7 Travel Resolutions for 2020

Every year I make the usual resolution about losing weight that never happens so instead this year  I made a fun list of travel goals that I have for myself. I feel that writing them down makes a big difference because it makes it more concrete and it's something I can look to hold myself accountable to make sure I achieve this list.  I want to consume less and instead focus on spending money on experiences and travel, not things/clothes. I’ve been fortunate to have traveled to some really amazing places already  (and never cared about a passport stamp or will add the number to my IG bio as some badge of honor) so my goal is to continue that journey of quality travel experiences.

Winter Reads

The Family Upstairs  by Lisa Jewell
The author is a British mystery/thriller writer. I loved her last book Then She Was Gone and read this book in just two days because I couldn’t put it down! The book is about Libby, who was adopted, discovers that she will inherit a mansion on her 25th birthday. Shocked and wanting  to know more about her birth parents, she travels to the abandoned house only to discover it was the scene of 3 murders, Libby was the only survivor. A few other people have travelled to this house at the same time knowing it’s Libby’s birthday to meet her. The book tells the story of three entangled families living in a house with the darkest of secrets.

Exploring Holland

I spent one week in the Netherlands driving around the country last August . The Netherlands is a small country, it’s half the size of the state of Virginia and 2x bigger than the state of New Jersey to give you a comparison. So travel distances around the country are short. Amsterdam, the capital, is the largest city but there’s so much more to see to get to know the character of the country. Since I have Dutch roots, I wanted to explore the countryside and small towns to experience traditional Dutch culture and see the windmills and other hidden gems.

Rotterdam is a one hour drive from Amsterdam or you could take the train. Rotterdam is the second largest city in the south. It’s also the largest cargo port in Europe so you see shipping docks and cranes along the river. The center of the city was completely bombed during World War II so all the buildings are relatively new and built with modern architecture.  My personal fave was the Cube Houses and the Market Hall. There’s also a lot of street murals that are worth seeing. I only spent eight hours there but made the most of it.

December in Review

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas. This post of my December in Review is always my favorite to write each year. With December being such a cold month, I love highlighting all the fun things I did to experience the sparkle of the season. One unexpected gift I got was that I wasn't planning on putting up a Christmas but my neighbor left for vacation a week before Christmas and gave me her full size tree with lights!

1. Richmond
The first weekend in December I took a day trip to Richmond to shoot my Christmas content (pic above). It was my first trip to Richmond and easy to do on the train. I visited two art museums that were both were free. The Institute for Contemporary Art at VCU is a small modern art museum with frequently rotating exhibits. The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts is a huge museum with an impressive collection of art from around the world. I wished I took a tour and had a full day to explore.

2. Georgetown Glow
For the past 6 years Georgetown has exhibited public light art installations during the month of December. I met up with some friends for dinner and hot toddies then we walked around to see all the art displays. We unfortunately picked the coldest night to do this.

3. Yards Park - Light Yards
For the past 5 years, Yards Park has exhibited outdoor public light art installations during the month of December. This year it was set to music for an illuminated adventure through Airship Orchestra.

4. Enchant Christmas
Is a Christmas Light Maze and ice-skating rink that set up in stadiums in DC, FL and WA. I didn’t think I wanted to go at first but kept seeing my friends pics on social media both here in DC and in FL so I finally decided to go.  We could only get tickets for the 9:30pm entrance which once again fell on a cold night. First we stood in line for a long time to rent ice-skates, you could only pre-reserve them online for kids but not adults. We got fun cocktails in a light bulb, the baseball stadium blasted Christmas music and honestly we had so much fun! Next thing we know they announced it was closing time so we quickly took all our pics and a friend remarked on one of my pics that she’s surprised I had no people in the background as it was so crowded when she went. Ahh…the benefit of being the last people there at closing time.

5. DC Drink Passport  My friend buys the DC Drink Passport which lists 66 restaurants that give you 2-for-1 drinks. It worked out well for just one of us to have it so that every time we go out we get half price drinks. The passport is arranged by neighborhood so every time we go out to dinner or brunch with friends, we hit up a couple more spots afterwards for drinks. Just one drink at each place but it allows us to try out new spots. Some places allow you to order whatever you want while other places list a specific cocktail and that’s fun to because you try something you wouldn’t have before.

6. City Center Ice Maze
For the past few years City Center has done some incredible ice projects for one weekend only. It’s for such a short time because the ice melts as DC doesn’t get that cold. This year it was an ice maze. We were lucky and went on a rainy day so there was no line, later the line was all the way around the block!  Last year they had ice sculptures and the year before an igloo!

7. Botanic Gardens
Every year the US Botanic Garden has a train display, thousands of poinsettias of all different varieties and plant based recreations of iconic buildings in DC. I went to check that out and a new life sized plant sculpture outside that functions as a maze.

8. Union Station Christmas Tree Lighting
There’s quite a few tree lightings in the city but this is the only on indoors. They had a choir singing and it was quite lovely.

9. This month I’ve had more brunches/dinners with friends including one to my first Michelin Star restaurant. I think we’re all gearing up to get those last lbs in before we start our new years diet both financial and dietary. lol

10.  I have been taking a year of weekly salsa lessons now. I also tried out Barry's Bootcamp and F45 Training but decided I like Orangetheory the best which I’ve been going to regularly for 3 years. At work I lead a Zumba class twice a week, well when I say lead I mean I curate a youtube playlist for us to watch. lol I saw this funny meme once that said “I only became a yoga instructor to make people listen to my playlist”. I’ve gone on two Zumba cruises but don’t have anywhere to take classes since they are only in gyms in my city. This has been a really fun adventure for me as my Zumba classes only have music I like that are pop or hip-hop.

 Next month I’m traveling to Mexico and am so excited about that! Happy New Year!

December in Review 2018
December in Review 2017
December in Review 2016

Gift Guide for the Jetsetter

I like to think I’m somewhat of a stylish traveler myself with a pink suitcase and carefully planned travel outfit.  I've posted a few posts about my favorite travel accessories so I thought it time I post an updated list of my essentials for travel. I'm getting excited about my trip to Mexico and will be using all the pink items listed.  I'm setting some big travel goals for myself, I want to fly Qatar Airways Qsuites which has been rated the best business class product in the sky. They fly to 9 cities in the USA. Anyway, this gift guide should have something for every globetrotter on your list.