Wedding Postponed- Coronavirus

Where are my 2020 brides at!? I get questions almost every day about my wedding and what we’re going to do. For those of you who don’t know my original wedding date is June 20, 2020 in Columbus, Ohio. After talking to our venue, they told the deadline to postpone is basically one month out from the original date and that is exactly what we’re doing. Waiting until the last. damn. second.

Ohio’s stay at home order expires May 15th and restaurants are opening May 21st so we are basically right on the line of things being back to the new normal. Although, we still have no answers on social gatherings.

My gut was telling me to postpone since people aren’t going back to work quite yet and even if we could have it I don’t want to be the first event people go to post quarantine. Not everyone is comfortable leaving there houses quite yet so it feels like the right decision. Plus I don’t really want people wearing masks at my wedding.

Checklist for brides if you are thinking about postponing:

  • Set up time to talk to your venue. I’ve found it’s more helpful over the phone than over email.
  • Check with all your vendors that your back up date works before moving. I learned that a lot of your retainers you’ve already paid for are non-refundable, even during a global pandemic, so you don’t want to lose out on that money.
  • What a lot of people think about that’s not that easy is not only do you have to move the date, but you also have to move the rehearsal dinner date, photographer, videographer, DJ, Cake, Hair & Make up, Nail appts etc.
  • Once everything is confirmed, set up a final call with your venue to see if pricing, when final payments are due etc.
  • Move hotel blocks to new dates
  • Stay positive! A lot of other brides have had to postpone too so you’re not alone. This is out of your hands and will be a lot less stressful when you decide to pull the trigger and postpone.

Our new date is Sunday August 30th. Although, this might be too soon to have a social gathering. Ohio is saying if we take social distancing practices like restaurants are doing I think we should be fine, but fingers crossed out new date will work.

Hopefully this was a good resource for you! If you have any questions I’m happy to help ūüôā

 

 

My Favorite Credit Cards for 2020

It’s been awhile since I’ve talked about my favorite credit cards. I’m here to tell you what I’m using to travel for nearly free in 2020.

  1. American Express Gold Card (I got the rose gold card which was a special offer that ran last year which I’m sure they will run again due to popular demand)
  • ¬†Benefits that make the $250 annual fee worth it:
    • 4x points on groceries and dining
    • 1x point on all other purchases
    • 3x points on airlines booked directly airlines or
    • 40,000 points after you spend $4,000 in the first 3 months
    • $10 a month credit to Shake Shack, Cheesecake Factory, Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, Grub Hub and more
    • $100 airline credit for incidental costs like baggage fees, lounge passes, pet fees, etc. (no Wifi)

2. American Express Green Card

  • Benefits that make the $150 annual fee worth it:
    • 3x points on global dining and travel hotel, flights and ridesharing
    • 1x point on all other purchases
    • 35,000 points after you spend 3,000 in the first 3 months
    • $150 away credit purchased directly through Away (this is a limited offer so hurry because the offer ends on 1/15/20!)
    • $100 LoungBuddy Credit
    • $100 Clear credit (you’ll only pay $9 if you are United member which is currently the cheapest way to get the pass)

I previously was using the Chase Sapphire Reserve, but I decided to downgrade this year to the Freedom Unlimited card, because I wanted to save on the pricey $450 annual fee when I was essentially getting the same benefits as the American Express Green Card.

Hopefully this post was helpful and can help you save money and make your dream trips happen!

Weekend Trip to San Diego

I’ve been to San Diego before, but never done a full post about it! The good thing is that you can either drive or fly. This time we found cheap flights on Frontier for only $39 on way so less than $80 round trip which made it worth my time to fly. We went for my friend’s 30th birthday and we had soooo much fun!

Where We Stayed

We stayed in Mission Beach here, There were 10 girls total so we each paid $153 for 2 nights. It was a great location we could walk to the beach, restaurants and coffee shops.

We walked to Hot Tub Cursin, Boat Rental¬†and rented a pontoon with a boat on it. You have to nominate a friend to be the driver, but it was so cheap! They dump the water and refill it after each use so it wasn’t gross. It was great for our big group and only $42 each for 2 hours. We brought our own towels, but they can provide towels and even ice in a cooler.

Where to Eat

Where To Go Out

There are a few different areas to go out in San Diego. Pacific Beach you could walk or take a scooter from our Airbnb. Downtown was about a 20 minute uber ride, but recommend for a Saturday night.

Pacific Beach:

Downtown:

 

Barcelona

How We Got There

We booked pretty late about 1.5 out from our trip, but I believe we could have found a cheaper flight. We paid $590 per person roundtrip from Chicago directly to Barcelona on Norwegian airlines. This is a low cost airline so don’t expect anything free. The nice thing is you can order food, drinks and snacks directly from your seat. You just swipe your card and the attendant will bring you your food a few minutes later.

Where We Stayed

Because we were in a group of 5 we wanted to all stay together. In Europe, many hotels only allow for two people rooms either a king bed or two twin beds so we chose to stay at Airbnbs.

We stayed here for two nights and then we stayed here for two additional nights.

Sights to See

  • Park Guell

Buy tickets here ahead of time because they sell out! It was under construction a bit when we arrived via taxi. Beautiful views of the city.

  • La Sagrada Familia

The famous church you should also buy tickets ahead of time here, because they sell out too.

  • Arch de Triomf

Places to Eat

  • Catalana

Churros and THE best sangria!!

Last, you can get Tapas anywhere. They were pretty affordable you just pick out the ones you want and they heat them up for you!

 

 

Lebanon

My boyfriend is from Beirut so we took a trip to see his family. I was pleasantly surprised how much there is to do and see. I ate so much amazing mediterranean food including salad, hummus and falafel.

Places to See

  • Beirut
    • Inhabited since 3,000 BC (top 10 oldest cities in the world)
  • Cedars of God
    • The Cedars of God is over a 2 hour drive from Beirut
    • Entrance fee to help keep preserved
    • Shops in the area for souvenirs build out of Cedar wood
    • Wood was exploited by Phoenicians and other empires to build merchant ships due to the strength of the wood
    • UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Rooftop bars
    • Capitole Restaurant and Bar in Downtown Beirut
    • Iris in Biel – Downtown Beirut
    • Spine – Beirut
  • Mount Lebanon
  • Beach & Pool resorts
    • La Siesta¬†is about 10 minutes from the city of Beirut. It¬†costs about $27 per person to get in, but you get access to a private beach and pools.
    • Orchid costs about $29 per person to get in and you also get a private beach, pool and towel service.

  • Lady Mary – Harissa – Our Lady of Lebanon
    • You can do the Lady Mary and the Jeita Grotto in one day for $12 USD. The cableway transports you from the grotto to the top of the mountains for a great view from Harissa.

  • Jeita Grotto
    • The limestone caves were on my bucket list to see. There were two parts of the grotto which you can’t bring your phone (of course I snuck mine): the upper and lower. The upper part you get to walk through and the lower part you take a small boat through.
  • Byblos
    • Byblos is an amazing, beautiful coastal city. It only takes about 30 minutes from Beirut. If you are looking to buy souvenirs, Byblos is the place to do it!
    • Oldest continuity inhabited city in the world from 5,000 BC (second oldest city overall dating back between 8,800 BC – 7,000 BC)

  • Paradise Waterfalls Bakkline
    • Here I go chasing waterfalls again. These are a little over a hour from the city of Beirut. When we got there we were a little confused because there’s two parts. One part is surrounded by a restaurant and the other is a pool that you have to pay to get into. If you have the time and it’s a nice day I would recommend bringing a swim suit and spending the day there.

How I Got There

I used my Chase bonus points and only paid about $100 for my ticket PHX>LHR>BEY then back to Phoenix. Review the best credit cards here.

I chose the Chase Sapphire Reserve. Check out my post here for the benefits.

48 Hours in NYC

So this is my third time in NYC and I can’t believe I’ve never posted about it!! My friend Keeley lives there so she did a great job planing our weekend.

First, I flew into JFK and split a taxi which was cheaper than Uber with my friend. It cost around $70 with tip in the the city to my friends apartment in West Village.

Work Out

I’ve been dying to try Barry’s bootcamp. Since we don’t have it in Scottsdale I had to try during my time in NYC. The one con is it’s $30+ a class, but it’s worth it. You can even pre-order shakes so they are ready for you once you are done with the class.

Eats & Drinks

Lil Frankies

Touristy Things

Get your steps in and head to Central Park. New York in the spring is absolutely stunning while all the flowers are blooming!

Cartagena Colombia

We flew from Cusco with two stops in Lima and Bogota before getting to the coastal city of Cartagena. We were lucky and were able to get on earlier flights for no extra cost. Originally we were going to waste almost a whole day of traveling. Cartagena reminded be in a way of Miami. My favorite parts were the amazing food and colored buildings.

Where We Stayed

We stayed at the Hyatt Regency Cartagena which was an amazing location right across from the beach, mall and tons of restaurants. We stayed a total of 3 nights which was a perfect amount of time to explore the city. It only cost 8,000 points a night (24,000 total) which I was able to transfer directly from my Chase credit card points directly to Hyatt points. We loved the amenities here including the gym, pool and restaurant. The breakfast buffet was amazing with fresh juices, omelet bar, and so much more.

Where We Ate

  1. Mangata for dinner!!
  2. Kai Sushi Wok one of the best poke bowls of my life!!
  3. Crepe & Waffles which we found out is a chain in Colombia
  4. Desayunos for breakfast
  5. Cafe Del Mar for drinks. Warning: self seating and hard to get a table during sunset. The service was pretty bad, but it has a great view of the ocean.
  6. Cookie Jaar- $2 ice cream sandwich combos

Old Town

Everything You Need To Know About Machu Picchu

How We Got There

Points. Duh. I found a one way on United for 20k points a person + $48 taxes from CMH to Lima, Peru. That is THE cheapest I’ve found for an international one way using points on United. So total 40k points for my boyfriend and myself. With that said, United is my favorite airline for international travel.

We bought flights from Lima to Cusco on Avianca for less than $100 a person. There are flights just about every hour.

From Cusco, we flew to Lima, to Bogota to Cartagena. We paid $392 total for two people using Kiwi.com. $392/2= $196 a person.

From Cartagena we paid $1535 for two people. $1535/2=$767.50. including 2 checked bags!

Our trip was a hotel of 10 days and that was the perfect amount of time. Two days in Lima, 5 days in Cusco (the Inca trail is a 4 day hike if you want to do that) and 3 days in Colombia.

Where We Stayed

We only stayed in Lima for 2 nights which was plenty of time. We got there late and stayed a Second Home Peru which was a recommendation from the Chase Sapphire Reserve Facebook group that I’m in. Second Home had THE best breakfast included and it was so cute. Located in¬†Barranco we were able to walk to the parks, beach and sites. We paid $330 total for four nights and stayed in a room with our friends. We ended up paying $30 extra each since breakfast was included so make sure to put the exact amount of people staying in the room when you book. So $330/4 people = $82.50 for two nights… not bad. I’ll total everything at the end so you have an idea of how much I spent.

In Cusco, we stayed at the Esplendor which is a boutique Wydham hotel for 5 nights. It was a pretty central location and we walked to restaurants and shops. We paid a little over $100 per night. The room service we ordered was probably one of my favorite meals. The hotel staff was very helpful and sets you up with tours and gives you coco tea which helps with attitude sickness. Last, breakfast was included and you can set up transportation to and from the airport ahead of time through the hotel.

Pro tip: book on your Capital One Venture Credit Card at hotels.com/venture for 10x the points.

Where We Ate

One of our best meals of the trip was at Isolina in Lima. Literally a 2 minute walk from our hotel this place was very trendy and packed!! We made a reservation the night before. It was definitely one of our pricier meals, but totally worth it.

In Cusco, to be 100% transparent. We didn’t have the best food. There are chicken and pizza places EVERYWHERE. Plus, the food was pretty bland. Don’t expect a lot, but there is a McDonald’s and KFC if all else fails lol. Get drinks at Paddy’s Irish pub which is the highest own pub.

For a healthier option for to Las Frescas for salads and smoothies and avocados are so cheap and beautifully displayed below.

Machu Picchu

We did a day trip to Machu Picchu. We took an early train out at 6:40am. The recommend getting there 30 mins early so 6:10am. There is a cafe where you can buy breakfast, snacks, coffee and tea. Buy tickets in advance here. They only sell a specific amount per day. You don’t get a confirmation email, so make sure you print everything at the time you book. You can also buy your tickets on Peru Rail ahead of time¬†here. The scenery is so beautiful and you can relax. We bought the cheaper tickets, but you can buy VIP with an open bar. The Peruvians don’t recommend drinking that much at such a high altitude.

Buy bus tickets when you get to Cusco ahead of time. We made the mistake of not and waited 2 hours.. in the rain. We could have bought them at the hotel for $25/person. You can’t buy these online or at Peru Rail. We only had about 2 hours inside Machu Picchu before we

Here are the steps:

  1. Taxi to Poroy train station from Cusco (less than 30 mins)
  2. Peru rail (3 hours each way from Poroy aka Cusco)
  3. Bus from Aguas Calientes up to Machu Picchu (30 mins)
  4. Bus down (30 mins)
  5. Peru rail back to Cusco (3 hours)
  6. Taxi back to hotel (less than 30 mins)

Once you get into the park it’s pretty crowded. Be sure to bring ponchos and portable chargers because it could be a long rainy day like ours. It was pretty clear during our 2 hours spent in the park.

We even found llamas‚̧ԳŹ

On the way out of the park, make sure you bring your passport so you can get the Machu Picchu stamp!

Other Day Trips from Cusco

  1. Salinas aka the salt flats
  2. Rainbow Mountain

I highlyyy recommend private tours. We didn’t want to spend 18 hours in a car. Split between 4 people both tours were around $30/person. Salinas was about 2.5 hours to get there. Rainbow Mountain was about 3 hours each way. The hike took about 1.5 hours. It is HARD because of the altitude, but so rewarding. I recommend bringing snacks and water. I wore a ton of layers because you do get warm, but at the top it’s pretty cold in late December. I would look at weather ahead of time because during wet season can be hit or miss. I read a ton of blogs how people had horrible weather and it was foggy so you couldn’t even see anything, but we lucked out.

I’ll be posting soon on where we went from Cusco! I hope this was helpful. If you have any questions email me at jetsetbrunette247@gmail.com.

 

 

Why You Should Get the Southwest Credit Card This Year (Before February 11th)

Not gonna lie, I had the Southwest card a few years ago and cancelled it, because there really weren’t to many perk compared to the Chase Sapphire Reserve¬†I got last year.

BUT this year, it’s like they knew they had to be competitive to keep up with the other travel reward credit cards out there. They rolled out 30,000 bonus miles plus the companion pass.

If you don’t know what the companion pass is that you get to pick a partner to travel with you for free for the rest of 2019. If you have a significant other or bestie that lives in a major Southwest hub then this credit card is for you!! One of the reasons I chose this card is because Southwest has a direct flight back to my hometown in Columbus so I will get that in savings just during our holiday flights from PHX to CMH.

You have 3 options. I chose the lowest annual fee of $69 aka the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card. You get 2x points on Southwest flights and hotels and 1x points on everything else. You also get 3,000 anniversary points every year.

As soon as you get the card you should try to spend the $4k, because I read it can take up to 8 weeks to get the companion pass and it’s only valid for the rest of 2019.

But, before you apply…

  1. You aren’t eligible if you currently have a Southwest Credit Card
  2. You’ve earned a new card member bonus on a Southwest credit card in the last 24 months

Be sure to check back at the end of the year and I will let you know how much use I get out of the card and put a $ amount to value the companion pass.

48 Hours in Dubai

Ohhh how I loved Dubai, but really….I would move there. Dubai is a desert so yes it’s hot. When we arrived there was a dust storm and it wasn’t good visibility of the skyline. I recommend going during later months (not August like us), but whenever you can go go. It’s a once in a lifetime trip.

Aquarium in the Mall
Burj Khalifa
Burj Al Arab

Where We Stayed

The Conrad. The Conrad is a Hilton brand. I am obsessed because I used to work for Hilton. I used 34,000 Hilton points for one night. The best part is our flight wasn’t until late so they let us check out at 7pm (the latest late check out I’ve ever had). Which was much needed because it’s so hot you need at least 2 showers a day there.

This was in a great location right across from the metro. It has a pool and a spa. The do deals throughout the summer so I got a 30 minute massage and 30 minute facial for $88. Not. Too. Bad. Right?

Conrad Spa

Where We Ate

There’s tons of places to eat at the mall. Not gonna lie…we weren’t local the whole time. We had Cheesecake Factory and Paul Bakery. I even heard they are getting a Chick-Fil-A soon.

For dinner, I highly recommend Zuma. If you like sushi there’s a ton of different options.

Zuma salmon

Also for breakfast or coffee I highly recommend Paul Baker. You’ll see the latte and crepes above ūüėč.

There are also a ton of restaurants by the Burj Khalifa. Which is a perfect spot to watch the fountains, much like the ones in Las Vegas Bellagio, but better!!

Just know Dubai is pretty pricey. You only need a few days there. I wish we would have had more time to see the Sheikh Zayed Mosque, but maybe next time.

Overall, we didn’t get a rental car. It was easy to around the metro station was right in front of our hotel, but we aware there is a women’s section!! Rayan and I were standing in the all pink section and didn’t notice why everyone was looking at us. It’s for women and children LOL.