Postcard Plans

Curated Travel Inspiration and Musings

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June 20, 2014
by rblackney
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A Long Weekend in Cape Cod, MA

I have been lost in thoughts of future travel again and wanderlust has me planning a trip that I have not even booked yet.  Visions of cool summer temperatures, water adventures, and delicious seafood have me daydreaming about a visit away from the Houston heat and into the North, specifically Cape Cod.  Honestly I have not even booked this trip, but as I am already deep into research and always seeking suggestions, I thought that I would share some of my Pinterest map plans.

With July 4th approaching there will be many who will partake in the lobster roll, maritime charm and ample beach loving destination.  So here are some of the top to-dos that I have been researching for [...] Continue Reading…

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June 9, 2014
by rblackney
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To Cruise or Not To Cruise : The Cons

While cruise connoisseurs adore them, a cruise vacation is not the right fit for every person.  And with a recent outbreak of bad PR, lately it seems that cruise ships have been in the headlines for all the wrong reasons.  That won’t help anyone who is on the fence about the prospect. Cruise vacations certainly have some very valid pros (read my article here), but people have different travel styles and the cruise industry reputation has some blemishes that might be a turn-off too.

Here are the reasons why a cruise might not be right for you:

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From the crowded elevators to the compact showers, there is a feeling of confinement that can leave you running to the upper decks or [...] Continue Reading…

navigator_seas

June 9, 2014
by rblackney
1 Comment

To Cruise Or Not To Cruise : The Pros

The subject of cruise vacations is polarizing.  Generally people tend to be pro-cruise or anti-cruise and, until recently, I had no opinion as I had never been on a cruise. Even now, my only experience is a one-night promotional cruise (Read about Navigator of the Seas here), though it did give me a taste for the experience.  There are definitely benefits to a cruise vacation, and I hope that I get another opportunity for a normal cruise vacation that includes a destination.  I want to better understand and appreciate the cruise craze.

So from my first cruise experience and from talking with cruise fans, I have come up with a few reasons why cruising might be right for you:

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PAMPERED AND [...] Continue Reading…

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May 23, 2014
by rblackney
1 Comment

First Look at Remodeled Royal Caribbean Navigator of the Seas

Royal Caribbean invited my husband and me to be guests on board their remodeled Navigator of the Seas ship.  The 3,114 guest ship is based out of the Texas port city of Galveston with Caribbean itineraries leaving year-round.  From what I understand, this is currently the largest and most advanced ship yet based on the island. Dave and I could not have been more excited to explore it and to have our first cruise!

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Being a promotional one-night cruise, our experience was rather unique.  With it being our first cruise experience, I learned a lot.  As there is so much to share, I plan to have more than one article. For this article, I will stick to the facts and [...] Continue Reading…

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May 9, 2014
by rblackney
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36 Hours in Austin, Texas

My brother recently visited Austin, TX on his own for the first time. Knowing that Dave and I lived in Austin for 6 years, and that we visit on a regular basis, he asked me what my top picks would be for 36 hours in Austin.

While the city has grown and changed a lot over the years, I have some core suggestions that I believe have stood the test of time. That said, the city grows at a pace that is difficult to keep up with – there are always new hot spots emerging or unexpected business closings due property takeovers.  And I am sure that other locals and visitors would have many others to add to this list [...] Continue Reading…

Carousel Bar drink

May 2, 2014
by rblackney
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A Naughty Food & Drink Weekend In New Orleans

I have had some minor health issues lately, and the doctor has prescribed a bland diet and alcohol reduction. Bah-humbug!  With an upcoming visit to New Orleans planned, I was so bummed – because how could I properly enjoy the Big Easy on a non-spicy, non-fried diet without a cocktail?

We decided that it would be too challenging for me to stick to my diet prescription and so we changed our plans. But it got me thinking about all the naughty food and drink that I would miss.

If I had no dietary concerns then here are the very naughty, but very yummy food and drink stops on my fantasy food and drink weekend in New Orleans:

Erin Rose for a frozen [...] Continue Reading…

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April 25, 2014
by rblackney
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Enjoying Downtown Houston, TX

Recently I have seen a surge in pro-Houston press thanks to a conscious and determined effort by city leaders to make improvements to the quality of life in Houston, but the overall reputation of the city remains generally unpopular and under-appreciated. As a resident of the city, I am lucky to experience the city’s overlooked but exceptional qualities, including the culture of art and the amazing international cuisine. At the same time, I recognize that it is a sprawling city that requires a car (though bike culture is improving), can be a concrete jungle in areas (though parks are also increasing as well), and that economic expansion generally rules development over conservation.

As the city has undergone a revitalization to [...] Continue Reading…

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April 11, 2014
by rblackney
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11 super-pretty Los Angeles and Bay Area yoga studios | Well+Good NYC

While I love a fine wine and an indulgent meal on my vacation, on the other end of my travel spectrum, I really love new yoga experiences in fresh destinations as well.  Some of my favorite yoga experiences have been on vacation.

We loved the Hix Island House yoga in Vieques, Puerto Rico.

We visit Yoga Haven in Galveston any time we make the short trip.

Reyn Yoga Studio in New Orleans is not only gorgeous but it is a challenging workout to balance the decadence of the city.

And while I have not yet written about our Santa Barbara experience, we loved Yoga Soup there as well.

So this article with “super-pretty” yoga studios in the Los Angeles/Bay area is one that I [...] Continue Reading…

portofino

March 27, 2014
by rblackney
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Relaxing Stay at Portofino Hotel & Marina in Redondo Beach, CA

Like its sister cities of Hermosa and Manhattan, the main draw of Redondo Beach is the beach that connects these three cities.  A paved path, called The Strand runs from Torrance through South Redondo, north to Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach, and eventually to Santa Monica.

This past December, I was looking for a unique accommodation that was fairly close to LAX for a one-night stay before we departed for Houston to return after the holiday break.  With a little research and a Priceline deal, I decided on the Portofino Hotel & Marina in this area.

After enjoying Hermosa Beach a few days before, I was especially excited to rest and recuperate from a whirlwind California coast trip and the Portofino Hotel [...] Continue Reading…

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February 28, 2014
by rblackney
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The Cloisters in New York City is Worth the Trek

I love New York City, but the pace, the people and the tourists can totally overwhelm my senses.  So I really enjoy finding spots where I can refill my peace tank.  That can be difficult to achieve, especially as I usually have multiple roommates in a tiny hotel room.  Be it for work or pleasure, I never seem to have space.  I would imagine that is a common feeling in the city for residents and visitors.

So, the discovery of The Cloisters was absolutely refreshing.  And, yes, it is far.  But I think it is worth it to find the time and make a visit the priority, especially if the weather is in your favor.  Grab a book and make [...] Continue Reading…

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February 28, 2014
by rblackney
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Travel News: “In St. Lucia, Giving Winter the Cold Shoulder” | Huffington Post

I really can not complain about the weather compared to the rest of the country who are experiencing snowstorms and even thunder snow this winter.  I am in Houston, Texas where it has been colder but in reality, it is manageable and we have had some really lovely days mixed in as well.  I have even had a hard time getting the dogs to come inside because they want to bask in the sun.

But I still can have a little wanderlust and Saint Lucia has been on my radar for a very, very long time.  We even considered going there for our honeymoon (opted for Zihuatenejo instead), but it is an expensive trip.  I am sure it might be [...] Continue Reading…

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February 26, 2014
by rblackney
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Blog Share: “5 Great Oyster Joints in New Orleans” from Serious Eats

This week, I have seen my Pinterest go viral.  Not just any board though- the New Orleans board that I created for our Thanksgiving visit to the city (check it out here).  It is funny how stuff catches on and then becomes a snowball.  That board has gone from a few hundred followers to approximately 2,500 in a matter of days.

I have to say that I do LOVE the new Pinterest mapping feature and I am looking forward to using it again on our next visit to New Orleans, which I hope will be very soon.  Despite several fabulous visits, there are still so many places to go, see and eat!

When I came across this blog article online, it [...] Continue Reading…

February 24, 2014
by rblackney
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Enjoying Downtown Austin at Hilton Austin

If you are planning to attend a conference at the Austin Convention Center, or looking for a Central Austin hotel in general, then most likely the Hilton Austin will be on your list of prospects.  And if you plan to explore 6th Street or the newer Rainey Street, then Hilton Austin should definitely be on your list even if you are not on a business trip.

On our recent visit, it was clear from the moment we entered the lobby that there was a conference underway with a large gathering of people who were already enjoying the alcohol delights in costumes.  Honestly, I had a moment of concern that we had booked a party hotel.  But once we got to [...] Continue Reading…

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February 21, 2014
by rblackney
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Blog Share: “Vieques 2014″ from the way i travel

It is the time of year when we need to start to think about our anniversary trip, and while I am not sure that we will be able to afford another island visit this year, I have thought back on our good times in Vieques, Puerto Rico.

If you look under “Locations” on my website then you can search for all the articles that I have already written.  I know that there is not as much information about this undiscovered place and I leaned heavily on blogs when we visited, so please do take a look around and learn more about Vieques.

As I have mentioned before, we loved yoga at Hix Island House and hope to someday return for an [...] Continue Reading…

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February 15, 2014
by rblackney
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A Beachy Keen Stay at Beach House Hotel in Hermosa Beach

This review has taken me longer to write than I anticipated because I broke my right wrist over  Christmas vacation, and Mrs. “Lefty” isn’t so nimble on the keyboard. To be honest, I have been antsy to get this article written. I have wanted to share my love of the Beach House Hermosa Beach for weeks!

Situated right on the Strand in Hermosa Beach, the Beach House offers ocean views and beautiful rooms that you won’t want to leave. We were lucky to have one of the most sought-after rooms, a beach-front top floor room. As with all prime locations, these rooms cost more, but I would highly recommend based on our experience. However, when booking it is important to [...] Continue Reading…

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February 14, 2014
by rblackney
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Travel News: “Most Romantic Cities In America” by CultureMap Houston

Also in the spirit of this day of love, I thought that I would share this article on the most romantic cities in the United States.  The original list is courtesy of Amazon who determined the list in the following manner:

“The cities were determined by compiling sales data of romance novels and relationship books (both Kindle and print); romantic comedy movies (digital and DVDs); a collection of romantic music, including Dean Martin, Barry White, Luther Vandross, Maxwell and Miguel (CDs and MP3s); as well as the sales of sexual wellness products, among cities with more than 100,000 residents. Sales were tabulated from Jan. 1, 2013.”

I love lists like this, but I think that this analysis resulted in some very [...] Continue Reading…

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February 14, 2014
by rblackney
0 comments

Blog Share: “America’s 20 Most Romantic Restaurants” from The Daily Meal

In honor of Valentine’s Day, I wanted to share this list of romantic restaurants from The Daily Meal.  There are several things that I love about this list, but by including The Little Door in Los Angeles, CA and The Tree Room at the Sundance Resort, this list is totally credible to me.

And while I can not personally vouch for the others on the list – it also includes some of my top wish list places to eat, specifically French Laundry in California, White Barn Inn in Maine, and The Inn at Little Washington in Virginia.

I look forward to adding the other new dining destinations to my wish list as well.  If you are headed to Los Angeles or [...] Continue Reading…

January 28, 2014
by rblackney
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Travel News: “5 Hidden Gem Hotels in Austin” | Huffington Post

If you follow my blog then you know that my husband and I used to live in Austin, and still cherish the city as an easy weekend getaway for us.  I am excited to head there this coming weekend actually.

When we visit the city, we usually favor staying with friends or vacation rentals most of the time, though there are some really great boutique hotels in the city that I would love to stay at as well.

The Huffington Post recently shared an article with five hidden gem hotels in Austin, and many of these are on my list of places to try.

One that I was surprised did not make this list is the Hotel San Jose, though it might [...] Continue Reading…

charleston

January 28, 2014
by rblackney
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Blog Share: “Guide to Charleston’s Best Food and Restaurants” from The Culture Trip

Despite not having been to Charleston YET, this is not my first blog post about the city… so perhaps I need to book a trip?  I think so.

This is the second time that I have seen HUSK Restaurant mentioned, with the first being in this list from Southern Living Magazine on top places to drink.

Check out The Culture Trip’s guide to some of the best places to eat and drink in this Southern City here:  Guide to Charleston’s Best Food and Restaurants.

Thanks to They Draw and Travel for the map in the header.

Jack’s Cosmic Dogs HUSK Restaurant Charleston Farmers Market