Summer on the Cape :: Beach Looks in Purple and Gold

summer on the beach

Happy Thursday! This week has been loaded with much to do and learn, and returning to teach for my 11th school year has been an enlightening experience in more ways than one (more of that throughout the year!). But for a few more days, my mind is happily still recalling my travels to the beaches of Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Mr. E and I have enjoyed the gorgeous beaches and small town communities of Cape Cod for several years now. Traveling there every summer only became much more exciting when we had our son and were able to enjoy watching him make the best of our family of 3 getaway. This time last year, I remember thinking and planning ahead about what it would’ve meant to have a 7 month old and my almost six year old vacationing on the Cape, so it was inevitable that I would find moments where it was a bit difficult to find joy. But because of my family and much needed time away, I did . I’m sharing two looks on the beach in purple and gold today, and I hope you enjoy!

Swim cover up on the beach

Gold strain hairband

swimsuit beach cover

To feel my best on the beaches this summer after having a baby sometimes felt like a challenge, but I honestly embraced it for what it was (especially given my situation!), and decided to do my best to feel comfortable and just be reflective and look bright while sitting along the shore!

Red beach hat

Red beach hat

Being along the water can be healing, so I took advantage of many quiet moments to feel connected to my thoughts and find strength. Wearing bright colors that complimented the blue waters of the ocean made what could have been time spent feeling somber into a more positive experience and honestly, simply brighter. I love how a simple red hat served it’s purpose both for fashion and function on a hot day!

imageIf there is any accessory that rivals my love for shoes, it is a hat (clearly evident here and here)! For women, a hat is a great statement piece that brings all the elements of shape and design in your outfit together, particularly when wearing the right hat that frames the face and doesn’t overwhelm the size of the head (the crown, if you will).

gold one piece bathing suit

duster vest on the best

gold bathing suitFinding a gold bathing suit for this summer wasn’t intentional, but when I saw this gold swimsuit from J. Crew, I knew I wanted to wear it. It was my way of acknowledging the color’s deeper meaning for me while on the beach. Taking the time to really open my heart and accept my “new normal” while on vacation truly had an impact on how I prioritize things in my life. The importance of family and truly living to the fullest extent possible took on a new meaning, and I enjoyed making that understanding a reality every day since then.

Gold stripe seabag

Beach cover-ups are my new favorite thing to find and style with my bathing suits. Preparing for a trip earlier this year to Hawaii, I discovered so many beautiful options to wear that make a basic swimsuit on the beach look put together, and so when packing for my trip to the Cape, I organized (and honestly, packed much less as a result!) my swimwear in that way.

anthropologie duster vest

First outfit :: Echo swimsuit cover | Baublebar hairband | Beach hat (similar option here and here) | Hoop earrings

Second outfit :: Anthropologie stripe vest | J.Crew Gold swimsuit  | Fedora (old, similar here) |                J. Crew Seabag (other styles here to love here!) | Baublebar initial necklace |  Marc Jacob sunglasses | Pura Vida infinity bracelet | Gorjana earrings

Thank you for reading this much longer post! Be sure to look out for some exciting new changes and additions on This Season’s Gold. I know I’ve been saying it for awhile, and it surely is coming together. We can’t wait!

xoxo, Jessica
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Wish I Were Here :: City Travel in Buenos Aires

Happy Wednesday evening! Continuing my Wish I Were Here series today in Buenos Aires, albeit a little late today since having a little one sick at home can make scheduling posts a bit challenging!

My visit to Buenos Aires last summer was an interesting one! I definitely would want to be here right about now to explore so much more than I did on my first visit. I am no stranger to city living and staying in Palermo during my stay was such a great way to feel far away from home and yet still like I was staying somewhere in lower Manhattan! And I have to admit, this trip was much more touristy than my usual travels, where I try my best to explore the local flavors of the trip.

Palermo Park

Rose Garden Buenos Aires

Rose Garden Buenos Aires

This garden in Palermo called Paseo El Rosedal (Rose Garden Walk) is in Tres de Febrero Park. It has stunning roses of all varieties and is one of the most special places to go for a stroll to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city or simply enjoy nature in meditation.

MALBA Buenos AiresA visit to MALBA (Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires), was where we had a chance to enjoy the then current exhibit of In Your Face, Mario Testino’s first exhibition in Argentina of his celebrity photograph’s. His images of famous faces the world over were stunning and definitely captured the essence of those famous celebrities whose inner thoughts can almost be felt when staring at them.

Milonga Tango Buenos Aires

You’ll find these tango steps in front of an unassuming building called Asociacion Cultural Armenia. It happens to be inside this building and down the stairs that you will experience one of the most authentic tango experiences in Buenos Aires. Known as a milonga (a place to dance tango and listen to music), you will mingle among the locals who go nightly for tango lessons and dancing during the late hours of any given weeknight.

La Brigada Buenos AiresAnd when in Argentina, there’s nothing more decadent than enjoying an excellent piece of world famous Argentinian steak! La Brigada has been featured in several food and travel TV series, and it was such delight to enjoy the food and even meet the owner! We were not disappointed! The steak, potatoes, and even the salad, had us in foodie heaven!

Eva Peron Buenos Aires                        Eva Peron Buenos Aires

Teatro Colon Buenos Aires Teatro Colon Buenos Aires

There are so many places to visit in Buenos Aires that are must see’s according to the tourist guidebooks. It really is all up to how you plan to spend your time in the city and whether you choose to visit places like Eva Peron’s mausoleum or the opulent Teatro Colon (a must see for me!), but you’ll need at least a few days to explore the heart of what makes Buenos Aires the Paris of South America!

El Caminito, La Boca, Buenos Aires         El Caminito, La Boca,  Buenos Aires

One place you should definitely have on your to do list is El Caminito located in La Boca, if none other than to enjoy the colorful buildings and cheeky touristy finds. It feels like you are walking down an alley or street museum with all types of interesting and unexpected (crocheted tree truck!) expressions of art. It can get pretty crowded in this area, and while I always felt safe in Buenos Aires in general it’s always good to keep an eye on your belongings and not overtly stand out as the tourist you are.

There are so many things to do and see in Buenos Aires, and on this trip I definitely stayed to enjoy most of the city, especially Palermo, more than anywhere else.  I do wish I were here to do some more exploring and go outside of the center of town. One day, I hope I will.

Share with us :: Have you ever thought of visiting Buenos Aires? What are some must see’s?

Thank you for reading!

xoxo, Jessica

 

Wish I Were Here :: Honeymoon in Santorini, Greece

Hello lovely readers! I am so excited to start the first This Season’s Gold Travel Series called Wish I Were Here Wednesday’s. This is where I will share my past, current and future travels (here’s to dreaming!) weekly to inspire you to plan your own future travels!

And what better way to start the series with a place that holds so many precious memories to me as I approach my wedding anniversary next week, my honeymoon in Santorini, Greece! I guess today we’ll call it Wish I Were Here (Again)! 

Wish I were in Santorini

Santorini is heaven on Earth! I love that you can experience an old world feel right alongside some pretty beautiful modern luxuries. The white architecture of the homes and boutique hotels built right along the side of a volcanic mountain, the caldera, make it all the more beautiful. I mean, think about that for a moment. A town built along the cliffs of a volcano. Pretty amazing!

Santorini

Honeymoon in Greece

Being our honeymoon and all, we indulged in staying at a beautiful boutique hotel in Oia, Santorini called Ikies. The attention to detail at this hotel is beyond your expectations. And if you are seeking privacy and top quality service that is personalized and discrete, you won’t be disappointed here.

Ikies Santorini

As honeymooners, we chose one of five their suites called the Carpenter’s House. Each morning we were greeted with beautiful views and champagne breakfast to start the day.

View of Caldera in Santorini

As one of the several Greek islands in the Cyclades Group, Santorini is best reached by ferry (we took the speedier choice coming in from Crete) or by the locally serviced airlines from Athens. Upon arrival to the port (if traveling by ferry) and are staying in Oia as we were, your best bet is to catch a cab or prebook a transfer with your hotel.

Shoe warning in Santorini

As a girl obsessed with her shoes (heels!!), you can imagine my surprise to learn that heels were not the best shoes to wear. But this was my honeymoon, I thought. How could I not wear my heels out to dinner! As you can tell, I learned the hard way! Consider this a warning from your friendly shoe lover!

Dressing colorfully in Santorini

Blue Doors in Santorini

Church in Santorini, Greece

The white architecture made dressing in Santorini fun while the colors of the natural elements made everything more vibrant against the backdrop of the bright blue skies.

Cliffside roads in Santorini

Santorini

Oia is at the top of the mountainside (and has the best views of all) while Fira (another town in Santorini) nearer to the center of the cliff is busier and filled with small shops selling local and luxury goods (busiest when the cruise ships come in and dock for the day), but just as beautiful.  You can travel between these two towns in a very short time (Santorini is a small island) by cable car, cab or rental car, the latter being our choice by renting a SMART car. Although, if you are renting a car just be prepared to drive carefully (I was the paranoid one!) as the roads do not have any guardrails. But it was all worth it! At the end of long day in the port town of Fira is where you can catch the sunset at it’s best.  If you are planning for romance, luxury and a heaven on Earth experience, Santorini is truly is one of the most perfect places to be!

Sunset in Santorini

Photo Credit: S.E.L and I

Share with us :: Have you ever been to Santorini and can share more about visiting the island?  Have you ever wanted to visit? I’d love to know!

Thanks for reading!

xoxo, Jessica
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Quiz: Are you prepared to travel with your child?

what to pack for kids on plane

Remember the part of planning the vacation when you were so excited to press the purchase now button or say the words book it? The feeling of booking a trip far away or even just a few hours from home can be elating until that moment hits where the thought of  keeping those wonderful children of yours under control (no matter how well they behave, mine does too!) brings you back to reality. Let’s be honest: Although going away on vacation is thrilling, there’s just something about the planning, packing and unpacking (and packing and unpacking and putting it all away again!) that can put a small dent in the joy of it all. And I’m not talking about your own stuff.

Want to know if you are prepared for that trip? Take this quick quiz to find out! Have you…

__ Packed ziplock bags in all sizes (some left empty and most filled for the trip) for the various foods, wet swimsuits, lotions, crayons, wipes, garbage, etc., you will need for the kids

__ Made the rule “only a few small toys can come with us”, but allowed just one more. You know the one that is going to be a pain to pack but will give you an automatic win and keep your child in check if you threatened to take it away?

__ Packed an extra 2 pairs of everything because somehow kids have decided these days to wear their food (often!)

__ Bought a new toy for every hour of travel going (and planned on doing the same for the return) and wrapped it for the extra time opening it will use up (Ok, it’s also exciting.)

__ Created a trail mix of all the healthy snacks (and made one for yourself  but with the M&M’s)

__ Packed their favorite cereal and boxed milk (because you want to avoid the tantrum on the plane, in the hotel or restaurant if they didn’t have the one they liked)

__ Grabbed an extra bag for their own stuff that you would be able to find where you were going, but did it anyway just to be safe (pillow, bedside rail, utensils and bowls/plates in their size)

__Downloaded extra Apps and movies on your fully charged iPad and phone (and on the spouse’s phone) to go along with those new big headphones

__Became a germaphobe (if you weren’t one already) and bought sanitizing wipes to wipe down the airplane seats, table, and any other surface your child will touch (because at some point the fingers end up in mouth)

Oh wait, was this just my list? Well, just in case you checked off any less than 10, prepare now for what’s to come. I promise it will make traveling a whole lot easier  (or at least an official control freak like me!) when you’re a step ahead.

Share in Comments: Are there any other ways you prepare to travel with the kids? New ideas are always welcome!

Happy travels this season! Thank you for reading.

xoxo, Jessica
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Top 5 Things to Plan in Hawaii with Kids

Hawaii with Kids

Happy Wednesday! Ever go on vacation and immediately decide that you were moving there once you retired (or immediately!)? Hawaii is one of those places for me. I cannot tell you how amazing it is to visit and suddenly be engulfed by the scent of plumerias and orchids. It’s exquisite!

It’s one thing to travel to Hawaii for romance or adventure (I’ve done both!), but traveling with a little one makes Hawaii that much more magical to experience. With all that we planned for our trip, these are the top 5 things that made Hawaii with a 5 year old a great experience!

Disney Aulani Hawaii with kids

Meeting Mickey Mouse at Aulani in Hawaii with kids
1. Stay at Disney! The Disney Aulani Resort & Spa, that is. (Click here) Not only is it a hotel, but a water park and a beachfront property. Located on the southwest side of the island of Oahu (fly into Honolulu and drive about 40 minutes out), this resort celebrates the Hawaiian culture throughout its property while giving your little ones enough Disney magic (Character breakfasts, sightings throughout the day of Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Chip ‘n Dale, and Stitch, snorkeling with reef fish in a self-contained lagoon, and even an interactive iPad to use to activate parts of the resort’s landscape throughout the property) to enjoy. It offers an amazing spa for you and your partner to enjoy while your little one can spend time cared for at Aunty’s Beachhouse (at first we weren’t sure, but soon realized it was the BEST idea ever!). You could spend day after day at the resort and never feel like you need to visit any other part of the island. (But you should!) Now, Hawaii in general can be costly, so staying at the resort is not something to choose lightly if you are seeking to find the best way to save. A better bet would be to stay for 3 or 4 nights and then head over to another part on the island of Oahu to finish the vacation. This would be a good way to save a little.

Chinaman's Hat in Hawaii with kids

Byodo-In Temple in Hawaii with Kids

2. Rent a car. It may seem like I am stating the obvious, but many people who are guests of Aulani choose to simply make the resort area their only place to visit. If it’s your first time in Oahu, then getting a car is a must, even if only for a few days. My husband and I discovered an amazing app (and highly functional, I might add) called Oahu Full Island GPS Driving Tour (Click here). Not only is the commentator funny (what kid doesn’t want to laugh?), but full of facts you may not get on a guided tour, where your time in one location wouldn’t be as flexible. It’s worth the $6.99. You can see the whole island (with quite a few stops along the way) in about 8 hours or choose to tour on two separate days. With the app, you are in full control of when and how long you stay in one location.

Dole Plantation in Hawaii with kids

Dole Plantation in Hawaii with Kids

3. Visit the Dole Plantation and Maze. If or no other reason than for the Pineapple Whip (creamy pineapple ice cream that’s so good each person needs to get their own!). The World’s Largest Maze is also a fun “should do” that your little ones who are walkers or older will enjoy.

Catamaran on Oahu, Hawaii with kids

Turtle in Ocean on Hawaii with Kids

Whale Watching in Hawaii with kids

4. If it’s whale, sea turtle, and dolphin watching (and even when it’s not) season, get yourself to a catamaran! Not only did we see whales and sea turtles (imagine the look on a kid’s face!), I got my 5 year old to jump into the open ocean, which is a memory we will cherish for a lifetime. The Aulani Resort and Spa easliy booked this excursion for us and it was one of the best I’ve ever had. Don’t think you can do it with a baby? There were a few families on board with their 4 month old babies just to enjoy the view.

North Shore Surfing in winter in Hawaii with Kids

Walking on the beach in Hawaii with Kids

5. Visit as many beaches as possible! The surfing itself is spectacular to watch on the North Shore! During our app guided tour (see #2), we also learned about some of the lesser known beaches that we would have missed had we not used the app. Some of our favorites were Lanikai Beach, the lagoons at Ko’ Olina (where the Disney Resort is located), Pipeline & Waimea (for the surfing) and Kailua. But let’s face it, almost EVERY beach in Hawaii is amazing.

Using the GoPro in Hawaii with Kids

BONUS TIP: Bring a GoPro or some form of waterproof/underwater POV camera! Everyone has one, but that’s not why you should get one. The water experiences alone will allow you to have pictures and video that somehow make everything you do in Hawaii that much more beautiful and personal. It that even possible?

So there you have it! I could add so much more about our adventures together (Diamond Head, Honolulu, great restaurants for kids, and those to miss) and maybe there’ll be a Part Two. But for now, I’ll stop before I find myself packing my bags for that move! Thank you for reading!Aulani sunset in Hawaii with kids

Would you add anything else to this list? I know there is so much to do in Hawaii. Shaved ice, anyone? I’m always happy to learn more.

xoxo, Jessica
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All opinions are my own and this trip was not sponsored by any of the above mentioned companies.

Photos: S.E.L