TRAVEL, FASHION

Merida, Mexico | Photo Diary + Travel Guide

January 18, 2018
HANNAH SHELBY: Merida Mexico Travel Guide

My love affair with Mexico runs deep. The more I visit this beautiful country, the more that love grows. In October we had the chance to return to Mexico with a short stop in Tulum followed by a few days in the colonial city of Merida. This trip was centered around our friends wedding celebration at Hacienda Sac Chich, located 40 mins outside the city, and was the perfect opportunity to visit this buzzy city that’s long been on my bucketlist.

Merida, the capitol city of the Yucatan, is artsy with European-influenced colonial architecture and a lively food scene. In the late 19th and early 20th century, Merida was said to house more millionaires than any other place in the world. Today, it has become a popular refuge for the modern day creative class looking for an inexpensive place to call home—and its easy to see why. The architecture around the city still echoes the past’s glitz and glamour. And the real estate is extremely inexpensive—we’re talking what would be million dollar homes back in the states for $200,000. I imagine if you had time to sink into the city and explore all the lesser known bits, you would really uncover that allure. A bit of grit, a bit of free-spirited bohemia, and a bit of enchantment all wrapped into one.

With so many beautiful homes and boutique hotels, choosing a place to stay can be tough. We landed on the modern Casa del Limonero, a two bedroom home with soaring ceilings and a unique layout complete with an outdoor courtyard + pool. Casa del Limonero is located in the Santiago neighborhood, within close proximity to some of the cities best restaurants and parks.

HANNAH SHELBY: Merida Mexico Travel Guide HANNAH SHELBY: Merida Mexico Travel Guide HANNAH SHELBY: Merida Mexico Travel GuideHANNAH SHELBY: Merida Mexico Travel Guide HANNAH SHELBY: Merida Mexico Travel Guide^^Loved this green geometric tile!

After arriving and getting situated in our new house for the weekend, we got ready and headed out to explore the neighborhood. The streets in Santiago are in many ways very unassuming. The exterior of our house in no way indicates what lies behind it’s walls. It was fun to walk around and imagine what other home’s interiors might be hiding behind their simple facades.

HANNAH SHELBY: Merida Mexico Travel Guide HANNAH SHELBY: Merida Mexico Travel Guide HANNAH SHELBY: Merida Mexico Travel Guide HANNAH SHELBY: Merida Mexico Travel Guide Vintage Beetles are everywhere in the city, adding to the charm.HANNAH SHELBY: Merida Mexico Travel Guide HANNAH SHELBY: Merida Mexico Travel Guide

Our first stop was to Coqui Coqui, located just off Santa Lucia square. A quaint one room hotel + spa and perfumaria with an interior like only Coqui Coqui can create. And if you’re looking for an opportunity to indulge in some major TLC, the spa has a whole menu of lavish options to choose from. If you’re short on time for the spa, luckily you can take the scents of Coqui Coqui home with you through the many perfumes, candles, soaps and oil diffusers.

HANNAH SHELBY: Merida Mexico Travel GuideHANNAH SHELBY: Merida Mexico Travel Guide HANNAH SHELBY: Merida Mexico Travel GuideHANNAH SHELBY: Merida Mexico Travel Guide HANNAH SHELBY: Merida Mexico Travel GuideHANNAH SHELBY: Merida Mexico Travel GuideHANNAH SHELBY: Merida Mexico Travel GuideHANNAH SHELBY: Merida Mexico Travel Guide HANNAH SHELBY: Merida Mexico Travel GuideI’ve been so excited to wear this dress somewhere fun and the backdrop of Merida seemed to fit so perfectly. I love the longer length and the way the whisper thin silk moves with you, showing that extra bit of leg (usually) at just the right moment.

Violette Spot Dress | Realisation Par

Purse | Sunday Living (similar here)

Sandals | H&M (similar here)

Gold Necklaces | Missoma London

Sunglasses | Ray-banHANNAH SHELBY: Merida, Mexico Travel Guide HANNAH SHELBY: Merida, Mexico Travel Guide HANNAH SHELBY: Merida, Mexico Travel Guide HANNAH SHELBY: Merida, Mexico Travel Guide HANNAH SHELBY: Merida Mexico Travel GuideHANNAH SHELBY: Merida, Mexico Travel Guide HANNAH SHELBY: Merida, Mexico Travel Guide HANNAH SHELBY: Merida, Mexico Travel Guide HANNAH SHELBY: Merida, Mexico Travel Guide HANNAH SHELBY: Merida, Mexico Travel Guide HANNAH SHELBY: Merida, Mexico Travel Guide^^decorations for Day of the Dead festivities being set up at the fun Mercado 60 – a collection of small restaurant stands with communal seating in an open-air market setting.

HANNAH SHELBY: Merida, Mexico Travel Guide(source)

^^After some time wandering around Santiago neighborhood, we made our way to Oliva Enoteca for some ridiculously good Italian food. I loved everything about this restaurant: the intimate size, the elegant but simple decor, and oh yeah…the life changing carbonara.

Friday morning before the wedding we had breakfast at La Chaya Maya, delicious traditional mayan cuisine. After breakfast we wander around a bit and found ourselves in the Olimpo Cultural Center filled with room after room of hand made goods from the region. If it weren’t for a lack of suitcase space, we probably would have come home with way too many souvenirs.  And unlike many of the shops and street stands you will find around the city, the goods located in the cultural center are actually made by local artisans, no faux goods shipped in from China here.

HANNAH SHELBY: Merida Mexico Travel GuideHANNAH SHELBY: Merida Mexico Travel Guide HANNAH SHELBY: Merida Mexico Travel Guide HANNAH SHELBY: Merida Mexico Travel Guide HANNAH SHELBY: Merida Mexico Travel Guide HANNAH SHELBY: Merida Mexico Travel Guide^^as fresh as fresh made tortillas getHANNAH SHELBY: Merida Mexico Travel Guide

Yellow Linen Dress | Reformation (similar here)

HANNAH SHELBY: Merida Mexico Travel GuideHANNAH SHELBY: Merida, Mexico Travel GuideHANNAH SHELBY: Merida Mexico Travel Guide HANNAH SHELBY: Merida Mexico Travel GuideHANNAH SHELBY: Merida Mexico Travel Guide HANNAH SHELBY: Merida Mexico Travel Guide HANNAH SHELBY: Merida Mexico Travel Guide

Friday afternoon we grabbed an Uber (extremely cheap in Mexico – $15 for a 40 min drive outside the city) and made our way to Hacienda Sac Chich to celebrate the bride and groom to be! The wedding could not have been more beautiful and we are so happy to have been a part of our friends big day.

HANNAH SHELBY: Merida Mexico Travel Guide HANNAH SHELBY: Merida Mexico Travel Guide HANNAH SHELBY: Merida Mexico Travel Guide HANNAH SHELBY: Merida Mexico Travel GuideHANNAH SHELBY: Merida, Mexico Travel GuideRust Dress | Cushnie et Ochs (similar here and here)

Purse | Cult Gia

Wrap Sandals | Gianvitto Rossi (similar)HANNAH SHELBY: Merida Mexico Travel Guide

World’s Most Beautiful Wedding Dress | Naeem Khan

HANNAH SHELBY: Merida Mexico Travel GuideHANNAH SHELBY: Merida, Mexico Travel Guide

On our final day in the city, we took a stroll down Paseo de Montejo and grabbed some quick breakfast before hopping a bus with the wedding crew for a trip to Chichen Itza and Ik Kil cenote. How insane are the beautiful big homes? I kept waiting for Great Gatsby to saunter out onto one of these balconies but alas, no such luck.

HANNAH SHELBY: Merida Mexico Travel Guide HANNAH SHELBY: Merida Mexico Travel Guide HANNAH SHELBY: Merida Mexico Travel Guide HANNAH SHELBY: Merida Mexico Travel Guide HANNAH SHELBY: Merida Mexico Travel Guide^^Rosas y Chocolate Boutique HotelHANNAH SHELBY: Merida Mexico Travel GuideHANNAH SHELBY: Merida Mexico Travel Guide HANNAH SHELBY: Merida Mexico Travel Guide

The drive from Merida to Chichen-Itza is about 2.5 hours each way. From UNESCO’s World Heritiage site:

“This sacred site was one of the greatest Mayan centres of the Yucatán peninsula. Throughout its nearly 1,000-year history, different peoples have left their mark on the city. The Maya and Toltec vision of the world and the universe is revealed in their stone monuments and artistic works. The fusion of Mayan construction techniques with new elements from central Mexico make Chichen-Itza one of the most important examples of the Mayan-Toltec civilization in Yucatán. Several buildings have survived, such as the Warriors’ Temple, El Castillo and the circular observatory known as El Caracol.”

HANNAH SHELBY: Merida Mexico Travel Guide HANNAH SHELBY: Merida Mexico Travel Guide HANNAH SHELBY: Merida Mexico Travel Guide HANNAH SHELBY: Merida Mexico Travel Guide

Ik Kil cenote is very close, only a 30 minute drive from Chichen Itza. Being the closest cenote to the famous ruins gives Ik Kil unfortunately a bit of a theme park vibe. There is a restaurant and bar on site, full locker room with showers and a souvenir shop. On our first trip to Tulum we spent an afternoon at Cenote Nicte-Ha which was a completely different experience. Other than a local father and son duo, we were the only ones there and it was extremely relaxing and peaceful. So depending on the vibe you are looking for, there are lots of different cenotes options in the area.

HANNAH SHELBY: Merida Mexico Travel Guide HANNAH SHELBY: Merida Mexico Travel Guide

After a long day, dinner at Apoala was the perfect end to our time in Merida. Located on the vibrant Santa Lucia square, the scene is lively, the mezcal margaritas are perfectly salted, and the food hits all the best flavor notes. If there’s one thing Mexico does not lack, its delicious food. And Apoala is no exception.

HANNAH SHELBY: Merida, Mexico Travel Guide

Travel Tips:

If you are arriving from Tulum or Cancun, the local ADO bus is a very easy and inexpensive options with comfortable seats, air conditioning and relatively quick service.

Uber is extremely affordable and very easy to use so renting a car is only necessary if you plan to take day trips from the city to surrounding areas (which you should if you have time!)

There are lots of great day trips! Chichen Itza, Cenotes, Izmal, Progresso Beach, etc. Set some time aside to see the surrounding area.

There’s no beach breeze to keep the bugs at bay so bring plenty of bug spray.

Where to Stay:

Airbnb: Casa del Limonero, Casa Koala, Colonial Modern, Casa Limon, Casa Jirafa

Hotels: Coqui Coqui, Rosas y Chocolate, The Diplomat, Casa Lecanda, Hotel Hacienda Merida

Nearby Haciendas: Hacienda Sac Chich, Hacienda Temozon, Hacienda Misne, Hacienda Uayamon

Where to Eat: Apoala, Oliva Enoteca, Kuuk, La Chaya Maya, Mercado 60

What to Do:

Spend a day at the Coqui Coqui Spa for a relaxing massage and facial.

Visit the Olimpo Cultural Center and browse room and room of hats, pottery, hammocks, linens, clothing and more.

Stroll through the many museums including Fundacion de Artistas, El Gran Museo del Mundo Maya, Palacio Canton.

Spend an evening listening to live music and dancing in one of the many parks while enjoying the local liquor of choice: Mezcal.

Take a day trip to Chichen Itza and learn all about the ancient mayan culture.

Visit a nearby Cenote for a cool and refreshing dip.

 

LIFE, INSPIRATION

Winter Inspirations and New Year’s Resolutions

January 17, 2018
HANNAH SHELBY: Winter Inspirations

I love a good collection of pretty images to get my senses going, so what better reason than a new year and new season to pull together some inspirations + a few resolution for the new year. Cheers!

HANNAH SHELBY: Winter InspirationsHANNAH SHELBY: Winter Inspirations HANNAH SHELBY: Winter Inspirations HANNAH SHELBY: Winter Inspirations HANNAH SHELBY: Winter InspirationsHANNAH SHELBY: Winter InspirationsHANNAH SHELBY: Winter Inspirations HANNAH SHELBY: Winter Inspirations HANNAH SHELBY: Winter Inspirations HANNAH SHELBY: Winter Inspirations HANNAH SHELBY: Winter InspirationsHANNAH SHELBY: Winter Inspirations HANNAH SHELBY: Winter Inspirations HANNAH SHELBY: Winter Inspirations HANNAH SHELBY: Winter Inspirations HANNAH SHELBY: Winter InspirationsHANNAH SHELBY: Winter Inspirations HANNAH SHELBY: Winter Inspirations HANNAH SHELBY: Winter InspirationsHANNAH SHELBY: Winter Inspirations + New Year ResolutionHANNAH SHELBY: Winter InspirationsHANNAH SHELBY: Winter Inspirations HANNAH SHELBY: Winter Inspirations HANNAH SHELBY: Winter InspirationsHANNAH SHELBY: Winter Inspirations + New Year Resolution HANNAH SHELBY: Winter Inspirations + New Year Resolution HANNAH SHELBY: Winter Inspirations + New Year Resolution HANNAH SHELBY: Winter Inspirations + New Year Resolution

1. Practice Gratitude

For several years in a row I’ve kept a gratitude journal during Lent, taking a few minutes each night to write at least five things I’m grateful for that day. It can be anything big or small, silly or not. I’m not Catholic but I like the idea of setting a good intention and sticking to it. Ending each day reflecting on the positive and really thinking about the small things we often take for granted has such an impact on ones overall state of mind. This year I plan to carry that not just though Lent but make an effort to maintain that daily gratitude throughout the entire year.

2. More Conversations with Loved Ones

Unfortunately I don’t live in the same city as my family and many good friends, which requires that extra effort to really stay in touch. This past year saw the loss of my Grandma on my dad’s side, just short of the wise age of 101. I’m so lucky to have both grandparents on my mom’s side still here and still living life with lots of zest. I’m also lucky that they, and all my family, are very hip to modern forms of communication. I’d like to set aside even more time for chatting and keeping in touch with all my nearest and dearest—the most important people in my life.

3. Eat Less Meat

Eating less meat is something I’ve already been implementing as of this past year but would like to be even more diligent about moving forward. I’ve tinkered with going pescatarian, but to start I want to focus on eating meat with as much mindfulness as possible: eating less, eating with thoughtful intention, and avoiding meat from factory farms (tips for this here). Baby steps.

4. More Date Nights

The older you get, the more hectic it seems life becomes. This resolution is pretty simple: prioritizing more time for specials nights out with my husband. Its so easy to slide into life’s routines but it’s important to keep things fun by making time each month to do something special and romantic just the two of you.

5. Embrace Winter

Winter and I don’t really get along. Every year we butt heads, make each other miserable and generally unpleasant. But this year, now that we have our sweet little pup Louie, time spent outside during my least favorite season has increased exponentially. So the time has come, I think, to make amends with the season. It’s NOT going to be easy with so much snow and frigid temps, but seeing Louie outside in the cold thoroughly enjoying himself like it’s just another day has helped me to embrace that feeling too. And what I’m also coming to learn is that while I may never LOVE Winter, I can at least appreciate the way that Winter amplifies my love for all the other seasons. Life, if you’re lucky, is going to be a ride of ups and downs. I think almost everyone would agree the hard times in life are periods of learning and perspective, helping you to see just how wonderful the good times are. No one wants to live a life at a plateau, never sad but also never really happy.

TRAVEL, FASHION

Mahe Island Seychelles | Photo Diary + Travel Guide

January 8, 2018
HANNAH SHELBY: Mahe Island Seychelles Photo Diary + Travel Guide

After some time on Praslin island and La Digue, our final stop in Seychelles was to the big island of Mahe. At 61 square miles and home to 77,000 residents, Mahe is by far the largest and most populated island in the archipelago. Mahe is also home to the international airport making it a great island to either start or end your time in the Seychelles. Great beaches, full scale resorts, hiking, island hopping—Mahe has something for everyone.

— BEAU VALLON —

We spent only two nights on Mahe which was just enough to get a small taste of the island. Home base was a lovely little AirBnb in Beau Vallon on the north-west side of the island. After successfully driving ourselves from the airport to our rental house, we made our way to the beach just a few minutes walk away. Beau Vallon is a long stretch of sand with several restaurants, hotels and water sports rentals lining the beach. The water is shallow and calm, perfect for swimming. There’s a nice pedestrian-only street just off the beach with vendors selling food and souvenirs. As one of the more busy beaches on the island, it’s important not to leave your things unattended as you may return to find them missing.

HANNAH SHELBY: Mahe Island Seychelles Photo Diary + Travel GuideHANNAH SHELBY: Mahe Island Seychelles Photo Diary + Travel GuideStripe Pants | Faithfull the brand (similar here)

White Tee | Madewell

Tan Slides | H&M (similar)

Straw Hat | Lack of Color (similar)

Sunglasses | Ray-ban

Gold Necklace | Missoma London

Beach Bag | Abaca (smaller version)

Continue Reading…

TRAVEL, FASHION

La Digue Island Seychelles | Photo Diary + Travel Guide

December 14, 2017
HANNAH SHELBY: La Digue Seychelles Photo Diary + Travel Guide

After a few days on Praslin island, we made our way via Inter Island Ferry to the island of La Digue. The smallest of the inhabited islands, La Digue is home to 3,000 full time residents. Because of its small size (3 km across) there are very few cars on the island and everyone gets around via bike. If this sounds incredibly quaint and picturesque, you’re absolutely right. La Digue was by far my favorite island for its relaxed atmosphere and sheer beauty. Even though the island is small, I would recommend spending at least three days here, but if you have more time, that would be even better. We never wanted to leave! The most famous beach, Anse Source D’Argent, is truly spectacular and worth at least one full day of your time. Continue Reading…

TRAVEL, FASHION

Praslin Island Seychelles | Photo Diary + Travel Guide

November 16, 2017
HANNAH SHELBY: Seychelles Islands: Photo Diary + Travel Guide

Now that it’s sufficiently cold and gloomy outside, I’m feeling extra sentimental about the sunshine, salty air and tan lines that come standard with a visit to the Seychelles. After our time on safari in the Masai Mara, we made our way to this little known grouping of islands in the middle of the Indian Ocean—touted for magnificent white sand beaches lined with granite boulders and crystal clear turquoise waters. Located about 1000 miles due East of Kenya, the Seychelles consists of 115 islands, mostly uninhibited, with exception to the three main islands: Mahe (the capitol), Praslin and La Digue. These three islands provide the majority of tourism, but a handful of other private islands containing no permanent residents also offer very luxurious and secluded accommodations including North Island (the honeymoon destination of Prince William + Kate as well as George + Amal Clooney), Fretgate, Felicite and Silhouette to name a few.  Once under the rule of France, the culture in the Seychelles is a mix of African, Indian and Creole. French and Creole are the main languages spoken in addition to English. Continue Reading…