The American Club and Chicago: A Weekend Travel Guide

The American Club and Chicago: A Weekend Travel Guide

We just got back from the most relaxing and enjoyable trip to Chicago and to a little town called Destination Kohler, near, Sheboygan, Wisconsin…random, right? It totally was, but also completely amazing. My mom, Charlie and I tagged along with Will, my dad and their friends on their golf trip to Wisconsin and I am so glad we did.

Since we were barely in Chicago, this is by no means an all-encompassing guide to the city, rather just a quick taste of the town. My guide to Destination Kohler and Sheboygan is a bit more comprehensive.

Chicago:

Because we could all get nonstop flights into Chicago, we decided to start our trip and celebrate my mom’s birthday with 24 hours in Chicago. We stayed at the Fairmont Millennium Park, which was nice, but I didn’t love it and am not sure if I would stay there again.

Pizza in the Park!

Since we knew our time was limited, we hit the ground running as soon as we landed. We picked up a deep dish pizza from Giordano’s which was around the corner from our hotel and had a picnic lunch in Millennium Park (home of the infamous Bean). I know there is a heated debate about deep dish pizza in Chicago, but honestly, I will eat any pizza, any time so I was just happy to try one of the many famed establishments. Pro tip: order your pizza ahead of time online because they take about 50 minutes to cook.

Enjoying the Architecture River Cruise with my boy and a little Gin and Tonic.

Once we were done with our lunch, we walked from Millennium Park over to Navy Pier, where we boarded a boat for the Chicago Architecture River Cruise. This is my absolute FAVORITE thing to do in Chicago because I love being on the water, but I also love learning about the Chicago architecture. It is truly stunning and all of the boats have a bar so there is no better place to spend the afternoon in my mind.

We celebrated my mom’s birthday while we were in Chicago and had the most delicious meal at RPM Steak. We all loved the food and the service was incredible, but the music was really loud and the vibe was something like what I would have been into in my early 20s. I would highly recommend it and also suggest trying Bavette (and making reservations early!)

Destination Kohler:

The Iconic American Club.

The main part of our trip was spent in Destination Kohler–an idyllic town outside of Sheboygan, Wisconsin. The area is well-known for its golf–Whistling Straits and Blackwolf Run which each have multiple courses within them, and the Kohler Waters Spa.

Although the beginning of our trip was a bit stressful–we were staying at the Inn on Woodlake which at the time legitimately seemed like a frat house for golfers, and my mom, Charlie and I were getting a lot of unwanted attention, by the end of the trip, we were all raving about how we had the best time. My mom and I relaxed, went paddle boarding, did two days at the spa (if you’re getting a facial or a manicure, ask for Dawn–she is incredibly talented and a truly wonderful person), went shopping at Sweet Potato’s and the Woodlake Market (I live for a good grocery store) and we are already planning our return trip.

Where to Stay:

My husband booked our stay with a golf package so we could only stay at the American Club or the Inn on Woodlake. By the time we booked, the rooms at the American Club were fully booked. The next time we go, I definitely want to stay at the American Club rather than the Inn on Woodlake. If you’re not planning to book through a package and just want to explore Sheboygan, I would suggest the Fairfield Inn or the Grandstay hotel.

Activities:

I know we just barely scratched the surface in terms of activities, but my mom and I really enjoyed ourselves and didn’t want to over do it. Obviously the boys golfed so we took full advantage of the spa and the recreational activities at the Sports Core on Woodlake which included paddle boarding. I would also recommend stopping by Sweet Potato’s for some retail therapy. They have everything from Birkenstock’s to Vince and CBD oil–mom and I loved so many things there.

One of my favorite activities wasn’t exactly planned, but we kind of stumbled upon it. After our massages one day, mom and I were both craving just a really simple sandwich so we picked up Jersey Mike’s and then my mom had the brilliant idea to eat it by the lake. We discovered Deland Park which is a beautiful park right on Lake Michigan. Lots of green space and even beach access so we had a gorgeous lunch and Charlie loved running around.

Where to Eat:

The food really blew all of us away on this trip. I asked our group after to rank our meals and it was nearly impossible because we enjoyed each one so much. In my opinion, I guess I would have to say my favorite breakfast was the burrito at Whistling Straits and my favorite dinner was at Trattoria Stefano–the food was delicious and we had the best waiter. My mom and I loved grabbing coffee and snacks from the Woodlake Market and lunches at the Horse and Plow were so good! Our waitress there even showed me the most delicious trick–dipping sweet potato fries in honey–genius!

Truly the best trip! I am so thankful for the new memories made with my parents, Will, Charlie and our friends and I can’t wait to go back to Destination Kohler!

XO,

Brit

Packing Guide for Chicago and Destination Kohler

Packing Guide for Chicago and Destination Kohler

I can’t believe we are finally going on a vacation this summer! Because of our housing drama, we were forced to cancel all of our trips this summer except for one…of course it is a golf trip, but regardless, I am excited to travel and get out of the Texas heat for a few days.

This weekend we will be going to Chicago for one night and Destination Kohler for a few days so my husband, dad and a couple of their friends can have a Ryder Cup Style golf tournament with one another. Thankfully, my mom and sweet Charlie are coming on the trip too. We plan to do an architecture river cruise and dinner in Chicago and lots of spa time, walking and water activities while we are in Kohler.

Since the vibe of this trip is relaxation and fun dinners, I’m bringing mostly casual clothes with a few fun pieces for our dinners. I am also so excited to read my new book, Golden Girl, written by the “queen of beach reads” Elin Hilderbrand. Of course we will be on the shores of Lake Michigan, but that counts as a beach, right?

Stay tuned next week for my travel guide to Chicago and Destination Kohler!

XO,

Brit

Brit’s Holiday Gift Guide for Stocking Stuffers

Brit’s Holiday Gift Guide for Stocking Stuffers

Can you believe Christmas is a mere three weeks away?! Growing up and even still today, Christmas stockings were one of my favorite parts of the holiday. I think I love stocking stuffers so much because they are like little extra gifts that you weren’t expecting, but that can be so amazing! Today I’m sharing stocking stuffer gift guides for women, men and children.

Hayley Menzies Tee, Laneige Lip Set, Beautybio Eye Masks, Stoney Clover Travel Pouch, Crushed Candy Cane Candle, Silk Face Mask, Beauty Blender Set,
Kiehl’s Lip Balm Set, Barefoot Dreams Socks, Jelly Bow Flip Flops

A t-shirt might seem slightly odd as a stocking stuffer, but I absolutely LOVE this Hayley Menzies leopard tee! I think it is an amazing stocking stuffer that so many women of all ages would love. You can pair it with jeans, a fun leopard skirt, leather leggings or even sweats and it is so chic.

Whether you’re traveling right now or just organizing your life, a clear pouch is so useful. Stoney Clover makes the cutest bags, pouches and masks and what I love most about them is that you can personalize them any way you like. From pink plush letting to rainbows and hearts, you can create the bag of your dreams or for the lucky ladies in your life.

Little beauty treats are always fun in a Christmas stocking so I would suggest throwing in some lip balms for sure. My personal favorites are from Kiehl’s and Laneige. Most women use beauty blenders to apply their makeup so this Beauty Blender combo set is the perfect gift. I love candles and seem to buy them for everyone for every occasion so when I found this crushed candy cane candle, I was way too excited! It is the perfect little holiday treat for everyone.

Since we’re all wearing face masks right now, why not have a nice one? I have been loving the Slip silk face masks and they’re definitely pricier than the average mask, but they make a beautiful gift and are very well made.

Of course we can’t forget about the feet and during the winter months I live in fuzzy socks and the Barefoot Dreams socks are the gold standard. They come in multiple colors and your loved ones will love them. I know flip flops are a little random as a stocking stuffer, but these adorable bow sandals from Amazon are too cute not to share! I just got a pair and can’t wait to wear them in Miami next month. They also come in a number of colors, but the nude is my favorite.

Airpods, Jack Black Skin Care Set, Black Tea Lip Balm, Sleeve of Golf Balls, Whiskey Soaked Campfire Jerky, Sustainable Socks,
Watercolor Playing Cards

Not that AirPods need much of an explanation, but basically if anyone in your life doesn’t have these, get them a set! I LOVE mine and it is so nice not having to mess around with wires anymore.

I don’t use male skin care products, but I do buy them for my husband and I have been loving the Jack Black products for him. They smell like a light, refreshing tea and my husband’s skin looks great. This kit or the lip balm will be a great addition to your man’s Christmas Stocking.

If you have a golfer in your life, I think a sleeve of golf balls is a great idea for a stocking stuffer. Men always run out of golf balls whether they’d like to admit it or not so these will be much appreciated.

If you’re looking for great gifts for the men in your life, I would highly recommend checking out Manready Mercantile. My husband and I know the owners well and they have the most unique gifts. From handmade candles to leather goods and fashions, this store has it all. I will definitely be getting my hubby the Whiskey Soaked Campfire Jerky and a set of sustainable socks. I know that sounds random, but I bought him a pair last year when Manready had their pop-up at the Nutcracker Market and I actually liked them so much that they are now basically mine so grab yourself a pair too! If you’re looking for another sock option for your man, I really like these playing card socks from Saks.

If a man in your life is from Texas, Louisiana or Florida or has some affinity for this part of the country, I would definitely suggest getting them a set of these beautiful watercolor playing cards. My husband is from New Orleans and his family has a home in Florida and many of them live in Texas now so I’ve bought several sets of these cards for his family this Christmas and I cannot wait to see how they react!

The Very Brave Lion, Plush Lion, Kitty Cat Face Mask, Dinosaur Face Mask, Reindeer Sparkle Pops, Electric Toothbrush, Christmas Growing Tree Kit, Sushi Kit,
Boys Graphic Briefs, Disney Princess Bikini Briefs, Pet Vet Play Set

I have it on very good authority (from my bestie Ava who is three) that The Very Brave Lion is a great book. Pair it with this plush lion and I think you will have a very happy little one.

Since were all wearing face masks, grab your little ones a fun animal one! I love the kitty cat and dinosaur options from Nordstrom.

For some fun toys for the kiddos, I love this Christmas tree growing kit, sushi bento box play set and of course the pet vet play set.

For more practical needs, these fun electric toothbrushes will liven up bathroom time for your littles and I think they will also love these undies sets!

I hope you’ve loved all of my gift guides! What have been your favorite items so far and what do you need more of? Leave me a comment and let me know!!

XO,

Brit

Brit’s Summer Travel Series: Carmel-by-the-sea, California

Brit’s Summer Travel Series: Carmel-by-the-sea, California

Coronavirus fears continue to keep American travelers stateside this summer rather than traveling abroad. Luckily, within the United States there are plenty of destinations that will make you think you’re in another country and you don’t have to use a passport to get there. One of my personal favorites is Carmel, California.

Known for its dramatic rocky coastline and world-class golf, vacationing in Carmel can make you feel like you have been transported to a village in the Irish or English countryside rather than the central California coast. From fairytale cottages to French bakeries, this town oozes charm and offers the perfect vacation for people of all ages and interests.

My dad and husband are big golfers so anytime I am in Carmel, I’m usually tagging along on one of their golf trips. I love tagging along because on the days I do choose to golf, I get to take in some of the most amazing views in the entire world and many of the courses in the area are walking only, so I get a great workout in as well.

Golfing at Cypress Point Club with my husband.

My husband’s favorite golf course in the area and the one that he dreams about on a regular basis is the Cypress Point Club. This golf course is private and very old school which is really cool to see. Carts are not allowed and you are accompanied by a caddy when you play. Most of the caddies at the club have been there for more than 30 years and they know every turn of the course like the back of their hands so it is really fun to play with them. Aside from the outstanding golf, the views on this course are INSANE. The iconic cypress trees that the course is known for line the greens and you can hear the Pacific Ocean breaking on the rocks just feet from you. You might even meet a seal or two when you play.

One of the many stunning views at Cypress Point.

Other outstanding golf courses in the area are of course, Pebble Beach, Pasatiempo, Spanish Bay and Spyglass. My husband is an engineer so he is really drawn to the design of these courses and has told me so much about them. One of his icons, Alister Mackenzie, designed Cypress Point and Pasatiempo. These courses are as beautiful as they are challenging, but they make for a wonderful experience. One of my favorite things to do is meet my husband at the Tap Room at Pebble Beach for lunch after he’s done playing golf for the day. There’s something just so fabulous about having a glass of wine and a juicy cheeseburger in the classic mahogany bar.

If you’re planning to stay in Carmel, I like to start my days walking along the beach and then popping up to Ocean Avenue for a bite to eat and some shopping. Keep in mind that it is never really warm in this part of California so even though it is a beautiful, sandy beach, you likely won’t be swimming. I usually bring lots of layers when I’m in Carmel because the mornings and evenings are cool and the afternoons are warm. I also love seeing the “Fairy Tale Cottages.” Hugh Comstock designed a series of Fairy Tale cottages in town that are so idealic, they make you think you are at Disneyland. They have walking tours available and this is something you don’t want to miss!

One of the enchanting Fairy Tale Cottages in Carmel.

If you’re interested in getting out of Carmel for the day, taking the stunning 17-mile drive to Monterey, should be a top priority. This windy road will take you to one of the world’s most fabulous aquariums. The aquarium is located on Cannery Row…I don’t know about you, but I had to read the book Cannery Row in middle school and all I can say is that A LOT has changed on Cannery Row since that book was written, but it is really fun to explore and great for kids.

The dining options in Carmel are fabulous and will make you feel like you are definitely not in the U.S. My family and I love La Bicyclette and no trip to Carmel is complete without stopping there. This French bistro has wonderful food, service and a wine selection in an incredible environment. Lafayette Bakery is also a must stop for my francophiles out there.

For an elevated dining experience, you can’t go wrong with a chef’s tasting and wine pairing at Aubergine. Roux, L’Escargot and Il Tegamino are also incredible.

If you’re looking for more classic food, the Tap Room at Pebble Beach and Brophy’s Tavern are my go-to’s.

L’Auberge Carmel, Post Ranch Inn, The Lodge at Pebble Beach, The Inn at Spanish Bay, Mission Ranch Inn, Bernardus Lodge, Hyatt Carmel Highlands

Carmel is not a big town so there are not a ton of places to stay. I highly recommend booking a house to stay in if you are in a group, but if you prefer hotels there are some wonderful little gems in the area. I did include the Post Ranch Inn on my list because it is so amazing. It is about an hour away, but it is one of the best hotels in the world and I dream of staying there one day.

For my hotel selections IN the area, I love L’Auberge Carmel. You can’t beat the location and it is a romantic, charming and luxurious spot. The Lodge at Pebble Beach and the Inn at Spanish Bay are obvious choices for the golfers out there. Bernardus Lodge and the Hyatt Carmel Highlands are luxurious and modern, but not in town. The Mission Ranch in is a great option for those not trying to break the bank on a hotel.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this trip to Carmel-by-the-sea with me! Leave me a comment and let me know where you’re traveling or dreaming of traveling to this summer!

XO,

Brit

Brit’s Father’s Day Gift Picks

Brit’s Father’s Day Gift Picks

Father’s Day is just around the corner, friends! I don’t know about you, but I am a daddy’s girl through and through. Not only do I look like my dad, but he is also my best friend. Although one day of the year is not nearly enough to celebrate my dad, I do like using this holiday to show him some love.

My parents do not really like getting gifts, I honestly think they would prefer to never get gifts and just give to others, but I insist on getting them something. In the past couple of years I have really honed in on how to buy gifts for my mom and dad and people who “don’t like getting gifts.” The trick is to watch what they buy for themselves and then get them that, with a slight elevation. For example, my dad loves golfing and golfers go through a lot of golf balls. So I bought him a set of Pro V1 golf balls and had them customized to say “Lar Bear” on the balls. This little addition does not cost much more than the golf balls would if you bought them in the store, but the sentiment goes a long way.

All of that being said, I’ve come up with a list of gifts that I think my dad and many more will love for Father’s Day this year, but I know for sure that my dad will most enjoy the card I write him. So don’t forget to add a beautiful note to your dad to remind them how much you love them!I hope you enjoy this gift guide and that you have a wonderful Father’s Day!

XO,

Brit