Carmen Varner // Travel Influencer, Blogging Coach, Social Media Consultant

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What to Do in Berlin in 3 Days: Visiting Berlin, Germany

Friday, March 20, 2020

I flew from Barcelona to Berlin for $29. How could I resist visiting Berlin at such a bargain? I ended up visiting Berlin for one week, so I have a good idea of how you can condense what to do in Berlin in 3 days. 

About me: I write about travel, food, drinks. I've worked with tourism boards such as Visit Long Beach, Visit El Paso, The French Ministry of Agriculture, Visit Reno Tahoe, & Discover Torrance. To learn more about the campaigns I've been a part of, read my Press + Media page.

A view of the Tiergarten, What to Do in Berlin in 3 Days: Visiting Berlin, Germany
The view of the Tiergarten from the Victory Column in Berlin, Germany.

Visiting Berlin

Where is Berlin, Germany? Are there tips on what to do in Berlin in 3 days? How about the best Berlin photo spots? This post is ideal for anyone visiting Berlin. Keep reading or scroll to find what you're looking for.

So, Where is Berlin, Germany?

You might be wondering where is Berlin exactly? In relation to the rest of Europe & the world, where is Berlin, Germany? That's a good question - it's good to be inquisitive. Berlin is the capital of the country of Germany. It's the biggest city in Germany in both area & population, located in the eastern part of the country.


What to Do in Berlin in 3 Days: Visiting Berlin, Germany Brandenburg Gate Where is Berlin?
Tips for visiting Berlin: go to Brandenburg Gate.

Brandenburg Gate

Brandenburg Gate makes is one of Berlin's most iconic landmarks. The history dates back as far as 1788 when it was constructed. In 1961, the Berlin Wall was inaccessible to locals & visitors since it was in an exclusion zone. After the fall of the wall, people celebrated at Brandenburg Gate & it remains a symbol of a reunited Berlin to this day.

East Side Gallery (former Berlin Wall)

Searching for what to do in Berlin in 3 days? You must visit the East Side Gallery, a portion of the Berlin Wall that still exists. This 1.3-kilometer piece of former Berlin Wall is completely covered in murals & art. Some of the art is moving & poignant. Some of the art is happy & fun. East Side Gallery is easily one of the best Berlin photo spots with the range of art that covers it. Check out the Berlin Wall Museum.  *One of the top Berlin photo spots


Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe What to Do in Berlin in 3 Days: Visiting Berlin, Germany
A view of the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe.

Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe

Also known as the Holocaust Memorial, the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, stands to commemorate & remember the victims of the Holocaust. Designed by architect Peter Eisenman & engineer Buro Happold, the memorial contains over 2,500 concrete pieces arranged in a grid, in a somewhat undulating pattern, rising & falling depending on where you walk. I must say I was completely moved at this memorial & took a somber minute to really honor the Holocaust victims & survivors. This should go without saying but please be respectful.


Tiergarten

The Tiergarten is easily one of my favorite things to do in Berlin. The inner-city park feels like a  tranquil haven within the city. Make sure to stop by if you're pondering what to do in Berlin in 3 days. A must-see for those visiting Berlin, great Berlin photo spots.

Alexanderplatz 

Spend a few hours exploring Alexanderplatz is a public square, one of the essential stopping points for those visiting Berlin. Alexanderplatz feels like a lively downtown area with its multitude of shops, restaurants, cinemas, within walking distance. Alexanderplatz is located close to the TV Tower, Berliner Rathaus, Berlin Cathedral, Museum Island, Brandenburg Gate, & more!

Checkpoint Charlie

Located on Friedrichstrasse, Checkpoint Charlie is a historic stop for travelers visiting Berlin. Checkpoint Charlie was set up as a border crossing between East & West Germany during the Cold War, named by the Western Allied forces.

What to Do in Berlin in 3 Days: Visiting Berlin, Germany Mall of Berlin
The Mall of Berlin in Berlin, Germany.

Mall of Berlin

Some people sight-see, some people shop. The Mall of Berlin is a massive shopping center in Berlin with around 300 shops for your purchasing pleasure. Shop your heart out, scout out a souvenir or two, or grab dinner in the food court (that’s the option I went for). It was scrumptious!⁣ If you need some supplies (clothes or etc.), this might be the place to stock up.

Berlin Television Tower

The Berlin Television Tower is kind of like the North Star; you can see it from anywhere & it almost becomes a navigation tool. "Ah yes, I can see the Berlin Television Tower - we're getting close." The Tower stands 368 meters tall. On a cloudy day, the Tower becomes obscured into the skyline & looks something to the effect of Jack's beanstalk once his magic beans sprouted into the clouds.

What to Do in Berlin in 3 Days: Visiting Berlin, Germany things to do

Museums: What to Do in Berlin in 3 Days

Berlin is a city rich in history. I could drone for hours about the museums in Berlin. There's even an entire Museum Island dedicated to museums in Berlin. Here are some of the museums to check out while visiting Berlin or if you're searching for what to do in Berlin in 3 days.

You can visit the Reichstag Building, Charlottenburg Palace, Topography of Terror, Jewish Museum Berlin. Take a look at the Visit Berlin top museums page to look at the range of museums. They go into detail about the top museums in Berlin including art museums, child-friendly museums, photography, design, and film museums, natural history museums, and more.

What to Do in Berlin in 3 Days: Visiting Berlin, Germany Botanischer Garten und Botanisches Museum Berlin (Berlin Botanical Garden)
Posing at the Botanischer Garten und Botanisches Museum Berlin (Berlin Botanical Garden).

Botanischer Garten und Botanisches Museum Berlin (Berlin Botanical Garden)

Man oh man do I love a botanical garden & the Botanischer Garten und Botanisches Museum Berlin is no different. If you can't think of what to do in Berlin in 3 days, add this to your list. I was impressed with the sheer size of the place & it felt like not many people were there. The Tropical Greenhouse is worth a visit as one of the top Berlin photo spots.

What to Do in Berlin in 3 Days: Visiting Berlin, Germany Roamers Cafe
Roamers Cafe in Berlin, Germany.


How to Eat on a Budget While Traveling Abroad

There are plenty of ways to save money while you're traveling. Eating out three square meals each day in Berlin can be costly. If you're staying at a hotel, take advantage of any hotel breakfasts. If you're renting a place with a kitchen, stop by a local grocery store to grab a few groceries. Read my blog post for many more tips & tricks on How to Eat on a Budget While Traveling Abroad.

So did you find the answers to your questions? Where is Berlin Germany? What to Do in Berlin in 3 Days? What are the best Berlin photo spots? Comment your best tip or if I missed something!


Restaurants, Coffee Shops, What to See: Things to Do in Oceanside, California

Monday, March 02, 2020

The City of Oceanside feels relaxed while simultaneously evolving toward a metropolitan city. I remember riding the train into Oceanside on my way down south from Orange County. It was a casual beach town, not quite as pricy as other San Diego beach towns like Carlsbad, Encinitas, Del Mar, La Jolla, or Pacific Beach. It was known for its laidback, lowkey vibes like the rock n roll hairstylist dude.

About Carmen

Thanks for finding my blog! I'm a San Diego blogger who has lived in California for most of my life. I write about travel, food, drinks. I've worked with tourism boards such as Visit Long Beach, Visit El Paso, The French Ministry of Agriculture, Visit Reno Tahoe, & Discover Torrance. Read my Press + Media for more campaigns I've been a part of. Click here to learn out more about me & my travel history. Or you can follow me on Instagram.

Artist's Alley  Things to Do in Oceanside California Restaurants Coffee Shops Downtown
Take a look at the murals at Artist's Alley in Downtown Oceanside, California.

Downtown Oceanside

I used to walk along Downtown Oceanside to the beach from my social media internship office. There was an acupuncture place, a health food store, a burrito shop. They're all still there. Now the city of Oceanside feels as though it's geared to become the next hotspot for San Diego bloggers. A new oceanview apartment pops up blocking the view of previous apartments. There's a coworking place. A tequileria replaces a craft beer gastropub that wasn't even 4 years old. 

Whether you're looking for Oceanside restaurants, coffee shops, outdoor activities, or a unique activity, you'll find loads of things to do in Oceanside as it becomes a bustling part of North County San Diego.



Jalapeno & cauliflower mac & cheese from Local Tap House & Kitchen, Oceanside restaurants to try.
Jalapeno & cauliflower mac & cheese from Local Tap House & Kitchen, Oceanside restaurants to try.

Downtown Oceanside Restaurants 

Take notes for some of my favorite downtown Oceanside restaurants.

Beach Break Cafe Beach Break Cafe's coffee cake is next level, bonkers delicious.

Masters Kitchen and Cocktail - Spice up your Mondays; Masters Kitchen and Cocktail has happy hour all Monday!

Local Tap House & Kitchen - The jalapeno & cauliflower mac & cheese from Local Tap House & Kitchen (also known as LTH) tastes incredible.

Panca Peruvian Cuisine & Rotisserie - Fred & I went to Panca Peruvian Cuisine & Rotisserie years ago when I worked nearby by during my first social media job.

There's no shortage of Oceanside restaurants. Browse Yelp, TripAdvisor, or Google if you have specific needs: vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, keto, etc.


Oceanside Coffee Shops

These are some of my personal favorite Oceanside coffee shops but there are even more that I haven't listed.

Banana Dang CoffeeBanana Dang Coffee has coffee, a solid smoothie bar, & Wi-Fi so you can sip n work.

Revolution Roasters Revolution Roasters is one of the most popular of the Oceanside coffee shops; the steady arrival & departure of people feels regular like an airport. Good coffee, tasty pastries, nice space.

Steel Mill Coffee Steel Mill Coffee is one of the newer Oceanside coffee shops. My sister says her friend's friend owns the place. ~*~So Kewl~*~

Breweries

A trip to Oceanside wouldn't be complete without a pint of craft beer. There are over 200 breweries in  San Diego County. In the city of Oceanside, there's Black Plague Brewing, Belching Beaver Oceanside, Oceanside Brewing Company, Legacy Brewing Company. If you head to Tijuana, Mexico, read my mini-guide to Tijuana's breweries.

Oceanside Sunset Market

Farmer's markets are one of life's simple joys. The Oceanside Sunset Market takes place Thursday evenings from 5 pm - 9 pm. It's the place to be. You'll find food, shopping, entertainment. The place gets packed. People bring their babies, kids, strollers, dogs. Teens hang out amongst friends. Couples walk around on a date night. It's one of the most quintessential things to do in Oceanside. There's also the Oceanside Farmers Market which happens in the day time!

Oceanside Fishing Pier Things to Do in Oceanside California Restaurants Coffee Shops Downtown Carmen Varner travel writer San Diego Blogger
Enjoy the ocean view from the Oceanside Fishing Pier.

Oceanside Fishing Pier

You can't visit the city of Oceanside, California without walking the Oceanside pier. This is one of the most classic things to do in Oceanside. Eat at Ruby's Diner at the end of the pier; Ruby's is a 40s-style diner with American classics like fries, burgers, & milkshakes. Absolutely worth stopping by if you're hungry!

Mission San Luis Rey

The Mission San Luis Rey has self-guided museum tours, a mission gift shop. They even host workshops & retreats. The historic Mission Church is a National Historic Landmark, built in 1815. If you like missions, check out La Purisima Mission State Historic Park in Lompoc, California.

Ride the Coaster or Amtrak

You can take public transportation from or to the city of Oceanside; you can also ride it down to San Diego. These are excellent modes of transportation if you don't have a car. As I mentioned earlier, I used to take the train up & down quite frequently. You can take Amtrak all the way up to San Francisco if you're looking for a trip idea. 

A cool mural by BB Bastidas in Oceanside, CA by Pour House.

City of Oceanside Street Art, Murals, & Graffiti

Both downtown & the City of Oceanside have street art, murals, & graffiti to view. While you're in town, be sure to check out Artist Alley to support local San Diego businesses & artists. Learn more Artist Alley Oceanside on their Facebook page. Pictured above is a mural by BB Bastidas at the Pour House Oceanside; there's a different mural there now.

Go to the Beach

It should go without saying, but you should check out the beach & ocean views whilst visiting a city literally named Oceanside. Popular beaches include Oceanside City Beach, Oceanside Harbor Beach, South Oceanside Beach. I could spend the day by Oceanside Pier, soaking in the melodic sound of the waves, reading a good book, & sticking my feet in the sand.

Oceanside Harbor Village

You can head on over to Oceanside Harbor Village to get a true sense of the seaside town. You can just walk around, browse the little shops, or even grab a bite to eat from one of the local restaurants. Obviously, fresh seafood is a good option if you're up for it. It's a small community but worth a visit if you're looking for things to do in Oceanside, California.

Other Activities

The city of Oceanside contains a range of things to do. It all depends on your mood & your budget. Do you want to be outside? Are you hungry for some grub from popular Oceanside restaurants? It's your call. There are outdoor activities like whale watching tours, indoor skydiving, surf lessons. You could head to the museums such as the California Surf Museum & Oceanside Museum of Art.

What are your favorite Oceanside restaurants? Can you recommend any cool Oceanside coffee shops, either in downtown or anywhere within the city of Oceanside? Leave a comment! :]

The Daily Stoic: Stoicism and Mindfulness, Stoic Principles, & Modern Stoicism

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

I'd heard about The Daily Stoic quite frequently from multiple people over the course of a year. I figured it didn't hurt it to invest in a book for around $15. I bought a grilled cheese sandwich at a trendy food hall for $12 a, so for $3 more, I could've just bought The Daily Stoic in the first place.

Find out more about stoicism and mindfulness, the timeless wisdom of stoic principles, & how you can integrate modern stoicism into your lifestyle. Continue reading to learn about Ryan Holiday's The Daily Stoic & how it becomes part of your routine.

* Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you click &/or make a purchase through certain links on this site, I may make a small commission from that click &/or purchase. Learn more about my disclosure.

Ryan Holiday The Daily Stoic: Stoicism and Mindfulness, Stoic Principles, & Modern Stoicism
The Daily Stoic: Stoicism and Mindfulness, Stoic Principles, & Modern Stoicism

What Is The Daily Stoic About?

The book mixes the timeless wisdom of stoic philosophy quotes with modern stoicism. You'll find 366 meditations on wisdom, perseverance, & the art of living. There's an ancient stoic philosophy quote for every single day of the year. It features the new translations of Seneca, Epictetus, & Marcus Aurelius. Following the quote, Ryan Holiday shares his insight, anecdotes, & commentary. The book allows you to apply the stoic lifestyle to your daily activity. There's also The Daily Stoic audiobook. Another cool book to read: Rising Strong by Brené Brown.

Each month is organized into a category based on the stoic principles:

Part I: The Discipline of Perception
January: Clarity
February: Passions & Emotions
March: Awareness
April: Unbiased Thought

Part II: The Discipline on Action
May: Right Action
June: Problem Solving
July: Duty
August: Pragmatism

Part III: The Discipline of Will
September: Fortitude & Resilience
October: Virtue & Kindness
November: Acceptance / Amor Fati
December: Meditation on Mortality


Do You Have to Start on January 1st?

Nope, you don't have to start The Daily Stoic on January 1. Whenever you buy the book, just open up the page for the day & get started. I bought the book in December & my first entry was from December 18. I write 1 to 3 sentences about the entry of the day directly into the book – essentially my interpretation of modern stoicism and mindfulness.


Stoic Principles & Timeless Wisdom

It definitely helps to read the beginning of the book because Ryan Holiday quickly covers the basics of stoic principles. When I started, I simply opened the page of the day, read the entry, & wrote something. I didn't know anything about stoic principles. I read the introduction immediately after that first entry. I wasn't really sure what I was working toward & I often have to refer back to the initial stoic principles as I move forward.

Stoic Lifestyle 

My plan is to continuously read it throughout the years, allowing me to soak in the stoic principles over time. I can read back on my entries from the past to show how my stoic lifestyle has changed. Obviously, there's not a huge amount of the book huge amount of writing space on the pages so this won't last forever; it's a short term plan. I've heard of others doing this, even Ryan Holiday himself, so it's worth a shot.

The Daily Stoic Audiobook

If you prefer, buy The Daily Stoic audiobook. Audiobooks are a convenient way to absorb the stoic lifestyle; you can listen to them anywhere. The only downside is you can't write your modern stoicism thoughts down if you opt for The Daily Stoic audiobook versus a physical copy. But if you have no plans to write, the audiobook is a suitable choice!


Audiobook Ryan Holiday The Daily Stoic: Stoicism and Mindfulness, Stoic Principles, & Modern Stoicism

Stoicism and Mindfulness

Applying modern stoicism and mindfulness to my daily life has benefited my mental health. Rather than overthink everything, I read the timeless wisdom stoic philosophy quotes from The Daily Stoic. It helps to know that philosophers have been wondering the same things as you for centuries. It gives me a more simple way of thinking, just focus on the little quote of the day & the interpretation, then write your own. That's all. Then you can see how the stoic principles show up in your own life or how you can integrate them into your lifestyle.

What Happens If I Miss a Day?

First things first, don't be hard on yourself. Modern stoicism is for fun, for your enjoyment, for your benefit. Don't worry if you miss a day. I've missed my fair share of days & half the time I don't even realize it until I open The Daily Stoic book & notice a missing entry. The days fly by. You're doing your best. If you miss a day, read the timeless wisdom of the stoic philosophy quotes you missed, or save it for next year. It's a personal preference.

Final Thoughts

Sometimes the book feels a bit lackluster or I question how useful the content is. Sometimes the stoic philosophy quotes are so brief, I don't quite grasp what it's supposed to cover. And of course, Ryan Holiday adds his own interpretation. In essence, it's like reading someone's notes on philosophy. If you understand that & approach The Daily Stoic without much expectation, you can certainly learn a couple things from the stoic philosophy quotes as you apply modern stoicism to your mindset.


What do you think of the stoic lifestyle? How do you integrate stoicism and mindfulness into your life? Have you read The Daily Stoic or bought the audiobook? :]


Things to Do in Queretaro Centro, Mexico

Tuesday, February 04, 2020

Queretaro is an energetic city located in central Mexico filled with flavorful food, plenty of people, & hearty history. Santiago de Querétaro is more commonly known as Queretaro City, Queretaro, Queretaro de Arteaga, or Querétaro (with the accent). Regardless of what you call it, there are plenty of things to do in Queretaro!

* Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you click &/or make a purchase through certain links on this site or my social media platforms, I may make a small commission from that click &/or purchase. Learn more about my disclosure.

Some of the top searched questions include: How far is Queretaro from Mexico City? How far is Queretaro from San Miguel de Allende? What are some of the Queretaro hotels to stay in? How about Airbnbs? What are some of the top things to do in Queretaro Mexico? All your questions shall be answered. Scroll down.

About Carmen

I've been to Queretaro twice & enjoyed it even more the second time! I adventured through Queretaro Centro as well as other parts of Queretaro state; I ate some of the best (vegan) tacos of my life, bought my very own handcrafted Maria doll from a local woman, & gazed at the dazzling display of Christmas decorations throughout the city. Click here to find out more about me & my travel history. Or you can follow me on Instagram.


Things to Do in Queretaro Centro, Mexico eat churros
One of the first things to Do in Queretaro Centro, Mexico is try a fresh churro & enjoy the view!

How far is Queretaro from Mexico City?

You're already in Central Mexico, so perhaps you're wondering how far is Queretaro from Mexico City? Mexico City is about 134 miles/217 km or 160 miles/259 km away from Queretaro depending on your route. Just look at Google maps. Definitely worth a trip if you can muster it!

How far is Queretaro from San Miguel de Allende? Carmen Varner travel influencer San Diego
How far is Queretaro from San Miguel de Allende? 41 miles/66 km to 59 miles/95 km away

How far is Queretaro from San Miguel de Allende?

There are a few different routes you can choose from, so the answer may vary. How far is Queretaro from San Miguel de Allende? The trip ranges from 41 miles/66 km to 59 miles/95 km, depending on your route. San Miguel de Allende is a beautiful & historic city.


The Aqueduct / El Acueducto de Querétaro

You can't miss the red brick aqueduct as you drive into Queretaro, Mexico. The notable arches extend for 1,280 meters with a total of 74 arcs. The aqueduct's original function brought water from the valley into various fountains throughout the city. It's quite a masterpiece.

Snacks goodies from the local vendors in Queretaro Centro Mexico
Buy snacks & goodies from the local vendors in Queretaro Centro.


Walk the Streets of Queretaro Centro

There are plenty of things to do in Queretaro Centro. The thriving city feels clean despite the hubbub of locals & travelers; you might see workers sweeping up leaves or trash at any given time. Walk around the streets of Queretaro Centro to get a feel for the landscape.

Support Local Shops in Queretaro Centro Mexico
Things to do in Queretaro, Mexico: Walk around the local shops & restaurants


Plaza de Armas

Plaza de Armas feels like the heartbeat of Queretaro Centro. It's always lively with kids playing, families walking around town, people dining, people selling dolls, t-shirts, crafts. There are water fountains, perfectly trimmed shrubs, & plenty of places to sit. Jardin Guerrero is the perfect spot to chill.

Support Local Shops in Queretaro Centro

We walked around Queretaro de Arteaga as a family. There are so many local vendors showing off their handcrafted goods. Why not take a look? I bought a blue & silver hand-beaded bracelet for my mom. My niece found some hand-sewn scrunchies she couldn't resist. A few of us bought evil-eye bracelets from a couple shops. Fred bought a t-shirt from a Queretaro Centro vendor.


Things to do in Queretaro Centro, Mexico
Things to do in Queretaro Centro, Mexico: Browse the churches & missions!

Churches & Missions

Queretaro has some exquisite churches & even some Franciscan missions. Awe at the pale yellow towers of Templo de la Congregacion de Guadalupe. Take a tour of Templo y ex-convento de la Santa Cruz de los Milagros. There's the  Iglesia de Santa Rosa de Viterbo. Go inside a church whenever possible. Sit in the back rows or stay to the side so you can respectfully view the inside without interfering with anyone praying. Some of the churches in Queretaro are quite phenomenal.

Gorditas being made at a restaurant in Queretaro Centro, Mexico.

Eat Everything 

Things to do in Queretaro? Eat, eat, eat again, eat some more. Whether you're looking for a sit-down meal, fresh churros con chocolate, or maybe a little snacky snack from one of the vendors (think candies, gum, mini portions of popular Mexican snacks), Queretaro Centro is a hub for foodies. Food bloggers & lovers rejoice!

Museums / Museos en Queretaro 

Find the Museo Regional in the former Convent of San Francisco; reviewers particularly love the colorful patio. There's the MUCAL Museo del Calendario. There are plenty of museos en Queretaro, take your pick!

Hanging out at the Queretaro Airbnb with my adorable Maria doll, made by a local woman.
Hanging out at the Queretaro Airbnb with my adorable Maria doll, made by a local woman.

Queretaro Tourism

Queretaro has a very active social media presence, which I love as a social media professional. It's one of those little things that bring me joy in life. Anyway, I digress. Take a look at the Queretaro Travel website, a visitor guide for all things in the state of Queretaro. They cover different regions, events, frequently asked questions, contact information, & other useful Queretaro Mexico tidbits.

Where Should I Stay in Queretaro? Hotel? Airbnb? Does It Matter?



Queretaro Airbnb

I stayed in a Queretaro Airbnb both times I've stayed in Queretaro since we're usually traveling with a group. In Queretaro, Mexico, it might be cheaper for a group of 5 adults & 3 kids to pitch in for an Airbnb rather than stay in 2-3 hotel rooms each night. Each Queretaro Airbnb I stayed at was great for families, had solid Wi-Fi, comfortable beds, & everything you could need. Sign up for Airbnb with my link & get $40 off your booking. That could be a free night's stay!

Queretaro Hotels

Searching for Queretaro hotels to stay in? There are plenty of options in Queretaro Centro & the surrounding area. Take a look at some of the hotels in the area. Simply type in your arrival & departure date, as well as the number of people in your party; this map will show you Queretaro hotels available during that time. Browse hotels in Queretaro - there are 200+ hotels to choose from.

Things to Do in Queretaro with Kids

We traveled around Queretaro Centro with a five-year-old, six-year-old, 8-year-old, two 20-somethings, a 30-something, & two 50-somethings. The kids had fun trying out foods from different stands. Mexico tends to be lean on the affordable side so the kids can feel like they're princes & princesses without the adults having to burn tons of cash. Buy little toys from the vendors or shop cute jewelry, trinkets, & other gifts from other shops.

Whether you're traveling by yourself, with family, friends, or on business, you'll find tasty food & interesting things to do in Queretaro, Mexico. You can do nothing & just stay inside your Queretaro hotel or Airbnb. You can spend the day hopping from museum to museum. You could do a food tour.

Do you have any questions? Leave a comment below & I'll do my best to help. Have you visited Queretaro, Mexico? Have any recommendations? Share your best tips or moments.


Useful Gift Ideas for Friends, Family, or Maybe Yourself :]

Monday, January 13, 2020

Cheers to 2020. Cheers to good views, to good people, to good food, to good sleep, to good health, to good times, & to good faith.

What are you cheers-ing to for the New Year? ⁣Consider snagging one of these special gifts for yourself, a friend, a coworker, or a loved one. 



About Carmen
I'm a kombucha-sipping, salt & vinegar chips-snacking traveler. The last TV 3 shows I watched were The Simpsons, The Good Place, & YOU. The last 3 places I visited were Querétaro, Mexico; Oceanside, California; & Barcelona, Spain. As a San Diego lifestyle blogger, influencer, social media professional (or whatever you want to call me), I've built a consistent readership & have the pleasure of working with different brands I respect. Follow me on Instagram.

* Disclaimer: This post contains PR gifts. This post contains affiliate links. Find out what exactly this means. Learn more about my disclosure.

The 6-Minute Diary UrBestSelf
UrBestSelf's The 6-Minute Diary & a Lisa Frank 5-color pen.

The 6-Minute Diary

Meet your new accountability partner, The 6-Minute Diary. This gratitude diary gives you time to yourself to write: 3-minutes in the morning & 3-minutes in the evening. Created by UrBestSelf, The 6-Minute Diary aims to help your mindfulness, happiness, & productivity with quotes, prompts, questions, & space to write out your thoughts each day. This is a fantastic gift for someone who likes books, journaling, or writing. Click here to buy The 6-Minute Diary on Amazon.

Books by Modern Female Authors

There are some remarkable women authors out there with unique stories & are-you-talking-directly-to-me? voices. Read anything by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, such as Purple Hibiscus, Half of a Yellow Sun,  or Americanah. If you know someone who loves a good chuckle, buy Sarah Cooper's satirical book How to Be Successful without Hurting Men's FeelingsTake a look at my list of suggestions for modern female authors!

The faux sheepskin rug looks chic in any photo & it's soft for practical use.

Faux Sheepskin Rug

I've had this chic faux sheepskin rug for a couple of years & it holds up to this day. It's incredibly soft & fluffy. I bought it to use for my flat lay blog photos but I bust it out just for ~*~aesthetic vibes~*~ sometimes. This is an excellent gift for someone who likes interior design or taking photos. This is a fantastic gift for a blogger, writer, photographer, or someone who wants a cute soft white rug. I mean, why not? Click here to buy the faux sheepskin rug on Amazon.

Relax with a magazine & the cooling Gold Charcoal HydroGel Eye Patches by Everydaze.


Gold Charcoal HydroGel Eye Patch

I ripped apart the brown shipping box of Everydaze products from ChicExecs. The black & gold box of the Gold Charcoal HydroGel Eye Patch called my name. "Caaarmen," it beckoned. "Open me."  I immediately applied the charcoal eyepatch. I'm a sucker for charcoal. It all started in 2017 when I tried charcoal ice cream for the first time. The patches cool & soothe your undereye area. Click here to buy the Gold Charcoal HydroGel Eye Patch on Amazon.

Acupressure Mat

The acupressure mat & pillow set are great to use after a workout, if you have a sore spot, or to release some tension. This is a fantastic gift for people who exercise frequently or suffer from back pain/issues. The bed of needles on the acupressure mat helps to release cramped muscles & relieve stress. Simply sit or lie down on the mat. Find out more information in my blog post about how to use an acupressure mat & pillow for stress, tension, & pain relief.


The Rooted Co. CBD Tincture

If you haven't hopped on the CBD train quite yet, CBD can potentially lower your anxiety,  inflammation, & stress. CBD might reduce pain, increase mental clarity, or promote a night of more restful sleep. The Rooted Co. CBD tincture is THC-free, so you won't get any mental fog or high. This product is water-soluble meaning you can pop some in your beverage & sip throughout the day rather than just have a dropper of it directly to your tongue. Find out more about The Rooted Co.'s CBD Tincture.

Bright Eyes Cream by Yangu Beauty

The Bright Eyes Cream leaves your delicate skin area feeling hydrated. Yangu Beauty sources its ingredients from Africa; its products are free from parabens, sulfates, phthalates, & other popular skin irritants. The company is perfect for women of color or people with sensitive skin. You can find out more about Yangu beauty on their website or you can buy their products on Amazon.

Essential C’s Konjac Jelly in Peach Everydaze
Essential C’s Konjac Jelly peach collagen pouches by Everydaze - cute & delicious!

Essential C’s Konjac Jelly in Peach

Everydaze, a Korean brand, also has Essential C’s Konjac Jelly Peach pouches, which are absolutely delicious. I'd go so far as to say they're incredible. Made with konjac, simply slurp up the peachy textured jelly bits & melt into the scrumptiousness. Essential C’s Konjac Jelly Peach is meant to be a low-calorie snack with a good source of collagen & vitamin C. This is a fantastic gift for someone who likes health products, trying new foods, or experimenting with collagen products. This is an excellent gift for vegans since it's vegan-friendly! So yummy & adorable packaging. Click here to buy Essential C’s Konjac Jelly Peach on Amazon.

My box of Sitka Salmon Shares!

Sitka Salmon Shares

Sitka Salmon Shares' wild-caught seafood from Alaska is the perfect gift for foodies or for that person whom a gift card to a restaurant chain simply won't do. This is an excellent gift for someone who likes quality ingredients & the best things in life, some of the best frozen salmon you'll find. Sitka Salmon Shares focuses on sustainable harvesting methods to minimize negative ecological impact. It's conveniently delivered right to your door, so you don't have to shop around or drive to the store. Click here to buy salmon fish online with Sitka Salmon Shares.

The best Electric milk frother
An electric milk frother or a handheld drink frother is the perfect gift for a white elephant gift exchange.

Beverage Frother

Beverage frothers are incredibly useful. Froth your almond milk, coffee, hot chocolate, cappuccino, or collagen drink in no time & with little effort. There are different types of beverage & milk frothers out there, but mine is this trusty $7 frother. This is a fantastic gift for anyone who enjoys a morning coffee or fancy matcha; you'll use this every day!

What are you cheers-ing to for the New Year? Since I'm new to seafood, would you mind sharing what's the best frozen salmon you've tried? What's the best white elephant gift you ever received? 

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Visiting the Gilmore Girls Location: Where Was Gilmore Girls Filmed? Where Is Stars Hollow?

Friday, December 20, 2019

If you're a Gilmore Girls fan, you might have always wondered where is Stars Hollow? Where was Gilmore Girls filmed? Can you visit the set or go on a Stars Hollow tour? I answer all of these questions & more. Scroll down to find your question & the answer to it!

"Oy with the poodles already!" - Lorelai Gilmore

* Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. I may make a small commission if you click &/or make a purchase through certain links on this site or my social media platforms.  Learn more about my disclosure.

Visiting the Gilmore Girls Location: Where Was Gilmore Girls Filmed? Where Is Stars Hollow? Lunch at Lorelai's
I ate lunch & explored the Gilmore Girls filming location in Burbank, CA.

About Carmen

I've been watching them are Gilmore Girls over half of my life at this point. I remember being a tween pipsqueak when it first came out & I aged with Rory. In fact, I was partly inspired to study journalism because of Rory's career choice. The show ended in 2017, just as I finished up sending my college applications. I remember siding with Rory & my mom always sided with Emily, thinking Lorelai was too rash. As I age, I realize they all have their flaws, just like every human being on earth. Learn more about me here. You can also follow me on Instagram.


"In omnia paratus!"

Visiting the Gilmore Girls Location: Where Was Gilmore Girls Filmed? Where Is Stars Hollow? Stars Hollow sign
The Stars Hollow sign.

Where Is Stars Hollow?

Stars Hollow is a fictional town; it's supposed to be located in Connecticut in the United States. Unfortunately, there is not a real Stars Hollow that you can visit. Although you can't walk around to watch the ballet dancers practicing at Miss Pattie's & you certainly can't stop by for coffee at Luke's Coffee Shop, you can see where the magic happened by exploring the Gilmore Girls filming location. If your first question is where is Stars Hollow? then the next question would be where was Gilmore Girls filmed? On a backlot in Burbank, California! Book your tickets for the Warner Bros. Studio Hollywood Tour.

"People are particularly stupid today. I can't talk to any more of them." - Michel

Lunch at Lorelai's Gilmore Girls filming location jeep
Lorelai Gilmore's Jeep & mailbox in Stars Hollow.

Where Was Gilmore Girls Filmed?

The Gilmore Girls filming location is based in Burbank, California at the Warner Brothers Studios. Many popular films & TV shows are filmed here including Friends, Pretty Little Liars, Blade Runner,  & even the famous kiss between Spider-Man & Mary Jane. Yup, it was all filmed at the WB Studios. That means Rory & Lorelai all our favorite Gilmore Girls characters walked around the set too. Buy a ticket for the Warner Bros. Studio Hollywood Tour.

"What she tackles, she conquers." - Richard Gilmore

The iconic gazebo in Stars Hollow Where Was Gilmore Girls Filmed? Where Is Stars Hollow?
Gilmore Girls location: The iconic gazebo in Stars Hollow.

Where was Gilmore Girls filmed? The pilot episode of Gilmore Girls was filmed in Unionville, Ontario but everything else was filmed at the Warner Brothers Studios, including Gilmore Gils: A Year in the Life.

"The person I most wanted to be was her." - Rory Gilmore

I smell snow Lorelai Gilmore quote Stars Hollow filming location
I smell snow sign at Lorelai Gilmore's house.

Everything was filmed here, from the Dragonfly Inn to Lorelai & Rory Gilmore's cozy home to Sookie St. James and Jackson Belleville's house & everything in between. Even Luke's diner! Now when you visit the Warner Bros Studio Your everything is reused, so you might have seen Luke's diner in a different movie or show. They completely alter the set each time with paint, props, & other cool tricks of the trade.  It was so fun to explore the Gilmore Girls filming location! Click here learn more about the Warner Bros. Studio Hollywood Tour.

"I don't like Mondays, but unfortunately they come around eventually." - Lorelai Gilmore


A Gilmore Girls Christmas: Holiday Lunch at Lorelai's

I visited during the Gilmore Girls Christmas & winter festivities. In 2018/2019, the event was called "Lunch at Lorelai's." In 2019/2020, they're calling it "Holiday Lunch at Lorelai's." They had a whole set up at Lorelai's house where you could enjoy your meal outside. I noshed on a veggie burger while sitting outside of Lorelai Gilmore's house. They also sold Poptarts & coffee. They had Gilmore Girls merchandise which I was very excited to look at but was disappointed that most items were gone & there was hardly anything in my size. Lots of smalls though!

"Buttfaced miscreant." - Rory Gilmore


Visiting the Gilmore Girls Location: Where Was Gilmore Girls Filmed? Where Is Stars Hollow? Lunch at Lorelai Burbank  Warner Bros Hollywood Tour
Exploring the Stars Hollow set at Warner Bros Hollywood Tour.

I ate lunch at Stars Hollow. I stepped inside the iconic Gilmore Girls gazebo. I saw Lorelai's beige Jeep & saw Rory's college admissions letters in the Gilmore mailbox. I took a photo in front of the Stars Hollow sign. It's an experience I won't forget.

This particular Gilmore Girls Christmas moment isn't always available; it's a seasonal offering & I just had to buy a ticket when I heard about the Lunch at Lorelai's house festivities. If you're a Gilmore Girls fan, then you have to experience this at least once. It's worth the money to have the memories, to have the photos, & to see some behind-the-scenes of a television series that I spent so much time watching over the years. Book your tickets for Warner Bros. Studio Hollywood Tour & make sure to tell your guide you're a Gilmore Girls fan!

While there isn't a specific stars Hollow tour, you can always tell your guide that you're a Gilmore Girls fan & they will tailor the tour toward what people like. They'll share filming behind-the-scenes, show you Gilmore Girls filming locations.  If you're a Friends fan, you can also visit Central Perk.

 Warner Bros Hollywood Tour Lorelai Gilmore and Rory's house in Stars Hollow
Lorelai Gilmore and Rory's house in Stars Hollow.

More Information on Warner Bros. Studio Tour Hollywood

Warner Brothers Studio Tours are offered in English, Spanish, French, Mandarin. ASL interpreted tours also available upon advance request. Click here to buy a ticket for Warner Bros. Studio Hollywood Tour.

If you want to delve deeper into the Gilmore Girls world, read Lauren Graham's book Talking as Fast as I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls (and Everything in Between).

 Warner Bros Hollywood Tour Lorelai Gilmore and Rory's house in Stars Hollow
Where was Gilmore Girls filmed? In Burbank, California at Warner Bros. Studios.

Comment your favorite Gilmore Girls quote. I'd love to hear it! Have you visited the Warner Bros. studio?


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