Week on the Big Island of Hawai'i | Travel Guide | Dancing for Donuts

It’s funny, when I was researching what to do and where to go, I was surprised to find that there wasn’t much out there! The best recommendations came from word of mouth and I’m here to change that in case you want to venture out there (which you should) and need something to reference!

I think the thing I love most about the Big Island is that it’s like a million different places in one and it’s FASCINATING. One side of the island is sunny and dry and the other is like a rainforest, plus you add in the lava flows that formed the island and continue to do so – it’s just unbelievable and there’s SO much to see. It’s also far less developed than say Maui or Oahu, which makes the vibe a big more low key and perfect for a relaxing vacation.

How to Spend a Week on the Big Island of Hawai'i | Travel Guide | Dancing for Donuts

Here are some super important things to note before you plan your trip:

  • There are two airports you can fly into and out of: Kona (the more touristy side) and Hilo, though the latter offers far fewer flights and airline options
  • Rent a car. There really is no other option, and you wouldn’t want there to be because the drives on the Big Island are some of the prettiest drives I’ve ever been on, not to mention that everything is quite far from one another!
  • You’ll want to spend more time on the Kona side simply because there’s more to do, more beaches to visit, better snorkeling, more food options and less of a chance of rain!
  • But definitely don’t go all that way and miss out on the Hilo side where you’ll find things like Volcanoes National Park and some incredible waterfalls.

I’m going to go ahead and break this guide into two sections corresponding with each side of the island! Keep scrolling for things to see, do and eat no matter where you find yourself.

How to Spend a Week on the Big Island of Hawai'i | Travel Guide | Dancing for Donuts

KONA

Where to Stay: We spent our time up at the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel which was insanely stunning, so shoutout to boyfriends who get the hookup with travel points😂 I couldn’t recommend this property more (the beach was my favorite) but the Kailua-Kona area & Waikoloa are also beautiful! There are more options on this side of the island for resorts & Airbnbs.

How to Spend a Week on the Big Island of Hawai'i | Travel Guide | Dancing for Donuts

What to Do: You MUST go to Snorkel Bob’s and rent snorkel equipment as soon as you hit the island, this is a non-negotiable. Bob himself will give you tons of resources for where to snorkel and I can assure he’s right about every single one. For $50, we rented top notch snorkel gear for the week and were able to see incredible sea creatures for that low cost!

How to Spend a Week on the Big Island of Hawai'i | Travel Guide | Dancing for Donuts
  • Snorkel in Caption Cook – hands down our favorite moment of the entire week. We kayaked from a friend’s house over to the Captain Cook monument, got out to go snorkeling, and immediately saw a reef shark. It felt like Planet Earth and it was AWESOME.
  • Visit Hapuna Beach – and snorkel there, too! It’s one of the only white sand beaches on the island (aside from Mauna Kea) and it’s beautiful.
  • Hike Down the Pololu Trail – please don’t miss out on this! The view is breathtaking and the hike down/back up is super rewarding because the beach at the bottom is beautiful. You’ll be able to see a bit down the coast, too! On your way home, stop in Hawi, the artisan town nearby.
  • Lay Out on Waialea Beach – which is also a great snorkeling spot! This was one of our favorite beaches because the layout of it is really cool. Lots of rocks, cool trees, and locals!
  • Watch the Surfers at Magic Sands Beach – as long as the waves are big! Otherwise you can swim in the water yourself, although we were there during a huge swell, so we sat that one out.
How to Spend a Week on the Big Island of Hawai'i | Travel Guide | Dancing for Donuts

Where to Eat: We ate breakfast at our hotel everyday because the buffet breakfast was included and it was UNREAL (again, highly recommend the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, wish this were sponsored😂), but we did manage to stop at some other delicious places for lunch and dinner!

  • Basik Café – a must for delicious açai bowls!! It’s above the Snorkel Bob’s in the southern part of the island by Magic Sands Beach/Kona
  • Under the Bodhi Tree – we happened to get açai bowls here too, but I can confidently say the rest of their food is incredible. We were drooling over the menu and wish we’d brought a bigger appetite! Regardless though, this was hands down the craziest smoothie bowl of all time🙌🏻
  • Daylight Mind – this café in Kailua-Kona blew us away! The food was unbelievably fresh, their coffee was fantastic, and the prices were great!
  • Big Island BrewHaus – this was the only place we ate at twice because we were THAT obsessed with it. Their food is incredible (I miss it, honestly) and the beer is great, too. It’s up in Waimea, so potentially a hike depending on where you’re staying, but so worth the trip!
  • Pueo’s Osteria – we ventured here for a slightly fancier date night, but this plate is super cute and the food is fantastic! They make pizza and pasta in house, and definitely leave room for dessert.
How to Spend a Week on the Big Island of Hawai'i | Travel Guide | Dancing for Donuts

**One thing to note: If you’re driving from the Mauna Kea/Waikoloa area to or from Hilo like we did, you HAVE to stop at the Waipio Valley Lookout. It’s stunning and truly fascinating because people actually live way down in the valley where the history is rich. There is a hike, but don’t bother with it, we heard from locals that it’s gnarly! And definitely stop at the local fruit stand on the side of the road on your way out.

How to Spend a Week on the Big Island of Hawai'i | Travel Guide | Dancing for Donuts

HILO

Where to Stay: There admittedly are not a lot of options hotel-wise on this side, but we stayed at the Grand Naniloa Hotel by Hilton right in town. What’s nice is that the few hotels that do exist are about a 5 minute drive into Hilo itself and another 5 to the airport! I would recommend this hotel for sure, but an Airbnb could also be great!

How to Spend a Week on the Big Island of Hawai'i | Travel Guide | Dancing for Donuts

What to Do: While Hilo isn’t exactly the most glamorous part of the island (it’s definitely where the locals all live), there is a TON to do. We got through pretty much all of it in two days though, so don’t feel like you need much longer than that.

  • Day Trip to Volcanoes National Park – this is up at the top of the list for a reason and it’s easily the most important thing you could do on the Big Island. It’ll cost you $25 to enter the park (but it’s good for a week) and there’s a TON to see. It’s all mind-blowing, trust me, and don’t forget to chat with the park rangers to find out what’s open/worth checking out. We spent about 4 hours here and it was a major highlight of our trip!
  • Rainbow Falls/PeePee Falls – both of these waterfalls are absolutely gorgeous and quite close to one another! Rainbow Falls actually has a little Banyan Tree forest right next to it as well, so definitely check that out.
  • Akaka Falls – there are two more waterfalls here and it’s a bit north of Hilo itself, but a must visit! Akaka Falls is actually 3x the size (depth wise) of Niagara Falls, which is insane. There’s a little hike here, but it’s nothing too crazy. Try to go before or after it’s midday and super hot.
  • Relax at Punalu’u Black Sand Beach – this beach is admittedly quite far away, so if you don’t hit it, it’s not a big deal, BUT it’s known for all the sea turtles that hang there (we saw two!) and it’s a super cool locals beach. The black sand is pretty mind blowing, too!
  • Hike the Onomea Trail – we almost stumbled on this trail accidentally and I’m SO glad we did. It’s right next to the Botanical Gardens (which are $25 a person, so no thank you there) but you can do a hike down to a few super remote, beautiful beaches!

Where to Eat: Again, there isn’t anything too fancy in Hilo, but that’s what I loved about it! We found some hidden gems and I was honestly really impressed with the food.

  • Moon & Turtle – I LOVED this place. Their menu is pretty small and changes daily based upon what’s available. Everything is locally sourced and unique. Not fancy, but great for a special night!
  • Conscious Culture – okay wait I LOVED this place, too😂 Their focus is also on local food, but with more of a hippie vibe. I had one of their nourishing bowls with sautéed veggies and rice, and added the goat cheese. Oh! Pro tip: always add the goat cheese. It’s probably made a mile from where you are on the island. This café is also home to Big Island Booch, so be sure to get a pint. It’s incredible.

Some things we didn’t get to do that maybe we would try next time:

  • Eat at Da Poké Shack, which everyone seems to rave about
  • Drive to the Green Sand Beach (but it’s faaaaar)
  • Spend more time in Waimea, which is a super cute “cowboy” town!
  • Visit a farmer’s market
  • Swim with the Manta Rays at night (all the tours were booked when we wanted to go, but it’s expensive!
How to Spend a Week on the Big Island of Hawai'i | Travel Guide | Dancing for Donuts

Well, there ya have it! That was a LONG one, so props to you if you hung in there. TLDR: Please visit the Big Island. It’s insane and I truly think it’s not spoken about enough!

xo Jordan

7 Favorite Moments From the Mother of Fire Retreat in Maui

Aloha, babes! I am back from Maui and feeling so inspired, motivated, and grateful🌺

Dancing for Donuts | 7 Favorite Moments from the We Are Haumea Retreat in Maui

This post might be a long one, just because trying to sum up 5 incredible days in the most beautiful place surrounded by exceptional women is pretty challenging! But, I do want to tell you a bit more about the We Are Haumea Mother of Fire Retreat, which was originally organized by Joie Ruggiero, a Maui native, fitness instructor, and all-around stunning human being inside and out!

I was given the opportunity to participate in the Mother of Fire Retreat after meeting Joie last month at an event. I knew that with the timing of things to come (aka me launching my business!), going to Hawaii for a few days of fitness, fun, manifestation, empowerment, and connection was just what I needed to kick things off.

So, without further ado, let me share with you some of my favorite moments from my trip to Maui, Hawaii with We Are Haumea!

Dancing for Donuts | 7 Favorite Moments from the We Are Haumea Retreat in Maui

Athletic Geometry with Joie – You guys. If I had to pick a favorite workout of all time (that isn’t a dance class), it would have to be Joie’s class. It’s a combination of cardio dance and sculpting, and though it’s quite possibly the hardest workout I’ve ever done, it’s SO fun. Each move has a true purpose and helps sculpt more than one muscle group at a time, so it’s efficient, too. Joie teaches at ModelFit in LA and Alo Yoga too, if you’re in the area and ever want to go to her class!

Dancing for Donuts | 7 Favorite Moments from the We Are Haumea Retreat in Maui

Manifesting with Gwen – On our first full day of the retreat, we had our first workshop with Gwen, who was the vision and healing coach throughout our days in Maui. The first of her three workshops was my absolute favorite because we got to dive deep into what we see for ourselves in the future. We wrote down on paper who, what and where we want to be. Instead of writing these things down as “I want” we wrote them in present tense as “I am.” We then spoke these desires out loud to one another and somehow it made them feel more tangible, like there was no question that we could achieve each and every one of them. Afterwards, I felt like I could do ANYTHING, and still do.

Yoga with Elise – I can’t even tell you how sad I am that Elise is based in New York because I would literally take her yoga class every day! While her classes definitely call in strength and make you sweat, they also stretch and move the muscles in ways I don’t do very often. Her voice is incredibly soothing, she’s funny, kind, helps with poses if you need any adjustments, and really brings something unique to her practice. If you’re based in NY too, find her at any of the three Sky Ting locations! 

Dancing for Donuts | 7 Favorite Moments from the We Are Haumea Retreat in Maui

Getting to Know the Women – I truly think the best part of an experience like this is meeting the other people. It’s kind of amazing, but all 9-10 of us had incredibly unique backgrounds and yet had so many things in common, too. For example, Elise and I actually went to NYU at the same time and even have mutual friends. How crazy is that?! I just couldn’t have asked for a more incredible group of strong, powerful women to be surrounded by. Some were in their late 20’s or early 30’s like me, some were mothers, some were business owners and some were just trying to figure out what they wanted to do, but we ALL connected in a way I can’t even begin to describe.

Dancing for Donuts | 7 Favorite Moments from the We Are Haumea Retreat in Maui

Sunrise at Haleakala – So I’ve seen the sunrise at Haleakala before, but I can tell you that it is just as breathtaking the second time around (and probably the 3rd or 4th, too). We woke up at 4:45, drove up the mountain and caught the sunrise from the 3rd tallest mountain in the world at 7:05am. I’ve never seen anything like this anywhere else in the world – you’re high up above the clouds and the colors are just spectacular. If you’re lucky, the park rangers will be chanting in Hawaiian as the sun rises, but no matter what you’ll be able to see the incredible crater with deep red rocks once the sun has fully risen.

Exploring the Grounds at Lumeria Maui – Man did I try to take a photo beautiful enough to do this property justice, but I don’t think I even came close. Imagine the most lush place you’ve ever seen, add in some gorgeous red and purple plants, palms, and hibiscus flowers. Then include a few beautiful buddha statues, twinkle lights in the trees, an area with 4-5 hammocks, a great lawn and a stunning pool. Please just come visit this magical hotel if you ever get the chance! The food was to die for, too.

Dancing for Donuts | 7 Favorite Moments from the We Are Haumea Retreat in Maui

Beach Workout + Cleanup – This one was another super special moment to me. On day three, we did a bit of sculpting on Baby Beach, then spent about 40 minutes picking up micro plastic from the beach. At first you don’t even notice it (it almost looks like specks of colorful seaglass) but then you realize it’s EVERYWHERE – just tiny pieces of plastic that sea creatures like turtles can accidentally swallow littering the beach. Seeing how real this micro plastic problem is made me feel a bit helpless, but also motivated to reduce my plastic usage now that I’m back home. I’m also grateful that we had the opportunity to give back to the land we were visiting.

Well, if you made it the end of this post, you’re a rockstar and I can’t even begin to express how much gratitude I have for this platform and the incredible people it’s brought into my life. If you want more, you can watch my vlog from the trip below:

Thank you for reading and please let me know if the comments if you have any questions! I truly think anyone could benefit from attending a retreat like We Are Haumea – it truly is life changing!

xo Jordan

Celebrating 2019 in Baha Mar

Dancing for Donuts | Celebrating 2019 in Baha Mar

I know I’m a few days late, but HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!! Man, am I ready for 2019 you guys. I took a much needed 2-week break (from life, work, all the things) and while I feel a liiiittle bit behind getting back into things, I feel SO motivated and well-rested.

After spending a week at home in New York, my entire family and boyfriend went to the Bahamas to ring in the new year in Baha Mar! If you’ve never been there, it’s basically three gorgeous hotels rolled into one big resort property with a casino, convention center, pools, beaches, and more. I knew I would have fun going into it, but this place beyondddd exceeded my expectations! We had such a blast and I miss it already!

Dancing for Donuts | Celebrating 2019 in Baha Mar

I won’t blab too much, but here’s a collection of photos I took while we were there! We stayed at the Grand Hyatt Baha Mar and spent the majority of our time on the property eating their delicious food, soaking up the sun, exploring the grounds and relaxing. They also had an incredible gym that overlooked the property and even had some machines outside. Let me tell ya, those views alone were motivating😍

We were able to watch fireworks on NYE from my parents’ balcony, which was probably the most epic fireworks show I’ve ever seen in my life. They also have a sanctuary with sharks, manta rays and sea turtles, an area where flamingos live, and all the food trucks are actually air streams – it’s SO cool. You can even blend your own daquiri by peddling a bike, but I forgot to take a photo! Here are a bunch of photos I DID take, though…

Dancing for Donuts | Celebrating 2019 in Baha Mar Dancing for Donuts | Celebrating 2019 in Baha Mar Dancing for Donuts | Celebrating 2019 in Baha Mar Dancing for Donuts | Celebrating 2019 in Baha Mar Dancing for Donuts | Celebrating 2019 in Baha Mar Dancing for Donuts | Celebrating 2019 in Baha Mar
Dancing for Donuts | Celebrating 2019 in Baha Mar
Dancing for Donuts | Celebrating 2019 in Baha Mar Dancing for Donuts | Celebrating 2019 in Baha Mar Dancing for Donuts | Celebrating 2019 in Baha Mar Dancing for Donuts | Celebrating 2019 in Baha Mar Dancing for Donuts | Celebrating 2019 in Baha Mar Dancing for Donuts | Celebrating 2019 in Baha Mar Dancing for Donuts | Celebrating 2019 in Baha Mar Dancing for Donuts | Celebrating 2019 in Baha Mar Dancing for Donuts | Celebrating 2019 in Baha Mar Dancing for Donuts | Celebrating 2019 in Baha Mar

Have you ever been to Baha Mar? If you haven’t, I highly recommend it!!! I wish we could’ve stayed an extra day, but maybe I’ll just have to go back😊

xo Jordan

Dancing for Donuts | Celebrating 2019 in Baha Mar

Top 10 Posts of 2017

Hi friends and Happy (almost) New Year!!!!

Dancing for Donuts | Top 10 Posts of 2017

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday! I obviously wanted to take some time this week to just soak up as much time with my family as possible, so I did take a mini blog-break. As I sit on the train down to D.C., I’m feeling so unbelievably grateful for having the opportunity to travel home for the holidays and to work remotely. I hope you all were able to, as well!

This year has been pretty nuts in so many ways, particularly for the world (and this country) in general, but personally I experienced a ton of personal growth, adventuring, and figuring out where I want to be in life. I expanded my skillset professionally, started growing my blog, strengthened new and old friendships, moved into a new apartment with my boyfriend, and traveled to so many new places. It’s been quite the year!

I just want to thank you all so much for reading my blog, you have no idea how fulfilling it has been to create content and have this creative outlet. Reading your comments and hearing your feedback makes me so happy, and I’m honored to be able to share this bit of my life with you. With that, I wanted to take a quick moment to wrap up the year with my top 10 posts of 2017! I’m looking forward to spending even more time in the kitchen and on DFD in the upcoming year, so please let me know in the comments if there’s anything you’d like to see more or less of, or even something different entirely!

1. 3-Ingredient Fizzy Popsicles

Dancing for Donuts | 3-Ingredient Fizzy Popsicles with Sparkling Ice.

 

2. WIAW – What I Ate Wednesday #1

Dancing for Donuts | What I Ate Wednesday.

3. WIAW – What I Ate Wednesday #3

Dancing for Donuts | WIAW #3

4. Babes on a Budget: 3-Ingredient Cinnamon Raisin Energy Bites

Babes on a Budget: 3-Ingredient Cinnamon Raisin Energy Bites.

5. How to Pick the Perfect Healthy Afternoon Snack

Choosing the Perfect Healthy Afternoon Snack with Shine Organics Superfood Pouches | Dancing for Donuts

6. Balancing a Healthy Life With a Fun One

Dancing for Donuts | Balancing a Healthy Life with a Fun One.

7. Portugal Travel Guide

Dancing for Donuts | Portugal Travel Guide.

8. Saying Yes to the Big Things

Dancing for Donuts | Saying Yes to the Big Things.

9. Easiest Pumpkin Pie Crescent Rolls

Dancing for Donuts | Easiest Pumpkin Pie Crescent Rolls for an Immaculate Thanksgiving

10. Staying Healthy on the Go [+ My New Favorite Smoothie!] 

Dancing for Donuts | Staying Healthy On-The-Go with Kiwami Greens.

Thank you again for all of your always and I hope you have the happiest new year!!! See you in 2018 🙂

xo Jordan

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.

IMG_3083

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

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.