So apparently I unknowingly have this every three year blog post going, that I’m excited to share again. And you may be saying to yourself, what are you talking about? Well, in order to share a little bit about me, the bee, to my new and returning readers, I am tackling ten questions, while including my answers from 2015 and 2018 (see, every three years!). It’s sort of funny to see how things change, or not — but I may be in need of a few refreshed questions, so you’ll have to leave your ideas in the comments below!
Ok, are you ready? Here we go!
1. If money was no object, what’s something you’d buy right now. 2021: A house in Jackson Hole with a personal gym (see what I did there) 2018: A vacation or four… maybe a sports car. 2015: My own personal gym.
2. Spring vs. Fall? 2021: Fall baby. 2018: Still fall. 2015: Fall – clam bakes, sweaters, pumpkins, coffee, jeans, scarfs, cool runs… shall I continue?
3. What’s on your nightstand? 2021: Pretty much the same as 2018 — lamp, picture frame, phone charger, ring holder, coaster, medicine…. 2018: Lamp, ring holder, small vase with flowers, coaster & water glass 2015: Pictures of me and B and my glasses.
5. If you could have lunch with anyone in the world, who would it be? 2021: I think I want to bring someone back from the dead, but I’m not sure who. TBD. 2018: This one is tough, maybe some Bravo reality stars? RHOBH or Vanderpump! 2015: Too many choices…. it’s a toss up between Derek Jeter and Katy Perry
6. Name one thing on your bucket list. 2021: Hot Air Balloon Ride in Jackson Hole 2018: Travel to Europe 2015: Sky dive with B
8. Congratulations, you just won an all expenses paid trip to… 2021: Somewhere I wouldn’t think to travel that would totally blow me away like Bali. 2018: Lake Como & Greece 2015: Ireland & Germany
9. Backyard BBQ or Formal Dinner? 2021: A formal backyard BBQ! 2018: Same! But I do love a good meal out on the patio on a summer night. 2015: Formal dinner – I love getting dressed up, and sitting around the table sharing stories, good laughs and a bottle of wine.
10. What advice would you give your teen self? 2021: Be true to you, be bold, be brave, but also listen and learn with an open heart and open mind. 2018: Don’t let silly people affect you to the point of insecurities or anxiety – they do not define you, and there is a world of people out there that won’t tear you down. 2015: There is a much bigger world out there; explore it as much as possible, and even if you break away – there is still a bigger world beyond that.
Ok, that was still fun — but in all seriousness, I’m ready to shake up some questions & maybe even do another Q&A post in a couple months. What fun questions do you want me to answer? Comment below!
Happy New Year! It’s that time again — that time to reset and refocus our energy, our priorities and look back at successes and even failures from the previous year, things we’ve learned about ourselves. And with that, it’s important to review your previous goals – and if you didn’t have any, you can only go up from here – so here is a quick update on how I did with my 2020 goals.
My 2020 Goals Successes: I paid off my credit card debt, before my 30th birthday — and even better, I’ve kept the credit card paid off. It’s so refreshing and freeing to have that under control. I also successfully completed one of my fitness goal of running 6-races, which proved more challenging because they all got delayed into Q4. We were also able to squeeze in one trip, which I will take for how 2020 went. And, I think that I fulfilled my goal of saying “No” which was also a bit easier, because you know, covid — and maybe one of the few things I’ll thank covid for.
Here are my goals for 2021:
Pay Off My Student Loans by December 2021. With the pandemic, student loans got a break with 0% interest among other things for most of the year — so I made sure to take advantage of that, while also paying more on my loans due to the money I’ve saved without having other expenses (car, gym, spa). With the help of my rain-man hubby, we’ve calculated for me to be on track and student debt free while I’m still 31! Being able to pay these off all by myself, while I’m still relatively young and 9-years post graduation is something I am truly proud of and fortunate to be able to do.
Monthly Volunteering. I unfortunately got out of dog walking volunteering, which I was doing almost weekly pre-covid. I then was trying to get a goal of at least monthly, which I was doing pretty well with, but the end of the year not so much. So my goal is to get back to that monthly volunteering for at least 2-hours, and then if things get better, I’ll start going more frequently. This will also help push me to do more “social” things without actually being social.
Good for the Soul. Focusing on things that are good for the soul and things I enjoy doing is going to continue to be a priority. Things like: Friends, travel, good food, bubbles, saying no, house projects, decorating, speaking my truth, reading, creating, dogs, sleeping in, and watching Bravo. Traveling is always a priority and on our to-do list (& oh so good for the soul), and we already have two trips outlined. This past year has also proven to enjoy the simpler things in life, like hanging out just B and I, playing games, listening to music and laughing the night away — hopefully we can just add a few more friends and family to that scenario.
Continue to Invest in Myself. This is both mentally and physically. Due to affect effects of covid, I’ve found that working out and staying healthy is going to be more of an effort, also sadly, because my former gym ended up closing last year due to financially hardships. So I’ve already started to purchase more at-home fitness equipment to help workouts become more attainable, without an excuse of not having equipment. Mentally, I’ve been needing to find someone to talk too since the spring. Again, I’ve made excuses not being able to find anyone that feels right — but I need to get it started. I spoke to someone in college and it helped immensely.
As you may have noticed, a lot of these goals, seem to be getting back to a normal life and piecing together the after effects from the pandemic (which BTW is still happening). And one of those biggies will be my fitness goals. I’ll be sharing those more specific goals on my upcoming Fitness Friday post — I think it’s important if you want your health and fitness to be a priority and is a personal goal, to make specific goals attainable and specific to fitness without just saying; “stay in shape” or “work out.” And I’ll be sharing my fitness goal failures too.
I also recently did one of those word scrambles, where you look at a bunch of letters and pull out the first four words you see. My four words were: Health, Family, Love and Strength. I think these are good mantra words to hold onto and focus for my new year — even if it’s a silly little internet thing.
What’re your goals? Share one or one of your focus words in the comments below!
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!
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.
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…
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
As I was sitting and thinking about my monthly Fitness Friday post, my first thought is that I haven’t put in much work this month because of our trip and now quarantining post trip. But then, I thought about our trip and the good and hard hikes we took, and the one came to mind as a perfect example of life lately and often how our fitness journey’s may not always be perfect — so I thought I’d take a moment to share.
Before our trip out west, B and I put together a list of must-do’s that we wanted to make sure we accounted for! One of B’s absolutes was hiking Mt. Rendezvous – which is a hike we’ve done before. It’s a tough one — I instantly thought back to the first time we did it with my dad, the path wasn’t clear, we did some extra back and forth and it was long, with a decent elevation climb. I was instantly having doubts we wouldn’t be able to do it again, just the two of us. But the fun part about this hike is the waffle place at the top, which is the perfect post-hike treat and you get a free ride down from the Tram!
Our plans shifted slightly, as the Tram hasn’t run all summer due to the pandemic, meaning the waffle stand wasn’t open at the top, but instead shifted down to the Bridger Gondola stop where The Deck is (a popular sunset happy hour spot). So we decided to hike to the Bridger Gondola vs. the top of Mt. Rendezvous. Luckily for us the trails leading up are better marked since the last time we were there over 4 years ago and we could still get waffles and catch a gondola ride down from the Bridger Gondola spot! So after having our plan in place, we set our day to do the hike.
Now back to the meat of the story! We woke up early the morning of our hike to head to a popular sunrise spot to see the Teton’s in a reflecting spot of the Snake River (which was incredible!) — so we had a leisurely morning after that and I personally was pushing off our hike. But we finally got started just after the lunch hour, knowing we had at least 2 hours of hike ahead of us, and wanted to make sure we could catch the gondola down!
We started and the first mile or so was just incline, after incline, after incline — we had no breaks and I got gassed early on. It was hotter than I planned too, so I let the mental battle of defeat and my body feeling defeated get the best of me and I couldn’t stop complaining. I kept having to stop, catch my breath, blow my nose (allergies were on point out west), and continue to complain — B was not having it. But we kept going, and although B said after complaint #40, “Ok, we can turnaround.” — I quickly said “No!,” and kept hiking. I’m not sure if it was from that point on or just continuing to push through the discomfort and doubt… but after awhile my attitude and negative thoughts shifted and went away. I didn’t even notice it, we just kept going, took breaks when we needed, soaked in the views and chatted along the way.
Spoiler: We made it to the top! But the point of sharing this story is there are times when we just plain don’t want to do anything. When we don’t want to workout, don’t want to get out of bed, don’t want to adult or feel like we can’t. Those times when we already write ourselves off and consider something a failure — before it’s even done. This whole year has sort of felt like that, the whole year has just felt like a wash, I’ve heard it from many people, it’s been more of let’s get through this year and then we can go back to normal and do all the things next year.
But, when we got to the top, I felt so accomplished, I did it, B and I did it together! And it was pushing through the negativity and setting out to finish something we talked about doing no matter what. And it felt good! I was exhausted, but after awhile the pain and discomfort became part of the hike and something I worked with, until it wasn’t a thing anymore. This hike in a beautiful place taught me a little lesson, and that is to not write off defeat before it’s ever really started.
We’ve all been pushed around and down a lot this year. That’s why we need to remember and continue to celebrate our victories when we prevail through our own mental beatings and push through the physical pain. And we need to remember and acknowledge the fact that we are strong and can push through the pain, discomfort and doubt to accomplish goals — even if that is one day at a time, one workout at a time, or one hike at a time. And maybe, this year won’t completely be a wash.
The weather is finally starting to break and it’s been so nice to spend weekends, evenings and even a few working afternoon outside in the sunshine and warmth. With quarantine and remote work continuing, I’m starting to get transition my mindset a bit more to try and embrace all of this a bit more. It’s been a roller coaster of emotions and mental health strain which I’ll be sharing more about on my Fitness Friday this month. So, with trying to transition my mindset, I’m trying to stay busy by planning for a few projects and a few other things I love, while living in workout pants and sports bras.
Mini Office Makeover. Fun fact; our home office wasn’t ever intentionally set-up for designed to be an actual home office. I know typing that out makes it sounds really stupid – but it’s true! Up until recently, B and I only occasionally work from home and would just set-up shop in the dining room or living room. Our home office was designed to be a fun space that serves as another guest room and home to our sports memorabilia. So I’m brainstorming on some easy, cost-effective ways to make this a bit more inspirational, fun and creative for a more long term working space. I’m thinking pink, and I’ll leave it at that.
Anything Bravo. I would just like to personally take a moment to thank Bravo (and bubbly), for giving me some sense of sanity and a mental escape throughout this super weird time that is quickly becoming the “new normal.” B and I have rewatched the entire series of Vanderpump Rules, even as this latest season wraps up. And my two favorite housewives series are now on, RHOBH and RHONY, along with Andy being back with his virtual WWHL which are still enjoyable.
Some Backyard Plans. Our back patio is pretty set and perfect, besides adding some seasonal plants around to spruce up the space a bit more. B and I have talked off and on about doing some additional privacy-scaping in the back area, but just haven’t gotten around to it. So I’m sketching up some plans to pitch to B, since he is jones-ing to get that project going. We’ve also chatted about adding a floating deck and hot tub… so we will see how that all fits in.
Travel Daydreaming. Flights are so cheap right now. It’s been really easy to daydream and want to plan and just book a flight. Airlines are also still offering no charge rebooking fees (at least Southwest still it!) so it’s eliminating some of the potential risk. It’s just so hard to plan right now, and it breaks my heart to think we might not travel on an airplane this year — but I’m still hoping.
So you’ll be catching me this weekend making some plans, getting inspired and definitely watching some bravo while sipping some bubbles and daydreaming of the day that we feel safe to fly on an airplane again and explore the world. And I’m still obsessing over Target Drive-Up, it’s been well over two months since I’ve actually stepped foot in one. What’ve you been obsessing over lately?
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.
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!
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!
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.
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!
I feel like my 2019 goals sort of sucked? Ok, maybe not all of them, but a good handful of them — I look back and am like, HA! Not a good thing, right? Well, that’s why it’s a new year! So, in addition to making my fitness goals a priority, which includes getting six races in this year, I have a few other personal goals that I want to focus on! Pay off My Credit Card Debt by my 30th Birthday. This has been a goal of mine for… a bit, and it’s been one that I’ve been embarrassed to share, but I know I’m going to get this paid off and I’m damned determined to enter my 30th year with $0 in credit card debt. So that is just about 2-months from today *smiles*
More vacations. I just want to travel, always. I want to see so many places and experience, see new views and taste all the good foods. Our trips for the year are pretty much already planned out. But, I’m hoping to squeeze a few long weekends into a few more getaways beyond the bigger trip we have planned for later in the year. As always, I love sharing our travel adventures and eats with all my Bee readers, so stay tuned for a fun year of new places! Saying No. I just had an exchange with my mom the other day, as I told her I’m sick of doing things – especially in my free time/weekends – that I don’t want to do. And she responded saying; “Well isn’t that life?” …and I said back to her… “Why does that have to be life!?” We do things to please other people, because we may feel guilty or it’s just easier to say yes than it is to say no. But I’m over that, so don’t get offended people, or get ready to be offended. *winks*
Being More Present. This is across the board; in personal, professional, friendships, in family and self care. I find myself being distracted, my mind wandering, picking up my phone to scroll — it’s easy to think of the millions of other things we want to do, already forgot about, or even dream about, but it’s not always easy to be present. And I think another part of that is continuing to be present and staying touch with all those important people, especially my hubby.
I want to continue spending time with our dear friends, more one on one time, slowing down and just talking — we were reminded of that over the Christmas holiday and it was, refreshing, it was like old times, times I missed. I want to continue fostering my creativity through DIYs, house projects, writing, my career, and through encouragement and support of loved ones around me.
Needless to say, there is no shortage of goals over here in the Bee Life — but the ones above are the top, for now. What’re your goals for 2020? There’s no better time to start working on them, than now!