How to Spend 10 days in London and France

My husband and I went to London and France the beginning of April with two of our friends and we had the best time! We lucked out on the weather and felt like this was a great time to go because although it was still busy, we missed the insane summer crowds. Below is our itinerary over the 10 days we were there (long post ahead because I want to remember all the details).

Day 1 London

High Tea at Savoy, Porterhouse Drinks & Live Music, Piccadilly Circus, Burgers and Gelato

We took a red eye flight, arrived in London around 1pm and took a taxi from the airport to our hotel (the price of a taxi vs train is about the same so I would recommend taking a Taxi since you can get to your destination faster and won’t have to haul your luggage around connecting trains). We stayed at The Z Hotel in Covent Garden. Although the rooms were tiny, the location was perfect and we were able to walk almost everywhere we wanted to go. I would recommend staying here based on the location alone. We took a nap after our long flight (did not sleep much on the plane) and then got ready for Afternoon Tea at The Savoy. This experience was so much fun and was a highlight for me from our trip. We were served traditional sandwiches and savory bites, pan seared salmon and a variety of pastries and scones while sipping our tea. Everything was delicious!

After tea we walked around Covent Garden until we stumbled upon The Porterhouse. This bar was massive with three levels and felt like there was something there for everyone. We found a table, had some drinks and enjoyed the live music from the band playing behind the bar down below. A fun place to go in London.

Then we decided to take the train to Piccadilly Circus which reminded me of Time Square in New York. Lots of billboards and lights, shops and people walking around even late at night. We stopped into Gordon Ramsay Street Burger for some food and ended the night at Amorino Gelato (which we later discovered is a chain all over Europe). A great start to our trip!

Day 2 London

Hop on Hop off Bus, Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, London Eye, China Town, Adelphi Theatre-Back to the Future, Little Italy

Tommy and I purchased a London Pass which covered admission to many of the places we wanted to visit. We started the morning getting on a Hop On Hop Off Bus which allowed us to explore the city at our own pace. They have headphones available on the buses but it’s mainly used to get on and off wherever you need based on what attractions you want to see. We took a long walk through St James’s Park and made our way to Buckingham Palace to watch the Changing of The King’s Guard. Well, we thought we were going to see this but when it was 11am and nothing was happening we discovered this only happens on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. We were there on Saturday so we didn’t get a chance to see this but still enjoyed seeing Buckingham Palace.

From there we went to Westminster Abbey and explored the royal church. Then we walked to Big Ben, the world’s famous clocktower (we didn’t go inside since it was closed but were able to walk all around it). We crossed Westminster bridge and walked over to London Eye to take some photos.

Then we hopped back on the bus and went to China Town. There were endless places to eat and lots to explore. We also tried Taiyaki which is a fish-shaped pastry with custard inside.

Later we went back to our hotel in Convent Garden and got ready to see Back to the Future: The Musical at Adelphi Theatre. This was another highlight of the trip for me. I definitely recommend checking out this show if you are in London!

After the show we found some late night eats exploring Little Italy in the Soho area. This part of London was wild at night. Endless night clubs, restaurants and people walking around the streets. It reminded me a bit like Mardi Gras in New Orleans or like 6th Street in Austin, Texas. This is definitely the area you would want to explore in your early 20s/bar and club scene season of life. We would love to come back here for a milestone birthday! Tommy and I enjoyed a delicious pizza before making our way back to our hotel and calling it a night.

Day 3 London

Neal’s Yard, Opera House, The Shard, Borough Market, London Tower, London Bridge, Soho Hobson`s Fish & Chips, Gelato

We walked about 10 minutes from Covent Garden to Neal’s Yard which was a small alley with little shops and restaurants. We snapped some photos then kept walking and stumbled upon The Royal Opera House and grabbed a quick bite to eat. We learned that every Sunday is Family Day where they do events and performances for the families. Seeing all the kids made us miss our little guy at home!

We were trying to decide if we should walk the 45 min to The Shard or get onto the Hop on Hop off Bus. Well, we discovered The London Landmarks Half-Marathon was happening this morning which changed all the bus routes so we decided to just continue to walk and keep exploring the city along the way. When we reached The Shard (another activity you can use with The London Pass) we took the elevator up to the top and soaked in the 360 degree views of the city. I know I keep saying this but this was another highlight of the trip for me! It reminded me of the time we went to Bangkok and saw the city at sunset (read about that trip here).

After spending some time enjoying the views of the city, we went back down and walked across the street to Borough Market. This is a must do if you are visiting London! Many vendors selling any type of food you can think of, gifts, cheese, desserts, souvenirs, really it was endless. We had a great time trying out an assortment of foods and exploring this market (The mushroom risotto was my favorite, so delicious!).

From the market we walked to the Tower of London and explored the iconic castle. Then we walked to Tower Bridge and climbed the 206 steps to the top. Both of these excursions are included in the London Pass.

After a day full of walking and exploring, we made our way back to our hotel for a quick rest before heading out to dinner. We went to Hobson’s Fish & Chips in Soho. The food was good but pretty much everything is fried so something to keep in mind if you are thinking about checking out this spot. Then we ended the night with dessert, some yummy gelato.

Day 4 Travel From London To Amboise

Travel Day- Train from London to Paris, Train from Paris to Amboise, Dinner in Amboise at L’Epicerie

This was a long day of traveling from London to Paris and then from Paris to Amboise. We used RailEurope to book our train tickets and had a couple of transfers along the way. I definitely recommend taking the train over flying since the process is pretty seamless. We arrived in Amboise around 6pm, checked into our hotel and relaxed a bit before dinner. We stayed at Hotel Au Charme Rabelaisien which was a charming hotel with comfortable rooms and within walking distance to everything.

We had our first French meal in Amboise at L’Epicerie and everything was delicious.

Day 5 Amboise

Château Day- Château de Chenonceau, Château de Cheverny, Château de Chambord

Today was a day spent exploring three different châteaus. We hired a driver to drive us to and from each one, picking us up in Amboise and taking us first to Château de Chenonceau. This château was by far my favorite and the one I found the most beautiful. The first château was built between the 12th and 13th centuries while the château in its current form was built between 1513 and 1517. Not only is the castle stunning inside but the gardens worked on by Queen Catherine de’ Medici are absolutely perfect. If you are looking to visit a château in the Loire Valley, this is it!

Next we drove to Château de Cheverny, which was constructed in the 17th century and is currently occupied by the descendants of the Hurault family (living in the right wing while the left wing is open to the public for tours). This château was full of furniture and had a more homey feeling. We were also able to see all the hunting dogs in their kennels and see all the decorations out for Easter. This was a nice place to visit but was no comparison to Château de Chenonceau and one I would not recommend if you are short on time.

The final château we visited was Château de Chambord and wow, this castle is massive. Commissioned by King Francis I, the Chateau de Chambord is the largest castle of the Loire Valley and is a symbol of the French Renaissance. Chambord has 426 rooms, 83 staircases and 282 fireplaces (yet was built without any bathrooms)! It was very beautiful with massive rooms, although was a little overwhelming and we felt pretty tired by the time we came here. We opted to explore a bit and then grabbed a snack at the café nearby.

We arrived back in Amboise around 6pm, relaxed for a bit and then got ready for dinner. Make sure you make reservations ahead of time since most places in Amboise are on the smaller side and fill up fast. We ended the night hanging out at the hotel and playing some card games.

Day 6 Amboise

Café Breakfast, Shopping in Amboise, Chateau Amboise, Wine Tasting at La Cave, Dinner at Chez Bruno, Card Games at Hotel

We started the morning with a typical French breakfast-croissants and pastries, at a local café. Then we walked down the main street in Amboise, exploring the different shops and looking for souvenirs to bring back home for our family.

We then went to Château d’Amboise since it is right in the center of town and explored this final chateau of the trip.

After, it was time for some wine tasting at La Cave where you can pay 5 Euro to taste a variety of either white or red wines while enjoying the view of the castle right outside. We ended up taking three bottles home and strategically packed them in our suitcase for the plane ride back. Later we stumbled upon St. Denis church in Amboise and explored this church built in the 12th century.

We enjoyed another delicious dinner in Amboise at Chez Bruno. If you go here don’t skip out on dessert and order the chocolate, so delicious!

Day 7 Travel From Amboise to Paris

Train from Amboise to Paris, Walk Luxembourg Gardens, Lunch near Opera House, Walk Champs-Élysées, Seine River Cruise at Sunset, Eiffel Tower, McDonalds in Bed

We took the two hour train from Amboise to Paris in the early afternoon and arrived in Paris around 2pm. We checked into our hotel, Hotel Mercure La Sorbonne Saint-Germain-des-Prés which is located in the Latin Quarter. The rooms were clean, comfy and much larger than the hotel we stayed at in London. I would recommend staying here if you are interested in staying in the Latin Quarter of Paris. However, we found that Paris is very spread out and not as walkable as London. The 7th arrondissement of Paris might be a more appealing area to stay in if you are looking to be closer to some of the main monuments in Paris and not have to take the train form one destination to the next. The train is very easy to navigate though and most hubs are only about a 5 or 10 min walk away from each other.

After checking in and getting settled, we walked the Luxembourg Gardens and then down Champs-Élysées (one of the worlds most famous commercial streets), basically just killing some time before the Seine River cruise at sunset. We tried to visit Palais Garnier and stopped for lunch before but then realized it was closed by the time we were ready to enter. We decided to make our way back near the Eiffel Tower to get ready for the river cruise.

I really enjoyed the Seine River Cruise and felt like this was a great way to see the city on our first night there. There are many options to book online with a variety of boats and I believe they are all about the same. The only difference is if you decide to do a dinner cruise with the tour which we opted not to. You are able to board the boat at anytime you want throughout the day without a reservation. We got on at 7:30pm which I felt was a great time to see the city right before sunset. The cruise is 1 hour, starting at the Eiffel Tower then passing by known monuments such as Musée d’Orsay, Notre Dame Cathedral and Louvre Museum.

After the cruise we walked around the Eiffel Tower and watched it sparkle at night. The Eiffel Tower sparklers every hour as soon as it gets dark for 5 minutes until dusk. We stumbled upon this Free Photo-booth where a woman takes photos with a vintage camera and it instantly prints. This was a fun souvenir from the night.

We took the train back to the Latin Quarter area and decided to end the night with good old McDonalds back in bed at our hotel. A classic first dinner choice for our first night in Paris (haha).

Day 8 Paris

Louvre Museum, Cafe Marley, Arc de Triomphe, Drinks along Seine River, Notre Dame, Italian Dinner in Rue de la Huchett, Jazz Club-Le Caveau de la Huchette

If you want to check out the Louvre Museum (which I highly recommend) get there early! We booked our tickets online ahead of time and choose the 9:30am time slot. When we got to the museum, we saw a huge line that wrapped around the corner. Then we saw another line which looked to be the entrance. We showed the person working their our tickets and he told us to go to another area instead. We walked past Café Marley, down the escalator to a sperate entrance with no line at all! We actually didn’t even realize we were inside the museum once we entered since we got in so fast. Try entering this way if you have a select time for tickets and you can get in within 5 minutes.

The museum is massive and one could easily spend a of couple days here and still not see everything. We decided to head to Mona Lisa right away since there wasn’t a line. From there we explored the different levels and exhibits in complete awe of the history behind the pieces that have been around for so many years. Spending time in the Louvre Museum was definitely another highlight for me from this trip.

After a couple of hours in the museum, we stopped at Le Café Marley for some lunch. This café has one of the best views and was a a nice resting place after walking around the museum. We sat on the balcony people watching while enjoying a club sandwich. If you do come here make sure to book a reservation ahead of time online and know that you are paying for the scenic view when it comes to the food prices.

We took the train to Arc de Triomphe, crossed underneath and snapped some photos. Then we made our way to Île de la Cité which is an island in the Seine River in the center of Paris. We had some drinks, sat on a bench and waved to the boats passing by.

We walked to Notre Dame and read all about the incredible reconstruction of the church then grabbed dinner in Rue de la Huchett (one of the oldest streets that is now famous for having the highest concentration of restaurants in the city). We went to a fun Italian restaurant called Il Gigolo and had some delicious pizza and pasta.

Then we walked a couple minutes to Le Caveau de la Huchette which is a Jazz Club in the Latin Quarter. This was one of my favorite nights in Paris! We walked down to this cellar/compact basement with a midcentury vibe to find an open area of seats and a stage for the band. We listened to jazz music while watching the locals swing dance. Get there early to get a good seat or if you get there later you can join the locals on the dance floor. It was so much fun! A must do for a memorable evening in Paris.

Day 9 Paris

Breakfast, Shakespeare and Company, Sainte-Chapelle, Palais Garnier, Ladurée Macaroons, Picnic in Jardin Des Tuileries, Eiffel Tower at Night

We had breakfast nearby our hotel and walked along the river checking out the bouquinistes’ stalls. There was a huge line to get into Shakespeare and Company which I probably would have been more into if I was more of a book lover. Then we went to Sainte-Chapelle, a royal chapel in gothic style with gorgeous stained glass windows.

We took the train back to Palais-Garnier and got in this time. The opera house was absolutely stunning and a place I definitely recommend checking out if you are in Paris.

After exploring Opéra Garnier we grabbed some famous Ladurée Macaroons and sat in The Tuileries Gardens while people watching and relaxing in the sunshine. It was a beautiful day in Paris!

That night we had dinner near the Eiffel Tower and after met up with our tour group to go to the top! If you do plan to go to the top of the Eiffel Tower, I recommend booking with a tour group just to skip the lines. We went through the company Get Your Guide and met up with the group at 9:30pm. It still felt like it took awhile to get in even with our group so I can’t imagine waiting in line on our own. Our guide told us during the summer months the wait time is around 4 hours! A couple things to note, there are several options for going to the top. You can get a ticket with stair access to the second floor (this is probably the fasted way up), a ticket with access lift to the second floor or a ticket with access lift to the top. We had tickets with access lift to the top but honestly I would recommend skipping going to the top and just staying on the second floor (in hindsight we wish we would have done this). The view is still incredible and you can miss out on waiting on the long lines to get to the top.

Day 10 Paris

McDonalds and Starbucks breakfast, Shopping and exploring in Montmartre, Dinner at Bouillon Racine

Our last day in Paris! We slept in and got a typical American breakfast-Starbucks and McDonalds breakfast sandwiches. Then we took the train to Montmartre to explore and shop. The hilly area in the 18th arrondissement has cobblestone streets, lots of traditional cafes and restaurants and lots of little unique shops for souvenirs to bring home.

We had a delicious lunch at Le Vrai Paris and sat on the street while enjoying the views like true Parisians.

That night we celebrated my husbands birthday and enjoyed our last dinner in Paris at Bouillon Racine. Many restaurants in Paris offer le menu, which may also be called the formule with first course (appetizer), second course (entrée) and third course (dessert). Sometimes a fourth course is offered before dessert which can be a cheese option. This is offered as a three or four course package for a set price and is often the best deal in the house!

If you made it this far, props to you for reading this whole thing (haha)! I also took about 1,000+ more photos but narrowed it down to these in this post. My husband and I had a wonderful time in London, Amboise and Paris and did everything we wanted to do. This definitely was a nice little vacation that we feel so lucky we were to be able to take together and experience with our close friends before our baby #2 arrives later this August!

Disneyland with an 11-Month-Old

Thinking of bringing your baby on a trip to Disneyland? I 100 percent recommend going! We brought our son to Disneyland with us when he was exactly 11-months-old back in October 2022 and we had the most incredible trip. I feel like this was a great age to enjoy the park with a little one while they are out of the infant stage but before they become full toddler mode and wanting to explore all over the place.

Many people say things like, well the baby won’t remember the trip so what’s the point? You should wait until they are older. My response to them is, why wait? Things could come up and you never know where you will be in life in the future. So I say if you can, take the trip now! Disneyland is also very expensive but free for little ones under the age of 3. Also, babies fly free under the age 2 so this would save families a lot of money. And it doesn’t matter if your baby won’t remember because YOU will. You will have those sweet photos and experiences and treasured memories and that to me makes it beyond worth it.

So if you are thinking of planning a trip with your baby, go for it! Here are some things that helped make everything go smoothly when we experienced Disneyland with our 11-month-old.

1. Book a hotel within walking distance to the park

We stayed at Hyatt House at Anaheim Resort which was about a 10 minute walk to the park. We loved that this hotel offer suites with a kitchen/living room area to make meals for our son and a separate bedroom from where he would be sleeping if we wanted to stay up later. They also had pack n plays available and a delicious breakfast spread that we ate at every morning (which also saved us a lot of money).

2. Get Genie+

I believe they raised the price of Genie+ since we went back in October 2022 but I still think it is absolutely worth it. In fact, I would not go to Disneyland without getting Genie+. Genie+ allows you to schedule rides for a specific time and skip the main lines for the bigger attractions. We would not have been able to ride everything we wanted to without Genie+ and would have spent most of our time waiting in lines. Not all rides are offered on Genie+ so I would recommend starting in Fantasyland (most of these rides don’t have Genie+), doing those rides first thing in the morning before the lines get out of control and then using Genie+ for rides after. The wait time for rides that have Genie+ was anywhere from 5-20 minutes compared to 60-90 minutes without. Also, once you redeemed a ride, you can book the next one right away!

3. Use Rider Swap

Rider swap is amazing! Lets say you have a group of 3 adults and a baby. Two adults go on the ride while the other person waits with the baby. After the ride is over, the adults switch places, one stays with the baby while the other two go and ride the ride again. You don’t have to wait in line. All you do is go to a cast member at the start of the ride, tell them you want to use rider swap when they scan your phone, then a ticket will appear on your account. We used rider swap all throughout our trip since it was me, my husband, my mom and son. Another perk of this is one person gets to ride the ride two times in a row! You can also do this if it’s just the two of you and a baby and take turns riding rides and watching the baby.

4. Bring Your Own Food, Drinks and Snacks Inside

Since our hotel room had a full kitchen, we used Door Dash our first day in California and stocked up on a bunch of food and snacks for our son. We brought a small cooler filled with food and a picnic blanket. We found a spot in the park to each lunch each day. This helped us not only save money but also enjoy a quick meal together without having to go to a sit down restaurant. We also used the meal ordering service on the Genie+ app to make sure we weren’t wasting time waiting for food.

5. Book Out of Order/Rides Out for Maintenance on Genie+

If you see a ride is not available on the app, book that ride as soon as you can! If the ride happens to get fixed, that’s great and you can go on it during your scheduled time. But if the ride does not get fixed before your scheduled time, you will automatically be given a pass on the app where you can now skip the line for any ride that you like (not just the ride you booked)! We got about 4 or 5 of these passes because we kept booking rides that didn’t get fixed in time. We then chose a ride with a long wait time, walked up to the exit, showed a cast member the ticket and they let us on right away while skipping the normal 60+ min line.

6. Stop for the Free Photos

When you purchase Genie+ you also have access to all the professional photo locations in the park. It’s worth it to stop and have your picture taken! A photograph will scan the barcode on your app and then they will automatically be available for you to download directly to your phone. Photos from all the rides are also included for free! You just find the photo number after the ride and enter it on your account.

7. Bring a Family Member or Hire a Disneyland Nanny

We were fortunate that my mom was able to come with us on this trip. Day 1 and 2 we went to Disneyland and Day 3 we went to California Adventure. By around 6pm each day, we made our way back to our hotel to wind down and put our son to bed. Once he was in bed, my mom stayed back at the hotel while my husband and I went back to explore the parks at night. There is something so magical about seeing the park at night and even if you don’t have someone with you to watch your baby, I recommend having your child stay up late at least one night to experience this. If you don’t have a family member with you, you can hire a Disneyland Nanny (just google Disneyland Nanny and a bunch of options will come up). The nanny can help watch your baby at the park or just stay back at the hotel while they are sleeping so you can head to the park at night.

8. Purchase Toys Outside the Park

This is more of a tip for the plane ride but we purchased some toys from the dollar store, wrapped them up in wrapping paper and then gave them to our baby to occupy him on the plane ride. This meant we also had a couple of toys for him back at the hotel to play with before bedtime. You can also purchase a Disney Bubble Wand at half the price and bring it inside which kids at all ages love. Since we went around Halloween I found this adorable Dumbo Costume and he wore it the morning at the park.

Of course we did splurge on a couple souvenirs. Inside the park we purchased our son a mickey mouse ornament (one tradition we are starting is buying him one every year then giving them to him when he is older and has his own Christmas tree). We also purchased this Dumbo Stuffed Animal and that our son now sleep with it every night. Something else I recommend doing with your baby is going to Silhouette Studio and getting this special keepsake!

9. Take Advantage of the Baby Center

Although we never actually went to a baby center, I’ve read great things from this blog here if you need a quiet place to rest or to feed your baby. This might be especially important if you are a nursing/pumping mama and you’re looking for some privacy.

10. Have a blast and take your baby on as many rides you can!

There are so many rides at Disneyland with no height requirement which means you can take your baby on them! Here are some rides we took our 11-month-old on (but there are many more beyond this list!):

  • Alice in Wonderland
  • Dumbo
  • Haunted Mansion
  • Jungle Cruise
  • King Arthur Carrousel
  • Mad Tea Party
  • Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride
  • Pinocchio’s Daring Journey
  • Pirates of the Caribbean (our favorite)
  • Snow White’s Enchanted Wish
  • The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh

We enjoyed Disneyland more than California Adventure with our 11-month-old but there are also many rides in that park with no height requirement. We took our son on Golden Zephyr and The Little Mermaid and then spent a lot of our time in Animation Academy and the Sorcerer’s Workshop.

These are just a couple of tips and reasons to take your baby to Disneyland so if you are thinking about going, definitely do! I promise you will not regret it and the memories you make will be so special that you will probably want to keep going year after year. 🙂

Palm Desert Vacation

If you’re looking to get away on a relaxing vacation, lounge by the pool, maybe do a little shopping and be in the hot sun, I know just the place….Palm Desert, CA! (Or Palm Springs). My husband and I traveled to Palm Desert in the middle of May with four of our close friends. This was our first trip flying somewhere new since our honeymoon to Thailand back in January 2020, 16 months ago. (Wow that is wild to think about!)

Palm Desert is full of restaurants, colorful shops, swimming pools and many luxury cars! Oh and golf, lots and lots of golf. My husband said the courses here were some of the nicest golf courses he has ever played on.

The six of us stayed at Embarc Palm Desert which was right in the center of everything and close to the main strip, El Paseo Shopping District. The community was right next to a couple of golf courses and had multiple pools to lounge by. This was great for the guys to head to golf in the morning and the girls to go for a swim.

We went out to eat almost every night which was new for us since we hadn’t dined at a restaurant in so long with covid restrictions. My three favorite restaurants from the trip were:

  • Guillermo’s Restaurante – Delicious Mexican food! The chips, salsa, guac, margs…all amazing. I had the chicken fajitas and would recommend.
  • Ristorante Mamma Gina – Incredible homemade pasta and Italian food. They even gave us a complimentary slice of cheesecake for desert!
  • Wilma & Frieda’s Cafe – Everything you can imagine for amazing brunch food and drinks. Short rib eggs benny, churro waffles, home-made buttery flakey giant biscuits with raspberry jam. Yum!

One memorable night was when we out to eat at the The Nest in Palm Springs. We sat out on the patio in 70 degree weather (my favorite temperature) and watched live music while eating dinner. As we were getting ready to leave, one of our friends recognized a woman at the bar from the show: The Real Housewife of Orange Country, Elizabeth Lyn Vargas. My sister-in-law and I went up to her and got a photo. Even though neither of us watch the show, we pretended like we did and pretended like we knew who she was 😀 (She was very friendly and we can now say we had a celebrity spotting).

On our second to last day my husband and I took an early morning drive to Joshua Tree National Park which is about an hour away from Palm Springs. The park is full of beautiful scenery, places to camp, rock climbing and lots of trails to explore. In mid May it was 100+ degrees outside so we didn’t do much hiking but enjoyed driving through the park and taking in all the sites.

About a 20 minute drive from Joshua Tree is a place called Pioneertown which was such a unique town to visit. This historic landmark is an Old Western Town built as a 1940s movie set that has all the Westworld feels. Surround by frontier stables, saloons, a jail, and a church along a dirt road; it truly felt like a step back in time into the wild wild west.  

We were there for 6 nights and like any vacation the time always flies by! Most of our days were spent relaxing in the sunshine, eating out at a bunch of different restaurants and spending time with each other at the resort.

The best part about any vacation is who you spent it with and I had a great time vacationing with my favorite people!

Bachelorette Weekend in Poulsbo, WA

Have you ever heard of the place called Poulsbo in Washington State? Poulsbo is a charming little town in the northern part of Kitsap County. A beautiful ferry ride from Seattle and then a quick drive to town makes this spot a great place for a weekend trip. And what better time to take a weekend trip than to celebrate one of your friends getting married?! (because we all know girls weekends are the best weekends)

The four of us stayed at the most beautiful modern farm house that was close to town to celebrate our bride. We decorated the house with all the classic bachelorette things, ate a ton of bomb food, played some games and danced and talked all day and night.

The weather was incredible! It was our first taste of Seattle summer and we couldn’t get enough of the sun. We started the morning by meditating together in the grass to get us awake and energized for the day. Blankets, pillows, sunshine, your girlfriends…what else do you need.

Later we surprised the bride with a virtual tarot card reading over Zoom. This was a first experience for me and I loved it! Each of us had very different readings with one main connection, that we are all on a journey to find joy and happiness in life. The woman told me my mantra is to Following the Callings, so this is something I will take away from the weekend. If you have never done a tarot card reading before, I highly recommend! It’s all about perception and reflection. To me, it’s where you think about what each card could mean or represent for your life in this moment and then determine how you want to move forward with those ideas. Check out RaDonna Reed if you are interested in using the same Tarot Reader.

After our tarot card reading we packed up a picnic and headed to the beach called Point No Point. I highly recommend checking out this beach if you are in the area. It’s HUGE with plenty of space to spread out away from others and so very beautiful.

Later in the evening we played some of the classic inappropriate bachelorette games, (won’t be sharing those photos here 😉) put on our cozy matching outfits, drank lots of wine and had a dance party. It was a perfect bachelorette weekend celebrating the bride-to-be with some of my favorite girlfriends!

Weekend Road Trip to…Montana!

A 10+ hour road trip from Washington to Montana and back in 3 1/2 days? That’s over 20 hours of driving. Normally I would try to extend a trip like this but since my husband and I only had a couple of days and had the urge to travel, we decided to go for it! Oh, and there was a special reason why we chose to road trip to Montana…our friends who live there were getting engaged!

We left Thursday and started the 10+ hour journey. Tommy made a little bed in the back of the car with an air mattress, pillow and blankets to trade off napping. Our first stop was Ellensburg for some lunch. We discover THE BEST little sandwich place. If you ever find yourself passing through Ellensburg, definitely stop at Daily Bread and Mercantile. We had the Very Veggie and the Mean Green Panini. So, so good.

We continued to drive until we reached St. Regis Travel Center where apparently they have the best huckleberry milkshakes. **One thing to note, Tommy started filling up the gas tank and then we went inside to grab a bite to eat. We were so excited to get back to the car and eat our tater tots that we forgot to put the gas nozzle back. So Tommy drove off and the entire gas thing flew off dangling from the car!! 😂 Luckily it was able to go back on and reattach but this was definitely a first for us.

The next day, we explored Helena where our friends Kevin and Mary live before setting off to Livingston, Montana where Kevin was going to propose! (Livingston is a former railroad town in southwestern Montana along the banks of the Yellowstone River. It has this old western charm and a small town vibe. They stayed at Livingston’s famous historical hotel called The Murry, which is the place to stay if you are visiting the area).

The day of the proposal we went to this little restaurant called Faye’s Cafe in an old school building called The Shane Center. I cannot recommend this gem of a place enough! Customers pick out 2-3 words from the menu to describe the meal you would like. Then the waitress takes the words back to Faye (the cook) and she will whip something up just for you! The words I chose were potato, veggie and cheesy and this is what I had. Poached eggs, cheesy hash browns, green beans with balsamic, pesto and hummus on naan bread and citrus orange corn bread. Incredible. So rich and so flavorful. I’m still dreaming of this breakfast.

Next we set off for our hike to Pine Creek Falls where our friend Kevin was planning on proposing! Around 2.5 miles, this hike was short and sweet with beautiful views all around us. (But be careful if you go in late October. We were slipping all over the place since it was very icy. A couple of close calls on my end but no major falls).

We got to the falls and it couldn’t have been more perfect. There was this little bridge where Tommy and I stood to take photos. Kevin proposed and Mary said YES (She also had no idea and was so surprised)! Then we popped some champagne and enjoyed the moment before making our way back. The most special and memorable hike with great friends.

Next was the second part of Kevin’s proposal plan, to go to Chico Hot Springs! This resort was established over 120 years ago in 1900 and is located in the heart of Paradise Valley. It definitely didn’t feel like our typical cold Halloween day in Seattle. We felt like we were on a mini tropical vacation with the warm hot spring water and pool side drinks. So much fun!

We ended the day by going out to dinner in Livingston to celebrate the newly engaged couple! (I really enjoyed taking photos of all the neon signs that lit up the streets).

Then on Sunday Tommy and I started our long journey home back to Washington. I was so grateful for that extra hour we got with daylight savings. And the bed in the back of our car really came in handy for naps. Not to mention the scenic drive was absolutely beautiful.

This was one epic Halloween weekend to celebrate our friends’ engagement and an amazing quick little road trip to Montana!

Beautiful Weekend Getaway to Lopez Island

If you live in Washington, chances are you’ve heard of the San Juan Islands. The islands are between Washington State and Vancouver Island, Canada. Surrounded by scenic shorelines, mountain vistas, endless Evergreen Trees and beautiful views. This is definitely a place to visit for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts.

The three most popular islands are Orcas, (where my husband and I went for our mini honeymoon – read about that trip here), San Juan and Lopez Island. About a 2 hour drive north from Seattle, you’ll head to Anacortes to catch a ferry and will then experience one of the most beautiful ferry rides in the state (seriously, the views are incredible!). I highly recommend making a ferry reservation so you are guaranteed a spot to board. Depending on which island you choose to visit, the ferry lasts about 45 minutes to an hour and a half.

My husband and I initially planned our trip to Lopez Island for our friends wedding. Being the planner that I am, I booked us a place to stay last year when we received the save the date in the mail. Unfortunately due to COVID-19, the wedding was rescheduled. We still had our reservation booked. So we decided…why not? Let’s keep our reservation and go there anyway since we’d never been. We also decided to bring our pup Edgar to make this trip a little family weekend getaway.

We stayed at a quaint Garden Cottage next to Lopez Center. If we ever go back to Lopez Island, I will definitely be booking this spot again! The charming cottage was within walking distance to the beach, the farmers market (which we quickly realized is the place to be Saturday morning) and close to the main restaurants. We spent our time at the cottage sunbathing in the garden and listening to the sounds of nature while drinking mimosas.

When we got off the ferry, the first thing we noticed about Lopez Island is how flat it is. This makes it a great place for bike riders who want to explore the island without a car. You could even do this as a day trip – bring your bike on the ferry no reservation needed, bike around and then catch the ferry back that night. We brought our bikes on this trip but didn’t bike around as much as we wanted since we had Edgar. The one time we brought him with us on a short bike ride, he saw a bunny and zoomed away racing as fast as he could trying to catch it (luckily he didn’t but I did end up chasing after him in a panic).

Lopez Island aka Bunny Island is full of so many bunnies! Tommy and I saw over 100 hopping in the fields, crossing the roads and burring themselves in burrows. Edgar especially enjoyed watching (and chasing) them.

Not only are the roads perfect for bikers and the endless bunnies surrounding the fields great for nature lovers, but Lopez Island also offers many trails with family friendly hikes. Tommy and I went to IceBerg Point in the morning which is a short trail that takes you out to a gorgeous cliff surrounded by water. We even saw a couple of sea lions. In the evening we went to Shark Reef to catch the colorful sunset that lite up the evening sky.

Overall if I had to pick between Orcas and Lopez, I prefer Orcas Island. It felt like there was more energy compared to the Lopez Island vibe, which is definitely more laid back and slow paced. The restaurants and stores close very early. The main grocery store closed at 7:30pm and the ice cream shop closed at 5pm. I don’t know if this is their COVID-19 hours or if this is the norm. There isn’t as much to do on Lopez Island but that is typically the reason people travel there in the first place. To relax and unwind, which we definitely did.

Sunshine, the smell of salt water, sand in our toes, garden flowers, beautiful views and our pup running around in absolute heaven made Lopez Island a great little weekend getaway.

Bachelorette Party – Austin, TX

Today my sister-in-law texted me a video of us from a year ago. It was nighttime, 78 degrees outside, all dressed up, sitting in a cycle rickshaw (where the person pedals on the bike and you are in the back), smiling, laughing, celebrating my bachelorette in Austin, Texas! It’s crazy to think one whole year has already passed since we were there. I can’t wait until we can take another girls trip. In the meantime though I thought I would write a quick blog post from that weekend reminiscing on my time in Austin with some of my besties. Also, because who says you can’t write a blog about a fun trip that happened in the past. 😊

My friends surprised me and organized everything. From planning, communicating with each other, getting the house, tickets, food, goody-bags..just everything. They are amazing! We stayed in a big house with a pool (quirky place with an elevator to get to the main living space) in between Lake Travis and downtown Austin.

One day we rented a huge boat (and I do mean HUGE, I think the boat holds around 20-30 people). The driver took us all around Lake Travis which was a blast. Another day was spent at the pool, floating around, drinking mojitos and playing games.

At night we went out to Sixth Street and it reminded me a little like Mardi Gras; craziness. Highlights from the nights include: Delicious dinner, Champagne Bottles, Bull Riding, Table Dancing, Photo Booths, Unlimited Free Drinks, Strip Club Stories and Cracking up with my best friends.

It’s hard to capture everything when you are having so much fun but below is a video of a glimpse of our weekend (with some of the footage that was appropriate enough to share 😜).

I would love to travel back here again someday (and listen to live music since we never got around to this!). Definitely recommend traveling to Austin, Texas because there is something there for everyone. But really, anywhere you go as long as you are surrounded by the people you love will be amazing.

Girls Trip – Punta Cana

Looking for a fun, all-inclusive, affordable, beautiful beach vacation for a girls trip? Head to Punta Cana! My girlfriends and I traveled to the Dominican Republic in August 2018 for our annual girls trip and we had a blast.

We chose to travel to the Dominican Republic for a couple of different reasons.

  1. Distance. The plane ride from Seattle to the Dominican Republic is very reasonable. We took a red eye flight from Seattle to Charlotte, North Carolina. Then had a 2 hour layover and flew another 3 1/2 hours from Charlotte before arriving in Punta Cana that morning.
  2. Weather. We wanted to plan a tropical girls trip with beautiful beaches and scenery and that is exactly what we got. We went to Punta Cana during the last week in August and the weather couldn’t have been better.
  3. Price. This trip was very affordable, especially since we chose to stay at an all-inclusive resort. The best decision with unlimited food/drinks (and unlimited bottles of our favorite drink – champagne). The total amount paid with round trip flights, transportation, accommodation, food, drinks and excursions was around $1,200 for 5 days.
The Boss. The Mom. The Hot Mess. The Bride. The Wild One.

We stayed at Majestic Colonial Resort and booked our all-inclusive trip through Expedia. We arrived at the resort and were immediately greeted with drinks and some small bites while we waited for our butler (yes we had a butler during our stay) to check us in and show us to our room.

While waiting for our room, we took the short walk to the beach, went swimming and got some pineapple drinks from our favorite bartender. That night we went to dinner at one of the six restaurants there and explored the resort. My favorite restaurant from the trip was Ma + Suri which was delicious hibachi style food with the best atmosphere.

We spent our next day at the beach, relaxing and enjoying the sunshine. Punta Cana is similar to Mexico where vendors will walk for miles in the hot sun and relentlessly attempt to sell you things. It really wasn’t hard for them to sell us souvenirs because we were eager to buy them. We all got henna tattoos and purchased jewelry with the famous Larimar stone. This stone is typically only found in the Dominican Republic, in the Caribbean so we stocked up.

The next day we had a pool day and lounged around the main pool areas. Our butler got us our own personal golf cart and drove us around the resort to whatever places we wanted to go. Swim up bars, pool snacks, inflatable floaties, music, sunshine and endless tropical drinks makes for a fun day in paradise. Mid-afternoon they also have a foam party, so the lazy river pool is filled with foam to swim in.

The following day we decided to do an excursion. The resort makes it very easy to plan since they have an excursion booth on sight and everything is within walking distance. We chose to do the Shark and Sting Ray Tour. We took a speed boat about 30 minutes out to this area in the middle of the ocean where they had the sea animals. It felt like a sand bar that was full of people and other tours (there was even a pirate ship excursion with pirates walking around). We put our fins and snorkel gear on and jumped in. The sting rays have their stingers removed and are held and passed around to tourists each day. You are able to swim around with the nurse sharks in this huge under water cage. It was a very memorable experience swimming above the sharks and being able to touch the string rays. But honestly it made me feel sad thinking about the sea animals living in this way and I wouldn’t do this excursion again.

We spent the rest of our days enjoy the sunshine and exploring the resort. They have a show every night and one night we went to see their number one hit, Michael Jackson. An impersonator with lots of singing and dancing. Later we went to the resort sports bar and watched/sang Karaoke with the locals and other tourists. One night we put on our bath robes, got on the golf cart and got some late night eats because why not, it’s vacation!

We had 4 nights at Majestic Colonial Resort and that was the perfect amount of time. Any more nights would have been too many in my opinion since we saw and did everything at the resort during our time there. The one thing we did not do was venture out and explore Punta Cana. If you are looking for an adventurous vacation where you are out and about exploring the city, Punta Cana may not be the best place to do this. Where it lacks in local bars and cultural sights, it makes up for in the all-inclusive food/drinks and beautiful beaches. Going to Punta Cana is an easy way to experience an exotic destination while feeling safe, comfortable and pampered the entire time you are there. If this sounds like your type of vacation, I recommend planning a trip! Plus, girls trips are the best.

Big Lake, WA – Quick Cabin Weekend Getaway

When thinking about a weekend getaway in Washington, Big Lake is often missed or forgotten, but it’s one of my favorite places to go! Only about an hour north of Seattle, it’s the perfect place to travel to if you are looking for a quick vacation where you want to get away from it all without the long drive.

I have been there several times over the years (my friend has an enormous family cabin on the lake where a bunch of us always stay). You can find many affordable houses/cabins to rent on Vrbo or AirBnB and I suggest finding one right on the lake.

We typically spend a weekend at Big Lake in the summer, but just went there for President’s day weekend and had the best time (this was a last minute trip but it’s alway so quick and so easy to get to). We started our weekend by stopping in Mt. Vernon at a cocktail bar called Valley Shine Distillery for some drinks before heading to the house (definitely recommend checking this place out if you like delicious cocktails). There really aren’t any restaurants or shops close or within walking distance to the lake, but you can find shops downtown Mt. Vernon which is only about a 10 min drive from Big Lake.

We spent our weekend with 15 friends and 7 dogs….(yes, 7 pups!). We had a blast playing games all night, making delicious food (yummy taco bar), playing hide n go seek in the dark (the best house for this with so many sneaky spots to hide), playing with the pups and spending time with each other. We also had a bomb brunch at C-Square (great food but skip the bloody marrys – too spicy) before making the short drive back home.

Big Lake is a fun, affordable place to travel to for a quick weekend getaway with a big group of friends or family. And it is even better in the summer! There are hiking trails nearby and places to explore. On July 3rd there is a beautiful firework show right over the lake. It feels like the fireworks are going off right above you and you can’t beat the views. People bring out the grills to BBQ, boats, paddle boards, kayaks and jet skis for some summer fun. If you have never heard of Big Lake or have yet to go, definitely check it out this summer!

Thailand Honeymoon

My husband and I decided to go to Thailand for our honeymoon (15 days) and we had the most incredible trip! Here is an itinerary of our time there (also props to anyone who reads this whole thing because it is looonnnggg).

We caught a red eye at 11:30pm on a Friday night and left for Thailand. We flew EvaAir (highly recommend) where they provide you with a blanket, slippers, a pillow, head phones, and two meals- breakfast and dinner. The meals were hot and actually pretty tasty. They gave us real silverware and unlimited free drinks (which is what I think all plane rides should do). It was a 9 1/2 hour flight to Taiwan but we slept most of the plane ride. From Taiwan we had a short layover and then another 4 hour flight to Chiang Mai. We arrived in Chiang Mai around 10:30am Sunday.

Day 1: Chiang Mai We got a taxi from the airport to our hotel (about 25 minutes/$5), checked into our room and began to explore the city. We stayed at the Amora Tapae Hotel in Old Town because of the location and nice rooms. Everything was in walking distance and very easy to get to. We explored a couple of temples and walked through Old Town. Later we went to the Sunday Night market which was insane! Cheap eats, shopping, massages…they basically had everything. The streets were packed with vendors and tourists looking to spend their money. We had a late dinner at a local restaurant (the kitchen is outdoors so you can watch them cook). Had amazing pad Thai, fried rice, and green curry. We ordered a lot of food and tried a little bit of everything because it was all so cheap (around 400 baht/$12 for three large entrees + drinks).

Day 2: Chiang Mai – Elephant Nature Park Our second day in Thailand we checked off one of my bucket list items and went to Elephant Nature Park, Pamper a Pachyderm. It was beyond INCREDIBLE! We started the day by meeting two 70 year old elephants named Happy and Harlow. We prepared their food, fed them, hiked through the jungle, ate lunch, bathed them, went river rafting and then explore the nature park (will do a full post on this later). Seriously the best day ever!

Day 3: Chiang Mai (New Year’s Eve) We spent the day exploring and got lost in the city! Later we met up with some friends from back home, got our lanterns and went to Tae Pae Gate to light and let them drift off at midnight. It was mesmerizing. People from all around the world, working together to light the lanterns, watching them float up and fill the sky. Another bucket list moment and bucket list night.

Day 4: Chiang Mai We spent New Years Day at Akah Cooking Class! We started at the local market to get our ingredients and try some new foods. We made spring rolls, papaya salad, red and green curry, three different soups, pad Thai, chicken + hot basil, Akha salad and mango sticky rice (the best dessert!). It was a long morning especially the day after New Years Eve, but lots of fun!

Day 5: Travel to Krabi We spent our last morning in Chiang Mai exploring the streets and more temples, they are so beautiful! We also had the most amazing dish that Chiang Mai is known for called Khao Soi (for 100 baht/about $3), which is similar to coconut curry noddle soup and so tasty. We used an app called Grab to get to the airport (Grab is similar to Uber/Lyft and was very helpful getting around quickly). Caught our flight to Krabi through AirAsia, which took about 2 hours. We check into our hotel that night at Red Ginger Chic Resort, got settle and found some amazing homemade pasta for dinner. Our hotel room in Krabi was huge, clean and perfect location. But the beds and pillows were hard. Tommy actually created a trip advisor account our first night there, and wrote a review about how terrible the beds were which just cracks me up (click the link if you want to read).

Exploring Wat Suan Dok

Day 6: Krabi Long Tail Boat Tour The best day! I know I keep saying this but this day was another bucket list day, it was absolutely amazing. We woke up early, walked down to Ao Nang Beach and rented a private long tail boat (about 2500 baht/$70 for the entire day). The earlier you get there the better to avoid the crowds. Our driver took us to five different islands to explore. We started at Tub Island which has three islands connected by a sandbank at low tide. This was a nice place to lay out on the beach, relax and enjoy the views. From there we went to Chicken Island and went snorkeling. It was so beautiful and so much fun searching for colorful fish. Next we went to Poda Island which had a couple of vendors selling food and lots of shade to beat the heat. We found a spot on the beach under a tree, swam with the waves and took a nap. Then went to our favorite spot, Railay Beach. We started at Railay West which is a great spot to swim, snorkel and explore the caves. There were also some rock climbers and long tail boat vendors selling food. Then we went to Railay East which is full of hotels, bars and restaurants and feels like a little beach town. Everyone there was so happy and so friendly, we wished we would have stayed a night on Railay. Definitely recommend this to anyone visiting Thailand-a must do! And splurge a little to get your own private boat, it is well worth it.

We loved Krabi but it felt similar to Mexico where the vendors are trying to get you to buy something, eat at their restaurant, etc. as you walk down the street, which we didn’t really like. It was definitely more of a tourist vibe with people from all over the world, compared to Chiang Mai which had more of a local feel. The food in Krabi was definitely catered toward tourists since they had everything you could image. We were told that some of the best Indian food is found in Krabi so that’s where we went to dinner. We ordered homemade garlic naan, chicken tikka masala, and mixed veggie rice. It was amazing. We had fresh rolled ice cream for dessert to top off the night.

Day 7: Travel day to Phi Phi Island We relaxed by the pool at our hotel before catching the speed boat to Phi Phi Island. The speed boat was more expensive than the ferry but about an hour faster. They also packed us in there (elbow to elbow, knee to knee) so it wasn’t the most comfortable ride. Once we got to Phi Phi we checked into our hotel at JJ Bungalow and went exploring! We found a restaurant on the water, got some margaritas, found a swing and wondered around. Later we had a seafood dinner on the beach, tried to catch the sunset and found a fire show.

Phi Phi was our favorite island! There was still a sense of culture like in Chiang Mai but it felt newer without being as touristy as Krabi. There was something to do there for everyone. We also loved how there were no cars on the island, which made it feel more relaxed. Everything was in walking distance (unlike Koh Lanta where you had to take a scooter or Tuk Tuk to get around). The food was delicious. The drinks were bomb. The people were friendly. Views were amazing. We will definitely be returning to Phi Phi one day!

Day 8: Beach Day Picnic Our favorite night from our trip. We got McDonalds and had a picnic on the beach during the day. The tide was so far out and the water was shallow enough that you could float in the sand. Later we stumbled upon this amazing beach bar playing Jack Johnson and reggae music. We met a group of people from London and shared a hookah with them and had the best time dancing and people watching.

Day 9: Travel to Koh Lanta We caught the 9am ferry from Phi Phi to Koh Lanta (would recommend buying ferry tickets from one of the little booths the day before since it gets crowded at the terminal). The ferry ride was a little under 3 hours but very comfortable (we both fell asleep on the ride). We checked into our hotel at Twin Lotus Resort and Spa, went to the beach and drank some cocktails while watching the sunset and caught another fire show (we splurged a little for this hotel but it was worth it!). Our hotel room smelled amazing because they put lotus everywhere and we were even greeted with a little honeymoon cake.

Day 10: Scooter in Koh Lanta My favorite day in Koh Lanta! We rented a scooter from our hotel (300 baht/$10 for the day) and explored the island. Koh Lanta is one of the longest islands in Thailand. Unlike Phi Phi, it is much harder to get around since everything is so spread out. We spent most of our time in Koh Lanta at our resort except for today. We drove about 4-5 hours total going from one end of the island to the other and making stops along the way (it’s about a 45 min drive to the southern most point). We discovered a hidden gem of a restaurant (I wish I remembered the name) on the south east side of the island, had some drinks and our favorite Thailand dish-mango sticky rice. The gas situation was very unique. There were little mini whiskey sized bottles filled with gas all along the roads. Whenever we needed gas we would stop and someone would come out with a funnel cup and pour the gas into the bike (only 40 baht/$1.25 per bottle). Then we did some shopping in Old Town and continued to explore. This was the hottest point during our trip..mid day sun attack. Luckily we kept driving and found a little path to a beach and cooled off in the ocean-an amazing swim spot. By the time we got back to our hotel we were pretty exhausted from the heat and from diving all day (my butt was so sore from sitting on the back of the scooter and almost felt like I just finished a Barre class). For dinner that night we ate at our hotel. Unlimited all you can eat buffet for 450 baht/$15 a person on Tuesdays.

I ate so, so much. I think I tried a little bit of everything, chicken skewers, tom yum soup, all the curries, muscles, shrimp cocktail, clams, seafood jambalaya, all the tradition Thai dishes, more pasta, more dessert. The best part of the night though was watching this band play while having dinner on the beach. Tommy said it was the best live music he has ever heard. They played a bunch of classic cover songs but what was so special was when they played the song, Can’t Help Falling in Love which is what I walked down the aisle to on our wedding day.

Day 11: Koh Lanta Pool Day Today we stayed at our hotel and had a pool day. We read our books and just lounged around (under an umbrella of course with 100 spf on because we both burn so easily). We also got a couples massage at our hotel spa. Getting a massage at the spa was a little more expensive (about 1100 baht/$35 compared to some other places we saw 300 baht/$10) but we didn’t want to be out on the streets with people walking by. I think it’s worth it to spend a little bit more for a nicer massage. Also $35 is still so cheap compared to Seattle prices but you can find places all over Thailand for massages as cheap as $5 – $10. For dinner we staying in, ordered room service and rented some movies from the lobby.

Day 12: Beach Day Koh Lanta Went to the beach, finished our books, long walks along the water, caught the sunset. Complete relaxation. Much slower pace in Koh Lanta. We also ran into a German couple who we met at our cooking class in Chiang Mai. Kind of crazy to see them about a week later in a totally different place, staying at the same resort as us!

Day 13: Travel to Bangkok Bangkok felt like a different world, especially coming from Koh Lanta…so chill and relaxing to chaos and so much traffic. This was our longest travel day. We left at 9am and caught a shuttle from our resort to the airport (about 2 hour drive + ferry ride) and flew AirAsia again. This airline is so affordable in Thailand. Tickets are typically around $50 – $100 to get from place to place (unfortunately since we traveled during the peak season our were closer to $150-$200 but it just depends on the time of year you go). AirAsia is similar to Frontier but still much better than Spirit (honestly every airline is better than Spirit in my opinion, another story on that later). Once we landed it took us about 1 1/2 hours to get to our hotel due to all the traffic! When I booked our stay at Rembrandt Hotel and Suites and Towers, I didn’t do as much research in determining where to stay because Bangkok was the place I was least excited about visiting. Our hotel was beautiful with huge comfy rooms, surrounded by great restaurants but it was a little farther out from some of the main places we wanted to go. It took anywhere from 20 – 60 minutes to get around either because of traffic going in or going out of the city. If we were to go to Bangkok again I would want to stay near the Riverside and a little closer in.

Day 14: Chatuchak Market in Bangkok This is a must do in Bangkok! Chatuchak Weekend Market is huge! The market has over 15,000 stalls, packed together with vendors selling everything you can think of. Clothes, shoes, jewelry, cook ware, dishes, art, furniture, toys, beauty items…literally everything. The market feels like a maze and once you think you have seen enough and you’re finished shopping, you wonder down another stall and discover even more items you didn’t know you needed to buy. We brought a huge backpack and just went to town on souvenirs. The best find was this pottery stall filled with beautiful handmade dishes. Everything looked and felt like it was from Pottery Barn or Crate and Barrel, minus the price tag.

Tommy will tell you his favorite find was his “authentic” LeBron James jersey. We actually stumbled upon this stall, purchased the jersey, continued walking for about 15 minutes and then decided we should go back and get some more jerseys for friends. Tracing your steps back and trying to find a specific stall in the Chatuchak Market is crazy talk! Like I said, it’s basically a maze in there and the only landmark is the main road in the middle of the street. Well after about 20 minute or so of searching up and down various stalls and retracing our steps, we somehow found it! We were so excited and felt so accomplished. Definitely a memorable experience.

To get to the market was pretty hilarious. We had this whole plan to take the train and walk a bit when we ran into a Tuk Tuk guy. (A Tuk Tuk is basically a three-wheeled motorcycle taxi that is a cheap way to get around Thailand). He offered to take up to the market for 100 baht/$3 and we decided to go for it so we could get there faster. He asked if it was okay to make a stop so he could get free gas (we needed to go in a shop and look around). We agreed thinking he would take us to a souvenir place or some small shop….But nope. He took us to a full on suit shop and the second we got there they were all over Tommy trying to get him to purchase a “one of kind, best material, custom made suit.” Thailand is actually known for having well quality, affordable suits and many people go there to purchase them; it was just hilarious how we came about being in that shop. Tommy pretended to curiously browse through the book and then we politely declined. (Later we got to the market and our first stop was for Coconut Ice Cream which was so refreshing). So if you take a Tuk Tuk in Bangkok make sure the driver is taking you straight to your destination otherwise you may find yourself in a similar situation we were in.

Later that night we had some questionable drinks at our hotel roof top bar and a bomb meal at a restaurant nearby called Indulge. I recommend going to a roof top bar if you are in Bangkok! The views are incredible. Honestly the drinks are a little overpriced though as you are paying for the atmosphere (around 500 baht per drink/$15).

Day 15: Mahanakorn Skywalk in Bangkok We woke up early with all these plans and ideas on what to do on our last day in Thailand. We decided instead to opt for late check out at 4pm and ordered breakfast in bed. The receptionist was shocked when we agreed to pay 800 baht/$25 to extend our checkout; we thought it was a great deal. We got a couple drinks at the hotel bar and decided we had enough time before our flight to check out Mahanakorn Skywalk. I am so glad we did! Somehow we timed this perfectly with sunset and found ourselves overlooking Bangkok city skyline from 314 meters above ground (about 1,000 feet). It was absolutely BEAUTIFUL…360 degree views! The colors in the sky went from only seeing gray fog/smoke (because the pollution is so terrible in Bangkok there is always a haze covering the sky), to orange, to pink, to blueish purple and finally dark with illuminating city lights. It was mesmerizing.

There was an area with glass floors that allowed you to walk on them (with booties) and look down 78 floors below!

Day 16: 12 hour layover in Osaka, Japan Technically yesterday was our last day in Thailand so you can stop reading here 🙂 (if you made it this far) but we also had one extra day of adventure before heading home! We took another red eye from Bangkok, flew Japan Airlines (would also recommend this airline) and arrived in Japan around 7am. On a whim, we decided to go to Universal Studies and check out Harry Potter World. We caught the train and were on our way. It was very easy to navigate and get around the city from the airport. Also everyone we talked to was so helpful. Well, what we didn’t know was the day we were on our way to Universal Studios was the same day Japan was celebrating the holiday, Coming of Age Day where all the kids are out and about; also heading to Universal Studios.

We changed our plans since we didn’t want to risk waiting in long lines for rides and miss our flight. Also, it was freezing! We traveled from 80 degree weather in Thailand to 45 degree weather in Osaka and couldn’t imagine going on roller coasters with no jackets. Instead, we had a Leslie Knope style breakfast (if you haven’t watched Parks and Recreation you should just turn it on right now), explored the free parts of Universal Studies, found a Gap, got matching jackets and took the train downtown. Went to the mall, to the arcade, to the ferris wheel overlooking the city and ate some delicious ramen. We loved Japan! It was very clean, friendly people, easy to get from place to place, oh and all the toilets had heated seats-loved that with the cold weather. Our short layover there made us want to go back again!

So if you are looking for an unforgettable honeymoon that is full of culture, delicious food, friendly people, beautiful beaches and lots of adventure, Thailand is your place. I cannot recommend traveling to Thailand enough! A trip of a lifetime with my hubby, cant wait to start planning our next. 🙂