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Avec Amour : January 2017

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Costa Rica Packing List

Costa Rica was so fun, but I truly had no idea what to pack. I did a decent job in the end, but there were a few things I'd change. Here's what I think is ideal to pack for about a week. We easily packed carry on only for this trip (much easier for warm trips than cold trips, huh)

Costa Rica Packing List

I was tempted to bring heels (low, casual heels, but heels nonetheless) because we were going to at least one nicer dinner, but I'm SO GLAD I DIDN'T. Two reasons; Costa Rica is not overly developed and many of the roads are gravel only or mud, and it's such a casual place! Even at the nicest restaurants, most people are wearing shorts and a tank top. So so so so casual.

Running shoes were key, not only for exercise or excursions, but like I said, the gravel roads (and 1 mile walk we had) were easier to walk with a sturdy shoe. 

Durable sandals (my Reefs) were the best pick! I barely wore my J.Crew leather sandals because they slip so badly on mud, and I didn't want them to be filthy. BUT I'm glad I had a prettier option for nicer dinners.

I brought 3 maxi dresses - but wish I would have only brought 1. For the reasons above, walking was a pain in them since I was trying to keep them off the mud! Midi dresses and regular sundresses were a much better option. These were great for dinner, because most restaurants did not have a/c or were outside.

Shorts & Tank Tops
I brought 1 pair of athletic shorts and 2 tank tops, 1 pair of jean shorts, and mixed and matched them all. Like I said, this place is CASUAL! While I'm not really a yoga-pants-in-public kind of girl, there was no point in getting all dressed up to walk a mile in the mud/gravel to get breakfast, 1 mile back, and then put on a bathing suit for the beach. 

Bathing Suits
Bring at least 2! On a trip that is primarily focused on the beach or pool, 2 bathing suits are necessary.  You don't want to get stuck with a damp suit from the day before (yuck). I brought 1 cover up and bought a pretty sarong on our first day in town!

Protect Yourself
I don't burn easily, but I do wear 15-30 SPF at all times. Matt burns quickly and easily, so he opts for rash guards & sun shirts that protect his shoulders and chest from the sun. He still applies sunscreen to legs & face, but his shoulders are always what get charred. Bring lots of sunscreen, any protective clothing, and a hat! There are also a lot of bugs around, so bring a good bug spray - especially for the evening!

Costa Rica is HOT. Hot hot hot. We were visiting over Thanksgiving, and the temperatures were in the low 90's each day. The evenings were not much cooler. We were sweaty. The sun is also quite intense, even in the "winter". The rain forest is also right off the beach, so it's very humid and can be buggy. I didn't bother to blow dry my hair the entire week, because I knew it would be in a bun before long anyway, so why fight the curl? (especially with the nice salty ocean to help!)

Part of the charm of Costa Rica was the fact that it's laid back and a little "unfinished". It's so nice to be able to be so casual in a beautiful place. 

I hope this helps you plan how you'll pack for your trip to Costa Rica!

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Monday, January 30, 2017

This Week in Travel: Vol. 45

Hello hello! We are back after a whirlwind 36 hours in Memphis to complete our Global Entry interview -- and about 5 minutes after our interview, we got the email that we were officially APPROVED! This is exciting news, since we were hoping to be approved before our next international trip in March. I'll have a detailed post coming about the Global Entry process for anyone interested in applying themselves. 

We stayed at the beautiful Peabody Hotel in Memphis which is world famous for their ducks. Sounds weird, but I assure you, it's the cutest thing ever. I'll also be doing a little Memphis recap soon. I'd never been, even though it's only 3 hours away from Nashville! We also hit up the new IKEA which was great, because it's only about 2.5 hours from our house -- much better than 4 hours to Atlanta. We can now squeeze in a day trip to IKEA without speeding through the store or driving home at 10pm (we've done it so many times. Glad those days are over!) Not to mention Memphis traffic is nearly nonexistent and Atlanta traffic is always a nightmare. Thanks, IKEA! :) 

Hope everyone had a wonderful weekend, and hope you enjoy these links!


Friday, January 27, 2017

Photo Diary: Tamarindo & Playa Langosta, Costa Rica

Costa Rica was an absolute dream. We did a home exchange in Playa Langosta (the smaller town about which is less than a mile from Tamarindo, a slightly larger surf town) and used our Companion Pass to get there. Thanks to great deals, we used less than 20,000 Southwest Miles to get there (originally over 40k miles round trip! We were refunded nearly half of our points).

We spent the week eating local seafood, walking the beach, playing in the ocean and catching an amazing sunset each night. I'll write more details about our trip later, but for now, here's a photo diary of the trip. It's so pretty and untouched!

Seriously, how beautiful is Costa Rica? We were so lucky that our condo gave us sunrise & sunset views and we could see everything from the 5th floor! The country is so beautiful, I can't wait to visit again someday.

Have you ever been to Costa Rica?

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