Do you know that thing that happens when you’ve never heard of something and then it keeps appearing in your life? That thing recently is Marfa, Texas, for me.
I first read about Marfa when my friend Kari traveled to the arts Mecca in the middle of nowhere, west Texas on her fantastic roadtrip last year (her whole journey is chronicled here). I’ve since had several conversations for a project I’m working on with the fine folks at the legendary Marfa Book Company. Then I heard about it here and here. So, that seals the destination portion, now onto some companions.
My sisters, Ann and Susan, and I – we like to travel together. I can’t call them annual sisters’ trips because they aren’t that structured. Usually it’s whenever we could afford the time away with the short jaunts serving as a great connector for us away from our daily lives and gives us something to hold onto between holidays and visits to each others’ homes. It’s been several years since we’ve gone anywhere together because well, life got in the way, taking a backseat to babies, businesses, and budgets.
From what I’ve read, I think Marfa would be such a fantastic spot to share with my sisters. Between the wildness of the land, creative energy, and quiet beauty, I bet it would be remarkable. While Austin and Dallas get most of the attention in the state, this culturally lush town appears to be something seriously special. My wish is that my sisters and I can resume traveling together in 2014 and that Marfa would be the destination.
Marfa Image: © Maison Gray
Dan and I find ourselves doing what I call a life check-in twice a year, both times coinciding with chunks of time away from the office. Once, around the holidays we sort of assess where we are heading into the New Year, and also each July when we take our annual vacation to my in-law’s condo on Siesta Key.
This past week we’ve enjoyed a much-needed respite from our everyday and despite an unseasonal dose of heavy rain throughout our stay, here are the highlights.
I’m a sucker for capturing sea oats in the foreground of a photo.
One can’t eat at the institution known as Phillippi Creek without a photo in front of the famed turtle.
The landscaping all along the island is so beautiful and this bird-of-paradise lives just outside our backdoor.
Rain clouds breaking just in time for a sunset.
I love the pink and white colors on this fella.
I am a firm believer that the best way to see a city is by foot and when I travel I tend to be pretty active. Some of my fondest travel memories involve exercise. Hiking the path to see Poás volcano in Costa Rica, kayaking in Deep Cove, Vancouver or going for a run with my brother and sister in the Red Mountains of Colorado. And on the flip side, some disastrous travel memories involve the wrong shoes. In case you’re wondering, walking around in zero support flip flops in the middle of July in Key West will give you feet that look like they lost a fight.
I’ve learned my lesson the hard way that when traveling, whether it’s through the mile-long customs line or trekking though the never-ending maze of outdoor market vendors, your feet require both something functional and cute. When shopping for multifunctional shoes, I look for ones that could be worn all day, for instance, comfortably roaming a city (can even pair well with a Maxi dress), but not look as if you’re going to pick up your race number at the starting line. (Seriously, can non-runners stop wearing these?)
Here are my favorite sporty shoes to pack on any trip. Also, if you’re so inclined to work up a sweat in your hotel room, this scientifically proven workout sounds pretty fantastic (and efficient!).
1. Lilac Snow Crochet Women’s Classics, Toms
2. Limited Edition Bleach Star Sneakers, Bensimon, Shop Bop
3. Chuck Taylor Side Zip, Converse
4. Verbena Shoe, Roxy, Swell
5. Madeira Women’s Wedges, Puma
6. Air Bacara, Maria Sharapova by Cole Haan, Piperlime
For the almost 12 years we’ve been together, Dan and my relationship with travel has changed quite a bit. But nothing so in your face as the current metamorphosis our family has undergone with we to three. When Dan and I were dating and newly married, we had a bit of disposable income and traveled whenever the whim suited. It was a time in our lives we had friends sprinkled throughout the country, we’d visit when the urge or reason struck us. It was that stage in our life we refer to as the wedding years, with at least two a year for a pretty good stretch, so a lot of our travel was to fun cities to shake it like a Polaroid picture.
Nothing could’ve prepared me for traveling with a small child. Not even helping my older sister, Susan, with her daughter on several business trips when she was still nursing some years ago. Let me tell you, there’s a very big difference with that second set of hands within the tight quarters of an airplane. Plus, it helps so very much when you know the person seated next to you when you’re trying to feed your baby. It’s about as up close and personal as you can get and getting a wee one fed trumps modesty.
Back in March, when I visited my mother, I was that person on a two-hour flight with the baby that screamed her head off the entire time, only to pass out from shear exhaustion moments before landing. It reminds me of the hilarious Bill Cosby little Jeffrey bit. My usually happy, content, grinning baby was swapped out for an absolute maniac that I couldn’t calm down. It got me thinking about things I wish I would’ve known. With that in mind, here are a few tips that can make traveling solo bearable.
1. Plan on traveling with some sort of carrier system. Ergo’s seem to be the trendy one of the moment, I’m doing just dandy with my older sister’s hand-me-down Björn. The more hands-free you can be, the better.
2. I cannot emphasize this enough – remember to pack extra clothes (everything from a onesie to a romper, sweater, hat and socks) in your diaper or carryon bag. Your child will need it when they (as if on cue) explode in the aforementioned carrier minutes before boarding your flight. Bonus points if you remember to pack a plastic resealable bag to put soiled clothes.
3. Before dressing (and redressing) your child, be sure to dress yourself accordingly (layers!). I made the mistake of wearing a very cute cream turtleneck sweater over a white tank top on a flight and proceeded to sweat buckets from shear exhaustion and couldn’t take my sweater off because I’d look like I was competing in a wet t-shirt contest.
4. Roll with it. Yes, their ears will hurt. Yes, they will most likely cry. Honestly do whatever you can to minimize their pain and just hunker down. Have multiple pacifiers (or whatever you use to soothe) at the ready. And remember make nice with the flight attendant because you’re going to need him/her to disinfect several of those suckers in boiling water after your kid throws them on the floor in protest.
This year, Dan and I celebrate our 10-year wedding anniversary. It’s hard to believe that we’ve been together as a couple for 12 years! I really want to go to the UK, but with Margaret, home renovations, and just life, it’s out of our budget, unfortunately. Ten-year anniversary gifts traditionally come in the form of tin, but I’d take a trip somewhere over pretty much any other present.
Like I so often do when it’s rainy and dreary in Atlanta (which it was the bulk of week), I’ve been daydreaming of places I’d like to travel to. For now, in lieu of London, we’re thinking of heading back to either New Orleans or Charleston, which happen to be our two favorite cities. Both are very special to us and are quite romantic, which is a bonus when you’re celebrating such a relationship milestone.
Or maybe we’ll just take our usual respite to Siesta Key since October there is one of the best months to visit. The weather is perfect, the beaches aren’t crowded, and you feel like you have the whole town to yourself. Plus, we’d be able to celebrate at this spot, which we love.
We still have time to decide, but for now, a girl can make a wish list.
My husband gifted me a gorgeous infinity scarf for Christmas this year, and while it’s perfect for everyday, it’s even better for travel. It got me thinking about travel attire. Some folks I saw roaming the airport terminal this past holiday season were pieces of work.
I’m all for comfort when I travel, but pajamas are not a proper choice when leaving the house (unless you’re a newborn), let alone for someone meeting you at baggage claim with you sporting a snowflake flannel number paired with an oversized sweatshirt. Ditto Juicy Couture velour tracksuits. Though I must admit this look (thank goodness!) is fading out, but there’s always at least one person in the boarding area strutting around with Juicy written in metallic across their rear.
My comfort comes in the form of a dark wash jean, and a smart cardigan layered over a simple tank top. Side note—I read an article once from a fashion editor who swears by el-cheapo Hanes tank tops and tees in every color and style. I can get behind that trend. Usually I wear boots through an airport because they are so much easier than packing, but lately, cozy flats are more my speed. Lastly, a neutral bag that’ll double as a purse at your destination will make electronics, sunglasses, and snacks easily accessible. And just like that, you’re destination-ready.
1. Blanket cardigan, Madewell
2. Abby skinny supersoft stretch jeans, Liverpool Jeans Company
3. Women’s ribbed tank top, Hanes
4. Thatcher striped sassafras, Warby Parker
5. Swedish Fish
6. Vinyasa scarf, Lululemon
7. Metallic Pewter ballet flat, Tieks by Gavrieli
8. Giraffe print Kindle keyboard cover, Zazzle
9. Graf & Lantz wool felt carryall, Huff Harrington
When I travel, I rely on a solid packing list to help me remember everything from electronics chargers to a camisole for wearing under a sheer top. I’ve found that cute, yet functional travel cases to hold it all can sometimes be hard to come by.
I swear by my very simple black one from Sephora (similar to this) that’s served me well for many miles. Lately, though, I’ve been eyeing (xo)eco, the collaboration between Lauren Conrad and Blue Avocado. The eco-friendly collection constructed from recycled plastic bottle fabric is both durable and adorable.
With more than 20 different accessories in the line (cases for clothing, cosmetics, and food storage) it makes you want to book a trip pronto just to use it all. My favorites (all pictured) are the weekender (the perfect size short trips), lunch kit (wouldn’t this be great for packing snacks on a long flight?), and beauty kit (smartly constructed with separate compartments). Check out the full line on amazon.com.
This summer, while in the midst of the worst traffic situation I’ve ever experienced, we stumbled across an app called Waze. It was a highway shut down scenario due to a tractor-trailer tipped over with the contents of its load (crates of strawberries) spilled all across the road, and it was awful. I was 4.5 months pregnant at the time with a kangaroo on my bladder, and we were leaving Bonnaroo, so we were stuck in traffic with about 50K folks leaving the fest at the same time.
After four hours, when traffic finally merged us onto a two-lane road in the middle of bum-eff Tennessee, we finally came across a gas station, which was seriously like going to the restroom on the Sultan of Brunei’s gold-plated toilet (or so I imagined) compared the port-a-potty situation I’d been accustomed to for the past 96 hours.
While at the stop, a fellow traveler told us about Waze. This made even the traffic jam (somewhat) worthwhile. Actually it didn’t, but it was cool to discover. This fabulous free app does so much!
Basically this sucker acts as both a GPS and traffic app to tell you situations along your route that could slow you down. Whether it’s the speed trap in three miles or a massive wreck just up the road at exit 18, Waze users report it all. It’s community based, so you can even chat with other users (if you’re the passenger).
In addition to discovering the app, we also named our daughter in this traffic jam. Talk about multi-tasking.
This week I’m staying in a house on Lake Michigan with my entire family on our bi-annual vacation. Here’s a bit of what I’ve been soaking up the past few days.
This time of year is proving to be a bit nutty with work travel. I just got back from a press trip to Savannah, and the next two weeks you’ll read about where else I’m headed. It’s all great fun, and there’s so much to write about. First things first, a piece on Savannah.
I’ve been to Savannah, Ga. quite a few times, but I must say this last time was certainly filled with the royal treatment–beginning with the fact that I didn’t have to make the four-hour drive solo from Atlanta to Savannah. I felt so spoiled taking a flight that’s so short there’s no drink service, but boy did it help me save my energy for all the exploring. Savannah at its core is not unlike Charleston or all those other little spots along the Ga, and S.C. barrier that I’ve written about here and here. There’s just something about them all that is charming and wonderful, but each place is still special and unique. While it’s still in Ga., it has such a different feel than the bustle (if you can call anything outside of NYC bustle) of Atlanta. Here’s the pop on where to eat, sleep, and wander while in Savannah.