Our Greece Getaway

Our Greece Getaway

GREECE

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There’s a lot of places that I can say have truly left me mesmerized, but Greece made me an entirely different level of speechless. If I could only put into words the amount of love I have for Greece in one blog post, my life would be just a little bit easier 😉 Unfortunately, that’s impossible. The beauty of this country was something like I’ve never experienced before and I am counting the days until I travel back. 

Meir and I traveled to 3 different main islands in Greece. 

Breakdown of our itinerary:

  1. New York -> Athens -> Mykonos
  2. Mykonos -> Santorini
  3. Santorini -> Athens -> Zakinthos
  4. Zakinthos -> Athens
  5. Athens -> New York

As you can imagine, we were definitely all over the place and packed in a ton of different sites to see over the course of 10 days, which is the perfect time to see everything. By the end of the trip, I was a little burned out and we actually did end up getting sick (more on that later in this blog post!) but overall, I feel 10 days was ideal.

MYKONOS

First stop: Mykonos. We left New York and took an overnight flight to Athens airport. When we arrived in Athens, it was 9 AM, and the perfect time to start our adventures. I don’t even think I slept during the flight to Athens, (it is SO hard for me to get a good sleep on any flight) so I was pretty tired but my excitement and my adrenaline rush kept me going throughout the first day! We took a quick connecting flight from Athens to Mykonos an hour after we landed at the Athens airport, which is definitely the easiest and most painless way to make the first day smooth. It sounds like a ton of traveling, but since it was early when we arrived, we still had the entire day in Mykonos to explore, unpack our belongings, and get some amazing photos for sunset hours 😉

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When we finally arrived in Mykonos, we headed straight from the Mykonos airport to our hotel, Cavo Tagoo Mykonos. When we arrived, we were SO taken back by how gorgeous this property was. The entire hotel is painted and decorated white and gold, featuring huge golden doors to greet you and such friendly, welcoming staff. The hotel features a large swimming pool overlooking the ocean and it is a 5 minute walk from the main Mykonos town, which was super convenient during our stay. When we saw our room, we could not get over how magical it really felt to be there. The rooms were also decorated in stunning white and gold decor, everything was immaculate, modern, and super cozy. 

We ended up wanting to stay an extra night with Cavo Tagoo because of how beautiful it really was, and they ended up surprising us with the most insane dream suite of the entire hotel. It had 3 large bedrooms, two upstairs and one downstairs (yes there were multiple levels in this suite!), with enormous glass panorama doors overlooking a private swimming pool, a jacuzzi, which both led out to the ocean view. The living room had a huge communal table for us to work and eat our dinner and dessert (which we ordered in from the room service!!) and a surround sound music system to play our favorite unwinding music as we worked and relaxed together at sunset. When we woke up in the morning, we immediately opened our suite doors out to the pool and took a sunrise dip, and filmed some video footage while having Greek coffees and eating our breakfast. This experience was truly one of a kind, and I could not be more thankful for it.

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The Mykonos town was on another level of perfection. I have never been to Mykonos before, but Meir has in the summer, and he said that September there was SO much better and less crowded/touristy for sure. If you are looking to travel to Greece, we recommend going later in the year, towards September or even October after the “rush”. We were able to navigate the town easily, and explore with our cameras without feeling too overwhelmed by other people who were there visiting and taking photos as well. The streets are just so cute—everything of course is painted white and blue, and there are little fashion and food shops on literally every corner. The beauty of Mykonos and Greece itself is that there are so many different spots all on one street. We passed pastries and coffee shops, book stores and clothing shops, and then busy seafood restaurants, italian restaurants, etc…it is just so diverse and magical. Every step gave us a new experience.

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Second stop: Santorini. We decided to take a 5 hour “quick” ferry to Santorini from Mykonos. Mykonos has a port where you can jump on a ferry, which is the main means of transportation for many. Although 5 hours seems like a lot, it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. When we finally arrived in Santorini, we grabbed a cab to our first hotel, which was sitting on top of a cliff in Imerovigli. This is such a quaint and peaceful little town in Santorini, with not a lot of tourists, at least when we were there. Our hotel was a wellness spa and resort called Andronis Concept. It featured its own farm and garden, with animals and fresh fruits and vegetables, a beautiful spa and a private gym, overlooking the most stunning views at sunset hours. We loved it because of the amazing views overlooking Oia—which was across from our hotel, miles away but it was so amazing to see all the lights and the sky glowing at sunset. Our room featured its own hot tub with such gorgeous peaceful views, and the breakfast there was UNREAL. We woke up to fresh fruit platters, freshly baked croissants, cereals, french toast and Greek coffees (need I say more?). It was truly just something out of a dream.

It was close to one of the main towns, Thira, which is a cute area: surrounded by more blue and white streets, restaurants (we had some amazing pizza)!, and clothing boutiques. We spent the day in Thira exploring, shopping and eating. PS – I highly recommend renting an ATV for the week in Santorini if you decide to travel there. Everything is spread out and it is A LOT of walking, so we decided to use an ATV to transport around the island for majority of our trip!

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After our stay in Imerovigli, we spent the next 4 days in Oia, which was my favorite part of the entire island. There are so many different kinds of people, shops, food spots, boutiques, bars and the most beautiful places to capture every single moment. We were in love the moment we arrived. We spent the nights shooting sunset overlooking the city lights on top of a famous photography spot, on the very edge of the island. Everyone at night gathers around in the town for the sunset and watches as it sets down below the sky, and burns a bright, stunning orange as it dissipates. I was blown away by the beauty of it all—everyone just standing, watching in silence and snapping photos peacefully, as the sky changed its colors and faded into night. The people all around us began to clap once the sun had fully set, and I was just amazed. This was by far one of the most breathtaking moments I’ve ever experienced.

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We stayed at 3 different hotels while we were in Oia — the first hotel was called Astarte Suites, and it was a very small, but charming place. It sat directly in the cliffs, and had so many steps in order to get to the property, but the views were so worth every moment of walking! It was definitely great exercise to say the least 😉 The hotel greeted us with glasses of champagne, and we enjoyed the amazing ocean views from our suite balcony. The second hotel was called Santorini Secret, and it was situated right directly in the middle of Oia which was super convenient and nice because the walking was minimal to get anywhere. We did enjoy this, as the hotel had a gorgeous private swimming pool overlooking the ocean, and amazing food (we ordered the spaghetti and ate it by the pool, it was so delicious!), however we DID experience an ant infestation in the morning in our room and we were not too happy about that. There also was not a shower in our room, only a bath, which for some people might be an issue. I am always going to be completely 100% honest about my full experiences anywhere, so yes, it was beautiful but there were some issues during our stay. 

The third hotel we stayed at was called Astra Suites, which was so so amazing and the staff couldn’t have been more accommodating. Our suite was overlooking the gorgeous island of Santorini, and the water was such a deep beautiful blue. We had an enormous private suite, with a private jacuzzi and we ordered room service at night as we watched the sky light up. The hot tub was also amazing to just relax with Meir and enjoy our night together.

But…the third hotel was where things started to go downhill for our trip. Everything was truly incredible really up until this point for us, until we both had gotten some sort of food poisoning there and we were in bed sick for the entire next day. We both had fevers, chills and nausea, and we couldn’t work or walk anyway. Meir had it much worse than I did, and he spent the day in bed taking medicine, sleeping and not eating a thing. I felt so terrible, but the hotel was SO understanding and sweet, and they made us hot soup and gave us plenty of water and medicine to take care of us, which I was so thankful for. I ended up feeling a bit better and taking care of Meir as he slept, and we stayed in the room the whole day. Luckily, it seemed to be a 24 hour thing, because the next day we both did feel somewhat functional again and still got to explore a bit, although we definitely took it easy.

After we recovered, we took a ferry back to Athens from Santorini and spent the night there. We had about 12 hours in Athens, and we stayed in an Airbnb. We found a healthy vegetarian spot near our place and ate there for both lunch and dinner, although we both still felt kind of queasy from being sick the day before so the eating was minimal. We got to see the Acropolis and shoot there for sunset while it was lit up, which was really amazing. I loved looking over the city and seeing everything lit up, bright against the darker shades of the sunset. There is a famous photo spot to get these amazing views, and we found it from searching on Google Maps. A ton of tourists were there to shoot the sunset too. Luckily, we were able to snap a photo when no one was around us 😉

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From Athens, we flew on a 5 AM flight to Zakinthos, which is a much less touristy island on the other side of Greece, far from Mykonos and Santorini. Zakinthos in my opinion was my least favorite island, and seemed pretty run down compared to the others, although I think this was Meir’s favorite! It was his birthday, so we wanted to do something special and explore as much as we could for the 24 hours that we had. We rented a car from the airport and we went on our way, with no real plan. We drove through the mountains (there is so much rocky terrain, and everything is so elevated!), where we were. The main town has its own little harbor, and as we drove out of it, the roads turned into hills and we were suddenly surrounded by pure green. It felt like an entirely different country. The air smelt so fresh and clean, and our surroundings were just pure nature. I was so exhausted at this point that I slept half the time in the car while Meir drove around, but about a half hour into the drive, he woke me up to a crowd of goats grazing in the middle of the highway! They were eating grass and just chilling casually on the road, staring at our car as we slowly drove past them. I was freaking out with excitement because I LOVE animals. I just thought they were adorable and I kept trying to take videos of them on my phone, but none of them really came out so great (haha!)

After driving for what seemed like hours, we found the road that led us to one of the most famous spots on the island, Shipwreck Beach. This was probably the most incredible place I’ve ever been, strictly because of the WATER. The water was such a rich, piercing, deep blue that couldn’t be replicated anywhere else in this world, I promise you. The water was sparkling from below as we climbed the mountains and the path to see the views from above. My mind couldn’t simply wrap around the fact that water could be so saturated, it looked completely fake to me. I thought Meir was about to cry of happiness of how gorgeous the view really was as we snapped photos and drone footage. This was my favorite part of Zakinthos, for sure, although at this point of our trip I was so burned out that I felt I almost couldn’t even appreciate it enough.

The rest of the trip was not exactly the smoothest experience. After grabbing lunch, we ended up parking on a hill and another tourist slammed into the back of our car. We ended up spending the next 2 hours in this spot, recording the details and speaking to the police, as both of our cars were rentals. I think at that point all we could do was make jokes and laugh about it. We were still recovering from being sick and then we had gotten into this little accident, so I felt that we didn’t get to experience Zakinthos the way we had hoped for, although there were still a lot of memorable moments and scenic views along the way :). We ended up crashing at a hotel that was super close to the airport, and from there we flew back to New York. I was definitely ready to go home, but the second we left I knew I’d be back to Greece next year. 

The experience we had overall was just truly  unforgettable. I am so thankful and blessed to be able to have experienced such beauty, and I can’t wait to visit again. 

I would love to hear if you are planning on visiting Greece, or if you have already been there and about your experience! 🙂

Xoxo,

Alyssa

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Follow along on our instagram! @effortlyss

20 Fun Facts About Me

20 Fun Facts About Me

Where Do I Start…

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Hi! My name is Alyssa and I am a lifestyle and travel creator based in New York City. I’m 24 years old and started creating content about 2 1/2 years ago. I am so excited to hit the refresh button and start a new blog, filled with my travel adventures, my daily style, beauty and wellness tips, and all of my personality in one place. For most of my life, I felt a bit lost, in the sense that I really felt like I had no direction of what I wanted to do and where I wanted to take myself into the future. I was often pulled in different directions – one minute I would want to pursue one thing, and before I knew it, I’d lose interest in it and try something new.

It took so much time for me personally to figure myself out, but I always had a passion for writing, taking photos, and just sharing my advice with my friends and family. So, a blog wouldn’t be too bad of an idea to allow you all to know me a little better.

20 Fun Facts About Me

1. I love public speaking (I am not shy by any means!) but I am also introverted at the same time, meaning I like my space, m time to be alone, and I get a little intimidated to approach people first. People often say I look super intimidating and they don’t have the courage to approach me but I feel the same way!! Never be afraid to say hi if you see me around 🙂 I love meeting you all.

2. I played every sport as a kid and did so many activities: everything from soccer to the chess club – because I had so much curiosity. Some of my favorite sports were basketball, volleyball, tennis, and horse back riding. I also grew up surrounded by musical theater and often performed in plays, and took singing lessons for over 10 years!

3. I still sing, and I tend to keep quiet about it but it’s something that I would love to keep doing and pursue more, aside from blogging and creating content 🙂

4. I have two older brothers who taught me a lot more than they probably know. I feel like I was always independent because I had two older brothers who helped me be a confident girl and even how to handle relationships with guys.

5. I have a hormone imbalance disorder called PCOS – poly cystic ovarian syndrome. It affects a lot of women who are in their menstrual years and it’s not really spoken about as often as I believe it should. It causes very irregular menstrual cycles, fatigue, depression, anxiety, acne, and weight gain. I have learned to control it immensely through diet and exercise and I was able to stop taking medication for it, which I am grateful for.

6. I went to college and studied English, with a minor concentration in global studies and cultures. I was always super interested in writing and reading, and I always had so much to say on paper so that’s where the idea of an English major stemmed from.  I honestly was super confused if it was the right path for me and I questioned myself a lot as a student because I wanted to do something different and I wanted to stand out. I didn’t want to be a teacher, I wanted to be a creator and an entrepreneur.

7. On that note, that entrepreneur mentality has always run through my blood. I wanted to work independently since I was 5 years old. I used to collect hundreds of plastic bottles and caps and cash them in, and sell all the things my parents would buy me on eBay. I would get gifts and just sell them and put all of the money in my savings. I would also have my own little garage sales and lemonade stands every weekend in front of my house. It’s so funny to think about now. When I was 10 years old I told my mom, I’m going to be someone different. And I think she really believed in me even from that age when I had no idea what I was really saying.

8. I’ve only had two very serious boyfriends, and one of them is the guy I’m currently dating and working with. You may have seen him featured in a lot of my content already on instagram 🙂 I want to make a separate post about this topic, but my first relationship was very different from my current one and I have learned so much through these relationships.

9. My favorite foods are penne vodka, pizza, avocado / sweet potato sushi, and okay, I’ll throw in a healthy one – sautéed veggies and brown rice in a wrap is my go to clean dinner most nights. I really have an undying love for Italian food but I gave up meat completely, I don’t eat fish, and I try to avoid dairy as much as possible. I would say my diet is mainly vegan but occasionally I still have dairy based products. I’m working on just cutting it out completely because it makes me feel super bloated.

10. My favorite desserts are endless, I have such a strong sweet tooth! I really don’t like candy, I’m more of a cake and cookies type of girl. My sweet tooth diet consists of chocolate lava cake (that warm kind with the exploding chocolate sauce), red velvet cupcakes, and chocolate chip cookies. I also have recently been hooked on this new vegan cookie dough I found at Whole Foods. So so good.

11. All of the places I’ve traveled to so far will be talked about throughout this blog, but my favorite place so far has to be Greece! Santorini and Mykonos were both so individually magical and I can’t wait to go back next summer. I found that September was the perfect time to go, the weather was gorgeous and it wasn’t as crowded!

12. I have two dogs that are my heart and soul, MAC and Tosh. I don’t have them at my New York apartment with me; they live with my parents on Long Island now. They are brother and sister and were named after Macintosh, the computer model. My brother thought of their names because he works at Apple, and he’s a computer nerd hahaha.

13. I love makeup, and I am a total makeup junkie even though I don’t post much about it on Instagram. I love experimenting with all different skincare as well. I’m going to make a different post about this with all of my current must have products! I can’t live without mascara and bronzer!

14. I have an obsession with coconut oil. I use it for literally everything: conditioning my hair, moisturizing my skin, and cooking with it in my foods. I truly believe it heals everything.

15. The number one thing I can’t stand is when someone is the opposite of who they portray themselves to be on social media. I find that being myself is such an amazing way to connect with people and I’m not afraid to be genuine. And show my true self in good and bad times. I find a lot of people put on a show .. but that doesn’t really last.

16. My favorite place to shop right now is Free People, Forever 21, H&M and Zara. I am not a huge fashionista and I never was super into luxury fashion! Although I think dressing well is important for my content and it just makes me feel great when I do. But I like to keep it as affordable as possible when I’m shopping.

17. I get really bad anxiety when I fly. My job consists of traveling everywhere and I know this may surprise some of you but I get the worst nerves in the air and I’m terrified of turbulence!! I feel safest when I have both feet on the ground.

18. If I had to pick one place to live for the rest of my life it would 100% be New York City. People always ask me why I love New York so much and it’s simply because of how much is always happening here and the amount of entertainment and vibrance it offers at literally any time of year. It’s really just amazing. Christmas and summertime are the best times of year!!!

19. My lucky number is 19 and here’s why: my birthday, my moms birthday and my brothers birthday all fall on the 19th. If that’s not crazy enough for you, my grandpa passed away on the 19th, the morning of my birthday. I would say 9 Times out of 10 I am assigned hotel rooms “19”, numbers in line that are 19, and I’ll be in the most random places and just see “19” on the wall, or written in the bathroom stall, or someone’s tattoo walking by, or a neon sign in a diner, etc. My entire existence has been linked to this number and it’s kind of scary but amazing.

20. My YouTube channel is YouTube.com/Effortlyss. If you didn’t know I had a YouTube channel, now you do!

I hope you got to know me a little bit better from this question and answer post. I’d love to answer even more of your questions, so feel free to comment some more below if you’d like! 😉

Xoxo,

Lyss ❤

Road Tripping Through the West Coast…

Road Tripping Through the West Coast…

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We had acai bowls on the beach, and then made our way into the desert, where the sunsets were remarkable and the nights were quiet, with the distant howl of coyotes and the ruffle of the wind (or was it the rattlesnakes…could never be quite sure hahaha.) All I know is that it was so peaceful, and made me appreciate this country even more than I ever have before.

I want to know, what are your thoughts on the West Coast? Anything I should re-visit when I’m back again?

-Lyss

http://www.instagram.com/effortlyss

Being Appreciative…

Being Appreciative…

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I love you all so much for being so sweet to me, whenever I post anything your comments make my day and make me appreciate what I do even more. For those of you who don’t know what my job is, I am a lifestyle blogger. When you look at my posts, I want you to be inspired to go out there and create your own life. I want everyone to fulfill their dreams and be who they want to be. I grew up thinking I had to do certain things and have a certain job in order to make money but that simply isn’t true. When you follow your heart and your gut, the money will come. It’s never easy at first and I’ve had so many ups and downs throughout the journey of becoming someone who works for herself, but the hard work is all worth it to me. I hope what I do is inspiring you and can help you pursue your dreams. Think of me as a supportive friend, because I consider you all my friends and I want you all to win and succeed. 💕🙌🏽 Have an awesome weekend.

http://www.instagram.com/effortlyss

Moments Spent With You | Miami, Florida

Moments Spent With You | Miami, Florida

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This was taken in Miami, Florida. We spent the day at Como Hotels, and woke up super early to catch the sunrise by ourselves, overlooking the beach and that gorgeous blue water. The hotel was super quiet, and we felt such a sense of privacy and exclusivity while we spent our morning talking and lounging in the rooftop pool.

This pool wasn’t just an ordinary pool – but actually a therapeutic hydro-jet tub. People can rotate through each section of the pool and get massaged by the powerful jets blasting warm water. It was so so relaxing.

A question that I often get asked over and over again is — who takes these photos of you and your boyfriend? 🙂 We actually use a tripod and position it carefully for most of our photos. Occasionally we do ask someone passing by to shoot us, but we like to use the tripod best because it’s steady, and it’s easy to position and get the right angle without having to direct someone.

xx