24 Sep

Italy

Travis and I are back in San Francisco, and although I’m so happy to be sleeping in my own comfy bed again, I was sad to leave Italy behind.  Our trip was magical— the whole country looks like the set of a movie!— and I’d love to show you some pictures, if you’d like…

We started our vacation in Rome, which is a very bustling city with tons of beautiful museums and churches.

It was raining our first day, but we braved the weather and checked out the Vatican.

This is a close up of the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, which was BEYOND stunning.

This might be kind of strange, but I was obsessed with all of the beautiful doors in Italy!  I kept forcing Travis to pose in front of them— they were so much cooler than anything we have here in the states…

At the Colosseum, we met a couple from Florida who were taking their 1 year old daughter on a year-long trek across Europe.  (So cool!)

We arrived in Florence next, which was still very city-like, but much less so than Rome.

We celebrated our anniversary with a 16 mile bike ride and wine tasting tour of Chianti.

One major highlight of the trip: our daily gelato!  Travis and I both have a big sweet tooth, and the gelato in Italy was beyond scrumptious!

Venice was stunning and super relaxing.  They don’t allow any cars (or even bicycles) on the main island, so the only way to get around was by boat or on foot.

We took a ferry to the charming island of Burano— one of my favorite excursions of our entire trip!

On the flight home, we got this jaw-dropping view of the Swiss alps!

If you’re considering a European vacation, I highly recommend an Italy trip.  There was so much to do and see, but the entire country maintains this very mellow energy— it was a perfect mix of adventure and relaxation.

Have you been to Italy before?  Planning a trip to a new and exciting place?  Tell me about it in the comments!

18 Sep

Summer Forever

Put away your bikinis and pull out those hankies, ladies, because summer is over. Whether you’re back in school or just packing away your weekend sundresses, saying goodbye to beaches and barbecues is always hard. So why say goodbye?

You can enjoy the summer sun year round if you know where to go. The southern hemisphere’s summer months are December through February! This means that with the right map and a lot of frequent flyer miles, it can be summer forever.

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SEPTEMBER: Start here in San Francisco! We usually get a nice late summer period that is incredibly balmy and surprising. It’s like the summery eye of a Bay Area storm made up of wind and fog.

When the sun goes behind the clouds, head south to Palm Springs. The desert is always a little bit hotter and the pools are always open. In the 50’s the movie stars would all escape to Palm Spring’s oasis-like setting and the spas are still the best around. Once you’ve worked on your tan and mellowed out it’s time to move on to…

OCTOBER: Vegas, baby.  Las Vegas is going strong even in slower months, and there is always a way to see and be seen. Just don’t gamble all of your money away because next you’re heading to…

NOVEMBER: Fiji! There’s nothing more summery than a fruity drink with an umbrella in it as you sit with your toes in the sand. Palm tree forests and white sand beaches will make you feel like you’re in a sunscreen commercial. The weather is moderate to mild year-round here.  Just make sure to leave your girlfriends in Las Vegas— this destination is for romance.

DECEMBER: Head to Australia! These friendly upside-down people experience the most heat when we’re bundling up for Christmas. Leave your traditions behind for a new adventure of Australian beer, culture, and Hugh Jackman stalking.

JANUARY & FEBRUARY: Stop in Miami. It’s still in the 70’s here, and you might need to cool off from the scorching Aussie heat! It actually rains later in the summer here so go ahead and wear something skimpy to the clubs— you won’t get a cold!

MARCH: Head to Greece. Southern Europe is starting to thaw and you can enjoy some beach time while looking up at the last of the snow! Try Santorini, where the black volcanic islands are packed with other summer-seekers. Or try Crete or Corfu. (And bring me with you!)

APRIL: City girls delight! It’s time to head to Hong Kong. By now you’re a world traveler and according to Go Hong Kong, April is a mild and warm month, one of the best to visit this bustling city. Peer down from Victoria Peek, soak in a mile-high infinity pool, and enjoy your early taste of summer.

MAY: Africa gets sweltering hot in the summer months so May is a great time to visit. Morocco’s weather doesn’t get below 60 and you can pretend you’re in Casablanca the whole time.

JUNE, JULY, & AUGUST: We’re back to summer here in the states. You have your pick of where to travel in these months. Try Alaska, Hawaii, or wherever else is on your dream list.

It is possible to follow the sun around the planet if you want to! Time to become an international stewardess…

Which of these locations would you most like to visit?  Are you sad to see the last of summer or are you looking forward to the change of seasons?  Share your thoughts in the comments!

17 Sep

One Year Ago

Greetings from Florence!  Travis and I are on the second leg of our trip (we left Rome yesterday and we’ll end our trip in Venice later in the week.)  I can’t wait to tell you all about our fun adventures when we get back, but today I want to get a little mushy because one year ago today, I married my wonderful husband :)

This year has gone by so fast, but marriage has been absolutely magical so far.  Today also marks our five year dating anniversary, and I can truly say that our relationship has only gotten better with time.  We have so much to look forward to and so much to be grateful for, and I feel beyond blessed to have ended up with such a kind, intelligent, funny, compassionate man.  (Who also happens to be easy on the eyes :)

Happy anniversary, sweet husband of mine.  How lucky are we to be celebrating in beautiful Italy?!

P.S.- Our wedding trailer :)

13 Sep

Travel On the Cheap(er) Side

Life is expensive and every dollar counts, especially when it comes to travel. It’s a daunting thought knowing you could spend the majority of your hard-earned money on flights and a hotel. And what about all the fun “extras” you want money for like food,  entertainment, and shopping?

Well, these days, discounts and deals abound— you just have to know how to find them! So, read on for tips and tricks to becoming the savviest traveler possible.

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Buying airline tickets

Finding, booking, and purchasing a flight is somewhat of an art if you’re trying to score a good deal. According to the Airlines Reporting Corporation, the best time to buy tickets is six weeks before your flight, and of course, flying on unusual days (namely Tuesdays and Wednesdays) and inconvenient times (like 6 am or midnight) gets you cheaper flights. Even if you want a good price, sometimes the limited times and/or days just aren’t worth it, though, so for more tips learn how to score cheaper fights, including links to a number of handy sites, check out this handy guide.

Know before you go: To avoid exceeding airline weight limits, get a Digital Luggage Scale from The Container Store. For about $20, this worthwhile investment lets you know just how many pairs of shoes you need to lose in order to avoid excess baggage fees. Plus, it only weights eight ounces so you can take it with you to use for your return flight.

Easy lodging

Ever heard of Airbnb? Well, go head and familiarize yourself with this travel site that’s become the go-to for affordable lodging. (Kim and Travis are using it for their entire trip to Italy!)  Airbnb is pretty much like a home stay. After creating a profile, you can browse listings for your desired destination and contact hosts to book something.

The perks: it’s much cheaper than a nice hotel and much nicer than a cheap hotel! Plus, there are no hidden hotel fees and your hosts can give you the local lowdown on where to go, what to eat, etc. Some hosts cook for their guests (mine made French toast!), but if a solo stay is more your style, there are definitely options without the host actually being there.

Prefer a hotel stay or on a major time crunch? Download the Hotel Tonight app for last minute hotel deals. You can only book hotels through the app (not the website), and since it’s used solely to book a hotel for the night of booking, prices generally go live at noon.

Join deal sites

The only downsides to deal sites like Groupon, Living Social, and Bloomspot is that your inbox will start to overflow, but hey, at least it’s full of great deals! By signing up for these sites, not only will you get notified of travel specials, you’ll also learn about new products, services, and events you otherwise may not have.

It can take some extra effort to get great deals on travel, but the elbow grease is definitely worth it once you’re enjoying an awesome getaway!

Do you have any travel tips on getting cheaper flights or hotels? Tell us about them and any other ways you save while traveling below!

5 Sep

Traveling Abroad? Here’s My Must-Pack List!

Travis and I leave for Italy one week from today!!  I could NOT be more excited, but there’s lots to do before we leave.

I’m starting to gather all of the necessities for our trip, and I thought I’d share some of my must haves with you…

1) A sleep aid. I have a hard time sleeping on planes, so I started packing Nyquil for longer flights and it helps to knock me out!  I don’t usually take sleep aids, but it’s no fun to start off a trip feeling sleep deprived.

2) Lip balm. Long plane rides suck the moisture from your skin.  This lip balm doubles as a cuticle moisturizer and smells heavenly!

3) A journal. Writing in a journal will help you remember little details about your trip years down the line, but it will also help you remember locations and dates when you’re showing off your travel photos to friends.  (Believe me, once you’ve seen a few beautiful old churches, you’ll start to forget which one is which!)

4) Red lipstick. When you’re on the go and don’t have time for your entire makeup routine, swiping on the perfect red lipstick will make you feel instantly chic.

5) An outlet adapter. Different countries= different electrical outlets.  Make sure you pick up one (or two, or three!) of these so you can charge your cell phone, ipad, travel alarm clock, etc…

6) A money belt. Italy is known for pickpocketing gypsies, but there are many other countries with similar issues.  It’s best to keep your valuables in a money belt (which goes around your waist and is less bulky and obvious that the ones you wear around your neck.)

7) Yummy lotion. As I mentioned, planes are known for zapping moisture from your skin.  So keep a favorite travel-sized lotion at the ready!

8) Cleansing cloths. Remove your makeup and any other grime from a day of traveling with these easy-to-pack cleansing cloths.  (No need to bother with fancy soaps and wash cloths when you’re on the go.)

9) Lavender body mist. If you’re going someplace with water, there’s a good chance you’ll be battling mosquitoes and other insects.  Rather than spraying yourself with Deet (yuck!), try a lavender mist instead.  Not only does lavender smell great, it’s a natural insect repellant!

10) Comfy sneakers. Travis and I each picked up a pair of Sanuks on our honeymoon and we wear them nonstop!  They’re super comfy for long days of walking, and the lack of laces makes them perfect for navigating airport security.

What are your travel essentials?  Have you used any of the items on my list?  Got a few to add?  Please share in the comments!

P.S.- My Italy wardrobe wishlist :)