Travel Bloggers

Hello Loves!

You all know that I recently made the switch from the ‘fashion’ community to the travel. Sameer and I made the decision that we were going to invest more of our time and money into exploring the world. What you don’t know is just how important the travel community is to me, on my darkest days I have found happiness just by scrolling through my Instagram. Their feeds and encouragement (literally I have received so many amazing messages from some of the most incredible people) have given me so much hope. Their images are what keep me inspired to continue to create work that I love.

I am consistently stumbling across travel IG pages that leave me breathless and have shared most of my favs via my instastories (I will continue to share via Instastories as I find new pages on the daily). But I wanted to take a quick moment to give some recognition to some of the pages that have had the biggest impact on my life.

Mel (@mvandersluis)

I met Mel at the start of my travel blogging career while in Cuba. This was probably the best thing to happen to me, she was and is a big support to me. She encourages me to push myself and has taught me so much. Her page is outstanding and continues to grow with love and support from her readers. She also sells her presets which funny thing, I actually had purchased before meeting her… They helped shape my page into what it is now. You can purchase Mel’s presets HERE.

Jen (@jenkvieira)

I recently stumbled across Jen’s page and was blown away by the pure zest for life that she portrays. We have been able to chat a little bit since I slid into her DM’s (haha) and she is just as cute as she is in her pics. She is one to watch.

Tracy (@tracy_komlos)

This girl is all kinds of badass. Not only is she founder of Pangea Dreams which is legitimately genius (read more about it here), she is also the sweetest person. I recently got to hangout with her over lunch where we chatted about anything and everything. I left our meet feeling inspired and just happy… she really is a rare soul.

Merel (@andathousdandwords)

I have been a follower of Merel for years. She was the first travel blogger I ever followed and the only one for a long time. Her pictures had me in awe, in fact one of the reasons we went to Bali for our honeymoon was because of her page. She beautifully captures the culture of wherever she is and is always there to help me with any questions I may have. She’s a gem!

Jess (@thewonderingdreamer)

This English born (yasss BRITISH PRIDE), Bermuda living beauty has been a great introduction to the travel community. Before finding her, Bermuda had never even crossed my mind, but with her beautiful imagery of the country it has quickly reached the top of my 2018 travel wish list.

Anais (@mynextwanderlust)

I am so happy to be able to call this French cutie my friend. I was able to hangout with her on my recent trip to LA, and if I didn’t love her before I sure do now. Her stories of her world adventures and the fact that she fell in love with so many places that she ended up staying for months even years at a time left me in complete awe. She has quickly become a main source of my inspiration not only for her gorgeous page, but her kind heart and eagerness to see the world.

Be sure to take a look at these beauties pages, they are sure not disappoint and will leave you with as much joy as they do me.

The Man Behind the Lens: HAHAHA!

Hello Heros!

So some of you may have noticed that I am now being tagged as photographer on Filipa’s Insta posts. Woohoo I made it! Although, I don’t consider myself a photographer, there have been some tricks and tips that I have learnt on this journey… and oh boy what a journey it has been. I swear at one point I couldn’t pick up the camera without us getting in a fight… being an instahusband sure has its perks but it most definitely has its struggles too.

Anyway therapy session over, lets get to the point, what you’re all here for.

Equipment

You might be surprised by how much equipment we’ve gone through, I would like to say I graduated from each level but really it’s been a struggle to find the perfect match.

We began with the Nikon D6000. Oh boy, we were super excited, it was our first camera that wasn’t a point and shoot. But did we use it any other way, NOPE! I had no f**king clue what I was doing, I think we thought get a DSLR and everything will just change automatically. Yeah, we were wrong, after shooting in AUTO for so long, I couldn’t figure out what was going on. So after a few months, hundreds of fights, and knocking my head on the wall, the next obvious thing to do for a man is not blame himself but the equipment. So what did we do, yep you’re right, get another camera.

You would think I would’ve learnt my lesson but after a Canon and a Sony later I found my perfect match, the Canon 6D Mark II. Wow, was I blown away, everything just worked. Maybe it was the fact that I actually was interested in how to take pictures or the fact that I figured out what the “M” meant on the scroll wheel (thanks to @mvandersluis for some much needed coaching), it means MAN right!! Lol.

So once I learned what all the settings under the MAN function meant, it was a walk in the park. HAHAHA! I wish! Yes, things made more sense, but what I didn’t realize is that every location, every shot, every subject, had to be set up completely different. And for the guy who loves his favourite pair of jeans, and has his butt imprint on his couch. I know what I like! But back on my horse I went.

List of Equipment we use NOW:

Angles

Instahusband’s out there, this is key! The amount of shit I got for just pointing and shooting at eye level is definitely not worth it. I now enjoy being knee deep in sand, covered in ant bites to get the perfect shot. Did I mention my instahusband squat is on point?!? Now that is a workout on its own. Remember it’s worth playing around with angles; every angle has a different effect. For us, Filipa might kill me for saying this but, she likes to look taller, who doesn’t? So I usually end up on my knees or in a squatted position.

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Tripod Bob

Now most of us husbands out there know a thing or two about a machine involved in your relationship. HAHA, what do you think happens when you’re away at work or travelling?

Well this is a different kind of contraption. It actually helps me out, and gives me a break every now and then. My suggestion, get a good tripod, something that doesn’t blow over in the wind and is sturdy. We have the Vanguard Espod CX204AGH, it works great. We either have the camera set on timer or use the iPhone as a remote trigger. Check out these fun shots with Tripod Bob.

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You can find our tripod bob here.

Man vs. Auto

Ok I admit it, it’s not called Man it’s Manual. I know right, weird! Anyways, with camera tech these days Auto is a great setting for people who don’t want to learn anymore then pointing and shooting. It’s pretty fantastic. But if you want a bit more customization or personalization then the manual function is where you want to be. Learn how changing the ISO, shutter speed, or F point will alter the effect of your shot. Heck, I even turn my lens to manual so I can focus on what really matters, the beautiful woman I call my wife! Brownie points anyone!!!

Editing

Wait, what, all that info wasn’t enough and you want more. Phhh, well that’s enough for me. I leave the editing to Filipa, as far as I know she uses Lightroom. Now I refuse to learn that, I got to leave her with some work!

 

So I hope this was helpful, heck I feel like I’ve learnt a thing or two. And as always, feel free to DM me with any questions or comments you have.

 

Instahusband out,

Sameer W @playingwithapparelmen

Excellence Punta Cana x Air Transat

Hello Loves!

I gotta say, last week was one for the books. You guys know I have been struggling recently, so I was in great need of a getaway, a chance to press pause for a beat and re-inspire myself. So last week Sameer and I jetted off on a last minute trip to Punta Cana, with the fabulous Air Transat.

We have been to the Dominican Republic twice prior, once to San Juan and another time to Samana… However, the last time we were in the Dominican we were just a couple of drunken Uni kids with no care for where we were. We just wanted food, booze and sand. This time we are a little older and wiser, we are here to watch the world go by, breathe in the culture and of course soak up the sun.

Our trip started off smooth as smooth can be, traveling with Air Transat is always a breeze, check in was quick and the flight was easy going, I slept like a baby while Sameer binge watched as many movies as he possibly could.

We hopped off the plane and were greeted by the most beautiful man with crazy green eyes (hey don’t get mad, those were Sameer’s words). He helped us with our luggage and shuttled us to our resort. After a scenic 30 min drive we arrived at the fabulous five star Excellence Punta Cana, an all inclusive, luxury adult only haven.

Check-In

Check-in at Excellence Punta Cana was super simple, as we were staying as an excellence club member we had a VIP lounge check-in area that had air conditioning, plush chairs and drinks galore. After check-in we were moved into an adjacent room with a couple from Utah who were there celebrating their anniversary (they looked so happy and in love), this is where the staff explained exactly what excellence club had to offer.

Excellence Club

When you stay in the excellence club there are certain perks that you receive, that are way worth it.

  • VIP check-in/check-out
  • Lounge access
  • Bvlgari toiletries
  • Premium mini bar
  • Private beach area
  • Private pool area
  • Club restaurant
  • Upgraded room service menu
  • Nespresso machine
  • Fresh flowers at arrival
  • Free hydrotherapy per person

 

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Room

We were staying in a beautiful second floor junior suite. The decor was modern and fresh, and my dreams came true when I walked in to see a humongous soaking tub in the room, you know where to find me. We had a pretty view which consisted of palm trees and a blue pool. Bvlgari products, flowers and fruit at the ready.

Grounds

The Excellence Punta Cana is a stunning beach front resort, designed to perfection. It provides its customers with plush beach seating, which happens to be where Sameer and I spent all of our time haha, three pools, an extensive list of restaurants which trust me I’ll get to, shops, spa and a bloody botanical garden!! You may remember my Instastory which featured the garden, because I pretty much freaked out when I saw their resident Flamingos. I have such a soft spot for Flamingos, I remember seeing them for the first time as a child in England and being in awe, they are pretty brill.

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Spa

Like I said before as a excellence club member one of the perks you receive is a free hydrotherapy service at their beautiful Miilé spa. Now I’ve done hydrotherapy before at Scandinave but I’ve never quite had one like this. Here is what you do:

  1. Sauna
  2. Cleansing shower
  3. Ice bucket challenge
  4. Steam room with body scrub
  5. Pure ice shower
  6. Tropical shower
  7. Massage pools
  8. Warm bath
  9. Cold path
  10. Massage

It was quite an experience that we thoroughly loved. Although, we didn’t get a chance to try any of the other services Miilé spa has to offer, we did get a chatting to a couple from Texas when we were in the sauna who had pretty much tried everything at the spa haha… guess they offer some pretty great services.

Food

You are most definitely not going to starve while staying at Excellence Punta Cana. Food is what they do best. With delicious room service, pool/beach side orders, and 11 restaurants! 11!! There is something for every kind of craving. These restaurants offer a variety of culinary experiences from local delights to Asian dishes. We tried to cram as many places into our 5 day stay, I think we were able to enjoy all but 2. Our fav restaurant though had to be the club member only Magna… their passion fruit pancakes were scrumdiddlyumptious… I’m drooling just thinking about them.

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Nightlife

Don’t hate us, but when we saw that this was an adult only resort with a great amount of the guests being older than us, we were a little worried that the night would end at 7pm. Hah we were wrong. Excellence Punta Cana has the BEST nightlife. There are nightly singers/musicians and some of the best shows I’ve ever seen, the couples challenge one gave us a real laugh. There is an on sight nightclub which is pumping and bars open till late. It’s a LOT of fun.

There is seriously SOOOO much do at Excellence Punta Cana: daily activities, culinary experiences and nightly entertainment that will leave you wanting more. Trust me you’re never want to leave this place, I wish I didn’t.

BOOK YOUR AIR TRANSAT EXCELLENCE PUNTA CANA EXPERIENCE HERE

BOOK YOUR AIR TRANSAT EXCELLENCE PUNTA CANA EXPERIENCE HERE

xoxo Fil

Follow me on Instagram

@filipajackson

P.S. Follow along with me everyday via SnapChat. My username is: Filzer

Our 2018 Travel Wish List

Hello Heros!

Since immersing ourselves into the travel community, we’ve come across places we wouldn’t even think about travelling to. With some help from some truly inspirational travel Instagram accounts here is an overview of places we now have on our bucket list for 2018.

Spring/Summer

Fiji

I have always wanted to go to Fiji, ever since I was a little kid and my close friend at the time went. He was full of stories of awe and wonder and to this day they have stuck with me. When I first started dating Filipa I said my goal in life was to move to Fiji and open a surf shop, no I have never surfed but I am eager to learn. Hey who knows maybe my dreams will come true.

Cape Town

Being that my heritage is Tanzanian and I have had the opportunity to experience the continent of Africa, my visits were only a taste. I hope to see some more of what Africa has to offer, and share this experience with Filipa. We have dreams of climbing Table Mountain to watch the sunrise, and play with the penguins on Boulders Beach.

Mauritius

Mauritius has been on our list for a while, why? I’m not really sure… there isn’t all that much about it on the old Instagram, maybe that’s why. This country and its people intrigues us, we can’t wait to see it for ourselves.

Sri Lanka

Before the devastating tsunami of 2004 Sri Lanka was the IT place to be, a land of pure luxury. Although it’s been out of commission for a while rebuilding itself, they are back and better than ever. The beauty of its land and people is what has us desperate to explore especially before all the tourists catch on.

Maldives

I mean who wouldn’t want to visit the Maldives. Although overpriced it is the ultimate land of luxury. The crystal blue waters, the over the water bungalows and incredible endless skyline of water. Also have you seen the under water restaurant at the Conrad??!! Oh my goodness is it gorgeous, this would be one for the books.

 

Although these travel dreams are still in the works, we do hope to make them a reality soon. If any of you have visited any of these places or think we should add to our list, please let us know. We would appreciate any info you have.

Do you have any 2018 travel plans?

Instahusband out,

Sameer @playingwithapparelmen

LA – Joshua Tree & Everything In Between

Hello Loves!

This year already is one of my favs. Not only did I get the chance to head back to one of my fav cities, the gorgeous La La Land (LA) but I also got the opportunity to road trip to Joshua Tree!!

Joshua Tree has been high on my list of travel destinations for a looong time. I would drive Sameer insane shoving my laptop in his face to show him different Airbnb locations. I even created a Pinterest board full of the desert land images that I would send him on the daily. Well finally he got the hint, haha, and surprised me with a trip to good ol Joshua.

With a road trip of 2hrs and 25 short minutes, if you get the chance to go for a drive I highly recommend it. But still set off relatively early because I’m going to share some places you must visit along the way.

Stop 1:

Yum Yum Donuts

1431 E 4th St Ontario, CA 91764 United States

We ended up at Yum Yum totally NOT on purpose. What had happened was about 45mins into our trip my brother started to get a nose bleed, we pulled off at a gas station to clean up and while my brother (poor guy) was bleeding out I got distracted by the sugary scents coming from Yum Yum across the way. I know what your thinking, what an awful sister, but hey everyone was happy when they had a delicious donut in their mouths.

Stop 2:

In N Out

It wouldn’t be a road trip without getting In N Out at least once. Even though we had stuffed our faces with sprinkles and icing, it’s pretty hard to drive past an In N Out without wanting to grab something, so that’s exactly what we did. Located pretty much EVERYWHERE drive through or dine in and try some of their delicious menu items… Ooo did you know they have a secret menu?? Try the animal fries, you can thank me later.

Stop 3:

Cabazon Dinosaurs

50800 Seminole Dr, Cabazon, CA 92230

Who doesn’t like a giant plastic dinosaur?! Ok granted we didn’t stay here all that long or even go into the park, but with it being less than 2 minutes off the highway it was a great place to pull over, take some pics and make a couple of funny Instastories.

Stop 4:

Palm Springs

268 N Palm Canyon Dr, Palm Springs

A great place to pull over for a walk, some food and a cocktail or two. The strip is full of charming and tacky shops… you can buy a designer bag or a pair of novelty penis sunglasses, whatever floats your boat… no judgement here! Another thing Palm Springs has is some of the most amazing hotels, like the Ace Hotel…. ugggghhh drool!

Stop 5:

Lulu California Bistro

200 S Palm Canyon Dr, Palm Springs, CA 92262

Palm Springs has so many amazing restaurants like Cheeky’s and Norma’s but with something quick and cheap dining and cocktails on our mind we ended up at Lulu’s. Boy was this place popular, literally a line up out the door. We quickly realized what the buzz was all about when we sat down, they were offering 3 courses for $19.99 and $5 mimosas/champagne with 3 free refills! Although the food was mediocre we left happy.

Stop 6:

The Windmills

I wish I had an address for this location, but you will have to take my super bad directions and try figure it out lol. When you head out of Palm Springs towards the highway you will start passing the Windmills again, they will be on your left… before you get to the highway the road forks, pull to the left and pull over. Here you can stop, get out, run around, take your top off like my brother and his friend did and create some magical memories.

Stop 7:

Joshua Tree

Here you have reached your final destination. YAY! Now it’s where to stay. There are so many incredible Airbnb’s to choose from but may I recommend mine. Nestled on a suburban street approx 5 min drive outside of the pearly Joshua Tree National Park gates, is your Pinterest dream. The couple who own this home, Amanda and Nate, are the coolest people you will ever see. With their baby girl they travel around in their 1972 Chevy RV and document their adventures to their gorgeous Instagram page @theimaginative, a couple after my own heart. Their home is gorgeous, with concrete floors, boho vibes and the radest green couch in the world (I wanted to take it but it didn’t fit in my suitcase), you will NEVER want to leave. Since leaving I have been actively stalking their hashtag #slowdownclubJT and seen some familiar faces enjoying it too.

You can book your stay here: https://www.airbnb.ca/rooms/22214605?s=51

Now your here it’s time to go exploring, get a little dirty but most importantly have some FUN! Here are some tips to create the most magical Joshua Tree experience.

Joshua Tree National Park

  • Basic pass per vehicle costs $25 and lasts for 3 days. I recommend getting this as soon as you arrive, and enjoy a sunset in the park for your first night.
  • Arrive early, there is so much to do. We didn’t have a chance to see it all, but my fav place was Jumbo Rocks… we spent hours climbing and jumping and even got up to the top of the biggest rock to eat our lunch. Just be sure to take your trash with you, we were very disappointed by the huge amount of junk that was left behind.
  • Watch a sunset at Keys View. It takes a while to get there, about 30 mins but it is well worth it. When you get there park and keep walking, past all the amazing views to the very top… there you will already see a bunch of people who have claimed their seats to watch the sun go down. It’s a pretty spectacular way to end your day.
  • Capture a shot of the stars. This is all Sameer wanted to do during our trip, and unfortunately for him it was just way to cloudy for it to happen. But on a clear night here you can take some of the most amazing images… just be sure there is no surrounding ambient light.

What to do

  • I highly recommend grabbing a lunch at Natural Sisters Cafe. All of their food is locally sourced and organic. They offer a delicious variety of foods including vegan and gluten free options.
  • Pioneertown, has been the set to many old western movies and shows. Created in 1946 the use of it in Hollywood may not be so much in demand anymore but its charm still lingers. We had such a fun time here, pretending to be kids and running around like loonies.
  • If you fancy a desert night on the town check out Pappy and Harriet’s. Located in Pioneertown this surprisingly big and bustling saloon is the place to be. With great food, drinks and live bands it’s always a good time. But be sure to make a reservation or you won’t get a table… this place is that popular. Make your reservation here 760-365-5956.

Whatever is bringing you to Joshua Tree, it is a magical place and your sure to have a great time.

@filipajackson