I’ve always had a fascination with flat lay photography and the way so many people on my instagram feed were able to style photos to be so stunning and well balanced. I’ve posted before some of my photography must-haves.
I also have a whole board over on my pinterest filled with all the links!
*note* I am in NO way an expert, I just find this kind of content fun to make, especially if you’ve been keeping up with my instagram 🙂
(all the links will be in the pinterest board above!)
I’ve had my eye on this rattan-like circle (normally used for setting the table) from Target for so so long. It took a while to finally get my hands on it because it was out of stock online for a while. Similarly, I got a pack of these four rattan-like coasters. I think both look really great on camera to add some texture!
Very recently, here in New Jersey, most stores have opened back up with a limited capacity. This meant that I could venture off to buy more home decor, not just from Target.
I bought the first one over at Home Sense and the second one from Home Goods. I didn’t plan at all to buy two wooden trays but both were so cute I couldn’t resist. I’m blaming all the stunning photos I see on my instagram feed with these aesthetic wooden trays.
I’m just imagining these now laid out on my bed with a nice cup of coffee, and maybe even a dairy free baked good. OOOOH!
I’ve had my eye on getting a cute boho mirror for photos, again, thanks instagram! Also that recent “tik tok trend” also blew up the whole idea of using mirrors for photos. Even just looking at these photos I quickly took gets me SO excited to play around with it, maybe a beach photoshoot? hmm we shall see. Stay tuned!
Big shoutout to my friend Mia who I was with shopping. I was debating hard core buying this mirror (it was only $20) and in the end she nudged me to just get it & I’m obsessed.
Want location ideas for your instagram feed? or photo spots that are anything but the Golden Gate Bridge? (because trust me, there are a lot)
Then keep reading!!!
Before leaving for the west coast, I can’t lie-
one of my biggest google searches was “instagram spots in San Francisco”
– or searches dedicated to my other upcoming travel destinations. I had no clue before-hand that putting together a list of your ultimate instagram aesthetic spots was a thing, but I’m so happy it is.
The ones I looked at months ago I found so helpful so I hope this helps or sparks some interest in you!
This past February on my west coast travels, I embarked on a 4-day mini trip to San Francisco, California. Being such an odd time in the year to travel, especially in the states, it made going to the touristy spots much easier to get good photos. Also, with me not being a fan of weather above 65-70 degrees F, if I went to California any later in the year I would die of heat exhaustion.
I was blown away by the architecture and how the area itself made me feel like I was off in some distant country. There was so many spots here perfect for photos and a cute little pond and pathways that wrapped around the main dome.
Of course when I went here the “famous” colored buildings in the square were under construction but it still was a great view of the city.
16th Avenue Tiled Steps
To my surprise the city actually has multiple tiled staircases, and as you can guess, they’re all gorgeous. It took some time to get here with public transportation (and lots of uphill walking, but I guess you have to expect that in San Francisco).
*random fun fact time* the steepest residential street in the WORLD is NOT in San Francisco!! It is in Dunedin, New Zealand. I have a travel guide featuring it here.
After heading to see the mosaic steps I’m sure you’re going to be tired and just want to sit down; this brings me to my next destination.
I have the perfect place for you.
Home Coffee Roasters
Me being the coffee obsessed person that I am of course I had to include a cute cafe in here (full San Francisco coffee guide coming very soon)!
The baristas here are SO talented and make it easy to get adorable photos. My mind was blown when I saw the latte art on mine and my boyfriend’s. They also have a long list of really unique flavored coffee beverages!
The Streets – Lombard Street
Sounds simple but the city itself has so many unique streets. There are many hidden steps and alleyways cutting through parks and such.
One specific one I will mention (because it is the most popular one), is Lombard Street. Even if you don’t go to take photos, per say, it’s such an odd street with its unique characteristics. This spot is normally pretty crowded, but I saw so many people taking that to their advantage to take creative photos.
Other Location Ideas: Alcatraz, near the cable cars and the many cute spots on the waterfront!
Thanks so much if you’ve read this far. I appreciate the support so much.
Ever wanted to travel to New Zealand? keep reading!
After my couple visits exploring this magical country, I have finally put together a list of my MUST SEE spots in all of New Zealand.
Before I get into my Top 10 spots to travel to in New Zealand, I have a whole page on my blog dedicated to different places around the country so check that out here.
To really enjoy a lot of the spots I’m about to mention you should rent a car. If you’re looking for a really good deal head to Transfer Car NZ. The only downside with them is you can’t really book far ahead of time as the whole idea with the company is they let people rent cars really cheap (or for free!!) in return of them helping the rental company relocate their cars.
Let’s start with the South Island
Starting with the South Island, because the South Island is so much more memorable… oops! Although both the North & South Islands have stunning scenery, the larger mountain ranges, fjords and Mt. Cook are in the South.
# 1 Otago Peninsula –
If you get one thing out of this blog post, let me say how incredible & memorable the Otago Peninsula is. The Peninsula is just a short drive outside of Dunedin, a small city on the East Coast of the South Island. The peninsula is known for their abundance in wildlife: the rare yellow-eyed penguins, little blue penguins, New Zealand fur seals and New Zealand sea lions to name a few. It’s also famous for the immense about of hidden beaches.
You could spend a whole day alone just on this peninsula. There is a couple main roads that take you on a loop around the entire peninsula. Let me warn you, it is very windy and hilly but there’s ample amount of spots to pull off and enjoy the view.
Honestly just go to Dunedin and spend a couple days in that area alone. TRUST ME you will need it!!! There is endless beaches to explore & so much unique wildlife!! Also if geology or rocks peak your fancy, there’s a lot of cool beaches to admire that too.
# 3Baldwin Street –
Known as “The Steepest Residential Street in the World” ahead of San Francisco. It is within walking distance of Northern Dunedin, but there’s also the bus system to make the walk a bit shorter.
*pro tip* this spot is very touristy! I mean full bus loads of tour groups, so keep that in mind when choosing when to go.
It’s not only a nice brisk up hill walk, but a form of entertainment stopping here. I think the funniest part of visiting here is seeing all of the tourists try to drive their rental car up to the top of the hill.
# 4 The Caitlins –
The final stop on the East Coast of the South Island before moving to the West – The Caitlins. Before traveling, I had no clue this area existed to be honest. This region encompasses the entire southeastern corner of the South Island.
This is another spot that you really need a car to explore, or you can join in with a tour company. There’s many, many beaches and spots within the Caitlins to see but I’ll name my favorites.
Above is the fossilized remains of an old forest in Curio bay and below is around Nugget Point.
# 5Queenstown –
Queenstown is landlocked on the Western side of the South Island. It’s located right in the center of some of the longest mountain ranges in all of New Zealand.
A very touristy place, but still a MUST. Queenstown itself is probably the most touristy area in all of NZ, in my opinion. Regardless, the area itself is so breathtaking that it’s impossible not to add it to this list.
Regardless of the time of year, there is the STUNNING mountain ranges lining the lake and surrounding areas. I HIGHLY recommend dropping the money on going up the tram to the top of one of the mountains. It’s the one tourist attraction that really is a must.
Moving to theNorth Island
# 6Napier –
Located on the East Coast of the North Island, Napier is inspired by the 1930s Art Deco period. The town itself has a small airport to fly into, or it is about a 4 hour drive north from New Zealand’s capital, Wellington.
Craggy Range is a smaller mountain range not far from Napier, New Zealand mentioned above. As you can see from these photos, the range itself is so unique and breathtaking.
What brought me here specifically was a winery WHICH WAS INCREDIBLE so if you want to sip on some great wine while overlooking this mountain range then head to Craggy Range Vineyards. Out of all of the wineries I’ve visited in NZ, this one was by far the most memorable and personable.
Like a lot of the other spots mentioned, I’m sure there are many wine tours that go around and explore this area. The Hawkes Bay Region is one of the top wine regions in New Zealand.
# 8Coastal Walkway –
Now that we’ve appreciated the east of the North Island, let’s head to the west!
The Coastal Walkway runs along New Plymouth, New Zealand, it’s a series of paths that connect to wrap around the coastline. New Plymouth also has a small airport and the walkway itself meets downtown for easy access.
What’s great about it, is you can start the path at any point and still get gorgeous views of rocky beaches and (if you’re lucky) Mount Taranaki.
These pictures don’t completely do it justice as I had horrible luck with the weather for the most part.. There is supposed to Mt. Taranaki (this gorgeous, dome, dormant volcano) through the end of those white arches.
So insert this mountain (when I had good weather) in that white archway & call it a day 🙂 But seriously, it’s just such a peaceful walk and theres some insanely cool tide pools that get exposed during low tide. New Plymouth PRIDES themselves on the Coastal Walkway it’s so cute!
#9Mount Monganui –
Moving to the north part of the North Island, we have Mt. Monganui.
The towns surrounding Mt. Monganui are nice but the mountain itself is the real destination in my opinion. You can do around a 2-hour hike to get to the top (which I keep bugging my boyfriend that we have to do at sunrise) and I’m positive the few is absolutely stunning.
I found this little peninsula to sit an watch the sun set down behind the mountain.
Even if you don’t care for the Lord of the Rings or Hobbit movies, I still think this is really worth the money. Before going here, I honestly barely watched part of one movie…. oops. There’s so many tour options to get here and explore (from Auckland, Rotorua, etc).
Each tour even includes a free drink at the Green Dragon!
*pro tip* try to go for the final tour of the day: I did and we got offered all the extra beer that was already poured for free.
Thanks so much if you’ve read this far. I’ve been meaning to put this list together for a while now & I had so much fun putting it together. ANY questions at all about New Zealand or ANY travel questions please don’t hesitate to contact me or leave it in the comments! I want this to be helpful for you.
Have you ever wanted to travel to New Zealand?
What places on the list sound most interesting to you?
Back in 2017 on a family trip through parts of Europe I made sure to stop by Halstatt, Austria. I’ve mentioned this in the past, but one way I find really unique and photogenic places to travel to is by searching a country or part of the world and go to google images. It sounds simple, and honestly it really is. That’s how I found out about Halstatt and also about Thun, Switzerland (which I talk about my 3 hour trip there, here).
Hallstatt is a village on Lake Hallstatt’s western shore in Austria’s mountainous Salzkammergut region. Its 16th-century Alpine houses and alleyways are home to cafes and shops; a funicular railway connects to Salzwelten.
Halstatt is definitely off the beaten path. From Vienna we took a couple busses, a special train that only goes here and then boat to go across the gorgeous lake.
It has become more and more touristy, so be worn about that. Although it is most definitely worth the trip if you have the chance. Halstatt is exactly as it seems: isolated, stunning and relatively quiet (if you minus all the tourists). As I went a couple years ago I’m sure it’s gotten even more popular by now. Not long after I went I heard that I think in China they created a town completely based off Halstatt, and I don’t blame them!
It’s just such a photogenic spot with all the ivy filled alleyways and cute shops.
There is a couple paths to head up steep hills that overlook the whole town – and wowowow.
It’s one of those places that is so cute and perfect looking that you don’t even think its a real place. I can totally see why so many people flock here to visit.
Although I was just there for a few hours, I can totally see myself wanting to go back and stay a couple nights or something. There were some longer pathways stretching around the lake which I’m sure went past some more gorgeous areas.
There’s just something about a mountainous skyline that just make it so much more fun to look at.
If you ever end up in Austria or are passing through and are looking for somewhere to kill a half a day, go here. The perfect European experience.
Have you ever been to Austria?
I hope all of you are well! I’ll be back soon with more interesting content. If you’ve read this far I’d love to connect further and get to know more people on here!!!
I’m not a photographer, nor do I have fancy equipment; I admire those that have a great eye for it! I occasionally post content I’m proud of over on my instagram.
Within the last week, I whipped out an old camera of mine. I wanted to see if myself and my instagram followers could even tell the difference between my Iphone camera quality and my camera. Spoiler alert, they could tell.
I also don’t really use any equipment other than my tripod (which I 10/10 recommend as it comes with the bluetooth remote & also an attachment to use for your Iphone).
It’s super easy to use and it was super reasonable. Anyway, other than that I don’t use any equipment as I’m just starting to figure it all out.
Any tips? Lets chat!
Mainly, what prompted this, was wanting to create better quality photos for brands and other products that I love. For example, this post where I talk about my favorites, I hope in the future to provide better quality photos to go along with it. What’s funny is when I first started this blog over two years ago, from the start I chose to use my camera to get better quality photos. For example, this post where I talk about some of my travel packing essentials.
Anyway, kind of a mini blog post here. Get excited for the better quality content to come.
As always, thanks for reading. I’ve been appreciating all the support so much.
A little throwback to a trip to Germany I took just over a year ago to visit my brother studying abroad in Berlin. I did get to travel around the country a bit and see so many gorgeous castles but I was also really impressed with Berlin. Stay tuned because I definitely have a list of my top coffee spots in Berlin as well. I was suuuuuper impressed with their specialty coffee culture.
Okay, back to the photo spots.
Overall, I spent around 4-5 days in Berlin alone so I had some time to venture around. If you’re interested in other European adventures I have them all here.
The East Side Gallery
Probably the most obvious answer but there are so many gorgeous murals miles down to choose from. Depending on when you go and what murals you choose (as some are more famous than others), you can get a good spot to take photos.
These are some of my favorites.
If I’m being honest I didn’t realize that this landmark was in Berlin until I arrived late at night from the airport, looked up, and saw this massive gate.
As this is a really popular landmark, getting a photo can be hard. This is why I decided to take a different angle and get down on the sidewalk. Genuinely a gorgeous site in person; it’s also really stunning all lit up at night.
The International Spy Museum
If I’m remembering correctly the admission price was kinda pricy but it was a very interesting museum. Lots of interactive portions and puzzles to solve. The lighting overall was pretty dark but they had cool backdrops.
They had this area where you could dress up in “spy clothes” and pick a backdrop.
I was feeling fancy so I even just picked a random wall! wooo!!
Like most European cities, the architecture really lines the streets. Pretty straight forward but it makes a decent photo opportunity.
Coffee Shops & Cafes
Like I mentioned earlier, I’m definitely going to dedicate a whole post to Berlin’s coffee culture but they are some super cute spots. This one (Bonanza coffee) had a cute little window spot.
In the short time I was in Berlin those are my favorite photo spots. I’m sure there are some great ones that I missed. Check back for more posts on my trips across Germany.
It has been a while and I didn’t intend for that to happen. I have traveled around New Zealand so much more and have wanted to post about it, but haven’t found the time or motivation. I am blogging for me first and foremost; I guess I needed time to breathe a bit and miss it.
Mid-semester break was not too long ago. Since then, school work has piled up & balancing that with travels has been hectic. I plan to make posts about some of the awesome places I’ve visited: Coromandel Peninsula, Tauranga, Auckland, New Plymouth, Taupo, Te Kuiti, etc. So they are coming don’t worry!!!!! ALSOOO simultaneously popping by new coffee shops in Dunedin and thinking of following up on this post.
Studying abroad comes with a lot of free time, a lot of time to let your mind wander or even get lost. It’s mini trips or walking around new places in town that grounds me. (like I am in New Zealand huh???)
I have to admit the one thing I have been keeping up with for the most part is my twitter (so check that out for more photos & updates).
Sorry this has been more of a ramble, but the plan this week is to get back on the grind.
I am looking forward to documenting my journey. All of the support so far has been amazing, so thank you.
Rotorua is a popular tourist destination located around 2-3 hours from Auckland in the North Island of New Zealand. Rotorua is known not only for their famous geothermal pools, but also because of their close proximity to Hobbiton!!! (I did a whole post on Hobbiton here).
lets do this
Rotorua is famous for their geothermal pools. Whats convenient is you can visit some for free and they are just off the main street in town. There are some more elaborate ones and pools you can swim in; some are free and some cost a lot so keep your eye out.
What I found funny, was how these hot spots will pop up occasionally at random spots (even peoples backyards!) I loved the eeriness of this walk. Its a pretty big park with a bunch of geothermal areas to explore.
Next up was Skyline Rotorua. It is one of those super tourist attractions with a bunch of activities at one spot. BUT it is still worth the trip 100%!
The gondola ride to the top of the hill (maybe it was a small mountain??) was gorgeous. There was a mountain biking festival going on that weekend, so going up and down the hill you could see people doing fancy tricks.
The luge had three tracks: a skyline beginner track and then an intermediate and advanced. The advanced was my personal favorite because there are little jumps that you don’t expect. There is padding and such at some of the sharp turns in case you spin out. The luge rides you can buy on its own in different quantities or in conjunction with other experiences. This picture above is the chair lift to take you back up to the top after going down the luge. At the top once you get off the gondola is a restaurant, gift shop and jelly belly store oddly enough.
Canopy Tours is a zip lining experience through the canopies of a rain forest. Whats awesome is its not just a zip line adventure, the company are advocates for looking after the native bird populations. So not only do you get to admire the forest, but the cost of the trip gives money to their organization to protect New Zealand’s native birds.
Of the 6 zip lines, the longest was 220m and I even got to zip line upside down!!!!!
Te Puia is a geothermal park/kiwi bird house/ Maori culture experience extravaganza. It is a massive complex with all the tourist activities you could need. Although I did not get to see it go off, there are 3 geysers that go off a few times a day. The park is pretty to walk around and learn a lot about the area and its culture. I highly recommend doing a day tour; the woman who gave mine was SO knowledgeable.
Along with the day tour, I did their evening culture experience. I think its so important to immerse yourself in different cultures and be open to the ways that other people live. The experience included a dinner as well.
Fancy Meow Cat Cafe
Now, if you know me. I can never pass up an opportunity to go to a cat cafe (check this out)! What was different about this one versus the others I’ve visited, is this one has some rescue cats but a majority are bred, fancy cats (ha! fancy meow cat cafe is fancy! who would’ve known)! Both kittens and older cats reside here and all are up for adoption. Did I mention that I love how cat cafes work??? It’s a meet and greet with loving creatures that just want a forever home.
Admission to the cafe includes a hot drink which was awesome!!! As you can hopefully see above is that they have a cute menu with cat-like names and yeah, I love it. The cafe looks a lot smaller from the outside, but once you go in there is a massive room around the side. The 17 cats that were there had a lot of room to themselves and places to escape to be away from any visitors.
There were many rag doll cats & I was very excited about it because I’ve never had the pleasure of meeting one before. Yes, they were very soft. The cafe is in the center of town so it’s really convenient to get to.
Last stop was Lake Rotorua. Even though it was raining, it was a nice walk & I mean the ducks looked like they were having a great time so it’s a win-win.
I’m really thankful for all of the adventures I have been able to go on. There are so many more to come very very sooooon!!!!!!!!! While in Rotorua I visited Hobbiton but gave it it’s own post if you want to check that out.
(peep some pictures flying over Christchurch)
I am looking forward to documenting my journey. All of the support so far has been amazing, so thank you.
This is the post I have been the MOST excited to write and also the post that I kept putting off in case my ordering changed. PSA it changed just an hour ago and it is final (with the exception that I could discover new cafes here in Dunedin in the future).
ANYWAY! I’m excited, I hope you’re excited, I think all the local penguins are excited so that should give you the extra push to be pumped.
A cafe hidden on a side street not far from the University campus. They have a wide array of hot and iced drinks (my recent favorite is their iced coffee, the equivalent of an American iced latte)
They have both indoor and an enclosed outdoor patio with ample seating. There is an outdoor heater and blankets scattered around so I am excited to take advantage of it when winter starts to pick up.
GOOD, FREE WIFI! Just ask for the password and they’ll hook you up!
Another bonus (I’m just loading on the bonuses oops) is the food is really good and not that expensive. On top of that, there’s options to satisfy any dietary requirements/restrictions. Wait one more… there is a takeaway window facing the sidewalk so if you are running around like a crazy maniac but still want your fix (ha fix at the fix im so funny) then they have your back!!
I LOVE coming here to get some homework done or even just to sit and relax with friends.
Peep another gorgeous aesthetic.
Oh, hey, did I say this is my favorite cafe in Dunedin? um, yes I did just say that.
so if you find yourself in the area it is not far from the Octagon, make the trip! & beware they have limited hours on Saturdays and are closed on Sundays :///
A cafe in between the Octagon and the railway station. A rustic feel with some homely antiques and art. It was the first coffee I got on my first morning in Dunedin and it did not disappoint. If you are after the perfect frothed milk, then this is your best bet.
They do have food options but I sadly haven’t gotten around to doing that yet. There is wifi but the barista mentioned that sometimes its really slow, all depending on how many people are using it.
What I appreciate most about the Magpie is how plain old cups don’t exist here. The pug cup up top is also from here WHICH IS SO EXCITING!
Hidden in a side alley surrounded by shops, one day I came across this gem. The baristas are the sweetest; although I’ve never had their sandwiches or baked goods, they are fresh every day and are proven to be popular. I love coming here for a quieter cafe vibe to focus on homework.
There is wifi!!! the password is up on the menu board in case you’re curious.
I wanted to stick to a top three, but decided I couldn’t leave this next one out. So, lets call this an honorable mention. here we go.
A cafe situated on the Otago Peninsula around 30 minutes drive or by bus outside Dunedin. Once again, a cafe with the sweetest baristas and great, fresh, reasonably priced food.
Even if you aren’t a tourist (or trying to tell yourself that you’re past that phase), its a really fun cafe to look around at all the posters and brochures. There’s a bunch of maps and books on the local area as well to have a pop in to see.
aaaaaaand yes there are cute photos of penguins
I had so much fun putting this together. I hope to put together more lists of things and places that I’ve found to be my favorite.
Shout out to those who are after the perfect cup of coffee, I hope you find it soon.
I am looking forward to documenting my journey. All of the support so far has been amazing, so thank you.