Scarves: My Favorite Travel Accessory

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When I travel, I am always standing in front of my small jewelry box trying to decide what to bring with me. I have a couple of necklaces that I love to wear with different things but do I want to travel with them? I am not a big accessory gal but I do have a couple of pieces I love. One necklace is worth more in sentimental value than monetary value and I would be distraught if I lost it or if it was stolen. Another necklace is hard to keep from tangling even in a jewelry pouch. What about the bracelet that my husband bought for me for the last holiday? Do I wear it all? Do I put it in my luggage and hope for the best? I usually end up leaving it safely at home in my jewelry box but I always feel like I am missing something when getting ready to explore a city that is new to me.

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I have found the solution to this travel accessory problem. If you are a visitor to this site, you know that recently I became an ambassador for Aventura Clothing. While I was shopping, I decided to add a couple of spring scarves to my order. Since moving to Colorado, I have fallen in love with winter scarves. My sister has knit me some pretty gorgeous scarves that I wear on a daily basis. Why not give a spring scarf a try?

 

 


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I may or may not have a scarf problem.



When the scarves arrived, I fell in love with them immediately. They are soft and lightweight making them perfect for spring and summer in Colorado. I probably wore one to work at least twice a week.

When it came time to pack for my next trip, I threw several of the scarves in my suitcase. They don’t take up too much room and I don’t have to worry about the sentimental value if they get lost. And at an average price of $30, I can worry less about the loss of the scarf than I would about the loss of some of my jewelry. The scarves are lightweight so they don’t make me feel like I am suffocating in a warm climate. On the other hand, they still provide some warmth when moving from the warm outdoor weather inside to the air conditioned buildings.

What is your favorite travel accessory?

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*In exchange for a couple of outfits to review and some discounts, I share some of my favorite things about Aventura Clothing. This is easy for me because I was a huge fan of the line before I was asked to be an ambassador. As you know, I only share things on this site that I love and use already or do continue paying for myself.

It’s as Easy as Riding a Bike

“It’s as easy as riding a bike,” she said.

We had spent the last twenty minutes strolling from the streets of the Old Market in Omaha, Nebraska to the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge.  The plan was to walk across the bridge so that we could stand in two states at once. The bridge crosses the Missouri River and connects Omaha, Nebraska to Council Bluffs, Iowa. Smack dab in the middle of the Missouri River is the state line and it is celebrated by a plaque that highlights this line on the bridge. We were about to arrive at the foot of the bridge when my sister was distracted by a B Cycle station.

The B Cycle station is a bike sharing system. You pay to rent a bike and then you can return it within your allotted time to any station in town that has open spots. Marissa immediately tried to lure me into a bike ride back to the Old Market.

“Absolutely not,” I shrieked, “that is not going to happen.”

“Why not? Come on! It’s as easy as riding a bike,” she said.

As I tried to distract her with the excitement of standing in two states at once, I was thinking about the last time I rode a bike.

I had let my kids and husband push me into purchasing a beach cruiser and when we got it home, it was time to try it out. I hated every minute of it. It had been years since I had ridden a bike and I weighed a lot less then. I was uncomfortable, self-conscious, and I was having a very difficult time keeping up with my family. That was the last time I rode that bike and it collected dust until we gave it away.

Sixty pounds lost and a couple of years later, I find myself staring at the B Cycle station.

The bright blue bikes were mocking me. You can’t do this. You still need to lose 40 pounds. You put five pounds on since going back to work. You haven’t kept up your workout regimen. You will surely die when you can’t pedal fast enough across the street.

All of these things and more played through my head the whole time that we walked along the bridge. A couple of pictures later and a stroll back down to the foot of the bridge and we were staring at those darn blue bikes again.

“We are going to do this,” said Marissa as she read the directions on the pay station.

It looked like there was no way around it so I took the bike out of the docking station.

Beep, beep, beep. That was the sound of the second bike waiting at the ready.

I hopped on with little grace and pedaled around the flat sidewalk for a few minutes. I stumbled just once while we did a couple of turns in a nearby parking lot and then we were off.

“I probably look ridiculous, don’t I?” I yelled up to her, still worried about how I looked.

“You look like somebody who is having a great time,” she said over her shoulder.

That gave me pause. I could feel the smile set on my face. She was right. I was having a good time. I didn’t need to worry about what anyone else around me was thinking. I still have forty more pounds that I would like lose. None of this mattered. I was enjoying myself.

As we pedaled down the sidewalks, we both giggled like school girls. We were those tourists laughing out loud as we tried to snap a selfie (oh, yes we did).

And I felt like a little piece of myself was set free.

6 Reasons To Visit (or move to) Omaha, Nebraska!

Hello from Marissa, Two Kids’ East Coast Editor! Did you see the announcement that I am moving to Omaha, Nebraska!?! If not, now you know! In about a month I will be digging up my roots in Newport, Rhode Island and relocating to the grand city of Omaha, Nebraska. Now you can call me the Midwest Editor!

Omaha? you ask. Grand?

I would be remiss if I did not admit that I had the same reaction. We tell people where we are relocating to and they have the same reaction…Oh. Omaha. Why?

In our case, we don’t have much of a choice.  My husband’s job sends him where he is needed. However, we have met several past residents of Omaha and they speak only amazing things of the city. I was eager to find out why people loved Omaha and what it had to offer. After a week there house hunting, I now know. The place is PHENOMENAL.

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Jen, of Two Kids, even flew out and joined me for a few days of my house hunting trip and we had a terrific time exploring. There is so much to see and do – a list of 6 things is not enough, but I will try nonetheless…

1. Omaha LOVES visitors.  Omahans are proud of their city and they are happy to share that pride with you.  The tourism center was closed the day we were down there, but I did learn from our new friends The Walking Tourists about the Nebraska Passport (really click that link, it’s a great resource). It’s an awesome guide to Nebraska, highlighting must see attractions, restaurants, etc. to visit while you’re in the state. Many of these places are local to Omaha. You receive a passport stamp each place you visit from the guide and you are able to keep track of your travels across the state. The passport can be picked up at any location that participates. I grabbed mine and received my first stamp at Hollywood Candy, definitely a must see! Visit Omaha is another resource you can’t miss out on.  Their site includes a plethora of things to do, calendars, and information.  Right now they are encouraging you to share pictures of your visits on Instagram using #omahaweekend.

Bob Kerry Pedestrian Bridge in Omha
2. The downtown area is bumpin’! Jen and I spent a day traveling all over downtown, in particular the Old Market area. People out shopping and dining made it clear how much they enjoy being a part of this community. The vibe is fantastic and you really feel the energy of the local artists and culinary masters. And because of reason #6, it is so easy to get anywhere without a major hassle.

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3. Food, Food, Food!  I ate my way through Omaha in my 7 days and didn’t have a meal I didn’t like. Everything from the Upstream Brewing Company (12 beer flight!) to Mexican food at La Mesa in Bellevue (terrific cheese dip) to Stokes Grill and Bar (fantastic steak tacos and we had a blast bantering with our servers) to Spin! Neapolitan Pizza in Papillion. Trip Advisor has a list of 1,157 restaurants to choose from and I am elated to try as many as possible.

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4. Attractions.  The pictures at the end of our trip were priceless.  Jen and I walked out to the Bob Kerry Pedestrian Bridge where we stood over the Missouri in both Nebraska and Iowa.  On a whim we rode B-Cycles from the bridge back to the Old Market. We spent a morning walking around the tranquil Lauritzen Gardens where they also happened to be holding a plant sale for a day.  I am saving the Omaha Zoo, apparently the best zoo in the world, for an outing when my whole family has relocated.

Omaha B Cycles and Bob Kerry Pedestrian Bridge
5. A smile around every turn. My realtor became my best friend (and not just because he was trying to sell me a house). I stopped in to get information from the school my kids will be attending in Plattsmouth and felt like I made new friends with all the administration (one of the principals lives in the neighborhood I’m buying in). Our servers at Stokes were helping me think of captions for my Instagram photos. We met up with fellow bloggers The Walking Tourists who shared a WEALTH of local information and places to see.  The ladies at my hotel front desk were telling me about different schools and areas to live in.  The cars on the freeway let me into their lane whenever I put my blinker on.  Seriously, every person I met in and around Omaha was so happy to just be plain nice and pleasant.  Okay, except for that one guy who honked behind me at that stop sign.  He must have just been traveling through town through. 🙂

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6. It really does only take 20 minutes to get anywhere in Omaha. I drove around all hours of the day and night during my house hunting and tourism adventures. Never did I encounter any traffic. The infrastructure of Omaha and its surrounding cities is fantastic. The roads are wide, easily traversable, new in many areas, and clean!  Parking downtown was no where near a problem.  As a matter of fact, the parking pass we paid only $5 for was good until 6am the next day!  That is unheard of in most cities I have lived around!  Not Omaha.

Nebraska Tourism Passport
The memories I made this week will last a lifetime, but more importantly, I have a whole new outlook on our move to the Omaha area. Our family is going to thrive there. I don’t know if three years will be enough time for us to enjoy all this city has to offer but I am going to strive to make it happen!  Stay tuned and follow my Nebraska traveling to see what happens next!

 

5 Things to do in Newport, Rhode Island

rhode islandOver spring break, we flew from Denver to Providence, Rhode Island. Marissa, our East Coast Editor, has been living in Newport for the past year and is getting ready to head to Omaha, Nebraska for their next tour. I not only needed some serious sister time but I also wanted to see a part of the US that I haven’t seen before. We made all sorts of tentative plans to take lots of day trips but in the end we just decided to stay close to Newport. There certainly was plenty to do. Despite the sometimes cold and rainy weather, we spent much of our days wandering around Newport, stopping in shops, and eating our weight in seafood.

Cliff Walk

Take a stroll on the Cliff Walk. The Cliff Walk is a public access walk that meanders along the shoreline and takes you past some of the beautiful mansions that Newport is known for. We walked the part of the Cliff Walk that is all paved but I understand that there are some parts that are a bit rocky or sandy. It was early spring and Newport had just gotten a lot of snow. The Cliff Walk doesn’t seem to really be maintained when it snows. Be aware that if it is snowy, there will not be a way for you to pass with a stroller. I also read that in the summertime, you need to be aware of poison ivy that grows along some areas of the path. The views are great and the walk is lovely at any time of the day.

Breakers Mansion

Tour a mansion. We chose to tour The Breakers, one of the most famous mansions in Newport, on the same day that we were strolling the Cliff Walk. You have to exit off the walk and enter through a paid entrance. The Breakers offers a great family tour that kept my kids interested the entire time. My son loved to spot the things that the tour guide (who is also the house!) asked us to find and my daughter was fascinated (and a bit disgusted) with what and where women and girls were allowed and not allowed to do and go. Another tour that was recommended by my sister is the Elms.

Castle Hill

Eat at the Castle Hill Inn. Oh, the views! So, for this adventure, I recommend leaving the kids at home. We were able to have a night away and though we did see one family dining, I don’t think I would take my kids. We also went during restaurant week and our meal was much less expensive than it would have been on a regular night. The Lawn offers drinks and small plates. Did I mention that the views are worth it?

Quahog

Eat a stuffie (a quahog). I did mention that we ate our weight in seafood right? The clam chowder, the lobster rolls…I could have eaten seafood the entire trip. On our last day, my sister bought some stuffies and made me try one. It is a clam, breadcrumbs, spices, bell pepper, and celery all stuffed into the clam shell and then baked. They were pretty tasty.

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Wander Thames Street and the Downtown Area. Stop in at the many shops and pick up a little souvenir. Some fudge will be the perfect treat after your long walk. We spent quite some time smelling soaps at the Newport Sea Foam Trading Co. Inpopnito is supposed to have near perfect popcorn but unfortunately we didn’t get to find out for ourselves because they weren’t open when we visited.

What is your favorite thing to do in Newport, RI?