Luxury in Nova Scotia’s Northumberland Shore

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Earlier this year, my boyfriend and I journeyed up to Nova Scotia, and for a portion of our trip, we got to explore the Northumberland Shore. It was our first international trip together (although, does Canada really count?!), and I wanted to enjoy a bit of luxury with him. After some extensive research, I found Fox Harb’r Resort, located in a little town, Wallace, on the northern coast of Nova Scotia. Known mostly for their golfing (the course has hosted the likes of Tiger Woods, Charles Barkley, and swing coach, Hank Haney), it is a mecca in the warmer months for those looking hit the links. However, I am no golfer; I’ve been brought to the driving range a few times by family members, but never took to the sport. Fortunately, Fox Harb’r boasts tranquil views, has a spa that rivals other resorts I’ve stayed in around the world, and a sporting clay course, which I was especially excited for! Essentially, this destination is a must-visit in Nova Scotia, whether you’re the type of traveler who checks a bag of golf clubs, or not.

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The surrounding area is very quiet. But, after a bit of googling, we did find a breakfast spot that we ended up loving on our first morning  — Whirligigs. A giant pot of tea, eggs benedict ,with salmon, of course, and some homemade pastries fueled us up for a day of exploring around the area. Much like any other restaurants in the region, you don’t need to make a reservation, you just stop by and will be treated like you’re at home.

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Our day consisted of hitting a few local gems, including Seafoam Lavendar Farm, where I picked up a few goodies for my mom, and Rushton’s Beach featuring a picturesque path to the water, and if you’re lucky, you’ll spot a wide variety of birds as well. If you’re looking for a place to enjoy a packed lunch, or just go for a stroll, Rushton’s is an ideal option.

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After a bit of exploring, we made it back to our suite, and enjoyed a soak in our massive tub. I would love to go back up here in the winter time and sit in a bubble bath watching the snow fall one day with a cup of tea in my hand. Sigh. We crashed soon after our soak, and frankly slept like babies.

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The next day we woke up slow, enjoyed a cup of tea on the balcony and got ourselves ready to enjoy a round of shooting on the resorts sporting clay course. This particular property has a 15-acre shooting course and a five-stand. We opted for the five-stand to fine tune specific types of shots — I still need a bit of work on the rabbit. We even turned it into a competition, naturally. I obviously won with flying colors (even though my boyfriend would try to convince you otherwise!). If you have never gone shooting before, starting at a place like this, with trained professionals, different types of guns that suit your body type, and detailed instruction, is always how I would recommend to start. Even as someone who has done a decent amount of shooting in my day, I always enjoy coming to a place like this to sharpen my skills and have a bit of fun.

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After some shooting, it was off to the spa. We treated ourselves to a couple’s body scrub and massage – yasssss. Their staff was incredibly professional; we left feeling relaxed, and as smooth as a baby’s bottom! If you haven’t experienced a body scrub treatment before, I highly recommend!! I get routine salt scrubs at home, and it is a serious game changer for my skin. After our treatments, it was time for a swim. As you can see from the shot below, their pool is housed in a gorgeous building full of light and space to relax with a good book. I’m still working through my book now, but was happy to tick off a couple chapters.

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Then, it was back to enjoy the sunset from our deck. The ocean seems to go on forever up here, and I loved getting the drone out, so I could see even more of the property that we didn’t have time to explore on foot. We ate dinner at a local hole-in-the-wall in town that night, crushing a burger and pie. Can’t go wrong with a little comfort food! The next day, we got a final workout in and checked out in the early afternoon. Our flight out of Halifax wasn’t until later that night, so we made a quick trip to Jost Vineyards to try (and buy) some local wine, and have a quick lunch. The Great Big Friggin’ Red was one of our favorite wines, but I also found myself really enjoying the L’Acadie Blanc, as well. Before this trip, I had no idea they even made wine in Nova Scotia — this was a pleasant surprise and a great way to end the trip!

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When I first started planning my trip to Nova Scotia, I was worried that the trip wouldn’t be my ‘speed’. Don’t get me wrong, I love nature, long drives, and good views, but if you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know that I also love a little bit of pampering, good food, and a touch or two of luxury. The experience we had in the Northumberland Shore proves that with a little research, you can always build a vacation that is perfect for you, and I’m thankful that we got the best of both worlds on this trip!

Travel Guide: Philadelphia

Living in Boston, the city of brotherly love has always been one of those elusive destinations that was too far for a day trip, but not quite far enough for a weekend. When the Ritz Carlton offered to have me visit, I thought it was the perfect opportunity to discover a city I had only previously visited on work trips, and haven’t really had a chance to explore.

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Dress: Becken, Bag: Aspinal of London, Boots: M.Gemi

One of the perks of staying at the Ritz is the fact that you are smack dab in the middle of City Center, meaning you can walk everywhere. There’s a couple of great breakfast spots, coffee shops, and landmarks less than a 15-minute walk away. The most notable landmark is City Hall, which not only boasts some seriously breathtaking architecture, but has a pretty fun history as well. You can book guided tours, or just walk around (and through) the building yourself. IMG_3050Processed with VSCO with m6 presetProcessed with VSCO with a6 presetProcessed with VSCO with m6 preset

Even if you aren’t staying at the Ritz, it is always a good idea to swing in to see their show-stopping lobby, grab a cocktail at the bar, or even sit down for a tasty meal at Aqimero.  The restaurant serves as a perfect place to post up for a business lunch, or enjoy a few snacks before heading out for your evening. I recommend the charcuterie board and the baos.

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My trip to Philly wasn’t all vacation, so I did need to find a few spots where I could post up and catch up on my emails. One of the tastiest, and most focus-inducing, discoveries was the oat milk matcha latte from Elixr Coffee on Sydenham Street. They have a decent number of tables, and it really was the best matcha I’ve ever had. Note to self: drink more tea lattes with oat milk — yum! Next, I fueled up over at P.S. & Co. with an açai bowl. If you’re looking to eat and do work, you have to snag one of their window seats, though. They don’t allow laptops in any other part of the cafe.

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Sweater: Artizia

One of my favorite things to do in any city is explore their street art. Not only does it make for fun photos, but I’m always in awe of the creations that artists manage to achieve on buildings around the city. Philly happens to be known for the wide selection of street art, and it is definitely worth giving yourself half a day to explore. You can find out a ton of information on the Mural Arts Philadelphia website, and they even have tours if you don’t want to build your own itinerary of pieces to see. 

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Sweater: Madewell, Coated Denim: Paige, Boots: M.Gemi

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Speaking of art, there is an inspiring installation in Philly called the Magic Gardens. I actually discovered this place when I was searching on Pinterest for things to do (and photography) in the city. And, what a gem this was! I am always such an advocate for using Pinterest when exploring new places, and the Philly Magic Gardens experience was no exception. This little nook in the South Street neighborhood took 17 years for artist, Isaiah Zagar to excavate and design – a large portion was done so under the radar. In 2002, the Boston-based owner of the lots discovered Zagar’s installation and decided to sell the land, calling for the work to be dismantled. (Noooooo!) Unwilling to witness the destruction of the now-beloved neighborhood art environment, the community rushed to support the artist. After a two year legal battle, his creation, newly titled Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens, became incorporated as a nonprofit organization with the intention of preserving the artwork at the PMG site and throughout the South Street region. 1

Needless to say, this was one of my favorite items on the agenda in Philly, and I’m really glad the installation lives on!

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Sneakers: Converse, Dress: Derek Lam 10 Crosby

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The next day, I woke up and spent the morning in the Club Lounge eating breakfast and responding to emails. Luckily, later in the day I had a chance to connect with a former Boston-based blogger, who is now located in Philly, Jenny from Chocolate & Lace! I’m always so grateful for the community that Instagram cultivates — and am forever inspired and empowered by the creators I get to meet. She suggested we have lunch at Parc in Rittenhouse, which in her words, is the quintessential lunch spot in the city. And, what a tasty lunch we had. I highly recommend the crab & avocado plus the steak tartare to start. I had mussels as my main dish, and was stuffed to the brim by the end of the meal. If you’re interested in snapping pics when you’re dining, make sure you ask for a seat next to the window (or outside in the warmer months).

Processed with VSCO with m6 presetIMG_3053These were just a few of my highlights in Philadelphia, but I feel confident they’re a good jumping off point if you’re looking to plan a weekend in the city. If you’re in need of other restaurant recommendations, tips on where in the city to stay, or some of my favorite photogenic spots, don’t hesitate to leave a comment or shoot me a DM on Instagram!

Also, want to say a special thank you to the team at the Ritz Carlton, Philadelphia and Visit Philly for making this trip extra special!

Wellness On-The-Go, My Travel Essentials

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Working and traveling simultaneously can take a lot out of a girl, and the first thing to fall by the wayside is taking steps to make sure I’m healthy. Subsequently, my sleep schedule on the road gets sporadic, and my stress levels go through the roof causing all kinds of fun outcomes, like skin issues (woohoo for pimples in the middle of my forehead!), unpredictable mood swings, and appetite changes that aren’t conducive to healthy choices. Slowly, but surely, I’ve added a few products to my arsenal to help with this, and a renewed commitment to using them while on the road has made travel even more enjoyable. I’m sharing with you a few of my favorites, including some brands I’ve been using for years. Hope you find value in discovering a few new products, and never hesitate to reach out with any questions!

RESCUE REMEDY

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This is a brand that I was fortunate enough to be introduced to more than five years ago. As some of you know, I was at the finish line of the Boston Marathon in 2013, and subsequently was injured as a result of being there. In addition to the physical repercussions of that day, the emotional processing that has to go along with a traumatic event is substantial. Cue trouble sleeping! Prescription meds knocked me out, but gave me horrible night terrors, so I started to seek alternatives to help me sleep, as well as help me manage unexpected stress. A family friend bought me the entire Rescue Remedy product line and told me to give it a try. Five years later, I am still using their products. My personal favorite go-to is the Rescue Pastilles, that just look like cough drops, and are easy to pack in your purse or backpack. They also have drops that you can place right on your tongue in a pinch, which I like to take when I feel myself getting uptight or stressed out.

SAGE TONIC

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My first client ever as an agency owner was Dr. Nada Milosavljevic of Sage Tonic. To this day, I’m grateful to have been introduced to her product line, including specially formulated teas, essential oils towelettes, and a mobile app. The entire line was created leveraging her expertise in Integrative Health (she is the Director of Integrative Health at Mass General Hospital), and is double Board Certified in Psychology & Neuroscience, and Integrative Medicine. Before meeting Nada, I was always skeptical of the power of essential oils and teas to help me feel better, but after reading her research and testing out the products myself, I’m a true convert! I religiously travel with her Clear Head Towelettes and Happiness Tea (it’s so tasty!), and I highly recommend taking a peak at her whole product line, which address other common conditions such as stress, inability to focus, sleep difficulty, and low energy.

CARE/OF

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Do you find it stressful to remember and prepare for travel when it comes to vitamins and supplements? I did, and would often forgo packing them because it was such a freaking hassle. When Care/of reached out to me to try out their service about 18 months ago, I was really excited — not only because it introduced me to new supplements that I now take daily, but their packaging is GENIUS. The package your daily ration of vitamins and supplements individually, and mail out a box on a monthly basis like a subscription. Right now I order the Vitamin C, Calcium Plus, Ashwagandha, Rhodiola, Iron, Evening Primrose, and Glow Trio. They also have Quick Sticks, which are perfect for frequent fliers. I typically keep at least a couple Gut Check and Extra Batteries sticks lying around to help keep my digestion on track and support cognitive health.

OLLY

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Another set of goodies I like to carry around with me recently are Olly gummies. A few of you actually recommended I give the brand a try, and I’m so thankful you did! Their sleep & stress gummies are actually incredibly tasty; it takes all the power in the world to not just snack on them at night… pretty sure I would never get up though! These differ from the other sleep products I mentioned, as they are a little bit of a slower burn, so to speak. I generally take a gummy an hour or so before bed, whereas the Rescue Remedy or Sage Tonic products I can take right before hitting the pillow. This is all just based on preference. Frankly, I sometimes take the gummies as a way to cut myself off from doing work until 3AM in my hotel room, and it’s a good way to make sure I’m getting at least 6-7 hours of sleep when I’m away from home.

As I mentioned, this is a system that I have built up over the last five or so years, and it has taken a lot of trial and error to figure out what works for my body and my style of travel. If you have questions about any of these products, definitely leave me a comment below, or don’t hesitate to reach out via email. Also, if you feel like sharing any ‘must-haves’, please do! I’m always looking for new brands and products to try out.

My First Time in Key West

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Several months ago, I received an invitation from the team at the Pier House Resort & Spa in Key West to journey down to Florida last month for a long weekend away. I have to admit, I was initially skeptical, as I didn’t think the Florida Keys were my type of vacation, per se. But, I was open to being pleasantly surprised, and after some research on the property, I made the decision to head down with my boyfriend the first weekend in September.

The Pier House sits at the top of Duval Street, which anyone who has ever visited Key West knows is the primary vein of the island. You’re walking distance to loads of restaurants and nightlife options. One of the other great features of the property is a rare private beach. Key West isn’t necessarily known for its beaches (something I didn’t know until I got there), but thankfully, you can dip your toes in the sand without leaving the property.

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The Deluxe Ocean View Suites are the best option at a property like this. You get stunning views, a huge bath tub (win!), and thoughtfully decorated rooms with homey touches. For someone like me, who doesn’t have the luxury of fully unplugging while traveling, these suites offer the perfect balance of a place to escape and get some work done as well. And answering emails is always better done with a view, amiright?!

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A quick walk from the property, you’ll find Eaton Street. Here you’ll cast your gaze on some of the most picturesque homes on the entire island. The architecture reminds me a bit of New Orleans, but it still has a dose of tropical charm.

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One of our favorite parts of the trip was getting out onto the water. We found a small private charter, called Sunset Sail Key West, and boy am I glad we did. It was a sweet, and salty, escape. And, we counted our lucky stars as the massive sunset charters sailed around us with people packed bow to stern, with music blasting. That is definitely not my idea of a relaxing night on the water. The crew with Sunset Sail Key West was super nice, and even snapped the below picture without us even knowing and sent it to us after. So thankful!

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After the evening on the water, we stopped into Half Shell Raw Bar for a casual dinner featuring oysters, shrimp, and a tasty finish of a token slice of key lime pie. If you’re looking to just pull up a picnic bench and crush some raw bar, this the place to do it. Make sure to check out all of the license plates on the wall — I found a few from my home state that made me smile.

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Oh, and the plethora of tasty eats continues with our favorite meal of the trip — brunch at Pepe’s, the oldest restaurant on the island. And, they’ve stuck around for good reason! We crushed their specials of the day, and devoured our favorite slice of key lime pie on the trip. The spot is first come, first serve, but totally worth the wait.

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The walk back to Pier House is full of little gems like the ones below.

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After a tasty breakfast at Pepe’s, we headed to La Concha, Pier House’s sister resort, to experience a massage at Top Spa. This is the highest building on the entire island, and boasts some pretty impressive views. They have a few cabanas outside to lounge in while you wait for your service, or after you’ve been pampered, and the spa suites are spacious, with couches, and plenty of room for a couple’s massage, which my boyfriend and I love to try to fit in on our trips.

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After, we headed to the other side of the island to check out lunch at a new spot: Matt’s Stock Island Kitchen & Bar. Everything on the menu is delicious, but make sure you get the crab beignets; you won’t regret it!

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On our final day on the island, we skipped over to a house that is equally photogenic as it is interesting, the Ernest Hemingway Home. It costs $14 a person to get in (a little steep in my opinion, but still worth it). You go for the history and architecture, but you stay for the kitties. The place notoriously has cats everywhere, and they are so relaxed and adorable. If I was having a bad day, I would go here with a handful of kitty treats and just live my best life. We didn’t get to stay here quite as long as I would have wanted to because we had to rush off to the airport, but I would definitely add this stop to your itinerary on your future trip.

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The day ended with us rushing to the airport, only to be met by a delayed flight notification. My boyfriend notoriously jokes that I have the worst luck with flights. Considering the ratio to delayed and cancelled flights with how many I take a year, he’s not wrong… However, I used my wherewithal to get us rebooked on another airline (for free) out of the island, so we could make a connection back home. Winning!

While we were waiting for our other flight, I had some time to reflect. While Key West is notorious for being a party town, there is definitely a few good opportunities to have a refined vacation on the island. If you’re looking for something a little more low key, don’t rule Key West out.

Big Fun at The Big E

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As a Bostonian, we’re always excited for the re-emergence of Fall. Traditions like picking out pumpkins, grabbing our favorite seasonal morning pick-me-up, and watching the leaves turn on the Commonwealth Ave. Mall just flat out make us smile. One of those time-honored traditions happens to be about two hours west of the city and take place during the last two weeks of September — The Big E.

This past weekend, I hopped in the car and headed to this mecca of fair food, games that involve either climbing ladders, throwing darts or throwing rings, and , of course, music. Fortunately for me, I was hanging with my fellow food, Tiffany of Boston Foodies, so we made a point to go around and try all of the goods!

Stars of the show included a mac ’n’ cheese grilled cheese sandwich, taco balls, and The Big E Bakery eclairs. See below for a quick highlight reel of some of my favorite moments and sights from the day!

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Labor Day Weekend Packing Guide with The Street at Chestnut Hill

There’s nothing quite like gearing up for a fun long weekend ahead with your friends and family and getting to your closet to pack and thinking, “What the heck am I going to put in this bag?!” In my experience, packing is one of the most fun, time consuming, creative, and frustrating parts about preparing for a trip. I typically try on everything roughly 1,000 times, and then end up packing something that I grab off of the hanger at a store last minute… If you’re the same way, you’re going to love what is coming next.

I teamed up with the folks over at The Street in Chestnut Hill, MA, boasting a high-end fashion experience, and a rotating retail pop-up for the tastefully chic. Below I’m listing some of the key stores that you must stop in while preparing for your weekend away, and a few of my favorite selects from each.

Splendid
If I had to think of one brand that embodies “cozy chic”, there is no question that Splendid would be the first to come to mind. Flowy dresses, effortless jumpsuits, and the most comfortable shoes you will ever abound in this retail valhalla made for gals like me who want to look cute, but could live without the fuss. The below asymmetrical dress, cargo pant, and denim jumpsuit are just a few of my faves!

Vince
If I had a nickel for every time I’ve recommend Vince for travel wear, I’d be a rich woman. Each shade of blue they have in their most recent collection is magical. They’re also featuring a lot of cropped outerwear, which is perfect for unpredictable weather. And, if you’ve never had the pleasure of traveling in the comfort of one of their sweaters, I am telling you now, it’s practically life changing. Vince is the epitome of understated elegance, and every piece can be worn about a hundred ways — perfect for those of you trying to fit everything into one teeny tiny carry on!

J. McLaughlin
The key with packing for a long weekend, and not having to check any luggage or have your friends gawk at your for filling the trunk of your car, is to pack wardrobe staples. A crisp white shirt, patterned shirt dress, structured handbag that can go from day to night, and a wrap that will keep you cozy from beach bonfire to your exit row seat home. Introducing, J.McLaughlin. They have all the essentials any intrepid gal needs.

Portobello Road
Noticeable by the bright blue doors (a nod to Notting Hill, I imagine), Portobello Road is a locally owned boutique that caters to those with a refined, eclectic taste. The reason why this spot is such a gem is their accessories section. Finding a place to buy a great hat, well-made (but not super fancy) jewelry, and a fun bag that doesn’t have a designer label splashed across the front is a rarity in Boston. If you’re looking for all the travel gypsy feels, look no further.

Opening Soon: Copious Row
During my latest visit, I got a sneak peak into the freshest retail opening on the block, Copious Row. This Fall, they’ll be opening their doors, carrying the likes of Victoria Beckham, Brock Collection, Prabal Gurung, Zimmerman, and the list goes on! While I’m pretty notorious for sporting brands like Vince (duh!), Tod’s, Reformation, and Madewell, I’ve slowly been working in higher-end pieces to elevate my style. Looking forward to working with their stylists for a couple of key investment pieces for Fall. Who knows where I’ll be bringing them on my travels next!!

Do you have any long weekend packing must-haves? Leave me a note in the comments below. I’m always looking for an excuse to pack more things 🙂

A Weekend In Chicago

I had the opportunity to fly out last minute to Chicago to visit one of my college friends this past weekend! She just moved out to Chicago, so I was excited to show her some of my favorite spots around the city. Added bonus, my cousin and his wife gave birth to twins the day I flew in, so I did some double duty (pun intended) seeing family and friends on this visit. It was magical! Chicago is a city I lived in briefly when I was traveling with Ben & Jerry’s (see some of those old blog posts here, here, and here). I had the pleasure of going to some of the best restaurants, sights, and events in the city, and I was excited to return and see what has changed, and what hasn’t :). Below, I’ve included a recommended itinerary if you’re flying in on a Friday afternoon/evening, and flying out Sunday afternoon/evening. If you have any added tips, please tell me in the comments section!

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FRIDAY

I arrive usually around 5PM. It takes roughly an hour or so to navigate to the Uber pick-up location and actually get into the city. Especially if there is any traffic. If you’ve never traveled through O’Hare traffic, always give yourself some extra time for any reservations you might make.

STOP 1: Negroni Slushes at Parson’s Chicken & Fish – see a photo from a previous Chicago post here

STOP 2: The most epic Omakase dinner at Kai Zan. They have a special with uni and toro over a bed of rice topped with raw quail egg yolks. It sounds like it should be $60, but it was only $28. I could have eaten three of these. Last call for Omakase is at 10PM and they usually book up for reservations, so call a few days ahead of time – especially for a weekend. 

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STOP 3: (Optional) Drinks at The Broken Shaker at the Freehand. Bonus, if you leave room for the most epic plate of fries for “dessert”.

SATURDAY

Wake up early! There’s so much to do in Chicago and you only live once, so rally to see as much as you can.

STOP 1: Early walk along Lake Michigan. Also, if you want to take pictures by Cloud Gate (“the bean”) without tons of people around, go there for sunrise. You can thank me later ;).

STOP 2: Eat a well-earned doughnut from Stan’s. Their chai lattes are also pretty tasty, too!

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If Stan’s is too crazy for your – Doughnut Vault is another tasty option!

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STOP 3: Put on your favorite outfit and go check out some of the wall art around the city. Style Charade has an awesome post with all of the wall art in the city, which I used as my guide on this recent trip. 

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STOP 4: Lunch anywhere in West Loop. If you can snag a coveted reservation at Girl & the Goat, DO IT. Otherwise, there are so many tasty places in the area – like Au Cheval, La Sirena Clandestina, Elske, etc. etc.

STOP 5: Afternoon tea, or aperol spritzes, on a couch at The Allis at Soho House. Their menu is super tasty, too, if you’re looking for snacks. 

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STOP 6: Head back to your hotel/AirBnB to freshen up for a night out… and maybe take a power nap.

STOP 7: Dinner at Tanta. Such good Peruvian food — make sure to make reservations ahead of your visit because they book up fast!

STOP 8: Head to the third floor at Celeste to have all of your disco dreams come true. Think giant disco balls, light up floors, and dancing galore! It’s one of those places that attracts a lot of bachelorette parties and groups of the sort, but the novelty of it is so fun that it really doesn’t matter.

SUNDAY

Okay, you made it through the longest day ever yesterday. Now, you get to relax with some brunching and a little bit of sight seeing. Make sure you pack up and check your bags at your hotel concierge, so you’re ready to go well in advance of your flight! Sunday afternoons/evenings at O’Hare are a nightmare. If you don’t have TSA pre-check, expect to stand in an hour long security line. You’ve been warned! But, no need to worry about that when there are mimosas to be had!

STOP 1: Brunch at RM Champagne Salon – who recently released brunch to the cheers of foodies everywhere!

STOP 2: (Option 1) Walk down Magnificent Mile. Yes, it’s touristy, but the shopping and views are good.

STOP 2: (Option 2) If shopping isn’t your thing, take an architecture tour. I’m not usually a tour person, I admit. However, people rave about the architecture tours, and for good reason, they’re actually pretty cool.

FINAL STOP BEFORE THE AIRPORT: – Head over to the nearest Jeni’s ice cream for an afternoon treat featuring some of the best ice cream you have ever had. Yes, I know that is a bold statement, but I’m willing to double down on that one! The Frosé Sorbet and Ricotta Toast with Red Berry Geranium Jam are two of my favorite flavors. 

As I mentioned before, give yourself plenty of time before your flight! It can take upwards of 60-90 minutes sometimes in traffic to get from the city center to the airport. Don’t be that guy who has to run through the airport and ask everyone to cut them in the TSA line. Nobody likes that guy.

Categories USA

On Nantucket with philosophy

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The past few days I have been on Nantucket at the PopSugar house having an absolute blast! On Wednesday, I was introduced to philosophy’s latest line “renewed hope in a jar”, and I am obsessed. For someone who is constantly living out of a suitcase, I am always so happy to find products that make me look like I’m well slept, hydrated, and had hours to get ready! Enter philosophy.

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Because I am a bit of a beauty noob, I was super thankful they brought an expert in to show me how to use these products properly, and when I should be using them. In the past, I’ve always just thrown together a beauty routine that I can do on the run because I felt like having a “system” or “routine” first thing in the morning, or at night, was too much of a process. With a little education, I feel like an extra five minutes in the morning and at night is super approachable now. Keep reading to see what I’m going to do every morning, even when I’m on the road.

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STEP ONE
The philosophy renewed hope in a jar renewing dew concentrate is a super hydrating way to start your beauty routine. It feels like water when you place it on to your hands, and the expert shared that you should press it into your skin, not rub!

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STEP TWO
You can either use this moisturizer with SPF or without — if you are going to go makeup free, I would definitely recommend with! Don’t just apply this moisturizer to your face, but also down your neck, and I even put a little on my ears.

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STEP THREE (THE FINAL STEP)
If you’ve been looking for eye cream that is specially formulated for the delicate skin around your eyes and the multiple concerns affecting it, look no further. It features a clinically-proven, non-stop skin renewal technology that continuously hydrates, brightens dark circles, reduces puffiness, and smooths the look of fine lines. After just a couple days of using this product, I can see why people rave about it!

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So, there you have it! Three easy steps and I’m good to go for a day anywhere in the world. Do you have any beauty products that you must travel with?! Comment below because I think I’m finally starting to get a hang of this whole beauty thing, and I want to know what brands and products you guys love!

Lowcountry Living at the Montage Palmetto Bluff

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Earlier this month, I had the distinct pleasure of heading down to Palmetto Bluff in South Carolina to stay at the Montage. If you are unfamiliar with the property, you aren’t alone. It’s a new development over the last couple of years, but they are sure making a splash in lowcountry luxurious style. It’s nestled between Hilton Head and Savannah, meaning you are ripe with opportunity to go explore outside of the 20,000 acre property. But, there is so much to do that it’s hard to imagine a good reason to leave. Below I’m listing a few of my favorite things to do, and I save the best for last, especially if you’re considering this property for your next getaway!

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Just Relax
That’s what vacations are meant for, right? Whether you are snoozing on a hammock on one of their private islands deep in the bluff, grabbing a massage or hot sauna session in their beautifully designed spa, or just lounging by their very picturesque pool, you will find yourself saying ‘ahhhh, now this is vacation‘ at every turn. I highly recommend taking advantage of their dry sauna and plunge pool – not a spa amenity you see everywhere!

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Hang Out with Nature (and the Animals)
Not only does the Montage team take service and experience very seriously, but conservation and nature is also always top of mind. Take a property tour with one of their local experts, who has likely wrested a gator, saved turtles and spent hours upon hours watching the birds. They have a wealth of knowledge not only about the animals that inhabit the property, but plants as well. My mom likes to joke that I’m a girl who “loves nature per se,” but I honestly found this aspect of the property so interesting, and we even got to see a brand new baby bird! I also went horseback riding, and explored their beautiful stables. I wish I could have ridden longer to be honest, but what can I say, I’m a sucker for horses!

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Venture into Bluffton
After an afternoon of shooting on their private complex (one of my favorite activities of the whole trip!), you’ll want to clean yourself up for a night on the town! Right down the road, you have the small town of Bluffton, which is picturesque and boasts an active community. On our night in town, we dined a FARM, which was amazingly delicious! There’s loads of eye-catching architecture, and the community is pretty active as well. Lots of barbecues, live music, and people just getting out and socializing.

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Get in (or on) the Water
One of the best parts of the Montage Palmetto Bluff is its proximity to some on-the-water adventures. If you’re looking to go for a swim, take in the winding waterways while being towed in a tube behind one of their motorboats, or manage to wake up early for a sunrise kayak session to see the dolphins, you can do it all here. The water here is super warm – and salty, meaning you could tread with the sun beaming down on you for hours. Take a break with a reprieve in a hammock or on a boat and then jump off the dock and do it all over again. How can you go wrong?

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If you’re jonesing to get down to the Montage, you’re in luck. I’ve teamed up with them to make sure that you can have enough time to enjoy all the fun. If you book two nights using the code ‘REGANC‘, you will get your third night free! Talk about #winning! As always, if you have questions about the properties, accommodations, activities – you name it – leave me a note in the comments!

Keeping Your Home Safe While Traveling with Blink

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Real talk. Living in a city and traveling several months out of the year can have its pitfalls. For my friends in NYC, commute times to the airport (any airport!) can be atrocious. Mailboxes are so small that if you’re gone for an extended period of time, your mail might get returned because it doesn’t fit. Most recently, for me, I had an instance where when I was traveling, someone decided to go through my trash and find old mail and then contact me through social media saying they had my personal information. Eek! The entire ordeal ended in me contacting credit bureaus, cancelling credit cards, and setting up alerts to make sure no one was using my personal information to open new accounts. Needless to say, this was hours and hours of painstaking hold times, phone calls, and even making an in-person trip to a provider’s office. Woof!

In an effort to prevent something like this from happening in the future, or to at least be able to provide proof of someone digging through my trash, I have taken a few steps to protect my home – especially when I’m away. Investing in a shredder, not putting my garbage out until an hour before the city is slated to retrieve it, and also teaming up with Blink to try out their home security system, that I can operate right from an app on my phone.

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I decided to go with both an indoor security camera (pictured) and weatherproof camera for maximum security – as the size and design (it’s wire free!) lend itself to being a discreet, yet comprehensive system. The great thing about this system is that you don’t need a bunch of fancy equipment to set it up, just your phone. So, how does it work? Blink cameras detect motion in your home and send alerts with HD video and audio right to your smartphone. You can then check back in with live HD video and audio streaming right on your smartphone from any of your up-to 10 Blink cameras per system. They even have an integration with Alexa, so you can provide voice commands to arm or disarm your camera, too! Another bonus, these little guys have two years of battery life on just two AA lithium batteries – meaning you don’t have to worry about the system while you’re away for extended periods of time.

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This post is sponsored by Blink. All opinions shared are my own.