Montreal, Quebec


Montreal is truly the gem of Quebec, the largest providence of Canada. This city is very similar to Paris, France. Its the perfect destination if you’re on a budget and can’t afford Paris (yet). Its a six hour drive from New York City and 45 min flight from LGA. French is the main language, but most people speak English as well. Montreal is filled with cafes, restaurants, art galleries and historic landmarks. The architecture is AMAZING and the neighborhood ranges from cobblestone to french colonial style. In addition the city is very clean. Its the perfect place to escape New York City for the weekend.

Where I stayed:(Les Etoiles ) I gave Airbnb a shot for this trip. As usual, I was bit nervous but to my surprise everything was perfect. The apartment was located in the center of the old city minutes from the Notre Dame Basilique. Hotels in Montreal are expensive so your best bet is Airbnb.

Perks: luxury apartment building, cable tv, kitchen, laundry room and free indoor parking.

Where I ate: So many places to eat but so little time! I was able to try a couple of restaurants and cafes, but I found two AMAZING places which I absolutely recommend.

Breakfast:

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Olive & Gourmando located on the corner of Rue Saint – Pierre and Rue Saint – Paul is a small cafe with cool vibes well known for paninis, baked goods and coffee. A bit on the pricey side but its a great destination for brunch or lunch.

Dinner:

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Agrikol a small haitian bar & restaurant in the “Gay Village” area of Montreal. I loved this place as soon as I walked in! The interior design is jaw dropping and instantly transports you to the Caribbean. This spot serves authentic Haitian food and drinks. The menu is only in French so the waiter had to translate. I had a good experience given it was my first time trying Haitian cuisine. Definitely recommend this place if you’re looking for good vibes at decent price.

(left) griot, plantains and rice & beans (right) oxtails & white rice


Places to see:

City view from park Mount Royal

The front doors of Notre Dame



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As I turn twenty seven I cant help but reflect on all the lessons learned thus far. I’ve survived heart breaks, deaths, disappointments and lost many friends a long the way. However, through it all I’m happy that things turned out the way they did. I’m filled with gratitude knowing that I’m blessed with health, a loving family and a good head on my shoulders. I’m very focused, more than ever! At this point I only focus on things that add value to my life. Sounds harsh but it’s so importante. When you eliminate everything that no longer serves you purpose, things seem to fall into place on their own. Invest in yourself, this is the time to be selfish in every way possible. Cheers to this new year of life! 
With love,

Karen xoxo

Guanacaste, Costa Rica

Earlier this year I visited Costa Rica for the first time. My boyfriend and I took a risk and decided to go during rainy season which is from May to December. Despite the rain in the morning and cloudy afternoons this country was absolutely amazing. We stayed at the RIU Palace in Guanacaste, Costa Rica.  Not a fancy hotel at ALL, but they serve great food, drinks and have good entertainment every night. Plus you get to feed monkeys at the monkey bar (pretty cool).

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If you are staying in Guanacaste, I recommend booking an excursion with Buena Vista tours. This day trip was amazing! I booked this tour via Viator which makes booking activities super easy and most importantly SAFE. Our personal tour guide picked us up early in the morning. It took about 1 hour to get to Rincon de la Vieja National Park (an active volcano!). Once we arrived our tour director gave us an overview and reviewed safety guidelines. This tour included horse back riding, mud bath, zip lining tour, water slide and lunch. I overcame my fear of heights on this tour. I never would have imagined I’d be flying over the rainforest in Costa Rica. Yeah, this was pretty much breath taking.

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Tamarindo beach  is a must! This beautiful beach is praised by surfers and tourist. It’s known for its white sand and big waves. I enjoyed my visit because it was not very crowded with local vendors. The town is filled with cute little shops where you can find custom-made stuff and souvenirs. We couldn’t leave Costa Rica without going to Tamarindo.

5 Tips to building an effective workout routine

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Exercise is important to live a healthy balanced life. However, sometimes we may get sidetracked with everything else thats going on in our lives and we tend to push it off. Below are 5 tips that will help you incorporate exercise to your everyday routine.

1. Sleep 8hrs per day – Getting enough sleep is key for having a productive week. When you sleep less than 8hrs per day you feel sluggish, lazy and unmotivated.

2. Wake up early – Its important to wake up early to get ahead of your day. Waking up early can increase productivity and reduce stress.

3. Plan your workouts – Before going to the gym I already know what my workouts will consist of. Whether you’re focusing on biceps and back, cardio or simply leg day, writing down your reps helps you stay focused. Besides who likes to waste time in the gym!? Trust me plan ahead and you save time.

4. Nutrition is key – Drink TONS of water – stay hydrated. Its best to drink 1 gallon per day. Yes for some people this can be a lot, but your body adjusts with time. Maintain a well balanced diet including fiber, protein and vitamins. When you eat clean you feel GOOD.

5. Find what works for you – Not everyone enjoys going to the gym. But you can find other ways to workout like group training, yoga, spin class and pilates to name a few. Find what you like and go for it!

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Cartagena, Colombia

 

imageI went to Cartagena, Colombia about a week ago. And I must say, I’m completely in LOVE with the city of Cartagena. I stayed within the “old walled city” which is filled with historic sites. The architecture of the old city is breathe taking, from the colorful houses, religious buildings and the narrow colonial streets. I highly recommend visiting Cartagena. Its hard not to fall in love with the culture, people and of course the amazing food.

Where I stayed: Hotel boutique Casa del Coliseo in the walled city. This small cozy hotel offers great hospitality and impeccable design. The complimentary Colombian breakfast was amazing.

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Rosario Islands day trip: Gente del Mar Resort

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If you are looking to relax and enjoy a private beach Gente del Mar is the place to be. It’s a small secluded resort with excellent customer service. The staff is very attentive and friendly. This island has absolutely no vendors unlike the very popular public beach “playa blanca.” The resort provides snorkeling, paddle boarding and other water sports for an additional cost. There is an option to pay cash or credit for all services. Before I forget, how can I not mention the lunch!? They provide guest with coconut rice, fried fish, avocado salad and natural fresh juice.

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