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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!

How to Shop the Lilly Pulitzer After Party Sale

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Lilly Pulitzer only goes on sale twice a year and I’m sharing how to shop the Lilly Pulitzer After Party sale which starts tomorrow!

How to Shop the Lilly Pulitzer After Party Sale

What is the Lilly Pulitzer After Party Sale?
The Lilly Pulitzer After Party Sale is a 2-day sale taking place online and in Lilly Pulitzer owned retail stores where select styles are marked 70% off including women’s dresses, girls dresses and accessories. Prices are only marked down in January and August so NOW is the time to stock up. Keep scrolling for a sneak peek of what’s in the sale!

When is the Lilly Pulitzer After Party Sale? 
The After Party Sale begins at 8AM ET on Monday, August 22 2016 and ends at 11:59PM ET on Tuesday, August 23, 2016.

How to shop online? 
If you are shopping the morning of the sale, you may be placed in a virtual waiting room before entering the sale. Once you enter the site, you will have ONE TIME to check out before you are directed back to the virtual waiting room. So make sure to get what you want quickly!

For easy checkout, create an account beforehand. Enter your name, email address, and shipping information (a valid US shipping address that can accept packages for up to 2-3 weeks after the sale). Double check all your personal information so your package arrives to the right place.

How to shop in stores?
Lilly Pulitzer corporate retail stores are also participating in the After Party Sale. If you have your eye on a specific item, call ahead. All items online will not be in all retail stores.

How do I know my size?
Use TrueFit on the Lilly site to help find your size in 60 seconds. For reference, I am about 5’1″ and I wear an XS or XXS or 0 or 2 in dresses. I found the dresses that do not have a zipper fit a little bigger on me.

Anything else I should know?
All After Party Sale items are final sale and are not eligible for return or exchange and unfortunately no promo codes can be used.

And finally…watch this sneak peek of items that are going to be in the sale! Happy Lilly shopping!

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

Summer Whites at the Missouri Botanical Garden

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Summer nights in summer whites at the Missouri Botanical Garden is the dreamiest way to spend an evening in my opinion. I may be a little biased considering we had our wedding reception at the Spink Pavilion in the garden, but I love visiting this floral oasis in St. Louis.

Summer Whites at the Missouri Botanical Garden

Sensational Summer Nights is a garden-style happy hour that takes place each Thursday from Memorial Day to Labor Day from 5 PM – 8 PM. The event features cocktails, live music, seasonal bites and nitrogen ice cream so you can sip and see the gardens in a relatively uncrowded way which is right up my alley. Admission is $4 for adults, $3 for seniors, free for kids and free for Garden Members.

With temps in the 90’s well into the evening, I chose an all-white outfit to stay cool and comfortable while strolling through the rose bushes. I paired my linen top which comes in four colors and is on-super sale with my distressed white jeans and gold birks.

For a pop of color, I wore my new leather tassel necklace in dusty blue from Wild Juniper. Also available in gold, pale pink, army green, coral and lavender – there is a shade for everyone and every occasion including a night in the garden.

Sensational Summer Nights run through Labor Day so you still have two more weeks to attend the event. I highly recommend it for a date night or girls night out!

White Linen Top, White Distressed Jeans, Tassel Necklace, Gold Birkenstocks, Gold Aviators, Gold Watch, White Bracelet

SHOP THE LOOK: 

How I Stay Comfydent Working for Myself

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For the past five years, I have more or less worked for myself – owning a wedding invitation design business, freelance graphic design and writing this blog. I ditched the corporate world and said ‘goodbye’ to a 9-to-5 job.

While I love the freedom that I have to create my own schedule, taking this unconventional career path definitely creates moments where I don’t feel like I measure up amongst my peers. After all, it’s just me out there. No team, no management.

When I’m on deadline, the last thing I want to be thinking about is how uncomfortable my bra is or how badly I want to change my outfit.

My success depends upon my focus and creativity. I’m at my best when I’m cool, comfortable, and feeling confident. Thanks to my new Hanes Get Cozy ComfortFlex Fit® Seamless Pullover Bra and Cool Comfort® Cotton Bikini Panties I can grab my morning coffee, get right to work, and feel both COMFORTABLE and CONFIDENT all day long.

On those days when the doubt creeps in and my confidence is shaken, I am happy to have a brand like Hanes on my side reminding me to #BeComfydent.

From the Cool Comfort® wicking fabric to the Tagless® design, I never lose my cool in my Hanes. The Hanes Get Cozy ComfortFlex Fit® Seamless Pullover Bra is designed with ComfortFlex Fit®, a smart sizing fabric that takes the complication out of finding the perfect bra and gives the bra a super soft, stretchy feel. The pull-over style provides all day support and comfort and has become an absolute wardrobe essential that can easily be transitioned from day to night.

The Cool Comfort® Cotton Bikini Panties are made of soft, breathable cotton that come preshrunk for a lasting fit. The low-rise elastic waist fits gently for all day comfort, and they come in a variety of fun colors/designs.

What would you pay to feel polished, comfortable, and #BeComfydent in your own skin? Thanks to Hanes, you can feel your best without breaking the bank. At just $9.99 each, you may need to pick up the Hanes Get Cozy ComfortFlex Fit® Seamless Pullover Bra in a few shades. Even better, the Cool Comfort® Cotton Bikini Panties come in a pack of 6 for just $13.00. Visit Hanes.com for discounts and special offers.

Hanes Get Cozy ComfortFlex Fit® Seamless Pullover Bra, Cool Comfort® Cotton Bikini Panties

Hanes has made it their mission to give women the comfort they need to confidently navigate their daily lives. Join the movement and use the #BeComfydent hashtag as you post those moments where you rocked your next presentation, successfully juggled the kids all day, or trusted yourself to go out of your comfort zone.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Palm Print Dress in WaterColor Florida

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Sadly, our family vacation to WaterColor, Florida, is over but I still wanted to share this Palm Print Dress I wore on our trip to the beach.

Palm prints have been so popular again this summer and when I found this shift dress with a price tag of only $30, I had to throw my “around the world trip budget” momentarily out the window to be a part of the tropical trend.

WaterColor, Florida, continues to be one of my favorite spots to vacation each year and the coastal community located adjacent to Seaside, Florida, never disappoints.

The vibe is family-friendly, laid back and just plain ‘easy-living.’ Per The Seaside Style store, it is a place where “bare feet and sandy floors rule.”

Even though you could survive on swimsuits and coverups in this beach town, I prefer to throw on a summer sundress for an evening out for cocktails or dinner – even if that means I ride my bike in a dress!

Speaking of bikes, we rented ours from Salt Air 30A for the first time this year and I couldn’t have been happier with our choice. The bikes were delivered on time, high-quality and just plain adorable with their teal, orange and blue color scheme. I highly recommend renting from them!

I’m already looking forward to our trip back next year and maybe you are too! Check out my 30A Travel Blend to see all of my favorite spots to stay and play in WaterColor, Seaside, Rosemary Beach and Alys Beach.

Palm Print Dress (more sizes here), Kendra Scott Necklace, Oliver Peoples Sunglasses, Gold Watch, MAC Lipstick, MAC Lipliner, Ivory Wedge (similar)

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

Cabana Life SPF Coverup Dress

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I am spending the week in WaterColor, Florida, for a beach vacation with my entire family and this Cabana Life SPF Coverup Dress has been a lifesaver since temperatures have been in the high 90’s.

It not only has 50+ UV protection; it is lightweight, breathable and looks super cute for riding to the beach and around the pool on 30A.  

Although, I am admittedly a sun-worshipper, I have learned how important it is to protect myself from the rays – especially in sun-drenched places like the Gulf Coast. So, I am totally a fan of SPF clothing when on vacation and will be packing some for my upcoming trip where I will be traveling to mostly warm climates.

Enter Cabana Life – THE leader in sun-protective beach clothing with 50+ UV protection in each piece. The brand offers everything from swimsuits to coverups to clothing – for women, men and kids. All in cute patterns and styles to keep you and your entire family protected from the sun and stylish at the same time.

One of my favorite pieces from the recent collection is this Cabana Life SPF Coverup Dress. It didn’t wrinkle in my suitcase at all because of the fast-drying, swimsuit material and fits perfectly (form-fitted but not too tight). There are even two pockets in the front of the dress to stash your keys or cell phone while cruising around town.

Do you know what the best part is?! Cabana Life is offering all readers of Everyday Cuvée 30% OFF everything on the site! Simply enter code COURTNEY16 at checkout and let me know what pieces you find!

Cabana Life SPF Dress (c/o), Sunglasses, Jack Rogers Sandals, Turkish Towel, Beach Hat, Bike from Salt Air 30A

What left in the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale

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With only 5 more days of the #nsale, I’m sharing What’s Left in the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale…fitness edition!

I don’t know about you, but a new workout outfit gets me motivated to break a sweat and feel confident while doing so. Lately, I’ve been logging a lot of miles on the path and these Nikes are the perfect pair for long distances. Plus, they are pretty stylish.

Leggings, Sports Bras and Socks are always on my shopping list since those are necessary for every workout. And cooler temperatures call for a Jacket or Sweatshirt to keep warm going to and from.

  1. Hi-Neck Sports Bra (2-pack) – Normally $38, now $24.90
  2. Nike Dri-Fit Tank – Normally $40, now $25.90
  3. Sports Bra (2-pack) – Normally $38, now $24.90
  4.  Nike Running Shoes – Normally $120, now $89.90
  5. Running Socks (3-pack) – Normally $24, now $15.90
  6. Workout Jacket – Normally $88, now $57.90
  7. Leggings – Normally $52, now $32.90
  8. Pullover Sweatshirt – Normally $78, now $51.90

Embroidered Top and White Ripped Jeans

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In a few weeks, we’re having a family picture taken at the beach and this embroidered top and white ripped jeans are in the running for our pastel-themed shoot. 

Each year, we’ve attempted to capture the little ones in our family (eight kids ages six and under) in a picture-perfect moment where everyone is laughing and smiling but it has never worked.

This year we are leaving it up to a professional which I couldn’t be happier about because Michael and I are usually the ones behind the camera on those ill-fated attempts.

We are gifting my mom with the shoot as a thank you for our yearly trip to WaterColor so we let her dictate the color scheme of the photo – light blue, khaki, white, light pink and peach.  The pastel hues will be perfect for photos by the beach at sunset.

This embroidered top is only $34.99 and is available in all sizes. The white embroidered detail is so delicate and looks way more expensive than the cost of the shirt and the tassels…they are my favorite detail!

It is a touch see-through when the light hits it right so you could wear a camisole underneath for modesty.

I paired the lightweight, summery blouse with my white ripped jeans and tassel earrings (seen here and here) and can’t wait to re-wear this casual outfit in a couple weeks on 30A.

Don’t forget to shop the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale – prices go up August 8th! There are still so many amazing deals available so happy shopping!

Embroidered Top and White Ripped Jeans, Lisi Lerch Tassel Earrings, Jack Rogers Gold Sandals, Ray-Ban Sunglasses, Rattan Clutch (old from J. Crew Factory)

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!