Praia Do Farol in Milfontes, Portugal

December 31, 2019 Vila Nova de Milfontes, 7645 Vila Nova de Milfontes, Portugal

Southern Portugal is filled with stunning beaches featuring rocky cliffs overlooking sparkling salty water, sand banks that stretch for miles, and of course the colorful umbrellas of European tourists who have traveled across the continent to visit these renowned beaches.

This is the very first beach my family visited, as it was a short walk from our Airbnb in the town of Vila Nova de Milfontes. As can be seen by the photograph below, this beach was the most crowded of all we visited. Even so, if you walked far enough beyond the umbrellas of tourists, the beach stretched on for long distances with no tourists in sight.

Town of Vila Nova de Milfontes

December 30, 2019 Vila Nova de Milfontes, 7645 Vila Nova de Milfontes, Portugal

After we had sojourned in the city of Lisbon, my family drove south to Vila Nova de Milfontes, a small town a couple hours north of the Algarve, one of the most the frequented tourist destinations in Portugal. We stayed in a quaint but spacious Airbnb in the center of the town that was owned by an extremely sweet hostess and had two bedrooms, a small sitting room, a kitchen equipped with a fridge, stove, and washing machine, and a sunny balcony overlooking a small garden.

Though the town was quiet during the daytime, it was very lively and busy at night, as European tourists from outside of town gathered to dine at the variety of restaurants that offered delicious food yet maintained a casual and easygoing atmosphere as well as to shop the unique clothing and artistic goods sold at various boutiques.

Books I Read in 2019 (for pleasure)

December 29, 2019

With 2020 just around the corner, I thought I would share all of the books I read outside of school in 2019. I love to read, but it is very challenging during the academic year for me to find time to pursue such an interest. Even so, I made it a priority of mine to read as much as possible in 2019, completing most of my novels over the summer months when I had much more free time to pursue my passions.

Best Memories of 2019

December 28, 2019

I feel that often when reflecting on the past year it can be easy to simply focus on the negative aspects that we wish to change or rid ourselves of at the start of the new year. Creating these posts, however, allows me to appreciate the wonderful memories from the year and to feel a strong sense of gratitude for the people and places that brought me happiness. It instills in me a sense of excitement for the upcoming year and motivation to assure that the next year is even more eventful and joyful than the previous.

Best Memories of 2018

Panoramic Views of Lisbon, Portugal

December 26, 2019 Lisbon, Portugal

Below are a series of photographs taken from a hill in Lisbon overlooking the colorful rooftops of the city, the azure ocean water, and the famous Golden Gate look alike bridge, Ponte de 25 Abril. Though this blog post is very brief, I wanted to share these images because they truly showcase the beauty of the city of Lisbon and offer a unique, panoramic view compared to many of my other photographs.

Cascais, Portugal

December 24, 2019 Cascais, Portugal

After touring the Moorish Castle and Pena Palace in Sintra, we stopped in Cascais before taking the train back to Lisbon. My mom had visited Cascais around twenty years earlier when she was traveling in Portugal with a friend. She remembered Cascais as being quaint and quiet, and so was surprised to see how built up and developed it had become over the past two decades. Even so, Cascais maintained its former charm and natural beauty.

Pena Palace in Sintra, Portugal

December 23, 2019 Estrada da Pena, 2710-609 Sintra, Portugal

Sitting gracefully atop a mountain amidst lush green trees surrounded by magnificent gardens, it is no wonder why Pena Palace is one of Portugal's most visited attractions. Its majestic red and yellow colors against the natural hue of the blue sky, architecture reflective of the Romantic era, and extravagant decor inside all succeed in luring in thousands of eager travelers. Unfortunately my family did not tour the inside of Palace, but even so the visit was worth it simply to see the colors and structure of the Palace as well as its stunning gardens. Learn more about the Pena Palace here.

Moorish Castle in Sintra, Portugal

December 22, 2019 2710-405 Sintra, Portugal

During our stay in Lisbon my family drove to Sintra to explore the Moorish Castle and renowned Pena Palace. Because both sites are so famed for their deep history, scenic views, and beauty, the queue to ascend the mountain was very long. Due to the multitude of pictures I took at each site, I chose to divide my photographs from the Moorish Castle and Pena Palace into two distinct blog posts.

The Moorish Castle was established by the North African Moors in the ninth century to defend the city of Sintra.  The castle features exquisite natural beauty and luscious plant life, winding pathways that zigzag across the mountain, a stunning view of both the city below as well as the Pena Palace sitting elegantly atop an even higher point on the mountain, and strong yet refreshing winds whirling through the crisp air.

Castelo de Sao Jorge in Lisbon, Portugal

R. de Santa Cruz do Castelo, 1100-129 Lisboa, Portugal

Castelo de Sao Jorge in Lisbon, Portugal, is a historic castle that was established by the Romans in 200BC. The castle's rich history, luscious greenery, and stunning views of the vibrant city and sparkling water below all contribute to allure of this site as a tourist attraction. If while visiting Lisbon you choose to visit Castelo de Sao Jorge, be prepared for beautiful views of Lisbon's colorful buildings, a possible peacock sighting, and lots of uphill walking.

Jerónimos Monastery in Lisbon, Portugal

December 19, 2019 Praça do Império 1400-206 Lisboa, 1400-206 Lisboa, Portugal

Mosteiro dos Jeronimos is a monastery located in Belem in Lisbon, Portugal, and is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site along with Torre de Belem, located only a couple of miles away. Recognized as Portugal's most ornate and decorative monastery, this historic site is a must-see for anyone exploring the city of Lisbon. 

Torre de Belem in Lisbon, Portugal

December 18, 2019 Av. Brasília, 1400-038 Lisboa, Portugal

Portugal is filled with ornate monasteries and an array of exquisite historic sites, from Jeronimo's Monastery to the Moorish Castle and Pena Palace of Sintra.

During our stay in Lisbon my family drove to Tower de Belem, or Belem Tower, a tower built during the Portuguese Renaissance in the 16th century that acted as both a fortress and gateway to the city. Belem Tower, along with Jerónimo's Monastery located only two miles away, was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983.

Airbnb in Lisbon, Portugal

December 2, 2019 Lisbon, Portugal

To kick off my series of blog posts from Portugal, I chose to share my photographs from the very first city we visited: Lisbon. In order to delve more deeply into the Lisbon's incredible beauty and vitality, I divided my photographs into a series of smaller posts, and so Part I of my travels in Lisbon focuses solely on where my family stayed in the city.

A Blog Makeover

As previously discussed in my last blog post, I originally planned to jump right into my Portugal series and share my photographs from my travels in Lisbon, Porto, and the other cities my family visited. However, I thought that I could not jump into my travel series without addressing a very noticeable change: my blog layout.

Since I have only been blogging for around three years and would still classify myself as a beginner seeing that there is still much for me to learn about web design as well as interpreting blog data and analytics, the simplistic and manageable layout of my blog was enough for me for the first couple of years of my blogging journey. However, over the past several months, I grew tired of the impersonal layout and knew it was time for an upgrade.

While my updated design is still fairly simplistic because I wanted it to be easily navigable, the layout is much more aesthetically appealing. The new layout also provided me with more opportunity to personalize my blog and transform it into a more lively, engaging, and colorful site as opposed to a static, impersonal one.

A Four Month Hiatus

December 1, 2019

It is crazy to think that I have been absent from my blog for an entire four months. The transition from the end of summer vacation to the beginning of my junior year of high school seemed to happen so fast, and so much has occurred over the course of the past few months.

Rather than deliver a tedious paragraph about four month my blogging hiatus and excuses as to why I've been absent, I wanted to share with you a recap of the past four months, from the conclusion of summer to the inception of my fall term of my junior year.

Days in DC: July 25 - 28

July 31, 2019

I have been fortunate enough to spend much of the month of July exploring the museums, restaurants, and neighborhoods of DC. In honor of all of the time I have spent in this wonderful city, I created a mini series on my blog entitled "Days in DC" where I share my favorite photographs I captured whilst exploring the city.

While I do try to divide up my photographs into categories for a more organized and visually appealing post, through this series I hoped to simply convey via my photographs my love for this city as well as share with you the people, places, and things that caught my eye and inspired me to pick up my camera and capture that special moment in time.  

I hope you find value in these photographs, and please do not hesitate to ask me in the comments about any of the hotels, restaurants, or areas I mentioned. If you would like to see more photographs from the time I have spent in DC, I have linked the other posts in this series below.

Currently: Museums of DC & Preparing for Portugal

July 23, 2019


In mid August my family is departing for Portugal. My mom visited Portugal years ago and fell in love with its beautiful beaches and historic towns. Having only been two Europe twice when I was younger and I traveled with my family to Tuscany, Italy, I am beyond excited to experience European culture now that I am older and have more of an appreciation and love for travel.

Days in DC: July 17 & 18

July 21, 2019 Washington, DC, USA

100th Blog Post

July 13, 2019

After a little more than two years of writing and editing photographs for my blog, I have finally reached my 100th post.

While I could have simply chosen to create an ordinary post with no connection at all to it being the hundredth, I wanted to dedicate an entire post to this centennial marker so that I could reflect a little bit on my blog as well as be able to look back on it in future years and be reminded of what my aspirations were for this creative outlet.

Days in DC; July 4 & 5

July 11, 2019 Washington, DC, USA

How To Become a Better Reader

July 4, 2019

Reading is one of my most enjoyable pastimes. Not only do I love curling up under a pile of blankets and reading a good book, but I also feel a strong sense of satisfaction knowing that I am working my brain and learning while enjoying an interesting story. In such a digital age, it can often be hard to set aside the technology and fully emerge oneself into a book. As a student or as someone with a full time job, it can also be a challenge to put aside the time to read, and instead continuously tell ourselves that we "don't have time to read."

Reading is important not only because it is an easy way in which you can invest in your own education and pursue your curiosities and interests, but it also is extremely effective in reducing stress. I recently came across an infographic on Pinterest from CBC and the National Reading Campaign stating that reading reduces stress 68% more than listening to music, 100% more than drinking a cup of tea, and 300% more than going for a walk. 

July: Books on My Reading List

July 2, 2019

If you have read any of my blog posts relating to my goals for 2019, you may know that I have a goal to read 16 books outside of school by January 1, 2020. So far, I have read eight out of the sixteen books, mostly during the month of June since I had little free time to read for pleasure during the school year. In order to stay on track with my reading goal, I am hoping to read around four or five books for the month of July and then a minimum of two or three books in August. 

6 Meaningful Activities to Cure Your Boredom This Summer

July 1, 2019


Giving your bedroom a makeover is not only great because it is a lengthy project that will take time to complete (and hence remove your boredom), but it is also a great way to freshen things up and change up your scenery. My mom and I recently spent an entire day transforming the loft in our new house into a cozy bedroom and hangout area.

Loft Transformation & Makeover

June 30, 2019

Moving houses can be a difficult and lengthy process. Even when you are completely moved into your new home, there always seems to be a never ending supply of boxes full of tchotchkes and miscellaneous items waiting to be unpacked. My mom and I spent the entire day yesterday transforming the loft in our new house from a cluttered mess into a cozy bedroom and hangout area.

Geneva, New York

June 19, 2019 Geneva, NY 14456, USA

A little over a week ago my family drove up to Geneva, New York and stayed at an airbnb on Seneca Lake before dropping my sister off at college for a summer project. The view from the dock of our airbnb was incredibly beautiful, especially during the sunset. Unfortunately, however, aside from our first day in Geneva which was full of sunshine, blue skies, and warm weather, the remainder of our stay was frequented with lots of rain showers and gloomy weather, and so we only were able to experience one real sunset.

Currently: Geneva NY, WWII Novels, & Duolingo

June 14, 2019

It has been quite some time since I have uploaded a non-travel diary type post. Amidst studying for exams at the end of the school year and lots of travel immediately upon getting out for summer, I have had little time to sit down and update you on what has been going on in my life.

New Jersey Shore 2019

June 11, 2019 Spring Lake, NJ 07762, USA

Since my mom spent a majority of her childhood by the New Jersey Shore, my family has often traveled back to this area to visit relatives as well as to enjoy the beautiful beaches, fun shops, and delicious Italian food offered by many of the restaurants along the shore. While I did not take many photographs, I still wanted to share this miniature photo diary in hopes of showcasing the beauty of the shore as well as the vibrant and lively surrounding atmosphere.

Penguins of Magdalena Island, Punta Arenas, Chile

May 29, 2019 Magdalena Island, Punta Arenas, Magallanes and Chilean Antarctica, Chile

While staying in Punta Arenas for a couple of days before departing from Patagonia, my family embarked on a boat and ventured across the ocean to Magdalena Island. Visiting this beautiful island and interacting with such an incredible species of animals was one of my most memorable experiences. I hope you enjoy seeing some of my photographs of the penguins of Magdalena Island.  

Learn more here.

Patagonia, Chile

May 28, 2019 Puerto Natales, Natales, Magallanes and Chilean Antarctica, Chile

Puerto Natales

After arriving to Punta Arenas in Patagonia from Santiago, my family drove for around four hours to Puerto Natales, a beautiful little city on the water filled with fun, casual restaurants, artsy shops, numerous dogs wandering the small streets, and lots of blustering winds. Due to the cost of staying within the national park as well as my family's desire to experience Puerto Natales, we lodged at a small airbnb in the city that was within walking distance from the heart of the city and commuted each day to various parts of the park. 

The drive from Punta Arenas to Puerto Natales consisted of beautiful views of both flat terrain and, once we approached the Puerto Natales, towering mountains, very few other cars on the single highway that led directly into the small city, a few guanaco sightings, and many sheep sightings.

Valparaiso, Chile

April 14, 2019 Valparaíso, Chile

If you know me well, you probably know how much I love street art and murals. Not only do I admire the vibrant colors and artsy images, but love how graffiti is an art form that is accessible to all and is representative of a lust to fulfill that sense of creativity lurking inside of every human being. My appreciation for this style of art is one of the many reasons why I fell in love with the city of Valparaiso. Not only were the walls alive with colorful murals and paintings, but the city itself was an explosion of color and creativity, from the colorful homes and buildings to the pink flowers and lush green trees.

Santiago, Chile

March 24, 2019 Santiago, Santiago Metropolitan Region, Chile

On our hour and forty-five minute drive to the city of Valparaiso, we stopped at Emiliana vineyard. The luscious greenery, bright blue skies, chirps of baby chicks as they waddled through the grass toward their mother, and calmness of the alpaca as they slowly graze on hay all contributed to the beauty and tranquil atmosphere of the vineyard.   

A Book Review: The Elizas, by Sara Shepard

March 1, 2019

Ever since I heard about the publication of Sara Shepard's latest novel, I was dying to read it. Sara Shepard is the author of the Pretty Little Liars series, and though I never actually read books (I wish I had), I was quite obsessed with the TV series several years ago. I was beyond excited to see how she incorporated the mystery and suspense from the Pretty Little Liars series into her latest novel, The Elizas.

Digital Imaging

February 27, 2019

This winter trimester, I participated in a Digital Imaging course that involved creating an assortment of visual pieces using Photoshop. Though I had used Photoshop before, I never had an opportunity to delve deep into the application and explore the wide variety of tools it offers. As someone who loves to be creative, I thoroughly enjoyed participating in this class. We were assigned an array of projects in which we were required to incorporate certain artistic elements into our pieces and use specific tools, but had incredible freedom to create whatever we desired. Though I have a long way to go still in improving my editing skills, I wanted to share the images I created this past trimester. To see more of my artwork, check out this post displaying the images I captured while taking a course on narrative photography.

Journal: Using the Selection Tool.
Task: Make at least four selections. 
Journal: Asymmetrical Balance
Task: Create a piece displaying asymmetrical balance.
Project: Album Covers 
Task: Use brush tool, mixer brush, text, at least two different textures.
Project: Narcissism & Distortion
Task: Pick three words to incorporate into image surrounding theme of narcissism and distortion.
My Words: Pattern, rhythm, time.

A Book Review: Becoming, by Michelle Obama

February 17, 2019

Becoming is a heartwarming, passion-filled, and authentic portrayal of Michelle Obama's life. Michelle dives deep into the stories of her past, from when she was a five year-old girl desperate to prove herself to her demanding and unimpressed piano teacher to when she first stepped into the White House, daunted by its hundreds of sitting rooms and her new entourage of secret service agents but honored and inspired by the realization that she had the power to make change in the world. 

She lovingly relates stories from her childhood about her family, recollecting stories of her no-nonsense mother who did everything in her power to ensure the best for her children and her selfless, high-spirited father who hid his struggles with multiple sclerosis and refused to let its symptoms and damaging effects dictate the way he lived his life. 

Currently: Long Winter Weekend & A Trip to Florida

February 1, 2019

a trip to florida

As I write, I am on my way to the airport for a trip to Orlando, Florida, over my school's long winter weekend. This past month has been pretty difficult for me with regards to settling back into school and attempting to manage a very heavy homework load after a long and much needed winter break, and also simply because of the short, winter days and unusually frigid temperatures. A little getaway to Orlando is exactly what I need to give both my brain a miniature break from school work and my body a break from the unbearably cold weather of the north.

Currently: Tea for Two, Michelle Obama, & Back to School

January 6, 2019

tea time 

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have already seen this photo that I posted of my mom and I enjoying a lovely cup of tea and delicious teatime sandwiches and desserts at an adorable tea room. It was such a fun yet simple excursion that was a reminder of how many local and undiscovered attractions you can find that are both entertaining and won't break the bank.