My brother has always been the adventurous one- in fact, at one point, he accused me (the definite homebody) for not preparing our parents at all for what was to come. So, it shouldn’t have been a surprised when he headed west to Montana after college. Just his packed car, his dog, Georgie, and hit the open road. Now that was brave in my book. He quickly settled into life in the small town of Philipsburg, working during the week and camping and fishing on the weekends. Aside from the somewhat regular June text that it was snowing, he seemed to enjoy being out west. I tagged along with my parents one June (thankfully, it wasn’t snowing) and could see why he liked it. Just look at these photos…Continue reading Philipsburg, Montana, Philipsburg Blue, and How They are Related
What Island Will You Be Talking About and Why Did You Choose This Island?
Savai’i in Western Samoa. I chose this little tiny island as I feel it is often overlooked for the more well-known pacific islands such as Fiji. But Savai’i offers a true break away from hectic life and a chance to experience time as a local without much effort. It’s full of wildlife, beautiful beaches, forests and waterfalls to explore but above all it’s the ultimate place to chill out.
How Many Days Would You Recommend Staying on This Island?
As it is very small, I would stay here again for around 4 days, so a long weekend would be perfect.
What is Your Favorite Thing About/Memory From Your Travels to This Island?
I visited Samoa when I was on my 8 months round the world trip and it was the break we needed. There’s no phone signal (unless you buy a local sim), limited internet and super chill. When I think about this island I just think of the detox from gadgets and rushing around I got. It made me stop, chill out and really appreciate the nature surrounding me.
What is Your “Can’t Miss” Activity on the Island? What activities/opportunities does this island provide?
You have to take a swim in the To Sua Ocean trench! It is a giant hole in the ground in Lalomanu where sea water enters. You have to climb down a big ladder to get to the water but it was just awesome to see and go to!
Best Restaurant/Place to Eat?
I stayed at Joleen’s Beach Fales, which is a family run business and absolutely amazing. Food was included in the cost of the stay so getting to eat the local everyday food was the best! You become part of the family if you stay here which made meal times even better.
What Surprised You About this Island?
To be honest, my friend and I booked this part of a trip on a whim. We wanted to go to a Pacific Island different from the norm, so we just pointed to Samoa on the map and that was set! So really, I had no expectations or knowledge of the Island so everything was a surprise!
Any Travel Advice for those considering this island as a destination (e.g., where to stay, ease of getting there, how best to get around, language, money)?
Western Samoa is made up to 2 islands – Opolu and Savai’i, with the airport on Opolu which is the larger of the 2. To get round the Island I rented a car and used Jeepneys, and you need to get a boat between the 2 islands. Bear in mind that the boat times are not regular and work to Pacific Islander times (by that I mean afantastically relaxed schedule). The currency is Samoan Tala and is covered in tropical designs such as palm trees. Most people speak English so it’s easy to ask for help if you need it. Make sure you stay in a Beach Fale if you get the chance The beautiful clear blue waters are too good to not have on your doorstep while you’re there! The 2 downsides to Samoa are 1) The mosquitos – make sure you take good replant and 2) the guard dogs which are everywhere!
If my readers want to hear more about your island, do you have a link to your full article?
I hope you all had a relaxing Thanksgiving holiday filled with family, friends, and lots of turkey! I’m thankful for all of these things… and for you! Thank you for coming back week after week even though you never know what form my “travel inspiration” may take. I appreciate you and am so glad you are here!
I have never actually shopped on Black Friday … well, not in the sense of waking up early and hitting the stores. However, with the swarms of marketing emails I’ve been receiving this week, I’m quite confident that I can score some stellar deals right from the comfort of my sofa. And, if I’m still in a cranberry sauce coma, I may just wait until Cyber Monday.
As can be expected by now, these travel-related finds include those directly related to travel and some that are loosely so 🙂
Conde Nast Traveler. Love their podcast (you can listen here) and would love to read their magazine with more regularity. Lucky for me (and you too), when I checked last, we can purchase a year’s subscription (print and tablet) for only $10 (and a free tote!) Check it out here.
Mark and Graham. Spoiler alert, Family: I will be purchasing many, many gifts on this site. Not only do they have great travel-related gifts, but they also wrap the gifts with beautiful ribbon and professional corners. I’d pay full price for that! Since it’s Black Friday/Cyber Monday, I might as well just take advantage of the deals and save up for that flight to Australia everyone is talking about. Okay, it’s just me… I’m talking about that big island on the other side of the globe. Anyway, don’t forget to check out their travel gifts and more here.
World Market. Also globally-inspired, this seems like as good of a time as any to take advantage of their deals. When on our latest trip to New Orleans (you can read about it here), we lounged on a velvet sofa at Cellardoor and felt very fancy. Since we can’t be on a perpetual trip to NOLA, why not recreate the experience in the comfort of our living room? I’m thinking about these chairs. I’ve sat in them at my neighbor’s house and they are not only beautiful but are comfortable too. The last time I checked, they were 40% off.
Marriott Hotels. Their website is boasting “our best rates of the year” for a 5-Day Cyber Sale. If you’re on the fence about a vacation, this may be the boost you need. Check it out here. I’m sure that other hotels are worth checking out as well! It seems like a great time to book.
Skyskanner. Love them! Again, if you have a trip to book or one on your mind, check out Skyskanner’s website here. They have a list of airlines, and as deals pop up, they list them next to the airline. They are literally doing almost all of the work!
LeCreuset. Not at all related to travel… unless you dine at restaurants that bring you bread, and you want to replicate that feeling in your own home. You can check out my copycat bread here. I asked for a Dutch Oven for Christmas one year (yes, I was a super trendy 26 year old;-) and love my LeCreuset. You can check out black Friday deals on them here. Or, shop the outlet here. Or, there is a less expensive copycat here.
Have fun shopping and be safe!
If you are shopping for gifts, don’t forget to check out my recommendations for the travelers in your life here and here.
*This post contains affiliate links, meaning that if you click and purchase, I may receive some compensation. Thank you!
It’s that time of year– let the holiday family, fun, cooking, and traveling begin! I always look forward to the holidays for several reasons, one of which is time spent with family. Another is time spent with friends. Every holiday break, my college girlfriends and I meet for brunch to catch up. It is particularly special as it is one of the few times of the year that we are able to see a friend who grew up in Michigan and is currently living in England with her husband and children. She also spent three years in Norway. She and her family typically come home at Christmastime and in the summer for a few weeks. Meet Katie. I’m embarrassed that this is my first time asking these questions but am excited that she agreed to let me share her insights with you…Continue reading Thanksgiving: At Home and Abroad
New Orleans is known for Mardi Gras and Bourbon Street, but there is so much more to this charming southern city. From historic hotels, to trendy restaurants, and hole-in-the-wall bookstores, this city has much more to offer than red punch drinks and all-night parties. This was our second trip to New Orleans. We stayed in the downtown area, although we couldn’t help but revisit some of our favorites in the French Quarter.Continue reading What to do in New Orleans
While summer sun and lake time has my heart, there is something about fall that is simply magical. From the stillness to the brightly colored leaves to the sweater weather, fall takes a very close second (and only that due to the fact that I know what follows fall). Michigan autumns are simply the best- apple picking, pumpkin patches, rich colored trees… the list goes on and on…
We are always incredibly hesitant to miss out on Michigan falls. However, after looking at some of the Instagrams below, I may be more inclined to do so… Just look at this beautiful autumn foliage worldwide.
New York, USA: Kaaterskill Falls, Catskills Mountains
Hi there! I hope that you all had a great week and are ready for a nice weekend. We will be doing some more renovations, taking care of a pesky woodpecker situation (that’s right, there is currently a woodpecker drilling and making a nest in the side of the cabin), and getting ready to leave for another trip next month (if you have any restaurant suggestions for New Orleans, I’d love them!). I’m super excited about all of my “finds” this week and hope that you find them helpful as well.
The first is TripIt. TripIt is an app that allows you to store all information for a trip in one place. All you do is download the app, sign in, etc. Then, when you receive confirmation emails about your trip, you just forward it to TripIt (there is a specific email address) and it adds your info to the trip timeline. So, instead of searching through your emails when at the airport and hotel for the confirmation numbers, you simply open the app and all of your information is in one place. Great for planners and non planners alike!
The second “find” is from my neighbor and will most definitely be going on my Christmas list and then in my suitcase for all winter travel. These slippers are ingenious. Aside from just looking like very cozy slippers, they also have detachable soles. For those of us with detached garages/permanent outside trash bins, this seems like a perfect combination. And when traveling for long flights… can you imagine?
The third is soup. Yes, you read that correctly. It’s about that time of year when you come home and freeze on the walk from the terminal to your car. And when I’m freezing, I crave soup. Jamie Oliver’s Cauliflower Cheese Soup from this cookbook hits the spot every time. Simple and luxurious at the same time- it’s how I like my food and how I like my travel 😉
The final “find” is a good one and piggy backs off of this post. It’s another kid-friendly road trip game that a friend shared with me. I love it because it allows for differentiation when you have children of multiple age/developmental levels. First, you can start with a little variation of I Spy with someone describing an animal and the others guessing which animal that person is thinking about. This can then turn into a game of naming as many animals as you can for each letter (the older kids can write them down and the younger kids can name the animals); for those who like a little competition, it is fun to see which letter has the most animals at the end of the game.
And there you have it! Just some more Friday Finds on Mackinaw Road.
While I love a good scroll through Pinterest, I have to admit that often times a big red FAIL could be plastered across my final projects (except this one). And, even when I do feel I’ve successfully copied a Pinterest suggestion, often times, my kids could care less (they are probably used to my FAILS;-). Just a quick example… for our Road Trip to Washington D.C. this past summer, I printed colored scavenger hunts and road games, bought all of our kids’ favorite snacks, made 100 trips to the $1 section at Target, created art packs complete with new crayons, put all of the activities into neatly organized boxes, etc. etc. And you know what the 4-year old did? He talked to us for the 10 1/2 hours, falling asleep only when we were crossing from Maryland into D.C. The clipboards were a hit for a hot minute as was the sheet with all of the fast food restaurant signs that they were supposed to find (I think there were clouds with Happy Meal heaven thoughts in their heads). But, other than that, the boxes quickly became drawing boards and the backseat floor an endless array of spilled crayons and granola bar wrappers.Continue reading The Lazy Mom’s Guide to non-Pinterest Travel