Monday, January 2, 2012

Home Sweet Home

It is so true, absence makes the heart grow fonder. I was looking forward to coming home today. I love hotels but I had too many issues with the W Westwood. The place was lovely but something was missing. In San Diego they have this amazing beach bar area and adorable window seats. The W San Jose had a bathroom to die for *I took like 6 baths in 2 days* but this one didn't have anything special besides the ice skating rink and these gorge purple orchids.

I want this for our bathroom

 We took Liv on a walk around the grounds and every path lead to nowhere. We ended up in the employee smoking area. We felt confined to our room.

Usually, I am blown away by the W lobby but this one was tiny, dark and didn't offer as much community space as others.

Why did it take me 2 days to figure out this Christmas tree spells out T-R-E-E!!

Sorry, they just didn't do it for me. I can understand the sucky service during a busy holiday season but our room had the lovely view of a parking lot. An hour into our stay a light went out in our room. When I turned on the shower the showerhead fell off *Antz fixed it for me* and we requested housekeeping at 10am and they didn't show up until 3:30. I also learned some travel essentials from this staycation. Our biggest error was forgetting to bring enough wet wipes for Liv. We had some in her diaper bag but I should have packed an unopened box. I also overpacked which I usually do so I have a variety of choices. I am learning from my years of travel, less is fine. I had ample shoes *4 pair for 2 days* and plenty of wardrobe options but what I needed was more lounge wear. We spent most of our time in our jammies and 10 minutes after wearing mine Liv planted a big boob stain from her raspberry snack on my tee shirt. I only packed one so I was stuck feeling yucky. This kinda was a dress rehearsal for our big Paris trip. I am putting together my Dos & Don'ts

Finally was able to put the Missoni luggage to use
DO pack in layers, I brought light weight skirts, blouses and dresses and if it was chilly outside I could add a sweater, scarf and leggings.

DON'T *Never* forget your toothpaste. I do not understand how hotels equip you with all your toiletry needs except toothpaste. I had a tiny travel-size one but for 2 of us to share, we needed more.

DO bring back up batteries. I remembered all my adapters and chargers but forgot the extra battery pack for the Canon. We took these photos with it but the battery died before I could upload them.

Liv's new big girl car seat

DON'T get a room with doors that lock from the inside only, we almost had a scare with Liv in the loo!
DO jump on the bed, this is a ritual I always partake in!

DON'T forget to get change. Geez, this was tricky. We had cash for tips but only $20s. Everytime we had a bellhop, valet or room service I had to find someone to get change and they only give out $5 bills *of course so you don't look like a cheapskate* so we were hanging out tips like the Rockefeller's. I should have gotten singles from the bank.

DO pack gym clothes. I never plan to workout on vacay *defeats the purpose to me* yet late New Years day I felt compelled to stop by the gym to see how many folks we're sticking to their resolutions when I found it empty. I spontaneously hopped on the elliptical for a half an hour but I was wearing my PJs and Ugg boots.

DON'T forget the things you say you won't the night before. This one really applies to me. I tried to make a mental inventory of things we would need; toothpaste!, socks, plastic bags for Liv's diapers *OMG Liv's diapers-- we made the mistake of putting them in the bathroom wastebasket and FUCK did I feel so bad for the housekeeper who got our room. This is why I was peeved they took all day to clean our room cause the smell was heinous* My biggest don't forget item was our chalkboard signs. Every trip we use them and guess who left them? *this girl* I realized it when I discovered there was no chalkboard in our room so I was bummed we couldn't use our own, Boo! Suck it up and make a checklist, there's always something you'll forget.

DO invest in shoe bags. How have I not used these before? Nothing sucks more than packing for a trip and having my dirty shoe bottoms touching my clean clothes. I love these guys, I fit 1 pair of shoes in each bag *but could have easily fit 2 per bag* and even had enough to put Livs shoes in one. No more messy, unorganized packing for me.

DON'T bring full size beauty products. I tried to keep my luggage down to 2 bags but with my purse, Liv's diaper bag and 2 bags of Liv's toys, snacks and drinks, it looked like I was moving out. I used my tote bag for my electronics but since I was sharing my suitcase with Liv, I had to put my flatiron, hair products, toiletries and my giant Marc Jacobs perfume in the tote too. This was not wise for 2 reasons; if anything spilled my camera, ipad or laptop I would be screwed. Then it made the tote weigh 50 pounds. I bought my Mac Air so I could travel lighter but with all my products, I was fighting a losing battle. My biggest problem is I'm a product whore, I am obsessed with this Neutrogena body oil and this is the smallest size it comes in so I will have to buy smaller travel containers and condense. Sucks

My Loot! It takes a small arsenal to look this good, nyuk, nyuk.
DO bring your own fruit, water and nuts. I finally scored one for the team here. At first I thought I was going the ghetto route but then I thought about it, the one thing I often regret from travelling is spending $9 for a $2 bottle of water. You with me now? I packed a 6 pack of water, bottle of juice for Liv, apples, cashews, oatmeal raisin cookies, champagne and grapes. This saved us about $60 in minibar charges. My only question is, will I be able to pack all this to Paris and it not get damaged in the cargo pit? I know you may be thinking they have water in Europe, Liz! but I am very particular about my water. Last time we went I didn't drink a drop if it wasn't Aquafina which isn't readily available. I hope there is a fridge in the room at the W Paris.

So there you have it. I'm sure I will find more tips to add to this list but the most important thing I learned from travelling is this. Are you listening?

NEVER, EVER settle for a hotel with less than 4 stars!!! I am not saying this because I'm a snob *which I totally am* but hear me out... Antz, Aimee and I went to London and Paris to see Bjork and let's just say we were on a major budget. We booked the cheapest room we could share with a travel agent and guess what Antz & I brought home with us?


If you haven't heard of this gross, icky, disgusting disease, it's like bed bugs but worse. I'll spare you the nasty details *if you have a strong stomach you can read about it here*. The health code in Europe is far much more lenient than the US and I should have trusted my gut when I saw the bedspread and the *ahem* towels. So I learned the hard way and I am never staying in a roach motel again. If a hotel doesn't have 4 star rating...RUN, Don't look will thank me later!!

When we got home I played with Liv while Antz put Christmas away. It's good to be home even though we didn't work on our bedroom due to Antz horrible migraine *which is subsiding thanks to the prescription meds and massage* I am still waiting for my list to go on sale but so far, regular price.

Am I the only person who is hesitant to use new lovely bedding cause I'm scared of wrecking it?

PS Some of the least suspecting folks can be jerks!


Bahati Belle said...

great post and tips. Happy New Year Liz, look forward to a year of your exciting stories and pictures!!

Mandi said...

Baby girl is so adorable but not old enough, legally or for safety reasons, to be out of 5-pt harness and using seat belt yet.

Lizzie Dearest said...

We agree...she's back in her old car seat, facing the rear. She most likely won't use that seat until she's 3. Thanks!