Travel Grand Cayman

Grand Cayman was one of those trips on my “list” and it did not disappoint. We traveled from November 10th-17th. A great time to visit the island because the weather was perfect and crowds were small. The flight is very easy and we were in Grand Cayman by 2pm. My tip for flying is to always take the earliest flight…yes I know it sucks to get up at 3 or 4 am, but you are less likely to be delayed then and you get to your destination earlier. Plus it allows you extra time for travel hiccups without stressing out and the morning the flight crews & airport staff are happy.😉 If you are traveling with young children you can check out a previous post I wrote on Airplane Activities!

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HOTEL: Another thing I never fully appreciated before having a child was the service and excellence of a hotel. I didn't always choose and still don’t choose the most expensive places to stay because I am usually not in the room long enough to care. The Westin went above and beyond to make us comfortable, feel welcomed, and the amenities were spot on with a small child. If you want to take a closer look at the hotel you can HERE. Check in was great and all of the staff were so friendly.

The beach is clean, the water is calm for the most part with an occasional knock me on my butt wave but I don’t swim much in the ocean because I don’t like not knowing what is underneath me 😬 A fear I need to get over. Honestly. It is not all inclusive and I am not sure there are very many there anyways. The poolside umbrellas have a button on them that you an push and someone will come to you promptly and take your food or drink order. I think we maxed out our daily strawberry smoothie orders! They have plenty of chairs around the pool for everyone and around the beach, which is something I always love because as much as I love the beach, I do not like sand 😬

The hotel has a fun challenge in their elevator that you take a selfie and tag them #westingcayman and we obviously had to participate. (Photo below)

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They pay attention to details! Of course I do social media influencing and it has it’s perks, but they were so kind to bring us wine, fruit and even a sweet little stuffed sting ray for Rowan. The kindness is appreciated and obviously shared because when you find something you love, you want people to go and love it too.

The one thing that could be better is the gym. Now that I actually use the gym, if I am in a warm place with an ocean view, I want to see it. Especially when I am doing something like working out. The gym is small and faces a parking lot but I suppose if I wanted to see the ocean I could just run on the beach.

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The hotel’s location is perfect! It is situated on Seven Mile Beach far enough from town the tourism isn't crazy but close enough for a taxi ride to shop.

Across the street are a few great restaurants including a sushi place and The Sunshine Grill (mentioned below). Also there is an equivalent to a Costco or Sams Club which is a great place to stock up on room snacks and drinks.

The shopping was very “touristy.” Rowan and I took a taxi into town one day while my husband was in his work conference meeting. Did you know chickens liked ice cream?? Haha we didn't either!

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THINGS TO DO:

Stingray City with Red Sail Sports: And I only say this because I was a huge scaredy cat at first and I survived, and it was so worth it! They pick you up at the hotel and drive about 10 minutes or less to the dock where you board a catamaran with several other guests. TIP: Take the early morning departure and check the cruise line schedule. Yes, I am a morning person but you will thank me later. The water is less crowded, so you get to hold the stingrays faster and you get there before all of the cruise ships arrive. You head out to the location and then you sail back….it takes a long time to get back which gives you time to soak up the sun and relax.

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Grand Cayman Tour by 4x4 Including Pedro St James and Botanic Park: A huge thank you to Marriott Rewards for sending us on this excursion! I was the perfect activity to end our vacation with on the Island. An open air jeep takes you on a tour of the Island, where we were able to learn some history and see the infamous Blue Iguanas. We started the tour with landscape and ended it with a little impromptu Rum tour at Cayman Spirits. I mean you get to try all of the varieties shown below for….wait for it….$5 🙌 We did take our daughter with us, and she is 5, but I would say it is not very entertaining for children. The riding in the jeep is fun but the walking tours are a little much for them.

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Those were the only two things we ventured out of the resort and did, but my advice is to grab one of these free Explore Cayman books (pictured below). They are outside of grocery stores and on the magazine stands all around the town! They are filled with things to do and restaurants.

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Places to Dine:

Gelato & Co. was a yummy find in Downtown Cayman where the cruise ships dock and shops line the streets. Don’t forget to feed the chickens! Haha! They serve gelato, Italian ice, pastries and cakes here!

Sunshine Grill If you are staying at the Westin or near it, this place is a little hidden gem behind the Sunshine Hotel. I didn’t find the ambience that great as their patio is the hotels pool, but when you are on vacation you want to sit outside. They are know for their fish tacos and you know I love them and try them almost everywhere I go! They were definitely good, but not my favorite. Tip: they serve you this coleslaw which is just cabbage. Take the sauce for the tacos and put it in your “coleslaw”. (Pictured below.)

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Craft We took a taxi into town to check out this place for the local brews. They were ok. Not worth the trip in and the food was good but not great. I would say you could skip this place and maybe try Peppers, as everyone suggested.

Blue by Eric Ripert This place was epic and actually kid friendly but I would not bring her back if I had the option, so we could enjoy the ambiance a little bit more. First off, it is located in the Ritz Carlton Hotel and it is the only AAA Five Diamond restaurant in the Caribbean. We booked this on a whim. I opened up my OpenTable app, which I love, and saw that there was a time slot at 6:30 for 2 people. Well, we had 3 technically but how much room can a child take up? Soooo we booked it anyways. We were seated at a 4 top so it was no big deal, thankfully. TIP: They are closed a few months of the year and we happened to book our reservation the first day they opened back up and they are only open Tuesday-Saturdays. The food and experience is one of a kind but it is pricey.

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The Beach House & Ferdinands These are both on the Westin’s property. Convenient and delicious. The room service is also from Ferdinand’s and the hamburgers poolside are yummy!

Just finishing up this post makes me want to book it again! There are some places that I love to visit, and then there are places that one visit is enough. Grand Cayman is definitely worth another visit and I look forward to exploring more of what the Island has to offer!

I hope this post helps and please if you ever have any questions drop them below in the comments! Cheers until my next journey! XO

Vacation Must Haves!

I have been slowly posting my vacay pics from Cabo and mostly because I want to think that I am still back in the sunshine and not here in the snow! I tag my photos on IG @ladyandredstyle so you can shop my looks directly from there too! I managed to overpack and that my friends is a miracle since I Carry On Only ! I may appear high maintenance but I am actually pretty thrifty...or a control freak 😂 The hubs and I left our daughter behind and went back to Cabo for a little getaway and it was much needed. We stayed at the RIU Palace this time and loved the location and resort. I am not too sure I loved the decor as much as the RIU Santa Fe, but we loved not having a ton of spring breakers at our resort. The food is always pretty good, but we do not stay there thinking we are going to receive 5 star food, but they have plenty of options to choose from! I was scooping up pieces here and there for our trip and I am posting a few of my favorite looks to maybe help with your packing for an upcoming trip!

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Anyone else stalk the mailbox waiting for the Victoria's Secret Swim catalog to come?? Yeah me too but since they quit selling suits...I am suit searching all over the universe. Now in my closet I have vacation suits and country club suits....haha feels like I am living a double life! This suit will go in my vacation suits as the bottoms are not full coverage 😉 I take a different suit and coverup for each pool day because why not?

Royal Blue Cover-up

Similar pom pom hat

Similar Swim Suit-Vix

 

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Blue Tank Top- Express

Tory Burch Miller Sandals

Lilly Pulitzer Shorts- Similar Print I bought these shorts during the Lilly sale!

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Denim Shorts- $39

Stella & Dot Aviators

Studded Gladiator Sandal- Target These are the Betsyville brand but the Target brand is very similar!

Graphic Tee- ON SALE

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Brown Fringe Shoes- Major Sale!! Only 1 size left I believe!

Gold Lace Cuff

Red Off the Shoulder Dress

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Gold Coil Wrap Bracelet

Similar Coverup JCrew

Vix Swim Suit ( on SALE)

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Sweater- Love the open holes on this as it is perfect for traveling!

Similar Paige Denim

Gold Pave Bracelet

Cady Wrap Bracelet-  Also doubles as a choker!

 

Vacation with my Mini

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Whew! These past few weeks have been a whirlwind and I can't even believe I have the time to sit here and write this! But this crummy weather, my hot tea and couch were calling my name. If you follow my blog, you will know I ONLY pack in a carry on suitcase 1.) because I am a control freak and scared to loose it and 2.) I am impatient and don't like to wait to pick up luggage, but this last trip to Cabo with my family, I caved and checked a bag. Seriously the best decision ever. And I will NEVER again choose to fly out at 5:30am ever again....getting up at 3 am is not for anyone! I was traveling alone (first time internationally) with my 2.5 year old daughter and it is too hard to pack for her in 1 suitcase let alone a carry on! Diapers, life jacket, clothes and shoes. And there was NO way I could've made it through the airports with my child, suitcase and buggy all intact without checking a bag. So I sucked it up and checked it, but next time, if I stay at a house like we did this time, I will wait and buy diapers at the Mega Mart and save myself some packing space :) The best part was that my daughter was an absolute gem the entire trip! She had a few 2 year old moments but seriously the trip was so nice and it helped by having a cooperative child....every Mother understands this! 

We flew first class our entire trip thanks to my little blue card (not pill) from my fun job as a Stella & Dot stylist! Why not right?? I sell it for fun, I will use my income for fun! Now I am not sure I ever want to travel coach again :) But if you think you get stares when you fly coach with a child, you should see the looks and comments you get flying first class with one! The eye rolls and the sighs! Haha but I loved the cover up comments when she was a complete angel and actually quieter than the snoring man 2 rows back. One lady said, "oh thank God for iPads" No honey, thankfully I have been fortunate enough to travel with her since she was 4 months old and she is used to it and loves it. But yes, thank God for iPads too :)  Have a toddler and traveling soon? I would like to pat myself on the back for packing an amazing backpack for a child! 

1.) Window cling ons. I may have to give some credit to my daughter for wanting these at Target and the idea then coming to me. Best.Idea.Ever. No mess, cheap, and reuse able! 

   2.) Water Wow books! Fill a plastic paint brush up with water and paint pictures and then re-paint once they are dry!  Lots of different ones to choose from too! You can find them at Target, department stores like Younkers and of course the airport if you want to pay double!

   3.) And this shoelace and block thing from Target dollar spot! Is there anything you can not get in that money pit they call the dollar spot? UGH! Kept her attention for ever! Keep on taking my money Target.

My family picked us up from the Airport and drove us to our home away from home! Our first time using a home booking site since we usually plug in a place to go on Expedia like an all inclusive! It was actually really nice! Gated community, large pool, private (rocky) beach, and close location to downtown. It was in Cabo Bello and our home was called Casa De Esperanza or House of Hope. You can learn more about their mission at hopeforloscabos.com as all donations for the house and car (after costs are covered) go directly to various areas of need in Los Cabos. The house has 3 bedroom and each room has their own bathroom. Staying somewhere and doing good all at the same time is a win win for me!

     Since my husband and I have been to Cabo 2-3 times before, I was more relaxed knowing a little about the location. We tried to eat at all of the "it" spots for my family to see and experience and hit up all of the little trinket shops for crap we all didn't need, but what is the fun if you don't come home with maracas? Haha Oh and a drum, a bracelet and a "drug rug" or poncho as I call it! Never heard it called that before! But my little lady looks awfully cute in it!

Eat here: 

1.) Cabo Wabo

2. The Office

3.) Captain Tony's 

We did not party here: (Although there were a few babies in the bars)

1.) Cabo Wabo

2.) Squid Row

3.) Jungle Bar

Walking the marina is always fun! Lots of shops, restaurants, Starbucks & entertainment. I know I am not young anymore, but I will still never understand the need to walk the streets with only a swim suit on. Does that make me old? Either way, we saw a lot of booty and drunk people :)  Always very entertaining.

  You must do the touristy thing and go to the Arch. Rent a glass bottom boat, and take a little ride to Lover's Beach, Pelican Rock, the Arch, stinky seal rock (seriously smells so bad) and lastly Divorce Beach, but swimming is not recommended here. Surprised? Me either 😊 

      She was not too sure about the boat ride! Haha 

Biggest funny of the vacation. Yes it involves my daughter. So I was showering with her when a little wall lizard came out from the drain and ran out of the shower onto the baseboard. Of course my bug loving daughter thought she needed to catch it. I laughed and let her out to catch it thinking that they are so stinking fast, there will be NO way she will catch it. Low and behold, she walked over to it, reached down and picked the darn thing up no problem. UGH!! So out of the shower I go to get a cup (with no lid) to keep it in. Brilliant I know. Well she played and played with that lizard until he no longer had a tail, then it was time to let me die in peace. RIP lizard. Only my child.         

  

Of course I did a little "work" on my vacation! Yes, selfies are my job, and just wearing it out and about people see the goods and want to know where they can get it!  Showing off Stella & Dot's accessories and their versatility is part of the work, but also a selfie shows how simple it is to look "put together" for any occasion. I think if people really understood how easy & fun this job is, more would do it! They just hear "selling" something and say no way. But having a stylist on my team paying off student loans and saving for a trip to Disney is more motivation to help others earn extra money too! Oh and if you didn't already know, this vacation is a big ol' tax write off, just ask me how!! 

*Follow me on Instagram for outfit and jewelry details ashleyn2504

A huge thank you to my family for setting up this very fun vacation and for making memories that will last a lifetime! I already miss you all and look forward to the next time we get to see you!

 

Much love Cabo! Until next time :) ✌️    XO

Lady and Red 

 

Travel Kansas City

Well I survived my first "vacation" away from my baby...yes it took me 10 months to muster up the courage to leave her. It's not like my mom didn't raise 3 kids of her own and manage to keep us all alive, I am just a control freak and had to let go. It was much needed and even though we went away, Kansas City's short 3 hour drive made it easier for me. Let's just say everyone survived and we all had a great time, grandma and baby too :) i bet she liked getting up in the middle of the night. HahaWe have some great friends with even better connections and we are so grateful they were able to "hook" us up while we were there! It made it so we didn't have to make hardly any decisions because that is what we both do all day long! We owe them big time! So I am going to share the suggestions I was given for you all to enjoy. We did not make them all because the idea of a get away was not to come home more tired than we left :) The hotel I wanted to stay at was booked so we ended up staying at the Marriott Country Club Plaza, which was just what we needed and more! 1 1/2 blocks from the Plaza, easy walking distance, or take their free shuttle which will pick you up when you call too. Who wants to worry about parking?? With a restaurant, Starbucks, and reasonable rates, all in all it was a great hotel. We started Friday evening checking in, cleaning up and headed to Bar Rossa in Hotel Sorella (where I wanted to stay.) Clean, cool, and modern. The bar/restaurant is on the 7th floor and with this view, you do not feel like you are in Missouri.

IMG_0594-1.JPG We were hungry so we decide upon a charcuterie tray which was almost too pretty to eat! Delish! With Happy Hour until 5:30pm it is a sure stop on your trip.

IMG_0595.JPG Dinner reservations Friday night was at a place called Bluestem! So trendy and romantic, great place to try new food! Dimly lit, open kitchen, and percise perfection when creating each dish. One of a kind stop. We did the 5 course route, which allows you to choose 1 option from each course. They also have wine pairings if you are up for it. I started with a gazpacho soup. Cool and refreshing.

IMG_0596.JPG Highly recommeded visit bluestemkc.com and book it on OpenTable if you have it! Best app ever. Saturday was set aside for shopping the Plaza, relaxing and once again dinner reservations. The mid-day perk....touring Boulevard Brewery. Breakfast on a patio, coffee without disturbance, and my hubby got my full undivided attention! So nice. At this point I have only texted my mom once and FaceTimed once too! I think I am doing great :) The weather was perfect and after shopping for a bit we were told to hit up the newest BBQ hot spot in KC. You do NOT go there without eating what they are famous for. Q39 is a open and industrial feel with a good vibe. We really were not that hungry but before touring a brewery we thought we should eat a little something. We split the sliders and french fries and left not a single piece. I really can't judge their BBQ skills without ordering the real deal, so I will leave that to whoever goes next!

IMG_0598.JPG One thing I saw everywhere I went and think everyone should jump on the bandwagon was water in recycled glass bottles on your table! No waiting for waiters to refill your glasses and such a great concept! I know of a few restaurants in Des Moines that do this but I wish more would join them. Next stop, the brewery tour. This would be a first for me. I have mentioned many times, Boulevard is easily my favorite wheat beer. With more and more craft beer popping up in every city, it appears the competition has nothing on them. Thank you Ali, Andrew, and the guys at Templeton Rye for the amazing expierence! *Rye on Rye will be made using old Templeton barrels.

IMG_0599.JPG Because this was all things sans baby, a nap was in store for us! Who knew I could still nap like a baby :) Thank you Rent the Runway for my fabulous dress! If you have no clue what I am talking about...google it. Best invention ever. Rent a dress, wear it, then return it all for a small fee. Perfect for the people who hate wearing things over and over and over. We ended our trip with dinner at Gram and Dun. Awesome patio and food, I am waiting for the day it comes to Des Moines! I decided to step outside of the box and order something I normally wouldn't. I ordered the pork porterhouse ( yes I live in Iowa and I don't eat pork...that much.) The description states it is grilled, smoked creamy grits, goat cheese, beets, pork sauce, and caramel corn. Don't ask me why or how but it worked! It was so freaking good, I almost cleared my plate! As if I hadn't had enough, dessert is my favorite part of the meal so we split the Gram and Dun bar. OMG!!! I can't even stand it, it was to die for...I still dream about it!

IMG_0600.JPG I still have a "list" of places to hit up, so I will save it for our next getaway :) If you get to any of these places before I get back, let me know what you think!! 1.) CaVa 2.) Harry's Bar and Tables 3.) Hotel Rieger and Exchange 4.) Manifesto 5.) Anton's KC 6.) Nara

I survived, my baby survived and we had a great trip away :) Success!