When hiking in a desert you should definitely stay well hydrated, and if you’re going to bring a cocktail make sure its Emily Farris’ Baby spritz. This was my first trip to the high desert and Joshua Tree National Park here in California. I'm generally more of an Ocean person, but I was totally blown away with the vastness of the desert landscape. Even with a totally functional outfit, no make-up, and a crazy easy cocktail, I still couldn’t have pulled this off without my lovely assistants, Steve and Colleen, who helped my wrangle stuff and made sure I didn’t fall off that wall.
Having a really easy cocktail was key to being able to pull this off, it was pretty hot out, and on top of that there were thirsty bee’s everywhere so we wanted to be very careful with any liquids. This is a really great spritz, no measuring needed and you can make it super low-ABV. It was the perfect thing for our weekend in Joshua tree. I’m going to need a little more practice (and a new camera, wink wink) before I start doing this on the regular, but I was pretty impressed with our mischief managed, we even had some ice.
I try to keep these posts on the shorter side, and they are usually focused on the clothes and cocktails, though I'll be the first to admit that they are a work in progress. I would love to know if anyone would be interested in a more detailed Joshua Tree travel post, where to stay, eat, hike and the cocktails to bring? Let me know in the comments.
Emily Farris’ Baby Spritz
Lemon Le Croix
Mix to your preferred potency on ice.
I really liked Cork, I liked it more than Dublin… don’t get mad. Of course, I will be the first to admit that I didn’t spend enough time in either city to make much of an assessment. Cork just felt more accessible to me, like a small town with all of the best parts of a big city. Just like Dublin, Cork is now on my list for a return visit, I didn’t even get to kiss the Blarney Stone.
we stayed at The River Lee Hotel, which is of course on the River Lee. This a thoroughly modern hotel with huge glass observations areas that look over the river and town. The rooms were nice and much more modern than I was expecting and the breakfast buffet was delicious with both a full Irish on offer as well as lots of healthy options.
There gets to be a point when all I want is a decent drip black coffee, not always an easy thing to procure in Europe. I managed to find Filter Espresso and Brew Bar, who served me a pretty good cup of coffee while I proceeded to look like a weirdo who jogs in the rain and asks for a to-go cup. Cork seems to have quite the coffee culture if you're into that.
I’m still bummed that we didn’t have time to catch some traditional music at a pub while we were in Ireland. We did manage to hit An Bodhran Bar while we were in Cork, with a local to boot! The first thing you need to know about drinking in Cork is Beamish, the second is Murphy’s, the third is never order a Guinness.
Oliver Plunkett street, or 'Olly P’s' as its referred to by the locals, is an amazing pedestrian street full of shops, pubs and buskers. Olly P's has been around for about 300 years, and was named best pedestrian street in Ireland and the UK in 2015. Don’t forget to check out the English Market, Irelands most famous covered market, which is just a short walk away,
Cork is a very walkable city and they have taken advantage of this by creating self directed walking tours that criss-cross the city. I spent a couple of hours working my way from Oliver Plunkett street past city hall down to the River Lee over to the University of Cork, seeing the remains of the city’s original Roman fortification as I went.
There is so much more to do in Cork City and the surrounding countryside than I managed in my short time there. I can’t wait to go back
My New Years resolution for 2017 was to travel more due tospending the last year or so grounded because of pregnancy or infancy. I was going stir crazy. Well mission accomplished, I managed to hit a lot of new places and revisit some old ones. I was lucky enough to get to spend a couple of days in lovely Dublin, Ireland (Republic of). This was my first stop on my whirlwind eurotrip and I managed to pack quite a bit into just under two days.
Where to stay
We arrived early on our first day and went directly to our hotel the Radisson Blu Royal Dublin Hotel to drop off our luggage. It's a nice modern hotel within walking distance to almost all of Dublin's top attractions including St. Stephen's Green. It has a spacious lobby and bar and the breakfast buffet was well appointed.
Where to eat
I had two really great food experiences while in Dublin, and considering the shortness of my stay I think that’s pretty impressive. On our first night we had dinner at a restaurant called The Pig’s Ear. It is tiny and very popular so make reservations or you wont get seated. And that would be a shame because it was some of the best food I’ve ever eaten… and I’ve eaten some food.
The second great experience was Afternoon Tea at the Shelbourne Hotel. I went by myself, I got the champagne. The staff was incredibly friendly and accommodating. The Shelbourne likes to theme their Afternoon Tea's and I was in time to experience the tail end of their garden theme, exquisite floral cakes and pastries were the highlight.
Where to drink
This might seem obvious, but chances are if you know nothing about Dublin you still know that you should probably grab a drink in Temple Bar. We didn’t… it was a long day, which started with a beer at the Guiness store house and we just weren't up for the craziness and the tourists. We decided to check out Hairy Lemon instead. Claiming to be Dublin's trendiness pub, its a maze of crazy rooms and memorabilia and definitely worth a visit and a pint.
What to see
Like any old city Dublin has layers of history and culture to take advantage of. The Long Room at Trinity College, which is part of the Book of Kells exhibit and a book lovers dream. The State Apartments at Dublin castle, if you like seeing how the other half lived while learning a bit about Irelands history and political past. My favorite, the National Museum of Natural History, two floors of just about every animal you can think of and some that you didn't even know existed as the first floor is comprised of native species current and past. We also went to the Guinness Store house at St. James Gate. It is a pretty impressive showing even if it is a little crowded, I highly suggest buying tickets online. What really makes the whole trip worth it is the view, bypass all of the other bars and make your way to the top floor for your free pint. The sky bar has a 360 degree view that is easily the best in the city.
This was only the tip of the iceberg in Dublin and I can't wait to go back and see more!
My darling husband planned a weekend in Napa for me for my birthday! Which is about time, because I have lived in the Bay Area for almost five years now and never been (ok I was pregnant for a large chunk of that time... but still, travesty). Of course, these things never go to plan and there was more than a little panic when our childcare fell through a week before our trip. Like crazy people we decided to do it anyway, babies and all, and treat it like a test-drive now that we have to travel with two kids. I think we all had a great time, even with the sleep deprivation and a surprise bit of projectile vomiting. If you have to take kids with you to Napa (it can be done, but I wouldn't do it if I didn't have to) then read on for some child-friendly options.
We stayed at the Harvest Inn in St. Helena, and we loved it. This is a great choice if you’re traveling with kids, it was very child friendly and there were a lot of families there. That being said, it didn't feel over-run. We really loved how quiet and secluded the grounds were (I’m positive my husband chose this place because he read a review that referred to it as shire-like). The kids loved the coy pond, the restaurant's garden complete with apiary, and some of the more whimsical sculptures that are scattered around the property. The restaurant, Harvest Table was fantastic, I would recommend eating there even if you aren't staying there. I had the best whiskey cocktail, it’s called the Highlander and you should get one, or three… Definitely make reservations if you want to eat in the dining room, but the bar is comfortable for small plates and appetizers.
This is not the newest or fanciest place you could stay, but it was comfortable, quiet and close to most wineries. There is also a Dean & Deluca within stumbling distance for all of your over-priced but so very pretty culinary needs.
Since we didn't want to deal with grumpy babies and hang-overs we didn't hit the wineries as hard as we might have done. A lot of the wineries are 21 and over and not child friendly, so if you’re traveling with the kiddies, check that out first. We were sort of rolling with the punches so I found a winery on a kid friendly list that looked like we all might enjoy it. We ended up going to Castello Di Amorosa, a replica of a medieval Italian castle complete with turrets and moat. The tastings are done at the bar, but they have a family tasting room with tables for the kids to color at and fancy grape juice. There are also some goats and sheep paddocked outside the exit that you can look at on your way out.
The other winery I would highly recommend was Duckhorn, we were already big fans of the wine, but the winery tasting was amazing. This is by appointment only, but that just means the experience is way more relaxed. Tastings are done at private tables, and they also serve small bites. There were a bunch of babies and small children there as well. Even without the fantastic wines, this is worth it just to sit on their beautiful patio.
I couldn't resist hitting up Yountville on our way out of town. While we still haven't managed to get that reservation at The French Laundry (hahahahaha) and I chickened out of taking the babies into Bouchon Bistro, we did stand in line at Bouchon Bakery for Macrons and it was so worth it.
While I wouldn't take the kids with us the next time we go to Napa, I would definitely say that its doable. So if you're vacationing in the region with your kids, or you're like us and your childcare falls through, don't panic! It can be done.