White Eyelet Shirt Dress

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Summer provides the perfect excuse to wear white. It’s chic, timeless and keeps you cool. The newest addition to my white repertoire – a cotton eyelet shirtdress that I wore when exploring Playa Mujeres. I packed a few essentials in my take-everywhere tote and hit the road for some ice cream, shopping and cocktails.

Note: The top of the dress is a bit see through so I felt more comfortable with a camisole underneath. 

White Eyelet Shirtdress, Mar Y Sol Caracas Tote, Black Leather Sandals, Warby Parker Sunglasses, Gold Watch 

How do plan an Around the World Trip?

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Two of the biggest questions Michael and I have received about our upcoming trip are: “How do you plan an Around the World Trip?” and “How do you choose which countries to visit?”

Well, as one might expect, those questions don’t come with easy answers. After all, there are roughly 194 recognized countries scattered across 7 continents and 5 oceans. Time constraints, route logistics, packing lists/visa requirements, climate, and budget are just some of the topics to consider. With all of these factors bouncing around your head, figuring out where to begin may be the hardest part.

Before you can really start diving into planning, you need to figure out where you want to go. For beginner travelers like us, this can be a daunting task. We suggest that you take the advice offered by our close friends at Round We Go and make a list.

After a few celebratory glasses of bubbly on New Year’s Eve 2015, Michael and I both wrote down the 10 places that we would most like to visit on separate pieces of paper. Once completed, we looked at the lists side by side. Any countries/cities that appeared on both lists automatically made it onto the ‘must-visit’ list.

At this point, it starts to get really fun! We printed out a copy of a world map (like the below which shows the places we are going) and marked the map with our ‘must-visit’ stops. Then, we connected the dots (starting in the US) going in an East to West direction. You can do it in reverse as well.

The order doesn’t matter as much as connecting the stops in a consistent direction (trying not to back track). We will go more into this later in Part Two when we discuss ‘How to book a Round the World Flight’, but for now just trust us.

Once complete, take a look at the lines connecting stops. What countries lie between Stop 1 and Stop 2? If one of those countries is on either your or your travel partner’s top 10 list, then consider adding it to the ‘must-visit’ list. For example, maybe you both have Barcelona, Spain and Venice, Italy on your lists. Lying between the two is the South of France. Is Marseille, Nice, Monaco, or Cannes on one of your lists? If so, consider taking the train from Barcelona across the region on your way to Venice.

We think it is better to start with a broader itinerary and edit down naturally once you get into the time of year you are visiting, the amount of time you have, your budget, your interests, etc. It becomes a lot easier than you think. In the above example, we found that the overall train time from Barcelona to Venice is about 24 hours. With a few scheduled full day stops in Marseille and Nice, our total travel time ballooned to 3-4 days.

While this would definitely make for an amazing experience, it would force us to lose a day each in Venice, Florence, and Rome in order to make our fixed departure flight to Paris so we opted to fly from Barcelona directly to Venice instead. The flight is under 2 hours, less than half the cost of the train trip, and allows us to take our time going through Italy (which topped both of our lists anyway).

Figuring out the ideal itinerary will vary from person to person, but we think this is a great place to start.

Some key points to consider when planning an around the world trip:

Costs – Chances are, you are traveling on a fixed budget. Check out locations where the US dollar is strongest. South America (Brazil, Argentina, Chile, etc.), South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand top the list this year. Consider visiting countries on the shoulder season (before or after their busiest tourist times) to save on everything from food to flights.

Get a little more bang for your buck by staying in an Airbnb instead of a hotel, hit the market for a bottle of wine and a picnic lunch instead of restaurant meals, and opt for overnight trains/flights to save on accommodation and maximize your time in the next city.

Climate – You will most likely be carrying all your clothes on your back. Packing (and carrying around) clothes for a bunch of different seasons is not a good idea. We are timing our departure (and route) to follow summer temperatures as much as possible.

Packing t-shirts and shirts is a whole lot lighter than sweaters and coats. Make sure to note important things like the rain/monsoon seasons. Nothing deflates a beach vacation like endless rain.

Comfort – Getting out of your comfort zone is one of the most precious gifts that travel provides. However, finding time to indulge in your creature comforts can help you appreciate them even more while recharging your batteries for the next leg of your trip. This could be a slice of pizza, a warm bath, or a night’s stay in a fancy hotel.

One of Michael’s favorite travel memories so far was a trip to Nepal to hike in the Himalayas. After a week of eating mostly dal bhat (the standard Nepalese rice and lentil dish) he stumbled upon a wine bar in Kathmandu that had French wine, charcuterie, and imported cheeses. That little treat became a memorable part of the trip and even though it was a splurge at the time, it was well worth it.

Stay tuned for Part Two where we discuss ‘How to book a Round the World Flight‘ and keep following our Around the World trip travel series!

Pleated Maxi Dress

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It may be obvious because of my invitation studio, but I am a sucker for weddings. And, especially, dressing up for weddings. Everyone dusts off their fancy duds and kicks back for a fun-filled night of dinner and dancing.

Because this was the first wedding that I actually attended on the beach it was the perfect scenario for a maxi dress. Easy, breezy and perfect for dancing, this pleated maxi dress was also easy on my wallet at only $79.50!

My husband, Michael, played quite the dapper date in his Ludlow suit, Chambray Tie and Pocket Square from Tie Bar.

Pleated Maxi Dress, Ear Crawlers, Gold Clutch, Manolo Blahnik Gold Sandals, Gold Watch, Pave Gold Bracelet, Gold Aviators

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

Nashville –

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Michael and I hit the road this past weekend and headed down south to Nashville to see one of my best friends from college, Rachel, and her beautiful family! Even though the drive lasted seven hours we passed the time by listening to Girl on The Train and enjoying the lush spring scenery through Kentucky. We had an action-packed weekend and really fell in love with the city – thanks to our fabulous hosts! 

The highlights… 

The Company – Even though we talk frequently, I hadn’t seen Rachel or her husband, Bryan, since our wedding almost a year and had never met her youngest son, Jude. In addition to Jude, Rachel and Bryan have a rambunctious three year old, George, who kept Michael and I entertained all weekend and expertly added a third syllable to my name – Court-tay-nee. They welcomed us into their gorgeous home located in the Green Hills neighborhood of Nashville – a short drive from downtown – and made our stay more than enjoyable with a coffee bar, fresh flowers, magazines and snacks all laid out in our room. We laughed, caught up and just enjoyed “being together.”

The City – This was only my second-time to the music city and Michael’s first so we made sure to see as much as possible minus any honky-tonks. We attended a wine-tasting hosted by Bryan’s company at a rooftop downtown overlooking the city skyline,  ran in Percy Warner Park and along Belle Meade Boulevard where I basically drooled at all the stately Southern mansions, shopped and walked around 12 South (my favorite neighborhood by far with the cutest general store, White’s Mercantile, and denim-boutique Imogene + Willie) and Marathon Village, checked out Hatch Show Print and had fabulous meals – all while basking in the warm sun.

The Food  We ate so.much.good.food including a pre-birthday dinner for Michael at Husk, a “sugar board” at Sinema (check out our #sinemaselfie below and make sure to get the Basil Instinct cocktail), brunch at Pinewood Social (can you please come to Chicago?), hot chicken at Hattie B’s, BBQ for Edley’s and more desserts than I have had in months – sno-cones from Retro Sno, popsicles from Las Paletas, marshmallows from The Bang Candy Company and ice cream cones from Bobbie’s Dairy Dip. 

We will definitely be planning another trip back soon – there is still so much to see!

           

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.

bardessono_hotel High-Res-Exterior-Porte-Cochere Exterior-Magnolia-Courtyard hammock_bardessonobardessono_barHill Family Estate WineBardessono-Exterior-CourtyardExterior-Pool-DeckWhere to Stay in Yountville

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.

Bardessono-FireplaceRelaxing at Bardessono LR2-Bardessono Bathr#3886DEOutdoorBathtubShower_Bardessono High-Res-Bardessono-Suite-(Wide-Angle)-copy

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

Round the World Packing List: Clothing and Accessories

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Making a Round the World packing list has been one of the hardest parts for me when planning our adventure. The thought of carrying six months worth of clothing, shoes, accessories, toiletries and tech stuff in one large backpack and one carry-on daypack truly frightened me to my core.

Round the World Packing List

I’ve had to throw the ‘style blogger’ part of me out the window and seek out clothing and accessories that will work in a myriad of destinations, climates and occasions. I want to be comfortable, dry, and not look like a total tourist (but hey, I am and I will probably look like one most of the time).

I’ll be sharing my Round the World packing lists in a few parts because there is way too much to cover in one post. Up first is for clothing and accessories. Next, I will be sharing toiletries and first aid supplies, technology and carry-on essentials in three separate posts.

Round the World Packing List: Clothing and Accessories

In order to keep my options streamlined and my head from going crazy, I chose a color palette of black, gray, khaki, white and army green so that each piece could work with everything else in my bag. I, also, really embraced the “athleisure” trend focusing on non-wrinkle, moisture-wicking materials and layers to keep me cool and fresh.

Luggage:

  • Osprey Womens Ariel 65 Backpack in Vermillion Red – Even when I am carrying 30 pounds of weight in this pack, it is comfortable and easy to manage. I got fitted at an outdoors store and I am glad that I did because I felt most comfortable wearing the small backpack size, but needed the “medium” back insert for the pack to sit in the right spot at my hips and and back.
  • Osprey Daypack – This is my carry-on bag that will hold all of my in-flight essentials and things I want to keep on me at all times (passport, license, medicine, etc.). I chose this version because it attaches to my larger pack very easily. It is adequate and will do the job.
  • 4 packing cubes (Large, Medium, Small and Extra-Small) – Even if you aren’t traveling with a backpack, you should use packing cubes. They keep your items organized and somehow create space in your luggage.
  • Compression bag – To decrease the size of my coats, these work wonders!

Jackets/Coats/Poncho:

  • North Face Down Jacket – To keep warm at night on safari, hiking and more, plus it packs down super small. My husband got the men’s version (twinning!)
  • North Face Waterproof Rain Jacket Parka – I love this rain jacket because the hem is longer so you won’t get your butt wet when sitting down. Plus the hood folds into the collar so you can tuck it away when you are not wearing it.
  • Athleta Green Anorak – The gold zippers were the selling point on this one and I liked that this would make an outfit a little dressier. The hood also folds into the collar on this jacket as well.
  • North Face Poncho Sweatshirt – This is going to be my go-to cozy, wear on every flight and cuddle-up piece. The material is very soft and the collar is big enough to curl up in during long flights and train rides.
  • 1 Lululemon zip-up jacket – For workouts, hikes and more

Tops:

  • 2 long sleeve, moisture-wicking shirts (1 gray and 1 white)
  • 2 short sleeve, moisture-wicking shirts (1 gray and 1 dark gray)
  • 2 moisture wicking tanks with built-in bras (1 gray and 1 black)
  • 2 cotton, v-neck t-shirts (1 gray and 1 white)
  • Gray, sleeveless tie-back tank – No real necessity here, but I just bought it and really liked it. Maybe I’ll do yoga in Bali wearing it!
  • Wrap-around cardigan – To wear when I need to keep warm and cover up in traditional cultures or venues like a church
  • Black long-sleeve sweatshirt – Seriously, the softest sweatshirt you will ever own. I, also, think you could swap this out with a hooded sweathshirt.
  • Chambray shirt – Because I never, ever leave home without it

Dresses:

  • 3/4 sleeve black dress and 3/4 sleeve gray dress – For sightseeing, dinners and winery visits in Europe and South Africa
  • Green shirtdress – Wrinkle-free and SPF+ 50 protected
  • Black maxi dress – For dinners, dressier occasions and potentially as a beach coverup

Bottoms:

  • Black skinny distressed jeans – My “dressy” pant for sightseeing, going to lunch and dinner
  • 2 pairs of hiking/active shorts (1 black and 1 green) – Have SPF 50+ protection, lots of zippers and a comfortable waistband
  • 2 pairs of hiking/active pants (1 black and 1 khaki for safari) – Have SPF 50+ protection, lots of zippers and a comfortable waistband
  • Black running shorts – For workouts and hiking
  • Black cropped yoga pants – For workouts, hiking and general to and fro
  • Black skirt (with built-in shorts)- The bow makes this a skirt a little dressy. Plus, it has SPF 50+ protection.
  • Comfy jogger pants – For lounging, airport travel and sleep

Undergarments/Socks:

  • Underwire bra
  • Comfort bra – This version packs up super small so I threw it in at the last minute
  • 2 sports bras – One from Lululemon and one from Athleta
  • 10 pairs of underwear – The BEST I’ve found for working out and active stuff
  • 2 pairs of hiking socks – I am able to wear the kids version which saves me money!
  • 3 pairs of moisture-wicking running socks
  • 2 pairs of ankle socks
  • 1 pair of ActiveLayer long underwear in heather gray (top and bottom) –  For sleeping in colder climates and hiking. I typically would choose black but read a few blogs that mosquitoes in Africa are more attracted to blacks and blues.

Shoes:

  • Black flats – These are amazing because they are so supportive, comfortable and have a rubber sole with traction. I’ll be wearing these out to dinner and nicer spots mostly in Europe, South Africa and Australia. They are so small I can throw them in my purse too.
  • Black Nike tennis shoes – For all airport travel, sightseeing and easy jogs
  • Waterproof hiking/trail shoe – Since most hiking shoes are very bulky, I have a hard time really loving any of these types of shoes. However, I know I need them for support and to keep comfortable on our hikes. So after trying and buying a few pairs, I am happy with my choice and like that they are black, gray and white to match my color scheme since alot of hiking boots are the color of dirt ????
  • Black Teva sandals with ankle strap – For water sports and walking around hot climates like India, Nepal and SE Asia
  • Black rubber flip flops – For the beach, walking around at hotels and lodges, and less than stellar shower floors

Accessories:

  • Two-piece bikini (top and bottom)
  • One-piece swimsuit
  • Scarf – To keep warm on airplanes, colder climates and “fancy-up” my dresses
  • Red bandana
  • “Sporty” watch with an army-green band to match my color scheme
  • Baseball cap – For bad hair days and plane rides
  • White running hat – For workouts, hikes and water sports
  • Stretchy workout headband
  • Crossbody purse – I like to keep my passport, phone and wallet in front of me so I searched near and far for the right crossbody bag ultimately choosing this one because of the three zippered pockets, great price and stylish look. I will mostly carry this in the beginning of our trip and stowing it away in some countries.
  • Passport case – with a gold monogram of course
  • RIFD-safe wallet
  • Turkish towel – As a coverup or towel for the beach, blanket or scarf
  • Foldup Resuable Tote – For the beach, to pack a picnic, carry groceries and wine or just about anything
  • Tassel earrings – I know, this may seem a little strange but I feel totally glam when I wear these earrings. We will be celebrating Thanksgiving with our cousins when abroad and the holiday has typically been a black-tie dress code so I wanted “something” to make me feel fancy!

After months of planning and packing and buying and returning, I feel confident with my Round the World Packing List and the clothing and accessories I have chosen. With that being said, I may find that some items were unnecessary or that I couldn’t live without X, Y or Z. Therefore, I will update this list when needed!

Can you believe that entire Round the World packing list fit into one backpack and one daypack? I couldn’t either! Make sure to come back from my Toiletries/Cosmetics/First Aid, Technology and Carry-on Packing Lists.

Want to see how our Round the World trip is going? Follow along on Instagram and Facebook and here on the blog!

Lisbon City Guide – What to do in Portugal

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I would bet that a Lisbon City Guide, or Portugal in general, is not on your list of must-visit European destinations. It doesn’t have the romantic allure that thoughts of visits to France or Italy evoke, but that is only because so few of us really know about this magical place where castles still rise above the walled cities below, narrow cobblestone streets lead you toward the sounds of ancient music, and an afternoon can totally be centered around a good espresso and a simple pastry with a secret recipe.

Lisbon City Guide // Everyday Cuvée

There’s way more to Lisbon than meets the eye, but if you start with this Lisbon City Guide you are guaranteed to come away with the perfect mix of culture, food, and relaxation.

Lisbon City Guide

Hotel:

There are many different areas of Lisbon where you can rest your head at night, but we chose the Alfama district. Known as the oldest part of Lisbon, birthplace to Portugal’s famous Fado music, and a central location to most of the sights, Alfama proved to be the perfect mix between old and new.

We stayed at an Airbnb nearby, but if you are interested in a hotel in the area look no further than Memmo Alfama. Tucked away on one of the many narrow, cobblestoned side streets that make up Lisbon, the Memmo Alfama is the perfect base from which to explore the city.

With a minimal, modern design aesthetic of tans and crisp whites, you can’t help but to relax. If you need any further boost, head to the second floor terrace overlooking the Tagus River and surrounding Lisbon below.

Here, you will find a small swimming pool, lounge chairs and tables for lunch, dinner or cocktails. Catching the sunset with a glass of port or champagne in hand will reinforce your good decision to stay here.

Brunch:

The idea of brunch isn’t really one that has taken root here. We found most restaurants didn’t open until 10am and the offering was much more geared to a quick espresso and pastry (like the ubiquitous pastel de nata-a sweet, egg custard tart with a caramelized top) than a mimosa and eggs benedict.

No bother, though, because after a late night drinking local Portuguese wines (more on that later) and listening to the haunting melancholic sounds of Fado you will probably sleep in.

If you’re a coffee and full breakfast type of person, you might want to gravitate to a Western hotel chain or one of the central plazas that have adapted to tourist requests, but what fun is that?

Take a walk around your neighborhood until you find a café bustling with locals and find a seat. Our favorite spot was Pois Cafe in Alfama, where the eclectic mix of artwork and furniture mirrored the multi-national clientele we shared a communal table with.

Order your coffee of choice (be aware that the Portuguese like their espresso STRONG-it’s too bitter for me so I opt for a cappuccino or latte) and a tosta mista (basically local ham and cheese on toasted bread-add egg if you want).

More the type to grab a venti latte and banana on the go? Good luck to you. The Portuguese frown upon drinking or eating while walking. I’m not sure I ever saw a to-go cup.

If you’re in a hurry, tell them you want to take your coffee there at the counter and they’ll serve it to you where you stand, but you might as well take a seat and enjoy your coffee while you try to give your legs a pep talk for the steep streets you will be climbing all day.

Lunch:

If you live or have spent any time in a major city, you have probably come across TimeOut magazine. Best known for their curated “best of” lists, the editors of TimeOut Lisbon turned their digital opinions into a real-life experience via their TimeOut Market.

Located just off of the Tagus River and in a converted bus terminal, the market reminds one of San Francisco’s Ferry Building or an old-school beer hall.

They have taken the best purveyors of Portuguese products (paper, books, clothing, soaps, etc.), food (seafood, ham, cheese, meats, etc.) and drinks (port, still wines, beer, and spirits) and given them a space to showcase what they do best.

Grab a beer or glass of wine on the way in, do a loop to see which place or places pique your interest, and away you go. A lot of the menus at the local restaurants are the same so being able to try some of the most innovative takes on Portuguese cuisine under one roof was time well spent. You’re close to the sea so now is the time to load up on seafood.

Tip: there are three restaurants facing the river that have terrace seating. Snack your way over there and then order a bottle of wine and soak up the sun while you plot your next move.

Cocktails:

Like most big cities, Lisbon has been influenced by the craft cocktail resurgence but it’s not their specialty. You’ll find caipirinhas, mojitos, and the like on offer for happy hour, but I would suggest enjoying the local wine and ports as much as possible.

My favorite white wine was the simple Vinho Verde-crisp, light, and with a touch of effervescence. It is a perfect pairing for all the seafood you will be eating. At under €10 per bottle at most restaurants, it’s a steal.

The reds are just as good and you can easily find a Vin Tinto from the Douro Valley a couple hours north of Lisbon for €12 or less.

For me, cocktail hour is all about location and being on or near the water is just about perfect. If you’re in the central plaza of Lisbon, you might like to people watch over a mojito at one of the many restaurants circling the plaza or take a cue from the mobile cocktail cart (pictured above) and take your cocktail to the steps overlooking the Tagus River and watch the day go by.

Looking for something a little more polished? Try the Decadente Restaurant & Bar in the hip Bairro Alta district. They serve great local cuisine here as well, but if you can grab a seat on one of the communal tables outside you can enjoy your cocktail, live music, and maybe meet some fellow travelers too!

Dinner:

If you’ve been out walking Lisbon all day, chances are your body is pretty tired by the time dinner rolls along. Indulge in a short nap if you’re able to as the Portuguese (like the Spanish) don’t start thinking about dinner until around 9pm.

We went to a few fun dinners, but the most memorable was one we stumbled upon after deciding we didn’t want to venture too far from our flat.

Ao Pe de Sé was located just a short walk away on a slope facing the walls of the Cattderale di Lisbona all the tuk tuks stopped at. As the light lit up the stone walls across the way and the faint sounds of Fado music rose up from the streets below, we knew we had to stop.

Focusing on seafood (much of it raw), we dined on an excellent mixed-fish ceviche, tuna tartar, and salmon carpaccio. It was the best food we had in Lisbon by far.

Coffee:

I consider myself a coffee person, but the Portuguese take this label to a whole other level. First of all, keep in mind that the term coffee refers more generally to a shot of espresso. Despite the culture that has developed around coffee, it isn’t very common to see standalone coffee shops.

Most restaurants, cafés, and bars make espresso. It is not unusual to see the locals popping into a local café throughout the day for a little boost (3-5 per day seems to be the norm).

So, if you are looking for something a little less high octane, make note of how to order what you are looking for. The closest approximation of a latte is either the “meia de leite” (half coffee, half milk, foam on top) or “um galão” (one-quarter coffee, three-quarters milk, foam on top).

If that fails, you can always go with a standard cappuccino. That term seems to be universal.

Activity:

After you’ve walked the streets of Lisbon, take a ride on the famous Tram 28. This cable car will give you a ride up and down the streets of Lisbon taking you through historic neighborhoods.

The ride lasts about about 45 minutes and has about 30 stops throughout the city where you can jump on. The ticket cost under €5 and you can pay the driver on board, in cash.

Have an additional half-day to explore? Buy a ticket and board a boat to travel west on the Tagus River to visit the town of Bélem.

Not only will you receive a beautiful panoramic view of the city, you will get a wonderful view of the 25 de Abril bridge, a canny resemblance to the Golden Gate Bridge, and the Cristo Rei Statue inspired by the Christ the King statue in Rio de Janeiro.

Bélem is home to many historic sites including the Jerónimos Monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the Tower of Belém, a military outpost built to protect the Tagus Estuary from pirates and enemy attacks. You can buy tickets to explore each destination more in depth with a tour of each monument.

Whatever you do, don’t leave Bélem without trying the pastel de nata from Pastéis de Bélem. You can’t beat the original.

Have an additional full day to explore? Buy a train ticket to the town of Sintra which will take about 45 minutes and is home to the Moorish Castle and Pena Palace, a Disney-like, real-life palace.

If you don’t have a CP pass already, then you need to stand in line at the ticket office to buy both the train ticket and the pass. The trains run pretty frequently so you can just show up to the station.

Once you arrive to the train station in Sintra, turn to your right to board the 434 bus which cost €5 per person, paid in cash to the driver. The 434 bus is the public transportation option that stops at three destinations in a circular route.

We skipped the first stop and exited the bus at the Moorish Castle. Little did we know that you needed to purchase a ticket for both the Moorish Castle and Pena Palace, so we waited in long lines at both. I suggest purchasing your tickets online in advance of your visit.

After walking around the Moorish Castle for about 45 minutes, we walked uphill to the Pena Palace instead of boarding the 434 bus. It was definitely an uphill haul but would have taken longer to get back on the bus.

Due to large crowds, we decided not to tour inside the palace but instead enjoyed exterior views and the Sherwood Forest-esque grounds surrounding the palace.

Shopping:

A Vida Portuguesa is a one-stop shop to stock up on locally-made, handcrafted products for your home or personal use. Also keep your eyes open for any local shops selling handcrafted Portuguese tiles, known as azulejos, as this is what the area is known for.

Should you need to pick up anything else while you are here, don’t fret. The central shopping district just a few blocks off of the main plaza is dotted with the likes of H&M, Zara, and Mango. You’ll find whatever you are looking for.

I hope this Lisbon City Guide has you excited to visit this beautiful Portuguese city and please let me know if you have any questions by posting a comment below.

And make sure to follow our entire Round the World trip on the blog and Instagram!

Around the World Trip

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Today, I have some exciting, life-changing and somewhat nerve-racking news to share: my husband and I are embarking on an Around the World Trip!

Later this year, we will be leaving the US of A behind to explore the world! The loosely formed itinerary begins in Europe with plans to make our way through Africa, India, Nepal, Southeast Asia, New Zealand, Australia, and South America — all with our belongings on our backs.

Thus far, my international travel has been limited to Mexico, Costa Rica and the Bahamas so this is a HUGE adventure for me. I am nervous and excited all at the same time.

For those closest to me, this leap comes as a pretty big surprise. I dream big, but I scare easily. I have always wanted to see, explore, and experience the world, but I also find safety and security in family and home. I don’t mind taking risks, but I prefer to have a safety net.

Over the last few years, Michael and I found ourselves daydreaming about a trip like this when talking about the travels of some our closest family and dear friends. Hearing their colorful stories of long train rides across India, the majesty of wildlife on safari in Africa, leisurely lunches in Parisian cafés and the bustling streets of Vietnam made us long to bring those experiences to life.

Don’t get me wrong. I still want a family, a home, and a fulfilling career. But I also know that I would always regret letting this amazing opportunity pass by.

We are choosing to take a leap. To try. To throw conventional wisdom out the window. To invest in experiences and believe in ourselves. To take the long way home.

In the coming months, I’ll be sharing more details about the planning process for our Around the World trip, including our final itinerary, packing lists, and tips we have picked up along the way.

Once we hit the road, our goal is to document our experiences here and highlight the ‘best of’ moments and destinations as we make our way across the globe.

Athleta Trekkie Pants, Around the World Backpack, White V-Neck Tee, Sunglasses, Bandana, Flip Flops

I’d love to have you follow along on our Around the World trip adventure and if you’ve have any recommendations as to where to go and what to see, please let me know in the comments below!

Lilly Pulitzer Blythe Dress and Monogrammed Straw Clutch

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What’s more perfect than a Lilly Pulitzer Blythe Dress and Monogrammed Straw Clutch for a bright, colorful look at the beach? Not much in my opinion!

I’ve always been a fan of the bold prints from Lilly, but never owned one of her iconic dresses. So after a rain-soaked afternoon hiding indoors, I purchased my first Lilly dress at Barefoot Princess in WaterColor in a fun, fresh ‘light as a feather’ pattern.

The swing shape of the cotton v-neck dress provides a loose, laid back look perfect for an evening at the WaterColor wine bar with my mom and Michael. And this dress is more affordable than most Lilly dresses – at only $98, you can have the “Lilly look for less”!

Sizing tip: order down a size or two. For reference, I am wearing an XXS and am 5’1″. I normally wear an XS or S in dresses.

Besides my luggage, I only packed two bags with me for vacation – my beach bag and my brand new Monogrammed Straw Clutch from Lindroth Design. To say I am obsessed with this clutch is an understatement.

Painted with bright pink and white stripes and featuring my monogram ‘CCM’, I have carried this bag with me everywhere. It is large enough to hold all of my essentials – my iPhone, small wallet, sunglasses and case, lipstick and lipliner – and looks cute during the day or night.

You can choose from 21 different colors for the stripes and monogram hand-painted on the bag and they only take about 3-5 business days to create. Lindroth Design also offers beach bags and small straw handle bags with the same iconic stripes and monograms. I’ll be adding the Lyford Bag to my wish list!

Make sure to follow me on Instagram to see more of my vacation fun! It’s been raining non-stop but we’re making the most of it!

Lilly Pulitzer Blythe Dress, Monogrammed Straw Clutch, Jack Rogers Jelly Sandals, Gold Watch, Gold Aviator Sunglasses, White Bangle, Pink Bangle, MAC Lipstick, MAC Lipliner