I received a lot of comments and email about my recent vacation. You guys want to know what I take to wear, what shoes I love, what books I read, what my kids do while we're away...and so many other things! This post is dedicated to the stuff I take on trips (and I'll answer all of your other questions too!). Let's get started...
My sunglasses probably received the most chatter. I love a basic aviator but these in particular can be found here at Nordstrom. If you don't want to spend the money on Ray-Bans, then I also wear and love these from Loft. I always take one pair of glasses with me on a trip, and to me, nothing is better than an aviator!
I also had a lot of questions about what shoes I walked in. One day, we walked 6 miles alone and then another day, we walked 3.5. Everyday, we walked and walked and walked (because that's what you do on European vacations!). I wore two kinds when we were at our ports. First, I wore my Sketcher's Go-Walks.
I originally bought these for outside with my kids. Everyday, I'm out front running around with my kiddos, going to the park, going on walks, and so I wanted an easy shoe to throw on for those activities. These shoes are so, so, so comfy that I've recommended them to my mom, my aunt, my clients...they're wonderful! They also come in a variety of colors too...but I, of course, bought pink! I absolutely love them! They also come in green, yellow, purple, grey, black, navy, and blue. I've washed mine in the washing machine twice and they wash great too. You will love these little shoes!
I also wore my Toms too. Toms are just easy. They're comfy and easy to throw on. They don't have a ton of sole support, but they work perfectly for walking and strolling on vacation. Plus, Toms are just so darn cute, right?!
I went online to find my Toms but since mine are two years old, they don't have them any longer. However...brace yourself...I found these...
...aren't these faded camo Toms just so cute?!?! I bought them. Yup. I just think they're the perfect little shoe especially for fall. I love, love, love them!
I couldn't find a picture of my shoes for our evening stuff (because they're 3 years old), so I'll use this one instead. On cruises, you often dress up at night, so I brought a neutral pair of heels to wear with everything. We dressed up 4 out of the 7 nights and these shoes worked perfectly with everything. When you're packing, try and bring as many basics as you can so that you don't over-pack. One great neutral pair of shoes should be able to work with all of your evening looks.
Sheaffer and I have blogged about these wedges so many times that I'm pretty sure each and every one of you own a pair. They are the most comfortable wedges you'll ever wear. Period. I like to wear wedges on an airplane because my legs are shorter and my feet don't touch the ground (so a wedge helps). If you are one of the few who don't have these shoes, you should get them. Today.
I picked up this cross-body bag a long time ago, and it's all I carry on vacations like this. I love a cross-body because they keep my hands free and are light. At home, I adore a big tote...but when traveling, I try and scale down. Since mine can't be found any longer, I have a few similar options here...
This bag is part of the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale, so it has a great price right now. It also comes in two other colors too.
I'm kind of obsessed with this Jessica Simpson bag too. It also comes in two other colors and looks really roomy and soft...perfect for traveling.
For a smaller cross-body option, I like this little faux-leather bag. It comes in 3 other colors as well.
I carried one large tote on the plane that held my magazines, books, iPad and whatnot. I started searching the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale for good totes to show you and oh.my.word...
Doesn't this faux-suede tote look luxurious?!? And it is on sale right now! A bag like this is perfect for traveling. Check it out in purple and black too.
I'm also loving this leopard tote. You would be the most stylish gal on the flight with this bag!
Now, on this trip, the weather was warm for us but when we go in the fall, it will be cooler. When you're packing for a cooler weather trip, you need to make sure you have the following 3 items...
1. A great pair of flat boots. Since these boots are marked down $80 right now, I tried them on last week...and bought them for my next trip. They're so cute, so comfy and my favorite part is the zipper in the back...
If you need a great boot for traveling (or just a great fall staple), I would highly recommend this pair!!
2. You need to pack a light-weight jacket. I love, love, love a little military jacket like this one from Old Navy. They're light, they're easy to pack, they go with everything and they layer well.
3. A great scarf is an airplane/travel essential. Airplanes are cold, so a scarf is the perfect layer. Plus, after you've been sitting/eating/napping/drinking on a plane for several hours, you just look rumbled...so a scarf is a nice way to hide the rumbled look. This taupe one is so pretty!
I also love this houndstooth one as well. It would look really chic thrown over a plain old t-shirt and jeans.
Questions! Questions! Questions! Here are some of your questions...
1. Does Andrew shop for himself? I like his personal style.
Yes. Andrew is a great shopper...he has better taste than me. Since he's 6'5", he's pretty particular about brands because it's rare to find a brand that fits his frame. He shops on his own and then I fold his stuff to put in the suitcase. He says he's not as good at folding as me...I'm pretty sure that's just his way of being lazy :).
2. What did I read on vacation?
I read 4 novels. Yes. Four! Between the two long flights, the day at sea and the evening time before bed, I managed to read four novels. One is a new book coming out in September that I was asked to review (more details on that later!) and then the other three are as followed:
I loved all three of them! They are total chick-lit, completely full of girly emotions, funny, lighthearted and easy to read. They were just plain FUN!
I also brought along 6 magazines and 4 cookbooks. On planes I like to read instead of watching TV, so with two 10 hour flights and two 3 hour flights total...I had a lot of "reading" time.
3. Do we follow any specific travel blogs?
No. We google and find blogs that mention places we are going and read their own personal reviews. Some of the blogs are people that live in the city and some are people that have traveled there. We find that blog opinions are more honest and specific than online reviews from other sources.
4. What did we eat while we were there?
Everything. The better question is probably what did we not eat! I had some people who thought we were crazy for eating burgers and Mexican food in Barcelona, but that was only two of the 10 meals we ate in Spain. We were in Spain a total of 5 days and ate two meals a day there...trust me, we ate a lot of local cuisine! We try not to be too rigid about where we eat. We walk, we tour and we stop when we're hungry. We ate a lot!
5. Do I mind leaving my kids behind?
I missed my kids so much! The funny thing is that I get grief about taking my kids with me (they've been to 13 countries people, it's not like we leave them at home all the time!), and then I get grief about leaving them at home. I can't win for losing.
This year, we decided to go just the two of us and leave them at home with their grandparents. About half the time we take them and half the time we don't. We have another little trip coming up this fall that we won't be taking them on either but then beginning next spring, they're going on two vacations with us...so, don't feel too sorry for Kensington and Smith. They had a wonderful time with both sets of their grandparents (they split the time and each watched them for 6 days), they were spoiled rotten, and then next year, they get to go on two vacations. I love my kids so very much and enjoy spending my days with them, however, sometimes it's nice to just spend time with Andrew.
6. Did we go into any of the casinos in Monte Carlo?
No. Casinos in Monte Carlo are not like the Casinos here. They are very formal (like, the men wear a tuxedo formal) and for most of them, you have to get pre-approval before you can get in. We just enjoyed the beautiful city.
7. Is Holland America my favorite cruise line?
It's one of them! This was my third Holland America cruise and so far, I have no complaints. As a travel agent, I come into contact with cruises all the time...my favorites would probably be Holland America, Norwegian and Princess. Royal Caribbean is good too...a lot of them are really wonderful, but those three are my faves.
8. Where is your next family vacation?
Some place with palm trees.
I hope this answered all of your questions! When you're packing for a trip, remember a few things:
1. Almost anywhere you go, there is a laundry service. Sometimes it's worth paying the $10 to have a hotel or cruise ship wash your jeans than to pack and weigh down your suitcase with extra pairs.
2. Andrew and I always split our stuff 50/50 between our two suitcases (or we split it 4 ways when we travel with our kids). There is nothing worse than arriving at your destination without your luggage. At least if you split it up, you'll have half of your stuff with you. No exceptions! Split it up!
3. Wear your heaviest shoes and/or coats on the plane. If you don't want to go over the weight limit for your checked luggage, wear it on board the plane.
4. Put anything liquid in a plastic bag before packing it. Anything. Sunscreen, lotion, makeup, hairspray, anything liquid should be in a baggie because it really stinks to open up your suitcase and find that it's exploded inside.
Don't forget to check out Mix and Match Mama today...
...we're linking up with my sweet friend Mel and her Summer Salad Swap!
Have a great day everyone!
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