Pura Vida!

Holaaa amigos y Pura Vida!!

2018 has already been a whirlwind of adventure but I am happy to say that as crazy as these first few months have been, I am finally settling in and starting an exciting, new journey. As some of you may have seen I moved to Costa Rica!!


This move wasn’t totally random, it has been in the works for a few months now since I decided I wanted to leave Vietnam but I finally landed a dream job and arrived here in Costa Rica at the beginning of March! I am currently living and working in the city of Cartago, a short drive outside of the capital of San Jose.

If I had to use any word to describe my experience thus far in Costa Rica, I would use the word BEAUTIFUL! I mean look at this, it speaks for itself.

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This is a park and lookout point to the Orosi Valley which is a town in the Cartago Province. I plan to spend many weekends here doing yoga, reading books and hopefully marinating in my hammock enjoying the sunshine and fresh air. This is what Pura Vida is all about! Everything that I have seen and experienced so far here in Costa Rica is leading me to believe that I will probably love everything here in this country.

As I said earlier, I’m finally settling into a new job, new country, new lifestyle and I couldn’t be more excited and happy with the decisions that have led me up to this point. On an exciting note, Costa Rica is my 10th country I have visited, finally taking me into the double digits, and the 2nd foreign country I have lived in. I am not really one for New Year resolutions, but I am striving to continue doing things that challenge me, scare me and most of all, make ME happy! Pura Vida!!



Now & Then


Flashback to 2014: First time traveling abroad solo and volunteering in Lima, Peru. Fearful, nervous, excited and full of wanderlust.

Flash forward to the present (2017): Been living and working in Saigon for the past (almost) ten months. Still sometimes nervous, excited and full of wanderlust but not so fearful anymore as I am about to embark onto the next adventure of traveling and exploring more of Southeast Asia. Aspiring to be more minimal and living out of a backpack for the first time (only a short 3 weeks, baby steps!). I’ve donated about half my wardrobe I brought here with me and I am ready to embrace the gypsy lifestyle. Funny how life can change so much in just three years.

These boots are on move and they are coming for you Vietnam! First up, Phu Quoc Island! Don’t worry mama I will keep in touch like always 🙂



Flashback Friday: Harry Potter World, Universal 

I’m dedicating this flashback Friday to one of my favorite places….Harry Potter World in Universal Studios, Florida! As previously mentioned, I am a huge Harry Potter fan and so is my family so when I graduated from college, we took a celebratory trip to Harry Potter World!

As anticipated, this place is magical. As a full grown adult you can run around with a wand shouting spells at people and it’s totally normal and non judgmental. We even sat at a table in Diagon Alley drinking ciders and muggle watching one day. It was the best. 

The food at the Leaky Cauldron and the Three broomsticks is actually good for theme park food. We had a feast for the four of us and it was plenty. Butter beers were a must in the August Florida heat.

We stayed at one of Universal’s resorts which had many benefits: we didn’t have to drive anywhere because there are water taxis that will take you back and forth, we received a fast pass that let us cut some of the lines for rides and we had a pool to come back to during the afternoon heat.

One important thing to remember when going to places like Universal is to do your research! We went at the end of August when Florida schools were back in session so we avoided the big crowds and long lines.

I’ll be the first to admit that I have not traveled and explored enough in my own country but I can confidently say that if the opportunity arose for me to return to Harry Potter World, I would go in a heartbeat. It is truely a magical place where childhood dreams become a reality. 

Happy Friday y’all!



Home Sickness is a B

Living abroad has it perks there’s no doubt about it but we all have those days when you just want to stay in bed all day and cry. Home sickness can be a real betch. Today has been one of those days for me and I’m still trying to figure out the best ways to cope. Here’s how I’ve made it through the day today and like many other homesick days:

  1. Making a to-do list for today and the week- It’s a great way to actually accomplish something and force myself to not just wallow in self-pity all day.  When you’ve got things to do, leave the damn apartment Kara and do something with yaaaa life. Writing this blog post was one of the items on my list so I can proudly say I have accomplished everything I needed to today!
  2. Exercising & Drinking a hot water with lemon- Do I want to do anything today? Absolutely not and especially not when I’m tired, cranky, sad, PMSing and wanting to be miserable. The inner Tone It Up girl inside of me was telling me that I should do something good for my body so I drank a hot water with lemon and forced myself to do some yoga flow workout video. I’ve been getting into Alo Yoga’s videos on their Youtube channel and so far I’m a fan. It felt good to be active since as I will describe below in #3, I ate a bagel sandwich and another half of a bagel with pineapple schmear 🙂
  3. Comfort Food- This is not the greatest or suggested way to cope with emotions but I never said I was an expert. I’m a human who likes to eat food and even more when I’m sad and homesick. If I was going to eat breakfast anyways, why not make it a New York style bagel breakfast sandwich to make me feel better about myself? Delicious and not nutritious but extremely pleasing. There’s nothing quite like a egg bagel sandwich made by my mama (hers are the bomb) but Saigon Bagel is a close second.

Alas it is Sunday night so that means I have made it through my day and survived this bout of home sickness. YAY! Little victories y’all. One thing I am going to aim to be better at after today is to set goals and intentions for the week and month. I started doing this a few months ago and as I became busier with work, I have failed to continue this practice. I want to remain positive and remind myself of my purpose for being here in Vietnam so I am going to be better at this. If anyone out there is reading this and has any ideas or ways they deal with their home sickness, please feel free to share! I would love to hear how others deal with that betch who sometimes always seems to find it’s way in. Night Night!!



Buffalo Basics

Currently sitting at the airport waiting for my plane to arrive, feeling happy and sad at the same time. Spending the past two weeks at home in Buffalo with loved ones was a dream♥ I thought it would be weird going home for the first time since moving abroad but it felt like nothing had changed. The people, the places, everything was as I remembered (in a good way). I would summarize the past two weeks as a mix of old and new; Buffalo, or I should say Mick, staples with some new adventures thrown in.

Greatest highlight of the trip: Meeting my nephew Fishy baby!!!!Within hours of meeting him, he fell asleep in the arms and it was the most precious moment I’ve had with a baby thus far. Being an aunt is my favorite new job 🙂 P.S. I know I look real good in my Sabres pajamas & vintage ninja turtle t shirt. I can actually say I woke up like dissss.

I totally broke on my vegetarianism multiple times but I couldn’t resist at one of my mom & I’s favorite spot Tony’s. Our love for burgers, curly fries & ice cream never changes.

Another thing that never changes in Buffalo is the love for the Bills. They may be one of the worst teams in the NFL many years in a row but there is a special place in every Buffalonian’s heart for the Bills. We hit up the preseason game versus the Minnesota Vikings and drank plenty of Blue lights.

I wanted to check out new local noms while I was home so we went to Fry Baby Donuts on Elmwood to try the vegan donuts. They did not disappoint. The donuts are huge and packed with flavor. My personal favorite was the raspberry peach tye dye donut. The icing on the peach flavored donuts tastes just like peach rings. Amazinggggg.

We also totally stole Sarah from work and sat on the side of the road eating donuts and taking this selfie. The things we do for the blog 💁🏻

My mama & I made gnocchi for the first time together and they turned out to be a success! It was a lot easier than I ever thought and only required 3 simple ingredients: potatoes, an egg and flour. 

I could go on forever about all the fun I had these past two weeks so instead I’ll just show y’all some of my favorite moments. A picture is worth a thousand words right?


Now that I’m on my way back to ‘Nam, I am promising to (really) get back to the blog grind. That and getting my behind to a gym 😐. Good bye Buffalo & hello again Vietnam!









Half Year Celebration Highlights: Hoi An & Hanoi

Stops #2 and #3 on the Girls Trip / Food Tour: Hoi An and Hanoi, Vietnam

Of all the places I have traveled in Vietnam, Hoi An has been my favorite! The beach, the lanterns, the coconut cream coffee, I loved it all! There’s nothing like a fresh mango juice and rum on the beach 😎

 We rented bikes from our hostel, got lost in the streets of Hoi An and found some delicious veggo Vietnamese food! Cao lau is a dish local to the town of Hoi An.

After a few days in Hoi An, we flew to Hanoi which is Vietnam’s capital city. We tried the famous egg coffee at a cafe overlooking the lake on a perfectly hazy and misty day. My take on egg coffee: interesting eggy flavor, I prefer the coconut.

Next stop on the Girls Trip / Food Tour was…. the Phillipines! Stay tuned y’all, more highlights to come!



Half Year Celebrations

Hey there blog world!

I know I have been completely and entirely MIA for the past month. I sincerely apologize for that but I have been here, there and everywhere working my booty off! The past 6 weeks of summer camp are finally coming to an end and there is a light at the end of the tunnel! I’m getting ready to travel back home to New York for two weeks of vacation post camp and I am dedicating myself to getting back on my blog grind.

The first week of August marks 6 months of me living here in Vietnam, how crazy is that?!? Time really does fly by when you’re having fun. I can see how people come here wanting to only stay for a year and end up staying a lot longer. I can’t even believe I’ve  been here for half a year! That being said, the past 6 months of traveling and living abroad have taught me a lot about myself and the world around me that I can’t wait to continue to share with all of you! Like I said earlier, I feel like I’ve been here, there and (not even close to) everywhere but I am still finding my way on this beautiful journey! To kick start my return to the blog grind, I want to share some of the highlights and lowlights of my time spent abroad in these last 6 months. Traveling and living abroad certainly has it’s ups and downs but it’s up to you to decide if it is all worth it in the end!

Cue the highlight reel!

Girls Trip/ Food Tour of Vietnam- This was my first time traveling here in Vietnam and I got to explore many parts of the country with new friends! Luckily they enjoyed eating food (and garlic bread) as much as I do 🙂 This was my first glimpse into some of the beauty that Vietnam has to offer.

First stop on the tour: Danang, Vietnam

Danang Food Tour (veggo edition) & the Lady Buddha


Walking along the beach and trying the local cuisine were some of my favorite parts of this trip! Well, until tomorrow readers! I will share my next highlights from the girls trip! Cheers y’all!

Kara Lou