Early Morning in Notting Hill

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Notting Hill is definitely more than just the location for a famous movie.  Although I can’t lie and say that didn’t have anything to do with us wanting to check out the neighborhood.  For all curious minds, The Travel Book Company in the film doesn’t exist.  Whomp whomp.

Only having one full day in London, I knew I wanted to head to Notting Hill first thing. Unfortunately we got there a little too early as the Portobello Road Market wasn’t even set up yet. Portobello Market runs the two mile length of Portobello Road. It was such a bummer we didn’t have more time.  We did stumble upon the Portobello Green Market which is London’s leading Vintage Fashion and Antiques Market.  It was full of bargain vintage clothing, retro style furniture, vinyl and jewelry.

The colorful house lined streets and independent antique shops make this area one of a kind.  We saw a lot of cyclist in the area which seemed to be a popular way to explore Notting Hill’s cobblestone streets and nearby Holland Park, Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens.  Looking forward to exploring more next trip and starting the day a little later.

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INK Hotel | Amsterdam

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It has been a LONG time since I’ve checked out of a hotel and couldn’t think of one single fault.  We stayed at the smallest Airbnb EVER in London before we arrived to Amsterdam.  I booked it and thought it would be “fun” and “cute.”  I was so wrong.  There literally wasn’t even room to lay our luggage down.  This post might be a glorified Yelp review or a love affair with INK Hotel but either way, it was a magical stay.

The hotel is located in the former home of the Dutch newspaper ‘De Tijd’, a place where stories were written and ultimately brought to life in “ink.”  We loved the amusing and well appointed wallpaper; the more of the city we saw, the more the wallpaper made sense.  The entrance is unique, and the bar and restaurant are both comfortable and stylish. The bar served Veuve Clicquot as their house champagne.  Any friend of Veuve is a friend of mine!  The rooms were gorgeous and more importantly, comfortable beyond belief.  The bathroom in the room was everything I hope my personal bathroom will look like one day.  Five days at the INK Hotel was not enough and we will definitely be staying there on our next trip to Amsterdam!

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IMG_0943This shower was a gift from the heavens after cramming my tallness into our tiny Airbnb shower in London.  Thank you heavenly shower!

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IMG_0950It was so nice to wake up and have (a couple) espressos every morning before rolling out of bed.  It got the day started right!

 

 

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Styled by Naturalizer

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Do you know how many times I’ve walked past the Naturalizer store without batting an eye? For the longest time, Naturalizer was a brand my parents and maybe even my grandparents would invest in.  Not me!  Until now.

When the ladies at Naturalizer invited me out to try on their new fall collection and learn about fall trends from their Lead Designer, Angelique Joseph, I jumped at the opportunity.  The closer I get to 30, the more comfort appeals to me.  You certainly don’t have to sacrifice comfort for style as Naturalizer does a great job at doing both!

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Angelique presented their Fall/Winter 2015 collection as well as some of its inspiration: Luxe Casual (think statement necklace and a basic tee) and Nu Bohemia (an outdoor feel, blending artisan with historical handcrafted looks). You can expect a wider range of sizes, lots of zippered details and on-trend styles.

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Angelique also told us about the brand new @Work Collection, featuring Ortholite technology. The Naturalizer@work Collection is designed to enhance your performance while keeping you safe, comfortable and stylish. These would be perfect for anyone in the healthcare or restaurant industry!

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I would totally be lying if I told you I didn’t try all 8 of these boots on.  It was hard to choose a favorite but I always tend to go toward black and gold!  Click through my favorites from Naturalizer‘s Fall Line:

Thank you to Naturalizer for having me and for my new favorite fall booties!

This entry was posted in Fashion.

48 Hours In Portland

IMG_0863I’ve been dying to get to Portland since moving to the West Coast.  From the East Coast, it always seemed like such a pain.  From San Francisco, no biggie!  We decided to stay on the East Side of town and ended up picking our hotel from the choices on Rocket Miles.

Hotel: We decided on Jupiter Hotel. The motor inn-turned-boutique hotel definitely thinks outside of the box. From the quirky staff to the funky decorated room, this hotel has all the fun you need on a short vacation. Plus it’s next door to the best restaurant ever. Okay, that’s a broad statement but it’s next door to a great one!

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Eats: Oh Le Pigeon.  My husband has been raving about this restaurant since March when he ate there while he was visiting for a conference so this was a must do!  We ate dinner there both nights too which is something we would never do.  That.  Good. We enjoyed the French-inspired food without the pretentiousness.  We might have over indulged on their fabulous wine list as well.

We ate:

  • Beef Tartare and Salt & Pepper Squid
  • Cavatelli ala Fiducia (My personal favorite: beef rib ragu, whipped ricotta, scallion)
  • Glazed Beef Short Rib with Crispy Sweetbreads
  • Beef Cheek Bourguignon (Good Lord…)
  • And their Burger (The best I’ve ever had.  Again, bold statement)

Go!

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Drinks: There were several breweries on our list to try.  Base Camp Brewing Co, Cascade Brewing Barrel House, Deschutes, The Commons Brewery were the ones we made it to.  Base Camp was my favorite out of the four; solid beers, relaxed atmosphere and the ability to order eats at one of the food trucks outside (the BBQ was good!) was nice.  Cascade Brewing was the spot I was most looking forward to trying.  They’re known for their tart barrel-aged beers.  I’ve never had a sour beer I’ve loved but they had 18 on tap and I loved the 4 that I tried.  Their “Sang Noir” was fantastic.  Deschutes was a total miss for me.  The Commons Brewery was nice.  Not my personal favorite style of beer but if you’re a fan of European brewing, you’ll feel right at home here!

Pepe Le Moko is another not to miss spot for cocktails.  With only 32 seats in the entire underground bar, it gets busy so make a reservation to enjoy their infamous Grasshopper cocktail or an Irish Coffee made with Stumptown.  Truly the perfect late night spot with killer drinks.

IMG_0867S’more Stout from Base Camp Brewing.  Yes, they roast the marshmallow fresh after you order.

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CASCAKE

PEPEIMG_0881portland3Shopping:  Portland is full of unique shops but the most unique to me (because I feel as though they’re non existent these days) was Powell’s City of Books.  They claim to be the largest independent chain of bookstores in the world which I believe as this location took up an entire city block.  Grab a map and get to searching.  Powell’s has everything!

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I can’t wait to see you again Portland!

 

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How To: Southwest Companion Pass

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Have you heard of Southwest’s Companion Pass?  As the name implies, achieving this entitles a companion of your choice to fly with you for free on any Southwest flight you book.  I know I’m not the only one who is somewhat obsessed with flying on Southwest. High five to their great staff, no baggage fees and the ability to pick your own seat.

The Companion Pass is definitely one of the most valuable airline awards available. For many years I thought it was impossible for someone to earn unless they traveled for business constantly or had a horrible shopping problem which would rack up the points for them.  I’ve learned during a pretty expensive cross country move and some careful tracking, it’s surprisingly easy to earn.

How do you get The Companion Pass?  You’ll need to complete 100 qualifying one-way flights in a calendar year or earn 110,000 Rapid Rewards points in a calendar year. Unless you’re a constant traveler for work, you better get to earning those 110,000 points! Everyone’s situation is different but this is how we achieved this:

1.  Sign Up Bonus

Your Rapid Rewards account gets credited 50,000 points if you spend $2,000 in the first 3 months of opening your account. That is almost half the needed points given to you pretty easily!  We use our Southwest Credit Card for every single purchase, big or small so spending the $2,000 came easy.  Wait until you need to make a big purchase to sign up if you’re worried about hitting that number.

2. Rocketmiles

Oh, Rocketmiles.  You are such a savior.   As soon as we book any trip, we log onto Rocketmiles.com and search for available hotels.  There are several hotels, in all price ranges and cities, that offer 1,000-20,000 points per night.  We tend to search for hotels that give us 5,000 for a 2 night weekend stay.  Once you check out, the points are usually in your Rapid Rewards account within a week.  Not only are those points helping you reach the Companion Pass 110,000 point goal but you’re also able to spend those points on free flights.

3. Pay for flights

You will start racking up the points pretty quickly with these tips and will be tempted to cash in these points and fly for free.  I would suggest to keep saving them.  They don’t expire so unless you’re in a bind, keep them in your account.  The more flights you pay for with $, the more points you receive.  You also receive 2 points per dollar on all Southwest.com purchases which is double points.  Save those points for the following year when you obtain the Companion Pass because guess what?  You can fly for free using your hard earned points plus add your companion onto your already FREE flight.  What?!  Two flights for free?  Yep!

4. Partnering Companies

Plan to send flowers for an upcoming birthday?  Order them through your Rapid Rewards account and get a 1,000 point bonus.  I’ve seen them give more points than that but that is the standard amount.  Renting a car for an upcoming vacation?  Again, book through your Rapid Rewards account.  Several companies partner with Southwest and if you book with them, you’ll receive bonus points toward your free flights and Companion Pass.  We even joined a wine club just to get the bonus points.  Why not?  We like wine and needed points.  You were able to cancel anytime.

5. Rapid Rewards Dining

This isn’t a category we pay much attention to because we tend to mostly cook during the week and eat out on the weekends but if you’re always eating out, listen up!  Spending money on your Southwest Credit Card at several partnering restaurants in your city will add 3 points per dollar spent to your point balance.  Triple points!  We usually find out we’ve gotten triple points randomly as they email you after you’ve paid your check to let you know.

6. Put Every Purchase On Your CC

I’m preface my final point by saying if you do not have the money to pay off your full credit card balance every couple of weeks, skip this paragraph.  We put every single purchase on our Southwest Credit Card.  Whether it be a $1,500 hotel stay, $150 cable bill, a $4 latte or a $1 pack of gum; we use our card.  The points slowly but surely add up.  If you have the means to pay it off quickly without accruing interest, this is a great way to rack up the points.  If not, forget you read this.

I wish you the most success in 2016 at attempt to receive the Southwest Companion Pass.

Apply HERE and get to flying for free ASAP!

Southwestern Poncho

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Poncho2 Poncho3 Poncho4 Poncho5 Poncho6Southwestern Poncho // Raw Edge Tank (only $6!) // Joe’s Cigarette Jean // Dolce Vita Jentry

Poncho weather might not be here just yet but it is on its merry way!  I’m looking forward to finding more cozy sweater type ponchos and call me basic, but extra excited about switching out my cold brew for hot coffee drinks.

 

Give me ALL the ponchos:

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The Fremont Diner

FremontDiner1The Fremont Diner is one of those quaint but trendy places you hope will live up to the hype. The restaurant has been quite popular ever since it opened in 2009, but it didn’t come across my radar until just a few months ago. We always use to pass right by it on our way to one of our favorite wineries. Now, it is usually our first stop on our way into Napa. We’ll grab a coffee in the city, make the 40 mile drive and enjoy an early lunch.  Come hungry and leave oh so happy!  From the Pastrami Sandwich to the “Nashville Hot Chicken”, there is just something so comforting about the food on their menu.  Something that I miss daily from living in the south.

Yes, I did say Nashville style Hot Chicken.  I’ve had this copy cat dish at a few places in the Bay Area and have been so disappointed.  They know what they’re doing here; crisp chicken and just the right amount of heat.

They have outdoor and indoor seating but it’s usually packed so arrive early or bring some cash to grab a mimosa or beer from their old airstream trailer which has been converted into a drink shack.  Kiddos seem to be very welcome here as well as I always see toys outside for them.

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Embroidered Tank

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The weather sure has been intense in San Francisco this week. My friends and family back home might think I’m a little crazy but what everyone seems to forget is that we don’t have air conditioning. The buses don’t have air conditioning. Many businesses don’t have air conditioning. Shew, it has been a hot one. We’ve been sleeping with the windows wide open and the fans blasting. I’m very much looking forward to some crisp weather but until then, I’ll be busting out the light weight tanks and sandals.

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Joie Tank (sold out, similar) // Rockstar Skinnies // Tory Burch Amanda Crossbody // Rose Gold Coordinate Bar Necklace

 

Click some of my other favorite embroidered tanks:

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SF Spotlight: Lands End

The hustle and bustle from living in downtown San Francisco can be a bit much at times but getting away during the week isn’t possible with our schedules and not owning a vehicle anymore. Luckily, jumping on a bus to hike Lands End is easy peezy! This hike is pretty self explanatory, it’s where the actual land ends. It is the most north west point in the city, by Ocean Beach. You moderately hike along the Pacific Ocean with gorgeous views of the water, vegetation and probably the tourists’ favorite part, views of the Golden Gate Bridge. The weekends can get pretty busy with locals and visitors so my husband and I love meeting after work to hike. It’s nice to talk without the distraction of our phones, ect. We call this one of our “no phone zones!” Ha. Lands End is truly one of my favorite parts of the city to decompress and get a workout in at the same time.

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Fall Booties Under $100

I can’t be the only girl ready for fall. I love a good boot and I’m so ready to transition into fall footwear. I haven’t been into knee high boots in a few years but give me a good bootie and I’m good to go! You definitely don’t have to break the bank to find a good pair. Check out these booties under $100:

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Red BP Trolley Bootie  //  Dolce Vita Callia

Dolce Vita Jentry (I have these, they’re great!)  //   Pour La Victoire Rocker (Love!)

Black Style & Co Jamila Zip Booties  //  Dolce Vita Marana

Bar III Ivy Booties  //  Grey Bella Vita Kona  

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