What to do about BED BUGS when travelling?!

Remember when I told you guys that we got bed bugs on our honeymoon. Yeah that was great. In all of my googling, everything said do not panic, WELL allow me to be the first person on the internet to tell you it’s fine if you want to panic. Go finishing panicking and then come back and I’ll tell you what to do to remedy the situation.

First things first, I highly recommend that you tell someone at the place you are staying. Whether it is an AirBnB, a hotel, or a fancy resort, it’s really not their fault entirely. Bed bugs can easily hitch a ride from one place to another, like from one hotel to another, or maybe even in the airline cargo area from one suitcase to another. GROSS RIGHT!? And it doesn’t mean the place you are staying is dirty. Although you may feel as though you will never feel clean again once you encounter a bed bug. Someone needs to know, so they can treat the room and prevent other guest from having the same experience.

Also, let me be the first to tell you that people who check mattresses and other areas of hotel rooms when they travel in search of bugs, may not find them. These creatures are tiny and they only come out at night. Unless you have a full blown infestation don’t expect to seem them easily. So it’s fine if you’re checking, but that’s not fail proof.

I am no expert on this, but bed bugs have a life cycle such that they only need to feed during certain times. If you encounter them during the feeding part of the cycle, you will see the blood spots on the sheets at night. A new infestation may not yet be at this stage, and thus you won’t know about them. So we were kind of thankful for the bites in some sick way.

Bed bugs are killed by heat. There is no cleaner or chemical or anything that will get rid of them besides high heat. Ever since we came across the creepy little creatures on our honeymoon, we have followed a strict protocol when we return home from traveling just about anywhere. I’m going to share our routine with you so that if you’re in the same situation you know what to do.

  1. When you return home take *all* of your clothes off before entering your home. [Could be complicated if you live in an apartment or shared living quarters]
  2. Place all of your clothes directly into the washing machine. Wash and dry them.
  3. Do not bring your suitcases in your house. Leave them in the garage, on the porch, in the yard. Not in the house.
  4. Unpack the suitcases into trash bags. [your neighbors will think you killed someone on vacation, it’s fine]
  5. Anything that can be washed and dried goes into a bag that will be taken to a wash/dry/fold service. 1)the commercial driers get much hotter than the ones at home & 2) you don’t take a chance on the creatures getting in to your house
  6. Certain things that may not be safe in the washer, are fine in the dryer only. Remember it’s the heat you’re after not the soap. Think hats, certain kinds of shoes, purses or backpacks etc. Anything that is safe in the dryer should be left on high for at least 30 minutes.
  7. Anything that can’t be washed/dried goes into a trash bag with one of these for at least a couple of days.
  8. After a few days in the bag, cook everything in this oven. We cook our suitcases, our shoes, sometimes our toiletries.

The thing is, this may seem nuts, but if they infest your home it could be thousands of dollars to have it treated and get rid of them. It can also ruin hardwood floors and other more delicate items inside like artwork. If you can prevent them do it. After encountering bed bugs once, we assume that we have encountered them on every trip since and do this routine after every trip.

And now to really up the creepy factor of this post… a few pictures.

This is what your creepy crawly friends will leave behind.

This is when the neighbors will start to get suspicious.

The bug oven.

Graham is Ten Months Old!

39 weeks – avocado is your favorite!

39 weeks- Mommy loves these sweet Sunday naps!

39 weeks – neighborhood adventures

40 weeks- you discovered the pantry

40 weeks – trying tomato soup

40 weeks – Bertie is the best playmate

40 weeks – 9 month check up

40 weeks – ready for game day

40 weeks – this game is a real hat biter

41

41 weeks – Dash game!

41 weeks – Happy Anniversary Mom & Dad – you should really hang this on the wall!

41 weeks- Our family on our second anniversary! Crazy how quickly things can change!

41 weeks – fall is here! The cutest little boy in the cutest little cardigan!

41 weeks – Game day ready again!

42 weeks – cooking with Dadima

42 weeks – almost able to pull yourself up on your own

42 weeks – reading a new book

42 weeks – playing in your ball pit

42 weeks- trying out Sesame Street for the first time

42 weeks – Happy Fall Y’all! Carolina beat Dook!

43 weeks – standing on your own – still need a little help to get up

43 weeks – Cheerios!

Ten whole months with you! Only one more monthly update and you will be one!! You are such a joy! We had your nine month check up and you are still growing like crazy. This month you got so much faster and are on the move EVERYWHERE! We can hardly keep up with you. You found Bertie’s food and water and we have to be quick to keep you out of her bowls. You discovered playing in the pantry with all the condiments. We’ve been working on slowly adding in more and more food to your diet, but avocado is still your FAVORITE! We went to a Dash game with Papa Sam that you really enjoyed. Aunt Amy gave you a ball pit that has been a big hit, you love playing under or inside things. Under the furniture especially. You’re showing more interest in books now, you play with them on your own and turn the pages. Mom and Dad celebrated their second anniversary, the last two years have flown by! Keeping up with the past months, you got sick from daycare again… this month was hand, foot, and mouth. We were so lucky that it never bothered you. You had a rash all over your body that you never even noticed. We’ve been spending most of our weekends on the back porch watching football and you just play and play in the floor. You’re still not the best sleeper, naps are not your jam and you’ve been going through phases of sleeping well at night and then getting up several times at night. You have eight teeth now and your little grin is just the cutest! We love you big little one!!

A Summer Vacation To Big Sky, MT

fishing the Gallatin

Beginners Luck. Fishing the Gallatin on the first day!

fishing the madison river

Fishing the Madison

stacey's steakhouse

Stacey’s Steak House

Waiting on Old Faithful!

old faithful yellowstone national park
yellowstone national park grand prismatic overlook

Exploring Yellowstone National Park. Grand Prismatic Overlook.

summer at big sky

Big Sky Ski Resort in the summer time!

gallatin river

Gallatin River views

map brewing

MAP Brewing

sunrise over the yellowstone river

Sunrise over the Yellowstone River

fishing the yellowstone river

Fishing the Yellowstone River

Exploring Livingston

sunset over the gallatin canyon

Goodnight Big Sky! We’ll be back!

Our first post pandemic vacation!! The last vacation we went on together was our honeymoon to Paris in 2019. The last flight I was on was in February of 2020. WOW! What has changed since then?!

We spent a few days in Big Sky, Montana visiting friends who basically moved out there during the pandemic. They bought a house right on the Gallatin River that they’ve been renovating, and we were lucky enough to be some of their first guests. It is absolutely beautiful and we had the BEST time. It was fun to get away, relax, and enjoy some new scenery.

Graham stayed home with his grandparents and they had a great time as well. It was our first time leaving him for an extended period. We are so lucky to have them take such great care of him and allow us the freedom to travel still. We are looking forward to his first big trip in the near future and hope he will be a big traveler, but it’s also great to go just the two of us!

We flew into Bozeman and spent some time walking around, eating lunch, and exploring the town. It’s a cute little downtown with shops and restaurants. We had lunch at Ted’s Montana Grill, and also got our first taste of the beers from MAP brewing. We had wanted to go to MAP to eat and do a tasting but they were closed. Sean liked the IPA and I LOVED the Mexican Party Lager. So much so that I pretty much ordered it everywhere for the rest of the trip and I’ve tried to find it since being home with no luck.

After our afternoon in Bozeman we headed for Big Sky. It is about a 45 minute drive. We went straight to Riverhouse BBQ, which was just down the road from our friends house for a few drinks. This is a cool spot with an outdoor stage, and when the weather is cooler there are outdoor firepits. We didn’t try the food, but it was a fun place to hangout. After this we headed home, Sean tried fly fishing for the first time walking across the street and wading in the Gallatin. Beginner luck was on his side, he caught a fish on his first try. We grilled out dinner together and called in a day.

The next day we were up bright and early for our first guided fly fishing trip. We fished the Madison River with guides from this company. We met up with the guides super early due to something called Hoot Owl Restrictions, we had to be off the water by 2 pm, so in order to get a full day in we had to leave by 6 am. We split up and the girls went in one boat and the guys in the other. If I’m being honest we kind of hated our guide. The guys had a guide that was having all the fun and we had a guide that was all kinds of serious and taking his job way too seriously. But overall we still had a great day, we caught a few fish enjoyed the beautiful scenery and the lunch that was included was surprisingly good as well!

We finished up the day right near the town of Ennis, so we spent the rest of the day exploring the area. We had snacks and drinks at the Gravel Bar. We did some shopping at Trout Stalkers and a few other local shops. We did a whiskey tasting at Willie’s Distillery. It was a cute little town.

On the drive back we stopped at Stacey’s Steakhouse for a traditional Montana steak dinner. This place has all the old school vibes, and was popular with the locals and the tourist alike. It was a fun stop for sure! Our guides recommended Land of Magic Steakhouse and Sir Scott’s Oasis for similar traditional Montana vibes. Maybe we will have the chance to try them out on another trip.

The next day we were able to sleep in and we decided to drive to Yellowstone and spend the day. It was just over an hour from Big Sky into the park. We went to see Old Faithful and had a picnic while we waited. We hiked up to the overlook to see the Grand Prismatic. We drove around the park and saw a few elk. We went in to West Yellowstone for ice cream. A fun day exploring the park.

We stopped in Big Sky to check out the little village on our way back in to town. There are a few cute shops, a brewery, and a few restaurants. On the mountain at the ski resort there are a few more restaurants and shops. We had a drink on the mountain and watched the mountain bikers using the ski runs. It was pretty quiet on the mountain, I can only imagine in the winter it’s a lot more crowded. We got home and watched the sun go down over the mountains and grilled out again before another early morning of fishing.

Our second day of fishing we went on the Yellowstone River. We had the same guides again except this time the girls went with the fun guide and the guys went with Mr. Serious. We had another early day, we watched the sunrise over the mountains as we were loading up the boats to head out. In my opinion the views from the Yellowstone were better than the Madison. We had another long day of fishing, but I enjoyed this day so much more! I convinced the guide to go in swimming with us, and basically abandoned the fishing in favor of sightseeing. So much more fun! If I’m being honest, I did not need to be up at 4 am to go fishing, I could have spent a couple hours doing it and been just as happy but it was a great experience either way.

We went in to Livingston to explore the town after our day of fishing the Yellowstone. I wish I had taken more pictures of the town, it looks like it is from a movie set for a western movie. There were a few cute shops and a really nice art gallery that we went in. We had cocktails at the Mint Bar and the Stockman Bar, before dinner at Campione. The food at Campione was absolutely amazing! It has major big city vibes in this old western town. SO GOOD!!

Our last day we had breakfast at Cafe 191 in Big Sky. It was a standard breakfast spot, but still very good. We packed up and headed back to Bozeman to the airport after breakfast. We had such a great time on our trip. Montana is honestly like nowhere else I have ever been. It is so beautiful. I am looking forward to going back soon, maybe in the winter to ski at Big Sky. We also would love to go back and do a glamping trip with one of the companies that delivers RV’s to the airport when Graham is a little older. It seems like such a fun way to explore with him!

Graham’s Nursery

I just love how Graham’s nursey turned out. One of the best things about not working as much during 2020, was that I had the time to enjoy preparing for our little one. I thought a lot about how I wanted his room to come together and was able to create a space that I think is just perfect for him!

One of the best things about his nursery is all of the things from our childhood. My mom saved EVERYTHING. I remember not that long ago, thinking, what on earth am I ever going to do with all this stuff! Now that she isn’t here all the things are extra special. Most of the books on his bookshelf are from both mine and Sean’s childhood. Lamont the Lonely Monster is Sean’s childhood favorite. The wooden rocking chair belonged to me as a kid. The needle point is something that I found when I was going through all of the stuff that had been saved. My mom did it in 1985, so when I was about a year old. I took it and had it framed so there would be a little bit of her in his nursery. The print above his bookshelf is one we picked out from Brian Andreas. I had a special print from him in my room as a kid that my mom bought on a girls trip to Asheville, NC and I just love the sayings on all of his artwork.

The stained glass lamp on his bookshelf is one that my mom made. It’s been at our beach house for years, but I decided it was the perfect little night light for his room and brought it home. The green in the lamp was starting point for the whole room. I had a bluish green vision, with a little bit of an ocean theme. I think it came together perfectly!

Amber did a great job capturing the room when she did our newborn photoshoot!

Graham’s Newborn Photos

I could not love the newborn photos that we had done more! Graham was nine days old. We were oh so tired, but falling more in love with him by the second. Of course Bertie girl stole the show per usual. He has already grown and changed so much since these were taken and I love having them to look back on! We booked them several months before he was born with Amber, and as the day approached we thought about canceling or trying to take them outside due to Covid. We totally trusted her but just felt like having her in our home when we weren’t allowing any other visitors might ruffle some feathers. It was miserably cold, so the outdoors just wasn’t an option. We ultimately decided that since we trusted her and couldn’t get the time back to have them done to go ahead with it. She was super safe and we are so thrilled to have these!!

Christmas 2020

We had Graham’s newborn photo shoot done when he was nine days old. Since it was so close to Christmas and our house was all decorated we decided to change outfits and get in a few Christmas shots. As usual Amber did a great job with our photos! The last few pictures I took of him, because I couldn’t resist the Santa outfit. I mean can you even with him under the tree?! We had the most wonderful time celebrating Graham’s first Christmas. It was just us, at home being lazy and honestly I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. Wishing you the very merriest this season!

Destination Wedding Welcome Gift Bags

destination wedding welcome bags

advil / pepto / tumblers / sunglasses / towels / sunscreen / aloe / SPF chapstick

When you’re planning a destination wedding, one of the things that can be tough to do is the welcome gift. People are traveling a great distance to be with you, so you want to make sure they receive something a bit nicer than at a traditional wedding, but then you have to get allll the things on a plane!

We chose to do custom tumblers as the biggest part of the gift, and then added in some necessities. The tumblers were a suggestion from a friend who had recently been to Mexico and noticed people at the bar filling up YETI tumblers with drinks. Turns out the bartenders at these resorts do not care what they put your drinks in, and the plastic cups they use are wasteful, plus they don’t keep your drinks cold! The tumblers were a huge hit. I would have loved for them to all be YETI, but I had to pay for them so we bought them in bulk on Amazon and they did the trick.

We managed to pack everything in a few suitcases and then assembled the bags once we arrived in Jamaica. I had originally thought I would do a beach tote of some sort to put everything in, but ultimately decided against it, because they added extra cost and extra space. I used these disposable bags with festive tissue paper instead. I probably would have done the beach bags instead of the Turkish towels, because honestly you don’t need towels at all inclusive resorts, they have them everywhere for you, but family bought these to include so we couldn’t leave them out. I think the items we included ended up being useful and people appreciated them.

We included a weekend itinerary and thank you note to all of our guests in the bag. Buying these customizable templates was so great because we were able to use them for several different things at the wedding, including the itinerary, the welcome letter, the welcome signs, and the selfie station signs. In addition, we made a contribution in honor of all of our guests to the Alzheimer’s Association in honor of my mom and used the templates to include a special note.

Typically at weddings I have been to the bride and groom left the welcome gifts at the hotel check-in desk. The Hyatt Zilara Rose Hall, where we got married did not allow for this. Instead they hand delivered each bag to the guests room. This was a nice touch that I think the guests appreciated, but there is a charge for this service. I used these name tags on each bag tied on with gold ribbon, so they would know where to deliver them [this is something I had done ahead of time, I packed the bags with the name tags already tied on]. I ultimately felt like it was worth it though, so no one was wandering around looking for people trying to deliver the bags, and the guest had an itinerary on arrival which is so helpful for organizing things. I wish I had a picture of the finished product because they turned out pretty cute, but we were busy having fun.

Assembly Line

Custom Tumblers

#WanderlustWednesday

Neuschwanstein Castle

Neuschwanstein Castle

Bavaria, Germany