Life Lately: Sister Trip to Varadero, Cuba (with Photos + Anecdotes)!

Boy oh boy, has a lot changed in my life in the last week. I’m both rested and exhausted, super-happy and impatient, and I have a cold, so there’s that too.

Before I dive into some exciting news about my work life, the fact that I just got engaged (!), and that my Game of Homes episode airs next Tuesday (did you catch me on last night’s previews for a second at the end on W Network? No? Check my Snapchat: SabrinaSmelko) I’ll start in chronological order of life, which means first up is my recent trip to Cuba (which you may know about it you follow me on Instagram). Enjoy plenty of photos from the trip as well as some anecdotes and highlights. xo

Last week, my sisters and I decided to get away and took a very last-minute vacation to Cuba (we went as a family two years ago, but this time, it was just us three). We booked on a Tuesday and flew out the following Friday to Varadero where we stayed at the gorgeous Iberostar Varadero resort and spa.
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I had been there five years ago with fam/friends by accident (we booked elsewhere at a new resort that wasn’t ready in time, so they diverted us there and I’m so glad they did because, at the time, we couldn’t have afforded this resort, so it turned out to be the happiest mistake).
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The above shots are from the first morning we got there. We ordered cappuccinos at the bar before we realized that they have their own cafe on-site which served more western-sized beverages (think Starbuck’s Grande or Tim’s Medium) in to-go cups, offering everything from frappuchinos to lattes to machiattos to americanos — and green tea, chamomile at night, etc. And the best part in a non-edible way was the cafe’s floors! *heart eyes emoji*
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My classy sister above. This was me every morning: never dawning more than a bathing suit cover-up with a double espresso con leche in hand en route to the breakfast buffet at 9:45, right before it closes.
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In all honesty, it was not a sight-seeing vacation, rather a beached-whale type vacation — which was much needed on all our parts. We ate a lot, talked a ton, and relaxed even more. Judging by our skin, these next few shots were from our first few days.
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In the photos above, you’ll see this new spa-pool area that a lot of people didn’t know about. We often claimed it for the day and enjoyed it just us three. We’d bring our own music on a bluetooth speaker and either swim or sleep in the cabanas. Those four corridors on the top left were showers: one was mist, one was a cedar bucket that you could dump on yourself, and others were rain shower or normal. It was magical.

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Back inside, the lobby and piano bar were also super tastefully done. Still resort-colourful like you’d expect, but paired with awesome pieces and beautiful finishings (always on-point floors). See what I mean below (note the giant mint-green iron bird cage surrounded by pink leather upholstered seating):
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The apartments which contained the rooms were also pretty. Here’s some of the grounds:
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Below are some photos we took of each other and got randoms to take of us on the beach on our first night during sunset. Shenanigans were had as you can see.
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One evening, on a particularly clear night, we watched the sunset while playing fetch with a local dog on the beach and it was magic.
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So far, it seems we relaxed beach or pool-side and watched sunsets, which is very true. But one day, we actually left the resort to take a day-trip to downtown Varadero and enjoyed the local parks, streets and people.
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In this one park, Parque Josone, there was a massive Wes Andersen-looking bird house on stilts. So cool.
Back at the resort, we befriended a cat and named it Churro. She had just been spayed and had little tummy stitches. The resort took such good care of her, and the grounds staff always let us know where she was. When she was being taken for a post-op check-up, they let us know and let us say bye for the day so we were’t worried about her all afternoon. So sweet. She’d find us and just cuddle. She even snuck into our room once (“by accident”)…
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I tried taking some selfies, but I look so gloomy, gosh darn-it. Imagine I’m happy on the inside, but my face is just it relaxed 😉
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Or photos just helped drive home how much I didn’t care in a good way about so much as getting dressed (see how my shoes are “put on” below). In related new, me and my sisters had a laugh talking about misused quotation marks and how hilarious they make sentences. Also, inside-jokes galore, which is a great takeaway from sister-trips, no?
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In summation, I think I took the most photos of us three, and it still omits so many moments and places, sooooo we’ll just have to go back, but here’s a summation of some hightlights for me: a day-trip we took to the city of Varadero (our most active day indeed, haha); playing fetch with a local dog on the beach at sunset —  and all sunsets for that matter; Mansuko, the on-site a la carte Japanese restaurant; walking the resort at night with my sisters, a bluetooth speaker in one hand, a pina colada in another; the oodles of card games and shenanigans we played; the random pals we made each day; people watching; the resort cafe and their gorgeous floors and divine double espresso con leches; did I say people watching yet?; their BREAD (who knew?!); the days we got to claim the smaller spa-pool all to ourselves; same goes for cabanas; the weather, obviously; getting to read an entire book for the first time in a year (sadness and shame); and so much more!