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Travel and Adventure Show

Fiji Anyone?
For some reason I feel like everyone has to hear my about my lame Japan experience (all my fault). 

Our first Travel and Adventure Show turned out to be pretty perfect for us, considering the trips we have planned this year. I make some great connections with tourism representatives from places on our immediate list (Zion National Park & Maui), some old favorites (Palm Springs), and my bucket list Holy Grail (Everest Base Camp).   

National and International destinations were well represented and organized well and the show was easy to navigate by region.  We found that the more local the destination, the more impressive the displays; makes sense to drag all of that stuff across the US if you're not having to fly in from around the globe. Croatia and America's National Parks seemed to have the largest presence; both are really popular right now. Standard giants in the industry such as Australia and Italy also had many outfitters present to plan your trip.  We found that the representatives weren't willing to negotiate in-the-moment deals but seemed to be more interested in getting their literature out there, rather than pushing sales.  

We were kept busy for a few good hours with swag, samples of food and wine, crazy photo ops, shows and speakers. Did I mention there was a camel to ride and the opportunity to get your scuba certification? I tried (and purchased) a mushroom elixir coffee from Finland and learned about a way to give back while grabbing great rates on stellar accommodations (Kind Traveler).

I say check it out if you have some places you are thinking about, especially if you are interested in tours.  My in-laws love this mode of travel and this is a good way to talk face-to-face with some tour companies before booking. For me, it re-enforced my wanderlust for the destinations on my short list and motivated me to start the leg work for our next big adventure!  

San Diego is next and then Denver, before starting back East.  Check out official info here. We thank the Travel and Adventure Show for having us. 

In Love with The Comwell, Aarhus


Every year, two cities are selected by the European Commission to be a European Capitol of Culture. The event aims to bring awareness to the culture of the chosen cities and to bring a sense of belonging and pride to the inhabitants of the host countries. 

2017 belongs to Aarhus, Denmark and Pafos, Cyprus. 

In my previous blog post on Aarhus, I highlighted the cultural gems we experienced last September. I cannot recommend traveling to this city enough, but where should you stay if you are one of the many visitors flocking to Denmark's "second city" in 2017?

It was an easy choice for us to stay at The Comwell in Aarhus.  As in Copenhagen, we were a bit skeptical of the rooms sizes in a Scandinavian location as there were three adults and one child on this trip.  The Comwell accommodated us very well and put us instantly at ease.  

The building is quite nondescript, but the inside is a stunner. A beautiful living green wall rises three floors as you ride the indoor escalator from ground level to the lobby. The walls are painted in muted, yet fun colors and it felt instantly stylish. Our floor had a complimentary coffee machine, just outside the elevator doors and a well stocked vending machine with interesting snacks and drinks- including beer! But our room was the real jackpot. We were treated to a corner room with large windows on both sides, giving us views of the ocean as well as downtown with the City Hall tower and Your Rainbow Panorama smack-dab in the middle of our gaze. The room was primarily white, with soft blue curtains and pops of yellow and a deep wine accent wall.  We were delighted to find a friend waiting for us perched atop our four post bed.  A couch, chairs and a table still gave us plenty of room for our luggage and the bathroom was roomy enough, offering more storage and a large shower. 

The lobby floor of the hotel has several little nooks for working and appeared to have plenty of meeting and conference spaces. On warmer days, the restaurant has outdoor seating on a breezy patio. You can also buy much of the Hay House accents found in the rooms in the lobby (but I suggest going to the storefront in the shopping district if you can't make it to the swoon-worthy location in Copenhagen). 

The overall feel of The Comwell is professional and classy, yet it doesn't take itself too seriously by incorporating some quirky accents. We felt perfectly comfortable traveling with a child at this hotel, as a family, and it would definitely work well for couples or business travelers.  It's pretty difficult to cater to all sorts of travelers, but The Comwell pulled it off.  

My Top 5 Reasons to stay at The Comwell

1. Walking distance to and from the train station.
2. The Aarhus Street Food market is a 5 minute walk- great food and stays open late!
3. Every room is stocked in dreamy Hay House decor.
4. Big, filling American/ European breakfast at the hotel.
5. Walking distance to everything you will want to see (with the exception of The Moesgaard Museum, but there is a bus stop nearby). 

My Carry-on Beauty Bag Checklist

For highly organized ladies, like myself, packing a carry-on can be the most anxiety provoking part of preparing for travel. Those long flights can make this a daunting challenge, knowing that you'll be stuck on the plane for hours, eventually feeling dehydrated and anything but fresh. 

Here are my 3 favorite products that I can't travel without, as well as a fairly standard list to help you get started making your own:

1. Honest Co. 3-in-1 wipes

Ever since my daughter was born, I have been using Honest Company products for our cleaning and hygiene needs. If I am flying more than six hours, at some point, I want to take off my make-up. These face wipes are my everyday wipes (morning and night) and I always order an extra pack before a trip. Guys can use them to freshen up too or to wipe off the sleep sweats.  

2. Avon Anew Clinical Overnight Mask

After a first meal on a long, overseas flight, I remove all my make-up and put this mask on my face for most of the time in the air (I wash and re-apply makeup before landing). It keeps tons of moisture in your skin amidst a dried-out cabin. I put a decent amount of the mask in a plastic container, because the glass container can be heavy and holds too much product for one trip. Definitely my secret for hitting the ground running when I get to my destination!

3. Colgate Wisps

I love these! They have a little drop of tooth paste in them that you bite open- you don't even need water. These are so much better than hauling everyone's toothbrushes and toothpaste onboard. Additionally, it lessens the liquid to bring along. 

The other no-brainers on my list include:

  • lip balm
  • tissue
  • mirror
  • face wash (when I want more than the wipes)
  • moisturizer
  • make-up
  • hand sanitizer
  • rubber bands, clips
  • small hairbrush or comb
  • anti-bacterial wipes (for the bathroom and seat area)
  • extra pair of panties or panty liners

I would love to know what products you can't get on a plane without!


Quick Post: LA Travel Show

Hey there everyone! Just a short post to announce that we will be bringing you press coverage from the Los Angeles Travel and Adventure show this February 18th and 19th! We will keep our followers updated through IG stories and Twitter posts over that weekend and will bring you blog posts on the most exciting announcements and the coolest exhibits to inspire your wanderlust.    

I would love to hear what you would like to know about from the show...speakers (Rick Steves will be there!), hot destinations in the US, or specific types of trips (eco trips, cruises, etc). You can find all of the info here if you would like to buy tickets in (now) sunny LA.

Cali Corner: My Favorite Bakery

Sugar much?

I mean really, how does one go about picking their favorite place that serves up sugary carbs? It's a tough call, especially with new bakeries popping up all the time, but our favorite of the moment is Mr. Holmes Bakehouse in Highland Park. Highland Park is a historic neighborhood that I used to just whiz by as I drove to Dodger games, but in recent years it has been dubbed the coolest neighborhood in LA and we've been coming here to try out some new places. 

Mr. Holmes Bakehouse has two other locations in San Fransisco and Seoul, Korea so we are quite lucky (and very willing) to make the 20+ minute drive with grumbling stomachs. The bakery touts itself as the place that doesn't give a shit about your New Year resolutions and vows to keep you happy when you get the munchies.

Their claim to fame is the Cruffin. You guessed it- a muffin shaped croissant stuffed with any one of the ever changing, heavenly fillings. Last Friday it was Rocky Road, complete with marshmallow on top. They dish up boozy filled donuts that weigh a ton and a variety of other new-age staples.  My current favs are the matcha croissant and the strawberry jalepeno bear claw. If you take some deliciousness to go... and you will... you'll be blessed with a very chic white and gold box that you just may want to keep around for decoration. 

Enjoy all of this served up by a super friendly staff in a dreamboat space (think white subway tiles and cement floors with veins of gold ). The shop serves up coffee and espresso drinks as well. Don't forget to take a pic under the cheeky neon sign. 

Get baked and peace out.  


Family trip to London: Part 2

The second leg of our family trip (toddler, mother-in-law, and family friend) included some major shopping, museum seeking and of course high tea. We pretty much nailed a series of activities that entertained our multigenerational group. 

Shopping at Piccadilly Circus

Piccadilly Circus is a public space and a tube stop where all of your major shopping can commence. It was from here we found our way to Fortnum and Mason, the premier department store where I stocked up on English teas in pretty tins and tea towels that I would later frame for my kitchen.  We gawked at the fancy hat department and the custom perfume counter. As was fair, we spent equal amounts of time in the multilevel Hamley's toy store, stocking up on figures of Disney princes and all the other goodies our little princess could fit in her suitcase. We were greeted warmly by Hamley the Bear himself and adorable British ladies dressed as rag dolls. Carnaby Street offered more shopping for stylish, trendy clothing. 
Tea at sketch

Our English tea experience was one of a kind. This is probably my #1 recommendation for anyone traveling to London for any period of time- make the time and spend the money to do tea here at sketch.  You will never forget it.  It's difficult to figure out if this whimsical space is a coffee bar, modern art museum, elegant restaurant, or hipster art space.  The answer is "Yes." Let's just say you have never seen bathrooms like this and there's a reason that sketch is one of the most Instagrammed places in London. 

British Museum

The British Museum's history alone is astonishing. It's like the museum should be in a museum. I really wish I had devoted more time to our visit, but we were able to take in the incredible structure itself and see so many breathtaking exhibits. We peered at silent mummies and tried to catch a glance of the Rosetta Stone over the heads of other foreigners before resting our feet in the Great Hall. And yes, I am one of those people who gives a healthy percentage of my museum-judging to the caliber of gift shop.  Whoa- this one is among the best I have ever been to. Never-ending and set up nicely, the gift shop offers keepsakes for everyone of all ages.  

Hyde Park 

This vast outdoor space was walking distance from our apartments and we spent our last chilly and rather windy morning here. We followed along the dedicated Princess Diana memorial path and found Peter Pan's statue, catching his shadow of course.  There's neat little app that you can download to your phone so Peter can "call" your kids while standing in front of the sculpture. There was also a wonderful pirate boat themed play space for the kids. The walk gave us time to reflect on our time in a new favorite metropolis. 

London is huge and planning a visit can be a bit overwhelming, especially if you have a larger group or are planning for a range of ages.  Overall, I was pleased with the mix of must-see landmarks that we were able to see in person (of which I wrote about in Part 1) and the special, memory-making moments at places that took some more research to find.   

Family Trip to London: Part 1

This trip truly captured what it was like to travel as a family. Gazing over our 100s of pictures confirmed that. There are a lot of posed group photos in front of famous landmarks and very few choreographed, blog-worthy stills. But I kind of love that. It's us as a family; eager to see the things we have read about in fairytales and drooled over on other websites. Since we were traveling with the goal of eventually staying in Oxford with my sister-in-law, we had mother-in-law & family friend in tow. It was the smart way to go, being that it was our 3-year-old's first international trek. There were extra sets of eyes on her and we even got date nights! 

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