Friday, July 24, 2015

A New Begining

I haven't posted here in a few weeks because I have been busy working on my new project. A new blog called The Spotted Bulldog, named after my sweet girl Lola - because her skin is covered in black spots even though she has white fur.
I am putting travel mi amor to rest since traveling and vacation taking will no longer be something we can do whenever we want and probably wont be happening as often. I noticed that I wanted to post more about non-traveling things and most of my traveling content came from other articles I would read.

I hope you enjoy my new blog about motherhood, babies, some diy, travel and life in general. So head on over to The Spotted Bulldog and add it to your reader list!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Where Are You Going in 2015?

Do you have plans to visit some of the Top 20 tourist destinations this year? We're on a traveling break until our little one get a bit bigger. Until then we'll be earning and saving our rewards points! Below is a list of the Top 20 Destination Cites for 2015:

1 - London
2 - Bangkok
3 - Paris
4 - Dubai
5 - Istanbul
7 - Singapore
8 - Kuala Lumpur
9 - Seoul
10 - Hong Kong
11 - Tokyo
12 - Barcelona
13 - Amsterdam
14 - Rome
15 - Milan
16 - Taipei
17 - Shanghai
18 - Vienna
19 - Prague
20 - Los Angeles

I have been to 9 out of the 20. 
How many have you been to?

Monday, June 29, 2015

Motherhood Monday ~ Things Not to Say to a Pregnant Woman

As you can see, I am trying to get back into the swing of things on this little blog of mine and get back to posting 3 times a week. This post was originally written for April 20th but that is the morning I went into labor so it never got posted. I didn't want the post to go to waste so here are a few things not to say to a pregnant woman:

You can google and find endless lists of things not to say to pregnant woman but the truth is someone is going to say something that is still going to offend you...even if its just a little. Here are a few I have I heard:

1 - How many do you have in there?! - I have one, yes one and I know I am HUGE! I don't need you to point it out for me.

2 - You look miserable. - Awe, thank you! You're so sweet! I know I look tired, again, you don't need to point that out.

3 - How much weight have you put on? - Jesus, are you eff-ing kidding me with that question?!?

I know I look different then my normal size 4/6 self, you don't need to point that out to me. I also know I look like I have beach ball under shirt, you SO don't need to point that out to me too. And I'm not sure what is worse, when these comments come from people you know or complete strangers. 

The truth is, is that everyone looks different and everyone's pregnancy is going to look and be different. Just google 35 weeks pregnant and see all the different sizes women can be. 

{Ladies, we all look great!; Source: Google: 35 weeks pregnant}

Friday, June 26, 2015

Free Homes in Italy

A lot of people dream of retiring to Italy. And this can become a reality if you're up for an adventure! The town of Gangi, Sicily is giving away free homes/buildings to replace its vanishing population. Gangi also has an amazing backdrop, Mt. Etna!

{Copywrite Alamy, source}
Of course there is a catch, and you can read about it here on Yahoo! Travel. But if you are up for some legal fees, paperwork and renovations that have to be complete in less than 3 years then I think you have found your ticket to owning some property in Italy!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

5 Travel Essentials

Yahoo! Travel recently asked 5 travel experts what was the one item they never travel without. They were:

1 - A book
2 - Digital luggage scale
3 - Laptop
4 - Tumi roller bag
5 - Headphones

I agree with 3 out of the 5 for my personal preferences. Since the list was a total of 5 items here are my 5 items I can  never travel without (in no particular order):

1 - My Tumi roller bag
2 - Microsoft Surface (mini laptop)
3 - Camera
4 - Headphones
5 - Phone

{love my Tumi luggage!}
What are some items you can never travel without?

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

10 Attractions You Can Count On

If you are on a schedule here are some sights that you can set your clock to. I have been to two fo them (and hope to visit more in the future). See Travel Channel's original article here

In the heart of Munich, pedestrian traffic in the bustling Marienplatz square stands still at 11 a.m. as eager tourists crane their necks to glimpse the historic Glockenspiel, which sits atop the Neues Rathaus, or “New Town Hall.” The charming, 2-level clock’s 43 bells and 32 life-size figurines re-enact 16th-century scenes, including knights jousting and dancing the Schäfflertanz. The performance lasts about 12 minutes.

When to Catch It: 11 a.m., noon and 5 p.m. daily, March through October

{from my trip to Germany in 2010}

Changing of the Guard
Tourists assemble in front of Buckingham Palace to see the red-coated soldiers bark orders and march in a 45-minute ceremony in this quintessentially British display of pomp and pageantry.

When to Catch It: The guard begins assembling daily at 11:15 a.m., but get there earlier to secure a decent spot. Occasionally canceled because of heavy rainfall. 

Dubai Fountain
Set against the great Burj Khalifa Lake, a mesmerizing series of lights and graceful water jets makes up the great Dubai Fountain. At night, it shines so brightly that it can be seen from space.

When to Catch It: 1 and 1:30 p.m. daily — except Friday, when it starts at 1:30 and 2 p.m. — as well as every half-hour from 6 to 11 p.m. nightly

Old Faithful
Yellowstone is home to the majority of the world’s preserved geysers, in large part because it was America’s first national park, established in 1872. Old Faithful’s eruptions aren’t the largest or the most frequent, but true to its name, they are the most consistent — shooting 8,000 gallons of water up to 180 feet into the air about every 90 minutes.

When to Catch It: You can see crowds gathering on the benches and predicted geyser eruption times (plus or minus 10 minutes) on the National Park Service’s Old Faithful live cam.

Symphony of Lights, Hong Kong
The Symphony of Lights laser show claims the entire spectacular Hong Kong skyline as its backdrop. Divided into 5 parts, the 13-minute show builds excitement slowly, until the tops of the skyscrapers erupt with radiance. While tickets to the world’s largest light show are free it may worth the steep cocktail prices at a roof top bar to view the show.

When to Catch It: 8 p.m. nightly. Suspended in cases of severe weather.

Bridge Bats, Austin
During the summer 1.5 million bats emerge from underneath Congress Avenue Bridge in downtown Austin. Hundreds of people gather to witness the world’s largest urban bat colony. The Mexican free-tailed bats migrate each spring from central Mexico and devour up to 20,000 pounds of insects on these nightly flights. 

When to Catch It: Crowds converge around dusk most summer nights.

Disneyland Forever Fireworks, Anaheim, CA
This year the fireworks display will join a new 1.5-million-light Paint the Night parade and World of Color water show as part of the Diamond Jubilee celebration starting May 22.

When to Catch It:  9:30 p.m. nightly

Eiffel Tower Sparkles, Paris
In 1999 20,000 flashing lights were installed for its millennial New Year’s Eve celebration. Fifteen years later, those same lights make the tower sparkle for 5 minutes at the top of every hour.

When to Catch It: Every hour from sundown until 1 a.m. 

How many of these attractions have you been to? 

Monday, June 1, 2015

Motherhood Monday

Well its another Monday so that means time for a post about being a mom :D I cant decide if I want to call Monday's post 'Mommy Monday' or 'Motherhood Monday' what do you think?

Today I want to talk about breastfeeding. The hospital I delivered at is VERY pro breastfeeding - upon delivery your are even assigned a lactation specialist! They also offer a class on breastfeeding, a support group and they have a lactation store where you can buy all sorts of fun things that have to do with boobs! (Sorry, my immature self needed to say boob!)

I'm not going to get into my thoughts and opinions on breastfeeding but I will offer some tips and things that I like:

Nursing Bras/Tops - I have some tank tops from Bravado! and I love them. Cake is also a great brand and I have a few from them (I also have their PJs). I also bought some tops from Destination Maternity.

Pumps/Pumping Equipment - I selected the Medela pump from my insurance and it has worked out great. Medela is also the brand my hospital uses.

Having a hands free pumping bra is REALLY helpful and a must! Mine is Simple Wishes and the best part is its one size fits all.

Nursing pad are another item you'll need to buy. When I bought my first box I went with the store brand, don't do this. Get the brands that are known for breastfeeding: Lansinoh and Medela (they are much softer and designed better).

Supplements - Some times you may need a little help in keeping your supply up. I was pointed to these supplements: Fenugreek and Malunggay. I also tried the Milky drink you can buy at Destination Maternity but it was pretty nasty tasting.

Have a great Monday - I am off to take care of the little bambina!

Sunday, May 31, 2015


Every now and then I join a travel blogging link-up and this month it is about souvenirs. I love souvenirs and I love buying things on my travels. I just like being able to say, "I got that in ... " 

When I was younger I use to collect key chains and tee shirts, my mom collects refrigerator magnets. But on my third trip to Europe is when I started my collections. From my travels I collect Christmas ornaments and art work. I love both of these because they aren't just little trinket that sits around. The artwork is hung and tells a story of where we have been and the ornaments decorate our tree and remind us of the adventures we have been on (and they only come out once a year; my husband hates clutter so this is a bonus). 

{Just some of my many ornaments}

{Just some of our art collection}

What are some things you collect from your travels?

Monday, May 4, 2015

Mommy Monday ~ Something New

You may have noticed my lack of posts and MIA status from the blog the past two weeks. Well I have good reason, my little bundle of joy decided to arrive a full 5 weeks early! 

I went into labor in the early hours of Monday, April 20th and within 24 hours my little girl was in my arms. Since she was 5 weeks early we only spent a little time together before the nurses took her to the NICU. After a week in the NICU where she learned to eat, regulate her temperature and get some treatment for jaundice she was able to join us at home. Being home for two nights without her was pretty emotional and something I may blog about later (I know other moms and families have it much worse and we hope all those little ones make it home soon!). 

I am going to take a break from the blog for a while and spend time with my sweet angel.

In the meantime I hope you are out there having amazing adventures whether it be at home or in a new destination. I am home loving my new adventure into motherhood.

Friday, April 17, 2015

National Park Week 2015

This week is National Park Week here in the States. And what better way to celebrate than to visit one for free! This weekend, April 18th and 19th all National Parks are free!

The US has 59 National Parks, hopefully one is near you!

{Acadia, Source}
I have been to a few, including: Acadia (Maine), Carlsbad Caverns (New Mexico), Haleakala (Hawaii), Hawaii Volcanoes (Hawaii), Hot Springs (Arkansas), and Redwood (California). I may have been to a few others and don't remember :) Here is a full list.

{Hawaii Volcanoes}

{Haleakala, Summit District}

{Haleakala, Kipahulu District}

Have you visited any National Parks?

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Points In the Bank

If you are a collector of rewards points or frequent flyer miles then you know the feeling of when those bonus points hit your account. It's a great rush and maybe it reinvigorates you to start collecting more.
IHG (Holiday Inn brand) usually offers about 60,000 points if you sign up for their credit card. Right now you get an extra 10,000 points (= 70,000) and then if you were targeted, which I was, you were offered 80,000 points if you spend $2,000 in 3 months. 80,000 was just too good for me to turn down.
Now this card has some bonuses that our trusty United card does not. It offers 2x the points for gas, groceries and restaurants and only costs $65 annually. United only offers 2x the points when you book airfare on their website and its $95 annually. For us, since we take a minimum one trip a year the $95 is worth it just to get the priority boarding and free checked bag.
Also, I didn't just go and get the IHG card because of the bonus; there is a plan to us those points. We are hoping to take a trip, just the two of us, to Yellowstone National Park sometime next year and there is a Holiday Inn on the outskirts. And we're hoping to take baby girl on her first beach trip to Florida at the end of the summer next year. We will be taking full advantage of these points for these two trips and hopefully we'll have enough by then where it will all be free!


Monday, April 13, 2015

Maternity Monday ~ Week 34

We have less than 6 weeks to go! Countdown is on!!!
Total weight gain: Creeping up to 40 pounds!
Stretch marks? Still don’t have any - Loving Tummy Rub Stretch Mark Oil (now using my travel size I bought for our vacation) by Mama Mio and Basq Advanced Stretch Mark Butter (now on my third tub).
Sleep: Some nights its good, some nights its bad
Miss Anything? Being able to put on my own socks. Yep, the belly is starting to get that big!
Movement: Seems like she is moving more and more. Maybe it's because she is getting bigger and I feel every little movement now. 
Food cravings/aversions: Same as the last update
Anything making you queasy or sick? Same as before
Labor Signs: Nothing that I know of...
Symptoms: My lower legs have started to swell! I try and keep my feet propped up as much as possible. And I am getting "pregnancy" brain real bad! So much so that I made my chalk board sign, took pictures, then realized I missed spelled one of the words...
Belly Button in or out? In
Mood: It's okay, I just slowly move around work and the house.
Looking forward to: Working out again!

Friday, April 10, 2015

Spring Getaways Around the U.S.

Wanting to travel somewhere for Spring but don’t know where? Yahoo! Travel has come up with a great list of suggestions!

Charleston, South Carolina
I have never been to “the South” so I would love to visit Charleston or Savannah, Georgia

Orlando, Florida
Pretty sure you can find something to do in this magical city; perhaps a theme park ;P

Washington, D.C. 
I have to see the cherry blossoms some day!
Los Angeles, California 
Great time to check out LA’s new tourist campaign, “Culture L.A.”

Holland, Michigan
Their annual Tulip Time looks just beautiful!
{"Holland MI Tulips 01" by BazookaJoe at en.wikipedia; Source}
Steamboat Springs, Colorado
Hurry if you want to catch some snow skiing!

San Diego, California
Great weather, beaches and an awesome zoo! Can’t go wrong with this Spring time destination!

Shenandoah National Park, Virginia
Campgrounds open in April
Sanibel Island, Florida 
Seashell searching can be done year round!

Monday, April 6, 2015

Maternity Monday

Long before we were expecting I had an idea to make a photo album of all the things my husband and I did before we had a baby. That way our child can look back and see all the fun adventures we had and hopefully inspire them to have their own adventures one day.

I titled this album Before You Were Born. So far it's about 56 pages and it has us graduating college, when and where we met, our engagement and wedding pictures, pictures of our fur babies and of course pictures from our travels. I am also including the weekly update pictures, ultrasounds and the baby shower.

Even though I love to scrapbook, it is so time consuming and I have decided to use companies like Shutterfly to create any sort of photo albums for now on. Below is a collage of some of the pages in this album.

7 more weeks and counting!!!!

Friday, April 3, 2015

Travel RoundUp

Happy Friday and Happy Easter Weekend! I am just so happy to have the day and sleep in 3 days in a row! Here are some interesting articles going around the travel world right now:

1 - This American man spent a year living in Airbnb rentals in Hong Kong. Some were nice, others were...very, very tiny!

{Photo: Kevin Lynch, Source}
2 - Virgin Atlantic is now going to offer mood lighting! Looks pretty cool!

{Photo: Virgin Atlantic, Source}
3 - A new service is being offered to travelers that want great pictures but hate asking strangers and ending up with a so-so picture. You can now hire professionals to follow you around and take your pictures. Maybe someone will mistake you for a famous person?!

{some of our not so great pictures...but hey, we look good}
4 - Did you know you could bring these 11 weird items on a plane? I knew of a few of them. 

5 - Take a look at this massive sing ray in Thailand that will be on John Corwin's show soon...
Hope you have a great weekend!!!!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Movies that Inspire Travel

I watched a few really good movies this weekend and both were set in Europe!

Kidnapping Mr. Heineken
This movie is set in Amsterdam and its based on the true story of when four friends decided to kidnap millionaire and beer mogul Alfred Heineken.  

I thought the movie was pretty good and the acting was great. 


The Hundred-Foot Journey
This cute movie is about an Indian family that moves to a tiny town in France and opens a traditional Indian food restaurant, one hundred feet away from a famous French restaurant. 

This movie is really cute and funny and has a great message! 

What movies inspire you to travel?

Monday, March 30, 2015

Maternity Monday ~ Week 32

Less than 8 weeks left! We are getting close! And I totally cheated on the chalk board this week and edited it on the computer...probably how I am going to do it here on out :)

Total weight gain: Creeping up to 40 pounds!
Stretch marks? Still don’t have any - Loving Tummy Rub Stretch Mark Oil by Mama Mio and Basq Advanced Stretch Mark Butter (now on my third tub).
Sleep: I am actually having some nights where I'm only waking up once to pee…those nights are nice!
Miss Anything? I miss being able to lay down on my stomach and I miss being able to get on the floor and play with my pups.
Movement: Seems like she is moving more and more. Maybe it's because she is getting bigger and I feel every little movement now. 
Food cravings/aversions: Same as the last update
Anything making you queasy or sick? Just when you thing you've entered the home stretch - got sick again on March 21 :(
Labor Signs: Not that I know of. They keep saying, "Oh, you'll know!" But will I? How do I know it's not just gas?
Symptoms: Even though my doctor says I'm pretty low maintenance I have still had pretty much every symptom under the sun: nausea, morning sickness, dry skin, bloody noses (from the dry skin), pregnancy rash (I don’t think it was PUPPPS because it was only there for about 2 weeks), acid reflux, my feet are starting to swell, and a slew of other normal symptoms that the books will tell you you might get.
Belly Button in or out? In
Mood: It's okay, I just slowly move around work and the house.
Looking forward to: Not having to take so many pills - I take 5 per night to combat some of my pregnancy symptoms.

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