Before we left to Montreal, I did tons of research on places to go and things to do. On the top of my list? Old Montreal. What, with its old-world charm, I just knew that was going to be my crème de la crème. So I resisted going there until towards the end of my trip. And could I resist temptation? Of course not.

We started our day aboard a Grey Line hop-on-hop-off tour bus; these buses are one of my favorite ways to really get a glimpse of a city when you are short on time (plus, the local tour guide tells you so many tips, it’s all golden!). Our ticket was good for two consecutive days, so that left our car at bay and more time for us to play! We passed through many beautiful stops. Montréal is such a rich city when it comes to the diversity of their neighbourhoods- and so well maintained!

As we made our way past Old Montréal, we saw a peek and, I swear, I never shrieked so loudly in a double-decker bus before! I turned my to my husband, Massimo, and was like, “No, we NEED to hop off!” So we hopped off.

I realized that we slept in and didn’t have any breakfast, so the cutest little restaurant caught my eye (and my stomach’s rumbling), Jardin Nelson. If I died and went to flower-restaurant heaven, this may be the place. They have LIVE jazz, the best oxygen (I mean, with all those plants, right?) and delicious food. I ordered their summer vegetable omelette, sprinkled with goat cheese, and my fav, a mimosa. All super delicious and such a cute brunch spot!

After brunch, we proceeded to walk around Old Montreal, exploring every nook we could. The streets were filled with cobblestones and the amount of cute art galleries, souvenir shops and restaurants/cafés were just unreal. Street performers graced the rues with their music and the joie de vivre was all too-well alive as we walked down the streets. I was so obsessed with the European architecture that I had goosebumps at one point because I truly felt like I was transported back hundreds of years ago.

When I was packing for this trip (if you can you believe it), I didn’t pack a single pair of heels! Not any pumps, not any wedges! I knew that I was going to be walking around a lot and that most of my time was going to be in the streets, so I packed just a few pairs of flats to match back to my outfits. One of my favorites were these pink J. Crew ones that, to me, stand almost as a neutral! But my dress? That I had planned. I found it at Anthropologie a month or so back and I instantly fell in love with it due to its flowiness and its off-the-shoulder cut. While walking around Old Montréal, I felt so free and just happy! (One of the reasons why I love clothing: because you start to embody its expression into your life!)

One of the best snacks we had (that offered a good view of Old Montréal as well) was at the Hotel Nelligan. Up on their terrace you can order food, have a few drinks, and take in the wonderful sun. How can we go to Montreal and not have poutine? We’ll have one of those, please, waiter. And some crunchy fish tacos, too. Oh, and how can I forget (because I can’t), it also offered a peek-a-boo view of the Notre-Dame Basilica. Upon its completion back in 1830 it was the largest church in North America. It’s also where Celine Dion was married. You bet your bottom dollar I made sure to walk those same steps as Madame Dion did!!

 

After a full day of roaming around the streets of Old Montreal, we decided to head back to Le Quartier des Spectacles where our hotel was for some festivities. If you don’t already know, Montréal loves to celebrate and they hold quite the amount of festivals. Planning a trip? I suggest taking a peek to see what’s going on while you’re in town! For us, it was the celebration of Mode & Design, kind of like a Fashion’s Night Out where designers and brands hold events throughout the city, celebrating, well, fashion and design! It was so fitting for us to be there because I love fashion and to see how Canada celebrates it (and what’s trending over there) just wonderful. Hint for fall: faux fur!

xx,
Loren.

4130084324440_009_b3Anthropologie

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Brooklyn native, Latina, and founder of Enlightened by Bravery, an adventure/travel and wellness blog that focuses on drawing inspiration from adventures around the world back into your life // iPhoneographer // Francophile

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B.

Beaufort: Small City, Big History, Lots of Beauty

I like pushing the envelope. It’s just what my curiosity does to me. It’s a curse, perhaps at times, but when it comes to travel, however, I find it as a true blessing. It was no surprise, then, when planning my trip to Georgia that I wanted to squeeze in a day-trip to South Carolina. Now, I knew my days were tight, so I made sure to make this destination worth it. Cue in Beaufort, SC, a little city that opened my heart and mind through its history.

As a NYC resident, I wanted to explore more of a southern coastal city (can you blame me?)  and so when I saw Beaufort featured in the New York Times (and then after I booked my trip saw it featured in Southern Living and Vogue,) well, you know I just had to check what this city was all about.With a population of about 13,000 (and it being the second-oldest city in South Carolina), I must say, I felt pretty close to everyone I encountered and felt the history instantaneously upon my arrival.

I partnered with the Beaufort Regional Chamber of Commerce to plan my trip and when I asked:
“What’s the best way to see the city?”
“Via a walking tour,” is what they non-hesitantly replied.

So, my husband and I got in the car, waved ‘bye’ to Savannah for the day and headed up north about 1.5 hours.

When we arrived to the visitor’s center in Beaufort, we were happily greeted and given recommendations of where to eat and what to check out. Never be shy about asking locals – they are the best source of information!

We started our day with lunch at Plums. Real talk: I have been having SO much delicious butter (and shrimp!) down south that I opted for a refreshing chicken salad – oh, and some oysters on the side, of course to change things up a little bit and give my body a bit of a break. As we entered the restaurant, we requested outdoor seating and were escorted to the back, right by the Waterfront Park, a wonderful spot for people-watching and seeing boats pass you by. Interestingly enough, every couple of minutes during our conversation, we’d have to stop talking because we had fighter jets fly over us; turns out, we were right near Parris Island, a Marine Corps Air Station. How cool, because you never see those jets flying around in NYC!

After lunch, we went on our walking tour of Beaufort where I walked amongst some of the most beautiful Antebellum houses I have ever seen, built on what used to be plantation fields and learned that they were used during the war. Today, many of the homes are residential and used for films! There were so many movie references while on the tour, I wish I was a big movie person to understand; but it was okay, I understood the history and, honestly, just walking along the streets filled with oak trees, Spanish moss, birds chirping, carriage steps and imaging myself back in the 1700s was just incredible.

Friends, look at the following photos and imagine yourself hearing horseshoes and standing in front of these beautiful homes while feeling the slight breeze on your cheek.  We walked around the city for about two to three hours. All worth it. So in love:

After our super informative tour, shopping was obviously next on the list. I sometimes wish I had a cute little beach home that I could decorate à la plage. But, who says that daydreaming is a bad thing?  Even if it’s to go inside and imagine the décor I’d put into my beach home, I have a wonderful time just strolling around, touching every piece of glass, opening up and flipping the pages of freshly printed coffee table books, and sniffing every candle my nose can handle.  At this point, my husband was outside sitting on a bench waiting for me as he turned to his phone and flipped through who-knows-what. Either way, I stayed inside the store and kept exploring. Scout Southern Market was such a great find! They have such wonderful things inside that are one-of-a-kind and I poo-poo on myself for not buying the beautiful blue & white porcelain dish I kept going back to!  Lucky for me, they deliver.  I’ll be adding that to my to-do list ;).

As we know, shopping works up an appetite (yes, yes it does, ladies ;)) and I was craving something sweet. I recalled the gelato sign we passed by earlier in the day and headed back to Common Ground Marketplace Café where I indulged in a wonderful lemon sorbet. As a lactose-intolerant soul, I highly appreciate when places that carry gelato also carry sorbet. It was the perfect treat after walking around for hours under the sun.

After our little snack, we sat by the Waterfront Park on its swings for a while and enjoyed the beautiful waterside view. We made our way through some more cute shops and pondered about how great our day was, how much we learned and which restaurant would be our last stop for dinner (we love to eat, don’t judge ;)).

We ended up crossing over a little bridge and (per a local’s strong recommendation- I mentioned I loved locals, ya?) headed on over to the Dockside Restaurant for dinner. I KNOW.  I know.  I said I wasn’t going to have any more shrimp. But… it was strongly recommended… and how could I not? ;).

As we finished up our dinner, we packed ourselves back into the car and headed back down to Georgia. Our day in Beaufort was as beautiful as its homes, its nature, its water, its friendly people and, most of all, its rooted history (for the history buffs, check more out here). In a city that I knew nothing about, I walked out knowing so much and banked the trip in my memory, so happy I fed my curious mind.

xx,
Loren.


Outfit

Dress: Revolve | Shoes: Nine West | Watch: Fossil | Sunglasses: Shein

2.

2018: Goodbye NYC, Hello New Zealand!

…and I don’t mean it just as a vacation. Family & friends, it is with great excitement and joy that we share with you all that we are leaving everything we know about NYC behind and heading off on an adventure abroad for the year!

We are moving to New Zealand!!

There have been so many factors that played into our decision: one of them was attending a Tony Robbins seminar (that post coming next!), another was experiencing the beautiful culture in Denmark last summer (gosh, I love that bicycle life), and another was that, frankly, I have been left feeling a little uninspired by NYC lately. Nothing against the concrete jungle, but maybe that’s my problem: too much concrete.

I don’t know if I ever shared this, but there were two times in my life that I literally sobbed on the plane as we took off: once was when I wheeled up from France after studying abroad there (oh, the tears!), and second was when we left Denmark (how could I live without all the pastries and that bike life?!). I started noticing a pattern and it drew up a concern for me: why was I crying so hard? And what was it about those countries that made me want to stay forever?

In my efforts to understand myself, it was clear that those other places (and travel in general), always filled a void of unpredictability, new adventures and new customs/cultures. When I landed, it was like a game of strategy in which you must survive, learn the rules and get excited about all the different things happening around you. I know NYC is a giant melting pot, but having been born and raised here, it all has just started to feel and become a little, well, predictable. I already know we are all celebrating the fourth of July no matter what state in the country I am in. And while I love traveling around the country (the USA is beautiful), I am seeking something more.

It occured to me that in order for me to continue to grow, continue to be inspired and continue to love deeper, I need to get out. NYC, USA, it’s not you, it’s me; we need a break. You will always be my home, but I feel that distance will make the heart grow fonder. You give such great opportunities that I have yet to be thankful for. The opportunities are endless and you can be whoever you want to be; yet, I’m not grabbing anything by the horns.

So why New Zealand? Well, why the heck not?!

xx,