5 Tourist Traps to Avoid in Croatia

(This article was originally published in Croatia Week Magazine.)

In a matter of a few years, Croatia has transformed from Europe’s hidden gem to Europe’s hottest holiday destination. With spotless beaches along the Adriatic, national parks full of waterfalls, and charming cobble-stoned cities, it’s unlikely that Croatia will fall off the radar anytime soon.

However, just like in any other popular destination, the rise in visitors is a ripe opportunity for some tourist traps to flourish. As an American who’s lived in Croatia for over a year, I’ve seen this first hand.

Here are 5 of the biggest tourist traps you’ll want to avoid for a more authentic Croatian holiday. Read more

Celebrating 1 Year of The Mindful Mermaid!

It began with the decision to take a leap of faith and live life by my own rules. What started as a process of self-discovery turned into digital storytelling. What started as a loose concept transformed into a brand.

One year ago, I passed the mic to my alter ego, and she ran with it. The Mindful Mermaid is a growing corner of the Internet about my journey, and a platform for being cultured, conscious, and cool.

So to celebrate her first birthday, let’s recap the highlights of this past year and reveal what’s coming next! Read more

The Ultimate Insider’s Guide to Dubrovnik

Drum roll please… I’m about the drop the ultimate knowledge bomb full of insider travel tips to one of the world’s trendiest destinations: Dubrovnik, Croatia. Trust me when I say you won’t find these tips in any Lonely Planet Guide or one of the various “36 hour travel guides” on Pinterest.

Why? Because I didn’t just visit Dubrovnik; I lived there. I first came to study abroad, then fell in love, literally, with a local. I then returned to live for another 6 months. I’m one of the lucky few Americans that actually were immersed in the culture and Dubrovnik mentality.

No tourist traps. No sponsorships. Only my genuine tips (and a few of my boyfriend’s recommendations too) about a destination that turned into my second home:

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Where to Find Chicago’s Foodie Hotspots

I’ll be the first to tell you that the food in Chicago is well worth braving the cold. But there’s much more to the Windy City than just deep-dish pizza. From international food markets to endless Insta-worthy brunch spots, you can taste Chicago’s diversity and innovation within the food culture.

Though it may seem like there is a restaurant at every corner, the best are often well-hidden from tourists and even locals. Here’s where to find Chicago’s trendiest places for in-the-know eaters:

Read more

The Great Wall of Europe in Ston, Croatia [VIDEO + PICTURES]

Who needs the crowded Great Wall of China, when you can have the Great Wall of Europe all to yourself? Technically called the Walls of Ston, this lesser known attraction towers over the small town of Ston and surrounding Dalmatian countryside. For adventure junkies and nature lovers alike, the Great Wall of Europe is a bucket-list must. Read more