Farmers Branch Family Travel Guide

My parents and I recently took Turner on a quick family getaway to Farmers Branch, Texas! I was so impressed with the area and loved that it is only a 2.5 hour drive from where I live in Northeast Texas. It’s also literally in the heart of the DFW Metroplex and only takes 15 minutes to get to downtown Dallas!

Where To Stay

There are many places to stay in the Farmers Branch area but we stayed at the DoubleTree by Hilton Dallas near the Galleria. We really liked that it was only minutes from restaurants, attractions, and shopping. It was quiet and clean plus the room was a nice size for the four of us. The hotel has a bar downstairs if you fancy a cocktail, an outdoor pool and Starbuck’s coffee on hand. I would definitely stay in this hotel again!

What to Do

On a hot summer day the best place to be is be in the water to cool off! We spent an afternoon at Frog Pond and there truly was something for every age group.

We spent our time in the kids area where there are smaller slides, water features and a bucket of water dumps every 10 minutes! I liked that the water was shallow and we could sit along the edge so Turner could play.

The other area of the park is geared toward older kids and adults. It has a few large waterslides that I contemplated going on! It also has a lazy river with floats and a lagoon pool. I really appreciated that there were plenty of lifeguards keeping everyone safe in both areas.

There were plenty of umbrellas and pavilions for shade plus chairs and picnic tables. They had concessions available and they were very affordable. You can also pay a small fee to bring in your own cooler! Overall, we really enjoyed our time at Frog Pond and would love to return sometime.

Another cool summer activity we did was visit the Dallas Aquarium! It was only 15 minutes from our hotel. We skipped through the first few floors pretty quickly in order to get to more of the sea life since Turner’s attention span is pretty short currently. It was fun to see all the different animals throughout the aquarium. Kids under 2 are free!

We went close to opening time and there were more people than I thought would be there at that time on a weekday. It still wasn’t overly crowded though. You could get around pretty easily even with a stroller.

There were other things we didn’t get a chance to do like catch a show at the local Firehouse Theater, visit the Rose Gardens, or check out all of the newly built Mustang Station. Other things to do within a 15 minute drive of Farmers Branch: Galleria Mall, Dallas Zoo, American Airlines Center, Perot Museum, Dallas Arboretum, and Dallas Museum of Art.

Where to Eat

We had lunch at Bay 34th Street Pizzeria. The owners are transplants from New Jersey. They have a lunch deal that is pizza by the slice plus a drink. It’s not only delicious but also very affordable!

We had breakfast at the Starwood Cafe that consisted of breakfast burritos and cinnamon roll French toast. Yum! It came out quickly and we enjoyed it all. It was super cute inside too.

We grabbed coffee at Native Coffee which is a great spot to also catch up on a little work. It has WiFi and plenty of places to get comfy.

We ended up having Salt Grass Steakhouse for dinner because it was across the road from our hotel and Turner needed to eat ASAP. It was good as always! A few places we wanted to check out but didn’t get to: Nuevo Leon Mexican Restaurant, Cattleack BBQ, and C Poke Bowls. I have heard good things about them all!

Overall, I liked how easy the Farmers Branch area was to navigate. We never encountered any traffic and felt safe the entire time! It’s such a quick and easy trip plus I feel like there’s a little bit of everything for families to do. Do you have questions about our trip to Farmers Branch, Texas? Let me know in the comments and I’ll be glad to answer!

Aspen Travel Guide

Today, I’m highlighting what to see and do in Aspen, Colorado. We went in the off-season which means it wasn’t ski season or summer peak season. It’s called off-season because the weather can often be unpredictable. More about that in a moment.

Just a few days before this photo was taken it was in the 70s in Aspen. It started snowing the first evening we were there. It ended up snowing so much that they opened the skiing back up through June. We definitely were not prepared clothing wise.


We flew into Denver and got on a short 20 minute flight to Aspen. The runway is extremely short and only a few pilots are certified to fly into here. We got to Aspen above the airport and had a mechanical issue and had to go back. Apparently this happens a lot because of weather or winds that the plane can’t land and gets rerouted. Just keep this in mind if you fly in. We were supposed to arrive Thursday at 7 pm and did’t arrive until Friday at 9 am which was fine for us because we didn’t have a hotel to cancel or plans set in stone. The drive from Denver is 4 hours if that is something you’d like to opt for but the roads can be difficult at times.


We stayed at a family member’s place but if we hadn’t done that I would recommend using or to find a condo rental. The St. Regis Hotel is another great option although can be pricey depending on the season you choose.


We took a taxi from the airport and scheduled a car to pick us up for our departure. We walked everywhere we went. Ubers are almost nonexistent in the office season. Bike rentals are also available. If you stay in downtown you won’t need a vehicle.


Visit Maroon Bells. Unfortunately, there was an avalanche the week we traveled to Aspen on the road going out to Maroon Bells so it was only accessible by bicycle and you’d have to carry your bike hundreds of yards over the snow mass. We decided against that since we’re not in that great of shape. I highly advising calling the local park rangers before you visit to see current conditions. If I had done this before the day we actually wanted to visit I’d have known we couldn’t. That was a huge bummer but honestly all on me since I didn’t check before we got into town. During the summer you can actually take a bus out t

Visit shops and museums in downtown Aspen. There are so many places to explore and are an easy walk. The plus about off-season? You have virtually the entire town to yourself.

See a show at Belly Up. We saw Boombox perform one night. The reserved tickets allow you to sit in assigned seats and a waitress will come and serve you food and drinks. This is such a cool venue because literally every famous person has performed here. Their pictures are all over the walls and the date they performed.


*Matsuhisa Sushi was good! We made reservations via the Open Table app before and shared everything we ordered.

*HOPS Culture was a lunch stop one day. They have tons of local beers on tap and great bar food. The wait staff here was very nice and enjoyable to visit with!

*Jimmy’s Bar & Restaurant was a stop one evening for crab cakes and drinks before dinner. We sat in the front part in the bar area. Great view of the mountain! (Pictured a few photos above with the drink)

*Mi Chola was dinner one night. Great Mexican food and Prickly Pear Margarita’s!

*Ryno’s Pub & Pizzeria was recommended by a local. We had lunch here one day and played games in the arcade. A fun place to hang out and eat. They do pizza by the slice here and it’s huge!

*Silver City is probably our favorite bar in the town. We accidentally happened upon it too! We were leaving the concert and heard country music playing from underground and discovered it. There’s pool tables in the back and country vibes all around. We actually came here two nights because we liked it so much!

*St. Regis Hotel Bar for appetizers and drinks. It has the coziest ski lodge vibes with couches and fireplaces everywhere! The boys enjoyed an old fashioned while the gals sipped on St. Germain Spritzers. Such a nice place to relax and keep warm while it continued to snow outside!

Hope you got some great ideas for your upcoming Aspen trip! Questions about anything we did? Feel free to leave a comment so I can answer! Safe travels!



Venice Travel Guide

Venice was our final stop on our trip to Italy. It’s truly a city unlike any other.


Arriving by train will put you right where the Vaporetto (Water Taxi) stop. We bought an unlimited ticket for our time there. Fortunately most of Venice is extremely walkable and we did not need to use it much. Schedule and tickets here.


We had dinner one evening outside on the canal at Trattoria da Roberto. I had the delicious lobster pasta shown above in the photo. Our other favorite dining experience was actually a to-go lunch. Baci and Pasta opens at noon and you should be there prior to that to insure a spot close to the front of the line. He has pastas of the day that change but are all delicious. I had a ravioli in butter and sage sauce and a mini bottle of prosecco for under $10 USD. It’s one man cooking and serving which makes it a truly local experience. I highly recommend.


Drink a bellini! No, but seriously you should. They were created here originally and they are available in every restaurant and gift shop. We visited Doges Palace and it was unbelievable. The history and architecture must be seen in person to truly be appreciated. After our visit we explored St. Mark’s Square which is full of restaurants, shops, and the best people watching. We also toured Teatro La Fenice which is the opera house. It has been burned down and rebuilt several times. Unfortunately the opera was not in session when we were there. If you are able I would get tickets to a show and attend in this gorgeous theatre.


We took the vaporetto to Burano Island which about a 45 minute trip each way. It is a gorgeous and colorful town. We walked around exploring for awhile and had Nutella crepes at a local shop that were delicious. One of Burano’s biggest claims to fame is their lace. There is even a Lace Museum. I highly suggest going as early as possible because it does get crowded later in the day.



We stayed at Hotel Rio and the location was perfect for sightseeing and close to many great restaurants. They will also hold your luggage on your check out day until you leave Venice. I highly recommend for safe, clean, and A/C included rooms!


Our trip to Venice was two days and I felt like that was plenty of time. The only thing we didn’t do was a gondola ride but it was so hot that we decided against it. Have you been to Venice? What was your favorite part? Leave me a comment and let me know!




Rome Travel Guide

We spent 3 days in Rome but I truly think you could spend a lifetime and never see everything. It’s such a beautiful city full of history.


Coming to and from the airport we used taxis. There is a train that goes to the city center but unless you’re really good with getting around public transportation I would not suggest that option. Once we were in the city we used metro the entire time. It is fairly easy to navigate. Please note that pick-pocketing is a huge problem in Rome and watch your things closely while on the subway. We were lucky and did have any problems except one man we suspected was checking us out to possibly steal from. We got off at a stop before him and told some Italian military men that guard each subway station. We felt safe the rest of the time but definitely be cautious. There are also buses that run throughout the city but the subway is faster so we always used that instead.


The Spanish Steps and church can be easily accessed from the Spagna stop on the metro line. I will forewarn you that this is a very busy area and has tons of tourists at all hours of the day. There are many shops, cafes, and restaurants in this area to choose from. Walking a few blocks away from the main tourist area will help you find more local places with a more authentic Italian feel.


The main thing to look at when choosing a place to eat is the menu. If it has pictures on it of the food DO NOT eat there. It is a tourist trap. Most restaurants in Italy have their menus displayed outside the restaurant which means you can look at what they offer and their prices. Most places have a table setting fee for each person. This is very common! You will also pay for water. Nothing is free like in America. If you take your food to go it is cheaper. Just tell them you want “take away.” We usually did this during breakfast and/or lunch if we were just grabbing sandwiches. Tipping is not really much of a thing either. Sometimes gratuity will be added into the check depending on the restaurant. My favorite pasta dish was cacio e pepe which literally translates to cheese and pepper. We found that the simplicity of many Italian dishes we tried was what made it so good! If you find a place that does the pizza version of this then you must get it. We only found one place: Miscele e Fuoco located near the Colosseum. We also had the best white spritz ever (prosecco, elderflower syrup and soda water). This was probably my favorite place we stumbled upon in Rome. Other favorite drink was limoncello. I do not think we ever had a a bad one! I tried Aperol spritz and sadly it is not my thing. It tastes like a weird orange Fanta to me.


The Trevi Fountain can be accessed from the Barberni metro line stop. If you go anytime after 7:00 am there will be tons of people everywhere. The earlier you visit; the better. I really enjoyed seeing it in the daytime and at night. It truly is magical.


The Colosseum can be accessed via metro stop Colosseo. Get your tickets before and be in line before 8:30 am when it opens. It gets very crowded as the morning goes on. Guided tours are available but we just walked around on our own.

The Roman Forum is located next to the Colosseum which makes it easy to visit next. We had free entry with our pass for the Colosseum. It is quite large and gets hot because there is hardly any shade throughout.

Located about a half mile from the Roman Forum is the Mamertine museum. This is where Peter and Paul were imprisoned. You can even visit the cell they stayed in. I thought it was really cool to see a place directly from the Bible. It also was not very crowded because it is kind of a hidden gem in Rome.

Admission to the Pantheon is free and can be accessed from the Spagna metro line station. It does get pretty crowded as the day goes on so visit as early as possible.


Vatican City is a whole day in itself. Get your tickets to the Vatican Museum before so that you can skip the line. We were there when it opened and were able to go straight in. Make sure you are covered because they do have a dress code. Especially shoulders and chest. My dress was knee length and I did not have a problem getting in. This is where you will see the Sistine Chapel. After we visited St. Peter’s Basilica. The line was pretty long and it was very hot outside. Just be prepared if you go during the summer.


We found an apartment on but if you are looking for a hotel we stayed at Hotel Fellini our last night and enjoyed it. It is just steps from the Trevi Fountain. Regardless of where you stay make sure it is walking distance to a metro station and you will be able to get pretty much anywhere in the city.



Ignore people on the streets selling things or tours. They just want your money. I acted like I did not understand English and they left me alone.

Have cash and cards. You never know when one or the other will not be accepted! Do not rely on ATMs because sometimes they do not work overseas.

Get an international data and calling plan. We used Google Maps literally everyday throughout our trip. Worth every penny especially when you are lost! You need calling turned on in case of an emergency. My sister left her phone in a taxi and I was able to call and cut her phone off. Fortunately it was returned to her but that often is not the case. If you are on ATT you can do unlimited everything for $10/day.

Do not buy things you can buy in the States if you can help it! Also, buy souvenirs toward the end of your day so you do not have to carry them around forever!

Visit local grocery stores in the neighborhoods around Rome. We found so many neat things that we loved!

If you go in the summer it is very hot. Places have air conditioning but not like we have here. If you have any medical condition that makes it hard for your body to handle heat then please think about going during another season.

Be prepared to walk until your feet fall off. Rome is a huge city. We walked 10 miles or more daily. I wore Birkenstocks the whole time and my feet did not blister. Make sure your shoes are broken in before you go!

Carry a bottle to refill with water. There is water that is safe for drinking all over the city.

The airport in Rome is very confusing to check into because where you drop your bags and go through security are in separate places. Leave yourself plenty of time to get to your gate when you depart.

If you buy liquor in the duty free in the airport make sure they put your things in the correct sealed bag. They did not do this for me and I had to throw away $100 worth of liquids including a bottle of Veuve Clicquot rose in the Toronto airport in customs.  Do not make my mistake. I had never purchased from duty free before and thought I was fine because it was in a box.


If you have any questions about my trip to Rome feel free to leave a comment! I would love to help you plan your trip to the Eternal City!




30A City Guide

My family has been staying along 30A in the Florida panhandle since the early 2000s. I remember when there was truly nothing out there except a gas station and a hand full of restaurants. My family typically stays in Seagrove Beach and my husband and I even got married there! 


Savanna Beach Bar and Grill at The PearlMy husband and I enjoyed the beautiful rooftop and cabanas for drinks after dinner one evening. Truly the cutest hotel I’ve ever seen. It is located in Rosemary Beach just a short walk away from shops and restaurants. We didn’t eat dinner the last time we were here but all the food we saw looked delicious. If you want a highly Instagrammable location and beachy vibes, this is your place!Dress pictured above is the Kauai Kisses Hacienda Maxi from and his shirt is from 

Restaurant Paradis Located in Rosemary Beach just steps away from The Pearl hotel. Make reservations on as it does fill up quite quickly for dinner. They have a wonderful wine list and great surf and turf. 

723 Whiskey BravoAnother great rooftop to watch the sun set. It is located in Seagrove Beach right on Highway 30A. We had a huge group hang out here the week of our wedding and had a great time. Delicious appetizers and I personally loved the crawfish fettucini! 

Cafe 30A I’ve never had a meal that was less than amazing here. Located right on Highway 30A. Definitely make reservations before as it gets extremely busy. Lobster in Paradise is my favorite meal of all time. My husband loves the Redfish. Great wine list and service is top notch! If you can only have one meal on vacation make it this! 

Pizza By The SeaThis is a casual dining option. There are several locations on 30A but we always go to the one in Watercolor Crossing next to Publix. You can dine in or call ahead and pick up your pizza to go. Absolutely the best pizza I’ve ever had. Be sure to call 1-1.5 hours before you want your pizza if in the evening as they stay very busy! 

Breakfast/Brunch/Lunch spots:

Another Broken Egg CafeGet there early because it gets busy! My family eats here every year and it is delicious. My personal favorites are the pineapple infused mimosas, cinnamon roll french toast and crab omelette. 

The Perfect Pig – bottomless mimosas and the cutest little restaurant, what more could you ask for? The parmesan grilled cheese breakfast sandwich is so delicious. My husband loves their bacon! 

Modica Market – located in Seaside Square you can grab a mimosa to go and breakfast. If you’ve never shopped here then you must take a look. The cutest grocery store with food to go and all sorts of neat food/drink items you won’t see anywhere else. 

Bud and Alley’s – also located in Seaside Square. We love sitting on the rooftop and enjoying lunch on a break from the beach.  My swimsuit is by and Macy’s is from 

Best places to stay:

VRBO You can find everything from small studios, condos, to beach houses on their website. We love staying in Seagrove but there are places to rent all up and down Highway 30A. 

Watercolor Inn and Resort We stayed here after our wedding. It’s a beautiful resort right on the beach with great service. They have beach chairs for rental and a beach bar for drinks. It would be a great place for a couple or family. 

Lisbeth’s Bed and Breakfast We stayed here for a couple of nights last summer to celebrate our 1st wedding anniversary. Located right across from beach access on Highway 30A. The owners are very nice and accommodating. There was a full gourmet breakfast every morning. Our room had access to a balcony with gulf view. Extremely clean and quiet. Great for a couple!

Best place to get your sweat on:

The Boathouse at Watercolor – Rent Stand Up Paddle Boards, take TRX or SUP Yoga classes. I did a SUP Yoga class here and loved it. It is in a gorgeous location and the class really could be done by any level of fitness/yoga experience. Other fun things to do:

Goatfeathers Purchase fresh seafood and sides to fix at your place for dinner! Make sure to get there early because they do often sell out of things. 

Shore Thing Cigars – located in the Hub on 30A. The shop is owned by Luke Bryan and is the ultimate guy place. My husband loved the walk in humidor and their vast selection of cigars. I personally loved the rose they served and hanging out in their cool lounge. 

Grayton Beach Catering This is the company we used for our rehearsal dinner and wedding reception. We loved them! They went above and beyond for us both nights. They also offer bonfires and low country boils on the beach. They’ll even book a photographer for your group to have pictures made. Their food is fabulous and service is fantastic!  Feel free to ask me any more questions you may have about taking a vacation on 30A. I’ll be glad to answer!