Baby on Board

Air travel is stressful. There are crowds to deal with at the airport, cramped quarters on the plane and rude passengers. Try adding a baby to the mix! But it doesn’t have to be as bad as you think. We took my daughter on her first flight at 2 months old. I was on maternity leave and felt like a hermit…why not go to Florida to see family, right? Since then she’s flown on over 20 flights. (We’re really taking advantage of the “kids under 2 fly for free” rule)! Some have been as easy as pie and some have been nightmares, but I always make sure I’m prepared and take it in stride. Here is what I’ve learned so far. baby on board
CHOOSE YOUR SEAT WISELY 
One of the worst things in the world is being stuck in a middle seat with a lap child. I learned this the hard way. As bad as that was, I’ve also been lucky enough to have an empty seat next to me, which you better believe I took full advantage of! When my child was younger and unable to sit on her own, I always inquired if there were open seats on the flight. A few friendly employees have rearranged my seating assignment and allowed me to place a carrier in an empty seat. You would not believe how nice it is to not have to hold a baby for 3 hours straight! If your flight has slim pickings, it may be worth it to upgrade to a premium seat or business class for added space. When in doubt, head to the back of the plane, where there’s most likely to be open seats.

COME PREPARED My pre-baby packing checklist looked much different than it does today, and certainly did not include diapers and formula. Don’t leave home without an adequate supply of snacks, diapers and clothes. Now that my little one is a toddler, I have learned that the iPad is my best friend on a long flight, so I make sure it’s loaded with Sesame Street episodes. I also take the Baby Bjorn as a carrier option.

flying with a baby

TAKE ADVANTAGE OF FAMILY BOARDING Most airlines allow passengers traveling with small children early boarding, usually after first class boards. This allows you to not only check your stroller at the gate without a line of anxious people breathing down your neck, but also the chance to get situated in your seat and unload your necessities with ease. Family boarding is especially important on Southwest, where being the last group to board almost guarantees a middle seat.

PREPARE FOR TAKEOFF Have you ever changed a baby in an airplane bathroom? Trust me, it’s not fun. My pre-boarding ritual includes a diaper change and a fresh bottle. Making sure your baby is changed and fed will hopefully prevent an emergency trip to the lavatory. And since changes in pressure can affect children’s ears, a bottle or pacifier can help ease the transition as you ascend.

DON’T BE AFRAID TO ASK FOR HELP My husband and I often fly together, but I’ve also flown alone with child in tow. As you can guess, it’s MUCH easier to have that extra set of hands. Don’t be afraid to ask for help! I’ve asked TSA agents to assist with pushing my bag through the conveyor belt and opening my stroller. It’s worth asking for help if it makes getting through security a little easier.

EXPLORE AIRPORT FACILITIES Thankfully many airports are becoming more family friendly, with designated play areas and women’s lounges. A recent long layover in Dallas went smoothly thanks to their Junior Flyers play area. SFO and O’Hare have great playgrounds, the latter designed by the Children’s Museum of Chicago. Beyond the obvious amenities, we love the AA Admirals Club lounges for the play areas we’ve come across in the Miami and LAX locations. Check online to learn more about your airport’s facilities.

bbay DFW kids club

Flying alone with my little one has shown me that there are nice people out there. Without fail, people have offered help every time, whether it’s to carry my bag or grab something from the overhead bin for me.  A flight attendant once said she’d hold my baby if I needed to use the restroom. And during an uncharacteristically fussy period, a nice woman seated behind me told me to hand over my little one. She was a pediatrician and must have noticed that I needed a break! Yes, you may get a few eye rolls when you’re heading down the aisle, but I’ve never encountered a rude fellow flyer. Try not to worry to much, flying with kids isn’t as hard as it seems.

 

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My Favorite Travel Beauty Kits

Unlike my husband who travels light and is fine using the complimentary soap provided by the hotels, I have to have my luxuries when I’m staying away from home. It’s not always easy packing the necessities, and no one wants to lug around their full size shampoo and body wash. Thankfully a few of my favorite brands offer convenient travel sets for girls on the go. Here are the products I make sure to include in my luggage.Molton Brown

Molton Brown Jetsetter KitMolton Brown is an iconic English brand that has the most luxurious scents (I’m obsessed with Japanese Orange!). I take this toiletry kit with me when I want to feel pampered on the road. The glam pink bag doubles as a makeup bag too!

Malin + Goetz Essential Kit: One of my favorite Miami hotels, the Mondrian, stocks their bathrooms with this brand. The Essentials Kit full of 1 ounce necessities is usually in my bag during overnight flights for the face wash and moisturizers. Bonus points because they are paraben free and contain no dyes or perfumes.

Bliss Sinkside Six Pack: I first discovered Bliss after staying at a W hotel, and I’ve been in love ever since. This travel kit includes their best products – Lemon + Sage Body Butter, Soapy Suds, face wash, shampoo and conditioner. The best part is that they’re small enough to fit in a carry on bag for quick weekend getaways.

Coola Mineral Suncare Travel SetCoola Suncare is my must have for  beach vacations. I love that they offer organic and mineral based products, plus their travel sets are TSA friendly. I usually pick up their sunscreen at Sephora before taking off to a tropical destination.coola suncare

 

 

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Afternoon Tea at the Sanderson

Whenever I hear that someone is visiting England for the first time, I always recommend afternoon tea. So when my friend and I took a much needed girls trip to London, I knew we had to schedule tea time. It was my friend Lindsay’s first trip to the UK and I wanted to show her a quintessentially British experience. I’ve had tea before at Fortnum & Mason and at the Marriott Park Lane (you can read about that visit here), and both were wonderful. But since this was a girls trip, we decided to go all out. Champagne afternoon tea for two, please!

I had heard about the Mad Hatter’s Afternoon Tea at the Sanderson Hotel. It sounded exactly like the fun experience we were looking for, so I made a reservation and was pumped to see what it was all about.

The Sanderson is located in the West End and was a short walk after our afternoon of browsing on Bond Street. The hotel itself is chic and modern and was designed by Philippe Starck. Afternoon tea takes place in the hotel’s courtyard, which made for beautiful surroundings. Once seated, we could really see the Alice in Wonderland theme come to life with whimsical dishes, teapots adorned with Kings and Queens and vintage books. sanderson tea

We of course started with cocktails, and then came the tea. The tea options were displayed in beautiful glass jars and the names were true to theme . I opted for the “Queen of Hearts,”, while my friend chose “White Rabbit.” The spread had the traditional fare like finger sandwiches and scones, but also included beautifully crafted Mad Hatter-themed sweets like marshmallow mushrooms and sponge cake in the shape of a clock.
COCKTAILSsugar tea timetea

We stayed for a little over an hour and left on a caffeine high from all the tea. The staff was wonderful and overall it was such a fun, unique experience! lindsay tea time

Prices start at £48 a person. Reservations are recommended and can be made on the Sanderson’s website

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Passport to Style

You’re going to fly, so why not be stylish when doing it, right? Passport holders are a great way to show your personality, plus they provide protection for all the wear and tear that comes with traveling. These covers are not only stylish, but also functional, and are sure to add a little touch of luxury to your next trip.

 

passports adrienneaway

Kate Spade New York Cedar Street Passport Case: Who doesn’t love black and white polka dots? Like everything that comes from Kate Spade, this passport holder is cute and chic at the same time.

Ted Baker London Leather Passport Holder: Nothing is better than a classic leather case in a bright hue.

Flight 001 Passport Case: Flight 001 makes great travel accessories and this understated case is perfect for anyone.

Liberty London Passport Cover: Bright patterns make traveling so much more fun.

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Partying in Brazil: Top 4 Hot Spots

BrazilBrazil is a paradise for tourists – sandy beaches, brilliant sunshine and hospitable locals helping to create a wonderful atmosphere the year round. But it’s not just the sights and scenery you should absorb on your trip to the South American powerhouse. The party vibe is one to make the most of too, and with plenty of amazing cities in which to let your hair down, you’ll love the opportunities available.

Whether you’re in Brazil as part of a gap year or visiting for just a few weeks, welcome to the party capital of the world, as described by Made Man. From the carnivals, to the top quality nightclubs, take a look at four of the very best cities in Brazil for cutting shapes on the dancefloor.

Rio de Janeiro

Where else could we possibly start than Brazil’s second largest city and with it, the party-lover’s paradise? It’s not just the tourists who find themselves awake until the very early hours of the morning, but the locals too. Plus, to really soak in the terrific vibes – head down to Ipanema Beach to drink caipirinhas and watch the sunset in all its magnificence. Don’t worry, you’ll probably see it rise too, albeit with slightly blurred vision.

Florianopolis

If you find yourself in Florianopolis you’re in for a treat. Whilst it may be a popular resort for Brazilians and Argentinians, it remains relatively unknown to the rest of the world. But that doesn’t mean the party atmosphere is anything but fantastic. Enjoy the local Sertaneja music or head to the Confraria club – the hours will simply roll by. There are day parties to consider too – with P12 a popular location for all round the clock festivities.

Manaus

Perhaps known more for its Amazon Forest and extreme temperatures, the city of Manaus doubles up as a superb party place too. With plenty of memorable bars and clubs to whet your appetite, there really is something for everyone. And as you’re in Brazil, why not listen to Samba music all night long at the Lappa Bar? Friday is live music night, so definitely the time to really indulge yourself in true Brazilian culture. It’s not just the dancing you’ll enjoy – with happy hour offering a buffet and two beers to really get you going.

Sao Paulo

Where could we possibly end our journey of Brazil, than with the country’s capital? And with Sao Paulo itself, you have one of the few places on Earth where you’ll wake up at 4am and party ‘til 4pm. Not even Rio can keep up. And you have an amazing choice of partying locations in the city too, with megaclubs able to hold thousands of revelers. There are also some upscale venues , including the ultra-exclusive Bar Secreto – boasting a lineup of DJ-spun electropop and MPB.

And there you have it. Heading to Brazil in the next few weeks or months? Then make sure to check out these four party hotspots and make the most of your tour through this amazing country.

 

 

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A Wedding Weekend in New York

I just got back from a weekend trip to New York, and as any one who’s visited New York City knows, a few days is just not enough. I lived in NYC for a couple of years after college, so going back is always a thrill. I was in town for the wedding of an old friend, and I couldn’t have been more excited to be back. Fall is my favorite season there, so it was the perfect weekend to visit. The early September weather brought a little chill to the air, which is exactly how I like it. I was looking forward to catching up with friends, visiting a few restaurants and taking in the liveliness of the city.

I arrived Friday afternoon, and after settling in at my friend’s apartment, my first night in NYC was underway with drinks at Gallow Green atop the McKittrick Hotel. Upon entering, you’re transported to a 1920’s speakeasy, then lifted to the top floor via elevator. This Chelsea rooftop is covered in greenery and flowers to the ceiling – it really is an oasis above the city. The drinks were pricey and it was a crowded Friday night, but it was all worth it. We then headed to Cookshop, near the High Line, for dinner. A yummy meal of oysters, homemade pasta, wine and girl talk capped off a good night.Gallow Green

The next morning was wedding day, so the day started early with a visit to Drybar for some pampering. This was my first Drybar experience, and I was impressed with the atmosphere, tunes and complimentary mimosas. I left with a fabulous blowout and was ready for brunch at Sarabeth’s. This brunch institution’s eggs benedict were a perfect start to the day, even if we did have to wait awhile to be seated. A little shopping and a pit stop at the must-visit Levain Bakery on the Upper West Side (try the cookies or cinnamon brioche!) made for a solid afternoon.

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brunch @ Sarabeth’s

levain

Saturday’s night wedding took place at the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx. We were lucky enough to get the chance to explore the gardens before the ceremony. It’s 250 acres of tropical flowers and native plants, and I was surprised that such a large  place existed in the middle of the Bronx! Beautiful weather made for a beautiful outdoor ceremony, and everything was perfect, from the food to the drinks, and everyone had a blast dancing on the outdoor dance floor.NY Botanical gardenWedding

The next morning I was off to Laguardia for a flight back west. As with every visit to New York, I wish I could have stayed longer.

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My Brazil Bucket List

The Olympics are officially underway and all eyes are on the host country, Brazil. Our plans of heading south to see the action in person fell through, but the country still tops my list of places to visit. I’ve always been drawn to the beaches and friendliness that is talked about about so much. There’s so much to see, and with close friends who are Brazilian, I hope to make it there in the next few years with our friends as tour guides! In the mean time, I’ll just have to plan my trip and wait. Here are the activities on my Brazil bucket list.

Explore Rio de Janeiro

There’s so much to see in Rio. On my to do list is taking the cable car to the top of Sugarloaf Mountain, climbing up to see the famous Cristo Redentor statue up close and personal, walking the wave-patterned sidewalks of Copacabana and sitting on Selaron’s steps. Rio de Janeiro

Discover Salvador

How beautiful is the colorful colonial architecture of Bahia’s capital?salvador

Lounge on a Florianopolis Beach

Floripa is one of the most popular resort towns for a reason. Its beaches are said to be some of the best in Brazil. florianolpolis

Take in Iguazu Falls

Like Niagara Falls, but bigger and better. The majority of the falls may lie in Argentina, but the views from Brazil’s side still look breathtaking.Iguazu Falls

Live the Fancy Life in Sao Paulo

The chic Hotel Fasano.  The high end stores on Rua Oscar Freire. The fabulous rooftop of the Hotel Unique. Sao Paulo has everything you need for luxury living. Hotel Unique

What cities or experiences are on your Brazil bucket list?

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My Beach Packing List

florida beach

Summer has arrived! Like a lot of Americans, my summer agenda usually includes a trip to Florida. So I headed south to the beaches of Florida to visit family, eat good seafood and, of course, relax on the beach. While a bathing suit and shades are staples, my packing list has definitely expanded now that there’s a baby in tow for my trips! Here’s what’s in my bag.

Sunglasses: Classic aviators like Oliver Peoples’ “Benedict” sunglasses are always in style, and polarized versions keep my light eyes safe in the sun.

Weekender Tote: My Fold-Over Weekender bag from Thirty-One Gifts is large enough to hold all my stuff, is super durable, plus comes in a cute pattern to boot!

Beach Towel: I found a stylish striped version from Serena & Lily that includes fun tassel accents. Perfect for long afternoons lounging on the sand!

Babyganics Outdoor Essentials Duo: One of my favorite baby brands, Babyganics, sells a mineral based sunscreen that’s safer for little ones. It protects against the strong Florida sun and comes in convenient travel sizes.

packing list

 

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One reader will have a chance to win their very own tote, courtesy of Thirty-One. It comes in 5 patterns and can even be personalized! Just comment below with what you always pack in your beach tote and you’re entered to win. Good luck!

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An Afternoon In Monaco

During a trip to the South of France, I knew I had to visit Monaco. I had heard so much about the glitz, the yachts, the casino. After stays in Antibes and Cannes, we ended up in Nice for the tail end of our trip. With Monaco a mere 20 kilometers away, I had to check it out for myself.

My husband and I set aside a day to make the short trip east. We would head out in the morning, spend the afternoon and early evening in Monaco, and head back to Nice before dark. With only an afternoon to spare, we tried not too pile too much on the agenda. There were a few items on the must-see list – the Prince’s Palace and the Monte Carlo Casino (of course!).

After a little research, I found that the most recommended way to get to Monaco is by public transportation. At less than 2 euros, the cheapest options are buses that run frequently throughout the day. Other than a private helicopter, it’s also the easiest way to get there! We caught the bus from the Port of Nice, which is beautiful in its own right. The journey included winding cliffside roads that, while frightening at times, were some of the most picturesque views I’ve ever seen. We passed the seaside towns of  Villefranche and Eze (also worth seeing) and 30 minutes later, we were in Monaco.

port of nice
Waiting at the Port of Nice

We departed at the 1st stop in Monaco, named Place d’Armes. This seemed to be the best starting location, since it’s right near Monaco-Ville. We started by climbing up Le Rocher, or “The Rock.” From here you not only get amazing views, but also can venture to the Palace and the Oceanographic Museum. We were able to catch the changing of the guard, and select rooms are even also open to the public. A few photo ops at Port Hercule at the base and we were off to explore on foot.

Monaco
Worth the trip!

Along with cafes and shopping, I promised my husband we would fit in a few of his destinations. So from the Port we ventured to a museum housing the Prince’s private car collection. While I’m not a car fan, it was pretty cool to see the personal collection of Prince Rainier’s. There were notable vehicles dating back over the last 100 years or so, and at only $10 to enter, it was a economic way to spend an hour. Next on his list was the famous hairpin turn of the Monaco F1 Grand Prix. It’s nestled in front of the Fairmont Hotel, and the course even meanders underneath the property. After checking this out, we accidentally discovered a nice garden, with beautiful greenery and a few Botero statues.

fairmont monte carlo
The next stop was the famous casino. Monaco actually has quite a few casinos, if that’s your thing, but the Monte Carlo Casino is by far the most well known. It’s situated right in the heart of Monte Carlo and you’ll know you’re in the right place by the mobs of tourists taking photos and the Lamborghinis parked out front. There was surprisingly no dress code in the afternoon, and although not as large as I thought it would be, it was definitely grandiose. Splurge on a few glasses of €20 champagne and take in the old school glamour.

casino monte carlo
Monte Carlo Casino

Dinner in Monte Carlo and lots of people watching later, we were ready to make the short trip back to Nice. I would have loved to have seen the Jardin Exotique and the cathedral atop Le Rocher, but there was just not enough time. Monaco warrants an overnight stay, and the Hotel Hermitage and Metropole are calling my name for a return visit!

 

How to get from Nice to Monaco: Catch bus #100 (labeled Monaco/Menton) from Place Messina, the Port or other stations in Nice. Regional TGV trains also will get you there, although you’ll miss the amazing scenery along the way!

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Las Vegas…with a Baby

As I write this I’m sitting in McCarran airport waiting to go home after a few days in Vegas. I have quite a few trips to Sin City under my belt, but this visit was unique. A friend was visiting the States from Australia, and proposed that we meet in Las Vegas for a few days of gambling, pool time and catching up. We jumped at the chance for a weekend getaway, however, our 6 month old baby would be in tow. I know, who takes a baby to Las Vegas? I was somewhat hesitant to hit the Strip with a child since I don’t remember it to be the most child-friendly town, but after reading other parents’ stories online, I decided to go for it.

Pre-baby, my girlfriends and I would stay somewhere trendy like the Cosmopolitan. Although I had a few ideal hotel preferences, availability and price won out and we ended up at Paris. Its central location made it a great home base to explore the Strip, plus the francophile in me loves the faux-French decor. There’s a nice pool, the service was wonderful and the hotel’s buffet included unlimited mimosas. Can’t complain here!Paris mimosas at The Paris

Yes, it is called ‘Sin City,’ but it wasn’t as crazy as I remember from my younger days. I saw a surprising amount of kids and strollers during the day. Families dined alongside 20-somethings. Most people were accommodating, and we often had doors held open for us. There were a few drawbacks. We learned the hard way that babies are not allowed in casinos, so my husband and I had to gamble in shifts. We also learned that there are few elevators along the Strip, so getting from point A to B took a lot longer than planned.

I’ll have to head back sans baby to see Britney, a Cirque show or hit the clubs, but overall bringing a baby to Sin City can be done. If you’re thinking about taking your little one to Vegas, these kid-friendly hotels top my list of places to stay.Bellagio

Bellagio: We visited this hotel quite a few times during our stay. The hotel would be a great pick for families because of its location and free attractions like the Bellagio Fountains and botanical garden.

Four Seasons: It’s worth heading off the Strip for a Four Seasons. You’ll get all the amenities you would expect, from welcome gifts for children to baby toiletries to complimentary use of cribs and highchairs upon request. There’s also no casino, which makes this property more relaxing than being in the middle of all the action.

Venetian: I stayed at the Venetian a few years back for business and loved it. The best part is that its an all-suite property, along with The Palazzo next door. Each suite comes complete with a separate living area, which means lots of room for kiddos. The upscale Grand Canal Shops are also a great way to spend a few hours.

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6 Quintessential Barcelona Experiences

I fell in love with Barcelona the first few hours I was there. This Spanish city has it all in my opinion – culture, good food, nightlife and the ocean. It’s a world class city, and there is so much to see. Whether you’re a first timer or visit the city often, there are certain experiences you have to check off the Barcelona bucket list.

 

1) AN AFTERNOON AT PARK GUELL

Enter Park Guell and you’re transported into an almost magical world filled with tile mosaics, colorful towers and beautiful gardens. Tourists and locals alike could spend a whole afternoon here just wandering through the park.

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2) A GREAT SPANISH MEAL

This city really is a foodie’s paradise. From paella to jamón ibérico, there’s really nothing better than indulging in a few tapas while sipping cava.  

3) GETTING TO KNOW GAUDI

Barcelona is synonymous with Antoni Gaudí. You can’t visit the city without taking a tour of his most famous works – La Pedrera, Casa Batlló and of course, Sagrada Familia.

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4) LUNCH FROM BOQUERIA

This food market is one of the world’s best, and you can find vendors selling everything from fruit to fish to cheese here. It’s a great place to stop for a bite while out and about. Marketmarket_in_barcelona

5) CATCHING THE SHOW AT MONTJUIC

It may sound a little cheesy, but the fountains are fun way to spend a summer evening. It’s extremely popular, so get there early to find a seat.

Montjuic

6) STROLLING BARCELONETA BEACH

A quick subway ride takes you right to the Mediterranean, where you can hang out by the water, people watch or get some seafood at one of the many restaurants that line the boardwalk. 

 

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London’s Top Attractions for First Time Visitors

London holds a special place in this traveler’s heart, since it was the first international city I visited. I’ve since been back on a few more occasions, and have even gone with first time visitors. One of my initial thoughts about the city? It’s huge! Having lived in New York, I was used to the small, compact island of Manhattan. London is much more spread out! London is one of those cities, like New York, where you can live for years and still not see everything. So where’s a first time visitor to start? If you only have a week (or even just a few days) to explore, here are the top sights to check off the list.

Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace: The Queen’s official residence is grand, opulent and the site of so much history. Try and catch the changing of the Guard, which happens daily at 11:30. You’ll have to navigate the crowds, but seeing the pomp and circumstance of it first hand is worth it. Finish with a leisurely stroll down the mall.

tower of london

Tower of London: This former palace, prison and fortress has a colorful history as the site of executions and wild animals. You’ll be in awe of the Crown Jewels, and marvel at the fabulously dresses Beefeaters patrolling the grounds. Certain spots offer clear views of Tower Bridge that make wonderful photo ops.

Tate Galleries: London has some of the best museums in the world, and art lovers like me can take advantage of 2 FREE galleries right along the riverbank. Start at Tate Britain for British art and sculpture, then head to the Tate Modern to see works by contemporary artists like Monet, Warhol and Dali. Hop on the Tate Boat and enjoy a ride along the Thames while shuttling between the museums.

London Eye

London Eye: Yes, it’s touristy and expensive, but it’s also one of the best ways to get an amazing 360 degree view of the city.

Kensington Palace

Kensington Palace: Any Royal watcher knows this is the home of Will and Kate, which instantly makes it intriguing. Buy a ticket and you’ll be able to tour the palace’s state rooms, exhibits and gardens. If time allows, indulge in afternoon tea at The Orangery for a quintessential British experience.

 

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5 Reasons to Love Barcelona

I fell in love with Barcelona the moment I arrived. I always say it’s one of the cities I could see myself living in. If you haven’t been, you need to put it on your list of places to visit. Here’s why.

1) The Food: Paella, tapas, sangria, jamon. You’ll eat well in Barcelona and the food really needs no explanation.Paella

2) The Architecture: The city’s most famous son, Gaudi, left his mark with gems like Casa Battlo, La Pedrera and Sagrada Familia. The well known attractions coupled with the city’s Catalan architecture make it one of the most unique in Europe.Gaudi

3) The Culture: The lively city is brimming with music, art and museums. Trips to Barcelona are not complete without a visit to the Museu Picasso and a night spent watching the fountain of Montjuïc at night.

4) The Beach: There are few destinations that boast a major city and a beach. Barcelona has the best of both worlds. Barceloneta beach is a fun way to spend an afternoon people watching and eating great seafood. Barceloneta

5) The Shopping: You can find great stores along the Passeig De Gracia and Diagonal streets, known as the Barcelona shopping line. The city is also home to homegrown brands like Custo Barcelona, Desigual and Mango. Some of my favorite items to pick up are crafts like handpainted sangria pitchers and traditional ceramic tiles. And there’s always one of the best food market in Europe, La Boquiera. la boquiera

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New Hotels to Visit This Spring

Can you believe it’s almost March? 2016 is well underway and the new year brought new hotels to get excited about. From Florida to the Middle East, your spring plans should include these recently-opened gems.

The Hall

Picture1miami

Those looking for a spring break getaway can find a casual, vintage Miami vibe at The Hall. This boutique hotel opened late last year in a prime South Beach location, is pet friendly and houses an eatery from Spike Mendelsohn that Top Chef geeks like me will love.

Godfrey Boston

Godfrey Boston

The highly anticipated February opening of this boutique hotel brought a new place to stay near Boston Common. Set in a restored pre-war building, the Godfrey is a sophisticated home base when in Boston for business or pleasure.

Shangri-La Doha

Main Pool

The lux brand is bringing its signature posh accommodations to Qatar’s capital. This recently opened property features guest rooms that offer views of the Persian Gulf, marble bathrooms equipped with soaking tubs, and a beautiful curved pool to cool off from the high desert temps.

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Beach Getaways with HomeAway

Not sure where you live, but here in the Midwest we’re still stuck with the tail end of winter weather. Spring cannot come soon enough! With another month or so before it hits, an escape down south sounds amazing right about now. Spring break, anyone?

An ocean breeze, sunshine and cocktails are the perfect cure for the winter blues. Florida is always an easy choice for a beach getaway, since it’s just a quick flight away. I always need to be sure to bring my necessities when packing for a beach vacation. Sunnies, a cute tote and reading material are always in my bag. Here’s what I’d take on my trip:Home Away checklist

The bag’s all packed, but one of the most important parts is finding the right place to stay! City center for nightlife? Oceanfront condo for beach access? HomeAway helps travelers with their vaca with over 1 million listings to pick from. Miami to Tampa to Destin, they’ve got Florida rentals covered. The company also has prime properties in the Florida panhandle area for those looking to relive their college spring break days in places like Panama City. There’s plenty of rooms to choose from – everything from high rise condos to beachfront bungalows that can fit a whole family. How beautiful do these places look? Check out all their offerings at HomeAwayHome Away Home Away

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