Vignettes of NEST Tulum

From its quiet sandy path that winds past its beautiful, minimalist rooms to its idyllic beach lined with comfortable beach beds and cabanas, the 9-room boutique property of NEST Tulum is simply perfection. Nestled along Tulum‘s hotel zone, it boasts wonderful rooms that boast the plushest beds, exquisite furnishing, cute Mexican accents, delicious bathroom amenities, and no TVs so guests can unplug and simply unwind. Some of them, including my Tower Two room, feature balcony views of the ocean.

It’s since become one of my favorite properties.

Keep an eye out for my review of the property on TravelPulse. In the meantime, see my photos of the property below so you have an idea of how amazing this property is.








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Vignettes of Nassau, Bahamas

We had mixed feelings about Nassau, which is probably why I wasn’t motivated to document our experience. It was crowded with tourists, the locals weren’t very nice or friendly, the main attractions weren’t at all impressive, things were overpriced, and the waters were too rough for a relaxing dip. Apparently, I’m not the only person who’s been disappointed by the port city. Many people who’ve been share my thoughts.

Still, I’m glad I came. It’s nice to visit and experience a destination at least once, even if it did disappoint. Here are some photos from my trip.




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Vignettes of Ensenada, Mexico

Having finally decided on Ensenada for our Thanksgiving getaway this year has me all excited, even though I have a few trips scheduled before that. What can I say, I loved our first visit there and I’ve been wanting to go back ever since. And it wasn’t just because of the tacos… although I must admit, it did play a big role.

Sadly, while we’ve got our hotel room booked already, Thanksgiving is still a few weeks away. So for now, I’m settling on looking at (and sharing with you) my photos from our last visit.

Come enjoy them with me…



Vignettes of Samana (Dominican Republic), Part One

I have a soft spot for the Dominican Republic. Not only was it the very first Caribbean island I ever visited, I also adore its people—they’re so welcoming and friendly—and love its shallow, sandy beaches full of beautiful sand dollars and shells.

Before my epic United Kingdom/Marrakesh trip in July, I was invited by Bahia Principe Hotels & Resorts to come out to Samana to check out their gorgeous all-inclusive properties there and experience some of the European-popular province’s attractions. It was a fantastic experience: one brimming with adventure, delicious dips in the water, amazing seafood and wonderful people.

Here’s the first set of photos from my trip.

Be sure to check out my stories from the trip on Huffington Post as well as on Travel Pulse


Our first stop was the lovely, beach house style resort of Grand Bahia Principe El Portillo and the nearby town of Las Terrenas.








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We also spent some time visiting small villages and farms, meeting with the locals, and doing some snorkeling and swimming at the gorgeous Playa Rincon, which doesn’t see a lot of tourists because it’s a bit hard to get to and the dirt road that leads to it is kind of rough. The beach is definitely worth the trek though, and it’s probably my favorite on the island.







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Enjoyed these photos? Keep an eye out for the second set, to follow soon…


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Turn Family Vacation Snaps Into Beautiful Photographs with instaLens

Vacationing families who fancy themselves amateur or hobby photographers can now go from merely taking hurried and clumsy snapshots of their vacation to producing beautiful travel photographs without having to lug a DSLR around. With instaLens, a phone’s simple camera can turn into a powerful and compact photography device perfect for family vacations.

As humans, we have this innate need to preserve our experiences and memories in permanent mediums, whether it be through paintings and drawings, the written word, or photographs, easily accessible to share with others or whenever we get the urge to walk down memory lane. This is evident enough in the number of vacationers taking pictures and selfies virtually everywhere we go.

As parents, however, we are all too familiar with how complicated things can get when we’re on vacation with the kids and we have mastered the art of finding and using ways and solutions to make our job easier – whether it’s in utilizing ingenious packing hacks to having the right toys and activity books handy to distract the little ones from that impending tantrum to planning a vacation that will satisfy everyone in the family.

Many parents these days have learned to rely on compact gadgets to capture their family vacation memories, whether it’s with a GoPro or with their trusty camera phones, because juggling a stroller, a diaper bag, an excitable toddler, and a heavy DSLR just won’t do. And while camera phones may not have the flexibility and power of DSLR, those limitations are easily remedied using instaLens’ brilliant collection of optical lenses.

Courtesy instaLens
Courtesy instaLens

The Cape Town-designed line of camera phone lenses are lightweight, compact, and easy-to-use, making them the perfect accessories to traveling shutterbugs young and old. In fact, they are super easy to use – just snap one on to the magnetic ring (included with every purchase along with magnetic lanyard, and an instruction sheet) that you attach around your phone’s built-in camera – that even your little ones can take snaps of their own with little assistance!

These lenses are super affordable, with the wide/macro, fisheye, and polarizing lenses retailing at $30.89 a pop, and the super retailing at $38.61. Additionally, they each come with a little pouch that doubles as a lens cleaner and a protective lens cap, so you can rest easy when the kids handling them.

Courtesy instaLens
Courtesy instaLens

Zoom in for a shot of an exotic insect in Costa Rica or the sun setting reflected in your child’s eye, go wide to capture a picturesque scene in California, or go panoramic when taking a photo of migrating animals in the Serengeti. instaLens’ collection features a variety of lenses – wide/macro,fisheye, polarizer, super, and telephoto – that you can purchase individually or as sets, giving users the flexibility to achieve different results.

Best of all, these lenses are incredibly effective, increasing your phone’s camera functionality and helping you add depth, character and more detail to your photos so that they’re more than just your average family vacation snaps. instaLens’ lenses are the perfect camera accessories for jet-setting families who prefer to travel light. And who doesn’t?

Purchase one or all of these lenses now in their online shop.

Michelle Rae Uy contributed this to MiniTime. She is a travel writer based in Los Angeles and MiniTime’s Head of Content, who spends her free time on adventures and film photography.

(Originally published on

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