My Trip to Punta Cana (and a funny story)

So about a month ago I left for my Summer 2018 Vacation to Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic. I originally was only going to write about the 5 Things I Learned Traveling to the Dominican Republic but a few people have asked me to just write about my general trip. It’s been a little close to three weeks since I left Punta Cana but everyone who knows me knows I have not stopped thinking, talking, and dreaming about it since I got back so maybe once I write about it in detail I will get over this spell (doubt it but it’s worth a shot! Haha).

  • What airline did we fly?

We flew on Delta Airlines and this had been my first time flying Delta as an adult. I enjoyed how much stuff there was to do on the plan. There was a wide selection of movies (I watched Black Panther) and games on a monitor on the back of the seat. The roundtrip ticket came out to $800 once we added insurance for our luggage.

  • What resort did we stay at?

We stayed at Breathless Punta Cana. The story of how we chose our resort is funny. We both were doing our research looking for the best all-inclusive resort we could find. I came across Breathless and they only bad review I saw said it was too much of a party resort. Sounds like a good problem to me. I texted Lizeth and told her I liked Breathless and she said she was sold when she read the same review saying it was too much of a party resort. I knew we were going to have a good time! For 9 nights and 8 days we paid around $3,200 all together which came out to around $1,600 each which honestly for all you can eat and drink, a gym, and everything else the resort has to offer, it was worth it and more.

We arrived late at night on Wednesday July 18th. When we got in our arranged transportation he handed us a can of El Presidente (DR’s local beer) and we drank as we took in the fact that we were actually in the Dominican Republic. We finally got to the hotel and we could hear the party going already. We checked in, got our keys, hurried to our room, showered, got ready, and went to see what was happening. The first thing we did when we left the room was go to the lobby bar and order some drinks while there was some karaoke night type thing going on. I tried to order a Paloma (tequila and squirt) and learned quickly that that’s not a thing in the DR. I got tequila and sprite instead and it tasted like shit! Haha I literally almost spit it out. Maybe I would just have to stick to drinking tequila sunrises. Finally we made our way to the bar upstairs. The vibe was great. I loved the variety of music they played. From Top 40 hits, to old school rap, to Bachata and Reggaeton, I was definitely feeling the vibes. After a whole day of traveling and a night of dancing and drinking, we went back to our room to rest.

What did a typical day at the Resort look like:

Punta Cana Lizeth Mara

Up until Tuesday when we went to Saona, our days were pretty standard assuming neither of us had a hangover and needed to rest a bit. We always missed breakfast until a few days before we left because we could never find ourselves ready to go by 10am and they stopped letting people in the breakfast buffet at 10:45ish. Our first day we went to eat lunch, chilled at the beach for a little bit. I enjoyed reading on the beach, writing a little bit, standing in the water and checking in with myself, saying some affirmations, and meditating. Finally, we went to the freestyle pool which had music playing and the party we had been looking for. Within a few hours I knew this was where we would be spending most of our days at the resort. We quickly befriended the bartenders (always a good thing to do no matter where you find yourself) and they told us there would be a foam party later that night that they would be back for after the pool closed to be cleaned/set-up and they went to get food. We threw on our cover-ups over our swimsuits, ate at some fancy French restaurant (in retrospect this was a horrible idea because the portions were small and we had been drinking all day and planned to keep going), and freshened up a little bit, and headed back to the pool. The foam party was a blast! Unfortunately there was only one the whole time we were there because I loved it. We definitely didn’t make it out for the night time activities because we were both exhausted and drunk as hell.

What was the funniest thing that happened on our trip?

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So Friday was very similar to Thursday but the only thing that differed the next day was that Lizeth had a paper to write on her study abroad trip and I resolved I was going to the gym at the resort while she finished writing her paper. The gym was actually a really nice fitness area. It had mostly everything I wanted (excluding a stairmaster) but honestly it was so humid in there I probably would have passed out if I even tried it (the only other day I worked out was the second to last day before we left). I got back to the room, showered, and waited as Lizeth finished up her paper and we left for the beach to repeat what we had done the day before. However this night ended differently because I got wayyy to fucking drunk because I thought the pool bar closed at 6pm and we didn’t make it out to the pool until 5pm. What was my solution for this? Taking 10 shots of tequila in an hour. No I’m not exaggerating. I counted them. The pool bar only closed at 6pm on nights they had pool parties, which they didn’t so it was actually open until 7pm. Long story short, we stayed until 7pm, only God knows how many more shots I took after that. I also had some shots called Scooby Doo (like the song, Scooby Do Pa Pa) and Pink Pussy. I couldn’t really tell you what is in either of them but they are both fruity and sweet. I’m pretty we also had some Mama Juana which is a local drink in the DR made with rum, red wine, honey, and bark. THAT is some dangerous stuff. Anyways, after all of this… it was a hot mess express. We went back to our hotel room and ate shit in front of our room door. The entire village (aka our floor) came out to help us up (after hearing the thuds of us falling down, I’m sure), and we couldn’t stop laughing. My drunk ass laid down on the shower floor and ended up flooding our room we knocked the power card out so there was no light in our room! I legit called it “Noah’s Arc.” The cleaning ladies noticed water coming out of our room and were talking to Lizeth in spanish trying to sweep the water out of the room with a broom! Finally Lizeth got them to leave and just threw all of our blankets on the floor to soak up the mess. We pissed somebody off because they didn’t give us blankets for the rest of our trip lmaooo. All of that

What Excursion(s) did we go on:

Saona Island

We didn’t leave the resort for an excursion until Tuesday when we decided to go to Saona Island. This was also the first day we made it to breakfast because they were picking us up at 7:25am and told us to eat beforehand because lunch was until 1pm. We picked up other people from their resorts and had an hour and half drive until we made it to where the boat was. I wish I had packed some snacks because a rushed breakfast, unlimited rum & coke on a boat, made me hungry and a little (a lot) drunk. I really didn’t think I was going to make it to the Island. For real for real, I thought I was going to be the drunk bitch throwing up in the Caribbean Sea, bringing dishonor to me and my family.  We first had snorkeling in the sea, then we went to the blue lagoon, and we finally made it to the Island. I loved Saona Island sooo much. The water was clear and beautiful (but salty, don’t open your eyes), the sands was so soft (I was playing in it for like 10 mins because drunk me couldn’t believe how soft it was!), and it was just incredible. In my 25 years of life it was one of the most beautiful sights I have ever seen. The trip was quite a long one, we didn’t get back until 6:30pm that night but I’d do it again. I highly recommend going.

Overall Experience:

I really enjoyed my vacation in Punta Cana (if you couldn’t tell haha). I really feel like it is somewhere I can see myself going many more times in my life. I enjoyed staying at Breathless Resort very much and all of the staff there were amazing. Everyone was so kind to us and hospitable. I honestly wish I could move into the resort but unfortunately I’m still a broke-ish upcoming law student so that will have to wait. Maybe one day.

One thing I would change:

Saona Island (2)

I wish we had done more excursions. I’m definitely going to plan for that when I go back…probably sooner than later. I know I want to go to Hoyo Azul and a tour of Santo Domingo the next time I’m there. I also want to consider staying in an AIRBNB for a day or two just to see how it is to be off the resort, but we’ll see.

I would say if anybody is considering a vacation to somewhere beautiful with friendly locals and an overall great time, they have to go to Punta Cana and you should stay at Breathless because it is the best! However, even if you can’ t go to Punta Cana, taking a vacation for a few days is a good way to ground yourself and reconnect with yourself. In the moments I was on the beach or sober (shit, sometimes even drunk), I enjoyed checking it with myself, my emotions, and just being at peace.

Have you taken a trip somewhere recently that you fell in love with? It doesn’t have to be abroad. Let me know in the comments! I’m always looking for traveling suggestions.

Things I Wish I Knew When I Started Blogging

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Ever since I started blogging, many of my friends have come to me for advice about starting their own blog. I love this because it means they notice that I’m doing things and as a blogger, recognition is good. However, having to give advice over Snapchat or Instagram messages is harder and time consuming than I have time for so I decided to write this post. These tips can also apply to anyone in an online creative type of work such as podcasting or running a specialized Instagram page. From one amateur blogger to the next, these are the things I wish I knew when I started blogging.

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  • Put aside a few consecutive hours a week to focus on blog related things. (Really focus!)

Honestly, if you can master this and make it a habit, the rest of these things will come pretty easily to you. My biggest struggle over the last year and half or so has been finding the time to just sit down and work on my blog for extended periods of time, without distractions. I read a post from Mattie James (mattiejames.com) that discusses the concept of batch work. Batch work is basically creating a bunch of content all at once. My effectiveness in this comes and goes but as of lately it’s been something I am aiming to make routine.

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  • Figure out your main topics/focus aka niche (Keep this list small)

When I first started blogging I wanted to talk about everything under the sun: health and fitness, pop culture, social justice issues, self-growth and development, mental health, anything and everything. It wasn’t until after I tried writing about all of these topics and realized that I was headed nowhere fast that I decide to dial back on the topics I was going to focus on for my blog. Now I focus on self-reflection, self-growth/self-development, and goal-setting with a sprinkle of health and fitness and travel thrown in every so often. Keeping your list of topics small is key to avoiding being overwhelmed as a blogger. Even the person who loves writing more than life CAN’T write about everything. I know that once I establish myself as a blogger with a brand, other opportunities to talk about my various interests will present themselves.

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  • Consistently creating content (and posting it) is the hardest thing to master.

It’s so funny because whenever people ask me what advice I have about blogging I tell them “don’t underestimate how hard it is to consistently write and create content.” Many of the time they tell me they’re not worried about that because they have so many things to write about that creating content won’t be hard for them. Fast forward a few weeks later and either 1. They haven’t started their blog because they’re busy or 2. They have started it but only post once in a blue moon (like myself, guilty as charged haha). The thing people don’t understand is that writing a blog post isn’t hard (per say) but what is hard is writing a blog post worth reading. There have been many times I have written a post, read it back, tried to edit it, and just realized it wasn’t even worth reading for me, much less to put out. Creating consistent and worthy content is hard. Don’t underestimate it.

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  • Friends =/= Supporters and that’s okay! (Don’t take it personal)

Just because you are friends with someone does not mean they are obligated to support your blog. I know. That sounds insane. Why wouldn’t your friends support you? They’re your friends! That’s what friends do for each other. I know that’s what we’re taught to believe but the fact of the matter is that friends =/= supporters and that doesn’t make them bad people. Maybe your niche is just not FOR THEM. When I first started blogging I was sad that all of my friends weren’t reading my blog (the clicks don’t lie!) but then I realized that doesn’t matter. I love all of my friends and our differences in interests and hobbies. That being said if one of my friends started a horseback riding podcast I can’t necessarily say I would be tuning in every week to hear about life at the stables. I probably would retweet all of their new episodes but that’s as far as that would go. That doesn’t make me a bad person. Some people won’t even retweet you, and that’s fine too. We are all inclined to support things that interest us. I know my content isn’t for everybody, I focus on writing for the people who it’s intended for.

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  • Reading other bloggers, watching blogging webinars, and whatever else is useless if you don’t apply the knowledge! (Seriously, don’t waste your time)

I tried to read every blog post and watch every webinar I could about blogging when I first started. There where countless Google searches for content about blogging from my phone and laptop. If it was free, it was for me! After reading and watching all of this stuff I can say I have maybe applied 1 or 2 things out of the 25 I’ve learned. That’s because I was more focused on indulging in information to try to imitate the greats instead of reading/learning some and then applying it, reading/learning something else and applying, and so on and so on. I’m sure I would have gotten way farther in a quicker time if I took it one step at time. This whole blogger life is a learning process though and Mara went through it so you don’t have to!

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  • This shit is not cheap/free (If you want to be next level)

Okay so I never knew that I was going to have to spend so much money JUST to make blog appear legit. Between having my own domain, needing a PO Box for my newsletter, paying for stock photos, and eventually attending blogging conventions, this blogging life gets REAL costly REAL quick! If blogging is just a hobby for you it’s not something you have to worry about but I eventually want to take my blog to another level as a source of income like many of the women I admire. If you have similar ambitions as me, it’s going to cost you before it pays you. Don’t get discouraged and make sure you can finance your dreams.

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  • Engagement is a major key.

Okay so something I’ve recently learned is blogging doesn’t stop at the blog posts. In order to have people actually give a damn about what you have to say, you have to engage with your social media followers. I know that is so obvious…how didn’t realize it before? I don’t know, honestly. Even after reading it from many people who blog it never clicked until recently.

This is just a little bit of what I wosh I knew when I started blogging. Even with utilizing these tips there are still so many things left for bloggers to learn. The best thing is to do your research! Here are some of my favorite blogging resources where I read up on blogging tips and sometimes even score a free webinar or two. 

  • MattieJames.com
  • Bloguettes.com
  • LostGenYGirl.com 

If you are fellow blogger or have a postcast/website, I wish you luck and success! It’s not an easy task to be successful on these e-streets. 

Are you a blogger? What is one thing you wish you knew when you started blogging? Let me know in the comments!