Holiday Gift List for Traveling Kids

 

Once again, I am scrambling to get last minute gifts. Often, I want my gifts to not only be thoughtful and fun but also practical and useful. This is especially true when shopping for my traveling kiddos. Here is a short list of suggestions for possible Holiday Gifts.

Continue reading Holiday Gift List for Traveling Kids

Holiday Gift List for Your Traveler- Photography Edition

Happy Holidays! This post is coming a little late but for those who are still scrambling to pick out those last minute gifts (as I am), here are some ideas for your Traveler/Photographer.

I am currently in the midst of trying to make several photo books, etc. and am incredibly grateful and frustrated with ALL OF THE PHOTOS to choose from and my lack of organization. Remember the days when you took just one photo per event, dropped off the film, picked up the photos a week later, and immediately stuck them into a photo book. Easy peasy. Those times are long gone, but here are some fun photo gifts that your Travel Photographer (amateur or professional) may be happy to unwrap.

Travel Gifts | Photography
Photo Credit- Pixabay

The Fujifilm Instax Camera. This camera immediately pushes out a self-developing print (Just like the good old days!). Perfect to hang on the fridge for an instant reminder of a trip. Some of the camera styles are a bit too whimsical for my style, but this one looks classic and very traveller-esque to me.

I mentioned Chatbooks a few posts back but feel that they are worth mentioning again here. If your Traveler is also a Post-er (as in he/she posts photos fairly regularly to Instagram or Facebook), Chatbooks is a nice way to get your photos out of your camera/social media account and into a physical book. For every 60 photos that you post, Chatbooks automatically sends you a photo book. They also have stylish covers from designers like Kate Spade and Rifle Paper Co. 

Chatbooks to Document Travel Travel Gifts | Photography
Photo Credit- Chatbooks

Another way to display your travel photos almost immediately is through a photo frame like this Nixplay WiFi Photo Frame. Or, there is also this less expensive version with fewer bells and whistles but the main idea is the same. You can even share to other people’s frames (maybe don’t send photos from Bali to your family in Michigan in February, though).

While we are talking about photo organization and loading, I just recently learned about WiFi Enabled SD Memory Cards that allow you to take photos with your DSLR and immediately send them to your smartphone, computer, or tablet, taking that “loading” step out of the equation. Perfect to save time when you are getting ready for your next adventure. Check one out here

Travel Gifts | Photography
Photo Credit Pixabay

Lightroom. I love it. Admittedly, I’m quite certain that I am only using about 20% of the available functions, but I feel that it really does make a difference in both travel and everyday photos. With the side-by-side comparison while editing, you can immediately see that your time is well spent. And it starts at only $9.99 per month. You can look at the various options here

Holiday Gift Guide | Travel | Photography
Photo Credit- Moment Lens

Moment Lens. Easy and convenient to attach to your phone when on the go. The wide angle lens has served me well this past year and makes my phone photos noticeably better. 

Already have your gifts bought? Here is a pin for future holiday/gift reference 🙂

Holiday Gift Guide | Travel | Photography
Photo Credit- Pixabay

**This post contains affiliate links, meaning that if you click and purchase, I may receive some compensation. Thank you!

Friday Finds on Mackinaw Road, Take 6: A Travel App, Slippers, Soup, and a Car Game

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.

Travel App, Slippers, Soup, and Games

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!

Lake Michigan in January

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? 

Travel App, Slippers, Soup, and Games

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 😉

Travel App, Slippers, Soup, and Games

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. 

As always, here is the pin 🙂

Travel App, Slippers, Soup, and a Car Game

**This post contains affiliate links.

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The Lazy Mom’s Guide to non-Pinterest Travel

Lazy Mom's Guide to non-Pinterest Travel
Photo Credit- Pixabay

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

Friday Finds on Mackinaw Road, Take 5: Timeshares, WhatsApp, and a Reno

Happy Friday!

This week was again surprisingly busy with coordinating kids’ activities, trips to apples orchards, vet appointments, celebrating birthdays, catching flights, making schedules, and ruminating on renovation (nope, I’m not talking about Reno today) decisions. Where to begin…

Timeshares, WhatsApp, and a Renovation

Since this is supposed to be a travel blog, let’s begin with a couple of oldie-but-goodie suggestions. Continue reading Friday Finds on Mackinaw Road, Take 5: Timeshares, WhatsApp, and a Reno

Friday Finds, Take 4: Podcasts, Another Travel App, and Tipping Guidelines

Podcasts, Travel Apps, and Articles

Last weekend, we went to Chicago for a few days. I was expecting to have lots and lots of pictures and recommendations, but I just was having too much fun and was much too laid back to do so. Also, we didn’t plan ahead as we should have, so mostly ended up at our old favorites (read: LeColonial and The Kerryman). I did, however, take a few pictures on my 9am 90 degree run… mostly just as an excuse to take a break!

Another exciting part of the trip was that my husband connected my phone to the car’s bluetooth system, so we were able to listen all of my favorite podcasts. (It may have been disconnected after I made us listen to the second season of Serial on our way to O’Hare on Christmas Day a few years back… intriguing but not really holiday material.)

Speaking of… I have to admit that after Serial ended, I sort of gave up on podcasts. Some had fun information, but the people talking were just too giggly and giddy. Others just didn’t fit the bill. I tried to continue with Crime Writers On (which I LOVE and would highly recommend listening to concurrently with Serial) but since our cable plan didn’t cover the TV shows they were talking about at the time, I sort of lost interest there too. Of course, neither of those podcasts has anything to do with travel…

Podcasts, Travel Apps, and An Article

I recently happened upon Travelogue, which is by Conde Nest Traveler. Their most recent podcast contained all of my favorites… coffee, how to score cheap tickets to Broadway shows in NYC, and what to do in Chicago with kids (see how it compares to my list here). Anyway, as the title suggests, the hosts talk all about Where to Travel This Fall.

Having quite a few hours logged in the car this past week, I also turned to the classic This American Life. I don’t think that radio voices get much better than Sarah Koenig’s. And, I learned quite a bit about the aftermath of Japan’s devastating Earthquake and Tsunami in 2011… and about a phone booth that people who have lost loved ones visit to “speak” to their missing family members and friends… and the tragic but healing effect it has on them.

Podcasts, Travel Apps, and Articles

And another Travel App recommendation. My sister-in-law has such great travel suggestions! This app is called Hotel Tonight. Again, as the name suggests, this probably isn’t the best app for those who like to plan. However, if you are headed to a nearby city and are looking for a room, the prices do appear to be quite heavily discounted the night of. This is perfect if you are heading from a nearby suburb or state into Chicago for the day, for maybe a baseball game or quick trip to one of their extraordinary museums (just look at that view from Shedd Aquarium!), and decide that you are tired and would rather spend the night instead of driving back home. Done and done.

Podcasts, Travel Apps, and Articles

Yet another fabulous read (again, recommended by my sister-in-law… I’m so lucky to be part of a great traveling family!)…  Wondering about how much to tip? I typically go with the 20% rule for gratuity while in the USA when I get a bill… but what about for those extra services such as when the concierge makes a dinner reservation for you? Jettsetter has you covered. Check out their helpful guidelines here.

What podcasts have you been listening to lately? Any other useful travel apps that you don’t leave home without? And, what have been your experiences with gratuity?

Want to pin this for later? Just click the Pinterest button below and click the image you want to pin.

*This post may contain affiliate links, meaning that if you click and purchase, I may receive some compensation. Thank you!

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Friday Finds, Take 3: Spotify, Books, and a Travel App

I hope that you had nice week! We got home this past Monday from our trip to Northern Michigan and headed out again on Thursday for another 3-day trip. It may be a sign that we need to slow down when our 4-year old writes at preschool that the thing that is special about his family is when we “stay home for a couple of whiles.” After this weekend, our travel will slow down and we will have more time at home to do all of the fun fall activities that Michigan offers (and maybe even write some travel blog posts). In the meantime, here are a few of the things that may be worth checking out …

open road

Continue reading Friday Finds, Take 3: Spotify, Books, and a Travel App

What to Pack for a Long Weekend in the City

city suitcase long weekend travel
Photo Credit- Pixabay

Summer for us involves many days on the lakeshore and up north. I can almost pack that weekender bag with my eyes closed (and the hubs never really ever fully even unpacks his suitcase anyway). However, weekend city packing is a bit more challenging. (Fortunately, there are usually stores for everything I forget within a 2-block radius. I promise that I don’t forget on purpose ;-).

When in cities, we are often on foot for the majority of the time, which can be hot. But then we end up in over air-conditioned museums or restaurants, and I despise being cold, especially in the summertime. Herein comes the layers. Layers also work if you are staying with extended family and aren’t certain how everyone likes their house temperatures (yes, I am actually 85 years old… Alexa! Alejandra! Any SNL fans out there?) or if you are on a road with someone who likes to wear long sleeves in the heat of summer but then blast the air (hypothetically speaking, of course).

We are headed out on a 4-day family long weekend in the city this month and here is what is in my bag for all of our time out sightseeing and trying new restaurants (or at least something very similar if I couldn’t find it online… Better yet, at the time of this publishing, many of the items were on sale.)

Continue reading What to Pack for a Long Weekend in the City

Father’s Day Travel Gifts

Father's Day Travel Gifts

I love our families. Sometimes, I think about all of the differences between our families, but then I remember all of the things, the important things (the value of family and our love of travel to name a couple), that our families have in common. The importance and priority both my husband’s and my family place on travel is the one of the ties that bind and we hope to pass this love along to our children as well.  As such, it is time to start thinking about the perfect Father’s Day gifts for the three traveling dads in my life. Here are some of the top contenders… (as an aside, none of the three fathers on my list of trekkers but I’ve included a couple of suggestions just in case yours are ;-)). Continue reading Father’s Day Travel Gifts

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.