travel

To babymoon or not to babymoon? Here's my advice

anne and joe at the Piazzale Michelangelo in Florence

You're looking at Facebook and see a picture of your gloriously pregnant, stunningly beautiful friend showing off her perfect baby bump on a white sand beach in Greece.  She's on a "babymoon"... that last adult getaway before her life changes forever.  It seems like a great idea, and she seems to be having a blast, but are babymoons really all they're cracked up to be?

We didn't take one with our first child, but decided to explore Italy before having our second.  Was it a great trip?  Yes!  Would I do it again?  No.

anne along the Arno river in Florence

I planned the trip around the 6 month mark of my pregnancy.  Since my first child was a preemie and my second pregnancy was high risk, I ran the idea by both of my doctors, got medical records to bring along, checked with the airline and made sure to research hospitals in each of the cities we were visiting. 

Italy was a good choice for some reasons, but bad for others.  Let's start with the positives...

Meats and cheese at the central market in Florence Italy

I ate my way through that country and didn't bat an eyelash!  You're not going to be drinking or going on any wild adventures and unlike my gorgeous friend in Greece, you probably won't want to be seen in a bikini, so choose wisely.  I gorged on pasta, risotto and all the Parmigiano-Reggiano I could get my hands on.

pasta cooked in a wheel of parmesan cheese in rome

Another positive was the timing.  We went during off-season, which allowed us to stay in nicer hotels at a more affordable price.  Since my energy level was much lower than normal, we spent a significant amount of time in some very swanky hotels.  Having a luxurious place to relax was well worth the splurge!

Hotel Roma Luxus in Rome
Lobby of the Boscolo Venezia in Venice

Now, the negatives...

Do not underestimate how much your butt is going to hurt on an overseas flight!!  I was horribly uncomfortable and had a center seat, so it was difficult to get up to stretch.  You may want to choose someplace closer to home that has a shorter flight or shell out the extra cash for first class.  Also, consider your luggage if you're traveling by train.  Poor Joe had to lug ALL of our suitcases on and off of every train we took.

Joe on the train from Florence to Trento Italy

Italy requires a lot of walking, as do many popular vacation spots.  Your feet are going to hurt and you may be having contractions already.  I had to seriously take it easy, which made it difficult to enjoy as many sights as we would have liked.  Pack comfortable shoes, even if they're ugly, and make sure to take it slow.  I definitely would have cut out one of the cities we visited if I had to plan it all over again.

exploring castle altaguardia in trento

Finally, don't underestimate the unknown.  Every woman and every pregnancy is different.  Everything was okay with my trip, but my early contractions wouldn't slow down and just weeks after returning, I was put on bed rest.  Risking the health and well-being of yourself and your baby just isn't worth it.

If you really want to get away, without having to worry, wait until after the baby is born.  Joe and I took a trip to Croatia when Beau was about one and a half years old and it was magical.  We had truly earned a vacation at that point and could drink, play and relax knowing Beau was safe at home with Grandma! 

Our first trip to Croatia away from the baby
Sharing a bottle of champagne on Lokrum off of Dubrovnik Croatia

If you insist on something before baby, I'd recommend sticking close to home.  Find a relaxing spa or plan a staycation at a swanky hotel.  You may just rest a little easier not having to worry about potential problems with baby.

 

Design inspiration from the Dalmatian Coast

Hvar, Croatia, Dalmatian Coast

It's been nearly a year since I first laid eyes on the crystal blue waters of Croatia's Dalmatian Coast.  Last August, Joe and I set out on a life-changing tour of Croatia, visiting Dubrovnik, Korcula, Hvar, Split and Plitvice Lakes in one whirlwind trip. 

Long worn-torn and under the thumb of a socialist government, the country formerly called Yugoslavia, is now opening its doors to tourists.  It boasts a rocky coast, walled cities and fortresses, glistening blue waters, more islands than you can count, and natural wonders if you choose to venture farther North.

The people are friendly, the food and wine are superb and the homes are beautifully simple.  Many residents still live in hundreds-of-years old walled cities.  And everything is built with breathtakingly beautiful limestone.

It's a way of life I can only dream of.  And maybe visit on very, very special vacations.

Garden District stunners shine bright this holiday season

PRC New Orleans Holiday Home Tour, Photo Courtesy Sarah Essex Bradley It's baaaaaack!  Each year, one of my favorite New Orleans events is the Preservation Resource Center's Holiday Home Tour.

This weekend, tourists and locals alike will grab their lattes and get their exercise, walking through the historic Garden District neighborhood, where 8 homes open their doors to the public.

If you're looking for a taste of the good life, the mansions decked out in holiday decor, will have you daydreaming in no time!

Money raised from ticket sales benefits the PRC's wide range of community programs.

From blogging about homes to selling them!

St Philip Condo It's official!  I'm a licensed real estate agent in Louisiana!

I've been a lover of homes forever and have pondered selling them for years now.  So finally, I decided to bite the bullet.  I'm working with the amazingly talented Jon Huffman, who's not only my broker, but also my former co-anchor on Good Morning New Orleans.

So, if you're in the market to buy or sell a home in the New Orleans area, I'd be happy to help.  In the meantime, check out these pics of a stunner that caught my eye in the French Quarter.  The exposed brick is to-die-for!

 

International Instagrams: Inspiration from a World Traveler

Yves Saint Laurent Gardens My sister-in-law Jessica is one of the most talented, beautiful, funny and all-around interesting people I know.  She is the lead stylist and owner of an amazing salon in San Diego called Paper Doll. But when Jessica's businesswoman hat comes off, she keeps busy adding stamps to her passport.

Jessica is a hair and makeup artist for prAna clothing company.  It takes her to some of the most beautiful, inspiring and peaceful setting around the world.  Inevitably, I find myself drooling over her instagrams, anxiously awaiting new posts from every trip.  Jess' latest travels landed her in Morocco, where the blue and white hues would brighten even the gloomiest of days.

I hope you enjoy her inspiration as much as I do!