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A Vacation Guide to Seaside, FL

Seaside, FL Vacation Guide | How to Navigate 30A | Rosemary Beach | It's All Chic To Me

Seaside, FL Vacation Guide | How to Navigate 30A | Rosemary Beach | It's All Chic To Me

Seaside, FL Vacation Guide | How to Navigate 30A | Rosemary Beach | It's All Chic To Me

A couple of months ago my family and I escaped to the most beautiful and colorful little town of Seaside, Florida. It was actually my second time to go to this little slice of heaven, but it was my family’s first and I loved getting to show them around one of my favorite places. I had not been in almost 10 years, but it was just as simple and beautiful as I remembered it. Growing up, my family would go to Florida almost every summer but with all of the sisters in college and in the working world, it had been far too long since we took a family vacation to the beach.

The pictures were scarce but the memories made were plentiful! When we weren’t lying around on the white sandy beaches, you could find us biking, playing board games, and exploring. My favorite thing about Seaside is how quaint and cute it is. From the beautiful beaches, to the pastel colored beach cottages, to the town square, to the best food I’ve ever eaten, Seaside has something to offer people of all ages. I can’t wait to go back and I hope you all get to experience Seaside at some point as well! If (and when) you do, here are my top recommendations on where to stay, where to eat, and what you must see while there!

Seaside, FL Vacation Guide | How to Navigate 30A | Rosemary Beach | It's All Chic To Me

Seaside is known for their pastel colored beach houses and I have got to say that my best recommendation if going with a big enough group, would be to rent a house. We used Trip Advisor to find our cottage for the week and could not have been more pleased. We stayed in Seagrove, which is a stone’s throw away from Seaside, and we were able to ride our bikes into town. Many houses will come with bikes and a golf cart to get around. Besides using the car to go get groceries and go to a couple of dinners, we lived car-free for the week! Having your own kitchen will also come in handy if you do not wish to eat out every meal.

Seaside, FL Vacation Guide | How to Navigate 30A | Rosemary Beach | It's All Chic To Me

The inner foodie in me could not have been more satisfied with every single meal that I ate in Seaside. True story: it’s hard to maintain that perfect beach bod with this many great food options at the beach! While I honestly don’t think you could go wrong with any place here, here are just a few of my favorites.

  • The food trucks– These are a Seaside staple and believe me you will want to try every one of them. These are great for a quick lunch or dinner and are located in the town center so it’s nice to sit outside and enjoy the sight seeing. My personal favorite is The Melt Down which is gourmet grilled cheeses made anyway you like. Need I say more? Others include shaved ice, BBQ, smoothies, Thai, and juices.
  • 30A Cafe– O. my. goodness. This was probably our favorite dinner of the trip. And when I say probably I mean most definitely. The food was absolutely incredible and the service was even better. Except the banana beignets might top all of that. It really was a great experience all around and I highly recommend this place!
  • Great Southern Cafe– We quickly discovered that this was THE place in town to go and for good reason! The gouda grits and every-flavored mojitos were my 2 favorites but the entire menu looks amazing! I suggest going for breakfast or brunch to beat the crowds during the evening.
  • Donut Hut– You know sis loves her donuts so naturally we tried the only donut shop in town which just so happened to be across the street from us. Ok fine we might have visited it almost every day. It’s just THAT good. If you have never tried a maple bacon donut, well now is your chance! They also have kolaches, danishes, and some other breakfast food.
  • Bud and Alley’s– Looking for a great place to watch the sunset and enjoy a great cocktail? This is a great place! The good is amazing as well as you can tell by the crowds. Go early and don’t mind the crowds because it is such a fun place to be. They also have a pizza and taco bar located right next door!

Seaside, FL Vacation Guide | How to Navigate 30A | Rosemary Beach | It's All Chic To Me

 Besides the beautiful white sandy beaches and crystal blue water there is SO much more to do and see! If you are like me I can’t just lay on a beach, I like to explore and still get my tan on while being active. Here are a few of my favorite things around town.

  • Bike Riding– The number one form of transportation to get around town and to the beach is going to be by way of bikes. My favorite thing to do is bike around the neighborhoods of multi-colored beach cottages. It really is like riding past homes plucked straight off of Pinterest, y’all! This is a no brainer that you must do! Also if you enjoy early morning bike rides to get your morning brew, Amavida is located in the town square and is a must! This quickly became my favorite morning ritual.
  • Paddle Boarding– It is the thing to do here! It is a little more tricky than paddleboarding on a lake but if you are looking for a fun challange and are bored of laying around on the beach, this is a fun, and pretty cheap alternative!
  • Town Events– The town square has events going on most nights. From outdoor movies, to concerts, to live bands, there is always something! That’s why you must spend at least one night (if not every night) in the town square just to experience everything going on and all of the yummy food to boot! Fun fact: I got to be in a music video that they were taping one morning. So basically I’m famous, y’all 😉
  • Shopping– You know I couldn’t end this blog post without telling y’all about where to get your shop on! The town square has so many cute boutiques and pop up shops but let me warn you they are pretty pricey. A girl can window shop though right?! If you are looking for a more budget friendly option, Destin is pretty close and has a great outlet mall! Rainy beach days call for shopping!

If you plan to go to Seaside and have any more questions on where to stay or what to do, please feel free to reach out. Fair warning: I might be pretty persistent on wanting to tag along in your suitcase. I know I can’t wait to go back and it is a place that I will bring my family to for years to come!

Seaside, FL Vacation Guide | How to Navigate 30A | Rosemary Beach | It's All Chic To Me

Seaside, FL Vacation Guide | How to Navigate 30A | Rosemary Beach | It's All Chic To Me

Seaside, FL Vacation Guide | How to Navigate 30A | Rosemary Beach | It's All Chic To Me

Seaside, FL Vacation Guide | How to Navigate 30A | Rosemary Beach | It's All Chic To Me

Seaside, FL Vacation Guide | How to Navigate 30A | Rosemary Beach | It's All Chic To Me

Seaside, FL Vacation Guide | How to Navigate 30A | Rosemary Beach | It's All Chic To Me

Towel | Swimsuit

Seaside, FL Vacation Guide | How to Navigate 30A | Rosemary Beach | It's All Chic To Me

Jumpsuit | Hat

Seaside, FL Vacation Guide | How to Navigate 30A | Rosemary Beach | It's All Chic To Me

Dress | Earrings

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What to Wear Wine Tasting in Napa

What to Wear Wine Tasting | Napa Style | Floral Dress + Cork accessories | It's All Chic To Me

What to Wear Wine Tasting | Napa Style | Floral Dress + Cork accessories | It's All Chic To Me

What to Wear Wine Tasting | Napa Style | Floral Dress + Cork accessories | It's All Chic To Me

What to Wear Wine Tasting | Napa Style | Floral Dress + Cork accessories | It's All Chic To Me

What to Wear Wine Tasting | Napa Style | Floral Dress + Cork accessories | It's All Chic To Me

What to Wear Wine Tasting | Napa Style | Floral Dress + Cork accessories | It's All Chic To Me

What to Wear Wine Tasting | Napa Style | Floral Dress + Cork accessories | It's All Chic To Me

What to Wear Wine Tasting | Napa Style | Floral Dress + Cork accessories | It's All Chic To Me

Dress | Shoes | Clutch | Hat | Bracelet

A couple of weekends ago I had the opportunity to visit Napa for the first time and boy did it not disappoint! This wino was right at home once I was finally there, but packing for a new place and and a day full of wine tasting required a little bit of thought on what to wear. Sundress or jeans? Sandals or heels? Dressy or Casual? Being a newb to packing for the wine country, I grabbed a glass of wine (for research purposes) and did a little “Napa Style” research on Pinterest. In the end I had to stick to what I knew I would be comfortable in and still look cute for pictures. It’s a win-win formula. So continuing on in true wine fashion, I have a few tips to think about when packing for the wine country.

Tip 1: Research your winery

Depending on where you are going, this will be a determining factor for your attire. Wineries offer an array of different environments. If the wine tasting that you are attending has an outdoor vineyard tour, you might want to dress on the casual side (think jeans and a cute top) and heels would not be your friend through the soft-ground vineyards. If you are going to a nicer tasting inside, you might want to dress up (think sundress or skirt)and rock a wedge or heel. If you are still unsure about what you want to wear, it never hurts to coordinate with others in your party. That way no matter how you dress, you won’t be out of place!

Tip 2: Choose your footwear wisely

Your best bet is to wear a comfortable pair of sandals or tennis shoe as these are your most comfortable options. It is most likely that you will be standing up during your tasting and you might even take a trek through an outdoor vineyard. If you know you will be inside, wedges and heels are certainly acceptable just make sure they are comfortable. You want to be able to enjoy your wine and not have to worry about the growing blister on your toe. We have got bigger fish to fry- like making it to your fourth winery of the day! This pair of wedges that I wore to multiple wineries did not hurt my feet one bit and they are under $20.

Tip 3: Skip the white

I remember my first wine tasting. But really, you are most likely going to be drinking red wine at some point and spills happen. Stick to darker colors that will not show if you miss your mouth or bump into someone. I also suggest not wearing shoes that you would mind getting wine spilled on.

Tip 4: Bring layers

Many of the wineries have outdoor spaces and patios to enjoy a glass of wine and enjoy the scenery. Some wineries might purposefully have the air inside set at a lower temperature as a precaution to keep wine from evaporating. So instead of being caught off guard, make sure to pack a light sweater.

Tip 5: Minimalist for the day

You will not want to haul around much throughout the day. This is mostly because you will be standing or walking and comfort is key. Whatever attire you decide to wear, don’t feel like you need to go all out on accessories. I stuck to my one statement, cork bracelet and was glad I did. Bring a small clutch, like my adorable Elaine Turner Bella cork clutch or satchel to hold your necessities. The only items that I brought to put in my purse were my credit card, ID, chapstick, sunglasses and phone.

Tip 6: Think about your beauty routine

Skip the lipstick. You will be tasting so many wines that 1) it will all come off anyways 2) it can get into your wine and inhibit the taste and 3) it will just leave an icky residue on every glass that you use, making the wine guide roll his eyes at you. Next up let’s talk about your hair. It was super humid when I went and so hats were my best friend. It will be a long day so style your hair appropriately and keep pictures in mind!

I hope this helps you get a little inspiration when picking out outfits for your next wine tasting. Whatever you decide to wear, Elaine Turner has you covered in the accessories department. Their Spring cork line is the perfect accessory to compliment your wine attire. If you will be heading to Napa, California and have questions on where to stay, what wineries are best, or where to eat, I have you covered in this blog post. Otherwise I wish you and your wine tolerance all the best! Cheers, friends 🙂

*Thank you Elaine Turner for making this post possible. As always all thoughts and opinions are my own*

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Girls Weekend Trip to Napa

Weekend Trip in Napa | Napa Travel Guide | Things to do in Napa | It's All Chic To Me

A couple of weekends ago, my aunt and I took a girl’s trip to Napa Valley. I have been itching to go since I turned 21 and 4 years later we finally got the chance to visit the homeland. No we are not from California, but it might as well be our homeland with the amount of wine that both of us drink! We spent the weekend sipping our way through Napa one glass at a time with the occasional pause for some delicious food. Are you planning a trip to Napa soon? I’ve got you covered on the best place to stay, what wineries to visit, and where to dine.

Stay

We had the pleasure of feeling right at home at Napa Vineyard House, an adorable and completely modern bed and breakfast plucked straight off of Pinterest!

Weekend Trip in Napa | Napa Travel Guide | Things to do in Napa | It's All Chic To Me

We were greeted with genuine hospitality and a nice bottle of wine when we checked in.

Weekend Trip in Napa | Napa Travel Guide | Things to do in Napa | It's All Chic To Me

Some of the many perks of this adorable cottage-style bed and breakfast included the heated tile bathroom floors, king sized bed, open seating and kitchen area, fireplace, luxurious soaking tub, and private patio. We stayed in the Premier Collection suite.

Weekend Trip in Napa | Napa Travel Guide | Things to do in Napa | It's All Chic To Me

Weekend Trip in Napa | Napa Travel Guide | Things to do in Napa | It's All Chic To Me

Weekend Trip in Napa | Napa Travel Guide | Things to do in Napa | It's All Chic To Me

My favorite touch had to be the Bouchon Bakery goodies that were delivered to our door each morning. We enjoyed our fresh pastries, fruit and orange juice on our private patio while watching the vineyards, hot air balloons, and sights of the Napa wine train.

Weekend Trip in Napa | Napa Travel Guide | Things to do in Napa | It's All Chic To Me

Weekend Trip in Napa | Napa Travel Guide | Things to do in Napa | It's All Chic To Me

Weekend Trip in Napa | Napa Travel Guide | Things to do in Napa | It's All Chic To Me

Wineries

Weekend Trip in Napa | Napa Travel Guide | Things to do in Napa | It's All Chic To Me

Since this was my first time to Napa, I let my aunt be in charge of wineries and food. For wineries, we wanted a mix of something off the beaten path that wasn’t too commercialized, yet something that came highly recommended. You are coming all the way to Napa for some good wine so make sure your vineyard selections aren’t subpar. If you stick to our wino suggestions though, I can promise you that you won’t have any issues. Make sure that whatever your choices may be, that you call ahead to see if you will need a reservation or not. The majority of places that we visited required a reservation. We made our way around 5 wineries in one day and here are our favorites.

Weekend Trip in Napa | Napa Travel Guide | Things to do in Napa | It's All Chic To Me

Goosecross

Goosecross was hands down our favorite winery. Not only was it quaint and on the smaller side, it was gorgeous! I think it goes without saying that the wine was just as wonderful as the landscape view of the vineyard. They had a wonderful selection of whites and reds, with our favorite being the 2012 Howell Mountain Cabernet Savignon.

Weekend Trip in Napa | Napa Travel Guide | Things to do in Napa | It's All Chic To Me

Chateau Montelena

If you are looking for a castle experience that is not as commercialized as Castillo de Amorosa, you will love Chateau Montelena. This is one that you visit for more than just the taste of wine. There is a large tasting room and plenty of history to explore. Outside of the castle, there is lots of scenery to enjoy that will leave you wishing you had your camera. Don’t forget to bring it along!

Weekend Trip in Napa | Napa Travel Guide | Things to do in Napa | It's All Chic To Me

Del Dotto

Del Dotto was our first winery that we visited and the most memorable. Our guide reminded me of Vince Vaughn and had us in laughing fits the entire time. They are known for their cave style wine aging methods. The entirety of the tour is done through the caves and you will get to sip wine straight from the barrel. Talk about fresh! They give generous size portions and as good as the wine is, you won’t be complaining one bit. The tour is a bit on the expensive side, but I assure you it is worth the splurge.

Food

I’m going to be short and sweet with my food recommendations since we were only in Napa for two days, but these three recommendations were out of this world. I highly suggest all three of these if you are visiting the area.

  •  Breakfast
    • Bouchon Bakery– hands down our favorite food of the trip. If it wasn’t hand delivered to us, we would have sought it out. This is a must go to!
  • Lunch
    • Farmstead at Long Meadow Ranch– This was our last stop before we headed out of town and it was our favorite meal of the trip. Not only is the restaurant and surrounding gardens a fairytale, the food was exquisite. I highly suggest the lamb gnocchi.
  • Dinner
    • Brix– First off, this is not the chain that we were familiar with in Texas. Brix is a high end dining experience and the best dinner that we had here. While waiting for a table, we enjoyed a glass of wine on the patio and walked through the vineyards. Great food and a great view.

If any of you have questions about the Napa area or would like more details about something, please let me know. Get me talking about wine though, and I might never stop! 🙂 Good luck planning your weekend getaway to the best place ever!

*A special thank you to Napa Vineyard House for providing a discounted stay. All thoughts and opinions are my own.*

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Costa Rica Tips & Tricks

Costa Rica Tips & Tricks | It's All Chic To Me

Last week a few friends and I traveled to Costa Rica for the first time and it was by far one of my favorite places yet. The country has some of the best views I’ve ever seen, the people are very hospitable, there are abundant outdoor activities, and the living is easy. We flew into San Jose, stopped in Jaco, and stayed in Manuel Antonio. Blame it on my blogger tendencies, but along the way I made a mental note of everything that made the trip easier or more enjoyable as well as tips I wish I would have known going into the vacation.

Transportation

  • Flights– Be on the lookout for airline promotions so that you can snag the best price for airfare. Southwest Airlines had a deal running for a roundtrip ticket under $300. Can you say SOLD?!
  • Car rental vs. local bus– I can not stress enough how much I would advise you to rent a car. That being said, it does come with some hiccups. First off you HAVE to have car insurance in Costa Rica and there will be a large security deposit (like $500-$1000). No ifs, ands or buts. It is not optional and you will not be able to rent a car without purchasing insurance. Most car rental websites will not add in these costs so when you arrive to pick up your car you are slapped with a much larger bill. So be forewarned. Although we were upset about the added cost, we all agreed at the end of the trip that the car rental was our saving grace. It allowed us more flexibility to come and go as we pleased and not be on someone else’s schedule, as well as easily get to and from all of our activities and meals. Do note that depending on where in Costa Rica you are going, the roads may not be paved and pot holes are very common. We were fortunate to have paved roads everywhere that we went so it was not an issue. We were warned beforehand about the aggressive driving (which I was a bit nervous about), but if you can drive in Houston then Costa Rica is a cinche. While I am obviously pro car rental, I heard nothing but positive things about the local buses and it is definitely a cheaper alternative depending on your travel plans. Take into consideration how many places you will need to get to, how you will be able to get to each place (bus vs. taxi) and if it ends up being cheaper than a car rental. For us it was actually cheaper to rent a car because of the amount of places we would be traveling.
  • DO pay the extra money for a GPS– This is a must if you rent a car. Being the penny pinchers we are, we thought about forgoing the $12/day to have the GPS, but boy were we glad in the long run that we had it. Believe me, you will thank me later.
  • Check your credit card for discounts– A lot of credit card companies offer reward programs that have discounts on car rentals/hotels.
  • Bring a car charger– The local radio stations aren’t all that great so you will probably want to play your own music. You will most likely be using your phone for pictures and other things and having a car charger comes in handy whenever you are needing to recharge.

 Accommodations

  • Location and seasonality is key for getting the best prices– We found while looking around for places to stay that usually the northern Pacific beach towns tended to be more expensive since the majority of places to stay are resorts. The more south that you go, the more options you will start to see. You see everything from hostels to 5 star resorts and prices all over the place. Also, Costa Rica has 2 “seasons”- dry and rainy season. Dry season is from December-April and rainy season is from May-November. Going in the “shoulder months” is said to have the lowest pricing. This timeframe is March-April and October-November.
  • Rainforest vs. Beach– Why not both? Costa Rica is known for their tropical rainforests and gorgeous beaches. When choosing where you will stay take this into consideration depending on what activities you are wanting to accomplish. We chose to stay in Manuel Antonio, which is a walk away from many beaches, allowed us to go deep sea fishing as well as tour the surrounding rainforests.            Costa Rica Tips & Tricks | It's All Chic To Me

 Food/Drink

  • Eat where the locals eat– It is very true that locals make about $2/day yet most tourist towns you can expect to pay $10+/meal at any given restaurant. If you are trying to save money or just want to know where the best local food is- the best way is to ask the locals. While TripAdvisor is great for checking out rates and reviews, my advice is to first ask a local for suggestions and then narrow it down after that by using TripAdvisor.
  • Drinks are expensive– Alcohol here is not cheap. Your best bet is to buy beer from the local grocery store and buy liquor from the airport at a duty free shop. We saved money by opting to pass on drinks during dinner and instead drinking by the pool or on the beach afterwords.

Costa Rica Tips & Tricks | It's All Chic To Me

 Activities

  • There are 1000s to choose from– You name it and there is a tour for it. With hundreds of beaches, dozens of national parks, volcanoes and hundreds of activities to chose from, you must pick and choose wisely based on your trip duration, budget, and interests. Since we were only there for 3 full days, we chose to do 2 full day activities and 1 beach day. We went deep sea fishing for sport fish (caught 3 sailfish!) one day and did a zip line/water repelling tour through the rainforest the other day.
  • Don’t feel like you need to have everything planned out ahead of time– Most hotels will offer activities and tours directly through them so feel free to wait to sign up for activities until you get there. Do not feel pressured to make a decision or plan everything in advance if you are unsure of what you want to do.
  • The beaches are amazing and FREE– Take advantage of the beautiful beaches. I would definitely suggest getting up early to watch the sunrise and staying on the beach until sunset. Seriously the most breath-taking views that I have ever seen.

Costa Rica Tips & Tricks | It's All Chic To Me

Everything Else

  • Most places have wifi– There is no need to invest in a data plan since almost all tourist-accommodating places will have public wifi. You will just need to ask for the password.
  • It is ok to drink the water– Forgo buying bottled water as it is completely safe to drink the tap water.
  • Dollars are OK– The local currency is Colones but every place we went to accepted U.S. dollars or a credit card.
  • Most people/places speak English– There was really no language barrier as almost every place we went to spoke pretty decent English.
  • Don’t dress up– I would say anything more than shorts and a t-shirt and you are over dressed. Don’t bother bringing anything fancy as you will be out of place. Comfy attire is key! Learned this one the hard way.
  • Bring water shoes– Most of the beaches are pretty rocky and most activities require them. My Chacos were my best friend on the trip.

As the locals would say, Pura Vida my friends and I hope that these little tips and tricks help you out if you are planning a vacation to Costa Rica. If you have any questions about my vacation please feel free to ask me!

Costa Rica Tips & Tricks | It's All Chic To Me

Costa Rica Tips & Tricks | It's All Chic To Me

Costa Rica Tips & Tricks | It's All Chic To Me

Costa Rica Tips & Tricks | It's All Chic To Me

Kimono | Hat

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You better BELIZE it.

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A couple of weeks ago I was able to travel to Belize for the second time and it did not disappoint. It was amazing to get away from the busy pace of life and just relax on the beach. To be phoneless and out of touch with reality for the week was such a breath of fresh air but is also why I only got 4 pictures while I was there.

 We stayed on Ambergris Caye, an island off of the mainland. There is a quaint, adventurous feeling about the island. Everything about Belize screams beauty. Not your 5 star, all inclusive, breath-taking view kind of beautiful but something a little different. At first sight Belize looks run down, poor, and ugly. The waters near the beach were murky from the storms and seaweed, but further out the waters were crystal blue and beautiful. That didn’t bother me much because there is just something amazing about waking up with the beach 15 feet from your front door step, being able to enjoy a cup of coffee while watching the waves crash, and finding adventure in exploring the winding beaches. Living simply for the week is what I enjoyed most. Belize is known for being the second best dive spot in the nation. Unfortunately I have bad ears and can never go scuba diving, but it did not stop me from enjoying the beautiful blue waters and dipping my toes in the sea!

My favorite part of the trip was our fishing trip. We took a boat out, caught lots of snapper (yes they are itty bitty but I was SO proud nonetheless), and then our captain took us to a small island and cooked us lunch full of smoked fish and ceviche. BEST CEVICHE EVER (I wish I had a picture to share because the colors were out of this world). I can promise you now that there will definitely be some ceviche coming to a blog near you in the near future 🙂 While there we met a group of locals that we spent a lot of time with. This group came from all over the world, most being from Texas and Florida to retire. They gave us recommendations for food and other activities that were not “touristy”. We enjoyed lots of mojitos, ceviche, and lobster. The best places to go to on vacation are always the ones that the locals recommend. If you don’t normally ask for the locals’ advice when you are on vacation, you are missing out! If any of you are traveling to Belize and need recommendations I would be glad to share where we stayed and ate any meals!

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