simply jess

keepin it real since 1985

Posts tagged travel

23 notes

Back in the USA

Our trip was absolutely fantastic. Basically a two and a half week unforgettable dream of seeing amazing things, eating incredible food, meeting cool people, learning more about history, art, different cultures, ourselves, our relationship… really just an awesome experience that I will cherish forever.

Now it’s back to reality… lots of laundry, prepping for our move in 10 days and loads to catch up on at work. It’s ok, though. It was worth it.

A few notables:

  • Favorite Overall: Florence
  • Most Romantic: Everywhere in Paris at dusk
  • Most Fun: French wedding that went until 6 IN THE MORNING
  • Most Beautiful: The Loire Valley
  • Most Overrated City: Pisa
  • Most Underrated City: Siena
  • Best Restaurant Experience: Vini e Vecchi Sapori in Florence
  • Strangest Restaurant Experience: L’Entrecote in Bordeaux
  • Most Authentic Experience: Watching Italy v. Croatia at I 5 Tavoli in Florence
  • Sketchiest Experience: Tie between the 64 bus in Rome and bargaining with the Senegalese salesmen all over Italy
  • Best Pasta: Tagliatelle al ragu at Trattoria Tony in Bologna
  • Best Main Dish: Meatloaf at Gusta Osteria in Florence
  • Best Gelato: Ciuri Ciuri in Rome
  • Best Street Food: Tie between Au P’tit Grec and L’as du Falafel in Paris
  • Best Cheese: Sainte-Maure de Touraine
  • Best Macaron: Salted Caramel at Pierre Hermé in Saint Germain des Prés
  • Best Sight: David at the Accademia Gallery
  • Best Church: Cathedral in Siena
  • Best Resource: Tie between Rick Steves (guide books and podcasts) and Tripadvisor

If you’re going to any of these places and want some fun ideas, feel free to shoot me an email. I tried to write down as much of what we did as possible, the good and the bad, and I’d be more than happy to share!

Filed under travel italy france

6 notes

PSA: Thanksgiving airfare finally went down a little bit today!
It may be time to book if you’ve been waiting for a good deal. And don’t forget to link through Ebates (I’m getting 10 bucks in cash back for our flights).
Looking forward to another great Turkey Day weekend in Atlanta!

PSA: Thanksgiving airfare finally went down a little bit today!

It may be time to book if you’ve been waiting for a good deal. And don’t forget to link through Ebates (I’m getting 10 bucks in cash back for our flights).

Looking forward to another great Turkey Day weekend in Atlanta!

Filed under thanksgiving travel

22 notes

Andrew and I heading to Chicago for the weekend to celebrate his sister’s birthday and finally explore the city everyone rants and raves about! I am super excited!
Chicago experts: Anything we must see, do, or eat while we’re there?

Andrew and I heading to Chicago for the weekend to celebrate his sister’s birthday and finally explore the city everyone rants and raves about! I am super excited!

Chicago experts: Anything we must see, do, or eat while we’re there?

Filed under travel chicago weekend

19 notes

Just found out I’ve been invited to a wedding in the French village of Pont-en-Royans next June! Doesn’t this place look like a dream?
Google Maps tells me it’s about two hours south of Switzerland, two and a half hours from the western border of Italy, and four hours from St. Tropez.
Eurotrip 2012? Oh yes…

Just found out I’ve been invited to a wedding in the French village of Pont-en-Royans next June! Doesn’t this place look like a dream?

Google Maps tells me it’s about two hours south of Switzerland, two and a half hours from the western border of Italy, and four hours from St. Tropez.

Eurotrip 2012? Oh yes…

Filed under travel europe

75 notes

Guess who is all booked for her first trip (ever!) to Chicago? ME!
Everyone always has the best things to say about this city, can’t wait to see it for myself!
(image via tiemylaces)

Guess who is all booked for her first trip (ever!) to Chicago? ME!

Everyone always has the best things to say about this city, can’t wait to see it for myself!

(image via tiemylaces)

Filed under chicago travel

31 notes

I may need a pair of these two-tone ballet flats ($64 from Marais USA)
Wouldn’t these be perfect for traveling? They’re versatile, great for lots of walking, wearable in every season and jazzy enough to be dressed up or down.

I may need a pair of these two-tone ballet flats ($64 from Marais USA)

Wouldn’t these be perfect for traveling? They’re versatile, great for lots of walking, wearable in every season and jazzy enough to be dressed up or down.

Filed under shoes travel

14 notes

Cheers to the weekend!
I’m finally back in DC after an exhausting, but productive and fun week in Denver and New York. Don’t get me wrong, I love traveling, but when it’s go-go-go all the time, running around to meetings, eating out every meal, straying from your workout routine, acclimating to different time zones, living out of a suitcase, work stuff piling up in the background… eh, you get to the point where you just want to be at home and CHILL. Alas, it is what it is and I had a great time! Some highlights and things of note:
New York
Had, hands down, the BEST steak of my entire life at Club A Steakhouse. Now remember, I’m from Texas, where we know good meat. This was unreal.
I loved Wicked. It’s probably my new favorite Broadway show.
Knock-off shopping on Canal Street is super sketchy and I will never do it again.
The NBC Studio Tour was interesting. I was shocked at how small some of the show’s studios are. They look so much bigger on tv.
Next time I need a hotel in the city, I’m for sure staying at The Kimberly again. Because it was converted from apartments, every room has a full kitchen, big closets, large living room, dining area, etc. Also, the staff is extremely friendly and the location was perfect for us.
Row boating in Central Park is a blast, especially when someone else is doing all the rowing. Thanks Daddy!
Taking my 12-year old sister to NYC for the first time was really special. I know she’ll remember it forever and I’m so glad I could be there to experience it with her.
Denver
The weather, while nice, is very strange. One minute it’s freezing cold and rainy, the next its 95° and I’m schvitzing. Also, my skin kept getting so dry, I had to apply body lotion like ten times a day.
Yogurtland is the greatest yogurt place. Everything, including the dozens of yogurt flavors and toppings, is self-serve and it’s dirt cheap. I filled a cup to the brim and it only cost me $2.44, which would have been at least $6.50 in DC. Thanks for taking me, Trev.
I met Ali for dinner and drinks in Cherry Creek, which is such a cute little area that I had never been to before. I had a couple Blackberry Fizz cocktails from North, which totally hit the spot. It was great catching up with you, Ali! 
Willie Nelson was staying at my hotel. Well, apparently, he sleeps on his famous biodiesel tour bus, The Honeysuckle Rose, while everyone else gets a room at whichever hotel they’re at. Thought that was interesting.
The Coors Brewery Tour in Golden, CO was fun, though I kinda feel like once you’ve done one brewery tour, they’re all the same after that. But it was still neat!
Devoured two of the best Greek gyros I’ve ever had (two days in a row) at Burger Plus West in Lakewood. Still dreaming about their tzatziki sauce.
I did some pretty good damage at the Colorado Mills Outlet Mall - Banana, Off 5th, Neiman’s Last Call, J. Crew, Ann Taylor - oops.
Glad to be back and am looking forward to catching up with what’s been happening on Tumblr! I’m actually heading down to Charlottesville tomorrow for Amanda’s bridal shower and bachelorette festivities - should be a lot of fun!
Hope everyone is doing well!

Cheers to the weekend!

I’m finally back in DC after an exhausting, but productive and fun week in Denver and New York. Don’t get me wrong, I love traveling, but when it’s go-go-go all the time, running around to meetings, eating out every meal, straying from your workout routine, acclimating to different time zones, living out of a suitcase, work stuff piling up in the background… eh, you get to the point where you just want to be at home and CHILL. Alas, it is what it is and I had a great time! Some highlights and things of note:

New York

  • Had, hands down, the BEST steak of my entire life at Club A Steakhouse. Now remember, I’m from Texas, where we know good meat. This was unreal.
  • I loved Wicked. It’s probably my new favorite Broadway show.
  • Knock-off shopping on Canal Street is super sketchy and I will never do it again.
  • The NBC Studio Tour was interesting. I was shocked at how small some of the show’s studios are. They look so much bigger on tv.
  • Next time I need a hotel in the city, I’m for sure staying at The Kimberly again. Because it was converted from apartments, every room has a full kitchen, big closets, large living room, dining area, etc. Also, the staff is extremely friendly and the location was perfect for us.
  • Row boating in Central Park is a blast, especially when someone else is doing all the rowing. Thanks Daddy!
  • Taking my 12-year old sister to NYC for the first time was really special. I know she’ll remember it forever and I’m so glad I could be there to experience it with her.

Denver

  • The weather, while nice, is very strange. One minute it’s freezing cold and rainy, the next its 95° and I’m schvitzing. Also, my skin kept getting so dry, I had to apply body lotion like ten times a day.
  • Yogurtland is the greatest yogurt place. Everything, including the dozens of yogurt flavors and toppings, is self-serve and it’s dirt cheap. I filled a cup to the brim and it only cost me $2.44, which would have been at least $6.50 in DC. Thanks for taking me, Trev.
  • I met Ali for dinner and drinks in Cherry Creek, which is such a cute little area that I had never been to before. I had a couple Blackberry Fizz cocktails from North, which totally hit the spot. It was great catching up with you, Ali!
  • Willie Nelson was staying at my hotel. Well, apparently, he sleeps on his famous biodiesel tour bus, The Honeysuckle Rose, while everyone else gets a room at whichever hotel they’re at. Thought that was interesting.
  • The Coors Brewery Tour in Golden, CO was fun, though I kinda feel like once you’ve done one brewery tour, they’re all the same after that. But it was still neat!
  • Devoured two of the best Greek gyros I’ve ever had (two days in a row) at Burger Plus West in Lakewood. Still dreaming about their tzatziki sauce.
  • I did some pretty good damage at the Colorado Mills Outlet Mall - Banana, Off 5th, Neiman’s Last Call, J. Crew, Ann Taylor - oops.

Glad to be back and am looking forward to catching up with what’s been happening on Tumblr! I’m actually heading down to Charlottesville tomorrow for Amanda’s bridal shower and bachelorette festivities - should be a lot of fun!

Hope everyone is doing well!

Filed under travel new york city denver

16 notes

I’m taking my little sister to NYC for the very first time next weekend!
I’ve asked around for a few recommendations on what to do with a  pre-teen in Manhattan and this is what I’ve come up with so far:
Yankees game
Wicked musical
brunch Alice’s Tea Cup
NBC Studio Tour
rent bikes in Central Park 
Serendipity 3
Soho shopping
If anyone has any other fun ideas, please let me know! Thanks!

I’m taking my little sister to NYC for the very first time next weekend!

I’ve asked around for a few recommendations on what to do with a pre-teen in Manhattan and this is what I’ve come up with so far:

  • Yankees game
  • Wicked musical
  • brunch Alice’s Tea Cup
  • NBC Studio Tour
  • rent bikes in Central Park
  • Serendipity 3
  • Soho shopping

If anyone has any other fun ideas, please let me know! Thanks!

Filed under nyc travel

30 notes

Out of Tumblr Hiding with a Houston Recap

I’m back from Houston and my 5-day blogging hiatus. I hope ya’ll had a great weekend and that everyone on the East Coast was able to take advantage of the beautiful warm weather that decided to disappear as SOON as I got back to DC. Womp womp.

Anywho, our girls trip was so much fun and, frankly, I’ve been really homesick for Texas since we got back late Sunday night. Missing my fam, the heat and everything else that makes home so wonderful. Here are just a few of our trip highlights:

(apologies in advance for this longer-than-life post)

We picked out some new boots at my favorite Western store Cavender’s:

Posed for cheesy pictures in front of Reliant Stadium:

Cheered on all the sexy cowboys:

Learned way more about livestock production than we ever wanted to:

Rocked out to an incredible live performance by Zac Brown Band:

Spent hours shopping on Harwin for hair bows:

Pashminas:

and lots of jewelry:

Feasted on delicious Mexican food and unbelievably strong ‘ritas at El Tiempo:

Went two-stepping and drank lots of Lone Star beer:

Escaped to my family’s lakefront paradise in Conroe, TX:

Cruised around with Captain Dad:

and survived a few near-death jet ski experiences:

Every time I go back home I appreciate it more and more. The people, the food, the culture… I just love it.

Texas really is the greatest country on Earth… ;)

Filed under Houston Harwin travel Texas Rodeo

21 notes

Charlottesville: A Little History and Lots of Food

Andrew and I had a blast during our short 24-hour jaunt to Charlottesville.

After battling through typical DC traffic, we left Saturday morning and made it down to C-ville just in time for lunch at Bellair Market, a sandwich shop connected to a gas station near the UVA campus. Per the cashier’s suggestion, we got the Ednam and Farmington sandwiches, both of which were made with delicious smoked turkey and fresh avocado on warm french rolls. So good. Perfect start.

Next stop was Monticello, Thomas Jefferson’s famous mountaintop estate, where he lived with his family and slaves between 1772-1826. We took the more intimate ‘Behind the Scenes Tour’, during which we got to poke around the second and third floors of the house, see the bedrooms, the Dome room and the Nursery. We thought the whole place was really fascinating and definitely learned a lot, maybe even more than we needed to.

In typical tourist fashion, we bought a few knick-knacks at the gift shop and we’re pleasantly surprised to get a real $2 bill back in change, a Thomas Jefferson souvenir in and of itself.

Later that night, we gussied up and headed to dinner at Continental Divide, a small, but hoppin Mexican joint that came highly recommended by UVA alumna Malarie. Finding the place was kind of challenge, since the only thing indicating it’s an actual restaurant is a bright neon sign that says ‘Get In Here’:

And that we did. Everything we ordered totally hit the spot: goat cheese nachos, chicken and veggie fajitas, a Santa Fe Enchilada and house margaritas. I was impressed. Excellent tip, Mal!

After dinner activities involved bar-hopping around the ‘Downtown Mall’ (Zocalo, Miller’s and South Street Brewery) and a delicious cinnamon sugar crêpe from The Flat, a basement crêperie shack that Mary Anne suggested we try. I’d have a taken picture, but it was gone in near milliseconds. Oops.

When we woke up Sunday to rainy, dreary weather, we decided to forgo our vineyard tour and ended up sleeping in until NOON (a true triumph for early-risers like us). Before heading home, we stopped by the ‘legendary’ Bodo’s Bagels, another local hotspot everyone said we had to try, and absolutely fell in love with their Everything Bagel. I regret not getting a few to-go. A place as good as this would do so well in DC.

All in all, I thought Charlottesville was a very cool place… the perfect balance of small-town historic charm and a trendy college scene. If you haven’t been, I think it’s definitely worth a visit. I can’t wait to go back for this pretty girl’s Bachelorette Party in June!

Filed under charlottesville travel andrew

5 notes

Helpful Website of the Day: Points.com
If you travel a lot, this is gold! It’s a one-stop shop for managing all of your loyalty programs in one place: frequent flyer miles, hotel rewards, credit cards, etc. Plus, it helps you earn more by buying, exchanging, trading, and redeeming your hard-earned rewards.
It’s sweet. And definitely worth a look.

Helpful Website of the Day: Points.com

If you travel a lot, this is gold! It’s a one-stop shop for managing all of your loyalty programs in one place: frequent flyer miles, hotel rewards, credit cards, etc. Plus, it helps you earn more by buying, exchanging, trading, and redeeming your hard-earned rewards.

It’s sweet. And definitely worth a look.

Filed under points.com website of the day travel