TravelBlogger

Top 15 Instagrammable Hotspots You Need To Visit in San Francisco

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Lo' and behold, today's blog post is a juicy read that a lot of photographers and influencers will probably want to learn more about! Today, I want to take you on a tour of TOP 15 INSTAGRAMMABLE HOTSPOTS you can find in San Francisco, especially because not a lot of people share their honest opinions about each spot. What you see on da gram may not be necessarily as aesthetic in person, OR it could be just the opposite - better than you expected ;) Whenever I travel with Sharon in the Bay Area, we always make sure to hit up a few scenic areas so that we make the most of our trip and can also push out more interesting and creative content while we're out traveling. So from me to you, here are the top 15 locations that you should visit for da gram ;)


Ampersand

Looking for the cutest flower mart in San Francisco? Then look no further than Ampersand! With brightly colored teal walls and a gorgeous collection of blooms, what Instagram fanatic WOULDN'T shoot at this location?


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Baker's Beach

Probably the funniest part about taking Sharon here for the very first time last year was the fact that I, myself, didn't realize that this was a nude beach. Let's just say our eyes got a lot more than we were asking for this day, LOL! Thanks to Karl The Fog, we captured the dopest beach photos here and as long as you avoid the naked peeps, your shots will look like perfection.


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Ferry Building

In my personal opinion, this is definitely an "underhyped" Instagram hotspot that I don't see too often on Instagram. I kept saying to Sharon, "Wow, this is a bomb location but I've never seen anybody shoot here!" However, as soon as those words came out of my mouth, I was also loading Instagram and the FIRST photo that appeared on my feed was a blogger shooting in front of the Ferry Building. Coincidence or what?! LOL. Regardless, I honestly don't see too many bloggers, influencers, or photographers shoot at this location so get shootin'! Also, one tip I have for parking is to GPS "Hotel Griffon" and park in their meter street parking because it was practically an empty street of parking spots when we went!

P.S. Hotel Griffon is one of the few hotels we stayed at during our San Francisco trip and their Executive Suite is mighty comfy! If you're looking for a hotel to stay at that is located near the many hot spots of San Francisco (ex: Ferry Building, Pier 39, Fisherman's Wharf, etc.), Hotel Griffon is the place to stay! Not only is the parking plentiful, but the roads are pretty much spotless and isolated here so you won't bump into any of that nasty traffic that tourists often see at Union Square. Love how they also have an unlimited amount of fruit on their fruit stand on the first floor as well ;)


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Golden Gate Bridge

Let's just say you can retrieve some pretty dope shots here whether you're in it for da gram or just your average tourist wanting a photo in front of the iconic Golden Gate Bridge. Honestly, I always avoided shooting at the Golden Gate Bridge because I came up with these horror stories in my head about not being able to find parking in such a tourist-packed area.

So here's a pro-tip for you first-timers headed to the Golden Gate Bridge - right before you drive INTO the Golden Gate Bridge (the roads should start leading you uphill), you will see an entrance near the bottom right side of the bridge. Be sure to stay on the very right lane before you reach this entrance so that you can easily turn into the parking area. Don't be like Sharon and I where we accidentally drove on to the bridge, then took another 25 minutes stuck in traffic to head back the way we came, hah. Also, parking is free on weekdays so HOORAY!!!


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Ketsourine Macarons

I'll say this once and I'll say it again - Ketsourine Macarons is like my Disneyland away from home! Not only is the staff always attentive and friendly, but the shop's minimalistic aesthetic and decor is pretty much #cafegoals. Every time that I visit Ketsourine Macarons, they always have a new addition to their menu or shop. You can definitely find the Instagram-worthy shot you're looking for if you sit at their barstools or at their snowy white circular wooden tables.

Luckily for me, I was able to try their Savory Crepes for the very first time and it is BOMB. Thanks to the cashier's recommendation, I opted for the North Beach (pepperoni and cheese crepe) and it was amaaaazzingggg. And yes, I Instastory and Snapchat this shop SO often that now my friends send me a photo every time they are at Ketsourine Macarons! Love it, hahaha. Parking is free, but you may have to look around this always-packed shopping plaza.


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Legion Of Honor

Legion of Honor is one of my default places to take photos at, so default that I've been avoiding it lately, LOL! To sum it all up in one sentence, let's just say that I always get the shot that I want when I go to Legion of Honor just because it's so minimalistic, clean, and beautiful. Also, it may be hard to get the Instagram shot you want here on a weekend due to tourists, so I would recommend visiting on a weekday if that's possible. Additionally, parking is free, but you have to fight for it!


Le Marais Bakery

Helloooo blogger central! As soon as Le Marais Bakery opened up on Chestnut Street, this bakery has literally appeared on my Instagram feed a countless number of times...and I couldn't complain a bit ;) A lot of bloggers and influencers love shooting outside of this cafe because of its beautiful light teal color and cozy cafe vibes.

If you do decide to dine at this cafe before or after your shot, you can't go wrong with their Duck Confit. As for parking, you can find meter parking almost anywhere around the vicinity.



Maiden Lane

Unfortunately, Karl The Fog was replaced with Max The Muddy Sky on the day we stumbled upon this hidden gym. By luck, we accidentally passed by Maiden Lane as we were scouting places to shoot around at and decided to give this place a try. As much as I loved incorporating Maiden Lane's lights into my shoot, the unlit lights combined with the unappealing lighting did not make for the best of pictures.

Honestly, weather does play a huge role with how one's photos turn out, especially if you're in a narrow alleyway such as Maiden Lane. If you do shoot when it's darker while the lights are on, you can get some pretty sick shots here. When the lights aren't on, there's nothing too special about this location in my honest opinion.


Museum Of Ice Cream San Francisco

This is the one hotspot that I swear everybody has been to except for me, hah. I think that the pictures you see on Instagram speak for themselves. Now THIS is a worthy attraction worth visiting if you are a huge fan of sweettooth samples as well as colorful and interactive rooms. Last but not least, you cannot forget to visit the SPRINKLE POOL once you're there! Hopefully, one day I can cross this museum off of my list of places to visit.


Ocean Beach

So, Ocean Beach isn't your average beach due to the fact that you can actually get killed by the boisterous waves if you walk close enough to them. If you're looking for a not-so-crowded beach for landscape or portrait photos, Ocean Beach is the place to go! Just not the place to swim...


Painted Ladies

For anyone visiting San Francisco, one must stop at the Painted Ladies for a quick photo. Since I originally grew up in the Bay Area, I didn't feel the need to take a photo here - but hey, feelings can change with time, haha! Painted Ladies is famous for their appearance in the popular sitcom,  "Full House", and consists of multiple pastel colored houses that adjacently line up in an uphill fashion. Very cool tourist shot for any non-San Franciscans!


Palace Of Fine Arts

Another iconic landmark that is a must-visit in San Francisco is the Palace Of Fine Arts. Whether you're with a friend, family member, or significant other, Palace Of Fine Arts is a gorgeous architectural landmark to take in when you're walking around the pond filled with ducks or underneath its beautiful infrastructure. Because there are a good amount of tourists here, it is a bit difficult to get the perfect shot here. But that's why our good friend, bokeh, is worth bringing on this trip! ;) Also, you didn't hear this from me, but a lot of people like to climb on the structure for the perfect Instagram shot - although it's not allowed and you'll probably get yelled at by a nearby security guard, let's just say I warned ya.


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Pier 39

If you're looking for a fun time, Pier 39 has a plentiful amount of attractions and food stands to offer to your local tourist. Not only are there a bunch of activities located at the Pier 39, but just think about how many photo ops are here as well! You've got your lit-up merry-go-round, your pier, your Ben & Jerry's ice cream stand shot, and much more! Have fun at this location while you're at it, and there's so much more to Pier 39 than your average Instagram-worthy location.

P.S. Parking is a bitch here and expires every 2-hours so good luck!


Portrero Hill

My blogger friend, Thy from @thy.time, took me here once when I had to do a workout shoot and can I just say that Portrero Hill is gorgeous?! Not only do you a get a full view of the city in the background of your picture, but it's also not too crowded! You just have to find street parking and dodge cars left-and-right from time to time - but who's to say we all haven't done that before? ;)


San Francisco City Hall

Although I've never shot at San Francisco City Hall, it still remains on my to-shoot list! If you want to see more of what San Francisco City Hall has to offer, you HAVE to watch this amazing YouTube Christmas lookbook video that my friend, Brittney from @missxbo, filmed here! As soon as her video went live, I couldn't stop watching it LOL! 


Yerba Buena Gardens

To get to Yerba Buena Gardens, I highly recommend taking an UBER or a LYFT since this is one of the busiest areas in town! Parking will be a bitch if you drive, just a heads up! At Yerba Buena Gardens, there are a lot of hotspots to shoot at this particular location. A lot of people like to shoot near the "fountain" where ducks swim because you can get an amazing view of San Francisco from that angle. Additionally, more people like to walk uphill and follow the ramps until they end up near Samovar Tea Lounge because the architecture here is perfect for the gram. You can also get some pretty bomb flower shots here as well during the spring/summer when the flowers are in bloom.


So this list pretty much rounds up my top 15 Instagrammable Hotspots in San Francisco! Have you been dying to visit any of these locations? Did you visit more than one of these locations? Talk to me in the comments section below - let's chat!


Photography By:

Sharon Litz (@sharonlitz)

www.sharinaone.com


Food Photography at Ketsourine Macarons By:

Michelle Sun (@missmisschelle)


Much Love,

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Cass House Cayucos: An Intimate Getaway Between NorCal and SoCal

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Just a three and a half hour drive from Southern California exists a homely, welcoming abode otherwise known as Cass House Cayucos. If you're looking for romantic getaway vibes with your boo, a fun bachelorette party away from home, or an intimate wedding venue, Cass House Cayucos is the place to go. Located across from the sandy Cayucos Beach, Cass House Cayucos serves as a luxurious five-room boutique hotel that offers the most spacious of suites for you to rest, eat, and explore around the city of Cayucos.


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Out of all of the hotels, resorts, and Airbnbs that I've stayed at throughout my years as a lifestyle and travel blogger, Cass House Cuyacos has to be my top hotel choice for channeling the most homely vibes. Because every individual's own room is just a short walking distance from each other, Cass House Cuyacos honestly feels like a home away from home to me. While Sharon stayed at the "Master With Ocean Balcony" suite, I opted for the "Master With Deluxe Tub" suite. As soon as we arrived, the cheerful-as-ever receptionist gave us a quick tour of the house and detailed introduction to their food services (The Bakery and The Grill).

As soon as Sharon and I dropped off our luggage, we took a good 30-minutes to unpack our suitcases and relax before officially starting off our day. But first thing's first - who's hungry? An always hungry Michelle and Sharon made their way towards The Bakery, which is just around the corner of Cass House Cuyacos. What I love about The Bakery is the fact that it is an open kitchen where you can visually see the staff make the food from scratch - LOVE IT! For some reason, seeing food being made from scratch literally makes me drool ten times as harder...TMI much, hah. Since The Bakery offered a variety of options, we literally went down the whole list and left with two Popovers (with the bombest chive butter EVER), two biscuits (with honey butter), one slice of quiche, one Vanille Canele, and one Egg & Bacon Panini. Want to know how delicious everything tasted? Let's just say we pretty much devoured our entire order.

Afterwards, I ended up shooting a few product shots in my suite while we waited for the sun to go down before we could start our photoshoot session. Shoutout to the staff for being extra acommodating for me to capture the perfect Instagram photo, as they helped provide me with fresh flowers, extra pastries, mugs, and condiments, just for one shot - yo gurl could never be more appreciative! As you can see from the photo below, Cass House Cuyacos has definitely helped up my Instagame in this shot.

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When a tired Michelle was done shooting, Sharon and I headed to The Grill at 5:30PM for a luxurious dinner also located in the premises of Cass House Cayucos. At The Grill, the chef clearly explains the ingredients used behind each dish and how the ingredients are locally sourced from nearby farms or from the Cass House Garden itself. Sharon and I both agree that every entree that they made was high-quality, aesthetically appealing, and packed with flavor. One entree I must hype up is their Pepperoni Pizza - this is a pizza drizzled with honey and it is SO addicting that Sharon and I contemplated on ordering a second pizza, even though we were stuffed by the end of the meal. After that Pepperoni Pizza, I'm not sure if I can eat a normal pizza again without honey drizzled all over it, LOL! Additionally, we also tried their Grilled English Peas, Oak Grilled Prawns, Vegetable Quinoa Salad, and Spaghettini Carbonara. The Spaghettini Carbonara and Oak Grilled Prawns are two more dishes I would recommend ordering at The Grill - trust me when I say you won't be disappointed with the flavor.

After dinner, we took photos around the vicinity of the house before heading over to Cayucos Pier across the street. During our photoshoot, we had a conversation about what theme we wanted to direct our Instagram feeds towards and ended up turning on our weird-o-meter's to an all-time high. Sad to say, our silly pictures turned out to be our favorite photos of the day over your typically posed, "Instagram-worthy" shots.

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To end the night, I watched an hour-long episode of this Asian drama that I've been addicted to called "My Amazing Boyfriend" (LOL at the title, I know - please don't judge me) while soaking in a bath. And man, Cass House Cuyacos was not kidding about that deluxe tub! I swear, every tub that I've been in at a hotel has not accommodated my 5'5" body, but this deluxe tub can literally fit two people! It was definitely the kind of bath I needed in a while to destress.

When we woke up in the morning, we headed to The Bakery once again to fill up on fresh out-of-the-oven pastries before driving off to San Francisco. If you missed any of our Cass House Cayucos adventures, don't forget to check out the HIGHLIGHTS REEL on my Instagram page (@missmisschelle) for behind-the-scenes!

Last but not least, I wanted to give a special thank you to Cass House Cayucos for hosting us! I absolutely enjoyed my stay and I hope to visit again soon!

Much Love,

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Where To Take Bae On Your Next Date In OC/LA

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One of the greatest satisfactions I get from being a freelance lifestyle blogger is being able to listen to requested topics or feedback from my followers and fulfilling these requests to the best of my ability. By being able to engage and interact with my audience on the daily, I always strive to write helpful articles that give back to the community because nothing makes me happier than putting a smile on your face. As cheesy as that sounds, it's nothing but the truth! Thus, from the request of one particular follower who personally messaged me asking about various date spots to go to with her significant other and majority's vote from a recent Instagram poll that I initiated, this post is for ALL of you who are looking for recommendations on popular date spots or ideas in the Orange County and/or Los Angeles area! Also, I made sure to categorize each date based on the type of couple you are, whether that revolves around traveling, adventure, photography, or food. So without further ado, are you ready to surprise bae with one of the most fun and memorable dates of his/her life?! If so, let's get planning!

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Outfit Details:
Hat: Nordstrom
Sunglasses: Sunglass LA
Romper: Irene's Story
Shoes: Zooshoo


Photography By:
Sharon Litz (@sharonlitz)
of www.sharinaone.com


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1. The Foodie Fans

Ever spot that one couple where the man takes fifty photos of the woman holding her warm (but about to go cold) Vanilla Latte, or the woman who shoots her man doing a noodle pull from his ramen bowl while straight flexin'? Or if you both aren't active on social media but know how to savor the flavor of each dish, that counts too! If you're one of these couples, then props to you! Below, I've listed my favorite restaurants in the OC/LA areas that you both should dine at if you love food as much as I do! ;)

Orange County:
7 Leaves Cafe (Irvine) - Coffee, Tea, Boba, Macarons  [Affordability: $]
Almond Haus (Garden Grove) - Boba & Tea  [Affordability: $]
Anepalco (Orange) - Mexican Food  [Affordability: $$]
Bo De Tinh Tam Chay (Westminster) - Vegetarian Vietnamese Food  [Affordability: $$]
Brodard Restaurant (Garden Grove) - Nem Nuong & Vietnamese Food  [Affordability: $]
Cafe Maji (Artesia) - Asian Fusion Food, Coffee, & Tea  [Affordability: $$]
Cauldron Ice Cream (Santa Ana) - Ice Cream & Puffles  [Affordability: $]
Gen Korean BBQ House (Tustin) - AYCE Korean Barbeque  [Affordability: $$]
Milk Box (Tustin) - Boba & Tea [Affordability: $]
Mint Leaf (Westminster) - Dim Sum & Chinese Food  [Affordability: $]
Poke Me (Irvine) - Poke Bowls  [Affordability: $]
Project Poke (Fountain Valley) - Poke/Sushi Burritos, Poke Bowls, Musubis [Affordability: $]
Puesto (Irvine) - Tacos & Mexican Food [Affordability: $$]
Sushi Damu (Tustin) - AYCE Sushi [Affordability: $]

Los Angeles:
Again Cafe x Chibiscus Ramen (Pasadena) - Ramen, Desserts, Coffee, & Korean Food [Affordability: $$]
Bardonna (Los Angeles) - American Brunch Food [Affordability: $$]
Marugame Monzo (Los Angeles) - Udon [Affordability: $$]
Night + Market Song (Silverlake) - Thai Food [Affordability: $]
Din Tai Fung (Arcadia) - Dim Sum & Chinese Food [Affordability: $]


2. The Traveling/Adventurous Duo

Do you two enjoy hiking through the outdoors, visiting beautiful attractions, or love trying out new activities together? If so, you might as well call yourself the traveling duo as you embark on your next destination together by visiting one of these recommendations below! 

Orange County:
CorgiCon - check Facebook events for available dates.
Irvine Spectrum (Irvine) - Shopping Mall
Noguchi Museum (Costa Mesa) - Museum
OC Night Market (Costa Mesa) -  Food Event & Vendors [Affordability: $$]
Plant Nite (at respective locations within Orange County) - Plant Nite Activity [Affordability: $$]
Red Rock Canyon (Lake Forest) - Hiking
Sip + Colr (at respective locations within Orange County) - Paint Nite Activity [Affordability: $$]

Los Angeles:
Americana At Brand (Glendale) - Shopping Mall
626 Night Market (Arcadia) - Food Event & Vendors [Affordability: $$]
Hollywood Sign (Los Angeles) - Hiking
La Brea Tar Pits & Museum (Los Angeles) - Museum
LACMA (Los Angeles) - Museum
Urban Lights at LACMA (Los Angeles) - Architecture


3. The Instagram Husband And Wife

Let's forever take pictures of each other for da gram - till death do us part? Yeeeaahhh, this pretty much sums up the relationship of an Instagram couple. If you are the ambitious couple who strives to improve your photography skills and constantly scouts out dope photoshoot locations, these are just a few of the many places that you HAVE to visit to take your Instagram game to the next level! #Instagramgoals #couplegoals

Orange County:
Bardot Bars & Coffee (Tustin) - Aesthetic Coffee Shop [Affordability: $]
Coffee For Two (Huntington Beach) - Aesthetic Coffee Shop [Affordability: $]
Downtown Disney (Anaheim) - Vendors
Hopper & Burr (Santa Ana) - Aesthetic Coffee Shop [Affordability: $]
Laguna Beach (Laguna Beach) - Beach
Noguchi Museum (Costa Mesa) - Museum

Los Angeles:
Coffee For Sasquatch (Los Angeles) - Aesthetic Coffee Shop [Affordability: $]
Griffith Observatory (Los Angeles) - Architecture
Pasadena City Hall (Pasadena) - Architecture
Rodeo Drive (Beverly Hills) - Shops
Santa Monica Pier (Santa Monica) - Beach/Pier & Vendors
The Bates Motel (Silverlake) - Hotel
The Beverly Hills Hotel (Beverly Hills) - Hotel
Urban Lights at LACMA (Los Angeles) - Architecture


4. The Competitive Couple

Ever feel that rush of adrenaline or stream of sweat trickle down your forehead when you're trying to beat bae at basketball? Competitive dates can get pretty hot and heated when you both share a competitive edge and refuse to lose. Here are a few places to battle it out against each other - just be sure to refrain from beating each other up when one person ends up losing, heh!

Orange County:
Boomers (Irvine) - Amusement Parks, Go Karts, & Mini Golf [Affordability: $$]
Irvine Lanes (Irvine) - Bowling [Affordability: $$]
Dave And Buster's (Irvine) - Arcade [Affordability: $$]

Los Angeles:
Karaoke At Music Box (City Of Industry) - Karaoke [Affordability: $$]
Round1 Puente Hills (City Of Industry) - Arcade, Karaoke, & Bowling [Affordability: $]


With this blog post, I hope that you will be able to check out one (or a few) of these recommendations that I've listed above when it comes to potential dating spots to take your boo! I've compiled these list of locations based on personal preference or word-of-mouth and made sure that these places were worth visiting - after all, I only include nothing but the best for my followers ;) If you found this blog post handy, I'd love it if you could click the heart button at the bottom of this post and don't forget to send a link of this post to your friends as well! ;) Happy Holidays & stay safe everybody!

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Much Love,

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Instagram Takeover At Hotel G San Francisco

With its prominent black sign and signature brand letter, you can easily spot Hotel G from afar while driving through the jam-packed streets of Union Square. Located at the heart of Downtown San Francisco, Hotel G serves as the perfect getaway place for both travelers and foreign tourists. While exploring San Francisco for a good four days straight, Sharon and I additionally had the honor of taking over Hotel G's Instagram account (@hotelg_sf) to show our followers a good time around the city.

Photography by:
Sharon Litz (@sharonlitz) of www.sharinaone.com

Upon walking into Hotel G, there were two luggage carts conveniently located to the right of us to load our bags on from the valet parking area. After walking down the main hallway, we were greeted by the front desk representative, who was all smiles while checking us in. Then, it was up the elevator to the 10th floor, where our King Suite bedroom awaited us.

If you're a huge fan of minimalistic and spacious rooms, then Hotel G has got you covered. With modern artwork and patterned pillows placed aesthetically on a comfortable sofa, you already know their hotel rooms are photo op friendly. Also, one look at the King Suite bed is enough to take your breath away. After all, their luxurious headboard and soft mattress will truly make you feel like royalty. On the other side of the room, you can't forget your standard desk for those late night work sessions and mini fridge stocked with beverages to quench your thirst.

One of the highlights of staying at Hotel G for two nights was the convenience factor when it came to location. As soon as you walk out of the hotel doors, you can literally find yourself right across the street from Union Square. Whether you want to window shop or grab a bite to eat, all of these businesses are a quick walking distance away from Hotel G. In fact, Sharon and I dined at Cafe Bellini for two days straight because their Italian food was that memorable from the night before. If you're looking for a fancier date night option with a gorgeous outdoor patio, Le Colonial is one of my favorite Vietnamese and French cuisines just a couple of walking minutes away.

If you plan on driving your car to stay at this particular hotel, I would highly suggest going for valet parking, as the nearby parking garages are a bit of a walk from the hotel. All you have to do is call the front desk 30-45 minutes in advance and your car will be parked right in front of the vicinity. This service was very convenient, as Sharon and I wanted to save as much time as possible so that we could explore all of the iconic spots that San Francisco had to offer. Thanks Hotel G for fetching my ride within a timely manner!

While we were staying at Hotel G, two restaurants were currently being renovated so we unfortunately weren't able to dine in and review these spots. However, if you want a quick oyster and cocktail fix, you can find Benjamin Cooper on the second story of this hotel for a fun and casual bar night.

Lastly, we want to thank Hotel G for hosting our stay in San Francisco and we hope that you all enjoyed our room tour and dancing videos via Instastories!

Much Love,

The Truth About Working In The Social Media Industry

The Truth About Working In The Social Media Industry

You watch her Instastories seeing her have the time of her life at a social gathering, clinking her colorful cocktail glass against her friend’s hibiscus margarita.

You come across his most recent post, raving about the wonderful time he’s currently having as he explores the streets of Paris.

You tell yourself that working in the creative field must be so goddamn perfect and that everybody seems to be in love with what they do.

But as a passionate lifestyle blogger who’s been chasing her dream career for two years and counting, I’m here to tell you that life behind Instagram’s little squares isn’t exactly represented through one's perfect aesthetic feed. Today, I wanted to share a heart-to-heart talk with my followers addressing the side of social media that nobody sees. This includes the financial struggles of being a full-time blogger, the overwhelming amount of stress from juggling multiple collaborations, the never-ending deadline to create content 24/7, and more.

Seattle Travel Diary

Seattle Travel Diary

One of the best feelings ever is knowing that your friends will do anything to chase their dream careers. I've never met such hard-working and motivated creatives in the blogging industry until I traveled with Jillian and Sharon for the very first time in Seattle this past December. Being constantly surrounded by their positive energy and go-getter attitudes, I felt comfortable knowing that these women made me feel at home, even when not at home. Looking back on this trip, I've gained so much respect and admiration for these two girl bosses and I just know that we are going to kick ass in 2017. Down below, you'll find a bunch of the places (hotels, restaurants, tourist hot spots) that we visited throughout our Seattle trip and I hope that these recommendations help you out if you're ever planning to visit Seattle!