Working With Travel Agents – 101

Last year, I was thinking about taking a trip, but I didn’t know where to go.   I started asking everyone I knew about their favorite international vacation – I got tons of answers and felt overwhelmed.  Insert a travel agent and reduced stress here.  The agent planned a great trip to Costa Rica for my

How to be like Carmen Sandiego

Out of my group of friends, Renne was the first of us to follow her passion for travel. With her racial ambiguity, long, dark flowing hair and continent hopping, we quickly dubbed her Carmen Sandiego. You remember Carmen. She was an international thief that taught scores of Gen Yers geography and world history. She was

Love Jones for Chicago


Discovering Our Love Jones for Chicago:

Nina + Darius = Love Jones.  This movie highlighted a young couple and the beautiful city of Chicago.  Renne recently took a weekend trip to Chi-town and quickly discovered the movie was right; Chicago is amazing.  From stepping to architecture and nightlife, the Windy City has plenty to offer a travel lush escaping his/her day-to-day life for a weekend of fun.

Darius and Nina molded our views about relationships, friends and the life of a young professional.  Any trip to Chicago must include visits to the lovers’ hotspots.


Wild Hare Reggae Club – Nina and Darius danced the night away at this spot.  The venue shut down in 2011 and reopened its doors in 2013.  They are currently working to get their amusement license, which allows them to feature live music in the club.  Don’t fret, the club is currently open and serving Caribbean cuisine, boasts a full service bar and is still jamming with Reggae music.  If you’d like to sign a petition to help the owners get their amusement license, you can sign here.

Take a stroll through Millennium Park

Grant Park – Highlighted in the opening scene of the movie, Love Jones shows us Chicago’s “front yard.” Grant Park is an urban park located in the Chicago Business District.  It is home to Millennium Park, Buckingham Fountain, the Art Institute of Chicago and the Museum Campus.  Stroll with your family, friends or your lover to enjoy people watching, public art and marinas.


Taste of Chicago – Ok, this wasn’t in the movie, but it deserves a mention.  The Taste of Chicago is the nation’s premiere outdoor food festival.  Hosted in Grant Park, this festival has pop-up restaurants, food trucks and music highlighting the city’s dining scene.  Admission is free, but some events require you to purchase a ticket in advance to attend.  See all of the events here.

Lake Shore Drive – Darius and Nina strolled through this beautiful urban parkway after a date one evening.  Lake Shore Drive is an 18-mile road flanked on the west by parks, skyscrapers and luxury apartments; to the east you’ll see the breathtaking expanse of Lake Michigan.  Make your way to the Lakefront Trail to join joggers, visitors and people watchers as you enjoy the view.

The Sanctuary Poetry Club – This list wouldn’t be complete without including the jones in our left thigh becoming the funk in our right!  The Sanctuary, with its cool vibes and intimate setting, sparked the relationship between our beloved title characters.  Unfortunately, this location is purely fictional, but Chicago does offer plenty of poetry.  Visit the Chicago Reader to find poetry hot spots and the best days to visit here.

Chicago Stepping – The outfits, the moves and R. Kelly….oh my!  Darius took Nina to a steppers club and our young, non-Chicagoan minds were opened to a whole new world.  Steppin’ was created in Chicago and has spread across America; people from all over the world flock to the city during the Chicago Summer Dance festival as the city transforms to an urban dance space.  This free event offers 44 bands at live events from June – September.  Don’t know how to step?  They offer dance lessons Thursday – Saturday so everyone can join in the fun.

Step to the left, step to the right

Spin around and bring it down tonight

Bring it on up, move in close

Let me see you and your partner stroll



navy pier
The famous Navy Pier
You can’t visit Chicago without tasting deep dish pizza!

Airplane Etiquette

We love the end destination of air travel, but sometimes the flight is long and uncomfortable.  Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to make you and your fellow passengers comfortable throughout your shared journey.

1. Let your neighbor sleep

This seems self explanatory, but it can be so hard to execute!  You maybe travelling alone and what someone to talk to, or, the flight attendant is coming around with the snacks and surely your seatmate won’t want to miss out on their cran-apple juice!  Trust me, if your neighbor is sleeping they don’t want idle chitchat or juice; they want to rest.  Leave them alone, they can always call for a flight attendant later if they are thirsty.  When the shoe is on the other foot you’ll be glad your neighbor let you rest.


2. Avoid hitting the seat in front of you.

A few months ago, I was on a trip abroad and the person behind me kept pressing the screen in the seat behind me so hard that every few minutes I would nod involuntarily.  The screens with movies, music, news and games are great, but remember, someone is sitting in that seat and they can feel your movements.  Press the screen firmly enough to view your program but gentle enough to avoid knocking out your neighbor.

Press your selection lightly
Press your selection lightly


3. Security

We all know the security at airports is a beast.  Get there early to ensure you’ll make your flight.  Once there, grin and bear it.


4. Recliner Wars

We Travel Lushes are pro-recliners, but there is a growing community of anti-recliners.  We understand their position, but hey, when you’re sleepy, you’re sleepy.   If you notice you’re sitting in front of an especially tall person, be kind of enough to avoid a full recline so they can maintain some sense of leg room.


5. Lavatory

Please make a bathroom stop before boarding the plane.  If you find that you’ve got to go during the flight, leave the bathroom as clean as you can.  This is a shared space and everyone should be able to enjoy a (somewhat) clean bathroom.


Atlanta’s Sweet Auburn Festival

  Do you like festivals? Unfortunately, someone actually used “do you like festivals?” as a pick up line. While visiting the Sweet Auburn festival in Atlanta, you’ll see and hear a little bit of everything. Yes, sir, we do like festivals!  We love festivals and everything they stand for.  Oversized turkey legs, funnel cakes and people

Ten Tips for Sexy Summer Skin

I used to be one of those people who thought she’d never burn.  I took this mindset with me as I visited the Bahamas and decided to lay out all day.  I got back home with a huge burn on my chest.  Learn from my mistake.  Everyone burns; skin is skin.  Take care of it now; you’ll thank me later.

1.  Sunblock

This summer essential absorbs or reflects some of the sun’s ultraviolet radiation helping to prevent skin cancer.  Many sunscreens do not block UVA radiation, which does not cause sunburn but can increase the rate of melanoma, so you could be exposed to high UVA levels without realizing it.  Using broad-spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen protects you from both types of sunrays.  Be sure to cover all exposed skin, including the part in your hair, the top of your ears and your feet.  Purchase an SPF over 30 and apply before heading outside.

Resource: Wikipedia

2.  Shade

Most of us seek shade as an escape from the heat.  While shade is a great respite, it’s also saving your life.  Shade protects you from the damaging effects of the suns UV rays, but not all shades are created equally.  What’s the best shade for you?  Trees!  Trees with large spread of dense foliage best protect us from the sun.  If you can, choose a tree near other trees or buildings to further block out the sky.


Shade is your best friend
Shade is your best friend

3. Protect Yourself from the Elements

Pool chlorine and sea salt can irritate your skin, and the constant heat can dehydrate you.  Be sure to rinse off thoroughly with fresh water after hitting the beach or pool and say hydrated by drinking at least eight glasses of water every day (more if you’re out and sweating a lot).

Resource:  Daily Glow

Rinse off and reapply sunblock after water activites
Rinse off and reapply sunblock after water activites

4. Avoid Peak hours of the Sun

The sun’s rays are the strongest from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and you risk the most skin damage if you head outside during those hours, especially during the summer. Don’t think you’re protected on overcast days — the most damaging ultraviolet rays penetrate cloud cover.

Resource:  Daily Glow

Avoid peak hours of the sun
Avoid peak hours of the sun

5. Change Your Pillow Case

This is something you might not think about, but oil collects on your pillow after you sleep on it each night.  This is often the reason why your face feels greasy when you wake up.

6. Reapply Sunscreen

Sunscreen only lasts about two hours after application and needs to be reapplied in sufficient quantities, probably about the size of a quarter onto the hand and apply that dollop or quarter onto the face for adequate protection.

An SPF of 30 is probably the magic number. You can also protect your skin with clothing: hats, umbrellas and tightly woven clothing.

Already been burned?  Follow these tips (resource:

7. Moisturize

After a cool shower or bath, slather on a moisturizing cream or lotion to soothe the skin. Repeat frequently to make peeling and flaking less noticeable. And consider a product containing vitamin C and vitamin E: It might help limit skin damage (though studies have not proved that), says Shawn Allen, a dermatologist in Boulder, Colo., and spokesman for The Skin Cancer Foundation. It’s also OK to use a hydrocortisone cream for a day or two to relieve discomfort, Allen says. Not OK: scrubbing, picking or peeling your skin or breaking blisters.

8. Hydrate

Any burn draws fluid to the skin surface and away from the rest of the body. So drink extra water, juice and sports drinks for a couple of days and watch for signs of dehydration: Dry mouth, thirst, reduced urination, headache, dizziness and sleepiness. Children are especially vulnerable, so check with a doctor if they appear ill.

This is a joke...hydrate with water!
This is a joke…hydrate with water!


9. Don’t Wait to Medicate

Take (or give your child) a dose of ibuprofen (for example, Advil) as soon as you see signs of sunburn and keep it up for the next 48 hours, Schmitt advises. “It cuts back on the swelling and redness that is going to occur” and might prevent some long-term skin damage. “It’s not just treating the symptoms; it’s treating the severity of the symptoms.” Acetaminophen (for example, Tylenol) will treat the pain, but does not have the same anti-inflammatory effect.


  • Wear sunblock
  • If you stay outside all day, reapply
  • Find shade when you need to.

Take care of yourself and enjoy summer.

Roadtrip to Charleston, SC

Charleston Bridge

Who knew Charleston, SC was so much fun?!  We headed down to Charleston for a weekend trip and took in all this charming city had to offer.

Are you a shopaholic?  Get your fix on King Street.  Situated in the heart of downtown, King Street is a charming outdoor shopping mall.  From Brooks Brothers to Victoria Secret and everything in between, King Street has what you’re looking for.  Forbes Traveler named the King Street Fashion district one of the “10 Tope Shopping Districts in the USA”.  The Fashion District has handbags and shoes straight from the runway.

Looking for something a little older?  The King Street Antique District is the place for you.  Voted “Best antique shopping in the US” by the readers of Travel + Leisure, you can find antiques from any period and from all over the world.

Rainbow Row
Rainbow Row

Shopping is fun, but after awhile your feet start to hurt.  We hopped on a carriage ride to rest our toes and take in some history.  Charleston’s horse tours take visitors around the city and share it’s local history.   Our tour guide was amazing and shared some great information. For instance, In 1866, Charleston was struck by one of the largest earthquakes on the east coast. Buildings were rebuilt using earthquake bolts to secure them.





Rainbow Row is an area of Charleston noted for its colorful historic homes; this is on of the most photographed places in Charleston.  We owe our gratitude for this charming section of town to Dorothy Porcher Legge who was the first homeowner to paint her home a pastel pink.  Other owners followed suite creating the “rainbow” of

Rainbow Row

pastel colors present today.  Folklore provides many more reasons for the colorful homes; our favorite is that the different colors helped drunk sailors remember which houses they were bunking in.  Both versions may be true….I’m leaning towards the sailors.  Rainbow Row is lined with beautiful cobblestone streets; great to look at, hard to walk on, ladies wear your flats.  The horse navigated through the area perfectly this tour is a must.


It's legal!
It’s legal!

We can’t talk about visitor attractions without telling yall about the drinks!  Have you ever had moonshine?  We hadn’t either, but the stuff is delicious.  From the tub to our table this stuff is good, ok, that was a joke.  We did have a lovely flavored moonshine , if ever you have an opportunity to try some, it’s worth it and it’s legal.

Sometimes the best trip is in your own backyard.  The next time you find yourself in South Carolina, make a point to visit Charleston…it’s worth the trip!