Long Weekend in Champagne

 

Celebrations both big and small happen every single day. Maybe you were recently promoted, the offer on your dream house was accepted, it’s your birthday or your child is leaving the nest, anything should be celebrated. And how do you celebrate? With a champagne toast, of course.

I love champagne and Prosecco, basically anything with bubbles. It’s my go-to drink order at a bar or restaurant. I love it. So when two of our really good friends were talking about planning a European trip and asked what cities were still on our bucket list, I was quick to say let’s go to the Champagne district. I figured we could celebrate being with dear friends and, let’s face it, there would be lots of champagne consumption.

This past weekend, this trip that we’ve been planning for months finally happened!

We spent four days in Reims, France (the unofficial capital of the Champagne district) visiting several larger Champagne houses, seeing sights, laughing, eating and drinking lots of bubbles. I thought I would break up our trip into two posts: a more photo dense post (this one) and then a more detailed post with information on where we stayed, tips and details about our tours.

Vinn and I drove to Reims from Germany, which only took 4.5 hours and arrived just in time to pick up our friends from the train station. We headed to the apartment we rented (more on that in my next post) and set out to discover the town.

 

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The Reims Cathedral is absolutely stunning, minus the scaffolding, and looks a lot like the Notre Dame in Paris. It is in the center of the small town and even has a light show at night during the summer.

Our plans were fairly flexible. We didn’t have too many expectations or set plans. We did book tours in advance to Taittinger, Veuve Cliquot and Pommery on Friday and then to Moët and Chandon on Saturday. The tours went through the champagne making process, which is fascinating but repetitive once you’ve been to several and then the history of the house. Each of our tours ended with a tasting and great photo ops! It was a great combination of set plans and flexibility because we were able to stop into places that looked good to us and try some smaller houses’ champagne.

Did you know that sparkling wine is only considered champagne if it comes from the Champagne district in France? Fun fact.

 

 

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Friday was go, go, go since we had the three tours planned and I definitely would have spaced them out more. But it was so fun to see how different the houses are from each other, what they do to separate themselves and just how different the champagnes do taste. More detail will be coming soon because I want to write more of a travel guide and that’s just too much information in this post.

On Saturday, we drove 30 minutes outside of Reims to Epernay, which is more vineyard like and less city-like. We actually also met my friend, Megan, and her dad there because they happened to be in Paris at the same time for the Paris Air Show. What are the odds?

 

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I want to point out how special these two ladies are to me. Megan (on the left) and I have been inseparable since the first day of college when we lived next to each other. We just went to her wedding in Chicago. And Caitlin (on the right) and I have been super close since like 5th grade! We were in each other’s weddings and talk all the time. It is rare to have such close friendships and we are so lucky to be able to pick up right where we left off no matter how much time has passed. I am blessed to have them in my life.

 

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The same can be said for having “couple” friends. You definitely learn about people when you travel with them and when you end up being closer friends at the end of the trip, then you’ll be friends for life. These two are definitely in that category.

After our time in Epernay, we drove the scenic route back to Reims for dinner and to pick up Copley. Yes, despite what these pictures show, Copley was in Reims with us. She wasn’t allowed in the houses, so she stayed back at the apartment.

 

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It was absolutely gorgeous to see the vineyards and the grapes that will eventually be champagne. Stopping for pictures on the side of the road has started to become our thing! We grabbed Copley and dinner for our final night in Reims. We woke up on Sunday, had breakfast and bought a few more bottles to bring home.

Our trip was exactly what we wanted: relaxing, full of laughs and delicious drinks. Check back on Wednesday to see exactly what a tour is like at a champagne house, tips for planning a trip here and my favorite champagne!

 

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5 Ways to Fight Jet Lag

 

I travel A LOT. It’s probably my favorite thing to do of all time, travel and eating anything chocolate. And with travel comes a ton of positives…and a few negatives, mainly jet lag.

Jet lag, according to Medical News Today, occurs when people travel rapidly from west to east or east to west in an aircraft. Basically, if you are flying from the States to Europe, you will most likely experience some jet lag. And then you’ll get jet lag again when you fly back from Europe to America. It is always more intense when going from west to east, so going home is worse, which extra sucks because you also have post-vacation blues. Yuck.

So, how do you beat jet lag and enjoy your vacation and get back to normal life quickly? Here are 5 practices I use to fight jet lag while traveling. I hope these help you and if you have any other tips, I’d love to hear them!

*This post contains affiliate links. While I receive a small commission, the price of the item does not change. Thank you for your support.* 

Drink lots of water. I drink water all day long, thanks to my Swell bottle, and just wasn’t implementing that while flying across the Atlantic. I would drink one small airplane glass of water the entire flight and would then be dehydrated and slightly tipsy when I landed. Thanks free alcohol on international flights. My new strategy is to drink only water in the airport and then fill my water bottle up right before boarding and drink that throughout the flight. Then I only order a glass of wine with dinner. Since I started doing this, I have noticed that I feel much better when I land and don’t feel as tired throughout my stay. Water truly is magical.

Exercise. Once I land in my dream location, I try my best to exercise. Even if it’s just a short walk or a 10-minute Tone It Up video, the endorphins help me stay awake and feel refreshed. While we were in Dublin, I brought some resistance bands for a quick, yet effective work out. Resistance bands are perfect for travel because they don’t take up any space, can be used anywhere and you work up a good sweat in no time.

You are not feeling sleepy. Stay awake! Time change isn’t easy, but it is imperative to stay awake as long as possible. I remember landing in Frankfurt after a trip at 5 in the morning only to take a 4 hour nap once we got home two hours later. Then that night I couldn’t fall asleep until 1 AM and took me 3 days to get back to my normal sleeping schedule. After that horrible experience, I started to stay awake as long as possible in the new time zone. This is definitely easier said then done, but even staying up until 8 PM local time will help your body get on track quickly.

Make healthy-ish decisions. In tandem with good sleeping, good eating is also super important when trying to fight jet lag. This starts at the airport, too. Airport food is expensive regardless, but I try to stick with a fruit cup and a salad if we’re eating before we leave and I only eat half of the meal once we actually on the plane. This part is easy because economy food certainly isn’t gourmet. Of course, I enjoy food once we land, hello, this blog has gelato in the title, but I try to balance everything. I try to have some kind of fruit for breakfast and a vegetable at lunch and dinner. It doesn’t always happen but, as with life, eating healthy helps keep you alert, less sluggish and ready to tackle all the sights.

Keep sickness at bay. And last but not least, take some Vitamin C. It will help you fight sickness, which usually happens thanks to the lackluster air quality on planes, and keep your immune system in top shape so you can actually enjoy your vacation instead of needing a tissue every 5 seconds. I definitely notice a difference when I take Vitamin C vs. when I don’t. If I take it, I don’t feel like a cold is coming and honestly feel much more awake throughout the day. Plus, you can put a packet directly into a cup of water on the plane. Super easy.

Moral of the story is that you can do things to overcome jet lag. And being tired during your vacation that you worked hard to plan and finance is no way to enjoy it. I do these things even if we’re only going a few hours away, especially the Vitamin C one, because I don’t want to end up being stuck in the hotel sick when I could be exploring a whole new city. I hope these help on your next international vacation!

Have you ever experienced jet lag? What ways do you try and fight it?

 

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Overcoming Fear of Missing Out

 

Living abroad is truly amazing and I love it. I love how much Vinn and I have grown as a couple, I love that we are able to visit some of the most amazing places in the world and I love that we are experiencing so many new things. I’ve said all of this before but it is good to preface with this because with all of the greatness also comes a little bit of sadness with what I’m missing at home.

Of course I miss the small(er) things, like Target and Chik-Fil-A, but I am also missing a lot of bigger things with family and friends.

I have several friends who have bought their first homes, are currently pregnant or just had a baby. I have missed the housewarming parties and the baby showers and the impromptu shopping trips. I’m missing the process of my parents building their dream house. I wish I was there to go with my mom while she picks out the lights and cabinets. I wish I could physically see my dad on Father’s Day instead of FaceTime.

All of these feelings are normal but that doesn’t diminish the fact that they are sometimes depressing. This feeling is a fear of missing out or FOMO. FOMO was actually added to the dictionary in 2013 and is defined as, “Anxiety that an exciting or interesting event may currently be happening elsewhere, often aroused by posts seen on social media.”

We’ve all experienced this – seeing a friend post something to Facebook about an awesome trip somewhere you’ve always wanted to visit or your family is doing something together and you’re not there. It sucks to feel left out in any situation.

I’ve been falling into the abyss of social media posts and focusing on how much we are missing. I’ve been sad that other people seem to be doing things I want to be doing, like going to music festivals, seeing Hamilton, going on a boat, having BBQ’s, shopping at Nordstrom, etc.

After a few weeks of reflecting, I’ve come to the realization that I’m not living my life for anyone else. I am living it for me. I truly believe that comparison is the thief of joy and that I should be happy that my family is together and that my friends are doing amazing things. Vinn and I are certainly living a pretty darn good life.

I’m vowing to turn any negative thoughts into positive ones. It’s natural to be a little jealous or to wish that you were around for everything, but the reality is, even if I lived in the States,  I wouldn’t be able to be part of every aspect of everyone’s lives. I would still miss out on things. It’s part of life.

Accepting this thought, the thought that this life is mine and no one else’s, has opened up a world of…peace. I feel happier now that I have accepted this. I go onto any social media platform now and think, “Good for them” or “That’s awesome!” instead of my old, negative, woe-is-me thoughts. And when my previous thoughts show their ugly head, which they do and will, I will think of all the great things happening in my life. And there are definitely a lot of amazing things!

 

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How do you overcome FOMO?

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Monday Chit-Chat

 

Happy Monday, everyone. How was your weekend? Yesterday, Vinn and I went to the Mercedes Cup tennis tournament in Stuttgart and had the best time!

 

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We had tickets to the finals on Center Court and got to watch doubles and singles. Watching these incredible athletes is so inspiring and makes me want to get back into tennis. I haven’t played since November…oops.

The grass courts made me think of Wimbledon and how I hope we can go there someday. A Frenchman, Lucas Pouille, won the Singles and it was really cool to watch a younger player win a tournament. He won a new Mercedes convertible and over 100,00 Euros. All in all, we had a great day learning some new German phrases, getting sunburned in the stands and finishing the day with some margaritas.

 

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Both pictures are from my Instagram! < — Follow me for more tidbits of daily life. 

Today, I thought it would be fun to do a chit-chat/question and answer session to get to know each other a little better. I love reading these on other blogs because I feel like I really understand the person behind the computer much better.

If you ever have any questions, feel free to leave a comment below or contact me!

Go-to alcoholic drink? Champagne/Prosecco/Sekt. Anything with bubbles.

 

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What’s the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning? Check my phone. It’s a horrible habit and I need to change it.

Cake or pie? Cake. Well, does tiramisu count as cake?

How many photos do you have on your phone camera roll? 2,032. In fact I need to delete some because my phone storage is full.

Favorite veggie? Broccoli, probably. But only roasted in the oven with extra virgin olive oil and garlic salt.

What’s your biggest pet peeve? Ending a sentence with a preposition, especially at. “Where’s it at?” sends chills down my spine.

What was the first CD you ever bought? Oooh, that I bought myself? I don’t remember, but I did get Michael Jackson’s Thriller and a Gloria Estefan CD when I was six.

What’s your favorite travel destination? Italy. Always and forever. I can’t wait to go back. To check out our Venice and Milan adventures, click here and here.

 

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Gummy bears or gummy worms? Haribo Gummy Bears.

Favorite fruit? Tie between strawberries and blueberries.

I also thought it would be fun to tag some of my favorite blogs so they can post their answers to these questions to get to know them better! These ladies have amazing blogs and I’d love for you to check them out. Tag, Flowers and Leather, Madeline Moves and Blair Blogs.

And, I’d love to know more about you! Leave your answers to these questions below in the comment section. What’s your favorite fruit? What’s your go-to alcoholic drink? Favorite travel destination?

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7 Books to Read This Summer

 

*The links below are Amazon affiliate links. This means that I will receive a small commission of the sale, but the price won’t change for you! Thanks for your support.*

I really enjoy reading but often fall into a rut where I don’t read for months at a time. One of my goals this summer is to spend time reading while on our trips and on our balcony. Sunshine and warm temperatures won’t be around forever, so I want to take advantage of it.

This summer I am committing to reading 7 books. I still have to finish reading my current book (which is terrifying because it’s about how a group of billionaires are controlling our government and public education, no it’s not fiction) but once I’m finished, I’m going to dive into these more beach friendly reads. I will share my thoughts on them either in one big post or as individual book reviews, depending on how much I like them!

 

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Truly Madly Deeply <— From the woman who brought us Big Little Lies, Liane Moriarty brings her intense writing to a new book about how sometimes we don’t appreciate how wonderful life is until it’s too late. I love her books because she always has so many different characters (this one follows three different families). I love being able to see different perspectives of a situation.

Into the Water <— I have seen this one all over Instagram and other blogs lately, so it is definitely popular. It’s another book written by an author I love, Paula Hawkins of Gone Girl fame. So I have high hopes for this suspenseful novel about a single mother who turns up dead, leaving behind a teenage daughter. The plot has lots of twists and turns (according to reviews) about how the daughter copes after moving in with her aunt. I love suspense books (and movies and tv shows) because I always want to see if I can figure out the end. I wonder if I’ll be able to figure out this one!

Small Hours <— This book just came out like days ago and already has 17 reviews on Amazon. The story is told hour by hour over the course of one day where a husband and wife try to run away from their secrets. I can feel my heart racing just thinking about an entire book written about one day. It’s like that show 24.

Option B  <— Shout out to my mother-in-law, Karen, for giving me this book. One, it’s a physical book, which makes me excited and two, it’s written by Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO and author of bestselling book, Lean In. Option B is co-written by Adam Grant, a psychologist at Wharton, and is all about how to move forward after life’s unexpected events. We all go through rough patches in life and I just love Ms. Sandberg’s positive outlook on life.

Rich People Problems <— The title alone has me hooked on this book. The story surrounds a family obsessed with fortune and how they go about inheriting the riches. It has 4.5 stars on Amazon and, according to reviews, talks a lot about fashion, home design and the luxuries of life. Perhaps this is the book version of my beloved Housewives? I am pumped for this read, perhaps on the beach in Croatia.

Talking as Fast as I Can <— Any Gilmore Girls fans here? If you even remotely loved that show or Lauren Graham’s other show, Parenthood, this is a must-read. Lauren Graham, the actress who played Lorelei Gilmore, reflects on her time in Hollywood, what it was like on the set of her two successful shows, including the Netflix remake episodes, and some other fun experiences. I think this will be the perfect read for those rainy, summer nights when I feel like gabbing a girlfriend. It is already downloaded on my iPad.

The Sunshine Sisters <— This is a family tale by Jane Green and is the story of three sisters who all come together after their mother reveals an illness and try to rebuild their relationships that were once torn because of jealousy and secrets. Maybe I can talk my sister into reading this book at the same time so we can share our thoughts.

What are you going to read? Or any favorite beach reads to share? Would you want to read any reviews of these books?

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