Our journey to the Eternal City got off to a bumpy start.
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In “5 Things,” I’ll ask some of my favorite bloggers in cities all over the country to share insider travel tips on where to eat, shop, stay, and play in their neighborhoods (plus, what to pack to make the adventure complete). This week, designer, illustrator, and photographer Julia Manchik shares Seattle’s spoils.
Although I grew up in a small town, I adore Seattle. It may be a big city, but it’s surprisingly easy to escape to the outdoors — we have great food, music, and shopping within walking distance of our apartment in Capitol Hill, but we’re also just a short drive from areas where we can bike, kayak, ski, and hike. I love that the city is built around water and mountains — even downtown, it’s incredibly green. I love it. I could see myself living here for a long time.
In “5 Things,” I’ll ask some of my favorite bloggers in cities all over the country to share insider travel tips on where to eat, shop, stay, and play in their neighborhoods (plus, what to pack to make the adventure complete). This week, Olivia Rae James shows us around charming Charleston, South Carolina.
5 Things: Charleston
Olivia Rae James
I first visited Charleston when I was in middle school, and immediately knew I would live here one day—it’s such an easy place to fall in love with. The peninsula on the South Carolina coast is small and walkable, but chock-full of amazing gems. To experience all the incredible food and drink here you’d have to stay weeks (or eat twelve meals a day), and there are constantly new alleys or secret gardens to be discovered. It’s a charming little city that’s perfect for getting lost in, but just in case you’re more of a planner, here are a few favorite must-see spots.
Chez Nous, 6 Payne Court, (843) 579-3060
Located in a tiny house tucked away in an alley, Chez Nous‘s small daily menu (two appetizers, two entrees, two desserts) never fails to amaze. Exquisite French food, intimate setting, charming people—I’m sold.
The Commons, 54 1/2 Broad Street, (646) 408-3447
The Commons is a little shop filled with the most amazing collection of American-made treasures. Hidden away on Broad Street, it shares a space with Heirloom Book Company, where you can find unique cookbooks, both new and old.
Zero George Street, 0 George Street, (843) 817-7900
Zero George Street is a bed-and-breakfast made up of five restored historic houses. With its contemporary decor, delicious breakfasts, gorgeous courtyard, and ideal location for walking anywhere in the historic district, it’s my favorite hotel downtown.
My favorite thing to do in Charleston is to walk around the southernmost part of the peninsula, also known as South of Broad. It’s home to the most gorgeous houses, gardens, oak-shaded streets, narrow alleys, and endless water views. Battery Park is a perfect destination for running around with kids or dogs, and enjoying the stunning surroundings.
A sun hat, $98, and a light-and-easy dress, $80
Charleston gets very hot and very humid. Unless you’re visiting in the short winter season, prepare to bring cool clothes and sun protection. I love this straw hat from Accompany and this breezy white dress from Proud Mary.
Thank you so much, Olivia! And thank you to Shoko Wanger for her help with this series. I’ve only spent a couple of days in Charleston, for a wedding—but I just loved it! I hope to return soon and put these tips to use.
P.S. Olivia wrote a lovely guest post here while I was enjoying my first days home with baby Hudson. Seems like ages ago!
In “5 Things,” I’ll ask some of my favorite bloggers in cities all over the country to share insider travel tips on where to eat, shop, stay, and play in their neighborhoods (plus, what to pack to make the adventure complete). This week, Erin Boyle of Reading My Tea Leaves shows us the sights in beautiful Brooklyn Heights.
5 Things: Brooklyn Heights
Erin Boyle of Reading My Tea Leaves
My husband, James, and I have lived in Brooklyn Heights for just over three years and the quiet tree-lined streets that first attracted us to the neighborhood have equal appeal for visitors hoping to experience a respite from the crowds of Manhattan. In the summertime, the Brooklyn Heights Promenade fills with tourists hoping for a glimpse of the iconic downtown Manhattan skyline from across the river. We encourage visitors to pack a picnic blanket and lounge in nearby Brooklyn Bridge Park for a while. This may be New York, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take a little break from the hustle.
The River Deli, 32 Joralemon Street, (718) 254-9200
The River Deli is one of our favorite spots in the neighborhood for a dinner out. It’s not fancy, or particularly trendy, but it’s affordable for young families, always yummy, and it’s tucked into a quiet corner that gives you a real taste of the neighborhood. Maybe best of all, it’s just a stone’s throw from one of the neighborhood’s greatest assets: Brooklyn Bridge Park. (Bonus: a window seat affords you some pretty nice neighborhood people watching).
Holler & Squall, 119 Atlantic Avenue, (347) 223-4685
Holler & Squall on Atlantic Avenue is one of my favorite neighborhood shops to browse in on a lazy weekend. Filled with an eclectic mix of antiques, the shop always has a patinaed lamp or cozy Chesterfield sofa worth ogling (or splurging on). For something a little more family-friendly, BookCourt is just a few blocks away in nearby Cobble Hill and is a fantastic spot to pick up some vacation reading for adults and kiddos.
Largely a residential neighborhood, I think visitors to Brooklyn Heights get the best sense of the neighborhood by finding an Airbnb rental in their budget that they can call home for a few nights. To consider: proximity to the Brooklyn Heights Promenade! (The French doors on this rental look dreamy.) For folks hoping for a more traditional hotel experience, the Marriott in downtown Brooklyn is also close by.
Brooklyn Bridge Park, 334 Furman Street, (718) 222-9939
Brooklyn Heights gives visitors a chance to experience the iconic Brooklyn Bridge, the Brooklyn Heights Promenade and its stunning views of lower Manhattan and New York Harbor, and the constantly expanding Brooklyn Bridge Park. James and I practically live in the park on the weekends, but it’s a place that’s as thrilling for out-of-towners as it is for neighborhood folks. For visitors, I’d recommend a morning walk over the Brooklyn Bridge (if you need to keep your reserves, just walk to the first tower and loop back around) and a lunchtime picnic at Pier 1. If you have kiddos, cool off at the splash pad at Pier 6 (and make things even easier on yourself by grabbing a pizza at the nearby Fornino outpost at Pier 6 or an ice cream from Ample Hills at Pier 5). If you’re visiting on a Sunday, the Brooklyn food fest extravaganza Smorgasburg at Pier 5 also provides plenty of lunch options. If you’re hankering for more of an adventure, catch a ride on the ferry to Governors Island (only $2.00) from Pier 6, and take a stroll around the leafy island before heading back to home base.
A favorite picnic blanket, $99
One of the best parts about the neighborhood is its newly developed waterfront and the chance the park gives you to relax and soak in the energy of the city, from a distance. Pack a blanket and a few snacks and let the salty harbor air wash over you as you give your feet a rest. This buffalo check blanket from the Brooklyn-based Kaufmann Mercantile is a classic option for picnicking families.
Thank you so much, Erin! We loved Brooklyn Heights when we lived in New York (Holler & Squall as well!) but I wish we’d been around long enough to make use of these suggestions and to see the new waterfront park. I’m so looking forward to returning one day!
And thank you to Shoko Wanger for her help with this series!
In “5 Things,” I’ll ask some of my favorite bloggers in cities all over the country to share insider travel tips on where to eat, shop, stay, and play in their neighborhoods (plus, what to pack to make the adventure complete). This week, Jennifer Young introduces us to the town of San Luis Obispo.
Welcome to the happiest city in America (or so Oprah says!). San Luis Obispo, aka SLO, is a charming coastal town located right between Los Angeles and San Francisco. I’ve been lucky enough to call this place home for the past five years. It’s the perfect place to visit for a weekend getaway, whether you’re in need of a trip to the great outdoors or just want a beautiful pit stop when traveling between LA and SF. There’s so much to do in the area, but here are some of my top picks.
Novo, 726 Higeura Street, (805) 543-3986
Novo is a local and tourist favorite in the heart of downtown SLO. Their outdoor patio dining in the evening is an SLO experience not to be missed. They serve a global cuisine with a plethora of wine choices (and great cocktails, too!).
Ruby Rose, 1235 Monterey Street, (805) 545-7964
Ruby Rose is the best place to shop, hands down. I don’t consider SLO to be a place for great shopping, but Ruby Rose will sweep you off your feet. From the gals at Ruby Rose themselves: “Combined with our love of junking, paired with the spirit of the road trip, we travel around the West Coast in our Airstream trailer. We scour flea markets, thrift stores, estate & yard sales to bring back lovelies to our vintage shop located in the quaint town of San Luis Obispo, California.”
Ruby Rose is open from Tuesday to Saturday, 11 AM — 5 PM, and Sunday 12 PM — 4 PM. Make time in your schedule to visit this gem of a place!
Granada Hotel and Bistro, 1126 Morro Street, (805) 544-9100
Another gem in the heart of downtown, Granada Hotel and Bistro is an ideal place to stay if you want to be in the center of everything — but with only 17 guest rooms and suites, make sure to book early. They have everything you will need for your stay in downtown SLO — access to complimentary Linus bikes; an indoor lounge with a fireplace; a rooftop patio for drinks and people watching; a downstairs bistro that serves brunch, lunch, dinner, and dessert; and a spa. What more could you need? (Oh, and a major bonus if you’re staying there on a Thursday evening — you’ll be steps away from SLO’s weekly farmers’ market. It’s the best!)
When I think of San Luis Obispo, the first thing that comes to mind is the abundance of beaches and hiking/running trails available. It’s a really great city to be in if you want to unplug and spend some time to soak in the beauty of the outdoors. I have so many favorite trails and beaches, but hiking Bishop’s Peak is high on the list. Make it to the top and you’ll get the best view of this charming city!
A great weekender bag like this one from Cuyana* would suffice for a trip here to SLO. Oh and don’t forget to pack your sunnies and sunblock if you plan to spend a lot of time outside! Enjoy!
So, in “5 Things,” I’ll ask some of my favorite bloggers in cities all over the country to share insider travel tips on where to eat, shop, stay, and play in their neighborhoods (plus, what to pack to make the adventure complete)—the things they’d do. In the series’ inaugural post, Shoko Wanger of Sho & Tell introduces us to Williamsburg in Brooklyn, NY.
5 Things: Williamsburg
Shoko Wanger of Sho & Tell
I’ve lived in Williamsburg for four years now and have become gleefully accustomed to the steady influx of visitors that stream through in the spring and summer months. Fortunately, there’s no shortage of things to do in the area—we’ve got some of the best restaurants and shopping in the city (though I admit, as an adoring resident, I’m biased). It would be impossible to fit everything I love about Williamsburg into a weekend—but, happily, that’s just another reason to return.
Bakeri, 150 Wythe Avenue, (718) 388-8037
The backyard at Bakeri is a true gem—a tiny, tucked-away oasis just minutes from the bustle of Bedford Avenue. It’s a great stop for coffee or tea, sandwiches on housemade breads, or assorted pastries (my favorite is skolebrød, a custardy Norwegian treat showered in grated coconut). Everything’s exceptional—and served up by a smiling staff in powder-blue jumpsuits, no less.
Beautiful Dreamers, 326 Wythe Avenue, (718) 388-4884
Located on an unassuming block on the south side of Williamsburg, Beautiful Dreamers is a bohemian wonderland packed with ethereal treasures: clothing and clay incense burners, handmade pottery and patchwork quilts, plants in every nook and cranny. There’s a wooden swing near the front window; behind the cashier, white doves rest, cooing quietly in a sea-green cage.
Wythe Hotel, 80 Wythe Avenue, (718) 460-8000
The rooftop view at the Wythe Hotel is reason enough to book a stay. Further incentives: it’s beautifully built and a paragon of Brooklyn design (it’s co-owned by the same team behind neighborhood mainstays Marlow & Sons, Marlow & Daughters,and Diner). Its rooms feature pine ceilings, furnishings made by local artisans, and custom Williamsburg-themed wallpaper. It’s also home to an acclaimed restaurant, Reynard, and a gorgeous bar, The Ides, where said rooftop views are best enjoyed.
Williamsburg waterfront and East River State Park, Kent Avenue at N. 8th Street
I love the Williamsburg waterfront, with the bridge to the left and the Manhattan skyline straight ahead. Have a picnic in the grass, take a walk on the pier, or hitch a ride to Greenpoint or DUMBO on the East River Ferry. During warm weather months, Smorgasburg—a food-focused flea market with over 75 vendors—makes its home here every Saturday, in East River State Park.
I learned quickly that a big bag is key to mastering a day out in New York. Without a car to stow things in, I often find myself carrying ridiculous amounts of stuff around with me every day: makeup, an umbrella, an iPhone charger, a camera, and all the various odds and ends I pick up over the course of a day. A roomy bag makes it easier—and more comfortable—to be out and about with everything a multi-hour excursion requires. I like these backpacks from Baggu, which, as it happens, is a Williamsburg-based company. (You can visit their shop at 242 Wythe Avenue.)
Photos by Jacquelyne Pierson.
This was my third visit to Seattle, and on each visit my impression has been consistent: wow. I’m sure it hasn’t hurt that every visit has been free of the notorious drizzle, but even grey skies couldn’t obscure how beautiful this city is.
We were lucky to get to spend two nights in Seattle a little while back as part of Coast Hotel’s “Great Coast Road Trip.” Essentially, I was asked if I’d like to do a three-city leg of a multi-blogger road trip, write about for their website, and bring my family along. I’ve been invited for some press travel before, but rarely with Aron and the kids, so I usually decline. This was such a treat! You can of course read my posts about the trip on their site—and I’m under no obligation to say more—but we had such a great time (even as we were so daunted by the prospect of a road trip with an infant) that I still wanted to share a travelogue here, too.
Anyway, the plan was this: fly to Seattle and spend two nights there before picking up a Zipcar and driving part of the Cascades loop to Wenatchee, and then on to Portland, before passing along the car to someone else and flying home. We had never been to Portland or Wenatchee (and I’ll talk about those stops next week), and it had been 8 years since our last visit to Seattle… when we almost moved there! We were excited to go back.
The flight from Sacramento to Seattle passed so quickly! Aron and I started hatching plans for return trips before we even left the airport. For his part, Hudson would have been happy to never leave the airport tram.
On that note, public transportation into the city center is supposed to be simple and efficient, but we opted for a taxi as neither Hudson nor Skyler are carrying their own things yet—and they seem to require so much!
We arrived in Seattle right around nap time, so after checking in at the Roosevelt (our first Coast hotel), we took a little break before heading back out. We were downtown and, I noted, just off of the main shopping strip and blocks from the original Nordstrom. I briefly considered bidding the weary crew adieu for some afternoon shopping, but we had a fairly full itinerary.
With so many babies on the horizon, I’d thought I’d revisit a topic from my first pregnancy. (A handful of you may have seen a version of this on my old site, Baby Mine.)
Being fortunate enough to take a sort of “last-hurrah” vacation as an expectant couple should be enough, right? You should already count yourself lucky (especially if somebody else is nice enough to watch your older child or children while you’re gone).
So let me preface this by saying that I realize this is not a real problem and that I fear that this will sound ridiculous. But some of you might be realizing that choosing a good destination when you’re expecting is a challenge!
And it occurred to me that I’m probably not the only one out there who has Googled “traveling while pregnant” for destination ideas to find that the only links returned are articles on getting up and walking during long plane flights. In the end, I can only offer that (1) these are some of the factors you might consider, (2) you will get to travel again once the baby arrives (and the real challenges begin), and (3) you’ll have a great time regardless. Think of it less as a last hurrah and more of a chance to celebrate what’s to come.
In our case, the first getaway during my first pregnancy was to Montreal, to celebrate an anniversary. Aron worried about the long car ride, and I feared that a romantic getaway to the “Paris of the North” (in the winter) wouldn’t be the same without foie gras; stinky, unpasteurized cheeses; dips in a steamy, hot jacuzzi; or copious glasses of wine.
Obviously, we got over it.
The next vacation we got to plan was for a February escape to warmer climes (and hopefully a sun-drenched beach). We’d taken a trip to India the previous April (with the push being that we should seize the opportunity to see a place I’d always dreamed of visiting before having a baby might keep us away for a while), and we actually considered a repeat trip while our visas were still valid. But it seemed unnecessarily risky: Aron had gotten sick briefly on our last visit, and the fear of food-borne illness–potentially devastating to a fetus–loomed large. We also thought about all of the bug repellent we had applied (instead of taking anti-malarials), and knowing that I would now neither feel comfortable using Deet nor taking anti-malarials placed the destination firmly in the no-go category. We had really hoped to go somewhere that could prove challenging with a baby or small child (as opposed to a kid-friendly, domestic spot like Florida), but found that most places that are warm in February are in the tropics and posed similar problems.
I think it was around the time that I reminded my husband that I also couldn’t scuba dive that he was ready to give up on warm weather altogether, suggesting instead that we head for snowy mountains and embrace the winter. But I quickly vetoed the thought of a non-skiing, non-hot-tubbing, non-hot-toddy drinking week in the snow. Picky, picky.
In the end, we got very lucky: my parents (probably tired of my indecision) came to the rescue with a gift of a Caribbean cruise and we had an amazing time! We also snuck off to Napa for a few days of couple-time and laughed at ourselves for booking a trip to the wine region at five months pregnant.
Since then, over two pregnancies, I’ve traveled a lot in the expectant state and my conclusion? (Hint: It’s the same with all questions of travel.) Go!
Yes, there will be heartburn. No, you can’t toss back margaritas. Yes, you will probably spend far too much time agonizing over a maternity bathing suit. But not as much time as you’ll spend agonizing over the first postpartum one.
I’d vote the best time is late in the second trimester or early in the third, when you’re unlikely to be sick, likely to look pregnant, likely able to stay up past 9pm, and unlikely to be in early labor or any sort of stressed-out nesting mode.
Every now and then, this photo of the Trinity College Library’s Long room from our travelogue to Ireland pops up in my Pinterest feed. I’d follow the link back to the Travelogue and it would just drive me crazy to see the old post with its few, miniature images–and a whole lot of text. It was due for an update.
That trip we took to Ireland, one spring a few years back, was such a fantastic one. We chose it as a destination on a funny whim—it just happened to be the cheapest international destination to fly to from New York City in June (presumably because it’s usually rainy there then, though it wasn’t for us)—and so I hadn’t built up that sense of eager anticipation about Ireland the way one might. It completely wowed me.
If you haven’t had a look, check out our Ireland travelogue—newly updated! (Aron and I look like such babies—before having our own.)
As I mentioned (and you may have seen on Instagram), we’ve just spent a week in New York. We had a wonderful time visiting favorite old haunts and taking in all of the holiday decorations; it was so nice to spend a week in a city we know so well. It definitely made it easier for us to go at a toddler’s pace without any regrets about skipping over some things. Still, I can’t lie: it has been a rough transition home for Hudson! I’m not sure if it was the time change or the consecutive weeks of vacation, but coming off of this trip has seemed more jarring than most. So it’s nice to look back at these pictures this morning, and remember why this is all worth it!
Because the trip felt like a bit of a homecoming, and because I’ve posted about many of these places before, I’m going to be referencing a lot of previous links where you can find more details if you’re planning a trip of your own.
This fall has been a great season for us, travel-wise. I suppose you could say we’re behaving as if the world is going to end when this baby arrives in a couple of months. (Is it?!) On the heels of fun weekends in Yosemite and Monterey, we spent a glorious week on Grand Cayman, a British territory in the Caribbean sea.
As goals for most beach vacations go, we aimed to spend the majority of our time relaxing and swimming in warm water. But we discovered a few things about the island that might come in handy if you’re planning a visit—owing completely to our friends Emarie and Nick, with whom we traveled there. Emarie lived on the island for a few years and knew all the best places to go.
Here are some of the highlights…
To celebrate Aron’s birthday this year, we decided to jump in the car and drive into Yosemite Valley for a brief escape. The 3-1/2 hour drive passed quickly, and though we arrived too late Friday evening to see our surroundings, we woke up in what is easily one of the most beautiful places on earth. Even if you can only spend a day or two, it’s worth making an effort to visit. Thankfully, we’re close by.
Plenty of people (and guidebooks) can tell you far more about visiting the National Park than can I—especially about the acres to explore outside of the valley floor. The entire park is over 1,170 square miles. But here are a few notes (and a whole lot of photos) from our weekend, in case you’re lucky enough to be headed this way.
I’ve updated and added previously unpublished photos to our Croatian travelogue. I must confess, I was inspired by watching Game of Thrones over the past few weeks, which I realized was partially filmed in and around Dubrovnik! It makes so much sense, now that I look back at our photos. Of the various locations in which the cast shoots the HBO show, I think this would be the one I’d hope to have my story line set in. The Adriatic sea is so beautiful. What an incredible place!
I hope you’ll have a look at the updated Travelogue: Croatia & Montenegro.
P.S. Do you watch Game of Thrones? Aron was embarrassed to admit it at first, but he’s obsessed. Hopefully obsessed enough that we can revisit Croatia and do a location-tour? Also, more travelogues.
This past month, we caught a ride on one of the best direct flights you can take from Sacramento’s airport: At 9:30 am, you’re in the air. And by 11:30 Hawaiian time, you’re in Maui. Our entire week was a most-generous gift from Aron’s parents, who had chosen to fly the whole family out for a vacation together (Aron’s parents would arrive with his sister and her family a few days after us).
We flew with Hudson’s car seat once again, but it’s starting to put him awfully close to the seat in front of him (he’s a tall 2-year-old). Still, love that he falls asleep in it, and we love that we can relax knowing he’s strapped in if we do. Besides, we’d be bringing it along anyway for the car rental.
We were booked for eight nights at the Marriott Ocean Club on Ka’anapali beach. From the airport, it’s roughly an hour’s drive.
There’s a wonderful (if expensive) fruit stand on the way to Lahaina and Ka’anapali—around mile marker 15 or so. I’d wager there are better deals to be had elsewhere, but I must admit we didn’t find them. Food in general is expensive on the islands.
We brought some papayas, mangoes, passion fruit, bananas, avocados, and limes back to our hotel to snack on throughout the week. Ask for help picking the ripeness for the day you wish to eat it, and be sure to take them up on the offers for samples (especially of the coconut candy, which I still regret not buying).
[Continued from Paris, Part One]
On our fourth night in Paris, we met the babysitter we had arranged months earlier. Ana came over around 6:45 in the evening—we met her outside the apartment as we were coming home from the park, in fact—and I could tell it was going to go well immediately. I think Hudson thought she was our friend, Rhiannon (“Ana” sounding a bit similar and there being a resemblance), because he immediately reached up for a hug and asked after Rhiannon’s son. So they were off to a good start, with him eager to show her his toys.
I had actually written Jordan (who I’ve been lucky to get to chat with on a few occasions at blog events), about her experience with babysitters in Paris and she sent me a suggestion. In the end, that woman wasn’t available, but she passed along Ana’s contact. Ana only had experience with small children in her own family, but she struck me as intelligent and warm and I got a good feeling about her. In the end, she came three nights (Wednesday Thursday, and Saturday) and her friend came one night (Friday). I communicated with both over email before our trip, did a little web-stalking, and sent documents with all of our rules and routines ahead of time so that we could address specifics and be more brief about such things in person.
By the time the evening came, we knew that Hudson was waking in the middle of the night but that he was falling asleep and staying asleep during the babysitter’s hours easily—a big relief—and that he felt comfortable in our new home. We also purchased a cheap mobile phone for use in France, so that the babysitters could reach us in case of emergency and asked that they text us an update at least once while we were out.
If you’re considering using a babysitter, this book and our Rick Steves’ guidebook had additional babysitting resources they recommended. I would also suggest asking your hotel concierge for help, if you have one.
As much fun as we were having as a family of three, it was such a relief to leave that evening and step out into the glowing light as a couple, to know that we would have the chance to experience the romantic side of Paris (that we had once so loved) again and linger over wine and flickering candles.
As I alluded to in Part One, I never saw children out in restaurants at dinner (save for the occasional tourist), and it really seemed a challenge to bring ones as young as Hudson. We mentioned this to our babysitter, and she—without missing a beat—agreed and said “yes, you can bring the dog but not the child.” Ha! If you’re living in France, I’d love to hear if you think this is accurate.
In any case, though it adds a significant expense to pay for babysitting (around 10euro/hour seems normal), for us it was worth it.
That first evening out, we headed for Restaurant Le Gaigne, just around the corner from these stunning vertical gardens on rue Pecquay. The restaurant was booked (and now appears to be closed until a new location opens), and their chic wine bar across the way had a wait for tables, so we headed back up rue des Petits-Carreaux a bit and popped into L’Assiette à Carreaux just as the rain started falling; it was buzzing with people smoking cigarettes outside and drinking champagne inside. It looked promising, and we were happy we stayed.
Aron and I had been talking about returning to Paris for years. For some reason, despite many visits as a couple living on the West Coast, we never made the trip once we lived on the East. By the time the opportunity arose, I was pregnant. And nothing sounded sadder than a trip to Paris (with its incredible wine, raw cheeses, and its laundry list of pregnancy taboos—like foie gras and steak tartare) while expecting. (You might recall that I faced similar dilemmas in Montreal, albeit the kind that that no one should really ever complain about.)
In hindsight, it might have been easier to travel to Paris while pregnant than with a toddler. Either involves some sacrifices, some compromises (to put it more glass-half-full)—the toddler perhaps more.
And here’s where I should learn to heed my own advice: Just go!
So to start…
I want to tell you the secret, magic tricks to having the perfect vacation in Paris—ah, Paris!—with a toddler. I really do. I just have to be honest: there was a night at dinner when Aron and I, albeit proud of our well-behaved son who was licking herbed butter off of escargot shells, agreed that if someone asked us whether to choose to go Paris with a two-year-old, we might say “non.”
… READ MORE
While in Paris, Aron and I both fell in love with this bag we were gifted from Sons of Trade. The Tactical Tote is designed for men by the same company behind the Petunia Pickle Bottom bags. And it’s big, maybe a little too large on my frame, but it makes a great gender-neutral diaper bag (it’s attractive, wipeable, durable, has tons of pockets, and converts from tote to backpack with a couple of snaps and the company sells a separate diaper pad/case to put inside), but we loved it as a travel bag, too.
The tote can be snapped shut on its own, but because the tote handles fold over and snap in place, we felt especially confident that no one was easily reaching into the sack. I loved the confidence that adds. Seriously: I felt like Vanna White when it arrived, showing Aron all of the bells and whistles.
You can order directly from the company and find accessories at Sons of Trade.
Just in case you’re doing some last minute shopping.
I’ve been wanting to share a true, extensive (over-the-top, in typical fashion) travelogue from our month in Bali for, oh, almost a year now. And I think it’s time! Here’s the plan: I have multiple posts on where we stayed, what we saw, where we shopped and ate, for each of our destinations. There was just too much to tell for me to put everything into one long post this time.
I’ll spend the next week or so sharing different aspects of our trip, give each the tag “Bali Travelogue,” and you can see them all grouped once I’m done. I’ll start with Ubud next week, and then pause for a while to finish up posts on Permuteran, the Gilis, and Seminyak (see updated list below).
Those of you who have written me asking questions about traveling to Bali, often with young children: I’m sorry it took me so long! The rest of you with no plans to go there anytime soon: Um, sorry? Indulge me? And start saving your miles for a ticket! It was amazing!
First up, the 40-hour journey and arriving at our first destination, Ubud.
[photo of our first home, Harvest Moon Villa]