family travel Tag Archive

  • Breckenridge and the FIRST snow fall!

    While staying in Frisco we decided to visit Breckenridge since it's only 20 minutes up the road.  If I had to rate my fav town this weekend it would be Breckenridge, Frisco and then Vail!

    Cullen and the girls and I headed to a cute little children's museum and then got juice and smoothie bowls at_____. Breckenridge has a pretty chill vibe to it and super artsy! I loved a number of families roaming around and all the cute little boutiques, restaurants and this little crepe truck we saw:) There was a really fun art installation that the girls loved and my favorite thing of all is the leaves were changing!!!

    Then headed back for naps and cozy time by the fireplace. It rained the rest of the afternoon BUT then the rain turned into SNOW!!!!!!That's right I just wrote SNOW! I wouldn't say that I love snow, but there is something about it snowing in the mountains that is just magical!

    In all my life I've never seen SNOW in September!! it was pretty dreamy being in the mountains and coming out of dinner to see the top of the mountains covered:) As we headed back home the next day all we could do was ooh and ahh while gazing at the snow cap mountains. then the fog, and then the leaves changing colors it was such sight and I felt so thankful that we got to enjoy such beauty!

     

     

  • Weekend Getaway to the Mountains

    Headed to the mountains last weekend for my SIL's Ember & Aura pop-up shop in Vail. This was my first time in Vail and my first time really being in the mountains, AND I  LOVED IT! How have I been a beach girl for the last 9 months but now I feel more like a mountain girl!! Can you be both? 

    We drove up to Vail on Thursday before we checked into our Airbnb. It was simply breathtaking... you kinda felt like you were in the Swiss Alps and not in Colorado! We ate at a yummy little beer garden where we were surrounded by people speaking all different languages.  The girls were charming everyone as they laughed and walked through town. Isla found a fountain that she decided she wanted to splash in even though it was 60 degrees out! After that, we found some new friends big bird and Elmo and then headed to our Airbnb. Which I thought Vail was adorable but Frisco charmed me instantly and maybe was more my speed. A cute charming town that truly looked like a mountain town surrounded by the mountains gorgeous blue skies and lots of cute boutiques and restaurants. 

    The next day I helped my SIL with her Sustainable Vail Pop-up for a few hours and did some window shopping and then headed back to have lunch with the girls! 

    Seriously love the vibe of the mountains, how they make you feel in awe and at peace with everything. So thankful for all our little trips around Colorado to get a better feel of our beautiful country!

    Have you visited Colorado? Do you have a favorite spot that we must see?? I would love to know!

  • Beach Life in Vila Nova De Milfontes, Portugal

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  • Send My Bags

    Traveling gets harder with kids, especially when you add a piece of luggage and a stroller. Don't get me wrong, I'm obsessed with our stroller (link here), but It's not that compact. So, when we knew we were leaving Asia and headed to Europe to road trip for two weeks before settling down in Portugal, we knew we might need to find another way to get our luggage from Salzburg to Portugal (and hopefully skipping the cities in between like, especially Venice)

    Then I remembered reading that Amber from Barefoot Blonde's Blog had written about using a service called Send My Bags it just that. It sends your bags to your destination for you. At the time I was thinking this was a genius idea but not sure I would need it. Well, I was wrong here we were flying into Prague and road tripping it for two weeks, and there was no way to pack everything in our car, especially in Venice Italy in our future. For those of you who haven't been you have to lug your suitcases all over the tiny, charming street of Venice to get to your apartment as well as take them up and down many bridge stairs so this was just not a possibility for us with two kids and a stroller.

    So I reached out to Send my Bags to see if they wanted to Collab and they did! I wasn't sure what I could pack and how much I could pack. But I was pleasantly surprised with the variety of luggage sizes and weights you could send.

    So I packed my big suitcase and Cullens' carry on with anything we wouldn't need for the next two weeks and packed ONE CARRY Carry on size bag for the 4 of us for the next two weeks! (Patting myself on the back)

    The suitcases were super easy to prepare we just had to print out forms to attach to the bags with string and then we left them at the front desk to pick up between the time of 9-5pm. Honestly, this part would have been inconvenient if we were at an Airbnb and had to stay home all day to wait for them. So I would suggest staying at a hotel or doing it on a day where you don't plan on going anywhere. They did come promptly at 10 am, but you never know.

    So once the bags were out of our hands, they were supposed to arrive in one week to our house in Portugal. They came two days early, and our host was able to meet them and hold them until we arrived.

    Both our bags were in great shape, and all the contents were in perfect condition. I'd use them again. It was hassle free and took a huge weight off our shoulders (literally, lol). So next time I can just sit back and relax and know that all my favorite things will arrive safe and sound.

    **They are great if you are moving cross country, headed to college, flying with golf clubs or skis and don't want to worry about lost luggage.

    Send My Bags sponsored this post but all opinions are my own.

  • Cruise Ship Overnight in Queenstown

    Over Night to Queenstown

    Anytime I’ve been on a cruise I”ve only done day excursions. On this cruise with my parents they wanted to do the overnight. I was alittle skeptical of how good could it actually be for the amazing price. But my parents talked to another couple on the boat and they said that every overnight they had gone on with Celebrity Cruises had been amazing.

    My other concern is how would the other people be with kids on the tour bus. So far people hadn’t been that smiley or kind to the girls so I was hesitant.  But in typical fashion my dad said “what do you care what they think” true but still as a mom you aware of everyone and thing around you.

    But then i thought to myself, we’ve been traveling for 4 months and the girls have done great so let’s DO IT!

    So, the next morning we packed one bag for the 4 of us and headed to catch the tender into Mossman Gorge. We were met by Mr. Paul a resistant  Bus driver that insisted this tour wasn’t for kids and that it would be really hard and super windy. I reassured him that we got this and gave him my “you gotta be kidding me MOM eyes” I know my girls and they will be fine! Of course, any mom that’s ever said this is totally freaked that just this once you don’t know your kids as well as you thought. The bus driver is giving us an out to get off the boat now, BUT of course we don’t take it. At this point I’m “T’d” This doesn’t happen often but I hate being judged because I have kids and i’m determined to show him how we are ROCKSTARS at traveling.

    When we get on the bus I notice there are all couples and one other German Family with older kids.  The bus driver reiterates over and over that there will be no bathroom stop for 2 HOURS! Luckily Isla has mastered holding it!

    The first two hours fly by and we make tons of stops to look at breathtaking scenery from the rain forest to mountains to sheep farms. The girls are killing it and we have pretty much converted the Paul, the bus driver and all passengers on the bus. We stop for lunch at this Texas roadhouse in the middle of nowhere. It was actually really delicious and then we make our way to Queenstown.

    Can i just say not only have we converted Paul to think that our kids are awesome. But that in return he might just be the best driver and tour guide i’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting. He sandwiches his facts about NEw Zealand with jokes and funny commentary and it keeps me entertained and interested for the 8 hour tour day.

    Not having any idea what Queenstown is I’m pleasantly surprised when we arrive at this dreamy town that’s rather Aspen like. Rolling hills right on the water and the best people watching. We hurry and check in to our hotel and then stroll around town for 1hr before we catch the ferry to dinner at Walter Peak Farm.

    They fail to mention that this might be one of the most picturesque  and magical farms you will ever visit. We had almost considered not going because it was a really long day on the bus and we wouldn’t get back from the farm until 10:30.

    Well, I’m glad we didn’t miss out on this. You take a steam boat ride to this gorgeous sheep farm. They have the most amazing house that you go into for an all you can eat buffet or everything you can possibly imagine. From bbq chicken, pork, beef to cheese plates, 5 different salads, the most amazing desserts and of course WINE.

    We head back to our hotel on the steam boat where we listen to the piano play songs and everyone singing along. Such a memorable day from all of us.

    The next morning we wake up bright and early and head to an old gold rush town, Arrowtown. I wish we could of stay in this town a bit longer because it was so modern yet kept the architecture of the gold rush days. We stopped at a gorgeous winery in the mountains and then made our way to dudin to catch the cruise ship.

    This was a day for the books!

     

    Akaroa:

     

    This small french influenced town was perfect for strolling and eating local french food. The houses were beautiful. We ate a brasserie and strolled by the waterfront where the girls swung on swings.

     

    Wellington:

    We took the cable car to the top of wellington and made our way back down through the botanical gardens. These botanical gardens were so pretty they took up over…

     

    There was a playground half way that we stopped at and played on. Then headed to the tree house to pick up a Explorers  backpack for isla to wear while we walked around the park. It had a magnifying glass, bug catcher, duck food, binoculars, crayons and a bird guide book. I thought this was a genius idea and instantly she was more involved and excited on our walk. We had a blast watching her try to look through her magnifying glass.

    We grabbed some lunch and headed back to the ship.

     

    PIcton - Marlborough Wine Region

     

    So we didn’t book a tour in time and heard that the town of Picton was on the smaller side and could easily be seen in less than an hour. Not giving us the best impression of the town but the local surprised us with flower boutiquers when we got off the boat and little pins that said Picton. It was the sweetest gesture that you couldn’t help fall in love with their spirit and sweet town.

    Per usual Cullen had a plan, he suggested we rent a car and go to the winery...I’m pretty sure this is never a bad idea.

     

    We got a chance to show my parents how we like to travel. So Cullen rented the last car in town (a beat up minivan)… apparently other people had this same idea. And we hit the open road with Cullen driving on the left hand side and my dad in shotgun. I don’t know why this is always a funny sight.

     

    Cullen had done his research we drove through rolling hills through cute towns and ended up at Wairau Winery, which was absolutely breathtaking. We relaxed here had a wine tasting ordered an AMAZING lunch and drank more wine of course!

     

    After we headed to a famous Chocolate factory and back to the boat. This was my favorite excursion besides Queenstown Overnight.

     

    P.S. If Cullen is ever planning a trip or a excursion the answer is YES you always want to be apart of it!

  • Top 15 things to do in Port Douglas, Queensland

    While in Port Douglas we worked closely with Tourism Port Douglas to make sure we had the most authentic Australian experience while we were there for a month.  
     
    They did not disappoint. They helped us find the right tours that were family friendly and in our budget. If your looking for the locals that have the insider knowledge look no further.
     
    After everything we did there, here are our top 15 things to do in Port Douglas for families.
    1. Sunday Markets in Port Douglas. A must try is the coconut stand - super yummy but also super healthy. This lady and her family harvest coconuts from their own land and every Sunday they set up shop at the market. After you purchase your coconut, there's a delicious protocol. First, drink the coconut water, then hand it back the coco mistress. She'll cut it in half and shred the inside with a power tool to make coconut flakes. Then you choose your own adventure:  bananas and coconut syrup for sweet or beans, greens and tamarind sauce for savory. Both our 3 yr old and 11 month old loved it!  All in all the market is quaint and fun - you can buy fresh fruit, handmade dresses, toys, custom necklaces and lots more next door to a historical church on gorgeous inlet. Prices range from $-$$$ all depending on the booth. A must see!
    2. Rent a car. Being able to see so many amazing places on your own timetable is priceless, but if you choose to go self-guided, you'll save some money on tours, too.
    3. Do a Walkabout with local indiginous leaders, the Walker Brothers, came highly recommended. We weren't able to go because Isla got sick but this is a MUST if you go. The locals even take the tour...thats how you know it's good!,  You'll gain amazing insight into aboriginal culture, Go crab hunting, sample some bush tucker, and learn about the local culture.
    4. Picnic like its 1917. Yes, the simple pleasures seem to be on steroids in Port Douglas. Grab a bottle of wine, a baguette, ham cheeses and fresh fruit and head to the beach to watch the sunset. It’s pretty magical.
    5. Morning and evening walks on 4 Mile Beach were some of my favorite moments. Also the coolest time to swim in the water, too - so grab a spontaneous beach workout and then plunge in the water. Although the beach side technically doesn't get the sunset, it does tend to get gorgeous pink clouds at sunrise and sunset.
    6. Boat watching. Grab Fish and Chips and take it to watch the sail boats roll in around 4:30 by the palm trees we did this a handful of times, because (bonus alert) there was a playground right there, too.
    7. Go to Mossman Gorge to swim. These sacred Aboriginal lands are littered with swimming holes - but this one is spectacular and well-organized. Pack a lunch and have a picnic by the water. Mind the current, but don’t be scared to wade in by the rocks if you've got bubs (I love how they call their kids "bubs". I will die and come back Aussie).
    8. See the world's oldest rainforest. No big deal - just millions of years old alongside the breathtaking Coral Sea and infested with giant dinosaur-looking birds -- that I feel weird admitting I had never heard of until I saw one with my own two eyes -- Cassowaries. The Daintree Rainforest is an hour north of Port Douglas. Hike the trails, check out the beaches and have a lovely lunch at one of the many spots along the way. Also YOU MUST have some Ice Cream from the Daintree Ice Cream Co. As you drive in you are driving right through their fruit orchard. IT WAS DELICIOUS. We tried their sample cup with four delicious scoops of ice cream. Passion fruit, Durian, Soursop, and Mulberry. Isla slurped her cup and said, "mo'."
    9. Sho-pping! Spend the day shopping around Port Douglas. Take a pit stop at the sweet book store in town they have toys and books to read and coffee and treats for you while you sit and relax. Also, you must stop in and see my buddy at With Sugar, she has the perfect selection of gifts for anyone on your souvenir list. Then grab a nice coffee next store at The Little Larder. Pro tip: don't try to order a cup of coffee anywhere in Australia. The attempt will go down in flames. It's called a long black. I had a memory lapse at Little Larder and was taken to task quickly!
    10. Photo op! If you like views (and you know I do), head up to the look out. From this vantage point you can get the best view of 4 mile beach:)
    11. Do an Outback Safari, Kathryn style. And by Kathryn style, I mean there shall be scones. We drove through the stunning Julatten hills (wild Kangaroos spotted: 1) on a day trip to Yungaburra, the cutest little outback town - the kind that has lamp posts adorned with flowers for no reason. We had an amazing brunch at The Whistle Stop Cafe (the sheer poundage of the scones' cream still prances in my dreams). Later on Isla and Gisele played in the local library, Cullen hunted for duck-billed platypus, and we all made friends with a little girl named Josephine. Her family owns the only Christmas tree farm in the area. From here we headed to a near by waterfall-slash-swimming hole to cool off, where we promptly crashed a 4 year old's b-day party!
    12. Head to Kuranda, an aboriginal town in the mountains. Or better yet, skim through the touristy town and go look in awe at Barron Falls. There's also a pretty train ride you can take that we weren't able to do, but from what I hear it's really worth it, check it out here.
    13. Of course, you have to check out the Great Barrier Reef! I mean, how can you not? It’s one of the wonders of the world and it’s absolutely breath taking. We took Calypso Tours  thanks to Tourism Port Douglas. We were really impressed with Calypso Tours they did an amazing job. They had great staff we enjoyed high tea when we first got on and had a big spread for lunch. The staff played peek a boo with the girls and they shared with us what we would see at each reef so we knew what we were looking at when we went snorkeling.  Read more of our experience and how to do it with kids here.
    14. We loved The Wildlife Habitat. We got to see koalas, ducks, wallabies, snakes and crocodiles up close and there was no one else there! And we got to FEED kangaroos, too! What do they eat you ask? Roo food of course 🙂
    15. Meet a giant hungry fish named George. Grab a beer and a bucket of shrimp at the On the Inlet and wait for the George the 250KG Groper to make his appearance for dinner (unfortunately, in Australia they call Grouper "Groper" - though trust me, George is not a molester). He is seriously huge and quite the sight! It gets kinda crowed so show up early to grab a seat by the water.  
    If you've been to Port Douglas and you feel I've missed something please share!! If you haven't been...add this to your bucket list!
     
  • Hoi An, Vietnam – Airbnb

    People have been asking to see what our Airbnbs look like so here is the one we are staying in RIGHT NOW! We are currently in Hoi An, Vietnam, a sweet, magical town.

    Our Airbnb is right by the beach and we are completely in love! Our host, Ha has thought of everything and the color scheme is on point! Upon arrival they had a fruit plate and juice set out for us, that alone usually wins us over 🙂 We have a crib for Gisele and a 'big girl bed' for Isla (aka a double bed) and a cozy seating area in the main room. There's a wonderful outdoor area where we lounge on a day bed under a palapa while Isla plays in a water tub with the toys they have provided.  Every day the maid comes and cleans the house. This is something that is hard to get used to, but I do love not having to worry about cleaning especially with ants and other critters that like to come visit our kitchen.

    We're only a block away from the beach so we can stroll over anytime. There are plenty of chairs and umbrellas, and it's super easy to race home for nap time. Though I must say, probably my favorite part is taking a sunset cruise on the bikes provided. We plop the kids on the back of bikes, and off we go!

    Well, we are pretty much loving it here! Check out our instagram for more pics and I hope to get a post of our life in Hoi An up soon!

    (Picture Credit: Airbnb)

     

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  • Artist Nook Airbnb

    We arrived at the aptly-named Artists' Nook Airbnb and instantly fell in love! Anyone that takes the time to name their house and have a website and insta for it you know it is bound to be awesome!!
     
    This house is quirky, homey, clean and cozy. I felt like I was walking into my Aunt Ann’s house who was an artist and always had the most eclectic mix of furniture and paintings. From the palm print wallpaper when you walk in, to the pallet like mint boards, and the art on the walls this place is nomad chic 🙂

    Our host Tina - the artist herself - was amazing as she had the best guide I’ve ever seen of a town. She told you exactly what to do if you wanted to fit right in as a local. Out of her 50 suggestions, I like to think we did almost all of them. I think that's pretty good considering kids slow down your sightseeing.

    We were only in this house a week, but definitely could have stayed an entire month! When traveling with kids, a week is way to short and a month feels like the right amount of time...unless you're in a place that you don't like - then you are ready to peace out!
     
    Hope you enjoyed our little Airbnb house tour 🙂 Here is the other Airbnb we stayed in Port Douglas - also recommended.

    Check out other Airbnb's that we stayed here.

    (FYI if you are traveling with a bigger group, reach out to Tina - she has more charming properties nearby! 

  • Don’t Leave Home Without Your Britax B-ready

     

    This is the stroller i registered for when i was prejudgers with my first girl Isla…who is now 3. 
    I did my research and test drove so many strollers are babies r us, target and REI. But the britax was the one i knew i wanted. I was sure to get one that could fit 2 kids one day since I knew i wasn’t done having babies after isla! 
     
    This was probably on of the few things on my registry that made sense the rest were things that i wanted or I thought i NEEDED. You learn very quickly when your baby arrives that you don’t really NEED all that stuff you registered for. 
     
    Then 2 years later we had Gisele and the Birtax B-ready turned into a double stroller!! All we had to do was buy one additional part and BAM we were a family of 4 on the go. Really I just pulled it out to go shopping at the Mall, Walk around Sewickley or even when I had my own boutique i would set the girls in it while I was working.
     
    Why I love MY Britax B-ready Stoller OH SO MUCH! 
    • You can configure it up to 12 different ways with he car seta and toddler seat and ever more with the bassinet.
    • super easy to pop open and closed on your own
    • fits a carry-on suitcase in the bottom WITH 2 kids
    • Wheels pop off easily to put in taxi or compact car.
    • Adjustable handle bar makes it easy to pop a curve when there isn’t a ramp.
    • Since a car seat can clip in that’s one less thing to carry through the airport
    • My daughter loves that the sun shield goes all the way over her face
    FYI it’s not a running stroller and not good for off roading or cobblestones. But if you don’t like to sweat and you live near lots of paved roads then this is the stroller for you! Worth the price and you will not regret buying it for your first or second baby.
  • Mini Getaway to Singapore

    It's hard to believe we've been in Bali and entire month now! When we arrived in early January I wasn't sure if the first month would go fast or slow, but this month seemed to fly by! With that being said when we arrived in Bali, jet lagged and with 2 kids we got the wrong entry visa! Has that ever happened to you? It's not too big of deal it's more of an incipience, because you have to leave the country and come back in. 

    So, Cullen had to book us a plane ticket to a different country so we could come back to Bali and get a another 30 day visa. I'm blaming this oversight on jet lag for sure!

    I swear we are ALWAYS learning. Whether you've  traveled a million times or this is your first time - there is always a learning curve.

    So Cullen booked us a flight to Singapore for 3 days. Part of me was excited to stay in a comfy hotel and another part of me was like HEY! I just got used to Bali life... I don’t want to go!

    If you've read my previous blog posts you’ll know that I like to stay in my comfort zone and I hate change. LOL. You probably think it's pretty funny that I’m traveling the world, right? Well, I’m trying so hard to be a little more laid back with traveling but it’s super hard! I like my cozy predictable life.

    Anyhow, we arrived to Singapore super late on Monday night and got us a taxi to drive us to our hotel. The next morning, we woke up feeling super jet lagged even though there was no time difference. Probably because of the crazy late arrival the night before.

    We headed to eat breakfast at Wild Honey. At this point, I didn’t know the exchange rate and our breakfast ended up costing around $100 US which is crazy expensive compared to the $10 Bali breakfast for the 4 of us! So from there on, we decided to eat more local food and not in some trendy restaurants.

    We packed a ton in. In just 3 days of being in Singapore, we saw China town, Little India, shopped, went to The Gardens by the Bay and did a lot of touristy things! We loved Tiong Bahru market which offers local food and a flower market. And of course, we had to see the pretty pastel houses in Koon Seng Road . All in all, it was a lovely little getaway.  The Singapore people are so kind and sweet and everyone speaks English which made getting around much easier.

    Not to mention lots of good shopping. I bought a few things while I was there. I really wanted everything from the store called The Editors Market but my credit card didn’t work and I had to say goodbye to the 6 pieces I picked out. 🙁 #firstworldproblems 

    Shopping is always on the itinerary where ever we go! Here are few of my other favorite stores that we were able to shop during our Singapore visit: 

    Mango
    Seed Heritage
    Zara
    Uniqlo
    Cotton On.. and a lot more!

    Even though Singapore wasn't really part of our to-go list in our Travel-the-World adventure, we ended up really enjoying our 3-day trip. We had a smooth flight home and got a new visa stamped in our passports which entitled us for 1 more month in Bali!

    Lesson learned - do your research on Visas. 🙂