Tag: Travel

Hello From Tranquility Bay

Greetings from the sunny Florida Keys! We’re here at the Tranquility Bay Resort in Marathon. The weather is dreamy and the resort is beautiful.

Our travel day went as smoothly as it possibly could – thank goodness! I think all the planning + a little luck pulled us through. I am SO GLAD we decided to drive to Richmond for the direct flight. While it’s nice to have to Cville airport only 15 minutes from home, just having one flight made the whole day so much easier. I’m really glad we decided to check our stroller because we didn’t need it at the airport at all (in fact, it would have made things more complicated).

And all of our gear was great – even with a really long walk to the rental car area.

The drive from Miami to Marathon went well too. We stopped once to nurse and have lunch – at the appropriately-named-for-UVA-Wahoo-fans!

I had a beer with lunch (!), coconut shrimp and a salad.

Choosing A Spring Break Resort

When we started planning this trip (before Birchie was even born!) I had travel with two kids in mind when I began my search for the perfect resort. I enlisted the help of our travel agent, Rhonda, who helped us book our St. Lucia trip a few years ago and who assisted my parents with several trips, including a recent Caribbean cruise. If you need to make any travel plans, cruises in particular, she makes everything so easy. She booked our flights, rental car, travel insurance (flu season..) and resort of course. It’s no charge to us!

Our must-haves:

-Within the United States (I didn’t want to travel internationally with Birch so young)

-Nonstop flight from Richmond

-As warm and tropical as possible

-A walk-out balcony/porch so that while Birch naps the parent-in-charge doesn’t have to sit in a dark hotel room

-A beach, restaurants and pools super close by

-Laundry facilities

-Beautiful views

I looked at SO many different Florida resorts to find one that fit everything on our list. We considered renting a house, Air B&B, and other bigger-chain resorts, but none of them had that tropical feel that I wanted with all the conveniences we’d want with kids of two very different ages.

The Top Three Resorts we considered were:

Tranquility Bay – small-ish, gorgeous homes and views, tropical feel

Hawks Cay – more relaxed, much larger, more things for kids to do, less expensive, not as fancy

Sunset Key Cottages – intimate, upscale and very nice, but most expensive by far

We ultimately felt Tranquility Bay checked the most boxes. I will report back at the end of this week on how we liked it, and hope to do a more formal review of the resort when our week is done. (We are here on our own dime, and they don’t know who I am – FYI. Not sponsored!)

Our Beachfront Cottage

As I mentioned my goal was to be able to be in our room/house while Birch napped and still be able to see Mazen play and/or be the parent playing with him and easily yell back to the porch “Is Birch awake?” Or “Come back to nurse!” The walk-out porches on this resort were the greatest selling point. (Note: We are actually switching houses today to be closer to the swimming beach.)

Upstairs we have two bedrooms, a king for us and a twin room for Mazen. The rooms are tiny, especially with a crib in the room, but since we want to be outside as much as possible it’s not a huge deal.

Our First Day

When we got to Marathon we first hit up Publix for groceries, diapers, and things. We have a full kitchen so we plan to eat breakfast and some lunches in our house and dinners out.

The Beach

The beach has no waves since we’re bay-side, which is great for kids. The water was a little cold for me, but the boys loved it.

The Pool

The pool area is really nice! There are lots of other kids, and we’re hoping Mazen will make some friends today. There is also an adult pool. I probably won’t get to visit that once – LOL.

This was B’s first time in anything other than a bathtub! He seemed to love it <3

We took showers and headed across the beach to the TJ’s Tiki Bar for a casual dinner.

Casual it was. We were not too impressed with the food, but it was so convenient to eat right on the beach.

I’ll be back in a few days to share more of our adventures!

The post Hello From Tranquility Bay appeared first on Kath Eats Real Food.

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Flying South With Two Kids

We are SO EXCITED to be heading to the Florida Keys for Spring Break next week! We planned this trip a year ago and we’ve been counting down the days all winter. Ever since we knew we’d be having a baby, I’ve been telling Thomas every time we took a trip and things felt a little chaotic: “Just wait until we’re flying as a family of four!” And here we are. Honestly I’m quite anxious about all the logistics, and I’m trying to get as organized as possible. I’ve been packing little by little and making lists all week.

We’re flying out of Richmond so that we could get a nonstop flight, so that does make things so much easier than running through an airport to make a connection (I’m looking at you CHARLOTTE Terminal E! Also, Please CHO airport, we need just one nonstop flight to somewhere warm in the winter!) Our flight leaves first thing in the morning, which means getting up at 3am and making the 1.5 hour drive to Richmond. Mazen will be fine. I’m crossing my fingers Birch doesn’t cry the whole time.

My Giant Car Seat Backpack

I bought a new car seat bag (my old one was MIA!) to hold Birch’s Mesa and crossed my fingers the Lotus crib we bought would fit in there too. IT DID! The reason we are bringing the Lotus crib is that the resort does not offer cribs and renting a pack and play would cost over $100. It was cheaper just to bring our own. If it did not fit, our back up plan was to wear the crib on our back through security. Or just pay to check it.

I love the new car seat bag, and it’s a lot better than the one I loaned out and lost, so it was a good purchase. The back pack feature will be nice when we have to carry this from baggage claim to the rental car. Or maybe we can get a push cart… it’s really heavy!

Here is our plan for the gear once we get to the airport:

Baggage check

  1. (free) Uppababy Mesa car seat + Lotus travel crib in the car seat bag
  2. (free) Mazen’s booster loose because it’s a cheapie Graco and I don’t care if it gets scuffed. And it won’t fit in the car seat bag!
  3. (free) Uppababy Cruz Stroller in the branded bag that guarantees its protection
  4. ($25) one giant suitcase to hold clothes for Thomas, me and Birch. Bringing laundry detergent because our accommodations have a washer/dryer (a dealbreaker on why I chose this resort – I can’t wait to tell you all about it!) I really hope our one giant suitcase is not over the weight limit. We’re going to buy things like diapers, wipes, and sunscreen when we arrive. At least we just need warm weather clothing!

Carry On

  1. Me: Birch in the Boba carrier on the front and backpack with diaper bag items on the back.
  2. Mazen: Walking with his rolling suitcase. Possibly wearing a backpack too.
  3. Thomas: Backpack with all of our carry-on valuables and things we need in flight.

I’ll have Thomas wear Birch on the way home!

Stroller Thoughts

I considered bringing the stroller through to the gate along with its travel bag and attempt to gate check it so we can put some things underneath and not have to wear/carry everything. American Airlines has a 20 pound stroller limit, and the Cruz + bag is too heavy, BUT lots of people online said they were able to gate check it just fine. If we can get it through security then worst case they would just put it to baggage claim, which is totally fine.

The main reason I decided to check it is so we can have it perfectly packed before we leave our house and not have to worry about taking it apart and stuffing it into the bag last minute at the gate (at 6am…) Plus it’s free to check so there is no con to checking it.

We could bring an umbrella stroller instead, but I don’t think Birch is quite sitting up well enough for one, and we’d really like to have the Cruz during our trip in Florida.


And now that I’m formally mentioning the Lotus crib, we love it!! Birch has been sleeping in it in our room and he’s been sleeping well! It’s so much softer and cozier than our Graco pack and play. It’s REALLY easy and fast to set up. And it’s so much more lightweight than the Graco, which we would not have attempted to fly with. I also love that the Lotus can be worn as a backpack in case we need to do that at the airport, or simply carrying it from car to hotel.

I decided the cost was worth it because we’ll be doing a good amount of traveling in the next year, and this is something he will be using well into his toddler years. It came highly recommended by my sister, and after trying it at her house I was sold. I bought both the matching cotton sheet and the plush quilted sheet for when he’s older.

Birch got too big for his bassinest but he’s still waking up too much to sleep downstairs to his nursery all night, so this is our crib solution for the short term. I have so much to share on the sleep front, but I’m kind of waiting for us to solve our issues so I can share how it all went down. The short story is that the perfect storm of sleep regression hit us at 4 months and we’re still figuring out how to sleep again. We also LOVE the Kyte sleep sack that my sister gifted us! It’s our favorite one. So soft and easy to zip.

Part of the reason he outgrew his bassinet is because he is on the move! Rolling both ways, doing 180 degree turns. Look at him move across the blanket from one side to the other!

Please share your travel tips!! What am I forgetting?

The post Flying South With Two Kids appeared first on Kath Eats Real Food.

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Food, Flowers, and Photography – Traveling Around India

This is just a quick post to highlight some of the videos and photos I posted related to my recent India trip. Its for anyone who missed them as I was traveling, or anyone wanting to catch some glimpses of what traveling around India might be like! I posted a bunch to my Instagram account, and set up and India collection of video clips (which you can see on your phone) as well. This was the second time I’ve been to Delhi (and then Rajasthan), and it was as inspiring as the first. It was rickshaws and thali plates and rich, thick garlands of roses and marigolds. It was long dusty walks, faded floral fabrics, and market baskets filled with ladyfingers and bright green desert berries. The palaces! The forts! The traffic! It was deafening horns, and morning chanting, and gin and tonics, and getting sick, and then getting better. It was old trains, and desert blooms that blind you (literally), and kids in lots of denim with huge smiles, phones in hand for selfies.

To see the videos – if you’re looking at my Instagram profile on your phone, you should see the INDIA collection. Beyond that, you can click on the location tags and hashtags to see where I am, or get more info. It looks like this:

Food, Flowers, and Photography - Traveling Around India

I also posted a good number of photos, but they’ll get pushed down my feed over time. In the short term, look for them here:

Food, Flowers, and Photography - Traveling Around India

Food, Flowers, and Photography - Traveling Around India

If you’re curious about how I ended up in Rajasthan for the second time in five years, here’s the story. Those of you who have been longtime readers know I like to take a class or workshop every year or so – whatever inspires me, or whatever I want to dive a little deeper into. Over the years I’ve done color photo printing classes, letterpress intensives, most of the G.I.A. labs – it all somehow weaves itself into my work at one point or another. I’d been looking for a serendipitous sign to pull me back to Rajasthan, and when I got an email from these two legends / superstars / favorite people, saying they were teaching a workshop in there. Exactly! I was in. This lady ended up being my roommate (leap of faith!), we had a blast, and are already scheming the next adventure. Maybe to the South next time?

I hope you enjoy the photos, there are so many more I haven’t had a change to process yet. I shot a lot of portraits on this trip, and might wrangle them into a collection of some sort. Long way of saying, more to come.

Continue reading Food, Flowers, and Photography – Traveling Around India on 101 Cookbooks

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Savory Do-It-Yourself Power Bars

Those of you who have been readers for a stretch know how much I love a homemade travel snack. I went on an intense 48 hour sourcing trip last week and posted a photo to Instagram of the Do-It-Yourself Power Bars I made to take with me. They were based on the recipe I published years ago in Super Natural Cooking (2007! Not sure how ten years passed that fast….laugh/cry), the main difference here was that I made these more savory. I packed them full of toasted walnuts, crumbled kale chips, and oil-cured olives. They we’re fantastic, and I can actually imagine little architectural cubes of them being right at home on a cheese plate. They’re the perfect plane snack, and were fantastically resilient after a long day wrapped in parchment paper in my purse. The saffron and chile flakes were a flavor bonus, but you could substitute whatever spice blend you’re inspired by at the moment, and build the bars around that…

I posted the recipe here

Savory DIY Power Bars

Savory DIY Power Bars

Continue reading Savory Do-It-Yourself Power Bars on 101 Cookbooks

At the Studio: Dark Chocolate Energy Bites

A lot of you seemed enthusiastic about the No-Bake Energy Bars I posted to the QUITOKEETO site a few weeks back. Nut butter, toasted oats, chocolate – they’re dead simple to make, and key when I need a late afternoon energy boost, or morning boost, or, whenever, really. Because those were so popular, I thought I’d share another favorite – Dark Chocolate Energy Bites. I made these for our studio snack this week, and took a little box of the extras in my purse on our quick road trip to Los Angeles last week. The jist: good-quality dark chocolate crammed with as much good stuff as it can hold. In this case I pack the little bars with lots of chopped nuts, seeds, and dried fruit. Then I sprinkle them with things like bee or fennel pollen, crushed rose petals, sea salt, and more nuts and seeds to give them a little extra nutritional boost, and to bump up the pretty. Make a batch, wrap them in gold foil candy paper, or parchment, and place in a drawer – you’re set for the month. I used a mix of almonds, pecans, walnuts, and hazelnuts, and dried nectarines here. But, as you can imagine, the recipe is very flexible – dates, raisins, dried blueberries, all make good substitutions. Use great quality dark chocolate – 70% or higher if possible.<<<< I posted the recipe here >>>>.

Dark Chocolate Energy Bites
Dark Chocolate Energy Bites
Dark Chocolate Energy Bites

Continue reading At the Studio: Dark Chocolate Energy Bites on 101 Cookbooks

Super Onigiri

Onigiri are so cute! I make these little on-the-go rice balls all the time with leftover rice, and whatever fillings and seasonings are convenient and on hand. You can make them any shape you like, sometimes I’ll use damp (lightly salted) hands, other times press them into a mold, for more precision shaping. I think the key is to avoid fussing, or trying to make them too perfect. I posted a photo of these super-onigiri to Instagram the other day – without the recipe. Apologies! I’ll try to make good here. These are made with leftover sprouted brown rice and cooked mung beans. They’re filled with a bit of avocado, and I made a quick almond-butter + miso slather that I hit with the broiler for a quick flash. I only did little nori strips as wrappers because I was eating them at home, but I’d do a full wrap if I’m taking them for lunch or travel. You can do either.

Super Onigiri RecipeSuper Onigiri RecipeSuper Onigiri Recipe

Continue reading Super Onigiri on 101 Cookbooks

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