Author: Anna Harris

Anna works an average 9-to-5 job as a Mechanical Engineer, but on the weekends transforms into a wilderness wandering mermaid. Combining her passion for aviation and wanderlust, she explores the world with unique adventures and has a knack for finding great travel deals.

Cabo San Lucas

Cabo San Lucas

One of the best things about living in California is getting to go on weekend trips to Mexico! Cabo San Lucas is about a two hour flight from LAX, making it a perfect 3-day getaway for warm ocean water, beaches, amazing nightlife, and awesome diving. Below is a day-by-day itinerary to help you plan your trip!

Day 1: Arrive Cabo San Lucas

There aren’t that many flights that arrive and depart at convenient times for Cabo, so try to get there as early as possible! Unfortunately the customs line can be horrifically a couple hours of waiting (make sure you don’t even look at your cell phone, otherwise officers will catch you and send you to the back!) and the airport is about 45 minutes from the actual city. 

When you rent a car online, you might see deals through big rental companies like Hertz or Budget that only have you pay $2 per day for the car, so of course you’re thinking, wow what a steal! Unfortunately what they don’t tell you is that you’re required to pay for Mexican car insurance, which is actually about $40 per day. 

The best places to stay are near the marina since it’s the closest to all the nightlife! There’s tons of shopping in downtown, and make sure you always try bargaining since they give you extremely high prices if you’re not a local. Some of my favorite places to hang out at during the night are the Giggling Marlin, where they can hang you upside down and give you 3 shots for $10 while spinning you around, Squid Roe, which is the ultimate dance scene, and lastly Cabo Wabo, an older crowd but they have the best live entertainment and drinks rather than 16 year olds running around.

Day 2: Diving

If you’re an avid diver, Cabo is perfect for warm waters, 85 degrees during the fall and the best time to go is September through November. One of my favorite dive companies is called Cabo Trek, found at El Tesoro Resort right on the marina! The dive shop is run by a foreigner that has quality equipment and you can even get the boat all to yourself so you don’t have to worry about other divers getting in the way. 

Some of the best dive sites are the Arch at Land’s End, of course, where you can see colonies of sea lions. They act like dogs since they’re so curious and will tug at your equipment and try to mess with you. Another favorite is the Sand Falls, where you can dive down to about 90 feet and see a bend in terrain, like the horseshoe in Niagara Falls, and sand falls off the very edge into the abyss. 

Day 3: Heading back home

It’s awesome if you can get a flight later in the day back to the states, but unfortunately for us the cheapest flight available was early in the morning. Remember to take into account the extra 45 minutes it takes to get to the airport if you’re renting a car. And have a blast!

Below is my latest vlog on YouTube of Cabo San Lucas. Enjoy!

A Weekend in Buffalo, New York

A Weekend in Buffalo, New York

Over Memorial Day weekend I flew to New York for one of my best friend’s weddings! Spending three days in the area was the perfect amount of time to explore and see all the sights. Here’s a day-by-day account of my trip along with my favorite things to do in Buffalo!

DAY 1: Wedding Day in Lockport, NY

We flew out from California on Friday afternoon and got into Buffalo at 1 AM on Saturday and drove to our hotel in Lockport, NY. I was so excited to see two of my wonderful friends, and the next morning we met up at the maid of honor’s house to get ready for the big day. 

It had been raining before we arrived, but it cleared up and the sun came out just in time! Everything was laid out so beautifully for the ceremony on the Erie Canal, and afterwards we all piled into a paddleboat for cocktail hour and went through the locks on the canal. 

DAY 2: Buffalo, NY

We did a little bit of exploring around Buffalo, and for your morning coffee and pastries you should definitely try Tim Horton’s Iced Capp! Walking along Canalside there’s some food trucks and a lot of water sports you can try out, and fun areas with giant board games. One of our favorite things to do was going brewery hopping, my favorites including Big Ditch Brewing Company for some great food to pair with drinks and Thin Man Brewery, which is also a late-night bar with live music. And, of course, you have to try some buffalo wings while you’re in… Buffalo! So head to Anchor Bar!

Day 3: Niagara Falls

The best way to see Niagara Falls is to view it from the Canadian side, and you can hop over the border and back in a matter of a few hours. We parked near the border on the American side of Rainbow Bridge and walked over to the other side into Canada, which has a beautiful view of the falls as well. Make sure you bring your passport! 

After going through border patrol we walked down the road about 20 minutes to the Canadian visitor center, where we bought tickets to Journey Behind the Falls. The self-guided tour is a great way to see the falls from the bottom. I’d rather do this tour than the Hornblower, where you usually wait in a line that’s 3 hours long, since you’re packed like sardines on a boat ride to get drenched. At least with Journey Behind the Falls you can get drenched on your own time!

After seeing the Canadian side, we headed back to the falls on the American side to see Goat Island, another viewing point. It’s a pretty area to walk around but unfortunately you’re looking down at the falls so you don’t get to see much of the actual waterfall.

Our flight took off in the evening so it was a great weekend trip to see all the main sights, and of course to see my beautiful best friend get married! 🙂 

I also made a vlog on my YouTube channel so check it out!

A Weekend in SEATTLE

A Weekend in SEATTLE

Since I’m only about a month away before departing for the Peace Corps, Caleb and I decided to fly up to Seattle to visit one of my best friends since childhood! A lot of the following will be great activities to fill your weekend trip but there are also personal touches here and there since we were visiting friends and catching up. 

First thing’s first: Din Tai Fung, the best place for dim sum and dumplings in Seattle! The location at Pacific Place Mall is brand new and we preferred going there over the original since we could leave our car in the parking structure and walk around afterwards. 

We headed to Pike Place, which is super touristy but I love going there every time I visit to see all the seafood, fresh vegetables and flowers, and all the crafts lined up in the shops. It’s a great place to get souvenirs as well! 

For a good view of the city, instead of going to the Space Needle, you should check out the Skyview Observatory – Columbia Center. Even though it’s not a 360 degree view, it’s the tallest viewing point west of the Mississippi and it doesn’t disappoint!

Gasworks Park is an old gasification plant that’s now a nice park to walk around and see the Seattle skyline from across the sound. You can also see lots of seaplanes taking off 🙂 Close by is the Fremont Troll, which is a short walk away! It’s a fun sculpture to take photos of, and then afterwards we headed down to some breweries! 


Fremont Brewing Company has a great selection of craft beer along with some tasty snacks to go with your drinks. My favorite was down the road at Schilling Cider House (because I love cider) and they have some interesting flavors including Habanero Raspberry, which was actually really good! It’s a fun spot to hang out with friends and play Jenga as well.

The next day we spent prepping for a Filipino party! My best friend decided to throw me a going away party since I’m leaving for the Peace Corps and invited all my friends in the PNW! It was a wonderful time eating my favorite foods and belting out karaoke!

On our last day we headed back to Pike Place to get some hum bao (steamed pork dumplings) and went to check out the Ballard Locks to see all the ships moving in and out of the harbor and the sound. Nearby there’s a farmer’s market on Sundays that has great food and crafts to check out! 

My best friend also persuaded me to try vlogging so check out my YouTube channel! 

SpringLocker: From SoCal to Worldly Explorer

SpringLocker: From SoCal to Worldly Explorer

Hey Everyone! 

I’m starting to incorporate more collaboration articles into my blog so I have them all in one place to reference later. Awhile ago I was interviewed by an outdoorsy company called SpringLocker, which is a website that crowdsources the best outdoor gear and experiences. So for example, you can add a review for your new La Sportiva climbing shoes so other climbers can figure out what the best climbing shoe is for them. 

Read about my story here about how I fell in love summiting mountains, starting in California and now all over the world!


Eyjafjallajökull, Iceland


My Peace Corps Application Timeline

My Peace Corps Application Timeline

From what I’ve observed through other bloggers in the Peace Corps and on the Reddit thread page, it seems like Peace Corps application timelines are really popular. Everyone who goes through this long process (sometimes taking up to a year!) is curious about when they’ll hear back, or when they should expect to reach the next stage. I’ve divided mine into a general timeline of main events along with a detailed sub-timeline with my medical and legal clearances, so, here goes! 

General Application Timeline

For those who want the general main sequence of events:

October 9, 2016: Submitted Peace Corps application

October 27, 2016: Under Consideration for Panama leaving July 2017

November 4, 2016: Interview request with placement for Environmental Engineer & Water Resources Coordinator position

November 10, 2016: Skype interview with placement officer at 9 AM EST for 1 hour

February 8, 2017: Received official invitation to serve and accepted! 

May 10, 2017: Received medical clearance

May 15, 2017: Received legal clearance

July 10, 2017: Depart for staging in Miami

July 12, 2017: Depart for Peace Corps service in PANAMA!

Detailed Application Timeline

For those that want all the nitty gritty details because you browse the Reddit thread everyday on the hour, hoping you’ll hear back soon:
October 9, 2016: Under the new application that takes a fourth of the time to fill out from the previous system, I was able to complete all the supplements that were sent shortly after submitting the main application.
  • Submitted Peace Corps application
  • Received and completed Health History Form
  • Received and completed Peace Corps Service Preferences
  • Received and completed Soft Skills Questionnaire

October 27, 2016: Received Peace Corps Application Update email saying they reviewed my application and placed me Under Consideration for Panama leaving July 2017.

November 4, 2016:

  • Received Peace Corps Interview Request email with placement for the Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene Extensionist position in Panama leaving July 2017. I compared this with the Environmental Engineer & Water Resources Coordinator position and they were the exact same description, except the latter required engineering. I emailed my Placement Officer to ask about the differences and if I could be placed in the Environmental Engineer & Water Resources Coordinator position. My Placement Officer emailed back explaining the positions and moved me based on my request.
  • Scheduled Skype interview for November 10, 2016 at 9 AM EST
  • Received Peace Corps Interview Confirmation email with policy attachments and an outline of what will be discussed in the interview

November 10, 2016: Skype interview with Placement Officer at 9 AM EST for 1 hour. Great interview, told me since I was the first round of interviews I wouldn’t hear back until after December. For a detailed account of the questions they asked, check out this Reddit page and there’s also a Wiki Links page with questions. Since they had sent an outline in the email beforehand, I had prepared answers for each question, so make sure you do your homework and it’ll go smoothly! My Placement Officer said she hadn’t received my second reference letter yet and to send it in soon. I followed up with my second reference, my professor from college, and she submitted it that day (talk about a quick reply!)

November 18, 2016: Met with my local recruiter to talk about the Panama WASH (Water, Sanitation, & Hygiene) program, ask questions about Peace Corps, and had her look over my resume to see if there was anything I could do to become a more competitive candidate. 

November 28, 2016: Received legal packet in the mail. Was supposed to receive it within 3 weeks, but there was a problem sending it out. Made an appointment for fingerprinting at the local police station.

December 9, 2016: Followed up with my Placement Officer to let her know I had uploaded an updated version of my resume to account for some volunteer work I did with the Nepalese Humanitarian Help Organisation to provide support for their water resources sector. I also added some advanced Spanish classes I was taking at the local community center and provided the syllabus. 

December 16, 2016: Fingerprinted at the local police station. Was told to keep the documents aside until I receive my invitation to serve.

February 8, 2017:

  • Received and accepted official invitation to serve in Panama July 2017 as an Environmental Engineer & Water Resources Coordinator!
  • Medical tasks were populated in the portal and started organizing and making appointments. What helped me was printing out each document and labeling each one with “to-do tasks” (yes, for every single document) to help me stay organized. That helped me to figure out what I already had done in the past and which tasks I needed to complete and appointments to make, and made my medical clearance an incredibly smooth process. Make your appointments ASAP since it can take a few weeks to see your doctors!
  • Learning Spaces tasks were populated in the portal, such as “Orientation to Safety and Security” and “Peace Corps Core Expectations.” I completed these in between waiting periods of medical tasks.
  • New Volunteer Portal tasks were populated in the portal (there are so many portals!), which have to do with press releases, banking information, and other legal/ monetary details
  • Sent in my legal packet

February 14, 2017: Met with the passport acceptance agent at the local library, since you could do walk-up appointments. Once completed, sent in all my passport documents to Sato Travel, the agency that handles all our passport and staging documents via FedEx. Since I knew that I would be traveling before departing for the Peace Corps, I had to jump a few hoops and fill out the DS-11 form so I didn’t have to submit my current passport. I brought in the following documents to the passport acceptance agent:

  • DS-11 form (NOT signed)
  • 2 passport photographs
  • Colored copy bio page of current passport
  • Birth certificate (I didn’t have mine so I had to order one online from VitalChek and rush ship it a few days earlier) + a black & white copy
  • 2 completed copies of the Passport Block Letter

February 15, 2017: A few days earlier I had called my pediatrician to request my vaccination records so they faxed me the results. From what I received, the following medical tasks were submitted:

  • Vaccination records: I sent everything that my pediatrician had faxed me under this file
  • Varicella: Since I had both strains done under my pediatrician vaccination records, I basically made a copy of what I sent for the vaccination records, highlighted the varicella boxes, and sent in the file
  • MMR: I did the same thing as I did for varicella since it was already done in my pediatrician vaccination records except highlighted the MMR boxes
  • Polio: Again, same thing as the previous two except highlighted the polio boxes
  • Medical Care Compliance form

February 16, 2017: Received email that my legal packet was received and my background investigation had begun

February 27, 2017: Met with my primary care doctor for my physical exam. I filled out and completed (some of) the following tasks:

  • Medical Examination Form: My doctor filled out most of this form, but could not sign it off until I completed the attached blood tests so he could analyze the results
  • Reported Medication Verification Form: Since I was not taking any medication, I just had him write “Not Applicable” and sign & date the form.
  • HHF (Health History Form) Positive Response Form: My doctor just looked through this since we had filled this out when we submitted the application and then signed it off to verify all responses were true
  • Physical Examination Lab Work Form: My doctor gave me a form to take to a lab next door (which I did right after the physical) for all the blood tests. He couldn’t sign it off until we got the results back
  • G6PD Lab Form: The doctor also included this blood test in the form to take to the lab.
  • Yellow Fever: The doctor wrote me a referral to get this shot
  • TD Immunization: The doctor wrote me a referral to get this shot
  • Polio Booster: The doctor wrote me a referral to get this shot

March 3, 2017: Met with my optometrist for my eye exam and submitted the Prescription Eyeglasses Form

March 6, 2017: Met with my OBGYN doctor and my dentist the same day to submit the following tasks:

  • Pap Screening Form: Called a couple days after the exam to have them fax me the results
  • Dental Exam Form: I go to the dentist every 6 months so this was a pretty routine check-up for me
  • Dental X-Ray Form: I had the bitewing x-rays done during this appointment but I also needed to include a Panorex. Fortunately when I had my wisdom teeth removed they took a Panorex, and since it was less than 2 years old I could use that. I called my oral surgeon and they emailed me a copy and I submitted it with the bitewing x-rays.

March 8, 2017: Went to Safeway to get my shots. Even though I had a referral from my primary care doctor, they said I needed to go through their doctor for the referral, so it cost extra. Luckily my insurance covered the cost of all the shots. 

  • Polio Booster: Even though I had all my polio shots done when I was a kid, they require 1 booster shot over 18. When submitting this task I just uploaded a copy of my receipt that said I got the shot
  • TD: I had all my TD shots done when I was a kid, but they require 1 booster within the past 5 years. When submitting this task I just uploaded a copy of my receipt that said I got the shot
  • Yellow Fever: Make sure you submit this task with the bright yellow World Health Organization card

March 13, 2017: Follow up appointment with my primary care doctor to discuss lab work results and sign off the rest of my documents. Submitted the last of the following medical tasks:

  • Medical Examination Form: Everything else was filled out from the previous appointment so the doctor just had to fill out the blood test section
  • Physical Examination Lab Work Form: I attached the lab results and had the doctor sign each page
  • G6PD Lab Form: Since this test was done in accordance with the other lab work, I made a copy and highlighted the G6PD section and uploaded it.

April 3, 2017: Received an email the previous week from our Country Desk Officer for a conference call on the Peace Corps Panama program and to welcome our cohort! It was a general informational meeting about what service is like in Panama.

April 26, 2017: Received an email about my medical clearance tasks. My assigned nurse said that clearances were backed up and they were currently working on those with staging dates in early June and would get to mine soon.

May 1, 2017: Received another email from our Country Desk Officer to join the Peace Corps Panama Duolingo Classroom so they can keep track of our Spanish progress and get an idea of where we stand when we have our upcoming Spanish interview for placement when we arrive in Panama.

May 10, 2017: Received an email from my Peace Corps nurse asking if I could verify the date of the 3 shots I got and to confirm I’m not taking any medication. I replied as soon as I got the email, and then within minutes I received my Medical Clearance! She said my organization was “stellar” and made the process really easy 🙂 I’ve heard so many horror stories about medical clearances and how tough it is, but mine was a really smooth process.

May 15, 2017: Received my official email for Legal Clearance!

May 25, 2017:

  • Had another conference call with the Country Desk Officer specifically about the Panama WASH program and what we should expect our training to be like.
  • Received an email to schedule our Spanish interview.
  • Also attended the Peace Corps Send-Off Party in Sacramento! It was great networking with Returned Peace Corps Volunteers and getting great tips for service, and meeting a few other soon-to-be volunteers.

June 12, 2017: Spanish interview

July 10, 2017: Depart for staging in Miami

July 12, 2017: Depart for Pre-Service Training in PANAMA!

Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz

One of my favorite things about California is being able to go on weekend trips to such diverse parts of the state! One weekend you could be skiing in Lake Tahoe, and another weekend you could be camping among the redwoods. In April, Caleb and I decided to spend the weekend surfing in Santa Cruz for his birthday!

We stayed in a beautiful art studio in downtown Santa Cruz, so it was only 20 minutes walking distance from the pier, beach, and some great restaurants. Our first morning we rented boards from a shop for $5 an hour, or $25 for a full day. Since we had planned on surfing the next morning too, we decided to rent them for the day. 

We headed to Steamer’s, which is a great spot for experienced surfers over by the lighthouse near the downtown area. It’s a beautiful picturesque spot where you can see the sun rising over the horizon with the lighthouse on the edge of the cliff, and ocean water like glass with bright green kelp forests swaying below your feet. A good spot for beginner’s is called Cowell’s, which is down the road a little ways. It was pretty packed when we drove by but it’s perfect for those learning how to surf! 

Another thing that I love about surfing at Steamer’s is that there’s a small coffee shop called Steamer Lane Supply in the parking lot right across the way where you can grab an acai bowl, a fresh smoothie, or other fresh treats right after a good surf. Even if you’re not surfing it’s the perfect spot to grab a coffee and walk along the coast in the morning! 

After surfing we rinsed off at our Air Bnb and walked along the pier, which had some great carnival rides and a beach to hang out. It was pretty packed with tourists so we didn’t stay long, but it looked like a fun spot to take kids. My favorite lunch spot was Pono Hawaiian Grill, where they have really tasty poke bowls customized to your tastes along with other great trendy Hawaiian fusion food. A great dinner spot is Lupulo, which is a brewery with all kinds of craft beers along with tapas. And for dessert, you have to check out The Penny Ice Creamery, where they make all their ice cream flavors in-house and have trendy flavors, and can even make ice cream sandwiches! 

Santa Cruz has a great downtown area where you can go bar hopping and check out live music! It’s perfect to start on one end and explore all the different bars down the road. There’s even windows of little pizza places where you can grab a slice before heading to the next bar! After another morning of surfing we headed back home, but it was a great weekend to celebrate Caleb’s birthday, being in the ocean, and eating our way through Santa Cruz!

How to Take Stunning Photos in Antelope Canyon

How to Take Stunning Photos in Antelope Canyon

Hi everyone!

I’m so excited that an article I wrote, “How to Take Stunning Photos in Antelope Canyon,” was featured on the travel website, We Are Travel Girls!

Be sure to check it out for some great tips on camera settings to use and the best time of day and season to visit Antelope Canyon! And, of course, to see my award winning photography 🙂 

Why I Joined the Peace Corps

Why I Joined the Peace Corps

Yes, it’s true! I decided to join the Peace Corps departing to Panama for 27 months in July 2017, and I’m ecstatic I landed the ‘Environmental Engineer & Water Resources Coordinator’ position. To some of  you it may be a surprise, and to others who are just curious, this is the story leading up to why I joined the Peace Corps.

In September 2016 I had a great job in the tech industry – amazing pay and benefits, an awesome team that I loved, able to take vacation pretty much when I wanted – but I wasn’t happy. 

I was sitting on the train during my 3 hour commute home and an older Indian man sits down across from me and we started talking. He asked what I do, and I replied, “I’m a mechanical engineer in the semiconductor industry in San Jose but I live in Sacramento.” His eyes widened, and I told him how I get up at 3:30 AM every morning to catch the 4:30 AM train, get to work at 7:30 AM, work a full 8 hour day without taking a lunch break, then catch the 3:30 PM train to get home at 6:30 in the evening.
He asked me, “Do you like what you do?” I shrugged, “Yeah, it’s a great job.” 
“But do you love your job?”
I was silent.
“Do you love where you live?”
I liked Sacramento, but I couldn’t see myself there forever.
He continued, “I have found that if you love what you do and you love where you live, you will be very successful. Don’t worry about the money – if you love what you do and where you live – the money will come.”
I had a tendency to go to bed pretty early because of my work schedule, but one night I woke up at 11 PM from a dream I had about a clean drinking water system and it sparked an idea. I grabbed one of my old environmental engineering textbooks and ran across the street to the coffee shop and started drawing and researching. And I realized, this is it. This is what I want to do with my life, but I had no idea how to go about it. 
The idea to engineer water resources in developing countries started back when I was 15 years old. My sister and I went to the Philippines with my mother to visit family when she abandoned us. The village my sister and I lived in didn’t have electricity or clean drinking water and the locals had to walk 2 miles with an arrowhead jug to fill up at a well. What stuck with me was how we take having clean drinking water for granted, a basic necessity of life. That was an experience that totally changed me and my outlook on life.
When I was in college I took an engineering class on computer aided design and we had to engineer a clean drinking water system for a village in a developing country. Using my past experiences, I decided to design a system based on the village I was in back in the Philippines. I hoped that maybe one day I could implement my designs in places that need it all around the world. 
After that night in the coffee shop scribbling down my ideas, I spent hours researching volunteer organizations that would allow me to design and implement water resources in developing countries with little luck. And then I came across the Peace Corps.
I looked into doing Peace Corps while I was still in college a few years earlier, but they never had engineering positions available so I gave up on the idea back then. This time around, however, they had the exact position I was looking for: Environmental Engineer & Water Resources Coordinator. I knew this was the experience I needed in order to eventually start my own business but I was a little uneasy about being away from home for almost 2 1/2 years. I applied anyways. 
It was a long process going through the application and interviews, but I knew this was a calling I had to pursue. I was so excited when I received my invitation to serve, but then came the next step: I had to quit my job. In my head I went back and forth of when to quit since I hadn’t received medical or legal clearance yet, so it was still up in the air whether or not I would be serving. Ultimately I made the decision to quit because I didn’t want to commute anymore; I was exhausted and it was taking a toll on my health. I then figured out how much I needed to save to be able to live on my own for 3 months unemployed along with extra money for emergencies and travel during my service. 
People were very quick to judge when they found out I had quit my job, saying things like, “that’s what’s wrong with kids of this generation” or “eventually you’ll come back and have to face the real world and get a real job,” but they didn’t understand my plan or what I wanted out of life. There are so many people out there who hate their job but don’t do anything about it because they’re afraid of change, don’t want to venture outside their comfort zones, or feel that right now isn’t a good time to pursue something else. But I believe that the best things in life happen to us unexpectedly, and following the unfamiliar leads us to the ultimate success. Because if you think about it, If you stick with the familiar and what you already know, you would already be successful, or at least know you’re on the path to success. And for me, I knew that I wasn’t utilizing my talents in the ways that they were meant to be used.
Through my service in the Peace Corps, I hope to gain the experience I need to work at an international level and to one day start my own NGO (a type of non-profit organization) to engineer and implement clean drinking water systems in developing communities around the world. I’m incredibly excited for my future ahead and I’m counting down the days (50 to be exact!) until I leave for Panama in July 2017!
Briland Blu

Briland Blu

Being an avid traveler and ocean lover, it’s so important for me to pack multi-purpose essentials for all my adventures. On my recent trip to the Bahamas I brought Turkish towels by Briland Blu that were so perfect during all my activities, whether I was lounging on the beach, diving, or heading out for the day to go fishing. 

During my visit to Staniel Cay, we had a full day planned to see the iguanas running around the beach on Iguana Cay, the famous swimming pigs at Pig Beach, snorkeling at Thunderball Grotto, and swimming with the sharks at Compass Cay. I grabbed my Solaqua Drip towel because of how light it was and how easy it was to fit in a small day bag. Being in the water all day, it was amazing to be able to use my towel after each activity and it was already dry, even in the humidity!

Other Turkish towels that I have come across in the past have always been stiff, but Briland Blu’s towels were so soft and absorbent. Cristina Covert, the designer and owner of Briland Blu, learned that the key to softness and absorbency is in the weave of the fabric. Using her fashion design degree she was able to create the perfect towel that becomes softer after each wash and dries incredibly quick. These towels were even inspired by Cristina’s love for the islands of the Bahamas! The Solaqua Drip towel was influenced by the views of the ocean from the Solaqua House in the Eleuthera Islands.

I loved taking my oversized Sands Hybrid towel to the beach, which was perfect to lounge with. On one side it has the incredibly absorbent peshtamal material and luxuriously soft terry cloth on the other side. It’s perfect that these towels are not only functional, but the designs are incredibly beautiful. The Sands Hybrid design was inspired by the stunning pink sand beaches of Harbour Island, but when I was on Staniel Cay I found the perfect little cottages to match each of the towels!

I’m so excited that I have such a versatile towel to take with me on all my adventures now! They’re perfect enough to pack in my carry-on, use multiple times in a day since they dry so fast, and they get softer with each wash. Be sure to check out Briland Blu and use my code ‘filipokie‘ for a discount on your purchase!

About Briland Blu

Briland blu is the manifestation of Cristina Covert and her intense love of the sea. Growing up in the Florida Keys and spending a lot of time in the islands of the Bahamas, Cristina was inspired by the vibrant beauty of Caribbean beaches and waters. After graduating with a degree in Fashion Design from International Fine Arts College, Cristina began designing Turkish towels for herself. She could not believe she had spent so many years lugging around bulky terry towels that never seemed to really dry. Wanting to share her passion for the ocean and vision of the beach aesthetic, the decision to start a company took shape.

Briland blu is a lifestyle brand that is at once luxurious and comfortable, chic yet unpretentious. The name refers to one of Cristina’s favorite places, Briland, which is what the locals call Harbour Island in the Bahamas. The island is known for its breathtaking beauty and unassuming nature, with gem colored waters and pink sand beaches. Harbour Island welcomes its visitors with a sign reading “Home of the Friendly People”, while displaying a breezy Continental style. All of these aspects represent the brand and boutique Cristina envisioned.

Every towel design is handcrafted by Cristina in her Miami home studio, staying true to the islands she spent so much time in. The colors and names of the towels all come from places or things native to the island, even the name of the company. Eleuthera, the chain of islands in which Harbour Island is part of, stands for freedom, which is how Cristina wants you to feel with each handcrafted towel; Freedom to easily pack, use and reuse, and to wash and dry in minutes. The Briland blu brand features products made with quality fabrics and designed with Cristina’s sense of tropical sophistication.