#WanderlustWednesday

DSCN1016

Pacific Coast Highway

#Route1 #Sonoma #California

  • Hopefully you don’t have any travel plans with British Airways this week.
  • Are Instagram Influencers actually ruining the travel experience for others?
  • Much of the Bahamas was ravaged by hurricane Dorian, here’s the parts of the island nation that are open for business and could use your tourist dollars.
  • Here’s where everyone is traveling to from the US by state.
  • The World Economic Forum just named the world’s best country for travel. Hint – The country won the award for the third year running.

#WanderlustWednesday

Siesta Key, Florida

#SiestaKey #SummerDaze #SunnyFlorida

#WanderlustWednesday

Venice, Italy

#Venice #BoatCruise #ItalyDreaming

  • This week two South American countries have issued travel warnings against the US in the wake of the multiple mass shootings.
  • To check or carry-on that is the question? I personally don’t mind checking my bag.
  • U.S. News released their annual report of the best travel rewards programs.
  • Here are nine cities where you can take in the views from public transit. Hint – Venice makes the list.
  • There is a down side to the travel industry – the effect on the environment. Here are 50 travel companies that are doing their part to reduce their carbon footprint.

Planning a Destination Wedding

Time for a little wedding update. So remember when I told you that we were getting married I said that wedding planning was not my jam so we were having a destination wedding. With just under two months until the big day I can happily report that wedding planning is still not my thing.

dd7befa3-a8bc-402e-bb84-33995f7e5664

ziva

We are getting marring at the Hyatt Zilara Rose Hall in Montego Bay, Jamaica. We picked this resort for a few reasons: 1) I was in an absolute tizzy and the travel agent said it was a nice place, 2) my dad said he wouldn’t come if we got married in Mexico and I didn’t want to start a fight, and 3) his mom said anywhere was better than where I originally wanted it. [Wedding planning is so fun.]

All kidding aside, those are all real, but not why we actually went with the resort. For one thing the resort is kind of a two in one with a family friendly side and an adults only side. We thought this would be ideal for any of our family or friends who didn’t want to travel internationally and leave kiddos behind, but still give us the option to have the adults only feel. We have a lot of people with dietary restrictions who will be attending, and this resort unlike some others in the Caribbean (so we have been told, not speaking from actual experience) is able to accommodate them all very well. I have not been to that many all inclusive spots, but many of them cater specifically to people traveling as couples, we wanted to avoid that, as we wanted ALL of our guests to feel welcome. And finally the place seems like they know how to do a wedding. They are set up to be able to accommodate multiple weddings per day, and as someone who is not AT ALL into the details, they seem like they can handle it.

As of right now, we have 71 ticketed and confirmed guest, which I am blown away by! People are traveling from as far away as Nairobi, Kenya to be there and I am still in disbelief. My dress is ready to go, his suit is ready to go, all the big stuff is done! And I am ready to pull my hair out with the little details. How do people get so into this stuff?

I found these images to use as inspiration for our decor that I sent to our wedding coordinator and then kind of left it up to her. Have I mentioned that I am not into wedding planning?

img_4718

img_4720

img_4719

img_4721

img_4722img_4723

A few tips from my observations thus far:

  • We have never actually been to this resort (never even been to Jamaica for that matter) if this stresses you out leave yourself PLENTY of time to visit the resort, change your mind, and then visit another resort.
  • I will not have a “trial run” with my hair and make-up. I will have it done at the spa at the resort. I’m fine with this, as worst case scenario I will wash it off and do it myself. If you are not fine with this consider another plan.
  • I have seen two maybe three pictures of the different venues where we will host events. I assume they know what works best in terms of layout and design if you can’t trust that they know what to do – go visit so that you will know yourself.
  • Much of the coordination has been done by email. People are on island time. Your email is unlikely to be answered today, or maybe even tomorrow.
  • The wedding planner is more than happy to call you but you may have to ask them to do so. In my experience she has understood much more what I am asking for via phone, or things get overlooked in the email conversations.
  • The resort will literally try to sell you everything under the sun because you NEED this at your wedding. You do not NEED dancing elephants at your wedding. Stay strong. Although you may be upfront with the resort in telling them you do not want ALL THE THINGS, they will likely still try.
  • The prices for everything will be more than you are expecting. From planning other events I know resort fees can be steep, but these seem somewhat outrageous in comparison. While the resort will prepare a nice package for the wedding EVERYTHING else will have an additional fee. They know you cannot put a dance floor in your checked luggage therefore you will pay.
  • If you choose not to use the resorts vendors you will pay an additional fee to use someone else who is charging a more reasonable price, in most cases making it no longer cost effective to use the alternate vendor (you may still come out ahead using a local vendor since they are aware of these resort fees and charge competitive rates – we found this to be true with our photographer)
  • That being said the price of *almost* everything has been negotiable. Some people enjoy the thrill of haggling. I do not. I find it infuriating.
  • I found a Facebook group of brides who have or are planning to get married at this resort or its sister resort in Mexico. The group has been tremendously helpful!

Overall our experience with the resort so far has been positive and we cannot wait to be in Jamaica with our friends and family! In talking to friends who had traditional or similar nontraditional weddings everything that I have mentioned is sort of to be expected. And in general it seems that there is no “winning” with wedding planning. Someone will have something to say about whatever you choose to do, no matter what. So do you girl and keep it moving has been my motto. Happy weekend y’all!

#WanderlustWednesday

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA          Processed with VSCO with v3 preset

Schaffhausen, Switzerland

Switzerland why are you always so dreamy?

#Swiss #CH #RhineRiver

A Summer Weekend in Asheville

Asheville, NC is one of my absolute favorite cities! Lucky for me, it is about a two hour drive from my house and we get to go there often. It’s beautiful anytime of year, each season for different reasons. We spent a summer weekend catching up with our friends and relaxing, and it was just perfect. We tried lots of new to us spots on this trip! Here’s a few highlights:

ec31718b-d798-4fb4-b58a-12a20a6cebf3

Processed with VSCO with al3 preset

9abfa7c9-4af1-418e-a38c-25f5a08bea6b

Processed with VSCO with au1 preset

Processed with VSCO with ke1 preset

Processed with VSCO with ke1 preset

Processed with VSCO with ke1 preset

Processed with VSCO with ke1 preset

Processed with VSCO with ke1 preset

Processed with VSCO with ke1 preset

 

  • This Airbnb could not have been better for two couples. There is a downstairs studio apartment and an upstairs studio apartment each with their own separate entrance. The house is conveniently located, while still feel very secluded. We had no issues getting an Uber to pick us up and it was just a short ride to everything we wanted to see. Bonus – it is pet friendly too.
  • We started our weekend with dinner and drinks at Wicked Weed Brewing. I’ve visited lots of the breweries in town on many different trips, and I think overall the beer at Wicked Weed is probably my favorite. They have so many choices, and unusual things you won’t find anywhere else.
  • We randomly happened upon Ben’s Tune Up. In all my trips to Asheville I have never heard anyone mention this place, but it is a seriously cool spot. From the outside, you may not even notice the place at all, but they have live music, a neat outdoor area, and a full bar menu (and apparently food too, but we didn’t try anything).
  • We tried out a hiking spot that we found in a guidebook in the Airbnb. Finding the trail was hilarious. After turning down random roads for twenty or so minutes, passing a tractor convention, and using the four wheel drive to cross a stream we finally arrived at the parking lot. BUT there were no signs for the trail. We saw a girl on a bike find her brother who she had lost on the trail for an hour or so, and still we headed off into the woods. It was very beautiful and quite the adventure and I’m happy to report that we did all make it back in one piece.
  • Our first trip to Sierra Nevada. It is huge and there were SO MANY people. There is a lot space so everyone was kind of spread out, making it not feel that crowded. That being said, I’m honestly not sure if I would go back. They do have some beer options that you can’t get in stores, there was an outdoor food area where we ate a great hot dog, there is a pretty garden area that you can walk through and live music outside so it’s definitely a fun spot, but for me it’s so far out of town that it’s probably not worth the hassle.
  • One of my very favorite things to do in Asheville is to go to the Grove Park Inn for cocktails. The view from the back porch is the absolute best view in town any time of year in my opinion. We had some wine and watched the sun go down over the Blue Ridge Mountains, and I can’t think of much better. 
  • We tubed down the French Broad River for the first time. We went with Zen Tubing from their Midtown location. This was the perfect relaxing activity for a hot summer day. You float by several breweries and restaurants; we thought it would be easier to get out and check them out than it was. We ended up just staying on the river and snacking on what we had packed in our cooler and we loved our day on the river so much. 
  •  Luella’s Bar-B-Que was SO good! We all ate until we were completely stuffed, forgetting that we had a dinner reservation in just a couple hours. The wings there were some of the best I’ve ever eaten!
  • For me no trip to Asheville is complete without a meal at Curate. A pitcher of sangria made table side and a table full of tapas, YUM. Try the cured hams if you go!
  • We also tried Wedge Brewing Co for the first time. The highlight of this was that they serve Ginger’s Revenge Beer. So delicious and the perfect summer drink after a weekend of over eating! 
  • The last stop of the weekend before heading home was at Biscuit Head. I LOVE this place. There is usually a long line to get in, but going on a Monday morning really cut back on the wait. If you’re wondering if the wait will be worth it…it will! A gravy sampler and a jelly buffet, what could be wrong? SO GOOD!

 

 

 

 

 

#WanderlustWednesday

Processed with VSCO with al1 preset

North Shore, Oahu, Hawaii

#NorthShore #Oahu #Hawaii #BanzaiPipeline

  • 20 lesser known places to visit in Europe that won’t be flooded with tourist.
  • Have you tried any of these free travel apps? What did you think?
  • Here’s the real reason the flight attendant wants you to put your phone away!
  • In case you didn’t already know… wild animals can be dangerous. Stay back!
  • The opioid epidemic has now hit the skies.

#WanderlustWednesday

2abf32ee-f184-4880-ae2c-c7611e63e5d1

 

Hydra, Greece

#GreekIslands #Hydra #DonkeyRide

  • Did you know that Four Seasons Resorts offers private jet service?
  • Six summer vacation mistakes to avoid.
  • These cities top the list of flight attendants favorite places to travel.
  • Do you usually buy travel insurance? Here’s some reasons that you should.
  • Travel makes you smarter, here’s how to capitalize on the brain building benefits.
  • UNESCO has added 29 sites to the World Heritage List for 2019.

Engagement Photo Session

CT5A9115.jpg

CT5A9157

CT5A9148

CT5A9141

CT5A9164

CT5A9224

CT5A9231

CT5A9233

CT5A9186

CT5A9324

CT5A9318

CT5A9258

CT5A9281

CT5A9272

Dress | Shoes

Since it has been just over a year since we got engaged I thought I would share our engagement photos, that we finally took. We had the photos done by Amber Dalholt. It was a lot of fun working with her and I think the pictures turned out great! We took them on a Sunday morning in downtown Winston-Salem. Downtown was quiet and peaceful with no one awake yet allowing for some really great photo spots!

 

 

 

 

On July 9th We Eat Chocolate Sundaes and Cheers Our Best Girl!

It’s hard to believe it’s been three years without our girl! I never thought I would make it three days, much less three years. But here we are 1095 days later. Some days it feels like just yesterday and sometimes it feels like a whole lifetime has passed. I don’t miss her any less, but I do now have the gift of time that has allowed me to see that in all the days that followed she’s aligned the stars for me just right, and because of that my world has kept on spinning.

At just 55 years old my mom was diagnosed with a rapidly progressing form of dementia for which there is no treatment. For the next five years our family was on a roller coaster ride of a lifetime that no one EVER signs up for, and death is the only way off. There were times when the car was chugging up hill slowly for a few months and we could catch our breath, but for the last six months of her life the car hurtled towards the ground uncontrollably without brakes. It was awful. No one wants to remember those days, and fortunately we don’t think of them much anymore.

For me, I think of our many family trips to the beach. I remember the first ski lessons I had in Canada. I recall the epic battle of the skis on the side of a mountain in Canada too.  I think fondly of the the family trip to a dude ranch in Wyoming where we explored Yellowstone and saw Old Faithful. In high school we made our first of many trips to Switzerland to visit people who were then basically strangers, but now have been the best of friends for over two decades. Following my graduation from college I was treated to a trip to Hawaii with my mom, aunts, and cousin. After finishing graduate school my mom and dad and I set off for Napa. When things started to head south with her health, my mom and her best girls (me included) took the trip of a lifetime to Greece for two weeks for one big hurrah. Lucky for me, there have been countless road trips, weekend getaways, and other trips big and small, too numerous to recite here.

It is absolutely not lost on me that she worked her tail off to give me these opportunities. She was the first in her family to graduate college, and one of the smartest people I have ever known. When success came, she chose travel and new experiences as her luxury of choice. Never opting for designer clothes, fancy cars, or anything out of the ordinary really. Despite the success she and my dad had achieved affording them the opportunity for things like this if they had chosen. Instead she went places. She took me places, she and my dad traveled extensively, she and her lifelong girlfriends saw places little girls in small town North Carolina never dreamed of seeing.

As the always attentive accountant, she was never one to hand over money for just anything. I remember having the chance to go to Italy in college. My friends were spending the semester there so we would have a free place to stay.  I had saved up enough money to buy my plane ticket, but neglected to realize that although I did have a free place to stay the trip wasn’t actually free. Having never been to Italy herself, she willingly handed over some spending money for the trip and told me no one ever regrets money they spend on once in a lifetime experiences, have a great time with your friends! That trip was over a decade ago and those friends and I still reminisce about the week we spent in Italy.

She reveled in every new experience big and small. Every beautiful sunset, a sky full of puffy clouds with the light hitting them just right, a field full of blooming flowers, the beauty in the history and architecture of places abroad, the ibis flying over the deck to roost on Bird Island for the night, a full moon splashing across the waves. Always stopping to take it in, and lucky for us, almost always pointing out the beauty of it all.

I am thankful for all the wonderful memories that our travels brought me. But more importantly, I am beyond grateful to have seen all these places through her eyes. I know now when I travel to new places near and far that I can see her in every sunrise, every rainbow, every full moon, every night sky full of stars, every yellow butterfly flitting across a field, she’s there soaking it all in and reveling in the fact that she gave her girl the dream and the opportunity to keep chasing sunsets.

So on July 9th we cheers our girl with chocolate sundaes. There was not a candy bar or sweet treat that she didn’t love, and as the end drew near for her I mainly existed on chocolate syrup and ice cream, so to me it just seems fitting.