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This summer, I’m taking the Get Your Pretty On Summer Style Challenge.
So far, I’m loving this challenge and can’t believe how much it’s encouraging me to get dressed in a cute outfit every day, try some new outfit pairings, and just enjoy putting together looks. Plus, I LOVE the Facebook Group where women share their own variation of each day’s outfit.
This week, we’re on our 14-day East Coast Road Trip, so I am working with a very limited wardrobe and it’s all items that can pack in a suitcase, travel well, and work for lots and lots of walking and different temperatures.
Since I went to Italy and Israel for 10 days and packed in just a carry-on, it’s not too daunting for me to think of packing minimally for a 14-day trip. I drew inspiration from this 10-Day Summer Vacation Packing List and then looked in my closet to come up with what I would pack.
I decided to bring:
- 5 tops
- 4 pairs of shorts
- 1 dress
- 1 pair of jeans
- 2 workout outfits + tennis shoes
- 4 pairs of shoes (I know this might seem excessive, but since we were going to do a lot of walking, I wanted to change up my shoes almost every day because I’ve found that’s easier on my feet if I don’t always wear the same pair of shoes.)
We’re using this 5-Day Packing System and so far it is working really well. I’m just mixing and matching outfits when I repack them into outfits on Laundry Day to add a little variety.
Here’s what I wore so far on vacation:
I just realized that everything I have on in this picture is from Amazon! I know I’m so weird that I order so much of my wardrobe from there, but it means I don’t have to shop. Which makes me very happy!
Oh and Kaitlynn (our 10-year-old) did my makeup today!! I think I should let her do my makeup every day since she did a great job and it kind of felt like I was doing a fancy photoshoot to have her doing my makeup!
I love this outfit! It’s kind of a staple in my wardrobe. 🙂
Also, Kaitlynn did my make up again today! She went for a different look and did a great job. I feel completely spoiled!
Taken at the wax museum in DC, just for fun!
I was trying to go for a somewhat patriotic look on July 4 while using the very minimalist wardrobe I brought with me on this 14-day road trip. I borrowed Kaitlynn’s head band that she got from Dollar Tree to add some red to this outfit.
I’m not digging this outfit and don’t know that I think I can pull off the headband look without looking like Rosie the Riveter, but hey, my husband told me it looked cute. So that’s that! 😉
(White shorts would have gone better with this outfit, but I need to wash them and considering that it rained and we walked through a lot of rain and puddles, I’m glad I didn’t wear white today! See my formerly white shoes for evidence of why white shorts would have been a bad idea!)
We were mostly driving this day, so I went for a really comfy casual look and paired it with flip-flops! I can’t decide whether the earrings are way too much, or whether they make the outfit look a little more put together?
Yes, I wore my Be Still shirt for our day in Times Square/New York City. Because, even when it might be crazy all around you, you can still have peace in your soul and reminders to take time to savor and breathe and be grateful. I’m especially grateful for this wonderful man I get to do life with!
(Want to see more outfits? See last week’s What I Wore post.)
Welcome to my 14-day series on our East Coast Road Trip where I share our adventures along the way, how we’re doing this on a budget, honest reviews of attractions & restaurants we visit, and money-saving tips and ideas. If you missed it, read Day 1 here and Day 2 here.
Day 3 was a day full of lots and lots and lots of walking! I decided to skip my morning workouts on the days where I know we’ll be walking a TON because I figure I will be getting plenty of exercise! 🙂
Silas wanted to go on a morning walk with me, so we started the day by exploring Old Town Alexandria. It’s such an adorable area with so many cute shops, yummy looking restaurants, and just old town flair!
We found Payne Street so of course we had to take a picture! 🙂
We stayed a few blocks from the King St. Metro in Alexandria so that we could park our car in the gated parking garage the hotel had (we had to pay $20 per day for this, but it was worth it to not have to worry about our car getting broken into, etc.) and then take the metro into D.C.
This worked out really well and meant that we could easily get around the city, but didn’t have to mess with driving in the traffic or finding places to park.
The International Spy Museum
Our first D.C. stop was the International Spy Museum. This was on our must-do list and, despite the long lines and crowds, it didn’t disappoint.
The kids had been here before with Jesse (when I was in South Africa) and had long talked about coming back so I could experience it.
A few things we learned:
- It’s really crowded in the D.C. area around the 4th of July. And the Spy Museum was a hot attraction… which meant that there was a long line waiting out the door when we got there. You can book your tickets online and by-pass this line.
- However, we got our tickets free from a 5-attraction Washington, D.C. Explorer Pass we purchased with credit on Groupon. Even though we had these tickets, we still had to stand in line.
- Tickets are regularly priced at $21.95 for adults and $14.95 for kids (ages 7-11). Children 6 and under are free. If you are planning to do multiple things in D.C., I’d highly recommend checking out the D.C. Explorer Pass. Even if we hadn’t gotten it free with credit from Groupon, it would have saved us quite a bit of money.
- You can bring food and drink into the museum, you just can’t eat or drink in the museum. For those who have babies and toddlers, note that you can’t bring strollers into the museum, but you can check them at the coat check area.
When you first enter the museum, you choose a cover identity and then you keep that identity throughout the whole museum. They have a few different kiosks where they ask you questions about your identity to see how well you’d do at remembering facts and dates as a spy.
The museum is not as interactive as I expected and I think it’s geared for older kids and adults. Our kids really enjoyed it, but they also are obsessed with spy stuff and history. I wouldn’t recommend it if your kids are younger (say 8 years or younger) or if they aren’t really interested in spies/history.
The museum covers a lot of ground: the history of spies through the ages, spies in different wars, cool spy equipment through the ages, James Bond, information and displays on what it takes to be a spy, and a large section on spies in World War II.
My favorite exhibit, by far, was Spies Among Us which traces the impact that deception and spies played in the success of D-Day and the atomic bomb.
One of the other cool things about the museum is that it has the “largest collection of international espionage artifacts ever placed on public display. Spanning the history of espionage around the globe, many of these artifacts have never before been seen by the public.” Read more here.
CitySights Double-Decker Bus Night Tour
After we left the Spy Museum, we walked for blocks and blocks to get to Union Station where we got our tickets for the CitySights Double-Decker Bus Night Tour.
We got these tickets with our D.C. Explorer Pass, but you can also purchase tickets for the bus tour only from Groupon (it’s cheaper to get the 3-attraction or 5-attraction Explorer Pass, if you’re planning to use that, but it’s still quite a bit less to buy the Groupon for the bus tour only than to get it from CitySights).
There was a LONG line of people going on the bus tours, but they were able to accommodate everyone and their staff was very friendly and helpful.
We loved this tour and would definitely recommend it. Not only was our guide incredibly knowledgeable, you could tell he absolutely loved his job and loved inspiring others and sharing interesting stories.
The bus tour was around 3 hours long, with a stop about 2 hours in at the FDR Memorial/Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, and Iwo Jima Memorial.
The weather was perfect, the sky was stunning, and I got all sorts of amazingly beautiful pictures. It was really fun to get to have such a great view of so many of the historic sites in the DC area — and to get to see so many of them in such a short timeframe!
We finally made it back to our hotel at 11 pm. Day 3 of our 14-day road trip was a success!
Book I finished today: Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents (I know it’s a heavy title; I’m reading some books on this trip to help me as I walk with one of my kids who is struggling and am trying to think through what I can do now to help prevent issues down the road.)
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Welcome to my 14-day series on our East Coast Road Trip where I share our adventures along the way, how we’re doing this on a budget, honest reviews of attractions & restaurants we visit, and money-saving tips and ideas. If you missed it, read Day 1 here.
We started Day 2 of our East Coast Road Trip in Blacksburg, VA and ended it in Alexandria, VA. It is SO beautiful in this state! I just can’t get over it!
Using Groupon to Save On Our Vacation
A few years ago, I used to post a lot of Groupon deals here with my referral link (which meant that I would earn referral credit every time someone purchased a deal).
Back in the beginning, Groupon had some really, really fantastic deals and, as a result, we collected a lot of Groupon referral credit. We used it to buy a number of Groupons and then, all of a sudden, the credit stopped working.
In fact, we just plain couldn’t order anything from Groupon at all with our account. It would try to place the order, it would spool forever on the order page, and then it would time out.
I contacted Groupon multiple times and they couldn’t help me. I figured they had just flagged our account because I had maxed out the referral credit (sadly, this has happened multiple times in the past with other companies and I have had thousands of dollars in honestly-earned referral credit taken away just because they said that too many people redeemed a deal through my blog).
As a result, we stopped ordering from Groupon (since our account wouldn’t work) and I kind of forgot about it and about the few thousand dollars in credit I still had on Groupon. And life went on.
But recently, I was on Groupon again and decided to try using the credit again and it WORKED! This was right when we were in the middle of planing our 14-Day Road Trip and it couldn’t have been more perfect timing!
So you’ll see that we are using Groupon for most of our deals on this trip — because not only does it mean we get in at a discount, but since we are buying the Groupons with referral credit, it actually means we’re technically getting in for FREE!
Before we head to a new area, I’m searching on Groupon to see what deals they have available. You have to look closely at the fine print because many area only good for two people or are only good during certain dates.
I’m specifically looking for places that will allow us to buy five passes and that will allow us to use them in one order. This narrows down the possibilities, but so far, there are still some great options that we’re finding!
The Smithfield Plantation House
The Smithfield Plantation House was one such option we found on Groupon. It’s usually $8 per ticket, but we bought the Groupon to get admission for 6 for just $18 (they were running a special to get an additional $6 off tickets through July 6, 2017).
We loved the tour. It was just an hour long, but I couldn’t believe how up close and personal they let you get with everything in the house — including furnishings that were really old and valuable.
Our guide was really fantastic and made the tour so interesting. You could tell she absolutely loves bringing history alive to people!
The grounds were so beautiful and peaceful and it was amazing to hear how much history went down right in this house and area. Our whole family enjoyed this tour and would recommend it — especially if you love American History like we do!
Mill Mountain Coffee & Tea
We left the Plantation with our sites set on making it to Alexandria. However, we only made it as far as Salem, VA before we were all really hungry. We decided to stop in Salem, VA and look for a local coffee shop.
So I googled “coffee shops” and we found this gem: Mill Mountain Coffee & Tea. We instantly fell in love! It was adorable, the food was really good, and the service was excellent.
(One downside: the bathrooms weren’t very clean. I’m not sure if they’d just had a rush of customers that morning or if the bathrooms usually aren’t very clean.)
The Rest of the Day
We then headed to Purcellville, VA to stop by Patrick Henry College, where Jesse went for one year before he moved back home to marry me. What memories!
We didn’t get out and walk around because it was getting late, but it was fun to show our kids the area where Jesse lived for awhile and to reminisce about when I came to visit him there with my dad and brother (my first time to go to DC!)
It was such a good day and we enjoyed so much laughter together, there was very little arguing, and I’m so glad we decided to go on this Two-Week East Coast Road Trip.
To be continued…
Want to follow along with our trip in real-time? Follow my personal Instagram account here where I’ll be sharing a daily recap + videos and photos via Instagram Stories.
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