What makes you the happiest during the Holidays? For me, it is the warm holiday spirit, bright lights and decorations everywhere and PRESENTS! What if shopping for presents and a staycation is combined in a “shopcation” in one of the most desirable vacation destinations, Los Angeles?
I was beyond excited to take part in this shopcation, which involved a day of shopping in the Beverly Center followed by a stay in the Beverly Hilton, one of the most historical and iconic hotels of Los Angeles!
I know receiving presents is the fun part but shopping for Christmas presents can actually be fun when you are in the right place! The Beverly Center made my shopping experience not only fun but also super convenient! With its wide range of stores, renewed interiors and unique Christmas decorations, the Beverly Center seriously surpassed my expectations! I got to take some amazing shots with their beautiful giant gift boxes in the middle of the mall where I truly felt like Alice in Wonderland!
After finishing our Christmas shopping, we were treated for a delicious lunch at the Farmhouse. I was wondering if this could get any better but the ‘staycation’ part was just starting! And I couldn’t wait to get to that!
Checking into the Beverly Hilton was exciting for me because it was going to be my first time staying here at this iconic hotel. I must say that the staff were absolutely amazing! They made everything so easy and convenient for us when we said we would take some photos including having us upgraded to the penthouse and bringing ten coffee cups to our room! The Beverly Hilton’s generosity was unbelievable with the little gifts and treats they offered! They definitely know how to make you feel like a celebrity!
The whole shopcation experience was so unique and fun for me! I cannot imagine a better way of getting my Christmas shopping done and staying at one of the most iconic Hiltons! The shopcation experience was provided by Hilton Hotels in conjunction with the Beverly Center, which offer shopping VIP passports with discounts and exclusive offers!
This blog post is done in collaboration with Hilton Hotels and Beverly Center.
When the idea of a road trip to Arizona came to our mind with Munopia, I got so excited! I had never been to Arizona and been wanting to see all the gorgeous Grand Canyon, Horseshoe Bend and Monument Valley. We planned it ahead of time and decided to stop by Scottsdale. It was not a tough decision when The Scott Resort invited us for a stay at their wonderful resort!
Our plan was to stay one night in Scottsdale and then drive to Monument Valley, stay somewhere close that night and the next day drive to Horseshoe Bend and end the road trip in Grand Canyon. So, we had to cut our Grand Canyon tour very short. Well, only later did we realize that it was a pretty ambitious route! (like on the way back home) Well, life is all about live and learn, right? And never underestimate the time spent on the road!
OK back to Scottsdale, the first leg of our trip! Scottsdale was only a 5-hour drive from Los Angeles and considering how much we love road trips, we were bound to have fun! It really didn’t feel like a long drive either. When we arrived in Scottsdale, the weather was still warm and nice.
Upon our arrival to the Scott Resort, we immediately got in the mood because this place really makes you feel like you are on a tropical vacation! I especially fell in love with its pretty landscaping, interior design and pastel color palette and couldn’t help but imagining my future home designed like this!
We also found out that The Scott Resort was voted the most instagrammable spot in Scottsdale! Go figure! We were in heaven! We lost ourselves taking photographs at the hotel because there was so much beauty and detail in every corner and every little nook! It was warm enough to take a dip in the pool, so I was so sad when I realized I didn’t bring any swimsuit! But we did hang out around the pool and I especially love the sandy beach pool where there is enough sand to feel by the seaside.
With its vintage design, “The Canal Bar” inside the resort was one of my favorite corners of the Scott Resort. I literally fell in love with the colors of this cute bar!
It was such a pleasant experience staying at the Scott Resort that it makes you never want to leave! Although it started raining the next day we were leaving, it still looked pretty and we were able to capture beautiful photos around the pool! I just can’t wait to go back for a longer stay in this oasis in the middle of the desert!
Wearing dresses in summer is no brainer, right? They are light-weight, airy, and easy to wear. They make your shopping experience much easier too! Topshop is one of my favorite brands that inspires me with that European look and it has a pretty large collection of dresses for every occasion.
A couple of weeks ago, I went to New York to celebrate my husband’s birthday. It was such a pleasant time in the city! Walking like crazy in the streets, admiring the rooftop views and going for a walk in Central Park will never get old for me, a girl who lives in California! Glad I packed my Topshop dresses with me ’cause they perfectly complemented my looks with their unique prints and style!
Polka Dot Midi Dress
I’m obsessed with polka dot lately and hope you can see why! Vintage prints like this is at the top of my list when it comes to dresses! The open-back detail and the side slit adds fun and playfulness into the dress. Love love love!
If somebody told me that I would be sent a box full of new, trendy pieces every month curated and tailored for my taste and that I can complement with my own, I would totally be the first one to try it! Hard to believe but this service exists! Dailylook is a premium box styling service, which sends you on-trend looks based on a questionnaire you fill out about your style. I ordered a box for July and the quality and style of the pieces are beyond my expectations!
What I like most about this whole experience was the fact that you can preview your box once your stylist handpicks your items and you can make alterations to it! After receiving and trying on all the pieces in your box in the comfort of your own room, you get to decide which ones to keep and which ones to return. OK, so I may be a little picky about the quality of the clothes I buy, but there are so many pieces I love inside my Dailylook box that I am having a hard time deciding which ones to keep at the moment!
I especially LOVE this white maxi textured skirt, which makes me feel like I’m in a dream! I complemented it with a vintage scarf that I made into a top. I felt so happy in this dreamy fairy tale outfit among the blue flowers! We recently discovered this park in Irvine and it is one of the most unexpected discoveries because this place is right next to the highway! Have you ever had one of those discoveries?
Use code GULIN10 for 10% off to order your own Dailylook box!
I love Palm Springs for many reasons. The most obvious one is that it is always hotter than LA and it always makes me feel like I am traveling to a more tropical destination. The desert views and palms against the background of rocky mountains also make it one of the unique sceneries of Palm Springs. Although I am a Mediterranean girl at heart, I cannot resist road tripping to the desert at least a few times a year ever since I moved to Southern California!
Another reason why I love Palm Springs is its art scene. Walking around in downtown and visiting the art galleries are a few of my favorite activities in this small desert city. A weekend getaway to Palm Springs feels like summer vacation although it’s only 2 hours from LA. What we usually like to do is that we rent an Airbnb house with a pool and enjoy the hot weather for the weekend!
It is also a great destination if you want to take a few good photos that will reflect the colorful scene of Palm Springs! These 5 spots are definitely a must-visit if you like to take lots of photos like me and to get a better feel of Palm Springs!
1. Hotel California Sign
This is a family-owned boutique hotel with Spanish architecture. The sign of the hotel is very iconic and definitely makes you start singing you-know-which-song at the back of your head! It also provides an iconic and vintage background for the photographs taken in front of this sign.
Actually, I saw this sign on one of my favorite blogger’s Instagram (Belen Hostalet) and was wondering ever since where this cute sign is in Palm Springs! We finally saw it while driving by and snapped this cute photo! I really don’t know if it is an actual cafe, but I do know that you cannot resist snapping a few photos with this vintage sign against the background of palm trees!
3. Moorten Botanical Garden
Real cactus heaven. If you love cacti as much as me (actually I purchased two kinds of cacti for my new apartment and plan to put them into my bedroom) you need to visit this place! It is very conveniently located at the heart of Palm Springs and presents varieties of cacti and provides cutest backgrounds for photos. At the entrance, it says professional cameras are forbidden but we managed to take quite a few photos here. You might want to be discrete if you plan to bring a large camera here!
4. Wind Turbines
It is impossible not to notice those huge wind turbines driving to Palm Springs. I remember how many times I wanted to get a shot next to these while driving but didn’t know how to get closer! On one of our trips to Palm Springs, we finally figured out which road to take to get to these characteristic wind turbines. If you follow Garnett Road, you will find isolated side roads leading to them and can take the dreamiest and the most inspirational desert shots with the wind turbines in the background.
5. Salvation Mountain
Last but not least, you must see the Salvation Mountain even though it is 1 and a half hour drive from Palm Springs. It is in the middle of nowhere but also it’s one of the most Instragrammed places due to its colorful nature. This colorful shrine was built in 28 years by Leonard Knight who wanted to spread the message “God is Love”. This artwork contains many Christian sayings and verses from the Bible. You don’t need to be religious to admire this art work because with its beautifully painted murals, it provides the most colorful background in the middle of the desert.
Hearing about the historic Route 66 might be an ordinary thing here, but actually going down the Route 66 with two of your best friends was an unforgettable experience! The whole road trip planning began when one of the biggest clothing brands in Turkey, Beymen Club, asked Hande Cilek to takeover their stories for a day. Since they shot their Spring collection on Route 66, stories from the road and some of the landmarks from Route 66 was going to be perfect complement to their collection!
So, the adventure began on a sunny day with happy tunes and the wind in our hair! We started off our adventure in the breezy Santa Monica that is the end of the original Route 66! After driving around 2 hours, we came to the Desert Market, which seemed to be in the middle of nowhere. There was absolutely nothing much around except from this small market which you can stop by if you need a little break from driving. By the way, starting this road trip, I did not know that Route 66 originally passed through 8 states including Texas, Arizona, Chicago, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, and California. It is one of the very first roads in the United States, which is also called the Mother Road.
Flipping the whole Route 66 experience and starting off from where it ends, we were feeling very excited, happy and hopeful! After getting our water and snack fix at Desert Market, we were off to the famous Bagdad Cafe which was named after a German film by the same name. But before going in, we found a beautiful motel sign right by the road and didn’t pass the opportunity for some iconic photographs! It was definitely a challenge to collaborate with the wind to take the perfect photos, but we managed to get some nevertheless!
Bagdad Cafe was no different from Desert Market in terms of location. Again, there seemed to be nothing else around other than this iconic cafe. When we entered the cafe, we were very impressed by the colors, notes on the wall and the photographs! The whole time there, we felt like we were in a movie set! This place is indeed out of a film! Definitely a must-see if you ever go down the Route 66!
Before reaching our next destination, we took some road shots as well, which are our favorites! We were so inspired by some of the road shots on Pinterest that trying to create some good ones ourselves despite the wind was a real challenge!
Next stop was our last destination before the return journey: the famous Roy’s Motel and Cafe. There is also a vintage gas station there that we would like to photograph because they preserved its original form. When we arrived there, it was almost the sunset and we were starving already! Unfortunately, the cafe at the gas station does not have anything other than chips, biscuits, and average coffee, but we succeeded in getting the sunsets shots we wanted however hungry we were! I definitely recommend going there having eaten as the closest restaurant will be at least 45 minutes away.
At the end of the day, we were really tired and hungry, but watching the sunset is one of the things we could not miss! So, we pulled over in the middle of the road and watched the amazing desert sunset with its beautiful colors! It would be a crying shame to end our legendary road trip without witnessing another sunset!
I love road trips! I mean, who doesn’t like blasting out your favorite music, pit stopping at In&Out, stopping on the way to take a few shots? So, this is how our (a travel blogger, a photographer, and a travel&lifestyle creative) road trip to Joshua Tree started. Having heard and seen a lot about Joshua Tree, I ironically didn’t know what to come across, but what we encountered was beyond magical!
Upon entering the Joshua Tree National Park, we stopped to take a few pictures on the road and then head to a garden called cholla cactus garden. These cacti actually look very fragile and even pretty, but as all desert plants, it is very tenacious and stubborn. It is actually famous for its barbed spines that grab whatever they touch without ever letting go! Well, we didn’t know this before one cholla cactus literally clutched itself to Hande‘s jumpsuit, hence her skin, as Mun photographed her. We tried so hard to take it out, and by taking it out I mean attaching that to another object. That was the only way we could get it out! But, of course, it was worth all the pain looking back at these dreamy shots! Don’t you agree?
After the cholla cactus garden, we had planned to head our home for that weekend and take some pictures in the sunset. However, obviously we didn’t expect for the house to be one and a half hour away from the national park. So, we thought we would miss the sunset in the car driving to the house, but we didn’t know that our enthusiasm and motivation not to miss the sunset would lead to amazing photos with the wind turbines in Palm Springs!
When we finally got to the house, it was already dark and much colder. But we were absolutely happy with our Airbnb home! It was cozy and warm with the most amazing details! As we unpacked and tried to warm ourselves, we couldn’t wait to lose ourselves photographing this design wonder in the middle of the desert! Of course, our night conversations naturally involved editing, blogging, and Instagram! We just love talking about these when we three get together!
The next day, waking up at sunrise has never been so difficult! It was freezing inside as it was outside! I am not used to desert temperatures at all, but coffee helped! And of course the magical light was worth the inconvenience. We were home the whole day taking pictures, editing them and getting cozy with more wood in the fireplace. We just wanted to experience the life in the desert to the fullest and this house gave us this opportunity and more.
The next day was the time for another road trip to the national park, but not without enjoying another magical morning in Joshua Tree! The morning routine started with coffee, a small breakfast, and then some more coffee and books. And then, we gave ourselves up to the magic of Joshua Trees!
Joshua trees are in fact strange-looking trees with spiky leaves and thick trunks, but they also bloom any time between February to April. I’m actually sad that we missed the flowers, but it’s always an excuse to go back! When you enter the National Park and the road leads you to giant rocks and Joshua trees, you feel like entering into another world. However, you immediately feel like it’s an everyday occurrence to see these trees. It is very strange how it captivates and pulls you into its world. That’s why I thought the land of Joshua Trees must belong in a fairy tale with its strange trees and otherworldly atmosphere.
As I said earlier, the desert experience wouldn’t be complete without getting into the hot tub our house offered. So, we also took the opportunity to get warm in the hot tub while it was actually chilly outside! It was pretty scenic looking at the cactus and the rocky mountains!
I know this road trip would not be this magical, full of adventures, and fun without my tribe! I highly recommend taking a road trip with your besties and drive to wherever the road leads you with your favorite music on because those are mostly the times you feel more alive!
So, Tulum diaries part II is finally here! Well, I can talk about Tulum all day long if you leave me! I’m still searching for ways to go back there ASAP!
This second part will give you all the details about where to go, what to eat, and where to shop in Tulum. There are so many amazing places to go, see and of course snap a few pictures because everywhere is photo-worthy in Tulum!
Where to eat & drink in Tulum?
Posada Margherita– a cute Italian restaurant with delicious food! If you crave for something other than Mexican, this is your spot!
Casa Jaguar– the atmosphere, food, music are amazing! It’s as if you are in the jungle. I highly recommend their fish!
Hartwood– we didn’t eat here because they take their reservations at least a month in advance. And if you don’t have a reservation, you need to go there at 5.30pm and wait for them to seat you. I feel like it’s a little bit overrated with its chef from NewYork but it may be worth to try!
Raw Love– a vegan heaven! a lot of healthy, yummy bowls and salads and even pasta!
Hotel Ahau- Went there for Raw Love and ended up staying for the live music! Perfect location to sip your margarita while listening to great music next to the ocean!
Gitano– we went there two nights in a row! there’s live music and mezcal cocktails are amazing!
Murmur– we loved its cute little bar! the octopus was so delicious!
Matchamama- Soo instagrammable! Matcha heaven!
What to see and where to shop in Tulum?
Tulum Ruins– we really wanted to go there, but a small accident with the bike prevented us, unfortunately. They are very close, though. You can even bike there.
Casa Malca– as I mentioned in Tulum Diaries Part I, apart from its relation to Pablo Escobar, this is a very unique place. Very mysterious and fabulous decor!
Town center– Well, there are a lot of boutiques where these restaurants and bars are, but they are insanely expensive! We wanted to buy some souvenirs for our families, so we biked to town center, which was 25 min. away from our hotel. There are a lot of shops one after the other, so you have the option to bargain! I got the cutest authentic leather bag from one of these shops! (See it in the pictures)
Hotel Azulik- personally, not been here, but I heard it’s great for pictures!
What not to do?
I mentioned that taking the Supershuttle from Cancun airport to Tulum was a mistake in my previous post. Here is why: While we were booking our roundtrip shuttle at the airport on arrival, they told us to call them one day before our flight and confirm the time. We did exactly what they said, but they called the hotel on the date of our flight and told that they were not able to pick us up because they were overbooked. I mean, what kind of company does that? So we had to find a taxi that would take us from Tulum to Cancun. Luckily, we found a very decent one and avoided a crisis! So my recommendation is do not book with Supershuttle, they are irresponsible and unprofessional!
It all started when my husband Oz and I started thinking about our honeymoon in May 2017. As always, we could not agree on a single place so we decided to draw from among the six different spots that we had previously written down. He drew Tulum and I drew Bahamas. So we ended up with these two different yet both magical places! We casually left the final decision after the wedding. When all those hurricanes struck certain places this year, we decided to play it safe and went for Tulum.
I am so glad we agreed on Tulum looking back on our wonderful vacation. It was the perfect combination of tropical idyllic beach and unique places waiting to be discovered. I wanted to both lie down and work on my tan and walk around the cute town for hidden gems. And Tulum was both!
We flew directly to Cancun and after reading a lot of reviews and advice, we decided to take the Super Shuttle, which was a big mistake that I will tell you about in Part II. Upon landing in Cancun, a warm and nice breeze and tropical palm trees welcome you. It was interesting to me that palms have lighter color and the leaves are thinner over there. It takes about one and a half hour to get from Cancun to Tulum. It is a nice long drive with no curves or complications.
When we arrived at our hotel, Tata Tulum, the pants and sweaters were already starting to feel extra, but we were very pleased to get rid of them for the next six days! We were warmly welcomed at Tata Tulum and pretty spoiled by the Tata Tulum crew! Our room was facing the ocean and conveniently located next to the restaurant and the bar. A delicious desert and champagne were waiting for us in our room.
Our amazing room in Tata Tulum
By the way, we took the red-eye flight to Cancun so we were pretty exhausted the first day. Our hotel had the most comfortable sunbeds, so we tried taking it easy just hanging out on the beach. And of course, looking around and taking some pictures! I’m sure you have seen a lot of travel bloggers going on and on about Tulum and how everywhere is full of photo options, but I must say it is true! I love the fact that it offers best of both worlds: a beautiful, idyllic beach and a bustling, cute town.
Gorgeous beach in front of our hotel
The famous leaning palm
Turquoise water, tropical birds, leaning palms.. What else can you look for on a perfect beach? Oh, I know! Maybe freshly-cut coconut served with Mexican chili and lime? These are the things you can see and eat in Tulum on a daily basis. In the afternoon, you have the option to check out these unique and authentic restaurants and bars. Luckily, Tata Tulum is only 5 minutes away from this part of the town. Most of the time, we biked to grab coffee or lunch, but there were nights that we took a taxi, which was so cheap. On our first night, however, we decided to walk and discover. We drank amazing margaritas in a hotel called Coral Tulum Boutique. This hotel and its bar were so colorful that I couldn’t miss the photo opt!
I’m in love with the colors of this bar
A tamarind margarita for me and a regular margarita for Oz
Our view while sipping our margaritas
Our morning routine included waking up before sunrise (how can you sleep knowing that there’s this beauty!), going for a walk on the beach followed with the most lavish breakfast you could imagine, loading up on tropical fruits and coconut juice while tanning and then grabbing our bikes to discover the town more. We even found a Turkish place (Pasha) that makes Turkish coffee, which is one of my favorite coffee in the whole world!
Sunrise in Tulum
Fresh coconut with Mexican chili and lime
Turkish coffee in Pasha
Fresh coconut juice
Another coffee place I had been wanting to go was Matchamama. Anything matcha really draws me in! It is a cute place to hang out after breakfast or for your coffee fix in the afternoon. Needless to say, with the iconic “I love Tulum so Matcha” sign, it is highly Instagrammable! This cute place is a little bit further down the road but if you ever end up going there, I think you should visit Casa Malca, too, which used to belong to Pablo Escobar back in the day. They turned it into a luxury hotel/villa with limited rooms. Be careful, though, because we almost couldn’t find it since there is no sign on the door. Use your navigation and look for a huge wooden gate with security!
Casually swinging in Casa Malca
Entrance to Casa Malca
Another thing I love about Tulum and where we stayed is the sunset views on the beach! You cannot imagine the colors the sky turns to in sunset! We not only took walks in sunset but also managed to take a few pictures but of course the photographs do not do justice to the colors and the view!
I will be posting another Tulum Diaries since this one is already too long! Stay tuned for more recommendations about where to eat and where to go in Tulum!
I am so sorry to disappear for such a long time from my blog, but you know there are times when you don’t want to read or write a single thing? Yup, that happened and I am so glad I took that time for myself to reflect on the direction my blog will be taking! A few weeks ago I did a poll on Instastory asking about which posts you like best on my Instagram and most of my followers responded with ‘lifestyle shots,’ so I decided to listen. Plus, I really want my blog and Instagram to be a platform that inspires people rather than just a fashion catalog. I will still be touching on which outfits are trending and tips on what to wear but mainly I would like to blog about lifestyle and traveling. And I am so happy I found out about what I really want to do at last!
So, here I am blogging about best holiday dresses/outfits this season! I know holiday parties are a big thing and you really wanna dress up when it’s cold and festive, well, when it’s the holiday season! That’s why I rounded up my favorite looks for holidays below.
Before you start shopping, a few trending tips for this season: Sequins and sparkly outfits are still a thing. Velvet anything is so trending right now that I acquired a few velvety items now and can’t wait to wear them this season! Also, of course, black and red are still the most classic colors you can choose to wear to any holiday party!