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!

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

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

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!!!!