Discovering the Midwest, one motel pool at a time.
Aurora McCausland is a fashion blogger and model located in Salt Lake City Utah. Aurora has a passion for writing and modeling which she juggles and demonstrates in her own blog. Here Aurora talks about her trip to Iceland wearing Alea Swimwear for #bikiniswithoutborders.
Two years ago, I added Iceland to my bucket list. I'm a strong believer in bucket lists, because I can wish for years to do something or visit someplace, but as soon as I have it written down, I can actually make it a reality.
A month ago, my husband and I took the short flight from Paris to Keflavik, and it was the most breathtaking part of our vacation.
Our flight landed at midnight. We had foolishly thought that we would be able to sleep on the three hour flight across the Northern Atlantic. But I guess maybe we were too excited, and so we arrived sleepy but excited. Because Iceland is so far north, during the summer the sun doesn't go down. We were disoriented by the light sky, but were so excited because it meant we could spend the entire day exploring without the hindrance of the dark sky.
We picked up our rental car and left for Hveragerdi, which was about an hour and a half outside of Keflavik, where the International Airport was. The entire drive was gorgeous, and we were full of energy, despite the early hour.
I am notorious for being horrible at directions. I get lost in my own city, so you can imagine the fiasco of trying to find the specific hike we wanted to take. We tried to follow the directions, but we wound up at a golf course. We got out and tried walking on what seemed like the correct path, but as we walked, we'd just find ourselves at another tee-off. My husband read the directions and scrutinized the map, and realized that we were in a different part of the town, despite the directions saying it was right next to a golf course, a small cafe, and a small bridge. We hopped back in the car and went to the other side of the small town, until we found the right hiking trail, which also happened to be next to a golf course, small cafe, and a small bridge.
Of course, us getting lost didn't end there. The directions said that the trail was well marked, and so we headed down a trail that was marked with a sign with a depiction of hikers on it. About a mile down this trail we realized it was taking us back to the town, and not into the mountains like we'd planned. After heading back, we took one of the two paths heading up into the mountains, sure that we'd found the right trail.
We didn't realize that it was the wrong trail until we got back from our hike and realized that the other path led to the hot springs we'd wanted to visit. Despite that, the trail we took was gorgeous, and I don't even mind that it was the wrong trail. Most of the hot springs we encountered were much too hot to bathe in, the grey water boiling and splashing up against the volcanic rock. We did find a stream runoff that we took a quick dip in before heading back down the mountain.
Our drive back to the airport was eventful, and seemed much longer than our drive out. We stopped for a much needed coffee break, and decided to nix the additional hike we had planned because I honestly couldn’t keep my eyes open.
Our trip back was exhausting, and by the time we finally got home to Utah, we'd gone without sleep(other than our hour nap at the airport) for about 48 hours. Despite how cranky we were, I am so glad that we took that stopover in Iceland. It was the most beautiful place I've ever been, and I feel like I've been blessed enough to visit a lot of beautiful places. Every single moment was breathtaking and gorgeous and Iceland is definitely a destination we'll be visiting again.
#badassbabe Aurora McCausland is wearing:
Carmen Bush is a freelance writer, teaching artist, and educator. Taylor Lancelot is a freelance photographer and engineer. They live together in the Bay Area.
I went to Cuba in July with my boyfriend, Taylor, summer clothes and theDough Naughty Donut Print High Waisted Swimsuit Bottoms and the Pretty in Pink Tie Back Bikini Top from Siobhan packed tight in my too-big suitcase. We jittered with excitement over our journey, completely unsure of what to expect.
After a few days in Havana (the cars! The music! The old women with giant cigars!) we got on a bus to Trinidad to meet the hosts we had been communicating with for months via email.
Yannaika and Luisma welcomed us with open arms and a surprisingly large quantity of food. As we stuffed ourselves with mango chicken and soup and perfectly creamy avocadoes, Luisma asked us what our favorite travel experiences were. Surfing was Taylor’s goal – unfortunately, the beaches in Trinidad are as calm, serene, and cerulean as any travel brochure could boast. Luisma suggested a trip to a nearby river and waterfall as an alternative. We agreed, and woke up early the next morning to catch our cab (a Ford convertible from 1910, which made up for in beauty that it lacked in shocks on the rough road to the park).
After a short walk through the forest, past a cliff face covered in wasps nests a hundred feet high, we found a deep pool of water surrounded by caves and a keening waterfall. Taylor held up our towel for cover as I shimmied into my swimmy like a lizard and let the redbrown dirt cover my bare toes. Taylor and Luisma jumped in from 10 feet up, and as their soaking, grinning faces cheered me on, I soon found myself flying through the air and into the dark water. Splash.
It was a cold but welcome reprieve from the heat and humidity that clusters around Cuba like the pips in a pomegranate, sticky and sweet. A few strokes took us to the lip of a deep cave that hung around the waterfall. Luisma and Taylor lifted themselves up easily and grabbed my forearms to pull me into the dank, water-pummeled room. We clambered over the slippery rock, the boys hurling themselves back into the pool as soon as they could. I stayed in the cave for a moment, marveling at the little bowls and crevices that centuries of dripping water had created, listening to the chatter of the families and couples that were playing in the water below.
God, it was beautiful. God damn, it was hot. The river called my name. Splash.
After five days in Trinidad, we gave Yanni and Luisma tearful cheek-kisses and boarded another bus to a little city called Playa Larga, a stone’s throw from the infamous Bay of Pigs. It was July 26, a day of celebration in Cuba. The narrow beach beside our casa particular was so crammed with people that it looked more like MTV Spring Break than a quiet beach town.
A little history lesson: On July 26, 1953, Cuban rebels attacked an army facility run by dictator Fulgencio Batista. Though the attack failed, it was a crucial moment for the rebels as they began the long, bloody process of overthrowing the tyrannical government that had dominated the Cuban people since his election in 1940 and subsequent dictatorship began. After years of fighting and countless horrors of war, the rebels succeeded in 1959 and Batista fled to Spain. And so, on the 26th of every year, scores of Cubans come together to celebrate this pivotal moment of their revolution. And damn, do they know how to get down.
The beach was smack dab against a big parking lot filled with ancient Fords, Chevys, and buses. The heat radiated off the pavement in waves.
It was hotter than a bake off in Satan’s kitchen, but that didn’t stop the wild crowd from wandering through an open market that had sprung up down a narrow strip of car-less asphalt. There was chicken, soda, beer by the gallon, even a tent filled with aquariums and tiny, skittering fish. We walked through, sweat dripping, grabbing cold orange sodas and a thin tube of warm, roasted peanuts.
Spanish salutations crowded the air, already thick with heat and barbecue smoke, and we admired the crowd as it pulsed and boogied and hollered. Finally, we wandered down to a quieter section of the beach to cool our heels. As we sat looking out at that clean cerulean, Taylor wrapped his arm around the small, exposed section of my bikini-clad waist. We breathed it in – the popcorn, the revelry, the smell of freedom.
The ocean slapped the shore.
Shop these swimsuits and more at my Etsy shop Alea Swimwear ; )
Arabella's got some interstellagator skin boots
And a helter skelter around her little finger and I ride it endlessly
She's got a Barbarella silver swimsuit
And when she needs a shelter from reality she takes a dip in my daydreams
My days end best when this sunset gets itself
Behind that little lady sitting on the passenger side
It's much less picturesque without her catching the light
The horizon tries but it's just not as kind on the eyes
As Arabella, oh
Just might have tapped into your mind and soul
You can't be sure
Arabella's got a 70s head
But she's a modern lover
It's an exploration, she's made of outer space
And her lips are like the galaxy's edge
And a kiss the colour of a constellation falling into place........
Sophie Speer is a chef and the founder of 7S Supper Club in San Francisco, California.
Anyone who thinks that San Francisco is a foggy goop in the summertime has not spent enough time in its vibrant, eclectic Mission District. Most days, the fog surrounds but doesn't touch our hipster coffee shops and taquerias.
It's a good thing, too, because as a resident of the notoriously expensive neighborhood, exploring my own streets and eating cheap treats is about all my summer travel budget can handle.
You can't throw a donut without hitting a colorful mural around here. Painted by local artists, they tell the stories of the Latin American communities that have lived in this neighborhood since the 1940s.
If you're visiting the city and want to avoid the fog and wind, here are a few of my favorite spots:
- 24th St. corridor, including Balmy Alley. 24th Street is a gorgeous, tree-lined street of mom and pop shops and solid coffee spots (including the original Philz Coffee).
Tip: pick up a spiced chocolate donut at Dynamo Donuts & Coffee and wander over to Balmy Alley, where the mural scene has a decidedly grassroots vibe.
- Clarion Alley, between 17th and 18th Streets, is the Mission's most impressive art walk. With a constantly changing rotation of street art and an absence of cars, the block-long alley is the perfect spot for a stroll with your lover.
- Dolores Park is one of the better people-watching spots in the city, with a sweet view of the financial district and the Bay Bridge.
It's a piece of art in itself - a spot where anything goes, including pop up dance parties, a sexy Jesus competition, and lots of artisan pot brownie bakers selling their goods.
Grab a salted caramel ice cream from Bi-Rite across the street, or avoid the line wrapping around the block and visit their soft serve window.
Make sure to get the sprinkles.
Last September I took a long overdue trip to Israel. Overdue not because of religious ties or generational legacy, nothing so simple or straight forward.
During the long vacation we took time for a mini adventure; my mother, best friend and I headed out from Jerusalem to see one of the original wonders of the world: Petra. We rented a car, hooked up ways on the iPhone and began a journey none of us will ever forget. As we twisted and turned on the open desert road, barely pushing 40mph up steep hills in the putt putt vehicle that could, a sense of comfort and familiarity took over me.
Life was simple again. Just girls on a road trip without a schedule or responsibility, lots of coffee and the Israeli version of bugles to fill a certain someone’s pregnancy cravings.
Along the way we stopped at the Dead Sea, twice actually. The first to a high end resort charging the equivalent of $200 US for access to their beach, towels and go carts – an amount we chose not to pay and instead used that choice to justify seven or eight other luxury purchases later in the trip. We settled down the coast and I looked forward to a nice refreshing dip in the salty sea as the desert sun beat down. I covered myself in the traditional healing mud (purchased for 30 shekels at the gift store) and stepped in to the murky deep.
The shallow water was uncomfortably warm and the salt burned as it entered my unprotected pores and unhealed cuts. It wasn't quite what I was expecting, although floating without effort is a surprisingly surreal experience. I rinsed the salt water off in a cool outdoor shower and looked over at the Jordanian mountainside, mentally preparing myself to transition into a deeper level of the conservative Middle East.
During the road trip across Israel and through Jordan I thought often about how I would describe this experience in a blog centered around a doughnut swimsuit. Ultimately, I remember my experience in terms of the women I was with. The pregnant mother, spending her first nights away from her 18 month old son, translating and navigating through two countries in the culture she dove into seven years ago. The mother excitedly fulfilling a life long dream with one daughter under the shadow of grief from the death of the other. The Indian women in Petra, dressed beautifully in their richly colored saris, walking barefoot in the sand and rocky stairs, asking to take pictures with us: the tall, pale Americans.
The Beaudoin women in Jordan, eager to practice their impressive English with a group of women traveling internationally without their husbands. And the woman, once lost, finding her way through the complexity of a life she had feared.
What connects these women who live so far away, both geographically and culturally? They are some seriously bad ass babes.
Post written by Daphne Monaco
Shop the Dough Naughty Cross Backed Bikini Top and the Dough Naughty High Waisted Swimsuit Bottoms that Daphne wore throughout her trip to Israel.
Roller derby player Autumn and makeup artist Kelsey pose for photographer Kyle Delmar in this series of Bikinis Without Borders in Chico, California.
Shop these swimsuits and more at my Etsy shop Alea Swimwear ; )
I was lucky enough to stay with my family who is located in Honolulu on the island of Oahu.
In Honolulu some of my favorite things to do are shop the boutiques and grab a bite to eat. I usually go to the Fort Street Mall because it has tons of little hole in the wall eateries, filled with salads, classic vietnamese foods, bakeries, and coffee shops.
A few blocks west and you'll find the cutest shops and boutiques, without the Waikiki crowds. The prices are still high, but that's definitely to be expected everywhere on the island (unfortunate side effect of a tourist destination/city).
I stayed with family on this trip but we took a mini-vacation to the north shore's Turtle Bay.
At Turtle Bay we spent the first day by the pool, listening to kids splash and the live music they had playing that night while looking out at the sunset. The second night day we sat in the sand, explored the coral reef, and ate at the beachfront restaurant nearby. The Turtle Bay resort is totally deluxe but worth the money of even the shortest stay.
On my trip I wore the Unicorn Lisa Frank High Waisted Ruched Bikini Bottoms and the Unicorn Lisa Frank Tie Back Bikini Top!
Shop these swimsuits and more at my Etsy shop Alea Swimwear ; )
This summer I began a road trip up the coast of California and Oregon with a stop in Fort Bragg which lies directly on Highway 1 just above San Francisco.
Fort Bragg, California is one of those misty places that you never want to leave but have no idea how you'd survive staying...
As my uncle Sean says it's a "drinking town with a fishing problem."
Part of one day was spent oogling the immense coastline at Glass Beach. Glass Beach was a beach made from the remnants of a dump. The glass and china pieces left worn and smooth from the ocean tide made the beach a very popular place for me and my sister growing up. We'd spend hours picking through all of the glass just to find old pieces of china and choice colors for mosaics. Funny to imagine a dump becoming such a fun place to play...
One of my favorite things about the Northern California coastline is the drama. It's intense. The colors and waves of the environment are dense, saturated, and loud. The weather, whether it be misty and foggy or brilliantly sunny, evokes emotion.
Most of the time you won't be walking around any of the Fort Bragg beaches in a swimsuit, as it's a bit on the brisk side for that. But if you were to wear one, it'd definitely be this Mermaid inspired one of a kind velour swimsuit that I made. Melanie MacTavish is featured in this editorial wearing the Mermaid Velour High Waisted Bikini Bottoms and Tie Back Bikini Top at one of the epic beaches that line the coast of Fort Bragg, California.
Shop these swimsuits and more at my Etsy shop ALEA swimwear ; )
Summer time = escape Brooklyn time.
Escape Brooklyn time = exploring new places time.
This year for the 4th of July I took off for Bovina, NY. Bovina is a quaint and tiny town in the Catskills in upstate New York. It is warm and open hearted to urbanites and allows all visitors to forget their woes for a few days.
I, of course, carried with me on the bus upstate, my travel bag full of the most recently hand sewn swimsuits I'd made. I figured if anything they'd be used to swim in case someone forgot a suit. However, after a day of sweltering sun we found ourselves running around the back pasture in the swimsuits I had brought, escaping from the heat with the joy of being able to play dress up.
Photographs by Mark Foster and Thomas Moore.
Shop these looks and more at my Etsy shop ; )