July 22, 2019
The Ultimate 10-day USA East Coast Itinerary

The Ultimate 10-day USA East Coast Itinerary

July 22, 2019
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Ten years ago, I went to the US for the first time. I was feeling nostalgic about it this spring so we decided our summer vacation would be going back to America. We booked a trip around the East Coast including three different destinations. Three big cities, all of them important for different reasons:

  • Boston: where US history started
  • Washington DC: the nation's capital
  • NYC: the capital of the world.

Our itinerary started in Boston and place to another instead of renting a car or taking the train.

BOSTON (3 nights)
DAY 1
We arrived in Boston at 3pm on the 4th of July. Our hotel was the Boston Park Plaza. It was a very nice hotel with an unbeatable location next to Boston Public Garden but our room was rather small for two people, something surprising since we are used to huge rooms when we travel in the US.

After checking-in, we headed out. We were very eager to explore the city on such an important date and even if it was hard to stay awake, we made it to to the Fireworks Spectacular by river Charles.
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DAY 2
We explored Back Bay, the impressive Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and Harvard University.
usa trip vacation east coast itinerary boston isabella stewart gardner museum destination spot place guide planner
DAY 3
We started the day at the beautiful Boston parks: Public Gardens and Common, then we saw the Boston Harbor and tried the world famous New England Lobster, finishing our day at the Tea Party Ships and Museum.
usa trip vacation east coast itinerary boston tea party ships museum massachusetts destination spot place guide planner
BOSTON ITINERARY MAP
This Boston map includes all the things you need for your trip. The blue pins are the sights, yellow pins mark places to eat and the green ones are the location for my favorite shops.
WASHINGTON DC (2 nights)
DAY 4
Our flight to DC departed at 11:00. It's a little over an hour, so we arrived early enough to take advantage of our first day in the capital of the USA. After checking-in at the Capital Hilton Hotel near the White House -the room was great, very big and luxurious- we had lunch at Duke's Grocery and walked on M street all the way to Georgetown University.
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DAY 5
When we woke up it was pouring rain and floods were expected. We had booked a tour of the Capitol and were not sure what to do. Fortunately, the weather improved soon enough for us to get there on time. We spent the rest of the day exploring the impressive National Mall.
usa trip vacation east coast itinerary capitol dc washington destination spot place guide planner
DC ITINERARY MAP
This DC map includes all the things you need for your trip. The blue pins are the sights, yellow pins mark places to eat and the green ones are the location for my favorite shops.
NYC (4 nights)
DAY 6
10 am flight to NYC. Our hotel here was the Row NYC at Times Square. It's a huge modern hotel very close to the E metro line and to Times Square.

DAY 7
We started our day at Top of the Rock. Going up to the top of the Rockefeller Center is pricey but worth it. $42 per person, 10 extra if you go there at sunset. We spent the rest of the day at Central Park ending with some shopping at the Columbus Circle mall.
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DAY 8
We took the metro to WTC, saw the 9/11 Memorial and headed to Brooklyn Bridge. We crossed it to get lovely views of it and the Manhattan bridge from Dumbo. We ate at Nomo Kitchen in Soho and continued north to the Flatiron building. Once again we were caught by heavy rain -it rained one day on each destination- so we called it a day and went back to the hotel.
usa trip vacation east coast itinerary dumbo brooklyn bridge nyc destination spot place guide planner
DAY 9
Lady Liberty was waiting for us. Piece of advice: the only place to get official tickets to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island is the ticket office at Castle Clinton. There are people all around Battery Park trying to sell tickets so beware.
If you don't want to spend any money and still get a view of Lady Liberty you can take the ferry to Staten Island which is free.

After the ferry brought us back, we saw Wall Street and the Charging Bull, then went back to the WTC for lunch. Our last full day in NYC ended seeing the United Nations building and surrounding landmarks like Grand Central Terminal and the Chrysler building.
usa trip vacation east coast itinerary grand central terminal manhattan nyc destination spot place guide planner
DAY 10
Last minute shopping on 5th Avenue before heading to the airport. Our flight back to Madrid departed at 6:30 pm.

NYC ITINERARY MAP
This New York City map includes all the things you need for your trip. The blue pins are the sights, yellow pins mark places to eat and the green ones are the location for my favorite shops.
This has been a short explanation of our overall itinerary. I'm working on a complete guide for each of the three cities we visited including everything we saw, the restaurants where we ate and all my tips so stay tuned for more on our USA East Coast trip!

Need more to plan your East Coast trip? Check out the following posts
A European's Guide to Shopping in the US
Best NYC photo locations for first-time visitors

WHEREVER YOU ARE GOING DON'T FORGET...


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usa trip vacation east coast itinerary boston nyc destination spot place guide planner

July 15, 2019
A European's Guide to Shopping in the USA

A European's Guide to Shopping in the USA

July 15, 2019

shopping guide new york 5th avenue usa store louis vuitton nyc manhattan
The USA is shopping paradise for many of us. Huge stores, wide spaces, perfect decor… Americans sure know how to lure you in. Even window shopping is a real pleasure. I still remember how these stores amazed me the first time I was in the US 10 years ago. I was coming from a small city back then and they literally made my jaw drop. 

For those who may be headed to the US, I've created a complete guide to shopping in the USA so when you get there, you can shop like a pro.

WHAT TO BUY IN THE USA: WHAT’S CHEAPER AND WHAT’S NOT
American brands are cheaper, European ones are not.
Tech items, which tend to be rather pricey, are much cheaper in the US. If you need a new Apple gadget, you want a Roomba vacuum or a new lens for your camera, put some money aside and wait for your next US trip, you will save a lot of money.

The same goes for retail and skincare products, brands like Clinique or Abercrombie are way cheaper in America.
shopping guide new york 5th avenue usa store apple nyc manhattan
SALES TAX
One thing to always have in mind is that the price tag does not include the sales tax which varies from one state to another. For example, in NYC most purchases are subject to an 8.875% sales tax. However, some items are excluded from the sales tax such as clothing and shoes under $110 or unprepared foods for instance.
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MY FAVORITE STORES
Every time I'm in the US, I pop by all of the following.
  • Anthropologie: I'd say this is my favorite one. The loveliest apparel, skincare and homeware all in one place. I love the mixture of cultures and styles of their products. It's like someone with impeccable taste finds the best products around the world and puts them all in one place.
  • Abercrombie & Fitch: probably the most famous American clothing brand among young Europeans. They have rebranded in the last few years and have left a little bit aside the "perfect" American poster boy image. Due to controversy in the past, they have become more inclusive and now offer sizes for different body types.
  • J.Crew: clothes and accessories to curate the perfect preppy closet.
  • Free People: boho-chic style for the modern hippy.
  • Kate Spade: this one is a bit more high end. Here you can find ultra feminine colorful clothes and the most fun accessories. 
  • All American designers Tommy Hilfiger and Ralph Lauren
  • WilliamsSonoma: if you like cooking like me, you can't miss this place. Here you can find every single item for your kitchen you can think of.
  • PotteryBarn: go here for beautiful homeware and furniture. The only bad thing about this place is that many of their items won't fit in your suitcase... 

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MALLS & DEPARTMENT STORES
The most popular malls and department stores in the US are the following:

You can also find many outlet malls throughout the country that are worth checking out because they offer designer clothes at affordable prices.

MOST POPULAR STORES
According to a survey these are the most popular stores among Americans:

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SALES CALENDAR
If you are lucky enough to be in the US around these dates, you can save even more money on your shopping.
  • President’s Day Sale: February
  • Memorial Day Weekend Sale: May
  • July 4th Summer Sale
  • Back-to-school/Fall Preview Sale: end of July – beginning of August 1
  • Labor day Weekend Sale: September
  • Columbus Day Weekend Sale: October
  • Thanksgiving Eve: November
  • Black Friday: November
  • After Thanksgiving Weekend Sale featuring Midnight Madness: November
  • Cyber Monday (online): December
  • New Year’s Eve Sales: December
  • New Year’s Day Sales: January

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SHOPPING FROM EUROPE
I like to check out the online stores of my favorite shops every now and then and I often feel tempted to order something. However, you shouldn’t consider shopping from Europe, online shopping on US sites is not worth it. Even though all sites offer international shipping, the taxes and shipping costs will add up almost as much as the price of the items you are buying.

Do you shop when you are abroad? What are your favorite brands?

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July 1, 2019
4 Rooftop Bars to Try in Madrid this Summer

4 Rooftop Bars to Try in Madrid this Summer

July 1, 2019
mint rooftop vincci hotel gran via madrid terrace bar food truck cocktails
The heatwave is hitting Spain pretty hard. With temperatures over 40ºC/100ºF madrileños have to find a way to escape the scorching heat. What's the best place to do that apart from the pool? Rooftop bars and terraces! Cold drinks, breathtaking views and water sprays await. Let's take a look at 4 of the best rooftop bars in Madrid.

And if you need more ideas...

The first thing you notice when you enter this Gran Via Hotel is that it smells like...mint! The predominant color is mint as well. I love a place that keeps up with a theme. Sip a cocktail while enjoying the wonderful views and if you get hungry, there's a cute food truck from May to October which offers cheese and ham platters, hamburgers and Asian creations such as dim sum and Vietnamese spring rolls.

Address: Gran Vía, 10, 28013 Madrid
Phone: +34 912 03 06 50
mint rooftop vincci hotel gran via madrid terrace bar food truck cocktails
mint rooftop vincci hotel gran via madrid terrace bar food truck cocktails
mint rooftop vincci hotel gran via madrid terrace bar food truck cocktails
mint rooftop vincci hotel gran via madrid terrace bar food truck cocktails
mint rooftop vincci hotel gran via madrid terrace bar food truck cocktails
Gymage Lounge Resort is a fitness club, a theater, a restaurant and a rooftop terrace, all in the same building. The terrace is open all year long and includes a pool and a bar where you can order food and drinks all day long. During summer days (between 11 am and 6 pm) you can pay a fee to sunbath and swim in the rooftop pool.

Address: Calle de la Luna, 2, 28004 Madrid
Phone: +34 915 32 09 74
gymage lounge resort pool rooftop madrid terrace drinks restaurant cocktails
RADIO AT ME REINA VICTORIA
If you want to get a taste of Madrid nightlife, Radio -the rooftop of the ME Madrid Reina Victoria on Plaza de Santa Ana- is the right place for you. Great food and cocktails, DJ and of course...views. Radio rooftop is the best place to party all night long 🎵🎵🎵.

Address: ME Madrid, Plaza de Sta. Ana, 14, 28012 Madrid
Phone: +34 912 764 747
radio melia me reina victoria dj nightlife rooftop madrid terrace drinks restaurant cocktails
radio melia me reina victoria dj nightlife rooftop madrid terrace drinks restaurant cocktails
radio melia me reina victoria dj nightlife rooftop madrid terrace drinks restaurant cocktails
radio melia me reina victoria dj nightlife rooftop madrid terrace drinks restaurant cocktails
radio melia me reina victoria dj nightlife rooftop madrid terrace drinks restaurant cocktails
Nice to Meet you is the rooftop restaurant in Dear Hotel located in bustling Gran Via. This place has a 360º panoramic view of Madrid, from here you can see landmarks like Plaza de España and Palacio Real. The food is as good as the views -look at that scrumptious salad, perfect brioche bun and the cheesecake, yum!- but the restaurant manager was the rudest we've ever encountered which totally spoiled our meal.
nightlife rooftop madrid terrace drinks restaurant cocktails nice to meet you dear hotel madrid
nightlife rooftop madrid terrace drinks restaurant cocktails nice to meet you dear hotel madrid
nightlife rooftop madrid terrace drinks restaurant cocktails nice to meet you dear hotel madrid
nightlife rooftop madrid terrace drinks restaurant cocktails nice to meet you dear hotel madrid
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June 24, 2019
4 Charming Towns to Visit in Spain this Summer

4 Charming Towns to Visit in Spain this Summer

June 24, 2019
beautiful pretty village small town spain old countryside medieval lavender field mountain festival lavanda guadalajara brihuega
From quaint little towns to white washed villages, there's no shortage of beautiful spots in Spain. There are literally thousands of places all over Spain worth visiting that you’ll be missing if you stick to big cities like Madrid or Barcelona. Some of Spain's most beautiful towns are small beach villages, others are surrounded by spectacular flower fields, there's one for every taste.

On this post I want to show you four charming towns that are among the best places to visit in Spain this summer. I promise you will find incredible food and dreamy architecture in every single one of them, so if that's your thing follow me on this tour around some of the most beautiful towns and villages in Spain.

BRIHUEGA (GUADALAJARA)
This small town that's only one hour away from Madrid hosts an annual lavender festival in July. The spectacular fields of Brihuega transform into a purple sea and spread the most amazing scent around the area. It's a wonderful experience for the senses.

The festival consists of concerts at nightfall and a gourmet experience for an unforgettable and magical experience. This year the festival is on July 19 and 20.

Read more about the Lavender Fields in Brihuega
beautiful pretty village small town spain old countryside medieval lavender field mountain festival lavanda guadalajara brihuega

beautiful pretty village small town spain old countryside medieval lavender field mountain festival lavanda guadalajara brihuega
BINIBEQUER VELL (MENORCA)
This dreamy white washed village is a must if you are visiting the beautiful Balearic Island of Menorca. This place is made up of white houses all linked together through intricate passages. It's as if someone have carved houses in a huge chunk of white stone.

Read my 5 day itinerary for Menorca
beautiful pretty village small town spain old binibequer island balearic menorca
beautiful pretty village small town spain old beach white washed binibequer balearic menorca
beautiful pretty village small town spain old white washed beach binibequer balearic menorca
FRIGILIANA (MALAGA)
This little village in the region of Malaga is considered one of the Pueblos Mas Bonitos de España (most beautiful villages in Spain) and it's the only one in the region of Malaga in that list. Frigiliana's charm lies in its beautiful streets where you can find white houses with colorful doors and bougainvillaea, closeness to the beach and its location at the foot of a mountain range. The people who live here take good care of the village, walls seem to be recently painted, streets are immaculate, there are beautiful flower pots everywhere and restaurants look like they've been decorated by professionals.

beautiful pretty village small town spain old southern andalusia beach frigiliana nerja malaga
beautiful pretty village small town spain old southern andalusia beach frigiliana nerja malaga
beautiful pretty village small town spain old southern andalusia beach frigiliana nerja malaga
GUADALMINA (MALAGA)
A quaint white washed village with colorful houses near Marbella. It's a lovely place to go for a late afternoon walk if you are in the area. But let me tell you something, it will be hard to choose a dream home from all the beautiful options.

Best beaches in Andalusia and the resorts to stay in
beautiful pretty village small town spain old southern andalusia beach guadalmina marbella malaga
beautiful pretty village small town spain old southern andalusia beach guadalmina marbella malaga
beautiful pretty village small town spain old southern andalusia beach guadalmina marbella malaga
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beautiful pretty village small town spain old southern andalusia beach countryside medieval lavender field mountain balearic menorca

June 17, 2019
My Favorite Clinique Skincare Products

My Favorite Clinique Skincare Products

June 17, 2019
clinique beauty skincare top products serum moisturizer cleanser vitamin c orange powder
We have all started our love affair with beauty products by going through our mom's makeup bag, am I right? My mom's has always used Clinique and I started trying out their products when I was a teenager. Their quality is amazing and the packaging beautiful so it's not surprising that I fell in love with their skincare and makeup. So much so that I often refuse to try any other brand. Because when something works for you, why change?

I love sharing my knowledge and helping out and I think you can benefit from my experience with Clinique's products so on this post I'm sharing with you the best moisturizers, cleansers and serums from this great beauty brand. These are my Clinique must-haves:

The most amazing boost of vitamin C for the skin. It consists of a powder cleanser and a serum. The treatment is used for a week and the results are amazing. The skin tone looks more even and brighter than before. I use it twice a year and it's enough to see the difference.
clinique beauty skincare top products serum moisturizer cleanser moisture surge boost pink
CLINIQUE MOISTURE SURGE
This is my current moisturizer. It has a light refreshing texture that is absorbed so rapidly it feels like the skin is drinking it. It's an instant moisture boost that lasts the whole day.
clinique beauty skincare top products serum moisturizer cleanser even better
EVEN BETTER SERUM & MOISTURIZER
If your concern is scarring or dark spots, Even Better is the right product for you. The serum does a gentle peeling effect which removes layers of skin if you use it consistently. To increase the effect you can use the Even Better moisturizer and make-up.
clinique beauty skincare top products serum moisturizer cleanser 3 steps clarifying lotion soap dramatically different yellow
Clinique's 3 steps are their most famous beauty routine. It's a classic. Since I started using Clinique, they have discontinued some of my favorite products but the 3 steps have always been there. It consists of a face soap, a clarifying lotion which removes dirt and dead cells and the dramatically different moisturizer lotion. They are meant to be used twice a day.
clinique beauty skincare top products serum moisturizer cleanser exfoliating scrub
EXFOLIATING SCRUB
Cleansing is the most important part of my beauty routine. I love Clinique's scrub because it leaves my skin with a wonderful refreshing sensation.
clinique beauty skincare top products serum moisturizer cleanser take the day off scrub floarming
TAKE THE DAY OFF & FOAMING CLEANSER
My two favorite products for make-up removal are the foaming cleanser for foundation and take the day off for eye make-up.
clinique beauty skincare top products serum moisturizer cleanser hydroblur pep-start
PEP-START HYDROBLUR MOISTURIZER
This is moisturizer + primer in one product. It has a soft non-greasy texture and its thickness conceals fine lines. It's my favorite moisturizer together with Moisture Surge because they are not greasy at all and I recommend them if you are looking for a regular moisturizer with no particular skin concern.

Have you ever used Clinique? What's your favorite product?
Let me know if you have any questions about Clinique's skincare or beauty products.
Read more about my beauty routine

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clinique beauty skincare top products serum moisturizer cleanser vitamin c