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

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

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.

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

Weekend Recap: 24 Hours in San Diego.

Helloooooo party people! Did everyone have a good weekend? I hope so!!

My dad came into town Saturday morning for conference in San Diego, so I picked him up at LAX before we grabbed lunch and headed south! I wanted to show him the neighborhood I work in and then took him to Hot’s KitchenHot’s Kitchen in Hermosa for some grub. Their tacos are THE best. If you’re ever in the area, go go go.

Dancing for Donuts | Weekend Recap: 24 Hours in San Diego.

Our drive to SD took a bit longer than we had expected (ohhhh LA traffic), so we didn’t make it to the zoo like we wanted to, but that was okay! We checked into the hotel (the Grand Hyatt) and rested for a few before we walked over to dinner.

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My dad had read an article about Ironside Fish & Oyster, so we made a reservation there a few weeks ago. Let me just tell you, this place is a MUST. Like literally do not skip this one if you’re in San Diego, I can’t say enough wonderful things.

Dancing for Donuts | Weekend Recap: 24 Hours in San Diego.

We started 2 delicious drinks, green lip mussels (YUM) and their famous octopus & chorizo appetizer. For dinner, we both had two delicious fish filets, mine was Escolar and dad’s was Thresher, with lemon butter and a side of greens.

Dancing for Donuts | Weekend Recap: 24 Hours in San Diego.

We also ordered the charred broccolini and romanesco with mint pistachio pesto on the side. So freakin’ delicious. We were obviously super stuffed after dinner, but couldn’t pass up their new panna cotta dessert with angel food cake, rhubarb, and strawberry ice cream. UNREAL. Then, Sunday morning we woke up early and ventured out to Coronado Del Mar.

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I don’t know about you, but I had literally never heard of this place and apparently Walt Disney modeled off one of the famous hotels at Disneyland after the Hotel del Coronado. So, obviously, we had to go see it and it turned out they were doing a Sunday brunch buffet (aka the DREAM).

Dancing for Donuts | Weekend Recap: 24 Hours in San Diego.

After stuffing our faces with insanely good omelettes, fruit, pastries, fresh juice and coffee, we walked for about 3 miles on the beach. The weather couldn’t have been more perfect – sun and a slight breeze.

Dancing for Donuts | Weekend Recap: 24 Hours in San Diego.

Apparently the beach by the hotel is also ranked #7 in the country or something and for good reason! I wish I had brought a swimsuit and had more time, but I’m hoping to go back very soon!

Dancing for Donuts | Weekend Recap: 24 Hours in San Diego.

I had to head back to LA in the early afternoon since the traffic was already building, but spending 24 hours with my dad was the best. My parents don’t come out west very often, so when they do it feels extra special 🙂

Dancing for Donuts | Weekend Recap: 24 Hours in San Diego.

Hope your Monday is short and your coffee is strong. Be back soon!

xo Jordan

Colorado Recap.

Hi there! Sorry I disappeared for a second there, I was in Colorado for my family’s annual ski trip and then this week has been absolute craziness catching up!

Dancing for Donuts | Colorado Recap.

After a crazy flight out of LAX (re-routed to Vegas for a medical emergency and then grounded for a technical error), I finally reunited with my family late last Wednesday afternoon! Shoutout to Southwest for killer customer service though, I have to hand it to ’em.

Dancing for Donuts | Colorado Recap.

The drive to Breckenridge, where my family has been staying for the past 15 or so years, takes about 2 hours. We’ve been staying there versus Vail, Beaver Creek or Keystone (which we also love and visit!) because the town of Breck is so stinkin’ cute. They have incredible restaurants, great shops, and the skiing is incredible.

Dancing for Donuts | Colorado Recap.

We’ve always stayed with Vail Resorts, but for the past few years in particular we stay at the Grand Lodge on Peak 7 (highly recommended!). Breck has 5 different peaks you can stay on and a ton of variety in the trails, which is another great reason to go there! Something for everyone 🙂

Dancing for Donuts | Colorado Recap.

Wednesday night we went to one of our favorite restaurants, Hearthstone, which is definitely one of the fancier ones in the area. The food is always unrealI can honestly say that we haven’t had a sub-par experience there in decades! (Also how cute are those Christmas lights?) My mom and I split the salmon and steak, but we all ended up kind of sharing everything anyway because everyone’s was so delicious!

Dancing for Donuts | Colorado Recap.

Thursday I skiied at Breckenridge with my mom and dad. The snow was so perfect and the mountain wasn’t too crowded. We even stopped for hot cocoa and my brother met us outside. It was the best!!

Dancing for Donuts | Colorado Recap.

That night, we went for taco’s at our favorite place, Breckenridge Taphouse. Talk about another place that never lets us down – their tacos are to die for and the drinks don’t disappoint either! If you can make it there for happy hour too, you will not be disappointed!

Dancing for Donuts | Colorado Recap.

By Friday morning, my boyfriend was in town and we all headed over to Vail where the Burton U.S. Open was being held. We skiied in the morning and then watched the competition all afternoon.

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I’ll tell ya, nothing gets me inspired like watching snowboarders absolutely crush it on the half-pipe and those giant ass jumps they carve out of the side of the mountain. I’m a pretty decent boarder, but I’m way too much of a pansy to try any tricks :/ I’m so afraid of getting hurt, but next year I really want to take a lesson to learn some basic jumps. If you’re still reading this in a year, please remind me that I’m saying this and hold me accountable so I can’t puss out again. I really want to look like this guy someday (or never)…

Dancing for Donuts | Colorado Recap.

Saturday it was back to skiing at Breck for another perfect day. I can’t even tell you in words or pictures how beautiful is was, but I will say that it 40 degrees and sunny on a snow covered mountain top with near 360 degree views. Aka the most gorgeous Saturday I could ask for.

Dancing for Donuts | Colorado Recap.

My family had to head out Saturday night back to Denver, but before leaving we all grabbed happy hour at Twist, one of our newer favorites in town! My really parents like to over order and it’s pretty much the best thing ever. Standouts from this meal were hands down the mac and cheese, trout dip and sliders, but absolutely everything was amazing!

Dancing for Donuts | Colorado Recap.

Saturday night was spent with the boy, first by the fire and then in the outdoor hot tub with some hard cider.

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We left Sunday morning after breakfast at Columbine Cafe (a must if you’re in town, but go early ’cause the line gets long!) and drove back to Denver for our flight. We surprisingly didn’t hit traffic, so we had time for Bloody Mary’s before heading back to LA.

Dancing for Donuts | Colorado Recap.

The trip went by so quickly and I was definitely sad to leave and say goodbye, but I’m so happy I was able to spend the days I had with my favorite people.

Dancing for Donuts | Colorado Recap.

As I get older, I realize how precious vacation is and how important it is to use that time to just be with people you love. I’m so lucky to have a family that reunites throughout the year and I’m already counting down until our next trip!

Dancing for Donuts | Colorado Recap.

I hope everyone’s having a great week – promise I’ll post a recipe soon, I’ve been cooking up a storm these days!

xo jordan

Weekend Recap: San Francisco & Sonoma.

I’m not gonna lie to you, it’s only 7:15pm and I’m about ready to pass the F out.

Even though I had to wake up at 5am for my flight back in time for work this morning, I feel badly complaining since I had pretty much the best time ever up in the Bay Area this weekend. Since my company allows us to work from anywhere on Fridays and my boyfriend works up in SF half the week, I decided to fly up Thursday night (on a $96 round-trip flight on Virgin from LA, YES PLEASE).

Dancing for Donuts | Weekend Recap: San Francisco & Sonoma.

After a quick workout Friday morning and a few hours of working from the hotel (The Hilton in Union Square), I headed down to the Mission to meet my best friend for lunch. She works at Tartine, which is quite possibly the best bakery in San Francisco. She spoiled the heck out of me with a ham & gruyere panini, a chocolate croissant, lemon tart, and this chocolate bar thing with jam? Honestly it was all insanely delicious and I’m kind of craving that lemon thing right now…

Dancing for Donuts | Weekend Recap: San Francisco & Sonoma.

I worked out of The Mill all afternoon before meeting up with the boy for happy hour. We had dinner reservations at 8, so we popped back to the hotel to get ready and then strolled over to Hops & Hominy. If you haven’t been here yet, you need to. Granted, I didn’t take a single picture, but that should be a testament to how good the food was and how I scarfed it down before any snaps could be shot. They start you out with some amazing cornbread, and then we split the mac & cheese (do ittttttttt), spicy chicken wings and the most amazing po’boy I’ve ever had. The old bay fries on the side didn’t hurt, either.

Dancing for Donuts | Weekend Recap: San Francisco & Sonoma.

The next day, we picked up a rental car on the earlier side and drove out to wine country. Luckily we were able to check in early at The Lodge at Sonoma Renaissance Resort and Spa. Our room was so perfect, complete with a fireplace and one of those bathtubs you can watch the tv from. Have you ever seen one of those?! They’re the best.

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Next on our itinerary were 3 wine tastings: Cline Family Cellars, Gloria Ferrer and Buena Vista. I loved how different these wineries all were from each other, but they were all top notch and I’d recommend them in a heartbeat! Cline actually had a free tasting with 5 different samples. You could pick from a variety to suit your tastes, so I went with 3 whites, a red and a dessert wine.

Dancing for Donuts | Weekend Recap: San Francisco & Sonoma.

They gave a small piece of chocolate with the dessert wine so you could pair the flavors – it was SO good! The property at Cline is gorgeous and there are tons of tables for picnicking in the back, which I would love to do next time!

Dancing for Donuts | Weekend Recap: San Francisco & Sonoma.

Gloria Ferrer was my favorite of the three, I think. At the base of the rolling hills and looking out over a field, this winery specializes in sparkling wines. It was a touch on the expensive side, but with the ambience it was so worth it. We each tried 3 different varieties that came served with breadsticks (so you don’t get tooooo tipsy!). They also have cozy blankets because it tends to get a little chilly, which I was very grateful for since the views were way too pretty to sit inside!

Dancing for Donuts | Weekend Recap: San Francisco & Sonoma.

Our final stop was Buena Vista, a more European looking winery nestled in the woods. Our tasting here was the most extensive – I think we each tried about 6 or 7 different varieties, both regular and reserve. We nibbled on some cheese and crackers and enjoyed our tasting so much that we bought a bottle of the Pinot Noir – my favorite of the entire day! Afterwards, we went back to the hotel for another mini-tasting and a glass of sangria (both complimentary), and then jumped in the hot tub for half an hour or so. It was perfect.

Dancing for Donuts | Weekend Recap: San Francisco & Sonoma.

Dinner was at a newer restaurant in downtown Sonoma called Tasca Tasca. I wanted to eat here because it was Portuguese-style tapas, which reminds me of our trip to Portugal last July. The food was outstanding and I ate entirely too much. They don’t take reservations, but we didn’t have to wait at all! The hotel provided a free shuttle too, which was amazing.

Dancing for Donuts | Weekend Recap: San Francisco & Sonoma.

On Sunday, we slept in a little and then forced ourselves to workout. Sometimes getting to the gym is the hardest part, but I try to just tell myself I’ll do 30 minutes because it’s better than nothing, and then if I stay longer that’s great! I’m so glad we got to sweat a little after all the indulging over the weekend. Our post-workout breakfast was at Community Cafe, which is just a 5-minute drive from downtown. We split the huevos rancheros and this chicken hash, which were both delicious!

Dancing for Donuts | Weekend Recap: San Francisco & Sonoma.

On our drive back to San Francisco, we stopped at Muir Woods for a mile and a half walk (so pretty, one of my favorite parks!), a pitstop at the Golden Gate bridge, Bloody Mary’s and some appetizers at Cliff House (epic views), and a little stroll along Ocean Beach.

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We rounded off the weekend with homemade pizza and dessert with a friend who graciously offered to host us for the night. I couldn’t have asked for a better 3 days, especially with all the chaos going on in the world right now.

Dancing for Donuts | Weekend Recap: San Francisco & Sonoma.

I can’t wait for my next trip up to Northern California – let me know if you have any suggestions for next time!! Have a great week, y’all 🙂

xo Jordan