The Journey to The Dolomites
I planned my trip to have a few days of buffer so I wouldn’t embark on the most intense week of exercise I’ve ever endured on no sleep. Anyone who knows me knows that I NEED sleep to function, I am not one of those I sleep five hours a night people.
So I departed Phoenix Wednesday evening and flew direct to Frankfurt. My flight with Condor was fantastic. (I had never flown Condor nor heard of them prior to this trip) I then had a 4 hour layover in Frankfurt before flying into Venice. I arrived in Venice around 11pm and had only 1 hour to get my bag and get to car rental before they closed at midnight.
I booked my car with points via Chase/Hertz and when I arrived at the desk – the woman informed me they gave away my car and there were no other automatic cars left.
Ummmmm…what now? The desk next to Hertz was still open (Europcar) and they had one automatic car left. I grabbed it and off I went to my hotel that I’d booked the night before due to its free parking and proximity to the airport.
The next morning I catch a ferry to Venice where I plan to spend the entire day exploring. Venice is amazing and the next day, I catch the ferry back to my car and depart to Verona.
Verona was lovely – the most beautiful little city, so much history, just breathtaking. After covering the sites I hop back in the car and head to Lake Garda.
This is the MOST beautiful place I’ve ever seen in my entire life. I can’t believe it’s real and I can’t believe I’d never heard of it until I was researching places semi near Venice to see. (You don't need much more than a day or two in Venice)
I stay in a town called Torbole at the Lago Di Garda Hotel which is adorable, modern and right on the lakefront. I get in a few mile walk, grab dinner, and pass out back in the room by 9pm. Jet lag is very real and I need sleep before I embark on the reason I came to Italy...
The Ranch retreat!
The next morning I have breakfast at the hotel and depart for….
DAY 1: At the Ranch Malibu’s pop-up in the Dolomites
I arrive at Rosa Alpina in San Cassiano around 12:30pm. I get checked in and before I know it, the team is there to take my measurements and tell me what the rest of the day looks like.
First off, the middle of the day is a terrible time to get measurements from someone BUT hey, it will only make the end results Saturday better…right?
We all meet in the library for an orientation on how the week will look and depart on our first hike of the trip. This is a short, two hour jaunt to get us warmed up before we have our first vegan chef prepared meal.
The hike goes by pretty quickly, we are all in great spirits but you can tell people are nervous for the next day. There are 21 people in my group which is pretty sizable.
We get back to Rosa Alpina, take baths/showers (they provide Epsom salts for us) and reunite an hour or so later for dinner which is served at 7pm.
Dinner is AMAZING.
The vegan food was one of the things I was most looking forward to and it does not disappoint. (Mostly because I will never take the time at home to prepare ALL vegan locally sourced meals - I own a business and life is busy, that just isn't in the cards)
Also if you aren’t familiar with The Ranch – there is no alcohol, no caffeine, no sugar, no gluten, no dairy – the diet is strict so you can detox from your normal life.
We all wrap up dinner and I immediately get to sleep by 8pm.
Day 1: 6.7miles in the books =945 calories burned.
A tap tap at the door at 5:30am and it’s go time. I wake up a few minutes before 5:30 feeling rather rested and very excited.
I get my pack set up, get my hiking clothes on and we all meet downstairs for an hour of stretching followed by an incredible breakfast.
We hop in The Ranch vans and head to the start of hike 1. This hike was tough for me. I hike often in Arizona but this was a different kind of challenge. Quickly our group starts to thin out – leaders of the pack – middle folks – and the folks at the end. The great part is that there are guides no matter which part of the group you’re in and the trails are clearly marked so you can’t get lost.
Two hours in we are granted the famous Ranch snack of six almonds and sea salt. We all grab our almonds and continue on.
Every hike is four hours.
We survive the hike and retreat to our rooms until lunch which is served daily at 1pm. Two days out of the trip you take your lunch with you on trail but more on that later.
After lunch is my daily massage which is absolutely necessary after how intense the second day of hiking was. After lunch I have to hustle to get dressed and downstairs for the first of three fitness classes. The first class is a circuit training class, second is either arms or abs depending on the day and the third is always yoga. I do the circuit class and abs class and dip out avoiding yoga. Yoga bores me and I'd rather rest and reset before our dinner at 7pm.
Day 2 = 10.14miles in the books =1641 calories burned.
2 workout classes = 596 calories burned.
The San Francisco Bay Area...known for so many wonderful things all in one stunning region. Some of the nations top universities (Stanford, Berkeley), best Micheline star restaurants (The French Laundry), elite vineyards (Newton, Castello di Amorosa), incredible hotels (The Palace & The Four Seasons), and so much more!
I arrived Thursday evening and checked in to The Palace Hotel, conveniently located on Market Street. Not so convenient that ALL Marriott properties throughout San Francisco had worker strikes going on 24 hours a day that were incredibly noisy and at times, upsetting. Despite that, the hotel itself was beautiful and had great open spaces. The staff that was working was gracious and overall, the hotel was an enjoyable experience. It's location being my favorite part.
EAT & DRINK:
Thursday evening I enjoyed dinner at a gorgeous Japanese restaurant, Ozumo. The bar scene was vibrant and the views of the Golden Gate Bridge were incredible! My favorite dishes were the: hanabi, gindaro, & hamachi maki.
Friday was spent in Napa enjoying the gorgeous scenery and sipping some exquisite wines. First stop was Castello di Amorosa which is a vineyard and a castle. The wine was decent but the main event was definitely the castle tour and perfect picture ops.
Up next was lunch at Charter Oak. Charter Oak is affiliated with the famous, Michelin star Meadwood restaurant and resort in Napa and the meal did not disappoint. The high ceilings made the environment open and relaxing, and the best part - drinking wine outside by the fire pits after the meal. A definite must try in St. Helena.
After lunch I ventured onto the reservation only, tour and tasting at Newton. Newton specializes in unfiltered wines and is now owned by LVMH. The tour was much shorter than Castello's but the wine and story behind the vineyard was far better.
A few others I've been to previously but didn't visit this trip are... Chandon, Mumm, Rutherford, Mondavi, & V. Sattui.
You really can't go wrong in California wine country. ;)
Saturday evening I dined at the fabulous Mourad. This Moroccan fusion was absolutely my favorite meal of the trip. My favorites were: scallops, short ribs, & beets. It's also right next to the Palace hotel making it a must-do if you're staying in the area.
Saturday morning I did one of my favorites, Flywheel Sports. A quick ten minute walk from the hotel. My instructor was good, the class was packed, and the bikes were new! Afterwards I grabbed a celery juice from Joe & The Juice, my favorite Manhattan juicery/coffee shop. (Waiting for them to pop-up in Phoenix and Dallas!)
Sunday morning I hopped into a Soulcycle class so I could compare/contrast to the Flywheel experience. This was a bit of a let down...the instructor wasn't the best, the class was nearly empty, and I left with much to be desired. However - next door was Pressed Juicery, my favorite SoCal juice spot so I was able to grab a celery juice and continue on with my final day in SF.
Weather: Perfection. Barely needed a jacket (which is rare for breezy SF!)
Dates: October 25-28th 2018
Meals: All incredible and highly recommendable
Hotel: Great location, only downside was the city wide strike
Vineyards: It's wine, you can't lose
Workouts: Stick with Flywheel > Soulcycle
Coffee: Joe & The Juice = 100%!
Any questions about San Francisco trip planning, email us!
We are here to help make your travel stylish, organized, and luxurious.
The PS ladies recently went on a weekend getaway to Austin, TX and had an amazing time! If you are looking for a fun, new place to explore look no further. Check out all the fun things we were able to do and see!
Where to Stay:
Sixth Street is definitely a great place to be. You’ll hear a lot about it if you research a vacation to Austin. Also known as “Dirty Sixth Street”, it has all the restaurants, bars and live music you could want. West Sixth is a bit trendier and has a range of ages, while East Sixth has a grungier, younger crowd. If you choose to stay a couple streets away from here you are still able to walk everywhere, but we wanted to be right in the thick of things.
Hotel Recommendations: The W, The Line, Aloft
Where to Eat:
The food was wonderful! There is such a mix of cuisines and atmospheres. No matter what you are in the mood for, you’ll find it in Austin. Here’s a few of our favorite spots:
Eureka – 6th Street
This place had the most amazing, glazed brussels sprouts. (We’re still dreaming about them.) We sat at the bar and ordered a few appetizers and a couple glasses of wine for happy hour. Great price, casual feel, awesome decor, friendly service.
Walton’s Fancy and Staple – 6th Street
This was the cutest breakfast/lunch/coffee spot! We loved it so much the first day we came back the next day. It had a vintage, homey feel to it. The decor is black, white and natural woods with rustic touches everywhere. They sell plants and flowers alongside their chalkboard menu full of fresh entrees, coffee drinks and pastries. The prices were very reasonable too. You order at the counter and can take it to-go or grab a table and wait for them to bring out your food.
Fixe – 5th Street
This is where we went for our romantical date. The atmosphere in here was amazing as well! There were tabletops made from giant, wood slabs, candlelit booths, and bistro lights strung under a pergola. The upscale, Southern food was to die for. We ordered fried chicken, beet salad, crispy catfish and heirloom tomatoes with goat cheese. We were gushing over how fresh everything tasted. We definitely recommend this for a date night or when you’re feeling fancy, dark, romantic vibes.
What to Do:
Morning starter: SoulCycle Austin + Royal Blue Grocery latte
After that, we figured a great way to spend our Saturday afternoon was biking around Barton Springs. We knew we wanted to ride bikes around the city and explore but weren't sure where to start. A local recommended Barton Springs and it did not disappoint. We used the Jump app and paid $4 for an hour of leisurely biking. These bikes are awesome because they are part electric and give you a tiny boost every time you pedal. We rode on a tree-covered path around the water and saw people enjoying tubing, paddle boarding, picnicking and more. We’ve already decided when we go back to Austin we’re going to spend an entire afternoon paddle boarding and lounging here.
Where to Party:
Ah, the best for last. Austin has amazing nightlife and a wide variety of bars. As we mentioned above, Sixth Street has lots of bars and live music, but has a bit of a grunge factor. Still a lot of fun, but we preferred the ever-so-popular Rainey Street. It is the cutest street, lined with old houses turned into bars. Every bar has a front patio dripping in strung, bistro lights. They were all packed with friendly handsome locals and tourists. They all had great music, upbeat atmospheres, but very comfortable and inviting at the same time. Here were some of the best places to grab a drink:
We also went to Soundwave, a pool party that takes place every Sunday at the W Austin. It had a rooftop pool on the 4th floor with an awesome DJ, friendly staff and great people watching. This was the perfect way to wrap up our amazing weekend.
Have you been to Austin? Let me know your favorite spots and we’ll definitely check them out when we go back. (Um, can that be right now??)
March will be a jam packed month with lots of exciting things to share!
First up - we are headed back to Washington, D.C. February 27th - March 6th to check-in with our clients, friends, and colleagues.
While back on the East Coast, we will be interviewing Corbin Jennings, owner of MADabolic in Arlington, Virginia. MADabolic is an incredibly designed workout that will challenge and train your body like an athlete. (Prior to moving, I was a member and saw incredible results)
Stay tuned to read about what led Corbin to open his own gym and what makes MADabolic so special + check out their instagram, it's awesome.
(Arizona, I am working on convincing Corbin to open a Phx/Scottsdale location ASAP, don't worry!)
After inspiring you to switch up your gym routine, we will then lead you to the delicious kitchen of Chef Ben Rubin, owner of AllSpice Hospitality. We love working with Chef Ben because he is insanely fun but more importantly, incredibly talented. I promise the photos to come will be mouthwatering. Follow his instagram here.
After that is full coverage of our...
ARIZONA LAUNCH PARTY!
Our launch is happening on March 15th at the beautiful Museum of the West in Scottsdale. We are thrilled to also be celebrating the women of the year for Women of Scottsdale and East Valley Women.
Lastly, we will be doing a travel overview of:
Antelope Canyon, Arizona
Whistler in British Columbia
See ya in March!
"The GPS says we are here but I don't see a hotel anywhere..."
As I drive around the block it becomes clear, we are either blind, this hotel doesn't exist, or our GPS is wrong.
Turns out, we are just blind.
We circle back and sure enough, there's a glass structure that could easily be mistaken for an office building but if you look reeeeeeally close, you can see the etchings on the windows - Hotel 50 Bowery.
We pull up outside and are greeted by the friendliest of valets. He takes all 10 of our bags (we overpacked, but you never know what kind of weather or events you'll get into in NYC).
Before we dig into our experience, a little bit about Hotel 50 Bowery...
It is the first Joie De Vivre in New York City, first on the East Coast, and just opened in May of 2017
229 rooms, 5 suites
Hotel was built from the ground up (aka it wasn't an apartment building or office space converted into a hotel thus making it much easier to customize)
Currently #7 on TripAdvisor (this # fluctuates daily)
Average of 15 rooms per floor
Modeled to feel like a Chinese village in the evening - hallways are dimly lit with Chinese lanterns, the walls are red, the vibe is cozy
Dining + Drinking: Rice & Gold (incredibly well designed interior/massive space), Crown: rooftop bar with awesome 360 views of the city, and Greenlady, a speakeasy is on the way for 2018
The average travelers age is 25-40
Coffee makers available by request (Keurig, don't get too excited)
The process is similar to most - walk up to a desk, announce yourself, exchange credit cards for keys, walk away.
As someone who has incredibly high standards for travel, I am always a bit apprehensive about new resorts. Have the operating kinks been worked out? How well staffed are they?
However, the Andaz concept has always impressed me. Their property in West Hollywood is incredible, and I wasn't sure how Scottsdale could possibly measure up.
To my surprise, it exceeded every expectation.
My trip: September 28th - 30th
Completely unique and painless?
Gone are the days of waiting in lines to speak with a front desk associate. In true, modern form - Andaz associates float around the lobby with iPads and a few taps later, you are directed to your room. The entire process took under five minutes which is fabulous after a long morning of travel from Washington D.C. (they were also very accommodating with my early check-in request)
You can see a video tour of my room (the bathrooms are incredible), and some snapshots from my tour around the property. Another Andaz touch - all snacks and non-alcoholic beverages are free of charge and are replenished daily. The water comes in extra handy on those hot Scottsdale days.
2017 has been an incredible year, filled with many changes.
We have expanded in ways we never expected and grown tremendously.
I am thrilled to announce the launch of our NEW blog where we will chronicle travel, event planning, design, and decor.
Stay tuned for our first travel post chronicling a luxurious, recent stay in Scottsdale, Arizona at the brand new Andaz resort.