Travel Capsule- Spring Styles

I have been intrigued with the Capsule Wardrobe concept for some time. While not all the way there yet, I figured that a TRAVEL capsule wardrobe was a good place to begin. I was also thrilled to collaborate with local business, Lee and Birch. Store manager, Elizabeth, met with me and helped guide me in selecting 11 pieces that could be combined to create so many different outfit combinations. She was fabulous, as has been all of the staff when I have shopped there on previous occasions. If you are local, stop in. (They also have locations in Rockford, Michigan and Grand Haven, Michigan.) If you aren’t local, you can still check them out online at www.leeandbirch.com.

Spring Travel Capsule Wardrobe

Here are the pieces we chose and a bit about each outfit. Oh, and as a side note, there is a lot me in this post- sorry! Fortunately, one of my good friends was taking the photos, which was also handy and hilarious and included statements such as “that’s a fake smile- let’s do another one” and “here, wear my bracelet- you need a little sparkle.” ❤️ 

Spring Travel Capsule Wardrobe

We decided on a tank for piece #1 of the capsule. Spring is unpredictable, but you do get those warm (sometimes even hot) days. I’m not that fun or spicy (as a flight attendance once called me- I’m the opposite), but this tank is just the right amount of fun for me. Elizabeth also recommended some cropped Paige jeans. The are great and do not stretch out, which is perfect for travel because, let’s face it, there isn’t ever a washer or dryer around when you need it. 

#1: Saturday, Please Stay Tank– https://leeandbirch.com/products/saturday-please-stay-tank

#2: Paige Jeans– https://leeandbirch.com/products/verdugo-crop-edie

Spring Travel Capsule Wardrobe

This would actually be a great outfit for the plane too- just add a trendy jacket and you are good to go.

#3: Roper Jacket- In Store Exclusive (stop in or call for details)

Spring Travel Capsule Wardrobe

Or, if you want to be even more stylish, you could pair a white tee with this beautiful kimono. A white tee is a risk (that’s what Shout wipes are for) but also a staple in a Spring Capsule wardrobe. And this kimono…well…just look at it. 

Maybe the mornings are chilly and the afternoons warm up. Then, you can easily swap the jeans for these silky, soft, and stylish shorts. If I didn’t live in Michigan where it can rain on Monday, snow on Tuesday, and be in the 70’s by Saturday in the springtime, I would live in these shorts.

#4: White Tee– https://leeandbirch.com/collections/tops/T-Shirt

#5: Kimono- https://leeandbirch.com/products/monarch-carmen

#6: Ruffle Shorts– https://leeandbirch.com/products/ruffle-waist-short

Spring Travel Capsule Wardrobe

If it’s a little chillier or you don’t trust yourself traveling with white, this shirt is another option to pair with the kimono. Not only does it pair well with the jeans and kimono but it is full of surprises, making it casual enough for site seeing but fun enough for dinner, too. The neckline and sleeve length make this shirt a classic choice. But then there are the slits up the side. They lay over each other but with movement, glide open, giving you the option to put a basic camisole underneath or perhaps something fancier or nothing at all if you are really trying to keep the capsule minimal. 

#7: Baseball Tee– https://leeandbirch.com/collections/tops/T-Shirt

Spring Travel Capsule Wardrobe

While we are talking dinner, it’s always good to be prepared for a nicer night out. Herein comes this LBD. It is light enough that it is perfect for the spring and summer months (and won’t take up any room in the suitcase). Even if you aren’t going anywhere, you may want to check this one out.

#8: LBD- https://leeandbirch.com/collections/dresses-skirts/Dress 

Spring Travel Capsule Wardrobe

What about going to museums or meeting friends for lunch? We have you covered there too. This dress is perfect and, as with most outfits, can be dressed up or down depending on shoe and jewelry choice. The bottom is a wrap. Before you count yourself out because wraps are usually a little irritating, there is a built in skirt/slip underneath, so you can move freely without constantly adjusting. Genius. You could also throw the jean jacket on (in the following picture) if it is cold or you are worried about the air conditioning (as I always am).

#9: Hester Dress- https://leeandbirch.com/products/hester-dress

Spring Travel Capsule Wardrobe

 

Planning to spend a day shopping or checking out art galleries? There is an ensemble for that too. This ruched skirt is very comfortable and easy to take a stroll in. Again, it can be paired with the White Tee from above and this jean jacket. Done and Done.

#10: Ruched Skirt- https://leeandbirch.com/products/ruched-skirt

#11Jean Jacket- https://leeandbirch.com/products/maddox-jacket-sunwashed

Many thanks to Lee and Birch for this collaboration! Here is a pin in case you feel like shopping later this week or passing the info along to husbands and children for Mother’s Day. 

 

Spring Travel Capsule Wardrobe

**This is not a sponsored post or ad. I am not receiving anything from Lee and Birch, aside from having a fun Wednesday and receiving guidance putting this capsule together. 

 

Where to Eat in Denver

I was recently able to check a box on my Bucket List (if you missed it, here is the complete-ish list) as we headed out to Colorado. My husband and I spent 4 days in this city with a beautiful backdrop of mountains. We spent all of our time in the city, although next time, I would like to head for the mountains just to try something new. My husband was able to join me for dinner a few nights, and it was wonderful. We actually had a conversation over dinner instead of wrestling kids back to the table. We did not have a bad meal… In fact, we had several downright delicious dinners. Warning: the majority of our favorite foods and shopping occurred in Larimer Square. It was only about 3 blocks from our hotel, but I would have walked miles if needed to get to this fabulous little corner of Denver. Colorful flags fly in the wind over the street while the sun casts square shadows on the warm pavement below and strings and strings of lights crisscross over the road. It really does feel magical. And the restaurants…

Where to Eat in Denver

Corridor 44- Corridor 44 is a restaurant in Larimer Square and the menu looks fabulous. We took advantage of the happy hour. The champagne cocktail list is impressive. It appeared as though many of the drinks were traditional but rather than add club soda, bubbly was substituted. Yes- you read that correctly.  I don’t even like champagne (yes, you read that correctly, too), but I loved this restaurant.

Dining and Drinking in DenverDining and Drinking in Denver

Cru- Well, we couldn’t go on a trip and not end up at chain, albeit a very quaint and fancy one with only four additional city locations… Sooooo… that doesn’t really count, right?! Regardless, the dinner was delicious and we enjoyed the small sitting area outside on the square. I would highly recommend the Scottish Salmon. We also shared a Shiraz flight that was fabulous.

Osteria Marco- Yes, another fantastic restaurant in the same square. When we walked in, I was immediately impressed with the tiled hostess station. Because it was rainy, we ate in the restaurant downstairs flanked by bottles and bottles of wine on all sides. The food was again amazing. Seriously, some of the best. You can choose from full meals, panini, and pizza.

Where to Eat in DenverWhere to Eat in Denver

Terminal Bar- We did leave Larimer Square one afternoon to check out Union Station. The building itself was incredibly impressive. It is a working train station complete with restaurants, benches, work tables, a book store, a flower stand, and a hotel. The scene is well worth checking out. We ate at the Terminal Bar and again were impressed. The craft beer selection in Denver is amazing and we had fun trying a couple new brews. (Side note: we are not wine snobs- not even close. However, when it comes to beer… we admittedly are. When you are from Beer City, USA, you tend to get spoiled with good beer without even knowing it. Denver crafters, you also do a nice job- we were impressed.)

Dining in Denver

 

Hotel Teatro- I cannot say enough good things about this hotel (and will say even more in a separate post, so stay tuned), but for now, I will stick to the food. We sat outside and had the most wonderful charcuterie while watching all of the people going home from work or going out to eat or doing whatever you do on a weekday at 5:30pm in Denver. Inside, the restaurant and bar are beautifully decorated. While we didn’t eat a meal at the Nickel (which is regrettable), I did pop inside to take a picture and noticed a delicious-looking Bloody Mary bar. Next time…

Where to Eat in Denver

Dining and Drinking in Denver

Want to save this for the next time you dine and drink in Denver? Here’s a pin 🙂

Where to Eat in Denver

**This post may contain affiliate links meaning that, at no cost to you, I may receive some compensation. Thank you!

Island Travel Interviews- European Islands, Take 2

Have you gotten a sense that there is very little rhyme or reason to the course we are traveling on this island interview journey? This week, we are headed back to the European Islands with Wayfaring with Wagner and Finding Upendi for the Island Travel Interviews focusing on the Croatian Island of Hvar and the Spanish Canary Islands (La Palma to be specific).

Let’s Begin with fellow native Michigander, Jordan fromWayfaring with Wagner, as she assists us in discovering Hvar.

Name and Blog Name/URL

Hi! My name is Jordan and I curate the blog “Wayfaring With Wagner.” Like Marta, I’m from Michigan (Traverse City) but now live full time in Hamburg, Germany.

What Island Will You Be Talking About and Why Did You Choose This Island?

When I think of paradise, I think of the island of Hvar. This island off the coast of Croatia is my favorite island in the entire world. Hvar is great because although it is a bit more remote (2+ hour ferry ride), it is not impossible to get there. I find that the island has the perfect mix of culture, history, relaxation, beaches, and delicious food!

Photo Credit- Wayfaring with Wagner

How Many Days Would You Recommend Staying on This Island?

To properly see the island, I’d recommend at least 4-5 days. I stayed on the island for only 3 days and really regret not having a bit more time in order to see everything!

Photo Credit- Wayfaring with Wagner

What is Your Favorite Thing About/Memory From Your Trip to This Island?

My favorite memory from Hvar was the road trip I did one day around the entire island. This allowed me to see the old fishing villages, lavender fields, vineyards, agricultural fields (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), rolling hills, tucked away churches, and an immense amount of beauty. Definitely rent a car, go out exploring, and purposely get lost!

Photo Credit- Wayfaring with Wagner

“Can’t Miss” Activity on the Island? What activities/opportunities does this island provide?

It is hard to choose just one “can’t miss” activity but if you have the time, drive (or climb) up Fortress Fortica Španjola at sunset. You will get the most amazing view of Hvar Town (yes, the main town is named “Hvar Town”), the harbor, and the Adriatic Sea.

Best Restaurant/Place to Eat?

To be honest, I mostly ate at small, locally owned restaurants. Nothing really stood out to me because I also don’t eat seafood (the island’s staple food) so I can’t be a good resource! Definitely try some of the local wine grown and produced on Hvar. Croatian wine is cheap, yummy, and totally underrated!

Photo Credit- Wayfaring with Wagner

What Surprised You About this Island?

I was most surprised by how much there is to do on the island and the history surrounding the island. Although Hvar is now part of present-day Croatia, the first inhabitants arrived on the island around 3,500 BC! The island was initially colonized by the Greeks around 400 BC but passed between the Roman Empire, Byzantine Empire, Slavic tribes, Republic of Venice, Kingdom of Hungary, Habsburg Monarchy, French Empire under Napoleon, Italy, Kingdom of Yugoslavia, Communist Yugoslavia, and finally modern-day Croatia. Like I mentioned above, the agricultural fields are a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to the formation of them and water collection system devised by the Greeks thousands of years ago. This system is still used today! I am amazed by how much culture and history fits on one island and the legacies, architecture, traditions, food, crops, and techniques left behind from each subsequent era.

Photo Credit- Wayfaring with Wagner

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)?

In terms of getting to the island, ferries leave multiple times a day from Split, Croatia (a great city that I recommend spending a few days visiting either before or after your trip to Hvar). Make sure to check the schedule because ferries are VERY limited in the low season (high season starts in May and ends in either September or October).

Photo Credit- Wayfaring with Wagner

Deciding where to stay really depends on what type of traveler you are. I wanted a relaxing environment and opted for the quiet but gorgeous town of Stari Grad (literally translates to “Old Town”). However, if you want more of a party scene, head to Hvar Town.

It is imperative that you rent a car on the island (don’t bring a car over, just rent it on the island!). The bus connections only run a few times a day and you’re really missing a lot of the island if you only stick to bus routes. Car rentals are really cheap and easily available. If coming during the high season, book a car ahead of time.

While Croatia is part of the EU, it is not yet part of Schengen which means that it doesn’t count towards your 90 visa-free Schengen days (this is relevant for Americans, Canadians, Australians, New Zealanders, Japanese, etc. Really any country that is allowed 90 visa-free days in the Schengen zone). Because it doesn’t count towards your 90 days in Schengen, you get an additional 90 days just for Croatia. However, Croatia is expected to join Schengen soon so make sure to check ahead of time. Also, Croatia hasn’t adopted the Euro yet. The local Croatian currency is the Croatian kuna (1 USD = 7 kuna, 1 Euro = 7.5 kuna, 1 CAD = 5.25 kuna).

Just a small fact about the beaches on Hvar – most of the beaches are stony/rocky. There are still plenty of places to sunbathe and relax! However, if you’re expecting sandy beaches, they’re quite sparse (I think there is only one or two located on Hvar) so don’t be disappointed.

Photo Credit- Wayfaring with Wagner

If my readers want to hear more about your island, do you have a link to your full article?

Here is my photo diary of Stari Grad: https://www.wayfaringwithwagner.com/heavenly-hvar-island-stari-grad-croatia/

Next Up… the Canary Islands with Silvia from Finding Upendi.

What is Your Name and Blog Name/URL?


Silvia Galvan – Finding Upendi (www.findingupendi.com)
 


What Island Will You Be Talking About and Why Did You Choose This Island?



I’ll be talking about La Palma, one of the seven Canary Islands. I feel like everybody knows the Canary Islands as a sunny cheap destination full of resorts, but most people are completely unaware there is a lot of unspoiled natural beauty as well, especially in the western islands, which include La Palma. In fact, the whole island is a UNESCO Biosphere reserve.
 


European Islands La Palma
Photo Credit- Finding Upendi

How Many Days Would You Recommend Staying on This Island?



That depends on what you are interested in doing. There are two types of visits: for those that are willing to rent a car and go roadtripping, or for those interested in hiking around the island. If you are roadtripping you can easily make it a daytrip from Tenerife and get a feel for the island, but to actually get to see the island properly I’d say a minimum of three days is required. If on the other hand you are interested in hiking, I’d recommend a mimum of four days, up to seven.
 


What Is Your Favorite Thing About/Memory From Your Travels to This Island?



That would definitely have to be our visit to Los Tilos. Stopping at Los Tilos wasn’t part of our plan, but we had some spare time before driving to the airport and decided to make a quick stop, which turned out to be the best decision we made during the whole trip. A sub-tropical laurel forest, it is a representation of what makes La Palma such a beautiful island – the steep and abrupt mountains covered in a very dense green. We spent less than an hour there, but after wandering into a small tunnel found ourselves admiring a waterfall in the middle of the forest all alone. That’s the thing about La Palma – it’s full of hidden surprises around every corner! I can only imagine what some of the areas only accessible on foot could be hiding…
 


European Islands La Palma
Photo Credit- Finding Upendi

What Is Your “Can’t Miss” Activity on the Island? What activities/opportunities does this island provide?

 

I’d have to say that a visit to the National Park of La Caldera de Taburiente is a must. This National Park protects what’s basically a 10-km wide crater, with it’s highest point at 2000 metres. The landscape as well as the views are absolutely breathtaking. It is at this highest point that you will also find the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory, which containes some of the world’s biggest telescopes, as well as being the best observatory on the northern hemisphere after Hawaii. This is precisely why stargazing is a very popular activity in La Palma, and astronomy-tourism is on the rise. The best activity though is hiking – the landscapes are just begging to be explored on foot, and there are hiking routes across the whole island that have recently been revamped and are all properly sign-posted. If you are neither into star-gazing nor hiking, there are also some pretty good swimming spots, as well as whale and dolphin-watching opportunities.



Best Restaurant/Place to Eat?

 

The local food is absolutely delicious and I’ve never had a bad experience so I’d say anywhere is good. The only thing would be that there are extensive areas of the island without any towns, so it’d be wise to plan ahead. The capital, as well as some of the biggest towns, like Los Llanos, would be the ones with the biggest amount of places to eat. Tazacorte as well, although not very big, has a nice promenade lined up with loads of restaurants by the sea.



What Surprised You About this Island?

 

The absolute and sheer beauty – it is simply amazing, and very different from the other islands! Even though it is volcanic, it is not as dry as the other islands but rather covered in a beautiful layer of green forests, as well as natural volcanic pools. It is heaven for nature-lovers!

European Islands La Palma
Photo Credit- Finding Upendi

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)?

 The island remains relatively untouched by tourism (although hiking tourism is booming at the moment), which means it might not be the easiest of islands to visit and might require a little bit of planning! For starters, the airport is very small (and hard to access actually, so it is not uncommon for flights to get delayed due to bad weather) and there aren’t a lot of flights with the exception of flights from Tenerife. There’s a new direct flight from London with Easyjet, so it has recently become a lot easier to visit! Also, the local language is Spanish and I would not expect the locals to be able to speak English, with the exception of restaurants and hotel staff. If anything, you might stand a better chance of finding German-speaking people, given that most of the tourists they receive are German. As for moving around, as I previously mentioned, you really only have two choices – either rent a car or do it on foot.

The best advice I could give is to just go for it, get out and explore the island – no matter where you decide to go or do, I haven’t met a single person yet who hasn’t loved La Palma!



If my readers want to hear more about your island, do you have a link to your full article?



I wrote an article last year covering a one-day roadtrip itinerary of the island which can be found at: http://findingupendi.com/one-day-roadtripping-in-la-palma/

Many thanks to Wayfaring with Wagner and Finding Upendi! 

Here is a pin so you have these beautiful islands at your fingertips.

European Islands
Photo Credit Pixabay

Did you miss the other European Islands we have explored? Check them out here.

Interested in Caribbean or USA or Philippine Islands? I have you covered there too.

**Please note that this post may contain affiliate links meaning that, at no cost to you, I may receive some compensation.

Top 5 Travel Hacks

Hi all! I feel like it’s been awhile. It’s just incredibly wonderful to feel the spring sun and watch the beautiful flowers in bloom. Also, we’ve been out traveling twice in the last month… that along with birthdays, school plays, soccer, yard work, shooting hoops in the driveway too late past bedtime… you know how the springtime awakening goes… Since packing (and unpacking) have been fresh on my mind lately, I thought that a few travel hacks were in order.

I try to be a no stress traveler. The whole point of going on a trip is to relax and explore. That said there are a few travel hacks that make life easier and don’t require too much planning ahead.  I have also narrowed it down to my top five. While there are plenty of travel hack articles out there,  most of them have lost me at “top 25.” Who has time to read 25 hacks when you are trying to get ready for a trip?

#1  Take a photo of the information plaques while out sightseeing.  This hack came from my sister-in-law and is my favorite hack of them all. We all think we are going to remember our pictures in the details (or even where we took the picture), but there is so much to see that the details often get lost. Having a picture of the info from a historic monument or the name of the restaurant you loved helps when you are sharing pictures with family and friends. Or perhaps, you are just in awe of the architecture (or chasing down your energetic young ones) and don’t have time to read all of the history behind the site. Your picture allows you to read the plaque later that day in the quiet of your hotel room.

#2  Plastic Gallon Bags. Not good for the environment (so obviously try to reuse them as much as possible) but great for packing. This hack is especially useful if you are sharing a suitcase with your children. I put an outfit for each day in a plastic bag and also have one for toiletries, pajamas, and swimsuits. This helps alleviate the drama of them tearing through the suit case to choose an outfit or find a swimsuit and disrupting the order with which I so carefully (most of the time) packed it.

#3  Blue Apron. I love it. I would use it every week if I were able to. However, Blue Apron is a once-a-month kind of thing at our house. As such, I always reserve an order for the week we return.  We will undoubtedly be making several trips to the grocery store, but it is nice to avoid having to plan at least one meal a day until the bags are unpacked and the laundry is done.

#4 An Empty Stainless Steel Water Bottle. (My redemption for using plastic bags.)  The water bottles are great for filling up at the airport once you have passed through security. This can save you quite a bit of money in the long run. I also like having the water bottle at our hotel. If the water tastes funny or we are not supposed to drink it, I can always take my water bottle down to the fitness center to fill it up for the day.

#5 Take a Photo of Your Row/Level at the Airport Parking Garage. Haha- yes, our phones are full of random signs. However, this again is extremely helpful. When in a rush to make our flight (as we undoubtedly always are), we always take  a quick snap and are grateful we have when we return from our trips with our heads in the clouds and sleepy children. 

There you have it- 5 quick, no-stress, no-plan travel hacks. What about you? Do you have any travel hacks that you implement regularly? Planning to stay put and enjoy all that spring and summer have to offer? Me too… but here’s the pin for next February 😉

 

**This post may contain affiliate links, meaning that, at no cost to you, I may receive some compensation. Thank you!

 

 

Island Travel Interviews- Philippines, Take Two

This week we return to the beautiful Philippines Islands with The Vlog Expedition and April and Summer. Please join me as I learn about the islands of Camiguin and Malapascua.

Let’s start with The Vlog Expedition and Camiguin.

Photo Credit- The Vlog Expedition

What is Your Name and Blog Name/URL?

Violette & Antoine – The Vlog Expedition www.vlogexpedition.com

Which Island Will You Be Talking About and Why Did You Choose This Island?

I chose to talk about Camiguin Island in the Philippines. It is located in Northern Mindanao, a region of the Philippines that most countries’ travel advisories advise not to go to because of some very localised conflicts. It is a shame because Camiguin Island is a true hidden gem in a very touristy country, and a safe destination.

How Many Days Would You Recommend Staying on This Island?

From 2 to 4 days or more depending on how you enjoy it !

What is Your Favorite Thing About/Memory From Your Travels to This Island?

The incredible sunset seen from the ferry, the ride to White Island, our amazing resort and the snorkeling around the Sunken Cemetery – best snorkeling in my life!

Photo Credit- The Vlog Expedition

What is Your “Can’t Miss” Activity on the Island? What activities/opportunities does this island provide?

The 2 main activities are the boat trip to White Island and snorkeling in the Sunken Cemetery where you’ll see massive clams and plenty of clownfish. But as the island is quite mountainous there are many hiking trails and waterfalls to see, and also zip lining if you have time!

Photo Credit- The Vlog Expedition

Best Restaurant/Place to Eat?

The restaurant of our resort, Bahay Bakasiyunan sa Camiguin Resort, served us amazing food, especially great fish, and the setting is simply magical.

What Surprised You About this Island?

Camiguin Island has 7 volcanoes and one is active. The nature and sceneries are different from the rest of the Philippines, it felt like being in Jurassic Park!

Photo Credit- The Vlog Expedition

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)?

The easiest (not the cheapest) way is to fly from Cebu directly to Camiguin. A cheaper but longer way is to fly to Cagayan de Oro (they offer now international flights), then a bus to Balingoan, and finally ferry to Camiguin Island. A longer but more interesting trip in my opinion! Once you’re there you can easily rent a scooter or arrange a tour with your accommodation.

If my readers want to hear more about your island, do you have a link to your full article?

Antoine and I make interactive vlogs : videos in which you can access extra content (360° video, info, photos, etc…) by clicking whenever invited to, within the video. We want to create an immersive experience for our viewers to explore the places we visit just like they were there with us. You can experience the episode about Camiguin Island on our website : https://goo.gl/CjNs4Z

Here are our links:

Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/vlogexpedition

Instagram : https://www.instagram.com/violettetravelphoto

Twitter : https://twitter.com/vlogexpedition

Snapchat : @vlogexpedition

Next Up is April and Summer with Malapascua Island!

Photo Credit- April and Summer

What is Your Name and Blog Name/URL?

Name: April Fuentes

Blog Name: April and Summer / www.aprilandsummer.com

Which Island Will You Be Talking About and Why Did You Choose This Island?

Malapascua Island (Cebu, Philippines)

This island is a mini version of the famous Boracay Island.

It is so peaceful and beautiful with white sand beach, lush palm trees, colorful coral gardens perfect for your snorkeling adventure, and an interesting dive site with sharks swimming around.

Photo Credit- April and Summer

How Many Days Would You Recommend Staying on This Island?

I recommend staying here for 5-6 days since the transfer time is really long.

It usually takes 4-5 hours by bus plus 30 minutes by boat to finally reach this little paradise.

What is Your Favorite Thing About/Memory From Your Travels to This Island?

The last time I went to this island was with my boyfriend.

It was super fun that we decided to extend our stay but because it was a peak season, all hotels were booked so we ended up sleeping on beach chairs in front of the beach.

It was so cold and we woke up seeing people walking around which is kind of embarrassing but definitely a funny and memorable experience for us.

What is Your “Can’t Miss” Activity on the Island? What activities/opportunities does this island provide?

Diving!

You shouldn’t miss Monad Shoal, the most famous dive site in this island which is half an hour away by boat. 

It promises close encounters with Thresher Sharks before sunrise, and if you’re lucky enough, you may also see Manta Rays and Hammerhead Sharks.

Best Restaurant/Place to Eat?

Dine at Ocean Vida Restaurant!

You will love the food and the relaxing feeling of eating right in front of the beach.

What Surprised You About this Island?

Dogs!

We were surprised to be greeted by a lot of them when we set foot on the island. 

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)?

Getting there:

Getting to Malapascua takes long hours so better catch the earliest bus at 12 midnight from Cebu North Terminal to Maya Port where you’ll be riding a boat for another 30 minutes to the island.

You can also take a cab but most drivers would ask for a much higher fixed price since it’s hard to get passengers back to the city.

Diving:

If you plan to go to Monad Shoal for a possible diving adventure with Thresher sharks, better start off early as they follow a first-come, first-served policy.

If my readers want to hear more about your island, do you have a link to your full article? 

Yes!

http://aprilandsummer.com/malapascua-the-little-boracay-of-cebu/

 

Thanks so much to The Vlog Expedition and April and Summer! I will be pining (and pinning) about these islands. If you are in the same boat ;-), here is a pin.

Photo Credit- Pixabay

*Please note that this post may contain affiliate links, meaning that, at no cost to you, I may receive some compensation. Thank you!

 

Where to Eat When Visiting Paradise Island

Continue reading Where to Eat When Visiting Paradise Island

What to Wear on a Plane- Keeping it Classy

Plane Outfit #1

I’m sure you all heard the hulaboo (someone recently used this word and I have since adopted it and use it every chance I get- sorry) about the girls who wore leggings on the United flight. Honestly. Once again, our family debates are ahead of their time. Every time before we are leaving for a longer plane trip, there is discussion about what we will be wearing, which inevitably ends with me assuring everyone…not my yoga pants… even though stylish comfy clothes are my forte. But I get it. We are in public, we are going on a nice trip, and it really isn’t too much to ask that I not look like I am about to hop into bed… I mean, workout… 

That said, with much reservation (well, not that much since I was able to shop), I put together a few ensembles to check out… (Oh, and probably no on the shoes but they would add a nice element to change into once you arrive at your destination.)

If you want to keep it somewhat formal, this is a nice option, and I guarantee you will be able to wear most of this outfit again once you reach your destination. Versatility is always key for me.

Plane Outfit #2

This would be my trendy option-(yes, in my classic wardrobe, the bomber jacket qualifies as trendy- ha!). Maybe not the purse for the plane. Or maybe yes and just stick it in this bag? Can you tell that I may have a thing for scallops? I find it difficult to say no to scallops and ruffles. 

Plane Outfit #3
Plane Outfit #4

I love this cozy outfit. Maybe just add some pearls to make it just a tad fancy. And a t-shirt (perhaps one of these?) underneath to add an extra ounce of comfort.

What do you think? Are any of these combos your style? What do you wear on flights? Does distance/length of flight make a difference?

The PIN:

The LIST:

Travel Outfit #1

Ann Taylor Navy Blazer- (I couldn’t find this online but if you head to the store, I found it in the sale section and then got another 40% on top of that.) If you don’t have a store nearby, here is equally classy option with a splash of spring… https://bit.ly/2nFHtdG

Ann Taylor Petite Striped Cutout Ruffle Shell-  https://bit.ly/2nJiacu

Banana Republic Jeans- Again, I couldn’t find the exact match to these jeans but I really have had good luck with any and all BR jeans. The pair that probably gives the closest vibe to the ones in the photo are these- http://bit.ly/2nJuOrP

Lariat Necklace- I love this necklace. It is especially nice for travel as it can be worn 3 ways. Check it out at http://bit.ly/2nFzSMh

Heels- http://bit.ly/2n53GFd

Travel Outfit #2

White House Black Market White Blazer with Black Pinstripe- Again, I purchased this awhile ago and it is no longer available. I do love WHBM for more dressy pieces like blazers, so it’s always worth a quick look. I also found this jacket at Nordstrom’s that keeps it classy and would pair well with the mock sweater in the picture- http://bit.ly/2nFNt6j

Ann Taylor Ruffle Sleeve Mock Neck Sweater-  I’m a huge fan of higher cut tops and ruffles and this one checks both boxes- https://bit.ly/2nJjps8

Silver Bracelet- https://bit.ly/2nxm0C2

Heels- http://bit.ly/2n5eza2

Plane Outfit #3

Scalloped Shirt- http://bit.ly/2n5eza2

Bomber Jacket- https://bit.ly/2n555eE

Plane Outfit #4

Fleece- Unfortunately, the last time I looked, this was sold out. However, there are still some good, cozy-looking options available.  https://bit.ly/2nQ0NFi or https://bit.ly/2n5cdYw seem like good options.

Bracelet- (Also no longer available-ahhh! Sorry- I don’t go shopping that often.) Again, this would make a good pairing, though… https://bit.ly/2nQ1GxC

** This post contains affiliate links meaning that, at no cost to you, I may receive some compensation. Thank you!

 

 

 

Island Travel Interviews, USA Islands- Take 1

Photo Credit- Pixabay

It’s spring break around our town, which means that traffic is pretty light around here.  I’m loving looking at all of the lovely island photos popping up on Facebook and Instagram. When one thinks of US Islands, Hawaii without a doubt comes immediately to mind. This week, bloggers Valerie from Maple Leopard and Sam from The Manini Experience a help us explore two beautiful Hawaiian islands.

Let’s start with Oahu and Maple Leopard…

What is Your Name and Blog Name/URL?

Valerie from MapleLeopard

http://www.mapleleopard.com

Which Island Will You Be Talking About and Why Did You Choose This Island?

Oahu. I chose it because it is the most dreamy place in the world. It is truly a paradise you never want to leave after you set foot on this beautiful island.

Photo Credit- Maple Leopard

How Many Days Would You Recommend Staying on This Island?

As many as possible! At least 14 to see it all. I have only ever stayed a week, and it is by far not enough time!

Favorite Thing About/Memory From Your Trip to This Island?

My favorite memory was when my whole family went two years in a row. My kids were younger then, so bittersweet memories. I did go again in 2015 for my daughters graduation present…special memories then too!

Photo Credit- Maple Leopard

What is Your “Can’t Miss” Activity on the Island? What activities/opportunities does this island provide?

Swimming and doing water activities at Waikiki Beach. It is the ultimate Hawaiian experience. There are too many activities to name. The island of course, is rich in Hawaiian culture, and there is much of that to be explored. The Polynesian Cultural Center and Hiking Diamond Head are very popular tourist experiences..don’t miss them!

Best Restaurant/Place to Eat?

Dicks is definitely the place you want to try out! Gorgeous ocean views and delicious food!

What Surprised You About this Island?

The water in the world famous place for Snorkeling: Hanauma Bay..was absolutely freezing!

Photo Credit- Maple Leopard

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)?

If you are on a budget, (Like I always am) I suggest you stay at the Aqua Oasis by Aston Hotels..on Lewers Street. It is conveniently located 3 blocks from the beach and is beautifully remodeled.

If you stay in Waikiki beach, everything is in walking distance. If you want to explore the island, there are city buses, tour buses, and of course car rentals. Everyone mostly speaks English and the money is US Dollars.

If my readers want to hear more about your island, do you have a link to your full article?

I have 2 or 3 articles about Oahu. Here are the links… http://www.mapleleopard.com/2016/01/oahu-ultimate-winter-get-away.html

http://www.mapleleopard.com/2015/07/3-tips-for-hiking-diamond-head.html

http://www.mapleleopard.com/2015/06/how-to-make-most-of-your-hawaiian.html

 

And now for Lana’i Island from The Manini Experience…

What is your name and blog/URL?

 Sam | The Manini Experience (http://themaniniexperience.com/blog/)

IG: @themaniniexperience

FB: The Manini Experience

Which Island Will You Be Talking About and Why Did You Choose This Island?

Lana’i Island, Hawaii

Photo Credit- The Manini Experience

 

How Many Days Would You Recommend Staying on This Island?

3

What is Your Favorite Thing About/Memory From Your Travels to This Island? Swimming with 100+ dolphins in the wild. They were incredibly majestic, curious, and playful. To them we were just another part of the sea.

Photo Credit- The Manini Experience

What is Your “Can’t Miss” Activity on the Island? What activities/opportunities does this island provide?

While this island isn’t bustling with activity, there are three big attractions to be seen. 1. Manele Bay and the Four Seasons resort – The resort sits atop a large cliff overlooking the bay which harbors a marine sanctuary. This is a sight to see! 2. Shipwreck Beach – A moderate off-rode drive in a jeep will get you to this destination where you can observe an old US Navy vessel that was purposefully grounded and used for training before it was left to be broken down and turned into reef by the ocean and its inhabitants. 3. Garden of the Gods – While not quite as impressive as the one in Colorado Springs, this is still a really cool place to see inexplicably large and unique rock formations that some would agree could only have been placed there by a higher being.

Photo Credit- The Manini Experience

Best Restaurant/Place to Eat?

The Blue Ginger Cafe – A small local joint in Lana’i City that is far from the tourism area of Manele Bay. The food is delicious but the bakery “take’s the cake.” (Sorry for the cheesy joke!) Here is the link to their website: http://www.bluegingercafelanai.com

What Surprised You About this Island?

How small town it is. We saw the same people day after day and started to know the local residents by name. It was refreshing after living in Honolulu where you can go months without running into someone you know! 

Photo Credit- The Manini Experience

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)?

1. Don’t make it your entire vacation unless all you want to do is lay at the beach because there isn’t much to do, just make it a side trip from your main vacation to one of the bigger islands.

2. You cannot take a boat, you have to fly there with one of only two airlines that operates to this island. They also have limited flights per day so I would recommend planning ahead although the flight are usually far from full.  

3. If the Four Seasons is too steep for your pocketbook, there are a couple of airbnb’s that you can rent but book early!

4. Places to eat, ATM’s and other general amenities (such as 24 hr convenience stores) either don’t exist or are scarce so plan ahead and have cash on you before going. Also either eat dinner very early if you want to eat out or buy groceries because the restaurants don’t keep very long hours.

5. There is no hospital on this island and you would have to be airlifted if something happened so be careful you don’t get yourself into some trouble 🙂

 If my readers want to hear more about your island, do you have a link to your full article?

No link to an article about Lana’i but have a link to our Christmas on Big Island. http://themaniniexperience.com/christmas-in-hawaii/

Want to save this info for your next holiday break? Here is a pin for that…

Photo Credit- Pixabay

Want to check out some other great islands that we’ve covered? I have a link for that…

Island Travel Interviews

**Please note that this post contains affiliate links, meaning that, at no cost to you, I may receive some compensation. Thank you!

 

The Cloisters on Paradise Island, Bahamas

 

Island Travel is amazing… white powder-sand beaches, clear turquoise water, peach-colored sunsets, blue skies with wispy white clouds, and, of course, yummy drinks. Paradise Island has all of these things… and more.

Having a father who used to teach history, I have become accustom to travel that involves some sort of history lesson. This schooling, however, has the benefit of taking place in paradise.

The French Cloisters is located in the One and Only Ocean Club’s Versailles Gardens. It overlooks Nassau Harbour. The Cloisters is what remains from a 14th century French Monastery and is made of stone.

 

William Randolf Hearst, a US newspaper businessman, originally purchased the Cloisters. It was later bought from his estate by Huntington Hartford and shipped to the Bahamas. The stones were not labeled properly; as such, it took artist/sculptor, Jean Castre-Manne, two years to make it look similar to the original.

All history lessons aside, The Cloisters is also a perfect wedding site.. you can certainly see why. My husband and I are are already plotting our points to convince at least one of our children to get married there.

The Cloisters is an easy supplement to your hopefully nonexistent schedule in order to add some history to your beach vacation on Paradise Island.  It is definitely worth the short walk to check it out.

What about you? Do you try to add a little history or learning even when you are on a sun-and-sand trip?

Have I convinced you to visit The Cloisters? Here is a pin to save this info for your next trip.

 

Resources:

http://www.bahamas.com/vendor/cloisters

http://www.frommers.com/destinations/paradise-island/attractions/the-cloister

*This post may contain affiliate links, meaning that, at no cost to you, I may receive some compensation. Thank you!

007 in the Bahamas

Are there any other Sean Connery fans out there? Let me tell you a story about my childhood… I was raised on James Bond. Now, I was not allowed to watch Jem or Growing Pains, but for whatever reason, 007 was a-okay. And what’s not to love about this spy series? There is mystery, intrigue, action, and beautiful scenery. I’m not sure how many James Bond movies were filmed in the Bahamas; I’ll have to ask my brother the next time we talk and get back to you on that one. However, I do know that, being the super fans that my parents are, his name came up just a few times during our last visit to Nassau and Paradise Island. Here are the 3 places we visited and the corresponding movies…

The British Colonial Hilton in Nassau is the site of the Never Say Never bar… you know, the one where there is flirting and water skiing… all of the things good island banter is made of. Unfortunately, the bar is no longer there. I remember when it was. Yes, my family may have gone on a little James Bond escapade when I was younger. Maybe even stopping out at Lyford Cay and taking a picture in front of Sean Connery’s gate. Moving on…

Another Bond movie great, Thunderball, was also filmed at the Hilton in the lobby; apparently, a few things were rearranged for the movie, so this doesn’t look exactly as it did in the movie. Coincidently, this lobby is also where we all sat in the lobby during our vacation because the 4 year old got a little ambitious “just sticking his toes” in the water and ended up drenched (there are air hand dryers in the bathrooms and the gift shop does sell size 4 swim trunks, in case anyone needs to know).

I’ve saved the best for last… The One and Only Ocean Club on Paradise IslandHaving never had the opportunity to stay here, I’d love to roll my eyes or make some snide remark, but, wow, this place is everything it claims to be. It is gorgeous and immaculate and the staff is spectacular. I have so many memories here. My brother taking lessons from the pro, Leo, who still remembers my family and greets us with his warm smile. Or, my mom taking me to The Courtyard Terrace for dinner and my first official drink (White Zin, of course… it was the 90s) . Pictures of my parents on dates there while my grandmother watched us. The first time my husband and I went there for drinks or when we left our kids with their grandparents for our date nights at Dune. Ahhh… just so.many.memories. But, I guess we aren’t really supposed to be talking about me…oops! Back to the handsome man in the suit. While he’s not Sean Connery, Daniel Craig is a close second. And, he fits in well at The One and Only in Casino Royale. Here are some more pictures because it’s hard not to just keep snapping. It is beautiful!

Want to save this for your very own future 007 self-guided tour? I have a pin for that…

*This post may contain affiliate links, meaning that, at no cost to you, I may receive some compensation. Thank you!