Travel

Falling Water- Frank Lloyd Wright

Hey guys. I’ve really sucked at posting lately. I could give you the typical excuse that I’ve been busy but who wants to hear excuses? Yeah, exactly. Anyway, I went to visit my in laws this past weekend out in western Maryland and has the chance to go and check out what’s arguably Frank Lloyd Wright’s most famous work.

Black and White Falling Water

We mostly went because it’s the most famous thing out that way and it’s on the husband’s bucket list. I think we’ve talked about how he loves all things modern and especially anything that could be classified as mid century so this was pretty much his heaven. And doesn’t he look so handsome in that picture? Still pinching myself that he’s mine. Oh, and the house was pretty too. Can you call Frank Lloyd Wright’s work pretty? I’m not quite sure but oh well.

Falling Water in Autumn I wish I had brought my camera on this trip because my iPhone photo definitely didn’t capture all of the beauty of the house and it’s environs. I also wish that we could have taken the in-depth tour but you have to book far in advance and we went kind of on a whim and tours were all sold out. Turns out over 1,000 people toured the house that day which is pretty nuts when you realize it’s about 2 or more hours from any major city. There’s no photos allowed inside which is a shame because it looks like this:

Falling water Interior

 

Falling Water 3

Fallingwater-sitting-area

It’s amazing and was painstakingly curated by Wright himself, supposedly down to the last vase. The was cost over $150k back in 1936- expensive and truly before it’s time. I’ve compiled some cheaper but still modern and fabulous finds that have a similar look and feel because having modern pieces shouldn’t always cost an arm and a leg.

Falling Water Inspiration

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So have any of you been out to Falling Water? Now that I’ve been to this one, I’m thinking we need to head to Chicago to see more of his work. Any other Frank Lloyd Wright homes that you love? And those wood chairs are from Target- can you believe it? I might have to pick some up for the husband’s office.

Have a great day!

-Katy


How to Pack for Europe in the Fall & Giveaway!

 

Katy at Cliffs of MoherI’ve had quite a few people ask what I brought to Ireland (and London and Pairs last year) and how I managed to pack everything. My secret is packing light, even with the cooler temps they have in Fall. It’s totally doable and you don’t have to look like a tourist wearing the same thing every day. I mean, there are enough badly dressed American tourists out there, don’t be one of them.

Keep Jewelry SimpleTravel Jewelry When you’re traveling, especially internationally, I think it’s important to look nice while not making yourself a target and this means going easy on the jewelry. Each trip I pick out one pair of gold earrings and a pair of white gold earrings, just to make sure I have something that will go with each outfit. I try to make sure one pair are interesting studs and the other are dangly but that’s just my personal preference. Our trip last year I brought multiple necklaces and they all ended up getting tangled and never worn. This trip I brought one necklace that I never took off which had both gold and white gold and would match whatever I chose to wear that day. It made getting dressed so much faster which is great- you don’t want to waste time in the hotel when you could be out exploring!

Limit Your Outerwear Trench Coat and Scarves If I had to list one item I wore almost every single day, it would be my trench coat. It’s timeless, water proof, great for windy climates and goes with everything! When I bought mine I made sure to buy one that had black lining so that it tied in with my black outfits as well.

I knew that Ireland would be windy so I made sure to bring scarves. Instead of bringing one to match every single outfit, I picked one neutral one and one that was more fun. This allowed me a little more variation without taking up tons of room in my bag.

4. Buy Comfortable (and Pretty) Shoes

Kork Ease Holmes Booties These shoes are amazing and saved me. I hadn’t even heard of Kork Ease shoes until I hit up Nordstrom last minute in complete desperation, trying to find attractive yet comfortable black shoes. They took me through cobbled streets and into fancy receptions at the Guinness distillery. They’re so easy to dress up or down and look great with jeans, leggings, and dresses. Throw in that they’re all leather and under $150 and it makes them one of my best buys this year.

Bring a Large Travel Purse

Large Travel Purse This is a lesson learned the hard way. Last year I brought my brand new blush colored purse for our two week travel in Europe. It got so grimy and dirty and after that trip it was never the same. This year I emptied out my work bag and took it along and it pretty much changed my life. Having a larger and more durable bag meant I could stuff in my camera, a scarf, maps, water and snacks so that we weren’t trying to carry those items separately. I know that Michael Kors isn’t at the height of popularity right now but the bag was perfect for our needs. It looked classy enough while being extremely useful and sturdy and the textured leather was great when things got a little rainy, which it tends to do in the Emerald Isle. I loved this bag and recommend it to anyone doing any amount of traveling.

Simple Skincare and Scents

Exfolikate and Daisy Dream

I’m not one of those girls who has a signature scent but I do seem to love almost everything by Marc Jacobs. This year I chose his Daisy Dream Roller and wore it every day. I usually kept it in my purse for times when I needed to freshen up after a long day. So many things about Europe are beautiful but street grime is a real thing. Pack some perfume to dab on before dinner and you’ll feel so much more refreshed!

The biggest travel game changer for me though, has to be Kate Somerville’s Exfolikate. Travel itself wreaks enough havoc on my skin but add traveling to a country where they serve chips (read: fries) with everything and you have a recipe for disastrous complexion. But Kate and her miracle exfoliator saved me last year in London and I’ve been using it at least weekly ever since. It’s fairly all natural but it works so well, I might even care if it wasn’t. It’s gentle but effective enough that I usually only end up using it every other day on trips.

I love Exfolikate so much that I thought I’d pick up a travel sized version to giveaway to one amazing reader!

Exfolikate Giveaway

To enter the contest it’s pretty simple. Just:

Follow A Little Daily Happiness on Facebook then leave a comment letting me know. For an extra entry, share this giveaway on Facebook or Twitter and leave another comment!

Good luck and thanks for reading!

-Katy

 

(Giveaway is free to enter and winner will be chosen randomly on 10/30/2015. Winner must live in the US.)

 


The Prettiest Part Of Ireland: 7 Things To Do On The Western Coast

Irish Castle

I loved Ireland as a whole and Dublin was beautiful but ladies and gents, I’m pretty sure the western coast is what heaven will look like. Not only does the landscape rival anywhere else in the world but there are also castles EVERYWHERE. And all kinds. And all ages. So my list of 7 Things To Do On The Western Coast absolutely has to start with a castle visit.

  1. King John’s Castle in Limerick

King John's Castle Limerick Ireland

This castle, nestled right along the river in Limerick, was built due to a decree from King John the 1st. Yes, that King John who was made fun of mercilessly in Disney’s Robin Hood. I may or may not have been softly singing “Too late to be known as John the first, he’s sure to be known as John the Worst! A pox upon the phony King of England!” throughout the entire tour. Despite my annoying singing, we loved the tour and the view from the top of the tower was breathtaking!

View from King John's Castle Limerick

Ridiculous, right? The admission ticket was worth this view alone! And during the tour we also learned that before the English came a messed around in Ireland, ladies had rights. I loved this:

Irish Feminism It was awesome and well worth the 2.5 hour drive from Dublin. It’s on the way to many of the other great things we did on the western coast but while the castle and river are charming, learn from our lesson and don’t stay the night in Limerick.

TIP: If you drive 10 minutes SW, you’ll come to a darling little town named, Adare. Stay there because it’s amazingly beautiful and far less sketchy. Oh and you can see beautiful thatched roof houses!

Irish Thatched Roof House

2. Cliffs of Moher

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If we had to pick one thing about our trip that we loved the most, it might be taking the day to see the cliffs. They are breathtakingly beautiful and honestly, no picture that I post could ever do them justice. Visiting the cliffs made me realize why Ireland is called “The Emerald Isle” because everything is so verdant. And because it wouldn’t be Ireland without a castle, they even have a tower on one of the cliffs for an even better view. Built in the mid 1800’s it’s not really considered a castle because of its newness (which blows my American mind).

Castle Tower at Cliffs of Moher

Cliffs of Moher Outfit

TIP: Make sure to hike all the way to right, the view is more than worth it! To the left, there’s a watch tower built back during the Napoleonic war. It seems like it’s not that far but we hiked for well over an hour to and ended up turning around because of the wind and rain. It’s pretty windy and rainy there most of the year and the trail out to it was muddy, rugged and long. Skip the outer left trail and spend time watching the puffins dive into the ocean!

3. Stay at Ballyseede Castle

Ballyseede Castle Hotel

Staying at Ballyseede castle is probably on the list of top ten favorite vacation experiences ever. Located near Tralee, this tucked away castle is one of the more romantic places we’ve ever stayed! The outside is beautiful but the inside is exquisite.

Ballyseede Castle Sitting Room

Ballyseede Dining Room

Ballyseede Staircases

The grounds were also spectacular and I can totally understand why they have on average two weddings a week there.

Ballyseede Castle Grounds

TIP: Make sure you make it down in time for breakfast! It’s included when you book your room and honestly, it’s amazing. I’m still dreaming about those pancakes! The staff is amazing and everything is delicious! Honestly, just go ahead and book your room now. It was that great.

Ballyseede Breakfast

4. Ross Castle in Killarney

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What made this castle awesome is that it’s one of the older “tower castles” in Ireland. Before the English came and conquered, minor chieftains built these castles all over the country and they estimate there are over 3,500 of them today in various states of decay. This one was recently restored and showcased the living conditions in Ireland during the 1500’s. It’s also located in Ireland’s only national forest so the scenery is spectacular!

Killarney

TIP: Make sure to bring cash as they do not take any cards!

5. Muckross Manor House

Muckross Manor House

This beautiful manor house is also tucked into the national forest and is worth the drive from Killarney. The house itself is beautiful and the inside is dazzling yet elegant (sorry, again no picutures allowed) and the surrounding gardens were just as lovely.

Muckross Garden

Muckross Gardens

TIP: Skip the village tour. We paid extra for it and then like others, didn’t have time to actually see any of it.

6. Torc Waterfall

Torc Waterfall

This place is so gorgeous, I’m not entirely sure why some visitor skip it. It’s a two minute drive from Muckross house and only another two minute walk to the falls. This is another place that pictures can do no justice. To say that it’s beautiful is to say that the sun is hot. Complete understatement. The walk through the forest to get there feels almost magical, like you’re in a fairytale and a giant might pop out at any moment.

Torc Waterfall Park

TIP: The forest and falls are particularly dark so bring a camera that works well in low lighting if you want any chance of capturing some of the magic. Also, stay at least one night in Killarney. It’s a charming town and we loved every minute!

7. Rock of Cashel

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Rock of Cashel

One of Ireland’s most famous castles, the Rock of Cashel, is actually not technically a castle at all for some reason. This huge “rock” as the locals call it, was once a tower castle and a cathedral. It’s one of the most famous ruins in Ireland and one of the largest as well. The grave yards are also beautiful and filled with Celtic crosses and statues, some dating back over 500 years!

Rock of Cashel Cross

Entrance fee to the rock also gains you entrance to a 14th century abbey ruin that is located down the hill. The magnificnece of that ruin cannot be put into words and what’s crazy is there is no guard or guide. You simply just walk across the field and enter the gate and you’re there, allowed to touch and photograph walls built by Franciscan monks almost 700 years ago.

Abby Ruin Abby Ruin

I took the following pictures from the abbey ruins to give you some perspective of how close the abbey is to the rock. It completely blows my mind that these two humungous structures would be so close to each other and for a period time, operating and being sustained by the same rural community.

Rock of Cashel from Abby Ruin TIP: If you spend 15 euros in the small town of Cashel you can get free tickets to the Rock of Cashel and the abbey. Grab lunch at a local pub and ask for the tickets when you pay. We ate a great lunch in town and saved 20 euros on admission!

So there’s my top 7 things to do on Ireland’s west coast. I loved the countryside far more than I could have imagined and the sights were fantastic. While I’m mostly glad that I’m back home in Austin, part of me wishes I had another month or two to explore more of Ireland’s majestic countryside. Anyone been over to the Emerald Isle and loved it? What did you see?

Thanks for letting me relive this magical trip!

-Katy


Traveling Ireland: Dublin Part II

Molly Malone Statue Dublin

I promise to try and keep this post short and sweet as I finish up talking about some of the must-sees in Dublin. Much like Austin, Dublin has a great art scene and awesome statues that reflect their culture and traditions. Above is the Molly Malone statue which was constructed after a popular drinking song. You’ll notice that her chest is more worn than other parts of the statue because apparently it’s good luck to rub her bosom. Yes, it’s incredibly tacky, and no, we didn’t do it. Nevertheless, the song (and statue) are such a part of the heritage that it’s worth checking out.

Not every statue we saw was this funny and light hearted. Along the river, the city has set up a beautiful memorial to those homeless and downtrodden, both past and present.

Dublin Homeless Statue

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I probably should have taken some photos of the entire installation but the faces on these two completely captured me. Poverty has been a major issue various times during the history of the country and I appreciated how instead of sweeping it under the rug, they memorialized those who have and do suffer greatly in order to bring awareness.

Dublin River While you’re down there, make sure to take some time in the new tech section of the city. It’s beautiful and the bridges and ship museums are worth taking time for.

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And speaking of museums, you pretty much have to go to their national museums. You’ll need to carve out at least half of a day to see most of them and they’re more than worth the time. Plus, they’re pretty much all located in the same area and are FREE! They have beautiful Celtic gold, early Christian artifacts, amazingly preserved mummies and beautiful modern art.

 

Ireland Museum District

Gold bracelet in Dublin Archeology Musuem

Irish Mummy

Faith and Hope Sculpture In Dublin Museum The last thing every traveler should see is Trinity College Library. The ticket price might seem steep at 10 euros but you get to see the famous Book of Kells (sorry, no photos were allowed) and this amazingly gorgeous library:

Trinity College Library

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I want you all to know that I’ve practiced great restraint by not posting a million and a half pictures and rambling on and on about the city. It’s beautiful and lovely and you really must make it out there yourself. I’ll end this post with a pictures of the hubs and me on the river because well, he’s just so dang cute!

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Have a great week and check back Monday for my post on my favorite part of Ireland!

-Katy

 

 


Traveling Ireland: Dublin Part I

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Hey guys! I know it’s been awhile but I needed to take a break from things and just really enjoy Ireland. It was pretty much a life long dream come true to go and I decided that I wanted to focus on the trip and really take it all in. And it was refreshing and beautiful. More than beautiful, really. So beautiful that I’m going to break up the trip into two posts because of pictures. And while we’re talking about pictures, I bought a new camera because you don’t do on a trip like this and rely on iPhone pictures.

Victorian Dublin Ireland

So we spent the first few days in Dublin, the capital and it was beautiful! It’s not as big as either of us expected with only about a million people in it. What it lacked in size, it made up for in friendliness and beauty. The first night we stayed at an AirBNB up in the NW part of the city which was a charming area filled with Victorian area townhouses. Pretty much every street looked like the picture above. We loved the red brick against the green foliage. It was extremely quiet and picturesque- totally a neighborhood I would think about living in.

Dublin Cathedral

Oh and every little area has a beautiful and HUGE cathedral in it. This one, St Peter’s, was like a 5 minute walk out the front door. We ended up staying in 3 neighborhoods in Dublin and this one was my favorite by far. Even though we were tucked away a bit, a twenty minute walk put you smack dab in the middle of the city. And since we’re on the subject of walking, I feel like I need to give everyone some advice on transportation. DO NOT buy their Leap cards for the bus system. They take 48 hours to activate (no lie), they don’t make any stops in sightseeing areas, and if there’s two of you, it’s probably cheaper to take a cab. What I will recommend is buying one of these:

Dublin Green Bus Tour Ticket

The green sightseeing busses are a great way to see the town and are actually cheaper than buying a city bus pass. The hop on and off feature was amazing for seeing things and even just getting around. One of the husband’s coworkers gave me her’s since she didn’t have time to use it. Changed my life as far as a getting around town and the bus drivers sing Irish drinking songs, so I’m not sure what more I could have wanted. Oh and I’d say only about 60% of places take cash so make sure you’ve always got plenty of cash.

Dublin Historical Architecture

Even if you decide to take cabs or buses most places, make sure that you take time to walk around and really see the city. Dublin has so many historical places that only a fraction of them make it on the bus tours. We would have missed seeing this gorgeous building if we hadn’t decided to walk to the pub one night instead of catching a cab. And speaking of pubs, they’re everywhere and the food was actually pretty decent on average. We ate a quite a few of them and loved watching rugby matches with locals. It’s a definite must-do while you’re there, just make sure that you check when they’re open. We missed getting into the beauty because we wanted to eat a little too early.

O'Neals Pub Dublin Ireland

One of the most interesting, fun, beautiful places in Dublin is Dublin Castle. Pay the extra few euros and take the longer guided tour. You get access to more parts of the castle and you’ll learn awesome things about the beginning of Dublin, vikings, Irish independence, etc.

Dublin Castle

It’s a gorgeous hodge-podge of buildings, some almost a thousand years old! The architecture lover in me loves the medieval tower in between the gothic cathedral and the victorian state hall. The cathedral was spectacular breathtaking and while not huge, its detail and craftsmanship rivaled some of the larger famous cathedrals in France.

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Dublin Castle Ceiling

Now I love me some America but our government halls have nothing on their state rooms. Waterford crystal chandeliers, thrones, magnificent paintings and fantastic design in every. single. room.

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Dublin Castle Architecture Inaugural Hall Dublin Castle

This painting, kind of tucked out of the way as you exited the castle was probably my favorite. It so perfectly depicted the history and struggle of the Irish Republic. It’s beauty was just so haunting and my picture of it really doesn’t do it any justice.

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We wandered into St Steven’s Green afterwards and to say it was magical feels like a bit of an understatement. It’s a perfect place to take a walk and enjoy a beautiful evening.

 

P1010231 It’s located RIGHT next to Grafton street, Dublin’s main shopping center, but once you entered the park, it was magnificently quiet and serene.

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It was the best way to end our first full day in Ireland. I wish I could fit in our entire time in Dublin into one post but honestly, there was no way that I was going to be able to fit even a quarter of the things we did into one post. I do feel like I kind of warned you with the title of the post being: Traveling Ireland: Dublin Part I. I promise that I’ll only post one more post about Dublin and try to cram in as much as possible.

Have a great hump day and with my luck wish this awful jet lag!

-Katy

 


Footwear for Anywhere: Shoes For My Next Adventure

ireland-dublin-clontarf-castle-1440x900

I’m not sure if I’m lucky or crazy but tonight I just booked my flight for Dublin, Ireland! Now I know most logical people out there are thinking “wait, didn’t she just buy a 50 year old fixer upper LAST MONTH?” Yes, yes I did. But you see, the husband has to go out there for work and I joked that if he didn’t take me with him, he shouldn’t come home (kidding, not kidding). So we’re going, even though it doesn’t make a lot of sense. It puts some of our home projects out a little bit further out but honestly, I’m OK with it. When we were thinking about buying a house, we worried that buying one would end our adventures so while this trip isn’t necessarily convenient, it’s definitely ensuring we don’t end up spending all our extra cash on the house.

But enough about the house, let’s get back to the trip! We’re going to be there at the very beginning of October with the average temperatures being 50-60 degrees with high likelihood of some rain. So this means I’m going to need some new duds since Austin weather is quite a bit different. I’ve looked and looked for cute and comfy shoes that fit the bill and I keep coming back to the same pair, although in different colors. But look at them, can you blame me?

toms-desert-wedge

TOMS Desert Wedge Booties

They’re pretty much primed to be travel shoes. A little waterproof spray and the suede should survive most rain, especially if you got them in one of the darker colors. Amazon reviews (who doesn’t live and die by them, honestly?) swear that they’re comfortable all day long despite the wedge heel. I’ve had TOMS flats before and loved how comfy they were so I’m pretty sure these will be as well. One of the best things about these though, is that I think they’ll look great with the skinny jeans I have now and the flare jeans that are SO in this season.

These booties have been out for a season or two so do any of you have them? If so, love or hate them? Also, I would LOVE to hear any recommendations you have for visiting Ireland! I’m so excited to hear anything and everything you recommend!

-Katy

 

(Castle Image Source)


10 Unexpected Tips For a Great Paris Trip

Top 10 unexpected Paris tips

Ah, Paris. The “city of light,” the “city of love.” We loved it and for the most part, the city loved us back. But I honestly think it’s because we did tons of research and got a million and one opinions before we left. We didn’t do everything perfectly, but after the trip I realized a few things that made our trip so much more enjoyable and allowed us to bask in the “je ne sais quoi” that Paris is known for. So I’ve made a list of the top 10 things that I think would be the most useful to new travelers.

Paris Park in the Fall

1. Travel in April/May or September

The time of year you go over might be the most important factor separating a good trip from a great one. We went at the end of September and it was wonderful. The lines for almost everything were nonexistent, everything was open (Parisians are famous for shutting up shop for vacation), and it’s easier to dress the part (more on that later). Oh, and did I mention that almost everything is cheaper in the off season? Yeah, it was great. So go right before or right after summer and as you can see from above, it’s still gorgeous weather!

AirBNB Paris Rental

2. Check out AirBNB

This was the view from our balcony. You guys, this saved us so much money and we absolutely loved it. Like saved us thousands kind of money. We used Air BNB for our entire Euro vacation and not only did it save us tons, but we also got to stay in residential areas where other Parisians live and experienced more of what regular Paris is actually like. We went to legit local boulangéries, cafés, markets, etc, and were mere steps away from the Metro because we were able to pick our place based location and not just where hotels have availability. AirBNB made our lives so much easier and while I’d love to say that they were sponsoring this, alas, they’re not. We just loved our experience that much.

Sacre Couer Basilica Paris

3. Make a List

This one seems like a no-brainer but somehow it didn’t even cross my mind until a friend mentioned it a day before we left. I’m so glad we sat down together and planned out the things that we wanted to do. We checked the weather ahead of time to help us decide which days would be museum days and which would be touring days and then filled our day based on the list. We knew that we couldn’t see and do everything in a week so we prioritized and we ended up being able to see and do everything that we really wanted to while keeping a cool Parisian pace.

Paris Fashion for Americans

 

4. Wear Appropriate Clothing

Please don’t be THOSE Americans. I didn’t really understand it until I got there but you have to take your dress up a notch there. People do not wear athletic or lounge wear. If you do, you will look like an annoying American and you will be treated differently. The French take pride in dressing nicely and I have to admit that by the time we left I really appreciated it. So pack some nice footwear, chinos or dark jeans, button downs or dresses and of course, a scarf.

Paris Cuisine via Yelp

 

5. Check out Yelp and Other Review Sites

Chances are you will not be able to perfectly plan every meal and that’s OK because things over there are more go with the flow. While in the midst of your wanderings, you will smell delicious food and want to run into the nearest restaurant thinking that “all French food must be good.” The sad truth is that while much of the food there is good, there are some places that are absolutely disgusting. The only truly awful meal we had in France was when we decided to eat in Montmartre without taking a minute to look it up. Worst. Meal. Ever. Take 5 minutes and use some of that prepaid data to find some of that amazing cuisine they’re known for.

Paris Bridge Tour

 

6. Take an Afternoon Boat Tour

Everyone told us to take a boat tour and while we thought that it would be fun, we had no idea how much we’d love it. The boat tours range in price, accommodations, and times but they all depart from the same approximate location on the Seine near the Louvre. We learned about the amazing bridges in Paris, the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, and about a dozen other really awesome things along the river. It’s also a great way to see a few tourist destinations and further whittle down your “must see” list while you’re there. And quite a few of their their bridges are amazing and gilded. SO freakin’ chic.

Art From Paris

 

7. Buy Art Along the Seine at the End of the Day

We knew we wanted to buy some original art from along the river but we just couldn’t decide what to buy. After casually looking while on our way to various destinations, we decided to check out some booths towards 5pm. We complimented the artists (always smart) and proceeded to try to narrow down our choices to just a few to purchase. After only 5ish minutes, the artist said if we would pick a few he would give them to us for almost half off since he was ready to go home and enjoy some wine. We happily scooped up our favorites, exchanged Euros, and were on our way. We were happy because we came home with some amazing original work and he got to go home. As Michael Scott might say, win-win-win.

Louvre Courtyard

8. Buy Louvre Tickets Before You get There

The Louvre (pronounced “loov”) is a must see for everyone but especially if you like art, architecture, or culture. Since you’re headed to Paris, I’ll assume you like all three. If you do, you’ll want to optimize your time in the humongously, amazingly large museum. The best way to do this is to avoid the ridiculously long line to buy tickets. Go online that morning before you head out and buy your tickets. It’ll save you half an hour (at minimum) and a whole lot of needless waiting.

Eating a Baguette

 

9. Buy a Baguette and Goodies at the Local Boulangerie

Every morning before we got on the metro, we’d head to the corner boulangerie (bakery) and buy a couple of quiches, a baguette and a few éclairs. We’d sit at a park and eat our quiches and éclairs like uncultured Americans (the French don’t do protein for breakfast) and then save our baguette for dinner/snack. This allowed us the ability to enjoy more of their amazing parks and gave me something to nibble on when we didn’t have time to pop into a café. And yes, that is my husband shoving baguette into his mouth.

Eiffel Tower at Night

 

10. Go to the Eiffel Tower in the Day Time and at Night

The Eiffel Tower is is far more magical than either Nate or I could have imagined. It’s right along the Seine in a beautiful park. During the day, the park filled with people laughing, singing and enjoying picnics. At night the tower lights up and even twinkles at certain times. Both times were magical and were highlights of our trip. Sing along with the accordion player when he plays “La Vie en Rose” every twenty minutes and soak in the ultimate Paris experience.

So after completing this I’ve realized that these aren’t completely unexpected ideas but maybe just unconventional advice. What are your favorite travel tips?

Don’t have time for Paris this year or just want to reminisce? Check out some of my favorite books on the City of Love(they’re waaay cheaper online than in Paris).

If you’re looking for more travel tips, check out my post on Costa Rica! Have a fun weekend!

 

 


7 Travel Tips: Costa Rica

Manuel Antonio Beach in Costa Rica

We just got back from our Costa Rica trip and it was amazing! The food was fresh and wonderful, people were fantastic, and the beaches were divine. I could write multiple posts about how much I loved certain things but I thought I’d simplify it and just give you seven tips on traveling there.

1. Rent a Car

Costa Rica Rental Car

It might be tempting to try and take public transit but if you’re going to leave the capital, rent a car. And don’t rent from a local company. Go with the standard American companies that you know and trust. Reviews for the local rental agencies are abhorrent. If you want to do any adventuring at all, spend the extra $5 a day and get a 4×4. It saved us more times than I can count because “national roads” can be nothing more than rocky dirt paths.

2. Get the WIFI Hotspot

Costa Rica WIFI

Everything we read online before going suggested that we get a GPS when we rented our car because the $15 a day was worth it. My suggestion is to pay the extra $2 a day for their WIFI hotspot. We took it everywhere with us and I’m sure we’d still be lost in the jungle right now if we hadn’t gotten it. We also completely lost our minds and put in an offer on a house while we were there so having access to email/text was invaluable. Plus, sometimes you just gotta Instagram those gorgeous beach pictures.

3. Order the Fresh- Squeezed Juice

Costa Rica Juice

It took us a few days to realize that we should order fresh squeezed juice every time we got a chance. The fruit they use to make the juice is usually picked that day and the resulting taste cannot even be described in words. Trust me, just order it.

4. Go See the Monkeys

Costa Rica Monkeys

Costa Rica has a fairly decent amount of protected national forest. We were staying in Manuel Antonio, one of their most renowned national lands. Wake up early and wear your tennis shoes.

5. Visit Pacific Side Beaches

IMG_1831

Thankfully we had already booked our hotel on the Pacific side when someone told us that the Atlantic side was pretty seedy and mostly drug running. If you’re looking for somewhere safer to lay out on the beach, stay out on the western side on the country. We left our beach bag unattended every day and we didn’t have any issues. We tipped the local “security guard” a couple bucks and he kept an eye on it which was totally worth it.

6. Go Into the Rain Forest

Costa Rica Forest

The beaches in Costa Rica are so nice that you might not want to venture out much while you’re there. Resist the urge and get into the rain forest for a least an afternoon. The smells, the animals and the scenery will blow you away.

7. Bring a Bunch of American Dollars

Costa Rica Banana Farm

This pictures has nothing to do with this tip but I didn’t exactly take pictures every time we were extorted for money. Many times when we parked our car, we paid a “parking guard” to watch our car so nothing happened to it. This type of thing happened frequently while we were there. American dollars are accepted everything (even national toll booths) so bring a couple hundred and be prepared to tip often. Having cash also allowed us to haggle a little bit more which made things a bit cheaper. Although Costa Rica is a Central American country, don’t expect cheap prices on almost anything since tourism and ex-pats relocating there have really driven up prices.

Extra Tips:

Costa Rica Flip Flops

  • Bring a nice pair of flip flops (like these) to wear going out to dinner. They’re about as dressy as you’ll need
  • There is a $29 fee to leave the country- give yourself an extra hour at the airport to stand in that line.
  • If there’s not a price written on a tag, haggle hard.
  • Exchange is about 500 colones to 1 American dollar. Don’t bother with getting colones, just use dollars.
  • Go see the UNESCO World Heritage Stone Spheres in Palmar Sur. They’re amazing, mysterious and pre-columbian.
  • Go in turtle season to see the turtles hatching- we’re sad we missed it!

Any other tips you recommend for Costa Rica travel? Anything you loved or didn’t love?

-Katy

 


Heading to Costa Rica This Week

Manuel Antonio

Surprise! I’ll actually be in Costa Rica this week. You guys, I am so excited. We’re staying in the costal area of Manuel Antonio which is known for it’s protected rain forest, beaches and incredible amounts of wildlife, including guys like these:

Costa Rica Monkeys

 

I guess the area has so many monkeys that one of the house rules (we’re staying in an AirBNB condo) is that we aren’t allowed to feed the monkeys that regularly come onto our balcony. Crazy, right?

I know that quite a few of you have been down to Costa Rica so I’d love to hear about any awesome places we have to go! Neither of us speak very much Spanish so wish us luck! I’ll be off my computer for most of the week but stay in touch by following me on Instagram @katy_daydreaming!


What I Always Keep in My Beach Bag

Beach Bag

Dress, Bag, Towel, Sunnies, Facial Sunscreen, Sunscreen, Lip Balm, Beach Read, Gummies

This week has been crazy for us! We put in an offer on our first house, helped start a new company, and left for Costa Rica! Needless to say, we’re ready for some R&R! Today I’m stopping in to share what I always bring in my beach bag, whether it’s just to the pool or out to the beach. Even though I love a nice golden tan, I’m starting to see a few sun spots so I never go out into the sun without sunscreen on my face and body and these are my favorite two brands.

If I’m going to be out for awhile, I also try to bring a book to keep me busy and some candy to keep me happy. I’m so excited to start reading ‘Reconstructing Amelia’– I’ve been saving it for over a month now and I’ll finally be able to crack it open tomorrow when I hit the beach. Do you have some summer reads you’ve been saving for vacation? Anything you have to bring with you to the beach?

Have a great weekend!