Prepping for Bebe Update: The Babymoon

So today we’re going to get a little personal. I hope that’s ok with you. I haven’t really talked about being pregnant around here {other than this and this}, partly because I wasn’t sure if anyone would actually be at all interested, but also because I haven’t really had that much to say! I have to confess, I think I may have been in denial that I’m actually pregnant. I realize that probably sounds terrible. But I’ve been lucky enough to have a very smooth pregnancy experience and busy enough with the rest of daily life that it’s as if nothing has changed. I haven’t even bought baby clothes yet. Nothing! Did anyone else have this experience?

But now that we’re into the new year, this whole we’re going to have a kid thing is feeling much more real. The bump starting to get pretty legit {proof here!} helps, as do the kicks that keep getting stronger everyday. But even now, I still kinda can’t comprehend that there’s going to be a human at the end of this whole thing – and in just a couple of months…

But before we get to that point {and my real panic attacks set in!} I have started planning for one critical expectant-parent milestone – one that I think is totally Apartment 34 relevant – the Babymoon! I won’t lie. I was thrilled when I heard about this genius concept – a final escape for you & your partner full of relaxation and pampering. You’re just not supposed to think about the fact that it’ll never be just the two of you ever again!

While I had originally daydreamed of a jaunt to an exoctic locale or super tropical beach, time, resources and reality just weren’t making room for some over the top trip, so instead I began to hunt for more local alternatives. And then I found the perfect getaway – the Four Seasons Biltmore in Santa Barbara and we’re headed there in just a couple of weeks!

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Santa Barbara has actually been near and dear to my heart since my first visit at age 12! It also happens to be where I went to college, where we celebrated my 30th birthday and where we had our engagement photos taken {five years ago, what?!}! It is a little jewel of a place, sheltered in its own idyllic world. And I j’dore it. The light is a different kind of golden, the beaches are the perfect mix of Southern California expanse and dramatic northern Californian landscape. Of course, there are my other favorite things – super cute boutiques {can’t wait to check out this one and this one}, fabulous food and the ultimate treat – staying at The Biltmore! It’s basically the holy grail of hotels. I see amazing spa treatments, delicious meals and barefoot beach walks in my very near future and needless to say, I can’t wait. This is my version of anticipating Christmas morning.

Now the only question remains….what am I going to pack?? Here’s what’s currently on my wishlist.

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Get Your Shop On:

> This Heidi Merrick Maxi Dress is the perfect ‘bump dress’
> A Rag & Bone Bomber Jacket instantly bring sporty attitude to a feminine dress
> These classic Mykita Aviator Sunglasses go with everything
Maternity Stripe Top – a thin, striped long sleeve top is the ideal travel shirt
> The “Beach” RGB Nail Polish is a light, sandy sheer. Need I say more?
> Dying to try this Rodin Hair Oil. It’s apricot oil fused with almond, sunflower and juniper, mmm
> Love this organic “Balmy Days” Ilia Lim Balm. It’ll keep lips soft during winter beach days
> This Infinite Knot Pendant Necklace with rope detail gives a little nod to the ocean
> Obsessed with the Everlane Twill Weekender Bag. It’s perfect for him or her
>  Lace Bralet – pretty lingerie on a babymoon is a must
> These One Teaspoon Shorts are so good: baggy and comfortable, just the way I need them these days
> I always wear a Panama Hat for extra protection from the sun
> These Freda Salvador D’Orsay Oxford are super easy to slip on and off in the sand

It could be a bit hard to outfit plan as my bump is now growing on the daily and my closet is quickly thinning. But with a few fail-safe options {that I’ll get just as much wear out of post-bebe} I think I’ll still be able to feel like me on this trip! For a day filled with little more than some quality lounging, a striped tee is all I really need. Should the weather cooperate and be nice enough for some afternoon window shopping {it can be a nice 70-something in January!}, I’ll throw on a pair of boyfriend shortsmy favorite flats and top it all off with a classic Panama hat. I definitely want to enjoy a nice night out too and a floor length dress is the perfect way to feel extra special. And the best thing about a quick hop down the California coast? This will all fit perfectly in a cute weekender!

Ok, I’m pretty dang excited for this little escape now. To all the mamas out there – any must-do babymoon activities you recommend??

 

images 1-3 via Laura Murray Photography // image 4 via Laure Joliet // image 5 & 7 via Simone Anne // image 6 via Could I Have That

Gotta Getaway: A Trip to Hawaii Can Change Everything

When a trip to Hawaii lands in your inbox you freak, obviously. But when it’s coupled with an opportunity to enjoy three days of ah-mazing food cooked up as part of  the Four Season’s Chef Fest, you die, then wake up, and hit “reply” as fast as you can! Our Editorial Director had the chance to do just that and if you were following along on Instagram you know it was quite the enviable experience… to say the least! Here’s how Hawaii changed everything, including her waist size {her words, not mine!}.

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As soon as I walked into the tiki wood decorated lobby of the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai and was greeted by a warm towel to wipe away travel exhaustion, a fresh lei {of course!}, a mai tai served in a coconut and just-picked-off-the-tree-and-squeezed papaya juice, I knew that this going to be a trip of a lifetime. I’d heard that the Four Seasons was one of best resorts in the world long before I ever thought about making my way to the Big Island, but I still couldn’t believe what was right before me. The grounds are the lushest green you’ve ever seen.

As I toured the property, I immediately knew I wasn’t going to want to ever leave- a rarity for a wandering traveler like myself. Six pools, a golf course, a beach steps away from my room; these were all calling my name during my indulgent weekend. But this trip wasn’t just a feast for the eyes or about pool time – it was for the tastebuds too!

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Chef Fest, a food & wine festival bringing together some of the best chefs from around the U.S., is put on by the Four Seasons every year to share a culinary experience for the books. From intimate interactive cooking classes, to barbecue dinners on the beach, blind wine tastings and amazing desserts, my stomach and my knowledge of cuisine grew in just a few short, extraordinary days! Here are some of the highlights:

Want to know the easiest and most impressive way to whip up a dinner? I learned it’s by cooking a whole fish! With a big knife, a lemon and a couple of sprigs of rosemary, Thai Snapper is my now going to be my go-to dish for everything. Demonstrated by Chef Marco Canora of New York’s Herth and Terroir, I promise you cooking up your own fish is way easier than you think. Some things I never knew about cooking a whole fish: make sure the fish is at room temperature when you cook it and make sure that fishy is nice and dry to ensure tasty, crispy skin!

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If you haven’t ever tried a blind wine tasting, {I hadn’t- I’m such a sommeli-nay. I know nothing!} sign yourself up for one. They are so much fun. This one was particularly special because it was lead by none other than wine genius and godfather of Pinot Grigio, Mr. Tony Terlato. Always dapper in a crisp suit, Tony flew to Hawaii to lead the class and school everyone, from people like me, who know nothing, all the way to the Four Season’s Vice President of Food and Beverage! This man is a wealth of knowledge- the vintage, the varietal, terroir… the depth of wine history in his head is remarkable. I was eating up, or should I say, drinking up everything he said! Here are some wine tasting tips I made sure to jot down:

- Determine if you taste the grape or the dirt more. If you taste grape, it’s a New World wine. If you taste the earth, it’s Old World.

- Having some general geographical knowledge about where wine grows should help you you figure out the grape {say Cabernet Savignon vs. Bourdeaux}…but without a multiple choice quiz, this certainly ain’t easy!

- Tilt your wine glass at a 45 degree angle. If the rim at the top of the wine is more white, it’s a younger vintage, if it’s a rich red, it’s been aging for quite some time.

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Luaus and beach cookouts, paddle boarding and yoga in the sand were just a few of the other incredible experiences I was lucky enough to enjoy during Chef Fest. I’m seriously missing waking up every morning and making my way straight to the beach. Even if it WAS with my laptop, nothing gets better than listening to the crash of the waves…

If you’ve had the opportunity to visit Hawaii, or even better the little slice of heaven that is the the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai, you know exactly the sentiment I developed for this place – in only three days! The cool golden sand, the warm salty waters, the soft green grass, the humid smell in the air, the never ending sunsets…it’s definitely life changing!

experience c/o The Four Seasons // images by Bianca Sotelo and c/o the Four Seasons

Retail Therapy: {Moorea Seal, A Sweet Seattle Shop}

Even as online shopping gets easier and easier, there’s really nothing I love more than discovering small boutiques! Walking into a beautifully curated space, discovering hidden treasures and artisans you might not otherwise uncover – I think it could be my official hobby! That’s why on a recent trip back home to Seattle, I beelined straight to Moorea Seal, the new bricks and mortar version of the online shop {and Pinterest account!} I’ve long been obsessed with.

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It completley lived up to my expectations! The sweet, jewelbox of a space offers the perfect mix of modern home accessories, jewelry, bags, shoes and paper goods – really every version of my kryptonite.

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I was particularly smitten with this hand carved and cast bronze pendant necklace designed by a maker out of Portland, OR called Tiro Tiro. It was VERY hard for me to walk away from that little beauty!

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Everywhere I turned there was something new to oohhh and ahh at. Even though they’re still hanging in the home I grew up in, I’m seriously this close to getting back on the wall weavings bandwagon! The totally neutral color palette of the one below had me immediately! It’d be a beautiful soft piece to hang in a bedroom. Note to self if it’s still there the next time I’m in town!

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I’m only sad this lovely shop didn’t show up until after I bid Seattle adieu. It’s literally in walking distance of the orignal #34. Thankfully, I can stalk Moorea Seal online in between Seattle visits, but I’m excited to see what new wonders the shop has brought in on my trip!

original photography for apartment 34 by Belathee