Category Archives: travel


travel diary: nashville, tennessee

September 6, 2017

between work, Anthro and keeping track of my budget to be on track for hawaii, it’s been a whirlwind since Nashville! but i want to give you a play-by-play of the girls’ weekend there before i forget the details.

nashville. yeesh. the food, the friendly people, the adorable neighborhoods, the young professional crowd, the M E N (heart eyes, people), the drive into the city from st. louis … where do i begin?!

i’ll just start at the beginning.

my friend hallie and i drove in friday morning from st. louis. it’s about 4.5 hours and since there were approximately 25025839205809 cops on the highway, it took us just about exactly 4.5 hours. we listened to music, caught up, talked about life, post grad, relationships, friendships, and the time flew.

and of course we made time for sonic because that is MOST DEFINITELY a road trip essential.

we got in to Nashville around 2, lounged on my gal pal Hannah’s bed (she just moved there!) to catch up and then decided to walk around the area by Vanderbilt to browse and grab a snack. this, as you know by now, is one of my favorite things to do when i visit an area: find a cute street and just browse, pretending i live there. hillsboro village is a great place to do that!

we got a bite to eat at Fido’s which i would def recommend for a pick-me-up — they even had a muffin i could eat. A MUFFIN, PEOPLE. since i’m allergic to eggs and wheat, i don’t think i’ve had a muffin since…like high school? it was everything paired with the Impeached drink on iiicceeee. my friend loves a boutique on 21st called Impeccable Pig — funny name, cute clothes! and the nicest girls ever who work there.

we headed back to Hannah’s apt, got ready for dinner + the night with music blasting like we were in college again, and headed out to meet up with some friends for dinner at bar taco.

okay so bar taco. okay so we waited an hour and fifty minutes… okay so i would do it again…

here’s the thing. i really honest to goodness don’t mind waiting for restaurants. like i really just don’t. ESPECIALLY on vacation when i literally have nothing better to do than grab a margarita from the bartender and stand on the sidewalk on a beautiful summer night in Nashville.

the only reason i started to get angsty was because i was famished at about an hour twenty into the wait. but so worth it!

in the meantime, we walked down the street to the infamous Nashville wall ¬†which is outside Reese Witherspoon’s store, Draper James. naturally i didn’t take a photo in front of that wall and loved on the wall opposite. HA. i’m the worst.

the dinner was SO FREAKIN’ GOOD. definitely on the higher $$$ end for dinner but for the atmosphere and quality of food, it’s worth it!

after grabbing dinner, we went over to my friend’s new house (seriously was so darling i was swooning) and went out in midtown. you know when you luckily grab a table at a super busy place so you just post up for like 4 hours? that was us. which is my fav way to go out — not a crazy partier, ya know. ūüėČ

the next morning we headed to explore 12 south, the same street that bar taco was on because there are a ton of shops and restaurants. the frothy monkey was highly recommended but was PACKED so we got acai bowls at franklin juice co. which i could literally eat everyday for the rest of my days. acai bowls are my love language honestly.

we found floral walls….

shops that made me want to redesign everything ever (#typical)…

and then headed off to lunch at the highly recommended pinewood social. this is my top recommendation for eats & hangs in nashville. it is one of the coolest places i have ever been and i wish it could be recreated in every city!

as you can see, there is a restaurant, a coffeeshop vibes area, an outdoor area with games + tables to enjoy the weather and DELICIOUS food.


and right next door is the river and a great view of the skyline!

it was here that we made plans to go to CMA Fest next year. who’s in!?

we were SO full and tired at this point that we headed home for some pool time and naps. i love trips with good friends because there’s no pressure to jam pack every moment. we were all hitting a wall and going to the pool with my friend i haven’t seen in months was just perfect!

after our siesta we went back out for more food at edley’s bbq and even though none of us were starved, we ate everything. of course. ūüėČ

IT WAS AMAZING. truly. so stinkin’ good and worth the wait.

we sat there for awhile, soaking in the moment before deciding to call it an early night, heading to Trader Joe’s on the way back for ice cream and then curling up and watching a chick flick.

hal and i left early the next morning and i was honestly sad to leave. nashville was somewhere i could totally see myself going back to and the people, food and sights are endless! being so close to st. louis, i’m sure i’ll be back soon. ūüôā




travel tips: budget, style & research

May 16, 2017

traveling can be expensive and stressful. however, the more i travel, the less often i feel either! i have learned some tips and tricks to make the most out of every trip, decreasing the stress of making it perfect. i hope these tips help you for your next trip and i will continue to share them in my travel diaries like i did in my new york post!

  • set yourself up for success for when you come back. leave a couple of groceries in the fridge, have a plan for getting home from the airport, make your bed, do some laundry, clean your room, etc. there’s nothing worse than coming home to a messy room when you’re already overwhelmed with reality after a trip.
  • if you like to ‘gram photos, especially with your hands in them (holding an ice cream cone, holding a donut, holding a puppy — opportunities are endless!), paint your nails. hey, i said i was going to share all my tips!;) i knew my friend had made an appointment for us to get our nails done on Sunday, so i didn’t. #chipsfordays
  • have $20+ of cash just in case you need to tip anyone in-between home and your destination: airport shuttle drivers, cab drivers, airport personnel. also, it’s always smart to have cash on you when you travel! you never know when you’ll want street food or have a little emergency.
  • check with your calendar to make sure you know when your period is going to come and prepare as necessary. this is something i am hyper aware of because mine can/usually are painfully awful. i actually currently plan travel around my cycle because they’re so terrible. also when you’re clouded by hormones, a trip can seem way more daunting than it really is! it might be worth it to take note of when you’re due for aunt flow the next time you plan a getaway.
  • make a snack bag/lunch for the airport/plane ride.¬†my favorite travel snacks/meals are bananas, cashews, sweet potatoes fries with a baked chicken breast, butternut squash, rice/beans/guac, and berries. why spend start your trip spending a lot of money on sub par airport food when you can pack and eat exactly what you like?
  • pack a water bottle and fill it up at Starbucks at the airport! ask them for a venti iced water and you’re set. hydration is key to beating jet lag.
  • pack or buy groceries for breakfast.¬†two perks of this: you can get your day started instead of waiting in line for brunch and you will save money. i often pack some bananas, granola bars and grab some yogurts from the store once i am at my destination.
  • stay hydrated. for some reason, people throw health out the window when they travel and with that, water! stay hydrated and buy water bottles throughout your day. even if it is a couple more dollars per day, you’ll feel better and therefore have a better trip!
  • pack clothes that can be repurposed.¬†a necklace becomes the accessory to jazz a day dress up for a night out. that one piece swim suit becomes the top to a pair of shorts or skirt. the high waisted black jeans are paired with converse for lunch and booties for happy hour. pack clothes you can mix and match! add some layers and stick to neutral colors, and you might find yourself being able to just carry on.
  • don’t pack something you won’t wear.¬†okay this is the world’s most obvious tip but the hardest to learn: just because you’re traveling, doesn’t mean you are going to feel comfortable wearing an outfit you would never wear on your home turf. pack your favorites and that way you’ll feel confidant in anything you pull out of your bag instead of packing a lot of items that make you feel stiff and annoyed. i used to do this all the time! i would pack all these reaaaaaally trendy outfits but they were uncomfortable and i usually wore my other options. now that i have tailored my closet to the clothes i truly love, i don’t have this problem as often but it is the hardest habit to break! you don’t need to become someone you’re not when you travel — stay authentic to your style so you can pay attention to what really matters: where you are!
  • plan trips according to the weather. go see the Aspens in Colorado in the fall, jet to Ireland in August, head to New York in the spring, spend a weekend in London at Christmastime. try to think about how the weather can/will effect your trip and the activities you want to do, and plan accordingly! do keep in mind what the heavy travel seasons are for the places you have your list as well to avoid high tourist influxes and hefty flight prices.
  • space out trips, taking into account high-spending seasons.¬†planning trips for before/after christmas takes a lot more effort because of the extra costs that you’ll experience as you buy gifts and save for your vacation. i like to travel in the late fall and early spring right now while i rock the cheap flights but i have to pay attention to birthdays and holidays, including buying flights to go home. i also think about the time of the year in relation to where i live. for example, i traveled a ton in April because i know the weather is unpredictable¬†in st. louis¬†and i love all the fun, free events in the summer so i’d rather spend money on settling here in the warm months. early spring and late fall are good to crank out some trips while there’s not much to do at home (if you live somewhere cold — if you don’t, we’re all jealous).
  • research, research, research. use hashtags like #travelnewyork and #newforkcity or instagram accounts to optimize social media to find the best restaurants, streets and airbnb’s. use sites like The Every Girl to look up guides to cities. stalk bloggers who have traveled or live(d) there. ask for recommendations from friends. google the city, the neighborhood, the best ice cream shops. use Yelp. and then map it all out. i spend hours before a trip making lists of things i want to do grouped by area for easy access once i am out and about. this way every opportunity for good food or sights is maximized without me trying to google something in the middle of the street with no data.
  • sort, delete and edit photos every night or else be overwhelmed by hundreds at the end of your trip. i’ll go through, one-by-one, deleting the ones i don’t want and editing in VSCO the ones i do! this makes it easier at the end of my trip to post to my blog and share with family + friends.

i will continue to share as i learn, as always! i hope this was helpful. do you have any tips + tricks to help with traveling?! do share below!


travel diary: new york, new york

May 10, 2017

i have wanted to go to New York ever since i can remember. when i sat down and made my year 23 list (can’t recommend this enough — totally holds me accountable!), i made visiting¬†NYC a priority to me and in my budget. it makes me even more excited to share this weekend with you!

****this may be a long post, but i know you’re used to that.;)

because i do a lot of research and ask for recs everytime i travel, i rarely end up doing, eating or seeing something sub par. it’s the only way to go. i use other blogs, friends/family, Instagram hashtags/accounts, Yelp and Pinterest to find the best of the best. this girl¬†isn’t about to spend a couple hundred dollars on a flight only to have a decent weekend.;) also, i have food allergies (soy, most nuts, wheat and egg whites) that can really stress me out while i travel if i don’t do research beforehand to make sure i’ll have options of yummy foods to eat.

i’ll try to incorporate as many travel tips in italics as i can throughout the tale! i am not an expert but i have traveled my fair share, especially while living abroad for a year, so i have learned some tricks along the way to save money and sanity. ūüėČ sharing is caring! if you can learn from my mistakes or successes, that’s a huge win in my book!

also, if you have any tips, PLEASE comment! i love when the blog creates a community that helps each other.

let’s get started!


f r i d a yyyy

i woke up Friday at 5:30 am, threw on the clothes i laid out the night before, didn’t put on make up (i always put on any make up i want wear when i land at the final destination – so much more comfortable and better for your face), ate a big breakfast (key for surviving a day of travel) and Ubered to the airport.

the flight was smooth as can be and i still landed on time around 12 pm despite being delayed. cha ching.

in my head, i thought la guardia would be a nice airport and i’d change in the bathroom when i landed before enjoying a great airport lunch since i had some time to kill before my friend landed. (try not to wear an outfit you want to wear during your trip on the plane. the chance of you spilling or just feeling gross in those clothes is VERY high so wear¬†travel clothes that you can throw on for¬†the way back as well.)

unfortunately, la guardia is an awful, small, dirty airport. to be blunt. hehe. it made me a little flustered but i checked myself before i became a whiny, priveleged mess and changed in a very tiny bathroom stall while trying to not touch too many surfaces.;) i actually ended up randomly chatting with a airport attendant while i did my make up and gave her advice on how to do her hair. i am never not making friends.

i headed outside, asked where to find the shuttle to where Ubers can pick up which is a little outside the airport terminal and got on said shuttle. i requested an UberXL by accident (yes, i have taken many Ubers before and no, i don’t know why i couldn’t figure out in that moment where the Uber Pool request was. fatigue? hunger? cloudy weather?). so that was a fun $48 to spend right off the bat. ughhhhhh aniaaaaa whyyyyyyy.

one thing you have to learn when you travel is to just suck it up when it comes to spending money, especially in unexpected ways. that sounds blunt but it’s the way i see my friends get so frustrated time and time again. you’re traveling. if you accidentally spend too much on a cab, there’s nothing you can do about it in the moment and the last thing you want to do is ruin the rest of your trip. (this is a great life lesson i learned as well! just gotta go with the flow!) if you budgeted for the trip, you have the money. even though i always incorporate ways to be thrifty, i try not to get so so obsessed with every penny i spend or it’ll ruin my experience. i chose in that moment to not beat myself up and just laughed when the guy asked where the rest of my group was. nope, just me in this large lincoln suv, sir!

my friend’s flights got delayed as she was coming back from spring break. again, this could have deterred my excited attitude but i chose to push those bad vibes aside and see the glass half full. i had already asked her for a coffeeshop recommendation near her apartment where i could sit while i waited and it was actually a blessing in disguise because the previous¬†week was really heavy in new projects at work so i had been feeling a little tapped out. i was able to have some “i” time (introvert time — my phrase i use with close friends/family to designate recharging time) at Manhattanville Coffee and cozy up with my computer at the cafe. i face timed¬†my parents who are traveling in Europe, perused Pinterest, and caught up with my sister.

i met up with my friend at 5 outside her apartment and we dropped off our bags, freshened up and headed out to have a night in the city. i had researched a couple of things to do that were close together for that evening, knowing that i would probably hit a wall around 8/9 pm. traveling on the weekend is a great way to just getaway and have an adventure, but i have learned to allow give myself early nights/moments of rest since it can be difficult to jet off after and before long weeks of work.

i bought a 7-day pass for unlimited metro rides for $32 which was totally worth it even though that sounds like a lot of money. it gave me peace of mind (important while traveling and being overwhelmed by so much new) and i ended up using the metro even more because of that pass which was cool to feel like i lived there. also i really miss public transport so i enjoyed that part of the weekend immensely.

we hit all the spots in the exact order i had planned in my head because it was all so convenient.  i will literally map out food spots in relation to where we want to go so it always ends up being a walk in the park. research pays off every single time!

first stop was Milk Bar where we both got milkshakes. i could only eat a little of mine because of the wheat (i thought it was gf because of the cornflakes but that is not the case!) but i really wanted to experience the cereal milk. it totally tasted like cereal milk and feeling a bit nauseas after was totally worth it.;) if you go, i’d recommend the crack pie milkshake instead. that’s what my friend got and it was sugary goodness. i am also an ice cream snob so my expectations are very high always and forever.

we walked around manhattan and headed to the¬†MOMA. someone gave me a rec to go there Friday night since they have free admission from 4-8 pm and i am so happy to share that thrifty tidbit with you all. we got there at 7 which was actually accidentally great because there wasn’t a line and most people were starting to head out. i got to see starry night and lots of other work by some of my artists¬†which made me EXTREMELY happy. we caught up as we walked around the MOMA which yes, i am totally aware sounds almost surreal.

from there, we headed to Cafeteria, a restaurant that serves 24/7 and had been recommended to me by a couple of friends. IT WAS SOOOOO GOOD. we sat at the bar and had drinks and apps. i ordered a blackberry mojito which i will definitely be recreating this summer and we ordered sweet potato fries, sautéed cauliflower in this amazing garlic butter sauce and truffle fries to share. can i get a freaking amen?!?! the garlic butter on the cauliflower was so good that we dipped/slathered our fries in the leftover goodness. oh my.

i have been trying to see the worth of every person i encounter and ask for names as often as possible as a rule of thumb. so, out of habit, i asked the bartender what his name was and he beamed as he said “ian.” well, then ian was a complete sweetheart and waived our food costs so we just paid for our drinks. i don’t think you should make people feel special to get free food but i do think there’s something to be said about treating people like people and not like they’re there to serve you. he probably never gets asked his name! how sad is that?!

we decided to head back to harlem where she lived because i was hitting a wall even though it was only 8:30 and stopped on the way back for some yogurt and breakfast items. i was so happy to be back with her since we hadn’t seen each other since she graduated two years earlier. we crashed early and naturally i laid awake for most of the night, so giddy about the weekend.

s a t u r d a yyyy

i am an early riser but luckily so is she so we got up early Saturday morning and spent a lazy morning sipping coffee on her couch and getting ready, still out the door by 9. just the way i like it!

we took the metro back into Manhattan and spent the next hour exploring Central Park which was honestly surreal for me. i have seen that exact landscape in so many movies and tv shows so it almost felt familiar. it’s going to be stunning in a couple of weeks when the flowers bloom, but it was a lovely overcast morning and didn’t rain (thank you God) so we were able to do a quick loop before heading to our next destination.

which was Chelsea Market, another heavily recommended place to see in NY. and now i know why! it’s this really cool urban, indoor marketplace with some chain shops like Anthropologie (of course we went inside).

but more frequently, lots of little shops and restaurants/food truck style options. i really, really loved it!! there’s TONS of options for food and browsing so two of my favorite things to do in one place. one of the shops, Artists and Fleas, was particularly cool. my friend described it as Etsy in store form and that was a perfect description. it had lots of little local vendors and artisans selling their goods. i love, love, love supporting small companies (partly because it’s my dream to one day have¬†my own shop of some sort!) and loved looking around there.

we had made plans to meet up with another mutual friend who is getting her Masters at NYU so she met up with us for lunch. i splurged on a $9 juice while we waited and it was oddly a thousand percent worth it because it was amazing. #wheninNY

we bought tacos at one of the small food vendors called Los Tacos No 1. you can’t miss it: they’re cooking the food inside a tin booth¬†and it will mostly likely have a line in front of it. SO WORTH IT. i got guac + chips and a chicken taco. mexican food is easy for me with my allergies since so much of it is corn based so i was in foodie heaven AND didn’t feel sick. #winwin

there’s also a doughnut place called Doughnuttery¬†where they make tiny doughnuts that are fried right there in front of you and although i couldn’t eat them, my friend was obsessing over them. i’ll take her word for it and recommend it to you! you can get them in all sorts of flavors and i was droooooooling. so naturally i walked down the way and got myself gelato. it only made sense!;)

we left the market and walked the Highline at the perfect timing because it started to rain just as we headed back to the metro. I LOVED WALKING THE HIGHLINE. for those of you who’ve never been, imagine a walking path that is about three stories off the ground and is surrounded on both sides by really beautiful apartment buildings. there’s art, little gardens and great views of NY. my friend told me about their instagram account where you can learn more about what you’re looking at! (also: everything in NY has an instagram. EVERYTHING.)

the Chelsea area in general is just so gorgeous. it’s where DVF, Milk, boutique art galleries and lots of other designers have their offices/studios. i felt like Whitney from The City except i was just gawking from outside.

from there i headed back to Harlem to grab my bags and spent the rest of the day with my gal pal who lives in West Manhattan. she showed me the dreamy streets of SoHo, Nolita and West Village. we stopped at the store of one of my favorite designers, Ulla Johnson, and i just about fell over from love. i mean, look at this store. allllllll the heart eyes.

we just bopped around the little boutiques, chatted about our big dreams, ate ice cream in west village as we watched glam couples on their way out on the town and ate our weight in mexican. it was just the best. it felt like i lived there for those hours and that was a wonderful feeling.

the mexican restaurant is tacombi — i would recommend getting the chips + guac (the amount of guac they give is gold medal worthy) for an appetizer with a paloma followed by pollo quesadillas. oh myyyy, drooling just thinking about it! probably the best quesadilla i’ve had…maybe ever?

the ice cream shop in west village was absurdly expensive but uuuuuuhmazing. van leeuwen is artisan ice cream and they had this seriously good vegan ice cream. the prices are v high, but the quality is right on point.

we decided to end the night early because i was dropping fast. one of the best things i have come to realize while traveling is that you don’t need to do things just because of the expectations. yes, nyc has an amazing nightlife and i would love to one night have a glam night out on the town. but that weekend i was also thinking of the busy work week i was going into and was tired from finishing up work before i left. so really all i wanted was to take the metro home to a cup of tea and wash my face. so that’s what we did! there’s no reason to become something you’re not when you travel — stick to what you love and it’ll make the trip better all around!

s u n d a yyyy

i woke up sunday morning, packed my things up and walked down the street to a nearby catholic church for mass. if you need/want to go to a service when you’re visiting friends, just let them know ahead of time! i have never had a friend deter me from attending mass when they are hosting me.

i spent the rest of the day with my friend that i had met while studying abroad. she had recently moved to nyc so it was fun for her to still be a bit of a tourist in her new home. before we chat about the day, i haaaave to show you photos of her apartment. brace yourself. it looked like something out of an urban outfitters catalog. she found it through a friend of a friend and lives in one of the many bedrooms scattered throughout. this is exactly what i picture when someone says “artist loft.” what. a. dream. my eyes didn’t know what to land on.

she lives in Bushwhick so we started the day by walking around her neighborhood, which is famous for all the street art. i am not usually the biggest fan of graffiti but this was unbelievable. she says it changes all the time which we saw as artists were working on new pieces as we walked down the streets. it has this kind of hipster, oregon, authentic vibe to it and it was fun to see where she lives. we stopped in a local vintage shop that was one of the best i’ve been in and just stopped when we wanted, strolled when we wanted. you know, those sunday vibes.

she suggested we get a mani to start our sunday fun day off right and oh myyyyy, this place Local Honey. can you deal? let me know.

i haven’t gotten a manicure since my sister got married —¬†here’s a post where i chat about mastering an at-home mani/pedi! but it was really fun to be pampered after a crazy last couple of days and slow down.

we headed to williamsburg from there and it was darling. i reaaaally liked that area! there were tons of people on the street and it felt alive. all the restaurants were full and looked amazing. the street vibe was just spot on, ya know? when you feel like anyone you talk to will be super cool and really nice? love that feeling.

we headed into the SoHo area again, dropped in for lunch at this place i had staaaaalked on Instagram called The¬†Butcher’s Daughter (so yummy! a little pricey, but hey, that’s NY for ya! it’s also smaller than i imagined so be prepared for a wait!), and just bopped around that area some more. i was snapping photos left and right so it’s easier to tell the story of the afternoon that way by sharing it through my eyes with you!

^^ that adorable pink restaurant is called pietro nolita! it’s literally all pink inside. it looks like something out of a movie! we just stopped inside and snapped some photos because it was so darn cute.

we stopped at an ice cream shop, because….well, no particular reason other than the fact i wanted ice cream and OHHH MYYYYY i can’t believe we stumbled upon one of the best in new york – Morgenstern’s Finest Ice Cream. and fine it was. my friend got salted caramel and it was the best caramel ice cream i have ever had which might sound absurd, like what – does this ania girl eat ice cream for a living? but you need to know that i have an expertise in ice cream that is unparalleled since it’s one of few desserts i am not allergic to. so trust me on that one. i got the black ice cream because i was so curious – it was coconut and not super flavorful but when else will i eat black ice cream!?! if you go, get salted caramel.

they mix it all in front of you until you’re practically begging for them to hand it over. #cryingfaceemoji #hearteyesemoji

we then walked from soho to the Highline because why take a cab when you could walk and walked along the Highline again (no complaints here) to our evening spot, Gallow Green, which is on top of the McKittrick Hotel. oh my goodness. y’all if i could have my wedding reception be like this place, i would. there were twinkly lights, tiny banners, views of the city, rose properly labeled at “summer water” and just everything was right. everything. i cannot recommend making a reservation here enough!!!! the hotel is so old and cool. you take an old-fashioned elevator up to the roof and there’s all these attendants guiding you to the roof. i felt so legit and all just for a glass of wine? i can ball on a budget like that.;)

after the dreamiest glass of rose, we walked back to the metro (stopping for shake shack on the way — why are their fries so good??!) and headed back for the night! such a full, fun day. it’s so good to be refreshed on how much i can do in a day when i travel and to bring that mindset back home with me!

m o n d a yyyy

monday was chill! i headed to a coffeeshop, AP Cafe, in the morning when my pal headed to work…

and spent the morning there, editing photos and trying to wrap my brain around the busy week ahead back in Missouri.

then i met up with the amazing katherine harris, whom i interned for when i worked for The Refined Woman my senior year in college. i was her editorial assistant but since i went to school in st. louis and she lived in new york, we had never actually met! she is even more amazing in person, which i didn’t think was possible, and we had the most meaningful 1.5 hour conversation which i really didn’t want to end!

but alas, it was time to be whisked away in my chariot (**Uber) to the airport (**grungy terminal) to head back home.

overall, the trip was incredible. i am so grateful to have friends who are so willing to host and adventure with me all over the globe. spending that weekend in New York was so magical but also let me see His finger prints all over my move back to St. Louis. it is so much more expensive to live there and right now, as i explore photography and blogging and pay off loans, it’s really nice to be able to spend money on trips and shoots since the cost of living is a slice of New York’s. God knows my heart like no one else — He nails it every time. ūüôā

i hope you use and share this as you visit New York! i love making travel diaries because since i travel based so much off recommendations, it feels so nice to give some right back to ya! enjoy and hurry over to the big apple soon. ūüôā





travel diary: kansas city

April 12, 2017

last weekend i visited kansas for the first time — and it was so lovely! i mean driving through kansas is nothing to speak of BUT kansas city? SO charming! i was really impressed!


we spent friday evening enjoying the weather and walking from thou mayest coffee shop to brewery emperial. basically we just followed the outdoor seating. all the way to First Fridays, which is a LOAD of food trucks and open art galleries. food and art and good friends? i mean, what could be better?!

we spent all day saturday exploring kansas city. we hit the river market, bought flowers, ate beignets, went to the original joe’s bbq (the fries, oh THE FRIES) and then shopped around the plaza area. that are honestly impressed me so much — it was very european and right on the river. i wish st. louis would develop our downtown to have something similar because it had such a community feel to it!

since i was visiting a good friend who goes to school in lawrence, i do have one recommendation for there since we got dinner on their main street on saturday night. we got dressed up and got apps & fancy drinks at a little restaurant there called¬†715. it is so cozy and romantic — and naturally we were three girls just giggling and having loads of fun treating ourselves and catching up. ūüôā

we ordered the papas bravas and meatballs in marinara. DROOOL. it was amazing. i could’ve eaten those papas bravas everyday for forever. it was fun to eat a spanish food since one of the best days of living abroad was a day i spent with the girl i was visiting in barcelona with her dad. we ate papas bravas, drank wine and rode our bicycles from spot to spot. it was a dream and it made me nostalgic to be back with her, eating papas bravas.

it was such a good weekend. i honestly am still riding the high from it. i just get such a thrill off of seeing new places and taking photos of new things. not to mention, i was in amazing company and it was so special to me to travel with her again. although our trips abroad might have lawrence beat for scenery… ūüėČ

enjoy the trip through my eyes!


next stop: new york! do you have any suggestions for me?! i am overwhelmed with everything i want to do in three days! what are the absolute must do’s?!


travel diary: chicago, il

February 15, 2017

i visited one of my dearest friends in chicago last weekend and it was just perfectly normal. we ate, drank wine, caught up, went out, and just lived a weekend in her new normal. and it was perfect. as much as i love visiting new places, i just as much love visiting new friends.

here are a couple of snaps from the weekend — i would apologize for there not being more, but i am kind of glad there’s not. i was present there and that’s how i like it!

first trip of 2017 in the book. and a road trip checked off my year 23 bucket list.

the most gorgeous window display

mahi mahi tacos for two please

an adorable cafe that i am now obsessed with called left coast

curry bowl for the win

if i ever open my own shop, i want a little llama by the dressing rooms like this shop had

morning walks along the lake

wine courtesy of the owner — LOVED this restaurant. was called the dawson.

the gal pal herself

the way the water isn’t distinguishable from the sky

the first thing she told me about her apt is that it’s one block from TJs


travel diary: denver, co

January 25, 2017

i am still trying to figure out how to share my travels here on the blog but one thing i know for sure is that i share it best with my photos. so this travel blog will mainly be just that.

the short story of this weekend trip from december is this:

i used to live in highlands ranch, co. i lived there from 6th-12th grade and it was wonderful for so many reasons. but SO much of my time while living there was consumed with soccer as i played on club teams through my junior year of high school. while i wouldn’t change that, it did cut into my adventure time while i lived there. so going back for a weekend as a young adult with the freedom to go wherever and not have to tell my mom was quite exhilarating.;)

i was able to visit with my brother who still lives there, cruise through the mountains with the windows down blasting taylor swift and see some friends. it was the perfect getaway and reminded me why i love traveling so much.

since most of my time was spent with friends catching up over¬†good food (i highly recommend avanti food and beverage, little man ice cream, snooze¬†and city o city. AND the whole foods in boulder. i was in awe of that store.) and going on mountain drives, i’ll let the photos do the talking for my weekend in denver.



ps this ^ red rocks amphitheatre is where i graduated from high school! it’s like my favorite fun fact. also one of the coolest things i have ever/will ever do.

i’ll be keeping you in the loop on all my travels in 2017 but i had to polish off 2016 before i started new adventures.

next up: chicago.





#aniathefoodie: cafe natasha

November 28, 2016

for those of you who don’t know, i lived in st. louis for the last four years while attending saint louis university. so this city wasn’t exactly at the top of my list for places i wanted to move after graduation. i literally sold all my furniture and moved to california to look for a job while living at home with the mindset that i would never move back.

that’s not meant to sound as dramatic as it comes off.;)¬†i was just ready for something new and i placed a lot of my young adult identity in living in a new, bright city. since i had lived in st. louis, i didn’t see it as new and bright.

upon moving back, it feels like a completely different place than where i went to school. i live in a new part of the city and work in an area with a lot of young professionals. i have a different routine but a lot of familiar faces and, of course, place to eat.

there’s just a completely fresh¬†vibe. when i swing by campus to see a friend or go to ikea (long live the swedes as my dad would say), i am almost surprised to see campus¬†because it feels so different now.

with all that being said, one of the best parts of st. louis is the food scene. to say i am a foodie is an understatement. i LOVE good food and people in college constantly asked me for recommendations on where to go for dinner, brunch, ice cream and everything in-between.

so i am going to start keeping track of my ventures both in st. louis and elsewhere and label them on instagram with the hashtag #aniathefoodie so you can always search for something you saw on my instagram of something i ate through that hashtag! enjoy my first (documented) foodie experience!


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Location: 3200 South Grand Blvd.

Price: $12-17ish for an entrée

Type: Persian

I have wanted to try Cafe Natasha for FOREVER and I finally went on Sunday with my pal Sonya. It was amazing. AMAZING.

I have to preface that I love Persian food – saffron chicken, tabouleh, jasmine rice, feta cheese…it’s all good in my books.

The service was good, the $7/glass Cabernet was a hit and they also have a Gin Bar that has a trillion types of gin which would be cool if you know someone who loves gin. It’s displayed on the wall and it’s pretty darn impressive. Other than the Gin Bar, the decorations were minimal but it was clean and I was too distracted by my fat glass of wine to notice. #hangry

Anywho, Natasha (yes, like THE Natasha) took our orders and brought us our food which was pretty freaking cool. Sonya and I ordered the same thing (#typical) which I can’t find on their online menu but it was basically a big bowl of greens topped with saffron chicken, this feta cheese magical thing, cucumbers, radishes, onions and a tzatziki type of dressing. Oh, and pita chips if you can eat those! #allergiesruineverything

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IT WAS SO GOOD. The¬†proportions were spot on (which I am quite serious about – proportions can make or break a salad/dish/anything) and I would definitely recommend it. Honestly though, everything on the menu looked amaze and I can’t wait to go back to try more.

I don’t say this lightly, but it could be one of my new go-to’s for STL recommendations to people. It has options for everyone – meat lovers, falafel lovers, vegetarians and even has a gluten-free menu! If you’re in the area, it should be at the top of your list.

vibed to fixer upper while writing. i would talk about my new love for chip and joanna but i might just have to devote an entire post to that.


travel diary: bass lake, ca

August 17, 2016

(you can now ‘pin’ all my images to Pinterest! yay!!!)

every time we ask people we meet here in fresno what they love about living here, they say that the accessibility to natural beauty is their favorite. fresno itself is an agricultural hub and definitely has a small city vibe with not a lot of city action. although the things to do around town are growing, the attractions nearby are unbeatable.

i need to get out of the house every so often and have a little adventure. especially when i spend most of my week in front of a computer or lurking around my house. luckily my parents understand that my camera needs to come out every so often or i go crazy, and they are willing to take day trips with me. #threemusketeers

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this particular weekend, we ventured over to bass lake, about a two hour drive one-way. one thing you should know about me is that i LOVE driving around and listening to good music with the windows down. honestly it’s probably in my top 5 favorite things to do. i make a pretty darn good dj if i do say so myself.

so i cranked up adele, mumford & sons, billy currington … and the ‘rents got into it! mom said, very wisely, “adele has a very beautiful voice.” you heard it hear first, folks! ūüėČ

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we headed out on a small hike but mainly just enjoyed the scenery. there is such a power to nature and even just having a couple hours in the fresh air did wonders on all of us.

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naturally i had my camera slung around my neck and stopped every five seconds to take a photo. the models were quite nice and didn’t care. ūüėČ

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the lake was so blue and beautiful – it made me miss living in washington like crazy. my basically-twin-sister marea lived on a lake. we were born two days apart, our families went to the same church, we were inseparable at school and out, and i spent probably just as much time at her house as i did at my own. she lived on a lake and now whenever i see one, i am hit with nostalgia for those days of grass covered feet, root beer floats¬†and “snorkeling” for fish.

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i love the lighting in forests. i would love to do an engagement shoot in there. it’s so intimate and the light comes through in the most beautiful, speckle-y way. it makes me wonder if forest fairies exist…

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it was a beautiful day. this summer has been all about taking advantage of small moments of adventure so cruising with my parents listening to good music made all well with my soul.

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vibed to out of the woods by taylor swift while writing.


all photography is my own. i completely don’t mind if you use it for personal use! these images have been gracing my computer desktop quite a few times.