Long Meadow RanchEveryday Cuvée

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Michael and I are spending Thanksgiving in Wine Country and couldn’t be happier to be back in one of our favorite spots for the holiday.

Long Meadow Ranch | Everyday Cuvée Travels

Napa Valley holds a special place in our hearts as we visited the area on our engagement trip and stayed at Hotel Yountville. Not only do we love the wine that is unique to the region, we love the food.

Farmstead at Long Meadow Ranch in St. Helena has been on our list of restaurants to dine at and it did not disappoint. We shared small plates as to try more dishes and loved the Cheddar Biscuits, Artichoke Heart, and Beet Salad.

After lunch we walked the surrounding grounds to restaurant which are beautiful and contain an outdoor café, farmer’s market, general store and even some lawn games. It’s worth sticking around for!

Patterned Cardigan Sweater (under $35), Suede Boots (on sale – additional color here), Prada Sunglasses, Distressed Jeans,Ivory Blouse, Crossbody Bag (on sale)

I’ll be sharing more of our travels soon and of course, all of the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales coming up! If you haven’t seen my Gift Guide, check it now!

Prepare for a Round the World Trip or Traveling Abroad

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Now that we’ve discussed How to Plan a Round the World trip and How to Book a Round the World flight, I am going to cover some things that my husband and I did to prepare for a round the world trip.

Minus packing lists (which I will cover in a separate post), these are essential tips to ensure your trip abroad is worry-free whether you are going for a year or a couple of weeks.

How to Prepare for a Round the World Trip

Tips to Prepare for a Round the World Trip or Traveling Abroad:

  • Passport
  • TSA Pre-Check/Global Entry
  • Shots/Immunizations
  • Visas
  • Travelers Insurance
  • Register Your Trip with the Government (STEP)
  • Cell Phone/Wireless Internet
  • International Driver’s License
  • Credit Cards
  • Download TripIt and Google Trips app

Passport

This may seem like a no-brainer, but make sure you allow enough time to obtain a passport if you don’t already have one or renew your passport if it has expired or will be expiring (many countries require at least six months validity after your arrival date).

Since I had recently changed my last name after getting married, I had to apply for a new passport and wanted to make sure I received it prior to booking any flights. You can have passport photos taken at your local post office, a drugstore like CVS or Walgreens or use this app which is what I did.

After uploading your picture to the IDphoto app, you are emailed a 4″ x 6″ print of 6 photos which you can print on photo paper at home or have printed at a local drugstore. The cost of this print is way cheaper than having your passport photo taken plus you can order extras for visas and international driving permits (more on these later).

Global Entry (TSA Pre-Check)

If you are traveling anywhere, I recommend applying for TSA Pre-Check or Global Entry. The cost of TSA Pre-Check is $80 and provides you with faster security lines and less baggage screening in the USA. Global Entry is only $20 more (or $100) and includes all the benefits of TSA Pre-Check plus expedited clearance back into the USA for pre-approved, low risk travelers.

Even though we will only be traveling back in to the USA one time on this trip, your Global Entry pass is good for five years so we thought the extra $20 was worth it. Plus, some international airports have started to honor Global Entry.

Michael and I both completed separate applications online for Global Entry. Make sure to have all past addresses and past employer information at the ready during the application process.

After a few days, we were notified that we were both approved. I received my notification first and went to schedule my appointment only to find there were no appointments for  months and months in multiple cities that I was willing to travel to.

Since the appointment dates were after our scheduled departure, I furiously refreshed the page for cancellations. After a day or two, I was able to secure one at O’Hare. So make sure to plan this portion early!

Michael was not able to get an appointment so we took a risk and showed up at the appointment together. We showed up very early thinking it would expedite the process, but we were called at our original appointment time and thankfully, they let us go together since we were married.

There were a lot of people that “stopped in” without an appointment but the office was so busy that day and I did not see any of these people get called in.

The interview took about ten minutes. We were both asked about our background, travel history and travel plans. You are fingerprinted (to aid in the criminal background check and for entry back into the USA). If you have no criminal record, the interview should be quite easy. You are either approved on the spot or sent an email if your application requires further investigation.

We were both approved and received our Global Entry cards about 10 business days later.

Tip: Some credit cards (like American Express) will cover the cost of your TSA Pre-Check or Global Entry so make sure to check before applying.

Shots/Immunizations

To determine which immunizations you will need for your trip abroad, visit the CDC destinations page. From there, you can choose each country you will be visiting from a dropdown list and receive recommended vaccines. If you received regular vaccines as a child, then you are off to a good start and will not require as many.

After determining which vaccines you will need, make an appointment at your doctor’s office, a specialized travel clinic or health clinic 6 weeks in advance of your trip as some vaccines require additional doses or have a lead time for effectiveness.

We first made an appointment at a specialized travel clinic but later cancelled after realizing they charged a $70 appointment fee per person not including the cost of shots. We made an appointment at a local health clinic and were not charged for the visit.

Both Michael and I had updated vaccines and only required two shots each – a tetanus booster and typhoid fever. Michael’s health insurance covered both shots, but mine did not so I spent $105 total.

Visas

Check which countries require a visa to enter before traveling abroad. Each country has a specific way to obtain visas for your trip so make sure to check each destination.

For example, you do not need a visa if you are visiting Europe for less than 90 days; however, you do need a visa to visit India if you are traveling for less than 30 days. The visa for India can be obtained in advance of your trip at a local embassy or you can apply online electronically at least four days in advance of your trip.

Other destinations like Tanzania and Nepal provide the option to obtain a tourist visa upon arrival into the country. If you are only traveling to one or two spots, then I suggest applying for your visa in advance but if you are traveling for a longer range of time and will not be near the embassy within the required application times then apply online or in person (dependent on the countries regulations).

Costs will vary between each country and how long you will be staying in the country. Make sure to check how payment (cash, check or which credit cards) can be made for these, how may passport photos you will need for each and if you need to bring your application with you (which will require finding a printer!)

Travelers Insurance

Travelers Insurance is an important part of the planning process since most insurance plans will not cover you while abroad.

World Nomads is the easiest and best option for travel insurance when going abroad. You simply enter the countries you are going to and dates you are traveling and boom, they provide you with a few insurance plans based on the activities you will be doing while traveling.

Since we will be hiking and participating in a few adventurous activities (mainly Michael, not me), we chose the Adventure Package. Not only do they cover lost luggage and trip cancellation, they’ll cover a helicopter ride should you need to be air-lifted off a mountain. Heaven forbid that does happen to us but better to be safe than sorry.

We will also be keeping our health insurance in the USA as a precaution.

Register your Trip with the Government (STEP)

The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) is a free service to allow U.S. citizens and nationals traveling abroad to enroll their trip with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

By registering your trip, you will receive information from the Embassy about safety conditions in each country, help the U.S. Embassy contact you in an emergency and help friends and family get in touch with you in an emergency.

All in all, a very smart thing to do.

Cell Phone/Wireless Internet

Most international cell phone packages are outrageously expensive, so we will be turning off our Cellular Data on our phones while we are abroad.

We are relying on WiFi to FaceTime our family and friends and to text back and forth via iMessage or What’s App (those who do not have an iPhone or international numbers).

We have only chosen Airbnb’s and hotels that offer WiFi and will only be unavailable in a few spots — riding in the back of a jeep on safari or climbing in Nepal. But, hey, I should be unavailable then right?!

Through my American Express Platinum Card, I also received a free subscription to Boingo wireless which is available in airports and internationally and ten free GoGo in-flight sessions to be connected while traveling. Since we will both be working during our trip, we need to stay connected.

You should definitely check with your carrier to ensure that you are able to still use your phone internationally. I have an iPhone so I am only well-versed on that device and know there is no problem.

International Driver’s License

If you are planning to rent a car while traveling overseas, visit a local AAA office or DMV to get an international driver’s permit. You will need to fill out an application, visit an AAA office, bring two passport photos, your valid driver’s license and a $20 application fee. You can, also, complete the process online but will need to wait to receive your permit in the mail.

In addition to the international drivers permit, we will be relying on our American Express card for rental car insurance.

Credit Card

Since we are traveling for a long amount of time, we needed a credit card that did not charge foreign transaction fees, i.e., an American Express card.

We also wanted an additional card if the business or hotel did not accept American Express and also an ATM card that did not charge ATM fees at banks other than our own.

Lastly, many foreign transactions require “chip and pin” technology whereas the US only just started “chip” technology. “Chip and pin” is only offered through certain financial institutions so make sure to check with your bank before leaving on your trip.

Download TripIt and Google Trips app

The TripIt app keeps all of your train, planes and automobiles in order…plus your hotels, Airbnb’s and any activities in one place. You plan the trip with someone else or just share your details (hi, mom!).

The Google Trips app just launched so I’ve yet to try it, but it is getting rave reviews so far. Based on your location, the app will suggest sightseeing spots, local restaurants, and accommodations based on where you are going.

 

Did these tips teach you how to prepare for a round the world trip or traveling abroad? Did I miss any travel preparations that help you prepare for a round the world trip? Please share them below in the comments!

And as always, make sure to follow along our Round the World trip series and follow me on Instagram to see our journey!

Floral Printed Shorts

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Over the weekend, Michael and I headed to Florida to celebrate my good friends Mollie and Kyle’s wedding in Marco Island, Florida. The weather and wedding were both perfect and it was a much-needed, mid-winter getaway. 

With temperatures reaching 80 degrees each day, I was in heaven in dresses, swimsuits and shorts – including these new floral printed pull-on shorts. I dressed them up with a lightweight white sweater, a statement necklace, wedges and my new favorite trend in accessories – ear jackets!

Floral printed shorts, Sheer yoke topped white sweater, Gold Aviators, Pave Halo Ear Jackets, Circle Necklace, Gold Watch, Tan Wedge (very similar here), Straw Clutch (old from J. Crew Factory but here’s another straw clutch that’s cute!)

Vibrant Bib Necklace

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Statement necklaces are totally my thing. Even the most basic outfit can be transformed with a bold and bright bauble. My rule of thumb: the more colorful the better. So I was THRILLED when the ladies from The Shopping Bag asked me to style a look featuring this Polina Vibrant Bib Necklace.

Our recent trip to Mexico provided the perfect backdrop for this stunner! I chose a simple dress in my favorite shade of green to complement the palette, but let’s be honest: the necklace is the star. I love the mixture of emerald, turquoise and gold and the layers and layers of beads and baubles.

At only $24, it is an absolute steal. To sweeten the pot, The Shopping Bag is giving my readers 25% off EVERYTHING  on the site with promo code “EVERYDAYCUVEE” (valid through July 11).  

New to The Shopping Bag? This super cute online boutique offers a unique selection of clothing, accessories, home décor, beauty products and much more. Here are my absolute favorites: 

  • Clothing: Boho Tassel Halter Dress or Ikat Print Two Piece Set 
  • Accessories: Fringe Backpack Purse, Lemon Slice Clutch or Watermelon Slice Clutch
  • Shoes: Lacy-like Behavior Perforated Sandal
  • Home: Pineapple Hospitality Jars

Vibrant Bib Necklace, Green Twist Back Dress, Gold Ankle-Strap Sandals, Gold Envelope Clutch, Gold Ray-Ban Aviators

Charleston Travel Blend

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When traveling to a city for the first time, it is easy to get overwhelmed trying to plan the perfect trip. Rather than trying to cram too many things in, I try to focus on these key ingredients–unique hotel, local coffee shop, a fun brunch spot, al fresco lunch, boutique shopping, cocktail lounge, dinner hot spot, and a recreational activity. This helps me create the best blend to get the feel for a city regardless of where I am headed to next.

Charleston Travel Blend

Hotel:

The Mills House is pink…doesn’t that make the choice a no-brainer?! Located within a 4-minute walk to the City Market, this centrally located hotel features gorgeously designed rooms, a floral-adorned courtyard perfect for dining and outdoor pool to cool off after a long day of exploring.

I am also dying to stay at Zero George Street on my next visit!

Brunch:

Poogan’s Porch is the perfect southern spot to indulge in biscuits & gravy, chicken & waffles or shrimp & grits — all of which are absolutely delicious.

The dining rooms are bright and airy and can accommodate large groups but make sure to book a reservation as this southern staple can book up quickly.

Lunch:

Fresh oysters and platters of fried chicken are a dime a dozen in Charleston, but when you combine that with fancy champagne, cheap beer and some of the best ‘day drinking’ cocktails in town, Leon’s Oyster Shop becomes a can’t-miss destination.

You will find just the right amount of industrial vibes to remind you that this was once an old auto body shop, but don’t let that description fool you. Every inch of this hot spot has been carefully designed to keep locals and tourists alike coming back for more.

Cocktails:

Although Husk is a wonderful dinner option, the Bar at Husk (open at 4pm daily) is located in a historic brick home adjacent to the restaurant and is a quintessential spot to grab a whiskey-laden cocktail.

Since my husband and I have also been to Husk in Nashville, I picked up Heritage, a visually appealing cookbook by Husk chef and owner Sean Brock, to add to our kitchen collection.

Dinner:

FIG has been winning awards in Charleston and across the country since 2003…and for good reason! Their seasonal menus reflect what is in peak form from their local farmers and their creative twists on traditional Lowcountry cuisine has helped elevate the whole Charleston dining scene. Give it a try. You will not be disappointed.

Coffee:

The Daily by Butcher & Bee is a bit off the beaten path from downtown Charleston, but totally worth the trip for your morning latte.

Not a coffee person? Not to worry. They also have an extensive selection of cold-pressed juices, breakfast sandwiches, pastries, and more.

Activity:

Although Charleston is best explored on foot, there are a few additional options to sightsee at a slightly faster pace.

In my opinion, Old South Carriage Co. offers the best carriage tour in the city with friendly, knowledgeable staff and a few different tour options. I prefer the One-Hour Residential Carriage Tour because “dream house shopping” is one of my favorite pastimes and can keep me entertained for hours on end.

Rent a bike for the day too see the rainbow-colored houses and perfectly manicured gardens that make Charleston so unique. Cycle through the tree-lined avenues to The Battery located South of Broad – Charleston’s priciest neighborhood and home of historic 18th-century mansions.

Shop:

King Street is the premier destination for shopping in Charleston and is a well-curated mix of mainstream shops with hip boutiques. My favorite ones to visit are Hampden Clothing and RTW.

And if you happen to be visiting Charleston during the second weekend of the month, head to 2nd Sundays on King. They close down the streets and have a festival featuring live music, street vendors and sidewalk cafés from most of the restaurants on King.

Try this Charleston Travel Blend for a mix of southern hospitality, colorful scenery and a guaranteed fun time!

Vacation Instagram Roundup

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Last week, I was on a tear posting tons and tons of pictures from our WaterColor, Florida, trip on Instagram. And since some of you may not be signed up for LIKEtoKNOW.it, I thought I would share my favorites from the week here.

My sister and I put her youngest son in the stroller and headed out for a morning walk and coffee. Since we don’t live in the same city, it was nice to have time to just chat and walk. 

 Hot Pink Workout Tank, Hot Pink Nikes, Running Shorts, Sports Bra, Running Hat

On Monday night, we rode our bikes into downtown Seaside to dine at the food trucks then head to the beach for a bonfire and s’mores.

Marble Shorts, Boater Hat, Crossbody Bag, Strappy Flat Sandals (gold and terra cotta here), Gold Aviators

The temperatures soared into the 90’s each day so white, lightweight dresses were in order to stay cool and look chic.

White Embroidered Maxi Dress, White Pom Pom Coverup, Embroidered Dress

My niece requested water balloons so what did she get? Water balloons. Even though the little ones mostly threw them at the ground and not each other, they had a blast. Michael and I thought we blew up a ton of them but little did we know…they go fast. Next time, I am going to invest in this one. 

 This pic was technically on Michael’s Instagram but I thought I would share. We look happy, laid-back and tan! 

Polka Dot Swim Trunks, Gray V-Neck, Boater Hat, White Pom Pom Coverup

A fresh coconut from the Seaside Farmer’s Market to stay hydrated pool-side.

Tassel Trim Dress, Jack Rogers Sandals, Mar Y Sol Beach Tote, Turkish Towel

 The beautiful beach at the WaterColor Inn & Resort. 

The flamingo drink holders I brought were a HUGE hit at the pool and all the other ladies were flocking to them. It kept my marg afloat while I lounged in the pool – genius! 

Flamingo Drink Holder, Bracelets (similar)

I had to crop this one for Insta but I wanted to share the full picture. On the last night of vacation, everyone got dolled up and we took family pictures! 

On Michael: White Popover Shirt, Navy Pants, Braided Belt, Gray Shoes, Watch

On the last day of vacation, Michael and I took a late day flight and had the entire day to ourselves. We packed our bags and headed to the adults-only pool at the WaterColor Inn & Resort. It was so quiet you could hear the ocean waves while in the pool and spent the day reading our Kindles in the pool. I also lathered myself in Sun Bum Suntan Lotion and am now obsessed with the coconut smell and how soft it makes your skin feel. 

Boater Hat, Scalloped Swim Suit, Turkish Towel, White Nails

How to Book a Round the World Flight

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Figuring out ‘How to book a Round the World Flight’ might be the most important part of planning your round the world trip.

Not only will it be a sizable portion of your overall travel budget, but once you press ‘book now’ your trip becomes REAL for the first time. All those hours spent daydreaming about waking up in a new country transform into something tangible when you see your name in all caps on an airline ticket.

How to Book a Round the World Flight

There are a number of different options that you can use to book a round the world (RTW) flight, but we are going to focus on the 3 we considered:

  • Airline Alliance
  • Air Treks
  • Do It Yourself

There are advantages and shortcomings associated with each of them. Read below for our candid reviews on:

How to book a round the world flight

Airline Alliances

The major airline alliances are StarAlliance (United, Lufthansa, Air Canada), SkyTeam (Delta, Air France, Korean Air) and OneWorld (American, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Qantas).

All of them have global reach and have Round the World (RTW) tickets on offer. We focused our search on the alliance that Michael and I already had the most Frequent Flier status with: OneWorld.

OneWorld primarily offers two options for RTW tickets: OneWorld Explorer and Global Explorer. You can read more about each here (link above), but an Explorer ticket is based on the number of continents you plan on traveling through and a Global ticket is based on the distance (in miles) that you are planning to travel.

Advantages:

  • Ticket flexibility: if you are really loving Argentina but are booked on a flight departing in a couple days, you are permitted to change your booked flights without change fees. Similarly, let’s say you hate India and want to leave early. No problem.
  • Upgrades: When you book directly with the airlines, it is much easier to upgrade your cabin (with either points, cash or due to accrued status) than when purchasing from a travel operator or agency.
  • Frequent Flier Miles: You are sure to get 100% of the segments/miles flown credited to your account towards higher status. Some of the travel operator/agency flights are only coded to give 50% of miles

Disadvantages:

  • Route Efficiency: The airline alliances fly you through to their international hubs whenever possible. This can create extremely long travel between locations or force you to buy additional flights on other carriers to bypass that stop altogether.

For example: We wanted to get from Kathmandhu, Nepal to Mumbai, India. OneWorld didn’t have a codeshare partner that flew directly from Nepal to India so they wanted us to fly through Qatar and then on to India direct from there. All in–an 11 hour travel day. The other option is to skip that stop on your RTW ticket and buy a direct flight (Air India flies direct between the two in under 2 hours). You then pick up your itinerary from India.

  • Route Flexibility: Generally, the airline alliances RTW tickets have you fly directionally (east to west or west to east) with no backtracking. In many cases, this isn’t an issue. After all, it makes sense to keep going in the direction of travel to minimize flight times between stops. However, due to the availability of hubs (see above) you may find yourself being routed through someplace like Doha, Qatar en route to both Africa and Asia. The problem is that you are not allowed to cross back into the same continent more than twice. So you either have to amend your itinerary or you may find yourself buying additional flights from other carriers to stay on track.
  • Cost: We found that our RTW quote from the airline carriers ranged between 60-80% higher than both the travel operators/agency and a DIY pricing approach.

The verdict: This approach is great if you are going on an open-ended trip and you want the flexibility of changing your flights without penalty, you are trying to gain elite status with a particular alliance, and cost is not a driving factor.

Do It Yourself

After getting the price quote from OneWorld, Michael and I started wondering if we had the budget to really pull this trip off. Since we already knew where we wanted to go and had pretty fixed dates in mind, Michael started putting together our own itinerary (complete with airline, flight number, duration, and price) to see how the prices compared.

He primarily used SkyScanner and Hipmunk to locate deals on the same flights. For example, we found our initial Chicago to London flight being marketed through Finnair for $525 whereas the same flight through British Airways was nearly $900.

Advantages

  • Cost: Whether you utilize an airline carrier or a travel operator, you are paying for the service. Going it alone will definitely save you money. In our case, it was roughly $500 cheaper per person to Do It Yourself.
  • Flexibility: If you have an open ended trip and access to Wi-fi, you can plot your next stop pretty easily from the web. Taking advantage of deals (and paying in local currency) can be worthwhile. Be careful, though, about not having a continuing ticket. Many countries won’t let you into the country without either a return or continuing ticket.

Disadvantages

  • Customer Service: You might save a few hundred dollars here and there, but you also might have to try to get ahold of multiple companies of varying degrees of helpfulness in the case of emergency. Trying to talk to a small travel company with limited hours and staff rom halfway across the world when you need help rebooking a flight is a recipe for disaster.
  • Expertise: It’s easy to compare apples to apples, but the travel operators are experienced in helping you get the best experience you can. Our agent with Air Treks showed us that it would be $250 cheaper to fly from Bangkok to Bali on our way to Sydney than to fly direct to Sydney. We used that savings to book a few nights on a beach in Bali after deciding to stay a whole week!
  • Time: Finding the best deals on flights is time consuming. It may be a better use of your time to devote that energy to researching the best places to stay or the coolest experiences to book along the way.

The verdict: This approach is great if you have the time, energy, and confidence to plan it your way. If cost is of the utmost importance and you aren’t concerned about having a safety net to fall back on in the case of emergencies then this might be the way to go.

Air Treks

Air Treks is an online travel operator that specializes in round the world tickets. They work with nearly all the global airlines so you aren’t limited to one alliance or another.

Their very easy-to-use Trip Planner gives you a helpful price range for your itinerary prior to speaking with an actual agent and even lets you know if you can potentially add a destination to your trip for free (based on the route you selected).

Advantages:

  • Route Flexibility: Because you are creating a custom itinerary, you aren’t constrained by the direction of travel, the number of continents visited, or the number of miles flown. You can go wherever you want.
  • Route Efficiency: Since you aren’t limited to flying a carrier on a specific airline alliance you are able to get the most direct flight to your next stop. No backtracking through hubs.
  • Ticket Choice: Once you are ready to book, you go over every segment of your trip to select the airline, the departure time, and the fare class. If you prefer to fly OneWorld carriers whenever possible to get as many frequent flier miles as possible, no problem. If you want to book your long haul flights in business class while opting for economy the rest of the way, no issues. If you want to know the cheapest days to fly between one week and the next when making your selections, no worries. They make it super easy to get the best prices for the flights that you want on the carriers you prefer.
  • Cost: In our case, Air Treks was more than 60% cheaper than the same route from OneWorld. They are able to take advantage of fares from smaller carriers, partnerships with all the major airlines, and current promotions on offer to give you the best price.
  • Customer Service: Every agent at Air Treks has to have completed at least one RTW trip. They know what they are doing. You are provided with an agent that stays with your reservation from conception to completion. You have their email and direct phone number. If something goes wrong (flight delay, cancellation, missed connection, etc.) you only have to contact one company. They manage all your flights regardless of carrier so you don’t have to worry about tracking down 3 different people from various travel websites or airlines.
  • Insurance: The only option that we could find that includes travel insurance with every ticket purchased. Things covered include: lost/delayed baggage, trip delay/interruption, emergency medical, evacuation and repatriation among others.

Disadvantages:

  • Ticket Flexibility: While Air Treks will gladly help you arrange changes to your itinerary, you are subject to the carrier-imposed change fees.
  • Upgrades: Locked into economy but interested in bumping up to business class for an upcoming long haul flight? You are at the mercy of the airline. Many of the fares are coded as third-party providers so they don’t have to oblige. Some luck and a good smile are your best bets here.
  • Frequent Flier Miles: They will put in your frequent flier miles into all of the flights, but some airlines have different rules governing certain tickets. British Airways may award you 100% of the miles on their flights but only 50% on the fares flown with Qatar Airways.

The verdict: This is the approach that Michael and I chose. It is great if you know where you want to go and when, flying a specific carrier or airline alliance is not of primary concern, price is a large factor in your decision, and you want the peace of mind of dealing with one company in the case of emergencies.

If you are dreaming about a trip like this too, then make sure to pin this image!

As I know this is a stressful part of trip planning so please let me know if you have any questions about how to book a round the world flight.

Photo via

Happy Thanksgiving

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Happy Thanksgiving!

I am super thankful to be spending the holiday with my husband in sunny California and thankful to our cousins for hosting their annual Thanksgiving week in such a gorgeous location!Happy Thanksgiving

For the past three days, we’ve wined and dined our way through Wine Country so we’re having a low key day in preparation for our black tie Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow night. The guys do all the cooking while the ladies get gussied up for a night of celebration which is quite alright with me!

Plus, I may be doing a little online shopping because the deals are just too good! Here are the BEST ones you can already shop!

J. Crew

30% off EVERYTHING – Use code HOLIDAY

Banana Republic

 Half off sweaters and 40% off the rest of your purchase restrictions apply – Use code BRFRIDAY

Shopbop

15% off orders of $250 or more, 20% off orders of $500 or more – Use code GOBIG15

GAP

50% off EVERYTHING! Use code BLKFRIDAY

I used to work at Gap Body in high school and it is still my favorite place to buy PJ’s from. My nephews would look so cute and cozy in this fleece set and my nieces would be perfect in this pair.

And make sure to come back tomorrow to see ALL of the amazing Black Friday deals!

Bardessono Hotel

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Ever since our first trip to Yountville, I have had my eyes on Bardessono Hotel. It manages to combine modern design elements into a beautiful rustic vineyard setting to create the ultimate in wine country luxury.

We first heard about the property after joining the wine club of Hill Family Estates. They partner with the Bardessono for their annual member parties (and use some of the grapes on the property to make their wine) and while the timing hasn’t worked out for us to attend yet, it was an extra special treat to be greeted in the lobby with a glass of Hill Family wine from their current vintage. Everyday Cuvée visits Bardessono in Yountville, CA

Hotel, Shirt Dress, Suede Booties (additional color), Coin Bangle, Gold Watch, Sunglasses (Similar), MAC Lipstick

Tucked away in the heart of Yountville, Bardessono Hotel & Spa provides the perfect launching pad for all of your wine country adventures. The property is easily accessible from both Highway 29 and the Silverado Trail which gives guests easy access to the more than 530 wineries in the 30-mile long Napa Valley.

But you don’t have to go more than a few steps from your room before you hit some of the best restaurants in the country–Thomas Keller’s The French Laundry, Michael Chiarello’s Bottega, and Richard Reddington’s Redd are just a few of the amazing dining destinations found just around the corner.

Yountville is definitely walkable. Washington Street, the main road that cuts through town, is just about a mile long but one of the best ways to make your way from one end to the other (with stops at cute boutique shops and tasting rooms like Ma(i)sonry and Napa Style) is on the bikes available for pickup at the Bike Shop just off the lobby.

Not up for bikes? Not to worry. A fleet made up of the latest Lexus sedans and small SUV’s are available to usher you around Yountville or for your very own test drive. When the temps dropped into the 30’s our last night, we indulged in a ride to dinner. Don’t be embarrassed. These beauties will make you long for the days of chauffeured living.

While there are lots of great options nearby, you may find yourself never wanting to leave the beauty and serenity that Bardessono has carefully crafted.

One of three Platinum LEED Certified hotels in the United States and the only in the state of California, Bardessono makes a commitment to provide a luxurious experience for guests within a sustainable environment.

Salvaged wood was used for the doors, flooring and walls of the guestrooms, spa, restaurant and event space. But what you will notice is the calming sound of water flowing while having an afternoon snack and glass of wine in the open air courtyard, the inviting hammock set up under the shade of beautiful old trees, or the vines lining the property as you make your way back to your room.

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Luxury suite amenities include 100 percent Egyptian cotton linens, REN bath products, Champagne bath tub and spa, motion-controlled exterior shuttering system, and an iPad to order in-house services. Artfully-designed, the guestrooms at Bardessono present custom-crafted furnishings and commissioned art photography. Guestrooms are equipped with leading technology including a virtual surround speaker system, 40-inch Sony LCD HD TV, media hub and VOIP cordless telephone.

We were lucky enough to stay in one of the ground floor Steam Spa-Suites which had a spacious sitting area, a luxury bathroom, a see-through gas fireplace to divide the sitting area and bedroom, two flat screen TV’s and fully-furnished private courtyard with outdoor shower. Designed to double as a private spa, the 200 square foot custom bathroom had a concealed massage table, steam shower, double vanity and lots of storage.

But the absolute best part of the entire room? The outdoor stone tub. Admittedly, I’m a bath person. After a long day of work (or wine tasting) a nice long bath is the perfect way to unwind. Taking that experience outdoors was nothing short of amazing. The stone bath magically retains heat (even at night when it was a little on the cold side), is contoured to set your back and legs at the perfect angle for relaxation, and is situated in your own private garden oasis. If we didn’t have to leave, there is a good chance I would still be in there.

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Other things to do at Bardessono:

Operating around a food & beverage philosophy ruled by the seasons, Lucy Restaurant & Bar, the signature restaurant in Bardessono, offers fresh, innovative and garden-inspired cuisine that mirrors the contemporary aesthetics and eco-spirit of Bardessono’s design.

The gardens that you encounter around the property are not for show. Each day, the chefs source the vegetables, herbs, and fruits that make up the rotating menu. Lucy has become a Napa Valley favorite and iconic experience that emphasizes local production and sourcing.

Fostering a mutually-beneficial relationship with local suppliers, the culinary team at Lucy work closely with Napa Valley farmers and local organic dairy producers to create locally-inspired dishes.

Bardessono also offers a Fitness Room, weekly yoga for guests, rooftop pool that is open year round and complimentary bikes are available for rent at The Bike Shop.

A knowledgeable concierge serves as guests’ unlimited resource, offering guidance and access to local activities including Napa Valley Bike Tours and vineyard running trails.

The full- service Spa at Bardessono was named as a “Top 10 Green Spa” in 2015 by Organic Spa Magazine and offers services that include full-body massages, couples’ massages, facials, wraps, body polishes, invigorating hair treatments and styling as well as make-up services. For a unique experience, check out their Couples Experiences that take place in the privacy of your own room.

There are lots of options for lodging in Napa Valley, but Bardessono has succeeded in creating the best blend of luxury, privacy, design, and overall comfort. For your next trip to Napa Valley, Bardessono should be at the top of your hotel list.

Hotel pictures provided by bardessono

Embroidered Maxi Dress

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In a dream world, I would love to live in Hawaii (although I have never been) and surf all day – think Kate Bosworth in Blue Crush.

But since that hasn’t happened yet, I’ll settle for wearing surfer-chic brands from Swell. In addition to swimsuits and rash guards they have so many cute, laid-back clothing options.

This Embroidered Maxi Dress immediately caught my eye because of the colorful bib detail but the lightweight fabric and fun details – I’m obsessed with the back – made this the perfect dress to go from beach to food trucks in Seaside, Florida. 

Embroidered Maxi Dress, Fringe Earrings, Jack Rogers Sandals, Gold Watch, Kendra Scott Cuff, White Bracelet, OPI Nail Color