6 Gifts to Inspire Travel

“We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open.”

-Jawaharlal Nehru

While we feel that travel is the best gift to give, it’s not always an option. So, since we’re obsessed with travel here, the next best thing is to give a gift that inspires people to wander. Check them out.

1000 Places to See Before You Die by Patricia Schultz

This best selling travel book is the perfect gift for the wanderer in your life. It’s both a bucket list and a practical guide…and it has tons of great photos.

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Baggu in Elephant Jade

With multiple sizes and styles, a Baggu bag is a great stocking stuffer for anyone on your list. From groceries to souvenirs, these handy little bags are easy to take on the go. They’re also perfect for packing up all those Christmas gifts to travel home.

Baggu ElephantJadeWorld Spice at Home at World Spice Merchants

For the cook on your list, this book and flavor companion gift set is a great way to taste the world’s flavors from their very own kitchen. It comes with 16 spices to try and a book full of adventurous recipes.

World Spice Gift Set

Striped Jewelry Box at Henri Bendel

One mustn’t travel without ones jewels. We stand by this rule 100% and so does Henri Bendel with these oh-so-FAB jewelry boxes. They come in multiple colors and fit in any travel purse for your next weekend away.Jewelry Box

All Aboard Train Studs at Kate Spade

These earrings add a little fun to any outfit and are great for the person who seizes every day as a new adventure. Stylish and whimsy, they may not be something she’d buy for herself but they’re certainly bound to be a welcomed gift.

Train Studs

Heritage Backpack by Herschel

Herschel is your go-to place to find backpacks in all shapes, sizes and styles. With chic patterns and lightweight material, they’re ready to join you on your next destination. Snag one up to take on your holiday travels or give the gift of Hershel to the student or traveler on your list.

Herschel BackpackHappy Shopping!

Jules

Cabin Fever

We have cabin fever and can’t wait to cozy up to a warm fireplace on a cold snowy night. These lovely lodges are waiting for you to take a moment to get away and recharge for the busy holiday season ahead.  From luxury to rustic, the destinations below will cure anyone’s cabin fever.

Fireside Resort – Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Fireside View

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Fairmont Le Chateau Montebello – Montebello, Quebec

Fairmont Le Chateau Montebello

Fairmont Rooms

Dunton Hot Springs – Dolores, Colorado

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Estancia Peuma Hue – Patagonia, Argentina

Estancia Peuma Hue

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San Lorenzo Mountain Lodge – Alto Adige, Italy

San Lorenzo Mountain Lodge

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Teton Springs Lodge and Spa – Victor, Idaho

Teton Springs Cabin

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Happy Travels!

Jules

Home for the Holidays

With the holidays right around the corner, we’re starting to put our Christmas lists together and prepare our homes for entertaining.  No matter where in the world you are, there’s nothing quite like the tastes and smells of being home for the holidays.  These 6 festive pieces will fill any home with the holiday spirit and get you ready to welcome your guests in style.

1. Holiday Spice CandleThe Little Market

Impress your guests as soon as they walk in the door with a delightful holiday scent.  These soy candles are handmade by women refugees from Burma.  A great candle and a giving spirit…we love the smell of that!

Holiday Spice Candle

2. Tartan Deer PrintStephanie Sterjovski Designs

Hanging up a seasonal print is a great and inexpensive way to decorate for the season.  This deer print adds a classic holiday look to any home.

SS Print3. Paper Globe Ornament SetWorld Market

We couldn’t resist adding in a little travel inspiration to our home, so these little globe ornaments caught our eye.  At $10 for a set of 3, these are great for gifts as well as adding some global style to your tree.

Globe Ornaments

4. Chunky Cable Throw with Fur TrimPottery Barn

There are few moments in life better than a cozy evening at home during the holidays…with the perfect throw, of course.  Pottery Barn always has a great selection of throws and this one proves that you can be stylish and give back.  For every blanket purchased, 20% of the price is donated to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.  Lets get one in every color!

Pottery Barn Throw

5. Bibelot Dessert PlatesAnthropologie

Dessert plates are a great addition to your home for the holidays because they’re functional decor.  They serve your guests while spreading the holiday spirit.  These adorable plates from Anthropologie will brighten up any gathering this season.

Dessert Plates

6. Hello Darling Dish TowelsZara Home

Reindeer with glasses…what else do you need?  These oh-so-fun dish towels will make you and your guests smile all season long.  They’re the perfect assistants to any holiday meal.

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Happy Shopping!

Jules

 

Monday Mini-Series: The Holla-Days!

To kick off November right, we’re exploring our two favorite things: Holla-Days and Travel.  Gifts are nice but travel is better.  Experience, not stuff, is our motto this season and we can’t wait to explore some of these oh-so-festive destinations.

Go Cold or Go Home

Iceland

Love the cold and want to have an unforgettable experience? Then Iceland is your go-to destination. Take a chance to see the Northern Lights, hike up a glacier and maybe see some whales. Your Iceland memories will be the gift that keeps giving for years to come.

iceland2Photo source here.

Banff

One of the most beautiful natural settings in the world, Banff has it all for the outdoors enthusiast. Live like a local and join the tradition of snow skiing on Christmas day. Try a new adventure such as dogsledding or ice fishing. Banff a fun-filled white Christmas for any family.

Banff

Photo source here.

Grab Your Sunnies

Tulum, Mexico

While Los Cabos and Cancun are popular destinations, Tulum offers a quieter, more peaceful escape. This destination is full of beaches, ruins and delicious food. Add in some yoga or a traditional Mayan massage and you have a perfect relaxing holiday.

Tulum

Photo source here.

Caribbean Cruise

My family and I went on a Christmas Cruise a few years ago and it was an amazing experience. Not only do you get away from the cold weather but you truly make wonderful memories as you island hop your way across the sea. Caribbean Cruise

Photo source here.

City Slickers

Chicago

While most think of NYC for holiday travel, Chicago is the perfect way to enjoy a white Christmas in a bustling city. Let the festive lights guide you down the Magnificent Mile for some last minute shopping and holiday cheer.

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Photo source here.

Vienna

Bundle up and visit a 700-year-old Christmas Market located just in front of Vienna’s Town Hall. From traditional holiday food to handcrafted gifts, this city will give you a Christmas experience you’ll never forget.

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Photo source here.

Happy Travels!

Jules

Halloween Across the Globe

This weekend, there will be costumes, candy and celebrations all across the globe.  Take a look at some of the different ways – and places – one can celebrate All Hallows’ Eve.

halloween_pumpkins-1Photo source here.

UNITED STATES

A now commercialized holiday, Halloween in the U.S. is a celebratory affair for both children and adults. From parties to trick-or-treating, this holiday is celebrated by most to the point of elaborate costumes and sugar overdoses.

Trick or treaters on the porchPhoto source here.

halloween-candyPhoto source here.

IRELAND

In Ireland, celebrations for Halloween include bonfires and fireworks. As for costumes, most dress up as underworld creatures, such as ghosts, goblins, zombies…you know, the scary stuff. To really celebrate in Ireland, go to Londonderry where they have a street carnival and amazing fireworks.

Bonfire IrelandPhoto source here.

Ireland FireworksPhoto source here.

PHILIPPINES

Traditionally, All Saints Day is the holiday to celebrate in the Philippines and occurs on the first two days of November – similar to the Day of the Dead in Mexico. Their version of trick-or-treat is called pangangaluluwa and involves young people going door-to-door, dressed in white sheets, asking for money or food. Today, the rural areas still practice this tradition but most cities have adopted the Western traditions of Halloween costume parties and parades.

PhilippinesPhoto source here.

ROMANIA

On October 31st in Romania, the holiday is celebrated around the spirit of Dracula. If you’re looking for a truly memorable experience, make your way to Transylvania and party at the citadel, Sighisoara. It’s the location where Vlad the Impaler, aka Dracula, was born.

Bran CastlePhoto source here.

Festival-sighisoara RomaniaPhoto source here.

No matter where you are in the world, have a wonderful holiday celebration this weekend.

Cheers!

Jules

6 Colorful Pieces for Fall

This time of year there are so many beautiful colors around us to inspire our look.  While I love a good neutral outfit,  sometimes its fun to add a pop of color to spice things up.

Here are 6 FAB pieces to add some color to your wardrobe.

Red – Cedar Street Maise by Kate Spade.

Cedar Street Maise

Blue – Campbell capri pants by J.Crew.

Blue capri pants

Green – Long-sleeve tunic dress by Madewell.

Green Shirt Dress

Orange – Drape front blazer by ASTR. Available at Nordstrom.

Orange Blazer

Metallic – Gabby ballet flats by Tory Burch.Tory Burch FlatsMulticolor – Narcis embellished peplum dress by Anthropologie.

Anthro DressHappy Shopping!

Jules

Dia de los Muertos

This week is the beginning of the Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) holiday in Mexico. It is a time when families and friends come together to honor a loved one who has passed away…usually at the cemetery where the person was buried.

Creepy Fact: If the person passed away a long time ago, then some people will bring up the coffin and clean the bones of the person.

Each day from October 28th until November 2nd has a specific purpose for honoring the dead.

Here is the breakdown of who to honor each day:

October 28th – Those who died in an accident.

October 29th – Those who died from violence.

October 30th – Those who died from sickness or disease.

October 31st – Those who died by suicide and are believed to go to neither Heaven nor Hell but remain in limbo for eternity.

November 1st – All children who have died (Dia de los Inocentes aka Day of the Innocents).

November 2nd – All adults who have died (Dia de los Muertos aka Day of the Dead).

Private altars are set up with the person’s favorite food and drink, along with candles and marigolds.

IMG_3914Mexican marigolds are produced in mass quantity during this time of year for the holiday. They are everywhere.

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IMG_1077The iconic La Calavera Catrina is a female skeleton dressed in a European hat and dress and has become the main symbol for the Day of the Dead. From store fronts to souvenirs, you won’t go far without seeing a Catrina during this holiday.

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La CatrinaWhether you celebrate Halloween or Dia de los Muertos, have a wonderful holiday week!

Jules

Best 6 Travel Apps

1. Viber – This app lets you text, chat or send pics for free as long as you have a Wi-Fi connection. It’s a great way to stay in touch with people at home.

Note: While most of our family and friends in the US now have Viber, the majority of people we meet internationally use WhatsApp, which works the same way. When traveling, it’s best to have both so you can stay in touch with family at home and new friends abroad.

2. Google Translate App – Whether you need to translate one word or a full page of cooking instructions, this app translates more accurately than the others I’ve tried. Not 100% word for word but close enough. Plus, it has audio to pronounce the translation for you, which helps significantly when speaking with locals.

3. Trip It – This is the perfect way to organize all your travel times, confirmation numbers and documents. Everything is in one place, so you can easily find the information you need while on the go.

4. Word Lens – Love this app! Download the app and then download the language of the country you plan to visit. Once on your trip, hold your phone over any sign, menu, etc. and it translates the words right in front of you. Its magic. No Wi-Fi needed either. Coolest app ever.

5. XE Currency Exchange – This is probably the most practical app on my phone, as it helps convert any currency to USD so I always know what I’m spending.

6. Instagram – I love Instagram because it’s a fast, easy way to share travel experiences with family and friends at home with one simple photo. It also makes it easy to share on other social media sites at the same time, so you can get back to your trip quickly…to take more photos, of course.

Happy Travels!

Jules

Share the Love

One thing I’ve learned from my (very) short time as a blogger is that it’s definitely a community of sharing, not competitiveness. There are so many reasons to start a blog but the main purpose always goes back to sharing – sharing your life experience, fashion trends or travel stories.

To honor this fundamental practice in blogging, today we’re highlighting 6 recent posts from other blogs and sites that are simply…worth sharing.

1. The Kitchn – Pumpkin Spiced Caramel Corn

Tis the season for all things pumpkin.  If you follow any food blogs or sites, I’m sure you’ve gotten at least a few recipes highlighting Fall’s favorite ingredient.  And here’s another one.

 Pumpkin-Caramel-Corn

2. World of Wanderlust – Visiting a Reindeer Farm

Not only do I love traveling but add in the experience of petting or feeding an animal and I can’t contain my excitement.  So when I read WOW’s post about visiting a Reindeer Farm in Finland, I added it to my bucket list immediately.  Just look at that face.

Reindeer Farm

3. Jones Design Company – DIY Gratitude Banner

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays but if you’re hosting, it can be an expensive one. Though you have to spend money on the food, decorating for the day doesn’t have to break the bank.  A little gratitude goes to Emily for this sparkly little banner.

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4. My Name is Yeh – Mini Chicken Pot Pies

I love this blog not only for her fancy recipes but for her charming experiences of living on a farm with her fiance.  And she takes great photos.  What’s not to love?

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5. Homepolish NYC – The $5k Living Room

Homepolish is an interior design company that will inspire you with every project they take on.  Seriously, they’ve got talent…so enjoy their work and get inspired to re-decorate your abode.  Or just get a house plant…they make any room look refreshed.

Homepolish

6. Lauren Conrad – Creative Pumpkin Decorating Ideas

We start and we end with pumpkin because its just that time of year, folks.  Thanks to these 10 creative ideas, you can decorate your house full of pumpkins quickly and easily.

Mummy Pumpkin

Enjoy!

Jules

Hot Air Balloons and Pyramids

To continue our Monday Mini-Series of Mexico City, lets talk hot air balloons and pyramids.  I’m sure pyramids aren’t the first things that come to mind when thinking of Mexico City but they are, in fact, one of the top attractions in this area.  Add a hot air balloon ride over said pyramids and you have yourself a pretty amazing experience.

Brief History

Teotihuacan is an archeological site northeast of Mexico City. Its the home of two Mesoamerican pyramids, the Pyramid of the Sun and the Pyramid of the Moon.  In Aztec, Teotihuacan means, “place where gods were born.”

The city was built around 100 BC and thrived until about 550 AD. During it’s prime, it’s said to have had somewhere around 150,000 residents, making it the largest city in pre-Columbian Americas and the sixth largest city in the world.

The Experience

We started our day at 5:30am for the hot air balloon ride.  There are several sites where you can book a tour, though, Fly Volare is the company that provides the balloons and pilots for everyone.

It was still dark when we arrived.  Our guide told us the first balloon is typically a scout balloon, sharing fog and wind details with the other pilots.

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Our balloon is the colorful one on the right.

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Up, Up and Away

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It was quite foggy, which made for a limited view of the pyramids…but that was okay because our pilot took us above the fog and that view was incredible!

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After our amazing hot air balloon ride, we made our way to the pyramids.  We took a brief tour with our guide to learn the history of the area.  There are several places around the site where you can see the original paint and designs on the walls.

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Next up was the Pyramid of the Moon.  Due to it’s current condition, you can only climb halfway to the top.

Since the pyramid is located at the end of the “Avenue of the Dead,” you can see the entire archeological site, including the Pyramid of the Sun on the left.

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Walking along the Avenue of the Dead, we made our way to the Pyramid of the Sun, which is the third largest pyramid in the world. Once you climb the 248 steps to the top, the view is worth the effort.  You can see in the photo below, that it’s much taller than the Pyramid of the Moon.

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If you make your way to Mexico City anytime soon, don’t miss this incredible experience of hot air balloons and pyramids.

Happy Travels!

Jules

 

Be a Good Market Negotiator

Happy Friday Peeps!

This past Monday, I posted about some FAB markets to visit in Mexico City. For those markets, as well as most others around the world, negotiating prices of products is common practice.

With that said, it’s not common in the US, so most Americans are not always comfortable bargaining with shop owners…especially when the products are often already inexpensive in US dollars.

Here are 3 tips to help you negotiate when souvenir shopping at a market.

Tip 1: Do Your Research

Before you leave for your trip, take some time to see what handcrafts and products are well known in the region you’re planning to visit. Knowing what’s considered valuable in that country will help you discern which products to buy as well as the quality of those products.

IMG_3311Photo: Talavera (type of ceramic) from Puebla, Mexico.

Tip 2: The Calculator

When I travel, I always carry a small, cheap calculator with me. While I know you have one on your fancy smart phone, the market isn’t a place to whip out said fancy phone as it could attract unwanted attention. Stick to the ole five-dollar calculator for markets and tourist attractions. Safety first people.

The calculator is your best bargaining tool to help communicate with someone who may not speak your language. It’s also an easy way to bargain by percentage, as most sellers are willing to give at least a 10 to 15 percent discount on a product.

Additionally, in a foreign country, this helpful tool can be used for other things, such as negotiating taxi fares or figuring out the exchange rate on the go.

Calculators

Tip 3: Be Prepared to Buy…or Walk Away

The best bargaining chip you have is to be willing to walk away. If you seem too interested, then you will end up paying top dollar for your souvenir. You must be willing to walk away from the item to convince the seller that a lower profit is better than no profit.

With that said, if you take the time to negotiate with a seller and they offer a fair price, be willing to actually purchase the product. The goal is not to get the souvenir for nothing but to get a fair price for a product that you can enjoy for years to come.

IMG_3303Photo: Handcrafts from market in Mexico City, Mexico.

Happy bargaining!

Jules

Home Away From Home

At some point in our lives, we find ourselves in a temporary living space. Whether we’re on a trip or relocating, it’s just not the same as being “at home.”

So whether you’re renting an apartment, traveling for work or living in another country (like me), here are 5 ways to make a temporary place feel like home.

Travel Candle. Bring your favorite (small) candle on the go with you and you’ll feel right at home. Just don’t travel with matches…get those when you arrive at your destination, please. My favorite is the travel candle collection from Jo Malone.

Jo-Malone-Blackberry-Bay1

Photo source here.

Favorite Throw. When we moved to Mexico, I brought my favorite throw from home and I’m so glad I did! It’s a nice comfort to have in a temporary space and makes me feel right at home. It got mine at West Elm and it’s very appropriately called “favorite throw”.

West Elm Throw

Photo source here.

Command Hooks. Okay these FAB decorating accessories are helpful for so many things. If you are decorating for the holidays or want to hang a few photos in a temporary space, these little guys are your new best friend. Seriously, buy a ton and use them everywhere.

Fresh Flowers. I love fresh flowers. Whether they’re from the garden, grocery store or flower shop, we always have fresh flowers in our home. Now living in Mexico, having flowers in the apartment makes the space feel more like our lovely Kansas City home. Even if you’re only visiting somewhere for a short time, flowers make a room brighter and are a great way to spruce up any space.

Removable Wallpaper. This is probably not a great option for hotels but is well suited for apartment dwellers. With so many designs available, this wallpaper is a perfect way to personalize a space for a short time frame and then remove it with no harm to the walls.

DalmationDotsWallpaper

Photo source here.

BirdWallpaper

Photo source here.

Do you travel with something special from home? Share how you make a place your home away from home in the comments.

Happy Wednesday!

Jules

 

 

Monday Mini-Series: Mexico City

Since this month’s Monday Mini-Series is all about Mexico City, lets talk about THE MARKETS. I mean, really, who doesn’t love a good market?

There are several markets in the DF so I’ve highlighted a few noteworthy ones to visit while in town.

La Ciudadela (Calle Baldera 6 and Enrico Martinez, Mexico City)

This fun little market is full of handcrafts from Mexico. While you want to shop wisely to make sure you’re actually purchasing an authentic piece, you can find anything from beaded animals to ceramics from Puebla.

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San Angel Bazaar and Art Fair (Avenida Revolución and Frontera at the Plaza San Jacinto in San Ángel)

This market is my favorite because I love this area of town. In the plaza area of this market, you’ll find paintings galore. In the buildings surrounding the plaza, you’ll find Mexican wares of higher quality and price. If you’re looking for that one special piece to keep forever, this market is a great place to check out.

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San Angel Paintings

Photo source here.

La Merced Market (Rosario 180, Venustiano Carranza, 15810, Mexico City)

La Merced is a huge traditional public market where mostly locals shop. The food section is housed in several warehouses. There are rows and rows and rows of every type of food you can imagine. Then there are sections where people can purchase clothing, school supplies, electronics…and lots of silk flowers.  Almost anything you need for life in Mexico City can be found here.

While this market is a great experience, it’s not a a place where you’ll find many souvenirs as a visitor.

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MercedPhoto source here.

Floating Gardens of Xochimilco (Southern neighborhood of Xochimilco, Mexico City)

Not just a market but an overall experience, the Floating Gardens are definitely worth an afternoon of your time. Here’s the jist: You sit at a table on a boat and float down the river while you eat lunch (which you can bring or buy there), listen traditional mariachi bands and purchase souvenirs from other boats floating by.   Seriously, peeps, what’s not to like about this place?

floating-gardens-of-xochimilcoPhoto source here.

Xochimilco MariachisPhoto source here.

Mercado de Jamaica (Corner of Congreso de la Union and Guillermo Prieto, 15960 Mexico City)

This is Mexico City’s wholesale flower market. Even if you’re only visiting for a few days, purchasing beautiful flowers for your hotel room is a perfect excuse to stop by this market. The flowers are B-E-A-UTIFTUL. And did I mention cheap? Oh yeah, seriously cheap. You can purchase almost any type of flower or an arrangement they’ve already put together. So there’s really no reason to miss this market.

STOCK_flower_540x242Photo source here.

jamaica-liliesPhoto source here.

Case and point: I got the flowers below for $12 USD. I’m just saying…check it out.

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I’m a huge fan of local markets in a city when traveling because you see the culture of the city. Shop wisely. Taste the food. Enjoy the experience.

Cheers!

Jules

What’s Your Vacation Personality?

You’ve saved, you’ve planned and you’ve packed – all for that perfect time away. So your much-needed, much-deserved vacay should be nothing less than amazing, right? Then why do we sometimes find ourselves at must-see, can’t miss destinations not having fun? Because every bucket list destination in the world isn’t for every personality type.

When planning for a trip, it’s important to think thru your own personality type so you end up in a place you actually enjoy.

Lets break down some ‘types’ of vacations and a few hot spots to try for each.

Relax, Relax, Relax

If your idea of a vacation means that the only time you stand up is to walk to a lounge chair, then this one’s for you. Sometimes we just need to be able to do nothing and this is that type of vacation. A place where there’s not much to do but that doesn’t matter because you don’t need anything more than a quite spot with a good book or a fishing pole.

Domestic Destination: Montana.  Known for it’s sweeping natural settings, Montana is great for a relaxing, outdoors experience.

Montana Glacier National Park

Photo source here.

International Destination: Belize.  Whether you like the beach, jungle or both, Belize provides the perfect setting for a relaxing vacation.

Blue Hole

Photo source here.

Splurge Destination: Bora Bora. Beautifully remote is the best descriptor for this hot spot.  It takes some time to get there, so plan for at least a week.

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Photo source here.

Oh Darling, Lets be Adventurers

For those of you who would be bored after one day on a “relaxing” vacation – a place with a little more adventure might be just what you need. There are so many natural destinations in this world that provide a variety of things to explore and keep your interest. Below are a few:

Domestic Destination: Oregon. From cycling to hiking to kayaking, Oregon is the perfect place to see natural wonders while on-the-go.

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Photo source here.

International Destination: Chile.  There are few other locations in the world that give you both the the bitter cold and the extremely hot – with a little history sprinkled in.

Chile - Easter Island

Photo source here.

Splurge Destination: Thailand.  While it takes some time and money to get there, Thailand is an inexpensive location once you get there. For those who like to backpack thru jungles and along beaches alike, Thailand is an incredible destination.  Below is my oh-so-memorable experience riding elephants in the ruins.  Remember my Top 10 post, including hand wipes?  Take those with you when going to Thailand!

Thailand

We Can’t Stop

If the idea of sleeping in makes you anxious because you might miss something, then a place with several attractions should be your next destination. For the on-the-go traveler who prefers the urban jungle to the real jungle, these are great cities to check out:

Domestic Destination: New York City, NY. The number one destination for people traveling to the States shouldn’t be missed by those of us in the US.  This city is everything a busy traveler could want: FAB food (try a hot dog in Central Park), Broadway shows and attractions such as the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State building. Take a stroll on the High Line, it’ll be worth your time.

Lower Manhattan Skyline from the Manhattan Bridge, New York City

Photo source here.

International Destination: Rome, Italy.  As you can see from my photo below, Rome is the perfect mix of old and new.  With ruins among city buildings, there’s more to see and do in Rome that one trip will allow.  For this city, try and take your time in the places you do go visit – the city will fill up your heart one attraction and pasta dish at a time!

Rome

Splurge Destination: Tokyo, Japan.  The sights, sounds and smells will take over your senses.  If you’re looking for a city adventure like no other, check out Tokyo.  And download Google translator, as most people do not speak English.

Tokyo

Photo source here.

Nothing’s Quite Like Home

While traveling can be an unforgettable experience, we aren’t always able to get away. That doesn’t mean we can’t take some time to ourselves for a “Stay-cation.”

If you have a free:

Afternoon – Grab coffee with a friend and then go to your favorite store. Even if you don’t purchase anything, spend some time in a place that makes you happy.

Weekend – Choose a restaurant you’ve never tried. Book a massage. Drink lots of wine.

Week – Lucky! Don’t spend this time cleaning and getting your to-do list accomplished…unless you do that on the first day only. Make a list of the top 10 things you’ve always wanted to do in your city (or nearby city) and then go and explore – all the while sleeping in your nice comfortable bed each night.

Group or Solo Travel

If you’re bound and determined to book a vacation with friends, pick a place that allows for lots of flexibility. Each person/couple will want to do different things at some point, so give everyone plenty of unscheduled time to enjoy the trip as they choose.

Best for groups: All-Inclusive vacations. Two great options:

Domestic Destination: Napa Valley Wine Train.  A wine trip with a built-in designated driver?  Sign me up!  This is a great way to spend some quality time with friends and see a good part of the wine-producing region of California.

Napa-Valley-Wine-Train

Photo source here.

International Destination: Los Cabos, Mexico.  A perfect destination for a group that has all personality types included, Mexico provides an active or relaxing vacation, along with a touch of sunshine.

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Photo source here.

If you’re planning to travel solo, then research thoroughly to ensure you’ve chosen a safe and easy to navigate location. And if this is your first solo trip, try checking out a country that speaks your language, that way you are able to get around or ask for help more easily.

Domestic Destination: Charleston, SC.  This charming city is located in the heart of Southern hospitality.  With beautiful plantations to explore as well as sandy beaches, you’ll make friends upon arrival and never want to leave.

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Photo source here.

Domestic Destination: Hawaii.  Most people travel internationally to escape to a tropical destination but Hawaii gives you that setting here in the US.  This dreamy location provides activities for all types of travelers and welcomes solo guests with open arms.

Hawaii

Photo source here.

International Destination: London, England. One of the world’s most visited cities, London is a great location for the solo traveler.  This easy to navigate, English-speaking destination has oh-so-classy sites to see and places to visit.

London

Photo source here.

No matter what your personality, there’s a destination for you.  Comment and let me know your vacation personality.

Happy Travels!

Jules

6 Fall Faves for a Casual Look

Jeans, boots and scarves – Fall has the best clothes!  Living in a big city these days, I’m constantly inspired by looks I see while out and about.  Since we don’t have a car here in Mexico City, I walk everywhere and need versatile – and comfortable – outfits . These six pieces add to any casual, on-the-go look.

Cameron Sweatshirt by Fossil

01 Cameron Sweatshirt

Jamie short boot by Frye. Available at Nordstrom

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Embellished classic biker jacket by Free People

03 Free People jacket

Alpaca Infinity Scarf by Cuyana

04 Alpaca Infinity Scarf

Over-sized checked shirt by Zara

05 Zara checked shirt

Anstice Tunic Dress by Anthropologie

06 Anstice Dress by Anthro

Happy Shopping!

Jules

Monday Mini-Series: Mexico City

For our time in the DF, Duston and I are staying in an upscale area of the Miguel Hidalgo borough called Polanco. Our apartment is across the street from Parque Lincoln, a charming neighborhood park where Eisley and I take our morning walks.

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From flower shops and bakeries to ice cream parlors and boutiques, Polanco is a popular area for the wealthy residents of Mexico City. And restaurants! There are so many delicious restaurants in the Polanco area that city dwellers flock here at night and on weekends to enjoy the tasty fare.

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For the Foodies:

  • Porfirio’s Restaurant. While you may be able to get in during the week without a reservation, for best tables or on the weekend, a reservation is a must. One thing to note: their tacos are very small…meaning they each can fit in the palm of your hand. They are delicious (and spicy) so definitely try them…just get an appetizer or salad as well.
  • Villa Maria. This Mexican restaurant caters well to their English-speaking customers. They are a family friendly, local joint that serves up delicious food and drinks. Try the prime rib tacos…holy guacamole they’re good!
  • Debbie and Peponne. This little restaurant/bakery is the perfect place to have coffee or lunch. It’s right around the corner from our apartment so we eat there once a week.
  • Costanza. Not Mexican food but definitely worth an evening out. This Italian restaurant not only serves yummy lasagna but they locally source their ingredients and avoid additives and artificial preservatives in their food.
  • Neveria Roxy Polanco. Best ice cream in Polanco, in my opinion. They have fresh coconut ice scream with coconut flakes in it as well as many other flavors to taste test. One of my favorite things to order at Roxy is an ice cream float with vanilla ice cream and mineral water. Just trust me, people. It’s delicious.

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For the Explorers:

(Since most of the websites for these attractions are in Spanish, I’ve linked to various travel sites for more information in English.)

  • Avenida Presidente Masaryk. This avenue is a short 5-minute walk from our place and hosts the best of the best fashion brands in the world. Masaryk is Latin America’s equivalent of NYC’s Fifth Avenue or Beverly Hills’ Rodeo Drive.
  • Chapultepec Park. As one of the largest parks this side of the world, Chapultepec consists of over 1,695 acres. With so much space it contains more than just trees. In the park, you’ll find the Chapultepec Zoo, Museum of Anthropology and the Rufino Tamayo Museum.
  • Soumaya Museum(silver building pictured above) While the building of this museum is impressive enough, the admission to go inside is free and it’s located in a popular area near the Aquarium and Antara Polanco, one of the many fashion malls in Mexico City.

If you find yourself wandering in the streets of Polanco, let me know. We’ll chat over tapas at an outdoor café.

Cheers!

Jules

 

Top 10 for International Travel

Okay peeps, to kick off our travel tips series, I thought it best to start with the basics. Below is a list of my top 10 things to take on an international trip. While you always want to remember your passport, camera and headphones, these are more essential items to ensure you have a healthy and adaptable trip to wherever you’re going. Happy Travels!

#1 – Hand wipes.

I know I’m not starting off with glamor here but these are definitely a MUST when traveling. While hand sanitizer is also good to have on hand, the wipes are more universal for the various needs while abroad.

True Story: Just pet an elephant in the ruins of Thailand and now it’s time for lunch. Hand wipes save the day.

#2 – Travel wallet.

Must Haves - Wallets2

  1. Cobble Hill Asby by Kate Spade
  2. Alice wallet by Hobo at Nordstrom
  3. Merona wallet at Target

When traveling, it’s best to get a wallet that has separate compartments to keep your large bills and cards separate from the smaller bills that you’ll likely use at markets and tourist locations. Also, it should have a place to keep coins, as many countries use coins for most day-to-day purchases instead of bills.

#3 – Tissue paper.

Bring a few travel-sized packages. I’ve been to several countries where it’s not customary to use toilet paper…especially when you explore more rural areas. So, in addition to covering a quick sneeze, your tissue paper will definitely come in handy.

#4 – Universal charger.

Since various countries have different power sources, its best to simply get a universal converter vs. one specific to the country you’re visiting. One thing to note is to look at your devices (i.e. hair dryer, cell phone charger, camera charger, etc.) before purchasing a charger. Make sure you get one that has three prongs, if you have a device that needs it, as most chargers only have two prongs.

I learned this the hard way when I couldn’t plug in my hair dryer when living in Paris.  My favorite charger is here. It’s colorful and useful for over 150 countries.

#5 – Collapsible, reusable bag.

Must Haves - Reusable Bags

  1. Sling Bag by Blue Avocado
  2. Bags by BAGGU
  3. Workhorse Original Reusable bag by Reuseit.com

This is one item I have used on almost every trip I’ve taken. Not only is this the best way to consolidate all your bags while souvenir shopping but it’s a great second carry-on option in case your new purchases won’t fit into your luggage when returning home.

#6 – Protective phone case.

Traveling ensues chaos occasionally so a strong shatterproof, waterproof case for you phone is important. Not only will it help you capture great photos in the rain but it’ll protect your lifeline home (and your social media sites) while on the go.

I love both Otterbox and LifeProof for heavy duty – yet stylish – cases.

#7 – Travel steamer.

Honestly, this is one is a must for me. Since I love to travel light (i.e. stuff as much in a carry-on as possible), my travel steamer is necessary for my clothes to look somewhat decent after rolling and smashing them into my suitcase. They are cheap, lightweight and easy to find at your nearest Target or travel store.

#8 – Scarf.

Must Haves - Scarves

  1. Cityguide scarf from Madewell
  2. Polka Dot Print Wool Foulard from Massimo Dutti
  3. Basic taupe scarf from Zara

A long neutral scarf is a versatile travel necessity. When visiting abroad, you’ll encounter various temperatures as well as different cultural norms. In some places, such as Thailand, you cannot enter a temple unless your legs and shoulders are covered. A good scarf can keep you warm or become a quick sarong — saving you cost of over-priced clothing sold on the street for tourists who are unprepared.

Side note: I also learned this one the hard way when attempting to enter a Chinese temple in shorts and a tank top. No entry allowed without a quick (and pricey) sarong purchase from a little lady conveniently located right across the street.

#9 – First aid kit.

A small travel first aid kit is always handy when traveling to a country who’s primary language is not English. While Advil and Band-Aids are pretty easy to spot by packaging only, items with drowsy and non-drowsy options may not be as easy to translate from another language. It’s always good to bring a few trusty meds with you just in case.

#10 – A Small umbrella.

Must Haves - Umbrellas

  1. Printed umbrella by Gap
  2. Mini umbrella by Tory Burch
  3. The Davek Mini umbrella by Davek New York

I have yet to travel to a country without encountering at least one afternoon of inconvenient weather. Having a small umbrella on hand will help deter the rain from ruining your day of site seeing photos…because lets be honest, if your hair is messed up for the photos, the site seeing is just not as fun.

Pick up these items, pack a bag, and go forth to explore the globe.

Cheers!

Jules

Introducing a Wanderer’s Blog

DustonandI  Adventure Begins  Eisley

Welcome peeps!  You can call me Jules.  I’m a glass is overflowing kind of girl, where everyone I meet is bound to be my best friend and every day is definitely going to be the best day ever.  It was with this mindset that I oh-so-quickly agreed to move from Kansas City to Mexico City with my fiance, Duston, for his job.  A new adventure, right?  Well, said adventure meant leaving my home and my job (but I got to bring the dog!) so I arrived in the DF (that’s what the locals call Mexico City) with wide eyes ready to explore…and plenty of time to do so.

I’ve started this blog to share my adventure as well as many others I’ve had across the globe.  Just a few things to expect:

Mini-Series Mondays – Because there’s so much in the world to be excited about, I can’t commit to one thing month after month.  Each month I’ll start a new topic that we’ll cover on Monday’s to go in-depth on one specific topic or place.  It can be anything from Planning a Destination Wedding (which I’m currently doing) to highlighting a specific city and all it’s fabulous finds.

Wandering Wednesdays – Life can’t be planned out all the time, so Wednesday is my catch-all-post-what-I-want day.  From global recipes to styles and trends by city , Wednesday will keep things interesting for us, folks.

Feature Fridays – Just for fun, lets feature all things travel on Fridays.  From tips and tools to apps and travel guides, Fridays will take you across the globe with everything you need to enjoy your adventure.

So today we start our life of wander together.  You ready?

Jules