The Most Romantic Greek Honeymoon: Santorini

The Most Romantic Greek Honeymoon: Santorini

Part 1

Ok, so close your eyes and imagine crystal, clear azure waters, strikingly beautiful cotton candy sunsets, bright pink petals carpeting the cobblestone streets, and the freshest, most savory seafood paired with the perfect white wine.

Now imagine all of that with the love of your life and you have the Greek islands. Cameron and I both wanted a truly unique experience for our honeymoon. When I say unique-I mean going to one of the most beautiful places on the planet that neither of us had ever been to. We were both avid travelers before we got back together. We had been to South Africa, Italy, England, Germany, Canada, Spain, Mexico, Portugal, Kenya, Tanzania, and countless other places separately. So we knew that we wanted our honeymoon to be completely new for both of us: a new adventure to mark our new marriage.

So Greece was the place.

Our wedding was something out of a fairy tale. It truly could not have been more perfect. Sure, things went wrong. But I didn’t notice a dang thing but the absolute bliss of marrying my soulmate.

But here is one little tidbit of advice, do not leave on your honeymoon the morning after your wedding. You are riding on the high of the best day of your life.

Take some time to process it.

To sit in that joy with your person.

Cameron and I had a day in between our wedding and honeymoon. I wish we would’ve taken another day or two.

So, if your jobs allow, take 1-3 days between your wedding and honeymoon.

Trust me, when we left for our honeymoon, I was actually starting to get sick because I was so stressed from wedding planning. On the way to Greece, I realized that I didn’t have my sense of smell (thankfully, it wasn’t Covid!). But that was a serious bummer because you can’t taste the amazing food as well when you can’t even smell. So just be sure to SLEEP on the days leading up to your wedding. Take that melatonin or sleeping aid the night before your wedding. Because your nerves will keep you UP. And take that emergency every dang day to boost you rimmunity. Before I dive into our itinerary, I want to chat with you a little bit about what we packed.

What to pack

So Cameron and I abhor checking luggage. And tbh, it’s a pain in the butt to get a big a** suitcase around on cobblestone streets. So we both only did carry-ons and backpacks. Was this hard for a 3-week trip for a blogger? Absolutely it was. But we made it work.

How did I bring so many cute AF outfits and a mini-steamer? I used Compression Packing Bags from Amazon. These bad boys sucked all the excess air out of my clothes so I bring as many cute outfits as I needed. Also, whenever you stay at a place with a washer-use it sis. That way to can bring less comfy clothes and just wash them when you can.

Don’t forget to bring a little tripod for taking those romantic pics! You are going to want to document everything since this is the only honeymoon you will have.

What is the best time to go?

I believe September is the best because it is still very warm and the crowds are thinner than July and August. Plus, July and August are insanely hot. September is a much more enjoyable temperature. Still warm enough to swim, but just not as scalding as July and August. Make sure to bring a shawl for the evenings because the temperature drops at night.

Two tips you must know before going to the Greek Islands

Do not forget all and any medication you may need

If you have asthma, bring your inhaler. Just do not forget any medication you may need. If you get allergies at all, bring an antihisathme. Remember, you are on islands. Doctors take a while to get to you. I say this because I had a severe allergic reaction to something (I still don’t know what). I broke out in hives and my throat began closing (I have asthma). Luckily, we were right next to a pharmacy so Cameron was able to get me an inhaler and the nurses gave me medication. It took over an hour for a doctor to get to me. So don’t forget your medications. You probably think it’s dumb of me to forget something so critical, but keep in mind, I had just planned a massive wedding and our honeymoon back to back and was mentally and physically exhausted. And I have only had two asthma attacks my whole live-this isn’t something that happens regularly! So just be extra prepared.

Get an international drivers license

There are tons of scams out there, so make sure you get it through AAA. I would start this process at least 2 months before your trip. Otherwise it will be nearly impossible for you to rent a car, scooter, or ATV. If you don’t have one, you’ll more than likely find someone who will rent you something, but you’ll be paying a ton more. Plus, since it’s Europe, most of the cars are stick. So the odds of you finding someone who will rent you a car and it’s an automatic and you don’t have an International DL are like the stars aligning perfectly. So trust me and just get it.

First Stop: Santorini

We decided to do Santorini first because it is the crowning jewel of the Cyclades. And it is incredibly unique from all the other islands because of the caldera. It is literally built on a cliff and is stunningly beautiful.

Where to Stay in Santorini

We stayed in an AirBnB in Oia (this is the most touristy part of Santorini). Our AirBnB had a private plunge pool facing the caldera. While where we stayed had an unparalleled view and was perfect in almost every way, Oia is just exhausting. There are throngs of sightseers because it is so beautiful. We had to deal with tourists literally crossing barriers and being on our porch. We stayed there five nights, but three would’ve been perfect. One great thing was that our plunge pool was inaccessible to anyone but us, so that was extremely private. If you are going to Greece, I would recommend staying in Imerovigli. It’s less touristy than Oia, but just as stunning. Make sure you rent a place facing the caldera and with a plunge pool. If you get a plunge pool not facing the caldera, you will be seriously disappointed.

Here is the link to our stunning AirBnB.

What to do in Santorini

Hike Down to Ammoudi Bay

We made a trek down to Ammoudi Bay and it was amazing. Pro-tip: if you wear a short sundress, bring biker shorts to wear under it because it is windy AF and I am sure many people saw my booty lol. The Sunset Tavern is the place to go in Ammoudi Bay and it did not disappoint. It was one of our favorite meals our whole honeymoon. We took mules up the mountain because after a few glasses of vino, you’re feeling a little sleepy. After this trek, I did feel conflicted because I felt sad for the mules in the Santorini heat.

Enjoy the Sunset, Wine, and your Plunge Pool

I would take at least one night to sit in your pool together, watch the sunset and drink some amazing Greek white wine. You can grab dinner afterwards. Take some time to enjoy your view and pool. Odds are, the plunge pool was splurge-so take some time to really enjoy it.

Book a One-Hour Photoshoot

We began a day with a one hour photoshoot at 8 am and boy, are we glad we got these photos! They turned out amazing and are such wonderful memories.

Sunset Cruise

This is 100% a no-brainer. You simply must book a sunset caldera cruise when you’re in Santorini. They will take you to beaches that are only accessible by boat. The boat staff cooks the most delicious lunch for you while you snorkle in the sapphire waters. And then of course, comes the notorious Santorini sunset with bright yellows blending into vivid orange. This is a must when you go to Santorini.

Wine Tasting Tour

After this trip, I realized that I absolutely loved Greek wine. It’s light and perfect to pair with a hot day. We chose to book a winery tour in Santorini and it was incredible. We loved getting to see more of the insland and make other honeymooning friends from around the globe.

Where to eat in Oia, Santorini

Skiza

A casual, cute place for lunch with a great view of the caldera. They have fantastic pizza and pasta. Don’t go here more than once! Keep on branching out and finding different places.

6/10

Skala

This was wonderful place for dinner. Their staff is incredible and welcoming. They don’t have a great view of the sunset so keep that in mind. It is really easy to get in during sunset, but after sunset, there will be a wait.

8/10

Sunset Tavern

This was one of our favorite meals our whole honeymoon. And probably our favorite in Santorini. We got the calamari (*chef’s kiss*) fisherman salad, and the Cuttlefish Ink Pasta. The only problem is that it is hard to get down to it. But 100% worth it. There is nothing better than eating right on the bay.

10/10

Lauda

This is one of the most expensive restaurants in Santorini and was awful. I mean awful. However, the view was spectacular. But the food was lackluster. They served Cameron something was can only be described as, “fish creme burlee.” Plus, the bill came out to around 400 euros. Don’t fall into this restaurant trap. I mean the view is amazing a you can see by the photos. So go there if you just want to split a bottle of wine and watch the sunset. I could get behind that.

3/10 (the three stars are solely for the view and they gave me a rose)

Ambrosia

This was one I was most excited to go to. Unfortunately, I had a complication with my asthma when I sat down, so we had to leave immediately to go to the doctor. Obviously that has nothing to do with this wonderful restarant. Friends of mine have been to it and loved it. So it’s worth considering for you. Pro-tip: you must make a reservation in advance.

Can’t rate it since we left.

1800 Floga

We chanced upon this place one day and it was one of our favorite meals! The Shrimp with angel hair pasta and the lamb chops were delicious. We were raving about this place FOR DAYS.

9/10

I hope you enjoyed my first part of our dream honeymoon. Make sure to subscribe to my blog so you don’t miss the next part, covering our favorite Greek island-Paros!

Lylas,

Rachel

Lucky Arrow: The Cutest Getaway in the Hill Country

You know that feeling when you’ve just been grinding away? You feel depleted. Tired. And desperately need time to get away with your SO, unplug and reconnect. That’s exactly how Cameron and I were feeling a few weeks. I mean both of us working full time and planning a wedding made us really need a vacation-some time to just get away with our two tiny pups and just have fun.

That’s when we found Lucky Arrow.

Nestled in the heart of the Hill Country in Dripping Springs lies the cutest hill country getaway you could imagine. And the best part is, it is less than 40 minutes away from Austin. So you can get away without going too far.

The Accommodations

Lucky Arrow is known for their unique yurts that are decorated to perfection. Since Cameron and I had the pups (did I mention they’re pet friendly?!) we stayed in one of their porch cabins. Which were absolutely so chic and incredibly comfortable. Plus they came with a vintage record player and albums! We were so thrilled to flip through all the records and go back in time for a few days. The room even came equipped with fun board games too and s’mores kits (which we definitely utilized)! And at night we played jenga and made s’mores snuggled up by the bonfire.

The Activities

Cameron and I love to hike, so every morning, we’d grab our coffee and hike around the Lucky Arrow property. The morning air was so refreshing and we’d grab a complimentary breakfast taco at the end of our hike!

One thing we absolutely loved about Lucky Arrow was all the activities they had planned.

The staff had provided a weekend of fun for all their guests with complimentary breakfast, beer garden, and live music in the evening. Not even to mention all the fun breweries and wineries they have nearby! Bell Springs Winery is walking distance and we had a wonderful time grabbing flights there! And 12 Fox Brewing was also very nearby and we had a great time ax throwing and hanging out there as well. We also grabbed a flat bread at the delicious Texas Hill Country Olive Co. There are also some incredible swimming holes nearby too-like the famous Hamilton Pool Preserve, Pedernales State Park, Reimers Ranch Park, and Krause Springs! Just make sure to plan ahead and book reservations as they fill up quite fast these days.

Lucky Arrow was the perfect getaway for the weekend. It was so fun to chat with their super friendly staff, watch Gizmo and Bowser make friends with the other pups on site, and just unplug for the weekend. Sometimes all you need to do is head out of town and get in the country to feel that crisp morning air with your person to feel completely rejuvenated and refreshed!

Lylas,

Rach

How We Found Our Dream Wedding Venue in Austin with Wedding Scout

Where it all began

7 months ago, the love of my life got on one knee and asked me to spend forever with him. Before he could even get the words out, I exclaimed, “YES!” Just so things wouldn’t get too awkward and he knew my answer and wouldn’t have to wait (lol). Over the next month, I was on cloud nine (and still am-I mean have you seen the ring?!). I have been just floating through life with my brand-new fiancé eager to begin our lives together.

Then the planning started… 

Once we started planning the wedding, we had no idea where to start first. Neither Cameron nor I had any concept of just how much money goes into a wedding. I started randomly googling, “best wedding venues in Austin” and “average cost of a wedding.” The problem is, a wedding in Austin, Texas is going to have a very different price tag than a wedding in Shiner, Texas. And we even went to visit a couple venues, but nothing had that spark we were looking for.

And then one day, I stumbled upon an Instagram account that would change our entire wedding planning journey. 

I found My Wedding Scout

I remember being so excited and grabbing my Mac Book and running to show Cameron. Wedding Scout has all the best, most beautiful wedding venues of Austin listed right there on their site. But the best thing is they have a sample budget listed out for every venue. So, we knew right off the bat what we were getting into moneywise! 

And it gets better. 

Each venue has a video-walk through, so you really get the vibe and feeling for each venue!

My Wedding Scout is run by Ren Newey, a ten-year veteran wedding planner. The best in the industry, she provides detailed, insider knowledge for the overwhelmed bride on Wedding Scout. Once Cameron and I sat down and looked through all the venues, we knew we found our dream venue. We also compared our budget and knew it was within our price range!

The next week, Cameron and I visited in person and immediately felt that spark.

 The Italian architecture. 

Serene Lake Austin (where we had spent our high school years) surrounding it.

The eclectic, unique art scattered throughout the property. 

The towering oak trees shading the property. 

The romantic festoon lights casting an iridescent glow after sunset.

We stepped on this property and knew.

We immediately started tearing up because we knew this was the most special place we had ever set foot in.

We immediately saw the place filled with our closest friends and family: everyone busting a move on the dance floor, Cameron and I shoving cake into each other’s mouths, my dad crying as he walked me down the aisle, our first dance as husband and wife.

We just knew. 

We went down where we were going to say our forever vows and prayed over our marriage.

And we couldn’t have found this gem without My Wedding Scout. When we first found the venue on their website, we thought it was too good to be true. But then we sat down with My Wedding Scout’s budget checklist and knew we could swing it. It was also such a special time watching the virtual walkthrough on Wedding Scout with all my aunts and grandparents could see our venue when we went to visit! September cannot come soon enough.

How I Conserve Water and Help Our Planet

This post is sponsored by Waterl<ss Hair Care. I love being a part of the #WaterlessFam, but as always, all opinions expressed are my own. 

Lately I have been focusing my energy on ways to conserve our planet and it’s precious resources.

This means little adjustments like bringing reusable take-out containers when I go to restaurants to declining a straw when they offer it. The past few months, I have really honed in on the little things we can be doing that add up to make a BIG difference.

One of our earth’s most precious resources is water. The majority of our planet consists of water. The EPA actually projects that because the U.S.’ population has increased so significantly, they anticipate at least 40 states will have water shortages by 2024. So, I decided in 2020 to cut back on my water usage. But, I am a blogger, right? I talk about hair, beauty, and travel?! So, my hair has to look fresh and clean but I was dying to make an impact on this world by limiting my water consumption!

Enter Waterl<ss.

If you have followed my blog for any period of time, you know I love Waterl<ss. Not only do their products make my hair look, feel, and even smell clean. The heart of their organization aligns with mine. Waterl<ss started in Cape Town, South Africa during the Day Zero water crisis in 2018. Cape Town was bombarded with unprecedented water shortages due to intense droughts. People were faced with running completely out of drinkable water unless they could cut the city’s water usage to build back up a supply. Watlerl<ss was born in a time of crisis.

They made a haircare line that caters to all hair types that can be used without a single drop of water. Did you know a single shower can use over 10 gallons of water? That is water that can be conserved and used for other more important and dire needs. 

I know I am just one person, but it more people take small steps to save and converse our precious resources (like water!) our planet would be a lot better off! I challenge you to join me. You can start small, just cut out one shower a week! Instead opt to use Waterl<ss amazing products like their Dry Shampoos, Dry Conditioners, and Fragrance Mists. Forgo just one shower a week for a year and you will have made a big impact!

Their entire collection is available at Sally Beauty here – grab yours in-store or online!

How to Go Five Days without Washing your Hair with the Best Dry Shampoo and Hair Balm

How to Go Five Days without Washing your Hair with the Best Dry Shampoo and Hair Balm

This post is sponsored by Waterl<ss. All opinions expressed are my own

2020 is just a little bit different right?

With the holidays coming up, it might look even more different with many of us unable to travel to see our family. I bet there are a bunch of us who are even having Thanksgiving over Zoom! Connection with friends and family is so even more important now than it ever has been. If you’re anything like me then you are dying for connection and catch up with a friend but you may not want to have to do the whole wash, blow-dry, and style thing. Or you may have an important business call and want to look put together, but don’t want to put in all the effort that comes with washing your hair!

     Lately I have been in that exact position, I’ve been having a ton of Zoom calls and many times I find out about them at the last minute and don’t have time to do the whole she-bang!

Waterl<ss Hair Care has been such a lifesaver in these moments of need because they have the best dry shampoo & hair balm.

Their system is so easy and makes my hair always look fabulous, even after not washing my hair for days. I don’t have to sacrifice spending 2 hours doing my hair to look great. My hair can look awesome and I have time for other things!

Using Waterl<ss cuts doing my hair down by an hour and a half.

It only takes me 20-30 minutes when I use their products-unreal right?! That is more time I can spend catching up with friends over FaceTime, playing with Gizmo or my new puppy Bowser, taking fun creative photos, or just anything other than getting an insane arm workout blow-drying my hair! Their Dry Shampoo No Residue removes build and absorbs oil from my hair leaving no grey residue. And their Heat Shield Protect & Re-Style is perfect to spray onto my dry hair before curling it for a Zoom meeting, a hot date at home with Cameron, or a photoshoot. I cannot emphasize more how important it is to protect your beautiful hair from heat every time you style it, not just when you blow dry! And then I always finish with their amazing Dry Conditioner Weightless Smooth because it makes my ends soft and shiny. 

     With these three products, I never have to turn down an opportunity to connect with friends or family because I haven’t washed my hair in days (quarantine life amirite?!).

But instead I can spend my time where it is most valuable: with family during the holidays (even if it is on Zoom!). That connection and family time is so essential right now and a little hair refresh goes a long way. I know I always feel better than my hair is looking on point! All of these amazing products are available at Sally Beauty online or in stores.