Tulum Mexico

Hello! It’s a new year and I promised I would be writing more about the places I have been and travel tips! I am focusing the next few blogs on Tulum Mexico,  and Isla Mujeres, where we spent time in December.

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Tulum is one of the most pinterest-worthy destinations in the world right now! We loved everything about the beautiful city of Tulum, from the cenotes, food, ocean, and all the Tulum vibes!  Tulum is growing heavily for tourists and I understand why after spending time there!  There is no other tropical vibe quite like it in this world!  The bohemian vibes, and beautiful endless beaches make it hard to leave!  Here are my top 5 tips for Tulum from 1. Where to Stay 2. Where to eat 3. Cenotes 4.Which Ruins to see 5. Where to shop and the nightlife.

Where we stayed IMG_4386

I would like to highly recommend a boutique we stayed at called Blue Sky Tulum Hotel. My husband and I stayed at Blue Sky for 5 days and didn’t want to leave!  In my opinion there are two places you can stay in Tulum (the busier area near the center where hotels like papaya project are located, or the more remote area that is not too far from the center of Tulum.  We chose the quieter area of Tulum, but then rented a car and drove into the shopping area several times. I am very happy with our choice!  It was our honeymoon so it was more relaxing, but next time we go to Tulum we are excited to stay at Papaya project near the center.  I had met a girl and she told me she stayed near Papyaya and there were parties all night and she didn’t get a lot of sleep, so she wishes she would of stayed where we did.  Our hotel was quite peaceful!

Our hotel was pure paradise! I booked through my Southwest card on on booking.com because we got a great deal through this website, and we picked the best room with the jacuzzi tub and a view of the ocean.  There are other options with a hammock on the balcony instead of the jacuzzi.

Everyday we would wake up to the sounds of waves, and I would make coffee and start the day with looking out at the ocean.  This room had a his and her shower, and plenty of space for a great price!  Here are some picture of our room and the decor of the hotel.

A few reasons I picked this hotel was that Blue sky was a good price, had two pools, a restaurant, and FREE access to kayaks, and paddle boards.  It also had beautiful white hammocks everywhere you go, including two right outside on the ocean! My favorite thing about Blue Sky is that it is a 5 minute walk from Casa Cenote, which is a beautiful cenote to explore!  We got some amazing drone shots of the hotel which you can find on my instagram “celseyb”.

Where to eat

I spent hours researching the food in Tulum, and the all of the photos on Instagram made me extremely excited to try many of the restaurants!  Tulum is known for one of the hottest vacation spots so it only seems right they have some of the best food as well!   One place particular that you must try if you are a smoothie bowl lover like me is “Matcha Mama Tulum”IMG_4958 This place is so cute with swings, smoothie bowls, fresh juices, and all the cute instagram background that you would be looking for! This place is a little tricky to find so keep asking the locals at the shops if you get lost because they directed us right to it! You can also find a place called “Raw Love” that is top at the list of places to try in Tulum.  This place is located in the hotel “Ahau Tulum” and serves delicious raw vegan organic vegetarian food.  If you are looking for tacos I suggest a place called “Antojiotos La Chiapaneca” which is in the centro of tulum.  This is rated the top place to get cheap tacos!  Try the Al Pastor and you wont be sorry!  There are so many place to eat in Tulum, honestly every place we ate I loved everything I ate.

Cenotes

There are MANY cenotes to choose from near or in Tulum.  I will tell you about the two cenotes we chose to visit.  The first cenote I was dying to see was “Dos Ojos” cenote and after spending time snorkeling in the caves, swimming and taking tons of photos, my husband and I agreed it was our favorite day we spent in Tulum!  I recommend taking the tour of the caves!  You get a tour guide, snorkel gear, flashlight, and they take you to areas in the cenote that are forbidden to go in unless you buy the tour.  It was inexpensive and so worth it!

After the cave tour, we spent hours swimming and snorkeling in the cave.  There are two areas in Dos Ojos you can see so even though though it’s a popular one, there were many times we had the area to ourselves. IMG_4490

I also recommend dong a massage at Dos Ojos!  It was $17 for a massage, which was way cheaper than at our hotel, and it was amazing!  There is a restaurant and bar at Dos Ojos if you are hungry after swimming! It is truly magical within this cenote with crystal clear water! We got tons of great photos and a memory to last a life time!

The 2nd cenote we visited was “Casa Cenote.” FullSizeRender

This is a 5 minute walk from Blue Sky Hotel and pretty close to Dos Ojos off the highway.  WARNING! This cenote is for the ADVENTUROUS!  If you buy the tour it comes with swimming quite a distance, seeing the local “alligator poncho” and if you do the whole tour you will have to free dive under roots!

My husband is a strong diver so it was no problem for him, but for me it was quite a challenge because I had to swim under roots and even though I had snorkel gear, it was difficult for me.

But, with that said I am very happy I overcame my fears and did it!  Our guide was amazing and he helped me under water each time we had to free dive.

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We also used our go pros and got some stellar photos!  If you choose to visit Casa Cenote, remember you can always just swim and not do the tour, but if you want some adventure in your life I suggest doing the whole tour!

Ruins

IMG_9046There are two major ruins people like to see while in Tulum 1. Coba and 2. Tulum Ruins.  We planned on seeing Coba but it’s a 45 min-1 hour drive from our hotel so we ran out of time and opted for the Tulum Ruins instead.  One of the locals suggested Coba and not Tulum, but I was bound and determined to visit the Tulum Ruins, and let me tell you I was NOT disappointed!  It was truly postcard beautiful and it felt like you had stepped back in time while walking through the ruins!  I suggest buying your tickets at the automatic ticket dispenser instead of the ticket booth because the line is WAY less! The whole tour took us about 3 hours but be prepared to walk a lot!  As you make your way through the ruins, at the end you will end up at the edge of the cliff which overlooks the ocean, and it is one of the prettiest sights i had ever seen! If possible, make your way down the stairs and enjoy the beach because it has beautiful photo opportunities at the bottom of the ruins and you get a good vibe of the Tulum experience!  We saw a family of iguanas, and got some good photos!  Outside the ruins there are many typical souvenir stores, and my favorite starbucks!  Make sure you visit these ruins if you are in Tulum!IMG_5600

Shopping

If you are looking for the best shopping head down to the center of Tulum where there are cute boutique shops where all the restaurants are located!  I could of spent ALL day walking around and taking photos of the shops and all the bohemian vibes! The main strip has art studios, coffee shops, beautiful local clothing, and a huge variety of Tulum restaurants everywhere! Be prepared though some of the clothing and items are expensive.  You can find artisan-made knits and leather accessories everywhere.

Most of the color scheme in Tulum is cream, soft sage, cream, caramel, and black.  I was inspired by all the boho chic clothing everywhere. The beach is close by as well! My husband and I met a local photographer in this area and walked around and biked by the shops and got some beautiful photos!  The photographer is “beatumphototulum” if you want to look her up on instagram! She was $300 for a session.

 

Some of other advice is to make sure you spend as much time as the beach as you can!  Facetune_06-01-2019-19-55-08We were worried about the algae problem in Tulum, but it was perfectly fine in December and we didn’t have a problem with it at all!

 

I hope my advice helps you as you book your Tulum trip!  I loved Tulum so much that I decorated my bedroom with that boeheim Tulum vibe! I got inspired, and have so much photography from my trip that I will cherish forever!  If you have any questions about Tulum or want to see some video footage, look up my instagram at “celseyb” and DM me for any questions you might have! Enjoy paradise!

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Old Montreal

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Old Montreal

Montreal, Vancouver, and Toronto have always been on my bucket list, and I finally got to spend a day in Quebec’s largest city, Montreal!  After spending time in Quebec City two days prior, I was sure that no other Canadian city was going to take over my first love of Quebec City, but Montreal came close with its artsy and friendly vibe!  Driving in from Trois Rivieres, I could tell this city was fascinating as I approached and saw a massive ferris wheel in the distance.   The skyline is impressive, and I noticed right away  Montreal takes pride with the old and the new.

 

 

 

We stayed at the Hilton downtown, which is walking distance from Montreal’s old town.  Even though we had only a day, I will let you know what I did and enjoyed during my short time there, and also give you a few tips I think anyone should know when in Montreal!  Also click here for further advice from “The Lonely Planet”  https://www.lonelyplanet.com/canada/montreal

Here is where to start!

  1. Go straight to the “Old Montreal” and visit the famous Cathedral “Notre-Dame Basilica of Montreal.  I was amazed after seeing Paris’s Notre Dame Cathedral in December, how much this one resembles it! You can’t miss it because its beautiful! One of the interesting facts about this Cathedral is that it’s where Celine Dion got married in 1994!  Here is the link for directions, and hours. https://www.mtl.org/en/what-to-do/heritage-and-architecture/notre-dame-basilica

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2. Check out “Royale street” and have dinner at a local restaurant in Old Montreal!  We had a pitcher of sangria and Poutine at “ Boris Bistro.” it is a great street to sit outside, enjoy the live music around, and spend hours people watching!  There is plenty of shopping on this street as well!

 

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Old Montreal

 

 

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La Grande Roue

3. Make sure you walk by the Pier and check out the Montreal Ferris wheel called ” La Grande Roue.” It is beautiful at night and along the pier is local vendors that sell items such as honey, chocolate, and trinkets.  The Ferris wheel is perfect for a typical Montreal photo!  You can also walk around and view the yachts and boats near the Ferris Wheel.  Click this link to find out prices and hours for Ferris Wheel.   (Try to go in the afternoon when there will be less tourists around.) . Enjoy the pier day or night for spectacular views all around!

https://www.lagranderouedemontreal.com/en

4.  Lastly, take a carriage ride through the town and explore all of Old Montreal.  There is art and life all around, and many monuments to be seen and people to be watched! Most of the restaurants have patios outside where you can sit down and enjoy a glass of wine while listening to street performers.   If you only have a day in Montreal like me, Old town is the place to be!

Enjoy the rest of my photos below and fill free to contact me for any more information about Montreal!  Happy Traveling!

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Old Montreal

 

 

 

 

 

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A day in Quebec City

IMG_6869 2 A few weeks ago I found myself stepping into a fairytale book, exploring the charming streets of Quebec City!  I have been to many places in this world, and nothing quite compares to this beautiful city.  I felt like I was in a French European country all day as I soaked in all of what Quebec City had to offer.  I found myself smiling all day, trying French food, taking photos on my canon,and chatting with all the friendly locals.   I want to tell you about what I did in ONE day in Quebec City.

First,I took a bus round trip for 48$ from The Trois-Rivieres bus station.  You can take buses all over Canada and they are pretty affordable and it only took about 90 minutes to get there!  IMG_6157 If you only have a short time in Quebec, I highly suggest spending a majority of your time in Old Quebec!  The Old part has endless shops, restaurants, cafes, art, and monuments that you won’t want to miss! Side note-This city is perfect for a girls trip because the shopping is extraordinary!   Here is a link with all the shops Old Quebec has to offer! https://www.quebecregion.com/en/what-to-do/shopping/streets-districts/

Old Quebec

Journey back through time in Old Quebec where you can explore one-of-a-kind boutique shops on cobblestone streets.  The area you will want to be on is called “Petit Champlain District.”  When I first turned the corner and saw the bright colors and shops I fell in love!

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Old Quebec

I had to hold back from wanting to buy all the beautiful fox fur hats and leather purses!  Most of the shops have all local Canadian merchandise.  I bought an old leather wallet, and a traditional white/blue dream catcher.  Most of the shops have tons of Canadian luxury furs, handicrafts by artisans all over Quebec.

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Old Quebec

Don’t forget to eat at one of Old Quebec’s romantic bistros!  My favorite one was called “Lapin Saute” a cute French restaurant with seating inside or outside.  They specialize in “rabbit” dishes, but also have duck, lamb and salmon as well!  It was the cutest bistro Ive ever seen!7529132480_IMG_3957 2

If your craving something sweet after Lapin Saute make sure you buy the local Canada maple taffy that is located anywhere around everywhere in Old Quebec! For only a $1.50 you can taste this Maple taffy and its a trademark you don’t want to miss!

While your enjoying your taffy, take a good amount of time to just walk around and take in the scenery of the Old Town!  I spent around 3 + hours here and I didn’t want to leave. Below are some beautiful stores that you can find along Old Quebec.

If you need help, or you find yourself lost in Old Quebec, make sure you find Mr. Champlain who helps any tourists find there way and also suggest his favorite restaurants in the area.  He will hand you a map so you can be on your way!

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Ask Mr. Champlain for directions!

After you soaked in all of the Petit Champlain district, make your way up the stairs

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Top of the stars leading to the Chateau

to see one of Quebec City’s famous monuments the ” Chateau Frontenac” which is a 5 star luxury hotel nestled in the heart of Quebecs old town.  This is said to be one of the world’s most photographed hotel!  I took so many pictures as I walked around it because the views are sensational!

 

 

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Chateau Frontenac

 

As you walk around the Chateau make sure you try to find a street performer so you can watch their performance!  This is a Quebec tradition and is a joy to watch!

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If your looking for a place to eat around the Chateau I HIGHLY recommend a place called “Chic shack.” I ordered the strawberry lemonade and my very first Poutine (which is a Canadian classic). The poutine has a mixture of cheese, potatoes, and a herbal gravy that was amazing! Try to find a place to sit outside and take in the views of the Chateau right outside while enjoying a warm cappuccino because sometimes it can get cold in Quebec. You will most likely see a carriage ride along the side of the road or local street performers as you eat here.

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Once you are done exploring the Chateau (make sure you go in the hotel and look around at the art) make your way across the street to the art district where there even more shops, art vendors and creperies to be seen!  If you love art, then you will love Old Quebec!

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I only had one day, but I shortly realized I could spend at least a week in this beautiful city! The people were very friendly, and I met two local girls that led me to even more exciting things in Quebec City!  I took over 100 photos of this city and fell in love with the charm of it all!  I think this city is perfect for anyone who doesn’t want to travel as far to France or Europe, but wants to have a European like experience.  Then Old Quebec City is the way to go!  You can see beautiful architecture, art galleries, shops, restaurants, parks, history and much more! Plus its easier to get to from the states! It’s a win win!  If you would like more information or tips on Quebec City fill free to contact me at celseyb@yahoo.com !

Enjoy the rest of my photography and I hope it makes you feel inspired to travel to this amazing city!

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Trois-Rivieres

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I have so much to blog about my travels over the summer and can’t wait to get started! Canada has been calling my name for quite some time and I was so thankful that I got to go with Marc there this summer a few weeks ago! I was fortunate to see 3 beautiful cities in Quebec and I completely fell in love!

I spent four days in a city called “Trois-Rivieres” which in a providence of Quebec.  It is the oldest French speaking city in North America! I explored the whole city by foot and it is full of amazing restaurants, cute shops, museums, cafes, and a beautiful river to take a stroll by.  You can also take a short bus ride from the Trois-Rivieres bus station to either Quebec City, or Montreal, which I will write about in the future.  First I want to share some experiences and photos from Trois-Rivieres. Trois Riveres is beautiful as you can see from these photos below!  The first day I walked around and explored the top 5 things to do . I recommend this link to explore the city! http://www.tourismetroisrivieres.com/en/blog/48-hours-in-trois-rivieres

First, I went to the beautiful Roman church called “Diocese of Trois-Riveres” or Cathédrale de l’Assomption. You are free to walk in where a tour guide will explain information about the church and let you walk around and take photos!

I could sense that Trois Rivieres takes pride in their parks and community.  There are beautiful historical monuments all around!

Then, one of my favorite parts of the day was finding a public piano in the middle of the city where anyone can come play if they wish!

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“Place Pierre -Boucher”

This piano was beautiful and I watched some amazing piano players that came by.  7592007200_IMG_3921The locals told me they have several pianos around the city to promote the community to share their artistic abilities with everyone.

My favorite part of the city was the downtown area because it is simply charming! Start at the “Harbour Park Pier” where you can walk along the river and then begin your adventure through downtown that has the cutest shops and cafes!  My favorite restaurant was a cafe called ” Angeline.”

It was a cute little Italian pizza joint.  It had one of the most beautiful drinks I’ve ever had! You can sit outside and people watch while sipping on a delicious mojito! Check them out! https://www.angelinerestaurant.com

During my stay there I met a new friend who was kind enough to show me around !  She has grown up in Quebec and knew quite a bit of the history and we became instant friends!  I found that the people of Quebec are very friendly and I loved meeting them!   She recommended if you come to Trois Rivers you must visit all the museums and the old prison that is said to be haunted !

A few more places I would like to mention before I share my photography is the cities Chocolate factory which is called “Favoris Chocolate”IMG_6806 and I got the most amazing cotton candy drink! Here is the link to check them out! They are all over Quebec and can you choose from a list of YUMMY drinks! https://www.chocolatsfavoris.com

 

 

I loved Trois Riveres so much and I hope to go back one day soon!  It has so much to offer as far as art, shopping, and food!  I hope you enjoy all my photography of this beautiful city below! Thank you!

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Fort Lauderdale!

Who is loving this warm weather?! I am feeling summer this week and wanted to write about one of my favorite beaches in Florida and share some of my photography to show you just how beautiful Fort Lauderdale Beach is!

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Fort Lauderdale Beach

Processed with VSCO with c3 presetFort Lauderdale in my opinion is the perfect place to go if you need some sunshine and beautiful white sandy beaches!  If you are planning the perfect vacation day soaking up the sun, playing in the sand, or catching some waves, then Fort Lauderdale beach is the spot to go!
Not only does Fort Lauderdale have wonderful beaches, but I also enjoyed walking the strip and doing some shopping in their local beach stores and boutiques! I also highly recommend sitting outside at the sushi restaurant ” Sushi Rock Cafe“! It was some of the best sushi I have ever had!  They also served a variety of boba teas!  I always go for the Green Tea or Thai tea ! Yum!  I loved sitting on their balcony go and watching people go by on the strip!

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Sushi Rock Cafe

One of my favorite activities was renting a bike (which you can find anywhere for a very affordable price) and biking along Fort Lauderdale and Hollywood Beach!  I was determined to bike to Miami, but then realized it was going to take me a very long time, and I gave up about 30 min into it! Be aware that there is usually construction to get around as well, which makes it difficult.  I rented my bike for around 2 hours for $20, and it was plenty of time to bike the strip between Hollywood Beach and Fort Lauderdale.  My cousin had to work during the day, so I was by myself and still had a blast because there was so many activities to do!  Below is a photo of the bike I rented and I am standing in between Hollywood and Fort Lauderdale Beach! Gorgeous!

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Hollywood Beach

If you need more action, then you HAVE to check out the flow rider machine at “Margaritaville” which is located right on the beach! I had been checking it out throughout the day, and my cousin convinced me to try it out! After about 20 wipe outs I finally got up on the board for a few waves!  My whole body ached the next day, but it was totally worth it! The instructors were friendly and patient! I paid $30 for 30 minutes ..Here is the link for more info! https://www.margaritavillehollywoodbeachresort.com/activities/flowrider/?utm_source=google&utm_medium=organic&utm_campaign=GMB

I also highly suggest taking some time to relax by throwing up a hammock up and enjoying the beautiful ocean view.  The sunsets are breathtaking! My cousin and I had a great time just talking and hanging, which is a totally FREE activity to do! 🙂

There so many more things to do at Fort Lauderdale, but I hope that helped inspire you to venture out to see their beautiful beaches!  If you are looking for other things to do at Fort Lauderdale beach check out this website for all the event information!  It lists the shop, restaurants, and activities to do if you are in the area! I hope you enjoy my photography below! Thanks!

http://myfortlauderdalebeach.com

 

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Top of the Rock

Top of the Rock

Top of the Rock has one of the best views in NYC and is a hot spot for photographers! Top of the Rock is located at the Rockefeller on the 70th floor in the heart of NYC.   I could stay up there for hours and stare at the amazing views of Manhattan! If you don’t know where to start once you reach NYC, Top of the Rock can be your starting point! All of my photos below are taken in the Spring.  I highly recommend checking out the beautiful tulips that are located right outside the Rockefeller!

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Spring time in NYC!

Below, I tell you about my favorite cafes at the Rockefeller and photography advice for getting that perfect shot up top! Address for Top of the Rock is –

30 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY 10112

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Tickets

  • Tickets are 36$ for Adults and 30$ for a child.  We purchased tickets on the bottom floor by the cafes near where Starbucks is located.  You can purchase a ticket in the machines, then wait for your “boarding” time.  Once you enter in after your boarding time, the lines took around 45 min-1 hour to get to the top after going through security and waiting for your elevator.  If you have any trouble just ask a employee (they are very helpful) !
  • You can also purchase tickets ahead of time online- click the link below!

https://www.topoftherocknyc.com/ticket-menu/

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PATIENCE IS KEY! If you are patient and take your time, you can get the “perfect shot”! Marc and I got some specular shots on the VERY top floor, which you can get to by stairs near the elevators.  Marc went up to the very top to get the photo below (shout out to patient boyfriends)!  It took around 15 min for him to get a clear shot- It’s worth it! This is one of my favorite places to take photos in NYC!  Right below is my favorite shot I took all week!Processed with VSCO with kk1 preset

 

 

We went around sunset time and it was perfect time to catch the good light!  Make sure you find a window inside that overlooks the Empire State building!  This will also take some patience due to people passing and also wanting to take their turn to get the same shot 🙂   Don’t forget to put your camera down for awhile and just enjoy the moment.  This is hard for photographer lovers like me, but I try to do this every time I travel!
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Plan on at least an hour to capture your photos and to enjoy the view! We used mostly our IPhone 7’s and also a cannon 7d.  I prefer using my iPhone and editing with VSCO or Snapseed apps.

Cafes and Shops

Rockefeller has some of the best shops and cafe right inside!  From food to shopping it has it all!  The chocolate store “Jaques Torres” is a great place to stop if you are waiting for your boarding time!  I tried the roasted Mocha and it was AMAZING! IMG_6704 You can also sample their fine chocolates, and we ended up buying some of the cappuccino chocolate.  Yum!  Here is the link to check them out! https://mrchocolate.com

The pizza shop we ate at was “Harry’s Pizza Parlor” and we both agreed it was some of the best NY Pizza we have tried!  Try the mushroom and cheese or meat lovers!

I hope you enjoy Top of the Rock as much as I do.  I truly believe it’s a photographers dream to shoot at the top!  Each time I am in NYC I always make an effort to get to the top because the view will never get old!  Hope my advice helped you decide to go to the Top of the Rock! Have a great time!

Travel Heart

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Welcome to my blog!

Ever since I was a little girl I dreamed of traveling the world.  Growing up in 8 different states as a military brat helped shape me into having a travelers heart.  I lived all over the country with my family as my Dad served as an Air Force pilot. I ended up packing my bags after college to live and teach in Madrid, Spain.  After Spain, I continued to explore this amazing world.  I am beyond excited to start sharing my travels through my first blog!  I have been to over 20 countries and learned a lot along the way.  I am a lover of photography, culture, fashion, art, music, and adventure.  When I am not working at my incredible job as a School Social Worker in Kansas City, I am usually trying to plan my next trip.  I am most excited about sharing my photography with you and travel tips!  One of my passions is to help and inspire people to plan a trip of any kind.  Even if it’s a city/ state away, or if its across the world, I believe anyone can travel the world with a little planning and courage. I get a lot of my travel inspiration from Instagram, photography sites, and different travel apps that I am excited to start sharing with you! 26166149_10103500326419934_4668811712449827012_n

I have been wanting to start this blog for years, and finally started this was the time!   I wanted to also start this site so I can practice my photo creativity and put it to good use for others.  I hope I put a smile on someones face when they look at my photos, and inspire them to go to the place in that photo.  I recently did a trip to London, Paris, and Rome and I will write soon about how to plan for a trip to Europe.  I am very thankful for all the technology in today’s world because it helps us create bucket lists, and share amazing photos of the world.  Does anyone else scroll through Instagram hoping and dreaming of visiting the places in the pictures? Well, I truly believe you can !  I hope I can help you see your dreams can be a reality! Traveling can be expensive, and not everyone has time to do it.  But, if you plan ahead and learn new ways to save while planning a trip, you will be able to do it!

I also hope I meet fellow travelers through this blog who dream just as hard as I do everyday about traveling.  I may not be the best writer, but I hope you enjoy my travel photography on my blog, and I can’t wait to get started on more blogs!  My next posts will be all the helpful travel apps I use, and how I plan for a trip.  Plus I will write about where to go in Dallas!  Thank you,

Instagram page- celseyb

Celsey