My Two-Week Adventure in the Mediterranean ✈️

My Two-Week Adventure in the <b>Mediterranean</b> ✈️

So much has happened in such little time. All so surreal that I have to pause at moments to pinch myself, just so I know I’m not lost in some dream.

From having an amazing trip, maybe the best yet! Yes, exhausting, as we moved around every day trying to explore as much as we could; San Francisco to Vienna to Prague, Croatia, Greece, Switzerland & back home. Rey and I were planning this one for some time & we wanted it to be extra special. What I didn’t know was just how special this trip would end up being, as I said yes to marrying my best friend & the love of my life in Mykonos, Greece. Rey & I have known each other for ten years, we’ve done so much growing together that I couldn’t picture myself with anyone else. He’s the one & officially my forever.

Ok ok, this blog wasn’t meant to be a love story nor a diary of how my proposal went, so back to the point. I previously listed some of the places where we landed and explored, all in two weeks! Now, instead of boring you with details and making this all about me, I’ve compiled a list of highlights in hope that it will inspire you and maybe help guide your next trip.

Can’t Forget, Won’t Forget! My Top 10

Setting Foot on Charles Bridge, Prague

It was our first full day in Europe & I was struggling (bad jet lag). I couldn’t understand how Rey was so full of energy and ready to take on Prague. He was so excited about going to Charles Bridge that I agreed to it. I knew about it, but it wasn’t until I walked across, up the bell tower & saw the view that I was able to fully appreciate it. On and across the bridge lie years and years of history and it was all so beautiful.

Soaking in Prague 🍺

The moment I learned that soaking in beer was a thing in Prague, I was in! Rey teased me a bit for being so excited about this so-called beer spa. I mean, above everything else we had planned for our two weeks in Europe, all I could think of was beer! Soaking in beer, drinking unlimited amounts of beer, wouldn’t you be excited? In the end, it was everything I expected & more…Beer Spa Bernard is the one, don’t forget to make a note of this one.

Hiking from Split to Kašjuni Beach, Croatia

In between eating and drinking, getting some sort of workout in is so so crucial for me. A five-mile hike with a view from Split to a small little beach called Kusjani wasn’t only the best workout we got in two weeks, but the most memorable.

Walking the City Walls of Dubrovnik, Croatia

Dubrovnik, the Pearl of the Adriatic. Just imagine walking its city walls & being able to take in its beauty from all angles and heights. The ocean breeze hit our cheeks as we climbed up and around, taking in every view that came our way. A camera with full battery and memory space is needed for this one…I mean, especially since it’s where much of Game of Thrones is filmed.

Island Hopping Croatia

I’m a coastal girl & I love me a beach. Taking a boat tour from one beautiful beach to another was just what I needed, especially when the temperature is hitting 90+ degrees. We soaked, we tanned, we ate & drank. From Koločep to Šipan and finally, Lopud where you can find the famous Sunj beach.

Riding a Quad Through Mykonos

ATV’s take me back to vacationing in México. Except doing this in Greece is so much better! From beach to beach, we explored the island of Mykonos and fell in love with every bit.

“I’m Engaged! 💍”, Mykonos

Rey was very excited about having dinner at this fabulous restaurant called M Eating. If you didn’t already know, the man is a foodie, real food lover. Reservations had been made months in advance & upon arriving at the small but so elegant Greek restaurant, our expectations were met. The food was delicious, champagne fit the occasion & the rest I’ll leave for another blog entry. Let’s just say, it was the best night and dinner yet.

Lost in Oia, Santorini

Santorini was and is special. An island of houses beautifully decorated in white and blue. The island is small and it’s easy and fun to get lost. It’s not an easy walk, especially when it’s hot, but the views and photography we captured were well worth it.

Watching the Sunset at Ambrosia, Santorini

Ambrosia, I learned of this restaurant thanks to a friend. Listed as one of the most romantic restaurants with an extravagant view (especially at sunset) and candlelit dinner, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to experience it. Rey & I watched the sunset here & celebrated our final days in Greece.

Exploring the Acropolis, Athens

Arriving in Athens felt like arriving in any other big city, cars rushing through, people going about their days; nothing too special really, but in the midst of all the madness is where the magic lies— the Acropolis. Just a hike up & you’ll find yourself surrounded by remains nearly 2500 years old, crowned by the Parthenon, arguably the most important and beautiful building in Western Civilization, and if that wasn’t enough, a stunning view of the city surrounds you. Rey & I followed an audio tour guide (by Rick Steves) and it really completed the experience.

Sigh & of course now I’m having major vacation withdrawals. Anyway, while my list was made up of ten, the memories and highlights were endless. Soooo, too soon to start planning the next vacay? I’m thinking Asia. 😊

XOXO, Jo

Side Hustling & That Full-Time Job 🙅🏻

Side Hustling & That Full-Time Job 🙅🏻

Working a full-time job and trying to get your hustle on is no joke.

Plain and simple…

On top of that, you’re trying to live a balanced life, look good, and stay sane. I mean, “Geeeeezus!” (exclamation, exclamation). I started my blog in 2010, I didn’t think much of it…I was graduating college and I wanted a job doing what I loved. I had no experience and I needed it…so, I started my blog. I wrote, kept writing, and the more I dedicated to it, the more visits my blog got. Slowly but surely, the emails started coming in, the questions and the opportunities. What I first thought of as a hobby, quickly became a side hustle.

Flash forward to an older me, older reality and a full-time job…I took a few months off recently. Not too long ago, I shared an Instagram post with a caption that read “you really do need to be passionate enough to dedicate so much time to a side hustle (the blog)”, that’s no lie. So, how does one do it, especially when you have a full-time job? As Gary Vaynerchuk recently explained in his latest You Tube vid, “you have to start documenting instead of creating…start”. His motto, just do it! So, below I share a few tips that may or may not help. If you have any questions after this, please feel free to reach out. If I can’t help, I promise to direct you to a person that can.

Do It, Mess up, Fix It, Do It Again…

When I first started blogging, blogging wasn’t what it is today. There wasn’t much help out there. So, in my case…I did a lot of trial and error. Now, you have tons of free resources out there. Still, I’d say take it as an example but find your own way of doing. What may be the “recipe to success” for someone may not work for you. First step, start doing, start trying…mess up and try again.

Commit

Those who are doing it and doing something good with it, aren’t putting in an hour a week. It takes a whole lot of commitment. Lately, I’ve been working on skipping a day at the gym to focus strictly on brainstorming and writing. Another day or two a week, I’m dedicating to photographing. What’s your work flow like and how much are you willing to commit?

Find Your Flow

Everyone has a different schedule, different goals in mind…what are yours and what will work for you? Try a few different things and I’m sure you’ll eventually come to a flow that works for you. Along with that, find the niche you’re most passionate about and find your voice and vision. Imitating is easy and the easy route is usually short-lived.

Ask for Help

You may or may not have made it this far down my blog post…if you have, you’re clearly looking for help and finding ways to get started or improve (yay!). Personally, I also study others’ work and see ways I can do it myself. Facebook communities for blogging are a great way to connect and ask questions to those with more experience…seminars and conferences are my fave though. Never stop learning, never stop asking for help. I am also constantly asking my friends, sisters, boyfriend for help in brainstorming and editing my work. It’s never really only one person doing it.

Take It Day by Day

My personal blog and brand are what I have put the most work into…along the way, I launched two, three, four different projects and blogs. Some did better than others, my personal brand is just the one I cared about the most, the one where I was able to be my genuine self and the one that’s given me the most satisfaction. I constantly tell myself this one thing, and so I’ll repeat it to you… “take it day by day”.

Questions, comments? Show me some love in the comments or shoot me a tweet, @Joanna_Renteria. XOXO

New City, New Me?

New City, New <b>Me</b>?

New city, new me…how cliché of me (hence the question mark). But yes, new city, that one’s true. For those of you who know me or those friends who share my IG Stories and Snap adventures with me, you’ve probably witnessed some of my transition, if not all. For everyone else, last year I made a choice of moving back to the good ol’ bay, the city I once lived in back in my “heeeey” day (like how I did that?). So, shortly after celebrating my four years in Los Angeles, I was on my way to San Francisco.

Now, back to the new me part…there’s no newness to me really but it feels that way sometimes. Returning to a city I had done a lot of growing in, coming back around this time, things felt new and better. This could also have to do with the fact that I am returning as a grown woman (sorta)…29, almost and this time around I’m no college sorority girl living wild & free…(for the most part). You know when you get to a point in your life and you start reflecting… like, “what was I thinking back then?” and then you begin loving and accepting yourself for who you truly are and are actually thankful for the bumps you’ve encountered? Yah, that’s sorta where I am now. I feel new…

Now, a resident of San Francisco and a sorta grown woman…I sit at a café, the one down the street from my apartment. Laptop open, coffee by my side and I sit and think…what am I really getting to? What has really made me change? Where am I at now (mentally and emotionally)? After a few minutes of pacing back and forth and a lot of latte sipping, I listed some of the answers below. What have I learned so far, in my 20s and what will I take with me to my 30s? Here we go…

1. No one will love you enough…

“Geeze, way to set the tone!” Right?…but no, really. No one will ever love you enough, only you can do that for you. Additional love is always welcome and will only bring more love and joy to you, but it all starts from within. I learned this one a few years back, I was single. It took a lot of soul searching and heart break to get this one, to fully understand. Now, happy in love…I can only say it’s 100% true.

2. Nope, you’re not where you want to be…that is OK.

After a career change a few years back, I felt that I needed to start up again and it felt quite frustrating. “If I had stuck it out, I’d probably be a whole lot more successful than I am today”…I would tell myself. While that could be true, I know 100% that I would not be happier. Things change, passions change, you always have to follow your heart and listen to your gut… things will eventually play out the way you never thought they would, just trust. 😉

3. Traveling really is everything!

I think it has to do with the fact that I am the daughter of two very hardworking immigrants, but for a very long time, I thought work was all I needed to do and invest my time in. Travel was always something I wanted to do but never saw it as a priority…after taking a few trips here and there and big ones across seas; I’ve begun to see life very differently. I’ve felt the happiest (no pair of gucci’s can give you that). It’s motivated me and given life a different meaning…more living, more to share.

4. It all comes from within…

This one is a lot like number 1…but there’s gotta be a lot of emphasis on this one, it’s important. I’ve been investing a lot of my time and efforts to eating clean, balancing things out, and working out consistently. The moment I stop or I make a bad choice, it all comes tumbling down…it’s simple. Start taking care of yourself, for real… you’ll see everything start working out.

5. You never ever stop learning and growing!

I come across this one every so often… I do a lot of self-growth and entrepreneurial reading. After reading it so many times, I  began to actually pay attention to what it meant and how it affected me. I took notes, I opened up my mind a little, at work and with relationships…a little reminder never hurt anyone. Take a moment to stop and listen.

As I take the last sip of my latte and a last glance at my blog…I feel some sort of relief. I missed blogging, I missed sharing, reflecting, and writing it all down. As I settle in my new city and make it home again, I want to share even more. Stay tuned, I promise…there will be so much more.

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Questions, comments? Show me some love in the comments or shoot me a tweet, @Joanna_Renteria. XOXO

Photography by: Sindoora Satyavada