The Eau Resort and Spa has been on my bucket list for ages and this month, I finally treated myself to a day of indulgence. My workload is pretty seasonal, so after flying by the seat of my pants for the past six months, I was ready to take a day off and lounge around. Plus, now that summer's arrived and the snowbirds are gone, I can take advantage of some of the perks (read: killer discounts) that come with being a WPB local.Read More
So you blew your budget on swimsuits and a bottle of Patrón before your vacation even started because you #ballsohard. We get it. But now you're destined to spring break like a #peasant, and you're suuuper bummed about it. Don't fret! Your fairy finance mother is here to teach you how to broke-girl vacation step-by-step. I brainstormed and executed the following strategy this weekend and didn't blow my budget ONCE! THERE IS NOTHING SO EMPOWERING; LET ME TELL YOU.
Step 1: Plan your itinerary. This inherently makes planning for spending WAY easier, plus you get the added bonus of not having to waste precious vacation time deciding the fate of said vacation.
Step 2: Gather some supplies. You'll need a writing utensil, as much cash as you plan to spend (plus 20 percent of that number if you're able) in small bills, your tongue, and a few envelopes -- three will PROBABLY do. Don't get those big-ass envelopes; get the ones that are the same size as... money. See where I'm going here?
Step 3: Prepare one (1) container with enough liquid to cover a 3"x2" object. Submerge your debit and/or credit card. Place container in freezer. Affirm that you will stick to your budget by chanting, "I am a fiscally responsible adult," as you spin around with your forehead on a bat.
Step 4: Remove your bullshit hat. I am 100 percent serious. Grab it by its invisible rim and set it on your invisible table. Shit's about to get real. If you think this sounds ridiculous, just remember that a second ago you were spinning around on a bat chanting about how fiscally responsible you are.
Step 5: Find a Buddy. Budgeting by yourself is hard and not fun, but budgeting with a buddy makes it all bearable. Walk your Budget Buddy though steps 1 through 4.
Step 6: Decide together how much you're going to spend on each activity. Your numbers should all be the same bc this is a BUDDY SYSTEM. You will stick to your guns more if you've got a friend sticking to theirs. Grab two envelopes each and write "S.O.S." and "Travel" on them. Put that extra 20 percent of funds we told you about in those envelopes. NOTE: TEQUILA ONLY COUNTS AS AN EMERGENCY IN THE LAST 24 HOURS OF YOUR TRIP. Lick those envelopes shut!
Step 7: Divvy up the remainder of the cash between the last two envelopes, and write on both of them how much you're allotted for every activity. Don't try to thrift evenly across the board -- you'll be more likely to stay on budget with only $20 at the bar tonight if you've got $40 to blow at brunch tomorrow.
Step 8: Once you get there, lock that cash you're not using in a safe, and have a great vacation!!!
Phew! It has been two weeks since our whirlwind trip to the Pacific Northwest ended and we are still dreaming of it. The weather, the beer, the sightseeing! It was all incredible. Keep reading to get the lowdown on our epic four-day weekend!
WEDNESDAY/THURSDAY - TRAVEL DAYS
Alexa sped out of South Florida early Wednesday evening because she believes that to travel during daylight hours is to waste vacation time. She also believes that flying out of a less convenient airport to save money is never worth the hassle. Unless you're saving $100 or more on your flight, don't do it. You'll thank yourself come travel day. Once she was up in the air, the sun clung to the horizon for a good two hours of the flight before finally sinking below the earth. *•It was suuuuuper magicallll•*
Giuls was up bright and early for departure and snapped some KILLER views from up above as she was flying into Portland! Pro tip: If you're flying cross-country during daylight hours, make SURE you have a window seat.
Before we get into the touristy stuff, though, we GOTTA tell you about this lifesaving travel app called Google Trips. All your travel-related information (like flight info, reservation info, day trip itinerary w/ GPS and any saved places) is available in one location! It can also be downloaded for offline reference as well, making it awesome for international travel. The app even auto-populates some super useful info like details about local public transportation, hospital information, shopping districts, tipping standards and wifi availability. A+, GOOGLE! The only thing that could use improvement is the "Day Plans" feature. While it recommends a ton of specialized trips, it's a little difficult to customize and only suggests major attractions. Overall, however, this app majorly takes the stress out of travel logistics.
THURSDAY IN SEATTLE, WA — BY ALEXA
The best thing about traveling to the west coast is waking up at 6:00 a.m. PT once you've arrived and feeling completely rested 'cause your body thinks it's 9:00 a.m. I got a combo-pass to see both Chihuly Garden and Glass and the Space Needle for about $35 a person. HERE'S THE THING. The earlier in the day you go, the cheaper Seattle's attractions are. All of the museums and touristy sightseeing spots are in walking distance of each other, which is super convenient. Before leaving for Seattle, I booked two combo tickets because we had a LOT to cram into our single day in the city. The downside about buying our tickets ahead of time was that we had NO idea what the weather conditions were going to be. When bae and I reached the top of the Space Needle, the elevator guide bid us farewell with an "Enjoy what you can..." and dropped us off in an honest-to-god f*cking cloud! I mean, you couldn't see anything past that solid wall of gray. We laughed so hard! We were the only ones who stepped out onto the little walkway outside, and everything was damp and dewy. We could see a little sliver of land directly below us at one point, but by the time we walked all the way around the top of the needle, it was gone. 10/10 would recommend just going to see the Space Needle and staying on the ground.
Chihuly Garden and Glass, however did not disappoint! The museum was amazing. There were so many different installations and each one was dazzling. If you do ONE touristy attraction in Seattle that costs a little dough, make sure it's this one. You won't regret it. I promise the pictures below won't spoil the whole experience for you.
From Chihuly Garden and Glass, we made our way toward the coast, hit up the Olympic Sculpture Garden for a bit, and then beelined it to Pike Place Market, the most majestic place in all of Seattle. Side note: Seattle is a surprisingly inexpensive city to sightsee in. There is plenty to see sans admission fee. Even better, you can walk EVERYWHERE. I'd recommend getting a place as close to the Space Needle or Pike Place Market as possible. We ended up walking 10 miles that day and didn't take an Uber or Lyft ONCE.
Pikes Place Market: OH, THE FLOWERS! THE SEAFOOD! THE OVERWHELMED TOURISTS WANDERING ABOUT! I live for Pike Place Market. I could spend an entire afternoon wandering through all the nooks and crannies of that place. Make sure you come a little hungry with some money to spend. Take some pictures by the gross/fascinating/punk-as-f*ck gum wall. Watch the fish toss at Pike Place Fish Market. Buy the most gorgeous bouquet of flowers for $15 and spend the rest of the afternoon grinning ear to ear like a goon. The original Starbucks is also located at Pike Place, but don't bother waiting in a line that goes out the door and past too many other shop fronts. Save at least an hour for the market, maybe two if you're feeling adventurous or want to do some shopping. There are some great beer spots nearby, too!
From the market, we stopped at this waterfront oyster bar called Elliott's Oyster House for a round of drinks and, you guessed it, oysters. Make sure to get a spot by the window and skip the oyster bar seats. The shuckers aren't very talkative and the views are too good to pass up. Order a dozen oysters selected by your server (tell them to stick to the sweeter ones if you trust my judgement) and a glass of white wine from the pairing list. You're welcome.
If you're looking for some nightlife in Seattle, hit up Capitol Hill around sunset! (Let's be real, if you're from the East Coast, you're not going to make it past 10:00 anyway.) There are some great dive bars, karaoke spots and a tequila joint (pictured below in the turquoise-colored building on the right).
After the day was done, we weary travelers settled down on our borrowed balcony and indulged in a little rest and relaxation while we soaked in the view of an ironically clear sky. F*cking amazing. Shoutout to the iPhone 7 Plus for such a high-quality nighttime photo!
FRIDAY - VANCOUVER, WA; REUNITED AT LAST; THE WEDDING REHEARSAL.
AND THEN IT WAS FRIDAY AND THE GOD ABOVE, BEYONCE, SAID, "AND GIULS AND ALEXA WILL RUN INTO EACH OTHER'S ARMS INAPPROPRIATELY IN PUBLIC AND IT WILL BE GOOD," and Alexa squeezed Giuls around the middle and picked her up off the ground like your cousin who's two years older than you did when you were 8 and he was 10 because she's Alexa and Alexa is suuuuuuper extra.
After our initial reunion, we stopped for a beer at Trap Door Brewing in Vancouver, Washington, before headin' to the weddin' rehearsal. We were basically the Kristen Wiig to our entire bridal party: a little badly behaved, a little endearing and a little too obsessed with the bride. We got to the restaurant early and sat at the bar before dinner and it was good. We took excessively bad bathroom selfies. Alexa got even MORE extra and gave a speech at the rehearsal dinner because OF COURSE Alexa gives a speech at a rehearsal dinner and OF COURSE she doesn't prepare until she's a glass of wine and a marg (or two) in and OF COURSE it goes off without a hitch. Giuls behaved herself like the classy f*cking adult that she is and overall was a v. a good Giuls and talked Alexa down the ledge later on and was the best best friend a best friend could ever ask for. They tried to get the bride and groom to head out to Portland for some good ol' fashioned, night-before-the-wedding trouble, but those plans very quickly dissolved. (The worst thing about traveling to the West Coast is standing in line at a club at 12:30 in the morning PT, dozing in and out of consciousness like a horse in a field because your body thinks it's 3:30 a.m.)
SATURDAY - VANCOUVER, WA
We woke up the next morning, took too long to get ready, stopped to buy champagne and Lyfted to the wedding venue, where we made it just in time for the last 10 minutes of yoga on the lawn. We held hands in savasana and the yoga teacher thought we were gay. To be fair, we didn't really mind. Then we donned our self-picked bridesmaids dresses and beautiful flower crowns — designed by the exceptional hardcoreflorist —before assembling for some wedding party picsssss.
After the reception, we regrouped back at Alexa's sweet Airbnb on the Columbia River (tell Mauricio I sent you) and decided that red would be an excellent color to include in the Fab Feminist logo. IT WAS DECIDED. We also took some f*cking I-CON-IC images.
This time, Alexa stayed cool so Giuls could party hearty. In some of those photos, you can tell. Fave places in Portland: Voodoo Doughnut (a must, although everyone kept telling us that Blue Star had better doughnuts); Teardrop Lounge: a low-key, cool-kid, indoor-outdoor bar with a very creative cocktail list; Ground Kontrol Classic Arcade: themed drinks with tons of old-school arcade games; and Kit Kat Club: a strip club with a low cover, talented performers and awesome costumes.
SUNDAY - PORTLAND, OR
Sunday we did what best friends on vacation do: WE BRUNCHED. We brunched with the bride and the groom and the boys we brought along in Portland. We brunched on breakfast tapas at Tasty n Sons because yes, breakfast tapas exist and yes, they are f*cking delicious. PROTIP: If you're trying to behave at brunch (just a little), pick a bloody mary as your drink of choice instead of a mimosa. They don't go down as quick. Also order your bloody mary "cowboy style" with a bump of beer on the side, because you're still here to party.
Before we even started brunch, though, we had the most incredible experience. A KITTY wailed in our direction from across the street while we were waiting for a our table. We called it over (because we're idiots and it was not a busy road) and Kitteh ran RIGHT FOR US. We kaptured Kitteh and petted Kitteh and loved Kitteh. Then we started walking Kitteh back to the address on Kitteh's tag but NOT BEFORE WE GOT AN EXCESSIVE AMOUNT OF PHOTOS WITH KITTEH. When we got to Kitteh's majestically overgrown house, we knocked on Kitteh's owner's door. Lemme tell you, Kitteh's owner seemed suuuuuuuuper confused to see us. Apparently, we didn't get the memo that Kitteh is an indoor/outdoor cat. MEOW. Sixty seconds later, we got the call that our table was ready at Tasty's.
After our incredible brunch, we bid farewell to our beautiful bridal best friend and hit up Oregon Brewers Festival! IT WAS AWESOME and we didn't know anything about it until we arrived in Portland. It was $7 for a mug, $1 for a hearty sample and $5 for a full mug. The venue was right on the river and there was PLENTY to try. Our favorite was probably Razz Hands, a berry-colored raspberry-flavored cider that was out-of-this-world good!
When we couldn't fit another beer in us, we booked it to THE CITY OF BOOKS (pun intended)! Powell's Books deserves a whole afternoon to itself, if we're being honest. There's a book for everyone for everything and best of all, for every price range. Grab a stack, pick a corner and rifle through your treasures.
Once we'd checked out, we ate our last supper together and bid some hasty goodbyes. We have this habit of going to a restaurant approximately 15 minutes before Giuls + bae should be making their way to the airport. First, it was pho in Florida, and this time, it was sushi in Oregon. At this point, it's practically tradition! (Sorry, Matt.)
With a couple hours left to roam the city, Alexa and her bae checked some final spots off their list and made their way to the airport for a (painful) red eye back to the East Coast. If you can, save those daylight travel hours for the flight back. You'll be happy to sleep in your own bed and waiting until 11:30 p.m. PT to fly out is too late and too painful anyway.
That about sums it up for our trip to the PNW! Let us know what you think of our travel advice and comment below if we missed any of your favorite spots in the area! To everyone who hosted us in every way, thank you for your generosity. Until next time, Portland!
How do you prepare for a trip across the country to be in your best friend’s wedding? First, jump up and down in excitement since you’ll be in the same place as your best friends from college for the first time in over a year. Second, figure out how much time you’re working with. At this point, I have 3 days and 35 hours of work time within those 3 days to plan around. Next, you take the few hours you have and prepare yourself a luxe breakfast, turn on your wax pot to let it heat up for far longer than it needs to, throw in a load of laundry and forget about it, and binge as many netflix shows as possible since the bridesmaid agenda doesn’t allow for a House of Cards marathon.
Hi, I’m Giuliana and I'm a professional procrastinator. Sometimes, I get around to doing the things I need to do, usually when I should be doing something else, like when I have a writing deadline. Whether it’s for my job, for a freelance assignment, or for a personal project, I seem to work best under pressure--which is an ambitious way of acknowledging that the only time I get my life together is when I absolutely have to. But I prefer saying I like the hustle.
Now that my wax pot is hotter than necessary my brows are on point and I can barrell forward with my travel preparations. Mandatory items get packed first.
Bridesmaid dress--luckily it’s a sheer material that doesn’t wrinkle when folded so I don’t have to worry about that.
My journal and four books that I’m currently reading at the same time go right into my carry-on. Not sure what I’ll be in the mood to read so I have no choice but to bring them all!
The sparkly platform heels that I bought for my NYE night out with Alexa will definitely be making a reappearance for the first time since.
Laptop. As a freelancer, you gotta love the hustle.
Melatonin and a reloaded Starbucks app. You can call me basic, but I gotta sleep when I have time to sleep and I gotta be at the top of my game for every other hour of this trip.
All the clothes I tried to clean out of my closet but Alexa claimed for her own.
Headphones because I can’t sleep in silence and bae can’t sleep unless it’s silent.
Cat treats because of course we selected an AirBNB solely because we’ll be hosted by a cat and we don’t want to come empty handed.
An Alexa and Giuls reunion is a reliably fantastic event every time, so there’s more excitement than stress. The bride, of course, is also one of our best friends so we’re taking this reunion to the next level. Alexa’s in charge of the bride’s beauty routine and I’m the keeper of the bride’s vape. Alexa, as always, will make sure everyone looks FAB and I’ll make sure the bride’s relaxed and everyone’s constantly giggling so there’s no time for stress. (Hey, it’s Portland, it’s totes legal and way less sloppy than popping champagne for every minor “crisis”.) We are the damage control duo and excited to be back in action.
Stay tuned on our social media!!! We’ll be spoiling you with pictures, videos, and legendary quotes at @fabfeministblog across all platforms, and we may even indulge you with an impromptu blog entry (that is, if we're feeling ambitious). There’s a TON to celebrate and you’re invited to front row seats to our shenanigans!!!!!!