We headed over to Nashville’s Opryland for a staycation to celebrate the end of the school year and had the BEST time! The hotel is very family friendly and B-E-A-UTIFUL. It features 9 acres of indoor atriums, an outdoor pool, live music, special summer activities such as the atrium fountain show and live performances, scavenger hunts & hotel garden tours. And of course – SoundWaves!
Typically we venture all around the resort, but this trip we couldn’t drag our kids out of SoundWaves if we tried! After 8 straight hours there, we were able to pull them out to eat dinner. They both agreed it was their “best day ever.”
After three or so staycations a year since our boys were babies, we consider ourselves “Opryland experts.” I wanted to share some of our tricks that we’ve picked up over the years and answer some FAQ’s.
Atrium view rooms are SO fun. We love watching the twinkle lights on the balcony. Grab an ice cream at the end of the night and sit out on the balcony as a family. It truly has a magical feel! Since it was such a quick stay we did the regular atrium room. When we come at Christmas we will sometimes stay in the upgraded atrium view room. We chose the two queen beds (you can also chose a king) The upgraded atrium has two bathrooms, a living area and a kitchenette. In the living area is a murphy bed (the kids think that is so fun!) and a pull out couch as well. It’s a great option to have a separate space for the baby to sleep or if you are coming with another family and need a gathering place.
If you are coming predominantly for SoundWaves this summer, I would suggest booking the Garden section. It’s the closest area to the water park.
SoundWaves is the BIGGEST hit with our boys. We decided to get a cabana this time with the baby. It was nice to get a designated meet up spot and have somewhere that Cambre could nap. (We shut the curtains while she was napping.) A waiter comes around and you can order food/drink to the cabana. The cabana is an additional expense, but it really made our trip this time. If you are worried about shade.. there are umbrellas at some of the chairs outside as well as some more shady spots inside. You would need to get there early to save those on busy days.
The waterpark has both an indoor and an outdoor section. There was a baby/toddler splash area that Cambre just loved. Most of the slides were 42″ and up to ride. Our boys could go on everything if we were with them. There are indoor & outdoor play areas with a big bucket.. they spent a ton of time in those! Food is available and drinks (including cocktails!) inside of SoundWaves.
One of the questions that was frequently asked on Instagram was about leaving the resort. We personally do not leave the resort, but you totally could! With how many restaurants and shops are on property, we find it simpler to stay put.
Speaking of restaurants… Old Hickory Steakhouse is our favorite food on property. A bit more upscale than the others and on the pricier side. If you’d like the splurge just be sure to make a reservation for that one. Cascades (near the waterfalls) features a breakfast buffet that our children love. Ask if there are available seats in the booths under the cave. Just a fun little touch for the kids! They also have an Italian restaurant, Mexican restaurant, pizza spot etc. that are very kid friendly. If you venture down to the Magnolia area there are pubs and more adult style spots as well.
Each night we also go by the arcade. Just a quick trip since it’s not too big. Always a fun way to end the night out.
Local residents… be sure to check out the deals. Right now they are offering 40% off as a local discount.
Opryland has become our children’s favorite family tradition. The memories made here are priceless to us. We consider ourselves lucky to have something so special this close to home!
FUNBOY- 25% off sitewide with code “SUMMER” at checkout. Just in time for summer! They have great quality pool floats in fun shapes/sizes. We love the huge daybed cabana that holds four people plus acts as a cooler in the center. The floating bar comes in so handy as well. The kids love the inflatable planes for “sleepovers” in our room.
Rylee + Cru-– 25% off sitewide. This is where I get the majority of the kids clothes. They hold up well & are made well. We have most of these items and LOVE them!
Revolve-– 20% off beauty! So many good finds. Free shipping and it’s 2 day shipping as well.
With all the shipping and inventory delays this holiday season I wanted to be sure to get holiday gift guides out to you early. I never want anyone to feel pressure to shop or gift give during the season, but if you are on a mission to find the perfect gift for a special person in your life, I’m here to make that process simple!
I will also be doing a small business gift guide and an experience gift guide in the following days.. be sure to check back for those!
** As always I appreciate you shopping our guides and supporting our family. When you shop via these gift guides I receive a very SMALL commission from the retailer. This cost you nothing, but I always want to be transparent about this. **
I’m not sure if brown is the new black, but I do know it is everywhere this season! I love the richness and versatility of the color. If you are looking for an easy way to add this in your wardrobe this season.. I’ve gathered up several staple pieces to explore. Monochromatic in head to toe brown hues is a great way to go as well!
The biker short trend is one I can totally get on board with. They are comfortable and super easy to wear. They have a bit of a more modest length, which is perfect when you are active or to be able to wear them day to night.
So many biker shorts have been selling out because they are such a hot item, but I’m rounding up some favorites that are currently available and sharing a few different ways to style them.
** Click on any image to shop. **
This is great for working out and then adding some quick accessories to run errands. This cami tank is a great staple piece. It’s super comfortable and a great length to show a tiny bit of midriff or you could size up if you’d prefer a no show look. There is also a great less expensive option that comes in tons of colors for $20 HERE.
Everyday casual. The key to this look is a shirt that is a bit oversized. You can roll up the sleeves if you’d like it to be a bit more polished.
A more dressed approach to the biker short trend. I just added a linen blazer over a graphic tee and popped on a pump. It’s simple, but comfortable and perfect for a summer night out.
** You can check out several other summer staple items on this roundup post, HERE. **
We refer to Vail as our “happy place.” You just can’t beat breathing in the fresh mountain air, the stunning views, hot tubbing with snow falling around you, the freeing feeling of skiing down the mountain…I could go on and on.
Strolling through the village feels as if you are walking through an Austrian village without having to cross the ocean. The Bavarian culture is evident in the food and architecture.
Each year we take a trip in either the summer or fall and then a ski trip in the winter season. You can check out our guide for summer months HERE.
This year was extra special because we brought the boys along to try their hand at skiing for the first time!
My husband had a brief stint where he lived out here and was a ski instructor for young ones. It just made it all the more special to be able to watch them with our own little guys.
HOW TO GET THERE
There is a local airport, Eagle County Regional Airport. However, there are limited flight options. We fly into Denver International Airport and rent a car. It’s a very scenic drive.
This time we stopped at the Ice Castles in Dillon along the way. HIGHLY RECOMMEND. It’s a bucket list type of experience and the kids absolutely loved it!
You can also take the Colorado Mountain Express ride shuttle.
Once you arrive in Vail everything is easily walkable. They also offer a free bus transportation service which can take you between Lionshead and Vail Village.
If you are staying at the Four Seasons (where we always chose to stay) they will give you rides anywhere throughout Vail, at your request. You can even take out one of their Mercedes Benz to cruise around Vail in style.
WHERE TO STAY
Hands down the best place to stay in Vail is the Four Seasons Vail The location is walkable to the gondola, bars, restaurants, streams, etc. We have tried out everywhere, but this is simply the best. The staff is so friendly and they make every possible accommodation for you. They greeted our boys with a bag of goodies and set them up a tent in the room. The bar, pool, Flame restaurant, etc. are impeccable. One of our favorite things to do is get the “haute chocolate.” They slow pour the most decadent hot chocolate over a chocolate grid on top of an oversized mug. It melts in and is then topped with a homemade marshmallow. Drooling thinking about it. If you are not a guest of the hotel… still go get that hot chocolate!
If you are choosing to ski the hotel makes it as convenient as possible to do so. You can rent your skis through Gorsuch located inside the hotel. It’s easy to get fitted right there at the hotel. They then send the correct skis, poles, helmets down to the ski concierge at the base of the mountain. Ski concierge will help you get your ski boots on and walk your skis right to the mountain for you. It truly couldn’t be a more stress free experience.
WHAT TO DO
Ski– The skiing in Vail is insanely good! The views are amazing and there are plenty of options of green trails up to double black diamonds depending on your skill set. There is simply nothing more freeing than being at the top of a mountain.
Vail mountain offers Ski School for children 3 years+ (and potty trained.) We highly recommend taking this route. They make skiing fun for kids, but more importantly they teach them proper technique, how to carry skis, how to put their skis on, etc. They take lots of breaks and play games, etc. Kids are never outside too long to get too cold.
Adventure Ridge-– At the top of the mountain they offer snow tubing, a coaster and other fun winter activities.
Shop- There are tons of local boutiques, art, jewelry shops and more. Everything is so walkable that you can pop in and out of each one. The boys loved the toy store and the candy shop. (Shocking, I know. HA!)
Spa- The Four Seasons Five-Star Spa can’t be beat.
Ride The Scenic Gondola- If you aren’t wanting to ski riding the gondola is a great way to explore the mountain and check out the views from the top!
WHERE TO EAT
It’s always fun to ride the gondola up the mountain and have lunch at the top. You just can’t beat the view! (It’s very casual.) There is also the 10th Restaurant at the top of the mountain. It’s a fun experience because you can take your ski boots of and wear slippers while you dine. We love to get fries and champagne for lunch as a fun little break.
The Remedy Bar- Located Inside the Four Seasons. Think really upscale “bar food.” They just hired a new chef and the food did NOT disappoint.
Garfinkles- You can sit outside and have a great view of the gondola and mountain.
Mountain Standard- The Colorado River Trout is insanely good. A local favorite.
La Nonna- A locals favorite!
Sweet Basil- We first found this gem during Taste of Vail. It’s a farm to table place with really fresh ingredients. Ask to sit out on the patio.
Almresi- The owners started this in Germany and it’s very authentic and unique. There are authentic Austrian dishes on the menu and it truly makes you feel like you are in another country.
Matsuhisa- This place is incredible! It’s a great sushi spot, but the 72 hour marinated miso cod is where it’s at!! It’s owned by Chef Nobu so you know it’s top knotch.
Flame- Located inside the Four Seasons. SO. DANG. GOOD. The food is excellent, but they were still extremely accommodating to the kids. The new chef created some table side experiences that are next level. The “CACIO & PEPE” table side was one of the highlights of the trip for us! They bring a parmesan wheel to the table and rotate in fresh pasta. They then top it with freshly shaved truffle. It is just divine!
WHERE TO DRINK
Vail Brewing Co.- It’s always fun to find a local brewery and this one has a laid back casual vibe.
The George- Fun fact… Trey worked here 20 years ago checking ID’s. HA! It’s the local hang out.
Bully’s Ranch- We have made it a tradition to grab a mudslide at the bar here. It’s got the true mountain decor and is always festive.
Root & Flower- They offer over 50 by the glass pours of wine, an extensive bottle selection, and lots of fun craft cocktails.
WHAT TO PACK
I’ve rounded up a very detailed list of everything to pack for skiing, winter clothes for walking around the town, travel gear and winter beauty essentials. You can check all of that out HERE!
Earlier this year, a dear friend told me when referring to friendships and relationships, to think about a dinner table. Who shows up when you invite them? No matter if you are having a feast or only crumbs to offer. Who pours you water from their cup when you are out, and you will happily pour back into theirs? Nurture those friendships and feed them. She encouraged me to stop squeezing a chair in at tables you don’t belong, and be present at the one that you are at.
This year, I’ve really worked at that concept and I felt blessed beyond belief to sit at a beautiful dinner party with a table full of women who I am so proud to call friends. Women who care, show up, build each other up and offer nothing but love and support.
If you haven’t found your table yet, keep looking and focusing on those who come to dinner no matter what!
With that being said, I feel beyond grateful for my sweet friend Chelsea for throwing this beautiful boho garden party. She was able to do so on a budget and I’m going to pass on her tricks! P.S. She took all these pictures as well and you can find more of her work HERE. She’s incredible!
She found the perfect location at Natchez Glen House. It’s a lovely garden that you can have events in or go and pick your own flowers! (Hello most perfect date night….) I’m convinced someone needs to get engaged in the middle of this garden. Chelsea and I would love to help plan it! You can check out all Natchez Glen has to offer HERE.
The cake was by Copper & Whisk Cakes. Confession… I was never a big cake lover until I tried their cakes. It’s so much better than any other cake I’ve ever tasted. This one was salted caramel and so amazing!!!
This tablescape looked so elaborate and beautiful, but it can totally be done on a budget! Most of these items were found on Amazon and Target. The whole table can be re-created for around $100!
Here is Everything You Need For A Boho Garden Party Tablescape:
It’s that time of year again… the most wonderful sale of the year. The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale is unique because instead of items that are going out of season, it is the current season on sale up to 40% off BEFORE they go to full price for fall and winter. It’s so much fun to shop, but can be overwhelming as there are over 10,000 items on the sale this year and things sell out fast! I’ve gone through all 10,000 and picked the best of the best!
**You can click on any of the items in the collage to shop that item.**
Still In Stock & Worth Shopping
Best Of Women’s Clothing
These faux leather commando leggings are the best! I have them and got a TON of use out of them last year. Under my Instagram highlights there is a Spanx faux leather leggings vs Commando Faux Leather leggigs and (Spoiler Alert!) these WIN! If you are in between sizes, Size up. They are on the sale for $65 and normally run $100.
Faux Leather Snakeskin Moto Jacket by BLANKNYC is one of the best finds of the entire sale! I can’t believe it’s on sale for $65. It looks much more high end than that!! Every year they have a few jackets on the sale and they are the first to sell. Make sure you get yours fast! They have a suede jacket that is incredible too. It comes in grey and tan. You can shop that one HERE.
This lace trim satin cami is the perfect layering piece and comes in lots of colors and patterns. This polka dot version reminds me so much of the Anine Bing designer version. At $25 it’s the perfect piece to stock up on.
Digging all the animal print this season. You can’t go wrong with this affordable leopard print slip dress. You can dress it up or wear a t-shirt underneath with sneakers and make it casual.
The Slip Pillowcases are amazing for your hair and skin. I love them! If you aren’t quite ready to pull the trigger on the real deal, there is also an awesome Amazon dupe of them HERE.
This Supergoop hand cream trio set sold out in 2.2 seconds last anniversary sale. It’s SO good. I read this article on how you can really see your age in your hands. So many people don’t apply sunscreen their. It’s such a great way to protect them from the sun. Their sunscreen is great as well and they have a set with three mist on the sale. You can shop the sunscreen HERE.
Recently I’ve been using this NuBodyand loving it. It’s on mega sale and helps to firm and tone your skin! (Perfect for summer season…)
I have and love my T3 curling iron and blow dryer and use them daily. ( I have shared them lots on my IG because they are so great!) They are part of the sale in the grey color and the perfect time to snatch them up if you have been thinking about making the investment.
Best of Shoes & Accessories
One of my most worn buys from last year were these nude Vince Mules. They are back with just a tiny change and also available in a snakeskin, black and nude. The leather is super soft and they go with everything.
Loving this chain necklace for everyday wear and to layer with other pieces.
So many great sunglasses on the sale last year. These affordable cat eye sunglasses are a must have. There are two pairs of Givenchy sunglasses this year. SO. DANG. GOOD. You can shop the aviator pair HERE and these fun thick exaggerated cat eye ones HERE.
Typically the bags don’t impress me, but this Rag & Bone Bag is made of the softest leather and it’s SO roomy. (Perfect for mamas to carry ALLLLL the things. This AllSaints crossbody bag is the perfect size, a great price point and comes in several color options.
Some great hats on the sale this year as well. Brixton always fit so well and look more high end. There’s a classic black one this year that you can shop https://rstyle.me/n/dpixdkbz57x and a camel version HERE. They look JUST LIKE the Lack Of Color ones that are more than double the price. Also loving this tan one with a snakeskin band.
Best of Home
First and foremost…. BAREFOOT DREAMS! If you haven’t been converted yet, it’s your time to try. I’ve never felt anything this cozy and soft. The boys LOVE them too. I’ve never seen them go on sale this great in the prints. I snagged this neutral camo one. They also have the leopard ones and ribbed throws. Can’t recommend these enough! The leopard is one of my favorite things I own. They sell out every time they become available at full price so these are sure to sell out super fast!