Versatile Blogger Award

I want to thank Yvonne Payne ( go see her blog http://kritsayvonne.com) for nominating me for The Versatile Blogger Award. This is an award nominated by WordPress bloggers for WordPress bloggers, in hopes to recognize each other’s efforts and to also grow their blog community. Yvonne and I first connected on my post about Crete (where she now resides in a village called Krista for part of the year). I love seeing other’s perspective on places I’ve been or hope to go. Thank you again Yvonne!

Part of the award requirements are:

  • Display the Versatile Blogger Logo (below)
  • Write a post referencing this nomination and link it back to blogger you were nominated by. (THANK YOU Yvonne!)
  • Give seven fun/interesting/new facts about yourself, let your followers get to know some weird things about you!
  • Nominate up to 15 bloggers and inform them of their nomination.

WELL…Here are some random Erika facts:

1::I write left-handed but play sports with my right hand.

2::I’ve buried hidden treasures at every house I’ve lived in.

3::I don’t like tomatoes. Though, I try to like them and order them on my sandwiches every time…but that doesn’t seem to work.

4::I fractured my pelvis in a car accident.

5::I bought my first car for $600 (the one that was later destroyed in the above accident).

6::I’ve always wanted a New York accent.

7::My first Pandora stations were Michael Buble and “21 Questions”…maybe I had thought that would cover just about everything. 🙂

Erika in Brussels | Scones in the Sky Blog


I decided to nominate the following blogs:

Pursuit of Life – Great pictures from around the world. Travel-inspiriing!

B.livewear – One of the first blogs I started to follow once part of WordPress. Great for fit lifestyle motivation and smoothie recipes.

Ellis Goes on Holiday – I love getting food and travel suggestions, maybe because I also love to give them :). Ellis has some great documentation of her travels!

My French Heaven – Awesome photos that really tell a story!

Traveling the World Solo – Love seeing where her next adventure takes her!

In Search of Balance – Photography, photography, photography.

Finger, Fork, Knife –  Food blog worth noting! A recent find, but a goodie.

versatileblogger11

Happy Life Adventures,

Erika

Cozumel Travel Guide

I promised a travel guide a little earlier than today, but here it is!!

Traveling to Cozumel

{Ways to get there}

Fly Directly into Cozumel (CZM) Airport

  • Perfectly tiny and easy to get in & out. There were no lines, no big waits and no unexpected hazards when it came to the CZM Airport. The employees are very accommodating.
  • From the airport to your hotel get a ticket for the Taxi Collectivo. It is $10 per person for a ticket to a collective van where you tell them your hotel and hand them your ticket. They take you and the others, as a group, to the chosen hotel or hotels. Usually this is much cheaper than taking your own cab.  There will be a window you go up to for your ticket once you exit from baggage claim.
  • When leaving from CZM, you will have to pay a departure/tourism tax when checking in at the counter. It’s about $20-$30. You pay that at the counter before going through security. They ask this be done by credit card.

Fly into Cancun (CUN) Airport, Take Bus or Taxi to Playa Del Carmen then Ferry over to Cozumel

  • If you want to take an extended trip, with maybe staying a night or two in Cancun and then continue your trip by staying on the Island of Cozumel, this would be a good option.
  • The bus to Playa Del Carmen from Cancun airport costs $10 per person and takes about an hour.
  • The Ferry is roughly $13 (163 Mexican Pesos) one way or $26 (326 Mexican Pesos) round trip and takes about 45 minutes.

Fly into Cancun (CUN), Take local flight to Cozumel (CZM)

  • They have flights leaving every hour. On MAYAir you can find a one-way ticket for $63 (US Dollars).

PICTURES OF THE FERRY TERMINAL (San Miguel, Cozumel)

Ferry Terminal San Miguel | Scones in the SkySan Miguel | Scones in the SkySan Miguel | Scones in the Sky Blog

{Transportation Once You Are There}

The main way to travel around Cozumel & San Miguel (only city of Cozumel) is by taxi. Usually, paying in Pesos gets you a cheaper rate.

You can rent scooters, bikes, and jeeps/cars as well.

The insurance for car rentals seemed very sketchy. We had booked a car with Hertz, but then once talking to AAA and purchasing insurance it became more and more complicated and expensive.

{Mexican Pesos or US Dollars}

We discovered that the US Dollar is widely taken. If you are taking a taxi or purchasing souvenirs you will probably get a better deal if you offer Pesos. The restaurant menus displayed pesos, but once you received your bill they had the conversion and what they would take in US Dollars. I would suggest getting some of your cash in Pesos before entering into Cozumel.

They have ATMs available but usually with the fees and your bank fees for the conversion can add up. We did it all at my Chase bank before entering into Mexico.

MUST SEES / EATS

Snorkeling – We went with Chac-Choc Tours. We received a deal through our resort, which allowed us to go for $25 per person which was a great deal.  It was incredible! The boat came right to the Occidental Grand dock and picked us up. It was about 2 hours long, we went to three reefs (Ceilo-sand bar with all Star Fish!!-, Colombia, Palancar). We saw everything from sting rays to sea turtles to bright and colorful fish & coral. I sadly don’t have many pictures of what we saw or what the reef looked like. And some advice–go to the bathroom beforehand, you can see the bathroom is at the end of the boat…only #1 allowed, yikes. 😉

Snorkeling Boat | Scones in the Sky BlogRide to the Reefs | Scones in the Sky BlogMy mom and I about to Snorkel | Scones in the Sky

Zermatt Bakery – You know I’ll find a bakery wherever I go…This lovely place is on the corner of 4th and 5th Avenue. Just one street back from the main road. It had a nice local vibe, with great inexpensive prices. All the pastries and breads were under a dollar! Payment displayed and made in Pesos.

Zermatt Bakery in Cozumel | Scones in Sky BlogZermatt Bakery | Scones in the Sky Zermatt Bakery | Scones in the SkyZermatt Bakery | Scones in the Sky

Zermatt Bakery Cozumel | Scones in the Sky Blog Zermatt Bakery Cozumel

Catamaran/Sailing – The water is so gorgeous in Cozumel. The average temperature of the water is 80 degrees.  I had my first ride on a catamaran and if I could bottle up that feeling I WOULD! This was actually included with our resort, we just had to tip the gentleman who taught us the ropes. If I lived on the ocean, this would be my next big purchase! I wish…Cozumel Catamaran | Scones in the Sky Cozumel Catamaran | Scones in the Sky Blog

Stroll Around San Miguel – The town of San Miguel is really the main hub of Cozumel. It is definitely small, but it’s so bright and cheery. Maybe try to visit the town when the cruise ships are not in town. There are days when there can be up to 6 cruise ships at the port. But be warned that the shops will close early during the off-days of the cruise ships.

San Miguel, Cozumel | Scones in the SkyScones in the Sky BlogSan Miguel, Cozumel | Scones in the SkySan Miguel, Cozumel  |Scones in the SkySan Miguel, Cozumel | Scones in the SkySan Miguel, Cozumel | Scones in the SkyCozumel | Scones in the Sky

Lobster/Margaritas/Ceviche- You have to have some ceviche and a margarita looking over the bay. We tried these two restaurants. On the left, is El Coctelito and they had great ceviche (far north side of town past the Cinco Del Sol shopping area on the main street of Av. General Rafael E Melgar), on the right, Palmeras overlooking the cruise ship docks. Great location and service, food was decent (also on Av. General Rafael E Melgar).

San Miguel, Cozumel | Scones in the SkySan Miguel, Cozumel | Scones in the Sky

Hope this helps if you ever find your way to Cozumel! I’m always open to questions too, don’t be afraid to comment below!

Flying into Cozumel | Scones in the Sky Blog

Happy Adventures,

Erika

Cozumel, MX – Our Sunshine Escape

I heart Cozumel. Wishing I was there writing this post and not in the cuddly 9 degree weather of Chicago. These pictures do give me some comfort. I had the awesome opportunity to go on a 5-night All-Inclusive trip with my crazy cool mom. (A couple of these pictures are taken by her :)) Ok, so your next month (or two or three) is going to consist of this: searching for flight deals and a Groupon that will take you to this gorgeous island.

Groupon has some great deals going on right now…you should totally take a peek. The Mexico, Caribbean & Latin America section is now on my “Favorites” tab on my Safari.

We were scheduled to be at the All-Inclusive Allegro Cozumel from our Groupon, but since they had a slight over-booking they upgraded us to the ‘5 Star’ –when they told us 5-star, I believe they meant to say it is of a higher quality, not that it was officially given that rating– sister resort the All-Inclusive Occidental Grand Cozumel. We were happy to make the switch! The Occidental Grand was secluded, had very lush scenery and a great beach.

Today, I am just going to share with you some pictures of the amazing water and sunsets, tomorrow I will give a better description of ways to travel around town, a few places you should stop and eat, and mini travel guide to Cozumel!

But first, I have to get you pulled in with these crazy turquoise waters and stunning horizons.

Cozumel Skyline | Scones in the SkyOccidental Grand Cozumel | Scones in the SkyOccidental Grand Cozumel | Scones in the SkyOccidental Grand Cozumel | Scones in the Sky BlogScones in the Sky Blog | Cozumel WaterCozumel | Scones in the SkyCozumel | Scones in the SkyScones in the Sky BlogCozumel Skyline | Scones in the Sky BlogScones in the Sky Blog | Panoramic View of CozumelCozumel Sunset | Scones in the Sky Blog Cozumel Sunset | Scones in the Sky Blog Sunsets in Cozumel | Scones in the Sky Blog Cozumel Sunset | Scones in the Sky Blog Morning Light over Occidental Grand Cozumel | Scones in the Sky Blog Beaches of Cozumel | Scones in the Sky Blog

The mornings are tranquil and perfect in every way.

Rainbows over Cozumel | Scones in the Sky Blog

It did rain on the last day we were there for about an hour or two in the afternoon. This beautiful rainbow was the result!!!

Rain in Cozumel | Scones in the Sky BlogRainy day in Cozumel | Scones in the Sky

 

With more to COME TOMORROW!!

Happy Adventures,

Erika

A San Diego Thanksgiving

Turkey Day is right around the corner…3 days away! Yay! We are so excited to go visit our family in San Diego. Mostly for the time with loved ones, but also to get away from this Chicago weather for a few days. It’s forecasted to be 80 degrees in San Diego on Thursday (as I look at the window and see snow falling in Chi Town). That’s just crazy! Weird to think I won’t need my down coat–well until I step foot back into O’hare.

Below is an outfit that felt very “Cali” to me…no jacket necessary, sunglasses for when you sip your Cranberry Margarita by the pool. Then probably get too hot in these leather leggings and ditch them for a swim suit. Bring it on.

San Diego Thanksgiving Fall Outfit

 

:::What you see above:::

Headband:::Forever 21, $6.90

Knit Sweater:::H&M, $29.95

Statement Necklace:::Target, $19.99

Wine Leather Leggings:::She-Fashions, $28.83

Sunglasses:::Warby Parker, $95

Leather Satchel:::GAP, $70

Steve Madden Bootie:::DSW, $69.95

Recipe to the Cranberry Margarita:::FREE

 

Happy Thanksgiving! I have so much to be thankful for, it’s slightly overwhelming. Praise God.

Enjoy your holiday everyone and happy adventures!

Erika

New Orleans, LA– An Awesome Place to Celebrate!

We celebrated our 1 YEAR wedding anniversary on October 24th! It feels like yesterday that we were saying our vows…that’s so cliché but so unbelievably true. I’m sure I’ll say that every year. Jake had never been to New Orleans, and I had been once on a layover. He picked the location about a week before, we found this Airbnb and off we went!

NOLA felt like another country to me. Only a two hour plane ride, and it seemed like we were transported to another world. This is why I say that–the food is like nothing I have ever eaten, the people are unique (friendly, eclectic, and move to the beat of their own drum), and the buildings and homes stand out in color, shape and size. I loved it.

Our trip ended up going like this:
Day 1

  • Early morning arrival, taxi to Airbnb (All taxis are a flat rate $33 for 1-2 people, no meters involved)
  • Drop suitcases at the home and cruise on our complimentary bikes to the French Market.
  • Grab an ice cream Daiquiri at the Gazebo Cafe.
  • Stroll the streets of the French Quarter.
  • Chow down on some Gumbo, Jambalaya, Red beans & Rice and Fried Chicken at Coop’s Place for lunch.
  • Stop at every corner to listen, as the Jazz fills your ears.
  • Ride back to our Airbnb to freshen up (we heard people stay out to 3-4am, so we had to get prepared).
  • Hit Frenchmen Street all night long, hopping from bar to bar. *You will be amazed at all the talent and variety!!
  • We had our late night dinner at a Cafe Negril–which is a bar with awesome music and food was surprisingly delicious! Shrimp Tacos…yum yum.
  • Between the two nights, we probably hit most of the spots on this street… the BMC (Balcony Music Club) had a great line up. The drinks are priced a little too high there, but the band was incredible.

Day 2

  • Start the morning at Cafe Du Monde for a pile of powder sugar and a delicious French donut (famous for their coffee and beignets).
  • Explore a new neighborhood. We rode to the neighborhood of Bywater.
  • They were having the Mirliton Festival that weekend. Who knows what a Mirliton is? Not me…guess it’s a vegetable! Ha
    • The festival was dedicated to this forgotten vegetable! All the food dishes had it creatively used, there was even a guy dressed up as a Mirliton! It was awesome. More Jazz, art, jewelry and unique finds too!
  • We spent a lot of the morning and afternoon getting to know Bywater…staring at homes, perusing shops and always eating & drinking.
  • Next, it was time for Oysters at ACME. Just do it. (Also the Seafood Étouffée was phenomenal).
  • More exploring and a few French Market purchases later, we were coming to the end of our second night.
  • The Frenchmen Street was still the scene on the second night too. They also had a little ‘market’ in a parking lot off of Frenchman St. Where again, you can find little handmade treasures to take home as souvenirs!

Overall, an awesome place to celebrate, forget about work, and surround yourself with sunshine and good people. Move New Orleans to the top of your destination wish list!

<Here are the pictures that follow the events from above>

New Orleans Airbnb | Scones in the SkyAirbnb Scones in the Sky French Market NOLA | Scones in the SkyFrench Market NOLA | Scones in the SkyFrench Quarter NOLA | Scones in the SkyFrench Quarter New Orleans | Scones in the Sky French Quarter New Orleans | Scones in the SkyFrench Quarter New Orleans | Scones in the SkyCoop's Place NOLA | Scones in the SkyFrench Quarter | Scones in the Sky French Quarter | Scones in the SkyFrench Quarter | Scones in the Sky French Quarter | Scones in the SkyFrench Quarter | Scones in the Sky Scones in the Sky | French Quarter French Quarter | Scones in the Sky Bourbon Street | Scones in the Sky French Quarter NOLA | Scones in the Sky French Quarter |Scones in the Sky  New Orleans Bike Ride | Scones in the Sky Frenchmen Street | Scones in the SkyNight Ride NOLA | Scones in the Sky Scones in the Sky Cafe Du Monde | Scones in the SkyCafe Du MondeCafe Du Monde NOLA | Scones in the Sky Selfie | Scones in the SkyBeignets Cafe Du Monde | Scones in the SkyNOLA | Scones in the Sky Scones in the Sky  Bywater NOLA | Scones in New Orleans | Scones in the SkyMirliton Festival NOLA | Scones in the Sky NOLA | Scones in the SkyFestival Band | Scones in the Sky  NOLA | Scones in the Sky ACME Oyster House | Scones in the SkyACME Oysters | Scones in the SkyNOLA Oyster Cans | Scones in the Sky NOLA | Scones in the SkyRiding through NOLA | Scones in the Sky

 

Happy Adventures,

Erika

 

Fall Drinks & Tea Time

Fall happens to be a lot of people’s favorite season. And I think I know why…not the colorful leaves or the cute boots…but the DRINKS. With the falling leaves come tasty beverages! Below, I have pictures with corresponding links, where you can find recipes to my three favorite Fall drinks. Also if you go by a Trader Joe’s, they have incredible Fall everything! Today, I bought pumpkin ravioli,  pumpkin chai tea mix and spiced apple cider…amazing.

:::The Chai Tea Latte:::

Chai Tea Recipe | Scones in the SkyHomemade Chai Hot, Iced & Concentrate — by Gimme Some Oven

Chai Tea Recipe | Scones in the SkyAuthentic Chai– by the kithcn

Chai Tea Recipe | Scones in the SkySmall Measures Homemade Chai — by Design Sponge

:::The Apple Cider:::

Apple Cider  Recipe | Scones in the Sky Homemade Hot Apple Cider — by Hint of Vanilla

Apple Cider Tea | David's Tea | Scones in the SkySweet Apple Cider Tea — by David’s Tea

Apple Cider Recipe | Scones in the SkyApple Cider — by DELICIOUS SHOTS

::: The Hot Toddy:::

Hot Toddy Recipe | Scones in the SkyIntensi-Toddy — by joylicious

Hot Toddy Recipe | Scones in the SkyMaple + Oatmeal Stout Hot Toddy — by The Gouda Life

Hot Toddy Recipe | Scones in the SkyMeyer Lemon & Sage Hot Toddy — by Katie at the Kitchen Door

This will be getting whipped up in my kitchen ASAP! Once our kitchen is done with it’s renovation of course. Our loft management company is taking up valuable fall drink-making space! 😉 But it will be nice to have an update, that’s for sure.

I’m in the process of thinking of a new beverage creation that really says, “Drink Me, I taste like Fall.” So wish me luck on that endeavor and if you have any suggestions let me hear ’em!

Happy warm & cozy drinking!

Erika

A Perfect Day in Portland

Portland has a unique vibe and feel that is so inviting. Everywhere we went I kept thinking or saying aloud, “this place is so cool.” And the people are incredibly nice. I really could have spent all day at Powell’s Books and the whole experience at the McMenamins’ Edgefield was perfect.

Jake, Sam and I started our Saturday afternoon at McMenamin’s Edgefield, which is 74-acres of fun. It was built in 1911, and they utilize everything from the basement now wine cellars to the shed out back now distillery bar.  We happen to arrive during their Half Way to St. Patty’s Day celebration…so random, but a reason to celebrate I guess haha. Near the Distillery Bar they also have a putting area and also a little round of golf if you are interested! There is so much to see and many tasty beers to be had.

 McMenamins Portland | Scones in the SkyMcMenamins Portland Scones in the SkyMcMenamins Jacob Scones in the SkyIrish Dancing McMenamins PortlandMcMenamins PortlandMcMenamins PortlandMcMenamins PortlandMcMenamins PortlandMcMenamins PortlandMcMenamins Portland Scones in the SkyMcMenamins Portland Put Put McMenamins PortlandMcMenamins PortlandMcMenamins Portland

 

Next stop was to grab dinner at the food carts on 10th and Adler. Again, so many to choose from–I went with a Super Falafel Pita and it was delicious.

Food Trucks and Me Scones in the SkyFood Trucks PortlandFood Trucks Portland

Around the corner was the Ace Hotel, accompanied by Stumptown Coffee Roasters. So much hip in one block. I kind of loved it.  Jake and Sam tried the coffee on Nitro…basically looked like a dark beer but tasted like an amazing cold bubbly coffee. Genius.

Ace Hotel Portland |Scones in the SkyAce Hotel Portland | Scones in the SkyAce Hotel Portland | Scones in the SkyPortland Ace HotelPortland Ace HotelScones in the Sky Ace Hotel PortlandPortland Ace Hotel

Ace Hotel PortlandAce Hotel Portland

Lastly, we took our time roaming the book covered shelves of Powell’s Books.  I love books, libraries, cozy reading nooks…those are all places that bring me comfort and help slow down time. I was extremely impressed with their selection and happy to see so many people there.

Powell's Books Portland Powell's Books Portland

The buildings didn’t disappoint either. This one was particularly design happy.

Portland | Scones in the Sky

Happy Adventures,

Erika