Falling in love with Dublin

Ireland is the first country we traveled to as a family. My husband recently found out that he is 10% Irish  and another couple % from Europe, so this trip to Dublin was rather spontaneous. (we were originally planning to go to London until about 2 weeks before we left)

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We traveled via Aer Lingus and had a great time! It seems like Europeans are very family and baby friendly, which we just loved! We had a problem with our original tickets, so we purchased our ticket to Dublin from JFK a couple hours from departure, even so, we were seated first row (hello leg room!) next to another family. They also had a bassinet that attached to the wall so the baby can sleep in there. The family next to us used it, and we didn’t ask for one this time.

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Once we arrived, I was so tired! Of course the long weekend traveling prior to this flight, the packing and the over night flight, add the hunger and a baby to take care of.. and then we were picked up (we basically had a driver take us to our airbnb apartment).

and that’s when I fell in love with Dublin.

Just driving the streets towards where we were staying, the architecture, the buildings and the sun, it all made me so excited to be there!

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The thing is, since my husband is the Irish one, this trip was for him. What I looked forward to on this vacation was Paris – that was a gift for my birthday. (I talked about my birthday fails and crazies in an earlier post here) I was waiting until Paris and did not expect to have a good time in Dublin.

Then I fell in love.

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Let’s start with the apartment!

It just spoke to me. From the pictures online until we walked into the building, I was just mesmerized! It was a million dollar apartment, (probably worth more actually), in the best of neighborhoods, fully furnished, and the 25 foot high ceiling made me feel like I was in a museum.

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Opening the door into the apartment for the first time. And yes, he’s a great husband who carries my pink diaper bag.

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The photos do not do it justice. We later found out that this apartment is usually rented out to movie stars/producers when they come to film and stay for a few months at a time. It really feels like home.

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These incredibly large windows allowed for only the best light for a selfie!

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We’re standing in front of the door into our building. I miss saying “our building” because it really felt like a dream living there for a few days.
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The best was a french press and a fully loaded kitchen ready for us to use!

I’ll talk about our experience with airbnb in the next few days, but seriously, aren’t you convinced? (subscribed, or be sure to check in the next week or so to get a list of our top tips and must haves when looking at airbnb apartments to stay wherever your travels take you)

Then there was food.

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We found the cutest coffee station at the public market. It was across the street from our apartment every Thursday. This truck was an old ambulance car from the 50s in the south of France. They even showed us the pieces they left in the truck that showed its history. The espresso was as good as the story of their truck!

I love beef and Ireland is a beef country! We enjoyed some great food! (it is entirely possibly that on this trip I liked food better in Dublin then in Paris, and we had amazing food in Paris)

Restaurants we would recommend:

FX Buckley’s amazing meats! I had the best steak I’ve ever had, like ever in my entire life! They had an incredible selection of meat that was locally grown, or within the region. Rollo was so tired he ate some food and passed out for a nap, I laid him down on the seat/bench next to me for a long nap and enjoyed my meal.

Matt the Thresher  – this restaurant had amazing food and drinks selection and they were the most baby friendly. They were accommodating and had good space, especially for a big city restaurant; we were able to come in and have the stroller and a high chair next to our table, where in other places we couldn’t even bring the stroller inside because of lack of room. Our favorites here were french fries with truffle cheese and the beef stew pie.

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We left this beautiful city with nothing but good memories and a strong desire to go back.

Traveling with a baby certainly limits some places where you can go, but it didn’t stop us from having a great time. It rained on us, so we bought a rain cover for the stroller and went on with what we planned. The sun was out and we were so excited to enjoy this beautiful city and walked around for hours looking at buildings to see if there was anyone famous who used to live there.

Thank you for being so charming and lovely. I miss you Dublin.

Until next time.

L.

 

10 Must have toiletries for travel

I love traveling, as you can to tell by my IG and Insta stories. This year I have learned so much about myself and what my own needs are, not just wants, because my goal has been to declutter and take less stuff with me (in life and) as I travel. Going to places with a baby is fun, but also takes so much more space in your luggage so here are my absolute must haves when traveling.

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I do not compromise on skincare. When traveling through the dry air of the airport and the cool/hot/or just all together unstable conditions of the airplane air, it all takes a toll on your skin. Add the stress of packing and taking care of a little one at the same time – is calling for dry patches, weird skin issues and pimples. Anyone experience this before?

We just came home from being away for 10 days, car driving, airports, multiple countries and multiple flights. My skin has remained clear, clean and super soft just like I like it! So I am sharing what has worked for me!

1.Hand Sanitizer: I brought 4-5 with me on the trip to keep in every room and every purse! I used it on the baby, with diaper changes and especially throughout the airport on all of us!

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 Babyganics hand sanitizer in this small size is super key!  

2. Cleansing brush: this one is called Mary Kay skinvigorate cleansing brush, its amazing on the price and compatibility! No cords or extra space needed – battery operated and makes an incredible difference when washing face after a long flight! I personally love this purple color because its so fun, usually it comes in white, this was a limited edition color, and the best part – it’s only $50!

3. Jergens Natural Glow tinted body moisturizer. I am as pale as it comes, and for vacation I like to have a little glow. I love this body moisturizer because it gives a great color right away, within an hour or two of applying it – which makes it super convenient when you forget to put it on “on time” and want some color on your legs before you head out the door. (which has happened to me lots of times before).

Tip: for a clean look and seamless tan – shave, then apply moisturizer all over, then apply the fake tan lotion. Especially around the elbows and knees – it will take on the tint better and will look more even once it dries.

4. Men: My husbands 1 must have when traveling is the Mary Kay Moisturizer for men. It has spf and all the anti aging my man needs. Once he forgot to bring it with him on vacation and didn’t want to use my moisturizer, so he made me contact a local beauty consultant and have her drop one off for us at the hotel!

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5. My absolute favorite cleanser I’ve ever triedMary Kay Volufirm Foaming cleanser   The real reason I love this cleanser is because of how it foams when I use my cleansing brush with it! Also, it leaves my skin feeling so smooth and this tube is so big it lasts me a really long time, about 5-6 months!

6. Eye Makeup remover! In the photo I have the full size bottle in the back, because what I take with me is the mini, it’s just perfect size for my travels. (If you need the mini eye makeup remover for traveling and smart packing, ask me! I will often have a promotion where you can’t the mini for free when you buy 2 products)

I can’t say enough about this product, honestly the best makeup remover I’ve ever used!

7. Charcoal Mask – this is a brand new product for this company and I am SO in love! I think I have a new tradition now! As I am packing up to leave I put the mask on (because I am packing it will stay on longer then it needs to, but I am ok with that!) that way my skin is super fresh and clean to go! I even had my husband do it with me! So far this mask has been with me to New York, Dublin and Paris!

On a separate note – I saw a huge difference in my husband’s pores and blackheads, I keep my skin care regiment tight, so I saw a difference but not as big as on his face!

8. Night Solution and Volufirm Lifting Serum: I couldn’t decide which one to bring so I took both with me! These two products are my absolute must have for a night routine! After I wash my face I apply the lifting serum and then the night solution serum. The vitamins and the boost is incredible! I see such a huge difference if I stop using it just for a day or two. A lot of women comment on my porcelain type skin, and honestly these two are the reason for it! I swear!

The lifting serum is the most expensive skin care item I am using right now but I think it is the one that makes the biggest difference in the elasticity of my skin and the youthfulness!

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9. Eye Cream: I LOVE this eye cream because of the cool metal tip – it calms the skin down and allows the puffiness to go down and to me that’s exactly what my eyes need after an over night flight with lack of sleep, jet leg and taking care of a baby tired.

10. Revealing Radiance Facial Peal: let’s talk about taking some skin layers off and doing a serious detox on your skin! I love this one as soon as we get settled into our apartment or hotel room. Nothing freshens up my skin better! I like to do this one at night just in case I have some redness and I leave it on my skin for about 30 minutes (which is more then you need to do) while enjoying a glass of wine and relaxing because that’s what vacation is about!

extra: my favorite deodorant right now is this one from Dove, I like how its easy to use and doesn’t leave white marks on clothes. I give it a thumbs up! Pictured in the above photo.

Another item I bring but not all the time is the Lip mask – allowing my dry lips to recover!

Here is the list of all of them again, click on the image for more details and a link is underneath for each product.

 

What we learned about traveling with an infant

Our first trip as a family was over Christmas and NYE to San Diego (from NY so it was a long flight), and our baby boy was just 2 months old.

Babies are more resilient then you think, so take your baby with you. Live the experiences. Our new mantra.

I was so nervous as a new mom taking my baby out into public, I’d cover him up (car seat cover that’s not see through), and people would ask me if there is even a baby in there. Now, after traveling on the plane, in the car, restaurants, malls and just everywhere I need to go, I can’t imagine not having him with me.

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Here are some thoughts my husband and I have about our personal experiences traveling with an infant.

Build in time for the baby’s needs: feeding, play, down time, tummy time, naps.

Don’t over plan, be picky about time you give to others and to your family.

When going to a place where there is going to be friends and family, be prepared for people touching your baby. I was not always prepared for this one, especially when it was extended family whom I didn’t know well and didn’t trust exactly.

You don’t need as much as you think you do. the first time we basically brought everything but the kitchen sink. It took us a few trips, like 5 or 6 before I figured out what we needed and never used.

You know your baby, he’s not like anyone else’s baby, you know what you’re doing, so take care of him the best you know how! This is personal to me, there are so many people out there, moms and not moms, who give baby advice but I know that its not all good, not all for me. Even though it is hard to filter, it’s necessary to keep my head sane from feeling like a real failure of a mom. My baby is awesome, and I will do all I can to take care of him. Especially applies when traveling. Period.

Make sure the baby has the shots appropriate to age done before the traveling. We found it helpful to talk to the doctor and ask advice about traveling locations and safety. Doctors have a network they can rely on to help you even when you’re out of town, as long as it in the US territory. I found it so comforting that if something happened to us on the trip our doctor at home could still help us out.

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Nothing happened to the baby on our trips, by the way, when we were in San Diego my husband caught the stomach flu, and we spent a lot of time in the hotel with him ordering room service, but baby R and I were great, and enjoyed lots of walks outside.

Paris in November

We all dream of a trip to Paris don’t we? Especially since meeting my husband we have been dreaming of going together. He is fluent in French, and has been to the country almost 20 times. Yes, be jealous, I am. I knew France would be a big part of our life because of my husband’s love for the country (I’m not complaining), our mutual love for french wine, and my love for french Baroque decor.

Here are some highlights from our trip and my theory on traveling in general!

Traveling Details & Tips

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  • We live a couple of hours away from New York, so we drove there to save money on an extra flight, it was a little crazy because we had just flown in from a week in Colorado at midnight the night before. I picked an over night flight so we got to Paris in the morning and had the entire day to explore after getting a quick nap in.
  • Favorite things: braids and or a hat when traveling make it easier to look chic even when you’re tired. Loose fitted shirt in case airplane makes you bloat or not feel so good. Simple makeup with bold eye liner, mascara, and a favorite lipstick. Retouch is easy when you land and you can still look glam!

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  • On the plane: bring water, snacks that can fit into your purse – I always get hungry waiting for the plane to board, and some reading material.
  • My theory is to always bring the coat with me on the plane to save space in the luggage. I love my favorite oversized Burberry scarf on the plane. I often get cold and would rather have my coat in the overhead bin and get cozy with my scarf.
  • We flew via British airways using up some traveling points. One thing I wish we did was upgrade our seats or at least pay the extra 40 to pick our own seats, since this time we ended up all the way in the back of the plane. Lesson learned for the future.
  • After researching the luggage policy, we took 4 suitcases ( 2 carry ons and 2 large ones checked in). They were almost empty since I knew I’d be shopping and bringing stuff back! It really helped because we could bring wine and heavier items back and still fit into the weight limit. ** Key is to bring a travel scale, it saved us so much money and the embarrassing repacking in the terminal.

Hotel Stay

Hôtel Eiffel Trocadéro

  • I did a LOT of research on the hotel and where to stay, we set a budget on the hotel and since we were there for a week, it all adds up! We could not be happier with the hotel! I was there every day waking up and pinching myself!
  • You can find this hotel website here, or look it up on Expedia.com Link. We picked the Deluxe room with a view, and it was just unreal to wake up to the view of the Eiffel tower! And from the other window in the room we could see Arc de Triomphe.
  • Location was everything! We were steps away from the metro, coffee, food, the Eiffel tower, pharmacy (which we needed to visit often due to getting sick), and even some grocery story for shopping.

Here are some photos of our room, I was so in awe of our room I didn’t take pictures before we invaded with our luggage!

  • My tips – do the research and decide on what’s important to you – spend most of your money on that! Hotel stay with location and view was important to me, so I am very happy with the choice!

Food, food, food

  • I am pretty sure we ate a loaf of bread each day, baguette fresh from the bakery down the street was just about the best thing ever!
  • I can never go back to eating crepes in US, they now taste like pancakes in comparison to what I ate in Paris.
  • Experiment, have fun and try something different, I did and do not regret it! Check out my post about all my favorite food coming soon!
  • Coffee – if you love your extra large cup of coffee french pressed in the morning like I do, you may be disappointed. It was impossible to find a big mug of coffee first thing when you wake up! Parisians drink espresso shots like it’s water! So we did like Parisians do. Then we went home and bought an espresso machine for our home.

 

Experiences

  • My husband speaks fluent french, has many friends living in Paris, and it was actually his first time doing some of the touristy things because I wanted to, and it was his first time staying at a hotel in Paris since he always had a friend’s couch to crash on.
  • So we took on life in Paris for a week like we belonged there. It fit so well I wanted to stay forever! We walked the streets for hours, visited with friends, did some shopping and enjoyed some amazing views, food and deserts!
  • We planned to fly to London for a day super quick and unfortunately it didn’t work out. It was the middle of our trip and I woke up with a fever, sore throat and all the other pleasantries of being sick! Good thing my husband could visit the pharmacy real quick and get me some meds! I got thru the week getting him sick also, but we just embraced it and kept going out to do stuff pumped up on pain killers!

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The Louvre. Amazing. Take like a day to go and hang out!
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Hotel de Ville

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One of the fun things was finding a designer store with my name on it, and another one with my sister’s name.

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Hotel de Ville. Such a beautiful building, that hosts people working for the government. There is also great shopping just around the corner from this place.

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Love my hat to travel with. Saves you bad hair days. You’re welcome.

 

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Quick tip for tourists: if you want a picture of the two of you traveling look for a stranger who is old, handicapped (and can’t run away with your camera), or part of a family group; they are then less likely to take your camera or your phone and run. Especially around these famous locations there are a lot of people who speak english, and having to ask someone to take your photo is kind of a universal language. 

Thanks for checking out my favorite trip so far! Comment and give me a thumbs up!!

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xoxo

Luba