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

5 Reasons to Visit Bear Valley, California

Hey y’all! Did everyone have a good holiday weekend?

We got back last night after spending ours in Northern California with our pup at a friend’s cabin! It was our second time making the drive up there and man, I wish that place was closer. It’s SO beautiful and relaxing up there!!

We were in Bear Valley, California (not to be confused with Big Bear) and it’s funny because as awesome as it is up there, I feel like most people don’t know about it! Or, at least people from the SoCal region. It’s about 6.5 hours north of LA and east of Fresno, although if you go with a puppy, it may take a bit longer😅

Bear Valley and the surrounding towns have so much to offer, so keep on reading if you’re looking for a new place to explore on the west coast!

Bear Valley Mountain – This is probably the most well-known spot in the area because in the winter it draws a pretty decent skiing and snowboarding crowd! I actually came here on New Year’s Eve two and a half years ago and it’s a nice size mountain when the lower part of it is open! In the summer, there’s a ton of hiking and a nearby river you can canoe, kayak or SUP in. This time we hiked down what’s known as a double black diamond trail in the winter and then hiked up a catwalk. It was crazy to see what’s usually covered in feet of snow! And it was HARD. 

Wine Tasting – One thing I wasn’t expecting when we went up north for the weekend was how popular it is to go wine tasting in Murphys, the biggest (and cutest!) town on the way up to Bear Valley. It’s kind of like Santa Barbara in that there are just a bunch of tasting rooms on the main street, so it’s easy to go from one to the next! We consulted some locals and tasted a few bottles, but Hatcher and Aloria are highly recommended. If you go to Hatcher, be sure to grab a loaf of Todd’s freshly made sourdough, too!

Exploring Murphys – Aside from wine tasting, this town has a ton of great eats like V Bistro, Murphys Pourhouse (awesome beer selection and a huge outdoor section, too), and Alchemy, plus cute shops and some seriously tasty ice cream at Joma’s Artisan Ice Cream. If you bring your pup, they’ll even give you a little cup of their famous vanilla for them!! Ovi tried his first ice cream there and needless to say, he was a BIG fan.

Calaveras Big Trees State Park – If you’re looking to spend some time outdoors looking at some of the most beautiful Sequoia trees that ever existed, come here. It’s a huge park, I’ve been twice now and even though we visited two different areas, I’m sure you could come here 50 times and still have things to see. In the northern part, there’s a walking trail that we did during the winter (SO beautiful but very cold!) and this past weekend we did the 5-6 mile (easy) hike in the south part. It’s about $12 per car to enter the park, just fyi, but the beauty you see inside couldn’t be more worth it.

The Overall Vibe – Bear Valley is nothing like Lake Tahoe or Big Bear, it’s far quieter, much less built up, and draws a different type of out-of-towner! There are a ton of people with second homes that come from the Bay Area and from what I can tell, everyone is pretty low key, casual, outdoorsy and friendly. If you have the opportunity, I definitely recommend renting a cabin in the woods so you can enjoy some local wine and cheese on the porch, dip into a hot tub, and cozy up by the fireplace! And don’t forget to grab a fresh pie and/or cider donuts from The Red Apple on your way up😍

I feel like we have so much more to see and I’d love to snowboard on that mountain in the winter again, so I know we’ll be back soon! Where did you spend your holiday weekend?

xo Jordan

Weekend Recap: East Coast Wedding + D.C. Adventures

Hi friends! We’ve got another weekend recap today ’cause your girl has been on the MOVE.

Weekend Recap: East Coast Wedding + D.C. Adventures | Dancing for Donuts

Yep, I went out of town AGAIN. And now maybe you can see part of my motivation for wanting to be my own boss…not enough vacation days😂

It’s a pretty big wedding year for us😂 (I suppose we’re just at that age) and  since we’re both from the east coast originally, it means that a lot of our weddings are out that way, too. The good part (since the 6 hours, cross country flights are definitely NOT the highlight), is getting to spend more time with our families!

Weekend Recap: East Coast Wedding + D.C. Adventures | Dancing for Donuts

We were able to fly into DC on a red eye last Thursday night and stay with Alex’s family the nights before and after the wedding, which was so nice!

Though we spent most of Friday trying to wake up after barely sleeping the night before, we did venture out during the day for a last-minute trip to Sephora, walk through Georgetown and lunch at Leopold’s Kafé. We also went out that night for Sonny’s Pizza and drinks with some of Alex’s friends and brother, but I didn’t actually snap any pics of that…sorry😁

Weekend Recap: East Coast Wedding + D.C. Adventures | Dancing for Donuts

Saturday morning, we picked up our rental car and drove up to Lancaster, PA for the wedding. It was for our friends Will and Justine from b-school at this beautiful venue called The Farm at Eagles Ridge. I didn’t take a ton of photos (sorry for being literally the worst blogger ever this weekend), but I snapped a few! The grounds were stunning, the band was amazing and the cake was AWESOME.

Weekend Recap: East Coast Wedding + D.C. Adventures | Dancing for Donuts

On Sunday, we joined people from the wedding for brunch before heading back to DC. Since the weather wasn’t amazing, we stopped by Union Market for a quick lunch and a treat. Alex’s favorite, and now mine too, is the smoked white fish salad at Neopol.

Weekend Recap: East Coast Wedding + D.C. Adventures | Dancing for Donuts

We shared a bagel with the fish and then a pb & j doughnut from District Doghnut. It was SO hard to choose, they all looked amazing, but I think we made the right choice!

Weekend Recap: East Coast Wedding + D.C. Adventures | Dancing for Donuts

Afterwards, we just hung out at home until Alex had a ton of his family and friends over for Chinese takeout and margs, aka the most fantastic way to celebrate Cinco de Mayo😂  One thing I love about Alex’s family is how welcoming they are – it’s always one big party over there and it’s always so nice to see everyone!! 

Weekend Recap: East Coast Wedding + D.C. Adventures | Dancing for Donuts

For our final day in DC, we actually fit in some exercise at a nearby gym, met some of Alex’s friends for lunch at Glens Garden Market (their salad plate is like $11.50 for a TON of amazing food), and banged out some work.

Weekend Recap: East Coast Wedding + D.C. Adventures | Dancing for Donuts

We were also spoiled enough to get some of our favorite cupcakes from Baked & Wired from Alex’s mom – if you haven’t had them, I swear they’re some of the best cupcakes I’ve ever had…second only to Magnolia Market’s of course!

Weekend Recap: East Coast Wedding + D.C. Adventures | Dancing for Donuts

Also how CUTE is Alex’s dog?! It was his birthday yesterday!! We landed back in LA around 8:30pm, then went home and crashed. It’s safe to say we had a super fun, yet exhausting weekend. It’s always a good time back on the east coast, though😊

Be back soon, once I tackle my very terrifying inbox…thanks for stopping by💗

xo Jordan

Mother/Daughter Weekend in Waco + Austin, Texas!

Been home for less than 24 hours and I already miss Texas…and my mom!

Mother/Daughter Weekend in Waco + Austin, Texas!

This past weekend, my mom and I met for a getaway in Dallas, then drove down to Waco and Austin for the weekend. We started a new tradition last year where each spring we would go on a mother/daughter trip somewhere new and this year we picked Texas…primarily so we could go see Magnolia and the Silos! We are die-hard Fixer Upper Fans 🙂

Mother/Daughter Weekend in Waco + Austin, Texas!

We ended up flying into Dallas (and somehow ended up at different airports…oops!) since it was cheaper than flying into Austin, plus the drive down there passes straight through Waco! We got to Magnolia around 11am on Friday, which I highly recommend doing!

Mother/Daughter Weekend in Waco + Austin, Texas!

I had read so much about how crowded that place can get on weekends and I totally believe it! We took a stroll through the store, which is unbelievably well-decorated and has a ton of incredible and beautiful pieces for the home and affordable prices. They also have merch, so of course I had to get a Texas t-shirt!

Mother/Daughter Weekend in Waco + Austin, Texas!

After shopping, we picked up cupcakes, a cookie and a cinnamon roll from the bakery, popped into the gardening store, and wandered around the grounds (which are so well-done, just so perfectly on point with her style!) until grabbing some lunch at one of the many food trucks.

Mother/Daughter Weekend in Waco + Austin, Texas!

We opted for grilled cheese and ate on the lawn. They have a big patch of fake grass with some bean bag chairs and lawn games. It’s seriously the cutest thing ever! Once we were done, we drove about 5 minutes away to Harp Design Co. – Clint was a regular on the show if you’re a fan too, and his store is also beautiful!

Mother/Daughter Weekend in Waco + Austin, Texas!

Saturday started with an early breakfast in the hotel – we stayed at The Driskill in downtown Austin and I swear it is the prettiest hotel in the city! I feel VERY spoiled, but I guess if you’re going to do a getaway once a year, might as well make it count! We originally were going to go on a hike held by Athleta, but it ended up getting cancelled due to rain. Instead, my mom and I walked along the river for about an hour and a half and somehow only managed to get rained on once!

Mother/Daughter Weekend in Waco + Austin, Texas!

Lunch was at a vegan restaurant called Counter Culture and my friend Helen joined us! We spent the rest of the afternoon exploring South Congress, where there are a ton of cool shops and restaurants like Allen’s Boots (my FAVE) and Amy’s Ice Cream (which we were too full to try this time!).

Mother/Daughter Weekend in Waco + Austin, Texas!

We then went to June’s All Day for an early dinner, some amazing cocktails, and delicious food! I highly recommend the fried chicken sandwich, which we ate too quickly to photograph…👌🏻

We called it a night pretty early, but not without eating the rest of our cupcakes in bed, of course!! I’m telling you, those cupcakes are the BEST I’ve ever had, and I’ve had a lot of cupcakes in my day! Highly recommend the carrot cake, coconut, and lemon lavender!

Mother/Daughter Weekend in Waco + Austin, Texas!

Sunday morning was when the Athleta hike was supposedly rescheduled for, so we went over to Barton Creek Greenbelt a bit early. We waited a bit and couldn’t seem to find anyone from the store, so we decided to venture out on our own!

Mother/Daughter Weekend in Waco + Austin, Texas!

We ended up walking along the creek, which was absolutely stunning. I had no idea Austin was so lush! I’ve been once before in June, but for some reason it just seemed extra green this time.

Mother/Daughter Weekend in Waco + Austin, Texas!

Post hike/walk, we went to a spot near to our hotel called Modern Eatery for some amazing salads (their prices are great, too!), a latté, and then went back to the hotel to hang out.

Mother/Daughter Weekend in Waco + Austin, Texas!

At about 4pm, we went over to Uncommon Objects, a super famous antique shop in Austin! I went with my friend Nicole the first time I was in Austin a few years ago and knew my mom would love it. They have such interesting stuff and the displays are done so creatively!

Mother/Daughter Weekend in Waco + Austin, Texas!

For dinner, we had reservations at Perla’s on South Congress and you GUYS. I’m 99% positive this was our most memorable meal – the drinks were unreal, the food was to die for and the service was on POINT. If I were to go back to Austin, I would for sure make reservations here again!

Mother/Daughter Weekend in Waco + Austin, Texas!

After that, we pretty much called it a night since we were so fantastically stuffed, but we had to stop one last time at Magnolia on our way back to the airport Monday morning!

Mother/Daughter Weekend in Waco + Austin, Texas!

And there ya have it! If you made it this far, I applaud you😂 There were just so many incredible moments I wanted to share! I really do love Texas and I think it’s an amazing spot to explore with loved ones.

Mother/Daughter Weekend in Waco + Austin, Texas!

I just want to give one quick shoutout to my mom who made the whole weekend possible – I know I am SO lucky to be able to call my mom my best friend and to be able to travel with her💖

xo Jordan

For more travel info on Austin, head to my older posts here and here!

Weekend Recap: Mini Girls Getaway in LA/Newport/Laguna!

Hello and Happy Monday!

Weekend Recap: Mini Girls' Getaway (LA/Newport/Laguna!) | Dancing for Donuts

This past weekend basically felt like summer here, it was crazy! And the timing couldn’t have been more perfect because my best friend Michelle came down for a visit. In just 48 hours, we covered a LOT of ground, both by foot and by car, ate like queens, and had the best time!

Weekend Recap: Mini Girls' Getaway (LA/Newport/Laguna!) | Dancing for Donuts

Saturday morning, we started off slowly with some coffee and a small breakfast at home before setting out for a beach walk in Santa Monica. After an hour or so of that (it was HOT), we decided to grab iced coffees at my favorite spot along Main Street, Dogtown Coffee. My absolutely favorite drink of all time is there Salty Dog – it’s an iced coffee with salted caramel foam. (Also I must’ve forgotten to snap a photo so that’s one from the last time I was there…oops!)

Weekend Recap: Mini Girls' Getaway (LA/Newport/Laguna!) | Dancing for Donuts

Post-coffee and walking, we headed to Pono Burger nearby for lunch. I’d been once before on a date with Alex almost three years ago, so it was nice to go back!

Weekend Recap: Mini Girls' Getaway (LA/Newport/Laguna!) | Dancing for Donuts

They obviously have some seriously amazing burgers, but we also tried their homemade potato chips, avocado dip, sweet potato fries with bacon aioli, superfood burger collard wrap. All were absolutely delicious!! I also love that everything is locally and sustainably sourced, not to mention affordable!

Weekend Recap: Mini Girls' Getaway (LA/Newport/Laguna!) | Dancing for Donuts

The afternoon took us down to Orange County where we would spend the next few hours walking along THAT beach (I told you we covered a lot of ground!) and grabbing some chocolate covered bananas – that’s the specialty down there, so if you ever go, you HAVE to try one. It’s such a refreshing treat and it’s lighter than ice cream, so perfect for the afternoon!

Weekend Recap: Mini Girls' Getaway (LA/Newport/Laguna!) | Dancing for Donuts

It felt incredible to get some Vitamin D and be a little bit active at the same time. I swear, walking with friends is my absolute favorite because you can sneak some movement in, get some fresh air, AND catch up at the same time. I can’t think of anything better!!

Weekend Recap: Mini Girls' Getaway (LA/Newport/Laguna!) | Dancing for Donuts

We then grabbed a glass of rosé at a little restaurant along the water, ventured to a nearby restaurant for some fish tacos, then headed to our hotel in Newport Beach to unwind. We stayed at the Newport Beach Bayview Marriott and though I didn’t snap any photos, that hotel was absolutely perfect for our girls’ getaway! They had a hot tub and we somehow managed to get a suite😍

Weekend Recap: Mini Girls' Getaway (LA/Newport/Laguna!) | Dancing for Donuts

In the morning, we stopped at Starbucks for some lattés and then went farther south to Thousand Steps Beach in Laguna. Though it’s a bit of a drive, it’s so worth the extra time. I’ve been there once before, but basically you go down a thousand steps or so (hence the name😅) and get to this stunning cliffside beach that’s only accessible by those stairs or to people who live on the cliff (in some seriously incredible homes!).

Weekend Recap: Mini Girls' Getaway (LA/Newport/Laguna!) | Dancing for Donuts

We walked along the beach there and got to go into the caves, which are only accessible during low tide and SO cool. It reminded me of Hawaii or Lagos, Portugal. The coastline is just breathtaking there. Plus, there’s free parking, which is not so easy to find!

Weekend Recap: Mini Girls' Getaway (LA/Newport/Laguna!) | Dancing for Donuts

Next up – Banzai Bowls! The wait was super long, but worth it. I got a pitaya bowl with spinach, hemp milk, kiwi, strawberry, banana and granola. So refreshing on a hot day!

Weekend Recap: Mini Girls' Getaway (LA/Newport/Laguna!) | Dancing for Donuts

From there, we strolled along the main street in Laguna Beach and did some window shopping before heading to Bear Flag Fish Co. for some fish burritos. I went to Bear Flag almost 8 years ago and have literally been dreaming about it ever since. There’s a reason this place is PACKED – the fish is super fresh, the options are amazing, and it’s reasonably priced. It may or may not be a good thing we don’t have one closer to my house😂

Weekend Recap: Mini Girls' Getaway (LA/Newport/Laguna!) | Dancing for Donuts

After that, we drove back up to LA so I could drop Michelle off at LAX. Goodbyes are always so hard for me, but luckily I’ll be seeing her at her bachelorette party in just a few months. I miss her already though, that’s for sure. Being an adult and having friends live so far away is hard, I’m sure you can relate!!

Weekend Recap: Mini Girls' Getaway (LA/Newport/Laguna!) | Dancing for Donuts

Anyway, thanks so much for stopping by and I hope you had a great weekend!! Even if you don’t have guests in town, I highly recommend going on an adventure in your own city when you have time☺️ 

xo Jordan

Annual Family Ski Trip in Colorado (Photo Diary!)

Hey y’all! I’m back with a super quick recap from Colorado today in case you’re looking for some winter wonderland inspo (and aren’t totally sick of seeing snow yet😂)!

Every year, my family goes to Breckenridge for our family ski trip and it’s one of my absolute favorite places EVER. We’ve been going to Colorado since I was 5 or so and even though I first learned how to ski, I now snowboard! I did have to work a bit while I was there (since being an entrepreneur means no paid vaca😅), but I had plenty of fun and did some relaxing, too!

We got to see the qualifying rounds for the Burton U.S. Open in Vail, visited the Ice Castles in Dillon, and ate some incredible food. Keep on scrollin’ for photos from my favorite moments!

Breakfast at home – apple bread french toast with greek yogurt, mashed blackberries and banana
Dancing for Donuts | Annual Family Ski Trip in Colorado
Me, mom and dad at the top of Peak 6!
Dancing for Donuts | Annual Family Ski Trip in Colorado
They have Christmas lights in town pretty much all year ’round, I think😍
Dancing for Donuts | Annual Family Ski Trip in Colorado
If you’re looking for breakfast in Breck, you HAVE to go to
Columbine Café
Before heading down into the bowls at Vail – the snow was incredible all week!
Dancing for Donuts | Annual Family Ski Trip in Colorado
Half coffee/half hot cocoa – with whipped cream, of course!
Dancing for Donuts | Annual Family Ski Trip in Colorado
What is it about snow covered mountains that’s just so dang beautiful!?
The Ice Castles are a must-see if you’re in the area. There’s a slide made of ice that’s so fun to go down – I felt like a little kid!
Dancing for Donuts | Annual Family Ski Trip in Colorado
^ hi dustin!
Breakfast sandwiches from Clint’s in town – another favorite spot of ours! They have incredible coffee and pastries, too.
Dancing for Donuts | Annual Family Ski Trip in Colorado
Capturing the sunset!
Dancing for Donuts | Annual Family Ski Trip in Colorado
The Burton U.S. Open! It was our second time getting to see it and these guys blew my MIND. I’ll never be that cool…
Dancing for Donuts | Annual Family Ski Trip in Colorado

That’s all for now! This week is busy because I’ll be working the Natural Products Expo down in Orange County for 3 full days and a ton of my foodie/wellness friends are in town, so I might be checking out until the next one. Thanks for bearing with me😊

xo Jordan

A Spontaneous Day Trip to Palm Springs

“This post is sponsored by Palm Springs but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.”

Dancing for Donuts | Spontaneous Day Trip to Palm Springs!

My boyfriend and I have this tradition where before either one of us starts a new job, we go someplace to celebrate for a little getaway first. Our first trip was to Joshua Tree about two years ago, then there was Palm Springs last year for the weekend, Laguna Beach, and this year, even though we didn’t have time to do a big trip, we knew we wanted to do something different, something FUN. Turns out, Palm Springs is close enough to LA for a pretty solid day trip🌴

Dancing for Donuts | Spontaneous Day Trip to Palm Springs!

It’s only a couple hours each way (less if you don’t hit traffic, but good luck with that😉), and if you listen to a podcast/bring some snacks + coffee for the road, you’re good to go!

The day before we left, I did some quick research on where to go and used VisitPalmSprings.com as my main point of reference. Even though there are tons of places I know I already love there, I wanted to take this trip to find some hidden gems and cool local businesses. Turns out, there are LOTS of those in Palm Springs. It’s seriously the coolest and so, so beautiful. Here’s how our spontaneous little getaway went down…

Dancing for Donuts | Spontaneous Day Trip to Palm Springs!

The Broken Yolk Café

Our first stop on the trip, The Broken Yolk Café is literally all the things I want in a morning: a diner-esque ambiance, incredible service, huge portions of delicious food, and free refills on coffee. We splurged BIG time and got eggs benedict, a skillet with chorizo, and buttermilk pancakes. The skillet and pancakes were standouts, for sure.🙌

Dancing for Donuts | Spontaneous Day Trip to Palm Springs!

Moorten Botanical Garden

This was probably my favorite part of the entire day, just because it was something so different! They give you a map at the beginning so you know what you’re looking at, which I love, and there’s so much to see both outdoors and indoors. The indoor cactarium is especially stunning because there SO many different types of plants. I recommend walking around it super slowly to really notice all it has to offer!

Dancing for Donuts | Spontaneous Day Trip to Palm Springs!

Next up – shopping!

Dancing for Donuts | Spontaneous Day Trip to Palm Springs!

Just Fabulous

After breakfast, I wanted to walk around and visit some of the cute shops in the area. If you’ve never been, Palm Springs has a pretty vibrant downtown area with all kinds of little boutiques and even some bigger stores, now that it’s becoming more developed! I knew I wanted to go to Just Fabulous – they have the CUTEST stuff. They were actually decorated for Christmas too, so they had a bazillion pretty & colorful ornaments! There were donuts, cereal bowls, popsicles, all kinds of things, but since we don’t actually have a tree here, I couldn’t justify the purchase😅

Dancing for Donuts | Spontaneous Day Trip to Palm Springs!

Thick As Thieves

Another adorable shop, Thick as Thieves is really my style. It’s just…COOL. It’s one street over from the main one and the vibe is like…bohemian hipster, if that makes sense. I honestly wanted everything. They had some ceramics, local crafts, cute clothes, hats, crystals, jewelry, the works! I’ll 100% be back – it’s a great place for gifts, too!

Dancing for Donuts | Spontaneous Day Trip to Palm Springs!

Dancing for Donuts | Spontaneous Day Trip to Palm Springs!

Kreem

This adorable ice cream shop was the last place we hit in Palm Springs before heading home for the day. The inside is beautiful, but they have the coolest flavors! I tried the vegan coconut and peppermint latté, but ended up going with the latter. If you follow me on Instagram, you know I am obsessed with peppermint lattés, so I had to do it! Alex had the raspberry cheesecake I think – that one was incredible, too!

Dancing for Donuts | Spontaneous Day Trip to Palm Springs!

Other Places in Palm Springs I Love:

Ice Cream and Shoppe – A ridiculously Instagram-worthy ice cream shop attached to a cute boutique hotel. I remember their birthday cake ice cream being one of the best things on the planet.

Koffi– Alex and I went here for coffee and breakfast one morning last time we were there! The vibes are awesome, the breakfast sandwiches are tasty and reasonably priced, and the coffee was delish!

El Jefe at The Saguaro– We came here for late afternoon drinks before dinner once and the margaritas were fantastic!! I loved checking out the hotel afterwards, although I probably wouldn’t stay there during a busy time…lots of partying😅

Cabazon Outlets – So we actually DID hit the outlets on the way home this time, I just didn’t take any photos of our shopping! Alex needed a new wallet and even though I held back (go me for having willpower for once💪🏼), the sales were fantastic. They have a ton of good stores and it’s a good place to stop on the way home!

Dancing for Donuts | Spontaneous Day Trip to Palm Springs!

Talk about a jam packed day, huh?! It was SO much fun, I honestly didn’t want to leave and am already trying to plan our next trip back. If you’re in the LA area, or even if you’re not, I highly recommend checking out Palm Springs for a relaxing and fun little trip with your family, partner, or even solo! You can also head to VisitPalmSprings.com if you need any more inspo on what to do, see, eat, or even where to stay😊

xo Jordan

Thanksgiving in Colorado: Weekend Recap

Hi friends!! I hope you all had a fantastic holiday (if you’re in the U.S., that is!) ❤️

Dancing for Donuts | Thanksgiving in Colorado: Weekend Recap

I spent Thanksgiving in Colorado this year for the first time ever! Since my brother is now married and my grandmother is no longer with us, my parents and I decided it would be fun for the three of us to meet sort of in the middle of LA and NY. Colorado is also one of our favorite places EVER (if you’ve been reading my blog for awhile, you already knew that😉).

Although we were only in Colorado for about 3 and a half days, I documented as much as possible so that I could share our trip with you. Most of this post is going to be photos, just fyi, but here’s a peek into some of my favorite places – Colorado is SO magical, you guys. I want to move there someday!

Dancing for Donuts | Thanksgiving in Colorado: Weekend Recap

Thanksgiving dinner! My mom wanted to make a full dinner, even though we were just in a rental condo! She did such an amazing job – my favorites were the kale salad, cranberry sauce, and sweet potatoes!

Dancing for Donuts | Thanksgiving in Colorado: Weekend Recap

She also made a pumpkin pie, but we didn’t have a pie pan so we used a Pyrex dish and it actually turned out amazing😂

Dancing for Donuts | Thanksgiving in Colorado: Weekend Recap

We went out to breakfast on Black Friday morning before hitting the outlets!! I didn’t actually photograph that because I inhaled it, but we love Columbine Café. Their biscuits are to die for!

Dancing for Donuts | Thanksgiving in Colorado: Weekend Recap

Half hot cocoa/half coffee with my new Williams Sonoma snowman marshmallows!! I also threw in some of my Ancient Nutrition collagen (they come in handy travel packs!).

Dancing for Donuts | Thanksgiving in Colorado: Weekend Recap

We also went to the gym a couple times and I did some light weightlifting! I used to be such a cardio bunny up until this year, and I’m really liking weightlifting. I’m surprised at myself!

Dancing for Donuts | Thanksgiving in Colorado: Weekend Recap

And even got massages – it was SUCH a treat. I am the most spoiled person ever.

Dancing for Donuts | Thanksgiving in Colorado: Weekend Recap

I used a $10 Lush bath bomb and tuned my bath pink…worth it? Probably not. But it made for a fun photo to edit😅

Dancing for Donuts | Thanksgiving in Colorado: Weekend Recap

^ Pre-flight brunch on Sunday at Brasserie Ten Ten in Boulder!

Dancing for Donuts | Thanksgiving in Colorado: Weekend Recap

And then one last selfie – saying goodbye is so much easier when you know you’ll see each other again in just a month!!

Dancing for Donuts | Thanksgiving in Colorado: Weekend Recap

As for Colorado? See you in the spring! P.s. We stay at the Grand Lodge on Peak 7 – it’s the BEST.

Where did you guys spend the holiday?! I don’t know about you, but I’m already counting down until the next one!! Less than a week til Hanukah and a month til Christmas!🎄

xo Jordan

What I Ate in Cabo

Hello hello!!! I am back from traveling and have more photos to share with you than I know what to do with😂

Dancing for Donuts | What I Ate in Cabo, Mexico

Since food is always my favorite part of travel, I wanted to share with you some of the incredible things we ate on our trip. Like last year, we stayed at our favorite hotel, the JW Marriott (which I highlyyyyyy recommend!!!!!) but also ventured out to some of our other favorite spots. We even discovered a couple of new places (like a town called Todos Santos, which is about an hour and a half from San José del Cabo) so you’ll see some of those eats below, too.

This post is definitely more for the foodie and travel lovers, so if that’s not your style I totally get it! I did more of an actual recap of our trip last year so if you’d like to hear about more of my favorite places in Cabo in general, just head to my post from last year!

Dancing for Donuts | What I Ate in Cabo, Mexico

Okay we found the CUTEST coffee shop in San José del Cabo and they had the most delicious breakfast!! It’s called Coffee Lab and it’s actually part of a coworking space, but there’s a little table indoors and then a bunch of cute patio seating. The people working there was also super nice, which I always appreciate. I cannot wait to go back!

Dancing for Donuts | What I Ate in Cabo, Mexico

The most EPIC Bloody Mary’s I’ve ever seen at Flora Farms! We came here last year for brunch and fell so unbelievably in love with both the food and the grounds (it’s an actual farm and they grow nearly every single thing they serve). We wanted to ball out a little this trip so we did brunch again AND dinner. Pro tip: make reservations as far in advance as possible because this place books up!

Dancing for Donuts | What I Ate in Cabo, Mexico

Our brunch order: the french toast with mango and banana (honestly drooling just thinking about this) and eggs! I don’t know why I don’t add fresh herbs to my eggs more often…they’re such a game changer!!

Dancing for Donuts | What I Ate in Cabo, Mexico

For dinner at Flora Farms a few days later, we shared the guanciale charcuterie plate, then a pizza with prosciutto (which was INSANE) and rabbit! I’d never had rabbit before but it was amazing. I think what made it was the sauce they had on it…and also the roasted carrots and polenta. I took a photo of it but it was blurry! Sorry ’bout that😬

Dancing for Donuts | What I Ate in Cabo, Mexico

Salsa and guac by the pool at the JW Marriott where we stayed because MEXICO. I’m pretty sure we ordered this at least twice while we were there😂

Dancing for Donuts | What I Ate in Cabo, Mexico

A coco frio from a truck on the side of the road! It was hot af while we were in Cabo and when we saw this on our drive back from the Cabo Surf Hotel one day, we knew we had to stop. This was $3.50 and had a tonnnn of fresh coconut water in it! So tasty.

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We love to go to a local grocery store to stock up on cheap snacks when we travel and this time we got our favorite bananas! I’m not sure what these are called, but they’re pretty tiny (I ate about 3 at once) and were perfect for a pre or post workout snack.

Dancing for Donuts | What I Ate in Cabo, Mexico

Breakfast pastries and coffee at the Hotel San Cristobal in Todos Santos. We had a couple egg dishes after this, but I scarfed them down too quickly to snap a photo…😅We’re already planning to spend a night or two at this gorgeous and peaceful hotel next year!

Dancing for Donuts | What I Ate in Cabo, Mexico

Ridiculously delicious fish and shrimp tacos at a little spot off the street in Todos Santos. I can’t for the life of me remember the name of this place but it was recommended to us by the staff at the Hotel San Cristobal and did not disappoint! I’m pretty sure each of the tacos was only $1.50 too, – insane, right?!

Dancing for Donuts | What I Ate in Cabo, Mexico

Post taco popsicles in the 95 degree heat while walking through Todos Santos! I can’t find this place online, but it was super cute and turquoise on the outside! They had tons of ice cream and popsicle options, but I went for yogurt & fruit while Alex chose mango. Both delicious!

Dancing for Donuts | What I Ate in Cabo, Mexico

One of the most delicious (and fresh!) noodle bowls I’ve ever tasted at Acre. This was our first time here and we went at dusk – the grounds are so stunning, I can’t wait to visit again in the daytime!

Dancing for Donuts | What I Ate in Cabo, Mexico

Some kombucha and beer before our flight back to LA! We visited Baja Brewing Co. last year too, and knew we had to go back. We also shared some pizza and a burger that were fantastic here!

 

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]