Ari’s take on Cuba

 

IMG_7685IMG_4473IMG_7869Cuba, Cuba, Cuba…what can I say? I had an amazing time! Despite some hiccups along the way (which ill get to in a second) I still feel as though I had a very enriching experience. Cuba is a place where you can experience so many life changing events and come away feeling like you’ve grown/progressed in your human journey. My friends and I tried our best to see the good, bad and interesting sides that Havana had to offer. Below are some of my thoughts.

Entertainment-

El Malecon- Pier overlooking the water. Locals go here to hang out, fish and enjoy some one on one time with mother nature. Here is also where we witnessed a local “carnival” – a local parade that consisted of dancing, drinking and eating.

Sarao- Bar/Club that caters to tourists alike. The music catered to a wide variety but did have a lot of top 40. This place was classy, vibrant and overall a good time. We wish we would have gone to a local salsa club but there just wasn’t enough time!

Varadero– Beach town located about 2 hours away from Havana. Our airbnb helped arrange a trip there with a taxi but there are also way cheaper alternatives with bus routes that also offer rides there. We opted for convenience and being driven there provided for a much more comfortable experience.

Cañonaso– We didn’t get to actually see this but we hear it’s a must when in Havana. Individuals dressed in old fashioned military uniforms sound off a cannon nightly, get there early since it does finish quickly!

Fabrica de Arté– Cute hipster art factory that houses local artisans as well as small bites to eat.

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Food-

El Cocinero- Great restaurant right next to the fabrica. Since it does cater more so to tourist it does get packed, good thing is you can make a reservation online early!

Patio Amarillo- I unfortunately would not waste my time on the food. The drinks however were cheap and tasty.

Nare– Best local food we had! This place was filled with live music, and great food choices at decent prices/ portions.

I would recommend trying your best to eat and find locally owned restaurants which they call Paladares. These tend to be more well kept and the quality of the food is better (in my personal opinion).

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Taxi’s

Everyone is one! Literally. If you stand on the curb and stick your hand out (a la New York style) a taxi will stop momentarily and take you where you need to go. Make sure you bargain/hustle. The cheapest we paid was $5 CUC where as the most expensive was $10.

Airbnb

If you wish to get a sense of what the real Cuba is like (as we did) then airbnb is definitely the way to go. We stayed in one that was very cozy and accommodating in central Havana. Keep in mind, if you are not familiar or have never seen a poor nation then you may be in for a surprise. The streets are not in the greatest conditions to say the least. With this being said we did not feel unsafe here at all.

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Lastly if you are three females traveling alone (might I say also very cute) you will most certainly encounter men of all ages approaching you and cat calling you. Although I have encountered that on various levels throughout my life, nothing at all like what we experienced in Cuba. It was almost comical, people shouting from the literal rooftops or from blocks away. Chasing us down, etc. you get the point. They want to talk to you, and its important to use your judgment to determine whether its harmless or if in fact you could turn the situation into a plus for you (this is how we got a lot of recommendations and or directions). Be alert and vigilant and just know that it is going to happen but mostly they say it’s a part of the culture and that Cubans love it (which we did not see anything to negate this).

 

All in all, we had a great experience because we went there with an open mind and were already previously aware of some of the limitations we might encounter. All of us spoke Spanish and although we were able to maneuver this great city we still struggled with accessing some basic necessities. Cuba makes you think/perceive things in a totally new way. Not being able to rely on our phones made us tap into our intuitive side and opened us up to new experiences that we may have never had in another country and or place. The most important thing when visiting Cuba is to keep an open mind, be vigilant, embrace the culture/people and have fun!

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Vanity Planet Rejuvenating Scalp Massager

So I must admit, I can be easily convinced to buy things especially when you use key words like “rejuvenating and aids with hair growth”. SOLD! When I purchased the groove scalp massager from Vanity Planet I really had no idea what to expect. I’ve known for ages now that scalp massages help with blood flow to your scalp which can promote hair growth but who has the time and finger strength to do that every day? Laziness aside, this just wasn’t something I was doing on a frequent enough basis to make a difference in my hair. Along came this handy tool! It is relaxing and cuts out the work for you while speeding up the time frame in which it gets done. I have used it to shampoo/co wash my hair to really help eliminate dandruff and built up product. This baby can go right in the shower and while I wouldn’t dunk it in the water since its battery operated, the site does mention that it is water resistant. I’ve also used it in conjunction with oil masks. I pile on some of my favorite hair oils and help them penetrate by using the massager. You could even use it just for fun to relax. The only con I would say is that sometimes the vibrations feel very strong on my hand and they feel tingly. Switching hands or using a barrier (like a cloth) to hold the handle eliminates this issue for me. I don’t mind having to do that because I know that means the bristles are working hard! Speaking of the bristles they are a rubber like flexible material and don’t get snagged or tangled up in my curly hair which is a must. All in all I would highly recommend this to anyone who is lazy like me but still wants to incorporate scalp massages in their beauty routine. Link to item down below!

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Groove Rejuvenating Scalp Massager

XOXO- ARI

 

Cult Gaia Ark Bag

Here you have it ladies, this season’s hottest “it” bag! I, much like everyone else on the internet was struck by this beautifully unique hand crafted bag from the moment I first saw it on social media. Not only does it have a unique shape, but the bamboo material makes for a timeless heirloom piece that will be sure to live in your closet forever. Created in 2012 by Jasmin Larian, Cult Gaia’s vision is to create pieces that resemble art and can stand the test of time. I received this bag as an “early birthday” gift from my sister/co blogger (our birthdays are both in August) and I couldn’t be happier/more paranoid about this beautiful item she bestowed onto me. Firstly, I received the smaller size that measures 11″ x 8″ x 3″. I personally think this size suits my small frame better than the larger one and gives me a much needed reason to downsize all of the crap I lug around all day in a huge purse. I am comfortable putting a small card wallet, my phone and perhaps a very small pouch with room for lipstick and one other beauty item to touch up. A couple of other smaller items will indeed fit but here is where the paranoid part kicks in, I’m afraid to break the precious intricately woven wood with too much crap. This bag will be my highly coveted baby for years to come. Huge thanks to my sister for buying it for me and to the brand for creating such a lovely piece to add to my collection!

I styled this piece with an all-black ensemble so as to let the bag have its own moment. The bell sleeve black top is from ASOS and the high waist wide leg trousers are from the brand French connection that I scored at Marshalls. I also brought out my high key sunnies from the DesixQuay Collection and let me tell you, I may have to buy another back up pair (that’s how good they are!). Links to items down below!

Cult Gaia Ark Bag- Natural
Desi Perkins X Quay Australia- High Key Fades
Similar Top
Similar Pants- Here,Here

#MaxxLife Summer Jumpsuit

Here my friends is the beloved skort hybrid coming back in the chic-est way possible! I scored this striped jumpsuit at TJMAXX (from the brand Papaya) and not only it is right on trend for the summer season, but couldn’t be any easier to throw on! As some of you may know I personally love the versatility of jumpsuits seeing as they can go from day to evening seamlessly and I don’t have to put much thought process into pairing multiple items. The light weight flowy chiffon like material glides along the floor, the sexy back cut-out along with the deep V-neck make for a sizzling summer look. This jumpsuit can be worn to the farmers market paired with casual mules as I did, or made edgier with caged booties for a night out. For the ladies who are afraid to wear low cut clothing due to a larger chest region, don’t be! Items like this are also for us and if the low neck may be too much for some it can always be paired with a nice camisole underneath for some modesty.

XOXO- ARI

Forever 21 Mules- HERE

Similar Jumpsuits- Here, Here, Here, Here

 

Trend Alert- Velvet Pleats

Hey everyone! Since we’ve last posted, so many things are up and coming in our lives. Summer is right around the corner and we cannot wait for the vacations and good times to start rolling. Planning for such events becomes so much easier when you invest in great pieces that you can throw on in a pinch. Hence, this stunning dress! Velvet and pleats, two seemingly hard to pull off trends (at least for my body type) and yet here we are with the perfect dress incorporating both! This dress is from ASOS and I have been wearing it non-stop since I purchased it. It’s very stretchy and although made of a normally heavy material it still feels lightweight on. With an open shoulder cut that is right on trend for this season anyone is sure to turn heads in this unique stunner. I paired it with my Forever 21 mustard mules (that I also cannot seem to take off) for a whimsical and colorful summer vibe. Check out the pics below for some inspo and as always link down below.

What are some trends that you aren’t trying out of fear they may not suit you? Go out there and give them a shot!

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ASOS Petite Velvet Dress

Forever 21 Mustard Mules

XOXO- Ari

Cold Shoulder Vibes

It’s been such a long time since an actual post was written on this platform! If you guys haven’t been keeping up with us on social media, well why aren’t you? We are always talking about the latest and greatest in fashion and beauty over on itsapplesandorangesblog Instagram page. Taking a cue from a classic play book I thought I would bring it back to what I know and what I am good at for this post. I love a sexy yet classic silhouette that can be worn many different ways for various functions. This ASOS cold shoulder kimono tie pencil dress is literal perfection. The dark emerald green color and thick material make it a staple fall transitional item (although you can break the rules and wear it whenever like I do). It can even be worn with a turtle neck underneath for a chic office look. It is fully lined and hugs the body close for a structural heavenly look! I paired it with nude suede pumps from BCBG via Marshalls, an older H&M mixed metals clutch and a jacquard old navy blazer. Day or night, this little number is sure to leave an impression. Check out the link!

Do you like wearing darker “fall” tones in the off seasons? Sound off below!

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ASOS Cold Shoulder Kimono Tie Pencil Dress

XOXO- ARI

Street Style Layers

When it comes to layering, let’s face it the colder it gets the less you care about the actual pieces you’re throwing on. On days like this style takes a back seat and your left with an outfit more so resembling the abominable snow man than an actual look. Thankfully it never gets that cold in central Florida! On this chilly day I wore this amazing jumpsuit/onesie purchased from ASOS from the brand Missguided. Equipped with grey striped detailing, long sleeves and a super functional turtle neck collar its perfect for these Florida versions of cold days. I paired it with my army fatigue anorak and my Nike Theas for a pop of color. This outfit is street style meets comfort and warmth all in one! Links and details down below. Let us know, what is your favorite way to layer during those in between months? Comment below!

Jumpsuit

Similar styles Here, Here, Here, Here, and Here

XOXO- ARI

NYE Looks 

Hey there lovelies! I know it’s been a while but Ari & I are back in business! For this last post of 2016 I wanted to share 3 plus sized New Year’s Eve looks. I’ve chosen a metallic pleated midi skirt (which I styled two different ways) and a more festive burgundy off the shoulder swing dress. Let’s get started shall we?

First up is the silver/pewter skirt in the size xl from Charlotte Russe paired with a basic gray tee from Old Navy. Mixing casual and dressy pieces is always a good idea, especially if you don’t have major plans or just simply prefer a more casual look with a touch of sparkle. To add a pop of color I chose a small red bag. This outfit could also be jazzed up a bit with a low chunky heel, or kept more low key with tennis shoes or flat sandals as I the ones I wore.



Next up is the same skirt with a velvet hunter green bralette (1x) which is also from Charlotte Russe. I am obsessed with anything velvet, the material has such a luxurious look and feel to it. Once again pairing different textured fabrics creates such a lovely juxtaposition. For this look I added my trusty pointy ankle wrapped Sam Edelman shoes from Target.


Last but certainly not least is a Burgundy velvet off the shoulder dress from Forever 21 (plus). The heart shaped top is perfect for busty girls as it frames in all the right places. I also love the swing style from the waist down as it helps create the illusion of hips. I once again wore my black shoes, along with some fun new year accessories.


Want to know the best part of all? All of the clothing items are under $25! Huge steal right? Hope you all enjoyed this post.

Wishing everyone a wonderful start to a brand new year! 2017 here we come!

Metallic Skirt

Velvet Bralette

* Similar Velvet Dress

xx, Gwen

Kylie Lip Kit 

Hey there loves! It’s been a while since I’ve come on here to talk about a new product, that is until now! I ordered one of the Kylie Lip Kits a few weeks ago, gave it a test run and am now ready to share my thoughts. Well here goes…

I purchased the shade 22 which is a gorgeous brunt orangey-red. The formula is very pigmented, has a creamy consistency and dries quickly (which doesn’t give you much room for error). The kit also includes a lip liner which helps perfect the edges of your lips and provide an adhesive base for the liquid lipstick.

The lipstick wore well for the first 4 hours but I noticed a little bit of flaking in the center of my lips towards the last hour. I then went on to eat and drink checked back on how it looked and most of the color in the center was gone. Reapplying isn’t a deal breaker for me, as long as the product doesn’t look too cakey afterward (which it didn’t).

Pros: Color pay off, creamy texture & comfortable to wear.

Cons: Flaking, Price tag ($29 for .11 oz / 3.25 mil)

Although I would recommend the liquid lipstick (if you’re willing to hash out $29 for it) I wouldn’t necessarily purchase another one.

Here’s the link to 22 which is still available for purchase: 22 Lip Kit

Till next time,

Gwen, xx

Storage Unit DIY

I know I teased this on Instagram a long time ago but the time has finally come to reveal my awesome DIY storage project for my room. I was on a bit of a décor kick as of recent and wanted to bring my interior style game up a notch now that I’m getting older. One way to do that was introducing mixed metals to my new mirrored furniture and find ways to incorporate natural elements like wood to make it cozier. A full room tour might be necessary in the near future! For now here is how I jazzed up this ordinary shelving unit to be perfect for my aesthetic.

Things you will need- Everything can be purchased from Walmart.com

  • Storage Unit
  • Gold Spray Paint
  • Screwdriver or Drill (I only used a screwdriver)
  • Marble Contact Paper (or any pattern contact paper for that matter)
  • Pencil, Ruler and Scissors (or scrap booking knife)
  1. Prepare your work space with enough room, you will only need a screwdriver or drill (if you’re fancy)
  2. Follow the directions to screw each shelf to the columns (starting from the bottom helps)
  3. After its constructed take it to an outside open area and spray with gold paint, let dry and do a second coat
  4. Measure and cut pieces of contact paper with the pencil and ruler (make sure to write on the back portion of the paper not the visible marble part)
  5. Cut out the pieces and smooth them over the shelves with the ruler or a rag to smooth out any air bubbles
  6. Embellish shelves with books or home décor items, get creative!

I had originally planned on leaving the bottom shelf open for a hamper or larger items but later decided to add the missing shelf for a more cohesive look. I also plan on eventually getting some pull out mesh drawers from IKEA and de clutter it. For now I love the finished product and can’t wait to play around with the items and change them up for the seasons!

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XOXO- Ari