Category Archives: Travel

Boca Grande with The Gasparilla Inn & Club

My sister and I had a wonderful girls weekend getaway thanks to The Gasparilla Inn & Club in Boca Grande, Florida. Boca Grande is just a short drive south of Tampa (under 2 hours) and the National Historic Landmark resort sits right on the heart of the beautiful and quaint Gasparilla Island along the Gulf Coast. The Inn is easily accessible by air, car or boat (you could fly into Ft. Myers, Sarasota or Tampa too).

The Gasparilla Inn takes on the motto of “Florida as it was meant to be” and I don’t think another statement could more accurately describe this little slice of heaven in the sunshine state. If you are not familiar with this area, it is unlike any other in Florida and it is no wonder that it has been named the #1 resort in Florida.

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From the welcoming staff to the charming appearance, “Old Florida” traditions and historic buildings (open since 1913), there are not many places like this in the state or country for that matter. The beauty of Boca Grande and its beloved banyan trees, relaxing and laid back nature make it perfect for a family friendly vacation, romantic trip for two or for a girls weekend (like my sister and I enjoyed sans the boys).


What is also so special is that the Gasparilla Inn stays true to its seasonal traditions, dress codes and southern comforts by following a seasonal opening. Typically this runs October through the 4th of July so now is the time to go! Since it is the largest surviving wooden hotel in Florida and one of the state’s first resorts, (Henry Ford, Thomas Edison and even Hollywood beauties like Katherine Hepburn have also stayed here), the Inn closes for the rest of the Summer through early Fall in order to help preserve the building.

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While I had been to Boca Grande growing up and even got to see a close friend get married there, this was the first long weekend I had spent at the Inn in recent years and let me tell you, it did not disappoint one bit.

We were greeted and spoiled upon arrival with a knock at our suite’s door and a tray full  of rosé and sparkling waters (my favorites!). The suite was absolutely beautiful and felt just like a home. Each room also comes with tempur-pedic beds and bath amenities by L’Occitane. The day before we arrived, the Inn had just wrapped up a beautiful event with Garden and Gun (also one of my favorites!).



Where To Eat

Miller’s Marina: After we dropped our bags and picked up our light blue golf cart, we headed on over to Miller’s for a delicious casual lunch full of fresh seafood (think: peel n’ eat shrimp) on the dock.

The Main Dining Room: Our first night, we were spoiled at the Inn in the Main Dining Room for dinner. We enjoyed more rosé, shrimp cocktails, Key West shrimp bisque, tomato salad, beet salad, salmon, grouper, espresso chip, strawberry & vanilla ice cream, espresso, among cappuccinos and yes, champagne. How did two girls eat all this? I’m still not sure but everything was absolutely delicious and the service was beyond hospitable too.

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The Outlet: Just down the road from the Inn, we enjoyed a comfort heavy breakfast (think scrambled eggs, toast, diner coffee, your grandma’s type of cooking) at The Outlet. It was little too hot that day to sit out on the dock but that option is always there too.

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South Beach Bar & Grille: We headed to the end of the Island to enjoy drinks at South Beach one afternoon (and also found ourselves conveniently stranded due to a Florida afternoon thunderstorm).


The Pink Elephant: On our last night, we enjoyed another delicious meal at a Boca Grande and Gasparilla Inn staple – The Pink Elephant. Truth be told, the time before I spent there was at the bar after my friend’s wedding events each evening but the food is delicious too! We started with cucumber crushes, tuna tartare and pimento and finished with mahi mahi and swordfish for our main dishes. Again, how did the two of us eat all this? I think the sun must work up your appetite.

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The Loose Caboose: Before we left on our last day, we had a casual lunch at the Loose Caboose (also known for its ice cream) in town with salads and grilled shrimp and diet coke to go (for yours truly, of course).

Hudson’s Grocery: This little gem with its pink old gas pump out front is also a staple store for groceries and other necessities if you’re staying longer or book one of the Inn’s cottages.


What To Do

The Beach Club: Head to the Beach Club to soak up some sun on a private beach (complete with yellow umbrellas) or lounge by the pool. There are also dining options available here.

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Explore the Island: There are a handful of local shops and better known ones in the small town of Boca Grande. I made my sister drive our blue golf cart all weekend long and the easiest + most popular way to get around is by golf cart. There is also a historical light house that is worth checking out too. Head to Banyan Street for some of the prettiest trees in the South.

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Outdoor Activities: For those that want more outdoor activities there is golf, bicycle rentals, kayaks, croquet and inshore/offshore guided fishing expeditions (if you didn’t BYOB – boat, that is).

The Spa at Gasparilla Inn: Last but certainly not least, I would recommend checking yourself into the Spa for a few hours. We were also spoiled here with “Taste of Gasparilla” massages plus a few add-ons that included guava anti aging butter for me and extra aromatherapy for my sister. The massage also includes reflexology, stones and I opted for a ginger lily scalp massage. Both Melissa and Erika come highly recommended by my sister and I for services.


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Shop some of the items I packed below.

Special thank you to The Gasparilla Inn & Club for hosting us for the weekend.

All opinions are my own.

Bimini Travel Guide


If you have been following along on Instagram and Snapchat, you know that I recently celebrated a big birthday and to do so, went on a trip with my sister to the gorgeous islands of Bimini. I am so excited to share with you all about our trip!


Where is Bimini?

First up! Where in the world is Bimini?

Thanks to The Bachelor this past season, many of you might be familiar with this little place of paradise but for those who are not, Bimini is part of The Bahamas and it is the western most chain of islands. This means that it is technically the closest to the United States and only about 50 miles off the coast of Miami – making it super easy to get to for all you Sunshine State-ers like myself.  I must add that even though it’s just 50 miles from Miami, it truly feels like a world away.

Bimini is best known for its fishing, rumrunners back in the day and beautiful turquoise clear waters. Legend has it that Ponce de León found the Fountain of Youth here. Other greats like Hemingway (Islands in the Steam was set in Bimini), Martin Luther King, Jr. (wrote part of his “I Have a Dream” speech here) and my favorite parrothead, Jimmy Buffett, also enjoyed Bimini and its beauty.


How To Get There

Many people get to Bimini by boat (or yacht, ha!). There is also a ferry service now from South Florida and of course, there is the option to fly! We boarded a pink plane a la Silver Airways out of Miami since we spent the day before down there. It is about 15-20 minutes once in the air and there is also the option to take Tropic Air and land right on the water in a seaplane.

Once we arrived in South Bimini (where the bright colored airport below is located), we took a quick taxi to the resort ferry and headed across to the island of North Bimini.


What To Expect

If you’ve been to more touristy parts of the Bahamas, Bimini is quite the opposite. It’s made up two small islands.  North Bimini is only 7 miles long and most people travel by golf cart around the island (I recommend renting one during your stay) and you might miss the town square if you blink. With that being said, it’s absolutely beautiful, Biminites are quite friendly people and the local spots and beautiful waters were our absolute favorite part of the trip.

What To Bring 

Sandals, bathing suits, hats and plenty of sunscreen! I brought along a beach tote full of my favorite Hampton Sun products too.

Bimini is very casual and truth be told, I didn’t wash my hair once on this trip (thank you, Drybar). It smelled like sunscreen and salt water by the end and I did not mind one bit.

I’ve included some more of my looks below and links to other ones as well throughout the post. Oh yes and don’t forget your passport.





{Off the Shoulder Dress c/o & Pink Tassel Earrings c/o}


{Tassel Earrings – Kendra Scott}


Where To Stay

Resorts World Bimini offers an array of world class amenities, as well as homes, condos and of course, the Hilton property (where we stayed for the week). Not only is there breathtaking views of Bimini Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, but the resort also has several pools including a rooftop and an infinity one, a serenity spa, private beaches and numerous dining options and offshore excursions.

Our room at the Hilton was beautiful with two comfortable beds, an amazing bathroom and shower and while we spent most of our time by the pool or on Paradise Beach, it was a lovely place to come home to each evening.



What To Do

Head into Town!

If there is one thing you absolutely must do on your Bimini trip, it’s stop by for an afternoon at Stuart’s Conch Stand in Alice Town. The stand/bar is family owned and operated, and we had such a great time with the locals and visitors alike, that we went two days in a row. I recommend the conch salad, conch and lobster salad and the homemade rum knockout punch – it’s absolutely delicious, made each day and comes in convenient  to-go bottle. We tried another local conch stand too and having been to both, Stuart’s wins hands down! Truly, the conch and all the seafood in Bimini is brought right in off the boats, and would only be fresher if you ate it underwater.


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Heading to CJ’s for a fresh coconut drink on the local Radio Beach is also highly recommended by yours truly. A lot of the other friends we made along the way enjoyed Edith’s Pizza in town (for those that can eat gluten, Bahamian bread and crust, I’m told, is some of the best around).

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{Earrings c/o}

For those that love fishing, diving and snorkeling – Bimini will be your paradise. You can snorkel out to a shipwreck in the middle of the ocean and explore at Resorts World Bimini. And for those of you that do not enjoy sharks (like myself), you can still take in Bimini’s beautiful waters and a shipwreck up close at the Gallant Lady. It’s breathtaking at sunset and there are resort trams that can also take you there.


After long days on Paradise Beach, under yellow umbrellas on blue and white striped chairs (rum drinks in hand), my sister and I enjoyed several of the restaurants at the resort. We had room service delivered in the mornings and enjoyed jerk chicken fries and fresh shrimp by the pool at Oasis. We also ate dinner at the Tides and the hotel has a lovely Raw Bar in the lobby with a happy hour. Leroy was our favorite bartender there! However, by far, our best meal on property was the sushi at The Sushi Bar where we ate the last night. It goes without saying that all of the seafood in Bimini (on property or off) did not disappoint.


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This trip was the perfect way to bring in a new decade and it’s easy to see why Hemingway, MLK Jr., Ponce de León and Jimmy Buffett loved it so much too.

I am counting down the days until I’m back! If you go, you have to let me know!

{Thank you to Resorts Word Bimini for hosting this media stay. All opinions are my own.}

Toasting: Charleston Stay at Zero George

I’m going away, perhaps to Charleston…forever? No, but really.


Charleston has always been one of my favorite cities to travel to and visit – whether it’s for a wedding, a Bachelorette (like my sister’s last year), the Blog Societies Conference or, of course, “just because”. I have always hoped that someday my life finds me there full (or part) time!

Before I even headed to Charleston on my most recent trip, I was spoiled at Spa Evangeline here in Tampa with a spa pedi and amazing HydraFacial MD®.  I also made sure this freckled Florida girl was perfectly sunkissed with a airbrush tan by my favorite Air Brush Tan by Shan.

Once I was beauty-ready, I was lucky enough to head up there for a long weekend full of reunions, blogging and dining (and wine-ing!) so today’s post will recap some more must-do’s if you’re planning a trip to the Holy City soon too (take me with you, K?).

(PRESS PLAY for my weekend in a nutshell with Jenn!)

Where To Stay

Zero George

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{Photo via}

This was my second stay with Zero George and as one would expect, it did not disappoint. Being greeted with a glass of bubbly upon check-in is my type of place and after being apart from my BFF Jenn for 6+ months, a “cheers” was certainly in order as she arrived from DC.

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Additionally, from the moment you step on property, the most accommodating staff is always present and goes above and beyond to make your stay the best possible. We were also surprised with precious gift bags from our friends at Candlefish with travel candles from their library collection and corresponding matches.


A European Style Breakfast is provided every morning along with a 24-hour Miele Coffee + Espresso Bar. Every evening from 5pm-6pm, guests enjoy a complimentary “Wine + Cheese Hour” (now you see why I LOVE this place?!). One evening we chose to have our wine and cheese boards brought to our room and enjoyed while we were primping. Another evening, we chose to have it brought our to one of the beautiful verandahs outside.

As it was Super-Summertime-Hot that weekend in Charleston, I opted for white wine (Jenn still enjoyed her red!). We also enjoyed additional bubbles at the bar!

Other amenities at Zero include complimentary mint bicycle rentals (see my attempt in wedges the above video) and gym passes (we skipped the gym this trip!).

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I think that one of the most charming parts about the individual guest rooms rooms is being surprised with which one you get! They’re all so unique and in different “houses” with original architecture. Charming, honestly, does not even begin to describe it, it feels just like you’re at home with beautiful white marble bathrooms and Malin + Goetz toiletries. Not to mention a perfectly curated mini bar with sparkling sodas, bottled water and a Nespresso machine that certainly came in handy for our early conference mornings.

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{Photos by Jenn}


Snowcation: Salamander Resort & Spa

It seems like just yesterday I was buried in the blizzard up in DC and now I write to you from sunny Florida where I have headed back home for 2016.

I am so excited to be back and share with you all about my #snowcation to the Salamander Resort & Spa in Middleburg, Virginia (just an hour outside of DC). I was lucky enough to get a hard hat tour of this amazing 5 start resort a few years back for my old job but I was beyond blown away with my stay last month and it was the perfect way to relax and recharge before I headed back South for my big move after 11 years away!

This luxury resort is set on 340 acres in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains and perfectly positioned in Virginia’s famed horse country and beautiful vineyards. They boast a spa, cooking studio, billards room, wine bar and an array of other dining and outdoor acitivites. It was also named in the top 10 best resorts in the South by Condé Nast Traveler (and yours truly).

Of course, it would not be a trip without my traveling partner in crime & fellow Floridian, Cori Sue of Bitches Who Brunch. We dug ourselves out of the snow, packed all the essential winter gear we owned (hey! I wasn’t going to get to wear this for awhile) and hopped in a car (read: uber) out to the Virginia countryside to escape our cabin fever and enjoy one last girls trip before I would be a plane ride away vs. an uber away. If you followed along on snapchat (bannc) and instagram (@bannc), you know we had too much fun and share our moments along the way.

{Outfit Deets: Pom Hat (on SALE!) // Puffer Vest (on SALE!) // Sweater (on SALE!) // Leggings // Sunnies (similar here) // Socks (on SALE!) // Bean Boots // Jewels // Lips (fanfare)} 

We checked into our rooms, which were nothing short of perfection – equestrian details, personalized welcome notes on each tv screen, a bathtub I wanted to take home (more on that later) and of course, a lovely bottle of vino awaiting each of us. No detail was left unnoticed and if you know me, you know this is what matters most. You really feel like you’re inside an old Virginia home and the staff could not be more friendly or accommodating too.

After we settled into our rooms, we hopped downstairs to enjoy lunch at Gold Cup. Two hungry girls quickly filled up on burrata, salads and the delicious garlic fries plus plenty of sparkling water and diet coke (for yours truly). We also had the loveliest view of the winter wonderland that took over the resort and then Cori Sue got to work (#workcation for her) and I headed to the Spa for the first time (naturally) for an express facial. I don’t think my skin has ever looked better than those 24 hours.

Before heading to dinner that evening, we were spoiled at Boxwood Winery. The Salamander has several partnership with local vineyards and wineries in the area and can accommodate your travels to them as well. Boxwood set up a private after-hours tasting for Cori Sue and I with Rachel. They specialize in reds (perfect for the cold weather) but also have a lovely rosé and the most beautiful bottle labels I’ve ever seen.

After trotting through the snow and a lovely happy hour of wine + tour, we left with two bottles and headed to dinner back at Gold Cup Bar but this time, for sushi (and yes, more wine).

{Dinner Outfit: Jeans (on SALE!) // Sweater (on SALE here too!) // Pumps (on SALE!) // Tassel Earrings // Lips (capricious)}


Toasting: October Fall Looks

So, October is my favorite. No, really. And what’s more so my favorite is all the fall wardrobe options that October brings.

I shared some of my picks last week but after packing in “all things Fall” over the weekend, I’m sharing two looks today that you can layer and wear all season long. What I also love about these two is that you can mix and match and swap them out with the various staples below. What’s even better? Many of these items are 25% OFF through Thursday with J.CREW’s Fall Sale

I spent Saturday at my friend’s farm in Pennsylvania, which was like a page out of Town & Country magazine and a gorgeous day. We explored the grounds, fed the horses, had delicious food, a bonfire, played cornhole and of course, enjoyed spiked cider and wine.

{Flannel Shirt (25% OFF)// Quilted Vest (25% OFF) // Floppy Hat (similar option here) // Sunnies // Jeans // Boots // Crossbody //Jacket (not pictured) // Earrings // Ring // Necklaces: 1 & 2 // Bracelets: 1 & 2 //}

You can also shop the look below!

Sunday, I spent the afternoon (c/o* Reston Limo) at Stone Tower Winery (c/o*) & Greenhill Winery with some of my favorite bloggers. We tasted, tasted some more and enjoyed cheese galore while taking in the gorgeous Virginia vineyard views.