Finally, after YEARS of drooling over photos of Positano, I made it there myself! This was my third visit to Italy, but my first time in the Amalfi Coast. On this trip, I was travelling with Momsies, and she picked the destination (she has great taste!).

Positano, Italy

Positano, Italy

How to Get to Positano

After two and a half days getting over jetlag in Rome, we hopped on the FrecciaRossa train and sped through Italy down to Salerno. From Salerno, you’ll just have to walk two streets over (a 3 min walk) and you’ll be at the ferry wharf. The ferry to Positano runs three times a day – 10 AM, 2 PM, and 4 PM from Salerno. Travel time is just over an hour by ferry. Plus, the ferry sells drinks (prosecco, water, soda) and snacks on board. It’s a beautiful ride, I’d highly suggest the ferry!

Positano, Italy

Another option to get into Positano is to take the bus from Salerno. This will take a bit longer than the ferry, and to be honest will be much less enjoyable. The streets in Amalfi Coast are so small and windy, I’d recommend either a ferry or private transfer (we went with private transfer on the way back). I booked our transfer through a private company.

Once you get to Positano, find the main road and take the easy way up, instead of lugging your suitcases up the stairs (like we may have…).

Positano, Italy

Momsies and I spent three glorious days strolling through Positano, admiring the views, drinking limoncello and aperol spritz, and eating all the pasta and pizza we could fit in. We took all the photos, drank wine as we watched the sun go down, and tried loads of new restaurants, all with incredible views.

Positano, Italy

Positano, Italy

Positano, Italy

Positano, Italy

Positano, Italy

Where to Stay

This time around, we found a cute little family run B&B called Florida Residences. It’s at the top of the hill, meaning you’ll have a bit of a hike from the city centre to get back to the hotel. Saying that, it is a great price and is run by the cutest little Italian family!

Positano, Italy

Positano, Italy

Florida Residence is the cutest little pink building, and our room had an amazing balcony overlooking the city of Positano. I’d definitely recommend.

Where to Eat

One of the best things about Positano is the FOOD. Everything is locally made, Italian, fresh, and made with love. I ate some of the best food of my life here!

My favorite restaurants that we visited were:

Ristorante Caffe Positano, which was not too far from our hotel and had some of the best views. I had a pasta here and it was amazing. I’d highly recommend at least one meal here, preferable as the sun is setting or during the day – the views are just stunning.

Ristorante Da Gabrisa, which was just up the street from our hotel. This was the best meal I ate during our stay in Positano. I had the spaghetti and a vegan raspberry cheesecake for dessert – they have a separate page on the menu full of vegan goodies! They also have amazing views from the outside terrace.

Positano, Italy

Positano, Italy

Il Capitano Pizzeria was one of our lunch stops – we had a great pizza and aperol spritz after an early morning. It’s a great place if you’re staying on that side of town.

Next time I visit Positano, I will definitely be going to Chez Black – it’s on the beach and makes your pizza into the shape of a heart, if you ask nice enough!

There is a little healthy restaurant called Casa E Bottega on the main road that I have also added to my list.

Positano, Italy

Collina Positano Bakery is where we got our morning americano and cappuccino. They have a mouth watering selection of baked goods, but we were still full from our hotel brekky most mornings.

What To Do

When you’re not eating, make sure to pop in to the boutique shops. There are lots of beautiful, handmade clothes, purses, and hats. If you’re more into relaxing, take a stroll down to the beach and lay underneath the colourful umbrellas on a sunny day.

Positano, Italy

Important Notes on Positano

Please note that though I used to do lots of budget travel, Positano is NOT a budget destination. Hotels start from minimum $400 USD per night, and a meal out (with drinks) will cost about $40 – $50 USD per person. Though it isn’t cheap, it is an absolutely stunning destination, and I would highly recommend a visit.

I went in May, and the weather was very temperamental. The week before we visited, it was warm and people were swimming. While we were there, it was windy, rainy, and sunny. If you are looking for a beachy holiday, I’d recommend visiting later in the summer, like June or July.

Have you been to Positano? Is it on your bucket list?

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This is the second time I’ve been to Rome, Italy, and I brought a new travel companion this time – my mom! I’ve travelled with my mom once before (check out our Costa Rica trip), but she has never been to Europe. I was so excited to show her around Italy, especially since it’s been at the top of her bucket list for years.

Rome Italy

Rome, Italy

On this trip, we started in Rome. After a long flight from San Francisco (with one quick stop in Montreal, Canada), we arrived in Rome in the morning for our first day in Italy. I had arranged a private transfer, and our driver picked us up at the airport to take us to our hotel. I’d booked in at Hotel Trevi, which came highly recommended through my work (I’m a travel agent!). I wanted to stay next to the Trevi Fountain as it’s my favorite place in Rome.

The hotel was in a great location, just about a block from the Trevi Fountain. We were so jet lagged, that the first day, we just unloaded our luggage and went for a short outing. I took Momsies to the Pantheon and we had lunch at a cafe just in front of it. I convinced Mom to have her first aperol spritz with her first Italian pizza. That’s amore!

Rome Italy Aperol Spritz Pantheon

Pantheon in Rome Italy

After a carby lunch, we were feeling so jet lagged and tired that we went back to the hotel to rest up a bit. We couldn’t keep our eyes open, and we decided to take a little nap. We ended up sleeping from 4 pm until 1 am.

Best Time to Visit the Trevi Fountain

We were wide awake at 1 am from jet lag, and wondering what we should do. My cousin suggested a late night trip to the Trevi Fountain (via Instagram). We got ready and walked over.

There were a few people when we arrived around 2 am, but we stayed for a while. Around 3 am, the crowds dispersed and the cleaning crew came by. They were there for about 30 mins, and then the place was clean, empty, and all ours. It’s safe to visit at night, as there are police monitoring the fountain 24/7. Momsies and I had a ball playing around and taking photos.

Best time to Visit the Trevi Fountain

Best time to Visit the Trevi Fountain

Best time to Visit the Trevi Fountain

What to Do In Rome

Over the next few days, we took it easy. We ate lots of italian food, drank our fair share of aperol spritz, and walked around Rome to make sure Momsies got to see all of the sights.

Our favorite cafe was Don Nino’s, which is right in between the Trevi Fountain and the Pantheon. The cafe is so cute, the people working there are so happy, and the ambiance is so fun. I’d visited this cafe when I was in Rome before, and I knew Momsies would love it. She was hooked as soon as we went in, and we came here for coffee every morning of our time in Rome. She loved the chocolate croissants, and I am a fan of the americanos.

Coffee in Rome Italy

We walked to the Spanish steps and the Colosseum. If you plan to visit Rome, keep in mind that if you want to get photos without crowds, you’ll need to go early in the morning. Also keep in mind that you’ll have to walk quite far to get from one tourist hot-spot to the next – we easily hit our 10k steps a day!

Spanish Steps Rome Italy

Colosseum Rome Italy

The Best Pizza in Rome

We ate authentic Italian pizza at Pizzeria Da Michele. It’s one of the oldest pizzerias in Italy, one of the most visited in Naples – they have a second location in Rome. I was shocked that no one else was in the restaurant when we visited, as it’s a world famous pizzeria. They even have a photo of Julia Roberts eating pizza in their Naples location. The pizza was the best we had on our whole trip! I would highly recommend a visit here if you are in Rome. (But I don’t recommend the wine they try to promote – it’s a sparkling red – I wasn’t a fan. They do have very good local, still reds though).

Pizzeria Da Michele Rome Italy

Highlights of Rome

We spent two and a half days in Rome all together. It was a good amount of time for us, as I’d been before. I really wanted to show my mom a bit of Rome, like the Trevi Fountain and the Colosseum. We love the Hotel Trevi as it is great value, great location, and has everything we wanted.

My favorite part of this trip was visiting the Trevi Fountain in the middle of the night – I love spontaneous adventures. We had a great time and got over our jet lag before leaving Rome for the Amalfi Coast.

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I grew up in Northern California, and have visited Los Angeles and Southern California a few times. But when I was choosing my flights back to California from Sydney, I decided to fly into Los Angeles this time. It was time to be a tourist in my own state! My mom and my youngest sister, Breanna, flew down to meet me in LA. This is how we spent 24 hours in Los Angeles, California.

24 Hours in Los Angeles

We started out the trip with a necessity for Los Angeles – renting a car. Not just any car; I reserved a convertible. My mom and sister met me at the airport, we picked up the car, and off we went with our bucket list and a lot of excitement.

24 Hours in Los Angeles California

Our first stop was coffee. After finding Carrera Cafe on Instagram, I knew I had to go there to get a latte with peace sign latte art. They have a list of latte art that you can choose from when you order, and it’s all Los Angeles themed. My mom got the Hollywood sign, and my little sister chose palm trees for her latte.

Coffee In Los Angeles California

Carrera Cafe had a lot more to offer than I expected. They sold vegan donuts, the whole cafe was super instagrammable, and they had a little street art wall outside that I fell in love with.

24 Hours in Los Angeles

I didn’t realized until we arrived that the famous pink wall is also just across the street.

Los Angeles California

Los Angeles California

Our next stop was Beverly Hills, where we went on a search for the best palm tree lined streets. Beverly Hills is famous for its palm-lined streets, and we found loads of them. We ended up on Canyon Drive, which had palm trees as far as the eye could see.

Los Angeles California

Los Angeles California

After an outfit change for Bre (the little sis), and a lot of running in and out of the street, we had worked up an appetite. We jumped back in the convertible, cranked up the Miley Cyrus, and drove over to Venice Beach.

Venice Beach, Los Angeles

Venice is a great neighborhood for shopping, eating, and of course, visiting Venice Beach. There are loads of cute stores to browse, but we went for the food. Plant Food & Wine is a restaurant I’ve had my eye on for a while, and was so excited to find a branch in Venice. We were so hungry that we dug in to our lunch before even considering taking photos of it. It was an amazing meal, and we hung out at the restaurant for a while to regroup.

After lunch, we walked down to Venice beach. The beach was packed, filled with hippies, tourists, and souvenir shops. We walked the streets for a bit before heading off to our next stop.

24 Hours in Los Angeles

24 Hours in Los Angeles

Our next stop was Hollywood. We wanted to get into Griffith Observatory. When we arrived around 3 PM, the parking lot was completely full. We drove down the street a bit but ended up about 2 miles away before any parking opened up. Change of plans – we just wanted to see the Hollywood sign, so we parked near Hollywood Park. The park is a great spot to see the sign, and it’s much easier to find parking in the nearby residential streets.

24 Hours in Los Angeles

I was hoping for a more specific spot, but my mom and sister were both a bit tired from the early flight and a big day. I’ll save that spot for next time 😉

Los Angeles: Where We Stayed

After our short stop at the Hollywood sign, we hopped back in the car for our drive out to the forest. I’d rented an airbnb just a couple of hours outside of LA. The plan was to head to San Francisco the next day, so I reserved an airbnb that was on the way.

I love airbnb’s and usually prefer them over hotels as it’s a more private & homey vibe. We had this entire cabin to ourselves. We each got our own bedroom, plus we had a kitchen, living room, and two bathrooms.

24 Hours in Los Angeles

I fell in love with this place as soon as we arrived. I immediately wished we’d had more time so we could go for a little hike in the morning – there are loads of hiking trails around!

If you’ve never used Airbnb, I can’t recommend it enough. Sign up to get $40 USD off your first airbnb booking.

Here is our little cabin:

24 Hours in Los Angeles

24 Hours in Los Angeles

24 Hours in Los Angeles

24 Hours in Los Angeles

24 Hours in Los Angeles

24 Hours in Los Angeles

There are so many things to do in Los Angeles. In a whole day, we didn’t even get through half of my bucket list! We fit a lot in for 24 hours in Los Angeles.

Have you been to LA? What is your favorite thing to do in Los Angeles?

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Welcome to Part Four of the Skin Cancer Series. This post will be all about my reconstruction surgery.

In Part One of the Skin Cancer Series, we talked about how I was diagnosed. Part Two was all about options to cure basal cell carcinoma. In Part Three, I discussed my experience with Mohs surgery. Which brings me to Part Four, the reconstruction surgery.

Skin Cancer Basal Cell Carcinoma Recovery

After getting Mohs surgery on my forehead and resting at home for a few days, it was finally the day to get my reconstruction surgery. On Thursday, January 17, 2019, I was scheduled to arrive at the hospital at 12:30 PM. Michael drove me to the hospital with the bandage from my Mohs surgery still on my head. I checked in, and got taken into the in-patient ward. Here, I was given a hospital gown to change into and a hospital bed to lie on. I got in my gown and hopped in my bed. Michael kept me company until it was time for me to go. 

Reconstruction Surgery: Preparation **WARNING: GROSS PICS COMING** 

After a bit of a wait, my hospital bed and I were wheeled down the hall to the day surgery waiting room. Here, I was given a hair net and was checked in again. A short bit later, my doctor came over to look at the cut from the Mohs surgery. He reconfirmed what Dr Yiasemides said; it was a smart choice to get Mohs. He was surprised at the size of the cut. My doctor and his assistant went over the game plan with me. They told me how they would cut my head open to get the best possible result cosmetically, and be able to get the wound completely stitched up. 

My doctor told me that they would cut across the top of my head, from the middle of the right side of my head until the area of the left side where the cut was. From there, they would cut into the Mohs cut and down, forming a sort of “Z” pattern on my head. 

The anaesthesiologist came by to explain to me how the anaesthetic would work. He poked a needle into my arm to prep the drip, and soon enough I was being wheeled into the operating room. 

As soon as I arrived in the operating room, I was hooked up to the anaesthetic and within less than 5 seconds was completely knocked out. The next thing I knew, I was waking up in a waiting room with other people in hospital beds, all of them either knocked out or waking up from anaesthetic. 

Reconstruction Surgery: After 

A few minutes after I woke up, I was wheeled into a recovery room. Michael was alerted that I was finished with my surgery, and he met me in the recovery room. I was still a bit doozy from the anaesthetic, but the nurse asked if I wanted anything to eat or drink. She gave me a bottle of water with some painkillers, which I took right away. 

I was given another bottle of water with a sandwich (a vegan one!) while I waited to become more sober. I had a massive bandage around my head and felt doozy for about two hours after the surgery. 

My doctor called and asked if I would consider spending the night in the hospital. He told me that the pain from my procedure may be so intense that the strongest painkillers may not help. He offered to allow me to stay in the hospital overnight to be hooked up to an IV drip to be more comfortable. I am not a fan of hospitals, and really wanted to go home, so I decided to stay in the recovery room for a few extra hours and then go home. 

The nurse stopped by a few times to make sure I was okay and give me more painkillers when I asked for them. Who knew getting your head cut open would hurt so badly? 

She asked me to get up and walk around eventually, to make sure I was alright to go. I walked up and down the recovery room with Michael holding my arm. By 8 PM, I was heading out of the hospital, on my way home. 

Reconstruction Surgery: Recovery 

I went to sleep almost immediately upon arriving home. Surgery is exhausting!

The next day, I woke up with pain in my throat, pain in my head, and a swollen face. My eyes were puffy and swollen, my cheeks were swollen, and my throat felt like someone had shoved an oxygen tube down it (oh wait… someone did). I took painkillers consistently through the day as I facetimed my family and watched Netflix. After my 4PM nap, I looked in the mirror and saw my puffy face, now complete with two black eyes. I was a real beaut! 

Disclaimer: these photos are completely unedited and taken with my iPhone (I was not feeling up to a photoshoot with my DSLR but still wanted to document the process). 

I had the bandage on my head from Thursday post-surgery until Monday. I downed two Panadols every 3-4 hours during this time, and took the stronger painkillers (I was prescribed Endone) when I needed it. The prescription painkillers were the strongest that the doctor could prescribe, and there were times when I desperately needed them. They did the trick though, and helped me sleep. 

The black eyes were slowly starting to fade by Monday. By Tuesday, I was taking Panadol every 5-6 hours, and my black eyes were faded to yellow. The swelling and puffiness was gone by Monday, and the red, swollen inner corners of my eyes were starting to go back to normal. 

I had an appointment to get the bandage off my head on Monday. The doctor cut it off and told me to simply rub vaseline on the stitches a few times a day to help with the scarring. The doctor had closed my cut with a combination of staples, stitches, and dissolvable stitches. The stitches and staples wouldn’t come out until a week after surgery.  

The doctor took a photo of the cut that he stitched up, which he let me have – it’s a bit gory but shows how big the hole was. 

This covers my experience with the reconstruction surgery. Stay tuned for the next post in this series, all about recovery! 

 

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I spent about 24 hours in Nha Trang. I stopped here more as a means to break up the long journey between Quy Nhon and Da Lat. Nha Trang is a bustling city full of market stalls, coffee shops, and long stretches of white sand beaches. It contains a pleasant mix of locals and foreigners, and has everything you’d need in a city – temples, beauty salons, massage parlors, loads of stores selling snacks, food, and water, and of course that gorgeous beach.

Nha Trang, Vietnam

Nha Trang, Vietnam

The easiest way to get in and out of Nha Trang is by train. The trains in Vietnam are easy to use, comfortable, and in my opinion, the best way to travel through the country.

Nha Trang, Vietnam

I stayed in an airbnb in Nha Trang (no surprise there!) and made sure to pick a little room that was close to the beach. I spent my time between the coffee shop, the beach, and my apartment. During the summer, Vietnam gets so hot and humid. I like to take breaks during the day to head back into the air conditioned airbnb, take a shower, and freshen up.

Nha Trang, Vietnam

Going to the beach and eating loads of Vietnamese food were my top priorities in Nha Trang. I did well, if I don’t say so myself.

Nha Trang, Vietnam

Nha Trang, Vietnam

The white sand beaches are beautiful. Though parts of them can get really busy, walk a bit down from the hotels and you’ll find some empty spots. During the day, the beaches are a little less crowded. Around sunset they get much busier.

Nha Trang, Vietnam

Nha Trang, Vietnam

Nha Trang, Vietnam

Look out to sea to spot Vinpearl, an amusement park just outside of Nha Trang.

Nha Trang, Vietnam

Nha Trang, Vietnam

Nha Trang, Vietnam

Nha Trang is a beautiful place to spend some time in Vietnam. Though I usually prefer smaller cities and more nature, I enjoyed the beaches in Nha Trang and the plentiful fruit markets. I’d definitely recommend a stop while traveling through Vietnam!

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