Traveling to Spain has been on my radar since The Cheetah Girls 2.
As years passed, I found myself always waiting for the right time. Then, one morning I got a screenshot from my dad showing a Hopper notification for a Barcelona flight deal followed by a flight itinerary. I quickly purchased round trip tickets. I later found out those screenshots were more so FYIs than invitations. As a result, I cancelled my flight. My dad, whose original plan was to fly into Barcelona for a cruise, changed his mind and decided he wanted to explore the city with me instead. So, in under 24 hours, I booked, cancelled, and rebooked my flight to Spain. A few months later, we arrived in Barcelona!
Everyone's travel taste is different and sometimes having less of a plan leads you to where you need to be. In my 3 nights in Barcelona, I explored new neighborhoods, ate amazing food, and took advantage of the city's photo opps. Hopefully my experience helps you plan your time in this amazing city.
The Eixample neighborhood is the perfect place to be if it's your first time in Spain. We chose the Royal Hotel as our base and loved having transportation and things to do close by. Passeig de Gracia is a busy street filled with stores from Spanish chains like Zara and my new fave, Stradivarius. Shopping on an empty stomach got rough so we switched gears and went for tapas at Cerveceria Catalana, a recommendation from our hotel's front desk.
After tapas, we made a few stops to see the work of Antoni Gaudi, the genius architect known for giving Barcelona its colorful mosaic aesthetic. You can't miss Casa Batllo and Casa Mila. Casa Atelier is another great stop, next door to Casa Batllo; this one isn't Gaudi's work but we appreciated it just as much.
Our jet lag started to set in, so we tuned into the culture and paused for siesta. We ended the day with dinner at La Cava and roaming the Eixample neighborhood, finding wine bars and street art along the way.
Photo: Casa Batllo from @casabatllo
We started day two at La boqueria, the colorful food emporium recognized as a Barcelona staple. You walk into a rainbow of smoothies and fruit juices, fun shaped candies, and of course tapas. We ate and then roamed around the Gothic Quarter, making stops into a few souvenir shops and pausing to take pictures of the beautiful buildings lining the street.
From there, we checked out the Barcelona Cathedral and Arc de Triomf. We popped in to Tapeo for lunch—my favorite tapas spot of the entire trip. In the same area is a little bakery called Bubo. I had the best chocolate and macadamia treats here and have been plotting ways to get my hands on them again. Day two also included seeing La Sagrada Familia, eating Thai at Royal Thai, and enjoying the rooftop bar inside our hotel.
Photo: Writer Jovania in the Gothic Quarter
On our last full day in Barcelona, we spent a couple hours wandering Park Guell, a public space filled with gardens and breathtaking architecture. It feels like wonderland. Afterwards, I discovered a less touristy area called Sant Antoni, specifically Carrer de Parliament. The street is made up of cozy coffee shops, juice houses, and couples walking their dogs. We didn't expect to need a break from tapas but we did. We stopped at The Juice House, thinking a little turmeric would offset all the wine and Iberico ham we'd been eating. We followed that up with a delicious grilled chicken and grilled halloumi sandwich from Federal Cafe. I could have easily spent an entire day in the area just eating and drinking.
Barcelona is an ideal destination for anyone who loves sightseeing, shopping, and culinary adventures. Some other good eats we stopped at along the way include Ciudad Condal in Eixample and Bar Lobo in El Raval. In just a few days, I saw so much of the culture here and can't wait to go back.
Photo: Park Guell
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- Barcelona City Guide – Design*Sponge ›
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- Barcelona travel - Lonely Planet ›
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- City guide of Barcelona Spain - Tourism, attractions and information ... ›
- Barcelona Spain Travel Guide | Travel + Leisure ›
- The Barcelona City Guide | goop ›
This post is in partnership with SheaMoisture.
When it comes to healthy hair care, there are a few things that will help you achieve healthy strands: a healthy hair care regime, hydration, consistent treatments, and scalp care. While scalp care is one of the most neglected practices, it is also one of the most important. Why? Because it helps promote healthy hair growth, clear hair follicles, and remove build-up.
When it comes to creating a healthy scalp routine, it helps to know exactly what you’re up against so you know how to specifically treat it. Two of the most common concerns are dandruff and dry scalp. It can be tough to decipher which is which, but here’s a quick breakdown: dry scalp is caused by a lack of moisture in the skin, while dandruff is caused by an excess of oil and yeast buildup on the scalp. Knowing that both of these are big concerns, SheaMoisture released two separate product lines to address both issues: the Scalp Moisture collection and the Anti-Dandruff collection.
Needless to say, if you tend to experience dandruff then I’d recommend you try the Anti-Dandruff collection. However, my biggest concern has always been dry scalp. A lack of moisture on the scalp can be caused by several factors like weather, age, and hair products to name a few. I’ve noticed that when I use certain gels or skip out on a deep scalp cleanse, my roots feel itchy and dry nonstop, which is uncomfortable.
The only way to relieve the discomfort is to properly wash and moisturize my roots, so I tried the Scalp Moisture collection and this is what I thought.
Krissy Lewis for xoNecole
First, What’s In The Collection?
The Scalp Moisture collection is a four-product line that includes a pre-wash masque, a moisturizing shampoo and conditioner, and a moisturizing scalp cream. Each product uses moisturizing and strengthening ingredients like aloe butter and vitamin B3 as active ingredients to provide eight times the moisture. Together, aloe butter and vitamin B3 work to restore dry and brittle hair, as well as add relief to the scalp.
Now, let’s break down each product…
Krissy Lewis for xoNecole
Scalp Moisture Pre-Wash Masque
The SheaMoisture Scalp Moisture Pre-Wash Masque may actually be the all-star of the collection. Using this deep conditioning masque is one of the best ways to target your dry scalp, restore hydration, and nourish your strands before shampooing.
I started by completely saturating my hair and scalp with water, then making small sections to apply the masque directly to the root. For my girls who have experience with relaxers and perms, it helps to apply the masque to your roots just like you would do with a relaxer. This way you can make sure you’ve covered as much of your scalp as possible while minimizing any breakage.
Pro tip: you can also use a color application brush to make this step easier.
After I completely covered my scalp, I massaged the product into my roots, used any excess on my strands, then left the masque in for 30 minutes. I was shocked by how moisturizing and clarifying my scalp and hair felt. One of the things that I love about the masque is the slip and how much softer it made my hair. While this is marketed as a scalp care product, it can completely transform your hair from dry and parched to completely hydrated.
In my opinion, the downside of this masque is that the quantity is too small for my liking. Truth be told, naturals go through deep conditioners faster than any other product (especially when it’s this good.) So SheaMoisture, if you’re reading this, we’d love a bigger jar.
Krissy Lewis for xoNecole
Scalp Moisture Shampoo
The SheaMoisture Scalp Moisture Shampoo is a gentle cleanser packed with the same moisture as the masque. The pearl-colored shampoo is lightweight with a serum-like consistency and a light and clean scent. The smell is pleasant, subtle, and not overbearing. When I applied the shampoo, I noticed immediately that it foams and lathers up very quickly, so less is more.
After applying the shampoo, I parted my hair and started at the roots to target as much of my scalp as possible. I recommend really taking the time to work the product and massage your scalp as much as possible.
Pro tip: using a scalp massager makes it easier and it feels amazing.
Once you start to massage your hair you’ll feel the product start to work. There’s a tingling sensation that might catch you off guard if you’re not used to it, but it’s not nearly as strong as other scalp products I’ve tried. I know some may not appreciate the sensation, but I loved it! My scalp felt clean, light, and breathable.
Krissy Lewis for xoNecole
Scalp Moisture Conditioner
Like the shampoo, the SheaMoisture Scalp Moisture Conditioner shares that pearly color and serum-like feel. It applies very easily while softening and moisturizing your hair. When I applied it to my hand, it gave my hands a lotion-like feel, which speaks volumes about its hydration capabilities. I also loved that the conditioner comes with a pump, instead of having to squeeze the product out – to me, it makes application easier.
I typically apply my conditioner to the ends first but because this is a scalp care product I started at the root and worked my way down to my ends. I did leave the conditioner in for ten minutes, although the bottle recommends leaving it in for three. The conditioner also provides that same breathable feel to your scalp. I honestly loved the relief.
Krissy Lewis for xoNecole
Scalp Moisture Cream
The SheaMoisture Scalp Moisture Cream is more of a daily relief product for your roots rather than your overall hair. It’s great for providing moisture and immediate relief to a dry and itchy scalp. Just like most of the collection, it gives a light and breathable feel – without the tingle. The applicator bottle targets specific parts of your scalp and makes applying easier.
Pro tip: I typically just squeeze the bottle to wherever I need the relief and use the tip to massage it into my scalp so it doesn’t mess up the hairstyle.
Overall, SheaMoisture’s scalp care line lives up to its claims – it moisturizes, strengthens, and provides immediate scalp relief. I definitely recommend trying the Scalp Moisture collection for an affordable way to treat itchy and dry scalp.
Featured image by Krissy Lewis for xoNecole
I don’t know what it is about turning 30 that made me super interested in vitamins and routines, but I love it here. Gone (well, not completely) are the days I let the day turn into night with my makeup, lights, and TV on with my laptop by my head. I blamed burnout on an undesirable work culture, a busy schedule, etc., but growing wiser, I realize the responsibility to set aside time to restore my mind, body, and soul is entirely mine.
When it comes to anxiety, the way I look at the dilemma of the mind is as living in the past and being fearful of what is to come. To combat that, intentionally cultivating routines that involve tapping into my five senses as a grounding technique helps me to become more present and realize what a gift the current moment is. Not only am I able to let go of the feelings of frustration that I carry around stemming from what (or what did not) occur in the day, but I also get to regulate my nervous system to the point my mind can start imagining a better future.
I think of my aura as a glass mirror that picks up fingerprints during the day, and I get to find different ways to wipe it clean at night so that I can see myself clearly the next day. Creating a sensual nighttime routine for myself does exactly that. Here’s how I start:
In my younger days, I used to save this step for right before bed, but I find getting spiritually grounded for a few minutes better assists me in switching from productivity mode to giving myself permission to just be. These days instead of defining myself by external factors like what I do for a living, how much I can produce, and accolades, I take a few minutes to express my gratitude through prayer to my higher power, the universe, my ancestors, and my everyday angels I'm lucky enough to call my friends and family. I am reminded that I am part of something way bigger than I often realize.
This then makes it easier to take time to take care of myself.
Sound: Self-Care Playlist
I’m getting back to my teeny-bopper days when each of my moods has a custom playlist. But this seriously works wonders by listening to music that affirms and uplifts me while soothing me into a restful mood. Don’t get it twisted, I do include a little bit of upbeat music in my playlist to ignite some passion and endorphins needed to carry out this process while I'm exhausted. Hearing my favorite songs at this time just takes the monotonicity out of my routines and inspires creativity. Hey, even a little jig every once and a while never hurts.
Smell: Burning Incense, Candles, and Using Oil Diffusers
Aromatherapy is a part of my routine that I refuse to skip. It's really hard to think about all the annoyances that occurred during the day when I smell the fragrance of citrus or berries in my vicinity! Almost every step of my nighttime routine has scents that are either soothing or delicious to me, from my skincare to the essential oils that I use. This just brings to my attention that often the simplest pleasures in life are free or at least super affordable. Plus, certain essential oils like eucalyptus, lavender, and lemongrass are great for calming down one’s nervous system enough to fall asleep.
Touch: Taking the Day Off
Touch involves quite literally getting my day clothes off, getting in the shower, and changing into some comfortable night clothes. I take my playlist into the shower for some karaoke, inviting laughter and tears. My favorite shower products are great for my sensitive skin, but also layer different scents so that my perfume doesn't have to work so hard the next day. Exfoliating and applying body oils ensure that my skin feels soft.
My skincare routine ensures that when I look at my skin, it's bright and rejuvenated in the morning. I focus on glowing before bed because the nighttime is the only time my skin has to repair and regenerate hence the phrase “beauty sleep.” However, skincare does not stop at the face, so I am exploring new body care products to make sure the skin on the rest of my body has an even texture. The self-massage pays off because, by the time I lay down, I'm relaxed.
Taste: Decaffeinated Sweets
Health is wealth, and healthy snacks are imperative to my overall happiness. I try to stay away from foods that are too sweet or caffeinated at night, so I reach for rich and creamy textures and my favorite liquids. Decaffeinated teas, sugar-free ice pops, fruity-tasting sparking water, and fruit and veggies with peanut butter or salad dressing are my favorites.
Sight: Journaling And Reading
Journaling allows me to truly release and reflect on what’s bothering me. Guided journals are a great way for me to stay consistent and motivated by answering prompts. It’s so funny that writing about what caused me the most stress in the day and then being asked what I need to release helps me realize I’m in the driver's seat of my joy, happiness, and destiny. All that I desire is often a decision away.
With my overthinking, I find it better to put my sight and mind to use to read and experience an alternate reality. I’m an audiobook lover during the day, but at night my bed is a no-phone zone. With dosing off and missing a few sentences, it's tempting to get up and grab my phone/tablet, and the next thing I know it's 3 a.m., and I’m on TikTok. Holding my favorite book, flipping through pages, and fighting to keep my eyes open in excitement to figure out what is on the next page somehow knocks me right out.
When I wake up in the morning, I feel well-rested and like I had a much better quality of sleep than if I would have skipped my routine. It’s easier for me to be way more resolute and productive because I’m running on a lot of positive energy instead of fumes. As I continue to practice my routine, I am starting to realize whatever it is that I thought I was gaining by working behind a computerized screen after 10 p.m., I am losing my quality of life the next day. I proudly put my Bedtime setting on my phone, confidently assured that whatever it is can wait until the next business day.
I know my energy budget, and these days, I’m hella bougie.
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