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vacation

How to Speak Southern

Athens, Greece

September 20, 2016

Wilson and I returned from our Grecian holiday a little over a week ago, and wow what a trip it was. 10 days of bliss in one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been. Truly, if you have the opportunity to go to Greece, go. Now.

Looking back, it’s hard to believe a place as gorgeous as Greece even exists.

Because I received a lot of questions about our itinerary from our trip to Spain last year, I’ll try to do a better job at describing our itinerary from Greece as well as our accommodations and activities so you’ll be more in the know. And so that one day when I’m old I can go back and read this and remember. 

Our trip began with a quick overnight stay in Athens. I received a lot of feedback about Athens from people who had visited — that it was a big, dirty city, to not stay there for very long, that I most likely wouldn’t be very impressed by it — and I can understand why. But for me, I love two things: 1) a big city and 2) history, so I actually loved Athens. We only stayed there for one night, but I could have easily stayed for another because I loved the history of the city so much. But if you are not high on history or busy cities, one night in Athens will be more than enough for you.

We stayed at the New Hotel, which was wonderful — centrally located, reasonably priced, and beautifully decorated. The room was small, but clean and the bed was super comfortable. Highly recommend. The hotel also has a rooftop restaurant with a view of the Acropolis that is perfect for drinks before dinner.

We flew straight into Athens, landed in the morning and then checked into our hotel for a quick nap before our afternoon tour of the city. Personally I was super jet lagged and groggy, but after an espresso or three I was back in no time. The miracles of concentrated doses of caffeine. 

Our private walking tour of Athens (booked through our travel agent) went through the Plaka, the oldest part of Athens with narrow streets and beautiful row homes, and climbed higher and higher until we reached the Acropolis. Again, because I love history, this was one of the parts of the trip that I was looking forward to most, and it certainly did not disappoint. After all, how could one of the oldest and most sought after destinations in the world let you down?

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Our climb to the Acropolis through the Plaka.

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The view from halfway up to the Acropolis.

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Finally at the top.

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So handsome.

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I tried to focus on looking up as opposed to down…

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The Parthenon in all her glory. I absolutely loved this… History nerd.

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Our travel buddies.

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There were amazing homes right next to the Acropolis — can you imagine looking out of your window and seeing the Parthenon every day? — and these were the gates to one of the home’s side garden.

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This is the Acropolis Museum, dedicated to all things Acropolis and where a large amount of actual remaining pieces of the Acropolis are safely stored. I highly recommend a quick jaunt around — you’ll see some interesting pieces of the Acropolis that are protected from the elements in here and the museum also has a great cafe that is perfect for a quick cup of coffee (or drink) if you need a resting spot that includes AC. The museum’s restaurant also has a large outdoor area that apparently can get quite happening on weekends.

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Some bros inside the museum. At this point I was taking a seat on the ledge near the windows to rest and my travel partners were weary of my picture taking so I took one of some strangers. Hello tank-top-clad strangers. 

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Two more bros with the Acropolis in the background.

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That evening we went to Dionysus for dinner, which was just so lovely. Food was delicious and the view was bar-none — we had a panoramic view of the Acropolis, which is elegantly lit at night. The Greeks know how to do it right.

After Athens, we went to Naxos, part of the Greek isles, and then Santorini, which needs no definition at all. More to come…

How to Speak Southern

Vacate Your Life, Remember Why It’s Worth It

March 26, 2015

Wilson and I returned from Mexico earlier this week and what a fun time we had. As soon as we claimed our luggage in the Cancun airport and emerged into the warm, muggy Mexican sunshine, I knew our impulse purchase was a good decision. Our friendly driver poured us glasses of sweet Champagne and babbled in Spanglish to us as we drove to the hotel. I looked over at Wilson, who almost immediately drained his flute, grinning ear-to-ear as always.

We checked into the sprawling, open-air hotel and upon hearing the soothing roll of the Gulf of Mexico, we both began to breathe a little easier, a little deeper. Once we arranged our things in our suite – Wilson loves to unpack – we strolled to the pool, where we lounged and drank for the remainder of the day. That evening we dined al fresco on the water, noshing on fresh fish, sipping on a spicy red wine, laughing and clapping to the beautiful music of a mariachi band.

It was freaking amazing.

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The fact of the matter is, in today’s overstimulated, over-communicated world, it’s really important to unplug. Some days at work I only scratch one or two items off my long list of to-dos because of how distracted I get from all the beeping and buzzing and pinging that goes on with the forty million devices I have that let people contact me. I can only imagine how someone feels that is legitimately important. It’s super frustrating, but damn if this Mexican slice of heaven didn’t heal my electronic device wounds. It’s absolutely pathetic that it takes going out of the country to be able to really relax, but at least we did it. We pressed pause on our busy lives for a moment and made time for ourselves and each other, and it made all the difference.

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Thinking back on the trip, the parts I am most struck by were the blinding rays of sunlight breaking through the sturdy palm trees, the sparkling cerulean waters of the Gulf, and the look in Wilson’s eyes after the second day – he was happy and peaceful, and it made my heart so very full. So sappy, I know. I was also struck by the steady flow of drinks we drank, — and the variety, we drank everything — but that’s another story for another day.

On our last day Wilson convinced me to do something other than lie on the beach and off we went on a snorkeling excursion to a barrier reef not even half a mile offshore. Once the boat came to a halt we snapped the snorkeling goggles to our faces and plunged into the inviting water. It’s easy to forget there is an entirely different world beneath all of that blue.

Brightly colored fish flitted past us as we ogled at the wildly beautiful forest of the ocean. I was stunned at how close the coral reef was to us – we were extra careful not to tread water vertically but instead float on our backs with our flippers up when we needed a break so as not to disturb the intricately constructed coral. Never before have I seen brain coral so large or orange. It was massive, the round coils curved perfectly together in a pattern so complex only nature could conjure it. Fan coral waved at us as we floated by, perfectly royal in its striking purple hue, and I gasped as a sea turtle elegantly paddled across the ocean floor, graceful and strong against the current.

A few times Wilson and I held hands as we kicked our flippers through the water, a bit out of character of us as we both get the icks from too much PDA. But it was terrifically romantic and sweet – one of those moments, the ones you never forget, the ones you pull out on a rainy (or argumentative) day to remember the good times.

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Like I said, this trip was freaking amazing.

So what is this verbose diatribe about, you might ask after reading a 681-word count blog post? I want to testify against the glorification of being busy, and testify for taking a moment to yourself. So often I catch myself proving to others – and to myself – that I am soooo busy and therefore that’s why I’m soooo fabulous and important and awesome and smart. I often validate myself based on my degree of busyness, telling myself that I am really worth something if my schedule is unbelievably full and ridiculous. Screw that.

This vacation taught me that I can validate myself with how I treat others, including how I treat myself. I’ve always had good self-esteem, but I think I am now broaching the subject of how to truly love myself, and thereby more fully loving the ones around me. It’s great fun learning how to do new things.

So in long, take some time for yourself. Whether it’s for four days in Mexico with your loving husband in tow or it’s going to a 55-minute yoga class or hell even chugging drinking a glass of wine that you love, be kind to that person inside of yourself. You just may be surprised at how good it feels.

Fashion and Beauty

Mexico Resort Style: Swimwear

February 18, 2015

Bathing suit shopping is a well-known cause for anxiety and frustration among women, present company included. In fact, it freaking sucks actually. I’m not normally one to be overly critical of my body, but when I shop for bikinis, the voices in my head are straight up evil.

Shouldn’t have eaten those cookies last night, they say.

Your metabolism isn’t what it used to be, they say.

Maybe you should cut back on your red wine, they say.

And that’s where I draw the line. Cut back on my red wine intake? What, are you trying to kill me, me?

Anywho, I find it much safer and easier on my self esteem if I order a bunch of bikinis and try them on at home. Not only can I control my own lighting — and that is to say I can turn the lights in the room off — but a bottle glass of wine is just steps away. When in doubt, wine makes it better.

Here are some of the bathing suits I’m considering for my romantic Mexican getaway.

 

Mexico Trip Beach Picks

 

blue wrap bikini / green bikini / coral halter bikini / black and white wrap bikini / white cover up /
neon bottoms / neon top / crochet bikini / underwire bikini top

 

These bathing suits range in price (one is super expensive, oops) but what is so interesting about bathing suits now is the wide variety of types available. Gone are the times where the options for bathing suits came in three sizes, three colors and three different styles. Now, you can choose from just about any bathing suit contraption imaginable (see that blue bikini above) to make all of your bathing suit nightmares dreams come true.

A thought on buying bathing suits: My swimwear strategy is to find a good pair of bottoms in a neutral color like white or black, and then just switch out the tops. Finding swim bottoms that actually cover my bottom is a bit of a feat, so once I find a good pair, I stick with them. If you have more difficulty finding a good top, find one that you love and then just switch out the bottoms for multiple looks. Dressing for your body shape is key, especially when you are in a bathing suit. The true definition of letting it all hang out.

By the way, all the J.Crew bikinis above are 20% off today with the promo code SHOPPINGTIME.

T-minus one month and one day until Wilson and I are on a plane to get some much needed sunshine and daiquiris.

How to Speak Southern

Impulse Purchases Aren’t All Bad

February 11, 2015

It was a chilly, blustery day in the Lowcountry about a month and a half ago when Wilson asked, “Can we go to Mexico?” His skin was pale, his eyes were a grayer version than their normal hazel, and he looked tired. We’d been trivially tossing around the idea of a warm-weather long weekend somewhere tropical, but all of the sirens in my head said “you need to save for retirement!” and “no more credit card debt!” and “you could donate that money to charity instead!” and so I said no. No my dear Wilson, we cannot go to Mexico and spend time together and make memories because I am responsible and I say no.

A few more weeks went by, and I kept thinking of that trip to Mexico. I thought of Wilson and I basking in the Central American sun together, drinking tropical drinks, taking naps to our hearts’ content. Heavenly. I thought of us sleeping in late, drinking coffee on our porch overlooking the water, no decisions to make besides what’s our next drink?

Savannah was chilly and annoying. Life was getting a little heavy. I think Wilson and I have seasonal affected disorder.

And so I said f&ck it. Sorry Mom and Dad. 

I texted Wilson BOOK THE TRIP and within 10 minutes Wilson sent me the booking confirmation from the travel agent. Talk about motivated. 

In a little over a month we will be viva la vida in Messy Toe.

A brief aside: last year my sister and brother in law went on a trip to Mexico, and my parents, Wilson and I kept my two baby nieces. Yes, that’s correct, we had a 2 to 1 ratio of adults to children, and yet I still almost died. Those babies kicked my butt. To all you moms, cheers, I have no idea how you do it. Anywho, when asked where her parents were, my niece Ella Grace responded, “Mommy Daddy in Messy Toe.” So Wilson and I are very excited to be briefly vacationing in Messy Toe.

 

Zoetry Resorts Paraiso photo

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Doesn’t it look lovely? We are staying at a resort south of Cancun, which doesn’t really mean anything to me but it sounds just fine. If you are looking for a moderately priced quick vacation spot, this may be the ticket. Since we haven’t visited yet I can’t give my formal stamp of approval, but I’ll let you know how it is as soon as I return. The reviews are fabulous.

Zoetry Resorts Paraiso

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Paraiso Room Plunge Pool

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That is the plunge pool I will be plunging in. Oh look, they’ve already poured me a mimosa. How thoughtful. 

 Now, what shall my Messy Toe resort-wear look be?

Photo credit: Zoetry Wellness & Resorts

How to Speak Southern

In My Mind I’m Gone to Jackson

August 21, 2014

As a born and raised Southerner, I’ve never been overly obsessed with any area in our fine country besides the U.S. I loveeeeee to travel, but I really love the South. Except I cannot get Jackson off of my mind. Here’s some more photos from our amazing trip this past weekend.

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What a crappy view.

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 My little golfer.

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 Trees.

11 Mountains.

Tomorrow is fryyyyyday.