5 New Things to Try This Fall

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Fall is such a beautiful time of year, with the leaves changing colors and the scents of pumpkin and cinnamon looming in the air. I have always loved the classic raking leaves and jumping into them scenario and I am so excited to clear my lawn this weekend to do just that 🙂

With the arrival of Fall comes the arrival of a new season, a time for change, a time for transition. So why not try something new this season? Here are some of my favorite things to do during this season and I’m hoping you’ll enjoy some of them too!

Bake a Homemade Apple Pie 

Everyone loves pie! It’s an American past time to eat pie for Fourth of July and Thanksgiving, but why not make one just because you can? The Fall season is a great time for fruits, they are finally ripe enough to be put to some delicious use. So why not find an orchard and go apple picking! Going to college in Spokane, I have some great opportunities for this in the Greenbluff countryside where farmers unite and put on their annual apple festival – it’s a great time. It’s one of my favorite things to get a group of friends together and go out there for a day of apple picking, delicious food and cider, and then come home and top it off with a homemade apple pie that I put together from the apples I picked!

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Why Florence Should Be At The Top of Your Bucket List Destinations

Florence is the most incredible city in the world! I cannot express enough how much I love this city. I was fortunate enough to spend an entire semester in Florence studying abroad, and it was the best decision I’ve ever made. There is so much to gain from studying abroad and just because my experience was at the heart of Italy, doesn’t mean it’s the only reason why I love it so much. From the shopping, to the delicious food, to the most breath-taking views – Florence is filled with adventure after adventure and endless things to do! Here are just some of my favorites from my four months there:

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View of the Duomo from the top of the bell tower

The Art, History, and Culture

Florence is known to many as a city of culture, simply because so much history took place there. If you’ve ever heard of the Medici Family then you know Florence, considering they were one of the most influential and powerful families to run Florence for many, many, years. They even created a secret tunnel from their home that runs through the Ponte Vecchio. I didn’t know there was a tour that took you to see this tunnel until after I had left Florence, but if you have the chance you should go! What an incredible opportunity to see the secret world of the Medicis! But anyways, some super popular and highly recommended museums to see while in the city are the Uffizi Gallery (my personal favorite), the Galleria de Accademia (where the statue of David is), the Pitti Palace, and the Stibbert Museum (it’s a little less known, but still super cool to see).

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Crafts, Crafts, Crafts!

I have been having sooo much fun with crafts lately! I got the diy bug all over again and just splurged on items from Michaels such as mason jars (TONS of mason jars), paint, sand paper, paint pens, and more! Here are some of the projects I worked on this weekend:
 Distressed Mason Jars
I’ve wanted to do this craft for soo long and I finally got around to it this weekend! Thanks to Pinspiration, I took some tips and dived right in! I used Craftsman ‘Sky Blue’ and ‘White’ paints for my jars, each needing around 3 coats and an entire night to dry. Then I used sandpaper to distress the jars, working slowly and meticulously, but I couldn’t be happier with how things came out! I chose bathroom storage items for my jars, like this soap dispenser and tissue holder, but there are many more options for you to choose yourself!
Halloween Lanterns
These were so much fun to make! I had never used spray paint nor paint pens before and I was surprised to find how easy they were to use! It took me around an hour for each jar, but what fun is a craft if it only takes five seconds to make? Plus, the reward is that much more satisfying the more effort you put into it! All I had to do was spray paint the different sized mason jars, insert a traceable design to the inside of the jars, and start tracing away with the paint pen! With October right around the corner (literally, coming up this weekend!), it’s a great way to get in the Halloween spirit!
For further instruction on how to make these, look up these links:

Home Sweet Home

Coming home to California after months of living in Washington is always a treat! My favorite part about being home is the familiarity – the routine that instantly kicks back in where I’m going to my favorite coffee shop and local mall. I wouldn’t appreciate my hometown as much if I didn’t spend so much time away from it, so if you’re thinking that your life at home is boring and you’re in need of a change then I would suggest getting away for a bit and coming back to the realization that you’re hometown is actually amazing.

PSA: this advice may not apply to those who were born outside of California (sorry!)

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The Shoppes at Chino Hills (my hometown)

So, what are the best things to do when visiting home? The priorities on my to-do list definitely include seeing family and friends! But it can be hard to figure out what places to go to when visiting those family and friends… My advice? Go somewhere new! It’s easy to go to your favorite places every time you come home (and yes I admit I get In n Out every time I come back to the good ole CA), but then visits home seem like the same trip every time – especially when your time is limited!

When it comes to activities, I always try a new place to eat! I’ve only been back at home for two days – but I’m already planning on going down to Three Thirty Three down at Newport Beach! My family is going to the beach for the day and then going out to dinner and this is the place we picked. I’ve heard many good things about it and although it’s not my favorite Mexican restaurant down the street from my house, it allows the space for new memories to be made.

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3-Thirty-3 Restaurant

Shopping is always a must at home too! I can almost guarantee that the stores in your hometown are not the same as your place of residence. Which is great sometimes and really frustrating at other times, but makes you appreciate the times when you can shop at those stores that always available. For example, Charming Charlie is a great store with fabulous accessories and jewelry for affordable prices, but there isn’t a store where I currently live. Luckily they have online shopping so I can still make my regular purchases, BUT for cute boutiques that don’t offer online shopping it can be really frustrating when you’re looking for that perfect boho/chic dress that online your local store offers.

Lastly, I know going home can be a stressful time as you have to make time to see everyone and make time for the things you want to do as well, but don’t forget to enjoy it! Going home is supposed to be a fun time to relax and remember the place that helped mold you into the person you are. Safe travels as summer comes to an end and if you didn’t get a chance to go home this summer – then holidays are just around the corner!

XOXO,

Chanel

Banff, Canada

You’re thinking about traveling to Canada? Gee, that’s a great idea! Let me tell you why Banff should be the travel destination you set at the top of your list!

First off, Banff is a cute, bavarian-influenced town in the middle of a giant national park within the Alberta province of Canada. There’s taverns and pubs and shopping and majestic hotels that overlook the Canadian rockies, what more could you ask for? I only spent five days in Banff, but it was enough to convince me that it is one of the most beautiful places on Earth.

I stayed in Canmore, a small town about 15 minutes away from downtown Banff, at the Stoneridge Mountain Resort. This hotel was amazing! It was small, but elite. It wasn’t noisy, except for maybe me and my 6 travel mates in the evenings, and the pool is centered in the middle of the resort with hot tubs and lounge chairs for everyone. I would 100% recommend this place for anyone traveling to Banff, but doesn’t want to be in the center of everything or just wants to save a couple bucks on hotel expenses.

While in Banff, here are some of my top recommended activities:

  1. Banff Upper Hot Springs – such a fun activity to do in the morning, afternoon, evening, or all day if you choose! The pool stairs straight up at Sulphur Mountain and the view is quite incredible to say the least. Enjoy relaxing in the mineral waters for a while and then head down to the main street and peruse the shops! There are so many delicious places to grab lunch too. We went to the Banff Ave. Brewing Company and shared drinks along with yummy burgers and fish and chips. Then we walked along the road and did some souvenir shopping for friends and ourselves, definitely a must if in town! There’s also a ton of pubs and taverns to visit so if you’re looking for some night life I would check out Hoodoo and the Dancing Sasquatch for you late-nighters out there! Hint: Sunday is the night to go out.IMG_6489
  2. Johnston Canyon Trail – this hike was the entire reason I wanted to go to Banff, and let me tell you, it did not disappoint! It’s an easy trail, so anyone could do it, and the entire time you walk along this crystal clear river glistening with glacier water. It’s unbelievably pretty! You have the choice to the Upper Falls or the Lower Falls, but I would recommend both! It took us about 2 hours to do both so if time is a question, make the time! Trust me. We even saw a baby black bear and some ram on the road along the way!IMG_6515
  3. Lake Louise – now this one is a bit of a drive outside of the main area of Banff, but the views are breath-taking! You can totally go swimming in the lake, however, the water is freezing since it comes from the melting glaciers around. But if you’re up for it, then go for it! There’s a canoe rental place that you can take around for the day as well which looks fun! If you decide to step inside the Fairmont Chateau for a quick minute and you like furry animals then ask to see Marcus.

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    Here I am! (Right outside the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise)
  4. Canmore Caves – I never actually got to do this during my trip to Banff, but I hear it is great for the adventurous at heart! The Canmore Caves offer two kinds of tours, a regular four hour tour that explores the insides of the cave, and an adventure tour that explores the depths of the caverns in a six hour tour that repels you over 18 meters below the cave entrance! If you’re up for the challenge, I’m sure it’s more than worth it!CanmoreCaveTours-P002-GrandGallery

Banff is definitely a travel destination worth looking into. If you’re up for adventure and some time in nature than this is the place for you! I can’t wait to make it back here again someday and explore some more of this beautiful place 🙂

Card Games to Play (Besides Cards Against Humanity)

Cards Against Humanity is a classic game to play with friends, especially when drinking. Of course there’s other card games like King’s Cup, but if you’re looking for more legit games that come with rules and in a box, then here are a couple to try!

Red Flags – this is one of my personal favorites! The game includes white cards which represent pleasing aspects of someone you’d like to date and then red cards which represent “red flags” or things that would make you not want to date someone. Then, each person puts together their ‘character’ for the person who is voting, which includes one two white cards and one red card. The voter must then choose which person out of their choices they would date. It’s pretty simple, but a lot of fun! Many laughs will be had if in possession of this game. Tip: there’s an expansion as well (Dark Red Flags)

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To learn more about this game click here: Red Flags

SuperFight – this game was made for people that find pleasure in arguing their own opinions (and for those that love to watch people argue). It’s a ton of fun if you can get the right crown together! Each person develops a ‘fighter’ by putting together one black card in a their hand (attribute cards) with one white card from their hand (character cards). Then, everyone lays out their fighters and argue why their fighter would win over everyone else’s. There are plenty of expansions for this game too that add either challenges, scenarios, or locations to the core deck of cards. I haven’t tried any of these yet, but I’m super excited to hopefully soon!

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To learn from about this game click here: Super Fight

I hope you guys find these games as fun as I do! I’d love to hear game night stories and what combinations came together!