A Weekend in Charleston With Kids

Back in June we took a family babymoon to Charleston. We had originally planned for a bigger trip, but decided to scale back and drive to Charleston for a long weekend. It was a lovely city and we would highly recommend.

We left Thursday afternoon and drove about 8 hours and stayed in a hotel somewhere in middle Kentucky. We drove the remainder 7 or so hours Friday morning and arrived in Charleston in the afternoon on Friday.

We checked in to our hotel, The Holiday Inn Historic Downtown Charleston. I often opt for hotels over Airbnb, as I know Ollie’s favorite part of any vacation is the pool and finding an affordable, centrally located Airbnb with a pool usually isn’t realistic. The Holiday Inn was a great place for us to stay, it was a stones throw from King Street, which is the main shopping and dining area, it was clean and nice, and I already mentioned the pool.

Charleston-With-Kids.jpg

Friday night, we did some light exploring of King Street and grabbed dinner a cute Italian race car themed wood fire pizza restaurant, Monza Pizza, then we grabbed ice cream and headed back to rest up/

Saturday was spent exploring much of the city. we started with an amazing acai bowl at Playa Bowl. We shopped our way down King Street including a darling farmers market and art fair in Marion Square. Of course, high on my list was the charming homes below on “rainbow row.” These beauties did not disappoint. This street was everything I hoped Charleston would be including palmetto trees, beautiful flower boxes and charm charm charm!!

Charleston with Kids

We took a playground break at Hazel Parker Playground, then continued exploring down the stunning waterfront district and to the beautiful park at the southern point of the city, White Point Garden. We stopped for a bite at a hoppin’ spot, perfect for lunch,especially with kiddos, Brown Dog Deli. After A LOT of walking we headed back to the hotel for a swim and to rest up before dinner.

We got a hot tip to check out Basic Kitchen for dinner, and it was great spot. Not only was it super duper cute, but food was delicious and so fresh. In fact Ollie had a grand time photographing the garden.

Charleston with Kids
Charleston with kids
Charleston with kids
Charleston+with+Kids
Charleston with Kids
Charleston with Kids

Sunday started with breakfast at a cute little spot, Another Broken Egg. We made our way through the Charleston City Market, a cute spot for souvenir shopping. It was definitely a little too crowded for us, but a must hit for artisan Charleston-themed trinkets. Our main attraction for the day was taking the ferry to Fort Sumter, the site of the start of the Civil War. It was interesting, especially for older kids and the boat ride and views were top notch.

After the boat ride we headed back to the hotel room for Ollie to enjoy the pool and to rest up before dinner. Our last meal in Charleston was a well designed spot, called The Rarebit, with mid-century inspired decor and serving American comfort food for a great price. And finally, dessert (for our second time) at Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream.

Charleston with kids
Charleston with Kids

MUST SEE SPOTS

  • Rainbow Row

  • King Street

  • The Battery

  • Fort Sumter

Charleston with Kids
Charleston with Kids
Charleston with kids
Charleston with Kids

We loved our visit to Charleston. While we didn’t do too many kid-specific things, our kiddo still had a great time. He loved exploring and was happy just to have swimming time at the pool. It was a lot of walking for a woman 6 months pregnant, but I made it. The food was great and the city definitely charmed my pants off. If I were planning this trip again, the only thing I would do differently would have been to give us one more day to drive over to the beach.

Family Vacation to Costa Rica

A few weeks back we took a magical family vacation to Costa Rica. Kyle and I had been there before, our first trip together, back in 2010. When deciding where to travel this year we knew we wanted to go somewhere warm and affordable. We considered other Central American Countries, Caribbean and Mexico. We had the best time our first trip to Costa Rica and found flights that were too good to pass up, so we booked! We choose Playa Hermosa mostly because the beach reviews on Trip Advisor, as well as the proximity to the airport (LIR). 

Costa Rica Family Vacation

We stayed at Club Condovac. It too was a great deal and lovely for the money and perfect for our needs. They had three pools, including a kiddie pool, a restaurant on the grounds, located right on the beach. Each room has a kitchen and they also have a little store with a small food section, souvieners, wine and beer. 

Condovac, Playa Hermosa
Costa Rica Family Vacation

If you haven't been to Costa Rica, you may not know that they are all about the excursions. They cater to the tourists that want to do all the country has to offer, beaches, rainforest, volcanos and more. Most hotels have on premise tour guides that schedule and even lead day trips to any of these areas. Obviously traveling with a 3 year old limits what we can do, so when I found a river boat tour that offered views of animals and very little walking, I signed us up. We took the 45 minute ride from our hotel to Palo Verde National Park. We hopped on a personal river boat and took a cruise with monkey, crocodile and lots of bird sightings. 

Costa Rica Family Vacation
Costa Rica Family Vacation
Costa Rica Family Vacation
Costa Rica Family Vacation

Most of our time was spent at the pool, the beach and enjoying the sunsets. 

Costa Rica Family Vacation
Costa Rica Family Vacation
Condovac Hotel, Playa Hermosa

One of my absolute favorite parts of the trip was watching Oliver in the ocean. On the first day he decided that he was afraid of the waves. He refused to even dip his toe in the water. It took two days of sitting on the beach watching before he decided that he wanted to partake in the fun. I watched his little brain conquer his fear. At one point he repeated my affirmations to himself, "I got this," and ran into the water. Eventually he was so brave we had to hold him back. It was such a proud mommy moment and so fun to watch. 

Costa Rica Family Vacation

The hotel had a photographer that walked around capturing amazing moments that you could purchase later. I thought this was such a brilliant idea and was happy to fork over $30 for ten darling paparazzi images. 

Costa Rica Family Vacation
Costa Rica Family Vacation
Costa Rica Family Vacation

My review of the trip was mostly glowing. Our first trip to Costa Rica we stayed a little further south, also on the Pacific coast, in a town called Tamarindo. Club Condovac was a nicer place than we stayed last time, but Playa Hermosa was very sleepy. Obviously we weren't hitting the town traveling with Oliver and all, but we would have liked a few additional resturant options.

Giving a Day in Costa Rica

Last month, when we were in Costa Rica we decided we wanted to do something to give back. I found a great site called Give A Day Global. The concept is to give one day of your vacation to a community cause. We were lucky that one of the opportunities they list happened to be in the town we were staying. Kyle, Ollie and I visited the school in Playa Hermosa. Since Ollie was involved, I requested that they place us with the young kids. I prepared an art project for the kids and we carried a suitcase full of supplies to donate to the class. 

Give A Day Global.jpg

We were welcomed with open arms, by the principal and a representative from Give A Day Global. They told us that just 5 years ago the school had only 12 students, and now they teach 75 children! I think it's so ingenuitive that they use one of the most plentiful resources, tourists, to contribute to their growth. 

Give A Day Global.jpg

The children seemed genuinely excited to have us there. We were welcomed with a song and an introduction of all the students. Ronald, The Give A Day representative, helped with translation as we lead the students to make a rainbow. Oliver was defintely a little timid when we arrived, but he warmed up to his new friends as the visit went on. 

Give A Day Global
Give A Day Global
Give A Day Global

Our visit ended with big hugs for each of us. It was truly a wonderful experience. 

Give A Day Global

Costa Rica Packing List

Did I tell you guys that we are taking a family trip to Costa Rica!? We leave two weeks from today!!! Kyle and I took a trip to Costa Rica back in 2010. It was our first trip together. We fell in love there. It was magical. Plus, it is super affordable! So we decided to go back and bring our little. Last time we surfed, ziplined, catamaraned and relaxed on the beach. This time around we are staying at a kid-friendly resort in Playa Hermosa. I hope to catch a few waves, but I think the majority of the time will be relaxing around the pool and beach. I don't need much as far as clothes go for this excursion, just some great basics, perhaps a new pair of sunglasses and a fab straw bag, because doesn't everyone want a few new pieces to take on vacay! 

Vacation Packing List

1. swim suit / 2. overalls / 3. sunnies / 4. straw bag / 5. slides / 6. bag / 7. shirt / 8. dress / 9. shorts


SHOP THE LOOK


A Bargain Statement Top

There was a time in my life when I frequented Forever 21 on at least a weekly basis, well, mama ain't 21 anymore, so popping in to the fast fashion mecca is a rare occasion. After losing not one, but two of my favorite pairs of sunglasses called for a cheap eyewear thrill. I didn't find any sunnies, but this top caught my eye and I snagged it. I just love a statement top that works well for day or night and a both casual and semi-dressy occasions. Plus, it really it really pairs perfectly with one of my travel staples, my favorite Levis. Gingham was such a hot trend this summer, but I love that this top can take us seamlessly right into fall. Hope you have a great weekend, lovelies! 

Gingham Top.jpg
Gingham Wrap Top
Gingham Wrap Top
Gingham Top

top: Forever 21 / jeans: Levis/ shoes: Sam Edleman / hat: J.Crew (similar) / bag: Loeffler Randall / sunglasses: J.Crew. 

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Montreal Travel Diary

A few weeks back we took our annual family vacation. I had big plans to travel to Italy, but unfortunately it wasn't in the budget, so we choose a city we heard was the next best thing to Europe, Montreal. This beautiful city delivered. Just a five and a half hour drive from our house, it was close enough to go for just a long weekend. 

We left on Thursday morning and arrived at Hotel Bonaventure Thursday evening. It may not have been the hotel we would have chosen if it were just Kyle and I traveling, but this hotel was perfect for us, traveling with our 2 1/2 year old, Oliver. The hotel was nice and the pool was lovely, and we took advantage. While the location was not exactly a hot spot, but was a short walk from the main shopping street and just a few blocks from the origin point of the hop-on hop-off bus tour.

Montreal with kids

The first night we stumbled upon the cutest restaurant in the whole world, Lov! A darling and delicious vegetarian restaurant. I liked it so much I tried to get take out on our last night. PS, they don't do take-out.

Montreal - Lov

The best decision we made was doing the hop-on hop-off bus tour. Tickets are good for two days and is a great way to see and explore the entire city. Plus, two year olds love busses. We did take a couple of cabs at night, but during the day, the bus was our main mode of transportation. 

Montreal with kids

We spent a lot of time exploring and enjoying the European-style streets of Old Town.

Montreal with kids
Montreal Travel Diary

The Village was another of our favorite neighborhoods to explore. This installation was amazing and there was art everywhere to admire.

Montreal with kids
Montreal with kids

We started our second day at Schwart's, a famous Hebrew deli. I don't eat meat, but hubs gave it a stellar review. 

Montreal with kids

In the area surrounding the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, there are dozens of art installations and exhibits to see and experience. We had a lovely stroll exploring and admiring. 

Montreal with kids
Montreal with kids

Next we hopped back on the bus to go to the highest point in the city, St. Joseph's Oratory

Montreal with kids

We wrapped up with a late lunch at one of Montreal's most famous restaurants, Jardin Nelson. There was about a 25 minute wait when we got there at about 3 in the afternoon. It was so worth the wait, a charming garden space with live music. The food was good, nothing terribly special, but the ambience was fabulous. 

Jardin Nelson

Our final stop before leaving the city was the Habitat 67. This incredible building is amodel community and housing complex designed by Israeli/Canadian architect Moshe Safdie. It was originally conceived as his master's thesis in architecture and then built as a pavilion for Expo 67,

Montreal with kids

Final verdict, we loved Montreal. I would absolutely recommend for travel with kids. Highly suggest doing the bus and we would definitely go back!

All About the Shirt Dress

This dress! This dress is hands down my favorite piece I bought this year. A classic shirt dress, with an easy, drapy cut is tough to beat.  I am obsessed with the versatility to dress it up and dress it down too.  Plus, I can't wait to layer it with booties and a suede moto jacket as the weather turns. This dress happens to be from Faithfull.  Are you guys familiar? I seriously want one of everything from their site.  It's all just so good!  Easy, classic pieces that each look like they were pulled straight from Jane Birkin's closet. They are definitely one of my new favorite brands on my radar.

Shirt Dress
Faithfull Shirt Dress
IMG_8990.jpgStriped Shirt Dress
Shirt Dress

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