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Thursday, April 1, 2021

Destin, FL Recap

 Hi Everyone! It has been a while since I have written a blog post (I haven't since November to be exact). It has been a wild few months but we recently returned from our first trip since pre-covid so I wanted to give you all a quick recap of where we went and what it was like traveling right now with the pandemic. Please note, I am in no way saying you should be traveling or not be traveling right now. Do what feels right to you and take the proper precautions before, during, and after your trip. I do believe you can travel safely but you have to do what you are comfortable with. 

Where We Went & Where We Stayed

A small group of friends and I wanted to get away for a week somewhere close(ish) that did not require a long plane ride as well as a location we would feel safe and be able to control the amount of people we were exposed to. Initially we discussed places like Aruba or Bahamas but decided that international travel was not for us right now and decided on Destin, FL. Destin is a quick 2.5hr flight from here (we flew out of Philly) and it was then an hour drive from the airport in Pensacola. We decided on a rental so that we did not have to share spaces with anyone else. When searching for a rental we looked for something that could fit us all, was walking distance to the beach, and had a pool. We found all of this in the Avant Stay property that we chose (direct house link here). 

Destin, Florida, Avant Stay, Airbnb

Avant Stay, Destin, Florida, Destin FL, Airbnb

The property was absolutely beautiful! As mentioned, we had our own pool and we were walking distance to the beach. The house is also super close to many stores and restaurants. We loved the location as well as the amenities that it had. The pool is heated, you do have to pay extra for this but it is very worth it if you are going this time of year. The weather was kind of iffy there and it did not get very hot there all week so it was definitely a must have. The house had a lot of little necessities that you wouldn't want to have to buy such as extra toilet paper, extra paper towels, and laundry detergent (although we bought our own because I have a lot of skin sensitivities). We loved being able to wash clothes when we needed. 

The house has 4 bedrooms and we loved how spaced out the bedrooms were. We basically all had our own section of the house due to the layout. We also ended up each having our own bathroom. My husband and I had the upstairs part of the house and our bedroom had double doors that led out to the balcony. One of my favorite parts of the trip was waking up to the view of palm trees (I actually said to my husband several times that if it were warmer year round in Jersey I would definitely have palm trees in my yard lol). 

Since we had a goal of being around as few people as possible, we opted for an Instacart delivery for groceries.  We rented a car at the Pensacola Airport for our drive to Destin so on our way to the house we put together our Instacart order to get us through the first half of the week. We went with simple meals and of course things we could grill. I am talking things like burgers, hot dogs, ingredients for a taco night, ect. We were also able to order alcohol with our groceries as well (we loved the Bud Light Out of Office pack). We did have to make a second order mid week, but each time we got the groceries within a very reasonable time frame and it was very helpful because we did not have to spend hours in a supermarket. I highly recommend this option if you are traveling with a group and have a kitchen. We did do takeout one night from a place called Millers Ale House. I highly recommend their Mac n Cheese (it has buffalo wing bites in it) and the donuts for dessert! 

What We Did

I don't have to much to share on this end because really we went there with the intention of relaxing, hanging by the pool, and staying away from anyone outside our group. We did not venture out of the house much except to take some pictures at the beach and watch the sunset. The beaches in Destin are absolutely gorgeous! I am talking crystal blue-green waters and powdery white sand that feels like a cloud under your feet. 

Destin, Florida, Destin FL, Lost and Wander, Beach


Outfit Links: Top // Shorts (similar)

We did not spend much time at the beach during the day because it was a bit crowded. I will say the spot we were at has a lot of hotels/condos and most of them have private beach space. This did limit the public beach space to a very small section at the public entrance that was closest to the house. There was additional public space if you walked down a bit more, however we did not go down to check it out. This is just something to keep in mind if you prefer the beach over the pool as you may want to drive to a different spot for the beach. At sunset the hotels/condos took down all of their private chairs and barriers so the beach was completely open and empty at sunset.

 Since we did not spend much time at the beach, we spent our days by the pool at the house just relaxing. We did get rain one full day while we were there but we planned the day out in advance and placed a Walmart pickup order for a few games as well as we came up with a few ourselves to keep the day busy. Although it rained all day we had a blast inside playing games, dancing to music, and making fun cocktails. Total side note, but the game Throw Throw Burrito was a blast! 

Destin, Florida, Airbnb, Avant Stay, Destin Stays
Outfit Links: Bikini Top // Bikini Bottom

Destin, Florida, Destin Spots
Top // Shorts // Bag // Sunglasses 

Airport & Traveling During COVID

Before I wrap up, I did want to give you all some additional information about my experience with getting on a plane and traveling right now. As I mentioned earlier, I do think you can safely travel at this time as long as you take the proper precautions. Before our trip, the group decided to self quarantine and not see anyone for the week prior to our departure. This was to ensure we were not potentially exposing ourselves. In the airport we all wore two masks (one surgical with our fabric mask over it) and washed our hands whenever we touched something. We of course had a bunch of wipes and sanitizer on hand as well. Philly airport was pretty empty. We had our own area at one of the stand up tables in our terminal and no one was near us at all. Everyone in Philly for the most part respected the mask mandate and we only saw a few people trying to get away with wearing it under their nose or with it off. This was addressed when airport personnel saw it. When we got on the plane we used Lysol wipes to clean our seat, buckles, handles, and tray tables. They did give you a wipe when boarding the plane but we also had our own. Personally our group did not eat or drink on the plane however, if you did then that was the only time you were permitted to remove your mask. We also did not use the bathroom on the plane but I am sure if we had a longer flight we would have had to. Pensacola airport was definitely a bit more crowded and we did see a bit more people not following the mask mandate in the airport for our flight home. Overall we were able to distance and I felt safe. 

Final Thoughts 

I can't say enough how nice it was to just unplug for a few days. I did not spend a lot of time creating content and I didn't really post during the week either as I usually do. It is so important to really be present when on vacation and spend time with your loved ones. The memories made will last a lifetime and there is more to life than getting the perfect "insta worthy" picture. I left there really refreshed and the break was just what I needed! 

Till next time Destin!

xoxo,

Nicole 

Thursday, November 19, 2020

The Perfect Fall Getaway: Two Nights in Manchester, VT

This is one of the best times of the year! When I think of Fall I think of the sound of crunching leaves, the feeling of the crisp air, cozying up by the fire with some apple cider, and admiring all of the beautiful colors of the leaves. My husband and I were in need of a little getaway and thought it would be perfect to head to Vermont to enjoy all that Fall has to offer! We went during peak for leaf peeping and it was magical. Keep reading to hear more about where we stayed, what we did, and of course to see the beautiful foliage pictures!

Where We Stayed 

We did a lot of research before going on this little trip. We wanted to stay somewhere we felt comfortable and wouldn't be around many people. We looked into an Airbnb but had little luck since we had booked so late. While doing my research I stumbled upon Barnstead Inn and instantly fell in love with its charm and the fact that they had so few guest rooms. I personally love the Inn vibe and it was definitely perfect because we had our own private entrance to get into our room as well. Barnstead Inn is located just two blocks from Manchester Center so you can walk to the shops, restaurants, and cafes. We stayed in the Stratton Suite and it was beautiful (if my room at home could look like it I would be thrilled!) My favorite part of our room was the fireplace as it added such a cozy touch to our stay. 

Hat // Top // Shorts // Mug 


Another great thing about Barnstead Inn is that they include a farm to table breakfast every morning. The morning we were leaving we had the most delicious poached eggs on toast with Vermont Cheddar. Let's just say I still think about that breakfast! We also loved that they had a little bar area where you could grab a drink and some small appetizers, definitely try the spinach dip and charcuterie board! 

This was the delicious breakfast on our last morning!

The Inn has a little tavern where you can get a cocktail and local brews. 

What We Did

Since this was a quick trip and our first post-quarantine, we wanted to have a nice balance of relaxation but also adventure. We wanted to see the beautiful foliage and soak in all that Manchester has to offer. We arrived in Vermont around noon on our first day there and since check-in wasn't until 3, we figured we would do some exploring. When planning our trip I knew I wanted to visit the beautiful Equinox Pond. Now let me tell you, it is no easy feat getting to this spot. I figured you would just walk right up to it, but that is not the case. From what the locals told us, you used to be able to walk right up Equinox Pond Road however, this has been closed off to the public as it is a residential street and they do not allow outside traffic through. Some nice gentleman working by the high school gave us the tip about parking near by and walking through but we did not feel comfortable and of course wanted to respect those that live there. To get to Equinox pond you can park at one of the two parking lots for the trails. To get to the pond you follow the yellow trail (there are little colored posts you can follow). Fair warning, it did take about 45 minutes to hike to the pond so definitely bring good hiking shoes/sneakers and be prepared for a decent walk. The trail was very easy to navigate and the foliage was absolutely spectacular (the pictures almost look like a painting!). It was worth the hike for sure! 

Hat // Poncho // Jeans // Boots 


This is an unedited picture straight from my camera! It literally looks like a painting!

Our second day in Manchester we decided to take the drive up Skyline Drive. This beautiful scenic drive takes you all the way up Mount Equinox which is the highest peak in the Teconic Mountain range.  When you arrive, head into the building and they will provide you with instructions as well as a token to get through the gate. I believe it was a 20$ fee, however you can take as much time as you need to do the drive, soak in the views, and make your way back. There are many overlooks and stops along the way so that you can rest your breaks as well as soak in the beautiful views. Be sure to bring a jacket because it is much colder up there than it is at the bottom! Be warned, if you go around the time we did you will not see as much foliage when you get to the top because of the temperature difference (the leaves change up there earlier). Regardless, the mountain views were absolutely stunning! 

This is what the road looks like heading up! Prettier in person!

The view from one of the overlooks

It was so windy that my tripod fell over not 1 second after this picture was snapped!

After our drive we decided to explore downtown a little more and snap a few pictures before heading to dinner! Definitely explore downtown and grab yourself a maple latte from one of the coffee shops. They were delicious! 

Hat // Sweater // Skirt // Boots (similar, mine are from last year)

Where We Ate

After our day of exploring, we had probably one of the best meals I have ever had in my life! We ate at The Copper Grouse which is located in the Kimpton Taconic Hotel. We ate outside and although it was a bit cold, they had heating lamps in the ceiling and the views from the porch were stunning!

 They gave us a champagne toast at the start of our meal and we opted for the Mac n Cheese for our appetizer. Honestly it was THE BEST mac n cheese I have EVER had. To this day I think about that mac n cheese  almost daily! I am still trying to figure out how I can replicate that recipe at home. It was gooey, creamy, and so flavorful! It is definitely true that Vermont Cheddar is the best! 


For our main course, I opted for the butternut raviolis and my husband opted for the beef tenderloin. I tried a bite of my husbands too and my gosh both meals were outstanding! They were both perfect Fall meals and oh so delicious! For dessert we decided on the pumpkin bread pudding. The flavor was delicious, but it was a bit dry. Overall I did enjoy it though! 


Overall I highly recommend having a meal at The Copper Grouse. It is definitely on the pricey side but it was worth it. My only regret was getting a margarita. Although it was good, I wouldn't say it was worth what we paid. The drinks were not worth the price in my opinion but the food and atmosphere definitely made up for it! 

Let's Wrap it Up

I am so glad hubby and I got to take this quick trip to Vermont together. I definitely recommend Manchester if you are looking for beautiful foliage and a romantic little place to get away. We adored the Inn we stayed in and definitely plan to go back next Fall if we can! I do wish we had one extra day because the weather ended up being pretty bad on our last morning. It was raining very hard so we ended up changing our plans of hanging around for part of the day and just headed out at checkout time.  We did want to explore a little more too, so one more day would have been perfect! I guess that is vacation though, you always end up wishing for just one more day! As always feel free to DM me any questions on instagram, I would be more than happy to answer! 

I do want to put a disclaimer that you should read up on your states travel restrictions as well as your destinations restrictions before planning a trip. We did a lot of research before going to make sure we weren't going to be putting ourselves or anyone else at risk. This trip took place when numbers were lower and we followed all guidelines.  Please do your research before traveling and make sure you are respectful to the guidelines and restrictions that your destination has in place. Let's keep each other safe and healthy!

xoxo
-Nicole 


Shop My Travel Looks


Thursday, July 23, 2020

My Summer Essentials

Hi friends! It has been way too long since I have written a blog post. With quarantine, working from home, then transitioning back to the office I have not been very inspired to write but I am working on getting back into it! Summer is my absolute favorite time of year so I thought I would share some of my Summer favorites so far (both clothing/accessories and other random Summer essentials).  

Summer Outfit Essentials and My New Favorite Place to Shop


Hat // Top // Bottoms // Bag // Shoes // Blanket
A few of my Summer favorites can be seen in the photo to the right! If you follow along on instagram, you know that I am a huge beach lover. Hubby helped me set up this cute little spot for these photos and I of course had to bring my favorite accessories along. 

My Outfit 


This cute little set is from Elan and my gosh is it comfy! It honestly screams Summer and it is perfect for watching the sunset on the beach or just hanging out in the backyard.  They also offer a similar jumpsuit option which can be found here. I cannot recommend their clothes enough. I have been buying their pieces at boutiques and other retailers for years but they recently launched their own site! Definitely check them out if you haven't already. 

Accessories


You have seen this hat on me many times on instagram. It is the perfect beach hat! Honestly I think it may be one of my favorites in my collection (besides my absolute favorite I will show you later in this post). This hat is almost identical to the Lack of Color version but it will save you about half the cost of theirs. The LOC one can be found here

My other favorite accessory this Summer has been this cute straw beach bag. I bring it with me every time I go to the beach and it actually fits a decent amount considering it is a smaller bag. It has a removable tassel that adds a little color which I love to. 

My last essential from this shoot is this adorable blanket. This affordable piece makes the perfect beach blanket. It is so soft and light (not to mention the pattern is so pretty). Definitely a must have! 

My Favorite Summer Hat 

As I mentioned above, I would be sharing my absolute favorite hat. The Lack of Color Seaside Boater definitely takes the cake! I have been a huge fan of all things beachy my whole life. I mean even my dorm room had seashell and nautical decor. The moment I saw this hat I knew I had to have it! It is definitely a splurge item, but for me it was worth every penny. The quality of the hat is amazing and it has a very luxurious feel.  

Hat // Romper 
Here is this beauty in action! I mean how could you not fall in love with this beachy hat? I paired it with another adorable piece from Elan. This romper is another one of my favorites from their collection. You can wear it on or off the shoulders as the front ties and is adjustable. 

Other Summer Essentials


I know I primarily talk about fashion, but I wanted to share a few Summer essentials that I have been using non-stop for the pool or just sitting out in the yard. I promise you'll thank me for these!

Molds

Ice Pop Molds


These ice pop molds have been such a fun Summer essential! The possibilities are endless with these as you can really make whatever flavor you want! I made alcoholic ice pops, the ones pictured here are Pina Colada, Strawberry Daiquiri, and Miami Vice! You can make all kinds of flavors (non-alcoholic too of course) and even sneak some fruit in there if you have kiddos! I also bought these disposable ones for if we have guests over and they have been amazing as well! 

Hopsulator Trio (exact color) // Slim Version (this is the one I ordered)

Brumate  


Last but not least, probably my favorite on the list! This is one of those items that I didn't know I needed until I had one. Brumate carries all kinds of drink wear that is perfect for the beach, backyard, pool, or even just around the house (the one I have is from a local brewery). Everything is insulated so your drinks will stay cold or hot for hours. This is the hopsulator trio 3 in 1 and it fits 12 or 16oz cans. It can be used as a regular travel cup as well! They offer a slim version that fits cans like white claw, which I am waiting to come in the mail. I used mine all day by the pool and in the backyard and my drinks stayed nice and cool even though it was almost 100 degrees! Hubby and I both have one and we swear by it! I definitely recommend picking one of these up! 

I hope you all found something on my Summer essentials list that you loved! These are all items I have been using all Summer long and I know you will love them as much as I do. If you have a favorite Summer essential leave it in the comments or drop me a DM on Instagram! I am always looking to step up my Summer game and add to my collection. 

xoxo
-Nicole 





Destin, FL Recap

 Hi Everyone! It has been a while since I have written a blog post (I haven't since November to be exact). It has been a wild few months...