How was everyone’s first day of spring? I’m back in NY after what feels like a burst of back-to-back traveling but mentally, I’m still rocking this badass red swimsuit somewhere out in Mexico. Playing with shadows… jumping in the ocean…spending more time behind the lens than ever before. What more can a girl ask for? Every wild experience keeps me inspired to create and write and live and connect with you all. And we all know inspiration doesn’t always come easy after what feels like a long winter of hot toddy’s and oversized sweaters. Spring always gives me a rush of adrenaline and excitement. In with the new, out with the old…and not when it just comes to our closets. I’m excited for my new website (in the works), brand spankin’ new videos (subscribe now) and of course, Los Angeles (even for a few days for an upcoming shoot). Aaah, sunshine. Spring reminds me to take a little hop in my step and breathe a little more. Take more walks along the waterfront. Eat more fresh fruits. Spend more time with friends. Sing more. Take another dance class. Move more. Be inspired. I know, I know…my agenda is crazier than ever lately, and how could I do it all?! Sometimes I can’t even find the time to take that much-needed 1 hour pilates class. But I’m always working for that balance. I like that everyday feels different, especially when waking up in a new city. Tulum was a perfect getaway. I biked every single day. I lived in a bikini and loved the skin I was in, and embraced my body and it’s imperfections. No care in the world. Like I always say, imperfection is beauty. Say hello to spring!
You won’t believe how many bikinis I have tried and tested throughout my years here on NATALIE OFF DUTY and with just modeling alone. Over a decade of super fashionable and chic bikinis have been taken all over the world, but only a few that have held the test of time on countless white sandy beaches with their design. Here are a few that have worked so well for my body, and the various shapes and sizes of my friends. For my boyish body, I try to give myself as much curves as possible. This Vitamin A “neutra” swimsuit I sported in Mayakoba, Mexico has the most unbelievable fit, with still just enough coverage. It’s one of those swimmys to get in every single color, it’s that good. So here are some that could work for everyone who needs a little fun in the sun:
1. Vitamin A: Known for their super classic cuts in beautiful colors. The quality of their swimsuits are amazing, and their designs are timeless. Very Amalfi Coast.
2. Solid & Striped: I love their retro vibe…and of course, killer stripes in gorgeous color schemes. Their one-pieces work best with a simple pair of denim shorts. Beach ensemble complete.
3. Suboo: If you want something unique and stand-out, with great sheers, or ruffles, or cut-outs, Suboo is your swimmy.
4. Mikoh: If you want to go really cheeky…and I mean, literally. Known for their tiny, but beautiful hipsters. It has a super surfy vibe with a sexy, chic twist. They do Hawaiian prints perfectly.
5. She Made Me: crochet, crochet, crochet! She Made Me is handmade. Every single piece seems to feel different, but it’s their neutral soft color palettes that are romantic.
Another VLOG is out this week! Taking you from Tulum to Mayakoba, Mexico and through the white sandy beaches…one bikini at a time. Or shall I say, one cerveza at a time. I fully unleashed my inner jungle monkey this time around. Throughout this and next week, you’ll be able to shop each look from my adventure…so stay tuned.
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I’ve only heard amazing things of Tulum’s dreamy, white sandy beaches and eco-chic resorts. It was just what this New Yorker needed after what feels like a long, never-ending winter. Mexico’s hot sun, mouth-watering salsa, and pops of cerveza were calling my name! Plus, I’ve been dying to brush up on my Spanish. Every year, my sister Dylana and I plan a girls trip to bring together some of our favorite babes from around the world. We love anywhere with a bit of culture, lots of sun, and of course, somewhere picture perfect. Tulum was the place. We hopped on a plane straight for Cancun, before making the 2 hour drive to our off-the-beaten path beach. For trips like these, I’m always on my feet. I count on Teva to keep me covered and ready for just about anything. I packed 5 pairs. You know a girl needs her options! I love how they go with every single look, whether it be a bikini or a perfect sun dress. My Teva obsession began years ago…on the campgrounds at hot, hot Bonnaroo in Manchester, Tennessee. Which then lead us out to the jungles and hot springs of beautiful Costa Rica. And of course, we ended up even taking our Teva sandals back to NYC for fashion week, with a play on sock’s and sandal’s, one of my favorite trends. Let’s just say, no crazy adventure with my girls ever seems complete without them now.
For our first night in Tulum, we decided to “glamp.” Glamping Hub really got me into it. It allowed us to really feel the heartbeat of the town. We slept in beautiful huts under the stars at Joy Tulum. We caught up on life by our pool, giggling like little girls late into the night (it’s been a year since we’ve all seen each other), and woke to the sound of the birds chirping. I’m so excited to tell you a few spots we’ve visited during our stay. A friend recommended we walk to Burrito Amor for breakfast, a hip joint just by our campground.The amazing thing about this spot, and Mexico in general, is their love for colorful fruit and delicious spices and chilis. A breakfast burrito was exactly what I was craving after a long day of traveling. With our bellies full, we grabbed our camera equipment and set off for the cenotes…beautiful warm, bodies of water surrounded by trees and exotic birds. They’re fantastic places to swim. They’re so calm, you can float for hours. I never took my Teva sandals off, even when jumping off the highest ledge into the cenote. I always swim in them. They protect my feet and somehow make me feel safe.
Our next few days were in front and behind our cameras. We were ready for early mornings shootings on the water, and spent our next few nights in a beautiful apartment by the long stretch of white sandy beach. Lazy afternoons were spent at The Beach Hotel for lunch, a luxurious hotel with a super secluded and remote beach just steps from the bar. You can wander just far enough that not even a soul was in sight. Nights were spent at the Papaya Playa Project, a stunning seaside resort with loud jams to dance to, surrounded by the dark crushing waves and acres of preserved lush and trees. This is a super romantic date night spot, that’s also a ton of fun.
With amazing food and culture, comes a very diverse crowd. People from all over the world have settled in Tulum to bring vibrancy and diversity to the city. Here are a few more of my lunch and dinner recommendations. Dinner at Hartwood is a total must. Go for the beet salad, plantains, and white fish. So fresh and beautifully presented. This chic spot was started by a New Yorker, so expect a super cool and unique menu every single night. We found another more casual spot, Tunich Tulum, that’s great for lunch. Also started from an expat from Australia, it’s spin on a classic Mexican dish is both comforting and inspiring. But even with all of these amazing, innovative food choices, sometimes all we really wanted to was an authentic Mexican classic plate of rice, beans, and a few good tacos. It’s the type of food I grew up eating, and I was craving it hard. That, of course, you can find anywhere off the side roads in Playa del Carmen…the town where the locals live by Tulum. When our driver picked us up at the airport, all I wanted were tacos. He took us to a tiny hole-in-the-wall on the side of the road. Simple pollo tacos with cilantro and onions, and served with delicious salsa in tiny plastic bags. Classic, and easy.
From Tulum, we spent a few nights in Mayakoba, just an hour away to stay at the stunning Fairmont Mayakoba resort. I traded in my sandy leather hat and dusty overall shorts for bold red dresses and luxurious printed kaftans. My Teva sandals love to be styled every which way. Up or down. It’s amazing having a beach shoe to dance in and still hike in the next morning. Mayakoba has absolutely stunning beaches as well. It’s the perfect place to really decompress at the end of a long, adventure trip with a few much-needed moments by the pool. I’m still missing the hustle and bustle of the people and spirit in Tulum. Until next time will our sandy sandals wait.
Lunch at The Beach Hotel, Tulum
Breakfast at Burrito Amor.