March 20, 2017

Naples, FL: What To Do (And Wear)

As Spring Break approaches I find myself a leetle regretful that I didn’t plan a warm weather trip for us this year. I mean, we’re so much closer to Hawaii here in Portland and we still haven’t been…next year maybe I can write a travel post on that trip! (Pinky, are you reading…)

We were fortunate enough to get to visit my parents in February in South Florida this year, though, for some sunshine. (You may have seen a few pics on my Instagram account @elletrain) The weather was in the low 80’s for at least half of our trip and it was lovely. We got a date night, I got some mama time and of course we had some trips to the beach while we were there. I did a little run-down here of some of our favorite activities and some suggestions on what to wear and pack if you’re planning a trip to the Sunshine State.

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By March 20, 2017 2 No tags Permalink
March 5, 2017

Hot Eats & Cool Shops in Portland, Maine

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 Portland Trading Company

A few weeks ago the hubs and I escaped for our first weekend away since kids. Hallelujah! We spent a day exploring Portland, Maine – or as I like to call it, Brooklyn North. There are some seriously cool shops and amazing restaurants packed into this little city, not to mention the quaint cobblestone side streets (incredibly slippery in winter, FYI) and stunning views of Casco Bay. I kept thinking how much the kids would love to visit even though we were supposed to be off-duty! It’s such a unique place. The wharfs in the old, still-working port are fascinating, and there’s a strong arts culture that has fun events year round. For older kids and adults, there’s an incredible music sceneLake Street Dive was in town that weekend for a sold-out show. I was admittedly surprised at how much the city has going on and wished we had more time to explore. Note – it’s not a definitive city guide, just our picks from shops and food we found when wandering around. Think mashed potato donuts (oh, yes), a gorgeous kid’s boutique, Scandinavian heaven and lots more. Let’s go!

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By March 5, 2017 16 No tags Permalink
February 13, 2017

Travel Notes: Skiing With Kids, Breckenridge

 

Gang, we had an amazing time at Breckenridge over the holidays.  This was our second time going – we took the kids for Spring Break last year, too – and while there are a ton of different ski resorts to choose from…..we really, really love Breck.

There’s something so intense about a ski vacation – not only is everything so expensive (ski passes on top of plane tickets on top of rental cars), but much of your fun depends on weather, and god forbid anyone gets sick.  Especially if you are traveling to the Colorado Rockies, where the altitude is no joke.

So Breck hits the sweet spot for us.  It has the right mix of world class skiing, comfy places to stay close to the slopes, an apres-ski scene that’s also pretty kid-friendly, a charming downtown, fun activities off-slope, and……(and this is probably the biggest one for us)…..a seriously unique ski school experience for the kids.  This ski school, to quote Raines, is ‘EPIC’.

Here are the highlights from our trip…..

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By February 13, 2017 7 No tags Permalink
November 2, 2016

My Go-To Travel Uniform (What To Wear To The Airport…And Everyday)

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Happy November!!  I’m interrupting Cropped Flares week to talk travel.  Specifically, my very favorite Fall/Winter travel uniform.  This outfit is super comfortable, can be warm or cool depending on airport conditions (or the weather wherever you land), and is cute enough to be worn well past travel days.

In fact, when my mom was packing for her recent visit to Philly, I basically told her to pack this exact travel uniform:  jeans, fashion sneakers, cute tops, a leather jacket.  (Add a scarf, hat and mittens if it’s cold.)

Done.

Add a gorg travel bag and you’re set for a weekend getaway, or a quick trip home to visit family for Thanksgiving.

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By November 2, 2016 6 No tags Permalink
October 17, 2016

What To Pack for London: 12 Style Essentials

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The British have a saying about their weather, “Four seasons in one day,” and it proved to be more than true on my recent trip to London.  We arrived in the middle of a heat wave – hot and sweaty the first few days – but by the time we left, the weather had turned chilly and rainy. And of course, I had packed mostly for colder, Autumn weather, so a lot of my organized, careful packing went out the window.

The packing list below is a combination of what I wore while I was there, plus a few items I didn’t pack but wish I had.  Hindsight is 20/20, right?  Also, in honor of the high street clothing brands, I’m featuring lots of Topshop, River Island, Warehouse, and Oasis, because sometimes it’s fun to see what affordable fashion looks like on the other side of the pond.

So here’s a packing capsule wardrobe for London – versatile, functional, comfortable and stylish.  (Of course, I packed extra items, but I stripped the list down to the items that I truly relied on.  Next time I’ll pack light.)

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By October 17, 2016 12 No tags Permalink
August 29, 2016

Dresses And High-Top Sneakers

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dress (similar) | hi tops | sunglasses | backpack

Hey hey. Can you believe summer is winding down? No, me neither. Most of the country has even started school already. Gasp. Up here in the PNW, we get until Labor Day (this year, a bit before and apparently everyone went insane about that).

Regardless of school starting, it’ still HOT in many places. I don’t typically wear dresses, but this recent stint of living without AC has made me realize that dresses are the coolest outfit to beat the heat. No thank you to shorts sticking to your nether regions (insert covered-eyes monkey emoji here) or heaven forbid pants above 90 degrees. Nah gurl. Put on a dress and feel pretty even though you’re sweating buckets.

My edit?  Balance out girlie pieces (like a dress) with something tougher.  I rely on my trusty black hi tops to add an unexpected element to the ensemble. What I adore about this combo is that it’s great for all-day this time of year…cool enough to get you through the heat of the day yet not overly casual for picnics, BBQ’s or dinner on a patio.

Keep reading to see a few no-fail dress styles that have worked really well with hi tops…..

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August 26, 2016

Airport Style: My Favorite Travel Outfit (Even Works For Nursing)

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We received a reader question about airport style recently.  Specifically, airport style that is comfortable, yet chic enough to go straight from the airport to a party.  Oh and nursing friendly, thankyouverymuch.  Here’s what reader M wrote:

I need an outfit that will survive: nursing, running to the airport, flying (Hello gorgeous naptime, it’s been awhile!), lunch, baby shower, pumping, and flying back. All in 9 hours.   I want to escape my usual maternal athleisure costume & be pretty! But I need to be COMFY, not “comfy”….I’m thinking since you’ve traveled recently you might have some fresh ideas for me? 

Yes!  I do, actually.  On our recent trip we flew overnight to Barcelona, then immediately caught another flight to Nantes (in France), and upon landing there, met the family we’re doing the house exchange with…for drinks.  Obviously I had to be comfortable enough to sleep on a plane (and deal with mad temperature fluctuations and madder children haha), but I wanted to look good, too.

Turns out, I’ve got a dress for that.  It feels a little bit like wearing pajamas, never wrinkles, is nursing-friendly, kind on the post-partum tummy, and dresses up nicely for a party.  Keep reading for pics of my travel outfit, as well as a few examples of how I’d tweak the styling if I were nursing or traveling with toddlers because #momming.  It’s how we do.

Also, traveling with kids of any age is kind of a gong show #extremeparenting, so keep the photo expectations low.  Most look like this:

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Yaaaaassss.

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By August 26, 2016 33 No tags Permalink
August 22, 2016

Touring Normandy Beaches With Kids – What We Learned

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One of the highlights of our trip this summer was taking Raines (age 8) and Pax (age 5) to Normandy.  Our oldest is the type who tends to…focus on one topic, and for the last two years his focus has primarily been on World War 2.  We’ve watched countless documentaries, The Longest Day six times, visited battleships, war museums, even attended a World War 2 Weekend in Pennsylvania (which was amazing), and have, roughly, 15-20 notebooks filled with Raines’ drawings of planes, battleships, tanks, and general war scenes.  For a while there, bedtime stories were supplanted by his favorite resource guide, Weapons of World War II:  “The M18 Hellcat weighs 18.8 tons, it’s max speed is 50mph, the range is 105 miles on road, and there are 3 cannon in the turret, plus one .5 MG….”

I just can’t even.  A girl can only read tank specs aloud so many times.

But we dreamed of bringing Raines to Normandy.  So when one of our options for a house exchange popped up a mere 2 hours from the Normandy Beaches, we didn’t hesitate.

the boys playing in a bomb crater....

the boys playing in a bomb crater….

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By August 22, 2016 16 No tags Permalink
August 16, 2016

The Trunki Ride-on Suitcase – A Review

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Summer! Traveling! Fun! Three year old meltdowns!

This has been our summer so far:  fun and 3 year old drama. While I cannot promise this amazing little ride-on suitcase will get rid of the drama, I can attest to the fact that it makes tromping through airports with kiddos way more fun. Follow me for all you ever needed to know about the Trunki and whether it’s a worthy purchase.

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By August 16, 2016 18 No tags Permalink
August 12, 2016

Mont St. Michel With Kids (What I Wish I Had Known)

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On our way to Normandy, we swung by to visit Mont St. Michel.  Mont St. Michel is a medieval monastery (seriously – over a thousand years ago) that was built upon an island in the bay where Normandy and Brittany meet.

The scope of Mont St. Michel – in both age and sheer physical size – is hard to comprehend. It’s simply awe-inspiring.

However, Mont St. Michel is a major tourist destination, complete with traffic, hoards of tourists, and a staggering amount of junky gift shops and bad cafes.  Here’s what we learned from our trip to Mont St. Michel, as well as a few things we’d do differently next time.

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By August 12, 2016 20 No tags Permalink