my travel bucket list

9BF4D668-AF6E-4BCE-8193-E4D5563D3A1E 2.JPG

The truth about me is that I’m never not dreaming of travel or planning my next trip. So, for a quick Monday post, I wanted to share some of the top places on my (extensive) travel bucket list. This barely scratches the surface, but it’s a good start!

Luckily, this is one I’ll cross of my list later this year but I just can’t believe I still haven’t been! I’m looking forward to going to the cute shops and bakeries, eating really good food, and enjoying the Lowcountry vibes.

jackson hole, wyoming // sun valley, idaho
They’re pretty close in proximity and features, so perhaps I’ll do both! These seem like the perfect places to visit for an outdoorsy time in the summer with lots of lake swimming and exploring.

I’ve been interested in Montreal for awhile, but especially since I’ve gotten into Louise Penny’s series which is set in Quebec, my interest has been piqued even further. I’ve heard it’s a lot like going to Europe but without the long flight and I’d love to go during Christmastime to enjoy all of the magical vibes in the city.

I feel confident that when I visit Provence, I’m going to have a tremendously hard time leaving. It looks like the absolute dreamiest place on Earth where everything is exactly my taste from the food to the environment and the decor.

I want to do this trip in two parts. One part would be staying in a luxury, grand hotel with all the trappings and doing all of the chic things one can do in a Swiss city, then the second part would be mountaineering, canyoning, and hiking in the Alps.

I’ve been wanting to visit Edinburgh specifically for as long as I can remember now because it just looks so cozy! At this point, I’d also love to take a Range Rover up to the Highlands and live out my (not tragic) Outlander dreams.

I have a full-on plan already for this trip, as a big part of its purpose is to visit my foster elephant at the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. I plan on flying into Nairobi and staying at Giraffe Manor which is the most incredible hotel right near the elephant sanctuary.

Japan is in my top three bucket list locations for so many reasons. The landscape, the food, and the culture are three things I’ve adored from afar for so long, due in part to my love for Miyazaki movies. I want to do a really extensive Japan trip where I’m able to visit Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, Okinawa, Hokkaido, and stay in a ryokan in the countryside.

I dream about a trip to Bali quite often these days, even though I should be trying to escape the humidity at home, not seeking it elsewhere 😂 But it’s just such a stunning, spiritual place where I’d love to rent a villa, eat lots of fruit, swim all day and get lots of massages.

travel guide: winter park, florida

Screen Shot 2019-07-24 at 6.27.39 PM.png

We’ve all been to Orlando, right? It’s one of the world’s biggest travel destinations because of all the theme parks, but there is actually so much more to it than that. My favorite place in the Orlando metropolitan area is Winter Park. It’s located about 40 minutes from where I live, so I spend a lot of time there and even go over just to shop at Trader Joe’s quite often.

Why do I love Winter Park? It’s a charming little town peppered with lakes and gorgeous homes of so many different styles. You’ll see a big Southern style house with a wraparound porch right next door to a Spanish casita and a London-style townhouse. On and around Park Avenue, there are tons of independent restaurants and boutiques. On certain evenings every month, you can watch a movie on the grass in the center of town and there’s the most amazing farmer’s market.

The next time you’re in the Orlando area on vacation, definitely check out Winter Park. Here are a few places to start your itinerary.

Screen Shot 2019-07-24 at 6.30.37 PM.png

A darling brunch spot with a yellow-and-white striped awning situated right on the main street of Winter Park, this is the perfect place to go for Eggs Benedict or raspberry and brie stuffed French toast on a happy weekend day, or during the week for shorter wait times.

the glass knife
I love this new spot with its standout black, pink, and gold exterior and cute outdoor seating area. They’ve got a great selection of sandwiches and lots of desserts. This is a good spot for a counter service lunch that feels a little bit more luxe.

black bean deli
They have the absolute best tres leches cake I’ve ever tasted! It used to be in a small counter service spot with no tables, but now Black Bean Deli has a larger space just around the corner.

ethos vegan kitchen
I’ve been going to Ethos for years since well before they moved locations, but the food is just as good as ever! When you’re plant based, it’s so nice to go to a restaurant and be free to order literally anything off the menu. Check out Ethos for vegan versions of your favorite comfort food like lasagna, club sandwiches, and milkshakes.

This is one of my favorite spots in Winter Park because of the thought and quality that goes into each dish. It’s a beautifully decorated Spanish restaurant with great craft cocktails and a super knowledgeable staff. Even their salads are incredible, but I highly recommend you order a Moscow Mule and their cremoso de chocolate.

This chic spot feels like something you’d find in any big city and offers a nice menu of Italian dishes from margherita pizza and potato gnocchi to squid ink mafaldine and campagna.

Notably one of the best restaurants in the region, Hillstone has been featured in publications like Garden & Gun and Southern Living. It’s situated on one of Winter Park’s many lakes, with beautiful views and a menu that makes it a great choice for special occasions.

boca winter park
This cute little spot in the heart of Winter Park specializes in seasonal, sustainable, farm-to-table food. On the menu, you’ll find fresh from the garden dishes like strawberry gazpacho and heritage tomato caprese, as well as things like charcuterie boards, truffle fries, and classic cocktails.

Screen Shot 2019-07-24 at 6.30.44 PM.png

foxtail coffee
I love this spot so much. It’s a coffee shop/cafe with a rustic feel on a tree-lined street with cute outdoor seating. The coffee and tea is really good, plus they’re eco-conscious with strawless lid cups.

the wine room
This is a really fun place for a girls night or a date if you’re in the Winter Park area. The gist is that you load up a card with whatever amount of money you’d like, then you can go around and fill your glass with all sorts of different wines priced by the ounce. This is where I first tried Meghan Markle’s favorite wine, Tignanello 😊

barnie’s coffee
If you’re shopping along Park Avenue, definitely stop in for a coffee or tea at Barnie’s. It’s a cute little shop that sits on a courtyard where there’s a bookstore and an Origins shop, so it’s the perfect place for a midday break.

new general
New General is somewhere that really reminds me of the places I’d frequent in Williamsburg when I lived in Brooklyn. The concept is a modern general store with sleek, minimalist interiors. You can grab a matcha latte or something off the seasonal menu, things like avocado toast, chia pudding, and granola bowls. Plus, they have a selection of home goods that you can shop while you sip.

Screen Shot 2019-07-24 at 6.30.54 PM.png

the grove
One of my favorite shops in Winter Park is The Grove which carries lots of great, Palm Beach-inspired pieces. My favorite part, though, is that there’s a shop golden retriever who spends his days laying on the sidewalk outside or sniffing around customers inside.

avalon exchange
This resale shop is across the street from Foxtail Coffee, so I recommend getting a chai latte and heading over. They carry brands like Free People, Supreme, Tory Burch, and more for great prices. Now, they’re not thrift store prices but the shop is curated with good quality pieces.

I love a good stop into Bluemercury, especially the one in Winter Park as it sits on a pretty corner on Park Avenue. Pop in for brands like La Mer, Dermalogica, African Botanics, and more.

the heavy
This is a really cool plant shop that’s located inside of a huge, old fish factory. I swear, the first time I went in it still smelled like fish, although that’s not the case anymore! 😂 Not only are there rooms full of gorgeous plants, but they also have food/drinks and do events.

Screen Shot 2019-07-24 at 6.30.58 PM.png

winter park farmer’s market
The WP Farmer’s Market is my favorite because it’s located by the train station on the cutest block, always filled with flowers and dogs and nice people. Not only are there produce and flower stands, but there are tons of vendors selling things like kombucha, lemonade, pineapple cocktails, and more.

see a movie at the enzian
This is one of the most charming theaters I’ve ever been to. It’s located on a shady corner in Winter Park with a beautiful outdoor seating area. The theater itself plays indie movies and documentaries while you sit on couches and eat a delicious meal or sip a glass of wine.

visit an art museum
There are actually quite a few art museums in Winter Park to visit, including The Morse Museum of Art featuring works by Louis Comfort Tiffany, the Cornell Fine Arts Museum, and the Orlando Museum of Art featuring exhibitions of both classical and modern art.

take a boutique fitness class
No matter what type of fitness you’re into, you can probably find a spot in Winter Park to do it. Take a spin class at CycleBar, try out Bar Method, Pure Barre, or barre3.

why the creator of fashion blog 'Magnolia Charles' loves the south

We’re about halfway through July’s all-Southern content on the blog and I’ve shared plenty of reasons why I love my home region. But, it’s always good to get an outside perspective, so I enlisted the help of Sally, creator of the truly swoon-worthy blog Magnolia Charles, who may not be from the South originally but whose passion for the region makes me so happy! I first became acquainted with Sally on Instagram after seeing her featured on the Gal Meets Glam story wearing one of their dresses while on a trip to Winter Park, which is nearby me and somewhere I spend a lot of time.

I was so glad to be able to chat with her about the reasons she loves the South, some of her local favorites, and what’s next for her when it comes to her exploration of the region.

Can you start by telling us where you’re from and where you are currently based now?

I’m originally from a very small town in the North of Germany and grew up in the country. I always wanted to venture out and moved to Hamburg for university and after finishing up to the capital of Germany, Berlin, for my first job. That’s where I’m based now for the last three years working in the fashion industry. Still I do have the feeling this is not where I belong. The big city is too big for me and the life here is hectic - comparable to New York City. My heart is definitely somewhere else.

I relate to that so much after living in New York City and feeling so strongly about coming back home to the South. So, what is it that you love most about the South?

The first thing coming to my mind while thinking about the South are oak trees, the ocean and waterways and the architecture. I have this painting in my head of those serene trees and a colonial style house with of front porch and colored window shutters. Next to the fairytale aesthetics of the South, I love the more relaxed lifestyle and friendly people. They really enjoy life in all its glory. It’s such a different life to one in a big city and much more appealing to me. And the weather is wonderful and sunny year round. It’s its own special world that I’d love to be a part of.

Being from Europe, what is it that sparked your initial interest in the South?

Sadly, I can’t remember what exactly, but it must be at least 6-8 years ago that I saw something, a book or a picture of the Lowcountry that sparked something in me and from that day on, I consumed everything I could find from books, to blogs, to movies, to documentations to fictions. It was as if I have found the place I have dreamed of and only thought would exist in fairytales. Luckily, it’s very easy these days to find inspiration and dream.

Whether it’s restaurants, shopping, or sightseeing, can you share a few of your favorite spots in the region?

I’ve only been in Charleston and Savannah yet.

Restaurants: For me as a vegetarian the Southern kitchen is not the easiest to find something in. That’s the only thing I really don’t like. Luckily, there are wonderful alternative restaurants to the traditional kitchen. Basic Kitchen in Charleston was my favorite and Public Kitchen in Savannah.

Shopping: Lake Pajamas, Beckett Boutique, Candyshop Vintage, Amanda Lindroth, all in Charleston.

Stay: Montage Palmetto Bluff (the most amazing special place that embodies all the Lowcountry has to offer), The Kehoe House in Savannah (an old inn with the friendliest atmosphere and amazing classic interior design), The Inns Charleston (stylish Airbnbs in Downtown Charleston).

Sightseeing: Magnolia Plantation, Boone Hall, Sullivans Beach

You’re so right about it being a bit of a struggle to find good plant-based food here, but thankfully I see that starting to change. Overall, what is your favorite southern city you’ve visited so far and what makes it so special?

As I said I’ve only been to two, but Charleston was my favorite place in the whole world the first time I saw pictures of it. Traveling there has confirmed all of my dreams. It combines the aesthetics of the South and a relaxing Lowcountry lifestyle with a city that has tons of culture, history and a wonderful restaurant scenery to offer. Just walking through the streets around South of Broad at sunset finishing up at the Battery overlooking the ocean and having a glass of wine in a sweet bar is the perfect evening.

The next day you can venture out to the plantations with their wonderful oak trees or the beach within 15 minutes. Everything is really close so even on a normal working day, I imagine myself biking home and sitting on the porch reading a good book. The city is so friendly and really embodies the Southern lifestyle to me.

That all sounds so perfect! What’s up next on your southern travel bucket list?

What’s actually next is hopefully moving to Charleston within the next few years and make my Lowcountry living dream a reality. Sadly, it will be a very long and difficult visa process since I’m from Europe. From that day on I want to explore all that the South has to offer. Returning to Savannah and stopping in Beaufort on the way would be great.

Also I’d love to get to know all the islands on the coast of South Carolina and Georgia: Seabrook Island, Tybee Island, Hilton Head Island, Cumberland Island and so on. Next I’d love to get to know Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana more. I’m sure there are a lot of places I don’t even know of yet and I’m keen to find them.

seven southern cities you must visit


If you ask me, there’s no better place for a road trip than the South. We have so many great cities, all within a fairly small region, that are worth a visit for the food, culture, and beautiful architecture, not to mention the great weather year-round. If you need some guidance, I’ve got the top seven cities I think you should put on your travel bucket list but there are plenty more in addition to these! So, pack up your car with lots of snacks and a really good playlist because you’ll be on the road for awhile.

Screen Shot 2019-06-25 at 9.50.20 AM.png

Perhaps my very favorite Southern city, Savannah has it all: historic architecture, great food, charming people, beautiful town squares, all that SCAD has to offer in terms of culture, and it’s on the water. When you visit, I recommend sticking to the center of town, away from the touristy shops on the river (unless of course, you’re taking an evening walk and getting gelato from Peaches & Cream). Explore the squares, the shopping on Broughton Street, and eat your weight in Southern food. A must see is The Paris Market and E. Shaver books, which I’ll talk about more in my upcoming Savannah recap.

Screen Shot 2019-06-25 at 9.50.50 AM.png

As of right now, Charleston is definitely the most popular destination in the south and has been for a few years now thanks to its colorful architecture, thriving food scene, and proximity to the beach. If you’re going for the first time, may I recommend Julia’s Charleston Guide to help plan your itinerary? At the very least, I definitely recommend staying in a beautiful inn like Zero George or 86 Cannon, having dessert from Sugar Bakeshop, a biscuit from Callie’s, dinner and drinks at Chez Nous, a stop at the Gibbes Museum of Art, and a bike ride around town.

Screen Shot 2019-06-25 at 9.51.45 AM.png

I’m a bit biased here because I live very close to Winter Park and am there all the time, but for good reason! It’s charming, elegant, and on the water with shopping, lots of good food and has made Southern Living’s best food towns many years in a row. I’ll have a full Winter Park travel guide up for you later this month for the next time you’re in the Orlando area, so I won’t spoil the details now but there are plenty of beautiful gardens, museums, and incredible restaurants for you to try when you’re here.

Screen Shot 2019-06-25 at 9.52.20 AM.png

Atlanta has so much more to offer than just a layover at Hartsfield-Jackson. Spend the day at Ponce City Market enjoying the food hall and playing games on the roof, then go shopping for cute things at Mashburn, Cover Books, and Little Barn Apothecary. Check out the food market at Star Provisions then grab a green juice from Kale Me Crazy before capping the night with drinks at the Garden & Gun club.

Screen Shot 2019-06-25 at 9.52.29 AM.png

Another (justified) bias here, as I lived in St. Augustine for several years while I was in school at Flagler College and absolutely adored it. This is a great place to explore on bicycle from the historic Castillo de San Marcos to all of the beautiful back streets in and around Flagler’s campus. Stop in at The Floridian for the best southern food, The Hyppo for their iconic popsicles, and The Kookaburra, either downtown or on the beach, for really good Australian coffee.

Screen Shot 2019-06-25 at 9.52.12 AM.png

It might seemingly be the bachelorette party capital of the United States, but there’s more to Nashville than bridesmaids and country music. Have a classic southern lunch of collard greens, mac and cheese, and biscuits at the iconic Loveless Cafe then head into Draper James for a sweet tea and some cute new pieces for your wardrobe. Stock your personal library at Parnassus Books, owned by author Ann Patchett, pick up some pastries from Marché Artisan Foods, beautiful pieces for the home from White’s Mercantile, clean skincare from Lemon Laine, then finish off your trip with some live music at Bluebird Cafe.

Screen Shot 2019-06-25 at 9.51.34 AM.png

If you want to be surrounded by endless food options as well as unique culture and gorgeous architecture, New Orleans is the city for you. Check out Horn’s for the vegan BLT, Herbsaint for small plates and a glass of wine, and Galatoire’s for classic New Orleans dishes. Stop by Willa Jean or Boulangerie for pastries and you can’t leave NOLA without having chicory coffee and beignets at Cafe du Monde. After all the meals, book a class at Romney Pilates then top off the trip by seeing the Preservation Hall Jazz Band if they’re in town.


how to make the best travel photo album

Screen Shot 2019-06-18 at 1.20.22 PM.png

Last month, I came back from Europe with literally 11,000 photos on my phone, a quarter of which were probably from the trip alone. I had shared many of them on Instagram, whether on my feed or in stories, but this was such a special trip that I knew I wanted to have a photo album made for each destination. I’m still working on the final edits of each, but going through the process gave me a few insights I wanted to share for anyone out there thinking about making their own travel album.

I’m so excited to get these printed and have them available look through and reminisce about our time in London and Amsterdam, perhaps with the strawberry tea we got at Fortnum & Mason or a jug of Pimm’s and lemonade if things get crazy. 😊

Use a web-based service to create your album.
You can, of course, go it alone with Photoshop but it’s so much easier to use a customizable tool like Mixbook or Shutterfly to create your photo albums. I personally like the options on Mixbooks, where you can select a pre-made template and drop your photos in. However, I do suggest that you play around with the template to make it work best for your travel story.

Decide on a storytelling format.
On that note, the most important first step is to decide what story you’re telling and how you want to tell it. Are you going to organize your photos by day? Or will you order them by activity or theme? For travel albums, I personally like the chronological format because it helps you to mentally relive your trip.

Be selective with your photos.
This is so hard for me! I take a million photos and love so many of them that I have a really hard time narrowing down images to include in the album. But, we all have Instagram and can also store photos on our computers, so there’s really no pressure to include every single shot. Narrow the photos down to your absolute favorite, whether it’s because of the quality or just the memory associated with the photo.

Dedicate a page to special subjects.
In addition to a chronological, day-by-day photo format, you can pepper in a few pages dedicated to special subjects. This could be photos of all the amazing food you ate, the outfits you wore, or even your hotel rooms. One of my favorite ideas, stolen from Caila, is to include a page just for funny photos, kind of like the bloopers at the end of a movie.

Step away, then revisit before locking in your final edit.
One you’ve created your first draft, step away from the computer! Sleep on it, show it to your travel companions to get their feedback, then make any necessary edits before pressing submit. That way, you’ll be confident that you’re getting a well-designed, artfully curated photo album that you’ll always treasure.