And We’re Off!

off to europe

Today’s the day!  We’re headed off to Paris and from there Burgundy, then Switzerland, then down through Italy and finally ending in Rome.  We’ll be gone over two weeks and will, of course, be sharing it on Instagram! A giant thank you to all of you for your advice and travel suggestions over the past few months.  If you want a peek a the full itinerary, catch them here and here.

This trip is different than any other.  In the 4 years I’ve been blogging I’ve taken a multitude of trips… 7 trips to Hong Kong and China, 3 trips to India, 2 trips to Hawaii, 2 to Mexico and countless other weekends here and there throughout the states. On all of these trips, I’ve continued to blog every day whether it was for business or for vacation.  This will be the first time in four years that I’ll have taken a vacation free from any work – blogging or otherwise.  I think for our fifth anniversary, there is no better way to spend it than not working.

I do feel bad leaving you all hanging while I’m off, so I will give you some activities!

First, I cannot wait to see what you all will make for our first ever reader DIY challenge! You have until Monday the 27th to create a project for the challenge! Full details here.

If you’re in the Columbus area – you have got to check out the Columbus Decorators Show House.  If you like design, you’ll love it.

Last, I might not be posting on the blog, but I’m definitely going to be active on Instagram!  I’ll be showing you all peeks of the travels as well as some of the outfits I’ve created out of my seriously edited travel wardrobe.

I hope you guys are all going to be back here on the 27th with a Reader DIY project!  Can’t wait to see you then!

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Packing for Two Weeks in Europe

packing for a two week trip to europe

We leave this week for our anniversary trip to Europe and I have already started my packing (total honesty, I started last week!). Packing has been a little bit of a stressor this time for a few reasons.  Firstly, because of the wide array of activities and places we’ll be during our trip.  From fancy dinners and sightseeing in Paris to hiking and paragliding (!!!) in Switzerland to wine touring in Tuscany, to bumming at the beaches in southern Italy and finally sightseeing in Rome (see the full itinerary here and here).

The second reason I was stressing a bit about packing was because I wanted to pack very light.  We’ll be staying in lots of towns where we cannot drive into the city center, so parking outside the city, then walking in will be necessary.  I am not about to be that girl dragging a giant roller bag up cobblestone steps. Not my style.

I knew I had a tall order ahead of me… I want to look so chic in Paris and Rome, but need to be practical.  I did something I’d never done before and employed help.  Local wardrobe stylists Angela and Cara of Redress Columbus came by last week to sort through my closet and pull together an amazing travel wardrobe that all fits in a carryon.  This is something I never thought I would have needed – I mean, I dress nice… I’m creative… I have cool clothes… right? (right?!) but the outfits that came out of this session were things I would have never put together and we ended up with over 35 outfits to create out of just 18 pieces not including shoes and accessories.  Here’s what we choose, a few of my favorite outfits that we came up with, and some behind the scenes action! [Read more…]

Two Weeks in Europe – Our Itinerary Week 2

briannaleilani copy

As of today, it’s just two months until our adventure in Europe begins! I am bursting at the seams, and my stomach literally aches with excitement. This past weekend, I spent a lot of quality time with my Italian lessons, so I’m doing what I can to prepare myself.

I’ve already shared what we’ll be up to during the first week of our 16-day trip, and today I’m back with what we’ll be doing the balance of the time.  Just like on the last post, I’ll be discussing the exact accommodations we’ve booked, the price of those digs, and any activities we participate in. So really, you’ll be able to book a similar trip if you so choose! I’ve also included a darling little map that I drew/illustrated with the driving details. Cominciamo! [Read more…]

Two Weeks in Europe – Our Itinerary Week 1

conde nast traveler

It’s true that the only thing getting me though this cold, dark month is planning our upcoming vacation. We have just two short months until the big trip, so we’ve made a lot of progress on the itinerary.  Before, we only knew a rough outline of where we wanted to go, but as we get closer and closer to the trip, things are starting to fill in!  Everyone we speak with has such different ‘musts’ for us, but we’ve taken the plunge on some things just for the sake of needing to make a decision and I’m here to share our up-to-date itinerary with you!  There were tons of people who commented on the last post who were preparing for similar trips this year, so I’m going to go into some detail as to where we’re staying, what we’re doing, and how much we’re spending. Since there is a lot of info, I’m breaking it into two posts, week one and week two!  [Read more…]

Booked!

booked

Guys!  I am so so excited to let you all in on a new development in our lives AND to get your advice!  Matt and I have been planning to take a big trip next spring for our fifth wedding anniversary and we’ve pulled the trigger!  Right after we got married, we actually started talking about this trip… it’s been five years of considering everywhere from South Africa to Australia to Chile, but we landed on spending some time touring around Europe.

My necessary qualifications for the trip were that it must include: Culture, Wine, Beach, Food, Outdoors/Adventure. A big list, no?  So you can now see why all of our considerations were in the running!

We landed on Europe because of the few times I’ve been, I haven’t had the opportunity to wander and relax.  We wanted a place where we could leisurely explore and felt the most comfortable doing that in Europe.  With sixteen days and a rental car, we’ll be able to be flexible with our schedule and go where the wind takes us.

While we have the framework of the trip worked out, I’d love to get your take on if you’ve been to any of these place and the best things to do in each spot!  We’re starting in Paris and will be there for about three days before heading out into the french wine country to the east. After spending a few days there, we’ll continue on into the alps, traveling through Geneva, Gruyere, and whatever other place we decide to explore before landing in Lauterbrunnen.

After a few days of the outdoors, we’ll leave lauterbrunnen in the direction of Rome, stopping in the Cinque Terre for a couple of nights and possibly drinking our way through Tuscany.  We’ve both already been to Florence, so we’re going to bypass on this trip for some of the other Tuscan treasures. Once we get to Rome, we’ll spend a few days there trying our hardest to immerse ourselves in roman culture.  After all of that traveling around, we’ll train to Positano to get a little time by the sea before heading home.

It’s going to be jam-packed, there is no way around that, but we’re excited that it will be a little ‘fly by the seat of our pants’ and we’ll be able to make a lot of decisions on the go.

Ok, so NOW I want your thoughts!  I’d love any sightseeing recommendations, restaurant recommendations, or favorite places you’ve stayed.  We’re still looking for lodging in a few of the cities, so any of your suggestions are highly appreciated!

Now, I’ve got to go do some work and try my hardest not to spend the next four months scouring Trip Advisor!

 

photo sources: 1 | 2 – Riel Photography | 3 | 4 | 5