A Local's Guide To Naples, Florida

A Local's Guide To Naples, Florida

5 places to visit on your weekend getaway.
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Only twelve years under my belt, and I still have a tough time finding things to do in Naples. It has nothing to do with the actual city because there is always something going on. I guess you could blame it on my fear of venturing out from what I know.

So, what better place than Facebook to ask for recommendations in your hometown? Thank you to all those who were a part of creating this guide. So, if you're a local or visitor, look no further before establishing weekend plans.

1. Naples Botanical Gardens

I'm embarrassed to say, but the first time I visited was three weeks ago and boy, was I missing out! Only three miles away from downtown Naples, the botanical gardens fill 170 acres with a variety of flowers. One of my favorite areas was the butterfly garden, which is everything to dream about. And absolutely perfect for photo ops! Definitely, add this as one of the top places to visit!


2. The Bowl

I didn't know I was missing one of Naples' best-kept secrets until I found The Bowl. With a chalkboard menu describing every kind of combination you can imagine, their Açaí bowls are what they are known for. Another specialty is kombucha and local cold brew coffee, which both fit nicely with your choice of Açaí bowl. If you want to see what you're missing out on, look at their colorful feed on Instagram.



3. Kunjani Craft Coffee & Gallery

This is one coffee shop that screams "authenticity" to every foot that steps through the door. A mother-daughter duo created Kunjani, which serves the best variety of coffee, tea, Farm-to-Table food, and handmade crafts by local artists. Not only are they bettering the community of Naples with their originality, but they have also created a non-profit called Kunjani Project. Their non-profit focuses on improving housing in Zimbabwe, Zambia, and South Africa. Running a coffee shop and a non-profit?! Talk about leading ladies in the community!




4. Downtown Naples

Imagine walking down a street so colorful that you pinch yourself to make sure it isn't a dream? Bingo! Downtown Naples consists of the sweetest shops and the tastiest restaurants. The gorgeous blooms make the area that more inviting and perfect for an obligatory photo shoot. Some of my favorite places to visit are Kilwins, the delicious shop filled with candy and ice cream galore. There are also delicious restaurants like Ocean Prime, Tulia, Truluck's, Yabba, and a handful of others. If you have an allowance that forbids extra spending, it's just as fun to window shop down Fifth and Third Street.


5. Naples Pier

If you want to see the most beautiful sunset, then this is your stomping ground. During the months of January through May, this place is packed with seasonal guests taking in every sunset before heading back up North. Along with the glowing sunset, are locals fishing and often catch all types of fish and even sharks. If fish isn't your thing, Cosmo's is a pizza restaurant along the Pier.

If you're looking for any services while visiting the area check out two of the best local small business owners!

The Daily with Maggie - creates the most stunning calligraphy pieces.
Deniece Giovinazzo Photography - Her photography is so lovely. How about a family session on the beach?



Cover Image Credit: Lance Asper

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5 Perks Of Having A Long-Distance Best Friend

The best kind of long-distance relationship.
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Sometimes, people get annoyed when girls refer to multiple people as their "best friend," but they don't understand. We have different types of best friends. There's the going out together best friend, the see each other everyday best friend and the constant, low maintenance best friend.

While I'm lucky enough to have two out of the three at the same school as me, my "low maintenance" best friend goes to college six hours from Baton Rouge.

This type of friend is special because no matter how long you go without talking or seeing each other, you're always insanely close. Even though I miss her daily, having a long-distance best friend has its perks. Here are just a few of them...

1. Getting to see each other is a special event.

Sometimes when you see someone all the time, you take that person and their friendship for granted. When you don't get to see one of your favorite people very often, the times when you're together are truly appreciated.

2. You always have someone to give unbiased advice.

This person knows you best, but they probably don't know the people you're telling them about, so they can give you better advice than anyone else.

3. You always have someone to text and FaceTime.

While there may be hundreds of miles between you, they're also just a phone call away. You know they'll always be there for you even when they can't physically be there.

4. You can plan fun trips to visit each other.

When you can visit each other, you get to meet the people you've heard so much about and experience all the places they love. You get to have your own college experience and, sometimes, theirs, too.

5. You know they will always be a part of your life.

If you can survive going to school in different states, you've both proven that your friendship will last forever. You both care enough to make time for the other in the midst of exams, social events, and homework.

The long-distance best friend is a forever friend. While I wish I could see mine more, I wouldn't trade her for anything.

Cover Image Credit: Just For Laughs-Chicago

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As An Original Northeasterner, I Grew To Love The South And You Can, Too

Where the tea is sweet, and the accents are sweeter.

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I'm not Southern-born. I'll come right out and say it. I was born in Connecticut and moved to Atlanta when I was 9 years old. I didn't know a single thing about the South, so I came without any expectations. When I got here, I remember that the very first thing I saw was a Waffle House. I thought it was so rare to see whatever a waffle house was but little did I know there was a WaHo (how southerners refer to Waffle House) every two miles down the street.

There is such a thing as "southern hospitality," and it's very pleasant for a newcomer to see. Southerners are raised with such a refreshing sense of politeness, and their accents are beautifully unique. It brings a smile to my face when I hear a southern accent because it's such a strong accent and one of my favorites. They answer your questions with "Yes, ma'am" or "No, ma'am" in the most respectful tone. I remember feeling so grown and empowered just because I got called ma'am. Southerners' vocabulary and phrases really have its ways of integrating into your own vernacular.

Before I came to Georgia, I never really said words like "Y'all" and "Fixin' to" but it's definitely in much of what I say now. I can tell when I go back up north to visit family that some of what I say may sound a little off because the dialect is very different. I find no shame in it, though, and neither should any southerner.

The weather in the South isn't so bad, in my opinion. Sure, there is very high humidity, but after living here for 10+ years, you learn how to deal with it. However, there's nothing like the summer thunderstorms. I love stormy, rainy weather and it rains quite often in the south, so when my birthday in July rolls around, I look forward to seeing that rain. It's the most peaceful weather to me and inspires me to write even more.

I could go on and on about the amazing fried foods here or the iconic yet insane Atlanta traffic, but those aren't what make me love the South. The people of the south are so different from up north but in the best ways. Everyone is so expressive and creative, as well as their own unique self. Southerners aren't the shaming kinds of people, but instead the kind who embrace who you are from the start. There's a fierce loyalty and a strong sense of appreciation that is just unmatched by any other place. No matter where I go, I always find comfort in knowing that I'll be coming back to this place I'm proud to call home.

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