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At Home In: Savannah, Georgia

28 Jun

I can’t believe it has already been a month since our babymoon to Savannah! Before we head out on our next trip, I figured I should try to share a few details from that one.

We decided on Savannah somewhat randomly. Neither of us had ever been to any of the charming Southern cities so we were definitely interested in checking one out. Plus, this trip was going to be a little different than our others given that I was going to be 19 weeks pregnant. It’s funny to plan a trip when you really have no idea how you’re going to feel and what your body is going to be capable of at a future date. Savannah is small and walkable and, while there is lots to do, it was also somewhere we knew we could go and just rest in a cafe and be completely content. So Savannah it was.

Like a lot of our recent trips, we started our search for accommodations on HomeAway and VRBO. Through those searches I somehow came across the website for Luxury Savannah Living and eventually we decided on the Chippewa Square Suite in the Jones Street house. There are a ton of traditional B&Bs in Savannah but we really prefer the apartment rentals. I’m not an early riser, I don’t like to eat a lot right when I wake up so the breakfast part of a B&B is usually lost on me, and (if I’m perfectly honest) I don’t really go on vacation to socialize with new people. I’m much better off if I have a refrigerator where I can keep some yogurt and fruit and just eat it in some cute outdoor space by myself! The only downside to these apartments is that there’s no front desk to leave your bags at if you arrive earlier than the check-in time or don’t need to leave for the airport until long after your check-out time. Still, I like the charm and we just plan accordingly.

The link above has more pictures of the suite, but here are a few of my favorite things:

Master Bedroom – I will probably never paint a room this dark green and this is about as close to a canopy bed as I may ever get so it’s nice to pretend for a few days. And how about the picture rail? Love it.

Glass Door Knobs & Door Plates – I love love love glass door knobs. Hopefully one day we’ll live in a house with enough character to suit them!

Master Bathroom – Claw foot tub, huge beautiful gold mirror, pretty wall color, great floor tiles (sorry you can’t see them here), white pedestal sink. I mean, what’s not to love? It actually reminded me a lot of the bathroom from the Ritz-Carleton Sarasota (nice to see my photography has improved since then – ha!) which I was also smitten with. I really need to learn how to mix finishes like that. I love the feeling of something that seems casually pulled together instead of all matchy-matchy.

That mirror also happens to be very good for baby bump pictures so here is your classic, gratuitous blogger belly pic. 19 weeks, 4 days. I’m already much bigger than that! :)

Picturesque Neighborhood – My very favorite part about where we stayed, however, was the charming block where it was located. I love the buildings, the stairs, the live oak trees, and the secret little gardens you get to peek into as you walk by. And the beauty of the Savannah historic district is that every block looks just like this.

I know Charise is headed to Savannah in the fall so here are a few of my thoughts and recommendations for her and anyone else who wants to check it out! When we planned our trip we used a few resources to decide what to do and where to go: Savannah’s Official Tourism Site and Visitor Guide, Design Sponge Savannah Guide, and Garden and Gun’s Savannah City Portrait.

We opted for a one day tour bus to learn the city (and keep me from getting too tired) and then added on the ghost tour. It’s a little pricey and the ghost tour was a little theatrical for me (though I did like the stories) but I’m glad we did it. We liked all three of the Telfair Museums and it’s nice that they’re not huge so you can check out at least two in the same day. Given the history of the homes in Savannah, we really liked that the Owens-Thomas house and Telfair Academy gives you a peek inside what life was like for some of the original owners. We did an additional tour of the Juliette Gordon Low house too and, even though there’s a lot of talk about Girl Scouts, Pete was still able to enjoy the history of that one as well. Wormsloe Plantation is outside of the historic district (you’d need a car) but I loved the trees and actually learned a lot about the colonization of Georgia from the video in the visitor’s center. We didn’t really check out the trails but you do have access to them if you’d like to take a longer walk than we did!

Savannah has a ton of good food and we found it hard to go wrong. However, one we’d recommend not missing is the Crystal Beer Parlor. The portions are gigantic so we couldn’t finish all our food but don’t miss the Gawgia Cracka Nachos. Clary’s was also fun for a diner style breakfast, especially if you’ve read Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. We thought Leopold’s ice cream was good but not amazing. I’m glad we had some but also glad we didn’t wait in the thirty minute line we saw one day! This last recommendation is funny but we also discovered a Parker’s near our place and proceeded to stop there multiple times during our stay. I think some of the stores are just gas stations but this one is a cross between and a gas station and a speciality grocer. What other gas station have you been to with growlers of micro-brew beer?! They also had Greek yogurt, sparkling juice, and desserts for the pregnant half of our group. ;)

There are also lots of great shops – many located close to one another, so I trust you’ll find what you like. However, if you happen to be near Whittaker and Jones Street, you should seek out One Fish Two Fish. I want to live in that store. Seriously.

This post has gotten long enough but if anyone has any specific questions let me know and I’d be happy to answer!

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At Home In: Sonoma, CA

12 Sep

I’m a little out of order here as I try to catch/keep up with life but, as I mentioned in my post about Big Sur, we actually made three different stops during our trip to California. Our longest stay was in Sonoma (another one crossed off my 30 Before 30 list, for those keeping track!) for Beth and Steve’s wedding (I posted about their Chicago wedding shower invites here and the actual shower starting here.)

Let me start this post by declaring my love for Sonoma. It’s actually pretty mind-boggling that I hadn’t made a trip out there before. It has sun, wine, beautiful scenery, and good food. Some of my favorite things all in one place. I love Sonoma so much, in fact, that it’s now at the top of my list of places I would like to move to. Visions of my outdoor dinner parties (year-round!) are already forming in my head. It’s going to be great.

Since we don’t have our own home there yet, for this part of the trip, we rented a little pool house we found on VRBO. It was cute and compact and just perfect for what we needed.

The property sits on a cliff overlooking Sonoma. Can you imagine waking up every day to this view if you lived in the main house? I could definitely get used to that.

The owner of the house has two dogs that were given free access to roam the property. This meant that Bear (below) could often be found swimming in the pool or lounging around beside it afterwards. We don’t have any pets of our own so it was kind of nice to wake up to such a sweet lab outside the door every day (the other dog, Beau, didn’t quite warm up to us for some reason.)

And because a post about Sonoma wouldn’t be complete without some grape vines, how about this view from Gloria Ferrar?

We stayed with friends in San Francisco and although their place is stunning (seriously some of the prettiest tiles I’ve ever seen in my life) I wasn’t quite sure how they’d feel about paparazzi taking random photos of their home so I never did. Plus they have a new baby girl and I got pretty distracted holding her (so distracted in fact, I don’t even have a picture of her – that’s definitely a first!) So, no posts from there. Maybe I’ll post a few more wedding/travel photos from the trip though if I have some time….

At Home In: Big Sur, CA

21 Aug

We’re back from our vacation and seriously could not have had a better, more relaxing, or more fun time. We made stops in three different cities on our week and a half long trip through northern California and honestly loved it all. This was the first time in a few years that we’ve taken a longer (more than 5 nights) trip like this and I really need to remember to do it more. I know it can be difficult (and expensive) to go away for that long but I tend to really need it. Last year when we were in Cabo San Lucas I started getting sad two days in because our trip was almost over. Horrible outlook, I know, but it’s how my brain works these days.

Our first stop this year was Big Sur, CA. We stayed for three nights in a Little Sur Cabin at Glen Oaks. After getting our keys from the main hotel area located right on Hwy 1, we were given a map and driving directions to get to our cabin. Awesome. This was our front gate.

We drove down the drive and found our little cabin waiting for us. The trees and the light that shines through them are amazing. I only wish the photographs could capture the way they smell. I have a pretty funny relationship with nature. On the one hand, I love it. However, that doesn’t always mean I want to be too close to it. Bugs and sleeping on the ground aren’t really my thing. But I am all for this kind of camping.

The inside is cute, compact, and efficient. They did a really good job maximizing such a small space. We had a surprising amount of storage space for our things and there was even a little kitchenette with a sink, fridge, microwave, dishes, and (very important) wine opener. There were also yoga mats inside the wardrobe which I thought was adorable even if I didn’t quite get around to using one.

Their website has plenty of great photos of the inside of the cabin that are better than mine so check that out if you’re interested. But I can’t pass up the bathroom. Do you see the floor below? It’s heated. Amazing. Heated floors are on my dream home wish-list and this just secured their place. It even helped me convince Pete that heated floors wouldn’t be too hot. Yes! One day we’ll have them.

Each cabin has its own fire pit which they  stock with wood and fire starters (again, my kind of camping.) It was our spot for morning coffee and evening drinks.

Here’s the fire pit at one of the other cabins and some more of those beautiful trees.

I was really impressed by the landscaping done by Glen Oaks. They managed to keep it woodsy yet also really pretty at the same time. Every time I saw this guy I thought it looked like a happy little pirate tree. See it? He only has one eye but he’s still smiling.

For another fun view of the cabin you can check out our 360 Panorama here. And, in case all of that wasn’t pretty enough, here’s a view from nearby Hwy 1. Who wouldn’t want to see this with just a few minutes drive?

At Home In: Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

13 Jul

Not being one to pass up any excuse to travel, we happily accepted the invitation to attend my cousin’s wedding in Cabo San Lucas. The ceremony was held on the beach of the all-inclusive resort, Dreams Los Cabos, they had chosen.

I had never stayed at an all-inclusive before but was pretty much in love from the time we arrived and were greeted with this view –

The rooms were lovely. I really can’t resist a canopy bed and the breezy fabric across the top and then repeated over in the sitting area –

Though our ocean view was more like a sliver than a view, the balcony was still the perfect place to listen to the waves and indulge in my newfound Twilight obsession when we weren’t down by the pool –

And, even though I’m not normally drawn to orange, I thought this wall and the dark mirrors were pretty great –

Ahhhhh….vacation.

At Home In: Sawyer, MI

20 Feb

For the past several Christmases, instead of buying presents for one another, Pete and I plan things to do together. For example, last year we bought Broadway in Chicago season tickets so that got us four dates for the year! This year we decided that, since our vacation days and travel budget are being saved up for more weddings, we would use this as an opportunity to go on a mini-weekend getaway by ourselves.

We got the idea to go to Sawyer, MI because of a Daily Candy email I got in December featuring the Rabbit Run Inn. The place was so cute, and looked so serene, I figured we could find things to do in the area. When we arrived at the inn we were greeted by the lovely owners who welcomed us in, showed us around, pointed out some things we could do, and left us to enjoy our weekend. And really, how could we not staying somewhere as pretty as this –

On Saturday we drove up to Saint Joseph, a beach town just a little north of Sawyer. The bluffs along the way were really pretty (who knew Michigan had bluffs?!?) but I think I would have enjoyed the town a bit more if it wasn’t freeeeezing cold out that day. I had ulterior motives though as this was also part of my secret plan to get Pete to take a detour to the Habitat ReStore I mentioned before. (I think this is more or less the equivalent of Kristy making stops at Whole Foods when she is in Chicago.)

Also on the agenda for the weekend were stops to some of the local vineyards. We visited Domaine Berrien Cellars which was great because it was small and quiet. Lemon Creek Winery had a large selection of wines to taste from but I think our experience here would have been better if we didn’t come in right behind a very large group of women. Our last stop was to Tabor Hill Winery were the bartenders were very helpful explaining each of the wines. Tabor Hill also has a bar (and restaurant) which overlooks the grapevines on their property so it was nice to end our tasting trip there with a final drink. (The area has several other wineries as well and I found the Lake Michigan Shore Wine Trail and Michigan Wines websites to be very useful in case anyone’s planning a trip here.)

We ended our day with dinner at Timothy’s in Union Pier, MI. It’s a small place attached to an inn, which I wasn’t quite expecting. Everything we ate was delicious though and presented beautifully. The seared tuna I had was by far my favorite and the best I’ve ever had. Yum. I’d definitely recommend the restaurant to anyone who’s going to be in the area.

I took a quiz on facebook not long ago which suggested Michigan is that state I should live in. At the time, I was more than a little disappointed because I was hoping the results would give me somewhere warmer and sunnier, like California. However, after our weekend I think I might be convinced. I’m thinking something along the lines of a farmhouse with a lot of land and big trees (no actual farm though, I don’t wake up early enough for that). Where the snow somehow seems charming and magical, not just dirty and irritating. Somewhere like that could be nice.

(Wish I Was) At Home In: Seychelles

5 Oct

My friend Tiffany recently returned from her honeymoon in Seychelles. (I thought I should provide a link to a map since I had no idea where it was before she told me. Actually, even since she told me I’ve had to look it up a few times to make sure I wasn’t screwing it up!) All of her pictures are amazing and I’m pretty sure I could live at the Hilton Seychelles Northolme Resort and Spa where they stayed. I can’t decide which part is my favorite – 

The beautiful bed (decorated for their arrival)…

Hilton Seychelles - Bed

 

…the serene bathroom…

Hilton Seychelles - bathroom

 

…this chair where I could easily spend hours on end…

Hilton Seychelles - porch

 

…or the beach with the view back into the hilltops and the cute little villas nestled into them.

Hilton Seychelles - beach

 

Seriously adding this to my list of places to go. Thanks for letting me share your photos, Tiff!

At Home With: Elaine

2 Oct

Last weekend I went out to Colorado to visit one of my college roommates, Elaine. She’s probably having a heart attack right about now wondering what I’m going to say. She’s likely going to get even more nervous when she finds out that I was actually very careful to wait for (and take advantage of) the moment she left her apartment to take some pictures. I knew it was unlikely I’d get away with it if she was still there. Plus, my confidence in my skills as a “photographer” are greatly lacking so the less people watching the better. In a moment of self-assessment she said, “My life doesn’t seem as absurd when I don’t have to explain it out loud.” I can actually sympathize with her point as I know I’ve learned a lot about myself from being married and spending so much time with another person. But coming from her, with whatever she was trying to explain at that moment (perhaps about why her clock was a half an hour fast – not an hour because of daylight savings, not a few minutes to keep her on time, but a half an hour for some unknown reason), it made me laugh out loud. There are some things that are just, in the very best of ways, very Elaine. Or as we affectionately call her, Elainiac. So here are a few of her favorite things – books, her fancy bedding, fashion magazines and Macs, and don’t forget her very beloved Hey Buddy.

 

Elaine

 

Thanks for being such an extremely thoughtful and generous friend and the most fantastic Colorado tour guide anyone could ever ask for!