2018 Travel Goals

Last January, when I shared my 2017 Travel Goals, I set some pretty high expectations. I actually only hit 2 of 6, but considering we got married, I’ll say it was a pretty exciting year! Here’s what I did:

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Visited the surreal land known as Iceland’s Golden Circle

Toured the volcanoes & glaciers of Southern Iceland

Watched sunset (or lack thereof!) from the Blue Lagoon

Explored Reykjavik for a weekend

Spent a warm summer day swimming in Lake Zurich

Had the most incredible week in Cape Town, South Africa

Hit the S.A. Cape Winelands via both Franschhoek and Stellenbosch

Hit our #1 bucket list item by going on a 4-day safari (post coming!)

Drank beer & ate sausages during Oktoberfest in Munich (post coming!)

Got married in the beautiful, charming town of Saratoga Springs, NY!

Per usual, we took countless trips to Atlanta & South Jersey, along with Key West, New York City, Asheville (twice), Vermont and Miami!

All in all, 2017 was my best year yet and we went hit some major bucket list items.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 2018 TRAVEL GOALS ~~~~~~~~~~~~~

It’s safe to say we had a pretty big 2017, travel wise. After all, we hit 3 continents, over 5 countries, and countless cities. Normally, I would say that’s par for the course, but then I remind myself that we planned a wedding, had 2 showers, our bachelor(ette) parties & a huge wedding weekend! Whew, 2018 has some big shoes to fill! Now I’m not sure how realistic this is, but that’s why they call them goals

Tanzania + Kenya

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Yes, we want to go back. The best time (so I’ve heard) to hit the migration in Tanzania & Kenya is likely fall again, so I’m not sure if we can swing it by then. If we can’t, this is 100% happening in 2019! It’s back as #1 on my bucket list. If I’m being honest, I would forego any other vacation in 2018 just to return to Africa. It has my heart.

Italy

My husband has never been to Italy and I am dyinggggg to take him! Last time I went to Italy, I had some unlucky weather so I would love to go back to Cinque Terra, the Amalfi Coast & Northern Italy to enjoy some warm weather & delicious wine. If we can’t make Africa happen, we may do this for our 1 year anniversary (which we’ll likely celebrate around Labor Day, as we did our honeymoon).

Bali

This may look familiar as it was on my 2017 travel list. It was actually our honeymoon “backup” plan, but lucky for us Africa was where we went. I’m torn with Asia because part of my just wants to go to Bali, knock it off the list, and get a taste of the Far East (no pun intended). The other part of me wants to wait until we move from Boston, take a month to explore and hit all of SouthEast Asia at once. Any suggestions here?

Ireland

 

Similar to Iceland, Ireland is a close 5 hour plane ride from Boston. Fares are inexpensive and it’s an easy flight. I would love to go over 4th of July weekend or another holiday where we can take 2 days, enjoy 5. Given that I’m half Irish and my ancestors are from the Gallway area, I would love to head to the Motherland to visit! I hear it’s just stunning and would be a really fun group trip with friends.

Wine Country

 

Ahh, one of my favorite places on earth. I’m hoping that I’ll have a bachelorette party or girls reunion weekend that we can do out here as I just love wine country. I’ve been to Sonoma twice now (including last year) but would love to explore some other regions, including Oregon, Washington & Napa.

What tops your 2018 travel list?

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Christmas 2017

Merry Christmas!

I’ll be taking this Monday off to enjoy the holiday and spend time with friends & family. I hope you do the same! I’ll be back Wednesday with a look back at 2017!

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Happy Holidays from our family to yours! xo

Life Lately, Vol. 30

Happy Christmas Eve – eve (Eve?)…haha, either way it’s just around the corner! Mom & I baked a few batches of holiday cookies last night and I wrapped the majority of presents. Usually I’m wrapping them the night before, so it feels good to be done! Hopefully this weekend will consist of some relaxing, a little more baking & catching up with family and friends.

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The stunning Christmas tree at the Four Seasons Santa Barbara

Running more and it feels good! I went running outside (thanks to that 60 degree GA December weather) for the first time in weeks and it felt amazing. It’s hard to believe that just two months ago, I was running the THP10K and felt good with 6 miles. Yesterday, my legs felt heavy after two…it’s crazy how out of “running shape” your body gets so quickly. I’m heading to Barre 3 today for some strength and regeneration!

Cooking all of the crockpot recipes lately! Last night for dinner, I made my family Santa Fe Chicken via Skinnytaste and it was delicious. We all agreed that it’s one that needs to be put on repeat. As winter worsens in Boston, I’m sure that I’ll be using the slow cooker more frequently. Up next I want to try Spanish style chickpeas, chicken and dumplings, and turkey meatball stroganoff.

Binge watching “The Crown” right now…hard! I put out some feelers on my Instagram story last week and over 75% of you said that you recommend it. Though it took a few episodes for me to get there, I am certainly into it now. There is so much fascination around the British Royal Family that I just love anything about them. Especially now with Prince Harry being engaged (have y’all seen these engagement pictures? Stunning!)

Enjoy your weekend 🙂

An Easy Homemade Holiday Gift

Hi guys! We went to two holiday parties this past weekend and so I thought it would be nice to share an easy, inexpensive & cute holiday gift for any unexpected parties, invitations or more.

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All of the ingredients for a cute, homemade holiday gift!

I spent a few hours baking four different cookie recipes from Sally’s Baking Addiction. They all called for the majority of the same ingredients so it was pretty easy to knock out the recipes one by one. I made the coconut macaroons first because they were super quick so I threw them in the oven to get those out of the way. While those were baking, I prepped the dough for both the peppermint white chocolate chip and double chocolate crinkle cookies, since both of these require the dough to be refrigerated at least 3 hours (I left mine overnight and it was perfect). Last, I whipped up some Nutella chocolate chip cookies to bake in the oven while I cleaned up the rest. All in all, it was a pretty efficient way to bake a ton of cookies at once. The verdict? They’re all SO good but I think the Nutella are my favorite, with the macaroons a close second.

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A holiday dinner party gift

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A friend’s birthday / holiday party gift

I purchased these Santa cookie boxes (they hold about eight cookies) and these Beer Greetings 6-pack holder on Amazon. How adorable are both of these?! Grab some twine, a few ribbons & you’ve got your gifts ready. For party number one (holiday dinner party), I packed up a variety pack of cookies & a nice bottle of wine. For party number two (a holiday themed birthday party), I filled the six pack with a variety of beer & a mixed box of cookies again. How cute, right?! I hope you’re inspired to bake & gift! Happy Holidays.

 

10 Gorgeous Holiday Mantles

With Christmas only one week away, I wanted to share 10 of my favorite mantles. Whether you’re hosting Christmas day, throwing a holiday party, or simply enjoying the comfort of your own home, mantle decor is a fun way to switch things up. I’m constantly redecorating mine and adding new pieces. Hopefully this will inspire you:

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Which is your favorite?!

 

Life Lately, Vol. 29

Happy Friday Y’all! It’s crazy to think that this time next week we will be scrambling for our last minute Christmas gifts (shop my travel + interior guides) as the big holiday is one week from Monday. I’m definitely looking forward to escaping down South and getting out of this horrid frozen tundra that is Boston! It’s been in the 20s all week and let me tell you, that is miserable.

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snow, snow & more snow!

Looking forward mostly to seeing family and friends that I haven’t seen in some time. I’m ready to gossip catch up with my childhood girl friends at our annual cookie swap, where I’ll likely be bringing a kale + quinoa salad, some cookies & some wine.

Baking…or should I say, finally baking! I know, I know- I’ve legit mentioned this like five times but I finally narrowed down my recipes and tomorrow morning I’ll be baking Nutella chocolate chip cookies, double chocolate crinkle cookies & peppermint white chocolate cookies (sans icing). I’ve got a few different groups to divide them among in Boston and then the winner will be repeated in Atlanta for the cookie swap! Unless I decide to try a new recipe. Hmm, decisions, decisions…Mom, ready to bake?!

Working on getting back into shape. The past two months have been a total whirlwind – between two trips to Atlanta, three work trips, Thanksgiving travel, moving (nightmare!), quitting crossfit (for many reasons), my husband starting a new job & having the plague a bad cold for two weeks, working out has taken a major backseat. For those of you who know me, this is so not the norm. I am a workout every single day kind of gal. Top it off with some unhealthy eating habits coming back (I’m looking at your, pint of jingle jangle ice cream!) and I am feeling b-l-a-h. I found this blog post & this article to be helpful. This week was great, mostly paleo, meal planning and I’ll continue it into next week. No reason why I can’t kick it back into high gear at the holidays! Stay tuned for some more fitness/healthy eating planning in 2018.

What’s on your weekend agenda?!

A Birthday Weekend in NYC

Happy Tuesday Y’all! I meant to post this yesterday but I have been out for the count with a terrible cold. I spent most of the day running errands, trying to get everything organized as we have one day left to get everything out of the old house (it’s amazing how much stuff you can accumulate living in one space for 6 years!).

Traveling + moving stress + drastic weather changes = flu for sure.

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Anywayyyy…let’s talk about the amazing birthday weekend we spent in NYC! Being sick couldn’t keep me away from spending a couple of nights in my favorite city in the world.

We drove into town on Friday, threw our stuff down in our hotel (small but good location) and met our fave NYC friends Joe & Danielle at Hill Country, a fun and casual barbecue spot. We usually hit super swanky spots with them so it was nice to have a change of scenery. After dinner we headed downstairs where a live country/rock band was playing and they were awesome! We danced a bit and then headed to Tao for a little club action – some bottle service is always a fun way to spend your birthday!

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This band was such great fun for a low-key Friday night

On Saturday we woke up to a snowy New York City – what a beautiful site it was! Though it was freezing and snowing (not fluffy snow, but like sleet in your eyes snow), we headed to Little Collins for brunch, walked up and down Fifth Avenue for some store window watching and a little birthday shopping! One of my best friends from home was in town with her husband and we met them for a little happy hour celebration, which was so fun!

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“the smash” at Little Collins is a must-order!

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Central Park in the snow is beautiful

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Cheers to 30+ years of friendship

Of course, I can’t recap the day without mentioning a major highlight – we ran into Jeff Lewis & Gage at the St. Regis and I about died!! Y’all they were SO nice and friendly – Terry told them that we were huge fans and Gage said “omg we must take a selfie!”. Side note- they are both so ridiculously tall and handsome in person. Swoon.

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AHHHHHHHHHHH

Saturday night was THE NIGHT. We headed to and early dinner at Osteria Al Doge, which is a good Italian spot in the theater district. While it wasn’t the best meal I’ve had in New York, it is an ideal spot pre-show as they’re quick, tasty & affordable. Given that we had tickets to Hamilton (!!!) we did not want to be late!

Let me just say that HOLY CRAP Y’ALL! Hamilton totally lived up to the hype – it was beyond incredible! Now, I’ll start by saying that I am a total Broadway lover – I’ve seen Wicked, Rock of Ages, Jersey Boys, Elf & more but this just blows them all away. The sheer level of talent that these people have is next level – the singing, dancing, rapping, acting, etc. There are so many things happening at all times on stage and the choreography is just perfect. If you have an opportunity to see Hamilton on Broadway, I highly recommend it.

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The BEST birthday present!

Sunday we had to get up and go to finish moving (the move that never ends!) so we grabbed a bagel and hit the road, but we would have loved to enjoy brunch at Prune if we had time. I can’t thank my loving husband enough for a wonderful birthday weekend – I am so blessed.