TRAVEL

BITS + PIECES OF OUR TEXAS TRIP

07/11/2016

22aI am finally getting around to posting more photos from our trip to Texas—warning: there are a lot of them. Aubrey and I had an amazing time and really felt reconnected after all of these years. Marriage is a lot of work, especially once you throw in a handful of kids and a few small businesses—it’s easy to start to feel like you’re running on a hamster wheel day in and day out. We definitely see how important it is to get away, just by ourselves from time to time.

We had an early flight to Texas and arrived in Austin around 9:30 a.m. We picked up our rental car and headed to Launderette for a nice, relaxing brunch. We got to our hotel The Saint Cecilia early and had a couple of margaritas while we were waiting for our room. We stayed in suite 4, which had a private entrance and yard. The suite was breathtaking and the hospitality we received was unlike any other we’ve experienced. I never wanted to leave.

61012The mini-bar was impressive and full of really good local artisan snacks and drinks. We immediately dove in. There is also an amazing record collection in the hotel lobby that you can borrow from and play music back in your room. We listened to Neil Young on repeat.

13We are suckers for a good robe and had to bring two of these ones home with us.

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We stayed here for two days and two nights, and while we ventured out a bit to do a little shopping and eating at some our favorite Austin restaurants old and new (Uchi, Justine’s Brasserie, Clarke’s Oyster Bar, and Bomb Tacos), we spend most of our time in our suite or by the pool.

Pool11I had to have these funky, Moroccan-style, leather house slippers from the Saint Cecilia gift shop.

14We also stopped by The San Jose around the corner for a sake margarita and picked up this pretty blanket and took it back to our room to play card games.

31We walked to get iced coffee and bagel dogs from Jo’s. (Dress by Rachel Craven, earrings by Salihah Moore, shoes by Laura Schoorl, and bandana Bag by Rene Holquin.)

227The most incredible lobster roll I’ve ever had from Clark’s Oyster Bar. I highly recommend this spot!

284The coolest bench!

8243029202679This first part of our trip was so relaxing, I didn’t want it to end, but I was excited for what was next—a road-trip to Marfa, TX to spend a couple of days in the desert. Some of our friends recently bought a house there, so it was great getting to see some familiar faces in this cool and artsy town that’s in the middle of nowhere. We stayed at El Cosmico—a unique campground hotel made up of refurbished trailers, yurts, teepees, and tents. A totally different experience from the Saint Cecilia, but equally as fun.

4245We did a lot of holding hands and exploring. We visited the galleries and tiny shops, made many a Paloma, ate good food, and just enjoyed the quiet. I highly recommend getting dinner and drinks from Saint George if you’re ever in town, it’s excellent!

51We fired up a Dutch Tub one night and had a romantic evening under the stars and tried to remember where all the constellations are. We failed. HA!

5331Inside our cool trailer

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37These boob mugs!!!

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4355We didn’t stay in a yurt, but we peeked inside. How beautiful is this painted ceiling?

The El Cosmico gift shop is what dreams are made of. We picked up some fun things for the kids and I had to get that beautiful stained glass number on the left, hanging in the window.

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46We had the best time. This trip was so needed. From start to finish, it was perfect. We are already planning another visit to Marfa, this time with the kids in tow.

Big thanks to Bunkhouse for the hospitality. We will be back soon. Texas has our heart!

THE PERFECT TRAVEL BAGS / LO & SONS

07/05/2016

10I have been traveling a lot lately. Between work trips, a family emergency, and some much-needed R&R, it seems like I’ve been on-the-go non-stop. Good news is, the travel anxiety has mellowed out extensively due to the frequent flyer miles I’m racking up and I have become quite the planning and packing pro, too. Before Aubrey and I set off for our Texas trip, we partnered up with Lo & Sons and received three new bags—two travel bags called The Rhodes and The Catalina Deluxe and a purse for myself called The Pearl. The travel bags are incredibly well made, easy to carry, and pack a lot of stuff. We planned on doing quite a bit of shopping on our venture, so these new storage companions became our saving grace, hauling all of our treasures back home with ease.

1 2The Pearl was also great because it’s compact, but holds so much more than most purses its size. With its convertible strap, I was able to throw it over my head and shoulder, crossbody-style and adventure through Austin and Marfa without the feeling of having to lug around my necessities. More facts about the Pearl that I love: The many compartments for your phone, change, boarding pass, lip glosses, and more. It’s also made from buttery-soft leather, which I’m a sucker for.

3 Aubrey received The Rhodes (the black bag pictured above), which we ended up checking on our return flight home. He packed that baby full of clothes and books and everything else he could stuff inside. It’s super durable with lots of storage and pockets inside and out. It also shares the same name with our son, which is a bonus in our books!

4 5The Catalina Deluxe is my personal favorite. I used it throughout the trip and since returning, continue to use it all the time. It’s the smaller version of the bag, but it’s large enough to fit a week’s worth of clothes and also strangely lightweight. The strap is thick and has a should pad for extra comfort and I think it distributes weight really well. Plus it’s small enough to use as a carryon when flying and fits perfectly under the seat. I will forever use it when I travel and while at home to haul stuff for work and kids. It also has a bottom compartment for shoes and other items that you can separate from the rest of your stuff, which comes in handy.

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This post is in partnership with Lo & Sons.

MARFA, TX + AN OLAY FOLLOW-UP

06/27/2016

1We returned from our trip to Texas a couple of weeks ago. It was relaxing, inspiring, and therapeutic for so many reasons, both for ourselves and our marriage. We absolutely fell in love with Marfa. So much so that we are already planning our return and this time with our kids in tow. We have friends that have a house there and their kids and ours are inseparable when together.

2Marfa is hot as hell, but it’s a dry desert heat, which makes it a little more bearable in my opinion.

4How cool are these planters? I want to figure out how to recreate something similar at home!

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7The famous See Mystery Lights sign!

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9Ballroom Marfa was one of our favorite art exhibits. There are many in Marfa, but very few that allow cameras.

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14It started storming randomly in the afternoon and the sky was the most beautiful pale gray. We stopped on our drive for a rain dance and photo opp!

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17The obligatory Prada installation in Valentine. It’s about 30 minutes west of Marfa and is pretty cool.

18My favorite part was the collection of locks behind Prada.

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20It was very windy after the storm, which made for some cool photos—we took full advantage.

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24Me and my love, tired after a long day of exploring and ready for a good margarita from one of our favorite Marfa spots, Saint George! We will share more photos from our trip very soon!

This wraps up my Olay skincare challenge. It was a fun experience and I am really happy with results. The Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream with SPF 30 is really, really good, light, and also affordable, which is a bonus and also a godsend under the hot Texas sun. And, I think I may have fallen in love with the Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream that I wear at night. I can honestly say that I see a difference in my complexion and I love that I wake with super soft skin come morning time. Again, much more affordable than many other high-end creams that claim to offer similar results. Many women in my family have been using Olay for years, and it was cool to check it out for myself. Thanks Olay!

25This post is in partnership with Olay.

IN MY SUITCASE I WILL TAKE

01/28/2016

Travel_Bleubird

I’ve been traveling often for work over this past year, so much so that I am starting to feel way more comfortable with each trip. Although I still battle travel anxiety, I have made a lot of progress and feel it much less. I’m feeling more like a seasoned badass when I head to the airport—I pull my perfectly packed wheeled carry-on behind me, dressed in my strategized travel outfit, and breeze through security and the terminal with ease and a feeling like “I got this.”

I’ve learned just what I need and don’t need, what I can do and can’t do, to work ahead before my flights, and to stay very organized and on schedule. I am traveling for work this week, and nearly every other week through March, which is kinda crazy.

This trip is 5 days long and I had to pack carefully to include enough clothing for two events—one semi-dressy and one pretty casual, dinner with family one night, a business dinner another night, and I have a late night with friends planned to close the trip, plus regular everyday clothes. I’m happy to report, I packed everything I need into my small carry-on and have one shoulder bag that hold my computer and my purse. In other words, I am a f@*king magician.

Here are a few of the things I can’t travel without…

TravelNecessities_Bleubird

1. A cashmere travel set, complete with blanket and travel mask. I don’t use the mask much, but I get so cold on flights and the blanket is heaven! 2. A book. Right now I’m reading The Girl’s Guide to Hunting and Fishing. 3. A travel pillow. This one deflates, making it super easy to tuck away. 4. I treated myself to a really nice piece of luggage to help make my travels easier. I wanted a carry-on, so I wouldn’t have to hassle with baggage claim. It was expensive, but one of my favorite purchases ever—a real grown-up buy! It rolls like a dream and fits so much inside. 5. A carry on cocktail kit. These are a great alternative to the mixers from the airline. Did you know that you can bring your own mini bottles of booze onboard with you? Just be warned, some flight attendants will try to tell you it’s against the rules when in fact, it’s not. 6. A snack. I like Kind Bars. 7. A portable phone charger—godsend! 8. My own travel size shampoo and conditioner because you never know what your hotel provides and it’s better to be safe than sorry. 8. Travel size skincare! I recommend the Somme Institute Mobile. It’s incredible and has everything you need from serum to my beloved Transport Pads! 9. Sneakers! I cannot tell you how important it is to always pack a pair, especially if you are in the city and will be walking a lot. I made the mistake of bringing one pair of boots on a recent trip and has blisters all over my feet.

Have any travel necessities to add? I would love to hear them!

CAMPING DREAMS

11/09/2015

campinglist_Bleubird

Over the summer, our family spent each weekend at the river. We happen to live just three minutes away from a beautiful spot, so packing up the kids each Saturday morning became a ritual that we all looked forward to. The weather is starting to cool off here in Nashville and sadly our weekly trips to our secret river hangout have become a thing of the past. But, the bugs have disappeared, the leaves are turning, and now we are looking forward to going camping before it gets too cold and the snow starts falling. We’ve never taken the little kids camping before, so we are excited and a bit apprehensive for our upcoming trip. We don’t want to go to a fancy campground. We want to find something that is secluded and peaceful. I put together a fun list of dreamy camping must-haves, along with some outdoor toys for the kids and our favorite gear to bring along.

We were given an amazing yurt-style tent from Stout last year and have yet to take it out for a test-drive. It’s huge, so there is plenty of room for all six of us. I am overly excited about getting a camping stove—there’s just something about cooking outdoors! We usually grill when at the river, but this little compact stove-top will be perfect for making coffee and cocoa, hot soup, proteins, veggies, and more. Here are some other things that I’m thinking we should take along: A lantern, a folding table for food prep and card games (ahem, Uno!), air mattresses and plenty of blankets for comfort. A thermos and enamel mugs, cooking gear, hobo knives (travel silverware), a flask for the adults, warm sweaters and socks, sling shots and jump ropes for the kids. All-natural soap, a first aid kit, dog bowls for Frances, and, of course, a good cooler to keep our food fresh—Aubrey has always wanted a Yeti because they stay refrigerator-cold for up to six days, but there is no way we will be camping with small kids for that long. We will just bring along our trusty Coleman. Of course, we can’t forget the marshmallows, graham crackers, and chocolate bars!

Foot note: This post was really fun to put together. Now, I can’t wait to plan our trip! Happy camping!

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