Fun Never Gets Old - Why Cruising is the BEST

Okay, so if you've known us for more than a few weeks, you probably are aware that we are absolutely OBSESSED with cruising. It’s one of our favorite ways to vacation. The lifestyle, the people, the adventure, the food… We could really go on and on. In our humble opinion, cruise life is the best life. We've become fans of American Tourister's slogan that "Fun Never Gets Old" when thinking of cruising, because the fun you have while cruising will keep you young! And you may act just a little childish from time to time...  

 

People oftentimes don’t understand our love for cruising. We get asked all the time why we cruise so often, and our answers are pretty much always the same. Here are a few of the things that keep us consistently cruising, and a few top reasons for why you should get on a cruise today.

 

Planning

Let's start with before you go: Planning. Planning a cruise is an absolute breeze, because you buy your cruise package and flights and you're all set. The details and logistics are all very simple - especially if you live close to a port! Checking in and getting on the boat is quick and easy, and before you know it you’re sitting on your balcony, on a luxurious boat, sailing to a new tropical destination. And you can spend your days HOWEVER you want! That chaise lounge and margarita really never gets old, and some days you may just want to relax by the pool. Regardless, the optional activities are so organized and easy to book that you can do it months in advance or day of. Super easy. 

Packing

Okay this may be one of our favorites. Packing for a cruise can be whatever you want it to be: light and easy because you're living in bathing suits and tank tops OR you can go the bulky route with all of your formal night attire all of the extra room you’ll need for souvenirs. On this cruise we were planning for the heavier packing, so we made a great decision and upgraded our luggage. We got some sleek, smooth-rolling Moonlight Spinners from American Tourister. We got matching 24" bags in Marble and then a 21" bag in Rose Gold (for the extra souvenirs). These bags were super affordable, durable, and really easy to pack. (Not to mention we looked really cool wheeling them around.) ;) Check them out for your next adventure!

Unpacking... just once!

If you don't unpack your bags when you cruise, then you are really missing out! Imagine arriving at the ship rolling your Moonlight Spinners up to the door to your new home on the water for the next week. Some may walk in, drop the bags at the side of the bed, and head to the Sail Away Party or Pizza Pirate! If that's your thing... great. But here's what we do: we pop some champagne (obviously) and then leisurely unpack our bags. It's the only time we're going to unpack during this trip (as opposed to non-cruisers, who may unpack at each hotel... yuck!), so we carefully place our things as we would in our home. We talk about all the fun things we're excited to do, agree to not judge each other for the food we consume, and cheers our champagne flutes multiple times (because… vacation!) As we finish up, we take our empty bags and together push them under the bed, where they'll remain until we leave. And just like that, the cruise has officially begun. 

The. Food. 

Our mouths begin to water as we anticipate our next cruise. The food is THAT good. Even after seven days at sea we leave bummed that we didn’t get to try a certain dish because the options are literally endless. It's amazing how the staff does such an impeccable job serving up fresh, tasty, and exotic dishes day after day. It seems as though every night we’re trying something new – whether it’s escargot or a fish that’s unique to the region that we’re in! But our favorite and nightly staple has always been, and will always be, the chocolate molten lava cake on Carnival. It’s TRULY what dreams are made of.

Everything you need in one place

A cruise ship is like a floating city. It’s insane. Good food, bars, pools? Yep. Comedy shows, magic, dance clubs, stage shows, casinos? That's all there too. If you forgot anything in your toiletry bag or you want an extra bottle of red wine for your balcony, you can find anything nearby. 

Affordable!

Disclaimer: We cannot control how you act in the casino. If you are not there for the gambling, then we can say that cruises are really affordable! Cruising allows you to see the world, eat like royalty, and relax in style all without breaking the bank. What more could you want?!

 

People in Cruise-mode

Non-cruisers may not understand this, because on a traditional vacation you get all kinds of people, most of whom probably don't want to interact with you too much. On a cruise, guests have the "Fun Never Gets Old" mentality and they are social, friendly, and of course ready to party. You'll meet so many great new friends! One of our favorite places is around the dinner table... you eat at the same 10 person table each night, so you totally have a little squad by the end of the trip (unless you're traveling with 8 kids). Despite how they may be in their 9-5 daily life, once people enter cruise-mode they are laid-back, fun, and potentially your new best friend!

You'll get time to relax

In our book, embarking on a cruise is the epitome of relaxation. Stress and obligations go out the window from the moment you step onto the ship. It’s a go-at-your-own-pace, do-what-you-want-when-you-want kind of a trip. Mid morning brunch? Sure. Drinks on the Lido deck? Why not. Afternoon bingo followed by a dip in the pool? Yes please! We love the freedom of going at our own pace when we’re on a cruise. While there are certainly no limits when it comes to daily activities, there is also no shame in taking a nap. Or three.

There are 8 reasons to get you interested... need more? Shoot us an email if you're not convinced that cruise life is the best life. For everyone else... pack up your bags and let us know where your headed. We may meet you there!

Special thanks to American Tourister for sponsoring this blog post!

A Luxurious Waldorf Weekend in Chicago

A couple weeks ago we went on a weekend adventure in one of our favorite cities, Chicago. We’ll start off by saying that a weekend is simply NOT enough time to explore this beautiful, friendly, and intriguing city. But boy did we make the most of those 48 hours!! (We’re working on a blog post with all that we did and saw… so more on that later.) We’re already dreaming about our next trip to the Windy City. Partially because we weren’t able to see everything we wanted to, and partially because we absolutely ADORED where we stayed! In two short days it truly felt like home to us, which says a lot about this stunning property!

If you’ve ever stayed at a Waldorf Astoria before, you know the high level of luxury, detail, and comfort you can expect at every location. The staff is attentive, friendly, and knows everything about the city. They upgraded us to the most beautiful suite, the "Astoria Suite" that had panoramic views of the downtown, a living room and the coziest little balcony! When we arrived, we found some tasty chocolates and a bottle of red wine waiting for us. It was so picturesque with the fire place in our room that we didn't want to eat the chocolate (hehe that didn't last long). Once we popped the bottle, we spent our time between our cozy fireplace and watching the hustle and bustle of the city below from our balcony. 

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Speaking of hustle and bustle - the location of the Waldorf Astoria is beyond ideal. Located in Chicago's Gold Coast neighborhood, we were surrounded by tons of amazing restaurants, incredible shopping, as well as Lake Michigan. We walked EVERYWHERE and were just a few blocks from the water. For us, location is incredibly important when picking a hotel, and finding a spot that’s just right in a big city can be overwhelming. The Waldorf definitely did not disappoint! 

We’re big critics when it comes to hotel beds. Let’s be real - there’s nothing better than a fluffy, comfy, hotel bed. And boy did the Waldorf Astoria deliver!! This bed was GOALS. The perfect amount of fluff and firm - and that balance is hard to find! We could’ve spent all day right there!!

Another bonus - They have 2 delicious restaurants, both curated by one of our favorite chefs, Michael Mina! Petit Margeaux is a french patisserie located in the lobby, great for coffee, cocktails, pastries, and savory baked goods. Margeaux Brasserie, which gives off the vibes of a Parisian cafe and combines it with delicious french cuisine and a fantastic bar. One we gauge the quality of a restaurant/bar is the bartender. You know you're at a good spot if the bartender can whip up a custom concoction based on what you say you like - which is exactly what we experienced here. If you stay at the Waldorf, you must go to Petit Margeaux for your morning coffee and pastry, and start your evening with a whiskey cocktail from Margeaux Brasserie. You're welcome.

We could really go on and on about Chicago’s Waldorf Astoria, but you truly have to experience it to believe it. Next trip to Chi-town give it a try… and take us with you. ;)

Saying YES to Hello Fresh!

One thing we love about exploring the world is experiencing amazing cuisine. Having a tasty meal and a good glass of wine with the one you love, maybe with a great view in front of you, is pretty incomparable in our books! 

 

But talk about a reality check when we get home!! One of our biggest struggles is finding our rhythm in the kitchen. We don’t really feel like cooking, few meals compare to the recent feasts we replay in our heads, and dishes are the BANE of our existence. Maybe a little too dramatic, but guys, the struggle is SO real. All that to say, when we recently came across Hello Fresh, we figured  why not?! Worth a try. And we've been hooked ever since! While we still aren’t huge fans of washing dishes, we wanted to share a few reasons why Hello Fresh has been the perfect fit for our lifestyle and our bellies. 

 

Hello Fresh helps us return to the rhythm of being home

As we said above, extravagant meals away from home spoil us and make us lazy. Before Hello Fresh, we'd have great intentions for cooking dinner at home on a weeknight... but when it got time to cook, we'd find a way to negotiate ordering take out instead. We'd end up spending more money than we wanted to on unhealthy food, and we'd usually eat in a rush.  Contrast that with Hello Fresh deliveries, the meals are HEALTHY, delicious, easy to make, and surprisingly fun to do together! While our plan is only 3 meals a week, that gets us used to being in the kitchen, and we often cook at least 2 more nights on our own! Some of our favorite "date nights" recently have consisted of cooking a Hello Fresh together and drinking our favorite bottle of vino!

 

Hello Fresh Makes Us Feel Like You’re Getting Better in the Kitchen (and we probably are!)

This leads us to one of our favorite things about Hello Fresh. It forces us to cook! The recipes are extremely easy to follow and require minimal culinary skill, but all the chopping and mincing and stirring has definitely improved our skills in the kitchen. You get to use ingredients you maybe didn’t know about, and you start to understand things that go together that you wouldn’t have thought of before (Kiwi in salsaCranberry mayo on a turkey burger?)! We find ourselves exploring ingredients on our own when we aren’t eating Hello Fresh meals. While we aren’t quite on their level at culinary pairings, we’re making progress. 

Hello Fresh is weeknight menu GOALS

We’re hoping that one day we can be as creative as the chefs at Hello Fresh. One of the best parts of getting the boxes is opening it up and seeing what they’ve thought of for the week (you can look in advance if you can’t handle the suspense). Bobby hates admitting it, but you really can’t go wrong with the traditional OR the vegetarian menu! The recipes have so much variety and flavor, and consistently satisfy our taste buds. We're serious when we say that we've genuinely LOVED all of our Hello Fresh meals thus far. Can all of our weeknights taste like this? 

Hello Fresh is reliable and FRESH

This is pretty straight forward, but it’s also really important. The Hello Fresh boxes have arrived on time every week, and we’re big fans of that. Also, the produce and other ingredients have consistently been extremely fresh - and most of the time organic! Initially we questioned how good the quality could be when the food is mailed to you in a box. But friends, it’s fantastic. The boxes have re-useable ice packs (we love this) that keep all your goodies cool, safe, and fresh. When you’re ready to give Hello Fresh a try, your food will be on time and delicious!

 

So what are you waiting for?! Give it a try! Use the code TRAVELINGNEWLYWEDS and get a discount on your next box. And send us a message or an email to tell us about your experience! Or... simply invite us over for dinner. ;)

Unforgettable Experience on Safari in Uganda - Photo Blog!

An African safari should be high on every bucket list. Seeing the sprawling, colorful landscapes along with the wildlife makes for an unforgettable adventure. When we were in Uganda in 2016, we had the opportunity to go on a safari in Murchison Falls National Park that we will never forget. While we did forget to post photos on our blog until now, we're thinking better late than never :) During our two day excursion, our good friend Eric took us on two game drives and also a day cruise on the Nile. We saw elephants, giraffes, warthogs, buffalo, hartebeests (antelope), hippos, nile crocodiles (terrifying), and bald eagles!

While all we had was our phones to take photos, we got some fun shots that we wanted to share. If you have a safari to recommend, we would love to hear about it! We're ready for another one!