We're "SHELL-EBRATING" The 2nd Annual National Seashell Day... Tomorrow!!

Do you guys know what tomorrow is? It's National Seashell Day!!! Tomorrow (June 21st) is the day to shellebrate seashells, and the home of the shellebration is our beloved Sanibel Island. We had the opportunity to enjoy the festivities last year, and today we are sharing a few reasons why you should put the beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel on your must-see bucket list. For real. It's THAT cool. Here's why:

 

IT'S A TROPICAL PARADISE

Well, obviously. Everyone knows that Florida has a dreamy climate, especially by the beach. But what is interesting is that not many people head to southwest Florida. Even though it's easy to get to (fly into RSW – Southwest Florida International Airport), it’s very affordable, and it is peaceful and mellow (think the opposite of nearby Disneyworld in terms of crowds). 

While we were there last summer, we stayed at the South Seas Island Resort. Here we enjoyed palm tree lined streets, ocean views from our room, and saw TONS of wildlife – dolphins, beautiful birds, manatees, and monkeys to name a few! We spent hours lying in the sand or by the pool (also right in front of the sand). Blue skies, sunny beaches, your love by your side, and drink in hand... it really doesn’t get much better!

 

THE SEA-SHELLING WILL BLOW YOUR MIND

Our biggest takeaway from our trip last year is that sea-shelling is a legit activity - especially here. To us (California natives), the beach is for tanning, surfing, and relaxing. On the beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel there are SO many shells (We found ourselves geeking out over the different varieties!) and it’s only natural for one to start combing the beaches looking for the more exotic shells.  

During our “shelling” sessions on Sanibel Island, we became addicted to the hunt of attempting to spot various shells on the sand. We would recommend getting a guide, like Captain Brian (he's the BEST!), to help you scour the beaches for “The Sanibel Six”. We found two – the Lightning Whelk and the Lettered Olive. We need to go back for the other four, as well as the prized Junonia (the rarest of them all). 

 

THE PERFECT ROMANTIC GETAWAY

Whether you stay at the South Seas Island Resort, an Airbnb, or another nearby resort, the beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel are a couple’s DREAM. The sunsets, the picture-perfect sand, the warm water, the food… it’s the perfect romantic escape for honeymooners, newlyweds, or oldy-weds that may need a break from their kids. We highly recommend long walks on the beach. ;)

 

ONCE YOU HAVE TOO MANY SHELLS (NEVER), THERE IS SO MUCH TO SEE!

You may never have enough shells, but chances are you'll at some point get too sunburnt to continue laying on the sand. In which case there are so many other places to see and things to do during your stay on the beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel! For those seeking thrills, we would recommend parasailing on the open seas, or kayaking in J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge. For those seeking time out of the sun, you can go learn about all of your shells at the Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum. Or for the history buffs, visit the Edison & Ford Winter Estates! There is amazing shopping in downtown Fort Myers, there are islands to explore by boat (like Cabbage Key), and there are plenty of delectable restaurants to keep your stomachs happy. The opportunities are endless!!

 

You could do all that, or maybe you just want to keep searching for a Junonia? Good luck!

 

Thank you to The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel for sponsoring this post!

 

 

 

 

 

-- 

Bobby & Alli Talley

instagram.com/traveling_newlyweds

travelingnewlyweds.com

 

Osaka Obsession - Your Love for Japan (and your tummies) Will Grow in "The Nation's Kitchen"

We recently spent 10 days in Japan, and figuring out what we were going to do (when there is SO much to see!) was a huge struggle for us. After much deliberation, we decided to spend 4 days in Tokyo and 5 days in Osaka. While this was the best trip EVER, and we crammed our days full, we've since realized we need to return to Japan soon - because there's so much we still have yet to do! During our journey, we fell in love with Tokyo, Osaka, and nearby Kyoto. Today we’re going to share a few reasons why Osaka is a perfect spot to have as a home base while you explore Osaka, Kyoto, Nara, and beyond.

Osaka is known as “The Nation’s Kitchen”, so food will be a big part of your time here. The name originally came from Osaka being the mecca for the rice trade and other produce. Eventually that reputation grew as tons of great restaurants and local delicacies are scattered throughout the city. Our favorite was Matsusaka beef at Matsuzakgyu Yakiniku M, Sushi at Ginza Kyubey, and green tea ice cream at the Osaka castle (a MUST!!). There is also an INCREDIBLE variety of street food, so walk everywhere to burn off some calories. A local favorite is Takoyaki (octopus ball), but it was a little too much for us. Bobby tried, but couldn’t handle it… which isn’t normal because he’s eaten some weird stuff.

Shinsaibashi-Dotonbori Area – A crazy part of Osaka where you’ll want to spend a good chunk of time. Shinsaibashi for shopping, and Dotonbori for eating. Shinsaibashi is an enclosed shopping mall, different from what we think of in the states. It is a large strip of shops spanning more than half-a-mile! Here you’ll find retail, luxury, boutiques, and street vendors. It is a great shopping area where you could spend a ton of money but also score some bargains. We were there over New Years, which is a bummer because many of the best stores were closed. I guess we have to go back? Nearby Dotonbori is essentially the capitol of the “Nation’s Kitchen”. Incredible food. Looking back on it, we realize we should’ve spent more time here eating, and probably walked more too. You’ll know you are entering the Dotonbori area when you see the iconic giant Glico Man (Glico makes Pocky!). Don’t bother with Pocky here, though. Explore street food, ramen, crab, takoyaki (we dare you), and blowfish (we also wimped out on this). Put your walking shoes on, don’t eat too much rice, and enjoy this sensory (and stomach) overload in Osaka.

Trains make day-trips easy – While there is plenty to do, see, and eat in Osaka, there are some incredible towns just a short train trip away from Osaka. We recommend getting the JR Rail Pass so you can hop on the Shinkansen train from Shin-Osaka Station to Kyoto Station in 15 minutes! We did this trip multiple times and most of the time didn’t even sit down. We just stood by the doors and watched the scenery during the quick trip. Kyoto is a beautiful city full of shrines, temples, and gardens, and is full of tradition including kabuki, geisha dancing, and picturesque onsens. Other day trips that we want to do during our next trip (we were obsessed with Kyoto and didn’t go anywhere else) would be Hiroshima (85 minutes via shinkansen), Kobe (14 minutes), and Nara (30 minutes). Aside from day-trips, we used our JR Rail Pass to get between Tokyo and Osaka as well! It’s so easy… can we please get some trains like this in CA!?!

So depending on how much you love food (we’re biased), we would recommend having Osaka as either a short stop (2-3 days) or as a hub as you explore this area of Japan. There is so much to see, and you’ll probably love it wherever you end up. Get your train pass, stretch your stomach, and embrace YOLO with all the cuisine and experiences you can have in Osaka!  

Why We Roll On (Four-Wheeled) Spinners

Luggage comes in all shapes and sizes, and most of us start with what we’re given. When we were younger, all we ever used was duffle bags. At some point, we matured and graduated to a two-wheeled carry-on. It seemed like the BEST thing ever compared to having your bag on your shoulder, and for about twenty years, both of us never thought to change things up. But then we came across Delsey Paris, and we realized we have been missing out on the 4-wheeled revolution. Over the past year, we’ve swapped out all our luggage for a fleet of Delsey bags, including the ChateletTitaniumShadow 3.0, and Bastille Lite (our current favorite). While we are huge fans of the style and durability of hardside luggage, that isn’t the purpose of this blog. Here we want to share with you why we are convinced that 4-wheeled spinner cases are the way to roll.

Disclaimer… Four wheels vs two wheels may seem like a super random blog post. And it is. But we can honestly say it makes all the difference! And we aren’t business travelers that travel weekly, so we don’t claim the following to be true for everyone… but this is what WE have found :)

 

Pulling with the wrist vs. pushing with your body. First off, it really just feels easier to push your suitcase by your side as you walk rather than pull it. Assuming you have good wheels (Delsey bags are SO ridiculously smooth), pushing the bag really feels effortless. If you have bad wrists/shoulders and a heavy bag, pulling it all around the airport will eventually cause a sore wrist/shoulder. Pushing a slick four-wheeler really is as effortless as it gets! 

The 360-degree maneuverability is a game-changer. It really is the main reason why we love these bags so much. These bags allow you to quickly bring it in front of you if you need to go through a narrow opening or turnstile. Think about how many times the line to deplane is held up by somebody who’s two-wheeler can’t fit down the aisle. Glide a four-wheeler sideways, and that will never be your problem. When you hop on the subway/train, the four-wheeler can efficiently move into small open spaces.

(We will say that there are times you do need two-wheels, like bumpy or uneven surfaces where gliding along side of you won’t be ideal. Not a problem, because you can lean it on to two-wheels and advance through the difficult terrain with ease.)

 

If you’ve never had the four-wheel experience, trust us and take one for a spin! Because why settle for two wheels... when you can have four? 

A Weekend At The Mermaid by the Sea!

A couple of weeks ago we rounded up a handful of our best friends (ok, 20 of our friends) and headed to a little (ok, it was pretty big) seaside getaway in Oceanside, CA. We were celebrating our friend Jessie’s 30th birthday, and we knew it HAD to be special. We wanted somewhere relatively close to home where we could feel like we “got away” and could easily relax, unwind, and unplug. We found a place called the “Mermaid By The Sea" on VRBO, and it couldn’t have been more perfect!

 

This was our first time doing a house rental on VRBO… and it definitely won’t be our last. While we’re big fans of fancy hotels, room service, and over-all hotel hospitality, there’s something to be said for renting a home. It’s efficient, the homes are surprisingly luxurious, and it is SO cost effective. (Especially when you’re traveling with friends!) 

 

The Mermaid By The Sea is located on the best street in Oceanside, with pristine ocean views and hotel-worthy amenities that you have ALL to yourself. That’s right. We’re talking a sparkling heated pool, jacuzzi, surround sound, outdoor barbecue and fireplace, all of the lawn games and beach cruisers you and your friends could ever need, and SO MUCH MORE. We could not believe how well-stocked this home was… From the kitchen utensils and serving plates to the board games to the cozy blankets and soft pillows - we could go on and on!

One morning we all took a walk down the beach, and it was absolutely heavenly. The Oceanside beach is quiet, secluded, and peaceful. We laid out, played spike ball, and even snuck some fun drone shots in. Hours passed before we realized it was definitely time for lunch! (If you’ve been following us for awhile, you know that our travels revolve around food!) 

 

Speaking of food… One of our favorite memories at the Mermaid By The Sea was every morning having our cup of coffee (or mimosa - or BOTH!) on the rooftop patio. We’d watch the waves roll in, have deep conversations with friends, and breath in the fresh, salty air. At night we’d make a round of margaritas and take them to the rooftop to watch the sunset. C’mon… what more could you want?!!

 

We really could go on and on about how amazing and restful and life-giving this weekend was… How it was the perfect spot to celebrate a birthday, how we bring up “The Mermaid By The Sea” on the reg (if only we lived there), how the weekend went too fast, and how we need to plan our next trip ASAP. It was the perfect weekend at the perfect beach rental. Whether you’re celebrating a family member or friend’s birthday, a family reunion, or just in need of some time to unwind… we highly recommend this spot. And let us know if you decide to book - we’ll meet you for a dip in the pool. ;)