Travel: Guide to Palm Spring’s Aerial Tram

One tip we received during our honeymoon was to do the Palm Spring’s Aerial Tram.  Unfortunately, by the time we found out about it, tickets were sold out and we were SOL.  So this time we planned ahead and made sure it was on our trip itinerary.  So if you’re visiting Palm Springs, this is definitely a fun adventure to spend a few hours doing and make sure its a successful experience with these tips!

  1.  Buy Tickets Early! Not only will this guarantee you a day/time to visit and experience the tram, but you’ll basically skip the line when it’s your trip time.  Tickets range from $26 for adults to $17 for children.
  2. Plan for 20-30 extra minutes for Arrival.  We definitely cut it a little close with our arrival time and ticket time.  First, because our GPS took us on a wild adventure to the wrong address, second – there are different level parking lots depending on the time of day and how busy it is, you might be farther away – so get ready to hike up a hill or wait for the bus to come pick you up!  Also there is a $6-8 parking fee.
  3. Consider Planning Your Trip Around A Meal.  This would be a way to fully experience everything the mountain station has to offer.  From a casual cafe, full bar, or the Pine’s more upscale restaurant, this already memorable trip could be topped off with a delicious meal and endless desert views.
  4. Dress in Layers.  At an elevation of 8,516 ft. it is definitely cooler on top of the mountain than the base – so depending on when you go plan accordingly.  When we visited it was in the 70’s at the base and in the 40’s at the top!
  5. Consider Hiking.  If you’re in for more adventure and activity verses a sit-down meal, there are over 50-miles of hiking trails to take advantage of, so dress and pack appropriately for an afternoon of hiking!

IMG_2469Honestly, I totally underestimated what this experience would be like – from being on multiple trams in the Teton Mountains, the mountains surrounding the desert cities although beautiful are smaller in comparison, or at least that is what I thought!  The quick 10-minute tram ride, is a stunner and fairly intense with steep inclines running 2.5 miles and climbing 5,873 from the Valley Station to the Mountain Station.  It was an incredible ride up and took us out of the desert for the time we experienced the aerial tram!

Learn more about the tram here!

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Travel: Palm Springs Eats

We celebrated our one year anniversary with a little trip back to Palm Springs/Palm Desert California.  What better time to head out west when the temperatures are dipping below 30-degrees and snow flurries are becoming a regular occurrence?  After getting our feet wet a little last year on our honeymoon – we definitely knew of a few spots we wanted to go back too and then a handful of spots yet to explore – and a few we had on our list from watching Desert Flippers on HGTV.

Our Brunch Spot.  From meatloaf with an egg on top, biscuits and gravy, french toast or a tradition eggs with bacon, everything is beyond delicious at Wilma & Frieda’s.  A MUST-HAVE is their biscuits, they fall apart and melt in your mouth, plus are served with a fruit jam that just puts it over the top.

Because It’s Just So Good.  I could’ve had In & Out burgers everyday, the double cheeseburger is the only way to go.  Plus the first bite needs to be documented at all accounts – plus with a side of animal style fries, yum, yum, yum! Whether you’re getting this go to or dining in the experience of an old-school diner topped with a delicious meal is a west-coast must.

The Perfect Drink + Dinner Combo.  One of our favorite nights was spent with family friends who live in the desert year round.  We told them to pick the spots and we would come along for the ride!  We started with drinks at the bar at Lulu Bistro (which we also brunched at) to get the evening started with a fun atmosphere and music.  From there we popped over to Tropicale and had the perfect seats out on their patio, which is a must when you dine in there! We ordered a number of small plates, continued to drink, laugh and just sampled a variety of dishes – the calamari was by far one of the best things we had!

A few other honorable mentions that are must visits throughout the greater Palm Springs and Palm Desert area are AC3 at Hotel Paseo – the service, food and atmosphere was incredible it was a good pick.  Spencers was another brunch spot, but came highly recommended as a favorite dinner spot from our desert dwelling friends – the patio again was magical with trees growing up right up into the sky.

We had a great time eating our way through our trip -one night we even grabbed sushi at a Japanese Steakhouse because we were craving it for our actual anniversary dinner!  It was so good, although we didn’t put the Steakhouse name and idea together until we sat down. Every spot we went had a fun yet welcoming atmosphere with bright colors and warm faces – not to mention most of the patios had heaters too, so it was perfect for morning breakfast or late night dinners!

The sad part and good part is there are so many other, trendy, delicious spots that we haven’t even visited yet! The good news is we’ll also have new places to try while still being able to head back to our favorites.  What’s your favorite desert dining spot?

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Bee’s Pre-Vacation Checklist

Not a great planner? Well I wanted to share my Pre-Vacation checklist with you in case you needed a little help when you’re getting ready for your next trip – there are so many things that need to get coordinated, from pet sitters, bills, work and all the last minute things you forget about!  Here are 6-easy things things to help you stay organized and get all the things done before you go!
Bee's Pre Vacation Checklist - the bee life
(1) Schedule your Mani & Pedi 2-3 Days Before Departure.  I love having a fresh mani and pedi for major life events and vacations! So for me it’s crucial, and something to schedule closer to your departure date so you can ensure your nails stay un-chipped and vacation ready,

(2) Get Your Spa Appointments in the Week Before.  Depending on what kind of vacay you’re having or where you’re going.  Whether it’s getting a nice base tab with a spray tan, getting a fresh haircut, or a bikini wax for the beach! Make sure to space these out or get them scheduled a week or so before vacay.  Remember – you don’t want to be too busy right before you leave, because that won’t help with the stress!

(3) Plan Your Outfits Ahead of Time.  It might feel like it’s too soon to pack but setting aside outfits two or three weeks ahead of time will help you fill in the blanks if needed! This also saves time of doing loads and loads of laundry just before you leave for that last minute piece you decided to wear – not to mention if you need to go shop for anything you’ll have time to make sure you have a vacation ready wardrobe.

(4) Organize Your Confirmation Codes & Reservation Details.  It’s important to get all your reservation details organized into a central place that will be easy to reference on the road – that means your flight numbers, rental car and hotel check-in.  I like doing a quick screen grab and favoriting on my phone so they’re easy to find and adding details in my notes section as my back-up.

(5) Set A Reminder On Your Phone for Flight Check-Ins.  24-hours before you’re flight you’re able to check-in, and this is something I always forget – I don’t have airline apps or get email notifications, so I need to set my own reminder.  With a quick and easy reminder 24-hours before I remember to get all checked in, don’t forget to do this for your trip home!

(6) Pre-Schedule Vacay Activities.  Whether it’s a special dinner reservation, tickets for a famous tourist attraction, check out ticket pricing and times ahead of the trip.  This is especially important if you’re heading to city destinations like NYC or DC.  We quickly found out that we wouldn’t have been able to eat, or at least not at a decent time if we didn’t have a dinner reservation in either city! Same with famous destinations, tickets and crucial times quickly get snatched up – planning ahead will relive stress and allow you to see and do all those picture perfect places.

As much as vacations are for relaxing, they’re a bit stressful leading up to them so with a little pre-planning and organization you can be a little less stressed and straight to vacation mode!  Also, make sure you have a vacation ready wardrobe with these tips, seen previously on the bee. Do you have any pre-vacation rituals when you travel?  Leave a comment below!

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Travel: Letchworth State Park

It’s amazing how many hidden treasurers are all around us.  I was reminded of one of those again when we went and visited Letchworth State Park in New York.  The park is 35-miles south of Rochester and is 17-miles long with just over 14,000 acres of trees, hiking trails and is known as the Grand Canyon of the East.  We packed up the SUV and headed with the fam for an afternoon of exploring this hidden gem.
Travel - Letchworth State Park - bee life blog
We spent the afternoon soaking in the views, taking mini hikes and even retreating to a quaint little inn for an afternoon pick me up. With a $10 park fee, entering the park is easily accessible with 5-different park entrances with drivable roads, ample pull offs with photo ops and hiking trails – but if you’re just making a pit stop for an afternoon and want to catch the best sites, here are the 5 spots you must visit!

Upper Falls. Entering the park from the Castile entrance will be your quickest way to access not only the Upper Falls, but Glenn Iris Inn and Middle Falls. Right from the parking lot you catch glimpses of the Upper Falls with the railroad tracks in the distance watching over these powerful waterworks. The trail was closed so we weren’t able to get as high up as we wanted, but the views were still beautiful.

Middle Falls.  You’ll catch a glimpse of these on your way to the Upper Falls, but it’s best to walk over from the Upper Falls to take in the Middle Falls, which might be even more spectacular than the Upper Falls!   You’re able to walk around these falls, taking in a double rainbow, catching some of the mist and just swooning over the beauty of these falls.

Glenn Iris Inn. A short walk away from the Middle Falls you’ll find the Glen Iris Inn.  Built in 1914 – this picture perfect inn overlooks  the middle falls with a beautiful lookout perch.  With outdoor seating and a restaurant the inn is also still serving to guests with it’s three stories and gorgeous interior architecture (the staircase was all wooden looking up all three floors!) A wedding was being set-up as we were there too and we even got to witness the first look, it was the perfect backdrop!

Inspiration Point. This came as a surprise, but needed stop.  With a higher view of the middle falls, upper falls and the railroad trellis – this was definitely the show stopping view.  There was also a trail that you could follow while soaking up the views of this spot the whole way!

Although the park will be closing soon in late fall, I can only imagine how beautiful these views are with the orange, red and yellows of the leaves changing with the season! We will definitely be going back to Letchworth State Park for some more hiking and taking in the beautiful works of this amazing planet!

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Bee’s Tips for a Vacation Ready Wardrobe

For our honeymoon, we were headed someplace warm during our cold months – but that also meant we were going to have a pool available to us 24/7 while we were away, so I became a bit swimsuit obsessed.  And since then, it’s expanded to having comfy day-outfits, and evening wear that is on trend for our vacay destinations, especially those warm spots!  The fun part of vacations is that you’re traveling and exploring someplace new – so it’s an opportunity to have a little more fun with your wardrobe and pull out all the stops!
Bee's Tips Vacay Ready - bee life blog
Here are some tips and tricks I use to help find not only the perfect pieces but also some great deals to help build my vacation ready wardrobe!

Pre & End of Season Sales.  These are great especially if you’re vacationing someplace warm in the traditional ‘off season’ – I love taking advantage of sales on swimwear and other summer dresses at places I wish I could shop at more regularly like Athleta, The Loft or Anthropology.

Amazon. Amazon is not the first place I go to when I’m shopping for clothes, but lately it’s been a spot I’ve been checking out especially for coverups, casual rompers, or dresses. I think what I love the most about shopping for clothes on Amazon is the ease of customer reviews, tips and photos that help guide sizing or my steer you away from a bad purchase – plus you can’t beat the affordable prices or two-day shipping!

Research Your Destination. Do some research on your destination and look at historical temperature data so you can somewhat plan appropriately, like if it cools down in the evenings it might be wise to pack a jacket or jeans!  Also it’s good to research some spots you might want to visit whether it’s a day outing, evening dinner, or brunch spot – so you can plan outfits accordingly and have versatility for your destination.

Build on Current Pieces.  Especially when it comes to bathing suits – sometimes it’s more affordable to just buy a fun new bikini top or more conventional bottoms that work with other pieces!  This goes the same with cover ups or finding pieces that can easily go from pool to dinner with a change of shoes and a little extra mascara.

Living in the midwest, the warm clothes see a blimp of daylight and often have a a couple years of live under them – that’s why I like shopping for some new pieces for our upcoming trips, it makes them feel ever more special than they already are!

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Travel: #EmnBtoCbus

We snuck away this weekend to visit some friends in their new city: Columbus, Ohio.  Although it was a quick 24-hour trip for us, we seemed to squeeze in some pretty major places for tasty eats and drinks in addition to being able to catch up with our long lost friends!

We kicked off our festivities with a trip to North Market, which is an indoor market that is open 7-days a week with a variety of food vendors, shops and delicious smells.  Whether your shopping for lunch, grabbing meat for a dinner or fresh produce for an upcoming meal.  We were able to try a decent amount of the vendors like Brezel, Destination Donuts, Firdous Express and Hot Chicken Takeover, everything was delicious.  Oh and did I mention, you could walk around sipping the drink of your choice?  I opted for prosseco, yum!
Travel - #EmnBtoCbus - bee life blog
From North Market, we ventured to Wolf Ridge Brewing – this space is impressive with an intimate dining space, event room and then a back tap room giving you that local brewpub feel.  We hung out in the taproom, ordered a few tasting flights and discussed the many flavors of the beers.  With a pit stop back to the house to check on Moz, we headed out for a late dinner reservation at Service Bar. From the moment we walked in, the front doors are jaw dropping, I was in awe of the decor and atmosphere.  With gold tables, black leather booths, gold modern chandeliers and a 1920’s art decor wooden backdrop as the bar, this place was a mix of old world and modern.  Their menu’s also accommodated for vegetarians, gluten free and everyone else, the choices were a plenty and it couldn’t seem like you could pick wrong.

For Sunday #brunch we headed to Hoof Hearted Brewery & Kitchen, again we were challenged with having to choose one item on the menu, so we started with the Brunch Ballz and then decided on the Hoofy Breakfast, which was a plate full of delicious carbs, gravy, eggs and bacon. I had to throw the towel in and get a doggy bag, although, almost everywhere we ate we ended up having leftovers!

We had a great trip visiting our friends, catching up and eating delicious things – we are already looking forward to heading back to visit them for another weekend, as it seems like there are plenty of more cool spots to checkout!

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Travel: Asheville Eats (but really drinks)

In case you missed it, we ventured down to Asheville, NC this past Memorial Day weekend and it was full of delicious food and lots of beers (bubbles, too!).  There were a number of breweries downtown that were all walkable and perfect for creating your own mini brewery tour even with your furry friends.   Asheville is also home to some more known breweries like Sierra Nevada and New Belgium, both different but awesome in their own ways!
Food + Beer Asheville - the bee life
Curate: This was our first dinner and true introduction to Asheville, NC and boy was it a fun introduction with lots of tapas!  Curate offered a diverse array of options not only for your food choices, but the way you dine and enjoy your meal.  You could order from cold to hot, but they also had a option where they would bring you options based off your taste preferences.  We enjoyed and casually ordered different dishes, sharing amongst the table – it was a fun and delicious dining experience, be sure to make a reservation ahead of time!
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Over Easy Cafe: This cozy spot is definitely worth the wait, and since it’s fairly central downtown there are plenty of places to keep you occupied while you wait (we waited just over an hour!)  The menu is fairly standard for your normal brunch and caters to those who may be a bit more traditional with their picks or a little more adventurous.  All of our dishes were beyond delicious and the mason jar mimosa was the perfect way to kick off another fun day of vacation!
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Burial Beer Co. Although we didn’t eat here, we grabbed a drink, as this spot was collectively loved by the group for their tasty brews and low-key atmosphere. I especially loved this place, because while ordering the Donut Stout, I said; “Boy, would I love to eat a donut with this.” And the next thing I know, B is coming out with my beer and a donut hole skewered on top! *mindblown* it was SOOOO perfect, plus another pup friendly place!

New Belgium. This was B’s favorite spot we visited, he loved the atmosphere, the buildings, and of course the beers (it was a little bubble of fun!).  We also had an insider hook up and got a private tour of the facilities, from the employee lounge and indoor slide (which B rode, twice!), to the yeast laboratory, employee beer fridge, to B being able to pull some freshly canned beers right off the line.  It was pretty cool and such an impressive facility.  Oh and you guessed it, dog friendly!
14Food + Beer - Asheville - the bee lifeA few other honorable mentions;
Farm Burger. This was a late night dinner for us, that we took back to the house. With pre-made options to choose from, you can also create your own burger, plus the sesame seed topped buns hit the spot.  Not to mention the staff was super friendly and welcoming!
The Montford. With awesome views of the mountains, this is a perfect spot for a drink and snack.  The tater tots were seriously life changing, the whole group collectively was swooning over these!
Sierra Nevada. This place was a fricken compound – and I mean it was massive, ridiculous and just overall impressive.  With an extensive outdoor area, with a full concert venue (inside and out), corn hole (inside and out), and then their beautifully organized garden this place was stunning.  Whether you dine, grab a flight of beers, or just hang out with some friends and listen to music you’ll enjoy the offerings of this establishment!

If you’re planning your trip to Asheville, definitely get your taste buds and uber ready because you won’t be short of breweries to visit, beers to try and food to eat!  Our afternoon of brewery hopping was perfect because we just had a beer or two at each of the places and it was a nice way to enjoy a lot of different places throughout the day!  Have you been to Asheville recently? What was your favorite spot?

Travel: #EmnBtoAVL

This past Memorial Day weekend we hit the road and ventured to a new city for a new adventure down to Asheville, NC.  From initial research on fun vacation spots, to our friends buzzing about visiting this latest hot spot our curiosity was peaked… so we crashed our friends trip and buckled in for a long weekend of exploring!
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Although our weekend consisted mostly of drinking and eating, we did have other trip highlights that made Asheville a memorable city that we’d be happy to visit again.

Blue Ridge Parkway – Craggy Gardens:  With the rolling mountains surrounding the city, the Blue Ridge Parkway is almost unavoidable.  We drove up to the Craggy Gardens pathway that led us to a stunning view, although the fog was rolling in, it did clear up enough for us to grab a few shots and see the true views.  This manageable hike was perfect for all ages and led for a great photo op and perfect spot for a lunch break.

Dog Friendly:  One of the great parts of this trip was being able to bring Moz! Our friends also brought their pup, Maybel, it was great because almost everywhere in Asheville was dog friendly! The one afternoon we went brewery hopping, the pups tagged along and probably met about 15-20 dogs throughout the day.  It was super fun, and the city is really great for us dog lovers whether your dining or drinking.

Rich with History:  One piece of Asheville history that we visited was the stunning Grove Park Inn. Originally built in 1913, this piece of property is impressive and of course has incredible views of the running mountains and downtown Asheville.  Even if you can just stop here for a drink on the outdoor patio (which we did) you’ll be in for a treat and able to enjoy this treasure and explore the original building.  The city center also held grounds for historic learnings and monuments that led us to google search a few times to learn about the cities origins and historical figures.

Be sure to stop back on Friday as I’ll be sharing more details into our favorite eats and breweries from Asheville!

Travel: California Honeymoon

**This post was written before the recent turn of events with the California/LA Fires; my heart goes out to every single living creature directly and indirectly affected by these sad and destructive fires.  Donate to the Greater Los Angeles American Red Cross to help those affected.

In case you missed our Thanksgiving in Palm Desert, you can catch-up on it here.  Our #emnbhoneymoon was our first vacation that we took together – usually we are with family, so that in and of itself was fun, plus it was our first time in Cali!

We flew in and out of Burbank, which helped save us some money and was also super manageable for being right outside of LA. We had a quick 2-hour trip to the desert each way and were able to explore some more sites around the Hollywood area on our way back to the airport.
Travel - California - the bee life
While we were in Palm Desert, we stayed close to the resort, only heading out to random stores to pick up groceries for various meals.  The pool was right next to our condo and it was the perfect spot for us to soak up the sun, take a nap, and just detox from the world. Mornings started with the sunrise, and usually a long walk around the complex exploring the sites.  We went out to brunch and dinner a few times but the standouts besides Eight4Nine were Trio for dinner and Wilma and Frieda for brunch – WOW, both were so delicious.

Before our flight, we headed back early to the Burbank area so we could check out Venice Beach and both see the Pacific Ocean for the first time! It was neat to check out the area, grab some pictures, walk along the beach and stick our feet in the ocean.  From there we found the closest In and Out Burger, each ordered a double and soaked up some more sunshine as we indulged!  From there we headed to Beverly Hills and took a drive down Rodeo Drive – it was unlike anything we ever imagined and blew shops in NYC out of the water. It was stunning. We didn’t have as much time as we would’ve liked to explore the greater Los Angeles area but we were able to drive around in our mustang convertible and take in the Cali life and all the sunshine before heading back to reality.

It was so fun exploring California – although there are a lot more places we will need to check out since it’s a biigggg state, but our mini-moon was the perfect little getaway after all the wedding excitement.

Where should we visit the next time we are in Cali?! Leave a comment below.