Date Night In: Big Vacation Planning

What? Vacation planning doesn’t sound like a hot date night? I disagree. I continually find that traveling with my husband shows me something completely new about him (like when we went to Mexico a few years ago and out of nowhere he busted out fluent Spanish. Me: “YOU CAN SPEAK SPANISH?!”). So I really look forward to planning new vacations and making new family memories.

Plus, we’re finding that as our life gets busier and busier (just like everyone else’s), setting aside time to properly plan for vacation is actually hard to do. That’s generally how we end up in random places with no plan, googling and yelping as we travel there, which sometimes turns out awesome (Vieques, for example). But we’ve got a big vacation on the brain that is going to take some serious planning: The 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil.

My husband and I went to London for the 2012 Summer Olympics and didn’t know we were going until about 5 days before we left. Joel happened to have work in London at the time, my inlaws graciously agreed on short notice to take the kids, and that was that. We had a few event tickets from a client, but like the good Jersey boy he is, my husband hustled the rest. Now we’ve been to London many times, so we were fine spending a lot of the time schlepping all over town tracking down random ticket sources, pub-hopping as we went. But I want to actually see Brazil and we want to take the kids, so some real planning is in order. And working together on a challenge proved to be so much fun the last Olympics, that I happen to think it’d make a great multitasking date night in. Here’s what I’ve got cooking ….

A Feteful Life: Date Night In Vacation Planning

1 / I love Lonely Planet’s guide books, which I’d definitely pick up beforehand. We’re thinking we might do a week at the Olympics in Brazil and then possibly a week after in neighboring Argentina.

2 / Staying in for date night doesn’t mean you can’t fix yourself up. I love Kate Spade’s Brazilian-inspired collection, including this Ipanema Scatter Necklace.

3 / What would a South American vacation planning session be without Mara Hoffman’s bright colors? This little shirt dress even has alpacas!

4 / Caipirinhas. Did I even need to say it?

5 / Even planning ahead, alcohol + sugar = lets make some impulsive decisions (e.g., “yes, of course we should go for the room upgrade!”). I’d make these traditional Brigadiero for sure.

6 / I have travel bags stuffed full of maps, brochures, ticket stubs, etc. I’d like to do this one right and get a travel planner/journal. This all-in-one book has room for itineraries, checklists, and journaling.

Let the games begin!

What’s In My: Road Trip Bag

I have a confession to make… I don’t like road trips. In theory I love the idea of hitting the road and taking in all the amazing sights that our country has to offer. But in reality, I find it really boring and often very stressful trying to entertain two kiddos who are also bored. But, alas, we are headed on a family road trip soon so I need to figure out a way to maintain my sanity while trying to enjoy the start of my vacation. I’m already starting to plan what to pack in my road trip bag to keep things fun and entertaining…

A Feteful Life: What's in my Road Trip Bag

1. JanSport off trail backpack – When it comes to traveling (especially with kids) backpacks are my bag of choice. You can pack it full of stuff and still easily carry it while keeping your hands free.

2. Along the Way App – This handy app does exactly what its name implies – just type in your route and it will show you places to eat, grab coffee, shop, and even sightsee as you go.

3. Audio books from the library – Last time my husband and I went on a road trip we got an audio book to listen to and it was a game changer for me. It made the 7 hour drive fly by and I was even a bit sad when we got to our destination because I wanted to continue listening. Since our kids will be on the trip with us (and since my older son is now obsessed with Harry Potter) we’ll probably listen to something kid friendly like Harry Potter & the Chamber of Secrets but if it were just me, I’d be listening to Goldfinch which is on the top of my “to-read” list. While audio books tend to be more expensive than the paper or kindle versions, be sure to check if your local library has free ones for you to download!

4. Ray-Ban Aviators – I have the most sensitive eyes to light and I cannot drive without sunglasses. I think aviators are the perfect shades because their frames are light and airy but still give you a lot of coverage. Plus, you can’t go wrong with a classic.

5. Trader Joes Grand Slam Popcorn – This stuff is addictive! It’s sweet, salty and amazing. I love it, the kids love it, and it won’t last in our car for very long.

6. National Geographic Kid’s Atlas – If the kids loose interest in Harry Potter, I’m packing lots of little activities for them to do in the car. Both of the kids are obsessed with maps (just like me) and I think they will absolutely love this kid’s atlas, which includes maps, games, funny facts and silly attractions.

What’s In My: Travel Bag

How time flies! It’s only been a little over a week since Jim and I got back from our whirlwind weekend in San Francisco but it feels like yesterday. I love San Francisco but it is just so gosh darn far away for a weekend.

Over the last few years we’ve had a few of these quick trips to SF with friends for a wedding and a law school reunion and each time I keep perfecting my carry-on bag. You need entertainment for the flight that won’t weigh you down plus a few essential toiletries so you can hit the ground running as soon as you land. All while keeping it light enough to not slow you down as you make your way through the airport. Here are some of my must haves…

A Feteful Life: What's in my travel bag1. A great all-purpose tote is my favorite bag to travel with. It holds everything you need during the flight but is also versatile enough to use as a purse when you get to your destination. This Transport Tote from Madewell is just gorgeous. I love it!

2.  Magazines are one of my favorite flight luxuries. I so rarely have time to just sit and flip through a magazine when I’m at home. But, when faced with a six hour flight ahead of me with no kids screaming for my attention, bring on the magazines! Kinfolk is currently my favorite magazine. It is beautiful!

3. I’m always vacillating between hot and cold when I’m flying so it is essential that I wear layers. A scarf keeps me cozy on the plane (and on those chilly SF evenings). I’m a bit obsessed with green this season (and tassels) so this scarf from Old Navy is perfect!

4. On our flight into SF last week my ears were killing me as we landed. This hasn’t happened to me in years and I was caught off guard and had nothing to help pop my ears. I was definitely prepared for the flight home. This Glee Gum is my favorite all natural gum.

5. I’ve read a few books on the Kindle app on my iPhone and iPad but nothing compares to a real Kindle. Jim got me a Kindle Paperwhite for Christmas and it’s the best way to read a book (aside from, you know… a real book).

6 – 8. These three products are my must have products for when I travel. I never go anywhere without my Burt’s Bees tinted lip balm. It adds sheer color, isn’t sticky and moisturizes all in one. I haven’t tried a color that I haven’t liked. Not only do I love how the Oribe Cote d’Azure hair refresher smells, but it also takes away the static in my hair that always happens when I fly. It’s not really a dry shampoo but it does make you feel clean and fresh. Over the years I’ve become a germaphobe and traveling is one of my worst case germ scenarios. I always have some hand sanitizer on hand and the Burt’s Bees with witch hazel keeps the germs away and my hands stay soft.