Tips for Actually Relaxing on Vacation

This post has been sponsored by Canada Dry®. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Let’s be honest, traveling can be pretty stressful. But, if you go into a vacation or adventure with a well-thought-out plan, a realistic outlook, and something refreshing to drink, it’s so much easier to sit back and actually relax and enjoy your time away!

During our recent vacation to the Florida Keys, we took a sunny day to relax and picnic near the ocean. We bought along a DELICIOUS new flavor from Canada Dry called Canada Dry Ginger Ale and Orangeade, which we found at Kroger as we were getting ready to make the 24-hour drive to the Keys. This destination is worth every single mile! 

This new Canada Dry flavor is perfect to enjoy in Florida, the sunshine state known for its oranges; this drink delivers a flavor that is light and refreshing, with a hint of ginger and 1% real orange juice! 

I loved lying at the beach and simply staring out into the ocean. The tropical breezes make the palm trees wave ever so slightly with no cares in the world. We always pack a cooler full of ice and refreshments when we are adventuring around on our vacations. Staying hydrated is key in being able to stay focused, relaxed, and feeling fresh.

I see the stress that looms over those traveling and taking so much time, effort, and money on what they thought was supposed to be a relaxing vacation, only to find that the crowds, traffic, and overpriced everything are just too much!

I am often asked how I stay so positive while traveling, and I am so happy to be able to share tips on making sure you get the most out of your vacation throughout this post. It is a dream of mine to one day create a blog dedicated fully to travel and lifestyle, so stay tuned! Who knows what dreams might just come true! 

PLAN A RELAXING SCHEDULE

The day we shot this post, we headed to a cute little park that we had all to ourselves for the morning! Talk about relaxing…I left feeling incredibly refreshed and ready to handle the day…the month…and even the year ahead. A bit of fresh air and sunshine can really do wonders for helping one relax.

Making sure everyone has something cold and refreshing to drink really makes a huge difference. I know that when I am parched, I just can't think of anything but getting a sip of something cold. How about you?

Here, we treated a couple of our closest family members to some tasty refreshments as they enjoyed a relaxing sunset by the water. They said it was some of the tastiest Ginger Ale they had ever had and were so happy we shared! We filled glasses with ice, poured the Canada Dry Ginger Ale and Orangeade into the glasses, then garnished them with slices of mini oranges. What a tropical treat! Plus, the house we stayed at while in Florida had tons of gorgeous hibiscus bushes, and other pretty tropical flowers which really complemented the delicious taste of the Canada Dry Ginger Ale and Orangeade.

We love taking vacations with family. We all get a chance to bond and relax, which all of us need very badly since we all work SO hard throughout the year.

STAY COMFORTABLE / PACK ACCORDINGLY 

If your goal is to recharge, there is no use in completely doing way more than you would normally be capable of. Sure, it’s fun to challenge yourself and make the most of every day while on vacation but this also means giving your mind and body a little bit more time to rest than usual. You may not even realize that walking a city’s downtown area could add 5+ extra miles to your daily adventures!

Bring comfortable clothes and shoes, and be prepared for a variety of environments. This will help you stay at the top of your game. You may even find that in cities where walking is a huge part of peoples’ daily commute, you may find shoe stores and boutiques that carry incredibly comfortable and stylish items! Never pack shoes or clothing that are the least bit uncomfortable because you likely won’t even wear them while traveling.

Another part of staying comfortable is being prepared with enough refreshments and snacks. You never know when you will get that perfect chance to catch an amazing meal so rather than being stressed by packing improperly, get things organized ahead of time so you're all happy and you can take as much time to relax as possible.

RESEARCH RESEARCH RESEARCH

Plan a relaxing schedule. It allows you a bit of wiggle room if places are not as expected. This way, if the itinerary isn’t planned out minute by minute, your whole day isn’t ruined if a detour arises!

Sometimes, the best and most relaxing days come from spur of the moment stops we have taken—whether it is just to get out and stretch our legs or is something a local told us about. 

I also love using the maps app on my phone to look up reviews, photos, and honest opinions of not only restaurants and bars but also state parks, venues, and even places off the beaten path.  

Also, if you search locations via Instagram’s geo tags, you can find out about a place days, months, or even years in advance! And, you get a look at what the locals are doing as well as those who are visiting.

UNPLUG AND LEAVE WORK BEHIND

 As we all know, unplugging from technology and work can be extremely peaceful and reduce stress. This is something I always have trouble doing since I work in social media. It’s part of my job to keep my phone or laptop by my side, whether it’s to check emails from clients or shoot photos for projects. And since I don’t have a traditional work schedule, work literally never ends. This means that I have to put forth extra effort to leave the phone in the other room so that I can enjoy the precious time we have in any given place.

Of course, technology while traveling can also help reduce stress. Set aside some time each morning or evening. If you do not already have a plan for the day ahead, jot down a list of ideas and look them up to see if it’s worth the time and effort.

KEEP AN OPEN MIND + A REALISTIC OUTLOOK

I always recommend keeping an open mind and realizing that travel can be stressful, so going with the flow in a new location or situation is sometimes the best way to fully enjoy your time.

Never pressure yourself to relax. If the situation is bothering you, do a little change of scenery, realize that you’re on vacation, and have a little fun. After all, there is likely some reason people vacation there, so find those places and check them out even if they are not your normal plan!

TRY A NEW ADVENTURE

Try a new adventure—that can breathe new life into your spirit and even if you wore yourself out a bit trying something new, the memories and thrill of a new adventure will truly reinvigorate or reenergize you for years to come.

Remember, pack yourself some snacks and your favorite flavors of Canada Dry Ginger Ale and Orangeade, Ginger Ale, and Diet Ginger Ale—something for everyone!

RECHARGE AND RELAX 

Get a good night’s sleep. I always bring my own pillow from home if space allows in my luggage. I find that after traveling and staying in so many places, the comfort of your own pillow is worth more than any luxury accommodations.

While I have never attended a spa to get a massage while on vacation, most tourist destinations boast award-winning, state of the art spas and salons that offer unique experiences.

What sorts of relaxing travel tips do you have? Do you find vacation stressful or relaxing? If you chose the latter, I do hope some of these tips have really inspired you to start enjoying every single moment of that relaxing vacation you planned! Happy and safe travels, friends!

Our Montana Road Trip with Expedia Add-On Advantage

Thank you Expedia for sponsoring this post. Book your travel on Expedia.com to save with the Add-On Advantage!

We just got back home from an amazing adventure out west in Montana! We have a soft spot in our hearts for Montana and cannot seem to stay away! Travel fuels our creativity, inspires our work, and helps us bond in ways words cannot describe!

We love driving around the mountains and small towns of Montana, and renting a car from the new Expedia Advantage Add-On program is an excellent choice for a fun road trip like this, through southwestern Montana! 

When you book a flight, you can get awesome deals on add-ons like car rentals and hotels. Keep reading to learn more about their awesome deals AND see lots of photos from our recent vacation out west!

Downtown Virginia City, MT.

Downtown Virginia City, MT.

Montana is a magical place. "Keep Montana Majestic" is a fitting slogan I thought of as we were leaving this time, because it's such a gorgeous and majestic place that has only 1 million residents - one . We spent a lot of time in southwestern Montana this past month, visiting the areas around Yellowstone including Big Sky, Bozeman, Hebgen Lake, and Ennis, MT. We also spent time in the Missoula area for an awesome rafting trip on the Clark Fork River Gorge. Keep reading to learn more about some of our favorite places in Montana and get insights on these awesome travel deals.

BOOK A FLIGHT, CAR, OR PACKAGE AND UNLOCK UP TO 43% OFF SELECTED HOTELS!

So, if you already have a trip planned, and want to access a SUPER GREAT price on a hotel, this is a great opportunity! 

Missoula

I checked on car rental prices around Missoula, which also unlocked deals on hotels! There were some awesome cars available, and all of the hotels in the screenshot below (with a yellow stripe above their name) offer additional discounts to those who use Expedia Add-On Advantage! I just love saving on travel, so I can use that part of the travel budget for something more fun. Like a rafting trip, which you will see below. We had SO much fun!!

Below, we spent one particularly fun Sunday on the water with a river guide. As a team, we worked together to get the inflatable raft through rapids. We had no clue how much fun we would have, since we generally never plan trips with any sort of guide or service - we love just driving and exploring places that way.

See the car rental deals I found, below, plus more suggestions of awesome places in and around Missoula to visit. 

If you ever have the chance to visit downtown Missoula, you will love it! I would even suggest 2-3 days to fully experience a couple of days of shopping plus being able to eat and drink at the MANY bars and restaurants is so much fun. The city is walking friendly but a little spread out, and luckily parking is super easy here in the summer, so feel free to use that rental car to get around town.

Missoula, MT
Sushi in Missoula MT
Ennis, MT

We have been so fortunate to visit Ennis, MT several times in the past couple of years. We love the gorgeous mountain vistas in the Madison Valley and I absolutely love how free you feel when you're in such a beautiful place. It's a very small town, but the Madison River runs right through town, as well as being one way people get to Yellowstone, the town's rather small population gets over a million visitors. It's very popular to fly fish in this area, and we love finding a place to let the dogs swim too. 

When you're in Ennis, you must check out the Gravel Bar (aka G Bar - see beers in the image below), which has lots of local MT beers and spirits, and their food is really pretty good. They are also opening a brewery next year, which should be really neat. Across the street from G Bar is Willie's Distillery. Deemo's Meats is a place to stop and grab groceries (they specialize in amazing meats and cheeses), and make sure to grab some of their frozen brats near the register - the green onion ones are AMAZING)! Perfect for roasting over a campfire too. 

Ennis, MT

Below, I thought this was so funny. Your typical Monday, with a Side By Side just leisurely driving through town! Some of our other favorite places to visit in Ennis include Plain Jane's (clothing, shoes, and the best Montana gifts ever), Nacho Mama, and Shedhorn, which sells outdoor gear, really nice quality women's shoes and clothing and also hunting and camping gear.

Ennis, MT
Virginia City, MT

A historic gold mining town situated high above the Madison Valley. This is always a fun place to stop and shop or stroll through the wooden boardwalks that used to be hustling and bustling. 

Virginia City, MT
Virginia City, MT
Virginia City, MT
Virginia City, MT
Big Sky, MT

Sure, since Big Sky, Montana sits at around 7200 feet in elevation, it's a great place to ski, snowboard, and snow mobile But, it's an amazingly vibrant and fun place to be in the summer as well. We spent several different days in Big Sky, and saw local music at their free Thursday Night Concert Series, drank a few local Montana beers at their bars, and visited the Big Sky Farmer's Market. The shopping in this area is really wonderful, if you like that sort of thing! There are also amazing restaurants in almost every style of food, so you can please everyone with something delicious!

These Thursday Night concerts are packed - especially this one weekend when the rodeo was also in town. If the line for the beer vendor is too long for your liking, just run into the Hungry Moose grocery store and grab something to drink - you can have open containers in the unincorporated town of Big Sky during these events. Grizzly Outfitters also has the most impressive selection of the latest women's clothing from the best outdoors brands. Yay! During the summer, people also love to mountain bike here, as well as fish the surrounding rivers. The Gallatin River runs through and all around town and is surrounded by huge pine trees.

Big Sky Farmer's Market

The Big Sy Farmer's Market was really impressive. While around 90% of the vendors had art, I felt that the quality of most everything was nearly art gallery quality jewelry and decor, made with antlers, beads, and other local materials. This flower vendor was also incredible - I wanted to bring home a huge, rainbow colored array of Montana grown flowers, but that was a bit unrealistic :) There was live music which was also super great, and then you could walk to grab some food in a nearby restaurant or food vendor after walking around. This Montana Alpaca at the Farmer's Market was rather cute too! 

Big Sky, MT Alpaca

Montana Flathead Cherries are in season during the summer, so grab up as many of these as you can if you are in Montana! They're SO sweet and delicious and I would love to bake a cherry pie from them. Huckleberries are also in season, but way, way harder to find than these cherries.

Montana Flathead Cherries
Hebgen Lake

Hebgen Lake was formed in 1959 when an earthquake occurred, causing part of the mountainside to fall into the water, creating a rather amazing lake that is unlike any other place we have ever been. Our friend has a boat slipped on this lake, so we drove out and spent time over several different days in the sunshine! The water is absolutely gorgeous and great for tubing and water skiing too.

This lake is situated along the drive from Ennis to Big Sky. You can also drive through Bozeman instead, but this drive avoids the traffic altogether and it absolutely stunning! You even drive partially through the western part of Yellowstone. making this one of the most scenic cruises you can do in this part of southwestern Montana.

Hebgen Lake
montana

There are so many rivers in Montana, and we loved fishing various places to pull over and get in the water. Below, the Ruby River.

Fly Fishing in Montana
Fly Fishing in Montana

We loved driving around Montana this summer, and if you want any more travel advice, please leave questions or comments in the section below!

I hope you enjoyed this recap of our recent vacation to Montana! Have you ever been to any of these towns pr places in Montana? Comment below to let me know!

Montana Road Trip

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Top Travel Snack Ideas for Road Trips with Nonni’s!

A special thanks to Nonni's Artisan Cookies for sponsoring this post.

Spring and Summer are popular times to travel, and if you’re hitting the open road this season, here are a few of our favorite Top Travel Snacks for Road Trips, and how to pack those snacks like a champ. Bringing a variety of deliciously convenient and interesting foods can make a road trip run more smoothly to avoid frequent stops for fast food.

Nonni’s new Chocolate Chip Artisan Thin Cookies are going to be the star of our next road trip, and since the cookies come in individual portion packs of three cookies each, they make amazing road trip snacks. I like the convenience of the packs, and wow, the brand isn’t kidding when they talk about how addictive their new Double Chocolate and Almond Chocolate Artisan Thin Cookies can be. They are superbly crunchy, have a wonderful taste and aroma, and are going to make this year’s travels a whole lot sweeter!

Road Trip

If you’re a regular reader of my blog, or even new to my blog, you will see that we are incredibly inspired by travel. My boyfriend and I have been together nearly 13 years, and we absolutely love to travel to places all over the country together – especially by car!

We road trip for many reasons, first and foremost, so that we can take our dogs, and also because we love the freedom to pack whatever we want in the car with us. Having everything with us always makes traveling easier and we love stopping off at a picnic area or rest area to have a snack or lunch al fresco. The below make great options for that break when you’re on-the-go!

LEARN MORE ABOUT NONNI’S COOKIES HERE:

Almond Chocolate (http://nonnis.com/chipthinaddictives/almond-chocolate/)

Double Chocolate (http://nonnis.com/chipthinaddictives/double-chocolate/)

TOP ROAD TRIP SNACKS

Nonni’s Chocolate Chip Artisan Thin Cookies

These cookies taste delicious and they satisfy my sweet tooth while I’m on the road. They’re unique because they’re made with real ingredients like 55% cacao, whole almonds (in some varieties), and coconut oil. Each box contains six convenient portion packs of three cookies that average 100 calories each.

The individual cookie packs also ensure freshness, compared to opening a whole box or bag of cookies that might go stale that same day.

Pita Chips and Hummus

This is one healthy snack that I find to be easy to eat in the car, and is way more satisfying than stopping through a drive through!

Veggies and Ranch Dip

Use half pint mason jars to contain ranch dressing or ranch dip in one, then, add vegetables like chopped broccoli, rainbow carrots, celery sticks, cherry tomatoes, and more in other jars.

It’s always fun to have a few assorted candies, in their individual jars. This will also severely reduce the need to make a candy run at the gas station. Also, chocolate tends to melt in the car, no matter if it’s winter or summer in our experience. Choose candies that are more fruity like gummies or jelly beans.

Almonds or Mixed Nuts

The satisfying crunch of almonds or mixed nuts can be very perfect for a road trip! I love how the Nonni’s cookies have almonds and chocolate chips in them. Oh my, they’re good!

The great part of using glass jars for snacks is that they hardly ever leak  and keep ingredients fresh. We store them in our cooler and the jars are great to have a picnic on the road, or enjoy once you get to your hotel or destination

If you’re heading anywhere fun this year, please let me know in the comments below! I also love to live vicariously through other people’s travel photos, and I hope you all have something super fun planned this year!

If you loved this post, PIN IT FOR LATER...

Top Road Trip Snacks!

Top Places We Visited in 2017 + Healthy Travel Tips

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Walgreens. The opinions and text are all mine.

I was so thankful to be asked by Carusele to participate in a second #SimplyNice campaign, sponsored by Walgreens. Although I have been compensated, all opinions are my own.

As I reflect on the past year, I can’t help but think of how lucky I am to have had the opportunity to visit so many wonderful places in the US. When Walgreens asked me to write a second inspirational post about their new line of revamped Nice! snacks, I was elated! I love their new packaging and some of their treats even inspired me to start thinking about snacking healthier while we travel.

I love that I can find something that is always delicious at Walgreens, and since they’re located all across the country, it’s easy to shop for healthy Nice! snacks while on the road, making our way towards our next destination. Nice! snacks while on the road, making our way towards our next destination.

Since travel has become SUCH a huge part of our lives, one major goal for 2018 is to incorporate even more travel tips and healthy eating tips into this blog. I cannot wait to see what the rest of the year holds! Here’s to a new year!

Nice! at Walgreens - Fun Travel Destinations

Travel can definitely take it out of you as well, so eating healthier while traveling, and drinking lots of water makes a huge difference in how smoothly any trip goes. Our first vacation of 2018 is here in Florida, so I definitely wanted to take the first part of the year to eat healthier and get ready for the beach! Walgreens actually makes it affordable and super convenient to eat healthier! You can even find a huge assortment of vegetarian and vegan baking ingredients like Raw Cashews, Pistachios, and many other nut varieties.

If you’re gluten free, try the AMAZING Organic White Cheddar Puffs – they’re life changing, and perfect for the road since they don’t get your hands (or car for that matter) too messy. Plus, they’re USDA Organic and Non-GMO, which I love.

Nice! products help you live a balanced life to stay on track and indulge without guilt by providing great tastes you can feel good about. Plus, the upfront, labeling and the shopping convenience of Walgreens make Nice! a win.

Below, you can see how we normally pack the car. We always travel with healthy snacks. I tend to get bored with snacks pretty quickly, so I find that if I bring a wider variety of goodies, I am not tempted to run into a gas station to grab something unhealthy.

Healthier Travel Snacks

Below is a list of the top places we visited in 2017, and what I’d recommend in each place. Thanks for following along on our adventures!

The Florida Keys

The Florida Keys are filled with all sorts of wonderful opportunities to get outside and enjoy the fresh air while getting a bit of exercise too. If you are staying in Key West, make it a goal to walk a few miles each day. It’s super easy to get in the miles in just a few hours, it’s definitely a walking city. Check out shops and restaurants on Duval Street (try Caroline’s Café for a big salad, The Porch for a refreshment, or The Butterfly House to mingle with butterflies, tropical flowers and plants.

If you’re looking for more action and adventure, the Keys offer lots of kayaking, boating, and excursions.

Kayaking near Sugarloaf Key, FL

Me, kayaking near Sugarloaf Key, FL

The dock off our vacation home on Sugarloaf Key, FL

Bobby and Cabbie sitting on dhe dock off our vacation home on Sugarloaf Key, FL

Key West
Kayaking on Summerland Key, FL

Our kayaks at the Sugarloaf Boat Launch

FL Keys

Cave Creek, AZ (Phoenix/Tucson)

I am so fortunate that my dad lives in such a beautiful location. If you’re visiting this area of Arizona, there are hiking trails, as well as tons of great restaurants, bars, and shopping opportunities! Closer to Tucson, check out Saguaro National Park, Tap and Bottle, or walking around downtown! If you’re closer to Phoenix, Scottsdale, and Cave Creek, try spending the day walking around Old Town Scottsdale (their historic downtown area, with beautifully renovated buildings and a man riding a horse playing guitar). Cave Creek also has a fun downtown area where you can walk to almost every bar and restaurant, and on Saturdays and Sundays, even catch a rodeo! There is also a vibrant motorcycle culture there unlike anywhere else we have ever been.

Saguaro At Sunset

Saguaro At Sunset

Citrus fruit grows abundantly in Spring and into Summer. Adding a splash of lemon to your water will help you want to drink more water and stay healthy and hydrated! Arizona is very, very dry, so dehydration makes your body work harder to perform.

By walking around areas like Cave Creek, Downtown Scottsdale (both the historic districts and the Scottsdale Fashion Square will make for some amazing exercise)!!

There are lots of golf courses in the Phoenix area, which would be an excellent way to spend the day outdoors and get exercise!

And, if you are more for swimming, May-October would be perfect timing to swim! Our dogs are the only ones brave enough to get into the pool in March, though ☺

Chicago, IL

You will DEFINITELY get your miles in for the weekend when you shop in Chicago. The food culture is amazing in Chicago, and there are actually a ton of healthier restaurants that you can check out.

Chicago is also home to tons of breweries and enough public transportation to get to anywhere in the city. If you’re trying to avoid calories from drinking, try a sampler glass of beer at each one, it’s generally only a few ounces of liquid, and you will get a great taste of what flavors the breweries are all about! A few notable places we love to visit in Chicago include: Revolution Brewing, The Bean, Game At Wrigley Field, Navy Pier, Shopping on State Street (possibly better than Michigan Ave! It’s way less crowded than Michigan Avenue, and has some incredibly amazing stores.

Binny's Beverage Depot in Chicago

Binny's Beverage Depot in Chicago

The food and drink options are nearly limitless in Chicago!

Begyle Brewing in Chicago, IL

Beygle Brewing, which was also hosting an art show – another good excuse to walk around and explore a new location. Dovetail Brewing, which features 100% lager beers was also close by and super delicious!

Denver, CO Area

Some of our best friends live in the Denver area, and we love visiting them whenever we are in town! It’s always fun having a local tour guide, and they love showing us fun places to hike in the mountains, as well as where to visit in the actual city of Denver. It’s a gorgeous area of the country, and if you enjoy the outdoors, it’s a fun place to be. There are so many camp grounds and hiking trails, and many of them are either free or very reasonably priced. Taking along healthy snacks and TONS of water really does make a huge difference, since it is so arid and at a very high elevation.

CO

Hiking at Guanellas Pass

We love traveling with the dogs – they do encourage us to get outdoors and get active!

The dogs LOVE the endless fresh water, mountain fed streams all over the state.

Healthier food options are everywhere We love visiting a place called The Source, that houses restaurants, bars, gift shops and fine grocery markets.

Ennis, MT

Last but definitely not least, Ennis, Montana has stolen a big part of our hearts! We love the abundant mountain views, the fresh clean air, and the fact that you can hike, fish, four wheel, and visit a ghost town all in one day! We love the Madison Valley and hope to wind up there some day. It’s such an inspirational location, and there are SO many opportunities to get out, get active, and get healthy! Bring your snacks along on a hike and enjoy your day. You might even see a herd of Elk or even antelope – they’re quite majestic.

Nice! Healthier Snack Options

A great way to make sure you keep healthy and happy on your vacations is so stock up on snacks like the Fruit & Nut Trail Mix from Walgreens.

Ennis, MT

Our dogs love snow days more than anything in the world. 2017 provided the Madison Valley and surrounding areas with way more snow than other years, something we learned from the locals.

Lake Ennis in Winter

Lake Ennis is fun in the summertime, and almost more beautiful in winter. We explored the lake and the surrounding areas in late Fall, and ice washed up on shore in rhythmic patterns. The sound reminded me of being near the ocean.

While the area is remote, the beauty of the surrounding area is really all I’d need :)

The dogs in Ennis, MT
Willie's Distillery in Ennis, MT

Walking around down town Ennis, MT is great. The city has really done a wonderful job of preserving the past and offering updated bars restaurants, and shops for a huge influx of visitors in Spring, Summer, and Fall.

Ready to go again!

Remember, pack healthy snacks like Nice! From Walgreens, and always have plenty of water – you won’t want to reach for unhealthy options anymore!

Choose Nice! From Walgreens to stay on track with a healthy new year.

Happy adventuring!

Goose Island Brewery - Chicago, IL

So, the Cubs just won Game 6, which means they are heading to the World Series! I just wanted to show Chicago some love and share a quick Chicago brewery visit with you! Goose Island is located at 1800 North Clybourn in the Lincoln Park area of Chicago. They have quite a large selection of beer on tap, so whatever your taste, you'll likely find something. I definitely found that the more expensive beers were way, way more worth ordering - so, go for one of their Belgian styles or something barrel aged, and you are in for a treat! Below, you will see their Cuban Sandwich and amazing Onion Rings! 

Look at those Onion Rings!

Have you ever eaten Poutine? I had not even heard of it before this, but our friends insisted we order one for the table. WOW, that gravy was for real! It's a Canadian dish that consists of fries, topped in gravy, cheese, and a fried egg! And, the roast meat on the dish tasted incredible, like the best beef stew I've ever had.

Poutine at Goose Island Brewery

Love the food and food pairing recipes they offer on their website - the photos and recipes are super unique. 

beer at Goose Island

And, the BBQ Sandwich was also good! 

BBQ sandwich at Goose Island In Chicago

Photography Field Trip: Scratch Beer Book Signing And Bottle Release

We are so fortunate to have such an incredible place like scratch brewing company in southern Illinois. It's definitely a destination brewery, being in Ava, IL, which is about 25 or so minutes outside of Carbondale. It's well worth the scenic drive out there. On September 10, 2016, I visited their brewery, and captured a bit of their book signing, homebrewing day, and a bottle release. I brought home the Single Tree Hickory Sour, and the Spring Tonic (so good!!). We also have a bottle of the Black Trumpet Bier De Mars, but haven't broken that open just yet...

scratch beer in ava, il

Their newly released book, The Homebrewer's Almanac, which contains around 15 recipes for their famous foraged beers. 

"The Homebrewer's Almanacis a practical guide for those who are interested in incorporating fresh and foraged ingredients into their beer, written by the brewers of one of the country’s hottest new breweries. " - Amazon

scratch beer in ava, il
scratch beer

Below, Aaron and Marika sign copies of their first book. It's always inspiring talking to these two. 

scratch beer in ava, il

More photos coming soon! Can't wait to share the rest with you. Visit Scratch online, on Instagram, or on Facebook. 

Photography Field Trip: Flamm Orchards

Last week, spur of the moment, I drove out to visit Flamm Orchards, in Cobden, IL. I had been wanting to go back for a while now, and I even called ahead to make sure they still had peaches. The peach season has pretty much come to an end, and the apples are almost ready to be picked. It is still a million degrees and also a million % humidity right now, so I am glad I took advantage of the cooler weather we had this day. Heading into September, I always feel like it should be cooling down and feel like Fall, but it sure doesn't just yet. Soon, though! My fingers are crossed that I get to take way more of these Photography Field Trips around southern Illinois soon! 

Here is one gem that we have in southern Illinois. It's super easy to get to, and the drive out there is gorgeous around sunset - rolling hills, orchards upon orchards of fruit trees, and just lots of green space. The day I went, the sky was bright blue with puffy, white clouds everywhere. 

Peach Jam - Flamm Orchard - Cobden. IL

I bought a jar of this Peach Jam, and cannot wait to use it with puff pastry and fresh peaches. What a good time to test out this recipe! Below, you will see their peach pie, a la mode. I snapped a photo of someone else's dessert at the pickup window, but I bought myself a couple of brownies and a couple of slices of the best Zucchini bread I have ever had in my life! I got therm all to-go, and Bobby made an exception to not liking to even eat sweets, and helped me eat them :)

peach pie + ice cream - Flamm Orchards - Cobden. IL
Flamm Orchard - Cobden. IL
Flamm Orchard - Cobden. IL

Flamm Orchards already have lots of beautiful gourds and pumpkins!

Flamm Orchard - Cobden. IL
Flamm Orchard - Cobden. IL
Flamm Orchard - Cobden. IL

And, if it had been a little bit cooler out, I would have enjoyed this little outdoor eating area that Flamm offers. All of the flowers looked so wonderful! (below)

Flamm Orchard - Cobden. IL

Blogging & Social Media Conferences To Check Out!

Have you ever attended a conference? If it is on the top of your priority list, I have gathered info on a few that look really, really good! I hope to expand on this list, so please comment below if I missed any events. Thank you SO much for checking out these fun conferences!!!

alt summit

AltITUDE Summit - January

Altitude Summit began in Salt Lake City (Founded in 2009), and 2016 marks the last year that the conference will be held in SLC. I consider this the leading lady when it comes to social media or blogger conferences. The 2017 Event will be held in Palm Springs, which is already sold out! 

Blog Post Credit: Passports and Pancakes Photo Credit: Justin Hackworth Photography

FIND THEM: Website // Facebook // Instagram // Pinterest // Twitter


Create + Cultivate - January

January 2016, Create + Cultivate, will be held in Dallas! I am attending this amazing event, and cannot wait to learn from the top bloggers and creative people in the blogging business today! 

Create + Cultivate has been held in places like L.A. and Chicago, and they will be announcing the next location soon. The January 2016 #CreateCultivateDallas tickets sold out super quick this year, making me a happy girl for getting my ticket. 

When: January 30, 2016

FIND THEM: Website // Facebook // Instagram // Pinterest // Twitter



BlogHer & BlogHer Food - August & October

I have heard really great things about BlogHer Conferences. 

Find Them Here: BlogHer 2016 & BlogHerFood 2016

When: BlogHer - L.A. August 4-6 BlogHerFood - October 7-8, 2016

FIND THEM: Website // Facebook // Instagram // Pinterest // Twitter


Re/Code Media Conference - Various Months

Held in the absolutely gorgeous Ritz-Carlton in Laguna Niguel (among other gorgeous places), this conference is quite wonderful. I had the pleasure of attending (AND being a speaker on The New Influencers Panel) in February of 2015, and it made me aware of the importance of the tech-industry side of the online world. Read my blog post here, to see images of my time there. A very special thanks to HelloSociety and Science Media for sponsoring my trip there. It was an unforgettable experience! Peter Kafka was an incredibly good host, and a great interviewer! 

FIND THEM: Website // Facebook // Instagram // Pinterest // Twitter


thrive

Thrive Conference - February

Thrive is located at The Embassy Suites in The Woodlands/Hughes Landing in Springs, TX. 

When: February 26-27, 2016

FIND THEM: Facebook // Website // Tickets


BYBC

Build Your Blog Conference - February

BYBC Is scheduled to happen February 19-20, 2016. They provide lots of great webinars, one of which I have seen, and was incredibly inspired by! They consider themselves the "Most Educational Blogger Conference". 

FIND THEM: Facebook // Website 


go blog social conference

Go Blog Social - March

This conference will be held on March 5, 2016 in Kansas City, MO. IT looks like an absolutely amazing and inspiring event, so get your tickets here. KC is the first stop on their 2016 Tour, which sounds like so much fun!!!

FIND THEM: Website // Facebook Event // Instagram


social media conference

Social Media Marketing World - April

This conferences, held by Social Media Examiner is going to be held in San Diego on April 17-19, 2016. With registration, you will get track sessions, workshops, and keynotes. You also get online recordings of the event, as well as lots of opportunities to network. They are even providing an opening ceremony in an airplane hanger! Sounds like fun! 

Register Here

FIND THEM: Website


creative at heart conference

Creative At Heart Conference - Various Months

This event will be held at three different locations in 2016! The video on their website is beyond inspiring! They will help you get your business in order whether you have been in business for years, or are just starting out. Learn more. 

Annapolis, MD (March 20-22), Denver, CO (July 24-25), and Memphis, TN (November 13-14)

FIND THEM: Website // Facebook // Instagram // Twitter


Trail To Tavern - San Diego & Escondido // Breweries & Bottleshops (And What To Wear To A Brewery)

I know I am only scratching the surface of where to drink in and around the San Diego area, but we found some pretty incredible breweries, bottle shops, and other places that I am so excited to share with you! And, since Toad&Co. was kind enough to inspire me to write this post, I wanted to do a brewery + outfit pairing! Check out my absolute favorite Toad&Co. suggestions, below. 

We drove to California this past March, during our month in Arizona. We decided to visit my friends at HelloSociety Santa Monica, and then head to the San Diego/Escondido area. We only had about 5-6 days in California, but definitely made the most of it! 

We knew there was a plethora of good beer in the San Diego area, so we decided to stay as close  as we could, which would up being the Best Western in Escondido, CA. March Madness completely filled all of the hotels in the San Diego area, so Escondido was the closest and coolest place we could find at short notice. Funny enough, any time you mention "Escondido" to anyone in the area, they say, "You're going to visit Stone Brewing, right?". 

Below, you will learn about the 4 breweries we visited, Stone Brewing, Toolbox Brewing, Modern Times, and Council Brewing.

Stone Brewing

At Stone Brewing, we were astounded by the immense scale of the tap room. The ceiling must go 2-3 stories up, and there are live  plants and water features throughout the building. There is also a lovely outdoor area, where you can grab a drink and food with friends, or even let your kids run around in the gardens. 

This pace was almost hard to find, because it's in a business park area, around nothing but office buildings. Also, the sign is rather small, so park near the hiking trail, and follow the intoxicating scent of hops through the bamboo garden walkway into either the store, brewery, or tap room(s). 

Stone Brewing
Stone Brewing
Stone Brewing - Lily The Wandering Gypsy
Stone Brewing - Lily The Wandering Gypsy
Stone Brewing - Lily The Wandering Gypsy
Stone Brewing - Lily The Wandering Gypsy
Trail 2 Tavern - Lily The Wandering Gypsy
Stone Brewing - Lily The Wandering Gypsy
Stone Brewing - Lily The Wandering Gypsy
Stone Brewing - Lily The Wandering Gypsy
Stone Brewing - Lily The Wandering Gypsy
Stone Brewing - Lily The Wandering Gypsy
Stone Brewing - Lily The Wandering Gypsy
Stone Brewing - Lily The Wandering Gypsy

And, if you don't wind up eating at Stone Brewing, we also ate at this incredibly wonderful restaurant called Spices Thai Cafe! 

Trail 2 Tavern - Lily The Wandering Gypsy
Bottle Shops To Visit

Since I promised you a list of Bottle Shops to visit (a.k.a. places to get insanely good, rare, and unique beer), here they are!

- Bottlecraft, Servall Liquors, Best Damn Beer Shop, Bine & Vine, Chip's Liquor, Holiday Wine & Spirits, Clemm's Bottle Shop, Fletcher Bottle Shop, Oak & Craft, and SO MANY MORE!!!


Toolbox Brewing Company is one of the most unique and special breweries we have ever visited. Their tap handles were made of tools (reminiscent of the San Diego Skyline), and the overall design of the place reminded me of an extremely clean mechanic's shop with lots of great merchandise to bring home with you. We had such a nice conversation with the brewery owner/founder, and learned so much about the local beer scene. They are making an effort to use their own experimental recipes, and I loved the Bog Sauce! Definitely stop by and take a look at all of those beautiful barrels!

Toolbox Brewing Company - Lily The Wandering Gypsy
Toolbox Brewing Company - Lily The Wandering Gypsy
Toolbox Brewing Company - Lily The Wandering Gypsy
Toolbox Brewing Company - Lily The Wandering Gypsy
Toolbox Brewing Company - Lily The Wandering Gypsy
Toolbox Brewing Company - Lily The Wandering Gypsy
Toolbox Brewing Company - Lily The Wandering Gypsy
Toolbox Brewing Company - Lily The Wandering Gypsy

At Modern Times Flavordome, located at  3000 Upas St. in San Diego, you will find some absolutely incredible beer and coffee! There is a second location as well. Their beer is superior to so many others, so if you are anywhere near this bar, please, please visit! If beer isn't your thing, you can always order a cold brew coffee, in a stemmed glass, like the one above, poured over ice.  

Modern Times
Modern Times

Lamp shades hang from the ceiling of the tap room. 

Modern Times

If you order a flight here, they serve it to you in the top of a wooden cigar box. 

Modern Times
what to wear

The best thing about Toad&Co clothing, is that it all looks incredibly polished, but is very, very comfortable! That is the exact sort of outfit I would recommend wearing to a brewery when it's nice and warm outside. Dresses are so versatile, and make sure you wear semi comfy shoes, because you never know where the day may take you when you're hunting for breweries to visit in the San Diego area! 

Palmira Dress

Palmira Dress

Rosemarie Dress

Rosemarie Dress

Cold Brew Coffee, below, available if you don't want to get a beer - so smart! 

Modern Times
Modern Times

Their tap list - I'm sure they've switched a few things up by this point :)

Modern Times

Mouth Watering Taps!

Modern Times

Several of the walls were completely covered in floppy discs! I guess their other location has a giant sticky note mural that features Michael Jackson + Bubbles. 

Modern Times
Modern Times

Their bar was made of stacks and stacks of VHS tapes! So freaking cool! Definitely check out Modern Times if you get a chance, it's such a fun place.

Modern Times

Council Brewing greeted us with a gigantic wall of barrels - a very good sign, meaning they take lots of time to age their beers, as well as make lots of sour beers (yum)!!

The bartender was super nice and helpful, and did a great job managing the requests of everyone in the space. This brewery provides wide open space, ample seating, and a very relaxed environment. We tried several sour fruit beers, under their Beatitude line, and loved absolutely everything we had. I wish we could find their beer in Illinois. 

Council Brewing
What To Wear

A brighter dress is also a great option for a brewery visit in California! I would also recommend bringing a sweater or denim jacket as well, because so many of these breweries had their doors open at night, letting fresh air into the space - such a wonderful thing!

Sama Sama Dress

Sama Sama Dress

Palmira Dress

Palmira Dress

Such good beer! I love their fruit-based beers best. 

Council Brewing
Council Brewing

Two of their special edition beers. 

Council Brewing
Council Brewing

A flight of as many beers as you want! I think their glasses are adorable. 

Council Brewing

Where the magic happens...

Council Brewing
Council Brewing

Note** More photos will be added very soon! Stay Tuned :) 

The Beauty Of A New Adventure With The L'Oreal LUMI Compact

I was absolutely thrilled when I was asked if I wanted to collaborate with L'Oreal again! This time, the theme was Summer Travel + Travel Makeup Tips, to help promote their new LUMI Compact! Of course, that was also really exciting for me, because we travel so much, so I have packed for lots of road trips, and have actually experienced how hard it is to stay looking cute while traveling! It's sometimes more work than at home, because you don't have your regular setup. 

Another fun fact about these photos, is that we would up shooting them while we were in the Port St. Joe and Cape San Blas area! It was absolutely gorgeous, and the place we stayed was the perfect setting for the shoot. If course, we probably had onlookers, but whatever! 

I got my hair and makeup done professionally at a cute salon in Port St. Joe, called Salt Air Beauty and Hair Salon. I met one of the two owners that day, Angela, who did such incredible work! She is so inspiring and talented, and I definitely recommend her if you are ever in the area and need literally anything done! I even got eyelash extensions (for the first time, ever), which I think added a lot to the photos. Check out our images below, and visit the Dedicated Pinterest Board, here

L'Oreal + Lily The Wandering Gypsy


L'Oreal + Lily The Wandering Gypsy

L'Oreal + Lily The Wandering Gypsy

L'Oreal + Lily The Wandering Gypsy

L'Oreal + Lily The Wandering Gypsy

L'Oreal + Lily The Wandering Gypsy

L'Oreal + Lily The Wandering Gypsy

L'Oreal + Lily The Wandering Gypsy

L'Oreal + Lily The Wandering Gypsy

Clinique Lip Pop Lipstick + Clinique Pop Glosses

Today, I am introducing some really amazing lipstick & lipgloss from Clinique! Their new summer lip products are just so beautiful, and they're all very lightweight - perfect for summer! 

Clinique Lip Pop Colors - Lily The Wandering Gypsy

Above, Clinique pop glaze in "02 melon drop pop".

Lily The Wandering Gypsy

Items shown in this post:

Clinique Pop Oil in 01 poppy glow + 02 nectar glow (find them here)

Clinique Pop Lacquer in 01 cocoa pop + 09 nude pop (find them here)

Clinique Pop Glaze in 02 melon drop pop + 03 fireball pop (find them here)

Pendleton Beach Towel (similar here)

Lucky Brand Multicolor Caribbean Crush Tie Dye Bikini

Clinique Lip Pop Colors - Lily The Wandering Gypsy

Impressions...

I really loved the first impression of this line of Clinique products. My definite favorite of all of these products was the Clinique Pop Glaze in Melon Drop Pop. 

What The Websites Say:

Pop Lacquer Lip Color + Primer (At Ulta) - "A luscious pop of liquid, high-shine colour in one, full-coverage coat. Luxurious yet lightweight formula with built-in primer glides on effortlessly, wears for up to 6 hours". Not overly sticky and does not dry out my lips! 

Pop Glaze Sheer Lip Colour + Primer (At Ulta) - "A pretty pop of bold yet see-through colour + smoothing primer in one coat. Luxurious yet weightless formula with built-in primer glides on effortlessly, wears for up to 8 hours. Keeps lips comfortably moisturized instantly and over time". Melon Drop Was My Fave!! Lighter texture and weight than traditional lipstick, and does not dry out your lips at all. The two shades featured in this post include: Melon Drop + Fireball Pop (a very vibrant red that is a bit more sheer, and offers lots of moisture). Satin smooth without any bad smell or taste. 

Pop Oil Lip & Cheek Glow (At Saks Fifth Avenue) - "A subtle pop of dewy color for lips and cheeks. This nourishing tint with safflower, jojoba and sunflower seed oils feels luscious yet lightweight. Fluid-gel formula slips on with ease thanks to a convenient wand applicator that delivers the perfect amount every time. Apply tinted color on cheeks and lips. Blend quickly with fingertips". You can use this sheer color on either your cheeks or on your lips. This is nice and light, and is easy to apply.  

Clinique Lip Pop Colors - Lily The Wandering Gypsy

Trail To Tavern - Breweries, Bottle Shops, and Bars Near St. Petersburg and Tampa, FL

We just got back home from spending a bit of time in Florida. As you know, we love the craft beer scene, and we had heard a lot of good things about the breweries and beers originating in the Tampa area. St. Petersburg is nearby, and sees like the mecca of craft beer in the central gulf coast area of Florida. 

Toad&Co. reached out to me again about featuring this story on their blog, and helped me brainstorm about this post. Their mission, of being the first Trail To Tavern clothing company really inspired me! Check out another blogger's Trail To Tavern Story on the Toad&Co. blog, here

UPDATE: Check Out My Feature On The Toad&Co Blog Here

In this post, I will share some of the best places to find good beer and blaze an urban trail in central Florida! I will also show you some of the places to walk around before grabbing a beer in these wonderful places.

We drove across bridge the Howard Frankland Bridge, from Tampa to St. Petersburg on the quest for good beer! You get to see ocean on both sides of you the whole time! 

American Craft Beer Week was coming to an end, and the South Florida Craft Beer Week happened earlier in the year. 


Green Bench Brewing

1133 Baum Ave North, St. Petersburg, FL

Green Bench Brewing - Lily The Wandering Gypsy
Good Beer In Florida

Green Bench Brewing is located in a hip area of St. Petersburg, FL. There are murals everywhere, good food, shops, and palm trees galore. The weather was HOT, but a cold beer made the warmth so much more enjoyable! 

Green Bench Brewing - Lily The Wandering Gypsy
Green Bench Brewing is super dog friendly! We met this cute little German Shepard puppy, who was 3 months old!

Green Bench Brewing is super dog friendly! We met this cute little German Shepard puppy, who was 3 months old!

Green Bench Brewing - Lily The Wandering Gypsy

Green Bench really filled up after a bit. Both side their facility, as well as a huge crowd outside, I was so happy to see so many people enjoying good beer. 

Green Bench Brewing - Lily The Wandering Gypsy
Green Bench Brewing - Lily The Wandering Gypsy
St. Petersburg, FL - Lily The Wandering Gypsy

Bodega 

Address

Bodega - Lily The Wandering Gypsy
Bodega - Lily The Wandering Gypsy
Bodega - Lily The Wandering Gypsy

We got a Cuban sandwich and a very healthy smoothie from Bodega. It was very good! So glad some locals we met at Green Bench told us to check this place out. 

Bodega - Lily The Wandering Gypsy
Lily The Wandering Gypsy

Shep's Bottle & Keg - Lily The Wandering Gypsy

We really liked the amazing selection of bottles in Shep's. They had just about every Florida beer you would ever want, some great collaboration beers (where two breweries collaborate on a style/flavor), and one employee in particular, spent time showing us around, explaining a bit about the area, and knew a lot about beer in general.  She was very helpful, and seems like she would love to help just about anyone learn more about craft beer. 

Shep's - Lily The Wandering Gypsy
Shep's Bottle & Keg - Lily The Wandering Gypsy
Shep's Beer - Lily The Wandering Gypsy
Shep's - Lily The Wandering Gypsy

Salvador Dali Museum

1 Dali Blvd, St. Petersburg, FL 33701

Dali Museum - Lily The Wandering Gypsy

Although we just checked out the exterior of this building, it was stunning! It would basically cost $50 for two people to visit, $10 for parking, and $20 each person to get in. You can still enjoy the restaurant or interact with a couple of outdoor exhibits. We did enjoy the incredible architecture and outdoor art installations at this venue, though. The museum was right across from a marina, and the whole area was beautiful, covered in palm trees and vibrant landscaping. 

Dali Museum - Lily The Wandering Gypsy
Dali Museum - Lily The Wandering Gypsy

Jug & Bottle Bottle Shop 

Seminole Heights Neighborhood, Tampa, FL

Seminole Heights - Tampa, FL

Jug & Bottle Dept. had a stunning selection of beer and wine. You an even grab a beer on draught, and shop while you sip. They also had a good assortment of snacks and a few grocery items. Definitely stop by this place on your way to a friend's house if you need something to bring! 

Jug & Bottle Dept.  - located at  6203 N Florida Ave -   Tampa, FL 33604

Jug & Bottle Dept. - located at 6203 N Florida Ave - Tampa, FL 33604

Vintage Bottle Openers at  Jug & Bottle Dept.   - located at   6203 N Florida Ave -   Tampa, FL 33604

Vintage Bottle Openers at Jug & Bottle Dept. - located at 6203 N Florida Ave - Tampa, FL 33604


Independent Bar & Cafe

Seminole Heights Neighborhood, Tampa, FL

Independent Bar - Seminole Heights

While at Jug & Bottle, we talked to some of the nicest employees of theirs. They explained the FL craft beer scene to us, and recommended that we grab a bit to eat at Independent Bar & Cafe. We grabbed one of the best drinks I have ever, ever had - the Brewski Slim Pickens Make Mama Proud Passionfruit Sour. My, oh my, this was so refreshing in the intense heat and humidity of the Tampa area. I guess this is pretty hard to find, so you will have to visit Independent Bar & Cafe to get it. 

They were also hosting a Founder's Tap Takeover, and people were definitely there for the beer. There was a cute outdoor seating area, that actually had giant outdoor air conditioners, providing everyone who wanted to sit outside with a fresh cool breeze. 

I definitely recommend this place! 

Independent Bar - Lily The Wandering Gypsy
Independent Bar & Cafe - Lily The Wandering Gypsy
Independent Bar - Lily The Wandering Gypsy

Cycle Brewing

534 Central Ave - Saint Petersburg, FL

Cycle Brewing - Lily The Wandering Gypsy

I absolutely loved the neighborhood around this brewery, and they have very limited bottle releases (meaning they only bottle a limited number of beers per year, and there is a limit on the number of bottle each person can buy). 

They serve only their beers, and you have to actually go there to try them. 

I loved grabbing a beer here and then exploring the few blocks in one direction, from the front of the brewery. 

It really seems like the people who frequent this brewery know a lot about beer and all seemed very happy to be there! You can definitely grab a drink here before or after dinner, and enjoy the many, many restaurants within just a few blocks of Cycle Brewing. 

Cycle Brewing - Lily The Wandering Gypsy
Cycle Brewing - Lily The Wandering Gypsy
Cycle Brewing - Lily The Wandering Gypsy
Cycle Brewing - Lily The Wandering Gypsy

St Pete Hyppo (Gourmet Ice Pops)
627 Central Ave
Saint Petersburg, Fl 33701


The Cider Press Cafe

601 Central Ave.
St Petersburg, Florida 33701 

Cider Press Cafe - Lily The Wandering Gypsy

I didn't eat here, but the food and drinks looked SO good! Everyone thee seemed to be enjoying a cute stemmed glass of cider and fresh meals. 

Cider Press Cafe - Lily The Wandering Gypsy

Bodega - Lily The Wandering Gypsy

Milo's Cafe Style Tea - Organic Summer Refreshments

Summer is less than a month away, and we have been poolside in Florida for the last week or so. Don't get me wrong - we are here on a mission - it hasn't been all fun and games. We have been working very hard, helping family members pack up their house to move, which makes this little bit of relaxation and refreshments all the more well-deserved. Near the Tampa area, it has been over 90 degrees every day, and super high % humidity, so a nice glass of Milo's Café Style iced tea is something to really look forward to. It's literally been getting us through these hot days, and it's really good! 

Milo's Tea + Lily The Wandering Gypsy

I love that Milo's Cafe Style Tea is organic, and is super affordable (less than $2.50 per bottle). I found it in the refrigerated juice section at Walmart, (it's refrigerated because they contain all natural ingredients). Check out this Store Locator to see if it is available near you. I could hardly wait to get home before I opened the bottle and poured it over a big glass of ice and practically drank the whole glass at once. I chose two flavors, the Light Sweet Tea and the Light Green Citrus - both use all organic cane sugar or organic stevia as sweeteners - very nice and light. Neither of them were overly sweet, which is more refreshing in my mind than the type  of tea that is overly sweetened. 

Milo's Tea + Lily The Wandering Gypsy

Milo's Café Style Tea is pretty new, affordable, and fresh brewed. It's organic, all-natural, and contains NO preservatives. You can definitely tell the difference between this and the styles of tea with artificial ingredients and tons of sugar - this tea is WAY WAY better. This tea contains no acids, which is wonderful for those of you who are concerned about that affecting you. 

Café Style teas are brewed from USDA Certified organic tea leaves and are sweetened with organic sugar or lightly sweetened with organic stevia. The lighter flavors are a blend of organic cane sugar or lightly sweetened with organic cane sugar and stevia. 

Milo's Tea + Lily The Wandering Gypsy
Milo's Tea + Lily The Wandering Gypsy
Milo's Tea + Lily The Wandering Gypsy
Milo's Tea + Lily The Wandering Gypsy
Milo's Tea + Lily The Wandering Gypsy
Milo's Tea + Lily The Wandering Gypsy
Milo's Tea + Lily The Wandering Gypsy
Milo's Tea + Lily The Wandering Gypsy

This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and Milo’s Tea, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #TastetheMilosDifference  http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV

Road Tripping This Summer? Shop Online & Save Before You Hit The Road!

Got the travel bug? Hopefully I can help! This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #DotComDIY #CollectiveBias

Whether you're hitting the road for a few days, or a few weeks, I wanted to share some road trip tips with you. As you may know, we travel a TON (hence the name of my blog)! We hardly ever fly anywhere, we always drive, so we can bring our pup with us, and having our car makes life SO much easier! 

And, by shopping for oil and supplies online, you can definitely save time and money! Have it shipped directly to your house, or opt for in-store pickup. Ordering online is great for busy days, so you can focus on planning, rather than going a million places to shop before your trip. You can avoid the crowds, too, and who doesn't like that?! Pennzoil products are on Rollback right now for a limited time at Walmart.com. You can even get curbside pickup, which I think is pretty great. 

For all of your oil needs, visit Walmart.com for everything you need related to motor oil and transmission fluids. This particular oil shown in this post can be found here.
Lily The Wandering Gypsy + Pennzoil ~ Road Trip Tips

Road trips are hard on your car. Our Prius has over 150,000 miles, (meaning we have driven at least 150K miles together in our 11 years of knowing each other) and it's still running strong. That's because we take good care of it, and make sure to always keep quarts of oil with us at all times. We always grab the Pennzoil Platinum, Full Synthetic 5W30. Re do get regular oil changes, but more recently, our car burns through oil much quicker, so we make sure to literally never leave home without oil. Lesser quality oil does not even compare - believe me, we have had to use the no-name brand a time or two and every few miles wished we had remembered to keep something better in the car.

The reason we always choose Pennzoil Platinum Full Synthetic Motor Oil, is because it's rated the best cleanliness protection in the Pennzoil line-up. Quoting their website, "With PurePlus™ Technology, the Platinum® motor oil is proven to keep pistons up to 40% cleaner than the toughest industry standard. PurePlus™ Technology is a revolutionary process that converts natural gas into a 99.5% pure base oil". 

Pennzoil is designed for complete protection and will allow you to drive an extra of 550 miles per year vs. a dirty engine. No other motor oil provides better protection from friction

Cabbie loves road trips! 

Road Trip Tips
Road Trip Tips

It's very easy to check your oil level. If you have a higher mileage vehicle, this is a skill that you will definitely want to learn. A mechanic showed us how easy it was. It's best to have a warm engine for this, so the oil reading is more accurate. Make sure the car is OFF, open the hood, and secure your hood so it won't fall on you! Locate the dipstick (it should have a brightly colored circle handle on it). Refer to your manual to locate it if needed. 

To find out whether your vehicle needs oil, follow these steps:

  1. Pull out the dip stick and wipe it off on a clean, lint-free rag or paper towel.
  2. Insert the stick back into the pipe. 
  3. Pull the dipstick out again and look at the film of oil on the end of the stick. 
  4. Put the dipstick back into the pipe.

If your oil is below the "add" line (see image above), then you need to add some oil, ONE quart at a time, checking the oil level after each quart. Luckily, with better quality oil, like Pennzoil Platinum, we rarely have to add more than a quart.

Lily The Wandering Gypsy + Pennzoil ~ Road Trip Tips
Road Trip Tips

Since we have traveled by car SO much, I have streamlined the process quite a bit! Here are a few tips that I wanted to share, to make your road trip even better, and more streamlined.

- Always bring a couple of quarts of oil with you, if you have a higher mileage vehicle (90,000+ miles).

- Bring lots of water - we always bring a gallon or two of water, and a refillable water bottle that fits into the cup holder. This prevents us from drinking soft drinks or anything that is just plain bad for you. 

- Try not to store anything in plastic shopping bags. This seems easy at first, but the second you reach for that shopping bag, everything falls out, and they rustle around in the wind if your windows are open. 

- Bring wet wipes of some sort, they can be used to clean your hands after you have a snack, and can even be used on your face if you need a refresher from being in the car.

- Bring a designated Food Bag (as we call it). Rather than having snacks and drinks floating about in the car, a zippered duffel bag or similar, will keep everything in one place and will allow you to eat much healthier. 

- Do not buy food at gas stations! There is hardly anything nutritious and overpriced at gas stations, so when packing/shopping for road trip snacks, think of the snacks and foods you crave while on the road. I try to pack a mix of salty, sweet, crunchy, soft, whatever you like, just add some variety. Gallons of water and cold drinks (of coffee) is of course something you may need to gran at a gas station, unless you bring a cooler with you to keep things cold.   

- Bring an atlas. Your phone may not always have good cell signal, or your phone may die. Just in case you get lost or are unfamiliar with where you are headed (or supposed to be headed), it's a good backup. You can even mark off where you have been to keep the memories of your travels. 

- Bring a notebook and pens to write to-do lists, hopes and dreams, whatever. This always keeps me occupied :) Magazines are also nice when you don't have cell signal. 

- Bring a car charger for your phone, and plenty of music. 

Lily The Wandering Gypsy + Pennzoil ~ Road Trip Tips
Lily The Wandering Gypsy + Pennzoil ~ Road Trip Tips

Below, are the items that I purchased from Walmart.com in order to make my road trip even better! It was so easy to prepare for a trip by shopping online. 

Road Trip Tips
Lily The Wandering Gypsy + Pennzoil ~ Road Trip Tips
Road Trip Tips
The bridge to Tampa! So gorgeous!!

The bridge to Tampa! So gorgeous!!

Lily The Wandering Gypsy + Pennzoil ~ Road Trip Tips

Are you heading anywhere fun this summer? Do you usually travel solo, with your significant other, with the whole family, or with friends? Do you ever bring your pet(s) on road trips? Comment below to share your story! And enjoy the fun of a new adventure!!!!

Chocolate + Cashmere - Santa Fe, NM

I was so impressed by Chocolate + Cashmere in Santa Fe. The store was a breath of fresh air, and I literally never wanted to leave :) The sign itself drew me into this boutique during my final hour of shopping time in Santa Fe, on the last day we were there. They were one of the last shops open this night, so I was very fortunate to be able to stop in, take some photos, and grab a few chocolates. Chocolate + Cashmere is located at: 109 East Palace, Santa Fe, NM 87501. They also have a location in Taos, NM. 

Lily The Wandering Gypsy

Chocolate + Cashmere proudly offers Golightly Cashmere (learn more here). 

Lily The Wandering Gypsy

Local Santa Fe chocolates available, in so many amazing flavors. 

Lily The Wandering Gypsy
Lily The Wandering Gypsy
Lily The Wandering Gypsy

I absolutely loved the necklaces. They were a bit out of my price range, at about $300 each, but they were locally handmade, and stunning!

Lily The Wandering Gypsy
Lily The Wandering Gypsy
Lily The Wandering Gypsy
Lily The Wandering Gypsy
Lily The Wandering Gypsy
Lily The Wandering Gypsy
Lily The Wandering Gypsy

Chocolate + Cashmere displays all of the available colors of cashmere on a wall display (below).

Lily The Wandering Gypsy
Lily The Wandering Gypsy

And, the chocolate again! 

Lily The Wandering Gypsy
Lily The Wandering Gypsy

Isn't this store just beautiful!

Lily The Wandering Gypsy
Lily The Wandering Gypsy
Lily The Wandering Gypsy