Banff Calgary Travel Diaries

Dress Up Buttercup, dede raad, houston blogger, fashion blogger, Banff and Calgary Travel Guide
Sweater: Topshop | Jeans: Wit and Wisdom | Boots: Sam Edelman | Jacket: Leith
Dress Up Buttercup, dede raad, houston blogger, fashion blogger, Banff and Calgary Travel Guide
Thermal: Socialite | Jacket: Caslon | Jeans: AG Jeans | Boots: Hindge
Dress Up Buttercup, dede raad, houston blogger, fashion blogger, Banff and Calgary Travel Guide

Dress Up Buttercup, dede raad, houston blogger, fashion blogger, Banff and Calgary Travel Guide
Dress Up Buttercup, dede raad, houston blogger, fashion blogger, Banff and Calgary Travel Guide
Dress Up Buttercup, dede raad, houston blogger, fashion blogger, Banff and Calgary Travel Guide
Sweater: Love by Design | Jeans: Wit and Wisdom | Shoes: Sam Edelman
Dress Up Buttercup, dede raad, houston blogger, fashion blogger, Banff and Calgary Travel Guide
Dress Up Buttercup, dede raad, houston blogger, fashion blogger, Banff and Calgary Travel Guide
Tee: Lush | Jeans: AG Jeans | Boots: Hindge
Dress Up Buttercup, dede raad, houston blogger, fashion blogger, Banff and Calgary Travel Guide
Shirt: Wayf |Jeans: AG Jeans | Bag: Sole Society  | Necklace: Bauble Bar
Dress Up Buttercup, dede raad, houston blogger, fashion blogger, Banff and Calgary Travel Guide
Shirt: Halogen | Jeans: AG Jeans | Shoes: Sam Edelman | Bag: Sole Society
Dress Up Buttercup, dede raad, houston blogger, fashion blogger, Banff and Calgary Travel Guide

 

Blackstone Mountain Lodge by Clique : This place is so stinking cute! It is surrounded by other lodges that all had the same cozy feel to them. We stayed in Canmore and the location couldn’t of been better since it was only about a three minute drive into the town center which was filled with little shops and a ton of resturants! It is about an hour drive to Lake Louise so we stayed up there all day and came back in the evening. The drive to Banff is only 25 minutes from our hotel which we loved! Im glad we stayed in Canmore since Banff can be very crowded with tons of tourists! We got a good deal through the Hotel Tonight app.

Hyatt Regency Downtown Calgary: After staying three nights in Canmore, we decided to drive back to Calgary to check out the city life and it did not disappoint! We loved staying at the Hyatt since it was located right in the middle of downtown and so close to so many shops and restaurants! I would highly recommend this place if you are staying in Calgary!

Breakfast:

Poppy Brasserie: This restaurant is actually located inside the Fairmont on Lake Louise that had such a beautiful view. We ate at the brunch buffet and I was a big fan since there was so many options to choose from.  Highly recommend after your canoe ride on the lake!

Tooloulous: This cute little place in Banff was all the rave from the locals so we had to check it out. The line was actually out the door but we decided to wait and only took about 25 minutes to be seated but it was so worth it! There were soo many choices, I have never seen a breakfast menu that large before.

Rocky Mountain Bagel Company: This place was also the talk of the town! Who knew bagels were such a favorite! There was a little bit of a line but nothing too bad. I got the breakfast lox bagel and if you’re a fan of salmon then I would recommend this!!

Yellow Door Bistro: The cutest brunch spot I ever did see! I was obsessed with the decor in this place, it is so cute! I got the continental breakfast which included all the basics (bacon, eggs, potatoes, toast) and it was actually my favorite breakfast I had eaten all trip!

Lunch/Dinner:

The Grizzly Paw Brewing  Company: This was the first place we went to when we got into Canmore. We sat outside on the patio and it was such a cute setting in the middle of the town center.

The Wood Restaurant and Grill: We sat outside and it was so beautiful with all the mountains surrounding us. The food was super yummy, I had a veggie sandwich. There drink selection is good too!

Graze: This place was alright, nothing too special. The service was slow and the food was pretty basic. We didn’t love it but didn’t hate it.

Tavern 183: We went on a friday night and they had a live band which I loved. The outdoor patio was nice too. It was pretty chilly but they had heat warmers! I loved the chipotle chicken tacos and the white sangria!

Earls: Okay this was the cutest place of the trip, if you go, you must sit outside. The patio is the cutest and is filled with beautiful flowers. We went for happy hour and I got the margarita pizza, coconut shrimp and of course it wouldn’t be HH without some white wine!

Lake Louise: This spot is so beautiful its hard to put into words. The canoe ride is a must! Although it is pretty pricey, it is so worth it! I would recommend going as early as you can because it gets very crowded! Make sure to keep your life jacket on or else they will come out to you on a speed boat and tell you to put it back on like they did to me!! haha! Anything for a perfect instagram picture! The Fairmont hotel is located right on the lake and it is stunning! Great for pictures! There are also many hiking trails around the property which we went on one! It was about a 30 minute hike to the Fairmont overlook which was beautiful! They also have a “teahouse” hike which you can hike up to a tea house. We didn’t do it but sounds fun!

Lake Moraine: Sadly we didn’t get a chance to go here but I’ve heard nothing but great things about this lake! If you get the chance to go then do it because I heard the views are breathtaking!

Banff Gondola: We decided to take a ride up the Banff Gondola because we heard that the view was amazing! It took less than five minutes to get up there, I would recommend going early to avoid long lines. We went around 9 and we went right to the front. Once we were at the top, the views were amazing! There are also some cafes and a nicer restaurant if you wanted to grab a bite to eat!

National on 8th : This is a rooftop bar in downtown Calgary that we were told to go to by some locals! Once we first walked up to it there was a huge line to get in so we decided to go to a bar across the street and grab a drink. The line went down after a bit so we were able to go in! The views from the top were pretty cool since it is surrounded by all the tall buildings! They were playing throwback music all night which I was all about!

Town of Banff: This little town is so cute! After eating breakfast we got to walk around and see all the little shops and other restaurants. I wish we got to spend more time here because there is so much to do!

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Thailand 101

Travel Blog, basics traveling to Thailand, Thailand 101, things you need to know for Thailand
Travel Blog, basics traveling to Thailand, Thailand 101, things you need to know for Thailand
Travel Blog, basics traveling to Thailand, Thailand 101, things you need to know for Thailand
Travel Blog, basics traveling to Thailand, Thailand 101, things you need to know for Thailand
Travel Blog, basics traveling to Thailand, Thailand 101, things you need to know for Thailand
Travel Blog, basics traveling to Thailand, Thailand 101, things you need to know for Thailand
Shorts: Leith | Top: Dolce Vita | Romper: Show Me Your Mumu

Before diving deep into our Thailand / South Korea travel diaries next week, I wanted to put together a Thailand 101 quick tips guide. Ted and I mentioned how we wish we knew all of these tips while planning our trip. Granted, we barely did research and just booked our flights without knowing much about Thailand, but it would have been nice to know:

  • Bangkok, being the capital, is such a big city. Saying that,  you would assume you need to spend a lot of time here, but actually, you only need a couple nights here. For the actual touristy islands and elephant sanctuaries, they are in other cities, which is a plane rides away.
  • Phuket is another city on the beach, but the beaches are not as nice as Phi Phi Island. We thought we should stay in Phuket since it was so popular, but in reality we should have stayed in Phi Phi Island longer.
  • Phi Phi Island is about a 2.5 hour ferry ride from Phuket, BUT another 1 hour drive to the dock. You also can take a speed boat for 1 hour, which is much pricer but worth it in our opinion. We did the ferry on the way there and the speed boat on the way back. The closest airport for Phi Phi island is in Phuket.
  • Phi Phi island was by far our favorite! You must rent a long tail boat and have a local take you around to the small islands. It is such a unique place!
  • Chiang Mai is another must city which we had no idea about…. we WISH we did. Chiang Mai is where the elephant sanctuaries are located.
  • If you are looking to swim and play with elephants, if it’s not a sanctuary, the elephants are not treated correctly. Little did we know you would need to go to Chiang Mai for the sanctuaries. It is either a plane ride or train away from Bangkok. You can’t drive there!
  • Everything is reasonably priced, you just have to negotiate. Negotiating on the streets is a thing. Ted got a $70 bag down to $30 for my mom. We also stayed at 5 star resorts for about $100-150 a night.
  • In Bangkok, we also paid a taxi driver to stay with us for 2 days and take us wherever and only charged us around $50 a day
  • Pad Thai was around $3 and Thai massages were around $8

In reality, we kinda wish we did more research so these are things we learned along the way! I will be doing a step by step travel diary within the next few weeks since I know a lot of you have Thailand on your bucket list (& you need too add it if you don’t)! There is always so much to learn in a new country but these were some of the key basics we wish we knew!

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10 Travel Tips for a Long Flight

10 Travel Tips to Survive a Long Flight

 

 

Sweatshirt: Wildfox or here | Shoes: Dr Scholls | Jeans: J Brand | Suitecase: Delsey

During my 24 hour journey to and from Asia, I thought to myself, I think I have this long flight traveling down. I have been on long flights my entire life and started when I was a little girl. Mom use to take us to the Middle East all the time to see her family, China to experience culture, and South America since dad used to buy jackets and sell them at a flee market here in Houston. This is definitely where my wanderlust comes into play and I am so thankful for the long flights along the way! Here are some travel tips I noted on the flight  that I think you may find useful:

  1. Neck pillow: No matter if I am in the aisle, middle, or window, a neck pillow will save me every time. I get very creative while trying to sleep on a plane and it is always 100x better when I bring my neck pillow along.
  2. Pack warm socks & wear slip on shoesI wear these slip on shoes all the time because they are super comfy and easy to throw off and on whenever I want. It’s so unrealistic to wear heels on a long flight and expect to strap yourself in every time you want to get up. I try to get out of my seat and walk around every time someone needs to get up in my row. Taking this opportunity helps with the blood flow! Also, I am not a fan of sleeping with my shoes on, who is? Warm fuzzy socks always do the trick! Just please don’t be that passenger that goes to the bathroom with your socks on because I do judge those who do!
  3. Layers: Dressing in layers is key! Even Ted dresses in layers because you can never guess the airplanes temperature. It always is fluctuating but if you have a jacket, a scarf, etc. you will be good to go. The worst flights for me have been when I am freezing cold and I don’t have anything to keep me warm!
  4. Sleeping mask: Sleeping on the plane is by far my favorite thing to do to pass time quickly. The sound of the white noise on the plane instantly knocks me out! What wakes me up is that darn passenger in the window seat who decided to keep his window open. A mask literally saves me every time. This is something I forget often so if you do, ask for an extra blanket and throw it over your head. 99% of the time I am wearing a baseball cap and this helps drape the cover over my face without suffocating me.
  5. Bring your own entertainment: I got this tip from Ted and it saved me on the last trip. The plane TV wasn’t working for me, but luckily I had all the Bachelorettes downloaded on my phone to watch on the flight! I was so thankful I decided to keep all of them for the flight and I literally had 8 hours of entertainment! You never can depend on the plane TV so downloading your own shows or movies is a good back up! Watching movies on the plane is probably my second favorite pass time. I watched Why Him? The Founder, and Hidden Figures (all such good movies and I am not a movie person)! Or organizing my photos and deleting old ones is also good entertainment!
  6. Noise Canceling Headphones: You can’t enjoy a good movie with a baby screaming in the background or a passenger snoring up a storm. Ted and I swear by these headphones and we each have our own!
  7. Portable Charger: My last flight home from Japan, my phone died and we lost the portable charger. I was miserable to say the least. We ordered 2 of these and I also just got this “smart” suitcase in the mail that has a built in charger, so we hopefully won’t run into this problem anymore! I was dependent on the airplane to have a charger and of course they didn’t so I sat and twiddled my thumbs for a couple hours!
  8. Sanitation wipes & travel size spray: I am not an organized freak, but I am for sure a clean freak. I tend to get really grossed out by the tray tables yet I sleep all over them. I put my feet on the tray table, I lay my neck pillow and my face on the tray table, so sanitation wipes are a MUST. I get so grossed out when I forget them. Also, I have sat next to 2 nice dudes in the last month that just smelt. Being stuck on a 10+ hour flight with them is NO FUN. Luckily, I packed my travel size febreze wrinkle spray so I kept spraying it on my arm and smelling my arm. Hopefully you don’t sit next to someone that stinks, but just in case!
  9. Passport holder with a pen:  I can’t tell you how many times I have had to ask my neighbor for a pen. If only I just had a pen with a passport holder, I would be set. I traveled with this passport holder that was by far my favorite! It also held our boarding passes and any extra papers. Would make a good gift!
  10. Hot sauce & mustard: This is going to sound SO SILLY, but pack a baby tabasco sauce and mustard packages into your carry on and you will be glad you did when the airplane food gets served. I literally made fun of my sister before getting on the 12 hour flight because she had these two packed in her bag, but I wasn’t laughing at her for long. When the plain eggs came around or the sauceless ham and cheese sandwich, I was begging her to share lol!

Another extra tip: I have heard ginger ale is so good for you while up in the air. I haven’t done the research, but I just order it every time I travel now haha and if I can’t sleep, a glass of wine will do the trick! I try to stay away from caffeine if I know I am about to hop on a plane and I always don’t mind if I am not getting much sleep the night before a flight. 

PHEW so long but I hope these tips help you! I know a lot of you will be traveling this summer and I am so excited for you! Would love to hear where you are off too next?! & PS these tips also can be for short flights!

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Hotel Grand Velas Review

Romper: Show Me Your Mumu

Shorts: Leith

Swim: Everything But Water | Bag: KayuDress Up Buttercup, Dede Raad, Houston Blogger, Fashion Blogger,Where to stay in Cancun, Hotel Grand Velas ReviewRomper: Topshop | Shoes: Sam Edelman | Earrings: Beaded By W | Clutch: Mar Y Sol |Sunnies: Karen Walker | Watch: Michael Kors | Bracelet: David Yurman | Bracelet: David Yurman
Dress Up Buttercup, Dede Raad, Houston Blogger, Fashion Blogger,Where to stay in Cancun, Hotel Grand Velas Review

Bathing Suit: Syke & Staghorn | Earrings: Beaded By W | Sunnies: Karen Walker

Dress Up Buttercup, Dede Raad, Houston Blogger, Fashion Blogger,Where to stay in Cancun, Hotel Grand Velas Review

Romper: Show Me Your Mumu | Shoes: Steve Madden | Bag: T&J Designs  | Earrings: Beaded by W
Dress Up Buttercup, Dede Raad, Houston Blogger, Fashion Blogger,Where to stay in Cancun, Hotel Grand Velas ReviewBathing Suit: Syke & Staghorn | Earrings: Beaded By W | Sunnies: Karen Walker

Over the weekend, I got to meet up with 7 other blogger girlies and stayed at Hotel Grand Velas in Riviera Maya! I am a total hotel snob, it was my major (Hotel Restaurant Management), so I love giving reviews on hotels and giving you all the “ins && outs” on what I thought!

First, I was so excited we were headed to Grand Velas since our wedding planner / travel agent recommended this place for our one year anniversary spot a couple years back. I also have had a wedding planner friend come here ALL the time for a huge wedding they were planning, so my expectations were a little high! The resort is all inclusive so I am not sure how you can not enjoy yourself. I also loved that they had an adult only section but also is family friendly!

Hotel: The hotel is about a 40 minute drive from Cancun area into Riviera Maya. Overall the hotel grounds were stunning. We stayed in the “jungle” part of the property so we had to take a bus to the main lobby where the huge pool and beach was. Sadly, we didn’t spend too much time on the beach, but they did have a HUGE family pool overlooking the beach, which was beautiful. The bus ride was also not bad since we never had to wait for a bus and it was only a couple minute drive to the main area. The hotel room itself was HUGE. It was perfect for two girls who had clothes everywhere (love ya Emmm)! We also had our own concierge (Fransisco) in our building who was so helpful!

Food: For breakfast, we ordered room service every morning, because who wouldn’t at an all-inclusive?! I ordered the huevos rancheros and it was so YUMM. I can’t tell you how many delicious restaurants we ate at for dinner. Every lunch, we ordered poolside service and I indulged on wings, ahi tuna tacos, and Emily ordered a bbq chicken sandwich, every time. First night for dinner we had Frida (one of their restaurants), which was one of my favorites. It overlooked the beach and had the best mexican tapas. I ordered the fish, and it was soooo good!

Pools: There were 2 pool areas, one in the forest, where our hotel room was, and one by the beach. The one in the forest was BEAUTIFUL and we spent majority of our time here. It also was adult only which was a plus! The main pool was massive, as mentioned, but lots of open chairs to accommodate everyone. Something about small, boutique feeling, wins my heart, so I feel like thats why I loved the forest pool the most!

Spa: We spent a girls morning at the spa and had a hydro-therapy session that you can read all about here.

Overall, I highly recommend Grand Velas! I did get questions if it was a family friendly hotel and I would say YES! It’s not catered to kids (like no water jungle), but it still has a lot to offer! Great food, amazing staff, and beautiful environment!

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