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
December 10, 2016

Local Love: Santa’s Back At Frankford Hall

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Hey, Philly!  Know what’s back?  Santa at Frankford Hall.  Over the years, this has become one of our family’s most beloved traditions.  Frankford Hall does a Santa experience like no other:  there’s Santa (of course), the requisite Christmas Story-style slide, fake snow, lights, trees, holiday music (that frankly I wish was a little less kid-friendly)….and beer.  With pretzels.  And ping-pong and Jenga and brats and kraut and adult shakes that are totally worth my weekend dairy splurge.  (Think ‘Toasted Marshmallow’ that comes with an actual toasted marshmallow and a shot of Jack.)

There’s free hot chocolate for the kiddos, but if they prefer the impressive shakes (mine do), the staff is well practiced at differentiating between kid shakes and adult shakes, so…..yeah.  There’s that.

This holiday extravaganza happens over the next two weekends in December, Dec 10 – 11th from 10:30 – 3PM, and Dec 17-18th from 10:30 – 4PM.

We’ll be heading over at some point (either this weekend or next), but keep reading to see a few fun pics from last year…..

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By December 10, 2016 10 No tags Permalink
November 21, 2016

Jess’ Go-to Holiday Outfit: Velvet + Leather

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My favorite place to visit during the Holiday season here in Grand Rapids is the Downtown Market. If you live in West Michigan chances are you’ve already been (and love it) and if you’re just passing through, it’s definitely worth a visit. Home to an expansive 24 vendor market hall that’s packed with inspiring local vendors: artisan foods, wines, gift boutiques, bakeries, clothing and decorated to the tills during the Holiday Season, the Downtown Market never fails to get me into the Holiday spirit. It’s a great place to connect with friends over coffee or a glass of wine,  shop for Holiday gifts AND the perfect opportunity for me to break out my new favorite Holiday outfit.

In past years, my holiday outfits have centered around skirts or dresses (which I love), but since they were such dressy looks, and not very warm to boot, I usually only wore them once over the holiday season. This year’s outfit: a Blank NYC Vegan Pant, velvet cami and slouchy cardigan, is so much more versatile and functional, that I could almost wear them everyday!

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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
November 1, 2016

Cropped Flares: Laura’s Take (& Re-take)

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Cropped flares week, y’all! I can’t believe I’m saying that. Ok, we all know this is a tough trend to try, especially for us shorties. And, you can see here, I had trouble with it, too. Come along as I wade through the cropped flares debacle and come out somewhat unscathed on the other side of it…

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October 18, 2016

Interesting Cardigans, Fresh Air, and Brave Steps

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cardigan (c/o Modcloth) | top (c/o) | gloves (c/o)

Coziness. That’s pretty much all I can focus on clothing-wise right now, especially with a trip to the coast. (Think: cold, windy, rainy). And I love how even a quick trip to the shore is so renewing and refreshing…there’s just something about fresh air and being near a body of water. I forget how much my soul needs these little day trips to the beach.

I recently had a dear friend visit for a week (you may have seen our adventures over on Instagram @elletrain).  She lives in Toronto and our time together is far too little. She left a few days ago and I’m feeling pretty bummed. It’s tough when good friends live far away, even with technology. And I think it gets harder as moms, wives, and business women to find time to foster friendships. The kind of friendships that reflect our best selves back to us. It’s too easy to lose ourselves in our families. And while it’s a very noble cause, I sometimes wake up and think “Wait, what happened to me? Where did I go?”

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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
October 6, 2016

Cropped Pants and Socks….And A Philly Ghost Tour (With Kids)

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The kids had a couple of days off of school for Rosh Hashanah, so we took advantage of the later-than-normal bedtimes to do a walking tour in Philly’s Old City.  We needed a later-than-normal bedtime because the walking tour was actually a Ghost tour.  Oooooo…..

Of course nothing ever goes as planned, so Pax fell asleep on the Uber ride over to the restaurant (5:30PM #PartyLikeParents), but thankfully dinner was at a seriously accommodating tapas restaurant within easy walking distance to the ghost tour.  Amada, whose staff didn’t blink at our request to sit at hightop tables near the bar (with a sleeping Pax in arms), has two kinds of Cava by the glass (yessss), a killer happy hour menu, and tapas reminiscent of our trip to Barcelona.   Once Pax woke up, he promptly asked for a plate of chorizo while Raines pounded octopus tapas and Mike and I smiled nonchalantly, all We Are Successful Parents Because Our Kids Are Worldly Eaters….Suck It, Everyone Else.

You’ll forgive us the obnoxiously smug behavior.  Typically our kids are NEVER the Worldly Eaters, rather the I’ll Just Have More Bread, Please or, my personal favorite, Black Burgers Wuf JUST A BUN kids. (This was based on the ONE TIME I tried to sneak a veggie burger onto their plates.  It was a slightly different color and they never quite recovered from the shock.)  So please allow us our one moment of parenting glory.  AND OH, THE GLORY.  The waiters were all very impressed.  (Ok fine one waiter.  The one waiter was impressed.)

In any case, many of you have been asking about cropped jeans + socks for the upcoming winter months, and it just so happens that I was rocking a rather warm and cozy cropped jeans + smartwool sock combo that night.  Slightly unusual, but I think it worked!  Keep reading for a few more pics from our seriously fun night….

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By October 6, 2016 16 No tags Permalink