Travel: Williamsburg, VA

B and I got to explore another new city together – which is honestly always one of my favorite things, and the best part is we even brought Moz! So, since we’re fresh off a road trip from historic Williamsburg, Virginia — here are a few highlights from our trip.

Copper Fox Distillery

This was such a lovely and unexpected treat. First of all, Moz was allowed inside – which was a lovely break from the chilly, damp rain. Second of all, it’s in an old hotel and you enter the bar through a hidden bookcase door, situated in the entry way with a gorgeous chandelier and stunning fireplace. Third, the cocktails were incredible – I wish we would’ve stayed a bit longer to enjoy another one! Shout out to the Real Housewives of Potomac for having Copper Fox Distillery on their show during their Williamsburg trip, because it was definitely worth the trip. They have snacks and charcuterie boards, so definitely eat a bit before or plan for after so you can enjoy the cocktails or a tasting flight!

We also loved Amber Ox Public House, it is a must-visit. We went for brunch, which was amazing – and were really hoping to get back for dinner but it didn’t work out, but the menu looked incredible, so definitely check out Amber Ox, the staff was beyond friendly and this was a dog-friendly spot too!

Colonial Williamsburg

Once we got our bearings, exploring Colonial Williamsburg was easy and something we added into multiple days of our trip when we had the time or wanted to get Moz some exercise. Most of this is outdoors, so definitely plan for the weather – but if you’re dog-less you can go inside the various houses or take other tours with different passes. Otherwise, Colonial Williamsburg is free and open to walk at your leisure and accessible directly from Merchant’s Square — which is definitely where you should park if you want to just jump in and out vs. a day-long tour.

Caves, Ghosts & Family, Oh My!

This is the catch-all for the rest of the trips highlights! One new experience was going to a Himalayan Salt Cave at the Williamsburg Salt Spa – it was a 45-minute therapeutic session that has a lot of health benefits, the family went in two groupings and all seemed to like it! Another fun, group activity was the Spooks & Legend’s evening tour through Colonial Williamsburg, it was definitely an interesting and fun experience. Travel with extended family always comes with it’s baggage, but it was mostly fun with birthday celebrations and old stories that made us all laugh until we cried – those are the fun memories that I’ll hold tight from this trip in addition to all the new experiences with Moz and B.

That’s a wrap on Williamsburg! Had the weather been a little nicer I know we would’ve enjoyed a few more patios, breweries, and maybe even a hike or two — but we were able to get in a handful of historic spots, delicious eats, and a bit of family fun.

Traveling with you pup? See how Moz took Williamsburg by storm with a dog’s travel guide to the city!

48 Hours in Miami

Itching for a little getaway? Here’s what to do, and what not to do if you’re spending 48 hours in Miami. Our impromptu weekend trip to Miami was driven around the purpose of going to see Lady Gaga’s Chromatica tour and last stop at that. So please enjoy this travel guide that is written with some dry humor based on the roses and thorns from our recent trip.

What to Do in Miami

Stay in South Beach. 100% no questions asked and on Ocean Drive. The vibe from Ocean Drive to Collins Ave is like night and day. I’m so glad we stayed on the western part of South Beach just off Ocean Drive at the Marriott Stanton.

Book a Hotel with Amenities, on the Beach. If we didn’t want to, we honestly didn’t have to leave our hotel. We had direct beach access, a private pool, a top-notch sushi restaurant, Starbucks, a bar, and a cantina restaurant (& a gym, but we didn’t entertain that life in our 48-hours). What more do you need? Oh, I’ll tell you, complimentary margaritas (2 each), complimentary beach chairs, and prime walking to the beach and the rest of Ocean Drive. The only complaint was the wait for the elevator, so we just got more exercise with the stairs!

Go to Gianni’s at the Mansion. Gianni Versace’s mansion located right on Ocean Drive is a must, from the atmosphere to the food it was an incredible experience. Interested? Check out my guide to Gianni’s to see more!

Stop by the Palace for a Sidewalk Show. As we were headed back from our Versace’s lunch, we were in the midst of a free and insane drag show at the Palace, we of course stopped, hooted and watched — but that would be an experience and the mimosas were definitely flowing!

Buy J. Crew Swim Suits. This isn’t really to do with Miami, but something to do before you come. At the age of 32, I finally appreciate buying a decent swimsuit… my life has been changed.

What NOT to Do in Miami

Don’t Go To a Concert at Hard Rock Stadium. Enough said, just salty.

If You Do… Drive Yourself & Check the Radar. Honestly, you need a game plan for escaping (either before the crowd or on your own terms with a car strategically parked somewhere far away). Also, if there is any chance of a storm or inclement weather, let’s hope your seats are in Section 300 and that it won’t interfere with your show/event. ICYMI – Gaga postponed her concert due to ‘inclement weather’ for 2.5-hours gave false hope of restarting, only to cancel completely with 4 songs left with continued lightening (after we already sat in the stadium during a horrible storm for 2.5 hours…) #StillSalty

Don’t take the 6AM Flight. Because no one likes waking up at 3:30am to get to the airport. Our last few trips we’ve been spoiled with late-night flights in (which we did on our way to Miami) or mid-afternoon/evening flights home. We booked the 6am flight in hopes of getting home early, but with delays and just not being worth it just book the late flight and take the extra PTO, you’ll just be happier and won’t be disappointed when you don’t get home early. Also; wear a parka in Miami International Airport – because it is an ice box and horrible.

Don’t walk 40-minutes to Brunch After a Gaga Let Down in 80-degree heat & humidity. Need I say more? Just pick a different place, or take the Uber – maybe decide to walk home, but definitely not there.

Overall our 48-hours in Miami were filled with yummy drinks, pool time (& drinks by the pool), and walks along the beach or Ocean Drive. We obviously went there for a reason, and everything else was a bonus – plus it was a new city for B and I to explore together, so that is always a priceless memory to add to our scrapbook. ❤️


A Guide to Gianni’s at Versace Mansion

We were lucky enough to score a reservation at Gianni’s at the Villa aka Gianni Versace’s Mansion right on Ocean Drive in South Beach. We low-key love Versace, and not for the fashion and even have an 80’s themed Versace playlist that we listen to often, so this was one of the first things we planned as soon as we had our flights and hotel booked. So the first tip in the guide to Gianni’s at Versace Mansion is to book your reservation (conveniently on OpenTable) as soon as you know you’re going to be in Miami! We booked about a month out, and that was in more of the “off season.”

TIp #2 – Order a Signature Cocktail

The cocktails are a must, at $20 a piece you definitely just have to go all in and embrace it. Our cocktails did not disappoint in presentation or taste! B got the 24 Karat Golden Margarita with orange juice and gold flakes and I got the Passion in the Mansion which was passion fruit vodka, lemon juice, simple syrup and prosecco! Sooo yummy! I also think they somehow make these with a delayed buzzed effect, because it definitely hit a bit after the fact.

Tip #3 – Opt For Lunch

Going for lunch is an “affordable” option to enjoy this special and incredibly detailed landmark. The lunch is a set $34 per person that gives each person an appetizer, entree, and dessert – which was more than enough food for us and all delicious. I got the Gianni Salad with baby arugula, cherry tomato, avocado, onions, cucumber and lemon dressing – for my entree I went with the Faroe Island Wild Salmon pan seared, served with carrots and broccoli. B ended up getting the Octopus Carpaccio for his appetizer (which was an $8 up-charge) – and for his entree, he ordered the Chicken a la Rotisserie, oven roasted with demi glaze and roasted potatoes. For dessert, we shared the brownie and a fresh fruit plate. The dinner menu looks amazing, so that will be a must for our next visit, but definitely more expensive.

Tip #4 – Stop for the Photo Opt

I am pretty sure people were taking photos in front of the iconic The Thousand Mosaic Pool nearly the whole time we enjoyed our lunch – but don’t let that shy you away from jumping up and getting your own shot of the pool or in front of it – people had no shame, so neither should you, cause it is SO PRETTY and iconic! Other guests and even the staff are willing to snap a few shots (& I’m pretty sure the staff doesn’t even think twice about it either). Besides the mosaic pool, the staircase leading down is also unbelievable (see first photo above) – so I say stop for a photo opt there too, as it definitely more overlooked, but still has incredible mosaic detail as most of the outdoor space has.

There is also a little bar off the main atrium and outdoor dining that is so cozy, we wanted to stop back for a drink but didn’t make it into the rest of our weekend trip. Also, the front is pretty lackluster (whoops, I said it) you’re greeted by the hostess’, and other guests so you can’t really enjoy it – to best view the magnitude of the estate, cross the street to soak it in. There is something about being on the very steps where Gianni was killed, once such a private spot turned the main entry to a very popular spot. But to end on a more positive note, this was definitely a highlight of our trip from the food and drinks to the incredible architecture of this iconic home – it was truly a treat!

Travel: Palm Springs Hikes

After four years, we made it back to one of our favorite spots: Palm Springs/Palm Desert, California. This trip was the first time we would be there for an entire week, normally we would just stay for 4-5 nights – which honestly is also plenty – but the extra few days for us was definitely a treat.

Since we were staying longer, I wanted to venture outside of our normal PSP vacay routine (which is eat, pool, drink on repeat) and find some hikes to venture out to. Indian Canyons was the first thing that stood out and often a handful of different hikes, plus it’s not far from downtown Palm Springs. And then I wanted to venture out to Joshua Tree Park, since it’s so widely talked about, but we’ve never officially gone – I found this neat Ladder Canyon Hike in Painted Canyon that looked super cool. Spoiler; we didn’t make it out to JTP – our desert-dwelling friends suggested another free hike, that was closer and thought we would enjoy more.

Selfie from the Josie Johnson Vista Park via the Carl Lykken Trail

Murray Canyon Hike

This is labeled as a moderate 4.7 mile hike and is an in and out hike. It cost us $26 to get into the ‘park’ which we were only expecting to pay $10 – so I was a little surprised about that, but the Murray Canyon Hike was worth it. If you want to make a day of it, I’d probably try to plan another hike to get a little more of your money’s worth, as we did not do that.

With temps supposed to get up into the mid-80’s, we made sure to get an early start, which isn’t hard since we were operating on East Coast time. We started our hike just before 9am, which was perfect because we beat the crowd. I would suggest 8:15 or 8:30am if you really want to get a jump on everyone. It took us an hour in and an hour back to complete this hike. It was definitely magical with little ‘air conditioned’ sections through palm tree jungled oasis with streams and mini canyons. There was also so scaling and parts of the trail that were a bit questionable, luckily we caught up with some people to mimic the way.

The end of the trail was just so lackluster – but the journey there is really what you should focus on, stop and soak in. You miss a lot of the same magic on the way out since you’re going the opposite way. But there were some incredible spots, especially the biggest waterfall.

Carl lykken trail (free)

This hike was recommended by our desert-dwelling friends, as it was right behind where they used to live! This free hiking trail is easy to spot, as you can count on a handful or more cars parked along the roadside at the trailhead. We definitely were underprepared for this hike, as we decided to keep going, beyond part 1 which was a short 40-minute steep incline to a picnic area known as Simonetta Kennett Vista Point. This first part was pretty much all uphill, had steep drop-offs while you scaled stone vs. dirt for a majority of the path. We wanted a bit more, so we kept going an additional 2-miles. 🙃 That part of the hike was fairly boring compared to part 1, and didn’t add for much more of a view, but got us additional steps and exercise! This hike is not shaded at all, so wear a hat, dose your body in sunscreen and pack a water bottle.

We ended up venturing to the Josie Johnson Vista Park, before heading back the way we came. Our hike ended with a total of 6-miles and 1,726 elevations climbed. Let me tell you, the mountains around Palm Springs are simply stunning – B and I definitely have a thing for mountain towns. Going down part 1 from the Simonetta Kennett Vista Point to the Lykken Trailhead, was tough on the toes as it is almost all downhill and steep!

Both hikes were super unique and really cool. The Murray Canyon trail took you through a magical desert oasis with views to soak in along the road – while the Carl Lykken Trail offered sprawling views of Palm Springs and the surrounding rolling mountains.

Looking for more Palm Spring adventures and mile long views? Check out my guide for visiting Palm Springs Aerial Tram (note this was written pre-pandemic and doesn’t include any new rules/restrictions). Happy desert living!

Old Navy Summer Haul – Latest Obsessions

The weather has been full on Summer and with Memorial Day and an upcoming vacay to the beach on the horizon – we have been on full Summer mode, which meant giving our wardrobe a little upgrade! Yes, I’m going to share some of my hubby B’s Old Navy Summer pieces too, cause they’re super fun. From the beach or pool, to exploring the town or lounging at home – we’re beach vacation ready thanks to Old Navy. #NotSponsored

his & her swim

For Her: I always love to get a few new separates each summer season, I also love Old Navy’s high-rise bikini bottoms, so when I saw this floral pattern and leopard print, I ordered both immediately. The floral is no longer available, but they have so many cute colors and prints! Fun bottoms are an easy way to mix up your suit with your favorite neutral top! Although, I feel like I need these pink bottoms now – they would look super cute with B’s flamingo print bottoms.

For Him: I couldn’t resist upgrading B with some fun suits, the prints offered for the men are also fun! Plus, Old Navy is our go-to, especially for B because he is 6’6″ and we are able to order in Tall for a majority of pieces, including their swim trunks. We got these black and white palm print and then a fun pink flamingo print.

Shop: Leopard High-Rise Bottom, Pink High-Rise Bottoms, Black & White Men’s Palm Trees, Men’s Pink Flamingo

his & her daywear & Date Night

For Her: I got a few high-waisted shorts last year from Old Navy, so this year I focused on adding in some more tops and other pieces – like a white jean skirt. I was having some flashbacks to my adolescence when jean skirts were a thing, and I love this new addition to the wardrobe and it can be dressed up or down from day to night. I also ordered the Oversized Boyfriend Shirt in Pink (no longer available in pink) – as it would be great over a bathing suit, tank or even a dress at dinner. Finally, I love the linen-blend maxi t-shirt shift dress in black, the mountain dusk color is also stunning. This is another great piece to dress up and down as you transfer from shopping to cocktails.

For Him: For B, we kept it simple but love to add a few button down t-shirts into his rotation, especially for vacation! Whether you like some a little more bold or subtle – the printed short sleeve shirts offer both and again we’re able to order these in a Large Tall, which fit B perfectly. We added a fun Lobster print tee to the rotation and then a brighter multicolor palm tree print, he can rock both of them.

Shop: Linen-Blend Maxi T-Shirt Shift Dress, High-Waisted Button Fly Cut Off Jean Skirt, Oversized Boyfriend Shirt, Everyday Printed Short-Sleeve for Men, Built-In Flex Everyday Printed Short-Sleeve Shirt for Men

his & her loungewear

It wouldn’t be vacay without a little lounging! These are also just classic pieces that we love to get from Old Navy each year.

For Her: The crewneck sweatshirts are a favorite year round – as soon as I saw this tan sweatshirt with pink and green palm trees, I was instantly swooning and wishing we were on a plane to Palm Springs. I immediately Added to Cart. I also love the ‘Be The Love’ gear, and had to grab the crop tank top to match the sweatshirt I already have. I ordered a Large and love how this crop is roomy and fits so nicely. The everyday tank is just a basic piece that you need in every color – so comfy and just works for everything.

For Him: Again, we love Old Navy’s tank tops for me – no farmer’s tans are allowed in this house! Plus, they’re perfect for a beach vacay and can be dressed up or perfect for lounging around post pool and before dinner. The flamingo print was too fun and subtle not to pass up, we also snagged a plain black and a black and white palm print for B. And not to be TMI, but we grabbed B some fun Summer patterned boxer briefs – again we couldn’t pass up the flamingos and even a fun lemon print!

Shop: Vintage Crewneck Women’s Sweatshirt, Be the Love Crop Tank, Everyday Women’s Tank, Soft-Washed Boxer Briefs, Soft-Washed Men’s Tank Top

A few other finishing pieces that we got were flip flops, dressy and casual – some fun pairs of sunglasses and a few other nice tops that just scream Summer! It’s fun to actually shop for going places vs. a dooming future of no plans and staying at home.

Jackson Hole Food – Local Faves

Eating in Jackson Hole this vacation was definitely different than others! Luckily, when we were booking our condo, we made sure to get a place that had a full kitchen — as we planned to make a majority of our meals at our condo. We also wanted to make sure to support local shops, as this entire year has impacted on all levels — so I reached out to my cousin A, my OG JH partner in crime, for her recommendations and every single one of them was on point.

Cowboy Coffee Co. This is a popular spot, and surprisingly one we’ve never tried before! The wait was nearly 30-minutes to grab some coffee, so maybe order ahead, although it was definitely worth the wait. I was pleasantly surprised at our coffee from Cowboy Coffee Co., we probably would’ve been there almost every day, if the wait wasn’t as long as it was. You can order and ship their coffee online, so we just might be doing that to enjoy a taste of Jackson, because we did not make it back after our first time.

Pearl Street Bagels. YUM! Pearl Street Bagels is strictly take-out at the moment, which worked perfectly for us. They closed up their storefront to allow ordering via windows and a wait outside. We ended up stopping here two mornings, the first time we grabbed coffee and bagels to go, and went to sit out at a Teton look out and had an incredible breakfast view. B had the salt bagel with fresh herb cream cheese, and I got an everything bagel with their veggie cream cheese. The second time I went for the cinnamon raisin bagel with honey walnut cream cheese. I definitely preferred the everything bagel route, so my vote is that savory is the way to go! We also each got their ‘Shot in the Dark’ aka black coffee with a shot of expresso – also delicious coffee if Cowboy Coffee Co. is too busy for your liking.

Calico. Located closer to Teton Village, this spot looked so cute for a dining experience — I wish we would’ve planned to go for a warm day to sit outside. But, instead, we opted for drive-up take out for a contact-less experience and even better, incredible food. We enjoyed it so much that, we ended up going back for a second night for more and new things! The caesar and huidekoper garden salad’s were delicious, the entree size was perfect for leftovers for the next day. The side size, was also more than enough to have along with your main meal. We also got the Calico Garlic bread, both times, so good, and were even better with the side of two meatballs. The BBQ Chicken pizza was delicious, as we did a pizza and salad night the first time. Some how, I missed their signature double chocolate cake the first time we ordered, but didn’t the second – it was ah-mazing. Seriously, everything we got was delicious, I can only imagine how it would’ve been dining there and getting a taste of their cocktails.

Cafe Genevieve. This was our one and only dining out experience, luckily we were able to take advantage of a less than popular time (late afternoon) and snag an outdoor seat. We love Cafe Genevieve’s brunch, so although it was a little after 2pm, we ordered a bloody mary and mimosa to celebrate our arrival, as this was literally our first stop once we left the Jackson Hole Airport. We kept it simple and ordered their famous pig-candy bacon and then each got two eggs any style, which included eggs, more bacon, toast and the perfect amount of hash browns. This was also our first time dining ‘out’ since March, as we haven’t been back at home. It was weird, but relatively quick and delicious – as we definitely didn’t dilly-dally.

We definitely saved some money, as we did not dine as much as we would’ve — and saved on ordering drinks out, as we made one trip to the grocery store and liquor store when we first arrived and stocked up on what we would need for the week! We packed our lunches and snacks for our hikes and whenever we were out for the day, so we also saved there and made breakfast at the condo with coffee almost every morning too. There are so many more spots to explore, but for this trip, we kept it safe and got to-go for 99% of our meals!

Travel: Jackson Hole 2020 Highlight Reel

Well it’s been about two weeks since we’ve been back home and almost fully recovered from our incredible trip. Being out west in Jackson Hole, is just unreal. As soon as we landed, it was insane endless rolling mountain views any direction you turn and there was also a huge weight lifted. Waking up at our condo the first morning in Teton Village, was just pure happiness.

As I mentioned in my flight recap, we chose Jackson Hole, because it’s a familiar place. This was B and I’s third trip together and my eighth trip total. So that alone was super special, as I’ve been fortunate enough to essentially grow up going to Jackson Hole with my extended family, creating amazing memories. And now being able to come back with B, for a third time, is just so lucky. Jackson has truly been a safe haven for me, and always deemed a second home with my cousin A, and I couldn’t think of a better time, for when I needed to return to my home away from home than this year. As much of a city girl that I am, and I know my friends will agree, the mountains and Jackson bring out another part of me, it’s that feeling of being safe, feeling alive, and just plain happy. Ok, now queue the mini photo reel below from my years going to JH.

Throwback Reel:

With this being our third trip together, we knew there would be a lot of things we would be able to do safely, and we knew there would just be some things that wouldn’t be happening. We were also perfectly content being in our condo and planned accordingly from a food perspective and even packed our go-to games to have on hand (deck of cards, uno, and yahtzee – yes we are 100). Even still, we had another memorable trip with a lot of great moments, so instead of sharing every single one, here is our highlight reel.

B’s Highlights: Our first night, maybe 30-minutes after being at our condo, we cracked open bubbles/wine and were going to enjoy a happy hour on our little balcony. We were Facetiming with my parents and all of a sudden, B said something and points. And he is pointing at none other than a momma moose and her baby, casually walking by the walkway and over to some bushes for a little afternoon snack – not even 20-feet away from us. It was incredible! We were elevated and surrounded by deck, so we were at a safe distance to watch and admire these two beauties. It was a pretty awesome welcome.

B’s favorite activity was our impromptu Grand View Point hike around Two Oceans Lake and Emma Matilda Lake. We opted for the 4-mile hike towards Grand View Point vs. Emma Matilda, since we’ve ventured there before, so Grand View was a new one for us. We ended up hiking a bit longer than planned and probably rounded out at about 9-miles total — it was an exhausting day. The hike was good, until about the last mile that was just switchback after switchback and a stiff incline. The view was incredible of the Grand Teton range, and we finished up along Emma Matilda.

My Highlights: Our second night in Jackson, we headed up to The Deck on the Bridger Gondola from Teton Village for happy hour. They had mini bottles of my favorite bubbles, so we grab a few from the cafe and scored a bench away from everyone and soaked in the views and laughed the night away. B even teased me that he’s never seen me talk so much, I’m sure it was the bubbles talking a bit, and just being so happy to be in Jackson. We went another night for drinks, but it was a little later than the first time and we were welcomed by a stunning cotton candy colored sunset.

I also really enjoyed our hike around Colter Bay – it was quiet and peaceful and had incredible views of the mountains along Jackson Lake. We took our time exploring and enjoying the views, including finding a nice little spot along the lake for a lunch break. Another highlight of mine, was visiting the Geraldine Lucas-Fabin homestead, established in 1913, this cabin has unobstructed views of the Grand Tetons and is a quiet, off the beaten path spot — we had the whole place to ourselves. I was just so content sitting on her front porch, listening to the trickling of the Snake River and soaking in the mountain views.

We made sure to stop at the go-to spots that are always a must see including the T.A. Moulton Barn which we stopped back for a second time to see it snow covered. Yes! We got a taste of winter on our second to last day there, and woke up to 6-inches of snow — it was absolutely beautiful and felt like a winter wonderland, although the wind storm that brought the winter weather definitely did some damage and took down trees throughout town and even on popular hiking trails.

We also stopped briefly at Jenny Lake, but only at a look out for a quick peak and some photos – as this was definitely a very popular stop, and way to busy for our liking. We even avoided visiting town, except for early mornings and made sure to be in and out to avoid the masses for popular hours like lunch or dinner especially over the weekend. Traffic alone around town and even getting into the park at times was really backed up, I’ve never seen it like that before — even visiting in prime summer season in years past.

We also made sure to wake-up one morning to watch the sunrise at Schwabacher Landing which is another well photographed spot that showcases the Tetons in a reflection of the Snake River. We also got to watch an Elk while we snapped photos of the sunrise, he was in prime photo position and showing off his rack – it was also like 30-degrees at sunrise that morning, so we didn’t stay too long! Speaking of wildlife, we were super fortunate to see our fair share of Moose, obviously our first day, but then we would see a few in the pond along the windy Moose-Wilson Road. One morning, we stopped and probably watched a moose for about 40-minutes, as she ate in the pond, made her way across the pond, up the ridge and right up to the look-out with all of us onlookers! We also saw two bears – one swimming at Oxbow Bend and the other again on the winding Moose-Wilson Road because she ran across the road right in front of us! We were able to watch her along side the road for a bit before she headed further in. We of course saw a few distant herds of Buffalo, and a few Elk in the wee morning hours before when we were headed to our sunrise spot.

We almost perfected our tri-pod selfies during our trip. It was something I decided to purchase once we booked our trip, knowing we would primarily be solo and in need of some good couple shots with the gorgeous backdrops that are ever changing and never ending. Although, we were those people, who when we did ask for a photo to be snapped of us by a stranger, had our masks on and hand sanitizer was out and shared! I know people were looking at me like I was a crazy pants, but hey we still have to be smart and safe. We were also the people on hikes who had our masks on when we passed people, and got way out of the way — again I know our fellow hikers were looking at us like we were being extra.

Jackson is always someplace I dream about visiting and getting back too. It’s always a place that makes my heart melt and makes it so full at the same time. Jackson is a place we will always go back to, because as I mentioned it is near and dear to my heart, with many thanks and gratitude to my extended family for incredible summer vacations. Until next time, I miss the mountains already…

Traveling During A Pandemic on an Airplane

So B and I did a thing. We went on vacation… in 2020, can you even? I know, very controversial and even more so because we got on an airplane. So I’m going to break it all down, from our decision making process, why we decided to, and how it was from checking in, boarding and being on the plane itself. Although, I would also like to clarify and confirm – we’ve been quarantining since we’ve been home for a total of 14-days (Day 12, today!). And just because we traveled in a more controlled environment, we still have certain feelings about doing other social things during this time and the amount of people we see — that may make us hypocrites 🤷🏼‍♀️, but we look at each situation differently, including our decision to fly.

Our Decision Making Process & Why. This was not an easy decision and a bit of a rollercoaster. It started mainly because we had a trip planned in March for my birthday – aka prime corona shutdown time. So we were able to get a flight voucher and our hotel accommodations as a hold for a future trip. Initially our flight voucher was set to expire by the end of the year. Obviously as this pandemic has persisted, airlines have adjusted policies and have also taken a huge hit overall (airports included). So we always had a thought that we might “need” to go somewhere before the end of 2020. Long story short, we attempted to plan this trip for three different timeframes, and backed out the first two.

Finally, the flights to one of our favorite destinations – Jackson Hole, Wyoming – were too good to pass up. In all transparency we’re used to paying $600+ per person, and our flights were about $640 round trip for both of us – which also happened to be just a little over our flight voucher from our March trip. So to be able to go to Jackson Hole for the same price we were going to spend going to Philly, seemed like a no brainer. We also chose to go to a place we were familiar with, a place we had a feel for where to go, where not to go, where we to stay, and knew that we could do things for the most party socially distant and avoid crowds once we arrived. I also didn’t want to regret not taking a trip to a place that is so special to me.

Weighing the pros and cons of getting on an airplane was another factor. I’ve been pretty open about my anxiety this pandemic has brought onto me. Booking the trip gave me anxiety, thinking about getting on a plane and being around people gave me anxiety (still does), and flying on the airplanes gave me anxiety. BUT, I know the safety precautions being taken by the airlines both for passengers and from a cleaning perspective have only increased — and I know others who have flown and have said nothing but positive things. Plus airports and airlines have made wearing face coverings mandatory, so if we’re all wearing masks, we are all helping each other out, right? 

How It Was. We had an early morning flight out to Jackson Hole by way of ORD (Chicago). We flew American Airlines, again because that was who our flight voucher was with, unfortunately American (and United) don’t keep the middle seat open. Knowing this, we ended up paying for our seats a few days before our flights to ensure we were next to each other and pick where we felt comfortable being – since we had ‘Basic Economy’ seats. Also knowing this, B was a trooper and sat in the middle seat while I was in the window seat. Two of our four flights were only two seater planes, so it was a moot point, but we were still able to sit with each other!

Checking In & Security. We wiped down the touch screens at check-in, but going to an attendant to help us was available too, as it wasn’t very busy. Going through security there were helpful floor dots to designate a 6-ft distance, so it was easy to maintain. When you show TSA your boarding pass and ID, they will ask you to pull your face mask down so they can see your full face, to check your identity – so don’t be alarmed! Otherwise, everything was pretty normal.

Layovers. We had two longer layovers in the much busier airport of ORD. But we found that sitting in the airports waiting for our flights, that we were able to maintain a pretty good distance from people – a bit harder in Chicago – but still attainable. For the most part people wore their masks while waiting, unless they were eating/drinking, but there were definitely a few noses sticking out, and although face coverings are required in ORD, there were a few entitled people who sat/walked around without.

Boarding. Boarding was another story, as there definitely wasn’t 6-ft. distance maintained, but everyone had their masks on and seemed somewhat aware of their surroundings – we boarded in the last group, so we also hung back and let everyone else get on first. Gate agents were also great about asking passengers to adjust their masks or put one on before they scanned boarding passes. Getting on our flights, we were able to grab sanitizer wipes that were provided by the flight attendants upon entering the aircraft, for our shorter trips from CLE to ORD. For our longer flights from Chicago to Wyoming, we received pre-packaged snack bags when we boarded that included a little water bottle, snack bag (pistachios/pretzels) and sanitizer wipes.

On the Flights. Obviously we weren’t able to be socially distant on the flight — but it was clean on the plane, even though we also wiped down our seat area with our own cleaning wipes. And, since there wasn’t inflight food/drink service, it appeared that most people kept their masks on and minded their business plus, bonus, no one seemed to be sneezy or coughy around us. So besides being a little squished (B especially) we felt good and fine on the flight. I also double masked, a paper one underneath my fabric one — which made me feel a little more protected, even if it was purely mental.

COVID Packing Tips. Fun fact, TSA is allowing 12oz hand sanitizer in your carry on which is over the normal liquid limit — you can also pack a full size tube of disinfectant wipes in your carry-on, just make sure to pull out from your bag when you go through TSA! This was huge being able to have for our condo and just an extra set on hand, especially for our long travel days.

Nothing beat the feeling of seeing the Grand Tetons for the first time from the airplane – I literally started crying I was so happy. And not because I was happy to get off the plane (I mean I was), but I just couldn’t believe we made it! It has been 4-years since our last trip to JH and ironically, which was when we were attempting to plan our wedding, so it was surreal to be back and in a safe place I like to call home especially in this crazy year.

Questions about our airplane travels? Leave a comment below!






*This year has been unprecedented for all of us, as we have all learned to navigate this “new normal” and we can all agree, that everyone does that differently, based on what they’re comfortable with and what feels OK to them. So, before you go and judge – let’s all just remember this whole year has affected a lot of us differently and we’re all just trying to survive, the best we can

Travel Tips for Planning an Affordable Weekend Trip

I love taking trips with B to new places we’ve never been! We always try to get a couple trips in throughout the year, some bigger and grander than the ones, and some are just longer weekends away that are more affordable and sprinkled into the mix. If you’re a working couple like B and I, not only are we juggling busy family/friend commitments and house project bucket lists, but have this thing called PTO that makes traveling as much as we want too somewhat limited… especially when you throw other life items into that PTO mix. So I’ve got a few travel trips to not only help plan out more trips, but also how to save some pennies while still exploring and eating your way through new places.
TravelTips(5)Ok! Here is how to plan an affordable and fun weekend getaway!

1. Scheduling A “Long” Weekend. We always like to try and plan trips around holiday weekends, that we already get a day off from work for, or a timeframe when we’re already going to be taking some PTO off.  For me, I like to take my birthday off, and the next day (because it’s St. Patrick’s Day, and why not) — so I already had two days that budded up to a weekend! Leaving on a late night flight, on a Thursday night can also help eliminate the need of taking multiple days, giving you a full three day weekend!  If you’re looking to take advantage of those summer long weekends (Memorial Day, Labor Day or 4th of July) — you’ll want to plan a bit more in advance to avoid higher fees or not being able to secure a place to stay!

2. Picking Your Destination – Part 1. If you have a destination in mind, then head down to tip #2. If you’re not quite sure on how to figure out where to go, there are a few ways! First determine how you want to get there, flying or driving?

    • Driving: Then if you’re driving determine what your maximum drive time will be. From there, I’m pretty old school and will pop over to Google Maps and do some ‘Destination’ plugging into of some near-ish cities or destinations that sound adventurous. Last March we headed to Chicago because it was a cool 6-hour drive and within our time limit, plus we’d never been there together – and previously we drove to Washington D.C. for a surprise trip that B planned for our anniversary.
    • Flying: Since we are planning for a longer weekend (3-4 days) we went to our local airports website and searched their nonstop flight destinations.  Our airport flies to a lot of Florida destinations, and a few in between so I started my search there — now head to Part 2. Looking for early flight times and ensuring you’re on the nonstop are also clutch to making sure you’re getting the most time and bang for buck!

TravelTips(1)3. Picking Your Destination – Part 2. Affordable is the next piece of the puzzle, we wanted to keep our long weekend trip under $1,000 and even more so if possible ($500 – $600 was our sweet spot).  So I popped onto Expedia and did a combo Flight and Hotel search for a few destinations based on the nonstop flights from our airport. We checked Miami, Sarasota, West Palm Beach, and even Charleston but they were just a tad pricey for what we wanted, and where we would want to stay in those spots.  Then I pivoted to a few East Coast cities: New York City and Philly. Since we’ve been to NYC before, we passed — and Philly was hitting our sweet spot, and the Expedia search helped me narrowed down the airlines and accommodations.

Pro-tip: When you have your accommodations and airline determined, check the native websites for those vs. booking directly through Expedia — you just might find it cheaper directly through the airline and hotel (we did!)

4. Finding Your Accommodations.  In Chicago we opted for a smaller boutique hotel, because we were able to find it more affordable than mainstream hotels (it was also in the perfect location).  Again, I looked for smaller, boutiquey spots and found Sonder — they lease out rooms in buildings in the area, all with a fun style and unique name. It’s also close to the airport, so that will make it easy to grab an Uber to and from!

    • When you’re considering where to stay, again I like to pull up a map and look at key landmarks/destinations that we want to visit and look for some that are generally walkable!
    • Reading reviews is also a great way to gain insight into smaller boutiques or spots that aren’t as mainstream like a Hyatt or Marriott.

Pro-tip: If you can pick a spot that friends or family live to save on accommodations, do it!  Even asking where family or friends might have a house or time share can be another affordable way to cover the cost of your stay!

TravelTips(2)5. Figuring Out Where to Eat. This is going to sound SOOO millennial, but it’s how I’ve found some great gems on all of our trips: Instagram. I start following traveling accounts for our destination and find all the foodie accounts to start creeping and finding all of the spots.  From donuts, to bakeries, brunches and the best dining spots — you can literally find it all and then pop over to their websites to make reservations or see full menu offerings.

I also like to find places to eat by browsing through OpenTable — this makes it easy to book a reservation for the night your looking for, and there are often user generated and restaurant provided photos, ratings and reviews and easy to flip through menus for all their offerings. Another great way is asking for recommendations from friends or family if you know they’ve been!

Pro-tip: Make a Reservation! If you can, make reservations to ensure you’re getting into the hottest spots, when you want to eat, especially in bigger cities like Chicago, Washington D.C. and NYC the lay of the land is through reservations.
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6. Planning Activities. Heading to a cities travelers bureau via social media or online is another great resource to find key locations to visit or a little less mainstream spots.  Strategically planning activities around your hotel or farther away on certain days can help you optimize your travel days. Also purchasing any tickets ahead of time to visit popular landmarks is crucial, especially if you want to check those off on the early visit times!

Planning and taking that weekend getaway, and checking off more cities on your bucket list doesn’t have to eat up all your PTO or drain you bank account! We will be heading to Philly next month and I’ll be sure to share in my recaps a round up of our travel expenses along with all our yummy eats and traveled spots. Have questions? Leave a comment, below!

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