Barton Springs Pool Austin, Texas

48 Hours in Austin, Texas: The 7 Best Things I Did in Town

Regular readers of this blog will know that I’m a chronic sufferer of FOMO. (In fact, I characterized it as the most debilitating of my pregnancy symptoms last summer, which was really saying a lot.)

But I just came back from a perfect weekend getaway with the hubs — less than 48 hours — in which I somehow managed to feel like I had both soaked up a ton of local culture, and also scored some much-needed rest and rejuvenation. And despite the shortness of the trip, I didn’t come home feeling any FOMO.

Our weekender was in Austin, Texas. And although neither hubby nor I had ever before been there, we found it a perfectly paced town where there is plenty to do and see, but not an air of pressure that you must see everything on a list or else you have somehow blown a major opportunity. (I hate that feeling.)

In fact, before we left on this trip, I solicited some advice from travel blogger friends, as well as a pal who lived in Austin during graduate school. Here’s what the latter said about it in an email: “The good thing about Austin is that you can just soak up the vibe and not feel like you have to do any one, or 10, particular things. If you have some good food, margaritas, and hear a little music, then you’ve gotten a good slice of the city.”

And, after my visit, I found that description of the Southern city just exactly right: Austin is a place where you can find what your particular personality seeks — food, music, sun, culture, shopping, whatever — and come home enriched and restored. I loved that.

It also helped that we were so well located when we visited, thanks to our gracious host hotel, the W Austin. It’s right downtown in the Second Street District (literally right next door to the famous Austin City Limits music venue), and allowed us to walk (even in 100-degree heat) or take a few-dollar Uber ride easily around town to see a ton of great stuff without much effort or advanced planning.

That said, here are my absolute favorite things we did with our 48 hours in Austin, Texas: a little weekend getaway that felt like so much more.  Read more…

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Travel theme first birthday party ideas

Travel Themed First Birthday Party: A Festive Unisex Bash for the Twins!

I don’t even know how to approach a post about my twins turning one: No words can begin to adequately sum up the intense and wondrous and wild year after our family of two became four. All parents know this feeling, of course.

So how about if I focus instead on the babes’ travel themed first birthday party? That seems like a reasonable scope and scale. And I’m kiiiiiinda obsessed with the way it turned out.

For this party, David had one request: He wanted to host it in the backyard of our home, our first house, where we brought our babies after we left the hospital, a place to which he, in particular, has a deeply visceral connection (which is very sweet to see).

As for me, I had a few more ideas. After we got the babes their first passports and I saw how bonkers cute/hilarious the photos looked, I had this idea to make a sign that said “Oh, the places you’ll go!” and post those photos somewhere on it. From there, I loved the idea of a travel themed first birthday party. And then I thought of a “Here comes the airplane!” sign for the food table. Of course we’d have a taco cart, the crowd-pleasingest, budget-friendliest, easiest way to feed a group.

Along those lines, I was inspired by a couple of recent trips to Mexico (Punta Mita/Sayulita and Tulum), plus the availability of such great Mexican-style decor in Los Angeles. I was also pretty obsessed with this photo on Pinterest. But I knew I didn’t want the party to be too theme-y in any way. And that was about where my opinions and expertise on the matter ended.

Fortunately, I have friends in very convenient places — namely, in the event industry. My super-talented pal Sarah Granger-Twomey of PIE Productions got on board with helping me plan (never mind she’s in the throes of planning her own daughters’ celestial-themed joint birthday party in a few weeks), and helped me bring it to vibrant life.

Aaaaand her in-demand photographer husband, Sean Twomey of 2Me Studios (who also shot our maternity photos!) offered to shoot our day (while he also managed his two kids). Double score!

So after a super fun afternoon shopping for decor with Sarah in downtown Los Angeles, we were all set to go for an 11 a.m. backyard party. And then just as Sarah and our friend Rachel (who is among the most naturally festive people I know) were arriving to help set up, we heard thunder, and rain started falling. Out of absolutely nowhere. Um, what? People: It’s mid-July in Los Angeles, during a drought of biblical proportions. This cannot and does not happen. The Day After Tomorrow. Alanis Morissette. Etc.

And I would have panicked without my two seasoned event-industry friends, along with my event-industry husband, who rolled up their sleeves, pounded the coffee, and got to work.

Another thing that seems relevant here, before I go on with all the photos: As Sarah, Rachel, David and I stood in the living room formulating a rain plan, our friend (first) and neighbor (second), Dwayne, ran up the front walk in his jogging clothes talking about, “Hey, I have an E-Z Up tent. I’m bringing it by.”

This to me was a moment among so very many — nearly infinitely many in our love-filled first year — that have crystallized the idea of “It takes a village.” And we’d be absolutely lost without ours. Thank you, thank you, thank you to the helpers and everyday heroes in our lives. 

(By the way? The rain held off during our party’s exact mid-day window.)

Now onto the photos… Read more…

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Photo: Angelo Sgambati

10 Things Parents of Multiples Just Can’t Do (but Parents of Singles Can!)

“I just don’t know how you do it!” As a new mom to nearly one-year-old twins, I get that a lot. Frankly, it’s a reasonable thing to say, coming from parents managing one single baby at a time. Of course, all parenting has its many challenges (and rewards!), but managing life with two babies at the same time is a niche that requires a lot of finesse. And if your situation is three-on-one, four-on-one, or more for all you higher-order multiples moms and dads out there, well, I know you look at us twin parents like we’re silly amateurs. (And we’re in awe of you!)

With that in mind, I have compiled some of the key differences, based on my own experiences and the feedback of other moms in my local multiples club. Here are some things that singleton parents do that we multiples parents watch from the sidelines with equal parts amazement, jealousy…and maybe a little smugness, too! Read more…

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Photo courtesy of Del Marcos Hotel Palm Springs

Mini-Holiday Giveaway! A Stay in a Palm Springs Architectural Gem

Last month, I wrote about how Palm Springs is the perfect destination for a 24-hour vacation that can can actually make you feel totally refreshed and inspired (plus detoxed or retoxed, per your personal preference — hey, no judgement).

Now, I’m giving my readers a chance to score your own perfect 24-hour vacation in Palm Springs! Read more…

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Best advice for flying with a baby

Bingo! The Best Advice for Flying With a Baby Is Right Here

If you’ve read between the lines of this blog, you’ll have duly noticed there’s one travel-related “first” I haven’t yet done since the twins were born: I haven’t brought the babes on a plane. I probably don’t need to tell you why this is true. But mainly I’m looking forward to the day when we pack up these babies and get those first stamps in their pristine passports.

Meanwhile, as I gather data ahead of their first trip, I’ve been scouring the web and personal sources for the best advice for flying with a baby. And, thanks to a lively conversation in a professional group online this week, I just hit the advice jackpot — and it’s only fair to share it with all of you.

In this post, you will find the absolute best advice for flying with a baby, because it is crowdsourced from the hive mind of people who know it best: travel writer moms of all stripes (as well as some non-moms with plenty of exposure).

These are moms who are motivated and unstoppable (even if daunted). Women who don’t accept dirty looks from strangers. Women who have a great career and a family and also travel and therefore (if I may) — women who absolutely have it all. So without further ado… Read more…

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Riviera Palm Springs pool

24 Hours in Palm Springs: A Perfectly Rounded Vacation in Just a Day

These days — with the demands of infant twins plus career plus being a grownup — at any given moment, I’d say I deserve a vacation more than ever before.

One (of the infinity) great things about living in Los Angeles is we have easy access to the desert, and 24 hours in Palm Springs can make a person feel totally refreshed, rejuvenated, and… tan.

So last weekend, hubs and I headed out for an overnighter at the Riviera Palm Springs that we sorely needed and enjoyed. We were going to take the babes, but decided it was better to leave them instead in the care of their grandparents when the weather forecast said (wait for it) 115. Fortunately, I can’t get enough of the heat myself.

Here’s what our mini-break looked like. Read more…

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Cenote Dos Ojos

Cenote Dos Ojos Near Tulum: Refreshing Crystal-Clear Water, Exciting Caving!

Earlier, I wrote here about past mixed experiences with while exploring Mexico’s cenotes, an ancient system of caves and underground rivers only found in this part of Mexico: Dzitnup was a dud, but Aktun Chen was a major must-do.

Now, in my latest installment of Homebody in Motion’s Unofficial Guide to Cenotes, I bring you dispatches from Cenote Dos Ojos near Tulum, a great pick for a couple-hour adventure. Read more…

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Uxmal

Yucatán Peninsula Road Trip Blog: A Template for a Swift-Moving, Budget-Friendly Adventure

Just back from Tulum for the first time since 2008, I have been reflecting on the ways in which the little city on Mexico’s Yucatán peninsula has changed — that much-discussed evolution of Tulum from sleepy beach town to New York trend-story fodder.

That reflection led me to plumb the endless depths of the Internet for my now-defunct blog from back then, in which I described that first trip to the region. What I found was 1) such novice blogging I’m actually embarrassed, and more importantly 2) actually a pretty great template for a Yucatán Peninsula road trip that can be replicated in just five days of travel, and on a budget.

Because of that old post’s legit travelogue value, I’ve decided to repost it here (with some edits for clarity and comparison, and to minimize the meandering writing). A swiftly moving five-day outline on a reasonable budget, with a healthily balanced itinerary including relaxation, adventure, and culture, it can be a source of trip-planning inspiration for would-be Yucatán Peninsula road trip goers — or just fodder for wanderlust daydreams!

Without further ado…

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Tulum ocean view from Papaya Playa

Where Should I Stay in Tulum?

When a very best friend of 20 years announced she was getting married in Tulum, it was a huge deal. First, because this friend is our George Clooney (but even ol’ George figured out this year that marriage rocks). And second, because she’d be getting married at Mezzanine, which is the very same hotel where I stayed during my only other trip to Tulum, on Mexico’s Yucatán peninsula, back in 2008.

It was a very different trip back then. For one thing, I was with an ex-boyfriend and not my husband. So there’s that. But also because, so I’d heard, Tulum had rapidly become a very different place than it was only five or eight or 10 years ago.

Read more…

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La Quinta Resort & Club at sunset

Twins’ First Holiday! 5 Things I Learned About Taking Babies to Hotels

After you have babies, it’s all about firsts: first foods, first consonant sounds, first time crawling, first time pulling up to stand.

When it comes to travel, I’ve written here about our firsts as new parents since the twins were born: my first business trip at 12 weeks postpartum, our first couples’ driving trip away without babies, our first trip by air since they were born.

At last, just as the twins turned 10 months old, I’m excited to share about our first holiday together as a family of four… which also included the twins’ first hotel stay, and their first time in the pool. (Spoiler alert: too, too fun and such a special and cherished family memory!)

Here’s what we did: Read more…

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