Category Archives: Travel

Forget Y’all, I’m From Texas

On our honeymoon, I wanted to punch myself when, for the 3rd time, a stranger asked where I’m from and I answered “Pittsburgh”. I love Pittsburgh, but I ain’t from here. I’M FROM TEXAS! How dare I forget my roots! For goodness’ sake, I even have the outline of my home state tattooed on my body. I mean, sheesh! I spent 23 of my 26.5 years living in the best state of all the states and find myself in a really subtle, but constant state of homesickness.

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I was reminded via my Facebook “memories” that it was this time last year that Joel and I flew to San Antonio so that we could 1. see my good friend Ashely marry her high school sweetheart Cody and 2. to let my cousin throw us an epic engagement party. We spent 11 glorious days in the Lone Star State where, amazingly enough, Joel did not die of heat stroke.

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Joel had been to Texas a few times (it’s where we first met, duh), but he was always there for quick little weekend visits. This time I not only showed him all of my favorite places (Central Market, The Pearl, Annie Gogglyn, tacos at Caracheos, sneaking into and swimming at some random apartment pool), but my dad was our chaufferu for a couple of days too. With our VIP dad pass, we got to eat the best BBQ in the city and visit Garner State Park among other things.

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We also spent a few days in Austin which is always a good idea! Austin is the OG “keep it weird” city (suck it, Portland) and there is always soooo much to do, see, and eat! We were driving down South Lamar when I saw some pops of color on a hill in the distance… After cooling off at Barton Springs, we drove toward it and stumbled upon Graffiti Park at Castle Hill, which I had no idea existed, and took the above photos. It’s one of those Austin things, like the writing on the wall at Joe’s coffee, that you just have to see in person.

 

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My stomach is rumbling just thinking about all of the Honey Butter Chicken Biscuits from Whataburger I could have eaten in the time it took me to write this post. I miss you, Texas!

Welcome To Germany

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When you think of a romantic honeymoon getaway, you automatically think of Stuttgart, Germany, don’t you?! Yeah, me neither. My initial instinct was to fight my betrothed on the prospect of going to Germany at all on our honeymoon, we’d go on our next Eurotrip, but I relented because of love and stuff. Plus, we’re like super German (Blumer + Haase = Blumenhaus? Sure).

This is one of the many examples of me trusting Joel’s instincts over my own because he’s always right… Germany freaking rules! Seriously, stopping in Deutchland was one of my favorite parts of our whole trip and the very first restaurant we went to in Stuttgart happened to be where I had one of the best meals our European honeymoon, if not my entire life (German meatballs + potato/cucumber salad + Beeeeeer).

We got to Stuttgart on a cold Thursday afternoon. After dragging our luggage through the busy streets and up four flights of steep spiral stairs to our quaint little German airbnb, we ventured off to find what is known as the most beautiful library in the world as well as a good happy hour.

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This library took my GD breath away. You go in and see the lobby area and are like “oh okay, that’s cool, but not what I saw on pinterest”. Then you take the elevator to the top floor and get that promised view of books on books on books. I felt like Belle from Beauty And The Beast, only blonder and a much better singer.

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German beer fo’ life. No shitty IPAs here!

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Oh, weird, how’d this photo get in here?… I had no idea Joel was even taking my picture by this mint green Bentley…

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We were both pretty obsessed with the combination of old and new architecture in Stuttgart.

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Full disclaimer, we came to Stuttgart for one specific reason: The Porsche Museum. Spoiler alert, Joel really likes cars and Stuttgart, Germany just so happens to be the home of Porsche and Mercedes Benz. The museum building itself is beautiful, with a cantilever that would make Frank Lloyd Wright turn in his grave, and if I’m into any sports car it’s Porsche (pronounced Poorsh-ah, you peasants!). Watching Joel turn into a kid in a candy store made it all worthwhile!

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So, our Airbnb… This’ll probably be the only one I don’t include a link to because our host was kind of a dick. Plus, our bathroom had a crappy shower curtain in lieu of an actual door which is just PERFECT (sarcasm, obvi) for a newlywed couple (insert cry face and eye roll emojis here). That being said, we had a great view from our fourth floor walk-up, and even though the crowded courtyard right below us was filled with people partying hard until 3 a.m., we didn’t mind because, hey, it’s vacation.

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Not sure what it is exactly, but Stuttgart really really reminded me of Pittsburgh. Not necessarily the people because nobody wears disgusting sweat pants/ black&yellow gear in Europe, but just the city itself made us both think of home. Ah, Germany! THE BLUMERS LOVE YOU!

Next stop: Munich. Auf wiedersehen, assholes.

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Two Americans In Paris

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My first thought upon landing at Charles De Gaulle in Paris was “OMG THESE BATHROOMS ARE SO PINK AND COOL!” After going through customs and immigration, we walked outside and were greeted with a chilly, cloudy French morning. Because of my sister-in-law’s horror story of taking the metro from the airport, we decided to splurge on a cab to be dropped off at the Eiffel Tower because we had a bit of time to kill before check-in. “Parlez-vous anglais?” I asked the cabbie to which he responded with a chuckle and a “hell no, dude” expression on his face. The fixed rate or 55 euro to get from the airport to the Eiffel Tower was a steal considering the amount of traffic we had to sit in!

I will never ever forget watching Arc De Triomphe get bigger and bigger as we drove closer and closer or seeing the Eiffel Tower for the first time. When we got dropped off, Joel grabbed me by the shoulders and shook me excitedly while screaming “LOOK AT WHERE WE ARE, BABE!” When I regained my balance from being non-violently shaken by my husband, I looked up at one of the most recognizable structures in the world and audibly gasped at its beauty. As we walked under the Eiffel Tower, I tilted my head back and couldn’t help thinking that it was like looking up the skirt of a giant iron lady, a thought that will make me and my super mature mind giggle for the rest of our days. We walked through the grounds and I kept looking back over my shoulder just to make sure I wasn’t dreaming. Nope, we were really in Paris!

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We ate brunch at a cafe around the corner and had the pleasure of chatting with the first English speaking Frenchman we met, our waiter Pierre* (*not his real name), before walking the cobblestoned streets to our flat in the 9th arrondissement (a block away from the Moulin Rouge). We got all the way passed Champs-Élysées before I caved in and hailed our second cab of the day (it was our honeymoon and I needed my strength for other activities, okay?!). Thomas (pronounced “TOE MAH”, and yes, his real name) met us at our Airbnb in South Pigalle where we would spend our first night in Paris.

There were a handful of times on our trip where I thought to myself “this is it… this is where I die… I’m going to die on my honeymoon”. Blame it on a mix of jet lag, the weird paranoia I was born with, and the fact that I used to binge watch the show 1,000 Ways To Die… Whatever. Not 5 minutes had gone by after Thomas had left us before someone else came banging on our door demanding we open it immediately. I had been warned by a different Airbnb host to never answer the door unless you are expecting company because that’s how you get robbed, so Joel and I just stood there, wide eyed and in fear for our lives. I then did what any exhausted, terrified newlywed would do: texted Thomas so he could deal with it and took a 4 hour nap with my husband. 

We awoke hungry, but still a little scared. Our hunger soon got the better of us and we put on our big kid pants and unlocked the door to venture out. The coast was not clear, though, and after walking an entire step out of our apartment and hearing distant voices we immediately ran back inside to wait for a quiet opportunity to make our escape. When the moment presented itself, we high-tailed it outside and back onto the Parisian streets in search of pizza. We had pizza and beer at a place down the street from the Montmarte Cemetery, then walked to Sacré-Cœur, nodded a quick hello to the guards carrying automatic weapons, strategically twisted around the dickheads aggressively trying to sell bracelets to tourists, and ran up the 270 steps to the basilica. The church itself is amazing, but the view from the top of the steps is one of the best photo ops in all of Paris. I kicked myself for leaving the “good camera” still packed in Joel’s suitcase.

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Going down all of those steps was much for fun than going up and we rewarded ourselves with crepes at the bottom before rushing back to our flat before the sun went down (we were still a little paranoid). With our deadbolt securely fastened and our bellies full, we ended our very first day in Paris by passing the eff out. Early the next morning we grabbed a couple croissants at a corner patisserie and walked to the train station to hop on the high speed train to Stuttgart. Don’t worry, though, this is just the beginning. We’d find ourselves back in Paris at the end of our incredible journey through Europe.

Oh, before we left Paris for the first time, we found out that the person we were convinced wanted to rob and/or murder us was actually just the electrician who needed to check on something in the flat. Nice guy too!

#PuntaCanIGetADrink

I felt pretty hashtag blessed when Joel and I got to travel to the Dominican Republic last weekend. We flew to Punta Cana for Joel’s BFF’s wedding and it was a freaking blast! Originally the couple getting married, Cyntia and Dave, looked into hosting their wedding in Cyntia’s hometown of Sao Paola, Brazil, but knowing it would have been a pain in the butt for their American friends to get visas (not to mention it would have been ungodly expensive), they decided to have a destination wedding halfway between their places of birth. Make it a vacation for everyone!

We spent 5 days at an all inclusive resort right on the Caribbean. It was heavenly… I’m still rocking the remnants of a splotchy, uneven sunburn. We packed the “good” camera with the intention of using it everyday to take blog photos, but actually used it zero times. Sorry not sorry! We were on island time… Here is our trip in iPhone pics:

 

I still can’t get over how turquoise the water is! So freaking beautiful!

On the beaches by the resorts in the Dominican, you can expect a lot of people trying to sell stuff to dumb tourists. Hats, flip flops, boating excursions; you name it, they’re selling it. The only thing we spent money on was taking pictures with a monkey named Mickey. I mean, how could we not?! Best $20 Joel ever spent…

 

Our trip was extremely chill. Joel and I didn’t go on the boating/swimming with sharks excursion that the rest of our group went on because we didn’t land in the Dominican until Friday (we were going through immigration and customs while everyone else was having fun), we spent our time at the beach and the pools drinking Mai Tais, Pina Coladas, and Dominican Beer. Joel did have a small altercation with a sassy Frenchman who wrongly accused us of stealing his beach bed and spent the rest of the trip in his Team America tank top.

 

One of my favorite parts of our trip was getting to spend time in paradise with my cousin/BFF/matron on honor! She is a riot! When she vacations, she goes hard… the locals called her “blanca chica loca”, or “crazy white girl”. While I was busy falling asleep at 8:30 p.m. she was out dancing the night away. Christina will be in Pittsburgh on Wednesday to help with all of our last minute wedding stuff and I can’t wait!

 

Lots and lots of beach time. RIP my Quay Australia glasses that the Caribbean now owns.

Oh, pro tip…. everything in the mini bar at an all inclusive resort is all included… FREE TEQUILA AND OREOS!

 

 

 

We went on a Mangrove tour. Mangroves are trees. Cool.

 

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I have to say, this is the first vacation I went on where I packed expertly. For 5 days I brought 5 bikinis, 3 dresses, 2 t shirts, 1 pair of shorts, a maxi skirt/crop top, and I wore everything. We did pack two full bottles of bug spray (with DEET), but I still managed to get eaten alive by mosquitos… those assholes love me.

We stayed at Paradisus resort, which was great for a big group of people. All inclusive resorts are like a Cruise mixed with a Summer Camp, interpret that however you want. This relaxing beach trip was just what the doctor ordered, it literally cleared up my sinus infection. Now there are just 15 days until we embark on our European honeymoon adventure!

Just The Travel Tips

My number one ambition in life is to travel. The world is my oyster and I want to gobble that shit up.

So far, I’ve visited more than half of the United States and have been to The Netherlands (Yes, I’ve been to Europe). Today I will be getting another stamp on my passport from The Dominican Republic, where Joel and I are headed for a friend’s wedding. I’m obviously not as much of a seasoned traveler as my favorite travel/fashion blogger, Jessica Stein, but I’ll get there one day. For now, I’ll just leave these awesomely original/personally tried and tested travel tips righttttttt here…

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  1. If you’re flying Southwest Airlines, early check-in is a must if you want to get a good boarding group. If you’re traveling alone, once you board the plane find an empty row, put your stuff away, sit in the window seat and start coughing like you’ve got emphysema and might hack up a lung. If you’re lucky no one will want to sit with you and you’ll have the whole row to yourself!
  2. If you’re traveling with a significant other, leave the middle seat empty and pretend to be either having an intense argument or be whispering sweet nothings into each other’s ears. People would rather sit by a crying baby than a fighting couple or couple in love.
  3. Buy an adult sized neck pillow. I know that one at Target in the kids section that’s shaped like a cat is cute and all, but you’ll just end up giving it to the next 3 year old you see because it hurts your neck more than it helps it. Trust me.
  4. Get a massage the day before you travel. When Joel bought my engagement ring, the jewelry store gave us a “bridal package” with all of these amazing coupons for free shit, one of which is for me to get a free massage once a month for a year, NBD. If you don’t have the budget for a massage and no coupons of your own, try Craigslist?
  5. Bring outfit options, but don’t overpack. Find a happy medium. Just do it.
  6. If you’re only bringing a carry on, wear your 5 inch wedges so they don’t weigh down your duffel bag. This has always worked for me because I’m really good at running in wedges which will inevitably happen when you gotta get to that connecting flight across the airport. The only time this didn’t work in my favor was when I was on a small plane and the flight attendants refused to use the inflatable emergency exit slide to let me off the plane. I had to take the steep ass stairs which was annoying.
  7. Wear your clip in hair extensions so they don’t get tangled and matted in your bag. When you go through security the metal clips will set off the scanner and you’ll get a free head massage from a woman named Bertha.
  8. Wear headphones when you’re reading a book because we all know some dickhead is gonna come up to you and be like “hey girl, what’re you reading?” You can be like “WHAT? I CAN’T HEAR YOU! SORRY. BYE.”
  9. Did you know that Sephora employees will make you a perfect travel size sample of any perfume in the store FO FREE?! If you do have a big bottle of your favorite scent, Sephora also sells travel size refillable spritzers OR you could just spray the crap out of everything in your suitcase. I did all three of these.

Follow me on Snapchat (SayNiHay) for 10 second snippets of white sand beaches and drunk girls dancing.

French AF

Most of the kids in my high school made the “practical” decision when it came down to picking a foreign language to learn and chose Spanish. I, however, had a private school education and 6 years of Spanish (all of which I had already forgotten) under my belt and went a different route. French was calling to me “Voulez vous coucher avec moi, Sarah”.

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I took four years of French and was in French club. My French teacher for all four years was by far my favorite teacher, like, ever. Yet for some reason I always have this nightmare that I can’t graduate high school because I can’t pass French. Sacré bleu! Zut alors!

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I’ve always been pretty infatuated with all things French. So when Joel surprised me by beginning and ending our honeymoon in Paris, I was extra happy to marry the crap outta him. I can’t wait to breathe French air. But wait, my nightmare…. it’s back.

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I downloaded some “French for Beginners” podcasts to listen to and was immediately put at ease when the first episode spent almost the entire 9 minutes teaching me how to pronounce “croissant” with a French accent. “un croissant, S’il vous plaît“, or “one croissant, please” sounds like “uhhhh kwa sohn seal vu play“. If my French fails us, at least I’ll be totally nailing looking the part of “une mademoiselle”. Stripes, tulle, Louboutins, pussy bows, blush pink, love for Gérard Depardiea, and my bitchy attitude toward strangers should help me blend with the locals, oui ou non?  Je ne sais pas.

 

Up next, we see how far we get in Italy with my one semester of college Italian. Ciao, Bella!

The Honeymooners

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Honeymoon planning is in full swing and WE ARE SO EXCITED because we’re going on a… Eurotrip! Joel’s never been to Europe (I’ve totally been to Europe, okay) so he is marginally more excited than me, but we are both through the roof elated. Because Joel is smarter than the average person and really good at saving up airline miles, he was able to score us round trip tickets to/from Paris for $400. That’s four-hundred dollars (US) TOTAL for both of us to get to and from Paris, France. Let that sink in a minute.

Okay now that you have picked yourself up off of the floor you just fell onto, let’s talk honeymoon… We all know why most couples choose easy, relaxing, tropical locations for their honeymoon (nudge nudge bow chicka bow wow) and let me just say, I totally get it. Initially, I wanted to go to the Virgin Islands just so I could make this joke: “more like not-so-Virgin Islands, amIright?!” but I was convinced by my beloved that we should think outside the honeymoon box, i.e. Europe, because 1) YOLO and 2) we’ll be on our honeymoon, but we’re going to have to come up for air on occasion and why not make that part be exploring amazing places. Plus, we are going to the Dominican Republic three weeks before our wedding for our friends’ wedding, so WE ALL WIN.

Here are our plans so far:

First stop Paris (oui oui mon cheri)- we’ll be spending one night in Paris at the beginning of our trip, then three nights at the end. Quelle romantique.

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Next stop Stuttgart, Gemany (AHHHH, MOTHERLAND!)- We both want to go to Germany because we are both so German, but I think Joel picked Stuttgart because it’s the home of Porshe and Mercedes and all other German engineered vehicles. They also have one of the best libraries in the world. And castles. They have castles.

After Stuttgart we’re hopping on a midnight train to Georgia Munich, where we will get hammered at the original Hofbrauhaus and soak up each other’s awesomeness.

Next we will high-tail it out of Deutschland, and make a break for Italy. I’d venture to say that this is the part of our trip that I am most excited for! I love everything about Italian culture: the food, the people, the accent, the traditions; SWOON! We’re going to begin our Italian extravaganza in The City Of Love, Venice.

So the next part is where we haven’t exactly settled on a place. I’d love to hit up Burano because it is so beautiful and is known as one of the most colorful cities in the world, not to mention it is so close to Venice. We are torn between Verona and Milan as our next place to rest our pretty little heads, but I think my inner fashionista will trump my inner Shakespearean nerd.

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Then we’ll pick one of the towns that make up beautiful Cinque Terre. Holy crap, I’m getting so pumped just writing all of this down and looking at these pictures!

Au Revoir, Italy! The Blumers are heading back to France! Nice and Monaco to be exact.. I think this is the part of our trip that my future husband is most excited for because we’ll be in the South of France at the same time as the Monaco Grand Prix. I can’t wait to rub elbows with some of the world’s elite crowd! We plan on getting invited onto at least one yacht.

And then back to Paris.

Joel and I agreed that he would learn some Italian and I would brush up on my French and we’re just assuming that everyone in Germany speaks English. I think I’ll be an overachiever and learn some Italian too. We are now taking any recommendations that anyone has for these amazing places, so if you’ve been let us know what you think we should see/eat/drink/do.

*all pictures found on Pinterest (I’m too lazy to find all of the specific links, please don’t sue me)