Last weekend I had the privilege of attending one of my best friends' weddings in Miami, FL. I had the time of my life.
The Conrad Miami, truly one of the best hotels I've been to! So. Gorgeous.

I spent my Labor Day Weekend in Charlotte, NC. It was a great trip!! I wish I could have spent more time shopping and exploring the local fashion scene as I am a fashion and beauty blogger, but I actually spent a lot of time checking out Charlotte hot spots for food. Typical. 

On Saturday morning I visited a cozy boutique nail salon called Siditty Kitty for a pedicure (@SidittyKitty). The walls were a beautiful shade of purple and there were pink and white oversized couches. The owner of the boutique, Kianna, told me that she snagged them from a yard sale at a reasonable price, a perfect example of transforming "trash" into treasure. Kianna was nice, thorough, and had a wide selection of nail colors. I will definitely be going back! If you're in the Charlotte area, be sure to check her out. 

A view of all of her colors!

Right across the street from Siditty Kitty, there was a specialty clothing boutique called Boris and Natasha. AMAZING! The clothes were unique and mostly hand sewn/woven by local designers. In other words, there are a lot of clothes in there that you probably won't see elsewhere. I fought my overwhelming temptation to buy anything due to time constraints, but I will definitely be back!

After relaxing and getting a much-needed massage, I went to dinner at Terrace Café. You MUST go to this place if you're ever in the Charlotte area. The food and service was really, really good. 

Homemade biscuits with jalapeño jelly. Yes, it sounds weird but it was surprisingly very good and not spicy at all. 

Chicken lollipops! These things were soooo yummyyy! (And a lemon zest in the background that was equally yummy)

Chicken sandwich and sweet potato waffle fries

Trout with a pineapple glaze and fried green beans. YUM.

Happy. And well fed. 

The next day, we went to a Charlotte staple for Brunch: The Flying Biscuit. I died and went to southern food heaven. My favorite part? The humungous bowl of creamy grits. 

After brunch and a nap, we headed to Crowder's Mountain right outside of Gastonia, NC. It was a quaint state park. I was a little scared at some points during our ascent up the mountain because it is evident that while it's a park, we were in the middle of the wilderness. Being a city girl at heart, I was foolishly expecting a fox, bear or mountain lion to attack us... which thankfully didn't happen! 

After hiking, we had a picnic in front of the lake. Yes, I love picnics! (It's way better than hiking through the woods) Chicken salad sandwiches, grapes, pasta salad and mimosas. 

So long Charlotte... Until next time! 

ARIZONA   (JULY 2011)                                                      
I just got back from an eye-opening vacation in Arizona. It was so inspiring I even felt like a new person when packing my things to head back East. That is, until I dealt with a number of delays with a certain airline which kinda ruined my "at peace" demeanor. But I digress.

I stayed at the Beautiful Arizona Biltmore, a resort and spa under the Waldorf Astoria Collection. The hotel's landscape was beautiful. Everything from the fountains to the carpets to the mountains/hills in the background, I loved it. 

We spent most of Friday taking in the hotel and its surrounding area and enjoying the start of what I like to call "overeating during vacation and not really caring because I'll work it off when I get back."

On Saturday we walked around a couple of malls and old town Scottsdale (see my recent blogpost for my Southwestern Fashion Finds!) Sunday was the day of amazement and the day of spiritual awakening. I'm not even kidding. And I'm not being melodramatic. We got up early Sunday morning and made the 1.5 hour trek to Sedona, AZ. I had NEVER experienced anything like it! On the drive there I snapped so many pictures of the breathtaking scenery and it was in these moments that I felt very appreciative of life and Earth's unmistakable beauty. 

And the majestic mountains of Sedona...

NY, NY 2011 Pt. 1 (JULY 2011)                                              

It's Monday morning. And I'm exhausted... but my heart is full. I just came back from New York City and I can officially say that I have fallen in love, all over again. Of course my loyalty will always be with my hometown of Washington, D.C., but NYC has become a very close second.

We arrived in Manhattan Saturday morning and made our way to the busy, bustling Times Square area to check in to Hotel Mela, a very cute boutique hotel.

After walking up and down 5th Ave, admiring the fashion, we grabbed coffee at a random gourmet coffee shop, Cafe M in Koreatown. 

We ate lunch at The Breslin which was really, really good. 

We then took our turn at trying to navigate the hot, HOT subway system. Every tourist has to go through this rite of passage. And of course it took us a good 30-40 minutes to finally get on the right train. But I'm not complaining... we were able to hear some good music while wandering around. 

Little Italy was lively, and the canolis and pizza were everything!! I was also able to get some fabulous wedges in SoHo (see my homepage for blog post).

Sunday morning was calm and lighthearted compared to our Saturday night in the city. We woke up and got some coffee and croissants and ate breakfast in Central Park. Here's some shots from our spot in the shade. 

Crumbs Bake Shop on the Upper West Side was next on our list. Can we say yummy? I had a strawberry vanilla cupcake : )

Next stop. The cultural hodgepodge of Harlem for dinner at Red Rooster

And yes, I LOVE food... I'm sure you can tell. 

The historic Apollo Theatre. 

I wish I had taken more pics, but there will be a part deux in September with REAL pics, using a REAL camera (instead of my phone)! Until next time, New York, New York. 


Alessandra : )