I recently had the opportunity to go to Vienna, Austria for work. It never dawned on me to have this city on any sort of bucket list but if it’s not currently on yours, it should be. Now it may have helped that it was sunny and about 70 degrees when we were there and staying in an amazingly historic five-star hotel but you could just sense how regal the city must have been hundreds of years ago.
If there are any Sound of Music fans out there, I always remember how Baroness Elsa von Schraeder was from Vienna and her level of class, sophistication and even a bit of snobbery makes complete sense that they casted her from Vienna. If you haven’t seen the movie, you need to just based on the fact it’s based on an incredible true story. A must-see!
Every time I get to Europe, which is never as often as I hope, I try to remind myself of a few things when I go back to the states. There are several things I admire that Europeans do on a daily basis that I always want to incorporate into my every day life. First, don’t be afraid to use your legs to get places. Second, I love how they don’t have a lot of “stuff” like Americans do and don’t seem to get caught up in all things excess which could be because space doesn’t physically allow there but still admirable. Third, I love that they stop to enjoy meals with friends or family. All the rushing, daily grind and urgency seems to or at least it looks this way to me, it seems to go away for those couple hours and I love that so much. Lastly, a cute, classic, tailored blazer with a scarf goes a long way. Their style always looks so incredibly effortless.
Here are some fun pictures from the trip. If you’re a history buff, you’ll be in heaven. I highly recommend trying the torte from Hotel Imperial, the Schönbrunn or Hofburg Imperial Palace or any winery off the Blue Danube Valley, to name a few.
I know this is not new for a lot of you but Rent the Runway was new for me this year and was a very successful “Glam Today” moment so had to document it because these moments don’t happen often. I finally decided to try Rent the Runway for a couple events I had this past Spring and think it might be the best invention ever. I’m just sad I didn’t think of it myself.
We had a charity gala event that I knew was going to be next level dressy so I had to step it up. (Full disclosure: I did have to commit a couple hours on a Friday night to scroll through all the dress options on the website and filter for the season, style and length but I thought it was worth it.)
So for those who haven’t used it before, you select your dress (you also have the option of picking accessories as well!), the date you would like it to arrive and the date you will drop it off with the free return postage. I’m always a little skeptical thinking things like, “will it arrive” or “will the zipper be broken” or “will there be a stain on it”? Fortunately, my dress arrived in great shape. I even liked the backup style I chose and packed it all back up Monday morning and dropped it at my local UPS store. It could not have been easier.
Next, I had to or should I say wanted to do all the pre-event glam and let me tell you, I left no stone unturned. I did everything from the mani/pedi, spray tan and eye masks down to the hot rollers. Granted, I was absolutely exhausted at the end of the day but I cherish these dress up nights, especially with my husband, so much because they do not happen as much as I’d like, as least not for this momma.
I think it’s so cool you can even use them similar to how you would use stitch fix, who sends you clothes based on your personality! Here’s my dress from the charity event…
I’m finally coming down from my Disney high a couple months later and am able to accurately reflect on the whole experience. Like anything in life, if you want something to turn out amazing, you’ve got to put the leg work in and this was no different. I will say my type A planning did pay off in this case.
There were 13 of us so we had to be pretty on top of coordinating logistics but here are a few lessons I plan to pass on to several friends planning Disney trips of their own…
Lesson 1: Take that 180 day out dining deadline seriously, especially if you want the highly sought after character meals.
Lesson 2: Take the 60 day out fast pass deadline seriously as well if you want the most popular rides.
Lesson 3: If you have a dining plan, make sure to use all your meals, quick service meals and snacks or it’s just money down the drain.
Of course, this all depends on whether you have the dining plan, what your budget constraints are or how long you plan to stay.
But speaking of your stay, if you’re overwhelmed on where to stay, I’d suggest watching this video
on YouTube. I follow an awesome account called The Bucket List Family on Instagram and at one point in their travels they were asked to complete a challenge called 30 stays in 30 days in Disney World that gives you a great idea of all the different properties they do have. Fortunately, you can customize it however you’d like and however works best for you and your family so take all of the above with a grain of salt because there really are 1,000 different ways to slice it.
Depending on how hard you want to go, I found it very similar to childbirth in that it is definitely painful at times but when you look back, you have nothing but the fondest memories for it all.
But my all around takeaway was it was an amazing trip (notice I did not call it a vacation) and look forward to the challenge of trying some new things when we return and all members of our family meet height restrictions. 🙂
Anyone else love a good holiday sale? This girl definitely does and I took advantage of the one Old Navy recently had over Presidents Day Weekend. It’s so hard, for me, to not get that new pair of jeans when it’s only $20 and truth be told, I’d do that with any brand if you have that great of a sale because I really do like them all …Old Navy, Target, Madewell, Abercrombie & Fitch, Loft, Von Maur, Express, the list goes on… I’m even warming up to Amazon fashion!
I can always find an excuse to either replace something that’s on its last leg like a nice white tee or upgrade a current staple I have like a jean jacket that might have fun detail to it or a different wash (like these black leggings pictured, I liked the distressing so will most likely donate my current black leggings because the less options I have when it comes to picking an outfit the more likely I will be to wear it) or just a new pair of shoes because they’re, well, shoes and who doesn’t always love a new pair of shoes. 🙂
These are a few fun finds from the Old Navy sale that I can either dress up or down with a sneaker or pointy flat. They can also begin to transition my wardrobe to what I hope will be Spring very soon.
For me, it’s hard not to have this place on my mind or at least plotting when I’ll get there next in between the two most magical times in the city …Christmas and New Years Eve.
Much like Paris, for me, NYC will always be one of those magical places in my heart, so when my husband and I were coming up on our 10 year wedding anniversary and our 15 year anniversary since we met, we could only think of one place, we wanted to celebrate and that was back in NYC with our girls to show them where we got engaged and where our happy beginning began. On 7/27/07, Mike and I went for a weekend getaway as he had never been so I had planned as many classic New York activities as I could (tv/movie tour, Serendipity stop, Empire State Building, etc) but he had managed to squeeze in a surprise carriage ride through Central Park as soon as we arrived that stopped in front of the Bethesda Fountain where he popped the question.
So when we went back with our girls a few months back that exact carriage ride was in the top 3 of things we absolutely had to do…carriage ride, Serendipity and the Broadway show Frozen. Here are some highlights from our first trip with the girls to the big city.
If I could pick my ideal vacation spot, it would be somewhere I could relax half the time, i.e., sunbathe by the pool or at the beach, and be active half the time by doing things I wouldn’t normally do at home like mountain bike, jet ski or paddle board. This place definitely checked all those boxes but was even more of a bonus because I was there to watch my best friend get married. The same one who was standing up with me at the altar at my wedding 10 years ago. So it felt like a highschool reunion/anniversary trip/witnessing one of the best days of a couples married life so you can imagine, being in what felt like Gods country, it was almost euphoric. I am always so grateful each and every time I get to witness something as majestic as Lake Tahoe. I imagine I’d have the same reaction going to Africa on a safari or Bali or Bhutan, for example, just breathtaking. You better believe that the planner in me would like to make it a whole family reunion one day and guessing they won’t need much convincing after having seen all my pictures.
We stayed at a place called Brockway Springs and while the interior of our rental condo wasn’t very up to date, it made sense because we were basically only there to shower and sleep since it was so beautiful outside. That lakefront view though.
My official travel review of Lake Tahoe would have to be a hybrid of the Swiss Alps or Lake Como, the Caribbean with its clear, blue waters, and then just picture infinite rows of beautiful, tall, luscious evergreen trees. Add to your bucket list if it isn’t already on there.
So some people feel trapped if they don’t workout enough or if they don’t shop enough or whatever their fix may be but for me, if I don’t travel enough I literally get the itch. I was so happy when this client asked if I could work on a trip for them last year and allowed me over a year to get all my ducks in a row, post-surgery, to head out to San Diego and Carlsbad a couple weeks ago. The thing I struggle with when it comes to traveling is leaving my family. In fact, I cried the night before I left and told my mom I didn’t want to go but one thing that has remained consistent is if I have that fear, I need to simply conquer it and be brave (like whatever princess or animal my girls are currently into at the time) and just get on the plane. Here are some fun pictures from the 10 day trip.
An iconic photo one must get when in San Diego.
I mainly wore a daily uniform for my role but one outfit I was happy with from head to toe was my airport outfit. For me, an airport outfit can make or break your trip but this one felt just right, in the style and comfort zone. Shoes are Under Armour, cardigan is A&F, top is Lauren Conrad and black skinny jeans are from Express.
I celebrated my birthday while I was there too and knowing I was away from family, my team made me feel extra special with this beautiful cake.
I stayed at two beautiful hotels, The Manchester Grand Hyatt and Hyatt Aviara. Both very different but several things I liked about both. The Manchester Grand is right in downtown San Diego. It has a beautiful waterfront-resort type feel with so much to do on property but also off property between the Gaslamp District or checking out the USS Midway or even the reputable San Diego Zoo. Hyatt Aviara is about 45 minutes north of San Diego in Carlsbad and perfect if you’re looking for that quiet, secluded, 5-Star treatment. Personally, I’d bring my family back to Manchester but would just bring my husband to Aviara.
This is my view from my room in the Seaport Tower at Manchester Grand. 💗
A classic sunset we had at dinner when we went off property in Carlsbad. Never gets old.
Oh! And definitely didn’t have any complaints flying since they were able to book me on a non-stop trip from Maryland to San Diego! Not too shabby! But my travel takeaway is to look into global entry, which is like TSA pre-check where you can skip the security line but allows you to internationally. Such a time saver.