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Style, Travel

how to stay healthy during vacation

May 28, 2018 • By

Black crop (similar here) | One Teaspoon shorts | Christelle X J.O.A. blazer | Mango slides (similar here and here) | Kate Spade earrings

Between work trips, family vacations, and Rob and I’s trip abroad, I have been traveling a lot this year, which has been so much fun! But one thing that I tend to sacrifice, and I’m sure I’m not alone on this, is my routine that keeps me healthy while I am at home. Whether I am just feeling indulgent or need the convenience of less nutrient-dense foods, health and fitness tend to fall by the wayside. However, over time I have found some useful tips that keep me kind of on track while I am away. *Kind of* are the key words here, as “kind of healthy” is the goal I aspire to whilst vacationing!

Pack Healthy Snacks

It starts with planning! If I know I am going to be in the car or on a plane for a significant amount of time, I make sure I am stocked with healthy snacks for the trip. My road trip go-to used to be peanut butter M&M and other gas station classics. But over the years I have learned that junk food binging and extensive sitting is a combination that always leaves me feeling gross. Now I make sure to pack favorites like clementines, bananas, dried mango and roasted chickpeas.

If Possible, Stay Somewhere with a Kitchen

I clearly love Airbnb for many reasons (exhibit A and B) but one of the main benefits of choosing an apartment or condo over a hotel is having access to a kitchen. Dining out is one of my biggest thrills in life, but if I do it too much I begin to feel worn down and lethargic. Being able to cook my own meals is imperative for balancing out indulgent meals with clean, nutrient-rich options while on vacation.

Use MindBody to Find Local Workouts

If I go too long without a decent workout, my back starts to ache and my body gets so stiff and tight. AND it’s just that much harder to get back into the grove when we return home. I use the MindBody app to find low-intensity workouts like yoga or pilates to keep me active while away, as well as swim and take long walks.

Balance Alcohol with Water

Easier said than done, and I have major room for improvement on this while away and at home, but it really makes such a big difference! No one likes spending a day of their trip in bed with a hangover and it is a big strain on your body. By staying hydrated, you reduce that risk and reenergize your body so you can party longer!

Check your Mindset

Being on vacation and outside of your normal routine naturally creates an indulgent mindset, and that’s okay! At home, I would never eat two chocolate chip cookies for breakfast, and I know that, so I gave myself grace when I slipped up in Florida. Recognize that realistically you won’t (and probably shouldn’t!) be 100% on your health game while you’re vacationing.


Travel

our parisian apartment and how i find the coolest airbnbs

May 9, 2018 • By

Oh my GOSH, our Airbnb in Paris was unbelievable. On the inside, the design was adorable. It had a mix of tile, hexagonal terra cotta, and hardwood floors, an eclectic blend mid-century and rustic furniture, lovely fire places, and plants galore. Location wise, we stayed in the 11th arrondissement, roughly adjacent to the 3rd and 4th. The apartment was situated across from a church, whose bells chimed charmingly every hour and really set the tone for a romantic stay. On the first night, we woke up to discover it had snowed overnight, and on the last night, we stood on the balcony admiring a rainbow after a short rain. Magic right?

I love finding unique and affordable places to stay on Airbnb. When we went to Hawaii last year, we stayed in a yurt in the middle of the rainforest. We walked along meditation trails and played with a dog named Mango. In New Orleans, we found the cutest kitchy shotgun house walking distance from Frenchman’s Street (Bourbon Street’s older, less blackout brother). And we have plans to lock down an insane house for us and our family to stay at during our wedding next summer. Stay tuned on that one!

Not to pat myself on the back, but I think I am pretty damn good at finding drool-worthy Airbnbs on a budget. There are a few tactics I always use when I am searching through Airbnb. Truly, they are not anything ground-breaking. More like small tweaks to your search that will help you find what you are looking for.

Instead of filtering by the number of guests, filter by the number of bedrooms.

This can be found in the advanced filters. When you are traveling with friends or family, it is helpful to do this to ensure there is enough space for everyone and people are not piled on top of each other! This also eliminates any “common space” beds – no one wants to sleep on a futon whilst vacationing.

Map view, always.

Don’t get burnt by falling in love with the perfect space only to find out it is located a 30-minute bus ride from the center of town. It is more important to be close, especially during an extended stay! This view also lets you see what might be nearby the pricier neighborhoods without spending the big bucks.

Increase your price filter.

Many locations have varied pricing depending on the time of year. Once you find the place you like, try a few dates to see when would be the most budget-efficient time to stay and cross-reference with possible flights!

Have a back-up.

Especially if you’re not able to Instant Book. I have had several bookings fall through, and it helps to have a backup plan, even more so if you have already booked airfare.

What do you think? Are these totally common sense or will they help you next time you peruse Airbnb?


Style, Travel

10 things: london edition

May 6, 2018 • By

Reformation dress | Abercrombie turtleneck | Zara boots (similar)

ASOS dress | Zara heels | Brixton hat | Vintage coat| Sezane bag | FIRKIN (fake as hell Birkin)

It’s a doubleheader, folks! I know it is incredibly tardy, but I want to share my trip to Europe, if only for my own sake of revisiting the memories down the line. London in particular far surpassed my expectations. We found better flights to Europe by going to London first, so when I was planning, the city was really more of a launching pad to Paris. However, we had an absolutely unforgettable time during our short 3-day stay. To be quite honest, we didn’t really do that much aside from eat and drink. But that is the best part about traveling, no? Here are some of the highlights of the trip!

  1. Of course, the number one memory from the trip is that Rob and I got engaged! I am going to save the story for another day, but it was so magic!
  2. I mentioned before that we were staying at The Hoxton Shoreditch, and I am so glad we did. The space was so hip, the service was great, and the location was walking distance to so many cool shops and eateries.
  3. After some plans got canceled on the first night, we stumbled upon a little restaurant called The Merchants Tavern and spent hours chatting with the bartender, eating cheese and olives, and trying new cocktails.
  4. At the end of that night, we headed back to The Hox to end the night, and as we were walking up, I asked someone for a cigarette (terrible for health, fantastic for starting conversations). We ended up making a slew of new English friends! We finished out the night at their table learning about lives, comparing cultural vernaculars, and complaining about the political idiocracies going on in each of our countries.
  5. The next day we were admittedly hungover and jetlagged, so we ordered room service (3 meals for 2, if I’m being honest) and lounged in the hotel room for a few hours. That’s what vacation is all about, right?
  6. When we finally dragged ourselves out of bed, we went to the Victoria & Albert Museum. While most people ogled the art, I was drooling over the sheer mass of marble that filled the entire building! It was breathtaking. I highly recommend visiting the V&A if you ever get the chance.
  7. That evening, we headed to sketch., the ever Instagrammed restaurant that is what girly girl dreams are made of. The food was good, but no one goes for the food. It’s the experience that attracts the crowd! Every detail is thought out, from the David Shrigley art adorning the walls, to the 60’s inspired uniforms that all the girls wore. I couldn’t get over how stylized everything was!
  8. On the third day, we had tickets to see Book of Mormon, a musical comedy about two Mormon missionaries who travel to Africa. It was equal parts disturbing and hilarious — we were crying tears of laughter. But be warned, this is not the musical for the light of heart.
  9. That night, we found a late night pub to drink local beer and eat a traditional English bar meal of fish and chips. Not the most exciting highlight, but it was a truly exceptional meal!
  10. It snowed! On our final morning, we woke up to a fresh blanket of freshly fallen snow. Could you ask for a dreamier departure?


Style, Travel

getting ready for… london!

January 17, 2018 • By


In a little over one month, I’ll be swapping this bipolar For Worth weather for the streets of London!

It’s a trip we booked a while ago now, but I’m just now getting details worked out and activities booked. It is my first time ever to London… and my first time ever to Europe overall, so I am beyond excited to venture outside my little Texas bubble. We will be going to London for 3 days, and Paris for 6, with a possible day trip to Brussels at some point. I haven’t done too much planning for Paris yet, but I’ve got some things in mind for London.

Truthfully, I am not huge on having every minute mapped out – I am more of the fly by the seat of my pants, stumble into dive bars kind of tourist, but it’s nice to at least have some things planned. But definitely will have a lot of time in between these, so PLEASE comment with all the recommendations of to-dos below! Here’s what we’ve got on the books so far.


Travel

how we travelled to hawaii for less than $2,500 (including airfare & stay!)

November 27, 2017 • By

This year, Rob and I took our first big trip together. Deciding on Hawaii was an easy decision. Growing up, my family went there every Christmas and so I fell in love with the islands early on. I had been pestering Rob for years (and continue to pester him almost daily) that “we should just move there for a year.” Of course, my bubble gets popped pretty quickly when I think of the actual logistics of making that happen and what it would entail, BUT nonetheless, I just wanted Rob to experience Hawaii and be as much in love with it as I was.

I started doing a little research to see if it would be a feasible option. I put together some numbers and had a full plan created to show him that we could, in fact, afford to go to Hawaii. Does anyone else do this with their S/Os? I’m all for setting yourself up for a YES when you go to make the ask.

So, here is how we managed a 9-day trip to Hawaii for less than $2,500, including airfare, rental cars and lodging.

Sandy Beach – almost got sucked into a current after this photo despite being a fantastic swimmer!

First off, there are things I am cool with dropping some money on and things I am not. Airfare is one of those things. It is massively expensive, ends up eating up most the budget, and is rarely an enjoyable experience. I detest paying for flights if I can help it. Instead, we use airline award miles. For this trip, we used miles earned from Citi AAdvantage sign up bonuses and ended up paying $11 and some change each for our flights. The flights we took would have cost us over $900 a person, so right there, we saved $1,800.

AIRFARE: $25

Hanauma Bay – excellent fishies

We flew into Honolulu and then island jumped over to the Big Island for the remainder of our trip. We knew we would need a rental car for both islands. Honolulu has public transit, but it is tedious and expensive, and we knew we would prefer to have the freedom of having our own car. There’s no way to get around needing a rental car on the Big Island. For the first one, we paid for the lowest grade car out of pocket, but got upgraded to a convertible, which definitely helps sweeten the deal! For the second one, we definitely wanted to have a convertible the whole time and were able to use points from the Capital One Venture Card to avoid paying for that.

A quick note here: If you’re renting a car in Hawaii, get a convertible. We were so happy we did! One of my favorite memories of the trip is being stuck in traffic along the coast, singing at the top of our lungs to early 00’s love songs. Seriously, we were driving ALL OVER the Big Island, and the convertible made it an experience as opposed to a drive.

RENTAL CAR 1: $78

RENTAL CAR 2: $0

Rainbow Falls – that monstera!

Namaste Estates

I mentioned that we island hopped. We used Hawaiian Airlines for those flights, and just paid out of pocket as they were relatively cheap… and we were out of miles. 🙂

INTER-ISLAND FLIGHTS: $344

Black Sand Beach and Lily Pond

Since we were looking for on-the-cheap lodging options, we opted to use Airbnb in lieu of a resort, which turned out to be a great decision! In Honolulu, not going to lie, the place we picked was very much a crash pad. But it was in the middle of the city, had a pretty view and we were only there 2 nights. Funny enough, they were filming Hawaii 5-0 right outside the apartment, which was fun to watch!

The second place we stayed was really the highlight of the three Airbnbs we stayed in. Called Namaste Estates, it was a yurt in the middle of the rainforest with meditation trails, the biggest fiddle leaf fig I’ve ever seen and a dog named Mango. It felt like such an adventure! And, it was only $65 a night.

Last, we stayed in Kona, which was probably the most touristy destination of our trip, but still a lot of fun. Next time, we will probably skip Kona, and spend more time on Oahu.

AIRBNB: $963

Right below Mauna Kea Observatory – star gazing galore

TOTAL AIRFARE, CARS & LODGING: $1,410

So that was the bulk of our expenses! There were a few times we splurged, however. We treated ourselves to a spa day ($400) and wanted to go on a boat ride to see dolphins ($320), but other than that kept everything relatively lowkey.

We pretty much lived off of acai bowls and sushi while we were there, and of course, there were some other expenses like gas, parking and entrance to state parks but that didn’t add up to a whole lot. For souvenirs, I like to stick to postcards and pins, so we made sure to pick up a few everywhere we went.

Since our trip to Hawaii, I’ve gone even deeper down the rabbit hole that is the world of travel hacking. I find it fascinating! If you don’t know what travel hacking is, it is the art of optimizing credit card sign up bonuses and frequent flier miles to get free airfare, hotels and tours and more. Over the past year, Rob and I have used credit cards to pay our rent and our bills (i.e. stuff we would pay for anyway) to rack up miles and points. Nomadic Matt, The Points Guy and Zero to Travel are all great travel hacking blogs to check out, and I also highly recommend this crash course on Udemy.