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…
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…
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.
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 discountedthe 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.
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?
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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 …
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.)
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
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.
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.” ❤️
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.
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)
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
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.
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.
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).
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.
Since I love a good countdown and have been seeing quite a few Top 5 Posts of 2016, I thought it might be entertaining (and, admittedly, a bit self-indulgent) to look back, too, especially because I’m grounded until March. (Have a mentioned that? Ha!) Granted, the statistics are from a whole 3 months, but still… Here we go…
4. A Long Weekend in Northern Michigan: Northern Michigan’s beauty never ceases to amaze me. Can you believe that water is in Michigan and not the Caribbean? We had such a wonderful trip; it will definitely be on our list for next year, too.
2. Gift Guide for the Traveler in Your Life: Here I provided several gift suggestions for the traveler in your life. I purchased the Leather Charger Roll-Up for my husband for Christmas, and not only does he carry it with him when he travels, but he also tells me all about it often.
1. Banff: Something for Everyone: I was so happy to see this as my top post of 2016. It was such a surprising and amazing destination. I really would recommend Banff and Lake Louise to anyone and everyone.
I’m so excited to see what 2017 has in store for us! We already have four trips planned, two with our larger families, one with the four of us, and one with just the two of us. Do you have any destinations on your bucket list that you are hoping to check off this year?
*This post may contain affiliate links, meaning that, at no cost to you, I may receive some compensation.
Well, it’s been about 0 zero degrees here for almost a week. Since even outdoor activities are out, I’ve decided to start dreaming spring break dreams.
I have yet to meet anyone who loves swimsuit shopping, but, with the promise of warmer days ahead, it is something for which the warm, sunny end outweighs the road to get there.
Obviously, there are a million and one ways to sort swimsuits, but since this is a travel-ish (I promise there will be more consistent travel destination posts beginning in March) blog, I thought it might be fun to match swimsuits with various water activities travelers may embark on in their journeys. It seemed slightly overwhelming and definitely out of my league to sort through swimsuits, so I enlisted the help of some lovely ladies whose blogs and style are amongst my faves.
Disclaimer- while I would have loved to test all of the listed swimsuits with their paired activity I’m not sure my husband (or our finances) would have been supportive.
Let’s start with kayaking. I can handle kayaking. Now, after getting tipped while canoeing with my husband, I am a fan of having my very own kayak. And what is better than this classic, rash guard shirt for a day out on the river?
Now, I’ll admit, I have no idea how to drive a boat, let alone sail a boat. But, I love being on a boat. And, I would absolutely feel like I belonged on a boat in the Italian Riviera in this suit.
While I realize that running after small children around a pool or beach is not an “official” sport, any mom will agree that it most definitely should be. While I do not have this particular swimsuit, I have tried several Boden bikinis and, in my experience, they stay where they should.
While we are talking family, one of my favorite water activities as a child was snorkeling with my family. There is just something about being in the quiet of the water, listening to your own breathing and really taking everything in visually. This swimsuit seems perfect for an hour or so under the sea.
Beach volleyball anyone? I don’t play but I do think that I might be willing to give it a try in exchange for this swimsuit.
People often ask me if I’m a “runner.” Do I run marathons? No. Iron Mans? Absolutely not. Half-marathons? Nope. But, if you use the term loosely, I guess I maybe am. I love to run 3-4 miles. I also love the beach. Do I run on the beach? Not often. But, the beach is so flat and just goes for miles on Hilton Head Island, so for the week that I’m there, I am a beach runner. This top looks like it would be a great addition to my wardrobe and seems to also include the option to jump in the ocean immediately afterward.
I LOVE paddle boarding. Okay, I’ve only gone twice, and the first time I couldn’t figure out how to effectively turn the paddle board (and was tempted to stop at someone’s boat for a little liquid encouragement), but I really do love it. However, I should definitely defer to Kate from Living Lark. She grew up by the big lake and currently lives by the same said big lake. Oh, and she makes her own delicious aforementioned liquid encouragement. Kate chose this suit as the straps stay in place with all of the arm movements and the bottoms stay in place in the waves. Check and check.
Another water activity I love is swimming, but I am far from a swimmer. I have no technique or endurance and usually end up just dog paddling for a bit. Fortunately for me (and you), Eva from Cafe Design is an actual swimmer and swims for exercise in the summers. An added bonus? The same classic and timeless style she portrays on her blog clearly translates to her taste in swimsuits as well.
Wakeboarding. It takes one brave soul to go for it, and Kelly from The Lilypad Cottage is just the one to take it on. She grew up on a lake, presently lives on a lake, and I can only imagine that she takes on wake boarding with the energy and enthusiasm that she does home design and house projects. Kelly picked this top. And it’s reversible! You know how I love versatility. Another plus? She also gave a great recommendation for these bottoms that she has found stay put no matter what (are you sensing a theme here?).
Let’s talk surfing next. Now, this is also a water activity that is sort of frightening for me to watch. But, I really, really would like to try it someday. After watching the surfers everyday while on a trip to Dana Point in California, I have vowed that this is something I will try. This isn’t just California Dreaming. Well, maybe a little. Though, for the time being, I defer to Alessandra from An Expat Diary, for surf suit advice. Originally from Brazil, she has lived in 4 different continents and 6 different cities in the last 10 years, so I completely trust her for advice on surf suits as well as travel suits. She suggested the below suit from her latest Instagram feed; it is from Triangl. Guess where she is? Sal Island, Cape Verde.
While we are talking thrill-seeker activities (at least as far as I’m concerned), let’s touch on jet skiing. Abby from Abby Manchesky Interiors took me out this summer. Abby is a little like her design- classic with a fun little splash of sass built in. Well, let me tell you, this was also the case on the jet ski. I knew I was safe and wouldn’t fly off the back, but I kind of didn’t expect the wave jumping. There may have even been a little “dabbing.” Have you heard of it? I was impressed. And of course she chose a suit with a ruffle to wave jump in because, really, isn’t everything better with a ruffle?
Honestly, though, there is something about being by the water that makes me just want to take a stroll or sit and read a good Liane Moriarty book… How perfect is this swimsuit?
*This post contains affiliate links, which means that, at no cost to you, I may receive some compensation. Thank you!
Welcome to the first installment of Friday Finds, aka my excuse to be Random!
It is looking like another beautiful, slightly colder, weekend in Michigan. As such, my first random recommendation is to hit up Mt. Baldhead in Saugatuck. We took our kiddos last weekend, and we all had a fantastic day. Here is the gist: you climb up many, many, many stairs to discover spectacular views of Saugatuck and the Kalamazoo River. Next, you hike down a dune which leads to Oval Beach where there is plenty of sand, walking, and a swing set; there may even have been some giggle-infested stick fights on our trip. When you are finished at the beach, climb back up the dune, take one last look at the views, and climb back down the stairs. We ended the afternoon with some beer for us and mac ‘n cheese for the kids at Wick’s Park, one of our favorite places to eat with kids in Saugatuck.
My second random recommendation is to check out Lole in Gaslight Village in East Grand Rapids. I’m not sure why but I am always shocked when it snows in Michigan and find myself scrambling because I am unprepared. Trying to make this year different, I decided to check out Lole for a ski jacket. They are having a promotion for which you bring in an old jacket (men’s, women’s, or children’s) and they will give you $50 off a new coat. The old coats are listed on minitradeca and proceeds in the United States go to Ample Harvest. Check out your Lole coat choices ahead of time here. Oh, and by the way, there is even a section just for Lifestyle & Travel!!!
My third random recommendation is a restaurant. If you happen to be in downtown Grand Rapids or are even driving through, check out Wheelhouse. Their food is delicious (we had the duck sandwich and crab cake sandwich), the setting is modern, and the waitstaff is great, too.
My final recommendation is to go for a hike~ yes, again! It isn’t going to be nice like this forever. Check out Calvin College’s Eco Preserve. There are trails as well as a center to check out seasonal displays. It is so peaceful and fairly easy to navigate.
There you have it~ pure randomness!
Hope you have a very happy weekend!!!
*Please note some links may be affiliate links, which means that, at no cost to you, I may receive some compensation.
There are a few things that are ALWAYS with me on my trips. Well… a lot of things are with me on trips but this is the fun stuff… Who doesn’t love some fun accessories? And, the fact that these can serve several purposes makes them that much better.
#1 Travel Accessory: I just purchased the Dawson oversize shopper from Sole Society, and it is already my favorite. It has been with me on two trips in three weeks. It can be used to hold a laptop and work-related items or even more important things like a Captain Barnacles figure, Smarties, and kids’ fleeces and hats.
#2 Travel Accessory: Inside the Sole Society bag, I always bring my Stella and Dot versatile purse, which holds my wallet, passport, phone, etc. I like this purse because it is so interchangeable. I can use it as a cross body bag if I don’t need to bring my big bag for the day or I can use it as a clutch if I have a fancier dinner.
#3 Travel Accessory: Another Stella and Dot winner in my book is the Pave Triangle Ear Jacket that can be worn 6 ways. Not that you really save all that much packing room with this, but you are almost guaranteed an earring for whatever occasion may present itself on your travels.
#4 Travel Accessory: My last Stella and Dot plug~ I promise I am not a Stylist. Again, I like this necklace for its versatility. I also love that it eliminates the need to pack several necklaces that will inevitably get tangled.
#5 Travel Accessory: I also am loving some Matisse taupe booties that I purchased from Nordstrom Rack last year. I don’t have a link to them, but found these that will be next on my list of footwear to purchase. If you have a favorite bootie that is also comfortable, you really can’t go wrong bringing them along. I’m a huge fan of one boot that can be worn with both dresses and jeans.
*Please note that I may be compensated through some of the above links.