What Ten Years of Marriage and a Road Trip to Louisville Has Taught Me

Ten years of marriage? I should probably get a medal for that. 

Louisville Road Trip
Disclosure: The Ricardo luggage featured in this article was provided to me free of charge for review.

This month my husband and I celebrated our 10 year wedding anniversary. Don’t ask me how we made it this long together because seriously I couldn’t tell you. We’ve had our fair share of tough days over the last ten years. There have even been a few times when I’ve thought about throwing in the towel – as I am sure he has as well. I will be the first to admit that I am not always fun to live with (and neither is he). Like any relationship- there are up’s and down’s. There are days when we drive each other crazy but there are also days that are absolutely wonderful. Days that made me forget about the not so great days. Days that diminished all doubt from the back of my mind and made me wonder how my life could ever be any other way. Looking back I can tell you that growing up together over the last ten years together has taught us both a lot about ourselves and a lot about each other. As has this one trip.

In honor of our anniversary this month, we decided to take a small weekend vaca – just the two of us. My husband brought the idea to me of going to a car show happening over memorial weekend in Louisville, Kentucky – we both thought that it would be the perfect excuse to get away. I had never been to Louisville before – so obviously it was on my list of places I wanted to see. Truthfully, I had no idea what to expect with Louisville, I hadn’t heard too much about it other than that the Kentucky Derby is held there each year – but we decided to just start going and figure things out along the way. Typical craziness ’round here.

As I started packing up my new Ricardo luggage for our long weekend in Kentucky my husband informed me that we would be taking HIS hot rod on the trip. His hot rod has no trunk. No back seat. Even with my luggage’s smaller carry on size, there was still nowhere for it to go but on my lap. That’s ok, I thought – I will just hold it. He suggested I pack a smaller bag, but did I listen? Nope. Sometimes I am WAY to optimistic and I’ll be honest – I simply just wanted to use my new Roxbury 2.0 suitcase again. But I made a mistake. With every bump in the road the weight of the luggage seemed to double and then triple. I tried turning it, putting it under my legs, leaning it on my stomach. Nothing worked and I was super uncomfortable – but did I put on the “It’s not that bad” face? You bet ya! I couldn’t let him know he was right. <– It’s been 10 years – I am not about to fold now. Luckily for me, we had friends going the same way and they offered to haul my bag for me. Thank goodness.

Without the added weight of luggage on my lap, the ride went pretty smoothly – as smoothly as a car with no proper cushioning goes. And after time with the hum of the road vibrating in our ears, we were both starting to get comfortable. Starting to relax. Then without any warning – POP! The windshield was covered with one large burst of a bubble and being a child of the 80’s, I thought for a quick moment that we had been slimed. We made a quick bee-line for the side of the road and surveyed the problem. Turns out a radiator hose had burst and all of the coolant came shooting out, coating the windshield. Our problem: a car without coolant can’t run – well it CAN run for a short period of time, but will end up getting too hot and cause a whole lot more trouble. For a moment in time we considered calling in family to come and rescue us and tow us back home, but in the end we were able to repair it on our own – reattaching the hose, adding new coolant and starting again on our drive. While we were both a bit taken off guard when this happened, it wasn’t out of the ordinary. These vintage cars take a lot of work. Things break unexpectedly. Being prepared with a set of tools is always a necessity.

When we finally arrived at our hotel, we were both tired and ready to take a moment to relax. Road trips in a hot rod can be a lot of work. As I reached the check in desk I was given the news that no one wants to hear after driving seven hours in a rough and rowdy hot rod. There are no rooms available right now. If you’d like to have a seat, we will try and get one ready for you. In case you are wondering, yes, we had a prepaid reservation and we were right on time for check in. They knew we were coming. We sat down to wait. Two more hours past arrival and we still sat waiting.

and waiting.

After this much time we both thought about calling it quits. We began to consider our options and the thought of just leaving was one of them. The only problem with leaving was that we had already reserved a room here. They had our money because we pre-paid and they weren’t keen on giving it back. Patience.

After several hours and an attempt to appease us with a free drink, the hotel offered us a downgraded room – for the same price as our previously booked king suite. We were tired and worn down so we took it. This room had no view of the bridge, which was one of the reasons we chose this hotel. Instead our view was of a dirty roof grate and some windows looking into the lobby. I would be lying if I didn’t say we were both a bit disappointed. We did our best to talk things out with the management, but in the end decided that we didn’t plan our trip for the room. And that view that we wanted? We could just as easily go outside and see it. We weren’t about to let something like this ruin our fun.

The city was beautiful, actually more beautiful than we had expected. Plus, it had the most interesting smell to it – like fresh lilac in spring. Seriously, I don’t know of any other downtown that has ever smelled so pretty. We made our way to the center of downtown and found a hip and happening area with bars, restaurants and entertainment. Here was a road called Fourth Street that reminded me of Las Vegas (but without the casinos). Like Fremont Street in Vegas, this strip was made up of bars, restaurants, and entertainment facilities. Plus the entire street was covered overhead from the elements – making it a obvious non stop party. We spent two of our evenings in this area because the food and drink options were spectacular.

Fourth Street Live! Louisville

The car show (Beatersville) was spectacular too. Worth attending. Overall this trip was a great experience. We made a lot of new friends, saw a lot of new sights and truly had an amazing time. We also learned a lot too – like next time we will choose to stay in a hotel on the strip. It’s easier just to walk anyways.

Louisville Bridge

As for what I’ve learned after ten years of marriage and this little trip to Louisville – I have come to learn that life is what you make it. Holding onto baggage can crush you over time. Things will happen to throw you off your course, but carry with you the right tools and things can be fixed. If not, family and friends are just a phone call away. Ignored small issues will always become BIGGER issues. Anticipation and reality don’t always measure up. Life is full of decisions. It is important to decide what matters and what doesn’t and then move on. Don’t forget to enjoy the beauty. Breathe it in – because in the end, these are the moments you will want to remember.

#ad Ricardo Roxbury 2.0 luggage #RBHLuggage

Think my new Ricardo luggage is cute? Me too! That’s why I wanted to use in on this trip so bad. It has a hard cover shell (because of that my husband offered to strap it to the roof of the car – yeah. I said no), it glides easily on four wheels and it has an expandable zipper! What’s not to love? Visit the Traveling Mom website now for a full review and a coupon code worth 65 percent off! 

Want to see what it was like riding in a 1930’s Model A from Michigan to Louisville? This video puts you in the passenger seat. Be sure to also subscribe to my YouTube channel for more travel video’s to come! 


Have you ever been to Louisville? What was your favorite thing to see or do there?

Hands Free Travel with Panasonic A500 + GIVEAWAY

When I travel I like to truly experience life, hands free. Sure, I want to capture and remember our memories throughout the trip, but the last thing I want is to be stuck behind a camera the entire time. With the new Panasonic A500, I don’t have to be distracted. I can capture life as it happens and still be in the moment. 

Disclosure: Products in this article were provided to me free of charge.  

For several months now I have been bugging my husband about our need for a hands free camera. He didn’t see the purpose. I tried to entice him with the memory of that one time when we went zip lining. How fun would that have been to record!? But he wasn’t budging. He’s right. I am not the most adventurous person. I don’t love roller coasters and I don’t know how to surf. While I could record my basket of flowers bumping up and down as I rode down my quiet suburban street, I’m not sure that is really worth recording. Unless of course I happened to come across a (gasp) garter snake! So what on earth would I use a hands free camera for that would make it worth buying?

On my last trip to Walt Disney World, I was given a Panasonic A500 wearable camera to try out. Upon opening it, I immediately sent a selfie to my husband back home to rub it in that “na-na-na-na, I got a wearable camera!!”. His text back was “Great. You look ridiculous”. He had me there. With this weird camera strapped to my head I felt like I had a third robot eye. However, that’s exactly what this camera is designed to do; become another eye. With it’s precise placement directly next to your own vision, this hands free camera captures whatever it is you are looking at, without worry that you’ve missed the shot. It is a carefree way to record memories as they happen and exactly as you see them.

Some other great notes about the Panasonic HX A500

  • Waterproof and Dustproof
  • 4K Video Resolutions at 30P
  • Built in Video Stabilizer 
  • Built in Video Monitor (so you can see what you are recording)

After the quick and (somewhat) easy set up of the camera, I headed out into the Disney Parks to see what I would use this camera for anyways. I really was determined to show my husband some great footage when I got home and prove him wrong in his stance that we didn’t need this camera. I watched as the other mom’s rode roller coasters with their camera’s. That is going to be a really great video, I thought, but it wasn’t for me. As the entire day passed, I had only one video to show and it was of the waterfall at The Animal Kingdom. I’ll be honest. I felt like a huge failure. I exhaustively plumped down in my chair to watch the evening fireworks show at Epcot. Oh heck, I flipped on my monitor. At least I can show my kids this.

As the fireworks display continued, I watched in amazement. I really can’t remember the last time I simply sat back and watched a fireworks show. Every moment. Without being distracted. It brought me back to my childhood memories and the magical feeling I felt back then, laying on the grass watching the fireworks burst above me and feeling as though I could simply reach out and touch them if I wanted to. I broke my concentration and looked around at all of the people near me watching the fireworks through their tiny smart phone screens. I looked at the picture on their screen and then back at the full version in the sky. Oh yes, the real life version is so much better. I was so glad that I wasn’t missing it. I sat back in my chair and enjoyed the show, in real life, on the largest screen ever.

When I got home, you wouldn’t believe my excitement when I loaded my video to my laptop. It was so easy! As my family and I watched the footage together,  I was taken back to that moment. This camera had captured everything just as I had seen it. Plus, I had the experience and vision in my own head to remember because I was able to live in that moment, hands free.

After seeing what the camera could do, my husband had a moment of realization and it clicked in his head that he could use this camera to film himself driving his car at the racetrack. Suddenly, this camera was a great idea and we should have bought one sooner. Go figure.

If you had a Panasonic A500 wearable camera, how would you use it?

Enter to win your own Panasonic A500 wearable camera!

How to Summer Vacation Like It’s 1950 – When It’s 2015

Even if you don’t have a 1950’s Bel Air sitting in your driveway or an Airsteam trailer to pull behind it, the possibility of having a retro family road trip might still be in your cards. Travel in the 1950’s was all about the open road, family, large over-sized attractions, relaxation and discovery. Since many of these things are still available to travelers today, let’s load up the minivan and hit the road. Here are five tips for having a 1950’s road trip vacation even though it’s really 2015.

Since when did vacations become more work than every life – and more expensive too? Maybe one of the reasons why I idolize travel in the 1950’s is because to me it represents a simpler time of life when families were engaged together in travel and not with their cell phones, video camera’s and DSLR’s. Maybe because to me it represents a time when vacations were about the trip and not always about the destination, or maybe it is because the wild spirit of discovery is something I still cherish. No matter what the reasons are, travel in the 1950’s was a special time for families to reconnect and create memories that have lived a lifetime (I know, because my parent’s still tell me about them). Memories that I want to recreate with my children.

How To Travel Like It’s 1950

1. Hit the Road.

Road trips were all the rage in the 1950’s. It wasn’t uncommon for parents to load up their kids in the station wagon and head out on a cross country road trip, stopping to visit giant roadside attractions, eating at small town diners and sleeping at uniquely designed roadside motels. Unlike travel today, which often takes place in airplanes, a road trip offers a family spontaneity and a chance to discover small town history that would otherwise go unnoticed.

2. Opt for an Atlas.

Do you remember your parent’s pulling out a large road atlas and mapping out the drive with a highlighter? I do. Just looking at that large, colorful map made me realize how big and intricate the world really was. I remember running my finger along the lines of the page and realizing that branching off of the highway’s were more roads and off of those were more. The options of travel were endless and so were the possibilities. When travel focuses less on just getting to a destination, the trip itself becomes that much more interesting and memorable.

3. Ditch the Electronics.

There is nothing I hate more than looking out over a vast beautiful landscape and then looking at my children to find them looking down at their handheld games. For instance on our last road trip to Florida we passed through the most beautiful mountain roads, which at times would offer a high peaked view of the life bustling below. They missed it. Now when we travel we limit “game time” to only when absolutely necessary and definitely not when there are better things to focus on.

Along with ditching the electronics, this lesson plays out hard for mom and dad too. I have to admit that at times I feel the need to photograph and video tape everything with my phone so I can share it with others. This also means that I am missing out on things as I try to capture the moment just right. Therefore, I have found that when I put my phone down, I am able to breathe the moment in, make a mental photograph and am more focused on the overall experience that I am having at that very moment.

4. Mail a Postcard.

This is just for fun because, well, postcards are fun! Postcards became popular in the 1950’s because back then it was the only way for a traveler to let someone at home know that they were doing ok and having a great trip. They also, however, were an excellent form of advertising (but we can talk about that later). So next time you are traveling, pick up a postcard or two and surprise someone at home with something other than a bill.

5. Go Camping.

By the 1950’s (in the era of consumerism) campers were outfitted with most of the comforts of home such as refrigerators and even sometimes complete small kitchens. This advancement made camping more enjoyable and the industry boomed. Going camping, and still keeping with the other four tips) is a great way to have a 1950’s style vacation today. Now, take that camper cross country and you’ve hit the jackpot.

Photo Credit: Retro Rentals, LLC

 Love the idea of camping in a retro travel trailer but don’t own one? Did you know that retro travel trailers can be rented!? They can!

6. (Bonus Tip) RELAX! 

Summer vacation in the 1950’s was all about relaxing, hanging out with your friends and having a great time. So go to the beach, grab an ice cold pop and enjoy the summer sunshine outside. 
Click here to see more roadside attraction photos from our recent trip along I-95. 


Retro Summer Fashions: The Secret to Putting Together the Look

Where do I find retro themed clothing – a question I’ve heard on more than one occasion when I’ve been out at events dressed up in my 1950’s garb. Well, the answer is easy – anywhere you shop.  The point is not to look for items marked “1950’s apparel” but to look for items that represent a style from the era you want to imitate. Below are several retro summer outfits that I’ve put together using items I bought from popular stores such as Target®, Eleventh Avenue® & Vera Bradley®

 Disclosure: Some of the items in this article were provided free of charge for review.  Affiliate Links Included.
Retro Summer Fashions #ad

I’ve always been one to dress in a bit of a retro fashion. I most often tend to teeter between the 1950’s and 60’s with my style. These styles include items such as cute a-line skirts, polka dots, floral, ruffles and lace. There was a period in time when I would scour second hand shops looking for clothing that may have been made in the era I desired, but after coming home many times empty handed and not really liking the thought of wearing used clothing, I switched to shopping new and have found an abundance of retro clothing and accessories available almost everywhere I shop!

Just a few weeks ago I hit the stores to find some new retro summer fashions for my trip to Florida with my sister. My first stop is usually always Target because I tend to have luck finding things I like at this store and the prices can’t be beat. Right off the bat I spotted this black jumpsuit with ball fringe around the legs. This is a perfect example of 1950’s threads, even though you might not suspect it.

Retro Romper from Target #ad
Black Retro Romper Purchase at Target. 

What I love about this romper – 

  • It’s black – which is slimming. 
  • It was super comfortable to wear in Walt Disney World!
  • It has pockets!
  • It reminded me of a retro bathing suit. 
  • LOVED the fringe on the legs. 

Next up I spotted this lace peppered dress at Target. Lace is always a plus for me and this dress reminded me of something out of the 1960’s.

Retro Lace dress from Target #ad
Lace Dress – purchase at Target.

What I loved about this dress- 

  • It’s light and airy – easy to wear on a hot summer day. 
  • It transitions well between night and day – just add or remove a necklace really. 

Last but not least I spotted these retro themed lace shorts at Target. I didn’t buy these, but they still get an honorable mention because they are super cute.

Lace Shorts from Target #ad

What I did end up buying instead were these Aztec style shorts from Eleventh Avenue. This online site is also another great option for finding retro fashion, plus the prices are usually even cheaper than Target. The only downside is that shipping can take several weeks, so if you’re in a hurry better shop elsewhere.

Eleventh Avenue #afilliate

Finally, what better way is there to accent a style than with a retro themed purse! This spring season I have totally fallen in love with Vera Bradley’s new line. They have gone retro with fun and vibrant prints as well as with cutout style purses. I received this purse on my southwest Michigan wine tour, but since I was going to be spending some time in Florida soon after that trip, I decided to go with a tropical themed purse that was big enough to hold my camera and “stuff” at the parks. I loved it so much that I have been using it every day still – even since I’ve been home.

Vera Bradley Spring Purse #SWMISipStroll #ad
Vera Bradley Purse

Whew, now that we’ve got retro fashion and accessories down, how about that hair? Be sure to check out my YouTube channel for some easy to do retro hairstyles and don’t forget to subscribe because I’ve got plenty more to share!

Where is your favorite place to shop for clothing? Do you have a personal style that you look for? Tell us about it in the comments below. 

Change – For Better or For Worse

I think I’m going to give my husband more of a presence on my blog. What do you think?

Photo Credit: Adam Perry Photography

Our slice of the internet is much like our lives. We share things that are important to us, things that are going on and as we change, so does this blog. Change is inevitable in life and dare I say needed. For without change there is no growth – or demise. Change can be a scary thing, because you don’t really know how things are going to turn out in the end. However, I am not one to not do something just because it scares me or because it is different. I like change and I think many of you do too and that is why you read my blog.

If you have been here with me since the beginning (thank you), you might remember when this blog was all about natural parenting – which is something I still value, it is just no longer the main focus. Then along the way we started to focus more on our vintage style lives and travel since travel is a big part of our lives with our vintage cars – and especially retro travel destinations. This may have been where some of you joined us from.

Well, I have been thinking about making one more small change and I would love to gain your input.

Being that our blog is titled “Raising Dick and Jane” and I am not the only one raising these two rascals, I think it only fair that I give my husband more of a presence here on this blog. Raising our family takes more than just myself and my husband is currently a big missing piece of this online puzzle.

By bringing him on as a contributor I hope to gain his input as a father and share more about the things he is doing with traveling for beard competitions and car shows – which we as a family always tag along to too. Whether his contribution be just a quote or paragraph from him in my articles or full articles focused on something important to him, I think his presence would be a nice addition to my point of view on our journey.

So here is my question to you. Would you find value in hearing more about his travel adventures or say, how he packs for a beard competition, what beers he likes or his favorite parts of a destination? Overall, would you like to hear more about us as a family or as a couple and not just my point of view as a mother?

I would love to hear your input and thoughts as to the future of this site because your opinion is valued here. As for those of you who have stuck around with us from the beginning and even those who just joined us, you rock! Thank’s for reading, commenting and being a part of the ride.

Walt Disney World: What’s In It For Me?

 Disclosure: I attended Walt Disney World as part of a hosted retreat and some products mentioned were provided to me free of charge. All opinions are my own.

Is visiting Disney parks without your kids weird? Find out what these two mom’s did with their time in the parks when their attention was no longer placed on watching their kids and they were free to do anything THEY wanted to do. 

#ad Retro Disney

I recently returned home from a solo travel to Walt Disney World. Yes, this mama got to go to Florida all by herself! Well, actually, I took my sister with me, what I meant to say was that I went without my husband and kids. This was weird to me. Being at Disney without kids? What would people think? This really seems like the type of place that you need to have a kid with you in order to enter. So how would two adult women fair at a kid themed resort and park for the week? I’ll tell you.

After our plane landed in Orlando my sister and I made our way to the Magical Express bus that was waiting to transport us over to the Coronado Springs Resort at Disney. As we approached the desk the man standing behind it looked around us for our kids and when he didn’t see any, he handed my sister and I a Mickey Mouse sticker and called us princess. Ok, a little weird, but I do like stickers. I thought for a moment about wearing my new sticker on my shirt, but then decided to stick it in my purse to give to my kids when I returned home. Score one for the free souvenir! We grabbed all of our luggage and boarded the bus headed to our resort choice, the Coronado Springs.

#ad Coronado Springs Resort WDW

The Coronado Springs Resort

The Coronado Springs resort is a mid level resort on the ground of the Animal Kingdom, but you really can’t see any animals from the resort except for a of couple alligators now and then in the lake the resort surrounds. This is also a popular resort for conventions and retreats, which is why I was headed there. Around the grounds of this Mexico themed resort were uncrowded pools, walking trails and sunny hammock spots to relax.  Plus, it had a couple of lounge areas around the resort and a few really spectacular restaurants inside the lobby. Seriously, the Maya Grill (located in the lobby) had a guacamole with pomegranate seeds on it that was out of this world plus some pretty kickin’ margaritas! I ordered this guacamole TWICE during my four day stay! With the more adult themed layout and upscale dining options, this resort definitely fit the bill for two ladies looking to relax and enjoy the sunshine.

#ad #DisneySide
Traditional Margarita at the Maya Grill in Coronado Springs Resort 

Walt Disney World parks

Magic Kingdom

After checking in to our hotel and getting situated, my sister and I decided to go over and check out the parks. This was my sisters first time visiting the parks that she could remember, so we hopped on one of the resort provided buses and headed over to the Magic Kingdom first. Ok, to be completely honest here, my sister and I were like two kids in a candy store. We giggled through the rides, sampled almost every sweet treat we passed and even took our photo with some of the characters in the park. We were like two kids again. Although, it was better than being a kid at Disney because we were free to do whatever we wanted!

#ad Mary Poppins at Walt Disney World
Meet Mary Poppin’s at the Magic Kingdom park

Animal Kingdom

The second park we visiting during our trip was the Animal Kingdom. This park is so much more than just animals! In fact, we didn’t even see any animals, we were too busy wandering around the themed streets and being transported into different areas of the world such as Africa and Asia. Throughout the totally amazingly decorated streets were people playing music and dancing. Everything was so brightly colored and happy. I think we both really loved it. Plus, this place rocks for shopping! The outdoor markets had bright colored beads and really different types of souvenirs. A must go place if you want to get something different!

#ad Macaroon at Epcot
Having a strawberry Macaroon at Epcot 

Epcot

This was my first time experiencing Epcot since every other time I went to Walt Disney World with my kids they were less than excited about it – so we always passed it up for the other parks. However, as an mother, I can say that this place is not only totally amazing for adults but also for children! I saw so many really cool things that I think my kids would have loved, such as outdoor play areas – so I am totally bringing them to this park next time we come. Although since my sister and I were here without our kids, we decided to indulge ourselves with different foods from around the world – found at the various outdoor food courts (many of which served themed alcoholic drinks too). Guess what? The Pineapple Promenade serves up a Pineapple Soft Serve with Sammy’s Beach Bar Red Head Macadamia Nut Flavored Rum or with Parrot Bay Coconut Rum! It’s like a Dole Whip, but with alcohol! 


#ad Dole Whip Flower and Garden Show - Epcot
Pineapple Soft Serve with Rum at Epcot

Hollywood Studios

This last park we visited was Hollywood Studios and except for accidentally getting stuck inside a 45 minute Frozen Sing Along show, we had a really great time in this park. 

So you might want to know how we got stuck in a frozen sing along, I’ll give you the short story. We THOUGHT we were going to go in and see a regular Frozen show and were just looking to relax and cool off for a few minutes. What we really entered was a sing along with frozen characters. 45 minutes of about a hundred kids singing “Let it go!” at the top of their lungs. The characters on stage TRIED to make it amusing but honestly, it was a nightmare. 

Overall though, we loved this park. For instance, there was a Starbucks right inside to doors that had no line. That right there was enough to make my sister and I swoon. But seriously, this park had plenty of fun shopping options, cool adult rides (such as The Great Movie Ride®) and some really interesting attractions (such as the One Man’s Dream museum).

So while I wasn’t sure at first how two adult women would get along at Walt Disney World without our kids, getting this chance to tour Disney without my kids gave me a chance to actually see it. Like really see it.  You know, like actually look around at things and not always at my kids to make sure they haven’t wandered off or been kidnapped. I couldn’t believe all of the things I’ve missed before! It was like a whole new world! 🙂 Also, this trip gave me an opportunity to check out a few reasons why adults might like vacationing at Walt Disney World too.What I found was that Disney is actually a GREAT time. There are tons of places to eat great food, have a few drinks, take in a show and shop!

#ad Walt Disney Shopping
Shopping at Hollywood Studios
Panasonic Home Surveillance System

Even though I was having a wonderful time on this trip with my sister, I still missed seeing my kids faces every day. This is probably my most loved reason for testing out the new Panasonic Home Surveillance System – not to catch burglars. Every day while I was away I could open up my phone and connect to one of the camera’s set up in my home to see my kids bright and smiling faces. I could even speak to them directly through the camera and hear their responses. This system has made mommy travel more enjoyable and a whole lot less worrisome because I can not only hear my children but see them whenever I want. 
#ad Panasonic Home Surveillance System

Have you ever vacationed to Walt Disney World without your kids? What did you think?

You can also check out my full list of fun retro themed attractions at Walt Disney World. There are probably more than you think!