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Category: Travel

Booked!

booked

Guys!  I am so so excited to let you all in on a new development in our lives AND to get your advice!  Matt and I have been planning to take a big trip next spring for our fifth wedding anniversary and we’ve pulled the trigger!  Right after we got married, we actually started talking about this trip… it’s been five years of considering everywhere from South Africa to Australia to Chile, but we landed on spending some time touring around Europe.

My necessary qualifications for the trip were that it must include: Culture, Wine, Beach, Food, Outdoors/Adventure. A big list, no?  So you can now see why all of our considerations were in the running!

We landed on Europe because of the few times I’ve been, I haven’t had the opportunity to wander and relax.  We wanted a place where we could leisurely explore and felt the most comfortable doing that in Europe.  With sixteen days and a rental car, we’ll be able to be flexible with our schedule and go where the wind takes us.

While we have the framework of the trip worked out, I’d love to get your take on if you’ve been to any of these place and the best things to do in each spot!  We’re starting in Paris and will be there for about three days before heading out into the french wine country to the east. After spending a few days there, we’ll continue on into the alps, traveling through Geneva, Gruyere, and whatever other place we decide to explore before landing in Lauterbrunnen.

After a few days of the outdoors, we’ll leave lauterbrunnen in the direction of Rome, stopping in the Cinque Terre for a couple of nights and possibly drinking our way through Tuscany.  We’ve both already been to Florence, so we’re going to bypass on this trip for some of the other Tuscan treasures. Once we get to Rome, we’ll spend a few days there trying our hardest to immerse ourselves in roman culture.  After all of that traveling around, we’ll train to Positano to get a little time by the sea before heading home.

It’s going to be jam-packed, there is no way around that, but we’re excited that it will be a little ‘fly by the seat of our pants’ and we’ll be able to make a lot of decisions on the go.

Ok, so NOW I want your thoughts!  I’d love any sightseeing recommendations, restaurant recommendations, or favorite places you’ve stayed.  We’re still looking for lodging in a few of the cities, so any of your suggestions are highly appreciated!

Now, I’ve got to go do some work and try my hardest not to spend the next four months scouring Trip Advisor!

 

photo sources: 1 | 2 – Riel Photography | 3 | 4 | 5

 

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Weekend Trip: Historic Williamsburg

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I told you guys last Friday that I was packing my bags for Williamsburg and jetted off Friday evening for a short weekend trip. If you were following along on Instagram, you’ve already seen an eyeful, but today I have all different photos to share from my trip!

It was my first time to Williamsburg and I was spoiled!  We got the royal treatment from the wonderful people of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation and Benjamin Moore.  They brought just five bloggers out to Williamsburg to get a front row seat in their collaboration. When I signed up with these two notable brands for the trip, I had no clue what I was in for, but my expectations of the town were blown out of the water! They had a perfect itinerary planned so that we were able to get the most of Williamsburg (which meant eating a lot!!!!).

We started the weekend Friday night checking into the Williamsburg Lodge, then walked across the street to a cocktails and an appetizer tasting menu at the Taste Studio.  This was a wonderful, interactive event space where chefs from some of the best restaurants in town showcased small bites with paired drinks.  I highly highly recommend this experience.  It might have been my favorite of the weekend. Chef Travis’ Bourbon Pumpkin Ice cream (topped with pumpkin brittle) was the most indulgent thing I’ve tasted in…. who knows how long.

Dinner followed at the Golden Horseshoe where we had a chance to sit and chat with everyone in the group and I absolutely loved getting to know the Benjamin Moore team better – what a fascinating job!  One of the men who sat with us, Carl, is responsible for creating and naming the colors… how awesome is that?

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(The butler’s pantry at the palace painted Governor’s Gold)

 

Up bright an early on Saturday, we met for breakfast and had a chance run in with Patrick Henry.  I just love the touristy stuff like that! After breakfast, the group toured the colonial town and our minds were blown. Continue Reading…

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LA in a Day

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With all of the rigamarole for the Emmy event, I had yesterday totally empty and I was determined not to do an ounce of work and to spend the entire day soaking in what I could of LA.  Not only was I determined to not open my mail or computer, but I also challenged myself to not make a plan for the day and just to go where it took me.  For someone who usually maps out each day by the half hour, that was a big challenge. I was talking to my husband on Sunday night and told him that I was going to relax and not make any plans for myself and he laughed doubtingly.

So, of course I had to do my best, right?  I have photo overload documenting what I did in 12 hours (just wait to you see where I had dinner)! Continue Reading…

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A different kind of Beautiful

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I’m not gonna lie, I don’t consider myself a California girl.  Of the handful of times I’ve been here, I just haven’t felt like I really mesh with the culture.  I’m going to have to retract that now.  Yesterday I went to lunch at A-Frame with some friends, Kelly and Danni and we spent a few hours chatting and catching up.  After lunch, they guided me toward a couple of neighborhoods where I could wander and relax and I was in absolute heaven.

It wasn’t just the shopping and eating however (even though both were amazing). I actually wandered around in the residential streets and just house gawked. Since I’d spent all day (like 14 hours) on Saturday setting up and participating in the Pre-Emmy party (more on that later) I needed to get outside and breathe some non-club air and think about something other than the Emmy party for the first time in weeks.

I headed to the Venice area and wandered down Abbot Kinney.  Everything in the area was so close, I could wander aimlessly and not feel like I was getting lost.  As I was walking around, getting the cobwebs out of my brain I started to actually think, “I could live here!”

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Here is the thing… I have a penchant for white farmhouses and open fields, and while every region in our country has it’s own normal, I wasn’t super sold on the LA life until yesterday.  The little bungalows were so charming, their fences and gates only added to the whimsey.  There was such a beauty to the life I was wandering through that I couldn’t help but smile.  It reminded me of a very upscale hippy lifestyle which, if you know me in person, you’ll know that’s pretty much my dream.  This feeling only only compounded when I popped out of an alley in front of a natural foods store and popped in to get some milk to use in my hotel coffee this morning.

I just have to say that looking at those beautiful houses was just so lovely and calming.  It’s not the big barns and white fences that I’m used to, but it was just as gorgeous… just in a totally different way.

 

 

p.s. Ok, so the show.  I will detail the day on a later post!  I hired a photographer to capture all of the moments since I was busy rubbing elbows with Hollywood folk, I haven’t gotten my photos yet, but I’ll be sharing photos soon here and even sooner on Insta throughout the week as they’re given to me!

 

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Grandiflora is Emmy (party!) Bound

on my way to la

I have a super exciting secret to share with you today!  I’m preparing for a trip to LA!  I leave bright and early tomorrow AM and will hit the ground running preparing for – get this – a pre-Emmy party.  Grandiflora has been invited to attend the party and have the opportunity to add some of our product to the celebrity swag bags!

Have you fallen off your chair yet?  I have had just a couple weeks for the news to sink in, but I’m still a little in awe of what I’m going to be doing there.  I’ll be setting up a booth, much like the one I set up at a trade show in Atlanta, and rubbing elbows with celebs, their publicists, and the media who attends the event.

So, I mentioned swag bags, right?  I will have a product to gift to the celebs who come through, so I’ve chosen to give a little set of our Malena Appetizer Utensils in a cute clear pillow box.  I’ll include my business card and a beautiful giant postcard with details about our company as well.

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I’m a little terrified about how I’ll manage to get a good representation of my line and brand all of the way to LA in just two suitcases, but I have a plan and hopefully it will work!

While out there, I’ll be instagramming up a storm, so be sure that you follow @shopgrandiflora to catch the Emmy-worthy details.  I’m also keeping my options open in case I happen to get an invite to the actual Emmy’s.  You know, if one of the celebs is like, “oh, hey you, come be my guest”.  I’ll pack a ball gown just in case.

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Done in Nashville

 

nashville

I’m kind of to the point where I just skim the top of all of the wonderful things there are to do in Nashville.  I lived there for four years through college and still today (10 years later!) half of my family and a good seventy five percent of my friends still live there. I’ve done and seen a lot of the action, so when I go now, I lay pretty low.

There are so many fabulous things to do, but this holiday weekend was spent mostly with family – floating around in our Aunt and Uncle’s amazing pool, sipping on cool drinks, and eating about once every two hours. We left the house three times.  Once to go to the Loveless Cafe (where I can’t help but get fried chicken and sandwich it in their famous biscuits with some strawberry jam); another outing to go downtown to Tootsies, Roberts, and the Stage where we listen to young musicians all trying to make it big; then another time to get brunch with my college girlfriends and catch up on life.

It’s totally an indulgent weekend, and after over a month of being on the road, it was nice to relax a bit.  I even found a pair of pretty amazing cowboy boots which are bound to be my new favorites (now just to break them in!)

I hope you all had an amazing holiday weekend as well!  Did you travel?  OR stay right at home?

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Beachy Weekend in Hong Kong

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What a whirlwind week!  I didn’t end up instagramming nearly as much as I’d hoped.  Since Matt traveled with me this time, we met the wireless device maximum with just our computers, so my phone stayed off!

I’m afraid it wouldn’t have been super interesting, however.  We worked a lot and went from work to dinner to sleep each day.  On Saturday, however, we stepped out of the city center and our usual champagne brunches to relax and get some sunshine. We boarded a double decker bus and headed to Stanley Market which is a little touristy beach town on the south side of Hong Kong island.  The bus careened down narrow, winding streets, hitting tree branches and tilting slightly around the tight cliff corners.

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After lots of back to back meetings and fancy dinners, it was a wonderful departure from the hustle and bustle. A little walk down the boardwalk and a couple of beers at a sidewalk pub were exactly what we needed.  We talked about the meetings we’d had throughout the week and schemed up ideas for future endeavors (what we do best when drinking beers on a beach).

Today, we’ll be back in Ohio to hit the ground running on some of our projects that stemmed from the trip. I haven’t been super specific about what business has been taking me out east, but I have plans to share soon and ways it might help you in your future endeavors as well! Stay tuned!

Have a fabulous start to your week!

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Summer Travel: All in a Weekender + A Contest!

weekender travel

Happy Thursday! Don’t you just love summer vacations? I’m getting ready for a weekend in Chicago to visit my Brother-in-law and Sister-in-law and I am so excited. Since we typically reserve our long vacations to take place during the frigid Ohio winters, our summer travel is all about spending a quick weekend somewhere with friends or family. To try and expand on the usual trips to Chicago or Nashville, I bought Matt a book all about 36 hour trips within the US and I am excited to dig into it this summer. What might make these trips even sweeter? If we were to win this contest from CheapOair… the winner will get FIFTY plane tickets to explore the U.S. in 2014 (entry details on their app!).

Usually, since these types trips are quick – starting on Friday after we are done with work and ending on Sunday afternoon – it’s best to spend as little time as possible dealing with logistics (e.g. waiting for bags to off-load). I typically pack in weekender bags, and with all of the travel I do, I’ve developed a few easy tips which work well for me when I have to keep luggage to a minimum.

 

 

outfits

First, always start with what you’ll wear on the plane and plan from there. Not only are planes and airports cold, but I always try to wear my bulkier items. When traveling domestically, I wear a uniform: A pair of jeans, a tank top, a blazer or sweater, and heels. From there, packing is pretty easy.

Dresses take up little space and can be worn with the sandals you’ve packed or the heels you wore onto the plane. One can also be paired with the blazer for cooler nights. Two tank tops can both be styled with the jeans you wore and dressed up or down, depending on the jewelry and shoes. One regular bra and one strapless with two pairs of undies will be all the extra underthings you need. With this formula, you potentially have 4 additional outfits for just two additional days of travel. I use this as a template for all travel, swapping in-and-out other low-bulk items depending on the particular schedule for that weekend. So what about things other than clothes?  Continue Reading…

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Seeing Stars

star wall seeing stars constellation pillow seeing stars art seeing stars constellation coasters seeing stars constellation art copy

 

Walking back to my hotel after dinner one night while in Hong Kong I noticed that you can’t see the stars at all there.  Partly due to the city lights and partly due to smog, the skies are gauzy and opaque.  The fact that I’ve been there loads of times and just realized this made me think about how I don’t appreciate them nearly as much as home. We can see them so brightly at home in Ohio, yet I can’t tell you the last time I paid more attention than just the brief seconds that I walk from my car to the house at night.

I know, like Hong Kong, a lot of it has to do with your geographic location.  Big cities and areas with lots of cloud cover are tough, but do you notice them where you live?  Maybe when you’re away on vacation or at a beach home? I thought, wouldn’t it be nice to schedule a ‘stargazing’ night out on your next vacation if you can’t see them at home? Or even just something fun to do out one night with your love? Here 10 great places to stargaze both in the US and abroad.  Check it out, one might just be right near you or a place you’re visiting soon!

 

 

Star Finds: Kids Room | Pillow | Art | Coasters | Art

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Weekend in Hong Kong

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I have a lot of favorites when it comes to Hong Kong.  This is my sixteenth (!!) trip and each time I accumulate another ‘favorite’.  I have a favorite noodle shop, favorite dumpling restaurant, favorite place to get pink champagne, favorite shops and so on.

Each trip, as I familiarize myself more and more, some things get much easier (jet lag) and some things stay just as difficult as day one (lack of personal space). Above all, it’s a city that I’ve still only seen such a small percentage of.  I have much much more to see and do and am eager to keep returning.

I wanted to share some of my photos with you, and give you a taste of my Hong Kong, which based on the diversity and size of the city could be so much different from anyone else’s Hong Kong.

The photo above is of the cafe at Lane Crawford.  The stone tables are stunningly gorgeous and it’s pretty surprising that this is in a department store.  Granted, Lane Crawford isn’t just any department store… they carry all of the major designers and although they’re a bit out of my price range, I still love going to gawk at gorgeous handbags and shoes.

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macarons at Laduree are a must have treat for after a long day of work

for more photos  Continue Reading…

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