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Tiles by Vanessa

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Key West, FL, United States : Blue Heaven Key West is a funky little restaurant off the beaten path with the signature, laid back Key West atmosphere and amazing Caribbean inspired food. Sit outside under the trees and umbrellas to dine among the roosters, hens and baby chicks. (BTW, they have the right of way in Key West so watch out for them!) There’s usually a mellow band playing in the evenings. Be sure to make reservations for dinner and order the yellowtail snapper beurre blanc. Don't skip the key lime pie!

Silver Palm Place, Jeffersonville, IN, United States : Awesome boutique hotel 3 blocks from Duval street. Silver Palms Inns is great because it’s new and affordable. Our room had a pocket door to separate the living area and the bedroom and it wasn’t a suite! It also had a little balcony overlooking the street. Everything felt clean and new. So nice! Great lounge chairs around the pool and they rent bikes, which is the best way to see the town.

So much fun! There’s a live band every night and the dance floor is packed when the cruise ships are in port. You’re likely to see bachelor and bachelorette parties, toga parties and even a guy in a banana suit on the dance floor of Sloppy Joes. Be sure to skip the food, it’s not worth it and you’ll probably have to wait a while at the bar for a drink. But the staff is great and the atmosphere is energetic! You can go to their website and check out the live web cam.

Keywest, Florida: Best breakfast on the island! Nothing tops sitting on the beach in an open air restaurant drinking mimosas and eating crab and shrimp omelets! The Caribbean vibe for lunch and dinner is awesome at Southernmost Beach Cafe Key West and the bartender makes a great mojito. Bring your beach bag and spend the afternoon because this is one of the only beaches on the key. Walk or ride a scooter/bike as there isn’t much parking. It’s also only 2 blocks from the Southernmost buoy but beware there is usually a line of tourists waiting to pose next to it.

You have to get the girls together for Isle Style! Amazing eco friendly salon, spa and boutique! You can get it all here and a complimentary glass of champagne. I highly recommend a pedicure and private, outdoor, garden massage. And the boutique has the cutest boho sundresses. The atmosphere is tranquil and serene. Prices are surprisingly affordable. The wait staff is super sweet. We felt so pampered and luxurious. This place is perfect after a long day of shopping on Duval Street or sunbathing by the pool.

I know a state park doesn’t sound like the best place to hang out but trust me on this one. The Keys are not known for their beaches. Fort Zachary Taylor State Park is the best little beach on Key West. Lay out on the sand or grab snorkel gear and check out the bright parrot fish right off the beach. So cool! There’s a little beach café that will do in a pinch. Oh, and there is a pretty cool fort if you’re interested in that!

A little outdoor Conch shack at the beginning of Duval Street. If you’re not looking for it, you’ll miss it. Conch fritters are popular in the Keys and the Conch Shack fries them up better than anyone! Stop by on your stroll down Duval and order the Conch balls. But, don’t expect to sit down. There are only 5 stools.

The Green Parrot is where the locals go. Just a few blocks from Duval, the drinks are cheaper and the décor is more unique. An open air bar with relaxed atmosphere. This is a great place to just chill out and get away from the tourists and hubbub. The nightly bands are not the cover bands found on Duval so you’ll enjoy up and coming bands on the Key West circuit.

Skip all the Fury kiosks and go with Sunset Water Sports Sunset Cruise. Their large catamaran has live calypso bands, 2 full bars, a dance floor and great seats to watch the sunset. The cruise we went on had more of a party crowd on board. The vibe was energetic, the bartender was great and the calypso band was a lot of fun. Oh, and the sunset was beautiful. We heard great things about the dinner cruise as well.

Hot Springs, AR, United States : The Bath Factory is the cutest little bath shop full of handmade soaps and essentials. Located in Downtown Hot Springs, almost everything sold in the store is made right there on site. I met the owner, manager, sales associate, bath soap maker and she is truly passionate about her work. The soaps look beautiful and smell wonderful. It was such a pleasure to buy quality, handmade soaps directly from the soap maker.

Quapaw Bath House is located on Bathhouse Row on the main drag in Downtown Hot Springs. It is open to the public and you do not need an appointment if you are just entering the bath. There are 4 pools of varying degrees. You are supposed to begin in the top pool, which is the coolest and slowly work your way down to the warmer pools. The warmest bath was too hot for us so we stayed in the middle bath. It was a very relaxing experience.

The Fordyce Bathhouse museum was opened a few years ago after extensive restoration of the former bathhouse. It is extremely interesting to see how things were during the gangster heydays of the early 1900’s. The luxury of the times is evident but many of the spa treatments and contraptions were extremely unusual and bizarre. Plan to spend at least an hour milling around this 4 story bathhouse.

Inn on the Alameda is just perfect. Beautifully detailed Southwestern décor. Many rooms have balconies and fireplaces. It is located within walking distance to most things. Your stay includes an over the top breakfast buffet with organic and gluten-free choices and there is also an afternoon wine-and-cheese reception which was nice. We did not eat at the onsite restaurant but their menu boasted local organic foods. And there are no hidden resort fees!

Every girl needs to stop by Kakawa Chocolates on their trip to Santa Fe. You may even want to plan a trip to Santa Fe just to visit this place. What goes on inside this shop is to die for. The chocolate is so rich and decadent! Keep that in mind when ordering. The staff will let you sample the elixirs before you choose one but I recommend the Marie Antoinette.

Santa Fe, NM, United States : Ten Thousand Waves Spa. From the hot tub to the sauna, massage, foot soak and oxygenated facial, we were pampered by the most amazing staff in a beautiful setting. It is expensive but my girlfriends and I went based on someone else’s rave reviews. We did not regret it. Book ahead because the private tubs fill up quickly.