Hello All and HAPPY NEW YEAR!
I hope everyone had a great holiday season and got to kick back, relax and catch up with loved ones and, most importantly, themselves (I love my “me” days)! I just wanted to take the time to thank all of you who have supported me and my blog throughout 2016. I have truly grown leaps and bounds from when I first started out and, most importantly, blogging has remained a much-loved release. However, in 2017, I have a resolution to make this blog my project, a passion, as opposed to “just a hobby.” I want to continue to create and share and build connections with those such as you, exchange ideas, and influence one another – both in fashion and beyond. I’m hoping that now that I’ve officially written this resolution down AND published it, I will stick to it like super glue. So, let’s start off 2017 with a brand new post and a supa corny video!
*All looks linked at end of post
Don’t get me wrong – I love Christmas (live for it, actually!) and the days leading up to it, but something just felt so right about hopping on a plane right after the celebrations and being whisked away to a land of palm trees instead of Christmas trees.
I’ve never spent New Years in another country before, but Aruba was a great choice for my first international NYE experience. Although this was my second time visiting the island, the energy was completely different (in a good way, of course).
We landed in Aruba 3 days after Christmas and checked into the Hilton along the main strip of Palm Beach. Commence the start of sunbathing and ocean-floating all week long! Since it was my second time in Aruba, I felt like I already knew the ins and outs of the activities and restaurants and things to do, but I was surprised by all that I was introduced to my second time around.
One of my Christmas gifts from my boyfriend was a horseback ride through the countryside of Aruba. I’ve been craving a good gallop ever since I graduated college and started my job, leaving me with very little time to ride like I used to. Needless to say, this was a perfect gift and I couldn’t wait to get to the ranch to start our ride! Once on board of my white Paso Fino, Jessie, we spent the afternoon riding through the desert, galloping along the beach, and stopping at the Alto Vista Chapel for some fresh coconut water and a peek at the chapel before our ride back home through the desert.
New Years Eve and day brought even more fun. In the days leading up to December 31st, fireworks were going off at all hours of the day and night. One of the locals told me and Ian that fireworks are illegal in Aruba EXCEPT for the week of New Years – which was why everyone was pretty much going crazy with their sparklers. The night of New Years eve, Moomba Beach (by the Mariott) threw a great beach party complete with live music, fairy lights everywhere, and a Macy’s-esque fireworks display on the beach. Nothing like ringing in the year with a midnight kiss and an Aruba Ariba in hand while wearing a sequin-covered dress!
Speaking of dresses, I was so happy that everything I ordered for the trip arrived and fit perfectly (thanks Revolve <3)! I forgot how much I missed being able to throw on sundresses and sandals and calling it a day now that I have to pick out layers on layers to wear in freezing New York…
One of my favorite pieces was this sunset-colored dress by ale. by Alessandra. I stuck with the golden hues of the dress by pairing them with cognac leather block heels, bronze rings by ettika (I just adore that, when stacked together, they resemble a compass arrow), and my Louis Vuitton clutch.
Another much loved outfit was this striped piece by Motel. I was eyeing this dress for a while but didn’t really have anywhere to wear it until now. Plus, it was on sale so…treat yoself. Paired with my colorful Soludos sandals, this outfit was a winner for a night of some of the best BBQ on the island and some drinks and dancing afterwards.
Of course, no getaway suitcase would be complete without some brand new bikinis. Two of my favorite new finds come from Lovers and Friends and Ete Swimwear.
The Azure bikini from Ete Swimwear is my idea of the perfect bikini. Cheeky bottoms, feminine ruffles, triangle top, and beautiful hand-painted patterns inspired by the sea. Needless to say, I was so happy to throw this set on for the first time since ordering this bikini in the fall. Paired with a large sun-hat, I was perfectly content lounging on the beach, reading books, and getting a tan. Yet, this bikini is comfortable enough to take out on an impromptu snorkeling trip, where we explored two sunken ships and a reef.
This pink Lovers and Friends bikini was on sale during Christmas so I snagged it for a song. With a tropical color and crocheted detailing on the top and bottoms, this set was a shoe-in for an island vacation. Did I mention how much I adore high-necked bathing suits? This cut helps elongate your body (especially your torso) and highlights those gorgeous shoulders. Plus, because of it’s coverage, the bathing suit looks great paired with a pair of high-waisted shorts for when you decide to take some time off from the beach and grab a low-key lunch.
Of course, I brought my tried and true Triangl suit as well, which I wore for the New Years Day ‘polar plunge’ – a tradition held on Moomba beach where, at 12:00 sharp, participants run into the the ocean in winter hats and then enjoy a warm cup of pea soup on the beach. Everything, including the hats, is free and sponsored by Unox Erwtensoep – a Dutch brand of soup. So much fun (even when you eat sh*t on your run down to the ocean like I did…)!
Eating is one of the best things about travelling, and there is no shortage of amazing food in Aruba. Here are a few of my recommendations:
- Madame Janette’s: a beautifully decorated, romantic spot for dinner. It was one of the first restaurants established on the island and has an amazing mix of traditional Dutch food with a fresh Caribbean flair. Their bread and herbed is addicting (literally one of the best loavess I’ve ever had) and, if you’re a beer drinker, their list of craft beers is long. My pick? Their original almond crusted grouper. Can’t ever go wrong with that.
- El Gaucho’s: A favorite of Ian’s, this Argentinian steakhouse has arguably one of the best steaks in the world. Most people opt for their signature Gaucho steak, but there are other options of meat and vegetarian dishes for those who aren’t too crazy about red meat. In my opinion, their sides are to die for – if you don’t order the broccoli and garlic as one of your three sides, you are literally doing yourself a disservice.
- Papiamento: Another stunning venue for dinner, it feels like you are dining in the backyard of an extravagant villa. Focusing mainly on Caribbean-inspired dishes using the freshest ingredients from the land and sea, there is something for everyone here. I highly recommend one of their seafood curries or broths, but you really can’t go wrong with whatever you order.
- Wacky Wahoo: What was once a hole-in-the wall locals place turned into an island sensation. All the fish served was caught that morning, and the plates are hefty and filling. I had my first taste of barracuda there, topped with lobster. Mouth. Gasm. Served with vegetables and rice, my tummy was never happier. If you order their catch-of-the day special, you should be good to go (for seconds, that is).
- Eduardo’s Beach Shack: The perfect spot for a healthy, fruitful breakfast or lunch. With juices, smoothies, colorful smoothie bowls overflowing with fresh fruit, and healthy raw, vegan, gluten free protein balls that you can snack on throughout the day, it is a great option for food without ever having to leave the beach!
- Gardenfresh Cafe: The closest you can get to an Aruban Sweetgreen! Serving up fresh, healthy salads and sandwiches, smoothies, vegetarian lasagnas, and burritos, this place is a catch-all for those who want a healthy but filling lunch. Plus, you can take it to-go and eat it back on the beach!
- Craft: A new find for us – this small patio-seating cafe is great for both breakfast and, believe it or not, drinks! In the morning, the offer amazing, freshly ground coffees and matcha lattes as well as healthy breakfast foods like their ‘Happy Hippie Oatmeal’ and Matcha bowl, both filled with fruit and flavor. At night, their cocktail menu is long and stacked with top shelf liquors.
While sad to hop on a plane and head back to the bitter cold of NYC, I know that I will surely be back to Aruba soon. After all, it is One Happy Island!
Striped Lace-up Sandals: Soludos
Stacked rings: Ettika