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.
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]
Place all of your clothes directly into the washing machine. Wash and dry them.
Do not bring your suitcases in your house. Leave them in the garage, on the porch, in the yard. Not in the house.
Unpack the suitcases into trash bags. [your neighbors will think you killed someone on vacation, it’s fine]
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
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.
Anything that can’t be washed/dried goes into a trash bag with one of these for at least a couple of days.
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.
Beginners Luck. Fishing the Gallatin on the first day!
Fishing the Madison
Stacey’s Steak House
Waiting on Old Faithful!
Exploring Yellowstone National Park. Grand Prismatic Overlook.
Big Sky Ski Resort in the summer time!
Gallatin River views
Sunrise over the Yellowstone River
Fishing the Yellowstone River
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!
After our wedding at the Hyatt Zilara Rose Hall, we left early the following morning for a mini honeymoon. We stayed at the Rockhouse Hotel in Negril for three nights. It is a little over two hours to drive from Montego Bay to Negril. Our travel agent had suggested several resorts that were near the Hyatt, for a quicker getaway. In hindsight, I may have taken her advice but we wanted to see Negril, and I had been wanting to stay at the Rockhouse or the Caves for years.
Our driver arrived at the Hyatt in the later morning and we were off for Negril. About halfway into the trip he pulled over at this small roadside store/shack for us to use the bathroom. While we were inside several people offered to sell us pot, no big deal since this seemed pretty standard in Jamaica. We weren’t interested so we got back in the car which is when he went around to the side of the car and peed. OK. So maybe they wouldn’t let him use the facilities since we didn’t buy any pot?! Unclear. Also at this stop, the owner of the company driver worked for appeared out of nowhere to tell us that we hadn’t paid enough. This had all been arranged through the travel agent so we were unsure what was happening. He decided that we had paid the rate from the airport to the hotel in Negril, but since the hotel in Montego Bay was a bit farther from the airport we owed more. We said fine and assumed we would pay it later. We got back on the road, and headed to the hotel. The same man must have followed us to Negril, because once we arrived at the hotel he appeared again asking for $30 dollars. We paid it to get rid of him, but it was just strange.
After the week of festivities and staying up late celebrating the night before I was EXHAUSTED (see below). Once we arrived at the hotel the check in process was SO SLOW! They wanted to show us around, and tell us all about the resort. Nice, but all I wanted was to finish my nap and to order room service. I finally had to tell them I was not interested in the tour and please take me to my room. We ordered food and spent the rest of the day resting.
The view from our room was amazing, we could see the water and partially see the sunset. The rooms are thatched roof individual huts. The bathroom is inside, but the shower is in an outdoor area off of the room. We loved the room and showering outside was fun. While it is outside, it’s private and still feels clean. There is a mosquito net that pulls down over the bed at night, we used it nightly but didn’t see any mosquitos in the room. Our room had a little porch area with chairs and water views, as well as its own private sun deck with nice lounge chairs. Pro tip – the air conditioning in the room is connected to the main door, when you open the door the air cuts off. We found the way around this was to leave using the sliding glass door – this left our room unlocked but it stayed nice and cool! The resort was the perfect place to rest and relax after a crazy week. It is so tranquil, and peaceful there. Because, everyone is in their own little hut, you don’t really see or hear other people, and basically anywhere on the property has a view of the water, you can hear the waves crashing, and feel an ocean breeze.
On our first morning we woke up to the most beautiful double rainbow over the ocean. I mean are you serious with that rainbow. We took some pictures and then had breakfast at the Rockhouse Restaurant. The food there was fantastic. They have fresh squeezed juices and you can tell everything is prepared to order. We really enjoyed it. As part of our honeymoon package we were treated to an Aqua Detox foot soak in the spa. It was very strange. You put your feet in this vibrating tub and the water turns dark brown and foamy over time. It claims to be removing toxins through your feet. It was free with our stay, but I don’t know that I would pay for it since it didn’t really seem to do much. The spa looked really nice, but we did not have any other services done since we had just had a massage before the wedding. After our spa treatment we headed out to the pool and spent the day by the pool. We LOVED this pool. It never really got crowded, they play great music all day, and the food from the pool bar was SO GOOD. The drinks that we ordered from the pool bar were all really good too! The location is the best part, the ocean breeze, the view, watching the sunset. This pool is amazing. We had dinner that night at the Pushcart Restaurant. Again it was an excellent meal. I had fish that was fresh from the ocean. SO GOOD.
The next day was more of the same. Breakfast. Pool. Sun deck. Lunch at the pool bar. Drinks. Sunshine. Nap. Sunset. Dinner at the Pushcart. Good stuff.
I did rent snorkel gear from the pool and venture out into the ocean. There were some waves and a bit of a current but I felt safe. Sean wasn’t interested in snorkeling due to the waves and current. I saw a few fish, but nothing amazing. I wanted to jump from the bridge at the hotel in to the ocean but, Sean said absolutely no way he would let me. We considered going out to Rick’s Cafe to see the famous cliff jumpers and also considered taking the hotel shuttle out to the sister property Skylark, but ultimately decided the food, the view, and everything we had at the hotel was all we needed. It is so tranquil there. I honestly can’t think of many more relaxing places I have been.
But this is where things get weird. That night before bed I noticed a few VERY SMALL blood spots on the bed. I mentioned it, and we decided that maybe one of had a bug bite that we scratched and we didn’t worry too much about it. BUT. The next morning we woke up and there were more. And I FREAKED. I immediately went to google, and determined that it was probably bed bugs. (Before you’re all like don’t ruin this for me, I have friends who work in the travel industry who have assured me that almost every hotel you or I have ever stayed in has dealt with this). I panicked for a second and then we decided to call the manager to our room. We were packing up to leave for the airport anyway so we felt like it was our responsibility to tell someone so they would know before the next guest had the same experience. I was very nice and just told her to look at the situation and we wanted her to know so that she could do whatever she felt she needed to with the information. She immediately got angry and defensive and told us that couldn’t possibly be what was wrong and she knew it was just sand fleas that had gotten in under the net. That made me absolutely FURIOUS and left such a bad taste for the whole stay. Everyone who worked there had been so friendly and helpful for the entire stay, and all she had to say was thank you I’ll take care of it. Whether she did or not was up to her, but denying the situation was infuriating.
Our driver showed up early, and we quickly loaded up to head to the airport. At that point I was OVER IT and ready to get home. It was pouring buckets and several times we mentioned to him that we were so thankful he could pick us up early since the weather was so bad it was nice to not have to hurry to the airport. Well he didn’t take the hint. Everyone there drives like complete maniacs. The roads are narrow two lane roads, and the rain had been coming down so hard they were flooded out. Despite this I fell asleep. I woke up to a big crashing sound. We were in a car accident. On the wrong side of the road. I have no idea what we were doing on the other side of the road or how the accident happened because I was sleeping. But y’all as if the the bed bugs weren’t enough we got in a car accident too!
We quickly got out of the car because the front end was smoking. And as we are standing there in the mud with the rain pouring down on us, locals keept appearing out of nowhere. A few were arguing about how the accident happened and who’s fault it was, but most of them wanted to help us. They started throwing our stuff out of the car (I get the feeling I wasn’t the only one who was afraid the car was going to catch on fire). Then I said we were going to the airport, what are we going to do. And that’s when “Captain Black” saved the day. Everyone started tossing our stuff into another car, and before you know it we were in a car with a stranger named Captain Black headed to the airport. Before we ever even had time to think about if he was going to kidnap us and murder us we got in the car with him because we needed a ride to the airport, and because the day had gone from bad to worse. He ended up being very nice and he took us right to the airport. The company the driver worked for never reached out to see if we were hurt and never offered a refund, so definitely would not recommend them.
So would I recommend the Rockhouse? It’s tough because we loved it there. It is so tranquil and it feels like you are in another world because of all the beautiful foliage, the thatched roof huts, the ocean breeze, the sound of the waves. The food and drinks at all the restaurants was amazing. BUT. We got bed bugs. And the manager told us we didn’t. [Oh. And they refunded 20% of the cost of our stay. Just incase it might have been bed bugs. Because it was.] But the truth is almost EVERY hotel you have ever stayed at has probably dealt with this, so this could have happened anywhere. And at least the bugs have a nice view there.
For us, Montego Bay is a two hour direct flight, and there are tons of nice resorts within 30 minutes of the airport. So on our next trip we probably won’t go back to Negril because it’s just easier to stay closer to the airport for a nice quick getaway.
I had the chance to spend a week in Prague as part of my MBA program. To be honest, I didn’t do much research on the area before going so I had limited expectations. I’m usually not fond of travelling with a group, but this allowed me to finish up my program early and visit a new place. Win.
Because I was traveling as part of a school sponsored trip we had the opportunity to do some things that as a normal tourist I wouldn’t necessarily have been able to do, but that also meant missing out on certain things. Each day we visited one or two businesses and had the opportunity to meet with the company leaders. One of the most interesting visits was to Manufaktura. This could be equated to a US version of Bath and Body Works or Body Shop, but on a smaller scale. It was great to see the products being made and all the research going in to new products. I ended up really liking the skin care products I bought. The other business visit I really enjoyed was the headquarters for McDonald’s in the Czech Republic. We met with the Vice President of Marketing who was very engaging and knowledgeable.
Our trip was so planned out that we didn’t have the opportunity to try out many local spots. The few times we did try the local cuisine I can honestly say I was not a fan. It was very heavy with lots of meats and thick sauces. I normally try to take in as much local food and culture as I can when I go somewhere new, but again traveling with a large group in my opinion makes that harder. We ate lots of Italian food, and found it to be quite good most of the places we stopped in. I have since learned that there is quite a large Vietnamese population in Prague. I wish I had done just a bit more research before the trip and maybe found a few Vietnamese restaurants to try. As a side note, dining out in Prague was quite interesting for us, as we were often in larger groups. Typically the wait staff will not split the bill unless you ask, end even then they still may not. I also found that the waiters want to leave you to enjoy your meal, this means they will not check back often. When you are ready to leave you will have to let them know in no uncertain terms you would like to pay and leave, otherwise they will not bring the check. It’s not bad service, just that the cultural expectation is much different.
The city itself overall seemed VERY touristy and was quite crowded. While it is absolutely beautiful there I don’t know that if I had the chance to go back I would stay for a full week. There honestly just didn’t seem like there was that much to see. Walking around the historic areas of the city was really enjoyable (side note it is v easy to get lost as they do not believe in city blocks) and for the most part allowed you to see all the highlights. I did use the metro a few times while I was there and found that it was really easy to use. Overall the city was clean and felt very safe as well. The party scene in Prague is HUGE. That phase of my life is over…. if it wasn’t I would probably have more to report on the late night scene, which I hear is tons of fun!
Here’s a few of the places I visited that I would recommend checking out if you’re ever in Prague:
Old Town Square – The hotel we stayed in was a short walk from the city center at Old Town Square. The famous astronomical clock can be found here. The square will fill up at the top of every hour as people gather round to see the clock. We witnessed some beautiful sunsets here as well. From here you can find your way into high end shopping, touristy shopping, and plenty of restaurants. We were cautioned by the locals to avoid restaurants in this area due to price gauging, but honestly didn’t find this to be the case.
Terezin – A concentration camp that is about a 45 minute drive outside the city. Known for being a “propaganda” camp of the Nazis, it was used to convince the Red Cross and others who were concerned for the safety of the Jews that the camps were actually providing a positive experience. It was truly horrifying to see it in real life, but at the same time having a better understanding of this history is so vital.
Jewish Quarter – This is a neighborhood in Prague where Jewish families were forced to settle. The Jewish Museum and several historic synagogues are located in the neighborhood. The walls of Pinkas Synagogue contain the hand written names of 80,000 Czech & Moravian Jews who did not survive the holocaust. There is a rich Jewish history here that is worth exploring.
Kozel Brewery Tour – Any trip to the Czech Republic is likely going to include lots of beer! The Czech people drink more beer per capita than anywhere in the world and are also known for their beer producers. You will find that the beer is very cheap, cheaper than water! Kozel is a well known Czech beer and they offer tours of the historic building where they have been in production for over a century. We ate at the onsite restaurant here as well and enjoyed the food.
Teresa U Prince – A rooftop restaurant and bar located directly across from the astronomical clock. The view of the city is stunning and the food and drinks were quite good as well. It is located on top of the Hotel U Prince but there are no obvious signs that it is there, ask the bellman when you enter the hotel lobby to show you to the correct elevator. I loved eating lunch and having cocktails solo on the rooftop!
John Lennon Wall – The Lennon Wall sits just over the Charles Bridge from the main part of town. It is about a city block area of street art that is constantly changing. Worth checking out even if you aren’t a Beatles fan as there really isn’t much to do with The Beatles.
Marina Ristorante – A restaurant that is on a (large) docked boat in the Vltava River near the city center. Eat here for the atmosphere and the views, although the food wasn’t bad. The view of the castle and the rest of the city was beautiful. We stumbled upon the restaurant and had no issues eating here with a large group without reservations.
Parlour Bar – Seriously cool cocktail bar near Wenceslas Square. It is off the main road and has no sign, and is definitely not a place you will find many other tourist. The vibe is cool and the made to order cocktails were delicious.
Letna Beer Garden – Full disclosure we walked all the way here and up a massive hill in the dark to get here and it was closed (the hours listed online were not correct). This seems to be a summer time/warm weather/daylight place. Regardless the view of the city is beautiful. There is a restaurant and tons of outdoor seating. I would hike back up the massive hill to actually enjoy this any summer day again.
Prague Castle – It is hard to imagine that the castle was built over 1000 years ago. We did a self guided tour and basically saw the highlights one evening before it closed. It is stunning and the history is unbelievable. I would do a guided tour if I had the opportunity to go back, as the castle is huge and just filled with so much history that I’m sure a guide would do a better job explaining.
Charles Bridge – Beautiful historic (pedestrian only) bridge over the Vltava River that was built in the 1300’s. From Old Town Square you can cross over the bridge on the way to the Castle if you’re walking. The bridge has many historic statues as well as views of the city. Warning…it gets VERY crowded and while Prague was generally safe places like this are known for pickpockets.
Chimney Cake – Also known as a Trdelnik. This is a hollow tube of dough that is covered in sugar. You have the option to fill it with ice cream and different toppings. Based on what we were told by the locals, it is not really a “tradtional” Czech food but instead something that was created for the tourist. Regardless you can’t go wrong with a sugary dough filled with ice cream and chocolate syrup. You will see tourist lined up all over town at spots selling theses.
One of our favorite things we did on our trip to Oahu was to climb to the top of Diamond Head. There are plenty of beautiful hikes on the island, many that are lesser known and probably less crowded, but we decided to take the path more traveled…
Although I have been to Oahu before this was my first time doing this hike. Parking was an issue the day we went. We waited for quite awhile in traffic to head up the hill to the small parking lot and found that it was full. We drove back down the hill and parked at a nearby school. I had the brilliant idea to take an Uber back up the steep hill, instead of starting our hike a very steep mile sooner than we planned. This worked out great, and on the way back we were able to walk back to the car down the hill with no issues.
The hike is not terribly difficult, but towards the end there were quite a few stairs, and we ended up in a narrow tunnel which I was not prepared for and totally did not like. We also took a turn that led us to a small pillbox that we had to crawl out of to see the view. After the hike we were told that we could have taken a turn to miss both the tunnel and the pillbox, so if like me, you’re not a fan of small spaces maybe do some research on that.
On the way down we saw Yasiel Puig full out running up the trail with his training team as we were coming down. If you’re all who is that? Same. But Sean was impressed.
Overall we really enjoyed the hike and the views from the top were definitely worth the stairs and the tight spaces. We finished off the hike with a Dole whip that was well earned.